Journal

 

Photo Journal: Summer Tour Re-cap COMMENT

Running on the Road COMMENT

running on the road
Well I can safely say this has been way more challenging than I expected.  My Uncle Jack, who is a life long runner, once told me “you own a half-marathon, but a full marathon owns you.”  I have done six half marathons, including training for 4 of them on the road, and I just didn’t believe him. I was so wrong.  Marathon training absolutely owns you.
I am perpetually sore now, and my legs feel like tight little rubber bands.  (Yoga, I miss you!)
But It’s not just the physical challenge that is hard. It’s the planning, the preparation, the hours you spend looking at your tour calendar and trying to mesh that with your training plan, or researching what parts of new cities are safe to run in, or what the weather will be, or where you can buy your next batch of GU and new running shorts.  This has been one of the greatest challenges of my life, but those of you who know me know that I am always up for a new challenge and thrive on the drive it takes to completely it.  That said, I am learning so much about myself and what I can take through this whole process. And I have learned a lot, and maybe some of it can be helpful to you. If you are an obsessed runner as well, or just looking for some road tested tricks for how to stay fit and healthy on the road, here are some things I have learned that I would like to share!
  • Map my run is great – I don’t use this to track my runs but I do look up routes on it anytime I am in a new city and not sure where good places to go are.  By seeing where other people (namely young single females) run, I can tell where is safe to head out.
  • I also follow other runners (like a creep : ) ) to find good places, or just stop and ask for help.  Actually last week while running in Minneapolis I got so lost because of some confusing trail signs, so I flagged down an runner going the other way to ask.  She was so nice that she turned around and ran a mile back with me! The community of runners around the country is just full of the nicest people.
  • What to bring on your long run? Everyone has different preferences, as you will see from reading Runners World but for me what seems to work so far is: Water!!! GU, (I also really like Sport Beans by Jelly Belly), Garmin Watch, Cell phone (for entertainment, and just in case..)
  • I also fully believe that what they say about eating before and after training is so true, and so important!  This is the especially difficult thing to deal with on the road where you eat out all the time and have very little control of what kind of food is available to you.  So, I have started to pay attention days ahead of long runs what I am eating, and being carful to ask in restaurants “can you make this…”  The number of times I have asked, “can I just buy a banana off you” is pretty comical.  I end up relying a lot of protein shakes, and smoothies.  I invested in a small portable smoothy maker so whenever I can buy bananas off restaurants, or scrounge up some fresh fruit I bend it up with some protein for a nice recovery drink.
  • I have also found that hotel receptionists and cooks are generally really helpful and happy to help you out with simple things like toast and coffee in the early morning before breakfast opens. My latest food challenge was trying to cut a banana to put on bread for an early pre-run meal without a knife!  I hilariously found that a straw, flattened and used like a wire between your two hands words pretty well.  Add that to your bag of tricks for travel hacks.
Here are some more questions you asked me to answer:
  • “Being and avid [runner] myself and like to travel around: how do you find neat places to go for runs when it seems you’re at a different city nearly every day?” – Jeff
Well, as I mentioned above there are some great tools like Map My Run. I also spend a lot of time on google maps looking for trails, or even just place where there are sidewalks – In some towns in America it can be unfortunately difficult to find places that are set up for walking/running instead of just driving.  So, I guess the answer is, it is hard. Sometimes, like this morning when I though I had found a trail only to discover that it was an old maintenance path that ends very abruptly at a gravel pit – you just strike out. But most of the time with a little bit of effort and a bit of luck I end up finding nice places to head out with my runners and in my opinion this is the best way to see the country – actually getting outside and exploring.  Perhaps someday I should make a list of all the amazing trails I have found around the country. 
  • “I’m interested in eating healthier. How do you eat healthy when you are on the road?” – JoAnn
This is a difficult questions to answer, and let me first say I am not a nutritionist, just somebody who likes reading and has experimented over the years.  The biggest thing I have learned recently is to be comfortable ordering “off the menu.”  When I say that I mean, ordering something that is not on the prescribed menu the give you, or even just altering dishes that already offer to make them healthier.  Ask what oils they use to cook your food in and opt for olive or coconut instead  of butter or fryer grease. Get all sauces and dressings on the side.  And be creative, if you see some nice ingredients on the menu put together your own meal  “Can I have salmon seared in a pan with whatever fresh vegetables you have today?”  Any decent restaurant should be able to accommodate you, and if they can’t you have learned that they either have no fresh ingredients or nobody who knows how to cook outside of the microwave.  
 
