The oops of Social Media Day in SA - project me day 545

It's just a few hours away from the start of our social media day event at the Crowne Plaza Johannesburg hotel. A part of me still hasn't digested that Derek Martin and myself go a video from Mashable to play at the event because we are official hosts. Another part of me really can't believe that the event has grown so large and we are a little nervous that there's going to be an interesting excess of anticipated guests.
Not that we are complaining, but I do have stand up as the co-organiser of the event and say a speech. We know me by now, I hate preparing speeches. I've spent the day resting my body and going of the concept that I want to speak about in my head. It's a concept that is very dear to my heart and one that I have worked at for so long.

I know that we, as South Africans, lag behind in so many areas of social media. I can't begin to string the list along because I really do have to get dressed soon ... but it can be a joke a times. So my how speech is based on how we do have the ability to catch up with the rest of the world ... well ...

Today was Rica deadline in South Africa. What does that mean? It means that yet again, we have to identify ourselves as the owner of something because there is a huge amount of mistrust in the country. Yes, the concept might be clever and we might have had like 5 years to rica our sim cards with our service providers ... but on crunch day our biggest cellular networks fall over. I've been in too much of my own bubble to find out if this is the reason why everything from Twitter to Blackberry to Vodacom and MTN calls are all screaming messages of non connection and failures.

Don't you just love Murphy???

Well, I'm off to get ready for the biggest night of my social media career. My first major step as a social influencer. Lifeology's largest hosted event to date ... and the most number of people I have ever spoken in front of ... all with the fear that SA's technology is going to fall over and disconnect us from the rest of the world on the most crucial day!

Proudly South African

#FollowSA and follow my heart - project me day 544

This pic taken by yours truly at the opening game of the soccer world cup

On such an exciting day like today and with an equally mind blowing day tomorrow, I have to admit that I can't do a long blog.

Damn, mamma told me there would be days like this!!! The ones when the truth is important but you so don't want to say it. I know that I can pick and choose whatever I want to say, but I also know that important events can't be overlooked because I'm trying not to be human. That's why I chose to blog ... to show what it's like to be human and live each day for real.

So in my humanness, I have gross girlie, ouch body things going on. I think it's a combination of the new way of eating, gyming like never before and um ... first weekend with Mr Unexpected. My body has seriously gone into shock and it's hectic to have to half tell you and completely share it with a partner. *Insert look of horror here*!!
Of course he was amazing when I told him and it made me realise why I feel so settled with him.

So it's been hectic to remain focused the whole day because there's nothing like feeling uncomfortable to distract the flow. Typical that it's the day when people want information of talks and others have bright ideas for me to follow up on. I can't believe that just yesterday I was in a state about my future and today there was so much to do with my future.

Yes, Greggie told me to continue following my heart and all would be okay, but that's one tough attitude to adjust to. I can't say I didn't do it. I truly gave it my best shot and promised myself that today I would follow through on an idea I had.

This international social media event has got me thinking. My speech tomorrow is about what it takes to catch up with the rest of the world in social media because it's something I truly believe that South Africa has the ability to do. So much of that is mindset and I always notice how few South African's follow me back in comparison to international people. I am determined to change that. I have to change that if I'm going to get people to buy into advertising on my site and monitising my blog.

So I did it ... I started the drive for #followsa on Twitter!! I have this Richard Branson feeling right now ... screw it, just do it!!! If it works, it works ... if not, I tried to make a wave and it fall flat. So I'm going to put some driving force behind it over the next few days and see what happens.

In the meantime, I need an early night because tomorrow is huge and I want to feel semi normal for the big event.
Big love ... me!

 

I have an A thanks to Biz4All - project me day 543

Thanks to Claudio Bufacchi of Biz 4 All for coming to my rescue

Gym at 6! It was the toughest session yet (and I know it's only the 5th one) but my body is in a little chaos from adjusting to the new eating and exercising. Okay, it might also be a little topsy turvy for other reasons too.

