This is Down the Avenue's Typepad Profile.
Join Typepad and start following Down the Avenue's activity
Join Now!
Already a member? Sign In
Down the Avenue
Branding, Social Media, Viral Marketing, PR, Blogging, Communications
Interests: food, wine, hiking, writing, photography, books, people, social media, video, really great literature, french and italian design
Recent Activity
What a wonderful surprise to discover that renowned author Michael Pollan was to speak at Book Passage in Corte Madera, which is recognized as the Bay Area's liveliest bookstore, most notably for book launches and signings. Pollan's latest book, This is Your Mind on Plants, (which is available over on Amazon), is a new way to think about drugs and humanity's attraction to psychoactive plants. With the latter comes taboos as well of course. Pollan often uses coffee as an example, for people around the world, regardless of culture, turn to caffeine to sharpen their minds. As a writer who has been on many deadlines over the years, I can vouch for coffee's usefulness as I'm trying to get through a long night. How many times have I relied on coffee when pulling all nighters in college or in my career? No one would consider caffeine a drug; however, for we use it often and of course, it's legal. He spoke of an article he wrote for Harper's earlier on in his career on opium and in the process of his research, he discovered that making tea from the seed head of an opium poppy is a federal crime. In the video below, he shares some of his more humorous memories of that experience. Those who follow Pollan's work or have read his books, wouldn't necessarily think of him as a writer who covers the "drug history." After all, he's mostly known for writing about the places where "nature and culture intersect: on our plates, in our farms and gardens, and in the built environment." His most known books — The Botany of Desire and The Omnivore's Dilemma — explore the socio-cultural impacts on food. During his interview at Book Passage with Mark Danner — a writer and educator who... Continue reading
Posted Aug 5, 2022 at down the avenue
I've been disconnected from my old world for awhile now...the one where my identity revolved around being "a connector" among and amidst technology entrepreneurs. It was the world of start-ups, the world of venture capital, the world of creators and engineers and a world predominantly led by men. It was a world where I never truly felt like I belonged, despite having many positive experiences and magical moments along the way. I always felt like a circle that didn't fit into the square or a triangle that didn't fit into the circle, deeply yearning to create a community for other misfits, a bit like the infamous Island of Misfit Toys that Yukon Cornelius, Hermey the Elf and Rudolph fell upon in the Arctic tundra. It was in this world of hardware, software, apps and IoT that I had the opportunity to not just meet Tony Hsieh, whose death came with great sadness, but also hang out with on occasion. I hadn't realized that he stepped down as CEO of Zappos in August after 21 years, not until I read of his death, which just so happened to be on my birthday. Credit: Renee Blodgett[/caption] Death is such a heavy word for most of us and there's no doubt, I felt a deep sense of sadness both in my heart and gut when I first learned of the news, a very common reaction when we experience the loss of someone we once knew. Yet, in my new world which is predominantly led by Consciousness and Spirit, I know that his 'death' isn't really 'death' at all -- it is a mere shedding of his shell -- aka the mask and costume -- he chose to wear for yet another physical experience. Those still embedded in scientific materialism may see this as... Continue reading
Posted Dec 3, 2020 at down the avenue
You could say that words poured through me, not out of me. What a turbulent and unpredicted ride over the last few weeks as we have all been dealing with a tsunami of news reports from around the globe. Unlike many health related risks in the past, Covid-19 is impacting the world – all of us, not just one country or region. We can no longer feel safe because it’s happening “to those people over there” as humanity’s ego so often does. We are all being hit by a virus that we as a global community are still trying to understand. The Coronavirus itself isn’t new but the strain is – as such, even the medical community is in unchartered territory as are the hospitals who are trying to ramp up support, beds, and supplies if the pandemic spreads. On top of being in unchartered territory, the fact that we don’t have enough testing kits yet, we are faced with even more uncertainty and doubt. We’re told that it is highly contagious – that it can pass through hair and eyelashes, can live on physical substances, such as stainless steel, metal and plastic for up to 3 days. (think grocery carts and door knobs) and on cardboard for up to 24 hours (think Amazon packages and UPS boxes). With this deluge of information -- some of it hype and some of it real -- how do we know what reality is? And, can we truly control that reality? WHAT IS REALITY? As with any flood of fear-instigating data, there’s always someone who can financially benefit and often it tends to be large corporations, pharma and yes, governments. The result of hysteria and panic can be potentially worse than the virus itself. So even if some of this is in play,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 20, 2020 at down the avenue
