To Be Free

I’ve had a lot of mixed feelings during this Fourth of July weekend. Being an American means that I can be whoever I want to be and chase the American Dream, which is something I can define for myself. Right now, the question “Am I free?” isn’t based on my nationality. It’s based on how much freedom I allow myself to have. 

I am fortunate to have my health and lifestyle, and I’m very thankful for it, but life as a twenty something is not an exact reflection of a pretty Instagram feed of fireworks and 11am brunches with mimosas. These first years of figuring out how to be an adult is much more complicated than that, and I often let obstacles suffocate me. I’m working on it. It’s prep for the long haul of adulthood, right?

 I let go on the fourth and found some freedom in Malibu on a beach with one of my closest friends. The ocean always makes me feel like I can take a deep breath and exhale all of the negativity I’ve allowed to eat away at me. I chatted with my friend, laughed, closed my eyes, listened to the waves, felt the sun hug me, and tried to clear my mind. 

The day before, I was at Urban Outfitters shopping for a birthday gift and came across the book “You Are A Badass” by Jen Sincero. 

  
I started reading it yesterday and I’m determined to learn from it. It’s a refreshing book that’s not only inspiring, but also relatable, humorous and blunt. Just what I need.

If you’re less than impressed with your current situation, you clearly need to change things up.

– Jen Sincero

Every day is a chance to feel free. I just need to figure out how.

Here are a few more photos from the 4th. It really was a beautiful day of positive energy. After an easy-going day in Malibu, I spent the evening with these gals and watched almost every LA firework show from a rooftop. Thanks America.      

’15 Soundtrack: June

IMG_7068 copy

Photo by Shab Ferdowsi

June was dominated by work, birthday celebrations, live music, Hours Lost, and the Vans Warped Tour. In addition to supporting Neck Deep and As It Is at Warped Tour, I was given the opportunity to have a tent for Hours Lost in Ventura, CA. I’m still feeling the good vibes from the experience! You can read the recap and watch a video for it here.

Now, let’s get to the music that occupied most of my listening time. You can listen to this month’s ’15 Soundtrack on Spotify, or check out the video links below. Cheers!

TRACKLISTING

Borderlines And Aliens” – Grouplove
Ride” – twenty one pilots
Contagious” – Night Riots
Pity Party” – Melanie Martinez
Can’t Feel My Face” – The Weeknd
Classic Man – Remix” – Jidenna feat. Kendrick Lamar
coffee” – Miguel
Coming Home” – Leon Bridges
Money” – The Drums
Flashlight” – The Front Bottoms
All Time Low” – Jon Bellion
Still” – The Japanese House
Wild Ones” – Bahari
It’s Alright Now” – Bombay Bicycle Club
Things Happen” – Dawes

What are you currently listening to?

’15 Soundtrack: May

23Photo taken by Courtney Coles

May is my favorite month for a simple reason. It’s my birthday month. Although there’s nothing special about turning 23, since most of the fun birthdays have happened already, I’m still a fan of celebrating life. We go through a lot as humans. Making it to another year should be considered a victory.

While a lot of incredible things happened during May (great shows, fun hangs and new opportunities for my clothing brand Hours Lost), I also had a tough time. I almost had a breakdown because of work. A boy I used to think highly of turned into a ghost and has completely disregarded my existence. A friend is also ghosting me. It’s a pretty terrible feeling, but I try to focus on the good in my life and the art of letting go. Yes, I am not always the happiest person, I am sensitive, and I feel too much sometimes (side note: I’m really excited about Jamie Tworkowski’s new book “If You Feel Too Much“). But I wake up every day and say to myself, “Do better. Be better.”

I hope you are doing well. Mercury is in retrograde, so be careful out there! It’s a tricky lil’ devil. Now for the good stuff. Here are the songs that helped me power through May.  You can listen to the playlist on Spotify, or check out the video links below.

TRACKLISTING

Fall At Your Feet” – Saint Raymond
I Want You” – Saint Raymond
She’s A Dancer” – Youth Club
Cancel On Me” – Bombay Bicycle Club
Stick Around” – Kid Cadaver
Stressed Out” – twenty one pilots
“Goner” – twenty one pilots
Here” – Alessia Cara
You Should Be Here” – Kehlani
Shine” – Years & Years
I Can’t Keep Up” – Tourist feat. Will Heard
Sound & Color” – Alabama Shakes
Feeling Ok” – Best Coast
In My Eyes” – Best Coast
Kill The Director” – The Wombats

What are you listening to? Let’s chat in the comments.

’15 Soundtrack: April

Photo by Shabnam Ferdowsi

Photo by Shabnam Ferdowsi

April has been a month of little sleep, an unhealthy diet and STRESS. But I am alive and I am handling it. It truly blows my mind to see how much the body and mind can endure. After feeling like my body was shutting down this week, I was reminded that I need to take better care of myself. Sometimes you just need to listen to your body when it’s screaming “YO, TAKE A CHILL PILL.”

