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Thursday, November 19, 2015

Sing a new song

Sing unto the Lord a new song, sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, praise His name; proclaim His salvation day after day.....

Have you ever played music from your iPod and had that feeling that "man, I need some new music?" As much as new music is being cranked out on the regular, it's hard to sift through the crap that is being released these days. But you know, some gems emerge like Adele's new album. Or artists like Vivian Green drops a new jam and surprises you to tell you she still got it. But for me, I was feeling a bit rusty in my spiritual walk and I knew that my current and only gospel rotation wasn't going to pick me up. I needed something new to chew on. Thank God for spiritual sisters who intercede for you without even asking! Per request, I've picked up Travis Greene's new album, The Hill and girlaaaaaaa. I have been silent worshipping in my cubicle everyday at work with this album in rotation. I'm literally running to my car so that I can enjoy my evening commute to sing at the top of my lungs! This is definitely the refreshing, "new song" that I needed to pick my self up and keep moving on with this beautiful faith in God. I've been doubly blessed because big cousin Kirk Franklin also blessed us with a new compilation and I'm equally loving it. Sometimes what your spirit needs is that encouraging song that helps you memorize the Word and remember that God is worthy of all praise. Enjoy.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

We Was Girls Together

A premiere episodes of Being Mary Jane had me all up in my feelings thinking about female friendships. The episode(s) did a lot. If you haven't started the show, consider it unless you already have an unhealthy roster of television shows like me. To carefully summarize, Mary Jane is a strong-headed, successful go-getter who has her share of personal and family issues. All the while, she's trying to stay afloat as black and single female. She has this friend, Lisa. Their relationship is... real. They've been BFFs since childhood but both women have their share of adult woes and it sometimes conflicts with their relationship. The new season starts with their friendship in the gutter: you know the usual TV drama of betrayal, sex, shifty men.

After Lisa made countless attempts to apologize to MJ, MJ took the chance and went in. Her rant was measured, heartfelt, and painful. I had to turn off the TV before the end of the monologue because I realized my heart was racing and I was starting to choke up. MJ's bitter last words to Lisa reminded me of a time of when I was on the receiving end of a hurt tirade from a dear dear friend. Lisa was wrong. I was wrong. Lisa tried to apologize to make things right; as did I. It hurt watching Lisa take the harsh words and I blamed and shamed MJ for being so... mean. How could she be so cold and bitter? How could she not see that Lisa was obviously wracked with guilt and needed to tell her that? Where is your vulnerability Mary Jane? Memory reels of my crumbled friendship flashed before me and had to pray my way out of the pain before going to sleep. Yes, the years have provided the opportunity for gentle reconciliation but I still mourn the loss of her presence in my life and vice versa. Watching MJ and Lisa's friendship finally fall apart made my heart drop. It was Toni and Joan again. It was Nel on her knees at Sula's grave.

But you know, it was not fair for me to make MJ seem like the big bad wolf for coming at Lisa like that. Hell, there's a little bit of MJ in all of us: I'm sure you would've kirked out too. But still, it wasn't MJ's fault even when we witness Lisa take her life in her subsequent episode. Lisa made a choice when she slept with David. She made a choice when she self-prescribed. Mary Jane made a choice to give Lisa her piece of mind. And that's what we really have in this world.  Our choices. We all have a choice in what we say, how we say it, and when we say it. We have a choice in what we do, how we do it, and when we do it. We have a choice in our actions, do we have a choice in our reactions? MJ said what she felt, but did she mean what she said? I have so many damn questions, and what I am getting at may not really make sense but all in all, what I took away from the episode was the need for compassion. Compassion for one another and self-compassion. Even when you're in the 'right'.

I cannot attribute Lisa's death wholly to realizing that she lost MJ. But even if MJ couldn't forgive her, I wish Lisa gave herself the time to forgive herself and pick herself up again. I wish Lisa gave herself the time to face her own truth that she is definitely flawed but not utterly broken. I fought to forgive myself for my role in a broken friendship but I think I was strengthened through being better for the many girlfriends I had in my life. It has helped me in being a better wife. I had to realize that I have come to know the God in me that I didn't recognize in my past. I had to learn that my reactions are as toxic as another person's wrongful actions-- or what I may feel is wrongful.

