Archive | June, 2013

Summer Afternoon

26 Jun

“summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” – Henry James

It’s almost been a week since Summer began. It is amazing how time flies. Every summer has a story. What’s yours?

Hampton Beach NH

Beacon St

Hampton BeachRoses

Don’t forget to stop and smell the roses.

Inferno: This Book is Hell’a Good

25 Jun

Top Books to Read this SummerAll images found via Google.

I have not found a historical thriller mystery author whose novels are as easy to read while still being enjoyable than Dan Brown. (I am open to recommendations. Send them my way!) I’m no literary critic, but I found the portrayal and interwoven nature of this plot and Dante’s Inferno quite captivating. For those of you who have not read Dante’s Inferno, I highly recommend it. This classic piece of literature, the first part of the Divine Comedy details the journey through hell, depicting it as nine circles of suffering located within the Earth.

Inferno brings back one of Brown’s well known characters, Robert Langdon. He wakes up in a hospital only to find out that he cannot piece together where or what he was doing in Florence. The story centers on the storyline seen from the Inferno but in present day Florence. It continues with travels through secret hideaways of museums, cathedrals and monuments in Venice and Istanbul, with the usual spectacle of art. (I took the time to Google the different museums and pieces so I could visualize how it fit into the story.)

As in the previous books, Harvard professor Langdon, a symbologist, is in the middle of a crisis that only his knowledge can resolve. Does he succeed or not? You’ll have to read it to find out.

What’s next on my list?

There are a TON of books I’m looking forward to read after this. My top five to read this summer are:

1) The Maze Runner by James Dashner –  This book’s plot surrounds the journey of a bunch of boy who are trapped in a maze filled with deadly creatures. These creatures are ready to kill. Further, their home is a ticking time bomb, and apparently one will  race through the book to find out if they ever escape. Intrigued? I am.

2) The World of the End by Ofir Touche Gafla- Ben Mendelssohn is an epilogist. After his wife dies, he puts a bullet to his brain. He awakes in another world desperately looking for Marian, but does not find her. Itching to see her again, he enlists an unconventional afterlife investigator to find her, little knowing that his search is entangled in events that continue to unfold in the world of the living. 

3) If I Stay by Gayle Forman-  The book tells the story of a 17-year-old girl who slips in a coma after a bad accident. She has an out-of-body experience, watching as friends and family visit, and needs to choose to live a difficult life or die peacefully.

4) Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple – Bernadette Fox is notorious; one day she disappears. In order to find her mother, Bee compiles emails and secret correspondence. This book is about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter’s role in an cray cray world.

5) Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight – A workaholic single mother discovers her only child has committed suicide. She does not believe her daughter would do that to herself. Looking for answers, she combs through texts, emails and Facebook posts. Through this, she finds out some shocking information about her daughter’s last few days.

What’s on your list??

The First Weekend of Summer

24 Jun

It’s officially summer and boy did it start off on the right foot. This weekend, while many people left Boston, it was still full of lively and amazing events. The Foundry Building, 101 Rogers

On Saturday, I headed over to Cambridge’s historic Foundry building for “The Foundry Equation“, an art initiative and open house. Ilan Levy, an East Cambridge Resident, stated that “art plus community equals renewal- that’s The Foundry Equation. In this building lays an opportunity to unite Cambridge, Kendall Square and East Cambridge, industrial and residential, kids and adults, art and music, past and future.” Truer words could not be said.

Some of my favorite exhibits can be found below:

The Foundry EquationHere one could see mass produced objects transformed into handmade art. This artist used wooden pieces that could be walked on; she incorporated laminated flooring which made the pieces functional, but a work of art.

The Foundry EquationNext, this artist used baking flour as the foundation for her exhibit. You could see the precision, dedication, and patience that it took as she individually lined up tablespoons of flour for a fantastic piece. Depending on the angle which you stood at, you could get many takes on what the little hills were: little mountains, warriors lining for battle, fish gills.

New American public artAnother space named “New American public art” really captivated the space. An interconnected piece of art got me thinking of the many connections and overlapping pieces of the puzzle that is life.

