Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Book Review: The Duff by Kody Keplinger + Movie Review

Good day everybody!

I'm still carrying on with the good vibes I started the week off with while listening to some Majestic Casual the Hip Hop playlist if you want specifics and overplaying No Sleep, Janet Jackson featuring Mr. Cole World. Blissful living I tell you. Yet another reason why I am little Miss Sunshine this week is because I happened to watch The Duff. But before I get carried away, like I usually do, the book review.

Subconsciously, I have this list of bad ass fictional female lead characters. You are probably expecting a little bit of Tris maybe some Katniss, I hate to break it to you, they are not even featured. So far only Mia and Kim from Where She Went have made the cut and now Bianca from The Duff.

This is the first time I show complete appreciation for how negative, pessimistic and cynical one could possibly be. Right of the bat Bianca is one of those people. If she does not like you, she does not try to change it but if she hates you, that is a whole different story. Her friends, Jessica and Casey are bombshells which makes B, you guessed it, their D.U.F.F. (Designated Ugly Fat Friend). Of course she was unaware of this and so were her friends. This is where Wesley Rush comes in. She has got a few choice words for this guy. Hate is a strong word but she really,really, really does not like him. I have to tell you that was the bait that had me hooked in the first place.

Just like Bianca, Wes has one hell of a mouth on him. Sarcasm could be B's secret weapon but Wes' insidious insult after insult is a good match. On the home front, things aren't very rosy for either of them. This sends them into a series of events as they try to cope.

There are a couple of things I loved about this book; it gets you laughing quite a bit and I mean laugh out loud moments especially when it comes to Wes and B's back and forth. Case in point,

"...along with glass of cherry soda. Interesting choice, by the way, I'd always pegged you for more of a Sprite girl. You know...plain"

When it comes to B being blunt, it's painfully hilarious. But behind the sarcasm and insults these guys are actually really tough cookies going through some really rough patches. On both their home fronts, things are not very rosy which sends B into a series of questionable actions. This is where my dislike comes in. It is very raunchy; sexual content is quite up there. The things these teenagers are doing! Gasp!

The story also feels very familiar at least some parts of it, definitely some cliches but do not get it twisted, there is originality.

The movie on the other hand is a different entity on its own and for the first time I don't mind. Bianca Piper is played by Mae Whitman (Parenthood). The plot is somewhat different  since this Bianca is not feeling the Duff demeanour and seeks Wes' help to drop it in exchange for some much needed Chemistry tutoring.

In all honesty, I like the movie way better. Then again I may be biased, I am a die hard Parenthood fan. There is  a lot of build on most of the characters; Wes is a jock (which could explain why he is such a hit with the ladies), Jessica and Casey are more than just beautiful faces. The soundtrack is pretty bomb, very now, with Charlie XCX, Icona Pop, The Vamps ft. Demi Lovato names you like to hear. It is, mark my words hella funny. HI-LA-RI-OUS. The original story has been changed up a little, a couple of new things added in, actually whole main characters which kinda sorta made it quite entertaining.

You can probably finish it in one sitting, watch the movie and that would be a day well spent if you ask me.

Here is an activity for ya, can you spot Kody Keplinger in the movie (channeling my homegirl Dora the Explorer).

Have a good one!

Monday, 27 July 2015

Media Monday: BET Awards 2015, No Cameras Allowed

Monday people.

You know I got you. For some reason the weekend has left me with some prep in my step. What can I say, POTUS in Kenya the craze was infectious. Media Monday was going to be packed but you know what they say about to much of a good thing.

BET Awards 2015 happened a century ago, well if you are not much for exaggeration it happened a month ago. I watched it a week later after it aired, you know me, Little Miss Punctual. There was such a hype around it, a week later it was still buzzing.

Opening act, Kendrick Lamar. Kendrick and I go way, way back. My last year of high school, 2012; Swimming Pools (Drunk), all white ensemble, artsy video. Just like that he gained a fan. Next thing you know every time his song came on it was necessary to spit his rhymes. I was super stoked to see him as the opening act on that cop car swaying to that Alright beat. Dancers were on the stage, in the crowd and Kendrick was working that stage. Just when you thought it does not get any better, Jidenna and his classy self.

