Thursday, May 31, 2012

Galactic Kids

Hello everyone!

As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, my lil bro is a bit of a hip-hop dancer.  I had been trying to get him to do Ballroom dancing, and I don't know where I went wrong, but I came home one day to find him hip-hop-ing instead...  At least it's still dancing, right?  =)

I had been looking forward to attending one of his dance performances for the past 3 years, and I was so excited when he told me that he had a performance during the time I would be in Seattle!  His crew, the Galactic Kids, were chosen to represent their school at 'Seattle's Got Talent', and the performance will be tonight at 7 PM at University of Washington!  Unfortunately, I didn't realize that the performance date was the same day as my departure for a wedding...  I'll be missing the performance by mere 3 hours!!!  =(  so heart breaking.

Ah well,,, at least I'll still get to watch videos of his performance when I get back.  Ah the wonders of technology!  In the meantime, I leave you with this video of my talented lil bro and his crew at two of their performances.  Enjoy!

I was uber impressed at how quickly they learn routines!  The pattern seems to be that they put the entire routine together the week before the performance or something like that   haha.   
I also love how much fun they seem to be having on stage as well as how much the audience loves them  =)
*My lil bro is the one that does the one hand stand in the beginning.  He is also the one that's hopping on his arms later in the routine...

The last 30 seconds? So hilarious  ;)
*Lil bro is the 'jock' in the purple jacket.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Summer Loves

Hello everyone!

Since I am now kicking tendinitis' butt (knock on wood), I have been getting to know all of my repertoire for the summer a little bit.  They are all so different, yet all wonderful, and I am so excited to get to spend the next couple of months with them and get to know all of them really well! So, here are the 5 strapping pieces I will be working on this summer!

Here they all are!!!  
Scales, Bach Partita #2, Prokofiev Violin Concerto #1, 
Prokofiev Sonata for Violin and Piano #2, and Brahms Piano Quartet #1.

Meet Carl Flesh Scales...  I realize that he is super nice, and that he does so much for me, but no matter how much I try, I just can't get over the fact that he is boring!   But he is the kind of a piece that you want to spend the rest of your life with, so I'm keeping him around for the long haul...  He has my respect.


Meet Prokofiev Piano/Violin Sonata Jr.  We've known each for awhile now.  He is a little bi-polar, but  over all, very charming.  I love his sense of humor, even though it can seem a bit manic at times.  He also has a very jazzy side to him, which I find quite sexy.  haha

What's really great about him is that we are now past that awkward first meeting stage, and can spend more time really getting to know each other on a deeper level.  I feel very comfortable with him, but perhaps in a more friend kind of a way than in any romantic kind of a way.  He's a pretty solid piece though, and we have a lot of fun. 

This is Prokofiev Violin Concerto Sr.  Yes, you guessed it; him and the previous friend are cousins.  You didn't hear this from me, but this is the cooler cousin.  He's a bit of a badass.  I have a huge crush on him actually.  He is incredibly exciting with a bit of a rock-and-roll-esq side to him. He's really fun, yet also has an incredibly sweet and tender side. What more could you want from a man, I mean a piece, right?  haha  Anyway, the more I get to know him, the more I seem to be falling for him  =)

The only down side is...  I am a mess when I'm with him.  like this.

He's just so difficult to deal with.  SO difficult.  He doesn't put together his sentences like normal people, so it's a battle just trying to understand what he says or analyze what he means.  Trying to remember exactly what he said?  I can't even explain the torture of trying to memorize this beast.  I feel bi-polar when I'm with him because I go through so many emotions in so little time.  I'm super excited, then really frustrated, then extremely sad,,, but he's so cool!   Someone help me...  but actually I think it will get better with some time.  It'll always be a challenge I'm sure, but even in the short couple of days I've known him, I'm beginning to understand his language a little better, so hopefully the emotional roller coaster will become less intense soon...  Besides, I think he's a keeper beneath it all.  Or am I just smitten?  

