Ever heard of this site called YouTube?

Yes, I know I’m a bit slow to the game but I finally created my own channel on YouTube. I guess I never really had a reason to have my own channel but lately I’ve been taking a lot more video with my little point and shoot camera. My (sort of) new Panasonic Lumix takes HD video which is pretty sweet. Now I just need to learn how to edit since I tend to film extra stuff that can be a bit boring. Maybe strangers will find some of our antics funny, but in the very least at least my friends will appreciate it. Here is one of my creations:

Go check out my channel for more.

Wedding Invitations by David’s Bridal

I was on the hunt for wedding invitations and it seems there are options for whatever your budget may be. They range from buying blank invites from any store such as Staples, Target or A.C. Moore and printing them on your home printer to meeting with a wedding consultant and having them specially designed and printed to your specifications. I chose the middle option and searched for my invitations online. There were a ton of options but I found little help from reviews on which was the best. I searched through Wedding Paper Divas, The Paper Source, The Knot and finally landed on David’s Bridal. David’s Bridal had the most selection that fit into my budget it seemed.

The website itself is pretty good as far has helping you write your invitations. They present you with screens to fill out the basic information for the event, date, location, address, time, bride and groom’s names, etc. Then on the following pages you can choose from a number of templates they have for the text and change it around as much as you like. The process was pretty painless and not too expensive for 100 invites and response cards with our return address pre-printed on the both the outer envelope and the response card envelope. The strange thing I did find was that it only cost $1 more to get 100 invites versus 75, but the jump from 100 to 125 was much more. Must have to do with the printers they use to batch print the invites. Either way, it worked out for me and now I have a few spare just in case. I ordered the invites on June 29th and they arrived at my door July 22nd, they said 3-4 weeks and they were right on time. All in all this was a very good experience and I’d recommend them to anyone who is looking for fairly inexpensive, nicely printed, simple invitations.

Vegas – What I learned, Part II

I learn a little more each time… when going with a large group of people, limos are the way to go. People told me this but I didn’t believe it until I experienced it for myself. Depending on the amount of people you have, it does come out to the same if not cheaper than taking cabs. It’s best to inform the concierge or doorman of the hotel you are staying at of your plans for the current and following evening. They will be able to get you a limo when you need to be picked up as well as be able to get you on guest lists for various nightclubs you may want to visit. Sadly I learned this too late, but know it for next time. Also, make sure to ask and remember the name of the doorman or person that is helping you, and be sure to tip them, they will be more likely to bend the rules or give you preference over other guests. A little kindness (and money) goes a long way.

This time around we got to go to Mix Lounge at the top of THEhotel at Mandalay Bay. This lounge has 360 degree views of Vegas and one side where you can see down the entire strip. I’m not sure if this lounge is not as popular as the others or if it was an off night, but we were able to find tables to sit at and getting drinks at the bar didn’t take too long. For THEhotel guests the cover is $10 but we got in for free somehow. If you’re staying at THEhotel or Mandalay Bay, it’s definitely worth checking out.

We also hit up O’Sheas again and it was way more fun than last time. We turned a beer pong table into flip cup madness, and 20 games later we won 16-4. I’d like to point out that this was my very first time playing flip cup, and I think I did a pretty good job, nevermind that I spilled half my beer all over myself. Most of the fun was having a great team, and fun opponents.


Need a Life Sized Companion Cube!

Weighted Companion Cube

For our wedding in November I want a life sized companion cube from Portal. I want to use it as an envelope box for gifts. I thought it was a pretty clever idea, and it’s got the pink heart on it and everything. Turns out I can’t seem to find anyone else that has done it. Maybe I finally came up with an original idea, who knows. I found two models that come close to what I want, Karen Chu who made one as part of her halloween costume and a PC case that someone made which is extremely clever. Both of these models require a talent which I don’t have… so if anyone knows of someone who would want to build it for me, please let me know.

