WILD THING

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The patterned skirt and plain top look is one look that I am really enjoying at the moment. Lol. As if you guys don’t already know, as I styled it here and here. I love how a simple top can be jazzed up with a nice patterned skirt.

Aquazurra is so FLAMES with their shoe game. Especially the Wild Thing sandals. All your faves have it. I so much love it. However, Mans can not really afford to spend close to $800 on shoes at this point in time.

I was gifted these beautiful sandals that look exactly like the Aquazurra ones by A Fave and I was beside myself with excitement. You can see other alternatives here

I think it looked very beautiful paired with this floral skirt.

It gives me a Modern Lady of Mad Men vibe. All classy and lady-like and stylish.

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Top: Sewn – N500 | Skirt: Forever 21 | Sandals: Gifted

Photography: Yewande A-K

 

Are you getting the Mad men lady vibe from this outfit? Is Wild thing on your wishlist as well? I’d love to read what you think in the comments.

 

 

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BLACK AND WHITE

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Wrap dresses are easily the most flattering dress for any body type. They are so easy to wear and they make everyone feel sexy.

Apparently, wrap dresses were created in the 1970s by Diane Von Furstenberg and since then, they have evolved to varying forms, lengths and styles, like the one I have on.

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I love how the dress is not actually Wrap, but wrap style. You wear it like a regular, but has the detailing of a wrap dress with the belt and the neckline.

I would not wear this dress to work because of the length and the nice slit at the back. It’s perfect for lunch or an afternoon event, or evening if you’d like. Depending on how you accessorize.

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In one of my lives where I own an art gallery and blog full time, I would wear this dress for a brunch meeting and then to pick my kids from school.

How would you style this dress? Would you get away with wearing it to work? Let me know in the comments.

Photography: Wendy A-K | Sandals: Zara | Dress: Asos

 

 

 

TAKING STOCK: 02

 

Making: New house plans.

Cooking: Nothing. I haven’t felt the desire to cook in over a month. Bleh.

Drinking: A lot of water and tea. Belle gats touch back before October.

Reading: The Beautyful Ones are not yet born – Ayi Kwei Armah. I’m also reading The Shatter Me series – Tahereh Mafi (Again). The male lead is one of my favourite characters ever. I love the way his love is expressed. So steady, intense, steadfast and true.

Wanting: A 300 hour long hug and intimacy.

Looking: Like a naiz meal with this short hair.

Playing: This Sing off with Conor Maynard and Pixie Lott over and over again. I so much love it.

Deciding: To trust God through everything. I know that God is intentional and that all things are working for my good.

Wishing: See Wanting, above.

Enjoying: New music, old music, different music.

Waiting: Just waiting and a lot of times, it seems like I wait in vain.

Liking: My body a little bit more every day.

Wondering: When I’ll get a wonderful wonderful surprise that will move me to tears. I’m sowing the seed, God.

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Loving: Myself. They say “We accept the love we think we deserve.” This line really triggered me because of the kind of love that I have been accepting. I am trying to love myself better.

Pondering: On life and why sometimes bad things happen to good people.

Considering: Getting married between now and August next year, just so I don’t have to pay house rent (alone) or sleep alone.

Watching: Sam Tsui and his husband on Youtube. They are super cute.

Hoping: That everything good comes and that the Lord restores to me the years that the cankerworm has eaten.

Marvelling: At how quickly everything can change and everything seems so different.

Needing: See wanting and wishing, above.

Smelling: Like warm hugs and sweet kisses.

Wearing: The cutest flat shoes from Zara.

Following: @TeffTheory on twitter. I stumbled on a tweet this morning and I fell down the rabbit hole that is her Timeline. So engaging.

Noticing: How boundless my capacity to love and forgive is. Love is an amazing thing and this year, I have learnt so much about love and how I feel it, translate it and express it. I feel so blessed (and cursed. Lol) to be able to feel so much love for everything.

