Monday, June 25, 2012

Future home decor

Some projects I'm looking forward to doing some day... Maybe when I have my own home...

Painted vases - find cheap vases from the dollar store, paint the insides, display!
Found here.

Napkin coasters - find cute patterned napkins, modpodge over pain tiles, use as coasters
Found here.

Frame for keys - find cute frame, instal hooks in the inner top, hang keys
Found here.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Book box - tutorial

I've seen this project on various sites so I thought I'd try my hand at it...

In a nutshell: 
1.  Take a pretty book   2.  Glue pages together   3.  Cut a hole on the inside   4.  Use it to hold jewelry or flowers, hide valuables, etc.

Find a pretty book (Poems of Emily Dickinson).

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Why I'm gluten-free

(If you are sensitive to bathroom talk, you might not want to read this.  It's not TMI in my opinion, but I know some people are more sensitive about such topics than I...)

I read somewhere that some people may be skinny on the outside and fat on the inside.  That means that even though their body is not showing weight, their intestines and organs are coated with grime and smut from unhealthy eating habits.  I believe that is true.  For years (well, my whole life) I suffered from DAILY stomach aches and painful constipation.  I got sick and threw up a couple times a year, which I thought was normal, but my friends told me normal people throw up a couple times in their whole lives!

As the years went by it got worse.  I had nightly stomach aches for most of my 4 years of college.  I blamed it on bad sleeping habits and everything else other than the food that I was eating.  Most nights it was a dull, aching pain in my stomach.  Sometimes it was sharp, sweat-inducing, wanting-to-die pain.  Nothing would relieve it.

A year after I graduated from APU, I was getting ready to move to San Jose to start a Master's program.  At that point I was so tired of crash diets that didn't work, exercise regimes that didn't work, clothes that didn't fit, not to mention the continual stomach aches and constipation issues.  At the urging of my older brother (super-duper-health-nut), I visited a homeopathic doctor in Orange County.  He listened to my symptoms and immediately recommended that I try a wheat-free/gluten-free diet.  He also suggested that I follow the Blood Type diet, which meant no corn, no dairy, no caffeine, no shellfish, no pork (in addition to no wheat/gluten), and a variety of fruits and vegetables that were deemed "beneficial" or "not beneficial."

I tried the gluten-free and blood type diet for several months.  I was very strict with it.  I did not cheat.  It was amazing.  No constipation at all!  Stomach aches were becoming more scarce.  I wasn't aware of gluten-free substitute products (like bread, cookies, rice pasta, etc.) so my diet mainly consisted of meat, fruits and veggies, rice and sweet potatoes (white potatoes aren't allowed on my blood type diet).

After a few months I reintroduced gluten into my diet by eating just a few bites of pasta or something (can't remember).  That night I had the worst stomach-ache ever.  Those few bites of pasta were not worth the pain that kept me up all night.  A few months later I tested it again by eating a small cookie.  Again, up all night with a horrible stomach ache.  Those two instances made me realize that a few bites of cookie or pasta  aren't worth a sleepless night, much less a horrible stomach ache that makes you wish you were dead.

I've been gluten-free for almost 2 years now.  And I don't regret it.  Sometimes people forget and offer me a piece of cake or something sweet.  When I politely turn them down they get a mortified look on their faces (like they just said something racist or insulted a dead person)... But it really doesn't bother me.  My sweet tooth has practically diminished, I don't crave pizza or bread like I used to.  I don't feel like anything is missing from my life.  I'm very content and happy to not have those horrible stomach aches anymore!  Worth it!  :)

Monday, June 18, 2012

On my wish list - spend more time in Korea

Korea is on my mind because right now I have a cousin and cousin-in-law working there, two college roommates working there, and two good friends who just got married are moving there in a few weeks.  I feel like I should join them all! :)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

2 things I love: Flowers and Music

These flowers seem like they are looking at you.  They look a little whimsical and friendly.  
Collage: watercolor flowers, music cut out from a magazine, card stock.  

Friday, June 15, 2012


Sometimes it's hard to feel inspired.  Work, school, art, music, math - whatever you do in life - it's easy to lose your inspiration, your "drive," your passion.  This is something I've struggled with in the past few years.  I think this is true of many people in their 20s.  You do what you have to do to get by, make money, survive.  But at what price?  

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Why I love being a musician

(Find my blog on facebook!

The storytelling power of music is sometimes more effective than bumbling words on a page. There's a degree of sadness that dreads explanation, and can only feel true empathy through wordless means.  Words are too much, too little. Music almost understands. And leaves it at that. A common feeling without restrictions of word choice. It doesn't try to pity or restructure or rationalize. What happened has happened, and it is worth mourning. (On the subject of "Music of War")

I asked my boyfriend, Peter, his thoughts on various themes for my future conducting recital.  This is a snippet of what he replied.  He has such a way with words!   I was moved, and I came to realize - this is what I love about music!  I love many things in life - I love reading, I love books, I love science, I love art.  But there is just something about music....

