Quarantine Books / Month 2

Quarantine Books / Month 2

I am honestly blown away with how quickly the time, days, weeks, and months are passing through this pandemic, and priorities seem to change on a daily basis. Hence, why posts haven’t necessarily been happening on this platform. But that is OKAY (at least that’s what I tell myself…)

My reading has slowed down quite a bit. I have found a new daily grind and sadly it includes way too much time on my social media apps on my phone instead of reading or creating music. I think it is that desire to connect that everyone is talking about?? That being said, posts are planned and will be posted. I hope someone will read them…

Speaking of reading? Here are the books that I delved into in the month of April 2020 AKA Month 2 of Quarantine Books.


Also read Quarantine Books (March in Books)


WE RIDE UPON STICKS by Quan Barry

Get ready for some literary gushing…This book was an absolute gem to read and I am oh-so-grateful for my bestie, Diana, and the Fantastic Stranglings Bookclub by the Jenny Lawson. I am so glad I read this when I did because I discovered that two of my Top Shelf Vocal gals were also reading it. We started our own little book club over email and it made my heart happy.

IMG_7063Overall, the vibe of the book is funny and realistic with some dark paranormal elements that may or may not be real… The reader spends an entire summer/school year with a high school field hockey team in the 80s. There is every 80s reference one could want as well as teen topics that we all have dealt with. There are hints of feminism, the importance of friendship, and what happens when teen girls grow up. Even though I suffered through high school in the 2010s, I felt that the issues and situations were still very relatable (even now in adulthood) and the jokes were genuinely funny. I was lol-ing in just about every chapter.

The writing was astounding. At first, I had a hard time following the flow. There always seemed to be a lot going on at once without much direction. It wasn’t until I had realized that the POV was not from any one character, or even as third-person, but from the team as a whole. Their entire psyche was connected and telling the story. It added to the vibe and created a seamless storyline.

The characters were the biggest gems (other than the writing). I highly related to Becca, because…the name ūüėČ and big boob probs. I had definitely worn more than one sports bra to PE and was a proud, secret, member of the BBC (Big-Boobs-Club.) I also loved and related to Julie, since I too grew up in a conservative household, and I thought her very funny. I LOVED that “The Claw” and “Splotch” were their own beings and characters and the “Philip” situation/resolution was to die for.

The setting of the Boston North Shore brought me joy since the previously mentioned bestie is from there. I fell in love with the area when I visited years ago and I miss said bestie. So it was like having her closer, especially since she gifted the book club subscription!

All this being said…I loved it and was genuinely surprised that I loved it so much. My favorite Quarantine Read so far. Boom. You go Quan Barry.

“Hit the Earth three times with your stick. Lift your eyes to the hole in the night. Remember that darkness simply requires another way of seeing. Be your own light. And just like that, you’ll find yourself everywhere and instantly.” ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†


Read I am Completely Fine…


MANSFIELD PARK by Jane Austen

An absolute classic that, surprisingly, I had never read before…

While not my most favorite Austen novel, it had all the qualities and characters that you can’t help but love in her works.

In my experience, every Austen novel is slow for the first hundred pages or so with long and expressive character development. Some necessary and some of it not. This book seemed to be extremely slow with it not capturing my excitement until the last hundred pages. The ending had the elements that I was hoping for but it seemed sudden and not satisfying. Not like P&P.

The characters were not my favorite and quite annoyed me really. The only redeeming one was Fanny Price, who may be my favorite heroine so far. I absolutely loved her and personally related to her. She had growth and thoughts that have been recorded in my little quote book.

I will say, the 1999 film rendition was absolute perfection, which I watched immediately after finishing the book. While straying from the book it still had that “Austen” essence. Fanny, in the film, was much more outgoing and outspoken. She had much more personality, which made me like her much more in general, but I was still in love with Austen’s original Fanny Price. Scenes were cut or reordered, but it allowed the flow and the themes to shine more. The humor was there and the men were oh-so-dreamy.

Overall, Mansfield Park‘s¬†storyline was very similar to P&P, in my opinion, but still worth reading. There is nothing quite like Jane Austen on a rainy day.

“Her own thoughts and reflections were habitually her best companions.”


Read To All the… (a book review and a love note)


WATER FOR ELEPHANTS by Sara Gruen

*DISCLAIMER* – My reasoning behind reading this novel was based on the fact that I adore the movie. So much so that I purchased the DVD in college, despite not owning a playing device at the time. Also, Robert Pattison is a dream and Reese Witherspoon is a queen.IMG_7133

This was a nice, blissful, read. I love romantic period/historical books and movies so I was already sold to begin with. The storyline feels complete with the characters, events, the climax, and the ending. I will say that I loved the book’s switching back and forth in time in Jacob’s POV.

Jacob, Rosie, and the minor circus characters were by far my favorites. August was an alluring but somewhat boring villain and Marlena was kinda “eh” for me. Jacob was a lovable protagonist who had growth, both in the storyline of his past and future. I especially loved his kooky, somewhat negative, but sweet older self. Rosie was just a joy and I wish she had more moments in the book.

The themes were subtle but very apparent. Animal abuse, human cruelty, human kindness, family – both by blood and chosen, sex, growing up, circus (or outsider) culture, were among the few. There wasn’t one stand-out theme overall but they did add to the story. Overall it was an enjoyable read, simple in some ways but still good. Admittedly, I still like the movie better…

“Keeping up the appearance of having all your marbles is hard work, but important.”

“Life is the most spectacular show on Earth.”


Read Thanks for the Bucketlist #2


Although sometimes I have added a pressure to “read faster” and “read more,” because of my little Bucketlist goal – Books have still been a joyous thing to have. I love stories and different worlds. And sometimes delving into a different one is quite necessary.

Go enjoy the sun, Spring/Summer seems to be coming. Read more. Call more. Write more. Listen more.

Anyways, as always…

Thanks for the adventure, (Quarantine) Books.

