culture · words of wisdom

Remembering Jackie: The Power of Words

On what would have been Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’s 89th birthday, I want to reflect a bit on her legacy. You all recall that I’ve shared some of her words of wisdom before, but I thought it was time to share a quote that I’d had on my mind for a while now:

540fe67f6109f_-_jackie-o_words-lg

(Photo courtesy of Town & Country magazine)

One of the things that impressed me most about this quote is that Jackie acknowledged the POWER of words. Our words mold our realities, so we have to be careful with them. Are we using our words to “speak into existence” the things that we want, or are we regurgitating the things that depress or discourage us?

Recently, I’ve been especially mindful about the words that I’m using. I’m making a concerted effort to speak positively, using words that reflect the reality that I want to see, even if it doesn’t perfectly match what I’m actually beholding. I’m not living in a “fantasy world”, per se. However, I am focusing my attention on the best aspect of “what is” as well as discussing only the things that I want in my world.

I appreciate Jackie for stating plainly that our words are powerful and can create the world that we want to see. I’m delighted that I can use my words to make a difference, not just in my own world, but in the world of those that I interact with daily.  I’m honored to have such power and to be able to use it wisely is my pleasure.

It’s no coincidence that Jackie’s life eventually led her to a career in publishing: she always had tremendous love for words. As a writer, I can relate, and I’m thankful for her contributions to the literary world. Above all, I’m thankful for her example. She was a woman that lived with integrity, used the power of words expertly, and left a legacy of excellence. On this day, let’s remember Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and the mark she left on the world with her words.

culture · international

Fun With Portuguese

I slacked with my Portuguese studies but I recently got back into my routine and I’m excited about learning more of the language. For the record, I’m learning European Portuguese, since I expect to go to Portugal before I travel to Brazil. But let’s be honest: I’d take either location: I’m not picky about which one I visit first!

portugal1

Portuguese has a lot of words and definitions shared with Spanish, but make no mistake: studying Spanish isn’t enough to get by in Portuguese. Familiarity with any Romance language will help with Portuguese comprehension. I always breathe a sigh of relief when I see or hear a word and it means what I *think* it means.

Pronunciation, on the other hand, is a completely different animal. I’ve taken French and Spanish, and certain tricks of pronunciation elude me: the same occurs while I’m practicing Portuguese, too. I really love is the tendency to add a subtle “sh” sound at the end of some words ending in the letter “s”. It almost sounds like what most Americans would consider a lisp, though it’s actually a completely acceptable sound. In fact, disregarding the subtle “sh” would likely make it clear to any native speaker that you aren’t one of them.

portugal

All of that being said, I love the sound of Portuguese, and I’m excited that I’m learning little phrases here and there. If I didn’t mention it before, I’ll mention it now: I’ll be sharing my language learning tools on this blog. For this post, I’ll be sharing one podcast that I’ve used to help me with learning Portuguese.

Portuguese with Carla has incredibly thorough language instruction and the lessons are long enough where you can really start “training your ear” to the language. Carla and her husband Marlon not only teach Portuguese but they also give neuroscientific tips, offering research and techniques related to improved language learning. I’ve been having a lot of fun listening to them and practicing along. I generally listen to the podcast but I also have checked out their companion YT channel, since I occasionally need to see what is being said so that I can get a better “feel” of the conversation. If you’re interested in learning Portuguese, I highly recommend this website/podcast/YT channel!

Here’s one of Carla’s videos, for your enjoyment:

culture · style

Learn About Royal Fashions

Happy Monday, darlings! I hope you all had a satisfying weekend. I spent some time perusing one of Daily Mails’s many articles about the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle. The public is fascinated with the California-born beauty, and the Daily Mail recently ran an article on her clothing budget and latest fashions. The truth is, the public LOVES watching what the wealthy wear, especially if the wealthy ones they are observing happen to be members of a royal family.

royal

In line with this fascination, I just came across another FutureLearn course that I thought you all might want to check out. A History of Royal Fashion is a course available through this online provider until September 1st. The course explores the fashion and symbols enjoyed by 5 different dynastic families. Yes, this course also includes the current royal family, the Windsors.

guard

A royal guard – yet another fashionable dressed extension of the British monarchy

I’m far too busy to take this course myself, but I figured that I’d pass along the information for anyone interested. The course sounds really fascinating, so if it is offered again, I hope I’ll have enough time to check it out. But for you all that have the time and the interest, lucky, lucky! You can enjoy this course for free, just by signing up on FutureLearn. And, if you pay a fee, you can access the course indefinitely, so you really have nothing to lose by checking it out.

This is shaping up to be a busy week, but I’ll still be on my daily post scheduled. In any case, wish me lots of sleep and plenty of productivity when I’m awake. Thanks in advance! Talk to you all tomorrow.

culture · international · life curation

My Cultures and Identities Course is Completed!

