Risen Favorites of June


Risen Favorites is a monthly series featuring Risen staff member volunteers who wish to share some of their favorite things from a given month. Topics can include anything from favorite places to favorite photos, favorite teas to favorite soaps. If you have a “favorite” item, place, or even social media account that’s out of this world, DM or email us and we’ll include it! In May, we’re covering feelings, music and more. Enjoy!



My favorite this month is an idea that’s very special to me: overcoming the odds. A few things that I’ve experienced throughout these past few weeks have led me to this conclusion.

The first is rather simple, yet all the more stunning when played back in my mind. An Instagrammer I follow, Ella Sophia or @buildabrat on Instagram, is a fledgling model who shines bright across the various sets, outfits, and poses she strikes and puts together throughout her profile. Throughout the past year she’s started gaining more high-profile work, perhaps culminating in a show for Dolce & Gabbana earlier this year. When she posted a screenshot of the latest issue of Vogue showcasing  models to watch with herself front and center, I was so elated that someone who I could clearly see had worked so hard had finally hit it big. She really is such a talent and seeing that post just made me smile.

Image Description: Ella poses for four shots
set up in collage format.

The second is perhaps an event that many of you are aware of as well as I, the release of Lorde’s second album Melodrama. As a devout Lorde fan patiently (and sometimes not patiently) waiting for her next big drop these past couple of years, Melodrama was such a sweet end to the wait, and simple, colorful bops such as Supercut, Sober, and Perfect Places remind me of Ella’s immense talent and how no hurdle was too much for her to come back stronger, even after such a smash hit as Royals. **As a side note I even scored tickets to her concert and if that’s not overcoming the odds I don’t know what is!!

Image result for melodrama album cover
Image Description: Lorde's album cover. Lorde lies on a bed
shrouded in blue light, with yellow light creeping in
from the right side and bottom of the image.


A favorite of mine this month is a place, but more specifically, a moment. On June 17th, I went with my best friend to D.C. and met up with fellow editors, Sam and Amy. This meetup took place in the U.S. Botanic Gardens and we were proud that local cupcakery, Baked & Wired, had even agreed to sponsor us and provide cupcakes for the event.

Even within a big a city, the Botanic Gardens offered the group solace as we collaged whilst surrounded by nature. Despite the heat, we took photos and enjoyed the company of one another as we admired the beautiful plantlife.

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Something that I have recently gotten back into is sketching people in public places. People-watching is something that I really find interesting: you notice all the little details of everyone that you would overlook if you weren’t paying attention. Drawing them and not worrying if you make a mistake or twenty while doing so is also very freeing if you are a perfectionist, and helps pass the time (I remember when I finished my maths exams early, I’d doodle other people in the exam hall on the tracing paper till we could leave). I really enjoy doing this in cafes, too. It can be grounding.

[Image description: A journal spread of messy biro drawings of people in a cafe on the left, and people on the bus on the right. Left page has writing reading: “14:12PM. 21/06/2017. Caffe Nero, Ladbroke Grove.” Right page has writing reading: “14:32PM. 21/06/2017. 7 to Oxford Circus.”]



Image descriptions: (1) The album cover for CTRL, with SZA sitting down on grass with a bunch of old, discarded and bulky computer and TV screens. (2) The album cover for Brockhampton’s Saturation, with a man in blue with the word “Saturation” superimposed in outlined letters.

This month, at least for me, has been filled with tons of new and amazing tracks by surprising and unexpected artists. On June 9th, SZA released her first studio album called CTRL. Although I fell headfirst in love with her first single Drew Barrymore, I wasn’t a big fan of her other singles and I felt let down. I discovered SZA in 2015 when I first dived into R&B and immediately loved her EP titled Z and its multiple genres. So when CTRL, I was very hesitant to listen to it as the genre at first felt a little too boring and predictable to me, as she let her alternative R&B style dominate this record.  But I gave it a chance anyways, a little while after its release and was blown away. Supermodel, the first track on the album, completely me sucked me in and all the songs I had previously dismissed fi and sounded so well when listened to together. Cohesiveness and flow is something I hold extremely important for albums, and SZA did it so well with this LP. And just to put the cherry on top, the visuals for this album were phenomenal. With the music video for Love Galore as well as the website dedicated to the album, it was done so well and did an amazing job to tie in as well a visual and aesthetically pleasing feature.

Another album I absolutely loved that I didn’t expect to was Brockhampton’s Saturation. I had only heard of them through Nathan Zedd, and was a little put off by their songs as I’m very particular about rap and the fact that they were a group was also a bit offputting to me, but then I stumbled unto their song Boys and that was it. I was sold. Their lyrics are fun, with lines like “Me and all my n-? / Southside, One Direction” and “I don’t f- with no white boys / Less that n-’s Shawn Mendes” and the music from this latest installment is great, as it fluctuates a lot ranging from chiller songs to some much more hype. Saturation is a lot less cohesive than others albums, like SZA’s for example, but this highlights rather the vibe of the group, of their eccentricness as a group as well as their capability to make enjoyable rap music for all.