Monday, June 28, 2010

California Gurls

So I am currently shaking the sand out from between my toes after a fabulous evening on a private beach in Malibu. Literally two houses down was Paris Hilton's beach house, and four on the other side was Sting's place. It was fantastic. So amazing. After a nighttime hot tub fiesta we stepped inside for ice cream and a mini-recital by our pianist Tim Carey. Who may have had a few party cups of wine. It was overall one of the most fun evenings of my summer. Anyway, I am borrowing a computer and I really want to get in a shower before I fall asleep. But soon, dear friends, I will have a full update. I would say happy beach-ing, but that's just me. Whoops. Well I am, however sending warm, 'bu-vibes to all of you!
Love, Hannah

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Over the Hills and Far Away...

Last night I was having trouble practicing. I was not motivated. I was sick of all the pieces I'm working on. I just couldn't take it. So I did what I usually do when I'm feeling like nothing is worth my time or effort; I watched Youtube videos of music that inspires me. After the Saint Saens Organ Symphony (no.3) (which you may recognize if you've ever seen Babe), the finale from Stravinsky's The Firebird, and a little Andre Rieu (even if you don't know anything about music, you should find this funny. Where else in the history of the world can you find an orchestra full of middle-aged women in prom dresses complete with backup dancers?) I realized something about myself.
Lately I've found myself facing the reality that my life is not a fairytale. I read enough Jane Austen and listen to enough Strauss Waltzes to convince myself otherwise, but when push comes to shove I live in Minnesota (or Ohio, depending on the month). I have to practice flute to get better, and just like everyone else on Earth, I worry about paying for everything from my internet bill to a meal at Buffalo Wild Wings. And that is why I play music. Because when I play a piece I experience a story, almost another world. It goes beyond hearing the notes or even hearing changes in color or character. When I hear or perform the right piece, I get so involved in the characters and the story and the place where it's taking place that I actually feel like I'm in a different world. Take for example Aaron Copland's Appalachian Spring (granted this is only the most familiar chunk, but it's just an example). Without looking at the slideshow that goes along with the video, just close your eyes and see where the music takes you! I believe more than anything that music is the most powerful imagery device in the world. Not everyone has to see the same scene, but it is near impossible to hear this piece and not feel...something! I am so passionate about music because even in the world of the 21st century, I get to live a fairytale.
Anyway enough of that. I am spending the day getting ready (packing, practicing, you know...) to go to Malibu tomorrow bright and early! In addition to making life-altering breakthroughs in my flute playing, I will be looking fabulous every day. A new section, 'What Hannah Wears' will be added to the blog after this week!
Finally, here are the next ten books on my list!
41. I, Claudius-Robert Graves
42. Invisible Man-Ralph Ellison
43. Jane Eyre-Charlotte Bronte
44. Light in August-William Faulkner
45. Lolita-Vladimir Nabokov
46. Lord of the Flies-William Goldring
47. The Lord of the Rings series-J.R.R. Tolkien
48. Madam Bovary-Gustave Flaubert
49. The Maltese Falcon-Dashiell Hammett
50. Middlemarch-George Eliot

