Sisters With Blisters

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The 11th annual 1st For Women Sisters with Blisters walk kicked off exactly a day after the start of 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children. About 5000 men and women, all dressed in pink, took the streets to lend their voice to the protest against women and child abuse.

According to 1st For Women, South Africa actually has one of the highest rates of violence against women in the world and on average, 3 women are killed daily by an intimate partner! 3 a day, that’s an insane number, right? Even though the walk itself was full of love, and smiles, and laughter, it’s all in support of a very serious cause. Every single person that entered Sisters With Blisters might have been dressed up in tutus, balloons, and glitter, but they were fully aware how important this issue is in South Africa, and that standing together is the only way forward.

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Did you know that The Department of Justice has estimated that 1 out of every 4 South African women are survivors of domestic violence. In 2014/2015, it’s estimated that 563 841 sexual offences occurred but only 62 649 sexual offences were reported. 8 174 of these sexual offences cases went to court, and only 1% of these cases resulted in a conviction. These are not numbers to be proud of. We have so much beauty in our country, but also so much pain. It’s important that we acknowledge our problems, and take an active stand against them.

How do 1st For Women play a role in all of this? Well, the 1st for Women Foundation was established back in 2005 with one clear objective: to uplift and inspire women of South Africa. In the 11 years that they’ve been running, they have remained dedicated to this cause. As of this year, the Foundation has donated over R49 million to a few different women-related charity organisations that focus on two main causes: violence against women, and cervical cancer.

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I love companies that really walk the walk and talk the talk. It’s one thing to say that you’re dedicated to making a difference, and it’s another thing entirely to actually make a difference… and I think 1st For Women have managed to do just that. Take a look at their website for more information, and to see the charities that benefit from this amazing project: 1st For Women Foundation

 

My Google Story – #MyGoogleZA

It’s hard to think of one specific moment when Google has made a big difference to my life, because honestly Google plays a part in my life almost every single day. When I’m planning a holiday I spend hours Googling tourist attractions, transport options, and hotel accommodations. I use it to give me up to date exchange rates, just by searching “convert Rands to Dollars/Pounds,etc” and Google Maps was my lifeline when I first moved to Johannesburg and had literally no idea where I was all the time. In all honesty, I would say that Google Maps is probably the most used app on my phone, even more than my social media apps! I hate getting lost (even though it happens all the time) so even if I’m in a taxi or driving with a friend, I usually have Google Maps open and the route planned out. My life would certainly be a lot harder if I didn’t have the option to use Google to prep for my shows during the week – as it is I spend hours finding new music online, and without it I would be lost and definitely wouldn’t be able to research the best music for my show.

I do have one specific story to share when Google (and their apps) literally saved my skin. When you think of Brazil, what’s the first thing that spring to mind? Probably football, or beautiful beaches, bikini clad women with perfect bodies… which is fair i suppose, but honestly, if you don’t speak Portuguese (or Spanish which seems to be their most known second language) then you probably won’t be able to find any of those things. I’ve traveled to places like China and Hong Kong, and in all seriousness, the language barrier in Brazil is way more of a hindrance. In cities like Sao Paulo, Fortaleza, Belo Horizonte, and Manaus you could go days without anyone being able to speak or understand even the minutest amount of English. Joe and I traveled Brazil during the World Cup for a month, and without Google Translate we wouldn’t have been able to tell the taxi drivers where we needed to go, or ask the pharmacist for headache tablets, or even order off of the menus in restaurants.

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Thanks to Google Translate, whenever I needed to ask something that hand gestures just couldn’t get across, I’d whip out my phone and just use Google Translate. The best part was that I would type the English in and translate it to Portuguese, but then I’d just switch it around, hand them the phone and they could type in Portuguese and translate it to English for me to understand. I even had a few locals asking me what app I was using because tourists would stop them all the time and try and speak to them, but they had no way of communicating. As a result of the app I felt like I could actually genuinely connect with more people because we were able to go beyond the “where *makes wild hand gestures* toilet?” questions you might ask when traveling in a country where English isn’t even the fourth language. I had some fully fledged conversations via that little app on my phone, and we always parted ways with smiles on our faces. I remember there was a day in Sao Paulo where my phone died, and we tried to get around without the help of the app, and it was significantly more testing. I had to resort to pointing at pictures in a booklet to try and ask the taxi driver to take us to Beco do Batman (yes, that’s actually its name… no it isn’t pronounced Batman like the superhero).

