Starting Over and REBRANDING! (…Sort of!)

For those who keep up with my blog, y’all might have noticed that you haven’t heard gunfire from me in such a long time. For that, I am truly sorry. I’ve had a few big things happen to me since 2017 started…but that’s another day! I want to direct your attention to what I’m writing about in this post.

Since I started this blog many years ago, I’ve gone through several name changes. First, it was “The Weird Black Girls Club”, then it was “How To Be Abeni”, and right now it is “Hey, Abeni!” All these changes are probably uncommon for a fairly new blogger…or is it?

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The truth is, I’ve been having second thoughts about whether I should continue with “Hey Abeni”…the name, of course. From this blog’s conception, I have had absolutely no idea of what direction to take this blog. I always knew that I didn’t want to focus on JUST beauty because my beauty expertise is not big enough to do this. I’m too poor to travel so being a strictly travel blogger was out of the question, too; not to mention my blog would REALLY be collecting dust. I’m not much of a “foodie”, I don’t have the equipment and whatever else to be a solely-fashion blogger. Would this be a creative-writing blog? I like it, but I don’t want to strictly focus on just that either….

So where would I fit in?

That’s what I’m still trying to figure out. I feel like my blog category would fit best under “Lifestyle”, because it is a little bit of everything. I know that I’ve always wanted to make a blog about being a weird Black girl; something that weird Black girls like me can easily relate to when they think that they’re alone in their weirdness. I know that I’ve wanted that audience of weird, quirky Black girls to be my target audience, because these are the people I’ve always wanted to have as friends when I was growing up as a kid, but never met any of, let alone enough.

I will admit that I am not great at this blogging thing. That I’ve changed the name numerous times is an indicator of having no idea where exactly to take this blog, or even what I am really doing with it. Is “Hey, Abeni!” too simple? I feel like it’s a decent name, but it doesn’t encompass what I REALLY want this blog to be, which is a place where people can relate to my wacky shenanigans and hopefully garner some great life tips. That being said, I don’t want to get rid of “Hey Abeni” completely. Maybe it will be the name for another cool project I do. Maybe it’ll be the name of my own TV show! HAHA!

As time goes by, I’ll hopefully figure things out and be comfortable with this blog’s identity enough that I can continue to write and make my dream of having a great blog a reality. Maybe I’ll buy a domain name and turn this into a real, full-fledged website! Funnily enough, I never thought my blog would be the one having an identity crisis…! Hopefully, this “sort-of” rebranding will help me to make this blog into something really great, and allow my voice to be heard across wider scopes. I want to be that cool big sister that I never had when I was a kid, to other girls like me. I want to be a voice for the ones that don’t have a voice or are too nervous to speak for themselves.

I’m going to be doing some reconstruction with my social media. But from this day forward, “Hey Abeni!” will be no more. Stay tuned for the new adventures of…

Abeni Mad Maverick!

 

Abeni, out!

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What The &#*^ Is The Deal With ROSE GOLD?!

IT’S 2017 (with an emphasis on -teeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeen)!

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Now that that part is out of the way, I wanna get to the real topic at hand that I want to discuss.

ROSE GOLD.

It’s the color of new Forever 21 jewelry. It’s a new color choice for most ordinary products. IT’S EVEN A NEW COLOR FOR THE IPHONE, Y’ALL.

 

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Guilty as charged. Right hand, mind you! 😉

So just why is Rose Gold the color of the moment right now? I haven’t the slightest clue, but I like it and hope it stays the color of the moment forever. I just love how it goes with everything I have. The ring in this photo is a simple rose gold $3.99 ring I found in Charming Charlie’s clearance basket. I love how classy it looks on my hand when paired with my current nail color (which is Blake’s Red from Loreal).

My iPhone 7 is rose gold! When I upgraded on the 4th, I had the option of going with straight gold again as I’ve done with my iPhone 6, but that’s no fun! So I opted for the pink-inspired color this time around, and I do not regret doing so. I’m a huge fan of anything gold because of how well it looks on my skin and rose gold is simply the bee’s knees. It also gives me a feeling of ultra-femininity.

Now that I mention it, I just remembered that I also have a nose hoop that’s rose gold! Sadly, I had to take it out and give it a rest because it’s been feeling rather crusty lately.

*this is the part where I’d post a photo of the nose ring but every photo I took features some hideous feature or is actually a video*

I’m digging rose gold lately because it’s an especially complementing choice for dark-skinned women who don’t feel like rocking straight gold. The next thing on my to-do list is to buy some more rose gold rings…or maybe a new watch! I’ve been desperately needing a working watch for the longest time, anyway.

