Easy Halloween Costumes

After all that hard drive drama settled down, I can finally see Halloween as a pleasant holiday.

It’s got pumpkins, cinnamon spice, skeletons, black cats, witches’ hats and ghosts, lots of black and lots and lots of orange. And did I mention the pumpkins?

I planned a relatively easy costume for Halloween this year, mainly because I’d never dressed up in previous years. But this year I got my wings.

angel and devil

Halloween isn’t complete without an angel and devil, right?

I used to dress in large black wings last time. White wings are actually more versatile because you can play with the idea of a normal angel and a fallen angel. And even a woodland fairy is now an option.
Not only that, I even won best dressed costume! (To be honest, that was probably a fluke)

angel

Thanks MOMU (Malaysians of Melbourne University)!

If you’re trying to find easy Halloween costumes (and don’t have any wings lying around), here’s a compilation of some fun inspiration. I’ve also rated the pros and cons of each outfit. Bonus!

The Instagram Selfie Photo

Queen Bey’s done it. Cut out a square cardboard and paint it to look like an Instagram photo. You can even add a Hashtag nofilter! It’s a fun costume and everyone will definitely want a picture with you.

Pro: You can take an Instagram selfie with people and put it on Instagram. Instagram-ception!
Con: Beyonce’s already done it. And you’ll have to bring it around everywhere you go. Which probably isn’t going to be as much fun.

A Sims Character

Recreate your Sims character in real life. This is super easy, and some Pinterest pins even have a template for you to print, cut and glue the green diamond. Attach it to a headband and wire and you’re set.

Pro: It’s pretty easy, and you can do it with a group of friends.
Con: Some people might not get it? And… you might have to brush up on your Simlish. Can’t be an authentic Sim without Simlish.

If you’ve got a striped shirt or dress lying around, the next few costumes might be an option for you.

Where’s Wally/Waldo?

Is he called Wally or Waldo? Apparently he’s called Waldo in the United States and Canada, and Wally everywhere else. Either way, he’s a nostalgic character and most people know him.

(He’s also the ultimate winner of Hide and Seek, by the way.)

If you have a red striped shirt and jeans, just dress up like Wally, or be Wally’s girlfriend (if you have a yellow and black shirt, you can be Wally’s evil twin (Sure makes it a pleasant change from being a bumblebee.) A bobble cap and cane finishes off the look, but it’s still just as distinguishable without them.

Pro: If your friends don’t see you at the party, you can play the “That means I was an awesome Where’s Wally!” card.
Con: You’d be spotted by everyone you meet. Worst. Wally. Ever.

Hamburglar from McDonald’s

Ahh, Hamburglar. Also termed “one of Ronald McDonald’s gang”. Ronald is obviously the most popular character most people will recognise, but a yellow suit, curly red wig and giant red boots might be difficult to get.
The Hamburglar on the other hand, only needs a black and white striped shirt or dress, and maybe black pants or leggings underneath. A cape and a burger patterned tie completes the look. And don’t forget to swing by McDonald’s for a Happy Meal on the way to the party. Bonus!

Pro: You’ve got a Happy Meal. And a cape. 
Con: You’ll probably have to walk around with a Ronald McDonald for people to get what your costume is. 

Mime

A mime is another way to use that striped shirt. A simple long sleeved striped shirt, black pants / skirt, white face paint and black makeup makes it an awesome option for both guys and girls.

Pro: You wouldn’t need to speak the whole night.
Con: You wouldn’t be able to speak the whole night. And it might not be so creative. But… there’s always a solution for that…

French KISS

Oh so punny! The face paint of the rock band KISS mixed with the classic French clothes (don’t forget the baguette) would be hilarious and creative. Go with another 3 of your friends and be the 4 members of KISS.

Related story: How do people celebrate Halloween around the World?

Pro: If the food sucks, you’ve got a backup plan.
Con: Friends might not get it. And if they don’t… well, they weren’t your friends anyway.

The Cat Costume

Okay you might not have to go all out with that makeup to recreate this look above. But you have the option to either draw simple cat whiskers and a black nose, to painting tiger stripes / leopard spots all over your face and body.
For ears, you can either get a cat shaped headband, or create ears from your hair with the help of hairspray and this tutorial below by Elle Fowler (AllThatGlitters21).

