Category Archives: Being You, for YOU!

Because it’s all about me, but apparently I don’t govern the gravitational pull of the earth!

Making ‘Inspiration’ Happen…

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Aaah, New Years Resolutions. Why?

At least this year I’ll try not to beat myself up about the goals I set every year and fail (every year).  Like losing weight. Oh wait, that’s the only one I fail every year…

Last year my resolution was to lose weight (i lost a bit), plan a wedding and make a concerted effort to maintain more frequent contact with friends. Which I did successfully for the most part.

This year, although ambitious – it is to get my finances in order and save for furthering my studies. I have decided that my latent or more like hibernating artistic talent should and can be utilised in order to achieve this… the problem is the ‘Inspiration’ bit. A major misconception amongst ‘everybody’ – and I will generalise this… is that ‘artistic’ or ‘creative’ people can simply paint a masterpiece, compose a symphony or some such thing… at the drop of a hat.

NO – we can’t. I can only paint when the urge hits me… when I have this torrent of electrical inspiration grip me… when my fingers burn with desire and passion in order to wield that paint brush, knock the wind out my sails and leave me breathless – where the air I need is releasing my creativity. The problem is, that working full time – raising a six-year-old and between packing lunches, working out, staying in touch with old friends, keeping a husband happy, still having some sort of life and dealing with the daily stresses of work (and will I still have a job tomorrow)… the inspiration usually hits me when I’m getting ready to go to bed on a week night, or when I’m overtired on a weekend – at some random time, when I should actually be doing something else ‘important’ – like grocery shopping or paying bills, or when I wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom…

So how do you ‘make’ inspiration happen. It’s not a pill you can pop or a drink you can slug, or a substance you can inhale or smoke (although I’m sure some would beg to differ). I find the best way to do it, is to take it… from other people or places or things. I have realised that there are some insufferably inspired people out there, who clearly have all the time in the world and will do whatever it takes to release that creative surge.

So thank you, I’m going to steal some of your ‘inspiration overflow’ – and utilise it for my own personal gain…hope you don’t mind.

BARBIE PART JEWELLERY - MARGAUX LANGE "Now although not my cup of tea, you have to admit it is an ingenious albeit macabre use for the dolls - but I suppose since every little girl plays with Barbie and wants to be like her, she can now have a part of her wherever she goes"

FLOWER PETAL ART - ELSA MORA "Now this is simply charming and should think must feel somewhat like tai chi for the fingers and mind - the lovely floral fragrances, the soft silken touch to the fingertips, the symmetrical design elements - and the reminder that nothing in life lasts forever"

TIRE ART (VARIOUS) -"Now this is so very masculine - it's dirty, labour intensive, time consuming - but I should imagine it is extremely rewarding. The final look to these sculptures is rugged, yet refined - very eye-catching and would definitely make a unique focal point to any interior or exterior space. Also, with tire rubber being one of the most toxic substances to dispose of - it is a wonderfully 'green' way re-using and recycling"

PENCIL ART - DALTON GHETTI -"Real pencils with miniature sculptures made of the actual graphite tip - how entirely bizarre. I think what happened is he really wanted to draw, but ran out of sketch paper? They are really exquisitely executed and rather dainty - and I could imagine they would make an interesting conversation point"

BOOK CARVING-BRIAN DETTMER -"This I saved for last, only because it truly is an abomination to destroy a book - but, a truly magnificent way of using a book that is out of date, or for example: the use of a book that's been thrown away. This is extremely intricate, delicate and visually awesome. This is something I would be too scared to attempt"

More importantly – as thrilled as I am to have discovered a perpetual fountain of inspiration… I would love to know how people think up some of these things.

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What is a beautiful body?

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What is a beautiful body?