Then there is Bach Solo Partita Jr.  This, this is true love.  The way I feel when I'm with him is so different than the way I feel with any other piece.  He's much older, incredibly complex, thoughtful, extremely intelligent...  I could probably go on and on..  but the best part?  He loves to dance!  Gentlemen, the surest way to a girl's heart is through dancing, mark my words.  I have to say though, he's pretty demanding, (exchange 'pretty' with 'extremely') but he's totally, completely worth it.  Also, one word for Chaconne.  Epic.  and Wonderful.  and Grand.   Sorry, that was 3, but if you go listen to it, you will know what I mean.

Lastly, I have begun to get acquainted with Brahms Piano Quartet Sr.  He's SO fun.  I mean, we are a part of a group of friends, so I won't get to know him all that well until July when everyone will be together.  However, it's still been fun getting to know him a little bit by myself. 

Well, I hope you have enjoyed getting to meet the loves in my life right now in this silly sort of a narrative!  Though it is going to be a lot of work, I am so excited to get to know all of these pieces super well for the next couple of months  =)

Well, off I go to practice; much of it mentally because of that Chaconne...   haha

Thanks so much for reading!
Happy hump day =)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

DIY Ankle Booties!

Hello everyone!

As much as I would like to state otherwise, I am not much of a crafter,,, yet.  haha  I really enjoy seeing all of the DIY projects on Pinterest though! (I have given this site so many hours of my life, albeit gladly)  so when my ankle boots lost one of its jewels, I decided to try my hand at my first DIY project.

I had been looking for a pair of nude ankle boots for awhile when I happened upon this pair on sale!  It was I think 20 bucks?  It was too good of a deal pass it up, so I went ahead and purchased it despite the obnoxious fake jewel that was attached to it.  Luckily for me, the jewel soon fell off (I might or might not have had a hand in its demise), and I was able to find a more suitable substitute.  For awhile, I thought about wearing the boots without any decorations because initially, I had wanted just a simple and understated pair of nude boots.  However, when I found this little gem at a fabric store, and I just knew that it belonged with my boots  =p   It was perfect; simple, yet beautiful and elegant.

I thought that I would get to do some cool crafty things to attach it onto my boots--perhaps a bit of sewing??  However, the fabric lady took one look at me and handed me a bottle of fabric glue instead!  When I tried to protest, she shut me down with a "No, honey. Trust me. It's for you."  If she didn't have that awesome Eastern European accent, I might have protested a little more, but you know... she was a little intimidating!  haha  but it was probably for the best that I took her advice--the glue worked so well, that this project literally took 2 minutes!  And I'm very happy with how they turned out  =)

The nice thing about Seattle weather now is that it's warm enough to wear a dress, but cold enough to wear ankle boots with them.  So, I took my new creation out for a stroll today, and after the little outing, I went frolicking in my back yard.

and frolickings should always involve jumping!

Thanks so much for stopping by!!

Monday, May 28, 2012


Hello everyone!

I am sure everyone remembers their Prom night.  Whether it was the best night of your life or the worst night of your life; whether you went or decided it was too lame to attend; whether you enjoyed having a thousand pictures taken by your parents or your friend's parents or not...   I, however, do not have any memory of my Prom night because I attended one of probably very few high schools in the U.S. that did not have a Prom.  We had MORP instead.

As I mentioned in yeterday's post, I attended this arts boarding school called Interlochen Arts Academy.  I guess the first class of IAA decided that we were too artsy to have a Prom.  It would have been impossible to recreate the 'authentic' prom experience anyway because, well, probably only 1% of the student population had parents close by who could take photos and let high schoolers commandeer their house for the night. Also, our campus was in the woods about 15 minutes from a nearest city, so the whole dinner at a restaurant and the limo ride to the dance would have been quite difficult.  So instead, we took pictures among ourselves on campus, ate some food at the school cafeteria, and took a school bus to the dance space at a near by city (Traverse City). Don't get me wrong, students usually had a blast at MORP, and I have very fond memories of both MORPs I attended, but it was definitely not your typical Prom night.

