How to choose the right book

Whether it’s for leisure, to learn new things or for a book reading club, we find ourselves needing to find and choose the right book that will actually be helpful.

I one time thought I could easily pick a book by just turning over and reading the description or synopsis. I was wrong, and that made me buy a novel I ended up not liking. It wasn’t badly written or plain boring, the subject matter was just not my thing and the themes weren’t something I cared much about. These weren’t stated in the description instead it was a funny write up making me think the novel was humorous all the way.

I don’t want you to make that mistake so, these are my tips on

How to choose the right book

Check the reviews

This is an important step to choosing the right book. Go online and check the ratings and reviews. There are many book-reviewing sites that review lots of books (with different genres) also, there are bloggers like me, who review books we love.

These reviewers sometimes give an in-depth analysis of the book. Don’t worry, if it’s a good reviewer, they wouldn’t tell the end.

Visit the library

Most of the books I love were found in the library.

Some books aren’t so popular to have tons of reviews on the internet. However, you can find some of these in local libraries but especially national libraries! Authors in some countries are required to deposit copies of their book in the national library. So, you have access to tons of books when you visit the library.

You can easily turn the pages of these books and read some of it before deciding to take it home and you are saving money.

Visit Bookstores

Online bookstores are ok but preferably physical bookstores. With physical bookstores, there are attendants that will be happy to give you recommendations.

Also, you are exposed to different books you could buy. Online stores will only show you book recommendations and that’s it, except there’s a live chat on the site where someone is ready to attend to questions.

Ask for recommendations

Ask ask ask! Those book-loving friends are great for recommending books. Ask them. If it’s a genre they love, you are going to get best recommends.

Find books by your favourite authors

Find books by the authors you love. Try to be on the loop on when any of their new books are coming out.

Favourite authors are those you agree with and share in some of your values and interests. A book by them is sure to be interesting.

These are a few tips on how to choose the right book. They will be helpful for you to choose your next best read.

Book review | funny men cannot be trusted

On this post, I’ll be reviewing the book funny men cannot be trusted, an anthology by poet Tolu Akinyemi.

back story

I took some time off Instagram and I stopped posting in general, to just sit back and get inspired.

For the short bit, I decided to read more of poetry especially the contemporary ones, and have a look at literature coming out of Africa or by African writers.
So, I picked up this collection of poems :

‘funny men cannot be trusted’ by Tolu Akinyemi

and it was a good decision.

The point of the book — well according to the writer, is to get people to love and understand poetry, poetry that is not “boring, and obscure”. The book is the third and newest of the series ‘poetry for people who hate poetry’ by the same author.

book review funny men cannot be trusted hopeasfro.blog hopeasfro

Even though I don’t hate poetry, I don’t think anyone will dislike this. The poems are well written, there’s no one I disliked. It’s not unnecessarily esoteric, it’s simple yet interesting — more with the use of imagery, its comical nature still retaining the deep meanings.

The poems centre around the themes of love, absentee fathers, hope, human interaction and things relatable.

One I particularly liked for this was the poem ‘a sharpened knife’. It lightly addresses the uncommonly talked about bias in marriage

” when quietly the housewife
sharpens the knife, nobody cares
but when it cuts her back
suddenly, there is an uproar”.

It’s not unnecessarily esoteric, it’s simple yet interesting

There are the ones that made me laugh like ‘when you are single’ highlighting the pressures of marriage (typical in African cultures LOL )

“Like ‘pretty Rita!
When are we eating
your wedding rice?’
You drag a smile
with your reply.

‘Nosey Aunty Nosa! tó n bé bí òyà…
(If only you could say it loud)”.

(that springs like a cane rat. Nosa pries into people’s privacy).

In particular, I enjoyed this and also the writer’s humour. Lovely book. I will rate it somewhere above 8/10

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Freebie ideas for art bloggers to get email list opt-ins

These are 5 Freebie options to choose from to get readers opting into your email list.

The things I blog about on my blog are lifestyle art and literature. As an art blogger who wants my readers to join my email list, It will be nice to have a freebie to give to the new contacts. That’s where the brainstorming comes in. As also a lifestyle blogger, I can easily come up with anything but, I wanted to represent Art as part of the blog — what’s another way than to incorporate art in my freebies?

