Congratulations!! Here is your degree and 15 extra pounds

We were warned about the Freshman 15. It was the Senior 15 that no one told us about. Click To Tweet

Am I the only one who wants a special refund from my alma mater for the additional pounds it added to my body? I can’t be the only one…please tell me you guys understand the struggle!

That special struggle where you wish you could rewind time and not eat a whole tub of ice cream at 3am to compensate for failing that exam. Or the countless celebratory late-night dinners with friends for making it through the semester. Or if you were like me, you treated yourself for even the slightest victories! (I woke up for my 8am class today and actually went to class! I deserve a cupcake #TreatYoself)

In the defence of all our alma maters, we were heavily warned about the Freshman 15. It was the Senior 15 that no one told us about. The stress eating mixed with having no time to work out, left most of us walking across the stage on graduation day with our brains full of knowledge, our hearts full of hope for the future, our pockets weighed down by student loans…and our hips a little more rounder with 15 extra pounds.

So now here you are, a year or two out of college and wondering how to get your college body back. Or you are a mother of two or more adorable children and even though you love those precious kids, you low key give them the side eye for stealing your pre-motherhood body.

All hope is not lost ladies, we shall overcome. Here are 5 unconventional tips to help you us get your our body back.

1. Accept that your body is changing as you grow


I know! That’s a hard pill to swallow, but we don’t have the same metabolism as we used to when we were 16.

The sooner we accept that and move on, the better. You know how we try to stay up late till 2am to prove to these youngins that we are not grandma’s? A lot of us treat our metabolisms like that, we live in denial, refusing to accept that our body is taking five hours to burn the puff puff we ate earlier.

Embrace the fact that your bedtime is now 9:30pm and embrace your new metabolism. Accept the body you have now, love it, own it and werk at it.

2. Unfollow the Instagram fitness models


Well not all of them, but some of them have to go. These Instagram fitness models are supposed to motivate you, not duplicate you.

These Instagram fitness models are supposed to motivate you, not duplicate you. Click To Tweet

Stop comparing yourself to the model who doesn’t have a regular 9-5 and can afford to devote three hours a day to staying fit. Or the girl who has a personal chef who cooks healthy meals for her.

Instead, find people who actually mirror the life you live. Follow the mom of five who incorporates working out into her busy mommy schedule. Or if you are a recent graduate juggling two jobs and you want to be fit, find some motivation that looks like you.

3. Find ways to UNINTENTIONALLY burn fat


If you wait to love exercising in order to reach your fitness goals, you will be waiting forever. The reason most of us hate exercise is because of the effort and the brain fuel that it takes.

First you gotta find a gym, find some cute work out clothes (because the calories don’t count unless you are wearing Beyonce’s athletic line). And then you now have to find a gym buddy who wont flake on you at the last minute. Oh and don’t forget finding the perfect playlist and then actually remembering to bring your headphones along with you to the gym.

Did that tire anyone else out?? The loop hole is to trick your brain into burning fat without it thinking you are exerting effort.

  1. Take the stairs instead of the elevator
  2. Park further to your job and walk to work.
  3. Do 20 squats before bed.
  4. Buy a jump rope and actually use it.

4. Food is not your enemy


I know its easy to blame food as your jeans fit tighter and tighter, but food is not your enemy. Its actually your greatest ally in your quest to get your body back.

Food is actually your greatest ally in your quest to get your body back Click To Tweet

Understanding your metabolism is the first step. Not only does our metabolisms slow down as we grow older but if you are a #MotherlandMogul, then your days have also gotten busier. AND making matters worse, majority of us spend our work day sitting behind a desk, we are rarely in motion in our 9-5.

This highlights the importance of eating well. Its the one thing we can do consistently, so do it well.

5. You are the only one keeping you from your #BodyGoals


I know I started this off by blaming my alma mater, but the truth is ladies, we are the only ones who could get our bodies back.

