Hello July!

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Bam! And just like that we’ve passed the mid-year mark and 2014 is slowly by surely rushing to an end. Oh my, how the time has flown! Do you still remember your New Year’s resolutions? And if so, how are you faring?

I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions but I do love lists. So while I don’t have a list of resolutions to share, I thought I’d share a list of things I did accomplished these past six months. Here goes;

1. Started a blog

This has been in the making for some time and I’ve been back and forthing about what I should write about. I’m a big believer in personal branding and even more so for those working in my industry. I believe that if you are not in control of your own virtual branding, that the world will do it for you. If you’re non-existent on the web, people may infer that as you not taking initiative or that you’re not legit. So it became imperative for me to start branding myself digitally. And thus far, I’m loving my blogging experience!

2. Bought a second lens

I’m still relatively new to photography and I cannot tell you how much I’ve learned these past six months. And even though I know I’m still very far from knowing everything, I do know that I’m almost there. And so I’ve invested in a second camera lens; a 50mm, f/ 1.4 prime lens and whoa! What a powerful little monster it is! I did my homework before I started shopping for a second lens but no one told me of the power of this little one. In fact, I struggled to control this lens when I first took it outside. Most of my pics were overexposed but I’m finally getting the hang of it. Thank goodness! Now shooting with my prime lens is so AH-some! #lovit!

3. Earned money from using my skills (and my company).

Leaving my day-job was one of the scariest things I’ve done in my life! In fact, just before handing in my resignation I had a massive panic attack, sitting on the bathroom floor at midnight, crying. The uncertainty nearly drove me insane. But as it turns out, many people out there are in need for the skills I have and the best part is that they’re willing to pay me for it! How awesome is that?! I am so blessed to be compensated for what I love to do. There’s no greater freedom in life than doing what you love. If you haven’t tried it yet, it’s an absolute must.

4. Visited another African country (Nigeria) and loved it!

I’ve been privileged enough to have travelled to Nigeria, and man, can those Nigerians teach us South Africans a thing or two? Those of you who know me, knows of the passion I have for this continent. I believe in Africa’s economic rising and I believe that it will happen within our lifetime. We are already witnessing a thriving African middleclass emerging and it will only expand in future. So when offered an opportunity to travel to another African country, I jumped, literally! What an experience it was. I admire the Nigerian entrepreneurial spirit, above all. Many of the Nigerians I’ve met were some of the most powerful Africans I’ve ever come into contact with. Not powerful in riches or wealth necessarily, but powerful simply in presence. It was a ‘you-should-have-been-there’ experience.

5. Learned more about photography and graphic design than the preceding two years.

I took up photography and graphic designing about two years ago, but I was never really serious about either. I did only what was absolutely necessary as was required by my day-job. But since going my own route, I’ve invested so much time and effort into fine-tuning my photographic and graphic designing skills and what a journey it has been. It’s been frustrating but oh-so-very rewarding. There’s nothing quite like working so hard on something and seeing your hard work pay off. I cannot think of a greater satisfaction.

6. Read Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist (finally!)

I’ve been one of Brazilian author, Paulo Coelho’s greatest fans for about three years. I follow him on facebook and twitter and I often use his quotes. I stay up to date with his work and often read his book reviews. But for some reason, I just could never get hold of his most famous book, The Alchemist. It always was either sold out or out of stock at most book stores I visited. Then, while flying to Nigeria, I managed to pop in at Exclusive Books at the airport in Joburg and low and behold, it happened to be the 25th anniversary of the book and they created a special edition for this occasion. I started reading while at O.R Tambo airport and I literally closed the book when I landed in Lagos. It was the one book I’ve longed to read for as long as I can remember and it was worth the wait. If you haven’t read it yet, you simply must.

These were some of my highlights for the first half of 2014. I’ve been truly blessed in so many ways. I hope the second half will bring many more adventures.