Last Saturday, I got to experience my first 'real' Prom night!  Don't worry, I didn't actually attend (cougar much? haha).  It was my lil brother's Prom night, and I got to be there for the whole corsage and boutonniere, couple photos, and the group photos because it was at our house!  It was extra fun for me because I have never been able to attend any of his activities because I've always been away at school for the past 6 years...  so basically I've missed all of his middle and high school years  =(  so sad...  Yes, there have always been photos of his football games, his concerts, his hip-hop performances (because he's a heck of a dancer), and etc, but it's just not the same, ya know?

So, here are some pictures of my lil bro's Prom night.  sniff..  he's so grown up...

Lil bro and his lovely date, Cheng

Double Boutonniere action.  There was the classic 'Ow!' as well!

The whole group.

Before they went off to dance their night away, I made him take a photo with me as well.  but just one. 

what a stud.

Ok, so I didn't make him take just 1 photo with me..  I made him do a whole photo shoot...  lol    Poor lil bro ended up taking photos for like 2 hours straight, but that's what older sisters are for, right?  ;)

Stay tuned for some footages of our pre-Prom Joo family children photo shoot  =)

Thanks so much for stopping by!
Happy Monday!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Ode to Interlochen

Hello everyone!

There is a place, a very special place, somewhere in the tundra of Michigan where squirrels share your dorm room and where everyone is sleep deprived and frozen year-round. This place is called the Interlochen Arts Academy.  It is a place of the beloved Fighting Blueberries (our mascot) where two truly insane, yet incredible years of my life were spent.  I met so many incredible people and made wonderful friends there and I learned so much from so many amazing teachers and mentors who truly cared so much...

The reunion for Interlochen Arts Academy's 50th Anniversary is happening right now, and I just wanted to give a little shout out to a place that holds an incredibly special place in my heart. I have so many fond memories like seeing for the first time the word 'masturbation' on a test while taking Mrs. Gaede's Russian Literature, Mr. Dean shooting off a real canon during our Civil War class, spending hours and hours writing my senior thesis under the guidance of Mrs. Driscoll, blowing things up and talking about dance with Ms. Wibby the Chemistry teacher, Mr. Nadji's hat from Nepal, Mrs. K and our endless email correspondences about calculus problems,,  Not to mention Mr. G who helped me fill in some of the crater of holes I had in my violin playing, as well as Mr. Holland who was always there for me with a warm smile and a pat on the back, as well as a gruff 'how are you doing', 'are you eating crap?' (well... yes?), Dr. Boyle whose teaching seriously got me through all of college theory, and Mr. Hazelwood who introduced me to more orchestral repertoire than I had ever heard before in my life...

I am oh so tempted to start on the amazing memories I have had with the roomies, the stand partners, the friends, the chamber groups, study partners, the first significant other, etc, etc, etc, but I will spare all of you from reading a huge book.  =)

Instead, I leave you with these pictures.

was being completely serious about the squirrels in dorm rooms..

studying for that 'masturbation' test mentioned above...

Beloved. first roomy. ever.

this. this was our back yard. how could we not be inspired?

We are nothing if not diverse!

This happiness at seeing the first snow does not last.  trust me

truly a wonderful place.
AND this. The Ode to Interlochen  =)

"Oh, sound the call to dear old Interlochen!
Land of the stately pine.
Where stalwart hands and loyal ever greet you,
Faithful for Auld Lang Syne.
Old friends you'll meet,
New ones you'll greet,
A welcome you'll ever find
So sound the call to dear old Interlochen!
Shrine of the muse divine."

Thanks everyone for all of the amazing memories!

Poe the Poet

Hello everyone!

Today, I bring you this wonderful poem by Poe.  I'm all for science, but there's a rather big part of me that is really drawn to this poem.  There's something incredibly magical about so many things in nature that science just cannot (perhaps should not) touch.  Oh Mother Nature. I mean, look at everything around us; the abundance of beauty! and life!

But I am not much of a poet.  Actually, I am not a poet. Period.  I don't even read poetry. Well, until a short while ago, that is.  I have recently started reading a few poems here and there, and surprisingly, I have really enjoyed them.  You see, it all started because one of my best friends, April, is very much so a poet.  We are polar opposites, Abers (she has many nicknames) and I, but hey, they say opposites attract!  I write research papers, she writes Haikus; I focus on the plot, she focuses on the flow and the beauty of the words; I look at the practical side of things, she sees the romantic; I like cardigans, she likes grandpa sweaters... Need I say more?  haha

Here we are!  Joon and Abro.  salt and pepper.  peanut butter and jelly.  etc. etc.