Are you, too, fascinated with rose gold? What colors have you been obsessed with lately?

Abeni, out!

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Abeni’s Adventures in Birdland: Volunteering at a Parrot Sanctuary (For The First Time)

I’m still due to share my experience of how I survived my first networking expo on October 24 (as a shy girl), but yesterday’s events are just totally worth sharing. I’m still on Cloud 9 from it all, and here’s how it all began….

On that sunny Saturday morning, I woke up before my alarm clock, which doesn’t happen often. I did the usual to get ready: take a shower, brush my teeth, pack my favorite little southwestern Liz Claiborne crossbody bag, blah blah. All the while, I’m thinking to myself: is this all gonna be worth it? I set my expectations low for the day to save myself any future disappointment. Just last Friday, I was going to volunteer at a homeschooling academy, but nobody at the school showed up for anyone to do anything. I kind of expected this to happen, though, so I was bummed but not enough that it ruined my day. But enough of that part, back to the story!

I caught a ride to campus and made my way through to the Lake Claire pavilion to meet with the other volunteers attending. I carpooled with the coordinator and some other kid who was also in VolunteerUCF (I’m bad with names, hello but he had a nametag that I didn’t get to look at). A half-hour of sightseeing later, we finally arrived at Patty’s Parrot Palace.

I initially assumed that it would be totally outdoors. Nope! It’s all indoors in a building filled to the brim with parrots of all kinds from all walks of life. From every inch of the room, squawks were heard and whistles were made by the lovely feathered residents (the only time I ever want to be whistled at, honestly). I won’t lie, it did smell. But it’s an animal sanctuary and the smell of dung is very common in these types of places so that didn’t bother me. After meeting up with staff (including an Avan Jogia lookalike…yes lawd!) and taking a quick look into each room, we as volunteers were instructed to first scrub down and clean the cages. From here is where it gets FUN!

My first cage that I cleaned belonged to an African Grey parrot named Rock. It was honest-to-God my first time seeing pretty much ALL of these parrots in the flesh, so naturally, when Rock climbed down his cage and came face-to-face with me, I was a little stunned. Aside from throwing down his food bowl, he was a chill bird. One of the most endearing parts of my day was when the African Grey next to him named Gypsy grabbed onto my rag while cleaning the side of Rock’s cage. I didn’t realize that until I tried to pull the rag away and looked down. Low-key, I was like “Gypsy…wyd.”

If you’ve ever been around parrots before, you know that they get LOUD, and I’m not referring to J.Lo’s song.

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I wish I could stick my phone in the cage and get a clearer photo of him but considering this is my very first time handling birds and I didn’t want to mess anything up, you’ll have to deal with the blurriness. Sorry y’all!

See this green one here? He’s beautiful, isn’t he? But holey moley, he could shatter windows with his screaming. Strangely enough, he’s a parrot I wouldn’t mind owning at all!

After everyone finished scrubbing cages in this room, we advanced to the front room with the smaller parrots (the first room was just the medium-sized birdies). I cleaned this one’s cage here first:

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Taken LONG after I finished cleaning his cage.

I have no idea what species this is, but he seemed to really love my face. As I was cleaning his cage, he followed my face wherever it went. If I was on the right, he would climb right. If I was on the left, he would climb left. Once I noticed this, I played around with it. “What’s with ya?” I asked him, but he kept following. I don’t remember the name of this beauty, but I hope he’ll remember my face when I come back because he’s my new favorite one now.

Trish, our boss, moved us to the cockatoo room to change the newspaper linings (some of them were full of shit and I was like “Ewww!”, but then I told myself “Abeni, you signed on for this. Plus, you want a bird, don’t you? This is what you’ll have to deal with so GET TO IT, missy!”). These things are GIGANTIC in person! I was so in awe from seeing them in the flesh for the first time that I was practically almost brought to tears. There was even an ORANGE crested one that I thought I would never see in my life.

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LOOK AT HOW ORANGE HE IS! (This is Dundee and I’ve unofficially named him my child)

I’m gonna be honest and say that I want to rave some more about these beautiful birds, so to sum up the rest of our duties, we put food bowls into each bird’s cage in the macaw room. Oh boy, they have a ton…even military macaws! Macaws are also gigantic in person, although I’d seen them plenty before in zoos.

After it was all said and done, we ate pizza and did some sightseeing on our own. Along the main hallway, I saw these…

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THEY HAVE FACES!!!

…and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t squeal with sheer joy upon seeing them. I’ve always been in love with rosy-face lovebirds and seeing this made me want to reach in and squeeze their cute little faces. *insert endless crying emojis here*

Before we had pizza, though, was the best part: having some of them perch on us. I got to have this lil’ baby perch on my arm:

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Also my child. A yellow-crested cockatoo, sadly it is critically endangered and I’m tearing up writing this because we need to protect this species AT ALL COSTS.