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Entertainment Value

Today I was reading over the rules and conditions for competing in the MN state fair talent contest. I won my 'evening' when I was eleven in the preteen competition playing Henry Mancini's music from 'The Pink Panther'. I wore a pink sparkly dress. I was adorable. I won $20. This year in my endless quest for money, I'm thinking about entering again. The only problem is that I don't have any entertaining music on my stand right now, and a third of the judges' criteria is entertainment value. So in an effort to sell-out gracefully, I think I'm going to finally give in and order a big pile of Ian Clarke music. My top choices at the moment are The Great Train Race (not a huge fan of this guy's playing or performance, but at least you can hear all the polyphonics and rhythmic intricacies. In the case that I choose this piece, I will be wearing a Jessica McClintock Gunne Sax dress that was my mom's in the 70's with lace-up boots), and Zoomtube (once again I hope I'd sound better than this guy, but it's one of the only recordings on youtube. I'm thinking this performance would call for finally buying a pair of Apple Bottom jeans and those boots with the fur...?).
Mom finally agreed (for certain...I hope) to let me take our kitchen bar table and stools to the apartment next year so I am stoked to have that part of my place taken care of (and for free, no less)! Now all I have to worry about is a bed. Here's a list of problems with the bed sitch: 1)my room is tiny tiny tiny, so I don't know if I can fit anything bigger than a twin, 2)the parents want me to take my bed from home (oh great, first you take over my closet while I'm gone, now you want my room to be void of a bed, what's next? a pool table?), and 3)beds are expensive, but I really want a big girl bed! So I suppose we'll see. If I can find a cheap mattress at IKEA or the likes, I can hold off having a real bedframe until I find one free on craigslist. If not, things could get a little stickier. Still crossing my fingers for a full size, though!
This is the design masterpiece that is my bedroom, with the unparalleled taste of the current owners of my place! Dear Lord, I can't wait to get some color into the apartment!
In other news, D.H. Lawrence hates women, which is ironic because based on the title, I was certain 'Women in Love' would be about the women...alas, it's just another story of men thinking that no women could ever satisfy them because everyone knows that women aren't capable of rational thought! Enough of that. I'm going to finish the book anyway and update my opinion at that time.
Finally, I've been thinking a ton about cooking at the apartment next year. This was brought on because today I made my very first grilled cheese sandwich ever (don't judge, I live in a house where healthy eating trumps decadency any day) for D! Anyway I'm putting together a cookbook of all my favorite recipes that my mom makes here, including calories per serving and the cost per 'batch'. I'm really excited! I think its going to make me much more responsible for my physical and monetary well-being.
Here are the next ten books on my list! Enjoy!
31. Go Tell in on the Mountain-James Baldwin
32. Gone With the Wind-Margaret Mitchell (check!)
33. The Good Soldier-Jaroslav Hasek
34. The Grapes of Wrath-John Steinbeck (check!)
35. Gravity's Rainbow-Thomas Pynchon
36. The Great Gatsby-F. Scott Fitzgerald (check!)
37. Gulliver's Travels-Jonathan Swift
38. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter-Carson McCullers
39. Heart of Darkness-Joseph Conrad
40. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn-Mark Twain

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Bit of This, a Dash of That...

Today I caught up with an old friend from high school (who just graduated this year) and learned about all the drama I missed during my year in Cincinnati. Sometimes I find it strange to think that there is a world outside of the tiny conservatory (make that musicians in a conservatory) world where I know everyone, everyone knows me, and we all know the dirty details of one another's lives. Beyond that, there are probably people in this world that have never heard of Gustav Mahler, Sergei Prokofiev, or Franz Schubert. So much of my life is based on this elitist society of middle to upper class Americans that was derived almost entirely from European history. Don't get me wrong, I love my life and I wouldn't change a thing about it but sometimes I just feel like I'm being too self-absorbed...
Really this whole self-examination began yesterday while I was talking to my boyfriend, T about going to see him later this summer. R and I have been talking a lot recently (on Facebook, for the world to see) about how we plan on decorating our apartment next year, so of course T and I got around to that subject matter to which he asked why people in our society put so much emphasis on decorating their homes. It's not like fashion where hundreds of people see and judge you every day, so why should we care so much about making it better than everyone else's? My immediate reaction was that I like to look at pretty things, so if I have the opportunity to look at pretty things, why not take it.
Today I realized that so much of my life is based on aesthetic appeal. I want to be the prettiest, most in-shape, most fashionable, best musician with the most creatively decorated and inspiring apartment in the whole all brings me back to my very first blog post about searching for inspiration. It's true, I'm not exactly making strides to end world hunger by pursuing these shallow goals of mine, but hopefully someday I'll be able to make a difference in people's lives. Maybe someday I'll be well-known enough to play concerts and release recordings to benefit people in need. Maybe someday I'll be able to inspire the next great artists of the next generation. Sure, I love the fairytale life I live, but what good does it do if the only person I'm helping is myself? I need a little bit more time to think about that the meantime here are the next ten books on my book list!

21. Catch-22-Joseph Heller
22. The Catcher in the Rye-J. D. Salinger
23. Charlotte's Web-E.B. White
24. Crime and Punishment-Fyodor Dostoevsky
25. David Copperfield-Charles Dickens
26. The Day of the Locust-Nathanael West
27. Death Comes for the Archbishop-Willa Cather
28. Don Quixote-Miguel De Cervantes
29. Emma-Jane Austen (check!)
30. Frankenstein-Mary Shelley

Monday, June 21, 2010

10 Things That Make Me Happy

Inspired by Sacramento Street, I couldn't wait to make my own top 10 list!

1. Playing dress-up. Granted, this picture is from my high school's production of Pirates of Penzance, but it is far less incriminating than most of the 'dress-up' pictures that have been taken of me...anyway, who doesn't love the romance and fun of dressing up?

