Saturday, December 26, 2009

Ode to my first ever friend

She was the closest friend of mine. If I would ever consider anyone as such. We've known each other almost since the birth and growing together, understood each other better than anyone else. We were different but somehow we could complete each other. I was shy and indecisive, she was purposeful and witty. We used to be a good team.
She was both beautiful and smart. My role model in many things. I've been learning from her and she was quite an authority for me.

We were sharing our vision with each other, daydreaming about the grown-up lives and how we would walk our babies in the nearby park together.. the way our mothers did with us.

I considered her as someone who knew me better than anyone else, even though she never was fully understandable to me. She was spontaneous and I loved it, just like everything about her. I admired her life and her attitude towards it. I can't overrate the things I've learned from her and thanks to her.
I always give her the credit for introducing me to Alanis Morissette and some other great music. She was always much more advanced and informed than I was.

However something somewhere went wrong. A deep chasm emerged between us. For the recent years I never quite understood her and her actions. And she never let me. The worst of all is that I don't know why and how this happened.

I wasn't present in the most important events of her life of the recent years. I was sparsely getting news about her from other people but never from her. She wasn't in my life either. Sadly, I have been feeling the lack of her constantly and my tries to get closer with her were ineffective.
Even though she doesn't let me in her life anymore, I try to get any news from her and am happy to know that she's okay and happy with her life. Despite my usual optimism, I don't think that we can ever make up for the lost time together and for the missed opportunities to grow up and develop together. Things will never be the same and we won't be the same either.

I know that this is a very important period in her life right now and my thoughts are there with her. I wish I could share it with her, like we always thought it would be.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Self-education. Useful tips and resources for self-directed learners

Some people need new knowledge like food. Constant development is one of the requirements for the 21st century people. Everybody can dedicate some time in their daily routine for self development - learning new things, brushing skills. I even believe that if you don't sharpen your skills and train the brain with new things, it may rust :)

Throughout years I've been exploring the process of own learning and have got into a conclusion that I best learn something by myself, rather than being taught. I'm a "self-directed learner" type. Are you also? It yes, even if it's true for just some part, this post will be a great resource for you - full with self-learning tips and resources.

If you are more for the knowledge and not for the diploma/certificate or a maybe-attractive line in the CV, you will probably consider starting learning something extra.

Dedicate some time for learning something more than just your profession, an additional knowledge that will someday become handy for sure. Be it an additional foreign language or a hobby in any field.

What awaits you below:
  • Benefits of self-directed learning
  • Self-discipline and motivation
  • Tips for self-directed learning
  • Useful resources
  • Take advantage of free trainings
  • Be in touch with the latest news and trends

Thursday, December 10, 2009

mixed post about some recent updates and thoughts

Again I have abandoned my blog for some time.. but I must say that it's constantly on my mind and I'm permanently trying to bring myself back to the writing habit. One thing is that I feel more responsible in whatever I write since I get a lot of reactions and feedback concerning my blog and it even turned out that I inspire some people :) That really flatters me, but also increases my sense of responsibility.

The other thing is that I've been writing a lot of marketing materials for my job and writing in a personal journal also a lot, so probably it was my limit of typing/writing that was reached :)

However, I'll try to catch up with all the topics that I have scheduled to post here and in the current post will tell you some updates on what was happening around me lately.

About writing

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Cascade complex (Cafesjian Center for the Arts) opening soon! My photo story

To me, the most exciting event of this fall is the long anticipated opening of the Cafesjian Center for the Arts, aka renovated Cascade complex. It took about 7 years for renovation, and as far as I know, the top of the complex is still under construction (see a photo from Dec. 2008 on the right), however the inside halls, and almost all the exterior has been completely constructed to welcome the public on November 8. With its current state, its already one of the world's most outstanding  contemporary art centers. It now houses a Visitor Center, Museum Store, Special Events Auditorium and over 1,100 square meters of exhibition space.

I have lots of memories connected with the Cascade and it's for sure, my very favorite spot in the city. I go there quite often with friends and mostly by myself. I usually spend there my Sunday afternoons, sit somewhere in the middle and with some nice music in my ears make plans for the week, enjoying the warmth of the sun. A photo from a typical Sunday on Cascade:

This year me and my friend spend some of our early mornings jogging to Cascade from our houses and then climbing it together. Here's a view of Ararat from an early spring morning on Cascade (taken with my cellphone camera):

The evenings are especially pleasant, however kinda crowded. One of my favorite photos taken by myself on March 2007:

