Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Concert time!!

I have a huge concert to play tonight!

I play with a contemporary classical music ensemble here in town and we perform local composers' works, many of who have or are getting their doctorate degrees in composition. The ensemble is of standard instrumentation: violin (I'm their core violinist and we hire others [and viola] in as needed), cello, piano, percussion, flute, oboe and bassoon. If we need horn or anything else, we also hire them in. We have been fortunate to be supported by many different grants, thus enabling us to be a truly professional group. I enjoy playing with them because of the huge diversity of the pieces I get to play. Some of the compositions are very tonal, some are quite the opposite. They range in instrumentation from violin/piano duet to full ensemble, plus every interesting instrumental combination you could think of. Tonight I'm playing one piece for string quartet plus oboe and bassoon. Another piece on tonight's program is for horn, violin, flute, cello, piano and percussion. They definitely stay fresh and interesting with the variety.

Anyway, I'm not really that nervous about it, but I am a little nervous I will have 3 friends (including one of my adult students there!) in the audience and the two non-student friends are both male--who might or might not happen to both be interested in me--and they have both only heard me play non-classical shows before. So I'm hoping things go really well tonight!

I'm going to squeeze a workout in then come home, shower, practice/warm up for a bit before our 5pm call time for an 8pm concert. There will definitely be packed snacks, as I never know if we'll actually get a dinner break.

I changed it up for breakfast with cereal today. I found this new cereal at Big Lots yesterday. It was $3 for a huge, 2-bag box!! It is DELICIOUS and the nutrition facts are pretty good.

(Nutritional information about the cereal here.)
They aren't kidding about the Fruit and Nut Pieces; I was THRILLED to find pieces of dates, freeze-dried strawberries, walnuts, almonds, and probably some other stuff. It's fairly sweet but has only 9 grams of sugar per serving. That's still more than my normal cereals, but I mixed it with this:

Then I topped my bowl with fresh strawberries, skim milk and spoon of PB:

With coffee:


So I mentioned my Big Lots shop. It's a cool store because of how cheap everything is. I got these:

and:

I know the South Beach stuff and the energy drink are full of fake chemicals and stuff. But I like them, and the water will be great as it's getting warmer and I don't always drink as much plain water as I should. Plus, they're great to throw in my purse.

But I'm most excited about these:



The only ingredient is Almonds, and it was just $3 for this carton. :)

I'm also excited about the Split Pea soup, which I've seen on other bloggers' sites, as well and the Peak Protein granola which I've wanted to try for a long time now, but never gotten the chance.

Well, I forgot to post pictures from the Josh Ritter concert the other day, so here you go:



Gorgeous! Absolutely beautiful!



His smile KILLS me!! Augh!!!!!



What a great concert!! He has the best stage presence I've ever seen! It's remarkable!

Well, I'm off to do a bunch of stuff before my concert tonight. Have a great day!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Slightly stressed

Sorry to be such a downer this morning, but I have a fairly big problem on my hands. Basically, a wedding client canceled a check he wrote to me because he claims that I was paid for overtime when we weren't kept overtime (we were in fact kept late and even verbally confirmed that it would be OK to receive the overtime pay THAT IS SPECIFIED IN THE CONTRACT HE SIGNED!) So now, I've paid the people that played with me (and I'm not going to drag them into this), and unless I receive the outstanding portion of the event fee, I essentially don't get paid. Additionally, he sent me a *very* nasty e-mail in return to the professional e-mail I sent him regarding the bounced check notification I had received from my bank. (At first I thought it was for insufficient funds, but he said he canceled it). I think I am have to take this to small claims court, because in addition to the money, his e-mail was threatening slander and warned me that he would do the horrible things he said if I try to contact him by phone or e-mail AT ALL, so there's no way that I can even contact him to try and sort this out.
DOES ANYONE KNOW ABOUT HOW TO GO TO SMALL CLAIMS COURT?
I'm just a young, probably naive, woman in my early 20s and I'm a little scared to go. But, I KNOW I'm in the right here, I HAVE a signed contract clearly laying out the terms for overtime payment, and I am not OK with the e-mail I received from him. I would like to pursue this further.

