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Wisdom, Compassion & Connection, Core Themes at TEDxBerkeley 2015

February 27, 2015 by  

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The sixth annual TEDxBerkeley, which will fill Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley CA tomorrow, February 28, will focus on Wisdom, Compassion and Connection. On stage in front of over 2,000 attendees, 57 speakers and performers will share riveting insights on these important and pivotal themes. Tedxberkeley dance troupe From Indian & Japanese Performers to Renowned Leaders, Professors & Apple’s Co-Founder Steve Wozniak, don’t miss the Live Stream at www.tedxberkeley.org.  This year’s inspiring line-up aims to transform the way we think about ideas that can re-shape the world’s priorities in education, science, the environment, healthcare and beyond, all of which is center to the core of TED. Apple co-founder and philanthropist Steve Wozniak will close this year’s sold out event. Those interested in hearing the 2015 speakers and performers can tune into the live stream at http://www.tedxberkeley.org starting at 10:00 am PST. The social media hashtag for the event is #TEDxBerkeley. The complete line-up this year includes the following performers, thought leaders and visionaries, listed under the “theme” they will present. Wisdom: UC Men’s Octet: UC Berkeley A Capella Group Prasad Kaipa: CEO of Kaipa Group, Business and Leadership Coach Adora Svitak: Activist for Feminism & Youth Causes Marc Gopin: Director,…

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Exploring the Best of Trinidad And Tobago

February 17, 2015 by  

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So you’ve been to the Caribbean. Congrats! It’s a beautiful place and the sister islands of Trinidad and Tobago is one of the most popular vacation destinations. But there are plenty of facts future visitors don’t know about the islands. When they see what they have to survive, they may feel even more compelled to visit and take adventure on by the horns. trinidad and tobago

1. Trinidad Carnival

You may just overdose on fun and culture at Trinidad’s annual carnival, which happens on Fat Tuesday during Mardi Gras. If you’re lucky, the carnival will take you under it’s wing and get you involved in the street performances. This carnival and parade — which take place in the Trinidad’s Port of Spain — pay respect to African music, mythology and culture through costumes, sound, food and more. trinidad and tobago The scarily spicy Scorpion Pepper. Photo courtesy of Richard Elzey via flickr.

2. The Hottest Of The Hot

You may have experienced what is known as the world’s HOTTEST pepper. Originally, it was the ghost pepper. The ghost pepper left a scorching after burn in your mouth for hours. It…

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Exploring the Best of Buddhist Temples in Penang Malaysia

February 13, 2015 by  

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One of the most fascinating aspects of Southeast Asia travel is to experience the dazzling weave of ethnic groups, languages, religions and customs, all blended yet distinct. The current Buddha Penang Island, strategically poised at the head of the Straits of Malacca, has been endowed by geography and shaped by trade for centuries. Beginning with the Malays, other peoples have lent their influence (by whatever means) into the mix: Arab traders, Hindu and Chinese immigrant laborers, the European traders and colonists — Portuguese, then Dutch — and finally – British, both before and after World War II’s Japanese occupation. Sometimes it seems that only the Roman Empire has not left its genes and culture in the region. George Town, Penang Island, Malaysia View to the east of George Town, Penang Island, Malaysia Still a lively port city, Penang of today shows most clearly the influence of four different cultures: Chinese, Malay, Hindu and British. However, despite being a region of Malaysia, a predominantly Muslim nation, Penang clearly reflects the culture, architecture and religion of its southern Chinese majority from the mid-19th century up to today. Since its independence from Great Britain, the Malaysian government…

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Undiscovered India: Tribal Culture, Ancient Ruins & The Sirpur Festival

February 12, 2015 by  

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Laxman Temple in Sirpur, Chhattisgarh, India dates from the 7th century

3 reasons to travel in undiscovered India: Tribal culture, ancient ruins and the Sirpur Festival

OVER THE COURSE OF FOUR DAYS in remote and undiscovered Chhattisgarh, I toured 2,600 year old ruins, watched soul stirring Indian classical music performances under the stars and had a brief glimpse into the intriguing tribal cultures of the state. But the moment I remember most was in the Raipur hotel parking lot. It’s the moment that will make me go back to Chhattisgarh again and again. I was in the car, along with several other travel writers and bloggers, getting ready to depart for the airport and fly back to Delhi. We had just said goodbye to our hosts in Chhattisgarh, three people from the state tourism board. To my surprise, they literally ran after us as the car started to pull out of the drive, waving, smiling and thanking us with a level of warmth and gratitude that was completely unexpected, and completely genuine. In the rice paddies of Chhattisgarh, India Chhattisgarh is a very special place, with much to offer the intrepid…