Knowing: That God loves me and that is enough to carry me through anything.

Thinking: About December, 2017. God made me a promise in January and I cannot wait for December when I know it would have manifested because God is not man that he should lie.

Admiring: Dimma Umeh. I think she delivers excellently. I so much love her.

Sorting: Through all my stuff. I have no desire to move with junk. I am trying to clean house. Physically and emotionally.

Buying: Nothing because mans is so low on cesh atm. I bought some lovely shoes from Shoepify recently. Check them out, Viv and I think they are amazing.

Getting: Ready because these last 4 months of the year are the Plot twist that I have been waiting for.

Bookmarking: This post from Afoma. I loved this post so much. In addition, I love how consistent she has been and it makes me so happy to see her content.

Disliking: How house hunting is going and how helpless I feel.

Opening: My mind to alternate means of earning income. To take a leaf from FK’s book, my bank account looks like a remix. I take pretty good product shots and I am affordable. Hit me up if you are interested.

Giggling: Because My Love called me today and it made me so happy to hear her voice.

Feeling: So many things all at once. This quote “So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I’m still trying to figure out how that could be.” From Stephen Chobsky’s The Perks of being a wallflower seems to summarize my life.

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Snacking: No snacks oh. Prepping for my birthday body.

Coveting: The 50mm lens  from Sony.

Helping: Actually, not helping as much as I should be. If you want to help people, This is a nice way to do something.

Hearing: The promise of God for my life. At least, trying to.

EASY LIKE SUNDAY MORNING

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There are times when it feels like everything is falling apart at the same time and you are at the climax in the telenovela that is your life. What do you do then? It can be extremely dampening on anyone’s spirit and I do not have all the answers, but I know that things end so that new things can begin. Like autumn leaves falling, or like shedding skin.

“In every life, there comes a time when we are razed to the bone of our resilience by losses beyond our control — lacerations of the heart that feel barely bearable, that leave us bereft of solid ground. What then”- Maria Popova, Brainpickings

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A vintage style skirt is easily one of my favourite things, make it a vintage style skirt in some of my favourite colours and I am sold. I find that I have been wearing a lot of outfits with this theme – Patterned skirts and plain tops, like here

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I work in bank, so it is highly unlikely that I would pair this outfit like this to work, but I think that it is perfect for church or brunch.

 

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Also, I cut my hair and I have been LOVING it.

Top: Gifted | Skirt: Toseki Vintage | Sandals: River Island

BEAUTY HAUL X THE BEAUTY SOUK

 

I heard about The Beauty Souk from Dimma Umeh’s website. Well, I had been seeing it, but I really paid attention when I read about it on her website.

I looked through their Instagram, just to see what vendors were coming, just so I knew what to expect. I was very happy that Classic USA was a vendor because I had been wanting the Classic liquid lipsticks for a long time. I also really wanted to cop the Chai liquid lipstick by BM Pro.

I had a budget of N10,000 – N15,000. There were also a couple of Master classes but none interested me. Chai liquid lipstick was N8,000 which was above my budget. Welp! It’s amazing though. If you can afford it, you should totally get it.

It was held at Harbour Point, Victoria Island and there was a map and everything. I was very happy with the stuff that I got.

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Hegai and Esther Brow Pomade in Nubian – N2,500

I had seen a couple of people talk about this product, but what had me sold was when my friend Mosun said she has been using it for over a year and had no complaints. I got a full size eye liner pot with my purchase and that made me very very happy.

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Classic liquid lipsticks – N700 each and Makeup Blender – N500

I had been wanting to try these lipsticks for the longest time. Now that I bought some, I wish I had bought more. The colours that I got were Duke, Wine, VIP and Chocolate. I also got a Matte Lipstick in Coffee.

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Mary Kay Mascara – N1,000

Does anyone still use Mary Kay? I remember the good old days of Mary Kay and Sleek. My favourite mascara – The Balm Cheater has finished and I needed a quick replacement and this was the cheapest I saw.

