Trimming your Ends – How to?

It’s important to have a schedule you can stick to when trimming your ends. If you’re just starting out on your hair journey and your ends are in a weak state, start afresh by sniping those dead ends off. Your hair will thank you for it.

If you decide not to, months later down the road, you’ll have to face this monster head on. At that point in time, you’ll be battling with split ends, breakage and mid-shaft splits as well. It’s important you nip this early on by doing the needful. As time goes on, you’ll reap the rewards in terms of healthy, thicker ends.

What schedule should I implement for my hair?

You can either have a 6week or 4week calendar you adhere to for trimming.

How do I trim successfully? Check out these YouTube videos below:

Hair Regimen Update

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I’ll be introducing you to ‘Red Handle-Less 1875W Ceramic Tourmaline’, recommended for Pik Hair Straightening & Drying. As part of ongoing effort to change my hair regimen, Stevie had recommended this particular dryer for my hair needs. I had earlier told her about my desire to cut down on the number of hours I spent on wash days and how I felt air drying was making my ends more image imagebrittle than I liked.

According to her, long drying times can cause undetected damage to hair. Air dried hair sustains more damage to the Cell Membrane Complex, the sandwich-layer of proteins, lipids and covalently bonded fatty acids that is the glue that binds cuticles together. Once the CMC is damaged, cuticles can become dislodged easily which leads to rough damaged hair which may eventually split or break. She stressed the importance of blow drying on cool or low heat and how it was vital I did not abuse the process.

Upon receipt of the Kiss Handless Dryer, I was struck by 2 things:

– it was lightweight

– it has 3 settings: cool, low & high

– the box contained 2 Pik sets

– it also had a concentrator as well

– it’s cool to touch allowing you to manoveur easily.

– you’ll get salon like results at home…so convenient.

Unlike other blow dryers, this brand didn’t have the protruding handle making it easy to swing across your hair easily. It’s quite easy to manoveur and I spent 5 minutes drying and straightening my hair. The tension method has never been this easy.

How do I use it?

I divide freshly deep conditioned hair into 8 sections making sure to apply Chi Silk Infusion. Then I switch over to cool or low heat depending on how straight I want my hair to be. One single pass and voila!my hair is all straightened out as if I just flat ironed it. It’s made it easier to implement eyelash trimming for my ends. You can use this for natural hair as well on days you want to conduct a length check and trim your ends.
You might want to check the videos below from YouTube as well.

 

 

Fab Find for Christmas

For sometime now, I’ve been in search of a makeup kit that I can store in one place rather than searching haphazardly for my eyeshadow, lip gloss or lipstick each morning while going to work. It used to be tedious searching YouTube for the perfect makeup tutorial that’ll make my face pop without unnecessary drama.
My wish list for Xmas this year was a collection of palette that would suit my  purpose. I searched high and low and wasn’t satisfied with the ones I’d seen till I stumbled across this brand. I got the Stila Artist Essentials Set as an early Xmas gift from my mom and it’s set the tone for 2015.

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What do I like about this set? Several things. It comes in a sleek, earthy box with a clasp in front which keeps the content together. It’s lightweight and  compact size, makes it easier to travel with. I don’t have to worry about makeup spilling on my clothes or having to store it in a Ziploc bag. The clasp was well thought out.
This box contains the following items :
– 4 different sets of palette ranging from pop art, renaissance, abstract and surreal.
– #9 all over blend brush for applying and smudging your eyeliner or eyeshadow.
– smudge stick waterproof eyeliner in stingray.
– a convertible color dual lip & cheek cream.
– stay all day liquid lipstick in patina

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I forgot to mention it’s got an instruction sheet on how to blend the different palette to achieve whatever look you may be going for.

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Each palette type is represented on the instruction sheet making it easy to interprete.

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My first impressions? I love, love this makeup brand and I’m sold. I started by checking out the instruction sheet to see which of the looks I wanted to interprete. I settled for ‘pop art’ and went to work with my brush. I was done within 5 minutes. That’s a first as I usually spend a lot of time wiping off and doing up a new set once I’m not satisfied with my look. With the manual it was easy at a go. I applied the eyeliner and used the blend brush to smudge the lined eyes for a smoky effect.
For my lips, I decided to go with the ‘all day liquid lipstick in patina’. I must warn that a little goes a long way. I ate, drank loads of water and this lipstick stayed put throughout the day. I was pleasantly surprised to see that my entire makeup stayed put throughout the day. The eyeshadow stayed true to form all day.