I'm going to get scriptural because that's what fuels me now. God had a point when He said be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger. Because yes, we have all the right to be pissed as hell but we have got to be careful in how we react. Even when we know in our heart that nothing will be the same with the person at fault; take the chance to be the bigger person. And say what you say, but be also careful. Death and life is in the power of the tongue. Just remember that.
I thank God for his grace, and I appreciate the grace in female friendships. This episode reminded of what was and what is. I call on my girls by name: Rebecca, Ke, Kodi, Z, Nana Konamah, Mo, Jan, Erika, Linda O., Clar, Adoma, Michelle First Lady, Grace, Sheila, Maame D., Maame Ohenewaah, Gloria Ataa, Louisa's Ladies, Adetoun, Odo Mary, Regina, Twinnie Annie, Bisi, my blog friends Chinye and Amma :) and.... Tiffany.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Seven things

Don't come for me about not posting since January, okay? Just praise the Lord that I'm crawling back to blogging. 

I've decided to finish a drafted post that I was supposed to respond to foreverago. This summer has been quite relaxing and I've been doing a lot of nothing and la little bit of 'something' here and there. I'm ashamed that I don't blog regularly but with some new life changes, I think I will be:) 

Thanks for the tag Chinye dear!

1. You're given a 'round the world ticket that stops in five major cities - which cities does you visit?

Maldives (I know it's not a city but I just want to go there); Sunset, Mozambique; Casablanca, Morocco, Hong Kong, China, Paris, France.

2. What's the weirdest thing you've ever eaten?
Chicken feet. My mother forbade us to tell people we had chicken feet stew. It was hard to stay quiet about it because it was so good. Will I eat it again? Never.

3. Gain 20 IQ points or lose 20 pounds - which do you choose?
I'm so vain, yes, I will choose 20 pounds any day. But I will want to keep the booty. A girl is nothing without booty and brains.

4. You can hang out with three of your favourite bloggers (even if you've never met them) this weekend and do anything you want to...which three bloggers and what are you doing?
Leila of bglh: we're talking hair care, of course, for 4c girls. Leila doesn't post herself as much on her famous blog so I am eager to know more about her regimen now. She briefly wrote about her struggle with thin, fine hair and I related to her because I have the same issues. She has since gone for a low fade that looks stunning against her caramel complexion and bright green eyes. 

Chinye of ChinyeLoves: Chinye is possibly my double. She is my friend in my mind and I am so impressed with her blog and insight. If Chinye and I were to meet in person, we will do a fabulous stroll (or bike) through Central Park, Georgetown DC, somewhere! (possibly two trips), check out some vegan restaurants and thrift stores, and spend hours taking pictures and making lists of what our next endeavours would be. Of course, our conversation will be saturated with topics of family, literature, money, and Africa. Yep, it'll be nice:) (Let's make it happen!)
Shirley of Shirley's Wardrobe: Love love love Shirley and her style. If Shirls and I were to hang out, she will revamp my whole wardrobe and do my makeup for the day. We will end the day with tea and nonstop chatter about the latest young adult novels, makeup products, and our favorite styles.

5. Why did you start your blog and do you still blog for the same reason?

I started the blog because I wanted to record my experience in Ghana in a visual and written format. I also wanted to challenge myself to do something on a consistent basis and connect with other bloggers:) Hubby insists that this was a travel blog and nothing more. And yes, he's possibly right. But I think I have to learn to get over my fear of sharing too much of myself and know that sometimes, it's okay to give a little to the world. And to stop procrastination. It's a curse.

6. You can have the services of one of the following free for an entire year - a cook, a cleaner, a driver, or a trainer. Which do you choose and why?

I would have a cook only because I'm a die-hard foodie and with a cook, I can learn so many other dishes.... sike! I'll be too busy eating. Plus, it'll be fun trying out new dishes.