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Elf Powder Brush – N1500, LA Girl Concealer – N1,500

 I got a tiny tub of Shea Butter from the stall that I bought the Elf brush and I got an Eye Shadow Trio from LA Girl

Benefit The Porefessional Matte Rescue Invisible Finish Mattifying Gel – about N3,000

I did not buy this at the Beauty souk event but I bought it at Ebeano on the same day. It retails for about 24 pounds but I found it for about N3,000. The thing with Ebeano is that you have to be extremely careful, sometimes a deal like that is too good to be true, and the product might be fake. I googled how to spot real The Porefessional even. I checked and double checked and I was certain it was the real deal.

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Davis eyebrow pencil – N100

 This eyebrow pencil is the whole truth. If you know, you know. I usually buy a lot when I see it because it finishes SO quick.

 Ultimately, I was very happy that I was able to get a lot of stuff and still stick within my budget. The freebies also made me very happy as well. I can not wait to try out these products and give you my review.

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What (Nigerian) make up Brands have you been loving lately? Let me know anything you would like me to try out.

REVIEW: ORIENS X VAN CLEEF AND ARPELS

Van Cleef and Arpels is the Brand that I will start patronizing when I step up to step up. Everything about Van Cleef and Arpels oozes class and sophistication. Sometimes I go to their website just to Ooh and aah.

For those that do not know, Van Cleef and Arpels is a Luxury French Brand that specializes in Watches and Jewellery.

In December 2016, I was at the airport waiting for my flight and I wandered into the Essenza store. A lot of the perfumes that I fancied were above my budget and I had already spent 30 minutes perceiving everything in the store and willing the money in my wallet to grow up when I came across Oriens. I was not even aware that Van Cleef and Arpels had perfumes until I saw it.

I always check reviews before I buy any scent but I could not because the service in the store was so bad, it was non-existent. There was no tester as well and this was the only bottle available.

I went in blind and I bought it. I was so glad I did. I opened the packet and the bottle was so beautiful and exquisite. Like a work of art.

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Packaging

It comes in a simple, cream carton. An understated box for the amazement that is the bottle. The Bottle is so beautiful. The intricate leaves on the cover show dedication and sophistication. The kind that you can only associate with luxury. The Bottle was designed by Joel Desgrippes, inspired by the Tourmaline Abres aux Songes (Tree of Dreams) ring from The 2003 Midsummer Night’s Dream Collection.

It is quite heavy, but I do not even mind that. I doubt that I will throw the bottle away when the perfume finishes, since I cannot afford the Abres aux Songes ring (For now).

Fragrance

Top notes: Mandarin orange, Black currant and Raspberry | Middle notes: Jasmine and white flowers | Base notes: Patchouli, Praline, Amber and Vanilla.

Despite, the extravagant bottle, Oriens is sweet and sophisticated and not at all overbearing. The perfume is blended so well that I cannot separate the Mandarin Orange from the White flowers. The patchouli is a bit obvious as it dries down and I think that it adds the sophistication, but not in a way that it takes over the entire scent.

It is sweet, but not in a way that is sickly or cloying. I think it is a complex, grown up scent.

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Sillage and Longevity

Sillage (pronounced as see-yazh) refers to the scented trail left by the fragrance wearer. It comes from the French word for “wake,” as in the trail left in the sky by an airplane. You know how you enter a place and you know that a particular person has been there because you can perceive their perfume? That’s sillage. Perfume can either have soft or heavy sillage depending on the type. I think that this perfume has a soft sillage. On me anyway, it does not take over a room when I enter. I think the perfume is so elegant and understated that it does not feel the need to announce its presence.

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Final Note

I love this perfume. I love the bottle and I am very glad that I bought it. The brand advertises it as a Chypre, but I am not sure I got that when I wore it. A lot of reviews have compared it to Miss Dior Cherie and say that is a mature version of Juicy Couture’s Viva la juicy. All in all, I would recommend it to anyone who likes classic scents with a bit of sweetness.

