12 November 2017

4 Easy Ways To Manage Your Social Media

Social Media for your business shouldn’t give you constant, stressful headaches, it can and should be fun. You just need to be dedicated and consistent, the rest will follow. I’m sharing 4 easy ways to creatively manage your social media timelines.

1. Find the right platform.

If you have a creative business with products that display well in photo’s you should definitely create an Instagram account. You don’t need to be on every social media platform out there, pick those that will work best with what you have on offer and take it from there. 

2. Brand your business.

Make sure that you use the same headshot and logo updated with the same description and catchphrase of your business all over. Your branding should be easy to recognise. Furthermore, when you create marketing graphics you should always stick to a specific colour palette and font choice. When in doubt, keep it simple. 

3. Use pretty pictures. 

Here’s the fun part, taking pictures, playing around with props and making things beautiful. Take a closer look at product shots and the styling thereof in magazines and try to recreate the look. There’s a lot of inspiration to be found all around you and the internet has a wealth of free information so look out for online tutorials on brand styling and photography.

4. Get social.

Get your stuff out there, interact with new followers and reply to their questions and comments. Make use of free scheduling applications, they’re there to simplify your life. Do not get discouraged when you don’t see an immediate response to the posts you publish, social media takes a lot of strategy and time. Just keep at it, try to be so good that they can’t ignore you. Besides you have to remember that everybody’s online and if you’re not you won’t be seen. 

And then there's me… Please forgive the shameless self-promotion but I’m a certified Social Media Strategist and I’ve managed the social media timelines of Legs Eleven SA, Bay Harbour Market, Errol Arendz, Grande Lash SA, Fake Bake SA and many others. I know all about brand styling and photography as well as online copywriting. Contact me if you need more information and assistance.

Leave the name of your love project in the comment section, I love supporting creative small businesses and it would be great to connect.

Image - My own  

11 November 2017

3 Steps To Awesome Blog Photos

You can’t get around visual communication and the importance thereof, without it you might as well throw in the towel right about now. The most common type which is photography play such a huge role in blogging and bloggers all over the world are upping their game by taking special creative styling and photography courses. However, if you know the basics it’s not so difficult to teach yourself. Practice makes perfect, right? Read on to see my recommended 3 steps to creating awesome blog photos.

1. Background

Many bloggers will agree that a good background can make or break a photo. In fact, a bad background is the number 1 reason why many potentially good images never see the light. So before you start taking pictures it’s important to find out if you can work with the scenery at hand. In terms of product shots for reviews and such, it’s key to work with a light background so that the lipstick, perfume or whatever it is that you’re promoting can stand and pop out. Marble is my longtime favourite, no wonder I’m using it all the time.

2. Lightning

Just like blogpost schedules, one should have a blogpost image schedule too, because of the lightning. Find a room in your home where you can create a setup that’s available whenever you need it, a room that gets loads of natural daylight. There’s a lot of amazing free photo editing tools out there, however, the goal should be about editing an already decent looking picture by just adding a little bright and sharpness. 

3. Positioning

As bloggers, we all should have a signature look. Over time your work should be easily recognisable in a good way obviously and not because you’ve become stuck in your approach. There’s nothing wrong with positioning and taking pictures a certain way but you should also be able to change it up. Always look for new ways to play around thereby finding different effects. Furthermore, know when to do a close-up, add a prop or keep it simple. 

Did you enjoy this post, would you like me to write more posts like these? Leave me a note in the comment section.

Image - My Own

10 November 2017

Female Workplace Bullies

I remember a time when I was working at a digital agency in Cape Town, it was just after a breakup so in many ways I was ready for a new chapter in my life. The setup was awesome, good coffee, lunchtime treats and huge jars of candy for when you needed a pick-me-up during the day. However, I had colleagues from hell, correction my female colleagues were from hell. Now, this is harsh words I know, but let me explain.

Most of you already know that I’m a country girl from Springbok situated in the Northern Cape of South Africa. Not that this ever bothered me (but it bothered them) since that just instilled an eagerness in me to stay updated and on point with whatever’s happening elsewhere. My coworkers (2 females from my own race group) just assumed that this was my first time being and living in Cape Town, it was not. 

But how do you go and tell strangers to listen up and then list all of your past accolades and successes, that’s just so childish and also none of their business. Like, straight out of school I wanted to pursue a modeling career (I’m 1.78 m) therefore I moved to Sea Point where I lived for almost 3 years. 

In any case, they made fun of my accent, gossiped behind my back and basically made my life horrible. Going to work every day, sensing the glares and dealing with patronising remarks really killed my enthusiasm. Now I’m sure many people can relate to this when you’re different whether it’s your looks, accent or race, people will always try to make that an issue (like they say in the land of the blind the one-eyed man is king) and basically use it against you. As if it’s a weakness that needs to be fixed. 

