A Fabulous South African Experience

Growing up watching Disney Channel Original Movies like “The Color of Friendship”, an emotional children’s film following the friendship of two girls, one white from South Africa, and one black from America; I never thought I would get the opportunity to visit the very place some of the movie chronicled.

Thanks to one of my very best friends, Jennifer, I had the chance to visit her while she completes a work project in South Africa, and live just a little like the friends in the movie.

Now when you think Africa, most people say The Lion King, safaris, and African tribes come to mind. That’s not at all the case for South Africa – Johannesburg at least. So what is South Africa really like? Amazing! But no, it’s probably not like what you think.

From 1948 to 1994, South Africa went through a period of segregation called Apartheid where whites, blacks, Indians, and Asians were all separated by hate. After years of sufferage, leaders like Nelson Mandela were able to break down barriers and create peace. The city of Johannesburg today is full of new developement, tall buildings, beeping cars, palm trees, and contrary to popular belief, sometimes snow!

I fully encourage travel, and traveling often, so if you’re considering a visit to South Africa, read on for some tips to make the most of your vacation.

Flight
If you’re in America, Africa is across some water and on another continent. Prepare for a LONG flight. Total, my flights were 19 hours including short layovers. Be sure to rest up, wear comfy clothes, and book a window or isle seat. The middle seat on long flights are the worst!

Money
In South Africa, you’ll pay with Rand, and you will be surprised by the exchange rates. Our dollar is worth more, so when shopping and buying food, you’ll feel rich! But be careful because it can be easy to just spend money since things are a little bit cheaper. To put it into perspective, a steak dinner, appetizers, drinks, and sides for 3 will likely be a little less than 50 US dollars. Be sure to bring cash and exchange your money at your hotel to avoid credit/debit card fees.

Safety
Because of the Apartheid, things aren’t all rainbows and sunshine. Like anywhere, there’s a fine line between safety and freedom. Ladies. Wear a purse that is not easily accessible for pick pocketors to get into. Small to mid-size sadle bags work well, so you can carry them close to your person. For men, a wallet that zips and fits in your front pockets may work best. You’ll also find that establishments close somewhat early compared to the US, so make plans accordingly and DO NOT take a taxi to reach your destination. Ubers and the train are the safest forms of transportation next to getting around by way of any locals you may know.

Activities
There’s so much to see and do! Here’s just a brief list:

  • Apartheid Museum (bring tissue, it’s quite sad, but a must-see to understand the culture)
  • Lion Park (you can actually interact with the animals – so cool!)
  • Lillies Farm (Nelson Mandela took refuge here)
  • Soweto (A colorful city in the midst of South Africa)
  • Shopping (there are several great malls including Sandton City and Rosebank)
  • Monte Carlo Casino
  • Fine Dining (try the ostrich and a restaurant called Moyo for live music and a welcoming African atmosphere)
  • Sunday Market (interact with the locals to purchase hand-made, authentic goods)

**Thanks for reading; you’re F.A.Bulous.  

His and Hers Spring Looks with Bonobos

Look at the calendar. It’s officially spring! Officially time to start wearing bright colors, and less clothes. Weather permitting, of course.

I’ve teamed up with Bonobos to share some of my favorite his and hers looks featuring spring themed hues and warm weather garments. Check out some outfit inspo below!

Date Night:
Blue is perfect for spring. For starters, it’s one of those colors, no matter the shade, looks great on everyone. It’s also a color that transitions well from cold weather seasons to warm weather seasons, with the right accessories. These his and hers looks are perfect for a night out. Picture a cozy patio, your favorite cocktail, and your beau by your side for the perfect fashion-forward spring date night.

Travel Looks:
Take trips. And take them often with your bae! Especially to warm, sunny climates so you can pack pink. Shades of pink including salmon are perfect for spring time vacation fun, and it looks great with a tan. Use these his and hers outfits as inspiration for your next couples vacation.


Guys! Be sure to check out Bonobos for quality, and trend setting menswear. And if you’re in Michigan, visit the new Bonobos store in Downtown Detroit!

**Thanks for reading; you’re F.A.Bulous. 

Clothing Gifts For The Man In Your Life

When the time comes for you to buy a little something for the special person in your life – the perfect gift could come in the form of clothing! Not sure what to get or how to shop for him? Keep reading for some tips! 

Size Matters: 

The very first thing to think about is size. Getting the size right is pretty tough if you don’t know his correct measurments. What you want to do in a basic circumstance is to double check and triple check the sizing of the recipient’s current clothing and store this information. Sizes do change with fluctuations in weight, or even age, so keep yourself updated.

Men’s clothing is pretty simple as sizes are broken down easily and aren’t as complex or usually as tight-fitting as women’s clothing. This makes sizing a lot easier, but men can be pretty picky and stuck in their ways.

Style Watch:

Style is where you can go wrong, and it’s tricky to get right since it is so very personal. You can buy the wrong clothes here, and they won’t be worn. Just do your research and don’t be scared to ask, your gifts don’t always have to be mindblowing surprises! Keep an eye out for colors and patterns warn by the recipient – and rummage through the wardrobe to see what they like. Sometimes they could do with a refresh or a change, but don’t for get what he likes.  Does your man like trousers over jeans or shorts? Does he like blazers and polo shirts instead of patterned t-shirts? This information is freely available to you and will help you really master that clothing gift.

