Life Lately: March & April
The last two months have probably been both the best and worst of my life. In the middle of March, my sister fell seriously ill one night and was admitted to the emergency department, followed by the ICU. I unexpectedly ended up taking a break from blogging as not only did I not have the emotional energy for it and needed to be there for my family, but between my internship and being at the hospital every single day, I physically didn't have the time either. I won't go into detail about what happened just because it's my sister's life, not mine, but I also didn't want to leave you guys in the lurch, so I hope this update on where I've been will suffice.
My sister was discharged from the hospital five long and tiring weeks later, and words can't even begin to describe how good it feels to have her home now. I don't think I've ever felt this scared or worried in my life, but she's safe now and I'm glad to see the back of daily hospital visits. It's made me realise how incredibly lucky and privileged I am to live in Australia where we have access to free healthcare and although it's by no means a perfect country, it's still something I'll never take for granted.
If you don't follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you'll probably be unaware that any of this even happened, but for those of you who do and gave me your well wishes and offered to lend an ear, thank you so much. Even when no one can do anything, having friends be there to listen is more than enough. I never realised that when someone mentions they're going through a rough time, simply saying, "I hope you're okay" or "I'm here if you need to talk" can mean so much. Given how fleeting and perfected social media can be, it's so easy to not even give it a second thought, but it's something I've now become mindful of and will try to do more for others because no matter how small the gesture, it can really make someone's day.
I must've felt every emotion possible these last couple of months as while my sister was ill, my bosses at my internship told me they were really happy with my work and would love to make me a permanent part of the team! Since moving back to Perth (it's been a whole year now!), it's been a struggle for me to land a job, but now that I'm in the industry I've always wanted to be a part of and have joined a really awesome team of colleagues, the wait has been worth it. As of tomorrow, I'm the Social Media Assistant of a marketing agency and for the first time in a long time, I feel excited for the future. It's funny the way things in life work out way you hope they will, but never expect them to and after everything that's happened with my sister and my new job, I truly feel like I made the best decision saying goodbye to Melbourne last year and I think Perth is where I'm meant to be.
Let's address the obvious - my new blog design! I've actually had it up and ready to go since March, but I decided to postpone setting it live when I took my blogging break as I wanted some fresh content to go along with it.
You'll firstly notice that there's no sidebar! I had contemplated giving up the good old sidebar for quite a while, but for some reason or another, was hesitant in moving away from the traditional blog look. I changed my mind, however, after feeling inspired by my favourite bloggers' new layouts and after seven years with one, it was time for something drastic! Also, because my posts are on the lengthy side, having no sidebar frees up space for text and I think it makes things a lot more reader-friendly.
The hamburger icon (I love that name) is where you'll now find my navigation and my favourite thing of all is my fixed header. It's so cute, right?! Lastly, the formatting of old posts may look a little off, but I'll be working on fixing those up all in good time.
The most difficult part of the blog redesign was choosing the right shade of blush pink and updating my About Me page, but I couldn't be happier with them both now. I've also updated my Disclaimer and now use affiliate links, but don't worry, I'm not going to try to get you all to buy stuff. In fact, I don't even want to encourage consumerism at all, but if I make a little money through clicks, that's nice. I still need to update my profile picture (it's one of my goals for the year!), but I'm going to wait until I can afford to get my hair cut and coloured before I do that!
With a break from blogging and fresh new design, I'm feeling inspired and reenergised to get back into the swings of things. It felt really good to switch off for a while and I had so much time to get on top of life admin! All the things I've decluttered this year have finally left my house (Facebook Marketplace > eBay) and during my break, I got rid of a whole lot more too. Like I always do with blogging though, I began to dearly miss it and once I got writing again, I felt so excited and like my heart could've burst with joy. I really bloody love blogging and it's good to be back.
I don't normally talk about beauty in my Life Lately posts just because it's a category of its own here on my blog, but I simply have to mention the NARS NARSissist Wanted Eyeshadow Palette that came into my life this month! I honestly can't even remember the last time I was this fangirly over a new beauty launch and even then, I managed to talk myself out of buying it when Mecca first got it in stock. It sold out within a day and I then regretted not snapping it up, but it luckily came back and I'm so, so happy I now own this beauty! The glitters are especially dreamy and by far my favourite, and I'm looking forward to experimenting with the reds and trying out something different. I think I'm going to do a couple of makeup looks with it on my blog! Also, can you believe this is my first makeup purchase in five months?! I am truly amazed at myself.
From rediscoveries to new album releases, March and April brought about some really good tunes. As someone who experiences motion sickness from reading and looking at my phone on public transport, my commute to and from work is just me and my music, and it's super chill and really nice. I feel like it helps me wake up for the day and I enjoy the time away from the screen too. When I've exhausted all the new music I'm currently loving, I've been going through my library rediscovering old favourites and I love the feeling when no matter how much time has passed, you can still love a song as if you were hearing it for the first time again. Takk... by Sigur Rós is one of my all-time favourite records and rediscovering album gem Sæglópur has been truly magical. The way builds up and then slows down is enough to make my heart explode! There have also been old songs that I've found I'm loving more now than I did back then; one of them including Only a Shadow by Small Black. For some reason, I've never paid as much attention to this song and I've always had different favourite tracks off their Limits of Desire album, but Only a Shadow is definitely one of them now. It's so synthy and '80s!
