Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Holiday gift guide

Well, the holidays are approaching at a fast rate. Soon you will be dragged to office parties and family get together. Are you ready for it all? But more importantly, have you bought all the gifts for your loved ones?

I am here to help you find that special something for the ones you care about be it family or friends.

Gifts for her:

Maybe because I am a woman, I find it very easy to shop for women. They enjoy clothes, accessories, perfume. If you have daughters, or nieces, I am sure they will fall in love with any doll you give them. I saw some with African printed clothes at a toy store the other day. You can also think outside the box, and offer them toys that can push them to use their creativity like jewelry making sets or their brains like society games. Older women will enjoy yards of fancy fabrics to make themselves clothes or a piece of delicate jewelry. I know my Mother will fancy a nice pair of red mules to match her red tote bag (she already told me). And this following advice is for the men out there: your woman will always give you hint of what she would want for Christmas, so pay attention to what she says in the coming weeks, please.

Gift for her

Gifts for him:

People think that it is hard to buy gifts for men but it is actually very easy. I usually gravitate towards books, watches, ties and perfumes depending on the personality. I may splurge on video games or the latest technology if I know he enjoys that. As for younger boys, if they are like mine, they all like cars, trains, Legos and super hero figurines. 

As for myself, I really enjoy making something for people. It could be something simple like a card or sophisticated like a beaded necklace. It becomes special with that personal touch. Therefore if you are creative and have the time, I suggest you make something to give. The person will appreciate it way more.

I hope this was helpful. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

What to wear at an Embassy party

The hubby and I were invited to a party held by the Ambassador of Japan in Senegal the other day. Oh, nothing too fancy. It was just a lunch the Ambassador organizes to meet all the former recipients of the Japanese scholarship.

But as usual before the event, I stressed about what I wanted to wear. For the first time in my life, I already knew what I wanted to wear. I was dead set on the outfit I wore for Eid (Tabaski) this year, a peplum top and wrap around skirt made with this gorgeous Kerelan Saree fabric. Until the hubby said that it was too flashy and that I needed to wear something simple like a dress with a blazer. I finally settled for this after trying out several outfits.

The entire ordeal got me thinking about what one should wear if they are invited to dine with an Ambassador.

But before deciding one should know the kind of events held at an Embassy or by an Ambassador. There are several types that run from semi formal to very formal. You can have a reception to celebrate the country's independence day for example that can be big affairs, or just a brunch to meet and greet with the new Embassy staff. Whatever it is, do your homework first to know what kind of event it is. Also try to figure out who else is invited.

Formal attire:

In these types of events, it is always safe to go for formal particularly when there are no dress code on the invitations. There is no doubt that you will meet other important people at the party on top of the Ambassador and you want to make a good impression, something you cannot do dressed in jeans and trainers. Therefore I recommend going for a suit, a nice fitted dress, or a skirt when it is semi formal. When the invitation states "Black tie" you have to dig out your floor length evening gown.  The outfit does not necessarily need to be in muted colors. If you want to be colorful, go for coordination at least. And if you want to try a print, stick to one. You do not want to dizzy your host or his guests with myriads of clashing prints.  This is not London Fashion Week Street style!

Traditional attire:

Latest trend in Senegalese traditional attire

When in doubt, you can always go with your traditional attire. Before leaving Japan, an employee at the Embassy told me that as of now I was a representative of my country. Therefore wherever I went in Japan, I needed to be on my best behavior so as to perfectly showcase Senegalese values. But more importantly he advise me to wear Senegalese traditional clothes every time I was invited to formal parties. I followed his advice 9 out of 10 times and did not live to regret it. People at those parties, Japanese and foreigners alike were always impressed by my clothes. And it was such a conversation starter to explain what it was. I also got numerous compliments. That is why to this day, wherever I lived: I always wore traditional outfits for parties (unless the dress code said otherwise). And that is what I will recommend also.


Since I am Senegalese, I would wear Senegalese traditional attire such as Boubou or Taille basse that can be very modest. But not every traditional attire is easy to wear. If you have one that you cannot see rocking, make a western outfit in the traditional print or fabric of your country. For example, I could make a fitted dress with an indigo fabric from my country called Thioub. It is still very formal but it has a traditional and original touch.

Whatever you decide to rock, remember the code: it should not be too short, too revealing, too tight, dirty or wrinkled. You want to look polished. Remember your manners as well. If you are not sure about etiquette, google them or ask around. I am sure there is a grown up or someone from high society in your entourage who can teach you a thing or two about behaving properly in such settings. Do not forget to smile and network. You never know who you can meet there that can help you boost your career. But most importantly, enjoy yourself!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

A matching shirt pants floral set, endless opportunities!

