We need to do better....

Last night, just like every other individual invested in the news of our nation, I watched as the verdict Officer Wilson's fate was revealed: not indicted. And, just as predicted by my husband, the chaos of the situation bred rioting on a barbaric level. Fires to police vehicles, tear gas in the streets, and the looting of the very convenience store where Michael Brown had swiped cigarillos prior to his demise.

I'm not siding with either side here. Yes, the police are trained to uphold the law and knowing quite a few individuals who are officers, I will not speak ill of them. I will also not speak ill of Michael Brown. Why? Because I wasn't there. I don't know what really happened and I don't think we ever will. That's a story that only Michael Brown and Officer Wilson know. (And one is dead, so we'll never really know the full story.)

What we can learn from this incident: we need to do better. There should be better surveillance of police, because if this was an issue where the officer did wrong, then let the evidence speak. Hearsay isn't going to do us any good. It has been proven in other instances that having video surveillance proves foul play, and police officers have lost their jobs for lying when the video shows them not performing their duty properly. 

And as people....again, we need to do better. It would be different if Michael Brown was stealing something like a loaf of bread to feed his family, but that's not the case here. He stole, there was an altercation, and whether or not he was right or wrong is not the issue: both sides were at fault and a heavy price was paid. 

But did the town need to pay that price too? What does rioting accomplish? It proves that we haven't learned yet. That we still want to burn the world. That we're still a fledgling nation that throws a temper tantrum over a verdict we don't agree with. We need to grow up. I know it's a hard thing to do, but we need to prove that we can be mature about this. There will probably be a civil trial....so let's get there next. It's not right that someone died, it's not right if there was foul play, but it is what it is. It happened....and we can't let everything fall apart because of it. 

We're better individuals than this. We don't burn our buildings down. We don't throw things at those trying to keep us safe and uphold the law....which is their job. And we certainly don't give anyone motive to take action. We peacefully share our disappointment and look for another way to make sure justice is served. I know that doesn't sound very logical....but is it logical to loot and burn things just because we're outraged?

~ Jenny Rockstar


A new chapter....

At times, it feels surreal....the idea that I am finally married to Matt (and have been for the past few weeks.) 

And other times....like most of the time, I feel like we've been together so long that our wedding was merely a formality to express the seriousness of our bond and the love we have for one another.

Everything felt perfect. I felt so beautiful and overwhelmed with the love and support of everyone who came to our wedding. And especially the music was perfect...how could it not be?

And now? The best part is getting back to just sharing our lives each and every day. Waking up with him, cooking dinner at night, watching our favorite television shows, finding the simplest ways to remind one another that we love each other. 

With that said, today I finally got to finishing up the clean-up of all our wedding stuff and tomorrow, preparing to create our Thank You cards for everyone who sent us a gift and/or came to the wedding. But at the moment, with Matt playing a show tonight, I enjoy the cool breeze through the house, the smell of clean sheets, new music on my iTunes, and the chance to finally break my writer's block. 

Marrying Matt is one of the many great decisions I made in my life. I'm tired of thinking of the mistakes, especially the ones that I've learned and grown from. I hold their lesson, but their memory doesn't need to haunt me. I have plenty of wonderful memories to show that I have at least an idea of how I can continually improve. (And trust me, losing a few of those memories is okay with me.)

I'm embracing this new chapter. One where I get to have my happily ever after....with a little work and compromise. This is our time now. Matt and I have made over 6.5 years worth of memories to start the journey. Let's make a few more to go with them. More pictures to hang on our wall, more trinkets from moments captured, more smiles and laughs and hugs and kisses, more footprints along the path. 

~ Jenny Rockstar


A little reflection....and dorkiness....

There are times within the madness of life, I choose to find solace.

Not always an easy task, especially with wedding plans taking over what is normally a peaceful summer, but it's manageable. I know Matt also tries to adhere to this mantra, pushing for relaxation at every little nook and cranny possible. 

And especially today, with J. Mascis in my earbuds, a cloudy day, and a sense of accomplishment from yesterday's wedding adventure, I find the solace in life. In less than 10 weeks, my life is going to change in a huge way. Well, not as huge if Matt and I didn't live together, but we're taking that next step. 

My last name is going to change. A name I have had for 30 years now. And before I know it, even that will change. The new chapter begins. And with it, even more purpose to strive for what I believe in.

After Kyle, I felt so lost and broken. I thought my heart would never mend, that I would forever be longing for someone and I wouldn't find someone to share my life with. When Matt came into the picture, he managed to give me time.

Time to put myself back together, quietly encouraging me to be me. Time to smile and compliment, patiently and methodically putting a smile on my face at every turn. Time to show me how a man truly loves.

I felt like a whole person before him, he just enhances that completeness in ways that at times I still try to understand. But I guess it's okay to not understand everything all at once. I'm sure the pieces will continue to fit together as our story unravels, little by little, this journey that we take together.

~Jenny Rockstar


a tale of many buttons....

There's this one bag that I own, one I have had for over ten years now....and it is FILLED with nothing but buttons and two patches.

It's nothing special, the bag. It was a Gap clearance item that I knew I needed to have, one that I purchased while I was with my bitta bunny (aka best friend) Vicki. Yes, we have a fun nickname, a memory of how we really cemented our friendship.

But since then, I started purchasing and collecting buttons along the way. Some of bands/shows I went to see/watched, others funny phrases that always put a smile on my face. Even some that made no sense whatsoever, yet I just thought they were cool to begin with (and probably free). Each one found a place on that bag. And when I started feeling there wasn't enough room on the front, I started around the strap next. Over time, the buttons got what I refer to as 'character'....scuff marks and weathered edges from years of running in the rain and bumping into animate (and inanimate) objects. I brought that bag everywhere

And for a while, I didn't add anything, allowing the bag to sit in my closet....until I went to Comic Con a couple weeks ago and proceeded to buy a whole slew of buttons! I wanted to refresh my collection a little with some of the new adventures in my life. New (old) bands I started listening to, movies that resonate with my personality, nostalgic pins of my childhood favorites. 

