Here is an image from a bridal shoot I did in Stellenbosch, South Africa! Read more about the shoot here + check out more on the photographer + jewellery designer. Are you a budding model? I’ve written about some do’s + dont’s for getting started.
For my readers who don’t know, Mi Casa is a South African band. They’re most well-known for their hit song “Jika”. They were recently down in Cape Town for a performance at the Cape Town Convention Centre. One of my business partners was managing them on the evening + he took me backstage to meet them, right before they performed for the president! Pretty cool, huh? It makes me proudly South African to see such brilliant talent + especially to see how they’re conquering the global music scene. Kinda like another South African duo – you may know them – Die Antwoord. See my photos with them here. Mi Casa is my “Inspired By” spotlight this month – see last month’s inspiration, Victor Matom.
After quite an emotional week for the country, with the Oscar Pistorius verdict, I’m hoping to simply wind down this weekend. I still don’t know what to believe. A lot of my friends overseas aren’t convinced he’s telling the truth. The papers here were critical of him being cleared. Reeva was in the industry I’m in, not to mention she was from my home town! It’s my aunt in the courtroom sitting next to her mother. Here are some interesting links for you:
1. Speak like you do in real life, online.
Communicate to your virtual audience in the same way as you would talk to the one person in the world who you feel most comfortable with. Why? Because that’s who you really are. That’s the way you talk, those are the things you say. So just type in the same way you would talk to this person in real life and that is your “voice” online.
2. Find a comfortable way of writing to communicate your thoughts online.
What things interest you? What things make you smile? What do you really think/value/believe in/feel? What do you find amusing or not so amusing? Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Google+ and the countless other realms are only conduits for you to reflect your inner spirit in a cyber realm. There’s no one else like you! Embrace that. You surely want the expression of you across all your platforms to be accurate, don’t you? That way there’s no mixed signals with the people you care about. On top of writing about your interests, you need to write so people won’t get bored.
How to write with ease and make your posts effective:
- Use simple language
- Use short sentences
- Use bullet points
- Use metaphors
- Write many drafts of your article/status updates/posts before publishing them
- Use photos
- Practice using your “voice” in everyday stuff. Really look at how you write text messages, respond to comments on public platforms and in e-mails. Get to know how you express yourself and keep it congruent with your online platforms
- Respond kindly to all comments/e-mails/tweets and virtual interactions
- Do regular audits of your old blog posts, status updates and posts.
- Encourage your audience to approach you!
3. Constantly look for inspiration.
I love Pinterest, music, other blogs and everyday things that are happening to me! I use these as catalysts for articles and updates/posts because they mean something to me and chances are they will be relevant to my audience, too.
4. Keep up to date with your goals.
This involves “thinking on purpose sessions” as Joyce Meyer instructs. And wine. These are fun brainstorming sessions I would suggest having with yourself at least once a week to brainstorm new topics/angles for what your audience would like to read.
5. Get up-to-speed with your field of ‘expertise’.
If your blog is topical (deals with a specific field), get up to speed on current happenings and events so you can offer something valuable and relevant to your desired audience.
6. Be Passionate about what you are writing about.
Because it all begins there.
7. Hone your intention.
Is it to help, enlighten, entertain, inform, discuss?
8. When using your voice online, run the “Digital Presence” Four-Way Test
(my personal adaptation of the Rotary Four-Way Test)
+ Is it the Truth? Do you believe in what you are saying… really? Are you saying it with comfort and ease; expressing your honest personal and creative views?
+ Is it Fair to all concerned? Think about whether your audience will feel repelled or energized. Think what makes you feel repelled from other people when they post stuff. Then don’t post that kind of stuff. The aim is always to make sure your audience feels better after having read your stuff than they did before they read it (life lesson in general)
+ Will it build Goodwill & Better Friendships? Will people reading your material feel like they can comment and interact with you? Would they want to have a coffee with you in real life?
+ Will it be Beneficial to all Concerned? Is what you are saying helpful to your audience?
9. Things you want to aim for with your blogging/social presence in general:
Your readers respect that you have a fair share of experience in life/your field and can truly give them good insight and guidance to help them.This is especially true if you’re running your blog as a business (for profit)
Your readers feel you are being transparent and open with them. You are being the ‘you’ who you are in real life
Your readers will honour you if you honour them. They will interact with you if you take the time to respond to them and visit their portals.
Your readers are human beings and need to feel visually engaged in what you are writing about. Make sure to include photos and infograms (don’t know what an infogram is? I didn’t either. But now I love them. I have a collection of them on Pinterest here.) Include a couple personal pictures also so your readers feel connected with you. Keep it exciting!
Don’t start something you can’t finish. Keep the creative energy flowing. Keep the content high quality and truly ‘you’. Continue sharing and embracing the beauty of others who you have learnt from. Link back!!
Photo: Death to the Stock Photo
The Courtyard Hotel in Port Elizabeth has 91 suites and studios and it’s located 8 minutes from the CBD and 10 minutes from the Airport. It offers stunning views of Algoa Bay + is a 5 minute walk from one of Port Elizabeth’s premier attraction, The Boardwalk Hotel & Casino.
Port Elizabeth, South Africa
City Lodge Hotel Group has a beautiful thing going here. The Courtyard Hotel was pretty on the eye, well-run and inviting. The staff were all very capable of making me feel safe, organised and welcome. They truly aimed to give me the best service and insight into the city’s tourist attractions for my convenience and pleasure. I had two dedicated receptionists – Pretty and Roniqu- who were cheerful and professional. A special mention must also be made to Matthews and Thabisa.
