The Social Network et al

Its approximately 4:30am and yes, I am awake.  I blame it on partaking in an early evening “accidental” nap.  When I say “accidental” — its usually a result of gluttonous over-eating coupled with the cooler drop in temperatures that instigates this sort of behavior.  And so being awake at these ungodly hours makes for mischievous behavior.  Much surfing to be had.  Mainly catching up on my multiple blog readings, responding to emails, working on miscellaneous work activities.  But most importantly, I tend to engage in alot of my deviant online behavior (i.e. cyber-stalking) during these twilight hours.  With the advent of Facebook, Twitter, and various other social networking venues — it makes for an easy task.  Thanks Google!  You’ve made my socially unacceptable yet obviously participated activity that much easier.

I’m pretty sure you are wondering, “whom are you cyber-stalking ad nauseum?”.  Well there isn’t one particular person.  Mainly random people from my past.  A sort of “where are they now?” type search.  Here’s the thing — we all do this sort of quietly private behavior at one time or another.  Which brings me to my first question.  Are both men and women equal in their cyber-stalking tendencies?  I have a theory that this voyeuristic practice sways strongly toward the female side.  So I asked a few of my male friends and discovered that they had absolutely no interest in such information.  That or they are lying.  Now granted my pool of questioned males might not be a large range in order to give an unbiased perspective – but I found it extremely interesting. 
So it comes down to this — nowadays everyone seems to be connected to this social networking bubble.  In the early stages of voyeurism there was (and this will date me) IRC (Internet Relay Chat) which led to ICQ/AOL Instant Messaging.  Then came Friendster which led to Myspace and finally to our current tool of interest, Facebook.  Now practically everyone seems to have a Facebook page.  And if you don’t?  Its as if you don’t exist.    This is true — no?  The other day a friend of mine said he didn’t have a Facebook account and I caught my immediate dumbfounded look.  The sort of look you give to someone when they say they don’t have a cell phone, rarely uses the internet, or finds the advent of electricity a revolution.  How can this be?  It’s impossible!  I had imagined such people existed.  But to be in close proximity to someone (under the age of 35) who would make such a statement — seemed an anomaly.  I felt he needed to be studied.  Like gorillas held in captivity.  What leads someone to make the conscious decision to remain a social networking enigma?  Incognito if you will.  Then there is the other side of the spectrum — those individuals who have hundreds of people listed as their supposed friends.  Its a little ridiculous if you ask me.  My 12 year old cousin has over 300 “friends” on her list.  I don’t think I’ve met 300 people in my lifetime!  How in her little protected bubble of school, extracurricular activities, and family did she manage to meet/know over 300 people?  So that led me to my second query — are females more social networkers then males? 
And the mad scientist in me wondered if such an interest in sociological research was ever examined or investigated.  So I did a quick search — thanks AGAIN Google!  I found this — a review of studies conducted by Harvard Business School to better understand how males and females use various social networks.  And they found that, “the biggest usage categories are men looking at women they don’t know, followed by men looking at women they do know. Women look at other women they know. Overall, women receive two-thirds of all page views.”  Quite interesting how women are open of their social networking behaviors while men claim to refrain yet clearly are the more dominant usage group.  If you are more curious about some of the studies and findings — check out this link to the professor who studies the social networking revolution.
How this became a discussion on cryber-stalking, social networking and gorillas — I don’t know.  I think its time for bed. 

CSN stores indeed!

Its no surprise that I’m a bit of a shopping fiend.  I am THAT typical girl who wants something and through the advances of modern day technology seeks online for the best deals.  Last year I was on a hunt for a baker’s rack and stumbled upon a website — CSNstores.  This website is amazing and has over 200 online stores where you can literally find everything from contemporary coffee tables to cookware to yoga accessories.  Best part?  They are based in Boston!  Small world indeed. 
So recently, my search has been to find a better way of transporting my yoga mat + gear to class — something convenient yet sturdy to contain all the necessary items.  And by all accounts, its been a bit of a chore to search since I’ve wanted to be more frugal these days — until I found it on the CSNstores website. 

