Presenting My Non-Profit, Style Lottery

Check out my organization, Style Lottery! Style Lottery is a social enterprise dedicated to sustainable fashion and fashion philanthropy.  with the desire to uplift young women in the community. Style Lottery, through nominations from community members, selects hardworking women and men from low-income communities and gives them the gift of a free clothing.

Visit the site at stylelottery.org

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Website Designed by Timi Komonibo & Featured Picture by Bunmi Ishola

The Battle of the Bamboo Toothbrushes

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In my minimal waste journey, I’ve been looking for areas where I could reduce my carbon footprint. One of the ways I found was switching over to a bamboo toothbrush instead of plastic. From the moment I saw a bamboo toothbrush, I was intrigued and wanted to give it a try. In this post, I will focus on the two brands that I tried:

1) Brush With Bamboo and 2) WooBamboo.

Those who know me know I am borderline obsessed with taking care of my teeth. I had changed up my toothbrushing routine to include the occasional (diluted) hydrogen peroxide rinse and activated charcoal powder for whitening. I wanted to see if these bamboo toothbrushes could keep up with my

#1. BRUSH WITH BAMBOO (BWB)

I tried this brand first and I really enjoyed using it. It felt sturdy in my grip as I brushed my teeth and I could angle it to get to hard to reach areas of my mouth. I had been worried that the bamboo would be too hard and potentially knock out a tooth with my rigorous brushing., Thankfully, the wood was lightweight and doesn’t clank around on your teeth. I have a bad habit of biting down on the bristles when I’m distracted with tasks like putting on mascara or something else, so the bristles quickly got bent out of shape. However, they didn’t shed from the toothbrush. The bristles did a good job of leaving my teeth clean without irritating my gums. One of the downsides was that the toothbrush was a bit porous so if you left it in a wet cup, it had a weird moist texture when you picked it up. After making the mistake once, I made sure to keep my tooth brush in a dry place. When I was done with the BWB toothbrush (after about 3 months of use), I snapped off the head of toothbrush and threw the head of it away. I saved the handle of the toothbrush for composting later.

Overall, I really liked this toothbrush…so much so that I’ve gifted it to a few people.

Score:

5stars

#2. WOO BAMBOO

If we were voting by design alone, Woo Bamboo toothbrushes are definitely killing the toothbrush game! They have different bristle types (super soft, soft, and medium), different handles (for kids, for adults, regular, and slim). I loved that I had those options. I went with the soft, slim handle combination. The slim handle was a cool design, but using it was an interesting experience. I’m not sure how to explain it but you have to hold it differently and getting used to that takes a little time. This handle was more compact than the BWB, so it didn’t have the same porous issue that the other toothbrush had. The bristles on the Woo Bamboo toothbrush were the detail breaker for me. On several occasions, the bristles came out while I was brushing. Once I almost gagged on a bristle that went astray. It was like that feeling you get when you almost swallow a piece of hair. I’ve been using the toothbrush for a little over two months but because of those flyaway bristles, I’m going to have to give up on this otherwise perfect toothbrush.

Score:

4stars

Overall, I love that both toothbrushes are biodegradable. The Brush With Bamboo toothbrush is the winner in my book because it does it’s job without trying to do too much. Anyone transitioning from a plastic toothbrush to bamboo will find this to be a good transitioning toothbrush. Also Brush With Bamboo’s packaging is mostly cardboard, with the toothbrush wrapped in a compostable wrapper. Woo Bamboo’s has a plastic cover with a paper backing. I’ve found my go-to bamboo toothbrush and I can’t wait to get my next one!

Portrait of my beloved toothbrush

Making brushing your teeth sexy since 2011

You can buy Brush With Bamboo toothbrushes online on Amazon.com or on their website.

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If you’d like to see more great reviews about Bamboo toothbrushes, check out these great blog posts:

1. Trash is for Tossers: I Brush With Bamboo, Do You?

2. The Plant Strong Vegan- Brush With Bamboo Review

6 Reflections for Graduates In Limbo

It’s graduation season and while some of you out there are heading out to your first day at your new job, some of us are tightening the drawstrings on our sweatpants to prepare for a day of job hunting on LinkedIn. It’s okay to be in that last group. If you’re having a pity party right now, stop right now and read my post “Living at Home Doesn’t Make You a Loser.” I’ve been in your shoes before and I want to share some of the reflections I have from that time of uncertainty.

