GINGER BREAD EXTRAVAGANZA!

For the Past 10yrs to kick off the Christmas Season, De Meza + Architecture (DMA) has loaded up their cars with these cute ginger bread homes."The mission" ...spreading holiday cheer on the faces of children currently overcoming difficult times. This year it was an honor to partake in the ginger bread making extravaganza. A fun way to give back to the community and steady reminder of what really matters in life...Love, Health, and Laughter. The kids had a blast, and so did we. Can't wait to do it again next year!

15 PHOTO APPS WORTH YOUR TIME

If there were ever such a thing as a "Photo App Hoarder" my name would be all over it. I'm sure I'm not the only one with 40 photo apps on their iphone...maybe you're a photo app hoarder too? If so, let us compare- I present a list of some of the best photo apps out there. Enjoy! 

Cameras:

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  1. Instagram: Before Facebook bought them for 1 Billon $, and companies discovered how to Spam via Insta comments-there was Instagram, and their vibrant community. Although we share our little secret with the World now, some of us have stuck around as the Loyal original Igers.
  2. Hipstamatic: Is a fun little camera app that allows you to change lenses and film to your liking. You can also purchase retro film for your snaps.
  3. Infinicam: Not many people know about Infinicam, it was put out by the same people who did Camera Bag (another cool photo filter app) however, this one has more options with not only Filters but also borders.
  4. Slowshutter: Just as it sounds, it allows you to play with your shutter speed.
  5. Ttv Camera: This app has many interesting Grungy filters that can not be achieved with other apps such as Snapseed and PhotoStudio.

Editing Apps:

  1. Snapseed: Although the list of photo editing Apps is endless, even the original Photoshop App falls short of Snapseed.
  2. PhotoStudio: Is the mother of photo effects, it has effects that range from crinkled paper to added sun flares.
  3. ColorSplash: Creates duotone photos.
  4. Pic Grunger: Is a fun free App that allows you to Grunge your pics while controlling the intensity.
  5. Vintagio: Is an amazing retro video recorder for those times you'd like to give your videos that extra charm.

Useful:

  1. Diptic: Is a Photo Collage Platform.
  2. imovie: Just as on your mac you can use the app to put together your video snaps.
  3. Postagram: Let's you send your Iphone pics as a Postcard and has a cool cutout feature.
  4. Vapp: Allows you to snap a picture handsfree by the simple tone of your voice. Very handy app.
  5. PanoLab: Allows you to make Panoramic's from your snaps.

Video Bonus! Up-&-Comers:

  1. Cinemagram: Is Instagram in Video Format, pretty corky and funny.Also allows you to animate one single object to make for a still but animated shot.
  2. Vyclone: I wish more people used this when celebrating events together. Allows you to capture a moment from different vantage points, and friends can collaborate together and make one video.
  3. Clinch: Geolocates Videos to give you a live picture of happenings in your area.
  4. Viddy: A video sharing app formated such as Instagram however with no filters, and a more serious vibe.

5 FACTS ABOUT WOMEN ARCHITECTS SINCE THE 1900'S

Women have come a long way since the early 1900's.  If gender discrimination were still an issue, we Ladys would most likely be registered as Paul Smith and Adam Jones under the AIA. Why? Well lets do a little math to see how far we've come:

  • The First Women registered as a "professional architect in the U.S" was in 1881(Louise Bethune). Considering edifices have been going up since Columbus sailed the ocean blue (for those who can't remember rythmes that was 1492) this def. took a while. Thus making the count 131 yrs. since a women was first acknowledge an "Architect" in the New World.
  • Women in the Early 1900's registered themselves and their practices under male names, in order to elude the prejudices that came with their gender. Thus making it only 100+/-yrs since we've been able to use our real names.
  • The Civil Rights Act was signed in 1964, allowing equal right in the workplace, and allowing women to pursue full forth entering the boys club (although we know that's easier said than done).Oh yes almost forget, 48yrs since that Jazz!
  • The First Women to win the Pritzker Prize ( hightest honor in the field of Architecture) was Zaha Hadid in 2004, and considering the prize was founded in 1979...will cut them some slack for taking 25 years.  In conclusion, it's been 8 yrs since Big Z put a HADID on it, like a Boss!
  • And now for the moment you've all been waiting for......as Barney Stinson might say, wait for it, wait for..it........it's been only 2yrs since Jeanne Gang designed Chicagos Aqua Tower.  Completed in 2010, today it's known for being one of the tallest skyscrapers designed by a Lady Architect, and this my dear friends makes for a total of 2yrs since are our X chromosome has broken barriers, and quite literally reached for the sky.

So yes I'd say it's about time that Women Architects make headlines. Bless all those old ladies who in their glory days went by the name of Paul and Adam. Thank you for paving the way for people such as the Big Z and J. Gang, as well as, the little people-me, Kudos to you!  Now back to my regular scheduled toilet partition.

 

LESSONS FROM SANDY, HURRICANE ANDREW & THE JOPLIN TORNADO

Halloween is done and over, however I keep thinking of something scarier than ghost and goblins-Hurricanes, Tornadoes, and Storms Oh My! Although there is nothing more important to an architect than providing shelter which is weatherproof and structurally stable, once in awhile we get reminders that when the big bad wolf of mother nature comes huffing and puffing, there is no building or man that stands a chance. Events such as this week's storm take me back to that uncompleted item on the to-do list (the one that gets pushed back every year).  But wait!  Before I tell you that item, I'd like to scare the C#$5 out of you-just to place more emphasis on the importance of prevention...