The only distraction while my dearest Patrick was telling me to push harder and fight on. I was dreaming of my laptop.

Home to a leaking toilet and a shower that still floods the bathroom (gotto love landlords), but still the whole time I couldn't wait for my laptop.

Claudio Bufacchi from Biz 4 All has been fantastic in the journey of finding out exactly what I need and making it all happen. I mean, what is a blogger without an A?

Now you know how techno ditsy I am and that if anything is going to go wrong it will? Then you won't be surprised that this afternoon I already managed to take the system down and get a very scary blue screen that said ... "call your technician!"

Well Claudio was warned way in advance that things break when I'm near them, so I don't think he's one bit surprised. It is amazing to have someone so supportive by my side.
I'm so excited to finally be able to go to meetings and not take a notepad (the paper kind) because I'm?embarrassed about the laptop I'm lugging around. So my software is there and I'm officially in awe of the power of social networking! Claudio is proof that brands do see the power of bloggers and support us. You believing in me means the world to me, Claudio.

The day only got better and a little scarier, with the confirmation that my hairdresser, who I love and adore, will also be jumping on board for the 'project body' sponsorship.
Before I even got the "yes" about the hair sponsorship, the phone rang and Samantha Robinson from Sabio Communications, who has been unbelievable and taken over all the PR and media for the Mashable Social Media Day on Thursday, told me I would be live on air in 15 minutes. So sitting on the floor in the hairdresser, I did my first radio interview of my life on SAfm. It's impossible to explain what happens to your brain and body when you know you are live on air. I kept reminding myself that I blog every day and hundreds of people read it, but I can't say that helped much. I was literally vibrating with nerves. In all the chaos, I forgot to mention that the SMDay, which is being hosted by Crowne Plaza Johannesburg is a collaboration between Derek Martin and myself. She jumped right in with who I was and fired off questions about 'project me' and then social media. Of course, I feel terrible, but there are 'project me' lessons in that too. I need to be proud of me for the first public step on such a large scale and I need to understand that we all do the best we can in the moment.

It took a while to settle myself down and not totally destroy the moment, but with a healthy chat from my best friend and the sweetest sms from my boyfriend (giggles), I am so proud of myself.

Once again, this is a new chapter for 'project me' and although my body is sore, my financial fears still loom and my instinct is to be hard on myself, I must remember this! Countless people believed in me today and they let me represent their brand and their reputation ... and that is more than any amount of money in the world!

I could get used to this - project me day 542

So I'm?completely?public and have no issues with the world knowing much of my business. Of course Mr Unexpected is the complete opposite. We meet in the middle by him respecting what I do and me not saying too much. I think that's fair enough.

It has made blogging a little trying today and now it's hovering around the end of the day and I'm forced to do it. It's not that I don't have a whole lot of magical things to say, but it's how to say them to prove to Mr Unexpected that I totally respect him.

It was most obvious around Facebook change of relationship status time. I'm so happy to be in this new space of having my +1 and I've been on about being single in this blog for long enough, so of course I want to update my status. Mr Unexpected doesn't even have that depth of info about himself but seemed to get my need to announce it.

I caught him reading my blog and my heart did skip a beat, but he didn't throw his toothbrush into his bag and leave, so that's the start of a few good steps.

All this talk and it's obviously official.

So this is the 'project me' part! We are both so scared for our own reasons. We always carry a bit of baggage from one relationship into the next and I think both of our concerns are around how different we are ... because we are. On the other hand, we have some of the best things in common. I can't believe I've found a man who loves country music as much as I do! Yay! Totally yay!

We talk, we giggle, we snuggle, we make each other tea and he let me blog while I let him watch his cheesy youtube clips. He's chilled out in my home and sometimes I think him and my mom get on better than him and I. I loved his fat chat with my brother in the kitchen and made him lunch to take to work ... all the little things that I've waited so long for.

I know every0ne is dying to meet him or know a little more about him, but this is going to be serious baby steps. I'm so proud to have totally fallen for a friend that has been right under my nose for years.

