Saturday, April 6, 2019

March Playlist | 2019

Another month has passed and that means one thing - exams are slowly but surely creeping up. But, how can I think about exams when I'm living in beautiful Madrid? I've been a busy bee this past month, took a couple of day trips outside of Madrid, or just simply explore the city even more. The weather has been gorgeous, and I've been taking more photos on my analogue camera so there might be a photo post coming soon! Meanwhile, here are the songs I've been listening to on repeat for March:

Spanish alternative is my new fave genre of music, and I have Miss Caffeina to thank for that. Since being in Spain I've been exposed to so many new music artists that are not as famous internationally but have a huge fan base in Spain. Miss Caffeina is one of them, I tried to get a ticket to their concert and it was sold out two months before the show, so you can imagine they have quite a following. One of the first songs I heard from them was Merli, and I immediately fell in love with the synth-pop sound. 

Italian music never sounded cooler, trust me. Mahmood's Soldi will be part of Eurovision this year, BUT that doesn't mean that the song sucks. Actually, it sounds totally different and modern, and I just can't get over the darkness of it. Highly recommended!

I discovered Sampha's Blood On Me through a Netflix show called On My Block (if you haven't seen it yet, I highly recommend it!) and it immediately caught my attention. I knew of Sampha as an artist from before, but this song is just next level. I love the different levels it has, it just sounds so fresh and new.

A playlist can go without at least one indie, take-me-on-a-road trip type of song. Affection by BETWEEN FRIENDS is just that song. Highly recommended if you just want to put your thoughts on mute and daydream.

I have periods when Brockhampton is all I listen to. The month of March has been one of those periods. I've had their songs on repeat, especially Bleach. I just love how mellow the vibe of the song is, but at the same time, it goes soo hard!

Wait, how is this the same Doja Cat we all know about by this point? I randomly found So High on Soundcloud and can I just say, wow. The chill vibes are strong here, but also her vocals sound so calming here. It reminds me of 90s R'n'B/hip hop but with a modern twist.

I think I found the most sensual song in the world. And that title goes to All To You by Sabrina Claudio. I randomly found a deep house remix of this song on Soundcloud and I was originally going to share that version here because it's really good, but the original...OH MY GOD. It's just so slow and beautiful and damn sexy. Ladies, definitely give this one a listen if you want to be in a "feeling myself" type of mood.

If you want to listen to the songs, you can click on the titles above individually, or just click HERE for the whole playlist on Youtube. 
Thursday, February 28, 2019

February Playlist | 2019

I can't believe February is over. This officially means I've been in Madrid for a month and time is flying by so quickly! Somebody tell me how to stop time, please. Adjusting to this new environment has been a pleasure, and I'm slowly feeling like I'm home. I had a dream the other day that 5 months had flown by and I had to leave and I was legit crying and saying how I haven't seen everything I wanted to see yet and haven't done anything I planned. So, I think I'm going to do everything in my power to not make that dream a reality.
Anyways, this month has a short selection as everything I've been listening to is 2000s R'n'B and the same 3 Macedonian songs on repeat, but I somehow managed to slide 5 songs that you probably haven't heard before (read: not all 5).

Out of all of the songs, this one...stands say the least. BUT IT'S FIRE!! I don't usually listen to trap music, but the beat in Beyblade is addictive. Plus, the video is soo cool haha. Bennet is a Swedish brother-rap-duo and I got Julia from the Youtube channel The Line Up to thank about discovering their music. Those Scandinavian countries hit yet again with dope music. The vibe of this song reminds me of Amine, so if you like him you'll definitely like Bennett too.

Wrong is such a vibe. Zayn's music is honestly so good and underappreciated, there, I said it! Plus, Kehlani is the perfect addition to the song, it's just a perfect duet in my opinion. 10/10 

This remix to Ciara's Dance Like We're Making Love is soooo good. I got obsessed with it at the end of January and I still have it on repeat. I love the distortion of the voice, as well as the different layers it has, so i definitely recommend listening to this one (with headphones on for full effect).

Years & Years are back with a collaboration with MNEK for a super catchy Valentine's song called "Valentino". It sounds so typically them, a bit more on the pop side but as always I can never dislike a Y&Y song.

Just like the rest of Macedonia, I too got addicted to Nie Sme 2 by DUPER. And I can definitely say that I've been gravitating more towards Macedonian bands this past month, gotta keep the language alive when all I do is speak English most of the time here in Madrid (or Spanish, with English as a back up).