Pro: Just get an eyeliner and you’re probably sorted.
Con: Due to its popularity and ease, You might not be the only cat in the room. And I’m not talking about the feline kind.

And if you decide instead that you’ve got lots of time, energy and cash to spare, maybe you can dress up like this.
There are cosplays, and then there are cosplays.

johnnydepp

This guy showed up at a cosplay as every single Johnny Depp character. From Pirates of the Caribbean to The Lone Ranger, to Willy Wonka, to Edward Scissorhands to the Mad Hatter… it’s probably easier to actually list out which character he wasn’t dressed up as. It takes time, yes, and commitment, yes; but everyone’s going to be talking about it.

Pro: You’re Johnny Depp, mate!
Con: After that costume… you’ve peaked. There’s no way to go from there but down.

But still, don’t forget Pro: You’re Johnny Depp!

What are you dressing up as for Halloween? Comment below or send me links of your photos!

- Fari Wu

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Why sometimes Life is just Mind over Matter

run2

60 years ago, no one had ever been able to run a mile in under 4 minutes.

Then in 1954, Roger Bannister set the world record for being the first person ever to run 1 mile (1,609.344 meters, 5280 feet) in under 4 minutes. His time: 3 minutes 59.4 seconds. At that time, it was considered impossible and psychologists even claimed it was hazardous to the health.

For years, it had not been just a physical, but also a psychological barrier that no one was able to break through.

Perhaps they were afraid for their health.

Perhaps no one had the stamina.

Or perhaps, it had been drilled into everyone’s mindset that running a mile in under 4 minutes was just too impossible.

Until Roger Bannister came along.

He went down in the Guiness Book of Records as the first man to ever cross the finish line of a mile in under 4 minutes. And then only 46 days later, John Landy broke that record by coming in at 3 minutes 57.9 seconds. The two of them later competed on 7th August to finally decide the winner of the 4-minute mile, and Bannister came out on top.

run1

And then what happened? Just 3 years later, 16 more runners had broken past the 4-minute mile barrier. 3 years after the first person set a record for the unthinkable, 16 more runners had set the exact same record.

Why?

Because when everyone realized that the impossible had become reality, everyone else was willing to try their hand to achieve the same feat. Because finally someone else had done it.

When nobody else had achieved such a feat, no one was willing enough to try it because their mentality was “it can never happen”. But the moment 1 person does it and reports success, everyone else rushes to do the same thing.

So the lesson here is: Nothing is impossible. Nothing (rational) is impossible, anyway.

There have been many time in my life where I thought something was impossible, whether because I was afraid, or thought I wasn’t smart enough, because I didn’t think I had enough time, because I thought I wouldn’t be able to take it.

But that’s where success lies. You push yourself further than you thought possible, and sometimes it takes training, sometimes it takes practice, sometimes it takes luck. But once you get there, you get to enjoy the taste of success.

And that’s when you realize you’ve made a breakthrough.

Just Do It.

(You KNEW I was gonna do that, didn’t you?)

run3

What do you think is impossible?

- Fari Wu

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The Day My Hard Drive Died

pumpkin

Halloween has arrived and along with it, one of the most horrifying things that can happen to anyone, tech-wise.

My external hard drive was corrupted.

It had been working fine that afternoon, but when I plugged it in at night… the disk wouldn’t read. A message popped up saying that the hard drive was corrupted and unreadable.

I don’t back up my stuff, and although I do have some things stored online, like in my email or Google Drive, most of my valuable information is kept on that external hard drive. When I think back on the last time I backed everything up, it was probably either 3 or 8 months ago. A lot can change in a month, like new photos and new documents. And this is the last few weeks leading up to the end of semester, where most of my assignments are due.

Everything.

Gone.

I freaked out.

eggs

Not sure which egg described my feelings the best. I felt like I was in a saucepan myself, slowly burning inside.

I still don’t have much idea of how that happened. It wasn’t exposed to water or magnetic sources. I suppose it was an ongoing depreciation, the slow wearing and tearing that inevitably happens after some time. And I know that it happens to all gadgets, but it still comes as a shock whenever it actually does happen to you.

I ran around like a headless chicken attempting to solve the problem, messaging friends and family, looking on the Internet for advice from random sources, anything that might just work. I sent it off to a data recovery service, fearing my inadequacy at handling technological gadgets would lead to something irreversible.

I got it back today, and thank god, everything was recovered. No corrupted images, no corrupted files, and everything I need was available once again.