 Isn’t it lovely?  Only $20 including shipping!   

And in these tough economic times a good deal is certainly worth its weight in literal gold.  I’m not ashamed to say that I will search high and low to find the cheapest prices from a wide range of varying websites. Who doesn’t?  Review to come.

A weekend a wedding

People have often expressed that the west coast part of Florida can be quite possibly THE most beautiful areas in the United States.  So when Kimmie & Wes decided to have a sunset beach wedding on Lido Key — it seemed to be a beautiful locale for the celebration of two people.  And so the wedding came and went.  Here is a review of the last leg to Kimmie & Wes’s eight year dating dance.

♥ The Wedding Weekend — Sarasota, Florida ♥
 

The Beach @ Lido Key
Clear watersBeach @ The Helmsley Sandcastle
An emotional night filled with food, friends, an emotional (moi) speech and (a plethora) of drinks. 

The Rehearsal Dinner @ Crab & Fin (St. Armand’s Circle)
 K & MeThe coupleThe ladiesFriends (Old & New)
More emotional and candid moments captured of the bride and groom.  And one lovely moment of being recognized as the traditional matchmaker of the pair through the transaction of an Israeli Shekel coin.

The Ceremony
The ladies on wedding dayK getting readyThe Groom (W) & parentsThe Bride (K) & parentsGroom's reaction to brideThe ceremony
Israeli Shekel CoinMarried!

The Reception (Longboat Key Resort)
The First DanceThe married couple & friendsThe wedding cakeThe 3 Musketeers + BoyThe ladies + boyCut & EatThe Hora!The ladies + bride

Weekend with the ladies

As promised, albeit it a little lagging, a post from the weekend events leading just before the wedding.  

♥ The Bachelorette Weekend — NYC Style ♥
The weekend began with a nice warm-up of the limbs golfing followed by consuming homemade sausage for brunch.  We wandered around aimlessly around the Meatpacking District & Union Square.
The afternoon ended with a bizarrely entertaining trek all over downtown Manhattan solving clues and relaying messages involving plane tickets, a frog, and an albino midget.

Chelsea Pier, Cookshop (Meatpacking District), Union SQ, and The Accomplice (Downtown Manhattan) 

Chelsea Piers, NYCK & AVIMG_6961IMG_6979
IMG_6997IMG_7000IMG_7013IMG_7017
The night ended with an evening with the ladies (well sort of). 

Lips (Midtown) & Upstairs @ The Kimberly Hotel (Midtown)
IMG_7023IMG_7025IMG_7056IMG_7033

Old & New friendsIMG_7078 

Two places I would highly recommend if you ever hit NYC (low and high budgets).

The Shake Shack (Upper West Side)
Shack Burger & FriesShack Burger

Blue Hill (West Village)
Blue Hill MenuOur indoor/outdoor areaThis Morning's Farm EggHeirloom Tomatoes, Stone Fruit and Vegetable SaladChilled Corn SoupHudson Valley Duck

Two, three, four sense…

It truly amazes me how this year has literally flown by.  Its both sad and relieving to realize that this year will be gone before you know it.  I know I’m a bit early to post my yearly reflection — but true to form — I’m always reflecting.  I reflect on things I’ve accomplished and things that need to be done.  I cringe at some of my aggressive actions and various passive receptions to things.  They say you should never judge yourself by the level of failure or success but how you act upon certain incidents in your life.  
Every day I take a deep breath and hope that particular day will be a new day filled with productivity and growth.  Some days I’m wildly successful in those two tasks and some days I fail miserably. Fall always brings this sort of contemplative blog in me.  The change in temperature and foliage is a natural indication that the year has come and gone — bringing (just around the corner) the holidays.  With the holidays — come a reminder — a familiar tap on the shoulder to make good on your Jan 1st resolutions and to resolve all issues from the past year.  As I’ve gotten older my intuitive instinct has gotten a bit rusty, my body not as youthful, and my mind just a bit more jaded.  I try not to think about the past but somehow the past keeps reaching out to me.  A constant reminder of my youthful mistakes and also of happy times lost.  
My dear friends, Kimmie and Wes, were married in Sarasota.  The culmination of their marriage brought together friends (from near and far) and family.  I saw a friend that I hadn’t seen in 10 years.  And in that time of absence — she somehow managed to get her medical degree, get married and have two beautiful children.  As my friends slowly wean away from their single life and become wives and mothers, husbands and fathers — it truly amazes me how time is fleeting.  You see the slightest indication of age in the corner of their eyes and you know that we are no longer those little kids riding our bikes in the neighborhood but full fledged adults (the horror!).

