New Year’s Resolutions To Keep In Mind

Although this is a commencement speech, I wanted to take advantage of the fact that tomorrow is New Year’s eve and put this speech on my blog. This year, instead of making empty resolutions such as going more to the gym and losing those 10 extra pounds I decided to make more substantial resolutions, such as the ones in this video. I hope you take something away from this speech, I know its been five years since the first time I heard it yet it still teaches me something new every time.

But trust me on the sunscreen.

Happy New Year.

Foreign Concept Girl.

Pastry Shop Guide

Ass all my lovely followers know, I am a HUGE HUGE HUGE foodie. And this semester I had to do a video project for one of my journalism classes where I chose a topic and reported about it. Naturally I decided to make it about food (because it would be really immoral to turn in a video about how much I like going to clubs). I decided to concentrate on North End dining, and while you may be thinking, she already did a post about dining in the North End in february, this time I decided to focus on all the Italian pastry shops in this lovely area. Click on my video to see what I believe are the best Italian pastry shoppes in the North End. There is even a surprise appearance by me, making it the first time you will ever hear me talking!

Bon Apetit!

HELP ME!

Hello my fabulous readers, I need your help! I need at least 30 votes in the following poll I made: http://www.freeblogpolls.com/polls/1253798-what-brought-you-to-the-north-end for one of my Journalism classes.

Show me some love by voting in this poll and helping me get a good grade!!

All my love and more,

Foreign Concept Girl.

Boston Christmas Events

As the weather gets colder, and the year draws to an end, most of us ‘tis the season to be naughty. This means calling in sick to work more often than were supposed to and getting drunk during our huge family gatherings. However, with the amount of Christmas events Boston’s offering this year, you might want to reconsider your highly anticipated holiday bender and actually go out and enjoy the city’s holiday cheer. From shopping, to ice skating to unusual versions of the nutcracker here is a list of events you might want to check out if you decide to get creative with your Christmas plans.

We understand you’re tired of seeing The Nutcracker every Christmas, but this year you can watch a more modern version of this classic. For the 5th consecutive year The Slutcracker will be playing at The Somerville theatre (55 Davis Sq.) and it’s a burlesque version of our beloved story except this one contains strippers instead of proper well-to-do little girls. We don’t feel we need to mention this, but The Slutcracker is most definitely not kid friendly so for those of you who still wish to enjoy The Nutcracker with your little ones, Tchaikovsky’s original ballet version of the story will be playing through Dec 31st. at the Boston Opera House (539 Washington St.).

As for other Christmas shows, for three days only (Dec 26th-28th) you can get in touch with your cheesy side and go see probably the largest amount of glitter and hairspray you will ever see in your life. That’s right, this year Boston will have its own version of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular- Rockettes included!! The show will be performed at the Citi Performing Arts Center (270 Tremont Street) so even if you are stuck in Boston for the holidays, you can feel almost as if you had a vacation in New York (right). Given we are on the subject of cheesy, you can also head to Symphony Hall (301 Massachusetts Av.) and check out the Boston Pops holiday special, which plays through Dec. 26th and features a special appearance by none other than Saint Nick himself.

Now we assume after seeing the old bearded guy, you would get in the mood for some Christmas shopping. What better place to do so than in the SOWA Holiday Market (74 Union Park St.), which is the Christmas version of the famous SOWA open market and features more than 80 local artisans and designers. Think of it as a two for one deal, not only will you get amazing gifts for you and your loved ones, but you will also be helping the local economy grow! Happy Holidays to all our loyal readers. DWN.

The Unmarked Door

When one walks through the North End-specifically Hanover street- it is impossible not to get distracted with the amount of restaurants, bars and pastry shops the neighborhood has to offer. It’s hard to believe that a place so small (is less than 1 sq mile big) can offer so many sources of entertainment. One particularly charming thing about this neighborhood is its European-style coffeehouses, where you buy your coffee and actually sit down to drink it. Does this not sound like a marvelous idea? Well in the north end you can find a wide range of cafes to do that, including the famous Caffe Vittoria (290 Hanover street) which was the first Italian coffee house to open in Boston.

However, before serving the best espresso in Boston, Caffe Vittoria was prohibition era’s biggest and most important speakeasy in the city. Here, for the nifty price of $2000, you could buy a key that represented a membership to the place. This gave you the right to booze and debate with your fellow members til’ the sun came up. Now how exactly did Caffe Vittoria work during prohibition? Well Stanza dei Sigari once used to be a part of Caffe Vittoria, and its members would walk in through the espresso bar and go through a narrow set of stairs to the basement of Sigari, which served as the Caffe’s speakeasy. Even today, when you visit Sigari you can see that it has multiple hidden exits that served as escape ways in case the police ever raided the place.

