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. Sunday, 15 September 2019 .

There's no point in even denying that Earth, Wind & Fire's 'September' hasn't made its annual appearance into my Spotify playlist. If you ever catch me in public with earphones on, please be assured that I am in fact, remembering September. What is it about this month that resonates with songwriters? Wake Me Up When September Ends? Iconic. I also once went out with a guy from a band who had a song about September and I still know all the words to the song to this day.

There's no point in even going off on a 'how the hell is it September already where has the year gone' tangent either. Fact of the matter is, September is here and it's here to stay for the next couple of weeks.

I realised it's been quite a long time since I last wrote my monthly goals here. I think there is still something to be said about making public declarations of my goals and intentions for the month. Perhaps it's because it keeps me more accountable or it's easier to keep checking back in to what I need to do - I'm sure someone, somewhere has said that the key to smashing your goals is to have it somewhere you're likely to see it everyday so you're always reminded of it. Or something like that. I'm obviously paraphrasing this in the worst way possible.

So September. We're halfway through but you know what? I'm gonna go ahead and set some goals anyway. #YOLO and all that. Do people still say that? I don't know. Maybe 2019 is the year we make #YOLO great again!

September Goals

Give up fizzy drinks - I don't drink them often but lately I find myself choosing the fizzy drink option at events or movies or when I go out to eat. I'm not a big alcohol drinker so fizzy drinks is my go-to, but gosh, I'm about to break-up with it because I know it's not good for me. Also note, I am a big water fan. I go through a few litres a day! So it's not like I'm all fizz, no h2o....

Do something I love/something that makes me happy EVERYDAY - Good golly this is a big one! I had this shocking realisation the other day while I was reflecting and taking stock of my life/everyday. I looked at how I spend my days/hours and what I get up to in the week. It's confronting to realise that I don't do enough of the things that make me happy. Don't get me wrong - I love going to events, catching up with people, watching movies etc - but what I mean is I don't do enough things for myself by myself. Like writing fiction (it's always been my favourite type of writing yet the one I do the least of) or reading a lot of books. Or even writing in my journal! I used to do that all the time, just having a yarn and getting the thoughts out - therapeutic when I think about how those words will never see the light of day. So maybe this needs to be rephrased as 'Do something that's just for my own joy everyday'. I'm committing to blocking out an hour/day to something gooooood.

Stick to routines - But why??? Routines are boring, some may argue. Not gonna lie, I do love a good rout...ine. There is something so comforting in knowing what to expect in some aspects of my life. Like I know when my alarm rings, I will snooze it for an hour get up and get ready for work. I know I'll be eating the same breakfast when I get to the office (granola - YUM), I know I'll finish work at a certain time then commute home etc. You know the drill! But I feel like routines unfairly get such a bad rep. A good routine elevates your day, keeps you grounded, keeps you from going crazy etc.

Consistent skin/self care - The first to go out the door when I'm tired! If I'm not wearing make-up and I get home at 11 pm, I'm splashing my face with water and going to bed. CYA! But I know that's not good practice because pollution, grime, and dirt so I should really stop doing that. I've been really consistent with my skincare lately though - taking the time to do my routine at the end of the day, no matter how tired I am. And you know what? Not only does my skin look the best it's ever been, but I'm finding that taking time to wind down and do all those steps is actually so relaxing! Some days are just totally crazy and that evening skincare routine is my first moment of stillness for the day. Doing it also signals to my body that it's time turn in for the night. I'm sleeping so much better/more regularly again too!

Declutter the crap out of my flat - pun absolutely intended. I've accumulated so much crap over the years! It's a bit 'out of sight, out of mind' for me at the moment but I know deep inside, they're all there, just taking up space and/or I can't truly relax knowing that my space is just filled with stuff. So I need to be ruthless and do a big clearout again like I did when I first moved to Auckland. I literally got rid of half my things! So HMU if you need clothes, knick knacks etc. I got you!

