Wrapping up my dreams with a big red bow....

As I wind down from the rush of the holidays in Matt's and my living room, I can't help but feel blessed for the direction my life has taken this year. 2011 has definitely been not only a year of big steps, but a year of dreams coming true.

A few days before I turned 28, my friend Alison approached me about writing for her website, stylewhipped.com. It was the opportunity to write my own music column and share my love of music with more than just a handful of readers. Of course, I jumped at the chance and began to brainstorm for my first column: a holiday playlist. It wasn't until the night before my birthday that it truly hit me: by 28, I finally achieved the opportunity to write about music. About a week later, my first article was posted....and I started down the path towards my career.

Of course, I love blogging and sharing my love of music with all of you, but getting to share on a larger scale? It's only something I have dreamed of ever since I knew I wanted to be a music journalist! Matt was just as excited as I was, reminding me that while over the past few years I worried about when I would finally get the opportunity....that I had reached my goal. It was a beautiful moment, realizing that this year, my dreams came true. And I did it by just writing what was in my heart, not what others wanted me to write. 

Now that I've finally reached one goal, I plan on making more for this new year. I want to write even more, find even more music, continue pursuing those ultimate goals I have always wanted. If nothing more, 2011 has taught me that even the impossible can become possible. Look at me, I managed to not only secure my dream, but I've seen my favorite show taped, met one of my favorite bands, moved into a house, made more wonderful friends around the world, had my photography used on a larger scale & did it all by just being me. 

2012....you're going to be amazing, but you've got your work cut out for you, because 2011 kicked ass. I know that I'm going to hit the rough patches and I'm going to sometimes feel that I'm not quite making it, but I have to keep going. I have to keep reaching and hoping that I can make it. With the love and support of those around me, I know I can do it. 

And so, as I end this quick post to all of you, I hope everyone has had a wonderful holiday season. Each and every one of you deserves all the happiness in the world and if you need it, I can share a little bit of my happiness with you. I'm dreaming even bigger in 2012, I hope you do the same.

~Jenny Rockstar
Music Columnist for Stylewhipped
(In the future, Contributing Writer for Rolling Stone....one day)


Celebs are people too....even the hot ones

I remember at one point a couple years ago, I wrote about how celebrities, like us, are human. True, they make a lot of money and have throngs of screaming fans who would chase them for miles (if given the opportunity!) But when you strip away all the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, you're left with a person. Someone who just works hard to get where they are in life, nothing more (nothing less.) 

Unfortunately, many others don't seem to grasp this concept. I choose not to name names, mainly because I still have some respect for privacy with the parties involved. But also, this story is just crazy! Case in point: today while checking my Twitter, I came across an enthusiastic fan who shared with their followers a video of a big celebrity smoking a cigarette outside of a hotel. At first, I was mildly upset (for a minute) to see the celebrity smoking, but just like a normal person....I got over it. Yet some of the other fans....did not.

As I scrolled down the page, I read comment after comment about how many were turned off by the smoking, outraged that it happened, and heartbroken by the revelation that the perfect 'squeaky-clean' image of this celeb had been tarnished in their eyes. There were mean and immature comments; a few concerned comments about the dangers and health risks involved. (Mainly, I just rolled my eyes at each comment, even chuckling a little at the use of caps and exclamation points littering the web-page, but thought it was sweet that some cared enough to express concern.)

In life, just about anyone and everyone will do something that you don't agree with (even celebrities.) When I was younger, I was soooooo pissed that Justin Timberlake announced he was dating Britney Spears, but I got over it (especially when I grew out of my teeny-bopper phase and realized that reality is much more fun.) The thought of Taylor Hanson married with kids made me sad at first (that I didn't get to marry him), but glad that he was getting to live his life the way he chose to. I wasn't okay with the times my friends would exclude me from hanging out because of our interests (and I found friends who wanted to include me in everything instead.) And even when a few of my friends took up smoking, while I may have cracked a joke or two that "they should quit" and "it's bad for your health," I encouraged them to make their own choices and be who they are.

The minor flaws & bad habits can't change a person's kindness or their character. Quite a few of my friends still do things like smoke and drink and party hard, but they're still my friends and I love them. They're there when I need them (and even when I don't.) Same goes for family. A person is still a person, even those in the spotlight. True, what they do is under a giant magnifying glass, but I can assure you that there are plenty of other people in the world who have done worse things than smoke a cigarette. 

~Jenny Rockstar


Filling up....

It's amazing what a few simple words can accomplish....

let me explain.

Over a week ago, while at a school in Asbury Park, I couldn't help but notice that many of the students were wearing bracelets that read "I am a Bucket Filler." I was intrigued, considering that I had NO clue what the bracelets meant. I mean, what could filling a bucket have to do with life? It wasn't until I took the picture of one of the faculty members that I noticed she was wearing a pin with that same phrase on it. I had to know everything.

She explained how the children were learning the importance of kind words and appreciation towards one another, and that when you "fill" someone's bucket, you give them positive and uplifting statements. As I finished taking her picture, I smiled and wished her a wonderful day. 

