Kidnapping – My Story

There is a harrow moment of my life, one that leaves an indelible print of trauma in my heart. It is one of those moments in one’s life sojourn that are better forgotten. Unlike the usual experiences that are either centred on regrets or shame, mine came with blood, occultic brash and near death! Nigeria has become enslaved to the menace called kidnapping ever since the act grew prominence in the Niger Delta region, few years ago.

It has since then established foothold in the South East, North (predominantly amongst terrorist groups like Boko Haram and Fulani Herdsmen) and South West regions of the country. According to NYA International, a United Kingdom-based global risk and crisis management consultancy, Nigeria sits comfortably at the fourth position in global index of countries in the world with the highest number of kidnapping cases in 2016, accounting for a quarter of all reported kidnapping cases across the world.

The report indicated that with the increasing level of poverty, unemployment and current belt-tightening economic posture of the country, kidnapping in Nigeria is expected to further increase if the government does not map out effective and creative security strategy to curb it. Most Analysts often calibrate kidnapping vertically around two clauses: family complicity and victims’ lack of self-security consciousness.

While these postulations capture clearly the dichotomy of the acts, it creates a lacuna for victims with experiences like mine. I left my friend’s mum house in Ijebu-Ode around 6:30pm to get something across the street. It was my second year in the University and my friends and I had decided to spend the weekend in town with the family of one of us who happens to be from my school town and resides there.

As most people who attended public institutions will tell you, school life is not always filled with fun and fanfare and for some of us who were born without a silver spoon (apologies to Eddie Iroh) the task of surviving becomes primarily our business. After series of days surviving on cassava flakes with groundnut, 30 naira bread and 20 naira beans, concoction rice often taken with just a mixture of oil, grounded pepper and maggi amongst other self-conceived survival models, of which my friends may ‘lynch’ me should I ever let out, we departed Ijagun for Ijebu-Ode.

My friend’s mum is one of the most wonderful women I have ever come across. She showed us great care and more than often feeds us beyond satisfaction without any clause of duty attached. When it was time to go back to school, I stayed back to attend the weekly choir practice (yes, I used to be a chorister) while others left for school, the next day lecture was for an elective course I do not take. As I crossed the road to the next street, a strange man walked towards me to ask what says the time.

Politely I responded after checking my phone but alas, that was the last I remembered. Have you ever been in a situation where you are watching a Nollywood movie and it seems the producer collected the script of your life to act on? The next time I gained flimsy consciousness, I was in a dark room with red candles lightening it up. There were men surrounding me with red wrappers round their waist and another directly in front of me. I was on my knees and while I made great effort to scream for help neither my lips nor my tongue answered me.

I was not only dumb but practically immobile. After few minutes or hours (I still cannot say precisely) I was rounded up and dragged out. When I opened my eyes I was in the hospital, it was there I was informed that I came back home around 6:00am the next day with cloths wore inside out and laying face flat on the doorway. How I got there I still cannot fathom till date but one thing I am forever sure of is that my survival on that day had nothing to do with any mortal man.

Today I am alive, hale and hearty but same cannot be said of thousands whose lives have been cut short by these men of evil. While many may attribute my survival to divine intervention or as my late grandmother puts it: ‘Madarikan’ – an inborn metaphysical bulletproof against forces of darkness and harm, I will forever live with the memories that comes with that moment.

The menace called kidnapping has continued to escalate across the country unabated despite continuous assurances from security agencies. In most cases officers of law have been arrested as either having taken part in the operations or act as consultant to the kidnappers. Beyond the media hype and photo ops nothing comes up from the investigation as it often treated in the cult of esprit de corps.

Elected and appointed public office holders have also fallen short of their oaths of office which includes inter alia the protection of lives and properties. Huge security votes are rather spent on procurement of choice properties for concubines and Paris shopping for families rather than equip the security agencies to be more effective. Politicians now prefer to pay ransoms to kidnappers than have the news of such act expose the inefficiency of the security under their watch.

While crime in its entire form cannot be whipped away, it is important the vices encouraging it are reduced drastically. Ask families who have had their loved ones kidnapped; nothing kills hope more than when the police discreetly encourage them to pay the ransom.Read more at:bridesmaid dresses australia | formal dresses australia


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Engineering a new style

The Jessica bra was designed by Sophia Berman and Laura West, co-owners of Trusst Lingerie. The Lawrenceville residents wanted to create a bra for fuller-busted women. Using physics and engineering principles, the two have replaced the underwire with a 3D support structure that offers a better and more comfortable level of support. It offers fuller coverage, with molded foam cups that are lined with moisture-wicking, anti-microbial fabric. This style retails for $98 and is available at the showroom located at 5125 Penn Ave., Garfield and at trusstlingerie.com.

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Sophia Berman and Laura West support each other and all women.

The friends are co-founders of Trusst Lingerie, a company that's created a completely new system of bra support for fuller-busted women using the same engineering principles used to support some bridges and architectural structures.

Berman and West, of Lawrenceville, who both attended Carnegie Mellon University, zeroed in on the truss, which is not only the basis of the design, but also the inspiration for the company name. Trusses are a series of triangular-shaped structures that connect to help distribute weight across a broader area, as opposed to a single point.

This feature was especially useful in designing the patent-pending Breast Advanced Support Technology system, because redistributing breast weight over a broader area was key in reducing the strain on the shoulders and back.

