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esides the fact that spring is approaching soon, I’ve been reflecting on the past week with Local Wolves and I’m incredibly thankful to have such a supportive team to help release issues for the past five years. I’m such an avid reader of many independent magazines and I’ve realized that quality over quantity is what I truly value in any sort of content whether it’s published online or printed for the world to see. You might notice a few gaps with the magazine over the past few months but the great thing about being an independent magazine is being able to tweak and try new things, discuss new topics, highlight more about our readers, give back to those who stuck by the magazine for the whole journey thus far. We plan to continue to improve and provide opportunities for others as well. This ‘fresh take’ issue is more than just about new beginnings but it’s highlighting creative people who are passionate about their craft in life, plain and simple. Nothing has to always start in the new year but it can start right now. For example, I’ve been talking about ‘what if I bought a gym membership’ or ‘I wanna workout but I’m too busy’ these are excuses that consume my mind every single day. At this point, I’m like screw it. I’m going to focus and invest my time for my own health and well-being. I’ll keep you posted on my progress but hey, baby steps! Anyways, I hope you enjoy this issue as much as I do. Our anniversary issue is coming soon, stay tuned.

Cathrine Khom

founder & editor-in-chief twitter / instagram: @cathrinekhom



classics 08







take care


the orange peel


safety pinned


wolfie submissions



features 38

john vincent III


ashley lukashevsky




la bouquet

56 60

noah kahan jenny welbourn


cinematic gold

80 70 86

get away amy lee heartbreaker




a girl and a dream

ISSUE 53 / JENNY WELBOURN local wolves is an online and print publication delving into the most creative minds from the world of arts, entertainment and culture. the publication is driven by the passion for the best coverage and photography to create an adaptive aesthetic. as always, features focus on the diverse talent among the many creative industries of everyday people. SAY HELLO / LET’S CHAT general info@localwolves.com press press@localwolves.com advertising advertising@localwolves.com get involved community@localwolves.com



founder / editor-in-chief cathrine khom copy editor sophia khom community coordinator erin mcdowell marketing coordinator elizabeth eidanizadeh music curator sena cheung social media nicole tillotson web design jesus acosta logo fiona yeung cover photo cody guilfoyle

alexia de melo @lexdemelo atlanta, ga

design / illustration kelsey cordutsky, laura filas, lisa lok, leah lu, megan kate potter, bethany roesler contributing writers sadie bell, kendall bolam, olivia clark, meghan duncan, morgan eckel, madisen kuhn, natasa kvesic, hanna la salvia, michelle ledesma, tayllor lemphers, leah lu, t’keya marquez, mackenzie rafferty, jasmine rodriguez, celeste scott, lauren speight contributing photographers pamela ayala, emily dubin, danielle ernst, penelope martinez, dillon matthew, naohmi monroe, bran santos, myrah sarwar, starr smith, sarah ratner, lhoycel marie teope, ashley yu

ashley lukashevsky @ashlukadraws los angeles, ca cody guilfoyle @codyguilfoyle new york, ny dylan ashton @dylanashhton los angeles, ca heather hixon @heatherhixon los angeles, ca

jordan randall @imjordanrandall florida / new york karina suzanne @karinasuzanne florida / new york kenzie goley @kenziegoley tulsa, ok la bouquet @labouquetband los angeles, ca luke wright @lukeawright washington, d.c. CONNECT

jenny welbourn @wearilive brooklyn, ny

website / localwolves.com twitter + instagram / @localwolves fb / facebook.com/localwolves

john vincent iii @johnvincent3 los angeles, ca

read online issuu.com/localwolves print shop magcloud.com/user/localwolvesmag


playlist + FEBRUARY / MARCH 2018 +



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Known as The A, A-Town, The Empire City of the South, Hotlanta— though no locals actually call it this, Atlanta is the city of many names and rich history. “Atlanta on the rise” is a popular phrase coined to describe the growth the city has gone through. It’s hard to find a city with more prideful inhabitants than Atlanta. Ask anyone from Atlanta why they love their city and you’ll be sorry you even asked in the first place. For one, Atlanta is beautiful. It’s one of the only metropolitans completely surrounded by trees with tall, glossy buildings poking through the canopy, giving it the name, City of Trees. Going up on rooftop parking garages is a common past time of most locals and it makes for the perfect backdrop. Atlanta has the dreamiest mix of old, brick buildings and shiny, metal skyscrapers. We even have our own version of the Flatiron Building, seen pictured. One of my favorites, is The Westin hotel. It’s the tall, shiny, circular one with a spinning observation deck and restaurant at the very top that you can see while driving down the interstate. From the top you can see all of downtown, including Georgia Tech University, the gold leaf covered dome of the capitol building, the surrounding forests, and even Stone Mountain, a giant granite deposit about thirty minutes from downtown. Also when you’re driving around and stopped on one of the many bridges over the interstate, the views make being stuck in traffic so much better. A popular bridge, the Jackson Street bridge, was made famous from being featured in The Walking


Dead. It’s one of the best spots to watch the sunset over the Atlanta skyline where you and thirty other photographers and their tripods are set up to try and capture the best sunset and skyline landscape. Home to festivals of all kinds from food, arts, and music festivals, small businesses, historic food chains, major attractions such as the world’s largest aquarium—The Georgia Aquarium, and to the World of CocaCola, it’s hard to be bored in this city. Food is a major part of the city. Atlanta has a range of types of restaurants like small businesses like Hop’s Chicken, at Ponce City Market, and Fred’s at Krog Street Market or fast food chains that have over 75 years of history like The Varsity, which is the world’s largest drive-in restaurant. The Varsity can hold 600 cars and more than 800 people inside the restaurant. On Georgia Tech game days, more than 30,000 people walk through it’s doors. Also a defining restaurant of Atlanta, is Waffle House. Live here for only a couple of months and I promise you will find yourself ordering hash browns at 2 am at some point. Waffle House is a major part of Atlanta culture as it’s always the move after sporting events or where you walk to during ‘Snowpocalypes’ because it’s the only place open when the city is covered with a white blanket of snow. As a girl with probably one of the biggest sweet-tooths in the world, it’s hard to choose a favorite spot for the perfect dessert to end the day in the city. From Café Intermezzo and their delicious cakes, to Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams and their organic lavender ice cream. A Sunday night can not be spent wrong at either one their many metro-Atlanta locations.

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Art and music are huge parts of the city. Atlanta is the site of a thriving music industry representing all types of genres, such as R&B, gospel, country, and hip-hop. Artist like Usher, Migos, Lil Yachty, Gucci Mane, and Childish Gambino all call Atlanta home. There’s always a concert whether its at a big venue like the new Mercedes Benz Stadium or small and historic venues like The Tabernacle or Eddie’s Attic. Many artists come through the city making it a popular stop on tours. Driving around the city you can see the culture and history through the musician on the street corner to the murals painted on the side of a building in midtown. Tiny Doors ATL is one of Atlanta’s many art projects that help bring some color and fun to the city. They are tiny six inch tall doors placed all throughout the city and are constantly changing. The Living Walls is another art project that paints large scale murals taking advantage of the wall space in Atlanta to help bring thoughts on important topics of our society while bringing color to the neighborhood. Atlanta, ATL shawty, A-Town, home. Here’s to you, Atlanta and all your special features that make you so colorful, delicious, and beautiful. We still love you even when it takes three hours to drive through downtown on I-75 during rush hour.


