rainy day project!

Me: "I think I want to paint the family room"
Matt: "OK. do whatever you want"
Me: "OK!"

I went to Home Depot and got everything I needed. I took a friend's advice and purchased some frog tape and an angled Wooster paintbrush. I chose what I thought would turn out to be a nice warm shade of grey and got to work. After finishing the room I realized that it looked atrocious and went back to Home Depot to get a different color paint. On the upside, painting the room 3 times (1 hideously dark gray and 2 coats of lovely gray/blue) has made me much more confident in my interior painting abilities.


Done Done andddd Done!

I was back in London Ontario for the end of October and entire 1st week in November preparing for my final recital. It was so odd being back as a music student. Daily rehearsals, lessons, practicing hours a day, going for coffee runs with friends... What a great life. Becoming a real person with a real job is difficult. I felt strangely all week and then fairly relaxed in my new routine and then I had to leave for home.

My recital went really well. I'm just so relieved that it's done. A few stressful things occurred while I was there like an impending faculty strike/campus shutdown. But, everything turned out well. I felt fairly at home on stage which is actually odd for me. I played my Bach with minor bumps and bruises and my contemporary piece was actually the best I think I've ever played it. The Brahms was a challenge for me all week because I am no longer used to playing out in my tiny apartment. I am also not used to playing with anyone else so my first rehearsal with Tim, my pianist, was exceptionally ear opening for me.

All in all, I'm really glad that I finished this all up and pushed myself through all of the pain. It helps that I had some amazing supporters. I miss all of my Canadian friends! It was great to have a much needed reunion.

Now back in New York, I still feel a bit unsettled. I decided to give myself a week off to rest and recoup. Next week, back to the grind. I have some upcoming auditions that I'm going to start prepping for.

Also, awhile back Matt and I attended Paul and Abby's wedding. My friend Cassie did all the photography. Look at this lovely picture that she took at the reception!

Go look at her truly inspirational blog:


I love:

Matt. He is my best friend. We live together and I still get butterflies when I see him.


one reason technology is bad.

The other day I dropped Matt off at the airport and didn't bring my phone with me. Do I know how to find a gas station and then get home? ...no.

I did alright getting gas because I found it on Matt's phone before he left. I thought I knew how to get home but failed miserably. Instead of staying in Brooklyn I accidentally drove over the RFK bridge into Manhattan. This bridge has a toll. Do I have any money with me? ...no.

I approached the toll booth and told the worker, "I have no money. And I'm lost." Luckily, my car still has WI license plates which just helps my case. He directed me to the Williamsburg bridge and from there I (semi-)successfully navigated my way home.

I am a complete idiot without my phone. I have no idea where anything is or how to get there without Google maps. I don't even have a mental map to refer to. Even when someone tells me to go a certain direction and I am sure of myself, I still double check my phone, partly to be extra sure and partly because in NYC I just don't have time to walk an extra block.

New thought: Learn the area that I live around.


i heart brooklynyc

Although I moved awhile ago, we finally have internet set up! I can't imagine being without internet for a prolonged period of time. 3 weeks was torture. Our apartment is quite lovely, small but cozy and comfortable. Pictures will come soon.

Brooklyn is the best because most buildings have accessible rooftops. It's nice to have a place to go at night, look at the city lights, and think. On September 11th, there were lights shooting up into the sky where the twin towers used to be. The view was incredible and quite thought provoking. I can't imagine what being in NYC in 2001 must have been like. Absolutely devastating.

On a happier note, I love living here. I've decided. It's official. I love my job. I love the people that I know. I love the ability to do anything and go anywhere at any moment. I love it all.


The last few weeks

Have flown by. I have no idea where August went but I'd like time to slow down a bit.

Since my last post, Sangria and I moved into Matt's apartment, but we just signed a lease for a new apt on September 1!!! We're moving to Brooklyn, just one block from the JMZ Marcy stop. Woohoo! I am so ready to leave Washington Heights. You have no idea how ready I am. I am also really excited for my favorite moving things to do... purging my life of things I don't want or need.

