April 30, 2015

Berry Lovely Links

Hello everyone,

Thank God tomorrow's May - birthday month loading!!!

Let's have a look-see at some of the stuff I saw on the interwebs this week, shall we?

If you choose only 1 thing to read/watch, the Disney/R&B video is my TOP recommendation!

April 29, 2015

My Notes from the REDEFINING FINANCE Event

Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen!

All protocols duly observed, or whatever the heck they say, I'll proceed with some of the notes I took during the Redefining Finance event, put on by Glory Edozien of The Inspire Series. This is a long post, so I've decided to make it 2 different posts (this one is still long sha).

Glory introduced the event ON TIME (2:00pm meant 1:59pm), asking why some of us were attending. I mentioned that I was looking for PRACTICAL tips towards investing. Someone else mentioned that she had just lost her job the Friday before and just needed inspiration as to what her next step should be. Another person said that she doesn't know how to save - all she knows is she has money one day, and before she knows it, all the money's gone. These and more would be discussed through the event.


Arese is a Wealth Manager at a leading firm, and she came to talk to us about different aspects of personal finance. She said that a typical characteristic of Nigerian women is that they own ZERO ASSETS! We're working hard, earning an income, being amazing entrepreneurs, but hardly any of us is securing our financial future. Why? According to research she mentioned, a woman's assets are either tied to her father or her husband. Additionally, it's as a result of a woman's "Money Mentality."

The typical single woman isn't saving her money for the future. She's spending her money on different things - travel, clothing, shoes, food, rent, etc. The typical married woman is spending her money on her children and on the household. While some of it is necessary, it's also imperative to "Save not just for a rainy day, but for a flood!" We hear stories of people who lost their jobs, lost their husbands (divorce or death), and feel pity for them, forgetting that you just never know what could happen to you. Arese said that you should have an Emergency Fund, which is equal to at least 6 to 9 months of your income. This is supposed to be a buffer for you, just in case something happens.

Another thing she mentioned was how people feel like they don't have money to save now, so they will save later. Like she says,
No matter how little you're making or have, however you treat that money is how you'll treat money when you have more.

The way to have and keep money is by Spending Less than you Earn. It should be a no-brainer, but people these days want to live a Champagne-Business Class-Louboutin lifestyle, when they're making nowhere near that amount. Why have expensive shoes, purses, weaves, when you're not sure if you can pay your rent?

A tip Arese gave was to have only one account that you have access to. For instance, you might have 3 or 4 different bank accounts, but you should have an ATM card for just one. That way, you have limited access to all your money and can spend from only one account. (This is actually also a good security tip)

Arese also asked what we define as Financial Success. Can you tell whether someone is financially successful just by looking at them? No. Just because they're carrying the latest designer bags, or driving expensive cars, and living in fancy houses, doesn't necessarily mean they're financially successful. What is your NET WORTH? Financial success is not how much you earn. It is your Assets minus your Liabilities (Debts). 

Another question posed was "What are your Long-Term Financial Goals?" Is it to own a house or houses that bring in rent? Is it to have enough money to live comfortably after retirement? Is it to be able to afford great education for your children? Is it to have a particular balance in your long-term investments? What are you doing NOW to realize those FUTURE goals?

A point that was made was that it's easy to look at some people (e.g. Kim Kardashian) and envy their lifestyle - people spending thousands of dollars (or hundreds of thousands of naira) on one thing or another. But it's also easy to forget that some of them have a HUGE Net Worth. Kim K is worth $65 million. Why won't she have the most expensive bags?! She can afford them million times over! A goal to aspire to is one where your "PASSIVE INCOME (e.g. dividends, rent collected on houses you own, interest paid, side hustle) DICTATES YOUR LIFESTYLE, and your ACTIVE INCOME (salary) is BEING INVESTED." 

