Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Week of April

Hello everyone!

It's been a week since a week of April now...  
Abers (she has many nicknames) came to visit 2 Wednesdays ago, and left last Wednesday.
What a great week followed by a week of withdrawal..   haha

Anyway, here are some photos of what we did during the week of April.


April's first meal in Texas.  
Of course, it had to be a BBQ  ;)


And if you know April and I at all,
you know that many hours were spent in the kitchen during her visit.

A day of her visit also coincided with Grace's visit,
so we all had a merry time baking together in the kitchen!

Yum!!  These are also mentioned in this post.


Then we made some fig challah bread.
My first challah bread, and it was DELICIOUS!
and so beautiful!  right?


And of course, our signature ribs.
Though we are mostly vegetarians, this dish is why we could never be fully vegetarians.
It all began last thanksgiving when, on a whim, we decided to make some ribs.
And ever since then, it's become,,,  well, 'our dish'.
we've never made anything but incredibly delicious ribs, if I may say so myself  =p

 Had ribs with some challah bread and wonderful company.


And of course,
we made Mo with David.

What an epic last baking project of the week.


We also went out to eat once to this Korean Tofu House,
and had some amazing tofu soup and some japchae!




Thanks David for recommending the place!
my knowledge of Houston restaurants = nonexistent...  haha 
but we had a great time eating amazing food,
and then went for some dancing afterwards.


Abro's first dance lesson  =)

Oh, and I guess I should mention that the real reason she came was to take a lesson with Professor J.K. Parker at Rice.  somewhat important..   haha
And she got to see him perform Rachmaninoff with the Shepherd Symphony!
What perfect timing, eh?  ;)



Ah, what a wonderful week
so much happiness  =)
Miss you dearest Abers,
but we shall see each other again soon!

Happy Wednesday!
--Janny


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Dances with Owls!

Hello everyone!

Welcome to Dances with Owls!!!!
Last Saturday, Rice hosted its ballroom competition, called Dances with Owls, and it was such a wonderful day full of dancing, and dancing.. and more dancing!



It was my first ballroom competition,
because until now, every time I prepared for a competition, 
something came up and I couldn't compete in the end.
and what an event to consider my first competition!
I'm just gonna let the photos speak for themselves,,
because there are so many of them..


Wendy and Tim.
These two were my favorites!
They were having a blast up there, and it automatically made me smile  =)


Sophia and Teddy.
Best in their category!
and representing Rice!!  yay! 
Also, they were number buddies with us, go 141!!



After the first couple of heats,
our formation team performed.
We missed a couple of people from our team, but we still had fun and tried our best  =)




I only competed in the International Standard dances,
so the next couple of the photos are all from that category.

Karen and Andriy!
so beautiful.
great dancers again, representing Rice!  yay!



 and David and I!
We danced in the mixed proficiency because well, our proficiency in dancing is quite mixed  lol
some day perhaps, I'll improve in my dancing and the mixedness in our proficiency 
will maybe become less pronounced..?  haha



Tango!
get set, and GO!

 Everyone dancing in the mixed proficiency bronze level.


bumper car ballroom dancing.


and then the Silver round came,
and we had all the space we could ever ask for!
as in,, we were the only ones for half of it  haha



Paatna and I!
Thanks David for putting up with my inability to do heel turns  =p
oh foxtrot..  haha
yay 142!!


It was such a fun day, and I'm so glad I got to finally be a part of this event!
Thanks team for such an amazing experience!


The Rice Ballroom Dance Team.
With our coach Angel  =) 



Oh, and I leave you with this video...
Thank you whoever took these photos for the nice surprise of continuous snapshots of us Viennese Waltzing!  haha
Not gonna lie, I was a little worried about how we would look  =p


video

Thanks for stopping by!
Hope you have a wonderful week!
--Janny

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Pumpkin Banana Double-Chocolate-Chip Walnut Cayenne Gingerbread. AKA 'Mo'

Hello everyone,

Tonight, April, David, and I succeeded in baking this amazingness called 
"Pumpkin Banana Double-Chocolate-Chip Walnut Cayenne Gingerbread"

Yes, it is an epic name.
and don't worry, it does its epic name proud.

