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Yours *TrulyJuly*

I do everything content.

When faced with the impossible, and no options at hand to be able to do anything about it: Light a candle.

Light a Candle

Light a Candle

 

When life throws you curveballs, it’s tough to find a way to cope.

Especially when it’s a situation that’s out of your hands, when the questions start circling in your head: Why? How can this be? What can I do?

This is however only a downward spiral. For some events that happen to you, there’s simply no explanation and it remains incomprehensible.

 

One way to find condolence is to light a candle.

There’s something to igniting a flame and keeping it alive.

Bringing light into the dark.

Creating warmth in the cold.

Making a bleak environment homely.

Watching the flame dance is soothing.

Following how the wax melts, circling towards the wick to feed the fire is like meditation.

Appreciating the glow, the peaceful atmosphere it creates is calming.

It’s a simple act. Yet, it can have so much meaning.

It’s not much. Yet, it’s a small thing we can do.

It might not have an immediate impact. Yet, it allows us to put a pause to our worries.

 

When left with nothing to hold onto, solace can be found in kindling a candle.

 

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Plastic everywhere: Plastic pollution is a global crisis. - Photo Credit: Chris Jordan / US Fish and Wildlife Service

Plastic everywhere: Plastic pollution is a global crisis. – Photo Credit: Chris Jordan / US Fish and Wildlife Service

 

Today is Earth Day.

The outlook is bleak. Our planet is dying and it’s our fault. Weltschmerz seeps in easily.

One of the major problems we all contribute to is plastic.

Yet, it is so easy to avoid using plastic bags.

The Earth Day movement has launched a Plastic Pollution Calculator: www.earthday.org/plastic-calculator.

Use this calculator to learn how much plastic you waste.

In addition you can pledge to reduce your plastic consumption.

Plastic pollution is a global crisis. Be the change. Stop using plastic!

 

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Tip: Laugh more!

Tip: Laugh more!

 

I’m a trained laughter coach, because laughing is one of the healthiest exercises we can do.

 

The Benefits of Laughter

Physical Health Benefits: Mental Health Benefits: Social Benefits:
Boosts immunity Releases endorphins and makes us happy Strengthens relationships
Lowers stress hormones Eases anxiety and fear Improves communication
Decreases pain Relieves stress Enhances teamwork
Relaxes muscles Improves mood Promotes group bonding
Prevents heart disease Enhances resilience Defuses anger and conflict
Lowers blood pressure Improves memory and learning Helps as a coping mechanism
Increases blood oxygenation Increases alertness and creativity Gives a welcomed distraction
Workout for diaphragm and abdominal, plus respiratory, facial, leg and back muscles Liberates suppressed emotions Prevents us from taking things too seriously
Excellent cardiac exercise Combats Depression Raises energy and self-esteem
Speeds up metabolism Fosters positive thinking Builds rapport
Burns calories and keeps us fit Produces a sense of well-being Makes us attractive

 

Sources:

InHappiness Foundation

Helpguide

BrainyWeightLoss

National Center for Biotechnology Information

Laughter Online University

 

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Laughing or crying? When facing a difficult situation, laughter can help.

Laughing or crying? When facing a difficult situation, laughter can help.

I naturally laugh a lot.

This might be genetically or learned, as both my parents have a great sense of humour and can laugh freely and infectiously.

But it’s also, because a long time ago I made that decision:
It was clear to me that when faced with extreme situations I can either laugh or cry, and I chose laughing.

Of course I also cry. But having trained myself to tend to laugh, the recovery from crying is easier.

Apparently already Freud argued that laughter was a coping mechanism, quasi as a defense against too much sadness.

Some psychologists even classify humor as one of the “mature” defense mechanisms we invoke to guard ourselves against overwhelming trauma. This does not mean we ignore the traumatic events, it rather shows that we prepare ourselves to endure them.

Of course, sometimes laughing appears inappropriate. But then I can always explain that laughter is my coping mechanism.

Especially when it’s about facing a tough situation, laughing helps to reduce the anxiety.

We all have to fight ourselves through the difficulties of life.