Eat better - I eat delicious things, but I need to eat better. More veggies, fruits, and a balanced diet. More homecooked meals! I actually really love cooking but again, it's one of those things that I don't do enough of. I'm too tempted by the convenience of eating out or takeaways when I'm really busy. Somedays I really don't have the time to stand there and cook, but you know what? I'm gonna get better at meal prep.

More mindset work - I started doing more of this back in July while I was going through a rough patch and it's honestly helped so much. Daily gratitude is also something I'm trying really hard to practice. It's harder than it seems but it really does work wonders! So mindset and gratitude and a lot of work to make my head a better space to be at is in the works for this month!

Hope you all had a lovely, relaxing weekend! I'll let you know how I go with these... maybe.

. Monday, 9 September 2019 .

It's been a long time since I've encountered a book like this that I'm starting to believe that this type of art only come around once in a lifetime. Well, maybe not, but I do know that this book is as rare as it is special.

On Friday night, I was just ready for a break. To relax, unwind, do something that's just for me. The past few weeks have been crazier than usual with Fashion Week and several movie premieres during the week. It's been amazing! I'm always in awe of the innate creativity we are surrounded with. Whether that's in clothes and design or film. But one art form has been notably absent in my life for a while: the written word.

Sure, I still read everyday - articles, copy, a magazine article here and there. I used to be such an avid reader - the type that could finish a book in one sitting, two if I absolutely had nothing to do that day. I've been saying for ages how I've been meaning to get back into the habit of it. It's one of the things that give me absolute happiness in life yet I couldn't remember the last time I truly was still with my nose under a book for a sustained period of time.

Was it just me? Was it my attention span that was getting shorter? Did I truly not have the time to just relax and do something that would bring me such joy? What am I spending my time on? Was I reading the wrong books that I just can't get into?

The answer to my worries, so it appears, is Daisy Jones & The Six. On a whim I went on full self-care mode after work on Friday and wandered around stores, picked up flowers, magazines and books. Among them was Daisy Jones & The Six. I didn't know anything about this book prior to buying it. I got the last copy in the bookshop and after a quick skim of the synopsis, I added it to the counter where another book was already waiting for me.

I started reading it on my commute home. I read the first few pages, was confused that this was indeed not a fiction novel but some documentary/biography book that somehow got muddled in the fiction section. I googled it, searching for the real Daisy Jones and The Six. Turns out, the writing was so realistic that it was easy to think that this were a true story. Just one of the many twists and turns this book had in store for me.

Here's the official synopsis:

Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six, but nobody knows the reason behind their split at the absolute height of their popularity . . . until now.

Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock and roll she loves most. By the time she’s twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things.
Also getting noticed is The Six, a band led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she’s pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road.

Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes that the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend.
The making of that legend is chronicled in this riveting and unforgettable novel, written as an oral history of one of the biggest bands of the seventies.

At around 1 am this morning, I finally put the book down. Speechless, in complete awe of this masterpiece, and left with the feeling that I had just devoured something magical. I cannot stop thinking about Daisy Jones and The Six. I thought about it all day today, the story and characters still haven't left me. It's so good I'm contemplating starting it again. Turns out, maybe I didn't have a short attention span after all. Maybe I've just been reading the wrong books.

It reminded me what great storytelling is and why I became a writer in the first place. You know that feeling you get when you read a really good sentence (ironically that sentence wasn't really good. Maybe if I were a real writer I'd come up with a better descriptor than 'really good') - all of a sudden, the world just makes total sense. Prose that flows, thoughts that seamlessly transition to another, written in a way I've not seen done in fiction before.

Taylor Jenkins Reid is a genius to have written it that way. The oral history/documentary commentary style really made it into a believable account of the 70s Rock and Roll era. It was hard to reconcile with the fact that they were not a real band and the songs mentioned in the book weren't real although there is a list of lyrics in the back of the book - another clever touch! I read that this is going to be turned into a TV series soon so I think being able to hear the songs would elevate this even more. The whole book felt like I was just reading an extremely long Rolling Stone article and I loved how even though there were so many characters, you were still able to distinguish who was who and get inside their head.

