Friday, December 31, 2010

Resolutionize




It is that time of year where we complete Chapter 12 of 2010, and begin afresh with 2011, eager to fill the blank pages with rediscovered dreams, new hopes and fervent aspirations. It is also a time when we reflect upon the year that has passed, willing to right the wrongs and change our lives for the better. This is when New Year Resolutions are formed, where people make (sometimes impossible) pledges of self-improvement and commit to accomplish (often unreachable) goals. 

I don't do New Year's Resolutions. Simply because it's pretty hard to stick to. It's no wonder people make the exact same resolutions at the beginning of every single year. January goes as well as planned, you're still motivated in February, March is when you begin to slip, you start to neglect them in April and May is when you wonder why you made such unrealistic resolutions in the first place. You completely forget about it for the rest of year, until December, when you pledge that you will fulfill all those unresolved resolutions that you couldn’t attain within the year. It's a vicious circle. 



These are some of the most popular new year resolutions that people make: 

  • Lose Weight and exercise more 
  • Quite smoking 
  • Get out of debt and save money 
  • Find a better job 
  • Improve on their education 
  • Go away on a long holiday
  • Find their soulmate 
  • Volunteer to help others 
  • Buy a house or move to a better place 
  • Become more organised and less stressed 

I bet that 3 or more of these were on your list for 2011. Instead, why don't you try some of these funny new year resolutions that I stumbled upon: 

  • I will no longer waste my time reliving the past, instead I will spend it worrying about the future. 
 
  • I will not bore my boss with the same excuse for taking leave. I will think up other innovative excuses. 

 
  • I will not spend every weekend in my PJ's, lazying in the living room. I will move the TV to my bedroom instead. 
  • I will give up chocolates totally. Completely. Honestly...Ok maybe just the white ones. 
  • I will stop sending e-mails, BBM's, SMS's and be on the phone at the same time with the same person. 
 
  • I will not bribe any more traffic cops, but only because I need the money for petrol. I'll try to drive closer to the speed limit. 
  • I will learn to make decisions... 
  • I will cut my hair. I will grow my hair. Okay, maybe just a trim? 
  • I will stop worrying about things that don't worry about me. 
  • I will keep my opinions to myself. Yeah right.



Here are some resolutions that anyone would be tempted to keep: 

  • I will aim for the world record for number of hours spent watching TV.
  • I will read something other than the newspaper. Like fashion magazines.
  • I will chat more over phone. 
  • I will get more credit cards and max them out shopping. 
  • I will gain 15kg. Putting on weight is much easier and more fun than losing it. 
  • I will stop exercising, because it's such a waste of time. 
  • I will procrastinate more. Think I'll start sometime next year. 
  • I will spend less time at work. 
  • I will eat more junk food.
  • I will take up a new habit. Maybe smoking, it helps keep tobacco workers employed. 

Wouldn't it be easy to keep these resolutions for more than a week?

Okay, onto the serious stuff...My New Year gift to you is the wise and wonderful words of Everybody's Free to Wear Sunscreen (which I modified slightly). It's a timeless and insightful piece of modern poetry which will alter your view of life in some way or the other. 



Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of 2010, 

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists whereas, the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience…I will dispense this advice now. 

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth; you will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they have faded. But trust me, in 20 years you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked…. 

You are not as fat as you imagine. 

Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday. 

Do one thing everyday that scares you. 

Sing 

Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts, don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours. 

Floss 

Don’t waste your time on jealousy; sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind…the race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself. Keep your old love letters, throw away your old bank statements. 

Remember the compliments you receive, forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how. 

Stretch 

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life…the most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives, some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don’t. 

Get plenty of calcium.

Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll have children, maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary…What ever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself either – your choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s. 

Enjoy your body, use it every way you can…don’t be afraid of it, or what other people think of it, it’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own. 

Dance...
Even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own living room. 

Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them. 

Do not read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly. 

Get to know your parents, you never know when they’ll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings; they are the best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future. Understand that friends come and go, but for the precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle because the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young. 

Live in Johannesburg once, but leave before it makes you hard; live in Cape Town once, but leave before it makes you soft. 

Travel. 

Accept certain inalienable truths; prices will rise, politicians will philander, you too will get old, and when you do, you’ll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders. Respect your elders. 

Don’t expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund, maybe you have a wealthy spouse; but you never know when either one might run out.

Don’t mess too much with your hair, or by the time you're 40, it will look 85. 

Be careful whose advice you buy, but, be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth. 

