Thursday, April 25, 2013

Today's Travel Lust: England's Lake District

This past week it's been rainy, even stormy at times, cloudy and altogether gloomy in general. This might be a disappointment to those of you who really can't wait for the sunshine-y blue skies of summer, but really I'm more of a cloudy day person. During this last week with all of it's craziness and busy-ness I have really enjoyed the calming, mopiness of the sky.   

So lately I've been dreaming about running away. I want to run away from schedules and plans and run away from bumping into people I know. And instead I want to go hiking through England's Lake District. I want to run into a tea shop when the rain gets too heavy and sit and sip tea where no one knows my name. I want to go and sit in William Wordsworth's gardens at Rydal Mount and just muse for several hours. I want to think and read and breathe.

I want to be instead of do


Rydal Mount

Rydal Mount again.
Numerous pictures of the gardens. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

My Life Lately

These past couple weeks have been insane. That sort of makes it sound like it's all negative but really, it's not. It's been insanely busy, insanely stressful and insanely FUN. Some of the opportunites that have presented themselves in the last couple weeks have COMPLETELY taken me by surprise. Why didn't these opportunities show up when I was bored last month. . . ?

So here's a summary of what's been going on in my life lately:

Remember this post when I listed some of my favorite listens? Well, I recently got the opportunity to attend on of Harpeth Rising's concerts! (check out their site! Seriously.) Since I had been recently conversing with their cellist, Maria, I was able to get tickets to one of their recent concerts. It was fantastic night of music, jokes, friends and delicious food. 

At the Harpeth Rising concert with Maria

The next exciting thing was getting to attend this concert featuring Chris Thile and Brad Mehldau. In the words of the person sitting right in front of me "I'm not quite sure what to expect from a jazz pianist and a mandolin player." I wasn't either. 

One word: Fantastic. 
Another word: Mesmorizing.

 I seriously can't remember the last time I was upset that the concert was ending. It went so fast!

 Then this weekend I journeyed up to see J and my friends before they all leave school for the summer. It was a fantastic (and emotional) weekend and I was sad to see it end. Here are the highlights.

I was so proud of my dear friend who performed in concert with the symphony! 

It was GORGEOUS the entire weekend. Check out these clouds!

And I couldn't resist snapping some pics of us due to the fantastic lighting ;) 

I had to leave in the early afternoon on Sunday in order to get back for a rehearsal that evening but thankfully the boys pampered me and my best friend and made us a delicious brunch that morning. Thanks guys! That was an amazing treat!

(And, J, it was really fun to watch you cook. You're extremely methodical and focused. It's kind of cute . . .)

I hope your own weekend was just as fantastic and fun-filled!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Cello Probs: Popper Etudes

A few weeks ago I started this Popper etude. And although some find them enjoyable and beautiful, I have a confession. I have never really enjoyed these etudes for cello. In fact, most of the time, I have despised them. . . . Recently, however, my friend reminded me of the series of videos which Joshua Roman, a phenomenal cellist,  posted to youtube. He recorded all 40 of the etudes in Popper's High School of Cello Playing and uploaded them to youtube for the public to enjoy. And, on top of that, he learned and performed them all in under a year. Crazy. Right? 

That all sounds astounding, but the kicker is this: the etudes sound GOOD. They don't make my ears bleed, my head pound and my lungs freeze just to hear them. In fact, they're enjoyable to hear. Musical, even. 

Inspired by his perfection, I have now set off to perfect my own etude. Hopefully my thumb will last through all those octaves!!! 

And for your listening enjoyment: One of the most beautiful Popper etudes - #13.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Spring is in the Air

It is LOVELY outside. And I (despite the fact that I like Autumn MUCH better than Spring) am loving every minute of it. I love the warmth and the smell of freshly mowed lawns. I was driving little brother around a couple days ago when I saw someone mowing their lawn, I quickly rolled my window down, thrust my head out the window - nose in air - just breathing it in. I think that car insurance companies should add that risk onto my bill! My apologies, fellow drivers!

I picked up my gratitude journal again in order to keep my mind focused on positivity during all the busy-ness in my life currently and now it is filled to the brim with signs of spring. Below is my pictoral gratitude journal ;)

This pretty flower is popping up all over the beds in my lawn. 
Due to the lovely weather, I can exercise outdoors!

Why hello, river! Good to see you again!

Found some pretty wild flowers on the bank (Bleeding Heart, maybe?)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Avant Garde Cello Playlist

Currently, I am studying classical cello performance. Because of this, I often listen to "the cello greats" like Mistislav Rostropovich, Pablo Casals, Jacqueline DuPre and YoYo Ma. Their perfection inspires me and stirs up appreciation, not only for the performer, but also for the composer of the piece.

