Thursday, 27 December 2018

My 3 Blogging Tools

There's a lot more to blogging than just typing out a bunch of fancy words and hitting the publish button. You need to ensure that what you're putting out there is your best (or that you're at least satisfied) because first impressions really do count. You might have some loyal followers but it's also great to get your new blog visitors to keep coming back.

I use a few things to help me with my blogging. I even lie to you, I never plan posts. In fact, the only time I ever did that and used a schedule to publish new work was when I did Blogtober ( I did not make it to the end, maybe next time though). 

Since taking my blogging to the next level I have made use of the following tools:
  • Grammarly: This one has been a lifesaver. I read often so my spelling isn't terrible but grammar.y has made editing SOOO much less of a drag. I like it because it was very easy to install and works across whatever computer program I use to type; whether I am blogging, tweeting or whatever requires written text. Get Grammarly if you don't already have it. The great part is that they offer a free version for those of you like me that don't necessarily have cash to spare
  • My notebook: I carry my notebook around almost all the time, just in case inspiration hits; that way I can quickly jot down ideas before I forget them. I sleep with it at my bedside for those nights when I have difficulty sleeping. I get my thoughts down on paper, who knows, they may turn into a blog post.
  • Unsplash: My most recent discovery. I had always wondered where the heck people get such gorgeous photos for blog posts and I needed pics to use for my Pinterest pins because my Pinterest was very dull looking; it was so dull that if it wasn't my Pinterest, even I wouldn't have been keen to check it out. I found Unsplash through Google I think it was and my blog's Pinterest has never been the same.
These I think are my 3 most important blogging tools. There are others I make use of but I decided these were worth the mention because they have had the most positive impact on my blog. I noticed a substantial increase in my stats after making use of them. I used to just wing it but a bit of planning by making notes when inspiration hits, I can keep track of new post ideas.

Which tools have helped make your log a success? Share them with me in the comments. 

Monday, 3 December 2018

Another Look at My Goals for 2018

As the year is winding down and steadily coming to an end I thought now would be a good time to look at how much I actually managed to accomplish.

I set a few goals for myself at the beginning of the year which I decided to share with you in a blog post earlier (view them here). I find goal planning helps give me some direction so I'm not running blind and I get to also see if I'm actually utilizing my time effectively.

I set 20 goals; some of which I crossed of in the original post but I will now share and discuss with you a few more that I have achieved from my list:

I have definitely managed to achieve this one. How? I made use of social networks to promote my posts. I joined Pinterest, Bloglovin and created a Facebook page. I wasn't doing this before and it has have a huge positive impact on my blog. I now have a total of 12 blog followers.

So far that is the only other goal I can say I have achieved. sadly I have not managed to reach my goal weight; not for lack of trying. I have been sick so often this year; it's crazy! I am actually experiencing weird chest pains as I type this. I have not been to see a doctor yet and also I have exhausted my medical aid funds for the year (sigh); such is life...  And to be honest I get tired of being pricked and prodded like I'm some type of medical experiment.

I did however gym as much as I possibly could; at least 4 times a week even though there's no 6 pack in sight. My abs still need a little work but I will not be worried about that during the festive season. I will try not to eat too much crap and squeeze in as many workouts as I can.

I missed this one by just 2 percent!!! However I am satisfied. The important thing is that I actually put in some effort. Setting this goal helped me to push myself a little harder and stop being lazy and settling for whatever. I also know exactly where I went wrong. I am proud of the marks I managed to achieve academically this year because I was going through a lot personally. My life has been a rollercoaster and I am glad to say I came out on top.

As you can see I haven't had the most productive year in terms of goal attainment but atleast I am still alive and kicking and I am trying to knock a few items off that list. I have just under a month left and times waits for no man so I best get cracking!

Let's set more goals and knock them out the park!

Later guys xoxo

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Top 20 (most played) Songs on my Phone Right Now

I love, love, love music. I jam at work, in the car; basically wherever and whenever I can. It helps keep me sane and shaking the stress away has never hurt. I am currently sitting at my office desk right now listening to some Black Coffee on my cellphone whilst doing some work and typing this post in between. Don’t worry, I am not neglecting me duties; we are having a real slow day.