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#1: Let Your Freak Flag Fly

There was a time when I tried to act normal and act like I was interested in the same things as everyone else. That didn’t last very long. The truth is that I love singing but I’m notoriously bad with lyrics, avocados make me gag and I am constantly shopping for the perfect planner (it has to have 30 minute increments and a spot for a to-do list). Don’t be afraid to like what you like. There are too many people trying to go with the flow and like what everyone else likes. Once you’re open about what you like, you’ll be surprised at the kind of people that gravitate towards you. I once had a 10 minute conversation with someone about the best pen for journal writing. This conversation included a hands-on demo of all the pens in her collection. As weird as it was that she had all those pens in her bag, it was a mutually enjoyable experience that would not have happened if I hadn’t mistakenly stolen her pen. Let’s all agree to free ourselves to be enthusiastic about life again!

Lesson 2: Failure Can Hurt but It Won’t Kill You

#2: Failure Can Hurt but It Won’t Kill You

I have heard “no” more times than I would like to admit. In fact, I heard it so many times that I became desensitized to it. I no longer heard it as a criticism of me as a person. Instead, I take “no” to mean “not now”, “not here”,”not like this”, and “not with them.” Getting over the fear of “no” is a challenge that I face head-on every day. Every time I cold-email a complete stranger that I admire from the industry, I hold my breath and send up a prayer before pressing send. It’s a ritual for me, but that little action helps me overcome my fear. I’ve found that the people on the other end, more times than not, actually reply back. Most of the time, they’re impressed someone had the guts randomly email them for advice. I’ve had some surprisingly pleasant interactions with random strangers. Just remember that they are humans and were once in your shoes, trying to find their place in the world.

Quick tip: Be brief and to the point (who you are and what you do). Make sure your email has an ask (what do you want from them).
Lesson #3: Hustle Outside of the Box

#3: Hustle Outside of the Box

If you want to know what you have a reputation for, take a peek at your LinkedIn endorsements. I have a few for “Public Speaking”, likely because of my TEDx talk and other speaking engagements but what kind of threw me off were the “Event Planning” endorsements. I noticed they were from people who had attended my Style Lottery closet swap events over the years. For some reason, I hadn’t thought of putting together swaps as event planning. But it was! Every year, I was planning 3-4 swaps with and for different groups in different cities and people were starting to take notice. Sometimes, people can see greatness in us and that is enough to plant a seed. About a year ago, I took my event planning hobby and turned it into my fashion startup called Style Lottery. Ever since, we’ve been teaching people to restyle, reuse, and reward with fashion. With a little creativity, your passions and talents can be transformed into a side-hustle.

Lesson #4: Become a True Learner

#4: Become a True Learner

When I first became interested in sustainability, I wanted to read everything I could get my hands on. I read up on the circular and sharing economy. I nerded out on statistics about the psychology behind the need to shop. I designed workshops about sustainable fashion. I subscribed to blogs and YouTube channels dedicated to minimalism and a more waste-conscious lifestyle. I researched natural substitutes for my every day products. In order to really know a subject, you have to become a true learner. Read books, attend talks, and link up with likeminded people who can teach you a thing or two. It’s important to never stop learning and seeking to know more.

Lesson #5: Know Thyself

#5: Know Thyself

I came to the realization that I am not the type of employee who can sit behind a desk from 9 to 5, staring at a computer. I am an idea person who thrives when I can bounce ideas off others. Just as it’s important to know what kind of job functions you enjoy and what kind of work environments you do your best work in. You should also be aware of your strengths and areas that need improvements.

Here’s an interesting thought about strengths and weaknesses: I was having a conversation with one of my “mentors-in-my-head” (borrowed this phrase from Chasity Cooper) and she said that we don’t always have to be so obsessed with working on our weaknesses. Our weaknesses may be a clue that we need someone on our team who excels in areas where we struggle. I think they’re a great reminder that we can’t do our best work in isolation.

