31 December 2016

My 2016


I don't know how this happens so swiftly every year, but in a blink of an eye, we're back to seeing out one year and welcoming in a new one. Since 31/12/2013 I have done my bit of reflection of the years that have left me, and now, I intend to do the same for 2016. 

In 2016, I learnt to grow as a person.
As a person, I think I have grown the most over this past year. I think several factors contributed to this: my last year of high school, 'ending' my 13 years of learning the violin, and establishing my values in the midst of it all. Academically, 2016 has been the toughest (and most rewarding) year of my schooling career thus far. At so many different point in the year things just got too tough, and pressure- mostly from myself to perform- became excruciating. However, in the most un-narcissistic way possible, I am proud of what I achieved and what I came to learn about myself.

In 2016, I established my core values.
In 2016, I further established and cemented my core values as a person. I don't claim that all of them are'set in stone'  but many of my former 'gray areas' have materialized into black and white. This has made my life easier and helped me to become a more assertive individuals--which is a 'must' for the career path that I am ensuing.

In 2016, I learnt how to love...and then un-love.
I mean the word 'love' in the broadest sense of the word: New and old friends were made and lost, long-lasting habits left and new habits formed and some hobbies hobbled out of my life whilst new ones made me feel like home. I decided to hang up my goggles and racing gear in the pool which shattered my heart, but I learnt to love the calm of training for the love of training. Similarly, I hung up my bow and strings, after playing the violin for 13 years- but played in my school's orchestra. My 16 year-strong habit of biting my nails was officially broken- this is a habit I proudly 'loved' and now 'unlove'

In 2016, I learnt to have self-belief.
Early on in 2016, the trust and faith in myself was compromised. Through the support of others and a lot of self-love, I emerged unscathed and stronger.

In 2016, I learnt what I want to do with the rest of my life.
I'm very very excited to be studying Journalism next year. I'm a very curious person who is very interested in how the media works with news stories and how people's perception of the media has changed.

2016 in Review

In my blog post, last year, about the same topic as I find myself writing about today, the new year, I had these wishes for 2016.
I did end up starting the year on a clean slate. It actually led to my first date, getting rid of a sour friendship and starting a new one. 
I mentioned earlier in this post how "I learnt to have self-belief" this year, I think this is in large part due to trusting myself.
Honestly, I probably could have done a lot better when it came to this one. However, 2017 is looking calmer, so it's okay. All my hard work and stress has paid off and now it's time to play!
In 2017, I look forward to a calmer year than 2016, in terms of school. In September, I will start my first year of university...in a country several thousand kilometers from where I am right now. I am so excited about discovering the crannies of a new city and new people... with killer accents (if I do say so myself). My wish for this coming year is to spend more time on my blog and really take the time and effort to produce posts that I am 100% proud of when I press 'publish'. If I gained more followers, that would just be a cherry on top of my creamy,  Social Spying cake.


My theme for 2017 is Make A Difference (Notice my use of the word 'theme' as opposed to 'resolution'- I stopped those long ago). I'm not sure in which aspect of my life this difference will come, but I hope it is in a space that I enjoy being in. I would really enjoy giving back to others in someway or making  a small but significant impact on someone in this world.

From the bottom of my pumping heart, I wish you everything of the best...and then so much more for the next 365 days that are to follow. To you and yours, I hope you have a year filled with an abundance of love, health and everything that is good and right in this world.


2015

For a look on my take of last new year, I decided to venture off paper and onto the inter web... onto this very blog. My hopes for this past year can be found here.

Till next time-
Steph

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You can find me here:

Instagram: @socialspying
Email: socialspying@gmail.com


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24 December 2016

Craft I Restaurant Review


Craft- Parkhurst, South Africa

 
Did you even go to Craft, in Johannesburg, if you didn't get the photograph of the milkshake to prove it? Nope. Since the opening of the originally Australian chain, in South Africa, my Instagram feed has frequently been graced with the presence of these mega, multi-coloured, milkshake monstrosities. I called up some friends of mine, just yesterday, and we decided to see if these #OhShakes (formerly known as #FreakShakes) taste as good as they look.

There are 3 options when it comes to these decadent delights:  The Candy Feast, The Chocolate Overload and the Salted Caramel Delight. And, my goodness! They are indeed a feasty overload of absolute delight! 

Being a lover of all things caramelized, condensed milk and cheesecake, I'll let you guess which option I ventured for...the Salted Caramel Delight. The salty-tasting, intertwining, convoluted network of caramelized goodness perched on top of the slice of cheesecake complemented the sweetness of the under layers of  overflowing cream, then white vanilla ice cream fused with condensed milk underneath. 


