Welcome to My Blog!

“The soul is here for its own joy.” – Rumi


Thanks for stopping by! This blog was created to share with you the many things that inspire me. In Japanese culture they have a saying for this, it is called “Ikigai”, it essentially means “a reason to enjoy life” or “a reason to get up in the morning.” Everyone has an ikigai but sometimes people have trouble finding it. In today’s world it’s easy to lose touch with our true authentic selves.  We let other factors get in the way, like people’s opinions or our fears about making money and achieving success. We go on a path that is not really aligned with our ikigai, or the truest version of ourselves. Sadly, this makes us miss out on a lot of opportunities when it comes to life, work, happiness and fulfillment.

Over the years, I have spent time focusing on things that I believe to be important pieces to the puzzle of my own life, searching for my own ikigai. I have traveled and lived in countries very different from my own and studied many ideas. I’m always striving towards a more holistic and interdisciplinary approach to problem solving. I think it’s important to be conscious of yourself, the world, different cultures and the environment in which we live. I value people, perspectives, experiences, learning new things and being challenged. Thank you again for checking out my blog! I look forward to sharing with you my inspiration, passion and adventures.


A Beginner’s Guide to Interpreting Your Birth Chart

Here are some beginner tips on how to interpret your natal chart.

Are you interested in learning about how to read your natal chart? Maybe you already know your sun, moon, and rising sign and now you’re ready to go deeper into interpreting your own birth chart. Astrology can be a great tool for understanding yourself and others. If you are looking for guidance about a love partnership or career direction, learning to read your birth chart can help you discover a deeper level of yourself and how you relate to others. The most important aspect of reading a birth chart is having a good foundational knowledge of the 12 signs, the planets, and the 12 houses of the horoscope.
The zodiac signs, their traits, and ruling planets.
When you first start learning about astrological charts, you might be surprised to discover that we are much more than our sun sign. Actually, we have all of the zodiac signs present within our birth charts, they just happen to influence different areas of our life according to the houses they occupy. Your birth chart is considered to be your astrological fingerprint. It’s a snap shot of all the planet’s positions in the sky the moment you took your first breath. As psychologist Carl Jung once said, “We are born at a given moment, in a given place and, like vintage years of wine, we have the qualities of the year and of the season of which we are born. Astrology does not lay claim to anything more.”
If using the whole house system, your chart will start with your ascendent, or 1st house; and then progress through the different signs and houses, making 12 houses in total. Each house represents a different area of your life, and when combined with a particular sign or planet, it can indicate certain types of life experiences associated with the house it represents. When you look at your chart, you will notice that your planets are in different signs. The planets that influence our personality the most are the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, and whatever sign the Ascendant is in.
In simple terms the Sun represents our ego, the Moon our emotions, Mercury is our communication, Venus is how we love, Mars is our drive and willpower, and our Ascendent is how we appear to the outside world and how we view ourselves. All of the planets and signs represent different energies, archetypes, and mythologies. By learning how to associate these energies with the different planets, signs, and house placements you will start to recognize how they all work together.
The Planets
The 12 zodiac signs are all ruled by different elements like water, earth, air, and fire. By looking to the planets in your chart and seeing what signs those planets are placed in, you will be able to determine the balance of elements in your chart. This is where I usually like to start interpreting a person’s chart. Perhaps you have your sun, ascendant, mercury, and mars all in water signs. This would be an indicator that you will have more traits associated with the water energy like intuition, sensitivity, and psychic abilities. By learning about the signs that occupy your personal planets, and what element they are ruled by you can see how all of the energies blend to make up your personality.
The Elements

The outer planets like Saturn, Uranus, and Pluto have more of an overall effect on lifetime events depending on the houses they occupy. All of the planets and signs represent different energies, archetypes, and mythologies. By learning how to associate these energies and mythologies with the different planets, signs, and placements you will become better at interpreting birth charts and understanding astrology.

The Houses

ngATL- A Conference on Angular, Diversity, and Inclusion

Last month I attended the first annual ngATL conference held in Atlanta, Georgia from Jan 30th – Feb 2nd. The event was all about Angular, its community and moving towards a more inclusive tech industry. In his opening remarks, organizer Zachary Chapple spoke of his intention to make a positive impact on the development community by helping women in technology. He wanted to create a tech conference much different than the ones he was used to attending. A conference with more opportunities to hear women speakers. NgAtl had over 60% women speakers, while the current average is typically around 20-30%. The result was a conference that was diverse, inclusive, and offered a wide variety of topics and perspectives.

Themes like emotional intelligence, empathy, and how we define “value” were highlighted along with talks about what’s new with Angular, progressive web apps, reactive programming and more. All of the speakers were interesting and I appreciated the Angular community’s welcoming attitude and enthusiasm towards sharing knowledge.

