China’s $185M football factory

Are you a football fan? I thought it was an interesting article, China is aiming at winning World Cup! Guangzhou, China (CNN) Rising from the early morning mist like a Disney castle sits the imposing face of what President Xi Jinping hopes is the future of Chinese football.

Evergrande Football School is front and center in the push to bring footballing glory to a nation currently languishing in the lower echelons of the sport.China’s leader has made no secret of his love for the “beautiful game.” He’s also made it clear he wants to see China qualify for, host and one day win, the World Cup.

Big spenders

Billions of dollars have been ploughed into the Chinese game in recent years, most notably in the form of high-profile marquee signings in its professional league. The country’s transfer record was broken four times in the space of a month during the close season, as Chinese Super League teams spent more during the winter transfer window than even their English Premier League counterparts.The likes of Brazilian midfielders Alex Teixeira and Ramires, as well as Colombian striker Jackson Martinez, stole the headlines as they left Europe for China in big-money deals. But there’s much more going on behind the scenes. n addition to buying players, several of China’s top clubs are pumping money into the grassroots side of the game — specifically youth football.But it isn’t purely for the love of the game. Experts say it’s all about buying favor with Xi.”To a Chinese billionaire, a few hundred million dollars is a small price to pay,” China football-watcher Rowan Simons says.

In just 10 months, and at a cost of $185 million, real estate company Evergrande turned an area of rural southern China into the biggest football school in the world. If all goes to plan, the kids learning to trap and pass a ball today could be the ones pulling on a first-team shirt and running out at Guangzhou Evergrande’s Tianhe Stadium in a few years. Sitting proudly outside the front gates of the school is a 40-foot tall replica FIFA World Cup trophy — a daily reminder of the ultimate goal.Fourteen-year-old He Xinjie left his family in neighbouring Fujian province almost four years ago to chase that dream.

He’s one of 2,600 boys and 200 girls from across the country — including Tibet, we’re proudly told by our guide — who live and breathe football here.The reason behind his desire to make it to Spain’s La Liga soon becomes apparent. Cries of “buen pase” and “gol” echo across the 50 pitches. Two dozen Spanish coaches, the result of a partnership with Real Madrid, bark out instructions — instantly translated into Chinese and repeated with added vehemence. Unfortunately, for most if not all of the near 3,000 students here, it’s the closest they’ll ever get to playing for the European giants.

After two decades of coaching in Europe, Sergio Zarco Diaz swapped sunny Spain for a challenge in China.In his four years here, he says the standard has improved dramatically but admits Chinese youngsters have a long way to go.”What we notice is the children are at a high technical level but the greatest difference is tactically, particularly in the decision making process,” he explains.

China has qualified for just one World Cup — in Japan and South Korea in 2002 — but it didn’t go to plan. Team China went out in the group stage, losing all three matches without scoring a goal. It’s a problem we saw firsthand. Plenty of huff and puff but not much end product.

But times are changing. And football is emerging. The investment here is on a scale you’d only see in China. The 50 pitches are spread over more than 160 acres. They sit alongside basketball, tennis and volleyball courts, a swimming pool and movie theater, as well as a gym, library and several canteens. Special chefs have been flown in from the western Xinjiang province to cater for the dietary requirements of the region’s Muslim players.

It’s a stark reminder of China’s wealth divide, and a not-so-subtle reminder of the money the country is throwing at its footballing problem. China is ranked 96, below minnows like Faroe Islands and Guatemala.The man who oversees things here at the school, Principal Liu Jiangnan, tells us there’s definitely room for improvement. “This ranking is incongruous with China’s international standing as a world power,” he says. “In about four years, Chinese football will definitely see an improvement and maybe return to be one of the top contenders in Asia.” And of course, in about 20 or 30 years we will set our sights on the top world rankings. “With the money flowing into Chinese football at the moment, you wouldn’t bet against them.

JetSet Mama – You can Have it All!

Are you one of those women who try to balance it all? Juggling work, career ambitions, raising kids, looking after household and trying to excel in all aspect of life…. I think this is one of the biggest challenges of the 21 century. Can a woman have it all? I was pretty disappointed when a Hollywood celebrity, entrepreneur and a mother of 2 children Drew Barrymore said in her interview to Forbes that: women can’t “have it all—at least not in the same moment.” On one hand, it is totally true. It seems almost impossible. On another hand, many women have done it and proved it, that its absolutely possible.