Till next time. xoxo

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My love affair with quotes

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Initially, the idea with this blog was to share my photography with the world, but I’m afraid my love for writing is getting the better of me, so please bear with me. I will try to spice things up a little with a bit of writing inbetween the gorgeous pics.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had an ongoing love affair with quotes. My love for quotes and the English language is synonymous in that I have fallen in love with both around the same time, which, if memory serves me right, was around eighth grade (yes, I’m a bit of a late bloomer, but a bloomer nonetheless). My love for English can largely be attributed to one reason only; my eighth grade English teacher. Miss Titus was a 30-something, (mostly) single lady who was beautiful, daring and could pronounce the most eloquent English words from our prescribed textbook, The Battle of Bubble and Squeak. I could listen to her readings for hours.

One of the very first quotes that stuck in my head was one that was plastered onto Miss Titus’s classroom wall. It read; “If not you, then who? If not now, then when?” I saw that quote every single day for an entire year. It was difficult to miss. The quote, just like the English language, slowly tiptoed into my heart and before I knew it, I was head over heels.

However, the quote that I’ve adored above all other, the one I have lived by for many years, I came across while working as a barista at Starbucks in Chestnut Hill, Boston, US in 2003. It was on a big poster against the wall at the top of the stairs and you simply couldn’t miss it. After cashing up your till downstairs, following a long day on your feet behind the espresso machine, it was the one thing that made the voyage up the stairs a little bit more bearable.  It was one of those quotes that once you’ve read it, you’d never forget it, and so I never did. It read: “Winning is not everything, it’s the only thing.” It was a quote by Vince Lombardi and it was only many years later that I discovered who he was.

I loved that quote since the first time I laid my two tired eyes on it. I knew then and there, that I was going to win. I had no idea how I was going to do it, but I knew one way or another, that to me too, winning was “the only thing”.

I suppose telling a 22-year old Starbucks employee that “winning is the only thing”, can be a bit depressing especially since you are still trying to make sense of the world and figure out where you fit in. And yes, of course I had the occasional depressing day, but mostly it inspired me to keep going and to never give up. And that is exactly what I did. It is for that very reason that I have lived by this quote and will continue to do so for all my days.

There are three historical figures whom I admire for their quotes, their sense of humour and their wit; the authors Oscar Wilde and Mark Twain and the previous British Prime Minster, Winston Churchill. Google their quotes. It’ll be worth your while, I promise. Below I will share ten of my favourite quotes with you…

1)      “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.” – (the great) Albert Einstein

2)      Let a man lose everything else in the world but his enthusiasm and he will come through again to success.” H. W. Arnold

3)      “Yesterday we obeyed kings and bent our necks before emperors. But today we kneel only to truth, follow only beauty, and obey only love.”Khalil Gibran

4)      “Pay no attention to critics. No statue has ever been erected in honour of a critic.” – Jean Sibelius

5)      Nothing is out of the question for me. I’m always thinking about creating. My future starts when I wake up in the morning and see the light… Then I’m grateful.”Miles Davis

6)      “I’m the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was.”Muhammad Ali

7)      “Empty pockets never held anyone back. Only empty heads and empty hearts can do that.”Norman Peale

8)      “I’ve put my heart and my soul into my work and have lost my mind in the process.”Vincent van Gogh

9)      “There is a vision for my life that is greater than my imagination can hold.” – (of course I had to add) Oprah Winfrey

10)   “Fight for your dreams, and your dreams will fight for you.”Paulo Coelho

 

Okay, ten proved to be too great a task, I simply have too many …so I’ll just add ten more… That’s it. Promise.

11)   “There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”Tata Nelson Mandela

12)   “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”Mark Twain

13)   “Don’t let your schooling interfere with your education.”Mark Twain

14)   “Opportunity is missed by most people because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work.”Thomas Edison

15)   “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” – Winston Churchill

16)   “I’m so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word of what I am saying.”Oscar Wilde

17)   “I don’t at all like knowing what people say of me behind my back. It makes me far too conceited.”Oscar Wilde

18)   “The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who’s going to stop me.”Ayn Rand

19)   “I love talking about nothing… It is the only thing I know anything about.”Oscar Wilde

20) “I put all my genius into my life; I put only talent into my works.”Oscar Wilde