Let’s be real. We are not idiots and so I would hope that most of the world’s internet using population participating in this wasteful and useless challenge would realise that pouring ice cold water over your head does not in fact cure ALS, cancer or any other disease for that matter. It is just another way for not so interesting people to gain a little popularity and just a little bit more online attention.

Many of my friends have already participated in the challenge and I have also been nominated myself. The truth of the matter is, it is not a challenge… in fact, if you consider dousing yourself with a precious resource like water a ‘challenge’, I would hate to see how you react to washing the dishes.

Firstly, we need to understand why the ALS ice bucket challenge came about and what exactly it is in aid of. Can those of you who have done the challenge actually say you understand its purpose? And no, the purpose is not to gain internet notoriety along with other mindless drones completing the challenge on a daily basis. Do we as a population not have better ways to show our interest in charity without pouring a bucket of water over our heads unnecessarily and walking away as if nothing ever happened? Also, it is called an ICE BUCKET challenge and more often than not, I do not see any ice. Just saying.

Let me help you out a little… What is ALS? It is not many Al’s standing in one place and no, you are not about to use Al’s ice bucket. In fact, there are no ice buckets being used as far as I can tell. Pretty much any bucket will suffice it seems, including those that look like they’ve been used to wash the kitchen floor since your mom passed it down to you when you left the house.

ALS – Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Basically a motor neuron disease that leads to muscle tissue wasting away. I can think of another word for it, horrid. So, would pouring ice cold water over ones head not be a little insulting to ALS sufferers in a way? Do you think that for just a few seconds you understand what it is like to not have use of your muscles because you are too damn cold? So, the challenge is this. Pour ice cold water (not ice) over your head to make people aware of ALS (Not seeing the correlation but anyway) and then challenge others to do the same and should they not complete the challenge within 24 hours, they then need to donate to a charity or the ALS association. So, you are guilt tripping your friends and family into contributing to a charity, which they then do and post themselves doing the challenge AND donating money to charity because they want to be a hero. Did you not get the memo? One or the other. Not both, just one. It doesn’t stop there, oh no. To make sure people understand how much we care and know about ALS, we then go and post a screenshot of our donation onto Facebook because heaven forbid people think we have no soul and lie about our donation.. because, all of your Facebook friends would totally judge you if you didn’t. Right? It is not over, your cousin and his Varsity mates then decide that the ice bucket challenge is far too boring and choose to throw in a wheely bin and an ice cream truck… that is an ice bucket challenge. Next level. But your poor friends friend who featured on the daily mail screamed so loud when the cold water hit her face that she dislocated her jaw – And now she is more popular than ALS because she is on the Daily Mail. Winning.

Do you see the ridiculousness here or is it just me?

Since when did being charitable mean that we have to do such a stupid challenge? Is it too difficult to contribute to a charity without having been nominated to do so and surely you would think that charity starts at home. Before doing the ice bucket challenge for a disease you know nothing about, can you truly say that your family or your closest friends are not in need of your charity? How about your domestic worker, your colleague at work, your neighbour… Is everyone around you so happy and fulfilled and stable that you can afford to waste your time on just trying to be worldwide web famous.

So, back to being real. I cannot even near the end of this piece without mentioning the fact that throwing countless gallons of water over people’s heads who clearly are not thirsty is an insult to the impoverished. Do you take water for granted that much that you can throw it around like that? I am not perfect, I too have wasted water in my time but never to this degree and never in aid of such a pointless exercise. The point of the ice bucket challenge is to create awareness around a rather serious disease, instead it goes to show how wasteful and uncaring the world’s people truly are.

Let’s take a second to remind ourselves that there are many diseases in the world and no one disease is worse than the next. We will all be affected differently by different disease based on personal experience. I for example, have had people close to me die because of depression – A very serious illness close to my heart. Others may have more of a connection to cancer because they lost their loved one in that way… If you feel so strongly about a cause, do something about it. Your miniscule donation is not going to do much but assist in paying a tiny bit of interest on the mounds of debt some of these organisations have. Why not donate your time to the lonely? Why not donate food to the hungry? How is it possible that people on the run in Gaza have time to post a ‘rubble challenge’ video to raise awareness of their war situation and that goes wholly unnoticed?

It saddens me that so many of you have been sucked into this… jumping on a media bandwagon fuelled by the many celebrities and big names that have taken part. I would hope that you think about what you have done and why you have done it. I would hope that you recognise the true problem here is not ALS, a disease no one knows about. The problem? The ability to take something so serious as a life threatening, fatal illness and turn it into a freak show of selfishness. The ability to turn everything around to always make it about ME… because that is just what humans do.

Oh, by the way. You donated in the ice bucket challenge, did you give the car guard a tip?

 

 

 

Without risk, there is no reward. So cliché, so true.

It has been a while since I wrote anything – The contemplation of life, love, lessons and everything in between has forced a digital silence that even I cannot break. A writer’s block I could not shake. A finger break even the most experienced of writers deserve.

A few months ago I made a decision. A decision to give up a career, a future, a reputation that I have spent years working towards… only to regress, get back to the start, go back to basics. A risk I chose to take in order to reap future rewards that I could not yet predict.