Empire star Chaz with Drip Drop. Enough said. At this point you are probably thinking okay, they have outdone themselves then Boom! a Janet Jackson tribute. You should know that in 2002 there was a similar performance by P!NK, yes, Usher and Mya who just like you, I wonder what face of the earth she disappeared to. Which was better? Maybe the right question is can you put Jason DeRulo, Tinashe and Ciara up against their predecessors? You be the judge. All I will say, Ciara + Rhythm Nation, at ease soldier.

On to the movie front, No Cameras Allowed by Marcus Haney. Main stream movies and myself...not so much, so when the indie bug gets me, it gets me good. There's only one thing to do in that case, visit international film festival sites. The perp' this time was Toronto International Film Festival (tiff), Next Wave. 
Some movies clicked others well, meh. But No Cameras Allowed? When you see a trailer that begins with "In some way I'm a thief..."with close-ups of Beyonce, Jay-Z, Mumford and Sons, Skrillex, Martin Garrix, Tiesto etc. Good grief! That is a game changer.

Photo from:

Who sneaks into Coachella, Bonnarroo a bunch of EDC concerts, the Grammys, manages to get all access passes(the unconventional type), sneaks 16 of his friends into one of these festivals and that is just the beginning? The one, the only Marcus Hanley. You thought you knew bad. Maybe you even thought you were bad. Marcus is the epitome, the very definition of Michael Jackson Bad.

Being tight for Coachella cash and gas coupled with strong like for a girl who was going to be at the weekend festival, now his girlfriend basically set of his career. The documentary kicks off with a narration from Marcus and his friend on how it all went down. You know how there is always that one person who tells a story so well you think you were there? These guys are them.

His strong will power is simply insane. It's either that or the odds are ever in his favor. Without a press pass he was backstage when Jay-Z performed Empire State of Mind, one of his favorite artistes during his performance turns and sings into his camera.Imagine Hozier as the artiste, I as Marcus. Marcus would probably hold his own I on the other hand I would probably sublime.

The way he tells his story, scenes reminiscent of Ocean's 13 come to mind; how they all meet at one spot after sneaking in, emerging from the crowd, one by one. I feel like I am spoiling it for you. All you need to know is that his pictures are in Rolling Stone, he could possibly pass as a member of Mumford and Sons but most importantly getting to the top is  not always a smooth ride. He has set the level, can you get on it?

Have a good one!

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Powering Kenya

Photo by: Mutua Matheka 

City in the sun by day but in the light by night , defines Nairobi. Walking in Nairobi’s Central Business District during the day can be daunting especially if you do not know it like the back of your hand. It has been known to give worldwide capitals a run for their money. Didn’t Julius Nyerere compare it to London way back when? With Vision 2030 around the corner, Nairobi aims to be a 24-hour economy by being the city that never sleeps and powered by Kenya Power we are bound to get there.

Already, breakthroughs have been made in terms of lighting this already enlightened nation. Whole industries have been given a much needed boost.  Take the world of photography for instance. Everybody wants a bird’s eye view of the city; the quest does not go unsatisfied with nearly every photography enthusiast and professional alike setting up camp on Nairobi’s skyscrapers, just to get that perfect shot of the light illuminating the streets. On your feed, appreciating the talent and hard work of the Mutua Mathekas and Tintsehs who manage to capture Nairobi’s best side is necessary but acknowledging that Kenya Power is at the forefront of such progress is paramount.

The entertainment industry ought to pay homage to Kenya Power. Just as the Kenyan people are known to work hard, they also play hard. A weekend without a highly anticipated event is nearly unheard of. Behind the microphones, the music sets and lit stages, at the heart beat of it all is the electricity. When artistes release their albums- Juliani’s Pulpit Kwa Street- they cordoned off whole lit streets, if they felt the need to give back to their fans, Kenya’s internationally acclaimed act, Just A Band held free concerts in these very streets and when there is a need to remind us of how  far we have come as a nation, exhibitions; Kenya Burning by Boniface Mwangi serve as a perfect memo.