...and by the way. This should not be missed!
The Cafesjian Center for the Arts Grand Opening Celebration will begin on the evening of Saturday, November 7th, with a spectacular fireworks display near the Cascade monument at 10:30pm.  On Sunday, November 8th, the Center invites the public to view all the renovations that have taken place inside the Cascade and to enjoy its outstanding schedule of exhibitions, lecturers, book-signings, and events. For this one day only, the Cafesjian Center for the Arts will be open to the public with no admission fee.
Grand opening highlights include the special Arshile Gorky collection, a re-dedication of the Khanjyan Triptych, an intimate conversation and photo exhibit by Beatles' former wives Cynthia Lennon and Pattie Boyd, the outstanding work of glass artists Dale Chihuly, Swarovski, and more!
For about 2 years the construction was put on hold for some reason (unknown to myself) and I was being heartbroken seeing the unfinished reconstruction of the complex and lack of interesting events at the base of Cascade that were usual before. About a month or two ago I noticed some changes... and firstly - the resumed renovation of the park leading to Cascade. Couple of weeks ago I took these photos, not being able to wait until the official opening and lose the autumn sun :)

20+ photos with annotations below!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

My latest obsession.. Parisian macarons!

Long awaited post from me about... macarons! No it's not sort of a pasta and not even Italian :) It's actually a French and, particularly, a Parisian PASTRY! no, more precisely it's a small heavenly thing that you can put in your mouth :-D

Macarons are a very colorful french pastry that are usually made of egg whites, almond powder, icing sugar and sugar. They are sandwich-like, made with two thin cookies and a cream or jam or mousseline between the cookies and can contain also various nuts.

Note that each color has its own flavor ! and although they may seem small, but personally I think that having just one macaron at once, with a coffee, tea or hot chocolate is perfect.

Macarons are widely used as wedding favors!

They have also been featured in the movie Marie Antoinette:

Interesting article on maracons on SerousEats.

A video on how the macarons are made:

I'm delighted to inform you that you can taste macarons even in Yerevan!!! They can be tasted in the "Café La Bohème" and "Charles" restaurant near Cascade, costing 350 AMD for one there (I've heard that also Café de Paris has macarons, though haven't tried them there yet). They give it also for takeaway in such cute boxes:

Thanks to Davit Hakobyan for the images of "my" macarons :))

Monday, October 12, 2009

Yerevan is 2791 years old! My report from the celebrations

Citizens of Yerevan and its guests witnessed the most large-scale celebration ever today. Hardly anyone can recall any event that was celebrated with such wide scope. It wasn't an anniversary and in fact, last year's 2790th celebrations were in no comparison with this year's. Rumors say that it was organized this way because it was the first Yerevan Day celebration for the newly elected head of City Municipality, and plus, some really big distraction for people was needed after the fuss of signing the protocols for normalizing Armenian-Turkish reactions on October 10. Interesting to mention that the ribbons, pins and other symbols of celebration had October 10 writing on them.
The traffic in all the downtown was completely stopped for the whole day. We had a rare chance to see Mashtots, Sayat-Nova avenues, Abovyan, Khanjyan streets so empty!

Abovyan street. View from the crossroad with Sayat Nova ave.
Besides, the whole city was decorated with country and city flags and all of that was making the mood. I loved that people were happy, smiling and even congratulating each others on the streets! Yes, I mean strangers :)

the locations of events on the Yerevan Map

The list of events included:

  • 2791m length marathon of paraolympic games' participants (from the Victory bridge to Matenadaran)
  • Cycle racing
  • Washing of statues of Yerevan
  • Windsurfing demonstrative contest on the Swan lake.
  • Festive parade from the Russian Square to the Republic Square
  • Theatrical walk of 3000 person troops headed by King Argishti
  • City of masters on Northern Avenue - various people and organizations were showcasing their art
  • Retro automobiles show at Cascade Complex.
  • Shooting of a film about Yerevan at the statue of "Tghamardik" (Men) near Saryan statue.
  • Brass bands performances on various locations
  • Only Northern Avenue held 5 stages which were "occupied" by various kids' singing or dancing ensembles.
  • Concert stages:
    • Jazz music stage at Cascade Complex
    • Children's stage (various performances, games, clowns and fairytales' heroes) in Kirov park
    • Theatrical stage (mime shows, performances, etudes) in Moscow Boulevard
    • "Author" music stage in Moscow Boulevard
    • Stage of world nations (ethnic minorities in Armenia) in English Park
    • Variety performers' stage (pop music) at the Stepan Shahumian square
    • Youth stage (DJs, fire show) in front of Matenadaran
    • Rock music stage at Charles Aznavour square (in front of Moscow cinema)
    • Classical music stage in the park in front of the music conservatory
    • Ethnic music stage at the crossroad of Mashtots avenue and Biuzand street
    • Gala concert on Republic Square with the participation of international pop stars
  • Festive fireworks at the Republic Square and from 20 locations of Yerevan

As you can see the scale is really impressive and the organization was rather good than bad. All of the major organizing companies were involved and hundreds of volunteers were coordinated. I only got disappointed when realized that being there at the heart of celebrations at 4 in the afternoon, I couldn't get any flag or pin or balloons :( because they were all distributed. By the way, many information centers were organized on various locations that were distributing flyers and agenda and also the symbols.