I’ve come to realise that New Years Resolutions are to most people – as what Mondays are to most women. Firstly, I think it’s unusual not to have a conversation that eventually leads down the, “So what diet are you on” path, or to talk about the people you’ve seen recently and how much weight they’ve gained or how so-and-so is now a skinny b***h. See, what I fail to see or understand is how we have so many negative connotations connected to being skinny – such as classing all of the above said ‘class’ as b****hes and frowning on anorexia and bulimia, as well as trying our damnedest to raise funds for starving African children > then the question I pose is this… Why do we all try so very hard to become just that – skinny wraiths? In my personal opinion I believe we’ve all taken the whole thing a bit far, as the below attached images indicate from an article {PLUS Model Magazine} which has made news headlines everywhere from ABC to FoxNews to the International Business Times. I personally think that model, Katya Zharkova – has the most incredible figure! (I’m sure you’ll agree)

The actual model resembles a starving child by comparison to Katya's beautiful womanly form!

Honeymoon Adventures (PART 2 – Outdshoorn)

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Honeymoon Adventures (PART 2 – Outdshoorn)

I know – this follow up post has been a long time coming, but thankfully with the year winding to a close, I have somewhat more time on my hands 🙂

After leaving the not-as-nice-as-expected Knysna, the only other place I was adamant to venture to was ‘Ostrich’ country. Having been met by the disappointment that Knysna was no longer genuine ‘oyster’ country – I knew that Oudtshoorn would not disappoint.

Oudtshoorn (pronounced Oats-hu-wern), a little town nestled cozily just before the Swartberg Mountain Ranges and boasting more than just ostriches as its claim to fame – as it is also home to the ‘Cango Caves’. I had no expectations of the town itself, but was really just looking forward to the ostriches and caves. We had no accommodation bookings, because my husband who huddles in a corner at the mention of ‘planning’, said that I should book – and I told him that we should just wing it… which we did. On the GPS we located the nearest guesthouse upon entering the town, stopped – enquired about the rates (which were really good) and then booked in. Having arrived quite early in the morning – we unpacked the car and then set forth.

I had no pre-conceived notions about the place – but this little town sure blew me away. It was entirely reminiscent of what a little South African Town had been like back in the early 80’s (since that’s as far back as I can remember), prior to all the political nonsense and other stuff which so unnecessarily plagues this country’s past. It was simply beautiful! It was clean and the historical buildings had been looked after and maintained in pristine condition. The air was filled with a radiant warmth and welcoming feeling – which made me not want to leave the following day!

Our first stop was the Cango Ostrich Farm, where we enlisted ourselves on the guided tour and having missed the two large tourist busses which had stopped just prior to our arrival – our tour happened to be ‘exclusively’ ours! Just the two of us 🙂 It was truly special.

(Left) Hugging an ostrich never felt so good 🙂 (2nd) Judging by the look on his face, I don't think he enjoyed it nearly as much as I did (3rd) Apparently they can carry quite a substantial weight. NOTE: No ostrich was harmed during the taking of this picture (Right) Let them see the corn.... and it's a whole different kind of crazy!

After a brief intro on how the ostrich ended up here and the lucrative history of the ostrich feather (and that at one point in time was worth more than gold of the same weight!!), we were afforded the opportunity of being able to ‘hug’, feed and ‘sit’ on the ostriches. These rather docile and doe eyed looking sweetie-pies come right out of the dino era, or so we were warned and that when angered can kill a grown man with one fierce forward kick of its two toed foot. Also good to know that they’re right up there with cheetahs as far as land speed and that the best way to avoid getting severely injured by an ostrich is not to run, but to lie completely flat?!?! –  only because this will set you out of its peripheral vision. Another handy tip to note, is that the most valuable asset to the ostrich is it’s eyes!! Those big beautiful eyes, with to-die-for-lashes! They are so protective over their eyes, that they will shy away from any possible threat, so in the event that you wish to move unharmed through a herd of ostriches perhaps, be sure to carry and flank yourself with ‘thorny branches’.

These charming creatures were definitely my highlight! They are truly delightful creatures with such unique personalities…

Such cute harmless looking creatures, who can pack one mighty kick!

