#BellLetsTalk

I've never been a good consoler... but I've always tried my best to reassure my friends and family things will be alright when they share with me their sorrows and troubles. I know it's super important to always offer a ear to listen, a body to hug, and my utmost attention because that's exactly what I would want when I'm struggling with my emotions. After all, words of affirmation is all I want to hear at the end of the day.

Mental health started becoming increasingly important in my life during high school. With friends who practiced self-harm, the passing of loved ones, and the sensitivity and self-consciousness that comes with your adolescence, high school was rather messy. Very often while driving me to school, my dad told me if I had any problems to always share them with him, having depressed children is not something he would allow. But of course, I always sought out my friends instead. I'm glad I grew up surrounded by loved ones who acknowledge mental illnesses and seek help when dealing with poor mental health.

I recognize that people develop unhealthy mindsets at a very young age due to the overwhelming pressure society feed through the media. Eating disorders, anxiety, depression, and more is extremely common and not only should it be addressed more heavily within schools, but there also should be more clinics and locations where individuals would be able to access support services as soon as they need it. Many of these specialized care programs/facilities either have too long of a wait, or are too costly. It's 2017 and I believe funding should increase drastically as everyday people like you and I may need them as soon as possible.

Long story short - Mental health is important. Hope you tweeted, snapped, or #BellLetsTalked in some way or form today. Here's a TEDx video I found perfect for this occasion.

Top Albums of 2016

This year has been a different one. Seeing as I didn't post a "Top Albums of 2015," (I slacked, darn it!) the transition from previous favourites may be a little drastic. 

I always look forward to analyzing my listening habits at the end of each year. I guess it tells me how much I've changed not necessary as a person, but how new environments may have impacted me in a certain way. 

First off is Wet's Don't You. This album has been a staple in my playlist ever since it came out in January. Although Pitchfork may care to disagree, I thoroughly enjoy the "synthpop, Cat Power-ish folk, '90s R&B, and modern alt R&B" vibes that Wet displays in the album. It's feels like a combination of what I've been listening to these past years since university, and that's most likely why it's my numero uno for 2016. I was a happy camper when I got to see them in both Brooklyn and Toronto this Summer/Autumn.

Next, is dvsn's Sept 5th, Majid Jordan's Self Titled, Rihanna's Anti, and Drake's Views. Slow jams, pop jams, emotional jams, we got 'em all here. Been giving me that Toronto pride all year long [minus Rihanna]. But I do remember the day my friend Anthony recommended me to Rihanna's Anti, claiming it to be more ~alternative~ than her usual stuff. Thanks Ant :) These albums have been my walking to work grooves from winter to summer.

Yuna's Chapters extrudes heartbreak and emotion, feelings that are all too real. This album got me through my inevitable long distance relationship when I was in New York for a quick stint. Who can deny that early 2000's R&B vibe with Usher on Crush? I was lucky enough to catch Yuna in New York when my friend Melanie luckily got tickets from the Uber Summer Concert Series (Thanks again Mel!) I'm going to follow immediately with Frank Ocean's Blonde. I wasn't much of a Frank Ocean listener either. If there were a Top 2015 Albums, you'd realize that it was in 2015 that I started listening to more R&B. Along with Yuna's Chapters, Blonde extrudes the kind of raw emotion that keeps me wanting more.

Last but not least, Zhu's generationwhy and Ariana Grande's Dangerous Woman. Just pure no-shame poppy bliss. No guilty pleasure here. That upbeat music got me grinding my designs all day and night. And so ends this year's top favs. Looking forward to next year's! :) 

Lets Catch Up: Travel, Work, Self Love

Dear blog, I am so sorry for not updating you. Life happened, I guess. The last time I wrote was a few days before my grad show. It went well, of course. What happened after that is all a blur to be honest. 

