Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Ten best dressed at AMA's 2017

So the American Music Awards took place on 19 November 2017.

As always, there was great entertainment, laughs (and disappointment for some fans) - I mean I would've loved The Chainsmokers ft Halsey - Closer to have won Collaboration of the year Award but hey, 'Despacito' always makes me dance wherever I am; even if I'm in church...but then why would they play Despacito in church??

Anyway well done to Luis Fonsi ft Daddy Yankee and that Bieber dude for winning collab of the year! As well as all the other winners!

But enough about the music. Let's talk fashion!

This is my personal top ten list of best dressed females at AMA's.

*Please note all photo's are not mine, I just uploaded them off the internet*

Do you agree with my list?

10. Ashlee Simpson. A beautiful, sequined dress that epitomizes elegance and glamour. And I declare for any music award, you can't go wrong with glamour!  Her hair, neatly tucked behind her ears and left open, is simple enough to compliment the dazzling dress. ( A dress so bold, we've already forgotten about that infamous lip sync fail...)

Source: Getty / Neilson Barnard

9. Sabrina Carpenter. Ok, I confess, I don't know who Sabrina is but she is rocking a plaid dress, whimsical wavy hair with a bun on top (a fashion hairstyle of this year) and gorgeous boots! This outfit is something we don't usually witness but I love how she put the whole ensemble together! Very sexy and playful. (Note to self: Google who the hell Sabrina is...after lunch.)

Source: Getty / Neilson Barnard

8. Jenna Tatum. Jenna can never get anything wrong! (Including her yummy man...and we all know who he is! *Marriage Goals*) She looks breath-taking in this figure hugging, elegant Julien Macdonald dress and uhmmm those to-die-for shoes!!!
Image Source: Getty / Neilson Barnard

7. Nicole Kidman. Her country singer man may have scooped up a few awards at the AMA's (yay, Keith Urban rocks) but Nicole has scooped a position in my top ten. She hardly disappoints in the fashion field and this black dress ending in sexy, asymetrical slit, paired with knee-high stiletto boots looks much better than a country fried steak, hash brown and eggs breakfast.

Image Source: Getty / Neilson Barnard

6. Pink. Because this edgy, outspoken, say-it-like-it-is talent, (and one of my all time fav singers) can pull off a stunning pink dress with ruffles and butterflies and still look damn stunning! I'm raising my glass to this one.

Image Source: Getty / Neilson Barnard

5. Hailee Steinfeld. I love when a feminine suit is given a novel touch and Hailee does just that to this ensemble. The bulging shoulder pads and cutout bustier adds a kind of eighties feel without being over the top. The wet hair and pumps rounds of the edgy, eye-catching outfit rather nicely.

Image Source: Getty / Neilson Barnard

4. Yara Shahidi. Mix in some laid back, some sassy, some cute and the result?: - This appealing shorts, collared shirt all buttoned up, long blazer with the sleeves pulled up at the elbows, high socks and envious heels! Yara definitely knows how to step into an awards show with style.

Image Source: Getty / Neilson Barnard

3. Diana Ross. When you are one of the best female singers in the world...like ever...you can wear whatever the hell you please to any award. Like Diana Ross, sporting this eccentric hat, long veil and a black dress with the lower half appearing out of proportion. But she's at my number three for a reason. Not only does she pull off this outfit perfectly but she looks incredible in it as well. The dress is such a unique design but it works and that's the point. (It is a Viviene Westwood dress after all.) All thumbs up for this crazy, sexy outfit!

Image Source: Getty / Neilson Barnard

2. Kat Graham. I admit...I may have a girl crush on Kat after seeing her in this attire. It's striking, without being sleazy. The high, jagged slit on the skirt and low cut top adds a depth of sexiness, while the white and pink color gives it a 'soft' pleasant appeal. And not to forget - the subtle but beautiful hairstyle and black pumps works in harmony with the entire outfit.

Image Source: Getty/ Neilson Barnard

And now...drum roll please"

1. Selena Gomez. First, let's talk hair. While I'm personal fan of darker hair like Selena used to have
 I can admit that the new, platinum blonde Selena looks gorgeous! Paired up with that tight, mini leather dress, clutch and pumps (not to mention stunning legs) this tough gal, hot, sassy and sexy look is a hands down winner - especially for the AMA's (hence my no 1.) The only question I have is...Santa, can I please have this outfit for Christmas?!