Long time…

I haven’t wrote in a while and figured it would be good if I got back into the swing of things. The school semester finally ended and I feel like a huge weight has been lifted. Now I just wait for the grades. Mostly I am excited about getting back to the things that classes has kept me from, most importantly my cupcakes. They feel neglected. Since Memorial Day is coming up, and we’re having the annual BBQ, what better reason to make cupcakes! I also need to get back on those side project and… oh yah… plan a wedding. But cupcakes… gotta keep the priorities straight.

I broke the law…

Back in January I was caught in a speed trap in the Williams tunnel in Boston. Although, I was riding alongside another car, I was picked out and pulled over. The officer said I was going 69 in a 45, which could quite possibly be true, I wasn’t looking at my speedometer and he had a LIDAR gun. So I took my $240 ticket and went home (going the speed limit of course).  This was my second speeding ticket ever (the first one being in 2002) and my first ticket in Massachusetts. So as I did with my first ticket, I was ready to pay it right away. I went online the next day to the Mass RMV site, entered in all of my information including my credit card number only to hit Submit and have them tell me my ticket wasn’t in the system yet and I had to wait 10 days to pay it. Very technologically advanced.

So in the meantime, I called my insurance company to see how much of a hit I was going to take since in Mass every moving violation increases the premium on your auto insurance. I still don’t understand how a speeding ticket affects my insurance policy, but that’s an argument for another time. The woman at my insurance company informed me that I would be paying about $200 more a year for the next 6 years… SIX YEARS. So my $240 moving violation fine was going to cost me $1,440. Super. But then the woman on the phone asked me to recall the events leading up to my ticket. I explained how I was on Mass Pike coming from Newton driving in the middle of 3 lanes. Once I reached Boston just before the Williams tunnel the left lane turned into an exit only, so I was paying more attention to the road signs rather than the speed limit sign. So I went into the tunnel going highway speed in the left lane, perfect target. Apparently, a cop is always standing around this corner in the tunnel so I probably should have known. The insurance lady told me to fight the ticket. She said based on what I had told her I would get off. I mentioned it to a few other people at work and they all told me the same thing. So I sent in my request for a hearing and waited for the date.

I few weeks later, I get a letter with the date which is 2 months from when I originally got the ticket. So I spent that time researching traffic laws in Mass and what to say and how to act and what to wear. In all my research, I find out the night prior that I go before a magistrate first, then I can appeal the magistrates decision before a judge. So the next day I dress up in business casual attire and head to South Boston. When I get there, there’s a long line of people waiting to see the magistrate, apparently fighting tickets is just as routine as buying bread. I was also the best dressed person there. One lady was actually in sweatpants and a dirty t-shirt. One guy brought a little baby along with him, I don’t think the magistrate fell for it. Then it was my turn, I walk in, sit down, moleskine in hand with all of notes and talking points only to have the officer tell the magistrate that this was my first ticket and she let me go. All that build up for nothing. She said that she typically lets first timers go. But in the end at least I got to go through the experience of (at least half way) fighting a ticket. And, my insurance doesn’t go up, which is the best part.

So if its your first time getting a speeding ticket, definitely request a hearing… worst case, you have to pay the original fine, but at least you have a chance of getting rid of it altogether. Also, if you are in Mass here are a few good tips I came across in my research:

How to Beat a Speeding Ticket
Unoffical Guide to the DMV

Krutika Patel and Ada Lovelace Day

bhabhiA few months ago I joined a pledge to write a blog post about a woman in technology that I admire on Ada Lovelace Day, which is today. So the woman in tech that I admire the most is my sister-in-law, Krutika Patel.

Krutika graduated from Sardar Patel University in India with a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science and she is an Applications Developer for Aaron Rents, Inc. She is also one of the most talented people I know. She develops in C#, ASP.NET and the dying language of FoxPro as well as being a SQL guru. I can’t count how many times I’ve IM’ed her for help and have gotten a response (that works!) almost immediately. I’d like to think that is just because I am family but I know she’d do the same for just about anyone.

