MY STORY: RECLAIMING CELEBRATION AFTER ABUSE

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I was 17 years old when I became a victim of sexual assault by a boy whom I trusted. A boy who claimed to love me. I will never forget the gut-wrenching, soul-suffocating feeling that I still, 11 years later, somehow can't find the words to adequately describe. How do you begin to articulate a pain so unfathomable that the very breath that gives you life becomes an unbearable reminder of the innocence that was mercilessly stolen from you by a monster in the dark? You see, there is something mysterious that happens to the abused. For when you are used for a purpose in which you were never intended, you are left devoid of the desire to laugh, to enjoy... to celebrate.

And yet. Here I am. Breathing. Laughing. Enjoying. Celebrating. Living proof that what the enemy meant for evil, God used for good. Good in that I, in and through my process of redemption and healing, now have an authority unlike any other in the face of someone else in pain desperate to be heard. Because when a woman opens up to me for the first time about the bruises under her shirt and I look her in the eyes saying "I know", she knows without a shadow of a doubt that I do. And when she witnesses me rise above the very thing that should have killed me, she knows that she too, can not only heal, but THRIVE. 

This is the power of our testimony. It is the lifeblood that heals broken hearts and restores the lost to become found. And first and foremost, it is the miracle in the matchless Name of Jesus that is the solid rock on which I stand. 

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When I felt God's calling tug in my heart to The Philippines I never could have guessed the way he would grow my heart towards distressed communities suffering due to circumstances beyond their control. Slowly but surely my passion for anti-human trafficking awareness and adoration for the dying culture of artisanal craftsmanship developed into the collaborative celebration of artisanal handbags that is Láro

Together with my partner Lea Bodie, we are seeking to be problem solvers in a world that demands change. The problem is an underprivileged and marginalized society fallen under social injustice; particularly indigenous artisans lacking a sustainable livelihood and women affected by human trafficking in need of awareness and/or active rehabilitation. The Láro solution is a 3-point cycle of change designed to support artisanal communities, leverage fashion as a means to educate and empower consumers, and join the fight against human trafficking. We do this by hosting empowerment workshops to raise awareness for our advocacies as well as donate a portion of all sales towards the fight against human trafficking. To learn more about Láro, click here.

Our collection is lovingly handcrafted by local artisans and drenched in the rich heritage and legacy of The Philippines. Láro integrates traditional signature techniques of weaving, embroidery, and beadwork from various indigenous groups. We are launching an inspired collaboration with Adante Leyesa, a local designer and artisan from The Philippines. Each handbag is an exclusive, one-of-a-kind creation, made of local materials in partnership with indigenous artisans. We seek to celebrate the vibrant handiwork of the Ifugao basket weavers, the embroidery of the Abra Tribe of Luzon, and the beadwork of the Gawad Kalinga communities; sharing their vision with the global market. To be the first to shop the collection, click here

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Our deepest desire is that every woman who comes across our brand would leave inspired by a revelation of her worth. That those who have survived pain in their life would no longer be enslaved but rather, be set FREE in the face of unconditional grace. For the hurting to know that they are not alone and there is a love bigger than their pain. Láro is our homage to those who have been robbed of their sacred purity; it is our way of reminding them that it is not only their privilege but their right to reclaim celebration once again. 

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Featuring: Láro 

www.shoplaro.com

Instagram: @shop.laro

Facebook: ShopLaroHandbags

 

Photography: Japhet Arcedera

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE "FEARFULLY" MADE?

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Fearfully and wonderfully made.

Wonderfully, sure I get, but isn't fearfully supposed to carry a negative connotation? And if so, how could God use that word to describe me? 

Growing up as a pastor's daughter, I had the propensity of memorizing bible verses for the sake of, well to be honest, just memorizing them. But as I have gotten older and as Jesus has continued to pursue me closer to His heart, I have become more curious as to the deeper meaning in Scripture. 

And as an advocate for the empowerment of women, I found myself puzzled as I stumbled through one of the "classics".

Psalm 139:14

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.

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Fearfully. It made me cringe for a moment as I remembered all the ex-loves of my life that were never really loves at all. The string of men in my past, all of whom I had loved fearfully. I recall not a single day going by without that lingering feeling of apprehension; nervous as to whether or not he would like me today or not. Whether he would hurt me today or not. Desperately picking petals off a dying flower. He loves me. He loves me not. 

I was desperate to understand why in the world God would use fearfully in relation to me. For too long I had skimmed past this word and onto the lighter sounding, nicer sounding words in the Bible. I had become so used to overlooking the difficult stuff in my past relationships that repression and progression had become my default. 

But as I delved deeper into the heart behind the word I feared, I became astounded by what I found. 

Just 18 days after conception, the baby’s heart starts beating. 

Arms and legs form from a strategically placed cluster of cells that grow into themselves over the course of the 9 months.

It only takes 3 weeks for the growing fetus to start developing a brain, from cognitive process to motor reflexes as well as how we feel, see, and perceive the world around us. 

Apparently babies cry with an accent! A research team at the University of Wurzburg found that within three months, babies are heavily influenced by environmental language while inside the womb.

During the developmental stage, babies have 50% more bones than adults!

Touch is the first sense to develop in the womb at 8 weeks of pregnancy. 

(Source: BabyGaga)

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Fearfully made is essentially this. Fearfully made means you see something that is so overwhelming that you say, "Whoever made this, should not be messed with. Whoever made this should be worshipped."

Fearfully made doesn't mean anxiety that something bad is about to happen but rather, a holy fear that we are in the Presence of One too magnanimous, too marvellous for words. 

In light of my love for fashion, I liken this to the kind of jaw dropping awe I experience each time I witness the wonder of garments created by Christian Dior. When I observe the intricate craftsmanship and handiwork in and through each design, I cannot help but praise the original genius behind it all.

Such is the case with the Original Genius and Designer behind the creation of ME. And YOU. I mean WOW. Stop for a moment and let that sink in for a moment. What would happen if in the face of all the lies that told us we weren't good enough, we remembered who our Creator is? How would our confidence rise if we could fully comprehend the loving intention woven into the fabric of our whole being?

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Friends, let me tell you how this profound truth would forever change us. We would be UNRIVALED in the glory of God's love for us. Gone would be the false spirit of comparison and envy. One of the greatest things I have learned is that God does not love us equally, for equal would mean that we are replaceable. No beloved, you and I are are loved (and created!) uniquely meaning a one-of-a-kind, a blueprint unlike any other. 

