Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Out of doors

We spent the weekend at our favorite place - the Kinzua!  We've been camping at the Allegheny State Forest together for about 5 years and it's where we got engaged.  In summers past we've made it down a couple times a month.  Sadly, July is over and we've only camped twice.  I need more outdoors in my life!
Willow Bay on the Kinzua Dam.  Always pretty.

We have 2 favorite spots on the big dam - one is a neat campsite where you get to walk away from the cars and set up camp on the water.  The other spot we love is a backwoods site which you can only get to by boat or a long 2 hour hike - and there is no one else around (except for the boaters on the water).

It rained off and on (mostly on) all Saturday.  But!  It didn't matter - we still had ponchos, great company, fresh air, lots of junk food and red wine (for me, beer for the rest of 'em).  We had great sunshine on Sunday to dry everything up - so we didn't bring home any stinky wet gear!  Packing up and out in the rain is the worst!
David and Katie on the kayaks...

Can you spot the 4 happy campers in this shot? :)  Prepping for a game of Telephone Pictionary.  My favorite.
It's only lightly raining here... when we skipped rocks.

We were lucky enough to have 2 junior campers with us:

Most fashionable.

Where has the summer gone?  I feel like I haven't had time to soak it up and do nothing.  And August is already looking really busy.  Boo!  Since I have a shopping ban in place, maybe I can find more time for some simple outdoor time instead.

Summertime is running out!  ARRRRGHG!  

I may have had some free time with the camera and it's timer mode...

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Bangs blues

I have a total love/hate relationship with my bangs.  Actually, with all of my hair...

Sometimes I just want them back off of my face and I will tease and spray and when I first add a headband, it's not bad.  Until I move, sweat or the wind blows then it's like I just woke up.  These pics were taken at the end of the day and the little bangs behind the headband have their own little party going on.

The outfit is just a white tee dressed up with a thin scarf.  I suppose I could have added some more color with the shoes or belt, but I was too busy dealing with my stupid bangs to take notice.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

They're just an accessory

I was severely near-sighted until I had LASIK 3 or 4 years ago.  It's a relief that I am prepared for either apocalypse - zombie or non-zombie.  (Because when I lose or break my glasses or contacts, I'm totally useless and helpless - I'm sure many of you know what I mean, right?!)

Within a year of the lazering of my eyeballs I switched the coke bottle bottoms to clear plastic in all of my old glasses so I could wear them as accessories.  However, I'm still not wearing them.  I hate glasses.  I've always hated glasses on me.  Part of it is that having blurry vision was a big drag.  I feel so lucky that I was able to have the surgery and that I can read a clock when I can't sleep or that I can make it to the bathroom in the middle of the night and that I can see when I'm swimming (or rather doggie paddling), or when I'm in the shower!

But I've always thought that glasses on other people are super cute!  The ModCloth Blog celebrated all of our four eyes during their recent Geek Week:

This post is titled "Vintage Sexism".  One of the best topics to raise my blood pressure.
So, I have a bunch of old glasses that have been refitted into simple accessories.  Since I've just started my shopping ban, I'm thinking that I should start wearing them to change things up a bit!

I don't know how to take good pictures.  And with glasses, it's even more of a challenge.  Maybe I'll learn a few things as I start wearing and photographing my new looks!

This tank top is a rarely worn piece just hanging out in my closet.  It's a little stiff and a little dark, but I liked the pattern and the ruffles and I was happy that it felt new and a little different for me.

How's your eyesight?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Rehearsal Clothes

I had a big day on Saturday, and even though I practiced lots of viola before the big day with BPO, I also took a little bit of time picking out an outfit (of course!)

Flats, pants and color!  I was pleasantly surprised when I paired the gold top with the minty/turquoise cardigan.

Since the last post was so long, I'm going to keep this one short!

I hope you all have a good week!

Viola High

This past Saturday was the day of the BPO Fantasy Camp that I mentioned in this post from last week. Warning:  this is a long post, but this was a highlight of my summer, so I hope you don't mind!

