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10.22.2016
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WANA SAMBO GIGI PAIR | 3 LOOKS
10.22.2016

MY DIRTY 30


I remember the first time I visited Ghana was in 2012. I was 26 and had just started a new job. I didn’t like what I was doing and was planning on quitting when I heard about the first Ghana Fashion and Design Week. With no friend or relative in Ghana and my September salary still fresh in my account, I booked a return ticket to Ghana, just to experience how the business of fashion in Ghana works (topic for another day). Since then, Accra is that neighbour I must visit at least twice yearly.
Three years after their first successful GFDW, the team returned for their second edition, which took place at the then not-yet-commissioned Kempinski Accra. A day after the fashion week was over we (Spice TV) were given a special tour of the hotel (watch here), I instantly knew this would make the perfect holiday destination for my 30th. I didn’t want a lavish party, I didn’t want to go anywhere far away and expensive, I wanted a getaway for me and some of my best friends to feel at home. And thankfully, I got all I wished for, and more.
Anytime before the age of 25, if someone mentioned they were 30 or in their 30s, I felt that’s like real adulthood. Married with kids and staying home to take care of them while someone else chases your dreams for you. Then around my 28th year, I started looking forward to my 30th. Some of my friends were throwing huge parties for their 30th, going on exotic vacations or having an intimate gathering of close friends and family. Whichever way, they were celebrating 30 confidently and I couldn’t wait to get there.
I’ve never struggled putting my age out there for all to know, but I’ve had my self-discovery moments leading up to this age. From trying to stay a size 10, to realising my eye bags can’t handle the stress anymore and my skin feeling a little different occasionally. As much as I felt that way, I have no qualms leaving my 20’s behind; it’s my best decade so far. I did so many things right and at the same time, I messed up plenty of other things, I went through a lot of hard times, painful moments, bad relationships and soar friendships, but I didn’t forget to have a lot of fun in the process.

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My 30th birthday celebration kicked off with an early gift from Nancy Nwadire of Iconic Invanity. OH MY WOOOORLD!!! I now have a custom made Iconic Invanity dress in my closet? And how did she even know green is my favourite color after white and black? She’s simply amazing!
I went for the first fitting in February and it was perfect on my body. But I stylishly told them I had #fitfam goals for my birthday in March and would be back a week before to fit again. Oh boy! I met my goals, and this inspired me to schedule a birthday shoot with one of my favourite Ghanaian based photographer, Nii Djarbeng (It was him or no other. And I have worked with a lot), booked economy tickets to Accra on the 23rd of March with five of my closest friends (we got delayed at the airport for about 4 hours and ended up having drinks (bottles of beer, orijin and sprite), arrived Accra at 11pm and headed to Kempinski hotel where we were first welcomed by a pleasant ‘Lady in Red’ and glasses of sparkling beverages, checked into our room with a view and my surprise Kempinski complimentary goodies from the General Manager and our housekeeper, I stare from my balcony into the dusky air facing the endless swimming pool in my luxury hotel-room-for-the-next-three-nights, I wonder if this is what turning 30 is going to bring me, I’m all for it, heck bring on the 40s while we’re at it!

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We spent just 3 nights but it was the best birthday ever! Whatever happened in Accra those three nights should become a habit. Explore Africa!
In the words of Maya Angelou, “When you know better, you do better.”
I finally know who I am, have fewer friends because I got rid of acquaintances and cut off toxic people in my life; the ones who are still around are definitely quality. I see bad friendships and relationships from a mile away now. Those moments that used to make me want to literally disappear into a hole in the ground are now stories that I laugh with my friends about.
I don’t take life for granted, and that’s because at this point I have experienced some hard times that’s made me really appreciate whatever I have, no matter how little it is.
I may have taken some wrong turns to finally get it right, but that makes this journey all the more sweet.

Iconic Invanity (www.iconicinvanity.com | @iconicinvanity)
Floral Dress: Amarelis Design (www.amarelis.com | @DesignAmarelis)
Makeup: @HamidVijay (afroface.mua)
Images: Nii Djarbeng for Lightsville Photography (www.facebook.com/lightvillephoto | @niidjarbeng_lightville

Kempinski Hotel Gold Coast City Accra @kempinskiaccra
Ministries, Gamel Abdul Nasser Avenue PMB 66
Accra, Ghana

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