Today, when I finally had the chance to update the bag, I set to work on rearranging my masterpiece....and learned a little more about myself. The girl who bought this bag had ambition, had drive, and was ready to take on the world as a serious writer. The buttons serving as bookmarks in a life that I had hoped to create for myself.

In ways, I still am that same person, even if it's through different avenues than I had originally anticipated. That bag carried my books to class (a lot of them literature and journalism textbooks), was dragged to concerts, festivals, and various outings where the atmosphere left a little piece of itself. It saw both coasts, several road trips, and several floors when I would put it down. 

This bag and all its "memories" remind me that while it's important to look forward, it's also important to look back at those very things that ground you....and keep them in your life. But only the important things. Otherwise, you'll spend way too much time focusing on what has been and not enough to change the now into what you want. 

~ Jenny Rockstar

P.S. - I totally made a hook for my bag to hang on by my bed now....just a reminder. 


and sometimes....

Sometimes, I just need to be alone.

I need to think. I need to regroup. I need time away from everyone and everything, even those who mean the most to me.

I feel stress just creeping in and I'm ready to snap. And nothing has been able to calm it. 

I've had enough of holding on when all I want to do is let go of the reigns....


and the rest is Blogger silence....

While I consider my life one musically-induced haze of awesome, I can appreciate the silence from time to time. Well, not complete quiet, as I will probably have my headphones on the majority of the time, but the silence in not always writing everything down.

I do love to write and it is such an integral part of who I am, but as Matt reminds me, sometimes you just need to retain memories without feeling the need to document them. I'm not always a fan of that, as I love a good picture and sometimes my hand can't help but instinctively grab for the pen and notebook I always keep in my purse, but I can see his point.

So I tried to shut down for a few days. I needed to, the stress of wedding plans and work starting to wear on me a little bit to the point where just needing "us" time with Matt was a necessity. It's nice to remember that on occasion, we take the time for just the two of us, whether it be bonding over dinner, watching a movie, or even just talking about life. 

And while Matt slept (and before I could shut my brain off for the night), I plugged in my headphones and just mindlessly listened to my iPod, not focusing on any one artist or thing, simply cleaning the house and indulging in homemade iced tea while unwinding. The funny thing is, when there is no agenda, I dance more, I rock a mean air-guitar, and my appreciation for music increases on an exponential level. 

(But for those who must know, I totally rocked out to my friend Jeff's band Breaking Up a Monologue while those dishes were being washed....sometimes even divulging into my more personal collection of music is necessary too....and therapeutic.)

~ Jenny Rockstar 


the simplest words have the most meaning....

Sometimes....all it takes is a simple act of kindness to turn the day around.

I started the morning a little frazzled, upset, and shaken up. Details need not apply here, but the morning, for lack of a better word - sucked. I felt unsure of myself and not sure of what was going to happen. 

When the mail came to our office, I saw that a card had my name on it...which is something that is not considered a normality. Yet curiosity got the better of me and I opened the card....a client and his wife wrote me the sweetest note, letting me know how kind and helpful I had been and thanking me for my care to the client's case. If I didn't cry upon receipt of the card, I definitely had a few tears from reading the note inside!

We tend to forget the small acts of kindness mean something. Everyone's all about big, grandiose gestures and doing everything over the top. Is it not testament that Matt's proposal, as simple as it was, moved me to tears for weeks afterward? Or the beauty in the scenery around me? Or even something as simple as a card with a few kind words tucked away inside can make what seems to be a bad day into a pretty amazing one?

Words are powerful, especially ones that have meaning. And all it takes is a few good ones (or bad ones) to affect a mood. Luckily, the former came to my aid today.

And so my words to all of you today: thank you for being wonderful. For new friendships growing, for old friendships sustaining, for family being ever-present, and for all the love/laughter/happiness/tears/life being what keeps us going strong.

Thank you.

~ Jenny Rockstar


thoughts of citronella...

I love the way that right now, my house smells faintly of the smoke from our fire pit. Any time that Matt and I can find reason to have a fire out back either just the two of us or with friends, it's a reason to be happy.

And that smell, the one of citronella and tree bark? It's a perfect combination, soothing to the soul. Tonight, we had a chance to spend time with our friends, Nichole and Dave. While I love hanging out with everyone after shows, sometimes having the opportunity to hang out on a non-gig day is very rewarding. With good food, good company, and good music to complete the scene....awesome weekend.

I'm ready to climb back up to the top and jump off again. 

~ Jenny Rockstar

my fever burns me deeper than I've ever shown....

Another beautiful morning with my iced coffee and a calm unlike any other I have experienced before...for those who knock the Jersey Shore and all its beauty, you don't know what you're missing.

While on a Johnny Rivers and Rod Stewart kick this morning, I thought about scars - we all have them. Whether they're small or healed, raw & gaping still, or internal (one that I know all about), we have them. And this morning, I thought about my scars.

I know that sometimes my sincerity comes off as being fake, but that's it...what you see is what you get with me. I find being nice is important and sometimes...being a bitch gets the point across. Nobody should assume they know me. I'm nice, but I've taken my licks and I've gotten back up more times than most people in my life know. I've seen the "bottom" and crawled my way back up, no matter how daunting the task seemed. It's been brutal, troublesome, exhausting, rough....

And look at me now, I made it here

I'm tired of looking at my scars and reflecting on them all the time. This was the first morning in a long while where I just sat outside, headphones carefully secured, another iced coffee ready for consumption...and I breathed in the air around me. I felt the pain leave, the insecurity disperse, and my heart felt light. The wind rustled the trees in admiration, the birds chirped approval, my thoughts stopped feeling so dark and instead continued to focus on the beauty. It felt....glorious.