Image Source: Getty / Neilson Barnard

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Halloween - A true Ghost Story.

In the spirit of Halloween (get it?) I decided to post a blog about this wonderfully eerie celebration.

*Be warned...what you are about to read is my own experience laden with dead souls, mystery, an ominous yet beautiful Victorian styled home and two innocent dogs. (Don't worry, no humans or animals were harmed during the writing of this blog or during the actual events itself.)*

So if you have the courage to, best bring out the marshmallows and gather around the crackling fireplace for halloween will not be complete without a true ghost story to inspire some hair raising chills...

Y'all ready for this?

First a quick lesson on the history of Halloween:

As you know, Halloween is celebrated yearly on 31st October.

It started off as a Celtic festival known as Samhain some 2000 years ago. This took place in a land we now call Ireland. (Yep, Halloween is actually Irish...imagine that!)

The Celts celebrated their new year on 1st November which marked the end of summer and the start of a cold, dark winter. They believed that the night before New Year, the line between the living and dead became blurred.

In other words, dead souls wander earth on the night of 31st October, mingling with the living. Muwhahahahaha!

The use of masks came about hundreds of years ago, when people were scared to walk the streets on the spooky night of October. They believed that dead souls would recognize them and the use of the masks would make the ghosts believe that they too were a spirit.

During the decades, Halloween has evolved into what is now more of a party and celebration with costumes ranging from fun to sexy to weird or wacky and scary.

(Like me as a she-devil and my one of my sexy besties, who dressed up as a witch, to celebrate Halloween this weekend at a themed night club. For us ladies, dressing up is always the best part!)

Two elements, traditions and superstitions are still gently touched upon; one of them being telling ghost stories around a bonfire.

Which brings me to my main point.

The fire has started, marshmallows are roasting and I'm about to relate my own personal experience of a ghostly tale...

It all began on a dark, spooky night...(Actually it began on a really bright day where the birds chirped blissfully away and the sun shone in all its awe. But for effect, I will be dramatic.)

My parents, siblings around my age and my twenty-seven year old self, had just moved into a gorgeous home. (I wish I had pictures of that place but that home no longer exists as it once did.)

It was an enormous three - story house which boasted five bedrooms, three bathrooms, a large game room, an enchanting fireplace, spacious garden, pool etc.

What I loved about that place was that amidst the modern decor, the black and white painted home emanated an old school appearance with its stunning Victorian architecture, wooden flooring and Gothic styled balconies.

For me it also evoked a magnetic feel, not only because of it's towering size but also because, from day one, I sensed a tragic darkness weaved into the walls. That feeling was so powerful that I would often sleep with the lights on. (I have a strong sixth sense.) My sister felt the same way as I did.

But like a horror movie, it was one room that caused the hair on my arms to stand on end. That was the fireplace room and whenever I entered it, a dreadful wave overtook my mind resulting in me not wanting to stand in that space for too long. I felt whatever tragedy took place in that house...happened in the fireplace room.

Because of that, my sister and I decided to investigate the history of the house but that was futile. The only thing we learnt was that when the house was first built English soldiers lived in it and during the 1980's it was turned into a bed and breakfast.

Our next step was to make friends with the elderly man and wife who resided across us. We heard that they were the only residents in that small road to know about the history of our place as they had lived on that road for many, many years.

We set up a date to speak to them but it never happened. For on the same day that all was meant to be revealed to us, the elderly man sadly, passed away in his sleep. His wife had understandably spent weeks and weeks mourning and thereafter sold the house and moved away to live with her children.

We never saw or heard from her again.

Of course the whole incident is more life being life in its unfortunate way rather than eerie co-incidence, but we never got to find out the history of the place and we were back to square one.

Now the house, situated in Tropical Durban, meant there was no need for the fireplace to be used. So we decided to turn the fireplace into a beautiful guest room. The room itself was large and could fit a king size bed in it with additional space for cupboards etc so it made for a very comfortable and homely invite.

The first outsider to stay there was my mums sister...however that was short lived! For on her first night sleeping there, she got up just after midnight in a state of panic. Running straight to my parents bedroom, she insisted she wanted to go home immediately!