He climbed onto my shoulder and I got probably the most hideous photo ever of my face, but also the second most epic photo I’ve ever taken.

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The caption still rings true. He grabbed on my choker though and it caught me off guard. Still a cutie.

Of all the birds in there, though, the cockatoo room houses my favorite parrots thus far. Sulphur-crests, umbrellas, and Goffins, oh my! The Moluccan had a neckbrace on but still managed to be a big flirt: among his vocabulary is “Hey, baby!” and an actual wolf whistle. I don’t know his name yet, but he’s already my fave too. Such a bold one, that bird.

Just look at these though:

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HE HAS CHEEKS!!!
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The same one, but WITH A CREST!
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The one next to him. I’ve also named this one my child. Just LOOK AT HIS FACE!
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The Goffin. He seems to love me after saying “hello” to me a lot.

It goes without saying that I love cockatoos especially, but parrots in general are extremely precious and beautiful and need to be protected at all costs. I left knowing that after all that they’ve been through, all these beauties are in the best hands; people that work hard to provide them with the loving care they need. Nothing but sheer love and positive vibes for Patty’s Parrot Palace and everybody running this organization. Oh, and the parrots, too!

Overall, Saturday was a life-changing and therapeutic experience. I’m still on Cloud 9 from it and I’m dying to come back here again super soon. I’m so in love with these darlings, and I hope at least that lil’ green bird will remember my face! 🙂

Abeni, out! xo

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Only the second most epic photo I’ve ever taken, this is Gypsy on my arm. And wow, I actually look AMAZING here! I’ll see you soon, kiddo!

 

 

The Inaugural Pierceaversary – Part 2

Part 1 of my inaugural pierceaversary was the story of how I got a needle poked through my left nostril and got my first piercing ever…that wasn’t in my earlobes. A year has gone by and I have been through some crazy events with this piercing of mine.

1. In the first few months, there were moments where the stud would sink through the hole. I wish I had a picture of this, but I don’t. Sometimes I would poke at it and it would start sinking through, and it was a scary feeling. Lucky for me, it didn’t last long. Now my studs tend to stay in place…as they should!

2. A nostril piercing usually takes around 3-6 months to fully heal. I could have just changed my jewelry in December, but I opted to wait a little longer just to be safe. And by a little longer, I mean I ended up switching my jewelry on February 12th, just 5 months after I got it pierced*. I purchased several pieces of jewelry including a 14 karat nose hoop from bodycandy.com on a Tuesday, and it was in my mailbox on Friday. It took me 45 minutes just to take out my stud and get the hoop in the hole because of the pain…and my clumsy self dropping the thing only 100 freaking times. It was doubly frustrating because I wanted to go to an event on campus but ended up missing it. Having some Qdoba made up for it, though, although let’s face it: Qdoba makes up for EVERYTHING.

The 45 minutes it took to get this little sucker in was worth it in the end. I love how gold just stands out with my skin tone.

3. L-bar nose rings are not my favorite ones to work with. They take a while for me to pop in, and if the L part is too small, it has a chance of falling out in my sleep. I guess it’s a matter of practice makes perfect…I’m still learning the science of it all.

4. The bigger the number, the smaller the gauge. An 18g ring is thicker than a 20g ring, and some stores even make jewelry as skinny as 26g. Per the advice that others have given me, I wouldn’t recommend going for jewelry so small so often because rings of this size move around inside your piercing so easily. It’s like trying to fit a slightly bigger ring on your finger…I think? Either way, it can result in turning your piercing into a vertical line, otherwise known as the “cheese cutter effect”. Let’s just say it is not a pretty sight.

5. Keloids. They’re the worst ever. They’re painful to the touch…okay, not ALL the time. But I can’t help but try to pop it every single time. Please don’t do this, by the way. I’m just a bad influence in this regard. And an impatient lady.
Instead, soak it with a sea salt solution or H2Ocean spray and leave it the hell alone (LITHA).

This was two months after my piercing. Not the best photo I’ve found of a keloid but look closely at that pesky little bump.


6. A retainer is very handy to have. Sadly, we still live in a society where piercings are frowned upon in a professional environment. Some places don’t even allow a dainty little nose stud! It’s unfair, but what can you do? I can answer that! Buy yourself at least ONE clear retainer to pop in your nose for those moments when nose rings are a no-no (I almost wrote no-nose, but then I realized how corny it sounds and how little sense it makes). Bonus points if you can find one for your skin tone!