As always, you can click HERE for the whole playlist on Youtube, or on each individual title above. Happy listening!
Wednesday, February 13, 2019

New beginnings

If you were to ask 16-year-old Elena where she sees herself in 5 years time, she would definitely not say studying in Madrid, completely on her own. When I think about it if you were to tell me that even a year ago, I wouldn't have believed you. Although I'm here for 5 months, this time of my life presents a huge challenge, something unimaginable. But, I'm here. And I'm making it work. Every day brings a different challenge and every day I do something new for the first time. And I'm very aware of it because I know that the first time is the hardest, but also the most interesting. 

Photos: Irina Krstevska

Да ја прашавте 16-годишна Елена каде се гледа за 5 години, дефинитивно немаше да ви каже дека студира во Мадрид, тотално сама. Кога ќе подразмислам, да ми го кажевте ова и пред една година, не верувам дека ќе ви поверував. Иако сум тука на 5 месеци, за мене ова претставува огромен предизвик, нешто незамисливо. Но, тука сум. Успевам. Секој ден ми носи различен предизвик, и секој ден правам нешто ново за првпат. И многу сум свесна за тоа, бидејќи знам дека првиот пат е секогаш најтешкиот, но исто така и најинтересниот.

Фотографии: Ирина Крстевска

Monday, January 28, 2019

January Playlist | 2019

First off, happy new year!
I've been a bit MIA this month, and it's all due to not having time/energy/inspiration to put out anything. I tried to write one post, that I will eventually get to, but I've been so overwhelmed recently that nothing creative comes out of my brain. Hello writer's block, I've been expecting you. 
Either way, I know I can't miss a monthly playlist, especially the first one of the year. So, here are some of my top picks for the neverending month of January:

Finally jumped on the Rosalia bandwagon and boy am I glad I did. She is sooo good! Maybe it was the fact that I'm going to Spain and suddenly I feel the urge to listen and watch everything Spanish, but either way, I'm not losing. "Malamente" is such a badass song, a bit more upbeat than the rest of the songs on this playlist, but I just had to include it.

I've been listening to this song on and off for about two months now, so it finally deserved a spot on the playlist. Tinashe's cover of Drake's "Days in the West", later remixed by Ekali is such a cool song, with so many different layers to it. There is one particular part when she goes "Who you think you're talking to?", I just feel so badass when it gets to that point of the song.

Portuguese sounds so relaxing to the ear, especially in "Te vi na rua ontem" by Konai (which translated to "Yesterday I saw you on the street". As the title suggests, this sweet song talks about remembering a past lover. The calming melody is out of this world, I highly suggest listening to this song!

James Blake is my latest discovery, but I'm not talking about his newest album which I am yet to listen through. I started from the distant 2011, with "Retrograde" and "The Wilhelm Scream". Both have a hauntingly amazing sound, both sound dark and mysterious. As the years go past I see my tendency to stick to music that I either describe as very chill and relaxing, or dark and haunting. I guess I find those types of songs to have more emotion than others.

Speaking of chill songs, "Roslyn" by Bon Iver & St. Vincent is just an absolute dream of a song. When I listen to this song I imagine myself 50 years in the future, in a little, secluded village, in my own little cottage, drinking hot tea with rum and reminiscing on my life. I adore when songs can transport you like this, to a scenario in your head that feels so familiar.

And that's about it for the month of January! Special shoutout to Claude Debussy, Chopin and the W.E. soundtrack for being the background music to my sleepless nights of studying for finals. Click HERE for the whole playlist, or on each individual title above. Happy listening!
Rosalia - Malamente
Tinashe - Days In The West (Ekali Remix)
Konai - Te vi na rua ontem
James Blake - Retrograde
James Blake - The Wilhelm Scream
Bon Iver & St. Vincent - Roslyn

Friday, December 28, 2018

December Playlist | 2018

And just like that, 2018 has come to an end. It's weird because I don't feel like it's the 28th of December but at the same time, I keep on putting 2019 everywhere I need to write down the date. I don't feel sad this year is over, it's been one hell of a ride. In my previous post, I said this was my most challenging year yet, but I think next year is going to top this one.

In 2019 I'm relocating to Madrid, Spain for 5 months to study abroad for a semester. Even writing these words out doesn't seem real. I've literally been waiting for this moment since I first started college, so to finally make my dreams a reality is beyond exciting and surreal. But, as happy as I am about this new chapter in my life, I'm also uncertain about how to maintain the blog in this period. One option is to post photos from my phone (which goes against the perfectly curated aesthetic I have going on here haha), so let me know if that's something you'd even bother scrolling through. I know I'll be posting tons of photos on my Instagram, bus as far as the blog goes, I guess time will tell.

