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Inspire. Motivate. Laugh. Love….. Your Guilty Pleasure. ♥


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Tribute: To A Phenomenal Woman

Maya2

Maya Angelou 1928 – 2014

 

I know a lot’s been said about her in the last day or so, but it would be a huge injustice if I did not take some time to pay tribute to our dear Dr Maya Angelou.

It was with a heavy heart that I read the news of her passing, having been the one woman who made me want to write in the first place.

I have always been an avid reader, but it was not until, at 15 when I did an English class project on Maya Angelou, that I decided I wanted to try my hand at writing. I remember standing in front of the class, reciting “Still I Rise” with a certain Miss Dionne Song, and recognizing for the first time, the immense power that words have in our world…recognizing their magic working in and through me, and I have never looked back since.

Maya Angelou

Dr Maya Angelou’s last tweet

It was easy to be inspired and motivated with a mentor like Maya, a woman who lived her life to the absolute fullest. She was, after all, an extraordinary human being who managed to touch the lives of millions worldwide through her almost ethereal command of language. Works of fiction, non-fiction, poetry and plays, all textured with depth and wisdom and peppered with her youthful sense of humour. She was unconventional, confident, fearless, graceful, brilliant and a phenomenal woman.

“If you must look back, do so forgivingly. If you must look forward, do so prayerfully. However, the wisest thing you can do is be present in the present… Gratefully.”

During her exemplary life, she breezed in like a breath of fresh air, inspiring millions, teaching the multitudes, trying to help whomever she could and stealing accolade after accolade from those who, unsuspectingly, had underestimated her. Until one day she was able to look back and see titles such as Author, Poet, Singer, Dancer, Director, Playwright, three-time Grammy Award winner, Civil rights activist, Mother & Teacher.

The epitome of what is means to be a real woman, with every facet celebrated and loved, she has inspired me to bolder routes, comforted me in darker times, uplifted my spirits in sorrow, and provided words of wisdom galore.

You will be sorely missed Dr Angelou.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Be inspired to be great.

Be blessed to be a blessing.

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Elie Saab – Designer of My Dreams

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a Fashion Fridays post but today is that day!

Profile: Elie Saab

Reason: Because he is freaking awesome!!

I’ve never been one to follow fashion so closely as to recognize designer’s outfits and signatures and the like, but Elie Saab changed all that for me. It was easy to recognize his work simply because I loved every single thing he made.

Here are some selections from his 2014 RTW Spring Collection:

 

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MARC0035.450x675 MARC0046.450x675 MARC0055.450x675

MARC0066.450x675 MARC0075.450x675 MARC0092.450x675

MARC0112.450x675 MARC0123.450x675 MARC0136.450x675

MARC0145.450x675 MARC0154.450x675 MARC0196.450x675 (1)

MARC0220.450x675 MARC0234.450x675 MARC0254.450x675

MARC0266.450x675 MARC0279.450x675 MARC0287.450x675

MARC0298.450x675 MARC0309.450x675 MARC0317.450x675

MARC0332.450x675 MARC0353.450x675 MARC0375.450x675

MARC0385.450x675 MARC0421.450x675 MARC0431.450x675

MARC0456.450x675 MARC0469.450x675 MARC0484.450x675

MARC0496.450x675 MARC0523.450x675 MARC0535.450x675

MARC0547.450x675 MARC0557.450x675 MARC0577.450x675

MARC0588.450x675 MARC0642.450x675

 

If you wanna check out some more of his work, go to: http://www.eliesaab.com/en/ready-to-wear/ss-2013

Thank me later 😉


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Quote Me

Typewriter

Asking me if I have a favourite quote is like asking the Cookie Monster if he has a favourite flavour…pretty pointless.

Like songs, I have many favourite quotes, one for every situation and emotion probably but there are those that have followed me through life like a stubborn STD, always coming up when I least expect it and reminding me why I first fell in love with literature and the written word. I’m that girl at work who is drowning in all the Post-It notes stuck on and around her cubicle, with little encouraging and funny quotes scrawled on them. From the thousands of stories I’ve met in my life to the hundreds of movies I’ve seen I hear timeless lines every day. I won’t even mention the songs I listen to nor the poetry I watch.