But trust me on the sunscreen… 

Wishing you a very Happy New Year! 
Looking forward to sharing more Frills and Thrills with you in 2011. 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Mellow-Dramatic Mountain Retreat

My family has a tradition where we spend a holiday away every year in the majestic Drakensberg Mountains. This year, the Mont-Aux-Sources Resort and Hotel was the retreat of choice for 30 members of my family and I. The resort is situated in the heart of the Northern Drakensberg, with panoramic views of the world famous Amphitheatre. It is named after the highest peak in this area, Mount-Aux-Sources, which stands at an impressive 3282 meters. It was discovered in the 1830's and aptly named 'Mountain of Springs', as it forms the source of three major rivers; the Tugela, Vaal and Orange.

The formidable task of climbing Mount-Aux-Sources will provide you with a breathtaking view of the cascading Tugela Falls, which plunges at 948m (3110 feet), making it the 2nd highest waterfall in the world. I was amazed to find out that we have such an incredible natural wonder right on our doorstep. This spectacular sight,
situated in Kwa-Zulu Natal, is one that every South African should see. See www.world-waterfalls.com for all the stats.


The scenic Tugela Falls


The Resort


We stayed in the self-catering chalets, where the d├ęcor can be described as, er, shabby chic. I guess when you choose to spend time in the Great Outdoors, 5 star luxury is not to be expected. The hotel rooms are in slightly better condition. Next time, I must remember to pack bug spray – there are giant ants the size of grasshoppers and all sorts of zzzing, flapping, flying and buzzing things, waiting to strike while you sleep.


Images of the Orion Mont-Aux-Sources Resort and Hotel

The scenic view from the front porch of our chalet set the peaceful atmosphere in this marvelous mountain locale. Of course, no holiday at the Berg is complete without some drama. There was a Christmas crook on the loose, hopping in and out of chalet windows, stealing everything in sight; wallets, shoes, glasses and even all the food from the fridge! Must have been one hungry barefooted thief. A few policemen were kind enough to leave their Christmas dinners and investigate the crime scene. The last we heard from CSI:Drakensberg, there were no leads. Word of Note: Even though there's no air-conditioning, do not sleep with the windows open; you rather suffer from heatstroke than have your snacks stolen.

Things To Do

There's something for young, old and the in between at the resort and surrounding areas. For the outdoorsy types, there's horse riding, mini golf, swimming, tennis & squash courts, trout fishing, volley ball, hiking and mountain bike trails. A 4.5km walk down the windy mountain pass to the gushing Tugela River is quite energizing and a great way to experience nature. But I really wouldn't know, because I was wise enough to drive there to pick up all the hikers who couldn't make it back up the hill.


Other facilities include a restaurant, pool tables, darts, kids activity room, jumping castle, jungle gym and a life size chess board. 


If you drive 10km out of the resort, you will find the farmstyle Tower of Pizza Restaurant. Appetizing Italian food is served in this quaint countryside venue.  We had towers of different pizzas, naturally, and the most delicious basil pesto with tagliatelle. Visit their website at www.towerofpizza.co.za

Countryside Cuisine at The Tower of Pizza

Our nights were entertained with boardgames, braai's, karaoke and competitions. Now, you get those who sing karaoke like true Idols and then, you get the karaoke kings and queens who keep the wildlife away. One more mortifying rendition of Hotel California and The Eagles are going to sue. My ears were in actual physical pain after being tortured by a petrifying performance of Abba's Dancing Queen. Trying to hit those high notes is a health hazard. 

Guests staying at the hotel could also participate in a megafun music trivia competition. Families were grouped together and played musical Trivial Pursuit for a grand prize. I am proud to announce that our team, The Outlaws won.  Applause  To clear things up, we didn't win because we had the largest team of em..14 or is it 15 members, we won because good teamwork pays off. Cheating (by Googling the answers on your Blackberry) doesn't...hope our rival team, The Police are taking heed of this.

If you want to get away from the city traffic, busy streets, clamour and crowds, then the tranquility of this rustic mountain resort is the remedy. 

The Glorious Drakensberg Mountains and Tugela River

Criminal offences, run-down rooms and rainy weather could not put a damper on our fabulous family getaway. It doesn't really matter where you are, as long as you have great company and a sunny state of mind.

For further information on the Mont-Aux Sources Resort, contact the General Manager on 
(036) 438 8000 or visit www.oriongroup.co.za

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays

The weekend holiday is here, with high spirits and a festive atmosphere all around. 
This is a great time for each of us to spread the happiness by engaging in some good deeds. Your acts of kindness and compassion will add a spot of sunshine to someones day and inspire others to do the same. Don't worry, you don't have to donate your entire xmas bonus to charity, being benevolent doesn't cost a thing. The greatest reward is seeing how your positivity reflects upon others. 


