Thursday, April 12, 2018

Places to Photograph in Boston

As a photographer, I’m always on the lookout for exciting places to photograph when I’m in another city. While it may be a little while before my next excursion out of town, here are some awesome places to take photographs in Boston.

Public Garden


With a very pedestrian name, the Public Garden is anything but. There is plenty of opportunity for great sky views with the park area as your focus and if you go in the summer, you’ll be just in time for the flowers to start blooming which really adds to your colors.

The Public Garden is about as centrally located as it gets in Boston. Take the Green Line to either the Arlington or Boylston stop, or the Red Line to Park Street. There is also a parking garage below Boston Common for those who want to drive but don’t want to deal with hunting for a spot and parallel parking.

Skywalk Observatory


I love aerial views and this is the perfect place to get them. It’s a 50 story ride up and you get a panoramic view of the entire city. Whether you go in the daytime or at night, you’ll get really good views of the city but don’t forget to choose the right lens You may have some glare from the windows but in the daytime you can choose where to shoot from that has the best angle away from the sun.

To get there it is reachable from the Copley Square and Hynes Convention Center stops on the main Green Line. There is also a parking garage beneath the Pru, for those who want to take a car. 

Central Burying Ground


While plenty of people like to photograph all kinds of architecture and beautiful places, I like a different kind of Boston real estate – graveyards. The Central Burying Ground may not be the most famous cemetery or the prettiest but it has the best atmosphere. The land was purchased in 1756 and this cemetery is considered undesirable but you’ll find plenty of brick and stone tombs for early immigrants and even poetry for the children buried there.

You can find it at Boylston Street, between Charles Street and Tremont Street.

There are plenty of other beautiful sights to see and places to photograph such as Longfellow Bridge, Harvard Bridge, Zakim Bridge, Beacon Hill, and Copley Square.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

FloraBloom Probiotics for Women

I was recently able to try out FloraBloom Probiotics for Women and I am very pleased with them. I need to take probiotics anyway so it was my pleasure to get to use these.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About FloraBloom


  • PROMOTES HEALTHY DIGESTION – Proprietary blend of PRE and PRO biotics, Cranberry & D-Mannose works together to allow absorption of nutrients & increases the performance of your digestive system
  • IMPROVE VAGINAL HEALTH BY COMBINING NATURAL PRE AND PROBIOTICS – Regulates pH & controls vaginal flora to reduce vagina odor, discharge, redness, & itching which is aggravated by sexual intercourse
  • BOOSTS IMMUNITY WHICH MAY REDUCE RISK OF INFECTIONS – Unique formula of lactobacillus strains has CFU's scientifically combined to improve vaginal, bladder, & urinary health potentially reducing risk of Urinary Tract Infection (UTIs), Bacterial Vaginosis, Vaginitis & Yeast
  • OPTIMIZE URINARY HEALTH – Natural ingredients reduce adhesion of bacteria to the urinary tract to decrease ‘bad’ bacteria while acting as an antioxidant to rephresh & cleanse your body
  • SAFE FOR PREGNANT WOMEN – Lactobacillus probiotics may help to prevent Group B Strep - the most common causes of neonatal sepsis and meningitis 
 
 
These are a probiotic I would definitely buy again. They seem to help my stomach issues and regulate my pH. You can find them on Amazon and I highly recommend them. 

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Cherished

I like to collect things and I think it is because growing up, my mother loved her “whatnots,” as she called them. She had shelves full of figurines and items I was never allowed to touch as a kid. I think I spent half my childhood with my hands behind my back and still do that when I’m around something expensive.

However, her love of collecting things made an impression on me and when I was younger I started collecting too. Maybe it was because we enjoyed doing it together, or maybe it’s something I would have done anyway but it was such fun. I started with bear collectibles simply because I loved bears. Usually they were inexpensive and cute – nothing that would cost of lot if it was broken.

Right after high school, I started collecting carousel horses; my first one was bought at a drugstore and seemed expensive to me at the time. I think I remember it was close to $40 or so, but with inflation that same item will set you back around $90. It was my first bigger purchase for something just to sit on a shelf to admire and it made me proud to have bought it with my own money.

When I was in high school, my best friend Janet and I went to World Bazaar in the mall and spent hours filling up an entire shadow box with tiny glass animals as a gift for my mom, all painstakingly chosen. Tiny elephants, little dogs, cute bears – a myriad of glass creatures with every piece having significance behind why we chose it. My mom cherished that and had it on the wall up until her death – 27 years later.