Lesson #5: What is For You is For You

#6: What is For You is For You

My life has been an interesting ride, full of surprise turns and blessings in disguise. I’m not really the type to plan out every detail of my life very far out in advance. I have a vision for who I want to be and what I want to be known for but the road getting there is quite blurry to me. And you know what? I’m actually ok with that. In my experience, it’s been when I least expected it that God put up great roadblocks in my way and dropped amazing opportunities into my lap. When I look at where I am in my life now, I’m not exactly where I thought I would be but looking at the road that brought me here, I see God’s hand in every step I took.

I can’t look to my left or right and try to compare my life trajectories to anyone else’s. It wouldn’t be fair. I know that even now, the wheels are turning in my life, although I cannot see the outcomes just yet. In the meantime, I will continue chatting with awesome strangers on planes and having lunch dates with friends of friends who are doing exciting things. I’m enjoying hearing people’s life journeys. It’s refreshing to hear that none of them were exactly sure of where they’d end up when they started and no one’s career path was a straight shot. I’m not sure what God has in store for me, but I know He will continue on in the trend of surprising me beyond what I could ever dream. I don’t have to beg him for a job or plead with him for the success of my nonprofit. What is for me is for me. It will be mine as long as I have faith and work toward it. I pray the same peace and optimism for you in the period of waiting.

Pictures taken by Gesiye Komonibo, Washington, DC.

Millennial on a Mission: Timi Komonibo

Originally posted on CHASITY COOPER:

Happy Friday!

Today’s Millennial on a Mission is not only a (future) fellow Syracuse University graduate, (congrats to the class of 2015!) but she’s also a entrepreneur with heart for giving back to her community. Her nonprofit organization, Style Lottery, is a sustainable fashion  philanthropy nonprofit that hosts “pop-up swaps” where guests can swap their lightly used clothing items with each other and donate what is un-swapped to organizations that serve women in need throughout the community. Now that she’s on the cusp of entering the job market, she hopes to launch a career within corporate social responsibility and/or philanthropy.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Timi Komonibo.

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A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, Timi went into college as an undeclared major, convinced (in her words) “that all Nigerian kids were supposed to excel at science and math”, but she struggled to fit into that cultural…

View original 596 more words

How To Engage in Anti-Racism as an African Immigrant

In the midst of the Baltimore Uprising, I have been hearing some concerning statements from Black people criticizing Baltimore residents for their participation in the protests. At this point, I have grown weary of warning my friends against the danger of respectability politics and propagating the myth of the “good Blacks.”

So instead of me going on a rant to break down the issue for you, I will let my younger self teach you a lesson or two about how to effectively engage in anti-racism. The video you’re about to see is part of a school project for Professor Eric Tang’s course on race. I took the course through the African & African Diaspora Studies department during my senior year at The University of Texas at Austin. The project focused on the problem with the model Black minority myth. This is a simplification of a very complex issue, but I hope you all will use it as an educational tool to build Black solidarity and teach effective anti-racism.

Enjoy:

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Another great post:

How Nigerians & Africans Should Deal With The Baltimore Riots For Freddie Gray

Recycling Your Empties

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When I made the decision to transition to a minimal waste lifestyle, I chose to simplify my daily regimens so I could invest in a few products that could be used for multiple purposes. Before moving forward in my new lifestyle, I wanted to finish up the products that I have been using recently. When they are empty I will decide whether or not to keep them in my regimen.

#1: Heritage Store Rosewater

This bottle has lasted me for several months. I found rosewater to be a very versatile ingredient to have around. I’ve used it as a gentle astringent, mist to moisturize my face and locs, and it also makes a great ingredient for natural facial masks. Because of the multiple uses I get out it, I will continue purchasing rosewater. I will probably opt for a glass bottle next time, for a more reusable option. I can reuse this bottle for DIY cleaning solutions.