I pray that as you read this the words would coax you out of darkness and into His marvellous light. That when the world around you witnesses the glory manifested within you, wondering where you source your beauty, that you would humbly peel back the Designer label reading:

FEARFULLY AND WONDERFULLY MADE. 

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Photography: Lyda Ham Photography

A MESSAGE TO ALL WOMEN: WHY COMPARISON IS KILLING YOUR FRIENDSHIPS

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The fastest way to kill something special is to compare it to something else. Why? Because God created each of us with a one-of-a-kind blueprint to thrive in His unique purpose. The original design is a world full of variety; a kaleidoscope of colors, shapes, and sizes. Just as my DNA is embedded with a very specific order of nucleotides containing the personality, skills, and likes/dislikes that make up who I am, so are you born with a framework unlike any other. 

The issue with comparison is that it teaches us to shrink away from celebrating diversity, instead pitting us against one another and ultimately the illusive standard of perfection. This is all the more true in today's #filtered society; we live in an Instagram and Snapchat world with countless filters at our fingertips. These days even the most high tech versions of photoshop are available at the click of a button, making it altogether easy to nip and tuck every pic taken before posting a faux-version of ourselves to the world.

Before I move on, let's define what this illusive standard looks like. Take the "perfect" woman, for example. Historically, we would oohh and ahhh at the flawless celebrities on our movie and television screens. Today, we need not go further than our social media accounts to fall into the trap of comparison 24 hours, 7 days a week. We scroll endlessly down a string of impeccably curated pictures of that babe on the beach sans cellulite, a sculpted gal in a sports bra nibbling on an açai bowl, and don't forget that kissing couple with the wind blowing her hair just right and yup, you guessed it... they are underneath the freaking Eiffel Tower.

Let's be honest here. I will be the first to admit that I have fallen into this comparison trap many a time, choosing to self loathe in my sweatpants with a gallon of ice cream (after a break up if we wanna get specific) while living vicariously through @ohhcouture at Coachella. #GOALS, am I right?! But is it really? The goal I mean? Is the climax of our existence to be confined to a tiny square photograph? Is #living actually living when we spend more time editing on our phones at the beach while missing the actual sunset?

We have to WAKE UP, LADIES. Seriously. Put down your phone for a sec (unless you are reading this blogpost then maybe finish it first!) and level with me. Because this endless rabbit hole of chasing perfection to keep up with the Jones's is not only exhausting the self-love right out of you, it is also killing your friendships. When you train your mind to constantly measure your worth against women on social media, that toxic mindset seamlessly translates into the reality of the relationships you make day to day. 

How many times have you recalled walking into a party and feeling the urge to immediately size yourself up against the other women in the room? (Crazy fact: The psychological reason women wear painful heels is to literally stand above the others in a crowd. Bonus crazy fact: Generally, women dress up to impress each other. Men are just a casualty.) I KNOW a sister is reading this right now and nodding her head YES profusely!

Listen to me: This jungle cat, girl-eat-girl behaviour HAS. GOT. TO. STOP. 

Let me break down the process of comparison for you. When you match yourself up against another girl you are already setting yourself up to fail because God has purposely handcrafted each of you in a distinct and extraordinary way. And when you fail to see this precious truth you begin to self-doubt which turns to self-loathing which ultimately turns to self-hate. And the tragedy of hate is then the inability to spread love to those around you. Because you CANNOT be a light in darkness if your candle is snuffed out.

Comparison is a cruel trick that says putting down another will somehow elevate you when in reality, all it does is leave you with a bitter seed of resentment in your heart.

What is the remedy for comparison? I believe the antidote is a revelation of your own worth. I am going to tell you something vital to reclaiming your joy. Are you ready? Okay here it is:

YOU ARE ENOUGH.

From the day you were born God looked at you and called you the apple of His eye, not because you earned anything of merit, but rather because you are fashioned by the very form of Love itself. You are a chosen woman, a royal priesthood, from a holy lineage, a special work of art. You are called out of the darkness of anxiety, fear, and insecurity and into the marvellous light that declares that you have always been and will always be undeniably and forever ENOUGH. 

Filled with enough empathy to be a comfort for those who mourn.

Filled with enough joy to bring uncontrollable laughter to those who haven't smiled in too long.

Filled with enough beauty to inspire radiance out of a self-conscious friend.

Filled with enough love to shatter hate in a broken world. 

Beloved, it is not only your privilege; it is your divine RIGHT to reclaim a revelation of your worth not tomorrow but TODAY. To free yourself from the chains of perfection and begin a humble celebration over yourself that lasts a lifetime. Only when you are empowered in your worth can you then encourage others to do the same. And girlfriend, there is no force equal to a group of women determined to rise together. Can I get an AMEN?!

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** Shoutout to the real-life WonderWomen pictured above. You are the light for generations to come. **

@karabianca // @kaitness // @asisalmonte // @onyiiandco // @lydahamphotography// @bossagurl // @debrarapoport // @capturedbymgl // @ellapangilinanx // @strutwithsusan // @thepeachcobbler // @clairecannon

 

WELCOME HOME TO MANILA

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A month before our official move to the Philippines, I traveled to Manila to do a test run so to speak on how life would be like if we chose to relocate. If you had told me last year that transitioning my life across the world would be my reality, I would have laughed and brushed it off as a really great joke in light of my hard preference for comfort and stability. 

But God's ways are higher than our ways. And every single day of that test run proved to be one big affirmation that His will for us was to take the biggest leap of faith and trust that He would see us through. My last week in Manila, a friend invited me to a church called Favor. I hadn't even entered the building yet when I was greeted "Welcome home!" by a cheerful Australian named James who I would later find out was the Senior Pastor. 

The rest was history. Not only was the sermon about FAITH in action, but I was blessed to meet the most authentic and welcoming group of people. Barely even knowing me, they rallied in prayer over the next steps of my journey with Emeka, fully believing in the power of God to move and make miracles happen. I kept texting my husband the whole evening, blown away with excitement at God's orchestration of the best kind of comfort one could ask for: Himself.

You see, no matter where your road leads in life, there is no need to fear because home is not so much a place as much as it is His Presence. Although moving across the world felt like a trillion miles away, to God who spoke the entire Universe into existence, it is but a single step forward. No calling is too big for Him. And the only ticket required is a mustard seed of faith. 

"Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." (Matthew 17:20)

I have a strong inkling that someone out there needed to read this today; to be encouraged that despite your circumstances, God is not only able but passionately eager to make a way for you. This doesn't mean that your journey won't be marked with its own unique challenges. But rest assured that God will affirm you every step of the way, revealing more of Himself in the intimate ways that speak most to your heart. For me, it was a group of friends I am thrilled to now call family. 

Last week, a group of us decided to plan a spontaneous canyoneering trip to Cebu! The day before, we rallied together to schedule the festivities from flight to accommodations to must-see attractions. Truly the ultimate YOLO! And by God's grace, everything fell together so seamlessly. And while watching the golden sunset on the beach and jumping off a 40 meter cliff (YUP. 40. Freaking. Meters. So much for comfort and stability, eh?) was exhilarating, I must say that nothing was more wonderful than the enriching and personal time spent together in community. 

Welcome home. Indeed I am. 

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**Special thanks to @KawasanFalls for the FUNventures and our new home @Favor.Church

Photography: @LizetteClaudio

MANILA'S BEST IN FASHION, BEAUTY AND FOOD: L'OREAL, FILA, AND MANILA POLO CLUB

As most of you know, Emeka and I officially moved to Manila last month to establish and grow our respective careers and begin a brand new adventure as newlyweds! When we boarded that plane on February 17th, I had no idea what to expect. In many ways, it felt very similar to my plane ride from Texas to New York City: full of expectation, a bit of fear, but most prominently, hope in that the best was yet to come.

And indeed, Manila has been all-around the BEST. Each day Emeka and I are astounded by the heart of The Philippines; each person we have been blessed to encounter has been a breath of fresh air and it is safe to say, we are ready to call this place Home. My desire is to transport you through these pages to join me in the journey of a lifetime as I highlight all things fashion, travel, and food in Manila. I’d like to start with a few of my favorite events last week. Let’s jump right in, shall we?

When I received an invite for the L’Oreal Wake Up in Paradise event, I was giddy with excitement. Back when I worked in buying for Barneys New York on 5th Avenue, we shared a building with the corporate headquarters of L’Oreal. I fondly remember sharing the elevator with the L’Oreal girls and noticing how confidently beautiful they were; I thought to myself, “Surely, this is a wonderful and empowering environment to work in!”

Upon reading the dress code was “chic resort wear”, I rushed into my closet to find my freshest dress of the season and chose a floral tassel earring with a cascading braid to finish off my look. I decided to keep my makeup to a minimum, secretly hoping to get a chance to try out the new mascara everyone was raving about!

Upon stepping off the elevator doors, I was greeted with a group of smiling ladies in silky pink robes and before I could ask where I could buy my own, to my pleasant surprise, not only was I handed a robe of my own, but pink bubbly champagne to match as well! (Talk about Insta-worthy right?!) The program, while short, was very sweet; L’Oreal experts introduced the Voluminous Lash Paradise mascara as a must-have in the beauty market. A few guests came forward to show off the long-lasting product. After trying it myself, I couldn’t believe how fresh the mascara had lasted through the heat and humidity! (Did I mention it’s waterproof?!)

For the rest of the evening, guests were welcome to an evening of pampering! You could get a massage of your choice out on the roof overlooking Metro Manila while sipping on a cocktail and/or choose an indoor makeover by a professional L’Oreal makeup artist! All this beauty goodness at your fingertips while munching on a Poké Poké Shoya bowl with hand crafted cotton candy for dessert. Beauty Heaven, am I right?! I never wanted the experience to end and made sure to snag my very own Voluminous Lash Paradise mascara to keep the beauty party going... you can grab your very own here too here!

Fast forward a few days and when Emeka and I recieved our invite to the 2018 Summer Polo Cup hosted by FILA X Manila Polo Club, we could hardly contain our excitement! In cooperation with Philippine Tatler, FILA would be showcasing their latest summer collection. One of the many things I love about my husband include his passion for refined style, so you can imagine how much fun we had choosing our "summer chic" outfits to honour the dress code. I chose a ruffled multi-coloured stripe maxi dress with statement earrings while Emeka chose a white ensemble with a light grey blazer, yellow pocket square, and alligator dress shoes to tie in the whole look. We had no idea what to expect but we had heard many times that Manila Polo Club was THE premier location in the area so we came dressed to impress!

Upon arrival, we were greeted with chilled cocktails and handed the newest addition of Philippine Tatler featuring fashion's finest: Kim Jones, Heart Evangelista, and Liz Uy; perfectly setting the tone of excellence for the evening. Soon after entering the main space showcasing the latest FILA collection, we spotted the ever-fabulous President and CEO of FILA Philippines, Cris Albert. Ms. Albert gracefully led the style parade wearing a white peplum dress with cascading florals. While there were many guests, I marvelled at her ability to still find the time to greet us with a genuine smile and welcoming hug.

A very accommodating server led us to a front table overlooking the polo game, offering us another round of cocktails. For the next hour I was amazed as I watched my very first polo game, the highlight being a 17 year old scoring the most points of the entire game! In between the program Tim Yap, premiere eventologist, and Tessa Vades, fashion icon and extraordinaire, seamlessly hosted the event. The lineup included a game on the field and finally a major giveaway to drive a Mazerati for a day! While enjoying the FILA-festivities, we were served beautiful hors d'oeuvres (my favourite was the wagyu sliders!). Once the award ceremony concluded, to our sheer joy, a giant truck in the middle of the field opened up to reveal a full reggae band called Chocolate Factory. 

As if that wasn't enough to entice a party, the servers began to parade onto the field with trays upon trays of main courses and desserts to a beat reminiscient of "Be Our Guest" from Beauty and the Beast (except in this case, only Beauties present!). On queue, my husband jumped up towards the feast (food is his love language!) and I swiftly followed with the intention of observing the Manila fashion scene. The first thing I noticed was the celebration of color (I would like to specifically call out "color-queen" Tessa Valdes in her opulent yellow ensemble for setting the standard for celebrating style!) . Pinks, yellows, reds, and greens lit up the whole space and perfectly complimented the laughter and fun-filled conversations. Secondly I appreciated the bold style choices from exaggerated ruffles to expertly curated combinations of prints. Finally, I was inspired by the confidence that exuded from the men and women alike. It reminded me once again that fashion, more than anything else, is indeed YOUR message to the world. Style can speak the contents of your heart and soul without a word! And just when we thought the soirée couldn't get any better, fireworks lit up the sky as we danced the rest of the night away. 