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Today I’ve collaborated with Google to bring you an EPIC hamper to the value of over R5000! But to be honest, you can’t actually buy most of these things, they’re exclusive Google swag. All you need to do is share your Google story on social media (Twitter/Insta/FB) and you could win :) Tell me about the time Google Maps helped you avoid the traffic and you made your crucial meeting just in time, maybe you found your wedding dress via Google Search, or maybe like me Google Translate helped you out of a sticky situation? Don’t forget to tag me in your story and use the hashtag: #MyGoogleZA – you need to do this in order for your entry to be counted.

What’s in the hamper:

  • Sony Xperia device
  • R250-00 Google Play Vouchers
  • Google Cardboard <<< this is amazing
  • Selfie Stick
  • Power banks
  • Google Headphones
  • iKnow Board Game

Just a quick FYI – I’ve recently downloaded Google Calendar too… and I’m hoping it’ll help with productivity and keeping all my events/appointments/meetings/travel in a row. So far it’s super easy to use and nice to look at too :P Thought it was worth mentioning in case you’re looking for something better than the native calendar app on iPhone/Android.

CONGRATS to Gary B Laight for winning the competition! His entry was received via Facebook, and he perfectly described how Google has become an essential part of his everyday life!

Terms & Conditions:

The competition is only open to people older than 18.

Only one entry per person, and entries may not be longer than 300 characters.

By entering this contest you agree to the competition rules: https://events.withgoogle.com/mygoogleza/terms-conditions/

By entering you agree that your stories may be published.

The full Ts&Cs can be found here: https://events.withgoogle.com/mygoogleza/terms-conditions/

Booked By Webfluential

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I’m hoping that this post is helpful for you in some way, regardless of whether you’re an influencer, a brand, or even someone just starting out a baby blog. I’m been working with Webfluential pretty much since their inception, and it has honestly been amazing to watch them grow over the past year or so. I’ve always been a massive advocate of Webfluential because of the way that they’re able to protect both the client/brand and the influencer. They’ve now expanded and launched a tool that i’m sure will positively affect the industry in South Africa for good!

It is also worth taking a moment to pause and reflect on how far “social media” has come in the past few years and to remember (as a brand and as an influencer) that it’s so important to maintain your integrity. To the influencers, don’t accept jobs from brands that you don’t like or don’t or wouldn’t actively support in your day-to-day life. I have turned down countless jobs with brands that i don’t feel an affinity towards, and honestly it’s much better that way… for you as well as your followers. You don’t want to become a never-ending tweeting billboard. To the brands/agencies, pick your influencers with care… and hold them accountable for the work they do. Webfluential allows you to do that, so use it often ;)

So what is Booked By Webfluential?

Essentially it allows influencers to get briefs directly from brands via their websites or Webfluential media kits. It also guarantees the influencer payment for every booking, it automates reporting, and also provides a one-on-one chat feature for the influencer to collaborate with the brand. It’s also the first in the world to do this, and it’s local… how amazing?

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As an influencer, how can you get started? (skip to STEP 3 if you’re already on Webfluential)

STEP 1:

Sign up to Webfluential as an influencer, you can do that here: JOIN [it’s free and 100% legit]

STEP 2:

Create a Media Kit for yourself, so brands know who you are and what you’re into :)

STEP 3:

Search for the “Booked By Webfluential” plugin on WordPress, and install it.

STEP 4:

Profit!

This is what it’ll look like on your site. I created a separate page called “Book Me” and now i can manage my own bookings directly with brands! Both myself and the band have the safety and security of knowing that there is an independent 3rd party who will make sure that the campaign is handled correctly and professionally.

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There are so many extra bits i could say about this tool, but i would be here all day. So i’ll give you the highlights package:

–>It’s free and simple to install
With this easy-to-use WordPress plugin, you can take bookings anywhere, any time, from any brand

–>Show you mean business
It’s the credibility you deserve. Brands gets a professional quote from you instantly when they use your booking form

–>We’ll help you price your work
Set your own rates, or use pricing suggestions from Webfluential

–>Get paid, on time, no hassles
No more following up on invoices; all jobs booked through Webfluential come with a payment guarantee

–>Better collaboration
Use the Chat Room feature to one-on-one with brands about creative elements, timings and other questions

–>Reporting made easy
You don’t have to spend time gathering stats and page views. Post-campaign reporting is automatic

–>Everything in one place
Being an influencer has never been this easy – all your bookings, briefs, reports and payments are in one place

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Cabin Porn

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If, like me, you spend a large amount of time daydreaming about all of the wonderful places in the world you’d like to escape to for a holiday – then chances are that you also appreciate a good cabin as much as me. Besides wanting to desperately visit a cabin the middle of rural America for a holiday, i also imagine myself retiring in Colorado somewhere in a beautifully modern cabin on a small-holding where i can have an entire farm’s worth of animals…. at least 2 dogs, 2 cats, 2 foxes, and definitely a few sheep, goats, and chickens!

