The Art Institute of Chicago

My weekend has been crazy busy. My sister came over from New York and of course, I had to make sure everything about her Chicago trip was perfect. That meant, cleaning the apartment, organizing my room and planning the places we were going to visit. Since my sister has always appreciated art, The Art Institute (which is my favorite museum in the entire city) was first on the itinerary.

The Art Institute of Chicago

The iconic Greek columns are indicative of European influences in the architecture. You will notice the continuation of this when walking up the grand staircase.

The Art Institute of Chicago

One of the things that I admire about this museum is their wide collection of impressionist paintings. If you can see in the photo below, they have a whole wing dedicated to the works of Monet, Van Gogh, Renoir, Seurat and others.

The Art Institute of Chicago

Probably one of my most favorite paintings besides Van Gogh’s Starry Night, is At the Moulin Rouge by Henri Toulouse-Lautrec. One amazing fact about this painting is that May Milton, an English singer seen as the disturbing green lady on the right, was originally cut off from the canvas since it made the painting harder to sell. Seen in the photo below are a couple of people trying to discern where the cut is located.

Chicago Spring Ate's Visit 2013 - 9

Another favorite part of the museum is the Modern Wing, designed as a bright open space with clean lines.

The Art Institute of Chicago

This is where Jeff Koon’s sculpture called Woman in Tub can be found. This is a memorable piece of art, not only because of its strong missive but also as a result of the vibrant comic-like composition. What I found most interesting is the abrupt sliced head which left only the woman’s open mouth delivering a message of shocked violation.

Jeff Koons

Jackson Pollock

Of course, we cannot forget Jackson Pollock, one of the pioneers of Abstract art. The one I’m standing next to is his work, Greyed Rainbow, which shows a distinct technique he introduced during the 1940s called Abstract Expressionism. An interesting fact to note is that Pollock rarely used brushes instead he veers toward unconventional tools such as sticks or palette knives.

If you are interested in seeing these art works in person and exploring the museum (which you should), look at the information provided below. Hope to see you there soon!

Contact Information:
111 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60603-6404
+1 (312) 443-3600
artic.edu

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Gelato Nostro

Gelato Nostro

More than just ice cream, Gelato Nostro offers unique flavors from fruits, chocolates and alcohol drinks such as Dulce de Leche, Nutella and Coconut. They even experiment with different tastes like The Godfather, an amaretto and whiskey inspired concoction. The quality of the ice cream is superb for it is prepared fresh daily. Besides their amazing gelato selection, gourmet teas and coffee, they also serve pastries such as empanadas and quiches.

Gelato Nostro

I would definitely come back to Miami just to “Come, Taste, Enjoy” their ice cream!

Contact Information:
1111 SW 1st Ave. Miami, FL 33130
(+1) 305-677-8808
Mondays to Saturdays – 8AM to Midnight
Sundays – 12NN to Midnight
gelatonostro.com

TV’s Best Bromance Relationships

1. Howard and Raj

Howard and Raj

This Jewish and Indian codependent relationship never fails to make us laugh in the TV series, Big Bang Theory, especially on the episode where they test out a french kissing stimulator.

2. Ted, Marshall and Barney

Ted Marshall Barney

Rather than the usual duo, we have these three musketeers. From slap bets, engagements, mystery tales of pineapple, you know their love for each other is real and strong.

3. Ryan and Esposito

Ryan and Esposito

Detective Ryan and Detective Esposito are more than just partners, they’re brothers. It has been tested by death defying cases, women and secrets yet their relationship still remains strongly intact.

4. House and Wilson

House Wilson

A subtle ripoff from the Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, House and Wilson still remains my favorite among all the “bromances” in TV. Though the series always portray them with a serious dilemma, they also have their fair share of mischief which adds a fun element to their dynamic. I remember a scruffy looking Wilson and House on motorcycles in the TV show finale. Wilson asked what they will do once the cancer gets bad. House shrugs it off saying, “cancer is boring” perfectly describing their sometimes rocky yet oddly secure bromance.

