Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Calories, Carbs, Cardio

If I had it my way, I'd train everyday, maintain a balanced low-carb diet, and be as fit as a David Kirsch client.

And that got me thinking:
What's stopping me from having it my way?

So this week, I've started balancing my diet and exercising properly.

I'm a night-eater, which is extremely unhealthy. Metabolism slows down at night, and your body can't burn off everything you've ingested. You can guess what happens thereafter.

I don't eat rice or much bread, but even with that being low, I seem to not be able to lose weight. I don't eat beef or mutton, or much fried foods. Confusing? I know.

I'm now trying to eat more greens and vegetables, even trying out green smoothies and natural, unsweetened juices.

Well, that's my diet.

During my childhood and teen years, I played a substantial amount of sport. Whether it was football in and out of school, netball, swimming or athletics, I was active most days of the week. That stopped once I started university, and definitely had an effect on my level of fitness and body weight. I've recently started feeling like I'm being suffocated in my jeans, and noticed some marks appearing on my waist. It's horrific. It is difficult to maintain a balanced schedule whilst at university, but time needs to be taken out of the day to sit, relax, and then kick some ass.

I don't play football anymore because of the commitment to training times and hours it takes out of my week. I simply can't afford to play. However, I do yoga everyday and I've restarted doing Zumba (see below). For those of you who haven't tried Zumba or don't know what it is, it is an aerobic workout that sends calories back to wherever they came from. Try it if you're an aerobic exercise fan.

I've also started incorporating weight training into my exercise routines. Your body burns calories for a longer period if your muscle content is higher, thus allowing you to lose weight more effectively.

It didn't take me a week to put on weight, it took me 6 years. I didn't notice it, but now I do. I love my curves, but I don't love fat. I don't like being unfit at all, and I can't expect to lose unwanted weight quickly.

But here's to trying to get comfortable in my skin, no matter how long it takes.


- Zaahira Y'elena

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Inversely Converse

It's no secret that I've always been in-Converse-love. It started out when I was born and my Dad stocked Converse sneakers at their business. I sort of just fell into it. Or my feet did, at least.

And so our story began. They took me to soccer games, to school fun days, and even to weddings. Yes, beneath my gown were a refined pair of Converse sneakers.
From my limited edition Chuck Taylors, to my everyday pairs, my babies are my pride.

My style represents me. My sneakers represent my streetstyle. Therefore, my sneakers are my style. My worn out pairs are my  5-minutes-late-for-a-lecture, kicking a step as I run. They're my jump-over-a-puddle pairs, and sometimes I don't make it. They're my playing-soccer-when-I-forget-my-soccer-boots pairs, somehow managing to survive a flying ball and eleven pairs of feet and studs attacking them.

And my sparkling pairs? They're my jewels (I clean them every time I wear them - people keep a safe distance from them).

Another accompaniment to my daily outfit is of course, my bag. It's difficult finding the perfect bag, with the perfect amount of zips, the perfect amount of compartments, the perfect texture, with the perfect straps. Being a university student makes it no easier (books, books, clothes, moisturizer, stationary, two calculators, books, books...).

I've had my Converse bag for three years, but every single time someone sees it for the first time, they turn green and my bag becomes the only thing in the room (see below)

Converse lifestyle defines so many different aspects of generations upon generations of kids, youth, and adults.

View the Converse South Africa website for stores near you, and order different Converse products online from the Converse website. You can even design your own pair of sneakers!

Commendations? Converse. 

I love my Converse.

Do you?

Monday, 17 March 2014

Swipes and Strokes

I've recently been obsessing over my crazy obsession with nail art (I know, right?), and came across this great steel-coloured polish that I only purchased on special for R15 (see pics below).

BYS cosmetics has an amazing range of nail products, I wanted to buy every bottle. I used this steeling colour, jazzed up my mani with a polka hit, and finished off with a final coat.

I'm looking forward to trying out a few new pastels and metallics.

What do you guys think? What nail products and designs do you use?