Two cents of the day:
Hold fast to those dear around you and let go of those reservations you may have possessed. 

Apologies and matchmaking

I have been remiss.  I apologize.  Truly, utterly, sincerely, and with heartfelt apologies.  Its been a chaotic past two months dear readers — hell reader (singular) — who am I kidding.  I’ve sorted, packed, moved, unpacked, sorted, organized and now I’m exhausted.  Expect a few more posts to come with pictures and a more detailed account of my absence.  Hopefully.

So these past two months, I’ve tried to adjust to my new environment (apt) as well as plan a fabulous Bachelorette weekend for one of my dearest and oldest friends in NYC.  Who says weddings are expensive for the ones getting the hitching done — its damn near expensive for those having to attend and be present.  Sorry Kimmie & Wes!  But as most people know as an invited guest we bite the bullet, strap on the expenses so that we can be a part of something so special and magical.  To watch the exchanging of promises for the love of two people.
In brief, the culmination of these two individuals, my dear friends, has been one that was an arduous journey and I was the privileged person who brought them together.  Let me explain.  Seven and a half years ago — I found myself in sunny south Florida on a course for a life of cases, briefs, torts, and legalese.  Yes, I found myself in law school.  I’m sure if you dig real deep in the depths of my archived posts (FYI — apologies for anything you read during that time period) you might find some bits and pieces.  Ah yes, law school.  So while there, I befriended a slew of characters — some I still remain friends with and some friendships have slowly departed.  And in that time, I met Wes and immediately struck up a bonded friendship over our undergraduate Alma mater — Emory University.  After the first semester, our friendship remained and he randomly posed the question, “do you know anyone to set me up with?”  He began to rattle on about a list of traits to which he wished his date would have — as if he were ordering a meal off a menu, “I’d like her to like this…but I don’t like that….” etc etc.    I thought about his comical list briefly and realized what he seemed to want was what most deliriously young men aspire to have — some form of supermodel/brainiac/athlete hybrid that only exists in fairy tales.  I looked into my mental Rolodex of friends and thought of a few people.  But I decided to match him with one person — one of my dearest and closest friends from childhood — Kimmie.  It was certainly an odd pairing and quite honestly one I wasn’t too sure about.  But I left it to fate and a little bit of a nudge on my part. 
Seven and a half years later, my best friend Kimmie and my dear friend Wes are to be married end of September.  And during that seven plus year journey, the future attorney in me fighting for social justices never came to fruition but the relationship that I was destined to initiate did.  In the end, I always like to say that I went to law school not to be an attorney but to meet my best friend’s husband. 
I suppose I should also mention a little bit about how I met Kimmie.  The year was 1989 and two 12 yr olds met with disdain.  I will only put it into the following words — Thai Temple, Archie comic, rickety swing.  I know you folks are scratching your heads as to the combination of those words but to Kimmie and I — it explains mountains and is meant with perfect sweet memories.  I suppose that’s the type of friendship we have and have always had — one met with inside jokes, experiences, and phrases.  One that I’m happy as well as thankful to have and keep close to my heart. 