Tapas Xperience

The most amazing thing about going on Spring break is spending a nice afternoon eating out with friends. Tapas Xperience was another discovery through Yelp. True to their meaning, Tapas Xperience offers a variety of small plates prepared by Spanish chef Ibai Torres.

Tapas Xperience (Me, Annie and Frank)

Tapas Xperience (Who’s hungry? Clarence, Justine or Gavin?)

They started us off with a free glass of Sangria. Looking around, I noticed that they also offer wine dispensaries. Wine dispensaries are like vending machines. You buy a card, fill it with credit and use it to get wine usually for tasting purposes. Most wine dispensaries offer 1/4, 1/2 or a full glass. Tapas Xperience is known for their selection of Spanish wines.

Tapas

Our appetizers were Patatas Bravas, Croquetas and Chorizo. This was served with their garlic and potato dip, which was amazing. We couldn’t get enough of it.

TapasXperience2

TapasXperience4

Then we decided to try their Seafood Paella and Shrimp Ceviche. I think everyone loved these dishes because we ordered a second round. And because we can never leave a restaurant without having beef, we also ordered their Filet Mignon.

TapasXperience5

Another great food experience in Downtown Miami! Xperience it too! Pun intended.

Contact Information:
900 South Miami Ave. Suite 180
(+1) 786-391-1450
Mondays to Wednesdays – 12NN to 11PM
Thursdays to Saturdays – 12NN to 1AM
Sundays – 1PM – 10PM
tapasxperience.com

The Science of Harry Potter: Hermione’s Time Turner

Hermione Time Turner

One of the most amazing concepts, even if it’s not the most original, in Harry Potter is time traveling with the use of a time turner. In Roger Highfield’s book, The Science of Harry Potter, he delves into the likelihood of this phenomenon with theories on how it can happen in real life.

Use of Wormholes?

One explanation on how Hermione’s time turner works is the possibility of using wormholes. In theory, a wormhole functions by allowing a link between two different places in space or periods in time. While this concept does not disapprove space-time travel, Stephen Hawking (a well-renowned physicist) states that though wormholes may be created, it is likely to destabilize as soon as any particle is inserted into it thus making it the least favorable way of space-time travel.

Travel to the future but not to the past?

It is said that time travel apparatuses can only be used by going to the future. It is not possible to go back in time before the apparatus was created. This does make sense and limits the possibility of paradoxes.

Time Paradox?

We all know the warning that McGonagall told Hermione about the dangers of altering history. Highfield says that it references to the grandfather paradox in which you go back in time, kill your grandfather and ultimately making sure your mother is never born causing you to be nonexistent and unable to go back in time to actually kill your grandfather. Complicated? Well, thankfully, David Deutsch from Oxford University actually states that there is no grandfather paradox. Instead, there are different branches of reality.

Parallel Universes?

This theory, as first proposed by Erwin Schrödinger, was further developed by Hugh Everett III. He declared that the universe is rooted in an infinitely larger space called the multiverse where parallel universes are relentlessly multiplying causing a numerous amount of possibilities. For example, in another reality, I’ll probably be out doing something more fruitful than writing this blog post (like marrying Ezra Miller). You, in turn, will be equally be doing something more productive than reading what I’m writing.

If we accept this theory, then we might say that Hermione doesn’t actually travel back and forth through time. Instead, she creates a different reality and as Deutsch says, “Make things happen there”. This then allows a “time traveler” to alter the past without producing the grandfather paradox.

With this in mind, we don’t actually time travel. We instead “hop universes” like Doctor Who but not really.

Thoughts, anyone?

