Tuesday, November 6, 2012

New Beginnings, Part 1

Something monumental happened for me this weekend.

Let's back up. I graduated with a BA in Vocal Performance three years ago. Singing was my life. If anyone asked me what I'd do when I'd grow up, the answer would always be "sing!"

So, when I graduated from high school, and was on my way to college, I optimistically and blindly signed up for the only degree I could imagine, Vocal Performance.

I started as a double major in performance and education, but my advisor basically laughed at me and said I'd be in school for eight years. So, I decided to drop education, and stick with my passion of performing.

Immediately, I was barraged with the rules, opinions, and strong beliefs of all the music professors.

"This isn't American Idol"
"Your performance must be perfect!"
"Don't close your eyes when you sing, you close out the audience"
"No parallel motions with your hands"
"You don't get to sing songs you enjoy in real life, so you don't get to pick what you sing now"
"If you can't sing all day, then you're not singing correctly"
"There's too much air in your voice"
"Your voice isn't airy enough"

I was tugged and pulled back and forth between feuding professors, forced to pledge my allegiance to one or the other, wanting to please everyone.

I spent hours and hours practicing, never to feel good enough.

I was constantly sick with strepp, bronchitis, and other illnesses because I was so stressed and overworked.

One of the lowest, most brutal moments was when I was preparing for an operetta. I worked so hard, and was so prepared for our performance. The night before, I got very sick. I had bronchitis, and I lost my voice. I had to perform anyway, and my solos were divvied out to the other singers. Did I receive compassion and concern? No, I was treated as an inconvenience. In fact, I was told that I'd be able to sing if I did my best to take care of myself that night. The day of the performance, I could barely get out of bed. Putting my hair back and my makeup on was near impossible. I trudged to the performance hall, half alive, and sat back stage, ready to mime my parts.

On stage, no one would have known I was sick. I was animated, vibrant, and entertaining. Between scenes, I hobbled back stage, and coughed up blood.

If I were in a stronger state of mind in college, and had a clear, unfaltering vision of why I was a singer, all of the things that were said and done by the professors and other students wouldn't have made as big of an impact. Unfortunately, I was a vulnerable, na├»ve, moldable girl, fully believing the words of anyone with authority.

So slowly, my passion began to fade, and I became horribly critical of my voice, and myself. My instructors didn't need to chastise me for mistakes, I did it well enough for them. By my last year, I was drained of all joy in music, and went through the motions like a mindless drone. I got to be a lead in the opera that year, which would have been a dream come true before. At that point, I just wanted to get through it.

I sang the national anthem and alma mater at our graduation, but all I could think of was getting out of there. When I graduated, I got married immediately afterward, and moved out to the Washington D.C. area.

I was deeply depressed and lost. Being a small town Alaska girl, D.C. was overwhelming and terrifying. The one thing that was consistent in my life before was music, and without it, I didn't know what direction to take. I worked retail, hated it, and then got a receptionist job at a medical company., where I was unchallenged, and unfulfilled.

I was going through the motions, doing pretty much everything but singing. Every once and a while, I'd feel the strong desire to sing, but as soon as I would the critical voices in my head would attack, and I'd go silent.

After two years, we moved to Seattle. This is where things slowly began to change for me.

(Continued tomorrow on Part 2)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Channeling Farrah

In the 70's here in Seattle today! I put on my retro style dress, and decided to flip my hair out as a nod to Farrah Fawcett.

Dress-Forever 21, Belt-Vintage, Shoes and purse- TJ Maxx

I thoroughly enjoyed this gorgeous sunny day. My husband and I walked around the neighborhood and admired all of the blossoms and flowers, and then we went to a BBQ at a friends.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

April's Spring Pickin's

 So a couple of weeks ago, I blogged about this cool project by Dearest Nature called Spring Pickin's.

Here are my pics for the month. I would have liked more, but with things being as they are, well, this is it!
French Lavender

Pretty ground cover

Stumbled upon this stump on a hike. I don't know why, but I love it so much!


Monday, April 16, 2012

Life's Challenges

 Does it ever seem like bad things happen all at once?

About 3 months ago, I started having severe stomach pains. I finally got an appointment with my gastroenterologist, and found out that I have Crohn's Disease. Crohn's is an auto-immune disease that attacks your digestive system. There is no cure, and it is most commonly diagnosed in both men and women between the ages of 15 and 35.  When you're in a flare-up (which I have been for 3 months now,) you are restricted to a very limited diet. Anything with fiber is out, so all of the yummy, nutritious foods like fruits, veggies, and whole grains, can't be eaten because they irritate your intestines and don't allow them to heal.