The main thing to remember is that you are your own body goals Click To Tweet

You hold the key (DJ Khaled voice). And the main thing to remember is that you are your own body goals. You should love your body so much that you only want YOUR body back. Not Teyana Taylor’s body, even though she is all kind of goals right now.

This is how you get into the fashion industry fast

These are skills you should acquire to make a resounding break in the fashion industry Click To Tweet

I remember telling my mom that I wanted to be a fashion designer and she looked at me weirdly and told me that I had to choose a degree program that would land me a well-paying job. She thought fashion design wasn’t a proper fit for me, however I thought differently. Eventually, I decided to study media and society studies as this was close to fashion.

I am no fashion expert by qualification however my love and passion for fashion qualifies me to point out what I believe you should acquire in order to make a resounding break into the fashion industry.

1. Fashion is about PASSION

You have all watched a romantic soap that left you teary and caught in the bubble of the love affair portrayed. I have personally have also fallen in love with the heartthrob (and I am sure a lot of us are guilty of this).

The passion that exudes between these characters actually drives haters to bring them apart, because their love will be flawless. This is the same passion you should exhibit when you want to venture into the fashion industry.

Passion gives you the hope you need in asserting that you will compete against existing huge brands such as Louis Vuitton and Chanel and become a household name. It’s what has driven Mustafa Hassanali, a renowned Tanzanian designer who is a doctor by qualification to become a pan-African designer behind the Swahili Fashion Week.

Passion makes you resilient and helps overcome whatever hurdles that you may encounter. Passion is an attribute you should possess, I think it is essential for a fashion breakthrough.

2. Determination

Determination yields results as the fashion industry can be frustrating. It needs self-driven attitudes that are built on determination and willpower.

It is no secret why determined individuals always succeed. They are unstoppable and don’t allow negativity to thrive within and around them. This skill I believe is essential for you to make a breakthrough in the fashion industry.

It is essential for young designers to build on your drive and multiply it by keenly building your brand through effort and determination. With these skills, despite the negative feedback you might receive from fashion critics, your brand remains alive.

A good example of a determined designer is Archel Bernard a Liberian designer who did not let financial setbacks hinder her dream for setting up a successful fashion business.

Be a determined fashion designer and you will soar to great heights.

You should market your brand exuding both your passion and determination Click To Tweet

3. Marketing your brand

How you market your brand should exude both your passion and determination. This is to win over potential suppliers of your brand. As a less known brand in an already overwhelmed fashion world, it is quite vital for you to market your brand effectively.

It’s at this point you have to sell your idea and show belief in it. If you are unsure, it weakens your stance.

There are several products manufactured worldwide that cause long-term health complications. Yet the way these products are marketed exceeds the negative publicity associated with them. Think about that.

4. Believe in yourself and your brand

Trust yourself and that you will make it despite the opinions channelled your way; appreciative, negative or hostile.

Belief in oneself is simple, you have what it takes to become the best you and this is essential to break through the fashion industry. In believing in your brand, you resonate with unimaginable force that not only keeps you going but also makes others solidly trust in your line.

Fashion designers like Farai Simoyi exude confidence and character. Before being senior designer of Nicki Minaj’s line, she worked for Beyonce as head denim designer for her and her mother’s line.

Farai’s example shows that determination should be a factor that motivates your dream. The drive you possess can rub off on the right people you need to catapult your fashion design dream.

Patience produces character and this world needs an individual with tonnes of character Click To Tweet

5. Perseverance

Patience produces character and the world we live in needs an individual with tonnes of character. Established brands did not start from the top, they built their way and came out strong.

If people fail to understand the concept being presented to them, don’t give up. Instead, implement the skills mentioned above and patiently await because perseverance eventually pays off.

Patience is a virtue, remember Rome wasn’t built in a day. Let that be a motivation for your eventual breakthrough in the fashion industry.

6. Educate your fashion abilities

With a little education, you cannot go wrong. Building a fashion business needs knowledge, you need to understand how the industry operates.