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+ BY H A N N A L A S A LV I A +

When I inhabited this space “Art Club” just last year, I set out to share my experiences and advice to everyone with the most sincerity. I wanted to create a safe place for people who needed a visual reminder to be strong and kind to yourself, without any judgment. The irony of it all was that while I came off as someone who was so emotionally healthy and open, I didn’t even recognize that I, myself, was feeling the lowest lows I had ever felt in my life. And although I never admitted it to myself or anyone around me, I had been dealing with depression. Over the course of a few months, my depression also expanded to anxiety and I would experience a great deal of panic attacks. By this time, I was convinced that I was losing control of my body and most importantly, my life. But the absolute worst part about it was how uncomfortable it was for me to admit that I was in this state of mind. I felt guilt, anger and very ashamed. My automatic reaction to my sadness and anxiety was to try to fix it instantly. While it was already difficult to tell other people, it was almost impossible for me to open up to myself. I had my own expectations of what “mentally ill” meant and I couldn’t accept that I was under that category. My feelings began to terrify me and I spent months trying to distract myself from my own mind. It was only when I started to realize how uncomfortable I had become with my natural and human emotions that my mindset began to change. I know what it is like to have the sheer expectation to be happy shatter you time and time again and I know that there must be a million stories on how to fix your depression, anxiety etc. but I’m really not here to tell you that you need to fix anything because I wasn’t broken and you aren’t either. If you ever want to be truly happy and kind to yourself, as I so often say here, you must be kind to your feelings first. You must to come to terms with the loneliness, depression, anxiety, or whatever you’re going through that day and welcome them with open arms, understand them, feel them and then let them go. Only then, will we learn to have control again.


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Plan to be Present.

“there are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. one is called yesterday and the other is called tomorrow, so today is the right day to love, believe, do and mostly live.” — dalai lama I love writing lists and schedules. Sometimes I plan my entire day hour by hour the night before. Wake up at eight. Stretch at eight-ten. Walk the dog at eight-fifteen. Eat breakfast at eightthirty. You get it. I’m naturally a very impulsive person. I’m in my head a lot of the time. Planning makes me feel like I’m in control. The future always feels full of hope and possibility. Blank and open, a white sheet of paper ready for me to fold it any way I like. But the present often feels like an overcast afternoon, where you sit by the window and daydream about all that you’ll do when the sun comes back out.


It’s always easier to plan than to act. Planning is just fanaticizing. It’s a great way to discover your priorities and to realign your focus, get in the right headspace, but it means nothing if you close your agenda and let it collect dust on your desk. You have to mean it. I made a list of things I wanted to do in the new year. Read more books, travel more, drink more water, do more yoga. It felt good to compile that list. So far I’ve read two books. I’ve not practiced yoga. I’m still dehydrated. I’ve booked one Airbnb. And as we approached February, I’m discovering that I want my real resolution to be to focus more on the now. As a Pisces, I’m always longing for a dreamier reality. Forever imagining what could be. And while this is an excellent way to escape for a bit—creating Pinterest boards of my perfect home and writing poems about the possibility of someone new—it isn’t conducive to embracing the now. Days will go by, and I will have done nothing but muse about the unknown. I notice the sun has set and I’m still in my pajamas, left with an empty feeling.

There’s nothing wrong with creating long-term goals. Goalsetting is great for perspective. For finding direction. But sometimes it can be intimidating, unrealistic, wasted energy. So, I plan to start replacing “I will…” with “I am…” and see what happens. “I will read 44 books this year” turns into “I am reading today.” Which statement is more likely to get you to crack the spine of that Jane Austen novel you’ve been meaning to start? Shrink your focus to what is right in front of you. Ask yourself what you can do today to grow or feel happy. Embrace all that you can that will lead you to rest your head on your pillow at the end of the day with a sense of fulfillment. Look straight forward, don’t let your eyes wander. This is your life. The pen is in your hand. You are writing your epic love story. You are composing the score of your whimsical adventure film.

I hope today feels like a fresh start. And tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow. I hope you wake up every morning and discover new ways to feel whole. To be free. I hope you go to the coffee shop when you rather hide in your sheets. I hope you listen to the aching in your muscles and make time to soothe them.

I hope you take deep breaths and accept the empty boxes on your checklist. I hope you do not measure your success, your joy, by trivial things like crossed-off resolutions. Who cares if you read 44 books this year if you don’t? If you wake up on December 31st, having read four books all year long, but with warmth in your heart and sparkle in your eyes, why should it matter? Don’t neglect your now’s by fantasizing about the future. Because all your fully-lived now’s will blend, and without noticing, you will forge the future you were aching for all along. You will find that the things you’ve hoped for are in front of you, not a distant, blurry figure that exists only in your foresight. It is here. It is now. You are here. You are here. You are here. You are now. Take care,

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If I had a nickel for every time I wrote a piece about my hair, I’d be a billionaire. But I can’t help it. For Black women hair is a sacred entity— forming, re-forming, and changing as we do. Big chops, box braids and bantu knots are special kind of language for us. You can often tell what season of life a Black woman is in by the state of her hair. Maybe she’s been through a breakup, or a just moved to a new city. When a Black woman changes her hairstyle it’s rarely just because. There are photos of my Mom tucked away in photo albums in our house where her hair is thick and straight and bluntly cut right below the ears. In these photos she wears round, wirerimmed glasses and other accessories characteristic of the 90’s. Once after coming across these photos my Mom flipped, slowly past them saying, “I was very sad.” I later found out that these photos were taken right after she’d had a miscarriage. My Mom never said much about the haircut itself, but I knew from my own experience with hair that it was a form a rebirth. A week after my high school prom, I cut my hair for the first time, and I’ve been going shorter and shorter ever since. Though my Mother has never been a big fan of my short hair, much like that haircut she got in the 90s, my haircutting was a continuous symbol of rebirth. Last Spring I started buzzing my head, which felt particularly liberating. I found a sense of control in watching my hair fall to the floor with each buzz. It was like watching every expectation set up by the world, and even myself, simply turn to ashes. With every buzz came a surge of power—a sense of complete


autonomy. Even more liberating, perhaps was the fact that when I looked in the mirror with a freshly buzzed head, it felt like I was getting a glimpse of my truest self. For some reason, however, as the new year rolled around, I decided to let my hair grow out a little. I hadn’t reached for my clippers the entire month of January—a sharp contrast to my previous tendency to buzz every other week. I cringed a bit when I met my Mom for lunch and she said she loved how long my hair was getting. Immediately, I snapped, “Well, don’t get used to it because I’m buzzing it as soon as I get home.” I didn’t. I kept letting it grow. I bought shampoo and conditioner for the first time in months. I found an old container of leave-in conditioner that I thought I’d never use again. I could’ve just buzzed it. I really could’ve. But I didn’t. In fact, the thought truly never even entered my mind.

Strangely enough, I began to feel a new version of myself emerging. One that saw power, not merely as a result of my ability to challenge the norm, but as an inherent part of my very existence. I began redefining what control meant to me. Before, it meant defiance and boisterousness. Now it meant humility and tenderness.

Showers became a daily avenue for self-discovery. Running conditioner and shampoo through my newly formed curls was a gentle reminder of the ways in which softness can be powerful. Much like my soft curls that spun in every which way, soft power is adaptable and ever-changing. There is no rigidity in softness. Rules and regulations do not apply. There is only grace and patience. Softness doesn’t beg for the appearance of power. It just simply is.

I’m re-defining what it means to be in control, and realizing the definition doesn’t have to have rigid parameters. Like most things in this life there is nuance to power, and it can take different forms in different seasons. I’m in my last semester of college, and I’m ready to graduate to say the least. Being in the space that I’m in is often quite difficult. Most of the time I feel like I’m on the outside, looking in. My tendency is to be ruthless with my words—to break others down in an attempt to build myself up. In a way, this offers the same sort of feeling of liberation that buzzing my head brought. I often find solace in clearly identifying myself as one who doesn’t adhere to the norm. And while in many ways this method can bring about a lot of self-discovery, I must admit that it can be an extremely limiting way with which to view the world. Living in a continuous state of pessimism is taxing, even if the purpose is self-preservation.

During this last semester at school I want to focus more on protecting my energy, and recognizing the power that is so inherently within me. I want to direct my thoughts and energy towards positivity, opening my mind to the fruitfulness of the present. I am beginning to understand that power comes not from an appearance of strength, but in the kind of tenderness that is quiet, and self-nurturing.

