Posts Tagged ‘nature’

Adobe Analytics Challenge 2016

laelene Posted in mba,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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This weekend, I participated in the 15th Adobe Analytics Challenge. My team, DataInsights, was one of six finalists chosen to be flown out to Lehi, Utah (Adobe’s headquarters) and it was quite a ride! USC Marshall had two teams going and we all decided to extend our stay to enjoy Utah after the competition.

adobe analytics challenge XV homepage with six finalist teams

Check it out, we’re on the homepage!

This was my first case competition, so I have nothing to compare it to, but I must say that it would be hard to top. I mean, $50,000 worth of cash prizes, free trips to Utah, a fancy meal, all that swag, and a chance to check out Adobe’s headquarters? It was fabulous and I’m glad I was part of it. I hope to come back next year to support more Marshall teams that make it to the finals!!

view of snow covering salt lake city from airplane landing

I passed out during the plane ride and woke up to find snow covering the town.

view outside plane window when landing at salt lake city airport

Funny enough, as we got close to the airport, the snow was gone.

first glimpse at beautiful snowy mountains in utah

On our way to the hotel, we marveled at the mountains.

springhill suites lehi living room area

They got us suites, which was perfect for meeting in.

springhill suites lehi bedroom area

In the afternoon, we rested and cleaned up before dinner.

entrance to foundry grill at sundance

A shuttle bus drove us up to the Foundry Grill at Sundance.

meat and cheese appetizer at foundry grill sundance

When we arrived, Adobe staff and some appetizers awaited.

mac and cheese appetizer at foundry grill sundance

As we settled in, we chowed down on the appetizers before ordering.

adobe dinner menu at foundry grill

The menu for the night!

foundry grill squash soup

It seems most people got the squash soup.

foundry grill greens & grains

I opted for the salad.

foundry grill filet mignon

Filet mignon was probably very popular too.

foundry grill chicken breast

I wanted carrots, so I got the chicken.

foundry grill maple pecan bread pudding

One of the desserts was bread pudding.

foundry grill chocolate cake

The other option was chocolate cake with cherry flavors.

foundry grill wall art of metal tools

The decor in the place was very rustic.

walking to adobe headquarters building

The next day, we got to Adobe around 8 am.

moon over adobe headquarters building

The moon was still up!

adobe headquarters entrance with event signs

In the entrance, they had signs for the event.

adobe headquarters cafe eating area

Their open cafeteria area is so spacious and bright.

adobe analytics challenge setting up

As we got breakfast, they set up the stage, complete with mics and down screens.

free swag for finalists at adobe analytics challenge

What a wonderful surprise to find at our seats!! I love the swag.

prizes for audience attendees of adobe analytics challenge

The audience got to win all sorts of cool things!

adobe hallway view

This is where we paced doing last-minute practicing for our lines.

view of street from adobe headquarters

Looking out the hallway, there was still an awesome view.

teams of finalists in the holding area practicing

We were the second to last team to go, so most of these folks went before us.

adobe analytics challenge finalists on screen

After all the presentations, the judges had time to deliberate and then we got ready for the announcement.

view from stage of adobe analytics challenge

All teams got on stage for the prize announcements and this was our view. My team came in 4th.

gorgeous view of mountains from adobe headquarters

After the event, we got to have lunch at the cafe and check out this amazing view.

adobe headquarters indoor fire pit

Following lunch was a tour of random things like the indoor fire pit!

music room at adobe headquarters

They’ve got a music room and signed guitars from artists who have played there.

interactive art in stairwell at adobe headquarters

As you go up the stairs, you can grab a ball that you can drop down a tube at the top.

funky top chair in adobe headquarters game room

In the game room, you’ll find these fun spin top chairs! You can fall backwards to roll completely around.

adobe headquarters nunchuck chair and gong

Ah, the nunchuck chair… you should ask about that story if you visit.

pretending to sit in nunchuck chair at adobe headquarters

I didn’t want to sit on it but I wanted to pretend!

closeup of nunchuck design

The nunchucks had some cool dragon designs on them.

adobe headquarters spray paint art on wall

They commissioned a famous graffiti artist to do this. There’s a timelapse of it somewhere…

posing by entry of adobe headquarters

Before heading out, a final pose with Adobe!

neck pillow as coaster for pot

That night, we drove down to Moab and immediately had dinner. This was funny way of holding a pot.

homemade steak and asparagus dinner

One of the guys made us steak, asparagus, shrimp, and zucchini!

men of the household cooking

I love that the men took over the kitchen as the women hung out at the dining table. Thanks guys!

rustic western feel to bedroom

I got a sweet bedroom all to myself.

fancy shower with lights and steam room function

The master bathroom had this insane shower with tons of showerheads, color-changing lighting, and a steam room function. Not to mention a sauna next to it and a hot tub outside. We used them all!!

view from moab trails retreat cabin

The next morning, we saw our surroundings for the first time.

selfie with the truck from the movie cars

First order of business was lunch at a local cafe. Look what we found!