Alex, Matt's brother was in town last week before he flew to Taiwan. He'll be there for a whole year so it was good to see him for a few days. We did a lot of fun things like check out the Cloisters,

the King Tut exhibit,

and ate at a super tasty mexican restaurant, Mexicana Rosa, on the upper west side.

I also am really enjoying my new store and am feeling at home there. I like working slightly off of Broadway because it is away from all of the tourists. It is also surrounded by amazing shops and cafes. Very. Dangerous.


I miss nature.

As much as I like New York, one of my new favorite things is trying to leave it. The other day, I went hiking and cliff diving with some friends at a State Park in New Jersey. So. Much. Fun. I've never jumped off of a cliff so it was an experience. MattE held my hand through the whole thing.

I also realized today that New Yorkers are not all that different from herd animals being corralled from one pen to another. I am starting to tire of all the walking. I used to love walking everywhere but the reality of it has set in and now when I get to my destination, I sit down and slump over in exhaustion.

I am ready to go to WI. 5 days.




Earlier this week I had an interview to move on from POS supervisor to manager in training. The interview went really well and I was told that I got the job but I'd have to wait to see what store I'd be transferring to. Today, my boss told me that I'm actually going to be skipping MIT and going straight to assistant manager. Yay!!! That means way more money than I'm getting now and fun things like paid time off, personal days, etc. I start that title officially this coming week and begin doing training for it at my store. I don't know exactly which store I'm going to be moved to but I'm really sad about leaving the people I work with. I really look forward to going to work because I love seeing everyone every day. Rick ensures me that I'll still see and talk with people so I'll just have to make sure it happens on my days off.




as of late.

Matt, Sean, and I decided to hold off on the apartment hunt for the time being. Since their lease ends after mine, I'm going to move into their apartment for the month of August. It's going to be a challenge because there isn't very much space, but I'm really excited! 16 days!

I've been doing some of other fun things lately. My coworker, Rick, invited me to hang out with him and his bf for the 4th at one of the Piers. Since the road next to the water was blocked off, someone had to show a badge to let us through the police barricades. Very VIP. It was incredible because we got to watch the fireworks on the water in front of the Macy's barges. Aren't Rick and Andrew so adorable? Yes. They are.

Some bad news is that I am probably going to have to get rid of Rory. She is getting older and just had to get some parts replaced this week. I don't really need her in NYC often and coordinating her parking schedule is kind of a hassle. I've had her for such a long time that I feel really sad like I'm selling a part of my family.

(Why do I become so attached to inanimate objects? Maybe I'll stop anthropomorphizing everything so I won't become so attached.)

ALSO! I have some extremely exciting news to share later this weekend!!!


NYC transition #2

I have to decide in the near future whether I'm going to move out of my apartment at the end of the month or stay here for another two months. My big news... Matt asked me to move in with him and Sean! :) I'm so excited.

Although there are a lot of things that still need to be worked out, I started looking at apartments this week to see what's out there. I looked at one apartment that is absolutely gorgeous and I want to move in right now.

Isn't it lovely? Everything in it is brand new and the apt is right along riverside drive. The only problem is that it's smack dab in the middle of two subway stops which isn't all that convenient.

Hope all is well with everyone! xoxox


I am a New Yorker.

I realized it this last week when Matt and I were walking down Broadway on my day off to go shopping. Matt kept trying to slow me down because I was practically plowing people over trying to get to our destination. We weren't in a hurry but I couldn't help walking as fast as possible. The next day I made a conscious effort to walk at a more moderate pace and I just felt annoyed. So. That's it. I'm a New York City resident.


nyc exploration #1

Yesterday, Matt and I went to this really good Egyptian restaurant in Queens with some good friends, Matt and Julie. The owner was delightful and entertained us with some witty banter, great food, and lovely service. Afterward, Matt took me to Roosevelt Island to see the city from a different perspective.