There are different variations on this aspect, but Arese subscribes to the following ratios for your active income. (Read this on her blog for more information)

70% - Living Expenses (Rent, Day-to-day living, food, shopping, household stuff, charity, TITHES, etc)
20% - Long-term financial goals (e.g. Fixed Deposit account, Stocks investment, Treasury bills, Land, Savings that you CANNOT touch for a long period of time, etc)
10% - Short-term financial goals (New Car, Travel, Additional Degree, Savings Account you have some access to, etc - Basically Liquid Savings)


Since you already know from the above point that you should be investing 20% of your income, one of the first things to do is look our for investment houses and dealers (Business Day posts the Top 10 brokers every week, so chances are they're a good place to start). For me though, one of the things I should have asked, but didn't was the minimum required to start typically. I once asked a friend of mine who runs an exchange outfit, and dude was talking about $25,000 or something ridiculous. It would be good to know how little a regular person can start off with.

Another thing to note is that what works for one person may not necessarily work for you. Warren Buffett, one of the world's richest men, invests only in companies whose products or services he would pay for.

5 things to consider before you start investing:

  1. Why are you investing? Is it because you think your money will balloon in 3 months? Nah bruh! This should be money that you will close your eyes to for the long run. Arese said 3 years minimum. The people who make the most money from investing are those who are in it for the long haul.
  2. You need money to invest. Obviously. So instead of spending money on that bag or shoes, keep it aside for now for investing purposes.
  3. Set your benchmarks. For instance, buy land... build house... buy more land... reach a particular milestone with your investment account, etc.
  4. Talk to a professional. Like mentioned above, Business Day lists the Top 10 brokers in Nigeria every week. Also look for companies that are registered with the Nigerian Stock Exchange as those companies are regulated and audited. (Erm, I've been looking for the NSE website, and I can't find a link. Does anyone have it?)
  5. Do your own research. Know which companies your stock portfolio carries - what's going on in those industries, or particular companies? Are they profitable? What's the risk involved, and the rate of return?

Something to remember about investing - this is not money that you have easy access to. One of the ladies who attended says she literally pays herself a salary FROM her income. Her agreement with the firm that manages the money was that she cannot touch it for 5 years!!! Think about what putting away 10% of your salary every month for 5 years will garner - and don't forget it will have accrued interest too!!!

For those women who aren't employed, Arese says to find money in your PURPOSE. The way to make money from Purpose is combination of things.
  • PASSION - What are you passionate about? What can keep you up for hours and hours on end? What will you gladly lose sleep for? Cakes sacrifices sleep for his business because he is deeply passionate about baking and cake decorating.
  • SKILL - You need to have the skills to excel in what you're passionate about. If it means investing a large sum of money to improve your skills, do it! Elaine of ShoMya paid over $2500 for a makeup artistry class. See where she is now. 
  • WORK ETHIC - You have to put in the work. Intern at places if you have to. Shadow someone in your field of choice. Read! Study! PRACTICE! Do everything you need to do to succeed.
  • WHAT PEOPLE WILL PAY FOR - Whatever your passion is, it won't make any money if there aren't people willing to pay for it. I enjoy watching TV, but as of right now, I haven't found anybody that will pay me to watch it, so there's no way I can make any money from it. This reminds me of a friend whose uncle gave him a piece of advice: "Identify a need around you, focus on solving/supplying that need, people will pay."
Alrighty, I'm finally done. That was a lot to take in, wasn't it? I'll put up the next post another day, maybe Friday. 

Frances of Imperfectly Perfect Lives posted her notes on her blog too.

For more financial wisdom from Arese, visit her website here, and you can watch some of her videos here

Last year, she had a series on Nigerian Women and Money. Read The Stay At Home Mum, The Single Girl, and The Working Mother

April 28, 2015

A Day In The Life... Welcome to BERRYLAND!

Hellur darl'ns!