We have officially passed our first month in Manila and cannot believe how much we have fallen in love with this city in such a short amount of time! Oh am I ever so glad that I chose to push past fear in pursuit of the mission to empower all through beauty and style. The road towards excellence is by no means always easy and it is a sure guarantee that discomfort will meet you time and time again, BUT the confidence in the plan and purpose put before you is a light worth fixing your eyes (and hope!) upon. So if you are reading this and have a passion burning within you longing to burst into reality, I encourage you to let go and take the leap! I dare you to dream bigger. Remember: If you reach for the stars all you'll get are the stars. If you reach for the Heavens, you'll get the stars thrown in.

A special THANK YOU to L'Oreal, EON, FILA, Philippine Tatler, and Manila Polo Club for being such gracious and wonderful hosts! And disclaimer:  Nothing in this post in sponsored; just wanted to share genuine excitement for some amazing experiences!

 

Love + Light, Nika

 

Photo credit:

Jose Caculitan // Facebook // Website // Instagram: @jmcaculitan & @jmcaculitanphotography

Hoppie Polla // Website // Instagram: @hoppiepolla

5 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE GETTING MARRIED

Emeka and I are officially over our first year of marriage and boy ohh boy have we learned a heck of a lot! Prior to tying the knot, I honestly had no idea how challenging the actual trenches, meaning day to day life, with another person would turn out to be. It is so easy to get blinded by the fog that is love at first sight during the dating phase, and forget the crucial fundamentals that sustain a relationship for the long haul. 

After much discussion and reflection, Emeka and I have a few crucial points that we strongly believe must be on every couple's checklist, especially if marriage is in sight. Under God's design for marriage, my husband and I are committed to nurturing our union come what may;  in sickness and in health, til death do us part. We are talking unconditional and relentless pursuit; the kind where you see one another to the depths (ugly past, bad habits and all) and yet love to the skies. 

Therefore, taking the careful and intentional steps in assessing realistic compatibility is so crucial between two people seeking marriage. Slowing down and thinking long term is a necessary way to love your partner well. After all, I think we can all agree that the last thing we want is to end up 50 years down the road deciding divorce is the only solution. 

We pray that after watching this video you are encouraged to take seriously the heart of the one you choose for life. That through our short but meaningful experience as newlyweds, you are inspired to love deeply and care seriously. Ultimately, we hope that your own relationship would illuminate such profound resilience and authenticity, drawing  countless souls to the perfect and ever glorious ultimate love in Christ.

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JUST REMEMBER: YOU'RE NOT MY EX

"There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind." -C.S. Lewis

Up until meeting my husband, I had been enslaved in a mindset of disordered love resulting from a string of abusive relationships starting from my early teens. I immediately assumed Emeka's kindness was an act; half expecting the monster to reveal his true form and half hoping to God to be proven wrong. On our honeymoon I found myself overcome with an inexplicable fear, realizing I had grown calloused over the years and incapable of receiving love in it's truest form.

My love for my husband ran deep but my propensity for walls of self-protection and weapons to guard my battered heart paralyzed me beyond reason. But like a fearless warrior he broke down each wall; dismantling each stubborn brick and exposing the lie that it was. He called out the darkness in me and spoke out light. He rebuked the weakness in me and spoke out strength. And I will never forget the fragile moment when my husband leaned in to surround me with his arms like a blazing fortification of protection. Through muffled tears and a desperate heart his words pierced a truth so potent to my painful past:

"I am not your ex."

By the grace of God, my marriage continues to stoke a deep desire within me and Emeka to love a little more like Jesus each day. To forgive quickly and claim salvation honestly. We remain resolved, for better or for worse, to stand in the promises of the newness in Christ. Pressing forward little by little, until our baby steps become glorious strides towards a future of marvelous light.

I reached out to 8 dear friends who continue to serve as living, breathing reminders of the promise Love brings to all who will just humbly receive it. Each face you witness in this video bears a precious story of redemption; beauty from ashes. While we are all marked on various walks and seasons of life, one thing reigns true in common thread. We seek the renewal of worth in women through the unconditional love, hope, and joy in Christ.

Christ Alone.

NOTHING, I repeat, NOTHING can separate you from His love. His affections for you are a hurricane; you are a tree. No broken relationship, no prince charming, no drug addiction, no perfect career or any other fleeting worldly pleasure can offer the type of all consuming, all encompassing SOUL NURTURE that Jesus longs to pour over you. You are His Beloved. Worthy of the most relentless pursuit.

He is not your ex.

Will you receive Him?

 

We love because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19)

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ONLINE DATING: HOW TO FIND THE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE

Hey friends and fam... I'M BAAAAAACK!!!

I know I've been super MIA for a while now. I am about to leap off the edge of my seat in sheer excitement to finally announce a big project my husband and I have been working on. My blog Diwa Dollhouse was born out of a desire to empower women, primarily through fashion. It has been a great honor to engage with you in shared encouragement and inspiration. As a newlywed, it has been on my heart for some time now to leverage this platform as a channel to speak on my personal experiences - in trials and triumphs - in relation to dating and marriage. Emeka and I are so pleased to finally introduce our YouTube Channel: Mekk & Niks! Every week we will be rolling out a new video based on our personal journey in love and life, the first one being about how we met online! We hope you enjoy!

Ahh, the complex jungle that is online dating. But let's be honest, between a busy work schedule, personal errands, and catching up with friends throughout the week, who has time to intentionally meet people to potentially date?! It seems that while it is easier to meet people in quantity, it is increasingly rare to make connections of quality (CAN I GET AN AMEN?!). Years ago, online dating used to be super taboo; only for creepy weirdos who lived with their cats or for the bored and bold who didn't mind suffering through an awkward cup of coffee for a good story to share with their friends. Alas, in 2017 online dating is much more accepted and is a widely used method to find a romantic partner. This is an account of two strangers living in New York City who found Cupid, err, OKCupid that is. 

 

Xoxo,

Mekk & Niks

 

THE PARTY TO THE MAIN COURSE

This wasn't a reception ballroom. We were no longer in Texas. And this was not just a staircase. No, no, no...just beyond the cascading vine drenched steps was a whimsical fairy tale wonderland, reserved only for most royal of guests. Beauty only dreams were made of. Most of the decorations, from the smash hit "Sweet Shop" to the glowing centerpieces, were hand-crafted with love by my family and friends. Disclaimer: you may need to catch your breath scrolling through these photos...