After trying to calm her down, she revealed to us that she had witnessed a terrifying black shadow in her room. The figure glided suspiciously, as if an angry shadow had come to life and was searching for revenge of some kind.

After everyone in the house admitted that none of us was in the fireplace room that night, we all became a bit perturbed. (My family, and me to some extent, do not really believe in ghosts).

We chalked it down to my aunt either being dramatic, dreaming or having her mind play tricks on her.

Nevertheless, she did go home that night and we were still perturbed.

Two months later, my sister's boyfriend was too tired to drive home so he slept over in the guest room. (We did not relate anything to him about the room being 'haunted' or about what my aunt saw.)

Next morning, we were greeted by his unusually shaken up self.
He confessed that he did  not have a good night sleep due to the fact that he had woken up at midnight hearing a strange noise. The noise he said, turned out to be a black spirit roaming the fireplace room for quite a few seconds and then vanishing into thin air.

At that point my siblings and I began to wonder about the authenticity of ghosts as well as my deep, unsettling feelings about the fireplace room.

Another month later, a family friend stayed over for a few days with us. Now this friend does not believe in ghosts and just like my sister's boyfriend we did not say anything to her, prior to staying, about a black figure in that room - seeing as we were unsure of it ourselves and we didn't want to scare people away.

Similar to the other two guests, she too woke up the next morning to let us know her frightful experience in seeing a distinct black figure gliding along and then vanishing.

She was visibly nervous but her strong courage and open mind allowed her to spend a few more nights in that room, albeit with the lights on and the door open.

This then caused me, my brother, sister and two friends to resume investigation. My sister had purchased an Ipad and we put it to effective use by downloading a ghost app -one that records supernatural energy using electronic voice phenomena and (EVP) and electromagentic field (EMF).

Gathering our bravery, and our two dogs, the five of us toured the inside of the house while the app was on.
It had picked up slight paranormal activity here and there but the minute we stepped into (yes, you guessed it) the fireplace room, our dogs, who up until that point, was only allowed into our lounge and a relevant size section of the house they stayed in, began barking and jumping wildly while at the same time the app went crazy, highlighting the intense presence of supernatural energy around the room!

All five us immediately shrieked and ran out, including my muscular, big sized brother -who one can describe as a Corleone in the Godfather movies.

We made a pact from that day to close off the fireplace room but soon after, due to personal reasons, that gorgeous house was sold and the new owners broke it down and rebuilt it to suit their fashion.

Unfortunately, we never got to find out who the black shadow was and the history of that home.

I had always felt though, that that place harbored spine-chilling stories, one that could stay with you your whole life and one that would make the most hardened of hearts...believe that dead souls do exist on earth.

And maybe, just maybe, they expose themselves on the 31st October every year.

What ghost stories have you encountered? I would love to hear!

Happy Halloween...

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

How to deal with a Harvey Weinstein.

Two words.
Harvey Weinstein.

A further two words.
Sexual harassment.

That's the topic flowing through Hollywood right now and seeping into the rest-of-the-world territory.

And quite frankly this makes me p****d off! (And also hungry since it's 11am and I haven't eaten my usual breakfast of custard flavored yogurt smothered in muesli, bananas, almonds and honey but mostly...I'm angry.)

This story awakens a sad sense in every man and woman to just how prevalent sexual harassment is by people of power. And the cherry on top of the breakfast is...these sexual offenders almost always get away with it!

Anyway, if you haven't read what's going on with this creepy dude...let me sum it for you.

Meet Harvey Weinstein, adept film producer, director and co founder of Miramax - an entertainment company that produced movies like Pulp Fiction, The Crying Game etc.

Now meet the tons of ladies in Hollywood that have come forward alleging that (during a three decade period, at one point or another) Harvey assaulted them sexually, raped them, forcibly gave them oral sex, made sexual advances and / or groped them inappropriately.

His victims include Carla Delevingne, Mira Sorvino, Patricia Arquette, Asia Argento, Rose Mcgowan, Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow and many other ladies.

Some of the victims declared that at the time of Harvey's sexual misconduct, they were young, up and coming actresses who were afraid to expose Harvey due to the possibility of their career being threatened. (Harvey did warn some of them to keep the incidents a secret.)
A few of the actresses also claimed that after rejecting Harvey's sexual advances, their acting roles impeded.