It took sleepless nights, lots of worry and unnecessary stress for what I should have looked out for. The slow signs of wear and tear were there, like the hard drive taking a long time to load and shut down but to be honest, I hadn’t noticed them for what they were till it was too late.

head bang

Why yes, don’t mind if I do.

But when it comes to hindsight, our vision is perfect. It’s so easy to look back and realise the underlying problems you overlooked but it’s not so easy to do that for the present.

My hard drive dying on me has only happened twice in my life, and the first time was far worse. When it happened about 8 years ago, I could barely save anything. Work gone down the drain, music wiped away and pictures only existing in my head now (and with a bad memory, I doubt I can remember much of it).

The most frustrating thing of all was that my submitted assignments were gone. Not that they were absolutely fantastic, but they were a strong part of my memories. My first brochure. My first poster. My first business marketing plan. Till now, I’ve never been able to recover them.

hard drive

Maybe the solution is just to have loads of hard drives? Stock up when a sale is on.

It’s sort of different this time round though, and it’s made me realise how we’re starting to depend on different systems to back up our data. 8 years ago,  everything was in my hard drive and computer. If one died on me, everything died there. It was a precarious relationship.

This time round, I had things stored here and there. Emails that stored data, and even if they were sent mail, I could still retrieve the data I sent out to other people. Google Drive and Dropbox both store an extraordinarily large amount of data even if you didn’t upgrade to a paid premium version. If you’re using a Mac, chances are you probably use iCloud or the backup time machine.

Flickr is free for you to store photos, among other photo-sharing websites. I had some of my creative stories stored in drafts in my WordPress blogs (I write creative flash fiction at literarynarrative, if that suits your fancy). And at the very least, there was always Facebook or Instagram to retrieve some photos. There are so many ways to store information now, so that if your phone / laptop / computer / hard drive dies, there’s generally some way to retrieve some data so that it wasn’t a lost cause.

Luckily I’ve started writing twitter fiction / micro fiction and storing them on Twitter, so now I will almost always have access to them. No hard drive required.

But… we always think that the Internet is indestructible. That it can never be shut down, because if one small part of it was shut down by force or governmental control, another webpage will pop up again.

But servers crash. Websites go down, whether because of updates, or a hacking, or general maintenance. I know there have been several times when I couldn’t access Google Drive, which is sort of laughable because Google is such a huge company, somehow you’d expect them to always be available.

google

I guess even Google needs a time out.

So even though we can depend less on hard drives, which do have a certain lifespan of 2 years or so, depending more on these various websites might just be detrimental too. Because you never know when you might not be able to get Internet. Or when a server might crash, leaving you just as helpless as I was when my one and only external hard drive was corrupted.

Better than a hard drive, that lasts for about two years, you say. That’s true, and I guess the safest way is to just make sure you have backup copies. And probably backup copies of your backup copies. (You could probably have backup copies of your backup-backup copies, then leave them in a new and different location… but maybe that’s too much.)

Because you just never know when something might happen.

Have you backed up your data lately? Ever had a moment when your laptop or hard disk died on you? 

- Fari Wu

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Best of Sex and the City outfits

Sex and the City

Sex and the City came out in 2008, after 4 successful seasons as a TV show on HBO. It was actually the first time I’d ever heard about the series-plus-movie, so I came in with little to no expectations. I didn’t know who the characters were, couldn’t name any of the actors who played them, and definitely didn’t know the fashion styles they embodied.

It turned out to be one of the best fashion-wise movies I’ve seen, and years later I still watch it just to see the clothes, the styles, the shoes. Costume designer Patricia Field definitely did an awesome job, and she’s also been a costume designer for the sequel, The Devil Wears Prada, Confessions of a Shopaholic and Ugly Betty.

After rewatching it ten million times, I’ve finally compiled my favourites!

SEX AND THE CITY - THE FILM

Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) wore this dress in the opening scene. The giant flowers appeared in one of the seasons, when Carrie developed a liking for pinning gigantic flowers on her top. Which is really cool actually, and it blossomed into a huge trend. Even though SJP has such a small figure, she’s able to pull off the giant accessory without letting it overpower her. And I love the matching white and gold dress on her skin. No extra accessories either, just a small yellow clutch.