I mean, who doesn’t still swoon every time they hear Julia Roberts saying, “I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her,” in Nottinghill?

Beauty Quote

The first quote that made it into this category for me had to be Jean Kerr’s witty gem about beauty.I loved it the first time I heard it and I have continued to love it since. Funny and still very true, it made me see things a little differently, and I think that’s what I love most about it and others like it. If a few words can make me laugh and still teach me something new, what’s not to love about them?

Another quote that makes it into this category for me has to be from William Shakespeare’s Macbeth. I’m not sure why but Shakespearethere was just something about this particular line that, when I read it, I fell in love with how Shakespeare structured words to create magic. Between this line and the rhymic couplet from Sonnet 116 – “If this be error and upon me proved, I never writ, nor no man ever loved” – Shakespeare showed me just how timeless words can be, even when they have changed.

So although I will never have a favourite quote, it is only because I have such an appreciation for the written word. Everyday I am finding new quotes to love and cherish and I hope you will too.

* Unless it is mad passionate love, it is a waste of time. There are too many mediocre things in life. Love should not be one of them.

* Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you love. It will not lead you astray. – Rumi

* Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

“For June who loved this garden. From Joseph who always sat beside her.” - Notting Hill

“For June who loved this garden. From Joseph who always sat beside her.” – Notting Hill

 

Do you have a favourite quote that you could share with us?


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Kick It

So…the 11th item on my bucket list…

I don’t know about you but my bucket list has never been all that specific. The items on my list were never placed in any particular chronological order, but if I had to start rearranging them, I would definitely say the 11th item on my bucket list would be swimming with a whale.

When I was about 12 years old, I came across a picture very similar to this one, of a man underwater, his arm was reaching up, running his fingers along the underbelly of a giant whale swimming past, right above him. I was so enthralled with this experience that I immediately declared that one day, I would swim with a whale, and I would not have lived until I had done this. This was long before the time of bucket lists and the like, but even then I knew that this was a must-do experience before I kicked the bucket. Even now, so many years later, I still see pictures of whales or something like this one of Marco Queral and a humpback whale and I think what an incredible experience it must be to be in that completely different world with something so foreign and so much bigger than you, and still feel like you can reach out to it and connect with it.

I never became a marine biologist, despite my love for the watery critters, but my need to one day swim with a whale still burns bright. Every time I mention this dream, my friends and family look at me as if I have lost my mind, but this is one dream I am so sure of, if it should happen that I do not make it out of those waters, I will have died a happy and fulfilled woman. So if there are any generous philanthropists out there looking to make a young lady’s dreams come true, make it happen, I will forever be grateful.

 

Any of you got any interesting or amazing things on your bucket lists? Please comment below.


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Beyonce Does It Again!

Beyonce

While the lucky few have been getting the Mrs Carter Tour experience, the rest of Beyonce’s fans have been waiting with bated breath for a new album, and she has suprised the whole world by dropping her album on iTunes, UNANNOUNCED.

Twitter users woke up this morning to a buzz about the new release, a self-titled “Visual Album“, created with both songs and videos for the songs to create a more holistic experience. MtV

Columbia Records tweeted on Friday, “#Beyonce The Visual Album. 14 songs 17 videos available now on iTunesMusic”.

The album is a more personal look into Bey’s life, with a song featuring Jay Z called “Drunk In Love” and another track and video name “Blue”, which features princess Blue Ivy. The album has 14 songs and 18 videos and ends with a digital booklet (see the slideshow here).

Beyonce released a brilliantly made video statement this morning where she explained her thinking behind the new release:

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“I see music, as more than just what I hear. When I’m connected to something, I immediately see a visual, or a series of images that are tied to a feeling or an emotion, a memory from my childhood, thoughts about life, my dreams or my fantasies, and they’re all connected to the music. And I think its one of the reasons why I wanted to do a visual album. I wanted people to hear the songs with the story that’s in my head, cause it’s what makes it mine. That vision in my brain is what I wanted people to experience the first time.