I never sat with their clique during lunchtime because, hey this is not high school. I kept to myself most of the time firstly because I’m an introvert and secondly because the type of work (search engine optimization) did not require me to unnecessarily speak. Also, we all used Skype messages to send work-related information back and forth. Was it so difficult to understand that some of us just don’t like a lot of chitchats especially when you haven’t warmed up to your new surroundings yet?

So, one day after lunch one of them made one of the most hurtful remarks I’ve ever received in my life. She said something insignificant to me and when I responded she said; “Oh did you hear the sheep from the farm just spoke”. Now, I shouldn’t feel bad about this at all because, I’m an educated, attractive and well-mannered lady that knows her worth most of the time, however even educated, attractive and well-mannered ladies feel vulnerable sometimes. Especially when you’re in a new city, far from your loved and in an unkind environment.

The nasty remark, a sheep from the farm, what does that mean? According to my understanding, it must’ve meant that I was behind in terms of my general knowledge because you know small towns are slow and there isn’t much happening here. There’s also the assumption that everyone that lives in small towns is a bit on the slow and stupid side too. In terms of the quiet not-much-happening-there lifestyle, so what? For us living this side surrounded by the silence and the stars, for us it is beautiful and that’s enough. 

We don’t miss what we don’t have. Around this part of the world, we may not have huge shopping malls, yes but that also means that we have fewer choices to make and therefore we live a simpler life if that’s what you’re after. Quiet, safe and at peace. This doesn’t mean that I’m criticising city life, I love the fast-paced energy when I’m visiting and on holiday. If my circumstances were different perhaps I would’ve loved living in a city too. After all, home is where the heart is.

Isn’t it funny, we get mad when Americans assume that lions run wild and live among us, yet we do the same to our own people? It’s amusing and ridiculous and if there’s one thing I’ve learned from this experience then it’s to not to be so fucking quick to judge and assume. Maybe that’s why some people feel that racism will never end, I don’t know and I’m not going into that conversation. 

Back to my story… Can you tell that I was really livid and that it still bothers me? I was fuming with rage and the worst part is that I did nothing. Now I grew up with an abusive father, who would be so jealous that after school when my mom came home (she’s a teacher) he would give her a beating, well because somehow in his sick mind she would cheat during school hours, imagine that. 

He never lifted his hands on us siblings but occasionally he would make a huge fist put it in front of my nose and tell me something like “smell this”, all which instilled fear within me, fear that I still struggle with at times. Fear to stand up for myself, like in this situation.

When she spoke to me like that I could feel the shame and then an intense desire to get up, right there in that open plan office and beat her to the floor, punching her in the face and where after I would take my bag and leave to never come back. However, thinking back on it I behaved like what may appear as a mature grown up. 

The intense madness came over me and left, I kept my calm. I remember saying something like; “I don’t know what’s going on here” and thereafter just carried on working. Later I found out that they posted an image of me over on the agency’s Instagram page with the #plaasjapie a derogatory Afrikaans term for someone that lives on a farm. 

I shouldn’t make such a big deal out of this some would say, but this was a bad experience for me and today I’m speaking out on behalf of others who might be going through the same thing, bullying. Women oppressing other women. 

  • How females bully. 

Offensive comments, gossip, and verbal abuse are some of the tactics used by female bullies. They may use friendship or allegiances to belittle their target. Sometimes they’ll even play one person against the other in sneaky subtle ways. 

  • Why females bully.

Female bullies don’t believe in sisterhood, their fear of failure or desire to dominate is stronger than their concern for another’s pain. It’s also unfortunate that due to heightened job insecurity, bullying in the workplace is on the rise.

  • The consequences.

I didn’t stay long at this agency, my then boyfriend and now husband was also adamant to rekindle our relationship. So between that, my work schedule and the bullying it was really hectic and I somehow felt guilty when I left because I was fond of my boss as he was a kind and generous man. Which makes bullies costly employees as they also undermine company productivity. Under different circumstances, I might have stayed especially when I think about the investment and in-depth training I received. In fact, thinking back I should’ve just talked to my boss about the situation. 

  • How to deal with bullying.

In most cases, victims simply leave taking the scars with them and nothing is resolved. Which helps no one, now does it? You have to find the courage within yourself and disarm the bully and you have to act fast.

  • How to disarm a bully.

South African labour law protects you against bullying, so if you approach your employer and he does nothing, you can lay a charge against the company. Yes, there’s a lot of shame around being bullied (like why can’t you just stand up for yourself or don’t be such a loser) but you have to acknowledge it and speak out. I made such an easy target because of my reserved nature and because of past experiences but you have to break out of that spiral.

