The Next Chapter: The Opening of My Store Zanathia & Grad School Preparation…A Recollection.

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Over the past several months, I was in the process of preparing to turn one of my passionate hobbies (I love collecting vintage rare items) into a professional small business. Starting a small business is not necessarily very hard, but there were times when it was nerve-wrecking. However, in the end I am glad that I persisted on with it. Originally I wanted to open the store on October 8th, my birthday, as a gift to myself.  However, sometimes things don’t always go as planned, so I spent that calm rainy day working on my product photography for my store & eating some good wings (only drumsticks, no flats….). It was actually not a disappointing day at all considering I got to see another birthday because of God’s will, and I got a chance to work towards one of my passions while celebrating with my closest of family. As a newly launched small business/store, I am prepared to go through business obstacles & challenges & I want to encourage others to never give up on their dreams/desires. My store, Zanathia, was created after finally realizing that I’ve collected vintage/antique jewelry over the past four years from garage and estate sells & own a plethora of heirloom jewelry …so why not turn a personal hobby & passion into a small business? I collect other things as well, such as classic comic books & vinyl records, but decided to choose vintage & antique jewelry for the focus of of my E-commerce store.  Not to mention, I am finally preparing for grad school in the near future and that can be overwhelming sometimes as well . Honestly, I’m tired of school, but one of the passions I want to do professionally requires me to persist on, so my perseverance is still high. A little taxing, but still high.  Overall, I am humbly proud & happy that I believed in myself enough to take a faith-based leap into entrepreneurship. The road ahead is full of unknown turns & twists, but that’s just life, right? For anyone who is thinking about taking their bold leap of faith, please do it because it is worth it. Don’t wait until you get more financially settled or whatever. Just try your best to let positive thoughts triumph over negative ones & stay focus on taking steps to achieve your goals. The path/future ahead is a great unknown one, but I am embracing it and looking forward to it if God is willing. A new chapter is exciting and mysterious! I encourage all to go after their dreams, and I’ll just quote the late great musician Tom Petty:

”Yeah runnin’ down a dream
That never would come to me
Workin’ on a mystery, goin’ wherever it leads
Runnin’ down a dream”

-Running Down A Dream

My store: www.zanathia.com for stunning vintage & antique collectible jewelry

 

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Inspiration: Being There For Friends/Love Ones Who Are Always There For Others

Often times there are people in our lives who seem to always be there for others,  but may feel as though no one is truly available when they need genuine care & support. Whether it is a simple phone call to check on our love-ones just to see if they are okay or need someone to talk/listen to…our time being available matters. Of course, we all have those love-ones who may claim they do not want to talk about ‘it’ or to ”leave them alone”, but they just may not be ready to open up about what is bothering them.  For an example, sometimes one of my love-ones may claim to not want to converse or talk about something that is bothering him/her at the moment, but I still let them know that I am there if they need someone to listen or talk to. Also, if they refuse to open up about the situation or seem detached, we can tell our love-ones ”I pray/hope you triumph over what you’re going through and I love you”. One of the least positive/effective things we can do is detach ourselves emotionally or mentally just because we have our own obstacles going on in life. No one is perfect, and we may not get it right all of the time when it comes to knowing when someone we care for is hurting, but all it takes is sincere effort and communication. Let’s not take our blessings for granted or only call the ones we claim to care about when we need something. Let’s be there and make sure they do not feel neglected or alone. Unfortunately, there are some people who consider themselves without family or someone who genuinely cares. For those people who feel that way, please know people exist around the Earth who may not know you personally but we are constantly praying & rooting for you, and trying to help in some way… and that is a genuine form of caring!

Snowfall: Season Two’s Crack Era Retrospective 

Season 2 of John Singleton’s FX show Snowfall will likely detail more of the effects caused by the Crack Epidemic during the infamous Reagan Era. Predictions for next season include the main character Franklin, the rising ambitious drug dealer, and how some of his own family members will become addicted to crack (likely his father and one of his friends). Will he choose to sell the product to his own blood or a pregnant woman? Will his conscience bother him after witnessing what crack is doing to his neighborhood or will financial desires triumph over virtue? The thing is, some people during the Crack era like real life drug dealer Rich Porter (portrayed by Mekhi Phifer in Paid in Full) and others may have saw selling crack as a way out of poverty, but in the end there was more tragedy than long term success. Crack money came with betrayal from “friends”, countless enemies that wanted them dead, and the people who changed into walking zombies after using the drug. I suppose some may think a multitude of different cars, fresh fits, jewelry, and other material things was worth the tragic end…but it was not a good trade. The significance of Snowfall is not to make the Crack Era seem like a desirable/glamorous time, but it’s importance involves telling true stories from different perspectives. We see why Franklin is doing what he does, but we also see how it is affecting everyone around him in a variety of ways on the show. During the Crack Era, the dealer may not have been affected in the same way as the user or a child, but each one has an interesting story that is still relevant to reflect/analyze on over 30 years later. 