OK, thanks for listening, and I don't blame you if you skipped that. This is unquestionably the most scary thing I've ever had to deal with in my professional career thus far. I simply want to provide music to clients to make their special event happier and to make it easy on them. I want to be the best musician I can be, and the most friendly and professional person to work with. I want to make the world a better place with my music. But sometimes its so hard when things like this happen. Because at the same time, I do love to play music, and I feel very fortunate indeed to be able to do something I love for my career, but I also have to pay rent! Reality hits hard and it hits fast, and life is full of really expensive bills. People would never hire a plumber or a lawyer for something and then say "oh but didn't you have fun doing it, so do I have to pay you?" but that is frequently the attitude I encounter in music. I didn't spend 5 hours a day of my childhood practicing in order to only play as a volunteer. (I'm not talking about fundraisers, religious events that I support, and other such things--I still volunteer my time to things that are important to me--I don't want you to think that I'm only in this for the money, because I'm not!)

OK, really now, I'm moving on to...food, of course! :)

Breakfast this morning:

1/2 C oats (I always cook them in water)
1/3 C pumpkin
1/3 of Raw Foods & Whey bar (this is much better in oatmeal than plain!)

1 fig (which I took a picture of it because I thought it was beautiful. I see beauty in seemingly inane things)

1/2 C skim cottage cheese
1 TB PB from this new jar:


Altogether with coffee:



Close up:



Be sure to check out Simply Fabulous' giveaway for "Fit From Within" (which I'd love to read!) plus a yummy-looking carob bar.

Blue Sky World is giving away some bottles of herbs from HerbaSway.

I've got a lot to do today:

-Type up two different gig contracts and mail them.
-Pay rent!
-Gym (I hope I have time!)
-Teach from 3:30-9:00pm

I went to a Josh Ritter concert yesterday night and it was AMAZING! He is SOOOO cute! And great music! OMG, I'm drooling! Oops! I LOVED the concert and I'm rocking out to his music right now, while blogging and while doing the contracts here shortly. Anyone else a Josh Ritter fan? Who are your favorite artists? Any recommendations?

Have a great day!

Gourmet 4 course meal for one!

I had an incredibly busy weekend:
  • an out-of-town show (5 hour drive each way). It went really well. We sold several CDs and had a great response! :)
  • drove half way home and spent the night
  • drove all the way home in the early morning
  • got gas (yay!)
  • 3 hour recording session with a rock band backed by string quartet (drove straight to the studio, but ended up being there about 30 minutes early, which was OK. I paid my cell phone bill and did a couple other work related things in my car.)
  • drove home, taught a violin lesson
  • went to the gym for a super quick 20 minute run--I felt so much better after this!
  • came home, showered (for the first time today--eww!)
  • Josh Ritter concert in town!
I got some great foodie pictures of this weekend, which was surprising because I was with my band and I didn't expect to be able to get pictures. However, the room/venue was pretty empty when I was eating and my band mates went next door to another restaurant. So after a 5+ hour drive, and the sound check, I was excited to order. I swear, it was the most delicious 4 course solo-dining meal!

I started with this skim milk, sugar free caramel latte: (it was free to the band members, plus I got 25% off my order, which is definitely a perk of playing so many shows. I get to try delicious food at almost every venue we play at! And many times, it's completely free!)



