30 April 2017

Dominate the Blogging Game Using Just 6 Basic Essentials Now

IMAGE: PEXELS
I've been blogging for nearly 3 summers now. Over these years, I've definitely learnt a thing (or six) that make the process easier. With no school or uni to attend this summer, you have free time to really hone in on your current blog and make it extraordinary, or create a blog from scratch; It's never too late to begin.

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26 April 2017

Quitting the Blog

 "Steph, I'm putting you in the 1,5km run on Friday" hollered my coach. "Um.., sure, sir" I mumbled in return not so confident about his athletic plan for me.
Friday came around (miraculously faster than any other week) and the massive stadium was full as far and wide as my then 13 years young eyes could see.
My coached piped up again, "You got this, Steph". In less confidence than before, I answered him again, "sure, sir".
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23 April 2017

36 Questions To Lead You To Love (& My Answers)

Science says that if you and another person- a friend, a lover or a stranger- read and respond to 36 particular questions, the chances of you falling in love increase drastically. Trust me, it's not me saying this- it's science!
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19 April 2017

What Am I?

I'm not fully South African. I'm not fully Greek. I'm a conglomeration of both.

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16 April 2017

Sit Down with Steph || Friends & Student Budget

It's Sunday which means that I'm back with the second episode in my new series where I give thoroughly thought-through advice to questions that you have sent through to me.

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12 April 2017

3 Quick and Easy Spring-Styled Looks

I don't venture much into the beauty and fashion world of blogging- which just so happens to also make up most of the blogging world. I'm not quite sure what blogger I am yet (feel free to let me know if you've already figured it out for me) but I'm definitely sure that this post falls into the blogging land-mass that is 'beauty & fashion'.
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9 April 2017

Sit Down with Steph || Anxiety & Relationships

 My idea for a Q & A series was met with such warm and open arms. Thank you for opening up to me and letting a stranger into your thoughts, worries and hearts. I really hope that I'll be able to effectively offer you my shoulder to lean on. 

In the first weekly installment of this new series, I will be answering questions sent to me regarding anxiety and relationships. In hopes of creating a safe space, I have decided to make all the questions anonymous.

Anxiety 

 'When did you notice that you had anxiety?' - Anonymous
To pre-face my answer to this questions, I would like to say that I do not suffer from anxiety. I do have anxiety (with varying severity) in different situations- but social situations particularly. However, I would not go so far as to say that I 'suffer' from it. My anxiety, at times, definitely makes me feel uncomfortable- uncomfortable to talk to people, to ask questions and sometimes to look at people, but its never been a crippling or debilitating feeling.

As I hit puberty and entered my 'teen years', I became aware that I was more anxious when meeting new people- particularly boys (and more specifically, good-looking ones). I realized that before speaking to new people, like a shop attendant, I would sometimes rehearse over and over again what I was going to say like "just this please". 

I guess, somewhere between adolescence and becoming a young-adult, I became more sensitive to what others thought of me- the way I spoke, the way I looked or the way I dressed- which may have caused and still causes my anxieties.
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'Did your friends and family support you or did they act as though you had made it up?' -Anonymous
I've mentioned my slight anxieties to my mom, who sat with me and tried to rationalize my fears. A good tip that came from our chat was to remember that whatever interaction i'm afraid of or anxious about would only last a couple of seconds, or a couple of minutes but not a lifetime (although it may feel like it sometimes). That soothed me a lot (and still does). I don't think my friends are aware of my feelings but that's because I've never led onto it- and possibly because, physically, it never hindered me.

If your parents or friends act as if you've imagined your anxieties, my advice would be: to confide in someone else. Your parents and friends want the best for you, but that doesn't mean that they will always understand what you're going through. There is always someone who will listen to you, you just have to take some care in finding them and possibly extend yourself beyond your friendship circle. Your anxieties become easier, more manageable, when they're not yours alone.