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Thanks COVID-19

Thanks COVID-19

I don’t know where I was going with this when I first started. I mostly needed a place to express my feelings and show others that they are not alone in their feelings. But I also wanted to share some positivity. Browsing social media, listening to podcasts, and talking to friends on the phone I am finding that majority of us are in the same place. Feeling the same feelings and having similar thoughts. We are just processing in our own ways. I really hope everyone is safe and healthy, as well as doing their part to fight this virus and protect those around them.


Today (3/12/20) was a big day for the United States concerning the Corona Virus, and with that brings lots of thoughts.

I have seen many post-apocalyptic movies and have read many books (such as The Giver by Lois Lowry¬†and Anthem¬†by Ayn Rand)…


(3/14/20) Obviously, I didn’t get all my thoughts down on paper at the moment and I’m glad I didn’t. I was full of anxiety, worry, and sadness over all of the uncertainty.

I live in Ventura County (neighboring county to Los Angeles county) and I am in LA 3-4 times a week for rehearsals and social things. Wednesday I thought we would all treat it like the “flu.” Thursday came around and I started to feel the panic myself and by evening the entire future for many people was shaken. Within one day events and rehearsals and jobs were canceled. I found myself needing to writing statements for the groups I sing in and for my online job concerning the virus. ¬†I started getting really scared and realizing that it is more than “just the flu.” I was tracking articles and browsing Facebook and getting frustrated and overwhelmed with the conflicting information, opinions, and lack of sympathy from people. It was a lot.

I want to express my thoughts in my safe little corner of the Internet because writing helps me process and feel better.

—The panic is real. While it seems a little uncalled for and extreme in some places of the country, it is ok to be worried for your family and others. That being said, it does not grant permission to be unkind and selfish. Take what you need (not more than you physically need), share with others, and connect with each other. What other time in our lifetimes has the entire world needed to ban together to support each other…oh wait we always should support each other.

—The judgment of others is not okay, and I am guilty of doing this recently myself. Someone may seem to be “over panicking.” You may see their precautions or statements online to quarantine and take the situation seriously as uncalled for because they are “young,” or “privileged” or “healthy.” The truth is you don’t know. They may be young but have a compromised immune system due to invisible chronic illness or necessary medications. They may be in daily contact with someone they care about who is compromised or in the “risk” age group. We shouldn’t have to worry about what others are thinking of us and we shouldn’t be using our energy in making those statements. And these opinions aren’t new, as accusations like this were made towards others concerning the common flu as well. Let’s respect each other.

—Check your sources. The media is a sticky place to tread through right now. Don’t rely on a shared tweet or graphic with numbers on it, but with no sources. Read the whole story/speech/statement before sharing it or using it to support your argument. Acknowledge all the information, not just the bits that make you feel justified.


(3/16/20) Now, this is turning into a journal of some sorts.

It is now day 2 of my self-quarantine/social distancing. Yesterday I finished one book and started another. I am treating today like any other day sans going out. It helps that it is raining. While it adds to the doomsday feel, it makes staying at home more cozy and justified.

Bars, Restaurants, gyms, etc. are closed in LA (except to fulfill take out orders). Still waiting on more test kits. Numbers are going to go up and I believe that it is going to get worse before it gets better.

The panic and anxiety are subsiding. I am feeling safer and a bit more motivated to take advantage of this time to better myself and my future. Whether that be mentally, physically or even financially.  The first steps have to happen somewhere and some point, and sometimes over and over again. Now is the time that I am choosing to start. (Again.)

My heart is hurting for my freelancer and artist friends who are losing their chance to share their art because of the loss of gigs or students. I feel fortunate, despite losing gigs myself. But I am sure the inability to perform and rehearse will get to me eventually.

I am worried about friends and family who live far away from me. I am worried about my friends in Salt Lake City and my family throughout the country in Washington, Utah, Texas, and Virginia.

I deleted Facebook off my phone, and it has been a lifesaver. No more stress over the misinformed and opinionated and judgment filled posts. Instead, I check it once a day and only see my friends at the top of my feed, which makes me happy. I am also spending less time on my phone. I have kept Instagram and I love it. My feed is full of positive posts, more credited information, music, singing, and books. Lots of books. I feel more able to control what I am absorbing through that app.

A friend posted this on his story and I absolutely love and agree with it:

“Have Courage and be kind. You are not privy to the details of everyone’s situation. Their pre-existing conditions, finances, their loved ones who are already affected. We are better than this. Sensitivity costs you absolutely nothing.”

So shout out to Dayne for sharing that. That has been the one thing that has really disturbed me during the past couple of weeks. The complete lack of empathy and concern for others. It makes me anxious and sad to see.

Now is the time to acknowledge the art and beauty in our lives. Listen to your favorite music, discover some new music. Look at some art and read some poetry. Humans are incredible and it is interesting that people are turning to art and artists during this time. Whether that be through their TV, books, Spotify, etc. I am loving listening to podcasts and music. I am reading more and more. But I haven’t gotten into Netflix yet. For whatever reason, within the past year, I have not enjoyed watching TV. Although I am super excited about the free Metropolitan Opera broadcasts this week…

What a crazy, crazy, time.

Thanks for the adventure, Corona Virus.

To All the… (a book review and a love note)

To All the… (a book review and a love note)

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It is the month of  #Galentines #Valentines #singlesawareness #selflove ….

Everyone is posting about self-love for themselves and appreciation posts for their loved ones. It makes my heart happy to see people so positive and bright. But I am going to be honest: I wasn’t really happy during this most recent Valentine’s and felt some bitterness and sadness. I was feeling lonely and wishing I had that special someone. I was wishing that the holiday was on a weekday instead of a Friday. I was wishing it was just a normal Friday. I was wishing that I wouldn’t feel the pressure to “love myself.”

I do want to point out that it is OK to feel this way. Don’t get me wrong, I am all about loving yourself and truly believe that it is important to love and know yourself before you bring in another person into the mix. I want to promote all of those self-positive things in the internet world but I also don’t want to just follow the crowd. I want to be genuine with what my thoughts are currently. Not with what is trending. So instead I’ll post this – a book review with some little thoughts on love.

