joyeux cuisine

a blog about good food, family, friends, and life.

now playing. (4)

For Mother’s Day (which is Sunday, just in case you forgot) I got my mom an awesome present. We’re going to see Celtic Thunder in Chicago in October. Let me give you some backstory about this. My mom and I love Celtic Thunder. I don’t know why, we aren’t even Irish at all. We just do. It all started about 4 years ago when they were on the PBS fund raiser thing and we decided to get the DVD. Ever since then we’ve gotten every DVD they put out. It’s a little ridiculous, but I’m really okay with it.

So to thank my mom for all the things she’s done for me over the last 22 years of my life I decided to surprise her with tickets. We’re pretty pumped.

All that to say; this week I’m sharing Celtic Thunder with you! The first song is called Belfast Polka and it’s by the Celtic Thunder Band. They’re a pretty talented group of musicians.

The second song is called A Place in the Choir and it’s pretty awesome. It features all the guys and they are all great. Keith, the blonde tenor, is my favorite. But they are all really talented, so it cuts the cheesyness factor down a little.

Happy listening!

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things I learned in college.

Well, friends. It’s the end. My college career is over. Saturday was graduation. It’s crazy. I think I’m still in shock.
(that was a lot of little sentences that could have been covered in one. sorry English majors.)

IMG_1079This is me with a couple of my dear friends. Josh, on the end, graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Music Performance and Composition. I graduated with a BA in Music. Katelyn graduated with a Bachelor of Social Work. And Stephanie graduated with a BA in Social Science.

IMG_1101This is my boyfriend (!!!!!) Zack and I. He graduated with a BA in Psychology and is going to medical school in the fall. (there’ll be more about him later.)

So for the past 3 years at the end of the school year I’ve written a Facebook note about things that I learned that year. It’s always been in list form and it usually includes serious things and funny things. And they all pertain to something that’s happened that year.
So I bring you:
Things I Learned In College (Year 4):
-Sometimes life just sucks
-Even when it’s hard you have to trust that it’ll get better
-IT GETS BETTER. IT GETS BETTER.
-Your core group of friends are the ones that will keep you sane and keep you accountable. Love them and appreciate them
-Always be open to new friendships
-Spontaneous trips to Chicago are some of the greatest
-Don’t let people get away from you if you don’t want them to
-Awkward things sometimes lead to great things
-There are some things you can’t control. Get over it
-Sometimes roommates turn out to be just the people you need in your life
-Jazz Theory isn’t as scary as it sounds
-It’s okay to be broken because everyone else is too
-Learning to trust God is a lifelong process
-Senior recitals aren’t so terrifying after all
-You still need to practice after your recital is over
-Sometimes plans change because of one thing in your life
-Listen to someone when they compliment you
-Real life might not be so scary
-It’s okay to ask for help
-Sometimes your professors give you the best opportunities
-Don’t put off homework (yes, I still need this reminder)
-The best relationships come out of nowhere and change your life for the better
-Sometimes you don’t get what you want, but you still need to try your best
-When you get disappointed, you can cry for awhile, but then you have to keep going
-You accumulate a lot of stuff. And you have to move it all. Keep that in mind

So that’s just a little bit of my senior year of college. I’m still working on getting all moved in to my new apartment, but I’m excited about what’s going to happen over the next year. Don’t worry, I’ll keep you all posted.

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now playing. (3)

OBSESSIONS.

That’s what I’m calling this edition of now playing.
(Subtitled: I don’t want to do all the stuff that I really need to do.)

First: Frank Ticheli’s Simple Gifts: Four Shaker Songs. I love this piece. For my conducting class we have to make a program for an imaginary band and my imaginary kids are playing this (among other things). It’s so great. The last movement is an arrangement of Simple Gifts, which is the quintessential hymn tune. This version is recorded by the Iowa State University Concert Band, so shout-out to my home state!

Second: Cups/When I’m Gone by Anna Kendrick. It’s from the movie Pitch Perfect (also obsessed) but this is the music video version and, no joke, I’ve been listening to it all day. And if I haven’t been listening to it, it’s been stuck in my head. It is a cover of another band, Lulu and the Lampshades (gotta give credit) but it’s great. Either way, I dig this song. It’s definitely one of those songs that’s going around the internet and will be forever. Brace yourselves.

Happy listening!!

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now playing. (2)

You know what. I’m declaring Spring. It’s just here and everyone can deal with it. That’s how I feel right now.

This week I’m going to share some awesome music that reminds me that Spring is here (even if we can’t tell yet).

This first piece is Appalachian Spring by Aaron Copland. He’s one of the most recognized American composers of the 20th century and I adore his music. I even wrote a research paper about him for one of my music history classes (super nerdy…I know). Appalachian Spring was written as a ballet and tells the story of a pioneers living on the prairie and making their lives. This piece is 29 minutes long, so I don’t blame you if you don’t listen to the whole thing, but it is definitely worth it. This piece is gorgeous. Love it.

