December and January: Welcome 2019

Here’s a typical “new year, new me” type of reflection. But really, I don’t think that I’m a new me. At the moment, I’m still the same; I’m merely taking the time to recognize the pieces that should remain and the ones that should be changed.

2018 taught me a lot – most of the time, I didn’t want to hear what it was trying to tell me. I held on, so tightly, to people and things that were no longer meant to be in my life. I think that a lot of us are probably guilty of that. But all of those things truly served specific purposes, and they brought me to places that I would have never made it to alone.

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I thought that gratitude could only be shown through loyalty and promises of “forever,” but sometimes, it’s okay to say “thank you” and move on. I’m still figuring out how to do that, but I’m hoping that it becomes easier throughout this year. I’ve been realizing that there’s such a thing as the past because we cannot find infinitude in everything.

2018 was a year of being bold and going after what I wanted, even if I secretly felt terribly unqualified – turns out if you act like you know what you’re doing, eventually you’ll actually know what you’re doing (and you’ll also get really good at it). Believe in yourself, babes!

My heart broke a couple times, for which I found the only remedy to be pop music (no shame). Maybe the term “bubblegum pop” comes from the fact that it’s able to stick all your pieces back together with the sweetness of temporary happiness, until you’re able to heal on your own. (Thanks Harry and Ari.)

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I also allowed myself to find a lot of happiness in seemingly small moments. It sounds cliché, but those are the moments that really matter the most. Photographed: Chili’s margs with Sara and Christi, because who doesn’t love getting accidentally drunk on a Monday?

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Mostly, I discovered that there’s just so much good in the world, and I can cry when I think about how lucky I am to have my family and friends. I complain more than I should because I’m intrinsically dramatic, but I hope that they can always see my gratitude. As always, I want to get better, and I hope that 2019 eliminates the last traces of negativity and leaves me with only light. I hope the same for all of you. Happy New Year.

xxoo. Jenna

P.S. Is it even a post if I don’t include a few song recommendations? Three songs that I am loving at the moment: “Superposition” by Young the Giant, “Never Enough” by The Cure, and “I Couldn’t Be More in Love” by The 1975. See you next month!

Greetings from Autumn

Let’s be real: as a result of being tired and uninspired, I didn’t have a post for October. For some reason, I have been experiencing a serious lack of creative writing ideas lately. So, I decided to slightly avoid this blog… but that wasn’t one of my best ideas.

I made this space for a reason, and I want to update it once a month like I planned. But starting next month, I’m going to have photographs accompanying my song recommendations, rather than words. When I started Heliotropism, I wanted it to follow whatever creative flow seemed interesting to me at the moment. Why feel obligated to writing when a picture does say a thousand words, after all?

For now, here are ten songs that made for great companions during these past 2 months. Spoiler alert: I’ve completely fallen in love with Ariana Grande. “Thank u, next” is my new mantra for everything. Autumn has been the season of being grateful and moving on, babes!

  1. “Hypnotised” by Coldplay
  2. “breathin” by Ariana Grande
  3. “thank u, next” by Ariana Grande
  4. “It’s Not Living (If It’s Not With You)” by The 1975
  5. “You Know Me Too Well” by Nothing But Thieves
  6. “Shiver” by Maroon 5
  7. “Storms” by Fleetwood Mac
  8. “Ride” by Lana Del Rey
  9. “The Beach” by The Neighbourhood
  10. “Edge of Desire” by John Mayer

Enjoy the holiday season, y’all! Happy listening, and see you next month.

xxoo. Jenna

September in Songs

September’s days were chaotic races against the clock. I’ve accomplished more in the past 30 days than I did all summer. I’m stressed, but I’m happy; I only feel fulfilled when I’m experiencing a serious deficit of sleep.

Perhaps my Gemini disposition can be blamed for my repulsion toward anything that teeters on the verge of boredom. I love to be constantly moving and changing. My thoughts were rapid and determined this month, leading me out of a personal cycle of fantasies falling short of reality.

I think I’m coping okay with the loss of what I wanted. As it turns out, what I actually have is better.

I’ve finally digested this truth: the people in your life should be there for you as much as you’re there for them. My constant need to make everything work, even when it’s clearly not working, has caused some one-sided situations. September has been an overload of clarity; at first it made me a little dizzy with grief, but now I realize that I have nothing to miss.

So, here’s September in songs because there’s no other way to describe the things that I’ve felt. All I know for sure is that the air is getting a little brisker, my all-black wardrobe has made its debut, and I feel loved.

“From the Dining Table” by Harry Styles

“Comfortable silence is so overrated. Why won’t you ever be the first one to break?” It’s cool to feel strong, but it’s also okay to be hurt. You don’t need to push everything away.

