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. Saturday, 16 March 2019 .

Latest version as of 17 March, 7:13 pm - image credit Shaun Yeo from Yeo Cartoons

Today has been the most harrowing day in our beautiful country. I can't fully comprehend what's happened. My heart is so broken. Nothing I can say that hasn't already been said so instead, here are some ideas on how to help:

Al-Manar Trust is a non-profit Islamic Trust and they've set up an emergency appeal and you can donate to it here.

This is the official Give a little page for the victims. Please donate if you can. 

Tonight we found out thanks to the above tweets from Guled Mire that the flight costs from Auckland to Christchurch was at $747 minimum. This is a one and a half hour flight and when Air NZ has a sale, it can go as low as $39. What made it worse was Air New Zealand's reply that the reason for these costs were supply and demand. I couldn't believe I was reading that, to be hones. The reason for that 'supply' is because we've just had a terrorist attack and people are flying over to be with loved ones, for funerals, to help out. We need a lot of people power for mass burials - especially one as large as this. To act like they have no control over pricing is appalling. To profit off such a tragedy is unconscionable. I don't know about you, but I expect better from our national airline.

This happened a few hours later. If you're reading this outside of NZ, Grant Robertson is our Minister of Finance and controls 52% of Air NZ on behalf of the state. I saw how angry people were on Twitter over this. I saw how they demanded change and made their voices heard. I saw how quickly things changed. A few hours later and prices are now down to $139 for a return flight. So in case you are ever wondering whether or not your one voice can make an impact, keep this in mind. Now is not the time to stay silent. Don't be afraid to use your voice and to amplify the voices in your community. You can make a difference.

Call out casual racism. Don't stay silent when your mates share a seemingly 'harmless' racist joke. Don't normalise hatred and racism. Don't stand for it either. Demand better behaviour. Because these little things, these micro-aggressions and harmless behaviour add up. They have consequences. And today that's 49 deaths and 42 people still in the hospital. Our men, our women, our children. All while peacefully praying.

Thoughts and prayers are important. So are actions. One cannot exist without the other.

Attend a vigil, reach out to your local Muslim and migrant community and find out what kind of support they need. Listen to them. Then get on with it and help out.  I read this morning that a Hindu temple in Henderson was threatened yesterday and this brazen person told the priest that the temple did not belong in NZ. The temple is closed now because their garden has been destroyed overnight. I've asked one of the people in their community what we can do to help and if we can help fix the garden. Will keep you posted if you're keen to do something with me. This is why it's important to reach out to our vulnerable communities right now. It's like the equivalent of changing your profile pic with an overlay text but IRL and offline.

I survived a mass shooting 23 years ago. Here's how to help survivors today.

Amplify POC voices especially those in the Muslim community. Listen to their lived experience. We don't need anymore trash hot takes from the media and the Mike Hoskings of the world. Listen to the communities who are mostly impacted by this and who will inevitably (and unfairly) bear the brunt and pain from this tragedy.

Demand for better action from companies like Youtube and Facebook. Youtube needs to be better at eradicating users who fester this type of hatred. And Facebook needs to think about their role in this too. The terrorist livestreamed the attack. The video has been downloaded by sick people and reuploaded. Some media outlets have shared it (let's not even get started on how unethical and immoral this is, not to mention against the law). Why do we not have security or monitoring measures in place for livestreaming? And if we can't provide that, then why are we offering such a feature in the first place?

Donate to paramedics like St John First Responders or volunteer your time. These brave Christchurch paramedics responded to the attacks and saved lives. They did it without bulletproof vests on, they dealt with the situation as it was unfolding. These are the same people who are fighting for better pay and working conditions. New Zealand's paramedics are now on some of the lowest rates in the developed world. Support them.

Our teachers also deserve better. While schools were on lockdown, these teachers ensured our children were kept safe. Have you ever tried to amuse a child for an extended period of time? That is a lot of patience and compassion. Educate yourself on why recently went on strike (this is a good place to start) and be a better ally.

Go to the Restoring Family Links (RFL) website or call 0800115019 to report a missing person. I've seen a few posts being shared on social media from concerned whanau (family) who are still looking for their loved ones. This is the number to direct them to.

You can call or text 1737 (hotline is open 24/7) if you need to talk to someone. Whoever you are, wherever you are in the country, the past few days have been intense and overwhelming for all of us. Talk to someone about it. Your feelings are valid.

Mental health advice for coping after a traumatic event and how to support kids after a traumatic event from the Ministry of Health.

Check in with your mates and loved ones. See how they're doing. Offer hugs and a cuppa. It might seem like a small thing but the feeling you're feeling right now - the anger, numbness, sadness - chances are, they too feel the same way. Talk about it. Be angry. Be support. Be love.

When we talk about the Mosques, can we please refer to them by their names? It's Masjid Al Noor on Deans Ave and Linwood Masjid on Linwood Av. It is a place of prayer and love and it's appalling that someone thought they had the right to take that away.

Teach kids why diversity is so important. Expose them to cultures and ideas and ways of living that are different to theirs.

Get to know your candidates and your leaders. Understand what they stand for and their policies. If you were apathetic then, how can you be now?

I'm thinking about our NZ police who responded swiftly and bravely. I cannot comprehend the amount of courage it takes to do your job. To head straight towards a violent attack by someone with those kinds of weapons. Thank you.