“Trusst bras work hard to reduce the pressure a fuller-busted woman commonly feels on her back and shoulders,” Berman says. “The BAST system redistributes breast weight, supporting more from underneath than that of a traditional underwire. Therefore, rather than focusing on the pain and discomforts her current bras put her through, this woman can go about her day knowing that her bra is supporting her.”

Frustrated by the lack of support and style options available for women with fuller busts, Berman and West used their backgrounds as industrial designers to do something about it. In 2014, they began work on the BAST system that supports up to 80 percent of breast weight from underneath the bust.

By placing the support around the core, the bra straps are supporting significantly less weight, leading to fewer shoulder and back pains. This system is embedded directly into the cup, eliminating poking and discomfort commonly associated with underwires.

With less strain also comes less shoulder dents and better posture, Berman says. Without a rigid underwire, these bras also eliminate the discomfort caused by wires poking out of the bra and digging into the skin.

“Our bras help women with large chests by taking away the pain points associated with traditional underwired bras,” West says. “They support more by placing the weight of the bust onto the core of the body, reducing shoulder and back pain. There are no wires to pinch and poke on the side of your ribcage, as well.”

Berman's and West's collective experiences, along with those of hundreds of women who have shared their stories, have helped inform and inspire each step in the design process. Their mission is to create a bra for support as well as one that makes a woman feel more beautiful and confident in her own skin.

To get the company rolling, the two utilized East Liberty-based AlphaLab Gear, which helps accelerate the growth of promising startup technology companies in the region. Trusst Lingerie received seed funding and mentorship from AlphaLab.

Their motto is: “As women, we believe it is important to support each other, and we can't wait to support you.”

The Trusst bras really are different, says Judy P. Masucci, owner of Levana Bratique in Pine, which carries bras for all women and specialized bras in hard-to-find sizes, including the Marjory.

“Everyone makes an underwire, but their support is a bridge … like a platform,” she says. “So it will fit differently and give better support.”

Berman and West approached Masucci when they were doing their research. A bra is something you wear everyday for many hours, and the best fitting undergarments are important to make your clothes fit better, Masucci says.

“They are two local women who found a need and a way to address that need with technology,” Masucci says. “They did their research. The correct bra can be life-changing.”

It has been for Danielle Skiles of Crafton.

“This Trusst bra changed my life,” Skiles says. “The support of this bra is amazing. I was so excited to try it. My clothes fit a lot better. I feel better about myself. It eliminates back pain, especially because I am on my feet all day working retail and modeling.”

Trusst Lingerie is at 5125 Penn Ave., Garfield. All three styles are available online and in the showroom in December. Bra fittings also are available.Read more at:purple formal dresses


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Blake Lively's

Selena Gomez

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Singer/actress Selena Gomez wishes she could switch hair with Blake Lively because has perfect, "effortless" tresses.

The Come & Get It star was named the brand ambassador for Pantene hair products last year (15), but she insists she would love to have Blake's look.

"I've never met her, but I just love her hair," she tells Elle magazine. "I think she's got beautiful, effortless hair. I think she's super beachy."

The 24-year-old is also a big fan of Rachel McAdams' changing looks.

"I also really love, love, love Rachel McAdams, and the reason why I love her hair is because she can always change it up, and she can always kind of... I don't know," she says. "If you think about it from Wedding Crashers to Mean Girls to The Notebook, she's always changing her hair. It's like short and long and beautiful. She's kind of classy that way. Those are two people that are not my friends, but I love them, and I think they have really good hair."

As for her own hair, Selena likes to skip washes for a couple days to keep her tresses healthy.

"It's actually not necessarily great to wash it all the time because I've just never been that way," she explains. "...I feel like with my hair it gets better every day when it's kind of a little dirty, so I'm one of those people - which I have to thank my mum and dad for because they have really thick hair. Other than that, I just do the same thing... I don't do conditioner. I feel like I do maybe every three days I'll kind of... wash my hair."Read more at:formal dress shops sydney


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Elemental showcase wows guests

Nelson Mandela Bay designer Jason Kieck once again wowed the audience at his annual fashion showcase, Elemental , at the Boardwalk Convention Centre last Saturday.

The extensive Elemental collection of Jason Kieck Designs was inspired by the four elements: of nature: earth, fire, water and air.

It also featured celebrity guests such as Ryk Neethling, Dale Steyn, Armand du Plessis and former Miss South Africa Bernelee Daniels, and drew the who’s who of the city, including new mayor Athol Trollip.

Going into the design process, Kieck said he started planning the fashion extravaganza straight after the success of last year’s show, Belle Epoque show.

“Each element has its own characteristics and my first step was identifying fabric, colours and finding shades and hues that work well with the elements,” Kieck said.

Kieck said he began crafting the dresses in February and designed and made the garments for each model in between creating orders for customers.

In terms of fire, Kieck said it was a constantly changing element as it could go from providing light to a raging fire, bright colours, heat and flames and when it came to air, his thoughts were of purity; for earth, he brought in animal prints, flora and fauna.

For Kieck’s stunning white feathered show-stopper, the designer partnered up with Mohair South Africa and created a strapless dresses which he said combined both earth and air.

The witty Ian von Memerty MC-ed the sold-out gala evening which was nothing short of spectacular with fire machines and trees on stage to portray the elements.