Truth be told, I've known about Petaluma-based IONs (Institute for Noetic Sciences) for awhile now, and have attended some of their smaller workshops and events over the years. That said, we weren't aware of their annual IONS International Conference , now in its 18th year so were thrilled to team up this year as a media partner. This summer's event which was held from July 18th-21st in Santa Clara, California brought together over 900 scientists, spiritual teachers and consciousness explorers all under one roof for several days of discussions around cutting edge research in consciousness science, personal transformation, and expanded human potential. So, what makes this event so special? The fact that they can gather so many respected scientists, researchers and business entrepreneurs together to embrace spirituality publicly in a way that is rarely done is astonishing in itself. By embrace, I mean that those in the world of cutting edge science are listening to spiritual teachers and wisdom keepers in a way they haven't in the past and moreso, trying to figure out a way to not only deepen the conversation, but allow both sides an equal seat at the table. Imagine a world where left and right brain thinkers & teachers can not just converse but understand & respect each other?? Where the mystical and the factual combine energies and create magic?[/caption] Moving away from the "us" (those who need data to be proven in traditional scientific ways for it to be real) and "them" (those who connect to the unseen world without proof and embrace ancient wisdom of top spiritual masters regardless of faith), is the way forward. You see, those who have had a mystical experience have often had more than one and they don't need scientific proof for their experience to be real, valid or... Continue reading
Posted Aug 21, 2019 at down the avenue
We are excited to team up with Zen 2.0 as a media partner this year. Based in Kamakura Japan, Zen 2.0 is an international conference on Zen and mindfulness that integrates modern wisdom and diversity into Kamakura's history and traditions. The event hopes to create a “soul connection” for what you could call an "awakening." The event will take place this September 21-22, 2019 at Kencho-ji (venue name) in Kamakura, which is roughly an hour south of Tokyo along the coast. We feel that their vision is very aligned with our own, which is focused on global consciousness, compassion, spiritual learning and mindfulness. Zen 2.0 values compassion so highly that they list it as their first bullet for what they wish attendees to feel at the conference. In the middle of it all, it's about meeting like-minded people who are on a journey to awaken the magic within while having fun in the process. This Mindful City of Kamakura is surrounded by nature and faces the water, which is nurturing and healing in itself. Zen 2.0's Theme for 2019: Connectedness As we enter the Reiwa Era, we are still dealing with the endless deluge of (mis)information from social media, which is adding to the stresses of our daily lifestyles and jobs. Frankly, this has been an issue we have been writing about for years now. Although we are at the forefront of technology in northern California and I've done my fair share of launching tech start-ups, in the midst of it all, I have seen people losing the things they care about most: connections to the people they care about in their inner circle such as their closest friends and family members. Too consumed with the digital world and finding 'connectedness' online rather than in the flesh, people have begun... Continue reading
Posted Aug 21, 2019 at down the avenue
Where the art form and discipline of martial arts mastery meets the peacefulness of a dramatic late summer sky. This photo captures so much of the raw mystery and surreal nature of time spent with our friend Chris, a kung fu wizard of sorts who depicts a warrior as much in this life as his last hundred. If we are creative beings, it may be easy to be disciplined about our gift but harder to wear it on our sleeve in other areas of our lives. I learn every day from living with a martial arts warrior about the left brain side of that creative mind as well as the other side of discipline, the other side of strength, the other side of the unspoken, the other side of polarity and the other side of courage. How our friends touch and rip open our lives and us them, is forever circular for what they move in us reaches deep into the universe. The trickle effect and ripples we create in other people's hearts and souls are powerful beyond what we can imagine in a linear thinking world. Lest not forget that we are all energy after all. Everything around us is energy. For what we sow, we too shall reap, for what we put out, will return. Sometimes the most important thing is just "showing up" and doing so with an open heart and an open mind. That alone will not just transform your own journey but everyone and thing on its path! Continue reading
Posted Sep 9, 2017 at down the avenue