Your anxieties are very real to you. Even if others fail to see the hold that it may have over you, does not take away or eliminate the value of what you feel. 
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'Do you think you need to get a formal diagnosis to be able to say that you have anxiety?' - Anonymous
I firmly believe that a medical diagnosis is not necessary to say that you have anxiety. If I have a cough and a runny nose, I can assume that I have some sort of flu- no doctor needed. I can make that reasonable assumption based on my symptoms, intuitions and experience. Anxiety, in my opinion, is the same.
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'What are your favourite ways to keep your anxiety in check?' -Anonymous
I think that anxiety arises from fear, nervousness and vulnerability. To keep my anxiety in check, I try to remember the root cause- fear of judgement, fear of flying in case the airplane crashes, nervousness to talk in front of a crowd (both small and large) in fear of messing up. In most instances, I remind myself that this will only take up a few moments of my life. If I'm performing or speaking to strangers, I'm always comforted by the thought that if this goes incredibly wrong, the probability of ever seeing the people in the crowd again are stacked very much in my favour.

For different people, different methods will work. You should try several mental tools each time panic or anxiety arises within you. You'll begin to figure out what works for you and what doesn't and make appropriate adaptations from there. Take a moment to step away from your situation and rationalize your feelings.
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'Do you think mental health is dealt with well, or at all, in the media currently? If not, then how can we help that?' -Anonymous
I do think that more can be done with regards to supporting, encouraging and creating an inclusive community in mainstream, traditional media platforms, like TV and traditional newspapers. There are programmes and articles on mental health but they are few and far between. Media outlets need to balance the need to sell and market their product with improving quality of life by creating awareness for issues, like mental health. The media is largely dictated by its target market, because ultimately, they have to sell papers and advertisements. If the people, the viewers and readers, show interest in topics such as mental health, it will likely become more prevalent in the media, as that is what people will be interested in reading and hearing about. It seems like people's voices need to grow louder, stronger and in unison, to be heard.

Non-traditional media, like Youtube, are more effective in dealing with mental health. Youtubers (in this example) are in direct and constant communication with their viewers who are real people to them, and hence, alter their content to offer guidance and support to those interested in their content. Positive interactions on those platforms encourage people to speak up and begin a positive and uplifting dialogue on mental health.

Relationships

'I'm currently 17 and I've never had a boyfriend. Fortunately, my friends don't care and like me for who I am. I know that it's a stupid thing to worry about and I know that having or not having a boyfriend won't change anything about myself. But still I sometimes feel bad and I feel like boys are just not interested in me. 
Right now, I have a crush on a boy with whom I am acquainted with, so I feel like it would be weird if I went up to him.
Obviously, I don't want to try too hard to get a boyfriend just to have one. I just don't get why I'm so insecure about it and it makes me made that I don't care less.'
What do you think about the whole situation?' -Anonymous
Guess what Anonymous, I'm 18 (going on 19) and I've never had a boyfriend either. I'm telling you that, not so you think I'm more unqualified to offer advice then I probably already am, but because I know exactly what you're feeling and you should realize that you're not alone. Heck, I'll take it one step further and admit that at 18, I haven't even had my first kiss. You're not as alone as you may think you are. I have many friends that are in the same boat as us.

If you've ever had a 'fling' then you know that it feels good to have someone to talk to, someone who asks how your day was and someone to send those flirtatious emojis to. It's human instinct to want to be liked, needed and desired by another human. It's as natural as water.

It's okay to care. Everyone around you could be getting into relationships, moving further and further through the bases and you feel stagnant, left behind. I felt that way. My insecurities arose because I wasn't doing what my peers were doing, so I thought that obviously something was wrong with me. I had to be different from the others. The only way to over come your insecurities is to give love a chance. Go up to your acquaintance and show him what an incredible person you are. If the feeling is mutual, you'll be natural friends and can take it from there.

A good way to become friends with your mystery man is to talk about something that you have in common- like something you both enjoy doing. I know you've done that stalking and sleuthing...we all do it. Bring up something that you've noticed about him that you enjoy too. If you're both comfortable, it will show in the ease of conversation. If things don't work out, put yourself out there by meeting new people. The more options in your dating pool, the more likely you are to find a match.

Not having a boyfriend doesn't make you less anything- less desirable, less pretty or less smart. But, you seem to already know that.

I've really enjoyed giving advice. Thank you to all of those who sent through emails with questions. If you have your own advice on these topics, please do offer it in the comments below. Round 2 will be back next Sunday. Till then, send through your questions to socialspying@gmail.com, and you'll be featured in episode 2 of this new series. Remember, your anonymity is promised. The topic is yours to decide.

Till next time-
Steph

Thanks so much for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it! If you're feeling up to it, follow this blog on Google Friend Connect, Bloglovin', on Instagram or Twitter. Drop me an email or a message in the Blogger Contact Form and I'll get straight back to you!