- Zaahira Y'elena

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Soft Lips CUBE

My name is Zaahira, and I am addicted to lip care products. As you may have noticed with the lip care market, the cube-shaped, egg filled product is the new must-have. Celebrities are endorsing them all over the place, but unfortunately, I haven't seen any products available in South Africa. Well, that is until Softlips decided to grab their share in the newly-developed niche! Due for release soon is the new Softlips Cube, a 5-in-1 lip care combination featured in 3 fabulous-sounding flavours: Vanilla Bean, Fresh Mint, and Pomegranate BlueBerry. The product's bio from the Softlips parent website is: "Revolutionary 5-in-1 lip care combines function and style in a sleek, glass-like cube design*. Uniquely formulated with Lip Perfecting Technology to blend 5 lip loving benefits in 1! Every glide makes lips feel soft, smooth, hydrated and protected, while adding a light touch of shine." Obviously, the ingredients I'm most interested in is the sun protectant and sunscreen - the Softlips cube has active ingredients in achieving an SPF of 15 to protect your lips from harsh UV rays. Once these arrive, I'll be posting a review immediately! I have unwavering faith in Softlips that this product will not disappoint, and that I'll be addicted to it. I can't wait for these to his shelves in South Africa, I've been a Softlips junkie since I was twelve. I haven't actually met anyone who doesn't love Softlips. If you really can't wait to try these, you can can pre-order it from the Mentholatum website (parent company of Softlips). Are you a Softlips junkie like me? Are you interested in trying these? Which flavour do you think you'll be purchasing? Check out the pictures below - they look awesome!

A la Festival!

With colourful parties being the order of 2013, the masses are simply not letting go of hipster style.

UltraFestival2014 has just passed, and South Africans are getting ready for the Holi One Festival. This year's theme is Carnival Festival.

Does anyone see a trend?


Are you getting your festive dressing on?

Backpacks, boots, shorts, florals, hats, abstract jewellery - anything you'd just throw on to dance!

Check out Mr Price's week edit of festival items below. My favourite items are the floral skirt and boots. I'd pair them with a strappy top and black hat. Remember, Mr Price items are available online so get ordering for door-delivery services! Who wants to be out shopping in this week's cold?

Who will be going to Johannesburg's Holi One Festival? Have you planned your themed outfit yet?


Israeli Apartheid Week ended off in a humbled way this week in Johannesburg, South Africa with a #FreeMarwanBargouthi rally hosted by the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation at the University of the Witwatersrand (see pictures below). The event hosted AKF's guest, Qassam Bargouthi, son of political prisoner and 'Palestinian Mandela,' Marwan Bargouthi.
(As my readers know, I'm a member of AKF)

Over the past week, Qassam had been travelling throughout South Africa, meeting eager SA youth, speaking at events, and being taught about South African Apartheid. He was hosted by WITS University at an IAW event during the week, visited the University of Cape Town (UCT) and University of Kwa-Zulu Natal (UKZN), amongst other venues. He was taken to Robben Island with Ahmed Kathrada, experiencing a detailed tour by the former political prisoner himself. The Free Marwan Bargouthi campaign was delved deep into, as South Africans acknowledged the injustices of policial imprisonment - something they know about all too well. Qassam spoke about about his trip to the Robben Island prison as he covered his face, his eyes welling up: "It was such an honour to be taught by Mr Kathrada, and to stand in Mr Mandela's cell. Every Palestinian I talk to will be told about the lessons I've learnt in South Africa, and about your people."

At the closing event of IAW, I spoke of solidarity with Palestine.

The sympathy and solidarity attained from South Africans with Palestinians is a huge achievement for the Israeli Apartheid movement. Not only have South Africans experienced an exponentially similar situation, but the youth are becoming more and more active in Palestine's fight for freedom. One of the biggest achievements that I've personally noted is the pull that IAW has had with Africans in particular. IAW isn't marketed well in townships and many areas throughout Africa. However, many individuals filled the auditoriums, came to movie screenings, and attended the rallies this week. It showed the want to learn more, the want to pledge allegiance and play a part in Palestine's fight from occupation.

One of the most important aspects with regard to such a campaign is education, and the ability to go into different areas and educate people. I think the campaign has learnt that it should be focussing on visiting areas throughout South Africa, and I hope that it will be an endeavour we will undertake this year, which has been officially named as the "Year of Palestinian Solidarity" by the United Nations.