I will always have those moments that define who I am and I will remember them (and reflect from time to time), but I can't live in their shadow anymore. It's exhausting beating a dead horse. I have bigger things to worry about and those things are part of something beautiful...and exhilarating. A new chapter in my journey. I'm ready to leave the old ones behind me, as far behind me as I can. 

I don't expect everyone to understand....but I'm glad that I finally do. 

~ Jenny Rockstar


just because you're alone doesn't mean you're lonely...

Occasionally, simplicity does have its moments. 

When all I want to do is jump higher, reach farther, and exceed my expectations, I cannot forget those instances in which enjoying a minor, easy thing is needed.

This morning, after a long day of yardwork and cleaning the night before, I found myself outside with a cold glass of freshly brewed iced coffee, my headphones, and a notebook to get my thoughts down. It was sunny, shady in my little nook under the umbrella, and cool enough to lounge in my pajamas across two chairs. 

The air sweet with the scent of freshly-bloomed flowers, birds chirping in the distance, and a backyard lush and green beyond my wildest dreams. And my iPod seemed to understand this, because just about every song that came out of on the shuffle was mellow and soothing to fit the mood. 

I love the way music can adjust itself to fit the mood - whether it be loud and energetic, mellow and calming, melancholy and heart-wrenching, or fun and meaningless. Music has a personality all its own...and I am grateful that it's such an integral part of my life.

While Matt did join me later outside with guitar in hand and some grilling for lunch, this morning was mine and mine alone. Even a rockstar needs some time outside of the spotlight, you know. Sometimes, in those moments of self-reflection, I seem to find myself again. We all need those moments, even those (like me) who crave to be around others all the time. 

You need the simplicity of alone time to just be...whatever you need to be.

Jenn's Mellow Morning Playlist:

1) Turn Away - Beck
2) Happy Time - Tim Buckley
3) High - James Blunt
4) Summer Nights - Chalk & Numbers
5) Falling - Richard Marx

~ Jenny Rockstar


sometimes it's all about destroying that "comfort zone"...

After a rigorous day of cleaning and getting our backyard oasis in order, I needed a night alone with some music to calm the frustration that had settled in with our task. With outdoor work, there's always seems to be something that goes wrong. Whether it be that the nozzle on the hose is broken and it takes at least ten minutes to get it undone (before heading to Lowe's for a new one), with a little help from pliers and WD40. Or having to scrub layers upon layers of moss off the siding just to see some semblance of the original color. Or possibly all the furniture that required rinsing off all the spiders, whether they were dead or alive. (Yeah, that one probably scared me the most.)

But when it was all said and done, our end result was a beautiful backyard, complete with our table, umbrella, chairs, and firepit all ready to go! It was doing something that normally feels daunting to me, unknown territory. (Hey, I'm normally a laundry/cleaning/baking kind of woman.) But with that being said and done, I reflected back on a conversation with my new friend Holly and her recommendation of the HorrorPops. 

For one thing, prior to listening, I do enjoy that they are a punk band, as I do truly have a love for punk music. Yet I have never quite gotten into the whole psychobilly/rockabilly style of music before. But today was a day of accomplishment and doing things I'm not normally accustomed to, so HorrorPops seemed quite fitting for the occasion. (Especially "Walk Like A Zombie", as I am going to Philadelphia Wizard World in about two weeks and fully intend on getting my fill of Walking Dead cast members!) And just like my friend TJ and his "Metallication", it was surprising to how good it was. 

Sometimes we need to try to do those things we're not normally accustomed to. We need to break down our own walls and not be afraid to experiment with different things. For me, it's yard work and rockabilly. But the reward is always greater when you step outside of the comfort zone. 

It could mean stronger bonds with those around you. And especially in my case today....a beautiful place to relax this summer. 

~ Jenny Rockstar  


If it doesn't speak to you, what are you listening for?

While I live with him and know practically everything I need to know about him, Matt always seems to surprise me.

Whether it's with a story, or a look, a new nickname, or even musical perspective....to name a few. I could listen to him talk about anything that interests him all day long, because the story behind it all is what fascinates me.

Last night was no exception. After a somewhat trying day (filled with several good moments), we watched Pawn Shop Chronicles (because I told him he might like the premise - he did) and some wine/cocktails, I asked Matt what I've been asking everyone as of late: what album/song changed your life?

Now for those who are not aware, Matt is a huge Pink Floyd fan. Tack that on with Beatles, Beach Boys, Violent Femmes (we'll tackle this one on a later date), Lou Reed, Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, Beck, etc. But Pink Floyd seems to embody something for him that most other artists don't do...avoid the topic of love and relationships. Love is a cliche topic in songs nowadays, so hearing music that doesn't shift the focus there is quite refreshing. 

And with a renewed sense of vigor, Matt explained that while it was "Comfortably Numb" that initially inspired him to purchase The Wall, he then picked up his guitar and started to play for me the opening riff to "In The Flesh", the first song on The Wall (one of his all-time favorite albums). It was in this demonstration I was reminded of one of the several reasons why I fell in love with him: this child-like curiosity to find music that speaks to him.

We all seek the music that says the things we don't speak of. Each of us finds this comfort within words that have meaning. And words without meaning just seem meaningless, no?

I may never quite understand Matt completely (which makes being with him all the more fun - new things to learn about one another), I'm always pleasantly surprised to find he can find new ways to speak to my heart...especially through a shared love of music.

~ Jenny Rockstar


The art of Metallica....

If I had to choose an artist that I could not listen to them for the rest of my life and be okay with that...it's Metallica.

