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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Positive Change Manifesto

dreams, Thoughts

I wrote this manifesto as a reminder of how I want to live. 

My past includes a lot of negative self-talk, self-depreciation and lies I told myself. Negative thought patterns with words like can’t, ugly, stupid, never, and impossible.

Positive self-talk and affirmation is something I have been forming into a habit, day by day. I’ve slowly erased these words from my lexicon. I rarely use them, or let the people around me use them. It bugs me so much when someone I care about puts themselves down. 

Even though this is my own manifesto, I hope you will read through it, and find it resonates with you. I hope that you choose to believe that you are beautiful and important and capable. 

Maybe it will even prompt you to write your own manifesto of positive thoughts and affirmations. 

Check out Gala Darling’s radical self love manifesto for more ideas! She’s brilliant. 

postive change manifesto

22

dreams, Thoughts, Uncategorized

I’m a little over 2 weeks from my 22nd birthday, and as many things are changing in my life, I’ve been reflecting back on the first half of 2014 and what it has held.

  1. I completed my first marathonI began training for the Walt Disney World Marathon in June 2013, and worked hard to overcome many obstacles and health issues along the way to running 42.2km in 6 hours on January 12, 2014.
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  2. I traveled to Florida with my sister for the 2nd time. Since May 2012, our first visit to Florida, we’ve wanted to go back. We visited Harry Potter World for the 2nd time (and got to see the frog choir this time!) and got to visit Disney World for the first time. My sister and I are kind of obsessed with Disney and we’ll never get tired of it. I hope we get to go many more times in the future together.
    Image
  3. I went snowboardingI went snowboarding when I was 16 with my church. I picked it up fast and have wanted to go back ever since. This past time was not as easy (I’m no longer a spry, young thing)… but an adventure and experience nonetheless.
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  4. I got inkedThese anchor tattoos mean a lot to me. They represent the journey my feet have taken me on thus far in my life, and more specifically, all the things I have overcome through training for my marathon. They make me think of my parents, the ocean, staying grounded in what I believe and never forgetting the past experiences that have shaped me into who I am now. I’ve wanted an anchor tattoo on my foot since I was 18, and I finally chose a spot and a design and made the plunge. So happy with them.
    Image
  5. I went bungee jumpingI’ve wanted to do this for a while, but I didn’t want to go alone. One of my co-workers wanted to go for her birthday, so she invited me and I had a blast. I will definitely do it again!
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  6. I produced my first digitally recorded songI took a class at university and learned how to use a recording software to make music. My final project for the class was a cover of John Legend’s “All of Me.” I did the singing and guitar playing and my TA played the piano part (beautifully I might add!).
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  7. I directed a film that showed in our student film festival this spring. I didn’t get to do as much directing as I would have liked… but it was a good first experience and we managed to finish in time to show it at the festival. I learned a lot about bringing together a team, how to work with actors and the importance of planning (plan A,B,C all the way to Z).
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  8. I tried an oxygen bar. My boyfriend and I went to a trade fair in his town and there was a booth where you could try oxygen for a while. I’ve seen these at airports and always wanted to try one. I didn’t know you got to choose flavours! I had peach, ginger, lavender and eucalyptus which I switched between for 15 minutes. We both felt very relaxed afterwards.
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  9. I started my YouTube channel. I’ve wanted to start a YouTube channel for probably close to 7 years, but fear has held me back. I started with a video of my marathon experience, then a juice recipe video and finally I made a video about positivity. I’m planning on fully plunging into video making over the next 6 months with more vlogs, recipes and health kinds of videos.
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  10. I’ve continued to transition and progress on my journey to becoming vegan. Since seeing FOOD INC. and Forks Over Knives and The Secret (not about veganism, but rather the law of attraction and power of positivity- which I believe correlates with my developing food philosophy) , and discovering many vegan advocates on YouTube (Dan, Kristina, Megan, Freelee, Tarah, Kassie) … I’ve been working on transitioning for over a year. I’ve had an unhealthy relationship with food for most of my teenage years, and this journey has been one of healing and endless benefits as I cut out more and more animal products and enjoy the produce that I believe I was designed to consume. I’ve become more mindful of how food makes me feel and have worked on adopting “food as medicine” as a key to how I eat. 
    Screen shot 2014-05-24 at 10.28.43 AM

So since I’ve done all this, and it’s only June… What does the rest of 2014 hold? Here are 10 things:

  1. See Michael Buble in concert in Vancouver (June 22)
  2. Move to Nunavut (July 16)
  3. Hit 100 followers on both this blog and my health blog. (Currently at 68 and 66)
  4. Post 12 videos on YouTube
  5. Go fully vegan (stop making excuses, get over the social aspect of being vegan)
  6. Record 3 songs that I’ve written
  7. Get another tattoo
  8. Train to be able to do 100 pushups in a row
  9. Study the greats and their work (artists, writers, philosophers to be selected)
  10. Upgrade my camera

✮ MM: Let a bad mood fuel a great day✮

Thoughts, Uncategorized

Welcome to another Monday Motivation post!