As the day continued, the idea of being a "bucket filler" made me think. Being a child who was once bullied and taunted on a regular basis, my heart filled with pride and joy that steps were being made to show how positive reinforcements are better than sharing a negative one. On a regular basis, we hear stories in the media about bullying & school shootings, the effects of peer pressure on children. Frankly, it saddens me to believe that in a society where the media focuses on mostly the negative, that there are very few positive things that are shared. 

But what about those positives? Is it so hard to fathom that maybe every once in a while, something that touches my heart is more important than all of the injustice and pain I see in the news on a regular basis? 

So to take this whole "bucket filler" movement one extra step, I have made those simple efforts to bring a little more light to my job each day. Sometimes, a kind word or smile brightens another person's day. Sometimes it's leaving a little extra in the tip jar when you're buying coffee in the morning or maybe hugging a friend that's having a hard day. 

To continue my "bucket filling" efforts, I figured a Top Ten was in order:

1) Apartment - Young The Giant
2) We Belong - The Colorful Quiet
3) It's Not Easy Bein' Green - Kermit the Frog
4) Your Hand in Mine - Explosions in the Sky
5) These Photographs - Joshua Radin
6) A Boy Like That/I Have A Love - West Side Story
7) Human - Darren Criss
8) Air - Ben Folds Five
9) My Sundown - Jimmy Eat World
10) Through Your Eyes - The Honey Trees

It's important to fill each other's lives with love and kindness every single day. There are too many negative people in this world and maybe, just maybe, the negativity can be cancelled out by something greater than we know.

~Jenny Rockstar


Are you there? It's me, Jenn....

While I have found it difficult to write any new and interesting stories lately, I've decided to re-visit some old ones. Lately, my passion to write has lacked just a little....and instead of just giving up on the things I love, I do what I normally do when I need inspiration, buy a new notebook and start another story. But instead of the new notebook, it's a blog. And even more important, a blog about my goals and accomplishments, better known as my "bucket list."

If you're interested, here's the link:

Getting back to those roots of what gave me the drive to write is important. And before I forget my journey to how I got where I am, I'd better try writing it all down first, even if in snippets here & there. But no worries, I promise to come back with even more writing pieces. I mean, it's not like I haven't been working on anything as of late. But the finished product should be good enough for me to want to hit "publish post."

And just so I don't leave you empty-handed, here's some Top Ten Awesomeness:

Jenn's Fall Playlist:

1) Emanuel & The Fear - Song For The Rain
2) Mae - Awakening
3) Smashing Pumpkins - Bullet With Butterfly Wings
4) Pixies - Where Is My Mind?
5) Secondhand Serenade - Goodbye
6) The Early November - This Is Love
7) The All-American Rejects - The Poison
8) Lady Gaga - You & I
9) Yaz - Only You
10) The Beatles - Lady Madonna

I hope everyone is having a wonderful beginning to fall....minus the inclement weather on the East Coast. This year is going to get even better than it already has, I can feel it.

~Jenny Rockstar


These memories are the soundtrack to my summer....

Asbury Park Beach
With summer winding down and less than two weeks left before I head back to work, I can't help but be grateful for everything that has happened in these past couple of months....and even in this past year!

I look at my list of accomplishments and while a few of the bigger ones are yet to be crossed off, I've made leaps and bounds at some of the others. Ending my work season with moving into a new house was a wonderful way to start this summer! When we finally moved everything we owned into the house, there was certainly a lack of many necessities that we had had no need to buy prior. And so came the tiring (but fun for me) task of shopping! If furniture wasn't enough, there were also lamps, bedding, wall decor, kitchen utensils, outdoor decor, a grill, and any little knick-knack that had been provided for us in our previous residence. This summer became the task of putting our house together, creating a living space that was comfortable to both of us yet didn't break the bank. 
Erin, Ryan & Matt

There was also more time spent with friends (and family!) I know I spend a lot of time with Matt, but I don't care, because he's not only my boyfriend, he's my best friend! So this summer, I set out to try and spend time with my bitta bunny (aka best friend Vicki), my co-workers, family members, and any of my friends who wanted to hang out! We had friends sleep over, sing-a-longs, nights of drinking red wine and listening to records, Tiki Bar drinks, raucous times, scary movie nights, and one big birthday party for our friend, Johnny! (Big props to his wonderful wife, Rhiannon for putting it all together!) Sometimes our activities would be group activities, sometimes just me and my friends. The benefit of being away from Matt proved to be fruitful as we spent our time missing each other just that little bit more, which made our quality time during this summer much more meaningful to the both of us.

Not only my lover, but my best friend <3
And as a result of all the changes in our life, the relationship with Matt has changed as well....in many good ways! All this time we've taken many important steps. In the beginning of our relationship, we made sure to talk a lot and establish that friendship. Then we took our time in dating. Soon after, I moved in with him, then a year later we moved into our first apartment. And now, two years after moving in that apartment, we moved into our first house. While my thoughts about marriage can sometimes vary, especially due to past experience, I've learned that it does not make a relationship any better or any worse. If that foundation is not there, then a ring on someone's finger is quite meaningless. That's not to say that I shun the thought of marriage, because just like any girl, I have my "dream wedding" already planned in my mind!  In fact, we witnessed friends and family members tying the knot this summer....and realizing in the process that marriage is something we both want in life, just not yet. We have all the time in the world, the rest will take care of itself. 

