Friday Finds #185


Friday Finds Blog Post

You may or may not have noticed I’ve been taking the “lighter” side on Friday Finds posts this Summer.

Rather than weekly, two per month has been my goal – just for a bit of a breather. We’ve all got enough going on what with enjoying Summer break and figuring out how to live life.

So, since it’s been a while…hello! It’s so nice to see you today!

Since I’m been playing hooky, I have quite a few good things in store for you!



Since it’s part of our daily life, I splurged on a good mask. I haven’t had a chance to wear it a lot, but like it so far!

It’s really comfortable, (the large fit me just fine), has a nose-pincher to help keep fog off my glasses, and is a lovely color. The only downside I’m seeing so far is it’s hotter than any of the homemade cotton ones I’ve had.

Vogmask Organic AquaSplash VMC2V



Who couldn’t use a suggestion like this?!

My Top 5 Video Game Arrangements for Beginners | Chrissy Ricker



Or this…

8 Tips to Make Washing Dishes Easier | The Kitchn



Speaking of washing dishes, it’s true what you’ve heard,
Dawn Powerwash is amazing.





Because it’s still Summer:  6 Best Ice Cream Bars and Fruit Pops | The Kitchn



My studio had our end-of-summer recital yesterday evening via Zoom. If you’ve not had yours yet, check out the 9 Lessons I Learned from My First Zoom Recital. (P.S. It includes an email template invitation for students to forward to friends and family!)



Do you use the Celebration Series books from the Royal Conservatory? Here’s a website that has some really great study guides to go along with the pieces!

Prep A Study Guide
Prep B Study Guide



In case you missed the last Friday Finds, here’s #184 Summer Holiday Weekend.



Have you updated your studio website recently? Here’s 3 Ways to Look at Your Studio Website with Fresh Eyes.



Please make this:  Edamame Succotash (P. Allen Smith)



Friday Finds #184

Summer Holiday Weekend

Happy Independence Day, everyone!

The 4th of July weekend sure is a special one, don’t you agree? Not only do we get to celebrate the official birth of our nation, but being only two weeks into Summer, it’s the long holiday weekend that officially kicks off the season.

Let’s be mindful of taking precious time for rest and fun with our families while also meditating on the world around us – both remembering our history and finding our future through what happens in the present – the good, bad, and the ugly.

Kind of like a marriage, LOL. 🙂

Have a great weekend!



A reading of The Declaration of Independence set to music.  (Eric Bluestine | The Ways Children Learn Music)

Congress, July 14, 1776 – The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States of America.



5 Incredibly Creative Studio Plans for Fall (Janna Carlson Studio Rocket Web Design)



Cleaning Your Piano (Steinway & Sons)



The look on this pianist’s face each time he changes tunes absolutely cracks me up! He’s so straight-faced he almost gives me the willies! LOL.



Sara Campbell’s list of free-downloadable Patriotic Music.



What kind of salad dressing do you enjoy?

It doesn’t matter because this review from The Kitchn tested EVERY SINGLE KIND of store-bought bottled dressings to find the best brand. Did they choose the brand you like?



If you’re interested in the Enneagram at all and like the singer Audrey Assad, then you’ll enjoy this podcast interview with her on The Enneagram Journey, Episode 47.



3 Ways to Look at Your Studio Website with Fresh Eyes (and, my own studio website overhaul!)



A digital tool I use EVERY-SINGLE-DAY? Grammarly. Have you ever heard of it? It’s like having your English teacher by your side (but not in an annoying way, Ha!)



Have you ever thought about organizing your piano games digitally using Evernote? Check out how this teacher does it.


Did you enjoy this post? Consider subscribing to the Piano Pantry email list where you’ll get my once-a-month “Secret Letter” which includes what’s been going on in my student that month, books I’m reading, favorite Instagram posts, and other fun things like that. 

Sound good?! Subscribe here.


Friday Finds #183

Weekend Links Junkie

I am a weekend-links junkie.

Saturday mornings are a great time in our house to sit on the couch with a cup of coffee, watch the CBS Morning News (or This Old House), and scroll through content using my favorite content manager: Feedly.