I use Apple music so I have access to any and every song I can think of at any time; which is freaking awesome. As long as I have my cellphone around I am never bored while waiting in line or stuck in traffic; I use my phone to play music (DO NOT TEXT AND DRIVE).

Here’s my top 20 phone playlist:

20. Crying in the Club – Camilla Cabello
19. Slave for You – Britney Spears
18. I Got You – Bebe Rhexa
17. Bump That – B2K
16. Yeah – Usher
15. 2 Reasons – Trey Songz
14. All About Me – Syd
13. There’s Nothing Holding Me Back – Shawn Mendes
12. Rude Boy – Rihanna
11. Eyes Closed – Halsey
10. Let Me Love You – DJ Snake
9. Level Up – Ciara
8. Baby Boy – Beyonc’e
7. Hurts So Good – Astrid S
6. Ciao Adios – Anne-Marie
5. Gold Slugs – DJ Khaled
4. All Me – Lyrica Anderson
3. Cake by the Ocean – DNCE
2. Party – Chris Brown
1. Love More – Chris Brown

What you think? What kind of music are you listening to on the daily?

Friday, 26 October 2018

What it's Like Living at Home in my 20's - The Downside

Initially, I was going to write one long post about the pros and cons of living at home in your 20s but I’ve decided to break it up into 2 posts. Living at home can be great but it can also suck. When you’re in your twenties; you have your own ideas about what a home should be like and how things should be done and when those views and opinions clash with the actual homeowner; it can lead to some unwanted tension.

My sister who’s in her early twenties moved out last year to go off to varsity and since I am doing distance learning to get my degree; I live at home because I can’t afford to move out. Living at home is nice but sometimes I feel like I am suffocating; I don’t really have a place to call my own except for my bedroom but my mom has access to that too.

My mom and I have different opinions about when and how certain things should be done. For example, when it comes to washing dishes my mom flips if there are dirty plates in the sink but I see it as a waste of water to keep washing plates every time someone eats and we don’t have a dishwasher. I was planning on getting one this year but due to financial issues; I can forget it. I also hate cleaning up after grown people; there are no kids in this house yet things like milk don’t get put back into the fridge (god knows why) and if I don’t put it back for whatever reason I get shit for it. I am a neat person generally; I clean up after myself so it really bugs me that other people can’t do the same. It makes me miss living alone.

I also can’t have a guest over for the night; not that I am seeing anyone at the moment but I don’t even have that option. You can’t get busy in ya mommas house; it’s just a no-no, gotta do it elsewhere. I am never even home alone; not even like for me to chill by myself and do my own things, my mom is a homebody just like me.  I have at times resorted to getting laid in my car which as you can imagine, is not ideal. I drive a Kia, my baby is tiny! Not to mention the risk of getting arrested should I get caught. What would I even tell my rents I was doing? Getting nasty in my back seat?! I think not. I also miss being alone sometimes; it was pure bliss.

The other thing that bugs me is that I have no say in the kinds of people I have around me at times and locking myself in my room is not enough. There are some people I would never have anywhere near me if I had the choice, because of who they are, that I tolerate because well; it’s not my house so they come and hang out here when they want. My mom is not the type of person to tell or ask anyone who’s rude or unfriendly to leave; she accommodates EVERYONE and sometimes I feel it’s at my expense. My aunt’s “boyfriend” is one of them. That man is one of the rudest people I have ever met. He comes over and tells us that we are making the noise and switches TVs off or reduces the volume like he owns the place and my mom just lets him. He is just not a pleasant person to be around; my sister and I literally get up and leave the room when he enters the house because we just can’t deal. I have asked the man to leave on more than one occasion and he just keeps coming back. Like I said, it’s not my house so I don’t have a say. I can huff and puff all I want and characters like him will keep coming back because they can. It’s not my house…

Sometimes I tell myself I want to study all weekend then out of nowhere there are people over and it’s a party when I am supposed to be studying. I just have to deal with it because I don’t really have a choice and I don’t often have enough petrol to leave and go and study elsewhere. It does affect my studies to an extent but I try my best to get good grades regardless. Then there are gatherings on Sunday's when I am on study leave and guess who has to clean up the party mess on Monday morning when she's supposed to be studying... Me! Guys, am I being a spoilt brat or am I being unreasonable? Are some of you out there going through the same thing? Is it not as bad as I am making it out to be?

