Toronto Condo Bubble

As a full time Senior Analyst I look at large data sets and build sets of dashboards to answer business questions for our clients. That said, I am also an entrepreneur and I have a "gig" for purchase on a site called Fiverr. People can purchase my "gig", send me their data, and I will build them a dashboard. This gives me an opportunity to work on some pet projects with different datasets.

One of those projects was for the Toronto Condo Bubble. I was asked to create an index of housing prices in Toronto by type of home from January 1996 to August 2013. I added the ability to switch between viewing the price or the index. Additionally, you can use the slider to view specific months. By clicking on the value in the color legend, it will highlight the respective line in the trend above.

You can view the dashboard live on the Toronto Condo Bubble website, here, or you can check it out below. Yet again, feedback is appreciated!

Pinnable image:


Updated: Rights of Same Sex Couples

Due to the impending legalization of gay marriage in the state of Illinois, I have updated my dashboard that visualizes the rights of same sex couples. To make it even more fun for you, I am embedding it below, so you should be able to play around with it right here in this blog post! Want a pinnable image? Here you go:

You can select various issues and see the color of the states change to reflect the laws in effect. Additionally, the circles represent the number of same sex couples in each CBSA. Hover over a state or CBSA for some extra detail.

Do you like it? Is there something you would like to see me add? Comment below!

Visualizing Commuting Data

I listen to NPR pretty much every morning. I love getting my news while I drive, saving me from having to read long articles later. This morning there was a bit about commuters and I realized how much I missed taking the train into work every morning. I was able to read my newspaper, listen to music, check my email, catch up on social media sites, enjoy a podcast, etc. So decided to download some census data about commute time by various types of transportation (driving alone, carpooling, public transportation, walking, other, or work from home). Here is what I have created:

The first dashboard initially gives a high level overview of the different types of transportation and which state has the highest percentage of their population using that type. The bar charts below show each state and the percent of their population using the various forms of transportation. In the live version of the dashboard you can sort the columns or you can select a single state and see the distribution.

The second dashboard shows the same high level information at the top, but the map below shows different CBSAs colored by the average time it takes for an individual to get to work. Obviously, the bigger cities have a longer commute time (most likely due to traffic congestion). The size of the circles represent the number of people being considered in each city.

The third dashboard focuses on a single CBSA, selected using a filter on the right. This dashboard shows various ZCTAs (zip code like areas defined by the census bureau) and the number of people in that ZCTA that choose a certain type of mode of transportation, which is also selected using a filter on the right. In this case, you can see which areas tend to have a good number of people using public transportation.

Wedding Hashtag

My partner and I both love our technology. We appreciate social media and plan on incorporating it into our wedding through the use of a hashtag. Our guests will be able to snap a photo, apply filters in Instagram, use our hashtag and it will appear in our wedding feed. Guests can also send that Instagrammed photo to Twitter or directly tweet about our wedding using our hashtag and that will also appear in our feed.

Our plan is have these two feeds (Instagram and Twitter) up during dinner or dancing or something. We hope our guests take part and have fun with it - make it into an interactive event. I wanted our wedding to be something different. Simple, elegant, with some traditions, but also I wanted pieces of our wedding to break the norms. I want our guests to feel comfortable using technology - as long as it is about us. :)

Seriously, though, I hope people have fun with it and see it as a form of entertainment and not rudeness. I'm sure some people will think it is tacky, but it's us and that's what that day is going to be about. #BrandiLovesTara

Wedding Website

I am getting married in the near future and have been using's handy wedding website tool instead of going through the hassle of creating my own site from scratch. They add more designs every day and I have finally (I think) settled on one. It's simple and focuses on the information, which is the point. The other nice thing about the website is that you can allow your guests to RSVP online, which saves them a lot of hassle and can save you postage! I'm excited to get to that point, but for now I am enjoying making my little modifications and packing it full of information.

Over the past few years I have seen many wedding websites and they server their purpose, although I want ours to be fun and full of helpful information! It also needs to be easy enough for our guests to navigation and shouldn't be a book. I have added fun stuff like links to Facebook albums of vacations we took together and lists of likes and dislikes.

I certainly do not expect every guest to read every word, but I want them to know that it is a wonderful source of information! Wedding party descriptions (at least my portion), links to my Pinterest wedding page, and fun articles are at the ready. I look forward to updating it more and providing guests with a full list of activities!

Study Abroad

It's been over 5 years since I studied abroad in Istanbul, Turkey. There are days where I miss it terribly. Now I've never been one to keep a journal - I've tried many times and just cannot do it. Most of the time it doesn't matter because my life is tracked pretty well by Facebook, but that part of my life - studying abroad - is becoming more faint in my memory.

As I said in my last blog post, my new project is organizing my photos. Like I also said in that post, I always find another project and don't finish what I started. My project now is to at least start to rebuild that trip in my mind. To write the journal I never did at the time.

I think the obvious place to start is when I left for Istanbul and when I returned. I can fill things in from there. I left the United States on Sunday, February 3rd (two days after my 21st birthday) and returned Saturday, June 21st. I had a layover in London, where I met two other students from my college that were also studying abroad in Istanbul. I did not know these other students very well. The flight there was the first one that I had ever taken alone and it was about 6 hours long.

We arrived in Istanbul the next morning. By my internal clock it was 24 hours later, although the flights just took a total of about 12 hours. We were met at the airport by a Turkish student of the university we would be attending. She was part of a buddy program for international students. She took us to the campus where we met up with the fourth student from our college that would be studying abroad with us.

That first drive through Istanbul was significant for me. The city had a very hilly landscape and was separated by the Bosphorus. The mosques with their minarets shot up from the ground into the sky. The buildings and homes looked different from what I was used to back home - obviously. I wasn't expecting things to be the same. I knew things would be different and that open mind helped me succeed abroad.

Upon arriving at the Marmara √úniversitesi campus I remember trying to nap (even though I couldn't sleep much). Later we met back up with the Turkish student and she introduced us to her friends (also students at the University). We made a lot of memories and friends that first night.

Blog's Purpose & My New Project

Since starting this blog I've struggled with what it should be about. I have so many interests but I don't really want to have a separate blog for each topic. I feel like I'm all over the place with my interests - not that they change but more so that I go through phases where I focus on a particular interest.

That said, I have a lot of projects and some times they go unfinished because I move on to something else. I have learned that this is going to happen to me, so I have broken up my recent project into smaller pieces. This will allow me to work on it now, feel a sense of accomplishment, then move on to something else. When I come back to this project I will complete phase 2 and the process will repeat itself until the larger scope of the project is done. Are you still with me through that crazy talk?

My new project is organizing, printing, and putting my photos into albums. Phase 1: Collect and organize photos. Phase 2: Determine which photos to print. Phase 3: Put photos into appropriate albums. This project may sound simple, but my photos are scattered all over - hard copy (which need to be scanned), Facebook, multiple cameras, multiple phones, multiple computers. Phase 1 is almost complete.

Back to my original point (that this blog has no specific purpose or topic). I want it to be about everything. I'm fairly certain I have no readers, but this blog can be just for me and that's okay.