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.

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

Make Good Choices

Make-Good-Choices

“Make good choices,” I told myself on the first day of 2016. It was a stern and understanding resolution. Like most people, I evolve all year and make mini resolutions along the way as I recognize more about myself and my intentions. The start of each year is the most obvious time to feel more motivated to make changes. With the New Year comes a mindset that a person’s messy past will be tidied in order to march forward with a fresh hope for better things to come.

I welcome change every day. It’s daunting and can be frustrating when the process is slow, but it’s also undoubtedly worth it. I try my best to keep my positive mental attitude (PMA) in check. When life has its insufferable times, attempting to have a PMA helps me work through them.

Hello 2016. It’s me. I will continue to figure out how to make good choices when I:

~Rediscover and learn more skills
~Keep well (mentally and physically)
~Save those dolla dolla bills, y’all
~Let ghosts of my past free

Here’s a Pinterest board to visualize what I want my year to look like, and this wouldn’t be a “Jenay” post without some tunes.

Listen to my 2016 Vibes playlist on Spotify, or check it out below.

“Lessons” – SOHN
“begin again” – Purity Ring
“Bury It” – CHVRCHES
“Loudspeaker” – MUNA
“Ride” – twenty one pilots
“Eros” – Young The Giant
“Waves” – Kid Cadaver
“Days” – The Drums
“Adult Diversion” – Alvvays
“THE QUIET” – Troye Sivan
“Desire” – Years & Years
“U” – Mikky Ekko
“Two Way Street” – Kimbra
“What If” – Bombay Bicycle Club
“Love Me” – The 1975
“Do Better” – Say Anything
Golden Coast” – Allison Weiss
“Let’s Dance To Joy Division” – The Wombats
“Rebel Yell” – Waters
“Roses” – Angus & Julia Stone
“Can You Hear Me” – Dan Croll
“Resolution” – Matt Corby
“See Me” – Tei Shi
“Wait” -M83

Babe Vibes: Methods of Self-Care

Babe Vibes

What are “babe vibes” and where can I get some? Designer Kara Haupt developed Babe Vibes as a way to collaborate with other creative women to make publications and projects that exuded “energy, vulnerability, identity, and empowerment.” While perusing their site, I began to understand the power of living the babe lifestyle. I already had babe vibes, but neglected to recognize their true potential.

Methods of Self-Care

Photo by Mara Keller ::: Found on babevibes.com

Jodie Layne and Kara’s “Methods of Self-Care” zine intrigued me the most. I’ve thought a lot about self-care and what it means for me, but haven’t pinned down the best way to follow through with the action. I figured these two babes would have some words of wisdom.

Two pages in, tears puddled my bottom eyelids before stinging my cheeks. My hands covered my eyes as if I was embarrassed and didn’t want anyone to see, although I was alone in my bed. “Why are you crying? Stop it, you wimp,” I scolded myself. Then I shut up. Why was I insulting myself? I was acting like a normal human and feeling perfectly acceptable emotions. It was 12:59am, the standard time I start to shake my head, knowing I should have fallen asleep an hour ago. But I’m a night owl and reading the zine affected me. As I turned into a weeping willow, I couldn’t sleep. I needed to acknowledge what I was feeling and understand why I was crying, because there was a reason.

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Identity crisis. Self-doubt. Feelings of not being good enough. Personally, all of this is a result of abandonment issues I developed at a young age (that’s a more complicated story for another time).  We all have our own internal struggles for different reasons, and there isn’t a one-size fits all solution. The “Methods of Self-Care” offers some tips to motivate its readers to take better care of themselves. The zine is both a hug and a swift kick in the butt. I want to share one of my favorite lines with you (provided by contributor Danika McClure who heard it from someone else):

“I do not have time to make other people happy when I am still learning how to make myself happy.”

This reminded me that it’s OK to put myself first, that it’s OK to ask for help, and that it’s perfectly OK to feel imperfect. Babes, we are beautiful works in progress.

I highly recommend exploring what Babe Vibes has to offer, and definitely read “Methods of Self-Care.” You can download it for free (!) or purchase a hard copy.

Cheers.

The Fault In Running On Empty

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Photo by Shab Ferdowsi

2015 has been my year of “yes.” I wasn’t per se a “no” person before, but I have chosen to say “yes” to more invites and more opportunities in hopes of expanding my horizons, adding to my social circle, and being more present in people’s lives. My year of “yes” has developed oodles of new friendships, meaningful connections, and some unforgettable moments. It also spread me too thin. On October 10, 2015, I was officially running on empty.

My world is music. I work in the music industry. A large percentage of my friends work in music. My favorite pastime is attending shows. At shows, my attention and energy is focused on the music and performance in front of me, rather than the number of unread emails in my inbox or complex feelings that come with life’s woes. At shows, I regain my composure.

Kid Cadaver

Kid Cadaver at The Bootleg

The last few months have been difficult, so I’ve tried to balance my stress with the benefits of live music and the company of friends. I was in luck as a lot of friends were producing and playing free or $5 gigs. The FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) set up camp in my brain and I was RSVP’ing “yes” to most of them with a determination to come through. The word “free” was an added bonus because that meant I wouldn’t be depleting my bank account. What I ended up depleting was my immune system.

During the end of September and beginning of October, I was making it to four or more shows a week, sometimes two shows in one night. Set times were typically around 10pm or later, keeping me out while the moon was high in the sky. I slept for (maybe) five hours a night. I couldn’t even sleep much during the weekends, because my internal clock had recently made me an early riser. I became the Energizer Bunny with no energy.

Refresh ::: Recharge

So it was October 10, and although I knew better, I decided to squeeze in eight hours of live music at two different shows. By the end of the day, my body waved its red flag. I spent the entire following week working from home, sick, and kicking myself for saying “yes” a few too many times. While I confined myself in my apartment for four days, apart from the occasional step outside to breathe some “fresh” Los Angeles air, I saw a silver lining in my predicament.  Despite enduring cold symptoms, a hellish migraine, and a cough that has left me with sore abs, I now feel more rested and calm thanks to ample amounts of water, Chinese medicine and sleep. Being sick gave me the isolation I didn’t know I needed.

Cafe Gratitude

After laying in bed and sitting on my living room floor for four days, yesterday I finally flew the coop. First stop was Cafe Gratitude for brunch and a short walk around Larchmont Village. It was an incredible feeling to be out and about again with good company. I still want to make the most of my year of “yes,” which I plan to carry over into 2016, but my health and finding a balance between work, play and life’s other units will be a priority. Keep well.

If you have a moment, here’s a good read from Fast Company:
How Solitude Can Change Your Brain In Profound Ways

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.     

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.