The truth is, I am good at what I do. I was good at what I did. I loved my job, the job at the crux of it anyway. I loved being a team leader and leading a team of people with the same goals, dreams and ideals that I had for myself. I loved being part of something bigger and above all, I loved being recognised for what I was doing. It was good to hear people tell me and others just how good I was at what I did and get globally awarded for what I did. My peers, my managers, my leaders… they all recognised my achievements and saw in me potential that at times I did not even see for myself.

I wouldn’t say that I got caught up in the hype, in fact most of the time my reputation was not on my mind – I worked hard, I wanted to achieve the goals that we had set out for ourselves, for our business and was doing anything I could to ensure we got to where we needed to be. Sadly, in the process I went through quite a traumatic personal experience which changed my view on things. I worked long, strange hours in a shift scenario which included working on weekends and a lot of time away from the people I needed most, my family. I gave everything of myself and my time to help someone else achieve their goals and at the end of the day, it was to my own detriment… I believe I suffered an undiagnosed nervous breakdown and after much consideration, I decided the only person who could change my situation was me. I needed to get out of the toxic environment that was holding me down with its negativity and collapse that threatened my sanity.

It definitely was not easy. A lot of back and forward went on within me… Do I stay, do I go? Those who know me will know that I am loyal, to the end. I did not want to resign but was going to do so without additional work for the sheer purpose of regenerating the batteries. I needed a break. I needed a change and I needed to put myself first for the first time in a long time. And so, I did it. I resigned. I gave up everything I had worked for, I gave up my what I thought was my future and I gave up my position on the corporate ladder because I knew in my heart it was what was right.

A few days later I was lucky enough to find another position at my present company, it was scary knowing the risk involved and moving to a commission based salary but I am more than happy that I did.

The last month of work was the toughest, the days grew closer to me leaving and I felt like a traitor. Like I had given up everything and was making the biggest mistake of my life but I knew when I walked out that door on the last day, I had made the right choice. I had done the right thing. I was on the right path.

When I started at the new company, I did not know what to expect but I did know that it would not be easy. I felt like a junior again, like I needed to be re taught despite my skills and the knowledge I have acquired in the same position over the years. I was no longer a leader and had to learn to humbly step down from the task I had become accustomed to. I became the new dog in a land of old tricks and the very idea was daunting. I felt useless. I was a nobody. I was no longer the great team leader / consultant that had won all the awards she did and in fact, I was also broke having taken quite a salary cut based on the commission structure.

The truth is, this risk was not just a risk financially. It was a wake-up call, a reality check and a reminder why I do what I do and why I love what I do. Back to basics, back to quality versus quantity and back to a value system that I longed for in my career. You see, where I was had become like a battery chicken farm… hundreds of unwilling chickens despite their calibre all being kept in the smallest of cages all expected to perform and be the very best chicken dinner. Where I am now? It is a free range chicken farm, a heathy environment with a definite goal and vision in place. The change had not only forced me to see the value in myself and what I have to offer but also in what the future has to offer for me.

I am still a nobody… 3 months is not enough time to prove oneself. It is not enough time to show people what I can do and will do for them and also what I will do for myself. It has not been long enough for me to start reaping the financial rewards and yet the light is now at the end of the tunnel and I am on the up and up. I am motivated and I will show what I am made of, but more importantly I remember that I got into this industry because I want to assist people. Contrary to popular belief, I manage relationships and develop these with my clients – This has made me successful, not my ability to use systems or google.

And the rewards? I have time with my family. My husband, my children – They saw me through the worst and now I am able to give them something back… a far less stressed me! Yes, my husband still cooks every night but at least I am home in time to have dinner with him, it is the little things that matter. Yes, there is still worry and stress, mainly the financial kind, but who doesn’t live with that anyway? You see, I may have been doing well before but I was not happy. Now? I am happy and the potential to do well is there, I am working towards it every minute of every day at the office and I am happy to do so!

Happy anniversary!

Posted: July 28, 2014 in Family, Personal
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Quick post – a happy 2 year anniversary to my amazing husband!

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No, I am not single. Thank the pope. I am not sure that in this day and age I could handle being single (Single mother to boot) on a quest for love – Let’s be honest, it’s a mine field and I sure as hell like the use of both of my legs.

Sick, war jokes aside, the dating game is rough to say the least. There is nothing wrong with being single and NOT looking for love, in fact, if you are not lonely this may be the easiest way of life possible. However, I also know some singletons my own age ready to mingle, looking for love and wanting to settle down… So where do they start? Where on earth do you find a suitable partner to settle down with?