Now I ask - how is it ever OK to treat women as sexual objects and also indirectly threaten their career?!

Would it be OK if the same thing happened to their daughter, sister or mum?!

Plenty ladies stated that during their meetings with Harvey, as soon his sexual attempts began, like groping them, trying to get them naked, appearing naked, asking them for massages or asking them to watch him shower etc (WTF Harvey?!), they would say no and many evacuated his presence. Others were forced into oral or vaginal sexual acts. They remained quiet about the occurrences due to fear.

But a few of the women in Harvey Weinstein's case did bring to light Harvey's sexual behavior, either by telling others about Harvey, or, as in the case of Amber Gutierrez, who in 2015 reported to the police that Harvey groped her breasts and tried to put his hand up her skirt. Nothing was done to Harvey but Amber got labelled as a publicity seeker and her image sadly, was tarnished.

Now (ONLY), in 2017, is Harvey being investigated for at least four past charges of alleged rape by some of his victims. He has taken blame for his sexual misbehavior but states he didn't rape anyone and that all sex was consensual. (Insert unconvincing face here.)

 I've never been a victim of sexual assault or harassment but I see it often and read it. I can imagine the fear, awkwardness, trauma and disgust these ladies had to put up with just because Harvey felt he could treat them as objects and not as a respectful, EQUAL human.

Unfortunately Hollywood has been engulfed with dozens of Harveys throughout the decades in a world filled by the stereotypical pressure of beautiful ladies, glamour and fame all camouflaged in a vessel of darkness and abuse. There are also Harvey's in a lot of work places and it's rare for a guy like this to change as long as they know they can get away with it. But what happens if they know they CAN'T get away with it...

Combating sexual offenders in the workplace.

To a woman that's worried about the stability of her job or career, and therefore is tentative about reporting a sexual offense, they should know that the laws of a workplace states that sexual harassment is NOT allowed, even if its the boss or CEO that happens to be the abuser.

Note : I personally feel that the employee should know exactly what constitutes as sexual harassment and what doesn't. For as much as I agree to punishing every arrogant male imposing sexual actions to unwilling females, I do believe that there are plenty good men out there whose actions are merely playful and innocent and should be treated as just that - innocent. Hence I mention the need for research on what is sexual harassment and what isn't.

If sexual harassment does occur, the victim (who can be male or female but statistically this happens more to females) needs to address the offender verbally and ask them to please stop their misdemeanor. Or the victim can speak to human resources department to take more formal action and for further advice.

In the case of Harvey Weinstein, where influence, money and power allowed him to get away with this type of behavior, it became a conflict on whether or not to report his actions. The victims expressed that they felt awkward, scared, alone and chose silence to keep the peace and not jeopardize their career; although the intense trauma and guilt stayed with them throughout. This is not something any female or person should have hanging on their shoulder!

Effectively, the more awareness and light shed on this topic, the more the offenders will realize that sexual harassment will not be condoned and will think twice.

It was admirable to see many of the victims step forward and speak out against Harvey and even more amazing to witness men and women, especially in Hollywood, who are standing by their side. It's a clear stance against sexual abuse of any kind and shows that women - all around the world and in any field - will NOT tolerate their bodies being used against their will, for sexual satisfaction and / or to further their career.

I also feel non victims need to vocally and mentally support those who have experienced sexual assault, stand by their side and do the best they can to ensure that the Harvey Weinsteins of this world do not get away with disrespectful, demeaning behavior!

With actions spreading more knowledge and opening up ones eyes to this common topic and with a strong support system, females (and men who are targeted) can win this fight and play a huge role in discouraging and ceasing the behavior of people like the great, talented, Mr Harvey Weinstein.

NO wait, now it's just...Harvey.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

How to focus on writing during personal life changes.

For me the year 2010 started off like any normal year would -: self- promises of making and sticking to all things healthy, having a good mindset and being optimistic, writing, more writing, editing, even more writing, aiming to finish my novel by year end,...and trying not to fantasize about physically torturing every incompetent person I meet…ok, maybe that last point is my vice only 😊.