We started from the recipe found here,
and modified it.
and named it, 'Mo'.
We were worried that we wouldn't be able to eat it once we named it,
but we shouldn't have worried.
In fact, the waiting process while it cooled had to be the most torturous 30 or so minutes of our lives...
well, David actually left the apartment, so perchance he wasn't as tortured,
but man... Abers and I had to employ every ounce of self control not to dig in before it cooled.

see what I mean?
look, how amazing this looks!




So here is the revised recipe of 'Mo'.

Ingredients:
  • 2 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsulphured molasses
  • 2 medium overripe (almost black) bananas, mashed
  • 3/4 cup non fat milk
  • 3 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup non fat plain Greek yogurt
  • heaping 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Lightly coat a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with canola oil cooking spray.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the milk and the lemon juice and let sit for 5 minutes (buttermilk substitute)
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.
  5. In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, egg, vanilla, and molasses. Whisk in the mashed bananas.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk substitute and yogurt
  7. Add half of the dry ingredients into the wet and stir until almost fully moistened. Stir in half of the buttermilk substitute and yogurt mixture. Stir in the remaining dry ingredients, followed by the remaining buttermilk and yogurt. Stir until just fully moistened. Fold in the chocolate chips and the walnuts.
  8. Spoon batter into the prepared loaf pan, smoothing the top to create an even surface.
  9. Bake at 350 degrees F until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, about 50 - 60 minutes.


the batter...
I realize this does not look incredibly appetizing,,, but trust me, it will transform into a swan...



Before and After of Mo!

See? Mo is beautiful!




The three bakers.
who said you couldn't have more than 1 cook in the kitchen.



More of Mo.
He is beautiful inside and out...  ok, maybe that's getting a bit weird now..
but the point is,
he is beautiful.
and delicious.
omg. so. delicious!





Yay!
Mo!

We hope you enjoy!
You will not be disappointed!
Let me know how he turns out for you  =)
--Janny

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Full House!

Hello everyone!

Last couple of days at our apartment has been full of amazing company and food!
First, Amulet's friend Jessie came to visit, 
then April, who will be here with me for a whole week!! yay!!
and then Grace also came to visit!

As music students, we visit the prospective schools to not only check out the school itself, but also to take lessons with the teachers.  This is important because studying with the right teacher is perhaps the most important thing, and this trial lesson is used to see if the two could potentially work well together.
That's why all three of them were here, 
and awesomely, their visits coincided with the Rice Centennial celebration!

I'm so glad they got to see the Shepherd School Symphony perform/premiere William Bolcom's 9th symphony, as well as enjoy other festivities throughout the week.

One of our favorites was the Centennial Picnic.
(musicians and free food... of course, it was our favorite  lol)
I snapped this photo before we got too distracted by all the amazing food they had.
food truck after food truck, and tent after tent of food!
SO. Much. Food!
I should have taken a picture of how full the quad was with people and food, but I was too busy eating to remember to take photos  haha



Later that night, (because we didn't have enough food at the picnic...), 
April, Grace, and I went on a cooking/baking spree!

When April and I were together at UNL along with our friend Timmay,
we would ALWAYS cook so much amazing food together,
and not having seen each other for so long, a cooking spree was bound to happen  ;)
Also, Grace is an amazing baker!
You'll see here in a little bit what I mean.


Well, we couldn't just eat baked goods for dinner, so we made some falafels,
which ended up looking like cookies,,,  but hey! they tasted great!  =D

Then, came the real baking spree!

Surprise Brown Butter Brownies and Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls!!

