Saturday, December 30, 2017

Putting the Blog to Rest

Friends, it's obvious that I just don't write in this space anymore.

I still like to catalogue bits of my life, but it's becoming increasingly obvious to me that Instagram (and Facebook, but that's not public) is my preferred social media outlet. I love taking pictures and I can regulate what I post with how I'm feeling (I try to keep it pretty real tho).

Combined with the fact that my better half (Dan) absolutely hates it when I try to take, let alone SHARE photos of him, I think it's time I admit blog-defeat.

I stopped reading blogs semi-regularly shortly after Dan and I started dating. Maybe because my day-to-day life was officially better than anything I could come up with online, maybe because I got too busy (probably both). Whatever the reason, I've been significantly happier since. It's no secret that we all compare ourselves to the "perfect" representations of others' lives online, and I've been way happier and more content by not doing that as much. Big surprise, I know 🙄

Thanks to Dan's aversion to social media and with this in mind, I have been generally attempting to be more present in the day-to-day. I'm still working on not using social media as much. I still take a lot of photos and videos (especially of Cooper–I don't want to ever forget these moments of our first year with our puppy), but I don't share as much. And it's kind of nice.

So that's it. I'm not going to delete this page because I love the memories, but I don't think I'll be posting anymore. And if I do, I may or may not share it as widely as I used to. We'll see. But I'm officially relieving myself of the "I should probably write a blog post about this" pressure.

A few updates before I go, and as an ode to my past end-of-year posts:

- Wen and I submitted a proposal to commission and premiere a duo at the 2018 International Clarinet Convention in Belgium, and we were accepted! The convention is in July, in my favorite place ever (Oostende) so it's likely that we will both stay for BCA. Very exciting, because BCA is one of my favorite things I've ever done and playing at ClarinetFest is a HUGE opportunity. Playing with one of my best friends is one of the biggest joys in my life, and I think I can speak for both of us and say that we are so excited.

- School gets increasingly busy and increasingly difficult each semester (the past two being no exception), but I only have one semester left of coursework! I'll do my comprehensive exams in May, and then I can work on my dissertation from anywhere. Which is good because...

- Dan won a job playing in the US Navy Fleet Bands!! He won the job back in September, but after a long process of paperwork and such he officially leaves for basic in February. Possibly a bit earlier. He'll be gone for quite a while (8 weeks of basic and at least 4-6 weeks at A school), and we won't know where we're moving for his first contract until the very end of all this, so please don't ask. Ha. To say I am proud of him would be a gross understatement. We can't wait for this next big thing.

- Lastly, more huge news: we are getting married! We talked about it for a long time after Dan won the Navy job, and officially got engaged shortly before our holiday trip to New York a couple of weeks ago. The past few years together have literally been the happiest in my entire life and I cannot wait to continue doing life with Dan.
We are so, so happy and excited for what's to come. Best to you all – thank you for reading over the years.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Slices of Life

Collage made with FotoJet. My previous favorite site has gone to the dogs, or something.

I'm easing into school and trying to find my new routine before all hell breaks loose, as it inevitably will. Things are slow right now, and it's good. Coopy is being sweet and we're both so happy to have Dan home and home life back to normal.

A lot of exciting things ahead, I think, I hope, and I can't wait! 
In the meantime, check out my new website!!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

ClarinetFest 2017 // Orlando, FL

If you recall, last year our studio went to ClarinetFest in Kansas as a group to perform. After meeting so many fantastic clarinetists this year as guest artists at ASU, I decided to take the trip to this year's convention of my own prerogative. No intentions to play, just going to absorb the music and support my peers. I didn't even bring my camera (hence crappy iPhone photos, my personal specialty as you know) because I just didn't want to be bogged down and not be present.