Trust me, I have NEVER EVER seen the city so crowded before !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Seemed like there were hundreds of thousands people in the streets. They were all happy, shining and content. I was enjoying watching faces of the people passing by from the windows of several cafes in downtown, meanwhile being able to do some stuff for job (long-live free wi-fi) and also to upload the photos I took by that time.

Photos from the demonstrations of windsurfing on the Swan Lake:

I took only few photos, since after working so much in a photo agency I finally realized that my camera sucks :D (while my photography skills got developed!) and also I had in mind that our photographers that were running in the city to capture all the events would bring awesome shots that I can also make use of ;)

I'm so positive and happy now. In fact, I would die if, for some reason like being abroad, I wouldn't be able to see and feel all this. I'm so not programmed to live abroad for a relatively long period. I can't miss my city and my people to see festive and really happy!

So.. Enjoy the pics :) and let me go to collapse on my bed… I was on feet the whole day!

Northern Avenue

Children dance ensemble prepares for the performance

Rock music stage with Bambir band in front of the Moscow Cinema

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

About my pink netbook and software iRecommend

Buying a computer is always a big event for me. I still remember the excitement around buying my first ever laptop with own money back in February 2008. It wasn't the greatest and most powerful one... in fact it was the cheapest one in Media Markt of Rotterdam; the only one that was being sold with Win XP instead of Vista... it had a very simple design and fitted well to my needs.

I was excited about the idea that I can carry it with me (a cute orange laptop bag was meant for that) write from wherever I want, even from bed ! It won't make noise as my desktop comp., so I can work even when my sister is sleeping, etc etc...
However as time passed, it transformed just to a desktop computer because smth happened to the battery and it stopped working without AC power. Then it was heating too much and even started burning my knees... then the heating caused damage of the Wi-Fi adapter and it also stopped working. I was desperately seeking a laptop cooling pad in Yerevan, but didn't succeed in finding it. Well, despite of these troubles it served quite well for me and I'm happy I had it :)

In this era of lightweight netbooks and mini-notebooks with cool designs I couldn't not to be up-to-date with the technology. After some polls on which brand to choose and researching all the online stores in Moscow (a friend generously agreed to bring it with her) I stopped by ASUS Eee PC 1005HA which has a Seashell-inspired design, 160GB memory, 1GB RAM, 1,66 GHz processor, weighting only 1,4kg. But the best thing is its battery! 10.5 hours of battery work, cool huh? :) Oh yes, and I chose the PINK one :) I'm tired of black stuff around me and I'm for uniqueness :)
I couldn't wait until it arrived. So nice, so portable and smart!!! The only disappointment was that the Windows XP Home edition was already installed... in Russian language version :( I hate Russian language interface and i couldn't stand reading "Пуск" instead of "Start". The language can't be changed and the only option is to install new Windows...Well I got my license for Russian language since it was brought in Moscow :( However, I renamed all the icons and folder names and changed all other options to default English so I'm okay with it now.

pictured: my first computer, back from 1996

Then i started to transfer all my files from the previous laptop via wi-fi (luckily i have my own network at home). After that, I started to customize and personalize my new computer with the software i use, so this is a nice occasion to write down about some applications i'm using in case my recommendations would be useful to any of you. 
  • At first, i downloaded the browser. Chrome this time and no FF. Sorry Firefox fans, i don't want to struggle with hanging browser anymore! And I also installed the new Opera 10 as my second browser.
  • Then i downloaded my favorite picture editor and viewer Picasa 3.5, that scanned all my pictures for its database.
  • Then it came the time for Winamp. It's my preferred music player since 2001.
  • After that i downloaded the scrobbler to continue scrobbling the tracks i listen on this computer too.
  • Then it was the time for the video player and my choice is VLC.
  • IMs. I downloaded Google talk client. Skype was pre-installed.
  • KDWin to be able to switch between keyboard drivers for Russian and Armenian.
  • Flashget as a download client.
  • uTorrent as a torrent downloader. 
  • Activated Office 2007's 60 day trial to be able to use OneNote as my favorite note taking application.
  • My favorite twitter client was Twitterfox plugin for FF, but since i don't have FF on my personal comp. anymore, I downloaded Tweetdeck, which I have used also before.
So... this is it! :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Michel Legrand's concert in Yerevan. My review

Today I was lucky to be present at Michel Legrand's concert at Aram Khachaturyan hall in Yerevan. I went there spontaneously, without planning, as my friend called me only an hour before the concert, telling that she's got an extra ticket. I bless that very moment for the excitement and feelings I'm having now.