Of course, like any book, there is always a main protagonist and antagonist, although to be honest, I can't tell who was who. Even though Daisy Jones was the centre of the story, I actually didn't find myself drawn or impressed by her. I resonated more with Camila Dunne - the other part of this love story. And that's exactly what this book is - it's a love story. Not only between the characters, but it's a love letter to the 70s era where Rock and Roll ruled and the music scene was different and wild and exciting. The only thing I wasn't a fan of was the very last page before the song lyrics, the ending that feels reminiscent of How I Met Your Mother and I felt like the last few pages leading up to that was an easy way out and I didn't like it. I see why the author did it, though, but I wasn't a fan.

It's easy to see that Daisy Jones and The Six was influenced by Fleetwood Mac. I did some digging today and found this interview with the author where she referenced this:

I don’t remember the first time I actually paid attention to the screen. Maybe I resigned myself to watching snippets of it, flipping back and forth between channels. What I do know is that, at some point during that heavy rotation cycle in which The Dance dominated music television, I glanced up at the screen while Stevie Nicks was singing “Landslide.”

The lighting was dim, she was in a gauzy black dress, her hair was big and blond. She shared the stage only with Lindsey Buckingham, who was just off to the side, accompanying her. She sang with such fragility and yet she seemed so confident and strong—and as she did, she kept looking back at Lindsey, her expression warm and intimate, but cryptic.

Who were these people?

As the song was coming to an end, Stevie and Lindsey moved closer to one another, smiling tenderly, maybe even a little bit wistfully. Lindsey stopped strumming for a moment and Stevie let it fly as he watched from the sideline. And for one split second—truly, a slice of a moment—Lindsey put his fist under his chin and looked at Stevie as if she was a miracle.

And I thought, “Oh, they’re in love with each other.”

You can see the exact moment she was talking about in this video too. Keep an eye out around the 3:29 mark. I can't stop watching that video. I've seen it countless times, but now I just can't get that moment out of my mind.

And suddenly it all makes sense. Reading that interview, knowing how that moment made the author feel... well, that's how I feel after reading this book. It truly is brilliant and I can't recommend it enough. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to reread this again and play that video on loop. It's been a long time since a book has made me feel like this and now that I've remembered what this feels like, I just want to keep chasing it over and over again. So thank you, Daisy Jones and The Six. You're my Aurora.

. Monday, 2 September 2019 .

Oh, wow. It's September (but you already knew that though), it's been a while since I wrote something here, and I'm officially pooped exhausted from the week that was New Zealand Fashion Week. For some reason, even though I only did half the show I usually attend this year, I'm more exhausted than ever. Perhaps it's ageing? Or the fact that I'm so busy with work and everything else? I don't know, but I sure could do with sleeping for an entire week...

Not that that's possible or anything. So for now I will settle with going to bed before midnight, minimal activities in the evening, and eating well. There are so many things happening behind the scenes for me right now, things that have been a long time coming, finally coming to fruition.

Oh, I just can't wait to share all these with you! It's been one of the most transformative periods of my life so far - that breakdown/breakthrough cycle definitely hit the lowest of lows and I took some time to heal and refocus and realign with who I am and what I want. It's been a great process, there are some major things underway, and I'm in the midst of it all, feeling so damn grateful to be me, in this body, in this lifetime, born into this life. But this is a conversation for another time.

Right now I really need to go to bed and do some reflecting on the day. My family and I are doing a gratitude challenge on the family group chat for all of September which I'm so excited about! I've been practicing gratitude a lot, and it's been one of the most powerful things I've ever done for myself ever. Right now it feels like the world is my oyster and that everything is truly possible. Because it is. But for now, we rest and recover and sleep. Tomorrow, we move mountains.