#2. Hydrogen Peroxide

This ugly brown bottle is slowing erasing white strips from my life. I posted a video of my literally squeaky clean teeth on Instagram a while back and people wanted to know who I got my teeth so clean. I started using diluted hydrogen peroxide as my mouthwash occasionally. Now that I’ve added activated charcoal and oil pulling to my regimen, my teeth obsession is on another level. I’d advise everyone to do their proper research on the risks and benefits before integrating it in their routines. But the benefits have been worth it for me. I’ve also started using hydrogen peroxide as a bleach alternative. I’m not sold on the results yet, but I’ll take more time to look up more recipes. Again, for it’s multipurpose uses, I will keep this product in my toolkit.

#3. Yes to Blueberries Facial Wipes

Click link to find Reusable Cotton Rounds from  Etsy seller

Reusable Cotton Rounds from Etsy seller “CuteandFunky”

I honestly bought these wipes on a whim. These little guys work very well at taking off makeup at the end of the day. The downside of these was that I can only throw them away and there’s no recycling option (that I can think of). Instead of repurchasing these, I will opt for reusable cotton rounds instead.
I can wash them and reuse them over and over again. I found a great Etsy seller who has an assortment of them at low prices. I think this is a good compromise for me. I have enough of them for a week so I toss them in a pile as they get dirty. As the end of the week, I hand wash them and let them air dry. They get a little curled up, but they still get the job done.

#4. Shea Moisture Bath Massage Oil 

Thankfully, I’ve never really been much of a product junky. I’ve always appreciated simplicity and versatility so this transition to minimal waste has been more fun than I expected. I’ve been able to look at how I consume and upgrade the parts that are unsustainable.

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MORE ABOUT SUSTAINABILITY

Check out my most recent Youtube video to see how companies like TerraCycle are helping us recycle smarter.

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Click picture to visit Naturale Chronicles’s YouTube page

Orange Harp: Finding Conscious Brands Just Got Easier

I’ve been spending a lot of time lately discovering the heart behind brands. I find myself going to the “about me” sections of their websites, looking for the heart, soul, and conscience behind the brand. More and more, I’m pleasantly surprised to find a mission to help others behind many emerging brands.

An app called Orange Harp is making it easier to find these brands under one roof. I’ll be honest and say that before finding these brands, my method of discovering was stalking hashtags like #ecofashion, #fashionphilanthropy, #sustainablefashion, and #ethicalfashion on Twitter and Instagram.

I stumbled upon the Orange Harp app and saw that their mission is to “connect people with makers that respect the planet and its people.” The team describes the app as “a curated marketplace for socially conscious products you would want to pass on to your future generations.” When you see the app, you’d think Instagram and Etsy got together and had a baby. All the products are aesthetically pleasing and you can discover new brands from skincare and jewelry to lingerie and shirts. The Orange Harp app does a great job of curating great brands and products for you. Instead of going and searching through hundreds of Instagram profiles and websites, I can scroll through all of them at once through the app. In one click, I can see the products from each brand and see a quick summary of their mission or unique selling point.

For example, here are a few of the brands you can find on Orange Harp:

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Click picture above  to see more brands

I have a great time discovering some new brands. Here are my top 3 favorite brand discoveries from Orange Harp:

#1. Tradlands

Tomboys, eat your heart out! This brand specializes in button-down shirts for women. I love a good Oxford shirt so looking through their lookbook was entirely too much fun for me.

I loved this statement from their website:

At Tradlands, our intention is to make the best clothing for our customer, the woman who drifts towards the men’s section and thinks, “I wish they made this for me.” We create menswear inspired staples for women with a relentless emphasis on fit, details, and quality…For the world traveler or the green thumb or girl-about-town, we empower our customers with products that are both classic and comfortable. We are committed to designing and constructing items you love today and value for years to come.

Brand: Tradlands

Brand: Tradlands

#2. Be Good

The sock enthusiast in me was so excited to see these cute socks on Orange Harp’s Instagram page. The brand’s fashion sense is what they call ‘The French Closet,’ the Gallic preference for selecting seasonal basics- timeless designs that never go out of style. I’m loving the drive to good basics that stand the test of time. From comfy-looking shirts to socks wrapped in recycled paper, Be Good makes being good through fashion look easy.