I thought I would take a comedic look (No disrespect meant to anyone) at the ten various hiding places of potential life partners…

1. The local pub.

I am not so sure that this is the place to be meeting and finding soul mates, that said it is not impossible and I am sure there are some lovely personalities to be found at the bar night after night racking up unpaid bar tabs and reeking of a tobacco pipe. Ok, so I am generalising. Not every man or woman sitting at the bar has absolutely nothing to live for and it is quite possible that a lone stranger could truly be out on the hunt for romance – I am yet to come across one but no doubt there are a few (two or three) out there. I guess my concern here would be the guys and girls strewn across the bar counter most nights of the week having come in alone and leaving shortly after closing (because that is how long it took to throw them out) with nothing else to do and nowhere else to go… sadly, if one of these questionable characters tickle your fancy you may be barking up the wrong addiction tree and could end up spending more time car pooling AA meetings than having romantic dinners for two that don’t involve take away pub food. Pub food is only ever good when eaten at the pub anyway… Despite all of the above, pub crawling groups on the sporadic occasion could hold substantial promise for singletons everywhere. My advice – Look out for the guy or girl singing along to the classic pub tunes, mixing it up on the jukebox or dancing with a crowd (Not alone and not swaying, that is just creepy). Try stick to the potentials that pay their bills, do not go to the toilet in groups and make sure they have a safe ride home – in case you go home with them to of course!

2. Church

While this can be a really great place to meet people with common values, interests and goals – It really is not beneficial if you yourself are not an avid church goer – If you prefer sleeping in on a Sunday then this option probably is not for you (No offence intended). If you are not an active member of church and happen to meet a really nice guy on that one day of the year that you did go to church (Easter / Christmas – Insert holiday here) then understand that his/her expectations may be that you do not only attend church once a year and this could make things a little awkward. That said, do not discount church as a meeting ground for awesome people completely – If you really are into someone, religious compromise can always be worked into the relationship. My husband studied to be a pastor and I am a Pagan, it is possible – We did not meet at church though…

3. Online

In fact, we met on the Interwebz. Can you imagine? Thanks to the internet I met my husband so I will not knock online dating completely (if at all). Be prepared for dodginess to creep out of all woodwork possible if this is how you intend to meet the future Mr or Mrs you. There are various aspects of online dating that come into play here. Online dating option 1 is social media – All these free and easy to use tools at your disposal, why not use them to troll the pages of your friends and family – I recommend sending a ‘Like to meet’ list to the owner of the Facebook page you have just trolled and if they love you enough, I am certain they will fulfil your little request at the next gathering they arrange. You can always do what my husband did and add every female possible on the internet to his Facebook friend list (Don’t I feel special) to infuriate a certain person, only to meet the love of his life… RIGHT husband??? :) Option 2 would be subscribing to free or paid for online dating sites – I recommend a paid for site because if you are too cheap to actually pay for a decent profile, how on earth will you afford dinner? Don’t diss online match making, there are people that actually get paid to make Discovery reality TV shows about this stuff so it must work.. you hope. You are always going to be succeptable to the online wierdos so be ready for a few creepy messages and profiles that do not have pictures – Whatever you do, do not entertain those profiles – They do not have pictures for a reason. I am not saying the profile creator is a swamp donkey, it is not about looks anyway, I am just saying that if he says he is 35 and has not uploaded a profile picture of himself then he is probably 65 and freaky – I mean, why lie? If you do happen to cross the path of a profile that tickles your pores then why not set up the meeting? Meetings should always be in a public place, always have an escape route and always have a friend sitting anonymously watching to make sure nothing goes pear shaped. Make sure they give you the tell tale sign / what they are wearing and not other way around so that you can make a quick escape if necessary and make sure that if you do meet your soulmate, he or she DELETES the online dating profile once you get together. If you find out that he or she is married at this point, I am sorry, I cannot help you – Perhaps an SA ID home affairs check for marital status may aid in the decision making process.

4. The office

This is NEVER a good idea. Let’s be honest – If you meet someone at work and continue to work together, surely you would just get sick of each other? Surely after a full day at work together, a car ride home and possibly even living together, you would wear the relationship out before it starts? I am not discounting seeing if the sparks are there but my suggestion would be to avoid dating work colleagues and if you really cannot do that, start typing up a resignation letter and find somewhere else to work so you and Mr or Mrs Right can continue in ignorant bliss while your careers do not suffer in the process.

5. The zoo

This is just odd. If a person is going to the zoo ALONE and you spot them and are interested, you have to ask yourself what the hell YOU are doing at the zoo alone. If there is any form of attraction to a lone zoo visitor, you may have just fallen for a paedophile. I do not recommend this. If, however, the zoo visitor is not alone and has taken his or her kids out for the day – feel free to flirt and fraternise.

6. WODAC

Only recommended if you love dogs, cats, reptiles (trouser snake?) and animal hair on your couches because no doubt the man or woman you meet here is in obvious love with their animals. The downside, you will be competing with an animal. The other downside, this expo only happens once or twice a year at the most so you have long waiting periods between opportunities.

7. Pick up a hobby

A hobby, not a hubby – I do not advocate the breaking up of homes or marriages. My suggestion? Decide on an instrument and then take classes to learn how to play it, chances are the teacher is not bad to look at and perhaps a fling or romance will ensue. Remember, you are not the only student so don’t think that you are the only one having a fling but perhaps, if the teacher is serious about you being the only student, you could work together to teach the instrument of choice. Ok, that sounded totally awkward. How about sewing?