 (Been working on this post since January 2016)

In January 2015, I bought this lovely floral shirt and pants set. I was drawn to the print and the color but also to the fact that it was very comfortable. I had decided to style it several ways but then completely forgot about the whole thing (it was hidden in my closet) until recently. I wore it as it was twice in the same week and felt wonderful. Now, I am trying to get more wears out of it. And what better way to start than to showcase how to style the set with the following pictures below.

As it is:

Scarf - Sandaga market 
Matching set - Westside
Bag and Shoes - M.G. road
Earrings - Mariplex flea market
Ring - HM

Add an outerwear:

Scarf  - Shivaji market
Ear cuff used as Brooch - M.G. road
Blue blazer - HM
Matching set - Westside
Bag - (super old) Zara
Flats - Forever 21
Pearl bracelet - old

Break it down with a top:

Turban - Sandaga market
Lace collard top - M.G. road
Matching set - Westside
Leopard printed cross body bag - Pink city, Jaipur
Leopard printed sandals - Inc 5
Earrings and cuff - gifts


Scarf - Oldie
Matching set top - Westside
Neon dress - M.G. road
Bag - M.G. road
Golden sandals - Koregaon park
Watch - gift


Sequin scarf - Shivaji market
Bomber jacket - Cupid
Black and sequin tank - Harwin road, Houston
Matching set pants - Westside
Red heels - Sole to soul
Ring - Mariplex flea market

What do you think? Do you like how I styled the set? How would you style it?

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Goree, my dear

Recently my sister in law had the genius idea to take the kids and me to Goree Island. Truth be told she had been planning this trip for years now but there was always something that came up last minute preventing us from going. 

But this time, we were determined to go. And so we did. We bought food fit for kings and took her car. We arrived at the port which was packed. It is Summer so obviously everybody will go to the beach. We were lucky to get tickets and rode the boat to the Island. Upon arrival, we rented a mat and parasol. I was in bagages duty while the kids bathe with their aunt. I took this time to do people watching. I also checked this island that I called home for seven years. In fact, I went to boarding school in Goree island. I did all my middle and high school in a school reserved for the best girls of the entire nation at the end of the elementary cycle. I had the best of time there. I met wonderful people there from teachers to classmates. Now, you know why this place hold a special place in my heart. I could not wait to go back and visit it. 

But first I just enjoyed being back. I looked around and not much has changed. Sure, new restaurants popped up here and there but overall the island kept its charm. And for good reason: Goree is a UNESCO world heritage which means that it should be kept as it is. The houses were old with their colonial architechture and vibrant paints. They were all covered with bougainvilliers, my favorite flower. The beach was calm with myriads of people enjoying it. It is a special beach because it does not have waves, and it is not too deep. For this reason, even young kids can enjoy it without fear of drowning. 

I had to notice all these teenagers decked in bikinis and short shorts with wide brim hats and huge sunglasses. They were "vacancies" or people on vacation either from the city or abroad. They all had smartphones and were taking countless of selfies either inside the sea or on the beach, making faces that would make any Kardashian proud. I could not help but compared them to the kids of my generation. We knew how to have fun,  but we were never so outragously bold. I guess time has changed. 

After the time spent at the beach, we took a stroll around the island. We went to all the spots that make the Island great: the huge football field were countless of videos were shot, the Castel with its artist crowd, the small roads with little stones houses and vibrant doors. It was all so charming. But the highlight of our stroll was visiting my former school. 

View of Goree from the boat

The view from our parasol

I just put my feet in

A colorful traditional fishing boat with the Juventus soccer team logo

A nice house

Bougainvilliers everywhere

Dyed clothes at Castel

Stone wall

Since it was Summer, there were no classes. Therefore we had free access. I checked almost everywhere except the dormitories. The school had also stayed the same. I even visited the last classroom I was in while the kids ran around the huge playgroung. It was good that I could show them where I went to school. But the visit also broke my heart. The school is in a poor shape with decaying material, walls and fences in ruin. I almost teared up. Such a school could not be left in such a state. It is absolutely ridiculous. The government should take better care of it particulalry for the reason that every year, the students have the best results in the entire country.

My boys chasing a wild cat at the entrance of the school

This Gulmohar tree (Delonix regia) is beautiful in Spring with orange flowers. I had numerous private conversation with my friends underneath it. 

