Monday, November 5, 2012

The latest...

The job search continues... I'll update you on that when there's something to update. Last night, Tupua and I went to a meeting at a friend's house. It's pretty much all people in the industry, that are in situations similar to ours. They talk about what they've learned the past week, their goals, how to reach them, things they're doing, and support and encourage each other. It was actually really beautiful to see their interactions- they're all extremely positive and motivated. At the end of the meeting, they choose accountability partners. I'm in a trio with two other girls, one of whom I've never even met (she couldn't make the meeting but we called her) and it's been really great so far. Both girls have checked in with me today, to see how I'm doing, and have been so excited and happy for me and, even though I don't know them that well, I feel excited and happy for their successes too! I'm actually really confused about what I want and what my goals are/should be, so I'm focusing mostly on that this week, but it's really nice to know I'm accountable to them, and to the group. It's also really fun to do this with Tupua and know that he has positive support coming from several sources too. Change is hard, but it feels doable. I'm reminded of a quote I always loved, on my grandma's fridge: "We are a certain way by nature; we stay that way by choice."

Monday, October 15, 2012


I haven't blogged in awhile, so I figured it was about time for an update. The last month, to be quite honest, I've been in lala-land. Without going into too much detail and embarrassing him, I'll say that I've been pretty much focused on a new relationship with a pretty great guy. Things are really good with him and I feel tremendously blessed just to have him in my life. He's happy and positive and kind and works really hard at life and at making me happy, and he seems to think I can do pretty much anything. He's an exceptional person and the more I get to know him, the more amazing I think he is. Despite that, things have been rough lately. I'm still getting used to LA and my new life- the people, the area, the traffic... I miss my family and friends. I've been in two very minor accidents and, although everything is fine, dealing with the aftermath has been upsetting and, well, embarrassing. I'm also used to keeping a pretty rigorous schedule and I thrive on being busy, so it's driving me a little crazy to have so much down time. I'm working, but my job is less hours than expected, other jobs are not coming through, unexpected bills have come up, and so finances are tight and I'm worried and stressed. This is an understatement. And yet, I knew this would be hard. I knew it, and I chose to do it anyway, because I felt like it was right and I trusted that the Lord would take care of me if I did my part. I told that to Tupua the other day and he said to trust that, and not to go back on my faith now. It resonated with me, because I realized I have a tendency to leap with faith and then, as I'm floundering around in the air, to regret my decision and fear it won't work out. I know it's counter-productive, because the decision was already made, and it's pointless to worry about what-ifs. I know it's important to just move forward with faith, but that's so much easier said than done. Anyway, today, I've spent some time reading my patriarchal blessing (thanks Ang!) and reading scriptures and watching conference talks, to build myself up and motivate myself to work harder, to be more creative in finding work, and to be more spiritually in tune so can receive the guidance I need. I know things will work out somehow; they always do, when I trust the Lord. I have learned this time and time again. In the meantime, I love how clearly Dieter F. Uchdorf stated in general conference that "our circumstances do not determine our happiness". That's a powerful thought, because it makes it so that none of us are victims of circumstance, but can really choose to be happy. Plus, I do have a loving, supportive family (I include my friends in that) and the love of a really wonderful guy... and that is something to be truly, truly grateful for. =)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