The other night, I was just sitting in bed, couldn't sleep. Cakes wasn't around for me to play with, so I decided to indulge in one of my supposed relaxing night-time routines - drinking a cup of tea, specifically Chamomile - it used to be Chamomile and Peppermint, but someone whose name I shan't mention (rhymes with Bakes, and coincidentally is his profession) discovered the tea and finished it before I could blink. Anyways, I thought to share my night-time routine with you guys, but thought better of it. Let's take a peek into what a typical weekday is like for moi, shall we?

Are you following me on Instagram? @Berrydakara

April 27, 2015

Berry Inspired Weekend


How was your weekend?! I hope it was foine and dandy. Mine wasn't half-bad. Not as much activity as I'm used to, but I liked the easygoing pace. I had 2 conflicting things to do on Sunday - a makeup class (similar to the one being run by Chloe's Makeover) and a women's meetup to talk about personal finance. I couldn't decide which to go for, but ultimately went for the finance event = Money over Makeup! I'm still going to do the makeup thing at a later date though.

But before that, on Saturday, I lazed about at home. Cakes went on his deliveries and I gave my hair a little TLC, and decided to cook. The way I approach cooking usually is by deciding on a key ingredient I want to use, and then building the dish around it. I knew I wanted coconut milk, and decided to make a Sole and Vegetable Coconut Curry over a bed of Whole Wheat Spaghetti and Plantain - hehe, check me out, I'm fancy!

April 24, 2015

RANDOM ALERT: Buying on credit in Nigeria

Hey everyone!

If you read Nigerian entertainment/gossip websites and blogs, then yesterday, you would have caught wind of the drama  surrounding a local actress. Before the story was posted across different sites, someone at work had already shown me what was brewing on Instagram. Apparently, a young woman who sells luxury accessories (and counterfeits as well) accused this actress of owing her almost $1000 for a counterfeit/fake item she bought. The seller said it had been over a month since the products were delivered to the actress, and at first kept getting excuses, then a bounced check/cheque, and finally was blocked by the actress. She got really angry and went on a rant on IG, copying all the big entertainment and gossip sites. Eventually the actress responded, with screenshots of text messages, saying that she didn't like the look of the fake item and that's why she didn't pay and wanted to return it.

Anyway, that's the gist in a nutshell. But it reminded me of something that I've thought about since I moved back to Nigeria (speaking of which, I can't believe I've been here for almost 4 years!).

Why do a lot of Nigerian customers think it's their right to pay on their own schedule?

April 23, 2015

Berry Lovely Links

Thank goodness it's almost weekend!!! I shall be chilling for the most part, I think.

Actually, I'm torn between 2 conflicting things - a Makeup class and a Women's Finance event. In my mind finances trump looks, but I already paid for the makeup class (already missed the January class, and I don't know when the next one will be). What do you think?

April 21, 2015

SPONSORED POST: Learn Personal Makeup and Gele Skills with CHLOE'S MAKEOVER

Hey hey hey! I've got a great deal for makeup enthusiasts, and people like me who wish to UP (or should I say start) their makeup game. Like someone commented on my IG page a few weeks ago, these days, people are more willing to take you seriously when you look well put-together - and yup, that includes makeup. Makeup should ENHANCE our look, and I'm glad Chloe includes Everyday Makeup vs. Party Makeup tutorials in her class. So, take a look at this amazing deal, book a spot, and come and show off your skills to me :D

Hi Dolls,

Back by Popular Demand!!!!

Chloe's Makeover Presents A 1- Day Intensive Training on Makeup and Gele Tying.

Have you ever wondered how to apply flawless makeup like a pro? Do you still struggle with your gele? Not sure what makeup products to keep or bin? Don't worry anymore! Register for our hands-on training and acquire all the skills you need to know about personal makeup application and gele tying. All classes are privately taught with not more than 2 students in each class to guarantee maximum focus and learning. Our classes now include Saturdays to cater for those who have very busy weekday schedules.

