Nkem Story

Summer 2015 Recap

September 15, 2015

With a week left before I head out to France, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on my amazing summer.

Like any summer, it started out with a huge to-do list and ended up with a sad amount crossed off (i.e., not much not all). Along the way, I met up with a lot of friends, wore a lot of really cute outfits, learned a lot about myself and the world and generally had a great time.

 

What I did:

As some of you may know, my dad passed away exactly a year ago and then I had to go right back to school, so it was important for me to spend a lot of time at home this summer, especially with my little sister.

This summer was a weird mix of super busy and super laid back. I would have short bursts of A LOT to do and then long stretches of not much at all.

 

Luckily, early on in the summer, I got a job waitressing at  The CD Café in Solomons Island. It’s a cute little restaurant with really creative chefs, fresh and delicious foods, and really nice (mostly) regulars. I’ve never waitressed before and my first day “interviewing” was a training session, so just got thrown right in. They trained me relatively quickly, but my co-workers were super patient and I learned a lot from them. I ended up working in the lounge Friday and Saturdays along with a few other days. So without any restaurant experience, I served and bartended most of this summer. I have PLENTY of experience now. A few days, I even worked the lounge by myself (that’s just how it works in the rotation).

Holly and I worked in the lounge together on Fridays and Saturdays and we got super close. I was also the youngest one there, and before me, she had been the youngest.

Holly and I worked in the lounge together on Fridays and Saturdays and we got super close. I was also the youngest one there, and before me, she had been the youngest.

 

This summer, I ended up going to New York City three times. The first was an attempt to present my research to the Senegalese community, the 2nd was just for fun and the 3rd, I finally presented my research, got my hair braided and said bye to people.

 

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I was reading the note I signed in the thesis I presented to them. People asked really great questions.

The 2nd time I was in NYC, I went to the Fashion Institute of Technology’s gallery on Global Fashion Capitals. It was really interesting because they showed how other cities around the world are starting to build up their fashion industry and New York, Paris, London and Milan are still thriving but no longer have a monopoly of the industry. They gave a brief history of the rise of the 4 fashion capitals and had pieces of display from designers around the world, organized by the fashion capital they hailed from. The pictures I took were all from my phone, and I really didn’t do the outfits justice. Instead you can see a few of them on FIT’s site.

 

In and around the DMV area, I attended a few events and gatherings. I was trying to get more involved with the African Diaspora scene in DC, but it was harder than I thought it would be living 1.5hrs from DC. But I did go to two events that allowed me to mix and mingle with other Africans. In July, my brother and I went to the All Things Ankara Fashion Week, that I covered in this post with plenty of pictures. 🙂 Also, the first Friday of every month, Drum Pulse Entertainment puts on Afropolitan a mixer and after party for Afropolitans to gets together. I was trying to go all summer, but like I said earlier, I work Fridays and it was so hard to get anyone to cover that shift. But for Sept. 4th, I finally got someone to cover my shift. This is the outfit I wore to the event:

The event is free if you RSVP and come before 7pm. Got there just in time.

The event is free if you RSVP and come before 7pm. Got there just in time.

 

The other two important events that I attended this summer was my friend Yasmine’s ScholarChips award ceremony and then my Dad’s memorial service. Yasmine and I graduated from Elon together and she started a scholarship organization for children with incarcerated parents. Her work is truly amazing. I took pictures and I plan to post about the event tomorrow.

As some of you may know, my Dad passed away about a year ago. On August 23rd, we had a one year memorial service. My family, and many of the guests, wore all white and celebrated the life that my father lived.

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Don't mind my lack of bottom attire. It got hot because we were dancing at the end - plus at this point all the guests were gone.

Don’t mind my lack of bottom attire. It got hot because we were dancing at the end – plus at this point all the guests were gone.

 

Most recently, Sept. 12th, I attended the wedding of two of my friends. I went to school with the bride, Kristen, from 1st to 6th grade and then I went to school with the groom, Jon, from 6th to 8th grade. Jon came to our school in 6th grade, then the two of us ended up transferring to a different school. Both schools were pretty small (like 25 people in the whole grade) and I was good friends with both of them. I even played on rec soccer teams with Kristen. They went to the same high school and started dating about half way through. I didn’t keep up with them that much through college, but I was still happy that I went to the wedding. It was very beautiful and I’m just so happy for the both of them. It was actually my first friend wedding. As in, all the other weddings I have attended have been family or kids of the friends of my parents. But this one was people I was actually close to, so it just means we’re all really growing up. I took some pictures on my nice camera, so I might post some of them here, but for now, here are the ones I took on my phone.