7. Describe your ideal mate - in 25 words or less.
God-fearing, facial hair, deep voice, awesome smile, extremely patient, travel-lover,  superb sense of humor, tall, romantic, ambitious, health conscious, passionate kisser, named Timilehin :)

I tag the following lovelies. Feel free to change a question if you like! 

Clarissa & Amma

I will be shocked if Clarissa does this! lol

Friday, January 9, 2015

This Year Meets Us Well

*Long New Year's Post-- it's been a while okay!? :)*

Afehyia Pa! (Ah-fee-she-ah-paa) A common saying in the holiday season of Christmas and New Year to most Ghanaians. And yes, as it translates, this year meets us well. 2014 was a blessed year in its own right but to be honest, it was a very complacent year for me. I didn't feel as if I had to "do" anything but I always have something to do:). However, I had some great moments of 2014: celebrating my first year of marriage, having a fabulous summer break where I took time off from full-time teaching, being more active in my church community, and lastly, becoming a homeowner with my husband. In the past, whenever a new year rolled through, I took great pride in setting goals. I would make lists upon lists of things I want to do and achieve. I would post them on my desk and relish in crossing them off. I have kept journals of my dreams and desires and have successfully fulfilled many of them. But until recently, I found myself so overcome by my obsessive goal-setting. I think it was because many of them were the same year after year, and many were so lofty and cumbersome. So this year 2015, I will reactive that goal-setting passion of mine by coming up with reasonable and realistic goals that are not generalized or overwhelming. And I truly want to use my blog as a platform for these goals and hopefully get some of you as my virtual cheerleaders.

  •  Commit to blogging on a consistent basis

I started this blog as a way to stay in touch with friends and family about my trip to Ghana. Upon coming back, I have notably reduced in posting partly because I lost a spark of excitement. I came home and returned to doing pretty much the same things I did before I left. My dreams of working abroad were stilted to some extent and I just "didn't have anything to write about". Which is not true. I have/had plenty to write but had to take some time off for figuring out the direction of this blog. It is a lifestyle blog where I can be candid and engaged with those who love all the things I do: God, literature, family, self-awareness, Africa, and beyond. My goal is to blog weekly. Once a week. And if possible, more. If not, I commit to 52 blog posts this year.  I have a long blogroll of women whose writing inspires and entertains me. And I commit to reading more blogs, commenting, and just getting my blogger voice out there.Someone reading cares. I suppose. :)

  • Develop a true quiet time with God

I have been a born-again Christian since age 17 and this journey has been so captivating, confusing, and enlightening all at once. I have had moments in my walk that have been groundbreaking and moments where I felt like I was just a wanderer. It's a journey all right and I intend on pushing through and enjoying everyday life with my faith in Christ. I sucked at quiet time in 2014. I was so preoccupied with other things and never got that part of my life straight. But it's so necessary. Meditation, quiet time is so necessary for a growing woman. So I resolve to do better and be better about my walk. I will seek out quiet time at a set time everyday, even if it is for 15 minutes.  A big feat for me but I am going to do it. I don't want to see it as something to check off daily but I want it be something I yearn and desire for constantly. And to be honest, it will take practice because I've been out of touch.

  • Find my Style

Okay, I'm embarassed to say, I am still learning how to dress myself and know what looks good on me aside from my boring teacher clothes. This is a hard one to admit. My husband has been begging me to change up my look but I'm a bit reluctant (which I will explain further in #4). However, I know I have a pretty nice figure and I want to reflect my personality through my personal style. I always joked that if I can wear ntoma (ankara, African cloth) every day, I would...So this year I am going to learn how to build a wardrobe and not be that frantic person who runs to H&M or shamelessly to F21 whenever I have an upcoming event. And usually, I leave flustered and empty-handed... I love Shirley's sleek look, Chioma's functional style, and Delmy's savvy wears so hopefully I can channel ideas and personal taste to reveal a unique me this year.