Ristorante Fratelli Milano

On our first day in Miami, we gathered around Annie’s laptop, browsing through Yelp for a place to eat in. I came from the airport not long ago so I wasn’t particularly fussy about what restaurant to go to as long as it’s food. “You guys pick. I’ll take a bath.” I said, shutting the bathroom door behind me. An hour later, I found myself sitting outside a small Italian restaurant, two blocks away from our hotel. Yelp is such a wonderful tool, don’t you think so?

Ristorante Fratelli Milano was an excellent choice for our first Spring break dinner. Most Italian restaurants in the world would say that their cuisine is authentic. Nearly everyone dissatisfies but not Fratelli Milano. Besides their affordable wine list, who better to prepare a true Italian dinner consisting of hearty pasta dishes, pizza and other specialties than twin Italian brothers Chef Roberto and Emanuele Bearzi?

So here is our Italian experience in downtown Miami…

Mushroom Risotto

Sometimes, I am guilty of rating a restaurant solely on their risotto. With just their Porcini Mushroom Risotto, I would have probably given them an A+. One bite and its creamy texture plus delicate flavor brought me to the brink of ecstasy. Rarely does a dish excite a picky eater like myself but it was that good!

Pear Taleggio Cheese Pasta

Annie, on the other hand chose Fiocchi di Pera e Taleggio. It is pear and taleggio cheese pasta in a sage and butter sauce. I was not a big fan of this dish because it was too sweet but my friends loved it.

Filet mignon

Maybe it’s his huge appetite but I’ve always wondered why my friend, Clarence, constantly orders steak. Personally, I do not like the texture of beef so I try to avoid it as much as I can. Nonetheless, their Filet Mignon medallions with baked potatoes and sautéed spinach served with gorgonzola sauce was quite wonderful.

Papardelle Milano

Papardelle Milano is their homemade pasta cooked with Chianti wine and truffle oil. It’s   served with tomato sauce, slices of filet mignon and porcini mushrooms topped with bits of goat cheese. Frank was a bit disappointed with his choice and ranked it as the least favorable among our main dishes. Yet, I thought it was probably the most delicious one.

After cleaning our plates and a few glasses of wine, we decided to order desserts for the four of us to share.

Tiramisu

Chocolate Souffle

We ordered the chocolate soufflé with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and tiramisu. Both were average, nothing special unlike their restaurant’s entrees. All of us decided we should have gone to a different place for dessert. Though one should note that we did not try all their desserts.

Overall, this is a wonderful restaurant with attentive service and tasty food which is perfect for dates or relaxed meetings with family and friends (warning on the extremely dim lighting though).

Contact Information:
213 SE First Street, Downtown Miami
(+1) 305-373-2300
ristorantefratellimilano.com
Mondays to Thursdays – 11 AM to 10 PM
Fridays to Saturdays – 11 AM to 11 PM

Team Aurora “Save the Arctic”

Global Warming has been an increasing problem on Earth primarily due to the emission of greenhouse gases. Over the years, numerous movements have been introduced to increase awareness throughout the world by encouraging people to curb practices that contribute to this climate change.

“Save the Arctic North Pole Expedition” headed by Greenpeace, is one of the newest campaigns to further this cause. Four young people, supported by guides, will embark on a journey to the North Pole this April. They will attempt to lower a capsule containing signatures of more than three million supporters, topped with a flag that symbolizes global unity.

North Pole Expedition Preparation

These four young people include:

Josefina Skerk, an active member in sami politics, she strives to work on the rights of the indigenous children to their language.

Renny Bijoux, not only a silver-medalist in the Indian Ocean island games, he is also a youth ambassador that is passionate about our environment.

Kiera Kolson, an artist and a motivational speaker, she aims to protect her culture and identity as well as empower the future generations through her work.

Ezra Miller, an activist, actor and musician most known for his role as Patrick in the movie, “Perks of Being a Wallflower”. He is the youngest member of Team Aurora.

And while I don’t see much significance from lowering down a capsule full of names to combating Global Warming (except maybe for increasing awareness and ultimately encouraging other people to fight against powerful industrial companies who are ruining our planet), please do support the movement and donate.