Then they brought me some sort of grainy bread (with butter, but I don't like butter and never use it!):



And this delicious salad with a house made miso dressing. Probably not lowfat, but I only had a little of it and it was delicious:



And finally my meal, which was incredible and I'm glad I ordered it, but originally I ordered it because it was the only meatless item on the menu. I had butternut squash ravioli in a white wine cream sauce:



AMAZING! I can't say enough about it! Heavenly! This whole meal only cost me $15 including tip. Yeah, awesome! :)

We got home around 2am and I slept from 2:30 until 8:30am. I was starving upon waking (Oh, forgot to say that I had a chocolate chip walnut cookie that they sent with us (free!) in the car on the way home!) so in the morning I had this protein bar:


And a bit later this:


Then I stopped for gas and bought a large (unpictured) coffee, a cheese sandwich

and a large thing of Chex mix. OK, I know that Chex mix isn't exactly healthy, but I really like it, especially the cheddar flavored one that I bought! As far as junk food goes, I could do a lot worse. It has SOME whole grains, and is low-ish in fat. I KNOW it's not healthy, I'm just trying to justify it. What are your favorite totally NOT HEALTHY snacks/treats?


I also had a bagel at the recording session.

I started this book on the trip yesterday:



It's really good. It is a super fast read, but also incredibly interesting. Seth Godin's premise is that people are almost looking to be brought together into what he terms "Tribes" and that *we* need to be the leaders. It made me smile to think of the food blog world: like-minded people getting together and following "leaders" (hello, KathEats anyone? Hers was the first blog I read and I still look up to her so much!) Basically he talks about how we can find something we are passionate about and lead the followers, without mandating or dictating. And that will lead to more effective results, because we are motivated to do it. Whether it's people who love their iPhones, or people who enjoy racquetball, or people who like working on their cars. All of these targets could potentially form a "tribe" that could collaborate and communicate within itself as a group. I'd definitely recommend this book; 4 out of 5 stars. :)

Then way late tonight I went out for a beer with friends. I also had some French fries. I obviously don't eat healthy stuff 100% of the time. I thinkI crave veggies often enough, and I know that I have gotten better about balanced eating, without obsessing over healthy food as I have done in the past. I'm really OK with it. I even had a FiberPlus bar plus some wine here at home tonight. It was good and I was hungry. So now I'm getting tired so I'll leave you with one giveaway to enter:

Strawberry Shortstuff is having a giveaway to celebrate her (approximately) 100th post.

Goodnight. My eyes are literally closing as I type! See you in the morning for breakfast!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Oh no, no oats!

That's right; I woke up not wanting oats. I wandered into the kitchen, turned the coffee pot on and ate a carrot

before before deciding to make a breakfast wrap:

1 ww tortilla from TJ
1 whole egg, one eggwhite, scrambled
.75 oz of lf cheese (all I had left!)
large portion of mixed sauteed kale, onion, and mushrooms.
(Here is the pan of veggies I made this morning:)

I put the eggs, then the veggies on the tortilla and topped it with salsa:

I gotta be honest, this is not my favorite salsa and I generally love all foods. I chose it at WF because it looked really good and had good nutritionals (not too much sodium, etc) but there's a weird aftertaste that reminds me of soap. Yes, soap. I don't know if it's supposed to be one of the three kinds of peppers or what. It's just not that good. Which is a shame because I had high hopes for it. I'd have to give it a 2 out of 5 stars for taste if I were offically reviewing it. I want to try the other flavors in the 365 brand because I'm sure they're better. If WF wants to send me them (or anything really) to try and review, I'd be happy to do so. OK, so that wasn't very subtle. Oops; sorry.


Up close and personal:



But anyway, I'm still eating said salsa because I hate wasting food. So I topped my wrap and it actually turned out pretty well:


I think I was craving something with veggies because I never know if I'll get any veggies on the road (for band shows). One time I had to survive several meals on a couple of Clif bars, plain (non-healthy) chocolate (free samples at a conference) and a few slices of pizza. It sounds great until you actually DO IT, especially when we all normally eat a lot healther stuff and our bodies aren't used to huge amounts of chocolate and grease. But back to breakfast...

I finished with a banana. Yum!



On a gym note, check out this impressive bruise on my knee from racquetball:



I didn't get a workout in yesterday and it's not going to happen today either. Hopefully I will be able to sqeeze one in between teaching and going to a concert tomorrow when I return from playing today's show.

Have a great weekend everyone!

