Today my TEDxCambridge talk went live online! Many people helped me in the preparation for this talk, most importantly Tamsen Snyder Webster, the executive producer of TEDxCambridge. She took me (and the other speakers) through a series of phases of preparation, including forming my pyramid, developing my transition chart, and then, finally, finding a beginning and ending. The dress rehearsal was the day before. It felt really weird having a mouth microphone attached to my face. It made my ear itchy. All of the speakers practiced their full talks, and Tamsen gave us tips on how to do it better. I was able to incorporate these tips into my last practice presentation the next day, just before the big show. Lastly, I’d also like to thank my mom for helping me and coaching me through all of this, and helping me remember all my lines, and helping me with my slides, and especially when I was discouraged. And, I’d like to thank the other speakers, too. One of them, Max Tegmark, saw that I was very nervous before I was supposed to go on stage. But, Max took me, and the other speakers, through a 20-second meditation that did the trick. I am also grateful to Hamid Ghanadan, who made sure I remembered to hit the men’s room before being up in lights, and Tom Asacker, who was keeping the mood light by doing magic tricks backstage. You should really check out their talks, plus Sebastien Christian, Christopher Ahlberg, and Maggie Campbell, who also gave compelling and inspiring talks. This was an incredible opportunity to be able to talk to the other speakers and listen to their ideas. I hope you’ll check them out!
Last night I went to Alden & Harlow, in Harvard Square. The type of food they serve varies from secret burgers to poached quails eggs on grilled asparagus to squid salad to bone marrow. The vibe is hipster chic with gorgeous woodwork which looks to be reclaimed materials. One of the coolest things to see in the restaurant are the shelves that hold their pickling jars; the amuse bouche for the table was a plate of pickled green beans. Yum!
A note on bone marrow: this is a new discovery for me. Let me try to pull the flavor back into my mind to write this. It is a little of everything. It is sweet and savory and lip smackingly rich. It was a new revolution for Tobykind.
The menu always has a secret burger but tonight there was a secret burger and a double secret burger. We got the double secret burger which had, drum roll please, chips and three onion dip and a gruyere crisp actually on the burger. Mind blown! We got one as a communal dish for the table and feasted on the homemade potato chips until the New York strip arrived.
I also appreciate that the chef sent me a special dish to try: his corn pancakes with popcorn and syrup. My brother loved these and thought they were scrumptious. And so I. Those pancakes were better than most diner pancakes, and I like diner pancakes.
All in all, this meal is not one I will forget soon. I recommend you go and always share the love, aka food!
All year, I have been working on different fashions and recently, at the Upper Elementary Showcase of art, woodworking, and just regular classwork, I showed my four dresses.
The first one I called “Into the Air.” It is a model holding a human-sized balloon, which is bigger than the doll’s body, wearing a red tasseled skirt with a blue and white halter top with red accents and a rather long peplum cut in the back.
The second one I called “Spring Masquerade,” which is a flowered pink gown with a scoop neck and a large pink tissue paper bow hat and a small lace veil. The skirt was a cascade of layers.
The third one I called “Princess of the Isles,” not princess of the supermarket aisles, or I’d have to make her a grocery cart! The top and the pencil skirt are made out of blue stretching fabric. I put a pink star in the middle of the cut-out top, and made a golden wire tiara that had a matching star on it (before it fell off).
The fourth one I called “A Winter’s Day.” It was a fleece sleeveless gown with a attaching crimped hat and muff, and a peekaboo salmon skirt underneath. You can’t see it in this picture, because it’s peekalicious. This one was by far my favorite.
While making these all year in art class, I discovered the ups and owns of making doll dresses. Sometimes it’s easy and you just play with whatever shape of fabric you have, like Princess of the Isles, and sometimes you have to change things. For example, you won’t believe this, but what is not the top of Into the Air used to be the skirt, and the skirt used to be a little shawl!
