I went to Paris

Paris has so much to offer for visitors that it is extremely tough to narrow down to a few essentials, when you are planning to visit the city. There are several tourist attractions in the city for those who love to visit the well-known places. For others there are many offbeat areas, where you can plan to spend a weekend or a few memorable days with your loved ones, creating memories for life.

Paris is known for its legendary charm and rich cultural heritage. The gleaming boutiques, the museums and the best restaurant scene are one of the top attractions of the city. Paris is one of those cities which have something to offer for everyone – no wonder travelers fall in love with this beautiful city. If you are planning to visit Paris, there are a few things which you should never miss!

Visit The Louvre:

This is one of the most recognized symbols of Paris. No one returns from Paris, without visiting The Louvre. Spread out over 675,000 square feet, this is one of the largest museums of the world. The Venus de Milo, Winged Victory and the incredible Mona Lisa are the popular masterpieces of the museum. Spend a few hours in the memorable and soak in the culture and times of almost every civilization of this world.

Eiffel Tower:

One of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Eiffel Tower draws hundreds of tourists’ everyday.  Get some of the most heart-stopping views of the magnificent city, as you enjoy champagne from the bar, located on the third floor. Visit the Eiffel Tower at night and you will love the sparkling lights, just as a beautiful Christmas tree decoration.

La Conciergerie and Sainte-Chapelle:

This is not just a fairytale castle, but it hides one of the bloodiest past. This was once a prison meant for those who were sent to the guillotine. You can still find some remnants of its history in the prison cells. The medieval architecture of the building is a major attraction for the tourists. Do not miss the stained glass windows of this castle, which is not seen anywhere else in the world.

Notre Dame Cathedral:

This is a Roman Catholic Cathedral which is best known as Notre Dame, popular as the finest example of French Gothic architecture. The cathedral is well surrounded by several sculptures and also gargoyles, which decorate the roof the roof. Spend some time walking around the magnificent cathedral, climb the many stairs and enjoy the panoramic view from the top.

Dinner Cruise and More

If you are a food lover, do not miss one of the gourmet tours on wheels. You will love the great dining experience from a Double Decker bus. Enjoy some of the best dishes created by some of the Top Chef contestants, as the bus slowly meanders through the pathways of Paris. You can also enjoy a dinner cruise on the Seine. As the sun sets, all the monuments lit up, offering a splendid view of the “City of Light”. Enjoy the two hour cruise with your loved ones!

Paris has a lot more to offer, no matter when you choose to spend your vacation. Disneyland Paris is also a major attraction with its two theme parks. If you have children traveling with you, spend a day at the Walt Disney Studios or with the Sleeping Beauty’s Castle.

An unforgettable summer experience

I love the classics and have always been passionate about listening to them in concert. Being a student, I know how it can be expensive to go to one, so I decided to save up one summer. I did a lot of odd jobs just to allow me to experience one of the local orchestras.

I know it is strange for a teenage person like me to have the desire to go to a classical music event when most kids today go for rap and mainstream music. However, for me, it is all about the classics. Although I cannot explain it, I just know there is something intangible and so beautiful about the melody and the manner at which the classics are played that reaches me in ways nothing else ever has. Not like the music that we have today which fades as time passes and something that doesn’t last long, modern music has always seemed like a fad to me. Here today, gone tomorrow.

However, classical music is something that people will enjoy because this music has survived through hundreds of years, long after the composers have passed away. That means immortality to me and is something that I look for with every sound and beat that reaches me.

So during summer, I did a lot of odd jobs and convinced myself to save every little bit of my salary to reward myself with a ticket to The California Theatre. I know that the San Jose Symphony has several music repertoires during summer and I was committed to experiencing one of those.

For some time, I pursued a job at the local fast food chain and did it for several months. That gig allowed me to save a quarter of the total amount to buy a ticket. I did not want to ask my parents for this because I knew they were already struggling to keep up with the needs and wants of my other siblings. So, I told my parents that I wanted to earn money to buy the ticket, myself and my Dad just smiled mentioning something about character building and pride.  

The concert date was set in June, and finally, I was able to save the money to buy me a ticket. However, later at dinner, while eating, my father handed me a piece of folded paper and said he and my mom had a surprise for me. He stated that I worked so hard that they decided to surprise me.

When I tore the paper, I saw three tickets to the show.  What an amazing surprise!  Dad said that I could keep my hard earned money and buy myself something else. He wanted it to be a special night for me, and he and my Mother set off for what ended up being a night I will always remember.  As I lay in bed all I can think was the thrill of experiencing the concert.

Our sponsor today is a great plumber in Palatine, Illinois, Palatine Plumbing.

La La Land in concert

So for those who have been living under a rock, La La Land won the Oscars for Best Original Musical Score (not to mention the Best Actress trophy going to the illustrious Emma Stone). However, for people like me who just couldn’t get enough of the movie, there’s a new treat for us this coming May.

Lionsgate has set May 26-27 at Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles for the premiere of “La La Land in Concert: A Live-to-Film Celebration.” It is a live score screening of the movie accompanied by a 100-piece symphony orchestra conducted by Justin Hurwitz.

Now, there’s no better person to give his rendition of what director Damien Chazelle did with La La Land.