pond at eklecticafe in moab

The outdoor seating area included this pond.

hungry bird eating salad off plate

As we were leaving, the birds came to have some fun with the food.

line to get in to arches national park

Then it was off to Arches National Park!

beautiful red rocks in arches national park

Our first stop provided wonderful views.

snowy mountains against red rocks

Check out the snowy mountains in the background!

red rock formations at arches national park

Sometimes I feels like we’re in Arizona and other times the snow on the mountains feels like Colorado.

standing with arms outstretched with delicate arch in the background

When we find Delicate Arch, I put on my fancy dress.

standing with arms overhead with delicate arch in the background

Who did it best? Me?

standing with arms outstretched overhead with delicate arch in the background

Or him? 😉

jumping with delicate arch in background

I had to do a jumping shot too. Always.

making a manmade arch as person runs underneath

This human arch was great for running under.

planking across boulders to create manmade arch

Try planking it!

view of one of many arches

Every pit stop had something to look at.

crow staring waiting for food

Look at the glow from the canyon on its back as it eagerly awaited food.

crow sitting on dead tree branch

crow flying at arches national park

What an amazing place!

arches national park rocks against blue sky

The sun was setting as we reached our final destination – Devils Garden.

walking on trails at arches national park

It was quite chilly without the sunlight.

doing bridge pose with arch in background

With a change of wardrobe, I decided to imitate the arch for this one!

twirling in front of arch

I was instructed to twirl, so I did as best I could with no shoes on.

twirling with skirt poufing out and arch in background

It was a lot of fun as I got dizzy.

back view of dress at arches national park

My photographers were getting into their own and starting to instruct me on what to do for this final one.

tips of snowy mountains peeking between red rocks

Wow, check out the mountains behind the red rocks.

brown bunny eating grass at arches national park

Just before exiting, we saw this adorable bunny.

brown bunny posing for camera

It even posed for us for a bit before hopping off.

t-bone steak with mushrooms and onions

That night, the ladies enjoyed the hot tub and came in to find dinner ready.

eagle decoration carved in stone tile of bathroom

I just loved this random detail in the hall bath.

adobe headquarters in lehi utah

Our last day, I woke up ill and pretty much slept most of the day away. I caught a picture of Adobe as we passed by on the way to the airport.

free swag for adobe analytics challenge finalists

And finally, here’s a look at what came in the bag! I looove the custom branded S’Well bottle and wall charger.

Summertime spottings

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , , ,
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The thing I’m going to miss most about NoVA is all the different creatures you can find in nature. On just a weekend stroll, we were able to find many animals!

momma duck at edge of pond with half a dozen ducklings

A momma duck with at least 6-7 babies.

green frog camouflaging in leaves by pond

A green frog camouflaging against the leaves.

frog or polliwog in water with head sticking out

A small frog and many polliwogs!

giant polyphemus moth on grass

A giant moth that I think is a polyphemus moth.

I love finding cool new life all around me!!

My cats love plants

laelene Posted in photo blog,Tags: , , , , , , ,
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To sniff and eat them, that is. Not just catnip either, though I do have that for them. Missy’s more interested in grass most of the time.

My new plants have been growing in a planter I got this summer. I have catnip, various wildflowers, poppies, and a smattering of other flowering type plants. I hope they make it through the colder weather coming up! I’ll have to find a place inside the home to place them later in fall. I recently planted tomato seeds and Panda saved pepper seeds from the last pepper we ate. I’d love to have my own little garden someday, though for now I don’t have a yard so my options are certainly limited.

cat laying on porch sniffing catnip plant in planter cat standing on planter eating plant

My new compost tumbler

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses, photo blog,Tags: , ,
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This weekend, I received the compost tumbler that I ordered online! I wanted something compact that I could keep on my porch and put my food scraps in. The tumbling kind is perfect because you can rotate the mix around and distribute it more evenly for better “cooking” in there.

tumbling composter box with cat sniffing corner tumbling composter parts in box tumbling composter parts assembled tumbling composter stand partially assembled tumbling composter in progress brand new assembled tumbling composter inside compartment of tumbling composter

It was pretty easy to figure out once I tried out the components. There were a ton of screws to put in! There are some ventilation holes that can’t be sealed so I can’t pour straight liquid. I hope it decomposes well and doesn’t leak!

Scenic sights

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses, photo blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Been away for awhile on a cruise to Alaska! Check out some of the sights so far. There’s all sorts of awesomeness, with more pics to come. 🙂

carnival legend leaving seattle port with space needle in background

Cruise ship view of Seattle.

sunshine reflected on deep black ocean water

Glittering black waters.

glacial ice floating in tracy arm fjord with glacier in background

Ice chunks floating in the fjord!! And that’s a glacier back there.

forest area on trails of skagway with spider in foreground

A little bit of land exploration too. Tried to get the spider in the foreground.

