Always a city girl at heart.

My friend sent me a quiz: “What City Should You Actually Live In?” from Buzzfeed. If you want to take it, here is the link: http://www.buzzfeed.com/ashleyperez/what-city-should-you-actually-live-in

I don’t really put much stock into Buzzfeed quiz results, but found it ironic I got home city as a result:

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A greater sign from above to go back to the Big Apple?

Hell no.

I’m not quite done with this small town yet 🙂

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DIY Project: Canvas Map Art

*PHEW* I am on that DIY rampage. But this one is very special and close to my heart.

Introduction/Inspiration

Believe it or not, I have been waiting to do this project for months. This is actually an original project of mine inspired by the 3 cities I have been traveling between for family and school for the past 5 years in college. The idea came to me back in March when I initially graduated while I was brainstorming for decorations for my then-hypothetical new apartment.

Concept & Sketch

As most of my projects, the idea was set into motion with a sketch. I knew I wanted to make 3 pieces of artwork on canvases for each of the following cities: New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington DC. I also knew that I had subway maps from each city that I usually hung on my walls like posters. However, I wanted to incorporated these maps into the the art. What I decided was to make each canvas display the nickname of each city using their respective maps.

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Figure 1. It all started with a sketch.

Here are the nicknames if you cannot read them on the sketch. The word in quotations is represented by the map in the shape of an image.

  • Philadelphia aka City of Brotherly “LOVE”
  • New York City aka The Big “Apple”
  • Washington, DC aka The Capital of the “World”

Materials 

  • Maps of Philly, NYC, and DC
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Acrylic paints
  • Sponge brushes
  • Mod podge
  • 8 x 10 flat canvases
  • Sticker stencils (for the words)

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Figure 2. My materials all ready to be used.

Methods & Procedures

For each canvas, I painted the background two tones for a distressed look. After stenciling the words onto the canvases, I Googled silhouettes of each picture I wanted to trace out and cut from each of the maps.

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Figure 3. This is the image I used for the NYC canvas art.

I used Mod Podge to attach the cut outs of the maps and seal the entire canvas for a slight gloss.

Final Results

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[Click the thumbnails for close ups of each piece of art!]

I think my favorite one is Philadelphia, though I am pretty happy with all three of them as a whole!  Sidenote: I stained some newspaper with water and acrylic blue paint for a texturized ocean! Also, I splotched on some silver paint so that it looks like it has stars.

They now happily hang in my living room where I look at them every day and think about these three very important cities and the people who I love that live in them!

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Hope this serves as inspiration for others to do their own map art! 😀

“When I watch my sports team play, they ALWAYS LOSE” Theory

FINALLY. The New York Knicks have finally defeated the Boston Celtics in Game 6 of the first round of NBA play offs. First time in 13 years that our darling Knicks have gone on to the second round. I have no idea how far they will go this year in the play offs, but I’m glad they were able to pull it through for at least this round. I was soooo convinced they would sweep the Celts in 4 games because the Knicks won Games 1-3 with relative ease (minus JR Smith being ejected).

Now, I have a stupid theory. I’m the worst sports fan in the world. I HATE watching my own team play. I will look at highlights or coverage of the game online, but not the actual game. While in school I did this because I didn’t have cable, but the real reason I avoid watching the Knicks play is because I think I’m bad luck for them. When I watch, they perform horribly. Coincidence? Perhaps.

Then, while sitting and waiting in the car dealership on Sunday, lo and behold, what was on the tv in the lobby? Game 4 of the Celts-Knicks game. I tried to ignore it while going through the specs for my potential new car, but my sister and I couldn’t help but gaze upon the tv. What I thought to be an easy victory for the Knicks ended into defeat.

So, I’ll go back to avoiding the tv when the Knicks are playing again for the rest of the play offs, thank you very much.

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Figure. From ESPN Facebook. GOOOOO KNICKS!

The Poisoner’s Handbook

I am taking the second segment of the Toxicology courses available at my university because I really enjoyed doing the Tox I concepts, term project, and the flexibility of having an online class in my schedule.

Last term I read “Slow Death by Rubber Duck” by Deborah Blum, which talked about the potential negative impact of constantly being surrounded by chemicals in our daily lives. This term I am reading “Poisoner’s Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York.”  I am from New York, and I had taken forensics courses both in high school in college, so I immediately knew this book was going to be interesting to me. So far I have only ready the first few chapters, but I am really liking the blend of science and history.

