Dear Reader

Posted: October 28, 2010 in Uncategorized

As the end of your university education nears, life starts to become a little more tangible.  There’s some sort of strange excitement brewing, edged with a hint of trepidation.  The fact is, while some have the fortune to move straight from graduation to employment, others have no certainty for their futures. 

The scary part of leaving university is the feeling that you’re leaving more behind than a building: you’re leaving a part of yourself.  As much as you’ve learned during your time as a student, you are about to enter the working world.  Everything is different, suddenly, and inevitably, you will change too.

Fortunately, there is no rule to say that you can’t look back.  Retrospection is usually good for your sense of self, and even nostalgia has its place in this world.  Personally, I can’t imagine what it would be like to lose my inner child.  Though I move through life with no regrets, always facing forward, I still carry with me all the things that have shaped me into the person I am. 

This month’s issue is all about looking back, and returning to the place you came from.  Whether it’s the small town you used to live in, or your first love, or even your student experiences, there will probably always be something in your past that you cherish too much to let go. 

The nostalgia isn’t just an individual experience either.  Début looks at trends in fashion that have returned to the stores and catwalks.  Even Hollywood returns to the past, with its remakes of older films.  Début also tracks the progression of technology since the days of our childhood, and reminisces about the days of our youth.

My advice to you, dear reader, is simple.  While life may surge forward, you are still in control of your path.  Whether you choose to revisit your past, or dream of the future, remember that every thing or person you encounter has an influence on the person you will be.  Somewhere in between your past and your present, you are likely to find the best version of yourself for the future.  Therefore, don’t stop dreaming, but don’t lose yourself in the process either.  Life is too short to be anything but extraordinary, and being true to who you are…that is truly exceptional.

Odette Kemp, Editor

 

 By Andile “Ace” Magxaki

Buying a car.

1. Make sure you are getting the right vehicle.

This seems obvious, but you could wind up an unhappy car owner if you haven’t thought carefully about how many people and how much luggage or gear you need to carry.

2. Assess the worth of your old car.

Whether you plan to trade it in or sell it, your current car can be an important factor in your budget. Checking the right website and maybe your local newspaper will give you a realistic valuation. Selling it directly instead of just trading it may also mean a considerable difference in what you get for it, though it may take a while longer to reap the benefits.

3. Decide whether new or used is best for you.

Cars are built better now than in the past, so used cars make a lot of sense. However if you weigh up the odds of old versus new and the costs involved, you may well end up leaning towards a new car.

4. Consider whether leasing or buying makes more sense.

Leasing provides lower monthly payments than buying with an auto loan. But it’s not for everybody. If you don’t have money for a down payment or if you trade your car every two or three years, you may be a good candidate for a lease.

5. Do your homework and set your target price.

The Internet has made it easier than ever to find out the dealer’s cost for each vehicle and its options. That’s the first step to getting the best possible deal.

6. Shop for money before you shop for the car.

If you plan to buy with a loan, check your credit options or local bank quotes online to find the lowest rate. Getting a pre-approved loan will give you added confidence in negotiating a good price.

7. Negotiating a lease.

In the complicated world of leasing, the dealer will have the upper hand unless you learn how to be streetwise and how to negotiate the various segments of a lease deal.

8. Negotiate a purchase.

If you are doing it yourself, get quotes from several dealers, keeping the focus on the dealer’s initial price, which you will know from your research. You may be able to get quotes without going to showroom after showroom.

9. If you hate bargaining, consider using a car-shopping service.

Car-buying services, such as Web sites or discount clubs, make things easy with pretty good, no-haggle prices. But with most of them, you get quotations from only one dealer. Consumer services that shop several dealers near you may deliver even better prices.

10. Don’t let the deal-closer close out your savings.

The finance manager isn’t there just for the paperwork. He or she wants to sell you high-profit financial and mechanical add-ons. These are seldom worth the money.

 Creating a budget

1. Budgets are a necessary evil.

They’re the only practical way to get a grip on your spending – and to make sure your money is being used the way you want it to be used.

