What is “Beautiful Living”? We had a chance to hear from three experts on three different perspectives: how to wear your clothes, how to organise your time, and how to best treat your skin. All in all it was great to walk away with some insight into what it really means to live a beautiful life, as well as having a chance to connect with our fabulous local bloggers.
1) Nastassja Petersen: Tricks of Illusion Dressing:
Nastassja gave such a worthwhile, interactive talk. She started off by getting us to stand up and place our hands on our shoulders, waist, hip and thighs. This is an exercise to discover where your widest section is, and how you need to dress to disguise your problem area.
Nastassja showed us a variety of clothes and how they may be flattering to certain body parts. For instance, if you have great legs but a bit of a tummy, a black top and a pink pencil skirt will work wonders.
Surprising news about boobs: big boobs look better with a V-neck and bigger with a higher collar.
Decide what you love about your body and accentuate that. The thinnest spot can be the tightest! It is no good having clothes that cling to your thighs or waist if that is not the spot your want to draw attention to. Wear cute pink shoes if you want to draw attention downwards away from wide shoulders. Emphasis can also be worked with accessories and bright colours.
Nastassja had two striped jackets, one with vertical and the other with horizontal stripes. Vertical stripes elongate and work well with short people like me. She tried it on me because I asked about my sloping shoulders and it looked great.
Interestingly about sleeves: without sleeves you draw attention down, it makes you look more bottom heavy. I have always preferred to wear sleeves, more because I feel the cold!
Nastassja touched on colours that look better on you. I did colour coding years ago and I know I look better in cool colours (summer, winter). You have to look at your skin undertone. A bluish one like me means cool colours and a yellowish one means warm colours (spring, autumn).
I liked the way Nastassja ended off about how clothes can express your personality, and how important it is to express who you really are in what you wear.
She gave us an exercise to choose three words that would sum up our personality. She gave her own example of “focused, fun and relaxed” and how this would relate to the cut, colour and texture of what she would wear. A black fitted jacket shows focus. A bright orange top under it shows fun. Linen pants can show the relaxed side.
She made the important point that you should not worry about the parts of your body that you don’t like, rather work with what you have today.
2. Marcia Francios: Create a Beautiful Life
(Marcia has more than one website: The123Blog, Organising Queen, Take Charge Solutions)
Marcia helps busy women break out of overwhelm.
She said that there were three definitions as to what a beautiful life was.
1) Acknowledging that this is your life, and not someone else’s.
2) It has a deliberate design which matches up with your values.
3) It is a life lived with integrity. This isn’t just about the values of transparency and honest, it is more about being aligned. Your walk must match your talk. If you feel within your gut something is wrong, that you are not aligned with the life that you want, then something needs to be done. She gave the example of a difficult job situation that she was in. She also told us that there is no quick fix or distraction e.g. going for a pedicure, as you will still have to face your problem the next day.
So how would you do it?
1) Live With Intention. Decide what you want and work it out on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Decide what you value. She gave the example of how her family values exercise, so on Saturday mornings they go to the gym. Her highest value is freedom which is why she is not suited to being micro managed.
Different values may mean different things to different people. When you value “family” each person may have a different idea of what part of your family to spend time with, so these things need to be discussed.
2) Choose What Matters. What are your priorities? Priorities may change depending on your life stage. When you have a small child, life does work around them, often. Marcia asked us what our top three priorities were.
3) Value People Over Things.
Marcia gave the example of what really matters. Work can wait. You can’t do everything. She calls herself a “recovering perfectionist”.
She made the interesting point that we put our best efforts into the first 80% of the work and after that the last 20% is just not as good. She used to triple check her figures many times and now she doesn’t. She says perfectionism will kill you slowly.
4) Time can not be gathered. We always say “one day” we will do something. Make time for what is important.
4) Realise the Place of Social Media
I think this section made the biggest impression on me. She said that the photos on social media are just a snippet of your life, not the full picture. The stuff that matters is small. She said when she goes on holiday she may take 300 pictures, then delete them down to 100. From those she will probably only use 8.
Be present with real people rather than waiting for likes, comments and retweets.
I think as bloggers this is a big lesson for us. Sometimes blogging and social media need to take a back seat because real life is more important than the created best pictures that are more of a fantasy life.
3. Melanie Frost
Our last speaker was from the skin care range Mama Mio and she had some tips for us on how to deal with our skin in winter.