She also collected angels and kept them in a heavy, lighted curio cabinet with glass doors that kept them dust-free and away from her grandchildren’s sticky fingers and clumsy hands. Glass angels, porcelain ones with feathery adorned wings, and even whimsical ones with honey hair that looked childlike and full of saccharine. Every holiday I would try to get her something for that collection and after her death it moved to my dining room, so now I’m the gatherer of angels.

My mother also had a salt and pepper collection that would rival any country store or antique shop. Once she got started, everyone would buy her a set when they went on vacation or simply saw something they knew she’d like. The last set I got her was of Ricky and Lucy because she absolutely loved the I LOVE LUCY show – those too are in my home now.

Over the years I’ve collected many things – cigar boxes that sometimes still smell like tobacco, snow globes that create a blizzard in a tiny world once you shake them, decorative bottles filled with peppers I’ll never eat, honey colored oils, or amber colored vinegar, and wine that is never opened but instead displayed for their unique labels of dapper dogs or my favorite rock star’s brand. My interests have changed throughout the years but whatever I have collected in the past is still just as special to me.

Part of the wonder of cherished items is that something you loved is passed down to someone else, like my mother’s angels. I don’t have children so when I die, I imagine these things won’t be important to anyone else or then again, maybe someone will be able to enjoy it as much as I have and they will find a new home where someone else cherishes their presence.



Saturday, February 10, 2018

Genome Link - Use Your DNA Raw Data

Back a couple of years ago I had a DNA test done by Ancestry.com and along with the information about my ancestry, I also got my raw data which can be uploaded to learn more about traits and personality. One of the places I recently tried out is GENOME LINK which is based on the power of the data you upload which gives us even more information about our DNA. The reason they can provide you with more data on various genetic traits is that they read more various research papers about genetic traits. And also they can read whole genome data only if you upload whole genome data but again 23andme or Ancestry.com only read the limited parts of your DNA so the data that you download is not whole genome.

I actually found GENOME LINK through an advertisement on Facebook and thought why not try it out? I uploaded my raw data I got from Ancestry.com. This part is really easy. You get your raw data and it is usually a text file or something similar. You then upload it and the results are pretty immediate.

The kind of information you get are 26 traits like eye color, skin pigmentation, weight, hair color, caffeine consumption and if you upgrade to Premium plan, you get additional 40 traits, even things like longevity, sleep duration and excessive daytime sleepiness based on your genome data. Now, keep in mind that some things won’t be exact and there is a reason for this.

The insights derived from the research studies used to interpret your DNA data is based on population studies whereby they recruit research participants who all have the same trait (eg. have a certain eye color). Then they compare all their DNA data and see where in the genome they are aligned, or have the same nucleotide (DNA letter). This, combined with other studies, allows researchers to conclude that MOST people who have a certain nucleotide at a specific position in the genome have this trait (eg. brown eye color) that they are researching. And that MOST people who have other nucleotides at this specific position have another variant of the trait (eg. other eye colors). In short, they identify which variants in DNA are associated with traits. You can link to these research papers by clicking a certain SNP on each traits card on GENOME LINK.

SNP (single-nucleotide polymorphism) is a DNA sequence variation occurring when a single nucleotide adenine(A), thymine(T),cytosine(C),or guanine(G) in the genome(or other share sequence) differs between members of a species or paired chromosomes in an individual. For example, two sequenced DNA fragments from different individual, AAGCCTA to AAGCTTA, contain a difference in a single nucleotide. In this case we say that there are two alleles: C and T. Almost all common SNPs have only two alleles.

References: International Society Of Genetic Genealogy



Just because the data does not return what you believe to be your trait, it does not mean that it is wrong. It is likely that you are statistically one of the few people who have the trait regardless of the nucleotide letter, for some reason unknown to science, or that it was affected by other factors such as epigenetics, the environment or other. Remember that the bulk of these studies only show correlation and not causation. It is unsettling that science cannot be more conclusive, but that's how far science is at this point.

There is a raw data tab in the left corner of the screen that allows you view your raw data where you can link to public databases on research papers. This is especially important because it is another factor in having the most information possible and I don’t know of any other place where you upload raw data that actually links to outside resources.


DNA and genomes are pretty exciting in my opinion – especially since I am adopted and have no family history. The technology will continue to grow and at some point in the future, you will pretty much know everything you need to know in order to make good decisions on what to eat and things that will help you live longer and healthier.

If any of my friends have done a DNA test and would like to try out the premium version of Genome Link, I have five premium versions to offer. Just let me know. Either way, check it out and see how cool it is to learn more about your genome.

