Konnichiwa (hello or good day in Japanese said with a deep bow from the waist)
Last year on May 16,2017 Kenya and Japan signed a cooperation agreement that would see Miniso a fashion brand from Japan make forays into the Kenyan market.Seven months later on December 22nd , Miniso would open its first retail store at the upmarket Village Market shopping complex and barely a month later they would open their second store at the Thika Road Mall .
The two Kenyan Miniso stores all located in Nairobi city join a growing list of the over 2,600 outlets it has globally with its presence in Africa being in South Africa,Morocco,Nigeria,Egypt and Madagascar.Kenyans love the brand already as the few times I have been there the aisles have been busy and the staff are always very courteous and helpful.
Whenever I think of Japan it is the vivid memories of cherry tree blossom season, the geta(the very fashionable wooden sandals) and kimonos that come to mind and sushi,how could i forget how the Japanese gave us Sushi!
Japanese culture intrigues me ,it is so prim and proper ,steeped in tradition yet as a country is so technologically advanced it is mind boggling. Tradition and technological advancement can co- exist we just have to find the balance and African countries are coming into themselves and we have seen an ever increasing appreciation of African culture globally over the last decade.
Miniso brand specializes in lifestyle products and the range of items in their stores range from play dough , nail polish to kitchen saucepan and mobile phone accessories .I found their products favorably priced and I would dare say they will disrupt the lifestyle retail sector with their high quality but well priced items.
As a brand Miniso gives the best of what we appreciate about the Japanese culture,their precision to detail,courtesy(we had an attendant follow us and bring a shopping cart) and a whole new way of doing business .
To be honest the first time I watched the video last year I had no idea who had done it .
A music video made up of entirely emoji’s..who does that?
Well Sauti Sol does.
The Kenyan music group remains one of my favorites and I have followed their music over the years .I like the boldness with which they bring to each of their music projects their Afro-pop sound and as they have become more daring over the years , won awards that no other Kenyan group has they continue to ruffle the very smooth moral feathers of Kenyan society or not.
Whether you think their music videos raunchy or simply great works of art,music for them as a form of art offers a reflection of society as it is.
The Friendzone music video was a first in terms of emoji use, as you might expect …has a raunchy subtext.But it did say something about how we have moved from text to visual messaging and how we have adopted them as a fun way to express our thoughts and ideas.
An Emoji sentiment analysis done between 2015 and 2017 among 6 billion users show emoji use is higher among women.
The analysis ran by Brandwatch also analysed some of the most popular emojis among men and women .
Last year Facebook adopted use of emoji reactions where users who were previously limited to “liking” posts now have multiple options to choose from that range from “love”,”sad”,”angry”,”wow” or ‘haha.”
Emojis are changing the way we express ourselves which must say something about how we communicate with each other.In a world where we are more connected than we have ever been in human history,why have we resorted to use of emojis?
Have we exchanged real conversations for over reliance on technology and do emojis muddy the waters of communication or make them clearer ?
What does this say about how we will communicate with each other in a few years and what does that mean for relationships today and in the future ?
It will be interesting to see where we are headed and how things change but just incase you want to keep up with all things emoji related,then use this resource tool for all things emoji related- Emojipedia .
“Fashion tells a story about us and the world around us and what is happening to us,do not ignore it.
Santina Nyagah-Chief Editor at Maridadi Living
The Big 4 fashion capitals of the Fashion world are London,Milan,New York and Paris.
Why I watch the trends coming off the runway from the Fashion weeks set in these fashion capitals is because the designers at these events have their fingers on the pulse of what is driving the world around us.
Having watched what is coming off the runway in the past few months,you quickly realize that the world is becoming a much more integrated place and fashion is reflecting this by fusing different cultural elements together.
African print is making its presence felt on the runway felt,the vibrant colors that are a hall mark of the continent are increasingly finding their way on the runways in these fashion capitals.
