Google GlassI received an email from my sister two days ago that said, “You should do this.”

She was referring to entering to be an Explorer for Google Glass, the $1500 pair of glasses that will live stream your life and do a variety of other augmented reality magic.

So I entered.

With only 17 pairs currently available, the chances I will actually get a pair are next to nil. (I mean, Neil Patrick Harris entered…) but I am a sucker for new technology (a weakness strength inherited by my father) and though I would undoubtedly get some strange looks wearing a pair around Las Cruces, New Mexico, it would be well worth it to try them out.

To enter, you have to apply by posting on Twitter or Google+ about using the hashtag, #ifihadglass. Check out Twitter, the responses are pretty amusing.

My application?

#ifihadglass I’d show the beauty of southern New Mexico, the hustle of running a business & the craziness of raising a 2 year old

Wind Storms Through New MexicoThe first time I was in a dust storm that blocked out the sun, I felt like it was an apocalypse. I was driving down one of the busier streets in our town, talking to my mom through my headset, and noticed it was starting to get darker… and darker… and darker… until it seemed like night in the middle of the day. But unlike the blue-black sky of night, it was a murky, dirty brown sky. Dirt pellets and small rocks hit my car; actual tumbleweeds blew across the streets, victimizing whomever or whatever happened to be in its path.

I remember saying, “Uh, the sun is completely blocked out of the sky.” And my mom asking, what on earth do I mean, an unfathomable experience for East Coasters, who only know high winds to be part of hurricanes.

But today is one such day where the typical bright beautiful blue New Mexican sky turns an awful shade of newspaper pulp. Here’s how it happens: first it starts out a little breezy in the morning, then picks up by midday. By 1pm, I have to make my first round of pick up items at risk of blowing away — a seat cushion out of the pool, a pool float pressing up against the side of the wall separating our backyard from our neighbors… I start to see items swirling around our yard, not ours, but new visitors such as plastic, paper, or pieces of garbage, dancing in the air — and I hope they will move on to land somewhere else but here. Little piles of desert dirt begins to pile up at the seams of our doors and windows. If you walk outside, you hold your breath or risk breathing in a mouthful of it.

On the horizon, the dust storm, clocking in around 30 mph I hear, turns what is usually a clear view to a blanket of grey that wiped out my view of our entire town. I can no longer see two blocks away. The sun is out, but there is a haze that covers it completely.

It is an unusual thing living in a place that is overtaken by dust — where you have to hold down pool covers with rocks, move outdoor furniture against the house, and hope your kid’s plastic swing set doesn’t fly into the neighbors yard.

The wind will die down tonight — it usually does once the sun goes down. But, it will pick back up tomorrow. It might even get up to 60 mph, they say.

Having recently heard that Carnegie Mellon is moving forward with the expansion of their campus – a good move that supports the incredible innovation happening at my alma mater, I noticed that the master plan swallows the apartment I lived in during my senior year and the land is slated to be home to one of these new buildings. It’s ok. It was a terribly crappy building, though there was a neat vintage clothing store downstairs and I was told that Andy Warhol lived there too when he was, briefly, a student at CMU (and that, in itself, was enough reason for me to endure the dire living conditions).

But hearing this news got me thinking about places I’ve called home (something I think about fairly often, actually), and how one day some of those places just won’t exist anymore.

So, in honor of the first of the places I’ve called home to be eliminated from existence, I decided to travel back to each of these places in the fastest, most economically way possible – via Google Maps – and document them for prosperity.

It is unlikely that one day I will be able to bring my children to go see each of the places in person that I’ve lived in during my life, but I can at least show them what they looked like–according to Google Maps, anyway.

Looking at each of these places brings back a lot of memories and stories for each one, so one day, I hope to be able to use this image to share some of those stories with my kids… or anyone who asks!

I’ve been writing travel articles for for the past month and have loved having an outlet for sharing my travel stories and recommendations. My latest article was published this week on Philadelphia – here. Having spent nearly every weekend in Philadelphia for two years while my husband did postdoctoral research, we had a tons of opportunities to try out the great restaurants the city has to offer and found Philly to be a really special place.

Though we are both New Yorkers at heart, we loved the accessibility of the city, walk-ability, the historic charm, the liveliness, lack of pretentiousness, and most of all – the great food. It is a place we can both see ourselves settling one day. If we were to ever do such a thing.

So for now, we try to visit once a year to see friends, reminiscent about those two adventurous years, and venture into some of our favorite places. In my Examiner article I only mentioned a few, but there are several other places we still salivate over and make us miss city living even more. Here are a few I must share:

  • Distrito – simply amazing Garces-owned Mexican with incredibly fun decor.
  • Amada – it was the first restaurant we ever went to in Philly and you always remember your first. Plus, their delicious spinach and fig salad wrapped in serrano ham dish doesn’t hurt. Another Garces creation.
  • Ok, I really like Garces, but it is so much to like! So for that reason, I am also going to include Tinto (tapas) and Whiskey Village (burger, duck fat fries) on the list while where on it.
  • Vic Sushi Bar – Our favorite sushi place. I even said so on Quora.
  • Zento Contemporary Sushi – newly expanded, delicious rolls.
  • La Viola – Good, inexpensive Italian in cozy (read: very tiny) space and you’ll probably have to wait awhile for a table. Cash only, which seems to be pretty popular in Philly.
  • Audrey Claire – another cozy one but with a constantly changing menu and really great food.
  • Zahav – An Israeli restaurant in a surprisingly serene city amongst the bustling Old City
  • Butcher & Singer – for when you feel like you want to be on the set of Mad Men, and want a good Side car and a steak while you’re at it.
  • Lolita – another Mexican food favorite, with fun guacamoles and great margaritas


One of the most amazing things about living in a small town in the Southwest is the amount of land still undeveloped. Coming from the densely populated New York suburbs, where towns bump right against one another, having land still in its natural state in between stores like Kohl’s and Lowe’s in unfathomable.

There are many of these plots of land in Las Cruces. Creosote bushes between banks. Sand between sandwich shops. Tumbleweeds between townhouses. (Ok, just kidding, there aren’t sandwich shopS.)

At first, this imagery as I drove through town was like misfiring neurons in my brain. Why were these lonely pieces of land left out of the development pie? What does this town need that should be built here. When would they be built?

And one that gives me the most pause: What would this town look like in 20 years from now?

The excitement of what is to come is also tempered by a sadness of the deterioration of the natural beauty of the desert. Today, roads are paved to the desert’s edge and abruptly stop, as if to say, “That’s enough for now, folks.” But one day they will continue and the desert will be consumed by people.