Atlantic City Expressway Heaven
Also during the late spring/summer, my photography has also been taken in a different direction. While I used to love just taking the pictures, I find that being able to play around with the effects and manipulate the pictures has been just as therapeutic. I don't care if some people don't like my pictures, because I like what I've been doing. In fact, while saving up for a new Canon (preferably either a 40D or....if I can save up enough, a 7D), I've taken a interest in lomography and wanting to try that as well. There are a few cameras that specialize in those kinds of effects and I may look into them as well. Photography is a lot of fun, something that when I was younger I never really thought to get into, but I enjoy what I do! And while saving up for some new cameras is great, some of my best work has been done with my little point-and-shoot, proving to me that you don't need the best equipment or the right classes to be the best, you just need to have an eye for great pictures. A friend once told me that the best way to get better at taking pictures is to take a lot of pictures....I think he was right.

A dream come true....
And of course, it's no surprise that I finally planned a girl's mini-vacation with my bitta bunny! When I decided to go see Bonnie Dune at Hershey Park, Vicki was right there with me to enjoy the experience....as were two of my friends from PA, Amy & Kate! I was determined to not only see the concert, but to meet the band in an attempt to secure a cool piece of autographed memorabilia for my bedroom wall. I had spent most of my summer carefully selecting each piece of decor for the house....and this particular item was no exception! Of course I was hoping to see the band before I decided this, but to meet the band became a challenge I was ready to meet! After 5+ hours of waiting on line to snag a wristband, as well as one hell of a concert, I had the pleasure to finally meet not only Bonnie Dune, but one of my favorite Glee stars as well! I feel privileged and honored to have had the opportunity that I did, because the guys reminded me of what I loved most about musicians. I felt as though I was hanging out with Matt and his bandmates, even if just for a little while. In a way, this concert re-connected me with my passion for music & writing, reminding me what it is about my life and career path that I love so much!

Me & my super cool Bonnie Dune poster!
I spent more time focusing on myself and figuring out what I want to do with my life. I love my job, but I wish I could also have my writing career underway. I ventured away from it for so long to escape my past and be at peace with my life, but I can't completely escape what I consider one of my greatest loves. So I got back into the habit of carrying a notebook in my bag again. My headphones became a permanent fixture in there too. I got lost in bookstores whenever I could, reading authors like Rob Sheffield and publications like Rolling Stone Magazine to immerse myself back into that 'old' me. My music project took on the task of fleshing out my music collection in many new & exciting directions. I laughed more, observed more, shared more of myself. I know I will never completely be that person again, but it's been nice reminiscing and being able to find the pieces of who I used to be and apply them to who I am now. 

Since most of you, my readers, are well aware of my deeply passionate love for everything music, I've decided to turn my Top 10 into a Top 20 Soundtrack, complete with two sides, for this entry. There's just so much great music in the world, old and new....I need to include as much of it as possible!

Jenn's Summer 2011 Soundtrack:

Side One
1) The Smiths - How Soon Is Now?
2) Civil Wars - Poison & Wine
3) Bonnie Dune - Strange Ways
4) Jimmy Eat World - Littlething
5) Sondre Lerche - Dear Laughing Doubters
6) The Replacements - Here Comes A Regular
7) Procol Harum - A Whiter Shade of Pale
8) First Aid Kit - Tangerine
9) Florence + The Machine - Cosmic Love
10) Pharell - Prettiest Girls

Side Two
11) The Weepies - Simple Life 
12) Death Cab For Cutie - Underneath The Sycamore
13) Bruce Springsteen - 4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)
14) Lady Gaga - The Edge of Glory
15) A Flock of Seagulls - Space Age Love Song
16) Violent Femmes - Please Do Not Go
17) Smashing Pumpkins - Tonight, Tonight
18) Vampire Weekend - Ottoman
19) Van Morrison - Slim Slow Slider
20) The Honey Trees - Don't Fear


This summer was everything I could have hoped for....and then some. It was beautiful, exquisite, heart-wrenching, energizing, stressful, breath-taking, melancholy, aggravating, romantic, hilarious, tear-jerking, serene, heart-warming, and most importantly, memorable. I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. With August taking its last few breaths and September well on its way, I look forward to finishing up 2011 with hope for my future, more pictures than I have wall or album space for, more music than my iPod can handle, more love than my heart has ever known, and more memories & stories to take with me through the years. 

Thank you to everyone in my life, old and new, for contributing to this wonderful and unique experience. I love each and every one of you. 

To my family and Matt's family for their support and love in everything that we do. We love you dearly.

To our wonderful friends for all the love, laughter, conversations, music, and everything else in between! We couldn't ask for better people to share our memories with. 

To my Lifetouch crew, spending time with you (whenever I could) made this summer pretty awesome! Your friendship means more than you know. 

To my Bitta Bunny and my Buddha for keeping me sane through it all....and their participation in possibly the greatest "Zombie Jesus" sing-a-long of all time!  

And a special Thank You to Bonnie Dune for bringing me back to the music (and myself), as well as connecting me with some of the greatest fans/friends ever! You are truly the sweetest and most genuine  gentlemen I have had the pleasure of meeting. If you ever come to my area for a show, you will always have a place to come chill and relax. (I also promise a delicious home-cooked meal and some sweet sing-a-longs with the various instruments in our house.)


