Monthly Archives: January 2012

Recent Shoots

In my free time this past week, I went out a couple times and did some shoots with my new camera. Salem and Blue Hills in Milton were my locations. I uploaded the pictures to photobucket, and you can check them out here:

http://s1156.photobucket.com/albums/p578/MaryMallard/Salem%201%2024%2012/

http://s1156.photobucket.com/albums/p578/MaryMallard/Blue%20Hills%201%2029%2011/

Here are some choice cuts from the albums…feedback is appreciated! I resized them a bit so they might be sort of blurry, but the full-size are in the albums. Thanks for checking them out!

Casting Shadows

 

Babbling Brook

Custom House

Lake

Leaves

 

Reflections

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Don’t go here. Please.

The other day, one of my friends from work told me this awful story. I am relating this story to you so we can band together and boycott this place.

The offender: Fibber McGee’s in Beverly

The offense: So Work Friend went to Fibber’s on a Monday night, when they run a promotion where if you can prove you work in the food and beverage industry, you get half off your food for the night. Work Friend clearly works in the food and beverage industry, and brought said proof with her. She had a good time with her friends, even though her bill was messed up twice by their waitress. They even left her a $15 tip on a $40 bill, which is awfully decent if you ask me.

The next day, one of our bosses received an email saying that work friend did not tip their waitress, and even questioned whether or not she worked in food and beverage. She then said that it was a bad representation of us and our workplace. Work Friend had to explain to our boss what happened, and even though he didn’t think it was a big deal, she felt compelled to send an email explaining that there must have been confusion in the splitting of the bill or something and they would never not take care of a waitress, seeing as she also had been a waitress herself. Of course, she got a nice-as-pie email back from this person, who clearly assumed work friend would not have seen the first one, who apologized and said she hoped they could move past it.

WRONG.

Clearly, mistakes are made. Not a big deal. I think it was more than a little out of line to send an email like that, especially when you could most likely find an explanation if you really had listened to the story. Don’t just jump to conclusions and assume things. Too late now, you’re losing business.

Tweet me! @marymallard

Guess What? Libraries still exist.

I took a break from posting for a bit, but here I am. Back with a vengeance. I’ve had this idea in my head for a while, just no time to throw it out there. So here it is: The Wikipedia Blackout.

For those of you that don’t know, on January 18th over 7,000 websites went dark in protest of SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act). A quick summary of both:

Copyright infringement is rampant on the Web, and SOPA was introduced to give copyright holders more protective power over their work. However, critics contended that SOPA and PIPA would stifle online freedom of expression and put undue strain on websites to police their content – especially social media and other sharing sites.

via What is Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)? – Definition from Techopedia.com.

But what really got me is this: one of the biggest deals made out of the blackout was that Wikipedia was participating. The reason? Students felt like they couldn’t do their homework, projects, and other stuff.

Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE wikipedia to look up useless information, solve debates over stupid facts, and figure out who the hell Ted is from How I Met Your Mother. But it KILLS me that students today think that Wikipedia is a legit tool to do schoolwork with. And that not having it seriously hinders their ability to complete their assignments. Well,I’m going to let you in on a huge secret (imagine me whispering here): there are things called libraries. With books. And research databases. And the information is actually reliable. Written by educated people, unlike the Wikipedia articles that can be edited by pretty much anyone.

I mean, this bothers me almost as much as 4 year olds with iPads. Its unnecessary. I remember the days when I was in school and we could only use ONE internet source for research on a project. I know turning the pages of a book is a lot of effort, and getting to the library can be a pain in the butt, but come on. Let’s be real here. If Wikipedia didn’t exist, I’m sure the world would not end. And that’s that.

Tweet me! @marymallard

Leggings are NOT Pants (and other fashion faux pas)

Before I became a professional waitress, I worked in retail. For a long time. My whole working life long time. During those awful years, I saw some HORRIBLE fashion faux pas, and learned some valuable lessons from my superiors. These are some of the worst trends I’ve seen.