Though most of us think fashion is just about cutting cloth and recreating trends, there’s more to it. Research your fashion venture and acquire the business acumen that guarantees profit. Produce a sound business plan to lure and keep investors.

This applies to all fashion enthusiasts, educate yourself, perfect your fashion abilities and refine your fashion sense, go on to create your own line and manage your fashion business.

These are the skills I think one needs to venture into the fashion industry. If you feel I left something out feel free to hit me up.

Juanita Abrahams: Set yourself apart & stay true to yourself

juanita abrahams

Blogging has taken the world by storm, whether it’s done as a hobby or as a job, some are creating careers out of it! When fashion bloggers first hit our screens on E! Entertainment, it gave some of us a little insight  into what fashion bloggers actually do. We now know a bit of how they work with various clients and create an income through doing something they love.

So, still on my quest to explore various fashion-related careers, I got chatting with Juanita Abrahams, the Creative Director of Juan Leo. Juanita is a BCom Accounting student, who is currently completing her under grad, in pursuit of the esteemed CA (SA) designation. She is also a SAICA articled clerk and trainee accountant.

Please tell us a little more about yourself

I am also a SAICA articled clerk and trainee accountant, currently completing my third year of articles in pursuit of the esteemed CA (SA) designation.

From an early age, my hobbies included; design, art, photography and dance —and I dabbled in all of these for many years and often still do.

So let’s fast-forward to 2016, where that interest in design, art and photography has fully formed into what we know as Juan Leo Lifestyle, your blog, please tell us a little more about it

I’ve always loved fashion and design, and became quite involved in creative arts from an early age so the next befitting step after being exposed to so many opportunities within the industry and similar industries was to start a blog, which looked much easier at first.

We started out as “Faith, Fashion & Living Fabulously” which encompassed everything I believed in and loved. But my real goal was to build a different type of fashion community —one which isn’t focused solely on looking or feeling good, but one that focuses on others as well.

And naturally, the brand progressed and we underwent some rebranding of sorts and landed up as Juan Leo Lifestyle. It hasn’t lost the meaning or purpose of the brand —focusing on faith and fashion with a greater purpose. It basically refers to not competing, but offering something more to the world and distinguishing ourselves from everyone else.

I must say, that’s rather unique, combining fashion and faith, so how do you marry the two?

Through networking and building relationships with businesses, companies and local entrepreneurs. It’s about ensuring the cycle of giving back never stops.

Although, we do focus on fashion and lifestyle aspects, we retain being a platform for a purpose and our current focus is on being a support to local designers, entrepreneurs and start-up businesses, and not just in Cape Town.

We’ve identified gaps in the market and I think it’s quite obvious that many individuals have the dream and the talent, but lack knowledge in terms of social media and marketing themselves and that’s why they struggle or they become stagnant in the growth of their business. And that’s where we come in.


I think that’s quite important, considering I’ve come across many companies that position themselves as ‘being there for the small businesses’ but when it comes to working with them, they shy away. How do you help small business?

We’ve also recently started Pedro by Juan Leo —a menswear fashion and styling division aimed at the modern man.

I have wanted to branch out for a while and we’ve finally found the perfect team for this. This allows us to reach even more start-up companies and brands, and also impact a greater audience.

So on one end, you’re driving traffic to smaller brands and business, how does the other end work? How does a blogger create income through blogging?

I would say I wouldn’t know because this isn’t our first priority but bloggers do charge per post, or per Instagram photograph posted and this is dependent on your followings. This is by means of sponsored posts primarily.

Many bloggers with a huge influence can be seen being hired for commercials/advertising, campaigns with big retailers and the likes —there’s opportunity everywhere if done right.

I’m sure bloggers get paid for every little thing under the sun that you haven’t even imagined yet —from public appearances to promoting garments at an event and online and everywhere in between and I’m not too sure how I feel about it. I believe you should stand by your brand and quality requires payment.

Juan Leo’s main income would be from;

  • Brand photography
  • Content creation
  • Fashion photography for other bloggers (and it’s my favourite! Passion drives everything)

Would you say that blogging is a viable career choice?