8. War gaming conferences

I had to throw this one in there because my husband is a war gamer though I am not sure that we would still be married today if I had met him at a gaming conference of some sort. The truth is, most attendees are just happy to see a female, if they see you at all. I say this because most of them only look up from the table long enough to throw the dice, take a sip of their cold coffee and page through a rule book. I do not recommend getting too close to a table in fear of knocking over a model or two, this is strangely frowned upon and your cos play outfit will not even save you now. If you do manage to get the attention of a war gamer and he does more with you than reads you his codex, be prepared for a very expensive and time consuming hobby which he will attempt to teach you unsuccessfully and then moan about having no one to play with. On the up side, there is never a shortage of birthday or Christmas gift ideas. Oh, and apparently it is a convention and not a conference.

9. At a festival

Just no. You are at a festival to have a good time, get wasted, watch your favourite band you paid the money to come and see and drink copious amounts of alcohol subconsciously trying to avoid alcohol poisoning and remembering where you parked your tent. While not recommended for meeting new potential mates, I would suggest taking along a few friends that may have a future as your partner – They will get to know you extremely well in this type of setting and if they are still interested once you have gone back home, I am certain they are a keeper. If he or she is the person feeding you beer and carrying you to the porter loo, marry them the minute you reach civilisation – Except if they are in the band, they are probably music teachers.

10. A sports game

If you meet someone at a stadium and you are still interested in them when you leave, they should marry you immediately. Lets face it, there is something about a sports game that gets a supporter overly passionate – The obscenities become more obscene, the aggression more aggressive and the voice box suddenly manages to reach levels of screaming you may not even hear in the bedroom. Stay away from the guys with the combs in their socks, that is never cool and you will probably have to go home and milk a cow. Avoid the guys standing in the queues for beer all the while the game is progressing, only to get back to their seats and the plastic cups have been emptied – You never want to be just a ‘designated dickhead’. I am completely PRO meeting a potential husband or wife at a sports game if you are into sport, remember that when you take the supporter home he or she will continue to support from their couch (Couch referee?) and it is advisable to have SS1 to SS3 at home. Try to avoid planning your wedding on the day of a Super 15 semi final and you should not have any problems… Wish I had read this before I got married.

So by the time I had finished writing this, I have already thought of five more potential meeting places and so a definite follow up piece will be written but in the meantime, I would love to hear how and where you met your partners if you are not single and if you are, have you had any success at the places listed above or do you have any ideas for me to add to the follow up? Let me know, I would love to hear from you!

Happy hunting

Shevy

Eating in silence.

Posted: July 11, 2014 in Family, Friends, Random

Sitting at a restaurant for dinner last night, it was hard not to notice the apparent over usage of mobile devices in a social environment. I have always advocated social media and the use of technology, I am in fact an addict and find it very difficult to sit and do nothing when there is a Facebook news feed to be read. That said, I know where to draw the line and one of those lines is drawn at dinner where I choose to have actual human contact and engage in conversation – Surely that is common sense? Alas, it is less common to interact with your dinner partner and more acceptable to eat with your fork in one hand and your other hand scrolling through your Twitter updates.

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Out with the girls, we had our phones out, obviously. We spent some time playing with the camera’s and taking selfies, air brushing our skin after a long day at work and accidentally taking pictures of the diners at the next table which prompted some friendly conversation and quite a few laughs. It was easy to see that we were the most social table in the section, surrounded by human beings devoid of any human interaction or emotion. The saddest part of it all – a young couple behind us having dinner that I spent much time ogling (In a non stalker way – I hope). They sat down shortly after we did, each with their phones on the table, one hand scrolling and the other hand being used for refreshment. The couple did not share one word, not one look, not a nod or a grin for the entire time they sat there. It was obvious they were scrolling through their Facebook and Instagram accounts from the time they sat down, pausing to order from the waiter and not so much as looking up when the food arrived. They continued to peruse their mobile devices as they ate and after they were done, all the attention was once again devoted to their social media.

Excuse me, but when did it become acceptable to leave the house with someone but not say two words to them because whatever is happening on your phone is far more important (For over two hours!). I ask you, with tears in my eyes, what is the actual point in leaving the house? You are probably better off ordering take away dinner, staying in doors and giving each other the silent treatment in the comfort of your own home – Without all of the restaurants patrons judging you?

I have said this many times before – I love social media. I use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn. I do update my Facebook status at least once a day, I have occasionally tweeted about bad service I have received, I have Instagrammed a pic or two of dinner, I have a Pinterest board for my cats and like to update LinkedIn on more business related topics. I do it all and I am proud of it – I am just as proud, if not more so, of the fact that I understand when enough is enough. I know that when what is happening on my phone is more interesting or important than what is happening in my life, a change needs to be made. Life was not made to live through a device – By all means, share what you do with those you love but as my good friend mentioned in his recent blog:

In my opinion you should be posting about experiences with friends, not experiencing posts with “friends”! – Chris Huntingford

(Click here to read Chris Huntingford’s full blog on Social Media)

This brings me to another sore but pertinent point, social networking and gaming – the destroyer of relationships.

