Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Pumpkin Pie

I hear You say,
"My love is over,
It's underneath.
It's inside,
It's in between. 
The times that you doubt Me
When you can't feel,
The times that you question
'Is this for real?'
The times you're broken,
The times that you mend,
The times you hate me,
And the times that you bend.

"Well my love is over,
It's underneath.
It's inside,
It's in between.
The times that you're healing
And when your heart breaks...
The times that you feel like you've fallen from grace. 
The times you're hurting,
The times that you heal,
The times you go hungry and are tempted to steal.
In times of confusion,
In chaos and pain,
I'm there in your sorrow under the weight of your shame. 
I'm there through your heart-ache.
I'm there in the storm.
My love I will keep you by My power alone,
I don't care where you've fallen or where you have been
I'll never forsake you,
My love never ends.

It never ends."

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."  - John 14:27


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Chai Shortbread Cookies

Un jour mon prince viendra,
Un jour il me dira
Ces mots d'amour, si troublants et tendres
Que j'aurais tant plaisir à entendre !
Qu'il vienne, je l'attends,
Craintive et cœur battant,
Dans ses bras, alors,
Mon beau rêve enchanté
Deviendra réalité !


Monday, September 24, 2012

Green Tea Cookies

Why do we care about what other people think?
Why do thoughts that could never physically come out and touch us or hurt us, torture us so effectively? 

Why does it matter?
It doesn't, that's what.

Those who matter don't mind, and those who mind...don't matter.
--Dr. Seuss

...and if all else fails, hug somebody you can always count on <3


Monday, August 6, 2012

Raspberry Chocolate Souffle

So, insomnia part two.
Insomnia is not your best friend...and unfortunately this not-so-best-friend has been visiting me often.
But instead of fighting it, I welcomed it in and asked it to play games with me.

Last night, we made a painting.

This painting as a lot of meaning to me actually. The music in the background is Claude Debussy's only string quartet in g minor. I chose specifically the 3rd movement of this four movement piece. The recording is below, and if you have just 9 minutes of your time and you need to be taken away, be taken away by this. If not, I suggest you to just stop at 5:10 and listen for just 10 seconds, to the most beautiful, heart-wrenching, tear inducing gosh.

Working on this all night compelled me to contact one of the members of the quartet to thank them for their contribution to great music. As a violin performance major and an avid chamber musician, this was something I truly treasured. I managed to find the first violinist and emailed him.

I was worried...did he want some kid bothering him? Had he forgotten about this recording? Is it rude for me to just email him out of the blue?

But his response was so wonderful that I knew that I had been right to show my gratitude. His kind words were so appreciative, I was so happy I could make him happy today.

Never be shy to tell someone about how great they are. It will always be worth it.


Saturday, August 4, 2012

German Chocolate Pie

My 2:30 am activities?
Sucking the seasoning off of honey roasted peanuts and doing insomnia-driven yoga.
All while listening to the Beatles.

Oh, darlin'.
Please believe me.
I'lllll neeeever dooooo ha-arrmmmmm.

Tell me all of the quirky things you do, loud and proud.


Chocolate Raspberry Cobbler

Every time I feel down, I turn on my some Coldplay and make myself dance for a few minutes.
Sometimes it turns to hours and I lose track of what I was supposed to be doing.
But it was time well spent :)

Coldplay. I love Coldplay.
Frank Sinatra works too.
So does Tchaikovsky's Souvenir de Florence, particularly the 3rd movement. Or how about the last two movements of Schumann's piano quintet?

Cheer up world, our lives are filled with good music!


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Nutella and Sea Salt Fudge

Here is a story for anyone whose heart has hurt.

This 4th of July I saw these fireworks with somebody special.

I have mixed feelings about fireworks. They are so beautiful, so magnificent, so big and colorful and blinding...all these wonderful things that leave you mesmerized.

But then within seconds, they're gone.

Suddenly they're a memory.

I struggle; when they're being displayed all I can think of is capturing it all before they disappear. It becomes a stressful thing instead of a joyous experience.