Keep reading...

Listen (the photo is a questionable choice, but the recording is lovely):

I have since decided to do Faure's Requiem for my graduate conducting recital next spring.  

"It has been said that my Requiem does not express the fear of death and someone has called it a lullaby of death. But it is thus that I see death: as a happy deliverance, an aspiration towards happiness above, rather than as a painful experience." Gabriel Faure - From Wikipedia

It is a beautiful and moving work which reminds me of the freedom I have because of Christ's sacrifice, of knowing that I do not have to fear death.  I am so excited to start learning this wonderful work of art.  

The only question that remains is how on Earth am I going to find the forces needed, much less be able to afford them???

Thanks for reading! Find my blog on facebook!

Monday, June 11, 2012


I hate reading blogs that seem like they're just bragging about where they've traveled and what they've done.  I don't want my blog to seem like that.  The purpose of my blog is just to have an outlet for creativity, to show my artistic point of view.  It's also a way for family and friends to stay connected, see what I'm up to, especially if I'm on a trip somewhere.  

I know that I have been extremely blessed and lucky to have traveled to as many places as I have.  I love traveling and seeing new countries and experiencing new cultures.  I love trying new food, learning new languages, making new friends.  

For me, traveling is more than just the excitement of typical tourist destinations.  Some of my favorite stories to tell are about randomly meeting people...  
(Please keep reading)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

How to Subscribe

My mom, and others, have expressed that they do not know how to subscribe to my blog.  There are 4 ways to do this:

1. Look at the left column.  You'll see a facebook "like" symbol, a search box, and below that a box that say "FOLLOW BY EMAIL"  Enter your email address and click "submit."  You will automatically receive an email when I update my blog (which is usually every day)...

2.  Add to your reader (for example on Google Reader... Click the button that says "subscribe."  Type the url and then click "add.").  It will now be added to your queue of blogs to read.  You will  have to look at your reader in order to be informed of new posts.

3.  Look at the left column.  Under the box to subscribe by email it says "SUBSCRIBE TO" and there are two drop down menus.  You can click to subscribe to "posts" or "comments."  Click on whichever option applies to you.  (For example, I would click on "add to Google" and it would give me the option of adding the blog to my google homepage or to Google Reader.)  You will have to look at your reader in order to see new posts.

4.  If you have a Blogger account - Look at the right sidebar.  Scroll down past "Instagram" and "Pinterest."  You will see "FOLLOWERS" and a button that says "Join this site."  Click on that button.  It may ask you to sign in to Blogger if you haven't already done so.  You will then confirm that you want to follow the site and choose if you want to follow publicly or privately.  You will have to look at your Blogger home page in order to see new posts.

I have a feeling that subscribing by email will be the easiest for most people.

Questions?  Something didn't work?  Let me know!  Thanks for reading!  Hope you enjoy my blog!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Almond-Green Tea Muffins GLUTEN FREE

(This is a recipe that I served at my tea party.  I found a recipe on Roost and I altered it to fit my cupboard's ingredients and taste preferences.)

Almond-Green Tea Muffins
Package of almonds or almond slivers, dry and unsalted (to make almond meal)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
4-6 packets of Green Tea (Any flavor will work, I used Pomegranate Green Tea)
2 eggs
1/4 cup melted oil of your choice (olive, coconut, etc.)
1/4 cup honey

First, take a package of almonds and put them in a food processor.  Process them until they are ground up as fine as possible without turning into almond butter.  (Any extra almond meal you have can be saved in the refrigerator.)

In a mixing bowl, combine 2 cups almond meal, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp baking soda and 4-6 packets of tea.  Add 2 eggs, 1/4 cup oil and 1/4 cup honey.  Mix until well incorporated.

Pour into lined or greased muffin tin.  Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15-20 minutes, until toothpick in center comes out clean.  Don't overbake!

Makes 6-8

Serving tips:
Drizzle with maple syrup for a healthy and sweet alternative to jam.
Top with fresh fruit.
Freeze them to eat later, let them thaw naturally (don't put them in the microwave or they'll get hard.)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Facebook page for alonewithmytea

A lot of people know that I hate facebook.  I really really hate it.  Really.  Lots of reasons why.  Maybe someday I'll write a post detailing all the reasons I hate facebook.  There is one advantage to facebook, however.  And that is getting information out to a large number of people at once.

I'd really like my blog to get more hits, create a following, get more people interested, more people reading.  So I created a facebook page for my blog.  Yes, I did.  How am I justifying this?  Well, for one, pages don't have "friends."  They have "likes."  That makes a big difference.  If you have a page you are basically removed from the body of facebook.  You are able to stay a little bit more removed from the whole "facebook experience" while at the same time putting your information out there for all the masses to see.