Hurwitz has been thrust into the spotlight with his big win at the recent Oscars, and his story is not unique in Hollywood. He honed his skills at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, but ultimately, he got that special “break” that everyone dreams of in Hollywood. As everybody knows, talent is not enough to make it in Tinseltown. You also need a large amount of luck and some fairy dust in your pocket.

MY understanding is that the concert will integrate Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling’s singing voices in the movie’s soundtrack and blend them with the live musicians in the symphony. Concert director Richard Kraft promised that it is going to be a “one-of-kind concert experience.”

I have watched a lot of symphony orchestra in my life but never one where the film is going to be seamlessly interwoven with the live musical performances.

Regardless, I could not be more excited to be in LA to watch the symphony concert and relive each moment in the movie while listening to Hurwitz perform his magic. I know I  have many things to work out, filing a leave of absence at work is one but I am more than happy to do it.

There’s also booking the hotels, and deciding whether to book a flight or just drive there. It is going to be a five-hour drive not to mention I have to deal with the horrendous LA traffic.

Moreover, then there’s the fact that my AC is acting up and there are water stains under my sink. I probably have to stop procrastinating with this plumbing problem, ASAP. I have not gotten around to calling a plumber to get a quote, however. I should probably do that before I buy a ticket to the La La Land concert. Hopefully, I will have money left to make the trip to LA.  

Thanks to our supporter of the day, Chicago Plumbers, a great plumber Chicago residents go to for all their plumbing needs.

My Life as a San Jose Symphony Musician

Growing up as a child, I had always been fascinated with the world of music. At an early age, it led me to study various instruments that led to my career as an oboist. Although I know how to play different musical instruments like the piano and cello, I chose the oboe because it plays in the soprano range which I like.

Oboes are great instruments and are typically made of wood. They normally have metal keys, conical bores, and a flared bell. Music and sounds are emitted by blowing the reed, and the vibration happens when it passes through the columns. The sound of an oboe is highly versatile and has been interpreted as brilliant and golden which led me to prefer the instrument among others.

Living in Silicon Valley and being raised by parents whom both had a background in music, it became a natural course maybe because of the genes. Although I have had struggles in life, it always led me back to music which led to my profession. I have worked as a San Jose symphony musician for quite some time, and I can say that it is both fulfilling and challenging. Not only are you recognized by your peers because of your talent, but you are also contributing to something greater than just yourself.

One thing I like about being able to perform is the extravagance of the industry. It allows you to mingle with people of high stature and brush shoulders with pretty well known people. You also get perks and other special treatment for being a musician. You get to form relationships with people from different backgrounds and make friends especially with those who are privileged. I can say that it can be used as a platform to make a name in the industry where everyone wants to achieve something great.

As an oboist, you are part of a great symphony that works for a common goal. It allows you to bond with other musicians and form friendships with them. We have had many events, and every one of them is truly unforgettable. From rehearsals down to the last minute adjustments are experiences no one involved ever really forgets.

It is always memorable playing music to a huge crowd of people who enjoy classical music. Moreover, like every performance, I always have a strict sense of awareness with my surroundings. The very first thing I notice with every event is the comfort of our venue and the hushed crowd as they file in being careful not to disturb those already seated. The sense of awed reverence that envelopes the onlookers is palpable. This is home to me.

Our sponsor of the day is the best plumber Round Rock knows, Round Rock Plumbing.  Thanks for your support.

A Wonderful Night with the San Jose Symphony

I am a teacher by profession, and my boyfriend works as an engineer in Silicon Valley. We met through common friends and have been inseparable ever since. I love how he can be quirky sometimes, and he likes how passionate I am with the kids I teach. Together, we share many of the same interests which connect us in every way.

One thing we have in common is that we share the same passion for classical music. His iPod is flooded with music from great classical artists such as Mozart and Bach, and I happen to have quite a few of their masterpieces too. During weekends, we spend our time together, he reading a novel and I doing the chores while classical music is playing on the stereo. Sometimes we would sit on the couch all day long and talk about random things while listening to our favorite Mozart songs.

My boyfriend and I have always had a zest for the classics, and during our first year anniversary, he surprised me with a date to the gorgeous California Theatre. Although we have passed the area several times, the place seemed unfamiliar during this time. The Neolithic architecture was grandiose and the signage sticking out of the building was more than thrilling.

We made our way to the entrance in Market Street, and my heart was pounding with excitement. San Jose Symphony would be playing with an array of classical music, and Mozart was in their repertoire. This was a delightful first year anniversary with my boyfriend and something that I will not surely forget.

The California theater is a historic auditorium that has been maintained well and even restored at one point. Once inside, you are greeted with beautiful Neolithic elements from the hanging chandeliers to the wall decors. Even the entrance is as lavish as the entire building.

What makes it especially enjoyable is the coziness of the place and the warmth of the atmosphere. Everyone in their tuxedos and dresses made the night truly exceptional. The sound of the orchestra and the smile on everyone’s faces was something worth remembering.

The one downside to our evening was that our car broke down.  Fortunately, we found a great towing service that was really fast and got our car taken care of quickly so we could make our performance.  We arrived just on time.  Overall, it was a beautiful night to remember and something that will be engraved for a long time in my mind.