This boy that took me to my first 4th of July fireworks show isn't part of my life anymore. Just like the fireworks, our relationship disappeared. Sucked into the sky. A big bang and then dying crackles and pops. 

There's something I need to learn though. Fireworks weren't meant to last. They were meant to create an amazing moment, and nothing more. Part of what makes them so special is their temporary existence; it's why you feel like you were treated to the most special show after it's over. It's great and then it ends. 

I can't lament after every firework that disappears. I can't force things that weren't meant to last to stay. But I can enjoy them while they last. I can adopt a childlike appreciation for everything and everyone around me and just be thankful that I got to see the fireworks in the first place. Then I can enjoy the moment, and when it's over, let it go.


Toasted Coconut Vanilla Limeade

I find it hard to walk through life without the constant pressure of negative thoughts.
For me, there is always the worry that things are not what they seem.

I do anything in my life and wonder if I should be practicing instead.
I practice and wonder if I'm not being the most efficient with my time.
I study at a great school that I'm lucky to attend, yet always wonder if it is truly the right match for me.
I write on this blog and I wonder if people will not like what I say.
I eat, and then I wonder if I could've eaten something healthier.
I study music and I wonder if I made a mistake not going into academics.
I perform, and I wonder if someone in the audience is frowning on my playing.
I go outside, and wonder if strangers don't like the impression I give them.
Most of all, I have constant worries that my friends are not truly on my side. That acquaintances secretly think lowly of me. That boyfriends may not love me as much as they say.

I live in a bubble of fear with every decision and action I make. With each day of my life, I hope I can get closer to discovering the reason why I feel this way. But for now, I hope I can bring a different perspective to myself and anyone who might feel these same pressures.

If we can't ignore these constant negative thoughts, how could we ever enjoy the present? We can't just rely on waiting for the present to be over, evaluated, and deemed good or bad in order to appreciate the things that happen in our life. Imagine a day when you wore what you wanted, said what you wanted, ate what you wanted, did what you wanted, and smiled the whole way. I've lived that day before and it is glorious! And believe it or not, people will be attracted to your freedom.

But it's hard. At least for me. It takes endurance and faith that life was meant to be good and that you were meant to be loved.

Here's a challenge:
Just for a day, go outside and just be you. If "you" is not sculpted yet, do it that day. Do it for yourself, and no one else. I dare you.

"Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid." - Unknown (not Albert Einstein!)


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Chai Tea Latte

"We must become conscious that there are puzzles around us. And we must find the courage to to look at these puzzles without timidly asking for 'solution'."
- Arnold Schoenberg

Chocolate-dipped Coconut Macaroons

Chamber music is so intimate.
Try learning a Beethoven quartet with three other musicians without learning all of the gritty details about everyone in the group, especially yourself.
Making music requires academic, athletic, and intellectual processing; but it is first a raw product of the heart. Past experiences and emotions, desires, sorrows and joys...all of this comes together to create this amazing ethereal experience to be refined and shared with an audience.
To go through this process with other musicians can be such a rewarding and touching experience, or it can be an intense violation.
Things that you would only share with your closest friends suddenly become the core of what your group is working with. If there is a connection between you and the rest of the group, a bond that connects directly from your deepest vulnerabilities tie and it's magic. Butt heads and your pride and definition of self feels offended.

This past month I was at a music festival, struggling with my own heart and what it wants and needs. But throughout the month, despite what I was facing inwardly, I was able to enjoy great chamber music with 3 different groups of people. Each experience was very different but all of them were so rewarding, helped me grow as a musician and a person, and heal. I loved feeding off of others' passion and emotions, as well as give my own. I liked trying other people's musical ideas, putting myself in their worlds and feeling my own expand with the possibilities. As someone who has had many mental blocks towards performing, by the end of the month I was having a blast with my friends onstage playing Brahms, Schumann, and Britten.

I've been in chamber groups before. I know how it is.
But I will never ever have a chamber music experience where I learn nothing. That is, unless I choose to.
There is always more than one way to do something. We are not all set on one right track; there are many paths we available to us, all with completely different adventures to offer.

If we can step back from ourselves for one second, then we can see that everyone in this world, no matter what age, background, or gender, has something to teach you. :) Here's to an enriching and happy life.