I've been doing my best to stay positive once I found out the news, but it has been hard. I'm wondering if I'll need surgery (up to 75% of people with Crohn's will need surgery at some point), and what this is going to mean for me in the future. All I can do is take it day by day, and take care of myself the best that I can.

So, this Saturday, about an hour after my husband Ben took my pics for my last blog post, he went for a motorcycle ride with his friend. Next thing I know, I'm getting a phone call saying he's been in an accident.

I rush to the hospital, to find him bloody and shaken. Thankfully, he was wearing full gear, and was in one piece. It could have been a lot worse. His knees were raw, and his thumb broken, but nothing more serious than that. 

Now, I'm trying to take care of myself, and my broken husband. Three days ago, I thought I didn't have enough strength to function. I'm realizing now how much more I have in me.

Things can always be worse. A few months ago, my small problems seemed so important. It is amazing how things can be put in perspective. 

We will get through this!

Here are some quotes that I've found inspirational during this time.

"The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled.  For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers." - Unknown

"I complained that I had no shoes till I saw a man that had no feet." - Unknown

"Few men during their lifetime come anywhere near exhausting the resources dwelling within them. There are deep wells of strength that are never used." Richard E. Byrd

"You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, "I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along." . . . You must do the thing you think you cannot do."
Eleanor Roosevelt 



Saturday, April 14, 2012

Spring Sunshine

 It's been rainy all week in the Seattle area, only to become sunny and beautiful for the weekend. I love spring here. There is so much life and greenery, and when the sun comes out, everyone celebrates.

I had to wear something that made me feel super "springy", so I pulled out my girly crop top from ASOS, and one of my favorite skirts. I kept the shoes simple with some nude flats. I wanted to be able to frolic!

I recently got my hair cut and had more blond added for a more summery hairstyle, and I love the change.  I hope that today is as sunny and beautiful for all of you.


Top and shoes ASOS, Skirt: past season Anthropologie

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Spring Pickin's

Today, I stumbled upon this awesome project I've decided to take part in. It's called Spring Pickin's, and it's hosted by this gorgeous blog called Dearest Nature. The blogs founder is a web designer, has a paper blog, and loves nature! On the 19th of every spring month, those participating will be sharing some beautiful pictures of things found in nature. With a blog name like Wilderlace, how can I refuse? I think this is such a wonderful opportunity to be inspired by the natural world around us!

To participate, go to Dearest Nature's blog and post a comment underneath her Spring Pickin's post, so that she can include you in her monthly round-up.

Here's a little teaser for you all, in anticipation of my first Spring Pickin's post on April 19th:

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Bainbridge Island

Being new to the Seattle area, I decided it was time to start exploring the surrounding islands. My husband and I headed to Bainbridge Island. There is something so exciting about riding a ferry!

First we went down to the piers, where you play "follow the leader" as they line you up in rows. As fate would have it, we parked right next to another fiat! See if you can spot us (mine's the green one).

And here comes the ferry!

We drove onto the ferry, then we got out and got to wander around for the 35 minute ride. We walked to the back of the boat, and since it was still early, it was really cold! Thankfully, Ben brought a coat. :)

There was a restaurant, and all sorts of covered decks. It was crazy to think that this is a daily commute for some people.

We got some popcorn and hot chocolate. I believe this is very "ferry-appropriate" food. Before we knew it, there was an announcement letting us know that it was time to go back to our cars.

Once on the island, we drove to the downtown area of Winslow. After looking around at some beautiful reclaimed and vintage furniture, we decided it was time for lunch. We stopped in a local diner.

 My handsome hub-hub.

I'm wearing a new top that I got from Ross. On the hanger, it looked like a baggy pillowcase, but I was brave and decided to try it on anyway. It ended up being super flattering and comfy. Yay for trying new things!

After lunch, a little more shopping, then we walked down to the marina. There is something so beautiful about sailboats.

I was so in love with these huge chains!

There were so many beautiful blossoming trees and bushes everywhere. Ocean, lakes, mountains, forest, plants- I can't express how much I love this area!

After a few hours of exploring, we got back on the boat. The trip back was much warmer, because the sun was out in full force!


Arguably one of the most beautiful cities in the world


Friday, March 16, 2012

Macarons, Cupcakes, and Kitty

So, after sampling my first macaron on Pike's St., I was hooked. So, I went to Metropolitan Market and bought a few. I bought five, but tragically, one broke on the way home, so I had to put it out of it's misery. ;)

  Now, these are beautiful, but they weren't nearly as scrumptious as the one I got from Le Panier. I have heard they are extremely difficult to make. These were just a touch gummy. Regardless...

