Style is Art, I promise…

I’m having a little giggle because my friend Eleanor from JustEllaBella is doing a collaboration with Label Collections at the moment and I poked her a bit and made her show me the results of what she is doing. Of course what she is doing has come out stunningly and of course I had to gush in response with how talented she is.

“Talented?” she asks me, as if her Eleanoresque talent has nothing to do with it.

But yes, talented. I won’t tell you what she’s done (you’ll have to stalk her on her blog and on Instagram if you want answers to that question) but since Label Collections is mostly a clothing company, her current project has to do with style. And boy does she have tons of it!

Of course now I’m looking at her and how quickly she put all this together and I’m going could I do that? I have no idea. But since I’m Learning to Girl this year (because all life is a canvas and I’m on a mission to paint the whole damn thing now!) perhaps I do need to take a deeper look at my wardrobe and start looking at what tweaks I can make to my sense of style. No, not makeover tweaks. Just enhancements, you know? Like, sure, Nadine. you travel a bit and you therefore have an extraordinarily large collection of harem pants, but perhaps you could either wear them a little less or come up with something new to do with them. Like turn them into dresses or something.

Ok probably that won’t happen…

I’m kind of inspired by her project though, and I’m thinking I should probably ask her to help me copy her at some point because she’s so clever. Although I wouldn’t let anyone take a look inside my closet ever because gosh how embarrassing! I should definitely look into decluttering my wardrobe and making an effort to get more out of less.

Hmmm…. She’s definitely got me thinking…

Is it ok to cheat on your own goal a little?

I set myself a goal of reading a hundred books this year and so far it isn’t going that great. Granted it is actually going better than I expected (I don’t expect to meet the goal to be honest) and it is most definitely already going better than it did last year. Because yeah: I kind of set this goal for myself every year.

Anyway, I’m seven books behind if I want to meet my goal. I’ve only read five so far. But, I’m going away for a LONG weekend this weekend. It’s my momma’s 60th birthday and we’re leaving town to celebrate.

So I have devised a cunning plan! I’ve gone through my library of over a thousand books (nine hundred-ish of which I haven’t read yet – don’t judge) and I’ve pulled out all the skinniest reads I could find. Those are all coming with me this weekend. One day when I’m big I’ll read a hundred books of three hundred plus pages in a year.

For now while life is a silly kind of hectic…is it ok that I manipulate the odds?

Ootrey Saved My Ass

So I’ve been putting off getting new glasses for ages. The last time I went for an eye test was just before we went to India and that whole exercise cost me R3500 and it was depressing because R3500 buys a lot of naan bread, you know? But also: sight is NB.

Then last year I met Venean. And she’s just the sweetest thing that exists. You know when you meet someone and you’re just like “oh my gosh I hope that good things in life happen for you because you are so freaking beautiful in every way and I love you” – that’s Venean. Obviously she has magic powers of loveliness.

Soon after meeting her I discovered that her husband (who is just as lovely – I get really excited when lovely people find each other) had started a new business selling prescription eyewear online. Basically you choose three frames and they will drop them off at your door so that you can decide overnight which one you would like and then they fetch them again in the morning. I LOVED this idea. And even better than this idea was the fact that all their glasses have names. One was even called Arwen (which I was bummed about not getting because it’s impractically pink but I might just get it anyway at a later stage – I have pink outfits) and obviously that made my nerd heart happy even though I’m not the biggest Lord of the Rings fan. Again, I found myself thinking aw you guys just deserve success in all your endevours. 

Anyway, back up to last week and Thomas, Bridgette, and I are at the optometrist. The loveliest lady ever, seriously (Torga at Greenacres). She was so great. I was up front with her from the beginning though. I told her I have a friend who has a small eyewear business and I need to support him, I’m only using you for your prescription. She just laughed. I was super relieved: It could have been awkward! (ok maybe it was)

They gave me a quote for our glasses anyway, with no pressure. I have to admit: the quote made me gulp. The total for three of us to get eyewear would pretty much wipe out our medical savings. Granted, those quotes included those lenses that change to sunglasses in the sunlilght (not my style) but still: eeeek!

