Dressed by VOHNI for Miss Earth SA - project me post 871

I've always wanted to say that!! Dressed by ...

One on the greatest things I feel I've missed out on with my journey with my body has been feeling like a princess in anything I have ever worn. Then my mind changed completely and all I wanted to do was feel like a princess in a designer dress. I'm already planning the dress that I want to wear for when I finally get to the weight that feels just right, but I didn't think about those very special moments, when I was still along the weight loss journey, and needed a very special dress for a momentous?occasion.

Vohni designed the dress with my love for Medieval Pagan style in mind

When I got my invite for the Miss Earth South Africa Gala Dinner, I had hardly lost any weight at all, but all of a sudden I was filled with purpose and determined to have my first dress designed for me.

My very special friend, Carol Ralefeta, who is sharing the #projectbody journey with me has been at so many events where her dressed have taken my breath away and I was so excited when she introduced me to her designer, Vohni.

This Saturday wasn't just any event. It has been a slow and special relationship that I have formed with the most incredible woman, the founder of Miss Earth SA, Catherine Constantinides. As our bond has grown, so has my relationship with her venture and it was an honour for me to be a regional judge earlier this year. Just a few days ago I has had the joy of judging the young ladies in the talent competition.

Above all else, I am blown away by the amazing dedication to Mother Earth by Catherine, her amazing sister, Ella Bella and all of the contestants. That's why I was so thrilled to be able to bring my pagan beliefs and connection to mother earth to life through the dress. I didn't even care if no one knew the history or why Vohni has created the sleeves, waist and length so very specifically.

Designed ...

I can't tell you what an experience it was to have a relationship with my body where I was excited to get myself out into public and feeling like a princess.
I'm blessed to be surrounded by a family of artistic magnificence and the hugest thank you goes to my sister, Shelene, of Tanaz Hair and Body for my upstyle that was all perfectly orchestrated so that my tattoo could be perfectly seen. Yep, the whole things was designed so that my back would show the Moon Goddess.

My pride ... a symbol of my beliefs and oh so sexy in this very special dress

I know it drives my mom nuts, but I still think she's the best makeup artist in the world and although she has hung up her brushes for everyone else, I keep giving her that look that only a daughter can give and the eye shadow comes out. I kid you not, it was packed away and in bubble wrap.

My amazing man, Pat, who doesn't like crowds but knew just how very special this night was for me was the perfect date. A princess needs a prince and mine ... we'll he's more of a?rebellious knight, but that works just fine for me.

I certainly wasn't the only princess in the room and I want to take a moment to give my special congratulations to every one of the Miss Earth SA finalists. Each one of you radiated beauty and passion and it has been a joy getting to know you and sharing you dreams with you. I shed so many tears watching the 10 years of Miss Earth and will forever be touched by your beautiful love for our Mother Earth.

To my very dear friend, Catherine, happy birthday for today and happy 10th birthday for Miss Earth SA. A huge congratulations of 20 000 trees being planted so far and having a zero carbon footprint ... I am in awe of all you do and cannot express how grateful I am that you welcomed me into your life and to share your vision with you.

Every day my life changes a little more and I have reasons to be grateful for my #projectme journey and all that I have achieved. I keep those memories safe and refer to them often and this will be one of the greatest milestones in my bank of memories.

Miss Earth Founder, Catherine and me. Picture by Richard Simmonds AKA @RichSimmondsZA on Twitter

 

Pat and Me ... next time I'm making him wear a matching tie

Follow @VOHNI on Twitter for a journey of design majesty

 

The finalists with myself, Mahendra Raghunath, Simba Mhere and Emmanuel Castis. Picture by Richard Simmonds

A special congratulations to Aurelia Nxumalo - 3rd runner up, Chantelle Davids - 2nd runner up, Marina Nicolaidis - 1st runner up and the winner of Miss Earth SA 2012 Tamerin Jardine.

The highs and lows of support when losing weight - project me day 870 #projectbody

Today I'm over the moon because I reached my first milestone. There was no time frame and I put myself under no pressure. Okay, I cried about two days ago because it seemed to be taking forever to get there, but this morning I did it. I woke up and I was out of the 100's and a thrilling 99.7kg. For some people that's huge ... as in one very big girl, but for me, that's the thinnest I've been in over 10 years.

But ... the process has been slow and it's taken me 8 weeks to lose 8kg. I've realised that the more people know about my journey, the advice and cheers for the end result come my way. But, the end result is scary and far away for me. Maybe it's just me, but I've tried to lose weight since I was in high school and I know how very fragile my world is right, so I've focused my attention on the support that's carrying my through, one step at a time.