Sprinkle some fairy dust this holiday with these altruistic ideas:



  1. Be courteous to other drivers on the road.
  2. Instead of being plugged into your phone, laptop or iPod, spend that quality time with family and loved ones. “Time is free, but it's priceless. You can't own it, but you can use it. You can't keep it, but you can spend it. Once you've lost it you can never get it back.” Harvey MacKay
  3. Hold the door open for the person behind you, especially if they are carrying packages, bags or babies.
  4. Thank people that provide a service to you; waiters, cleaners, cashiers, etc. Remember that they have to work while the rest of us enjoy the public holiday.
  5. Offer to housesit for friends or family that are going away on vacation. They will have peace of mind knowing that you're there.
  6. Thank your mum or gran for the wonderful meal they prepared. They need to know that they are appreciated.
  7. Help someone who is lost and looking for directions.
  8. Offer to babysit for friends so that they can have the night off. They will be very grateful.
  9. Give out at least 5 compliments per day. Everyone needs some positive reinforcement.
  10. Smile, it is the simplest act of kindness. "All the statistics in the world can't measure the warmth of a smile." Chris Hart
        Wishing you a lovely long weekend!

        Wednesday, December 22, 2010

        Shopping and Showers


        Hats off to all those brave enough to face the crazy crowds at shopping centers this week. Even attempting to buy the simplest thing, like shampoo, can turn into an all day frenzy. Okay, I should have known better than to leave buying essentials to the busiest shopping week of the year. To top it off, it was the rainiest week of the year too. Trolley wars, empty store shelves, mile-long queues, no parking spaces and highly strung last minute shoppers. I could barely make it through the packed store aisles, where customers were clearing out every box of chocolates in sight. It seems that if you haven't already bought a gift, forgotten someone on your list, or just have no clue what to buy, chocolates are definitely the way to go. And a set of mugs. You can never be too sweet or have too many cups of tea. 
        At least I think that was the thought behind it. 

        The streets were swarming with soaked shoppers, ankle deep in water, carrying armloads of newly wrapped gifts. To make matters worse, there was no covered parking. People paddled to their cars, trying to safeguard their HDTV's, bicycles, appliances, PS3's & other ridiculously large gift boxes from the wet weather. You should count yourself lucky if you receive a slightly damp smoothie maker. It's either that or the chocolates.

        Getting drenched in the downpour for a bottle of shampoo is really not worth it. 
        Note to self: If I ever make the mindless mistake of doing year end shopping in a rain shower again, I must remember to carry an umbrella.

        Monday, December 20, 2010

        A Fair To Remember



        As you can imagine, the entertainment element in Small Town, SA is basically non-existent. So, when there's word of a town fair, we get pretty excited. I always imagine any fair to have lots of little stalls selling quaint crafts and collectables, homemade confectionary, carousels, freshly made pancakes, pony rides and my all time carnival classic, candy floss. It's a place where families flock to buy handmade ornaments they will never find space for, 
        get a tooth ache on a toffee apple and lose their kids in the crowd. 

        After actually attending the fair, I realised that I may just have an overactive imagination. Our local event involved a kilted Scotsman playing the bagpipes, some lost American tourists and a bunch of stylish Joburgers, drunk on the fresh farm air, among other things. The entire 'fair' was a single table selling overpriced gardening gear. Not a stick of candy floss in sight! Under normal circumstances, I would have been disappointed, but I figure that a country fair with 10 attendees, R700 pot plants and some bagpipes is far better than not having one at all. Here's to next years fair! It couldn't possibly get any worse, right? 

        Saturday, December 18, 2010

        Jessica Alba's New Hairstyle

        Jessica Alba
        Little Fockers NYC Premiere



        Jessica Alba shows off a short sleek bob at the premiere of Little Fockers in New York this week. Her white fringed tier dress is by Valentino Couture and the stunning gold heels are by Christian Louboutin. She stars in the third installment of the hilarious Meet the Parents movie franchise.

        Wednesday, December 15, 2010

        Divas & Darlings - Hollywood Style Awards

        Red Carpet Fashion
        Hollywood Style Awards 2010


        The Awards Show, held in Los Angeles on Sunday, celebrates the essence of Hollywood style by honouring celebrity fashion icons & trendsetters. 

        These are some pretty looks from the event.

        Camilla Belle wears a demure gray Kimberly Ovitz dress with beautiful origami detail. Gossip Girl Katie Cassidy looks stunning in a black lace Georges Chakra gown & walked away with the Female Future Style Icon Award. Kate Bosworth does chic & simple in a Jil Sander dress with pockets. 