  • “Protein supplements — how do you figure out which one is the right one?”
Again, not a nutritionist, but I think this is simple.  First, look for one that has a high protein content and low carbs and sugars.  The one I use has 24 g protein and 0.7g carbs and 0.4g sugar per serving. A lot of american made proteins are very high in sugar and only have 14-16 g of protein.  After that, it’s just personal preference for taste.  That’s it!
 
Thanks for your love and support as always, I couldn’t do it without all of you who send me good wishes and help me keep going on this crazy quest. Only one month to go!

#Fiddlespiration 1 COMMENTS

 

This month has been huge for me. A debut performance of a solo show, big crowds, huge festivals, my entire family coming out for weekend of performances, and marathon training to boot. But something that really sticks out in my mind was the opportunity to spend time and even make music with two of my musical idols: Eileen Ivers and Liz Carroll.   These are two amazing women who blow my mind overtime with their musicianship as well as their poise  and character as people on the circuit.  I grew up listening to both Eileen and Liz and they we both a huge part of why I got in to fiddling.  If you haven’t heard of them, or you are looking for some new #fiddlespiration check these ladies out.
  • Eileen Ivers: To paraphrase her bio, Grammy awarded, Emmy nominated, and the original fiddler of Riverdance she is  Nine time  All-Ireland Fiddle Champion, and has guested with artists such as the London Symphony Orchestra, Sting, Hall and Oates, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and Regina Carter, Patti Smith just to name a few. What I love about her how she brings so much experimentation and creativity to her playing  – and this transcends genres which is a rare talent that I very much try to emulate.  As you listen to her albums across the years you will hear how she can grove along seamlessly with a trad celtic tune, or a latin beat, or even a pop tune by like Michel Jackson. She is also a real showmen (show-women?) on every level a true performer who will thrill you and engage you in every tune she plays.  Check out this video:
  • Liz Carroll: Liz is also has won the prestigious All-Ireland Fiddle Competition. She is also the first American-born composer honored with the Cumadoir TG4, Ireland’s  most significant traditional music prize.  She tours as a solo artist, as well as with Greenfields of America, String Sisters, and Cherish the Ladies.  Her albums have always been an inspiration for me, but her latest titled “On the off Beat” spurred a new and recent bout of creativity in me that got me through this last difficult tour.  If you don’t have it yet, definitely get it!  It is well with a listen. For me, Liz is an inspiration in raw musical talent. The way she plays tunes, the tunes she pics, and the variations she plays are just so good.  But there is something about her sound for me that is unequalled.  She plays so in the string with this thing I can only describe as a “sass.”  That is what I love about her playing.  A real highlight of the weekend for me was getting to do a duet with Liz at the acoustic set I did on Sunday.  Check out this video for some Liz #fiddlespriation
It is hard to say how special it has been for me to get to perform on the same stages as these heroes.  It has been a challenging, but truly remarkable summer tour so far and I think it is always good to take a moment and appreciate where you are.  I am so grateful to be a part of this circuit and I am so lucky to know wonderful women like these two ladies!

Exciting New Show! 1 COMMENTS

 SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT
Kiana to host a new acoustic set at festivals this year – watch out for these new exciting dates added to the events calendar. http://kianajuneweber.com/events/
Transatlantic Unplugged with Kiana
I am fortunate to be a part of a musical community unlike any other. The celtic music scene is full of extremely talented people, and even more wonderful people.  There is a feeling of camaraderie that exceeds a normal collegial relationship and feels almost more like family – it is pretty magical. Personally in my short time I have not only made connections that inspire me musically but also made some great friends, and even met my fiancé!  So in that vein I had the idea to host a small acoustic set which celebrates these connections. The idea is great music with guest appearance and unique collaborations and combinations of musicians.  Martin and I will host the hour slot, our first time performing together, and we will be joined by various friends and guests from some of the best bands in celtic music today!  This will hopefully be a fun and casual hour that lets us play music in a completely difference setting than our normal stage shows – more like an hour in our living room inspired by our own transatlantic relationship. So, please come check it out.  Spread the word, and and keep your eyes on my Facebook & twitter for updates about which guests will be joining us.
Look out for this show at upcoming summer festivals!

I’M RUNNING THE CHICAGO MARATHON! COMMENT

This is a big deal. I’ve trained for and run many half marathon’s on the road, and made running an important part of my life, but this will be my first full marathon!  I’m nervous, and excited all at the same time.  It will be a real challenge to train and stay on track all summer throughout our busy festival season, but I am completely committed.  We decided as a band (myself, Pete, Ryan, and Twigger with Pat as our coach) to run this to raise money for ALS research.  ALS became very real to us when a very close friend was diagnosed and we have been inspired to do something about it.  Additionally, the forefront of research about this disease is currently being done at Trinity College in Ireland – another important connection that we want to support.  So, I’ve just started training and we started our first few fundraising attempts as well.  There is a long road ahead but I will keep you updated here!

