Archive | February, 2010

Weekend Links – 2.26.2010

26 Feb

WEEKEND LINKS – February 26th, 2010

A young woman participates in the Red Cross Children’s Carnival competition at the Queen’s Park Savannah in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago on February 6, 2010.

HAPPY FRIDAY, EVERYONE!! I hope everyone had a wonderful week as well as a spectacular weekend ahead of them! Here are some links to read over this weekend (especially if you’re snowed in up in the Northeast!) – This is a really cool site that allows you to make a song from your favorite websites. (It makes sense when you try it, I promise) – Cutest. Comic. Ever. (at least, the cutest comic in my recent memory.) Worth a read, definitely.

◊CARNIVAL!! The source of the amazing image in the header as well as the others in this post can be found here. I have always wanted to go, and these fantastic images only serve to make me more excited to see it in person some day! Here are other sources for Carnival images at and ONTD_Political.

A dancer performs during the parade of Leandro de Itaquera samba school at the Sambadrome in Sao Paulo, Brazil on Saturday, Feb. 13, 2010.

The PopAfricana Blog – A gorgeous new blog that I’ve seen making its way around the internet. It’s tied to a magazine that I cannot wait to get my hands on. I am always happy to see the culture of Africa being presented to the masses in an innovative new way.

Boxing Kitten – Clothes that are FAB-U-LOUS. I love the African print incorporated into the clothing. When I go to Tanzania this summer, I want to get clothing with that kind of print. (SO excited, by the way)

◊Andrea at Fly posted an awesome Creative Tip of the Week that I feel is worth a read to anyone in the creative profession.

Luxirare: Cake – If you have never seen the photography from Luxirare, you are missing out. No, seriously. Go. Now.

A costumed dancer of Viradouro samba school performs during carnival celebrations at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, Feb.15, 2010.

Rainbow in your Hands – A rainbow in your hands! In the form of a book! I want one of these!!

Parkour Motion Reel Creation – A sweet stop motion video depicting a free runner that is a must-see.

◊From an amazing new blog, 4ChangeNow, that asks Are we limiting Dr. King’s legacy?

Why are children only made aware of his “I have a dream speech?”  No one knows about his books, his life after the March on Washington, or the fact that he fought alot about housing issues in Chicago?  His legacy is beyond that…

Alicia San Juan McNulty, wearing a creation called “In Wonderland”, reacts after being elected Carnival Queen in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, in the Spanish Canary Island of Tenerife, late February 10, 2010.

Self-Happiness Manifesto Part 2: How to Smile More!

23 Feb

Smile!, originally uploaded by minty mentos.

“Put a smile on your face…make the world a better place.”

Sound cliché? Maybe. Truthful? Definitely.

Smiling and You

Smiling is one of the most beneficial techniques to help make your day – and life – a bit brighter. And what’s more: it’s simple, effective, and FREE. (And who doesn’t like free stuff?!) Studies have shown that smiling releases endorphins, natural pain killers, and serotonin – it’s a natural feel good drug! And unlike the other resources on this Earth, there is no scarcity.

Cognitive psychologists have debated on the influence of smiling on your overall mood – but studies have said there is a strong connection to emotion and facial expressions. Studies have concluded that your emotions cause your expressions but the two become so inextricably linked that smiling can often cause a Pavlovian reaction of happiness.

Try it: next time you’re down, smile – even if you don’t mean it at the time – and hold it there. Don’t just give it a few seconds, try a minute or so. See what happens, and if your results aren’t satisfactory, you can return your defective product for a complete refund of $0.00 (feel free to convert into whatever currency you wish) But honestly, it couldn’t hurt, could it?

Smiling does not only change how you feel, though – it can also spread to others! People who smile more often have a more positive effect on their environment, and are better received by others. People can even tell if you are smiling over the phone!

Smiling and Others

Have you ever smiled to yourself while walking down the street, only to have a stranger return that smile back to you? No? Try it sometime!

“But Tara,” you say, “I can’t smile!”

I’ll look stupid, you continue. I’ll look goofy and strange. They’ll wonder who this wack-a-doodle smiling at everyone is, and that won’t help me!

Well, I’ll say – you are you. Barring any extensive surgical modifications, this is the you that you’ve got, so flaunt it! Why waste your precious smiling opportunities on random souls anyway who don’t appreciate it? They aren’t a reason not to share your radiant smile to the world!