There is no denying that Kenya Power has gone big, but it has not forgotten about the grassroots. Small businesses and entrepreneurial ventures both in urban and rural centers are at the frontlines of being Kenya Power’s biggest beneficiaries. Radios blasting tunes and television sets with the latest on the Kenyan scene keep small business owners company. Tailors work tirelessly on a ladies Kitenge fabric set to be the show stopper at the next wedding they attend. Juakali artisan apprentices work even harder in the hopes of opening their own workshop one day. Dreams and ambitions of progression remain valid due to Kenya’s number one power provider’s consistency.

Its impact  continues whether it be in the number of business incubations cropping up especially in the Information Technology sector or how it directly affects you tirelessly  look for an outlet to charge your gadget. The next time you flip the switch or even crank up the volume on your T.V. set appreciate that Kenya Power continues to power Kenya while empowering the nation.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Book Review: 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher

A book review, two weeks in a row. In case you did not get the memo this is me trying to get back into the swing of things.

13 Reasons Why may have very well given me my definition of a good book; 1) You know what you are getting into from page one 2) It stands out from your usual 3) Page turner which instantly translates to, can't-put-it-down and 4) Everyone around you knows it is good from the severe case of hand clasped over mouth syndrome you get while reading it. Another one of my unofficial good book standards, when the bus conductor reads with you from the corner of his eye and says, "Inaonekana hiyo kitabu unasoma ni nzuri" translation, "Looks like you have a good book there." Jay Asher you might as well set up base in Kenya.

After basically shoving down your throat how good this book is, I guess it is about time I told you what it is all about. Meet Hannah Baker, well if you want to get technical you can't because she is dead.She committed suicide and tells you why, gory details and all. This is heard through the ears of one Clay Jensen who may just be one of the reasons why.

The ending is the beginning and it is not pretty. Energy is negligible, drained from Clay it's safe to say he is a mess. With such a jolly, good start you can't help but turn the page. It then progresses to the more traditional beginning; the Clay before the package, excitement upon delivery and it instantaneously takes a turn and you know it's down hill from here.

Before you get used to the swing of things you may get understandably confused. This is not your average type of book. Hannah narrated her ordeals on to casette tapes; so there is her voice, Clay whose nerves are just all over the place, his thoughts and flashbacks are no different, the pausing , stopping and playing of the tapes and of course regular real world dialogue. But it's the new age format that makes it so good.

It is complete drama and suspense here with numerous curve balls. I would like to give you a hint of nearly everything but I would like to keep Sir Jay here in business.

Enter star of the moment, Hannah. She is hurt and could not be more blunt about it. Just reading it has your heart pounding, eyes welling up as if you have something to do with the whole thing. To lighten the mood , if that is even possible, she cracks a joke and that sets the dark ball rolling. She morphs from being a regular ol' teenage girl, new kid in town to being a hurt violated being. In the beginning, there is a dash of hope which you are also holding on to which eventually fizzles out.

Clay, Clay, Clay. Like every girl who is into Y.A I have a top fictional guy list. I did not expect for him to be on there, but, ey, he earned the spot. He is a mama's boy and the apple of his mother's eye, studious, you will definitely not find him at a Saturday night party red cup in hand, predictable, cautious and sensitive. He comes across as clear and transparent, an open book. The tapes however change that.

No question about it, I like this book. It sailed it's way up to my top 10 favourites. But what did I really like? That I could go on the website if I really wanted to scare the living daylights out of me, Jay Asher   retweeted me (just thought I'd slip that in there), how the idea came to the author, the eeriness of it all, how societal the situation is of course the list is infinite but the ending is a homerun. It's fueled with such a hope you cannot hold the suspense against anyone.

Have a good one!

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Surviving College: The Professional Look

'Sup guys!

It was Monday yesterday, but there was no Media to it. I weighed quantity against quality and quality won. Surviving College it is then. But before you  get to whining, Media Monday will be back with killer bands, maybe solo artistes, Youtube channels; basically the usual, whatever tickles my fancy and has a shot at tickling yours.