And that's a wrap folks! Thank you so much for joining us for #thinkingihedigbo Wedding Week! We planned nonstop for eleven months for one day, a day I will carry with me for a lifetime. I still remember my parents tucking me into bed as a little girl and praying for my future husband. Today, I look back on my June 16th and smile on the promise I made to the man I waited my whole life to meet. At the end of the day, albeit the grandeur, the wedding is but the hors d'oeuvres.

Marriage is the main course.

 

Xoxo, Nika of the Diwa Dolls

 

Wedding jumpsuit: Alyson Nicole

Bridal shoes: Badgley Mischka

Photography Credit: Brant Smith Photography

Wedding Venue: Poetry Springs, Terrell , TX

Wedding Rentals: Bella Rentals

DJ: Ugonna Onyekwe

*All other decorations were custom made. For additional vendor inquiries, please email us at diwadollhouse@gmail.com.

 
 

I WAS LOVED BEFORE I MET YOU

I was loved before I met you.

My heart was tattered, bruised, and bleeding and I knew not a home to rest.
In the deepest and darkest of pits it was Jesus Himself who wrapped me up and loved this broken mess.
And like a master surgeon he cracked open my chest, giving me a new identity
He called me a chosen person, a royal priesthood, a nation who is holy
I fell in love with LOVE itself, with my Saviour who since the beginning of time found me worthy of the wait.

He waited for me. So my heart gave in and I waited for Him, never knowing the gift he had in store was more magnificent, more glorious than even the most beautiful of stars. After all, you think God would spare you the wrapping paper, when he bought you a luxury car?

Then He spoke and brought me into your life. Like Eve to Adam in the Garden of Eden, he said “Now”…and I said…”Wow!!!”
You were a reflection of the heart of Christ from start; it’s true.
But the enemy of my soul would scream that if you saw the real me I’d be sure to lose you.
I knew Jesus could love me just as I am… but could you?

But like a fearless warrior you busted down each wall, giving me a new identity. 
You called me the most supreme of Queens, a beauty from ashes, a testimony of God’s grace. 
That even the fire I was afraid of in myself, you would never ever dream to replace. 
I fell in love with the image of Jesus in you, with my Saviour who since the beginning of time knew this very moment would be worth the wait.

He called out the darkness in me and spoke out light. You called out the weakness in me and spoke out strength. And like His mirror, you continue to carefully follow the steps of the One who keeps us on the frequency of His wavelength. 

It is here I find my home, you carry it in your heart. And it is the power of the gospel truth and the story of His love that even death can never part. Someone once told me you can only give the kind of love you have received. So my darling, it is a lifelong promise I give you when I say all your life to you I will cleave. 

Your father Apollos would have been so proud of the man you are today. And it is my greatest honor, knowing he is watching and smiling from Heaven, to promise him that by your side I will always stay. 

I was loved before I met you. And it is because of this profoundly precious truth that I stand before you with a vow strong as eternity starting with the words, “I do.”

-My wedding vow to my husband on our wedding day

 

Xoxo, Nika of the Diwa Dolls

P.S. Join us tomorrow at 6pm for the reception party of a lifetime. Let's eat, drink...we are MARRIED!

 

Wedding Dress: Alvina Valenta, Wedding Atelier

Bridal crown: Alyson Nicole

Bridal shoes: Badgley Mischka

Photography Credit: Brant Smith Photography

Wedding Venue: Poetry Springs, Terrell , TX

Wedding Rentals: Bella Rentals

 
 

MY FINAL MOMENTS AS A SINGLE LADY

"I couldn't sleep. I just kept thinking about how this was my last night in my bed...in my house...kinda like my last night as a kid. I mean, I've lived here since I was five and I feel like I'm supposed to turn in my key tomorrow. It was so strange packing up my room. You know how you have always trained me never to throw anything away. So like I have all these ratty stuffed animals and yearbooks...my old retainer...all my old magic tricks. And I actually packed it all. I just didn't want to let it go. I mean, I know I can't stay, but it's like I don't want to leave." -Annie from Father of the Bride

As I stepped into the sunlight pouring into my living room the morning of June 16,2016, a moment of bittersweet nostalgia swept over me.

Today I would become a wife.

I wondered if the walls would ever look the same, if my bed would feel the same...would the light look different in this room after today? I then fell to my knees in gratitude; deep gratitude that in a small strange way, I didn't want to let go or leave because my parents raised me and my sister in a home full of love and laughter. This was a place billionaires would envy but could never buy. And that is when I realized that no matter how old I get and no matter the season of my life, I am HOME. As I smiled at this truth, my mother and baby sister busted into the room with a million hugs and kisses and we spent a few more minutes lingering in sweet memories for as long as time allowed. 

This is a peek into the following moments in between the morning of my wedding and right before the ceremony. I struggled until midnight trying to quantify in words the treasure in every second, only failing to delete paragraphs that simply could not do justice. So I will let photos speak the million words my overwhelmed heart cannot translate in words to say. These are my final moments as a single lady.

Thank you for reliving these precious memories with me through my favorite snapshots. I also want to extend many thanks to the best bridal party a girl could hope for. My bridesmaids, junior bridesmaids and flower girls- you were a vision come to life. You pour out so much beauty and joy and I feel deeply honored to call you friends and family. To my many aunts who assisted with hair, makeup (and ensuring all the excited ladies were adequately hydrated!)- thank you for walking with me through all my crazy adolescent ups and downs and for holding me close in patience and prayer up to this incredible season of my life. To my mother and father- words continue to fail, but I pray every day that my life would be a growing testimony of the years you dedicated me to The Lord, faithfully carrying me in love and strength come what may. 

 

Xoxo, Nika of the Diwa Dolls

P.S. Come back tomorrow at 6pm on the blog, we will be sharing photos from the ceremony! Until then...

 

Wedding Dress: Alvina Valenta, Wedding Atelier

Bridal crown: Alyson Nicole

Bridal shoes: Badgley Mischka

Photography Credit: Brant Smith Photography

Wedding Venue: Poetry Springs, Terrell , TX

 
 

 

 

BEYONCÉ SHOWED UP TO MY WEDDING

What wedding would be complete without a surprise Beyoncé flashmob, featuring my stunning bridesmaids?! I am such a huge fan of Queen B and for those that know me, I LOVE dancing! I wanted to incorporate a really fun surprise with my bridesmaids as a gift to my husband, so I chose a choreographed dance (by yours truly!) to all my favorite Beyoncé love songs.