2. Creating a budget generally requires three steps.

– Identify how you’re spending money now.

– Evaluate your current spending and set goals that take into account your long-term financial objectives.

– Track your spending to make sure it stays within those guidelines.

3. Use software to save grief.

If you use a personal-finance program such as Quicken or Microsoft Money, the built-in budget-making tools can create your budget for you.

4. Don’t drive yourself crazy.

One disadvantage of monitoring your spending by computer is that it encourages overzealous attention to detail. Once you determine which categories of spending can and should be cut (or expanded), concentrate on those categories and worry less about other aspects of your spending.

5. Watch out for cash leakage.

If withdrawals from the ATM machine evaporate from your pocket without apparent explanation, it’s time to keep better records. In general, if you find yourself returning to the ATM more than once a week or so, you need to examine where that cash is going.

6. Spending beyond your limits is dangerous.

But if you do, you’ve got plenty of company. Studies show that people within a certain income bracket spend more money than they bring in. This doesn’t make you an automatic candidate for bankruptcy – but it’s definitely a sign you need to make some serious spending cuts.

7. Beware of luxuries masquerading as necessities.

If your income doesn’t cover your costs, then some of your spending is probably for luxuries – even if you’ve been considering them to be filling a real need.

8. Create a type of tithing system.

Aim to spend no more than 90% of your income. That way, you’ll have the other 10% left to save for your big-picture scheme.

9. Don’t count on probables or hopefuls.

When projecting the amount of money you can live on, don’t include dollars that you can’t be sure you’ll receive, such as year-end bonuses, tax refunds or investment gains.

10. Beware of spending creep.

As your annual income climbs from raises, promotions and smart investing, don’t start spending for luxuries until you’re sure that you’re staying ahead of inflation. It’s better to use those income increases as an excuse to save more.

By Nobulungisa Mangisa

The festive season is fast approaching and you are worrying about the toll it will have on your pocket – especially the mountain of expensive gifts you will have to dutifully buy for your friends and family. Well, it’s time to breathe in a sigh of relief, because you do not have to spend money if you do not want to. It is all a matter of choice, and if you are not keen on spending, then maybe these handy hints and tips will be of help.

 

Think of some creative ways to spoil your loved ones!

 

  • Bake for family and friends 

In terms of baking, you have to bake something that is edible, but at the same time, will not rot too quickly, so it must have a long life span. Try either chocolate brownies or fudge. You could quickly find a fudge recipe on the Internet. You could buy little green, white or red boxes (use colours that signify the spirit of Christmas) and then pack your mini delicacies inside and finish off with a fancy ribbon, tied into a bow.

  • Make a recipe book to pass along to family members

Think of all of your traditional recipes for the festive season that family members really enjoy. Type up these recipes and have them printed into nice little books to give out to your loved ones. In the long run, you will be ensuring that the traditions do not die, because if these recipes are in written form, they can be kept for generations to come.

  • Dedicate your time

Print out little promise letters, especially if you know someone who wanted to do something which you could teach them but you previously did not have the time to do. This could be dancing, music lessons or cooking. In the letter, there could be a timetable of when the class will commence and when it will end, the time and the venue.

  • Design a personal calendar for each family member

Create personalised calendars for every person in your family. These can  consist of the person’s photograph, or a motivational message or quote that you have to encourage them with. Important dates can also be highlighted, for example, birthdays or anniversaries. 

  • Invent a game

This can be any random thing that you can think of. For example, it could be a game that encourages family members to ask each other things they would not do under normal day-to-day circumstances. You could even name it Personal Trivia. Another game you could play would be to see how well your family knows you, by asking them things about yourself, and if they answer correctly, they, for example, earn a slice of that milk tart or a piece of candy. This could be called Do you really know me?

  • Draft a family tree

Draw up this tree and make copies to give to everyone. Colour it in nicely and even attach photos next to the name of the person, if possible. This is a good idea, especially for little kids, because it will give them a chance to know where their roots are, and just where the whole picture fits in. Spend some time discussing it if possible, and give the children some time to ask questions.