There are several people I have been following for years that do similar weekend roundups that inspired me to start my Friday Finds for teachers. Today, I share those favorites with you.

Be a pal and start your weekend off as a weekend-links junkie so I don’t feel alone. 🙂



Let it Be Sunday | Joy the Baker. This weekend she will hit #275!



Inspiring Simplicity. Weekend Reads. (Joshua Becker | Becoming Minimalist)



Emily P. Freeman, creator of The Next Right Thing podcast has an email list dedicated to her One Last Thing list that comes out every Saturday morning. It includes interesting links for things to “Listen”, “Read”, and “Discover”.



Listening is Difficult (Seth Godin)



Researchers in Australia Record Enormous Breakthroughs in Internet Speeds (The Week)



A 9-part series from Rebekah Maxner on teaching “Heart and Soul.”



This time in Piano Pantry history: Evernote for Gmail: A Review



An excellent resource for free printable staff paper. It’s really cool how it will shift the preview of the staff as you change settings.



9 Lessons Learned from My First Zoom Recital (Amy Chaplin | Piano Pantry)



Did you enjoy this post? Consider subscribing to the Piano Pantry email list where you’ll get my once-a-month “Secret Letter” which includes what’s been going on in my student that month, books I’m reading, favorite Instagram posts, and other fun things like that. 

Sound good?! Subscribe here.


Friday Finds #182

Dandelions and Grace



I was incredibly inspired by Leila’s “making sense of it all” comparison of dandelions and grace that accompanied her new arrangement of Amazing Grace.



Congratulations to composer Chrissy Ricker who is now a Signature Artist with! 

Several of my teens recently absolutely played and LOVED her piece, Epic.



Considering a Gap Year (Seth Godin)

When we lived in Melbourne, Australia (2006-2009), Drew and I were both fascinated to learn that many students in Oz take a “gap year” between high school and college. Unlike the US’s tendency to push all students to college immediately, the gap year was a time for them to travel, work, and explore the world.

I’ve always thought education in the US could benefit from encouraging something like this. I mean, who really knows what they want to do for a career when they’re 18? NO ONE, really. A large majority of people end up doing something different than what they studied in college.

Something to think about.



George Floyd Left a Gospel Legacy in Houston (Kate Shellnutt | Christianity Today)



An excellent resource for free printable staff paper. It’s really cool how it will shift the preview of the staff as you change settings.



Food recommendations for the week:

Super easy and delish…
Spring Asparagus Pancetta Hash (Smitten Kitchen)

This fresh salad takes a bit of prep work but is VERY worth it. It makes a huge bowl and the leftovers keep well for a day or two. 
Mediterranean Three-Bean Quinoa Salad (Two Peas and Their Pod)

Soon I will be canning my favorite Strawberry Jam. The blueberries add deep color and the apple a little texture and zing.
Easy Strawberry Jam (Ina Garten | Food Network)



This time last year…

The #1 Reason Independent Music Teachers Should be on Instagram (Amy Chaplin | Piano



I Ate Like a Gilmore Girl for a Week and Here’s What Happened (Julie Tremaine | The Kitchn)

A few months ago I started my second-go of watching The Gilmore Girls series on Netflix. Are you a fan?


Friday Finds #181

Shifted Seasons

Happy weekend, everyone!

Even though for some of us, our school term lessons may have been over a week or two ago, there’s something about the first week of June that screams: SUMMER!

The seasons to me are a delicious gift from God – I love them. It always throws me off a little though that (in our part of the world) Spring isn’t technically over until the end of June and Summer doesn’t end until the end of September.

The weather, tells us the seasons are:

  • Summer = July, August, September
  • Fall = October, November, December (technically we celebrate Christmas only 4 days after Winter begins)
  • Winter = January, February, March
  • Spring = April, May, June

The school year tells our brains they are:

  • Summer = June, July, August
  • Fall = September, October, November
  • Winter = December, January, February
  • Spring = March, April, May

I always feel slightly off mentally- almost like miss the last month of every season. Do you ever feel like that as well? Maybe I’m just strange! Ha!


Here’s some good stuff for you this week. Take it or leave it. 🙂 Talk later!