Unless you walk around facing a mirror all day, you can’t see your smile anyway, to be honest. What does the opinion of the randoms on the street matter?

Smile more! It can’t hurt. And you never know who might appreciate it.



Music Monday #1 – VV Brown

22 Feb

This fierce lady is none other than VV Brown, and if you don’t know, you better ask somebody. Because honestly – how can you not love her? She’s wearing spikes and dresses made of HAIR! She is one of my new favorite artists and I have played her album, Traveling Like the Light on repeat ever since I’ve gotten it.

Vanessa Brown (or, as most know her, VV Brown), is a British recording artists from Northampton, England. She describes her music as “musical mashed potatoes”, which, aside from sounding scrumptious, is oddly fitting.

Aside from being a fantastic musician, she also moonlights as a model (she’s 5’11!) as well as a fashion designer, and you can visit her at her clothing store VV Vintage. She has also ghostwritten many songs she has opted to remain quiet about, as well as developing a graphic novel with friend David Allain who directed and produced the video for the single “Crying Blood”.

VV writes and plays the music on her début album, Traveling Like the Light which is just plain sick. According to her, the album is inspired by 1950s and electronic music as well as sounds emitted from Game Boy and Nintendo.

You can find out more about VV on her official site and you can purchase her album on Amazon or Itunes.

Is there any music you’ve been listening to nonstop?

xoxo, Tara

Weekend Link Roundup!

19 Feb

(seriously, how gorgeous is that?? Source below.)


(some good stuff to read this weekend)

Chris Guillebeau over at The Art of Non-Conformity wrote an article on Tips for Stress-Free Travel. Perfect for anyone who is planning a summertime getaway!

Tune Glue, an extremely cool music discovery application. Using a selected artist, you can create “nodes” that make a visual map to other similar artists. Awesome!

-The Style and Beauty Doctor has written an article How to Finance Your Fall 2010 Wardrobe.

-On The Positivity Blog, What the Old Romans Can Teach You About Living a Kick-ass Life. How’s that for a title?

-White Hot Truth, one of my FAVORITE blogs, has an article entitled Innovate or Die. Truer words.

-Apparently, research is showing that meditation may protect your brain. Hmm…

-On Yes and Yes, There’s No Business Like Snow Business. Perfect reading for everyone in the Northeast that had to suffer the brunt of that huge snowfall. (Including me!)

-On Oh No They Didn’t!: Science, there is a picspam of astronomic (pun intended) proportions. Check it out if you have a love for the stars.

let yourself feel. from Esteban Diácono on Vimeo.

-Images from the Kamakura Snow Festival.

Cute food! This blog is adorable and I’m becoming obsessed with it as we speak.

Alright everyone, that’s all for now. Have a great weekend!



Self-Happiness Manifesto Part 1: Worry Less!

16 Feb


source:here. Beautiful artwork, btw.

2 a : to harass by tearing, biting, or snapping especially at the throat b : to shake or pull at with the teeth c : to touch or disturb something repeatedly d : to change the position of or adjust by repeated pushing or hauling
3 a : to assail with rough or aggressive attack or treatment : TORMENT b : to subject to persistent or nagging attention or effort
4 : to afflict with mental distress or agitation : make anxious
Source: Merriam-Webster

Well, isn’t that lovely definition just the most pleasant thing you have ever read? To be completely honest, I find it really fitting that this is the first article in my manifesto series, considering that of all the various components of said manifesto, this may very well be the part of it that I struggle with the most. With that said, this is a plea to me, as well as the other chronic worriers out there – please try to worry less!

People worry for various reasons, usually as a hypervigilant action designed to prevent bad things from happening down the road. While using our brains to anticipate various obstacles down the road can be highly useful – this is usually considered concern, not worry. (More on that later.) Worry, at its worst, can take hold of your life and lead to panic, anxiety, and a host of other medical problems!

So first thing first:

Make a list of your worries.

A worry can vary from the mundane (“I feel like I look funny today”) to the peculiar (“I hope aliens didn’t steal my dog last night!”). Obscure or not, worries can distract us from what is going on in our life. Think about the various worries that you have and get them out, so you can analyze them properly. Illustrate your list with evil, scary monsters if you wish.

