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

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