If you wish to contribute to Team Gaelic Storm’s fundraising effort please click here:

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Return to My New Home: What is Ireland Like Part 2 1 COMMENTS

I think it took traveling away, to find my new home. After being in Germany and France, coming back to my little corner of the world felt complete different. It really felt like coming home for the first time in this new place. I was so glad to walk up to our little town house with the red door, and seeing the little yellow flowers I had been trying to grow blooming on the balcony.  For the next three weeks before tour I was able to settle in to a completely different feeling of life. I felt in control and excited again. Ireland on a sunny day is not to be matched: walking around shop street, looking at the fresh fish caught that day, getting fruit and vegetables from the local market. It may not have been a Parisian market, but it was my market.  I have my own coffee shop now too – my local haunt.  The Barista recognizes me and asks all about my day and how I am getting oriented in Galway. Sometimes it is just the little things, the little routines that make a place sparkle.  I hope to collect many more of these. As the three weeks passed, I filled days gradually. I went to my gym a lot, which at first I found very intimidating, but now I have friends too meet there and a routine.  I took dance lessons from legendary Irish Dance Champion, Claire Greaney.  I went to sessions at local pubs and learned new tunes.  I went surfing in the freezing atlantic ocean, and learned more more about the water and the beaches.  Everything slowly transforms from foreign, to familiar, to completely personal as I painted each new place with memories. That is the best way I can describe it. I just need to patient, and give myself time to paint many layers.
I have all kinds of little vignettes that populate my mind now that I am back on tour in the states – little things I miss that fill my thoughts.  Walking into my hotel room I miss my little hot press. Irish homes have a little cupboard  that shares a space with the water boiler and it is literally a small hot closet for drying clothes – genius little thing. Getting coffee in the morning at Starbucks, I think of my little coffee shop in Galway and of tea and fresh scones – I love them.  Fresh scones with butter and jam must be one of the best inventions of all time. I am an avid baker myself, and I had the honor of making scones with Martin’s mother and learning the proper Howley way to make them. Walking at North Beach in Chicago, I think about surfing. I am so terrible at it, but I am really learning the enjoyment of it.  It sounds crazy but I am really starting to like it, but the freezing cold, the long drives to the coast, and water all up into every sinus. I can’t wait for my next wave.  I miss waking up in the morning to the sea breeze blowing into the window and the sound of the the little street bellow. I miss the wildness too. There is a real wildness to the west coast of Ireland that I am just beginning to feel, and really come to love.  It is subtle, but pervasive. I am just learning to understand it.
So I am now on the bus driving from Chicago to Nashville with the guys as we start off our three week tour. Gaelic Storm has a busy summer booked, as usually, but I am really looking forward to this one.  I have so many new experiences to bring with me to the stage on to life on the road. It is all such an adventure.

my trip to Germany and France COMMENT

(post dated May 4th)
I fully enjoyed the benefits of living abroad by casually booking a last minute flight to Germany to visit Martin on tour.  We also decided to take a quick vacation at the end of his german tour to swing by Paris on the way home.  So casual…haha I am still laughing to myself.  As an american, well for most of my life, going to Germany Or France is a really really big deal – but now I can casually just stop in Paris for the weekend. How ridiculous! haha.
So, I hit Germany at the height of spring. It is just the most incredible time of year, right when all of the flowering trees are in full bloom and the grass is vibrant and verdant.  I admit I had a very different image of Germany in my head than vibrant and beautiful place I found.  I absolutely loved it!  Some of my favorite days were spent in the Black Forest – the Schwarzwald – the place of legends and fairytales.  On the hikes and adventures we had it was easy to imagine how the Brothers Grim found inspiration for their stories. Throughout Germany, I loved sampling the local specialty dishes as well as regional wines and beers from the lightest rieslings to the thickest, cloudiest hefeweizens. From the Swabian alps, to Bavaria to the Northern Rhineland I felt like I experienced some of the most beautiful and pristine nature AND I got a full dose of that wonderful thing called “sunshine” that I had very much been lacking in Ireland.
Taking off to Paris  for the weekend was just a magical adventure.  I think I have idolized and romanticized Paris for much of my life – there is something about the culture that I just really admire.  What was so enjoyable about this weekend was that having been multiple times before, seen all the sites, I decided to live this weekend as a local instead of racing off to wait in queue at the Tour de Eiffel .  Visiting friends in the 16th arrondissement, we stayed in the most stereotypically Parisian apartment and it was lovely: A third story flat above a flower shop, complete with big white shutters and a cute little black iron guard rail. I ate my body weight in croissants and pan du chocolate from the local patisserie.  The best part of the weekend was getting to walk around the local street market with Rebeca, our hostess. As I learned first hand this weekend, Parisians are ultimate foodies and care very much about the their fresh and local produce (another reason I admire them). This farmers market takes over the entire street THREE times a week!  Rebecca flew along with me in tote sampling the freshest strawberries, munching on baguettes and picking out the best chicken for dinner.  It is hard to describe the whole weekend and how wonderful it was, but perhaps this little vignette is a small insight into the amazing trip.
After a week in Germany and four days in Paris I found myself headed home to Galway with all kinds of inspiration and confirmation of the kind of life I want to live.  I felt I had witnessed two cultures of people that have a supremely mastered how to appreciate life for the small things, and live in the moment.  Finding true enjoyment in their seasonal produce and local music – working and relaxing equally hard in a balance I hope to some day achieve.