Before I started working full time, I knew I wanted to travel; going to London last summer gave me the travel bug. This May I was able to visit Japan, Korea, and China with my family. Our first family trip since I was thirteen. Within those three countries, we were able to go through over ten citiesI am super grateful for this trip my parents funded (haha). Being able to experience the culture in Japan and Korea was super exciting and fruitful, but it was China that was most important to me. The last time I visited China, I wasn't at an age where I was able to fully cherish where my parents and grandparents grew up. It was great to finally see my relatives again after almost a decade and to soak in all the history. After coming back home, my graduation was in a week. That day came and went, and the next day I embarked on a five week eurotrip with three of my girlfriends. 

So what can I say about my eurotrip... Packing light is important. No, actually, pack for all seasonsthat's a good one. We were able to visit (in order) London, Paris, Gimmelwald/Zurich, Venice, Rome, Ibiza, Barcelona, Lisbon, and Amsterdam. So much happened: new friends, old friends, wine by the seine, Disclosure on a rooftop, deep house all day and night, hang gliding over Interlaken, gelato everyday, and on it goes. This is the largest gift I have ever given myself.

A little under a month after I returned home, I started working at Idea Couture (where I'm at currently). Going from wandering new cities with no set schedule to a full time job was a crazy adjustment. I have always been the hardest critic on myself. Thus, the feeling of inadequacy was something I felt daily. Jen, my friends would say, you're only a junior, you can't expect to know everything coming out of school. And luckily, the weeks gradually went by and I became more accustomed to the way the company worked. Of course, I'm still only a few months in and have much more to learn. I know that this new sense of vulnerability means there will be much growth for me in the future. I can't expect to grow when I feel completely at easeseek discomfort as Sagmeister says. 

Time To Get Funky

What a whirlwind the past two months has been. From York U's brief but dreadful strike to preparing for the grad show... No one ever really stopped working. There is officially two more days until opening night and I am ready as I'll ever be. Everything's printed and everything's mounted - of course, I had celebratory ice cream afterwards. 

Recently, I've become rather interested in motion work, I didn't have the chance to take any motion classes during my time at YSDN, but I am most definitely going to teach myself this summer when I'm free (I will keep my word... hopefully). Whether it's type in motion, or animations, it's amazing how movement can amplify a simple phrase, image, or song.

Todd Terje came out with a new video for his song "Alfonso Muskedunder" just two days ago and I fell in love. Not only was Todd Terje's It's Album Time one of my favourite albums of 2014, I have always adored the illustrations that came along with all his singles for the album. 

Bendik Kaltenborn, an artist from Oslo, is the illustrator that is credited for Todd Terje's most recent illustration works. But this time, he has teamed with Espen Friberg to create the funky/fresh/amazing/sogreat music video for Terje. I adore all kinds of flat, colourful illustrations, as well as wonky shapes... thus, this video makes me extremely happy.

Kaltenborn stated that "Although the video looks spontaneous it is actually very carefully planned down to the smallest beat, but we still had some room for improvisation as well. I guess none of us are really professional animators, so I’m really happy that we managed to make this video look exactly like we planned from the start." And with this note, I will keep in mind that: 1. Collaborations are always good 2. Even if you're not an expert, time and dedication will make it worth it.

If you're interested, you can catch a friendly little conversation between Terje, Kaltenborn, and Friberg over at It's Nice That to get a glimpse into how the two illustrators worked together, and what kind of relationship the three of them has. 

#YSDNmade

I am officially 1/3 of the way through my last semester in YSDN and grad show preparation is in full swing! Each graduate is creating their own version of our grad show's logo, putting their own personal little spin into it. When it came to making mine, I really didn't know what to focus on. Should I include the foods that I love (cereal, doughnuts, pizza.. drool), or flowers (I love all things floral), should I bake something, or should I actually do some artsy stuffs? And so, I did three renditions. The first one is actually a chewy chocolate Reese cookie that didn't come out of the oven looking too good, second is my breakfast of choice, and lastly is some potpourri that I actually used in one of my Type lll projects. I love food, but I stuck with the latter.