I’ve been spending more time thinking about mind/body balance and soulful, purposeful decision making more than anything else lately – in my personal life but also in my business life because let’s face it, our work is where we spend most of our time. I’ve been asking what mind/body balance and purpose means to people and have extended this question to other cultures. As someone who runs an online travel site dedicated to Transformative Travel, I have access to people from around the world and know first-hand how much knowledge, insight and ancient wisdom we can learn from people whose views are as foreign to us as the Chinese alphabet. This is particularly relevant in the midst of current events and unnerving shifts in politics, including rhetoric that global leaders are embracing as acceptable lately, particularly in the states, the Philippines, Venezuela, Russia, France, Germany and England. I could go on….but that’s not the primary point of this share. Photo credit: johnhain/pixabay It shouldn’t be a surprise that the feedback I got from Asian and Southern African voices were a little different than the types of things that came from the hearts and minds of those living in North America and Europe. And, it shouldn’t be a surprise that Millennials had a different take than Baby Boomers. That said, one measure of happiness and joy remained constant regardless of demographic, culture or age: connection and quality time with people who they valued most in their lives, whether that be family or friends, or both. Truth be told, we like to spend time with people who make us feel good about ourselves and the world around us. We also like to connect with people we feel understand us and so when ideas, thoughts, products, services, people or things fall into our... Continue reading
Posted May 27, 2017 at down the avenue
Given how much travel writing I do these days, I rarely post anymore over here which is where it all began. Two of my former blogs became Down the Avenue when I started publishing to the web, now more than 15 years ago. Truth be told, Down the Avenue is like an old friend. When the blog editor opens and I see it's old familiar interface, it's like going into an old coffee bar you used to frequent in your home town. The difference is, that instead of opening up an old fashioned notebook in that same coffee bar and putting pen to paper like I did for many years across many continents, I type in a window and all of my personal ramblings come out, word for word. And, instead of those ramblings getting buried under a bed or in an attic somewhere that may someday be seen by a select few, the words get published for the world to see in a matter of hours, and often minutes. When I'm in a reflective mood or simply need to make sense of something, I turn to my favorite cafe (this longstanding personal blog) and it all comes out. Once it's out there in black and white, it's so much easier to see that our lives and the world is far from black and white. After the election, I like so many Americans were stunned with the outcome. While my intuition told me that Trump would win months before it became reality, a voice deep inside me wished this nation of immigrants would see through his sad but brilliantly navigated narcissist roadshow. The truth is that racism and fear of others not quite like us, has always been front and center, especially for the white man. I grew up in... Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2017 at down the avenue
Today is International Women's Day and there's no greater woman in my life than one who isn't alive anymore. Here's a toast today to my grandmother, a resilient yet loving woman who was born in 1916, the magical spirit who raised me. She was physically by my side until she died of cancer when I was 16, and has emotionally been by my side ever since. Many years ago, an entrepreneurial friend of mine who also an author of technology and other business books sat me down to do a 'reading.' Mystical by nature, he is one of the few people I know who plays in both the science and spiritual realms, embracing them both equally and with ease. It was an aura reading and during my session, he saw a warm yellow glow around me, an angel of sorts he said, and as he described it, I knew it was same warm yellow as the shutters on my childhood home in upstate New York. This aura was a protector of sorts, he said, something I have always felt throughout my life. You've likely heard the phrase 'he/she marches to the beat of a different drum.' There's always one family member who does just that and they are often referred to as the black sheep, the one who strayed from what the rest of the family considers 'normal.' It is often the different drum folks who appear to have no discipline externally, but inside, discipline drives them. It takes courage to take the internal road again and again. "Just Trust Yourself & You Will Know How to Live." - Johann Wolfgang von Goet She lived her life to powerful and passionate drum and raised me to live my life that way too. I think about that different beat often these... Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2017 at down the avenue