I can't wait to see what the rest of the year has in store....but I'm sure that whatever happens, it'll be one hell of an adventure.

~Jenny Rockstar

Time for some Concert Etiquette 101

After my recent Bonnie Dune excursion with my bestie and music-loving friends, it came to my attention that while at the concert, there were a few fans who really disappointed me in their conduct towards band members, completely disrespecting and embarrassing the guys while on stage. With many disgruntled fans stepping up to voice their disdain for the situation, I had an idea. In an effort to make this negative part of the experience a positive, I decided to create a "guidelines" list for anyone who plans on attending concerts in the future. I've also included a few pointers based on my experience of dating a musician. Granted, this is not for everyone, since most people can be civilized, but for those who apparently don't know how to act and behave when seeing a band they like. 

1) Respect the band members. Granted, in some bands, there are certain members fans gravitate to more than others, but that's no reason to be mean or rude to other band members while they're putting on a show. Keep in mind that all the musicians/performers on stage are working hard to give you a great time, so don't give them any lip for it. For example, telling the lead singer to move so that you can look at the drummer? Not cool. Screaming out for only one band member the entire time? Disappointing. If you really loved the band, you'd be cheering hard for every person....instead of just the one you think is hot. So while you may be in love or crush on that hot guitar player/bassist/keyboard player/drummer/lead singer....just be mindful that that one musician wouldn't be there without the rest of their band backing and blending that music harmoniously for you. 

2) Don't be "that fan." You know the type of fan I'm talking about....the annoying one who shouts stupid crap when the audience is quiet or the musicians are trying to talk and connect with their fans during the show. Frankly, hearing someone scream "Did you read the sign?" over and over while a lead singer is talking about the significance of a song is hardly appropriate. Of course they read the sign, they get it. Now move on and let the band do what they were meant to do....give the audience a great show!

3) Be enthusiastic and energetic (when the show calls for it)! While you shouldn't be annoying, don't be afraid to have a little fun....especially if you're at a rock concert! Dance, sing along, tell the musicians you love them at the top of your lungs, cheer loudly at the end of each song, hold your phone up like a lighter, paint your face with the band name, wear the band t-shirt....whatever strikes your fancy! The whole point is to have a good time, so why not?!? 

4) Don't be trashy or slutty, especially if a musician has a significant other. I speak from personal experience on this, especially since my bf is in a cover band. (And yes, this concept applies across the board, so listen carefully.) There have been many moments where while at a show, a girl has thrown herself at Matt, flirting and giggling and slipping him their phone number in hopes that he'll call her. (A few have even called him out on not calling at the next show they attend.) I know he won't, unless this girl has proven herself to be chill and into the music more than anything else. But there is that small percentage of girls/guys who don't care that the significant other may be there in the audience and would love nothing more than to prove they're a "better fit" than the musician & their partner. So a word to the wise: do not venture down this road. Keep your self-respect and self-worth intact. Granted, I'm the chill gf who enjoys seeing Matt talk to the adoring fans and keep them coming back out for more. I encourage conversation and casual flirting if it means they'll come out to the next show. Hell, I've even become friends with a few of the cool girls, especially when I've won them over with my charm, kindness, and sweet dancing skills. But some significant others aren't as chill and won't hesitate to draw blood over the girls/guys that disrespect them and their relationship. (And yes, from time to time I have wanted punch a girl that disrespects me.) Remember this the next time you flirt inappropriately with a taken band member. 

5) Keep in mind the type of audience you're a part of. I've had my fair share of concerts where I've seen the various posters saying "Marry Me" or "[insert band/performers here] Rules!" Or people shouting how much they love the band. In fact, I've even made a few of those posters when attending concerts (and screamed a few "I LOVE YOU"s in my day!) For the most part, I think it's cool that fans take the time to make posters and things of the like, even if the messages can be a little bit much. But if you're at a concert where a good portion of the audience members came with their parents or look like they're still in high school, please refrain from any obscene phrases or sexual offers. If that's your angle, check out when Def Leppard or Whitesnake will be in town. The audience will be suited much more to your liking.

6) Don't get upset if a band member doesn't contact you. Sometimes upon meeting your idols/favorite musicians, you may give them a letter or token of your appreciation. I'm even guilty of doing this. And in those letters or little gifts, a way for them to contact you has been provided. Now, I know this is going to sound mean saying this, but please know that while you think this may be the beginning of an epic friendship, 99.999999999% of the time....they will never contact you. While you may be mad, consider that you're A) 'not the only one who has thought of this idea' and B) 'they may not have the time to respond to you'. But do know that they're appreciative that you've taken the time to give them a part of you, especially since they give you a part of themselves every time they perform or release new music.

7) Get creative with your gifts! Bands do love receiving cool stuff from their fans. Like in my previous listing, giving a gift is like giving a part of yourself. It's meaningful and extremely touching. So if you're going to give a gift, feel free to have some fun with it! I've seen fans make bracelets/t-shirts, bake treats, make scrapbooks, etc. Don't hesitate to brainstorm and dig deep for a cool gift idea. Sometimes, it's those fun, unique gifts that get you noticed.