I am always scared to post on this blog. In reality, I am scared of having this blog. Sharing thoughts and feelings is not in my nature. But for some reason, I feel that I need to. I always seek like-minded people and others who can offer insight to their experiences. So I guess that is why I am doing it.

What a time to be alive on the Internet.

Also read : The Start of the Adventure

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Last week Netflix released P.S. I love you – the highly anticipated sequel of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. So, of course, I watched it.

I have been a romantic sap since the idea of love, relationships, human connections, and boys were finally appealing (which was probably around the age of 13.) I love romcoms, old movie musicals, and classic romance novels. But YA romance has been my jam for a very long time and will probably always be my go-to.

I fell in love with the first movie a few months ago. There was a brief time period last year where I avoided any sort of romantically themed entertainment because of heartbreak and boys, but this one was the first romance-themed anything I allowed in. It was perfect. I loved the wittiness, the visuals, the acting, and of course the story.  So with the announcement of the new movie and the need for some beach reads and what I call, “bubble-gum reads,” I went to the library and checked out all three novels for my trip to Canc√ļn this past November.

TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE TRILOGY by Jenny Han

These books had all the quintessential charm that I love with YA romances – a protagonist that is witty, charming, and endearing. She doesn’t quite fit in and has quirks that I (as a female and equally quirky reader) could relate to. She is a dreamer and she is intelligent. I relate to her but also want to be her. She is real, makes mistakes, and is inspiring.  The themes of race identity, sisterhood, family, and love are all over this series. But there are also the real emotions of what it is like to experience love for the first time. There is the heartbreak, the fear and the bravery it takes to fall for someone. Even though I am a twenty-something-year-old, I have been experiencing a lot this “love” stuff for the first time in the past couple of years. So maybe it was just good universe timing to come across these books, but I found them very relatable and enjoyable despite being well past high school age. (Which you can’t say about all YA books…) Jenny Han nailed it and I want to be her best friend.

Also read : January in Books

to all the book...review-2

BOOKS OR MOVIES??

Books. Books all the way. The first movie is great and preferably better as a stand-alone film. No need for a sequel. Again it had all of the charms as the first book. But the second movie just didn’t do it for me. “But I want to know what happens, Becca!” Well… Read the books to find out what happens with our favorite Lara Jean and Peter Kavinsky is all I can say.

The sequel film was cute. It had the beauty and the things we loved about the first movie. Our favorite characters and actors could be seen in all their glory – with their desirable vintage wardrobes and perfect eyelashes. Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE these actors and have delved into the rabbit hole of endless internet interviews with them. But when it comes to the story the second movie didn’t really do it for me. Mostly because of John Ambrose’s character. In the movie, he still wasn’t even near in competition with PK. In the book though…he was winning for me. Better LJ and JA moments are all over and there is much more Stormy (whom I love dearly.) The characters are developed better (you go Jenny Han), and the turmoil of PK and LJ is more intense.

So books. Books always win.

‚ÄúLove is scary: it changes; it can go away. That’s the part of the risk. I don’t want to be scared anymore.‚ÄĚ
‚Äē Jenny Han, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before


Now for little love letters…

“To all those friends who I have loved before…

I still love you. And always will. Even if we don’t see or even speak to each other – you mean a lot to me as you have affected me and my life. My life and how I view the world has been shaped in some way by you. Thank you for sharing the time and the moments with me. Thank you for being part of the memories. Thank you for making me laugh and smile. Thank you for standing there as I cried, complained, or acted simply ridiculous. Thank you for accepting my quirks and for supporting me. Thank you for still loving me.

Love, Becca”

“To that person who means more to me than they know…

I still love you. There is so much to say, but not really the words to express it all. I have felt the entire range of emotions with you. I have felt sadness, anger, but also utter joy and giddiness with you. You are the first person who I have truly felt that desire to put your happiness first above my own. You have opened up my mind to new things and a new life.  I have felt your love. I love our memories. I love our habits and little phrases we say to each other every time we are together. I love the little things – every little hug and handhold. Now, who knows what will happen. Maybe the stars will finally align. I miss you, I am so proud of you, and I will talk to you soon.

Love, Becca”

Lastly…

“To Becca…

I still love you. Even though I will self-depreciate, criticize, and judge you I still think you are pretty great. You have accomplished so much and have legitimate dreams that are worth pursuing. You are beautiful, but it is also ok to not like what you see or how you feel. You are human. Anyways, this is a little weird but…I love you and you are worth loving.

Love, Becca”

Also read : Thoughts by a Human‚Ķ


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Thanks to love for influencing almost every part of our lives and being the one feeling that every human being can understand and can use to connect.

Thanks for the Adventure, Love.

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Thanks Twenty-Nineteen

Thanks Twenty-Nineteen

We are a few weeks into a new DECADE! Crazy. Crazy. Crazy.

Even though I am late on the “New Years” trend, I want to acknowledge how good 2019 was despite all those hard, scary, and emotional moments. I want to acknowledge how much I have learned and changed for the good! I was talking with a friend and we started discussing our last year’s resolutions and goals. I completely surprised myself. While I wasn’t completely “successful” with those pesky annual resolutions (lose weight, make more money, yadadada), but every big thing or goal that I set I achieved! Really though, ¬†2019 was oh so good. (Not like 2015. That seemed like a rough year for everyone. lol.)

Early January 2019 I officially made the decision to move from Utah to California. This was HUGE and spontaneous. Even though I said I had¬†wanted to move to sunny CA ever since middle school, but actually doing it was very different. And very scary – financially and emotionally. I really had nothing to lose and much more to gain so I told myself to not renew my lease or go searching for reasons to stay and get ready…

It was HARD. So so hard. Lots of tears were shed, panic attacks endured, promises made and broken, goodbyes said…There were many reasons I wanted to stay…BUT I DID IT!!