Oh my greatness ... I feel like this post is totally scatty! It is, isn't it? ?Lol ... I guess that's because it's really impossible to explain these things, but trust me, I'm loving every moment of it and I could so get used to this!

Not without my Patrick - project body week 2

For a girl who hides behind food as the comfort too when things change, it's been one hell of a week. There have been so many changes and umpteen reasons to eat.

Then there are the reasons not to and most of them come in the form of someone else. The someones like my mother and Greggie who have had to deal with the first few insecure dinners. Then there are my friends who just cheer me on with so much love. My Twitter family, especially Dezy D who I don't know how to thank for the cheerleading and awesome messages. Slowly I will thank all my sponsors and introduce new ones, because they have been so incredible too.

There is something about taking on your greatest fears with the world watching and cheering on. I have tried to tackle this weight issue for as long as I can remember, but all of a sudden there's something very different about the space I'm in and there is one fundamental person that I am blessed to have by my side.

I was cleared for gym months ago ... like February already, and told that water?aerobics?would be best for me. I was super brave and got the number of the trainer and called him almost immediately. On the other end of the phone was a friendly voice that I felt I hand know for years and he told me that he was waiting for me to set up a complimentary private session to help me and show me that I would be just fine in the water. I put down the phone and never called back ... until I had finally announced 'project body' and knew where the one downfall would be.

As the phone rang, I prepared myself for that conversation that began with, 'you won't remember me ...', but I never go the chance because Patrick Tendani had been waiting for my call. The enthusiasm with which he jumped at supporting me as a partner of 'project body' should have been my first warning sigh.

Holy moly ... I had images of a few water aerobics classes that looked a little more like?synchronised swimming than what I ended up diving into (almost literally). I challenge anyone to take on water aerobics! It's tough dude and I keep on telling Patrick that I'm gonna drown (or die) but I keep fighting on. I know that if it weren't for his support, special messages that get me to gym and praise me once I've gotten home after an hour of tough stuff and cheering me on from the sidelines, that I would be in a pile of tears and hating the idea of 'project body' already.

I know my lazy ass attitude about getting up in the morning and most of it is because I sleep far too late, but when the wake up call is 5:20 am and it's in the pool at 6am ... trust me, this butt has been in bed early. Once again, thanks to those 'waky waky' messages that I receive before the birds are chirping and the, 'you can do it! cheers, I have had an incredible first week of 'project body'.

Patrick's support ?when I stood on that scale and measured that fat was beyond supportive that by the time I had to show the numbers to the world, I didn't feel as though I was going to slit my wrists. But it was his cheers and applause when I lost 1. 4 kilograms in this week that makes me feel like the most supported girl in the world.

Food hasn't been as tough as I thought, but that's because of all the cheering and asking 'how's the food Jo?' ...
I made it through a lavish Yule dinner and learned a special lesson. I watched my day and kept the majority of my calories for the evening. Then, I had much smaller helpings and no one even really noticed. I savoured everything but didn't indulge in anything ... and the next day I was in the pool again.

My body is loving the journey, despite finding gym 100 times tougher than I ever would have imagined. My theory stands true though ... all you need is one person to believe in you ... and I have Patrick!

Worthy of thunderous applause - project me day 540

Stephen van Niekerk and myself after an amazing performance in Doo Bee Boobies at the Joburg Theatre

I always wondered how this would be. The first time I would need to blog and I had a man in my life. It's one thing to be in my own little bubble and have such a hefty commitment, but it's another when someone shares your day and you have to find that moment when you say, 'babe, I need to blog.' Considering I've known Mr Unexpected since way before the blog and he's supported me all the way, it has made it much easier.

I haven't been in a relationship (which we are currently calling 'a thing' until we both catch our breath and realise how quickly a lives can change) for a very long time ... VERY ... v.e.r.y ... long time so it's taking some adjusting. Anyway ... he's fast asleep now and all of a sudden I realise that there will always be this perfect moment when the world slows down long enough for me to blog. I think the dynamics of this whole turn of events is truly worth thunderous applause.

