The Art of the Playlist

Love, Music, Thoughts

Lately, I’m all about the snail mail. You know, being 3,500 kms away from home does that to you. The internet stops working when it rains here, so that leaves me with a lot of time to write while the boys are playing or napping. 

There are a few ladies at my old work that are just awesome and I miss a lot, so I wrote them letters a few weeks ago. In addition to asking them how the sunny coast was and updating them on #arcticproblems, I also made them each a playlist. 

3 playlists

When Bangerz was just emerging, I watched an interview with Miley Cyrus, and she talked about how she loves to give and receive playlists. She talked about how that was a great way to get to get to know someone. Mixtapes and CDs have been a big part of my musical upbringing. This concept has stuck with me, though it’s taken a while for me to break down the assumption that making a mixtape has to be a romantic gesture. Sounds silly, but I thought it would be weird to just hand my friends a playlist or ask for one. 

I remember my sister making me a CD for my walkman for my trip to Quebec in grade 8.

I remember recording Party in the USA on cassette tape in my room when I started listening to secular radio secretly at night. Oh, 2009. 

I remember someone I danced with loading up my iPod with all of his favourite artists (many of which are still my favourites). I didn’t sync my ipod for 2 and a half years because I didn’t want to lose all that music. 

A good playlist takes time to make. You have to use your own collection and taste and select which aspects to share with another human being. You may be consciously or unconsciously sharing the memories and associations you have attached to this music. You want it to be both novel and nostalgic for the the listener. Maybe some artists or songs they already know, mixed in with things they haven’t heard yet. You want the playlist to flow song to song; order is important (at least it is to me). 

So here are three playlists I made for friends back home, along with one word to describe the people they are made for.

for a dancer

1- Colors Amos Less
2- Orphans Kingdoms Brooke Fraser
3- Put Your Records On Corrine Bailey Rae
4- Leisure Suite Feist
5- Flapper Girl The Lumineers
6- Mercy One Republic
7- You have been loved Sia

for an adventurer

1- Little Black Sandals Sia
2- July, July! The Decemberists
3- Opera Singer Cake
4- Mushaboom Feist
5- Walt Grace’s Submarine Test John Mayer
6- You Give Me Something James Morrison 
7- Mama Do Lorde

for a free spirit

1- Mermaid Train
2- White Winos Loudon Wainwright III
3- I Never Knew You (Live) Jason Mraz
4- Brandy Alexander Feist
5- O Valencia! The Decemberists
6- Half of Something Else The Airborne Toxic Event
7- Los Angeles, I’m Yours The Decemberists

You can see the some of the same artists cropped up throughout these three little playlists. That’s what I was in the mood to share and have been listening to this summer. 

Playlists capture your tastes and preferences and mood for a moment in time. Maybe you make it for a road trip where you won’t get any radio reception in the car. Or maybe for a wicked dance party at your new place. Or maybe you make it for your significant other. Whatever the reason for the playlist, it’s a snapshot of a moment that can be enjoyed over and over again. 

Do you like to make playlists? What is one of or some of your favourites?

I’d love to know in a comment below, I’m always looking for new tunes. Hope you found something new, or were reminded of a song you forgot about.

P.S. Anyone want to buy me this? Thanks. 

Like this? Check out my last music post: SHAKE IT OFF, TAYLOR.

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aksarnerk | aurora borealis

Film, Love, Thoughts

Either God was up late painting, or there’s an alien invasion on it’s way, but they can’t decide where to land. 

Tonight I got to see the Northern lights for the first time.

NL2

During my last shift, someone at work told me the lights had been good the night before. Around 11:30pm I remembered this, and I peeked outside… to a glorious green-streaked sky.

First, I got shivers all over. Then, I knew I needed to grab my camera. I brought my camera out onto the deck and was trying to use auto focus and it was obviously not working, so I just stared at the lights and there may have been a few tears. Disbelief, gratitude, amazement…

Back inside the house, with the help of light, I managed to figure out my camera settings and brought my conveniently just-made cocoa and a blanket outside to keep watching and hopefully to capture some of this beauty. I am very happy with the shots I got. Even if they aren’t totally clear, it was my first time seeing the northern lights, and I’m thankful I got a few shots.