I digress! I came across a subreddit that will forever change the way i see cabins… reddit/r/cabinporn! A must for any cabin lover. I’ve collected some of my favourites from across the web, but definitely go and check out the linked page for even more cabin amazingness. It’s not updated as much as i’d like, this is quite a niche thing i would imagine, but it was nice to see some stuff i’d never come across before.

Owl Tree Cabin – Albion, California available to rent on AirBnB!

Stone Creek Camp – Big Foot, Montana

Yellowstone Club, Montana – a classic! I think this might have been the one that started my obsession.

Take a look at this breathtaking lake cabin’s interior:

Deer Cabin Reverie

A gallery of the interior:

Ralph Lauren’s Guest cabin, Colorado – no cabin gallery would be complete without making mention of this beauty. It’s like i’ve died and gone to cabin heaven.

Sun Valley Lodge, Vermont – this has got to be one of my favourites! Just look at it, i’m in love.

The beautifully designed interior:

Yellowstone Club, Montana – SAVED THE BEST FOR LAST!

Yes, another one in Yellowstone Club… seems like the place to be for cabin enthusiasts like myself! This one is more “lodge” than “cabin” though purely because of its size, but it’s cabin-y enough for me to add it in. This is by far my most favourite, i just wish it was closer to a vast body of water like the other one in Yellowstone Club – but let’s be real, i wouldn’t say no to a week here, or even early retirement :P

This interior will make you cry… also, i’m actually too poor to even be looking at these pictures. It is fun to dream though.

Help Feed South Africa’s Future By Adding Hope!

More than 11 million people in South Africa – 3.2 million of which are children – don’t have access to proper nutrition and go to bed hungry every night! This is honestly a shocking a statistic. We all know that you can’t teach a hungry child, so what hope do these children have to accomplish anything in the future? How are we going to make our beautiful country grow, if literally millions of children go to sleep with no food every night. It’s a cycle that needs to be broken, and i know it might seem overwhelming, but you really can make a difference.

For years now KFC has been encouraging customers to #AddHope by popping on an extra R2 to their bill. You might even be wondering where your R2 goes… trust me, you’ll be impressed:

That’s a crazy 100 000 children who are fed every single day in South Africa by KFC with the help of all of those R2 donations. October is World Hunger Month, so KFC Add Hope has decided to kick things up a notch by launching their first-ever TV advert to raise awareness about the difference a meal makes to the life of a child. I was lucky enough to get a sneak peak of the ad at the launch event, and mark my words: it’ll probably have you crying. Besides the fact that the ad tugs on the heartstrings, what makes it even more special is that all of the artwork is done by children that KFC helps feed!

The ad follows the progression of a drawing that starts off very basic, in black and white, and as the child is fed you can see their creativity blossoming and the drawings get more detailed and colourful. Absolutely beautiful! You can see the transformation of the little character below:

The launch of the tv ad was done at Afrika Tikkun who are one of the beneficiaries of the KFC #AddHope campaign. The children go there after school where they are fed and taught all the awesome stuff you need as a kid to grow into a well rounded adult. I was lucky enough to meet some of the kids, and they’re all such cute and sassy little humans! Some of the older children did a performance on the drums, and you could see that they were loving every minute of being in the spotlight. I can only imagine that the light would be gone from their eyes if they didn’t have somewhere like Afrika Tikkun to turn to.

If you’re interested in knowing a little more about the state of hunger in South Africa, check this shocking infographic out:

If you would like to make a difference in some way, then join in the #PledgeYourPlate social media campaign this October! Take a shot of an empty plate and post it to Instagram or Twitter with the hashtags #PledgeYourPlate and #AddHope. For us it might just be one plate of food, but for those 3.2 million hungry children, it could mean the world. KFC is hoping to get their number up from 100 000 children fed daily to 1 MILLION in the next few years. They can only do this with our help. The more people know that their R2 makes a difference, the more people will add it onto their bills… and it all adds up in the end.