As I listened to the discussion over the new Administration’s (can’t even say his name) proposed $250 million cut of Planned Parenthood on NPR this week, I thought "is this a throw-back Thursday joke of some kind? This de-funding proposal, as all listeners of the latest developments know, is for standard women’s reproductive health services since federal funding doesn’t fund PP abortion. As someone who has lived in Africa twice and helped to bring on TEDx speakers to address the importance of birth control and empowering women in Africa and other developing regions of the world, I find it astounding that in the supposedly most developed country in the world, we’re having this conversation in 2017. Apparently most Americans still support Roe v. Wade (most recent numbers from Pew Research say 69%) and we've come so far with women's equality and rights or have we? I was raised by my grandparents which means that my conditioning came from people born in 1915. Think about it. When I went on the pill for the first time after returning to the U.S. from living abroad, it came from Planned Parenthood – I wasn’t in an at risk category but felt safe going there when there were few people I could talk to about birth control. The grandmother who raised me died when I was 16 and I wasn’t about to turn to my grandfather. Yet, an interesting thing happened after I finally disclosed it to him. He said, “smart move – I’m glad you took the initiative, especially without your mother here to guide you.” Then we started talking. He told me about a hospital scene when my grandmother was giving birth to my dad and the doctor asked him if there were any issues, what his decision was: to save my... Continue reading
Posted Jan 14, 2017 at down the avenue
Truth be told, I tend to hate lists but readers seem to love them. The reason I hate them is because it requires me (or one) to choose. As a parent, if someone asked you if you had a favorite child, it's like asking whether you have more love for one or the other, not necessarily who you align with the most. As a traveler, when someone asks you what your favorite country is,'s hard, at least it is for me. I have my least favorites but even in the gloom of some treacherous experiences I had in China when the doors first opened up to westerners so many moons ago, when our room was broken into in Naples or when we were scammed in India, there were insightful outcomes from all of these incidents. And, as all travelers know, one isn't like the other and as easy as it is to stereotype (and I do at times based on a myriad of similar experiences in one place), one STILL isn't like the other. It's important for us to be open and to constantly yearn to learn, for it is in that openness that magic happens, on the road...or not. Above is a shot I posted on my feed towards the end of 2016 which we took near my home along the northern California coast. There's a little distortion from it when I blew it up to nearly 2,000 pixels, but I love how I felt that day and so here it is. Taken on my iPhone 6. I curate this list with trepidation because there were so many feeds that inspired me this past year and 2016 marked a shift for me with Instagram; I became more addicted to the platform and therefore more engaged. As time consuming... Continue reading
Posted Jan 14, 2017 at down the avenue
It's that time of year again and with December comes holiday soirees, cocktail gatherings, family celebrations and whether you have kids or not, it's the season of giving. It's the time we give of ourselves just a little more and buy gifts for loved ones which come in all shapes, prices, categories and colors. If you check out last year's holiday gift guide, you'll see that we tend to discover fun finds across the board, from food/wine, entertainment, technology, kitchenware and accessories to beauty, wellness, perfumes, bags, clothing, shoes and jewelry. When it comes to gear and wear, we try to pick items that match a frequent traveler's lifestyle and I personally look for design, elegance, creativity, value, style, comfort and of course functionality. Our favorite pick of the year goes to the iRobot Roomba 980, (it's under our technology category below) and we also reviewed it earlier this year. While it's not a new product on the market, it saves me so much time and helps to keep our home dust-free. Two thumbs up for the Grillbot as well, which is a bit like an iRobot for your grill. What can I say -- products that automate your life so you can spend more time in nature or traveling is a godsend! In the fashion category, we're huge fans of Aetrex for shoes and Craghoppers for men's clothing. We hope to do Favorite Picks by Category in the near future as we expand our product, fashion/style, wellness and beauty reviews. Beauty & Fragrance Raw Spirit Fragrances Meet Raw Spirit, a luxury fragrance brand that works with the unique cultures to weave in the best that their 'land' has to offer, one of the things we loved about this perfume brand discovery. They source some of the rarest and most... Continue reading
Posted Jan 14, 2017 at down the avenue
Let's face it --- the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) which is held every year in Las Vegas, can be a dizzying experience. I've been going for about 25 years, almost always repping a product and sometimes more than one, from kids education software and the world's best speech recognition system in my younger days to a myriad of startup innovations ever since. I tend to find the product recaps predominantly male; in other words, most of the top picks tend to center around early adopter products and they tend to fall in the following categories: video, cars, audio, and big screen TV's. While these categories impact all of us, especially car technology, I tend to look at unique designs, products and services which also appeal to women and solutions that help travelers on the road, either be more productive, or have more fun. I've curated a list of 25 products in several categories and some of the factors that I looked at when making the cut include originality, innovation, design, and whether it is or can look at the bigger picture and solve a need beyond what it is doing today. I include wellness, because that matters to me a lot, so much so that we've expanded the Wellness category. In this piece, you'll find the following: Toyota's futuristic car that thinks for you, the easiest to learn electronic guitar you'll ever use, a smart suitcase cover, a smart bed, a personal connected wine bar, a companion robot, the world's smartest air purifier, a fashionable wrist wearable that pairs with headphones, vibrating jeans and swim suits that alert you when to apply more sunscreen, a stylish panoramic camera with 17 lenses, smart dumbbells, a smart skateboard, the world's first electric violin made from a 3D printer, a genetic measuring... Continue reading