NL5

NL4

NL3

After a while, I came out from behind the lens and just sat back to watch. I reflected again on a word I’ve been writing about frequently in my journal: transient. It’s a word I like so much I’m contemplating getting it tattooed. So much in our life is transitory, temporary, just here for a brief moment in the wide scope of time. Even us, we are just passing through. But it is in the impermanent that there is so much beauty and we can appreciate and remember the temporary moments, people, experiences that brought us the most joy. I am all the more grateful for things that I am unable to hold in my hand. I am more grateful for things that I have lost. I am more grateful for the passing and changing beauty of the world around me than anything solid.

It was a beautiful night to be alive, really.

Once again, thankful to be where I am in this moment, and looking forward to everything that the year will bring.

Thugs, Hugs & Dumpcano

Love, Style, Thoughts

Magical narwal!graf2I will always find graffiti intriguing. I have never done large-scale art, I have always been more at home with my nose in small sketch books at home and scrawling on paper napkins when eating out. Iqaluit has been great for the street art (not only graf, but there are also stone and metal sculptures everywhere). My brother in law’s friend was commissioned to do these murals. These ones pictured are on the side of the fire station, I have yet to photograph the very large mural near the hospital, though that is another one I must get some pictures of.

graf3This is one of my favourites. It’s completely magical and I just love it. The colours and concept are amazing.

graf1Some other non-commissioned street I’ve come across include “HUG the police” on the side of a shed, and “west coast Thug Life” on a shipping container. I could make a whole album of things I find in the tundra. One of the most interesting so far was that plastic boot. There is a lot of litter, I wish I had the time and resources to repurpose them into something cool. But they are fun to just come across when I’m running too.

Dumpcano, you ask? Our dump has its own Twitter account, because it’s on fire. It has been for months. I can read about the drama in the local newspaper. I have only really skimmed our newspaper, though that’s something I’d like to be more diligent with, in order to connect myself better to the community.

thugshugsdumpcanoLife in the North has thus far been an incredible thing. I feel healthier, happier, and more whole. I’ve met some first-class people at my job as a waitress. I can easily walk to work, the store, the library, the ocean. My runs through the tundra are challenging and breathtaking. My love bank is filled every day by three amazing little boys who want to draw and play and dance endlessly with me. I have stuck with my vegan lifestyle. The 6 weeks I’ve been here have flown by.

I’m feeling endlessly inspired by this new environment. I can’t wait to share more through blogging and YouTube!

Thanks for reading!

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/jessihall1
Health Blog: milesonmilesonmiles.wordpress.com
Instagram: @jessihannahjay

Shake it Off, Taylor

Love, Music, Thoughts

I am super into Taylor Swifts new release Shake it Off. I have listened to her throughout her career, and this is certainly a new chapter for her. I smiled as soon as the video started, I recommend checking it out ASAP.

tswift shake it off

Her sense of humour and positivity shine through in the video and this song has a great message. 

Being at a point in my life presently, just having moved and faced many challenges and struggles leaving behind people and places I loved… it hits home, I suppose. I’m at a point of letting go of so much negativity and shaking off the past and this is definitely going on the list of power songs that I find super uplifting and/or I could just listen to again and again (see also Happy, You’ve Changed, You Need Me I Don’t Need You, Supernova, Change and Fashionable People).

I love the vibes and fun beat. It’s an empowering tune and I’ve got it on repeat for now. Even in her divergence from the style we had come to expect, she stays classy. She’s one artist that seems genuinely sweet and very honest through everything. 

Her new album 1989, is set to come out at the end of October. 

“I’m dancing on my own
I make the moves as I go
And that’s what they don’t know”

Don’t be afraid to not know the next step and do just your thing moment by moment.

Do you. 

Hats off to Taylor for pushing herself to make something new. I really can’t wait for the rest of the album. Aparently it is late 80’s & Bowie inspired. I have high expectations! 