I have been chuckling-on-the-inside at the name "Fantasy Camp" because I've never really fantasized about playing with a professional orchestra.  I went to music school and studied viola, but I was an audio engineering student - because I wanted to be on the other side of the mic.  I've never had the confidence or the interest in that much practicing to even try to get to a professional level of playing, auditioning and performing.  I was incredibly intimidated by the classical players I knew from music school and took a super casual attitude about my playing because my viola confidence was so low. Why practice more when you don't think you'll ever get any better?  

I used to play violin (note - not viola) with The Lesser Scene during my Chicago years.  

The Lesser Scene!  Oh man, those were great days!

When the band would play out and my professional/ classical violin playing friends would be there and my inner dialog was all "oh, no!  I'm sure I'm so out of tune with ridiculous technique.  they are so judging me.  this is horrible".  And then they weren't like that.  Because playing an instrument isn't about competition, especially if you are good at what you do and seeing people playing music at any level just makes you happy.  That attitude is about true musicianship, artistry and confidence.

The BPO players were super friendly and genuinely happy to be there with us (the amateurs) on Saturday.  Their great attitudes really helped ease that intimidation that stems all the way back from my Chicago days - and probably before that.  I was able to play and not fret over my intonation or my horrible technique and just learn, listen, ask questions, make new friends and make music.

I did put a bunch of work into the music before I got there, which paid off for me big time.  I only got lost once during rehearsal, which is an accomplishment for me because when I'm not prepared and the music flies by faster than I could ever play it I will almost always get lost.  Knowing when (and when not) to play made rehearsing enjoyable and gave me space to learn some other things about the music and the performance.

We rehearsed first thing in the morning.  The rehearsal was interesting and inspiring.  I knew I could handle the music without embarrassment.  We broke for lunch where we got to mingle a bit with the professionals and then broke into sectionals for smaller group coaching.  This was way more intimate and provided a great insight into how the pros practice and work through the tough parts.

Kleinhans Music Hall, home of the BPO.  How cool?!

The view from the stage.  It's a pretty place.
After the coaching we sat for a great lecture on the history of the American Symphony.  This was one of my favorite parts of the day as the lecturer was Maestro Paul Ferrington, who is a BPO Staff Conductor and the conductor of the Buffalo State Philharmonia, the orchestra that I'm in!  Do you know the difference between Symphony, Philharmonic and Orchestra?  There isn't any difference.  The terms used to relate to the size of the group, but that was a long time ago.

The last treat before the dinner break was a history tour of the orchestra hall, Kleinhans Music Hall.  It is a very unique and lovely building, with pretty amazing acoustics.  I love these kinds of history and architectural tours, especially here in Buffalo since I still have a lot to learn about this city.

We had a dinner break and I met Adam at a neighborhood restaurant where we sat outside and saw this lady with her blue dog:

What's the caption?  That dog was blue, straight from the Emerald City.

And finally it was concert time!  We played Dvorak - Carnival Overture; Beethoven - Egmont Overture; Rimsky-Korsakov - Sheherazade, mvmt IV; and Tchaikovsky - Symphony No. 4, mvmts III and IV.  By the way, the word Sheherazade is my new favorite word to say.  It rolls off the tongue like my previous favorite word to say: Hezbollah. (I am making no political statements or support towards the Hezbollah organization, only that the way that the word sounds is pretty to me.)

The concert lasted about an hour and it was wonderful and something I will always remember.  My husband teared up a bit during the Egmont as it's one of his favorite Beethoven pieces.  My sister and brother-in-law were blown away by the sound and the performance.  I was a little exhausted but ecstatic how everything played out.

I have a new relationship with my viola and my own musicianship.  There are two factors that really helped me get to this point.  Moving to Buffalo and studying with Leslie Bahler, my current teacher and friend.

First:  Buffalo.  This city is small enough that I joined a community orchestra within the first year that I lived here.  It seems there is a shortage of violists in the community orchestra scene and I didn't even have to audition.  Since that first year I've played solo recitals and played with 5 (very) different ensembles.  I've participated in workshops and made the decision to find a community orchestra that fit me a little better.  I had choices and support.  There was a need for an amateur violist in Buffalo and it's been a thrill to try to fill it!  I don't know if these kinds of experiences were available to me in Chicago, probably because I lacked the confidence to even go seek it out.

Second (but not in importance):  Leslie.  She is the first viola teacher that I've had that is a true violist! Many violin players will learn and teach on viola.  This was the case for every viola teacher I had until I met Leslie.  I have studied from at least 7 different teachers since I switched from violin to viola in high school. She is also the first student/ teacher relationship that has grown into a true friendship. Her energy and positivity and knowledge and excitement is infectious and inspiring.

I find myself blabbing on and on about Leslie to anyone who will listen.  As I was visiting Chicago and staying with one of my best friends, who is an accomplished professional violinist, she asked me if I've ever connected with a teacher before Leslie.  No!  And I had never thought of it like that before. I never knew what it was like to connect with a teacher, and how important that is for a student.  Since my viola-playing confidence was always so low during high school and college I didn't suspect that there needed to be a better connection during lessons, so I never spoke up or tried to find another mentor.  This is kind of a big deal!  I am really lucky to be her student and her friend.  

This makes me wonder where my relationship with music and my viola would be if I were still in Chicago? Maybe my band would have made it big and I would have been a full time indie rock violinist (um, that would have been awesome!).  I might never have picked up my viola again.

But what did happen was awesome;  I moved to Buffalo, met Leslie, practiced and played a lot of viola and learned that an amateur musician is an AMAZING thing to be!  And on Saturday night I got to play with an professional orchestra in an amazing hall, and everyone applauded.  And now I kind of understand why they call it "Fantasy Camp."

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Frock Off!

No frockin' way!  What the frock?  Get the frock outta town!
Down in Fraggle Frock?  Frock and Roll.  Frock a bye baby.  Don't frock the boat :)?!

This dress felt a bit frocky to me.  Fffffffrrrrroooooccckkkk.  What a strange word.

Since I've been blogging I've been belting or sinching my waist pretty much all the time.  Today I wore this dainty cotton LBD and I was afraid I looked pregnant all day (I'M NOT!).  Both yesterday's dress and this one have some variation of the empire waist, this one has a built-in bow-it-in-the-back belt that starts in front below the bust and yesterday's dress has empire seaming. I had that same pregnant- looking feeling yesterday, too, so I belted it and decided it looked best if it was layered with the sweater.

Good news is that the frock was frockin' comfy and in the pictures it seems to have a little more shape than I realized when I was getting dressed (or checking myself out over thinking it in the bathroom mirror at work).

Do you think "maternity section" when you see a dress like this?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Fantasy Camp

So, I actually do things other than get dressed and take pictures of myself!

I'm working on the 4th movement of Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4

This last month has been a big viola practicing-a-thon for me. And this coming Saturday is what I've been working towards... the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra Fantasy Camp!  This is a chance for adult amateur musicians to rehearse and perform side by side with the professionals on stage.  It will be a full day of rehearsing, coaching, lectures and an evening performance.

What's really cool is that I've learned so much already!  I play in a community orchestra where we have months of rehearsals to prepare for a concert.  But on Saturday I have just 1 day.  I've learned a lot about practicing and listening and I have a little nagging feeling I'm still going to be shamed into a little viola ball of nerves and embarrassment when I get there!  I should get back to practicing...

This is what I wore today:

I wore both the white and the gray sweater today.  I try not to go sleeveless at work and the office temp goes from cold to hot to cold to hot, so I had to take both cardigans today.  I'm sure I'm not the only girl who brings multiple clothing options to work, right?!

Okay, back to Beethoven.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Shopping Ban

This day has been knocking on my door for some time now:  I'm declaring a temporary suspension of shopping upon myself.

Super sad face  :(

This here is a 4 part edict about the suspension (I'm making this up right now, so it's not a professional, recommended or tested process):

Part 1:  Declaration of Intent
I shall declare my Shopping Ban to the internets (you).  Once I hit "publish" and this post goes live, I can't take it back.

Part 2:  Rules and Regulations
I will not shop for clothes, shoes, accessories or other personal non-essentials until October.  This should allow me and my credit card to recover.  Also, a shopping budget must be written up - and strictly followed - by September 30.

Part 3:  Support the Goal
I will clean out my closets and dressers and find some clothes that I haven't seen in a while, remix old and forgotten items and donate the rest.  With every bag I take to Goodwill I can spend $5 at the thrift store.  I also must quit "window shopping" online.  Resist the urge to click links that all you bloggers link up for me (online shopping is one of my major problems.)

