Browsing Tag

Carmen Marks

Books/Movies, Entertainment, Inspiration, Slider

What’s all the hype about Goodreads, anyway? 

November 26, 2018

Whether you’re a big lover of books, or not so big, chances are you’ve stumbled upon Goodreads at some point. You were most likely searching for reviews for some book you’ve been meaning to get your hands on when you did. No surprise here – that’s exactly how I discovered Goodreads. My biggest mistake at the time, though,  was thinking that Goodreads is just a book review site, so I’d spend hours upon hours reading through all the reviews (it gets really addictive) and nothing else.

Once I took the time to actually look around the site more, I discovered that Goodreads has so much more to offer than just awesome reviews!

Here’s why I love Goodreads:

My Books

It’s a virtual bookshelf and your own personal online library, giving you instant access to almost any book you can imagine. Think of Belle when the beast first shows her the library in his castle, or Hogwarts library in Harry Potter! Although you cannot actually read the books you shelf directly on Goodreads, it’s a great place to organize all the books you’ve ever read and all the books you’re planning to read. It’s a bookworm’s heaven!

 

Reading Challenge

Nothing is more motivating than setting goals and competing –  against yourself! I absolutely love the Goodreads Reading Challenge! You decide how many books you’ll read before the end of each year, and when you reach your goal, you’re rewarded with an honorary badge that stays on your profile, and the sweet satisfaction of knowing you’ve reached your goal.

You know your reading habits, your lifestyle, and your motivation levels. Don’t set yourself unrealistic reading challenge goals. There are members with a Reading Challenge goal in the hundreds, even thousands; and there are those starting off with a reading challenge of only 10 books.  Both are perfectly okay if it means it fills your soul with joy.

 

Trivia & Quizzes

Need some time to just unwind and let your general knowledge juices flow? You’ll love these! Be careful, because they are quite addictive. Whether it’s a quiz about your favourite books, genres or Game Of Thrones – you’re likely to find it here.  And if you don’t, then you can create your own!

 

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If you have your own website or blog, or if you have an email account, then you’ll love this!  Show off the cover of the book you’re currently reading when responding to emails.  Friends and clients alike are sure to be impressed and maybe even inspired.  At the same time display your bookshelf, reading challenge, or a favourite quote on your website or blog. It’s a fun way to show off your book obsession and meet other book lovers out there.

 

Book Barcode Scanner

We already use our smartphones to scan everything – documents, audio, video, when we go to the store – so why not also books?

Instead of manually searching for books on the site and adding them to your reading shelves, simply scan the barcode of books you find interesting while browsing a bookstore. This will bring up all the information about the book and you can then decide on which shelf it should go!

I swear, I’m obsessed.

 

Book Recommendations

Another reason I love Goodreads is for how easy it is to recommend books to your friends and to find book recommendations for yourself! I no longer have to search high and low for my next exciting read, which I spent most of my life doing.

Goodreads made my life so much easier!

 

Compare Books

Imagine finding your reading twin! Well, with Goodreads that’s highly likely with its nifty “compare book” feature that lets you find other users of the site with the same taste in books as you. Neat, huh?

 

Chat With Your Favourite Author!

Authors are understandably very busy with all that writing going on. There’s hardly time to casually book chat with their adoring readers, but Goodreads has thankfully bridged this gap and made communication between author and reader so much more convenient. Authors are happy to answer any burning questions you have about their work through the “Ask the Author” feature on the site. This feature is controlled by the author, so keep an eye out for when it’s turned on and ask away!

 

Join As Many Groups As You Like!

Goodreads is rich with many diverse groups (or virtual book clubs as I like to refer to them). There’s a group or groups for everyone, and if you don’t find anything you’re interested in, then go on and create your own group!

 

Become a Goodreads Librarian

Think you got what it takes? Librarians are long-time users of the site and are passionate about keeping their “library” neat and tidy. They also know the librarian manual, aka the Goodreads rulebook, by heart and are happy to quickly remind users what the rules are when adding and editing book data.  The great news is that you too can apply to be a Goodreads librarian. Though you won’t need to learn the Dewy Decimal System, you will need to know the librarian Manual.