8) Be yourself. This is hard to do sometimes, especially when there's a chance you may get to meet the band/performer, but it's extremely important to remember! Combined with the above guidelines, just remaining chill and calm will gain you the opportunities you desire. For example, one of my favorite bands in college (Jupiter Sunrise) hung out with me and my friend Colleen just because we were cool. We joked around, I complimented the lead singer on his awesome Weezer shirt (and was rewarded with a hug), and didn't try to be anything we were not. I consider those band members friends to this day. Even when I went to see Bonnie Dune, my bestie Vicki & I just talked to the guys about how we had done karaoke the night before and only had three hours of sleep under our belts before driving out for the concert. Result? Cory Monteith asking my friend & I where this karaoke existed, sounding interested in participating in said activity. The point being, if you can just be you, band members will appreciate you more for it. Besides, aren't we always told that it's great when others can accept you for you?  


I hope that these guidelines have been helpful. They're not rules, but just some friendly tips to remember. But the most important one? HAVE FUN! 

Thanks for listening. 

~Jenny Rockstar


Susceptibility to commitment....catching "the bug"

As of late, almost everyone around me has caught what I will call the marriage bug. It starts like this: when you hit your mid to late-20s, it feels like every other day, there's a friend either getting engaged, getting married, or on the verge of expecting. Escape is futile while those announcements clutter the Facebook news feed at an alarming rate, your texts from friends sharing the great news, or the phone calls that never end.

I won't lie, in a way, it makes me sad. Here I am at 27 years old, waiting to be bit by the bug once again. It's not a necessity to be married right here right now, but it has become something that no matter how much I try to tune it out, it's there. And for most of us that are still not married or in a relationship, this can become disconcerting....and at times, depressing.

Granted, after my previous failed attempt at being engaged, I made a decision to really get to know the next person I would be in a relationship with. I not only wanted to be in a relationship for a substantial amount of time, but also be around them long enough to really know what I was getting into. Less time would go into expensive gifts, more time into appreciating the simple things in life. I wouldn't settle for always scheduling time together, but rather being able to see someone just about any time that I wanted at a moment's notice. And most important, I wanted to be able to be myself with this person, not just feel like I had to be what they wanted me to be. Because let's face it, if you can't be yourself with the person you want to spend your time with, then what's the point of even living? The right person will accept you for who you are and desire to be around you for that.

As fate would have it, I found these very traits and 3.5 years later, it still feels like I'm falling for the first time. Recently, my friend Rhiannon reminded me that I shouldn't feel like I'm being pressured into taking the next step, but more that I should be patient with whatever comes next. And that above all else, as long as there's true love there, everything will come in its own time. I know she's right, especially knowing that what I knew before this relationship wasn't exactly the real thing. True, there were moments, but my relationship should be more than just the moments. I want the whole thing, not just little bites here and there. 

Vacations and dinner dates are nice to have, but that day-to-day interaction is what matters. The ability to have a casual conversation that engages you. Cooking dinner together as much as possible. Rubbing one another's feet after a long day. Going to the store together to make decisions on either what to eat or what would look great in a certain room. Just sitting in the same room not talking, but feeling comfortable in that silence. Never forgetting to say every single day just how much you mean to each other, even if you're fighting or just in a bad funk. Sharing a smile or a look across a crowded room, showing appreciation and love. 

These are the things that matter most and while I haven't reached that next step just yet, I know it won't be taken out of obligation or pressure. It'll be done because it's meant to happen like that. My day may not come anytime soon, but I don't discount that it's coming. While it makes me a little sad that it hasn't come yet, the patience will be rewarding in the end. 

For those who are either in the same boat as me or still searching, here's my playlist of hope:

Jenn's Hopeful Playlist:

1) Bigger Than My Body - John Mayer
2) Marry Me - Train
3) Falling In Love At A Coffee Shop - Landon Pigg
4) Look Straight at Me - Dave Pittenger Band
5) Thank You - Led Zeppelin
6) Sweet Thing - Van Morrison
7) Vienna - Billy Joel
8) Only You - Yaz
9) Let It Be Me - Rosie Thomas
10) Someone Like You - Adele


Being patient may not always be easy, but I have hope for my future....even if it's not exactly where I want it just yet.

~Jenny Rockstar


Grabbing life by the lapels....

This time last year, I wrote something really special and meaningful for my father: the songs that reminded me of my fondest memories of him. This year, as I contemplated what to say about my awesome father on a day designed just for him, tragedy struck in our family. Yesterday afternoon, my cousin Anthony suffered a major heart attack and passed away. He was only 55 years old, so many years of life left and love to give. 

While Anthony and I shared very few words, the news hit me very hard, especially knowing that my two cousins Nicole and Toni Rose lose out on the opportunity to share their love with their father on this special day....and that my Aunt Annie in a little over a decade has had to bury a husband, all her brothers, and now her son. 

It got me thinking about how precious life truly is. Sometimes we spend all of our time putting off things that we should have done sooner for a later time. We procrastinate, we laze around, and we take those simple moments in life for granted. I'm always trying to remember how many things I have to be grateful for, which is what prompts my playlist for this entry. 

