By kiyomi on Tue, 23 Sep 2014
summer is officially over now and as i look back on it, i can’t help but feel awed at life’s beauty, and all the pretty things that make it that way. of course there were hardships during the summer - a couple fights with loved ones, dealing with most of my family going through some transitions and more, but somehow i can look back and really only remember the roses and sparkles plus, i’ve learned what i need to learn from all this, which is the point isn’t it? and i stand here with a smile on my face and an excitement to continue on on my dream journey!
well first off, there was so much music! i went to a few concerts including Sarah McLachlan, Sara Bareilles, and my fellow musician Johnny Marnell’s band “Poppy’s Suitcase”! it was so amazing to be around so much music, i felt at home and so happy. it filled me with inspiration and sunshine, reminded me of why i’m a musician, and it tapped into the deepest part of me that loves music so crazy much. and as i wrote in my previous blog, My Auspicious End to August, a cover song i recorded at home was chosen to air on Women of Substance Radio! with all of this music in my life, it was like i could breathe again.
i also wrote a blog/book review for Francesca Lia Block’s newest book, “Beyond the Pale Motel”, and got the highest number of hits on my website i’ve ever gotten in a day! and i was beyond honored to be asked to read and write for her! On My Love Affair with Books
i was also able to spend a lot of time in my favorite places, NYC, Woodstock, and the beach! one of my days in NYC, i wrote about in Summer Magic in New York City. and throughout the summer, i also hung out with Joseph trying the best ramen i’ve had yet at Momofuku Noodle Bar, shopping, and strolling around the streets of NYC taking in all the excitement and just feeling so happy just BEING there. i also hiked several times on beautiful trails, including in the beautiful Catskills with Joseph, and also with my favorite twin boy nephews we all also went to the beach on the Jersey Shore, after visiting my brother’s bubble tea shop at Rutger’s University. if you’re ever in the area, go visit him, he’s the good looking guy named Tomo!!
on top of getting to spend a lot of time with my family and nephews, i also was lucky to have quality time with my friends (and their ADORABLE kids) Mary, Stacy, and Amber! i am a lucky lady to have so many wonderful people in my life!
i also fell in love with cooking (and eating) an Indian masala curry dish with roasted chickpeas! i’ve always loved indian food, but to be able to make it now feels amazing and my new pair of Stuart Weitzman sandals are to die for, as well as my new everyday lip moisturizer/gloss obsession - Sugar Rose Shine Lip Treatment, by Fresh!
BUT… i have saved the BEST for last - just very recently this month, my family was so VERY overjoyed to welcome into our family a new baby, my new nephew Cody!! he is the sunshine of our lives and is the cutest little jellybean ever. he makes whoever is holding him, smile, no matter what
so this is my glorious summer recap! and somehow, when i list everything out that happened that made me glow inside, it seems even more wonderful. and i end up thinking that yes, life can be hard, but really, can life really get any better?
By kiyomi on Mon, 15 Sep 2014
i’d known that the last 10 days or so of august could be auspicious for me, through astrology. of course i have that part in me that doesn’t want to hope for much for fear of disappointment. but i’ve learned better and better to just do things without being so tied to the result, to not have expectations. and it turned out to be quite wonderful, actually, i still glow inside when i think about it! of course it also makes me happy since it involved 2 things i love, music and writing.
ever since i finished my album, i knew i couldn’t just keep pumping new ones out using the same method, because financially it just didn’t make sense. so that had put a damper on my spirits ever since. joseph and i did buy ProTools a while back which is what the studios i recorded at used for my album, but it had been collecting dust in our living room. honestly, i was hesitant and scared to even try recording with it because the perfectionist in me was worried i’d be disappointed and frustrated by what we might produce from it as amateur users, so i never even started. but when i heard that Women of Substance Radio was looking for covers to play on their station, i thought, why not? i’ll just give it a try, and if it doesn’t work out, oh well.
i chose to do “Fields of Gold”, because i had the arrangement perfected since i’d just recently produced and performed it with the choral group i teach. so i literally only had to worry about recording it! joseph and i literally used every spare moment we had for about 3 days, recording. i practiced and warmed up while he used his techie smarts to figure out how to lay it all down. and it turned out better than i thought it would! even though we don’t have a top notch mic or keyboard (or anything, for that matter!), and joseph was literally just figuring how to work it all then and there, and we don’t have fancy plug-ins like auto-tune and special sound effects, it turned out wonderful. but i guess in general i like to record as organic as possible, anyway!
we finished it just in time for the submission deadline, but i was happy whether it got chosen or not. just creating made me feel so much fulfillment and bursting happiness. and a week or so later, i got confirmation that it was selected to air, with an email from Bree Noble who runs the station, saying i did a great job considering i’d done it at home!
so if you want to hear it, the show will air EVERY DAY at 8 PM ET (5 PM PT) for two weeks, September 15-28, (click banner below), and either request my song by clicking the song request button on top, or wait for it to come on and give me a thumbs up, if you like it!