All I know for sure is that 2019 will be all about change, and I'm ready for that. But, since we're still in 2018, it's time to share my December music faves:

If I were told I had the change to go to one more concert for the rest of my life, it would definitely be a Daughter concert. I am just in awe of how gorgeous, mature and resonating their songs are. Somebody explain to me how am I feeling such empathy towards the lyrics in "Love" when I've never been cheated on in my life?! I listen to this beautiful song and I'm connecting to the words in such an understanding manner that it leaves me baffled. I guess you don't have to necessarily go through something to understand it, even some of the lines themselves, when taken out of context can resonate with everybody. Just...listen to this one. You will adore it.

"Losing Interest" just sounds so damn dreamy. Shiloh has a very distinct sound and his songs always have a certain dreamy mood to them. Although the whole song is just like 6 lines on repeat, it still has progression and depth to it. Shiloh plays around with different frequencies with this one, with makes the whole song sound even cooler.

This song, oh my god. "Tadow" was made as improvisation and was completely unrehearsed when it was filmed, which makes it even more magical. 8 minutes of something magical, to be precise. Fkj & Masego are super talented people, big props to them for having such a sharp sense of fluidity.

Khalid is back on my playlist with "Suncity". This song is such a bop, I love it. He can't do wrong in my book. The Spanish parts just add that little touch of something special this song needs. 

"Don't" by Catila has been my go-to dance along song. It's not overly hype, so the head nodding is real with this one. It just makes me feel so damn sassy haha. I guess this month I've had songs that put me in extremely opposite moods.

And that concludes another monthly playlist! Click HERE for the whole playlist on YT or on each individual title above. Happy New Year and happy holidays everyone! 
Thursday, December 20, 2018

A few of my favourite things in 2018

So, 2018 is about to be over, which has led me to do some self-reflecting.
2018 was the most challenging year I've had, ever. I struggled, and I overcame. I tried, and I failed. Oh, how I failed. But, sometimes, I also succeeded, and these little victories have mapped out 2019 for me. From the lowest points came my personal highest, from sadness came growth and from happiness came courage. And with everything I just said being so damn vague, I'll continue to some very specific things. I'm sharing everything I've been loving in 2018, from perfumes to music. So keep on reading if you're interested!
Photos: Angela Petrovska

Епа, 2018та само што не завршила, и тоа ме натера да подразмислам каква ми беше оваа година.
2018 за мене беше најпредизвикувачката година до сега. Се борев и победував. Се обидував и не успевав. И тоа ептен не успевав. Но, понекогаш, имав и мали победи, и баш тие ми ја предодредија 2019та. Од најниските моменти ги добив моите лично најдобри, од тага дојде развој и од среќа дојде храброст. И бидејќи се' што најбројав до сега е прилично апстрактно и нејасно, ќе преминам на работите што се многу јасни и конкретни. Денес ги споделувам моите најомилените работи од цела 2018та година, па доколку ве интересира продолжете да читате!
Фотографии: Ангела Петровска

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Let's talk about the A word

Disclaimer: I am not a professional, nor do I consider myself as highly knowledgeable on the topic of mental disorders. What I'm writing about is solely out of personal experience, and what I've witnessed and read about.

Imagine this: You’re at a party, the music’s loud, it’s crowded and everybody is dancing and just having fun. Everything is fine. Actually, the whole situation is more than fine. You’re trying to fit in, you finally decided to leave the comfort of your room and actually go out and have fun like everybody else. But, something just doesn’t feel right, or better said, you think that something doesn’t feel right. Your brain goes into overdrive, you start regretting your decision to go out, your heartbeat starts to race and your palms start to sweat. It’s crowded so maybe that’s why your breathing starts to get heavy, you struggle to catch a breath. So you decide to go outside and while you try to reach the exit you start feeling nauseous. All these emotions and feelings blur your vision, and you have just one goal set in mind – get outside. You finally do, you breathe in deeply and exhale, multiple times. Once you get your thoughts together and stop feeling like you’re about to throw up, the guilt kicks in. Why do I feel like this? Why can’t I just go out and have fun like a normal human being? Why do I have to make a scene out of nothing? My friends are now worried, but I’m not their responsibility, and I don't want them to think of me like that. You start to wonder why you put yourself in these situations when you know it could be either this or nothing at all, but why risk it? But is that the point of living, to not risk it? To live wondering whether you’ve been missing out your whole life?

Everyone can feel anxious, whether that's before taking a test or when you're put in an uncomfortable situation. When those anxious feelings start to overtake your day, start to become an obstacle in doing everyday tasks, that's when anxiety becomes a mental disorder.