Posted Jan 14, 2017 at down the avenue
Let’s face it -- indoor Air Pollution is dangerous and climbing at alarming rates. Air pollution in general rise worldwide, killing more than 3.3 million and one study says it could double by 2050. Given that we spend nearly 90% of our time indoors (some research says more) and indoor air pollution is slated to be from 3 to 10 times worse than outdoor air pollution, it’s no wonder that that cases of Asthma and Allergies are climbing and at an all-time high. In addition to seasonal allergens, many also suffer from dust and chemicals from cleaning products, paints and other residues at home, work and school. Photo credit: Air Filters for Clean Air Think Your Indoor Air is Safe? Think Again! When we think of air pollution, we tend to think of outdoor air pollution and that we're safe inside where we spend most of our time. If you think that all the places where you OR your kids spend time is at safe levels, think again. Studies show that 50% of America’s schools have problems linked to indoor air quality and an issue in 6 out of 10 homes worldwide. Indoor air may contain lead from the old paints which have been connected to early brain development in children. Not only does research show that clean air helps people be more focused and efficient at work and can reduce sick leave time, but shows that purer air improves kid’s productivity and results at school as well. Bottom line, what we breathe in day after day, can impact the quality of our sleep, energy levels and even life span. Photo credit: The Climate Chief Indoor air you breathe can be hazardous to your health without any telltale signs, so having a personal air purifier by your side can improve... Continue reading
Posted Jan 9, 2017 at down the avenue
Introducing Travel Tech Con, an independent conference organized by a group of travel startup founders who share a common passion of moving the travel industry forward. Now in its first year, the event this month spanned over two days, the first of which had 15 startups present at the Plug & Play Center in Sunnyvale California. Day two focused on players in the world of travel tech addressing what needs to change in the next ten years to bring an industry with an antiquated infrastructure up to what consumers expect in 2016 and beyond. Photo credit: EMaze. From Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, the Internet of Things, Big Data, Open Travel Standards, Automotive Innovations and more, we heard from Adobe’s Head of Global Industry Strategy & Marketing for Travel & Hospitality Mohammad Gaber, Emergent VR’s Peter Wilkins on the future of VR and Travel, OSLET’s Gadi Bashvitz on using personalization to drive conversions, Chute’s Ranvir Gujral on AI, GEIOS’ Michael Frischkorn talked about using IoT to help travelers create more memories, and Roomstorm’s Maksim Izmaylov talked standards, a necessary for efficient global communication. There was also an interesting panel on emerging automotive tech which was addressed by Roadgazer’s Maria Mokhnatkina, Bosch’s Tom Lindma, Skurt’s Tin Hang Liu and Princeton Optronics’ Alexey Kovsh. The second day was held at Yelp so not surprising to hear from Yelp’s Rachel Zhao who talked about making it global while keeping it local. SFOX’s Akbar Thobhani, Factom’s Tiana Laurence and Norm Rose talked about the opportunities Blockchain can bring. Think of it as a distributed network that offers value….value that can’t be duplicated. When you’re dealing with strangers, blockchain can offer tremendous benefits. Since travel is so distributed and so global, blockchain is a way to help make travel booking more direct and more efficient,... Continue reading
Posted May 27, 2016 at down the avenue
When I was approached by a company that is trying to transform how we all think about the air we breathe, I was intrigued. After I learned that it wasn't an outdoor environmental play, but indoor air, I was even more intrigued. After all, how bad could indoor air be? It turns out, pretty bad. After I did some of my own digging, I wanted to be involved. There are some alarming stats of why you should care and why what they're doing matters. Meet uHoo, the most advanced indoor air quality on the market, which is now open for pre-orders over on IndieGoGo starting today. More than any other product in the market, uHoo provides real-time alerts on unhealthy air, going deeper and broader than other products. What sets uHoo apart is its eight dedicated sensors, detecting Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Carbon Monoxide (CO), Ozone, Air Pressure, Volatile Organic Compounds, which are found in paint and home cleaning products, Temperature, Dust and Humidity and all sensors are dedicated, which is not the case with most other solutions. With concerns on indoor air quality at an all-time high and the fact that we spend nearly 90% of our time indoors (some studies say more), uHoo aims to transform people’s health by providing an affordable solution for asthma and allergy sufferers, for people with toddlers at home and for anyone who genuinely cares about their health. Couple that with unhealthy indoor air being linked to cancer and heart disease, 6 in 10 homes being hazardous to their owner’s health and half (yup, that's 50%) of America’s schools having problems linked to indoor air quality, a product that detects the particles and chemicals we breathe in real-time can be transformative to our day-to-day lives. What Don’t We Know? Given the tragic news reports... Continue reading
