Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Women in the Workplace


Watching the news of recently, I realised that despite women making up 52% of the working population, we are still far below the percentage scale in terms of holding high corporate positions. As far as corporate structure goes, women are at a complete disadvantage. We have had the hardest time climbing the corporate ladder, perhaps due to it being a conventionally male-dominating field and possibly also due to society’s perception of where women should be. Women have been typecast either too fragile or highly emotional to be able to cope with the day-to-day running of a workforce. Only we can change this Ladies. Check out some winning tips belowJ

12 Tips for women in the workplace

·         Act like a lady, think like a man. Empower yourself using every tool available. Start with knowledge. It is power.
·         Dress conservatively. Statistics show that women are taken far more seriously when they dressed authoritatively.
·         Professionalism. This can help your employer decide whether you are worthy of promotions and raises.
·         Stand up for yourself.  Don't accept something at face value if you know you are right.
·         Project confidence. Make eye contact with everyone. Don't nod your head. You are not weak.
·         Personal issues. Personal issues can impact on your job and ultimately your ability to advance your career. Keep it separate from your work life.
·         Let loose. We are already at a disadvantage because we work so damn hard to be taken seriously. People who have more fun are happier. Happier people are more successful because they are more confident and more pleasant to be around.
·         Find your place in the hierarchy. Find a goal and go for it. There will be ups and downs, but if you are determined enough, you will achieve everything.
·         Share you concerns. If something is causing stress at work, don’t be tempted to internalise it. This does not work. You will regret it in the long run.
·         Choose your battles. Know when to speak and when to shut up. If you are fighting a losing battle, keep calm and think. Always think before reacting. Know what to say and how to say it, and most importantly when to say it.
·         Gossip. Stay away from this like it’s the plague. It’s embarrassing. Don't listen to it or entertain it. You’ll have nothing to gain from it, except a bad reputation.
·         Don’t get into a rut. Consider ending your employment on YOUR terms and if your situation is untenable. Your family and your wellbeing should come first. Bottom line: If this job is not a good fit for you and your family go for better.

It’s seems unfair that women need to implement so many rules to be taken seriously. But, a great man once said that we should be the change we want to see. So, while we may have to grind out teeth and bare the obvious unfairness in this seemingly male-dominated arena, we must know, that with the right attitude in our heads and goals in our heart, we are definitely a force to be reckoned with. So ladies, stand up for yourself and have faith in your abilities because very soon this very article will be written about the opposite sex.

Catch my other blog www.easy-editing.blogspot.com



Being a single parent


With the circumstances today, and the unfortunate inevitabilities of life, many of us are forced to become single parents. It can happen to you at any moment in your life. Perhaps, through the death of a spouse, divorce, abandonment or often – just plain choice. Whatever the case may be, I think what matters the most is that we come out of it in charge and completely aware of the situation, as well as the choices we have within our control.

Here are a few excellent suggestions to maintain a healthy mental state, thrive as an person and care for your child/ren in the best possible manner.

·         Take responsibility. Know that you had your part to play in it but don't beat yourself up. Never let your circumstances make you anyone’s dart board, take advantage of you or force you into a decision you aren't 100% comfortable with.
·         Maintain a blameless mindset. Blaming yourself won’t help anyone and can often worsen matters.
·         Accept support. Remember there are many good, kind, loving people who are with you and want to help. There are also very helpful state funded grants etc out there. Never feel shy to make use of any and all facilities available to you.
·         Spiritual healing. It does work for some.
·         Your little one. Remember that your child is now your number one priority.
·         Seek outside help. There are various hospitals and crisis centres, social workers or other social agencies that can help you.
·         Safety first. If you are in a bad neighbourhood or an unhealthy relationship, leave. Your safety and the safety of your child/ren is of priority now.
·         Believe in yourself. Know that you can succeed at anything and that you are strong.
·         Overlook. Ignore people who are critical of you. You have a bigger goal to focus on.
·         Learn CPR. Take infant and child CPR classes. You never know when you’ll need it.
·         Love yourself. Remember every day is a new beginning, and YOU are the architect of your future.

Being a single parent is extremely overwhelming. It can be hard to get your head around the surroundings of your new set up and you may be struggling to cope with feelings of loneliness. It’s normal. Remember, that it takes time for everyone to get used to the transition and, as a parent, your main concern should be how to support your child through this process that more often than not – they don't understand. Most importantly, what’s important is, to look after yourself. Get help if you need it. you can only take care of someone if you know how to take care of yourself.

