12.28.2010

To Make An End Is To Make A Beginning....Saying Farewell to 2010

As we prepare to say goodbye to 2010, I can't help but feel blessed at all this year has given me! Through the good and the bad, I have experienced more love, laughter, friendship, smiles, and moments that I wouldn't trade for anything in the world!

On the flipside, I've also experienced loss, heartache, and pain that I had never thought I would need to go through again. Yet here I am, stronger and more vibrant than ever, reflecting on all of the memories that I've been a part of. 

Now every year, I've been known to go through my list of people that I'm grateful for and thank everyone in my life for being there, yet this year, I'm deciding to change things up a bit. Of course, I am grateful for everyone and everything in my life, because where would I be without all of it? I would definitely not be where I am today....feeling like a part of something important. 

Instead, I can't help but focus on all of the negativity, hatred, stubbornness, laziness, greed, and spite that seems to exist. Frankly, it breaks my heart that people just can't seem to put aside their differences and show some compassion for one another. Instead, there is mud-slinging and throwing blame on each other....totally not necessary, especially during the holiday season! 

The whole concept of this anti-cheer really got me thinking about some of my own hopes and dreams for the upcoming year. I have my own to focus on, yet I do have some resolutions that everyone can be a part of! Wasn't it John Lennon who said, "All we are saying, is give peace a chance?" I think for once, let's all put our differences aside and create some hopes and dreams for this upcoming year:

1) Ban all personal hatred and negativity online. Frankly, I'm getting tired of watching others fight over a public forum about who slighted who. If you're going to fight, unfriend one another. A social network should not become The Jerry Springer Show. If you really don't have anything nice to say, just remember that success is the best revenge. Retaliating with nasty words only perpetuates the notion that you are just as immature as the  person you fight with. Unfortunately, if you really feel the need to fight, do it in private....I'm sick of being subjected to it.

2) Music should re-establish its relationship with emotions, not the Benjamins. It saddens me that nowadays when I listen to popular music, all that I can gather from it is its ability to generate money for banal, clich├ęd lyrics and over-played beats. Really? Can we only re-use classic songs and interject a techno rhythm in there....and call it music? I miss the days of less blingy hip-hop and more garage bands. I want that rise to the top, the feeling of music that touches you with its words and raw emotion, the way one feels when they connect with the music and focus only in on that moment. Music that makes me shed a tear means more than music that is fist-pump worthy. 

3) Everyone should smile more. In a time of economic crisis, I can empathize with the inability to see the silver lining in life. Yet smiling is a simple way to turn the tough times into something more bearable. Life is too short to go through it frowning. And you know what they say....smiling can be contagious. 

4) Don't be afraid to speak up against things that bother you. For this one, I see way too many people that don't open up their mouth when they feel the need to say something. For the new year, I want to see more people speaking up and fighting for what they believe in! We all talk a big talk....but walking the walk is much different.

5) Sharing more love and kindness with one another. Yes, this could fall under the whole need to smile more, yet I'm talking about how we communicate with one another. Whenever I'm in a store, I make it a point to always ask the clerk how they're doing, say "thank you" and "have a good day," and especially during the winter months where the weather is less that favorable, wish them a safe trip home. Those few moments of kindness really do resonate with people. (On a side note, reminding your loved ones just how much you love them is important....you don't always get a next time to say it.)

6) To not be afraid in changing the world. Let's face it: our government may put certain things into effect, but we have the power to change it. Sometimes one voice is all it takes to be the catalyst....so don't shrink in fear of being someone greater than you are. That one moment you try to make a change, something wonderful could happen. You never know.

7) Spend more time writing more snail mail letters. Yes, snail mail. We spend so much time writing e-mails and text messages that we forget what methods we used before that. I used to love the idea of walking up to the mailbox and finding a letter addressed to me. So, if you must, find a pen pal and break out the pen and paper. Just because some may find letter writing a little antiquated doesn't mean that it won't touch the heart of the letter recipient. (Also, a phone call never hurt anyone either!)

8)  Appreciate the simple things in life. The trend that I have noticed is that we're a selfish, greedy bunch. Material items mean more than immaterial, a video game replaces a good old-fashioned game of hide-and-seek. Whatever happened to a walk in the park or running through the rain? (Even in super snowy conditions, snow angels and a little snowball fight?) The simplest things can be just as fun as amusing one's self with video games and HDTVs. 