So, you are probably packing up for college you Freshman you. You have got your shower caddy on you, some cleaning supplies, school spirit merchandise, a back pack you will be hauling around campus, the list goes on and on. Guess what? It gets longer.

Little story for you here. No one told me, "Your career starts in college," "You may just be in need of a business suit there honey," "Don't forget to whip out that resume". Career starting in college? Business suit? Resume!? Yeah, right. Yeah. Right.

Boys and girls it is time to put our business looks in the front and party/chill/slounge (sleep+lounge) looks in the back, just for a while at least.

Exhibit A: The business/power suit
Didn't think you needed it this soon huh? Chances are during your first year of college or at the end of freshman year you will be out there looking for an internship or a job, heck maybe both. When going in for the interview, there is a need to be looking sharper than a knife's edge. This is where the suit comes in. Let your future superiors know you mean business. Come in with a clean, crisp, white collared shirt with a well tailored fitting suit and you will be the candidate etched in their mind. You might want to store this in one of those suit bags, keep it in it's prime condition.

Exhibit B: The shoes
You may be scanned from head to toe so do not let anyone tell you any different that the shoes department does not really matter. Black is usually the classic option and also the safest. Don't shy away from the status quo, go get yourself a pair , who am I kidding? Get yourself a couple. The professional world is calling and more than a pair is preferable. Ladies, those chunky heeled, closed black shoes is the better option, strappy heels not so much.

Exhibit C: Office wear
So you nailed the interview and now you are a member of the workforce. You got the part, now you need to look the part. Long-sleeved dress shirts, neckties, dress pants, blouses, you get the picture, around these parts are all the rage. This trend depending on your career is here to stay. I suggest you get on it. Cheer up, this is a legitimate excuse for a shopping spree.

Exhibit D: Cover letter
Most of the time or at least in my opinion this is the major seller. In a paragraph or three, summarize why you are the most deserving of the position together with your qualifications and experiences. Put some major effort into one,which will be your template and when that job pops up, you make the relevant edits and Ka-pow! Jut wait for that interview call.

Exhibit E: Resume
If you prefer, curriculum vitae. This answers the question,  Who are you? on paper. Talk about yourself in the most clear and precise way possible in no longer than 2-3 pages. The internet has some templates on how to write one if your completely lost on this one. Your work experience may not be exactly up there given that it's only freshman year but if you've job shadowed or even worked for your parents, put it down, it may just be the reason that earns you a callback.

Exhibit F: Portfolio
So you are an aspiring writer, photographer, artist. Then show me. Put together some of your best and most diverse work you have ever done because as the saying goes the proof is in the pudding.

Exhibit G: Letter of recommendation
So what do other people think about you and your work ethic? The age old recommendation letter. Wer you a teacher's pet? Well here is your chance to use it to your advantage. Ask for them to write you a letter. Ever volunteered/worked/interned? Ask your supervisor to do the deed. 2-3 letters is a safe number.

Exhibit H: Resume Holder
Something to carry it all in. Bold and professional. One of those faux leather folders that keeps all your papers crumple free plus you look organized. Win-win situation anyone.

Go forth and conquer the professional world!

Have a good one!

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Book Review: A Series of Unfortunate Events, The Carnivorous Carnival

Here we go, a book review after what seems like a century. Reading is not the challenge, no,no. Getting around to writing the reviews,  on the other hand... I seriously need to develop a system.

Lemony Snicket, we meet again. This time in the most unlikely of venues yet. Nine books in you would think that I am used to it by now, but can you blame me? We just went from a hostile hospital with some hippies sprinkled on top to a carnivorous carnival with "freaks". Quite the story actually.

Violet, Klaus and Sunny when we last saw them they learned that maybe one of their parents is alive. Well, technically, they were climbing into the trunk of a car, not just any car, Count Olaf's  their archenemy. Take the saying in the belly of the beast to the next level why don't you?