Jenn's Life Playlist:
1) Life - Our Lady Peace
2) Hear You Me - Jimmy Eat World
3) Wish You Were Here - Pink Floyd
4) Home Again - Carole King
5) Homeward Bound - Simon & Garfunkel
6) Take Me Home, Country Roads - John Denver
7) When We Were Younger - Lakes
8) Memories - Weezer
9) With You In Your Dreams - Hanson
10) The Other Side - David Gray

Life is meaningful, so don't waste or ruin it. Enjoy the lazy Sundays and the crazy-filled days. Take random road-trips or international adventures as much as you can. Dress up for a romantic dinner for no reason or snuggle up on the couch with some ice cream and a good movie. Don't count all the calories, nickels and dimes, or schedule every single detail of your life. Be spontaneous and breathe in everything you can. 

As an added bonus to this entry, I'd like to share a poem by Walt Whitman in honor of Anthony. 

My Departure
by Walt Whitman

Not in a gorgeous hall of pride,
   Mid tears of grief and friendship's sigh,
Would I, when the last hour has come,
   Shake of this crumbling flesh and die.

My bed I would not care to have
   With rich and costly stuffs hung round;
Nor watched with an officious zeal,
   To keep away each jarring sound.

Amidst the thunder crash of war,
   Where hovers Death's ensanguined cloud,
And bright swords flash, and banners fly,
   Above the sickening sights of blood;

Not there—not there, would I lay down
   To sleep with all the firm and brave;
For death in such a scene of strife,
   Is not the death that I do crave.

But when the time for my last look
   Upon this glorious earth should come,
I'd wish the season warm and mild,
   The sun to shine, and flowers bloom.

Just ere the closing of the day,
   My dying couch I then would have
Borne out in the refresing air,
Where sweet shrubs grow and proud trees

The still repose would calm my mind,
   And lofty branches overhead,
Would throw around this grassy bank,
   A cooling and a lovely shade.

At distance through the opening trees,
   A bay by misty vapours curled,
I'd gaze upon, and think the haven
   For which to leave this fleeting world.

To the wide winds I'd yield my soul,
   And die there in that pleasant place,
Looking on water, sun, and hill,
   As on their Maker's very face.

I'd want no human being near
   But at the setting of the sun,
I'd bid adieu to earth, and step
   Down to the Unknown World—alone.


Happy Father's Day to all of the dads out there and to my own father, who continues to be the greatest dad in the whole world. I love you, Dad, and I'm grateful I still get the chance to tell you that.

~Jenny Rockstar (aka Honeybunch)


Coming home....


I've been contemplating that word a lot as of late, especially since Matt and I have finally moved out of our winter rental on the beach and into a year-round house. For many, home is just a place where you go at the end of the day, rather than a frame of mind. Four walls, the necessary rooms, and a place to put all of your stuff. But not for me. Home, to me, has become something more than just a place....it has become a frame of mind.

Throughout my life (so far), I have had quite a few places that I have lived. Some more temporary than others, but each with their own flair.

In childhood, home was always the place I could return to at the end of the day. True, there were rules and chores and consequences for breaking rules, but I was always welcome there. Even during my college years, I could always return home and feel at ease. But of course, as it always goes, you outgrow your childhood home.

When my friend and I moved into our own place, it was heaven. No more curfews, no more rules, no more responsibility to anyone but ourselves (and our landlord). If we wanted to have a get-together at our house, we could plan one without permission. Walking in the door at 4 am was no issue either. And even if I felt the need to lounge in my underwear, I could do so without much fuss....and within reason. When I was 22 years old, the notion of home was a place where I could do anything I wanted to do, not really feeling consequences for any of my actions. By 24, however, home became more of a place where I could sort out my life.

I will never have any regrets moving out of Northern New Jersey. In fact, while the job situation down here may not be as plentiful as closer to Manhattan, getting away from all of the painful memories that I had endured prior to this move was much needed. I desired a place to clear my head, a place where I could still be who I needed to be and do everything necessary to figure out my life. And getting the chance to live with Matt? Perfect. I know a few of my friends didn't agree with my decision to live with him so soon, but I made the right choice for me.

By 25, Matt and I had agreed that it was time for us to move into a place of our own. And now home became a place that I could share with someone else, a place where Matt & I could test and work on our relationship....another decision I was proud to make. Granted, it was only a winter rental, which are popular with places near the beach, but I enjoyed the solitude of walking in the surf in the off-season. Hearing the waves crash into the surf from my front door was soothing, in more ways than most can imagine. And for two years, with at least one temporary summer move for 6 weeks, our beach haven gave us the time to figure out the next step.

Which brings me to now, 27 years old, and we have finally found a year-round home. So many different definitions of the word, but I think I get it now. Home isn't necessarily just a place, it's who you're with, your own level of comfort, your life. It's all of those definitions I came to know and yet none of them. It's the existence you create in the world....and I'm proud that in my life, I found home.

As a special treat from our moving endeavors, here are some of the top songs that I can include in my moving playlist:

Jenn's Moving Playlist:

1) Two of Us - The Beatles
2) The Cave - Mumford & Sons
3) Haunting - Bonnie Dune
4) So Caught Up In You - 38 Special
5) Hello - Martin Solveig
6) Land-Locked Blues - Bright Eyes
7) Settle Ancient Mind - Jupiter Sunrise
8) Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous - Good Charlotte
9) Memory (Acoustic) - Sugarcult
10) Home - Michael Buble

~Jenny Rockstar


There's a better view....especially in the way of music

For a while, I've been wanting to share with all of you about one of my new favorite bands, Bonnie Dune....yet the words have continued to fail me every time I sit down and try to sort through my thoughts. True, they've been on my current playlists, yet where do I start to talk about an up and coming band that most people outside of the West Coast and the Glee community have never heard of? 