-S

Friday, 17 August 2012

Crazy Sexy Cool


Want a personalised space that’s just yours? Do you need a little room made up just for the little one? Are you looking for a specific atmosphere or vibe? Then visit CrazySexyCool Wall Decals where you can decorate your walls and create just about anything. All they need to get started is a smooth surface. Sit back and watch CrazySexyCool reflect your individuality. What’s more is that they even do shop window displays!

Now, a lot of you are probably wondering “Decals?”

What are Decals?
Wall Decals (also called wall vinyl stickers) can transform any room from blank and boring to stylish and unique. It’s an enjoyable way to personalise your surroundings in line with your likes and choices. The vinyl used for the stickers are made from high quality vinyl and are available in many different colours for you to select from. The ranges can even between fluorescents and metallic looks.

Stickers?
The stickers are applied relatively quickly and are very easy to change, should your not be happy with it after a while.  The stickers can be stuck on any smooth surface, such as; smooth walls, windows, doors, glass, floors, etc. Remember, that Wall Decals can be used in offices, shops, on shop windows, homes and even rental homes as it does not damage painted walls.

Why vinyls?
Vinyl stickers for walls are expressions of individual personality and style.  When installing there is no mess, as with painting, but the decals can create an illusion of a painted-on design when especially using matt decals.  You do not have to have artistic skills or be a state-of-the-art home decorator to make your plain living space wonderful, by simply using wall decals. Wall decals are just as easy to remove as they are to apply, without ever having to worry about ruining the surface of the wall.

How?
Step 1. So come browse the Decals Shop or do a Custom Decal Request.
Step 2. Follow installation instructions included in your package or we can do the installation for you.
Step 3. Enjoy!  Your space has now been transformed by +Chantelle Wasserman

The person behind CrazySexyCool
Chantelle Wasserman is the owner, designer and manufacturer of CrazySexyCool Wall Decals. She is kind of person who loves bright colours and bold tones and can materialise your personality into a visual work of art. She believes it should be easy to decorate, which is the reason behind CrazySexyCool Wall Decals.  She can transform a boring atmosphere into a space filled with character and style.  Wall Decals are a simple and modern way to enhance your mood and lifestyle. Then when you feel like a change, you can very simply change motif and colours in a snap. It’s that simple.

Browse through the awesome designs in the Decals Shop, ask for a quote on Custom Decals, or read our Sticker Blog for some inspiration.

I know what my next project is now going to be...

-S

Catch my other blog www.easy-editing.blogspot.com


Monday, 13 August 2012

Letting go


Let go” ... How many times have you heard someone say this? How many times have you wondered “what does this even mean?” “How do I do it?” Pondering upon this very phrase for a while now, I have taken it to mean that you sometimes have to let sleeping dogs lie. It doesn't mean that you destroy them or throw them away. Put them aside (for a bit).

When do we have to let go?
There are many situations where we have to let go of something, a cheating partner perhaps, an abusive person, the loss of someone or, sometimes, just a memory. Whatever the hidden reasons are, you can only move forward if you aren't holding onto the baggages of the past.

Why do we have to let go?
You can’t heal if the pain doesn’t go away & you can only be at peace if you face your demons. Trusting another person is a reflection of how much you trust yourself to be strong enough to deal with possibly losing them. Never beat yourself up. You made it through your last experience & you will certainly make it though this one.

The change begins with you: How to let go of the past
Accept that the past cannot be undone. Tell yourself that you did your best in the circumstances & if you had a chance to go back, you would do the exact things again because that's who you were & that's what you knew then.

Forgive your mistakes. Constant reminiscing on what you could've, should've or would’ve done is unhealthy & pointless.

Own your thoughts. Train your mind to gently draw itself back to the present when your mind wanders to hurtful moments.

Time heals. All wounds heal no matter how you feel right now. Scars remind us of how strong we are.

Meet new people. You don't have to produce another life but try freeing yourself up to new possibilities.

Find yourself. Learn something new. You’d be amazed at how much of fun you’ll have.

Volunteer your time.  Help someone needy. You’ll be shocked at how someone else’s pain can make you forget your own.

Confessions. Express your emotions & let them know you have moved on.

Forgiveness. It is the keying to finding your inner hero.