W & K

T’is neither here nor there

♥ FOOD ♥

I keep forgetting how much I enjoy the artistic and creative nature of Boston — in addition, its various culinary finds.  Awhile back I stumbled upon Marliave tucked behind the active streets of the downtown area.  Aside from walking through the strange alleyway — I would never have thought twice of a restaurant with vintage appeal to be tucked in such an area.  Marliave is a 1875 themed restaurant with French influenced cuisine.  Downstairs offers a charming bar area but the best part of the restaurant is the upstairs with views of surrounding Boston high rises.  For you cheese lovers out there, Marliave offers an actual cheese bar.  That’s right — cheese bar served with various artisan meats along side various flavors of fig jams, lavender honey, and olive oils.  Pairing all of this with a lovely glass of wine — makes everything in the world right.

MarliaveMarliave SignOutdoor SeatingDrink Menu

 

All in all, the service was impeccable and friendly.  The drinks — excellent.  However, I found the food to be mediocre and the menu pretty standard.  Nothing really caught my eye even though I chose the rabbit.   Or perhaps I chose wrong?  I’d definitely return for the drinks and cheese.  Possibly choose another dish…

♥ PERFORMANCE ♥
So its been awhile since I journeyed into the complicated works of Shakespeare.  Growing up, Shakespeare was definitely not my go-to reading favorites.  I enjoyed all if not most of his plays and poems but I found it best experienced live.  The last time I saw a live Shakespearean play was a performance of Othello at the Atlanta Shakespeare Tavern.  I was first introduced to this wonderful place my senior year in high school and it somehow trickled into various outings while in college.  I saw some pretty magnificent performances there — my favorite being the Taming of the Shrew.  Figures right?

So you can imagine how ecstatic I was wandering around Boston after Marliave – to stumble upon this:
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A modern interpretation of Othello.  Even though I wasn’t able to see it from start to finish — it is definitely something I’d love to see in its entirety.  Shakespeare on the Common is an event coordinated every summer and I’ve never had the pleasure of experiencing it.  Its inspiration, obviously, is from NYC’s  famous Shakespeare in the Park

♥ UPDATE ♥

My lavender and dahlia plants died awhile back.  I fear the next plant I purchase will actually shrivel up  instantly with mere sight of me in its visual range. 

Chock full of cherries!

I have an addiction and they are called: cherries.  I’ve had bags (yes bags) of Bing cherries already since the season started and I mix it up with beautiful Rainier cherries.  Crunchy to bite in and sweet and juicy to taste.  Yum!  It seems of late — I’ve explored a ton of my addictions.  Books, cherries, HGTV.  I’m also a little obsessed with reading design, fashion, and food blogs.  I’ve watched so much HGTV that there is rarely a time when I pop on the channel and see something NEW.  Assistance and intervention might be needed fairly soon.  Thankfully, the act of packing and daily activities have prevented me from literally just sitting in front of my TV cradling a bowl of cherries.
This morning I woke up to a beautiful sunny day and opened the windows.  I love that in the midst of summer, Boston remains mild and not bloody hot like my friends down south.  Sorry!  I definitely appreciate opening windows to dry yet breezy temps.  
Oh, here is a crazy scientific fact.  Cherries contain a good source of melatonin — the chemical that controls your body’s internal clock — helping you sleep better.  Also, it is a good source of fiber — allowing for better evacuation of your bowels.  Sorry, it was inevitable to mention. 

A start to a beautiful morning begins with this:
Cherries!
Ready to consume:
Cherries!