  • Give your parents a memory album

Throughout the year when you do manage to be at home, take random pictures of your mom cooking, your dad gardening, or anything and everything. Keep collecting your own pictures and pictures of your siblings and just before Christmas, combine these and paste them in a book or go out and buy an album. Couple these pictures with pictures of you and your siblings as infants and growing children. What makes this such an original and unique present is that it is personal and thoughtful, and you can write a special message or caption next to each photograph.

  • Write poems about your family members

Write a poem about each particular family member, telling them why they are important to you and what you love about them. Colour or decorate the poem nicely and buy cute frames to put them in, together with an ID-sized photograph of the person.

Christmas is not a time to be competing about who will buy the most expensive gift and for whom. The commercialisation of Christmas needs to come to an end. If you really look at it, the chances are that if you give a gift that you have not spent a cent on, but have spent a lot of time in coming up with, it holds a lot of sentimental value for the particular person. It will mean a whole lot more, be appreciated, remembered and cherished for longer than a DVD from Kalahari.net or a Barbie doll from Reggies that everyone in your neighbourhood has. After, all it is not about how much you spent on the gift, but merely the thought that counts.

http://allrecipes.com//Recipes/holiday-andevents/christmas/Main.aspx

Babies at Risk

Posted: October 28, 2010 in News
Tags: , , , , ,

By Nobulungisa Mangisa

Could this little unborn life be in danger?

The national public service strike has caused many disadvantaged people who depend on public health services to lose their lives. Many school children, especially matric pupils, have lost three weeks of school time, as well as the hope of a better future. Has money become the main driving force in the world, leaving no care for the youth, the ailing or the elderly?

By looking at the impact of the national health services strike on HIV positive pregnant women and their babies in South Africa, questions need to be answered, and justice needs to be served. Has this demand of a wage increase caused a rise in babies who are born HIV positive when we were so close to curbing it to zero? Have innocent souls who know nothing about money or wage negotiations been caused irreparable damage over this?

According to statistics, only three in ten babies who are born to HIV positive mothers will actually be HIV positive. It is unfortunate, because they never know beforehand which ones will be born with the virus, and so they are not able to do anything until the baby is born.

Sandisa Sisu, a 7-month pregnant HIV positive woman, was unable to get her treatment during the national strike for two weeks. “I am so worried about my baby. She had a chance at life and now because of what we could not control, she could have this dreadful disease. I am just trusting in the Lord that she is okay. That is all I can do at this point”.

How many mothers did not get help beforehand and had to give birth at home when they were HIV positive during the strike? Did their babies receive the life-saving nevirapine or zidovudine? Was this their only chance at survival?

There is no doubt that the national public workers strike caused many unnecessary misfortunes. Many babies were born HIV positive that could have been saved. Many psychiatric patients relapsed. Many people died who could still be alive.

Money, power and authority has cost many families their breadwinners. Where will their next meal come from now that the father, mother or uncle has died because (s)he could not receive appropriate health care in time? What about the ailing baby who is only a month old, the dreadful HIV already taking a toll on his or her small body?

All that is left to say now is that perhaps Christians were right in saying that money is the root of all evil.

http://blogs.timeslive.co.za/hiv/

By Nicola Hansford

Every person experienced high school differently, so no one can prepare you for your high school reunion. However, there are things that are inevitable and things we can make sure of.

I don’t think anyone particularly enjoyed high school. The nerds wanted to be the cool kids and the cool kids had to worry about hiding their insecurities every day. The normal kids would have sold their family to be abnormal… It was a vicious cycle and tough on everyone. Now we have been invited back for the reunion and, as human beings, there is nothing we hate more than the unknown. But will it really be any different than it was in high school? You would be surprised. 