But then as I was working on my "to-do" list for our impending move, I had the chance to talk with a fellow Bonnie Dune fan that I randomly befriended, Alison. She asked me about my intent to see the guys in Hershey Park at the end of July, which I was more than excited to talk about! In turn, she shared her own Bonnie Dune experience when she saw them in Canada in May. The way the band members took the time to go out into the crowd and mingle, talking with fans in the audience, even their graciousness at receiving gifts from their adoring fans. Needless to say, it sparked my inspiration and so here I am, ready to share the awesomeness that is Bonnie Dune. 

To most people, Bonnie Dune may just be considered the band that Cory Monteith drums for. And of course, because of this reason, fans show up by the thousands just to catch a glimpse of the Glee star rockin' out on stage. But to those who have really taken the time to listen to the music and get to know the other band members, Bonnie Dune is an experience filled with warmth, friendship, and most important....incredible music!

When I first started finding their music online, I was taken back quite a bit. Lately, I've been missing that music scene that really connects with the audience and proves that real musicians are still out there. In college and for a year or so after, I had Jupiter Sunrise getting me through life. After their first show, I had the opportunity to talk with them and share stories, many hugs, and love of life! Their music was inspirational and different from what most bands were releasing. Granted, I do love music and I'm on iTunes daily trying to find stuff to add, but I haven't found the new artist/band that grabs me at my very soul....until now.  

Originally the brain-child of lead singer Justin Wilczynski and Jason Massey, Bonnie Dune is finally picking up the momentum with the addition of band members Seth Roberts, Joshua Kerr, and of course, Cory Monteith! Jason is no longer performing with the band, but still contributes as a producer/co-writer. Each musician is a powerhouse in their own right, with their various side projects, TV shows and movies, etc.   

While most performances can be found on the West Coast, I'm definitely planning a mini-road trip when the band takes their show to Hershey Park on July 31st. (As I've stated in recent posts!) I may never get my dream of a NJ show, preferably in Asbury Park or at the Starland Ballroom, but I'll take what I can get. My real hope is that I get to meet the men who have continued to restore my faith in the music scene. From what I've heard from their community of fans through various tweets/pictures/conversations, they're very sweet and probably the most down-to-earth individuals one can know. I'm sure the west coast Bonnie Dune fans will miss their boys for this performance, but the east coast promises to share the love....and possibly some hugs! 

And so, in my typical rockstar fashion to fit my life lately, here is this week's moving/excitement playlist! 

Jenn's Moving Playlist:

1) You Are A Tourist - Death Cab for Cutie
2) Better View - Bonnie Dune
3) Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 - Bob Dylan
4) The Lazy Song - Bruno Mars
5) Little Lion Man - Mumford & Sons
6) The Chain - Fleetwood Mac
7) Daylight - Matt & Kim
8) Run Like Hell - Pink Floyd
9) Life is Beautiful - Watashi Wa
10) Heroin - The Velvet Underground

I hope everyone has a wonderful week and if you can, check out Bonnie Dune Fans for the most up-to-date info on the band, as well as listen to tracks and get links to other important websites! Also, a special thanks to Alison for her stories, as well as my Twitter/Facebook friends who have shared their Bonnie Dune experiences! 

~Jenny Rockstar


If you want to view paradise....simply look around and view it....

With more downtime coming up, I've been thinking more and more about what my plans are for this summer. While I want to hone in on my creative ventures, this year has also been about learning to appreciate my life. Because let's face it, most of us wish we had more things going for us. In fact, I admit to being one of those individuals who always tries to push beyond the boundaries and find better things out there. In some respects, this has helped greatly in me finding out who I am. But at the same time I've come to the realization that sometimes, what you're looking for is right in front of your face.

Last night, after a long day of work and such, I came across free music downloads from my favorite show, Glee. Luckily, the songs are from next week's episode aptly titled Funeral. So, being the big fan that I am and a HUGE lover of new music, I just had to have the downloads. Among them was the song Pure Imagination, which was originally (and eloquently) performed by Gene Wilder in the classic film Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory. This song has always been inspirational and uplifting to its very core, the words simply implying that there are moments we need to dig deep and believe in the things we dream.

While listening to Chris Colfer's character Kurt (and cast) singing the classic tune, one line in the song struck me like it never had before: "if you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it." For a moment, it almost felt as if time stopped and this great epiphany came to light. I had listened to this particular song hundreds of times before, yet the meaning hadn't caught on.

It's weird how I never got it before, but in that little moment, I finally understood what Gene Wilder's character was trying to tell the winners (and us) in the movie. Life isn't always about the grandeur and reaching for perfection....no. Instead, try to view your life as perfect in those little imperfections and nuances. Paradise is not something to be found outside, but rather inside. We spend so much time thinking that "having it all" entails a big prize, lots of money, that cushy 6-figure job, etc. Yet if we really think about what makes something perfect, the answer to achievement is a lot simpler....in my case, he was sitting right on the couch next to me.