They are also very much like swallows in the sense that they “partner” for life – however, in the event of one passing away, strangely the female moves on to find another mate, but in the instance of the female passing…the male will never take another partner!

Ostrich eggs are quite clearly a feat all on their own, as they are able to hold and sustain quite a substantial weight!!

As the day settled into early afternoon, with the lazy July sun wanting to settle, we still had much adventure time ahead of us, I eagerly wanted to get along to the next ‘notch’ on our itinerary… we needed to see how far the Cango Caves were out of town and how long the total trip through the caverns would take us, so that we could establish if we still had enough time to get it done. Even if we had found the time constraints choking the afternoon into evening and hadn’t been able to go cave crawling – the spectacular view and drive more than soothed my restless self. The scenery in the outlying areas are simply stunning and we were blessed by the spectacular sight of the Swartberg Mountains, blanketed in snow! All I wanted to do then, was get to the mountains…

The Swartberg Mountain ranges covered in beautiful snow!!

The above stunning backdrop is what you will experience first hand from the deck of the Cango Caves ‘waiting area’ – we sipped on hot chocolate and took in the scenery, while deciding whether to take the ‘Standard’ or ‘Adventure’ tour… I decided that since neither of us had done the Caves before and considering we were on an ‘adventure’, we weren’t going to miss any bit of it…

The map of the 'inside' of the cave - the green line represents the 'standard' tour, where the red line represents the 'adventure' tour. It may not look like much difference, but that little additional bit of "adventure" which extends past the green bit... is not for the faint of heart

Once again missing the large groups from the same two tour busses as at the ostrich farm, we once again were privileged enough to have been given an ‘exclusive’ tour. So hubs and myself got a super personal tour, which was quite awesome to say the least.

Unfortunately the camera didn't quite do the inside of the caves much justice, because they are far more breathtaking in person!

I wasn’t striking a pose in the above picture, I was ‘limbering up’. It wasn’t my intention to have sore muscles on honeymoon…I was thankful that in the build up to the wedding I had lost some weight and with all the additional cardio – I was in top form, because after the ‘gentle’ stroll through the first part of the cave (which is really quite a sight to behold), the endurance and contortion of my human body were certainly tested.

(1) Ok, I will admit - here I was just posing 🙂 (2) ... and deeper we go - and they call this the 'Tunnel of Love'... (3) My rear end while trying to traverse the 'Devils Chimney' the first time (4) My second attempt at the 'Devils Chimney', this time after hubs made it through first 😥 (5) Through the 'Post box' (6) All hot and flustered after my triumphant walk/climb/run/contortion act!!

After the amazing trek through the caves and the wonderfully peaceful trip back to the guesthouse via the stunningly scenic route with the Swartberg Mountains looming in the background – I needed a shower and clean set of clothes. I’m also think I can safely say that I am possibly the only person who has done the ‘Adventure’ tour in a dress and ‘knitted Beret’. If anything, it just added to the challenge!

For supper we decided to search out a ‘local’ spot and after enquiring with the owners of the guesthouse, decided on a small restaurant offering the finest local cuisine, situated smack in the centre of town on the main street. I will not mention names, but to say that the air outside was crisp and cool – we were welcomed by a crackling log fire and cozy atmosphere. My biggest problem at most restaurants is that I usually play it safe… but figured that because this was Oudtshoorn, I should do something out of the ordinary. After perusing the menu for a period long enough to drink a glass of wine and a mug of hot chocolate, I finally decided on the ‘Crocodile Burger’. I usually settle for a far safer option, like a chicken schnitzel, but for some reason it spoke to me. The evening was blissfully sublime and upon returning to the guesthouse quite a time later, the room nice and warm, the wine having made me somewhat drowsy and the bed so-very-inviting, we called it a night… until just after 2am…

I woke with symptoms associated directly with either food poisoning or death and between violent vomiting and… I won’t share the rest – I decided that there’s probably a reason I decide to select the safer option on restaurant menus. Because when I bit into and ate that croc, I didn’t suspect he would bite back. It cut our honeymoon a day short – but even with the entire experience having ended on such an awful note, I would go back and eat at that same restaurant and possibly retire to Oudtshoorn.