Stella McCartney a British fashion designer last year used Ankara fabric in her Spring/Summer 2018 collection ,Ankara is a wax print whose origins can be traced to West Africa in her collection and is a fabric very popular across the continent.It can make everything from clothes for every day wear to show stoppers for formal functions.
Louis Vuitton in their Spring/Summer 2012 men’s wear collection featured hats,shirts and scarves made from fabric very similar to the Maasai shuka- a traditional chequered blanket available in a variety of colors popular among the Maasai communities of Kenya and Tanzania.
Last year designer Andrew GN in his 2017 Fall collection had the models on his show have their hair braided in a manner that mimics the way African women wear their hair.A closer look at the colors and prints through out his collection, with its animal print,earthy colors and chunky accessories was a celebration of the fusion of cultures and a celebration of globalization.
That we can have the fashion industry celebrating cultures from all the 4 corners of the world,where designers are influenced by cultures not their own , is indeed a testament to how far we have come and to how far we still have to go.We still need more African models on the runways sporting African designs and we need more designers from Africa celebrating the continents diverse cultures and talents.
2018 will be an interesting year in the fashion industry,watching 2017 shows,we are seeing a modesty and simplicity slipping through to the runway,a love for pastels and influence from different cultures is clearly being recognized and celebrated.Models are also becoming more diverse and there are more African ,Asian faces than before ,and more cities are getting noticed as they seek to join the Big 4 of the fashion industry. We have Dubai becoming a place to watch as it hosts the Arab Fashion Week in late April ,with its ready to wear apparel heavily influenced by Arab culture it has quickly become a favorite among fashion houses that are looking further than Europe,Asia and America for business.
If you want to keep abreast with what is coming off the runway you may want to see the dates of the fashion weeks in the Big 4 capitals of fashion London,Milan,New York and Paris ,use this calendar.
A good reason to watch what happens in fashion is because we do not just wear clothes,our clothes express who we are,our aspirations,values and by watching what comes off the runway you will have a pretty good idea about the things that are driving the world around us.Through the clothes you see on the runway,those are stories being told,by designers,about us and the world around us.
My friend Wambui and I are on an errand around Toi in Kibera and as she is parking her car,she notices someone she thinks she knows,but he looks different she says.I turn to take a second look at the young man she is referring to who is now directing us to a parking spot.You could easily pass him,ignore him or shudder when you look at him.
He is in torn jeans,a grey t shirt that has seen better days , open pair of battered brown shoes and in his hands a faded grey towel.See those towels that they sell in traffic jams in Nairobi that end up somewhere in your car until you need it and can’t remember where you placed the last one one you bought and you tell yourself you have to buy another one.And when you buy a new one you find the old one and now you have a couple of towels that you really do not need.
That is what he is holding in his hand,a small grey,damp towel.
He comes to stand next to the drivers side of the car,unconsciously wiping the car as he talks to us,he works at a car wash.
But that is not what you notice when you first see him,you will first see the sores on his lips,sores that have turned his lips pink,an unnatural shade of pink with red sores that look like blisters,the pink spots on his skin seem to be spreading because he also has a patch of pink with a smattering of his natural skin color on the tip of his nose.
Wambui makes small talk with him and promises to be back in a few minutes,sadly I do not think much about that young man all I ask myself is what happened to him and quickly start calculating how much time we will have to spend in traffic to get home.
When we get back to the car,I strap myself in and then Wambui does not drive off,she starts a conversation with him.
His name is Amigo,he is 35 and this skin condition he has…one day he was fine,all dark brown melanin color, then one day he wakes up and his skin color has started to change and he cannot explain it.He struggles to explain what changed,how his skin changed and I can tell he does not know what to say as he keeps shaking his head .He works at a car wash nowadays as he cannot find a job,lives with his mother and has a 6 year old son that calls him dad that he has to take care of. Wambui talks and I listen and thinking to myself of how many other people have been helped by Amigo to park their cars and once they had done so,they locked their cars , went off to their business,shopping for stuff at Toi or Adams and when they were done,they came got into their cars and drove off.Did not even look back.