The book starts of in its usual tone, trying to reach their financial guardian and Count Olaf having the same motive, get his hands on the Baudelaire fortune. Answers to their parent(s) whereabouts lie with the carnivals fortune teller, so they do the only thing to do, morph into freaks to get some answers.

This Carnival is definitely one in a million. For one its going under, the fortune teller triples up as the carnival manager and Olaf's tip, the  circus freaks well, that depends on what freaky is on your scale.

Each book in the series is riveting but this is the worst one yet. And I mean this in a good way. The amount of misfortunes is at an all time high, it starts all fine and dandy, at least to Lemony Snicket's standards. In fact at some point things are looking up for the Baudelaires. Then whoosh! Just a ripple effect of all things bad go their way. Betrayal, false hope, carnivority, potential homicides, impending death and kidnapping. Feels like Pandora's box was flung open, huh?

So what I loved about the book. There was something more real about this one I guess Lemony Snicket toned down on the mythical characters. From the very beginning you begin to feel for this guys, connected to them. Must have been the glimmer of hope. Let me admit, I hoped with them. And the imagery? There is this northern lights situation going on, on one account Esme Squalor, remember her? Opens the door and blue just fills the room. Now that is something.

How this book ends, dang it! suspense galore. You have to remind yourself it's fiction. Let's just say Lemony doesn't guarantee a sequel this time. You are just dying to read aren't you?

Have a good one!

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Surviving College: Saving Money In College

Hi guys, the weekend is finally here with us. I feel like just a wink ago, yes you read that right, wink, it was Monday. Oh well! Whatcha gonna do, the latest Surviving College installment awaits.

College in our house hold is one of those rude alerts where it dawns on you that Mom and Dad are not fountains of ever flowing cash. It hits you, and it hits you hard . To survive in this dog eat dog playground called the world, saving is essential and here are just some of the ways I try my hand at it:

Budget. The rule of thumb when it all comes to all things money is budget. That pesky b-word. Well love it or hate it budgeting will never go out of season. Necessities over wants any day. I am talking books, stationery, toiletries over that killer leather jacket you just have to have. On the plus side if budget is not in your vocabulary, why can't we be friends?

Hitch a ride. Once you have drawn up your budget, chances are the future is looking very grey, all 50 shades of them. Moving numbers around does not make the situation any rosier, so here is where the magic happens. Some good old street smarts! When it comes to commuting and your mom, dad or even better, a classmate is going the same way get in to that car. You may very well end up saving 50% of your budget, but do not spend it just yet.

When it comes to the actual commute weigh your options; if you walk to another bus stop that so happens to be further from your regular stop but cheaper it is not rocket science that you need to do the pocket-friendly thing.

Carry lunch, snacks and water/beverages. To pry my hands open of my daily budget is literally impossible. It was not always like this, believe it or not, I once used to spend a LOT of money on food alone but I was still holding it down in the beverage department. What? Give credit where it is due, no? Once it hit me that there was certainly no money tree in my yard, I got on that lunch and snack tip. Yeah, so occasionally a juice box and strategically placed supermarket popcorn go further than tempt me, I am human. However, you cannot imagine how much you can save from eating from your own kitchen.

Walk. Put that energy from your lunch and snack into use. If you have a walkable route from home to school or even half your commute, just put one foot in front of the other and you will be at your destination. Hey, plus side is you get to keep fit while doing it and of course save anywhere between 15-100% of your fare. Classic two birds one stone situation.

Shopping. When it comes to stocking up, when you are on a budget there's an art to the whole escapade. Be on the look out for supermarkets with the lowest prices. Do not just waltz in there any old time, go during offers; Back-to-school, End of Month, Easter, Special offers,usually Buy-one-get-one-free (BOGOF), sales etc. Then you step it up by getting an economy pack of some sort like a pack of pens, pencils but be warned, do the math, the economy pack may not be as economical as it is painted out to be.

Money jar for pocket change. So you have been saving up, bits and pieces here and there and they possibly cannot add up to much, right? Wrong. Empty the coins or whatever that has been jingling in your packets nearly the whole day into a designated mug or jar, funk it up by maybe painting it or labeling it your dream destination. Dolling it up motivates you to save  so in a month you will have quite the amount, in a semester lunch with a plus one might as well be on you and at the end of a year start up capital for a business you may want to start is no problem.

