The High Line

8/22/12




While in New York for a conference recently, I managed to sneak away to the High Line, a beautifully landscaped park built in what was once an above-ground set of train tracks. The park is a mile long and I walked the entire length of it, taking in the beautiful landscaping and architecture along the way.

The High Line, in its previous life, was used to transport meat, produce, and other goods by freight train directly to the warehouses and factories that surround it. It opened in 1934 as part of a redevelopment project to improve New York's West Side. Prior to the High Line's existence, trains shared the road with street traffic which resulted in many accidents and deaths.

In 1980, the last freight train to run on the High Line made its delivery of three carloads of frozen turkeys. A couple decades earlier, the southernmost parts of the High Line had already been demolished due to a decrease in freight train usage.

Twenty years after the last train ran on the High Line, New York City began taking steps to save it from demolition and to turn it into a public space. In 2006, construction began to convert the train tracks into a linear park. The first section of the High Line (Gansevoort St. to W. 20th St.) opened in 2009; the second section (W. 20th to W. 30th St.) opened in 2011. The third and final section was recently acquired and has yet to be rebuilt and opened to the public.

I love learning about reclaimed urban spaces such as the High Line (Paris has a railway-turned-public park too, the Promenade Plantée). Although San Jose doesn't have a defunct above-ground train track to convert into a public park, it got me thinking about what other spaces this city can reclaim for public use, even on a smaller scale. 

For my San Jose readers: What urban spaces would you like to see reclaimed for public use? 

Perks of the (Husband's) Job

8/17/12



Jeff's work has been taking him on lots of business trips lately, including a weeklong stay in Singapore, the place we once called home. I was planning on meeting up with Jeff in Singapore to visit our old haunts and to hang out with friends, but at the last minute I changed my travel plans and decided to stay in San Jose. Which meant I couldn't do a bit of shopping in Singapore like I had hoped.

A lot of the things sold in Singapore can be found here in the US, but there are a few things that I can't find. In particular, I miss buying handfuls of funky earrings (three pairs for SGD5!) from the jewelry vendors at Bugis Street and my favorite type of BB cream that is not available stateside.

I knew Jeff was busy with work while he was in Singapore, but I begged asked him to pick me up a few things while he was there. I gave him turn-by-turn directions to find my favorite stall at Bugis Street. I even got a bonus gift of a few scarves from a layover in Paris (his business trip took him to Dublin, too).

I was so excited as Jeff unpacked his suitcase and pulled out several small bags full of the trinkets I had asked for. And I felt lucky to have a guy willing to navigate his way through a crowded market in Singapore just to bring his wife some quirky pieces of junk jewelry. He forgot a jar of kaya, but I think I'll manage.

Photos from top:
1. A few of the earrings Jeff brought me from Bugis Street, a covered market in Singapore that sells clothing, jewelry, accessories, and food
2. My favorite BB cream ever
3. Scarves from the airport in Paris

My BlogHer '12 Recap

8/15/12

It's been a little over a week since I came home from BlogHer '12, a conference for (mostly) women bloggers, which was held in New York this year. I wanted to go to learn more about blogging and social media and to meet other bloggers like me. This was the first non-academic conference that I've ever attended and I didn't know anyone else that was going, but I thought it might be good for my personal and professional development.

I really wanted to say that I had an amazing experience at the conference and that I learned a lot, but I guess I didn't take as much away from it as other bloggers did. Don't get me wrong: I had a fun time (it didn't hurt that the conference was in New York, which I love) and met a few bloggers and social media folks, but I left the conference feeling underwhelmed and kind of disappointed. 
Martha Stewart speaking at BlogHer '12 to 5,000 of us attendees.
Part of the draw for me was being able to attend sessions held during the day on blogging and social media-related topics. However, the sessions I attended were mostly about things I already knew. I wish these sessions could have been broken down into skill levels, such as "newbie," "intermediate," and "advanced." I'm not some super talented blogger or anything, but I think the sessions were really watered down for the most novice of bloggers. The only session that I felt I had learned something new and exciting at was the Media Training for Bloggers one by Elaine Wu and Julie Crabill. 

Other than this one session, I'd say the conference was not really for me. I'm not a mommy blogger, I don't really work with brands on my blog (I've done a few sponsored posts, but it's not something I actively pursue), and I didn't care for the expo hall full of BlogHer sponsors giving out free stuff. Not that there's anything wrong with being or doing any of the above. I also got the feeling that a lot of people there were looking for ways to make money off their blogs, and this is something I don't put much a lot of thought into.

On the plus side, the lack of engaging sessions at BlogHer '12 made me realize that I need to find some other way to challenge myself and to improve my technical skills. I used my blog in Singapore to make friends and connections; I need to figure out how to do that again and to do it better, but this time in San Jose. 

And here are some conference-related links I think are worth sharing:
  • I sat next to Sally McGraw from the blog Already Pretty. I wonder if I chose to sit next to her because I subconsciously recognized her from her blog. She was one of the nicest people I met all weekend. 
  • Have you ever really wanted to see where people are reading and clicking on your blog? Crazy Egg has a heat map that tells you exactly that. 
  • Rachel from Rachel & The City sums up the BlogHer '12 experience and I loved it because I can relate. 
Did you attend BlogHer '12? What'd you think? Are you thinking of going to BlogHer '13 in Chicago? 

Content Magazine

8/2/12


I've always been fiercely proud of my hometown and the talented people in the San Jose community. I know I'm not the only one.

Content Magazine started out as somewhat of a hobby a few years ago for Daniel Garcia, a talented photographer from San Jose. He felt as though a magazine focusing on the creative and innovative people, places, and things of San Jose didn't exist. Out of the need for a publication that presented these stories in an aesthetically pleasing way, Content Magazine was born.

The magazine focuses on the people behind the stories, all of which are rooted someway in San Jose. Whether it's an interview with District 3 Councilmember Sam Liccardo, a story on the history of Henry Morris Naglee, or a photography spread featuring the fashions of a local designer, each issue is full of the people and things that make San Jose such a vibrant place.

The stories in Content Magazine showcase the pride that people have for their talents, their creativity, and their city. These folks are doing what they love and in turn, they are positively changing the landscape of San Jose. The magazine serves as a way to promote the very people and things which make me love my hometown so much. Content is such a fitting title, too—because it's what's inside that matters.

For a list of places to purchase Content Magazine, click here. Or order from Content's website here
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