Our grad show takes place on April 19th - 21st at the Liberty Grand in the west side of Toronto (25 British Columbia Road, Toronto, ON M6K 3C3). Keep updated by following us on Twitter and Facebook! See you there :) x

Top 10 Albums of 2014

Time to look back at my year in music! My 2014 music library probably had the biggest change in the past few years. Coming back from London, I found myself listening to a lot of UK house + garage (thanks to my flatmates), along with deep house, and soul. I've always liked a bit of electronic, chillwave, and what not, but this was definitely a big change for me. Although we don't see this reflected in my top 10 albums of 2014, with Spotify finally in Canada, I get my fair share of funky beats daily. So here we are, my top 10 favs:

10. Sam Smith - In The Lonely Hour
9. Ben Howard - I Forgot Where We Were
8. Angus and Julia Stone - Self Titled
7. Jessie Ware - Tough Love
6. Todd Terje - It's Album Time
5. Warpaint - Self Titled
4. Jungle - Self Titled
3. Glass Animals - Zaba
2. Bombay Bicycle Club - So Long, See You Tomorrow
1. Sam Brookes - Kairos

At number one, Sam Brookes' Kairos is ethereal. It probably sits between your favourite melancholy tunes and your go-to lighthearted folk tracks. I started listening to Sam after catching him open for Lucy Rose in London this summer. As a sucker for acoustic melodies, I visited Camden to see him again a week before I left for home. My favourite tracks off Kairos would have to be "On The Mend" and "Breaking Blue," the beautiful tracks that ended the album off. But "This Is The Place" definitely has a place in my heart as it's probably the soundtrack of my two months away from home this summer. Second on the list: Bombay Bicycle Club. It's probably no surprise to my friends as many know they're my all time favourite group. I've always found Indian music rather catchy, so the influences from Mumbai definitely made So Long, See You Tomorrow one exceptional album. Third and fourth goes to Glass Animals and Jungle, two amazing groups that have such a different and groovy sound. I didn't put the two side by side intentionally, but Glass Animal's beautiful live set that features jungle like props is a definite must see. Warpaint makes the top 5, they can make anyone feel like a badass, props. 

Continuing on, we have Todd Terje with It's Album Time. This has to be one of the coolest albums I've stumbled upon this year. I've never listened to anything this disco-esque, and I definitely fell in love. Whether I'm traveling on a bus, or taking a jog, It's Album Time makes it more interesting. The last four albums of my list slows it down a bit. Jessie Ware, Angus and Julia Stone, Ben Howard, and Sam Smith's 2014 releases ends off my top ten beautifully :) Okay, this post is getting too long, but before I finish this off, I have to list three awesome EPs: Rosie Lowe - Right Thing, Panama - Always, Rae Morris - Do You Even Know?

That is all, until next time x

Bolivia

I've been catching my mind wandering to my travels earlier this year. Towards the end of April, I travelled to Bolivia with my mum and sister to visit my uncle and his family. Although my stay in Bolivia was only two weeks compared to two months, I would say I experienced the utmost amount of adventure and beauty than anywhere else... We visited five cities in the span of 2 weeks: Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Sucre, Potosi, Oruru, and Cochabamba. The amount of history and culture in these cities was amazing, and the drive from city to city was breathtaking. Never in my life did I think I would drive by fields filled with thousands and thousands of llamas, elevated thousands of feet in the mountains. I drank quinoa juice, had amazing salteñas, and ate till my tummy's content. I cannot thank my uncle enough for making this possible, and bringing out the wanderlust in me. I will see all of South America one day. Sorry Ontario, you're lacking in the mountain and llama department.

Time is Dancing

The first semester of my senior year came and went and I still don't see signs of slowing down. Aside from my four design related courses, I also took a film course, and a classical singing course. Film was an interesting one, watching classics like Mildred Pierce and The Bicycle Thief really opened my eyes to the world of film. Classical singing was an interesting too. Since I haven't sung since grade 12 choir, I was beyond nervous to be tested solo with my classmates staring at me (although everyone was probably in the same boat). Either way, taking a break from the design labs twice a week was pretty liberating. Seeing dancers dancing in the hallways and hearing musicians practicing their instruments gives off such a different vibe than walking down the quiet hallways of TEL. Throughout my three and a half years at York, I've taken an Earth and Atmospheric Science course (Natural Disasters), philosophy courses, and psychology as well. These are all subjects that I've always been interested in throughout high school and I'm happy I had the opportunity to learn more even as a design student. 