Theoretical physicist Dr. Michio Kaku gave a talk in which he discussed his latest book and made incredible predictions about the future of tech and humanity. He spoke about the next 20-30 years and the arrival of a post-silicon era, a time when we will be moving towards technologies like molecular and quantum computers. His predictions for the next 500 years sounded more like science fiction and I enjoyed when he talked about telepathy, telekinesis, and the digitization of the mind. Dr. Kaku has a great imagination, this combined with his scientific genius makes him truly an interesting speaker.

April Wensel’s presentation “You Are Not A Robot”, was all about emotional intelligence in the workplace. She is the founder of “Compassionate Coding“, a company that teaches engineers how to develop emotional intelligence so they can work more effectively as a team. She brought up an interesting point about how emotional intelligence often gets labeled as “soft-skills”. She explained this kind of wording can create a negative connotation that’s associated with weakness. April suggested instead of using the term “soft-skills”,  we should consider emotional intelligence as something closer to “catalytic skills”, foundational skills that help you catalyze your existing skills.

Brad Green’s two-part talk was both informative and insightful. He works at Google as an engineering director and manages the Angular team. The first part of his talk was all about what’s new with Angular. The second part focused on effective teams and diversity and inclusion. He told a great story about when he used to work for Steve Jobs and how that experience influenced the way he works and interacts with the tech and Angular community today. You can watch the talk on YouTube here. Or if you want to check out all of the speakers’ talks from the NgAtl conference you can find them here.

I’m so grateful I was able to attend this conference, especially considering that it was the first of its kind. Lots of people speak about the importance of diversity and inclusion in tech, but it’s even better to see it in practice. I left the event feeling optimistic and was truly inspired by some of the speakers. All of the deep knowledge about Angular was really impressive. I learned SO much from the talk Aimee Knight did on the “CSS Object Model”. Simona Cotin’s talk about “State management with ngRx” was also really cool as I’ve worked with React and Redux in the past and was familiar with some of the concepts. It was great meeting so many new people and seeing some familiar faces. Thanks again to the organizers for putting on a truly unique conference. I’m already looking forward to next one and can’t wait to see how the conference will grow in the future.


My experience at DataSciCon.Tech


A Conference on Artificial Intelligence, Data Science, Machine Learning and Data Analytics.

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I had a great time learning about Data Science last week at the Georgia Tech Hotel and Convention center. First of all, I would like to give a big thank you to the organizers who were kind enough to offer a scholarship through Women Who Code Atlanta. I am very grateful for the opportunity to attend such an informative and thought provoking event. In this blog post I will highlight some of my favorite talks and key insights that I took away from the conference.

In 2012, The Harvard Business Review came out with an article titled  “Data Scientist: The sexiest job of the 21st century.” The term “Data Scientist” is relatively new, first coined in 2008 by the author of the article and soon after by companies like LinkedIn and Facebook. The article discusses the demand for people with skill sets much different than the data analysts from 10-15 years ago. A “data scientist” needs to be able to work with large volumes of unstructured data, structure that data, and then analyze it. A core skill for any data scientist is the ability to write code. Some of the most popular languages and frameworks for data scientists in 2017 include Python, R, SQL, Spark, and TensorFlow. Each language and framework poses different pros and cons in relation to the various packages and modules offered and what exactly you are trying to achieve.

Data Science is an interdisciplinary field that incorporates mathematics, statistics, computer science, modeling, and analytics, it also shares connections and overlaps with fields of study like machine learning, artificial intelligence, deep learning, and IoT.  Knowledge of mathematical skills and computer science make a good data scientist but employers also look for candidates that possess a sense of empathy towards customers. There’s a lot of job opportunities for data scientists right now and IBM predicts the demand for data scientists will climb to 28% by 2020. If you have experience working in IT, it’s a good career to make a switch within a company as new college graduates only make up about 20% of the demand.


One of the sessions I really enjoyed was by Frank Hasbani, CEO of Anova Analytics. Companies that work with big data and implement data science projects often have a great need for collaboration between team members. Anova offers a platform that allows a unified approach to collaboration. This product combines 8 platforms and services into one easy to use system. It has all the best data science tools in one place which allows for an integrated workspace for individuals. Some of the features include “Kanban”, a task management board similar to “Trello” and “Shiny Portal” a tool that allows stakeholders to view proof of concepts, working models, and dashboards. To learn more about Anova and their team platform solutions you can click here.