I finished my Cultures and Identities in Europe course a few days ago, and I’m excited to share what I learned with you all. I’ll discuss what I enjoyed about the platform, FutureLearn, then I’ll dive into the course specific details and my take on what was offered in this class.

europe3

For starters, I’d never completed a course through FutureLearn before. I was familiar with the website but never did any of the classes, so this was a first for me. I was really impressed with the structure and content of the course that I completed. This was well-suited to online learners: an appropriate mix of video and written content that thoroughly cover the subject matter while keeping the students engaged. I also loved how easy it was to access the course and complete the modules according to my schedule.

The course, as outlined, takes about 3 weeks to complete. However, additional time is allowed, so if you miss a few days of study, you can easily go back and make up those sessions. The program has transcripts and closed captioning for impaired students. I was impressed with the amount of care that went into producing this free resource. However, if students are interested in access this course indefinitely, or obtaining a certificate of achievement, FutureLearn charges a fee (currently $59) for lifetime access.

europe1

Now that the general information is out of the way, let’s talk about the class. The class is broken down into 3 general sections: European Identities, European Memory and Heritage, and European Creativity. Each section delves into the history of the topic, the current state of the topic, as well as the politics that have influenced each of these areas.

The course defines Europe, European identity as well as European culture, then it explores all of the factors that have previously and currently have defined these concepts. I really loved learning about how Europe has created policy to embrace diversity as well as how Europe intends to approach cultural and creative programs outside of the economic perspective.

art1

I really enjoyed this course and, while I don’t plan to purchase lifetime access, I can easily see myself signing up for this again in the future, just as a refresher. There was a lot of good information in this course – I’m glad I signed up and completed it!

 

culture · life curation

New Course: Cultures and Identities in Europe

As part of listening to my intuition and stepping into my best life, I have stayed “light and loose” when it comes to my plans. I had been taking the ALISON Color Theory course for a bit, but I found it difficult to stay engaged in the content. Sure enough, a better online course came along that completely lit me up! When my gut told me “This is the course for you!” I didn’t hesitate to sign up and put the ALISON course on hold, so I can focus on the new class.

“Cultures and Identities in Europe” is a course available through FutureLearn, an educational website based in Europe. The course aims to give some background information and perspective into how European cultures and identities have been shaped over time. This is especially useful information for me, as I plan to travel to Europe several times over the next years.

europe

 

I’m looking forward to learning more about European history, culture, creativity, and the future of Europe’s cultural heritage. The course should be fascinating!

If you’re interested in the course, you should check it out. It’s free and available in an online format, so it’s easy to complete lectures and assignments on your schedule. Don’t delay: the course starts on June 4, 2018! You’ll want to make sure that you’re already enrolled once the materials are made available to class attendees.

I hope you join me in this class! Take care, and talk to you all tomorrow.

culture · international

Embassy Weekend, EU Style

Well friends, I had another fabulous Embassy Open House weekend experience this year! I went to the European Union (EU) Open House event last weekend (May 12) and had a blast! Last year, I went to the “Around the World” Embassy Tour, but the rain kept me in for most of the day, so when I finally made it to the embassies, I only got to tour Kenya and Haiti. I adored the Haitian Embassy so much that I wrote a post about it. I didn’t see much of Kenya during the embassy tour but I eventually returned for an evening at the Kenyan Embassy. But this time, I tried EU Open House weekend because it had been years since I last visited the European embassies.

This year wasn’t rainy, but boy was it hot! The temperatures soared above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, so after a couple of hours, I was drained. This year, I only got to visit two embassies but it was so worth it!

Outside of the Portuguese Embassy

My first stop was the Embassy of Portugal. This embassy was closing early due to a conflicting event that afternoon, so I had to make the most of my time while I was there. The staff was charming and they had the most amazing cheese tarts to sample! I wish I had gotten a photo of the ladies and gents in their traditional costumes, but maybe I’ll have better luck next year. In any case, it planted the seed in me for a future trip to Portugal . . .

Next, I visited the Embassy of Ireland. We had an excruciatingly long wait, but at least we got to enjoy performances from the local Irish dance classes. Here’s a clip of one of their performances:

I was delighted to enter the embassy and see some great Gaelic books written about a diverse group of children: indeed, children from a variety of backgrounds could come and see books written about children that looked like them. I also loved the charming layout of the historic building.

All in all, I really enjoyed my embassy experience this year! I’m already excited to experience it again next year!

art · culture

Current Issues and Hot Topics in Art

Obligatory art photo: Mary Ellison Embroidering by Mary Cassatt (1877), at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

This will be a super-quick post: I’m going to be busy this weekend, with spending time at the embassies and enjoying Mother’s Day with my loved ones. I’m going to compile a few of my favorite posts about current issues and hot topics in the arts that you can peruse at your leisure. Enjoy your weekend!

DC’s Plan to Promote Arts and Culture: What It’s About, and How Local Artists Feel About It

All About Fort Street Studio’s Latest Collection

The Newly Re-Named Massey Klein Gallery (Ryan Massey is an alum of Old Dominion University, my alma mater. Go Monarchs!)

ArtLeadHer’s Latest Exhibition, Senses and Perception

I hope you all take some time to read up on some of the latest happenings in the art world, as well as visit a museum or support some other cultural institution this weekend. Have a great Saturday!