A good friend, a person in the same space as me, an exciting small milestone ... and a supportive bra!

All of my people have been amazing to me and they all try and support me in one way or another, but when the support gets too much or the goal seems to unreachable, I have that one good friend. That person who understands where I've come from and what will shake my foundation or what will build it. Of course that person is my bestie, Greggie, who I literally use as a filter for all of the messages that come my way. He keeps bringing me back to my journey and reminding me that everyone is different. I'm not the hugest fan of gym and at the moment I'm doing 30 ?minutes of cycling once or twice a week and 2?additional?cardio & core/weight sessions with Joni from Kilo2Kili. I'm not pumping iron. I'm not spinning. I'm not bench pressing. I'm not sweating like a pig.

I'm doing the best I can!

At the moment, the thought of training for an hour would make me want to run away and I just want to be able to wear a T-Shirt without worrying about my flabby arms, so the vision of the ripped arm gets me a little freaked out right now, but I know that one day ... maybe not soon ... I will get there. And when I forget, my bestie reminds me.

Then there's that one person who is in the same space as me. I am lucky to share my journey with two amazing people, Jono and Carol, but boys ain't gonna get this journey in the same way. That's because girl's bodies have demands ... very girlie demands. Carol and I are almost out to reach the same weight in the end. Our images of ourselves now are pretty on par and we are losing weight at pretty much the same pace. Although it's been inspiring to have people at different stages of their weight loss to motivate me, it's been even more so from that person who says, "I get you girl".

Then there's the small milestones.
When I started #projectbody I had about 35kg to lose and that's a big number. But, with a little help from what we teach at Lifeology, I'm setting my purpose and then the goal is there without a thought. My first purpose was to be less than 100kg because I knew I could do it even though I hadn't seen a double digit in over 10 years. With that milestone reach and purpose felt, I know I can do more.

Step two happens when I reach 10kg less ... no time frame but I'll keep you posted.

Click on the image to follow Vohni on Twitter and watch his designs come to life

I may or may not have reached that number by the 25th of August, which is my other very purposeful adventure. On that night are the finals of the Miss Earth SA and I'm beyond excited because of my involvement in the regional judging. Beyond that, the founder, Catherine Constantinides?has become a great inspiration and very supportive friend and I just know that on that night I wanted to look the prettiest I've ever looked before. Thanks to Carol's belief in me, she introduced me to her designer, Vohni Muthubi, who is making me my first designer dress since my matric dance. I can't express my excitement at the support I received from Vohni, who took my body shape as perfect for the gorgeous dress he has planned. I imagined that my first fitting would be such a shocking experience but I felt like a princess just looking at fabric. Oh wow ... as little milestones go, this is a huge one and I can't to show off my gorgeous dress.

A girl needs a good bra! Wow, of all the lessons I've learned over the last few weeks, having a supportive bra has made the most amazing difference. Anita, have bra ranges for every woman of every size and amazingly, specialise is prosthesis and bras for women undergoing or who have had?mastectomies. Because the bras are so specifically designed, I've found myself falling in love with the Anita Active range. What started out as a sports bra ... oh, and I've done the bounce test in the kitchen with a handful of gay boys and they were super impressed that nothing moves. So bouncing at gym is a whole lot less stressful coz girls with semi big or big big boobs don't like them things bouncing. Yet, it's become my daily bra too and I can feel the confidence lift just because I'm finally wearing a bra that fits me right.

Any journey in life is very personal and you might not have the same issues as me, but you'll have something that I might not be able to relate to. The bottom line is that you find support, be it in a friend or a bra. We were never meant to attempt these journeys on our own but we were also never meant to walk along someone else's path ... so find your own and take the hand of someone who gets you and supports you but knows how to leave you on your own path, because they believe in you.

Happy traveling 🙂

Click on the Logo to find out more about Anita Active

 

Click on the image (of this perfectly fitting bra) to Tweet Stephen van Niekerk for info on Anita bras

I set fire to my vision board - project me post 869

I'm supposed to be blogging about #projectbody. I even went so far as to start the post, but then my day hasn't gone according to plan from the start. So I'm sitting on my dad's side of the bed (I guess no matter how long he's been gone, it will always be 'his'), my country music is on and I've traded in the healthy green tea for my ritualistic comfort English tea for this blog.

Yes, I still smell of smoke and the little black pieces of burned paper are only settling to the ground now. I did it ... I burned my vision board. Who does that right?

Well let me go back a few years, then a few days and then you'll see why I just gave myself permission to set fire to my vision board.

I created my vision board well over 7 or 8 years ago. It's amazing that when I stared at it a few minutes ago, I knew that my vision was right on track. Everything that was on that board still spoke of my potential and my dreams.