A little laughter helps.

 

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There are small ways to help we all can do: Give Blood

There are small ways to help we all can do: Give Blood

 

In these times of uncertainty, it is important that we prepare for all eventualities, and on a mass level. Especially as it is innocent people who are being targeted.

 

In case of the Muenster suicide attack, the blood reserves depleted pretty quickly. A call for extra blood donations was made and answered by the public with overwhelming response, restoring faith in humanity.

 

However, there’s a process to prepare the blood for transfusion, which takes some time.

 

It really is our duty as healthy people to donate blood.

 

Not just for general help, but also because unfathomable assaults are the new norm.

 

In every country you can sign up to be a blood donor to receive updates when there is a blood donation drive close to you.

 

If you think to yourself in face of such terrible tragic news:

What can I do?

 

Give blood.

 

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Have you noticed how when we ask ‘How are you’ we only actually enquire about the physical status?

And how we, when we answer, mostly refer to the physical?

What does the bodily matter, it can heal.

The psychological impact stays.

 

After years of trying. Including my documents getting lost, receiving my documents too late, subsequently having to plead guilty, still getting my visa application rejected and having to submit an appeal. I now finally managed to get my visa.

And just in time!

Waiting for your visa update can put you into limbo: It is easy that your current visa expires while you wait for your new visa. But without a valid visa I’m not allowed to work. I can’t even leave the country! Or well, I can leave, but I can’t come back.

The typical nightmare scenario that crosses your mind while waiting for your visa approval: What if something happens and I have to leave?

For me this came true.

Luckily, all these years of trying finally paid off: And fortunately the timing was just right.

So I got my visa now, and it means I’m back in business!

I finally got my visa!

I finally got my visa! “Whilst conducting own business.” – I’m officially back in business!

You can now officially hire me for copywriting, localisation, creative writing, content marketing, business consulting, workshops and courses on accessibility, safety and content optimisation for internet and mobile and my general good practices approach to find sustainable solutions.

And, I can finally fly out to Germany and be with my family!

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Happy Eggster!

Happy Eggster!

 

Wishing you the best of luck in your egg hunt!

 

May all your egg cups be filled aplenty. 🙂

 

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Say Cheese! 😀

Say Cheese: Ratties Milka and Cinnamonkey smile for the camera, just little April doesn't get it. ;)

Say Cheese: Ratties Milka and Cinnamonkey smile for the camera, just little April doesn’t get it. 😉

The ratties smile for the camera, but not everyone gets it. 🙂

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Don't get caught up and caught out with a messy contact system.

Don’t get caught up and caught out with a messy contact system.

 

1) Synch all contacts on all devices

How many email accounts to you use? One for work, and a private one? And what about your phone, how many contacts are saved in there?

In order to have one up-to-date address book, all these contacts need to be synched and updated across all accounts and all devices.

 

2) Consolidate all contacts in one contact management system

A contact management system can be as simple as a well formatted Excel spreadsheet or as complicated as a full blown CRM software.

Either way, all address books across the entire organisation need to be consolidated in one place.

Whatever system you choose for this, it must fulfil at least one criteria: It must be possible to export all contacts as a .csv file in case you ever want to transfer your contacts to a different system.

If you use different platforms to interact with potential customers, make sure you regularly download and backup your connections data.

 

3) Collect all contact details

It’s easy to skip the formalities with well known contacts. Apparently this is rather the norm than the exception.

But when it comes to asking for your contact because you’ve been put back to reception and you don’t know their surname, or when it comes to sending out the mailer and you don’t know their correct title, you quickly realise how important it is to keep track of the full name, title, position, department, etc.

 

4) Update all contacts constantly

Your address book has no value if the contact details are outdated.

Make a point to always update your addresses as soon as there is a change.

Even better: Use a software that prompts your contacts to keep their contact details current.

 

5) Categorise your contacts

If you ever want to do anything with your contacts, such as sending out a mailer or driving a sales campaign, you need to label your connections.

This is not for you to remember who they are, but for the system to be able to sort all your contacts into different groups.

