Archive | August, 2012

Meatballs Anyone?

31 Aug

Looking for a good place to eat in New York this weekend?

Here goes a tip from my days in the Big Apple–>The Meatball Shop!

Sunday night and my boyfriend starts browsing through Timeout New York’s cheap eats. Sounds promising, right? As the word ‘meatball’ catches his attention, I cringe.

This is what I pictured…tempting to some, not so much to others…

I unwillingly make my way down from the Upper East Side to Stanton Street picturing a grimy joint with greasy meatball subs. As we get to the place, the hostess informs us it will take 45 minutes or more to get us seated which, in this case, was a pleasant surprise as I was not expecting a coveted place. As I walk in, I am immediately drawn by the welcoming atmosphere, the funky decoration and the upbeat tunes.

Great atmosphere!

We decide to ditch the wait and sit at the bar area, where a cheerful waitress explains us the menu. After deciding on our combination of meatballs, sauces and sides (there are so many possibilities, we took about 20 minutes!) we sit back and enjoy our drinks.  Shortly after, my vegetarian meatball arrives with my side of the chef’s greens topped with a spicy meat sauce—beyond delicious. We finish off our meal with an exquisite green apple sorbet. We learn they make everything in loco, from the meatballs to the ice-cream, adding to the place’s uniqueness.

Some of the dishes served at The Meatball Shop

It turned out to be a great experience that I recommend to friends looking for New York tips! So if you’re looking for a cheap eat in a trendy new York spot, this should be on your list!

Going for seconds when out of town friends visit!

-Flavia

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Mahler 8, “Symphony of A Thousand”

31 Aug

Last week I was lucky enough to perform Mahler’s 8th symphony, aptly nicknamed “Symphony of a Thousand” as it pretty much feels like a thousand person ensemble. This might be the only time I’ll ever perform Mahler 8, as it’s one of the largest scale orchestral works in the classical repertoire.  With three distinct choruses and an extra large orchestra, our concert had about 500 performers.  Luckily, we performed in a huge music tent and had space/another balcony for most of the singers (A google search of “Mahler 8” will show you some pretty hilarious pictures of musicians piled on to each other in concert halls).

Action shot. Photo credit to catherinecussaguet.com

It’s really just awesome to play with choruses. Being in the middle of an orchestra is already powerful, and when large choirs start singing you can literally feel the sound all around you. To be honest, there were spots in rehearsal that I was so wrapped up in listening to the music all around me that I missed one or two entrances… oops!

Standing room only! Photo credit to catherinecussaguet.com

Like Beethoven 9, the libretto is about the eternal human spirit and the joy is so uplifting. The energy of so many people working together to create something beautiful is a magnificent experience, so if you ever see an advertisement for a live performance of Mahler 8, don’t even think about it – just go!

-Michelle

A Place to Visit in Our Own Campinas!

28 Aug

I love public spaces. Great public spaces are equalizers of society, places where socio-economic classes races, ethnicities, cultures, converge and interact in one space, where people can express themselves, meet friends, exercise, and have a good time. Public spaces, like Manhattan’s Central Park, can also provide a necessary escape from bustling city life. I just got back from a relaxing time at home in Brazil and want to boast about an underrated yet wonderful public space in Campinas: Parque Portugal.

An aerial view of Parque Portugal, courtesy of http://diegopintojn.blogspot.com/

Located around a beautiful lake, Lagoa do Taquaral, this park has everything.  A dirt track circles around the lake, passing by paddle boats shaped like swans, stretching areas, a children’s playground, an outdoor concert venue, a bird sanctuary, a mini-bamboo forest, and much more. Parque Portugal also features a swimming pool, a planetarium, a gymnasium, and much more!

