Browsing Tag

shopping

Read This: Jozi’s Five Best Bookstores

I’m still trying to get back into the swing of things post-Trumpocalypse. I know that blogging about Joburg is the best thing I can do to pull myself out of this mental morass, but the struggle is real. For the first time in a while, I woke up today with no idea what to write about. In desperation, I opened up a list of potential blog topics I made several months ago when my brain was less encumbered. There, I found my inspiration: Jozi Top Fives, bookstore edition. Joburg has tons of great bookstores — new bookstores, used bookstores, small bookstores, huge bookstores — so narrowing down the field to just five is kind of unfair. I have many other favorites that didn’t make the list. But anyway, here are the five I came up with: My Five Favorite Bookstores in Joburg 1) Bridge Books 85 Commissioner Street, Johannesburg I’ve written about Bridge Books tons of times and you’re all probably sick of hearing about it. Really though. Bridge Books is great, and if you have any affinity for books whatsoever you will love it. Bridge Books on its opening weekend. Cute kid reading at Bridge Books. In addition to selling a fascinating selection […]

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Shepherd and his beaded hoopoe in Melville, the best antidote to the Trumpacolypse

Melville: The Trumpocalypse Antidote

Perhaps it’s the combination of jet lag and grief, but I am not recovering well from Trumpocalypse. I tried to put on a brave face with my gratitude list, but the truth is I’m horrified and I’ve lost a piece of my identity. I often remark upon the fact that when living in South Africa, the first thing everyone notices about me is my American-ness. This has never really bothered me. I’ve always been more or less proud of my country. I’ve been happy to be known as an American in Quirky Johannesburg. But now, suddenly, my relationship with America feels like a relationship with a spouse who I just discovered has been cheating. Who is this country I thought I knew so well? How could you humiliate me like this, America? What did I do wrong? How did I miss the signs that we were growing apart? How could you leave me, and how will I cope without you? Worst of all, what will happen to the millions of other betrayed spouses who are still living with you? What will happen to the entire world? We trusted you, America, and you’ve let us down. Fortunately, I live in Melville. A sign outside Junkie Charity Store, one of my favorite hangouts in […]

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Inside Mad Giant

Five Amazing New Places in Downtown Jozi (not in Maboneng or Braamfontein)

Downtown Jozi is on fire. There are cool shopping, dining, and art destinations popping up all over the city. The Joburg Ballet performs at Joziburg Lane, one of downtown’s newest destinations, on its opening weekend. Regeneration in Joburg’s inner city is nothing new: Exciting stuff has been happening downtown since I moved to Joburg in 2010, and long before that. What’s different about the last year or two — and especially the last six-to-eight months —  is that inner-city regeneration is no longer largely limited to the hipster hubs of Maboneng and Braamfontein. Urban renewal is everywhere and it’s becoming easier to travel between all the new restaurants, shops, and markets. Maboneng and Braamfontein are still great and there is new stuff opening in those areas all the time. But if you’re looking for fun in the city, it isn’t necessary to limit yourself to those neighborhoods. Here are five of my favorite new non-Maboneng, non-Braamfontein spots, all opened within that past several months. 1) Mad Giant/Urbanologi The Mad Giant Brewery is a huge, beautifully designed craft beer joint in the 1Fox Precinct in Ferreirasdorp. Urbanologi is a high-end, Asian-inspired tapas restaurant inside the Mad Giant premises. Outside Mad Giant. The upscale interior. Mad […]

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Fashion at Work Shop New Town

Work Shop New Town: The Embodiment of Jozi Coolness

If you read this blog then you already know that downtown Jozi is cool. But do you know about Work Shop New Town? This particular corner of Joburg takes coolness to a whole new level. Ntsaki (left) and Jade (right), two salespeople at Work Shop New Town who are also contenders for the two coolest people in all of Johannesburg. They’re surrounded by shoes from Maria McCloy, one of Joburg’s coolest designers. I intend to buy a pair of these shoes very soon. Work Shop New Town is “an innovative retail concept” in Newtown, adjacent to the Newtown Junction mall. It’s a modern, open-plan glass structure, filled with small fashion and design shops that meld seamlessly into one another. Work Shop New Town is built on the site of Joburg’s “Potato Sheds”, a historic fruit and vegetable market built in 1911 that was torn down to make way for Newtown Junction. There’s not much left of the actual Potato Sheds, unfortunately, but the old trolley tracks to the market are still there and run right outside of Work Shop New Town. I’m not a big shopper, as I’ve said many times before, but Work Shop New Town has the kind of shopping […]

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Cosmopolitan outside in 2014