This is what mine looks like. I’m too lazy to put it in my nose but it works!

7. One year later…well, it doesn’t really hurt anymore! Of course, I’ve had but a few scares where my ring fell out and I had no idea until after the fact. That’s why from now on I’ll just carry some spare rings on me just in case. Here’s how it looks today….

No flash. Note the dark scar. Keloids suck.

With flash. Look how sparkly it is! *.*

With flash #2 from above. I like how my eyes look here.

And so concludes my retrospective on my inaugural pierceaversary…what will this next year bring? Who knows. Even though it’s long healed, it’s all still a learning process. I’ve got some new nose rings coming in the mail and I’m excited to try them on. I feel like getting this nose piercing has somehow increased my self-confidence greatly or at least played a role in that process. I like to think of it as a personal symbol of how I no longer ever give a (bleep) what anyone thinks, as well as how I don’t play by anybody’s rules but my own. Is there a moral to this? I don’t know; I think there isn’t one, except just live your life unapologetically, do things that you want to do for yourself and nobody else, don’t feel like you have to play by anyone’s rules, and most of all, have no regrets for anything you do. It all sounds cheesy, but there ya go!
One year down and here’s hoping for many more years to come!

Abeni, out!

*I highly do not recommend ever doing this. I am not a very patient lady and I just wanted to wear a nose hoop already. Wait until it’s fully healed. Better yet, see your piercer at least 3 or 6 months after you get it pierced and see what they say!

The Inaugural Pierceaversary – Part 1

If pierceaversary isn’t actually a word, well guess what. It is now. Because on this day, exactly one year ago, my life changed forever…yep, I pierced my nose. Hell yeah, I did! And here’s how it all began….

After going to the mall with a friend of my mom’s, I asked if we could go to Orlando Tattoo Company (AKA the BEST tattoo/piercing shop EVER!) before I went home. She said yes, and we went. I’d never been inside a tattoo shop before, so I hadn’t a clue what to expect.

For reference, this was taken literally an hour before the cartilage stabbing began (3:56 PM). Look at how innocent I looked!

We opened the doors to see a set of old carnival machines including a creepy clown machine to the right, and three retro arcade games to  the left. I thought to myself, “Well, this is pretty alright….” While looking around, a heavily tattooed guy with an eyebrow ring came out of one of the rooms. He gave me a waiver form for me to sign and I looked through to sign each question. When it got to that part where you have to give them a person to contact in case something goes awry, I was like “Well, shoot.” I can’t tell my mom, because then she’ll know! After some thought, I wrote in my first older brother’s name and information. This would just be between us siblings…for now.

After completing the form, I had to wait a few more minutes. I braced myself for the inevitable incoming pain; feeling nervous, naturally, but knowing that this was going to be worth it in the end. With rap music playing in the background, the guy (okay, I admit it. As of this posting I can’t remember his name right now! I am kind of really bad with names…) took me into a room near the back of the building. I remember seeing a bunch of posters and the walls were blue. I sat on the cot and patiently waited for the excruciating moment to begin; examining the guy remove a brand new piercing needle and jewelry from their packaging. I knew from that point that I picked the right person to poke a hole in my flesh, so I felt a little more at ease.

In the next few moments, a needle was through my left nostril. I couldn’t scream; he told me not to. Instead, I whimpered as it started to bleed…this pain was so prominent it brought tears to my eyes. No, literally. I CRIED! It hurt THAT bad.

Probably 20 minutes after the fact (just look at the flipping blood surrounding it!). I’m not the best selfie-taker at all, so this was the best one where I didn’t look like I was still in pain. Oh wait, maybe I was. Yep, it hurt that bad for me.

Okay, NOW it looks like it didn’t hurt at all. This is the image media would use if I was ever interviewed about my real piercing experience.

But do I regret it?

Nope. Absolutely not. This was something I wanted to do for myself for at least 5 years. Why didn’t I get it done earlier? My mom always told me, “Don’t get any piercings, you’re fine just the way you are,” so you know I couldn’t get one while I was still living under her roof. I didn’t even get a piercing because I was unsatisfied with myself physically, I just wanted to try something new and exciting…and even enhance my appearance!

After it was all said and done, I thought: “You know, I’m 21 years old. I’m officially a legal adult. I don’t need anybody’s permission to do anything anymore!” A year later, I still don’t regret it and probably never will. I did it for myself and I’m hella proud, not only for just flipping DOING IT but of the person I’ve become: a young woman still taking risks, taking chances, living unapologetically with no regrets. So you could say that this day was a revelation and a learning lesson for me…. 🙂

(To be continued…)

Abeni, out!