In summary
View life as an unravelling of possibilities. Nothing is really lost, because every path not taken is a discovery. You have boundless opportunities ahead of you, all equally good. Letting go of one thing means you can grab another. Remember how Tarzan swung from vine to vine, catching as he let go? Well, so can you, as you glide through life with enthusiasm & marvel, instead of clutching on to one single vine & maintaining that this is it for you. Remember, letting go is not the same as giving up.

-S



Friday, 15 June 2012

Kim Kardashian comes apart



For a style icon who is constantly in the public eye, you’d think Kim Kardashian would pay more attention to her appearance.  



Take the past week for example. This truly has got to have been the worse week for the paparazzi-loving personality. She has had numerous wardrobe FAILS this week alone, three to be precise. The first public blunder was a clothing tag which was completely visible, followed by her spanx showing. One would beg to ask the question of why then was she wearing such a sheer number, anyway? Whatever way you look at this, it has got to hurt her ego.

This brings us to the cherry on the top of, hopefully, her final instalment. Kim’s dress ripped apart as she was about to make an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live. The zip on her black leather bodycon dress tore apart before this major appearance, leaving the damsel in much of a distress. I don't think it could manage her curves much less her narcissism and the poor zipper split.

Now, surely you would know when something isn’t going to fit you, right. So get a bigger size I’d say. There is no harm in it. It’s is not like anyone of us would even know, and I’m sure many of us don't even care.

Quick to salvage her reputation, the star tweeted about her dress room disaster: “About to do Jimmy Kimmel & my whole dress rips! Help!!!” Suffice it to say, within record time, her stylist godmothers were there, sewing up Cinderella for the ball.

Was it a true wardrobe crash for Kim, or another strategic ploy to get into the media, yet again? Who knows.

Well, whatever the case, love or hate this star, we are inescapably drawn to her antics.

Until next time....

-Sam


Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Do Rhetorical Questions Need a Question Mark?



Hello people,

So, having dinner the other night with some friends, we got into random conversations about rhetorical questions and after a few "glasses" there was a lot of fog surrounding the rules that apply to it. So, I thought, why not...and here you have it...we are going to discuss two kinds of peculiar questions. Isn’t that going to be fun! "Isn't that going to be fun," is a rhetorical question, by the way:) We’re also going to learn about its cousin. That’s called a tag question (It's going to be fun, isn't it?).




Rhetorical Questions
You’ve probably heard rhetorical questions more often than you realise. You start a sentence with a negative word when you mean something positive. So “Wasn’t that movie great?” means that you think the movie was great. It seems counterintuitive, but that’s the way English works. It’s called a rhetorical question, and it can end in either a question mark or an exclamation point, and in dialogue you can sometimes even have a speaker’s rhetorical question end in a period.

Another example of a rhetorical question is “Isn’t she leaving?” That question means you think the woman is leaving, but you want to confirm. Rhetorical questions like this take a negative form. If you make the “Isn’t she leaving?” question positive, it becomes just a regular question: “Is she leaving?” If you ask "Is she leaving?" you don’t know the answer; whereas with the rhetorical question “Isn’t she leaving?” you are assuming she is leaving.

Rhetorical questions have popped up in pop music. Stevie Wonder, for example, wrote a famous song called “Isn’t She Lovely,” whose lyrics begin:

“Isn't she lovely,
Isn't she wonderful,
Isn't she precious,” (2)

Mr Wonder definitely thinks the girl is lovely, wonderful, and precious. No question about that.
These kinds of rhetorical questions seem to be quite conversational. You wouldn’t want to write, “Aren’t I the perfect person for this job?” in a job cover letter, nor would you want to say, “Isn’t it obvious that you should hire me?” in an interview. There are better ways to sound more qualified and more professional. So, Aaron: no, it’s not advisable to use this kind of construction in formal situations.



Tag Questions
The second kind of question we’re talking about is called a tag question. “Tag questions, a peculiarity of English, are usually more spoken rather than written. The rhetorical question “Isn't she leaving?” means about the same thing as “She is leaving, isn’t she?” Students who are learning English often find this kind of construction puzzling because the speaker uses a negative form to mean something positive. As the Interesting Thing of the Day website wisely explains, “The simplest way to make a tag question in English is to repeat the verb, negate it, and then repeat the subject. For example, ‘He is smart’ becomes ‘He is smart, isn’t he?" Note how the word "isn't" is negating the verb "is" from the first part of the sentence: "He IS smart, ISN'T he?"
"If the verb is already negative, you just make it positive. ‘It won’t rain’ becomes ‘It won’t rain, will it?’" So, if we wanted to change Aaron’s rhetorical question “Isn’t it funny?” into a tag question, we would say, “It’s funny, isn’t it?” Both sentences mean “I think it’s funny.”
One clue that tag questions are best left to informal situations is that you often hear them used with contractions, which themselves are a bit informal. It would sound weird to ask "It will not rain, will it?" It sounds much more normal with a contraction: "It won't rain, will it?"



