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!

art · international

That One Time in Beijing . . .

I mentioned my China travels in passing since I’ve had this blog, but since it’s almost the two year anniversary of that trip, I wanted to take a stroll down memory lane.

In Spring 2016, I spent two weeks doing a tour of China as a graduation gift to myself. I visited Beijing, Hangzhou and Shanghai. I fell head over heels for Hangzhou: I loved idyllic West Lake and all of the luxury experiences you could have in the city. That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy Beijing or Shanghai: I loved them, too! But there was something so tranquil about Hangzhou: it was a relaxing location.

Anyhoo, Beijing was full of history (yes, I visited the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City) and I enjoyed touring around and going to different shopping “hubs” here and there. Shanghai is great for shopping and had a fast-paced city feel that I found thrilling.

Here are some of my favorite photos from my China adventure. I can’t wait to return!

Beijing

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Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City

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The Great Wall of China

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Beijing National Stadium

Hangzhou

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West Lake – Lin Ying Temple and Buddha statues

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Hefang Old Street

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Tea plantation (I bought longjing tea there)

Shanghai

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festivals · luxury

Are You Derby-Ready?

Can you believe that the Kentucky Derby is only a few days away? I love horses but I’ve never been to the Derby; however, I’m not letting anything get in the way of my Derby Day fun.

horse

For starters, I’m going to see whether I can make my way to a viewing party. But, if I can’t I’m going to create my own Derby fun at home. Here’s the plan for a Derby Day in:

  1. I will wear a pretty spring gown and a complementary fascinator. I will have a ball sticking to the “dress code” as outlined on the Kentucky Derby website.
  2. I will make myself a mint julep and sip it like a genteel lady. The Derby-approved mint julep recipe can be found here: Mint Julep.
  3. I’ll check out social media to see the photos of the Derby fashions.
  4. I’ll tune into NBC to watch the race.

julep

A mint julep

Are you going to the Derby? Or will you be attending a watch party? I’d love to hear your Derby Day plans!

culture · international · music

A Little Something for International Dance Day

Happy Sunday friends! It’s been a while since I posted videos about music or dance, so it’s only fitting that I share something with you all for International Dance Day!

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I’m adding some videos demonstrating traditional African dances from several countries. I’ve discussed kizomba before, but Africa is a tremendously diverse continent and every country has something different to offer when it comes to dance. Here’s just a taste of African dance:

Angolan Kizomba and Semba: this mashup of clips gives you a glimpse into traditional Angolan dance. Fun, exuberant and flirty: what’s not to love?

Ethiopian/Eritrean Eskista: I don’t know what I love most about this video – the gorgeous hair, the joyful expressions or the fact that this reminds me of something that my friends and I would do when we get together. They’re not professionals, but they’re having fun!

Burundian/Rwandan Umushagiriro/Umushayayo: this is so graceful and elegant. I want to learn the dance and wear the traditional outfits daily. This dance is breathtakingly beautiful.

And just for fun, Ivorian Zaouli: this dance has been made into countless memes, but the truth is, it takes a LOT of stamina to do this. Enjoy!

What is your favorite international dance? Let me know in the comments below!

life curation

Live Your Best Life: Hobbies to Help You Heal

Happy Friday, friends! We made it through the week, and what a week it was. The East Coast is getting some truly spring-like weather, and I’m excited for the warmer days to come!

As you all have already seen, I’ve been sharing some of the things I used to help recover after devastating life events (for me, specifically, my divorce, but also the loss of several close family members and friends). In this post, I’m going to share some of the hobbies that helped me move through my pain and heal my heart.

For starters, I want to add a disclaimer: you can and should seek professional help if you want or need a qualified individual to help you with your problems. Nothing that I’m recommending should be considered a replacement for clinical treatments and professional counseling.

That being said, here are some of the hobbies I used during my recovery and how these hobbies helped me:

  • Enjoying art: I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – art saved me from my darkest moments. Spending time in museums, creating my own art, and learning more about artists and their works helped me tremendously during my lowest points. There’s something very magical about being able to mentally “escape”, transcending time and space, as you view a piece of art. Also, creating art did wonders for helping me to work out some of my frustrations and to take the “sting” out of my losses.

art

  • Traveling: One of my best friends advised taking a trip prior to any big decision, as the change in scenery and routine does wonders for giving you fresh perspective. During those painful years, I took several trips that helped me to clear my mind and reconnect to the joys that I experienced in years prior. Physically visiting different locations impacted me on levels that I couldn’t experience if I had stayed at home. Travel was wonderful for helping me to navigate my pain.

map

  • Writing: To be honest, I couldn’t always verbalize my emotions. There were a lot of days where the feeling would be in my chest, even in my throat, but I couldn’t speak the pain that I felt. When my voice failed me, my pen was ever ready to capture the emotions that I felt but couldn’t vocalize. At one point, I wanted to reread my journal entries, but I have since decided against that.  Those journals have served their highest purpose already: they were my voice’s proxy. I am thankful for the ability to give myself some relief when I felt nothing but despair.

writing

  • Exercising: I’m not obsessive about fitness, but it was a mighty powerful tool that I used during my healing process. Aside from the physical effects (the release of endorphins that lifted my mood), the repetition of certain physical movements provided me with a rhythmic experience that required that I focus on the present moment and temporarily suspend my emotions. Exercise literally took my mind off of my problems, giving me some much needed relief.

exercise

  • Fine dining/wine tasting: I’ve already shown my love and appreciation of good food and wine on this blog numerous times. However, I’ve never mentioned how much I employed these sensory pleasures during my healing phase. I learned about different cuisines and prepared 4 and 5 course meals at home. The discipline, effort and precision involved with designing and preparing elaborate meals was a satisfying creative effort. And trying new wines, while learning to hone in on the elements that I enjoy most, enhanced my dining experience. You have to be careful with this one: restraint and knowing your personal limits are key.

dining

 

Those are the hobbies that I used to help cope and heal from my pain. I hope that these may be helpful for lifting your spirits during the low times. Take care, and enjoy your weekend!

international · travel

My Time at Nairobi National Museum

You all know how much I loved my time in Kenya. I wanted to make sure that I took in the local history, arts and culture while I was there because, why travel if you don’t wnat to learn about the place you’ve traveled to?

While in Nairobi, I visited the Nairobi National Museum. This museum DID NOT disappoint! I took photos in every area except the art gallery, in which photography was prohibited. Which is a real shame, since the artwork was wonderful. However, I understand the need to protect the artists from having their work ripped off and duplicated without credit.

Without further ado, here are some of my photos from the Nairobi National Museum:

Photos from the exterior of the museum

The mammal exhibit

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Decor inside of the museum

The bird exhibit

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Drawings from Joy Adamson,

Artifacts from the exhibit describing social customs in Kenya

Artifacts from the political history of Kenya

 

I wish I could have visited this museum again, because one visit simply wasn’t enough. This area is so rich in history, beautiful and culture: Kenya is an incredible experience. I highly recommend anyone visiting the area to go to the Nairobi National Museum. The price of admission is roughly $12USD for nonresident adults and $6USD for nonresident children. It was worth every penny!