international · travel

Cruise 2018: Ports of Call

Happy Monday friends! If you reside anywhere in the Mid-Atlantic region, you may be digging yourself out of the snow that fell over the weekend. Here in central Virginia, we didn’t get that much snow: we did however get a good amount of slushy rain. We are expecting some more snow and ice in the upcoming days, so stay warm and dry if you can!

With all of this cold, wintry weather, it’s only natural that I might look back on some warmer days. Specifically, I’m thinking about my last vacation to the Caribbean. If you all recall, I went on a Caribbean cruise with Royal Caribbean. I posted about the ship itself, and I also wrote about the exquisite cuisine that I enjoyed on board. The ports of call for this cruise were Nassau, Bahamas; Cozumel, Mexico; Roatan, Honduras; and Costa Maya, Mexico. I’ve been to most of these ports before ( Honduras being the only exception), so I was already familiar with the locations. That being said, I still enjoyed being somewhere warm and sunny for a change.

I don’t have much to say about the locations: because I only spent a few hours at each port of call, it’s hard to distinguish between them. As a result, this post will be mostly pictures. I always get so excited to see the beauty of the Caribbean. The crystal clear water, the striking buildings, the unrelenting sunshine … There’s nothing quite like an

island vacation. Enjoy!

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Ship in Nassau

Views from Cozumel

Sights in Roatan

Costa Maya views

More Costa Maya

art

Art and Cryptocurrency: The World’s Simplest Guide

Hi friends! I hope you all are enjoying your Thursday and gearing up for a fantastic weekend.

I’ve just finished attending my umpteenth blockchain and cryptocurrency webinar (by now, I should be an expert!) and I’m finally starting to make a clear connection between the art world and cryptocurrency. This has been an area of interest since I wrote a blog post a few months ago about trends that will drastically change the art world, and the first trend that I listed was cryptocurrency.

For those that are unfamiliar with cryptocurrency, there are many great online guides but one of the simplest definitions I got was from Mario Costanz and his team over at Crypto Tax Academy. He described the process of trading cryptocurrency as an exchange of value between peers, defined between the peers, as opposed to the value being set by a third entity (as is the case with fiat currency). I won’t spend too much time explaining this in depth because they do it much better than I can, though they are clearly explaining this from the tax obligation perspective.

bitcoin

I also read this fantastic 3-series article by Tim Schneider over on Artsy. Part 1 gives a great overview to what blockchain and cryptocurrency is. Part 2 gives a great case study in how forward-thinking artists (and, by extension, collectors and gallerists) can participate in a cryptocurrency structure. Finally, Part 3 proposes three major issues in the art world that cryptocurrency technology could solve.

Here’s where my simple interpretation comes in: for the sake of taxes and income recognition, cryptocurrency is an asset just like art. And investing in art using cryptocurrency is similar to bartering goods and services: both sides must determine the fair market value and both sides have to recognize the exchange as a taxable event. If you’re curious about how virtual currency is defined by our current government, you can read this 2014 IRS notice (no new guidance has been issued as of today’s date). Looking at cryptocurrency like an asset, instead of viewing it as fiat money, can help a lot in understanding what it is and how to work with it.

I’m going to be learning more about this in the upcoming year, but I hope my mini-guide was helpful, and I also hope that the linked articles provide some additional clarity. Cryptocurrency is here to stay, so the more we know, the better off we are.

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll talk to you all soon!

 

culture · Uncategorized

5 Easy Ways to Support Your Favorite Content Creators

Happy Wednesday! I hope you all are enjoying your hump day and making it a great one.

I recently have been consuming a lot of motivational/inspirational content on social media. I really needed to tap into the encouraging words of some of my favorite content creators, as well as learn about products and programs that could support me in accomplishing my dreams in 2019.

As I watched videos, checked out Instagram stories, and listened to podcasts, I realized that it’s important to support these content creators, who pour out their hearts and souls for our consumption. There are a lot of ways to support them, but I wanted to share 5 easy ways that you can give them support that doesn’t require a lot of time or money. ‘Tis the season to be generous, right? Here are some ways that you can do that.

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  • Watch the advertisements at the beginning of YouTube videos.

