Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Cooking Journal

I like to improvise in the kitchen. Most nights, I don't use a recipe at all. That's the reward for spending hours in the kitchen, which started when I was living at home and helping my mom with dinners (she is a big improviser too). You begin to get a feel for flavors, and techniques, and the best ingredient pairings. Reading a lot of food blogs and cookbooks and recipes over the years also plays a huge role in the success of kitchen improvisation, as does having a well-stocked pantry. 

The other night, my husband and I came up with a delicious dish together--we totally winged it and it was just perfect. I rarely have the urge to write down something I came up with, but this time I did. There were a few key ingredients in this dish that made the flavors meld together beautifully, and if left out the next time around, I don't think this dish would sing the way it did.

So my husband suggested I begin a cooking journal, where I can write down my own tips and tricks and recipes as they occur to me, or tape in cut-out recipes from my new Cook's Illustrated subscription. I really love this idea and I'm now on the hunt to find the perfect journal, one that is both big enough and sturdy enough to last forever! (This cork one would be perfect--it reminds me of a wine bottle cork, and it's probably quite durable--but unfortunately it's a bit too small.)

What do you think of a cooking journal? Do you have something like this?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Everyday Vases

I like to treat myself to the occasional bouquet of flowers from the supermarket. They brighten up the room and bring beauty into our daily lives. One thing I love to do is arrange these flowers in unexpected vessels--it's playful and fun, and makes the flowers look casual and natural in our home.

Today, I'll show you some ideas for arranging flowers in everyday containers, and I hope you will be inspired to think creatively the next time you can't resist bringing home some gorgeous blush spray roses from the market.

Would you try this? What else would make for a terrific everyday vase?

Monday, February 25, 2013

Female Friendship

Last night, I was chatting with a friend of mine about friendship. In particular, female friendship at the stage of life we are in (post-college), and I had a moment of revelation about something. I said to her, "I have such clear ideas and thoughts on most things in my life--not that I have everything figured out, but I have clear thoughts on my marriage, my faith, my role as a daughter and a sister, my hopes for the future. But I don't have clear thoughts on friendship."

For me, female friendships have always been the most complicated relationships in my life. They are confusing. They require a give and take but so often it's imbalanced. They can get very emotional, despite efforts to avoid drama. It's hard to know when to speak up and when to accept. What values need to line up and which ones don't. Who will let you down and who won't.

I hadn't planned to write a post about this today, so I will make this one brief, but I'd like to come back to this subject once I've thought more about it. It's difficult to write about a topic that I just admitted I don't have clear thoughts on, but I think it will be interesting to try.

What do you think? Are you confused by female friendship?

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sunday Currently: Volume 7

My new stack of books that arrived yesterday from Amazon


Reading Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner, which I just started reading. I'm also excited about the other two books that arrived yesterday in the mail. For inexpensive books and quick delivery (for free), is there anything better than Amazon?

Writing this post!

Listening to birds chirping. I believe Spring has arrived in the deep South--wild, isn't it?

Thinking about a few fun, new projects I'd like to start. Stay tuned!

Smelling fresh morning air coming through the open window.

Wishing I had a connection in the airline industry. I'm feeling envious of those free flights these days.

Hoping for a good phone chat with a girlfriend of mine today.

Wearing an Army sweatshirt.

Drinking English Breakfast tea with cream.

Loving the walks my husband and I have been taking around our neighborhood. He's still pretty sore from his surgery so we do one big loop together, then he goes inside and I do a few more on my own. Maybe today he'll be up for two big loops!

Wanting more piano students. I think I need to think creatively about advertising this week.

Needing some breakfast. I've been making us steel cut oats with pecans, flax seed, brown sugar, strawberries, and milk each morning. My husband goes crazy for it.

Feeling very thankful for my faith.

Clicking on these model-mother portraits. My own mom sent me the link and I think these photos are fascinating and really beautiful.

Have a lovely Sunday!

(Linking up with Lauren!)

Friday, February 22, 2013

A Kitchen Investment

My husband and I are in the market for some really good kitchen knives. We've been dealing with not-so-great knives for a long time and we've decided to invest in some better ones. After all, we both love to cook so they will get a lot of use, and high-quality knives last a lifetime.

I know that a lot of you, lovely readers, know your way around the kitchen, so I thought I would ask about your knife-buying and knife-using experiences. We need some advice!