I have a long-time passion for the movie scores, old and new... from Henri Mancini to Hans Zimmer, Craig Armstrong and Clint Mansell ... and for this the concert was perfect me. One of those performances where you forget where you are, what the date it is, all the fears and insecurities... detaching from reality you silently wish there was somebody dear's shoulder to lean on while listening to the sounds... Well.. this music was able to dig into the most concealed and inmost layers of my heart and bring out some memories and feelings I was trying hard to hide. It brought out a lot of love and tenderness. I couldn't stop smiling. I wanted to hug everyone :)
I was occasionally thinking about some of my friends and my mother who I wished were there enjoying it as much as I was doing.

Michel Legrand. Photo by Vahan Stepanyan / PanARMENIAN Photo

There were really very very smooth transitions from fugue to light jazz and I loved the harp!
Some of the songs were performed by Christiane Legrand, Michel's sister. God, she had a powerful voice!

Here's the famous The windmills of your mind (Les Moulins De Mon Coeur)

and this one from The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Les Parapluies de Cherbourg)

Everything about that concert was perfect. The hall was more than full, the audience was smart and conscious. When the concert was about to start, a perfect couple came and sat near me on the row.
The man was in his mid 40s or even 50s, so handsome and elegant, a bit of white hair, but still no signs of getting bald, no 30-week pregnant woman's belly (usual for successful Armenian men of his age). He was wearing a refined suit with a tie and you could read by his face that he's a successful businessman, excessively upright and life enjoying. His partner was a very attractive woman in a perfect shape (probably mid 30s, looking much younger, only the wrinkles on hands were giving away), wearing a strapless beautiful dress and a cute scarf of the same pattern as the dress tacked on an elegant purse. She had awesome peep toe heels on, sitting with straight back, hands on knees like in an illustration from an etiquette book. I couldn't take my eyes off of them. I wish I'd be like them when I get their age :)

I am full of love ♥

About Michel Legrand

Monday, September 14, 2009

about changes

The first change I'm going to write about is my blog's long awaited redesign. Yes I did it finally! Please welcome its new glamorous look and features.
Now I am showcasing more of blogs from my reading list. Those marked with "Arm:" indicate that they are based in Armenia and of Armenian origins but not necessary in Armenian. Also there are links to some popular blogs I'm regularly following and recommend you also.

I'd love to receive your comments and feedback concerning the redesign :)

Second thing is about the changes in my life.
There have been some significant changes around me this summer.
I found a new favorite hobby which is yoga. I'm going to write about it more detailed soon.
I'm not going to write a lot of personal updates, just it's worth mentioning that all of these led to the change of my outlook.
I lost some considerable weight... I didn't starve or diet, it happened unexpectedly, and I like it!  I also realized that I may have been extra-weight before :D (I wouldn't accept it ever !). Then I changed my hair style.
Some of you may have seen my new shape and haircut on Facebook.

by the way...
If you regularly visit my blog, consider adding it to your RSS reader (Google Reader for example) by clicking the "Follow" button on the right side.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Tigran Hamasyan, pianist

I was preparing to write this post for a long time already. I dunno why I'm starting to procrastinate when trying to write a post... that's why you don't hear much from me recently. I hope to put all my pieces back together (havaqem indz) soon and return back to track.

Meet Tigran Hamasyan, famous Armenian-American jazz pianist

Photo by Vahan Stepanyan / PanARMENIAN Photo

He's one of my biggest discoveries of this summer. He was born in Gyumri, lives in US currently and is only 22 years old now. When you listen to his music you can imagine how great he will become one day. I was lucky to attend his concert in Yerevan.

The following 2 pieces are the most awesome ones imho:

Leaving Paris

and the Love Song


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

couple of words about me :)

It's been a long time since I was trying to write a proper intro text to my blog and something about me.

Finally I decided to focus on this and created this flow of words that can describe me for better or worse :)

So I am a...