She is one of the most sensitive, generous, caring, and goofy people I know, and I feel so blessed to have been attached at the hip for the past couple of years.  Oh yeah, and she is one heck of a pianist as well  ;)  look for us as we collaborate and attack some awesome piano/violin sonatas! (she'll probably change the word 'attack' in the last sentence to 'love' or something like that)

Who are your favorite poets?

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Friday, May 25, 2012

A Feast for My Grandpa

Hello everyone,

In Korea, there is this a really wonderful custom called Jesa.  When parents or grandparents pass away, on the night of their passing each year, the children all get together and hold a feast for them.  It's a time for honoring the memory of the loved ones, as well as a chance for the whole family to get together and spend some quality time together.  So, two nights ago on May 22nd, we held a Jesa for my Grandpa Lee (my Mom's dad).  I never knew my Grandfather because he had passed away long before I was born, but over the years, through Jesa, I feel like I have gotten to know him a little bit.  =)

Here are some of the things I have found out about him over the years:
1. He was quite the handsome fellow.  --I wish I had a picture to put up here, but I don't have access to any at the moment...
2. He did Judo!  Like me!  well, I guess the right thing to say chronologically would be that I did Judo like he did  =)   Apparently he was very good at it.
3. He went to law school.  --Sorry Grandpa, I know attending law school seems to run in the family, but I have left this path. And I am never looking back!
4. He was a wonderful father to his 5 children.  I am sure he would have been a wonderful grandpa as well.

Usually when we hold Jesa in Korea, there are probably about 100 different dishes, and the table is literally groaning under the weight. This is possible because everyone in my whole family (50+ people) is there cooking all day long.  And then we feast all night long!  haha.  Good times  =)    But here in the U.S., since there are only 5 of us in the family, we held a miniature Jesa.  Here are some footages of my mommy's skills in the kitchen.  I wanted to help out, but I seemed to be more of an obstacle than help,, so I took pictures!

Different stages of tofu. yummm

I learned that you have to take the frothing thing on top off when making this soup..

look!  you can see it steaming!

And then we arrange it like so.  I learned that there are rules to follow when arranging these dishes.  I don't know all of them (I was just an assistant.. my Dad did most of it), but I know now that the fruit kinds of dishes go in the front; red or darker colored foods are placed on the East side of the table, and the lighter colored foods are placed on the West side; rice and soup go in the center in the back; incense and wine are front and center.

Normally, we would have Grandpa's picture in the center behind everything, but we didn't have a big enough picture, so Dad wrote something in Old Korean/Chinese.  I have no idea what it says (he said it, but it didn't make any sense to me... I don't speak Old Korean  lol)  It's beautifully written, though isn't it?  Dad was afraid that I would be 'drawing' these characters instead of 'writing' them if I have to reproduce this,,, and he would be correct.  There are certain strokes that are supposed to go before others, and etc. etc.  Old Korean is full of rules...  I only know how to write 3 characters in Old Korean, and they make up my name  haha.

Though I have dabbled in Caligraphy, I am nowhere even close to being able to write like my Dad.  One day, I would like to pick it back up; I hear it's good for building patience  ;)

another angle of our miniature Jesa table..

After we set it all up, we all showed respect for our Grandpa by bowing together. After all, none of us would be here if it wasn't for him.  There are, of course, rules to follow when bowing, pouring the wine, presenting the wine, and even in blowing out the candles...  It's really quite a beautiful ceremony...

And after all of us got to pour the wine once, we finished the ceremony, and ate!  Though there are only 5 of us, it's impossible to gather together as a whole family and eat dinner regularly because everyone is so busy. In fact, I think this is only the 3 or 4 time in the past month that we've all been together for a significant length of time!  So I really enjoyed having some family bonding time.  I suppose we should thank Grandpa for not only bringing us into this world, but also for bringing us together during these busy times as a family! =)

Thank you so much for reading and sharing this bit of Korean culture with me!
Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Battle Continues...

