Our Wedding Reception Playlist

For some of us hiring a professional DJ is out of the question, too expensive. And the same goes for a live band. There is the perfectly fair option of having as the guys from DIY Reception call an "iPod wedding." So here I am with my limited experience.. no wait don't I have a bachelor's degree in music...writing my really helpful advice for your own iPod wedding.

The first problem is that even when you have no DJ, you still have to ask someone to be a makeshift DJ. You have to find a person to control the music even if they aren't an expert. The amount of control this person has...that's where you need to be totally transparent with them.

Why is this a problem; you may be asking? well then you're not the type of person who gets worried about these things. "Good for you," I say through tightly clenched teeth, you don't care if the person controlling the music puts slow and fast songs in the wrong order and God forbid, they change the song half-way through!!

Yes, I have been to a wedding where I was enjoying dancing to a song with my then boyfriend and this happened. The song was changed perhaps every 30 seconds because the brides cousin, or bridesmaid or who ever she was, could not contain her excitement for a different song. This was despite the fact that she was one person in a room with a hundred other people who really enjoyed how things were going music-wise. I wanted to slap her silly. She was behaving as if this was her own party and yet here name wasn't even listed in the bridal party so no, she wasn't really anyone special. This is not how anyone should play music at someone else's wedding reception. Have some self-control, woman!

So Tip no. 1 - Choose your makeshift DJ to be a really old person who doesn't understand technology and perhaps doesn't even know they could change the song.

And there's Tip no. 2 - Choose your makeshift DJ to be someone so old they are deff and can't hear the people who come up to them requesting songs.

I've just come up with a new rule - yes, I really like rules that make other people do nothing to upset me. Here it is:
Requesting songs is not acceptable until the bride and groom have left the building, because it's not your party.

Is that an okay rule? I think it's fair. And even when the bride and groom leave you to keep dancing for the rest of the night you have to consider everyone else that's left. Grandma doesn't want to listen to gangsta rap at her little grandson's wedding. And Aunt Suzy was having a gay-old time flailing her hands in the air before you switched the song for the eighth time.

And here we go with another perfectly acceptable rule to follow:
Requesting songs is not acceptable unless you paid for the wedding, because it's not your party.

They say first that it's the bride's big day, and then the most important person after that- you'd think it was the groom, but it is the mother of the bride. I don't really agree with this because my my mother already had her wedding so I don't know why she really gets to fuss, and fiancé cares about his wedding day too. However I'll accept that the family who help pay for the wedding are more important than the guests that came for the free boos and therefore should get to choose the music that they want to dance to once the bride and groom have left.

but here is the point I'm really trying to get to with this blog post;
Tip no. 3 - Have multiple playlist for different stages of the night.
I suggest, and what I am trying to put together, is sectioning the party into playlists to help the guests get into the right mood at the right time. These don't actually have to be in any particular order and you might want, and they may be dependent on how you arrange the party. Things to consider an order for are dinner, speeches, desert, cutting the cake, first dance, dance party, and any other entertainment you may include.

Here's how I see things going down at our reception...

We'll at start the night with smooth jazz as the guests drift in, start to mingle, find their tables, and await the arrival of the couple. Really this playlist is not necessary, it's just an extension of the dinner playlist, but houmor me.

These songs could be jazz covers of contemporary songs or the ones typically found in classic wedding films from my childhood starting with the opening number of the parent trap;


L.O.V.E - Michael Buble
Rude - PostModernJukebox
Lavender's Blue Dilly Dilly
Forever in Love - Kenny G

Then the song picked to walk in with needs to be cued in, the videographer gets into place as does the Master of Ceremonies (or MC) to announce "for the first time Mr and Mrs [insert name here],"and we move into the tame, no-one's-dancing-yet dinner playlist. It basically consists of all the slow songs in all the twilight soundtracks.


Northern Lights - Cider Sky
My Love - Sia
It Will Rain - Bruno Mars
High - Peaking Duk
Would You Be So Kind - Dodie
Bittersweet - Ellie Goulding
Castle On The Hill - Ed Sheeran
Haze - Tessa Violet
Fools - Troy Sivan
Dreaming - Smallpools
The Violet Hour - Sea Wolf
Counting Stars - OneRepublic
Sugar - Maroon 5
Dear Future Husband - Meghan Trainor
Ho Hey - The Lumineers
Crazy Little Thing Called Love - Queen

The shorter ballroom playlist is really just the few songs you choose for the first dance, daddy/daughter dance and other like that. Most modern weddings won't have many people that are into ballroom dancing as a pass-time so it's the shortest playlist. That reason and because finding songs that are in the right time signature is really difficult, I'm finding.

Don't forget you're dance songs can be instrumental versions. This especially works if you like a song for it's music but the lyrics don't really apply to two people having just made a life-time commitment to love one another.