As flashmobs are currently trending for weddings, I came up with 3 simple steps to executing a fabulous surprise flashmob:

1) Research other flashmobs that have been choreographed to your chosen song and refer to original music videos/live performances if available.

YouTube is the best reference for this one. I am by no means a professional dancer; my extensive experience is limited to my living room in my pajamas with iTunes as my DJ. Looking to other videos for ideas on dance moves, formations, outfits, etc was a huge help! Looking through Beyoncé's footage was also a big help in incorporating certain "signature moves" (my favorite being the 'Crazy In Love' booty pop!). 

2) Find a space to practice in person and send instructional videos beforehand.

I sent each of my bridesmaids a video including music and play by play instructions on the dance moves. This way, they could come prepared to each scheduled group practice. I booked a studio multiple times at CAP21 and a week prior sent an email outlining exactly what we would be going over during rehearsal. Practicing in person was vital in order to learn from our own and each other's mistakes, clarify on the more challenging moves, getting formations down, and most importantly, spending quality time creating something fun together!

3) Do at least one dress rehearsal at the venue.

This one is crucial! My group had a final session the morning of my wedding; we ran through the entire dance in our outfits (including high heels!). It is important to note that the size of the official dance space will always vary from your practice space. You need to get together as a group and practice exactly how you are planning to execute the routine, music and all.  This way, if any last minute issues arise, you have a cushion of time to make the necessary adjustments before show time!

***BONUS tip...HAVE FUN! This dance means so much to me because of all the extra time I got to spend having a blast with my best friends. (Shout-out to my girls for not killing me in between body rolls for being such a stickler!) Do not take it too seriously; make sure to remember that first and foremost, everyone should be having a good time! If there aren't smiles and laughter, you are doing something wrong and need to reevaluate. 

Finally, a huge THANK YOU to designer Alyson Nicole for this handmade embellished jumpsuit! I knew I wanted the freedom to dance HARD and had this vision of a crisp white jumpsuit that was both glamorous and timeless. Alyson poured her heart out into this design, truly blowing my vision out of the water and creating a dream. She even carefully chose each embellishment and handcrafted each placement until perfection. If you need custom bridal+groom+bespoke accessories or garments and want to work with the most creative and lovely person, Alyson is your girl. Also, how HOT are these ladies in their fabulous gold+sequin dresses (now available under $50!). True to the "Bey way" am I right?!

I hope you enjoy this surprise flashmob as much as we had fun performing it! Comment down below with any additional tips on choreographing a flashmob, as well as any links of your favorite flashmob dances. If you loved this video and want more, follow our Diwa Dolls YouTube channel!

 

Xoxo, Nika of The Diwa Dolls

 

Cinematography: Green Light Media Services

Wedding Jumpsuit: Alyson Nicole

Music (in order): 
Run The World by Beyoncé
Crazy In Love by Beyoncé
End of Time Beyoncé
Love on Top Beyoncé

 
 

EVERYTHING ELSE I FORGOT ON MY WEDDING DAY

The email post-wedding every bride eagerly waits for finally came last week. I logged into Gmail with a million tasks on my to-do list when I caught the subject line "Wedding Video Complete!" And that is how my attention span was lost for the rest for the morning in reliving every delicious moment of the day I married my best friend. 

The day after I officially became Mrs. Ihedigbo, I posted this photo. 

 "I married my best friend. I forget the rest."

It's true!!! I was so enamored with my HUSBAND that aside from a few snapshot moments, I missed a lot of my own wedding (including the food everyone was raving about!). I was hesitant at first in hiring a videographer but oh my, am I glad I did.  

Green Light Media Services (based in Texas) went above and beyond to accommodate every one of my nit-picky, meticulous requests with such an eager and positive attitude. From my first conversation with Helen to actually working with Paul on the big day, I knew they were genuinely invested in capturing all the love we had to share with our friends and family. 

It is my honor and privilege to share with you our personal vows, first kiss and dance, and the venue that transformed into a modern day fairy tale.

And to our family and friends who poured so much love into an already overflowing space... We are forever grateful. Each of your smiling faces was a wonder to watch. Our love story wouldn't be the same without you.

To my husband and partner for life, thank you for renewing your vows to me every day. I still can't believe that out of 1 universe, 9 planets, 126 countries, 809 islands, and 7 seas... I had the privilege of meeting you and (MAJOR BONUS!) becoming your wife.

Finally, to the God who wrote our love story. My faith has been forever strengthened because even in our most challenging moments, your heartbeat continues to drown out the darkness with your inexhaustible LIGHT.  We love because you loved us first. 

 

Xoxo, Nika of the Diwa Dolls

 

Cinematography: Green Light Media Services 
Music Licensing for Film: Music Bed
Photography Credit: Brant Smith Photography
Wedding Venue: Poetry Springs, Terrell , TX 
Wedding Rentals: Bella Rentals 

 
 

HOW FASHION SAVED ME

The Theology of Fashion. Who knew there was even such a thing? 

After spending years studying and working in the corporate fashion industry of NYC, I began to see a lot of disorder in the form of low self-value, unhealthy competition, and compulsive/excessive spending habits to name a few. Thus began my quest to peel back the layers and ask some hard questions...the most important being, "If God sees me as CHOSEN, ROYAL, HOLY, SPECIAL, and LIGHT...and if He is the Creator and Designer or ALL... then shouldn't fashion edify and uplift since it is HIS idea? What happened to spur the downfall? And how can we unpack fashion and reclaim it as a means to empower women?"

So I cracked open my Bible and went back... all the way back to the Garden of Eden. In Genesis 3:8-24, we find a compelling story of the rise and fall of the first glimpse into humanity. The setting is pure perfection; a Garden paradise where God smiled on His handiwork and declared it "very, very good". It is here we find the first trace of defiance and mistrust in God in the form of sin. Sin resulted in not only a severed relationship with God, but also with others (Adam and Eve hiding from one another with fig leaves), and ultimately ourselves in the form of a counterfeit identity. 

A counterfeit identity is a lot like chasing the wind. You can feel it, but the moment you actually try and grasp it, it disappears. Madonna did an interview with Vogue some years back and said, “My drive in life is from this horrible fear of being mediocre. That’s always been pushing me, pushing me. Because even though I’ve become somebody, I still have to prove that I’m SOMEBODY. My struggle has never ended, and it probably never will.” Famous or not, if we are being truly honest, I would dare to say that this resonates somewhere deep within each of our hearts.