Now, on my last winter break as a student, I'm realizing that things just don't slow down. From personal projects, to freelancing, to catching up with old friends, it's actually hard to find time to sit down and finish all the books I've started at the end of summer. I have three more weeks to "relax" and "take it easy" before my final semester starts. It's weird to think that in a little over four months its my turn to display what I've been working on during the past few years at our grad show. April's going to be one roller coaster ride. And what happens afterwards? While a few of my friends intend to work immediately, there's also a handful of us that want to travel as much as we can before settling down with a full time job in the fall. During the past few weeks I found myself in random bursts of anxiousness mixed in with a tad bit of excitement (the excitement comes and goes). Of course I'm excited for what's next, but the uncertainty of where I want to be is making me a little antsy. I should just take it a day at a time - number one on my checklist: Graduate. 

Cheers, London.

It has been exactly three weeks since I've arrived back in Toronto after spending two months in London. I hadn't been able to blog due to the failure of my laptop two weeks into my stay, but here I am, all settled back at home and ready to report.

Like many of my friends already know, London has been my number one destination for over two years. I wanted to gain work experience in the design world, see a different culture, and most importantly gain some independence. After months of working on my portfolio and sending out applications, I managed to land two internships back to back. Up until a week prior to my flight did I start feeling a sense of doubt... not necessarily on whether or not I can deliver during my internships, but whether or not I can adapt to being alone in such a large city. Surprisingly, never for a moment did I feel afraid after landing in London - more so a surge of anticipation for everything that has yet to come. The drive to my flat was the longest drive of all, over an hour of "are we there yets?" running over and over in my head. The unfamiliar streets, the architecture, and overall cultural change was apparent, but it was still hard to sink in that I was actually in London.

Needless to say, being the first trip by myself it took a good few weeks to settle in. But whether it was sharing a flat with strangers, adapting to the 9-5 life, or exploring the city alone, I've grown to quite enjoy it. I've learned to embrace spontaneity, things don't always have to go as planned. I can waltz into a bookstore in Camden and read on top of Primrose Hill for as long as I want while the sunsets. From visiting a different museum/gallery every weekend in June, to wandering different markets almost every weekend in July, I had the opportunity to understand myself better and challenge my weaknesses. Along the way, I met some amazing people: music lovers, art lovers, young souls, old souls, from various different cities. We often chatted about what we liked about London, where we're heading, and bits of our past. Conversations would be filled with laughter and awe as I learned more about these individuals. I made friends from Brighton and Paris who welcomed me into their city and showed me around. Friends from East/West London, and all over, and I am super grateful for each of them.

In regards to my experience during my internships, I learned a great amount about package design and what roles are needed in a well-functioning agency. From Artworkers to Account Managers, everyone had an important job. It was great experiencing first hand working with a design team, sitting in meetings and briefings, hearing feedback from Design Directors and Creative Directors, as well as hearing what the clients had to say. I've only had experience freelancing, so working at a design agency with different people of different talents was certainly insightful. I was fortunate enough to have worked with friendly and caring people who made sure my stay in London (and their agency) was worthwhile. I'm glad that the "real-world" isn't as daunting as it seems, there was certainly many giggles throughout the day. I really enjoyed my time spent during my placements, thank you to Pearlfisher London and Smith and Milton immensely.

Coming back from London, I've grown a new sense of excitement for what my future holds. Of course I adore London, but I would love to see how the design culture is like in New York, San Francisco, and Asia. My last year of YSDN begins in 2 weeks, which means graduation is near... Yikes! I guess I'll end this blog with a quote from a great novel I am currently reading: The Angels Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. (P.s. the book I bought and read on top of Primrose Hill is called The Art of Mindful Walking: Meditations on the Path by Adam Ford. An interesting read, definitely were some truly relatable excerpts in there!)