Those people could be me.
Amigo talked and as he talked of how he had been to Kenyatta and Mbagathi hospitals hoping to get medication for his skin condition,but nothing seems to change even after these visits and medication.
Amigo talked and we listened and later as we drove back home we talked about him and we felt our hearts break,listening to him.We promised to back and we prayed for him.
I hope we can do something for Amigo,maybe get him someone that could diagonize his skin condition or give him a job
If you are ever in Toi during this Christmas season and you see that young man,say hallo to him,encourage him because sometimes we meet people on the street they look fine to us but they are fighting giants within themselves,they are fighting battles we know nothing about and carrying loads of care and worry that would crash us.
As we celebrate Christmas this year,spare a thought and your time for the people you would normally never talk to or listen to and just give them your time,it costs nothing.
My encounter with Amigo made me think of the help I have received from people over the years and sometimes that help was not even monetary,it was a listening ear,encouragement,prayers,best of wishes as I worked on an idea and I realized that the best help we can give to anyone is our time.
It also challenged me to give time to people who sometimes are in the periphery of my life,people I would not normally talk to because I was afraid that there is nothing I could say to them that would change their circumstances or be of help .We all can be an answer to someones prayer and sometimes their prayer is that someone sees them,sees them and listens to them because when we listen,it shows we care.
The value of time is so precious,that time you give to a friend looking for someone to listen to the challenges they are going through at work,with life or as they grow their business is invaluable.If you spare some time to listen to someone,maybe that is all they need to know that someone cares enough to give them their time may give that person the strength to live another day.
.This Christmas,give more of yourself,of your time to someone you would normally not give your time to,listen to them and really hear what they are saying.It is the best thing you can do to yourself and to someone who needs you.
So there is this little gem,hidden somewhere past Kiserian town about 90 minutes drive out of Nairobi,along the Magadi road,on a private road and next to Ole Polos are the Ol Talet and Ol Oika Cottages.This lovely little getaway is nestled in the beautiful wilderness of Kiserian ,from the balcony,you get a lovely and breath taking view of the Rift Valley and you can see the black winding ribbon of Magadi road as it winds its way to Lake Magadi.
Later in the day,as you sip Kenyan tea or coffee ,it is to the accompanying rattling of the bells on the necks of Maasai cattle, grazing a few short meters down the hill.Across the ridge are the herds of goats dotting the landscape as they make their way up the ridge nibbling on the shrubs and jumping over the rocks that litter the hill.Maybe they will end up on some of our plates over the Christmas season(how sad I think and it almost puts me off eating dinner later).
Ol Talet cottage can accommodate 6 people comfortably as it has 2 double rooms and one room with a double bed,the cottages are self catering and on hand are David and his able assistant who will roast succulent goat ribs to perfection.Each of the cottages comes with a fully equipped kitchen and a coffee maker(best news).There is hot shower in their bathrooms ,very beautiful bathrooms,especially at Ol Talet where the excitement of hearing the curtain of sea shells rattle as I walked in for a cold shower took me to the beautiful sandy beaches at the Kenyan coast.The bathrooms have wide open windows which let in the morning light and you can see the wide expanse of beautiful African wilderness as far as the eye can see.
Ol Talet cottage has 3 bedrooms,one of them with the 2 single beds is located on the ground floor of the cottage while below ground are the other two bedrooms.The cottage has beautiful,tasteful well done decor and as you walk down the stairs to the other 2 bedrooms and shared bathroom below ground ,you walk past a wall filled with African masks and can admire the stained glass window and the tasteful use of African art and craft pieces in the decor.
There is ongoing work to have a swimming pool ready in 2018.