Career? Perhaps. Viable —I’m not sure.

Blogging itself can become a full-time job if you’re prepared to make a few huge sacrifices in the beginning and are also prepared to stand your ground when it comes to payment. Your following and content quality play a huge role in securing work —real work.

I’ve watched many bloggers or creatives evolve and boom straight to the top without realizing it. Once you reach a certain point, managing a full time job and a blog is quite time-consuming and if blogging is your passion, it will eventually pay the bills while you’re having fun and doing what you love.

Would I do it? Yes and no. ‘Yes’, because I love it, and ‘no’, because there’s more to blogging than just looking good and showing off a lifestyle. I’ll blog and do everything else that isn’t shown online —that makes me happy.

Bloggers move through ranks in my opinion (and if no one has noticed). It starts off as a blogger, and evolves into everything from a digital or fashion influencer to a brand ambassador, social media marketers and eventually lands positions on radio or TV.

It’s amazing how the ripple effect just takes over.


With such opportunities that can come from being a blogger, I can imagine that there would be an influx of new bloggers —and with so many, there would surely be some common traits and similarities amoung them. What would you say is popular or trending among blogs today?

I’ll be frank —I don’t like following trends and I rarely keep updated with them.

I’m more about the timeless things and if I so happen to purchase something that’s “trending” —cool, if not, oh well. Blogs have become such a popular thing in their own right that you truly have to differentiate yourself from the crowd while staying true to who you are and what your brand is about.

Everyone is entirely crazy about beauty, contouring (which definitely isn’t one of my things), the same clothes and the same shoe brands and styling them. It’s enjoyable content, but very few have things that stand out.

Of course we’re also all updated with the latest press releases, but I think more people should make it their own. Maybe we should ask “what’s not trending among blogs today” and we will find a better answer.

Well said, I also like the idea of being different and doing standing out, which in the long run, attracts your niche audience and develops your brand’s identity. So with that said, how would you say that bloggers can set themselves apart?

To set yourself apart your brand should;

  • Stay true to who you are and make sure people can relate to your content. I don’t easily share personal moments with friends and family, just because it’s my special time but showing a piece of that side at times makes you appear more “human”, approachable and influences the way other brands view your influencing power.
  • Have a goal, a vision and an aim. You can’t take on every job that comes your way, or work with every brand. Only do what works for you and represents who you are and what you want to portray. It’s not always easy to say no, but sometimes we have to. My team reminds me of this from time to time because when I see opportunity I jump head first.
  • Also, offer something no one else is offering, or offer it in a specific way, for example, don’t just do make up and beauty —do it in a funny way, create your own trends, teach something new that you created instead of copying the trends out there, create your own unique statement garments.
  • Work with brands that people haven’t heard of, and build them up. Someone will notice, somewhere.
  • Think about what sets you apart as an individual and do that. That’s where your career begins.


Where do you see your blog in the next 1-2 years?

Our short term goals —grow our social media and take it to new heights while staying true to our vision. This would not only drive the opportunities for our team/blog but also allow us to expand to help more people.

My big dream is to own a media house of sorts or a boutique —a unique one known for fashion, film, photography, media, writing and design. Everything I love all rolled into one.

We’re also focusing on expanding Pedro by Juan Leo on a greater scale and will soon start designing our own key pieces. Regardless of what we do, I hope that the next two years sees us helping more people than we ever imagined, and being lifestyle changers for the world.

We’ve got quite a few business ideas in the mix, and although I’m dying to share it, let the audience watch this space.

Other South African blogs you can check out, which happen to be some of Juanita’s favourites include;

  1. Fashion Breed by Aqeelah Harron-Ally
  2. Birdline Blog by Nadia Jaftha (my absolute fav!)
  3. Baked the Blog by Aisha Baker
  4. Just Jade Blog by Jade Robertson 
  5. Qaanita Orrie

They all have something different to offer audiences, and although they appear similar they inspire me for different things.