Don’t forget to help spread the word and #PledgeYourPlate this October. I posted mine a couple of days ago… it’d be awesome if you did the same.

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Ultimate Deezer Playlists

As long as i can remember, when music went digital, so did the piracy. Digital music pirating got its first big start with Napster, and this was almost purely because the music industry just couldn’t keep up with the changes, and were stuck in the past specifically with regards to distributing the music.

However, in 2015 we have the option of cheap alternatives to illegal download services… and for the first time in the history f the music industry online music streaming has actually become a viable option! In all honesty, the way streaming works these days it’s actually so much easier to just stream rather than try and find a reliable torrent (and run the risk of being caught).

The only streaming service that has taken an active interest in the South African market is: Deezer. They have acknowledged (along with the help of Vodacom) that we have different needs down here ;) Deezer worldwide has 16 million monthly active users! Deezer also has a whopping 35 million tracks in its library which are available in more than 182 countries. Those are some seriously impressive numbers.

Even if you’re still a little unsure of the app, just download it and give it a try, you have nothing to lose… and about 35million songs to gain!

I recently got together with a few other music-crazy people to try and come up with some “ultimate” playlists. So if you’re looking for some playlists to get you going, this is a good place to start! Check the sneak peaks of the playlists below, click on the title and it’ll open the full playlist in a new tab for you.

ROADTRIP:

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ONE HIT WONDERS:

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ULTIMATE HIP HOP:

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SA ARTISTS TO WATCH:

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UberHeroes

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Uber launched an amazing campaign yesterday where they pay tribute to some of their partner drivers, who they believe are everyday heroes. As someone who uses Uber weekly, it’s great to be able to take a look into the lives of some of the amazing people i drive with.

In Cape Town you will hear from Ralph Mandawale, who is now able to support and pay for his father’s cancer treatment and Freddy Ntiranyibagira who had his prayer answered and now appreciates his life. Alain Kabura, also from Cape Town, who started as a security guard and is now sustaining five families through the five drivers he employs.

In Durban, Lucky Mato Khumalo, who since partnering with Uber can now afford to send his young son to school and provide for his family, as does Kumarn Kenny who was retrenched from his job and was given the opportunity to become a partner driver and be his own boss.

Our partners in Johannesburg are no different, each one of them are dedicated and have colourful stories to tell.

For Simanga Sibanda his life as an Uber partner driver changed when he was able to save the life of a little girl, by getting her and her mother to hospital in the nick of time. As a female driver, the lovely Cindy Mashao feels safe to drive on the Uber platform and even made in into the pages of Forbes Women Africa.

Some seriously amazing stories here!

Verified Tinder Profiles

Verified Tinder Profiles – YAY! Another way to get ignored and rejected by celebrities! Sounds great.

The dating app, Tinder, has started doling out verified profiles, which means now you’ll know if “celebrity” profiles on the app are legit or not. Tinder announced the move on their blog: “Now when notable public figures, celebrities and athletes appear in your recommendations, you’ll know it’s for real.”

I’m not sure if this is a PR move to try and boost downloads of the app, because no doubt some poor soul out there probably believes that they have a shot with Katy Perry or Hilary Duff (who both have Tinder profiles, and use them). I would go as far as to say that Tinder might even be paying real life celebrities and athletes to create profiles and just be “seen” on the app. I’m sure they’ll start verifying lesser “celebs” on the app as well, and it’s only a matter of time that the tiny blue tick will result in some serious pulling power for whoever has one.

According to Tinder though, the verification isn’t just to clamp down on fake profiles of celebs, it’s also so that proper famous people can interact with each other without having to wade through all of the non-verified peasants. So, in other words, for them to basically only interact with one another like they do in real life anyway.

This honestly just feels like another way a celeb can ignore your existence, except it’s way worse because if you swipe “yes” on their pic, and you never get a match with them… well then, they basically don’t like your face. I’d rather not even get involved, thanks.

If Tinder is your thing, celebrities and all, then you might be happy to know that they’ve introduced Instagram support, as well as an expanded interests section – just in case you need to let your potential matches know about your love of travel, music festivals, and banting.

Deezer – Take 35 Million Songs With You

I’ve put together a little playlist to get you through the next week, when you find a spare 30min, check it out and take a listen :)

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If you’re keen on downloading the app and checking it out for yourself, follow this link: DEEZER

A little while back i did a post on a music streaming app called Deezer, which is a service that allows you to listen to a massive library of music across loads of different devices. You have the option of an online mode (streaming) or an offline mode (where you download and sync to your device). Here is the coolest part: there is NO limit to the number of tracks you can listen to or sync to your phone/ipad/whatever!

