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A 30 something blogging about her love affair with Fashion.....among other things!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Brunch at the Pullman

A few weeks back, something unusual happened to me: I won! I played a game on the Instagram of Karelle, who is a very famous food blogger here in Senegal. And I won a voucher for a brunch for two at a very nice hotel in town: the Pullman Teranga Dakar.


I was surprised at first because I have never won anything in my life. And believe me I have tried my luck on many games. This time I was just playing without really hoping to win. I was so excited because, I have been wanting to go eat at the Pullman for quite some time now.

 I originally wanted to give the tickets to my parents for them to enjoy. But upon speaking with my baby brother, he told me that those tickets would be wasted on them since they are old and cannot eat that much (it was a buffet!). So I saved the idea to treat them for later and decided to take my kids and best friend instead. My baby bro and his fiance also joined us.

I have been to the Pullman for work before and I fell in love with the decor. The first thing I noticed was this vibrant picture of Omar Victor Diop - a Senegalese photograph I follow on Instagram- of a model wearing african print dress with the same print in different color in the background. That picture is so eye catching that I could spend hours just looking at it. Passed that picture, I also noticed the unusual furniture and the african touch on the decoration. The eating area was bustling to my surprise because that brunch is not cheap. We had to wait to be shown to a table because we did not make reservation. There was a young and hip crowd, all dressed casual and all on their smartphones. Finally we were shown to a round seating area outside with a beautiful view of the sea. The only problem was that the lack of air conditionning and the flies. But we did not let that rain on our parade.


Scarf - Sandaga market
Dress - (so old but never been worn before) HM
Pants - Thrifted
Shoes - Westside (India)
Earrings - HLM market
Necklace - gift from my Mother


My kids dove right in, chosing to eat all the sushis available. You have to understand that ever since we left Japan, they have not been able to enjoy their favorite food. I went for a healthy mix of salads (avocado, carrot, beet roots) with some seafood and sushis at first. It was very fresh and tasty. I was having a good time, eating, chatting with my family and taking all the sea view in.  At some point, I even met some aquaintance I have not seen in a very long time.

 
My first plate: Carrot, tomoao, cucumber salad with some marinated avocado and beetroot, some sushi rolls, chinese noodle salad and cocktail shrimp
I took four more plates after that!

 
My eldest only ate Sushis and sweets
 

 
Chicken and Beef barbecue skewers

We spent a good two hours eating before we went down to enjoy the pool. The kids were so impatient to go that they did not even finish their plates. The pool was packed as well. We were told that we needed to come earlier to reserve a seat. They were lot of foreigners on the grounds but also some local people. Everyone went inside the water that looked so refreshing on that hot day. As for myself, I decided to use the free wifi (they gave us password at the reception) to catch on social media. I was so stuffed and drowsy that I immediatly regretted not bringing a swimsuit. Truth be told I did not have one at hand. My brother and fiance also did not have any but that did not stop them from purchasing them nearby. I promised myself that next time I come, I will have to bring one.

 
The pool

 
One could also enjoy the beach

 
Lounging by the pool

Because there will be a next time for I had way too much fun and ate so well. I now understand why the place was packed amid the price tag. I need to indulge from time to time. I always limited myself to little pleasures. But once in a while, I think I can afford to go wild. I may not go to the Pullman every week or every month but I will try to go as often as I can, even if it is just to sit and enjoy a cup of tea for the place is really soothing.

 
Cake display
 
The view of Corniche from the Pullman.
Can you spot the Presidential Palace?

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Mint condition

 Ever since I moved back home more than a year ago, I have not really been shopping. I checked stores at our mall that were highly overpriced. And those at the market were not any better.
However, I was given life when I returned to the Saturday market. This market located near my parents house in the subburbs is filled with goodies, second hand items from overseas but also new stuff like under garments and fabrics. We can haggle the price therefore I always manage to get a good deal.
I have to admit that I have been going there every other week. My favorite things to score are shoes. I always look for quality, size, wear and tear and of course the brand. I found shoes from Michael Kors, Steve Madden, Target and more. It is kind of hard to score the nicest ones because they mostly come in smaller size. But I did get lucky once. (Or twice)


Scarf - borrowed from my Mother
Top - Liberte 6 market
Jeans - Liberte 6 market
Shoes - Saturday market
Earrings - Gift
Whem am busy on Saturdays and can't go, I fall back on another small market located in the same area that is open every day called Liberte 6 market. I also indulge there for the prices are highly low: tops at a dollar or less and so on. On my last trip I also found bags.

