#ECMeetUp: Hey EC Bloggers, check this out!

TicketYou guys, Ella and I are so excited! We’ve finally secured our guest speakers and venue and can now officially invite you to get your tickets for our next #ECMeetUp! Woohoo!

Although this is a “mini meet” (think meet up, but like, Smurf version), it sometimes feels like we are basically planning another full on meet up. Bells and whistles included. We are trying to control ourselves, but alas. All the evidence shows that we are failing misrebly!

Exhibit A:
We will be collabing with Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism to bring to you a meet up with a bit of a twist, celebrating Heritage Month and all the color that goes with it! EEEK! Some of the treats include hearing from our very own super blogger, Anje Rautenbach, of Going Somewhere Slowly fame. We are also excited to welcome the creatives of Colours of You SA to our guest speaker line up. COYSA is an Instagram collective who have taken the local Insta world by storm. They will be sharing tips on how to get the most out of your Insta account and how to take great pics for your blog.

Exhibit B:
I think I am most excited about the venue – picturesque ‘The Athenaeum‘, also known as ‘The Grand Old Lady of the city.’ This beautiful building, situated on the corner of Castle Hill and Belmont Terrace in Port Elizabeth, is a community hub for emerging creatives and houses the colourful Little Theatre. This venue is visually stunning! Lots of oohing and aahing went on when Ella and I visited it the other day. It’s the perfect place for our next meet up! (In other words, lots of cool spots to take selfies. Bwahaha.)

Exhibit C:
The goody bag. Always the goody bag. Tickets cost R150 and include a meal and, of corse, your goody bag! Aaack!

We are really looking forward to meeting all you EC Bloggers! Tickets are limited and we’d like to squeeze as many bloggers in as possible, so please rsvp asap so that I can hold your spot!

If you’re a blogger looking to rsvp or a brand wanting to get involved, please drop one of us a mail (Luchae or Elle) and we’ll give you more deets.

Help! My child is too nice!

The other day I had an interesting chat with a very concerned parent about the “niceness” of their kid. For privacy sake let’s call the child Susan. Susan is a well spoken pre-teen and according to her parent, she was being “too nice”… which seems like a pretty crazy problem to have with your child. I mean, a polite, helpful child, who seems to be overly aware of other peoples feelings and always eager to do the right thing, should be something to be celebrated, right? And it has been… Susan’s parents have always been overly proud (and other adults very impressed) with her. But alarm bell’s started going off when Susan was overheard telling a bunch of other kids “No! You’re not allowed to be helpful. That’s MY thing!” Susan was also overheard explaining, in detail, that she knows how to “control” adults by saying the right thing, or crying at the right times. “Don’t worry, leave her to me!” She would say, in reference to how she was going to trick her grandmother to do what she wants her to do.

With all of this in mind, the next time I saw Susan (as always, being super kind and helpful and eager to please) I suddenly saw something else there. “Oh, she’s such a wonderful child!” an aunty exclaimed, after Susan (very loudly) said that she was going to comfort a friend who had gotten hurt. I mean, wanting to comfort the hurt friend wasn’t the concern. Making a big show of it was. I also began noticing how Susan only did nice things when other people were looking and then made sure to mention exactly what she did, so that she could get praise. Her language also changed around certain people. For example, around her grandparents it was all sugar sweet, but around others it was the total opposite. Susan also enjoyed getting friends and playmates into trouble, and then acted as if she had nothing to do with it afterwards. There’s a name for this, I thought to myself…. what is it now again?
Uhmmm… oh ya…
Manipulation.

I totally got it. I understood her parent’s concern. It became really difficult to reprimand the child who pretty much had everyone wrapped around her finger. If Susan was caught doing something wrong, her “I’m sorry’s” were totally on point and the response of everyone else around them would discourage actual punishment because surely Susan did not mean to do it… there must’ve been a mistake! She’s such a WONDERFUL child, after all! It’s hard when there’s a problem but noone else sees it as a problem. Calling your kid out on being “too nice” could make you come across as just being mean. Who wants that? You know?

What do you say to a parent who is concerned that their child is trying to manipulate them? I mean, Susan is no “Chucky” and hasn’t tried to burn the house down or push a sibling from a wall, or anything wack like that. But because of Susan’s (very clever) behavior, she had managed to secure favor in the eyes of adults. It was all part of the tactic.