Idleness dulls the spirit.
— Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Angels Game

TEDxUTSC

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I can't seem to word how grateful I am to have been apart of such a wonderful team and conference. During these past eight months I had the opportunity to witness the 12 other executives of TEDxUTSC really excel at their talents. In return, the feedback to our conference was amazing. Our views are currently climbing on Livestream and I'm continuing to hear good words from viewers and attendees.

Needless to say, I've certainly grown as a designer, acquiring experience designing for different platforms that I wouldn't have imagined eight months ago. Finally getting to see my designs in my hands, all around us, as well as everyone else's hard work come alive was magical. It was wonderful seeing our speakers stand in front of our delegates and deliver their talks, inspiring people to delve into their thoughts and conjure up ideas they wouldn't have before.

I would have never befriended such a diverse group of people if I had not joined TEDxUTSC. I look up to each and everyone of them for what they do and what they are capable of. I highly encourage people to go out of their comfort zone and go join something they feel hesitant about. Being in a joint program, I never felt fixed within one campus, thus, I was happy to include University of Toronto Scarborough Campus into the list of schools I am associated with. 

Top 10 Albums of 2013

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With music mags and blogs rounding up 2013 with their top 10s and top 100s, I figured I'll have my very own. This year has been filled with amazing music and I couldn't be any happier. Without further ado, my top ten albums of 2013:

10. "Reflektor" - Arcade Fire
9. "Hummingbird" - Local Natives
8. "Trouble Will Find Me" - The National
7. "Days Are Gone" - HAIM
6. "Miracle Mile" - STRFKR
5. "Holy Fire" - Foals
4. "Limits of Desire" - Small Black
3. "Clash the Truth" - Beach Fossils
2. "If You Leave" - Daughter
1. "Paracosm" - Washed Out

This year, I found myself listening to a lot more soothing "chillwave" and lo-fi jams that just makes me feel like a good ol' happy soul, and so, Washed Out, Beach Fossils, and Small Black's 2013 releases were definitely highlights of my year. Nonetheless, I always find myself going back to Daughter's "If You Leave" for it's beautiful instrumentals and raw lyrics. Along with "If You Leave", The National's "Trouble Will Find Me" and Local Native's "Hummingbird", both fall into the same category. As for the releases by Foals, HAIM, STRFKR, and Arcade Fire, I would often find myself foot tapping, head bopping, and just plain grooving out immediately. If you want something upbeat and fun, those four albums would be the ones to go to.

There are four albums, however, that deserve to be mentioned as they were my daily jams for quite a bit (but just didn't quite make it to the list): "Modern Vampires of the City" by Vampire Weekend, "Bad Blood" by Bastille, "Pure Heroine" by Lorde, and "The Bones of What You Believe" by CHVRCHES. As for new favourites, around a month ago, I started listening to London Grammar and Braids, two bands that also came out with rather beautiful albums this year. Needless to say, my iTunes is happy. I'm certainly looking forward to 2014 as I anticipate Bombay Bicycle Club's 4th studio album, "So Long, See You Tomorrow." It's surely going to be one of my new favourites.

Alone

Growing up means developing a sense of independence. I remember thinking as a child, I cannot bus alone... that is the most frightening thing, ever. Nowadays, I still remember that thought as I venture to places by myself, with the music in my ear buds keeping me company. While finding this independence we have to accept being alone, even enjoy it. The alone I'm talking about is not the alone where we're by ourselves in our room, watching funny YouTube videos without anyone to bug us. Alone as in dining out by yourself, going to concerts by yourself (we can argue that this is not really being alone), spending hours reading at the book store, or living by yourself. We have to develop a sense of confidence towards our thoughts, decisions, and actions. Vulnerability may or may not help you in such situations.

Having missed the opportunity to apply for exchange last year to study abroad, I decided to complete my bachelors degree and see where my work takes me. Who doesn't want to witness an entirely different culture and develop themselves into well-rounded individual? Everyone struggles with being alone sometimes, however at 20 years old, I finally feel the need to prove that I can fend for myself. I have been feeling rather wanderlust for quite a while now... good ol' case of itchy feet... and so, I hope this coming summer takes me somewhere good.