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Fine Art and Wine Festivals in Arizona This Month

February 7, 2015 by  

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  arizona_scottsdale_art-wineBoth fine art and wine will be celebrated in two Arizona cities this month. The Waterfront Fine Art & Wine Festival takes place from 10 a.m. to5 p.m. February 13 to 15, 2015, in downtown Scottsdale, Arizona. Look for it just south of Nordstrom’s at the south bridge pedestrian walk. The banks of the Scottsdale waterfront will be lined with juried fine arts, fine wines, chocolates and musicians from the Southwest. Admission is $3; a wine tasting ticket with souvenir glass is $10. Another fest is set for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. February 17 through March 1, 2015, in downtown Carefree, Arizona. Tickets for Carefree Fine Art & Wine also are $3, and a wine tasting ticket with souvenir glass is $10. (Photo courtesy of Thunderbird Artists)


Bali’s Ubud, Full of Creativity, Serentiy & Culture

February 1, 2015 by  

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I don’t know whether it was the visual of the carelessly strewn frangipani flowers everywhere, the moss adorned statues of the dewas and the dewis that have red hibiscus flowers tucked behind their ears,  the perennial scent of incense,  the sublime spell of  the monsoon evenings, strolls through untouched paddy fields, the heart-warming hospitality or the stunning sunsets at UluWatu and Tanah Lot that still makes me yearn for a visit to the island. Brilliant colours from one street, leading on to an alley to the next, exuberant ornate architecture, scents of massage oils and sounds of gamelan, seemingly endless processions and ceremonies, Gods and Demi-Gods peering from under every canopy, and delicious Indonesian fare! IMG_0453 A sunrise that left me breathless while my flight landed in Denpasar. Pristine, postcard-like, picturesque roads that led me to the little hamlet of Ubud. A whispering rivulet that ran below my balcony. Tales from Ramayana and Mahabrata painted like frescoes above my bed-posts. A lotus pond and a cluster of moss laced temples in the terraced rocky courtyard.. IMG_9365 IMG_0421 There were the rain-soaked afternoons at exquisite cafes. Hot, curried chicken soup, flavored with…

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Diving Into Toronto’s Cool & Hip Neighborhoods

December 29, 2014 by  

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Before heading to Toronto early last month, I had already heard about the city’s coolest neighborhood, West Queen West, and was eager to explore it firsthand. For those unfamiliar with what Vogue deems the world’s second hippest neighborhood, it’s basically a one-stop-shop for everything trendy. I toured the area on a rainy afternoon and even with overcast skies, I found myself returning the next day to search for more hidden gems. Here you’ll find a slew of independent shops, cafes that double as boutiques, themed bars and farm-to-table restaurants. There’s also a very strong artistic presence here, as seen through the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA) and various artist studios and galleries. Exploring Toronto's Hippest Neighborhood I was lucky enough to have a pretty fantastic tour guide, Betty Ann Jordan, Founder of Art InSite, who lives and breathes the neighborhood. She knew exactly where to go and even gave me cheat-sheets to remember all the places we visited. Before starting our trek through West Queen West, she walked me through the MOCCA and gave me some background into the neighborhood’s art community. First off, the West Queen West Art + Design District was historically…

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New York City’s Radio City Music Hall Does Tours…

December 27, 2014 by  

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My very first visit to NYC was at Christmastime when I was in high school when my mother brought me and my siblings into the city to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.  For a dancer/theater lover like myself, it was truly the most magical experience, and it was then and there that I decided that someday, I too, was going to be a New Yorker.   Fast forward many, many years later to my grad school graduation and it ended up being held at Radio City!  I practically skipped across the stage, making sure to pause right in the middle to blow mom a kiss (she was somewhere in that huge audience of 6,000 seats!)  This classic venue holds quite a bit of sentiment to me. So, when I heard about the Radio City Stage Door Tour, I was stoked.  The tours leave every half hour, so we jumped on an afternoon tour (that coincided with the Christmas Spectacular, so extra festive excitement!)  The tour lasts an hour, and takes you into the private Rockefeller viewing suite, through the back corridors of the theater, past the Rockettes’ warm-up and audition rooms, and it includes a meet and

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