I learned that change and growth are inevitable. Even if you try to stop it, it still happens. But I also learned that we humans have so much power in that we can manipulate the results (to a certain extent) to be a positive experience.

Closing chapters is difficult and there will always be things that you feel like you are leaving behind. Not everything (or everyone) can come with you.

But I did it ūüôā

I made it a goal to find a job (or jobs…). And not just any job, but something I will enjoy and will push me towards a CAREER I want. Now I didn’t know what direction to go (and ¬†still don’t.) But I have explored. I’ve had the most jobs in the last six months than I have ever had…Now that sounds terrible from a professional standpoint. BUT…I found those jobs. I applied and applied and applied and managed to talk my way into some good learning and fun-filled experiences. I have also survived financially (barely) and I am proud of that.

I started a new church job – playing the piano for the choir and services at a local Methodist church. I have made connections and friends that I will probably keep for years. A door was opened into that area’s music world. And for me, every music opportunity is an opportunity for growth – as I am constantly doubting and hard on myself and my talents. Also, the church has a view of the ocean and I make sure to set aside some “beach time” every week – which is the most healing thing. The beach is my happy place.

I worked a temp job at a school photography company where I not only saw the behind-the-scenes of that kind of business but learned a lot about the local vibe from people who have lived here their whole life. I made some friends. I also quickly learned (like after the first day) that I do not enjoy desk jobs. I was only there 4 hours a day and I could barely make it through. It is not my vibe and I had to tell myself over and over again – it is OK.

I got a fully remote/online job and I love it. There is freedom and breathing room for me to do what I want and when. I feel the possibility of growth, change, and permission to set my own goals and defend my ideas within this particular business I’m working with.

I have learned I hate feeling stuck. I hate feeling tied and forced to stay somewhere because of strong commitments to something I really don’t care for (such as a mediocre job- that pays, kinda, but isn’t fulfilling.) I love feeling like I have the power to say yes or no to opportunities such as gigs or just fun vacations. I love feeling like I can make my day how I want it to be without a huge influence from a set-in-stone, every day, schedule. I love freedom.

I wanted to grow in music. I wanted to continue what I have been doing in the last decade and not become one of those who studied and dedicated their lives to something to only put money, success, and stability above it and completely change directions after school to only regret it later. Whew…

I have done so much music in 2019. Along the way, it felt like nothing. I felt like I wasn’t accomplishing much. ¬†That I was only doing the minimal amount, without much growth. I felt my failures. I self-analyzed and admittedly put myself down (as that is how I cope with trying to avoid disappointment…) But reflecting back…I sang with the Utah Symphony and Utah Opera. I auditioned and successfully joined Caroling, Top Shelf Vocal, Premiere and sang backups for artists like ROZEN. So many new things and new possibilities. I have met so many new people and new worlds/options have opened up. What a ride.

I do feel changed. A lot of personal changes (that I am not quite ready to share on the public internet haha) have occurred in the past year. The view that I have of myself has changed. How I see myself in the mirror and the future is constantly changing. I have discovered that while you may be on a path with people or forces pushing you along, ultimately it is your hard work and bravery to jump that makes it happen. I did it. I made those changes. Made the move. Went to the audition. yadadada. No one else. I am trying to embrace fear and feel like I am (somewhat/most of the time) succeeding. And I want to keep doing that in 2020.

2019 was my year of change – big and small – and I am oh so grateful for it.

Thanks for the Adventure Twenty Nineteen.

 

Thanks(giving) for the Adventure

Thanks(giving) for the Adventure

With the Thanksgiving week ending and everything quickly switching to the full Holiday season, I want to quickly share some “Thanks” on my corner of the internet.

And¬†I won’t lie but what inspired this post, besides the yearly social media posts that occur during Thanksgiving week…¬†World Kindness Day was awhile back. In memory of Mister Rogers in his adorable red cardigan, who shared the message that all deserve to be loved and all are valued, no matter our differences. I, personally, learned many subtle life lessons from Mister Rogers when I was little and I am just glad that they are still being remembered and shared.

“The greatest thing we can do¬†

is to help someone know that they are

loved and capable of loving.”

– Mister Rogers

So…

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Thanksgiving 2019… Things I am grateful for…

  • Health – my body is pretty incredible. It’s been through a lot and has some scars inside and out. There are some things that are happening that are a mystery to me, but my body is still thriving despite it.¬†Love your body – faults, quirks and all.
  • Family – family is always something to be grateful for. Whether they are blood or not, my family is the reason I keep going. There is something about a group of people loving and supporting you unconditionally. They may also bring some pain and sadness, but there is always unconditional love being spun around.
  • Friends – my friends are my family. They are everything. They are the ones who have seen me at my best and my absolute worst. I can’t think of the words of how I want to express my love for them, so this will have to do. I love you, my friends! Go find yourself a good friend, and keep them. You won’t regret it.
  • Community – there is something special about feeling like you are truly a part of something. Whether that be through music, work, religion, the internet, and so on and so on. People are amazing and we can learn so so much from each other. Please, if you are lonely, know that you deserve a community. You can find one or create one with those around you. If you have one, bring others in. We all deserve it.
  • Kindness – so little can go such a long way. One thing can inspire so much. I appreciate every little act, smile, and word given to me this past year. And in trying to share more kindness myself, I am finding that I am kinder to myself and I recognize the little moments around me. See the kindness, and add some kindness to your world around you.

¬† ¬† “There are three ways¬†to ultimate success:

The first way is to be kind.

The second way is to be kind.

The third way is to be kind.”

-Mister Rogers

  • And lastly…Adventures¬†– life, in general, is an adventure. It is why I started recording my life on this little blog and named it the way I did. I am grateful for every adventure, big or small. Adventures with my mood (because that’s real), adventures with my health, music, relationships. Adventures with exploring and traveling. There is so so much to see and experience and learn.

So… Wear a cardigan, watch some Mister Rogers, share some kindness, read some books, find the beauty, explore the world around you and…

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Thanks(giving) for the Adventure.