I some how managed to choke them down. :)

Last weekend, I was invited to a "Cupcake and Champagne" party. How could I pass that up? So, I made some cupcakes for the event. I decided to go classic, with vanilla cupcakes, and buttercream frosting. This vanilla cupcake recipe is from Glorious Treats. So, Glory tested all sorts of recipes for vanilla cupcakes, until she found the perfect one. They didn't overflow, and they rose perfectly.

I also used her American Buttercream recipe. Buttercream frosting is pretty basic. It's usually powdered sugar, butter, vanilla, and a touch of cream or milk. But somehow, hers turned out better than any I've made in the past! It was a nice thick consistency, which was perfect for piping.

I decided to make little roses, which was done by starting the piping in the middle and moving outward. Very simple! I used some silver disco dust (edible glitter) on top, but the camera had a hard time capturing that.
 The party was super fun. Lots of champagne, lots of cupcakes, and great company!

And lastly, kitty. Whenever cardboard and Emily mix, it's a dangerous combination. I basically love cardboard. When I was younger, my dad would get those giant Gateway computer boxes, and I would make the most epic forts out of them, with compartments, doors, and a sun roof.

So when I had a few pieces from some curtains I bought, I was giddy. I made a little house for Layla. In my experience, if you make or buy something for a cat, they never touch it. But I walked in the living room just now, and look what I found?

Layla in her kitty cottage! I can't tell you how happy that makes me! Ah, it's the small things. :)

Have a great weekend!


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Spring in Seattle

Yesterday Ben and I went downtown to wander around the Pike Street area. It was a beautiful sunny day. I'm finally getting over being sick. I had a super bad cold a few weeks ago, which was followed by an inner ear infection. I don't know if you've ever had one, but it can cause severe dizziness and vertigo, which I'm still getting over. Blech.

ANYWAY, we first stopped in an adorable french bakery called Le Panier
These were beautiful!
I had a pain au chocolat, while my husband had a crossaint with apples (I'm slowly forgetting my French) We each ordered a macaron. I've always thought they were so beautiful, but never had one, believe it or not! I was hesitant, because I've had meringues before, and I wasn't crazy about them. I had a raspberry macaron, and it was heavenly! I think I've found a new replacement for cupcakes!

We then wandered around to see the sights. Mostly that involved street corner musicians, and schitzophrenic homeless people, but hey, it's Seattle! ;)

I got these new black leggings at Long Tall Sally online. Being 5'9", its almost impossible to find leggings that hit my ankle. Tall girls out there, you know what I'm talking about! So, I ordered these jersey leggings from their site. They recently made them even longer, with a 34" inseam! They hit my ankles, with more to spare! It's such a satisfying feeling for those of us who are used to highwaters. Also, they're thick enough so I don't feel naked from the waist down, and I can wear them like pants.

I'm carrying my new vintage leather purse I got while antiquing a while back. I've received so many compliments for it, and it was only $9!

We eventually went to the Crumpet Shop, which I've heard so much about. Unfortunately, after our French pastries, we weren't much in the mood for crumpets. I ended up getting their signature blend tea, which was scrumptious!
The double finger bird ring is one of my favorites. Every time I wear it, I'm reminded of Portlandia. (Put a bird on it!)
It was about this time that I was really wishing I had brought my sunglasses. These poor Pacific Northwest eyes aren't used to this so-called sun!
It has always been really important for me to live near mountains. Being from Alaska and Jackson Hole, Wyoming, they represent home for me. When we lived in the DC area, I coudn't handle the absence of mountains. Here, there are beautiful mountains everywhere! I feel doubly blessed, because we are surrounded by water. I think now that I have it, I coudn't live anywhere else.
I decided to do my hair in the braid headband thingy, which I think makes me look German! I'm glad I pinned it up, because it was a super windy day.
After a few hours of exploring, (including more antiquing, much to Ben's dismay), we both got hungry and grouchy and decided it was time for lunch. We found a Peruvian restaurant across and above the Pike Street Market, but I can't remember the name. If you know it, post it below! Anyway, it was amazing. I had a salad with chicken, avocado, and much more.
Finally, we decided to go home. We ended up making a nest on our living room floor using couch cushions, pillows, and blankets. This is pretty much one of my favorite things to do. In fact, I can remember when my friends and I would do the same thing when we were kids! We at strawberries, drank wine, and watched a movie on netflix. All and all, a rich and fulfilling Saturday. :)

I was wearing: Peach silk blouse by Forever 21, ivory leather jacket by Rivet, black jersey leggings from Long Tall Sally, Juicy Couture sparrow ring, vintage ring and purse.


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