Posted May 10, 2016 at down the avenue
The truth is, I used to reflect about Mother's Day every year and even write about it occasionally. My mother who was actually my grandmother -- Irene was her lovely name -- was one of the most inspirational woman I've ever known and I've encountered a lot of amazing female souls over my lifetime. It wasn't until later in life that I learned that Irene was the English name for Renee and the French name came from my mother's side who apparently came from several generations of French heritage, although we rarely talked about that. I always assumed I was much more English than anything else until told me otherwise and I realized just how dominantly French my background really was. In fact, my nearly 30% Italian genetic make-up was even more prominent than the English side of the family -- their DNA seemed to have passed over me somehow. When I think of her, I think of roses. I think of tulips too, since we planted them together and without fail, they sprouted from our upstate New York garden every spring. Credit: What set her apart was her ability to be raw and truthful, raising issues people were uncomfortable hearing, but doing so in the most genuine and diplomatic of ways -- her English mother Ida taught her well perhaps although given what I knew about my great grandmother, my guess is that it was simply unique to Irene. I've never been able to live up to the level of dignity and elegance that she showed everyone around her simply by walking into a room. I learned so much about the trials and tribulations of motherhood and what it was like to be a woman growing up in the 1920's and 3o's simply by being a good... Continue reading
Posted May 8, 2016 at down the avenue
Putting a dent in the future -- isn't that a compelling idea? And, what's even more compelling is that it means such different things to different people and why the eclectic DENT Conference in Sun Valley Idaho, is so unique. From technologists, entrepreneurs and scientists, to artists, astronauts and Olympic Gold medalists, people gather around to hear radical new ideas, learn from the best of the best and share their best practices, all under the roof of the Sun Valley Inn, a stone's throw from Baldy Mountain and incredible skiing, even in the Spring. The brain child of Seattle-based Steve Broback and Jason Preston, DENT is now in its fourth year and my third year of attending, DENT's format is a mix of educational, interactive and thought provoking, with un-conference break-out sessions, fireside chats and general talks. Since the backbone of the conference stems from the technology community, it seemed fitting that American futurist and author Amy Webb would speak. As the Founder of the Future Today Institute and an Adjunct Professor at New York University's Stern School of Business, she dabbles in a lot of projects. She asks us wryly: "What happens when we get what we say we want?" On the topic of Emerging Tech Trends and the hot button in Silicon Valley right now: Big Data, she addressed where and how that data will change how we think about the world and how we interact with it. What if an algorithm could predict our news? What if a news story could be written by an algorithm, using curated and scraped data that could get published? If you follow financial and sports news today, you may be surprised to learn that many of these stories are already being written by algorithms. Yet, it's not something we really think... Continue reading
Posted Mar 30, 2016 at down the avenue
I love conferences and events solely dedicated to women, especially those where mentorship is part of the value-add, whether that be from listening to inspiring powerful women's talks throughout the course of the day or networking with women going through similar issues you might be facing at home or at work. I'm new to learning about the Watermark Conference for women in the Silicon Valley Bay Area and plan to attend this year. At last year event, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who's now in the race for the White House, delivered a keynote address to thousands of attendees. Keynotes this year include Glamour's editor-in-chief Cindi Leive, TV personality, comedian and author Mindy Kaling, Sama and Laxmi founder Leila Janah, Soccer Superstar Abby Wambach and Entrepreneur John Jacobs. The conference has networking, professional development, inspirational panels and keynotes. More details can be found on their site, including speakers, sessions and bios on the keynotes: This year's event will be held in San Jose on April 21, 2016. Watermark offers Community & Connection, Info & Inspiration, Motivation & you can Discover What You Want & Achieve It! The event brings together acclaimed women who share their wisdom and expertise on a wide range of personal and professional development topics, to help you find clarity on your goals and what you need to accomplish them. Topics include managing your money, reinventing your career, dealing with change, how to market yourself and network effectively, how to help your community, finding funding for your business, managing your health, attitude and more. The event is targeting non-profits, community leaders, entrepreneurs, self-employed women, job seekers, students, or frankly anyone looking for some motivation and inspiration. They will also have an Exhibit Hall which will feature organizations showcasing a wide variety of products... Continue reading
