December 15, 2013

Classical Music for the Soul + a Touch of Nostalgia

Writing college essays really forces you to sometimes to really look at yourself and evaluate who've you become over all these years so far. To adults, 17 years old may still seem young, but it doesn't mean we can't still get nostalgic over our childhood. By childhood I mean the young young years when we were in second grade. One of my college essay prompts somehow led me to think about how I miss being young and being completely carefree. I have this one memory of just playing in my room with my stuffed animals while the summer sun shone into all four corners of my room and a breeze crept through my open window. At the time, it was just a typical day. But looking back, it's a precious memory of something that reminds me of my childhood. 

Now for those who don't know, I've been playing violin ever since I was four. It's been a long time and I've done a lot with it. I won't divulge into an entire resume but I have worked hard with music and I guess you can say I've developed a relationship with it. I don't practice much these days, actually basically never, but when I start feeling nostalgic or sad over sentimental things like this, I just get this urge to whip out my instrument and play something. I just had a lesson with my violin teacher yesterday and we read through the Dvorak Concerto in A minor and Bach Sonata No.1. Today I whipped out those two pieces and literally poured my heart into them. I feel like playing the violin really helps me to just let my emotions out, especially when the piece truly conveys what I'm feeling. 

I'm going to link some famous violinists playing two movements of the Dvorak Concerto and the Bach Sonata because I think they really convey the nostalgia, sadness, bitterness, and every emotion that is related to loss. I've never really had any piece of music mean anything to me but I've finally found meaning in this one. And it helped me to resolve all my feelings in a way since I was able to just get them out of my mind and into the notes.

If you don't listen to classical music or just don't get what I'm saying even as you are listening to the pieces, don't worry about it. Every piece of music has a different meaning for everyone. Maybe you can listen for what the piece means to the player in the videos (:

Dvorak Concerto Movement 1: played by Kyung-Wha Chung

Dvorak Concerto Movement 2: played by Itzhak Perlman

There's a movement 3 as well but I felt that it doesn't really apply as much. If you search for it on Youtube though, you'll probably recognize it (: 

Bach Sonata No. 1 (Adagio, Fuga, Presto) played by Isaac Stern & Itzhak Perlman 

Bach Sonata No. 1 is really tough as is most of Bach's compositions since Bach composed it partly to show pianists that violinists don't need them: we can play three even four notes sometimes to accompany ourselves. On violin, playing four even three or two notes is really difficult. It's also really nerve racking to play this piece, especially from memory, because there are just so many variations of the same theme and so many notes to memorize. It's a daunting task. Stern is even sweating at some point in the video! Even though it may not sound totally clean the way he plays it, I think it shows the passion that he's try to convey.

Here's Itzhak Perlman's way of playing the same piece. I like his style slightly more because it's similar to how I would play it personally.

These are probably two of my favorite classical pieces for the violin. I hope you liked them even if they're not pop, country, alternative rock, or some other genre of music ~ Give classical music a chance (:

December 10, 2013

First Snow Fall + Winter!

It's been exactly two months since my last blog post. I guess I'm slowly improving in a way...

But what's more important is that I have finally gotten a Canon EOS Rebel t3i DSLR camera!!! I have been saving for this ever since my sixteenth birthday, which is when I got a ton of checks for a lot of hundreds of dollars. All of that dough has been sitting in my special little savings box waiting to be spent on my new beauty. 

my new baby, taken with the iPhone

I haven't really talked about it in this blog, but one of my obsessions is photography. My first camera was one of those disposable ones that you could buy at an amusement park, then I got this Disney themed one for my ninth birthday which I was obsessed with. Overall, I've had a lot of cameras: point and shoots, one polaroid, and a couple of old film ones my parents had when they were in college. I even used my iPhone 4 for awhile to take pictures to post on instagram. But my dream was to buy one of those big bulky cameras with the lens that you could take off and change and with the high resolution that I would die to have. Black friday came and along with it, my camera. I got it from for a $700 bundle deal that had about a $1300 value. It came with a camera bag, DVD instruction, another lens (I think it's longer), memory card, a cable cord to plug into the TV, camera strap, and battery charger. I haven't stopped taking pictures with it ever since it came in the mail about a week ago, and because the first snow just landed in my town, I've been out in the freezing cold trying to take pictures. 

That's mainly what this post is going to be for, me sharing my pictures taken with my new camera. I hope you are all enjoying your Decembers, winters, and, if you had it, your first snow fall. Tell me what you think about my pictures! 

the Lee family wreath. not fancy or flashy, just cozy.

chocolate oatmeal cranberry cookies i made on a cold day

before the snow fell...

...and after the snow dusted the ground

the colors and white are brilliant

broken orange pot that's been there forever

pine trees & snow. the perfect winter combination

everything looks prettier with snow

a bare branch, beautified.

blueberry pound cake my mom baked

can't have winter without hot chocolate! (&my squirrel mug)

October 10, 2013

the student life + youtube discovery!

It's been about three months since my last post...all I can do is say sorry. My new goal is at least one post a month :) 

A lot has been happening since July (my last post). My last year of high school has begun but honestly I felt like it began before the first day of school in September. Why? Two words: College Applications.

Honestly, its not too stressful as long as you really take advantage of your time. But I do find myself at the bookstore a lot doing homework and writing essays. The essays are the most stressful part but also really rewarding. I finally finished a common app essay that I'm proud of. For those who are struggling through this journey with me, it's an essay for prompt four: 

Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content. What do you do or experience there, and why is it meaningful to you?

