08 August 2018

L.A. Girl's Just Blushing, 'Just Dazzle' Blush


I’ve been really eager to try the new range of blushes from L.A. Girl Cosmetics, so you can imagine how happy I was when the Just Blushing, 'Just Dazzle' blush landed on my desk. And you know what? I think this blush might just become my all year long go-to blush, let me tell you why.

Apart from being very pigmented I like the fact that it’s not your normal rosy coloured blush, it gives more of a bronze/peachy hue to my cheeks and I really love the look of it. It also has these beautiful illuminating specks of gold in-between, so pretty! The colour also doesn’t fade at all during the day especially when I set my makeup with the L.A. Girl Setting Spray, review on this spray coming soon.


The packaging is compact and easy to open and adds a bit of glam to the rest of my makeup bag. Talking of makeup bags, I desperately need a new (bigger) one. 



L.A. Girl always produces high-quality cosmetics at affordable prices and the Just Dazzle blush is definitely up there with the rest. This blush will last me a long time and I won’t think twice to repurchase this product.

Available at Dischem for R99.95

Images - My Own 

01 August 2018

My Sobriety Journey: Part 1


In recent years I have not been a hard drinker. (Insert cough.) Just before I completely went sober I was into what some may call "sophisticated drinks." Like cocktails and craft beer and my favourite, a spicy merlot. However, I must mention that I did go through the gin phase and I’ve indulged merrily in the 1-liter beers that came onto the recent scene. 

OMG, who am I kidding I loved alcohol and there was always something for every occasion. Something tangy and crisp on a hot summer’s day and something stronger like a premium brandy on a cold winter’s night.

I started drinking around the age of 16 and gave up alcohol at 34 and the only time I went sober before that was when I was unemployed during my early 20’s and then again when I fell pregnant. The first time I went alcohol-free was for 8 months, and like mentioned - I was unemployed and without any clear direction at that point. Early 20’s summaries a time when I had lots of heartaches in the romance department, in which case every rejection felt viciously intense. But I was also young without any major responsibilities, and so when I found a job and things were looking up for me I started drinking again because that’s what young people do. They like get-togethers and they basically cannot socialize without any booze.

However, when my sister died 3 years ago my alcohol consumption went through the roof! During that time my heart was drenched in wine, to numb the pain, to cope, to just manage I guess. But I did not manage. I remember during the first 6 months I would lay awake at night and get up to pour myself a large drink. I remember getting up early in the morning to pour myself a large drink. I would drink and feel guilty, sad and angry all at the same time. I didn’t take any other medication, alcohol was my drug of choice.

The sadness totally consumed me when I was under the influence. Here I must point out that I would never drink to the point of being staggering and pathetic, nope I was always groomed, composed and in control. Here I should also point out that writing this is extremely difficult, delving into this period of time is always grim. I guess I want to tell you that I didn’t see myself (and I don’t want you to see me) as an alcoholic, during the last 2 years I would only drink 4 moderate glasses a day and I would only drink 3 days a week – depending on the alcohol availability in which case there was always more on weekends. (Such denial, I know.)

I stopped drinking 3 days after my sister’s birthday, it was on the 23rd of March 2018. On that day I read something on Twitter around suicide prevention and went ballistic! I was in such a rage. Why wasn’t there any intervention, why didn’t I give more attention to my sister’s mental state? (She committed suicide at 19, read more about that here.) Why didn’t I see it coming and why didn’t anyone else? It could’ve been prevented! I was in a state and also under the influence. Because you see, every year around her birthday the days would turn into a destructive pattern of visiting her grave, buying her favourite drinks and having a “party” because she would’ve wanted us to be happy. 

So as you can see, me going sober was basically born out of grieve. I just couldn’t handle all that sorrow anymore and desperately needed another way to deal with everything. And so, today it has been just over 4 months that I’m sober and thus far it’s been going alright. I can be part of birthday parties and other events with alcohol and be completely fine with that. Well, maybe not completely, I had to be very strict with myself in the beginning, using a lot of willpower and such. 

But however tempted I may be, I’ll still choose to be sober as I don’t have to deal with those intense feelings of heartache anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I still get sad but because I’m in a clear state of mind I’m more at peace. I know that I need to move on and that there’s nothing I can do about what happened. 

I know that I need to focus on creating a happy and healthy life for myself and my little family. I don’t want my precious daughter to grow up and think that drinking will ease the pain in her life. I have nothing against alcohol and I don’t judge people that drink but for my personality and the things I’ve had to deal with it is just way better to live an alcohol-free life. It is a personal choice.