Summer Heart - I Wanna Go

Two Months

And then it's December... With that being said, I know it has been well over two months since I last updated, two really long months that at the same time went by rather quickly. The projects are done and the essays have been written. During these two months, I've been rather inspired by my classmates - not only my design classmates, but my philosophy classmates as well. Philosophy, especially applied ethics, is one of my many interests. Thus, being able to fit an applied ethics class into my schedule made me ecstatic. Having gone through three months of this course, I would have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed sitting in each and every lecture. Surrounding myself with such analytical individuals showed me the utmost importance in an objective mind. As for my design classmates, I learned from them that even though everyone may be doing their own thing - creating works entirely different - it is exactly that about them that can help you so much.

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The project that opened my eyes the most was the Expo 2025 development in Communication Design 2 class. We imagined what it would be like to host the World Expo in Toronto, Ontario and developed a visual identity and theme based on our visions. Canada has only hosted two World Expos before, Expo '67 in Montreal, and Expo '86 in Vancouver, thus, the Toronto Expo Committee is hoping to bid for Expo 2025. My theme "Flourish in Knowledge" hopefully would attract viewers from all over the world, aiming to promote the importance of our youth, education, and sustainability.

I was lucky enough to be able to present my project along with my classmates at Toronto City Hall on December 2nd. I most definitely have to thank Zab Hobart for making this possible as well as the Toronto Ward 27 Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam for having us. We all brought along our 30" x 20" poster, passport, electronic tickets, web landing pages, web ads, and access passes to present to the Toronto Expo Committee. The response was extremely encouraging and certainly left us designers grateful for such an opportunity and experience. That day marked the last day of design classes before winter break, what a wonderful ending to two months of frenzy!

Treasuring Your Connections

It recently occurred to me how often we overlook the connections/relationships we have with one another. It can be that co-worker who you only see once a week at work, or someone we see pretty often, such as a teacher; we just don't realize often enough how their presence impacts us. 

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On October 5th, my elementary school hosted a reunion in celebration of it's 25th anniversary. Once I received my invite I knew it was an event I had to attend. I hadn't visited any of my elementary teachers since I moved out of town in 2006, thus, the thought of wandering the hallways that I used to meander everyday as a child excited me. The moment I stepped foot into the building, I was overwhelmed with what I'm sure everyone else experienced: nostalgia. The walls, doors, posters, and photographs were the same ones that I grew up surrounded by. However, this time the halls were filled with young children and pre-teens welcoming us back. The many familiar faces I walked past made me realize how much I missed being around people who grew up in the same community as I. But most of all, seeing teachers that I haven't seen for almost a decade really hit me. I wore the biggest smile that made my cheeks hurt while talking to them about what my friends and I are doing now, and what they themselves have been doing after retirement. It was extremely touching going up to my kindergarten teacher and giving her a big hug and hearing her tell us stories from my childhood. Not only was it a great experience meeting my past teachers again, but being able to talk to past librarians, secretaries, and possibly the best custodian ever, made me really happy to have been associated with these people. They cared for our safety, our happiness, and our education, and now, the older Jennifer feels exactly the same, for them to be equally as safe and happy. These people have affected so many childrens' lives positively, I can only imagine their proudness seeing so many of their students grow up to be happy with what they do and have families of their own.

The point here is that connections like these are easily forgotten and not secured due to our effortlessness. Once we miss out on the initial opportunity to build a connection, they will become increasingly unattainable over time. And as we grow older, not many people have the time and opportunity to reconnect with those of the past. Therefore, we should treasure our connections now. We shouldn't wait until we have 25th year anniversaries to realize how much we cared for one another. 

Weight of Living

Last Wednesday, I attended Bastille's sold out show at Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto. My best friend Anthony had luckily found a couple of tickets in August and we were super ecstatic to be seeing Bastille on his birthday. However, not until a few days before the show, did my school load really kick in. All my excitement gradually became overpowered by nerves and I kept worrying about time. Do I have enough? Yes/No? Whenever I'm stuck in this situation, there's nothing else I can do but grab my agenda. Planning each event out - each little task - really helps me relax. I guess there's a part of me that just won't let me be spontaneous. Not now anyways. 