There are many different campaigns within Palestine's movement. The most important thing to achieve is a unified voice, enforcing sanctions and pressure on Israel, and spreading the word further and further. It is the only way to force Israel to acknowledge Palestine's existence, and to achieve the goals of the movement: an end to the occupation that started in 1967, the creation of a sovereign State of Palestine based on the borders hacked in 1967, side-by-side existence with Israelis and Palestinians, solutions for the millions of Palestinian refugees, and the emergence of Jerusalem as a capital of both States, with accessibility for all.

Solidarity with Palestine provides the international community an opportunity to focus its attention on Palestine's existence, and the unfortunate circumstances of the existence of Palestinians, who are void of their rights to self-determination without external interference, national independence and sovereignty, and void of their rights to return to their lands from which they had been brutally forced off and displaced.

Being in solidarity with Palestine means that we not only have the opportunity to reflect on a political, religious and inhumane situation unraveling before us, but an opportunity to consider our roles in the fight for humanity.

The tragedy of Israel's treatment of Palestinians is that nobody seems to have learnt anything. Israel was partly brought into being by the world's guilt at being unable to prevent the catastrophic Holocaust. Of all, should they not understand collective punishment, persecution en masse, prejudice and discrimination, and to be considered as less than human? Moral intelligence of humanity is questioned in so many ways with regards to this, showing the extent of unrealised shame that exists within us.

Persecution and dispossession of a nation cannot be solved by persecuting and dispossessing another. In doing so and remaining silent without resistance, we only contribute to the injustices of humanity.

We are but one species. Nations and tribes, but one species. No matter how you see yourself, these people, any people, are our people. Israelis and Palestinians and South Africans and Americans and Asians and Europeans, we are one people.

An important thing to remember in your solidarity with Palestine is to rid yourself of hatred. By hating a nation for the behaviour instilled in them by their founding fathers, we only start our own Apartheid. Mandela teaches us of the ability to embrace, and to forgive.

While you pledge your allegiance with Palestine, place your forgiveness with Israelis. Never lose hope in their realisation of their mistakes, and never lose hope in the liberty of Palestine.

Free Marwan Bargouthi. Free political prisoners. Free Palestine.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Twenty Seven

Black Friday.

Even though I don't dress according to the term, somehow it just works itself out.
As you all know, there is no end to my love for black and cold weather.

I've had my Olive coat for 5 years - I think I'll just call it semi-vintage. It is the most flattering trench coat I've ever worn. Nothing makes me feel more comfortable but sophisticated.

I decided to pair up with some warm colours, hoping I could say goodbye to Summer sooner.

I got these boots at a huge sale at Soviet last year. I walked out with two amazing pairs of boots, and I still feeling chuffed about getting them through the wild jungle that had become the store.
I've always had trouble finding boots that fit me well - my feet are small and thin (size 3.5 UK -extremely disproportionate to my 5'8" height) and boots just end up being too big around the leg and foot for me.
This streetstyle pair has a lightly faded dirty-washed look, with a rouched mid section and knit top. I adore them because my feet don't look so small, and they're rain-resistant

I'm one of those always-complete-your-look-with-a-scarf girls, and I mostly wear ethnic prints. This Kingsley one is one of my favourites. I purchased it at a Reebok store.

My winged aviator Carrerra's belonged to my grandmother. Proper vintage.

My bag is just my daily Converse bag that I use for uni. I'm a bit Converse-obsessed.

I think today's outfit was the perfect blend of streetstyle and sophistication. Last day of a working week, first day of the weekend.

Check out my pictures below and let me know what you think! What inspires your Friday outfits?

Happy Friday!


- Zaahira Y'elena

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Rain, Rain, dont go away..

For a while, Johannesburg has experiencing unbearably high temperatures - a shock to Joburgers who are normally used to moderate weather; never too hot nor too cold. They don't say South Africa has the best weather in the world for nothing. We really do. So as we sweated and cursed and tanned and swam, we rode out our heat storm.

However, we've recently been woken up by grey gloom, not knowing whether it's morning or evening, our sight blurred by never ending light showers. For me, this is happiness.

I love walking outside and getting wet instead of burnt. I love carrying an umbrella rather than stressing about applying sunscreen every hour. I love wearing boots and not avoiding puddles.

I love the rain.

Check out this cool plastic polka dotted umbrella that I've used (pictured below) - what do you think?

Umbrella fashion is totally cool.

Enjoy the rain while it lasts, Johannesburg! Let's hope we get a proper winter this year.


- Zaahira Y'elena