I’m working on a post about how my new sober lifestyle has bettered my skin, gave me more energy and helped me to lose weight. I’ll also be sharing my fave nonalcoholic drinks, so keep an eye out for Part 2 of My Sobriety Journey.


Image: My Own 

02 July 2018

The Digital Nomad


If you read my blog or follow me on social media, you’ll know I recently packed my life into boxes and headed to the East to work remotely. The move was both impulsive as well as a long time coming and, now that I’m here, I’m loving it so much I don’t want to come home. I mean, I will. Eventually. But for now I want to stay put.

When I’m not working, I get to explore South East Asia at a leisurely pace, an area I love and adore, while indulging my need for ‘new’. For adventure! I don’t have to deal with the poohness that is Cape Town’s winter. Or it’s drought! I love getting to meet the most fascinating people. I adore being able to eat like a queen for very little and nobody has to know how jiggly my ass is getting. Also, living out of a suitcase with very little makes me happy. It gives me great perspective and helps me realise just how stupid ‘things’ are. You don’t need five freakin’ body lotions. Just one that does the trick. When I travel light, I feel light. And happy!


Now that I’ve become a ‘digital nomad’ (a word I despise) I get asked a lot of questions about it and the most common is probably the hardest to answer, but I’m going to give it a bash. So here it is – the big kahuna – ‘how do I do that too?’

This is tricky because you don’t have to do what I do to work and travel. I’m a freelance writer for ads, magazines and TV and I have several regular clients that I work for each month. One of them has me on a retainer, so I know that even if the others had to fall away, I’d still have enough, from the one client alone, to live comfortably. If I didn’t have that ‘security’ I probably wouldn’t have left Cape Town. Also, for the record, you don’t need a high earning job to be here. You could easily live on R10K a month in the east as it’s a lot cheaper than South Africa. I earn more than that, so my lifestyle is now even more luxurious than it was back home and my living expenses are less!







So, again, you don’t have to be a writer. It’s just a matter of finding yourself a job that allows you to work from home. It could be coding. It could be web developing. Whatever. There’s no ‘secret’ or ‘trick’. It’s as simple as ‘if you’re working remotely in South Africa why not do the same thing in another country that’s favourable to the kakness that is the rand?’ Back home I used to spend R9K on rent, electricity and internet alone and now I can get all of that for less than six. 


Once you have that, the job that lets you work anywhere, it’s just a matter of wrapping up your life and then taking the plunge. The ‘wrapping’ bit involves getting rid of or minimising every cost you have in your old home (for me this meant giving up my apartment and putting whatever I didn’t sell into storage) and the ‘plunge’ was buying my plane ticket. For me, that was the scariest thing. That’s when things got real. Still, once that was done, everything else just kind of fell into place. I know from experience that only once you initiate and start walking towards something, as opposed to waiting for an opportunity, that the universe starts opening doors for you. 

Once I started ‘walking’ so many ‘problems’, many of which I’d already solved, were suddenly taken care of in ways that were even better. For example, I planned to park my car in a friend’s garage but when another friend found out I was leaving she asked if she could rent it while I was gone. Yay for yet more passive income! Also, because she’s a better driver than me (I’m shocking!) my insurance premiums went down.

If you’ve already got a job that allows you to work remotely, aren’t anchored by responsibilities like kids and have been thinking about making a move, then my advice to you is this: ‘What are you waiting for? Go, go, go!’ Minimise your ‘home’ expenses to the max (paying ‘rent’ in two countries is insanity’), ensure you’ve got a client that’s stable, save up three months savings to cover you in case stable client goes rogue and then hit the road like a boss. You’ll have the rest of your life to stay in one place. And if you hate it and everything goes to hell then you can just come home. It’s that simple.

I have a lot of freelancer friends in Cape Town who could easily do what I do but find making the leap a little scary. If this is the case, then rather stay put. If you want to do anything enough you won’t let fear hold you back. Still, just be sure you know exactly what it is you’re worried about. 



Before committing to my trip, I made a list of the things that were keeping me in South Africa. ‘Giving up’ my friends and family, albeit temporarily, sat at the top and that ties into another thing I’m most asked most about. ‘Don’t you miss your friends?’ The short answer is yes, but for me it’s not a deal breaker. Having done a gap year in London in my early twenties, I know that it’s possible to bugger off for a year and everyone who loves you will still be there when you get back. Also, thanks to social media and WhatsApp, you’re never really out of touch. 

