The Intimate Morning

My eyes hesitantly open. The lower part of my back aches. I was curled up in a strange way. My blankets are held tighter to protect me from the bitter winter morning air. The pillows are unshared today.

It’s Saturday with peace. No 7am alarms from an iPhone or the monotonous barking of my first floor neighbor’s pup. No screen filled with work emails. Less anxiety.

It’s a slower awakening.

I stare at the glow peeking its way through my window shade. I’m missing the stars on my ceiling that occasionally make an appearance. Only if I’m lucky. Only if the sun hits my disco ball the right way.

I pull my grey sheet and cloud-like blankets tighter around my body again. I’ve created a cocoon. Maybe I’m transforming and this is an intimate time. Only myself allowed.

2017 Vibes: Mood Board + Playlist

Every year there are several moments when I plan to turn right, and then life is like “tut tut, we’re going left instead.” There is no way in telling what my life will be like in 3 months, 3 weeks, or hell, I don’t even know what 3 hours from now could hold for me. All I can do is hope for the best and make moves. I’m a planner so the uncertainty can feel a little uneasy, but I’m learning to take things on as they come.

By Navucko

I purchased my first instant camera yesterday, and I like that it’s an unpredictable tool. What I snap is what I’m going to get. I’m calling her Patsy. She lives in the moment, wears a glitter case and I adore her already.


Here are some photos I took yesterday at the Beating Lights kick off show in East Hollywood. Great jams, good company and the best vibes.

Tea time with Nikita and Ray

Expect to see me in fishnets more often

Family Hahas

With Courtney

Mandla of Ugly Sweaters

I put together a 2k17 mood board on Pinterest and playlist (below) to set the tone for this year. Maybe if I put a bit of my spirit, hopes and desires out there, some of it will stick.

Embracing 2017

 

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Polaroid by Courtney Coles

‪I love this time of year because people are bright eyed, renewed and hyperaware of their goals. ‪No matter how basic or complex their EOY reviews and new year resolutions are, I enjoy reading them. They glow with hope and inspiration, and there’s rarely harm in accepting more of both. For me, writing down my resolutions is cathartic. Sharing them here is my way of connecting with you.

…breathe…

Deep breaths feel so. damn. awesome. I need more of them. Exhale the bad, inhale the good. It’s no big secret I am an anxiety-cursed person. For such a simple act, breathing deeper and slowing my world down helps a lot with my stress. Side note: Does anyone else get a little tripped out when you randomly become more aware of your breathing? Like wow, thanks mind and body for having auto pilot on lock to continue my existence.

This body won’t treat itself

Traditional matcha tea from Midori Matcha, now open in Little Tokyo in Los Angeles

It’s a no brainer, because H20 is v important, but somehow drinking eight glasses of water always seems so HARD and BORING. I’m working on a game plan to motivate myself to guzzle more water because hydration is key. As a tea lover and new owner of a great amount of matcha, I’m also going to learn the proper steps to prep and brew the tea.

Food wise, I own at least four cookbooks, and have online recipes at my fingertips, but somehow end up buying the SAME ingredients week to week. Boring. 2k17 is the year for more meal variety and deliciousness. Also, bless the creator of gummy vitamins for knowing the way to the wannabe healthy hearts of adults who dislike pills. Gotta love fish oil in the form of sugary, fruit-flavored goodness.

Sleep well, sleep more


I have this resolution every year and fail miserably. Waking up to live life really shouldn’t feel like such a drag (especially when I get to wake up in my favorite space of comfort, pictured above). I’m a night owl, and my body is a bully and likes to wake up automatically after five hours of sleep. So this resolution is always tough, but I really need at least seven hours of Zzzz a night. This became even trickier when my team’s office moved to West Hollywood about a month ago forcing me to adjust my alarm to sound off an hour earlier.  Already after a couple days of having a more strict sleep schedule, I’ve felt more alert, less anxious and better prepared to make each day a good one.

Now I need to get in the habit of reading books, instead of scrolling through social media, before resting easy in bed. BY THE WAY (I’m really excited as you can tell), I got a memory foam mattress pad which has been such a treat.

