Let It Consume You


“If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps life moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you go on in spite of it all.”― Martin Luther King Jr.

I still have a dream. Multiple dreams actually. And they take time to discover, understand and achieve. Patience, hard work and hope is key.

(my top in the photo is from Stheart)

’15 Soundtrack: January

January 2014 Playlist

Photo from Summer Heart’s “About A Feeling” album cover

When I fall in love with a new song or revisit an old favorite, I find myself gravitating toward it every day. It’s the first song I play in the morning, the one I keep going back to when answering emails, or the lullaby I hear when getting ready for bed. So I might start a “soundtrack series.” Think of me as an indie flick and the series is my soundtrack.

I’d like to point out one band from this month’s ’15 Soundtrack. I met the guys of Family Hahas at an acoustic night my pal hosted (hey Shab!!). Then another friend (yo Rudy!) brought the band and their new EP to my attention. Honestly, I had already heard it and was a fan of their work. So shout out to those guys. I hope to catch a show of theirs one day. The band’s track “Happy Accident” is listed in my playlist.


What’s in your soundtrack? Let’s chat in the comments.  

Vulnerability: A Necessary Challenge

This post has been sitting in my drafts since spring. Sharing today. 

I’m vulnerable when my back is turned. Hell, I’m vulnerable staring someone straight in the eyes. Being vulnerable is scary, but it’s necessary and doesn’t have to mean I’m weak. Sometimes it encourages me to be brave.

Vulnerability uncloaks the possibility of being wounded, both physically and emotionally. Who enjoys that sense of uneasiness? Not me. Despite the uncomfortable chance of being hurt and disappointed, being vulnerable can actually strengthen my belief in hope, trust, love and opportunity. It allows me to be honest.

Without accepting my own vulnerability, I wouldn’t be able to share stories, interview for a job, go to shows alone, or take chances with people. I wouldn’t make mistakes. I wouldn’t discover my likes and dislikes. I wouldn’t reach my potential.

“Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.” – e.e. cummings

2014: Step Out and Up

step out and up

2014 has been the year I’ve experienced the most change. It was also the best year of my life. 2014 was for stepping out of my comfort zone voluntarily or being pushed out of it. Regardless, I was determined to step out and up. First, my four and a half year relationship ended. Then, I got my first car, decided what kind of people I wanted to surround myself with, attended at least four shows a month, kissed new boys, graduated from college, worked several amazing events and a music festival, officially moved to Los Angeles, started a new job in a new career field, and tried to be more honest with myself.

Facing new challenges, experiencing heartbreak, and deciding how to move forward is no easy task. But it is doable. 2014 was my year for progress, which I’ve vowed to make the theme for the rest of my life. Set backs are temporary. Some things that make me uneasy today won’t make me uneasy down the road. I attribute it to change, realization, acceptance, growth, and progress. No one stays the same. My hope that as I continue developing my character and my life, I will keep and add the positives and discard the negatives that aren’t contributing to my quality of life.

Here are a few lessons I learned in 2014.

Just Say It

Verbal communication can be hard for me. I use written word as a security blanket or sometimes say nothing at all. Communication is the most difficult when conflict is involved. Sometimes I’m unable to accurately express something that is bothering me. It’s all in my head, but my brain won’t let the words come out comprehensively. I have nerves and I’m typically a quiet person, depending on who I’m with, but I’ve been working on it. Instead of bottling my thoughts and letting problems fester, I’m trying to express myself honestly to those around me and to myself. Issues are solved more promptly and my anxiety lightens. I still have difficulties with this, but progress is a movement of taking one step at a time.

Be Careful Who You Make Memories With

Seriously. I saw a variation of this quote (probably on Tumblr, Pinterest, or both) and it clicked. I associate places, foods, smells, songs and movies with people I’ve shared memories with. Sometimes these memories are fantastic snapshots of happy times. Sometimes I’d rather forget them. I want to be more cautious of who I spend my time with and what I do with them. A person can sour some of my favorite things. No fun.

Say Yes More and Don’t Feel Guilty About Saying No

I am an adventurer and homebody. Depends on my mood. I said yes to more adventures in 2014 because I was determined to meet new people, experience new things and simply have more fun. As much as I’d like to be, I’m not a super spontaneous person, so I like to have at least a little notice of plans so I can get in the right mindset. I used to feel guilty when telling people “No.” I realized it’s ok if I need time by myself to recharge. I don’t need to feel guilty when turning down an invitation. I will do what I want when I want.