“Breakfast In Bed” by Train

“You’re the best book I ever read. You’re the smartest thing I ever said.” You’ll only feel hurt because it used to be something good. This song is a reminder to appreciate that, rather than resent it.

“New Person, Same Old Mistakes” by Tame Impala

“Feel like a brand new person.” I do feel like a brand new person by allowing myself to chase the things that matter to me now. It’s okay to change your mind when it’s a result of learning. It’s not okay to keep making the same mistakes over and over.

“Writer In the Dark” by Lorde

“I am my mother’s child– I’ll love you ‘til my breathing stops.” I know that there are some people who I will love forever, even if they stop loving me. I don’t think that this is a flaw anymore. I also think that you can still care about someone from a distance, without really being in their life. (Or at least, that’s what September thinks. October may prove this theory to be wrong.)

“In the Sun” by Sonic Blume

“You can’t leave yet. We may forget.”  There’s an openness beyond the overthinking and the regret. There’s a beauty in the faith that we’ll never forget. Even if details can vanish, love is immortal, living somewhere within every tear and smile.

See you next month.

xxoo. Jenna

P.S. The art at the top of this post is from Ambivalently Yours on Instagram. The art itself is a big mood; the artist’s name is an even bigger mood.

My Feelings About Senior Year (Told Mostly Through Memes)

While I posted a few times in July to get this blog off the ground, I’ll only be posting once a month in the future. For August’s post, we’re all going to freak out a little bit together!

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Senior year is right around the corner for me, and I have a lot of feelings. First, it’s really weird to think about this being my last school year. There’s always the possibility of going to grad school later, but in the foreseeable future, THIS IS IT. I’m just not ready to face that reality.

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I love being a student. Life beyond the classroom is an exciting thought, but it’s also scary because I have no clue how any of this is going to end up.

I do know that I’ll always continue working hard and following my passions. But what city will I live in? What friends will I keep? Will I find a job that I love? Will I ever pay off my student loan debt?! I guess I’ll find out soon enough. (If you’re currently considering any similar questions, just know that you are definitely not alone.)

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I’m also bummed that these four years went wayyyy quicker that I expected… no one warned me. These have been some of my greatest years, and the thought of not seeing my partners-in-crime on a regular basis is heartbreaking. I mean, summer is boring enough without them, but I’ll be totally lost after graduation. Here we are, not yet seniors, so young and full of hope:

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On the bright side, I’m excited for my classes and (super awesome) leadership positions. To say that I’m going to be busy is an understatement, but that’s when I get my best work done! I’m eager to start, but I’m crossing my fingers that this year will miraculously find a way to go by slowly.

I want to experience everything that my school has to offer before I leave. Catch me dancing into class on the first day, ready to appreciate my last semesters as a (self-proclaimed… no one will ever call me this) collegiate badass.

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xxoo. Jenna

P.S. Here are some music recommendations, of course! Enjoy the last days of summer, y’all.

  • “Charlie Brown” by Coldplay

Coldplay is unapologetically one of my favorite bands, and I don’t know why people love to hate them. This is off their 2011 album, Mylo Xyloto, so it’s a bit of a throwback. “We’ll be glowing in the dark” is the lyric that hits me in the heart every time. You haven’t lived until you see them live, Chris Martin sings that line, and thousands of wristbands simultaneously light up. CHILLS.

  • “Best of My Love” by The Emotions

This one is an even bigger throwback! It’s instant happiness. You probably know this song already, but just go listen to it. You need it, even if you don’t know that you need it. Trust me.

  • “Heavy Sleeper” by Mandala

A new song! And it’s from a band that you (more than likely) don’t know yet. However, you should know them because their tunes are majestic. They hail from Connecticut and their entire debut album, Cash for Smiles, is fantastic. If I had to pick a favorite track from it though, this would have to be it. Their lead singer, Morgan, simply has one of my favorite voices ever.

 

 

A Love Letter to my Best Friends

Platonic love is underrated.

Yes, there is nothing else like the overwhelmingly hypnotic nature of romantic love. But my friends are the ones who have saved me, over and over again.

For so long, I was kinda detached, and I was hesitant to allow in love of any kind. Unsteady and unpredictable realms were never for me, and love is the ruler of the unknown. I thought that any love I gave, including love to my friends, would be rejected.

Eventually, I realized that I was just wasting so much time.

It took me awhile to feel comfortable with closeness, and sometimes my insecurities still find ways to creep through. To silence my hesitations, I give myself this reminder: I may get hurt, but that’s necessary to seeing life’s beauty.

The simple act of being more open to others has given me endless happiness, and I’ve definitely become a better friend.

So, this is a love letter to my best friends! Sometimes I may be a little extra (sorry you guys), but you’re truly some of the best things that have ever happened to me. Thank you for every adventure and late-night chat, and all your wonderful pieces of advice.