Recently more and more powerful women from business and politics have been empowering women to stand up for their rights, potential and ambition. It was finally good to get a re-assurance that its not ‘bad’, awkward or unusual for a woman to go after what she wanted – to achieve her potential in a work place and be a caring mom. Some recent studies also suggest that children benefit from having a working mom. According to research by Kathleen McGinn  and Harvard Business School: “Women whose moms worked outside the home are more likely to have jobs themselves, are more likely to hold supervisory responsibility at those jobs, and earn higher wages than women whose mothers stayed home full time”. So, lets talk about working mamas.

Before I had children I thought my life as a career woman, as a traveller and as a fun person would be over when I have children. I had this image in my head…a woman taking care of her child until it can go to child care or pre-school. In Russia a woman is entitled to 3 years of unpaid maternity leave. As a patriarchal society, Russia’s labour law encourage women take off work as much as they please, because their role on this planet Earth is very simple, its being a caretaker of the family. Being internationally minded and open to options like having a nanny I have decided that I could not sit at home for more then a few months.

My parents were happy to help out as well, and I had a few good reasons to be excited to go back to work. The company I was working for has been going through a few changes, we were preparing for IPO and I was promoted to Vice President. I didn’t want to miss anything as a professional and I wanted to continue to climb my career ladder. But what was equally important is the bond with my first born. I was dedicated to breastfeeding. And I would never miss for the world to see my daughter’s development stages, reaching milestones and saying for the first time the word “mama”. In order to achieve all of that, I knew I had to have a flexible work schedule, reduce my international travel, and make the best from being able to work at home. Oh, and don’t forget, that your partner also needs your attention. So, how do you have it all, career progression, being there for your child and make sure you give your partner quality time? Here is what works for me, it may not be a solution for you, but it least this is how I could describe – Have it all, ladies!

  1. Get help, help, help as much as you can. Don’t be afraid to ask your family and friends to help to babysit, to have play days, night overs or just to cover for you when you are at a meeting or doing your nails or having dinner with your husband. Well, and of course you can always hire a professional help. There are many alternative options if you can not afford a professional nanny. You can hire an au per, find a suitable nursery or day care.
  2. Learn to multitask. Women who work and look after family have to be pretty good at organizing their schedule, and doing a few tasks in one go. Contrary to popular belief, multitasking is not about “piling on the work” to the point of exhaustion. It’s about training the brain to channel energy in an efficient and effective manner so you can accomplish more in less time. There are plenty of advice on the internet how to get better at multitasking and of course you can always take a course or a training on that.
  3. Quality time spend with kids is what matters not amount of time. I used to feel quality to have someone else to look after my child while I was working. But you know what, after some time I realized that quality matters more then quantity of time. RecentWashington Post reviles the financings of new studies that suggested “when parents maximize the time they do spend by engaging in relationship-building activities such as reading, talking, or eating together, this time is more beneficial to children than simply trying to spend as much as together as possible”.
  4. Don’t feel quilty! A new report from the Journal of Marriage and Family found that showing signs of stress, like guilt and anxiety, could have a negative impact on children. Researchers and parenting experts now encourage parents to ease up on the guilt.
  5. Another important aspect is attitude. If you think, feel and believe in that you can have it all, you will. Did you read a book by Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead? You may find some pretty good tips about how to stay self driven and motivate yourself to have it all.
  6. Flexible working schedule is the key. I understand that not everybody is able to do that. Working from home is also a luxury that is not available to all. However, it is possible in our modern day era with excellent communication channels, technical advantages and acceptance by business to provide such schedules for working mamas.
  7. Lifestyle is also important. What I mean is how much do you sleep, do you have enough energy to keep up with your busy schedule? Simply go to sleep as early as you can, so you can get a proper rest. Eat healthy, exercise, have at least a few minutes a day just for yourself. Find time for your hobby or something you simply enjoy doing like a walk in a park or meditation.
  8. You deserve some fun! So, get your hair down once in a while. Its important to let your demons out and just have fun night with your girlfriends, pals or your partner. Have a drink, go dancing, take a girls trip or have a SPA break. You are still you and having fun is important.

#BringBackOurGirls

In March 2016, Alina Reyzelman is presenting her short documentary film about kidnapped girls from Chibok, Nigeria. On April 14th, 2014 Boco Haram terrorists abducted over 200 female students. Almost 2 years later, Alina investigates why Boco Haram continues to spread violence and fear across Nigeria, and why nobody managed to rescue the girls despite the fact that #BringBackourGirls campaign was hugely successful on social media. USA deployed 80 Air Force troops and UAV drones on the request of Nigerian government. UK, France, Israel sent their military experts to perform rescue operations. However, the girls did not come back to their homes. They are still held captive by Boco Haram and used as sex slaves, cooks and house cleaners for terrorists. What can you do to help to rescue the girls?