We haven't decided if we will buy a set or buy them one at a time. We do know that we want to wait for a good deal, perhaps a sale of some kind. And we don't really need too many--a few paring knives, a chef's knife, a bread knife, and a mid-sized knife would probably be perfect. Also, most sets include a counter-top knife block, which I don't really care for (I'd prefer to find one that fits in a drawer), which is another consideration for us.

Right now, we're looking at the two famous German knife brands--Wusthof and Zwilling J.A. Henckels. Do you own any of these knives? Or have another favorite brand? Did you buy a set? Do you know of a good place to buy? We are in "research" phase so please do share!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

His and Her Style

I enjoyed this cute article on how to decorate your home in a way that will make both you and your husband happy. Luckily, we don't have much of a problem with this, at least so far, in our own home. My husband likes my taste (hooray!) and has good taste himself. We both prefer an eclectic style--antique family heirlooms mixed with DIY pieces mixed with a touch of modern and bit of rustic charm. We are opposed to furniture sets, Ikea excursions, and most brand-new pieces. It also helps that my taste really leans toward neutrals and simplicity when it comes to decorating. I don't have a super "girly" style, I don't really like pink, or ruffles, or overly feminine patterns. I think that timeless colors, elegant lines, and a nice combination of traditional and funky are the way to go.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed this article and think it includes some fun tips for making sure the feminine and the masculine--and the gender neutral--find a place in your home.

What's your style? And how do you balance it with your husband's taste? I'd love to know!

(Image 1 / Image 2)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

First Impressions

What were the first impressions you had of your spouse, or your significant other?

I didn't fall in love at first sight with my husband but he definitely made a memorable first impression, and a good one. It was the second weekend of my freshman year of college and there was a small group of us just hanging out. The evening was very casual and relaxed, and there are two things about our meeting that have really stuck with me.

The first is that my husband brought his roommate, a transfer student who was randomly assigned to live with him. When his roommate stepped out of the room for a moment, my husband told all of us that he was a transfer, and that he was quite shy, and asked us to make him feel included.

Well, that kind of consideration for others isn't something you hear everyday coming from the mouth of a college kid. Especially the freshman boys we knew. My husband was a senior when I met him and he really was a man, not a boy. He had a kind of maturity and inner peace about him, a calmness and sense of who he was.

Us in college, right after we started dating

The second thing that stands out in my memory is the way he paid attention to me. He was interested in the things I said. He looked me right in the eyes when I was speaking, another thing that the freshman boys I met didn't do very well, and I remember exactly how his blue eyes looked that day. He laughed when I made a silly joke, a genuine laugh. And it wasn't even flirting--it was sincere interest in what I had to say and an interest in knowing who I was.

I wouldn't say there was "chemistry" or anything like that. At the time, I was still dating my high school boyfriend and it would be another 3 months before we broke up, and another 2 after that before my husband and I began dating. But there was that first impression, that day I met a good, kind man who I respected and wanted to know better. He was different in all the right ways. And how amazing it is to look back on that day knowing how things turned out!

I'd love to hear about your first impressions--do share.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Healthful Burgers

I really love turkey burgers. They are a great healthy alternative to a hamburger, and it's easy to make a balanced meal out of them by using yummy, wholesome toppings and multigrain bread as the bun. This weekend, I did something a little extra--using ingredients we already had in our fridge, I made a fresh olive relish to jazz up our turkey burgers.

I chopped up kalamata olives, green olives, banana peppers, jalapenos, and green chiles. I just used a few spoonfuls of each. You could also add red or green bell pepper, onion, or pretty much anything you think would make a tasty addition. Once chopped, I pressed the liquid out of the relish with a paper towel, and then tossed it in some olive oil.

After making the relish, I cooked the turkey burgers in my new cast iron skillet (a Christmas gift from my husband--I'm still getting the hang of it!) When they were ready we each assembled our own burger. Instead of regular hamburger buns, we used a multigrain baguette that I had lightly toasted in the oven. We topped our turkey burgers with dijon mustard, ketchup, and this delicious olive relish. Often, I also add raw baby spinach, or any kind of lettuce, and some tomato slices to make it even more healthful and nutritious!

What do you think? Would you try these healthful burgers?

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sunday Currently: Volume 6

My text to my mom after finishing The Age of Innocence
I love our book club--it's so fun to be able to share our thoughts with each other. 


Reading blogs and online news...I need to start a new book! The Age of Innocence was wonderful. It was very melancholy by the end and a beautiful peek into changing times and the people caught between them.

Writing this post and not much else.

Listening to the kettle beginning to sputter and whistle. Time to make tea!