What It’s Like to Move to LA (pt 1)

What It’s Like to Move to LA (pt 1)

LIFE UPDATE!

It has been a full summer since I moved from Salt Lake City, UT, to the Los Angeles area. Lots has happened. Opportunities and disappointments have been abundant. Emotions have been felt ranging from utter sadness, conflicting “homesickness,” to joy, ultimate motivation and excitement. Overall this has been the best decision for me, and I feel that am in the right place.

***Disclaimer – take what you will, if you do, from my pieces of advice. These are things that I wished I believed just 3 months ago when I started this new adventure…***

So first for the most exciting parts of my new “LA life”…

Thanks for the Adventure

MUSIC

In case you were not aware, I got my undergrad degree in music. Music is my passion and I hope to make it into a full, fledged, career. I am still figuring out how I will use my passions to support my life and how I can genuinely spend all of my time doing what I love. Whether that be through performing or other avenues of work within the music and entertainment world.

I jumped into auditions the first day I “lived” here. It was a whirlwind and I had no expectations going into it, which was probably the best way to do it. I most likely a post will come of some of my unique “Becca Moments” I’ve had at some of these auditions…

After lots of driving, and searching Facebook for audition notices…I am officially a member of the¬†Christmas Matters Holiday Carolers! So get ready LA for Dicken’s-era dressed Becca to swoon you into the Christmas Spirit.

I have been dying to be back in an a cappella group again since graduating. I LOVE the genre, the people, the music, performing style, the challenge, basically everything about it. So again I jumped onto Facebook and Google and found a couple of groups auditioning…

I am officially a member of¬†Top Shelf Vocal! This group is incredible and I feel so honored to be a part of it. I LOVE the people and feel like I am finding a place in LA with them. I am overwhelmed with the talent and I feel like I am learning by simply sitting in the room with them. The music is fun and there are some exciting projects planned… So good!

Not only did I audition for one a cappella group, but another one came across my radar… I am so excited to also be a member of¬†Premiere A Cappella!! I have never been in an all female group and I’m STOKED. These ladies are incredible and sooo welcoming. They are helping me get out my shell and I love being around them. And of course singing with them. Again the music is fun and there are some cool opportunities coming….

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Official Logos of Top Shelf Vocal and Premiere A cappella – please visit their websites and socials!!

 

I also jumped back into the religious scene to find a side gig… I have just started as the piano accompanist at a local Methodist church (which just so happens to be located a couple minutes from the beach…) I really am very excited about this opportunity. I really enjoy being involved in other religious services. The music director is phenomonal and really felt like I had found a mentor and friend within moments of meeting. I am excited to have a reason to practice my piano skills again, as well as learn new ones. There may also be more excuses to put together fun recitals and sing my classical rep again!

I am so grateful that these opportunities came about fairly quickly. I am also very proud of myself for putting myself out there and taking the plunge into so many scary auditions. I feel that this is just the beginning and I am so excited to do more music and meet more like-minded people here. LA really is an amazing city for music.

***Advice – it sounds clich√© but…TAKE THE AUDITION! You just never know. Share your voice!***

JOB

The job search has been rough TBH… I had allotted myself one month originally as a “vacation” for myself ¬†– to allow a transition to happen as well as a chance to explore opportunities. I wanted to find a social group, figure out what field I wanted to explore jobs in, and figure out the lay of the land – AKA how far I was willing to commute. I wanted to explore my new city(ies) and feel that I belonged. And get all the nitty gritty stuff done like residency and such. But one month turned into three (without income) and it has been rough, but eye opening and I am very grateful for a supportive family and friends who are willing to take late night phone calls as I complain, cry, and obsessively talk about job applications.

***Advice – have multiple months worth of savings saved in your bank account. You deserve that time to become a human again after making a new change. Explore and become connected with your new surroundings. But save more than you think, no need to stress more.***

After multiple phone and in person job interviews…and companies “ghosting” said interviews I did snag a temp position at a local photography company. It’s small and part-time but I enjoy the people, the new skills, and the much needed money. I am still actively scanning Indeed.com, Google Jobs and LinkedIn as one does in this day in age.

I always heard the statement that, “Job hunting is a full time job.” I didn’t believe it, but now I do.

***Advice – it’s OK to spend hours on a computer finding a job.***

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FRIENDS

This was one of the biggest things I was worried about. I thrive around people, but I can be painfully shy and get very overwhelmed in highly social situations. I hate small talk, but want to have conversations. Social anxiety is also a very real thing.

***Advice – give yourself some credit for trying! You did it! You went to the thing! You talked to the person! You put forth effort! Even if an immediate friend¬†doesn’t result you tried.***

***Advice Рit is also OK to stay at home, when you are overwhelmed by the drive or the energy or the unknown. You know your limits.***

I have been brave and have forced myself to go to small social events through religious groups, I joined a few Facebook groups that are based locally and are specific to my interests, and the music groups I am now a part of have been a huge lifesaver. My new music fam is the source of my feelings of feeling welcome and excitement to be here.

***Advice Рit WILL happen naturally. Find the places and the things you want to invest your time in, and you will connect with like-minded people. And you will most likely have some fun while doing it.***

There have been very strong feelings of homesickness and missing my close friends in Utah. But technology and social media is amazing. I feel connected still, sometimes a little too much and needing to cut back on phone time…whoops… Phone calls are my jam! I love talking for hours, catching up, hearing their voice, and laughing.

There have also been some anxiety surrounding this – feeling worried I’m bothering people or worrying why they haven’t texted or called back or that I’m being forgotten. Normal millennial worries, right?