Well, I contacted Ian from Ootrey and he came right over. And – lucky me with friends in high places! – he left ALL his glasses with me for the three of us to try out. Flip that was fun!

Tom and I just needed standard glasses with UV filters (you NEED those filters when you take as many selfies as I do, believe me!) but Bridgette needed a more specialised pair.

Bridgette’s glasses cost me R1800.

Thomas’ and my glasses cost R899 each.

So…I bought two pairs for myself because obviously a girl needs options!

Thanks Ian (and Venean) for your incredible service! You went above and beyond for us and I really appreciate it. The financial saving was a monumental relief!

Bookswap Heaven

I don’t do the bookswap thing. You know when you pop into a secondhand place and then they tell you “oh you can bring them back and swap for something else” — no. I don’t do this, ever. Instead I have a carefully and lovingly curated library that consists of a large number of books, all packed away in their various spaces waiting to be lovingly read. I don’t get to reading as much as I would like, but I find comfort in knowing they’re there. All that potential. All those beautiful spines.

The other day a friend of mine, Yolandi, was looking for folks to swap books with. And immediately I sort of thought oh no I don’t swap books but then I remembered a rather silly habit that I have: I buy books that I already have. Sometimes it is by accident, but most times it is because the book is super cheap and I think I might give it to someone else, or it has a better/different cover to the one I already have.

So I decided to give her one of my own books as well as swapping out a couple that I had doubles of in exchange for whatever it was that she had on offer. While I do already have quite a diverse array of books I must admit it’s quite exciting to consider diversifying my library even further with books loved by others instead of only books picked by me. I’m looking forward to digging in to her offerings, and am already starting to collect up my other duplicates with the idea of swapping out some more.

So if you’re looking to do some swapping, let me know.

Happy reading, folks!

Review: The Girl in the Flammable Skirt by Aimee Bender

The Girl in the Flammable SkirtThe Girl in the Flammable Skirt by Aimee Bender
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Have I mentioned that I love Aimee Bender yet? I wonder: If I start experimenting with drugs would I be able to come up with this sort of writing? That would be great. Pity I can’t afford drugs. Silly drugs, I mean, of course. Like mushrooms or whatever it is that makes things look a little brighter and sparklier. I’m giving this book a 5 because I think that being the type of person who writes these sort of weird and confusing-for-most-people stories is kind of important. Year ago when I read The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake I did not love it as I expected to because I hadn’t been expecting magical realism (I knew little of the genre back then) and I was almost frightened by the darkness of it. I have kind of evolved since then, and am honestly kind of writing in that direction myself now. I have become more open to obscure voices sharing beautiful content. I am so grateful to be meeting these voices. They are growing me. Even when I don’t like them, they are growing me. I have learned to set aside expectations and receive what I am given instead of bemoaning what I have not. I cannot help now but envy Ms. Bender. How free she is in spirit. How unconventionally wise. How odd. How exquisite. How real. I should read Lemon Cake with my fresher eyes now. Soon.

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A Weirdly Popular Quiche

I’ve been meaning to do this post for ages but only just getting around to it now. It occurs to me that blogging about quiche on a Saturday night might be considered a tiny bit sad. It’s ok. I’m old. And I already spent money on burgers from a random vendor in Westbourne road today so I really shouldn’t go out and do any Saturday-ish things. I’m such a liar. I wouldn’t do that probably even if I was flush. I’d still be home watching bad TV while faffing on my laptop.

Anyhoo…. (haha!)

I randomly posted a picture of a quiche that I made for the 5 Day Challenge that I was doing with JustEllaBella and The Lifestyle Wellness Hub last week and a whole bunch of folks asked me for the recipe which I thought was kind of funny but I promised to do a post about it anyway.