The Grand Wedding Event ~ Invites & Table Seating Plan

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The Grand Wedding Event  ~ Invites & Table Seating Plan

With everything coming together slowly but very surely, I thought I would share a few of the many things I’ve been up to. Lucky, if you catch sight of this before the 23rd of July, you’ll be seeing it all (besides the invites and RSVP slips that is…), before any of my guests!

My handmade invitations and RSVP slips ;)
My handmade invitations and RSVP slips 😉

When I started out on the whole ‘Planning A Wedding’ thing, I had originally envisioned a colour scheme of lilac and bronze and possibly ‘champagne’ hues – and then bizarrely it drifted into something a little more dramatic. The organisation, congruency and theme of all printed items/materials is pretty consistent. I drew a vector of a damask pattern I really liked, then redrew certain elements I liked and had gathered from other invitations/programmes/wedding paraphernalia that inspired me. Unfortunately being on a tight budget, I tried to save costs – and being a designer makes that bit easy 🙂 So kudos to the original artists and original invitation makers and thank you for being my inspiration! (as much as I wish I could take full credit) NOTE: Talent is a gift – and with it being so I also don’t expect to be extorted by other individuals and ‘their talents’, thank you very much!! Which leaves me saying to you – should you have any ideas for invitations, but with no idea how to execute them, drop me a line 🙂 I’ll help you out if I can, FREE of charge!

My Table Programme incorporating the Menu. Each back has a section of song lyrics from the likes of 'Danny Kaye', 'The Ink Spots', 'Dean Martin', 'Frank Sinatra' and 'Ella Fitzgerald 🙂

The table programmes and ‘order-of-service’ slips were conceived entirely by myself, using ‘Gold Leaf 250gsm’, I had printed ‘bookmark’ size strips of my damask pattern in the ‘almost veridian’ green colour and coupled it with a rich brown. With the golden glow from the paper, it has a very old feel (look) to it.

The table seating arrangement, made-up of driftwood found on the beach, names and table numbers printed on 'Gold Leaf' 250gsm card then cut into heart shapes and craft wire! All wrangled together with a little imagination, patience and two pairs of pliers is something completely unique to me (due to the fact that it was an idea I came up without any inspiration from anywhere or from seeing any pictures)

The table seating arrangement, made-up of driftwood found on the beach, names and table numbers printed on 'Gold Leaf' 250gsm card then cut into heart shapes with self-made little wire 'hooks'! All wrangled together with a little imagination, patience and two pairs of pliers is something completely unique to me (due to the fact that it was an idea I came up without any inspiration from anywhere or from seeing any pictures)

As much as I can’t take entire credit for the Invitations, I can however state that the table seating arrangement concept was entirely my idea and I believe that it gives an accurate glimpse into my twisted, anxious, yet structured mind, as well as my own eccentricity. I knew I didn’t want an easel, or any other table seating plans that I had seen used at other weddings. Chances are that if I do a thorough enough ‘Google’ search, I’m/You’re bound to find something similar 🙂 Maybe I’ll do that quick – just to check that I haven’t stuck my foot in my mouth! (Score – just did a search on ‘Table seating arrangements and bizarre/different/unique table seating arrangements and I’m safe “Phew” – but there are some really ‘different’ ones out there)

I can safely say however, that as much inspiration as I’ve taken, the bulk of it came from ‘self’. Like my dress for instance. Which I’ll post pictures of, but only once I’ve officially had my wedding and the whole ‘shebang’ is done and dusted 🙂 It incorporates my love of polka dots, long streamlined dresses, halternecks and statuesque collars – plus, a little bolero jacket to match! Instead of having a rigid colour theme, I’ve played with multiple shades of brown, thrown in some bronze and brushed gold and pretty much utilise the entire spectrum of colour from lime green to turquoise in one form or other.