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I haven’t used the lip/cheek cream but based on the experience I’ve had so far, I do not expect anything less. This is definitely a keeper for me.
For ladies who made specific requests for this brand, your package will be delivered tomorrow and I hope you enjoy creating different looks like I’ve done.
I’ll be back tomorrow with another fab find.

Hair Elite Salon Review

My go to resource for hair care while on vacation has always been ‘Yelp.com’. Depending on the city I’m traveling to, I always go online to search for salons specializing in healthy hair care and read up on client’s review as well. Yelp is a great resource for obtaining down to earth, honest reviews. While planning this trip, I had settled for 2 salons basically Hair Elite & ReviveSpa. I had booked an appointment with both salons informing them about my hair needs since I was planning on a relaxer touch up session.

ReviveSpa later communicated via email that the salon was closed for renovation. I had to go with Hair Elite. My sister had informed me about a lady in their church who had lush, healthy waist length hair. She had asked this lady where she got her hair done and the lady kept mentioning ‘Stevie’. Imagine my delight when we discovered that Stevie owned ‘Hair Elite’.
Yesterday, we finally set off for her salon after confirming our appointment. I had branched at one of this Spaniard grocery store to purchase ORS Relaxer kit.

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Stevie is the lady on the extreme right wearing the pink top and white bottoms. She was easy to talk to and listened attentively as we discussed my regimen. I told her I brought my relaxer since I observed she only uses Mizani products in her salon. She asked which relaxer I was using and I responded “ORS”. She stated I made the right choice for my fine strands and we were good to go. She spent close to 40mins applying a cream base to my scalp in tiny sections to prevent scalp burns. She did this repeatedly till she was satisfied my scalp and new growth was coated adequately. I was surprised to see that the relaxer was only applied to the 2.5inches of new growth I had.

Then she combed the new growth only once and we were off to rinse the relaxer out. After rinsing out the relaxer, she proceeded to apply a Mizani conditioner (can’t remember which one now) to the newly relaxed growth and we waited for 5minutes only before rinsing out. She explained that the conditioner will restore the moisture stripped by the relaxer.

She proceeded to use the neutralizing shampoo before deep conditioning. The blow drying experience was smooth and in no time my hair was straightened out. After examining my hair and discussing the products I was using, she made some changes and suggestions. Then I told her to cut my hair since we were trying out her own regimen for the next 30days (I’ll discuss this in my upcoming post). She cut it into a layered bob where the sides are much longer and the back is shorter. I called it the ‘C’ bob. Consultation and trimming is free for first time visitors and I only spent $45.00 for a 2hour session.

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Hair Elite is located on 13420 Hawthorne Road, California and her website is http://www.stevidhair.com.

Hey

hair comicLadies!!! How was your weekend? Trust it was fun-filled. I spent the major part of last week indisposed and I’m recuperating currently. I’m downing 3litres of water as I write this post based on doctors’ advice.

How was your wash day? I spent 2days to complete mine as I simply found it difficult getting up from my bed. For the past 2 months, I’ve been taking a supplement (not a hair supplement) and suddenly woke up to excruciating pains which rendered me immobile.  The resulting effect was a diagnosis of kidney stones due to excess calcium intake and it’s mandatory I drink at least 3-4litres daily to flush out the stones but so far so good, I’m back on my feet and can move about.

All’s well that ends well. Have a great week ahead.

 

Investing in FGN Bonds

What are bonds? Bonds are simply a term for loans that you give to the Federal Government, State Government, Companies etc.

Is it a document or what? It’s simply a piece of paper issued by the Borrower (e.g the Government) stating the amount borrowed from you, the tenor (no of years with which to repay), interest rate, and repayment period

Why me? Can’t they go to a bank to borrow money? You because you may have some money that you wish to save. You may say you have just N10k to save a month from your salary and wonder how that helps the government. Imagine that there are 1million people with N10k to save, that transcends to N10b already. Also have in mind that the money the banks actually lend are money deposited by you and I. So you and I are the major source of money for government, banks, corporations etc. That is why they tax us, pursue us to open accounts, and pressure us to buy their goods.