I glanced over at Matt watching tv while the rest of the song played out....and I smiled. He's always told me that he doesn't believe Heaven is up above us, but rather we're living in it. Sure, there are times that things can get rough and take a while to get back to being ok, yet I got it. Life in itself is Paradise....and oh, it is truly beautiful! Our paradise is here....I couldn't be more grateful for that.

On a different note, as stated in my previous entry, I've been spending a lot of time focusing on finding new music for my collection. And while part of me wishes I could share all the new stuff that I've added, I know that to mention it all would take me forever and a day! Yet, in discovering this new music, I have found a certain calm and balance to life.

In an effort to share what's been playing non-stop on my iPod, I would like to share my Top Ten songs on my playlist at least once or twice a week, depending on my mood. As of late, it's been mainly new music and some classics with a modern twist.

Jenn's Most Played This Week:
1) Pure Imagination (Glee Cast Version) - Glee Cast (if nothing else, listen to this song!)
2) Someone Like You - Adele
3) Threw It On The Ground - The Lonely Island
4) Pretending - Glee Cast
5) Oh Lovely - Lakes
6) Drunk Girls - LCD Soundsystem
7) Eclipse (feat. Henry Rollins) - The Flaming Lips & Stardeath and The White Dwarfs
8) I Need A Doctor - Dr. Dre (feat. Eminem & Skylar Grey)
9) Harvest Moon - Neil Young
10) Vienna - Billy Joel

I encourage everyone to realize their own version of 'paradise' in life....even if it takes you a while, I hope you find it. Have a great weekend!

~Jenny Rockstar


Making a comeback....Jenn style!

Life. What a funny way it has of taking your time and speeding it up in the blink of an eye. While I've always tried to make time to share what's on my mind, lately I've been finding less and less time to figure out how to put my thoughts into words. But for now, with mere minutes before I have to head out in the midst of another crazy weekend, I felt it was necessary to sit and process everything in my life.

I had decided 2011 was going to be the year of accomplishing some of my biggest goals. Of course, every year is a year to tackle something I have never attempted to do before, but I had had enough of feeling like I wasn't getting into some of those more meaningful goals....that needed to change. Instead of focusing on purely writing and focusing solely on those huge goals, I wanted to tackle the simpler tasks. 

In January, Matt and I celebrated our anniversary by actually going somewhere out-of-state for an overnight, complete with a day of shopping/sight-seeing, a delicious dinner, and a night in a cozy B&B in New Hope, PA. Taking the time to appreciate those moments that we sometimes take for granted was really nice. Both of our schedules never really allow for going out and doing the normal couples stuff, yet we manage to take the time for those simple moments. This year has brought with it a need to continue down this particular path, taking more pictures and having more adventures that push beyond our normal routine. And getting to do this all with my best friend....priceless.

After receiving a new program for photography for my 27th Birthday, I've also been itching to take more pictures. It feels like so many people are finally starting to get more into their picture-taking, so upping the ante on my computer and trying some new techniques with my photos seemed appropriate. While I may just be starting out with Lightroom and finding ways to make my flash work in low light settings with uneven ceilings/surfaces, finally accomplishing those shots that I've wanted to capture will happen now. I can't wait for this summer when I can try out a few of those tricks at more shows, especially the Bonnie Dune concert I want to attend at Hershey Park in July. (And for those of you looking for an awesome concert this summer, Bonnie Dune at Hershey Park on July 31st is the place to be!)

Then, just when I thought it would never happen, I actually had the chance to go into the city and watch my favorite show Glee being filmed. Completely random trip to the city, but well worth the experience! I took some pretty sweet pictures of the actors and filming, including some close-ups of some of my favorites. The experience alone validates the importance of being able to do what you love in life....and doing a damn good job of it! Those actors work so hard, starting super early in the morning and going until late at night, they are just as much of an inspiration in their work as anyone else who works hard at what they love. It reminds me that it doesn't matter what your calling may be, just as long as that calling means something to you. I'm surrounded by people who pursue their dreams just by doing them and not caring about the outcome. As long as you continue to do what you love, everything will fall into place. 

And of course, I can't forget to mention that I've also taken my music project to newer levels and really branched out of my shell with some of my iTunes finds! Granted, the writing it hasn't been very forthcoming, but the experiences of adding different types of music to my playlist has proven fruitful and worthwhile. When one continues to strive learning more about things they love, the outcome can be quite exhilarating and exciting, which brings me back to now. 

Here we are, at the beginning of May....and I feel like while there's still so much more for me to accomplish, I know that the rest of this year will give me the opportunity to make more of those goals a reality. And so, as an added treat to show the progress of my music project, I want to share with all of you my current most-listened to songs on my iPod. I'll be able to give a more proper update when time permits, but it's about time I started writing more and focusing on reaching for more of those simple goals that I hope to cross off my ever-growing list.

Jenn's May Playlist:

1) Sailboat - Bonnie Dune (If you haven't heard their music....do check them out!)
2) Never Going Back Again - Fleetwood Mac
3) Bloom - Radiohead
4) Things We Do For Love - 10cc
5) Icky Thump - The White Stripes
6) Tris In Haze - Jupiter Sunrise
7) Rolling In The Deep - Adele
8) Half Life I - Arcade Fire
9) Season of The Witch - Donovan
10) Barbra Streisand - Duck Sauce

~Jenny Rockstar