Music is typically what maintains my sanity. That and a lot of hot green tea. People often ask me what I’m listening to, which is why I like to share these playlists aka my personal soundtracks. I highly recommend the new The Wombats album. It’s ace.

I hope you enjoy the April edition of ’15 Soundtrack! You can listen to and follow this playlist on Spotify. Cheers!

TRACKLISTING

“Tongues” – Joywave feat. KOPPS
“The Business of Emotion” – Big Data feat. White Sea
“Karaoke” – Smallpools
“Be Your Shadow” – The Wombats
“Lean On” – Major Lazor feat. MØ
“Sick For Me” – Big Data feat. Bear Hands
“9 to 5″ – Smallpools
“Your Body Is A Weapon” – The Wombats
“The Wild Life” – Vacationer
“Got To My Head” – Waters
“Panther” – MADE IN HEIGHTS
“Keep Your Head Up” – Ben Howard
“Stand By Your Gun” – George Ezra
“Blue Bucket of Gold” – Sufjan Stevens
“Fallingforyou” – The 1975
“Smother” – Daughter

What are you listening to?

’15 Soundtrack: March

'15 Soundtrack: March

Watercolor painting by Me. Inspired by Moonrise Kingdom.

I had a “When? Where?” attitude in March. It was an active month of “funtivities,” dinners, Paley Fest, shows, chill movie nights, and even a brief trip home. If someone was down to meet up, so was I. While February was just as busy, last month was more chaotic and stressful. March was all about reuniting with people, enjoying their company, and personally getting back in touch with my creative side by painting more and working on the relaunch of my brand Hours Lost. Any lingering bad juju was minimal, FINALLY.

This ’15 Soundtrack is a mix of songs I was obsessed with in March. Many of the tracks represent how I was feeling throughout the month.  Yes, even Carly Rae Jepsen’s “I Really Like You” made the cut. I can’t deny how catchy it is! You can listen to and follow the playlist on Spotify. Enjoy and share with your pals!

TRACKLISTING

“King Kunta” – Kendrick Lamar
“Fairly Local” – twenty one pilots
“Water Fountain” – tUnE-yArDs
“I Feel Everything” – Waters
“Heartbeat” – Satellite Stories
“Haus” – Oberhofer
“Stable” – Kid Cadaver
“Fred Astaire” – San Cisco
“Avalanche” – Walk The Moon
“I Really Like You” – Carly Rae Jepsen
“Everything Is Embarrassing” – Sky Ferreira
“Undo” – The 1975
“I Wanna Be Yours” – Arctic Monkeys
“Elastic Heart” – Sia
“Worship” – Years & Years

What are you listening to?

I’m A Victim Of My Own Mind

mind

I’m an over-thinker. I over analyze people’s words and actions. I get lost in my own thoughts trying to formulate the “perfect” thing to say. Tricks on me. I’m lucky if my brain allows me to form any kind of proper sentence to express the cycle of thoughts in my mind.

It makes me anxious. Sometimes shy. And then I victimize myself with criticism that’s not always constructive. I shake my head. Most of my nights in bed, when I stay up too late rather than sleep, consist of thinking…thinking…thinking…thinking, and feeling everything. All of the bad and all of the good. I’m a positive person, but with a melancholic flair and hint of Atelophobia (fear of not being good enough).

The photo above has a portion of a quote by James Dean. It says, “Live as if you’ll die today.” This is a theme that threads together many of my blog posts because personally I’m in the process of being more honest, speaking my mind, opening more doors, creating new opportunities, etc. I value sayings such as “seize the moment,” or like Nicole in the movie Boyhood said, “the moment seizes us.”

A lesson I’ve learned from my most recent late night thinking is that in order for me to live more freely and happily, I must loosen my grip on the idea that I’ll be able to manipulate things that are out of my control. Life doesn’t work that way. Yes, having a plan A, B and C may always be in my nature, but I’m going to practice the act of going with the flow. A few exciting experiences are taking off in my life right now and I want to enjoy them as much as I can. Trying to clean up before the party even starts is no way to live life.

Here x There 08: I’ll Be There

i'll be there

Maybe you have a ton of friends. Maybe you have one. Forget about the quantity of friends you have. Nobody cares about the number of people you’re connected with on Facebook. Start caring about the quality of people you allow into your life. As humans, a strong connection with others supports us. We rely on it.  I’ve pledged to throw out the trash and distance myself from toxic people. If I can count on you, you can count on me.

I met my best friend in the 5th grade, and although we are different in many ways and rarely see each other because of distance (ugh), she’s always been my main pal. My sister from another mister. I can count on her to be one phone call away, each one ending with “I love you.” I can go a week without communicating with her and still know she has my back, and vice versa.