The last place I absolutly go wild for is my Mother's closet. I already told you that she was a hoarder, which means that not only does she have a closet bursting with clothes, she also kept some old ones on separate suitcases. I raided her closet for traditional clothes since I do not have any yet. And she pulled out some she does not fancy anymore. I took them to a tailor to refashion them. And boom! I had four new outfits for less than a price of a fabric. Last week, she show me some of her old work clothes and I scored two pencil skirts, a jacket (I am still on the fence about that one but) and a coral pleated skirt that was alas too tight ( I am still trying to figure out what to do with it). I love shopping in my mother's closet. She still has some fancy stuff. I steal her scarves, bag, shoes and jewelry all the time. That is what mothers are for. And do not worry she borrows my stuff all the time too.




This outfit was totally thrifted. Nothing is new. It cost me like $20. The dress which is really an oversized top (2XL) can be worn off shoulders. But my fave part of the entire outfit are the shoes. Their color caught my eyes. They were platform which I always wanted to have but never dare. But the heels are not too high and very highly comfortable. Plus they are in suede and they were never worn. I rocked them for the first time at my cousins for Easter and they could not believe they were minted.

I am not sure I will go back to shopping at the malls with what I experienced so far. Boutiques are ridiculously expensive and the attitude of the attendees horrible. If I am going to splurge I prefer to do it at a place I am treated well at least. "Never say never" is my motto. So only time will tell if I find a shop with brand new stuff I fancy..Stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

When after work turns into a Fashion shoot

  I went to my first "After work" the other day. For those who do not know what that is, "After work" is when colleagues get together for drinks or diner after work. Oups! I forgot to tell you! I started working for an international aid agency recently. I finally found myself a job that I also happen to like. Praise the Lord! I have been working for the last few months. It is challenging but I get to learn so many new things. And the best part are the people I get to work with particulalry the ladies. I enjoy them, every single one of them for they all have interesting personalities. They are also hilarious. I spend my days laughing. And I could not be more grateful to God for that!

Since two of my co workers were leaving (sad part of my job: people do not tend to work there for a long time), we decided to surprise them with an "After work"/ farewell party. We went to Marina Bay, which is a seaside hotel with a fabulous pool located in a hip area called "Almadies". Other former co workers joined us as well. We settled outside where we could admire the pool view under the shade.  We started complaining about work as usual until someone pointed out that we should stop talking about it. Then we ordered drinks and snacks. I had the "Bouyakah" juice which was a refreshing mix of Baobab fruit juice and mint among other things (Absoeffinglutlydelicious!!!) and some salmon avocado maki sushi that melted in my mouth....Yum!!!

We were chatting loud about everything: men (some handsome dudes were passing by!), how hard it was to find a good one, politics, sex, kids, how rude our waiter was...well everything with laughter.


Scarf - old
Polka dot jacket worn as a cape ( was way too hot to be worn properly) - Max fashion India
Ruffle top - Westside India
Pants - thrifted (HM)
Shoes - thrifted
Earrings - HLM market

 
Peep the Henna I had done for Eid

All of a sudden, we started taking pictures. There were group shots at first then gradually some of us started getting into pairs to take blog worthy pictures. I have to admit that the decor was incinting us to do so: bright vibrant paint, pool and beach, cute flower paths, nice wicker outdoor furniture....Originally I did not want to take outfit pics because I just wanted to relax and enjoy myself. But I had to join in on the fun as well. Friends of mine took my  pictures with their phones (mine is crappy). By the time I arrived home I had received 155 pictures on my phone ( my phone has no memory left). That is how crazy we were that day.


We separated at around 7:30 pm for some ladies lived far away and wanted to get home early. I did not  feel like leaving because I was having way too much fun. I caught a ride with a former colleague. I made a mental note to come back in that marvellous place again maybe with the kids. They would love it as well!!


The Bouyakah juice 


The salmon avovado maki sushi with pickled ginger


Caught laughing out loud!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Ramadan Lethargy


Hello dears.

How are you?

And for those fasting, how is your Ramadan so far?

We are in the last week of Ramadan and I am feeling great. I cannot complain.