Robot Bees Are Our Future? How Recent Testing on Artificial Pollination Possibilities Will Never Replace Nature’s Original

Some people may not care to emphasize how important preserving the bee population is…until one day we have no choice but to rely on artificially created bees to pollinate plants. Nothing man makes can work as hard or be as nutritious like a honeybee or solitary bee, but scientists are trying to come up with an alternative if the worst case scenario happens. Recently at Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science & Technology, there has been researchers who are creating drones that can possibly polinate flowers. Instead of focusing on creating insect drones, perhaps it is better to invest in helping the bee population grow and let them thrive without pesticides that harm them. 

Education/knowledge on the issue is a great key for all of us. This process affects all of us, so why not learn and genuinely care about it more? Most of our healthy foods are pollinated by bees when they move from plant to plant for nectar. Pollen gets all over their bodies, and with cross pollination the bees are a vital necessity for plants’ seed making process. The Honey Bee species then takes the sweet nectar back to their beehives/colony, while solitary bees do not live in colonies, and they just travel from flower to flower collecting pollen. The bees work hard, and for Honeybees in particular, the honey they create gives them energy and other health benefits that are important for us as well.  If more bees continue to consume neonicotinoids (pesticides) that cover many plants and the nectar, then precious bees will die off until they are officially an extinct species. If these solitary and honeybees go extinct, then we can say goodbye to healthy foods like apples, mangoes, peaches, plums, berries, watermelon, peppers, green beans, cabbage, broccoli, avocados, coconut, and the list goes on and on. Artificially created pollinators will not provide us with the same nutrients that bees do. So instead of researching ways to live on without the Bee, it is better to focus on how we can grow and responsibly take care of the populations. Banning neonicotinoids is crucial, and how interesting it is that some of the deadly pesticides that are allowed in America is banned in a lot of other countries. Although magazines like Time has created issues focusing on the dying bee population, our media in America does not continuously focus on these types of issues in an in-depth matter. Yet, if our little blessings like bees’ are taken away from us…everyone will be forced to pay attention. However, it will be too late. Right now, in the present, it is not. Let’s not forget that the resources from nature we continuously use & exhaust are vital to our survival, but nature does not need us to survive or thrive. Preserving and growing the Bee population is not just a eco-conscious concern to occasionally reflect on, but it is a matter that correlates with our own survival and existence.
****For more information and great ways to help & learn more about the importance of Bees ,Bee Native.org, The Honey Bee Conservancy, & The Bee Cause Project are wonderful resources****

Food Waste in America: Great Ways We Can Implement Change & End The Problem  

Places like dear Somalia are going through a devastating drought, and in America there are still people suffering from chronic hunger who would love to have the excessive amount of uneaten foods being disposed of every day. Each year at least 120 billion pounds of food is wasted in America.  This is heart-breaking & unfortunate, and instead of just criticizing or feeling helpless about this issue…we all can help in many ways to decrease the problem.

  • Many households waste tons of food and then it ends up in massive garbage dumps, which increases methane emissions in the landfills & causes environmental problems as well. Methane, a greenhouse gas, is way more harmful/deadly than Carbon Monoxide. Some solutions include finding out how to store fruits and vegetables so they stay fresh longer inside or outside the refrigerator, not putting excessive amounts on our plates & then disposing of the rest (Our eyes being bigger than our stomachs), not forgetting or wasting leftovers placed in the fridge, and grocery planning with meal plans & expiration dates in mind, which is also more healthier/cost effective than eating out consistently at restaurants.
  • Every day restaurants and food stores throw away unsold items that could go to those who are in need. Of course, they claim it is a liability problem so no one is at fault for a person becoming ill, but it is really about businesses that want to gain profit from all of their items instead of giving away free unsold food to the hungry.  Fortunately, there are some food businesses that partner with communities and organizations to give away unsold food. Grocery stores like Sprouts support organizations like local food banks & Starbucks has now started giving away ready to eat fresh meals through FoodShare program, which also partner’s with food banks that help feed the hungry and homeless. Of course, supporting and donating to non-profit organizations/charities is a great way to give back and help in fighting chronic hunger. Hopefully in the near future more food chains will not throw away their unsold food, and instead give it away to those who are suffering from chronic hunger.
  • Being grateful and having a caring/sensitive conscience are some of the beginning steps to help decrease food waste as well. I believe this because if someone genuinely cares about the problem & has immense empathy for those who suffer from chronic hunger, including precious children, then this makes it more natural & easier to actually want to do more & implement change.