Leggings as Pants

Michael Kors himself said leggings are not pants. Sure, they look cute under a sweaterdress or a long tee. And by long, I mean past your butt crack. It really irks me when I see girls running around with leggings and a t-shirt that leaves their butt hanging out. And yes, your butt IS hanging out. Leggings are only slightly thicker than opaque tights. You wouldn’t wear tights alone, would you? Didn’t think so.

Sure, I’ve worn leggings a few times. They’re okay when worn properly. But please, PLEASE keep your ass covered. Thanks.

Jeggings

Ah, the jegging. A close inbred cousin to the legging. I’m not sure who thought this up, or who thought to market it to any girl older than 12. These are not okay. I repeat, NOT okay. Unless you have less than 1% body fat. In which case I think you need help.

The main problem with jeggings is that they are accepted as pants, but they show EVERYTHING. They’re not flattering. They look extremely uncomfortable. Anything that you have to grease yourself up to get into is just awful. Unless its a wetsuit. In which case you’re probably a surfer. And I would like to hang out with you.

Pajama Jeans

Oh dear God. Please, please, please make these go away. Someone had the bright idea to take fabric that is like pajamas and make them look like jeans. Why? WHY?! If you’re too lazy to put on jeans, wear yoga pants or something. Anything would be better than this abomination. Except leggings. As pants.

I really have nothing else to say about them, because thinking about it is giving me a headache. Awful. Just awful.

Forever Lazy

Okay, I have a snuggie. I love my snuggie, actually. It’s a great invention. But this…this is just another thing entirely. Adult footie pajamas without the feet. With a butt hatch. Who thinks of these things? These are fine if you’re say, three. Not thirty three. The butt hatch is really what kills me. Are you really THAT lazy that you can’t take your suit off to go to the bathroom? Not to mention, it looks like if you don’t have outstanding coordination you could have a serious mess on your hands. No pun intended.

And there you have it. There are many, many more faux pas, but I feel these are the most serious. Just trying to change the world, one horrible fad at a time. Have more awful fads? Tweet me: @marymallard

Thanks kids!

Electoral College: Does my vote count or what?

When I tell people I’m not registered to vote, as I mentioned in an earlier post, I usually get the same reaction. Disbelief, disdain, other “dis” words, and sometimes a lecture on why I need to vote. As I’ve said before, I have zero interest in politics. Which makes me an uneducated voter. And therefore dangerous. Another thing I’ve always been skeptical of is the electoral college.

The general way I’ve always understood the electoral college is that each state gets a certain amount of votes, which overrides the popular vote and basically makes my vote not count. I’ve done a lot of research the past couple days, and have fleshed out what I think it actually means. Now, I’m just explaining what I think it is, please feel free to comment and correct me. And forgive me if it’s boring. I really just want to know if I’m understanding this correctly. Phone a friend, or in this case, the blogosphere.

Basically, you have your nominated candidates. We’ll say for this sake that there’s just Republican and Democrat. They’re listed on the ballot like you would normally see. However, when you’re casting a vote for the president and vice president, you’re ACTUALLY voting for their elector. What’s an elector? Glad you asked:

  • The elector is nominated by his or her state party committee (perhaps to reward many years of service to the party).
  • The elector “campaigns” for a spot and the decision is made during a vote held at the state’s party convention.

Here’s a map of the number of electoral college votes each state gets:

electoral college map 2004 and 2008

So, you’re essentially voting for a person to in turn vote for the person you want to be president. Sometimes the ballot tells you this is happening, sometimes it doesn’t. When it does, it looks something like this:

https://i0.wp.com/blog.silive.com/firstglance/2008/11/1103-Sample-ballot.jpg

If you notice on the left side of the ballot, it says “Electors for the President and Vice President of the United States”.

Generally, the electors vote for whoever gets the popular vote in the election. But when they don’t, they can lose their spot as an elector.