What’s in it for me? Bond issuers (borrowers like the government) typically attach a coupon to the Bonds. Coupon are basically interest rates attached to the Bonds issues. For example, the Government can issue a bond for say N10b, 10year bonds at a coupon of 6%pa. What they mean is that they want to borrow N10b from the public and are willing to pay 6% interest rate for it per annum for a period of 10years. Usually they pay you the principal amount at maturity meaning at the end of 10years and sometimes they can have the option to “call back” which basically means the can pay you the principal before the 10 year period. Bonds with “Call Back” are always clearly stated in the prospectus.So, in a nutshell if you borrow them N10k, you form part of many others who must have lent them as well. They pay you N600 per annum and pay you the N10k a the end of 10 years.

What? Just N600? Yes just N600. Well, you may think of it as low but the if you put that same amount in a Savings Account of bank you’d probably get N200 and stand the risk of loosing it if the bank collapses. Besides if it is N1m you invest then that’s N60k every year, N10m is N600k and N100m is N6m per annum.

Are you saying Government Can’t collapse? Well technically they can but it’s very unlikely. Even if they do, it’s if there is a war but then they must repay after the war is over. Government bonds are mostly secure and are guaranteed by the full faith and credit of the Government.

So I have to wait for 10years to get my money back? Off course not. The beauty of bonds is that you can exchange them just like shares. You can decide to sell your bond on the bond market if you want your money back.

Oh, so I put in N10k and get my N10k back plus interest? Yes if you decide to hold to maturity and wait for 10years. But if you wish to sell before then you can except that it could be worth more or less. Just like shares the value of bonds go up and down depending on economic factors. So, the bond you bought for N10k may be worth N11k or N9k when you are selling it. Just like shares, today it’s up tomorrow it may be low. But at maturity (the repayment day) the government or borrower must pay you the face value. The face value is the N10k you paid them. Movement in the market does not affect what the borrower pays you.

So are bonds really like shares then? Not exactly, whilst both are investment securities they are different in their nature. When you buy shares, you buy right to earn a dividend of a company. Meaning that you only get dividends when the company decided to pay you. For a Bond, the borrower or issuer (that’s is the Government or company) MUST pay you interest (coupon) a the stated date. In other words, owners of shares are equity holders, whilst owners of bonds are debt holders.

I have often heard of yields, what is that too? Well yields are basically interest on traded bonds. In my previous illustration I explained that the government pays you a coupon of 6%pa on your N10k bond. Since we understand that bonds are tradable, supposing the value was 9k at the time you sell the bond. It then means whomever buys it will earn N600 on the N9k he paid out. Thus his actual interest otherwise called yield is 600/9000 = 6.66%. So he gains an extra .66% and still gets to get another N1000 if he decides to wait till the maturity of the bond. They often say the yield of a bond moves in opposite direction to the value. Just as above, as the value dropped to N9k the yield increased to 6.66%.

That’s cheating me isn’t it? Nah not true. Remember, there is an opportunity cost you may incur if you do not sell. Imagine you had a business that will probably get you twice that amount if you sell. So instead of holding on just so it gets to 10k or higher, you sell and use the money for something more tangible. Also remember that you would have collected some interest as well. And then you can simply just hold on till maturity, it all depends on your opportunity cost.

Ok now I get it! How do I then invest? Bonds can be purchased either through the primary or secondary market.

The primary market is were you buy bonds that have just been offered by the seller like the Government (just like buying a public offer). The secondary market is where you buy tradable bonds that is, bonds from the bonds market (just like buying shares in the stock market). Bonds traded in the secondary market are usually done on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange or Over the Counter (OTC) through the PDMM

Bonds sold in the primary or secondary market are bought through a PDMM(Primary Dealer Market Maker). PDMM are operators licensed to buy and sell bonds. Most of them are banks like Zenith, GTB, UBA, Diamond Bank to name a few. They also have discount houses like Kakawa Discount House, FSDH who sell as well. You get the application form from them, fill it, include your cheque in full for the amount you wish to invest. You can invest as much as you can, from N10k to N1b depending on your capabilities financially. But the minimum is N10k and multiple of N1k thereafter.

The bonds purchased are confirmed through issuance of depository or issuance of certificates. The depository is the CSCS (Central Security Clearing System) an online storage for securities such as shares and bonds.