Summer is always a fun time for students to play things like Disney music. I finally bought the new Faber Disney books Lauren brought to my attention awhile back. They’re FAB! (Lauren Lewandowski | Piano with Lauren)



They’re Back: Millions of Cicadas Expected to Emerge this Year (Jason Slotkin | NPR)



Super interesting: How pandemics change society (The Week Staff)



This time last year: What I Learned in my 11 Months as a Worship Team Leader (Amy Chaplin | Piano Pantry)

“Worship is the continuous outpouring of all that we are, all that we do and all that we can ever become.”

-Harold Best in Unceasing Worship



Inside the Flour Company Supplying America’s Sudden Baking Obsession: How King Arthur Flour found itself in the unlikely crosshairs of a pandemic (David H. Freedman |



What Quarantine Taught Me About Cooking (Kim Rhodes | A Cup of Jo)



I know I’ve shared more than one aerial photography series here recently but they’re just so AMAZING!

Stunning Aerial Photographs by Mitch Rouse Capture the Precise Patterns of Farmland (Grace Ebert | Colossal)



How to Clean and Care for Wood Cutting Boards (Sara Bir | Simply Recipes)



For your grill this weekend:

Baked Potatoes on the Grill (The Kitchn)

Grilled and Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms with Gorgonzola (Giada de Laurentiis)



Friday Finds #180

Rejuvenate that Zoom Body

Hello Memorial Day Weekend!

Many of us are in a place right now where we’re wrapping up our school term of lessons and (hopefully) taking a breather before we start the Summer term.

After sitting on my bum in front of Zoom for 6-7 hours a day over the past eight weeks, I’m feeling anxious to get my body moving a little more again.

I thought it appropriate that this week we focus on wellness content!


1 – Pilates

Let’s kick it off with my #1 recommended item. It’s one that I’ve mentioned in recent weeks that has been a life-saver for me these past two months. It’s an online pilates program I heard about from Natalie Weber called The Balanced Life.

All it takes is 15-18 minutes a day (approximately once a week there’s a 25-30 minute workout). Within a couple of weeks, my muscles started loosening up, popping and cracking of shoulders began to lessen, and I felt stronger and more toned. The best part? You barely break a sweat!

P.S. Yes, I will get a referral credit if you join through this link, but don’t worry, it doesn’t cost you any extra! As a matter of fact, the only way to join outside of the open membership window is through a referral link! 


2 – Yoga

Yoga is not the choice for me – my body enjoys Pilates much more – but Yoga is very popular with many these days!

Lesley McAlister has a new book coming out:
Yoga in the Music Studio

My Explorations of Yoga as a Pianist & Teacher (Joy Morin | Color in My Piano)

Focus Your Piano Lessons with Mind-Body Warm-Ups (Rebekah Maxner)


3 – Alexander Technique

Why I Take Lessons in Alexander Technique as a Piano Teacher
(Joy Morin | Color in My Piano)

We had an excellent Alexander Technique clinician at our last state conference. If you’re looking for someone, I highly recommend Meagan Johnson.


4 – Weight Training

Is Weight Training Safe for Pianists? (Tim Topham |


5 – Wellness Resources

Wellness Resources for Musicians (Music Teachers National Association)


6 – Simple Workouts

Sitting at a desk or piano all day can be tough on the lower back. Did you know you can find workout routines on YouTube?

Of course…YouTube has everything! LOL.


7 – Inspiration

A few favorite wellness quotes and mantras:

Eat three meals a day; keep portions small; eat seasonal fruits and vegetables;
drink lots of water; savor wine; walk more, and have occasional treats.
~Murielle Guiliano

Guiding principle: eat less meat and junk food,
eat more vegetables and whole grains.

Eat like Food Matters.

~Food Matters by Mark Bittman


8 – Relieve Tension

Several years ago, I spent a year or two doing a lot of the Classical Stretch Routines with Miranda Esmonde White. I used to rent the DVD’s from the library then I used their online streaming service.

Also called Essentrics, you can find a few teaser routines on YouTube. Here’s one on Relieving Shoulder Pain & Tension.


9 – MEditation

I have no idea where I got this, but it’s a fun little meditation on Psalm 46:10.