For personal reasons and just because their music has never really appealed to me on any level. (Frankly, Lars Ulrich ticked me off with his rant about Napster when I was still a junior in high school - it's not my problem that not all music is reasonably priced and I need it!) I've tried with friends numerous times to gather decent suggestions and to try and understand how anyone could enjoy their music (no offense). 

Last night, however, may have changed my perspective a bit. My friend TJ, after asking him nicely to help me with my project, gave me what I'd like to believe is a true gift - a peek into his music collection. And with that I got a glimpse into the Symphony & Metallica album, starting with "One" which I have to admit - it's pretty damn moving.

Taking a particular style of music and using another genre intertwined with the original one to create music? Genius. I could tell my reaction was being carefully monitored, in a really good way. I zoned into every lyric, carefully thought out pluck of the violin and delivery...I loved it and I want to listen to more, as much as possible. (You never know, this could lead to my first Metallica album purchase...wouldn't be the first time I surprised myself.)

It's enlightening when you give old "enemies" a chance...things that I would have never found myself enjoying, I now do. And that's the best part - allowing one's self to experience life...even the parts that don't particularly seem appealing. Maybe I won't start running out and trying new things all the time, but for now, I can relish in the realization that I continue to be open to the possibilities of diversity...

couldn't we all benefit from a lesson like that?

~Jenny Rockstar

P.S. - I recommend the Symphony & Metallica album, if I didn't make that clear. ;-)


a voice to stand out....

At work, I find I am most relaxed when my Pandora station is playing.

Granted, it's not all classical and calming music....in fact, I tend to crave grunge/alternative/punk when I'm deep into organizing paperwork and drafting correspondence. Something about the angsty lyrics soothes me, keeps the balance in my life. It's weird, I know, but in my work environment, I need that form of control to feel normal. 

I think it's good to achieve that balance with music. Sometimes I crave my jazz stations and a nice glass of red wine, other times I need the loudest, most obnoxious rock that one can think of to achieve that sense of calm. And other days, I just want something in-between the two.

It's strange thinking about how far I've come from music. I mean, I started with my parents and their collection of music. All the doo-wop, oldies, classic rock....even my grandparents contributed their love of crooners and big band standards to my collection. Yet, I am always growing and improving my collection, giving music a chance in every form. (Granted, I do draw the line at a few artists, simply because....well...their music is just not appealing.) But I attempt to give everyone a chance to express their artistry in my world and respect those who work hard at their craft, because it's their voice

All of us have a voice that we wish the world to hear...and mine is filled with music (and lots of recipes and daily musings.)

Jenn's Alternative Playlist:
1) The Empty Page - Sonic Youth
2) Karma Police - Radiohead
3) Disarm - Smashing Pumpkins
4) Everlong - Foo Fighters
5) Someday - The Strokes
6) In Between Days - The Cure

~ Jenny Rockstar


the spice of life...

I partially have Matt to thank for my acquired cooking skills...and I surprise him sometimes with just how far I have come!

Today, I decided to challenge myself with a new recipe: potato salad. Sounds fairly easy and straightforward, yes, but when it's the first time you make something, there are bound to be a few hiccups.

Like, for example, being able to cut and cook the potatoes to the proper texture - tender yet still retaining their shape. Apparently, that's something that is a little difficult to achieve, but delicious when executed properly. And then of course, you cannot forget the dressing. While there was a recipe I found with mayo, vinegar, salt, pepper, and sugar...I decided to try spicing it up a bit with some Dijon mustard and paprika as well. Needless to say, my eyes rolled into the back of my head when I tried my concoction. (And Matt said it was the best potato salad he had ever tasted...apparently I did something right!)

Life is like a recipe - you're given the basic ingredients to make it work, but sometimes you need to throw your own spices and flair into the mixture. And when something doesn't work, you adjust. It's great that in the past six years, Matt and I have made our adjustments and continue to find the right "mix" for our relationship. I hope we never stop trying to work towards that "perfect recipe", because after all...

variety is the spice of life!

~Jenny Rockstar

I'll make the most of it, I'm an extraordinary machine...

I'm not normally a morning person, except when it comes to Sundays.

It's then while Matt remains asleep after a late show that I find myself just breathing the day in. So many of us relish in our Fridays and Saturdays, but it's Sunday that I enjoy as a day of reflection and perspective.

While it's quiet in the house. With the birds happily chirping away in celebration of the beautiful, sunny weather. As I lounge in my pajamas, headphones perfectly in place (and on low for a change, as I enjoy the quieter moments too). And in this moment I am happy, as everything is in its place and I can clear the remaining clutter of the week before the next bout of craziness begins.

I've been delving back into Fiona Apple as of late...but I haven't been sad. Normally, I associate the bitter, reality-driven songstress with the hardships in my life. But not today. For now, I'm ready to put those skeletons away and face the fear. I'm tired of feeling hurt or scarred. My scars will always be there, as some are not externally visible...but that's alright with me. I feel each one and know that if it wasn't for those scars, the beautiful moments may not mean as much.

Her music is beautiful, haunting at times, but always has this message that I just want to stitch into my heart. She knows me, it seems, almost as well as everyone else in life. 

There's a lyric that has resonated with me for several years: be kind to me, or treat me mean, I'll make the most of it, I'm an extraordinary machine. 

I am extraordinary, and strong, and resilient, yet tender, sensitive, and warm all the same. That realization is slightly jarring, but gives me hope that I will never have to change so much that I lose my sense of self. I refuse to let the world harden me too much, or any one person cause a sense of "walls" needing to be built. I'll be protective against those who seek to destroy me, but I won't close off the world. I'm done with that. What does closing one's self off to everyone else accomplish? Nothing. 

It's exhausting...and I'm tired of working so hard to make sure I do things like everyone else. 

Why do I need to change? 

Why do I have to fit this mold? 

It's stupid. 

Isn't individuality prized anymore? 