  •  Move more, eat cleaner

A common favorite on everyone's list but a necessity on mine especially this year. I went through a strenuous and in-depth physical at the end of 2014 that really opened my eyes to how important it is to care for my body. No worries, I have a clean bill of health aside from some slight, fixable things. So getting my health straight, moving more through physical activity, and eating more whole foods is a pursuit that I will push towards until I am personally satisfied.

  • See a notable shift in my profession

This year, I finish my certificate in International Education at GWU! Yay! From volunteering in Ghana to gaining acceptance to Columbia to teaching again and now, completing my graduate certificate, I really have some places to go. I really want to put my degree to use and hopefully, get my master's in International Education in the future (if someone is paying for it!). Meanwhile, I've been reflecting on my teaching career and I am quite ready for some change. I pray that all the seeking I have been doing will end with a wonderful result.

  •  Rekindle my passion for reading

I was such a voracious reader in high school and somewhat in college. But once work started, I dropped the ball, heavy. I soon resorted to ravishing through tons of young adult novels because of my students and while those are fun, I need to get back to making my book lists and reading again. I am a part of an awesome book club and I want to make time to read and even more, write about what I read. My dear friend Clarissa  has started an e-book club on her blog so I will join in with her by creating monthly posts on a variety of books I read and posing questions or answering hers. Also, I hope to venture into more nonfiction texts as my love for fiction may cause me to be out of touch sometimes! ha!

  • Take a writing course

I teach English language and literature and I love everything about it but I tend slack when it comes to writing skills. I am not the strongest writer. I can assess, give tips, and appreciate good writing but when it comes to my own writing, I'm not proud of it. My writing is very conversational and I want to work on being more concise, sophisticated, and still relatable. Once my course with GWU is up, I am considering taking a writing course at my local community college. Or just teaching myself. Hell, that's what I went to school for:) I think I'll go back to my first love and pick up my journal again and release. All the same, I hope taking a course will allow me to let go of my inhibitions and enjoy a new and active writing community.

  •  Sew finally

I have a machine that is desperately calling my name. And with as much money I spend on my seamstress (though I love you Irene!), I think if I try hard enough, I can start putting some things together and making it work:) Yetunde, Francisca, and Mimi are all my muses. Hats off to you ladies.

  • Share myself fairly and willingly

Hubby calls me a busybody. Friends praise/complain that "I know everybody". I tend to struggle in saying no and for the most part, it's been good. I love helping others, being there for others, or just connecting with folk. I have a giving spirit and in most cases and I believe it is a blessing. Last year, I really laid low in terms of how much  of myself I give. I wasn't "everywhere" doing "everything". It was just me and mine. And it was good for me but then again, not. I don't need to overexert for others so much so that I burnout and then, withdraw. Because by withdrawing, I found myself to be a little selfish and cynical. Turning down a lot of activities because "I simply didn't have time for it". When in essence, I did have time. I just didn't want to be bothered. This year, I want to be fair in how much I give myself to others and how I use my time with others effectively. That means having limits but it also means, not holding myself completely back. There is a blessing in sharing your time, love, finances and gifts with others. But I do not want to do it so much that I neglect my personal state of mind, my marriage, or neglect those who really need me. So this year, I plan on being there for loved ones who don't see me as much, balancing my church life so that I don't make it "my life", and enjoying quality time with my husband who works long and late hours on a weekly basis. That's what it's going to be about for me this year, balance and completion in everything I do. One day at a time.