The show was held in aid of the non-profit organisation Igazi Foundation which promotes awareness of hematological cancer and blood diseases, and an auction held by the 2 Sisters Auctioneers raised nearly almost R170000.

Kieck said the night raised a total of R250000, most of it coming from the auction and ticket sales.

“As an organiser, I couldn’t have hoped for a better outcome. The number of tables increased to 54 tables this year and how we can even do better next year. I’m already thinking of ideas for next year’s event!” Kieck said.

The Elemental creations now return to his studio, where they will be on sale at his studio.Read more at:bridesmaid dress | evening dresses australia


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Italy’s Aeolian Islands

THERE IS A STONE mermaid by the pools at Hotel Raya on Panarea — her face turned up to the sun, her breasts thrust toward the expansive blue of the Tyrrhenian Sea — who instructs the visitor on how best to spend time here: basking in the astounding beauty of Italy’s Aeolian Islands.

If the mermaid were to open her eyes, she would see Stromboli — the backdrop for Antonioni’s 1960 film L’Avventura — which still has an active volcano, smoking in the distance.

If she were to turn around, she would notice the hot pink bougainvillea and yellow lantana bursting on the rocky mountainside behind her.

On Panarea the soil is so fertile flowers explode from every crevice in the rock walls lining the narrow footpaths.

There are no cars, and chic tourists in flip-flops walk in a kind of happy, sunbaked daze between the brown-sand beach and the chamomile-scented hiking trails along the mountainside.

The sleepy residential fringe of the hamlet of Ditella curves around the island on the slopes above the harbour, smelling of hot stone and lemon trees, and punctuated by tiny six-vine vineyards.

The architecture — flat-roofed houses in white stucco, accented with sea-glass greens and blues — is unmistakably Mediterranean.

A hand-painted sign hanging outside the doctor’s house states his hours: a short while in the early morning, and then a shorter while in the afternoon. (Except on the days he takes off — there are several.)

Rustic glamour prevails on all of the Aeolian Islands, which were born from volcanic action in the cracks of a great plain at the bottom of the Tyrrhenian Sea.

Unlike their better-known neighbour Capri — a shopper’s paradise where the streets are lined with Gucci, Prada, and Missoni boutiques — there is little to acquire in the Aeolian Islands besides a tan.

When I visited in midsummer, though, I was continuously struck by how indulgent the simple life can feel.

At Hotel Raya, there were no televisions, the towels were well-worn and the doors to my room did not close properly — but then, who would ever want them shut?

I looked out at the sea meeting the sky, what Lawrence Durrell called “the horizon beginning to stain at the rim of the world”.

I suspected the view — and not the food — would be the main attraction at the restaurant Cusiritati, as the airy porch where diners sit overlooks the port.

But when six loquacious elderly Italian women — clearly regulars — were seated at a table nearby, my expectations rose.

I was not disappointed. I had never tried (or even heard of) scorpionfish, the prevailing catch during my stay on Panarea, but after tasting it grilled and garnished with capers, I became an avid convert.

Capers are common on the Aeolian Islands — piled on plates and growing wild along the roadside. After the bushes offer up their green buds, they produce otherworldly flowers: four white petals around a shock of purple-tipped filaments. They seemed to be everywhere I looked.

The next day, sunning myself on the deck next to the Raya’s quartet of thermal pools, I saw the same gaggle of older women, wearing big earrings and even bigger sunglasses, chatting, smoking, and laughing with the grande dame of Panarea, Raya founder Myriam Beltrami.

The hotel developed over time, first as a series of guest cottages that Beltrami and her late husband, the artist Paolo Tilche, built for visiting friends in the 1960s — over the years, Gianni Agnelli, Aristotle Onassis and the painter Francis Bacon had visited.

“The Raya,” Beltrami says, “is for people who have too much, and want to find themselves.”

Beltrami is in her late 80s now, and, sitting topless under the sulphurous water cascading down from the mountainside, she was every bit as uninhibited as her hotel’s stone mermaid.

Later, dressed in a buoyant jumpsuit, Beltrami shook her finger at a pool boy — she remains very much in charge and her standards are exacting.

The rooms are understated but spotless. Breakfast is a simple feast of organic produce, tasty omelettes and perfect espresso.

But the Raya is hardly reserved for the aged or the sedate: Beltrami is also a woman who understands that times change.

In August, techno music echoes through the jasmine-scented night, when the Raya’s legendary dance parties are at their peak, attracting the likes of Kate Moss.

If Panarea, the smallest island in the archipelago, is the fun little ingénue of the Aeolian Islands, Lipari — which means “large, fertile” — is her big, slightly worn grandmother: She’s definitely seen a thing or two.

Looming over the main port is a massive steep-sided, flat-topped stone outcropping that has served since the Neolithic period as both watchtower and home for the islanders.

In its time, it was variously a Greek acropolis, Roman fort and, under Mussolini’s regime, both garrison and Fascist concentration camp.

Lipari is the largest of the Aeolian Islands, and the most industrial. In some ways, it is also the most interesting: There is evidence of real life being lived here, not just vacations being enjoyed. The port area and Canneto, farther north up the east coast, are bustling commercial hubs.

On the island’s western coast, orchards of Malvasia grapes line the mountainside over staggering views of neighbouring Salina.