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Where to buy:

Van Cleef & Arpels Oriens is an Eau de Parfum and it is available in 30, 50 and 100ml. The 100ml retails for $150 (about N55,000). I have only seen it one time in Nigeria and that was in Essenza, Ikeja.

 

Have you tried Oriens? What other sweet scents have you been loving? Let’s talk in the comments.

TAKING STOCK: 01

Hi Loves,

Welcome to Taking Stock. Taking Stock is a fun, interesting ways to, well, take stock. It is important to take in everything and soak it all in. I will do this on the last day of every month.

 


 

Making: Plans. So many big and bold plans for my life. Baby I’ve been making plans…

Cooking: Pasta. It’s so interesting how pasta is my favourite thing to cook and I do not even eat it

Drinking: Apple Cider Vinegar. I have not been eating well in the last 2 weeks. Somedays you eat shawarma at 11pm and the next morning, you begin your day with ACV, it’s called balance.

Reading: Everything Good will Come – Sefi Atta, Committed – Elizabeth Gilbert and God’s Bits of Wood – Ousmane Sembane all at the same time, because why not? God’s bits of wood was actually written in 1960 in French, with the title Les bouts de bois de Dieu. It was translated to English in 1962.

Wanting: A 300 hour long cuddle. Warm, strong arms and Sweater weather type music.

Playing: The soundtracks of Baby Driver and La la Land. My faves. I love both movies like I would love a person. Gentle. Steady and Fierce.

Wasting: No more time hiding from myself and hiding from my truth. It is what it is and I am not ashamed. Not anymore.

Creating: So many new things. I am super excited that I am back blogging again and I cannot wait to share so many new and beautiful things

Enjoying: New things, happy things, sweet things.

Wondering: What things are going to be like in exactly 6 months from now.

Loving: God. In a new, intimate, profound way.

Hoping: That I stay happy and loving and hopeful and open and true.

Marvelling: At how things can change and how your life can be so much different in so little time.

Needing: To learn to trust the process, no matter how slow it seems and no matter how many times it feels like I am going nowhere.

Smelling: Asun. God bless people who surprise other people with asun, just because.

Wearing: My heart on my sleeve.

Noticing: How cold it is. Can I get a warm blanket and the warm, strong arms that I requested earlier?

Knowing: Everything good will come, just like he has promised.

Thinking: About food and food photography.

Feeling: EVERYTHING. My ability to feel so much overwhelms me sometimes. My heart is filled with SO MUCH feeling.

Bookmarking: All the pictures that I love on Instagram. That save feature is EVERYTHING.

Giggling: Because seeing the word giggle makes me giggle.

 

 

Photography: Itasoha Akhibi

 

Love and love.

BEGIN AGAIN

Here we go.

Again.

I started my Work wear and lifestyle blog in January, 2016. I started my blog because more than anything, I love beauty. I wanted a space for the (not-so) Average (Nigerian) woman where I could share anything. From work style to make up recommendations to book reviews.

Fast forward to July, 2017 and various technical issues, I have to start over. What’s worse? For some reason, I have not been able to transfer all the content that I painstakingly and tirelessly worked on from my initial blog.

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I was upset initially because, that was my work, my hard work. All gone.

However, upwards and onwards and there’s no use sulking about what I can not fix. In some way, I am happy that I get a do-over. I am hopeful that I can apply all the lessons that I have learnt and make this new version far better than the old one was.

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I am working on the domain and hosting, but in the interim, here I am.

My name is Valerie. I am a Research Analyst in the day, a writer off work and on weekends and an all-round beautiful life enthusiast.

I am very excited about this journey that we are going to take together.

I look forward to sharing with you and talking to you.

“Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” – Isaiah 43:19

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Top: Bebe | Skirt: Zara | Sandals: Misguided

Photography: Itasoha