I feel like right now, people experience music differently, I remember seeing Thriller on TV with my family, it was an event. We all sat around the TV and I’m now looking back and I’m so lucky I was born around that time. I miss that immersive experience. Now people only listen to a few seconds of a song on their iPods, they don’t really invest in a whole album. It’s all about the single, and they hype. Theres so much that gets between the music and the artist and the fans. I felt like, I don’t want anybody to give the message when my record is coming out. I just want this to come out when it’s ready, and from me to my fans. I told my team, I wanna shoot a video for every song and put them all out at the same time. Everyone thought I was crazy, but we’re actually doing it, it’s happening. I wanted to make this body of work, and I feel like something that’s lost in pop music. I wanted people to hear things differently and have a different first impression. Not just listen to a ten-second clip but actually be able to see the whole vision of the album. It was important that we made this a movie, that we made this an experience. I wanted everyone to see the whole picture, and to see how personal everything is to me. I will make my best art, and just put it out. And that’s why it’s out today.”he story that’s in my head, cause it’s what makes it mine. That vision in my brain is what I wanted people to experience the first time.”

If you weren’t a serious Beyonce stan before now, this is the body of work that might just turn you.

Track List:

1. Pretty Hurts

2. Haunted

3. Drunk In Love (ft. Jay Z)

4. Blow

5. No Angel

6. Partition

7. Jealous

8. Rocket

9. Mine (ft. Drake)

10. XO

11. Flawless (ft. Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche)

12. Superpower (ft. Frank Ocean)

13. Heaven

14. Blue (ft. Blue Ivy Carter)

Pretty Hurts (Video)

Ghost (Video)

Haunted (Video)

Blow (Video)

No Angel (Video)

Yonce (Video)

Partition (Video)

Jealous (Video)

Rocket (Video)

Mine (ft. Drake) [Video]

XO (Video)

Flawless (ft. Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche) [Video]

Superpower (ft. Frank Ocean) [Video]

Heaven (Video)

Blue (ft. Blue Ivy Carter) [Video]

Grown Woman (Bonus Video)

Credits (Video)


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The World’s First 24-Hour Music Video

pharrell

This has been a very good year for Pharrell Williams, aside from the usual which includes a lot of good music produced (for major albums like Jay Z and Miley Cyrus’ ) and being directly involved with two of the biggest singles this year, Blurred Lines with Robin Thicke and Daft Punk’s Get Lucky, don’t forget that the pop impresario also got married (finally!) at the age of 40, to model Helen Lasichanh.

Pharrell, best known for his non-aging goodness and his amazing genre-melding music with N.E.R.D. and as a solo artist, recently recorded the song “Happy” for the new Despicable Me 2 soundtrack  and has now debuted a record-breaking music video for the song. The video is 24-hours long!

24hoursofhappiness.com

24hoursofhappiness.com

A first of it’s kind, the interactive video was released on Thursday, 21st November at the stroke of midnight and is available for streaming at 24hoursofhappy.com. The video features various dancers lip synching and dancing throughout a single day while the four-minute song is played on a loop. Each loop of the song introduces a new dancer/singer who include anonymous dancers/extras as well as celebrities like Magic Johnson, Steve Carell and Pharrell himself.

To allow the video to be interactive, the video has  a clock interface hovering above it which allows the users to fast-forward or rewind to different parts of the video and share any specific section they would like to in Twitter and Facebook. There are already non-interactive segments (up to an hour long) of the video posted on Pharrell’s YouTube channel which are also awesome to watch.

There is no better feel-good song than this one this year and I’m so HAPPY about the equally happiness-inspiring video.