We were all trying to find ourselves, stealing other people’s identities and making them our own (I could say the same for boyfriends), all trying to fit in to this pond they called high school. No matter whom you were, you wanted everyone to like you, who you were kissing, and what you were wearing, in reversed order. Going back to the pond is a daunting thought, but if we had to break it down we can see it might not be that scary at all. This is how it pans out in my mind…

The Cool Cats. This will be the group you notice first as you walk in to your school hall. They will probably be slightly tipsy already, and be more friendly than you can recall. This group would include the prettiest girls and the hottest guys in your year. It would be safe to say that the majority of the men will now be balding and sporting a sexy beer boep, while the girls will be wearing their teenage miniskirts and tops that will reveal how many times they have been in the sun over the past ten years, as well as how many children they have fed.

Next up, The Blackberries. These you will not recognise from a bar of soap. They will all be dressed in black, Blackberry’s firmly attached to their ears, with a look of sternness upon their masked faces. These people did come to your school; they had their heads in their books most of the time – that’s why you only recognise their hairstyles. When walking past them, try avoid eye contact, as they are probably having a very important phone call to Richard Branson or Barrack Obama. Don’t try putting in a good word for yourself after two glasses of wine.

The Norms. These are my personal favourite. They would have gone through a ‘rough’ patch at school – maybe even tried the gothic route – so try imagining them with lots of heavy eyeliner and black home-dyed hair, and you are bound to recognise them. That gothic stage was just to make sure everyone knew they could be messed up too, even though they lived with parents that attended every PTA meeting and were always part of every committee, had lots of money and adored their children. The gothic stage was all a show for us, and no one else. Scrub the black away and they will now be wearing floral summer dresses, not a hair out of place and with a face of flawless make-up. Their topic of conversation will no doubt be how many babies they have and how to entertain guests at dinner parties.

The Love-to-Hate Them. These men and women were once cheerful-eyed and bushy-tailed. They did everything there was to do at school, and, well… just to add salt to the wound… They could dance, sing, act, throw a ball, catch a ball, swim, run, jump, when I say everything I mean everything, including getting straight A’s, except for a one B+. Shame. They will still be gorgeous, still painfully likeable and genuinely interested in your boring life. They will be the perfect combination of The Blackberries and The Norms. They are simply the people you love to hate, but at the same time, can’t hate, because they are too nice.

Welcome back! Nice to know that nothing and no one has changed, except for a few wrinkles and beer bellies. High school is definitely not all Zac Efron with flawless good looks, and Vanessa Hudgens – who looks twenty-five – but is meant to be sixteen. It is a mixture of little odd-looking fish trying desperately to get through it without being noticed too much, and coming back after all these years, it is exactly the same, with a few minor adjustments.

Related Links:

http://all4women.co.za/vivvo_general/high-school-reunion.html 

http://dir.yahoo.com/Society_and_Culture/reunions/schools/high_schools/

By Nicola Hansford

Hair done-check; flawless make up-check; outfit that makes all the good bits perky-check; control over nerves when we see him- vomit.

Every girl has the same sleepless night. It starts when the invitation arrives for your 10th high school reunion, and the reminiscing of the good old days begin, but nothing can prepare your stomach for when your mind involuntarily throws out a picture of HIM, in all his wonderful youth and glory. The cold sweats begin, and there goes your beauty sleep for the next few weeks. Nothing can prepare any girl for when they see their first love for the first time in ten years, but is it really love we feel, when we were in school dresses three sizes too big, with a breakout of pimples due to our confused hormones and braces? Really? Should we really try to rekindle the old flame?

High School sweethearts?

According to web site http://www.chacha.com/ only 2% of high school sweethearts end up getting married and staying together. That’s not too promising, is it? Unfortunately, being women, we all believe we are different to statistics, therefore our emotions will get the better of us, so we must do what we do best – PREPARE!

After concentrating on your career for the past ten years, we forget what nutritious, healthy food is – as in, if it’s not in a microwavable dish or says ‘Ready To Eat’ on it, we don’t buy it. This has inevitably lead our body to a state that only our pets love. So, we have a month to get that sorted out, start eating at Kauai instead of KFC, and get the spiderwebs off your running shoes you’ve had since Matric. Let’s see if the shoe still fits – that will surely be a sign.