Well, let's go back a few months to clarify that. When I originally did my board, I was still influenced by others who were genuinely showing their love for me and telling me that I would be great at this and wonderful at that. Most of the this and that related to me being a mother and my board was covered with pics of motherhood. It was also created at a time when I was single and had never experience love before and now I'm in the midst of discovering all that love has to teach in a very special relationship.

So a few months ago I took scissors to my board and cut away the things that didn't really apply to where I am in my life right now. I stuck the bits and pieces up again and was truly amazed at how solid my vision for my life.

As i sip on my comfort tea and pause to listen to a country song about rain and corn, I reflect on a few weeks that have left me bewildered about my relationship with myself.
A few months ago, in our Tuesday night feelings sessions, we started doing an amazing exercise where we put together a list that would ultimately describe our self worth. This list is there to turn to whenever life gets a little wobbly and we forget all of the characteristics that we have to rely on about ourselves.

Well, that's what I thought the list was for, but now I'm beginning to realise that I'm only scratching the surface of how much of that worth I am using in my life. Finally, we have paying clients, amazing opportunities, I'm losing weight with the right attitude and Pat and I know that we can get through anything.
Then why am I in the worst state I have been in, in a long time?

I've found myself is a state of fear and anxiety over the last few weeks, that even going to the shops on my own or sending a letter to a client without Greggie checking it is distressing me. I'm crying at trailers of movies and dreaming about my life in chaos. Poor Pat and Greggie are dealing with an emotionally unstable woman at the moment and I'm so grateful that both of them have the patience to know that it's temporary and I'll come out on the other side with the lessons I need to learn.

Amazingly, for the way I was feeling today, I should have avoided getting out of bed and wasted the day away. Instead, I crossed every single thing off my list that I have been procrastinating over and putting off. I tidied the office and sorted out things I have been shoving away for another day. My to do list is nearly complete (and things have been on it for months) and Monday I can start a new week with nothing incomplete.

Crazy space right?

Well I think that's the whole point. I get the feeling that something big is changing and I'm feeling down because it's the lull before a very big and exciting storm of growth. It's either that or I'm going slightly mad, so I'm sticking to my knowing that my self worth list has shaken something in me that's waiting to burst into a life that's bigger and better ... a life that's been on my vision board for ages.

So then why did I burn it?
Because of who I was when I did it. Every time I look at it I can't get past how much I've changed and I can't seem to shake how important a new and fresh energy is right now. I've been thinking about it every time I look at the board and then I keep telling myself to get over and focus on what's important ... my vision!!!!

That's just it ... my vision is all about energy. It's about how I want to feel and the images are just ideals of what I wake up and work towards each day, but if I have a house or a cottage or a villa doesn't matter ... I will have my dream home. That home is build on every bit of energy I put into it and at the moment, my energy is change. No, it's changed. It's changed and I'm trying to adjust to it.

Energy is everything. That's what I have learned over the last few hours.
What we think is one thing, but what energy we feel is totally different. The same me, with a different energy has the same visions but I need a new board ... with this energy, that reflects the me who I have become.

 

Joburg streets filled with snow and grown-up kids - project me post 868

A few years ago I remember staring out of my window and watching a few pathetic snowflakes falling. That day I reminisced about my torture of being sick in bed on the one day that it snowed when I was about 8 years. Since then, I've always dreamed of watching snow falling while the fire is going and I'm sipping on a hot cup of tea.

I imaged myself having to fly thousands of miles to experience it, but then there was today.

The day started off freezing and there was talk of snow, but us Jozi folk are used to building ourselves up and then feeling bitterly?disappointed?when all we get is another freezing day and a touch of sleet ... but snow ... real snow.
The first few feel when I was driving to Greggie's house to have a meeting with the Black Sheep Media team. Little did I know that within a few hours we would all be canceling our next meetings and Gabbi, Jenn, Greggie and myself would be playing in the snow.

How gorgeous is it get so excited about something that might be a just another day for someone else. The social networks have been so much fun to watch, with friends all playing in the snow, or staring out the windows at it. From where we were, we could hear children giggling at a school nearby. Funny that, our giggles sounded very similar.

Where we come from ... that's a whole lot of snow

 

What started as a business meeting ... in the snow with Gabbi & Jenn from Black Sheep Media

 

Greggie and me loving the snow

 

White rooftops *giggles*

Burn the Floor has some sexy SA flavour - project me post 867

The other day, in an interview, I was asked what one of my annoying habits is and I was totally speechless. I swear, I gave it some great thought, but I couldn't think of anything annoying about me at all. I did comment that I'm sure my fiance and my bestie could roll out a list of things they find annoying and lo and behold, when I asked them, they did have a point or two.