When Candy Crush came out, we all downloaded it. We played it until we were ill. We sent numerous requests on Facebook for extra lives and bonus sweets to see how far we could get. Candy Crush morphed into Pet rescue, despite how much we all moaned and groaned about Farmville. Then, if you’re like me, you went and blocked every game app on Facebook to stop receiving requests and invites and made sure that all the games had been deleted from your devices… The phase was over. I realized that I was spending far too much time ‘playing’ these online games that it was actually taking away from my day to day human interaction. Hours would pass in the quest to build my Ice Age Village (Which I was mighty proud of after many hours of hard work) and it was only a matter of time before my dragons were levelling up in Dragon City – Then I sat back and realized how absolutely absurd that all sounds when I have far more important things to do like spend time with my family, converse with my husband or get my chunky ass to gym (Like I am always complaining about).

In a world where we already battle to separate home from work, where we constantly struggle with living to work versus working to live, how did we think that we were so evolved and mature to incorporate yet another split to struggle with – Quality time versus Game time. Well, that is exactly my point. Unless your life is perfect and you can balance every aspect without fail, stress or anxiety… unless your family gets enough quality time and you give your all in everything you do (lacking nothing), the last thing you should be doing is spending hours each night on your phone levelling up. When are you giving life a chance to happen?

I have had to ban the use of mobile devices for game purposes in my home from Monday to Friday. Though my husband will not admit it, he is addicted to social gaming (The latest being Hearthstone or something like it). When did I realize he had a problem? When he got up and walked to the kitchen to make me some hot chocolate and took his laptop with him – he continued playing while the kettle boiled, while he poured the mug and after bringing it to me he quickly raced back to the kitchen to see what was happening. The tell should have been the fact that he upgraded from his cell phone to his laptop… that’s commitment.  While annoyed with me for the ban, he will eventually see the point when we are interacting as a family more and worrying about the games less. When instead of coming home to him couch bound in front of his laptop gaming, perhaps a conversation will take place instead.  He wont get snippy retorts over the work or personal work he cannot get to at the expense of his gaming habit and he will value the weekend game time he has more so than the brief interludes he was getting midweek – The love affair with online gaming. The social mistress.

I have only one request… consideration. Be considerate of those around you when you are staring at your phone or device. Be considerate of your family when it is interaction time and you’re fiddling on your phone. Have some consideration for yourself and the valuable things you could be missing out on – Life is short. Too short. Don’t be remembered for the amount of time you spent online, be remembered for the amount of time you didn’t…

It is all about balance, balance takes practice and practice makes perfect. Don’t be upset with those of us implementing bans, we only want more of your time.

(PS. Thank you to my husband for inspiring a portion of this blog)

(PPS. Here is hoping that somehow, that couple at the restaurant gets to read it).

 

I wrote a blog a little while back on my journey to living a Rockabilly lifestyle. What I neglected to mention was my influences and how I got there… (Refer back to The Road to Rockabilly)

My first taste of Rockabilly was my attendance to a themed ten year anniversary that encouraged us to dress up – Never one to turn down a dress up, I donned my skinny turned up reds with a pair of heels and a cut off plaid shirt. I pulled it off, I loved it! Shortly thereafter I had become interested in the lifestyle and started asking questions, googling and finding Facebook pages to follow… This merged with me choosing to do a 50’s dress up for my Dad’s 50th which I mentioned in my Road to Rockabilly blog, after which I decided it was no longer just about ‘dressing up’.
 
Who better to have turned to than The Tattooed Lady. In the short time I have known her, I have admired her style and her opinion and when the time came to find someone through which to purchase some Rockabilly / Pin-up accessories she was the only person to ask. She immediately referred me to Miss Happ, our local Rockabilly clothing and accessories provider, the rest is history… I have ordered and received some beautiful goodies from Miss Happ in the past year and find Mandy and her team truly amazing people to do business with. Not only have I bought accessories from them but I have learnt so much about the Rockabilly culture on my journey… I don’t think Mandy has a day when she is not on point, dressed to the nine’s in her own threads and make up perfectly in tune. Though a fairly new face to the culture, Mandy offered me an opportunity I could not resist! The chance for me and my readers to get to know Mandy and her business, Miss Happ a little bit better…
 
I penned a few questions to Mandy to find out a little bit more about her, the culture, her brand and of course her baby – Miss Happ.
 
Who is Mandy Milne?

Somebody with a passion for what she gets to do everyday, a voice of doom at times, a cat lover, a shoe collector, a cardigan wearer, an Apple Mac fan. A passionate, impatient pink haired, green eyed, tattooed betty. A Rockabilly girl, a nail polish addict, a perfectionist who procrastinates, a teacup in a storm. A sushi addict, a vodka drinker. A dreamer, a romantic, a creative. Born in the wrong era. I Should have listened to my history teacher and studied history and not Geography.  A fairly descent cook, but an awful baker (I have NO patience for all that measuring!)

Mandy

What exactly is Miss Happ?

Miss Happ is a Rockabilly and Pin-up clothing & accessory brand designed and manufactured locally in Cape Town, South Africa. The Miss Happ girl loves to cuff her jeans with heels, belt her fitted tops, and especially loves wearing her flirty sundresses or embroidered pencil skirts for a night out. Many a Miss Happ girl is tattooed – thus embracing that rebellious Rockabilly/Betty page element.

The Miss Happ range of clothing is specifically designed to celebrate pin up girl curves and caters to a woman’s independent spirit with timeless, vintage inspired styles with a modern Rockabilly twist at competitive prices.