Hello everyone!!

Remember the neurologist friend from this post?  His story is a really tragic one:  His daughter was an extremely talented violinist, but she kept playing through the pains she was getting in her arms.  She didn't realize that it was tendinitis, and by the time she asked for help, it was too advanced to do anything for her.  Because of this, she had to quit violin, and as her father (and a doctor), it really broke his heart to watch his daughter give up something she loved so much as he watched helplessly.

So when he found out that I had tendinitis, he lost no time in instructing me in how to protect my future as a violinist.  One of the things he kept emphasizing was that if it hurts, stop playing and seek help, even if the pain is slight.  As violinists (or any other musician), his philosophy is that our bodies are more of our instruments than our actual instruments themselves, and therefore must be looked after with just as much care as we give to our instruments.  I mean, think about how carefully we look after our instruments.  For me, it seriously breaks my heart every time my violin gets even a tiny scratch! =(

Along with that, because my back was really tense, he gave me this exercise to do.  He has a background in reflexology as well, and I think this is more of reflexology than neurology?  I'm not sure,, but hey, it sees to work!
X marks the spot!
Because my left shoulder blade area is usually the tense area, I do it on my left hand.  Press the X with your other thumb. (if you are having as much problem in that area as I am, you will know that you have found the spot because it will hurt)  Press pretty firmly, and while pressing, roll your left shoulder forwards and backwards 10 times each.  This is one set.  Do it about 3 times.  He said that this helps loosen the muscles in that area.  Feel free to do it on your right hand and shoulder as well!

Then, I went to my chiropractor again yesterday because I got... well, a little too excited about this  and over-practiced  haha.  He said that since I am no longer in pain, I should start working on strengthening my muscles that are giving me so many problems; the rhomboid something something... and some other muscles around my shoulder blade...  anyway, this will prevent me from getting hurt too easily!  =D  yay! so  here are the exercises with the resistance band he showed me  =)

Exercise 1.  
This works the muscles around the bottom of the shoulder blade.   
Step 1. Bring your arm up parallel to the ground, making sure to keep the shoulder down.
Step 2. Rotate the arm very slowly upwards.  Your elbow should stay in the same spot as you are rotating.
Do it about 10 times, and that is 1 set.
Step 1.                                                                                         Step 2.

When doing this, make sure that you are rotating your arm from Step 1 to Step 2 by using the muscles in your back.  The first time I did it, I was like, "wow, this is so easy!"  but I was rotating by using my arm muscles, and therefore doing it the wrong way... So if it's too easy, you may be making the same mistake I made  haha.    Do a couple of sets, or as many as you can.

Exercise 2. 
This works the rhomboid something muscle.
Step 1. Start with your arms bent at a 90 degree angle in front of you with the band.
Step 2. Move your hands out to the side as much as you can while keeping your elbows close to your body
Step 3. Rotate more by engaging your back muscles. There should be creases in your back because it is being folded back.  It is very important that while you are doing this, you keep your shoulders down.  
Hold for a couple of seconds, or 'until you start shaking' as my chiropractor put it, then return slowly to step 1.  Repeat perhaps 10 times.

Step 1.                                                          Step 2.                                                         Step 3.

Then, he showed me some stretches.

Stretch 1. 
The reason the back muscles are so tired is not only from constant use, but also from the fact that the pectoral muscles are so tight that it keeps pulling at the back muscles.  So here is the stretch for those pectorals.
Step 1.  Hold the band over your head a little wider than the width of your shoulders.
Step 2.  Breathe as you slowly lower your arms.
Step 3.  Once you are at the bottom, release one hand from the band and return both arms to the front (don't come back up the way you went down!)
Make sure that your alignment is right (head over shoulders, shoulders over hips, hips over heels), and do it a couple of times.  

Step 1.                                               Step 2.                                                     Step 3.

Stretch 2.
This stretches that muscle that connects your neck to your back.
Step 1.  Hold your left arm behind your back with your right hand.
Step 2. While pulling the arm down, bend your head forward at a 45 degree angle.  Hold for 10 seconds.
Do it on both sides a couple of times
Step 1.                                                                                            Step 2.