Summary
In summary, rhetorical questions and tag questions are normal parts of everyday speech, but they are informal. It’s therefore best to avoid them in formal situations.

Enjoy!!

-S


Friday, 1 June 2012

MTN’s disgusting service delivery



Over the past few weeks I have had endless drama with MTN. From being in a position where I wanted to cancel my account with them and change service providers because of their inability to explain why I am always in arrears on their billing system, to being offered a handset I have always wanted and mind you still don't have, to being in a position where I am paying them but have no handset and have no apparent recourse.

How it all started
Four weeks ago, roughly, I was in conversation with an operator at MTN regarding cancelling my contract. They inquired as to the reason behind me wanting to cancel and offered me their “unbeatable” specials. After a while, I thought why not, upgrading with them would definitely save me time it would take to get a new contract. After receiving numerous calls from the consultants I agreed to go ahead with the upgrade. Every few days I would have to call them and ask when I could come in and pick up my handset as my current contract termination date was nearing and I didn't want to be in a position where I am sitting without a phone. I would always get an excuse. And often get offered a handset that was much more expensive. This started feeling a bit strange and really didn't make sense because the offer I was made was a current special. So...how come there was always NO STOCK. Surely, if you are advertising a special you need to cater for stock sufficiently or order timeously. So, I sent a complaint though to MTN (on their website complaints section). I also decided to carry out my own investigations. I called a few branches...and what do you know? None of the branches had stock. Chatsworth, Westville (2 stores), Westwood etc. Very suspicious, it seemed. So I sent another complaint via email to all of MTN.

So, naturally frustrated, I told them not to worry. That I would acquire the handset elsewhere. This was when some actual work was carried out on their part. They called me on a Friday (25 May 2012) to say that I could come pick up a handset on 26 May 2012, (as they had sent someone to another branch and have finally located a handset for me). Fine... I went in to pick up my handset. While providing the necessary signatures, I was told that with MTN there is an upgrade fee...O-K!!! This was a huge shock as most cell phone service providers don't even charge a sim and connection fee. So, to my mind, it would be more beneficial financially, to cancel your contract and get a new one. This seemed like a total money-making scheme to me.

The initial problem
Anyway, I take the handset back home and start the mandatory charge. 2 hours later I notice that the phone isn’t charging. So I assume that there is probably something wrong with the plug point. So I try charging the phone at several plug points around the house – ALL DON’T SEEM TO WORK. I wait, and the next day, I try a friend’s charger. That eventually works. At this point I know that some contents of the package are faulty. I try the USB and that seems to work. I lay a complaint with MTN, yet again. I mean, I am not going to keep a phone that obviously isn’t in 100% working order. So, a consultant tells me to bring in the accessories and since there is a 7-day return policy, I can exchange the phone for a new one. (Please note that in all of this I speak to another person at MTN who tells me that the phone will still work and the mandatory “initial charge” isn’t that important. Here, I have a “WTF” moment – if it isn’t compulsory why is recommended, you fool). Next, I get another call saying that there isn’t any stock of the phone. So what do I do now??? Am I expected to stay without a phone while MTN continues to bill me for a service they are clearly not providing!!!
I was later advised that they could cancel this contract and I could continue using my sim card on my old phone as the old contract only expires on 9 June 2012. However (and get this) I must pay for BIS AGAIN. So, I queried this. It appears that according to MTN, I am going to be billed for the full contract price, for 24 months, for my old contract ending in June, BUT I must pay AGAIN to reinstate the BIS on my phone. The guys I now spoke to at MTN gave me lip and had a terrible attitude. They said that I had chosen to upgrade to so they cancelled my BIS. And, if I want it again I need to pay. I couldn’t understand why but was advised that this was the only way. I sent ANOTHER complaint to MTN. Please note that at this point I have not received a single phone call from MTN to explain any of this, much less offer an apology.