Do not impulse buy. Usually this leaves you reeling in regret and self pity, having to tighten your belt even tighter because of the now dreaded impulse buy. Solution: Do not frequent places where impulse buying has become a norm for you, if you have to walk by these places, put your blinders on. Do not worry, self control will kick in soon enough.

Do-it-yourself. Giving up any luxury is usually the toughest part when it comes to saving. Getting hair and laundry done by another individual is all the rage when money is no object. But if you are a student, you might want to consider squeezing in laundry day and being your own one stop beauty salon.

These are just a couple of ways that have worked for me when it comes to stretching my budget a tad bit. I am no millionaire but at least I have a fortune, no matter how meager to my name. Just a little self discipline and you can join me on the other side of almost financial stability.

Have a god one!

Monday, 6 July 2015

Media Monday: Her Campus Blogger Network (HCBN), Leon Bridges

'Sup guys!

I am on a high that would give a toddler's sugar rush a run for its money. let me give you a feel of it right now. The weekend that was had me attending the first of hopefully many Storymoja Festival intern meetings. Which was fun, F-U-N; meeting literature enthusiasts and book addicts. I think I finally found my kind. The whole experience will probably be on the Surviving College series, do not fret, you will hear all about it.

A couple of other cool things have also happened, but by far the one that takes it all, "I AM A MEMBER OF THE HER CAMPUS BLOGGER NETWORK!". The news was supposed to break subtly, lady like almost but I guess blurting it out will just have to do.

This comes one year and one month (tomorrow) after starting literallylovely. The whole blogging thing has been an interesting affair; from trying to be an imitation of my writing role model Jackson Biko, a poor one if I may, to allowing my misfortunes to be my muse hence Surviving College, dubbing myself a book reviewer on account of the handful of books I have read and wearing my media heart on my sleeve letting the world know that I may have a slight Youtube problem,  quite the taste in music and I am well on my way to being a movie buff.

HCBN could not have come at a better time. I have been looking for a blogging network as the possible next step to up this blog's game and HCBN was God sent, no question about it. I have Toyosi Oyelola over at Standard T to thank for hanging the HCBN badge ever so boldly on her page. Let me admit that I am a ghost fan of Standard-T but I think it is about time I made my presence felt and leave a comment or two over there.

One of my greatest fears usually is the future. Of course I have never said it out loud lest people think I am some sort of basket case afraid of tomorrow. Well, I can positively say that blogging has changed fear to an adrenaline rush I cannot wait to experience with HCBN being an element within it all.

To a couple of years more as the HCBN badge goes up tomorrow!

That is as far as I can go shouting myself out. A little shameless self promotion never hurt nobody.

Well it is a Media Monday so why not give you what you came here for? Just a dash of it this time. Ladies and gentlemen, Leon Bridges. Not indie, not pop, I am just a bag of surprises for you today aren't I?

Soul, 60's soul. I discovered him on a Vevo playlist, Newest Tracks of the Week. Vevo had made a big mistake, so I thought, it was either that or I was on a whole different playlist than I thought. This guy had me thinking I was listening to some forgotten smooth sixties cat. With everything on lock; the whole 60s look, wardrobe, haircut, sound, his music videos, the slang, the rhythm. Listening to's just soulful.

Better Man which was the hook that reeled me in in the first place teleported me to 1960s New Orleans with hot comb sleek hair up in a pony tail with a  natural bounce to it, in a full a-line number with some white gloves on not having any of Leon's "Better Man" jibber jabber. Coming Home which put him on the scene felt like it was playing from a gramophone; smooth, soothing, simpler times and there is not even a hint of exaggeration here. Smooth Sailin', It's about time I got on down with my bad self. Long story short, his album just dropped and it is just the perfect mix. Leon Bridges is literally lovely. That's the stamp of approval right there.

P.s If you squint doesn't he look like the guy who played Little Richard in the biopic?

Have a good one!