 

What I wore:

Even though it seemed to me like I was wearing all black (the café uniform) for most of the summer, there were a few days that I got to dress it up. I only ended up doing one fashion post this summer, but I did wear other cut outfits I wish I had written about. I’ll definitely try and be better about that. So for now, here’s my recap of some of my favorite looks this summer.

 

  1. My Hair – This summer I had planned on doing LOTS of experiments with my hair since it just recently started cooperating with me again and had gone a little past medium length. I experimented a little bit, but what really ended up happening was me developing a go to routine that I got so good at I would do it as a I drove to work. I’m notoriously not punctual, so I would be driving down the highway doing a twist out with one hand. Not going to lie, I was pretty proud of myself. I did try bantu knots, but they ended up being more trouble than they were worth since I like the way my hair comes out in twist outs better. But I think the best part about hair for me this summer was that I got my little sister into being excited about her hair. She just started the 7th grade and her hair is still in the Tini Weeny Afro stage (I’m pretty sure it’s never been relaxed), and she has scalp psoriasis. She would end up just doing a combed out afro each day. But as soon as I got home, I wanted to show her all the ways she could style her TWA and different methods for keeping it moisturized. I enjoyed doing different flat twists on her hair and coming home to oil her scalp in the evening. But before I knew it, I would come home and her hair was already oiled and she was doing styles on her own head that she had found on Pintrest or asking me to redraw parts that she had started. She even did bantu knots on herself before I did. I also showed her how to do a proper Afro-puff and that’s now her go to style. We also got my mom involved because neither my sister nor I can do cornrows. So it was just a lot of fun, woman bonding over hair. 🙂 I could write a whole blog post about this, and maybe I will – especially about the hair routine I developed this summer. But yeah, quite a successful summer for my hair.
    This was one of my favorite twist outs of the summer. My bangs came out super defined and full. The whole head was full, but I couldn't get a good angel.

    This was one of my favorite twist outs of the summer. My bangs came out super defined and full. The whole head was full, but I couldn’t get a good angle.

     

  2. Headwraps – So one thing I got pretty into spring senior year was headwraps. This summer I expanded on that repertoire. It was actually perfect because a lot of times I would wash my hair and do my twists RIGHT before work. So I would just put on a silk scarf and then put Wax Print over that. Other times, I got home on a night and I meant to wash my hair, got too lazy and threw on a headwrap the next day.                                                                              IMG_20150625_152741IMG_20150702_153839
  3. Fav looks. This were some of my favorite outfits this summer:
    1. When I was in New York the first time, I bought a white crop top that I’ve really enjoyed. I know it will go great with a lot of things in my closet, but I’ve only styled it with black bottoms – balloon pants and a flowy skirt. I’ve worn in twice this summer, once in NY when I was just walking around with bae, and once when we took my Uncle to eat dinner at the CD Cafe and I sister and I decided to twin.                                                                                                                      IMG_20150617_180142462_HDR IMG_20150819_195432282
    2. This past Sunday, I wore what was probably my favorite outfit of the summer. Some of you maybe have already seen it on Instagram. It was a pretty busy day: church in the morning, then my little sister’s birthday brunch and then hanging out with two friends from school in DC. So I needed something cute that would fit all three occasions. Then the night before, my sister told me she wanted to twin. She woke up the next morning and told me as long as I wore the same color palette, it would be fine. But she wore a vest, so I wanted to wear one too. Then I ended being a few minutes late to church trying to find my vest and the perfect outfit. Sorry God. Oh, and the bag I’m carrying was a graduation present from my best friend, Nana and it had just arrived the day before so I was excited to be wearing an outfit it was perfect with!
    3. I had two others outfits, but I didn’t take pictures of one of them and I can’t find the pictures of the other one. When all that happens, I’ll update this blog again.

So there you have it. A summary of my summer from events to fashion and everything in between. With a few pictures thrown in. One of the things I wanted to work on more this summer was my photography skills, but I didn’t start doing that til towards the end of the summer. But if this blog is to be as crisp as I want it to be, then I need to work on that.

How were your summers? Productive? Relaxing? A great mix of both?

Also, let me know what in this post you’d like me to do a more in-depth post about. The hair? The Fashion? One of the events?

 

Yours,

Omolayo Nkem

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