April and Grace, so happy to be baking  =)
me, so happy they finally got to meet each other, and also happy to be taking pics  ;)




First we had the privilege of tasting the Surprise Brown Butter Brownies.
April had the idea of incorporating the Cayenne pepper into the batter,
and it was incredible!
It was so funny sharing it with people who wasn't a part of our baking spree team,
because the taste of the pepper doesn't kick in until the very end of eating the brownies!
So. good!


Then came the Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Greek Yogurt Icing!


Grace the master baker at work.
With our ghetto Snapple rolling pin...  haha
hey, but it worked  ;)



The final product!!!



Drooooolll.....

Grace said that we should wait for it to cool a little before we try it,
but needless to say, that did not happen  lol

wow...............
wow.........
wow...

Such amazingness calls for
food toasting!

Falafels                                        Surprise Brown Butter Brownies                 Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

 It was such a wonderful night,
with such amazing food,
and such amazing company!

 It was so wonderful having all of you here!
Come back soon!  =D
--Janny



Thursday, October 11, 2012

First Shepherd School Symphony Concert!!

Hello everyone,

Tonight is the opening concert of the Shepherd School Symphony Orchestra!!
It should be one amazing concert featuring the World Premiere of William Bolcom's 9th Symphony-written for us, the Rachmaninoff Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with the faculty pianist J.K. Parker, and the Sibelius 2nd symphony. 

Here are some of the rehearsal pictures, taken from SSM Facebook page.




It's been quite an adventure these past 2 months,
especially getting used to such an intense orchestra rehearsing schedule,
but it's definitely been an incredible experience, and totally worth every moment!
It's also been wonderful having Mr. Bolcom with us during rehearsals as well  =)

We have 3 different concerts of the same program, and amazingly, they are all sold out already!

I can't wait to perform with the symphony tonight,
and if you would like to hear us, tune in here!
Concert begins at 7:30 pm Houston time  ;)

Thanks for stopping by!
--Janny

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Flash Mob? Check!

Hello everyone!

I got to cross off an activity off of my Bucket List today!
There was a flash mob of the Gangnam Style at the academic quad at Rice, and after some debating, I decided to be a part of it instead of just watching it happen!

In case you don't know what Gangnam Style is (I didn't know until about a month ago), here is the video.


One big reason I decided to do it was because I thought it was going to be just the simple 
horse-riding dance move and a few others that they do during the chorus...  
little did I know that there would be many other kinds of dance moves and that people actually came up with the choreography and practiced them beforehand...  
Ah well...  Karen and I were both in the same boat, so we did the best we could to follow what they were doing, and had a blast just rocking out to Gangnam Style  lol


Flash mob...
What an awesome concept;
Random people meeting at a certain place at a certain time to do a certain thing all together for a couple of minutes, have a blast, then go on their way like nothing happened    =)   
There's something just so attractive about it, isn't there?
I'm so glad I got to be a part of that today!


Here's everyone doing the horse dance move with the circular arm move
(watch the video, you'll know what I'm talking about)
I'm in the way back because I figured as a dancer who doesn't know the moves, I should be strategically placed behind a line of more prepared dancers  lol


 Here's the flash mob watching crew from the Shepherd School of Music-- Christiano and Eugene!
Next time, they're going to do it with me though, right?  ;)

Hope you had a wonderful day!
--Janny

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Wicked Divas

Hello everyone!

Saturday night, Karen, Tim, David and I had a blast attending the Houston Symphony's pops concert,
the Wicked Divas!

Last time I attended a Houston Symphony concert,
it took about half an hour to find parking, our party had to split up the duties of finding a parking spot and acquiring tickets, then got lost getting back together, then got reunited at the Jones Hall with only minutes remaining before the beginning of the concert, then had to eat dinner in 10 minutes during the intermission...

