Category Archives: See

Weather or Not, Here I Come

At Newton Montessori School, the 4th, 5th, and 6th graders take Integrated Studies. In this program, we combine the actual knowledge of history and science and the study skills of applying that knowledge into test taking and note preparation.  After every unit, there is some sort of culminating event.

We just finished our unit on Weather Forecasting. As the culminating event for our unit, each student in the class created a weather forecast on video and then broadcasted it to the class parents. Today was the day that I did mine and I think I did very well.  Check out my video and see for yourself!

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The thing I liked about doing the weather was that we got some practice being in front of a camera and It made me extra happy because I was feeling fabulous and looked camera ready.

The next unit we are doing in Integrated Studies is on World Explorers. Everyone in the class is doing a different person.  I am doing Marco Polo.  Stay tuned for info about more cool projects.  ….Marco…?

Barbie with a Brain?

20barbie1_opener-superJumboA couple of Sundays ago, the New York Times Magazine arrived with a picture of Barbie on the front.  Naturally, I was intrigued, so I read the article.  The new Barbie called “Hello Barbie” is fully quipped with 8,000 lines of script and a wifi transmitter inside of her necklace.  This doll is catching the firefly of artificial intelligence that engineers have been chasing since dolls first said “Papa” with reeds and tubes.  Think about how cool it would be to have a doll who could actually talk to you!

Get in My Yummy

I absolutely love flying JetBlue because of the live TV. This summer, I was flipping through the channels and I found Food Network, which I knew existed but hadn’t been interested in until now. I’m suddenly finding myself passionate about cooking! The Food Network is a TV channel that offers shows about everything from Midwest cooking style to cooking at a summer camp to making cupcakes. My favorite shows are:Food Network

My favorite shows all include the element of surprise or an elimination factor that forces the cooks to be more stressed than in their usual setting. This seems to make them more creative because they are trying to go all out and win big.

A Different Kind of Beauty Sleep

ETC Sleeping Beauty 03webThe last time I went to Cincinnati to see my grandparents, I saw a musical. It was Sleeping Beauty, but in a different format than you would normally expect. It had the original fairytale, but also lots of comedy and many kinds of music and dancing, like ballet, jazz, rock, pop, and classical. They put on the show with a limited number of actors but made it look like they had a bustling cast; during intermission, a lot of the characters had to change and add and take away parts of their costume. For example, the person who played the king also played a thorn bush!

I am particularly interested in fashion design and costuming, as you know. One thing I liked was that the fairies had lights in their costumes that they could engage with small movements of their hands. I am going to be the sun god in a showcase at my school and I wish I had that feature.

Emcee Toby, Replete in Cobalt Suede

10313629_10153345314003484_685582491263936680_nThis past Monday, I emceed the Descience Fashion Show at the Media Lab at MIT. It was one of the major Boston Fashion Week shows. The three people with whom I worked most closely were Patricia, Yuly, and Claire. They involved me in thinking about how the fashion show would work and helping to set the agenda. Patricia and Claire helped me with my lines and made sure I got super good at them, and Yuly gave me a tour of the behind the scenes of the Media Lab.

The overall experience was a little bit hectic at the fashion show (and definitely at rehearsal), figuring out some things that we hadn’t quite figured beforehand and the nerve-wracking moments thinking through the lines with my partner emcee Cindy Reed, but the end product of the fashion show was astounding and it worked out perfectly.

10629703_10153160003977802_678831415616408043_nThe judges were an impressive group: Michele Finamore, Fashion Curator of the MFA (and one of the super nice women who showed me the building of Hollywood Glamour), Jay Calderin, founder of Boston Fashion Week (who has invited me to some shows this week — can’t wait!), Gabriel Victora of the Whitehead Institute, Sangetta Bhatia, one of the ten most influential women in biotech, and Francesca Amfitheatrof, design director at Tiffany (fancy!).

At the end of the show, I got to pull the winner from the golden envelope, Oscar-style. I’ve been to many fashion shows, but being onstage is such a different perspective,1455119_10153345328528484_4280113746397127126_n and a lot more fun. This was an educational experience and I would definitely do it again!

A Scoop of Glamour

Sneak Peek!
Sneak Peek!

While on a tour of the Museum of Fine Arts with Pamela Parmal and Michelle Finamore (who work in the department of fashion and textile arts) and Claudia Iannuccilli (of the conservation lab) I learned that a new exhibit called Hollywood Glamour would open on September 10. I got to see some of the outfits being conserved and the floor plans and exhibit space under construction. I can’t wait for this exhibit to open.

Here’s why: when you first step into the room, you will be momentarily blinded by the gold and silver paint and silks and sparkles! But when your vision returns, you will see all glitz and glamour Hollywood had in the 1920s and 1930s. With a grand sweeping staircase on which mannequins display the dresses, all of which have met the bar, being either beaded, shimmery, sparkly, or all of the above. On the other side of the room, there will be jewelry cases and descriptions of the fashions. All of this is filling the glass to the brim.

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But then, adding the screen playing clips of old Hollywood movies, and big prints of film icons puts the glass over the top (in a good way)!

Here’s a fun fact: These dresses that will be displayed were created custom for the actress who would wear them, and these actresses were short. So, in the lab where they are conserving the dresses, you see pieces of traditional sized mannequins scattered on the floor in an effort to make them shorter. For some of them, like Mae West — I learned the word curvaceous — they had to add pads!

TOBYxCambridge!

Today my TEDxCambridge talk went live online! Image 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. ImageThe 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. Image 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!