Part of my audience are people artistic, budding artists and newcomers. I came up with these freebies to share with them and I’m sharing this with you.

Freebie ideas for art bloggers

1. Free printable art resources

Hey, lover of printable(s) and wallpaper!

This is the one I like to go for. Whether it’s wallpaper, gift wraps or colourful sheets, these are awesome freebies to give newcomers to a blog or to get people to opt-in for your emails.

hopeasfro.blog

They can range from

• colouring sheets

• wallpaper

• designed drawing sheets /worksheets

• templates

and lots more

what’s another way than to incorporate art in my freebies?

2. Free colour palettes

Apart from Pinterest, colour palettes examples can also come from you. If you are a pro in choosing colours and matching them, that’s a freebie option you can carry out.

freebie ideas for art bloggers hopeasfro
color pallette & theme examples

You can find more examples on my Pinterest

3. How to draw guide

They want to see how you draw trees, fruits, how you shade, light effects — ‘yes, how do you do that?’

This can come as

1. Free tutorials

2. A Guide (in PDF)

3. Free workshop

4. Free webinar

5. A free Ebook

6. Free review of their art

By knowing your audience, you know what best serves as a freebie. If I don’t want to bother learning how to draw but still appreciate art, well sorry, I don’t want that free stuff.

Freebie ideas for art bloggers--hopeasfro.blog

4. Blog launch starter kit (printable)

There are artists struggling to have a bomb website or blog. If you are a multi-niche blogger helping others to know the ins and outs of blogging and also an art blogger, then this is for you.

1. A blog starter checklist

2. Help with seo related questions

By knowing your audience, you know what best serves as a freebie.

Freebie ideas for art bloggers hopeasfro.blog hopeasfro

5. Free tools for art and Graphic designs

To get readers to join your mailing list,

–sharing your favourite tools for designing some precepts from your favourite editing app is not a bad idea, this can also be in form of a resource library too…As far as it’s free😜

6. Discount in your art shop

A discount code for items in your art store is a good way to get people to join your email list. Tell them to sign up for the Newsletter to be given a discount code.

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If you liked this, please share so your friends can see it. Thank you 🙂

Wisdom teeth

And so what if I come out with pain!

You remember, I only grow out at a certain period.

You should be grateful you lived that long.

..

Does not my pain make you shut up,

Does it not stop your jaw from opening too wide?

Or are the wise meant to speak too much?

And you say my name does not follow me.

..

Be quiet adult! In fact child

Do you know what patience is?

Do you think I’m like others, that just make

The gum itch and wala!

..

You must feel my presence,

I am here to stay and

Oh don’t even try to remove me, try it!

And you will see I am much stronger than that your dentist!

Hair product review: Aussie moist 3 minute miracle deep conditioner

On this post, I’ll be reviewing the Aussie moist 3-minute miracle deep conditioner. I’ve heard a lot about it and decided to try it out.

The products I used before lacked a lot of slip and that led to single strand knots and breakage, because, well — I was wrestling with the hair during wash days.

Those products I used weren’t the best of both worlds ’cause one will give my hair the softness but no strength, the other will give it strength but make it stiff like some dried hay. I did a review on them here. I’ve heard of this product for a while now and decided to try it and I’m quite impressed!

Let’s talk about the packaging now

It’s in a tube like a bottle, so it’s just meant to be squeezed out. I like the sides of it where there are these impressions, possibly for good grip.

Review of Aussie moist deep conditioner hopeasfro.blog hopeasfro
Impressions on the side to hold

That is thoughtful, ’cause in the shower, I don’t want something slipping. At the end of the tube-like package, there’s a hole where it comes out from. However, dust can easily get in since there is no cover for the opening. To prevent that it’s better upright with the opening facing down on whatever platform.

The feel

It is white, soft and creamy, similar to Cantu’s deep conditioning masque. It has some slip probably due to the sea kelp — one of the ingredients.

Ingredients:

If you are big on natural products, then this might not be the product for you.
It contains ingredients such as;
Water, Stearyl alcohol, … It’s not silicone free.