So think carefully how best to categorise your connections:

Start with high level tags, for example: family / friends / alumni / colleagues / customers / suppliers / authorities.

Depending on the purpose of your contact management system, you can then subdivide, for example customers can be tagged as clients / prospects / leads.

 

6) Reference your contacts

Just as important to tag for outgoing actions it is to keep reference of how you came by your connections.

Customer protection protocol requires that you can at any given time explain to any given person how you obtained their contact details.

So when you import connections to your contact management system, ensure you label these contacts according to their source.

That can be the platform, e.g. LinkedIn or the relationship owner, e.g. Sales or the place you first met, e.g. networking event.

 

7) Give context to your contacts

This is where you can implement ways to remember how you know your connections.

You can start with simple note-taking to keep a log about this contact. This is especially useful if you need to follow up with this connection.

Record the last contact date, personal information and funny moments, so you can hit if off like good old friends when you meet again.

 

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Fire at 27 Greatmore Street! AGAIN!

Fire at 27 Greatmore Street! AGAIN!

 

Saturday night just before midnight I woke up to my nightmare:

 

Since the fire at 27 Greatmore Street I’m anxious every time I smell something burning.

 

The image that had imprinted itself in my memory danced in front of me again: Flames leaping up alongside our house, knocking on our second storey windows.

 

I just screamed: “It’s happening again!” and with that leaped out of bed to get ready to combat the fire, this time knowing exactly what to do:

1) Call fire brigade

2) Set up ladder to get up to the roof

3) Carry up water canisters

 

Luckily the police arrived quickly and shortly after the fire brigade. Fortunately the fire was already subsiding, thanks to a bit of rain and our neighbour hosing down the fire with his garden pipe – history repeating.

 

I cannot believe this happened a second time.

 

The irony is that we had warned the people living rough at 27 Greatmore Street and they had put out the fire just a couple of hours earlier.

 

The authorities know about this. The City of Cape Town’s Waste Management Department was meant to clean up the site.

 

The police even came through one night and chased away the vagabonds. But they just come back and build a new hokkie.

 

In the meantime the whole neighbourhood is at risk of burning down if one of those shacks goes up in flames.

 

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Success hardly comes from social media, but it certainly gets reflected on social media.

 

Here a great example:

Stardom needs no tweets.

Stardom needs no tweets.

Zodwa Wabantu‘s twitter account has over 10K followers besides the fact that she hasn’t tweeted anything!

It appears this twitter account isn’t even in use.

 

Zodwa’s more active twitter account – more active by 69 tweets – has over 25K followers.

 

If you wish you had such social media success, take this for a tip:

Do well in real life and the followers will follow!

 

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BBC's podcast "I hear voices" helps to understand what it is like to live with schizophrenia.

BBC’s podcast “I hear voices” helps to understand what it is like to live with schizophrenia.

 

There’s a great podcast series out there by the BBC called “I hear voices” about Alice who explains in a very rational manner what it is like for her to live with schizophrenia.

 

Her description of a psychosis reminded me of another podcast by This American Life called “My Damn Mind” in which Alan explains how his manic episode unfolded and how crazy it can get.

 

One thing in both podcasts is clear: It is because of us ‘non-crazy’ people that these protagonists were not helped at first or not at all or not in the correct way.

That’s why it is important for ‘normal’ people to understand what it is like to hear voices.

 

And don’t we all hear voices?

Surely most of us have encountered the critical voice that tells us we’re too fat.

Or the opportunistic voice that tells us it’s ok not to point out to the waiter they gave back too much change.

Or the disappointed voice that tells us we should do more.

Or the narcissistic voice that tells us we’re better than them.

 

We all have thoughts crossing our minds that are irrational and not helpful. It is the way in which we deal with them that can make the difference between crazy or not.

 

I highly recommend these podcasts as an insight to how a mind can go off and how it can be possible to get control of it.

Furthermore, a bit of empathy goes a long way. – If you ever wondered what it is like to hear voices, start listening now:

I hear voices

My Damn Mind

 

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This water saving tap is not only very efficient in reducing water usage, it also makes pretty patterns.