Be still, and know that I am God.
Be still, and know that I am.
Be still, and know that I.
Be still, and know that.
Be still, and know.
Be still, and.
Be still.

Friday Finds #179

Tacos, Tacos, Tacos!

Happy weekend, friends! Here’s is my humble list of recommendations for the week:


Do you love tacos or anything Mexican food as I do? You might enjoy the documentary Taco Chronicles on Netflix.

I’m not a big documentary person but have been fascinated by this one. I learned about several different styles of tacos and some I had never even heard of like Tacos de Canasta (the “basket” taco). (Just a heads up it’s in Spanish with subtitles, but that makes it even more authentic!)



Should online lessons be cheaper? (Samantha Coates | Blitz! Books)



Digital access to Faber’s Piano Adventures.



The Piano Safari Stuffed Animal Shopping Guide is one of the top posts here on Piano Pantry. The favorite animal that’s purchased?

This super cute Stuffed Kangaroo from Wild Republic. Is he adorable?!



A short and enlightening peek into bad times in the American economy and how it has always recovered. Take heart – all will be well!

A Brief History of Market Crashes (Carl Engelking | Northwestern Mutual)



Tips for Disinfecting a Phone (Olivia Muenter | The Kitchn)



Can you believe I’m lucky enough to have neighbors that grow both asparagus and rhubarb? Counting my blessings on that one! I shared favorite asparagus recipes recently so here are a couple of Rhubarb ones we’re enjoyed:

Rhubarb Custard Pie (Simply Recipes)

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp (Jesse Szewczyk } The Kitchn)

Don’t let anyone fool you – strawberries aren’t the only thing that goes well with Rhubarb. I used blueberries in this recipe and it was absolutely delicious!



Me too: Four Reasons We Chose Carpet for Our Bedrooms (The Wood Grain Cottage)



Studio Awards Update (Including Some Awesome Trophies!) (Piano Pantry)



Podcast: The Enneagram Journey with singer Audrey Assad


Friday Finds #178

The First Week of May (Yea!)

Are you as excited as I am to have May turn the corner? The weather has been beautiful and the school-year term of lessons is wrapping up.

If you’re like me, that means that the next two weeks won’t be necessarily less work, but just a slightly different schedule and routine with group classes, Zoom recital prep, end-of-year evaluation meetings, and more.

A change of routine is something that I always welcome with open arms and an eager attitude.

May, we’re so glad you’re here!


Rebekah has several great tips in this post that helped me in my planning!

Zoom Recital: 5 Tips and Strategies (Rebekah Maxner)



My students and I have been hard at work during our Zoom lessons with the One-Minute Club Note-Naming Challenge. I recently did an update to the original post including seven really great tips on conducting this challenge.



Are you passionate about music education? Consider voting to help make this product idea a reality: A Lego Symphony Orchestra (Natalie Weber | Music Matters Blog)



Asparagus season is here! Roasted Asparagus with Parmesan (Damn Delicious)



I have two splatter screens (both recommended by ATK, of course!). It’s actually quite useful having two different styles.

Believe it or not, the strange-looking one actually does work well (as long as you put it in the right size/style fry pan).




A Flying Photographer Looks Down on the Earth in Awe and Sorrow (Pranav Baskar | NPR)



Is Tonara Worth the Effort? (Leila Viss)



A limited time freebie from composer Chrissy Ricker.



Coronavirus Etude for Piano and Disinfecting Wipe (Jeff DePaoli)



Friday Finds #177

Zoom Fatigue

A few weeks ago, I shared with you the emotional roller coaster I had been going through that week with online lessons to the point that by Thursday I almost had a full-blown panic attack.

While things subsided pretty quickly (especially thanks to upgrading our wimpy internet router to a small commercial-grade one), my body and mind are still frequently fighting small instances of this a couple of times a week.

Luckily, I’ve had the wherewithal to recognize when it’s happening and act. How have I tackled it?

First, be aware that it’s happening.

Second, DO something.  Mostly, I make immediate attempts to go on a LONG walk, take a drive, or busy my mind doing something else – the first one being the best.