It is worth the trip here just for the 19-mile drive around the island, which gives you an unrivaled sense of the relationship between all the islands in the Aeolian string: Alicudi, Filicudi, Salina, Panarea, Stromboli, Vulcano and mighty Lipari in the middle. I made that daring drive in a rented orange open-sided Citroën Méhari — a barely aggrandised go-cart. I quickly discovered the speedometer and indicator lights were purely ornamental, the roof was a plywood board lashed to the frame by zip ties and the headlights blazed like two fireflies in the night sky.

I somehow lived to see Salina, my next destination, known as the garden island of the Aeolian Islands.

It is the lushest of the volcanic cones, and thought by some to be the prettiest.

Well-maintained trails for hikers and ramblers wind around the island and rise steeply upward through vineyards and olive groves.

A strenuous four-hour hike starting amid the old buildings and chic boutiques on the cobbled main road of Santa Marina Salina climbs up through the forest to the top of Monte Fossa delle Felci, the islands’ highest point, which was surprisingly cool in the summer heat.

One sunbaked morning after a storm, I tried an easier route towards Paolo Noce in the hills above the small town of Lingua; for a heart-stopping second I shared the path with a three-foot-long olive-green Biacco snake as it slithered over my foot.

Volcanic rock terracing on the mountainside provided a foothold for ancient olive trees.

I had heard a rumour that the houses there, built by olive pickers for use during their harvests, were kindly left open all year to serve as refuge for hikers.

I scrambled down to what I presumed was one of these: a simple lime-washed building facing the sea with two blue-trimmed, perfectly round windows like eyes above the weathered lintel.

A well head incorporated into the thick retaining wall of the small patio revealed crystal clear water just below the surface.

The front door was unlocked and the single room inside was spotless but obviously inhabited.

A threadbare serge suit hung on the wall near an eggshell-blue kitchen table on which sat a bowl of fruit, an unwashed teacup and a spoon. A photo of a wizened old man looked out across the room from a shelf above the neatly made bed.

I closed the door carefully behind me, mentally rehearsing “I’m sorry” in Italian as I picked my retreat through the olive trees.

The hiking on Salina is hot and strenuous, and all around is the cool blue of the sea in the distance — a taunting reminder that swimming in the Mediterranean is one of the few things in life even better in reality than fantasy.

Some of the best swimming here can be found in the cliff-lined bay of Pollara, which served as the setting for the classic Italian film Il Postino: The Postman.

You can swim for hours across the bay or around the headland, and I was amazed to find that the deeper below the surface you go, the more cobalt the water looks.

Getting in required a certain amount of clambering, however, down a steep path that drops to a slipway rimmed with ancient boathouses built into the cliff face.

It’s far easier to access the water from Malfa, where the beach had boulders worn smooth as billiard balls by the sea.

Lifeguards in red T-shirts rent out Li-Los, kayaks and umbrellas, then serve as waiters at the tiny, improbable beach bar, Maracaibo.

I was surprised to find my plastic cup full of fantastically crisp local white wine.

There was no shortage of sun, but the Aeolian Islands are named for the Greek keeper of the wind, Aeolus, for good reason.

Summer tempests blast suddenly across the ocean and the accompanying swell expends its energy with surprising force on the shoreline.

I took refuge back at the Signum, a hotel composed of a wonderfully eclectic collection of lime-plaster cottages with its own library, lemon grove, and rambling terrace — a perfect place to pass a late afternoon drinking Negronis and watching the rain blow in across the sea.

That night, I made my way to the best restaurant on the island, which chef Carla Rando operates out of her home.

She sent her barefoot son to meet me at the T-junction near her house above the port of Rinella.

He guided me back along an unmarked road, and then to a table on a gravel terrace in a yard lined with roses.

Along with the dozen other pilgrims who’d made the journey, I gazed out from the hilltop at the lights of Sicily in the distance.

Rando’s husband, the sommelier, directed me to a blue-labeled bottle of Didyme, a distinctly dry version of Malvasia from the local Capofaro estate in Malfa.

I had been labouring under the misperception that Malvasia was always a dessert wine, but it was a perfect, bracing accompaniment to fried zucchini blossoms and oily grilled shrimp, my first taste of Rando’s sublimely simple home cooking.

At the recommendation of my waitress — Rando’s denim-cut-off-clad teenage daughter, on summer break from her high school in — Lipari — my next course was a springy homemade tagliatelle with fried eggplant and, of course, capers: zingy and satisfying. Finally came a local spatola fish baked in breadcrumbs spiked with orange rind.

“This is real Aeolian cooking,” the daughter told me, her eyes lighting up every time she described an ingredient.

The flavours were bright, sometimes subtle, but never fussy — like the Aeolian Islands themselves. Life there is laconic and sumptuous without seeming extravagant.

Pleasure came not in the form of acquisition but in encounters with the salty sea, the fragrant mountain trails, the local people who seemed to view tourists not as a nuisance, but as novitiates with whom to share their culture.

In my next life, I rather hope to come back as a stone merman, perched for eternity on this blue-green edge of the earth.Read more at:elegant evening dresses | black formal dresses


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Diabetic Nick Jonas

Diabetic singer/actor Nick Jonas plans his workouts around data generated from blood tests.

The 24-year-old star was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 13 and although he wears a Dexcom Continuous Glucose Monitor to keep check on his blood sugar levels, strenuous workouts still pose a health risk.

