Some gorgeous images to brighten your day + keep your creative content flowing. All these images are 100% copyright free (licensed under Creative Commons Zero which means you can copy, modify, distribute + use the photos for free, including commercial purposes, without asking permission from or providing attribution to the photographer). Use them in your digital projects! Nature is super inspiring to me right now.
The time has come. We are in April, which is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. That means you can do something to stand up for a cause you believe in. Domestic Violence is rampant throughout the world. Show your support April 29th + walk across Brooklyn Bridge to City Hall with tons of other fashionistas, bloggers, celebrities, students + designers. Take a photo of yourself in your denim outfit + use the hashtags #DenimDay #DenimDayNYC #FWBK. Fashion Week Brooklyn is championing the cause in New York. Follow the story on Instagram, Twitter + Facebook:
I saw a life long dream come to pass last weekend when I watched Joel Osteen live at Lakewood Church in Houston! Sitting in the front row, it was an unforgettable experience from a pastor + author I’ve always been inspired by. Some fun facts about Joel Osteen, America’s most famous pastor:
This week my spotlight is on an organisation called Charity: Water. Operating from New York, Charity: Water was founded by Scott Harrison in 2006 + aims at providing clean drinking water to people in developing countries.
There are 748 million people on the planet who don’t have clean water. It’s hard to imagine what 748 million people looks like really, but one in nine might be easier. One in nine people in our world doesn’t have access to the most basic of human needs. Something we can’t imagine going 12 hours without.
If one of your goals for 2015 is to start an Etsy shop, I’ve got the guide for you. Etsy has specific rules for shops. If you make handmade goods, crafts, raw supplies, materials or sell vintage items, the marketplace is a good fit for you. If you’re not sure if your shop would be a good fit for Etsy, check out their Guidelines here.
A lot of people ask if it’s “too late” to get started selling on Etsy, because there are so many shops. They wonder if the marketplace is just too saturated to break into. If you’re just starting out as a business + would like an easy way to get started, test the waters + get your systems in place, Etsy is fantastic. It gives you an easy way to:
+ create a shop
+ accept payment
+ reach your customers
It’s perfect for beginners. If you’re already an established shop, Etsy can be a nice channel to make extra sales from. Here are just a few things that contribute to whether or not your shop becomes a business or remains a hobby hustle:
Consistency is how you build your brand + shop presence on Etsy. It’s also how you make consistent sales. One thing to remember is that the frequency with which you list new items directly correlate to how often sales were rolling in. If you’re listing a handful of items every day, you’ll make a handful of sales every day consistently. If you take a month off from listing new items, even though your shop is still full of stuff, sales will drop off.
On Etsy, photography is EVERYTHING. Product photography is what sells your items. You cannot underestimate this. Your photography needs to stand out from the rest of the shops on Etsy. In order to do this, you need to use a professional photo backdrop. A popular one is white seamless paper roll + 18% grey, which is considered “neutral.” These backdrops allow your items to really pop. Try not to take photos of your items in your backyard, in front of your garage door, or on your kitchen table.
When you’re selling vintage on Etsy like many are, volume can be a big factor in how successful you are. The most successful vintage shops have 500-600 items of inventory for sale at any given time. The reason being is that for every listing you have up, it’s one more chance that someone searching Etsy will stumble into your shop via that listing that caught their eye. So the more items you have up, the more chances you have for people to find you.
4. Tags + Keywords
Use all 13 available tags. Don’t worry if you’ve run out of ideas, just put something there. It will help you get found. Colour, shape, style, era, theme, texture, related keywords, emotions, seasons – it’s all fair game. Describe your item as you would to a person who can’t see it. How does it smell, feel, look, fit, and how much does it weigh? It’s okay to overshare. Pull out any keywords from your main description to use as tags for your item.Give your listings very descriptive, detailed titles – use all the characters allowed if you can. Although titles like “Amber Moon” sound cool, they don’t tell people anything about what the item is. It’s bad for Etsy search and bad for getting found. So be really clear in your titles.
5. Shop Setup
On Etsy, you have very limited “branding” opportunities. The only places you can really brand your shop is with your shop banner and your avatar. In effect, these are extremely important to your shop’s appearance and brand on Etsy. Your banner and avatar should have the same branding – meaning they use the same font, colour palette, and graphic elements. You can make your own shop banner using Photoshop. Since the shop banner is the first visual that many people will see when visiting your shop, make sure it’s eye-catching, clearly legible + evocative of your brand. It should attract your ideal customer at a glance.
+ November’s birthstones are Topaz and Citrine. Topaz symbolizes friendship and Citrine symbolizes the mind
+ Its birth flower is the Chrysanthemum
+ November has been designated “National Novel Writing Month” and “National Blog Posting Month”
+ November is National Pomegranate Month in the USA
+ All Saints Day is on 1st November. Christians remember all “men of goodwill” (saints) – great ones and forgotten ones – who have died through the ages
+ All Souls Day is on 2nd November. Christians remember all those who have died; not just the saints, but the ordinary men-in-the-street. Families visit graves with flowers on this day. In church, names of the dead may be read out on request. All Saints Day, together with All Souls Day, are collectively known as “Hallowtide”
+ Guy Fawkes (Bonfire night) is on 5th November
+ Armistice Day is on 11th November. People remember the millions who died in the two World Wars and other wars
+ St. Andrew’s Day is on 30th November. St. Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland
The Story Behind Guy Fawkes
In November 1605, the infamous “Gunpowder Plot” took place.