PR & Marketing manager at the moment, Web 2.0 and social media competent, former website developer, pretty looking tech geek, polyglot wannabe, writer in dreams, ambitious blogger in reality, Italian at heart, curious photographer and award-winning movie maker in the past, active learner and exigent self-tutor, sentimental comedy/romance moviegoer, procrastination fighter and GTD-practitioner, 7-year experienced teacher and trainer, a used-to-be sacrificial AIESECer, cute dog owner, trying-to-find-a-soundtrack-for-my-life music listener, proud Armenian, enthusiastic tour guide and a passionate traveler, glamorous shoe addict and an incurable shopaholic, ineradicable perfectionist, life enjoying yogini, solar battery powered, intelligent truth-seeker and UFO believer, night sky romantic observer, gingerbread cookie baker and pizza-party organizer, a friend of all the nice people that I have met or I'm yet to meet.
upd. with a wordle:

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Vacations in Adjara: Survival guide

For the recent years, the most affordable seaside vacation opportunity for Armenians is going to the Georgian coast of the Black Sea (Adjara region). It's much more cheaper than our own lake Sevan's hotels and guesthouses offer.

The post is big but quite informative filled with photos and useful tips. 

Thursday, July 9, 2009

trip to Lake Sevan

Lake Sevan is the largest lake in Armenia and one of the largest high-altitude lakes in the world. It's one of the most favorable places for us, Armenians in summer. It's close to Yerevan (the first beaches can be reached in less than half an hour).
Here is how the lake is seen on the map of Armenia
In the beginning of 20th century the Soviet government decided to lower the lake's level and use the water for irrigation and hydroelectricity which led to almost an ecological disaster. The island where the Sevanavank monastery was situated, transformed into a peninsula.
In the recent years, the government of Armenia started to implement a plan for increasing the lake's level to recover its ecology. Its results can be now noticed almost everywhere in the shores of the lake where many of the trees and constructions have gone underwater.
People usually organize daily trips to the lake shore, making a picnic with the required BBQ making on the spot. It usually takes some days to organize those trips since the meat and stuff should be bought beforehand and the meat should be prepared for BBQing (the process is called "to make a basturma from the meat") one day before. To me, it's an unnecessary bustle and it's better to go there with just some prepared sandwiches, plus fruits and vegetables, meanwhile to many, those trips are mainly for eating the BBQ :( And I'm not telling about the competition most of the male Armenians participate in. It's for the best "basturma" and BBQ making.

This Sunday we went to Sevan with friends, with all the traditional BBQ stuff. It was still July 4 (usually early for swimming in Sevan) and we were not sure if the water will be warm enough for swimming. I took my swimsuit just in case and it was a right decision :))

The weather was pleasant at first and it was even cloudy that's good for our protection from the sun.
Oh and about the sun at Sevan. Since the lake is situated on a high-altitude in mountains, the sun is particularly strong there and one can get burnt in minutes, thus the long-sleeved shirts, hats and sun blocks are required.

I also discovered that it's especially pleasant to swim under the rain :) the water is even warmer then! and not telling about the sound of rain drops heard from swimming underwater :)

I enjoyed taking photos there and as you see in the photos below, the lake looks amazingly cool. Most of the comments in Facebook and Flickr on these photos point that you can see these views far not every day there.

at last, a bit of me at the lake :)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

about my job and PanARMENIAN Photo :)

I am now here to tell you about the project I am currently working on :)

As some of you may know, I work at the company that has established the first Armenian online information agency - PanARMENIAN.Net. The company itself is called PanARMENIAN Media and includes several other divisions such as our newly established PanARMENIAN Photo agency.

You may also know that I am currently the head of PR and Marketing of the company.

So a little advertisement may go here below.. :)))

Since my job takes a lot of time (and it's supposed to be so :))) i'm having no time and energy to write for my dearest blog, but since I'm currently setting up a blogging schedule for myself, I hope to fix this gap!

The recent months we were working hard on the establishment of the Photo agency, obtaining the latest photo reporting equipment, setting up the agency's work flow and trying to position ourselves in the market.
So it's a news and event photography agency and our photographers are attending almost every event taking place in the country. We are also working towards realization of photo projects.

By the way, our photographers are more than photo reporters and you may notice some humor and creativity in the photographs, not so common in traditional photojournalism.

The highlights of the day in photos can be found in our Flickr photostream and Livejournal community

Today we finally launched PanARMENIAN Photo website that contains images from the recent events in the country and also an extensive photobank.

ok, enough :) less text, more photos :) enjoy the links.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Bar Refaeli on the cover of Esquire for July

I love photography and outstanding magazine covers.
While browsing my daily feeds with news, images and interesting stuff in Google Reader, this one caught my eye, and I just can't stop watching it :)

Sharing with my readers:
This is Israeli model Bar Refaeli having the magazine's contents scrawled across her body, with a new Stephen King short story teased on her arms.