In this season of my life, power looks like soft flower pedals, and fluffy white bed sheets, lavender spray and palo santo. It’s making myself warm meals and singing at the top of my lungs in the car. It’s crying when necessary and smiling only when it’s genuine. I’m no longer forcing myself into my old construct of liberation. I’m learning to transcend my old definitions without condemning them. Just like my hair, which each day blossoms and takes new shapes, I am continuously forming, re-forming, and changing. BANNER + ILLUSTRATIONS BY LEAH LU

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This issue’s fresh take: throw practicality to the wind. Not to sound too much like your daily horoscope, but sudden change can be a sort of therapy. If the dragging winter months make you moody like myself, I would suggest my favorite coping mechanism to you, which is to pretend that it is not winter at all. Strawberries, popsicles, strappy summer dresses and your favorite shades will get you on the fast track to imagining sunny skies outside your bedroom window. If weather doesn’t permit this where you live, wear what you want inside! Break out the red light bulbs, queue up a dreamy pop playlist and take cute pictures with friends to forget the bleak clouds and low temperatures—even for a moment. COVERAGE BY MEGHAN DUNCAN / PHOTOGRAPHY BY DANIELLE ERNST / BANNER BY LAURA FILAS / WARDROBE THRIFTED + SECOND HAND ITEMS


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With a new year comes new opportunities for change and growth. It goes beyond resolutions— it’s a fresh take. 2018 is the chance to start fresh, radiate positive energy, and set your personal goals. ‘To More Goodness’ — i dedicate this year to focusing on my love for myself — my personality, my body, my soul. being aware of my thoughts and of all the beliefs that begin to sneak their way into my subconscious. i intend to maintain a mindset of gratitude and abundance. doing more of the things that i love, the things that pour more life into my lungs and more joy into my heart. i forgive the past; everyone and everything, especially myself. all my attention is going towards the present moment. all my excitement and creation of specific manifestations in my future, i will experience in the here and now. this is not a resolution. this is an intention to carry on doing what i’ve began this past year. to take it to further levels of goodness and expansion. the only reason it’s easy for me to write about with such confidence is because i have genuinely been living it most every day of the past months. this is about watching it all get better and better, the connection deeper and deeper, the synchronicities and serendipities wilder and wilder, as effortlessly as ever. — AMAL ALNUAIMI / DUBAI, UAE


A fresh take is a chance to start again; it’s a clean slate. You can stop, breathe, and reflect. For me, a fresh take is a chance to improve myself and to see what I can do better. Throughout the duration of 2017, I learned more about myself than I ever could have imagined. I learned how to be brave, to stick up for myself when it’s needed, and not let anybody treat me like dirt. I know now that I am worth so much more than that, and I will plant seeds in the ground that people held me to, and they will grow into something beautiful. I learned that I am capable of so much more than I thought I was, and I owe myself an apology for not thinking more highly of myself. 2017 was nothing more than a prelude to the marvelous things that are to come. This New Year is a fresh take, and I am marching in with a clear and optimistic mindset. I am putting my foot down and holding my head up. This is the year for me to chase the dreams that I’ve been too afraid to run after. I was too afraid of failing, or being criticized by those around me, but not anymore. Words are just words, and I can learn to tune them out. Failing is a rite of passage, but I’ve learned how to pick myself back up. This is my fresh take, one that I will take advantage of in every way possible. – AMARYS DEAN / GEORGETOWN, USA .CURATED BY ERIN MCDOWELL / ILLUSTRATION BY LAURA FILAS

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Loving the only Asian girl in the room Someone’s gonna love you It won’t be him Yes, he is beautiful Yes, he looks like a good idea, a lifetime of memories waiting to happen But he is looking at her, with her ocean blue eyes Porcelain skin, raven hair Long, slim limbs She has a lovely face She is beautiful, like a dream of his that’s now come true And he doesn’t see you Before, you would’ve been sad and angry and hopeless At him, at her, at yourself mostly But you find that you look at them and think “Go. Go be happy. Be with each other. You both deserve it.” And you smile at this fresh take on life, On this shifted perspective Thinking that you will be happy too That someone’s gonna love you You, and your brown eyes that shine like gold in the fading light You, and your tan, olive skin Dark hair in all the places you don’t want it to be Thick thighs, thick arms, and thick stomach Round faced, crooked teeth, you You still laugh with your whole body You still feel with your whole soul Oh, someone, someone’s gonna love you That someone can be you So you must stop feeling less than the pretty white girls who surround you Southeast Asian American girl, you A Filipina enveloped in the sun and the moon Clothed in strength and pride, inherently worthwhile You are loved Right now And you are beautiful Right now – NINA PAMINTUAN / ASHLAND, OR

2017 felt like a test that i didn’t study for. it felt equivalent to the feeling of sitting down, reading the first question, and realizing you are completely and irrevocably fucked and unprepared and there’s nothing you can do about it. but it also felt like the wave of semi-calm you feel when you look around and realize that everyone in the class feels equally not ready, so it’s almost okay. this year felt like a shift in the universe; a chip in the tectonic plates of my life, the sand in the hourglass suddenly realizing it was late to the future. everything seemed to move fast and slow, simultaneously. sweet moments as fleeting as the dust specs in the early morning light of a bright room, painful lessons that seemed to never stop bleeding. 2017 broke every bone in my body but put them back together in a way that makes it impossible for me not to forgive it for the hurt. it peeled back the skin i had grown to protect myself, stood back and beamed at a body i could barely recognize. it was a necessary evil. 2017 rubbed me raw and red; it showed me how it feels to pour salt on an open wound, it taught me how to take the hurt and paint with the colors. it made me question how we were all on the same page while reading different books, how we all silently agreed to accept this new paradigm of sharing emotions that most of us couldn’t even describe. 2017 felt like growing pains. like learning how to walk. like trying to fill the shoes of a person you haven’t met yet, but later realizing that the shoes belonged to you the whole time. 2017 felt like staring at a map for 364 days, completely lost, and then finally realizing you know exactly where you are. it felt like coming home. – ASHA BAILEY / SAN DIEGO, CA

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the person I blossomed into wasn’t the person I wanted to be. When the clock struck twelve and we entered 2018, I let go of the frivolous resolutions I thought of. I made one promise to myself – to thrive. Change is difficult, and I don’t expect myself to make a 180 degrees turn. But this year, I want to flourish. I no longer want to be stuck in a cycle of setbacks, but I want all 37.2 trillion cells in my body to prosper. Promises like these usually disintegrate by the end of January, but this one in particular is flowing through my blood. 2017 in all its glory was a turning page, a reminder to begin living my best life. 2018 is a fresh take, a new beginning – 365 days for me to finally bloom. – SUMONA SARIN / NEW DELHI, INDIA

The start of a new year always seem to be the perfect way for a clean slate, that’s for sure. I don’t know how many times i’ve made resolutions that i never get to keep until i went through hell and back that i wasn’t the same person anymore. I think it has something to do with growing older. But i’m still alive, albeit the number of demons i fight everyday, i personally believe always choosing to continue to grow every day is the way to go. I will never be ready for whatever life throws at me. I can have a good cup of coffee to start my day or i can have hurricanes waning down my way at 7am. I don’t know how many heart breaks i’ve yet to feel; how much words i need to say or keep sealed. I don’t know how much the universe is capable of breaking me down and how much more pieces i can take out of myself. I will never be ready. But in every passage, every heartbreaks, every doubts, every accomplishments—i will always face them upfront with a hopeful pair of eyes for nothing is ever wasted. In every silver lining lies a new beginning. – PAULA PANAGLIMA / MANILA, PHILIPPINES (ILLUSTRATION ABOVE) 2017 was bittersweet – a concoction of somber days and euphoric nights. 365 emotionally draining days, leading to me desperately awaiting the new year. Nevertheless, 2017 was important. Towards the end of it, I realized how badly I needed to change. Instead of being happy with who I was, I was just comfortable. I accustomed myself to mediocrity, never pushing myself and just remaining stagnant. It was this sense of comfort I felt that stopped me from improving, and constantly left me disappointed. It took me months to come to this realization, and even more time to muster up the courage and accept that


