Inspe

This morning I’m taking inspiration from one of my favorite blogs, Inspe.
Inspe is ran by one of my friends, a divine being, a gem, Lauren Purnell. In Lauren’s words, Inspe, a twist on the word inspiration,  is “the art of getting your life. Anything that speaks to your soul and brings you joy. Spreading the vibe of authenticity. Create your life. Dream it. Speak it. Live it.”

I met her at my current job, where she no longer works because she wanted to pursue her entrepreneurial dream and abandon our friendship lol.

Just joking we’re still “amigas4life”. Inspe is a daily photo blog email. She sends out this email at 4 am with memes and gifs that have no specific story to tell, but you get to create your own story and interpret them how you please.
If you follow my posts you will know that I am a MEME QUEEN.

If you’ve ever texted me you will know that I am also a self proclaimed GIF connoisseur lol. So this blog is like heaven in an email. The thing is memes and really gifs really speak their own language. It puts imagery to feeling which is interesting because most people are stimulated by visuals. It’s almost like when you’re texting or talking on the phone and you can’t see someone face to face, you let them express your emotions for you. I love it!

So anyway, Inspe is unique in the sense that it leaves interpretation up to the beholder. Sometimes it’s just interesting or eye-catching aesthetics, funny stuff, sometimes you’re like “that is so trueeeeeeee!”, sometimes you have no choice but to screenshot at least 3 of the images because they hit something on the nail and send it forward.
You never know what you’re getting which is the best part.

As like a little preview, this was today’s inspe email:

There was a few gifs as well that I can’t add here but you get the gist.
Awesome Randomness.
If you want to subscribe, which you should lol, you can at this link and you will start receiving the emails.

Hope you decide to sign up, just sharing something I adore♥

Love ya, Neffi

Their Words Still Speak to Me: Revisiting Teen Pop from My Childhood

by Robine Jean-Pierre

Last night after a long day at school, as I slipped under the covers and into bed, I did something that was long overdue: I looked up a Hannah Montana song on YouTube. I started with “This Is the Life” and next thing you know, I was a dozen songs deep and brimming with romance, joy, teen spirit, excitement, and needless to say, overwhelming nostalgia. I knew that once I had started it would be hard to stop; even though it was approaching 2 a.m. I just kept checking what was in the “Up Next” list under each video and picking the one I wanted to hear most, jumping from stone to stone like a child in a stream.

I love the musical composition of lots of Disney teen artists’ songs, like those of Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, the Jonas Brothers and Selena Gomez. Sure, teen pop is not the most diverse genre out there; the songs do tend to fall into a predictable pattern. But something about these songs was so familiar, so cozy; the lyrics spoke to my heart and even the instrumentation seemed so rich that I couldn’t resist soaking in it all.

Recording one of my own songs (Perfect Love) in a friend’s home-based studio last week made me realize just how much goes into even the simplest modern song. We had started with a preliminary acoustic version–just one layer of guitar, my lead vocals and my own backup vocals harmonizing–but I realized that if I wanted to take it to the next step in a future recording session, I would have to be thorough and specific about what I wanted. When you really listen to a typical song today there is so much going on, so many layers and nuances and effects.

Getting back to my Disney favorites, the beautiful thing about these songs was not just the instrumentation and composition, but of course, the lyrics. So many of today’s songs are too simplified–not that many words, or not much meaning or neither, just vain repetition. That’s why I hold dear to my heart the songs that have a pure, positive, universal message and are not just about sex, drugs and money. Many of these Disney songs talked about innocent romance punctuated by either fear, excitement or both (see Hannah Montana’s “He Could Be the One,” and Demi Lovato’s “Catch Me”); about having standards upon entering a relationship (see Vanessa Hudgens’ “Say OK”); about the love of a father and daughter through the years (Billy Ray Cyrus and Miley Cyrus had a few, such as “I Learned from You”); about friendship and love as a whole, not just romantic love (Hannah Montana’s “You and Me Together” and “Bigger Than Us”). These topics are not necessarily simple, but nearly anyone could relate and benefit from listening.