And, as Nick prepares to get ripped for his role in U.S. TV series Kingdom, his personal trainer, Gregg Miele, has to ensure there are stabilising nutrients at hand whenever the singer and actor visits him at his private Los Angeles health club.

"We always keep glucose in the gym," Miele explains in the December (16) issue of Men's Fitness magazine. "We're always prepared for that. And, as for diet, we got his blood work done and put him on a specific blood-type diet to make sure he wasn't eating any inflammatory foods that would hinder his goals or set us back."

Nick is elated his exercise coaches are so attentive when it comes to monitoring his insulin and glucose levels, as he is very disciplined about maintaining his overall wellness.

"When I'm on the road, I always make healthy choices," he notes. "I don't have a meal plan delivered to me, but I know what not to eat. I'm always cautious about the food I put in my body."

In behind-the-scenes video footage of Nick's Men's Fitness cover shoot, he explains his love of eating nutrient-rich food even further, adding, "You just feel better when you put nutrition into your daily life. It's a whole process."Read more at:unique formal dresses | evening dresses australia


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7 Offbeat Wedding Rituals

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Indian weddings are known for their flamboyance and extravagance, delicious flavours and vibrant colors. While these features put them under one umbrella, they are diverse and unique in their own ways. Every Indian wedding is a new experience, and every experience a new surprise. Here's a list of a few unusual wedding rituals in India that are bound to take you by surprise.

1. Welcoming With Potatoes & Tomatoes

A small community of Uttar Pradesh, called Sarsaul believes that the relationships that begin on a bad note, culminate in love. This popular belief leads to a ritual where the baarat and the groom are greeted with potatoes & tomatoes, followed by a round of abuses, instead of welcoming them with the usual flowers and arati.

2. Marrying A Tree

Astrology, horoscopes and stars have always had a major influence on Hindu weddings, and can be the reason for a lot of unusual wedding rituals. It is believed that a woman born under a certain astrological combination of Mars and Saturn is a manglik and can cause her husband's death. She is thus made to marry a tree before she marries the groom so as to break the curse.

3. Balancing Earthen Pots

This ritual is very popular in certain communities of Bihar. The bride is made to balance earthen pots on her head while she seeks blessings from the elders simultaneously. This symbolizes how well the bride can maintain the balance in the new family and responsibilities of the new life.

4. Releasing Fish

According to a popular belief in Manipur, evil spirits should be released before any new beginning. The bride and the groom have to release a taki fish together in a pond. It's considered to be a good omen for the new couple if the fish move side by side.

5. Keeping The Bride Hidden

This is a very infrequent tradition followed by some tribal communities in the north-eastern part of India. The bride is kept from interacting with anyone for a year after the wedding. The marriage is then approved by the senior members of the community followed by a grand event to celebrate the wedding.

6. Role-Playing A Sanyasi

The Tamil Brahmins believe in enlightening the groom with the pre-requisite knowledge about married life, so as to make him realize the importance of it. The groom plays a sanyasi (mendicancy) and changes his mind a few times before sitting at the altar. The father in law then convinces the groom to take up grahastam (family life), as it's one of the most important phases of life.

7. Breaking Earthen Lamps

The Sindhi community believes in destroying the past to mark the beginning of the new phase of life for the couple tying the knot. An anklet is tied around the right foot of the bride and the groom, followed by pouring of oil on their heads by seven married women. The couple then wears new shoes and breaks an earthen lamp with their feet, symbolizing the destruction of past. The ritual is popularly known as saanth.Read more at:http://www.marieaustralia.com


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Kylie Jenner

Kylie Jenner has a "boys' room" in her house.

The 19-year-old beauty - who is dating Tyga - has been treating fans to a tour of her luxury Californian abode on Snapchat, and among one of the unusual features in her mansion is a dedicated mancave.

While it is unclear exactly what the room looks like, a Snapchatted image revealed a coffee table boasting multiple copies of adult publication Playboy and a glass ashtray.

Kylie also showed off her vast art collection, and also the bedroom reserved just for her dogs Norman and Bambi.

The room boasts a plush bed, fancy fireplace and even statues of the pooches.

It's not known if her other puppy Penny, who was given to her by her best friend Jordyn Woods for her recent birthday in August, has a separate room or whether she shares with Kylie's little sausage dog Ernie in a different area of the expensive house.

The dogs also have their own Instagram profile, which features photos of them, and they regularly feature on Kylie's Snapchat.

Meanwhile, the blonde beauty recently bought a sprawling $4.5 million four-acre property next door to the $6 million luxury home she has in Hidden Hills, California, which she bought in May, meaning she now has an $8 million joint compound.

Her estate agent Tomer Fridman said recently: "To have this is a rarity. She turned this into a trophy estate because it's two separate houses, but she owns both of them and they are next to each other in a private drive."Read more at:http://www.marieaustralia.com/formal-dresses | cheap formal dresses australia


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Littlest Angels

When Rose Ann Milbert started repurposing wedding gowns into burial gowns for stillborn babies and preemies who passed away, she never imagined the overwhelming amount of positive feedback she would receive.

“We provide some comfort for families at a time of loss or about a time they are about to lose their baby by giving them something to remember their baby by,” Milbert said. “It is a keepsake for them.”