Basically I just put this quiche together so that I’d have something ready to snack on for a few days that was high in protein and low in carbs. Obviously I’m no dietician and I am also not a calorie counter, but I have been trying to get my energy back and focusing on my protein intake seems to be helping quite a bit on that front. (more…)

Willfull Creatures by Aimee Bender

Willful CreaturesWillful Creatures by Aimee Bender
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the second time I’ve read this book and I think maybe this time I enjoyed it even more. I know when you have a library of 700+ unread books it’s silly to go back to something you’ve already experienced but The Colour Master kind of got me writing again and so it seemed only natural to turn  back and  revisit the other quirks of Aimee Bender. The richness of the bizarre in these books just soothes my soul. I feel massively influenced by Aimee’s writing, which I suppose is weird. If you read my stuff it’s probably nothing like her writing except for the occasional elements of magical realism. But she is divine. Otherwordly even. And she has certainly done an incredible job of sparking off my creativity for the year.

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Learning to Girl

In my new quest to do a better job of looking after both my mental as well as my physical health, I’ve decided to do a little work on my girly side. Yes, I said girly, and yes I am aware that for some obscure reason the word girl has recently become synonymous with disrespect (how?) but I quite like the word girl and haven’t yet figured out how I’m supposed to be offended by it so I’m just going to keep it for now. And yes, I’m still keeping it even though I’m a 30-something year old woman and apparently am no longer allowed to use the word in reference to myself. Seriously: who makes up these rules anyway?

I digress…

I’m not very good at the girly side of life (unless you count my ability to rock a unicorn headband) but since I’m keeping company with a whole ton of Beauty Bloggers these days – and they all seem like super happy people! – I kind of thought to myself why not learn from the pros?  It is highly doubtful that I will ever attempt, nevermind perfect, winged eyeliner or master contouring (or figure out what contouring is) but there are surely some learnable things out there that will fit squarely in my wheelhouse, right? (What is a wheelhouse though?) (more…)

Trying Out the 5 Day Breakfast Challenge

I did a 5 Day Healthy Breakfast Challenge with my friend Eleanor from JustEllaBella last week. The Lifestyle Wellness Group that my dad falls under as a Herbalifer has been hard at work putting this particular challenge into place for years, constantly tweaking and optimising their formula. The Challenge is a great way of introducing people to what we do without them having to make a big investment (trial only costs R95) before experiencing the benefits. Of course I looked at this system of theirs and was super impressed from a theoretical point of view, but I honestly didn’t think I would ever try it. What for? It’s not like I need a trial, I’ve been on the products for 21 years.

That’s right: I’ve been a Herbailfer for 21 years now. So how, after 21 years, have I only just now stepped up to the challenge?

(more…)

Why I Chose to Read a Christian Book

I made an unorthodox choice last week: I accepted a Christian book to review from a friend of mine – JustEllaBella – who gets a lot of review books from Christian Art Media. She had some extra copies of some books that she got from them and was looking to bookclub-style share them with some friends. Normally I would have said no. I’m not much of a consumer of Christian media in general. I do like some Christian music, though, I suppose. But books? Yikes… Those seem quite a bit more serious, don’t they?

The thing is though: the description said something about the woman asking God to break both of her legs, and immediately I was like yeah chick I feel you. Weirdly, for someone who is feeling a little wobbly on the whole God thing these days, I kind of felt a little drawn to it (read into that what you will). And so I thought: let’s try. Because even if I’m not-so-much with the Jesus talk, I very much understand the mom-going-through-a-midlife-crisis talk. If you’ve been reading my personal blog at all you know that I am a bit of a disaster at the moment. Anyway, I am huge believer in the fact that we can all learn something from each other, even if our religious affiliations don’t necessarily match up.

And who knows? Maybe this lady (Chrystal Evans Hurst) will re-spark something in me. So far it’s working out. It’s one of those books that you can use in the morning to meditate a little. It asks questions that are probably good to answer and it feels like a sweet kind of self-care move.

I’ll let you know how it goes…