A Day at the Wineries, South Africa

During our 2nd day in Capetown, South Africa (after enjoying an eventful Safari in Kruger National Park), our tour guide, Pierre, took us on about an hour drive to KWV Winery, one of the leading wine and spirits producers in South Africa.

We were brought to a long room with many barrels where we were told that two German men carved out these barrels from 1969-1970.  One of the barrels (below) illustrates that wine should be enjoyed in the company of guests and with music.

Next, we were led into another barrel room, comprised of K574 barrels--redwood barrels imported from Portugal.  These barrels are only used for fortified wines.  Moi, in front of the barrels!

After touring a few more rooms in the winery and learning some more history, we were guided to the tasting room to sample some of the lovely wines!  We started with the Shiraz and proceeded down the list. 

Here is a video of the KWV winery guide/sommelier explaning a little bit more about the Shiraz and it's best pairings.

One of the wines on the list was the Pinotage, which we learned is the only South African grape.  It is a combination of pinot noir and hermitage wine.

My personal favorite wine was the 2013 Stellenbosch Sauvignon Blanc.  Stellenbosch was actually the 2nd town we were headed to that day and from where this wine originates.  It is a very nice, crisp white wine with grapefruit undertones lingering on the palate.  This Sauvignon Blanc pairs nicely with fish, particularly salmon.  


The tasting completed our visit at KWV. Next stop, Stellenbosch!

More coming soon.

Adieu, from me and Pierre, our tour guide :)


~Lesley Yvonne~

South Africa Safari Part I

It’s been a while since I’ve last blogged.

A lot’s been going on, both in entertainment and writing as well as in my love life.

As of April 3, 2016, I was married to the man of my dreams at a winery (we both love wine) in Temecula, CA <3 J.

The next day following our ceremony, we hopped on a plane heading to Zurich, Switzerland (6 hour stopover) with our final destination being South Africa (total flying time 23 hours!).  We spent one night in Johannesburg and then headed over on an hour flight to Kruger National Park.

The next day our tour guides took us out on a Safari! (2 safaris scheduled per day) and what a view we saw!  Heading to our nature walk, we heard a very loud animal in the distance.  

First spotted animal of the day… wildebeests!  Wildebeests are a type of antelope and belong to the family Bovidea, which includes antelopes, cattle, goats and sheep. 

Next up...the rockstar of the jungle...the elephant!  He made sure to come right up near to us and strike a pose. What a diva.  Too entertaining!

Some of the common sights in Kruger National Park are the termite mounds.   There’s only one queen for thousands of termites and she only mates once! (talk about gettin’ bus-ay :P). When she loses workers during an attack, she intuitively knows and creates more soldiers.  Workers build the mound and keep her happy.  It’s all about the Queen, baby!

We also passed a mud bath! (didn’t feel like jumping in it this time around)

... and lots of adorable Impalas.  Impalas are medium-sized African antelope that belong to the family Bovidae.

Last stop of the day before heading back, day time tea with one of our guides, my husband and Bill, a nice retired orthopedic surgeon we met on Safari. 

What a beautiful experience so far. More to come tomorrow.

Until then, peace and love y’all!

~Lesley Yvonne~

IMTA NY 2015

In July, I was selected to attend the International Modeling and Talent Association (IMTA) again as a Director and Talent Coach for the week long conference in none other than the Big Apple--located at the Midtown Hilton (I also served as Director and Talent Coach for IMTA NY last year).

What an incredible experience!  This year there were 10 Directors in our group, including 7 Talent Coaches for a group of 225 kids & young adults.  All of the kids/young adults we were representing--like all competitors at IMTA--competed in a series of modeling competitions, acting competitions or a combination of both, with the hopes of being signed by one or several of the agencies present at the conference from all over the world. 

Below is a group photo with some of my colleagues at the New York Model Management party (costume party theme), exclusive to the directors and agents present at IMTA NY 2015.

And here are some video clips from some of the fashion shows and performances at IMTA gatherings earlier on in the conference.

I was blessed to work with a wonderful group of individuals, primarily in critiquing them and helping them with their tone, expression, shaping and delivery on their monologues, commercials and scripts.  My voiceover and on-camera experience was extremely useful in these areas of coaching. I also assisted in giving feedback on the dance and singing acts for competitors.  Here is one of our talent kids practicing her dancing routine. 

Wasn’t she incredible? This bundle of cuteness and talent also won several awards at the IMTA awards ceremony, including preteen actress of the year.

In fact, of all 225 kids that we brought to IMTA all 100% (yes, ALL 225 in the group) received callbacks from worldwide agents and casting directors, many of them already placed with agencies and beginning their acting and entertainment careers!

Here is me with a group of some of the talent I worked with more closely. 

All a wonderful group and I was a proud mama as all of these kids performed wonderfully and additionally were so grateful for my instruction (many of them let me know that my coaching helped them significantly in their competitions and one went so far to even say that without my help, she wouldn’t have earned a significant scholarship that she was offered from a top performing arts program).  What a proud mama I am!

Here are more photos with some of the incredible talent I was able to work with, alongside the other directors in our group.  Jimmy Galligan (the adorable boy with the shaped fro and the freckles, in 2 of the photos) not only won several awards as well at IMTA, but had already been selected for an Invisalign audition before IMTA was over in which he attended a week after the conference. Way to go Jimmy!

The days were long (12-15 hours) and neither the coaches nor the talent let up, but it was all worth it in the end. Looking forwarding to coaching and working with similar exceptional talent in years to come. Cheers!


For anyone who thinks that all 12 year-old girls do is undergo pubescent fits, sing lyrics to Ariana Grande and crush on teenage boys, one will be gravely mistaken when it comes to Sophia Carroll.  Twelve year-old Sophia has always been one that stands up to bullying, especially when it comes to her peers.  Impacted both by adolescent bullying and the killing of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Sophia designed her own T-shirt, showcasing the logo ‘COLORBLIND,’ promoting unity amongst not just races, but unity amongst all people.  The theme gained national popularity and Sophia’s COLORBLIND T-shirts have been shipped to California, Las Vegas, Arizona and Illinois.  What’s more is that Sophia donates 50% of the T-shirt monies to the Megan Meier Foundation, in memory of Megan Meier, a young teenage who committed suicide after enduring cyber bullying.

Please vote for Sophia as this month (February's) Winners Within Us Magazine Winner by clicking here and selecting/submitting her name on the right side of the page.  With your help, Sophia's COLORBIND cause will continue to be advocated and we can help our nation eliminate the disconcerting and prevalent issue of bullying.

~Lesley Yvonne~