Happy New Year all. I'm back, I guess! :)

Monday, November 10, 2014

Getting started

This blogging thing has me thinking a lot. I love blogging. I love reading. And I kind of like writing. My inspiration for starting this blog was due to my trip abroad and after being back home since my teaching stint (3 years, omg), I wonder what direction I want this blog to go. I have ample amount of ideas, plenty of saved posts, many thoughts that riddle my mind. The reason why I have so many saved posts is mostly because I start, write a line, then stop. It's almost as if I am willing myself to hold back, not unfold the the thoughts of my heart. After getting married, continuing my teaching career and my international education pursuit, at times, I don't even know where I am going. I find myself wondering, "how did I even get here?" And "what I am doing?" I feel fulfilled, yet I feel as if I am wandering at the same time.... It's just a funny time in my life. That is all.At times, I just wish I had one friend I can really connect with on a regular basis-- someone to look forward to (aside from my husband. I strongly believe in strong female friendships). I want to be truly immersed in something exciting and meaningful to me. I want to be obsessed with something concrete and consistent. I desire to see growth in my relationship with God and with my husband. I just seek to know the real me now. When I start to feel this way, I know it's God humming in my ear, so yeah, I need to rearrange my life so he's back at number 1. I've started the journey, but lately, I feel at a pause.

So I do/do not apologize for the delay. I've seemed to have abandoned my mojo, not lost it. I"m doing way too much thinking and not a lot of doing. But those who know me, know that I do so much. Maybe this pause is necessary. Thank goodness for old-faithful blogs that keep me smiling and motivated-- not just to write but to embrace life. Thanks Chinye, Clar, and Amma. Especially dear Chinye whose recent post forced me to come back to this site and pull this post from the vault. I suppose I just need to get started again and then it'll be easier.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Watching Africa on Youtube:)

Like many of you (possibly), I enjoy a good African film from time to time... and when I say good-- I mean, the plot has to be interesting and the acting somewhat realistic. I say 'somewhat' because many African films fall on the overacting side. I'm not going to front, there are some of the overacting ones that caught my attention (African version of ratchet TV). As a teenager, I briefly wanted to be an African film actress. If that doesn't say much about my personality, then I don't know what does.

However, there are plenty of African films that don't fall in this typical category and I had the pleasure of enjoying a few recently.

Enroute to Nigeria, I had the pleasure of watching some amazing African films via Emirates last Christmas. One was a particular gem because I read the graphic novel many years ago and was surprised to see it as an animated motion picture. "Aya de Yopougon" is such a pleasant film about a girl who is trying not to let society, family, or friends influence deter her from pursuing her dream of medical school. At the same time, it focuses on some funny and reflective situations in Aya's small neighborhood in 1970s Abidjan, Ivory Coast.  Folks, the film is adorable; I shook my head and laugh at many scenes. What makes it all the more recommendable is that it focuses on real-life issues that are present in our African community-- positives and negatives: cheating fathers, African fashion, incorrigible womanizers vs. money-hungry young women, highlife nightlife, and more. I would own it if I knew where to purchase it. A visual treat!
A short clip from the film: Aya's friend is "sick" ooooo (wink wink)

What I really wanted to see and finally had the chance to was the screening of "Half of a Yellow Sun". One of my favorite books of all time, I was truly excited to watch the film adaptation. It didn't hurt that Chiwetel Ojiofor was playing our beloved Odenigbo. A story that centers on the cultural divides and the post colonial impact on a newly independent Nigeria, the film did it's best to portray such complexes but overall, it was a bit melodramatic for me. I felt the screenwriting was sparse and lacking in comparison to the depth of the novel. There were some one-liners I recalled from the book but overall, the movie was just average. I suppose I couldn't get over Thandie's South African accent but Chiwetel's chest hair was enough to make up for it:) I will surely suggest the book lovers to see the visual presentation, it's surely worth it. But it'll make you want to run and read the book all over again.

It snowed last Monday and I spent the first half of the day watching old Ghanaian films. One of my favorite films as a kid was "Dirty Tears" (you already know) and that was just fun watching again... Another favorite of mine is the socially critical short film, "Love Brewed in an African Pot". The title alone is eye-catching and the movie is really simple, sweet, and thought-provoking. What I love the most is how vintage it is: the music, the setting along romantic Cape Coast, and how the innocence of love is portrayed in the film. Themes like family influence in marriage, social class conflicts, and self-acceptance are all present in the film The upload is probably the clearest it can be given the time the film was created but honestly, it's a good flick.

