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!

 

festivals

Vive La Festival!

This is my favorite time of year, because when it’s hot, people want to get outside and do fun things. That being said, I’m eager to check out the festivals occurring in Virginia and Washington, DC over the next several weeks.

I’m narrowing down my list of festival possibilities based on when I’ll be out of town and when I’ll have enough time and energy to attend. Surprisingly, the festival that is currently ranking highest on my “must do” list is the Virginia State Peach Festival. I’m usually not a huge fan of produce festivals (heat + sweet fruits = lots of insects) but I adore peaches and the opportunity to try freshly grown, local peaches is too tempting to pass up.

peach

Mmm, peaches

The only downside is that the event occurs on Friday, August 17, in southwest Virginia, which means I’d have to take time off from work in order to attend (it’s a substantial drive from my home to Stuart, VA). But who knows – maybe things will come together in my favor. I’m open to all of the possibilities!

I’m also thinking about the Seawall Art Show in Portsmouth, VA. The drive is a lot shorter, and the event occurs on the weekend (August 25 and 26). I haven’t been to an art show in years, so I’m sure I’d enjoy it. It’s very likely I’ll attend this event, and if I go, you all know that I will share info about it here on this blog.

art2

I’m excited to check out the art in Portsmouth

There are two festivals in Richmond that I may check out – but they occur on the same weekend. The Filipino Festival (August 10 and 11) and the Richmond Jazz Festival (August 9 – 12) are two very different events but will give a fresh injection of culture into Richmond for the weekend. Who knows – maybe I’ll be able to check out both events!

jazz

Richmond Jazz Fest is coming up soon!

Any upcoming cool festivals where you are? Let me know in the comments below!

life curation

July & August Activity Planning – DONE!

Hi friends! I hope you all are enjoying your Sunday, and staying COOL! Personally, I’m enjoying the fact that I don’t have to go outside into the Virginia heat! I love summers in the South but I also love being able to retreat from the heat when I want to.

I just finished writing out my plans for July and August. It’s important that I am crystal clear about what I want to do and when I want to do it: if I’m not focused, I lose track of my time and find that nothing (or almost nothing) gets accomplished.

calendar

Here’s the short list of my July and August plans. These plans are in support of my goals (short term and long term)  as well as give me interesting things to talk about on this blog.

July:

August

  • Celebrate my birthday in grand style
  • Attend an embassy event
  • Visit a museum I’ve never gone to before
  • Select courses to take in the fall
  • Have some amazing giveaways on this blog (in honor of the blog’s 1 year anniversary)

I’m looking forward to having a lot of fun this summer, and I’m especially looking forward to sharing those experiences with you all! Well, it’s time for me to go ahead and finish my meal prepping for the week, so I’ll talk to you all soon!

art

Review: Philadelphia Museum of Art, Part 2

Happy Friday, friends! There’s not a whole lot to say, especially if you’ve seen Part 1 of this review (you can view Part 1 here). I’ll stick to sharing photos that you all haven’t already seen and providing a little commentary.

I saw a few Pablo Picasso works that I’d never seen before. I’m so accustomed to seeing his Cubist works that I forget that he didn’t always work with abstract figures. Earlier in his career, he worked with Impressionist techniques, as you can see in the paintings below.

Head of a Woman, Pablo Picassso (1901)

img_4077-3

Old Woman (Woman with Gloves), Pablo Picasso (1901)

This is the style we know and love from Picasso:

img_4087-3

Three Musicians, Pablo Picasso (1921)

I always have loved Pierre-Auguste Renoir, another Impressionist. His photos are both timeless and beautiful. This is a tender portrait of his beloved wife and favorite model, Aline Charigot Renoir.

Portrait of Madame Renoir, Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1885)

This sweet-faced little girl was the daughter of an art dealer friend of Renoir’s.

img_4070-3

Portrait of Mademoiselle Legrand, Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1875)

Vincent Van Gogh’s Sunflowers are a great example of post-Impressionist work: it features thick paint, more vivid color selection and slightly distorted forms. The work is paradoxical: it’s a still life but the technique used by Van Gogh gives it a feeling of movement and dynamism. This work inspired Faith Ringgold’s The Sunflower Quilting Bee at Arles, which is also at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (I missed it on this trip, but I’ll be sure to catch it next time!) Ringgold even inserts Van Gogh into her work! You can view Ringgold’s work here.

img_4083-3

Sunflowers, Vincent Van Gogh (1888 or 1889)

Lastly, I was drawn in by the beautifully serene expression on the subject’s face. She looks like she was briefly interrupted while concentrating on her embroidery. She’s still thinking about her design and this is just moments before her attention is completed diverted away from her handicraft. I love how Mary Cassatt has caught this fleeting moment.

img_4075-4

Mary Ellison Embroidering, Mary Cassatt (1877)

I can’t wait to return to the museum to see some more artwork and to take lots of photos for you all! Talk to you all tomorrow.

 

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!