 

These are just a few of the reasons why I love Goodreads and why I recommend you give it a try! It’s the app to have and the community to be a part of. For now these are my top 10 best features, but I’m sure once you’ve had a look around you’ll be able to find your own reasons for loving the world’s largest online community for book lovers.

Happy birthday Goodreads!

love

Fashion, Inspiration, Slider

Weekend Style Crush – Mom Jeans

May 19, 2017

At first it may seem tricky getting it right, but mom jeans are actually perfect for many reasons, two of which are, they compliment almost any body type and they are not tight-fitting, in fact the more loose-fitting, all the better!

They are also pretty fun to play with when it comes to styling and are quite forgiving of us moms having to run around with the littlies all day long.

How do you find the perfect pair for you? Make sure it hugs the tummy at the smallest part of the waist and it will flatter any figure. The legs are easy and should be straight-cut and loose fitting.

Here’s an inspiration board I’ve put together for you, and to avoid me getting swamped with emails (I learned the hard way), I’ve also included the links to outlets around South Africa where you could possibly find a mom jeans of your own!

 

 

 

One thing is clear in all these looks – With the right shoe, you can add your touch of magic to any outfit. The challenge is to show off your unique style.

 

You can find a pair of mom jeans at:

Hellopretty

MRP

MANGO

Topshop

If you know where else we can find mom jeans, please email me or leave a comment 🙂

Love,

 

 

Founding Moms, Inspiration, Interior design, News

Studio Collection Launch in Cape Town

February 5, 2017

In between family time in New York and running their law practice back home in Mozambique, mompreneur Lei and her husband decided to take up another exciting challenge and open their very own Studio Collection franchise; right here in Cape Town.

It was such an absolute pleasure meeting and sharing many laughs with Lei (pronounced Lee) and her family at the bespoke baby boutique’s launch party last night. The store located on the upper floor of Cavendish Place is a piece of baby heaven. It’s comfortable and pretty and smells so gooood. Lei’s passion for her newest venture is clear when she gushes that it was her two-year-old daughter who was her biggest inspiration. The store with its carefully handcrafted baby linen, furniture and decor and the team that makes it all possible lies very close to her heart. The fabrics are 100% cotton and soft to the touch, all made in South Africa, by the hands of which mostly belong to other moms just like you and me.

Studio Collection is opening its doors to the Cape Town mom tomorrow, Monday, February 6. As the ‘mother’ city, I’m sure we can all agree that it was just a matter of time.

A mom herself, Lei gets how important the best quality fabrics are for our precious kids. She understands that each mom and child is unique and invites you to come pop in by her store and chat to her and the team of experts about your unique preferences; Or if you just happen to be in the area, come stop by for some mommy talk over a hot cuppa coffee from their espresso machine due to arrive this week!

The family is new in town so let’s make them feel welcome 🙂

When this fab mom is not off handling some legal business all the way in Mozambique, you will find lei hanging around her boutique in Cavendish Square.

Studio Collection stores also currently open in Centurion, Rustenburg, Umhlanga and, of cause, Cavendish Square.

This team of textile magicians literally turns your baby’s nursery into anything you can dream of. Check them out for yourself here

(Images are taken from the Studio Collection website.)

Love,

Health, Inspiration, Lifestyle

10 Best Mobile Apps For the Busy Mom

November 17, 2016

I don’t have to tell you just how busy a mom’s life can get. Not to mention how forgetful some of us, most of us, are. In fact I believe I lost a few brain cells with every child I’ve birthed – and I’ve birthed three of ’em!