Full film:)

Among some other African webisodes or films online is The African City (thanks for the suggestion Clar and Amma). You can always watch your favorite Nollywood film on YT as well :/

What is your favorite African film, past or present?

Monday, November 18, 2013

If this is love

I've been itching to write about my wedding/marriage for a long time. I joked with Tim that it was better to not blog about wedding planning because then I would lose focus of the blog and only rant about my wedding. It's easier now that it is over to write about the experience. Only because wedding planning was a very difficult and emotional thing to do.

Tim proposed in 2010 after I returned from a vacation in Ghana. I suppose it was the first time I was away from him in so long and it hye hye no (he "felt" it). It was a quiet proposal; he invited another couple friend to join us and I felt very special and loved. We initially planned to wed in 2011 but we soon realized that it just wasn't time yet. We've been dating since undergraduate and we always knew we wanted to be married but we really had to pray and seek the face of God for direction. I especially had to pray that my parents accepted the relationship. For some odd reason, Ghanaians have a strong love/hate thing for Nigerians. Many of their reasons based on myth and personal experience. Majority of their reason depends on Nollywood horror films.... All the same, my proud Asante parents were especially wary of marrying off their first, beloved daughter to some Naija boy. So it took years, years to soften their hearts. So when the struggle subsided, we began to plan for our union.

From the jump, I knew that my parents were not going to contribute much to the wedding. Their reason was because they were struggling financially and also because they had the strange notion that Tim was a rich Nigerian who can foot the bill. After much pleading, explaining, and hollering, I gave up on trying to convince them to pitch in. Tim and I paid for the whole wedding out of pocket-- no credit. Of course, his parents helped out in various ways but for the most part we did it alone. It. was. hard. It was harrrrrdddddd.
There was a lot of prayer and fasting and hoping that went into planning for our day; God made it possible .

Honestly, I was never the girl who dreamed of the gown and flowers. I was truly excited for the customary rites. Culturally, this event is the true marriage because both families meet to discuss and agree on the union. I marvel at the discussion, negotiations, fashion, advice that goes into such a ceremony and I was more excited to wear kente than I was in wearing a white gown. Planning the traditional ceremony wasn't tasking obviously. However, I was worried that my white wedding wouldn't be all that I wanted it to be. I always felt that if I can't have the wedding I want, why have it all? lol. At the same time, I couldn't bear the idea of paying $28 per centerpiece for 30 tables. But Tim and I said let's just do our best and let God do the rest. We had amazing friends who helped us in various ways to make our wedding come true. When it comes down to it, the people who love you will come through.

So here are some aspects of the wedding that I want to point out in case you are ready to plan a wedding:

1. The dress: I tried on about 10 dresses within the past 3 years and settled on a gown that I never thought I would love. I'm very shapely so I knew I wanted a mermaid gown. I had my eyes on this Simone Carvalli gown for years. I love satin and how it sits on my body but when I tried on the gown, it didn't scream "yes". I tried on other satin gowns and had the same reaction. So I decided to try on ONE lace gown , an Allure Couture C200. It is a heavily beaded mermaid lace gown. I tried it on in February and stopped trying. It was perfect, sexy and classy. But it was also retailed at $2900. Mabel wasn't buying no dress for $3000. I began searching online and there are plenty of sites for brides who can purchase gently used or new gowns for a great bargain ( or You just  luck out if the bride has your size and color. I found a few Allure C200 gowns in my size and price range but I settled on one for $1600 from a bride on I will be honest, it was scary buying online. I never saw the bride in person and although it was my dress size, I really was worried because I didn't see it nor try it on. But my bride was great with communication and gave me a good deal. Thankfully, it was all that she said it was and I was so proud of my purchase. If you plan to purchase a wedding dress from another bride, have your list of questions, ask for a Skype date, negotiate on  a price and just cross your fingers. I lucked out!