Marry Me - Train
You And Me - Lifehouse
A Million Dreams - The Greatest Showman
Delicate - Taylor Swift (Perfect for a rumba)
A Thousand Years - Christina Perri
All About Us - He Is We ft. Owl City

This next playlist, like the mingling music, doesn't have to be seperate from the club bangers: the point is actually to save the hard-out dance songs till the final section of the party, so this one can have the more tame pop songs. Those classic dance party songs, like La Macarena and cha cha slide, should get mostly used up in this list while most people will still have the energy to join in.


Love Story - Taylor Swift
Love Me Like You Do - Ellie Goulding
Galway Girl - Ed Sheeran
Can't Stop That Feeling - Justin Timberlake
Centerfold - J. Geils Band
You're The One That I Want - Grease soundtrack
Footloose - Footloose soundtrack
If It's Love - Train
Party In The USA - Miley Cyrus
Mr. C - Nina Nebitt
Call Me Maybe - Carly Rea Jepsen
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun - Cyndi Lauper
I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) - The Proclaimers
Wagon Wheel - Darius Rucker (man, this guy must get a great lot of royalties)

Here's were you can get loose, get down, and get funky with some club bangers from this actual decade.

Make sure you've got a mix of mosh-pit numbers and ones that are better for slow dancing, or sitting down to catch your breath if you can't find a partner.

You can find more upbeat versions of your favourite songs if there's a remix of it somewhere.


A Little Party Never Killed Nobody - Fergie
Party Rock Anthem - LMFAO
Rude - PostModernJukebox
Cheep Thrills - Sia
Love to Hate It - Off Bloom
Youth - Troye Sivan
Dancing - Queen
Gangnam Style - PSY
SexyBack - Justin Timberlake
Green Light - Lorde
Strip That Down - Liam Payne
The Night We Met - Lord Huron
Sign Of The Times - Harry Styles
Slow Hands - Niall Horan
Why - Sabrina

A really important factor to keep in mind is on average 20 songs equals 1 hour of playing time. This is both a lot of songs and not a lot of songs so make sure there really are the ones you want to play, or if there is something better that makes it more your own wedding music.

Considering that fact I'm not even half done, but this should give you some ideas if you've actually come here for that.


$10'000 to be a Music Blogger

This is my journey of investing in, and building my skills and qualifications. No I don't have a simple answer to the question "What will you do with a Bachelors Degree in Music?" I am mostly making up my own path, but I am currently entertaining the ideas of assisting and co-writing with other songwriters from beginner and up, as well as transcribing original songs and adding arrangement for those who are weak in writing scores but want to take them to musicians who require sheet music. Also theory tutoring, and all of this over the internet.

What I've done in the past to get to this point and with these options now in front of me, has included making some sacrifices when it comes to where I get to put my money. In no way am I saying everyone needs to do it exactly like I have but I thought it might be interesting to account the following transactions.

Also note, this is all in NZ Prices and it's not everything that would add up to the ten thousand I've stuck in the title but it really it like that.

2003 - 2007:

Various streaks of Singing lessons - Because no kid really understands what they are doing with their body and how it affects the sounds coming out of their mouth. $40 per term... $500 ish. (Thanks Mum).


Ashton Acoustic Guitar - To learn to play and begin writing songs - $270


Guitar Lessons - because self-taught is unprofessional and i couldn't manage it quite yet - $40 per term: $160

Capo - because fashion and because begginner - $40


MacBook number of years old - handed down

Fan replacement opperation - becuse whirring sound and clicking sound started happening - $200

Web Domain - to launch own website - $10

Website hosting - to promote debute album and offer free download - $150 for 2 year period

Studio Time & Engeneering of Demos - Wanted to release an album - $200

Barcode - Wanted to sell album - $59


Signa Acoustic/Electric Guitar - Need to switch to a plugin when gigging- $500

Trumador Acoustic Amplyfyer - to have own PA when gigging in cafes et cetera - $400

Ashbe Microphone - for own full PA system - $100

Jack-Jack audio cable - for Gutiar to Amp - $16

XLR audio cable - Microphone to amp - $32

Microphone Stand - for own full setup - $175

Guitar Capo - other was missplaced - $40


Shure Beta 58 Microphone - Industry Standard; on the supplies list for ansemble - $299

Canon 600D EOS - High definition film for YouTube videos - $750

MacBookPro - Garage Band to record demos & iMovie to edit YouTube Videos - $1499

Apple Replacement Care - Laptop might stop working - $250

Web Domain - Anual renewal - $10



Filming lights - for more controlled filming environment - $400

Cannon; Vlogging Camera - nolonger living at home; can't borrow mum's, need something lighter than DSLR - $500

Web Domain - Anual renewal - $10



Blog Template - website contract ended; Finally understands how to use blogger to look good - $ premium price???