BUT, by mid 2010 a field of unforeseen changes had spewed into my personal life which made it hard to focus on the things that I planned on achieving. Hence I labelled 2010 the year of changes. Until…

2013 came along and a whole series of unwanted and wanted changes occurred. Now I know changes are inevitable and we all experience them often. But the changes I’m highlighting are those good and bad changes that make the biggest impact and difference in your life, the ones that steer you down adventitious paths.

2013 became one of those years and by the end of it I christened that the year of change!

But now I need to erase that label and hand the title over to 2017. Why you ask? Because these are the changes in my life so far...

This year started off with a mutual decision that I no longer was going to be living alone. In March, my space was invaded by a wonderful man and I had to adjust to new conditions and rules that comes with living with your significant other.  Then, one of my best friends dropped the bombshell that they would be relocating to another country far, far away. Two months later said person was gone. (And unfortunately, distance triumphed over friendship and that close bond rapidly withered.)

At the same time came the news that my rented flat of seven years was going to be sold. This then led to the arduous task of looking for a new place to move to and four months later my man and I moved into our new beautiful flat. Which again took a whole lot of readjusting.
To top it off my amazing dad, whom I was so close to, recently passed away. He was such a fit, healthy 72-year-old so his sudden death was a piercing shock to us all. (I still haven’t overcome the shock.)

 In addition to the above, other changes happened -and..yep…2017 hasn’t freakn ended yet!

If, like me, you are one of those writers that has one or two or ten of those ‘year of changes’ how do you stay focused and write during that crazy period??

At first I found it difficult to stick to a consistent schedule of writing. I would write plenty for a week and then some shitty or beautiful change would happen. This ended up taking most of my time to sort out (for either days or weeks) and in between that I would write, if I was lucky, two sentences a day! And they were mostly awful sentences.  

Until I got all Jessica Jones and realised that I can’t avoid change and I will never stop writing so I had to fight! (Not literally of course, although that crossed my mind too.)

But I had to fight for giving myself space to write and making sure I wrote! I scheduled myself every hour from 5pm-6pm to write. That only worked for a week!

Because as much as routine is good at times especially for someone like me who loves routine, life cannot always be scheduled. Neither can writing. You can try and if it works, well then, my hats off to ya’.
But to other writers who work and study and have families in between, it’s hard when you must suddenly work late, or your child is sick and you have to sit for hours at the doctor while your kid vomits on you.  

What I found effective when change was happening was to… breathe. And never put too much pressure on yourself during a drastic change.

 If it’s a sad, stressful or time demanding change, then take the time out you need to deal with it! You have to. Thereafter come back to your writing, even if it means weeks later. I tried to balance the two and it was futile. It’s always best to write with a clear (clearer) head rather than write while worrying about the change or being exhausted, because then you won’t be focused and there’s not much writing you will be able to do.

If it’s a big change that’s not so demanding and gives you a few days in between to write, then use those days to write.
And the only way you'll be able to do that is to take a day off to relax. Maybe though you can only afford a few hours to relax. That’s fine. But the most imperative thing is to make some time to unwind and do something like visit the theater, dance to your favorite music (yes 80's music counts), go to the beach or eat chocolate and cheesecake while lying naked in bed watching Vampire Diaries (ok, again that’s my personal thing) but you get the picture. Even writing down your feelings and emotions in a journal might help you relax.

During any change in your life it’s always good to take a few hours at least to rest the brain and then come back to your writing! You will be able to pour out your emotions so much better if you’re able to get into ‘the zone’ and the only way to focus is to have a somewhat stress-free mind and that can come only after relaxing. (Also, not watching You-Tube while writing helps. *Insert my guilty face here*)

Always embrace the changes in the most positive way you can - whether it's a good, bad or scary change. Having a positive mindset helps in achieving career goals and improving your personal lifestyle.

Hopefully, your year is not as full of crazy changes as mine is, or it’s a heap of good crazy changes. Regardless, don’t forget to take a step back when you need to, breathe, take time off to relax and then tackle that writing and changes head on! Even if writing takes longer than planned (which happens often especially if you don’t have a deadline and there’s too many changes) but the main thing is you will be able to write better, sturdier, won’t lose your love for writing (and you won’t swear your cat and dog daily.)

For that I say - Happy changes! Happy writing!

P.S Who knows where my next adventure (change) will take me..