Monday, January 29, 2018

The 5 Best Miami Steakhouses

Miami is one of the top destinations for both tourists and those looking to buy Miami real estate and become permanent residents. The weather is tropical and whether you want to visit the latest art exhibit, enjoy exciting night life, take your family to the aquarium, or bask in the sun – you won’t find a place quite like it.

That isn’t all that Miami is known for; with a blend of cultural specific cuisine and American fare, the choices are endless. But if you’re looking for a prime cut of beef or the freshest accompaniments you can find, here are the 5 best steak houses in the Miami area. 


Bourbon Steak
19999 W. Country Club Dr. Aventura

Bourbon Steak is a Michael Mina restaurant that serves all-natural, organic, hormone-free cuts of beef grilled over wood after being tempered with herb infused butter. The fresh market ingredients include sides like truffle mac and cheese and roasted mushrooms and herbs. The main attraction are the prime cuts of American beef like 16 oz Delmonico ribeye or the 32 oz porterhouse. Of course, you can always get the Japanese Wagyu A5 New York strip or the American Wagyu, which is less expensive. Accompaniments include delicacies such as grilled tiger prawns, butter poached half main lobster, Alaskan king crab bearnaise, and Hudson Valley foie gras. There are also seafood dishes for those who prefer something different. Bourbon Steak is one of Miami’s go-to places and a South Beach Favorite.

Meat Market
915 Lincoln Rd. Miami Beach

Meat Market touts their restaurant as sexy and sophisticated and if the crowds are any indication, that is true. With the acclaimed Executive Chef Sean Brasel, offers both signature steaks as well as reserved cuts. Choose a 22 oz bone-in ribeye for example or pick from reserved cuts like the 30 oz Wagyu beef tomahawk ribeye or the 32 oz center cut prime porterhouse. You will also savor the choices of plenty of sides, accompaniments, crudos, tiraditos, appetizers, and choose between 10 sauces for your steak like wild mushroom and truffle sauce, Jack Daniels pasilla garlic sauce, and peppercorn cognac sauce. Voted best steakhouse in South Florida, one of the 14 hottest steakhouses in South Florida by Zaggat, and one of Miami’s best 11 steakhouses in Thrillist – it’s obvious this is the place to experience phenomenal food.

Edge Steak & Bar
1435 Brickell Avenue in the Four Seasons Hotel

Edge Steak & Bar has flawless food prepared by Executive Chef Aaron Brooks and the choices are many, the d├ęcor is luxurious, yet the prices are reasonable. There are approximately nine steaks to choose from and they are 100% black angus beef by Creekstone Farms in Arkansas City, Kansas. Although you might want to try the grass fed, pasture raised all-natural Australia 24 oz saw cut ribeye or Thomas Farms New York strip with waygu beef. Edge Steak & Bar also offers sauces like edge chimichurri and tamarind BBQ. The sides may includes seemingly simple choices like house cut fries but these are truffle aoili fries. One of the unique things offered is American bean to bar chocolate where you can choose your favorite from choices like 70% Guatemala, Fleur De Sel from Dick Taylor in Eureka, California or 72% Wild Cacao, Venezuela from Castronovo in Stuart, Florida.

Prime One Twelve
112 Ocean Dr Miami Beach

This is the first modern steakhouse in the United States and is a chef-driven boutique steakhouse that has an energetic environment and innovative menu. On the menu you’ll find cuts of meat like the 48 oz porterhouse or the Japanese A5 Kobe in filets, ribeyes, and New York strips. Specialty sauces, butters, and chapeaux are all available to liven up your meal and you’ll find 10 ways of different potatoes as well as over 20 accessories such as rum baked sweet plantains, Kobe beef and sausage stuffing, and spinach and Parmesan stuffed tomatoes. If you’re lucky, you just might spot an NBA player or a celebrity while you’re dining.

The Forge
432 W 41st St Miami Beach

The Forge’s menus is inspired by fresh ingredients and fresh open markets. The largest steak is a 35 oz porterhouse for two and you can rub your steak with a variety of seasonings such as The Forge’s signature blend, smoky Portuguese, blackened Cajun, and 4 peppercorn medley. You can also accessorize your steak with duck egg and smoked bacon, and more – even Alaskan king crab. And there are specialty sauces like cognac sauce or black truffle jus.

All of these steakhouse restaurants offer something unique that you’ll enjoy. Even if someone in your party isn’t fond of steak, there are plenty of other choices like freshly caught seafood, crisp, fresh salads, and yummy desserts when you think you can’t eat another bite.



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