***Advice – don’t worry about how others are¬†thinking about you or if they’ve forgotten you, etc. Don’t torture yourself, waiting to see if they will reach out first when you just want to say “Hi!” You are thoughtful, and it is okay to text first or to call. Just how you want to know that you are being thought of, they deserve to know that you’re thinking of them. Just don’t¬†obsess, tear yourself down, and avoid your new friends in the process. True relationships will last.***

ADVENTURES

There has been some exploring, thanks to Utah friends visiting and family adventures. Some I’ve documented here such as in¬†Thanks SD. I will, hopefully be updating more! I try to spend time at the beach, at least once a week and see a different sight or building in LA everytime I’m driving through. I’ve seen most of the “Hollywood” sights, been to a Dodger game, and experienced some of the best sunsets I have ever witnessed.

Every experience whether that be a rehearsal, job interview, a new book at the beach, party, restaurants – they are all new adventures. Everything is new!

Don’t get me wrong, I am exhausted. I have a day-to-day grind and it never stops. I’m up early in the morning to late at night. I drive (a lot). The driving and traffic here is insane but a way of life. Positively, I have found some new podcasts though… I don’t have many moments to myself, but more so than I had in Utah. I am motivated to practice my music, read more, run more, absorb the sun more, and be more.

What an Adventure.

Thanks for the Adventure, LA!

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Socials!!

Top Shelf Vocal –¬†Facebook¬†and¬†Instagram

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@thanksfortheadventureblog Facebook and Instagram

Personal Instagram !!

 

Please give a follow, like, comment! I’d love to talk with you! And go have an adventure!

 

First Travel Vid!

First Travel Vid!

So I love watching travel videos/vlogs. I also discovered after my first trip to Europe I loved looking back at the videos I took. There are so many sounds and more memories that come back from them. Although, pictures are also amazing moment captors.

Every trip I’ve taken since, I have filmed moments and I have always intended to compile each trip into one, watchable, video. So here’s the first! From my most recent adventure in San Diego!

Most of the video features our adventure at WONDERSPACES. I talk about my experience, that I LOVED in a previous post linked HERE.

Take a look! And make sure to follow my socials to keep up to date of my current adventures! Enjoy!!

 

Music Credit:

Adventures by A Himitsu https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgFw… Creative Commons ‚ÄĒ Attribution 3.0 Unported‚ÄĒ CC BY 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/b… Music released by Argofox https://youtu.be/8BXNwnxaVQE Music provided by Audio Library https://youtu.be/MkNeIUgNPQ8

Socials:

Facebook

Instagram

Personal Instagram (most of my travel adventures are posted here!!!)

 

Again, Thanks for the Adventure SD!

Thanks SD

Thanks SD

This past weekend I got to escape my little life and hang out in San Diego with my sweet cousin, Lizzy! So here are some of the best moments from this past weekend…As well as places to see next time you go hangout in SD!

-The drive there and back. Yes, there was traffic. Did it take me 6 hours instead of 2 to getTaiwan there? Yes. Was it worth it? Yes! That drive is gorgeous. Seeing the ocean and open fields with open water behind it brings me sooo much peace. My anxiety goes away and overall I am so grateful I moved here, simply because I am so close to the ocean. So I highly recommend taking the I-5 or even the PCH (if you don’t mind more traffic). Preferably timed around sunset going north, and you are guaranteed gorgeous views no matter what. Then add some good music and podcasts and you are set.

-The first night there we ventured to La Jolla to see some Utah friends and to check out Opera Neo’s production of La Callisto. It was so good! Entertaining, fantastic acting, costumes and sets. The singing was incredible and the orchestra was phenomenal. *Insert more adjectives* Mostly I was in heaven seeing two of my favorites singing their faces off. I saw one of my favorite professor, got my Mason hugs that I’ve missed, and Paul kisses as well as met a few other cool singers. Check out¬†OPERA NEO¬†for incredible singing and opera if you are in the La Jolla area!

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The FANTASTIC singers, and my wonderful friends at Opera Neo!

-PACIFIC BEACH! My cousin lives right in the heart of it and she took me all around and Taiwan -2boy I’m glad she did. So much beach and sun that I was in heaven. We spent most of the day walking down the main strip (Garnet Street), eating food and checking out the little shops. I filled my book haul need at¬†PENNYWISE BOOKS, scoring some bestsellers for just a dollar each! The vibe in PB is just what you need if you’re looking for cool, beach town, vibes with a fun bar scene. I would say its a perfect spot for vacationing 20 something year olds but also very family friendly. The beach was gorgeous and the weather was perfect.

-We checked out¬†WONDERSPACES¬†-their “In Common” exhibition in downtown SD. So so so cool! Interactive art installations that involved light, sound, technology, fog, you name it. You wander at your own pace and there were employees every step of the way to explain the meanings. You could take pictures and interact with almost every piece. The theme of “In Common” was so prevalent and inspiring. I love anything that shows and reminds us that we are all human, experiencing this world at the same time. Therefore we do have the ability, and should, support and love each other no matter what. My favorites were the “Harmony of Spheres” by Foo/Skou simply because it was A cappella in an art piece and so much fun. “Confessions” by Candy Chang was incredible. In the most public spot of the entire space there were booths where you could anonymously write down a confession. They then would hang them all up for all to read. It was incredible to see how much we all have in common. So many confessions were about love, being in love, being heartbroken. Fear was common – fear to tell a close friend something or to make a change. There were funny ones, about peeing their pants or liking certain foods or TV shows. But all in all they were all human and relatable. Both the sad and joyous ones. I could’ve stood there for a hour reading each one.

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-FOOD FOOD FOOD! One of the best parts of any trip, weekend getaway, or night out is the food. To simply not have to prepare anything and the little joy of not caring about money and simply ordering something because it sounds good brings so much joy. We had SUSHI KUCHI¬†our first night. Affordable, typical, and delicious sushi in a super fun environment. My cousin told them that it was my birthday, while I was in the bathroom, simply so I could witness the incredible display of Birthday Celebration that they offer. The next morning¬†I had a sweet, little, iced Chai Latte at BIRD ROCK COFFEE¬†while waiting for our table at¬†CRUSHED¬†– which was well worth the 30 min wait. I ordered the Daddycakes which was essentially pancake tacos filled with eggs, meat, and jalepeno peppers. Just the right amount of food in a fun, weekend, brunch spot. We ate snacks and got drinks along the water in downtown, and lunch on Sunday at¬†FIREHOUSE. It’s a cool, two-story, restaurant/bar right along the beach of PB. There are relaxed sitting areas and constant water views. We had delicious Calamari with aioli and I ordered a tuna melt sided with garlic fries that was delicious. And of course snacks such as sour patch straws and chocolate bars were consumed.