So press play and sing along. 🙂

Happy

It might seem crazy what I’m ’bout to say

Sunshine she’s here, you can take a break

I’m a, Hot-air balloon that could go to space

With the air, like I don’t care, baby by the way

Because I’m Happy  (clap along if you feel like a room without a roof)

Because I’m happy (clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth)

Because I’m happy (clap along if you know what happiness is to you)

Because I’m happy (clap along if you feel like that’s what you wanna do)

Here come bad news talking this and that

Well gimme all you got and don’t hold me back

Well I should probably warn you I’ll be just fine

No offense to you, don’t waste your time

CHORUS

Bring me down, can’t nothing

Bring me down, your love is too high

To bring me down, can’t nothing

Bring me down, I said

CHORUS x2

Bring me down, can’t nothing

Bring me down, your love is too high

To bring me down, can’t nothing

Bring me down, I say


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A Different Order of Reality

Chinua Achebe Post-it

Chinua Achebe

Chinua Achebe

The “father of modern African writing”, Chinua Achebe (born Albert Chínụálụmọ̀gụ̀ Àchèbé), best known to the world as the amazing writer of Things Fall Apart, passed away on Friday 22 March, 2013, after a brief illness, at the age of 82. He was born and raised in the Igbo town of Ogidi, Nigeria and began writing as a university student. Soon after graduation, he did a bit of teaching and then he worked for the National Broadcasting Corporation, a faction of the British Broadcasting Company and later helped create the Voice of Nigeria network.

Achebe was not just the writer of such amazing novels as No Longer at Ease (1960), Arrow of God (1964), A Man of the People (1966) and Anthills of the Savannah (1987), but also penned poetry, essays, short stories and even children’s books, all based in his native land, Nigeria. What I think most people first fell in love with in his writing was that he painted a real and beautiful picture of Nigeria and Africa, to a world that, up to that point, had been largely ignorant to the reality of what it was like to be African and in Africa.

Chinua Achebe and Nelson Mandela

Chinua Achebe and Nelson Mandela

Some of his stories were set in the Nigeria before independence from British colonial rule, and so they allowed a view into what it was like living in a time when Nigeria didn’t belong to the Nigerians. This included themes revolving around the conflict felt by Nigerians in a time of both traditional African culture and invasive Western values, the bloody civil wars that plagued Nigeria and the pain felt by the Ibo nation of South-Eastern Nigeria from the brutality of military dictators from other Nigerian ethnic groups.

Things Fall Apart was his first novel, published in 1958, and has since sold millions of copies and been translated into over 50 languages. It was the most widely read book in modern African literature, and like most of his subsequent works, this is set in the Ibo countryside and is most loved for its detailed descriptions of the Ibo life, culture and traditions. It went on to become a classic of world literature, something which was virtually unheard of in African literary circles.

Chinua Achebe 2008, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY

Chinua Achebe 2008, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY

In 1998, Nadine Gordimer hailed Achebe as “a novelist who makes you laugh and then catch your breath in horror – a writer who has no illusions but is not disillusioned. From his writing, Achebe became more than just a writer, but also a political activist. He was noted for aiming his criticisms, not only at British colonial rule, but also at African leadership and the citizens who tolerated their corruption and dictatorship.

He has spent most of his adult life living in exile in the United States of America, working as a University Professor, but came back to Nigeria briefly, to be involved in the politics of the independence and rejoining the of the region of Biafra from Nigeria. He soon became frustrated with the levels of corruption and decided to take himself out of the equation, then a car accident left him disabled, so he moved back to the US.Chinua Achebe Post-it2

His most recent work was There Was a Country: A Personal History of Biafra, which is a memoir of the new nation that was Biafra, told from Biafra’s cultural ambassador. It tells of the Nigerian civil war (The Biafran War) during which Achebe was a roving cultural ambassador able to observer the full horror. It was soon after this that he moved back to the US and has since maintained somewhat of a silence on the events of the war, aside from an interview with Transition magazine, only referring to it through his poetry.

He is most remembered for his unique style of writing, which showed his keen satire, his heavy reliance on the Igbo oral tradition, and combines straightforward narration with representations of folk stories, proverbs and oratory.

The literary world has lost a great mind and an even better writer.

RIP Chinua Achebe.