I certainly hope that you find your inspiration if that’s what you’re looking for 😉

The ONLY way to exercise – and actually enjoy it every time :)

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Unless you’re a fitness freak or someone with an obsessive-compulsive disorder to exercise – even so… I’m sure secretly, even to those crazy people going religiously for their morning jogs in sub-zero temperatures or torrential rains…IT’S A PAIN IN THE ARSE.

On my umpteenth attempt at getting into shape, i.e. losing weight and firming up – but this time I was going to succeed and officially make it the ‘change in lifestyle’ all the gurus continuously yap on about – Why? because I’m getting married in 12 days (But this whole ‘lifestyle change’ occurred in January already – so it’s been a progression). Ok, so with an “eating plan” I could actually stick to – we were however heading for winter, now who wants to go anywhere except bed, in winter? So I tackled the challenge of, how do I get to stay at home, but do something more stimulating than a tae-bo DVD and more importantly, how do I stick to it once I’ve started?

Here’s how…

(Left) An in-game screenshot of 'Your Shape-Fitness Evolved', having your own personal trainer has never been easier. (Centre) The 'game' that has made exercise something I look so forward to. (Right) All you need (plus the game obviously) to get you started, the X-box 360, controller and Kinect eye can be purchased as a complete package.

Ironically it’s Your Shape:Fitness Evolved. And that’s just it…it is the evolution and future of you. I’ve almost got arms like Madonna, have lost 22 pounds and have enjoyed every second of it. It’s like having your own personal trainer, in the privacy of your own home, with a once off payment for a lifetime membership of enjoyment! But wait, there’s more… because of the technology utilised via the corroboration between the X-box 360 and the Kinect Eye, the ‘game’ is able tell via your motion and it’s ‘motion sensing technology’, just whether you’re doing the exercises correctly or not – so this way you’re getting accurate training for maximum results! Score. And don’t for an instant believe that the exercises are ‘willy nilly‘ in any way… on the contrary, some of them will leave your lungs on the brink of collapse and have you walking around as if you’re entirely wrapped in plaster of paris for days.

There are exercises to suit all tastes, fitness levels as well as overall goals – whether they be weight loss, toning, increasing your fitness levels or mere meditation with varying ‘Tai Chi’ routines. Not to mention their affiliation with personal trainers such as Gunnar Petersen, Nivia and both Fitness For Men and Fitness for Women.

If you’re trying to pull the ‘But I Have Nobody To Look After The Children Excuse‘… well look no further. On the nights when my partner is home, he gladly looks after the little one – due to the fact that I’ve bargained that he is entitled to as much X-box time as I am, so the munchkin is fed and bathed by the time I’m done exercising. When I’m done – I have quality time with the munchkin, while feeling invigorated. Hubby gladly plays games, whereafter I have quiet time to bath, go to bed and snuggle with Dean Koontz without interruption. Sound good, it’s because it is 🙂 In my next blog I’ll include the eating plan, because that’s a whole other explanation.

Even as a single parent there is no excuse. On nights when my partner is working at night, I get the little munchkin his supper and some juice – while he sits in the lounge watching me jump around like a monkey! So I’m busy and he’s entertained!

Also, there are an array of other ‘games’ for children and husbands/partners which also utilise the ‘Kinect’ technology, which SHOULD also get THEM up and moving in more ways than one!

But trust me when I say…this will revolutionise you, your way of thinking, your life and most of all your body 🙂

Click a country to browse online for YOUR VERY OWN X-Box 360 & Kinect eye:

South Africa [1][2][3], United States, Great Britain [1][2] or Australia [1][2][3]

Happy shopping ladies *and men* < besides, it’s a great gift idea for any woman from any man, keeping in mind – it’s true what they say, “The best present you can buy someone, is one you want for yourself” 😉