Foundry Equation

One of my favorite pieces was this print of a camera. In speaking with this fine chap, I found out that it was individual pictures of his 53 cameras that were layered to meld themselves into one final piece: his work, through all the cameras. What a beautiful picture and message.

After the art exhibit, I headed over to Voltage Coffee & Art for some needed cafecito. I checked in on Foursquare (a must these days – there are always specials!) and low and behold there was a 50% off your check for first time check-ins. WINNING.

Voltage Coffee & Art

One of the men working, Lee, was really helpful and fun! I wanted to try something different, so I asked for his recommendation. Since they make their own house syrups, he suggested the Beyond the Sea (homemade caramel & salt). I ordered it as a latte and I was pleasantly surprised. If you are more on the lactose intolerant side (I certainly am), I’d ask them to hold off a bit on the milk. It comes with alot.

Voltage Coffee & ArtA little selfie never hurt no one. (Look ma, no hands.)

On Sunday, I headed over to the Urban Grape in the South End for a pop up : Grilling with Rioja. This was absolutely amazing. They presented us with 5 different courses and paired it with a wine to complement it. You can get a brief glimpse to what it entailed below, but check back shortly for more information and the recipe to the sangria from the night!

Urban Grape: Grilling with Rioja

Urban Grape Pop Up : Grilling with Rioja

What did you do this first summer weekend?

Lets Get Technical: Boston Girl Geek Dinner

21 Jun

Boston Girl Geek Dinner

This past Tuesday I had the opportunity of heading over to VMWare headquarters in Boston for a special gathering of “Boston Girl Geek Dinners“. Having found the event through my favorite spot, Eventbrite, I figured why not do something different on a Tuesday night? The event comprised of  a fun night of learning, networking, eating and drinking! How could one say no?

I decided to put a little pizazz into my outfit for the night and busted out a pair of new shorts that I bought while visiting my grandmother. Yes, I’m obsessed with them. Yes, they were less than $15. AND, Yes, they are from JCPenney. I recently discovered the amazing revamp that was done to this store. Their Juniors section has such cute and quality items; it is actually mind blowing.

My shnazzy JCPenney outfit

As I made my merry way over to Cambridge, I was excited to step into a new experience, particularly because I am not well versed in the world of the specificities of cloud hosting. Upon walking into the office, I was taken aback at how the soft green hues paired so very well with the wooden and white surroundings. It gave me a sense of tranquility and comfort.

VMWare Boston OfficeBelow you’ll see where the festivities began. Their cafeteria space was so fun. They had a couch area with a TV and some game consoles. Talk about a fun way to kick back during lunch time.

VMWare Boston Office

The first talk was on Hybrid Cloud Service. This conversation was natural, as VMware is a global leader in virtualization and cloud infrastructure. They enable enterprises to adopt a cloud model that addresses their unique business challenges. In this discussion, we talked through some of the benefits of its inclusion such as the fact that this service line is highly available and reliable, lower cost and maintenance affiliated, seamless network, and based on existing products.1st Girl Geek Dinner Talk: Hybrid Cloud ServiceNext was my favorite talk of the night by Elizabeth Borowsky from Akamai Technologies Inc. She spoke how the internet networks function and how people take for granted that the internet doesn’t just run. Instead, it is networked through servers and mapping considerations must be taken into account before content is served to the end user from the “closest” server. While it was never something I thought about prior, having heard this talk really got me thinking about the intricacies that work together for our internet to function.

2nd talk at Boston Girl Geek Dinners:  Akamai TechnologiesLast, but by all means not least, was a talk by Chrissie Cui from VMware. Her talk on DevOps was very engaging and quite comical  not things one always attributes to technical information. That being said, my mind was certainly changed on the vast nature of the tech world and I want to continue to learn more. She mentioned three reasons why we need DevOps:

  1. Everyone is moving to Agile.
  2. There are big possibilities in automation.
  3. DevOps is very deterministic in one’s success.

Nevertheless, there are some challenges presented in this area: high availability, scalability, consistency of server, and, most importantly, security. Even with these challenges, she mentioned there is much room for growth and learning. She compared it to the path of the Jedi. It was by far my favorite piece of the presentation.