Thinking about making these DIY mercury glass candleholders. I have several plain glass vases and candleholders that are just begging to be dressed up.

Smelling nothing really. My nose is a little stuffy this morning, I hope I'm not coming down with something!

Wishing I didn't live so far away from my family. On Valentine's Day, I was remembering how my parents used to surprise us with chocolates and cute little heart-shaped notes, arranged in shapes and patterns on the floor by our beds for us to discover when we woke up. There was no shortage of love in our house and I'm so grateful for that.

Hoping we catch the mouse today. Yes, we have a mouse in our house. We set 3 traps out on Friday night and haven't caught it yet. My husband thinks the mouse is cute (he named her "Sasha") but I really don't. Maybe Sasha doesn't like the peanut butter we used as bait? I don't want to go another day knowing there's a mouse nearby!

Wearing one of my husband's big sweaters. There's nothing cozier!

Drinking Jasmine Green Tea.

Loving my brave husband and praying that he begins to feel much better soon.

Wanting a massage. I'm going to be honest. I could really use a good spa day.

Needing some breakfast. Plain yogurt with homemade granola sounds like just the thing.

Feeling very thankful for good doctors and nurses, including the ones in my own family. My sister-in-law and mother-in-law are both nurses and have answered some important questions for us in the last few days as my husband recovers.

Clicking on this show on Netflix. My husband and I have been watching it all weekend and have gotten really into it. It's entertaining and makes you think!

(Linking up with Lauren. Do check out the other Sunday Currently posts!)

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Happy Birthday to my Little Brother

A huge happy birthday today to my sweet tooth-possessing, hard-working, stunning photo-capturing, cute animal-loving, big sister-doting, all-grown-up little brother! (Can you tell I think he's the greatest?) He's 19 today and considering the fact that I vividly remember the day he was born, it's hard to believe he's gotten so old.

If you have time today, do check out some of my brother's incredible photos on his website, which is linked above. This photo is his latest of NYC, taken after the snowstorm from the roof of Riverside Church in Manhattan.

Happy Birthday, little brother!

Thursday, February 14, 2013


First of all, thank you so much for all of your prayers. They really meant so much to both me and my husband.

My husband's surgery went very well yesterday. He's in a lot of pain but that's to be expected, and the doctors were so pleased with how everything turned out. He's been a trooper. I'll still be Nurse Kate for another few days, but he should be himself again soon and begin to feel the healing effects of the procedure.

Going through this surgery with my husband was a very new and nerve-wracking experience for me. I know that I wasn't actually "going through" anything--just some anxiety and lots of waiting and trying to smile and be calm and relaxed. He was the one getting wheeled into the operating room, not me. But as all of you who are married know, your spouse is part of you. My husband is my other half. On our wedding day we became one flesh, not in body but in spirit, and I didn't know how hard it would be to leave his side and wait for good news from the surgeon.

When the surgeon did come out to personally tell me that everything went beautifully and that my husband would be waking up soon, I experienced another new feeling--a kind of joy and relief I'd never gone through before. I knew the surgery would go well, I trusted his excellent doctors, and had faith in God's love and mercy, but I was completely tense up until the minute I heard all was well. I shot up a silent prayer, feeling so grateful to Him for protecting and watching over my dear husband. In addition to the surgeon, two technicians who were in the surgery came out to the waiting room to reassure me. I know they were just doing their jobs, but it felt like they understood everything I was feeling. It felt like they really understood at that moment that we were discussing the person closest to me in the world, and that any extra reassurance would be welcomed by me. That felt so good.

When I heard the nurse call "Mrs. Harvey" and I finally got to see my husband and give him a kiss (almost 2 hours after I heard all was well--torture!) I could finally relax. I felt terrible about the pain he was in but ultimately, he was ok, and this surgery was something he really needed.

This morning, my husband said "Happy Valentine's Day" to me and said that he felt badly that today wasn't going to be very fun or romantic. He even apologized. But you know what? I made a vow to love my husband in sickness and in health, and I'm getting the chance to live those wedding day vows. That's romance enough for me.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Healing Prayers

Tomorrow, my sweet husband will be undergoing back surgery. He sustained an injury to his back almost 2 years ago, when he fell off the top of his helicopter during training, and this surgery is an answer to our prayers and we know it will be healing for him. Please, my dear readers, keep him in your thoughts and prayers.

I will be taking a day or two off from blogging,  but I'll be back soon.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Katharine Hepburn Brownies

We have a favorite brownie recipe in my family. They are special not just because they are the most delicious, melt-in-your-mouth brownies we've ever encountered, but because the recipe comes from Katharine Hepburn, the Katharine Hepburn.