In the morning,I could not wait to wake up to watch the sunset on the balcony ,while listening to the sweet sound of birds chirping and cast my eyes over what seemed like an unending expanse of breath taking views of the Rift Valley.It is so quiet up there ,you want to spend time just watching and listening to nature as it talks to you and whispers that life is a beautiful thing , we are here for a reason and season and we need to make the best of every moment we have.
When it is time for breakfast,we walked up the hill and to the dining area of Ol Oika cottage where David had set out for us a Kenyan breakfast and amidst the cheerful banter , we heard nothing except the familiar voices of friends.If you live in the city long enough ,the honking of cars,matatus becomes normal,that blissful quietness up there is a beautiful quietness and we did not want to leave,not yet.
I was at Ol Talet, with a group of friends,my chama friends,some of whom I have known since Primary school through high school and over the years we have become business partners and we had a thoroughly great time ,occasionally seeing grey vervet monkeys in the trees that surround the cottage,certainly they must have been curious about us as we were about them.
Before breakfast I had time to look for the fish pond and almost felt like I was on a Finding Nemo Mission.Remember Bruce the nice shark wit his line “Fish are friends not food.”
The cottages have TV and board games incase you are looking for a little more activity,we were happy to just sit back ,enjoy the scenery,strategize on our plans for the next year and each others company.
If you are looking for a place not too far from the city for a quick getaway then Ol Talet is the perfect location,just over an hours drive from Nairobi,leave on Friday evening and drive back on Sunday after a sumptuous lunch.Bookings at the cottages are done strictly in advance.
The year was full of surprises,heartbreaks,lessons,challenges overcome and above all miracles from unexpected places.Among the many things that happened over the course of the past 11 months I picked just a few that meant something to me and most seemed to have happened in the second half of the year .
Why the second half of the year had so many lessons in it for me may partly wholly be due to the realization that I learned to open my eyes to the miracle that life is and to let it surprise me.
She is the kind of woman I would want to have a long talk ,in a side walk coffee bar , large mirrors antique furniture with movie posters framed on their walls,we would watch people walk by both be wondering where they were all hurrying to .
And we would go back to talking about tolerance for people who do not look like is,talk like us or believe in the same things we do and we would have a blast because she does look like that kind of woman.
That she sports dreadlocks gives her instant street credentials to her being very attuned to the very complicated nature of human beings.
Why am I talking about Doria,who up until last week was virtually unknown?
Because she is soon going to be the mother in law to Prince Harry.
Her daughter Meghan Markle, stars in the hit TV series Suits as Rachael Zane , a part time summer associate in a law firm and is one of my favourite characters on Suits.
The engagement of Meghan to Prince Harry was announced two days ago and the internet went wild.
Prince Harry as you well know is brother to second in line to the British throne Prince William and being a royal watcher I was elated that my favourite character in suits was engaged to this particular member of the House of Widnsor.
Growing up I admired Princess Diana (Prince Harry’s mother) especially for her charity work and campaign against landmines in Africa especially in Angola where landmines had maimed and killed thousands.It was with shock and disbelief that I still remember going to buy the paper for my father and seeing the headline of the Sunday Nation on the morning of August 31,1997 that she had died in a car accident in Paris.
The engagement has to be one of my highlights for the year,I am among the millions looking forward to the May wedding .
And why it is the highlight of the year is because this marriage it will forever change how we view race especially In Europe and that is a good thing.s otherwise,the British press called the very idea of someone of color joining the royal family scandalous.Find out why.
Who would have thought this would happen when royalty purists made us believe otherwise .
Finally I got over my fear of speaking before crowds.
I always wondered how anyone could stand before a crowd and speak,now I know how it feels like .
Yes,I am shy and would literally break into a sweat at the thought of standing up before crowds to say anything.
But the year started with meeting Joyce Mwangi,getting placed in the same group as we studied the book of John heard me mention that I blog,she wanted to start like yesterday and I told her just write.