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Of course, I never let myself enter a concert hall with a weight on my shoulders. Being our goofy selves, Anthony and I had already laughed all our stresses away by the time it was doors at Phoenix. Laughter is truly our medicine. I found myself all smiles, from the beginning to the end of the show. My expectations were high, and Bastille certainly lived up to it. The very first time I heard of Bastille was when Watch Listen Tell posted their video of the band singing "Overjoyed" acapella. At that moment, I knew this was a band I needed to listen to. It led me to download their "Other People's Heartaches Pt. 2" album - an album which left me stunned at what this band can do. Their ability to remix classics from the early 2000s with their then unreleased tracks, along with current hits in this album is amazing. I thoroughly enjoyed this night not only because I got to experience it all with my best friend and a couple of other buds, but because the opening bands Nightmare and the Cat and Little Daylight were also so fun and approachable. Nightmare and the Cat, a five piece from LA, is a rather unique indie rock group that I personally never heard anything like before. Little Daylight, consisting of a trio from Brooklyn, plays some catchy indie pop that I can groove to. I must say this concert had the whole package. Overall, I am content. Always good to have reminders to shake the weight of living and just forget about my worries for a few hours. Next event I'm looking forward to: Nuit Blanche.

Loving What You Do

Growing up I wanted to be an artist or a musician, but I guess we know which direction I chose. During the last few years of elementary school, I decided I wanted to go into the Advertising and/or Editorial field. However, when it came time to choose university programs in high school, I chose a broader route in hopes to learn and experiment more disciplines within Graphic Design. And so, here I am at York University and Sheridan College. If it weren't for this program, I don't know when and how my love for information design would catch up to me. Ever since my Information Design 1 class, I have fallen in love with every aspect of the practice. I adore researching for statistics and tend to spend hours on hours looking through books and websites. This past summer, researching was the reason that got me out of bed on many occasions. I had a few new responsibilities on my plate in regards to extra curricular activities, but that didn't stop me from brainstorming new information graphic projects to start. I figured waking up early to collect data meant I would be able to start on the actual designing by the end of the day, boy was I wrong. There was no ending to the statistics, I wanted numbers to everything.

I have to say that I am currently feeling the same way. Having started researching for my first Information Design 2 project, I am super excited to start the design process once I am finished with the statistics. It's good to know that I enjoy what I do at school - although it may stress me out intensely at times. I realized that many of my friends outside of design despise going to their classes. How can that be? This is what you're interested in, it's your major! With one more year until graduation, I hope the excitement that I get with new projects never fade. 

Following your passion is so important. With my passion in both design and music, I always try to combine both whenever I can; be it in an information graphic or a simple poster. With day to day designing, I try to balance it out by going to concerts and exposing myself to different atmospheres. I realized that although I've been blogging about the concerts I've attended, I never mentioned anything on the opening bands - even though I inevitably become almost equally as in love with them as the headliner. Haerts, a band from New York, opened for Washed Out and I absolutely adore them. Their catchy indie/dream pop tunes surely get me moving in my seat. Dan Griffin opened for Lucy Rose and I was certainly blown away by this local who I've never heard of before. The next morning I went on the iTunes store and did my duty. I'm always up for new mellow fall tunes and the Bordertown Ep as well as his Leave Your Love album is perfect. Haerts has yet to release a full length, so I'm patiently waiting. I'm certainly excited to catch Nightmare and The Cat and Little Daylight open for Bastille and hopefully we'll be seeing more new music in my iTunes for October. 