It’s supposed to keep the election from being swayed by certain sections of the country, as is explained in this example of the election of 1888:

1888: Benjamin Harrison lost the popular vote by 95,713 votes to Grover Cleveland, but won the electoral vote by 65. In this instance, some say the Electoral College worked the way it is designed to work by preventing a candidate from winning an election based on support from one region of the country. The South overwhelmingly supported Cleveland, and he won by more than 425,000 votes in six southern states. However, in the rest of the country he lost by more than 300,000 votes.

So, I guess my vote does count. In a way. Maybe? I’m still pretty confused. Hit me up on twitter and help me out: @marymallard

Thanks, blogosphere!

(I used Wikipedia and http://history.howstuffworks.com/american-history/electoral-college.htm primarily for research, as well as Googling a LOT of political websites!)

“Act as If”: The Secret in 20 Minutes or Less

If you’ve ever read The Secret, you know that the title of this post is talking about. If you haven’t, then this post is for you. Well, if you’ve read it already then this post is for you too. I suppose.

As I’ve said before, I am  a HUGE believer in the Law of Attraction. This theory sounds kind of crazy, so bear with me, I promise it makes sense. Basically it says that everything in the universe is made of atoms, therefore we are made of the same stuff as everything else in the universe. So, if you send out negative vibes to the universe, in the form or thoughts or words or actions, then more negativity is going to come back to you. In other words, negativity breeds negativity, and positivity breeds positivity. Still with me? Good.

So this brings me to what you may be thinking: “I’m a happy person already. Bad things are going to happen anyway.” This is true. Some things we can’t prevent. But if you find yourself wanting to fix relationships, get a new job, or just have a generally better life, I’d like to offer you some steps talked about in the book and that have actually worked for me.

First, think positive. This might sound like a no-brainer, but it’s harder than you think. When you get in an argument with someone, think of how much you think and talk about it. A lot of times we think it’s getting our stress out, but if you think about it, you most likely get worked up every time. And that’s negative energy. The more you think and talk about a negative event, the more negative energy you’re putting out to the universe without thinking about it. Try setting a goal, such as only talking or thinking about a negative event twice, then letting go of it. This is REALLY hard at first, but the more you do it, the easier it is.

Along with that, you need to consciously think and talk positively. People at my job think I’m nuts because I run around all day saying “It’s great, today’s a great day, everything is great.” But I always have a smile on my face, and it honestly helps me to be happier. And less things happen to make my day bad. Again, this is really hard. But the more you force yourself to do it, the easier it gets. Eventually you won’t even have to think about making yourself do it.

Second, MEDITATE! I know, that sounds really lame. But it WORKS. I’m not talking about sitting in the lotus position saying huuummmm for 45 minutes a day. That would be lame. I’m just talking about taking time to clear your mind and focus on a mantra. Oh, you need a mantra. What is a mantra you ask? It’s a phrase that you pick to repeat over and over again in your mind, to help you keep it clear, and also to help those positive vibes boogey out to the universe. It can be something as simple as “My life is awesome.” You may not think your life is awesome. But if you repeat to yourself that it is, and tell the universe that it is, then the universe will reply with all sorts of things that make your life awesome. I usually meditate when I’m laying in bed trying to go to sleep. It’s very relaxing and I’m usually out in about 5 minutes. Plus, its making my life even more awesome. Think I’m crazy yet? Great!

Third, act as if. Meaning, if you want something to happen, act as if it already has. If you want a promotion at work, act as if you already have it. Ask your boss for more responsibility, take initiative and go above and beyond, generally everything you think you would be doing if you got the promotion. Odds are, it will happen. You have to MAKE things happen for yourself. Acting as if is probably the easiest thing out of the list, because it is the most tangible. There’s a lot more examples of acting as if in the book, it’s just a lot to talk about. And I don’t want to bore you. If I haven’t already.