It’s almost instinctual to click through the advertisements and get right to the content. However, I’ve been making it a point to allow the advertisement to play at the beginning of YouTube videos. It’s a little way that I can support content creators, and it doesn’t cost me a thing.

  • Purchase a program/training/book/product from them.

This is obvious, but if you’ve been consuming a lot of material from a particular content creator, it stands to reason that you may want to invest in one of their products or programs. If the investment is within your budget, it would be great to support in such a clear, tangible way.

  • Share the content with your social network.

Saw a video that you really enjoyed? Listened to a podcast that got you fired up (in a good way)? Read a post that really helped you get clear on something? Share it with others! You never know who is looking for that information. Even if you’re not on social media, share it with someone that you know offline: send a link to a friend, family member, coworker, whoever.

  • Like, comment, subscribe, follow, join: get involved with the content creator’s groups and social media outlets.

If you really want to support content creator’s, it’s as simple as pressing “like”, subscribing, joining their free groups, following their fan pages, etc.,. Having a strong social media following is important for content creators, and since it’s free, why not do it? Besides, it’s the best way to stay current with these creator’s latest offerings.

  • Give them positive reviews.

While you’re joining your favorite content creators’ groups, why not post reviews of their content? Reviews are pretty easy to do on podcasting platforms like iTunes and Stitcher, and can be done on other platforms, too. It’s a simple, easy way to let the world know who you support.

Can you all think of any other ways to support content creators? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

art · life curation

My Art Highlights for 2018

After a fantastic year of enjoying art, I thought it would be good for me to post some of my highlights from the last 12 months.

There really are too many highlights to cram into one post but I’m going to do my best!

I started this year off with viewing the terracotta army statues from China. As you all know, I visited China a few years ago and fell in love, so seeing the statues was like getting a taste of authentic China. I loved it and had a great time viewing the exhibition.

Next, nothing could top seeing Kenyan art while in Kenya! I wrote a post about Tom Mboya as well as some other Kenyan artists that I enjoyed. Getting to see art overseas is always a treat, since there is no guarantee that I will see these artists’ works stateside.

Paintings by Tom Mboya

I viewed Portuguese contemporary art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Art and was reminded of my goal to visit Portugal within the next 2 years. Just so you all know, I’ll be resuming my Portuguese language lessons in the upcoming year. I mean it: I’m going to speak Portuguese so that I can enjoy my trip and get around a little better than the average tourist.

At the Smithsonian American Art Museum and Archives of American Art, I viewed the exquisite and timeless work of Edmonia Lewis. I’m still impressed by her masterful handling of marble and her amazing ability when it comes to depicting her subjects with dignity and full of emotion. I was so impressed with her work that I recently did a comparison of her work with a similarly themed piece, because I simply can’t get tired of discussing Lewis’s work!

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The Death of Cleopatra by Edmonia Lewis

I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Amy Sherald’s work at the National Portrait Gallery. Her portrait of Michelle Obama is a beautiful and unique interpretation of the former First Lady’s beauty, quiet resilience and charm. Seeing the painting in person impressed me far more than I expected, especially since Sherald’s signature technique forgoes capturing the rich tones of the subjects’ natural complexion and paints skin tone in greyscale, forcing art appreciators to focus on the expressions, posing, and attire depicted. I’m going to view some more of her work and maybe I’ll do an analysis of her style.

I also took a trip to Philadelphia and enjoyed the Philadelphia Museum of Art. There was so much art that I had to make a Part 1 and Part 2 to capture all of what I saw with my visit. I was delighted to see a Jean Leon Gerome painting that I’d never seen before.

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Night Flight by Howardena Pindell

I ended my year with the Howardena Pindell exhibition, that I loved so much that I had to visit it multiple times. Pindell is a living treasure, and I am thrilled that I got to see such a comprehensive retrospective of her work.

Those are my art highlights for 2018. I’m looking forward to bringing you all more art and more adventures in 2019!

 

 

 

fitness · life curation

2019 Planning – Health and Wellness

Welcome, Monday! You’ve been gone for a few days but we’re all somewhat glad to see your return!