The next state to get under control is your HAIR, and I don’t mean the matted mass of odd colours on our head, I mean everywhere. Underarms should not look like a harvesting nest for small animals, and legs should not look like our brothers did in Matric. We trying to attract the opposite sex, not mimic them! Waxing is the best option for this amount of hair removal. A friendly tip: Take a mild painkiller before the appointment, and use Vaya cream (R24.95) for ingrown hairs. It is available at most grocery shops and chemists. As for the hair on your head, try washing it. That ought to do it.

Now, for the fun part: dressing up! This does not mean jeans instead of sweat pants, pumps instead of slippers or mascara instead of a blemished, tired-looking face. I’m talking about a stunning dress that pinches in at the waist, a plunging neckline, killer heels to show off our new smooth and silky, slightly toned-looking legs that we have worked so hard for. Make-up should be shimmery and natural – a light foundation, nude shimmers on the eye, with a charcoal eye-liner and black mascara, and as for the lips, just a gloss will do the trick. Gisele Bundchen, move over!

Now that we are the missing link to the supermodel world, we can face HIM with confidence and poise. Going back to an old relationship can be confusing and a war between your head and your heart, but it is up to you to be rational and think about the situation. A heart will always want what it can’t have, that is part of being a human. This needs to be thought through with a very level head, because while the heart wants what it can’t have, that does not mean it is the right thing. Your heart remains an infant its entire life and your mind the stern, but caring parent. You need to teach it what is right for you, and that even though it hurts, wanting something doesn’t mean you need it or that it’s good for you.

Your first love might be nice to think about every now and again, just like any other relationship, but, remember that it ended for a reason. It was broken, and it would take a very strong heart and mind to fix another broken heart. Having said that, we still want to feel wanted, so we have to look our best, and maybe a dinner date with him won’t do any damage. That could allow the mind to make a decision. I think the best thing to do if your heart throws a tantrum, and your mind grows a rubber arm, is to take it all slowly. That way, you will fall in love all over again, or remember why you broke up all those years ago.

We have been told throughout our lives not to repeat our mistakes and to rather learn from them, but, being women, our hearts are bigger and tend to forget with ease, so we bump our heads more often than need be. However, without those bumps there would be a swallowing grave of regret that we would have to live with. So why not give it another go? If the butterflies still make you feel like you might take off at any given moment, why not?! Another bump won’t kill you, nor will a happily ever after.

Related Link:

http://www.women24.com/LoveAndSex/LoveAndMarriage/Marrying-your-high-school-sweetheart-20100609

By Lisa Moore

The art of scrapbooking offers emotional, mental and physical rewards. This craft preserves and maintains memories, keeping links between the past, present and future, and is becoming one of the fastest growing hobbies in the world. Even if you feel as though you are not in touch with the left side of your brain, with a few ideas, tips, guidelines and a little bit of inspiration, you can soon be well on your way to creating a unique masterpiece, which can be a reflection of your emotions for any and every occasion or event.                                                  

How do I start?

If you think back to your childhood days of cutting pieces of paper and pasting them together to create different patterns, or making weird and wonderful designs using fancy string or ribbon, then this is the basis of scrapbooking! Scrapbooks can be used to store letters, newspaper clippings, poems, photographs, ticket stubs or holiday souvenirs that remind you of a special time in your life. There are a variety of different materials available in arts and crafts shops, but if you want to do this the cost-effective way, then not much at all is required for you to start this activity. Take some time to look for some odds and ends around the house which you can use. These could be old or scrap pieces of paper and coloured cardboard, glitter, sequins, coloured pens or even small pieces of material from old clothes.

Tools I will need:

  • an album*
  • glue*
  • a pair of scissors
  • a few photographs
  • newspaper clippings or pieces of text
  • letters or words cut out from old magazines
  • fabric  (ribbon, lace, scrap material etc)
  • bits of leftovers or recycled items (e.g. gift wrap, or something from a previous craft project) can be used to decorate your scrapbook

*Note! You can choose whether you want to use an old ‘messy’ notebook, or invest in a proper album. Today, most scrapbookers do not use glue anymore, but rather buy double-sided tape, which easily mounts materials and enables you to add more to your page, such as buttons, flowers, feathers, and metal charms. As your scrapbooking flair develops, and you get more used to this craft, you will most likely discover that there are products that can save you a lot of time and effort. Some of these do not even cost all that much, and are an invaluable investment.    