DNS - rather than host own website, redirect domain to blogger - $20

Sibelius 7 - free acsess to the program at school will end, plus it's great to have at home - $300 (student price)

Web Domain - Anual renewal - $10



DNS - Annual renewal - $20

21.5" iMac - Laptop broke - Price of MacBookPro became store credit +$350

Please ask me if there's anything you want me to give further details about. Use the comments box; I'm pretty sure you know how.

My Biggest Blogging Mistakes

Time to reflect; these are all things I've done and cannot say they are responsible for any success I've had.

I know I have titled some posts rather poetically in the past but you really need to think about SEO, you need those key words. If the title doesn't tell your readers what the post is about you are not going to get them to click to read it.

Google analytics is an amazing free tool you should be utalising, but the thing is, Google analytics will only start collecting your data from the time you set it up and nothing will be recorded from before then.

Setting up a third-party blog theme is straight forward but it can still take a fair amount of work, and often issues come up when something is uncustomisable. These little things can make you feel bad about the presentation of your brand and therefore not want to put other effort into your blog. For instance I recently switched 

I have finally realised that beauty is not what I want to talk about. Yes I wear makeup but I only do the same thing every time with a different selection of colours.

Before I was serious about my blog I was focusing on my YouTube channel, but just like my blog posts I actually need to ask myself first if a particular video should really be made, or if it is going to confuse my viewers and make it unclear what my brand is about.

Often what makes a good writer is not the organic flow of sentences that comes from their fingers, but rearranging those words and going through them with a fine-toothed comb. Unfortunately my 'voice' doesn't always make sense. Yes I can edit my posts later, even after publishing them, but when will that be? Updating and cleaning up posts needs to happen regularly.

I've been away for a long while and I don't think anyone was expecting great consistency anyway. Consistent is simply not a word that describes me. Not in when I post and not in what I post about. The only mistake I find in this is that I've tried to be someone I'm not and I've tried to be perfect in the way that other bloggers have found success.

I'm redefining success for myself and it turns out I see success and freedom and doing what makes me happy. I'm just finally accepting that I can't be Zoella, or any other big social media person and I don't want that kind of pressure. I'm actually a private soul and I over share on the things I'm comfortable sharing so people don't feel like they need to know any more and then ask about the things that I actually want to keep to myself. So let's drop the expectations from you, dear reader, to make any comments because I know you won't even if I finish with a question intended to provoke discussion. And let's drop the expectations that I'm going to post what anyone else want to read, I'm doing this for me the way I want to.


7 Things To Do For Free When You Have No Money

I'm currently in that boat of not being able to buy myself things or go on expensive outings. However I do have a few ideas that will guarantee that it may be a blessing in disguise. Here are so ideas of things that you can do for free. These tips will also help if you want to be saving your money. Sometimes we just need to see if we can get away with not spending anything.

I know we like to own our own copy of things, but that's really no excuse, cause this way it's free, and you don't have to find a place to store it when you're done.

HINT: If you are decluttering your home and find books you don't want to keep but you think you might want to read them again, donating them to your local library means you can borrow them back rather than the alternative of letting a thrift store sell them away forever.

I'm sure you have things you can repurpose and recycle and a DIY project doesn't always have mean you need to go buy wood glue or other materials that don't already have.

Get out of the house and practice taking photos. Whatever time of year it is it's a perfect opportunity be creative and capture the magic of the season. Whatever camera you've got, even if it's just your phone, there are jewels to be found.

Sometimes all that's necessary to satisfy the itch to go shopping is to click add to cart. It doesn't have to go any further than that. You can pretend you have all the money in the world and put everything in your basket when your online and no one will ever get hurt.

If filling your cart but not buying doesn't cut it then what about digital items? There are some amazing creative tools out there that are free. I have a resource library and so do many other content creators out there. I've got a list of other examples for anyone who is a blogger.

This means taking a look at the products you might have forgotten about (typically products in your makeup collection) and rotating them back into your everyday routine to use them up. 

This is one way to fill up an afternoon. You'll be creating something new and you have the chance to experiment with new filming or editing techniques. Here's how I like to do things; How I edit my videos.

Tell me something you like to do? I'm always open to new hobbies.

March Favourites [Video]

The year is going by so fast, I must document the memories before they all fly away just as quickly.

Here are my march favourites.

What phase have you recently discovered that you're in?

How I Identify as a HSP

First off, you're probably asking what's a HSP? That's Highly Sensitive Person. At least 1 in every 7 people are highly sensitive to the world around them and experience life with heightened responses compared to the rest of us. That can be a good thing, that can also make things more overwhelming.

Here's some of the things it affects in my life.

Colour Psychology
It works on me almost too well. Colour psychology is the science of colours having particular effects on mood. For instance, red raises the heart-rate a little making you either anxious or excited. Pink is calming while light green sustains that calm. Yellow and purple paints are successfully used in shops to decrease shoplifting. That very theory of purple not allowing ideas of taking anything on with you stopped me from doing well in a particular classroom that had purple walls. It's a colour that actually makes me uncomfortable and very fidgety.