Schumann Piano Quintet: Mvmts 3 & 4


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Lychee Creme Brulee

Guide to the Care Package

Do you miss anyone?
Do you want to put a smile on anyone's face?

What could bring more joy than a care-package? :)
As someone who avidly checks the mail with high hopes every day, I like writing and receiving letters and packages more than just about anything else in the world. I have so much fun putting together personalized packages and I try to hand-make as much as possible. Doing so is like going on an extremely affectionate scavenger hunt :)

What goes into the perfect care-package though?
A well thought-out package hits every angle, from the inside jokes to food to practical needs...this is usually what I look for when putting together a package:

- A hand-made craft of some sort, to show your personal investment!

  • As a girl of Chinese descent, I grew up learning how to fold paper cranes, flowers, and stars, so I like to use them as package decorations, and the paper stars work great as cute package peanuts!
  • If knitting is a skill of yours, I extend my greatest jealousies. Something hand-knit would be so precious!
  • When I was in middle school, I loved making earrings. My friend still has these bright pink, blue, and yellow feather earrings I made for her 6 years ago, and just the other day we found a pair almost exactly like them at the mall! (Isn't it nice to have childhood friends who saw you through your awkward days?) Jewelry is easy, affordable, as well as fun to personalize.
  • To all the artists out there, let your fondness for your package-receiver inspire you! 

- FOOD. Who can say no to food?
  • Sweets! Homemade cookies and brownies are easy to preserve and package. Make sure that if you're sending these in the summer or not by priority mail, packing in an ice pack or some dry ice would be advisable.
  • Homemade spreads. I love making homemade nutella and tying the jar with a ribbon :) Again, these are easily spoiled in the summer so be careful! My little jar of nutella made it safe and sound this past June, but you never know what happens to the packages en route!
  • Gift box sweets and chocolates! I love buying the small gift boxes of macarons from bakeries, they are always so beautifully packaged and very space-friendly.
  • Candy! Yum!
- Cozy clothing.
  • Socks are so sweet and cozy; they are also affordable and fit so well into a package!
  • Same above goes to scarves and hats
  • Lingerie ;) who said packages had to be sugary sweet?
- A personal letter. I like to do something fun and unconventional with letter. Sometimes this means simply writing on pretty stationary or decorating it with stickers or glitter. Other times it is more elaborate: my last package to my boyfriend contained a little mini notebook with an A-Z encyclopedia on things that are part of our relationship. Each page was assigned to one letter.

- A trinket of some sort :) Just to be silly or elaborate on an inside joke. I'm packing a little piggy bank that looks like a rice cooker in my next one and filling it with paper stars! :)

Seal your package with a kiss and send it on its way!
What do you consider essential to a care-package?


Chocolate Fudge Cookies

Here are a few things in my life that make me so happy :)

Going on rides!

Pizzas bigger than my face!!

Making great music with great friends, as well as seeing our hard work come to life. 

Having DSLR buddies! Our beloved Canon Rebel T2i's.

Reliving our childhoods. :)


Surprises from a special boy :)

...and YOU! Thank you for visiting my blog today :)


Red Velvet Cake Pops

Is it just me, or is the world taking a positive step forward in body image?
When I was 12, I went through two weeks of only 3 granola bars a day, trying to lose the weight I was gaining because of my (short-lived, pretty unsuccessful) growth spurt. I was powered by all of the pictures of boney models and stick-figure thighs of girls with big emo hair. Only after I almost fainted at school that I finally began to eat again, although still minimally.
I wonder if I hadn't starved myself if I would've grown taller.

But today, fitness is prominent. A healthy, toned, and happy body is what's beautiful and attractive. I love it!

Being attractive is one of the smallest benefits of being fit, although it is probably one of the most desired. 
Working out is key to a longer life! It boosts your immune system, keeps your muscles from deteriorating, and promotes healthy blood flow. It is never too late to start!
Working out also helps you keep up with your children, future children, or active friends. Why would anyone want to miss out because their body is not up for the fun and games? More memories can be made if you are fit and healthy.
Don't forget about the endorphins! Working out literally makes you feel happier, and besides from the happy chemicals flooding your body, you also feel better about yourself on a daily basis. You are more aware of your body and feel more control over it. Progress will only make you motivated to keep going!