My mom discovered the recipe in a fantastic book of New York recipes a few years ago. We were wowed by not only the incredible flavor in these brownies but also the ease of making them. They're made on the stovetop, require only one pot and one pan, and call for ingredients that you likely have in your pantry. And there's something just so indulgent and fun about making brownies from the recipe of a sophisticated, gorgeous old-fashioned movie star such as Katharine Hepburn, don't you think?

I shared the recipe with my mother-in-law a few years ago and it has become her favorite brownie recipe too. She's so sweet--she usually emails me or texts me when she's making them, just to let me know that they're having "Kate Brownies," as she calls them (she means "Kate" as in me, but how perfect that there's a double meaning! After all, Katharine often went by Kate).

I think Katharine Hepburn became more beautiful as she aged. Here she is in Golden Pond (which is a beautiful movie) and she's so radiant. I'm reminded of an essay I just read a few days ago in the book, Wing to Wing, Oar to Oar. It's by Kierkegaard and the excerpt is called "Lasting Love." He writes, "As a bride, woman is more beautiful than as a maiden; as a mother she is more beautiful than as a bride; as a wife and mother she is a good word in season, and with the years she becomes more beautiful."

These brownies would make a perfect Valentine's Day treat for your loved ones. I urge you to try them--and maybe pop in an old Katharine Hepburn movie while you're nibbling!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sunday Currently: Volume 5


Reading The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton, still. It took me (and my mom too) a little while to get into this book, but now we're both hooked and loving it. It's amazing to read about 19th century New York "society" and how much weight was put on what other people thought of you, what they thought of your family, your clothes, your food, your way of arranging flowers, your Sunday evening entertainment. It's fascinating.

Writing a few posts in my head.

Listening to a quiet morning.

Thinking about breakfast. I'm debating between steel cut oats with flax seed, strawberries, and cream, or sourdough toast with orange marmalade. Maybe I'll just have both....

Smelling lavender. I did buy some lavender essential oil last week and have been loving it so far. I use it on my skin, in the bath, and I made a homemade linen spray following this recipe. I spray it on my pillow before I go to sleep and I find it really relaxing.

Wishing that I was better at meditating. I've decided that it would be really good for me to spend 15 minutes a day sitting still and focusing only on my breath, but it's really difficult not to let my mind wander. I suppose I'll get better with practice. Any tips?

Hoping you all don't think I'm a hippie-dippie after reading the above two statements! I'm really not, I promise! I just like finding natural approaches to being calm and healthy.

Wearing a blanket wrapped around my knees--my favorite black-and-white Ikea blanket that my husband had to steal from the display at the storefront. I had settled on another blanket when it looked like the store was out of the black-and-white one, but he knew which one I really wanted so on the way out he snagged the display blanket for me and ran back to pay for it! I went home with two blankets and a smile on my face.

Drinking strong black tea with cream.

Loving that guy I married.

Wanting to spend the day reading.

Needing to finish making my DIY Valentine's Day gift for my husband!

Feeling thankful for one of my good friends. She and I were close in college and have become closer since college, which is not often the case, and I'm so grateful for her. We chatted on the phone for 2 and a half hours on Friday about all kinds of things. She's one of the few friends I have who really knows me and who is great at keeping in touch and who let's me share anything with her. Friends like that don't come around often.

Clicking on Google and typing "askew" in the search bar. Try it! (Were you amused too?)

(Linking up with Lauren.)

Friday, February 8, 2013

Walking on Water: Part 4

"All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well. No matter what. That, I think, is the affirmation behind all art which can be called Christian. That is what brings cosmos out of chaos."

I remember a discussion we had in one of my college classes on the meaning of art. At first when the teacher asked us to share our definition of art, I thought it would be too complex to put into words. There are so many elements to art, so many things I could say. But after thinking for only a few minutes, I realized it's actually quite simple. For me, art is beauty. It's something created that is beautiful. That is art's most important feature, in my mind.

A lot of the people in the class disagreed with me, saying that beauty is subjective (and it is), so how can that be the common denominator?

But what is art, if not for transcendence and beauty? What is art, if not to "bring cosmos out of chaos"?