In steps MTN Chatsworth
Samantha from the MTN Chatsworth branch advised that I should visit MTN Pavilion, to give back the phone and, afterward, cancelling the contract was entirely up to me if I was not pleased with the service MTN provided.  Visiting the store was the single biggest mistake I made!!!!! Firstly, the people I was supposed to meet (Ashley) was the rudest person at the store. He brushed me and my husband off saying he was “too busy for us” and “can someone else please handle this”...to my fucking face. Now, I completely understand that being service providers, you are bound to be busy. But....surely being in a customer-facing environment, you should display some tact and respect a customer. I was not impressed with his condescending attitude. Still, I spoke to an indian girl at the counter. That was my second mistake. Because obviously trying to explain MY billing details to ME was way too burdensome on her poor soul. As if her rolling eyes and patronising tone wasn’t enough, I had to also deal with her unhelpful attitude.

 It gets better
Apparently, she couldn’t guarantee me that my new upgrade hadn’t gone through. This is something else I couldn’t understand, as the MTN billing ends on the 20th of every month. So, to my mind, there was ample time for MTN to cancel the upgrade because it obviously didn't go through as yet. Also, adding to this, I didn't receive airtime etc for my new package so this reinstated the fact that everything could be reversed reasonably easily. The girl also mentioned that MTN Chatsworth had to keep an eye on their billing and reverse the charges immediately to avoid me being billed my new “contract fee” + upgrade fee. And, it actually gets more sickening than this, because apparently the “system” will most certainly take off the money and I will get it back....BUT...they can’t guarantee when and it will take more than 21 consecutive working days. At this point I lost it.

If you think that’s bad
I get a call on 30 May 2012, from a person from MTN Pietermaritzburg (Gugu), to inform me that I now need to sign forms and send it through to cancel my contract/migrate to prepaid etc AGAIN. I ALREADY DID THIS AT THE STORE RETARDS!! I don't understand why I should constantly be picking up after MTN whenever they decide that they don't want to do their work.  Gugu also advised that the girl at MTN did not do her job properly (surprise, surprise). And that I should go BACK to the store to correct what they did. I advised the lady on the phone that there was NO WAY I was going to face those wretched people one more time. ALSO, who the hell is going to reimburse me for the petrol it takes me to constantly drive back and forth between several MTN branches – to sort out their mess!!! I don't mean to sound petty but, MTN is billing me left, right and centre for every charge they can find....why shouldn't I do the same??

Icing on the cake
She further advises that there was a huge error on my account. That she couldn’t confirm any of the amounts that will come off. That I will get my money back – but she’s not sure when. That the last fee for my old contract amount will come off end May. That the new contract amounts and upgrade fees (for a contract and phone I don't have) will come off end of June 2012. That she isn’t sure of the total/final charges. AND that since I chose to initially upgrade on a promotional handset, even if they pay me back it’s going to be minus a promotional fee. So the burning question....for fucking what???????? You should certainly charge me if you have actually provided a bloody service. Not for giving me the run-around, being rude, unhelpful, incompetent and a bunch of inefficient goats. If you are expecting me to be sorry about my insults then you are barking up the wrong tree. I am up to my wits end with you people. I have had enough!!

Cherry on top off the cake
I asked MTN if there was anyway I could stop them taking the money off my account unnecessarily. Firstly, “that’s what the computer does”, is what I got told. “Yes, because you are a flock of sheep who can’t possibly step out of your comfort zones, off your arses, to go the extra mile and assist a customer”, is what I thought. I mean why do you actually have to do some work when you are programmed to say “the computer says so”. I also offered to stop my debit orders and pay my account in cash every month to prevent the unnecessary debits and credits. To which the lady on the phone replied that I have that option but remember that MY name will get into disrepute with the credit bureau – it will affect my credit history and rating, and that in the end basically I’ll suffer. So....the solution...let MTN do whatever the fuck they want!!!

Consumer Protection Act (See Part G onward)
Could someone please tell me why the hell this piece of legislation was even promulgated? I am an ex-law student and know this Act inside out. Yet, service providers like MTN who are supposed to have this document stamped to their foreheads seem to have forgotten every rule in it. MTN seems to be under the misconception that they are exempt from it and also above the law, so much so, that my constitutionally protected and legislative rights are just water under the bridge for them.

What did I expect from MTN
For starters, a call would be nice. The decent thing would be to call me and at least try to offer some sort of assistance. I know that this is probably something foreign to you. Still, customer satisfaction should mean something to you.