This time, however, it was completely different;
We got there an hour and a half before the concert, had no problem finding parking, had a reservation at a really great restaurant in the Lancaster Hotel, and then leisurely walked over to watch the concert after our meal.
Thank you for planning Karen, you planning genius, you!  ;)


After we arrived at the restaurant, Karen and I had a mini adventure around the Lancaster Hotel on our quest to find the Ladies room...  
We had to go up a flight of stairs and basically tour the whole 2nd floor to get to it!
but it was such an interesting hotel (historic!) with so much character that we didn't mind it at all.

Taking the 'bathroom mirror picture'.    And a bit of history of the hotel in snapshots.


fooooooooooooooooooood!!!

When it comes to food, I'll eat just about anything--
when you are not the most talented cook, you learn to eat many interesting... concoctions.
However, even my non-connoisseur taste buds could really appreciate how wonderful our meal was at the restaurant.
(yay for friends who know what they are doing when it comes to choosing restaurants!) 
Among the four of us, we had crab cakes, lamb, risotto, and scallops,
which were all so beautifully laid out, 
and it was really fun getting to try a little bit of everything  =)


After our meal, since we didn't have to be rushing to the performance,
we decided to enjoy being in the beautiful hotel a little longer,
and use it as the backdrop for our group photo.



Have you noticed that if you are a musician, you hardly ever attend a pops concert?
I mean, I've attended so many symphony concerts, but this was my very first time attending a pops concert!
Why is that?  hmm.. 
my musi friends never suggested going, and I guess I had never really thought about going either..  
so strange..
so, thank you my dancing friends for suggesting this night!!  lol
(we're all part of the Rice Ballroom Formation Team)


speaking of dancing, at one point I turned around to find David dancing  =)
In that way musicians and dancers are very similar, right?
we can just never stop doing what we do.  anywhere, anytime!  ;)



The concert itself was very enjoyable.
I thought the Houston Symphony did a wonderful job, 
the conductor was funny, and really good with the audience,
and of course, the two divas were also quite humorous, and really great at what they do!

One of my favorites was 'All That Jazz' from the musical Chicago that they sang together,
mainly because that was the song for our ballroom routine this semester!!
I think all of us were subtly (some of us perhaps not so subtly) going over a miniaturized version of our routine in our seats the whole time they were singing.  
like I said, we can't help it...  we dance anywhere, anytime  haha

I also really loved the songs from the musical Wicked because,, 
well, at one point in my life, I could have probably recited the whole musical to you 
along with Linda and Emily  ;)
It was really awesome hearing them belting it out live though,
and I really would love to see the musical!
Hopefully that will get to happen sometime in near future,, 
like when they come to Houston next year??  =D

It was such a fun night--great show, great company--and I hope we do it again soon!

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you had a great weekend as well!
--Janny

Friday, October 5, 2012

September Snapshots

Hello everyone!

I can't believe it's already October! 
Where has the time gone..?

It's been getting pretty busy around here with the midterms and everything,
but I leave you with some snapshots from September =)

1. The view from my practice room at Rice  =)  not bad, huh?// 2. It rains quite a bit here, surprisingly... but that means I get to wear my rain boots!  There's a certain sense of invincibility when you're in rain boots--I mean, usually I have to be so careful about stepping around puddles (and there are MANY of them here) but when you're in rain boots, you don't have a single worry in the world  ;)


3. One perk of parking underneath a gigantic tree? finding odd things like this pair of leaves sticking sideways out of the trunk of my car.. how in the world did this happen??  Other odd things I find (perhaps not as welcome..?) include lots and lots of bird droppings...  sigh..  my poor car...// 4. My new job!  I work as a recording tech at school, and I get to listen to a bunch of concerts and get paid for it!  Though there is quite a bit of pressure there since you don't want to mess up someone's recording!// 5. and... so many buttons to push in this job...// 6. Amulet's pile of snackies after her Trader Joe's trip.  Can you blame her? it was the opening night of first ever Trader Joe's in Houston!  lol   but I had to take a picture of this mountain of food when she got back  haha!

Happy October everyone!
--Janny