Milbert, the founder of Littlest Angels, has been providing local families with precious moments and peace of mind since May 2014.

“Being able to keep the dress, it is that reminder, because when you go through that experience, one of the main things is you’re afraid you’re going to forget what the baby looks like or forget that time with them,” said Aimee Robeson, of Butler, who lost her daughter, Eliana Hope Roberson, on July 12.

“So, the dress for us—and in the future going forward—if you miss her or you just kind of want to go back in that moment, you can pull that dress out . . . I think just having that keepsake helps you not to forget.”

The dress gave Eliana life, Robeson said.

“It enabled us to still have that after birth experience and see her look so beautiful,” she said.

A neonatal intensive care nurse at Magee-Women’s Hospital at UPMC, Milbert decided to utilize her talents as a seamstress and provide families with something to ease the suffering. She was inspired by a service similar at NICU Helping Hands, a Texas-based foundation that redesigns donated wedding and communion gowns to fit babies who have suffered premature deaths in hospitals.

Milbert discovered the need when she heard that families often have trouble finding dresses small enough to fit the small babies. She said families were often forced to shop for burial gowns at doll stores, which could be a very painful experience.

“I started it just at Magee, where I work. And then it just started spreading to a lot of other hospitals,” she said. “It was about six or seven months into it before I decided to name it so people had something tangible to go to.”

Losing a little one can be a devastatingly traumatic event for families, but Milbert believes that her efforts can help them through the pain.

“You’re going through this tragedy and you can’t really think these things through,” said Erin Prem of the North Hills. “It brought us comfort in that hospital room that very day and now it is bringing us comfort [at home].”

Prem’s daughter, Mary Elizabeth, was stillborn on May 19, 2015. Prem calls herself a “fortunate recipient” of Milbert’s work.

“It is a symbol of our daughter and a way to talk about her to people in our home,” she said.

Littlest Angels is Milbert’s project, but she works with a team of 8 to 10 other volunteer seamstresses, mostly nurses who help deconstruct wedding, communal and bridal dresses and repurpose them into the gowns for families in need.

“[The parents] are so excited with how the baby looks, it gives them such a moment of peace,” Milbert said. “And for the littlest babies, that’s probably the only piece of clothing they’ll ever wear because they’re so tiny.”

Milbert originally offered her services just for patients at Magee Women’s hospital, but since its inception, Littlest Angels has received over 800 gowns, so they now provide their dresses to more than 20 hospitals. These hospitals include local Pittsburgh-area hospitals and ones in Hershey, Pa., Toledo, Ohio, and as far south as South Carolina.

“It has spread by worth-of-mouth. It just means so much to parents,” Milbert said. “They’ve told me they open the box, they look at the gown and they remember the short time they were able to see their baby wearing it and that just means so much. Being able to spread that to more families makes me very happy.”

Her honorable work has earned her some recognition. Milbert was recently nominated for Pittsburgh’s KDKA “Hometown Heroes” award.Read more at:cheap formal dresses australia | plus size formal dresses australia


Posted by yellow at 18:19Comments(0)TrackBack(0)


Could America

Lyndon Johnson's announcement of an end to the bombing of Vietnam whittled Richard Nixon down to almost nothing going into the 1968 election, yet Nixon still won. In 2000 the revelation that George W Bush had been arrested for drink-driving swung the polls toward Al Gore, but Bush still squeaked to victory via the electoral college.

This election's ambush has been taken by many to be the revelation that disgraced congressman Anthony Wiener may be mixed up in Hillary Clinton's email probe, and the outcome is the polls have for the first time swung in favour of Donald Trump. But for many seasoned presidential race watchers the real endgame surprise came last week when Donald Trump announced that it was finally time to "deploy" his secret weapon - Melania. While the Slovenia-born beauty had kept a fairly low profile in the race thus far, the time was now right, The Donald said, to let her loose in a "last ditch" effort to improve his standing with women. "She's amazing when she speaks. She's amazing - and it's not what she does," Donald said. "I think it's going to be big speeches, important speeches." Melania, who sat in on the interview, did look surprised by his announcement, responding with a startled "oh". Trump's October Surprise was news even to the surprise herself. But Melania quickly gathered herself and added that while her priority was their son, she would do whatever was needed to support her husband.

In some ways it would seem preposterous to be now counting on Melania to give the campaign an unexpected fillip. Before this past week she had, after all, already spoken publicly on her husband's behalf - in a speech at the Republican National Convention, which was roundly criticised for plagiarising parts of a speech Michelle Obama had given years earlier. In her first solo campaign appearance in Philadelphia on Thursday she emphasised "kindness, honesty, respect, compassion, charity, understanding, cooperation" - words not usually associated with her husband. "We must find better ways to honour and support the basic goodness of our children, especially in social media. It will be one of the main focuses of my work if I'm privileged enough to become your First Lady," she said. "I will also work hard to improve everyday life for women." Within moments there were those accusing her of plagiarising words spoken by another of Donald's exes - Marla Maples - but Melania seemed have acquitted herself well in smoothing her husband's rough edges.

But the wall-to-wall derision Melania faced then may actually play into her hands now. The American news cycle nourishes itself on twists and turns. If this stern-faced Trophy Wife can somehow summon a little eloquence and present her unlikely path from communist Yugoslavia to the brink of the White House as a relatable rags-to-riches fable she might just tip the electoral balance.