Joburg’s Cosmopolitan Hotel: Then and Now

The Cosmopolitan Hotel, at the corner of Commissioner and Albrecht Streets, is one of Joburg’s most legendary buildings. Built at the turn of the 20th century, the Cosmopolitan is big and Victorian, its columned, curly-cued cupola looming high above the street. The crumbling facade is strangely magical, like something from a Tim Burton film. The Cosmopolitan, once a prominent gentleman’s club, was in a state of disrepair for decades, its lower-level windows bricked up to prevent trespassing. (Read more about the Cosmopolitan’s history here.) But there have been rumblings of change for a few years, especially since the Maboneng Precinct started sprouting up around the Cosmopolitan. Now, the wait is over. The Cosmopolitan has been made over into a restaurant/retail/gallery space, and it’s officially open for business. I was lucky enough to take some photos inside the Cosmopolitan in May 2014, when a soon-to-be-stalled renovation had just begun and the place was a complete mess. I’ve been sitting on these photos for two years, waiting for the renovations to finish so I can show the before-and-after. While the renovations aren’t 100% finished yet, I can’t wait any longer. Outside the Cosmopolitan Hotel: 2014 and 2016 The front of the building looks more or less […]

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Blog class jumpstagram

#2SummersBlogClass: A Really Good Saturday

Yesterday I held my first #2SummersBlogClass, with nine fabulous bloggers/aspiring bloggers, at Bridge Books in downtown Joburg. It was one of the best Saturdays I’ve had in a while. Yes, I gave my blog class a hashtag. I’ve become one of those people. My blog class and me, in front of the beautiful Faith47 graffiti mural just off Gandhi Square. The First #2SummersBlogClass We spent the day in the Bridge Books meeting room at 87 Commissioner Street, talking about why to start a blog, tips on creating a strong, readable blog, how to promote a blog on social media, and how to shoot great photos for a blog. We took a photowalk around the CBD, visiting one of downtown Joburg’s best rooftop apartments, meeting people in shops and on the street, and exploring historic landmarks. Merishia shoots the city from the Apprentice Penthouse balcony, owned by Urban Ocean, on Albertina Sisulu Street. View of downtown Joburg through the porthole-shaped window in the Apprentice Penthouse bathroom. We wandered into a shop called Nombini Christine Fashion Design at the corner of Harrison Street and Albertina Sisulu. We had to do some negotiation to gain permission to take photographs, which was good practice for […]

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Ray in Hlamvu shirt

7 Reasons to Love Hlamvu Afrocentric Boutique

UPDATE (November 2017): Hlamvu is no longer located in Greenside. There is currently a Hlamvu shop in the Commissioner Street Pop-Up Arcade, and Hlamvu products are also available online. As I’ve written before, I am not a fashionable person. There are many great South African fashion blogs out there and this isn’t one of them, so I generally stay away from writing about clothes and focus on the things I’m good at — like eating and instagramming and storytelling. But I’ve recently come across a boutique that I particularly love and I want to tell you about it. Hlamvu Afrocentric Boutique in Greenside.  There are many things I love about Hlamvu Afrocentric Boutique: 1) Hlamvu is uniquely African. Hlamvu’s founder and designer, Liflet Ncube, is originally from Zimbabwe. She founded the company in South Africa and the fabric she uses is from Ghana. The result is a unique explosion of West African and Southern African style. Colorful clothes and handbags for sale in Hlamvu. 2) It’s conveniently located (for me). Hlamvu is in Greenside, which is almost in Melville. I love having such a fashionable shop less than 10 minutes’ drive from my house. 3) It’s affordable. People often complain about how expensive clothes […]

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Bridge Books: A New Bookshop in Downtown Johannesburg

Remember Griffin, my fellow American Joburger who cruises the streets selling books from a suitcase? Well, he’s not just selling from a suitcase anymore. Griffin now has his own bookshop, Bridge Books, right in the middle of downtown Joburg. I visited the shop last weekend and it’s awesome. Bridge Books on its opening weekend. I love this guy’s shoes. I am so excited about this shop. It’s on one of downtown Joburg’s most iconic streets, Commissioner Street, just around the corner from the Johannesburg Public Library. The shop is located in a beautiful building, 85 Commissioner Street, which used to be the headquarters of Barclay’s Bank and will soon house a trendy food court (to be called the City Central Food Hall) and a high-end restaurant. This is an exciting, historic, and very safe section of downtown Joburg. Bridge Books is on a balcony overlooking the ground floor of the building, with floor-to-ceiling windows and great light. Looking up at Bridge Books from the ground floor. Looking at Bridge Books from the balcony on the other side of the building. My friend Veronica (left), who works at Bridge Books, ringing up a sale. I was too shy to talk to this man dressed in […]