Feel It All Around

Washed Out at The Opera House

Washed Out at The Opera House

For the past few monthsI seem to have been in denial of my age. Whether it is the teenagers that I work with at my part time job, or the freshmen that dominate the campus each September, it just feels as if time is moving too fast. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that anyone older than I am should be feeling this way - it just seems as I have arrived at this stage quicker than expected. However, after attending Ernest Greene's (Washed Out) Paracosm Tour in Toronto two nights ago, and Lucy Rose's show almost a week before, did I slowly become at ease with my age. Having attended concerts since my teens, I was used to crowds of pushy teenagers fighting to get to the front, arguing over nothing at all. Thus, attending shows with age limits will still be new to me, even with a few years in. The crowd is more mature, we're all basically taking a break from our busy schedules to have a good night and to enjoy some good music. With that thought, my insecurities that come with being in a field of intense competitiveness drifted away as I realized - once again - that my main goal is to be me, to continue to grow and become a better person, as is everyone else. I guess the ethereal feeling that lingered around the venue after Washed Out's performance really made a lasting impact on me. The album Paracosm helped me step out of the idea that the older you get, the more chained down you are by obstacles. I need to view these obstacles as opportunities and the more that I tackle down, the closer I get to attaining my dream job.

It's safe to say that I adore the idea, cover art, and overall vibe of ParacosmWhile Google defines the title as "a prolonged fantasy world invented by children; can have a definite geography and language and history," Sub Pop! Records described it as:

"...a phenomenon in which people create detailed imaginary worlds, and the idea of escaping is all over Paracosm’s music and lyrics. Paracosm finds Greene reaching beyond the computers and synths that filled Washed Out’s previous recordings, expanding his sonic palette to include over 50 different instruments, the most significant of which turned out to be old keyboards like the Mellotron, Chamberlin, Novatron, and Optigan." -Sub Pop! Records 

It is always fascinating to find out how musicians and designers started with their creations. Watching Greene sample all kinds of instruments on The Creators Project was certainly eye opening. I was equally as thrilled to find out who the designer of the Paracosm cover art wasSara Cwynar, currently a designer at The New York Times Magazine, is an alumni of York University's BDES Honours Program. Here's what she had to say about the cover (view cover in the video below):

“Ernest (the man behind Washed Out) really wanted the art to look natural and low-fi. He wrote all the songs in a house in in the country outside Athens, Georgia looking out into a lush natural setting and wanted the art to reflect the surreal, natural landscape where the songs were made, and also the warmer, analog instruments he used for this record as opposed to the digital feel of the last one. 

I worked with found images of flowers from the New York Public Library and manipulated the images in photoshop and with some hand drawing to push the illustrations to look more surreal than the found pictures, then I layered them into the pattern to create the cover.”

I am always looking forward to learning new techniques to create, thus it was interesting to find out how Cwynar went about to execute this project. Overall, I'm thoroughly impressed with Paracosm. This month has been filled with good music and I'm looking forward to seeing Bastille on the 25th... and possibly more music induced self reflections, oh boy. 

 

Gamble

Last night I got to see one of my favourite musicians, Lucy Rose, perform live as she kicked off her North American tour in Toronto. This was my first time seeing her perform with her full band and it was wonderful being able to witness her feed off each member’s energy. Watching Lucy reminded me of myself two years ago when I first started listening to her music. A younger version of myself entering university filled with worries and doubt. Fast forward two years and I’ve gained so many experiences that I would have never imagined. My Gamble designs were inspired by Lucy’s song of the same name, encouraging me to take risks - even though I’m older with more to lose. Just like I used to

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 My friend Christie and I were fortunate enough to meet Lucy for the second time together. It is so important to us to support our favourite artists anyway possible, whether it is to attend their concert or buy their music. Since Christie and I are both visual artists at heart, we know the feeling that comes with being understood through our creations... to have someone approach us, telling us that they admire our work would be an amazing form of reassurance that we're moving in the right direction. Afterwards, we ended the night talking about anything that came into mind, including our personal goals, what we have achieved since graduating high school, new hobbies, and everything in between; but most importantly tons of new bands for over two hours - all the while playing good music of course (check out her 8tracks). 

I realize how important it is to keep the friends in high school that chose different paths when going into university. It opens your eyes when you sit down with them and see how their ambitions changed throughout the years... yet what remained the same (like music tastes). They are able to provide different point of views for you, whether it is towards your current creations, or current lifestyle. Stepping out of my design bubble certainly helped me realize that everyone is chasing their own goals and that although I may not be the best at my field, I know I am still continuing to grow. Who would have known these thoughts would sprout from a simple concert and get together with an old friend?

Lucy Rose - Gamble