If I had my shit together then I could leave but unfortunately at this point in time; that is not the case. I AM STRUGGLING!!! Emotionally, financially; I am a mess. Until I can get myself a better job; I have no choice but to live at home and it’s proving to be a difficult task. Sometimes I can literally feel myself boiling inside. I know that there’s a saying that goes something like,” if you don’t like something; change it and if you can’t change it, change your attitude” believe me I have tried adjusting my attitude, I am trying every day. I am a sensitive person by nature and many things affect me emotionally even when I know they shouldn’t.

Don't get me wrong, I am grateful to have a roof over my head but sometimes the price I have to pay just sucks.

Keep a lookout for the flipside of this post coming soon...

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Feeling Stuck | Blogtober Day 24

At my age; I feel like I should be out of my parents house; married or not but realistically speaking that is not an option right now. Now here I am feeling stuck!

Before you conclude that I'm lucky to even have that option and I just sound like a spoilt brat, hear me out....

My mom has a drinking problem and it has made my relationship with her and living with her painful. What do I mean by this? I mean almost every day I must talk myself out of a bad mood that I 'm in because of something she's said or done. It's exhausting! How many of you guys have ha to live with an alcoholic parent who has BEEN in denial and keeps saying they are not ready for help?

Every since my father left my mom has turned into someone I don't want to be associated with even more. We have always had our issues; mostly because of her personality and the way she is in general and shes my mother, like what can I do? But now it's just gone to a whole other level. If she's not angry, she's drunk and doing things I just can't  stand. I won't go into detail but let me just say; I don't feel that home is a healthy environment for me anymore and hasn't been for a long time.

I guess what pisses me off the most about my mother's drinking is the fact that my life isn't progressing as fast as I thought it would and as a result I'm still living at home and I can't really go anywhere because I can't afford to and I just feel stuck. My life didn't go like I had planned, I didn't graduate when I thought I would; in fact I started over and now I feel like I'm paying the price. If I had, then I wouldn't even be witnessing anything. Now it's my problem too because I'm still here.

It's weird though how it always really escalates during exams. As if exams alone aren't stressful enough!

It's not even 11am yet and they are already drinking wine! Yesterday I was woken up by noise at 6am in the morning; which is unusual for a Saturday. My mom and aunt were still drunk from the night before and talking at the top of their voices and playing loud music while I still trying to sleep. The real problem is that it's actually exam season and I don't have the time or energy to be dealing with this right now. It's HARD!!!  All of my energy should be poured into my studies right now instead I'm dealing with a person who's drunk.

I don't know what to do anymore. Usually people's siblings try to help them out and give some guidance but my aunt is actually part of the problem. She has her own issues and I feel  like she's just happy to have someone to drown in misery with otherwise she would be trying to help. I've tried so many times to sit the 2 of them down and address this issue and as usual  my aunt plays the victim and somehow it becomes about her when it was supposed to be about helping my mom.And it be your own family not supporting you too ; you'd think her sister would try to get her help but nope;she's right up there with her being her drinking buddy. Sometimes I hate them both.  I also feel like my mom doesn't even have proper friends and as a result she doesn't really have much of a support system except my younger sister and me. I know I shouldn't give up but I really have lost my patience. I can't be here anymore, not even when she's sober. My mom needs help but she refuses to  get it and keep saying she's not ready. She hasn't been ready for years!