Swan-shaped paddle boats, photo courtesy of http://diegopintojn.blogspot.com/

Fellow blogger Mandy and I went for a brisk walk around Parque Portugal last week and it was great. It is a great place to exercise. There are two tracks, one that circles around the outside of the park and one that circles the lake inside. Every hundred meters, there is a sign tracking how much you’ve walked. Inside the park, there are several areas to stretch, cool off, and lift weights (if you are so inspired).

There are always people walking around Parque Portugal, known to Campineiros as Taquaral, but the place really comes alive on weekends, when the paddle boats are out, the restaurants around the park are crowded, and Campineiros are out and about enjoying one of the great spaces in our city!
-Anne

 

Architecture Inspirations: Diller Scofidio + Renfro

27 Aug

Ever since my last post I was flooded with ideas about what to write next, but when it came to writing it there was only one thing on my mind: architecture!

I am currently caving into the pressure of the “Final Project”; the project where you are supposed to apply everything you learned in school while demonstrating your own style as an architect! And to add even more pressure, I have monthly presentations to show the progress of my work, one of these presentations will be this Wednesday! yayyyy! (get the sarcasm?)

Getting back on track, because after all I am writing this post to share one of my sources of inspiration!

So, let’s take a look at some of the projects of Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the highly prestiguous New York based firm. The selection includes projects that are still under design, under construction, and already done! Hope you like their work as much as I do!

New Columbia University Medical Building. Image courtesy of ArchDaily.

Aberden City Garden Project. Image courtesy of ArchDaily.

NYC High Line. Image courtesy of ArchDaily.

Perry and Marty Granoff Center for the Creative Arts, Brown University. Image courtesy of ArchDaily.

Hypar Pavillion. Image courtesy of ArchDaily.

Museum of Image and Sound, Rio de Janeiro. Image courtesy of ArchDaily.

Alice Tully Hall, New York. Image courtesy of ArchDaily.

So, who knows in December I’ll share my own project! ; )

– Randa

Internet Superlatives

24 Aug

In case your Friday is dragging along and you need a little pick-me-up to get you through to the weekend, here’s a little peek at some of my favorite websites and blogs. This is the stuff I look at almost everyday — the stuff that keeps me going when I’m bored and that provides me with new information, creative ideas, tasty recipes, and more than a few laughs. I’m really into baking, home design, crafts, a little bit of fashion, and some clever humor, so that’s the general theme you’ll find here. I’ve selected my top ten favorites in different categories, so take a look and see if any of them become your daily faves too!

Best Home Design Blog: Young House Love – by John and Sherry Petersik

Young House Love follows the Petersiks, John and Sherry (plus their adorable daughter Clara and their cute pooch Burger) through their adventures as they DIY (do-it-yourself) all sorts of crazy home design projects in Richmond, Virginia. What’s awesome is that they give you a whole bunch of information (with tons of pictures) about how you can do similar projects, and everything is on a budget! Seriously, take a look at their home tours (of their old and new houses) — you won’t believe the transformations they’ve accomplished with their own bare hands! If you fall in love with this family like I have, you can also follow their family blog, Young House Life.

A Before-And-After shot from Young House Love – Image via younghouselove.com

Best Celebrity Site: goop – by Gwyneth Paltrow

Through “goop” Gwyneth Paltrow shares incredible tips for travel, cooking, home design, fashion, hair, make-up, wellbeing, parenting, reading, and just about anything else you can think of. I’ve signed up to receive goop e-mail newsletters, and I’m always excited when I discover a new one in my inbox. It’s fun to hear from her perspective, and all of her suggestions are amazing. This is a bit high-brow, though, but I enjoy it even if I can’t afford to buy all of the stuff she recommends.

Best Laughs: Suri’s Burn Book – by Allie Hagan

This clever blog cracks me up every time. Allie Hagan, fictionally writing as Suri Cruise (daughter of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes), judges other celebrities in their children from a hilarious perspective. It’s all completely false, but Hagan’s adaptation of Suri as a lovable/hate-able combination of “mean girl” and “poor little rich girl” keeps me coming back for more everyday. If you loved the movie “Mean Girls” and your favorite section of People or UsWeekly is “Stars: They’re Just Like Us!” then this blog was made for you.