of course my writing (and reading!) cravings were filled too, when i was able to read an advance copy of Francesca Lia Block’s new book "Beyond the Pale Motel". not only was i able to enjoy reading one of my favorite writer’s new books, i was ecstatic to be given the copy so i could write about it too! it was a dream come true!
of course when i sat to write about it, i started getting my perfectionism fears again, it was almost excruciating! my mind blanked and i felt pressure because i so wanted to convey the book in a way that it deserved! i also wanted to make sure i was helping out Francesca in the best way i could. but i pushed all my junk aside, (let some of it out in my journal) and i treated it just as i would any other blog i was about to write. i tucked into my heart and just wrote out whatever was there.
and it turned out great! "On My Love Affair with Books (and Currently, “Beyond the Pale Motel”, Francesca Lia Block )" and when Francesca wrote me saying she loved what i wrote, my heart just felt so full and happy, because i did something i was SUPPOSED to do my website also had an all-time high record number of hits in one day. it blew my mind.
and what do i mean by “i did something i was supposed to do”? well, i think all of our hearts are pulled in certain directions for a reason. i love singing, reading, and journaling so much because it helps me become a better recording artist, performer, songwriter, blogger, and some day an author. and i need to do what i’m supposed to do in order to feel fulfilled, and very important to me, to feel FREE. so it’s important to pay attention to where your heart is being pulled.
joseph told me the other day that he’d read somewhere that if you don’t use your creative energy creating, then it turns into negative energy. ouch! scary! yet i really couldn’t agree more. i’ve witnessed this in effect, in my life. which is why i’m making a special effort to create everyday right now.
so, i can humbly say that my first home recording was a success, and my first book review blog was a success too! and i’m sooo happily grateful for this! and i think i’d say this was all an auspicious end of august as astrology said it would be, wouldn’t you?
By kiyomi on Mon, 25 Aug 2014
not long ago, i met the beautiful, talented, insightful author, Francesca Lia Block. it was a dream come true. i was able to talk to her, get my books signed, and give her my “Child in Me” album. she remembered me and later, wrote me and some others an email. it was about her new book, Beyond the Pale Motel. she was wondering if any of us would like to blog about or help get the word out about her yet to be released novel. of course i wanted to! her books have lifted my spirits and rekindled my creativity so many times over the past decade or so. i received an advance copy a couple of weeks ago. it was delicious. but more on that later, and now, on how it all started..
i was always one of those kids with their noses buried in a book, wherever i went. i used to look forward to coming home from school, just so i could grab one from the huge stack i’d gotten from the library, my dreamland! then i’d rummage through the snack cupboard in the kitchen, grab something, and go somewhere quiet and read for hours. that was my idea of paradise i was kind of a lonely, extremely shy kid with big dreams, so books comforted me, loved me (and i loved them fiercely back), and i could go away to so many different places just by reading, it was magical!
i haven’t changed much since then, except now i carry a purse with me always (currently a hot pink Michael Kors! - i think now i may be just as obsessed with purses as i am with books!), and i always have a book with me if i know there may be a free moment. also now instead of libraries, it’s bookstores and Amazon or iBooks!
about a decade ago, i remember walking into Barnes and Nobles and seeing a book called Dangerous Angels. for some reason i was extremely drawn to it, so i bought it and fell in love. even now, i still reread it and other FLB books over and over again, when i need a lift, a creative boost, or to just not feel alone. for me to be so affected by a book is saying a lot, since i’ve literally read thousands! Dangerous Angels was sparkly, creative, and touched me to the core. and i was intrigued by the person who could create such a beautiful contribution to the world. if i’d known back then that i’d get to meet her and write about Beyond the Pale Motel before it’s release date, i wouldn’t have believed it!
so, Beyond the Pale Motel, how can i explain it in words? it’s hip and stylish. it’s intriguing, sexy, dark, and thrilling. it kept me interested from the first page to the last. the pretty, sensual, delicious descriptions of everything, made me swoon and want to keep drinking it in. like, i wanted to wear the “silk kimono dress printed with pink peonies and white cherry blossoms”, and use the beautiful makeup and eat the beautiful food described in the book. FLB just has this way of making you passionately drawn to her books, getting close to your core through her enticing but heartfelt words. and this book especially, had an exciting, captivating plot to go along with it. and the best thing about it? in the end, it’s all about love. and pain. and how everyone is in pain at one time or another. and it most likely will never stop. but love won’t either. and knowing that everyone is on the same boat makes you feel like you’re never alone. and what really matters is how you use your heart, and how big you can expand it. it’s about “seeing the love in everything”, like the main character is able to do.
this book came to me at an appropriate time, as the word i chose and wanted to embody this year, is love. and this book though dark, is about love. and good art is created through love. Francesca writes in the end, “Love is not the monster, not at all. True love is the thing that makes life bearable. That reveals life’s beauty”.
so i recommend this book. i recommend Francesca Lia Block. read Beyond the Pale Motel, and read Dangerous Angels. and you will read love. and you will be so much better for it.