It’s obvious that the manipulation stems from another root… a root that needs to be nipped in the bud before this broken child becomes an angry adult. But it also made me think about motive. Our kids need to learn about motive and intention… the WHY behind doing things, especially in this era of “entitlement” when feeding the poor on Nelson Mandela Day could be all about the photo op and not about being a light in dark places. And let’s be honest, kids are not the only guilty ones. Adults are especially good at putting on a front to get what they want. Ever spend quality time with your family so that you could Instagram it? Ever register for Santa Shoebox because everyone else is doing it and it’s so fun to put stuff in a shoebox? Ever visit your aunty in hospital to show face and to fake concern? Social media has caused us to live a life of manipulation (photo edit much?) and we act like it’s okay (subliminal status update much?) when it’s not really okay (viral share much?). How is our behavior any different to Susans? Makes you think…

Have you had to deal with a manipulative child? Any advice?  

Adult coloring books… for real? {And hey, you could win one!}

Sometimes I don’t want to adult.
Do you often feel that way? Adulting is HARDWORK, yo! I guess that’s why the adult coloring book craze has become such a “thing”. I didn’t get it at first. I mean, coloring books for grown ups? Why evens? Well, that was until I tried it out… and boy is it therapeutic! It’s a total stress reliever and helps to get your focus on something other than your to do list. I’ve seen people get REALLY into it, buying special pens and artsy pencils, to make their works of art pop. You could do that too. Or you could get 9.99 pencil crayons. Whatever floats your boat!

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I love using my coloring book during my “quiet times”. As I’ve said before (here and here), having a daily quiet time is so important for your emotional well being. If you’re struggling to find something to do during your quiet time why not try a bit of colouring in? And hey, while you’re at it, you could use the time to meditate on the word of God, and allow it to refresh you and help you realign your thoughts. My kinda “me time”!

In line with that, Majestic Expressions has released these special coloring books that are filled messages of hope, peace and wisdom from the Bible. The intricately illustrated pages of these books are beautifully designed (by various illustrators) and are quite picturesque, if you are considering framing some of your completed works.
With themes such as “Beside still waters” – that has messages taken from the book of Psalms and the beautiful “In the beginning” – that shows illustrations of God’s masterpieces, these coloring books are definitely winners if you plan to build your quiet time around them.

The Majestic Expressions coloring books are available at Cum Books and other good book stores.

Want to win your own Majestic Expressions colouring book? Follow the rafflecopter prompts below and be sure to keep an eye on my Facebook page at the end of July, to see if you’re a winner!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ever had to deal with that baby mama drama?

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So Kyle’s on holiday in Cape Town and while I miss him a lot (and the tea he makes), I’m always so happy when he gets to spend time with his dad, stepmum and the rest of his ‘other’ family.

I’ve never really been an advocate for”baby mama drama”. Not that I was immune to it. I’ll admit, Kyle’s dad and I have had our fair share of being mean to each other. There were many nights, preceding our break up, that thoughts of spitefulness crossed my mind. I mean, if I’m not happy, why should he be? Why should I allow him full access to MY child? I am the mother, after all, so I have more say in his life than the dad does, right?

And come on, ladies, let’s be real, when another woman enters the picture, you might as well put on your Shaneequa weave and hoop earrings because “oh helllllls no! No other woman’s going to be mother to MY child!” Suddenly, the ‘best interest’ of your child becomes the motive behind every crazy demand and every bitter argument… and in your mind, it all makes sense. But in actual fact, it doesn’t make sense. Well, not if you really have the best interest of your kid in mind.

I’ve learnt that my son’s father’s wife is important… just as important as I am, actually. Who cares that I “was here first”. Come on ladies! Yes, I’m the kid’s mother, but hey guess what, I don’t need a pedestal. I just need you to love my child and work with me to make sure he is happy and healthy. I am blessed to say that my boy’s stepmama is very sweet and always regards me with respect, which I did not even ask for, but really appreciate. She loves my boy and has been able to chat him about stuff that he would never open up to me about. And if you consider the fact that he spends almost every holiday in Cape Town, it feels good knowing that there’s another me (so to say) over there, keeping an eye on him and making sure he brushes his teeth.
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I’ve learnt that putting my kid first means that I an willing to work harmoniously with his dad, in order to make sure that the most important stuff is taken care of. WE are his parents. I’m not a majority share holder. One of the most devastating facts of our country is that so many children are growing up without proper father figures. The fatherless youth of today struggle with identity. They don’t know where they come from and they are not sure where they are going to. I cannot begin to explain how valuable the input of a loving father is… how much it adds to the growth and stability of a child! So if my kid’s dad WANTS to be in his life, who am I to deny that?