All that being said, please head over to and "like" my page!  I'd really really appreciate it.

It might make it easier for you to get updates from my blog.  Maybe it will make my blog more visible to others who wouldn't otherwise have seen it.  Whatever the case may be, I'm hoping it will draw more traffic to my humble blog!  If it turns out to be an epic fail, well, at least I tried!


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Summer To-Do List and a little honesty

This post began as a simple to-do list.  It then evolved into a "heart-to-heart" of sorts as I am sorting through my feelings about this coming Fall...

Sigh, where did the year go?  It seems like only yesterday I moved home.  In just a few short months I will be moving back to SJ to finish my Master's in Choral Conducting.  I have mixed feelings about it.  Back in March, when I decided I would make the move, August seemed so far away.  Now it is very close!  I don't feel ready.

Going back to school has never been so painful for me.  When I was at APU, I would anxiously wait for summer to be over so that I could go back.  I looked forward to it.  I loved it.  My one year at SJ was filled with so much heartache, so much darkness, so much stress and unhappiness - that's all I can think about.   Most of my friends knew that I went through a rough time when I broke up with my boyfriend of almost 4 years, but the fact is, that was just a small part of it... There were many many more reasons why my time there was so hard.  When I think back about living there it's as if all the memories are enveloped in a dark cloud.  There were happy times but those memories are often drowned out by the painful ones.

I'm nervous.  What if my health has only improved because I've been home?  What if the stress of school triggers a relapse?  I love my doctor in San Diego.  He'll be so far away!  I am so paranoid.

I keep trying to remind myself of the pros of moving back to SJ.  My friends and family are constantly hearing me say things out loud like, "Well, maybe this time I'll be able to do more sight seeing, now that Peter will be there," or "At least in San Jose it never reaches 120 degrees Fahrenheit," or "When I move back to San Jose I'll be able to hear Joey lead worship again!"   I'm really looking forward to seeing Dr. A and my friends again, having a boiling crab party (mine without shellfish, of course), getting froyo at Santana Row, painting pottery at Petroglyph, and in the Spring conducting Faure's Requiem.

I keep telling myself that it's only two semesters.  Two semesters is nothing.  I can do it.  MEANWHILE, in the 2 months I have left at home, there are a few things I need to accomplish...

1.  GET A TAN!  I've been pasty white for almost 2 years.  I need a healthy dose of sunshine!

(wouldn't this be nice?!  From google search)

2.  Organize, sort, get rid of stuff, pack up my life.

Some good tips for moving:

3.  Try to finish Form and Analysis workbook.  I can't believe I wasn't required to take this class in Undergrad!  My goal is to finish the book on my own and then hopefully the head of "Music Systems" (Theory) will waive the remedial requirement.

4.  Plan, design, build my new website with Peter. (More details to come soon, will require lots of collaboration with YOU and others!  You'll love it!  Stay tuned!)

From google search

5.  Find an apartment/roommates in SJ.
This would be nice.  Probably expensive though.

6.  Have fun and try not to stress about the future!

From google search

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Not alone with my tea

This year is the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.  Which means we, all the way in California, had to celebrate with a tea party brunch!   I invited a few people but only my mom, Laura, and Shannon showed up.  That's ok, we still had fun!  :)

The food:  
Fruit salad - separated - per Laura's request
Almond-Pomegranate Green Tea Muffins (recipe coming soon)
Almond- Regular Green Tea Muffins 
Spelt-flour Pumpkin-Cranberry Bread 
Gluten-free Shortbread (from Gluten-free Bisquick) 
Gluten-free Ginger Snap Cookies (store bought)
Apricot-Coconut bites (from here
Shannon brought yummy finger sandwiches

The Tea: 
We shared a few pots of 
Caramel-Rum black tea (sooo good) 
English Breakfast tea
Pomegranate Green tea

We started out with English accents but quickly lost them (I'm horrible at accents).  It was really fun to have an excuse to use beautiful china dishes, eat yummy food, drink yummy tea, and hang out!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Korean students - If you're happy and you know it

2nd - 4th graders, Eumseong, South Korea.  The most adorable students I've ever taught.  They don't look extremely happy, but they were!  They loved seeing themselves on the computer after I recorded them.  The two little guys on the left in the middle row (both with glasses) were my favorite, they were sooo cute.  (I know, I know, teachers aren't supposed to have favorites.  But sometimes I can't help it!!!)
This was awhile ago... Summer of 2009.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Church in Romania

Random church in TimiÈ™oara , Romania (if I remember correctly).  It's a beautiful building; I wish I had gotten a better photo!