Another interesting session I attended was called “Unleashing the Power of Data with Network Acceleration – Bringing Together Big Data and Deep Learning”. The talk was given by Bill Webb, director of Ethernet Switch Sales at Mellanox Technologies. Mellanox uses super computers and offers machine learning solutions to almost 3,000 customers. They build networking infrastructure to help accelerate servers that process large amounts of data. Many universities and laboratories are their customers, including Georgia Tech. The talk focused on how companies are now merging big data with machine learning. Webb discussed the flood of data being created by autonomous cars.  He stated that 1 million driverless cars could produce the same amount of data as 3 billion people, roughly half of the world’s population. Autonomous cars have multiple on-vehicle sensors, cameras, radar, and real-time, high precision GPS mapping and navigation systems, all of this adds up to a lot of data that needs to be processed. In order for an autonomous car to function it needs very large datasets already in place, that’s why driverless cars are not readily available yet. Audi has already released a semi-autonomous “hands-free driving system” for up to 35 mph and in 2020 the company plans to debut its first fully autonomous car, you can read more about it here.


My favorite part of the conference was definitely the sessions on Artificial Intelligence. I personally do not have any working knowledge or experience with AI but I am very curious about the direction it’s going. Chris Benson gave several talks on AI during the conference and I was lucky enough to attend two. He’s Chief Scientist for AI and Machine Learning at Honeywell and also organizer of the “Atlanta Deep Learning” Meetup group. He was first introduced to deep learning way back in 1992, and his father, Whit Benson used machine learning ideas as an engineer at Lockheed Martin. He spoke about the juxtaposition of four disciplines and how they relate to Artificial Intelligence.

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AI is a subset of data science, within AI there’s the subset of machine learning and within machine learning, at the very core, there’s deep learning. A basic definition of machine learning is “Algorithms that parse data, learn from that data, and then apply what they’ve learned to make informed decisions”. Deep learning is essentially machine learning but it goes a step further. Deep learning uses layered algorithms which create an “artificial neural network” these hidden nodes mimic the human brain and how they are connected is based on math. The neural networks give the model the ability to learn on its own. The result is that it’s able to function and make decisions much more like a human brain would.

Although Chris grew up being immersed in these concepts he knows that deep learning is still relatively new to the majority of people, “We are in the wild west days of deep learning”, he stated, comparing deep learning to the advent of the internet in 1993. “There are not many guides to best practices”. Chris also mentioned, “AI first is what’s cool now, it’s no longer mobile first”. I have to say I was very impressed with his experience, knowledge, and insights regarding Artificial Intelligence.


Chris Benson also gave the closing keynote speech titled “Summoning the Demon – AI and the Future of Life on Earth”. The phrase “Summoning the Demon” comes from Elon Musk, which he readily pointed out. Although Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking have given warnings about AI, Chris Benson considers himself to be more of an optimist on the subject. The most interesting part of his speech was when he talked about “Singularity”, the moment when AI will become so advanced it will outperform the most intelligent of any human. I have to admit, I was intrigued.

What will this look like for humanity? I have so many thoughts on this. How will we view AI when it reaches singularity? History has shown that humans tend to fear and look up to things that we perceive as more intelligent than us. Will AI become some kind of authority figure? And what about emotional intelligence? How will this factor into the creation of AI in the future. Emotional intelligence is all about reading people and picking up on cues to give people what they need and want in order to make them feel happy and secure. How will AI be able to do this for everyone? And just how smart will AI become? Humans are more or less limited with the brains we are born with but AI will have to ability to keep learning and learning.

I don’t think I could personally view a super intelligent AI as anything close to a human, for me I think I’d see them more as an alien. And although this alien would be super intelligent, perhaps it would still be lacking in some sense. Humans have senses and awareness and intuition. Things not so easily measured by science. Most of all I wonder if having these AIs would somehow redefine what it is to be human and what our worth, value and purpose is in this world.

I’ve always had a big imagination. Long before the Curiosity rover or we had clear images of the Martian landscape, I used to get vivid dreams about Mars and what it looked like, in my dreams I would meet humans living there and I even found water. Sometimes my imagination and dreams show me all different kinds of scenarios with AI. I don’t know whether to trust those intuitions or to think maybe I have just seen “2001 A Space Odyssey” one too many times. At the end of Chris’s speech he opened up the floor for discussion so I decided to ask a question regarding an article I had recently read. The question was about Anthony Levandowski, a former Google engineer and his plans to create an Artificial Intelligence deity and religion. You can read more about Levandowski here.

I have to say, the conference was a great experience and it really got me thinking. I couldn’t help but notice the organizers put a lot of thought and effort into planning the event. The lunch each day was really nice and they had a lot of gluten free options which I definitely appreciated. The organizers are hosting an event in New Orleans March 21st-23rd called JazzCon.Tech, if you are looking for a first class conference for yourself or employees I emphatically suggest it. Thanks again to the organizers and Women Who Code Atlanta for an incredible experience.