I have such a fun treat for you today! I’m so excited to introduce you to Dinah (Dee) Eke – next up in my Women Who Inspire series. Dee is a busy, full-time working mother of two, creative visionary, DIY-er, and founder of the popular blog Dee Diary!
Dee grew up in West Africa and now lives with her husband and two boys in New York City. She is a clinical trial manager by day, and a writer, blogger, creative force by night – all while juggling her two young kids and some recent health challenges. She has managed to stay present and positive throughout it all, and I am so inspired by how she handles whatever life throws at her with grace, authenticity – and lots of style.
We’re talking about career pivots, going all in on design as a renter, and Dee’s favorite daily uniform. Let’s go!
The most valuable career advice you’ve ever been given?
Pay attention to the relationships you make along the way. Sometimes these connections are more important, perhaps, than the years of experience you have in a particular field. I have found this to be incredibly true. You want people with seats at the table to know your name so they can open doors for you.
Entrepreneur or leader you admire and why?
Beyonce. She sings. She dances. She commands a crowd. Style on point. A leader in her own right. Whenever I listen to her talk, I’m inspired to keep going after my dreams. Plus I’ve seen her in concert a few times. She’s a vibe!
A risk you took that paid off?
Working in the pharmaceutical industry was a major pivot in my career path. I originally wanted to be a doctor. It took a really hard inspection of my motivations to realize that I so much of my life was just a mission to prove wrong everyone that said I would not amount to much. Like, how exhausting is that?! Lol. Doing things that I want to do because I want to do them is freedom.
I used to think that It was graduating with my masters in public health. But these days I am most proud of admitting to myself, and my loved ones, that I was not okay about six months into my post-partum journey. It felt like a personal failure to be having such a hard time at motherhood. But, looking back, I am proud of that woman who put herself first so that she could be a better version for herself and her family.
The thing you like most about yourself?
I’m a natural multi-tasker. At any one moment I can be problem solving 4 different things at the same time. It can also be a bit of a challenge for me because I often find it hard to shut down and relax.
How do you fuel your creativity?
These days I find a lot of joy in expressing my creativity in interior décor. I have always had so many ideas for what I wanted my future house to look like. I would say to myself, “when I buy my house, I will do this… and that,” until I had a lightbulb moment and started trying out renter-friendly versions of my ideas in my current home. We have lived here since 2014 and its incredible to me that I am just now exploring this side of my creativity. But, I love to say, “better late than never” – there really is no better time than the present to execute on whatever it is you have been putting off.
Go-to daily uniform?
My Nike sweatsuits. I woke up one day and realized I own almost 10 colors of the same thing! Lol. Why reinvent the wheel?
Actual morning routine?
I need to brush my teeth with my Sonicare toothbrush. There was a time where I used to travel weekly and I bought a second tooth brush so it could live in my suitcase. A close second is my coffee – it’s like a battery these days. I’m a second class version of myself without it. Then its diaper time for the kids and getting them ready for the day. It still amazes me that there was ever a time in my life where I could roll out of bed after 10AM.
Earlybird or night owl?
Night owl for sure.
How do you recharge when it’s all too much?
It used to be that I would go and get a massage or get my nails done. But that isn’t always possible with the kids, and was totally impossible with Covid restrictions last year. So my husband and I worked out a time out where I would have alone time – mostly spent executing some décor project or what I call #DeeIYs
One self care tip you follow religiously?
I have to take at least one shower a day. You are probably laughing, but since having kids, I had to prioritize this no matter how tired I was. Something about the water washing away my stress? I don’t know, but that is my alone time. Sometimes I ball out and go all the way with deep condition, body scrub, shave… the whole thing. I love showers; it’s like I step out of that shower a new person every night. Not to mention, I know I smell good. Lol.
Your #1 go-to easy weeknight meal?
Oatmeal for dinner! Instant oatmeal is my favorite go-to dinner plan when I’m in a pinch. It’s nutritious, helps the kids sleep through the night, and it’s ready in three minutes – how’s that for efficiency?!
Favorite snack or treat?
Plantain anything. Fried, boiled, roasted, chips, tostones, mofongo… I never met a plantain I didn’t like.
Favorite or most used app on your phone?
Lol. Instagram. It’s a problem. But its connected me to so many amazing people… like you!
What’s in your handbag right now?
Vaccination card. Lip balm. Credit card. Insurance Card. Debit Card. A pen.
Sweatpants or real pants while on Zoom?
Digital or physical planner?
Physical. I love to write things out on paper and physically check of boxes for my to-do lists. Learned that from my college roommate. Hella satisfying to get things done.
Favorite gift to give?
A Parachute cloud robe. I LOVE those things! Luxury and comfort in one. Not to mention they soak up milk stains like nothing else.
Can’t live without beauty product?
Benefit Gimme Brow.
Your favorite spot to retreat to in your home?
Anything fun coming up that we should know about?
Well. Quite a few things actually. Working on something fashion-related & a décor collaboration & a children’s book I have been writing for what feels like forever. Lol. Better late than never, so it will happen when it happens. But, you can expect lots of color coming from me.