2. Thrift Stores. Mmm Mmm Mmm! I do enjoy the thrill of finding that perfect sweater out of the chaos of a thrift rack. It's like the moment you touch the fabric you just know that you're meant to own the vintage Laura Ashley tulip skirt I found today at Goodwill. I absolutely cannot WAIT to show it off!
(photo credit:

3. Mahler's 1st Symphony. Our love-affair began the summer I played the piece in its entirety at the National Symphony Orchestra Summer Music Festival. I fell in love with the sweeping string melodies, the richly evocative woodwind interjections, and the dashing and passionate brass fanfare in the finale...gosh, my heart is all a-flutter just thinking about it!

4. Saint Paul and Minneapolis. I know I just blogged about how much I love the Twin Cities, but really they are the most gorgeous cities I have ever seen. Just ask Atmosphere if you'd like some clarification...
(photo credit:

5. My Sigma Alpha Iota sisters. These women lift my spirits every time I see them! I know that no matter what I'm doing or how I feel about the world, they're more than willing to listen, chat, and bake with me (or even better: FOR me). I can't imagine not having these inspiring, talented, and joyful girls in my life!

6. BCBG dresses. Need I elaborate?

7. Fairytales. Love, princesses, dashing white knights, fantastic castles, more love...what more could a girl want?
(photo credit:

8. Sobe LifeWater. Zero calories. Tastes delicious. Vitamin-infused. Saving my body one bottle at a time!

9. Beck. I don't know what it is about his music, but somehow I can't ever seem to get enough. Plus he's cute.
(photo credit:

10. Performing. Where would I be without the adrenaline of doing what I know best in front of sometimes hundreds of people? I live to show others the same thrill that I enjoy from hearing passionate, soul-engaging works! Without the thrill of performing, I don't even know who I'd be!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Fathers Day!

This weekend has been a wonderful reminder of why I love the Twin Cities so much! Of course I don't think I could live without the people I've grown so close to in Cincinnati, but there is something so charming, cozy, yet classy about Saint Paul and Minneapolis. Yesterday I wandered around the Stone Arch Festival of the Arts with three of my good friends from high school where I was reminded of how fond I am of indie pop/rock. And hipsters. Gotta love drunk hipsters. As a disciple of classical music, I only hear top 40s hits at parties and the orchestral and jazz repertoire that I perform and attend concerts to hear. It was good to hear something new, and of course the people-watching was incredible! We especially liked Joey Ryan & the Inks, Eliza Blue, and Me & My Arrow. Walking around the St Anthony Main and Gold Medal Park area reminded me that Minneapolis is indeed a 'real' city and that there is plenty to do especially in the summertime in the Twin Cities!
Today my family ventured down to Northfield for an extended family fathers day brunch and to drop my brother of at St. Olaf for music camp. It was wonderful to see my grandparents and all my aunts, uncles, and cousins that I haven't really seen since the holidays, and being once again on campus at St. Olaf brought back many memories (mostly fond, although somehow there always seemed to be boy drama of some sort) of my own years at the camp. My favorite memory was probably the year we shared a dorm with a fat camp; there was something so wrong about piling four plates of food and ice cream when these other kids were forced calorie limits and had to check in to make sure they were allowed to eat everything on their plates! This of course fueled an animated discussion about the lifestyle choices musicians make, cumulating in renaming St. Olaf Music Camp "Bigger Than Big Ole: Get Fat Camp!" (Big Ole is a fond nickname the St. Olaf students have bestowed upon their windmill that is visible for miles). Those were the days...
I will be leaving for California in one week! I suppose that means that I really need to get a-practicing so as not to disappoint Dr. G when I get out the meantime, here is the next installment of my top 100 books!
11. Anna Karenina-Leo Tolstoy
12. As I Lay Dying-William Faulkner (check!-already read this one)
13. The Bell Jar-Sylvia Plath
14. Beloved-Toni Morrison
15. The Big Sleep-Raymond Chandler
16. Blood Meridian-Cormac McCarthy
17. Brave New World-Aldous Huxley
18. Brideshead Revisited-Evelyn Waugh
19. The Brothers Karamazov-Fyodor Dostoyevsky
20. The Call of the Wild-Jack London

Friday, June 18, 2010

It's Friday!