I found the room very clean and spacious. A large bathroom offering a bath and shower greeted me, as well as a self-catering kitchenette with coffee and tea making facilities. This was beyond my expectations for a standard room. I enjoyed the full DSTV bouquet and the balcony, overlooking Port Elizabeth’s gorgeous ocean. A thrilling sunrise greeted me when I woke up from a cold South African winter’s night – Thank goodness for the air conditioner to warm me up. I was also pleased with the cosy bed and the extra blanket.
The complimentary drinks and snacks at the fireplace in the hotel’s lounge relaxed me after I arrived to check in following a busy day! Complimentary hot snacks and drinks – alcoholic and non-alcoholic – are available to guests every night between 5pm and 7pm. The sight of their large, well-furnished lobby and seating area was a sight for sore eyes. I loved the modern feel of the whole hotel. I particularly remember how sweet the air smelt when I caught sight of their clean, blue pool overlooking the salty PE sea.
Breakfast offered a delectable selection for guests. There was an extensive buffet for both Continental and full English options. Here’s a tip: Try ordering a white omelette – the chef prepares it superbly.
If you like your Internet access, The Courtyard Hotel offers 60 minutes complimentary Wif-Fi daily. If you’re a health fundi, they also have a gym! For business travel, make sure to use their conference room.
Port Elizabeth has a lot to offer the tourist. A day trip to Kragga Kamma Game Park can be organised by the hotel. For R185 you can do a 2-hour safari and the hotel can organise transport for you. If you like wildlife, my other suggestions are:
African Dawn Wildlife Sanctuary in Jeffrey’s Bay (about 1 hour outside of Port Elizabeth)
Again, the hotel offers a “kind-cierge” which organises day trips for you.
For an experience at sea, I recommend Jester Cruises. They offer 90 minute cruises through the bay at R150 on Saturdays and Sundays between 3pm and 4:30pm. On Wednesday and Saturday evenings, their braai cruises are R100 more per person and run from 6:30pm-10pm.
If you’re anything like me, you would enjoy a true African Spa experience. I visited the Africology Spa – a 5 minute walk from the hotel. The hotel can organise a shuttle for you. This spa experience is definitely a must for the tourist if you need some pampering. I enjoyed a cleansing 35 minute “Majestic Spa Awakening” therapeutic massage. It treated my neck, shoulders and scalp. My therapist, Zola, is a true asset to her craft. Her massage ability is heaven-sent and her God-given ability will leave you asleep on the bed. Enjoy this for R400. During this month of July, they are offering a “Madiba” special, which includes an extra 20 minute foot massage. The spa also offers Hydrotherapy, Grooming Packages and Skin Wraps. For an added R150, enjoy a sauna, hydro-bath or steam therapy. End off your experience with a cup of mint tea in their relaxation room.
Other Tourist Spots in Port Elizabeth
Sun International’s Boardwalk Casino and Entertainment World
PE is also famous for its “Stanley Street” which can be compared to the Camps Bay strip in Cape Town. No ocean, but many pretty bars and restaurants. (Hint: Make sure to get a taste of craft beer at the Beeryard in the evening. A small tasting tray is only R25!)
Thank you City Lodge! And thank you to my photographer Kevin Ruth.
I was honoured to receive an award as a finalist at this year’s Business Women’s Association of South Africa’s Regional Business Achiever Awards. Held at The Crystal Towers in Cape Town, I was thrilled to receive this recognition of distinction in business as an entrepreneur in the film industry! Skybok is all about connecting the world through video. I look forward to our exciting future doing so. I am very blessed that I was able to turn something I am passionate about into a profitable venture. It’s exciting to have been named in amidst such successful women across the region in all industries. I am proudly South African and marvel each day at our beautiful country and our people. Thank you, BWA! See more of my pics from the event here.
This past couple months has been very busy. On the Skybok front, we filmed a few awesome places to add to our database of online video profiles. Scoot over to our blog here and read about them. This includes work not only showcasing places here in Cape Town, but also work done at the Durban Travel Indaba. Read about it and see pictures here. I’ve done some voice work at my favourite studio, West Beach Studio, which is run by music producer Frank Smuts who also happens to be one of South Africa’s top triathletes! I did an awesome interview with Grootbos Nature Reserve who recently hosted me to blog about their 5-star luxury resort. Check out the interview here and read my article on the place here. Concurrent to that, I did an interview for HotelsCheap.org on what to expect when travelling to South Africa – read the interview here. On the PR / Social Media Management side of things, the RetroAfrika Bioscope has received some stunning news regarding their digitally remastered 1980’s South African film Joe Bullet; that it’s to be premiered at the Durban International Film Festival in July this year. Check out their press received here and their gallery of behind-the-scenes at the Waterfront Film Studios here. Up in Johannesburg, The Art Meets Fashion event took place at Constitution Hill and showcased some stunning work by local fashion designers and artists, following in the footsteps of its partner event up in New York. Read about my involvement as an ambassador for this cause here. International collaborations to strengthen ties between South Africa and the rest of the world in order to move us forward in the global arena in any and all creative spheres is something I feel passionately about. I feel we have a pool of undiscovered talent here. Modelling wise, I did a great hair shoot with Sarah Keogh who is an asset to her craft and always produces strong images. I’m looking forward to the BWA Awards (Business Women’s Association of South Africa) in which I’m a finalist in the category of “Emerging Entrepreneur” and whose ceremony is at The Crystal Towers here in Cape Town this week. On the blogging front, an exciting enterprise coming up is a campaign I’m taking part of with City Lodge Hotel Group, where there is talk of sponsoring me to travel to their hotels around the country and blog. Looking forward to a busy month ahead with lots of different projects! Hopefully I can provide you with some entertaining stories 😉
What have you been up to? Are you in the film industry here in SA?