...but what if you don't get immediate results?

I am such an immediate results fan, but sometimes its not always the case.
But here's the key: you have to just keep moving forward.
Don't let that one cookie you accidentally caved for make you think it's all over.
Don't let weight fluctuations convince you that what you're doing isn't working.
Don't ever think, "What's the use?" about yourself.
Through all of the changes and phases your body goes through when you're shaping up, just know that every single step is taking you closer to your dream body!
Always dance! And always smile!


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Blueberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Sometimes life is hard.
Sometimes life is just a little bland.
We're stuck in one reality, and we want to know what it's like from a different perspective.
Just a little escape would be nice, whether it be by car, through music and dance, or...

...dressing up! You can be anything you want to be! No matter how old you are, I bet just a little bit of you got a little excited right?

Clowns! Or maybe just someone who needs a haircut.
Let's speculate on what this one might be.
Just ready to save the world...
Why be one angry pig when you can be TWO with a buddy?
Witches on a night out!
To live a life where eating, sleeping, purring, and
silently judging is all I need to do....I'm in.

After all, the shoe doesn't have to fit to have fun!


Peach Mochi Ice Cream

International Yarn Bombing Day
June 9, 2012

I'm a little late on this, but it's certainly not too late for this event to bring a smile to our faces!

I recently spent a week at a chamber music intensive, and during our ice-breaker at the beginning of the week, we met a pianist who mentioned a fun fact about himself: he loved to knit! How much he loved it, we didn't know until a very special day:

International Yarn Bombing Day is a day when knitters leave knitted graffiti all over the public. What a fun and creative alternative to spray paint :)

Our pianist friend managed to make us all smile with his two yarn bombs:

The funny part is that the statue is part of an on-campus museum, and in a few short hours the yarn bra was confiscated and reported as vandalism. Can't we all just appreciate good art on art? But no one will be able to take the hydrant's jacket off; it's knitted shut on there :)

We even caught a passerby taking a picture of the hydrant, and because of that, our knitting pianist made a new friend.

Creativity is such a blessing.



Thank you, France, for macarons.

These pastel, mini burger-like French cookies are delicate, hard to come across, and rather expensive in the United States. Two disks of sweet (gluten-free!) cookie sandwich a delicious, diversatile meringue that can harvest any flavor or essence you can imagine (if the baker is daring). They are made under extremely temperamental conditions: if the air is too humid or hot, if the baker doesn't wait long enough for the dough to set, if the oven is not exactly 295 degrees (different temperatures for different locations of course), you could possibly pull out flat, crumbled disks that don't come off the parchment paper.

Oh, but a dedicated macaron hunter will always be rewarded. Some bakeries will disappoint, and even the great bakers can turn out some batches that aren't as good, simply because of the weather that day. But when you land on a good macaron and in a flavor and color that just rocks your world (lychee-rose? Passionfruit-chocolate?) you will wear a smile on your face for days (as well as a healthy appetite for MORE macarons!) And those who bake them at home: my hat is off to you.

And this is what this blog is about. Whatever one needs for a smile on their face :) Whether it is an inspirational quote, a reminder of what's good in life, love, camaraderie between bloggers, or food, I will try my best to provide it daily.

For me, macarons not only bring joy to my tastebuds, but they also play a big part in love for me. As college students, my boyfriend and I are studying in two different states and have weathered the storm of long-distance courting for almost a year. Every time I visit him in the Big Apple, he would teach me how to skateboard down Riverside Park. Throughout the morning, we'd make our way to the closest macaron bakery or Absolute Bagels on 108th street and treat ourselves. To anyone around the city, I recommend Macaron Cafe. :)

If anyone is feeling the need for adventure, comfort food, or just a little satisfaction for your sweet-tooth, try a macaron :) Or, if you feel generous, buy a box and give the joy of macarons to a close one.

Welcome to my blog!