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Just a blurry photo featuring delicious food and a gorgeous cousin!

-We consumed said candy while watching “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” where we laughed, cried and simply admired Leo and Brad then finished the night off by watching a Manson Family documentary. Luckily Lizzy and I share a fascination for the scary, sad, disturbing, and misunderstood topic of confusing people and moments in this world so we indulged.

Overall it was the perfect weekend full of laughs, sea air, humidity, girl talk, good food and just good moments. A weekend getaway is necessary and I will probably be making one every few weeks.

So…

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Thanks for the Adventure San Diego!

P.S. More Pictures and Videos will be on Instagram @thanksfortheadventureblog !!

Thanks for the Memories Taiwan (Part 1)

Thanks for the Memories Taiwan (Part 1)

One year ago I had the trip of a lifetime to Taiwan and China. Now this trip was different in that I was not there for pleasure, per say, nor did I really have the option of planning my days. (Which was less stressful and more exciting I will admit.)

I was there with the University of Utah Chamber Choir and our days were full of rehearsals, concerts, buses, meals and excursions planned together. There were some frustrating moments as well as some pretty incredible ones. I fell in love with the people and cultures of Taiwan and China, I was able to sing some pretty incredible music in some incredible places, and of course become more of a family with my friends and fellow choir members. All of it made this adventure special and unique and I will never forget it.

Untitled design-17.pngSince there are so many details I want to share (and document) I have split it into to two posts! Here are my first Top 5 Memories of my week in Taiwan!

 

  1. The plane ride over

Now this wasn’t exactly in Asia but it was memorable. We left Salt Lake City quite early in the morning, but all (as far as I could tell) were very excited. We boarded our second plane in Seattle and in 9ish hours was supposed to be in South Korea then onto Taiwan.

The plane was old, leg room minimal and there was a lovely piece of paper scotch taped over our air and light switches. I felt happy being sandwiched between my two best friends, John and Kyra. The other passengers were nice. We were also throughly entertained by the older man sitting across the aisle who chose to lay the airline blanket over his head, fall asleep, then lean completely sideways into the aisle. Resulting in flight attendants and strangers having to gently push him upright to pass, after which he would quickly lean over again. Snoring away.

3 1/2 hours in, the already dimmed lights suddenly turned off. An announcement was being said over the speaker but it was quiet and so broken up that no one could understand what was happening. Another announcement came on, clearer this time, saying something about “broken piece,” “cold weather,” and “turning back.” We watched the map with the slowly moving aircraft change to show a u-turn in the middle of the ocean. 3 hours later we were back in Seattle, sitting in groups by the gate.

We spent the next couple of hours watching videos, swapping snacks provided by the airline, and wandering the nearby gates. We re-boarded onto the same plane and watched movies, talked, and played trivia games on the somewhat working screens. A total of 18 hours later from takeoff the first time in Seattle, we finally arrived in Seoul barely missing our next flight. We ended up spending the “night” there, and back on a plane within a few hours. Once in Taiwan we took a 4 hour bus ride to Kaohsiung. As our director ¬†(if I remember correctly) at one point said, “I feel that we’re just going and going and going and not getting anywhere.”

Taiwan airplane progression

 2. Transport

Not only did we travel on planes, but also on buses, subways, and speed trains. I have to give a shoutout to Korean Air for possibly the best air travel experience ever with a spacious plane, kind and thoughtful attendants, and interesting but delicious food.

Buses were our main form of transportation. Whether it be across the country, meals, rehearsals, concerts, or a museum. Every bus was unique with decor. One bus was a sea foam green with white tassels hanging from the windows. Another was dark blue with 90s patterned seats and strobing colored LEDs. All felt like they could be a room in my Grandmother’s house. Without fail on every bus ride I was sandwiched in the back between John and Kyra with Julia added. I loved it.

Untitled design-7.pngThe Subways in Taiwan were unbelievably clean. Our first experience on the subway was in Kaohsiung at a station near our hotel. It was massive with a center that had shops and a gorgeous, colored glass roof. On one of the sides was a white, baby grand, piano which our pianist took the initiative to cross the rope barriers and start playing. Since the room was very live, choir members where able to hear from all ends of the center and slowly gathered back as they heard one of our songs and we sang “Oh Danny Boy” for anyone who walked by

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We took the Speed Train, that travels at approximately 180 mph, across the country from Kaohsiung to Taipei. It involved a chaotic, but somehow still organized trek from subway to subway trailing our bags with us. Yu-Feung (one of the choral conductor TAs, a Taiwan native, and wonderful human being) led the large 40 person group of Americans, like little ducks through crowds and checkpoints to the train in a record amount of time. The train itself was spacious and very quiet. Multiple times we were reminded of the quiet culture that the Taiwanese have, and frankly I quite liked it. We ate little bento boxes with a delicious flan like dessert. All provided for by Yu-Feung. We were able to see the green countryside, and cities here and there in record time. All while being sandwiched between John and Kyra, reading my book.

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3.Hotels

The hotels in themselves were an experience. I had no idea what to expect including what level of comfort, safety, and just general expectations. Each one was unique and overall memorable.