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The girls in the opening scene. I think this really encapsulates the girls’ different styles. Charlotte is classy-preppy, trying to channel Jackie O. Carrie is eclectic, not afraid to mix and match colours and prints. Miranda has softened from the business attire but never quite shies away from the corporate look. And Samantha is bright and vivacious (and sometimes a little too much, hence the top-to-toe red).

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I love bright yellow on Samantha, maybe because she’s really able to pull off that bright solid colour. No one would think of having a yellow blazer. The red nails might be a bit of overkill, but maybe that’s the point.

10

I actually don’t like the mixture of this outfit. I like the individual items, but together they don’t seem to blend. Maybe it’s the too large bag. But the colour of the dress is great, and the yellow dress on the mannequin is nice too.

One of the top 2 fashion moments in the movie is definitely the wedding dress montage! Carrie lists off the different wedding dress designers while being styled in their dresses at a photo shoot for Vogue.

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The one on the far left isn’t one of my favourites, but it is by Dior, whom I love. I don’t think it’s a typical wedding dress though, and I wonder if anyone would get married in that.

The middle one drowning in pearls (Christian Lacroix) looked like the time Carrie disguised Aidan’s engagement ring with seven hundred and twenty-eight thousand pearls.

The one on the far right is by Oscar De La Renta, it’s really pretty especially with the red lips and red flower accessory.

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I also really like Lanvin, although maybe it’s too short and normal to be a wedding dress. It looks good as a normal cocktail or dinner dress though.

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And of course, the Vivienne Westwood dress which she ended up wearing to the ‘wedding’ (spoilers here). I actually prefer the styling here, with her hair down and nude-pink makeup done. She had a too-severe bun at the wedding, complete with a bird on her head.

Watch the entire montage here, backed up by Ciara’s Click Flash.

The other fashion fixture in the movie was the clearing out the closet montage. In the original version, only Carrie’s outfits are shown but in the extended scene, the other girls are also shown dressing up. The outfits are over-the-top but that’s the point of this scene at any rate, no?

The ballerina tutu makes an appearance, which I thought was a really nice touch for fans of the series. The green ‘Madonna’ dress was actually quite nice, and Charlotte’s Marilyn Monroe dress with multicoloured leggings were actually a really good pairing! And the hippie outfit, although I doubt anyone could ever get away with that any more, unless if it was for a costume party.

Watch the scene if you haven’t! Backed up by Walk This Way by Run-DMC.

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The time the girls went to Mexico and packed maxi dresses. I like Samantha’s the most mainly because I prefer solid-coloured maxi dresses. And yes, I’m partial to Samantha in yellow although I generally dislike that colour the most.

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This is a weird mix of items, but I think they look quite interesting when paired together. The short skirt and long socks, the open-toe booties, then cardigan and then to bizarrely top it off, gloves. Why wear such a thin coat with gloves? Yet somehow I like it.

Sex and the City 2

I guess the other girls don’t get as much airtime as Carrie does with their less-then-quirky fashion choices, but I veer most towards Charlotte’s attire. She has the clean-cut classic look, with work-appropriate dresses and personal style thrown in.

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The sleeves really make this dress. The batwing sleeves was pretty popular for a while but this one extends all the way to the floor, which is hilarious because the dress itself isn’t floor-length. But I would wear this dress!

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Spring fashion week with director Michael Patrick King. To be honest, I always wonder why grey, white and black are such Winter colours, when Winter/Spring is such a great time to be playing around with colours.

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And the final scene, Charlotte’s white dress and Samantha’s sparkly dress were the best outfits.

The movie had waaay too many great outfits, but these were some that really stood out for me. Which did you like best?

Do you want to see a fashion favourites compilation for the sequel? How about a fashion favourites for your favourite movie? Let me know!

- Fari Wu

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Social Media: Where’s the Line Between Public and Private?

facebook like

For years I debated on how I should use Facebook. Yes, many people use it differently. To express themselves, to keep in contact with existing and old friends, some with the clear intention to make new friends. And social media is a powerful tool for networking, and reaching out to new contacts. I’d probably be more inclined to accept a friend request if we had a few mutual friends compared to one without any existing mutual contacts.

The notion of ‘friends of friends’ and seeing who are a mere 2 or 3 degrees away from you is exciting. Isn’t it fun when you discover that your friend actually knows another friend through something completely unrelated?

