Friday, August 26, 2011

Virtual Stalker

Hi! I’m Zodwa Mokoena, and I’m a first-year journalism student at The University of Johannesburg.  I’ll be blogging about the weird and wonderful happenings in the life of a fresh varsity student, eager to impress, and hungry to learn.  

My varsity timetable wasn’t so busy today, because most of my classes were cancelled [screaming: YAY!]. With a two-hour gap between classes, my head instructed me to march to the library, and fast! But, I decided to do a bit of both, and go to be in the student centre for an hour and study for another.

In the library, I was eager to catch up with my ‘hubby’ (who’s not ‘technically’ my hubby). I typed Facebook into the internet address bar, and within seconds my mood changed. My university has blocked Facebook! I was sent into shock mode. Why? I am a virtual stalker. Ever had that nagging curiosity about what your ex, current, or future boyfriend is up to? Well, you’re not alone. Technology was made to service this exact purpose.

I felt rejected and confused. Why is this happening to me? I typed all the ways possible to login in to Facebook, but to no avail. I ran to the technician assistant with my big emergency, but he came to my seat and told me to stop wasting his time. Did he not know it had been three hours and 32 minutes since I caught up with my ‘hubby’? (Lots of things can happen in that time.)

I quickly headed to Campus square, and almost got knocked over buy a taxi in the process. I found an internet café (which cost R10 and hour) but I didn’t care. I logged in, checked out my victim’s profile, only to see his status said, “Off to sleep-no classes today”. After all that, this is the only information you give me.

It was then when I realised that although there’s nothing wrong with being a virtual stalker (as long as you don’t act on it) you miss out on living your life while boyfriends (whatever tense) live theirs. I almost deleted him to end my obsession, but that would be avoiding the problem, so I’m detoxing from Facebook (until I get over him).

From a professional virtual stalker, this is how you determine if you are one too:

Twice a week – you’re curious.

Three or more times a week – you’re a virtual stalker!

I’ll keep you updated on the weird and wonderful tales of a first-year student.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Baby it’s cold (cold, cold, cold) outside.

Being a rookie to Jo’burg living, I had to ask my fellow office dwellers when exactly winter would be over? Now, I know that whole ‘pinch and a punch for the first of the month’ spring thing, but winter isn’t winter like it is in Jobizzle. It’s bone-chilling, soup-overdosing, hot-water-bottle-doesn’t-help kind of weather. Being born in August, I’m a winter baby through and through; give me rain, give me grey skies, but for the love of fashion, keep the icy cold.  So, I pose this question: What do you wear to keep the frostbite at bay that won’t make you take the form of a woman in her last trimester? 

Although it’s trendy, I don’t do layers. I’d rather shimmy shake from the chills than pile it on, which I guess is daft – but like some gals who suffer through the pain of heels, I do the same in minimal layering. I wear opaque stockings almost every day of the week, I wear them with dresses, I wear them with skirts, but I have faced the cold hard fact that this thin layer of nylon just might not be enough. So, I’ve discovered a couple of marvellous items one can pair with the pantyhose in order to avoid a runny nose.
Most of us have grannies/aunties/neighbours who can knit at a speed; I’ve put my granny’s talent to use and put her to work on a double-knit grey snood. You could go out and buy one just like every other cool kid on the block, but this way you’ll have one like no other and you’ll have formed an irreplaceable bond with Granalan, while cheering her on as she tip taps those two magic sticks together for you.

When I was young(er) my parents were cruel enough to bestow upon myself and my two sisters, a windbreaker. I know you had one too; those flimsy hooded raincoats that could be folded into a ball small enough to fit into your school bag, until you walked the long unfashionable trek across the sports field after school. These are really not something you want to admit to still owning, but instead of blaming the rents for making you look like an oompaloompa, thank them kindly for giving you the basis of one of life’s more necessary clothing items – the parka. Capes came back in and they’ll soon be out, but parkas will be here for all time. I found my lovely parka just recently while sourcing for one of our fabulous CLEO fashion pages; a dark-grey, all-weather, knee-length parka from Two girls. It’s raincoaty enough to be worn as armour against the rain and adorable enough to be worn to art exhibitions. And I got it on sale, so bonus points for me.

So winter dressing can be fun (and dare I say, funky) if we remember that the cold doesn’t confine us to our dad’s old army coat and Ugg boots. Wear a dress, wear spencers, buy chunky knit socks and wear them with your brogues.

I’m unsure that this below-freezing weather shall ever pass, but I’m absolutely certain that with my snood around my neck and my parka wrapped around me, I’ll be smiling right through it.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

There’s lots to do when there’s nothing to do.