Finish books in a more timely manner


I LOVE reading. Always have. I used to spend hours in one spot on my couch getting lost in a story. But in the last couple of years, I’ve developed a lame habit of starting a book and taking months to finish it. MONTHS. During the lull of leaving an unfinished book on my shelf, I would start a new book. The cycle would continue. Sometimes I’d switch between two books (currently it’s three) by reading a bit of each during the week. Maybe that’s OK for some, but it’s slowing my progress with them. So while I finish my current reads this month, please send me recommendations so I can get my reading habits back on track!

Save, save, save

One of the three books I’m reading is “Get A Financial Life: Personal Finance in Your Twenties and Thirties” by Beth Kobliner. I’ll be 25 in May and realize if I know what’s good for me, I need to be more serious about investing and growing my funds for future major purchases, play/travel, any unexpected and costly life imploding crisis, and retirement (if that is possible for my somewhat poor, workaholic generation??)

KonMari up in this bish

Speaking of saving, how about NOT saving things? Such as a pile of unopened credit card offers, a receipt for an earl grey tea latte I drank three weeks ago, a charging chord that was probably used for my old Nokia 3310, a dress I wore once two years ago, an inbox with 1,000+ retailer promotions, and …you get the point. Marie Kondo‘s book “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” is always at the back of my mind, and while I am proud of how tidy I typically keep my room, I know I can do better. Living clutter-free is liberating and easy on the eyes.

Letting go and patching up wounds

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Illustration : Kate Harvey

Easier said, than done of course. Life’s not fun when an unforunate fading friendship or almost-something relationship sits heavily on my heart and mind. Especially when I have to acknowledge the hurt, and make a firm effort to accept the situation and move forward to leave toxic feelings in the past. This is a tough process I’m not sure I’m getting better at yet, but I will.

These situations are reminders to be a better friend and to protect my heart – without ever becoming completely guarded or jaded. My friend Catherine shared F*ck Yes or No with me over the summer and it might be something worthwhile to try.

Dance, Dance


Dance at parties. Dance at shows. Dance in your room. Dance in your bathroom. Dance (safely) in your car. Whether I’m already in good spirits, or in need of a pick me up, doing a little dance actively boosts my mood. See ya on the dance floor?

Quick shout out to my badass pal Courtney Coles for inspiring me to be unapologetically myself and for always being down to shake it like a Polaroid picture.

p.s. A couple months ago, a guy/friend/something(?) started slow dancing with me at a show at The Echo in Echo Park when I was having a bad day, and it was magic. So despite owning a “No Slow Dance Allowed” banner, I can’t *actually* dismiss them 😉

La La Land and new destinations 

I’ve been living in Los Angeles for 6.5 years now, and there’s still so much to discover and explore. How exciting, right?! It’s also a little overwhelming, so I’m making a list (I freaking love making lists) of places to visit each month and challenging myself to actually visit them. My friend Kelly and I have talked about going to The Black Cat in Silver Lake for at least a year…and we still haven’t set foot in the joint.

Other destinations I plan to adventure to are Joshua Tree, Palm Springs, Fort Lauderdale, Austin, New York and possibly Hawaii twice. Some of these trips will be for work while the others will be for play. My first international vacation will hopefully become the real deal after I save to travel to Tokyo in the next couple of years.

In the meantime, I’m moving full steam ahead, ready for personal growth and new challenges. Cheers to living more in the moment and checking off some bucket list items.  Happy 2k17!

Keep well,
Jenay

I Got Up


2016 was unkind, but I’m still here. How? I got up. Each time something kicked me down, I got up. After I cried myself to sleep, I got up. When my anxiety nearly crippled me, I still got up. When the going gets tough, life can drain your soul, or feel insufferable at times. Despite this, I’m often impressed by our ability to muster up the courage to keep our inner fires burning. Even if it’s just a spark.

The first part of my 2016 was promising and full of light, then it took a dark turn. And I’m sure many of you can relate between your personal tribulations, and the overwhelming turmoil and tragedy our countries have endured. 