Frankly, I'm just done with being aware of whether others like me or not. I was fine being myself without others accepting of it for a long time. (Luckily, I am now surrounded by people who appreciate me for who I am.) There's no need to make everyone like me. I like myself. And those in my life like me too. 

For those yet to come, just be you, let me be me, and we'll be good. 

And trust me, if it's good...then that's beautiful.

Jenn's Fiona Playlist:

1) Extraordinary Machine - Fiona Apple
2) Paper Bag - Fiona Apple
3) O Sailor - Fiona Apple
4) Better Version of Me - Fiona Apple
5) Valentine - Fiona Apple
6) Across The Universe - Fiona Apple Version
7) Never Is A Promise - Fiona Apple
8) Carrion - Fiona Apple
9) Parting Gift - Fiona Apple
10) Slow Like Honey - Fiona Apple

~ Jenny Rockstar


pushing the musical boundary....

As difficult as it may be, I always seek ways to go outside of my comfort zone. 

Because it takes challenges to grow...and you can't grow if you don't push yourself.

And I think this summer, I'm going to push myself even further. 

I want to continue the music project I had originally started a few years back...and take it up a notch. I still have all my original notes and suggestions. (And you had better believe I delved into that list like a kid on Christmas...listening to every single note and harmony with rapt attention.)

This time, I am sure I am going to have a whole new group of music suggestions, in part thanks to all of the new friends and interesting music-minded individuals I have had the pleasure of getting to know.

I can't quite explain the pleasure that I derive from music. It's a high unlike any other. Granted, I feel the same rush when I hold my Canon Rebel in my hands or a pen over a fresh sheet of paper. But music has its own high. It gives me the strength to carry on (when I feel I can't) and the understanding that I need to take a breather (when I need to recharge). That it's okay to smile and cry from time to time. 

And getting to write about this experience? Even better. 

So what do you listen to? 

What is it that gets your blood pumping? 

(Or can turn you into a crying mess with the drop of a single note?) 

What song or album changed your life?

Or what in your collection do you keep to yourself, because you're sure that others would not quite understand how that music made it into your standard stock of albums?

I want to know about it, listen to it, and understand more about the people around me. Because there are so many who invest their time into interviews or other personal interests to assume that an individual's personality is based on favorite food or color. Personally, I feel that it's through music that you can learn so much more about a person. Music is a universal language that we all speak and relate to. 

And I want to take this onto a larger level, beyond just my normal group of friends and acquaintances. I want to get all the suggestions I can and gain a deep sense of understanding of people. 

More importantly, I want to continue to seek better understanding of myself.

Jenn's Self-Understanding Playlist:

1) Tighten Up - The Black Keys
2) All Things Must Pass - George Harrison
3) Thank You - Led Zeppelin
4) For Whom The Bell Tolls - Metallica
5) Limp - Fiona Apple

~ Jenny Rockstar


weathering the storm...

I love when it storms...

the way that the wind rustles the trees, that electric feeling in the air that crackles with a sense of purpose, those few scattered (yet perfectly executed) raindrops that land perfectly on my bare skin.

My body goes on high alert, the adrenaline coursing and pushing me to coax the storm out to play. To get the sky rumbling, the clouds looming ominously overhead, to run through the pouring rain. 

Storms are perfect in every which way, especially when I feel that inner storm in life. It feels like this great wonder of nature understands that I need an outlet, a way to feel in control of everything. And with inclement weather on the horizon, I relish in it. 

Somehow, it's in that chaos that I find the clarity. Because when you're put up against something that's as scattered and rough as you feel in that moment, you can't help but be humbled. It's as though nature just gets you without even trying. That you need to wash away the grime, make your soul feel clean again. 

We all weather the storms of life, some more turbulent and tumultuous than others. But we do it, because we need to push forward. We need to breath, stop waiting for the rain to subside, and just stand in the chaos and face it head on.

I can't wait to see what happens next....bring it on.

Jenn's Stormy Playlist:

1) Roxanne - The Police
2) Gigantic - The Pixies
3) Don't Stop Believing - Journey
4) Won't Back Down - Tom Petty 
5) Cannonball - The Breeders
6) Pennyroyal Tea - Nirvana

~ Jenny Rockstar


sometimes, you just need to look up at the stars....

This past weekend was filled with everything I could ever hope for in a holiday weekend....

good friends...great food...amazing music...and memories that will keep with me for the rest of my life.

It's a funny thing how life works out, how when everything used to seem chaotic and unsure, all it takes is finding those moments that bring you back to the present and help you appreciate everything.

I've been trying more and more lately to have appreciation for life. To live in that moment and write everything I'm feeling as much as possible. And when I can't write it down, to file it all away to memory as much as possible. 

Like those moments when after we get home from a show (on a clear night), I have this urge to just look up at the stars, twinkling ever so diligently and grounding me in the sheer fact that there is a world of opportunity and memories ahead of me. That even if it was a bad night, it can't be that bad when the world can have moments of beauty like this. 

I'm not one to march to the beat of other people's drums. I have my own thoughts, my own interests, and my own way of living.

I'm the one who wants to go to Comic Con or the Renaissance Faire for a bachelorette party instead of a strip club. (And both places better be ready for me this summer, because I'm ready to get my nerdiness on!)

I'm the one who finds solace in discovering music that I have never heard before, whether it be older or something that just came out. (And trust me, I can make some serious music aficionados look like amateurs with all of the stuff I have in my collection.)

I'm the one who wears their heart on their sleeve and doesn't let life's issues drag me down, I just keep having the big, wild heart and pursuit of happiness.

I'm the one who will bake cookies at 4:00 am and not think twice about how late it is, only that my guests are going to love them.

I'm the one who drums my fingers over every surface imaginable, because I can't seem to get the rhythm out of my head...always a song.

I'm the one that people tend to overlook, but I'm still me and I don't seek the approval.