Tech Talk at Boston Girl Geek Dinner: DevOpsAs the night came close to an end, I walked back home over the Harvard Bridge to meet my friend for a nightcap.

Boston SkylineWe ended up at Lolita Cocina + Tequila Bar in the Back Bay. I had my classic drink: Strawberry Basil Mojito. It includes Bacardi superior rum, mint, fresh strawberries, cucumber, basil infused cane syrup, and lime.

Strawberry Basil Mojito at LolitaI just found out that Lolita has a special this upcoming Monday, June 24 for all you can enjoy tacos. For $7 , from 5pm to 1 am, they’ll keep the beef or chicken coming as you pair it with a delicious drink such as my mojito above or you can choose from a great selection of margaritas!

My Favorite Photo Editing App

12 Jun

In a day and age where mobile is becoming the focal point for receiving information and interacting with the world via social platforms, it is of no surprise that photography has lent itself into the equation of ways people engage via their cellular.

One of the big players to that industry is Instagram, a photo real of your most personal and interesting little moments. When you share with others, you want it to be personal and what better of a touch than being able to edit via your device (instead of say, inserting a memory card into your computer, uploading, editing and then reincorporating- so ancient!) And we laugh, but it has become a pervasive part of our day-to-day lives.

Over App

Source: Church Mag

I must admit, I love incorporating new food finds, beautiful backdrops, or funny faces through my social platforms. On my instagram, you’ll find a whole lot of food. Most people tell me their mouths begin to water upon viewing my stream. Nevertheless, one fun editing app that I use (that I purchased) is now FREE thanks to the weekly Starbucks apps you see in-store.* This nifty piece of software is called Over. It is great for instances like the former, but also a good tool to use to add text to photos for blog pieces. I mean, who uses a camera now anydays? (Jokes, I still do – but I use my phone when I need to snap a photo and my camera is not readily available. You almost always have your phone.)

Vega

Blueberry Coconut Lassi

Double Rainbow in BostonGET IT WHILE IT’S HOT. (Starbucks pun?)

*To redeem, visit your local Starbucks shop and look for a card that looks like:

Over App Starbucks

Step Up Revolution

10 Jun

Miami Beach Sunset

I have been thinking about home these past few weeks. Unlike the perception given from shows about Miami, it is not always sunny. In fact, there were quite a lot of thunderstorms that occurred in my span of time there a month ago. Personally, I miss the comfort of snuggling under my comforter during rain and thunderstorm storms. One of the best things that occurs in that moment is the heaviness of your eyes due to the soothing nature of the rain, the dark room, and a nice movie to keep you company.

Step Up Revolution

Source: IMDB

To keep on the notion that Miami isn’t always what you think, I had the chance to see Step Up Revolution while we had our own set of rain showers here in Boston. Yes, I watched it, and, actually, I really enjoyed it. I love me a good dance step, so I was intrigued to see what the producers had in mind for this version with my hometown as its backdrop. While I could not take the relationship between one of the protagonists and her father, Peter Gallagher -Mr Sandy Cohen of the OC -seriously, I was pleased with the overall message and display. It was a mindless movie for a rainy afternoon. Got to love those!

To continue with my joy of rainy days, I indulged with a Skinny Cow Cookies ‘n Dough Frozen Candy Bars during the movie. Let me tell you, this has been a CLUTCH find for me. Simple, low calorie, and DELICIOUS- it always puts me in a good mood: rain or shine.

Cookies 'n Dough

Source: Skinny Cow

Dogeared Pearls of Love

6 Jun

Dogeared Jewels & Gifts

Sometimes the best gifts are the smallest ones. Of my gifts I received for my birthday, I really loved the one my best friend Katrina sent me. A while ago, I posted on friendships. There are those that come and go and there are those that you can pick up after months of craziness and little chance of connecting. Katrina fits in the latter. Having know her for literally 99% of my life (since 6 months of age), she knows me as a person, in and out.

Her gift was simple, but with love. I have worn pearl earrings my whole life- rarely ever changing them out to wear a different pair. The necklace is the perfect incorporation for my day to day wear. Not only does it match seamlessly, but in its encased box it states “wear your necklace as a reminder that you are loved.” And, honestly, who doesn’t want to feel loved?

 Love you Katrina!