This water saving tap is not only very efficient in reducing water usage, it also makes pretty patterns.

 

In an effort to conserve water new ideas are being implemented, new products are being created.

 

Here a great example of a water saving tap at the Woodstock Exchange:

 

A simple, yet so efficient idea, and in addition to fulfilling its purpose, it’s also beautiful!

 

No surprise this concept by Simin Qiu won the 2014 IF Concept Design Award.

 

Thanks to clever designs like these it is stylish to upgrade to water saving. #EveryDropCounts

 

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Dogs are great to cuddle with, they even cuddle with each other: This is how Gigi and Hutch chill together.

Dogs are great to cuddle with, they even cuddle with each other: This is how Gigi and Hutch chill together.

Puppy Bliss! How smitten I am with our pooches. I could hug them all day long.

Dogs are really good for us. They make us happy and healthy.

Since my childhood I missed having a dog. I wanted to have a house so I can have a dog.

But I only ever had family dogs, which actually meant they were my mom’s dogs and tolerated me.

I didn’t know how special the bond is to your own dog. And even more so with a rescue dog.

I feel blessed for every happy moment these lovely creatures share with us.

#AdoptDontShop

Please help find a forever home for Starsky & Hutch. 🙂 

 

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I hope you get the chance to celebrate Women’s Day today.

International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8 every year. It commemorates the movement for women’s rights.

That means women and men alike can celebrate this day, supporting equality in all fields for women.

 

However, it appears the internet thinks it’s a day to celebrate women like Mother’s Day. By which it becomes commercialised and keeps on reinforcing old boring stereotypes.

Just look at these horribly sexist greeting cards floating around online:

 

Wrong! You don't have to be beautiful to celebrate Women's Day.

Wrong! You don’t have to be beautiful to celebrate Women’s Day.

 

Wrong! You don't have to be a mother to be celebrated as a woman.

Wrong! You don’t have to be a mother to be celebrated as a woman.

 

Wrong! You don't have to be beautiful to be celebrated as a woman.

Wrong! Every woman is equal.

 

Wrong! Women who are nice don't get anywhere.

Wrong! Women who are nice don’t get anywhere.

 

Wrong! Every woman deserves to be celebrated.

Wrong! Every woman deserves to be celebrated.

 

The list goes on. And all I had been looking for was one meme that actually empowers women.

Luckily, being a woman I don’t give up that easily and eventually was successful:

 

I am a woman. What's your superpower?

I am a woman. What’s your superpower?

 

😉

 

While Western Cape residents are urged to do everything they can to reduce water usage, saving water doesn’t stop at home.

But how to go about it in public spaces?

Most water saving methods are rather intimate, bordering on hygienic issues.

However, as we are learning new water saving habits at home, it’s easy to extend them to the work place.

Even if it’s small steps, every drop counts.

Here a great example at the Bandwidth Barn, where they place ice cream tubs in the sinks to collect grey water:

Ice cream tubs works well for capturing grey water in sinks.

Ice cream tubs works well for capturing grey water in sinks.

 

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Starsky & Hutch are looking for a forever home. Please adopt these cuties.

Starsky & Hutch are looking for a forever home. Please adopt these cuties.

 

We don’t know much about Starsky & Hutch. They were rescued from a street hawker as puppies – undernourished, neglected, full of ticks.

 

It’s easy to assume they’re brothers, and they do look similar: Both have huge ears, a friendly round snout, a somewhat curly tail, are of similar size and have the same light tan colour.

But then of course, they’re also very different: Starsky has black mixed into his coat and is of stocky build, reminding a bit of a Rottweiler. Hutch is plain tan, but has black coming out in this tail which ends in a white tip, he is a bit lighter on his feet, looking more like an Africanis.

 

Maybe they are brothers from another father?

 

Dogs are not monogamous, and their polygamy can go as far as polyandry where a female can mate with several males during her estrus.

If you ever wondered about the size of your dog’s bollocks – it’s because they mate (with) a lot, just like rats and lions.

 

So it’s very well possible that dog litters can have more than one father. That could explain why Starsky & Hutch are brothers, but look quite differently: They’re actually half-brothers.

 

Either way, even if they weren’t blood related, these two are certainly brothers in spirit. They’ve always been together and love and watch out for each other that it melts your heart.

That’s why we hope they can stay together and find a forever home that is big-hearted enough for the two of them. ♥ Please adopt these two cuties! Kindly get in touch: TrulyJuly@web.de 🙂

 

#AdoptDontShop

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The dogs are having a jol at Milnerton Beach when all of a sudden Gigi spots a seal swimming in the waves!

The dogs are having a jol at Milnerton Beach when all of a sudden Gigi spots a seal swimming in the waves!

 

It was Gigi who spotted the seal first:

 

She was actually so excited, she ran into the water towards it!

 

It looked like she was barking at the waves when all of a sudden the head of the seal popped up out of the ocean, looked at us for a moment there and then continued to surf the breaking waves.

 

 

This was the first time I ever watched a seal surfing the waves, having so much fun.

 

The dogs were all like: Us too! But they didn’t venture into the deep waters. The waves of the atlantic ocean are something to reckon with!

 

Well, unless you’re a seal that is.

 

Because this seal was just enjoying itself, not having a care in the world, also not about the barking dogs.

 

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My pet rat Milka shows me her behind.

My pet rat Milka shows me her behind.

This is my pet rat Milka, as she sits on our bar stool in our kitchen, looking down the edge of the seat, pondering.

I just love this shot.

#PortRATure

 

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Are you doing the Bucket Dance? Capturing every drop for grey water with multiple buckets in the shower.

Are you doing the Bucket Dance? Capturing every drop for grey water with multiple buckets in the shower.

 

In and around the buckets we shower,

We place them in line, in circles, on top of each other.

We do what we can, we take this power

in our own hands and prove that we bother.

 

It’s a means to save every drop,

Once you started you can’t stop.

So we turn, twist and hop, we balance, shuffle and mop,

anything to make sure this doesn’t turn into a flop.

 

Because water is rare and we’re running out.

No time for a blank stare, this is a serious drought.

We need action now, the question is not why but how,

so do your bit and put on a good show:

 

Lift that leg, do the fandango, take a stance:

Turn this from a crisis into a chance!

We’re all in this together so let’s do enhance

this situation by joining the Bucket Dance!

 

🙂

 

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Please help and find these two adorable rescue puppies a good home!

Please help and find these two adorable puppies a good home!

 

Please help!

Puppy brothers Starsky & Hutch are looking for a good home.

 

Starsky is the puppy with the dark hair like Ben Stiller in the movie and Hutch is the blond one like Owen Wilson.

 

Just like Starsky & Hutch they make a great team!

 

While Starsky is outgoing, adventurous and up for anything, always in the middle of the action, Hutch is a very gentle soul, a tender handsome little boy, who always wants to cuddle.

 

Together they play and explore. Watching out for each other, they always have each other’s back. With their puppy clumsiness and swagger, they make a funny pair. You don’t want to miss out on all the hilarious entertainment these adorable cuties bliss us with every day.

 

Both are housetrained and socialised with other pets. They get on well with children and are an awesome addition to the family. As young as they are, Starsky & Hutch are already very protective over us and would make great guard dogs.

 

They’ve had all their medical checks, are dewormed and vaccinated, and come with dog bed and harnesses, although they are outgrowing these quickly!

 

Because they get on so well with our dogs, we’d love to find them a home in Cape Town or even Woodstock, so we can meet up for playdates. I’m also happy to dogsit them any time.

 

Most importantly we’d like them to stay together, they’ve been through such ordeal as rescue pups, but they always had each other.

 

Could you be the one who can offer Starsky & Hutch a forever home?

 

If you know someone who has the space for two medium sized well natured and absolutely charming male dogs, please get in touch: TrulyJuly@web.de 🙂

 

For updates on Starsky & Hutch, please like their Facebook page: @SAfricanis

 

#AdoptDontShop

 

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