I have always had a strong distaste for balloons. Loud noises hit through my whole body with a rush of new chemicals and it always changes how I was feeling before. I will start off in a party mood and then BANG, good mood gone and tension here to stay. It's not fair.

I prefer not to wear certain perfumes again after they've been associated with a location or situation. Nivea Night-time moisturiser reminds me of a dingy student hall I stayed in while I was in London, the day we went shopping. My Victoria's Secret body mist reminds me of the time I played my first concert and that was a stressful occasion. Every time I smell these things I'm am taken right back there.

Busy rooms
Two conversations at once is also overload for my mind to process and I'll immediately feel heavily sleepy. I have mentioned before that I'm an introvert, but I think perhaps being HSP is what makes me so introverted. It's typical that I will experience disassociation in shops to. Stores have so much in them, so many racks and shelves and the busyness of all that I disassociate from the space around me and feel like I'm dreaming.

This is a mental illness if it persists, disassociation. It's the third most commonly diagnosed mental health problem after depression and anxiety. In the same way that if you constantly feel anxious for no reason is a real problem called anxiety. So I'm not saying I have disassociation but I have moments of it when a room is too busy. And I don't think that would be the case if I wasn't HSP.

Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. It's euphoric tingling shivers from the back of the head and if strong enough down the entire body. Some people won't understand this sensation, they never feel it. Other's need a head massage from another person to trigger it, while there are thousands of YouTube videos with different sounds to help you feel it. I am very sensitive to ASMR. A lot more things trigger me and I can actually trigger it on demand by recalling other times I've felt it.

I can't ignore it. Maybe I've just got it bad but there have been times I've been curled up on the floor literally asking God to end my life, and this was because I had my period. If something in my body hurts it has my full-attention. Plus my flesh, if touched with just a moderate pressure, aces excruciatingly. It's typical of women to feel more sensitively than men, but being HSP intensifies it even more.

The night I first took an anti-depressant medication I thought I had the flu. I crawled from my room to the bathroom, and through-out my flat till my back was against the freezer. Then for the next couple weeks I had a bleeding nose a few minutes after I took it. Bloody noses are not even a known side-affect of that medication. And you'll know if you're a woman what antibiotics can do to your body; I have no chance of avoiding that dreaded skin condition.

I'm a light weight, there's no question. But I'm talking heavy drowsiness after just a couple mouthfuls. It's not a placebo. There are particular drinks, especially vodka, that I can't have at all or I'll feel sick immediately. I wish I could be back to normal after the first drink, when others don't usually feel so horrible till after drink number 3. If I take a single sip of wine on my wedding day, that 'perfect day' will actually be over.

If I drink coffee after noon I'll be up until 5am. It's as simple as that. I can't have caffeinated drinks without really weighing the pros and cons and ultimatly I have chronic anxiety anyway so I can't really risk it. Coffee will just make that worse.

Love languages, heard of those? There are five major revenues that different people feel cared for and loved; touch, gifts, words, quality time, acts of service. I always know my love-tank level and I know when my love-tank if filling; I'm hyper aware of when something is truly bring new life and appreciation into myself. And having a low love-tank has extreme affects on my behaviour and attitudes.

Where I live there is a culture we kept from our Scottish ansestors; stoicism. As a musician and performer it is quite hard to get any sort of reaction out of an audience. They'll clap after every song out of habit, but there's no screaming, cheering or moving. But as an audience member my own body refuses to remain still as I listen to music. My feet have to tap with the beat and I have to sing harmonies and I feel the tension in the music through my body like a drug. 

Horror films
I don't like to see people hurting. I feel music strongly. If you put these two things together I'm not going to have a good time. Thank God, I have a different relationship with fear than what I had a few years ago but I also know my limits when it comes to watching stuff that is meant to be scary.

More things that come along with my case of being highly sensitive;
- I startle easily
- Charity advertisements make me cry
- Just seeing a police car makes me incredibly unnerved
- Closer to a deadline I become only focused about the assignment
- I automatically take on the moods of people around me
- certain rooms are particularly uncomfortable to be in; even if it's related to the arrangment of the furniture, 

So in a vibrant, noisy and broken world it's hard feeling like you're the only one that feels everything. This is me on a journey to understanding myself and discovering I'm HSP is one of those things that are going to help I move forward. 

Why I'm Not Using Hormonal Birth Control

When I was recently trying out a new birth control pill, I immediately started showing symptoms that I could not deal with on a daily basis. Then I got to thinking about the long term effects  this drug could have and it was then, at 4 days into my pack, that I remembered the dreadful dark depression that I suffered the first time I was on the pill.

