Sunday, October 28, 2012

In other news...

It's official!

Close up:

Peter proposed last night and I said yes!

I must admit, I don't feel very different than I did 24 hours ago. haha  Maybe that's because we have already been making plans and talking about dates... :)  But now it's actually official!  I am so excited! 

Friday, October 26, 2012

DIY heart "garland"

A few days ago I made a garland of sorts to decorate my kitchen's back wall.  I cut out hearts from scrapbook paper and affixed them to twine.  I did five strands and attached each of them to a long one that hangs across....  What do you think?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Action shots of our Saturday concert... courtesy of Peter Arthur...

(Click on a photo to view it larger)

Post-concert socializing...

(I don't know what happened, but I kinda like it...)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Friday, October 19, 2012

Life Update

Better than before, but not great.  I've been getting headaches and feeling fatigued, but overall I'm surprised by how much energy I've been able to sustain throughout the day while I'm in classes.  However, once I get home from school, I crash.  

The trees on campus were looking particularly pretty a few days ago.

It's going!  The semester is already more than halfway over...  We have our Fall concert tomorrow (Choraliers and Concert Choir).  The second half of the semester is going to get super crazy.  I'm trying to do as much work now as possible so that I'm not swamped in the next few weeks.
We are studying Baroque performance practice, and on Monday I have to perform a Baroque piece with proper Baroque ornamentation.  I'm slightly nervous!

Peter got a part-time job at The Home Depot.  It's obviously not ideal, but at least it's something to bring in money while he keeps looking for something better.  We see each other every day, usually to have dinner together.  I've been making food and he's starting to realize that I'm a good cook.  :)  We are hopefully getting officially engaged soon and looking forward to a July (or possibly June) wedding.

We are attending Saratoga Federated Church, where my friend (and Peter's roommate), Joey, is the worship leader.  We have been making friends, and so far we both really like it.  Peter has been helping out the sound guys and helping Joey with the church's weekly newsletter.  I'm hoping to get more involved in the praise choir and possibly play violin in the worship band, but with school as busy as it is, I've been too exhausted to get there at 8am for rehearsals...

This is a view from the courtyard at church.  

I'm trying not to stress out about money.  I'm currently living off of loans.  Basically, here's what happened...  California is broke.  Which means that this year there was no money to give to the choral conducting graduate students.  When I was a student two years ago, I received scholarships, and I took out loans to pay for the amount the scholarships didn't cover.  I then used the remaining loans to pay for rent, food, gas, etc. This year I did not receive scholarships, tuition increased, but the amount of loans I can take out did not increase.  So I barely have enough money to cover rent, and basically nothing else.    

What I am most concerned about is next semester.  I have to conduct a recital (Faure's Requiem), which means hiring orchestra players, providing a meal or something to thank my volunteer singers, renting a venue, etc.  Plus, Peter and I are planning on getting married next summer (and weddings cost money...).  So, while I'm trying to keep my mind focused on finishing this semester and take one thing at a time, I can not help but worry a little bit about next semester and how in the world I will be able to pay for everything!

Faure's Requiem

I have a very part time job that gives me a couple hours a week, but I don't have the time or energy to find another job.  If you have any thoughts on how I can get more money, please let me know!!!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Hey, lady...

Messing around with macro photography!  I don't have photoshop on my computer so I add text and effects with  It's not ideal, but it gets the job done for now.  This is one of my favorite photographs that I've taken, and it was completely random and not planned.  I was showing a friend how awesome the macro lens is and this lady bug wandered by.  The only processing that I did was add text.  

Without text:

What do you think?  With text?  Without? 

Thanks for reading! 



Saturday, October 13, 2012

It's cobbler time!

Peach and Blueberry Cobbler 

Recipe adapted from Roost blog.

Filling (this can be a lot depending on how big your bags of fruit are.  You may end up with enough for two, as I did):

1 bag frozen peaches
1 bag frozen blueberries
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon melted coconut oil

In a large bowl, mix peaches, blueberries, honey and vanilla extract.  Put as much or as little filling as you desire into a baking pan (I used a 9x9 baking dish)...  drizzle with coconut oil.  Set aside until topping is ready.


1 1/2 cups almond flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix dry ingredients together.  Mix wet ingredients together.  Mix dry and wet ingredients together.  It will be very damp dough.  Now, you can do a couple of things.  The original recipe (from Roost) says to form dough into a ball, put it in between parchment paper, roll out, and refrigerate for 30 minutes before using.  This makes it look pretty.  What I did instead: grab pieces of dough and roll into a ball that fits in your palm.  Flatten with hands and place on top of fruit (in baking dish).  Continue until all fruit is covered.

Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes.  Then cover with foil and bake for another 10 minutes. Crust will be golden brown and moist (not crunchy).

Let cool before serving, but be sure it is still warm when served.  It will be juicy, so serving in a bowl is recommended!

Tips:  Eat it fresh.  You can save it in the fridge for later, but when you reheat it the topping gets mushy.  It still tastes fine, but it's just mushy. 

Let me know if you make it and what you think!



Sneak Peek

Coming Soon to a Blog Near You:

This amazing, gluten-free, peach-blueberry cobbler recipe!
You can tell it's amazing because it's almost GONE!!!

Stay Tuned!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Crafty Correspondence

I love real mail!  I made this envelope with an old grocery store paper bag.  I hope she likes it!  

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Jungle mornings

Poem by E. E. Cummings; you can take your grammar issues up with him... ;)
Photo by Julie, taken in Peru

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Monday, October 8, 2012


Imagine that instead of violins, this is a bird, and instead of a movie on your tv, it's right outside your window every morning!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

A rose by any other name...


I just realized that my Instagram (follow @juliesmithmusic) is full of flowers!  I can't resist snapping a photo, especially when I see a beautiful rose!  I must say, roses are my favorite flowers!  Fragrant but not overwhelmingly so, beautiful, classy, what's not to love?

Go, lovely Rose—
Tell her that wastes her time and me,
That now she knows,
When I resemble her to thee,
How sweet and fair she seems to be.

      Tell her that’s young,
And shuns to have her graces spied,
      That hadst thou sprung
In deserts where no men abide,
Thou must have uncommended died.

Small is the worth
Of beauty from the light retired:
Bid her come forth,
Suffer herself to be desired,
And not blush so to be admired.

      Then die—that she
The common fate of all things rare
      May read in thee;
How small a part of time they share
That are so wondrous sweet and fair!

Poem by Edmund Waller

My favorite is the second to last photo - white rose with yellow middle and tinged with pink.  

What is your favorite flower?



Wednesday, October 3, 2012

MORE Japanese Friendship Garden PHOTOS

About two weeks ago, Peter and I spent a relaxing afternoon at the Japanese Friendship Garden in San Jose.  We walked around and took some pictures...

Photo by Peter

Photo by Peter

Photo by Peter

Photo by Peter

...Right as I realized he was taking candid shots of me...

Thanks for reading.