I can brew my own iced tea, bake my own bread, rock out to the Sex Pistols like it's my job.

I wear knee socks and don't care if people think of it as a perversion...because they keep my legs warm and they're comfy as hell!

I get excited over a band favoriting a tweet or responding to my post to them, because I'm a music nerd like that.

I wear my headphones practically anywhere I can, even in a dingy bar waiting for Matt to go on to perform, just to satisfy my musical urge. 

Writing comes naturally, and even in the oddest of places, I can bury my face in a notebook, trying to get down everything thought and feeling before I'm consumed by them. 

I keep a notebook of questions I would ask my favorite celebrities/great minds/entertainers/people if given the opportunity to do so. (And even had other people ask my questions for me to those very people...and hear what a great question it was to ask!) 

I even tend to think about the conversations I would have with those said people in that notebook, because I find everyone interesting, even those who are interviewed and have given their life story a million times over. (There will always be something new to uncover that will make them more interesting.)

Sometimes I itch to escape for a day away from life with my camera and a sense of adventure...and when I do it is the biggest rush.

I appreciate life, in all its ugliness, in all its darkest forms, and especially in its beauty.

And especially now, as today is a day to honor those who have fallen to protect the freedoms that allow me to be who I am now....I show appreciation by getting lost in another great movie soundtrack, writing, and breathing in the awesomeness that is my life.

I hope you can too.

Jenn's Appreciation Playlist (with a punk flair!):
1) Life During Wartime - The Talking Heads
2) Careful - Television
3) I'm Your Man - Richard Hell, The Voltoids
4) I Can't Stand It - The Velvet Underground
5) Psychotic Reaction - Take Five
6) All For The Love of Rock n' Roll - Tuff Darts

~ Jenny Rockstar


a one-way ticket to love...

As the wedding draws nearer and nearer, I can't help but just get so excited about the prospect of marrying Matt.

Even before we started on the path to engagement and marriage, it was obvious to pretty much everyone around us that Matt and I were inevitably going to be together forever. And even in the beginning of our relationship, I think I knew (even if I fought that feeling tooth and nail). 

Matt, when we first started hanging out and dating, was a breath of fresh air. After my previous relationship ended, I felt very broken...and unsure of what my future held. I thought that there wasn't anything out there for me. It was lonely, but I forged ahead in life as strong as I could. I was tired of trying to work for a relationship where it felt like I was trying to save the "sinking ship". Matt listened to me talk about my prior relationship, voicing my fears and thoughts as I worked on healing myself. He didn't judge, he didn't push me away, and frankly, it didn't bother him as much if it meant that he got to spend time with me. 

Little by little, Matt chipped away at my defenses that I had so carefully built against letting people in. All I wanted was to just meet someone new and get to know them, nothing super serious or complicated, try a path very different from the one I had originally started on. I kept telling my friends that I was just having fun for once in my life and that I didn't believe anything was going to go further than this...

and I was soooooo wrong. It's a funny thing, the paths that we choose to take. My initial path would have taken me out of NJ, away from everyone I loved and cared about...and I would have been so lonely. Sure, I could make new friends, but it doesn't mean much when you're always arguing with your spouse and indirectly and naively devising new ways to make each other miserable. 

If I had listened to my friends, I would have seen the signs of falling in love sooner. The way I looked forward to our nightly conversations. The sleepovers with takeout and television. The sing-a-longs full of rich harmonies. The cuddling and affection that erased all bad days and made good ones better. The way Matt's eyes found mine in the room...and I could feel everyone else fade away. 

I can't give all the credit to Matt. While yes, all of these things happened while with him and he made me want to be better, I wanted to be better for myself. I worked hard to pursue my life with passion and enthusiasm, to allow the pieces I hid away for so long to come back to the surface. I branched out, met new people as myself and stopped being so concerned about trying to fit it. If I was me and people liked me, that was the greatest reward. 

So in a little over four months, I get to intertwine my path even further with Matt. And continue to live my life for me, but also for him. I'm sure the broken past me can feel confident in knowing that nothing is final....life will always find a way to get better.

Especially when that new path leads to love that changes your life. 

Jenn's "New Path" Playlist:

1) How About You? - Judy Garland
2) Me and My Arrow - Harry Nilsson
3) Smart Girls - Weezer
4) To Be Young - Two Wounded Birds
5) Human Behavior - Bjork 

~Jenny Rockstar


opportunity comes with clarity....

If there's one thing I can say about my job, it's that there is never a shortage of learning new things, especially things that are important life skills in this day and age.

Yesterday, I drafted my first "Last Will and Testament" for a client, as well as a "Living Will" and "Power of Attorney". While the work of typing all of the necessary documents made my fingers feel as though they were going to curl up and fall off, the reward of knowing I did something that I had no prior knowledge of (and did it pretty damn good) made me feel on top of the world. I find that I work best under pressure and when pushed into a new venture.

With all the sadness of this week, it was nice to be pushed into yet another new project. The knowledge of overcoming challenges, whether they're minor or major, can completely change your perspective on life. (Because let's face it, typing over 20 pages worth of documents in 3.5 hours? Yeah, craziness!)

Like with writing, I can feel the balance continuing to push its way into my daily routine. It's true, when you do something you like every day and make sure that you do that, you improve. You find that keeping with the routine creates a stability, an anchor to your soul. 

And with routine, cleaning my home and finding solace in every layer of dirt and grime wiped away, that's what makes my life worth it. Sure, there will be time for adventures, but if you neglect the upkeep of your own life, then what good is it? And I definitely am trying to spend more time keeping my life in the flow. 

I feel alive....moreso than I have felt in a while. I am sure my thoughts will be jumbled and sometimes not make sense, but I don't care. Because in my pursuit of life and knowledge, it makes sense to me. 