...I will blow a fuse if someone tells me that they were not aware of what was going on. I sent emails to everyone. From www.mtnsp.co.za, to webmastermtnsp@mtn.co.za, to Prince Khumalo, Billy-Jean Peters, Elton Williams, Siyabonga Langeni and Farzanah Karriem, all of whom were useless in trying to assist me. Then comes into the picture Gugu (dlamin_g@mtn.co.za) who explained a lot of the details to me and advised a senior named Anderson would call me to rectify things and make my journey from hereon a little smoother, since what I have gone through this far is not acceptable in terms of standards (which I have yet to see). Several hours have passed since my conversation with Gugu and surprise, surprise AGAIN, not a single call has come through from MTN. And I highly doubt it will. Maybe Anderson is trying to save the planet. Because what else could be more important than doing your job???

My issues
·         MTN has constantly provided a slapdash service to me.
·         MTN advised that they will take money off my account and can’t tell me when I’ll get my refund.
·         They will take off random amounts before my refund, which doesn’t make sense to me, and they can't viably explain it.
·         They have treated me rudely and inappropriately up to this point.
·         They can't effectively explain why my statements are constantly in arrears, in spite of me paying my account duly, every month.
·         Their attitudes leave much to be desired.
·         They basically told me they ARE going to take my money and there is nothing I can do about it, unless I want to get my name listed as a bad payer in the credit bureau.
·         They will give me back all monies due to me, at some point, but can't guarantee exactly when.
·         I can't cancel my debit order.
·         Not a single reply to five of my complaints thus far.
·         No apology yet.

So, I guess, me waiting for a response to this letter is similar to a dog chasing a car it doesn’t intend on catching. I won't hold my breath for a speedy resolution either as the service above speaks volumes about how much MTN actually cares about their customers. Be rest assured though, that every person I come into contact with will know of the terrible service I have received from you and no friend or family of mine will ever take out a contract with you EVER, much less upgrade.

Follow Facebook & Twitter for more of my thoughts on MTN's activities, ethics & acumen.


Disgusted at the service MTN provides

-S






Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Forget him, focus on you!!


I recently tied the proverbial knot to my high school sweetheart. Guys, I must say that marriage may very well just be the best thing that has ever happened to me. That being said, I enjoy really those stolen moments to myself. Not picking up after someone, or tidying up the kitchen, or doing the laundry...How many of you out there can relate?

It’s so easy to lose yourself to someone...even easier to convince yourself that you are OK with doing just that! Do I have news for you! Watching that very scenario play out in other relationships has taught me not to make the same mistake – that means, loving ME.



To love me, I have to find ME
Don't get me wrong, I love my husband. He completes me & makes my life so meaningful... BUT Ladies, let’s face it, it’s not an obedient, slaving, “replacement for a mother” that he fell in love with, is it? It’s that feisty tigress, who is opinionated and loud, who makes him laugh, and who challenges his status quo to make him discover himself that he wants to be with. I’m sure you are similar in the things that count...you should be. But don’t lose yourself & start to emulate your partner...else, he may as well be married to, or date, himself.

I was lunching with friends, when we started discussing the things we do, when it’s just USJ
Try a few:

·         Don’t bother combing your hair or using makeup
·         Try a facialJ you’ll feel like a million bucks
·         Walk around naked (after you get over the awkwardness, the freedom will be exhilarating)
·         Throw away the stuff he has been hoarding. It’s therapeutic
·         Wash your car... finally, it’s “your” time to enjoy that Lady
·         Leave stuff lying around in the house, and say to yourself “you’ll stay there until I say so”
·         Eat all the junk food you want (no guilt)
·         Listen to "girly" music real loud & dance around the house, singing really loud (even if you are outta tune)
·         Eat all the Lindt by yourself (they weren’t meant for sharing anyway)
·         Watch tear-jerker romantic comedies (Notebook, The Vow). You can salivate over Channing Tatum all you want without feeling guilty. And, you won’t feel like slitting your wrists at the sight of a skinny, barber-doll heroine, whom you loathe for being so miserably perfect
·         Hog the remote (**evil laugh**)



You don't have to predict his every move or even be perfect . . . be you!! Any chance that I get to be on my own – is my time. My time to indulge and let it loose! To be silly and give him a chance to miss me!! Look, I get that some couples are very “close-knit”, to say the least. But Ladies, remember that you can only be your best, as a partner, if you know who you are. You can also catch my articles at www.all4women.co.za

-Sam


What are some ways to help your child improve their reading and writing skills?