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6 April 2017

I NEED YOU!

Hi there!

I hope you, are having the loveliest of days filled with cupcakes, rainbows and glitter...or maybe a rainbow cupcake with glitter on top! If you're not into that, then I hope today is filled with your favourite novel and a cup of tea.

I'd like to start a bit of a series on my blog. I do love a good alliteration, so I'm thinking of calling it 'Sit Down with Steph', a weekly advice column, on Sundays. I'd like it to be a interactive Q & A and advice session. 

Now, I don't claim to have a boat-load of experience in every aspect of life, but, after 18 years of life, I've learnt a thing or two. Just in case you need a recommendation, my friends have said (and many a time) that I offer great advice/ motivation.


If you have a question, relating to anything from school, blogging, sports, anxiety, love, lifestyle, being a girl, fairies, books, chocolate, habits, organization, (I'd stay away from cooking) or any other imaginable topic in between, I'd like for you to send me through a question. If I feel like I can't offer you the best advice- I'll track down someone who can.

I won't promise you life-changing advice, but I'm offering an ear for you to speak to and a virtual shoulder to lean on. We need a supportive, inclusive and more community-driven space. So, I'm starting with what I know. This.

If you have your own words of wisdom to share, then please be around on Sunday to offer your advice in the comments.

I'd like this to be a positive, safe and honest space--so be kind.

If you're interested, send through your questions to socialspying@gmail.com. Please include Q&A in the subject!

Till next time-
Steph


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3 April 2017

My Thoughts on Blogging Statistics

They matter.

I have quite a controversial view on blogging statistics. Here's my candor: Every morning, I wake up hoping that the number of views on my latest blog post has gone up from the number that I painstakingly memorized the night before- even if it's just by one view. Sometimes I'm met with an unchanged number and infused with disappointment, like this morning. Other mornings, I awaken to a magically re-moulded digit; A number changed (sometimes drastically and sometimes hardly) from the one that was there 8 hours and a whole day earlier.

Blogging statistics excite me. I'm filled with immense joy knowing that someone out there took the time to read the words that I wrote. Blogging statistics serve as validation and an indication of something good that I've done. I'm devoted to my blog; I've involuntarily invested my heart into this space. To me, a comment isn't just a comment and a view is not just a four letter word. To me, it's a 'thumbs up', a pat on the back and a job well done and you should see it as that too.
I don't see statistics as numerical values. Technically, statistics are a combination of  just 10 digits. However, I see each value as a person. Each number represents two eyes, a nose and a mouth. I'm also starting to think that people who say that 'statistics don't matter' already have their desired statistics.Your dream stats may vary from mine, which is perfectly human. But, to put sweat, love, dedication and the occasional tear into your blog, your baby, and then go on and say that the way it is received doesn't matter isn't how I see it. You'd be lying. Or I know I would be.

You've changed your blog's nappy, cradled it, fed and fuelled it and loved it. You've taken it to its first day of school, hand-in-hand, picked it up when its cried and put a band-aid on its grazed knee. You've seen it go through heartbreak and triumphs and in the end, you just want it to graduate cum laude. You want the best for it.

Caring about blogging statistics does not mean that you're blogging for the wrong reasons. I often don't see my statistics changing, but I've never quit blogging because I enjoy the process of writing, meeting other bloggers online and being a part of this inclusive, supportive and dynamic community that I've come to love. It's possible, and dare I say normal to care about your blogging stats and still be blogging for the 'right' reasons.

So, yes, I'm going to press publish on this post in a few minutes from now and I'm going to keep scouring my statistics for indication that I'm doing something right, something good and something worthwhile. I'm unashamedly going to cross my fingers and hope that someone values my words enough to leave a comment because I'm selfish and it fills me with an incomparable joy to see interaction within my blog, my space- my baby.

What are your views on blogging stats? Do they matter to you or not? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments (remember, I'm crossing my fingers). If you disagree with what I've said, please do let me know! 

Till next time-
Steph

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Today, I reached 100 followers on Bloglovin' which I am so, so incredibly grateful for! Thank you so much to you- for supporting my writing and love for blogging.

Thanks so much for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it! If you're feeling up to it, follow this blog on Google Friend Connect, Bloglovin', on Instagram or Twitter. Drop me an email or a message in the Blogger Contact Form and I'll get straight back to you!
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