And write she did,published a devotional based entirely on the Kenyan National Anthem and she launched it and she gave me the terrifying honor of reading a speech.
It was a really humbling moment for me was to speak at book launch of the Kenya National Anthem Devotional,she writes at His Creation blog.She is doing some amazing work,head over to her blog and find out about what she has been doing and order the book from there,she will ship it to you wherever you are.
As a result of what I thought was a daunting challenge,I got to speak infront of a crowd,I did not stammer,sweat or faint.
It was not something I set out to do,it just happened and because I am always asking people ,especially women to tell their stories as it is through stories that we learn and experience life,there are 3 more women sharing about some truly amazing things -God’s love and marriages a God intended it to be.
It is my hope to have a blogging workshop early in 2018 and incase you are interested please fill in your details HERE and I will be in touch.
In the fast paced world we are living in right now where when you wake up everyday,there is a newer version of everything and every few hours or so you are updating the applications on your phone,it easy to lose sight of the fact that convenience sometimes makes us self absorbed.
This convenience has made us a little impatient with people and things that do not move at lightning speed,we have come intolerant to faults,imperfections and with each other.Modern technology is giving us convenience but is robbing us of what we need most as human beings-relationship with each other.
After finishing the Black and white photo challenge,that is when I learned that indeed I had taken so much for granted and had not really been taking time to see the beautiful things around me.Seems I have been living life at 120 km/hour and that I had not time to appreciate life as it is , makes me sad because it means that a lot of things were lost to me that I can never get back because I was busy.
You may want to try the challenge and see what changes after 7 days,its worth it.
5.The value of family and friends
God put us in a family and gave us friends that stretch our limits on love,patience,gratitude,kindness,peace,joy and a lot of other virtues.The relationships we have with our family and friends shape us,mold us,challenge us and make us better people(hopefully).
A family is the basic units from which all other social relationships are formed,it is the launching pad to all other relationships we will have in adult hood and the skills we learn in our families determine the quality of relationships we will have with friends and with our spouses eventually.
Can you imagine what a beautiful world we would have if we put families front and centro of government policies,development agendas locally and the global agenda?we might just be able to solve 50% of the conflict we have in the world today.
This year I have known what having a loving family and a group of friends is all about.To my family,my kids,husband,sisters,parents a big thank you for a wonderful year.
Of special mention are the girls from my chama that made my year special:Wambui,Flo,Jackie,Belinda,Mwari,Myl,Njeri,Pat,Sue,Kagendo thank you for teaching me the true value of friendship.May we live to celebrate many more years of friendship.
My friends from my Bible Study Fellowship who are like family to me now.
Kawi and Mukami for being sisters.
Maryanne Waweru Wanyama of Mummy Tales, you are always an inspiration keep telling the stories of the wonderful women you get to meet.
Looking forward to an amazing 2018.
What have been the highlights of your year so far,anything interesting happened to you that you would like to share,challenges overcome,goals achieved?
Black Friday kicks off the Christmas holiday season,time to spend more time with family and it is a time we spend more time shopping as well.In light of this I have decided to work on a 12 days of Christmas blog post series.
Christmas get me excited,I have such fond memories of Christmas from my childhood i literally cant keep still once December kicks in-which might explain my inability to wait till December,1st to post this!
I will do a post on picking gifts for loved ones,a post on being thankful,one on planning for the year ahead,okay..let me stop there before giving too much away.
The holiday season is an opportunity to reflect on the 11 months of the year that have passed and getting down to plan for the new year.
It is time to take stock of lessons we have learned and how we have grown and changed over the past 11 months.
It is a time to let go of past hurts and embrace forgiveness.
I am very excited to be starting the series and I hope you are too because I would love to hear from you as well about how your year has been and what you are hoping to do or see more of in the new year,on the blog as well,what kind of stories,posts you would like more of.
Keep checking to see when we kick off and cant wait to share what I have been working on.