Check out Be Good’s stance:

“Our ambitious mission is to be the first closed-loop retailer. It has gone mostly overlooked that big retail is the second most pollutive industry on earth. Today, we produce about 10% of the chemical and water waste of a conventional manufacturer.  By examining our supply chain from seed to stitch, we believe we can expose holes in the industry and work to fix them. Like you, we’re passionately curious.”

#3. Bogobrush

I first saw the bamboo Bogobrush a year ago and thought it was the sexiest thing ever made for your teeth. The toothbrush was so popular that they ran out of their pilot design! I was so excited to see them as one of Orange Harps’s brands.

When I couldn’t get my hands on a Bogobrush I wait…and waited. While I waited I discovered other great bamboo toothbrushes (Option 1, 2). Now the wait is over and I can check out the new Bogobrush design. Unfortunately, the brand switched from bamboo to an eco-plastic for their toothbrushes but their buy-one-give-one model is still the same. I’ll be watching for the release of the new toothbrushes to see if they stand the test.

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The Orange Harp team certainly knows how to pick ’em! I’m always interested in the story behind brands and Orange Harp tells them very well. As an entrepreneur myself, I appreciate the platform Orange Harp is giving these small businesses. This app gives them an opportunity to showcase their products to their unique markets. Like the app, the brands attract people who buy from the heart. Their customers attach an added value to the fact that their purchases either contribute to sustainability or give back to the world somehow. I’m excited to see what other brands are going to pop up in Orange Harp’s app. This app does a great job of sniffing out socially conscious brands. For consumers like me looking to give back with our spending, e-shopping with Orange Harp might just be a match made in eco-Heaven. In addition to bring great brands under one app, Orange Harp also donates 1% from all sales to Not For Sale, a organization ending human trafficking.

You can check out the $free Orange Harp iPhone/iPad app and follow them on social media (facebook, pinterest, twitter and instagram) to see some product features and get sustainable fashion news.

When Amber Met DC

On a whim, my friend Amber decided to come down to DC to escape the brick winter of Syracuse, New York. She happens to be a talented photographer who owns her own company, A Joy Photography. I don’t know why God has such visually talented friends but I won’t complain at all. Amber was my first official DC guest, so I was excited to play the part of host.

We showed her the Capitol…

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We brushed up our jumping skills…DCAmber-3I call this jump “The Peter Pan”…DCAmber-5

We discovered Jennifer is ridiculously photogenic…
DCAmber-12DCAmber-6Alright, we get it! You’re cute. Now, stop lol. 

DCAmber-18…And we re-discovered that I’m a very unserious person.
DCAmber-22I’m basically a 6 year old at heart.DCAmber-26 We took pictures worthy of postcards.DCAmber-31

Giving you Jimmy Neutron vibesDCAmber-34 This one was my favorite!DCAmber-35

I was so glad to have Amber come visit. Turned out I needed a little break just as much as she did. To see more of Amber Drury’s photography or book her for a shoot, visit http://www.ajoyphoto.com/. She does great wedding and family photos or even just a fun weekend with the girls.

DCAmber-21Until next time!

Quick Guide to Seeing South Africa Like A Local

O N E  D R O P (3)

After coming back from my Spring Break trip with my friend Jennifer to Johannesburg and Cape Town, I was excited to share my adventures with friends and family. It wasn’t until I started comparing notes that I realized we had packed an insane amount of activities into the 3 days we spent in Johannesburg and 2 in Cape Town. I’ve pulled together some tips to help you see South Africa like a local. May they serve you well on your journey!

Disclaimer: This is not a paid review. I just believe in giving credit where credit is due.