She began by educating us about the skin. It is the largest organ in the body. In pregnancy it stretches over a metre. It is 3mm thick and 15% of our total body weight.
There are three layers, the epidermis, the dermis and the fatty layer.
The thing about skin is that it is naturally acidic (4-6ph). So all your harsh solid soaps which are 7-10ph are no good. They strip off the moisture, have no oil and dehydrate your skin. It takes about 24 hours for it to repair itself, when you probably do the damage all over again. Avoid solid soaps and go for liquid ones.
The other important thing to note as a mother is that babies have very sensitive skin. The skin of a child only really balances out in the teen years. So we need to be making sure our little ones have plenty of moisture on the skin.
You have to apply what the skin needs directly onto the skin, because even if you drink gallons of water only two percent will actually reach your skin.
Melanie told us that a good skin care cream should have three important components:
1) Essential Fatty Acids (Your Omega 3-6-9). Don’t jump to the conclusion that you just need to apply some water based solution, because the skin also needs oil. Melanie also shared the story of her son going on Omegas and how it had helped his concentration levels, how he couldn’t draw a figure eight properly beforehand and now he could after taking these vitamins.
2) Hyaluronic Acid.
3) Reishi Mushroom. This helps with eczema and so called “lizard legs”. It is the “over achiever” of the body butters.
It is important to exfoliate before you take a bath so that you’ll enjoy “summer skin” in winter. In summer you only need to do it twice a week.
Mama Mio products are available from Poise Brands at various salons and spas, and The Bub Hub also stock them.
Now it’s time to say thank you!
1. Our venue, The Bub Hub, although not sponsored, helped us out with two other opportunities from their neighbouring shops. They got Mugg and Bean to set up free coffee for us (Thank you so much! That was the best news of the day!) as well as giving us a voucher for the goody bags. They also gave us a prize voucher from Just Cruizin Clothing shop which is a new store at Broadacres between themselves and Mugg and Bean. So I’m grateful for them enabling these wonderful connections that benefited us.
2. While on the subject of drinks, Butterknife PR did an amazing job serving us up some delicious Contreau cocktails. We are very grateful for your time and service to us thirsty bloggers!
3. Our fantastic stationery sponsor, Gumtree, were responsible for the goody bags, notepads, pens and name tags. I am so grateful that they managed to do those name tags in time and with very short notice. So thank you!
4. Our very own Tracey Preston, who blogs at Our Real, Real Life, gave us all some exquisite charms from her new company, Oh So Charming/ #AllTheThings.
5. I was completely taken aback by the very generous gift from Amway, organised through Fleishman Hillard, who gave us some make up items. This weekend when we went out for our Mother’s Day breakfast I put on the lipstick and lipgloss. It felt very classy not only because of the quality of the product, but also because of the golden packaging.
6. A lovely sparkly mascara was give to us by Stage Line Professional Makeup, from 27 Red. Heather Barger, the lady behind this company, is wanting to get together ten bloggers for a makeover. If you’re interested, and you’re in Joburg, please email email@example.com so we can sort out a date, thanks. It really is amazing outfit – they do all sorts of interesting stage make up as well.
7. NUK have always been a huge supporter of ours, and were kind enough to donate various items to our meetup. So thank you, NUK!
8. Woolworths donated two vouchers. I can’t say enough good things about Woolworths, since I am a regular client of theirs. That will be money well spent for the winners.
9. Bio-Oil donated a lovely hamper for us to be raffled off. This is an excellent product that every pregnant woman needs – I used it during my pregnancy and had no stretch marks. Of course it has lots of uses for all kinds of skin problems beyond pregnancy too.
10. Print Wild also donated a voucher prize for us, thanks Print Wild. It’s worth looking around their website to look for dynamic ways to display your memories.
Most of all I want to thank the bloggers for attending and supporting us, and for Laura for being such a star organiser!
Other posts on the meetup (to be added to later)
A Beautiful Living #JoziMeetup
Read about the #JoziMeetup and win
A snippet of our lives – sharing on social media – #JoziMeetup
JoziMeetup – the one on Beautiful Living
And over in Cape Town:
You can win 3 goody bags! Remember that they do contain over R1000 worth of make up and skin care from Amway plus various other goodies. All you have to do is fill in the Rafflecopter giveaway. You must be a resident of South Africa to enter.
a Rafflecopter giveaway