Nature’s enthralling beauty includes the way the sky appears when the sun is rising or setting and how ethereal it looks outside after an afternoon rain shower , which are all examples of daily/common treasures that should not be taken for granted. The way the orange, blue and pink hues in the sky blends together as the sun rises or sets is a (thankfully) re-occurring unparalleled sight to see. Perhaps it is easy to become comfortable with natural scenic views like this as we go about our daily lives, but there is also a refreshing & uplifting inspirational feeling we can receive from nature’s beautiful art. If something is heavy on our minds or we’ve encountered a lot of negativity within a day, sometimes we can find inspiration in daily gifts that are not always in human form. It is even scientifically proven that taking a walk in nature is therapeutic and good for our well being. I encourage us all to continue to remain purely fascinated with life’s natural treasures because it is a healthy & positive perspective to have throughout life. We all find happiness and joy in different things depending on what speaks to our souls/and passions. Here are a few examples of nature’s art photographed by me throughout different years & changing seasons that makes me smile and thankful…I hope you find beauty in them too!
Photo taken back in summer 2012. I saved this because it was very beautiful to me! Especially looking above at it, I nicknamed the photo ”Wheel in the Sky Keeps on Turning’ from a Journey song. The song’s lyrics do not actually correlate with the photo precisely, but the title of the song seemed befitting to me and sometimes I also interchangeably nickname this photo as : The ‘Will’ in the Sky Keeps on Turning (”Will” meaning inevitable events and creations from a higher power/God.
Photo taken on a snowy day in December 2017. I loved the tree’s aesthetic. It’s so interesting how many trees have been here way longer than us and have been present throughout many different happenings and lives as they come & go. This tree, like others, goes through many drastic changes within a year but it is beautiful no matter the season.
Photo taken in 2018. Whenever I am walking somewhere, I like photographing the beautiful flowers that I see planted. Unfortunately, I’ve procrastinated in the past when it comes to planting more of my own flowers, but this spring I am looking forward to actually growing more flowers and doing a little garden work with my mother. Photos like this gives me inspiration and they are so pretty!
Photo taken in Piedmont Park in 2018. I am so appreciative of scenic views in parks. One of my favorite things to do is go to parks & preserves. There are so many activities I can do there. Just walk and take in all of nature’s aesthetics, have an outdoor lunch on the grass with my Dory from Finding Nemo plush blanket underneath, look at the sun setting or rising, go for a bicycle ride, watch the ducks & other animal sightings, enjoy live music, exercise, paint, pet people’s dogs if they let me, take photos like this, whatever. The list goes on and on!
Photo taken in December 2017. This photo (taken with an iPhone) made me decide to invest in a dslr camera instead of taking photos with a phone all of the time. I love astronomy and although I see mesmerizing views with my eyes and a telescope, I really want to start capturing beautiful views like this in better quality. Night time astronomy photography calls for dslr camera quality, and since I’m passionate about astronomy, I’ve been working on my photography more with a different camera. But still, I love & cherish these i-phone shots and I remember looking at it, thinking: ”This is so cool to me”…one of the moments in life that makes me happy.
I encourage us all to never forget the so-called ‘simple’ yet amazing gifts that are a part of nature in this world…it is really all around us. Of course, humans value material things to a certain extent, but let’s not get so focused on just solely these things and forget the priceless treasures that are among us daily.
”To walk in nature is to witness a thousand miracles”- Mary Davis
I was very excited to hear that Yayoi Kusama’s ‘Infinity Mirrored Room’ is coming to the High Museum of Art starting in November 2018. I am still thankful and grateful that I decided to become a High Museum of Art member back in 2014 (very cost effective & worth it compared to what you get with each membership type), and it is art collections like ‘Infinity Mirrored Room’ that makes me eager to return repeatedly for more than one viewing. Yayoi Kusama (1922- present) is known for her captivating and colorful creations that are concept contemporary artworks with different mediums used. Some of her art includes styles such as surrealism, abstract expressionism, and pop art. Here are some interesting artworks by Kusama, which also includes ‘Infinity Mirrored Room’ installation.
Infinity Mirrored Room, Yayoi Kusama
Reach Up To The Universe, Yayoi Kusama
Stars by Yayoi Kusama
Infinity Mirrored Room, Yayoi Kusama
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: With Artwork by Yayoi Kusama
Yayoi Kusama as a child
One of Ernie Barnes most famous paintings is The Sugar Shack, which has been used by Marvin Gaye for his legendary album cover I Want You and for the 1970’s syndicated classic show Good Times. The 90’s rap group Camp Lo also paid homage to the original painting with their album cover for the acclaimed Uptown Saturday Night (which included ”Luchini AKA This is It” song). Before Ernie Barnes was a painter, he was a professional football player that played from 1959-1965 for teams such as The Denver Broncos & The San Diego Chargers. Of course, Ernie Barnes (1938-2009) also created other memorable paintings that are just as noteworthy as The Sugar Shack. Here are some of my favorite Ernie Barnes paintings.