Examples of bff-advice include: always use a setting powder after applying foundation, fill up on both carbs and protein before drinking, remember to take deep breaths when stressed, and write until I physically can’t anymore (and then write some more).

Here’s a picture of two of my besties, who have been by my side for eight years (aren’t they hella pretty?):

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As I’ve mentioned before, it’s obvious that I don’t really have much figured out. But I’m doing my best. And I know that I’m in a much better place than where I started, so I can say this to you with certainty:

Hold on to the people who feel too good to be true. The ones whose souls shine with blinding radiance. The ones who mirror you in many ways, as well as fill in the vacant spaces that you didn’t even know existed. The ones who support you without question, quell your anxieties, make you laugh until you cry, and inspire you to be a better person.

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Cherish the unique role that each friend plays in your life. Tell all of them that you love them today.

xxoo. Jenna

P.S. Here are three songs that you should listen to this week, since I can’t sign off without mentioning music:

  • “Love Like Ghosts” by Lord Huron

I love, love, love this band. Really, you should listen to every song they’ve ever made, but this is the one bouncing around in my heart right now. This line hits a poignant spot with me: “I don’t feel it till it hurts sometimes.”

  • “South London Forever” by Florence + The Machine

Florence has one of the best voices of our generation, and her vibe is cultivated in the same gypsy garden as Stevie Nicks. This makes me cry: “Everything I ever did was just another way to scream your name.” The entire album is honest and gorgeous.

  • “Little Words” by The Happy Fits

When I listen to this, I feel like I’m sitting in a desert, playing an acoustic guitar as tumbleweed stumbles past me, waiting for my cowboy lover to return home. I love it. A similar scene will probably not be conjured in your head, but I recommend placing yourself in a dramatic music video of your choice.

The 1975 or The 1984?

I feel like Sunday is a good day for us to chat, amid the laziness of our hangovers. Before we start, go grab your favorite source of caffeine. Feeling any better? No? Okay, well let me distract you from your regrets…

This week, The 1975 released a single called “Love It If We Made It.” Since The 1975 is my favorite band, it is an absolute requirement for me to discuss this song. (I promise that every post won’t be music related, but right now, the summer playlist is bopping.)

If you’ve never listened to The 1975 before, it’s very difficult to describe their style. They fall under the category of alternative, mostly because that label is assigned to bands that don’t fit into the confines of a single genre. They combine vibes from different decades to become a little rock, a little emo, and a little pop.

Basically, the members of the band unapologetically follow their unique creative compass. This song uses the lyric “poison me, daddy,” and it isn’t unsettling at all. Not to mention, their flawlessly integrated references to recent events call attention to a collective crumbling morality. It’s just so good.

The track is going to be included on A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships, which is the first album in the Music For Cars era. If you check out their Instagram, you’ll find an abundance of chilling images, featuring the phrase, “First, disobey; then look at your phones.”

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Matty Healy is the lead singer and creative-mastermind of the band, and one of the dreamiest dudes to ever exist. Following in the footsteps of other concerned writers, he is diving deep into what enables our self-indulgent culture.

“Modernity has failed us” echoes throughout the single, emphasizing the widespread worry about the status of our society. Our minds have been programmed to crave online validation, and sometimes, that can take precedence over genuine human connection. If we lose that connection entirely, what will be left?

It’s a trippy topic! I personally think that it’s very interesting to examine, but impossible to resolve. Now that we’ve been granted the privileges of technology, we’ll never be willing to retreat to a world without it.

Has the internet made a negative impact on how we behave and interact? Probably. We’re wired to expect constant accessibility, and the art of patience is steadily deteriorating. But I guess we can’t really reverse the damage. We can only become more aware of the tendency to detach and remember to make time for real moments.

Yeah, it’s incredible that I can write something on here and anyone in the world could potentially read it. But what’s even cooler is hugging a friend, telling my mom that I love her, and dancing to a dope song.

On that note, this song makes me want to jump around and scream the lyrics until I lose my voice. I’ve also always been a nerd for science-fiction dystopian novels that carry a similar message, warning against humanity’s inevitable demise. Honey, Orwell and Huxley are dancing in their graves.

The inherent hyper-awareness of artists will always allow them to view things as they truly are, and not how society wants them to be. Instead of plummeting deeper into the cyberspace rabbit hole, let’s listen to what Matty’s saying, so that we don’t end up mindlessly declaring that we love Big Brother. Modernity may have failed us, but we don’t need to let it destroy us.