That season of depression was now 5 years ago, but it brought to light some on going mental health issues that I still have to live with today. That depression that was either brought on by my first few months on GINET, or my pre-existing poor mental health was catalysed by the drug; turning from chronic anxiety to very suicidal depression.

I only wish I knew that I had a history of anxiety. Instead I put the daily bats in my belly down as morning sickness, or butterflies due to a boy I liked. Back then I had no idea that mental health and mental illnesses were a thing, or that other people in my family were medicated for such problems.

I've been meaning to write a post about my depression for a while. Why? Because this is the place where I can share whatever I want, it's a lifestyle blog, and I find writing things down to be the best way to explain things. Maybe, this is to be that post.

The depression I had in 2013 drove me to fail my final year of high school. I felt totally alone, helpless if ever I didn't understand the assignments, and it made me very sensitive to criticism. So when a friend one day said,"You are so annoying," I spent the rest of the day with thoughts of a murder/suicide. That was the worst day of my life.

My doctor, of course, would have seen this as a problem. Any significant changes in your health and state of mind are things they want to know about. But when I went on ginet I was unaware of what could possibly be monitored. If I knew my situation was so critically unhealthy I would have asked for help much earlier.

The reason I was on 'ginet' was my chronic cystic acne. Yea, I know, gross. It was my mother who was actually more concerned about how bad it looked. I didn't care that when I stopped taking the pill the spots came back. I wasn't insecure about my skin, it had never stopped me from having friends at school. I stopped believing it would go away and I learned to ignore it completely. When my skin temporarily cleared up, I went off the pill. In my mind, I had no reason to keep taking it. Ultimately, it turns out my last year of high school was just the worst time to work on clearing it up. 

I now have, not full blown depression but a theory. My depression, though I was on the pill at the time, was also during the winter season. My depression might in fact be Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) and I am already bracing for winter.

The things I know for sure about my suggested S.A.D. are:
In the winter of 2013 I had depression.
In the winter of 2014 I spent a month in Europe in July, in the sun.
In the winter of 2015 My mental state took me to the park in the middle of the night to cry and hope that someone might attack me.
In the winter of 2016 I would legitimately lose my will to live whenever I had assignments to do.
In the winter of 2017 it was the same; a wonderful concoction of perfectionism, procrastination, anxiety, and a quarter-life crisis.

I know that this year I will get more time in the sun on my honeymoon. If July here means snow while California is the golden coast, I guess that's one of the best reasons to have a winter wedding. But 'honeymoon' also means I need to start thinking about birth control.

I made up a list of 16 reasons why I don't want to go back on the pill. I made this list because I thought I needed to convince my fiancé. It turns out I was making this list to convince myself, and the man I'm marrying is ultimately supportive of anything I need to do to stay healthy and sane.

This is some of my list, incase I need to justify it to anyone else out there; or if you're looking for support yourself.

11 Reasons Why I'm Not Using Hormonal Birth Control

#1 - My General Sensitivity to New Medications
When I first took escitalopram for my depression, I thought I had the flu, I wanted to vomit and crawled through the flat trying to find a cool wall to put my back against. Then the bleeding nose 10 minutes after taking it came in the next few weeks. That is my general sensitivity to new medications.

The same sensitivity came in to affect when I recently tried going  on the pill; migraines throughout the day followed by bawling my eyes out every single night over nothing. As if I were in my first trimester of a pregnancy. Well that's what the pill does, it is designed to trick your body into thinking it is already pregnant so it will not do so a second time. I cannot live like that, a hormonal mess every day of the year, of every year until I actually want to get pregnant. And still it will not be over.

#2 - My Unstable Mental Health
Going on the pill will very likely force a relapse in my depression. I do not want to go there ever again.

#3 - Conviction From God
I simply had a strong feeling that I knew was God telling me not to put synthetic hormones into my body so I won't get pregnant. He's not saying I have to have kids as soon as I'm married, but I also feel like if he wanted to give me a baby this is a slap in the face for him. It's just a bit too much taking it into my own hands, when I have said I want to trust him with every part of my life.

Taking the pill would get in the way of who I was designed to be and that's counterproductive while getting closer to the person God wants me to be is literally my purpose on this planet.

#4 - Potential Change In Psyche
Because the pill makes you think you're already pregnant there's something very interesting that happens to the prospects of men you'd consider as a partner. Usually you are unconsciously looking for a good mate who will provide strong, healthy offspring with more variety in the gene pool, but women that are pregnant prefer someone who will help in looking after the children.

Firstly I don't know what that could do to the feelings I have for my partner, and secondly what else might change? The truth is I don't know what else might change. I know who I am, or I've almost worked it out and I don't want to lose myself again to another drug.

#5 - The Daily Task of Oral Admission
When you're on the pill you need to take it every day and at the same time. I didn't get that right for only 4 days. I've been on medication for my mental health since that winter in 2015, coming up on 3 years. I know I mess up all the time.