When I moved to Los Angeles almost five years ago, I had anxiety about my ability to make new friends. Fortunately, I’ve met a lot of rad people. Like come on. When someone is willing to drive you to the airport in commute traffic, you know that friendship is real. Some people I know complain about those who live in this city, calling all of them fake, self-involved, etc, but I tell them they aren’t looking in the right places. I’ve found MY people here. They’re the ultimate homies who continue to amaze me with their compassion, loyalty, and complete willingness to go on adventures with me. And I’ve made it my goal to add to this list of incredible people. New friends: come one, come all!

So, hey friends and friends of the Here x There contributors,  whether we see you on the reg or only interact over social media with emoji hearts, thanks for being our pals. Check out the playlist we put together for you.

TRACKLISTING

01. “I Think U Are Great” – Yellow Ostrich
02. “My Best Friend” – Weezer
03. “American Girls and French Kisses” – Beach Slang
04. “Grenade Jumper” – Fall Out Boy
05. “Everything Is Shit Except My Friendship With You” – Ball Park Music
06. “Make Real Friends” – brightener
07. “Keep On Keeping On” – Colony House
08. “Light It Up” – Eliza and the Bear
09. “Sometimes” – Raphael Saadiq
10. “VCR” – The xx
11. “I Will Be There” – Odessa
12. “Ben” – Michael Jackson
13. “Yellow” – Coldplay
14. “Even The Darkness Has Arms” – The Barr Brothers
15. “With A Little Help From My Friends” – Joe Cocker

Listen here

Contributors AlexBeccaNatalieRamonShabnam and Me

About Here x There

’15 Soundtrack: February

years and years

From Album Cover of Years & Years EP

February was hectic. I blamed Mercury in retrograde for most of the letdowns, the breakdowns, and the exhaustion, until it ended and the chaos continued through the second half of the month. February wasn’t completely tainted by bad juju though. I also had a lot of great moments. I worked the GRAMMY Awards, enjoyed Valentine’s Day with a gal pal, celebrated birthdays, reunited with friends, made new friends, and took on challenges that taught me a lot and rewarded me in the end.

This month’s ’15 Soundtrack doesn’t necessarily represent the kind of month I had, but it does include songs that helped salvage my sanity. Listen on Spotify, enjoy and share.

 TRACKLISTING

 “Gold” – Imagine Dragons
“Take Shelter” – Years & Years
“Smile” – Mikky Ekko
“Headphones” – Mounties
“The Tune of Letting Go” – Satellite Stories
“The Bug” – Bear Hands
“Sidekick” – Walk The Moon
“Halo” – The Pass
“Hold On” – Yellow Ostrich
“All The Time” – Bahamas
“True Affection” – Father John Misty
“All I See” – Bondax
“Sleepless” –  Flume feat. Jezzabell Doran
“This Is What It Feels Like” – Banks
“Mango Tree” – Angus & Julia Stone
“la song – demo” – Lewis Watson
“Looking Too Closely” – Fink
“Ghost” – Yellow Ostrich
“Nitesky” – Robot Koch feat. John LaMonica

What have you been listening to?

R U Mine?

don't be a coward

Modern dating is a lot like walking through a maze with a blindfold over your eyes. You’re given no direction, there are a lot of questions and you’re constantly strategizing. Through observation and experience, I’m becoming more familiar with the complexities of relationships and it still baffles me how unnecessarily complicated they can be. We’re conditioned to be (or try to be) blasé about it all. It’s a juggling act of acting cool and casual, yet interested and attached. Exhausting. I’m not programmed to be so nonchalant.

I was going to divulge a few details about my most recent tango with modern dating, but after typing and deleting words for a while, I decided it was best to be less of an open book. Long story short, it was a casual situation. One that was too hot and cold for me to handle, and it lacked a mutual understanding. I’m basically being ignored now and trying not to be too bummed about it. Nothing is enjoyable when bitter, so I’ll keep on keeping on. No point in dwelling on someone who isn’t dwelling on me.

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day tomorrow, I put together a playlist. It’s a mix as emotionally confusing as relationships.

Here x There 07: Open Road

herexthere 07

 

“Look at the photo above. Look at the long stretch of road with no end in sight. Look at the photo and decide how it makes you feel,” I wrote to the Here x There contributors.

I decided I wanted this month’s topic to be based on a visual I took in January. None of the contributors experienced this particular ride with me, so I challenged them to imagine they were there and asked what they would be listening to. Below are the sounds they linked to their sight.

TRACKLISTING

01. “New Theory” – Washed Out
02. “The Suburbs” – Mr Little Jeans
03. “Scars” – James Bay
04. “Is There Somewhere” – Halsey
05. “Coattails” – Broods
06. “Never Try” – PUP
07. “Get Lost” – Beach Slang
08. “Berlin” – RY X
09. “It’s Okay” – Land Of Talk
10. “Wild Country”- Wake Owl
11. “Above the Clouds of Pompeii” – Bear’s Den
12. “Holocene” – Bon Iver

Listen here

Contributors
AlexBeccaNatalieRamon, Shabnam and Me


About Here x There