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Once upon a time I dreamed of being an architect. I was seventeen, wide-eyed and ready to take on the world. But alas, that was not the career path for me. However, I still maintain a great appreciation for the profession and a loving devotion to beautiful and innovative buildings.

We had the pleasure of visiting an architectural company today called LOT-EK in the meatpacking district that blurs the boundaries between art, architecture, entertainment, and information. They incorporate not only recycling, but upcyling, by displacing, transforming, and manipulating existing objects into materials or products of better quality or a higher environmental value.

And they just make really cool stuff.


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Benjamin Zander - PopTech 2008

Just a pleasure to watch.

The only conductor to ever lead the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, Zander is a prophet of human potential and an unrivaled champion of joie de vivre. Watch as he helps unlock the boundless potential of a 15 year old cellist and teaches the entire Pop!Tech audience what it means to live in a world of possibility.


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Dance party slash art exhibit?  Best combination ever.  Mix in some sand, beach balls, hammocks, a cool breeze and you've got one awesome Saturday.

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Concert: Janelle Monáe & Guests

Friday July 23, 2010 Slightly Raining

1:37pm: Depart New York via Greyhound bus.
5:57pm: Arrive Hartford, CT (1 hour and 50 min. late).
6:10pm: Concert starts at Bushnell Park - Hartford's 375th: Still Wavy After All These Years.
6:15pm: Anna Mae and Brian consider missing the prepaid bus back to New York scheduled for 10:00pm in case Janelle Monáe starts late and opt for the 12:00am bus instead. The new plan includes Anna Mae crying on command just in case.
7:42pm: Host announces that a thunderstorm is coming in 15 minutes.
7:57pm: Thunderstorm arrives, Anna Mae and Brian take out umbrellas and are not happy campers.
8:01pm: It is pissing rain!!!
9:22pm: Rain stops, show goes on, we are still wet but our cameras are safe.
10:14pm: Janelle Monáe makes her entrance. Anna Mae's heart starts to pound and Brian starts screaming like a girl (on the inside).
11:37pm: Show ends, we're happy, and start the short walk to the bus depot.
11:48pm: Sit inside bus terminal, however confused that the sign says the bus is coming at 12:30am. But we figure that someone will make an announcement that the bus has arrived.

Saturday July 24, 2010

12:20am: No announcement is made, no bus waiting, the terminal is almost empty, so we decide to wait outside for the 12:30am bus instead.
12:30am: A bus does not arrive.
12:31am: We really start questioning if a bus is ever going to come.
12:35am: A woman going to NYC approaches us about the bus situation. She has it even worse off than us because she has a plane to catch at 6:00am which she is definitely not going to make. We become a trio waiting for the bus.
1:10am: No bus and the hunger pains are really starting to kick in. As well as delirium.
2:22am: Slipping in and out of consciousness.
3:13am: Are we really still here???
4:00am: The bus finally arrives and we are on our way back to NYC.
6:22am: Arrive at the Port Authority Bus Terminal. NYC is wide awake with the city bustling.
6:30am: Anna Mae and Brian sleepwalk into the subway.
7:12am: Arrive at home and finally get to sleep.
12:36pm: Wake up. Did all of that really just happen?

Thank goodness I wasn't alone during all of this.  Brian, new concert buddy for life.

For more photos, click here.

© Anna Mae Abia Photography

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SVA Impact!: Week 2

As the initial wonder and excitement of my first days in New York slowly escapes me (but I still walk around starry-eyed), this past week has managed to knock the stars out of my eyes.  I am here to work.

The term "intensive program" has really come to fruition.  We've identified our two projects (personal and team), continue to pursue client meetings, attend field trips, sit in multiple lectures, and somehow find time for the "suggested" reading (3 recommended books a week!).  I find myself at school nearly 10 hours of my day (not including the 1 hour commute each way) and by the time I get home I'm ready to collapse.  Not to mention that I try to make it out to the Bronx every chance I get to research our project and to generally hang out since I really love the group of people out there doing good things.

But this is why I came here.  I applied to be filled with information, listen to amazing guest lecturers, meet worldly like-minded individuals, and to be challenged in my own capabilities as a human being to make a difference in the world.  I asked for it and I got it.

I did however manage to find time to watch Inception at Times Square.  Amazing, but it made me think even more instead of help relax my mind!  But I guess that's what weekends are for!  Time to set aside "School Anna Mae" and bring out "Weekend Anna Mae!"
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Concert: Raphael Saadiq & Aloe Blacc

Finally had some free time on the weekend so what's the first thing I do, go to a free concert in Central Park. Raphael Saadiq was performing so I HAD to go! He is always so good live! It was soooooo hot out but I was surrounded by fantastic music and made some new friends!

For more photos, click here.

© Anna Mae Abia Photography

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SVA Impact!: BLK Projek

On a particularly hot Friday afternoon, my team and I made the trek out to South Bronx to meet with Tanya Fields of the BLK Projek. Her organization seeks to address food justice, public & mental health issues as they specifically relate to under served women of colour through culturally relevant education, beautification of public spaces, urban gardening and community programming.

Having a similar upbringing with issues of immigration, under served women of colour, and community involvement, I felt a very strong connection to use my skills to help this organization.

After speaking to Tanya at length about the current situation in Hunts Point (a low-income neighborhood of mostly a hispanic and black population), we took a short walking tour of the neighbourhood and was introduced to the other organizations working in the community such as the Majora Carter Group, the Hunts Point Alliance for Children, the POINT, and Mothers on the Move (MOM).

We then crammed into Tanya's hot van and drove around the industrial area that is dominated by the New York City Terminal Market, Hunts Point Cooperative Market, New Fulton Fish Market, Spofford Juvenile Centre, and the Vernon C. Bain Correctional Centre, an 800-bed barge currently used as part of the New York City Department of Corrections. It is designed to handle inmates from medium- to maximum-security in 16 dormitories and 100 cells.

We will be sure to return again to talk to the people in the neighbourhood to find out their most pressing issues and how we can help them sustain their community.

BLK Projek
Impact! Design for Social Change

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SVA Impact!: charity : water

Right now, almost a billion people on the planet don’t have access to clean, safe drinking water. That’s one in eight of us.

charity: water is a non-profit organization bringing clean, safe drinking water to people in developing nations. They use 100% of public donations to directly fund sustainable water solutions in areas of greatest need. Just $20 can give one person clean water for 20 years.

We met with its founder, Scott Harrison, and learned how they help billions of people everyday. They start with one.

charity : water
Impact! Design for Social Change