Then God redeems. My favorite word in the Bible is "then" because God is ALWAYS in the business of taking what was meant for evil and RECLAIMING AND REDEEMING IT FOR GOOD. In the Garden of Eden, God steps in and kills an animal as a means for sacrifice to COVER us with garments of skin. 

PLEASE try to stay with me here, this is crucial. God covering us with garments of skin was the first ever attempt in all mankind to pursue, provide, and cover our sin. FASHION WAS THE FIRST FORESHADOWING AND FORETASTE OF THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE that would later be displayed on the cross. 

Why did God use fashion of all things? God offers us holisitic salvation, that is not only psychologically, but also physically. He care about the details; the parts even you think are mundane. Why?

Because you are WORTH IT. VALUED. So valued in fact, that you are the only thing the King of the Universe was foolish for. So foolish He sent His one and only Son to die for you.

How does this apply in every day life? First, fashion is a celebration of Christ's covering; our identity and value is in HIM alone. Secondly, fashion becomes freedom from pride; we no longer need to prove anything to anyone or ourselves. Lastly, fashion becomes a reminder that you are FEARFULLY and WONDERFULLY made in the image of Christ. 

This is how fashion saved me. Every time I put on a garment, I am reminded of the redeeming love of My Savior. The GOOD news is that the same God who calls me out of darkness and into His wonderful light is also crazy about YOU. This truth can save you too. So that when the world is perplexed at your identity of steel, when they wonder where your light comes from, you can peel back the layers and reveal a label none other than "Covered in Christ."

 

Xoxo, Nika of the Diwa Dolls

P.S. I will be visiting Dallas to speak more on The Theology of Fashion Sunday, August 28th at the Biblical Community Church, 10:30am (Central Time). For more information, please email diwadollhouse@gmail.com.

P.P.S. Last but certainly not least... we are officially pivoting and re-branding our blog! Our new overall brand idea is reclaiming fashion as fun and for the fearless. The new underlying mission statement is empowering women through a revelation of their worth! We will seek to collaborate with brands and influencers that radiate positivity as well as share our own personal view on style in hopes that others would be uniquely inspired along the way. Thank you for joining us in this new chapter...can't wait to share what's next. BIG things are happening!

 

Location: Joy Women's Fellowship (GCF), Manila, Phillipines

Photographer: Corinne Blanco

 
 

HOW MY LIFE WAS SHATTERED

I made the craziest decision of my life recently. For the first time in years, I said goodbye to the corporate fashion world to pursue a calling higher than what I felt equipped to answer. I tried to ignore the growing desire in the pit of my soul, but every time I was on the verge of backing out, I remembered my promise to my dad the day he agreed to send me to NYC. "I am going to be the next Coco Chanel, but I will shine with the light Jesus gave me." Fast forward to witnessing so much corruption and disorder in terms of self-value and body image in the industry and now, I am saying "I'm done." Not with fashion, but with the superficial meaning society has crafted behind it. If God has dominion over ALL [and indeed He does!!], then He has PLENTY to say about fashion. After all, He is the original Designer! Thus began my quest all the way back to the Garden of Eden and throughout the pages of history in my bible to slowly uncover and peel back the layers of Faith & Fashion. From there, my ministry for Fashion with a greater purpose began to develop and I found myself halfway across the world standing with women and men alike, ready to reclaim and redefine Fashion in a whole new light and perspective. 

I am inviting you all, regardless of faith background, to join me in this journey of rebelling against the norms society has imposed on us throughout the years. The impossible beauty standards that have left us feeling crippled in failure, turning to hide behind the "likes" of Instagram CANNOT and WILL NOT have the final say. 

1 Peter 2:9 says, "But you are a CHOSEN people, a ROYAL priesthood, a HOLY nation, God's SPECIAL possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness and into his wonderful LIGHT."

CHOSEN.

ROYAL.

HOLY.

SPECIAL.

LIGHT.

THAT is your identity. First and foremost that is your brand, that is your label. 

I left my job and it shattered my life in the best way. Funny thing is, I set out to re-define Fashion and in turn, ended up re-defining myself. 

 

Xoxo, Nika of the Diwa Dolls

P.S. Special shout out to the powerhouse of young women I met at the Greenhills Christian Fellowship Hall (especially Danah Gutierrez, my new sister and friend who continues to inspire me to stand up for change!). You all have ministered to my heart in a way I can never fully describe. Until we meet again!

P.P.S. Stick around next week to hear more about my take on the Theology of Fashion and what this means for the blog moving forward! We have got some very exciting changes in the works and cannot wait to share!

 

Location: Greenhills Christian Fellowship Hall, Manila, Philippines

Photographer: Corinne Blanco

 
 

LIFESTYLE: FIANCÉ COUNTDOWN (4 MONTHS TO GO)

HELLO FRIENDS! Happy New Year!

We are both so very excited to announce that this is OFFICIALLY the 4 MONTH FIANCÉ COUNTDOWN until the BIG DAY!!!

At the half way mark, we have so many fun stories, tips, and important advice to share with our bride-to-be's and MOH's (maid of honor). We hope you enjoy our kick start to the final countdown to the 3...2...1!

Xoxo, Diwa Dolls

 


NIKA'S ONCE UPON A TIME...

In the morning it comes, heaven sent a hurricane
Not a trace of the sun, but I don't even run from rain
Beating out of my chest, my heart is holding on to you
From the moment I knew
From the moment I knew

You were the air in my breath filling up my love-soaked lungs
Such a beautiful mess intertwined and overrun
Nothing better than this, oh, and then the storm can come
You feel just like the sun
Just like the sun

And if you say, i'll be alright
I'm gonna trust you, babe
I'm gonna look in your eyes
And if you say, i'll be alright
I'll follow you into the light

Before my fingers even hit the keyboard to write about this whirlwind of a season I am finding myself in, my heart feels like it's going to explode with a level of gratitude that can only be thrown back up to Heaven itself. Tears of joy are a new friend of mine lately. 

How do I begin to write about this healing, restoring, crazy, silly, forever, unconditional kind of love that has become the second most precious GIFT in my life besides God Himself?

Emeka Joseph Ihedigbo came into my life during the calm after what had been the most catastrophic storm. Our very first interaction was bridged by a very special verse.

"I therefore urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient; bearing with one another in love."