Stretch 3.
Stretching out your neck.  Because we are always craning our necks to our left as violinists, it's important to stretch it out the other way.
Step 1.  Hold your head and pull gently to your right.  Hold for 10 seconds.  Release gently.
Step 2.  Hold your head and pull gently to 45 degree angle forward and right.  Hold for 10 seconds. Release.
Step 1.                                                                                                Step 2.

I hope this will help all of you in battling your own tendinitis!  More weapons we have to battle this annoying foe the better, right?   =)  Thankfully, I have not had pains in my arm for a couple of days now, and I am back to practicing a couple of hours a day! So exciting!

Please let me know if any of the instructions above were not clear, and I will do my best to clear things up for you.  

And as you try these, you look like this... well, welcome to the club  haha.  That pectoral stretch really hurts!
oh the pain!!  hehe

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

chocolate continued..

Hello everyone!
Here are some more pictures from our adventures at the wonderful place called Theo's Chocolate.


Thanks so much for stopping by!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Hello everyone!

I am so excited that one of my friends from UNL has moved to Seattle!!!
Sarah and I were both in Chi Omega together, and it was really fun to get together for the first time as alums yesterday!  (I don't think the fact that we have graduated has quite hit me yet...)  Sarah and her soon-to-be-husband, Matthew, invited me over and fed me delicious lunch, and for dessert, we went over to Theo's Chocolate and took their chocolate tour.  Theo's is really cool because it was the first all organic and fair-trade chocolate factory in the United States!  AND their chocolate is delicious. If you are ever in Seattle area, and love chocolate, I would highly recommend taking this tour.  For $6, you get to learn about chocolate's journey from being the exotic cacao plant to becoming the deliciousness that we adore. but more importantly, you get to taste A LOT of chocolate!  =)   There's no need for any more encouragement, right??  --I must confess that this was not my first time taking the tour..I don't care to admit how many times I've been there, but every time I go, there's something new to see and taste  ;)

One of their final products!  Cherry and Chili Dark Chocolate.
Allow 12 seconds for the full effect.
Your tongue will let you know when the Chili part has hit.

This odd looking thing turns into chocolate!

master chocolatier at work

this is where magic happens

Their first bite of the ganache!  incredible.

lovely couple, lovely place.

Sarah and Matt are leaving today for Nebraska to prepare for their wedding in early June. I am very excited for them--their wedding is going to be so beautiful!  =)

Thanks so much for a wonderful day guys!  I can't wait to explore more places around Seattle with you when you get back.  Another plus? They have the most adorable puppy, Joey!  McKinley and Joey can be best friends! =D  (even though McKinley is about 10 times the size of Joey...)

Stay tuned for more pictures from our adventure at Theo's!
Thanks so much for stopping by!

Monday, May 21, 2012

The New Joo Family Children!

Hello everyone!
I hope you had a wonderful weekend!

Ever since I went off to attend a boarding school, Interlochen Arts Academy, during my high school years, I have come home every break to find a new addition to our household.  My mom got a little... 'child-sick' (the opposite of being 'home-sick') and her way of dealing with it was to acquire new things.  Here is the pattern--The first time I came home from school, there was a new entertainment system. Then, it was a new car.  Then, it was a new driveway.  Then, it was a new house!!!

Thankfully (I'm sure much to my dad's relief), she has broken the pattern.  Honestly, I'm not even sure what else she could have acquired that would have been in line with the pattern,,  but anyway, this time, I came home to find these three little lovelies.

Aren't they just beautiful?
Mom tends to them with so much love and care  =)    I think it is hard for her with all of her little ones leaving the nest.  I already left a while ago, but now my brother is leaving for college, and my cousin who has lived with us for ages is also going to college in 2 years!   So these orchids have taken our place as the new Joo Family children...

This is how moms will always see their little ones right?
myself, lil bro, lil cuz.

I don't tell her enough, but I am so thankful to have such an amazing and beautiful woman as my mother.
We love you mommy!  
(Though we have been replaced.. sniff..  =p)

I hope you have a wonderful Monday!
Thanks so much for reading!