Analyze the list

Consider this question honestly: WHAT are you worrying about? And does your worry contribute to your future success, in any way? Is your worry something that you have power over? Or is it something completely out of your hands? Is it probable? Or even possible?

Not to be rude, but if dog-snatching aliens truly had your pooch in mind for a top-secret intergalactic kibble experiment, sitting idly by and nibbling your fingernails off in terror certainly won’t stop them!

There are times when your concerns are founded, and considering them is legitimately necessary. Being concerned about someone’s health, or your grade point average, or your job situation – these can be highly important concerns and by no means am I attempting to discourage you from thinking about them. But when your worries are figments of your imagination and often times are uncontrollable and/or improbable, it does you good to …

Embrace uncertainty

The difference between concern and worry is that concern comes from life possibilities; probable moments that have a higher possibility of occurrence. Worries, however, tend to be pulled from the deep, dark recesses of your mind – nagging doubts that may or may not be likely, let alone happen to you.

While it is certainly reasonable to be concerned about an exam, I think it is alright to be able to step food outside your door without worrying if a rampaging Tyrannosaurus Rex will sweep out of nowhere and gobble you up, don’t you think? It very well may happen but is it worth you ceasing your life, just in case?

Life is chock-full of risks, but without risking yourself to an extent, you can miss out on a myriad of experiences that simply aren’t available by playing it safe.

Talk about it

Ignoring your worries and letting them fester often makes the situation worse, not better. Get it out in the open, in a journal, with friends, or even with a therapist or counselor. Sometimes, hearing the words out loud or echoed back by another person can cut their power significantly – you never know until you try.

Bore yourself calm

Repeat your worries over and over until they lose power. Make sure to reassure yourself that you will be alright, even in the face of uncertainty. Remind yourself that you are a smart, capable person, and can handle what life throws at you. You can take it, and you won’t let silly worries stand in the way of your fantastic life and the wonderful opportunities that are waiting for you.

Make yourself uncomfortable

This is something I personally struggle with. I had never considered myself an “extraordinary” person – I never thought I was smart, qualified or compelling enough for anything that wasn’t firmly nestled into my self-created “safe zone”. I finally came to the conclusions that if I put myself in a strange situation, it would only be for a limited time – and if I didn’t like it, I wouldn’t ever have to do it again. One life-changing experience later, I truly started to realize the kinds of things I was missing out on! Trying everything (in moderation, of course) once can be a life-changer; you never know what would appeal to you. And if not, well – you know that now too. So go for it: try sushi, travel to Istanbul, go bungee-jumping, shave your hair and dye it green, apply for that crazy-prestigious position, go dancing, write a novel, sing karaoke, or just plain make a change!

Remember that it’s never as bad as you think it will be.

Without getting past my fears, there are many things I would have never done – traveling abroad, taking a difficult language, heck, even riding roller coasters! In fact, it stands to be noted that many times, when there is a wrench in the works, it usually isn’t the mishap you were expecting – and that’s alright! Most of the power from worrying comes from not knowing, which tends to exaggerate the risks and consequences immensely; when you try things out, most of the power is taken away, and those scary things might look much easier in hindsight.

I hope that helps you (and me)!


What are the nagging worries you just want to banish?



Some information sourced from Web MD.

My Happiness Manifesto/a!

13 Feb

My Happiness Manifesto!


Worry Less.

Smile More.

Accept Criticism.

Take Responsibility.

Listen & Love.

Don’t Hate.

Embrace Change.


I think that life is far too short – we shouldn’t spend it dwelling in negativity and wallowing in stagnation. I feel that everyone should instead live their lives doing what they love, engaging in activities that stimulate them in mind and body. They should be entitled and empowered to a life of joy, adventure and passion.

While these are important enough that they could call for separate posts (which are forthcoming), I would like to talk about them briefly here. I also don’t want to go without mentioning that today, February 13, 2010, is Madly in Love with ME Day, a day of self-love. How cool is that?!

EDIT: Now that this series has concluded, click the headings of each topic to read the corresponding article. Enjoy!

Without further ado:

MY HAPPINESS MANIFESTO. (not just for me, but for everyone!)