I’ve learnt that my boy’s father actually really does love him and if he can’t pay for something or buy something, that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t care. It just means that he isn’t able to give the cash. Money does not equate to love, yo. We agree on who pays for what, and guess what… in the rare occasion where one of us is unable to do what we are meant to do, the other one steps in, if they can. I guess, this only works in a situation where both parties are not out to get the better “deal”.

I’ve learnt that bad mouthing my kid’s dad does not make me the better parent. It makes me the bitter parent. And it breaks down my son’s hero, which will make ME a zero in his eyes. It helps that his father and I are able to openly tell each other when we are not happy with something. (In a respectable way). I guess the secret is to keep your eyes on the prize: What would be better for our child? NOT “What would make me the superior one?”
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I’ve learnt that my Hubstopher is the best father to my son, while his own dad is in Cape Town. But Hubstopher is NOT my son’s father. My boy’s father and I make decisions about his life. Hubstopher and I make decisions about what happens in our house. And somehow, we have to work on merging the 2, in a way that is respectful to all parties involved and in the best interest of the CHILD and not anyone’s pride. I couldn’t have married a better man!

And lastly, I’ve learnt that, at the end of the day, God gave us a precious gift and it is our responsibility to make sure that Kyle grows up to be the best Kyle he could ever be! His dad and I have lived our lives and made our own decisions, and the child played no part in it. Why should he suffer? I’m sure this blog post has made us sound like superhumans, so please, allow me to clarify: It has NOT been an easy road! But it’s all worth it in the end. Kyle deserves to have his best chance, and that is exactly what we are going to give him. Aaaaaaa

Nubar’s Lekker Nail Lacquer

Nubar4This week I attempted a mani with a polish brand that I had never tried before: Nubar Nail Lacquer. Nubar is by no means a newbie polish. But my spreadsheet brain and I often opt for the brands that we know and are comfortable with. Not today. Check it out:

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For the mani I used one of the brand’s green polish’s from their “Going Green” collection of yesteryear. I totes love this green, because besides for the amazing holographic effect it has on your nails, it is also a solid color BUT not too much to make you look like a nutjob. I mean, I wore it while donning my 9 to 5 corporate garb, and it didn’t make me look like an irresponsible teenager at all! If ever you needed to add a green polish to your collection, this one would be it.

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The polish went on pretty well, and 2 coats was enough. After staring at the holo effect and oohing&aahing to no end, I thought to do a bit of a stampy on top of the jeweled green with a yellowy Lemon Sherbert from their pastels collection. The color, in the bottle, is a buttery yellow color… but when stamped over the Reclaim green, it kinda just comes out as a light yellow. Definitely does not do it justice.

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The result: Meh. I think that the Reclaim holo green looks good enough on its own! What do you think? Definitely planning to try some more Nubar in the future.

By the way, don’t forget to check out my previous post, where I give away a weekend pass to the upcoming Con.ect “Geek Fest” in Port Elizabeth! AAAACK! :)

Con.ect geek fest: How to be the coolest parent in the world {Giveaway}

Conect3Sometimes I wonder if our kids would trade me in for a cooler version, if they could. I mean, I’m not exactly their type of fun. Granted, the older ones are boys and they would much rather talk Fifa and Naruto with Hubstopher, than with me. But, to avoid being the boring one (who wants to be THAT parent?), I often look for ways to show them that hey, I can be hip too!

A few weeks ago I heard about the upcoming Con.ect convention – a conference of sorts that brings together aficionados and lovers of geek and popular culture. I’m talking stuff like cosplay, figurines, comics, crafts, video gaming, tabletop gaming, movie memorabilia, techno displays, the works! Our kids are very much into these kinds of things, so it was kinda a  no brainer: We had to get tickets!

I chatted to Janelle from Con.ect who explained that the convention is to create a space where like-minded people can gather to share their passions. It was founded in 2014 by Jessi Ochse and Kayleigh Moss from Resonance Cosplay and  is run exclusively by volunteers, who are primarily students and professionals.

Lego LeagueThis event is unlike any other, hosted in Nelson Mandela Bay, and draws in tons of people who are into ‘pop culture’ and gaming. This year’s event will include Pokemon Tournaments, Hearthstone Fireside Gatherings, a LAN organised by the NMMU ICT Department, gaming organised by Computer Empire and Lestech, as well as a Cosplay masquerade and competition.  There will also be a pretty shweeeeet Lego competition that we will probably enter. (Team Williams, assemble!)