 But sometimes I really enjoy hearing my instrument played in an unconventional way. I love listening to the raw talent of a self-taught prodigy, or the collaboration of a classically trained cellist who employs both their fingers and their vocal chords at the same time. I love feeling like the cello is new to me all over again. It makes me grin, makes my shoulders dance and gives me the urge to join the Portland Cello Project (Someday! *wistful sigh*). 

When I'm in that mood these are the songs/pieces that hit the spot! 
Enjoy, fellow cello lovers!

Mahogony Sessions: Ayanna Witter-Johnson 

Zoe Keating: Avant Cellist (Check out her site here)

Apocalyptica - They do Metallica covers!

NPR: Tiny Desk Concert

Harpeth Rising (check out the awesome cello riff!)

Mahogony Session - Ben Howard

Sunday, April 7, 2013

March - Peace and Calm


1. A state of tranquility or quiet

2. Freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions

3. Harmony in personal relations


1. A state of tranquility (tranquil = 1. free from agitation 2. steady, stable)

3 ways I will strive for Peace/Calm in my life:

1. Pray first

2. Maintain my exercise routine (running 3x per week and lifting weights 2x)

3. I will read good books :)

P.S. And I will drink LOTS of green tea ;)

So . . . How did it go?!?!

Okay, I think. Peace is something that is really difficult to measure (one thing I've figured out this month). But I thing that has really improved this month is my ability to tell myself "I have no control over this situation and therefore will not stress myself out."

Example: I worked as a barista on Easter Sunday. The coffee shop at which I work is located inside a church and thus while Sunday is probably a pretty chill day at most other coffee-based businesses, for us, it is CRAZY! (especially Easter Sunday because we had three services). Anyhoo . . . there was a moment when the line seemed a mile long, my hair was frizzing out, I was covered in sweat and coffee grounds and pulling shots as fast as my arms would allow me to move. I remember being in a COMPLETE frenzy and just thinking over and over again "Oh my gosh! I need to go faster! I can't keep up with the line!" But then after thinking about it for a second, I realized that had I the ability to make espresso faster than I was currently it wouldn't make the situation any less stressful. My ability to speed through tasks does not create happiness or peace. Peace comes from inside of me. So I took a deep breath, smiled and was suddenly overwhelmed with an astounding amount of peace in the situation.

I think I shall do that more often. Now the real task will be to do that while playing my cello  . . . .

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

My (extended) Weekend in Photos

On a date with this suave man 

J had Friday off of school this week (thank you, Good Friday) and thus got to come home after finishing classes on Thursday. A couple of weeks ago he had dropped a hint (at least I took it that way) that he thought it would be nice to be surprised by my appearance on campus. Well, I decided to earn some brownie points and do so (insert sarcastic wink). I got his Mom to cover for me by acting like she was picking him up and texting him like normal, telling him what time *she* would be coming by.

The whole drive up I had a stupid grin on my face. I seriously could not keep the corners of mouth from twitching upwards into a smile. Once I arrived I had his Mom text him to come out. He walked out of his apartment looking all dapper and awesome, glanced around looking for his Mom and then spotted me. Let me tell you, seeing his smile light up was amazing. That mental image will stick with me for a while.

Before driving home we had a coffee date at our favorite local hang out. We spent the rest of the evening hanging out with his family, cuddling and having good conversations. Seriously, one of the best nights I've had in a long time.

Actually, scratch that, this entire weekend has been wonderful. I've had so many great conversations with J, had numerous adventures, spent quality time with my brother, made new friends and almost finished reading a book. Success? I think so.

Enjoy the photos!

My delicious brunch!
Grace and two of her bride's maids :)

Our colorful Easter eggs 

I worked six hours on Easter with these awesome people!!!

Jordan's sunnies have been commandeered :P

Monday, April 1, 2013



This morning when I logged into Facebook I was astounded to find this article posted on one of my violinist friend's FB wall. As a cellist, and a person possessing fierce abilities when protecting her instrument, I reacted like a concerned mother.

Summarizing the article: The renowned aristic director and concert master of the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Richard Tognetti, is known for being a risk-taker. He's daring with his music and also with his surfboard. So when I read that he was attacked by a "rogue shark" while carrying his violin while doing a photoshoot while on a surfboard, no suspicions were aroused.

( . . . )

"Why on earth would anyone take their $10-million instrument on a surf?!" I wrote. My fingers furiously pounding the keys. I was outraged! (and then I realized) also gullible.