In all honesty I am starting to stop caring. I get bothered less and less with each drunken episode; I don't even feel embarrassed anymore. I've tried to tell her that she needs to stop drinking completely and she keeps making excuses. She's in denial about the fact that she's an alcoholic. In case you're wondering why I am using the word alcoholic it's because of the way my mom goes about the drinking. She knows my sister and I give her a hard time about it so she hides it. I was looking for a specific pot in the back of the kitchen cupboard and found a box of wine I'm assuming she was trying to hide because why else would it be there? Same goes for the squeeze bottle I found in her shoe closet whilst looking for something. Sometimes I talk to her and we have a good laugh then she'll disappear into her room for like half an hour, next thing she's slurring her words and can't even walk straight. It's ridiculous. If that's not the definition of an alcoholic; I don't know what is!

I honestly don't know how much longer I can live like this but it worries me what would happen if I wasn't here because my mom's left the stove on while cooking and just decided she was going to bed (no she wasn't sober); if I wasn't home that night I don't even want to begin to imagine what might have happened.

I'm not gonna lie; I was happy when my mom was out of town almost a month and she annoyed me from the minute I fetched her from the bus-stop. It's the same shit all the damn time. First thing in the morning and the woman is already complaining about something. Yes I was a little late to fetch her but I didn't do it on purpose. She has never fetched me on time because she has no respect for time! The reason I started driving myself to work everyday even though she works a few streets away from me is because she was always making me late and made zero effort to even try to move any faster in the morning. I hated it!

I really thought that things would change after she visited my gran for almost a month. I thought she would get the support she needed from her other siblings (not the one she drinks with every weekend; you know I actually asked them the other day why they never do anything besides drinking cheap wine. I have never heard or seen them making lunch or dinner plans or even going to the mall together  or doing anything besides drinking together). Well she came back very much the same. We actually had a fight the night before she left because she was drinking and I remember angrily saying I hope he returns with a better outlook on life. That didn't happen!

I wish she would get the help she needs to move on. If I didn't need them financially I'd be long gone but here I am degree less and struggling to find a job to afford the luxury of my own space. It's so frustrating. I feel like I'm the only 20 something year old who's life is like this and feels trapped. I can't progress; or rather I'm not progressing fast enough even for my own liking. Thee more stressed I am, the more I fail, the longer it takes for me to get a degree, the longer I'm stuck here. You see my problem? I feel stuck!

So on the 20th some family friends came over to celebrate their graduation. Guess who the drunker person at the celebration was? Honestly maybe I shouldn't be bothered or embarrassed this much but I am. I'm constantly between the stages of getting really pissed off and not giving a shit.

I know some of you are thinking "this ungrateful bitch!". Having a mother that pisses you off every single weekend because of her drinking is not a blessing ;it's just not! I could use less stress in my life. Yes I get it, her husband left but I mean geez; when will she get the professional help she needs. She keeps saying she's not ready and she hasn't been "ready" for like 2 years! My own sister has told me she feels sorry for me; she moved to another city for school so she doesn't witness anything anymore. I don't even have a sense of relief anymore because I'm dealing with the drinking alone. At least when my sister was here I had a distraction; someone who understood how and way I feel the way I do.

This post probably sounds like someone who's just ranting and raving but I needed to get this off my chest so that I can actually concentrate when I study. I struggle to compartmentalise and it will be my downfall. I need to get good grades. I really envy the relationship other girls and family friends have with their moms; mine looks healthy from a distance because people see her bringing me lunch (which happens after we fight) but it's really not. I don't know how to remedy the situation because the only solution right now seems to be moving out; which I really can't afford. It's depressing! Feeling stuck...

Anyways I guess you can't really help someone who doesn't want to help themselves. I have suggested she go see a professional and she doesn't want to. She has convinced herself that church will help but personally I don't see a difference. She drinks after church as well as while watching TBN so...

I'm also tired of being the adult and calling people out for unacceptable behaviour. My aunt had this friend who acts like a boyfriend but isn't. Every time he comes here he does something rude or disrespectful. I actually think he's racist but he won't make it obvious but it's also confusing because my aunt is black (he's white by the way). He doesn't tolerate other black people outside of my family, well at least not any of the ones that visit and he treats my aunt like shit. I find his negative energy draining and unnecessary to be around but he comes to my home. I've told him to leave so many times but my mother keeps letting him come back, god knows why; another reason why I so desperately need to move out. It's not my house so I guess I don't really have a say in who comes and goes which is really difficult for me at times. I bet you that man will be here again for Christmas (eyes rolling).