Personally, I’ve dealt with a lot of life changing issues, many of them affecting me simultaneously. Existential crisis. Multiple heartaches. A month of not having a home to call my own. My grandfather, the closest person I had to a father figure, passed away. A struggle with my work/life balance. Possible depression. 2016 has been the year to test me more than ever before and sometimes I wasn’t sure how much more of it I could handle.

But despite a sadness that lingers, several key pieces keep a smile on my face: surrounding myself with genuine and kind people, live music, finding peace in nature, diy projects, good reads, dancing, laughter and good matcha tea. I fight to stay positive. I fight to maintain my ability to change my circumstances. I fight to be better. I fight for self-care. Because I am very fortunate to have the life I have. Putting all of the unfavorable parts of it aside, my life can be pretty damn rad and there’s so much more to explore and experience. THAT excites me.

Dear 2017: are you ready for me? I feel a spark and it’s filled with hope.

10 Favorite Albums of 2016

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Oh hey! My life has been a whirlwind and led me to an accidental blog hiatus. I know, I know. I missed you too!

I’m back here just in time to chime in with my favorite albums of 2016. This year was HARD for many of us it seems, but at least we can celebrate some incredible new music releases. Shout out to Spotify for being the MVP of music discovery by knowing my listening habits and taste so well.

Now, the list. There is no particular order and as much as I want to write thoughtful reviews for why these are my favorite albums of 2016, it’s currently 1:07am on a Thursday morning (what is sleep?) and life is busy, so I’m keeping it simple.

Cliff notes for why I chose these albums: I spent a good chunk of 2016 dancing and/or connecting emotionally (aka probably cried) while listening.

Lemonade by Beyoncé
Favorite Tracks: “Sorry,” “Hold Up” and “All Night”

I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful yet so Unaware of It  by The 1975
Favorite Tracks: “If I Believe You,” “Somebody Else,” and “The Sound”

The Loudspeaker EP by MUNA
OK, this is an EP, but I MUST include this.
Favorite Tracks: All four of them, because each are so important to me.

How to Be a Human Being by Glass Animals
Favorite Tracks: “Life Itself,” “Youth” and “Season 2 Episode 3”

The Altar by BANKS
Favorite Tracks: “Fuck With Myself,” “Weaker Girl” and “Gemini Feed”

Puberty 2 by Mitski
Favorite Tracks: “Once More To See You,” A Loving Feeling” and “Your Best American Girl”

Sunlit Youth by Local Natives
Favorite Tracks: “Fountain of Youth,” “Everything All At Once” and “Past Lives”

Disappear Here by Bad Suns
Favorite Tracks: “Heartbreaker,” “Patience” and “Love Like Revenge”

Pool by Porches
Favorite Tracks: “Be Apart,” “Glow” and “Mood”

A Seat at the Table by Solange
Favorite Tracks: “Don’t Touch My Hair,” “Weary” and “Cranes in the Sky”

Let’s also look at my Spotify Year in Review. Click the images to see them more clearly.

Wow, that’s a lot of time spent doing something I love, and I definitely stayed true to my motto #FangirlForYourFriends with my excessive listening of my pals’ band Bedbugs. Might also like indie music? Can you tell? Not really sure. haha.

Cheers to saying BOY BYE to 2016 and hello to more music we can fall in love with in 2017.

What were your favorite albums or songs this year? Let’s chat in the comments

’16 Soundtrack : August

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Liberated by new beginnings, new challenges. Liberated by the desire to focus on my growth. Liberated by thriving.

There were a couple low points in August. They were times that forced me to hit the brakes in multiple areas of my life to process exactly what I was feeling, why I was feeling it and how to shatter the glass ceiling to move beyond it all. It worked.

I realized I was living in a cycle and it’s impossible to thrive when you’re looped back into the same situations and mindset. Life had become a subpar circus ring, and now it’s the right time to mosey/skip/leap down an unbeaten path.

In short, #liveyourbestlife.

After leaving you with that vague account of my life, here are the jams that soundtracked the very complex, eye-opening month of August. Enjoy, and please comment with any music suggestions! You know I’m always on the hunt for the new good-good.