– RACHEL BARTZ / CHICAGO, IL (ARTWORK ABOVE) When the clock strikes midnight on new years night, after midnight kisses and happy dances are made, almost everyone tend to make promises and new year resolutions, looking forward to a new and fresh take on life. New starts in life are great - they have this magical feeling, this unbreakable lust for freedom. But fresh take is not necessarily about the date or resolutions, new haircuts or big plans for the next year. Sometimes, when you want to start fresh and you are ready to conquer world and build your empire, suddenly, everything you haven’t left behind or tried to hide so desperately, comes back unexpectedly. Like a nuclear bomb. And then they destroy everything, you know, as nuclear bombs tend to do. And empires fall, resolutions break and you may lose any perspective on this newly found fresh take on life. Now it’s time to build yourself up again. Sometimes starting fresh doesn’t necessarily mean starting with a white blank page, big smile, energy and great expectations. Sometimes you need a fresh take to “not give up and keep going”, because you grow what you go through. Because every day is a fresh take, whether it’s on old things and people or on new life in general. To the new year, new haircuts and old skeletons under your bed, which need fresh take to be dealt with. – SIMONA GRĀVĪTE / RIGA, LATVIA

be spent well and your hustle to be real. And you know, some people live and strive for success, but what does that even mean? Success is just a word. A word that I believe means different things for different people, but how quick we all are to forget this. Society puts boxes around us and builds walls in front of truth. We’ve forgotten how to be different. We’ve forgotten what it means to be original, authentic and real, but we still have the power to stop. Maybe we don’t have to worry about where we’ll be in 10 years, or worry about how much money we’ll have saved or who will be president... maybe we could just live. Live without comparison or fear of our future. Live without prejudice and jealousy, hate and partiality. We must break the cycle we have created because if we were to truly live freely we’d soar into the next adventure with all of our being and we’d find such a freedom. There is certain kind of beauty and assurance in not knowing what the future holds. We may lose our way, our belongings, or lose ourselves, but may we never lose our wonder and passion for life. – ANNA HEFFINGTON / VIRGINIA BEACH, VA

A fresh take is a chance to reinvent yourself. It’s a chance to become the person you truly want to be. Hopes and dreams will only get you so far. Start taking action to make things happen in your life. Ask the girl you’ve had a crush on for a date, open your business, travel to another county, trying something that absolutely terrifies you, etc. Take a chance, and fail. And fail often! For it is through failure that we learn how to succeed. This doesn’t mean you should stop dreaming, for dreams are the blueprints to your success. It simply means you should start acting on your dreams. I guess the only question you have to ask yourself is, “do you want to keep dreaming or start living?” – ALBERTO VILLA / SACRAMENTO, CA (PHOTO ABOVE) Maybe it’s the crisp edges of the paper under my finger tips, or the blank lines my mind automatically fills with adventures, but planners have always given me a certain satisfaction. I like to live in the in between; never planning too far ahead so I still have freedom, but also, having the comfort of knowing what’s next. Funny to say that out-loud because as an actor I never truly know what my next week, month or year will look like. Maybe it’s because life comes with so much uncertainty that I like to create a bit of routine to rest in, or maybe it’s because I’m afraid of what would happen if I didn’t plan...if I completely let go of all ideas of what my future should be. Pursuing your dreams is no joke. Mentally and physically it demands 100 percent attention. It takes structure and determination. It requires your time to

– MARANDA VANDERGRIFF / (KNOXVILLE, TN (ILLUSTRATION ABOVE) A fresh take for me is attempting to savour the simple moments of life more, and finding a peace in my surroundings. I want to allow myself to imagine more, dream more, and not be confined by the idea that there’s an ultimate secret or ‘truth’ to how to live right, but finding out what works for me. – GRACE JOHNSON / SEVENOAKS, UK

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A fresh take provides an opportunity to starover, try something new, and better yourself. To start the new year with hopes of fulfilling new things is always exciting. Setting goals and striving towards them are vital. A fresh take allows me to evaluate the previous year and implement new ideas in the new year. Here’s to the year of moving forward, the year of trying to appreciate what is around me, and the year of being thankful for each circumstance I am placed in. Here’s to a fresh take. – YASMIN MURPHY / NASHVILLE, TN (BOTTOM LEFT PHOTO)








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fresh start with fresh faces a clean slate to fill with masterpieces not only in myself but in others I will paint this canvas in the colors of compassion clean slate ~ g.k – GRACE KOLPACK / BUFFALO, NY


Brown bodies often get confused with mines nowadays, and when you told me you were scared you’d get caught in the explosion, I didn’t blame you. This heart resembles a grenade and when it bounced off the walls in my chest when we moved like heat waves on the bed, I think we both feared for our lives. – HINNAH MIAN / CHARLESTON, WV



To me, although stereotypical, the new year needs to begin with a bang. It must be vibrant and exciting in order to ensure my happiness through the year. While others may find flowers and daylight refreshing, I find something thrilling about the dark and the way we find a unique way to make ourselves shine. – MOLLY CHRISTOPHERS / AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS (PHOTO BELOW)

grow upon the land you were planted. you were once a tiny seed embedded in the earth but with a little bit of light you blossomed – gracious and faithfully as you are and through the withers of time you continue to bloom till the moment the fruits of your soul hit the ground – you are your own creator of life. though you will wilt and shrivel and die the one thing that cannot hold you back is what you give for the earth to keep. grow upon the land you were planted. this life cycle never ends. there is no limit to the beauty you will leave behind. — growth. – ANNABEL “BELLE” TAN / LONDON, UK

January 1st comes like the calm after the storm, the wet pavement after a long rain. It’s a breath of fresh air; a fresh take. To me, a fresh take is a page turn in your life story, a chance to start again. I’ve always imagined the new year as another chapter in your life that YOU get to write. It’s a reminder that you’re the author of your book and no one else. Mindset is such a powerful tool and using it for your advantage can make you unstoppable. I’m looking forward to this year to advance not only in my work and art, but mentally and emotionally in my relationships with others as well. I feel like this past year sparked my motivation and drive and I’m excited to see where it takes me in 2018. Although jumping into the new year is great, it’s important to not discredit your accomplishments of last year. We should remember our low points and feelings of joy and learn from them to become a new and improved version of ourselves. Our past moments of growth are vital to who become and how we deal with challenges in the upcoming year. Let 2018 wash away the hurt and pain but hold onto the happiness and new experiences that 2017 produced. I hope we can all turn our goals and dreams into reality this year, and celebrate every little thing and milestone with a full and happy heart. — SYDNEY BARRAGAN / LAKE FOREST, CA


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“Come on maker is there something that I’m missing,” a quote from the band Alberta Cross, stands alone on the website of a young ambient folk artist, JOHN VINCENT III. The quote, a meaningful and inspirational message to John probes the meaning of life. John noted, “We can do all the things we think will make us happy… but it’s never enough.” This question of life and happiness is one that John often asks himself. He noted how he sometimes wonders if he’d be happiest living in a tiny cabin in the mountains. John foreshadowed, “So it’s just a lyric I love and begs a bigger question and that’s one the topics my next album will be touching on… it seemed fitting for where I am at in life.” John is a budding musician who is making waves with his recent song release, “Back to My Ways.” This song is really a product of overcoming an emotional and distraught mental state. In a conversation with Local Wolves, John spoke on this dark period in his life. He noted, “I had never experienced anxiety or depression or horrible self doubt before… for a few months I basically spent all my nights in my tiny apartment bedroom smoking and feeling really horrible about myself.” After his move to Los Angeles, John found himself almost unrecognizable. Feeling alone and dejected, he began wasting his time with viscous thoughts of self-doubt. Then, John noted, “One day I decided I was going to work towards getting, as the


title says, back to my ways.” This song really centers on the importance of having a strong relationship with yourself— John shared that the “you” he sings in the song is actually referring to a version of himself he missed having around. John nostalgically discussed the concept of feeling so disconnected to his younger, excited, and exploring self. “Life happens,” he noted, “And your emotions take control and you lose yourself.” Ultimately, “Back to My Ways” is song about John’s journey out of self doubt and loneliness. John hopes that this song can relate to other people as a reminder for hope and self-love. “It’s a song to show myself and others that it’s more normal than you would expect for people to have these problems, but that we need to make it a continuous effort to bring ourselves back to reality and form that relationship with yourself.” Before John’s formative journey that led to “Back to My Ways,” he was still playing and creating music. John started playing guitar and singing around his junior year of high school. In his journey with music, he discovered a myriad of artists who made him fall in love with capturing emotions and creating classic, timeless pieces of art. John’s career really began through his connection with social media— “I posted signing videos online and got feedback,” this feedback helped him really believe in the possibility of his dreams.

