Thursday, November 19, 2015

Brené Brown's Rising Strong

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Title: Rising Strong
Author: Brené Brown
Publisher: Penguin Random House, UK (2015)

This is the second book by Brené Brown that I have read. I realized that it was relatively easier to get a copy of her books in Singapore. Perhaps this had to do with the TED Talk Phenomenon that she had been known for?

Brené Brown has spent the past ten years studying vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame. She is now using the work to explore a concept that she calls wholeheartedness.

While I often still struggled to fully appreciate the essence behind her ideas in the book, Brené Brown is skillful in weaving her real-life personal experiences and accounts into the book to illustrate concepts from her study with stories that clearly demonstrates her ideas.

I am wondering if it would help to reread the book again. Then again, I shall possibly be happy with the many quotes that she had placed at the beginning of each of the chapters.

This book is about getting back. The quote that starts on the cover page of my edition of the book goes "If we are brave enough, often enough, we will fall." This is such a liberating quote!

Rise strong, the brave ones!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Read: Scott Rao's The Professional Barista's Handbook

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Title: The Professional Barista's Handbook: An Expert's Guide to Preparing Espresso, Coffee and Tea
Author: Scott Rao
Copyright by Scott Rao
ISBN: 978-1-4675-0371-6

Scott Rao is a world-renowned writer, consultant and trainer with over 20 years of experience in the coffee industry.

Scott Rao will be conducting two coffee-related workshops in Singapore this November. I was recommended to hear from Scott Rao on his ideas in preparing espresso, coffee, and tea. I managed to get myself a copy of one of Scott Rao's books, The Professional Barista's Handbook.

Scott Rao's writing is clear and systematic. He discussed key issues in preparing espresso and coffee in a clear and systematic fashion. In this book, there is even a chapter on brewing tea. His style of writing is very engagin, and it was quite a page-turner to read about his views on preparing espresso, coffee, and tea. Some of the issues discussed were a bit too technical for me and I foresee I would have to re-read those sections to better appreciate the technicalities involved.

I am happy with this handbook. Scott Rao has in many ways distilled the essence of brewing great coffee and attempted to summarize the essential ideas into this book. The author also gave insight on how to produce more consistent results in preparing quality espresso drinks and brews. I would say that so far, this is the most authoritative and comprehensive guides I have read to date on coffee preparation, especially preparing espresso. The book that is worth reading and I will be even more keen to meet this brilliant mind in person. Special thanks to Scott Rao for writing the book.

For more information on this book, please refer to:

Thursday, November 12, 2015

25 June 2015: The journey to Lynn and Oceanview Bed and Breakfast

Oceanview Bed and Breakfast.

25 June 2015, Thu:

Oceanview Bed and Breakfast was my destination to head for when I get to Lynn, a city in Essex County, Massachusetts.

I have a couple of people to thank for providing me with leads to find my way from HI Boston to Oceanview Bed and Breakfast. Thanks to them, I found out that when travelling in Massachusetts area, one of the best ways to figure out how to get around Massachusetts was to refer to the website of Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority to obtain the relevant information:

To get to my destination in Lynn, the following are the directions I had taken:
1) Take the subway to one of the stops along the Blue Line.
2) Take the Blue Line towards Wonderland. Alight at Wonderland.
3) Take bus service 442 towards Marblehead via Central Square and Humphrey. The journey would take about 21 minutes.
4) Alight at Stop ID: 15795, at Ocean Street at New Ocean Street.
5) Walk about 1 minute to reach 11 Ocean Street, Oceanview Bed and Breakfast.

It took slightly more than an hour to reach Oceanview Bed and Breakfast from HI Boston.

The view from Wonderland subway station.

Along the way, I was treated to the lovely scenery at Wonderland and beyond. I hope the scenery were positive nudges to remind me that I was on the right track. Being prepared with the directions to get to the destination has helped feel assured that I would eventually reach the destination safely.

When I was at Ocean Street, I was greeted by a lovely view of the beach. Oceanview Bed and Breakfast greeted me too with its lovely Victorian style decor. It was one of the places for accommodation that was recommended to me when I asked for information on where I could stay when I wish to visit the neighbouring town of Nahant.

My stay at Oceanview Bed and Breakfast was pleasant. I felt I was at home when I was actually away from home. What has made Oceanview Bed and Breakfast stood out were the hospitality of the hosts and the lovely view of the ocean.

To make a reservation, it would help to give a call to enquire. I love the idea that it is within walking distance from the shoreline. Each day I was treated with fresh air and the view of the ocean. This would be a place I will be happy to stay when I visit the area again.

Near Oceanview Bed and Breakfast.

Continental breakfast at Bed and Breakfast.

Oceanview Bed and Breakfast.

Oceanview Bed and Breakfast
11 Ocean Street

Massachusetts 01902
Tel: (781) 581 3760

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

25 June 2015: Boston Pizza Kitchen

25 June 2015, Thu:

The time came for me to leave the Hostelling International Boston. Checking-out was a breeze. I could simply drop the access-card into the check-out box if I do not need special attention with checking-out.

My plan was to head for the place called Lynn after lunch. I thought it would be great idea for me to feed myself with lunch so I went to the Boston Pizza Kitchen that is within walking distance from the hostel.

The portion of the pizzas here are huge. I ordered a slice of Bostonian pizza which was topped with honey garlic glazed chicken breast cooked in soy sauce, crushed peppers, white vinegar, green onions, sesame seeds, mozzarella cheese and a touch of Romano (no sauce). It was my first time eating a Bostonian pizza! A taste of Boston that I recalled had a bit of pleasant acidity to it. It tasted good enough to make lunch a lovely treat.

After lunch, I was ready to head for the city of Lynn in Essex County, Massachusetts. Read more about Lynn here:

Boston Kitchen Pizza
1 Stuart Street
Boston MA 02116