The Miss Happ range has now branched out into a Rockabilly & Vintage inspired accessory range which compliments the Miss Happ clothing range. The range offered includes hair accessories, necklaces, broaches, hair clips, hair flowers, scarves, gloves, bags, belts, hats and cat’s eye sunglasses. Miss Happ now also has a small range of retro inspired cushions in selection of unique, fun prints to suit the home of any modern Rockabilly girl.

 – I own these cushions, they are amazing!

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Before Miss Happ was born, what did you spend your time on?

I worked full time in the commercial fashion industry on both the manufacturing side, and on the retail side, but always as a designer. Over the years I have designed for many of the big chain stores from Woolworths to Edgards, Jet, Ackermans, Mr Price, with my final job being as a Senior Designer for the Foschini Group designing ladieswear for Sportscene, Due South & Total Sports for their in-house brands. It was during this time that I attended the Magic Show in Vegas and first encountered some of the more alternative lifestyle brands including many of the Pinup clothing brands.

What made you start the Miss Happ brand (And associated brands)?

At the end of 2007 I had left the commercial fashion industry and in 2008 I started lecturing part-time at a local fashion design college in Stellenbosch. While there I also decided to get my first tattoo and from there my interest was peaked. I have always been passionate about the forties, fifties & sixties but by researching old school tattoos my interest in the Rockabilly & Pinup culture grew. Finally I could put a name to the look and culture that I had always loved! This was back in 2008 – it was early days for the scene here in SA and only a few girls were beginning to experiment in the look.

Around this time I decided to enter the YDE Young Designer Competition. I came in the top 8 out of all the entries in SA, and although I didn’t go any further, by putting my ideas onto paper, into storyboards and garments Miss Happ was born and grew. I wanted clothing that I would wear – I was so tired of designing clothing that I personally wouldn’t have in my wardrobe. I was dying to design a range that inspired me to be comfortable in my own skin.

In January 2009 Miss Happ was launched at the Cape Town annual International Tattoo convention. A year later I started our men’s brand Boot Hill and even did a few printed T-shirts for kids under the same label. The guys were feeling left out and kept telling me they wanted something too!

Since we started our brands, we have gone on to exhibit at every Cape Town Tattoo convention since it’s inception in 2009 as well as, Cool Inc Tattoo Expo (Joburg) SA Hotrods Street festival, SA fashion week 2009 (Joburg), Horror Fest, Ink and Iron Cape Town, Toffie, Inner City Muscle show, Detroit Vintage Car show Cape Town. Dusty Rebels & the bombshells Festival, and the Harley Davidson rockabilly Day to name but a few.

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What do you believe makes Miss Happ so successful?

I would say that our No 1 is that Miss Happ is locally designed and produced brand. We have stood the test of time. When I started the brand it was during the recession – so many people said I was mad and would never last! I have hung in there and grown the brand and it’s product offering since then. I am passionate about not only my brands but the lifestyle and try and give it my all in every aspect of the business & my personal life. I work hard at being true to the culture, while trying to also stay grounded. We have had our ups and downs of course – as any small business would have, but 6 years later we are still here!

What is the ‘must have’ in every Rockabilly girls wardrobe?

Red lipstick, red nail polish, hairspray, and a bandana. With regards to clothing I would say, fishnet stockings, a net underskirt, one pretty Miss Happ swing dress, a pencil skirt in black, a check shirt, a Miss Happ embroidered Cardigan, and if you want that Greaser Gal look you can finish off any look with a black biker jacket!

Who is your biggest fan / supporter and why?

My husband and business partner, Murray. Having a good support system that encourages you every step of the way is so important – especially during the tough times. I can definitely say that he is one of the most passionate and positive people I know. I would not have had the courage to take that next step in so many of the business decisions I have had to make if it wasn’t for Murray pushing me HARD from behind!

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Who is your favourite pin up girl and why?

Oooh that’s tough! There are so many ladies that I love and follow, but I would have to say that with regards to the modern pinup Bernie Dexter & Michaline Pitt were two of my very first influences, and still are. I was lucky enough to have met Miss Cherry Doll Face, Kandy K, Dorris Mayday and the adorably petite Lisa Love recently at VLV and they were all so sweet and humble. Real gals! You always look at these lovely ladies is being so far away, and like celebrities, but when you meet them they are all just regular ladies like you and me!

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You recently spent some time in Las Vegas, tell us about the Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly weekend?

We actually went for our honeymoon – the timing was perfect. VLV has always been on my wish list and finally I got to go. I have always loved the States and the Rockabilly culture is so alive there, so it was an absolute must for me to do at least once in my life!

The VLV Rockabilly week end runs for four days and is always held over the Easter week end in Las Vegas – This year was it’s 17th year. We had the high roller tickets which were so worth paying the extra for. You then have access to all sorts of extra events and also a pre-shop with the vendors on the Thursday night (most of them are also at the car show on Sat too but you are with all the crowds, so pre-shopping is so much more pleasant) as well as events in the Ballrooms. The great thing is that your ticket includes everything, so literally you are only paying for your drinks/food and any products you may buy.