However I could not help but notice a certain lethargy that has engulfed the town and the people living in it. since the beginning of Ramadan. For starters people go to work later than usual because they are still trying to catch some sleep between the time they eat and pray in the morning and the time they go to work. It is harder particularly for women who wake up early to cook something for their families. Even when you get organized and cook something the night before going to bed, you still have to get up earlier to heat it up. And most women I know are not content on cooking something simple, like ordinary breakfast. They want to make elaborate meals that would please their families. They feel the pressure more than anybody else, and they sleep also less.

This lack of sleep can have some serious consequences on the body and the mind when one is at work. We find it hard to concentrate. We are on the edge because we lack both sleep and food. Therefore a little thing can set us off. In the city, people are at their worst when it is rush hour as everyone tries to get home before dark. At 4:30 pm already there is a huge traffic. One can get stuck in a traffic jam for 45 minutes. It is nice when you are sitting in an air conditioned car, but when you are standing in an overcrowded bus with no air, that still has a long way to go before you arrive at your destination, your nerves are tensed. It is the time you often witness people raise voices at strangers, swear at each other and even fight. They lack the endurance to bear it all, which is the meaning of Ramadan itself.




 
 
Blouse and top set - old from my Mom that I altered
Golden mules - HLM market
Golden scarf - Pune, India
The only area I have seen booming is at the markets, especially during the week end. Women, who enjoy the fact that they do not have to cook lunch, go shopping. Granted no one is there in the wee hours of the morning, but from midday till late, people are shopping for goodies they will eat later, fabrics and accessories to get ready not only for Ramadan but for Eid. For some reason or another, Senegalese people think that during Ramadan, they should dress in traditional attire. It is somewhat due to the fact that traditional clothes are considered modest. Women and men alike would rival in wearing their best casual traditional attire to the office but also to visit family and friends during that time. I have nothing against it. Actually I am all for it. My only issue is that some of the modern Senegalese attire is not modest at all from over the shoulder tight fitted dresses to sheer lacy peplum tops, those outfits can be quite sexy. To me, the whole purpose of Ramadan is then lost.
 

As for myself, I do lack the sleep because I usually do not sleep much anyway. I am hungry and cranky but I try to do my best not to explode. I usually avoid going to markets except for food. Every year I used to have this policy that I would not enjoy shopping during the Holy month. But this year I broke that rule because I have decided to get my Eid outfit ready early on instead of waiting at the last minute. The previous years when I got to celebrate it at home, I was lucky enough to be gifted one dress. But since I can afford one this year, I already have it made by my tailor. I also went crazy and bought several shoes, particularly mules for my traditional outfits (for some reasons traditional outfits work best with mules in Senegal).Going at the market where you find sparkly and shiny new things is beyond tempting but I am stopping myself now. Or maybe I need a new necklace or two… (GOD save me!!!)
 

Anyway, if you are Muslim like me, I wish you a pious and joyful Eid. May your prayers be accepted, your Duas answered. Ameen



Monday, May 29, 2017

Neighborly behavior

Sénégalese people are known to do whatever they want or like no matter what. What only matters to them is that "gnu dem" ( they advance) as they say in my country. As long as they get what they want, the ends explains the means. For example, they might take a wrong way even on the highway if they are in a rush to get to work. They will not queue at the store but instead force their way in. They will park any way they want without thinking of the next car. 

That was not the case in the past. People were thoughtful and caring particularly between neighbors. They tended to keep the peace and even had nice relationships. For example, a woman would send lunch over to her next door neighbor. Or she could go and borrow sugar if she ran out. During events, she could borrow chairs from her neighbor or even her entire house if there were too many guests to fit into her own. Some neighbors became so close, they ended up being family. 

 
 

Blazer - thrifted 
Shirt - Max, India 
Jeans - gift
Loafers- M.G. road 
Bag (pictured below) - gift
Watch - gift 


However nowadays, people live like westerners. You barely know your next door neighbor. You barely great them when you pass them on the streets. Even worse, you live as if you are alone, making loud noises at indecent hours, laughing like a James Bond movie villain or banging on doors. That was the case with my downstairs neighbors before we moved.To be fair, we lived in the same house. He rented downstairs and we rented upstairs. Both flats have independent doors. But since our flat is pretty open with big windows giving into their garden, we could hear everything that is going on downstairs and I am sure they did hear us too. Yet they were too loud. They had younger kids who screamed instead of talking. Plus they liked to slam the doors. The adults had animated discussions particularly late in the night. Moreover they enjoyed loud music. It was driving us crazy. We  never complained and tried to make less noise. But there were times where we had to say something. One day they were so loud at 11 pm hat I had to shush them from my window. 