Posted Mar 7, 2016 at down the avenue
From innovative surgery and extraterrestrial intelligence to reporting from war zones and Grammy-Award winning music, this year’s theme for TEDxBerkeley 2016 -- Finding X, which will be held at Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley CA on February 6, will look to solutions to our world's imperfections. Sixteen riveting speakers will address how we identify these problems and make sense of them in the larger systems where they belong. Whether it be voyaging into uncharted technological or scientific territory, reconciling our diverse perspectives of the human condition, or unearthing the parts of ourselves that give our lives direction and meaning, we all hope to make an impact on this world by Finding X. Now in its 7th year, this prestigious TEDx event will bring together thought leaders, visionaries, innovators and 54 performers who will enlighten and inspire more than 2,000 attendees across core disciplines impacting the world, from medicine and education to technology and diversity. TEDxBerkeley strives to curate an outstanding group of inventive and provocative speakers who can shift global conversations in a way that makes the world a better place, central and core to TED's mission. The goal is to get us all to re-think conventional ideas and the status quo so that we can all make a positive difference in our own communities. Tickets for TEDxBerkeley 2016 are on sale through Friday, February 5 or until they sell out. Attendees or those viewing via Live Stream at starting at 10 am PST/1 pm EST, can also participate in the conversation on social media by using #TEDxBerkeley on Twitter, Facebook and other popular social networks. This year’s line-up includes: Christopher Ategeka: Award-Winning Social Entrepreneur & Nano-Technology Inventor that identifies early detection and monitoring of chronic diseases. Celli@Berkeley: a cellist quartet made up of undergraduate and graduate students united by... Continue reading
Posted Jan 25, 2016 at down the avenue
I missed last year's New York Times Travel Show since we were about to embark on a 5 week long journey cross country -- our hashtag for the tour was #WBTWxAmerica for those interested in seeing photos on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. We left New York the week before the event, and only a day before the city got hit with a snowstorm. This year, we were proud media partners of the event since it remains one of my favorite travel shows in the industry. I love the fact that the show is a great mix of trade and consumer content and brings together some of my favorite destinations in the world all under one roof. Despite the fact that is an American East Coast event, countries as far away as Taiwan and Japan showed up, there were wellness offerings from gems like Tahiti, St. Lucia and Bali, plenty of South American representation, and it took me nearly a day to make my way through the Africa aisle alone. From learning cool facts about specific destinations and exploring the latest from African safari tour companies, which we'll be expanding in 2016, I could have easily spent a full day in discovery mode. Below, Arthur Frommer, from the infamous Frommer's Guides, opened the official consumer day of the event, which included a formal ribbon cutting at the entrance on Saturday morning, January 9. Some of my personal highlights are outlined below - as always, questions or comments, leave them in the comment section or feel free to tweet or email me @weblogtheworld. Eastern Europe I was thrilled to see my pals from Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia on-site; we went on a press trip with them a few years back and loved it -- see my coverage of Estonia and Lithuania. They... Continue reading
Posted Jan 17, 2016 at down the avenue
Will VoLTE do away with VoIP in 2016? With major carriers like AT&T and Verizon Wireless in the United States now offering VoLTE services, will this voice technology become the new standard by 2016? At the moment, many of us choose to use VoIP services, which seem on the surface to be quite similar to VoLTE. Both transmit voice calls using packetized data. However, there are some key differences to be aware of which leads some to believe that VoLTE is the superior technology. Here’s a look at these differences, and whether or not VoLTE will be able to overtake VoIP by the end of next year. The Differences between VoLTE and VoIP Although VoLTE and VoIP may share common acronyms, they do work a bit differently. This also translates into differences in performance. If you’ve ever used an app like Google Voice, Skype, or WhatsApp, you already know how VoIP generally works. It allows you to make voice calls over an IP network, transmitting the voice data in packets. VoIP can be used over any sort of network, whether you’re connecting with 3G, 4G or local wireless. VoLTE can only be used over a high-speed LTE network. It still breaks your call down into smaller data packets, but it offers a faster speed and does away with the need for a third-party app in order to function. In terms of performance, VoLTE can be clearer and more reliable, simply because it relies on that 4G connection. At their best, VoIP calls can be great. Bear in mind that they do depend on the connection you’re using – as anyone who’s had a Skype session suddenly interrupted knows! Because VoLTE doesn’t use third-party apps, it also is less of a battery drain on your smartphone than a VoIP service like... Continue reading