Criticism:
However, the excitement of the ice-cream, personally, did not do the actual taste justice. The vanilla flavoured ice-cream was quite plain and unexciting to my vanilla-sensitized taste buds. The presentation offered my eyes an experience. My taste buds weren't offered the same as I neared the ice cream.

My friend devoured the rainbow coloured Candy Feast which seemed appropriate for the summer's day in the ever sunny South Africa. Her dazzling delight was dotted with an array of colours that resembled a rainbow. The surrounding board was speckled with sprinkles which brought to mind the celebratory party popper emoji (🎉). The candy floss clouds and sherbet sticks called for the remembrance of childhood, fairs and amusement parks infused with the maturity of rose coloured cream drizzled in strawberry syrup with the same syrup and vanilla ice-cream underneath. I personally did not try this milkshake (or the third flavour, the Chocolate Overload) myself, but I have it on good accord that it was absolutely delicious!





Tis was almost the day before Christmas when we popped in for an #OhShake and still the restaurant was packed to the brim, just managing to declare the last table ours. The tables are in such close proximity, it was very easy to be apart of the conversation to our left (which largely consisted of swearing) and to our right which was a couple, presumably out on a date. The manager, who greeted us after being seated, our waiter and staff were so friendly and inviting. I would definitely go again- this time for the enticing food (which I could almost taste from my table neighbours).

I can officially say that I went to Craft...and I've got the photos to prove it.

Where to find them:
Craft restaurant offers so much more beyond milkshakes, too. If you'd like to experience this hipster, alternative yet cozy ambiance for yourself you can find them at 33 4th Avenue and 13th Street, Parkhurst, Johannesburg, South Africa or alternatively at www.craftrestaurant.co.za . 

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You can find me here:

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Email: socialspying@gmail.com

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7 December 2016

Wind-back Wednesday

I realize that it's not Thursday or Friday and can't blame 'Throwback Thursday' or 'Flashback Friday' for the post that is to follow, but alas, when I was on my week-long, sea-side getaway some friends and I cranked up our modern day stereo and jammed to some older tunes. Initially, a wave of mumbles and awkward sounds escaped from my mouth until I re-orientated myself to the rhythm, beat and lyrics of music lost to my ears.

Here are some Wind-back Wednesday songs which I hope you jam to loudly and proudly:

1. 2 Heads- Coleman Hall



2. Breakfast at Tiffany's- Deep Blue Something


3. Lemon Tree- Fool's Gold


4. I'm Yours-Jason Marz


5. Broken Strings- James Morrison ft. Nelly Furtado


I hope you've listened through some of these and enjoyed possibly hearing them again as much as I did.

Till next time-
Steph

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You can find me here:

Instagram: @socialspying
Email: socialspying@gmail.com

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4 December 2016

My Hour with a Stranger


Two days ago, myself and a group of friends were geared for a night out; My personal choice of attire for the evening was black leggings with a small gold zipper which runs longitudinally on either side of my calves, a grey, striped spaghetti-strapped top which I 'borrowed' from my sister's cupboard and made to fit with the help of two safety pins and all completed with my short-medium length hair down and my face dashed with the little skill of make-up which my skill set allows- namely, bass, blush and mascara. I thought this last night would be like most other nights out at this week-long festival- I could not have been more wrong.

The night started off the same way as every other: pre-drinks at our holiday apartments before heading out to the festival. Just like every other night, I was sober and my friends weren't. Jade, a pseudonym for all purposes of anonymity, over-consumed on a transparent alcohol, which I later learned was 'Red Square Vodka'. Jade was smashed! At some point- early on in this eventful night- she was spread out on the white marble floor of our apartment's patio exclaiming how excited she was for the night ahead. Not a single hour later, as my friends and I meandered out, Jade subtly whispered "Guys, I think I should stay home." I was impressed. Jade had the sensibility to stay at home in her drunken state.

A few moments later, after walking over and propping her into bed, a mixture of green and yellow with hints of asparagus and other vegetables (indicating her vegetarian diet) spewed out of her mouth, mottling the achromatic, clean white sheets beneath her. This was only the beginning of what was to come. I raced to a neighboring flat, who just so happened to have the door ajar, and asked for some help in moving my tall, well-built friend over to the bathroom- just a few meters away from the now dis-coloured bed- as my small, lanky body could not do alone. Jade was a sight to behold. Cathy and her boyfriend James, my new acquaintances and neighbours from across the yellow, brick-layered wall helped me lift Jade and drag her to the bathroom. Her hands hung loosely at her side whilst her cheek indented the toilet seat. Beads of sweat formed on her forehead, her nose and her check, before racing down her rosy, flushed face. Just then, she vomited again- completely missing the area of the rectangular toilet bowl and vomited off to her side and onto her unaware hand. There were so many hazards around; I was sure, if Jade wasn't going to die by alcohol poisoning, it would be a death by choking or head injury.