I tried to squish in as much information I could here without rambling, but if you want to check out the website, it’s here: http://thesecret.tv/ .

And I would like to end with a notable quotable my friend posted on Facebook, which basically contradicts this whole post, but I thought it was funny. Thanks for reading my seriousness!

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. – Herm Albright

 

Off the beaten path

So, people keep telling me to write about what I enjoy. Well, I really enjoy food. So I decided today I would post about some of my favorite restaurants, that are sort of hidden gems. You may have heard of some of them, but if you haven’t, or haven’t gone, I would definitely say give them a try.

Gaslight

Gaslight560.com

560 Harrison Ave, Boston

617.422.0224

Price Range: $$

Gaslight is located in the South End, a few streets behind Tremont. It’s a little hard to find, so punch it in your GPS. Hint for parking: they have free valet in the lot that’s used for the restaurant behind it. It’s French themed, and a little pricey, but the food is delicious. I would recommend the duck, and if you’re getting french fries (which I definitely think is a must) ask for the truffle fries. They’re not listed on the menu, but they’re tossed in truffle oil. (Explanation of truffle oil for non-foodies is here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truffle_oil). Deeelish. For dessert, definitely the creme brulee. They also have a really great wine selection, and pretty extensive martini list. It’s also a good idea to make a reservation, they use Yelp and OpenTable for that if you’re adverse to calling places.

 

 

 

 

 

Green Land Café

Thegreenlandcafe.com

87 Washington Street, Salem

978.744.7766

Price Range: $$

The Green Land Cafe is right near the train station in Salem, so it’s really accessible. They’re thing is they use sustainable ingredients and get everything from local farms around the area. The menu changes seasonally, depending on what they’re getting in. They also have cold and hot tapas, so if you go for a hot date and don’t want to get an entire meal, you can be cute and share some things. The boyfriend and I got fried artichokes, which was an entire artichoke heart fried and drizzled with balsamic vinegar. Again, I got the duck special (see a pattern?) and he got a frenched pork chop, both of which were very good. They also offer organic and sustainable brands of wine, and organic beers, and nightly drink specials.

 

The Gulu-Gulu Café

247 Essex Street, Salem

978.740.8882

Gulu-gulu.com

Price Range:  $ – $$

Another Salem gem. This little place is located right down the street from The Green Land Cafe. It has an extremely relaxed atmosphere, with mismatched tables and chairs, couches, and board games. You can be served on the couches too, which is a lot of fun. They have a HUGE craft beer list, and a full bar. The menu is funky, with crepes and flavored cappuccinos next to sandwiches and salads. It’s on the cheaper side, too. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and have open mic nights and either live music or a DJ every weekend. They don’t give you grief if you want to go there and hang out on your laptop to do some work, either.

 

 

 

 

Sibling Rivalry

525 Tremont Street, Boston

617.338.5338

Siblingrivalryboston.com

Price Range: $$$

This intriguing place is right in the heart of the South End in Boston. Their claim to fame is the two chefs, Chef David and Chef Bob, who are brothers, which the name implies. The menu is double-sided, with the brothers taking the same set of ingredients and crafting their own interpretations of meals made out of them. The boyfriend took me here on my birthday, and it was amazing. I had the crispy pressed duck (shocking), and it was delish. The creme brulee, clearly another favorite of mine, was outstanding as well. This is definitely a splurge type of dinner, so I would save it for special occasions.

Well, there you have it. My four favorite restaurants of all time. Give them a try, and let me know what you think.

Facebook: The Necessary Evil

Facebook has been around for what seems like forever. Actually, it was invented and became available to college students in 2004. I know this because in my freshman year computer class, we had to do a project on new technologies, and one kid did his on Facebook. I did mine on MP3s. …I feel old.