Also, confront the bully. Ask her why she’s behaving in such a way and let her know that you’re unhappy and that it’s interfering with your productivity. I remember asking the woman this question upon which she denied her damaging behavior which made me feel even more patronised. Thereafter, if the bullying continues you can lodge a complaint to your employer or human resources manager if there’s one in place. Like mentioned before they are legally obligated to act on it and there should be a hearing. 

If your situation worsens or organizational culture is not conducive to disarming bullies, then you can contact the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration or visit www.ccma.org.za they will help you launch a formal grievance in which all parties will be called outside the office for mediation by an independent body that abides by constitutional laws against bullies. In conclusion, if we don’t learn to handle affirmative action, racial and cultural diversity better, bullying will just get worse. Find the strength to speak out, bullying must stop.

Image - My Own                                                             Source - Psychologies Magazine

09 November 2017

4 Simple Rituals for a Happier Life

I love doing steadfast + consistent things that keep me afloat and on point. Things like going to church on a Sunday morning or deliciously scented bubble baths when I’m feeling a little meh. Small delightful things that revives my soul and that put a little bliss and add quality to my daily life. Here’s a list that you may find helpful and who knows maybe it’ll become your rituals too.

1. Keep a vision board.

Visual boards are awesome, it’s like those "to do" lists that you make in notebooks but just (like the name says) in a visual way. I shapes your brain to remember what is that want out of life. So, it’s my ritual to paste images of my likes, wants and needs (mostly wants) out of glossy magazines and thereafter looking at it on a daily basis. Daydreaming and visualizing the outcome, in short, manifesting on my desires.

2. Celebrate.

Celebrate the fact that you’ve made it through a tough week with a glass of your favorite cocktail. Bake a cake because you’ve managed to eat healthy the whole week. Put on your party dress because the sun is shining. Wear your brightest, boldest lipstick because it is Wednesday. Get the point? Find something to celebrate everyday if you can and remember it don’t have to cost a thing.

3. Try out new recipes.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money when you want to spoil your friends and loved ones, all you have to do is to learn how to be creative in the kitchen. If you want to host a Mexican party, learn how to make a few good dips and salsas alongside a few packets of crunchy Doritos. Then add some hot and spicy minced pizza downed with zesty margaritas and voila! You’ve nailed it! Make your own tiramisu, lasagna, seafood paella, whatever it is you crave. Purchase the ingredients, get your hands dirty and get excited about life.

4. Spoil yourself with flowers.

Try to purchase fresh flowers whenever your budget allows it and divide it into smaller bunches and little vases all around your home for a cheerful and welcoming effect. Alternatively you can try and find the most real looking fake flowers, they won’t be cheap but just think about how much you’ll save in the long run. In fact you can mix real and fake flowers (not in one vase, obviously) and be creatively cheeky by putting a scented candle next to a fabulous fake flower arrangement.

Image - My Own

08 November 2017

The Beauty Desk: Gosh, Eylure + Woolworths

Want to know what’s new on my beauty desk? Then stay awhile and take a closer look. Today I’m featuring a beautiful shimmering nail polish, flirty eyelashes and argan hair oil from Gosh!

1. Gosh Argan Oil

Previously I’ve used and reviewed the coconut hair oil from Gosh, but because of all the rave these days around argan oil I decided to give it a try. First of all, it smells amazing! Earthy and luxurious, basically like perfume for your hair. It leaves my hair soft and shiny and like with most hair oils a little goes a long way. I’ve been using this product for over 5 weeks and I can definitely see the difference, before my hair was on the lifeless and brittle side where it now seems to be stronger and shinier. I purchased this hair oil at Edgars beauty counters for R155.00 

2. Eylure Katy Perry in Lovely Lolita

Oh my! I absolutely love these false eyelashes! They just look so real on you, well admittedly it was a real struggle at first to put on, but that’s just because I’m not used to wearing them. There’s a trick to applying this ( if you're a first-timer) and if you actually read the accompanying pamphlet which states that there’s trimming and waiting for the glue to get sticky involved you won’t have any hassle at all. 

I decided to give my mom a spoil by doing her makeup and I gave her these Lovely Lolita's to wear. We had a family gathering on that specific night and she received such beautiful compliments from my sister and her teenage daughter the entire night. Needless to say, my mom looked and felt amazing!

3. Woolworths Gel Nail Varnish in Metallic Champagne

With the festive season upon us this will definitely be one of my go to nail shades. Shimmery and sparkly, what more to you want? This one is such a pretty almost muted, glam metallic that I'm really into. Great quality in the product too, one coat is already enough in terms of coverage and on application it lasted a chip free 4 days. Purchased at Woolworths for R65.00

Image - My Own
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