I thought I would have peace in my new neighborhood but I was wrong. We made the mistake to have a house next to an open field where the kids play soccer. It meant that every day, they would come in that field and play. The soccer matches itself do not bother us. It is the singing and drumming and the cheerings that go along with it, that gets on my nerve. One day they were banging so loudly that I had to say something. I asked them nicely to stop the noise or at least go bang somewhere else and they just laughed at my face. Could you believe it? Kids barely older than my own two boys were defying me. When I could not take it anymore, I took their makeshift drums (empty plastic bottles) and threw it away in an empty lot that was barricaded. It felt so great for a minute until they jumped the barricades, retrieved the bottles and started banging again. The week end, they started their concert again and this time my husband intervened twice; at first he was nice but when he realised they would not listen, he confiscated the tanks and put them inside the house. I think they got the message now.
 

 
 
When I lived abroad I have to admit that I was not always the best of neighbor. My vice is that I love to listen to music loudly. And some of my neighbors were not too happy about that. One of them completely lost it one day and banged so violently on the wall we shared that one of my framed photo fell and nearly broke. I banged back at the wall and infuriated, he came banging on my door. If not for my then boyfriend now husband it would have turned ugly because I was not ready to back down. Since then, I mature and now I use my headphones when I want to listen to music. When I get crazy neighbors I just think that it is karma and sigh.




Still I wish my Sénégalese people use common sense and think of others before thinking about themselves first. The other day the entire road leading to my place was blocked by a huge tent being build because somebody would be having a party the following day. I have nothing against people celebrating but when this celebration stops others from leading a normal life., it becomes a problem . I could not even go through with my car let along park in front of my place. I had to do a u turn, circle the entire block to go around and find a parking near my flat. And to top it all there was no warning, no excuse. My personal favorite (sacarsm) is when this neighbor organises religious chantings every friday that are so loud you can't barely here yourself think ( he uses a megaphone to blast the sound all over the street). And you cannot say a thing because it is religious. You complain and people will say that you are a non-believer.
 
 What ever happened to good behavior we were so proud of in our country?
 
 




As for myself, I am a poor neighbor. I like to keep to myself and would not like to entertain a relationship with my next door neighbor like my folks do ( particularly when those neighbors are the nosy,  always up in your business type).
 However I would greet them if I meet them on the streets. And I would try and disturb them as little as possible ( because since we all share a wall, I am pretty sure I will do something one day that will disturb them). That is the least I can do. And if every one did the same, my country would be a better place! 
 
 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

B'lingo Dakar fashion launch

You guys! Guess what? I attended my first real fashion event. Yeppee!!!!
 A friend of mine knew a lady who was organizing a fashion launch and she got me and other friends passes to attend. I obviously went with my best friend.

The event was for a sportswear and swimwear African fashion house called B'lingo. I have never heard of it but I did Google it before the event. What I found were cute sportswear with a splash of African prints. It was different from your usual sportswear.


The event was held at the Radisson Blu hotel in Dakar. I have never been there but I got to admit that the place is amazing. My Spidey senses were tingling upon entering and I told my best friend that I needed to come here more for my blog photoshoots.

The event itself was outdoors in a beautiful garden with lots of greenery. Since we arrived early (but still fashionably late) we were seated like front row even though there were no rows. There were many comfy sofas and couches placed around the garden. I was enjoying myself, taking pictures, talking with my friends, acting like we were on E Fashion police. I got to admire several people with absolutely crazy sense of style. The outfits were trendy, colorful and fun. Many women wore African prints, and headwraps. Some were casual in jeans and some wore fancy dresses. The crowd were a mix of designers, ambassadors, influent people and I guess common people like myself.

Here is what I wore


Scarf - Reliance Trends
Vest - Made it
Jumpsuit - Westside
Bag - borrowed from my Mom
Shoes - Zara
Ring - M.G. road

When I knew I was going to the event, this outfit immediatly came into my mind. It was simple, I feel comfortable in it plus it had that extra "I am a fashion blogger" vibe to it. On top of it, I did not have to buy anything new. All these items have been inside my closet for years.