NZ, this IS who we are right now. And I know we all feel like this isn't who we want to be. So let's fight for that. Let's strive to not be this. There is so much work to be done but we need to start this now. We cannot undo what happened yesterday but it's on us to make sure this never happens again.

These are just some ideas of the things we can do. The Spinoff and The Project have great lists with more ideas too.

. Thursday, 14 March 2019 .

Completely, utterly, irrevocably in love with golden hour at my dreamy city. Anyway, I'm just popping in to say hi. How are you?

I'm doing a lot of background work on this website over the weekend so things may get weird. Maybe. I mean, things are always weird around here anyway so what's another weekend of that, right?

Back to regular programming soon. I'm excited to keep sharing a piece of me in this website, possibly even more so than before. Until then, look after yourselves and each other, and I'll talk to you soon x

P.S. I hope you got the 'Friends' reference of the title. One of my workmates said they were on a break from a workshop yesterday and I yelled 'WE WERE ON A BREAK!!!!!' and my colleagues laughed and I felt like I well and truly have found my people.

. Sunday, 10 March 2019 .

Hi! Helloooo? Is this *taps mic*, is this thing on? Yes? Good. I know it's been a hot minute and I haven't really been blogging much. I miss it! I have all these things I want to write about but I don't have a lot of time lately. But let's not dwell on that.

I haven't done a ten things in a while. It's been years, even. Let's change that!

1. I went to the Aladdin closing show last week and took my friend Lio with me. Yes, that was my third time seeing it. Yes, I still cried. Yes, I'm going to see it again on Broadway because my nana wants to see it so guess I'm gonna have to go stateside to visit her anyway. Yes, I still stand by this review.

2. This version of this song is so freaking magical. It's become my meditation song of sorts. It's so powerful and ambiguous and just beautiful. Listen with headphones if you can.

3. I have a lot of feelings on International Women's Day. On one hand it can easily be tokenised by big companies jumping into days like these to push their own agenda. But on the otherhand, it is so need, so necessary in this current climate. I also feel as though most of the 'feminism' and social media activism we see are not intersectional and it frustrates the hell out of me. BUT I will say though that this year, my feed has been the most intersectional I've ever seen on IWD so that's progress, I guess. International Women's Day is more than a hashtag, though. More than a day of visibility. And the real work happens everyday. Anyway, I don't know where I'm going with this, but I wrote something about it here if you wanted to have a nosy.

4. Speaking of, I started International Women's Day with Berlei for the launch of their new UnderState collection. We were treated to a lovely breakfast, styling tips, and an expert bra fitter to help us find the right style and size. Unfortunately they didn't have my cup size there but will be sending me one from their warehouse. I will say though that even though the cup size was wrong, the bra fit me in the back. It was incredible stretchy and comfortable to wear and I can't wait to try this! Big boobied people will know that the struggle is real when it comes to finding a good bra and I have high hopes for this.

5. On Wednesday afternoon, I went on a tour of SO/Auckland. Their manager Neil kindly showed me around the place and WOW. It's sublime. It feels very New York-ish, the bathroom is impeccable, and the pool is lovely. They also have a spa and I got to visit a room that's currently being built. When it's done, it will have Himalayan salt tiles and I can already envision it backlit and glowing and I can't wait for it to be ready! I ended up staying for dinner and treated myself to a luxe four course meal at the Harbour Society, their restaurant by Michelin-starred Head Chef Marc de Passorio. It was divine. I haven't had a leisurely long meal in a while so it was a nice mid-week treat. Hotel tour on my Instagram page highlights!

6. We went to this bar in town on Friday after work and it was just so architecturally stunning. I wasn't expecting to find such a gem like that in the city. Their little balcony area felt like being in Paris! The food was lovely, drink deals awesome, and great service too. I'm definitely going to be back because I want to sit in the outside area without the tarp covering it (it was a bit rainy but we sat outside and it was still nice). Anyway, I'm totally obsessed and can't wait to come back.  I'll report back on the name of the place soon.

7. On another food note... the crayfish salad at Oyster & Chop is my most favourite salad in the world and I long for it every so often.

8. I realised the other day how insecure I've been about my body lately. I'm not sure when this happened. It's quite shocking, really. But somewhere along the way I stopped feeling confident in how my face looks and felt self-conscious in selfies. But now that I'm aware of that, I can be more conscious of how I feel and be in control of my thoughts. This would be another blog post in itself so let me gather my thoughts and we'll chat about it soon. But also - how amazing does Paloma Mija look in this latest issue of Unconditional mag?!

9. Autumn is coming. We are officially saying goodbye to summer! It's no secret that summer is my least favourite season and good riddance I say. I'm so so so so so excited for cooler weather, nice clothes, and wearing make-up again without having it slide off my face every five minutes. I've been stocking up on all these clothes and cannot wait to wear things that feel like me again. Hello, true self, can't wait for you to rise as the temperatures drop!

10. I woke up extra early this morning to make brunch for my brother and his friends. Joey had two surprise parties - a big one last week and then a surprise sleepover with his best friends last night so I've been cooking up a storm! I'm exhausted but so happy. Speaking of, I should really go and eat something now.

Talk soon x