When Queen Elizabeth the 1st took the throne of England, she made some laws against the Roman Catholics. Guy Fawkes was one of a small group of Catholics who felt that the government was treating Roman Catholics unfairly. They hoped that King James the 1st would change the laws, but he didn’t.
Catholics had to practice their religion in secret. There were even fines for people who didn’t attend the Protestant church on Sunday or on holy days. James passed more laws against the Catholics when he became king.
A group of men led by Robert Catesby, plotted to kill King James and blow up the Houses of Parliament – the place where the laws that governed England were made.
The plot was simple; the next time Parliament was opened by King James, they would blow up everyone there with gunpowder. The men bought a house next door to the parliament building. The house had a cellar which went under the parliament building. They planned to put gunpowder under the house and blow up parliament and the king.
Guy Fawkes was given the job to keep watch over the barrels of gunpowder and to light the fuse. On the morning of 5th November, soldiers discovered Guy hidden in the cellar and arrested him. The trail of gunpowder at his feet would never be lit.
Guy Fawkes was taken to the Tower of London.
He was tortured and questioned about the other plotters. To start with, he didn’t tell the soldiers anything about the plot. But eventually he started to tell the truth. All of the men were then executed for treason.
In celebration of his survival, King James ordered that the people of England should have a great bonfire on the night on 5thNovember.
The event is still commemorated annually in England on 5th November by fireworks and burning ‘guys’ (effigies) on bonfires.
Remember, remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason, why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.
Guy Fawkes, guy, t’was his intent
To blow up king and parliament.
Three score barrels were laid below
To prove old England’s overthrow.
By God’s mercy he was catch’d
With a darkened lantern and burning match.
So, holler boys, holler boys, Let the bells ring.
Holler boys, holler boys, God save the king.
And what shall we do with him?
Happy November first! I’m giving away this gorgeous Essence hamper to the value of R250 (perfume + nail polish + nail art express dry drops). All you have to do to win is share this post on FB + tag my page so I know it’s you. I’ll draw out a lucky winner + announce it here in a week! Happy Spring!
I’ve had the good fortune to enjoy a lot of modelling in my time. I’ve done work for clothing, lingerie and swimwear brands across South Africa. I’ve done work for hotel groups, television shows, automobiles, photography student projects, editorials and beauty shoots. I’ve been to Top Model UK in London as well as shot for fashion events in New York and Johannesburg. I remember my first “gig” was modelling a Phillip Treacy hat for a fashion event and I was very nervous. But after 3 years in the industry, here are some basic guidelines I can give any aspiring models. There’s no hard and fast rules, but these may help you.
+ Take comfortable clothes
Photoshoots take a long time to set up. Arrive in comfortable stuff that’s easy to slip on and off. You’ll be wearing it while they do your hair and makeup. Soft button-up blouses work, as do easy tracksuit pants and slops. You’ll change into these for lunch break and when you go home. As for what to wear underneath; nude bras and nude g-strings are a safe bet. Make sure you know what you’ll be modelling because if you need a backless bra, you don’t want to forget it!
+ Pack low-calorie snacks
Believe it or not, you get really hungry posing! It’s stressful finding the perfect position for lighting, as well as to show off the garment in the best way. You’ll want to have water and snacks nearby to see you through the day and to keep you in a good mood. You don’t want to be grumpy because you’re hungry, do you? Nice ideas: nuts, fruit, salad, crisps. Bring a kitbag with all your stuff in it.
+ Have a few stock poses you know you look good in
This is work and time is money. You can’t waste everyone’s time figuring out how to stand/sit/lie in order to look your best. All women know their “good side” and what angles work best for them. This is a strength. Play it up. Before you arrive on set for the shoot, practice taking photos at home in different poses figuring out your best side and best poses. Be aware of what shows off your assets and the clothing/jewellery/make-up/product in the best possible way. Use the timer on the camera or ask someone close to take of you. Of course if you have some experience in front of the lens, you’ll have a good idea of how to “pose” already.
+ Bend your body into positions that dont feel natural
Usually the positions that don’t feel natural are the ones that make us look the slimmest! If what you’re doing feels weird on set, it probably looks great on camera!
+ Have your headphones and good music on your cellphone
Setting up takes time. You’ll find yourself ready with clothes and makeup and have to wait. You’ll be waiting for the photographer to sort out his lighting. You’ll be waiting for other people doing the shoot with you to be ready. Either way, you want to keep upbeat and positive. Having good music and headphones with you is a must.
+ Get lots of photos while you work
It’s always handy to ask someone to snap you working. This is good for your morale and great for your marketing down the line.
+ Don’t do anything on social media while you work
Remember, there’s no rush to post anything anywhere there and then. Rather be professional on the day and concentrate on the job at hand. Any “update” can wait until you get home. It can wait until the job is over and you have time to sit and update on your social platforms, as well as interact with your audience.
+ Always credit your photographer, make-up artists and hair stylist
When you post the photos, it’s important to credit the photographer and the make-up/hair stylist. If they have social platforms, link back to them.
+ Make sure you’re within your contract
Legally you may be unable to post the photos or say anything about the job until the campaign/film/photoshoot has been officially “released”. If it’s a big job, you usually sign a contract with the company to keep everything secret until they say you can release stuff to the public. That makes sense. Keep professional and wait until it’s okay to release your stuff. This includes behind-the-scenes photos and photos with fellow artists/performers/models.