And as I lay here in the corner of my couch, with Dave Matthews pouring out through the surround sound and the sweet smells of spring (almost summer) infiltrating our living room, life feels right. It may not always be this way, but I'm going to hold onto these moments like this one for as long as I can....

keeping my life clear and open to all new possibilities. 

Jenn's Cleaning Playlist:

1)  Make It Up As You Go - Plain White T's
2)  Creep - Radiohead
3)  El Scorcho - Weezer
4)  Gold Dust Woman - Fleetwood Mac
5)  Stairway to Heaven - Led Zeppelin

~ Jenny Rockstar


Death is harder on those who are left behind....

Death is inevitable....but you can't plan for it.

And today, it spoke loud and clear of its intentions, as two people who I didn't know (but have heard plenty about through social media), lost their battles to cancer. Even though I heard of them merely in passing, death has always had a profound impact on me. I cry, I mourn in my own way, and today was no different.

The first was a boy who managed to warm the hearts of the cast members of The Walking Dead. His name was Mason and from what I read and watched, he was truly wonderful; you could tell that even in his final hours, the lightness in his heart was still there, never wavering. And while I only knew of him, his passing gave me reason for pause and reflection today.

The second was the wife of a former high school classmate of mine. She too, unfortunately, had lost her fight and within the Facebook post of a promising marriage, I read the heartbreak of a profound loss. I couldn't stop the tears from coming if I wanted to, even as I had to walk away from my desk and take a moment to compose myself. Lindsey, you too will be missed.

Death affects us all, whether we know someone or not, because their influence is left behind. When they pass, a piece of you goes missing that you can never get back. Sure, it will rebuild, but it's never the same. And none of us are safe from this, we'll all eventually have to learn how to rebuild, even if it feels like we'll never recover.  

On my way home, I rolled the windows down again on the drive to take in the beautiful day and when Matt came home today, I did the only thing I could do in a situation like this: I hugged him and I let the tears go. There's no sense in being scared of what will happen in the future. The more important thing is that we take the time to continue appreciating life in the now. Even if tomorrow brought sorrow, today is important. 

Today is where you pursue the impossible. 

Today is when you fight and prove just how strong you are. 

Today is opportunity.

Today is when you love

Today is how you justify all you stand for. 

Today is everything.

And in death, today is the day to keep pushing through, no matter how sad it seems. 

Jenn's Pursuit Playlist:

1) This is the New Year - A Great Big World
2) The Boys Are Back in Town - Thin Lizzy
3) You Are The Wilderness - Voxhaul Broadcast
4) Shadowboxer - Fiona Apple

~ Jenny Rockstar

try a little patience....

Sometimes, I wish I could possess the ability to exert more patience.

I try to, as much as possible. In my line of work, patience is necessary, whether it be as a photographer or as a secretary. But even me, someone who endeavors to prove that I can handle anything that life throws at me, in the form of rebellious kids or unruly clients, I get flustered.

Today was no exception, as call after call came in, with no time to breathe or function. I felt the resolve cracking and the urge to unleash the irritation I so carefully hide from my profession make its way into my very existence. In the few moments that I did get to catch my breath, I didn't feel like it was enough to satisfy my balance. 

Before my daily check-in with Matt during lunch, before I was able to unwind with my tomato/avocado salad and homemade iced tea, before I could check-out for thirty minutes of (almost) uninterrupted bliss....I had complete and utter chaos.

Don't get me wrong, I love my job, I love that I'm learning so many new things that I have never done before. But at times, the patience wears thin....

and then I heard about a passing of a young man who lost his fight to cancer. I didn't know him, yet when I read that post that he finally found peace from the pain, that frustration meant nothing. These little meaningless nuisances in my day can't compare to a family who loses their child, their sibling, their loved one. 

I can control my ability to be patient, even when it feels like I'm not in control. But I can't control death. No one can control death, not even the best doctors can play God forever. Mortality does a hell of a number on you when you've pushed it from your mind.

So now, while I have a moment to breathe and enjoy my lunch, before I call Matt and remind him in our 30 seconds of phone conversation that I love him and I hope his day is going well, I choose to exert patience and share my feelings. I forget how important talking about those pesky things are, even when all you want to do is curl into a ball and retreat inside yourself.

I need patience with others....and with myself. I'm still a work in progress and not everything is going to be perfect. My thoughts will be jumbled, I'll make more mistakes than I'll want to admit, and I'll be flawed. But that's okay, as long as right now, I make a conscientious effort to remind myself that patience is a virtue....one I am willing to work on.

Jenn's Patience Playlist:

1) Sullen Girl - Fiona Apple
2) Both Sides Now - Joni Mitchell
3) Walking Away - Craig David
4) Our House - Madness

~Jenny Rockstar 


The Strength of a Rockstar....

Sometimes, when I think about my mother, I become conflicted.

Everyone has a mother, yet I don't care to acknowledge mine. Some may see that as me being a horrible person, but I see it as being a person who was scarred again and again...and not wanting to take it anymore.

My mom wasn't always this way. At one point she helped me fight my battles, kissed my boo-boos, and gave me the love that I had craved as a child. But every once in a while, I caught a glimpse of a woman that simmered beneath the surface, who allowed her dark side to come out and rear its ugly head to her own children.

I tried my best to please her. When she asked for something and I delivered, I barely got an acknowledgement of any "good job" that I might have done. Yet, when I couldn't complete something (chalk it up to being a child), I'd get the coldest shoulder. I'd be made to feel like I was worth nothing. And for those who understand how it feels when a parent makes you feel like nothing, it's the worst feeling one can even imagine.

My mother was never physical, merely a slave to the words that she would spit at me from time to time. Useless being the top contender. I'm surprised that with all the times she would call me that, I still have a big heart and a need to share my love with others. I have to thank my father for always wiping away the tears and reminding me that I wasn't useless, I was priceless. 

