Saturday, January 07, 2017

hibiscus


Hello! Happy 2017! I'm about a week late in celebrating the new year, and in true Maria fashion, I kept to my word and had an extremely low-key NYE. Movies, aircon (Queensland heat right now is unbearable), hot chocolate and tucked up in bed by 10:30pm. It was great; if I'm going to be given an imaginary "clean slate" such as a new year, I may as well wake up feeling fresh the next day. As you know, I've never really been a fan of resolutions as I don't think you need a new year to improve your life, however, after the uh, interesting-ness of 2016, it's nice to start a new chapter in life. One in which I'll be leaving my teens (weird, since I started this blog before I was a teen) and entering my 20s. Albeit, 2016 wasn't as terrible for me as it was for the world. I actually achieved a lot of what I wanted to last year (including getting the driver's license I've been wanting for SO LONG!) and I'll look back on it as a year that really helped shape me as an individual!

Forever New bodysuit, Dotti skirt, Urban Soul heels, Essence lipstick in "Barely There" 




I'm always excited (and just a little terrified!) for what the future will hold for me but this year I think will be particularly wonderful. Three of my friends are tying the knot, my sister is also getting married (helloooo bridesmaid life!) and it's my last full year of uni before I graduate in the middle of 2018. As always, I hope for Avenue Maria to continue... I love this little corner of the web. It's come such a long way and I love that it enables me to look back on parts of life that would otherwise have been forgotten. "Photoshoots", as my ever faithful photographer (and sister) has dubbed them are always so much fun and I think this year I'd love to experiment more with doing my own freelance photography. If I had the equipment, I would love to document people's weddings professionally, but for now, it's a hobby that brings me an immense amount of joy. That - and collecting records! I bought a record player off my friend last year and collecting vinyls has become a recent obsession. I find that they completely transform the way music is listened to. I live for the little crackle between each track, and the old-worldly feel that Artie Shaw's music brings to my bedroom in all its fairy light glow. 

I hope you've all had a lovely start to 2017 - back soon! Oh, and I updated the January Playlist with a few more excellent tracks. It's such a weird combination... there's everything from Doris Day to Run The Jewels, but it works somehow. Enjoy! 

Thursday, December 29, 2016

16 going on 17


Today we touched down in Brisbane after about two weeks in north Queensland for a Christmas holiday together as a family. We all had a lovely time soaking up the sun (though, I was decked out in sun protection nonetheless - fair skin needs TLC!), strolling along the beach at dusk and eating copious amounts of gelato whilst admiring the beautiful island views with the sun reflecting on the water. I devoured two novels while I was there (Jo and I were reading them simultaneously and discussing our post-book withdrawals and ALL the feelings); a Court of Thorns and Roses, and its sequel, A Court of Mist and Fury. Sarah J. Maas wrote them so I knew I wouldn't be disappointed with the plot and character development. This book series is hands down my favourite out of everything I've read this year so, without giving too much away, if you're interested in a beautifully written story with Beauty and the Beast themes, LOTS of romance, magic, as well as adventure and action, I would highly recommend checking out the ACOTAR series - you won't be disappointed, I promise!

On another note, I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas if you celebrate it, and that you're enjoying the holiday season. I can't believe 2017 is right around the corner; another year has flown by quicker than the last. 2016 has been... interesting. I am very curious to see what 2017 (my 20th year too) will hold and how life will continue to change and evolve. 

Here are a few pictures from our holiday, as well as some I took of my bedroom today. It was a nice, quiet day spent mostly listening to records, unpacking my huge suitcase and napping. I'm absolutely exhausted and at this point in time, think I'll probably even skip NYE celebrations and just rest up this weekend with movies, hot chocolate and books. Whatever your plans though - have fun and be safe! I will be back in the new year! 

P.S: Got a playlist here too, if you're interested! Also, did you pick up on the play on words in the title? The Sound of Music has impacted my life too much :')

Monday, December 05, 2016

a year in music

Oh, hey, yeah that's just me pretending I'm a famous musician...
2016 has been a "growing" year. I mean, you grow and develop every year (mentally and physically), but this year was really extraordinary for me. A lot of it was spent rethinking decisions and old habits, finding the meaning behind who I am as a person and what makes me "Maria". A big part of my life is my music choices. I spend a lot of my down time and commuting-time listening to new bands, rediscovering old favourites and trying to gather together the pennies needed for a gig or two. They say people don't make music like they used to, which is true, but if you think about it, why would you want people to keep making the same sort of music? New technology has allowed artists to create things that haven't been created before and I think 2016 has been a wonderful year for music, once you venture beyond the Top 50 Hits, that is. 

Since voting for the Triple J Hottest 100 isn't too far away, I thought I would share my Top 20 Tracks for 2016 and well as my favourite three artists for the year. 

Joshua Tillman's latest album. "I Love You, Honeybear" (2015)
Firstly, Father John Misty (Joshua Tillman) is at the top of the list. I discovered his music in August, his album "I Love You, Honeybear" striking quite a significant emotional chord with me. His songs are quite melancholy, but despite this, they rarely make me feel sad or depressed. Instead, I feel a sense of relief and calm. Would highly recommend listening to "Nancy From Now On", "Holy Shit" and "I Love You, Honeybear" first; grab a cup of tea too! If you're a fan of Fleet Foxes, I promise you'll like FJM, mainly because he was their drummer between 2008 and 2012. 

Julia's debut album "Don't Let The Kids Win" (2016)
Secondly, Julia Jacklin was an artist I discovered in June this year. Her single, Leadlight, popped up in my Discover Weekly on a Monday that I was feeling particularly lost and confused about where life was headed. She's from the Blue Mountains in New South Wales and has penned all of her songs, adding to the raw feel of her lyrics and the emotion in her voice. Her music has a romantic, nostalgic feel to it and the whole aesthetic of her debut album is focussed on the haziness of growing up, heartbreak and feeling lost at a young age. I've seen her live in Brisbane twice; firstly in a record store and then in late November at the Foundry. On both occasions she was an absolute vision and her talent is simply wonderful. She's currently touring Australia (ft. in a few Aussie festival lineups) and then she's off to Europe once again. My favourite songs (at the moment... it changes on a weekly basis because her vinyl is ALWAYS playing in my room) are "Pool Party", "Motherland" and "LA Dream". 

Angel Olsen's album, "My Woman" (2016)
And finally; this was a recent discovery and quite a difficult one to come to decision on: Angel Olsen. The reason she was part of my top 3 was actually because when I first listened to her music I really wasn't interested. Like, at all. In fact, it bothered me and I have no idea why. However, after I put a random playlist on shuffle and heard "Never Be Mine" and wondered "who on earth sings this?! I love it", I fell in love with the whole "My Woman" album and have seen her music and style from a completely new perspective. Her voice is a gentle reminder of Stevie Nicks' talent through Fleetwood Mac ballads and what a voice should sound like without the hideous autotune that pollutes all of our car radios today... "Sister","Heart Shaped Face" and "Intern" are some highlights for me.

Really quite difficult to pick from so many talented people, but these guys really stood out to me. A few other favourites include Broods (they were amazing live and my roommate just so happens to be related to them!), Montaigne (another awesome Aussie artist!) and Tash Sultana.

Oh, and here are my top 20 tracks from 2016. An eclectic mix ranging from Bon Iver, to The Temper Trap and Glass Animals. Hope you all have a lovely week! And three weeks until Christmas! Woo!