Hillary's supporters have underlined the fact that Melania's approval ratings have been pretty abysmal but many observers have noted that the last presidential consort who attracted comparable levels of opprobrium was Hillary herself. And that initial discomfort with Hillary probably stemmed from the fact that as a prospective First Lady she broke the mould - presenting herself as a career woman with opinions of her own, who wouldn't be staying at home to "bake cookies", as she remarked in an interview with Family Circle magazine.

The comment was considered shocking at the time - some saw it as an affront to America's homemakers - but Bill's subsequent two-term presidency meant that over the following decades the partners of many presidential candidates were careful to stake out their territories as distinctively modern women. By the time we got to Michelle Obama there was an expectation that the First Lady would be able to hold her own in public debate and have a lengthy list of pet causes.

Melania is being presented by some as a charming throwback, who will remake the broken mould. She herself has said she'd be a "traditional" First Lady, or, presumably, as traditional as one could be with those old girl-on-girl nude shots floating around.

"She'd be great at picking out the china patterns; she'd be a classic First Lady," Phillip Bloch, a stylist who has worked with both of the Trumps, told The Telegraph last week. It's telling perhaps that two months ago Melania quietly submitted her own cookie recipe to Family Circle magazine. Her submission, a spokesperson for the magazine said, is "very simple and seems traditionally Eastern European - dough rolled out and cut into the shape of stars".

Melania always had stars in her eyes. The 46-year-old grew up in Sevnica, a Slovenian town of a few thousand people best known for its picturesque castle and salami festival. Slovenia was in those years a part of Yugoslavia under Tito. Melania's father, a travelling car salesman, was "pretty successful" according to Donald, and her mother, a glamorous woman, drew patterns for children's clothes. Melania attended the Secondary School of Design and Photography in Ljubljana, living in an apartment her father owned. He had allegedly fathered a child out of wedlock and then fought attempts to claim child support all the way to the country's highest court, where he lost. Melania, however, was the apple of her father's eye.

When she was 17 a photographer spotted her and asked if she would be interested in modelling. She would go on to finish second place in a national modelling competition and work regularly on catwalks in Milan and Paris. By then she had changed her name from Knavs to Knauss to make it sound more Germanic. She moved to New York City in 1996, where, she recently reminisced, the rent of her first apartment was $2,500 (a fortune in the mid 1990s).

Her career went into overdrive in NYC and she appeared on the cover of many magazines. She first met Donald Trump at a party. He wanted her number but she took his instead. "I'm not star-struck," she said later. "We had a great connection, we had great chemistry, but I was not star-struck. And maybe he noticed that."

She and the garrulous mogul had an on-off relationship, which only really gained attention following a 1999 radio interview between Howard Stern and Melania which Mother Jones magazine described as "bizarre, creepy, and totally misogynistic". "Are you naked? Are you nude?" Stern asked her. "Almost," Melania replied. "Ahhh, "I've got my pants off already," Stern laughed. The Donald boasted to Stern about how his then girlfriend was "hot" and how good she looked in "a very small thong".

Their wedding in 2004 was attended by a galaxy of stars, including Puff Daddy and the Clintons (who Melania recently said did not give a wedding gift). The bride wore a $200,000 dress by Galliano for Dior. Their son, Barron, was born barely two years later and over the following years the bride would begin to eclipse even the other formidable Trump women. Ivana, who had famously served as the inspiration for Patsy in Absolutely Fabulous, was by now firmly consigned to the first wives' club. To the press, Marla Maples almost seemed like a strangely coiffed fever dream, so brief it was hard to believe she even happened. Ivanka, the real estate mogul's daughter with Ivana, was still barely out of college and had not yet built herself into a lifestyle brand.

Melania ruled the roost. She knows that for all of the envy her opulent lifestyle has attracted, there are many who have also pitied her for the endless drip of revelations about her husband. "Don't feel sorry for me," she told Anderson Cooper a few weeks ago, when the American newsman asked her about accusations that her husband groped numerous women. "People talk about me like, 'Oh, Melania, oh poor Melania'. People don't really know me. I'm very strong. I can handle everything. Don't feel sorry for me."

Some have noted that, on a personal level, she might not be completely up for the pressures of being First Lady; she recently stated that "politics and policy" were not her choice, but her husband's job. Perhaps Melania and American politics will learn to love each other, however. Because if the latest polls are to be believed, America, like Melania herself, may wake up next Wednesday morning and realise that she has been this election's ultimate surprise.Read more at:formal dress | bridesmaid dresses australia


Posted by yellow at 16:16Comments(0)TrackBack(0)


Whooping FPW

Karachi-The three-day extravaganza Fashion Pakistan Week (FPW) Winter Festive was a treat for the fashion forward and an opportunity for the designers to showcase their latest bridal collection.

The aim to do productiveness, zeal and willpower on this occasion was to transfigure the Pakistan’s fashion business idea.

It was an eye-catching and great chance to promote the culture of fashion industry to get fêted with people’s day to day life style by throwing the nationwide glamour of style created by endowed labels and designers.

FPW is not just about fashion.

It is completely an entertainment package powered by the star power of artistes coming in, as showstoppers and top models donning the latest collections.

It celebrated the outstanding achievements of all designers in the field of fashion.