Buy Less Now, Save For More Later

Moving into a new apartment and trying to make it feel like a true home put my mind in Pinterest mode. I want my place to look as awesome as the ones praised on home decor blogs. But of course, I got carried away with ideas and had little money and time to spend beautifying our space. Although I’m eager to continue decorating, I have to be more patient and smart with how I’m spending my money. Living in Los Angeles isn’t cheap! So, I’m making a wish list and slowly checking things off of it. One day I’ll have my Pinterest worthy apartment.

Don’t Be An Option

Despite some instances, I have gained a lot more self-confidence in myself. I’ll say it. I’M RAD. (now tell yourself the same thing). No shame in loving and being proud of yourself. This leads me to the whole “don’t be an option.” Romantically – why keep a non-relationship when you want commitment? Platonically – why invite someone to things if they always mark “Maybe” or say nothing at all? When I choose people to be in my life, I want them to choose me too.

Keep In Contact

I’ve maintained relationships with people who are some of the best humans I’ve ever come across. I’ve also become distant with others. Not on purpose. It happens naturally sometimes and before I know it, it’s been months since I’ve spoken to or seen someone. Either way, I try to maintain connections. Showing you care doesn’t have to be extravagant. It’s as simple as a text, email, phone call, little treats, brunch, a night out/in, or blatantly saying “You are awesome. Thank you for being in my life.”

Let It Go

Some things aren’t worth fussing over. Let. It. Go. It takes time to master, but it can be done.

I hope your 2014 was as eye opening as mine. Cheers to 2015.

Top 10 Albums of 2014

top 10 albums of 2014

We are the generation of lists. We write them, we read them and we share them. Our top “insert noun here” lists define what has had the most impact on us. Although our lives are filled with excess and options, we manage to find a special place in our hearts to pick favorites.

Ramon Smikle and I became fast friends almost a year ago when our love for music united us. Since then, we’ve obsessed over fresh talent and new albums. Let us explain.

Ramon: Music is the single most important thing in my life, so it is important to me to always be seeking out what is new. It has become increasingly rare in this day and age for artists to put together full albums that flow as one body of work, as singles and song sales have begun to dominate the music industry.

A few artists this year however have made beautiful works of art that I am able to listen to from front to back, without feeling the need to skip anything. These albums have been the soundtrack to my weeks, weekends, nights out, days in, drives down the coast, and walks on the beach over the past year. It is always impossible to narrow the list down to a top 10, but I’ve done my best. Here are my selections for top 10 albums of 2014.

Jenay: Music, my first love, gives my life direction. It led me into my evolving career. It is a focal point for many of my hobbies. It fills the silence of my adventures and acts as a therapeutic escape. I spend a good amount of time craving and finding new music that makes me feel something.

The world of music has continued to transform into a factory that churns out singles and hit bangers, but personally I long for full albums with songs that were meant to exist as a conceptual collection. They’re the albums played over and over again in my car and displayed in my apartment. They represent a memory or period of my life. You could say I imagine my life as an indie flick and I’m developing the soundtrack for it. Here are the top 10 albums that define my 2014.

Here x There 06: Thank You

here x there 06

“Thank you.” These two simple, yet powerful words, should be sincerely said every day. Say these words to your family, friends and even strangers. Show your appreciation for their support and help. One thing I’m very thankful for is music and the artists who create it. I love the way music brings people together, acts as a therapist and generates happy, positive vibes. This month, I asked contributors to send in songs they are thankful for, whether a song helped them through a tough time or has made them incredibly happy. Below is what we came up with. If you celebrate Thanksgiving, have a happy one!