    Of course, there are other great ways to help decrease and eventually end food waste . The suggestions and information above are ways we can directly help, but the agricultural system also needs changes as well… such as food crops being disposed of or forgotten before getting the chance to be distributed.  All in all, no matter who we are or where we live in the world….implementing positive change should be a shared responsibility. Let’s not think we have to be wealthy to make a difference! 

    *** If you would like to help dear Somalia due to the devastating current drought, then here are some organizations to research & donate to: Action Against Hunger, Save the Children, & UNICEF.***

    Inspirational Photography: Encouraging Positivity Captured by The Lens

    Uplifting photography that represents positive messages are captivating and symbolizes just how beautiful life is…especially the ‘simple’ yet priceless & precious moments/creations we should never take for granted.  Here are some of my favorite photos that are delightful, inspiring, and interesting to reflect on. Of course, people may not always share the same perspectives, but I sincerely hope these amazing photos can inspire more happiness/hope and encourage us all to have a wondrous/positive viewpoint on life.

    Children laughing in a field of marigold flowers in Panskura, West Bengal, India. The picture won the Families category in the worldwide photography competition

     

    Third place – "Winter Sunrise Over" by Stephen Banks

    Stephen Banks/VELUX Lovers of Light 2014

    I want to go to Africa someday and take pictures like this and show the would a smile can change all..

     

    duckling climbing - a picture is worth a thousand words

    David Bitton

     

     

    Twin Baby Elephants, East Africa {by Diana Robinson}

    Twin Baby Elephants, East Africa by Diane Robinson

    Survival

     

     

     

     

    The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons: Hypocrisy?

    The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (signed in 1968) is supposed to be about stopping the spread of nuclear weapons and only five nations are ‘allowed’ to have nuclear weapons…United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, China, and France.  Although it is better to be a nuclear-weapon free world, it is a form of hypocrisy for America or the other four nuclear weapon nations to not want places like North Korea and Pakistan to build nuclear weapons, but we are creating weapons with nuclear technologies/energy.  Political leaders have even threatened to ”push the button’ (use nuclear weapons) if another country that is not ‘allowed’ keeps testing their missiles.  Yet, America dropped atomic bombs on two full cities (Nagasaki and Hiroshima)…no one else has ever used nuclear weapons for warfare in history.  In my opinion, the Non Proliferation treaty is less about having a nuclear weapon free world for the future, but it is more so about power and control. It’s like: ”Yeah we can drop nuclear weapons on other countries if we have to go that far…but you guys are not allowed to build any or do what we do. Those are the rules.”  Nothing good comes from using nuclear weapons on nations no matter who is ”allowed” to have them or not. America has it’s good, but hypocrisy has always been prevalent. Destabilizing nations and then trying to ‘help’ them is one of the many problems America has when it comes to international relations. Yes, we should all help/aid other places & people if they need help or rescue…but playing/imitating the ‘hero’ is different from actually being a genuine one. The treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons is supposed to be about promoting peaceful usage of nuclear energy and a future free of nuclear weapons. However, it seems as if the ‘future nuclear disarmament/elimination goal’ that the NPT claims to promote does not apply to everyone because there are people who prefer power & control over true positive change.

    A Homage: Marley Marl, Juice Crew & Cold Chillin’ Records Legacy

    Image result for Juice Crew Members

    During the ‘Golden Era of Hip-Hop’, innovative producer/DJ Marley Marl and DJ Mr. Magic (1956-2009) formed the legendary Juice Crew. Groundbreaking artists that were a part of the Juice Crew created music with Marley Marl on the Cold Chillin’ Records label, which includes Big Daddy Kane, Biz Markie, Masta Ace, Kool G Rap & DJ Polo, Roxanne Shante, and MC Shan. The collaborative music team helped usher in a new era in music, and of course…there was the well-known ‘beefs’ with the Boogie Down Productions. The famous ”Bridge Wars”, which partly started when lyrics were misinterpreted in MC Shan’s ”The Bridge” and then KRS-One/Boogie Down responded with ”The Bridge is Over” and ”South Bronx”. Not to mention the ”Roxanne Wars” series started by a then 14 year old Roxanne Shante (which influenced at least 100 response songs about the ”real Roxanne” created by different artists). The Juice Crew created a distinct collection of songs that are timeless and a great reference to the ”Golden Era”. Some of my personal favorites includes Biz Markie’s ”Vapors” and Big Daddy Kane’s ‘Long Live the Kane’ album. Marley Marl produced a variety of classic projects, which includes L.L Cool J’s ‘Mama Said Knock You Out’ album, and Marley Marl’s first album ‘In Control Volume 1’ introduced one of the most influential and recognized songs in classic rap…”The Symphony”. Some of the legendary artists who consider Marley Marl an influence are Biggie Smalls, RZA, DJ Premier, and Pete Rock. When paying homage to those who helped create the ”Golden Era of Hip Hop”, it is important to always remember innovator Marley Marl and the Juice Crew. Their music still sounds amazing and refreshing.