I like that Con.ect is a NGO and that a portion of this year’s profits will go to charity. The 2016 event will take place at the NMMU Vodacom Indoor Sport Centre in Nelson Mandela Bay and tickets cost a crazy R50 per day or R80 for a weekend pass. You can purchase them at Webtickets. Check out their Facebook page for more info, or visit their website.

Janelle says that although there is a specific amount of tickets available (go and get yours now!), there is no cut off date for ticket sales. Oh and guess what, they want to give away 1 weekend pass to 1 lucky reader! Want one? Check out the rafflecopter below. Winner announced on my Facebook page on July 26th! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

My pasta made me cry…

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The other night I made pasta for supper. Now this is not an uncommon thing, I mean, I am the self professed Pasta Queen of my family. But for some reason I started bawling my eyes out! The pasta made me sad… which is illogical, and one can only blame my female hormones for it. But, I confess, the pasta made me sad because…. it reminded me of my grandmother and how much I miss her.

I’ve always been in denial about missing her, just like how I was in denial the months following her sudden illness. She needed to be cared for 24/7 and family member’s jumped in to help out. I didn’t want to help out. Looking back at my wack state of mind, back then, I realize that I could not handle seeing the strong lady, who practically raised me, lay there fragile and unable to do a thing for herself. I did not want to deal with it. And so I just did not.

I was in denial about her death. I mean, I cried the day she passed away. I cried at her funeral. And then, I cried no more. At one point, I found myself forgetting that she passed away. I locked that little bit of information in the back of mind. I refused to allow emotion into it. “Why cry?” I asked myself. She’s gone. She’s not in pain anymore. She doesn’t have to deal with the burden of life anymore.

I was in denial about being a sucky granddaughter. Man, I was a sucky granddaughter. I sucked. I could have done more. I should have done more. But I did not want to have to deal with the guilt, so I locked all of this away, in the same box I kept all the other stuff in, and shoved it into the deepest, darkest recesses of my brain.

My grandmother was like any other grandmother, but she was also different to any other grandmother I’ve ever met. I mean, she did all the grandmotherly things like bake biscuits and buy us underwear for our birthday but she was also different in that she grew up having to be tough, strong and independent. So that’s the way she was all the time. She came from an era where showing emotion was frowned upon. But she showed loved in other ways. We grew up living in her house and she did everything for us. Cooked, cleaned, washed windows – stuff you probably pay your domestic to do for you. She could come across as callous, but she was a proud, hardworking, selfless woman who gave all that she had for her kids and grandkids.

There is so much history, so many reasons, why I could be stirring my pasta pot and crying about my grandmother. But the image that moved me to tears was the sudden memory of my grandma’s face, after her sister had passed away. When they declared her dead, the look of anguish on my grandma’s face was so deeply sad, that it shocked me. It shocked me because I had never seen her put on anything other than “strong woman”. She stood there, her grief on display, sobbing out her sisters name as the tears rolled down her face. And then she saw me staring at her. Our eyes locked….  and she immediately pulled herself together. She was “strong woman” once again. The moment was gone. If I had blinked, I would have missed it.

So that night while cooking pasta, I suddenly remembered that bittersweet moment, where my grandmother – the woman who shaped me – allowed herself to take off the mask and mourn openly and I realized that in my whole life, those were realest few seconds I had ever shared with her. And it made me cry.

DIY nail art using koki pens

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Thats right. I said koki pens.
Firstly, do people still use the word “koki”? Coz suddenly I am feeling a bit outdated.
Secondly, yes, you can use your average fibre tip permanent marker to bedeck your nails!
Let me show you how in this very easy leopard print accent nail tutorial.

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For this mani I made extra sure I applied a base coat, to protect my nails. I then grabbed a couple of my favorite Sinful Colors polishes and painted all my nails, except the ring fingernails, with a dreamy Winter brown, Nirvana. I coated my accent nails with the creamy/pinky Easy Going. The trick, with this color, is to make sure you apply the polish evenly, distributing it quite liberally across the whole nail, to get that pretty color.

Right, once the basics was done, I could get on with my koki nail art. I used a nail art brush to paint squiggles of brown polish on my accent nails. If you don’t have a nail art brush – no problem! Simply use a toothpick or the end of a hair grip! The beauty of this particular pattern is that it does not have to be perfect and 1 squiggle does not have to look like the next. Once your squiggles are dry (make doubley sure) use your felt tip marker to paint an outline around each squiggle, making sure you don’t outline the entire squiggle, in order to get the leopard spot effect. (I realize that I’ve said squiggle alot. So here it is again: Squiggle.)