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John’s musical inspiration stems mainly from two of his favorite artists, Justin Vernon and Rob Grote. Now, for those non-music buffs out there, Justin Vernon is most known for Bon Iver, an amazing and mystifying folk-indie band. You can almost feel Bon Iver’s influence behind the emotion evoked by John in his songs— both artists truly aim at capturing heavy and powerful emotions. Rob Grote is known for being a part of the band The Districts, “His writing is crazy… he’s for sure the reason I found a passion for writing,” noted John. Thus, John’s musical style and journey is widely inspired by passion for writing and emotion. Beyond playing music, John has a multitude of other passions. Road trips, hiking, exploring, and Thai food (obviously) are all important passions of John. When it comes to exploring and his more adventurous pursuits, he noted that “having meaningful conversations along the way” with his friends are his favorite elements of these adventures and memories. Following passion, is massively important to John. “Feeding your passions and allowing yourself to be happy doing the things you love is beneficial when it comes to writing.” For an artist, creating new experiences helps in garnering an understanding of what to create and write about. For John, adventuring gives him the freedom and opportunity to reflect and release. These cathartic experiences help John grow as a human being, thus aiding his creative pursuits, even if just by happenstance.

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In 2008, the United States witnessed one of the most historic presidential races in this nation’s history. The first black presidential candidate, Barack Obama, was running for office and the excitement behind his electoral run was fueled by hope, passion and a promise of progress. The campaign’s impact and lasting impression will forever be marked in history by Obama’s inspiring speeches, his call for unity and of course the political art that was made. One of the most symbolic pieces of art, which became the cornerstone of Obama’s presidency, was Shepard Fairey’s “Hope” poster. Now, during times of immense change, there comes a need to encapsulate all of the feelings, iconic symbols, and movements, in activist art pieces. Honolulu born and Los Angeles based graphic design artist, ASHLEY LUKASHEVSKY, has taken the nation by storm as one of the creators of iconic resistance symbols and images in an environment that requires her vibrant, poignant and empowering style to heal, inspire and drive others to make a change. Lukashevsky has found her niche in creating pieces that ignite and sustain social movements, images that are created with respect, love and the knowledge of the social justice issues they represent. With her numerous designs covering issues from LGBTQ+ rights, to the Black Lives Matter movement, to immigrant rights and many more, Lukashevsky’s art has been shared all over social media and has even been used as signs

during recent protests. “I was at a rally to defend DACA right directly after the administration’s announcement to end the program, and I saw a young woman holding up a sign that was pasted with an illustration that she had printed out from my Instagram account. It was so meaningful to see that my art had spoken to someone enough to do this,” explained Lukashevsky. The way her art inspires others to take action and use their voices to fight for something bigger than them is a parallel to how Lukashevsky’s career began and how she realized the power of art with a message. Growing up in Honolulu, Lukashevsky was surrounded by a landscape that could be best described as simply alive. With surroundings containing all the colors in a deluxe crayon box and the people creating an aura of liveliness with their every movement, the lush land of her home is her biggest inspiration. “Both places that I’ve spent most of my live are full of vibrant cultures and diverse communities— which is has definitely influenced my subject matter,” shared Lukashevsky. By incorporating that same vibrancy and excitement in her art, she has been able to add an element of energy and animation to somber issues in our nation. Lukashevsky puts forth an image of positivity, appreciation and inclusion in her art by using figures that seems to move on their canvas, practically showing us to hold our heads high and stomp our feet firmly on the ground in the face of adversity.

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“i truly hope that my art makes people feel motivated to show up for the issues that they feel most passionate about.”

When she moved out to California to attend the University of Southern California, Lukashevsky put her art on hold and pursued international relations, which is how she believed she’d make a real impact in the world of social justice. It wasn’t until she took graphic design as one of her electives, that she realized her love for creating art and her passion for creating social change could be brought together to bring about the change she wanted to see. “When I made the switch into pursuing a creative career, I knew that I had to make artwork that spoke to my passion for social justice. I love to create, but more than that I need to create things that explore the crucial moral issues that our country continues to perpetuate,” said Lukashevsky. From then on she’s been staying true to her style and collaborating with publications and organizations with a mission to create social change. On Lukashevsky’s website, all of the art she has created is compartmentalized by subject matter and which organization it was affiliated with. In the past two years, she has created art for GOOD Magazine’s “World Refugee Day” feature and an powerful article entitled “The U.S. States Prohibiting the Discussion of Abortion in High Schools” which was featured in Broadly and their celebration of Planned Parenthood’s 100 year anniversary. The Planned Parenthood illustration was one of her first freelance assignments and was of great importance to her personally: “...it was meaningful to have the opportunity to illustrate around a topic that is so close to home as one of my first explorations into professional illustration,” Lukashevsky explained. “I remember having absolutely no sex education at my public high school. I remember the day we learned about puberty and periods in 5th grade, and then nothing at all about contraception, pregnancy, abortion or STI’s at any point after that. The lack of information of young people is appalling, and puts so many teenagers at risk.”



Recently Lukashevsky has been involved with initiative called LA2050 which is described as “an initiative driving and tracking progress toward a shared vision for the future of Los Angeles.” Being a fan of the foundation since her years at USC, it was an incredible honor for her to play a part in their work: “The team was a group of supportive, intelligent women driven to improve the lives of Angelenos, and that made for an incredible experience. I designed assets around the MyLA2050 grants competition, where we awarded $1M works to deserving organizations around LA county,” said Lukashevsky. Being a freelancer who has taken on so many projects in the recent years, the time taken to produce these illustrations is usually left undiscussed and unnoticed. With someone as detail oriented and passionate with their art as Lukashevsky, it’s important to create an atmosphere that is optimal for designing. “I like to keep a really organized and clear space and open all of my blinds so that it’s really bright and airy. I put on whatever music I am feeling at the moment— my music choice always depends on the mood I’m in that day,” Lukashevsky explained. “Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Jill Scott. Sometimes I just feel like listening to Stevie Nicks or Beach House, other times I need to put on Run the Jewels depending on the kind of energy I want to have. When in doubt, I’ll put on Lemonade.” Ashley Lukashevsky has managed to create the ultimate concoction of social activism and art, all the while fulfilling her personal goals. As for the future, she has a couple of projects in the works already that consist of creating album art for Georgia Nott’s upcoming album The Venus Project of which Lukashevsky says: “The entire album was created and produced by women, from beginning to end. The album is going to drop on all streaming platforms on International Women’s Day, and I am so happy to be a part of it with such kick-ass group of female artists.” She has also wrapped on a marketing project with a major apparel brand and is planning on having her first pop-up shop in Portland at Project Object later this year. At the rate the Lukashevsky has been going, there is no stopping her anytime soon. With constant curve-balls being thrown by the current administration and the many people at risk in this nation, the work is never done, and Lukashevsky has found hope amidst the onslaught of negativity: “I truly hope that my art makes people feel motivated to show up for the issues that they feel most passionate about. It’s easy to lose hope for justice, especially when we are being bombarded with such negative and sensationalist news, but I hope to remind people that they are not alone in wanting better for our country. We need to be louder than ever to stand up for immigrant rights, black lives, indigenous dignity, and all of these interconnected issues.”