House of Blues... and Blessings

Things have gradually been falling into place. I still miss my friends and family in Sac, but I've met some wonderful people here, some that already feel like they always should have been a part of my life. I remember having that feeling when I met my friend, Melba, in Boston and hers has become one of the most genuine and deep friendships I've been blessed to know. I went to my brother's wedding recently, which was SO beautiful and wonderful, but it was hard coming back. Luckily, I went out to a friend's gig that night, with some other friends and had a lovely time. I spent that Saturday at the beach and it was GORGEOUS! Sunday, I received a calling at church, to play piano for the choir. Monday, I went to a jam session with my roommate (Carolyn) and my brother and sister-in-law, James and Hina. I LOVED it- it was like stepping into the South! The music was amazing, the food was amazing, the players were amazing, and I can't wait to go back! Now, about the House of Blues: A few nights ago, I was responding to some craigslist ads and I said a silent prayer that Heavenly Father would bless and multiply any efforts I made. I know He's blessed me with a gift and I want to do what He would have me do with it, but I feel lost and intimidated and so unsure about everything. The following day, I received an email from the House of Blues, inviting me to interview/audition for some bookings there and at several other big name venues here in LA. The email said to call the booking manager to confirm, which I did, but a HUGE part of me wanted to run away. I often have that feeling, in varied extremes- when I got my scholarship to Berklee, my first day teaching, my first big solo gig, my Ella concert, and it came back in full force last night. When I have this feeling, the urge to run is so real that I start to convince myself that something bad is about to happen, that this is a warning and I should heed it. But, because of good friends and family who never fail to encourage me, and because of a deep-rooted, bigger fear of regret, I do it. And... it NEVER fails, it always turns out wonderful, just because the feeling of doing something that hard, of overcoming fears, is so powerful, it brings hope! I have decided that THAT feeling is actually the gateway to greatness, that it means we're doing something that takes courage and, because of that, it changes us a little every time, for the better. Anyway, barely hanging on to my sanity, I left for the House of Blues last night. I said a little prayer that I would find easy parking (if you know LA parking, you know that's no small feat), turned the corner to Sunset Blvd and VOILA there was one large parking spot, less than a block from the venue. Long story short, it wasn't exactly an audition- they had already heard my stuff- it was more of a meeting/interview and they're supposed to call today to book some dates. Before you get all excited, it's the Foundation Room IN the House of Blues, which is a smaller lounge. That's a relief for me- I couldn't fill the big room anyway... yet! But they said celebrities and talent agents frequent there often and bookings at their various venues will help with exposure and fan base too. This is an amazing opportunity! This brings me to my final thought for the day: As I've said before, I prayed and fasted quite a bit about this decision to move. It was difficult to leave my job, my home, and my loved ones. BUT I feel that Heavenly Father has watched over me every step of the way, sometimes when I didn't even feel it or have the faith to trust that His plan would work out. I've been trying to be diligent about daily scripture study, about serving and loving others, and about talking with my Heavenly Father daily, so I stay on track. I really believe that, whatever His plan is, it's better than mine and I know He loves me and wants me to be happy. I feel His love and blessings as I meet loving, supportive people, as I'm inspired to write new songs, and as my life unfolds before me. And I'm grateful. Which is a vast understatement. Luckily, the Lord knows my heart and can fill in where words fail. =)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Quick Update

I GOT A JOB! =) I will be teaching private piano and voice lessons at the School of Dance and Music, starting in September. SUCH a relief! Also, I attended the YSA conference this past weekend- good times and some really nice workshops, talks and discussions. Met some great people and got to catch up and spend some time with friends! Lastly, things are going better than last week (yes, I know it's only Monday). I was asked to sub at the school before I officially start work, which is a nice vote of confidence, and I feel myself starting to get more comfortable here. It's slowly starting to feel like home. Well, a type of home anyway- I think home will always be Sacramento, but Boston came to feel like home too. Still, I'm looking forward to going to Sac this weekend for my brother, James' wedding! =)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Settling In

Here's a quick update: This week has been a little rough because some of my recording equipment isn't working and things have just been stressful in general; learning the area, getting used to the people, making new friends, organizing my place, job searching/interviewing, finances... It's a lot to handle all at the same time and alone. I remember my first month in Boston; I think I cried every night and I was dealing with a lot of the same stuff. The good news is I have NOT cried every night here- success! I like to think I'm a little more mature, and it helps that I've done this before, so I know it gets better with time. I also have some awesome friends who have been there for me. Ang and Melba check in often, Felice sent a really sweet text about how I'm never alone and can call her anytime, and Tupua took care of me my first night alone here, listening to my woes and distracting me with card games. =) This past Monday, I met some nice people at an amazing FHE where we toured the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. They do, (among many other things), transportation design, so they were making car models and there was so much to learn and see. We also had a demo on Typography (see below), where this guy taught us all about the Helvetica font and its history. I promise it was so much more fascinating than I'm making it sound!
Yesterday, I had to co-teach a piano lesson and a voice lesson as part of the interview process for one of my potential jobs. I was teamed up with one of their current teachers who, by a kind twist of fate, happened to be a friend and the husband of my dear, long-time friend, Francesca. I think it went OK, but we'll see. After lessons, I went home where my roommate Carolyn and I had dinner with the sister missionaries. Today was really nice, because I got to spend the morning with Hina (my sister-in-law-to-be, if you're not familiar with her). We hiked up to the Hollywood sign (well, as close as we could get), then went to lunch at the California Chicken Cafe and stopped by Sprinkles for a cupcake out of the ATM!
Tonight, I had signed up to help set up for the BBQ my ward does every first Wednesday. It was nice setting up, but super awkward once the BBQ started. Everyone there was either prrrretty old, or married with young kids. I tried for about 15 minutes to make chit chat and introduce myself, but people didn't really know what to do with me. After the initial "Where are you from", they were at a loss, and it got to be pretty un-fun for me. So... I left and went to the beach. Overall, things are fine. Or rather, I think they will be. But if I can complain for a minute, LA and I have not grown to love each other yet. I hate the traffic- getting around here is like being in a constant obstacle course. People are really not friendly. I've been making a point of smiling and saying hello to people and I can honestly say that 99% of the time, they initially had no intention of even acknowledging me and then after I make the effort, often, they don't even respond. And if I hear one more person brag about what they've done, who they've worked with or how great they are... Anyway, like I said, I know it gets better- this is the tough part, so I'm trying to hang in there but it's pretty much the opposite of fun. Venting over now. As you were.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