Some songs that really spoke to me that night were Hannah Montana’s “Make Some Noise” and Demi Lovato’s “La La Land.” “Make Some Noise” has the kind of message you don’t hear enough in mainstream music:

“Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re not strong enough
Don’t give up, there’s nothing wrong with just being yourself,
that’s more than enough
So come on and raise your voice
Speak your mind and make some noise…”  

Sometimes we need this reminder, teenagers and grownups alike. Hannah Montana’s music was geared toward predominantly young preteen and teenage girls, I presume, and they are often in need of all the support they can get; they receive a lot of pressure from mainstream media to be something they’re not, and to keep quiet if their opinion is not popular. “La La Land” is a very feisty, edgy, playful song about someone who’s famous but not afraid to be herself, someone who doesn’t let celebrity go to her head. One verse says “who says I can’t wear my Converse with my dress? Oh baby, that’s just me.” The chorus says,

“Some people say I need to be afraid
of losing everything
because of where I
had my start and where I made my name
but everything’s the same
in the la la land machine.”

Demi Lovato had my heart from very early in her career and her voice is as amazing as her songwriting skill (which is an understatement). To see that she started strong, went on a decline, battled her demons and overcame to continue making powerful music is a tremendous feat. Maybe these very words played a part in bringing her back to full recovery, as she realized that she couldn’t let anything change her for the worse. (It would be unjust to not recommend her comeback song, “Skyscraper.”)

I can unashamedly say that many of those songs don’t need to stay in my childhood– they are just as relevant, some even more relevant than before (particularly for the love songs now that I’m of age and engaged). Seeing that some artists like Miley are grown now, and have made drastic changes in their career in terms of target audience, message and style, I could only hope that they are not ashamed of their past, and that they don’t dismiss the beautiful songs they made popular as childish, boring, or cliché. Their words still speak to me.

Virtues from Motherhood: Why I write

Happy National Day on Writing everyone!

In case you didn’t know today, October 20th is a day devoted to writing and the importance, evolution and impact of it. The National Council of Teachers of English promote the event with the hashtag #WhyIWrite. So, in honor of this day I thought I’d share my reason for writing.

My reason for writing has always been driven by a love of words, of books, and of reading, but it wasn’t until I had my daughter that I really fell in love with writing again. I have always known the importance of words and the weight they carry but to me, they carry even more weight because I know someday my daughter may read the words I have written. Words are powerful and inspirational and they can change your life, but they can never be taken back once they’re out there. I write to share my experiences, I write to connect with people, I write to let people know that they’re not alone in their struggles and that they can  get through whatever it is they’re facing. I write because it helps me make sense of what’s going on in my head and it helps me feel at peace with whatever choices I’ve had to make. Ultimately, writing is a type of therapy, an out and something I am passionate about and hope to pass onto my daughter one day.

Academic Self-Discovery: Relatable Characters

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The topic of finding out passions and going after dreams not only come into play in the real world but also in art and works of literature. By doing this, it allows the directed audience to see and relate to some of the struggles the characters face, making the characters feel more real as well as getting the intended story or message out there. This has been done in inspirational movies like “Gifted Hands” and “The Pursuit of Happyness” which focuses on the hardships the main characters face and their stories of perseverance to reaching their goals.

Two semesters ago I read a book with a collection of short stories called Drown by Junot Diaz. In this work of literature, the character Yunior struggles with wanting to explore more from the life he is given but does not know exactly what it is he is searching for. He wants to leave his neighborhood and his lifestyle of selling drugs yet has no direction or guidance to show him a way out. The book lets us know that Yunior has an interest in writing and if he chooses to leave his neighborhood to better himself, a career in writing could be what he decides to do. Yunior to me represents the fear of what if something does not work out and the moment before taking a chance. If Yunior decides to pursue a career in what he enjoys, it just might be what gets him out of his situations.

Yunior is a character that is written to feel relatable. Though I do not share the same experiences and hardships as him, I do understand what it’s like to be stuck. I sometimes get stuck in bad habits that hinder my growth in chasing the career that I want. Realizing that I do not wish to stay stuck is what I usually need to get out. It is what I believe Yunior will come to realize one day.

Have you read anything or seen movies/shows that is about characters chasing their dreams? If so, feel free to share. I’d love to check them out.