9) Be more considerate of those in the spotlight, especially if they are out in public. When I see people post videos of running into celebrities and the celeb tends to ignore them....I watch the person who was trying to gain the attention blast them like no other! Celebrities are people too, ok? It really makes me sad to see that if someone doesn't get a piece of memorabilia from someone like Johnny Depp or Kim Kardashian, that they'll automatically burn them on television or viral video. Would you like it if someone stuck cameras in your face all the time, demanding you give them something? It's not all about you, so give it a rest and respect the fact that they may be out to dinner with friends or walking their dog....not really wanting to put on that showface just for you.

10) Never stop learning. This feels silly saying this, but sometimes, I feel like most people forget this simple lesson. In order to continue living, we need to keep learning each and every day. It can be something as simple as attempting to cook, or complicated like emotionally connecting in a relationship. Whatever the case may be, no one should ever think that they know it all....because they don't. One person or thing cannot solve all the world's problems, only though trial and error can it happen. 

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I wish everyone a Happy and Healthy New Year! Let's see if we can truly become the individuals that we strive to be in 2011. And if we can't, to at least take steps to getting there.

~Jenny Rockstar

12.21.2010

Memories, Christmas Memories....they're the sweetest ones I know....

When Thanksgiving ends and the countdown to Christmas begins....my mind goes into holiday overdrive. Where many dread the holiday season, I love everything about it! 

Every year, I make the tree-decorating process as fun as possible, complete with Christmas music (or possibly a great holiday-themed movie).

Little holiday knick-knacks adorn the tables, as well as sugar cookie scented candles.

Multi-colored lights around the windows and cheesy Christmas decor hung up on the walls.

Christmas shopping and gift wrapping becomes a sport....a very fun one, at that!

Writing out Christmas cards becomes an all-day event, complete with cute, personalized messages for as many as I can come up with!

I always manage to give a few dollars to the Salvation Army whenever I hear that familiar bell ringing and see the red collection bucket.

Driving around and admiring the lights on homes and decor in front yards makes me light up with glee.

Sharing a smile and 'Happy Holidays' with anyone I encounter/talk to makes me feel all warm inside.

A great night consists of a nice glass of red wine and admiring the lit (and beautifully decorated) tree.

Catching the smile when someone opens up your gift and realizes just how important they are to you.

And last, but certainly not least, the mistletoe carefully hung right by the front door, signaling the world to acknowledge that hugs and kisses are required upon entry.

Yes, I haven't lost that Christmas spirit, even though for many, this holiday is viewed as 'too commercial' or 'all about gifts'. Instead, for me, it's a time to share kindness and joy with those around you (and those you briefly encounter.) 

In the spirit of Christmas, I've chosen to share my ten of my favorite Christmas songs....because what holiday season would be complete without them? Let's face it, the familiar notes of Nat King Cole crooning The Christmas Song is enough to fill my heart with more love and warmth than any cup of hot chocolate any day! 

1) Nat King Cole - The Christmas Song: The quintessential holiday classic! This song just oozes yuletide cheer with a crooner's feel. Every time this song comes on, it reminds me that it is finally the holiday season. Those opening strings, coupled with that velvety voice....my heart melts. 

2) James Taylor - Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas: There is something about James Taylor that is synonymous with warmth and cheer....this song just furthering his image. HYAMLC has always made me tear up ever since I could remember hearing the song for the first time. A song that talks about wishing the best for others during the holidays and reminding us that if the fates allow, we will get to share another holiday season with those we love and care about.  

3) Vince Guaraldi Trio (& Cast) - Christmastime is Here: Let's face it....Christmas is not right without watching A Charlie Brown Christmas. And while I could go on & on about the entire soundtrack, this song in particular makes me really think about Christmas. Charlie Brown and his friends truly know how to make me get into the holiday spirit. (And for those who have no clue of what makes this special one of the best....watch it, especially Linus's big speech.)

4) The Carpenters - Merry Christmas, Darling: True, my fave show Glee did cover this song (and it was wonderful), but the original is always the best. Karen Carpenter's melancholy makes me realize that the holiday season would be better shared with the one you love rather than apart and dwelling on the sadness. (And Rachel's performance moved me to almost as many tears as I watched her pine for the one person she couldn't have this holiday season.)

5) Dean Martin - Baby It's Cold Outside: Ooooooh, this may be one of the most fun/romantic songs I can think of! What better premise is there than a woman trying to head home in the chilly winter season, meanwhile her lover doing his damnedest to make her stay? Of course, in the end she gives in, but that playful back-and-forth banter is just magical! Damn near perfect.  

6) Bing Crosby - White Christmas: Ah, Bing! There's something about the crooners at Christmastime that fills one's heart with that love and cheer. Of course, Bing Crosby is at the top of this list with two classic holiday movies: Holiday Inn & White Christmas....both having performances of the latter's title. For those who have never experienced a Christmas with snow....you're missing out on one of the key elements of what makes this holiday so special to many. It's more than just the presents, the tree, and sharing time with loved ones....it's also about the perfect setting for such a warm & loving season.