It wasn't until college that I learned she suffered from bipolar disorder. For so many years she had gone undiagnosed....and it was scary....you know, scary is an understatement. I don't think there's a word to describe the fear that I had of my own parent. She was unpredictable and unaware of the damage she had done. Breaking up our family, destroying my brother's promising career in the Air Force, and trying to destroy whatever sense of happiness I may have had while I tried to thrive in college. It was never enough for her being miserable, everyone else needed to suffer with her. 

After my sophomore year of college ended, rock bottom was reached. Earlier in that year, I had told her to leave me alone. I could not take her continually pushing me to the point of tears, making me feel inadequate because I was trying to make something of myself at college and she was mourning the loss of everything she never had. I couldn't call her enough, I couldn't do enough for her, and in turn I took the brunt of her pain. I cried myself to sleep quite a few nights, knowing that I couldn't be more than myself. Luckily, I had some amazing friends who helped me pick up the pieces when I tried to retreat into myself. 

But in her trying to "respect" my wishes, the mail never ceased, the phone calls came attached with "dire emergency" stipulations (that she put herself into), and even having to answer questions so cruel and painful to someone else that I can't even say them aloud without crying. My mother had found yet another way to try and break me....and she almost succeeded.

I was tired of trying. Tired of giving her the satisfaction that she could do whatever she wanted to me. And very few of my friends understood that. I had to "honor" and "forgive" my mother for all her shortcomings, for every hurtful thing she threw at me. Tell me, how do you forgive someone who forces you to have to attend therapy? How do you forgive someone who tells such horrible lies about your family in an effort to selfishly better themself? How do you forgive a person who you're supposed to trust and love because they brought you into the world, when all they consider you to be when you don't deliver what they want....is useless?

And even years later, after all of that, I tried to make my peace with her, thinking she had changed....and yet again finding myself let down.

I'm grateful that I had mother figures in my life, because they have proven to me that I didn't need a mother to make it through. I just needed guidance from time to time. And where my mother couldn't be there, I had the best dad a girl could ask for. 

And still, after all these years, I forgive my mother....but I won't forget. It's my time to live and get married and start my own family. I can't be living in my past anymore and I refuse to try making sense of it all. Matt deserves better, I deserve better. 

I've written letters I will never send, imagined memories that will never happen, and I'm ok with how my life turned out. Matt sees me as strong, sometimes I'm not sure that I am as strong as he believes. But if he thinks I am, then I'll do my damnedest to prove that he's right. Not just for him, but for me. 

I am more than my darkness. 

It's time I shed some light.

~Jenny Rockstar

appreciation....it's not just a one-time thing....

I'm a victim of a stressful job.

I think we all are at times....and especially this week, I feel like I am ready for it all to be done and for the weekend to start. It's not that I don't like my job. It's just at times, it tests me and pushes me beyond limits that I am comfortable with. Or more like the individuals that call in and deal with push me.

But with today, just like any other day, I work hard in doing one simple thing when life stresses you out....I appreciate the simple things.

How differently would my day have been without the nice gentleman who held the door open for me (when in his condition, I should have been the one holding it for him)?

Or the polite phone calls with the "how are you doing today?" and "have a great day" attached to their meaning?

What about the idle chit-chat with the teller at the bank when I had to make a deposit for work? 

Or the sweet smell to the air as I drove to and from work, lulled by my favorite radio station starting my morning off with Journey, ending it with The Beatles?

In those daily moments of stress, the details become imperative. Those moments of sheet simplicity where you can't help but stop and smile at their minor interjection, then their fade into the background. 

Even now, as I sit outside with my laptop, determined to enjoy a beautiful ending to a glorious May evening, I feel grateful that amid the chaos, I find the solace. I may even add a glass of red wine and a slice of cheesecake to assist in mulling over this glorious day. 

It's in the breeze rustling the trees, my iPod playing another one of my favorite songs, the birds chirping in synchronicity. It's in everything around me that sometimes I forget exists....

but on a day like today, I choose to listen and give thanks that I can enjoy these moments. 

Jenn's Appreciation Playlist:

1) Thank You - Led Zeppelin
2) Brand New Key - Melanie
3) Magical Mystery Tour - The Beatles
4) Me and Julio - Simon & Garfunkel
5) Don't Stop Believing - Journey
6) I'll Be Waiting - Lenny Kravitz
7) Gold On The Ceiling - The Black Keys
8) Air - Ben Folds Five

~Jenny Rockstar 


a lesson in perception....

I know I talk about him a lot but I can't help it.....

I love watching Matt perform.

There's something about watching him pick up his guitar or get behind a keyboard, and sing. He always has this little smile on his face, one that seems to be reserved for doing the thing that he loves the most. 

Tonight, as I watched him strumming a possible new song for yet another one of his music projects, I spent a moment just appreciating the moment. Determined, ambitious, and just completely in his element. 

For all the times that Matt works on a project, I sometimes feel like when I watch him play, it's for the first time all over again....and I fall in love all over again. His smile, his warmth, his way of just making you feel included. Those are only a few of the several reasons I love him. And especially tonight, watching him immerse himself in what he loves as much as me, I appreciate him more. 

I appreciate everything  he embodies, and I can't help but feel grateful that this man is going to be my husband. A man that when we initially started dating, I deluded myself into thinking that it wouldn't go anywhere, that it was just a chance to enjoy life and nothing more. How wrong I was to believe that, as Matt tore down every last defense I had, like it was nothing. With his smile, with his hugs and kisses, with his intelligent conversation, with his cooking, with his cuddles, with his laughter, with his sing-a-longs, and most importantly....with his love.

There are so many things I could say about Matt. Yet for now, I look over at him practicing another song and I can't help but feel grateful that he's the one I get to be with for the rest of my life.

Sometimes, it's just nice to watch and appreciate. 

~Jenny Rockstar