The Mommy Blogger

I never really thought of myself as a Mommy Blogger, until I looked into a little and realised that if you have at least one child and have contributed to a blog in the last 30 days, that is exacty what you are.  Well if that’s the case I better write a blog about being a mom, or at least my experiences of living in a crazy household with two small mini-me’s, their daddy, our staff and a cat.  One day.

Apparently the average Mommy Blogger is 37 years old and in America there are millions of them.  In fact 14% of mothers in the US blog and more and more mothers are turning to the advice of blogging moms to not only help them solve their family dramas and answer their questions, but also so they can relate to typical battles between mother and child or overwhelming joy their children brings them.  You can read a ton of mommy blogs telling you all about their little angels,  strict routines, the balancing act they are constantly playing out in their day to day lives, meals they make, crafts and playtime, illnesses and remedies and the list goes on.

Maybe you wouldn’t typically call yourself a Mommy Blogger either.  Most Mommy Bloggers don’t only write about motherhood and the experiences that go with it, a lot of these women write and contribute to a lot of other categories, from running their own businesses to wildlife conservation and may only spend a small precentage of their time blogging about their mommy life.  Some seem to think the term is a bit degrading, although how being a mom can be a downgrade is beyond me.  According to a recent article from WSJ.com there are 12 female CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, 11 of which are mothers, however they are not referred to as Mommy CEO’s are they?  I guess there are very few real Mommy Bloggers out there, as most would struggle to only blog on being a mom, that would be more like an online journal and nobody is going to follow that.

Which leaves me wondering where are all the Mommy Bloggers in Zimbabwe?  Surely there must be a significant amount of mothers who enjoy expressing, not only how they deal with the ordinary pressures of motherhood, but also the extra ones we have to face here, like bottle warming with no electricty, or bath time with no water?  Maybe there are some who can give us a few wise words on when you start teaching your child to haggle with vendors, or some more traditional values like sharing and respect for elders that is so apparent in the Shona culture.

As always, for me it’s about the variety in life, so I will never stick to Mommy Blogging alone, but if I do get the opportunity to share about my beautful kids, whilst boring and overdosing you on my other random notings, then I probably will because I am a proud Mom too.

Link

Unlocking the VAULT

Unlocking the VAULT

So this morning I had the pleasure of meeting Zimbabwe’s very own, world renowned make-up artist, Jackie Mgido.  She is the perfect combination of grace and energy, and with her international accent, a mix of everything between American and Zimbabwean, she has an appealing conversational manner and makes you feel instantly at ease in her company.

Jackie is the founder of Vault Cosmetics and although her roots are from Zimbabwe she has lived in the USA for some time now developing her skills as a make-up artist.  She enrolled in an elite beauty school, undertaking a Masters degree in beauty and special effects in California and went on to earn coveted opportunities working with some of Hollywoods hottest celebrities, Sylvester Stallone, Neo, Maya, Snoop Dog, Cuba Gooding Junior, Russell Brand, Wiz Kalifa, Far East Movement , Randy Jackson, Ted Danson and John Legend to name more than a few.

Jackie’s career lead to her instructing and help develop other make up lines, until she eventually decided it was time to create her own.  Vault Cosmetics has been created in line with the belief of enhancing your features, not changing them and Jackie “wanted to create a makeup line that would help to make every women’s dream to look and feel beautiful a reality”.

Vault Cosmetics have therefore developed an extensive range of fresh formulas and stunning colors.  Whether you want to indulge in your outter image or unlock the inner vault of your beauty Vault cosmetics is designed to compliment women of every age, creed and colour.

Although Jackie is set to continue touring the world and is leaving Zimbabwe soon, you will still have the chance to meet her and see her amazing product line at a couple more events that are lined up.  With the launch of my own Non-Surgical Studio in the very near future, we are hoping for a collaboration with Vault Cosmetics, for the ultimate in pampering and skin perfecting solutions to make women out there look and feel beautiful.

“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” ― Plato

Image

Spinalong is set to re-launch and is promising to be bigger and better than ever.  No longer are they just the cool music shop you could buy all your cd’s from and listen to the new tunes on headphones, which was completely amazing at the time and unlike anything else in Zimbabwe back then in the 90’s.  Maybe you remember their stores, whether it was in town, Westgate or Borrowdale Village.  A popular local hangout for the kids and teen in Harare, the store in the Village, was so different to anything else and yet still a safe place with a good fun atmosphere.  Once you entered the door there were mirrors and very dark rock walls which had various things sticking out of the rock type surface, I think some were even CD’s.  The staircase was dark and mysterious, and it had the same feel as being in a nightclub.  Inside there would be the latest tunes playing and you could literally wonder around the CD displays for ages, in between queuing up to listen to a CD of your choice on the headphones.  In London, this is still a popular option amongst DJ’s as they wander between record stores in Soho listening to the latest tracks to mix so even then they were ahead of their time.  Spinalong in Westgate also had some unusual features, you would enter the shop and walk over some sort of scrap metal mesh bridge and again the store was unusually decorated and attention grabbing.  But apart from standing out aesthetically, what you really went to Spinalong for was the music; it was definitely the go to place for music.

So why not do the same the second time around they must have figured.  This time though they have so many more opportunities to enhance Zimbabwean entertainment, the digital world has taken over, internet usage is on the constant rise in Africa, and Zimbabweans are now so forward thinking things are literally changing before our very eyes.  With private radio stations broadcasting in Zimbabwe now, there is so much more potential to introduce the rest of the world to our music and culture.

So that is exactly what they are planning on doing.  They will be the online “go to” place for music with something like 17 million downloadable tracks.  You will even be able to download movies at very affordable prices.  They are partnering with some of the popular music channels like MTV base and even have connection with Forbes Magazine Africa.  They are re-launching as Spinalong Africa and they are building good relationships with everyone in the music industry across the continent so that they can bring the consumer the ultimate in entertainment.

