“Heartlines” cover (NZ Music Month!)

My new flat doesn’t have space for a piano and I can’t afford a keyboard just yet, so I can only play the piano when I visit my parents. While I miss being able to play the piano every day, it’s kind of nice having to go to my parents’ house because it means that I visit them more often and still see my cat regularly (he has not forgiven me for going to Canada and is even more mad that I’ve moved out since coming back to NZ). Anyway, I mentioned in my last post that I was planning on covering Broods’ song “Heartlines” and when I went to my parents’ house yesterday I finally got the chance to record it (and to remind my cat that I still love him).

Musical Spotlight: NZ Music Month Edition

Luke Thompson: Luke Thompson is an incredible musician. I’ve seen him live twice now: once with Avalanche City and once when he opened for Passenger. This song is a few years old but is a particular favourite of mine – I love it when singers really go for it in one huge, emotional note and he nails it in this song.

The Naked and Famous: Everyone knows The Naked and Famous because of “Young Blood”, which is a fantastic song, but they have plenty of other wicked songs too. I’ve always loved “Girls Like You” off their debut but lately I’ve been loving their new album “Simple Forms”. It’s some parts dancey, some parts dreamy, all parts awesome.

Broods: I saw Broods live (funnily enough, not in NZ) when they opened for Ellie Goulding in Canada. They’re an awesome live act because they’re so high energy, but they can do chilled vibes equally well – I adore this stripped down version of “Heartlines” because it really shows off their versatility. I’m actually planning on covering this song in a week or so, so keep an eye out for that!

“Liability” cover (it’s NZ Music Month!)

It’s May, which means it’s NZ Music Month! NZ Music Month is a celebration of  the wicked homegrown talent of kiwis, with radio stations playing more local tunes and people focusing on how awesome kiwi musicians are.

Lorde is very probably NZ’s most famous musician, so I figured May would be the perfect opportunity to cover her new song (no, not the one about green lights, the other new song). I love it when big artists release songs with very simple instrumentation (especially when it’s piano-based) because it really shows off their vocals and also makes it super easy for solo acts like to me do a decent cover.

Throughout the month of May I’m going to do my utmost to record some more kiwi covers (maybe an original too?) because NZ truly does have some incredible talent that deserves more love.

April ’17 Favourites!

Every month, a million different things seem to happen and April has been no different – I feel like I’ve fit an entire year into the past 30 days. As well as catching up with people I haven’t seen in forever, I’ve also managed to score both a flat (which I move into today!) and a job (which I start tomorrow!). This month was huge, and I get the feeling it won’t slow down any time soon.

EASTER: A couple of weeks ago, Lox and I drove up to Tauranga to spend Easter with his family. I was a little apprehensive about heading up because Cyclone Cook had recently hit NZ – there were extreme weather warnings throughout the North Island and lots of people were advocating for staying put. We ignored those warnings and I’m so please we did – the weather was absolutely beautiful and we had an amazing time. I’ve never really spent much time in Tauranga before and now I can definitely see why it’s such a summer hotspot. We spent Easter Sunday at the beach which felt like a wonderfully kiwi thing to do:

WELLINGTON: I have a confession to make – I’m not actually from Wellington. Most people have never heard of my hometown, Lower Hutt, so it’s easier to tell people I’m from the capital, plus I went to uni in Wellington and spend most of my time there anyway. But minus study abroad and my working holiday, I’ve actually lived in Lower Hutt my entire life. Ever since I started uni in 2012, I’ve wanted to move into town (I even wrote a blog post about it once), and today I finally am! I’m so excited to finally live in my favourite city in the world. Plus my new flat is a block away from one of my best friends, and I am so stoked at the thought of being a 2 minute walk to her house.

WORK: I was excited to return to NZ but I was also dreading the job hunting process. I don’t think anyone enjoys looking for a job and it didn’t help that everyone was saying that the job market in Wellington was pretty bleak. After countless interviews (really it was 10), a pretty cool company decided they liked me enough to hire me. I’m thrilled, but simultaneously I’m terrified. This is my first permanent, full-time job – I’ve had full-time jobs before but they were fixed-term, and my part-time jobs were during uni so they were never going to be forever. Despite my nerves, I’m so happy that I’ll be earning money again and actually working in the field that I want to be in. My coworkers seem very cool and the job itself is walking distance from the flat! Bless Wellington for being such a walkable city, and bless this month for giving me so many things to look forward to.

Saving the world through shopping

I want the world to be a better place but I also want to sleep in. That’s why I love doing things that let me feel like I’m making a difference without exerting myself.