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The hardest part of growing up is letting go of what we’re used to, and moving on from something we’re not. We start finding ourselves within life changing experiences like it’s our 9 to 5 job. It is when we start embracing the journey and finding comfort in uncertainty that we truly see how far we’ve come. Young film director and screenwriter Dylan Ashton gives face to the feels of youth with his new short film CULDESAC. Feeling young and free, yet not free enough to avoid the hardships that come with having to grow up is something we all resonate with. For Ashton, his creative process started after his move to LA just after high school. He describes it as a scary time, also adding that he wasn’t even old enough to sign a lease. That dichotomy of innocence both withheld and slipping away all in a moment’s time. He says, “What is at the heart of Culdesac is the loss of innocence, or rather that tragic moment in our childhoods that we simply stop believing.” Ashton was able to tell a story all his own, all while having the ability to remind us of ours. As a young filmmaker, the journey of creation isn’t always easy. Having an independent cast and crew certainly had its obstacles. The biggest obstacle: being taken seriously in a world surrounded by individuals with more experience under their belts. Above all the doubt from himself and others, the title of “young filmmaker” was a title they were fighting to reclaim from those who criticize it. He says, “Although making a film is a long and seemingly endless fight, it is worth it. Anybody really can do this, and can be taken seriously doing it.”


Ashton’s strong sense of independence makes endless room for individuality within what he creates. The soundtrack of Culdesac is a perfect example of that. Its primary influence being Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs, which he says helped maintain a particular tone for the film. Longtime friends Romil Hemnani of Brockhampton as well as Albert Gordon (Natalie Green) collaborated with Ashton to provide themes and melodies for Culdesac that set the mood that will bring the audience along for an intimate and emotional ride. He says, “I very clearly remember the day we finally landed on what became the Culdesac theme melody, too. You would’ve thought we won the lottery, we were all so happy.” Another way in which Ashton presents his vision is with his deep admiration for the films and filmmakers that came before him. He says” It’s only recently that I realized how my experiences watching Spielberg films during my childhood helped really shaped who I am. Particularly a film like Catch Me if You Can, which in many ways is where I found the emotional core of Culdesac.” For Ashton, what makes a film memorable is how confident a filmmaker is in the story they want to tell, and how sincere they are in the way they approach that story. He says “I believe it was Spielberg who, when making Close Encounters of The Third Kind, said that he wanted to make a movie that made “reality fun to live with.” That’s something I’ve always wanted to emulate and anyone who can do that in their film has a special place in my heart.”

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Director Spike jones is a big influence on the film. “In high school, I watched Scenes from the Suburbs, the short concept film Spike collaborated on with Win Butler, and it changed my life.” He says. A film that captured a poignant time and place he related to immensely. What stuck out to him the most, was how Spike chose to only focus on the flashbulb memories that define our childhood. When asked what he’d like others to take from the film, he says “Filmmaking may not be the romanticized process that I and many others might envision, but as long as you cherish your vision and fight to preserve the honesty of the story you are trying to tell, you’ve managed to do something great. Above all, despite our limitations, we set out to make something that was truthful and sincere. So if nothing else, I hope that people can feel that, as well as the spirit and energy that went into making this.” As for his plans for the future, Ashton is finishing up a script for what he intends to be his first feature length film. He says, “It’s about a family of criminals in Texas and I’m really excited about it. I’m also working on a film festival, which I intend to officially announce sometime later this year.” 2018 is already looking incredibly bright for Ashton and we can’t wait to see his creations on the big screen. Till then, we’ll be over here awaiting the public release of Culdesac.


“although making a film is a long and seemingly endless fight, it is worth it. anybody really can do this, and can be taken seriously doing it.”

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If you haven’t heard of LA BOUQUET yet, their undeniable charm and cinematic sound will infiltrate your playlists in no time. The band is the latest alternative-pop venture of musicians Bryan Sammis and Jake Lopez. The duo are long-time friends who, prior to the formation of La Bouquet, have each navigated the industry as parts of other projects as well as through solo work. Some may recognize Sammis as the former drummer for The Neighbourhood and as solo act Olivver the Kid, and Lopez is a former member of indie pop band Sink Swim. La Bouquet was born when the two decided to step away from these projects, and the decision to collaborate was seamless.


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“Putting music out as a duo as opposed to more people being involved was more a product of circumstance and timing. I think the future line-up of La Bouquet could very well be more than two people.” The biggest difference between the two artists? Sammis admits, “The biggest difference would be that I am always thinking about the lyrics and the melody in the course of writing, just everyday life. So much of my life is consumed with the words I want to say and I think it’s a beautiful thing but also a burden that certain singers or writers have to bear.” Though their sound is uniquely their own, La Bouquet’s eclectic tracks draw inspiration from 80’s post-punk inspired pop; an era of music that was more about conveying a feeling rather than appealing to mass audiences. This is what Sammis and Lopez envision when creating their own music. “A lot of the 80’s music that I listen to definitely feels emotion based over formula based,” says Sammis. “It feels like a lot of the choices were made because of an emotion or a feeling rather than because of what was ‘catchier’ or ‘right’. I feel like a lot of vocalists from that time period used the range in tone in their voice to compliment the music, much like an instrument.” La Bouquet made their debut just two years ago with their single “Loveless”, and since then have released their first EP, Heavy Sunshine; a collection of tracks reminiscent of lost love and of every night you’ve spent singing wildly in your car. What shaped the EP? “Heartbreak,” says Sammis.


“when you do and you can articulate yourself with such duality it is like discovering another facet of your artistry that you didn’t know you were missing. it makes me feel whole.” “The end of a relationship, really. Depression and anxiety that I constantly deal with, but also knowing that I want to get better and I am motivated. The dichotomy of dealing with all of this negative stuff but not reveling in it. Knowing that you want to take this pain and turn it into something you can smile about. Art.” Something that doesn’t go unnoticed about La Bouquet is their way of incorporating visual elements to enhance their storytelling. “I think, with any great art, the coupling of audio and visual can be what sets you apart. I think to truly know yourself on both levels is not an easy accomplishment. When you do and you can articulate yourself with such duality it is like discovering another facet of your artistry that you didn’t know you were missing. It makes me feel whole.” The band’s artistic vision is crystal clear in the recent release of their music video for the song “Kiss Me Kill Me”. Sammis says he wanted it to feel like an episode of a soap opera. “You get picked up and dropped in the middle of this movie where you have to put some of it together yourself. I think exercising that creative freedom for the viewer is liberating.” Though the band and their work are evolving, their incentive to create music has stayed the same: “It was always to make great art. Those were the broad strokes, at least. Peppered in were the smaller more ambitious goals. I would say the broad strokes haven’t changed. It’s all about making great art.” Their passion is evident, and La Bouquet’s music creates both a raw yet whimsical soundscape that is sure to resonate with the listener long after the songs end.

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When singer/songwriter NOAH KAHAN was in the fifth grade, he wrote himself a letter. He wrote that if he didn’t have a recording deal by the time he graduated high school, then pursuing music just wasn’t for him. But the young artist must have had some sort of fated inclination even then, because by the time the now 21-year-old was done with his studies, he had indeed landed that record deal he was hoping for. “I always knew I was going to be a songwriter,” Kahan says, as if it was written out in the cosmos. For Kahan, though, an emerging singer coming from a small town in rustic Vermont, his pursuits of making it in the music industry seemed almost intangible just by his lack of resources and abundance in distance. “I basically had zero access to the music ‘industry’ as it is growing up in Vermont, outside of the internet,” he says. “I never had even the slightest idea of how difficult it can be to breakthrough or how unlikely the chances of succeeding in the way I had dreamed for myself. I just assumed things would figure themselves out, and I wasn’t good at anything else, so I kept writing songs believing one day people would hear them.” And because songwriting had been Kahan’s utmost passion since his childhood — the gift he felt compelled to release into the ether — people did hear them. Though a side of the singer felt as if the world would never be able to hear his voice coming from the North East, Kahan illustrates that where we our from does not have to deter where we go, but can beautifully inform the journey. And because of this, Kahan is where he is, not just telling stories to you through his folk-inspired songs, he’s writing them for you.