Don't you just love that phrase, 'thunderous applause'?

The Gossip Guy and myself have officially stolen it as one of the best lines of the night from the theatre production we saw last night. Sadly, one of the first things we give up when money becomes tight, is luxuries like the theatre. In the meantime, it is exactly what the soul needs to remind us just how much we can laugh, cry and applaud about.
I have to confess that 'project me' and money are still not the best of friends at the moment and I have been saying 'no' to maybe a few to many things or held my breath when it's time to say 'yes' to other things, but there was no saying 'no' to Doo Bee Boobies. There's another reason to burst out in thunderous applause. No regrets ... I had the time of my life and was in awe at the talent that South Africa always boasts and we shouldn't be able to get enough of. One of those talents is Stephen van Niekerk who has been generous enough to offer his time to do the 'your project me story' and been an awesome support in his belief of my social networking abilities.

I met Stephen van Niekerk at a CANSA function last year and the hot topic at that time was blogging. I can't believe I even remember that day because I was still dosed up on meds to get through that event after my back injury. I carried on blogging and Stephen carried on being fabulous and we met in the middle where social media and friends collide. It's one thing to watch someone on television but totally different to?experience?talent within the realms of live theatre. I was totally wowed at the whole cast but so refreshingly surprised that, amidst all the comedy, Stephen had my wiping a tear with his magical singing voice to top of the acting ability. Well done on your comfortable nakedness up there on stage!! Absolute thunderous applause!
The irony is that Mr Unexpected was all of a sudden in my life and I had plans before weekends had a totally different meaning. So I did what any girl in my position would do ... I left him with my mother!!! Remember, he's been around for quite some time, so I wasn't one bit surprised when I walked in the door and was half greated by the duo who were having a good giggle.

The exceptionally talented and hilarious cast of Doo Bee Boobies at the Joburg Theatre

Now that we get to talk on a totally different level, Mr Unexpected has tried to understand how blogging is possibly going to make me money. He's of the mindset that you have something to sell and you sell it when times are tough. I have me to sell and I know how tough it's been. If it were not for a few turn of events I wouldn't be too sure how to answer then man who genuinely cares about my happiness and financial worries. But then someone recognises me abilities as a blogger and social influencer and I feel completely different thanks to 3 incredible moments all in the same space.
Ican't begin to count how many incredible productions I have seen at the Joburg Theatre and unless you are a blogger with a platform to share other people's stories, it's difficult to understand the energy with which I attend certain events. No, I might not get paid to blog, but when I am invited to blog about them, I am reminded that I am doing the only thing I was put on this earth to do. I am living my dream and I will continue to do it will be fulfilling in every possible way ... I hope sooner than later.

So the magnificence of the Joburg Theatre and the belief in my from my dear friend, The Gossip Guy, has me attending to upcoming productions, Burn the Floor and Gilan Gork, Mental Circus (who was also interviewed for Your Project Me Story). I'm beyond excited to have been invited, but I'm also cheering with thunderous applause that I have someone STRAIGHT and mine to share it with. Of course it was tough to know that Greggie wouldn't be automatically joining me for these two events and I know that it's the baby steps to maybe a whole lot more ... if Mr Unexpected and me decide that 'our thing' is the real deal! I also know that this is what my best friend and I have been saying all the time ... we are always there for each other, but equally happy when we share our lives with another.

But for now ... back to cuddle (thunderous applause).

A song for Amanda - Project Me day 539

Slowly people are beginning to admit that they might like a few more country songs than they realise. I don't know if I've said that my pet hate is when people say they don't like country but it's all over the radio stations and everyone's singing along to some serious country music. Lady Antebellum for one and Faith Hill, Jewel, Carrie Underwood ... the list goes on.

I grew up listening to the good old Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers and Willie Nelson from when I was a little girl, so this certainly isn't a phase. It wasn't until I was introduced to Keith Urban that I fell madly in love with Country and not until I started to put faces to beautiful men like Mr Josh Turner on your left, that I was sold for life.