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Figure: Cover of “The Poisoner’s Handbook” by Deborah Blum

The book emphasizes how forensics and toxicology develop as scientific fields as a product of trying to detect evidence against murderers. There were few tools to detect toxic substances in corpses until the 1900, making chemical an easy killing method. Also, in the 1800s, the chemical revolution made it accessible to get such poisons. I think that this relationship between murderers and scientific detectives is what drives new and innovative methods of killing to arise. For example, when the detection of metal chemicals was possible, murders stop using things like arsenic and turned to find untraceable chemicals like from plant sources.

In terms of style, “Poisoner’s Handbook” contrasts with “Rubber Duck” in that it is told as a story in a certain time setting. “Poisoner’s Handbook” is divided into chapters based on a specific chemical and the year of the case or cases it will cover.  “Rubber Duck” is a more humorous account of experiments and facts. What they both have in common is that they show that the culture and society play a large role in how chemical issues are resolved.

Here is a good review of “Poisoner’s Handbook,” where I learned that the book actually had a trailer (seen below in the YouTube vid)

Santa Gave Me the NBA & a Dental Surgery

So, Christmas has come and gone oh so very fast. I am very blessed to have received so many great presents and love from my family & friends. I could write hundreds of posts on how much I love what I received this Christmas. More importantly, I had time to relax and catch up with the people I love. Heaven knows that all I do is work, study, and breath most days of the year.

However, there are two things that only Santa could give to me this Christmas.

  1. The NBA lock-out ended.
    The day after Thanksgiving, I saw this from the New York Post:

    Joy to the world! I will have an NBA season to watch this year! And what is better yet? We [the New York Knicks] nabbed Tyson Chandler from the previous champs, Dallas Mavericks. We haven’t had an amazing center since good ol’ Patrick Ewing, and now we have the 2nd best center in the NBA currently (right behind the Magic’s wonderful Dwight Howard of course). With Carmelo Anthony & Amare Stoudemire for the offensive and Chandler for the defensive, the Knicks look like they have a fighting chance for the Playoffs this year!

    Cutting out about 20 or so games this year, this NBA season will only have 66 games. The first round of games was today, on Christmas day. While I couldn’t watch the games properly or in their entirety because I was visiting relatives, I was able to peak in here and there at the score and watched the highlights later at night.

    Game 1: New York Knicks versus Boston Celtics
    Starting the season strong, the Knicks beat the Boston Celts by 2 points in a 106-104 game. I was really excited when I heard two of my most favorite teams to watch were playing against each other. I was sad to hear the Celtics Paul Pierce was injured, but Rondo really made up for his absence. Sadly, the Celtics looked a little less energetic playing this first game at the Garden. I was even more disappointed to see Kevin Garnett smack a Knicks player in the highlights >.< Aniket probs won’t be happy to see that. On a brighter note, Carmelo really brought holiday cheer like a true Santa to my family when he scored 37 points this game.

    Game 2: Dallas Mavericks versus Miami Heat
    It’s a re-match of last year’s NBA finals! Former champs Dallas Mavericks playing Miami Heat in the Dallas home court. Sadly, from what I saw it was a disaster for the Mavs. I couldn’t even watch the highlights. Dallas lost to Miami by 11 points 105-94, and it’s really depressing to say that I was relieved that the Mavericks caught up and lessened the Heat’s lead to only 11 points. Maybe Dallas misses Chandler?

    Game 3: Chicago Bulls versus LA Lakers
    I didn’t even watch this game at all. All I know are two very important things: 1) LA Lakers lost by 1 point; 2) my NBA crush Derrick Rose saves the day again for the Bulls ❤

  2. A (Virtually) Painless Wisdom Tooth Extraction

    I don’t want to jix it, but I got a top wisdom tooth yanked out last week on Wednesday (just in time for the holidays!) and it was pretty painless for the most part. The dental assistant applauded me because I wanted to get the procedure done just a few days before Christmas food and cheer, and he quickly tried to tease and scare me before the extraction started. He introduced me to my “torture chamber” aka the dental chair and asked me to “sign my life away” aka sign some surgical standard waivers. Luckily, the longest part was waiting for my dental surgeon. He literally shot in some Novocaine into my palate and gums, waited 10 minutes, stuck some metal thing in my mouth, and my tooth popped out in a matter of seconds. In fact, I gave the entire dental office a laugh because it was probably the easiest extraction in the history of forever.

    As soon as they threw in the gauze, I was even talking with the surgeon and assistant about this FedEx deliver guy who threw a computer monitor over a fence!