How do I get my interest? Interest on Government Bonds are paid Semi annually.For example in June and December or in January and July. Payment is through issuance of cheques or warrants, similar to the dividend warrants you get for shares.

Also note that interest rates can be fixed or floating. Fixed means when they say they will pay you 6%pa then it is 6%pa you get till the end if the maturity. Floating means they may pay you an amount that is linked to a are that moves with the market. For example they might say Nibor 8% plus 2%. Meaning the rate is benchmarked o. The Nigerian Interbank Official Rate (Nibor) of 8% plus 2%. The Nibor is a rate that banks use to lend money to each other and it always changes in response to market conditions and is thus the floating rate.

Source: Nairaland

The Wealth Myth

Over the past one decade, our attitudes and cultural beliefs about wealth has undergone a dramatic change. We have gone from people who’re proponents of hard work being the backbone of wealth to sudden riches overnight. These elusive lifestyle also comes with glamorous images of flamboyance. Today I’ll be discussing the false myths surrounding wealth.

    • Life for the rich is a big party everyday: escapism from life’s’ daily worries does not exclude the rich. Irrespective of the economic divide we belong to as individuals, we all have our fair share of troubles and have to wade through them. If you read through the bio of accomplished men and women, a unifying factor is the hard times they waded through in reaching their goals.
    • Once I hit the jackpot, I can buy anything I want: this is the biggest fallacy amongst the lot I’ve discovered. The rich don’t buy anything and everything, they carefully plan their purchases. Assuming you want to buy a car or build a house, you just don’t wake up one day and start. No! It all begins with the first seed and consistent savings.
    • Whether you like it or not, hard work is the sure path to building wealth. Disregard all the music videos and movies that promotes easy wealth, popping champagne and throwing endless parties. Life does not pan out that way. Four years ago, i had taken the decision to buy a new car but guess what, I didn’t have the liquid cash to buy one even though I could have converted my stock holdings to do this. I felt it was not necessary and took a decision to save for the kind of car I wanted and could afford. I didn’t make that purchase till late last year when I knew I had the cash to make a one-time purchase. The key lesson here; plan, plan and work assiduously to achieve your goals.
    • My current paycheck can’t take me far: hey wake up!!! The BRT lane was not built in a single day. No, No, No!!! When I started working, my monthly paycheck was average even though I had friends who earned thrice the amount I earned but that’s the beauty of ageing.

As you go along your career path, opportunities will come along that’ll increase your earning power. Remember the popular adage ‘little drops of water make a mighty ocean’. Start small and you’ll end big.

Spend less than you earn in 2012

If there is a single rule that underlies everything I’ve written about on Today’s Naira, it’s this simple sentence:

Spend less than you earn.

It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? Yet there are many people out there burying themselves in debt (spending more than they earn) or living purely paycheck to paycheck (spending exactly what they earn). Yesterday fuel subsidy was officially removed with a litre of fuel selling within a range of N138 – N200. This is an astronomical increase and it’ll require an effort to save in 2012.

Simply spending less than you earn has a cascade of positive effects.

First, you begin eliminating your debts. Spending less than you earn frees up the money you need to make larger payments on your debts. Over time, they begin to disappear, reducing your monthly bills and giving you even more breathing room.

Second, you begin to save. First, you build up some cash savings in your savings account, enabling you to roll through emergencies (like a car breakdown or a job loss). You’ll also have the breathing room to start saving for retirement, paving yourself a great future for your golden years.

Third, your stress level falls. Knowing that you have fewer debts, your emergencies are covered, and your retirement is being planned for reduces your stress level. You sleep better, your overall health improves, and you feel happier about life.

Finally, you are now able to explore possibilities closed to you before. When your debts are gone and you are spending far less than you’re bringing in, you suddenly have many more career possibilities. You don’t have to stick with your high-stress job – you have the financial freedom to move on and chase your dreams. You can live where – and how – you want to live.

All of that comes back to one basic principle – spend less than you earn.

That statement actually has two parts, though.

Spend less refers to the fact that you do need to cut your spending. The first step doesn’t need to be anything drastic – nor should it be. Many of the more extreme money-saving tips come from people who have already tried out the basic tips and love them, so they seek out more intense strategies to further cut their spending. I do this myself – I’m always trying out new money-saving strategies, discarding the ones that don’t work for me and keeping the ones that do.

Here are five big ways to get started.