It was maybe one of my best decisions ever. Being that it was in Orlando, I got to see both of my parents. I saw my friends and professors perform brilliantly, heard a lot of incredible new music, reconnected with old friends, and made a lot of new ones.
My mom may have crashed the Selmer party while she was visiting...and got to see a lot of my friends from FSU that she'd met throughout the years.
Probably my biggest highlight of the week was helping rockstar bass clarinet duo, Sqwonk, coordinate a last minute concert. They came to ASU about a year and a half ago and somehow remembered us when we ran into them at the beginning of the convention. They had two performances scheduled, but one of them was cancelled. I am SO glad that they took me seriously when I jokingly suggested we help them out last minute and play with them on Sunday morning, and then trusted me to organize it. Working, playing, and hanging out with Jeff and Jon was such a blast, it was an experience I will never forget.
So not only on Sunday did we get to play with Sqwonk, but then Jack, Patrick, and I went to Harry Potter World. 

Basically that day was one of my best days ever--to get to play with some of my favorite people ever, Sqwonk included, and then go to Harry Potter World? I was NOT OKAY, I couldn't stop smiling (even if it did rain all day) and physically shaking Patrick.
Ron, Hermione, and Cho Chang take HP World! 😂
To cap off this amazing week, my dad also came to Orlando to spend the day with me before I got on the plane.
It's things like this that make me so thankful to be doing what I'm doing, and feel like I do genuinely have a place in the world of clarinet and academia. 

I'm just feeling really good, so much better than earlier this summer to be honest, after last week's festivities 😊

Dan comes home in less than a week and I the anticipation is nutso! Back to the grind now, but feeling refreshed. 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017


With Dan gone, it's quiet.

I work about 40 hours a week at ASU. I run home on my lunch breaks and right after work to take Coopy out. We walk around the complex, but he hates the heat so we don't stay outside long. I bought him a new bone that he's completely obsessed with. Sometimes we swing by Tyler's house to take Ella to the dog park with us.

I have a new hobby in rock climbing. I had gone sporadically since the beginning of May since Amy and Paul introduced us to the rock gym, but with Dan gone thought it would be a good idea to try out a month membership. Gives me something to do, and with my friend Kate. I totally love it. I love that it has nothing to do with school or ASU, I love that it's not music related. I love that I am enjoying something that is so good for me! I feel happy, accomplished, and fantastic when I leave the rock gym. It's taken 25 years for me to find a form of exercise that I enjoy, and I am thrilled. I am looking forward to having Dan join me, if he wants to, when he gets back in August.

I'm trying not to eat out too much. I'm trying to stay relatively healthy. So far, it's been okay. But it's probably not helping that I usually watch "The Great British Baking Show: Master Class" while I eat most of my meals. I have a list of shows I was hoping to watch, but I can't give up the pleasantness of that show! (Mary + Paul Hollywood 4EVER)

It's nice to go run errands whenever I need to, to make plans with friends and appointments whenever there's time. To go to bed as early as I want, and be as lazy as I want. But I really, really miss having Dan around. It's not that I can't be apart from him--obviously I can. It's not that it's difficult to take care of the dog by myself--although, that is difficult. It's that, you know, he's my partner. My teammate. I feel like my better half is MIA. Coming home to an empty apartment as opposed to Dan on the couch is a huge bummer. I'm grateful that, for now, it's just a month (more like 3-ish weeks at this point, woohoo!)

I'm feeling a little melancholy lately. I feel a little off. Almost, like, aimless, despite my lengthy to-do list. I am really happy, but also worried, stressed, and sad. (For the record, you can be burdened with anxiety and still be happy.)

Summer can be confusing, refreshing, relaxing, and anxiety-inducing all at once. I think that's okay. I know it's natural to have all of these feelings. That doesn't mean I like it, but it is what it is.

Here are two photos that Dr. G took of me for my soon-to-be-published new website. So odd being on the other side of the lens, but G is a great sport!
Happy Summertimes,

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Summer Cruise, Part II

On the second full day of our cruise, we woke up in Ensenada, Mexico! The day honestly started out foggy and kind of chilly, but by early afternoon it was truly beautiful out. The climate is bizarre, it changed so quickly.
We took a shuttle bus from the ship to the town, paid for a tour to La Boufadora, the local geyser, and took a 45 minute tour bus out to the geyser. It was so worth it. I mean maybe it sounds like we got played, but it was so beautiful!
You walk through this strip of vendors who are trying to sell you anything from fake purses, shoes (I bought some and I do not regret it), and snacks to prescription medication (without a prescription) and at the end of this is La Boufadora, this crystal clear water that just spouts up and out of the mountains every few seconds. It was honestly breathtaking.
I thought that we would be able to go to the beach, but maybe next cruise! We had a wonderful time walking around that area, and after a few hours we went back to the ship to eat, sunbathe, and play like twenty games of shuffleboard.