In newer music, I've been listening to a lot of Wolf Alice after seeing them live at Laneway back in February and I wish I had been as familiar with their work as I am now because I totally would've appreciated the live show more. Their Visions of a Life album from last year is particularly incredible; my favourite tracks being Heavenward and Don't Delete the Kisses. MGMT released their new album, Little Dark Age, a couple of months ago and although it's no Oracular Spectacular (that album was all I listened to in 2007!), it's actually surprisingly good! In addition, Sunflower Bean came out with a banger of an indie rock album called Twentytwo in Blue and tUnE-YaRdS' I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life was also a really fun listen. I think w h o k i l l will always be my favourite though.
Earlier in the month, my friend Holly and I went to Reverb Festival to catch The Preatures and The Jezabels live and although it was a really fun night, there were technical difficulties during The Preatures' set and they didn't get to play it in full. I had been wanting to see them live ever since they released their amazing album, Girlhood, last year and all the songs I was looking forward to hearing, I didn't get to. It was super disappointing, but they made the best out of the situation and hopefully being an Australian band, they’ll be back again soon. As for The Jezabels, their set and performance was flawless! This is my third or fourth time seeing them live now and after Heather Shannon (keyboards, piano) underwent treatment for ovarian cancer two years ago, this time felt all the more special. When the festival ended, we continued the night on until about 3am, which resulted in the worst two-day hangover ever (the worst hangover of my life) and I haven't touched a drop of alcohol since!
Film and television
With free time during the nights, I got through a large portion of my 'films to watch' list while on my break, and it was a really good way of taking my mind off things without expending too much emotional energy. We'd be here forever if I were to talk you through each one and what I thought about them, so if you like, I made a Letterboxd account where you can view my full list of movies in 2018. None of you probably care that much, but I just like the movie poster artwork!
Being the '80s fan that I am, I watched quite a few films from the decade including Dead Poets Society, Can't Buy Me Love, The Outsiders, Paris, Texas and Lucas (love me some Winona Ryder and this was her debut movie). Dead Poets Society was by far my favourite and given its rave reviews, I didn't expect anything less. Robin Williams was absolutely brilliant in his role. It's a heartfelt and touching story about a teacher who encourages his students to look at things from a different perspective, and if you're after a feel-good watch that'll make you laugh and cry and feel happy and sad, it's definitely worth the watch.
In older movies from other decades, I really enjoyed Philadelphia, La piscine, Carrie and Dancer in the Dark. Out of this lot, I'd say La piscine was my favourite; it's a 1960s French film about a woman who invites her ex-boyfriend and his daughter to holiday with her and her current boyfriend in their villa on the French Riviera. Plot themes of seduction and jealousy aren't usually my kind of thing, but the way the story unfolds really draws you in, not to mention the incredible outfits of the '60s and the way it beautifully captures summertime in France.
Getting into recent releases, I watched Call Me by Your Name, Band Aid, Baby Driver (Kevin Spacey is gross, but I wanted to watch it for Ansel Elgort and Jon Hamm) and The Beguiled, with a couple of disappointing films being Woodshock and Song to Song. With all the hype surrounding Call Me by Your Name, it definitely lived up to it, though I didn't become as emotionally invested as other people did. I think the whole age gap thing might've put me off a little, but nevertheless, it's the kind of film that takes your breath away, and similarly to La piscine, the way it evokes the European summer is something really mesmerising. The cinematography was just incredible.
I love Kirsten Dunst and I was so excited to learn that she'd teamed up with Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte. The Mulleavy sisters' directorial debut, Woodshock, was a bit of a let down though and I just didn't really understand the plot or where it was going. Having said that that, it was still worth the watch for how visually beautiful it is. As for Song to Song, the other disappointing movie I watched, I had such high hopes for this! Set against the music scene in Austin, Texas and starring two of my favourites, Ryan Gosling and Natalie Portman, this sounded like my perfect movie, but the directing was weird and the overall vibe came across as a little too pretentious. They could've done so much more with the music too, but the cameos from Neon Indian and Lykke Li were really exciting to me.
Another Kirsten Dunst movie I watched and ended up loving was The Beguiled, this time by Sofia Coppola. I wouldn't say it's my favourite collaboration of theirs (that would go to The Virgin Suicides), but that definitely isn't to say this film isn't good in its own right. It's an eerily atmospheric thriller with the most enchanting costumes and all three leads - Kirsten Dunst, Nicole Kidman and Elle Fanning - were amazing. Plus, the music was by Phoenix (no surprise as Sofia Coppola is married the lead singer!) and if there are two things you can expect from a Sofia Coppola film it's stunning cinematography and a killer soundtrack.
Around the web
- Lorde covered Frank Ocean's Solo and it's incredible. I love how she does different covers at different shows of hers.
- Beach House have released two new songs, Dive and Dark Spring, and I cannot wait for their new album that's out next month!
- I also enjoyed the new releases from these artists: Washed Out, Florence + the Machine, Lykke Li and CHVRCHES.
- FKA twigs stars in the Spike Jonze directed ad for Apple's HomePod. I'm a huge fan of FKA twigs' and she sure knows how to dance!
- Blog I've been loving lately: Allie of Rush & Teal.
- Shaaanxo is back with another makeup decluttering series and for someone who does YouTube for a living and receives a hell of a lot of PR samples, I really enjoy how ruthless she always is.
- Cut Copy released a music video for their song Black Rainbows and obviously, it's perfect and I love it.
- Tavi Gevinson shared her beauty routine on Into the Gloss.
- Pitchfork compiled a list of The 30 Best Dream Pop Albums and I 100% agree with Cocteau Twins' Heaven or Las Vegas as their #1 pick.
- Anna of Anna Considine shared an emotionally vulnerable and beautifully written piece all about her psychotic episode. To share something so personal is not only deeply courageous and inspiring, but also incredibly important in helping against the stigmatisation of mental health. Thank you for telling your story, Anna.