So I shove country in everyone's face and they can either deal or they can't. But there are the few moments when someone turns to me and thanks me for the song I posted on Facebook or introduced them to in my blog.
One of those friends is Amanda! Mands and I went to high school together and didn't do much bonding in those glasses, pimples and braces days but as Facebook threw us back together, something changed. All of a sudden we are a part of each other's lives and it's been a joy to feel the friendship grow. So, when Mands said that she was loving the country music I posted and asked for a playlist I was totally flattered and knew we would be friends for life.

I've thought about the playlist often and each time I do, I think it should be set aside for weekends. Then on weekends I think it should be set aside for a day when there's nothing to blog about. With my life, is that every really possible. Today, I have been needing to listen to so many songs for so many reasons and each one has given me the gift I needed. The whole time I wanted to make a list to send to Amanda, but I kept saying 'later', until I heard one particular song ... and I knew it was time!

So my dear friend and whoever dare be touched by the words and messages behind country music ... this one's for you!

1. ?Rascal Flatts - Unstoppable

2. Leanne Womack - I hope you dance

3. George Strait - I saw God today

4. Keith Urban - Good in my shirt

5. Carrie Underwood - Before he cheats

6. Martina McBride - Concrete Angel

7. Reba McEntire - Turn on the radio

8. Sugarland - It happens

9. Billy Currington - People are crazy

10. Jewel - Satisfied

11. Lonestar - Mr Mom

12. Blake Shelton - Who are you when I'm not looking

13. Rascal Flatts - Bless this broken road

14. Keith Urban - Stupid boy

15. Martina McBride - This one's for the girls

16. Craig Morgan - What I love about Sundays

17. Thompson Square - Are you gonna kiss me or not

18. George Strait - Breath you take

19. Kenny Chesney - Boys of fall

20. Lady Antebellum - Just a kiss

21. Keith Urban - Kiss the girl

22. Carrie Underwood - Mama's song

23. Tim McGraw - Live like you were dying

24. Rascal Flatts - I melt

25. Keith Urban - Raining on Sunday

26. Lorrie Morgan - What part of no

27. Reba McEntire - If I were a boy

28. George Strait - Troubadour

29. Rascal Flatts - My wish

30. Tim McGraw - My little girl

31. Joe Nicols - If nobody believed in you

32. Zac Brown Band - Colder weather

33. Tracy Lawrence - Find out who your friends are

34. Martina McBride - Anyway

35. Carrie Underwood - Last name

36. Lady Antebellum - Looking for a good time

37. Joe Nichols - Tequila makes her clothes fall off

38. Rodney Atkins - Farmer' daughter

39. Josh Tuner - Your man

40. The Band Perry - If I die young

41. Billy Currington - Must be doing something right

42. Clay Walker - She won't be lonely long

43. George Strait - She let herself go

44. Carrie Underwood - Jesus take the wheel

45. Taylor Swift - You belong to me

46. Justin Moore - If heaven wasn't so far away

47. Kenny Chesney - You and tequila

48. Jake Owen - Barefoot blue jean night

49. Brad Paisley/Carrie Underwood - Remember me

And of course ... the latest idol ...

50. Scotty McCreery - I love you this big

Mands ... this is just the tip of the iceberg and as songs inspire me and make me laugh, dance or cry, I will continue to share them with you!

From two beautiful Souths ...

We did it: Mashable's SMDayJozi - project me day 538

I like having a partner in crime and I'm so excited to introduce you to Derek Martin for an event that truly is defining me as the social influencers I have been working so hard at establishing myself as.

I had a plan to work with Derek on the night I met him at the Twitter Blanket Drive. It goes like that with me and I've made some great decisions that way. I had the same feeling when my Twitter friend, Liam told me about the Mashable International Social Media Day. Granted, we had about 10 days max to organise it, but when one of SA's most advanced social media hotels, Crown Plaza Johannesburg, offered Derek and myself the venue then plans started to spiral.