P.S. I just ate a chocolate Vita-top too because I was craving chocolate. :)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Life continues despite frustrations

So in the past week, BOTH my credit cards managed to send me letters saying that they "may have been compromised by a third party" and they needed to send me new cards. I appreciate this, but it's annoying to have to change all the things that are billed to me automatically. Additionally, I had changed mine for my gym, but somehow they didn't get the memo (despite the fact that I went in and did it in person! Maybe they entered the number wrong?) so I got a bill for a $25.00 fee! What?! And to top things off, I got a notice from my bank saying that a check from a wedding client had bounced, so I had to send him-the client- a (very nice!) e-mail explaining this and scanned in the copy of the bank notice. Just so frustrating!

And now, since I believe in CHOOSING to be happy, I am making a list of the good things that happened today. I am FORCING myself to notice and appreciate them:

  • Good food! A nice balance of healthy and delicious! (pictures posted below)
  • A break from the gym (my gym time was taken by the frustrations listed above, but at least my body got a break)
  • I got to sleep in
  • I got my oil changed and there was barely any waiting involved
  • I'm going to a fantastic concert by my friends tonight
  • I got to talk to my mom!! Both on-line and on the phone. She lives on the West Coast and I moved here 3 years ago. I miss her so much and as much as I feel "grown up" most of the time, sometimes it's just nice to talk to my mommy! I really only talk to her once a week or so.
I snacked all afternoon because I was home almost the whole time and I've always been more of a grazer. I rarely (never?) eat (only) three meals in a day, so I don't bother to make any of the snacks very big. Eh, it works for me. (OK, today involved a little stress eating, but that's life; it happens. Notice how not concerned I am).

My new favorite snack: brussel sprouts in hummus! So good! Yes, I ate this whole container of brussel sprouts and finished the hummus, but there wasn't very much left.


I found these bagels in Nashville, when we were recording. They were on sale for $.99! So I bought a pack and threw it into my luggage to bring home! The nutritionals are amazing!

100 calories, 15 grams of fiber, 1 gram of fat, 9 grams of protein, 3 grams of sugar (even this raisin flavor with real raisins!) whole grains, vitamins and minerals. Plus they taste amazing and they are super soft! Great texture, just really great overall! I would have to give them 10 our of 10 stars as a rating! I am SOOOO sad that they don't have them up here by me! That is the good thing about being a touring artist--you get to eat fun local stuff all the time! :)


I topped mine with banana flavored PB and fresh strawberries and it was quite amazing!


I had this champagne mango that I was too lazy to cut up, so I peeled it and ate it straight out of hand. Psshh--you've never done something like that? ;-)

And I ate this chocolate fiber bar. Hmm, craving choclate much?

And there have been plenty of other snacks! It happens when I'm at home all day. I'm OK with it.
-apple
-a couple spoons of PB
-a tiny bit of dark chocolate
-the leftover piece of that cinnamon roll I posted about earlier this week

My body and I are Cool with it. :)

Meloncauliflower is giving away a variety of goodies.

I'm not sure if I'll be able to post again until Monday morning, so please don't give up my blog yet! :)

Sleep is good!

I managed to turn off my alarm clocks and wake up shortly before 11am. Luckily I didn't have to be anywhere this morning, although I am really good about getting up if I do have something to do. Plus, this weekend isn't going to involve a lot of sleeping, so I just appreciated it. I have a huge to do list to get done, but my whole day was (surprisingly!) free, so here's the afternoon agenda:
  • oil change (driving 2 hours north tomorrow and home of Sunday morning)
  • gym
  • laundry
  • pack for our out-of-town show on Saturday evening. It's about 5 hours away from me, and I'll be carpooling with the other guys for most of the way. It's our first show in a while, but it's leading into a very busy season for us (our CD release is in 2 weeks! plus a bunch of other shows) so I'm excited!
  • file papers that have been sitting on my floor for MONTHS
  • this might involve purchasing a new file folder since mine is almost full
  • on-line banking
  • pickup music from a friend for the recording session we're doing on Sunday (RIGHT after I get back into town!)
Hopefully I'll get it all done before I catch a live show tonight of an amazing group of musicians, who also happen to be my friends. :)

Breakfast was:

1/2 C oats
1/3 C pumpkin
1 tsp ground flax
6 fresh strawberries (I am HIGHLY creative!)
1 fig (I microwave it in water to soften it up! It's much better this way!)
1 TBSP or so of trail mix, mostly sunflower and pumpkin seeds

1/2 Cottage cheese
1 TBSP PB

I finished the jar! I feel like a "real" food blogger now, since I'm posting pictures of my empty jar.