2. The Kente: This kente is really special to us. I did a previous post on kente and my experience going to Adanwomase. I have a weird fixation for kente, printed cloth (you call it ankara, I call it ntoma), lace, and the like. So the idea of having our traditional ceremony was exhilarating because it was my chance to wear my very first kente. A lot of young ladies get kente much sooner than I did; in most cases, it is gifted to them. Kente is a very special and prized cloth and I was so proud to wear it for our event. An added bonus is that my very proud Yoruba husband agreed to wear kente in the traditional way. He looked smashing.


2. Decor: All of my inspiration came from my dream Pinterest board. I spent months pinning and researching diy projects. I swear by forum. It helped out so much with questions I had and deals other brides scored. I started off wanting simple floating candle centerpieces but then really wanted fresh flowers. Girl, fresh flowers are EXPENSIVE! So I settled on a more vintage look with baby's breath. One tip about decor I will give: tell no one but your decorator. EVERYone has a damn opinion. "Don't do tall centerpieces", "don't do fresh flowers", "do this", "I did this", "yadda yadda yadda". I kept my decoration ideas to myself and it worked out because it was different and in the end, everyone loved it. My decorator/coordinator was a heaven sent angel. Not only is my bff's older sister, she is my sister and she hooked me up. Utilize the resources you have in your personal life. It works!

3: Guest List: This was probably the hardest thing for us to do. We eventually decided to settle on 300 guests for our wedding. You may ask, do you know 300 people Mabel? Well yes, I do. Tim and I go to the same Ghanaian church so we had about 100 people to invite from there. I had 100 people with both of my parents combined, same with Tim. We fought LONG and HARD over this list. I had a few more friends I wanted to invite but Tim was strict on making sure we stay on target. Only because Africans don't understand invitation only and if we hand-invited 300 people, the guest list can easily creep to 350; 50 folks who weren't invited. And we wanted to be prepared for that. In the end, majority showed up but I ache that I didn't invite other mutual friends that I really wanted to be there. I hope they forgive me!

4: Colors/Style: my favorite color is purple but for a fall wedding, I wanted to do a richer fall color.... mustard yellow (accent color: gray). I just love mustard yellow on brown skin and it worked. My girls wore mustard gowns with emerald statement earrings. My men wore fab dark gray suits. They were fabulous. My reception hall didn't have much yellow at all but I didn't care, I don't believe that colors should be plastered everywhere for a wedding. As for my personal style, I had two things that were key to me: hair and jewelry. I wanted colored stones for jewelry (emerald earrings to match my bridesmaids!) and of course, natural hair. I wore my hair in a french bun in the back and crocheted kinky hair for a waterfall kind of look. I curled and pinned the hair the day of and voila! Perfection.

5: Big Ticket items: hall, photog, video, DJ: Tim can thank my resourceful skills for the awesome deals we got on these items. I found a church that had a reception hall that could accommodate 350 seated guests for $2500. That is an especially rare rate for a wedding hall in Northern VA. I found our photog through Craigslist who was trying to build his portfolio ($1100 for both wedding and engagment shots). I found our videographer from another random girl I stalked on Facebook and had the boldness to ask her who did her work. And our DJ was highly recommended from a friend. He ROCKED our reception. People danced to the last song.... DJ Kweks, we salute you.

6: Planning and Prayer: it goes hand in hand.
My bridal shower:) Yes, it's a tulle skirt! LOVE!

7: Do what you want: do what you want. The ONLY regret I have is that I didn't get a chance to take as many pictures as I desired. We took plenty of pictures that day but I didn't do my dream glam shots:) So Tim and I are going to don the suit and gown again and take pictures in the Spring. I'm trying to convince him to do a trash the dress session but you know these African men be like.... "Why trash it? Oya, sell it!"


This is probably the only post I will do about the wedding:) But now and again, I will sneak the hubby on the blog and I will put a few pictures from our professional photographer when they get in. Otherwise, I am happy, blessed, and ready to get going again on the blog!

Super fun candid of the night, There was so much love in the room:)

Switched in aso oke for the second half of the reception. I lovedddd our outfits and my necklace was the ultimate statement piece

My favorite engagement photo:)