1. Stay with Curiocity Backpackers

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The Curiocity guys (l to r: Bheki, Tshepo, and Bonnie)

When I told my good friend that I was traveling to Johannesburg, he told me that there was no better place to stay than at`1` the Curiocity Backpackers hostel located in the Maboneng Precinct. Their website and Facebook page highlighted game nights, clean bunk beds, an in-house bar, and a prime location in an eclectic neighborhood. We were sold. The Curiocity team were extremely helpful at all points of our trip: they arranged for a driver to come pick us up from the airport (Ask for Arnold, he’s our favorite!), Dudu (sweetest girl ever) was at the front desk to greet us with a warm welcome and show us our room. First thing that struck me about the hostel was that it was the kind of place I would see in a cool urban magazine. From the graffiti wall with “Curiocity” scrawled across it to the upper deck attached to the kitchen, there wasn’t a design element the guys hadn’t thought of. The second thing that surprised me was how young the guys are (pictured above). Bheki Dube brought together a group of entrepreneurial friends and merged their ventures into one awesome experience for young travelers.

#2. Explore local neighborhoods

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Sign language sculpture spelling out “Vilakazi”

In my opinion, the best way to see South Africa is through a guided tour with someone who will show you the historical sites as well as the quirky spots in the area. I will admit that upon arrival at Jo’Burg, my main objective was to soak up the sun and eat South African food. So when I signed up for the Inner City walking tour with Bonnie from Curiocity, I had no real expectations other than to have fun.  I’m pretty sure Bonnie took us EVERYWHERE in the city and I’m equally sure he knew EVERYONE in the area. We were always greeted warmly because we were with Bonnie. Most of the pictures from my South Africa photo gallery post were taken during Bonnie’s tour. His extensive knowledge of South Africa’s history and connection to the city of Johannesburg helped us understand the significance of the sites we were seeing. We ended the day on a somber note at the Apartheid Museum (which has a student discount if you present your ID). Our town to Soweto the next day was led by Tshepo. His tour “Sowe2 With Love” took us through historical area of Soweto. We walked on Vilakazi Street, the only street in the world to have housed two Nobel Prize winners (Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu). We also visited the Hector Pieterson museum while we were there. If you’re interested in taking the tours, click on the links above to get more information.

#3. Do something you’re afraid of

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Tshepo just happened to know a woman who tamed snakes

As we were wandering through the streets with Tshepo, my friend Jennifer had the insane idea to stop at a place where you could hold a snake. As you can see in the picture above, I had no chill about the entire situation. I did manage to touch the snake and then warm up to the idea of letting it drape over me. This speaks to how comfortable I was on the tour and how confident I was that Tshepo wouldn’t let me die in Soweto. Because Tshepo is very familiar with the area, we were able to see some great spots in area. Just as was the case with Bonnie’s tour, everyone greeted us warmly and invited us into their stores and their home.

#4. Enjoy the scenic routes

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Street view of the Orlando tours

After our Soweto tour, we headed over to the Orlando Towers. In between the two towers, you can see there is a small red platform for bungee jumping. I really wanted to do it, but after the snake incident I figured I’d had enough excitement for the day. Behind the wall was a great hangout spot called Chaf Pozi where people were eating braai and jamming along with the music. Braai is South Africa’s version of barbeque meat and it is delicious! I was so busy savoring the flavor and enjoying the atmosphere that I don’t remember to take a picture of the inside. But that’s a good problem to have. This was a great people-watching spot where we could see the young and old dancing, eating, and laughing together.

#5. Ride public transportation

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Jennifer and I on our way to Soweto

When we were on Bonnie’s tour, he showed us different hand signs you could use to hail a city van in Jo’Burg. Most of the time, when the van pulled up to you it was typically jam-packed with people. It was a cool way to see local people and feel like you were part of the hustle and bustle of the city. Jennifer and I always went around together and we had the help of our new friends to tell us where we were going and . I do not recommend going on the bus alone. It was a little overwhelming and easy to lose your way. The van pictured above taken during our Sowe2 tour where it was just us, Tshepo and our driver friend. We lucked out and just happened to be the only ones on the tour that day so we had to whole van to ourselves that day. Special thanks to Ayo for letting us borrow his GoPro and selfie stick!

