Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Christmas Post

I want this elf so bad. Doesn't he just scream cuteness??!! I found him at Von Maur one of the last days I was home in October. Maybe he'll still be there in January?

It's Christmas in the pit. I started this book to get in the holiday spirit. It's super long so it should last me a couple weeks.

Our tiny Christmas tree in the pit. Thanks, Concertmaster Will.

I found this nasty, old poinsettia backstage yesterday. Of course we needed it in the pit. I added a few ornaments to make it super festive.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Long Lost Toledo Pics

I have to say I enjoyed our time in Toledo. We made a road trip to Cleveland to see the Kings and we both made our maiden voyage to Ann Arbor. My cousins Phyllis and Marty came to see the show too!
This is the cutest stage we've had so far.

The newspaper ad for Les Mis in Toledo. I find this hilarious.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Dressing a Musician

A fellow tour mate and blogger, Rachel, did a little photo shoot with me and our violist yesterday. Her blog is called Fashion on Tour. In the spirit of our upcoming photo shoot and interview on her blog, I decided to go a little further into whys and whats musicians wear when performing. These are just my favorites and my opinions and probably don't jive with others, but I have been doing this for quite sometime and I've had my share of fashion mishaps when performing. Trust me, I can remember the concerts where I wore that shirt that was see-through or those pants that were too tight. I can't remember the music because I was too focused on my comfort level.
Here's an example of a great pant to wear for a concert. I love tuxedo pants. They are a quick way to make you feel really dressed up and ready to play a great concert. I have a pair of Calvin Klein tuxedo pants that I bring out whenever I have an "important" concert.

These are my go to pants for performing. They are from the Limited. I think they make a great pant. They hold up really well after laundering and you never have to worry about pressing them. Which is a total plus when you're driving to and from gigs. 

For the pit something more casual is just right. Playing 8 shows a week means comfort is key. These are my favorite pit jeans. They are from Sebastian McCall. They are a medium rise so you aren't spending the whole gig pulling up your pants. They have a little stretch in them too so you can actually breathe when playing.

I love this top because the detail is high. This means while I'm playing the audience could actually see it. Having a cute detail in the middle or bottom gets lost once my horn is up. This is also a stretchy material, again making it easier to breathe. 

I love this flowy top. The sheer sleeves make it fun and unique. It also would look great on a string player as they were bowing. The flowy sleeves are perfect for that. This top is also great for that "post giant dinner" show when you don't want anything clinging to you.

I'm a huge fan of an empire waist shirt to perform in. Anything that stays away from my stomach when I'm playing makes me so much more comfortable. I'm a wind player, so yes I obsess about my stomach when playing. Plus, I love the detail on this shirt. I know this sounds vain, but if I feel good in my clothes I know I'll play better. It's all part of the show you put on.
Shoes must be closed-toed. Every group you play with specifies this. I love flats because I'm tall and heels mess up where my horn hits my face. Remember, the horn sits on my leg. If I raise it up with heels, I have to change how I play. I love this Steve Madden pair because they would look fancy but also comfortable.

These are a great little kitten heel. They seem like they would be sturdy. This is important for almost all musicians as keeping on feet on the group and solid is important to playing. I like the bow detail because it would peek out.

If I were to play in a heel, I would pick a wedge like these. The wedge would give me more support. They are also easier to walk in. I love the suede on this one too. 

Now pardon me for this slight change of topic, but I have to discuss classical musician soloists. I have gone to numerous concerts where the soloists has the worst style. I know these people do not have stylists, but I think maybe they should. Here is my biggest rule for soloists.
Don't wear spaghetti straps- sitting in the top row of a concert hall, we only see an ill-fitting dress. We have no clue the spaghetti strap even exists. 
Take this dress for example, you're the soloist for go for it: metallic, bright colors, shiny, lots of big details. That's what we want to see. I love the gold metallic dress and the one-shoulder is on the perfect side for a violin soloist.

This has opera star written all over it. The bright color and big collar will look great even from the nose-bleed seats. The big shiny belt is perfect too.

This is such a beautiful color. I love the flowy sleeve and big flower detail.

This is such a modern looking dress. The color would really pop against the black of an orchestra. The straps are just big enough that they would be seen from a far distance. The fit of this dress is really great too.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Miami Valley Huskers

We had a great time yesterday in Centerville, Ohio. It was there, just a quick 15 minute drive from Dayton, that we met the Miami Valley Alumni Association of the University of Nebraska. They reserve a section of a sports bar and watch the games together. They had prizes (of which I won two!), several contests, and group cheers. It made our Black Friday one of the best days!

While we were there, I started asking a guy I met about downtown Dayton. Where we're staying downtown it's like a ghost town. There's no one on the streets except creepy homeless men who hide behind trees. But there's this gorgeous hall, the Schuster Center, stuck right in the middle of all this darkness. The picture to the right is of the ceiling in Schuster Hall. It's one of the most beautiful halls we've played.