Once you’re done with that, apply your top coat and hakuna mata! You’re done! Easy peasy leopard print nail art! And hey, if I can do it, with my minimal “i draw stick people” drawing experience, imagine what you profesh artists are capable of. :)

What do you think? Would you try this at home? 

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“Being married sucks!” I told him

HeadingThe other night, while in heated debate (let’s call it a heated debate, okay?) with my Hubstopher about something so mundane I can’t even remember what it is anymore, I said to him “I don’t know WHY people want to get married! It sucks!”

Yes, I said those words. Mainly to shock him into saying that he was wrong this whole time, and I am right, and he can’t believe that he is married to such a wonderful, beautiful creature such as myself. But no, that did not that happen. Instead, he fumed off and we didn’t speak to each other for the longest time.

Until it was bed time. Ah yes, then everything changed. Why?
Well, dear readers, because it’s Winter. And if ever there is a time that a married person enjoys the fact that they are married it’s during those chilly Winter evenings. So that night, we got into bed (I promise, I’m keeping this post PG13) still angry, laying as far away from each other as possible on a queen sized bed, silently daring the other to as much as put a small toe on the wrong side of the bed!

This lasted for all of like, 10 minutes, when I felt my dear ol’ Hubstopher slowly make his way over to my side (He’s always the one to move. Que: The Script “I’m not moooooooving!”) He snuggled himself up behind me and breathed a content sigh of “ahhhh, now I can sleep”.

And that’s when I roundhouse kicked him, in the face, back to his side of the bed.

Bhaaaa who am I kidding, I let him snuggle. Nah, I snuggled right on back! And as I lay there savoring the moment and falling asleep to the rhythm of his silent snores (He’s the only person in the history of sleeping that can snore silently. I’m convinced), I think to myself: THIS is why people get married. Not for the companionship or the body heat. Though those are definite pluses. No, you get married because you love this other person so much, that even if they made you super angry an hour ago, none of it would matter at the end of the day. Your marriage becomes your safe place and no matter how much your husband annoys the living daylights out of you (how does that work? I mean, what is living daylights anyways?) nothing is more important than having a right relationship with him and nothing beats having him snuggle up behind you at night.

So yes, marriage has it’s sucky times. It has it’s difficult moments where compromising feels like the worst idea in the world and having your way is the ONLY right way. It can get challenging when this other person does things all the way differently to how you would. But it is there, in the mess of trying to make 2 completely different people live as 1, in unity, because they choose to, where you will find the absolute sweet spot of a good marriage.

Needless to say, we woke up the next morning, and the heated debate had become a distant memory… unimportant… exactly what it was in the first place.
Aaaaaaa

Essence The Gel ‘The Oil Slick’

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I was super pleased when our friends at Essence sent us a variety of polishes to add to this year’s #ECMeetUp goodie bags. It’s no secret, I am a huge fan of the cosmetics house and love their nail polish range. So I totally aaacked when I found their ‘The Oil Slick’ polish in my goodiebag. I really wanted that one. How’d it get in there? 😉

Last week, after putting Curly to bed early (Think: 10pm. I know, right?) I had a good half an hour before my brain would begin it’s shutting down process. More than enough time to do my nails!

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With no particular mani in mind, I applied my Essence Gel Look base coat and waited for that to dry. I then applied the wonderful Essence The Gel ‘The Oil Slick’ #29 Paradise to all my nails except both ring fingernails. How pretty is this color, ya’ll?! It’s super shimmery and its aquamarine hue reminds me of mermaids and the ocean and Cassie over at Amazeblog. (I think it’s coz of her favorite leggings). But anyways, I digress.

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I applied 2 coats and then, once it was sufficiently dry, I used my The Polish Diaries stamping plate #M65 to stamp a funky image onto my nails, using another Essence fave: The Matte #22 I love my blue jeans. I think it came out pretty legit. Don’t you think?

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I painted my ring fingernails with 2 coats of The Matte #22 and stamped the same image onto those nails, using The Oil Slick. A bit of a reverse effect there. Top coat on and ta daa!
DIY nail art in under 20 minutes. My kinda nail art.

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What do you think about the Essence The Gel ‘The Oil Slick’? 

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