But no matter how understandable our porridge brain syndrome may be, we simply cannot afford to forget the important things such as collecting the kiddies from choir practice or soccer; Or forget to eat healthy meals and do our weekly workout. We most certainly cannot afford to get lost because that’s just dangerous. And even though we really really do not want to or have the strength to, we cannot forget to clean the house. This, and many other reasons I did not mention here, is why I have put together a tried and tested list I know you will appreciate and want to thank me for. Although that won’t be necessary 🙂

We live in a time when cell phones have literally taken over our entire lives. Everything we do, we do on our cell phones. And that’s okay! I’m guilty of this too. If my phone could feed and bath me, I’d be happy. What we shouldn’t do, is become slaves to our mobile devices. Our phones are arguably the most amazing invention of our time. Let’s make it work for us and not the other way around.

Recently I have become a huge App. store addict. The genius of the minds belonging to the men and women creating many of these apps astounds me.  We may not have succeeded in making cars fly just yet, but these mobile apps are definitely a close second.

HERE ARE THE 10 BEST APPS CURRENTLY ON MY PHONE:

 

Cozi Family Organizer

Much like Google Calander, this mobile app manage your jam-packed life and keep the whole family in the loop with Cozi  with a shared calendar, shopping lists, to do lists, recipe box, and more, everyone can access on the go.

“Appointment reminders can be delivered by device notifications to iOS or Android devices, or by text or via email. If a family member has the iOS or Android app installed and has device notifications turned on (the default), reminders will be sent by device notification. If a user does not have the iOS or Android app installed, or has device notifications turned off, that person will receive reminders by text if a verified phone number is included for that person in the account, or by email if no verified phone number is included in the account for that person.”

See Cozi Frequently Asked Questions here

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Hydro Coach

I use to go without a single drop of water for days! Sadly I know many others just like me. Drinking enough water a day is clearly a big challenge all round, and even more challenging for us busy moms.  Since downloading this simple-yet-amazing app, I have been drinking far more water every day than ever before. Hydro Coach calculate how much water you need, track what you drink, and gently reminds you when to drink. This is definitely just what the doctor ordered.

Fabulous

I fell in love with this app way before I learned it’s been awarded most Innovative and Best Design Finalist in the Google Play Awards. It is beautiful and smart and unlike many other ‘heath’ apps that simply overwhelm you with tips on healthy eating and exercise , Fabulous focus on your current routine and motivates you to a happier, healthier, more energized and organised you. This nifty app has many wonderful features and as a newby, I’m still finding my way around, but I have already been tremendously impressed. I especially like the motivational letters and the gentle reminders of what healthy foods I should pick up on way home from work.

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Google Keep

As a blogger and just overall think tank, I go nowhere without a notebook. I especially need to make sure I jot down any ideas, because I forget so easily. Lucky for us forgetful, busy and creative moms, there are now plenty of mobile apps that make notes-on-the-go much more convenient and fun. I have been using Memo Pad for a long time, and I have never been disappointing. However, I think I’ll give Google Keep a try since it assures me I will have access to my notes on any device. Score!

Fitberry

From healthy Smoothies to healthy kids recipes and so much more, Fitberry has them all. Quick recipes for the health fundi always on the go. There really is nothing more to say other than you simply must have this app available at your fingertips.

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Uber

This app needs no introduction, but in case you have been living under a rock, you may want to get downloading right away! Whether planning a date night with your man or with your girlfriends, it’s always reassuring to know you have an instant, low-cost taxi at your fingertips.

SweepSouth

Believe me, there will come a day, maybe a few days, maybe more, when you are going to need someone trustworthy and with good references to clean your house for you. And when that day comes, you will want to have the peace of mind that you have this very helpful app. installed on your phone. The Uber of cleaning services.  You click, they clean.  I did a little write-up about SweetSouth on a previous post here. I hope you love this app. as much I do!

TripAdvisor

And for the traveling mom,  TripAdvisor makes it easy to find the lowest airfare, best hotels, great restaurants, and fun things to do, wherever you go.

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Amazon Kindle 

The app for every bookworm. Needless to say I have been the biggest fan of the Kindle app. for the longest time. Although I still love the feel and smell of a hardcopy, Kindle has made it possible for me to read while I am lying in bed, with the lights off. My kids love it too because they can now download many paid and free books at any time. It is definitely great for breeding an environment of book lovers.