Hi guys,

Today, I want to discuss something really important: The future of our children. The issue of a child’s learning is so blatantly avoided that it could bring one to tears. Being one who would prefer to curb this growing threat to future generations...I’d like for you to take this problem really seriously. Our kids will potentially be around long after we have passed on. So why not build a solid foundation – starting at the beginning.

Research has shown that children whose parents (or any significant adults) read to them are always better students than those who are not read to. Reading to your child exposes him/her to vocabulary, sentence structure, communication skills, and logic. Reading to them shares the joy of reading and storytelling. Reading to them also gives you quality time together, which strengthens your child-parent bond.



1. Encourage your child to read
Provide plenty of reading material that will interest your child - either buy books or take them to the library every few days. If your child is interested in dinosaurs, have books about dinosaurs in the house - both science or non-fiction books and fiction or storybooks, because reading is not just for fun, but also for information. Find out what your child's interests are, and provide books that feed those interests.

2. Help your child
If your child is having trouble reading, first make sure they do not have some sort of correctable problem like poor eyesight. Work with the school to test for learning disabilities like dyslexia, which can cause poor reading skills. Help your child learn vocabulary and spelling so that they can read better – you can either have regular Q&A sessions where you quiz them on vocabulary and spelling words or you can make games like "Word of the Day" where you find fun ways to improve their vocabulary.

3. Set a regular time for schoolwork each day
This will also help with any school subject. Make a special place for them to do their work, someplace where they will not be distracted by a TV, games, cell phones, computer chat rooms, IMs, or anything else. Have at least one hour daily (some children will need longer) during which homework is done – if they say they do not have homework, then they will use the time to read over their material. During this time, you can "assign" reading and writing practice also – have them read a section, then quiz them to be sure they understand what they have read. You can show them how to read for information, how to tell when a term is important in a textbook, and where to look for definitions and more help.

4. Make reading and writing fun
Again, if you use your child's interests, you will have more luck with this. Encourage your child to make up stories and write them down. Don't worry about spelling or grammar at first – just get them to start writing! Read what they have written if they want you to, and talk about their stories over the dinner table, or in the car. The more you encourage them to read and write, the more they will want to – notice I said "encourage" and not nag. The trick is to make it fun for them. 

Go the extra mile
·         Buy a book that your child can read with slight difficulty and once you help them master the words in that book buy the next book up to that one and do the same again and so on.
·         The best way to help a child learn to enjoy reading is to read with them!
·         The best way to help children read better is to have a home where reading is a part of life. Start out reading to the child, and let the child see you reading for enjoyment.
·         Write down the story he tells you then show it to him. Explain to him that he was the one who came up with that story. Then ask him to read the story. 
·         Many popular children's cartoons come in book form. You can also try comic books. You can both take a trip to a local comic book store and let him choose something he likes to read (Make sure it's age appropriate).
·         Throw out your TV. A week without television has been shown to improve reading and attention span.
·         Try getting a tape recorder and have him read a book aloud being taped and then play the tape back to himself while reading the book of his choice.
·         Good old PHONICS help.
·         Keep it simple with a lot of praise for doing well (not "good job") if it's not. Don't be negative but also don't "over praise" for non-performance. Make it fun.
·         Read to him/her every night, preferably at the same time.
·         Stop the story or the book at an interesting part, so that he'll look forward to the next night's story time.
·         Let him choose books on subjects that he is interested in and pick one day out of the week where he gets to read whatever he wants to you!
·         Make a trip to the bookstore fun and exciting...stop at the park first or get a treat afterwards.
·         Let them look at the pages as you read.

-S






Monday, 21 May 2012

The Avengers: Movie Review

It's been long guys, but back to work now:), I had to share possibly the best movie of the year with you guys!



A movie feverishly anticipated by comic book geeks, action freaks and superhero devotees, it’s almost impossible to fault The Avengers, now that it’s finally, actually here. The Avengers is truly a movie event on a spectacular scale and this adds an almost impossible level of expectation on Marvel, writer-director Joss Whedon and the cast to make all those fan boy fantasies come true.



Be assured, The Avengers is all that and a whole heap of fun to boot. We’ve all come to be familiar with the individual characters over the course of a few years, with two Iron Man movies, Thor and Captain America having been introduced in their own film franchises. All are present to reprise their roles, except Edward Norton who played Dr Bruce Banner in The Incredible Hulk and opted out of The Avengers to make way for Mark Ruffalo as the hot-headed green giant. (A sorely disappointing choice for me.)