The last day of the cruise was spent at sea, and it was too foggy and cold to go outside much. We played bingo two days in a row--surprisingly so much fun! We got really close to winning a bunch of money, but alas.
We spent the few days after we got home wobbling around the apartment, feeling like we were still on the ship, but it was a really, really wonderful vacation. We are already planning to take another cruise, sometime, eventually, this time maybe to the Caribbean where I can get some beaches!

Dan just left town to teach in New York for a month, like he does every summer, leaving me with the puppy and a month of 40 hour work weeks. I bought a month membership at our local rock gym and have been climbing every few days. I'm still getting used to the idea that there's a type of exercise that I genuinely enjoy 😂 And in a few short weeks I'll be heading to Orlando for ClarinetFest, where I'll also get to see my parents and go to Harry Potter World again!!!!

Summer is shaping up quite nicely.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Summer Cruise

Hellooooo, summer people. Dan and I got back a few days ago from what I can only describe as a practically BLISSFUL vacation. I've never been on a vacation where you basically don't have to make any of the plans yourself, INCLUDING MEALS. I mean seriously, it was nuts. I know that this is common knowledge to most people, but at 25 years old I was experiencing this all for the first time!!

The food, the ship, and the views were all fantastic. Every night there was a three course meal. Ice cream and pizza literally 24 hours (I am a child, I know). We could not have asked for better weather in Catalina Island and Ensenada, Mexico. And prior to the trip, I told Dan that I wanted full disclosure to take photos of him at any point in the trip, to which he very kindly agreed. Good. To. Go.

We started our vacation by going to LA to see some stuff and one of my uncles and family. We (I) had decided we were going to eat lunch at a chicken place and then go to the Griffith Observatory. Naturally, all the plans I had decided upon didn't work out, except getting some matcha tea at Matcha Bar. (When I woke Dan up to leave for the 6 hour drive, he sleepy-angry mumbled at me that I "only cared about matcha". Not only, just, like, a lot.)
After schmoozing and eating and staying with the fam, we headed out to the Port of Long Beach. We shopped at the outlets there for about an hour because technically we weren't supposed to board until the afternoon, but we got antsy and then they ended up letting us board early anyway. Nobody seemed to care, lucky us!
I was genuinely and thoroughly impressed by how smooth-sailing (pun completely intended) it was getting onto the ship itself. We printed out everything ahead of time, but Carnival is truly a well-oiled machine.

Each night's dinner was a gourmet three course meal and honestly that first night was the most delicious. Plus, the novelty of having so many choices was hilarious. I kept Dan entertained by reacting like a kid in a candy shop at every turn we took on the ship, especially during that first dinner. (Incidentally, there was also a candy shop on board.)

The next morning, we woke up in Catalina Island.
Our ship was too big to dock at the port in Catalina, so we took a lil ferry to the actual island after breakfast. We didn't do any of the extra excursions that all cruises seem to offer, we just walked around enjoying the weather and the beauty of it all.
There is a huge circular building in the photo on the right that is as grandiose as can be and is a landmark on the island. It used to be a casino, but now it's a movie theater.
Throughout the entire trip I couldn't get over how clear and blue the water was. So beautiful.
The town is very small, so when we were slightly tired and hungry, we went back to the ship to sit in the sun and relax. While on the ship we spent the majority of our time outside in the "21+ no kids area". The chairs were more comfortable, and it was significantly quieter.

That night for dinner was the "elegant night" so we got all dressed up for an even fancier-than-the-other-nights dinner. It was really fun pretending to be rich for the night, ha! I love these two pictures of us.

The next day: Ensenada, Mexico! Coming soon to a computer screen near you. 
If you want it to, of course, I'm not going to force you to read my blog posts. Much love if you do though.
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