I did not stay the entire time of the event for I had to leave early to go take care of my babies (story of my life). Yet I watched part of the fashion show and I liked what I saw. Unfortunately this is not the type of clothing I like. I never work out. And If I do, I would feel better in some lose sweats rather than tight leggings. And do not even get me started on the swimwear that was fly but oh so sexy. To top it all off, the price is way out of my range. There were booths where one could purchase the collection.

The highlight of the night for me was when I got to meet with Fashion Designer Selly Raby Kane and Stylist Afua Rida.


With Afua Rida

I had vibes that Afua was going to be at the event when I saw on her Instagram feed the same pic the designers posted. Therefore that was an extra incentive for me to go. I caught up on her when she was alone using her phone. She was really nice and down to earth. I even took pics with her. Meeting Selly was also beyond. I came to her, giving her my hand and she was like I am a kisser. She gave me a kiss.


With Selly Raby Kane 

Waouh! She was so nice and her outfit was a killer. Her designs are not for everybody but I like her because she is different. I took pics with her as well.

After that I went home happy, on cloud 9. I can't wait to attend another fashion event.


With my Bff 


Laughing way too hard coz I can't pose!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

I wore a kurta for an interview

A few months back, I was called for an interview. It was at the Indian embassy.

As usual I was in panic mode, because they called me the day before the interview. In my mind, all kind of questions were swirling. But obviously the most important one was :"what was I to wear?"

For interviews I always want to go the classic route aka black suit with a white shirt. But I had to mix it up a little in the past. One time in Summer, I wore a bright orange sleeveless blouse with a dark blazer because wearing anything with sleeves with that heat would have been suicide. Another time I wore a grey two buttoned vest with a black and white blouse. I always go for dark slacks as well.

For this interview I was going to go for the same dark slacks, a dark blazer, a white shirt and pumps when my husband who was watching me pulling clothes out of my closet suggested I wore Senegalese ethnic wear. I was puzzled a first . "What the hell are you talking about?" I asked him. He went on to tell me that since the day of the interview was Friday aka Masjid day (prayer at the mosque) everyone in town would be wearing Senegalese ethnic wear and I should do the same. For some reason, I rejected the idea. Senegalese ethnic wear was not formal for interviews I thought. But the more I looked at it, the more plausible it seemed to me. My jacket was outdated, my blouses all had to be ironed which I did not have the time to do now anyway. And my pants were too big for me after I lost some weight. Instead of going for that, I could easily slip in some Senegalese style dress that was not too fancy and already ironed ready for the interview. I wanted to go for the pink tunic featured on the blog before, but upon trying it it was a tad too sexy. When I was ready to give up, I noticed a vibrant Kurta (tunic) I had bought on sale in India two years ago and never got to wear. Plus it did not need ironing. I added a black pencil skirt, black scarf, black pumps and I was set.



Printed Kurta in Liva - Global Desi
Pants - HM
Glittered loafers - M.G. road
Sunglasses - M.G. road
Bag - gift
Watch - gift
 

 
 
This is what I wore after the interview to go run errands around town with my sons
 

The day of the interview I arrived to find three other candidates: two women and one man. The ladies were dressed in short pencil skirts and blouses but the gentleman had on Senegalese ethnic wear.
 

The interview went well and they offered me a job. However when I started asking questions, they rudely turned me down. I still do not know what happened.



Yet I was happy about my outfit choice because it stood out, and more importantly I was comfortable. I did not have to fidget with it therefore I was able to concentrate on the interview.




I am not sure what I did is something you call pull off somewhere else. I know that in Sénégal and even India it would be OK depending on where you are applying. I doubt banks, or other formal businesses would approve of it. I am pretty sure I would not have done that if I was in Japan for they are all into dark formal suits, the more formal the better. I may have future interviews but this time I will be ready. I already purchased a more fitted pair of pants. I just need a nice dark blazer that is trendy and I will be all set. Wish me luck!

 


If you would like to know what is appropriate to wear for interviews particularly in my home country of Senegal, go check my other blog here.





My best friend took these pictures while we were at CityDia supermarket sitting in the make up chair. It made me feel like I was a movie star, getting ready for her close up. 

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