WORRY LESS– This is an issue that I, personally, have a problem with. But honestly, in many situations what good does worrying do? If you have a major interview or an exam around the bend, will it help you to succeed to dwell on the possibility of failure? Of course not! Is it worth it to avoid new experiences due to anxiety and worry about the unknown? Of course, there are things that are genuinely worth your concern, but these are often different than worrying. Worrying typically does not focus on facts, but rather the “what-if’s” of a situation. Being concerned, of course, can be constructive – it is always responsible to give things the serious thought and consideration they deserve – but anticipating chaos and negativity before it happens can be quite undermining. And while it’s been disproved that worry can gray hair, it can still make you sick!

SMILE MORE – This is a simple and straightforward one – making a point to smile more can do wonders for your self-confidence and mood! Studies have shown that smiling can actually help increase your mood and happiness. Some cognitive psychologists believe this is because you closely associate certain facial expressions with mood, and keeping a smile on your face may help convince you to be happier. In that same study, it was mentioned that people seem to “catch” emotions, so smiling at a stranger on the road may help them feel happier as well. Give it a try!

ACCEPT CRITICISM – This one is tough. But it is extremely important to not let criticism put a serious dent in your self-image. Criticism is often meant as a suggestion for self-improvement and it does not make you a bad person; everyone has a fair amount of work to do on themselves! Criticism should not be geared towards making you feel like the scum of the earth – and if it was meant to, that criticism is obviously rubbish! But learning from someone’s constructive criticism can often be valuable; it is extremely hard to be self-aware at all times, unless you are prone to out-of-body experiences!

TAKE RESPONSIBILITY – To a reasonable extent, of course. While shouldering the weight of the world isn’t feasible (and you shouldn’t have to, either!). It is also important to take responsibility of certain aspects of your life. One thing I have learned growing up is that while there are hopefully people who are able to support you, the only person who is with you one hundred percent of the time is yourself. Not only that, but I feel that unless you feel a personal responsibility and investment in whatever it is you do – whether it’s in school, your job and even your relationships, you will lack the driving passion that allows you to be more successful and truly appreciate what you have and what is in store for the future.

LISTEN AND LOVE – These two are extremely different concepts, but they are strongly related at the most basic level; they both require an open heart and mind. As far as listening, some of the most remarkable people in the world are ready to share their experiences to someone who has an open ear to listen. Everybody has a story to tell, a talent to share, wisdom to give. Without taking the time to listen and appreciate these people, you may miss out on some of the most fantastic insights you have ever heard! Opening yourself up fully to others can be difficult, but the most amazing, passion-filled relationships are formed that way. Leaving yourself vulnerable to love can be extremely terrifying, but can ultimately be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. This may not just apply to other people, but also yourself.

DON’T HATE – This one seems obvious, but true! In my opinion, the feeling of hatred is the direct contrast to the feeling of love – aside from the other; the two are unmatched in their intensity and all-encompassing nature. Hatred is a poisonous emotion that builds and consumes you. But think about someone or something in your life that you love – consider how often it crosses your mind, and how profound the positive change in your mindset can be when you remember the value it holds in your life. Is it really worth it to reserve an identical space in your heart for such negativity?

EMBRACE CHANGE – Change is virtually inevitable, whether we like it or not. Huffing and puffing won’t stop winter from following autumn! Embracing change and the new experiences it can bring can be fulfilling and inspiring, while resisting change with all of your heart can be boring and stifling. Change does not always have to be a bad thing, and when one door closes, another opens. And if change ends up being for the worse, know that there is always a new day on the horizon, and things may change again.

FEEL GOOD ANYWAY – The simplest of all. It obviously is not possible to be upbeat every single day. Things may not go your way, worry may be consuming you, and it may be hard to smile. For some reason, it has become difficult to accept criticism, your responsibilities may be overwhelming, you are not in the mood to listen to anyone, there is this person or thing that is pissing you off, and you can feel hatred rising through every vein in your body. But it doesn’t have to be like this, at least not all of the time! Happiness can often be a choice, based on your attitude and outlook. The world outside may be a load of watered-down weak sauce, but happiness comes from the inside, not what is happening outside. Count your blessings, do what makes you happy and try to love every minute of it!

With that said,
What is YOUR personal happiness manifesto?

xoxo, Tara

ps – Happy Self Love Day, everyone!! (and happy birthday to my blog!)