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A Must-Have Item for Every Garden in Johannesburg

Do you live in Johannesburg? Do you have a garden, or know someone who does? Do you have R400 to spend? If so, then you need this: Hadeda tire planter from Yada Yada in Melville. If you don’t live in Joburg and don’t know what a hadeda is, read here. But these hadedas are not easily transportable, so unless you already live in Joburg (or at least in South Africa) then you probably can’t have one. If you do live in Joburg, then make your way to Melville’s 7th Street and buy a hadeda. They’re made of recycled materials, they have a built-in irrigation system, and they can double as large hand-bags. Ray photobombs Hadeda. Ray carried Hadeda as a handbag for a while after we bought her. Hadeda in another position at Yada Yada. We did a whole photoshoot with her.  If you’re not into hadedas (some people aren’t, although I’ve never understood those people) then you can also buy an owl. Best of all, Hadeda looks fabulous in our garden (as I’m sure she would in every South African garden) and she makes me happy every time I look at her, which is at least 50 times a day. The red petunias match Hadeda’s beak.  […]

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Frappacino from Starbucks

Why I Waited in Line for Two Hours At Starbucks and Krispy Kreme

Yesterday I went to Rosebank for coffee and donuts. I waited 40 minutes for two Krispy Kreme donuts and 90 minutes for a Starbucks frappucino. At Starbucks with my donut and frappe. (Photo by Wimpie, one of the friends I made while waiting in line outside Starbucks.) It was worth the wait. Not because I’ve never had a Krispy Kreme or a Starbucks coffee before, and not because I couldn’t wait another minute to sample these over-hyped, all-American treats now that they’ve finally arrived in South Africa. It was worth the wait because waiting in those lines was a fun way to spend my Sunday afternoon. Also, I learned something. The line at Krispy Kreme, which remains lengthy even though the shop arrived in November 2015. The line at Starbucks, which opened less than two weeks ago. I’ve always made fun of South Africans who wait in long lines when American and European chains first arrive here. It’s happened a lot recently: Burger King, H&M, Krispy Kreme and now Starbucks. How silly, I’ve always thought, to freak out about such mediocre brands. I drove past the lines, laughing and shaking my head. I wrote snarky Facebook posts. Yesterday, I was sitting at home without much […]

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Sunset on the hiking trail above Walkersons

48 Hours in Dullstroom

Last weekend I was invited to spend two nights at Walkersons Hotel and Spa in Dullstroom, a holiday town halfway between Joburg and Kruger National Park in Mpumalanga Province. I had been to Dullstroom briefly once before, and while I found it quaint I wouldn’t have considered spending a weekend there. Dullstroom is known as a fly-fishing destination and I don’t fish. A man fly-fishes at sunset on a dam at Walkersons. (Photo by Ray) However, I’m not one to turn down a weekend at a five-star hotel. So I went to Dullstroom and brought Ray with me. In the end, we didn’t want to leave. We arrived at Walkersons on Friday afternoon and I was useless for the first five hours, having suffered a bout of food poisoning the night before. I collapsed onto the cloud-like bed and slept until dinner. Our suite at Walkersons, which looked out onto the lake. But despite my slow start we managed to do a ton of fun things during our two days in this tiny town. Here’s a run-down. Where We Stayed in Dullstroom Walkersons is an English-manor-style hotel on a sprawling estate just outside Dullstroom. The main building, with its 19th-century antiques and fox-hunt […]

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A Post About Traveling, Shopping, and Leg-Shaving

I travel a lot. I also shave my legs. (Don’t hate, feminists.) When it comes time to pack for a trip, I toss my razor into my well-worn cosmetic bag along with my toothbrush, tinted moisturizer, lip gloss, dental floss, etc. I hate packing that razor though. I have an irrational fear that, after a particularly long and exhausting journey, I will carelessly thrust my hand into my cosmetic bag and cut myself on the razor. Also, women’s razors take up a lot of space. But the razor always gets packed. And that razor is always a Venus. I’m currently visiting my mother in Hilton Head, South Carolina, in the United States. I brought my Venus along as usual, but I accidentally left it in the cosmetic bag and forgot bring it into the shower with me. It didn’t matter though, because my mom has her own Venus in the shower. (I know it’s probably bad form to use someone else’s razor. But she’s my mother.) Anyway, the story proves that Venus razors are the best and every leg-shaving woman in the world knows this. When I was invited to participate in a blogger campaign promoting the new Gillette Venus Snap razor — a campaign that […]

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