Now Facebook is available to anyone with an email address. And knowing that ANYONE can see your information is bound to lead us to talk up our lives to make everything seem just peachy. Originally when I was formulating this post in my mind, it was going to be specifically for annoying wall posts, such as this:

I’m all for you being happy about getting married, but I don’t need to know EVERY step of every day. I read an article a while ago that pointed out how seeing these kinds of posts all the time can make you feel bad about yourself. Example: I am the same age as this person, and no where near getting married. She probably also has a great job. And a great place to live. And so on. See where I’m going with this?

Then I started doing some research. I was pretty surprised to find that there is an actual study that supposedly proves that Facebook increases your self esteem. In a round about way:

According to the Hyperpersonal Model, the internet allows users to selectively self-present themselves. While editing our Facebook profile, we take care to select what comments and images make our wall, and what items should be deleted or untagged. Over time we can incorporate this online positive image of our selves into our self-conceptions.

via Facebook Enhances Self-Esteem, Study Finds | Psychology Today.

So, you’re lying to yourself so much you finally believe it?

“Unlike a mirror, which reminds us of who we really are and may have a negative effect on self-esteem if that image does not match with our ideal, Facebook can show a positive version of ourselves,” explains Jeffery Hancock, co-author of the study. “We’re not saying that it’s a deceptive version of self, but it’s a positive one.”

via Facebook Enhances Self-Esteem, Study Finds | Psychology Today.

Oh, as long as it’s positive it’s not a lie. Got it.

After reading this article, I felt like this was backing up what I was saying about feeling bad about yourself. You can update your Facebook so it looks like you’re doing well, but then doesn’t it make sense that you would eventually look at your real life and realize it is nothing like what you have made yourself believe it is? Plus, everyone else building up their lives will eventually effect you too. I found another article (yes, it’s from Cosmo…I do my best, okay?) that claims to prove this point:

With all that bragging, it’s no wonder a Stanford University study found that social networking sites create feelings of loneliness and dissatisfaction.

via Most Annoying Facebook Habits – Study Finds Facebook Makes People Lonely – Cosmopolitan.

a separate study by York University in Canada found that people with low self-esteem and narcissistic tendencies were the most likely to use Facebook to “self-promote.” Basically, what you see there is not an accurate representation of the person’s real life.

via Most Annoying Facebook Habits – Study Finds Facebook Makes People Lonely – Cosmopolitan.

Okay, so maybe some of you don’t think its a big deal. You take everything you see on Facebook with a grain of salt. But for the small percentage of those who agree with what I’m saying and maybe feel a little deflated when you see the relationship status change from “In a Relationship” to “Engaged”, or a post about a promotion to the dream job, or those annoying “My baby is 26 weeks today!” posts, think about what it really means. Their life is probably the same as yours; yours may even be better.

I’m not totally knocking Facebook. I’m obsessed with it, and I think it is a great way to network and keep in touch with friends and family. For a lot of web-based businesses, its critical for their advertising to reach the masses without spending a ton of money. But don’t let sugary-sweet posts ruin your day. Before I sign out, here are some interpretations of statuses you can keep in mind when browsing your newsfeed:

Status: It’s an Hermes and Tiffany’s birthday! My hubby is beyond.

Translation: I am willing to overlook the fact that my hubby thinks my clitoris is two inches south of where it really is because his bank account is beyond.

Status: ZOMG big week ahead: Gaga concert on Tuesday, dinner with the girls at the impossible to get into new sushi spot on Wednesday, private DVF sample sale on Thursday (thanks, Becca!), then mani/pedis and Lizzie’s b-day brunch on Saturday.Translation: Dear popular girls from middle and high school who refused to let me eat at your lunch table and told everyone that I smelled like onions, Check out how VIP my life is now.

Status: Everyone told me I was going to get zero sleep these first few months of parenthood, but little Matty is just so amazing and lets his Momma get eight solid hours every single night!

Translation: Lack of zzzs has made me delusional to the point that I really think this is true. Did I also mention that Little Matty was born potty-trained and bilingual? Yup-sir-ee!

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