New Digs

After this week, I probably won't blog more than once a week, but I reserve the right to change my mind at will. =) Here are some pics of the new place, mostly so my Mama knows I'm safe and sound! FYI, we're still settling in, so it's still in progress... HERE'S THE FRONT ROOM (YOU CAN SEE A LITTLE OF THE KITCHEN):
There's also a gym, a rooftop deck (I'll have to post some pics of that- the view is amazing), a jucuzzi on the deck (which is under construction at the moment) and... parking! Yay for parking in LA!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Introducing my NEW and IMPROVED blog!

It had to be done. I saved my old blog to pdf, deleted all the posts and redesigned the whole thing. It had been two years since my previous post, so I figured it was time! Here's the new blog, mostly so my family and friends can stay updated on my new adventures here in Southern California, without me obnoxiously updating my facebook status every two seconds. Please understand, however, that reading this blog you'll get some annoyingly happy posts about things going great and some annoyingly sad or bitter posts when things inevitably are difficult. I'm not writing this blog to brag or complain, it's just my life and I welcome you into it, if you want in. =) Here's a quick run-down of how I ended up here and how the past few months have gone: In January, several opportunities for song writing and studio singing presented themselves. Two of my songs were picked up by a publisher ("I Dreamt For You" and "The Only Safe Place"- you can check them out at and I started considering a move down south. Shortly thereafter, my work informed me they would be cutting yet another vocal class and, obviously, a large portion of my salary. This was particularly upsetting to me, since the vocal program has been extremely successful this year and they had already cut one of the classes recently. THIS IS VOCAL ENSEMBLE A'S LAST PERFORMANCE, AND THE ONE THAT WON THEM 1ST PLACE IN THEIR DIVISION AND SECOND PLACE OVERALL AT THE RENO JAZZ FESTIVAL: There were also a lot of other political goings-on at the school that I won't get into, except to say that I was tired of dealing with it and it felt as if this cut was made, partially, to force me out. I spent many tearful nights wondering what to do, constantly trying to improve the situation and still nothing seemed to get better. I felt like I was operating on two complete opposite ends of a spectrum- misery with the actual mechanics of my job, and sheer joy working with my students. They are some of the best people I know and I loved spending every day with them. (There were also several members of the staff who were loving and supportive during this time and I still treasure their friendship, despite how things ended with others.) I spent a lot of time praying, fasting and studying scriptures, weighing my options and trying to decide what the best decision would be. Ultimately, I felt at peace with the decision to leave and move to LA and moved forward with the decision. I felt a great deal of angst as I thought about leaving my students, not being there to help guide and support them, and wondering if they would feel abandoned or if they would know how much I cared about them. These things kept me up many nights and to say I worried about it is a great understatement. Still, I knew the decision was right and did my best to finish out the year as strong as possible. My students were loving and supportive and made every moment of my last semester wonderful; I was blessed to work with them. THIS IS THE SURPRISE THEY PREPARED FOR OUR LAST CONCERT: After the school year ended, I did my last gig with my band (I had already done the last gig with the Ron Davis big band the month before) and focused mostly on spending time with friends and family until I left. Angela Crown, one of my best friends and my roommate, organized a going-away party so I could say some last goodbyes and even drove the truck down and stayed a few days to help me settle in. When I got to my place, I have to say I was surprised at the area it was in; it's nicer than expected. My new roommate, Carolyn, found the place and we're right on the border of Beverly Hills. We're within walking distance from upscale shopping (waaaay too expensive for me), a very large mall, some cute little cafes and restaurants, the bus line if I decide to take public transportation, and quite a few celebrity hot spots. The weather has been GORGEOUS and there's a balcony connected to my room, the door to which I don't believe has been shut since I've arrived. This makes me very happy! As I write this, Ang is getting ready to leave and so I think this is where the test really begins. In addition to just being a great person to have around, she represents home, I guess. So far, the area is nice, Carolyn is great, and things are promising. I got to spend some time with my brother James' fiance, Hina, and saw Leah Remini. I went to church in Glendale yesterday and they gave me a calling, but I'll have to turn it down so I can attend the ward closer to me. I went to a fireside last night, and saw Nela Otuafi speak and sing. I've had one Beverly Hills nanny job interview that went well (although they told me to "dress down next time; you're pretty and we don't want the Misses thinking you're trying to steal her husband") and have a teaching interview this Wednesday. I'll be doing a recording session in mid August and have some songs in the works. Things are moving along as they should. Still, it's scary. And intimidating. And lonely. And new. Which isn't always bad; in fact it's usually good. That's my life right now- a whole lotta new.