WATCH

Watch the trailer…

Top 5 Shoe Trends Springs/Summer 2016

I keep exploring what’s trending this spring/summer. Of course if you already build a nice wardrobe you don’t have to run and buy each item that is trending. You may already have something similar in the closet. As for me, I often use clothes or shoes from previous collections or even vintage because trends repeat year after year. But its always nice to know what fashion houses are making this season and where the trends come from. So, lets see what footwear is hot and sexy in 2016.

  1. Cowboy fashion

Everybody who loves westerns should cheer. There is a new trend this season – imbuing bootie styles with western elements.

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  1. Futuristic Angle

Many designers offer this summer shoes out of this world. Allient shapes, brave heel shapes, edgy decor design and of course a crazy mix of colors.

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  1. Silver Shine

Silver shiny shoes were a huge hit on runways this season.  Chunky heels, pointy shapes and straps around the ankle.

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  1. Sneakers Crazy

Sneakers are still one of the most popular shoes this spring. Designers offer anything from classic shapes to funky decorations, leather, bright colors and elevated design.

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  1. Edgy Platforms

Quirky platforms were making a statement at New York Fashion week. Decorated with rope, chains and shine glitter platforms could add edge to any look elegant or sporty.

 

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Is Porn a real addiction?

BBC reports – A video series by actor Terry Crews detailing his struggles with pornography has been watched by millions over the past few weeks – but is porn really addictive? Crews called his three-part video series “Dirty Little Secrets“. It’s a frank account of his use of porn, which he says started when he was just 12 years old. The first instalment in his series has been viewed more than three million times, and has attracted thousands of comments. Crews, a former American football player now better known for his TV and film roles, recounts in detail how he used to spend hours looking at porn. “Pornography really messed up my life in a lot of ways,” he says. “If day turns into nights, and you are still watching, you’ve probably got a problem. And that was me.”

And he admits his addiction almost cost him his relationship with his wife, the gospel-singer Rebecca King-Crews, from whom he temporarily separated. Thousands on Facebook applauded Crews for his honesty. Others reacted by sharing their own experiences with sexual addiction. One user wrote: “I have wrestled for years – YEARS – with pornography. I am grateful today to say that I have a very specific sobriety date and I have stayed clean for some time now.”

However, the very idea of “porn addiction” is controversial. It’s not a disorder listed in the latest edition of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, the “Bible of psychiatry” issued by the American Psychiatric Association. Many experts say the brains of people watching porn don’t function in the same ways as the brains of, say, drug users, although the evidence is somewhat contradictory on this point. In one study, University of Cambridge researchers performed brain scans on 19 men watching porn, and the same reward centres of the brain were activated as when addicts see their drug of choice. Nicole Prause, a researcher at the University of California Los Angeles, says that porn use shouldn’t be lumped in with drug and alcohol addiction.”In the case of porn addictions, the brain looks similar to other addictions but only up to a point and then it diverges. When you look at porn, you get increases in learning and reward… but you don’t see some of the other hallmarks,” she told BBC Trending radio.

Tom (not his real name) is a teacher in the US Midwest. He told Trending that his obsession with porn began at a young age, and took a toll on his marriage.”You’ve probably heard a saying that porn is great but it doesn’t compare to the real thing,” he says. “When you’re addicted to porn, you’ll feel the opposite. Sex is great, but it doesn’t compare to porn.”At one point, Tom says, there were weeks when he spent hours every night looking at porn.”I had trouble getting aroused with my wife, just because it wasn’t enough any more,” he says. Whatever scientists might say, Tom feels he’s addicted to porn – as do many others on the Reddit forum. He’s been trying to stop watching it for two years, and has gone as long as 90 days, but he says he still struggles to stop entirely.

Read full article on BBC…

 Nail Trends 2016

If you are one of those ladies who stays on top of fashion trends, then you may be wondering what’s nail design and colour are hot this spring. If you follow Runway shows, you probably saw that certain patterns and colours are standing out at all fashion weeks around the world. Metallic and green are dominating this season, so is 3D look, minimalistic approach and geometric patterns are a hit in 2016. So, here are a few ideas about the shape, colours and decor for your nails.

  1. Nude-e1404751957690Short and round nails are a must this spring. So, if you have troubles growing your nails, you don’t have to use fake ones anymore. In fact, natural look with nude colour is always a classic. Oval shape is also popular choice. Many beauty experts predict that ballerina and stiletto nails are in the past. Go for minimalistic and easy going shape.

 

  1. glass-nail-trendIn regards to the colour, many funcky shades are making its way on top of the trends. One of them is bold metallic and muted jewel tone. Radiant opal and shiny sparkles are also a must. Try to use glittery pale polish or pearlescent topcoat for a trendy look.