”The Advocate” by Ernie Barnes
”His Effort” by Ernie Barnes
”Room Ful’A Sistahs” by Ernie Barnes
”The Buffalo Soldiers”by Ernie Barnes
Sugar Shack Painting by Ernie Barnes for Marvin Gaye’s ”I Want You”
Ernie Barnes photographed painting
Ernie Barnes photographed behind his artwork
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
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.***
If you ask someone what defines being verbally abusive to a child, then you may get different answers and perspectives. Some people share the ideology that if it is not your child, then do not interfere unless they are being physically harmed/assaulted. However, what a parent says to their child can be just as hurtful and have a negative impact on them mentally like physical abuse. Someone once told me that they heard a frustrated mother call her son a ”punk bitch” in a grocery store and no one said anything…they just stared at the mother in shock for a moment. The child was a toddler and his mother called him this…so this likely means she is verbally abusing her child at home repeatedly. Letting that sink in, this is a very ugly situation, can have negative psychological & relationship impacts on the child, and it hurts my heart to know children are being treated in this manner. I just really feel as if someone should have spoken up for the little boy even if the mother had a problem with input from a stranger. Nevertheless, no one wanted to interfere with the mother and her child, but people knew it was awful and wrong. Some people may have the ”well it’s not my child” mentality or were afraid to speak up. Personally speaking, my conscience would have been bothering me all day. Verbal abuse is often a more controversial subject that some do not see eye to eye on compared to actual physical abuse. Some people feel as though one should only step in if the verbal abuse is ”extremely harsh”, while others feel as though all types of verbal abuse is very harsh. Often, the child’s parents were verbally abused, and a person may feel the way they talk to their child is okay, so they continue the cycle. There are also parents who take their frustrations and dislikes out on their kids even though it is never the child’s fault…innocent children who never asked to be created or born into this world. I am thankful that my parents were never emotionally abusive to me, but it still hurts that countless children experience this every day. Verbal and emotional abuse is just as evil and harsh as physical abuse, and often the scars may not be visible, but it is forever embedded in their mind. It is easier to build up a child, then to try and repair a broken adult.
**Some helpful and informative organizations that try to prevent Child Abuse includes Childhelp.org (1-800-422-4453), and Child Welfare Information Gateway. **
Trip Hop originated from Bristol ,U.K, & the sound has been partly influenced by jazz, hip-hop, funk, and soul. The Bristol Underground scene of the 90s involved experimenting with art and music, particularly with drum & bass. Trip Hop’s drum-based breakdowns and sound involves several types of music styles , and is a good example of just how diverse electronic music is…there are literally no less than one hundred ‘subgenres’. When I think of some of the most interesting and diverse sounds in electronic music, it seems only right to mention Trip Hop greats/legends such as Howie D, Morcheeba, and Nightmares on Wax. To pay homage, here are a few of my favorite classic Trip Hop songs & artists of the 90s, an amazing innovative time for Electronic music.
After The Holocaust, the United Nations General Assembly came together and passed the Genocide Convention. The agreement and idea was to prevent genocidal acts & punish criminals who slaughter victims because of an ethnic, religious, or national group they may belong to. However, Post- World War 2 genocide events have continued to happen after the U.N and people all around the world vowed never again. There has been a reoccurrence of events where massive amounts of people have been deliberately killed from particular ethnic groups & nations and many of the perpetrators have never been convicted or punished for their crimes against humanity. What exactly is really qualified to be termed a genocide? The term ”ethnic cleansing” has been used to describe mass torture/murders like the crisis in Darfur instead of genocide, and Aleppo is one of many heart breaking situations where the term ”genocide” is fitting. We, humanity, have not effectively learned enough from the mass extermination during the Holocaust or any other similar atrocity evidently. The world is forced sooner or later to be aware of what is going on whether some of us try to ignore it or not. Those of us who are immensely sadden by what is happening continue to feel disgusted, impassioned, & mournful as we pay attention to all that is unfolding. What is happening in places like Aleppo is a repeated pattern that may not always be consistently televised or included heavily in the media. As sickening as it is, there are photos and footage of children, sweet innocent babies, that have been dismembered, bloodied, and attacked…images that actually need to be seen despite how horrible they are. Families displaced, bombed, tortured, whole lives shattered, and their crying pleas are gut wrenching and extremely painful to see & hear but should not be ignored or forgotten . There are politicians & country leaders that are also responsible for murdering countless people, just as contemptible as ‘warlords’ and terrorist groups like Isis. Yet, only certain types of war crimes, mass killings, and attacks towards groups of people are considered genocidal. However, no matter how we may try to relabel it or pick and choose just what is a genocide act, the truth is: The term Holocaust, which is also defined as the mass slaughter of people, is a evil part of humanity’s history that was supposed to never happen again in modern societies, but it has shamefully occurred over and over.
Here are some of my favorite notable and emerging artists who have created astonishing and interesting expressions/work of arts. The collection includes Reuben Dangoor, Hayden Zezula (Zolloc), Laura Callaghan, Kehinde Wiley, and Jason DeCaires Taylor.
Jason DeCaires Taylor