I wrote about Barnes and Noble and so far the feedback I've gotten (only from my mom, haha) has been good. But, for other people writing essays and looking for tips, one thing I have to say is don't let other people's opinions overrun your own. Find something you really want to write about, it can honestly be about anything, and write it in a way that you're proud of. The essay really is and should be an expression of yourself. When I initially showed my essays to my parents, their feedback was nice but then they started to get a little too involved. If you think your essays are a true expression of yourself, that's perfect. It's still going to take work, long hours of frustration (I can never spell this word right the first time) and rewriting. I probably scrapped about ten drafts of my common app essay until I wrote one I was proud of. Save your drafts though, because they may answer some supplemental essay or who knows, you might go back to them. 

If you're going through some major stress right now, here's a remedy. Drink some green tea with honey (my favorite tea), eat some ramen (did today. definitely comfort food), or watch some youtube videos! This leads me to my next segment. So while getting all the college mail, sometimes you find gold in the mass heap of junk. Pomona college sent me a brochure where they showcased some of their students. One of them, Albert Chang plays violin and makes videos of covers that he writes. His videos are really good quality, really creative, and his music is really good. His username is sleightlymusical. Here are some of my favorites:

Comment below about who you've recently discovered or love on youtube! I love finding talented people on there, they're so inspiring :)

Remember, don't get stressed out by college applications if you're doing them or school work. Find little things to make you happy and get you motivated~ believe me, it'll be worth it in the end. Until the next post (hopefully sooner than later)!

July 3, 2013

I'm Alive & The Liebster Award

First I'd like to start with an apology for abandoning this blog for literally ten months, eep o___o That is a very long time. My excuse, school :( It was my junior year so I had all the testing, pressure for good grades, AP tests, SAT test, SAT II tests, etc etc. Too much testing. But now that I'm done for the summer, I'm going to bring this blog back to life. Though I do have some new ideas so I may be formatting it differently. 

Anyways, another thing that I'm really excited about is Levina from stardust wishes gave me the Liebster Award! Yay! (back in 2012 but still, yay!)

Here's some description about the award and the rules:

"The Liebster Blog Award is given to upcoming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. "Liebster" is a German word which means the sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing and welcome." 

The Rules:
1) Post 11 things about yourself.
2) Answer the questions the tagger has set for you. In addition, create 11 questions to be answered by those you have tagged.
3) Choose 11 bloggers and link them in your post.
4) Go on their page and tell them you have tagged them.
5) Remember, no tag backs!

Okay, Let's start!

11 things about myself:
  1. I LOVE food especially bread, pasta, noodles (bc they're different from pasta), potatoes, cheesecake, and ice cream :)
  2. I've played the violin for about 13  years. We've had a long commitment, my violin and I and a lot of adventures
  3. I adore movies~ I've never gone to a midnight premiere but I will go out on the opening day with my brother to watch a movie, nevermind the cost :P 
  4. People always describe me as quiet which I've kind of accepted since I am pretty much a quiet person in general. Though when I'm with my friends..that's another story xD
  5. I love going on youtube or pinterest and seeing all the diy things they make. I haven't really gotten around to making anything myself but I'm hoping to this summer
  6. I also love love love photography. Right now my main cameras are my Canon point-and-shoot and my iPhone4 (not really good quality) but I'm saving up for a Canon Rebel, either Ti3 or Ti4. I'm not sure as of now but I'm trying to read a lot of reviews to pick the best one. (Do you have any suggestions?)
  7. And because I love photography, my main outlet is instagram which I've recently got this year. Follow me! infinitelee_grace
  8. I am a dog lover. I tell people I'm going to have 5 dogs when I get my own place: 2 golden retrievers, a puggle, a shih tzu, and I'm not sure about the last one yet
  9. I like to keep journals though I'm as inconsistent with them as I am with my blog...So in the journal I have now, I have post all the way from 2011 
  10. I'm never really inspired by just one person. It depends on the time and who I come across. So right now, I'm mainly inspired by Emma Watson (I didn't realize she was so great until recently--check out the link) and Jennifer Lawrence. Both of them are really down to earth with brilliant personalities. They're also gorgeous
  11. I've recently gone on a college road trip with my family and I think I've found the colleges I really want to go to! I love Duke and Georgetown ^__^
1. What's your biggest fear?
Materialistically, I am really scared of any sharp objects like knives, needles, etc. Just   thinking about them gives me shivers. But I guess my BIGGEST fear is disappointing others. I've realized I really don't like disappointing other people so I'm really motivated by people's expectations of me. Though I've realized it's okay to fall/fail sometimes :)
2. Who's your favorite blogger?
3. What did you want to be when you were a child?
So many things, a teacher, astronaut, dinosaur (yes, my brother's influence), doctor, there's probably a lot more that I don't remember
4. Describe yourself in three words.
Thoughtful, Sensitive, Creative
5. Do you believe in true love?
I'm a romantic, so yes :3
6. What's the most embarrassing moment of your life?
OHMYGOSH. so many moments...well one was when I was really young and I accidentally hugged the wrong mom in Pre-K I think. It's hard to differentiate between persons when all you can see are their legs.
7. Where would you want to live (besides your home now)?
In a city because I've only ever lived in suburb areas
8. What's one thing you can't go a day without?
My iPhone...sadly...I use it too much
9. What's your favorite word/expression?
My favorite quote: Be a fruit loop in a world full of cheerios
10. Who/what inspires you to blog?
I came upon some other blogs on blogger a loongggg time ago and I just loved reading what they had to say and learning about other people who were different from me, who lived in different areas, and were passionate about different things. Pretty much anyone who's blog I follow has inspired me. I'd like to share my interests too so I guess my passions have also inspired me to blog.
11. If you could win any contest, what contest will you join and why?
I've never really thought about it...I guess the most competitive competition so I can feel good about myself :)

Just ate a s'mores waffle, delicious stuff. 
That's all for now, thanks for reading!