-Ephesians 4:1-2

From that moment and countless moments into present day, while we have had our share of stumbling and turmoil, I am in constant awe of the walking example this man is to me and those lucky enough to know him. Emeka IS humility, gentleness, patience...bearing in and through even the darkest shadows of my past with oceanlike love. Most people, even up close, cannot fathom the struggles from my past and the scars bearing witness. No one had bothered to look under the surface of my very fragile exterior... until he came along. I cannot sufficiently describe to you the healing power that diminishes all the lies when someone is bold enough, strong enough to take up those battles with you - scars and all - to find and see you for yourself and nothing more, nothing less. 

“To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.” -Tim Keller

The rest is history. I have witnessed Emeka pursue my family; melting my parents with a genuine nature and a heart of humility, and cherishing my baby sister as his own, patiently pouring out all he had to slowly gain her trust. I have witnessed Emeka serve my friends asking for nothing in return; from cooking a four course meal and insisting he also wash all the dishes, to sitting with someone in the middle of grief for as long as it takes. 

"And I will know you… because when you speak I will be reminded of Solomon’s wisdom,
Your ability to lead will remind me of Moses,
Your faith will remind me of Abraham,
Your confidence in God’s Word will remind me of Daniel,
Your inspiration will remind me of Paul,
Your heart for God will remind me of David,
Your attention to detail will remind me of Noah,
Your integrity will remind me of Joseph,
And your ability to abandon your own will, will remind me of the disciples,
But your ability to love selflessly & unconditionally will remind me of Christ.
But I won’t need to identify you by any special Matthews or any special Marks,
Cause His word will be tatted all over your heart." -Janette Mcghee

I've never had a prouder moment than saying yes to being Emeka's future wife. The honor of being his partner, strong helper, and best friend is grace beyond what I deserve in and of itself. Our engagement pictures are so incredibly precious to me because while leading up to the photoshoot we were giddy with anticipation, the moment we arrived, time stopped just for us. Just an empty, stunning Central Park and the man who blew my best dream out of the water.

He was so worth the wait.

 

"I have found the one whom my soul loves."

-Song of Solomon 3:4

 

 

 

Xoxo, Nika

 

A VERY special THANK YOU to a few artists whose talents and creative genius blow my mind!

Photography: Chester Canasa Photography / Instagram: @chestercanasa

(DREAM of a) Dress: Victoria Wong of Wear The Paint / Shop Wear The Paint on Etsy / Instagram: @wearthepaint / Facebook: Wear the Paint

Makeup: Bianca Diwa

Hair: Courtney Nejedly

 

 

 

 

 

 

LIFESTYLE: BEAN BOOZLED CHALLENGE

We've seen this challenge go viral everywhere in the "Youtube World", so we decided to give it a try! Jelly Belly has created an impressive assortment of multiple flavors that you can choose from. However, these flavors range from Buttered Popcorn and Berry Blue to Molded Cheese and Stinky Socks! For those of you who haven't heard of this challenge, here's how it works:

In the "Bean Boozled" box, there are two of each flavor. You have the choice of picking the yummy flavor or the gag flavor (For example: You can either pick between the Peach Jelly Bean or the Barf Jelly Bean). Here's the catch: They both look exactly the same, so you don't know which one is which!! (Cue the "Don Don DON!") 

We hope you enjoy watching how this challenge unravels! It's safe to say that we are both disgusted + really impressed with Jelly Belly's new flavors!

Happy watching!

Xoxo, Diwa Dolls



Nika's Happily Ever After! 

Hi friends, Nika here! This has to be the most special post I've written thus far. I am still basking in the afterglow of all this. And for those who don't know why I just cannot stop smiling... It's because I'm officially ENGAGED to the man of my dreams!!! 

It was just an ordinary date night with Emeka, my then boyfriend. Well, let me clarify "ordinary" as nothing truly is with him! We sat down by candlelight to dine at my favorite Manhattan date spot- Gran Morsi in TriBeCa. After sharing dinner and drinks and lots of laughs, just as we were about to head out, Emeka insists I see the renovated space downstairs in the event room. We near the stairs and he whips out a blindfold to cover my eyes. He takes my hand and leads me down the stairs towards a chair, telling me to look directly forward. Then the blindfold is off. 

In front of me is a preview of a movie, with a narrator's voice who sounds a bit too familiar (we always joked he had the perfect deep, dramatic "Mufasa-like" voice for movie preview voice overs!). Unfolding before me in theatrical fashion was the most lovely, silly, romantic and thoughtful story... our  story. 

At this point, my heart is beating out of my chest and I'm swimming in an ocean of emotions of excitement and confusion when my Mufasa the narrator says, "Now, there is just one last question to ask!" The lights turn on and I turn to find all of my beloved family and friends smiling back at me with tears in their eyes. 

Before I even have a moment to fully process everything, Emeka is down on one knee with the most breathtaking, perfect sapphire and diamond ring asking me to be his wife. 

There simply aren't enough words in the English vernacular to describe the love this man lavishes on me every single day, despite my sometimes terrible attitude and periodic tantrums. His love is an ocean like passion and his patience is more vast than the Grand Canyon. He is a gift only God Himself could create. To have a chance to love Emeka back in this way is so unbelievably freeing. I'm still on cloud ten...

I can't wait to share more of this life changing season in my life with all of you. Hang tight... It's going to be the most incredible journey!


Xoxo, Nika 

Photography: Chester Canasa

LIFESTYLE: CRUISIN' ROUND UP

Nothing feels more officially summer than a cruise with your amazing family! While we live in New York, our parents live in Texas. It is such a treat to spend quality time together, and what better way than to sail the ocean on the Carnival Splendor en route to St. John in Canada. This 952 length ship was a never-ending emporium of fun for the whole family.

The El Morocco Lounge hosted salsa dancing and karaoke shows, The Spectacular theater had entertaining shows every night- we enjoyed the rock n' roll musical the most! Being fish out of water, we were happy to splish-splash around Splash Park, the Carnival Twister Waterslide, and relax in one of the many jacuzzis. But as token foodies, our favorite part of the whole ship was the all-inclusive cuisine of all kinds- from the fine dining lobster tail (to die for!) to grilled hamburgers and fries by the pool (The chocolate ice cream was a fan fave for Bianca!). We were also so overjoyed to enjoy the calm serenity St. John in Canada had in between sailing- the parks are beautiful and you must try the Tim Horton coffee!

We hope you enjoy our pretty little collage of our summer cruise excursion. We will definitely be back and hope to see you aboard!

Xoxo, Diwa Dolls