In addition to having a full-time career in IT, she is also the mother of two boys who are easily two of the smartest kids I know, no doubt to having a smart mom. What’s great to see is how Krutika lives in the typical southern community of stay-at-home mom’s and housewifes yet she is able to and is excited to have a career in the tech field doing something she is great at while still raising a family and being involved with her kids 100%. IT is a tough field on its own with new technology being creating so quickly, if you don’t keep up you get left behind.

Krutika’s ability to balance her family and her career in such a difficult and ever changing field is an inspiration to me and all the women who get the pleasure to meet and know her.

Tangierino in Charlestown

This week is restaurant week in Boston, and like every year we like to try a new restaurant as well as return to some of our favorites. Due to the not so pleasant economical situation we decided to limit our restaurant choices to two this time, one new and one vintage. Tangierino was our new. It’s a Moroccan restaurant with influences from the Middle East and the Mediterranean.

First, I was a bit annoyed that they did not have their restaurant week menu posted online to view (well there was a link that was dead). When we arrived at the restaurant, I thought the decor was a bit over the top, it was very dark, lots of colored drapes everywhere and the restaurant is like a maze. The hostess took us in a zig zag to the back of the restaurant to seat us by the window and there was no way I could find my way back to the restrooms. Another drawback was the fact that they only served the restaurant week menu where other restaurants give you the option of ordering from their regular menu if the restaurant week options do not appeal to you. Our waitress was trying to convince us that during restaurant week, restaurants only serve what is on the prix-fixe menu, I decided to let it go and not argue with her.

I started off with a lychee champagne drink that did not really taste like lychee at all, but was still good. For appetizer I got the lamb in phylo dough with an eggplant vegetable side, it was very good. The lamb wasn’t too strong, the phylo wasn’t very oily and I typically stay away from eggplant as it tends to get mushy when cooked, but it was mixed very well with spices. Alex got the tuna tartar for appetizer which was severely lacking in tuna. It was mostly diced up cucumber and mango with some guacamole and what I think was Russian dressing on top. There was very little tuna. In fact this is what it was supposed to look like, and I am now kicking myself that I didn’t take a picture of what we actually got, it looked nothing like that.

For my entree I got duck breast with mashed potatoes, and I was fairly unimpressed. It was delicious but a very small portion. In fact, it was three small, medium thick slices of duck and a small round of mashed potatoes. The duck was very tasty but the mashed potatoes were nothing special, there was no Middle Eastern or Moroccan twist to them, just regular mashed potatoes. Also on my plate was a single cooked fig and a single cooked apricot. Gladly, I have a smaller appetite so this sized portion was just right for me after the appetizer I had had. Alex had the chicken with couscous for entree and it was about five times the size of my meal. He got two large pieces of chicken and a very large helping of couscous with plenty of seasoned vegetables on top. It was a very tasty meal although you could get the feeling that it was meant to have more spice and more of a kick to it. Maybe they assumed people couldn’t handle the spice and made it bland.

Dessert is my absolute favorite meal, and it will make or break a restaurant experience for me. Unfortunately, it broke this one. First there were only two dessert options, flourless chocolate cake and fruit sorbet. I went with the flourless chocolate cake mostly because I knew Alex would go for the sorbet. Now, if you’ve had the flourless chocolate cake at McCormick and Schmick’s you can only imagine how excited I was to try this one. Sadly, this one was nothing even close to McCormick and Schmick’s, in fact our waitress was incorrect in saying that it was a cake, it is actually a souffle as stated on their menu. Had I known this, I would not have ordered it. When it came out, the “cake” was warm much like a souffle would be and the ice cream on the side was half melted. I took one bite of the “cake” and was done. It tasted like chocolate gelatin, it was one of the worst desserts I have had. I ate what was left of the ice cream on my plate and shared the sorbet. The sorbet was very good, watermelon and tangerine. It was sweet and tarty and very fruity.

Overall, the food was good but I felt for restaurant week they could have done a better job especially since they were not serving anything from their regular menu. The dessert was a big disappointment. I would give them another chance but I would order off of the regular menu and probably not get any of the items I had for restaurant week.