High atop Dragonback

laelene Posted in video blog,Tags: , , , , , , , ,
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When Panda and I went to Hong Kong, we spent a day hiking the mountains, which was so much fun. Here are some videos from that day!

dragonback hike time lapse from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

chillin' atop dragonback from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

dragonback view from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

paragliding over ocean from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

bird gliding over people on mountain from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

paraglider by mountain from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

Lightning storm!!

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses, photo blog, video blog,Tags: , , , ,
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Ok, I’m a total sucker for lightning. It’s such a wonderful phenomenon and I could stare at a light show for hours (if only the need for sleep didn’t get in the way). Tonight as I was drafting my Love With Food box review, Panda came running in from the kitchen to tell me there was lightning outside. That made me happy, to think a thunderstorm might be rolling its way through.

But when I got outside to look, it was so much better than I could have hoped for. Flash after flash of brilliant light lit up the clouds in the sky. A gentle roll of thunder was barely perceptible in the distance. And boom, boom, boom, the lightning kept coming! It was so quiet and peaceful out – the crickets singing in the night didn’t seem to care about the show overhead. Even Smokey meowed at me to let her out and join me on the porch. Together we enjoyed the warmth of the night, the humidity in the air, and the flashes that lit up our faces.

This is so much better than a fireworks show and I even saw lightning that went up for the first time. Freakin’ amazing. So I dropped everything, got some videos and a picture, and of course put off that review for another day. This is far more exciting to me. Check it out:

lightning behind cloud at night, lighting up parts of cloud in the darkness

lightning storm from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

lightning storm flashes from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

The donkey farm

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses,Tags: , , , , , , , ,
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It was one of Panda’s coworker’s send-offs today, so we got a chance to go out to the farm of another coworker. Panda refers to it as the donkey farm, probably because the donkey is their unofficial mascot. Everyone had heard about momma donkey (Morning Glory) having baby donkey (Melvin), so Melvin became their mascot of sorts. They hadn’t actually met him yet, and I ended up being the first one to interact with him on the farm! I never knew that these mini donkeys made good companions for horses; that was the whole reason they are kept on the farm, in fact.

face of white miniature donkey at farm

Hey there Ms. Morning Glory.

brown horse sticking head out towards person

Romeo really loved attention.

brown horse sticking head out towards person trying to lick her

Apparently Romeo saw all people as delicious.

brown horse and white and brown miniature donkey eating hay together

Delilah and Melvin shared a nice meal in each other’s company.

miniature donkey nuzzling person's foot

Melvin seemed to enjoy nuzzling my foot. #majorbonding

selfie with miniature donkey poking head through fence

Selfie with Melvin the miniature donkey (and mascot)!

tractor scoop being used as icebox for cold drinks

Put some ice in it, throw the drinks in, and have a party. #farmlife

Bird calls

laelene Posted in video blog,Tags: , , , , , , ,
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Whenever spring rolls around, I always look out for the emergence of birds. Last year they were everywhere! I’m finally starting to hear them again as the weather warms up. It’s supposed to get over 80 tomorrow!

birds swarming tree from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

symphony of birds from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

birds galore from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

Cherry Blossom Festival

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses, photo blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
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Rather last-minute, Panda and I decided to go check out the Cherry Blossom Festival today. Most of the trees aren’t quite ready yet, but a few early bloomers were there to greet visitors and it was a lovely day out to walk around. We got stuck in traffic all the way around the Tidal Basin and eventually got a parking spot at West Potomac Park. It was so crowded there were even a line of cars parking on the shoulder of an on ramp. Luckily, we were able to find a spot to park in legally. We then walked from the FDR Memorial all the way to the booths set up for the festival and then kept going to the MLK Memorial and back to the car. It’s the first time I’ve worn sneakers this year, after the crazy winter weather we’ve been hit with. I’m ready for the warmer months to finally kick in!

electronic traffic sign sharing message with drivers

We arrived to blocked off roads and I noticed that the dots on these signs are actually three dots in a triangular configuration. Never knew that before!

police k9 canine car parked on grass by cherry blossoms as lady stops to ask question

As we were stuck in traffic, I got to see this K9 police car complete with fan in the back window for the dog.

view of washington monument from across tidal basin with reflection in water

I don’t come to the Tidal Basin much, so it was a treat.

looking into interior of hollowed out tree trunk

A random tree trunk had been hollowed out from two sides.

tiny purple flowers growing in grass

Before we really even saw cherry blossoms, I stopped to admire these flowers.

edge of tidal basin by jefferson memorial

A ton of people were out enjoying the day.

view of cherry blossom festival booths and washington monument across tidal basin

Across the way were all the booths for the festival.

police patrol on horseback near tidal basin

Patrolling on horses. Not a bad way to spend the afternoon.

white blossoms on tree near tidal basin

One of the few trees that was a-blooming.

dozens of people on paddle boats in tidal basin

Every single paddle boat was out on the water.

cherry blossom buds on tree

Most trees looked like this.

bloomed cherry blossoms on tree by tidal basin

Some of the cherry blossoms had opened up. Spectacular.

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