Back to my story about downtown Dayton, the guy said that Dayton made the huge mistake of not annexing any of the towns or suburbs in its vicinity. The actual city of Dayton has a very small tax base and therefore has no money to draw on for revitalizing its downtown. This was evident as we took the short drive to the mall in the suburbs. After about 10 blocks we were out of Dayton and in the affluent suburb of Oakwood, Ohio. It turned from devastation to beauty in mere seconds.
Here's an example of the gorgeous houses in Oakwood.

The guy continued on to explain the key differences that exist when a town annexes its suburbs. Take Omaha for example, Omaha has a full-time mayor and city council that has fought to annex every suburb all the way out to Elkhorn. As much as those of you in Elkhorn are mad about this, this is the reason why Omaha has a fantastic downtown area (among many other things). There are shops, entertainment, and restaurants. It's fun to go downtown to the Old Market. It's a destination spot. It's also fun to host things like the College World Series. I don't think they'd ever be able to do something like that in Dayton. The bottom line is Dayton doesn't have the tax base to support anything like that. They also have a part-time mayor and a hired city manager who can point the finger wherever he wants when something goes wrong. 
And when you look at the opportunities that the Omaha Public Schools have and compare then to a place like Dayton or even Cleveland for that matter. Cleveland has the same kind of problem as Dayton in regards to the suburbs. The OPS system assures that all schools no matter whether they're in the poorest neighborhoods get an adequate amount of funding. Seeing these cities and downtowns up close and personal makes this idea and way of structuring cities so clear to me. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Today I'm giving thanks for switching to GMAIL. It's the best email provider. They are changing their look and unlike my nemesis, Facebook, they are actually telling you how and why they're updating it. You can even watch a video about it so you understand the new features. So, thank you, Gmail. Just another little thing I'm thankful for today.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Giving Thanks

It's easy to get down on tour, especially during the holidays. With Thanksgiving approaching to get me out of my "I want to see family so bad" funk, I've decided to do a post dedicated to giving thanks. I have so many things to be thankful and it's a much better focus than the earlier mentioned funk. I was already smiling thinking about this post, so I highly recommend doing something similar on your own (it can even be in your head!)
I am thankful .. . . . . . . for the amazing, wonderful wedding we had. It was a memorable day and one I still think about everyday. I married my best friend. How could I not be thankful? 

I am thankful . . . . . .for these two ladies right here. My grandma was quite possibly the best person I've ever met. She had a huge heart and was so giving. I miss her everyday, but especially at holidays. I'm thankful for the constant presence she has in my life. The other lady is the best mom ever. I'm thankful that we talk everyday and I can tell her everything. She's also the best person to have a glass of wine with. Trust me, we can solve the world's problems over a glass a wine.

I am thankful . . . . . . .for a husband who will draw me these kind of notes. He's the best!
Don't think I was just going to be sappy cause, I am thankful . . . . . .for OPI bronzed to perfection nail color. It's the best fall/winter toe color out there.
I am thankful . . . . . . .for my nephews. Duh, they're the best guys ever. This picture is super old but I love Martin's face in it. 

I am thankful . . . . . . for the amazing water pressure at this hotel. That's about all I'm thankful for in Dayton, OH, but hey you gotta find something. The WaterPik shower head is the best one we've had so far!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Fire- arts and crafts in Appleton, WI

We spent some quality time bringing out our inner creative selves this week. Or as my mom said, "wow, you had a lot of time on your hands." However, this little shop in Appleton called Fire was the best place to spend an afternoon crafting. Ian is working on a glass fusion project of Little Cosette.

Catherine spent hours digging out the letters for Dot.

Will is very serious about his square bowl.

Here's some examples of the talent that works at Fire.

The glass we used for our fusion projects.

Mosaic tiles.

more tiles.

My wind chime. Just wait, it'll look cool with it's totally fused.

A little team building project. Little Cosette needs a lot of help, trust me;)

The Dot chick!

Crafting for your niece is so much fun, just ask Catherine. I'd love to craft for a niece but sister said she's not having any more kids. WHAT??!!!

Along with my wind chime, I made this awesome ornament. 

Yes, that's hairspray. A very sophisticated crafting item.

Steven's Husker plate that will be fused into a bowl.


The boys arrive at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, WI for Monday Night Football

These Green Bay fans are serious!

Here it is, the only stadium owned by the tax payers of Green Bay. It feels like such a community in there, every church in the town runs its own concession stand. They are so nice and proud of their stadium and team.

The view of the crowd streaming into the stadium

Steven inside the stadium

That's right, we're at Lambeau Field

That's a lot of green and yellow.

The Packers dominated the Minnesota Vikings that night.

For me, the most interesting part of the game was watching the kicker and punter warm up. They have such an important job to do and it happens so infrequently. They are constantly doing warm up kicks and snaps to make sure they're ready when they're called upon.