     

    Positive Thought: ‘The World I Know’ by Collective Soul Analyzed

    The thought provoking lyrics and perspective of the 1995 classic ‘The World I Know’ by Collective Soul is a great song/video to analyze. How I perceive this song is that it’s okay to question and feel deeply bothered with the state of our world,  but we should always try to not let this reflection prevent us from encouraging more positivity and good progression within our planet. I love this song and whenever I listen to it, the overall composition is compelling to me. I encourage all to never give up on our world…to never be comfortable or numb to the evil & unfortunate happenings that may be prevalent in our world. One of the many beautiful reasons why hope still lingers on is because this world also includes inhabitants/souls who are conscientious, good-hearted and genuinely care to implement/spread positive change. Therefor, let’s never feel as though this world is mainly full of only gloom and despair…because it is not. We all are each equally important & vital in implementing positive change, and there are people who still sincerely care for the pain/suffering others experience.  If we can’t seem to find many, then let’s be one of the light-filled souls we seek and desire. I also love how this video encourages people to never give up on life and that there is always inspiration/positivity we can grow from and contribute to.

    Has our conscience shown?
    Has the sweet breeze blown?
    Has all the kindness gone?
    Hope still lingers on
    I drink myself of newfound pity
    Sitting alone in New York City
    And I don’t know why

    Are we listening
    Hymns of offering?
    Have we eyes to see
    That love is gathering?
    All the words that I’ve been reading
    Have now started the act of bleeding
    Into one, into one

    So I walk up on high
    And I step to the edge
    To see my world below
    And I laugh at myself
    While the tears roll down
    ‘Cause it’s the world I know
    Oh it’s the world I know

    I drink myself of newfound pity
    Sitting alone in New York City
    And I don’t know why, don’t know why

    So I walk up on high
    And I step to the edge
    To see my world below
    And I laugh at myself
    While the tears roll down
    ‘Cause it’s the world I know
    Oh it’s the world I know

    So I walk up on high
    And I step to the edge
    To see my world below

    And I laugh at myself
    While the tears roll down
    ‘Cause it’s the world I know
    Oh it’s the world I know

    Songwriters: ED ROLAND, ROSS BRIAN CHILDRESS
    © KAREN SCHAUBEN PUBLISHING ADMINISTRATION

    Making America Great… ‘Again’?: Historical Hypocrisy & Modern Change

    President Donald Trump claims to want to make America great…again. The word ‘again’ is a stretch, because depending on who you ask and their personal experiences throughout the history of the country…America was never great. Nevertheless, for those of us who still have faith that America can someday be great & actually reflect what it has promised/envisioned, it is obvious that hypocrisy and systematic discrimination thrives in the land of the free. The poem by Emma Lazarus on The Statue of Liberty in New York, ”the New Colossus” is suppose to stand for immigrants and refugees coming to a welcoming and compassionate/empathetic safe haven , a home for those who desire to leave or force to flee their homelands. Of course, Trump is not the first who discriminated against certain groups of people because for as long as the poem was first engraved on Lady Liberty in 1903, the poem’s message has always had it’s ‘terms & conditions’ depending on what ethnic or religious group people belong to. There is a clear long history of America showing more acceptance to certain groups of immigrants & refugees in comparison to others. Still, there are many immigrants, refugees, and forced migrants who have continued to have faith in America and want to come through the ”golden door” despite hostility/prejudice towards them . I encourage all to not be discouraged or faithless, but to continue to make our own positive marks in the world…let’s not wait on political leaders to make America (or anywhere) great. President Trump’s executive order and extreme vetting policies for Muslim-majority countries is just one of many hypocritical happenings that should not be accepted or validated if we want to make America great for everyone…not just selective groups. Over a century ago, The New Colossus was as new and promising as the Liberty Statue it was engraved on. Now, in modern times and after hypocrisy has continued to be prevalent in the U.S, it seems as if it’s the ”Old Irrelevant Colossus” because often times throughout the years…Lady Liberty is not a truthful representation/image of the actual freedom, justice, and liberty that is denied to many. However, instead of just complaining about the cons of America and hypocrisy in the nation, we should also encourage and implement positive change/actions. No matter who is in office, what awful/evil doings we witness personally or see constantly on our news’ channels…stay faithful and remember we are all equally important in creating positive change with our actions and mentalities, triumphing over negativity in the world.

     

    The New Colossus Poem by Emma Lazarus

    Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
    With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
    Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
    A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
    Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
    Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
    Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
    The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

    “Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
    With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”