The song that I’m sharing with you is called What I Wouldn’t Do by A Fine Frenzy. I discovered A Fine Frenzy awhile ago when they had a song free on iTunes to download. I have two of their albums and haven’t listened to them for awhile but this song is in a movie that I recently saw and got super excited to listen to them again. This is off their second album, Bomb in a Birdcage, and it’s adorable and great. This version is live and acoustic, and I almost like it better than the original. I get really happy whenever I listen to this song and I hope you enjoy it.

Happy listening!

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now playing. (1)

I had a Now Playing page up there, but I decided that it would be way easier to just do a post every couple weeks about musical happenings in my life. If you haven’t seen the Now Playing page this is how it started out:
In addition to being a lover of baking I am also a musician. I am an oboist and am currently working on a bachelor of arts degree in music. That means this year I’ll be performing a recital which sounds super scary to me. In this page I’ll be sharing some of the pieces I’ll be learning for this year. As well as some that I have learned and just like playing. And maybe some that I’ve learned and just want to complain about.
As much as I love playing music I also love listening to it. So in addition to sharing different oboe pieces I will also tell you about music I’ve discovered or that I’ve fallen in love with. Pretty much anything is up for grabs in the category from pop to folk to classical to alternative (has anyone decided what that is yet?) and you can follow me through all of it. These will often be the soundtracks of my baking and recipe searching.

So. All that to say, I’ll be posting a new page with a couple of pieces or songs (hopefully!) every week. I’ll also talk about oboe pieces I’m working on and other exciting things like that. I know. You’re excited.

I’ll start with a ‘classical’ piece today. In one of my classes, Instrumental Literature and Conducting, we’re assigned to listen to pieces for every class. Last week we listened to Shostakovitch’s Festive Overture. I love this piece and I’ve played the band version but not the orchestral version. And this version is awesome. Love it. Shostakovitch is awesome.

And for the other song of the day: My love for Paramore goes way back. (And just to clarify: old Paramore, not new Paramore.) It takes me back to freshmen year in my dorm room. Ah, the good ol’days. Or not. This song, The Only Exception, is off the album Brand New Eyes and is one of my favorite songs ever. I listened to it today while writing a paper and it made me so much happier. (Don’t listen to the Glee version though. That one just makes me sad. Ugh.) Enjoy this one. Hug a friend. Be well.

Happy listening!

P.S. I finally got my stand mixer out of the box in my apartment today. So: Baking. Soon.

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still hanging on.

IMG_0838

I’m here! I promise I’m still alive! It’s been a crazy few months in my life recently and I haven’t found any time for recipe making or baking of anything. I’ll just catch you up on everything pretty quickly:

530819_10151320515451839_729337805_n

First major thing of the semester was my senior recital. But before that I had to do a pre-recital hearing to make sure that I could actually do my recital. I was more terrified for that than anything else about my recital. And, in my opinion, it did not go well. Granted, I am my worst critic and I always make everything worse than it is, but it was not good. Thanks to a generous panel and a very encouraging accompanist I passed my hearing (PRAISE GOD) and went on to do my recital. My accompanist, Dr. Anderson, was the best. He’s one of our piano faculty and I did not deserve him. He played the Strauss better than I could have ever imagined, and he kept me sane through the whole thing.

734892_10151320352141839_2022480007_nMy dad’s parents came down from Michigan (aren’t they adorable?!),my mom’s parents came over with my parents, and a bunch of my aunts and uncles came so it was a big party. When I figure out how to edit things, I’ll post some audio and give you the opportunity to hear some of the more stellar parts of the recital. I’m so relieved it’s over and I had so much fun. I’m so blessed with great faculty that came and cheered and prayed for me. So blessed by them.

The other big thing that happened already this semester was a thing called Band Winter Showcase that the marching band puts on every year. My friend Zach and I were pretty much in charge of the whole thing, making sure people showed up, writing music (which Zach pretty much did by himself), organizing, getting everything ready, etc. But the show went spectacularly! It was a blast. Feel free to watch here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJYXeOUzwMo (Part 1)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pA_n8taLWk0 (Part 2)

793898_10151487727908561_1049568112_oThis picture is from the large group act affectionately called “The Dragon”. I got to conduct this piece and it was so much fun. I loved it. (Picture courtesy of my friend Cymone who is spectacular at art and stuff. Check out her fliker here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pretzelday/ )

So that’s pretty much what my life has been for the last couple months. One thing right after the other. Right now I’m in the process of getting back to normal and catching up on all the homework I didn’t do…you know. Just college.

I did make an apple crisp for the first time last weekend. It was surprisingly delicious. And it helped me think of an idea to bake this weekend. I may have been writing ingredient lists in my night class the other day. I feel no shame. Hopefully I can share my idea with you this weekend, but right now I gotta go work on Jazz Theory homework (did I tell you I got the highest grade in that class last semester!? I still don’t believe it…). Extended dominants, here I come!

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