so what is Ireland like? 4 COMMENTS

(post dated April 20th, 2015)

Well, so far it has been a roller coaster.

If i’m honest I completely underestimated how difficult moving to another continent would be. I thought, as someone who travels professionally that I would be very able to handle this move, but the truth is it is really hard.  I never get homesick on tour, but actually feeling that your “home” is in a different place makes a big difference.  I love so much about ireland already and I am continually learning new things, creating new experiences and memories and establishing new and old friends.  I think that is what home is about, so I am just trying to be patient with myself. But in the mean time, it is difficult. Many days of feeling kind of lost and some totally embarrassing moments of freaking out because you miss food from home, or crying in the shower.

 

Most days are amazing though. The past week has been really sunny, and I had the pleasure of touring around the country a lot to see some new places. Some of the highlights:  Killarney, Wexford, Cork, Dublin.  Of course being at home in Galway is different everyday!  I have learned to drive here, and more even more exciting, I learned to surf!!  Well I am terrible at it, but it is such a fun challenge to get our there, get some exercise but mostly drive around the beautiful irish coastline. The thing about surfing here is that it is F#@%-ing freezing. So I went to buy a wetsuit, and having never put one on before, I thought the whole process was hilarious.

 

Every day is a new adventure, a new challenge.  Looking forward to going to Germany and Paris next week.  My first trip away from my new home.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day 1 COMMENTS

I thought perhaps St. Patrick’s day would be the best time to make this announcement.
I’M MOVING TO IRELAND!
Yes, It’s true.  And I couldn’t be happier.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone. XOXO

Venue Spotlight: The Strand-Capitol Theatre – York, PA COMMENT

 

When you think of the great theaters of the country York, Pennsylvania might not be the first thing to pop into your head. I find time and time again as I tour around this country, that the most beautiful theaters are found not in downtown Chicago, or LA or New York, but in the smaller towns  that have taken the time to preserve and protect amazing venues through generations.
The Strand-Capitol Theatre is and perfect example of that, and we had the pleaser of performing there last weekend.  Originally, this venue was two buildings – a dance hall called The Capital built in 1906 and theatre for vaudeville acts and silent movies called The Strand that opened in 1925.  The Strand  “was a glittering example of Italian Renaissance architecture with its marble terrazzo floors, graceful archways and ornate decorative details – 1,800 pounds of gold leaf, 100 pounds of bonze and 4,000 pounds of ribbon gold in pilaster moldings.” Beautiful murals are complimented by the 2,800-pound crystal chandelier.  As a pinnacle of the roaring twenties, the theatre flourished, and even survived the great depression and showed movies until recently when in 1976 the Strand was forced to close due to competition from shopping malls and chain movie theaters.
But the amazing story here is that just months after it closed the community took it upon themselves to save this beautiful place!  Business leaders and professionals formed a committee to save the theatre and by 1980 reopened. Since then, the Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center has completed a remarkable expansion and renovation project costing $18.1 million and the community continues to put money back into the theatre by donating one dollar from every ticket purchased to help maintain and preserve the building.
Thank you to the people of York for keeping this theatre not only alive, but thriving!
I hope it is here for generations to come.
I found this information and more on mystrandcapitol.org. Check it out.  There is lots more to see about this amazing place and the great acts they bring through.