As I plan for the upcoming year, I’m reviewing the planner I bought a few weeks ago and starting to think seriously about what goals I’m pursuing in the upcoming year. My challenge is to balance my ambition with a little bit of realism. I don’t want to set my goals too high and then end up missing the mark.

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So, I’m taking my time to consider some major areas of my life and set realistic goals that are attainable but still require me to “stretch” a bit. Since I’ve been talking about improving my health since the summer, I figured I’d start with this area.

For 2019, my health and wellness goals are as follows:

  • Learn to swim
  • Take at least 3 dancing/fitness courses that I’ve never taken before
  • Achieve my goal weight
  • Start working with a naturopathic doctor

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My overall goal is improved health and more energy. I know that I can achieve it if I do the work and stay committed. I won’t write a tonabout my health journey – the blog will be taking a more focused turn in the new year – but I will post periodic updates so that you all can keep me accountable.

I’ll have more posts over the next two weeks about my 2019 planning. Look out for those, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

life curation

Making Space Challenge: End of the Year Updates

Happy, happy Saturday! I figured I’d make this last post about the Making Space challenge before the end of the year, because it’ll be 2019 before you know it.

I’m still doing my thing with the challenge. It’s a little easier to “make space” in December because I have more time at home (due to the holidays). When I’m enjoying “down” time, I always start clearing out things and tidying up. That may defeat the purpose of taking time off, but I enjoy it, so that’s that.

However, I also tend to clear out a lot of clutter (in the form of magazines) during this time. Since I create a vision board every New Year’s Eve/New Year’s Day, I need images to paste on it. So, a few weeks before NYE, I start ripping up my magazines, putting the images I plan to use in a folder and throwing out the magazine when I’m done. I also will rip out any articles that I’ve been meaning to read: I challenge myself to read them all before the end of December.

Sometimes I read the articles, sometimes I miss my December deadline. It’s the intention that matters though, right? I always intend to do it, and eventually, the articles get read because ripped out pages don’t age well and I get tired of them holding valuable space in my file cabinet.

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So for the challenge, I’ve been working through no less than 3 magazines a day. At the rate that I’m going, I will have gotten rid of at least 50 magazines by the end of the year. That’s going to create massive space in my magazine bins, and I can start using those containers for something else (yay!)

Are you all making space before the end of the year? Please let me know in the comments below, and if you’re so inclined, take a pic of how you’re making space and use the hashtag #makingspacechallenge or #makingspace so I can see what you’re up to.

Have a great day, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

food

Food Review: Tsubi Soup

Hi everyone! It’s Friday, so let’s have a little fun and do a food review.

I recently ordered some vegan miso soup from Amazon because so many of the instant miso options available in stores contain bonito (a type of fish that is a traditional miso ingredient). Previously, I tried Miyasaka miso soup, which was tasty but lacked the flavorful “punch” I craved.

While searching through the miso mixes, I came across Tsubi Soup, a soup company that prides itself on using simple, fresh, authentic ingredients to create superbly flavored soups. I was really impressed by the fact that the company has such high standards for its ingredients, so I decided to give it a try.

I ordered the spicy red miso soup with mushrooms (the company offers several other flavors). The soup mix arrived in two days because I have Amazon Prime.

I made the soup by adding hot water and allowing the ingredients to re-hydrate. After about two minutes, it was ready to eat.

OMG, this was delicious! I didn’t miss the bonito flavor at all. This has to be one of the most delicious vegan miso soups I’ve ever tasted. I ended up each the entire box within 3 days LOL! The spice is abundant but not too hot. The mushrooms plumped up perfectly and give the soup great variety in texture.

Now, one major difference with this and the previously reviewed miso soup mix is the price. Tsubi Soups has 4 packets for $12.99, while Miyasaka Soups has 12 packets for nearly the same price ($14.28). But, you get what you pay for. Tsubi Soups are far tastier than Miyasaka Soups and, in my humble opinion, worth every penny.

I haven’t tried the other Tsubi Soup flavors but I intend to. If the spicy red miso with mushrooms is any indication, the other flavors are probably excellent, as well.

That’s my review for today. If you love Japanese foods or curious about them, let me know in the comments below. Thanks, and have a great Friday!