Another of my ‘cons’ was dropping the beauty aspect of my blog but, again, this wasn’t a biggie and my craving for travel outweighed it ten to one. I’ve been writing about lipgloss for a decade, so I’ve said much of what I have to say, have schmoozed and boozed at enough launches to last a life time and press drops are viewed as work, not presents. Maybe I’ll feel differently when I get back home and have had a bit of a break but for now, I’m not missing the grind. I only miss the daily interaction with my ‘beauties’. Beauty blogging has enriched my life with the most amazing women, be they my fellow ‘blogger bietse’ or the kick ass PR queens who just ‘get it’. 

So ja. If you’re undecided or nervy, do a little list making. You might also be surprised by how easy it is to find solutions to any cons once you’ve put them down on paper. Once you cross them off, you’ve got more reasons to stay.

If you’re not undecided, really want to work and travel, but don’t have a gig that allows you to move then that’s your biggest obstacle. But if your desire to travel is truly a burning one, you won’t need much advice because you will find a way to maneuver yourself into a position that allows you to do it. It could be as simple as asking your boss if they’d mind if you worked from home and being surprised when they say yes or as complicated as working like a dog to developing a gig on the side that allows you to eventually quit your nine to five. But if you want it enough, you’ll get it. And once you’ve got that, the rest is piss. 



Here’s hoping I see you on the road! I’ll be the girl with the soon-to-be very jiggly ass.

Follow the rest of my adventures on:

Instagram
Facebook
Twitter
My Blog


Images - Leigh's

25 June 2018

The Blogging Lecturer


I studied to be a High School Teacher specialising in Food and Nutrition, but even all those years ago I was passionate about food culture and trends around the world. However, never in my wildest dreams did I think of where my journey would take me!

Having lived all my life in Durban, so when I got my first job and had to move to a small town in the middle of almost nowhere, I felt like a fish out of water. Ixopo was the town I lived in and taught at - Ixopo High School where famous South African author Alan Paton was once the headmaster of. The school was a boarding establishment and here I was exposed to a whole new way of life yet within a year boredom set in for this city girl and the call of wanderlust was very strong.

Within weeks I started applying for jobs abroad and a few weeks later I handed in my resignation and headed off to London for the adventure of my lifetime! I had to fend for myself and look after myself in all ways, you could say that this is where I started to actually grow as an adult.

Living so close to Europe, every holiday I'd spent traveling and exploring the world. I did not come back to South Africa with a big fat bank balance but instead a million memories of the world. I loved how multicultural London was and how easy it was to buy and eat food from around the world on literally every street.

Almost a decade later I returned to South Africa and saw Durban through the eyes of a tourist. Everything had changed and now I appreciated things even more. It was at this point I decided to start a blog as a means of sharing my world with the rest of the world.

Round about the same time I started working at a local college as a lecturer in a temporary post which later turned permanent. From lecturing Hospitality and Tourism it seemed the travel bug was still alive and strong. So combining my love for inspiring young minds and my passion for writing the fuel and words seemed to find a way on my blog.

Over the years my blog has afforded me many amazing opportunities from working with well known international brands and even tourism boards. However,  all this did not happen overnight or by luck but with a lot of hard work and perseverance. Having a full-time job means that I often end up missing out on spectacular events which is something that I'm OK with as I know there'll always be others.



Besides my blog and full-time job which requires a lot from me, I am involved in campus life in various activities and committees. So my biggest problem actually is not having enough hours in my day to do it all! For 2018 I have decided to work smarter and to be kinder to myself and not put myself under so much pressure.

Loads of people think the world of blogging is easy and filled with lots of free stuff. Trust me darling, nothing is for free and there is a lot of hard work that happens behind the scenes. Please do not start a blog for the freebies that you think you'll get. Start a blog because you are passionate about writing and because you have something to share.




A day in the life of me:

5am: Wake up and check my phone before getting out of bed. Checking emails and notifications from my various platforms.

7am: Leave for my day job or as my mum says my paying job. In between meetings, lectures and checking emails my day job ends at 3pm.

3:30pm: Head home or head off to run errands. Sometimes I get home and put on my domestic apron and whip up some delightful meals.

6pm: Dinner and watch some TV and relax.

8pm: Work on my blog, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Before I know it is after 10pm and time for me to sleep.