The fact is if you miss a pill, you may have your period early. I can at least guarantee that if you stop after 4 days like I did, your period will definitely come early. So it's just a hassle.

#6 - The Disruption of my Normal Cycle
My normal period brings on bloating, failure to lose weight and a few spots and tears. Then my stomach will stop puffing up and my skin takes time to heal. Around ovulation my libido is raised and my temperature probably goes up (haven't tried tracking it yet). And then when I'm about to have my period again I will dream of kittens. True story.

These are the tell-tale signs of my cycle. The bad ones are so manageable compared to being overweight, having chronic acne, and major depression. All things I am very familia with on a larger scale so I welcome these minor symptoms with loving arms.

If I'm on the pill, this all goes out the window. No change; every day the same, just not able to get pregnant. And I like my normal cycle, synthetic hormone free.

#7 - Month Long Disruption vs 6 days of being Fertile
You know how I just said "every day the same, just not able to get pregnant,"? Well there are usually only 6 days out of your cycle where you can actually get pregnant anyway. I just feel like changing your body with synthetic hormones for everyday of the month just so you don't ovulate and become fertile for 6 days out of the month is over kill.

#8 - The Effectiveness of Fertility Awerness
Women cannot get pregnant on just any day of the month, and if you don't have STDs to worry about then you don't even need protection every day of the month. If you knew when those 6 days were, the days when you are able to make a baby, you could try fertility awareness as a method of contraception. If you're careful this can be up to 99.4% affective.

Luckily there are ways to know when you are fertile and when you're not.
- I've been using the app Clue for 3 years and they have an estimate of when I should be ovulating compared to the typical cycle.
- Your basal body temperature typically goes up a few tenths of a degree during this time and stays up until your next period.
- Cervical mucus also changes consistency and becomes thicker.
Ovulation tests can prove when you are ovulating as they detect an increase of luteinizing hormone in your pee.

#9 - Risk of Weight Gain
I have been working hard to lose weight for my wedding. Why would I allow this to be jeopardised?

#10 - Control Over the Entire Body just to Affect Fertility
I've already said I think it's over kill to take a pill everyday so you can't get pregnant in the 6 days you usually could. I also think it's insane to put synthetic hormones into my body and risk my mental health, my weight, my psyche, and every other part of my body just so I can eliminate my fertility.

My fertility is one small part of my body and the pill is not yet designed to target only that small part of my body. I think it's more worth it to work around my fertile days than to switch it off at the risk of affecting the rest of my body.

#11 - Shorter Cycles
My cycle is usually 5 weeks long. 30 days without a period. The typical birth control pill pack has 21 hormone pills in it and 7 sugar pills, this means my 30 days without a period is cut down to 21, and I would have more periods. Seriously, that's a sure candidate for the worst deal a woman in the first world could make.

I hope by sharing this others can learn from my experiences. Know that you are not alone. I'm certainly not saying anyone should be too scared to take the pill but I sure am. I know I'm going to run into other problems now that I haven't got hormonal contraception to back me up but that's another story for another time.

My Favourite Marriage Advice Resources

In the last couple weeks I've been getting through a large quantity of marriage related resources and that was because I was excited and passionate to keep reading and taking note of what other people have said.

But one of the lessons I've been learning is that sometimes you are ripe to hear a certain message and grow in a particular way when others may not be at the same time. My fiancé was probably not as ripe for all of the messages shared in these resources in the same time as myself and so I share this with you to warn against showing these books down your partner's throat. 

It can come across quite forceful when you are passionate about the advice a resource has and want your partner to know it too. Just make sure you are asking nicely for them to join you in reading books like this and that they don't end up taking on a lot of pressure from you.

With that out of the way here are my recommendations:

How Do You Know if Someone Is "The One"?
Video by Jefferson Bethke
Something a lot of people worry about before they actually get engaged is if their partner is 'the one.' The truth is this concept was created by Hollywood; it is not from God. In this video Jeff breaks down the concept of free will when you're looking for your future husband or wife.

Love & Respect
Book by Dr. Emerson Eggriches, 336 pages
Audiobook read by the author, 9 hours

The best non-fiction book I've ever read. The differences between men and women from the way we are coded to function is an incredible display of God's image. The realisation that men are blue, women are pink, coming together to make purple; the colour of royalty was something I also came up with in 2013 but that's how this book concludes. 

The Meaning Of Marriage
Book by Timothy Keller with Kathy Keller, 288 pages
Audiobook read by James Loyd, 8 hours

There are heaps of ideas in here that if given the chance I'd shove them down everyone's throat. This book could be responsible for cleaning up the entire world's view of marriage from a self-centred celebration of the love they already have (which I don't agree with as the purpose of having a wedding) to a covenant of best friends who choose to help each other become more like christ.

Marriage is the most challenging and rewarding relationship you could ever have with another human, however the world's idea of living together first is like knowing the questions before going into an exam. This book explains those rewards and helps you form the right mindset that will have you facing the challenges in the right way.