A lesson I have learned over an over again is this: when I am in a bad mood, or feel sorry for myself, the quickest way for me to snap out of that poor attitude is to do something for someone else. When you shift your focus away from yourself, away from self-pity and the accompanying feelings of entitlement to happiness and fairness in life, you realize you are in control of your own happiness. This week’s challenge is to:

LET A BAD MOOD (OR A ROUGH MORNING) FUEL A GREAT DAY.

Let hard feelings fuel productivity. Often when I am upset I find cooking/cleaning and good deed doing very therapeutic. Whether you only have time for a small or silly gesture that will cheer someone else up, or you can tackle a larger project– getting up off your butt will help. I promise! I’ve made a video version of my list, so you can read or watch or both!

Here are my top 5 ways to turn a bad day into a good one, and shift your attitude away from negativity.

1. Do something for someone else. 

forothers

After a grumpy morning, I decided to make soup for my boyfriend and I for dinner. The process of cooking throughout the day and cleaning up after myself took my mind off of the negative thoughts I had when I got up in the morning. It gave me an opportunity to show appreciation and love to someone I care greatly for instead of remaining in the self-centred mindset I began the day with.

2. Eat something nutritious and drink enough water. 

I am a firm believer that if you eat crap, you will feel like crap. I know I do. I’m not anti-junk food, I definitely indulge in things that I know are full of awful ingredients… but if you are struggling with regulating your mood, food is definitely a great way to start the balancing process.

If you feel distracted/hyper/irritable/anxious… get some root vegetables into you (potatoes, radishes, onions, turnips, peanuts, carrots, beets, garlic). These are grounding foods and can help you feel calmer and balanced.

If you feel depressed/stuck/down/unhappy/lethargic… get some fruit into you. Apples, grapes, oranges, and bananas are my top picks. Fresh fruit juice (that you press yourself) is also a great option for a quick pick-me-up.

Water is obviously mentioned a lot in the health community… people say “Stay hydrated!” What does that mean? What does water really do? Every water particle has an oxygen atom. So on top of acting as an internal cleanser, lubricant, and toxin eliminator, water carries oxygen to your brain and your whole body. It helps everything function better and helps you to feel better.

3. Tidy or deep clean something. 

Any activity which keeps your hands busy is beneficial when trying to overcome a bad mood.

Think of your bad attitude as a habit you are trying to kick. Smokers need to keep busy and often take up new hobbies to replace the time and find new things for their hands to do apart from holding a cigarette. Furthermore, the attention to detail required when tidying and cleaning will definitely distract you from your bad mood. At the end of it, you’ll also have gotten something done, and that will give you a boost in mood, having accomplished something you may have been putting off or dreading.

4. Do something for yourself. 

Before writing this blog post, I put on a dress and did my makeup. Do I have anywhere to go tonight? Nope. But it makes me feel good to get gussied up. I’m listening to Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince on audiobook. I ate toast with Nutella (remember it’s okay to indulge sometimes) on it. Now I’m writing, which I find very therapeutic.

All these small things which make me feel good, add up to a change in attitude. I don’t need the approval of others to feel good. If you know yourself, you know what you like and what will cheer yourself up. Why wait for someone to do it for you? Be proactive and do those little things that make you happy. Paint your nails, doodle on an envelope, take a bath with candles, put on some perfume, go for a hike, take yourself out for coffee, read a good book, call up a friend, watch some stand-up. Whatever YOU find enjoyable, do it.

Know that you are in control of your own happiness. It isn’t anyone else’s job in the world to make you happy. (You could argue that it is, indeed, a comedian’s job to make you happy… but I think you get my point)

5. Appreciate nature. 

nature

Look outside. What do you see? Trees? The ocean? Mountains? Fields? The sky? A busy street? Snow? Rain? Sun?

Whatever is out there, it may help to remember that there is so much out there beyond yourself. So much beauty, pain, struggle and victory beyond what you experience each day. I in no way wish to discredit your pain or what you are going through… this is more for those who know they are just feeling stuck or struggling with self-defeating attitudes or self-pity.

* * *

The main point I am trying to make in this post is to see the bigger picture. Remember that there are millions of other people in the world. Those who are better off and worse off than you. Realize that today will end, and tomorrow will come. Think about what is lovely, what has inspired you, who has been there for you… rather than what is going wrong. Sometimes you have to face your problems and sometimes the problem is you and you need to work really hard to change your own attitude and habits in order to grow. It isn’t easy, but it is possible!

PS. Check out THIS amazing story of a girl who chose happiness instead of giving up.

January’s Bucket

Uncategorized

One of my new years resolutions is summed up in the word NOW. It is a shift to anti-procrastination, mindfulness and an action orientation towards my life. 