Today, It seems that having anxiety is considered "trendy" and everyone "has a panic attack" over every minor inconvenience when there are people out there that seriously suffer from this mental disorder but are being ignored or not taken seriously. Personally, I've said that I've felt anxious in certain situations, as we all have, but I've never claimed to suffer from anxiety because I've not seen a professional doctor who has diagnosed me of such a serious mental disorder. And the reality is, a large number of the people who use that term don't know for sure too. I'm not claiming that people who experience real anxiety disorders, but are not diagnosed, don't have them. The reality is people are either scared, or they think that it's not important and it can be fixed on its own. So people stay silent, and this includes me too. 

P.S. I highly encourage you to read Donna October's post on mental health and her struggles, it resonated with me and gave me the courage to share my side of the story, although I wasn't planning on making this post so...personal.

I can't pinpoint the exact moment when I started to feel anxious. I remember I was in high school, maybe 15,16, and I watched a youtube video about mental health, and the topic was anxiety. It explained it so well that it made me fascinated that the thing I thought was just nervousness could actually be something bigger, and scarier. When someone says they have a mental disorder, people have the assumption that that person's crazy. At least that's what I thought up until that point.

Fast forward to a party, summer 2016. My friends and I were having fun, dancing at our table, and a couple of guys came over and started to make small talk with us. For some reason, when they approached us, a rush of heat went through my body and I immediately felt my heart start racing and I felt out of breath. Some of you may be thinking "Oh, that's because you liked them." Wrong. I didn't know what to do, so I just removed myself out of the situation. Without saying a word I went outside and tried to calm myself down. My friend called me and asked what was wrong, and all I said was "No, nothing wrong, I'm fine." I clearly wasn't. That feeling became engraved in my mind, I think I'll never forget it. It was my first panic attack, or at least that's what I think it was.

Life went on, and this feeling started to resurface at the strangest of times. One time I was laying in bed, and I was thinking about all of the things I had to do that day (as we all do). On that particular day, I had a handful of personally challenging tasks to do and I let my mind go into overdrive. I began panicking about how I can't do anything, how I'm a failure for not having the guts to do basic everyday things, I was basically overthinking about overthinking. And then that awful feeling came creeping up. I was in awe, how can I make myself panic over something so simple?

Today, I have a vague idea of the situations that make me feel the most anxious. Like parties. But not every single one, which is the part that makes this whole thing a bit more difficult. I guess that's why these photos are meant to represent a party, the place that makes me feel uneasy and full of uncertainty about what's going to happen next.

It's important to respect the fact that certain situations make some people uncomfortable, even when you don't fully understand why they start shutting down. If you don't understand it, read about it, educate yourself about it. Mental health concerns everybody, whether you're diagnosed with a disorder or not - it's our duty to be aware of this growing subject.
It's not stupid to ask if you don't know something.
But it is stupid and ignorant to say to a person who has a mental disorder to "Just get over it", or to mock them. Think about what you're going to say before it comes out of your mouth, sometimes words speak louder than actions.

Triggers. Everybody has them, therefore, they’re different for everyone. For me, sometimes it’s the situations. Other times it’s the people. It sucks when it’s the people because that doesn’t necessarily mean I dislike them. And this doesn’t have anything to do with social anxiety and feeling uncomfortable around new people. I could know the person and be very fond of them, but something in my brain has connected them to a “fight or flight” mindset. I always try to choose “fight”, even when it physically pains me. And if I choose “flight” I think of myself as a failure, so at the end of the day, it’s a lose-lose situation. That is why I’ve chosen to think it’s better for me to distance myself from those people, to avoid getting stuck in this vicious cycle of not knowing if I’m going to panic or if I’ll be just fine. And that sucks, big time.

Coping mechanisms. They come hand in hand with our triggers. I find this quite fascinating because as humans, evolution has allowed us to find ways to deal with every type of stress our body is put under. How we choose to act upon this enormous stress we're dealing with is up to us. We have full control over how we choose to do it. And this is the part I find interesting. Up to this point, I've let those anxious feelings take over my sanity, to play with my emotions and physical health. But when I actively choose to start taking matters into my own hands, and I say to myself "Snap out of it! Just breathe!", that's when I know I'm in control now.

Everybody has different ways of coping. Some take deep breaths, some need to be alone in silence and others use calming music. It's all about finding what works for you best. Yes, it sucks that it's based on trial and error, but don't get yourself down because what isn't in life?

Next time you leave the party, don't be discouraged. Go again, and again, and again. Don't let anxiety stop you from doing what you want.
If what you want is to go out and dance - do it.
If what you want is to stay home and watch movies - do it.
If what you want is to push yourself to do something knowing it might end up with a panic attack - do it. It might not this time.
This is what gives me hope every time I try to do something all over again - "It might not this time."