Posted Jan 16, 2016 at down the avenue
Happy Thanksgiving! On the morning of another Turkey Day, I reflect on the things I am grateful for, and there are plenty despite it being a rocky year. I salute this day to the people in my life who stood by me during the rocky and the joyous and to a place which shaped who I am today – the Adirondacks. In a world where we look at miniature screens more than we talk to or perhaps even touch people or a tree, I think we all too often forget about the importance of nature – the land that originally fed Americans when they first landed in New England so many moons ago… and your ancestors. It was about Communion. Harvest. Sharing. Being Thankful. Joyous for making it to a New Land, a land which was so ripe for harvesting and planting, they did. When I was a child, our nourishment still came from this land. In our home, we didn’t eat chemically modified food. I was lucky to be raised by my grandparents who held values from the turn of the last century, led by a misfit grandfather who showed me how to tend a garden and even more importantly why knowing how had so much value. Some of the things we grew in that garden we ate on the holidays. My grandmother canned everything, from jams and jellies to blueberries to make pies and tomatoes, which we used for sauce in the winter. I challenge you to two things on this Thanksgiving day as we gear up for a month long holiday season of commercialism and even more technology being thrown our way as an important “must have” in our lives. First, return to the land that raised you….the hood you call home and really look at the... Continue reading
Posted Nov 26, 2015 at down the avenue
For the second night in a row, I hadn’t bolted the door. When I woke up, I had that dizzying feeling you get when you’ve passed through too many airports in a short period of time, wondering where you were and what day it was. There wasn’t a sound to be heard except for a distant bird’s call that didn’t remotely sound familiar. I tried to put my attention on it so my mind didn’t race off into the land of thought, the ever land of thought that never seems to shut down. What hadn’t I done the day before that still needed my attention and all the things that so often steals precious time away from the serenity that this precious island had to offer. I was on the very same Caribbean island that I read about for the first time when I was ten, and while I hadn’t heard of Reggae or the Blues yet, the novel painted such a rich picture that I knew the rhythm and beat by heart, so much so that I imagined drums on the ceiling of my bedroom and if anyone ever asked me, I would swear they were real, as if a helicopter dropped them by night and parachuted them away the moment daylight hit. My imagination couldn’t have been more vivid at the time and dancing colors of multiple rainbows were part of the canvas of life I painted for myself each and every day; it was a beautiful innocent time where stormy grays and dark blacks didn’t exist, not even in my mind’s eye. It was the start of my exploration of music and I so wanted to be the character in that mystery novel I can’t recall the name of, just so I could dance all night and... Continue reading
Posted Nov 19, 2015 at down the avenue
If you're over the age of 30, chances are you've not only heard of The Sound of Music, but likely grown up watching it with your family. While the birthplace of all it was in and around Salzburg Austria, oddly enough Austrians and Germans didn't grow up watching it nor did it create such a groundswell effect locally like it did in other countries. In October, I was invited to Austria celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Sound of Music, which was originally released in 1965, a pivotal year for so many cultural and historical events. Truth be told, I figured the movie (and musical) was more of a phenomena in the U.S. given its picture perfect Hollywood movie style with Julie Andrews at the helm, however on the ground in Salzburg, I learned that it was a huge hit in places you'd least expect it to be, like Australia and China. We watched The Sound of Music every year as a family for as long as I remember and no doubt, as a child, I watched it more than once some years. As a little girl, who can't relate to the "You are Sixteen" scene? Here, Liesl and Rolf sing this "coming of age" song in the romantic Gazebo setting as she looks to him for guidance at the start of womanhood. While some women may roll their eyes at a scene that depicts a teenage girl being so wooed by a boy that she is putting all hopes in the notion of him "taking care of her," suggesting that she can't figure it out on her own, there's an inherent and natural softness and innocence that is so beautifully portrayed in the scene and so many of us can resonate with it regardless of where we hail. Perhaps... Continue reading
Posted Nov 9, 2015 at down the avenue