Beginners’ small steps

There are no formal rules for scrapbooking – you can use whatever size book or album you like, as well as decide whether you prefer lined paper, blank, or colourful pages. Scrapbooking is still used to hold personal keepsakes and to make gifts, but due to  the ever-increasing role of and reliance on technology, computers have made many things, even scrapbooking, a lot easier to do. For those of us who do not find ourselves with a lot of free time, this way provides no boundaries limiting what you can or cannot do or create, and it is also cheaper, easier and faster. Digital scrapbooking is also convenient and simple to personalize and preserve.

Helpful Hints and Tips

  • Colour – Coordination of colour and contrast will draw attention to and accentuate your scrapbook.
  • Cutting and Cropping – Doing this with photographs enhances the overall appearance and feel of your scrapbook.
  • Embellishments – These can be used to add colours, creativity and highlight different themes.
  • Order – There are different ways in which various items can be placed on the layout of a page, depending on the importance each element has.
  • Paper – There are different kinds of papers (of varying thicknesses, appearances and prices) – blank cardboard, patterned or textured sheets.
  • Patterning – This can be used as a way of arranging your scrapbook page to best show off your mementos.
  • Photographs – Make sure to include plenty of these! Remember, a picture can say a thousand words!
  • Preservation – To make a scrapbook that will last for many years to come, make sure that you use albums that are have acid- and lignin-free pages.  
  • Spacing – Be careful of crossing the fine line between a balanced scrapbook page and a kitschy mess.
  • Text – This can be added to your page by the use of handwritten notes, or short, typed captions or descriptions.  
  • Themes – These can be simple or complex, and the corresponding titles you use will define the whole foundation and purpose of a particular scrapbook.

Get Scrapbooking!

The best thing about scrapbooking is that anyone can do it or be involved with it. Scrapbooks and scrapbooking methods also make wonderful gifts for various occasions, and they can be used for baby announcements, gift cards, birthday party or wedding invitations and even school projects – when it comes to creativity, the sky’s the limit, and the world is your oyster, so have fun!

                                                                                                       

Journalling and Photo-Album Making

 

"People who keep journals live life twice." - Jessamyn West

For those of you who are not keen on actual scrapbooking itself, there is also the option of journalling or putting together photo albums. Casey Pedersen, 20, an education student currently living in Port Elizabeth, has been journalling since her early teen years. “Whenever something significant happens in my life that I want to remember, I add it to my journal”, Casey shares. She describes journalling and making photo albums as relaxing. “It is a great way to save the memories that you have made over the years – something  to look back on and tell your kids about – it is a creative outlet, and it is fun!”

Second-year Graphic Design student Diane Gush has been creative journalling since she was 14 years old. “I enjoy having the freedom to pursue my own creativity, and having no rules”, she says. “Don’t be pressured to perform like anyone else. Express the way you want to express. There is no such thing as a mistake if it’s coming from your own creativity”, Diane encourages. “I believe everyone has a creative side and setting aside the time to do something for yourself is really important. It’s a way of separating your work from just having fun – a great way to get to know yourself and I think it even builds self esteem”, she concludes.

Jessica Baker, a 20-year old social work student, thinks that journalling is a wonderful outlet of expression and creativity and also a therapeutic activity. “I journal at least once a week; whenever something is on my heart to share”. Jessica advises to invest in a quality journal or scrapbook. “Always allows your art to reflect who you are! There are too many carbon copies these days. If you wanted a copied journal, you could buy one from the shop”. Jessica enjoys journalling, because it is highly recommended by many health professionals. “I can honestly say that I have really benefited from writing my thoughts, ideas, dreams and desires on paper”, she says.