What I’m really interested in learning, though, is how designers go from this stage of the process, to getting their actually real size person dresses purchased from stores. When I grow up and after I go to fashion design school, that’s what I want to do.
We started in Barcelona. The first day felt so long because of the time change, and I don’t remember that much of the first day. But I do remember that we stayed at the Gaudi hotel, and I had a refreshing nap. My favorite food that I ate in Barcelona was paella, to which I give four starts. Typical paella is seafood and rice but I got one with chicken. My favorite site I saw there was Gaudi’s unfinished church. This was a wonder of architecture because all five sides were different, with each looking like a different church.
From Barcelona, we boarded a cruise ship, the Liberty of the Seas. The first place the ship docked was Marseilles, in France. I think that out of Barcelona and Aix, Aix was my favorite. When we got off the ship at 1pm, we got on a bus that delivered us to Aix, where we saw three churches: roman, romanesque, and a mix of gothic and baroque, all built in different centuries. Baroque means like fancy pantsy and elaborate decorating. Inside of the church there were two different organs… or at least it looked like two. One was real and one was fake. They made a whole fake organ just to make the church look balanced!
The second place we went to was city hall, which inside the gates held a courtyard. The first floor used to be used — or maybe still used — for horses. The top two layers were offices. Around Aix, there are a lot of outside cafes at fountains, exactly 101 fountains. The main fountain around the rotunda was charming with many carved designs on top of it. I hope to go back.
From there we went to Nice, where along the way we passed “Millionaire’s Bay” and saw the homes of Elton John and Queen Victoria, amongst others. We arrived at St. Paul Devence, which is an old walled Renaissance city. There were once twelve cannons guarding the outside of the city, but only one left today. Once we entered the city, I was surprised to see that inside of all of these old buildings, there were modern shops. This showed the mix between the ages, with old stone on the outside and white modern stuff inside right next to each other.
When enemies used to attack the city, the residents would climb up in a tower via a ladder, which was pulled up by the last person. On the outside of the tower, there were stairs which wrapped around, but were only as wide as one footprint. I’ve seen this in other places I’ve visited, like Santorini, and it was interesting to see this technique employed in other cultures as well.
As our boat traveled into Italy, our first stop was Florence and Pisa. That day, we were awoken at 6:30am to get on the bus to drive to Pisa. It was a beautiful drive filled with sunflowers and countryside and white marble mountains. Once at Pisa, we walked awhile to the gate of the medieval wall, past some shops, and into the Square of Miracles. In Pisa, we saw the Leaning Tower, which from different perspectives and views looks to be leaning at different angles. If you only see it from one place, or the wrong place, it doesn’t look like it is leaning at all. Then we saw the dome with was covering the Baptistry, and the main plaza, the Piazza. It seems like every Italian city has a torre (a tower), a duomo (a dome), and a piazza (a plaza).
Some of the main sights we saw in Florence were the Ponto Vecchio (the bridge where they sold gold), the statue museum, and the cathedral. The cathedral was very pretty and had a bit of Michaelangelo’s graffiti, the first place they actually called it graffiti. It was actually a carving of his face. The statue museum had the Fountain of Poseidon and the statue of David, and Theseus holding Medusa’s head. P.S. Never look at her face or you’ll be turned to stone!
The next place we went to was Rome, my second favorite stop on the trip. Once there we discovered the Colosseum. In most of the pictures you see, about a quarter of it is not there, but right now they are cleaning it and adding new stone. Then we explored the Forum and the “wedding cake.” As we have our Washington Monument, they have the wedding cake, called that because it is all white and has tiers.
Later in the afternoon, we went to the Vatican and saw St. Peter’s Square. Inside the church was too busy, but we saw the Obelisk and learned how it was originally made for the pharoahs. We saw the window that was the Pope’s room, and the window that led to his study.
In every place in Italy, we had margherita pizza. Rome’s pizza was my favorite because it had the best cheese, and a crust that was flaky and not to crispy or too chewy. It was the perfect amount of everything.