How Aussie moist felt on my hair:

I have to say, Aussie moist 3-minute miracle deep conditioner gave me the best slip. The knots went out like in no time I was like ‘wow!’ It was crazy, I haven’t got any slip like that using previous conditioners. So yes, it did a good job.

Soft?
Is my hair softer? Yes. My hair was quite manageable after use.
It’s still soft and flexible, it doesn’t have that stiffness that comes with recent washing.

Hair product review hopeasfro hopeasfro.blog

Is the price of Aussie moist 3-minute miracle deep conditioner worth it?

Aussie moist is on the cheap side and for what it does, it’s worth it.

Would I use it again?

Look, it’s in my cupboard ready for the next wash day. If you are reading this, have you tried the product before, what were your thoughts? Leave a comment.
If you would like to recommend any product, let me know down below.

My Top Apps for design

Design can be used for corporate reasons in branding and logo, for editorials like magazines, advertisements and a lot of other uses.

In summary, the design is what you see every day. As a blogger, I find myself designing posters, blog banners, Instagram posts, Pinterest pins and so on.

As someone who is into graphic design, a bit of digital marketing and blogging. I have used a few programs to see if one is better that is in user experience and if it actually does what it’s meant to do, according to its description on the app store.

I’m not so tech savvy but I know design makes those works pop and be noticeable. It is what makes your work stand out and get your fans ‘oh it’s you’. With that, I have a few apps that help in getting the job done. They are easy to use and you don’t have to be much of a graphic designer.

These are my top Apps for design

1. Canva

Before getting on Canva, I was always like ‘what’s with all the hype?’ Well, it is worth the hype. Canva has a variety of canvas sizes to work on so you don’t need to check the measurement of a blog banner and manually change the size of a canvas (board the design is going on), it’s all there!

Top apps for design - hopeasfro.blog Hopeasfro

A variety of sizes to pick from, such as the Pinterest pin size.

Starting is free and you get access to a lot of free stock photos however, the more beautiful ones for sale. You can pretty much get a design done with a free account but a paid account gets you access to a lot more.

2. Inshot

‘Isn’t that for pictures?’ Well, yes it’s used for editing pictures and design but it’s also good for basic designs. There are few writing types (good for design and branding) and you can purchase more. It also allows you to add some animations.

3. Autodesk Sketchbook

This is my sketching a digital art app which also works as a design app for me (drawing is design right?). It is not as good as Canva because it isn’t made for such however, it got the work done when I hadn’t signed up for Canva. With such, design is on you, you don’t get to see any ideas like you would on Canva. It’s one for the basics and for artists as the design is more on the art the artist makes. It is also free.

4 Adobe

Adobe is pretty good especially photoshop (that’s possibly the most used app from Adobe, alongside illustrator). However, you don’t get most of it in the mobile version. I think to fully experience and utilise the app, it’s in its desktop version. Otherwise its really good. Adobe spark post is quite similar to canva, there are a lot of tools and templates there for visual marketing and making your social media posts.

Something I’ve noticed is there are Adobe apps that actually do the same thing for instance illustrator and sketch. Why is there a need for similar apps when they could just improve one?
Just wondering.

More things to do this holiday | Don’t waste it!

The holiday is approaching and it already looks sunny and bright. Then the problem arises “how do I make most of it?”

There is so much fun stuff to do (’cause the holiday won’t be boring) and things to learn.

So these are some ideas for the holiday:

1. Embrace the outdoors

Get your ass up and go get some sun! There are many things to do outdoors. Do that thing you’ve been wanting to do. Go for a picnic at your local park,

• Walk somewhere

Pinterest finds hopeasfro

• Visit the farmer’s market

• Volunteer

• Start that garden

• If you like reading (’cause it’s nice and fun), visit your local library.

2. Make a summer reading list

Compile a list of books you think you might love and start reading from that order. Share your list with your friends if they can join too (sort of a mini book club) or you can review the books and share them with your friends. (I made a post on how to review a book here).

I’m currently compiling my list of summer fiction reads, so stay tuned if you want in.

3. Learn an online course

Whether it’s digital marketing, design, IT & software, photography, e.t.c Udemy has you covered.

There are other alternatives to get free online education such as Coursera, codecademy, edX, TED–Ed, Khan Academy, and lots more.

For good educative courses, some of the prices are really cheap!