Although it is no longer prohibition and one can drink freely, both Caffe Vittoria and Stanza dei Sigari continue to exist. Caffe Vittoria is not one of Boston’s most popular coffeehouses which is really popular among local politicians, and Stanza dei Sigari is an cigar bar and one of the few places in Boston where you can still smoke indoors.

All I want for Christmas…

original article can be found in the latest issue of Dirty Water News

Admit it, the only reason why you shopped on Black Friday is because you had been lusting on a pair of too-expensive black pumps and hoped to find them at a discount price. But with December right around the corner, you may be asking yourself the age-old question: what do I get my friends and family for Christmas? No need to stress! Here at Dirty Water News we have compiled a Christmas-Gift shopping list for every member of your crew.

-For your little sister: since she admires you so much and wants to be just like you, go ahead and get her a nice jewelry box so you won’t have trouble finding all the earrings and necklaces she “borrows” from you. Now if you really want to splurge on your sis’s gift you can make her dream come true by buying her a bag from The Cambridge Satchel Company ($155 at Shopbop.com).

-For your BFF: since you guys already share all your clothes there is no use in getting her a sweater or a new dress (unless it’s one you want to wear too). Surprise her with a creative gift like a Picnic Plus Brava Wine & Cheese Backpack (available at Amazon.com) set so she can carry her booze around with style. Not a heavy drinker? No problem! You can surprise her with an awesome pair of sunglasses from see eyewear (125 Newbury St.) or with anything and everything that can be bought at The Fashion Truck Boston, which is parked every Sunday at SOWA open market or at The Holiday Market at City Hall Plaza.

For your loving mother: while most magazines and holiday shopping lists will tell you to get her some sort of cooking appliance, we feel it’s rude to send your mother to the kitchen! Show her some love by getting her some scented candles from Diptyque (available at Barney’s) or some nice picture frames-with picture of you in them of course! If you don’t feel like getting her anything for the home, you can give her a Luxe Beauty Gift such as the Clarisonic Mia brush so she can have a glowing complexion in time for new year’s.

For the men in your life: we all suffer when attempting to buy gifts for men, so in an attempt to over simplify this experience, we at Dirty Water News have decided that nothing puts your men in the holiday spirit like fine bottle of Whiskey. If your dad is not a heavy drinker, any gadget from The Sharper Image will most definitely put a smile on his face. And for the men in your life who aren’t old enough to drink? A pair of Beats by Dr. Dre headphones will surely impress, however in case you don’t feel like splurging that amount of cash on you little brother a video game like Fifa 13 is surely a kick ass gift.

Now you will surely be exhausted after all that holiday shopping, so why not treat yourself to a pre-Christmas massage at Bliss Spa Boston (located at the W hotel) you can follow up that relaxation session on your couch with all your thankful loved ones for a Mad Men Marathon.

Heat Map of the Arab Spring

It has been almost two years since the revolution called the Arab Spring began in the rural town of Sidi Bouzid, Tunisia. The revolution spread like domino across the region in what seemed to be and attempt on behalf of these countries to rid themselves of their authoritarian regimes, which most of the participating countries managed to do. Yet time has passed and the region is still experiencing turmoil due to the 20-month-old Syrian Civil War, and the return of protesters to Egypt’s Tahrir Square because of their discontent with the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi’s politics. Given past, recent and present events in the region, reporters and foreign politics alike wonder to what level these uprisings were successful. They fear for a second round of violence in the region, since the conflicts in Syria have spread to Turkey and violence has returned to Egypt. They hope these events don’t, once again trigger a wave of violence in the neighboring countries as it happened in 2010.

In order to explain the geographical reasons why it would be possible that a “Second Arab Spring” would arise, I have created an interactive “heat map” of all the main focal points of the conflict.

Heat Map

A little reflection

Elie Wiesel’s Acceptance Speech, on the occasion of the award of the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, December 10, 1986

It is with a profound sense of humility that I accept the honor you have chosen to bestow upon me. I know: your choice transcends me. This both frightens and pleases me.

It frightens me because I wonder: do I have the right to represent the multitudes who have perished? Do I have the right to accept this great honor on their behalf? … I do not. That would be presumptuous. No one may speak for the dead, no one may interpret their mutilated dreams and visions.

It pleases me because I may say that this honor belongs to all the survivors and their children, and through us, to the Jewish people with whose destiny I have always identified.

I remember: it happened yesterday or eternities ago. A young Jewish boy discovered the kingdom of night. I remember his bewilderment, I remember his anguish. It all happened so fast. The ghetto. The deportation. The sealed cattle car. The fiery altar upon which the history of our people and the future of mankind were meant to be sacrificed.

I remember: he asked his father: “Can this be true?” This is the twentieth century, not the Middle Ages. Who would allow such crimes to be committed? How could the world remain silent?