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With only the internet truly within his reach, Kahan followed the formula for success that seemed most familiar: releasing his music online and hoping his songs find their way to the right set of ears. So, after working with a local producer, that is exactly what the up-and-comer did, which actually did end up connecting him to industry professionals and making the aspirations he had held onto since fifth grade feel real. Those songs that struck his manager who once discovered him via Soundcloud, label heads, and his ever-growing fanbase, like the tracks off his recent Hurt Somebody EP, converge catchy pop sensibility with folk’s romantic arrangements and storytelling lyricism. In his gentle, comforting voice singing therapeutically over an accompanying acoustic guitar, Kahan creates songs that feel as if they are the warm glow shining down onto the earth in a forest clearing. Brought out of the woods of Kahan’s Vermont home and his own intrapersonal, he writes music inspired by similar songwriters before him like Bon Iver and Gregory Alan Isakov, hoping to strike a chord with his fans as those artists did for him. He says, “I felt like they were looking into my soul. All I knew after hearing Bon Iver and Gregory Alan Isakov was that I needed to find out how to do what they do.” By drawing from their personal lyrics, Kahan discovered his own sound and sought to offer fans the feeling of relief and connection music had given him, writing songs like the bittersweet “Young Blood” that simultaneously pulls the you in and out of a dark place as if to guide you to a place of betterment. He says, “I try to write about every aspect of my life, the good and the bad. My mom told me that if you just write about what you’re feeling at the moment you’ll never run out of material, so that’s what I try to do.”


“I hope people listening will hear me speaking about my insecurity and my soft spots, and feel less afraid to speak about their own, or at least come to terms with them. That is the end goal for me, and if there is anything I can offer to people through my music, I hope that will be it,” he says. Kahan’s songs seamlessly offer this form of relatability, as his pours his heart wrapped up in solemn experience, anxieties, and personal growth into each verse — but coming from a small town, entangled in what felt like whirlwind success, it took Kahan time to be able to wrestle with the industry and get to the artistic space that he is in. “At first I felt afraid that everybody and everything was going to screw me over, and that if I wasn’t writing the best song every single time, or wasn’t hitting each note perfectly every time that I was a failure. I’ve learned to trust my ability and my instincts and trust those around me want what’s best for me,” he says. “If there somebody who was going through change or finds themselves in a weird new place in life, I recommend just being patient and waiting for time to make things seem normal again, because that’s what worked for me. Try to breathe and tell yourself there’s a reason you’re where you are.” It’s like there is a reason Kahan is where he is today — on the cusp of releasing his debut album, setting out on tour across the globe — like every Vermont autumn informed his organic sound and the child who once picked up a guitar for the first time knew he would never let it go. So, even if it was a “relief” to Noah Kahan’s eleven-year-old self when he finally landed that record deal, perhaps he always knew that this was the story, or folk song, he was writing for himself. “Success is static and fleeting,” he says, but “no amount of failure will take away my love for writing music.”

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On one of the first days of 2018, a friend and I sat at a park in LA and people-watched. We were talking about the lessons we’d learned during the bedlam of the previous year and the goals we hoped to speak into existence for the one ahead. Some of the dreams we discussed existed on a larger, more reverie-like scale: someday soon, we would move to New York City and live in a tiny apartment with all the creative possibilities at our fingertips. Others were far less drastic: we wanted to be less concerned with the self (and society)-imposed “rules” of clothing. For one, we wished we could embrace the “baggy” look — it was something we considered to be effortlessly cool on everyone else but ourselves. JENNY WELBOURN is all of that gracefully manifested. Her Instagram bio simply but poignantly sums it up to a tee: “Baggy in NYC, making videos in NYC.” Currently living in Greenpoint, a quaint neighborhood nestled in Brooklyn, Welbourn is the face and brains behind the YouTube channel WearILive. Her channel features cinematic, visually stimulating, and informative videos spanning a whole array of topics, including skincare, beauty, travel, fashion, and sustainable living. Though the comment my friend and I made about baggy clothing seems minuscule, I think there were a number of underlying reasons we found it notable

enough to mention. Oftentimes, our stylistic choices reflect the seasons and stages of life we’re in. They provide an avenue for us to physicalize both our rage and revelations. And “baggy,” in particular, symbolized liberation. It was a declaration of comfort and confidence, not only in the physical realm, but internally, too — it feels softening but strong all at once. Welbourn feels the same. She describes her own style as a mix of “grandpa meets grandma meets little girl,” as many of her outfits are made up of oversized pieces and funky accessories. “My clothing choices really reflect myself now, I like baggy for most days,” she explained. “I always want to be able to move and feel comfortable. On the weekends, I want frills and colors as my personality feels the brightest in group settings out with my closest friends.” Her fashion inspiration comes from old films, accounts on Instagram like Man Repeller and Lisa Says Gah, and the streets of New York City. “Living in New York helps immensely because you can wear whatever you want without ever thinking twice about it,” Welbourn said. “Coming from a smaller town, I remember feeling the pressure to not dress too crazy or different because people would notice.”

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Welbourn hails originally from Colorado, and her journey to living in New York wasn’t without struggle. “After high school, I felt stuck,” she described. “I was unable to move to New York right away, which devastated me. I thought that working hard in high school meant that the rest of my life was smooth sailing, which is comedic looking back. I took the year at a local college letting myself figure out how to get myself to New York, which now I understand was the best choice for me at the time.” It was in that in-between space when Welbourn launched what started off as a creative outlet and eventually blossomed into a fulfilling career: YouTube. “I turned my disappointment into finding a way to connect myself to the life I wanted to be a part of. At that time, I wanted to grow in the fashion industry so I started my channel based around my outfits and lookbooks,” she said. Her journey is a testament to the way things work themselves out in their own time. It’s also ongoing, as moving to the city of your dreams doesn’t magically eliminate the intense highs and lows that come with life and work. I asked Jenny about her experience of making it as a young person in the city, and she responded, “I’m not sure if I’ve quite made it yet, but I’m trying!” She attributes a good amount of her rapid growth as a creator and a person to New York, which moves and changes just as swiftly. “I’ll be honest and say I either love it or hate it. I moved out here pretty much on my own which I’m proud of myself for doing. The process has made me grow up faster than I would have anywhere else,” Welbourn said. “Creatively, it’s a similar story. On one hand, you have so much inspiration, but with all of the inspiration there’s also a very large set of competition. My advice to myself daily and to anyone moving out here is to


soak it all up. Meet new people, be open, be ready and take the time to appreciate the small things that happen to you everyday. Nowhere else is like New York.” By willingly gleaning as much as she can from all that the city presents, Welbourn has gained an influx of insight and information that’s spurred her to reorient her lifestyle. A majority of her channel focuses on the concept of sustainable living: she makes assorted videos about going green, slow fashion, detoxing, and transitioning to veganism. “We have a voice and our dollar that helps us shape how businesses run,” she said, specifically about slow fashion. Her decision to cut fast fashion was the paradigm shift — after that change, Welbourn progressively began making conscious adjustments that are helping her reduce her carbon footprint. “It’s really about taking small steps and becoming informed. And don’t be too hard on yourself if you can’t do it all at once. Everyone is at a different place in their life and has different means to be able to make different choices,” she said. It’s been a holistic process. These tangible changes are tied closely with fostering good energy both environmentally and within. Welbourn explained that she has grew into a much more spiritual person last year, which has expanded her capacity for positivity. There are several tactics she intentionally carves out time to practice in order to care for her mental wellbeing, journaling and listening to self-help audio books (The Power of Now and The Ultimate Law of Attraction Library are two she recommends) included. She’s also a believer in counseling and self-exploration. They’re practical means of combating the ever-looming self doubt that every person inevitably confronts, and Welbourn is determined to place self-care at the forefront this upcoming year.

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“ C R E A T I V E LY , I T ’ S




“20 1 8 is going to b e a goo d year for me. i’m excite d by t he life i’m li v ing, i’m excite d to reach my goals , and i’m so grateful to b e surrounded by all t he p eop le in my life right now,” welb ourn said. she, too, is compiling a lis t of resolu t ions b ot h big and small: seeing a t herapis t regularl y, t raveling more, and get t ing her own sus t ainable brand up and running. “ t his year i w ill work on asking for t he t hings i want and b eing read y and willing to recei ve t hem ,” she s t ated. may b e sp eaking goals into exis tence is a hal f- baked and hop eful t hing, bu t if t here’s anyone who’s p roof t hat it work s , it ’s jenny welb ourn.