#6. Sample the local cuisine

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Trying “bunny chow” for the first time

We were given a some good food recommendations of things to eat while in South Africa. The top three things were braai, bunny chow, and an ostrich burger. We got to try all three and they were all delicious. It wasn’t hard to find braai, but we had a little difficulty tracking down bunny chow. We finally found it at the Eastern Food Bazaar when we visited Cape Town. Bunny chow is a hollowed out loaf of bread and filled with a stewed/curried meat (chicken or lamb). The little Nigerian girl in me was taken back to the days of dipping agege bread in stew. This meal was genius and I’m going to find a way to have it again in the States.

Here’s a list of the restaurants we ate at while we were in South Africa:

  • Little Addis (Ethiopian food in South Africa. Seemed pretty authentic and spicy…very spicy lol)
  • Cadillac Jack’s Roadhouse (The caramelized onions & sauce with the cheeseburger were perfect)
  • Soul Souvlaki (I recommend the “mixed grill” with chicken, lamb, and bisteki)
  • Fabulous Burger Boys (Try a tasty ostrich burger)
  • Chaf Pozi (Enjoy some great braai and great music)
  • Truth Coffee Roasting (We didn’t even eat here. We just wandered in and sat down. By the time we left, we’d had a deep conversation about race with an American PhD student we randomly met.)
  • Eastern Food Bazaar (Get the bunny chow. Make sure you have a lot of room in your stomach!)
  • Little restaurant attached to Curiocity (I forget the name of the place, but we had breakfast there twice and dinner once. The meals are simple and low-cost. The staff is always friendly and willing to feed you early or late. Great place to eat if you’re in a pinch for time or money.)

Word of advice: If you’re trying to sample as many dishes as possible, I suggest that you and a friend order different things and share with each other. This is Jennifer’s style and since she’s been to more than 20 countries already, I think we can trust her advice.

So now you’ve seen all of my trip to South Africa. I already miss my Curiocity brothers and am scheming to return soon. If I didn’t have the travel bug I definitely got it after this trip. I hope this post helps you see the real South Africa, rather than the packaged tourist version. Cheers to more trips in the future!

In case you missed it, check out Part I: Naturale Chronicles Goes to South Africa.

Naturale Chronicles Goes To South Africa

O N E  D R O P

My favorite purchases from last year were my red Hershel dupe knapsack and my secondhand cafe-brown Levi jeans. Naturally, I brought them with me on my week-long vacation to South Africa last week. The cafe pants a great staple piece in my closet and were very comfy to walk around in through the city. My knapsack held all my essentials (passport, money, IDs, water bottle, sunscreen, etc) and allowed me to explore the city hands-free. I will let these two items tell the story of my trip to South Africa.

JOHANNESBURG (JO’BURG)

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When we first landed in Jo’Burg, the first thing I felt was how much I had missed the African sun kissing my skin.

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There was art and beauty around every corner.

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There was so much to do and see but most of the time, I was content to just sit still and be present.

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Every inch of the city paid homage to history’s greats.

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Each neighborhood reflected the interests of its eclectic residents.

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Depending on where you stood, and from who’s perspective you were looking from, the city looked completely different.

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Despite years of adversity, the African pride could not be smoldered. It was prominent in every space we entered.

 

CAPE TOWN

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A greeting is enough to spark a friendship

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The weather in Cape Town does as it pleases– sun one minute, wind the next.

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The streets were marked so that no one could erase their history.

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I could never take for granted the kindness of strangers (especially the ones letting me take pictures in front of their houses)

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I allowed myself to relax in my new surroundings

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I witnessed the nostalgic blend of the old and the new.

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I experienced the adage that “it’s not the destination, but the journey that changes us.”

Special thanks to Bonnie, our tour guide in Johannesburg from Curiocity Backpackers. Stay tuned for my part II of this post, giving more details about the places I went, things I did, and people I met in South Africa.

Have any of you traveled to South Africa? Leave me a link to your blog post below. I’d love to see what you saw!

(Photo cred: Jennifer Osias)

5 Lessons of Leadership from the Weekend StartUp School with Paul C. Brunson

Hi, my name is Timi Komonibo and I am the founder of a fashion philanthropy startup called “Style Lottery.” Our mission is to “Restyle, Reuse, and Reward” with fashion.