    While I only got one tooth taken out, versus the two or all four most people do, I was surprised how not bad the after math was. My cheek wasn’t even all chipmunk after the second day. I only got a few fleeting headaches, so basic Tylenol was my painkiller. I was able to eat regular food by the third day or so. And as long as my clot doesn’t dislodge, I believe I am low risk for dry socket (SO PARANOID OF THIS). Thank you Santa for not letting me suffer!

    And here is a funny comic my dear Megan (who got all four out in one sitting! What a trooper!) showed me which reminded me of both our wisdom teeth extractions over break!

The Addams Family on Broadway!

This seems to be a fitting pre-Halloween post. A few weeks ago, my family and I went to see Brooke Shields on Broadway! Eternally beautiful and full of talent, she played the role of the voluptuous Morticia Adams.

This rendition of the Adams Family actually has Wednesday Adams all grown up, and she appears to have fallen in love with the most normal guy under the sun of NY. I was actually surprised how comedic the show was and really enjoyed the jokes and skits put on. All the actors and actresses (and understudies alike) had absolutely AMAZING voices.

Blurry shot of the cast poster 🙂

The dancing scenes were just as impeccable, but my favorite part of the show were the scenes. It is amazing how detailed and large the backgrounds were! And many parts characters were floating in midair or being pulled away by puppet animal monsters. You would think it looked corny or stupid, but it did not at all! No strings could be seen and the crazy designs of the puppets added to the humor to the show!

If I had to pick my two favorite characters, it would have definitely been Gomez Adams firstly because his stage presence is just spectacular. His voice and the way he moved made me laugh every time. The second favorite character was probably Uncle Lester because broke the audience-performer wall a lot.  Overall, definitely recommend this show!

Brooke after the show!

The actual theatre that we went to was the Lunt-Fontanne by Times Square. It’s a decently sized place, and the seats my mom got were awesome! We were like in the 4th or 5th row. The acoustics for sound were really good as well.

Like true New Yorkers trying to appreciate the city for the first time in a long time, we acted like giant tourists. Lots of pictures, eating pretzels and hotdogs from vendors and shopping. Truly a successful family city trip 🙂 Living in Philly far away from NYC makes me really appreciate the place from whence I came. I hope one day I can come back and live there again.

Tee-hee my most fave touristy pic! Me and the Spongebob off da street!

Bonobo Concert in NYC

As of today, this blog post has been put on the back of the (bunsen) burner for a full month now. Shame on me.

On Friday before classes started up for the fall, September 16, Bonobo was playing in New York City! The concert is part of the ROCKS OFF Concert Cruise Series. Basically he played on a boat, and it was pretty cool.

Taking off at the Bedford-Stuyvesant area (in fact we passed by a Stuyvesant football game), the boat we were on was dubbed the “Queen of Hearts.” Boarding started at 7pm, so we made our way to NYC from Philly on the 3pm bus (which turned out to be a 3 hour ride of traffic haha). After celebrating our safe arrival in the Coldstone in Times Square, we took the 1 train uptown.

At first it was pretty cool, being on the boat and all, haveinga bar on board that I could finally order drinks from now that I’m over 21. But once the boat started moving, the sites were so pretty! I tried taking pictures, but alas my hands were shaky.

We rode right along the Hudson River, making our way past the Brooklyn Bridge and Statue of Liberty. There were a couple of times I think people were jamming so hard that the boat was about to tip over, but thank God it’s little putters kept puttering O.O

The DJ playing while we were waiting for Bonobo was pretty decent, but oh man everyone knew when our expected DJ started playing his iconic tunes. I got a short video of one of my favorite songs by him “Kiara.”

 

And here is a clearer version of Prelude+Kiara, so you can enjoy it as much as I do ❤

 

 

I wasn’t really expected to dance or enjoy myself too too much (after all, I was nervous because it was my first concert), but man I couldn’t help myself when I heard those beats! There was an amazing reggae/Bob Marley mix I need to find. It was so sick!

And of course there was your share of questionable substances, alcohol abuse, and heavily make-uped girls being all “sexy,” all of which I ran away from. But all in all I came out unscathed and had a great time. Of course, sadly the night had to end. Famished we made our way to a Five Guys burger place and stuffed our faces. The Megabus was for 1am, so of course it was a journey just getting back to Philly and home safetly.

Overall, I don’t think I will ever go to a concert outside of Philly without a place to crash, but it felt good to rebel once and experience a night concert.