 

 

 

’16 Soundtrack: July

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Photo by Priscilla Hernandez

I like stability, and I’ve finally regained it. After a rocky June ended and July began, I exhaled the biggest sigh of relief. I’ve spent the majority of this month settling into my new apartment and turning my room into a personal haven. Let me tell you how good it feels to sleep in my own bed again. REAL GOOD. And it’s brand new and not twin size. I guess this is growing up. 

Aside from reveling in the simple, yet glorious, situation of having a home again, I’ve spent my days working on Create & Cultivate, sorting out my feelings (you know ya girl has a lot of them) and celebrating birthdays. I’ve gathered a pretty great collection of memories from July.

Forewarning, my ’16 Soundtrack for this month is kind of heavy (with the feels) and admittedly a reflection of what’s going on in my noggin. But these tunes are class A, so listen up and just let whatever you feel happen. Your ears and soul will thank you.

I want to add – please go see Mitski at some point in your life because I watched her perform this month at the Echoplex and she blew me away. In addition to her being an absolute treat to listen to, it was refreshing to be a part of an attentive crowd that didn’t fill the room with chatter or spend the entire set filming shaky videos.

Now dive into the playlist below and enjoy! Please post some artists and/or tunes in the comments section as well because I’m eager to listen to something new.

Keep well.

 

’16 Soundtrack : May and June

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Photo by Ramon Smikle

I’ve experienced the worst month of my life, but I am here and moving forward. I’ll save the details for a much more in-depth blog post about how I came to be homeless (don’t worry, I’m crashing at a pal’s place). Long story short:

+ I had an apartment, then I didn’t. My belongings are currently scattered between three locations. I’ve cried in public. Multiple times (ugh). I’ve gained a lot of knowledge about California tenant laws. My friends and I fought to get our money back from a slumlord. I receive daily invites from so many incredible friends and acquaintances in Los Angeles, offering their couch for me to sleep on. I’ve lived in three different places within the last two weeks, and my mind, body and soul is completely exhausted by this. But, let’s end this short story on a high note – I started a dope new job at Create & Cultivate.

Now that you probably have a bunch of questions that I won’t answer at this time, it’s time for the music. Since life has been so messy lately, I couldn’t put together a soundtrack at the end of May, so here is a joint soundtrack for May and June!

It’s kind of a moody playlist, but nonetheless, there are  jams. Enjoy, and keep well.

’16 Soundtrack: April

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Photo by Shab Ferdowsi

Dear April,

I am exhausted by you, but I had fun. You had a lot of house shows. You brought several of my favorite bands, The 1975, Years & Years and more, into town at the right moments for me. You lit a fire in my soul with Beyoncé’s “Lemonade.” You filled my heart with friendship, confidence and understanding. You showed me that bad timing doesn’t make a good thing any less good. Thank you, April.

The songs I’ve included in my soundtrack for last month accompanied adventures to new destinations, party planning, the hours spent at my work desk, and late night research (note to self: stop going to bed at 2am every night).

After you listen to the playlist below, you can follow it on Spotify, and you should also check out the new albums by Gallant, Bear Hands and Sales. If you’re in the Los Angeles area and interested in local bands, don’t hesitate to ask me to suggest a few! Lately, I’ve been jamming to King Shelter, a self-proclaimed “salad rock” band that plays a tossed blend of indie alternative rock with rich, dreamy tones.

Enjoy the jams, and happy May! Show Mercury in retrograde who’s the boss.

PLAYLIST: Something Good Can Work

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Photo by Ramon Smikle

Channel the positive energy in your life, and something good can work. Navigating the complexities of life is taxing. But no matter how exhausting that may be, the ability to work through it and move forward helps us learn, break old habits and thrive. Maybe there’s even a chance this purposefulness can heal parts of us that were once transfixed on the distress of the past. This is the mindset I try to maintain to keep that smile on my face, and my mind and heart open. I know everyone’s circumstance is different.

Wake up and choose to see/do/be better.

Here’s a playlist I put together for a backyard show in Burbank I co-presented with Beating Lights, but we never got around to playing it. It’s been my go-to mix for the last week and I want you to enjoy it with me. Hit shuffle and play it loud.

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Photo by Ramon Smikle

 

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Photo by Ramon Smikle