If these steps could talk, oh the stories they would tell!

I played all kind of games in this field. 

My last classroom. I used to sit on the second bench in the middle row.

Selfie time

Kids playing frizbee with their aunt in my school playground

We host parties in this lawn. 

After the visit, we rushed back to the port because it was time to go back to the city. But we saw the famous Slave House (Maison des esclaves) Museum on our way. I promised the kids to do it next time we come to the Island. It is important for them to know about this part of our history. 

A wooden door house

The entrance to the Slaves House

Some special Senegalese art called "Sous Verre" on display. It is made by coloring directly on the glass in the frame. 

This visit was just perfect. It was a perfectly sunny day, I had the perfect company and I had the perfect experience. I just wished the Hubby could be there to share it with us. Hopefully, next time we go, he will accompagny us.

Monday, April 25, 2016

On my radar : Off shoulders

Hello readers!

Today I want to chat about the latest fashion trend that is inspiring me: Off Shoulders. Truth be told, I had second thoughts about blogging on a trend I am not likely to enjoy publicly. As you know by now, I dress modesty for religious reasons. Therefore I am not about to expose my shoulders on this blog or in the real world. However, the more I thought about it, the more I realize that it should not stop me for blogging about what I like. For one thing,  most of my readers do not cover up like I do, and they might enjoy learning about this new trend. Furthermore, just because I may not wear the trend in public does not mean that I will not indulge in it in private. So today I give you my latest obsession: Off shoulders (anything)

The trend will be big for Spring Summer this year. It had already been featured on the runway and on some fashion bloggers. What I like about it is that it is a trend that anyone can enjoy no matter your size. Shoulders are not something even body conscious women like me, tend to hide.  They are easier to flaunt than some other body parts ( thighs and butt for example). Moreover showing a bit of shoulder can also be very sexy not to mention refreshing when it is super hot.

I am not going to lie, I did own some off shoulder tops in the past. It was a big trend in my country growing up and it is still making its way back in the ethnic wear department.

There are different ways to try the trend and I will show you my favorites below:

Peek a boo:


This style will let you show just a bit of shoulder skin if you are the shy type. Usually they come with simple blouses or dresses with round cuts on the sleeves. They are still sexy but demure at the same time.

Low boat-neck:

This is also for the people who are not quite sure about flaunting it all. The boat-neck style will help you flaunt your collarbone without going too deep into the shoulders. For this type it is best to stick to dresses or tops in stretch fabric which will make it easier to pull it down lower and hold it in place.


Two ways:

I would also recommend investing in a top ( or dress) that has drawstrings or elastic shearing in it. That way you can wear it properly or lower it when you want to try the trend. You can adjust the string to show one shoulder or both, as you like. Whatever you decide to do, you will have different tops ( or dresses) for the price of  one which is what I call a very good deal.

Down low:

These are for the dare it all type of woman. The top sits very low on the body, almost on top of the breasts and the sleeves look like they are unattached to the top. I really like this style but you have to be extra confident to pull it off. No to mention that the bra you will wear it with need to be extra special and supportive.


With fun sleeves:

There is something very dramatic about bell or bubble sleeves. They will upgrade your fashion game as they are but paired with an off shoulders, there are just too fabulous and fun.


Final points:

The cut of the item already makes it a focal point so you need to keep the rest of the outfit simple. Choose items in airy fabrics like cotton or raw silk. I am drawn to colors like white, beige, or pastel blue but you can go for prints such as stripes or check. African or tribal prints can also work provided that you keep the rest of the ensemble low key. If you go for a top that has a flowy or layered hem, pair it with a high waisted jeans or pencil skirts. If you try off shoulder dress pair it with gladiator sandals if it is short or espadrilles if it's long for a bohemian easy breezy look. As for accessories, either go for long drop earrings to let your neck shine or add some pizzazz with a fancy choker. Do not forget to moisturize you neck and back for a smooth and glowing effect. A bronzer would be also helpful.

There you have, all you need to know to start rocking the trend. I am thinking of Diy mine, and I will hopefully blog about that too later. Watch this space!

This is how my Gambian sisters rock the trend, in ethnic wear from Phuzion boutique

If there is one person who is obsessed with off shoulders, it is Geneva
She even DIY hers!

This off shoulder dress of Kela is giving me major vibes. And when she layers it with the jacket, it is oh so modest. 

Chastity shows that anyone can rock the trend with panache. 

Saily in a tie dye dream of a top


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