3 Lessons Learned by Mother Nature's Worst Disasters:

  1. I was 10 when Hurricane Andrew hit southern Florida. We took shelter from the storm in a bathtub along with a mattress over our heads (not sure how that would’ve saved us but oh well).  Our apartment had extensive damage and the ceiling drywall caved causing our entire place to flood.  It was scary nonetheless, nothing like hearing those rushing winds come howling through the windows and hearing glass shatter everywhere.  Lesson learned from the event?  Although Floridians are masters of hurricane prep work,  it was Hurricanes such as Andrew that taught them that tape isn't going to protect their windows and a tropical depression can become a Category 5 hurricane in no time-and of course the most important when authorities say evacuate...YOU HAUL A#$ AND EVACUATE!
  2. After a decade of living in tornado alley, nothing shook me up more than The Joplin Tornado- with 160 killed and more than 1,000 injured.  This event definitely made me think twice about ignoring Tornado Sirens. Due to it's close proximity to my college stomping grounds, not to mention being the workplace and hometown of some of our dearest friends, the Joplin tornado was a sound reminder that it could happen to you as long as you lived in Middle America.  The images of flattened neighborhoods made me appreciate the importance of having our concrete bunker in the basement.  Lesson learned: if you are buying property in an area that tornadoes can occur, please don't overlook the importance of an underground storm shelter.
  3. Sandy halted the most powerful city in the world.  The water surge from the storm will likely make it amongst the most expensive natural disaster of all times, if not the most.  However, even after  order is restored and all power is returned, the memories and family heirlooms of all those families affected will have been washed away and destroyed.  This brings me to today's unveiling of my most procrastinated item on the to-list... Backing up all important documents to the Cloud or external hard drive, such as family photos, legal documents, and records of all valuables for insurance purposes.

Well Guys, I hope my  to-do reminds you of  something you've been procrastinating. You never know when mother nature might come knocking on your door.  As for me, I'm trying not to think of my new threat "California Earthquakes" as for the only thing learned by my childhood run-ins with tremors in Central America is that they don't warn, and there is no running away.  Bottom line, if you can prevent heartache and loss please do, and stay safe!

 

10 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT MOVING TO SAN FRANCISCO FROM THE MIDWEST

Let’s face it moving anywhere is a big adjustment even if it means across the hall or down the street. Take it from a well seasoned Gypsy-current count is 9 diff. cities, 4 diff. states, 3 diff. countries and 19 diff. homes all after the age of 5 (before this I don’t remember but my baby pictures are in Virginia Beach, so I’m thinking I lived there as well/you’d think I was an orphan right?). Conclusion, moving sucks no matter how many times or where too. This past spring I made the big leap after a decade in the Midwest and moved to San Francisco, there are many reasons why, however for now I will break it down and list out the most important things to know if you’re thinking of doing the same:

  • When people say the west coast is expensive, it’s their way of saying: “if your thinking about it, get your S^%$ together because you’ll be making a couple of sacrifices.”

  • Sacrifice #1, say goodbye to all that sq. footage, get use to the idea that 500sq. ft is plenty of space, and paying $1,600-3,000 a month is a bargain.

  • Sacrifice #2, parting with all your furniture. Again you will not be able to fit all that junk, only keep your mid-century modern furniture, for this in San Francisco is worth its weight in gold.

  • Starbucks no more! The city of San Francisco is known for being a great supporter of local businesses, although you can find franchises like Chipotle and Starbucks around the tourist hotspots, you can def do better than this.

  • If you are offended easily by Nudity, Sex Jokes, Marijuana, Homosexuality and people being straight forward and honest, San Francisco is definitely not the city for you. Basically your shock value goes way down after 3 days in SF.

  • If you’re a Germaphobe, scared of public transportation and fear parallel parking, again San Francisco is not for you.

  • The wheels of your car when parked uphill go towards the street; the wheels when parked downhill go towards the curb.

  • Architects (the ones who people think draw pretty pictures): Unlicensed with 0-4yrs, make between 49,000-70,000K. Software Engineers make 80,000-130,000K.

  • Unlike people’s ideal of California. San Francisco is a city of Micro Climates the average temperature year round ranges from mid 40’s to high 60’s. They have an Indian summer which falls in Sept-Oct and have misty rain during the winter months. The Beach is always cold and the only crazy mammals to swim in it are surfers in dry suits and sea lions.

  • San Francisco is a city of renters and rent control, because of this finding a place to live is a bit tricky and very competitive, it takes patience and being a tad aggressive. To rent an apartment in San Francisco you need: a perfect credit score, two letters of recommendations from previous landlords, a pay stub or job offer letter proving you make 3 times as much rent per month, print all, place in manila folder along with a check for first and last months rent and get ready to ride the crazy apartment hunting  scene. However if you have 20% of 600K-1.0 million dollars you will have no problem in finding a nice condo or house in the outer neighborhoods of SF.

I hope you didn't find any of the above comments a deterrent because the truth of the matter is San Francisco is expensive for a reason, it holds some of the country’s most prized scenery and the smartest and most innovative professionals in the country. In conclusion if you visit you’ll understand why we crazy butts pay so much for rent. =)