If you have been on Facebook for the past 3 months,you might have stumbled on the black and white photo challenge.
The challenge involves posting for 7 days in a row,black and white photos that describe your life with no faces or explanations to them .
My friend Mukami put me up to the challenge and i dived into it with gusto and a theme…no kidding.
Maybe because I love photography and hate how i look in pictures this became a really exciting challenge to do.
My approach to the challenge was to post black and white photos of things or places I found interesting during the day that would make people guess or point out where I was at that particular time.
That is why my first photo on the day of the challenge was that of a door,today as we end the challenge my photo was taken at a cross road on one of the most beautiful university campuses we have in the Kenyan capital Nairobi.
I was especially intrigued by the fact that I started out my taking a picture of a door,probably asking people to take a walk with me through the door of my life.Out of the 7 photos, 2 were of nature,1 was taken at the reception of a luxury travel/destination company,1 was of an art piece at a mall ,the other was at an office.
The photos may not have meant much to everyone else but in retrospect i can see how I spent much of my week doing things that i really love and enjoy.And that for me might have been why the challenge was so fun,I got to see,appreciate and really think about the photos I was taking .
Something we seem to really be losing a grip on is that..appreciation,thankfulness or being grateful is something modern life has robbed us of.We are taking too much for granted and not pausing enough,enough to see that we live in such a beautiful country,part of an even more beautiful continent and part as well of the most amazing planet-earth.
As I end the challenge today I would like you to take a walk with me ,down the path called gratefulness.
Have you taken part in the black and white photo challenge? why did you do it and what did you learn about yourself ?
You know the holiday season is here when you start receiving more than the usual invitations for birthdays,weddings and end of year parties and maybe even invitations for Christmas .
If you are hosting any of these celebrations and are planning on doing everything from scratch,you may wan to reduce your stress and anxiety levels by hiring a planner-an event planner.
Hiring an event planner might seem like a luxury but you may be surprised by how much they can reduce the anxiety that comes with event planning .
On this post we thought we might give you 5 great reasons why you might need an event planner this holiday season.
1.Saves you time
A good event planner is a pro at getting things done efficiently and on time.
They will save you the time spent on looking for vendors and suppliers because along with their experience they have with them a network of trusted suppliers and vendors that they have worked with,people they know can deliver on what you need for your event.
And just incase anything unexpected happens,then an event planner will always have plan A,B,C ad infinitum.
2.Saves you money
In my time planning events ,I have found out that there is always room for negotiations and what gives an event planner leeway as well as an edge is their ability to negotiate,they can get you discounts on rack rates and this is because of the relationships they have developed over time with various suppliers and vendors.
It is easier to discuss discounts with people you have had previous business dealing with than with total strangers,leverage on these relationships event planners have when thinking of holding an event.
3.You will get the right people doing the right job
Sometimes it is very difficult to gauge a vendors or suppliers ability to get the job done if you have no experience of having worked with them before.
An event planner due to their diverse network as well as experience with vendors will point you in the right direction on whom you need on your team in order to pull of a successful event.
4.You will have a more successful event
Event planners thrive on details-the little details that everyone else overlooks is what planners get their adrenaline rushes from.Ensuring every little thing is in place and imagining all the possible things that could go wrong and ensuring contingency plans are in place is what makes for a successful event.
As the host of the event,you may not have all the time to worry about all the nitty gritty details of your event,let an event planner do the worrying for you and ensure your event is successful.
5.You can enjoy the event
There is nothing like hosting a great event and you cannot enjoy it because you are busy ensuring that behind the scenes everything flows smoothly.You event forget to eat because you are busy handling all the event details by yourself you have no time to be a great host.
It would be great to have someone that thrives on adrenaline and the little details handle all the anxiety and stress for you,right?
That photo right there,we fell in love with it and it came courtesy of Sonal Shah an event/party planner.You can find her on Facebook.