The friends in my life are all a combination of talented in their own fields and extremely generous. With such a magical cocktail it was so special to have both Emmanuel Castis and Nick Duncan agree to contribute their talents to this exciting event. Both have already supported 'project me' by being interviewed for the blog and their generosity keeps flowing. Emmanuel is an incredibly talent actor, singer and celeb (and one of my favourite Twits) who will be singing on the night. Nick is the developer of SA's Aggregator, My Scoop and one of the smartest people I have had the honour of meeting in the realms of social media.

We all know that I'm not mad into sports but a huge shout out has to go to Follow the Bounce (Twitter handle for Ben Karpinski) for having the following he does and showing the chilled out, sports mad and super fun side of Twitter. Derek made this happen and we are thrilled to have Ben as a guest speaker for the event.

But this is the best part ... yesterday Derek and I sat at the Crowne Plaza, which is by far the sexiest hotel this town has to offer and we set out to create the event and get those invitations out. With a limit of 120 people, I did get myself in a state and imagined 20 people hanging around on the night. I need to give us as a team and as South Africans a huge well done for hitting our target in less than 24 hours.

I know this blog totally sounds like a press release, but I can't believe I'm here and I literally am making a big announcement. Myself and Derek grabbed the bull by the horns and are totally hosting an international event!
It all goes down in a week today and the next few days are all about press releases, media info and ... um ... Derek, what else???

Something has changed over the past few weeks and I must admit that I feel as though it's a bit of a whirlwind. Not one thing is the same ... I'm doing 'project body' which includes eating?differently, hitting the gym first thing in the morning and having a totally different mindset. All of a sudden I'm falling for my friend and am doing my best to take it one day at a time ... tell that to a heart.
I've been asked to talk at a ladies breakfast for 120 woman thanks to yet another project me partner, Regim A and the first issue of Curvy SA, with my article in it, goes out very soon. That's a lot ... right?

Well, not nearly enough with my cheerleader standing behind me. I don't know how it all began, but I have found inspiration in my friend, The Gossip Guy that goes beyond words. When something exciting happens I just want to phone him and when he tell me to do something socially bold, I get my fears in check and run with it. All while he's settling into his new home and new life ... So today my Gossip Guy told me to sort myself out and get my blog off to one of the magazines who features a blogger a month. Okay, I knew they did that and made a half' hearted ?attempt not so long ago, but that's it ... no half hearted ... not for nothing!

This huge step to bring a Mashable event to life seems to be the wind that caught the sail and I feel like I'm really doing it ... sailing into the sunset!

The shining light of Yule - project me day 537

Yule is definitely one of my favourite Pagan festivals and one that seemed to arrive sooner than expected. With everything else going on, I didn't realise that it was upon me so soon and literally organise everything in a day. Luckily Paganism is all about heading out into the park and grabbing whatever nature has literally dropped off for you as decorations. Hence the gorgeous table decorations.

I have to admit that the eggnog was an absolute labour of love but I did seem to get nods all round! Yay! In the pic you can see the traditional yule log that is kept from the year before (the evergreen tree that is in the house ... Pagan tree) and that piece is burned the year after. Because it's the first year I have done this with my friends, we kept the log decorated and will start the burning tradition next year.

I must thank our dearst Chris-t for the awesome turkey, stuffing ?and gravy that made the evening an extra special treat.

Of all the things that got me all excited about sharing with my friends ... it had to be making the yule log (the edible one!!)

I love the team effort that makes up these incredible nights.

And there's Hustler Girl's Ponkie icing the log!

Ta-dah!!!

Thank you so much to my special friends for embracing these times with me and welcoming the Yule traditions into their livees!!

For the first time ever - project me day 536

I don't feel up to blogging and I'm admitting it! Not only am I doing that ... I'm not faking it and shoving in a song ... I'm being kind to me!

Thank you for letting me be me ...