 

  1. DSC09634If you love decorating your nails, you may want to use texture on your nail polish and oil spill design. Fashionistas are also using 3D charms and use patterns on their French mani tip. One of the coolest trends is to use letters on the nails as decorations, you can almost even write a whole message on your fingertips.

 

Best clothes brands for kids

Don’t you go crazy how much (and how often!) you need to buy clothes for your kids? They grow up so fast and sometimes a pair of jeans may fit only for a few months. So, I say, buy clothes that is reasonably priced, good quality (so you can keep it for a sibling or can give away to friend or donate to charity), and that also has  a nice shape, cut and design. You don’t want your kid to look awkward or underdressed. Here are a few tips on how to do “smart” shopping for your little ones.

  1. Make sure that you are buying the best fabric. You don’t want your child to feel uncomfortable in polyester. Of course, organic materials are the best. Check the stitching and make sure this item will not fall apart after too much washing.
  2. Zippers are easier, faster and more practical then buttons.
  3. Buy clothes that will last for some time. I always get a size bigger.
  4. Try to choose colours that are unisex, in case you have a boy and a girl they can both share clothes.
  5. Do shopping with your children, they love picking their own outfits. I started taking my girl with me when she turned 18 months and she enjoyed shopping as much as I did.

I have tried a few international brands that I have tested on my children and today I can recommend it to you.

How a photobomb created a star

Lagos, Nigeria (CNN) It’s a classic case of being in the right place at the right time. A young street seller oblivious to the scene ahead, her wares perched atop her head, photobombed a shoot and in that split second her life changed forever.

Jumoke Orisaguna is a mother of two who used to walk the streets of Lagos selling bread. Originally a hairstylist from Osun State, south west Nigeria, she was struggling to make ends meet, and left her husband and two children in their home town to become a street vendor in the economic capital. Working from 2:30pm to 11:00pm selling bread, Jumoke would make less than $20 each day –with a profit of around $1. Now she’s about to become a top model; signed to a modeling agency and gaining international fame and prominence.

Renowned Nigerian photographer TY Bello is behind the change in Jumoke’s fortunes. TY was photographing UK popstar Tinie Tempah when Jumoke walked into shot. “She seemed a little confused,” says Bello. “Some people were asking her to walk past really quickly, others were asking her to stay, she was just in limbo. I said ‘is it ok to take your photograph?’ And she nodded ok.” “I didn’t think I made a great image,” Bello says, but once she posted the shots on social media, interest in Jumoke exploded.

“When the photographs landed for the first time on social media, everyone immediately thought she was a model,” Bello explains. “No one believed she just walked past. It occurred to me that if everyone thought she should be a model then maybe she should be one, then the search for her began.”

A contract with Few Models followed and soon Jumoke’s face will appear on billboards after landing a lucrative contract.

“I never expected this would ever happen to me,” says the erstwhile bread seller. “My friends have told me they saw me on the TV and they are really happy. My parents cannot believe their own child can become such a success. They are all so happy.” Now the mum of two has been given a scholarship to complete her education, and a bank has offered to pay for schooling for her two children, aged five and one, until university age. “Everyone connected with the story because everybody has dreams,” argues Bello. “This is a very tough time in my country… Everyone is looking for that magical break… I think this is definitely divine because the way people have connected with it is just phenomenal. It’s a phenomenal story.”

A Story of One Parisian Girl

Alina Reyzelman is proud to release her new short film “A Story of One Parisian Girl” – view it at the link below. This story is about teenage girl Sophie who decided to commit suicide. Throughout a movie Sophie is reflecting on her life and she tells us a story why she decided to take her own life. The film’s mission is to highlight the problems that teens face in the modern world. Nowadays teenagers have to deal with problems such as cyberbullying, internet abuse, teen violence and other issues during the most vulnerable growth stages of their lives; between 12 and 18-years-old. During this time, teens are exposed to some overwhelming struggles like hormonal changes, puberty, pressure from society and family. Alina’s goal as a writer and director of this film is to bring attention to bulling in social media, depression among teenagers, pressure to “look perfect’, and help parents to become more sensitive to children’s needs.

Watch the film… 

Best Dressed at Oscars 2016

Who won the best dressed award at Oscars 2016? Here is my pick.

  1. Chrissy Teigen (Marchesa)

 

   2. Cate Blanchett (Armani Prive)

 

   3. Jennifer Lawrence (Christian Dior)

 

    4. Charlize Theron (Christian Dior)

 

     5. Margot Robbie (Tom Ford)

 

   6. Jennifer Garner (Versace)

 

   7. Kerry Washington (Atelier Versace)

 

    8. Naomi Watts (Armani Prive)