Alcoholism is no joke; it's a serious health problem! We must learn to deal with our issues in a healthy and positive way. We all go through difficult times in life but if you feel that it's too much for you, seek help! It might not seem all that bad but alcohol does serious damage to your body. It also has a negative effect on personal relationships with friends and family; some people even end up losing their jobs. If someone who is struggling with this is reading this post, please seek professional help, if you don't want to do it for yourself then do it for the ones you love.

I honestly fear the holiday season at home because I know exactly what is going to happen. I fear for my own mental health.

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Things Women Shouldn't Be Shy Spending Money On | Blogtober Day 23

I think we can agree that many of us women just love shopping; especially if it's unplanned. I used to be a "shopaholic" myself until I decided to stop spending money on things I don't need and start spending it on experiences and  things that make me feel good. I believe that it's important to spoil yourself every now and again.

In my opinion; when it comes to spending a little extra, some things are definitely worth it. What are those things? Well...

A good bra (or 2)

It sucks when you're out and you're wearing the wrong bra. It makes you feel uncomfortable ad leaves you with marks on your body when you take it off. All bras are not made equal and if you want proper housing for your tatas, it's worth it to cough up a few hundred bucks. Wearing a small or or tight bra can cut off blood circulation to your breasts and that's not good!  Also please go for a fitting if you don't know the right bra size for you. If the straps are way too tight, your breasts are spilling over out of the bra at the top or under your armpits, if the back strap doesn't lie straight across your back and rides up; then you're probably wearing the wrong bra size. 

A menstrual cup

These aren't actually expensive if you think about it in the long run.  They are eco- friendly and very comfortable; in fact menstrual cups are so great you might actually stop hating your periods! (I wrote a post about them; you can read it here).Sanitary products are not cheap and are an expense that we can't avoid; whether we like it or not.

A great pair of heels (in fact shoes in general)

It's important to have good quality, comfortable heels; especially if you're going to work in them all day. Do not be afraid to spend a little to take care of those gorgeous feet ladies; They deserve it! A good pair of heels won't get worn out too quickly; even if you wear them quite often. Greta shoes make a woman feel confident; like she can take on the world. Buy yourself a great pair of heels and see what I mean...

A great handbag

When shopping for handbags; especially your every day one; it's important to get one that's strong but also looks appealing to you to carry around your everyday handbag essentials. A handbag is not typically something people buy all the time (unless they really want to) so don't be afraid of the ones that are a little pricey; they will actually last.

Facial skincare products

This one I would say is the most important of this list for me. It's important to take good care of your skin especially if you suffer from acne like me. I used to use cheaper products and wonder why my face was the way it was, I had frequent breakouts and they left ugly black marks on my face. I started seeing a dermatologist who showed me the right products to use for me according to my skin type. Do a little research here and consult a dermatologist if you need to because what works for your friend who has gorgeous skin; might not  work for you!

Good quality makeup

If you have sensitive skin like me; cheap makeup is NOT an option. I get rashes and wake up with swollen lips and eyes; it's not a good look. You need make-up that's made from quality ingredients and ingredients that are as natural as possible. Good makeup will allow your skin to breathe underneath.

Quality running shoes

One thing I can tell you though is that there's a reason why cheap things are cheap; not all of them are necessarily bad but you do get what you pay for. If you want products that will last and and deliver what they promised they would; you'll have to cough up a few extra bucks. The wrong shoes will cause pain on your feet, cause calluses, hammer toes and a whole bunch of other foot problems you do not want.

I am not telling you to break bank here and get yourself into debt - NO! I am merely making suggestions. Think of it a s a sort of...  investment in yourself... Of course there are more important things in life to spend money on but if you're gonna buy these items and can afford to splurge just a little; why not?

When shopping for anything always try to go for the trusted brands. There are some good brands for products that are reasonably priced. 