All gone!

I might have also had another 2 small spoonfuls of PB. Oops.

This is the chocolate PB Loco one.

Some random snacks from yesterday:


No explanation needed. :)

I think this is my favorite flavor of Vitatop.

My leftover whole grain baguette from Panera Bread. Eaten on the way to rehearsal yesterday night. I also had a Light and Fit yogurt at home, but no picture because the roommate was around.

Giveaways:

Nikes and Ponytails (cute name!) is giving away so many awesome foodie finds! Ends Wednesday.

Jumbo Empanadas is giving away a VITAMIX blender. I NEED one of these, so please don't actually enter. :) Ends tonight.

Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I will get stronger!

I have been enjoying large amounts of exercise! Today I went to the gym with a friend for strength training (arms and abs) for about 45 minutes and I played racquetball with another friend right afterwords for 1 hour and 20 minutes. So obviously I needed a lot of fuel.

Breakfast (similar to yesterday):

1/2 C oats
1/3 C pumpkin
fresh strawberries
1/3 C ff cottage cheese

Obviously I needed some fat too, and it didn't get pictured, but I had a (large) TBSP of PB on a banana while making the oats. And coffee of course.

After the first workout I got Starbucks with my friend and had a small apple.

My drink of choice: a venti black coffee with a little skim and sweetener.

Excuse the photo quality. I might have been driving while I snapped it. Kids, don't try this at home.

After racquetball, we stopped at Panera for lunch. I didn't get a picture because I haven't told any of my friends about the blog. I had their veggie sandwich. I like it, but I really want to be able to order my beloved Apple Chicken Salad again, after Meatless in March is over. I got a whole grain baguette on the side which was saved to be eaten either tonight or tomorrow. I love their whole grain bread, and also asked them to make my sandwhich on it, instead of whatever white bread it comes on. Panera's website says the sandwich had 610 calories, which I really don't understand because all that's on it is some hummus (not THAT much), veggies, and just a little feta cheese. Maybe slightly fewer calories on WG bread. I'm not too concerned but I just really think that is high. I also had a slice of their tomato basil bread that was being sampled. Delicious!

And I made a quick Whole Foods stop on the way home:



-Food Should Taste Good chips (they had a sample of these andI've seen them around Blogland)

-Clif Z bars (of which one has already been eaten!)

-a Raw Whey protein bar. I've seen this on Jenna's blog. I can't wait to try it.

-skim milk
-Greens and whey protein drink. I just wanted to try it and it was only $1.59. Somehow it escaped the big picture of everything.

-strawberries (my 3rd carton in about a week. Shout out to Emily! :)
-a champagne mango ($1...and I want to try this!)
-a grapefruit (also on sale for $1)

-a sweet potato
-treated myself to a small amount of the hot foods bar because I knew I needed more protein after my lunch. So I got 2 different kinds of tofu:

The triangles with peppers are in a sweet and sour sauce and the cubes are coconut lime I think. I ate them when I got home (my muscles are thanking me!) and preferred the sweet and sour ones. But I ate it all. Yum!

I feel like I ate too much, but I'm really not all that full, so I'm just going to roll with it. Off to shower, practice for an hour then teach for an hour, grab some more to eat (most likely) and rehearse for 3 hours tonight.

Tina is having a PURE bar giveaway. These are great oatmeal toppers and I have only recently had my first one ever!

Hope everyone is having a great Thursday! And I hope it's less rainy and warmer by you than by me!