        And a few questionable dresses

        Krysten Ritter in a floral Alberta Ferretti frock that would be better suited as Victorian upholstery. Selena Gomez in a multi-coloured, glittery Max Azria Atelier dress with a front slit & a train. Too many trends on one dress. Glee's Lea Michele in a strapless white gown by The Row, with Christian Louboutin heels. A white towel wouldn't have cost as much. Oh well...

        Friday, December 10, 2010

        Friday Frills



        One day at a time - this is enough. Do not look back and grieve over the past for it is gone; and do not be troubled about the future, for it has not yet come. Live in the present, and make it so beautiful it will be worth remembering.”

        Thursday, December 09, 2010

        Scent-sationally Paco Rabanne

        Lady Million
        by Paco Rabanne



        Glamorous and gilded…The newest fragrance from Paco Rabanne is a floral and woody combination that embodies sensual sophistication. Lady Million was created as the counterpart to the popular mens edition, 1 Million, which was launched 2 years ago.

        The opulent gold diamond shaped bottle was inspired by the legendary 140 carat Regent Diamond, which is on display at the Louvre in Paris. The Face of the Fragrance is 23 year old model, Dree Hemingway, great granddaughter of author Ernest Hemingway.

        Irresistible with fresh top notes of Bitter Orange & Raspberry, feminine heart notes of Neroli, Orange Blossom & Arabian Jasmine and warm base notes of Honey & Amber. This luxurious fragrance is perfect for a glamourous night out in high heels & some bling to match.

        Great as holiday gift, Lady Million is available from Red Square Stores, 30ml EDP for R495 and 50ml EDP for R690. Or purchase it online at www.redsquare.co.za


        Friday, December 03, 2010

        Divas & Darlings - American Music Awards

        Red Carpet Fashion
        American Music Awards 2010


        These are my favourite red carpet looks from this years AMA's.


        Katy Perry in a romantic beaded dress by Badgley Mischka, with shoes by Brian Atwood. Taylor Swift sparkles in Collette Dinnigan & strappy heels by Jimmy Choo. Keri Hilton looks chique in a short black leather dress & embellished heels.


        Castle Actress Stana Katic in a sequined mini by atelier designer Oday Shakar. Miley Cyrus in a white chiffon dress by Marchesa, paired with Christian Louboutin sandals. Jessica Alba perfects the LBD in a one shoulder dress by Cushnie et Ochs.

        Wednesday, December 01, 2010

        Finding My Forte

        The Fashion Designer
        So Near Yet Sew Far




        From the time I was was old enough to hold a pencil, I have been designing clothes. Newspaper, old notebooks, scraps of paper, I would draw on anything I could get hold of.  I would design fairytale dresses for my dolls, couture for my future runway shows & outfits I'd like to wear myself. I knew that, without a doubt, I was going to become a fashion designer someday. I was enthralled by the imaginative world of fashion, sketching, colour, fabric & design. I love the way beautiful clothes can make an ordinary girl (like me) feel extraordinary. This was what I loved doing, it was my only ambition & I enjoyed every minute of it. So, fashion design must be my calling, right?

        Well, at 10 years old, my dream was going to get a kickstart, as I took up sewing classes in school. I could barely contain my excitement, as once I had learnt how to sew, I could bring my designs to life. That is pretty much where the dream turned into a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions. Sewing was not as glamourous & simple as I expected it to be. It took me over 20 minutes to thread a needle, my stitching was appalling & my fabric was massacred by the sewing machine. I couldn't even cut the material straight, let alone a ready-made pattern.

        If Needlework was an examinable subject, I would get an 'F' on my report & be banned from returning to class; as I had put this textile art to shame. If zigzag hemlines, lopsided pockets, missing button-holes & asymmetrical pants were fashionable, then maybe I would have a chance. However, 'Raggedy' will never be a trend and sewing is definitely not my forte. I had a flair for design, but lacked the talent to tailor. Unfortunately for me, in order to be a fashion designer, you have to be able to sew.

        Although my hopes were dashed, I continued designing. Hundreds of designs and ten years later, I decided to study Fashion Merchandising. It was the closest thing to fashion design, without having any pins and needles involved. I've realised that even though you may love doing something, in reality, you may not be very good at it. However, there are always alternate ways to make your passion a part of your life.

        Some Fashionable Careers: Retail Merchandising, Fashion Photography, Textile design, Pattern drafting, Modelling, Catwalk Choreography, being a Stylist, Fashion Editor, Design Technician or Seamstress and of course, a Fashion Designer. (Just as long as you can sew.)