So ladies, don't be stingy with yourselves, you might regret it. You and your body deserve to be treated well; so if you can go the extra mile, buy that expensive makeup or those heels you saw at the shop that you thought were a little pricey. It's worth it in the long run. Buying something cheap and then having to constantly replace or repair it is not worth the hassle if you can avoid it.

Monday, 22 October 2018

There IS Such a Thing as Happily Single | Blogtober Day 22

Being alone will always be better than being with the wrong person or someone who doesn't love or appreciate you. So many people have tried to tell me how I feel about being single; they've sad things to me like " you can't be single and happy; there's no such thing" ;"stop lying to yourself you're not happy being single" or " you guys broke up so long ago why haven't you moved on?". Even so called friends have said something to that effect to me.

I would like to address the last question/statement first. Moving on doesn't mean moving on to someone new; for me it means letting go of the person and believe me I have done that. I don't feel a need to "replace" them just for the sake of having someone; I am actually happy right now. I have time to really rediscover myself and what I want out of a relationship and not have a relationship define me.

"Singlehood" is not a curse; it's whatever you make of it. It has given me the opportunity to re-ignite my passion for writing and I have all the time in the world. I have been in a relationship where I ended up needing time to breathe because everything I did I did for the other person; I always out them first and my wants and needs took the back seat. I was there whenever they needed or even wanted me; I literally stopped whatever I was doing to be with them. I learnt that that isn't always good for me.

I have also been in a relationship where I felt like I wasn't enough for the person because I wasn't ready to explore the sexual part of our relationship. I used to feel pressured so much and the pressure wasn't always necessarily coming from them; I pressured myself into being what they wanted even though I knew it wouldn't be good for me but I somehow convinced myself it would all be worth it. I was sad for a long time when it ended but the moment I gave myself a chance to reflect and actually enjoy being single; I came to find I was actually happier than I'd been during the entire relationship.

Sometimes you don't realise just how much of your time is dedicated to your significant other when you're in a relationship. I'm not say that you shouldn't do so but I was over-doing it. Now that I am single I have all the time in the world to enjoy activities that I like. Maybe I was dating the wrong people but I love chilling at home and when I was in a relationship I hardly ever did that. I was always out somewhere surrounded by people constantly. In fact we hardly ever even had alone time. I also enjoy my sleep; I had an ex who got mad when I didn't answer late night calls. Late night calls are not my thing. I want to sleep; I want my "me-time" to disconnect with the world and by alone with my thoughts for a bit.

Being single has taught me the importance of putting my thoughts and feelings first; I'm not meaning being selfish; I mean that it's okay for me not to want to do certain things sometimes and that the person I am with should understand that. 

I now know exactly what I want in a relationship and I will feel ready and confident next time I am in one. I feel like being single has also taught me how to be a better lover in the sense that I now know how to acknowledge my own thoughts and feelings and I'll be able to communicate them to someone else better without fear of judgement or rejection.

You can learn something from everything and every phase in your life if you allow yourself to and being single is just one of those phases. I am not saying I'll be an expert lover after this I just think I'll be more appreciative and understanding of my significant other because I am more sure of myself. There's nothing worse than lacking self-confidence and having your mind go to the worst of places when someone doesn't answer your call or text you the whole day because you're unsure of yourself. 

I believe that it is unhealthy to completely tie your happiness to another being. You need to learn how to be happy even when you’re on your own. I have learnt that I don’t need a man to be happy in life and that whoever I choose to date should add to my happiness and not be the centre of my universe. Everything I need to be happy and successful is already within me.

There are far too many people who get into relationships just for the sake of it for whatever reason and I refuse to be one of them. I should be with someone because I want to not because I am afraid of being alone. As much as people may ridicule and laugh at me for being single for so long; I am doing me for me and I am okay with that. I am the one who will have to live with the consequences of dating someone I know isn’t right for me and I’d rather not. Someone once said to me that many people are not out there looking for love; they are looking for help.

I am single and I am happy. My happiness doesn’t come from someone else or whatever external force. It comes from me. I have decided to be happy and enjoy this phase of my life.