I also mentioned that Deezer is the only streaming service that has taken an active interest in the South African market. They have acknowledged (along with the help of Vodacom) that we have different needs down here :) It’s also super impressive to note that Deezer worldwide also has 16 million users, and is available in 182 countries. Those are some seriously impressive numbers.

 

I mentioned that Deezer have a pretty sweet deal running with Vodacom at the moment – you can get an extra 250 MB for only R20 to listen to Deezer for the month. The data usage definitely isn’t as insane as i thought it would be – in fact it works out a lot more economical than trying to play new music via Youtube on my phone.

I have mentioned this before, but it bears saying again: yes, there are other streaming services available… but honestly, Deezer is the best. The data deal they have with Vodacom is great, it’s super easy to use, and it looks great. Deezer also learns your music taste over time, and starts recommending more and more music that it knows you’ll love! One of my favourite features that it also has, is the song lyric addition… i’m one of those people that likes to get the lyrics 100% right, so it’s perfect for me <3 Check it out below… you’re lucky i didn’t decide to rickroll you ;)

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that music streaming is how we’ll be consuming music more and more in the coming years. Yes, we’ll still go out and buy the physical albums of the artists we love, but not every song you like is a song that you want to go out and specifically buy. This way you have a one-stop-shop for pretty much every single song under the sun, and you also have a way of discovering brand new music.

 

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If you’re keen on downloading the app and checking it out for yourself, follow this link: DEEZER

Deezer Music Streaming

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As long as i can remember, when music went digital, so did the piracy. Digital music pirating got its first big start with Napster, and this was almost purely because the music industry just couldn’t keep up with the changes, and were stuck in the past specifically with regards to distributing the music.

However, in 2015 we have the option of cheap alternatives to illegal download services… and for the first time in the history f the music industry online music streaming has actually become a viable option! In all honesty, the way streaming works these days it’s actually so much easier to just stream rather than try and find a reliable torrent (and run the risk of being caught).

The only streaming service that has taken an active interest in the South African market is: Deezer. They have acknowledged (along with the help of Vodacom) that we have different needs down here ;) Deezer worldwide has 16 million monthly active users! Deezer also has a whopping 35 million tracks in its library which are available in more than 182 countries. Those are some seriously impressive numbers.

If you ever felt overwhelmed by the idea of music streaming, or maybe you were concerned about the cost… don’t worry. I’m here to clear that up for you a bit, and to show you what Deezer is actually all about.

Essentially Deezer is a subscription service that allows you to listen to tracks across loads of different devices. You can also listen to music in online mode (streaming) or in offline mode (where you download and sync to your device). Here is the coolest part: there is NO limit to the number of tracks you can listen to or sync to your phone/ipad/whatever!

 I love it because i don’t have to worry about storage space on my phone anymore! I have an unlimited library of music available to me inside of Deezer! You can also make your own playlists for every occasion – a chill playlist, roadtrip, party, work out, sleep, etc. The quality is also extremely good, so you don’t have to be concerned that it won’t sound great.

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A really awesome aspect of Deezer is that it actually learns your music taste! So the more you use the app, the better suggestions it will make and you will be discovering brand new artists to fall in love with (which happens to me daily!)

In the spirit sharing, discovering and enjoying music, i thought i’d put my own little playlist together!

These are my May 2015 Songs On Repeat:

Lower Than Atlantis – Words Don’t Come So Easy

Oh Honey – I Love You Will Still Sound The Same

Twenty One Pilots – Tear In My Heart

Awolnation – I Am

Jack Ü ft Justin Bieber – Where Are Ü Now

Robin Schulz ft Ilsey – Headlights

PVRIS – My House

Purity Ring – Push Pull

Zedd ft Selena Gomez – I Want You To Know

BONUS:

Taylor Swift – Tim McGraw (for this track i went into the archives and dug up her first single. This was from her very first album, and the first album i imported to South Africa because it wasn’t stocked locally. It’s super “country” which would explain why it probably wasn’t available here.)

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Even if you’re still a little unsure of the app, just download it and give it a try, you have nothing to lose… and about 35million songs to gain! You’ll get 2 months free subscription if you follow this link – http://goo.gl/Vos8sD

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