Let’s look away from our screens now… see you next week.

xxoo. Jenna

Shoobies: Your New Favorite Band is in Mocean

Shoobies is an indie-rock band hailing from Bayville, NJ. The band consists of Casey Marley Breidenbach (vocals/guitar), Brandon “Beef” Page (drums), Dylan Bailey (bass), and Kevin Miller (guitar). The infectiously energetic boys of Shoobies are all in their early-twenties, which makes their music particularly relatable for people of that age-group. Their dedicated group of local fans has now spread to an international audience, with over 6,000 monthly listeners on Spotify.

The music of Shoobies began as two EPs, titled Claude Monet and Cherry. The former soothes like indie love, and the latter punches like sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Preceding the official EPs, the acoustic demo Dear June was released in 2016, which I find to be criminally underrated by its creators. (Dear Shoobs, please never remove it from any streaming platform ever again, thank you.) When the individual releases are pieced together as a whole, it is evident that the music tells a transcendent story of love and loss.

To continue this story, the third Shoobies EP, Mocean, has just been released. According to the band’s website, the mood behind this work is “a halfway happy.” Despite scatterings of angst throughout the lyrics, the music presents itself with a breezy nonchalance. Mocean is a sonic summer, transporting its listeners to a state of beachy bliss. The cover art’s wave, whether a purposeful decision or a happy coincidence, evokes the image of a yin-yang, instantly indicating that Mocean will serve as a balance for the band’s growing catalogue.

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If you’re still hesitant about adding the up-and-coming group to your summer playlist, Casey is here to tell you what to expect from their new music!

Regarding Mocean’s general concept, Casey said, “The EP relates to Thales and the idea that life is water – it’s a constant flux. It’s also a metaphorical take on us as a band, since we’re putting ourselves in motion for bigger things to happen.”

Casey describes the recording process for this EP as “flowy and melody-based.” Talking about the goal behind this release, he said, “We want this to convey a lot of emotion and tie together the sounds of our previous EPs to create one concise sound.”

He then broke down each track:

Track 1: “Peachy”

“‘Peachy’ is an existentialist take on a sort of love that creates a noose-like grip around someone’s neck.

The girl that this guy loves is free and has nothing tying her down to reality. She belongs to the universe and is no one else’s property. There’s a lyric where the guy tells her, ‘You’re more than just a friend.’ She responds, ‘Save yourself, just pretend.’

This track is based on their philosophies rather than their realities. His reason for having no emotional ties is that he is a nihilist, and her reason is that she’s just peachy; she’s free and he’s imprisoned.”

My Reaction:

You need to close your eyes when you listen to this song… allow it to really move through you. It’s like a soft wave crashing over you, again and again.

Favorite Lyrics:

  • “Gimme honey I can sing you a song/ To prolong the belief of dogmatic absurdities”

The true beauty of Shoobies is that there are always lyrical gems like this one throughout their EPs. We’re going to use the word “dogmatic” in something that sounds like a love song, but isn’t really a typical love song at all? Yep! And I am here for it.

  • “Cigarillo Cinderella”

I’m digging this image so much that the extent of my admiration cannot even be expressed. This girl is edgy and graceful all at once, and I think that we could all use a little more of her “just peachy” attitude. All hail Erica.

Track 2: “Hunny”

“In this track, he adopts her philosophies and stops brooding. He realizes that now that he doesn’t need her, he has become more appealing to others.

It is a transition from depression to manic, showing that both are equally as empty. He has loved and lost and she has never had anyone or anything, but they both feel alienated.”

My Reaction:

Imagine this: you spent the day at the beach with your friends, your skin has a little sunburn that you know is going to peel and look ugly later, you take a shower to revive yourself (why does your skin look even redder in the shower?!), and now you’re going out. You’re at a Shoobies concert, and they start to play this song. You’re still a little tired from the beach and your energy isn’t what it would normally be, but let’s be honest, you’ve already had a couple drinks. This song JAMS. You start dancing like a maniac, not caring who’s watching you, and you get a little glimpse of euphoria.

Favorite Lyrics:

  • “Where you think you’re something more, but a lover don’t f*** a friend”

Hell yes.

  • “I’m not your baby, baby”

First, the oomph behind Casey’s vocals when he sings this line? Magic. Second, I think this should be printed on merch immediately.

My Final Thoughts:

The EP is available everywhere now. It’s only 2 tracks long, which will take up less than 10 minutes of your day… if you hate it. If you love it, it’ll take up a TON of minutes for the rest of your summer because realistically, both tracks are bops and you’re going to want them on repeat. Grab your best friend, go for a late-night drive, roll those windows down, play this EP loud, and thank me later.

Looking to the future of the band, and what he hopes to achieve, Casey said, “If someone else can find solace in something I wrote, that’s purpose.”

Mission accomplished, my friend.

xxoo. Jenna

P.S. Check out their website, shoobiesnj.com, for information on their inevitable debut album and future tour dates!