Thursday, February 10, 2011

Macy's: The Mall's Best Kept Secret

In my early high school years, I had something against department stores. I wanted shirts with Hollister logos, designer butt pockets on my jeans, and 'Abercrombie' printed across my chest as often as possible. I wanted purses with the letter 'C' printed all over them and shoes with distinctive brands displayed as obviously as possible.

As I got older, I became more fond of 'being different'. I wanted to shop at thrift stores but still follow the trends. To this day, I feel a sort of thrill when I get the opportunity to help my friends find a good deal, or when people tell me they like my $14 prom dress. Now that I'm getting my own apartment and starting to accumulate my own belongings, I'm becoming a huge advocate of both frugality and functionality.

So where is a girl to go when she needs a set of sheets asap but doesn't feel like spending a whole month's grocery money in one purchase? Macy's, apparently. In my experience, half of the inventory at Macy's is always on sale. Bam. Ten points for Macy's. I got a set of full-sized sheets for $16. Originally over $70. Sure, they wouldn't match everyone's decor scheme, but for me they just happened to be perfect.

Why else does Macy's rock my world? They have an awesome jewelry department. Now I've never been the hugest fan of excessive jewelry. I didn't have my ears pierced until my 18th birthday, and it's still rare to find me wearing more than a pair of earrings and a ring on my finger. But in the last six months I have found two very specific pieces at Macy's (both on sale, of course) that I had been unable to find at Target, Forever 21, even Marshalls!
This ring, for example, goes for $35 on the SAI jewelry website. The exact same piece was at Macy's holiday sale for $20. Another 10 points for Macy's.

And most recently? Macy's has helped me out yet again. My friend Stephanie needed a formal gown to wear for a friend's recital but wanted to spend under $100. We were able to find pretty much the dress of her dreams (originally priced at over $200) for $56. On the way out, I stopped to look at the jewelry department. I've been looking for a pair of rhinestone studs for months now. I have a pair that I got at H&M last Christmas for $2, but they leave mysterious discolored spots on my ears every time I wear them. Also one of them mysteriously disappeared about a month ago. So what did the magic of Macy's have for me? A pair of $50 cubic zirconia in 18karat gold earrings on sale for $18. What a beautiful day it was!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Here I Go Again...

Remember how excited I was last summer to be moving out of the dorms and into the pink house? I couldn't wait to find the perfect armchair and my excitement over a new coat of paint on an old table was hard to contain. It's been wonderful. The apartment is little short of the perfect 'Girl Cave' (one of the many nicknames we've used, including 'the pink house', 'the barbie mansion', etc.). For those of you who haven't seen the finished project, here are a few snapshots I took this fall:
piano corner/fire escape

my bedroom; can you tell who my biggest celebrity crush is?

A fully stocked kitchen!

As circumstances would have it, I'm moving again. Not until next fall of course, but I've decided to move into a large studio apartment just two blocks away (so I still get to see my girls as often as I want) from my current location. Now design possibilities are nearly infinite! I get to invest in a new loveseat, I think the time has finally come to actually re-upholster the dining room chairs, and since my brother is taking over my bedroom in Minnesota, it looks as though the leopard print rug and curtains are coming with me!

I can't wait to go shopping for funky silverware and dinnerware (I have my eyes on a few sets at Target already) and to explore more of!

Here are some of my more coveted items thus far:

(four photos above, credit:

(three poster images above: photo credit:

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Oldies but Goodies

I've been spending a lot of time lately thinking about the interesting juxtaposition of old vs. new that seems so prominent in my life. It's no secret that I am a huge fan of vintage clothing (which I often pair with newfangled accessories and shoes), classical music, Romantic era literature, and funky antique decor. That's not to say that I'm disconnected from the present; those of you who know me are well aware of my fondness for the internet, modern cinematography (especially in television series), pop music, and of course Target.

So what is it that got me thinking like this? My music history midterm. A question on the test asked us to compare Hector Berlioz (of Symphony Fantastique fame) to Felix Mendelssohn (composer of such favorites as Wedding Music from 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' and my personal favorite, his Symphony No.5 which uses not only a very traditional form that was considered 'old fashioned' in his time, but the final movement is also based on an old Bach chorale, Ein Feste Burg which you Lutherans out there will know as 'A Mighty Fortress'). This got me thinking about the timelessness of the truly great works of art and society that will be around and great no matter how much time passes. In my continuous pursuit to be the best Hannah I can be, I think it is only appropriate to try to find the most timeless aspects of art and culture in my own life so as to avoid the 'oh my god I can't believe I painted my kitchen that color' or 'why on earth did I think it was a good idea to wear that to prom?' realizations later in life.

This argument is often brought up in musical discussions. There were plenty of composers back in the day writing music just like there are today, but we only continue to play the really good stuff. So really, it's not that 'modern music is atonal, weird, and icky', rather we just haven't weeded through all the fads yet. That's not to say that John Williams and Lowell Liebermann are going to be as revered as Beethoven someday, but they will probably continue to live on for a lot longer than whoever wrote the music for Napolean Dynamite. This holds true for literature. The Bronte sisters, Earnest Hemingway, and Voltaire are going to be a lot more popular in the long run than the Pretty Little Liars book series.

For my own selfish reasons, there is plenty of incentive to enrich my life with the classics; vintage clothing is much cheaper than a shopping spree at Gap, playing a Mozart sonata for a recital is usually seen as more 'legitimate' than something your composition major friend wrote, and if I get sick of reading Great Expectations I can always just watch any number of movie adaptations to see how it ends. (Just kidding about the last one)

I suppose the bottom line of what I'm trying to say is that the test of time is hard to argue with. And when I don't have time to sift through all the new fads and gadgets, its nice to have the classics to fall back on.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Where Does It All Fit?

I think that in the last month, I've gotten more positive feedback about my blog than I did all last summer! It's so wonderful to know that I'm capable of some impact on others, even if it's just a moment of entertainment. I've been having a very hard time for the last few weeks keeping myself motivated. I've had a hard time keeping my room clean, getting my homework done the night before it's due, and even practicing! While I am pretty sure that writing this blog entry will only end in yet another few months of abandoned blog posts, I'm hoping that in publicly announcing my intent to continue writing for both my own sanity and (hopefully) your enjoyment I will be holding myself accountable for becoming a better Hannah.

So what can I say in today's post that will interest, shock, and astound you? Probably nothing. Although I'm going to try. School is hard. Trying to keep up with both the practicing and the school work of being a music major is a lot of work. And theory is not fun. But there have been a number of sunny spots in my life over the last few months. For example, last week I played my first recital at school. Yes it was a lot of work. Yes I got way more nervous than I had anticipated, and no it was not perfect. But I had fun, I got to wear a dress that in my opinion is enough to drool over, I got to work up a lot of music that most of my audience had never heard before, and I got to perform. And when push comes to shove, that's the whole reason why I'm here. I love being on stage. I love it when people hear me play, I love it when I get the opportunity to paint a picture with my music, and I love all the glitz and glamour of classical music. Here's a link to my youtube channel where I've posted the Sonatas by Lowell Liebermann and Walter Piston from my recital.

This is the best picture I could find of the dress. And of course my beautiful roommate Sarah.

More of my day-to-day thoughts and ramblings to come!