As the film opens, the Avengers are scattered: Tony Stark is developing a new power source while living in bliss with Pepper Potts. Bruce Banner has exiled himself to India where he’s figured a way to keep "the other guy" at bay. Captain Steve Rogers is a super-soldier without a war to fight. Scarlet Johansson (Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow) gets a particularly great intro, while her fellow SHIELD agent Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) is compromised early on when Loki makes his entrance.




When the gang finally comes together on SHIELD’s impressive aircraft carrier-cum-stealth flyer, it’s an incredibly thrilling moment, even though there is some serious doubt amongst them that it’s probably not the best idea, since one of them could explode into a destructive rage monster at any moment. Much in-fighting ensues, especially once Loki is captured and Thor crash-lands from Asgard to claim Loki as his prisoner to be dealt Asgardian justice. It’s pretty exciting just seeing all these larger than life characters all in a room together, sizing each other up and bickering like old friends.







That it all feels so natural and lived in is, of course, thanks to the wizardry of Joss Whedon himself, a true and devoted believer in the power of fantasy and science fiction as a means to explore real human relationships.  The truly magical thing about The Avengers is how well-compartmentalised it all is, allowing each and every one of our heroes an almost equal amount of screen time to flesh out their character arcs and deal with a wealth of back-story and essentially build relationships as the franchise thunders along for who knows how many more years and spin-off films. This could so easily have been a case of too many cooks spoiling the broth, and in fact turns out to be the complete opposite. The Avengers works because each character’s voice and presence matters.



The cast



The cast is as close perfection as possible. I challenge anyone to suggest another actor who could infect Tony Stark with as much cockiness as Robert Downey Jr, or convey the inner turmoil of Captain America – a man out of time – with the kind of affecting strength Chris Evans has brought to the character. They may wear impressive (and skin-tight) costumes, but the actors’ performances give weight to the characters rather than shift the focus to their heroic alter egos.








Though it’s bad boy Loki (played by a dangerously magnetic Tom Hiddleston) who steals most of the scenes, torturing the Avengers with his withering wit and steely gaze as his plot to overtake Earth and make subjects of the human race is slowly revealed. That he is Thor’s brother complicates matters even further and together with Chris Hemsworth (as the Norse god of thunder...yummy!!!) Hiddleston’s Loki is always on the cusp of redemption (even though he’s crazier than an old lady with a bag of cats) and ever more lethal because of his sensitivity where Thor is concerned.







As expected, the chaos of the thrilling action scenes as Midtown Manhattan is being obliterated by Loki’s army is a head-spinning prospect as one superhero more powerful than the next gets a turn to shine. Joss Whedon’s distinctive voice can be heard throughout all of the characters’ attempts at one-upmanship. It’s there in Agent Phil Coulson’s barely concealed and very sweet Captain America fandom, in the unspoken competitiveness between Tony Stark and Bruce Banner, and the roguish fun that is promised around every corner.

The Avengers is exactly what it needed to be: Over the top but awe-inspiring, faithful to the characters and the comics, whip-smart and funny and, above all, an insanely good-looking.

Criticism
The plot surrounds Thor and Loki and takes off as a sequel to Thor almost. I believe, due to the Norse/Asgard influences/ themes, there should have been more substance to the characters of the aforementioned men. The film is also made to influence us into believing that Loki has some secret diabolic plan concerning Bruce Banner, but that also lies very weak in its plot. There is also a scene in the movie where our heroes bicker like little girls in the sandbox and suddenly we see Bruce with Loki’s staff in hand – that also does not tie up at all.





The Avengers smashes box office record
The Avengers launched the summer movie season with a $200.3m opening weekend domestically, by far the biggest debut ever. If distributor Disney's revenue estimate on Sunday holds when the final weekend count is released on Monday, The Avengers would be the first movie ever to haul in $200m in a single weekend. A $200m total for every movie in release is considered a great weekend for the business as a whole, so The Avengers redefines the standards for a blockbuster debut.
The Avengers shot past the previous record of $169.2m for the debut of last year's Harry Potter finale.
With $441.5m overseas since last week, The Avengers worldwide total climbed to $641.8m.

Overview
All in all, a brilliant watch for the young and old at heart. Action for all you fanatics out there, brilliant vocabulary for the nerdy folk, eye candy for us gals....and Chris Hemsworth for me. Enjoy!!


-S