One of Greggie's favourite is that I say 'I love ...' for everything. There's no song, food or person that I don't just love. Funny that, because I was asked about love and responded that I'm Libra ... there's a lot of love going on here.

Greg, Keo and myself

But some things I do love more than others and one of those things is the theatre. Then, seeing that I love everything I see at the theatre, there are those moments when I love something above all other theatre experiences. One of those is happening in South Africa right now and I love that this year there was a sexy introduction of some SA talent.

When I saw Burn the Floor at the Joburg Theatre last year, I was completely swept away by a dance experience. It spans from the swing and then leaps into the give with a touch of quickstep just to up the beat a little more. But of all the the moments I loved the most, and the one that got my heart going was when our very own South African dancer, Keoikantse Motsepe hit the floor dancing.

I love opening nights, of course. It's filled with people who are so close to the performance and I always feel like there's a special something going in the audience on that first night. This time I didn't have to guess, with Keo's family bursting into applause and cheers with a pride that filled the theatre with emotion. I love getting swept away by South African moments and this has been one of my most special in a very long time.

If you're in Jozi, head to the Joburg Theatre to see it and if you are in Durban ... look out because it's heading your way for the first time.

If not ... go to Youtube just experience a moment of this dancing because it's breathtaking.

Gary Wright who has been with Burn the Floor since 2009

 

 

Vivid memories of a life changing fire - project me post 866

I've started to notice who I constantly think that time flies and I'm slowly heading to 40, and while trying to pull myself together and remind myself that I'm only 38, I find myself looking back on my life and realising how long ago some things happened. Today will always have mixed emotions, being my bother's birthday but also the day that my business burned down. It was in the bottom section of my family home, so there was a lot of loss on that day.

I wasn't half the person I am today and when my mom called and said, "the house is on fire" I remember feelings two things ... guilt and panic. I think it's natural to panic at a call like that, but to immediately think that it was my fault will always shake me up a little bit. I owned a small day spa then and I was convinced that I had left on a wax pot or electric blanket or something.

It was a freezing August Sunday and as I drove from Sandton to our home on Corlett Drive, I could see the thick black clouds high up in the sky. With another 10 minutes to drive and knowing I was heading to wards those flames, I remember trying to drive and every inch of my body hysterically shaking.

11 fire trucks were on the scene and I had to park 3 blocks away and run to my family who were standing, in the centre Island of Corlett Drive.

Wow, I can't believe what it's like to reflect back on that day, and as I wipe tears from my eyes I remember realising that our parrot and little canary wouldn't have ever survived those flames.
My dad had?emphysema and had oxygen tanks in his room and office. Sadly, the fire started from a plug point in their bedroom, but fortunately my brother (who was home at the time) saw the smoke, realised there was a fire and run to get help in the streets. That's a miracle right there, because windows in building nearly 4 blocks away shattered when the oxygen tanks exploded.

The following morning a fireman walked me into the building and allowed me to pick up only my appointment book so we could cancel all of our clients. The water was up to my ankles and everything around me was covered in black, but they had managed to stop the fire before it ate away at the last corner of the building.

What do you do first? Who do you call? Where do you go?
We opted for our insurance broker who came to check the damage and very politely told us that we had a week to get our business up and running elsewhere or we wouldn't be insured. He also told us, that even though we were insured for R1million we should be prepared to get less than R100 000 ... and only after we proved we could carry on our business.

That night, I got home to my where I shared an apartment with a friend. I still smoked then, but had run out, so I went to her room to grab one of hers. Let me just interject and say that I truly haven't ever touched a drug before, but have been touched by drug abuse and what I found tossed my life upside down even more. To cut a very long story short, she admitted to drug abuse and to having men in our house when I was not there ... and within 24 hours I was homeless too.

There is nothing like family. Maybe I'm one of the few lucky people who get to say that, but things weren't even great between all of us when the fire happened and within moments we had all pulled together and supported each other every step of the way.

That's when I realised just how strong I had the ability to be. I was still full of drama and petrified to do much, but I had no choice (well, we always have choice and I guess I chose not to give up) and within a few days we had salvaged what we could from the building and I had found a new place to?temporarily?relocate my business and my home.

Although so much fo the day was blur, I can tell you what I discovered about myself:

Since then, I have changed my career and so much of what that fire was trying to tell me was that I wanted something more. I took me years to hear the message, but when I did, I made another brave and bold move.

And that's the last thing I learned about myself: I might not hear what I should when life thinks I should, but I hear it when I'm ready ... and always at the right time.