Laugh your way to a Better Marriage
Seminar by Mark Gungor

I'll link you to the official wed page where you can order the dvd, but I have found it on YouTube saved it in downloads and listened to it in the car. I don't actually recommend listening without watching because you end up missing a lot of jokes.

Mark's performance shows training in voice and drama, and comedy. This recording is over a decade old but the humour and the truth bombs that go off every minute may just be timeless. Pop it on and watch this one together with your spouse, or better yet the whole family.

Things I Wish I'd Known Before We Got Married
Book by Gary Chapman, 161 pages
Audiobook read by Chris Fabry, 4 hours long

This is one that I find best to read a single chapter when you're ready to improve yourself. This is 12 chapters talking about very different elements of married life and perspective to help you prepare for it. We all have dreams and expectations of what it will be like when we get married but it's important to have perspective of what is realistic and actually fits in with the character's of yourself and your partner.

The 5 Love Languages
Book by Gary Chapman, 203 pages
Audiobook read by the author, 5 hours

I haven't read this one in a long time but I know it's a good one to pick up every once in a while to read the chapter that will most help you love on your spouse. It turns out that different people have different ways of showing their love and different things others can do for them will have more impact on making them feel loved even if they are meant with the same intention of love.

Through years of marriage counselling Garry chapman has found it useful to categorise the ultimate ways people receive and express love into 5 categories; touch, quality time, gifts, serving and words. It's important to help your partner and your self in loving each other by working out which of these can make the best impact on your heart for feeling cared for and loved.

11 Massively Important Things You Want To Be Doing before your Wedding

When you are getting married and having a wedding the moments can come when you wish the day was here already. But aside from the decorations and the invitations and the flavour of the cake there are plenty of things to get through that take more time than it takes to decide "silver or blue?"

Here is a list of things to make sure you spend your engagement wisely preparing as best you can.


I feel like there are people out there who pray even if they aren't into everything about the christian lifestyle and church stuff. And being one of those people who is quite involved with it I still want you to be encouraged to pray even if you don't think there's anyone listening.

I do happen to have a close relationship with God and I know he wants to bless anyone who goes to him for answers and opportunities to be opened. Marriage was something that I believe he designed and if you go to the source asking for assistance to have the best marriage you could, then he's going to be more than willing to show you things you haven't thought of before.

Things to pray for are Peace among your families, Favour over the weather, Joy that everyone really have a great day, Patience for yourself as you try to make decisions with your partner, Self-Control for those who might say something stupid over the microphone, and Protection from the enemy as he make his attempts to get in the way; he's an asshole and he hates people having great marriages, but God is so much bigger.

Apply for your marriage licence

This one is just too important for you to miss; yes it's directly part of sorting out the wedding and that's not what this list is meant to be about so I'm just giving you a quick reminder.

Getting a licence isn't something you typically see people focused on in the movies, and that's where most of our ideas about marriage and weddings come from, at least it is for me, so if you don't know how to do this at all. In NZ it takes a number of days to process and a number of working days to be returned in the post. It will also expire in a few short months. So you don't want to do it too soon, and you defiantly cannot leave it to the week of the wedding.

Pre-Marital Counselling

Even If you are not involved in church you can find one for this. Your pastor is likely to have a course they want to take you through, just so they know they did their part to prepare you for your new marriage. But I also highly recommend it because I know I haven't got it all together, and if fact I never will.

You and your fiancé might end up talking to a married couple for a number of weeks. You might go through a course designed to teach you communication skills, or God's design for marriage.

On the other hand, you might simply have mediated discussions on hard topics and get through a lot of your own ideas so the two of you are on the same page. Topics like finances, children, house-keeping, and how you will do Christmas with or without your extended families.

Growing your hair

Those incredible photos of wedding hair styles on Pinterest probably won't work so well if you are currently rocking a lob. That's what I had this time a year ago and it was very hard to do anything with it.

Seriously I went to my best friend's wedding looking like a mad lady with a bird's next on her head. So to make it easier for the hairdresser to do your hair up on your wedding day and for it to stay in place more securely, try to grow a few more inches yet.

The same goes for your bridesmaids if they have long long hair and that's something you want to work with you are allowed to say to them 'Please don't cut that all off.'

Reading Books about Marriage

Here's a list of my favourite resources to get you started.

As Nikki Schumacher said in one of her videos, you shouldn't let there be an such an extreme unbalance between the number of books you read and media you consume that is for fun and the number of books you read and the resources you go through to improve your skills and knowledge of marriage.

As we go through life we slowly learn and are ripe for learning certain lessons. We mustn't forget to learn more about marriage even after we've been doing it for a number of years.

Figgureing out Who Your Married Friends Are

The pressure to do marriage well can be a huge weight on our shoulders. The truth is you and your spouse can not do it alone. You need friends who are also married and have experienced the same changes as you are about to.