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S I W A N T. . .”

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Something that my mom has told me repeatedly over the past few years is growing up means making a series of choices in hopes of getting yourself where you want to be. You might make a choice and you might not end up where you wanted and that’s okay because then you make another one. Moving to New York was one of the scariest, overwhelming transitions in my life. I had an idea of New York before I blindly moved out here and most of my preconceived notions of what my life would be like were completely wrong. I’m so glad they were. I had ideas of who I wanted to be and how I would get there. Upon moving here, those series of choices I spoke on earlier came into effect. Feeling lost, I started to notice myself changing swiftly away from the things I thought would make me happy before and began to understand myself on a deeper level. I was observing the fashion industry first hand and for a long time I felt very conflicted with my love for fashion and finally I realized the impact of clothing on our environment and the people making them. I didn’t feel like I could have both which threw me into a whirlwind of creating a new direction for myself. Being online, I felt a pressure that I couldn’t continue on if I didn’t have a clear purpose and vision to create something that felt important. This is when I started making real changes in most aspects of my life. The more shopped second hand and slow fashion, the fast fashion I once relied on felt undesired and unnecessary. The more I cut out dairy the more I realized I felt better without it psychically and emotionally. These were all small choices that have led me to a point that I’ve never felt more like myself. Nothing happened overnight for me, and I want people to know that I still don’t live exactly how I would like but I try to stay conscious of my decisions and understanding the consequences that they have. Cutting out things slowly or allowing myself time and leniency to experiment and find alternatives have been huge for me. I want my space and platform to grow into a place where people don’t feel pressured or judged for their lifestyles but are able to grow and take steps to become the person they want to be. My life is still a series of choices, ones that are usually not easy, but I’ve learned to navigate them with the viewpoint that I can always make another choice. With each small decision, I am growing and changing into the person I want to be.



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Throughout the years, there have been plenty of coming of age stories brought to life by a number of directors in a number of films. Yet Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird remains in my mind much longer than any of the others ever have. Lady Bird is bittersweet. It’s a heartbreaking and equally heartwarming story of a high school senior (Saoirse Ronan) searching for love and an exceptional life of purpose and culture anywhere but in her hometown of Sacramento. In case you haven’t heard, Lady Bird is an incredible film, and it’s hilarious too— mostly because Lady Bird is an honest film. It is a powerfully truthful look at the struggle of growing up poor and having a relationship with your parents where in one moment you feel their love and safety, and the next you’re feeling lost in total conflict and confusion. If you were wondering, Lady Bird is much more than a “teen girl” movie. That label seems to put this movie in a box that is far too small. Lady Bird is a movie about family. It is a movie about love. It is a movie about identity. It is a movie about learning to love the world around you. And yes, it is a movie about girlhood. A movie about girlhood that is so funny and honest, it will leave you crying of laughter and maybe sadness. You should watch Lady Bird sooner rather than later, not only for its humor and its wisdom, but because there’s a good chance that Lady Bird is you.

If the superhero genre isn’t for you, I have great news: Wonder Woman isn’t your average superhero movie. In fact- if you’ve never been the superhero-movie type, this is the one worth an exception, because Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman might just be one of the most important films of the decade. In a world already cluttered with superhero movies, Wonder Woman stands out as a hero worth following. Throughout her whole life, Diana (Gal Gadot/Wonder Woman) has only known two things: good and evil. There has been a clear light and dark in Diana’s life until she meets Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), a human man. What makes humans different than anyone or anything Diana has ever encountered is that humans seem to have built the bridge between good and evil. Some of us are good and some of us are bad, but most of us are a little of both. Diana, facing her own internal struggles with this concept is left with a choice, and she chooses to love. Diana radiates love in her humor, her femininity, and her actions. She


fights for those who cannot fight. She stands for those who cannot stand. She speaks for those who have been silenced. And she saves those who need to be saved. Sustained by the heroine spirit of young and old girls everywhere, the Wonder Woman movement has begun, and it’s not going away anytime soon. In Wonder Woman, Diana reminds us not of who we are, but who we might become— if we so choose. She takes what a large portion of society has thought a female-hero could be and flips it 180 degrees completely on its head. Finally, we have a female hero who is presented to her audience for her character, for who she chooses to be and what she chooses to do. (I credit this largely to Patty Jenkins’ directing, had anyone else been in the chair we might have gotten a very different movie). The bottom line is, Wonder Woman is a hero in every sense of the word, and I can’t imagine anyone else fitting the bill as much as she.

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If you find love as miraculously mysterious as I do, Call Me By Your Name is sure to fill your heart with feelings aplenty. The movie, adapted from the novel of the same name by author André Aciman, is about a 17-year-old boy named Elio and his budding romance with Oliver, a graduate student interning with Elio’s father for the summer. Call Me By Your Name is one of the most visually attractive films you’ll see in your lifetime— you’ll be mesmerized at how immersive this movie can really be. The food, the bicycles, the landscapes and the culture, director Luca Guadagnino practically takes northern Italy and places it on your lap for 2 hours and 12 minutes. It’s really something to be seen. But Call Me By Your Name is more than just pretty, it’s a warm and heartbreaking look at self-discovery, family, and falling in love. Without spoilers, the last 15 minutes of the film transcends just how emotionally overwhelming you sat down thinking a film could be. This film is crushing and healing both at once. I hope you’ll see it.

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Traveling has long been my most efficient form of self-care. There’s something transforming in replacing a routine and everyday environment with a foreign one. It’s not just the change of location that’s beneficial to me, though. Even the physical act of traveling is therapeutic. It requires patience. It requires an open mind. These two characteristics are important to possess and nurture. I recognize not everyone has the ability to travel. I find similar peace in taking the subway, driving around in my car, and simply walking around my neighborhood. As trivial as it may seem, self care is vital. 2017 was a trying year for a lot of us on so many different levels. Be sure to prioritize your personal health this year.


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a girl and a dream

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I’ve always been a dreamer. When I was in kindergarten, I wanted to write a novel. So I scribbled a story on a piece of notebook paper And handed it to my teacher, Because dreaming naturally demands a response. Your dream will evolve and it will change. But more importantly, The dream will move you and it will transform you, Sometimes in baby steps and sometimes in leaps of faith. A dream is kept alive at 74 and sunny. A dream stays with you through 46 and cloudy. In fact, dreams are what take you through storms and trials. Dreams will carry you through the mundane. Writing, dancing, painting, singing; Every dream looks different. Living, breathing, moving, soaring; Each one is alive and active. A dream: A vision, a prophecy. To dream: To change the world now. Dreaming is not a future, It is a transformation of the present. Dreaming is not disengaged, It is fully functional and entirely involved. So dream, I say to boys and girls. Let your words and actions and ideas Inspire a generation of activists and innovators. Seek out your dreams, Go out and imagine and cultivate a renewed world. Follow the desires and urges you already have, Allow your ambition to renew the life inside of you. Yes, I’m a dreamer, And I’m a doer too.


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ON REPEAT “Paradise” by Sade, a classic that I always start my mornings with.

CELEB CRUSH Steve Lacy, his cover of Prince’s “Purple Rain” at the El Rey Theater captured my heart.

DREAM DESTINATION Crema, Italy, after watching Call Me By Your Name, I was visually stunned by the filming location and immediately wanted to catch a flight to Northern Italy.

YOUR HOROSCOPE SIGN Taurus. I’m as stubborn as you can get but particularly independent, and I have a soft-spot for splurging on Balenciaga pieces.

ON YOUR FOLLOW RADAR Clairo, a fellow freckle-faced gal that makes great tunes and she has an amazing sense of style.

LOCAL GEM Lilac Patisserie, I have been pairing their Nutella toasts with green tea since my freshman year of college.

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