To learn more about this movement, visit “Save the Arctic” at Greenpeace.

Also, take the time to watch this informational video (in which Ezra Miller looks as sexy as usual).

How to open a beer bottle with your teeth.

When you get older and start your career, you’re reminded to remove some of the inappropriate things you threw out into the wide web world. So today, I started rummaging through all my social media accounts to delete some of those stuff. While doing that, I found this little video I made a few months ago.

I’m pretty proud of this one. If you want to know how to open a beer bottle with your teeth (which my friend Glen does a lot), check out this video.

She said, “I think I’ll go to Boston”.

Don’t you have those days where you just want to get away from your uninteresting life and get lost in the world? You buy a bus ticket, pack your bags and then leave, hoping for an adventure. I was ready to do just that when all my plans came crashing down. I don’t like being disappointed and yet, I learned that it’s an inevitable point in life. I stayed up all night disillusioned, imagining what could have been. It was pathetic but when things don’t go your way, what else can you do?

Well, after all the things I tried last night to get over my frustration, I decided to compile a list.

1. Take out your anger on something not someone.

ScreamJamie

There’s nothing more polluting in this world than negative energy so don’t throw that into the universe. If you feel sad or angry or even irritated, sometimes squeezing a stress ball helps. I usually just smother my face with a pillow and yell. It works. The good thing is that I let out whatever I’m feeling without hurting anyone in the process.

2. Listen to Billy Joel’s Piano Man and then make love with your tonic and gin.

There’s nothing better than letting yourself get lost in the music with a drink in your hand. What better song to accompany the feeling of vulnerability than a ballad like the “Piano Man”. The carefree tones pull you in but it’s the storytelling verses that makes you want to listen more. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself singing along.

Better get a good vinyl record player. It always sounds better in vinyl.

But here’s Jason Mraz’s version, pretty rad.

3. Think of other ways you can achieve what you want.

Just because you can’t have it now, doesn’t mean you can’t get it later. If you think you can’t live without this “thing” then you better devise a plan to acquire it. Be patient and never give up. If Thomas Edison gave up, we wouldn’t have light bulbs today.

4. Share your frustrations.

SmokeWriterDeLaCalleLoca

Call someone you know you can trust and who will listen to you. Rant. Tell them what you feel. If that seems uncomfortable, you don’t have to talk to someone. Grab your pen, take out a piece of paper and write. Sometimes, we carry so much thoughts in our heads that it weighs us down. Holding on to those feelings of regret, disappointment, resentment and anything negative is a form of self-sabotage. It slows our progress in life. We need to let it out so we can gain momentum and ultimately, move forward.

5. Go dance, run or even jump. Just get up and move.

DanceKiaLola

Maybe it’s because I’m a bit crazy but nothing pumps me up better than putting my EDM playlist and dancing around my room. Science says that dancing engages our senses making us acquire a sense of awareness of our bodies and minds. Also, when you move, you release endorphins and as Elle Woods would say, endorphins make us happy.

(Photos are from Flickr. If you want to see the photographers behind them, don’t hesitate to click the photo and it will take you directly to the original image.)

This week’s favorites on the Voice!

Michelle Chamuel’s rendition of “I Kissed a Girl” by Katy Perry was mind blowing. She’s a dorky rock star (which is almost unheard of) and she called the judges “humans” which makes me love her more. It was a surprise that she picked Usher as I thought she was much better suited with Adam Levine but oh well, we shall see what she brings to the stage.

Finally, Midas Whale gave people a reason to pay attention to folk music. Not only are they musically talented, they also know how to speak Spanish and can actually do some stand-up comedy. Pretty interesting duo. I’m curious how Adam will incorporate their genre into the mix.

Noah (youtube: only1noah) was the one who created this arrangement and while I believe Noah still did a better job, I think Christian Porter’s smooth moves added a certain charm and made me want to ravish him.. Uhm, I mean, clap for him.