I've finished Madeleine L'Engle's book and can wholeheartedly recommend it. At times while reading it, it was hard to decide if L'Engle was talking about art or faith, faith or art. She writes about them as if they are one and the same--they are so intertwined in her eyes that it's hard for me to put into words exactly how L'Engle feels about their relationship and how they connect. But if I had to pick one passage, the one quoted above would be it. Art lifts us out of worldly chaos and into the peace of the cosmos, into a heavenly realm, where all shall be well.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Rainy Days

Since I live in the South, but am through-and-through a Northern gal, I've had to get used to rain instead of snow during the winter (I'm still not used to it). We have had a lot of rain, and while I would prefer the soft, pure beauty of snow, I actually like the rainy days. I never liked them in New York City because you walk everywhere and there's never room for your umbrella on the sidewalk and the subways become mucky and smelly. And there's nothing cozy about that.

But here, the rain is cozy. The back of our townhouse has two large windows and two french doors, so when I'm downstairs I can look out and see and hear the drizzly, dreary day, while I'm warm and dry inside. If I do have to go out, I make a mad dash to the car and don't have to worry about trudging through puddles and dodging umbrellas that come threateningly close to my eye (I really do miss NYC--just not rainy NYC days).

Anyway, today is one of those dreary weather days and it got me thinking about the things I love to do on rainy days. I'll make a list and I hope you'll add your own thoughts in the comments.

Curl up with a good book and cup of tea.

Light a candle, or two.

Bake a batch of cookies.

Take a hot bath (if it's a rainy evening). 

Sit in a café and do some work on my computer.

Make a huge pot of soup. 

Play some moody music on the piano.

Watch a drama (again, if it's a rainy evening). 

Indulge in an extra-long morning shower.

Work on any kind of crafty project indoors.

When I was in high school (were we too old for this?) my best friend and I would put on old gym clothes on rainy Saturdays and run outside and go down the slide in my backyard. It sounds really silly but it was so much fun to let loose and allow ourselves to get soaking wet. It was exhilarating. But these days, as you can see, I'm a little more mellow.

What about you? Are you someone who needs the sun to shine to feel alive or do you appreciate a good moody day?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

For The Love of Jasmine

I've discovered in the last few years how much I love jasmine. Is there a more heavenly smell? For Christmas, my little brother outdid himself and got me this jasmine scrub from my favorite NYC soap shop.

The funny thing is that he didn't know that jasmine was a favorite of mine. He knew that I loved Sabon and so went in and picked out the scent he liked the best. Lucky for me, Delicate Jasmine spoke to him!

I also recently began using this cleansing oil and one of the reasons I love it is because of the jasmine oil in it.

Apparently, in addition to its divine smell, jasmine essential oil is a very good disinfectant and evens out skin tone. I'm loving jasmine more by the second.

When I discovered jasmine tea, I was pleasantly surprised at how yummy it tasted. It's not bitter, like some herbal teas, and of course it has the most gorgeous aroma. I really like Harney and Sons loose Jasmine Floral Tea.

And these Jasmine Green Tea bags are yummy too. I always prefer loose tea but I found these on sale at TJMaxx and they're easy to use and very flavorful.

Do you, like me, love the smell/taste/health benefits of jasmine? Do you have any favorite jasmine products? Which of these would you love to try? 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Kindred Spirits

Muir Woods. Isn't God's creation something else?

Today I want to share with you two essays--one is an article, one a blog post--on an issue that's very dear to me. One is by a man, and the other by a woman, and both of them write about something hard, something sensitive, a topic that is often isolating and certainly not popular. They've each written about it in their own way but they've both written fearlessly.

The article was shared with me by one of my lovely blog friends, Natalie from Chapter Twenty.  The piece is funny and bold and romantic.

The blog post is by one of my favorite bloggers. Hers is wise and thoughtful and lovely.

I hope you enjoy them and are inspired by them as I am.

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Master Speed

I love this poem about marriage, which was written by Frost for his daughter on the occasion of her wedding. It's so beautiful. In fact, I once inscribed this poem on a book I gave my husband--before we were even engaged. According to the date in the inscription, we were engaged about 4 months later. I guess my husband took the hint!

The truth is, we had talked about marriage together quite a bit before our engagement so I don't think my inscription was too bold. In fact, the book I wrote it in is a wonderful book on marriage that gets its title from Frost's sonnet. It's called Wing to Wing, Oar to Oar: Readings on Courting and Marrying, and it contains essays and excerpts and poetry by Aquinas and Rousseau, Rilke and Shakespeare, Tolstoy and Tocqueville, and many more. My parents owned a copy and gave it to me to read, and right around the same time I found a used copy of it in the Strand Bookstore in New York for about two dollars, so I bought a copy for my beloved too. 