And seeing that friend count rise is also another intoxicating feeling, the euphoria of seeing that many people know you online, and comparing it with other people, just like some form of popularity contest. It’s perhaps why Singaporean sisters Nicole and Celeste Chen have 16,000 Facebook friends. And that Straits Times article was written in 2007.

But Facebook is tricky. It comes with plenty of complications no matter what you post. Nothing is private when you post it on the Internet, even if you add labels and tweak privacy settings. Once it’s out there, it’s like it’s been given to someone else and it’s difficult to get it back. And indeed, plenty of trouble has brewed because of Facebook, whether it’s someone airing their grievances on social media, secrets being leaked or quarrels had over the publication of certain photos on social media platforms.

I’ve definitely had my fair share of Facebook issues, like clicking through friends’ profiles to see a place they went and going “Y U NO INVITE ME” (or, in other terms, BO JIO). And feeling envious of someone else’s life because I think it’s cooler/more fun/more interesting than my own/ But the life that you carve out on social media is merely a snapshot of your entire life. It disregards so much of the rest of your life, like the time you missed the bus and had to wait for an hour for the next one, or the time you were waiting for someone, bored out of your mind.

But others will see that snapshot of your social media life and take it at face value. They’ll see the fun moments of your life and imagine that that’s far more exciting than their own life. There have been many studies conducted on the contentious issues that social media has bred, such as Facebook envy (which probably merits a post on its own).

To some people, it might just be a picture. To others, it might scream Look at me, I’m more interesting than you, I have more fun than you. Despite whether that was intentional of not.

This is one reason why, particularly for Facebook, I’ve struggled with aspects of social media. On one hand, the opportunities are amazingly endless. I’ve connected with people virtually in a way I’ve never been able to connect with in person, like one of my juniors in school whom I would otherwise never have met in person. I’ve been offered jobs based on my online profile, I’ve become closer to people because of more contact online that slowly translates offline.

The power of networking has been emphasized constantly, and I’ve felt the online results of it myself. It definitely can be a positive thing for your personal or professional life, because you truly never know the doors that can be open until you do open them. And social media can break down so many existing barriers like geography, language, and space-time. Connecting with someone on the other side of the globe is literally a click away now.

coffeeBut on the other hand, social media can bring out another side of people. The relative anonymity for one, is something that leads people to do things they otherwise wouldn’t do in real life, like threats or bullying. In the most extreme cases, social media has fuelled people to commit suicides, because of their inability to cope with virtual bullying. Social media has also made it easier for people to stalk someone, to know exactly where that person is or might be. These are acts that cast dark shadows on the social media platforms.

Personally, I prefer to add or accept people whom I feel a genuine connection to, whom I’ve worked with before or seen how they operate. If it was merely someone I met for a minute and had no conversations with, I might be less inclined, particularly because I don’t know what their intentions are.

For a long time, I wanted to only accept friends, family and extended family on Facebook. No one else.

And yet, when my social circle expanded personally and professionally, I found it difficult. Where do I draw the line when it comes to my boss? Someone I’ve worked with once but have no particular connection otherwise? As a freelancer, I often come into contact with many different people but only for a short while, and sometimes its not enough to truly forge a genuine friendship. But… and there’s always this question, will being Facebook friends with them help to forge a deeper connection, or will it have negative effects?

Some people get around it by making different accounts, different pages. Attempt to separate the private and public life, in whatever way possible.

And that’s what I’m trying to do. I’ve set up a public Facebook page. As my profile remains private, I hope to display my professional work on my public page instead. I suppose it also stops clogging up the spam that takes up space on my private feed. Please join that, and I would be grateful as I continue to navigate through the thorny issue of having a private and public life.

I know so many people follow by the simple rule “If in doubt, don’t post it”, but after all, we do still want to share photos and thoughts with friends and family. And social media provides that exact platform to share such ideas at one go to a wide and relatively captive audience.

How do you balance between the private and public on social media? Do you think there’s a way? Let me know in the comments below!

privacy

SYN Radio and my favourite Aussie songs

If you’ve not heard of SYN Radio before (under the umbrella of SYN Media, they also have a Television section), it is a community radio in Melbourne, Australia. It broadcasts on a metropolitan community radio license in Victoria, and is also available online and as podcasts. It runs on volunteer work by youths.