I have a very beautiful friend who also wants the world to be a better place and actually puts in the effort to do so. She’s a great person to know because she finds out which organisations are worthy and then plans events so lazier people like myself can join her in saving the world. This month, she organised a clothing-swap fundraiser that resulted in everyone getting new outfits while also raising money to support peace in Syria (the organisation that received our donations is “Preemptive Love Coalition“, if you’re curious).

shanna-camilleri-190745

After having everyone clear out their wardrobes, she collected and organised the unwanted clothes and had everyone round to her house for a Pop-Up Op-Shop. We left a donation and then found new outfits from other people’s no-longer-favourites, so I got to spend an afternoon basically shopping and left feeling like I’d made a difference in the world. All the unclaimed clothing was donated to refugee families so I got to feel doubly warm inside.

We live in a beautiful world (yeah we do, yeah we do) but also there is a lot wrong with it that needs fixing. I also know that it’s a lot easier to take part in worthwhile causes when someone else actually does the bulk of the work for you. I hope you all have a friend like mine (if you are that friend, bless you), because people like her allow the multitudinous sleepy people like me to make a difference.

“Michicant” cover & remembering how to piano

Coming back to NZ meant reuniting with my lovely piano, which I missed dearly. Any time I found a piano in Canada I played it, but that only amounted to about 10 times (strangely enough, you don’t often find pianos just hanging around) so I’ve been super excited to actually have regular access to a piano again.

The other day I had a full face of makeup on because I had a job interview, so I figured it was the perfect time to finally record a cover on the piano. Despite the fact that I’ve been playing since I was 9 years old and I know this song like the back of my hand, I spent an hour messing it up and cursing at myself. Eventually I remembered how to piano, but I was frustrated enough to not feel self conscious talking to the camera, so please enjoy the sound of both my talking voice and (hopefully) my singing voice in this cover of my favourite Bon Iver song:

EDIT (11/4): Clearly I’ve been away from the piano far too long because I published this under the wrong song name initially. Woops.

Am I a good person or am I just lazy?

While catching up with a friend I hadn’t seen since before I left for Canada, I mentioned that I was now a vegetarian. When she asked me why, I explained that my flat in Vancouver didn’t have any decent appliances to cook meat so it felt like an unnecessary expense. Eventually, I found I didn’t miss it so fully embraced the vegetarian lifestyle.

It made me realise that a lot of the decisions I’m proud of and that I associate with my identity are not necessarily because I’m a good person or intent on breaking societal expectations – they’re mostly due to laziness.

john-towner-125995

I’m a vegetarian – because animals are cute, but mainly because I hate the way raw meat feels and cooking it is a lot more effort than cooking veges. You won’t get sick if you undercook a carrot, but that pink chicken on the other hand…

I don’t shave my legs – partly because I think the societal expectation that women need to shave their legs is ridiculous, but also because I really hate shaving. One time I shaved my legs after 6 months of not doing so, and it took me half an hour to achieve dolphin-level smoothness. I’m now going on a year and a half of leg-hair growth and I really don’t have the time to spend forty five minutes removing it (not to mention 5 minutes every week keeping it at bay).

I use a Diva Cup – because it’s better for the environment, but really its major upside is you don’t need to change it multiple times a day. Put it in in the morning and take it out 10 hours later – that’s it. Plus one menstrual cup lasts several years and you better believe I’m too lazy to buy pads and tampons on the regular.

It extends past those examples. I often catch the bus because then I don’t need to spend time finding a carpark. I don’t wear a bra much because putting one on adds about 30 seconds to my morning routine. I prefer hanging washing on the line because I don’t really know how to use the dryer. I go barefaced 90% of the time because I hate taking makeup off in the evening when I’m sleepy and want to go straight to bed. I’ve had the same phone for close to 4 years because the effort involved in getting a new phone feels like a little too much.

I love knowing that my choices are good for the environment and I love feeling that I’m not subscribing to all the beauty rules women are tacitly told to follow. And while I’m proud of these little decisions I make in my life, I’d be lying if I said it took a lot of effort. When it comes to school or work, I put in all the effort, but in my everyday life I crave laziness and downtime. Sure, I’m motivated by the thought that my choices make a difference in the world, but I think I’m equally motivated by knowing those choices are actually easier for me than the alternative.

Here’s to living a sustainable, defiant lifestyle with minimal effort – and if you have suggestions for more ways I can be both lazy and efficient, let me know!