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Our first hotel was a Grand Hyatt actually in Korea, during our short overnight “layover.” We probably all slept a total of 2-3 hours after spending a good couple of hours in the vast, marble covered lobby. The rooms were very nice, clean, and American. But the BEST part was the breakfast. In their sleek restaurant building, across a bridge, with beautiful and kind Korean waiters and waitresses wandering around. I’ll describe the food more later…

The hotel in Kaohsiung was an adventure. There was a small lobby, completely open to the air and sounds outside with a wall made of looney tunes cardboard boxes (??). There was a karaoke bar next door, and men always hanging around. There was a row of elevators outside, but it seemed only one worked at a time. The elevator was small and each wall had large¬†“advertisements” of women. It sometimes opened randomly to the “5th Floor,” that was dark and completely gutted out. Very spooky, and as the door buttons didn’t work you would be stuck staring into the great abyss. The doors would close with force at any point, no matter if there was a human or suitcase in the way. We quickly learned why there were advertisements, as the “7th and 8th Floor” was a “business” in which we were not allowed to enter. It had a club like feel, with beautiful attendants who would look at us apologetically as a large group of drunk men would squeeze inside the small elevator, already filled with American choir singers.

The room was spacious, clean by my expectations, the beds were firm and the bathroom had a “fancy” toilet with additional buttons. The walls were brown with grey floral accent walls. It was also very hot and humid, even in the rooms, which made putting on makeup difficult but our room had a spectacular view.

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Our Taipei Hotel was in the army district of the city, near the President’s palace, called the Taipei Hero House. There was a spacious lobby with a 7/11 and massage chairs. The breakfast room was large and everything was in Chinese and every guest and employee only spoke Chinese. The rooms were standard with firm beds and green walls. There were plastic sandals outside of the shower. Outside the window was a small alley and we could see right into the windows of the next door apartments, giving a glimpse into city life in Taipei.

4. Night Markets!

NIGHT MARKETS! One of the best things about Taiwan was exploring the night markets. They are like American Farmers Markets but better. Full of sounds, people, wonderful and questioning smells. We went to two markets, one in Kaohsiung our first night there (hello jet lag…) and one in Taipei.

In Kaohsiung we were separated into small groups and led by local students around the market. Ours was shyer, but was more than willing to answer questions as we walked through the city. As well as eat any foods we didn’t like and recommend typical snacks and foods. The market was smaller, one long street, but there was so much to see. We tried a fruity milk tea and “stinky tofu” (it lives up to its name), delicious pieces of meat and fresh fruit. Despite being hot and extremely tired it was probably the best way to spend our first night there.

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The market in Taipei was incredible. It was this large and vast market that covered blocks of city and many little alley ways. Again, we were led by a local student and friend of Yu-Feung’s. Super kind, smart, and funny. He also ate any foods we didn’t like, made sure we saw what we wanted to see and try, recommended local favorites, and explained college life within the city. There was a temple in the middle of the market with neon lights around it, which we went inside to explore. This market had not just food, but clothe shops, toys, electronics, raw foods as well as cooked foods, desserts…anything you could think of. We went through the fish market, ate delicious candies, desserts, meat, fruits, etc. I hadn’t felt the extreme jet lag until this night. I felt that I couldn’t stand upright or focus, but it was memorable all the same.

5. Food

Untitled design-11.pngOne of my favorite parts of traveling is food. It is worth the money, and pounds, to try anything and everything (to a certain extent.) I was excited to try food in Asia as it can be so different from the US and Europe.

The breakfast in Korea was phenomenal. With chefs preparing omelets, colorful dim sum, noodles, meat, there was fruit everywhere and a whole station of beautiful bakery bread.

 

For meals we had anything from pasta and rose tea to fast food dim sum and steamed hot pot photobuns (which was incredibly delicious.) We had bento boxes full of noodles, vegetables, and a choice of meat. KFC is a gourmet unique experience in Asia, with their different breading and spices. We had many different types of barbecued meats. Some fish. We went to a Japanese Hot Pot restaurant, which quickly became everybody’s favorite. An experience that included individual hot pots which you fill with broth then cook your own choice of meats, vegetables, noodles, and sauces.

The mango. How much could I talk about Mangoes in Taipei. I dream about a mango shaved ice with fresh fruit on top that I shared with Kyra. We even bought a second one we loved it so much. We tried a variety of fruits like dragon fruit, pineapple, and an unique type of apple. There was candied strawberries on a skewer. Warm, fresh, strawberries covered in a sugar coating that crunched and stuck to your lips when you took a bite off it.

Boba tea and milk teas are delicious! Sweet, yet still bitter, and creamy from the milk. There were fruit milk teas, aloe milk teas, etc. Snack wise we tried lots of different types of crackers, cookies with sweet bean fillings, chocolates, candies, and sodas.

Desserts are my favorite no matter what country I am in. Our friend in Taipei took us to a shaved ice parlor where he ordered ice topped with passion fruit and one with beans and sweet and condensed milk. We all tried the beans once, but he finished it thankfully. The passion fruit was incredible and refreshing.

Beans were everywhere. On our flight to Taiwan we were served this jello/greek yogurt type substance that had a packet of soy sauce alongside. Bean curd. Very salty and slimy.

I loved (although most did not like) a popular dessert at the night market: which was sherbet ice-cream with fresh basil and peanut brittle all wrapped in something I would relate to a French crepe.

I wish I remembered more about the food, but it was a ride to simply eat what was given to the entire choir. Don’t worry Taiwan, I’ll come back for your food and overall hospitality.

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Like I said this trip was unbelievable and I am determined to go back at some point in my life. The culture, the food, the history, and the people were unimaginably wonderful. These memories were unforgettable, hence the being able to write about them a year later, and I hope to never forget them.

I want to thank the donors who support the University of Utah’s College of Music and the Choral Department. As well as Chamber Choir. Every person and singer in that choir made it possible, especially our director Dr. Bradford. And shoutout to Yu-Feung! The NTU chorus as well as other university choruses who fundraised and welcomed us deserve all the love and gratitude.

Check out the UofU Choral Department HERE, the UofU Choir Facebook HERE,  as well as the Youtube page for some of our performances in Taipei HERE!

Make sure to check out the Instagram @thanksfortheadventureblog and my own personal Insta @beccaanneclarke for more photos and stories!

 

And…

Thanks for the Adventure Taiwan!!

Part 2 coming SOOOOON!!

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