There is a lot on offer at the moment, when it comes to fresh local talent showcasing themselves.  At the Shoko Festival you will see the fascinating collaboration between Amara Brown, daughter of the late legend Andy Brown and German DJ Andi Teichmann, along with other Zimbabwean rappers Munetsi, Flexxo and Psykotek on 22nd September.  On 13th October, P Square have just confirmed they will be the headlining act at the Lion Lager Summer Festival, which has been put together with the help of HIFA to provide an outstanding show.  Other Zimbabwean acts to feature include Roki, Ba Shupi, Alexio Kawara, and Amara Brown again.  Even at Arundel School on locals can soak up a bit of culture at Spring Strings where you will get to see Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Dudu Manhenga and triple threat McIntosh Jerahuni, dancer, singer, songwriter performing.

PwC have recently stated that we are at the “end of the digital beginning” meaning that despite economic uncertainty the number of sales in tablet and smart phones has still risen dramatically and the Entertainment and Media Industry understand that digital delivery of entertainment is essential.  They understand the digital opportunities and are embracing them, adapting them into their operating models.  Digital is now business as usual for the Entertainment and Media Industry.

Spinalong Africa are quickly following suit allowing everyone access to millions of tracks online, covering every genre of music available, and all right from our own computer.  With their big plans, our amazing local talent in Zimbabwe and the digital age upon us, there is every chance they will still be “the” place to go for music and entertainment.

No small measures

Like many other women out there, I don’t think I am alone when it comes to trying to take on so many things at once.  Maybe it’s the desire to prove the ultimate multi-tasking abilities, or maybe it’s because we don’t like to do things in small measures, just because we are the smaller gender.

When I had my kids, for example, that was done in no small measure.  My daughter was only 6 weeks old when I fell pregnant with my son.  I was barely getting used to having one baby and the next was on his way.  It was not planned that way but we handled it well and I wouldn’t have it any other way now.  Although we could skip the pregnant for nearly two years part.

Now that they are getting a bit older, and have just started playgroup, I have time to do a few more other things that interest me, but instead of just doing one, I am doing them all.  In between the school runs, I am setting up a new business, attending modelling castings, blogging and social networking. On top of this I am about to start planning my wedding, which is in three months time I might add.

Yet somehow it’s not too overwhelming.  If you enjoy being kept on your toes then you embrace things as they happen instead of shrugging them off only to think later, what if?  So even though there are late nights, long days and tedious tasks to deal with in between, somehow it’s all worth it when you see results from the hard work and effort you put in.  If you can pursue everything that interests and inspires you and still keep your partner and kids happy, healthy and content then why not have the best of it all.

Jumping on the Social Media Bandwagon

I wrote an article about Taking Advantage of Social Media in Zimbabwe and have received some great positive feedback from it, which was not expected at all.  I submitted it to Creative Loop, a Zimbabwean blog that encompasses anything and everything to do with creativity in technology, business and social networking to name a few.  They were looking for someone to contribute to their site and you could choose from a broad range of subjects, so I went with the ever popular topic of Social Media.

I am not an expert in this field, but I am an avid learner so I have spent long hours researching this interesting and always evolving topic.  Previously I was not convinced that Zimbabweans were embracing this enough, but daily I am finding interesting new facebook pages and twitter accounts to like and follow.  I feel like I am literally learning something new, fresh and interesting every day, and I love it because it has been a very long time since school.

It’s even suprising how many “common ordinary” Zimbo’s there are on Twitter.  Of course you expect local artists, celebs and politicians, but there is also your just as usual mix of everyone else –  black, white and in everyone in between, who are sharing everything from religious viewpoints to their crazy aspirations and political viewpoints.

There are more people out there than you would even think, people to socialise with, do business with and make friends with so here are a couple of tips to expanding your social media circles…

SOCIALISE.  That’s the whole point right? Engage in conversation, respond to comments and feedback and be a real person not just a status or page.  Share a little about yourself.  Be personal.

SHARE.  Share interesting infomation about your industry, news, viewpoints.  Share video’s and photos.  People are more likely to click into one of these mediums than the standard news typed update.  Your content should also prompt others to share, this is where things start to accelerate.

STAND OUT. Be interesting and share interesting content that not many others would have seen.  Seek out interesting facts and figures and make it relevant to you.

DON’T SELL. Rather than pushing your products down everyone’s throat until they are sick of you try giving useful tips or advice about your industry of products.  Think – shocking, ugly, beautiful, disgusting, funny, outrageous and post relevant content to your business.

POSTING TIMES.  Try posting the same sort of content at several times of the day and guage which gets more views or responses.  Try and post at times when your target audience is likely to see it.  Some say early morning and late at night have some of the best response times, but everyone is different so you have to see what works best for you and your market.

FIND YOUR FANS. You should start finding fans and followers that are applicable to you when trying to grow your own network.  Like and follow people similar to you but who have a huge following and find others to connect to through them.  Re-post from those popular or famous people enough times to get their attention and they may follow you back too.

I have been fortunate to help set up and create several facebook pages for people I work closely with and it’s been interesting to try out some of these little ideas myself.  Each of them are different, so I have had to adapt methods and try new ideas but it’s interesting to see small steps of progress immediately after some thoughtful methods were executed.

Social Media ia now a mainstream form of communication and we should try and understand as much about it as we can to fully reap the rewards of it.  It does take up a lot of time, but soon, if not already, it just becomes part of daily life like driving to work or drinking a cup of coffee in the morning.  The quicker you explore the options and go with it the easier it gets and it can be a fun learning curve.  After all knowledge is power.