The small space which Jade found her self: placed between the open cupboard with several shelves behind her, the porcelain bowl of the toilet in front of her and the solid, slippery marble tile beneath her left a vast array of hazards with which to injure herself. James and Cathy had left and I was alone. Jade had to be moved somewhere safer, but I found myself unable to do so. My heart began to race and I could feel myself getting hot. I had to do something. I decided to call the 'Red Frogs' - which is an organisation overlooking this particular festival, consisting of volunteers who care for drunk people, offer friendship and guidance and make pancakes for those who are hungover. I tried to open the festival's app, to get the call centre's number, but of course due to Murphy's law my app froze. I could feel the panic in me starting to rise. A wave of calm rushed over me when I remembered that by luck, just the day before, I had seen my friend whom I haven't seen in a long time- and not friends with on Facebook anymore- leave my apartment building. She was a 'Red Frog' volunteer. Hence, in a last ditch effort and a moment of panic I resorted to finding her on Facebook and using Facebook Messenger to call her. She answered and I haven never been more grateful for a person answering a call than I was in that moment.

After 10 minutes, Brave Brandon jumped to my rescue. Brandon is short with a lean, strong build and a fully shaven head. After initial introductions And some grunting and moaning- both on our part and by Jade- she was placed back on the clean side of the bed, but only for a short while. 30 seconds later, vomit of the same green-yellow fusion spewed out once again.

After securing Jade, Brandon stayed with me for an hour. We spoke about what felt like everything with some but little bouts of awkward silence. We found similarities and differences between our lives and found commonality in places and experiences which we could both relate to. We shared awkward moments of laughter, jokes and stories which had we not been strangers, we probably would not have shared with one another. It's weird, but I think I had a better time having a meaningful conversation with a complete stranger than I would have if I had gone out partying like I had intended earlier that night. Sometimes, it's funny to think about how things work out.

As the hour drew to a close, I walked Brandon to the door with full knowledge that in all likeliness, I would never see him again, and Jade would never know the man who was there for her in her time of need. I shut the door and he walked away as so much more than the two strangers we had been just one hour before.

Jade woke up the next day and I explained the whole night to her...and what a night it was indeed!

Till next time-
Steph

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You can find me here:

Instagram: @socialspying
Email: socialspying@gmail.com

Yes, yes, I realize that I have already failed at Blogmas. I missed day 3! I'm sorry about that but I did admit that this would be a challenge for me. However, I'm still not giving up and will continue as normal until 25 December.
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2 December 2016

My 'Christmas Ship'

As I write this,  I overlook the Indian Ocean with several beams of light radiating from the anchored ships at sea.  I'm on holiday with a couple of friends to celebrate our finishing of high school.  A light breeze covers my body- and gently rocks the hammock beside me as I hear the crashing and roaring of the waves just below. Life is good.

This last year has been a tough one.  Sitting here- after what feels like the calm after a very tumultuous storm- makes this past year worth it.  As the ocean draws back and flings itself forwards,  I can't help but be proud of how far I've come this year- and proud to be at the point that I'm at- with not one single deadline in sight.

Whatever point that you're at now  take a moment to sit under the stars- without technology- and reminisce at how far you've come.  Some will have taken larger steps,  and some smaller,  but few take a moment to appreciate the lengths that they have already travelled- like me.

The year is drawing to a close signified by Christmas trees and Thanksgiving dinners. Like the darkness and mystical stars which surround me signifying the end of another day,  I cannot help but marvel at the beauty which I have eluded from, this past year. School-focussness and my suburban city that ticks against the regimented concept of time hasn't offered me a moment like now.

I sit observing what my friend and I have deemed a 'Christmas Ship', an island-like mass adorned with glistening lights off in the distance with lights all along the hull- it's beautiful.  Skyfall beats out from my magenta JBL speaker (a birthday gift from my gran) and I am content.  For the first time in a long time,  I'm content.

I really wish I could bundle this moment up and send it to you in the post.  Take a moment to sit outside and appreciate life.  Even if you have to look out into the obscure darkness,  I hope you find your 'Christmas Ship'- which offers you warmth,  love and comfort- as its presence has offered me tonight.

Till next time-
Steph

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You can find me here:

Instagram: @socialspying
Email: socialspying@gmail.com

Thanks so much for stopping by. If you're feeling up to it, follow this blog on Google Plus or on Instagram.
Thanks for spying!



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