A trip to my favorite thrift store today was different than I had anticipated; first of all they seem to have jacked up the prices to about twice what they were last summer, secondly they re-arranged the store layout, so it took me a second to get oriented in what used to be such a familiar escape, and lastly I found a couple key items that I have actually been looking for! I suppose the most notable is a pair of Coach shoes (ok, they never have shoes in my monstrous 9 1/2, and Coach shoes? This is only the second pair I think I've ever seen there!) for only $5. They are out of season and the soles show a little wear, but all in all I'm thrilled to finally have a pair of hot heels that aren't black (all of my concert shoes are black...all five pairs of them...)!
I've recently been inspired by the mochila trend that I apparently missed for a couple of years, but thank God J Crew is just jumping on the bandwagon this season! Anyway, I found an awesome (presumably authentic) mochila shoulder bag today that is going to rock everyone else's socks off! I stocked up on a black tshirt and a short-sleeve oxford as well.
Anyway, although my day was probably most exciting to me, myself, and I, I thought I might as well share these finds with y'all who are interested.
In other news, I've been working on my own top 100 book list. I felt like the Modern Library's list was not quite my genre, so I compiled a list from about ten others that I found online. The books I've chosen are the ones that appeared on at least three of the lists. I will be posting it in increments of 10 so as not to overwhelm you, the reader. Enjoy!

1. 100 Years of Solitude-Gabriel Garcia Marquez
2. 1984-George Orwell
3. A Clockwork Orange-Anthony Burgess
4. A Farewell to Arms-Ernest Hemingway
5. A Passage to India-E. M. Forster
6. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man-James Joyce
7. The Age of Innocence-Edith Wharton
8. All the King's Men-Robert Penn Warren
9. An American Tragedy-Theodore Dreiser
10. Animal Farm-George Orwell

Thursday, June 17, 2010

California Dreamin'

Today I will teach my first flute lesson of the summer! I'm really excited to get back into teaching; I had a student my last two years in high school, but the grad students in my studio seem to have dibs'd everyone near campus. I don't think that I'd want teaching to be my main career pursuit, but I know that at some point in my life I'll probably be doing it to pay the bills and right now it's still new enough to be fun. I've been so tired the past few days that I'm worried I won't be the most inspiring teacher today, though. It reminds me of high school when I felt like I didn't have a chance to have any free time because when I wasn't doing schoolwork I was practicing, and when I wasn't playing the flute I was at school (luckily most of my friends were overachieving jocks who were just as busy as I was). This is only the first week I've been back from school and already I feel like a jaded worker bee. I go nanny, I come home and take a quick nap, blog a little, check facebook, then I practice until bedtime (I swear I didn't need this much sleep last month!). On the bright side, being so busy leaves little time for boredom or missing the people I love at school!
I've finally convinced my mom to give in to the magic of Craigslist. Last night she was searching their STP listings and found a really solid wooden table and chairs set nearby. Granted, the blonde wood and classic American cut of the set doesn't exactly fit the 'Sex-and-the-City-Girl-Cave' vibe that R and I are going for, but with a coat of black glossy paint it could be really classy...and for $50 you can't really go wrong! So if I do decide to snatch it up (if it's still available) there will definitely be photos soon! Another fun idea I had is sort of a knock-off from a very quirky restaurant in downtown Cincy (if you've ever been to Hamburger Mary's, you'll understand where I'm headed with this...). A really scratched up/just plain gross table top can be covered in photos/magazine clippings/really anything flat, then a piece of plexiglass that's the same shape as the tabletop. Plus then it's easy to clean. Double whammy.
At this point, I'm hanging on to the knowledge that a week from Sunday I will be in Malibu, soaking up the sun with fellow flute players (don't even bother asking me about the flutist-flautist-fluter drama, I avoid all three to escape the controversy) at Dr. G's masterclass! I think this calls for a shopping trip to make my wardrobe a little more Cali-fabulous? Yes, please! Until then I will leave you with this:

A photo of the finished dining room and bedroom in my miniature house that I've been building with D!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Hump Day

Being the working girl that I am now, I feel the pain of the work week. At school there are bright spots in my day like burgers for lunch every wednesday, and of course plenty of people who make me smile every time I see them! Today I finished the dining room and bedroom in the miniature craft house that D and I are working on. I intend to post pictures very very soon. That was my bright spot today. Ugh. Tomorrow will be better.
On a different note, I've started watching Pretty Little Liars on Hulu. One of the characters is named Hannah (spelled Hanna-incorrectly, might I add!), there is a dashingly handsome male, I like the music, and the girls wear cute clothes. I'm sold.
Women in Love is starting to pick up plot-wise and I'm hoping to finish it within a week.
Also last night I got rid of two more 'pregnant shirts' (you know, the ones that are supposed to hide your belly fat but still just make you look fat) last night to make my wardrobe more chic. I've decided I need a new crisp white oxford shirt.
Finally, I'm a little bit in love with this blog, Habitually Chic. If only I were a trendy, rich Manhattanite...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Reliving the Past