Another place we went to was the Davinci Museum, which held an interactive display of all of his creations. One of the reasons I liked it was because it was a hands on museum where you could touch all the pulleys and gears and manipulate them yourself.
My favorite place to go was Pompeii, our last port. This was bittersweet because we were not going to any more ports, but on the upside we would be spending the entire next day on the ship with all of its fun activities. My order of favorites of the ports we visited were Pompeii, Rome, then a tie between Barcelona and Florence/Pisa, and then Aix-en-Provence, and St. Paul Devence. Here is why I liked Pompeii the best: the ruins were so intact to the point of it being almost unbelievable. I always think it is interesting when you know you are standing on history, in this case stones from Mt Vesuvius. Their water came through pipes made from lead; isn’t that scary? A style which I saw in many places was also there: there was a hole in the roof where the rain fell into a basin, and made a nice pretty thing when people came in. It was practically saying, when people walked in the door, “Yay, I’m rich, I have a fancy little pool.” All of the cement is still holding all of the walls together but the rooms burned doors with the hot lava, so you have to imagine that the roofs are still there.
We spent the last day on the ship, where there were many choices of activities. I spent my time on the flo-rider, an imitation of a surf wave that you ride on a boogie board. The goal is to get up on your knees and stay there. I did it twice, but mostly I wiped out. Some of the other activities include going swimming, scaling the climbing wall, and the ice skating rink.
One of the greatest things on the ship was the food. There was always a sit down or buffet option, and there were new choices every night. I probably ate about 10,000 calories a day! Another highlight of the ship were the shows. My two favorites were In the Air, a cirque de soleil type show, and Encore: an Ice Spectacular, because of the sheer wonder of how they do all those tricks on ice.
I owe a debt of gratitude to my Grandpa Walter and my Grandma Shelly, who took me and my brother on this trip around Europe. It has been a family tradition that when the youngest of the pair turns ten, they take the kids on this fantastic voyage. I have been waiting a long time for this, and it was even more fun than I could have imagined.
First in line at Boston Ballet’s production of Jewels was Emeralds. It was slow and beautiful, with a stage and costumes set to resemble the jewels themselves. There were many dancers in the piece and collectively they were quite good. The second act was Rubies, with principal dancers who shined above the rest, even thought they were wearing the same costumes. One of my favorites, Dusty Button, was replaced by someone new who I really liked but couldn’t find her name. Who could she be? The last act, in the performance, Diamonds, was performed by two of my favorite principal dancers, Jeffrey Cirio and Misa Kuranaga. The white and cream costumes were stunning, bedazzled with diamonds. Misa wore a crisp white tutu, and I love a crisp white tutu! I am excited to see more shows next year, as we renewed our subscription at the end of the show. Thank you Boston Ballet for a memorable season.
Marie Galvin founded a company called Galvinized Headwear and designs hats, fascinators, and headpieces for special occasions. She makes each one, individually and by hand, in her shop at the back of the store. If you are going to the Party in the Park, this is the perfect shopping stop.
While her hats are amazing, I love her fascinators. This is a peacock feather fascinator with a little black bow and some lace. It would look perfect of someone who is wearing a blue, green, or teal dress, and would offset well with blonde or red hair.
But her hats are stunning as well. This is a black hat made of a little meshy material with thin twig-like decor springing from the top and a tulle veil hanging down. Imaging wearing this to a party!
When I was there last weekend, I got to meet Marie herself. She was nice and fashionable, and had great taste while picking out a hat for my mom. She was also wearing one of her creations, which was a black hatinator, kind of a combinator between a hat and a fascinator, with a fishnet veil. The piece definitely fit her complexion and looked fabulous!
Quickly dropping the news, before I scurry off to school, that I’m giving a TEDx talk in just a few weeks, on June 5, in Cambridge. I’m so honored to be part of a group of such impressive speakers, and can’t wait to learn about them and hear their talks.