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!