In the interest of being more present, and honing my ability to dream into a willingness to do, I want to make a monthly bucket list. Yeah, I’ve got a life bucket list that runs on for pages. I’m discovering new things that I want to achieve or experience on a daily basis. But short term goals are crucial to reaching bigger ones down the line. 

So, without further ado, my January bucket list. In brackets are relevant details such as what it will cost in dollars or hours or when I have planned to follow through. 

1. Run in my first Marathon. (Jan 12th in Disney World)

2. Get my anchor tattoos. ($150?)

3. Get my nose pierced. ($60)

4. Post two videos to YouTube. (4 hours)

5. Get my room in order. (By Jan 31)

What 5 things could you accomplish or plan to do for fun this month that would kick off the year in an amazing way? Let me know in a comment! 

Talks Like the Country and Looks Like the City

Music

Dear Cowbell Lovers and Haters,

Lately, I feel like the stations I’ve been listening to have been falling short of my expectations. I have 3 presets I flip between while I’m commuting, and on more than one occasion in past past week or two, I haven’t been happy with what any of them are playing. I’m picky about my car jams.

So what did I do? Did I turn the radio off and ride in spiteful silence? No. I kept searching, and I landed on 93.7 FM (Vancouver Area). You’ve probably guessed it. The Country station.

Now, I came to realize over the times I stayed tuned to this station over the past week that I do, in fact, like country music! Shocker. And I started thinking about why I thought I didn’t like it. And I realized the only reason I had ever avoided or said I didn’t like country was because of the people around me who said that they didn’t like it. “Too much cowbell” or “I like every kind of music EXCEPT country” or “They’re all the same, about breakups or their dog dying.” Ring a cowbell?

So anyways, setting aside these preconceptions that others had engrained in my mind about country, I found myself enjoying it more and more. That being said, I would still like to poke some well natured fun at the genre with this list.

8 Ways to Know You’re Listening to a Country Song

  1. There is a metaphor about life that involves a road.
  2. Honey, Sweetheart, Darling, Baby or equivalent pet names are used.
  3. Feelings are stated openly and simply.
  4. Talks about a foreign land called “The City.”
  5. There’s a classic man falls for women, and pursues her kind of plot.
  6. The singer remembers all Mama’s advice.
  7. Makes mention of pretty ponytails, worn-out jeans, boots, trucks, slowdancing, traffic lights, cigarettes, whiskey, the front porch, broken hearts.
  8. It’s written by Tom, Tim, Taylor, Blake, Luke, Dusty or Willie.

Whatever you feel about country music– or any music for that matter, I’d challenge you to think about WHY you like it. Do you like it because it’s top 40? Do you like it because it reminds you of the person who showed it to you? Do you like it because it’s uplifting, or you agree with the message? Do you like it because it’s relaxing or energizing?

Do you like it because YOU enjoy it, or because someone else does? If it’s because of someone else, you should have a musical date with YouTube, and look up one song you like and listen to it, and keep clicking related videos and see if you turn up with some new music crushes.

If you’re interested in what’s popular in country right now, click here for Billboard’s top trending country songs.

Comment below with your opinion on country music!

-jessi hannah jay.

Follow me on Instagram & Twitter @jessihannahjay… YouTube Channel coming soon too!

Adventure Time

Thoughts

Dear January-Resolution-Makers-Come-February-Fizzle-Outers, 

This is the year, my friends! I am going to share with you part of my epic list of things I plan to do in 2013. These are more activity/experience/achievements rather than improving skills or developing habits. It runs more on the side of a bucket list than goals or lifestyle changes. Of course I have goals too, but a good brain-dump of the adventures you want is more fun! Your epic list is totally up to you though, so have at it. Here’s some of mine to get you going:

– Get my nose and tragus pierced

– Get my hair dyed at the salon (last box dye turned my hair blue!)

– Do 100 pushups in a row

– Find out my blood type

– Subscribe to 3 magazines (Vogue, Psychology Today and Self)

– Read through the manual for my Nikon D90

– Buy a video camera and start a Vlog/song cover channel

– Sell a piece of art

– Film a music video

– Get published in the school paper

– Learn how to drive stick

– Learn how to play poker

– Be debt-free

– Get a tattoo

– Increase my writing exposure through a guest post on a high traffic blog/website

You will quickly discover that I am all about lists and that I love to dream. And how good does it feel to actually do the things you’ve always wanted to but put off? I wrote a song called “Reheated Dreams” quite a while ago and it starts out:

“All we ever do, is talk about tattoos

We want to get, but haven’t yet.

We rip our dreams out of magazines, 

We’ll travel far away… it’ll happen someday!”

Someday is today. If you like lists too, here are a number of sites that you will enjoy (yep, another list):

-43 Things

-Schemer 

-Day Zero

gondolas

From my latest adventure in Whistler, BC.

What adventures do you have planned for this year? Comment to let me know!

-jessi hannah jay.

Ps. Follow me on Twitter & Instagram @jessihannahjay