Most days are like this but somedays I am up until 2am writing and trying to meet deadlines.

I hope I have given you a glimpse into my world and my life. Do give my blog a read and follow me on my social media platforms to see what takes up all my free time.





Connect with Verushka: 

The Blog

Twitter 

Facebook 

Instagram


Images: Verushka's


21 May 2018

Red & Yellow's Digital Content and Copywriting Course: Part 2


Back in February, I had the opportunity to enroll for the 10-week Digital Content and Copywriting online course from the Red and Yellow Creative School of Business. See Part 1 here. I’m now giving you feedback on my learning experience. I wanted to do this course for a really long time so I was obviously really excited. 

However, I had a few concerns.

  • Data usage since this is an online course. 
  • The difficulty of assignments and quizzes: would I be able to grasp and understand the learning material?
  • Also, I felt nervous about when I would get time to study since I’m a stay-at-home mom of a 2 year old.

Turns out I was worrying over nothing. The first week started with orientation, getting familiar with the topics and different rollout times of modules. Modules are mailed around 12 am on Monday and hereafter you have time to study and complete the week’s assignment by the next Monday at 10 am. 

Modules were in PDF format, which I downloaded on my IPad and that really made things easy for me. I would page and study the material the whole week, every time I had a free moment I would go through the notes. 

The real studying and completion of assignments happened in the wee hours of the morning when my little girl was fast asleep, then again that’s what devoted students do, they study late at night. That also settled my data concern as my mobile network offers a full gig of airtime for only R10.00 from 12am till 6am and that helped a lot. 

Also, you’re not online all the time, like mentioned before you get assignments on a Monday where you download the notes in PDF format. The new week’s assignment answering sheet is in a Word document that also needs to be downloaded, thereafter I would copy the assignment’s questions for that week in another Word document. Although it was sometimes easier for me to just copy and save it in an email draft. Don’t get confused, it’s really not that difficult.

Then there’s a Thursday 30 minutes chatroom, a forum where you’d discuss topics around the course along with asking burning questions on the new week’s assignment. That and the submission of completed assignments on or before the Monday morning at 10.

Additional stuff that I liked about the course was the module notes that was so interactive on the Red and Yellow Student login site. There were little quizzes on the course notes as you went along, engaging videos and links that gave more information on the various subjects and all of that really helped and made the learning process so much fun. 


With my Red & Yellow certificate!

It felt really great being a student again, I always gave my best but whenever I submitted my weekly assignment I would feel a little nervous pang. That again was all for nothing as I did really well throughout the whole course, like my marks were always really high. Another thing I also loved was the detailed feedback on assignments like I knew exactly where I went wrong and I know what areas I now need to give more attention and work on. 

The whole online process was amazing, and I really mean this. Looking back I can’t believe it’s all over, I cannot believe everything went so well. Don’t get me wrong, the whole course was challenging and pushed me to think creatively all the time. There were times when I wasn’t sure I was giving the correct answers, in retrospect I think I was underestimating myself a lot… then again maybe it was just nerves. Which is what I miss now that everything is over, that nervous anticipation of not knowing how high you’ll get scored.

As a blogger, the course formalised all the knowledge I’ve already known and have also informed me with all the information I should know. I now feel equipped and confident and ready to further build on my “little” blog empire. As a digital copywriter, the course has just put me on another level. Being a Red and Yellow graduate just gives me goosebumps, knowing that I’ve been able to study with the best, that’s a fabulous feeling!

I can’t wait to apply all the knowledge I’ve learned, I can’t wait to see how my blog and career will evolve and I’m really so, so glad that I grabbed this opportunity with both hands. 

I’ll now be able to:

  1. Write keyword researched and engaging blogposts along with great call-to-actions.
  2. Write better posts for social media platforms that include all the relevant and popular hashtags.
  3.  I’ll be able to run successful blog and social media campaigns.
  4. Do proper crisis management, if there should ever be the need.
  5. Build and market my brand using analytics and the right influencers without spending a fortune.

On a final note, I want to thank everyone involved, especially the friendly Course Co-ordinators. Thank you for the great feedback and the helpful and kind comments throughout the course. I want to commend them on their professionalism and apt responses. What a great team, well done – and I’m now a Red and Yellow certified (see badge below) Digital Content and Copywriter, yay!




Need more information? Visit Red & Yellow’s website, there’s a variety of other online courses on there. 


Images -  My Own (excluding badge)
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