To See

Love, Thoughts

I remember the words of my art teacher in my first year of university. 

tosee

The landscape here in Iqaluit is amazing. The tundra rolls as far as you can see, lichen-covered rocks jutting out everywhere, explosions of purple arctic fireweed (which, I am going to try to make tea with!). 

I’m grateful for those words, and those lessons. Even more so since having aged and experienced a few more years in my life, progressed in my mental clarity… I feel like I see more. The light is a little brighter to me, the flowers more fluid and the changing terrain more enticing for exploration. Even the litter which can be found in crevices and nooks along the tundra is interesting for my eyes to cross. 

loveshadow

Outside my house, there is a lot of construction going on, as new houses are being built around ours. As it was Sunday today, there was nobody on the lot, and as I walked back from a little adventure on the tundra, I noticed this shadow on some of the heavy equipment. A heart shadow. 

Maybe most would walk right past it.

But my eyes are ready and my brain is receptive to everything. 

So what are you missing in your hurry, in your worry? We’re all in such a rush, that nothing is in focus. What opportunities have you missed because of an inability to recognize them as such?

What a gift it is to see, let’s make the most of it. 

To hear more about my move up to Baffin Island, check out my vlog about Moving to Northern Canada. 

peace, 

J.

Choosing Love

dreams, Love, Uncategorized

One of the biggest questions people try to answer is this: How can I be happy? 

My answer is this: do what excites you. Pursue your passions. Choose self-love and make time and space in your life for the things you love. 

Place yourself in the situations where you will get to practice your art (whatever it may be), spend time with the people you cherish, and surround yourself with individuals you admire and who make you better. 

Here are some of the things I love to do. 

I love to be behind the camera to capture every moment around me, so that in the future I can look back on happy times and places I have explored. 

camera

 

I love to make art. Drawing mainly, but any form is fun for me. 

drawing

I love to eat healthfully and make my food aesthetically pleasing and Instagram it all. (@jessihannahjay

food collage blog

 

I love to make music. Piano, guitar, singing, writing… This was on Main St. in Vancouver. 

Main Street Piano Collage

 

What would you do more of if you had the time? What activity or group of people makes you feel alive? What can you cut out to make room for what you love? 

The more you envision the life you desire, the more you practice things you like in every small choice throughout the day, the closer you will get to a life you love. 

 

♪ John Legend’s All of Me Cover

dreams, Love, Music

It’s been over a month since I’ve shared a midweek jam with you!

This semester I took a digital recording class. I changed the song I did for my final project 2 weeks before it was due, but I’m pretty happy with the result considering how fast it was done. I might start making wednesdays cover day, there are a lot of songs I’ve wanted to do covers of for quite a while. Taking this digital recording class was just the confidence boost I needed to start playing more music again.

I used to lead worship in a small group and at summer camp years ago, but stopped for silly reasons. It may not be career material, but it’s something I enjoy immensely. Nothing tops singing as loud as possible in the car with the windows down, or playing guitar on a hill overlooking the water early in the morning… but any music playing is good in my books.

So without further ado, my cover of John Legend’s All of Me.

1 Year

Love

“I’m lucky I’m in love with my best friend
Lucky to have been where I have been”

Today marks one year with my best friend. If you haven’t seen my post about our history together, you can see that here. This is the story of today, in pictures. It was wonderful.

Image^Strawberry love

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^Breakfast ingredients

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^Cuppa with whip

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^Bacon master

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^French toast and bacon

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^ It’s me!

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^ Behold the beauty of strawberry and whipped french toast

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^ For dinner, we each made what the other was craving. Mike made me butter chicken on rice with naan.

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^ I made him perogies with onions, bacon and sour cream.

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My heart is filled with gratitude for this man who has been such a blessing in my life. I never have to pretend to be something I’m not with him, and he is the most honest person I know. He tells the same jokes as my dad and he is kind and great with kids. I thank God that he aligned our paths in this life.

I got us tickets to go see the Lumineers this month, I’m very excited about that. Mike had an even bigger surprise for me however this morning after breakfast. He gave me a promise ring. It’s a big step, and I haven’t stopped grinning. I’m so in love.

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