We got to go to the Fashion Show – a must for anybody who loves vintage inspired clothing – this is something for the guys and girls, as well as the Burlesque showcase which really was an absolute treat! It was so awesome to see such amazing talent entertaining a very appreciative & interactive audience – The crowds went mad! The burlesque show was a 90 minute show that featured world-renowned burlesque stars, many of them are past winners of the Miss Exotic world, and are of the highest international standard. We loved it all!

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On the Saturday we attended the Car show, held in an outside car park with the equivalent of at least 2 full rugby fields filled with vintage cars (the organizers quote 800 cars!) all pre 1963. But the cherry on the top for me was shopping with the vendors within the car show area. Not just one or two but ROWS of vendors selling everything from Hair Pomade to custom designed parasols, clothing, accessories, artwork, patches, stickers and just about anything else related to the custom culture scene! Throughout the day (and week end) there are tons of awesome bands that play. We got to see quite a few this year with the highlight for us being Imelda May (below).

Imelda

The car show was so big we had take a break half way through the day to have lunch back in our hotel room. The other thing nobody realizes is that VLV is held during summer – and with the Vegas desert heat temperatures really soar, so having your own parasol that you (and your poor guy) can share is a big MUST!

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What are your hopes for the Rockabilly culture in South Africa?

I only hope to see it grow! Since starting my brand I have definitely noticed that people’s understanding of the culture has shifted. My hope is that people learn about it in the right ways and express themselves in a way and style that is true to the culture without loosing it’s essence. I also feel it’s important to stand together and support each other, be it at events or by simply buying products that are proudly, and uniquely South African.

In your own words, what do you believe the Rockabilly culture to be?

Rockabilly has it true roots in the rock n’ roll culture of the 50’s, but today girls and guys around the world have taken it to a new level. The look is edgy with strong tattoo influences and is very visible within the custom culture community. Many a Rockabilly girl is tattooed or has bright coloured hair which only highlights their need to be an individual – it’s a way to stand out from the crowd and is very reminiscent of the rebellious attitudes of icons from the era such as Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley and the notorious Bettie Page among others.

In South Africa we are seeing the scene slowly gaining popularity and awareness, and for many it’s a natural progression from other small, niche subcultures such as Goth or punk.

For me the rockabilly culture is not only about being influenced by times gone by, but really about taking those influences and eras and mixing it up into a more modern, updated look all while keeping those classic roots. It’s about drawing inspirations from many different sources be it classic cars, music, old school tattoos, to the stars of the silver screen, retro hairstyles or the fashion!

Is there an event you are looking forward to attending and why?

I am hoping to attend Speed Week this year in my personal capacity. We are currently building two ’58 Chev Apache trucks and just bought a ’68 Pontiac Firebird, so if things work out we might be able to take one of them with us which will be very exciting!

With regards to my business, we have our Miss Happ Spring/Summer Range launch happening beginning Sept as well as quite a few events that we are vending at with both Miss Happ & Boot Hill such a Cool Inc (Joburg) the VTwin Camdeboo Rally end Sept (Graaf Reinet, Western Cape), and the Dusty Rebels & The bombshells Rockabilly festival in Nov (Cape Town)….and then it’s big plans for 2014…watch this space!

What do we see happening next for Miss Happ?

I am currently designing and planning our Spring/Summer 2014/15 range. There are so many pretty colours and prints that I am working with it’s so exciting! Think ice-cream pastels, crazy comic book prints, tropical pinup girls, and so much rockabilly goodness! Our ladies will also be pleased to know that our classic wiggle dresses are also making a come back in our range as well as some old favourites such as our swing dresses and high waist pencil skirts.

We are currently scouting for locations for our launch which for the first time will include a fashion show. We are very excited! Anybody with awesome ideas of locations give us a shout!

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So if you did not know before – NOW you know! Miss Happ are based in Cape Town and deliver their goodies worldwide. You can order online from the Etsy Store or mail the sales team to place an order – Head on over to the Facebook page to get more information and keep up to date with the new looks coming in for Spring as Mandy mentioned as well as the gorgeous, one of a kind handbags in stock (That’s right, ONE of a kind – I own one and I absolutely love mine). You can also get over to The Tattooed Lady’s Facebook page to enter an awesome competition to win a Miss Happ hamper! Remember that if you are in Jozi/Pretoria area you can get a select range of Miss Happ clothing & accessories from Retrospective Fashion recreated.

Shevy out :)

 

 

 

The theme of the month is change, ongoing and never ending change.

“Progress is a nice word. But change is its motivator. And change has its enemies.” – Robert Kennedy

Embracing change is a difficult thing for all, no matter if you are willing to admit it or won’t. For example, I am extremely open to change and yet every time I go to a particular restaurant I will order the same meal on the menu. I know that I like that particular meal and I know that I will not be disappointed, therefore have no need to change the meal I order. If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it right? Heaven forbid that restaurant take that meal off of the menu, the change would be quite an upset. That said, there are changes that are a lot less important than others. Some change is necessary, the biggest changes are the most important.

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In life, changes occur whether we initiate those changes or not. Some changes, though our own choice, can be just as stressful if not more so than the change we do not foresee or expect. With my current stress levels at an all-time high, I have been reading up on the interesting ‘Holmes and Rahe stress scale’ which I found extremely interesting and understandable – It helps put a lot of changes into perspective.