There is nothing like a little nostalgia to make me think about what I'm doing with my time and energy. And money, come to think of it. Today I took my young nanny-charge, D to a shop nearby called Artscraps that sells really just a bunch of junk for pretty cheap. I walked in to find that the place hadn't really changed in the eight or so years since my last visit, besides the bulk bags being $5 instead of $4.
D's favorite TV show is Junkyard Wars; a reality-gameshow where teams of three scientists/mechanics/nerds compete to build working vehicles that usually accomplish some sort of task (amphibious vehicles, catapult cars, etc.). Although nothing in the store was motorized, D was thrilled to have so much workable material at his fingertips. Together we spent almost $20 on fabric scraps, pvc straws, colored paperclips, egg get the picture. He spent the rest of the afternoon working on building a car, while I furnished the inside of a cardboard box to look like a miniature dining room. I felt like such a girl. It was wonderful. There is something so magical about the creation of an entire world at your disposal. You'd think that with a real apartment at my furnishing disposal I'd be less engaged in this imaginary world, but that was not the case. I felt the same excitement as I used to get from playing with my American Girl dolls.
Last night I had another experience with revisiting an old memory by way of Schubert's Variations on Trockne Blumen. I find that it is one of the most liberating experiences to play a piece that has been put aside for at least a year, then realize 'oh, that's how it's supposed to sound'! It's not that I didn't play it well last fall, but now that I don't have to worry about my low register speaking I can more fully enjoy what the piece is saying. I realized that I missed playing it. It's a recital possibility, along with (tentatively) the Lowell Liebermann Sonata, The Francis Poulenc Sonate, and Claude Bolling's Suite for Flute and Jazz Piano. But that is months away still, leaving plenty of time for me to work up the Carl Vine Sonata.
Today was my first Tuesday back from school, meaning it was the first thrift store 25% off day of my summer and I missed it because I was working. It's not that I don't have enough clothes, I'm just worried that someday they're going to have something amazing and somebody else is going to get it first! Oh well, mom found me another Juicy sweatshirt (this one is purple) to supplement my growing collection (that have each set me back less than $10) so I suppose all is not lost.
On one final note, I have now read seven chapters of Women in Love so I think I have free reign to share my opinion. While it retains the old school charm of Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters, this novel is much more focused on character development through dialogue. There is approximately 600% less pining for lost love (don't worry, there is still enough to get your fix), and unlike the women authors the plot follows the male characters just as much as the ladies. I like it so far. I hesitate to say that the characters remind me of people I know because people I know would only think a lot of the dialogue, resisting the urge to say it aloud. I will settle for saying that these characters think like people I know.
Well that's what's on my mind today. I'm hoping to get at least one good thrifting trip in this week, but in the meantime I've been scouring the free craigslist listings. It's my version of online shopping.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Looking for Inspiration

For me, life is all about finding a source of inspiration, using that to make my own art (which ranges from anything from flute practice to finding an outfit that matches to decorating my living space) more passionately, and finally inspiring others through that art. The problem is that lately I've found myself making excuses to not get inspired more often than I'd like; 'If it wasn't so early I'd have better tone', 'If I wasn't so tired I'd play this sonata more musically', 'If I was fifteen pounds lighter I'd look cute in any outfit', 'If I had a real job I'd be able to afford nice furniture for the apartment'...the list goes on and on. I guess my goal is that by thinking out loud (or I suppose in this case, online) I'll more likely to find creative and functional solutions to these dilemmas that seem so very present in my day-to-day life.
Today I am blaming my lack of inspiration on being home for the summer. I'm not in the fishbowl of musical and creative genius that I've gotten so used to, and now I feel like there is nothing pushing me to be the best Hannah I can be. On the other hand, in the two days I've been home I've already listened to three full symphonic works and begun to read Women in Love by D.H. Lawrence. There is nothing like going right to the classics to remind you why you do what you do. So that's what I plan to do this summer, learn as much classic orchestral repertoire as I can, read as many books from The Modern Library's Top 100 Best Novels list (; so far I've read no. 2, 7, 10, 20, 35, and 45 from the Board's list and 5, 12, 13, 22, 24, 51, 63, 67, and 94 from the Reader's list) make enough money to keep me fed and somewhat entertained over the school year, and of course practice until I can't anymore. Oh! And I haven't even mentioned the apartment challenge yet! My roommate R and I have leased a sick apartment next year that remains yet unfurnished. I'm going to see if I can take care of my half of the household for under $100? So far I've got a surprisingly nice armchair that mom bought me for $10 at a garage sale, and the kitchen table and chairs set that the parents are getting rid of! Looks like the rest will be coming from Craigs List and thrift stores!