Accessories:

You can’t really go wrong with accessories; you just need to know the information that you can get – mainly if your partner has a  formal or informal style. Sunglasses are great, and some designer options suit everything from a day at a beach to a working al-fresco lunch. One thing to consider is eyesight – if your man wears prescription lenses, they won’t be able to see through the sunglasses you have bought for them unless they are molded to his prescription. Food for thought! Jewellery is also a huge personal touch, and it does depend on that formal style a lot more than sunglasses do. Informal dressers might like a mens gold chain option over cufflinks, while those who wear formal clothes often would appreciate a good watch as well as those cufflinks! In terms of more general options, informal dressers will like bracelets, necklaces and wristbands and formal dressers might appreciate a few pocket squares to accentuate an outfit.

Fancy Feet: 

Footwear is something simple as well . Think about it. What guy doesn’t want good boots, great loafers and/or leather shoes, and even sneakers?  Shoes never go out of style and you always need something on your feet. If you’re stuck on the best gift for your guy, footwear might save you. 
Buying gifts is hard work, but if you pay attention, you won’t go wrong!

**This post has been contributed**

**Thanks for reading; you’re F.A.Bulous. 

If I Knew Then What I Know Now

It’s crazy to think I’m less than 50 days away from turning the big 3-0. It certainly makes me reflect on where I am now vs where I thought it would be. Growing up, I wanted to graduate college and have my dream job directly after, be married by 26, and have my first child at 27/28. Boy life did not happen that way. But you know what? Everything happens for a reason and that’s ok that things didn’t turn out how I planned. You live and you learn!

And thanks to Earnest, personal and student loan refinancer, I’ve gone back and thought about some of the best years of my life – college! Attending and graduating from Central Michigan University helped shape me, helped kickstart my career, and helped form friendships of a lifetime.

But are there some things I wish I had done differently that may have changed where I am today? Of course! If I knew then what I know now, I’d tell myself this…

  • Start paying off loans while you’re in school
  • Save up at least $10 a month
  • You don’t NEED coffee. It may leave you with an ulcer in the end anyway.
  • Apply for as many scholarships as possible
  • Job shadow professionals in your field of interest

And here are a few things I’m happy I did in college that I’d like to share…

  • Take part in internships
  • Take summer classes at a Community College. It’s cheaper, your credits will transfer, and it can help you graduate earlier.
  • If you live close enough to home, go home for the weekend and take your laundry with you!

Preparing to head off to college? Visit Earnest for some great loan advice. Earnest provides a better way for students and grads to refinance student loans.

**Thanks for reading; you’re F.A.Bulous.

Must Have Mud Mask

Do you ever go shopping, stand in the check out line for a while, and end up with a bunch of random stuff? Yeah, that’s a result of good marketing. But how often do you use the items purchased in the checkout lane? For me, not too often but that recently changed when I found this great mud mask as I was standing in line at Old Navy.

Because I have combination skin, I’m always looking for great beauty products. And after a recent trip to Massage Luxe for a microdermabrasion, my esthetician recommended using a mud mask to keep my pores clean, free of black heads, and to help control the oil. This Deep Down Detox Mud Mask helps to keep skin clean and is a great facial detox as we prepare to transition to spring.

Since I’ve been using this Deep Down Detox Ultra-Cleansing (about a month now), my skin has been smoother than usual and less oily. Blackheads have cut down too! Give yourself an in-home facial. Try out this mud mask. It smells good, feels good, and best of all, it’s relaxing.

Tips:

It comes out thick, but as you rub it into your skin it thins out. Two nickle-sized drops should do the trick.

Exfoliating before applying the mud mask enhances results.

Happy masking!

**Thanks for reading; you’re F.A.Bulous.

 

Live Your Best Life

I was driving to work the other day thinking, geez this is going to be a stressful day. But then Ed Sheeren “Shape of You” came on and my mood instantly changed. It’s a fun song with a catchy beat, so it got me thinking, you know what, I’m living my best life! Work may be stressful, but I’m blessed to have a job that pays the bills and affords me the opportunity to spend my nights and weekends doing what I need to do to be truly happy.
Find out what makes you happy, and you too can live your best life. Travel, find love, do a good deed, buy that thing you’ve been wanting to buy, go to brunch with your friends, take your grandparents out to dinner.
Oh, and also, get your winter white in while you can. Spring will be here before you know it! I went to brunch with my gal pals the other and chose to create a Run DMC/Michael Jackson inspired look. Because why the hell not?!
Life ain’t easy, by any means. But when you look at the bright side, things get a little bit easier. Enjoy living your best lives, friends! 😘
**Thanks for reading; you’re F.A.Bulous. 

Flower Power

Even though we’ve been experiencing global warming-induces temps (not gonna lie, it’s scary but glorious), spring will be here soon! Prepare your home for the season, lift your spirits, and add some pops of color by placing fresh flowers throughout your living space.

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Flowers smell good, look great, and just all around are the perfect accessory for the home. But do you ever worry about the longevity of your fresh flowers? No worries. Here are a few tips to keep your floral arrangements alive longer.

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  • Cut the stems at an angle
  • Don’t use the entire bag of plant food in one setting.
  • Change water often. Add a little bit of food each time you change out the water.
  • Remove leaves towards the bottom of the stems so no leaves submerge in water.
  • Remember, flowers don’t always have to live directly in sunlight, but if you’re able to keep them close to a window, a little vitamin D won’t hurt.

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And no need to stop by a pricey florist. Local grocery stores like Kroger and Trader Joe’s have a nice selection of affordable flowers. 🌺🌸🌼

Photos by Krystina Stanton

**Thanks for reading; you’re F.A.Bulous.