The final day showcased a fantastic line of designers starting with the stunning Nida Azwer followed by Saira Rizwan, Deepak n Fahad, Republic Womenswear, Rozina Munib and Nauman Arfeen.

The fashion week opened up with the live performance of singer and writer Ali Sethi with his mesmerizing voice.

Ayesha Omar allured the ramp as the showstopper for Nida Azwer.

Neelam Munir brought her grace and style to Saira Rizwan’s Collection.

Sarwat Gillani and Fahad Mirza walked the ramp for Nauman Afreen and featured his collection ‘Pukar’.

Sarwat striked a pose in ‘Pukar’ breathtaking ensemble.

At the FPW event Pakistani fashion was at its best and all because of the great fashion designers, professional models and the fashion enthusiasts who proved to be a brilliant audience.

he PR and management of the event were done by Walnut Media.

Republic Womenswear

Republic Womenswear showcased their latest bridal collection titled ‘Mon Tresor’ meaning My Treasure.

Mon Tresor told a story of the Republic Woman and the treasure that lies within her heart.

Her beauty and sensuality reflecting through the garment she veils herself with.

This collection brought forth a new era woman who is individualistic, versatile and talented yet feminine and soft at heart.

‘Mon Tresor’ used embellishments that relived the art of Jacobean and Arrasene mediums of embroideries.

The silhouettes were grand and Victorian, inspired from the fashion houses of the 1950’s.

The color palette ranged from metallic, wild lavender, rose brown, shades of gold, tree top and black.

Saira Rizwan

Saira Rizwan showcased her latest bridal collection titled ‘Banaras’ at FPW 2016.

The collection was primarily traditional using darker shades over hues of red, coral, plum and blue.

Inspired by the Mughal era, the collection blended together architectural motifs with the brand’s signature traditional floral patterns while making use of embellishments like tilla embroidery, screen prints and velvet as the key elements.

Neelam Munir Khan showstopped for the designer.

Rozina Munib

The collection comprised of intricate embroidery of flora and feathered designs not forgetting the Crown Jewel.

The Soft pastel colors were the focus of this collection.

French Lame was the fabric used in most of the dresses.

Distinct shapes blend with elegant and rich fabrics, her creations were nothing short of exuberance and elegance.

The colors focused an exploration of natural hues, with shades that ranged from rich spices to soft pastels of 14 different series of combination.

Mukhtara Mai enthralled the audience by show stopping for the designer and received a standing ovation from the spectators.

Deepak n Fahad

Amidst an era where exquisitely detailed works imbue within the brightly hued fabrics have become a norm en vogue representation of class and status, the elegant regalia of ‘rind’ana’ spectral within its soothingly calm shades, simplistically detailed in its representation of tradition and trends alike, carried a poetically romantic casual appeal & yet depicting the treasured representation of a class apart in every facet, aspect and respect with utmost pristine.Read more at:evening wear | short cocktail dresses


Posted by yellow at 16:46Comments(3)TrackBack(0)


How to wear sheer fabric

WEARING summer outfits is not a gate pass to nudity and this seems to be a very controversial topic for many women.

The major challenge that ladies face in summer is outlining the balance between ‘reveal’ and ‘conceal’ in their outfits.

Ideally, summer outfits must have light material, room for aeration and colours that do not absorb heat. But this does not necessarily mean being semi-nude.

Today, the trendiest clothing material for ladies summer wear in Southern Africa is the sheer fabric.

Sheer fabric is a clothing material, which is made from thin thread or low density of knit that results in a semi-transparent and flimsy cloth.

If you want to wear sheer clothing material without the danger of being mistaken for a lady of the night, The Southern Times has some tips for you.

Bridget Jemwa, a fashion advisor from Harare, says the sheer trend is going strong and it is important for ladies to know how to wear them.

“Knowing how to wear sheer outfits can determine whether your outfit becomes sexy or sophisticated. The outfits from the material are mostly blouses, dresses and through-backs,” says Jemwa.

“To avoid drama and inappropriate appearance, one should prioritise a sheer shirt or blouse in a neutral colour that can be styled to create a range of different looks.

“Since the material can be too revealing, involving some smart layering creates a classy, dignified sexy look. For instance, one can wear a neutral sheer blouse with a colourful slip.”

She says it is also possible to wear a stylish bra or crop top underneath for a daring look.

“If one choses to wear a fashionable bra or crop top underneath a sheer top, it is more appropriate to wear the underneath garment of the same colour. For instance, one can pick a see-through black top and decide to wear a black bra or crop top underneath,” she adds.

“There are some cases where one feels like wearing a sleeveless sheer blouse in a formal environment, this should be done with a light blazer that rests its edge sleeve on the elbow.

“Alternatively, one can do over the top layering. Let’s say if you are wearing a long sleeved sheer shirt, you can throw over a stylish waist court.”

Zambian fashion designer, Veronica Nsansa, says sheer tops can be worn in casual wear with jeans.

“Sheer tops work well with a pair of jeans, shorts and denim skirts,” says Nsansa.

“The sheer fabric also comes in fancy summer dresses that go well with heels and peep toes.

“Sheer outfits can come with inner layers with glitters which are suitable for night wear.”

She discourages women from wearing colourful bras with sheer tops as it looks, well, ridiculous.Read more at:bridesmaid dresses | cocktail dresses


Posted by yellow at 16:30Comments(0)TrackBack(0)