You can also learn Excel on these sites:

Improve your Excel, Excel easy, Excel jet, Mr Excel, Excel central and so on.

Learn that online course.

4. Organize and do some housework

Organize that email inbox and go over those emails. A holiday is a time to put your closet together plus there’s no better time to give your house some TLC.

After all the work, give yourself a high five and a lovely fruit drink.

5. Save

“Save wha–” Yes, save. You don’t want to blow all your money because it’s well “summer”.

Save more things to do this holiday. hopeasfro.blog

There are a lot of unnecessary things people end up spending on. If you don’t want to be in that kind of situation, try saving. There are numerous platforms for that such as cowrywise, Piggyback Ng.

See more tips on saving here

Read:

How to review a book

Tips to help you start saving

Would you like to be notified when the reading list is out, please let me know in the comments ⬇

If you have any more ideas for holiday activities, I will like to know in the comments 🙂

List of my recent art + the inspiration & message behind.

I figured that it will be fun to share some of my art – as a digital artist and what was the inspiration.

I get inspired by almost everything nice (LOL), my surrounding, the people I meet or see, Pinterest… Yes, Pinterest.

So let’s cut in— just for saying, most if not all of my artworks contain a major theme of hope, one way or another.

1. Save the trees – Art.

Forest park visit art by hopeasfro

This one is called ‘save the trees’ ’cause yes, save the trees!

This was inspired by one of Yaoyao ma van as’s art I found on Pinterest. I love the lively scenery, the trees and I thought, why don’t I depict this in my own way.

I also love this idea of taking a trip to the park and allowing kids to be familiar with nature, so all these were incorporated in this art. What do you say kids and the park…

2.The Neighbours – Art

The neighbours. Funny illustration by hopeasfro

I think I will call this my major playful contemporary illustration. I wanted to make something quite comical, like interesting housemates, with their funny personalities and day to day lives. For example, a girl falling flat on the floor after battling with her dog in ‘Survival of the brush’.

Have fun picking out the rest of the characters.

3. Serene beauty – Art illustration

Serene beauty. Art www.hopeasfro.blog

This one was inspired by beautiful and colourful houses in the suburban parts of lovely cities. Basically ‘beautiful places’ I love to pin on my Pinterest.

Imagine walking down a narrow passage in between to tall houses and arriving at a market…well, this is just part of it.

And yes, I’ve realised there’s a lot of the word ‘beautiful’ in my description, 😜.

4.Tom & Jerry mansion – Artwork

Tom and jerry mansions art by hopeasfro

I was going for ‘abstract’ in this one. I wanted it to look like paper cuts put together (see the short trees close to the walk).

In one of Tom & Jerry episodes, they had mansions. So yeah, I decided to draw them. I probably love it when characters are in the scene — a bit of human interaction, that’s why those tiny humans are on the field at the back (behind the houses LOL).

5. HE is risen – Art

HE is risen. easter art by hopeasfro

My Easter special!

Easter is more than just chocolate eggs and chocolate. As a Christian, I take part in the joy of knowing the meaning of Jesus’ death and resurrection, the importance of HIS resurrection.

6.Gorilla chase – Art illustration

Gorilla chase art by hopeasfro

This is an illustration for a poem I shared here Gorilla chase. I found this beautiful work on Pinterest with a pink sky (don’t be afraid to use colours!) It was so beautiful, so I decided to change the sky colour – which pretty much changed the colour scheme.

Want to know what it portrays? Read it Here.

I printed out my design and it looks lovely!

I decided to print out one of my designs on a mug, and not just leave it there in my gallery, looking digital (😕).

Well, it turned out great!

It made me appreciate it more seeing it there pasted on this mug. I’m still yet to use it, the mug sits there like it’s actually a canvas LOL.

i printed out my design and it looks lovely hopeasfro.blog hopeasfro

I got it printed abroad (quite a wrong idea) when I was trying out print-on-demand setting up my shop.

I hope to find good printing shops in Nigeria though because I’m yet to try out one after relocating here.

If anyone is living in Nigeria and know of print shops or any print-on-demand online sites based in Africa, please I’m open to suggestions.

These designs look so good, what’s the point keeping them in soft copy😜.