01. “Be My Escape” – Relient K
02. “Everything Is Alright” – Motion City Soundtrack
03. “Happy and Poor” – Mixtapes
04. “The Pros And Cons Of Breathing” – Fall Out Boy
05. “That’s What You Get” – Paramore
06. “Always Like This” – Bombay Bicycle Club
07. “Pale Blue Eyes” – The Velvet Underground
08. “Safe With Me” – Sam Smith
09. “Kids” – Diarrhea Planet
10. “Saturday” – Fall Out Boy

Listen here

AlexBecca and Me

About Here x There

Stay Home Club and Sad Songs

sad songs

I love sad songs. I’m a fan of melancholic sounds and lyrics, not because I like to be unhappy, but because it’s necessary to experience sadness. We don’t just feel this emotion. We live through it, we learn from it, and we grow because of it. With themes varying from death, to a broken relationship, to the feeling of being lost, sad songs are there as a shoulder to cry on. They become soundtracks for our disappointments.

For a while, I’ve wanted to buy a print or shirt from Stay Home Club, a brand for the disgruntled, but could never decide on a favorite item. When they added a “Sad Songs” two-tone tee to its online store, I purchased it immediately. It was partially an impulse buy, but I’m happy (hah!) and in love with it.

You can’t have a sad songs blog without a sad songs playlist. Title inspired by Stay Home Club. Listen below or here.

Pre-Dance Yourself Clean Playlist

guys, i just wanna dance

If music is playing, I’m that girl dancing in her seat, swaying while having a conversation, or at least tapping her foot. If there’s a dance party and no one else is dancing, I’ll be the first to say, repeatedly, “Guuuuys, I just wanna dance.” Call me John Travolta. I have Saturday Night Fever as soon as the first beat drops.

This past weekend, my roommate and I had a house warming party, sort of. With our place not the ideal location for hosting large gatherings, we met some of our closest friends at our place, guzzled a few (too many) drinks and headed out to The Satellite for its weekly indie-dance party called Dance Yourself Clean (yes, inspired by LCD Soundsystem).

I believe it’s necessary to have music at social gatherings, so I threw together some jams for the pre-game festivities. After receiving some requests for it, I’ve made the House Warming Playlist public. I like to listen to it on shuffle, so if you wanna do the same, open it up in Spotify, click ‘Playback’ in the menu and select shuffle. Or listen below and enjoy.

Favorite photos of the night:

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And then it suddenly hit me.

My first major project for a band called The Summer Set was to help launch its new Half Moon Kids website and Fall 2014 clothing line. After endless email threads, long days and last minute changes, we launched. Then the site crashed within a minute. (not so)Minor setback. But! The kids were still thrilled; fueled by their love of the band and the Half Moon Kids community.

Half Moon Kids Fall 14

Photo by Braverijah Gregg

And then it suddenly hit me.

And then it suddenly hit

I’m here to make dreams come true. That’s what I’ve always wanted to do. My description for what my position as an assistant to artist managers can be quite lengthy. It consists of a variety of important small and big tasks, but generally speaking, I can summarize my position in one sentence: I help handle the nuts and bolts for an artist’s business so they can concentrate on their craft, and I put smiles on kids faces across the globe. Rad learning experience.

I accept the successes. I accept the challenges. I will learn from the mistakes.

Here x There 05: Traffic Jams

here x there 05

Music is universally loved. Traffic is universally despised. There’s nothing fun about traffic. It’s a lot of stop and go. It takes you twice as long to arrive at your destination. It’s inconvenient. It’s boring. Let’s all mentally high five the inventors of the car radio, CD player and aux outlets. Listening to your favorite jams (even if they are the same three top 40 hits on repeat) can make a slow drive endurable.

When I’m in my car, I prefer to listen to tunes I can sing along to or songs that make it feel like I’m going on an adventure (even if I’m only traveling 10 mph). Take a listen to the traffic jams we currently love:


01. “I” – Kendrick Lamar
02. “Shut Up and Dance” – Walk the Moon
03. “Nothing’s Wrong” – Echosmith
04. “Sun Shy” – Dresses
05. “Somebody’s Talking” – The Preatures
06. “Younger Us” – Japandroids
07. “Super Rat” – Honeyblood
08. “Two Weeks” – FKA twigs
09. “Help Me Lose My Mind” – Disclosure
10. “Weekend” – VÉRITÉ
11. “From Eden” – Hozier
12. “Resolution” – Matt Corby
13. “Easy Thief” – Sombear
14. “Breathe This Air” – Jon Hopkins feat. Purity Ring

Listen here

AlexBecca, Natalie, Ramon and Me

About Here x There