I rehearsed my introduction in the mirror at least 20 times before I headed off to the Weekend Startup School. I knew that this weekend would be a game changer for me and my startup, Style Lottery. I would be rubbing elbows with creative thinkers and entrepreneurs who would help me overcome imposter’s syndrome and realize my potential for greatness.

There were so many great words of wisdom at the weekend that I couldn’t capture all in one post, so please make sure you check the #WeStartUp hashtag for all the tweets from the weekend. I boiled down my experience into 5 key lessons for starting up. Enjoy:

1. Do what you do and do it well

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Do you have a topic you could talk about tirelessly? Do you know how to use engaging storytelling to bring an issue or a product to life? All of our guest speakers had their individual niche areas and they had learned to convert their experiences into areas of expertise. Not sure where to start? Ask your friends and family what good things you’re best known for. From there you can pick an area of interest to learn more about. Remember to “be world class at all things” and develop a standard of excellence for yourself.

2. Plan Ambitiously

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When you plan for next business idea or event, plan thinking what’s the BEST that could happen? There’s something empowering that happens when we speak good things into existence. I’m not suggesting that you be unrealistic or irresponsible, I’m talking about entrepreneurial confidence. I once looked over a friend’s resume and saw that she wasn’t framing her experiences as well as she could. For example, she used passive voice which implied that she was just going along with the requirements of the job. She didn’t mention that she had driven sales and poineered a new team in the department. Often times, we sell ourselves short by how plainly we describe our ventures. Next time someone asks you about your business, challenge yourself to describe it as colorfully as you can.

3. Build a team that is for you and with you 

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One of the guest speakers, Tionna Smalls asks us to think about 10 people who would promote our businesses without being asked. Immediately, the names and faces of a few close friends and family came to mind. These are the people who invite their friends to my upcoming events; the ones who make email introductions to people they think would be good potential partners. You can’t pay to have people like this in your life, you can only recognize them and support them like they support you. People who are with you are along with you in the journey of your business– from the time before you figure out how to generate revenue to when you can afford a salaried team. There are people who are bring up your name and business ideas in their social circles when you’re not even around— these people are for you. As entrepreneurs, we must be vigilant against toxicity that threatens to compromise our company culture. Although it may be difficult at times, it’s important to cut out negative relationships, connections, and ties that may be detrimental to our businesses or your physique as an entrepreneur. Not everyone that approaches you is worthy of being involved in your idea. Toe the line of being a networker and a protector of your business idea. On the rare occasion when you find individuals who are with you and  for you, you must nurture that relationship and never let them go.

4. Invest in yourself

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A lot of entrepreneurs get so nervous about potentially disappointing investors that they let that fear paralyze them into inaction. In the start-up world, failure in some form is inevitable. That’s why experts recommend that you fail fast and early in the game. In the infancy stage of your business, explore and take calculated risks. Learn from the giants and success stories around you. I always appreciate how transparent entrepreneurs are. Cake Love owner, Warren Brown, will tell you himself that the concept for cake in a jar was not made in a day. It took a lot of research, as well as trial, and error. We have much to learn from the people who have gone before us and there are plenty of resources that share those lessons regularly. A few of my favorites are Inc. and Fast Company. Make sure you attend conferences and workshops that feed your mind and develop you. Remember to weigh the price tag with the benefit you’ll receive from the event.

5. Begin with no end in mind

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What would you do if you could not fail? Our business ideas are often finite and limited by our inability to predict the future. What if our business models became about forming precedents and leaving legacies? As we look into how we conduct business in our community, let’s start looking at long-established community organizations and studying their best practices. How about we aim to be game changers and industry interrupters! In fact, how about #WeStartUp together!

If you’re interested in jumpstarting your business, I highly recommend you attending the next Weekend Startup School on June 13th & 14th, 2015.

Here is the lovely March 2015 #WeStartUp group:

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Photo cred: #WeStartUp team

For other great recaps, check out these posts by:

Leave a comment below. What are you most interested in learning about, as an entrepreneur?

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