First, go through every monthly required bill. Ask yourself if you really need that service at all. Do you really need to take your car to work everyday or could you start a car pooling service with colleagues who live nearby to cover the cost of fuelling the car? With the fuel subsidy issue, I forsee the era of filling up the tank eroding. Also, more people will become circumspect about fuel management. Then, go through each bill and see if there are any optional services you can eliminate. Do you really need a washman or consider the options of purchasing a washing machine and ironing your clothes yourself?

Second, keep diligent track of your spending. Keep a notebook in your pocket and write down every expense you have. The simple process of doing this will make you think twice about unnecessary expenses. When you do have a month’s worth of expenses written down, take a careful look at them. Ask yourself whether or not each of these expenses actually contributed to the value and joy of your life. That process will offer a lot of insight for you as to where your spending is going to waste.

Third, look carefully at your routines. Watch what you do every day (or most days). Are there things you do each day that cost money? Those things are the most powerful ones to adjust, as trimming just N100 from your daily spending saves you N36,500 a year. Do you stop at fast food restaurants each day? Why not cut down your daily order a bit,  or start bringing your breakfast or lunch from home? Do you splurge on Coke every day? Perhaps you can start considering making your own Sobo drink or Chapman twice a week. Look at every regular expense you have.

Great Advice

My next door neighbor had moved back in with his mom while he started his first job after college. He was hired as a broker for a small brokerage firm in Atlanta. Although he was ten years older, he became a mentor to me. He showed me the magic of compound interest and suggested that I start investing $25 dollars a month in a mutual fund. I could open a money market account to get started. He told me that I could become a millionaire by the time I was thirty-five. (He did the math and everything).

It was 1981 and I was only 14. Where was I going to get $25 a month? He convinced me to go to the local pizza joint and get a job…any job. I was hired at $1.00 an hour to bus tables in the evenings Thursday, Friday, & Saturday. I was to also get a tip share.

Two weeks later, my neighbor asked if I wanted to go to Six-Flags over Georgia. I told him I didn’t have any money. He asked, “Didn’t you get paid?” “Yes,” I answered. Then he asked me the million dollar question: “What do you have to show for that money? Show me what you traded your time and labor for.” He said he’d wait while I ran home to show him the “stuff” I’d bought.

I could only produce some trash. I had spent my first paycheck on frozen pizza, Cokes, and junk food when a buddy came over to spend the night. I felt humiliated and ashamed. My neighbor then said, “Always have something to show for your money.”

I did open those accounts. I have always lived on 80%. (10% to God, 10% to savings). I funded those accounts until I needed the money for college. (This was in the days before state sponsored lottery funded education.) It was a great lesson and one I have passed on to countless employees over the years. (I used to own several restaurants.)
– Dan

What do you have to show for the money that you earn? It’s a really powerful question to ask yourself.

Half- Year Appraisal

July 1 marked the second half of this year. What were some of the goals you desired to accomplish this year? It’s time to assess your success rates so far. I cannot stress the importance of saving for rainy days. Especially for women who deal with major financial crisis if anything happens to the breadwinner. Ensure the habit of saving 70% of your monthly salary (not lower than 50%) consistently and continously. The power of compound interest works on whatever amount you are stashing away right now. For a minimal sum of N10,000 you can invest in mutual funds managed by ARM Investment (a subsidiary of GTB). Other mutual funds managed by BGL Securities and First Bank Capital require a minimum of N500,000. Whichever way the cookie crumbles, you need to cultivate the habit of regular savings.

I’m a lover of leisure travel, clothes, culinary pleasures and shoes. However, I have not allowed my love for these things to deter me from imbibing a saving culture. I usually have a financial goal for the year which reads thus ‘ In 2011, I will save ……. by year end and invest in the following financial vehicles’. That’s how far I go and once I’ve made this committment, I adhere to my plans and until I achieve this goal, then there’s no travelling or any other pleasurable thing I indulge it. However, once I cross the mark, I whip out my pleasure list to decide what i’m indulging in. Overall, it must also fit within my budget or else I forgo and settle for something affordable.

In appraising your financial situation, you need to take into consideration how much you need to kick your saving gear in the right direction. Once you have a plan, stick to it and accomplish. In subsequent posts, i’ll be giving out information on the financial vehicles you can invest in.

Have a great year (2nd Half) ahead.