Roosevelt Island is a really weird little place that lies in between Queens and Manhattan. It's only about a city block wide but is jam packed with tall buildings. It's almost as if the island used to be part of Manhattan and then just broke off and floated away a bit. The noise of Manhattan is still pretty incredible to me. On the side of the island that faces Queens, all you hear is the gentle sounds of the East River. On the side that faces Manhattan, the only thing you can hear is the white noise hum of traffic and lights.

In other news, I got a promotion at work! I am the new POS supervisor at Club Monaco in Soho and am really liking it so far. The work is a lot of clerical type stuff, which I really enjoy, and I get some more responsibility which is always nice. Of all the things to be excited about, I'm most thrilled about having benefits. Yay! After last summer with my unplanned gland surgeries, I have learned that having health benefits is a top priority.

Hope all is well with everyone!


1 month point.

I've been living in NYC for just over a month now and I am finally starting to feel settled in. I'm getting used to all the walking so I'm not exhausted all the time, and I can manage finding my way around pretty well now (with the help of my phone of course). I really like my job, and the people I work with, and things at work seem to be going in my favor. More on that subject next week.

As far as upcoming summer plans, a trip to London, ON may be in the works in July. BUT! One for sure, super exciting plan is...

Paul and Abby's wedding!

They are the best, and I am so excited to see them!


Isn't this cute?


entering the work force.

I start work at Club Monaco in Soho tomorrow. I have a really strange feeling about it so we'll see if I stay there. Anthropologie offered me a job but I had a few questions that I'm still waiting to hear back about. If I hate Club Monaco, at least I'll have earned my first 4 hours of work in the city.
Wish me luck!


London to NYC

On Thursday I packed up and said good bye to my house.

Chris and Jenny were on their way to Rochester that day, so we decided to caravan. Matt drove the truck.

There was a pretty horrific accident on the 401 so we sat in almost still traffic for about 45 minutes.

Chri decided to walk back and say hello.

A police officer decided to pull Matt over to give us one final happy memory of Canada.

We unpacked the truck.

Sangria settled in fairly quickly.

and I've spent the last couple of days cleaning and unpacking.

It hasn't hit me yet that I live in New York. I know it'll take some time to adjust, but I have to say that I'm really happy to be here.


I haven't prepared myself

for the immense sadness that is slowly taking over. I'm really going to miss London. Well, not London itself, but all of the people associated with it. I've made some amazing friends and am so grateful and honored to have them in my life. Without them I probably would've sunk during some really difficult moments in the past two years.

I'm also really sad that I'm done with school. I've been extremely excited to move on to the real world and get a job that I love, and now that all of this is happening... I'm sad. Matt has been telling me to take advantage of every opportunity I can while I'm in school because I may never have this musical bubble again. And he's right, as always. I think I've done a fair amount of things in the past two years, but I'm looking back and hoping that I didn't miss something that I may never get to experience in the future.

One non-sad bit of my life: I bought some Toms and I love them. I highly recommend you go get a pair. Yes, you.


the final countdown.

As I head towards the end of my masters degree, I'm feeling a cyclone of emotions. There are so many transitional things going on all at once, I have been struggling to juggle all of them. Unfortunately, when stress bombards me from all directions, my mind and body start to shut down. I, luckily, have this wonderful boyfriend to help keep me in check. His "gentle" reminders that my recital is in a week have been prodding my back into reality.

What I'd like to focus on is moving to New York City in 8 days, aka 2 short days after my recital. I still have to pack (and get boxes to be able to pack), decide what I'm taking, tossing, and giving to Good Will, and finalize subleasing things.

The fact that I have a brand new apartment just waiting for me to move into is more than a bit distracting. I'm so excited because it's only 2 blocks away from Matt! I have been having these day dreams about the reality of it all. No more annoying dropped Skype calls. No more 10 hour drives that turn into 14 because I lock my keys in my car at a random gas station in upstate New York. No more driving back and forth to Buffalo to drop off/pick up Matt from the airport. If I want, I can call Matt and then walk 10 minutes to see him IN PERSON. Amazing.