Part 4:  Document and keep myself honest on the blog
I will make sure that I like what I wear and continue to dress myself thoughtfully and tell you all about it.  Yep, you might hear me doing lots of complaining.  Sorry!  Hopefully I will have some interesting new outfits made out of old and forgotten clothes and learn a few things on the way to October.

Let's hear it for October!  I already have a list of things I need.  Eeeek... this is going to be tough!

Oh!  So, I knew this day was coming and I shopped a little last week (and last month and the month before...) 

First, a $10 floral dress from Macy's.  It's that time of year when all the summer stuff is dirt cheap!  I could not have started my shopping ban without checking out these sales first.  I spent about $30 last Wednesday at the mall and came away with this dress, a $7 skirt and 2 tops.  I was a happy shopper.

Next, the shoes are Danskos.  I've wanted a pair of these forever because everyone keeps singing the comfort tune about this brand.  I found this pair on Steep and Cheap a couple of weeks ago.  They are sized by European numbers and I took a wild guess at what would work.  The big toe hangs off the front a tad, but I've been wearing them a lot and they feel FABULOUS!  I lurch around with size 9 or 9.5 footsies and my quick Google search said to order the 40.

Hopefully my shopping ban brings out the best in my wardrobe and gets my retirement planning back on track.  Wish me luck!!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Adam's Birthday!

Yesterday was Adam's birthday but we started celebrating on Friday.  The lucky boy got a haircut and and a 2 hour massage and I gifted him a piece from our favorite artist, Ogre - check out his website!

"Something About Meditation" - I'm so happy we own this piece!!

Next we headed to the air conditioning movies to see the new Wes Anderson flick Moonrise Kingdom - loved it!!  

Saturday was Adam's actual birthday, also known as Bastille Day.  We ate pizza then went to his favorite place - Dave and Busters!

Concentrating like a champ!

My favorite game... "NO DEAL, HOWIE"

Aww, love at the D&B!

Then we indulged in some more air conditioning movie watching and went to see Pixar's Brave:

I love a sassy redhead!

Happy birthday to the BEST HUSBAND a girl could ever want!  Love Live Life!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Safe Pattern Mixing

Why are summers stressful?  I deal with some TMJ issues - I clench my jaw when I sleep and then my face hurts all day.  So, when this starts happening I wear a custom mouth guard ($$) from my dentist to bed.  This morning I woke up and it wasn't in my mouth.  Yikes!  There is no way I swallowed it and I couldn't find it anywhere near my pillows.  I was so afraid that a cat had stolen it, played with it, chewed it up and stored it away in one of their hideaway stashes where all the toys go.  Two different emotional reactions: Yuck! or Gone Forever! 

Guess where I found it?!  At the foot of the bed, tucked into the mattress.  Hmmmm...

Now that you know this silly factoid about me here are some outfits from this week:

Stripes and checkered scarf

Stripes (thin strips are hard for me to photograph) and floral belt

Stripes and stars

I have been working with the pattern mixing a bit in an attempt to thwart my shopping habits and enjoy my wardrobe.  (more on that later...)  It's all pretty safe.  Maybe the next round will be a bit bolder.

What tricks do you use to freshen up your wardrobe - without shopping!?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

EBEW - Color blocking (two tries same day)

This is where I started.  It was a little dark in the closet yesterday morning... and I was feeling very brave.  I haven't (and probably wont) read the book, but I wanted to name this outfit "50 shades of green".  

I assumed that olive or army green is a neutral.  But paired with this teal skirt is a bit of a color-clashing stretch.  I topped it with a brown sweater than felt that was too fall-like for early July.  So, I tried the mint green and felt it was perfect.  

This teal pleated skirt has never been easy for me to style and I hated it all day.  So much that I temporarily changed into pants.  PANTS!  I haven't worn these things with legs in weeks because of the heat... and even though the temp has dropped, pants were still not the answer.

I changed back into a denim skirt and double-dated for dinner.  It was lovely.  So, these pants are just for EBEW and you, of course!

I can't wait to see everyone else's color blocking!!