I admit I haven't read too much of this book so far--it's an anthology, so it's not necessarily the kind of book you read straight through--but the parts of it I have read I've found incredibly inspiring and have really stuck with me. And as you all probably know by now, I'm passionate about marriage, and reading great writing on love and commitment is something I enjoy very much. I've re-discovered this book among our collection and have decided to leave it out on our coffee table and make an effort to read an essay or two from it regularly. I imagine that also means that I'll be inspired to write some posts on what I read, so I hope you'll join me in my discoveries.

Now I have a question for all of you who are engaged or married--did you discuss marriage with your significant other before becoming engaged? Was it important to you to talk about what marriage meant to you before taking the next step? If you are not engaged, would you gift a book like this to your boyfriend before he becomes your fiancé?

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Sunday Currently: Volume 4

My husband asked me to text him a picture after I got my hair cut last week. This is what he got.

Reading Edith Wharton, Madeleine L'Engle, and also my Cook's Illustrated magazine that my parents gave me for Christmas. I made the Wild Rice and Mushroom soup from the February edition and it was divine.

Writing lists with my husband. Mostly thoughts and questions and plans.

Listening to the dishwasher running. We started it last night, turned it off because it's so loud and we couldn't hear the music we were playing, and then forgot to turn it on again until this morning. This seems to happen to us occasionally--are we alone in this?

Thinking about one of my new readers who is from Upstate New York, near where I grew up, and who was diagnosed recently with breast cancer. Please pray for her and her sweet family.

Smelling fresh coffee and a sesame seed bagel.

Wishing my husband and I had a church here we loved. When the time comes for us to relocate, we're very excited to church-shop. Hopefully we'll have some options and can find a church that will really nurture our faith.

Hoping for good tidings, always.

Wearing a soft cotton green cardigan I bought when shopping with my sister-in-law a few months ago. She bought the same one in taupe, which is funny because I'm a neutrals girl and she loves color. We mixed it up!

Drinking coffee. I've limited myself to drinking a full cup only about once every few days, and drinking tea or homemade lattes or plain steamed milk on the other days. I don't think the caffeine or the acidity in coffee are good for me, but I do love the taste, so I indulge every so often!

Loving my husband! We had such a fun day together yesterday. We went out to lunch, went on a long walk in a beautiful park nearby, stopped at the drugstore to get some Valentine's chocolates and shared them in the movie theater (we saw Silver Linings Playbook, and we both really liked it). We had leftover soup and bagels with smoked salmon for dinner and then had a "jam session." My husband learned the words to Neon Moon and he sang it while I tried to imitate a country guitar on the piano. It was so funny and so much fun!

Wanting to buy some lavender essential oil. I've recently completely changed my skincare regimen and have started using mostly natural products. My new moisturizer is jojoba oil (which I love so far) and I've read that it pairs beautifully with lavender, which is not only lovely-smelling but is apparently very good for your skin.

Needing not much, at the moment. I feel quite content.

Feeling very blessed. After a few weeks of dwelling on the imperfections in our lives, I've arrived at a place of peace and calm, and am trying to focus on the many gifts God has given us. This is a never-ending journey, isn't it, counting blessings instead of shortcomings?

Clicking on these quirky, colorful homes. I admire the boldness of these homeowners!

(Linking up with Lauren--and do check out the other Sunday Currently posts!)

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Four Chords Song

A few days ago, I sent this video to one of my students. Silly YouTube videos are not typically part of my modus operandi when it comes to teaching, but sometimes you have to lighten things up, don't you think?

This student of mine is an adult beginner, and I give him so much credit. It is much more difficult to learn an instrument as an adult than as a child, and he's not just learning how to play the piano--he's learning how to read music, he's learning some music theory, and we've just begun some ear training too.

Last week, I gave him a simple introduction to three chords that are hugely important in all music (I, IV, and V) and mentioned that almost every pop song out there includes this chord progression. Of course these chords are foundational in classical music too, but it's much easier to hear the progression in pop songs because of the relative simplicity of the music.

So I found this video which displays just how prevalent this chord progression really is--the band jokes (in a live version) that you can't write a hit single without it! The progression actually contains four chords in this order: I, V, vi, IV (and I promised my student I'd explain to him what the "vi" was next week). The other three chords we'd already talked about and played together, so I thought this would be a fun way to show him how they are used in songs he's heard before. Listening to these four harmonies over and over is also good ear training for him.

Since it's pretty entertaining I thought I'd share it here on my blog today! I hope you enjoy it.

(Please ignore the one or two curse words.) 

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