Everyone is in that long weekend mode. When there’s a public holiday on the horizon, the office is all about long weekend plans and after-work drinks. I went off to Oppikoppi, our art director soaked up the pina coladas in Zanzibar, and designer Morgane jetsetted to France. Because I do feel the tiniest bit of pity for those who may have spent their weekend on the couch watching reruns of WWE smackdown eating cheese curls, while I drank in the sun and boogied to Desmond and the Tutus; I’ll give you some ‘things to do when there’s nothing to do’ for the next long weekend. And don’t be sad, Cape Town kids, I have something for everyone!

Learn to fold/wrap/tie a turban around your head. This is oh-so trendy this spring and almost everyone looks like someone when they wear a turban.

Visit MeMeMe, they’re having a splendid sale on this weekend. If you are Jo’burg, you can hop across the wall to Two, where they too are having a 50% off sale, which is huge! If you’re willing to pay 600 smackaroos for a pair of trousers, you can now pay the exact same price, but walk away with two pairs of trousers – I know, it’s crazy. So for Cape Townians, you can take your wallet off to 117A Long Street (Cnr Church Street) and for Joburgers, 54 6th Street is where you want to be. While you’re there, take a look at their new neighbours, In Good Company.

In between this folding and wrapping and shopping and spending, a girls got to eat. Now, Cape Town, let me tell you, I left the sea and the mountains and the traffic-free roads for the hustle and bustle of the city of Jo’burg. But I’ll let you in on a secret, if I do make a hasty decision to pack my polo playa and drive back to the seaside, it will be for one reason – Eastern Food Bazaar. Located at 96 Longmarket St, Cape Town, this walk-through dining experience will leave you heavier and happier. Order big and take home your leftovers, they’re just as good in the morning.

Jo’burg girls, shimmy over to Wolves Café at 4 Corlett Drive, Illovo, and don’t leave until you’ve tried the chocolate milkshake and red velvet cupcakes. They also have free internet wireless stuff, so that’s nice for looking busy when really, you have no friends.

Markets are great places to be spotted if you want to be on a street-style blog, but they’re also fantastic places to buy your weekly fresh produce. Neighbourgoods Market takes place every Saturday (373 - 375 Albert Road Woodstock, but go early to avoid the crowds. They’re planning on starting a Neighbourgoods Market in Braamfontein, so watch that space in springtime. We do have a very dandy market of our own; Market on Main has been around since the beginning of this year and it’s just marvelous. If you live in JHB and have not yet visited, you should be sad for yourself, but so happy that you will go this very Sunday – the market takes place at Arts on Main.

I hope everyone had a splendid weekend! Wear South African design, bask in the slithers of sunlight you can find, and wear a lot of jewellery in the day time.


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

festival dressing

Soon I’ll join the masses in the mud at the Oppikoppi festival in Northam. I’m not usually a keen bean when it comes to these weekend trips; don’t get me wrong, camping was a big part of my childhood and I have no problem with a bit of mud and a lot of wet wipes. I just never enjoyed packing for these gigs – the whole bohemian/free-spirited look holds little appeal to me, the girl whose closet is home to dresses a plenty, but holds not one pair of jeans. Being new to Jozi city, I decided to take a chunk of change from my already humble bank balance and buy my golden ticket to the circus.

But until now, I’d been ignoring the hurdle that is my festival wardrobe. After scouring my trusty friend – the fashion blogosphere – for tips and tricks on non-conformist festival dressing, I realised that not only will my dresses do just fine, but I have no need to own a pair of jeans, hiking boots and a windbreaker.

I’ve put in an order for a trusty pair of wellington boots, which I plan to wear over my opaque stockings and a pair of printed knee high socks. These are both fun to wear and functional, as a precaution to the snakes that allegedly roam the camp grounds.  Among the booze, tent pegs and energy drinks, I’m also packing in a small variety of headscarves – the mud I can handle, the greasy hair look, I can’t. 

A few other not-so-necessary, but crucial, items on the never-ending Oppi list are: facial wipes, an oversized chunky knit jersey, a variety of bad-hair-day-saving headgear, large round sunglasses, a wicker bag to hold my cameras, Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream and Lip Protectant, and a moon bag straight from my mom’s cupboard [or a thrift store] neatly strapped around my waist to ensure a completely hands-free, four-day party.

I reckon I’ll go through my three-night stay in the dirt and cold without a single outfit resembling those hippy themed looks worn at the famous Glastonbury, Coachella and Edinburgh festivals. Then again, I might just wear the same dress and jumper all weekend!