A new book by Allie Hagan based on her popular blog, “Suri’s Burn Book” – Image via surisburnbook.tumblr.com

Best Time-Waster: Sporcle

This quiz-site has more quizzes than you could ever imagine, in a variety of topics and difficulty levels. Poke around and see what you can find! Most of them are timed (for that competitive edge), and you can search by category for what you feel like doing. It’s a great way to learn some new facts! My personal favorite is the Harry Potter 200, where you have 18 minutes to name the top 200 Harry Potter characters who are mentioned by name the most times throughout the entire series. My top score on this is 161 — what’s yours??

Best Food Blog: Smitten Kitchen – by Deb Perelman

Do you like food? Great. Check out this site. In her teeny-tiny NYC kitchen, Deb Perelman creates the most delicious meals and treats you can imagine, complete with mouthwatering images that will have you drooling all afternoon. Some of her recipes that I’ve tried are Jalapeño Cheddar SconesRed Velvet CakeBoozy Baked French ToastStrawberries and Cream Biscuits, and Raspberry-Topped Lemon Muffins — everything turned out totally incredible!

Raspberry-Topped Lemon Muffins from Smitten Kitchen – Image via smittenkitchen.com

Best Sports Reading for Non-Sports People: Grantland – by Bill Simmons

My boyfriend introduced me to this site in the hopes that I might become an avid sports fan and watch football and basketball with him to his heart’s content. That didn’t happen, but I have to admit that I do enjoy some of the articles. Especially the Hollywood Prospectus section, because I’m a sucker for celebrity gossip and because Grantland writers have invented a Reality TV Fantasy League. This involved each of them “drafting” reality TV stars and getting points every week based on their team’s “performance” in that week’s episodes. “What’s that? Teresa from Real Housewives stole somebody’s husband? 250 points to you!” Oh yeah, and there’s some sports stuff here too, I think.

Best Fashion Blog: What I Wore – by Jessica Quirk

Jessica Quirk takes pictures of her outfits everyday and posts them to her personal style blog, What I Wore. It’s sweet and short, and I love her style! You can also find tips on how to put outfits together, how to DIY new trends, and where to purchase the cute stuff she’s wearing. Thanks to The Daisy Chain writer Flávia for introducing me to this site!

Cute outfit on Jessica Quirk – Image via whatiwore.tumblr.com

Best Shopping Site: ShopBop

I have a shopping problem, and when I’m bored, one of my favorite things to do is browse new trends online. ShopBop carries all my favorite designers in one convenient location, plus they have excellent customer service! Hide your credit cards, ladies… You won’t be able to resist!

Pants I’m loving from ShopBop – Image via shopbop.com

Best News Site: Google News

I love Google News because it pulls together articles from several different news sources and organizes them by categories so it is easy to read. You can also tailor it to your interests. For instance, if you have a serious girl-crush on Kate Middleton and are obsessed with her every move, you can set up Google News with a special Kate Middleton section that is consistently updating itself with the latest news on Kate Middleton. Is that weird? I hope not. I don’t know anybody who does that.

Best All-Around: MarthaStewart.com – by Martha Stewart

I love Martha Stewart. I really really do. I don’t even care that she went to prison for tax fraud… Really, I don’t. Her delicious recipes, beautiful home designs, creative craft projects, and brilliant organizational solutions more than make up for it. I subscribe to three (yes, THREE) daily e-mail newsletters from Martha: “Craft of the Day,” “Organizing Tip of the Day,” and, my personal favorite, “Dessert of the Day.” Seriously, Martha Stewart is my go-to for just about anything food or home related, and I could spend / have spent hours perusing her site. Enjoy!

Beautiful party décor idea by Martha Stewart – Image via marthastewart.com

What are some of your favorite sites and blogs??

Cheers,

Nicole

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