Ready for work — computer, boxes, and cherries:
IMG_6650
 ♥

On packaged edge…

Recently, I’ve tried to minimize my stress level by trying to avoid certain things: news, phone calls, and emails. But doing such things only seems to heighten what the act intends to diminish.  Thereby creating more stress and more anxiety in a life that clearly is overloaded.  
I’ll be moving soon.  And that painful process has started to creep into my subconscious, my psyche, my every core and being.  I hate it!  And its pretty evident via my latest blog entries and twitter posts.  My apartment has become an explosion of boxes and mini piles of clothing, books and “stuff” peppered throughout.  Quite honestly, its driving me bonkers.  Even looking over my laptop I see a sea of chaos.  This stress is compounded by other miscellaneous issues and problems that I am barraged with on a daily basis.
One so is the air conditioner unit that I recently purchased at a lovely place called Costco.  Costco is the mecca for all things in bulk.  For those few that haven’t had the pleasure of enjoying a trip to Costco — simply put, it a place put on this Earth for wholesale shopping for retailers at a fraction of the cost.  You can buy toilet paper, detergent, furniture, food in bulk.  You name it — its usually there.  And it doesn’t hurt that their kosher hot dogs are deliciously cheap (drink + encased pork product on a bun = $1.25).
Back to my story, so I purchased this unit via their website.  The package was meant to be delivered by UPS.  I say meant lightly as the day of delivery, I found the following:
What is that?!
Shame on you, UPS!  Shame on you for having the reputation of being a “reliable” delivery service.  You aren’t just ANY company.  Your entire service is to ship and delivery packages (small or large) safely with minimal damage.  Does this look minimal to you?  Needless to say, this package has become the burden and stress of my every being.  Trying to coordinate the pick-up of this little fun package has been a nightmare. I am at a loss for words as to why someone would deem that suitable for delivery.  Its as if someone literally wrestled it to the ground and body slammed it for shits and giggles. 
On a much fun side note, here is my day in review:
“Try” to pack producing MORE chaos — check!
No proper food consumed aside from carrot juice + water — check!
No shower or teeth brushed (excellent for the maintenance man who had to enter my apt today) — check!
All plans for errand runs were never accomplished — check!
Neglect of all things news related to minimize any added stress — check!
 As a result, HGTV and Comic-Con 2010 coverage has been my current obsession — check!
Help me!

Books! Get your books here!

In the midst of the moving process comes the undeniable task of purging and cleaning.  I’ve set a goal for myself recently — and that is to tackle the now dreaded “stuff” closet.  You know very well what I’m talking about.  In every home, in every city, on every street corner — there lies an area in one’s home that is the designated place to store unneeded but otherwise always wanted “stuff”.  I have a closet that fits that description.  I’ve somehow, thankfully, maintained a bit of order amongst the mind numbing chaos that is always associated with such an area.  So the other day I decided it was time.  Time to purge.  Time to clean.  Time to release the ordered chaos. 
My apartment is now seeped in open boxes filled with old textbooks, fiction books, memorabilia, mementos, cherished pieces of apparel — the list can literally go on.  The purge has given me an idea.  Why not try to sell my used books online or locally?  Yea???!!!!  Anyone want a nearly 6 year backdated edition of MCAT reference books?  I’m pretty sure the questions haven’t changed much seeing that the science material within these books are still the same.  Argh!

So while perusing old textbooks, and fiction books I once read and loved.  I stumbled upon a book that didn’t seem to be all to familiar.  As I opened the book, the title read — Perverse Crimes in History.  I sat in the middle of my living room staring at the title — trying to remember who would give me such an odd book.  Then it suddenly occurred to me who it was and memories started pouring in.  I grew a bit angry for a split second and realized — that life is certainly funny.  How a book can trigger such powerful memories.  Needless to say I threw that book in the pile of “sellers/donations”.  On a side note — that book somehow fits the personality of the lender.  Fascinating read though — although, as the title indicates, perverse. 
The one thing I absolutely love about Boston is its vast and numerous bookstores (new, used, and rare).  I am never without an empty arm or hand when setting foot into ANY bookstore.  Which seems to be (as you can see) my downfall and the bain of my existence.  Oh hell, my vices in the world seem to be food, shopping, travel, and books — lots and lots of book.   I’m trying to curb my appetite.  Truly!

P.S.  If you seek to buy reference material for professional school tests (i.e. MCAT, LSAT, DAT, etc) — contact me.  I have a ton!  Also plenty other types of books — must let go, must let go.