I’m not telling this so you feel sorry for me. I just want you to know that if you’re experiencing these things, it’s OK because you’re not the only one! In all honesty, I don’t mind online lessons and even enjoy them at times.

The first find I share with you in this week’s list I think will shed some light on what many of us are experiencing. 

Mainly, I’ve learned that awareness, acknowledgment, and action some of the best principles we can apply to not only managing stress but other areas of life as well!

How are you dealing with little inklings of stress/anxiety that you may be experiencing?

Take care of yourself and enjoy this week’s finds!



‘Zoom fatigue’ is taxing the brain. Here’s why that happens. Video calls seemed an elegant solution to remote work, but they wear on the psyche in complicated ways. (Julia Skylar | National Geographic)



Looking for a better weather app? I highly recommend spending the few dollars to get Dark Sky. Both my husband and I have been using the basic Apple weather app and also Weather Underground for a while. The most recent update to the latter, however, made us finally give up for good. It was just way too complicated and unintuitive to use. Dark Sky is super simple while being visually pleasing and informative. Highly recommended! We both approve!



Thoughts on “I’m Bored.” (Seth Godin)



I’m really loving Susan Paradis’ post on having a “Group Chat” recital. Low-key, small, and uncomplicated. Her tips are really great as well!



Indiana University rents 80 digital pianos from a local piano store to distribute to their piano majors.



Food-themed good news from John Krasinski’s “Some Good News” series.



Homemade Kombucha? That would be fun to try!



7 Funny Cartoons About the Oil Price Crash (The Week)



Best Countertop Compost Bins for Most Home Cooks (Lisa Freedman | The Kitchn)



14 Achievable Tasks to Help Declutter Your Home While Safe Inside (Joshua Becker | Becoming Minimalist)


Friday Finds #176

Who Won the Giveaway?

Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway from Friday Finds #175! I’m pleased to say we had a record number of entries.

The winner is… Belinda Glass!

Congratulations! I’ve already dropped you an email (so check your inbox). Your choice copy, The Victress Sessions will be sent directly to your door. I hope you and your students enjoy this book!



Finding Comfort and Calm in Remote Teaching  (Santa Barbara Independent)



Freedom, Adjustment, Grief, and Online Teaching (Deborah Rambo Sinn)



Some incredible photos of the toll the Coronavirus has taken.

Bravo to the photographers who are catching this time in our history in a sad and yet incredibly artistic way. It’s impactful. (The Atlantic)



There’s a reason there’s still a dry yeast shortage. The Yeast Supply Chain Can’t Just Activate Itself. (Aaron Mark | Slate)



Oh, this is absolutely cracking me up! Have you seen this one yet? We all could use a little laugh – you just have to watch this!

A music teacher creates a song to sum up how she feels about online teaching.



We’re a little over a month into spring and I’ve pulled out all my favorite recipes that involve Spring veggies (especially asparagus and peas). One of my favorites is this Chicken and Sugar Snap Pea Stir-Fry from Williams Sonoma.

Other fav’s include:

Snow Pea-Radish Slaw (Food Network Magazine)

Lemon-Parm Sole with Arugala Salad (Rachel Ray)

Asparagus, Ham, and Goat Cheese Quiche (Wives with Knives)

One pound of asparagus almost feels like too much. Go for 1/2 – 3/4 pound.

Skillet Cod with Lemon and Capers (The Kitchn)

Jacques Pépin’s Pan-Crisped Deviled Eggs (Joy the Baker)

I can’t vouch for these last two as they’re on my “to-make list”. I have high-hopes though. I mean, Pan-Crisped Deviled Eggs?! It can’t get better than that!



On predicting the future. (Seth Godin)



Oil Prices Hit 34-Year Lows as Demand Disappears (NPR)



My Best Online Teaching Tips (Samantha Coates | Blitz Books)



Finding a Silver Lining in COVID-19 (Joe Darago | Becoming Minimalist)



My husband is the chocaholic in our family. He loves all things chocolate/fudge. I’m pretty sure he would go crazy over this Double Chocolate Fudge-Stuffed Loaf Cake. Maybe I’ll make it for his birthday in May.


Which of these finds did you find most useful for where you’re at this week?