What you will learn:
  • Skin Prepping
  • Everyday Makeup
  • Party Makeup
  • Fixing Lashes
  • Eyebrow Grooming
  • Tools & Products for Makeup
  • Gele Tying Techniques
Please note: This training is strictly for personal use. 

FEE: ONLY N10,000

Classes have already started and will end Friday, 26th July 2015

Training starts each day at 10AM prompt at Chloe's Makeover Studio, in Surulere, Lagos.

You get to choose any day which is most suitable for you, but spaces would be confirmed when payment is made. To book a space or for more information please call 08085966225 or send an email to chloesmakeover@gmail.com

Students are expected to come along with their makeup and at least 1 gele to practice with, but will have access to more products to use in the studio. And every participant goes home with a free makeup product!!!

So what are you waiting for? Register now as it promises to be fun and worth your while.

I can't wait to meet you all...


REVIEW: The Nordic Residence Hotel, Abuja

Over the weekend, Cakes and I were in Abuja to attend a friend's wedding. The last time I was in Abuja was at the beginning of my NYSC year in 2011, and I stayed in hotels recommended by my former employers. This time around, I perused the couple's wedding website in search of their recommended hotels - it's usually best to do so, so that you can be near family and friends of the couple. Plus you can hitch rides with some of them if you're car-less. Anyways, the first choice was Transcorp Hilton, and the next was The Nordic Villa. Being the kind of person that I am, I immediately went to their websites, while also looking up reviews online. Transcorp seemed like a good option but way beyond my budget, so I looked to The Nordic Villa.

On TripAdvisor (which I highly recommend for travel planning) the Nordic Villa is currently rated #2 out of 60 hotels in Abuja! I was already excited!!! The reviews were mostly good, and so I called them. Unfortunately, their standard rooms were all booked for my dates, but the person on the phone suggested I try their sister hotel, The Nordic Residence (which is #3 on the list on Trip Advisor). I asked about the location and was informed that they were just a street apart. I went to their website, read their reviews on Trip Advisor, and gave them a call to make inquiries. Before I go on, let me just say this: "GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE IN NIGERIA EXISTS!!!"

April 20, 2015

Berry Buj Weekend


Who's excited for Monday morning?!?!?!? Oh, you're not? Oops, sawry. Well, I hope you had a nice weekend. What'd you do? Who'd you see? What'd you eat - in fact, that's the most important thing to me right now because I feel like I didn't get much in my tummy this weekend. Just don't send me pictures of food - I'll manage the descriptions :p

My weekend wasn't bad at all. Friday was a very busy day - work-related, and by the time I went to KL's Naturals to get my hair done, Kemi was swamped with a lot of customers. I wanted to get my hair done, because I was traveling on Saturday for an old friend's wedding. I ultimately decided to leave the salon and made up my mind to use my Nazuri Curls clip ins. On Saturday morning, we caught an early flight to Abuja and headed to our hotel, The Nordic Residence, to rest a little bit and get dressed. I'll review the hotel tomorrow, so look out for it.

April 17, 2015

Berry's Gym Chronicles: 8 Things

Bonjour Mesdames et Messieurs!

Comment allez-vous tous? Je vais bien.

Okay, it's enough. That's more tiring than my workouts. :p

Speaking of working out, I thought it would be nice to share some of the stuff I've been doing at the gym since I started working on my 2015 Goal of losing weight before my birthday (which is next month btw). I owe you guys a Goals update. This is going to be just some random info thrown out at you, so take it as it comes.

April 16, 2015

Berry Lovely Links

Hey y'all

I hope everyone's having a great week and not forgetting to put towels in their gym bags, forcing them to "air dry" after showering. Oh, was that just me? I've told you I can be too forgetful!!!

April 14, 2015

1 Dress, 5 Ways

Hello berryful ladies and gentlemen!