@synmedia

It’s basically a training ground and launch pad for people who want to get into the broadcasting industry, to give such people the experience of being on air, which can be a bit nerve-wrecking, particularly for the first few times. Speaking into a microphone may seem easy to some, but the truth is it can be harder than public speaking. A radio DJ is in a studio, speaking to no one but pretending that he is, and has to be energetic and perky to four walls. It is very difficult because the real audience is out there listening, but you have to imagine them, because there is no way to see them or gauge their reactions.

radioSYN has helped to launch careers of some notable Australians in the broadcasting sector. One such person is Joanna McCarthy, an award-winning journalist with ABC. Another duo who used to host on SYN Radio are Hamish and Andy, 2 Australian radio personalities. The last I’ve heard, they’re running around South America with a television crew to capture their exploits as they film a television show.

Yes, they began at SYN, and it’s nice to know they haven’t lost any of that wit and humour. Not only that, it’s even nicer to know that they’ve had success in doing what they love: entertaining people with comedy.

I joined SYN at the end of 2013, as part of a seasonal radio show, and we talked about multifaith perspectives, sharing the religious culture we came from and are exposed to. We eventually decided on the name Intersection, as a way of saying that we’re meeting at an intersection to sit down and discuss our opinions. Very fitting, especially when our show was about multi-faith, and we were from different religions.

Our topics differed from week to week, and we even managed to squeeze in interviewees from other faiths just to get a variety of opinions. And we also talked about projects that people within the community were doing, like the Respect #projectR13message that Greater Dandenong Youth Services were promoting.

SYN Radio is supporting @greaterdandenongyouthservices! This week we’re talking about respect on social media on SYN Radio, as well as the awesome #projectR13 message. Catch us on SYN 90.7FM or http://www.syn.org.au/ #bullying #family #relationship

syn award

It was fairly successful, and ran for 3 seasons. We even won a SYN award for the best diversity programming! It was a surprise honestly, because I thought the other nominees has shows that were just as engaging. Intersection is currently on hiatus at the moment, not because we wanted to leave the show, but simply because most of us hosts have other dedications to take care of first. Hopefully, we will return soon, but at the moment things are still up in the air.

More recently, I decided to join another seasonal show, this time about international students. Very fitting for me, particularly as I am on the committee for the international branch of Unimelb’s student union (UMSU International), and writing for international-focused Meld Magazine. We will only be airing in October, but things are very exciting. Onward to new, bigger, and better things, although Intersection continues to have a place in my heart due to its large success.

Right now though, we do have another show coming up and it’s a new brand of exciting. Wanderland on SYN is a how-to guide to Melbourne from an international perspective, as we’ll compare things like the coffee culture in Melbourne and whether the community prefers a different beverage back home. Like our Facebook page!

Now, while SYN is an Australian-focused station bent on airing music from local artists, I realise that I am very unfamiliar with local singers. This post is dedicated to the few singers I do know, and I am still slowly trying to find more Australian artists and supporting them.

With that being said, here are my favourite Australian songs!

Stan Walker

I love Stan Walker even before I came to Melbourne. I knew him as the winner of Australian Idol, and when his first single came out Black Box.

Another of my favourites, although I do have a lot, is this song Chandelier.

You can also check out, Choose You, Unbroken and Homesick, just to name a few.

Samantha Jade

I think Samantha Jade is incredibly popular in Australia, on the account that I constantly hear her music when I walk into stores. Nevertheless, I like them anyway so I don’t have anything to complain about. Soldier is always playing, and sometimes it’s remixed with loud clubbing music in the background.

Another song is Firestarter, which I rather like. Although some people on YouTube have commented that her voice sounds like Selena Gomez in this song… and I have to say, I agree?

Birds of Tokyo

So there’s a backstory to the name of this band, and I always like to mention it whenever I can. Simply because I find it very interesting!

So the band members happened to read an article about there being no birds in Tokyo (capital of Japan) due to the amount of pollution. And they thought, well if there aren’t any birds there, we’ll be the birds of Tokyo! And that’s how the name stuck.

Lanterns is an amazing song, and I love listening to it although it can sometimes feel like a sad song (I try not to listen to it when I’m sad). But this song has penetrated pop culture, and last I saw it was in an episode of Rich Kids Of Beverly Hills.

44th Sunset

So the reason why I knew about 44th Sunset in the first place is because the band had an interview with The Hoist, a music-based show on SYN Radio. As they were performing in Melbourne, they stopped by to give an interview and perform live in the studio. Ever since then, I’ve been listening to their music and following their updates. My personal favourite is Safe.