As far as money goes, I decided that I'd like to know where I'm working before I move to NY. This is proving to be difficult. I have 2 potential jobs lined up. After a very strange job interview situation at Anthropologie, I just received an email that I've moved onto the next round of interviews. For me, this will be round 3. I don't know how many rounds there are, but really, I'd like to be done after this one. I also applied at Club Monaco and was interviewed on the spot. The manager seems great, but I have to wait until I hear from them. When I get into town, there is one more place that I am going to apply at, and then I will wait. My goal- start working the first week I'm in NY. No time like the present...

And at the present time, I should be focusing on my recital. Tuesday, April 27th, 2pm, Von Kuster Hall. Please come if you're available. If not, that's ok, too.



Sorry for the lack of posting lately, but my final recital is in a very short 36 days. EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!! I've been working like a crazy person to get prepared and I'm getting really excited/nervous.

My program is:
Bach A minor Sonata

(mvt 1)

Dvorak Violin Concerto

(mvt 1)

And a contemporary piece by Saariaho

And then... New York. Yay! :) I'm also really excited to start new repertoire and start preparing for some auditions. Real world. I'm looking forward to seeing you.


thoughts on NYC.

-Matt & Jenna proximity
-Transportation ease
-Lots of lovely places to shop (also a con because this is dangerous for me)
-I am looking forward to moving to a new place

-Practicing is going to be an issue
-Smells like garbage and urine

To Do:
-Find a roommate
-Find a job
-Find a place to live
-Find someone to sublet my Canadian apt for the last few months of my lease

baking with Sean :)



of going to New York tomorrow and spending my time there baking, cooking, going to concerts, and practicing. And of course hanging out with my loved ones.

...mini Boston creme pies. Sound good?


Audition thoughts.

I had my Banff audition yesterday. For a normal audition, you go in, play, and the person listening says "thanks" and you leave.

This is not how my audition went. I went in and did a small amount of normal chit chat, "Where are you from? What are you going to play?" I started with my Bach and it was awful. Lots of memory slips. At this point, the listener would usually say "thanks for coming in." Instead, he said, "Are you nervous? Do you feel comfortable? What would make you more comfortable?"

"...um. I am nervous, and I could play my Dvorak for you."

I play the Dvorak and he says, "You're very interesting to me because the hard stuff sounds great and wonderful and the easy things aren't that great. Why is that?"


"Tell me about yourself."

I proceeded to talk to him for about 10 minutes even though I had already been in the room for 10. (The audition was only supposed to be 10 minutes)

He seemed very nice, but I left feeling perplexed and I still kind of feel that way. I guess that it's better that he took interest in me and wanted to know about my playing and background, but still. Very abnormal.

When I left and people asked me how it went I just said, "I don't really know."

I will find out in late March/early April.


was I wrong? ...I don't think so.

Why do some people feel the need to be right all the time and others don't? Does it give the righter satisfaction to know that the wrongers are wrong, in turn, making themselves feel better? When right, does the righter rub it in the wronger's face, and if so, does that really help matters?

I don't think that anyone likes being wrong, but I do know that a lot of people don't feel the urgent need to state their case about why they are right and just bite their tongue, perhaps choosing to pass on that particular battle.

Others are always vocal about any wronging that may be occurring, justified or not.

What is this? And, why? And how does one stop this madness?

According to Debbie Mandel,
- Develop a good self-concept. Focus inward on your specific and special contribution. Cultivate a personal identity; then you won’t need to assert it.
- Try not to interrupt while other people speak; pay attention to your body language. For example, don’t roll your eyes.
- When you disagree with an opinion, summarize the other person’s point of view first. Make sure you understand his perspective before you present your own.
- Don’t be afraid to make a mistake and be wrong. Learn from being wrong.
- The truth is fluid. What is right today may be wrong tomorrow. Just look at the history of medicine!
- Observe your feelings with family, friends and colleagues. How does being right make you feel and how does letting other people be right too make you feel?
- Keep your emotional communication limited to two minutes; otherwise you risk preaching and venting.
- Align your actions with your words so that people can evaluate your points and trust you. Walk the walk.


long distance sucks

Matt and I work much better when we're together in person. After a few weeks of being apart, we decided that it was necessary to see each other. So, in a very spontaneous decision, Matt jumped on a plane and came to visit me.