7) John & Yoko & The Plastic Ono Band - Happy Xmas (War is Over): What kind of Beatles fan would I be if this song was not included on my list? Aside from that fact, this song is awesome. The full band performing, the talent, and more importantly, those iconic words: war is over....if you want it. John & Yoko were truly onto something when they wanted to spread the message of love and peace in the world. If we want something to begin or end, we need to be that change in the world. A truly powerful and profound message to share during the holiday season.

8) Frank Sinatra - I'll Be Home For Christmas: Yes, trigger the waterworks....but what a beautifully crafted song to shed a tear for. Someone singing that even if they can't be where they'd like to be for Christmas, they're there in spirit regardless. 

9) Alvin & The Chipmunks - Christmas Don't Be Late: For all of the romance, you sometimes need one completely cheesy and child-like song for the Christmas season. Enter Alvin & The Chipmunks with one of the best songs about toys and hoping that their favorite holiday arrives right on time! (Side note: yes....I even make the 'hula hoop' motion in time with the song.)

10) Johnny Marks (Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer) - The Most Wonderful Day of The Year: Last, but certainly not least....another song to bring back those vivid childhood memories! With what other song could you sing about spotted elephants and misfit toys? But in the end, the message is clear: at Christmas, even the misfit toys are important, because there will always be someone grateful to have them.


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And so, in the spirit of the holidays, I wish you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Holidays! Never forget that this season is important in remembering to share love, joy & laughter with those nearest and dearest to you. 

~Jenny Rockstar



12.18.2010

Accomplishing the possimpible....


I started thinking about this past year in reference to my personal goals. While the year itself has been one of great change and many wonderful memories made, I realize that when it comes to my own personal goals....I probably didn't achieve nearly as many as I had wanted to. 

I've always been taught that patience is a virtue when it comes to achieving goals, but even more importantly, taking that first step towards them needs to happen as well. So, in an effort to push toward my personal goals, I decided to list them. Enough is enough....I need to stop letting myself down and start pushing myself forward more! I'm tired of disappointment and hurt....it's time to keep up the joy and happiness in my life.

1) Write for a website other than my own blog. 

2) Continue to seek out new and interesting music....and write about it.

3) Take more walks on the boardwalk (even during the chilly months)....preferably with headphones.

4) Continue to write my book of letters to people that inspire me.

5) Take more pictures outside of shows.

6) Make peace with my fears.

7) Enroll in a college course....monetarily permitting.

8) Learn a new language (or brush up on a previously learned one).

9) Try to cook more ethnic dishes.

10) Write snail mail letters to a friend (or two).

11) Go back to California....Los Angeles (monetarily permitting).

12) Visit New York City more.

13) Visit Philadelphia.

14) Read more books.

15) Have more coffeehouse outings.

16) Keep pushing through my music project....and write more about it.

17) Stop feeling sad when people push me out of their big picture. (Because there are plenty of people who want to include me in theirs.)

18) Get onstage and sing a song with a band....at least once.

19) Get married and have children (not necessarily anytime soon, but in the future).

20) Go skydiving.

21) Take more random day trips....preferably with company.

22) Be more daring in what I decide to write about.

23) Save money.

24) Piece together my family history and learn more about my heritage.

25) Try snowboarding.

26) Find at least ten reasons to smile every day.

27) Learn how to play guitar.

28) Write more poetry.

29) Forgive more to those who deserve to be forgiven.

30) Never stop adding new things to accomplish in life.

~Jenny Rockstar

12.14.2010

A picture is worth more than just words....

When Matt and I moved into our own place back in 2009, we did everything we could to make it cozy. Little knick-knacks here and there around the apartment, replacing the bedding with ours, and a TON of pictures scattered on tables and walls to remind us of how blessed we are. As an added bonus, since we also had a blank fridge as a sort of canvas, we put up a collage of pictures....showcasing our year in review. Lots of those pictures were of friends and moments that we treasure more than anything else. Because let's face it, what would life be without those wonderful memories?


Last year's pictures were full of Tiki Bar moments, meeting new friends, being surprised by old friends, and even one full band picture to complete the spread! Every time we looked at our fridge, we could reminisce on those memories and relive them through stories. When we had to vacate our home during the summer for 6 weeks as it became a vacation rental, all of those pictures were taken down and put away for safe keeping. 


When the summer season ended and we were able to move back in, the same routine was performed: everything going back into its place and making our apartment feel just as cozy. But with time, however, came new memories and moments to share....which made the pictures we had put up last year a little bit old. And so, the task of flipping through my archives and carefully selecting new photos to arrange in a collage.


As I took to the task, I couldn't help but smile at this past year. While there were quite a few less pictures of certain friends, the new friends (and returning friends) that came into the picture filled those gaps! Different experiences developed, new friendships forged strong, people leaving (and returning), and moments that seemed almost impossible happened. 2010 had become the year to blast previous years out of the water!


With a new collage completed and new packets of pictures to admire, I grabbed my camera to capture the completed project....posting to Facebook, of course. It's important to share what's truly important in life: the people who help to make you who you are. True, there are many that venture through their journeys alone, yet it is those who you encounter along that path that shape you. I hope that everyone can be as proud of the people in their life as Matt and I are of the people in ours.


~Jenny Rockstar





12.08.2010

War is over....if you want it....a tribute

Thirty years ago today, the world lost what I believe to be one of the most influential and brilliant individuals: John Lennon. While I may not have even been a gleam in my parent's eyes when his life was so brutally taken from him, his music and life has inspired me just the same.

Like George, John inspired me musically....just in different ways. He inspired me to keep performing even when I felt like stopping. His music made my days just a little brighter....words that seemed to bring people together. 

I can still remember performing "Imagine" for my Senior Year piano recital (and freshman year spring recital.) When I performed that song, it was almost as though it wasn't me playing....it was like John was there with me, proud that I was sharing his message with the audience. Those moments have meant more to me than anyone knows and so in John's memory, here are the words to one of his greatest songs:

Imagine by John Lennon


Imagine there's no Heaven 
It's easy if you try 
No hell below us 
Above us only sky 
Imagine all the people 
Living for today 

Imagine there's no countries 
It isn't hard to do 
Nothing to kill or die for 
And no religion too 
Imagine all the people 
Living life in peace 

You may say that I'm a dreamer 
But I'm not the only one 
I hope someday you'll join us 
And the world will be as one 

Imagine no possessions 
I wonder if you can 
No need for greed or hunger 
A brotherhood of man 
Imagine all the people 
Sharing all the world 

You may say that I'm a dreamer 
But I'm not the only one 
I hope someday you'll join us 
And the world will live as one 

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Thank you for sharing your gifts with us, John. Your memory and message still lives on, even after 30 years.

~Jenny Rockstar

12.05.2010

Life in 27 random facts....

With my birthday only days away, I started thinking about this past year and just how much I've changed. There's definitely been a lot of change happening lately. Frankly, I don't think it has even taken a chance to stop in these past few years.

But I have found that despite all of that change....I have never felt more like myself than I do now. I have a wonderful boyfriend, a loving home & an incredible friend/family base that reminds me of my worth. As far as writing, while I may endure spells of "writer's block", I write whenever the mood strikes me. My music journey is still going strong, even though I haven't written much about it....and my music collection has expanded into different sub-genres. Overall, my many quirks and interests continue to flourish, but also evolve and change with time.

I feel grounded, more complete in a way than I felt through most of my life & sure that where I am now is where I need to be. That being said, I decided as a treat away from examining music and such, I'd re-do an oldie, but goodie. Almost two years ago, I wrote about "25 Things That Not Many People Know About Me"....which seemed to be more emotional and serious than fun. This time, I wanted to share more fun and less serious, and as an added bonus, make it 27 for the age I am turning....just for fun!

1) When driving to work, I always need to listen to my Glee mixes. It's become so much of a habit that I'm sure soon enough, I will have to make new copies of those mixes for my morning commutes. Something about those songs makes me feel so alive and jubilant....ready to face the day ahead.

2) Cleaning is like a drug to me. Sometimes I can handle a messy house, but I really love putting on my oldest pair of shorts and a tanktop, pulling my hair back and tackling the chore of making the house look perfect! When it's all done, I feel I have accomplished something important.

3) My family makes their own wine....and I love being involved! It's fun to try something I had never thought of doing before and finding pleasure in the results, with some delicious wine!

4) I love shopping for house items just as much as I love shopping for clothes, books, and electronics! Finding cute little kitchen items like a can opener or a cheese grater get me excited about cooking and what we could make when Matt & I need to use those items.

5) Laundry may just be one of my favorite things to do, especially when washing blankets, bedding, and towels. There's no better feeling after a long day than going under the covers and smelling the fresh scent on my pillowcase.

6) New York City will always be one of my favorite places to visit! I love the way the city comes alive the more you stop and look around. The hustle & bustle of it all never bothers me, nor do the bright lights and sounds of music coming from the subway....almost like the city has its own personality.

7) I am, and always will be, the eternal optimist. Yes, I was depressed for several years, but I still held onto the hope that things would get better....and they have. Life is too short to be miserable all the time, especially when there are so many wonderful things in the world!

8) I love using all of my senses! Strange, yes, but is there anything better than that first bite of a delicious meal, the smell of your favorite perfume lingering in the air, or the feel of bedding on freshly shaved legs? Oh yeah, I can proudly admit that I relish the use of those senses every single day.

9) Whenever I am alone with my iPod, strange dancing occurs. I don't care how I look or what I'm doing, but I'm totally in the zone with my music....even with showtunes!

10) This is not really much of a secret, but I have a slight obsession with The Monkees. I love the show, their music & I have met Peter Tork at least three or four times. This love for a fictitious-turned-actual band has gotten me through things like my parent's divorce and my senior year of high school. 

11) One day, I hope to own either a pair of Christian Louboutin or Manolo Blahniks. I've never owned an expensive pair of shoes and at least at one point in my life, I'd love to own something that expensive and beautiful.

12) I usually have a great sense of things to come. Like the upcoming year, for example....I feel that a great change in my life is coming and it's going to take me places that I've never dreamed of. Not quite there yet, but I know it's so close that I can almost touch it.

13) When it comes to celebrity crushes, I have a particular taste. I have never thought Brad Pitt was hot (except in Troy) and Orlando Bloom does nothing for me. But give me George Clooney, Johnny Depp, Cory Monteith, or pretty much any man that has that "classic" look and can rock a suit? I melt instantly. (It also doesn't hurt when they know how to play an instrument!)

14) I read fanfiction. I love the way other people take characters from a show and really take the time to develop their relationships with other characters in different ways. If this makes me a dork, I don't care.

15) I LOVE singing loudly to whatever music I have playing in my car! I'm pretty sure I've amused (or scared) many drivers who watch me as I make my steering wheel a drum kit and rock out to the radio, mixed cds, etc. Can't do it half-assed, you know.

16) More than anything, I think of myself as someone who loves the classics, whether it be in TV/Movies, clothing, style, or music, I find vintage or classic much more appealing. 

17) Even though I'm going to be 27 years old, I still have to watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade to see Santa Claus. I always enjoy seeing what Macys has come up with every year in the way of floats & performances.

18) I'm a big kid....seriously. Cartoons, slinkies, finger painting....I love that feeling of just immersing myself in childhood fancies. When I have kids, I plan on sharing all of my childhood loves with them (and even being a part of it!) I hope I never lose this quality.

19) I keep a pack of Dentyne gum in a memory box I own. While it is probably stale as hell right now, every time I smell it, I think of my grandmother and it makes me smile.

20) On a whim, I signed myself up for a travel filmmaking course through the Travel Channel Academy. For 4 days, I had the opportunity to learn more about video cameras, as well as meet some of the most intriguing/wonderful people. In a way, it changed my life more than anyone realizes. To this day, I still keep in touch with at least one or two of them.

21) If I wasn't such a HUGE fan of New York City, I'd probably head out to California. Being there is like a second home to me....plus, I love the ocean more than words can say. (If anyone wants to buy me a plane ticket to visit, I'd love you forever!)

22) I would love to go on an actual picnic one day, complete with basket and blanket....in Central Park. What can I say, I'm a sucker for romance?

23) If I had to pick a favorite holiday, it would have to be Christmas. I love the feeling I get when getting gifts for others, decorating the tree, being surrounded by friends & loved ones, and indulging in all of the music/movies that I can! 

24) I am SUPER adventurous when it comes to food. My 14th birthday was at an Indian restaurant....my 15th was a French culinary experience. My father always reminded me that I had to try something once and if I didn't like it, I didn't have to eat it again. So far, there have been very few things that I put on the "never eat again" list.

25) I will buy super cheesy/horrible movies if they have one of my favorite actors/actresses in them. In fact, I could probably dedicate a portion of my movie collection to that very theme. (Case in point: Hybrid starring Cory Monteith.)

26) I am particular to the spelling of my first name. It is two n's, not one. Whenever someone writes "Jen," I equate the feeling I get to nails on a chalkboard. (I've gotten better as the years have gone by, but it's still an old habit!)

27) I know there are people out there who judge and make fun of me....but I don't care. Because while they still feel the need to rip me down, I'm at least secure with who I am and I'm sure that they hate me for that. I will never change though....it's far more important to be yourself in a world that wants you to be someone else. 

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In the spirit of my birthday, I look back at 26 as yet another wonderful year of memories! 27....you have your work cut out for you. 

~Jenny Rockstar