These are just a taste of my favourite songs by Australian artists, but mostly because I’m still new and unfamiliar with most of them. If there are any that you’d like to recommend me, let me know in the comments below!

- Fari Wu

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Make those Mid Year Resolutions now!

In case you haven’t noticed, or are too caught up with the joys and sorrows of everyday life, more than half of 2014 has passed.

Yikes!

I’ll pause here for a moment to let that sink in.

Yup that’s right, we are now closer to Christmas than we were to the 2014 New Year celebration. How has time slipped past our fingers in such an effortless manner? There are still days when I wake up and think that the year is 2013. But it won’t be much longer till we have to write the word “2015” whenever we fill in forms.

Not only that, it’ll be time to make yet another set of New Year resolutions.

time

We constantly make long lists of resolutions on 1 January, then discard them just as quickly as we made them. Why are resolutions so impossibly hard to keep? I think a big factor is based on how long we think a year is. 12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days, it seems like a very long time to be going to the gym, or a long time to learn the guitar. We’ll think, oh there’s always tomorrow to start on it.

We have plenty of time, we’ll get it started tomorrow, or next week maybe. Things just get in the way, and we have other commitments to attend to. So we think we can slack off or do it later. This just snowballs and before we know it, 1 January is upon us again. And it’s time to make that resolution. Again.

At the beginning of this year, my editor handed out sheets of paper and asked us to write down what we’d like to accomplish throughout the year. I wrote down that I’d like to learn the ukulele. I first got the idea of learning it from this video: Josh Kaufman demonstrates how 20 hours is enough to learn something in it’s most basic level. Case in point, the ukulele.

Learning an instrument is never quite easy, but the feeling of accomplishment certainly makes the time and effort worthwhile.

If only I could actually bother to pick up the ukulele, that is.

Half of 2014 has gone, and the only time I ever picked up a ukulele this year was to half-heartedly attempt to strum it.

In the back of my mind, I keep thinking, there’s always tomorrow. There’s always another time. I’d like to watch this YouTube video now. I’d like to go swimming instead.

And just like that, 8 months has flown by. There’s less than 4 months till Christmas and the beginning of yet another year.

Did you do the same? What were your New Year resolutions and what did you do about them?

Rather than moaning about it, I can look on the bright side. 4 months is a long time to accomplish a lot of things. Here’s what we can start doing to make the best of the rest of 2014 (dang, that nearly rhymed):

 

1. Spring clean.

Spring-Cleaning-Simpsons
Spring cleaning helps to declutter not just our space, but our mind. But the end of the year may not necessarily be the best time to spring clean. After the parties and celebrations, after the bubbly, and after the reminiscing of old times, it’s hard to get in the mood to throw things out when all you want to do is hold on to the memories. That’s why now is a great time to crack open the cupboards and dump out bits and pieces that don’t belong in your life any more. We are constantly burdened by material things that we can’t bear to let go, but it is amazing to see and feel the difference once the clutter is gone.

 

2. Review New Year Resolutions.
Again, the best time to review New Year Resolutions isn’t at the end of the year, where guilt has caught up because you feel you haven’t done enough. Half a year is a fairly good time to examine the resolutions you made, whether it is exercising more, living healthier or learning a new instrument. This can also help you to get back on track with your plans.

Time for me to finally pick up that ukulele!

 

3. Make better Mid-Year Resolutions.
Sometimes resolutions are just too vague. What does exercising more mean? Does it mean running every day after work, or does it mean going swimming twice a week? Tweak resolutions into set goals so that they are achievable.

Personally for me, I’ve changed my resolution from:
Exercise more.

To:
Go for yoga classes twice a week and pick up gymnastics.
I feel much better now because I know I have a specific goal. Can’t wait!

 

4. Reward yourself.

gold present
Resolutions are not to be feared. They are goals in our lives, and when a goal is met or being met, success should be celebrated. With that being said, please don’t celebrate by undoing every single bit of work you’ve already done, like indulging in an extra large piece of chocolate cake after a week of cycling. Moderation is key.

Resolutions aren’t something to shy away from, but maybe we just haven’t been making them at the right time.

Enlightenment in nature

Question: How are your New Year Resolutions going? Have you made new Mid Year Resolutions? Share them with me down below! 

- Fari Wu

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