PetCoach

Because our pets are our kids too! Ask questions about your pet’s health, nutrition, behavior, or any other topic, and obtain trusted answers for free from verified veterinarians and other pet experts. Important: Although PetCoach is a service that provides trusted answers to everyday questions about your pet’s wellness, it is not a substitute for in-office exams or for regular veterinary care.

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I hope these apps will be as helpful to you as they are to me. Since we spend so much time on our phone (which we probably should not), why not make it fun and productive.

Love,

fabmom_logo

Entertainment, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Slider

Flora Bay Resort: Our Family holiday slash anniversary get-away

September 21, 2016

This year Lesley and I decided to take all three kids along on our anniversary weekend away and ended up being more excited for them than for us celebrating 6 years of marriage.

To make sure the little ones had as much fun on our three day, two night get-away, we needed to make sure we include all the things they love. First on their list of demands was to make sure we are within walking distance from the beach, thus eliminating mine and Lesley’s usual wine route exploring, and instead we settled for our beautiful Atlantic seaboard. Boy, were we happy we did. We found everything their little hearts desired at Flora bay, nestled neatly between mountain and sea, at the foot of Chapman’s Peak in Houtbay.

This self-service resort isn’t exactly 5 star, but you damn sure get your money’s worth and then some; and what’s more, its an ideal holiday destination for the whole family and boasts a luscious green lawn for the boys to kick some ball, a park and a private beach if the tide is not high. Our kids were this close to abandoning us and moving in for good.

The beach-inspired decor is light and breezy and perfectly suited for the neat rooms all of which are overlooking the bay. You feel right at home from the moment you walk in the door. The linen is clean and crisp and white and we could sleep for days non-stop if it wasn’t for the kids that somehow got it in their evil minds that there will be no sleeping-in on this holiday.

The kitchen is fully stocked if you plan to cook anything in there. The pan non-stick, the fridge ice cold and the microwave small yet powerful. Caution: You may want to take your own coffee along as the three or four complimentary sachets does not get replenished once done. Lucky for us we go nowhere without our Jacobs. However, I wouldn’t be too concerned since the shops and restaurants are just down the road.

The bathroom is right at the front door, but this didn’t bother us at all as it was the first place we headed anyway after a day at the beach. The shower is large, and the water warm. There really is nothing bad to say about the spacious bathroom, other than it did not include a bath.

We stayed in one of three beach front suits – the one with a balcony – this is where I started every day with a cup of steamy coffee and ended those days with a glass of bubbly. The kids loved having their ice-creams there too. There are suits without balconies, so if you are a balcony person such as myself, then you might want to remember this before you check in. The place is a gem and truly has one of the most majestic views in Cape Town.

The master bedroom is upstairs and you literally feel like floating on a cloud while lying down on plush white linen, the sea breeze streaming in and, of cause, the endless ocean view. The kids “room” is downstairs, at the foot of a long flight of stairs. Definitely not ideal for younger kids and although we kept reminding ours about the dangers of falling, they kept climbing anyway and it so became their playground and kept them entertained for hours. We are happy to report no kids were harmed during the making of this holiday.

What we loved most about this arrangement was that Miguel would not sneak into our bed like he does every night at home; maybe because climbing those stairs in the early hours of the morning, while still befell with sleep, must seem like too much of a hassle. Note to self: find a house with a long stairway inside and make kids sleep downstairs.

If stairs is not for your family, flora bay offers many other suits, all with breathtaking views from every angle.

Our first stop when we arrived in Houtbay was Ruggafellas. Not kid-friendly, but their burgers are pretty good.

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I couldn’t get hubby to move from this spot since we arrived 🙂

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On our way to seal Island

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No, they are not actually waving goodbye, like I thought they did

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Where the kids spent most of their time

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Where I spent most of my time!

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Goodnight beautiful Houtbay

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It wasn’t the time alone we were hoping for, but it sure was a memorable and fun holiday!

To Happy Holidays.

Love,

fabmom_logo