And now the boy is turning to me: “Tell me,” he asks. “What have you done with my future? What have you done with your life?”

And I tell him that I have tried. That I have tried to keep memory alive, that I have tried to fight those who would forget. Because if we forget, we are guilty, we are accomplices.

And then I explained to him how naive we were, that the world did know and remain silent. And that is why I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men or women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must – at that moment – become the center of the universe.

Of course, since I am a Jew profoundly rooted in my peoples’ memory and tradition, my first response is to Jewish fears, Jewish needs, Jewish crises. For I belong to a traumatized generation, one that experienced the abandonment and solitude of our people. It would be unnatural for me not to make Jewish priorities my own: Israel, Soviet Jewry, Jews in Arab lands … But there are others as important to me. Apartheid is, in my view, as abhorrent as anti-Semitism. To me, Andrei Sakharov‘s isolation is as much of a disgrace as Josef Biegun’s imprisonment. As is the denial of Solidarity and its leader Lech Walesa‘s right to dissent. AndNelson Mandela‘s interminable imprisonment.

There is so much injustice and suffering crying out for our attention: victims of hunger, of racism, and political persecution, writers and poets, prisoners in so many lands governed by the Left and by the Right. Human rights are being violated on every continent. More people are oppressed than free. And then, too, there are the Palestinians to whose plight I am sensitive but whose methods I deplore. Violence and terrorism are not the answer. Something must be done about their suffering, and soon. I trust Israel, for I have faith in the Jewish people. Let Israel be given a chance, let hatred and danger be removed from her horizons, and there will be peace in and around the Holy Land.

Yes, I have faith. Faith in God and even in His creation. Without it no action would be possible. And action is the only remedy to indifference: the most insidious danger of all. Isn’t this the meaning of Alfred Nobel’s legacy? Wasn’t his fear of war a shield against war?

There is much to be done, there is much that can be done. One person – a Raoul Wallenberg, an Albert Schweitzer, one person of integrity, can make a difference, a difference of life and death. As long as one dissident is in prison, our freedom will not be true. As long as one child is hungry, our lives will be filled with anguish and shame. What all these victims need above all is to know that they are not alone; that we are not forgetting them, that when their voices are stifled we shall lend them ours, that while their freedom depends on ours, the quality of our freedom depends on theirs.

This is what I say to the young Jewish boy wondering what I have done with his years. It is in his name that I speak to you and that I express to you my deepest gratitude. No one is as capable of gratitude as one who has emerged from the kingdom of night. We know that every moment is a moment of grace, every hour an offering; not to share them would mean to betray them. Our lives no longer belong to us alone; they belong to all those who need us desperately.

Thank you, Chairman Aarvik. Thank you, members of the Nobel Committee. Thank you, people of Norway, for declaring on this singular occasion that our survival has meaning for mankind.

Snapshots of November

And suddenly, in the blink of an eye, it’s December. Its that time of the year where the weather gets colder, and the year draws to an end. That time when the Christmas lights come out to brighten your city. That time were we sit down and wonder where time went and what will the new year hold for us. That time when we dwell upon the new year’s resolutions that we never accomplished, and marvel on how wonderfully the year unfolded even thought we might not have done everything we would have wanted to.

Its a time of the year that brings with it a bittersweet taste, joy for everything that was, nostalgia for everything that wasn’t. A time to look back on how the year unfolded in front of our very eyes. Needless to say the recent past was extremely eventful. November not only marked the re-election of president Barack Obama, but also the exit of Nicolas Ghesquiere from Balenciaga. Its a time of closure as well as a time of new beginnings.

Here’s a glimpse of what my November looked like.

In your face

I visited the Mario Testino “In your face” exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

Love looks not with the eyes

I also came across this painting in the contemporary art section of the MFA. It made me think of Alexander McQueen’s tattoo that said: “love looks not with the eyes.” for anyone who’s not familiar with the quote it is retrieved from William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”

Mfa

Found this at the MFA as well

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Yours truly, partying as usual. (dress by Custo Barcelona)

Sunday river

My friends and I rented a cabin in Sunday River, Maine. This was the view from the deck.

Le moosh

Oh look! a moose!!

Contributing writer

I was named contributing writer for Dirty Water News Boston.

Dove

Baby

November 1991

#osgemeos

Who said graffiti wasn’t art? A mural by Osgemeos

And the came Thanksgiving break, which I spent in sunny Miami!

Miami

Ninja turtles

Room with a view

Thanksgiving

And on Thanksgiving, I was very thankful to be able to spend that night with my best friend in the world: Billy.

Turkey break/ Turkey reunion

Miami beach

Miami Beach

And this is how November ended.

Shit just got real

Hard to believe that college is almost over for me

London

And suddenly, it was December.