Sawry there wasn't a weekend post. I didn't have much of a weekend. Actually that's not 100% true. On Friday, on the way home from work, Cakes decided we should watch Fast and Furious 7. Soooo over the top, and so much fun to watch!!! Well, apart from the fact that this was Paul Walker's last film. It's just so sad. Yes, I shed a few tears :( Cakes on the other hand, was all "I have to join a gym and get a personal trainer." Maybe he should watch The Rock and Vin Diesel movies everyday to get him active :p

On Saturday evening, Cakes had an impromptu boli and fish hangout in our apartment after the elections. He actually went to "borrow" tomatoes, and the next thing - PARTAAAAAAAAY at CASA DEL CAKES!

April 10, 2015

Be the Judge: Cakes and I's Disagreement

Hey guys,

Now now now, before you start wondering whether I'm putting intimate details of Cakes' and I's marital life (marital is just a weird word), it's not a serious disagreement. But it's something we have "argued" about ever since we met and it's time for me to be right get opinions (which I'm sure will prove me right anyways).

Here are a couple of scenarios:

*It's a party. Guy sees girl. Guy thinks girl is cute. Guy goes to meet girl*
Guy: Hey Girl, I like you.

*Guy is single. Guy is scrolling through his Blackberry Messenger. Guy's friend posted a girl's picture cos it's her birthday. Guy sends message to friend*
Guy: Hey friend! Who's this girl?
Friend: Hey guy! She's my friend (or cousin or coworker or choir mistress... whatever, she's sha a girl)
Guy: Wow, she's so pretty. I like her. Give me her phone number.

April 9, 2015

Berry Lovely Links

Hey everyone,

I hope your week has been going well. Have fun reading :D

April 7, 2015

Berry Easter Weekend Part 2 - Lagos Grill Festival

This is the second part of my Easter weekend. I was supposed to do a little bit more (e.g. Saro, and go visiting friends) but someone's cake business spoiled my plans - yeah, yeah, bright side, more business means more money, blah blah. Being married to an entrepreneur can be tough sometimes - you make plans, but business has to go on, and occasionally trump your activities.

Well, I'm sha very very happy that I chose to go to the Lagos Grill Festival sans Cakes. He was too busy on Sunday, and had already canceled postponed our Saro The Musical plans. Luckily for me, Chef Fregz, (who was the chef at the birthday dinner party where I got engaged) got me complimentary tickets to the festival. I very quickly shifted my focus and decided to go with a couple of friends.

April 6, 2015

Berry Easter Weekend Part 1 - Gidi Culture Festival

Hey hey hey!!!

How are yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa? I feel like it's been ages! Has it been ages, or is it the long holiday that has me feeling this way? How's your Easter weekend been, and how's it going? It's still not over for me, but I couldn't wait to start sharing photos from the weekend. This Easter, Cakes and I have stayed in Nigeria, unlike our trip to Benin Republic last year. Lagos is full of activity, and I had to choose only a few things so that I wouldn't get overwhelmed. Our first activity of the Easter weekend - GIDI CULTURE FESTIVAL.

April 2, 2015

Berry Lovely Links

Woot woot, another long weekend is upon us! If things go the way I plan, it should be a full-ish kinda weekend. But before that, let's see what's happening on the interwebs.

April 1, 2015

Congrats and a Topless Photo

Hey guys,

As much as it pains me to do this, I must honor my word. I had a bet with someone that if Buhari won the election I would post a topless photo on the blog or pay her a stupid amount of money. Unfortunately I don't have that kind of money now, so topless photo it is :(

But first, let me do the congrats...

Cheers to Nigeria for a peaceful presidential election process!
Cheers to Mr. Buhari and Mr. Osibanjo on their victory!
Cheers to President Jonathan for his graceful concession!
Massive thanks to God for everything, and may His peace reign over the land! Amen!!!

While the elections and results were going on, I was on Instagram laughing my head off at the different comments and memes. Nigerians are HILARIOUS!!! See my favorite screenshots.