The Holmes and Rahe scale looks at various life events / changes and ranks them in terms of Life change units (ie. Death of a spouse is ranked at 100 units whereas Christmas ranks at 12 units) These events are then ranked in order of most stressful to least and the scale was then used to determine the link between stress and illness, dating back to issues that were noticeable stress factors in the 1960’s and 1970’s. (Why not take a look at the scale at the end of this blog and access your own stress / illness levels?)

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So why all the change, stress and blogging silence?

In April I made a rather big decision to change jobs… In our personal lives, circumstances meant that my own stress levels were at a very high level. The decision to change jobs partially stemmed from that but partially because I needed to be selfish, I needed to support my family while going back to my roots. I needed to make a change to re-evaluate what I am doing in my career and why. So in the beginning of June I started my new job in a new place with new people and a very different way of doing things. It has been the hardest and most humbling experience in my career so far, I have made a change that has truly challenged me and put me to the ground running. I realize that I had become complacent, I thought I knew all there was to know. I received awards and was nominated for others, I was revered by my colleagues and managers and I felt like I was truly needed but I had no idea that it was actually me needing them to fuel my complacency, to allow me to believe that I knew everything when I barely knew anything. What an amazing change it has been so far and I am certain will continue to be… I am learning so much about business and people but more importantly I am learning so much about myself. Learning that I am still willing to learn, learning that I am willing to change and learning that I am willing to share everything I have been taught with anyone willing to listen.

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In the midst of my career move, I have been experiencing a fair amount of change in my personal life as well. Finally, an ongoing issue that has been in our lives for over 4 years has come to an end. In all the time that I have been with my husband, we have had a matter hanging over us which has finally been resolved. What this means is that we can finally live freely without worry and uncertainty, a weight of anxiety has been lifted and we can change the way we live because of our emotional freedom. It is an amazing feeling…

With emotional freedom and stress caused by change, comes a time of re-evaluation. Who am I? Where have I been and where do I want to be? What do I want for my family, my children, for myself? Very important questions that we should be asking ourselves regularly, constantly changing and evolving with our priorities and responsibilities. I am confidently able to answer these questions, I have plans for our future and I am motivated. I want to work hard and do my utmost to excel in my career, in turn allowing me to be successful and fulfilled at home, being able to provide for my family and for myself. I no longer enjoy the drama that comes with certain weekend socializing and honestly could not be bothered to find a babysitter to go out to a pub, instead I would prefer to spend time with my husband and with my children. I want to get to know these people, my family, more than anything in the world. This does not mean that I want to become socially inept and turn into a hermit, far from it actually. What it means is that I am learning that there is a time and a place for everything. I can enjoy a ladies day every now and then free from familial responsibilities, my husband and I will go on our date nights, I may enjoy a sporadic night out on the dance floor, all of these healthy social activities. The beauty in my mindset change is that I understand there is a time and a place for everything, I understand what I like and what I don’t like and I know what I want to be around and what I don’t want to be around. With these realizations come social upsets, people that may no longer agree with your plans, people that may no longer fit into your plans. Sadly, this is natural – As we grow, we change, we learn that we want to be surrounded by people who can stimulate and motivate us towards the goals we set for ourselves, there is no room for naysayers and those that will bring you down. Those people do not belong in your life, you do not belong in theirs.

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” – Wayne Dyer

There are so many changes apparent and occurring day in and day out in all of our lives. Some of them suck, royally. Others make us nervous and anxious, some allow us freedom and relief… other changes are as insignificant as the colour change of a traffic light. No matter the change, know that the only constant is change. We live in a world where we cannot sit still or we get left behind, instead we need to make the choice to constantly change for our own good and the good of others.

Good luck to you and all of your change, know that when the changes end, it is time to start making your own change.

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The Holmes and Rahe scale

Life event

Life change units

Death of a spouse

100

Divorce

73

Marital separation

65

Imprisonment

63

Death of a close family member

63

Personal injury or illness

53

Marriage

50

Dismissal from work

47

Marital reconciliation

45

Retirement

45

Change in health of family member

44

Pregnancy

40

Sexual difficulties

39

Gain a new family member

39

Business readjustment

39

Change in financial state

38

Death of a close friend

37

Change to different line of work

36

Change in frequency of arguments

35

Major mortgage

32

Foreclosure of mortgage or loan

30

Change in responsibilities at work

29

Child leaving home

29

Trouble with in-laws

29

Outstanding personal achievement

28

Spouse starts or stops work

26

Beginning or end school

26

Change in living conditions

25

Revision of personal habits

24

Trouble with boss

23

Change in working hours or conditions

20

Change in residence

20

Change in schools

20

Change in recreation

19

Change in church activities

19

Change in social activities

18

Minor mortgage or loan

17

Change in sleeping habits

16

Change in number of family reunions

15

Change in eating habits

15

Vacation

13

Christmas

12

Minor violation of law

11

Score of 300+: At risk of illness.

Score of 150-299: Risk of illness is moderate (reduced by 30% from the above risk).

Score <150: Only have a slight risk of illness.