It's important to establish some sort of agreement between those people that they will always be there for dinner and a chat about what you're going through. It would be good to have at least one pair of married friends each. One who is your friends, and one who is your partner's friends. I promise this does not mean they will automatically take your side or your partner's; in fact you'll be in for some enjoyable and unpredictable moments of support and advice.

Sorting Out Your Contraception

Are you going to use hormones or not? If getting married is the first time you are going to be doing what could get you pregnant (which I recommend and have zero regrets about) then you'll be after a plan for avoiding pregnancy.

If you are going to go on the pill you should go on it for a couple of cycles before you can be sure to have stopped ovulation altogether. This is what I tried to do but I baled after 4 days and believe me: that will bring on an early period. So much crying and other serious risks was just too much to handle.

The best way to prevent pregnancy without using hormones is to track your cycle and ovulation. Your body temperature rises very slightly as is gets ready to release an egg. It's very helpful to know when this happens so you can be extra carful around this time, say with the assistance of spermicide and barrier methods.

Either way you need to take time to get to know your own body.

Renew your passport

This is something I'm currently stuck on. Remember you need a referee, someone you aren't related to but has known you for a year and has their own passport. The application can take time to fill and then process, so if you are honeymooning in another country you must give do this early enough to work out the kinks.

Also I've learned to enter America and to enter Canada one must have a visa. That sounds scary and not work the effort because I won't be there for more than 2 weeks, but the travel agent will handle it for me. That is, once my passport arrives brand spanking new.

Getting Dancing Lessons

Your first dance at the reception should looks spectacular, and it is totally possible if you take the time to learn and practice a waltz or other ballroom dance.

So look online or through the phone book for dance coaches and set a time for you and your fiancé to have fun together out on that floor.

Reaching out to Friends & Family

When you draft a list of people who should be at the reception you will come across people who you are not sure you want to really be there. Time and distance changes people and even when we try to deny it, this changes our relationships with others.

Sometimes the relationship changes so much we'll wonder if we're even still friends. Maybe they've forgotten all about us. I'm just being real, this happens. I'll link a video by Absolute Motivation that points out the danger and anxiety around this situation.

In the time leading up to your wedding you should work on these relationships. Make a commitment to get through the awkwardness now and repair the relationship. That awkwardness should not have a place in your special day. Yes, weddings bring people closer, but so should the months that lead up to it.

Assisting in Leaving your family in a good place

Something that God has recently put on my heart is the strain the environment of our family is for some individuals. One of my siblings are not feeling loved like they should and the same for one of my parents.

Something incredible that might happen quite often is that as I prepare for going into my own new family the people I'm leaving behind become guinea pigs for me to test the advice I've been reading. What's particularly shown through is the message from my new favourite book of all time; love and respect. The information in this book has the power to totally transform marriages and families.

So if there's anything you can do to encourage your family, spend time doing that before you are no longer so on the inside.

Got any pre-wedding advice? Leave it in the comments for everyone down below.


Marriage & Wedding Roundup

Things to Do When You're Engaged

When the excitement grows it's easy to wish the day was already here, but have you done these yet?

My Favourite Marriage Advice Resources

With a message to be careful when you want to go through it all at once.

Thoughts from our Pre-Marriage Counciling

Coming in 8 weeks.

Research Project; Songwriters and Writer's Block

Are Songwriters Immune to Writer’s Block? Diagnosed with Professional Creativity.
Rebekah E. Tripp, 2017 


This study measured the phenomenon of physiological writer’s block among professional and recreational songwriters in the attempt to detect a trend in its occurrence at different stages of the songwriters’ progression of skill mastery. Writer’s block is "defined as a distinctly uncomfortable inability to write" (Huston, 1998, P. 93), it is when the mind is blank of thought when a person attempts to create an original work. This study makes attempt at defining what is the type or types of ideas that songwriter’s are looking to form when they face writer’s block, which would better allow the songwriter to know how to find it. This research is intended to make ideas easier to discover. The data provided by 22 survey participants was used to determine this, as well as to discover if more education is generally necessary for songwriters to combat writer’s block, and whether such combat should be foundational prevention or a short-term solution. This paper makes note of other key studies including Rideout, 2014 Creativity and Songwriting, Huston, 1998 Resolving Writer’s Block and Flaherty, 2004 The Midnight Disease. Through analysis and discussion of the data provided by a survey and research drawn from other sources, Tripp concludes that writer’s block is inevitable as a hobbyist songwriter or professional songwriter. There are no particular conditions that prevent writer’s block entierly, but there are things one can do to reduce it’s liklihood. After certain stages in a songwriter's educational progression and professional growth creative blocks do decrease significantly due to practice and education.

Keywords: songwriting, writer’s block, creative blocks, prevention, optimal conditions for creativity and original thinking