Right now I'm performing in Don Giovanni and last week had an exorbitant rehearsal schedule. Matt flew into Buffalo and I picked him up there at 1230am. We got back into London around 345am. Yuck. We spent 2 gloriously peaceful days being together and then I drove him back to the Buffalo airport at 2am after about an hour of sleep. I got back into London at 830am. Note to self: Driving to Buffalo during these hours really sucks. Try to avoid this in the future.

I'm counting down the days until I get to see him again, as always. 12 more days and I'll be in NYC for "spring break."




I love this man.


Happy Birthday Matt!

I love birthdays! I know that some people dislike the attention, but birthdays are such a good time to celebrate someone! Unfortunately, I couldn't be with Matt today, but he had some good company and I got him a pretty cake and pie from Magnolia Bakery. I even got to be there (on Skype) for the cake cutting! :)


Knit, Purl, Knit, Purl, Knit, Purl...

One reason that I love art (painting, drawing, etc) is the physical, tangible nature of it. One reason that I love music is because it has a certain unpalpable, unexplainable quality that cannot be replaced with anything else. One of my friend's blogs is really inspiring to me because you can see how much work she puts into her projects and she sometimes shows the progression of her work. That being said, I wish that I had a hobby that I could share with you all. Unfortunately, with music, no one really wants to hear a half worked on Violin Concerto so I will not be sharing anything I'm working on until it's basically completed.

Because of this, and also because I think that hobbies are important, I thought I'd give knitting a second chance. You may have remembered the first square that I made. The last day or two I've been doing a couple more to work up to my first attempt at a scarf. It's super cold here so hopefully I can get the scarf done in a few days. Wish me luck!


Fear less...

“...hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”

I am trying to remember to keep positive as 2010 is trying to kick me and keep me down. I've been really sick and kind of depressed and have been feeling confused as I make the transition into becoming a non-school attendee.


All that ends now. The 2010 Gods are testing me and I am rising to the challenge. I refuse to be an unhappy Debbie Downer so I'm not going to be sad anymore. That's just lame.

I leave all of you lovely people with a picture that always makes me smile... Chri Unger caught in a moment of pure joy. :)


I love presents! :)

To kick off the year, I arrived home to Canada to find two lovely packages on my kitchen table. One was a bottle of wine from my landlords. How fantastic is that!? They have the right idea. Happy tenants = Happy landlords who get rent on time.

The other was a package from Asha Beyer! Remember how I mentioned that I was one of the lucky winners in her giveaway? WOOOOO!!! My room already feels happier without that empty wall.


bring it on 2010!

2009. There are so many adjectives to describe this last year that go from complete sadness to full elation.

2010. This year, I am making the transition from student to a person living in the "real world." I've been a university student for the past eight years and I'm ready to do something different with my life. I am so pumped. Maybe a bit too pumped because I still have lots to do before my student life is over. I already have some future plans in the works, but I'll share those details as they become more real. ...I can dream until then.

I've also made some new years resolutions. I love new years resolutions even though many people hate them or think they're silly. I think they give people something to aspire to even if those goals aren't realized or don't last very long. If anything, they help people think about what they want for themselves and that thought process, realization, and desire to become better in whatever way is always worth something.

One of my resolutions (yes, one of many) is to stop thinking hypothetically. I never used to think hypothetically and I in fact hated hypothetical situations because I thought, "Why waste time and think about something with no possible answer?" For whatever reason, these awful thoughts started creeping into my mind (gremlins) and stirred up lots of trouble for me and sometimes others.

Anyone want to share their resolution?

Wrapping up 2009: