3 Influential Black Leaders

In honor of black history month, let's explore the top 4 influential leaders that helped make a difference not only for the black community, but the world. These leaders have progressively paved a way, even when racial tensions hindered their journey. Let's celebrate this month by honoring these heroes:

Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. is the reason why the US has become more open to being a melting pot. Without MLK, there wouldn't be an Obama, black actors/actresses, or a chance at success for not only black people, but anyone of color. Even when thrown in jail, he continued to fight for justice and his protests left an impact that changed the entire US. His speech lives on today and still inspires people every where in the world. I could go on and on about the amazing man MLK was, but to know this man did everything he could for the WORLD to be happier place for us all is truly inspiring. 

Barack Obama

Barack Obama has to make this list. He is the first African American president ever. Faced with harsh criticism and dealing with a country where things were in high turmoil, I believe he handled his presidency with grace, class, humor, and nonetheless professional. You would not see a moment where our former president would break a sweat and he showed real emotion. Also, he was able to connect with the younger generation, which differed from other presidents. He inspired people of color that Yes THEY can be president of the USA. That people of color have a chance of hope and someone to look up to who has their back. President Obama will leave a legacy that will continue to inspire and motivate future generations. 

Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks' courage alone is the reason she is on the list. Known as the first lady of civil rights and also a helper to MLK, Rosa Parks changed the bus system forever. She would not move from her seat no matter what criticism and danger went her way. Refusing to give her seat up to a Caucasian passenger caused controversy, but eventually lead to a boycott that eventually turned into the favor of equality for blacks and whites to ride the bus with the same rights. Go Rosa Parks! 

Happy No Politics Day!

 Can we all take a break from politics for just one day?

Can we all take a break from politics for just one day?

February 1st, 2017 is the day also known as "No Politics Day". 

Whenever you wait for the bus, turn on the news, go to a bar, and especially log into social media, POLITICS and arguing is everywhere. Is there a way we could all escape the chaos?! Today is the day where our wishes may be granted. In honor of this day so that we may all live happier lives, let us all try to get along, show empathy, or learn how to accept opposing differences. Yes, No Politics Day may be over the next day, but here are some useful tips to understand and take in to lessen the arguing and become more open to other viewpoints. Explore this blog on "How to Tolerate Other Opinions". 

1. Empathy

Empathy is the act of putting yourself in another's shoes. In order to grow as a person, it is important we all understand we are all not cookie-cutter stencil human beings. We are all different, experience different situations, grow up in different socioeconomic statuses, etc. Try understanding the other person from how they view the world. Yes, it can be difficult as your own experiences may shape the way you view another's experience, such as "hard work leads to success", but it is very important you don't impose your experiences to shape your empathetic mindset. This way, you are able to feel either fortunate, or that your viewpoint is strengthened, or it can change. Either way, that is a sign of personal growth.

2. Educate, not Emotions

Make sure that you are always educating yourself, whether it is about your opinion or another's opinion. Telling someone they are wrong based on how you FEEL is not in fact a fact. Secondly, don't fear you can be wrong. As mentioned, right or wrong, you will grow from this experience. 

3. Leave Arrogance at the Door

Whether politics or personal taste in music, just because you may not like something, doesn't mean people who do are wrong. Making people feel what they like is bad is definitely negative and pushing toward arrogance that "you know best". Arrogance or the inability to listen can ruin friendships and family relations, which is not worth a simple dispute. Think to yourself: is what I am arguing about worth ending a special relationship?

4. Think

It is always difficult to change the way you have viewed something/someone, especially when you get older. But always think: Is the way you think affecting your current success or delaying your success? In this way, hearing different opinions can really open your eyes to seeing life from a different spectrum.

5. R-E-S-P-E-C-T Find out what that means to me

Respect is key. You do not have to agree, but respecting someone and their opinion is your best shot and avoiding any problems. Don't force your viewpoints on another, as others should not to you meaning "agree to disagree". Respecting other's opinions shows maturity and understanding that it is OK to have opinions. That is what makes us who we are as individuals. 

Now, are you ready to go out in the world and be more accepting, loving, and understanding? We hope so!

Happy Inspire your Heart with Art Day!

Today marks the day of Inspire your Heart with Art Day! In honor of this festive holiday, here are my top 6 art pieces that I have seen over the years around the world. Remember, art is objective and free. We all have a point-of-view that is valuable for the world! Get inspired today and go out and create art.

 This is a beautiful stained glass placed on the ceiling of an old church in Venezuela. Many people come here to pray, others come for the stunning architecture.

This is a beautiful stained glass placed on the ceiling of an old church in Venezuela. Many people come here to pray, others come for the stunning architecture.

 This unique bear portrait was created by a local artist named Lauren Muller in Seattle, WA who paints over graffiti. Her inspiration came from "bears represent strength and resilience" just like Seattle does.

This unique bear portrait was created by a local artist named Lauren Muller in Seattle, WA who paints over graffiti. Her inspiration came from "bears represent strength and resilience" just like Seattle does.

 A sculpture created in Egypt by a group of local college students. Their final project was themed "Powerful, yet subtle".

A sculpture created in Egypt by a group of local college students. Their final project was themed "Powerful, yet subtle".

 Absolutely a piece of architectural art. This building is located in Amsterdam and is supposed to represent "Fallen, but still staying strong".

Absolutely a piece of architectural art. This building is located in Amsterdam and is supposed to represent "Fallen, but still staying strong".

 Subtle obscure flower painting in San Francisco near the nightlife, but nonetheless there is beauty in the simple things. 

Subtle obscure flower painting in San Francisco near the nightlife, but nonetheless there is beauty in the simple things. 

 While visiting Germany, I couldn't help but be stunned by this art piece featured on a plain building where most of the workers are tax collectors. It is truly a stunning piece to bring life to this neutral toned building. 

While visiting Germany, I couldn't help but be stunned by this art piece featured on a plain building where most of the workers are tax collectors. It is truly a stunning piece to bring life to this neutral toned building. 

Top 4 Superfoods that will Warm you up in the Winter

Information from: http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20858718,00.html

The winter brings in the chills that might cause you to eat foods that are not so healthy for you. We all love our mac and cheese, pastas, and carb-loaded foods that might not be great for our overall health when eaten multiple times out of the day. Did you know that there are healthy foods that will warm you up this winter? Take the healthy alternative route to eating right and keeping your body healthy by exploring the top 4 superfoods that will warm you up in the winter!

 Oatmeal

Oatmeal

Did you know that oatmeal can reduce your cholesterol levels by 5-10%?! The starch beta-glucan in oatmeal is the reason for that! Plus, Oats are a whole grain that features a lot of dietary fiber that will help with your metabolism. Bored with the flavor? Try adding fruits, chia seeds, or healthy honeys to make this treat even more tasty.

 Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate

Yes I said it! Hot chocolate is an excellent way to keep warm and remain healthy in the winter- but only if you avoid the pre-made powder mix. One suggestion is to use dark chocolate and healthy milk (almond milk, soy milk) and go ahead and put whatever toppings you want (in moderation). Dark chocolate is actually great for your diet and includes flavnoids that are said to minimize damaged from free radicals (possible for the cause of cancer/heart disease).

 Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin soup contains vitamin A that helps your vision. Make sure that you don't add to much cream if you are watching your calories! Are you aware of beta-carotene? This is thought to help fight cancer too! 

 Avocados

Avocados

Avocados have been all the rage. With its creamy texture, avocados can have a creamier texture by oven roasting. Also, almost 50% of the fat in avocados comes from monounsaturated fat that will help reduce cholesterol levels. Another benefit of avocados is they provide nutrients for cells as well! 

Want more information on healthy foods that can warm you up in the winter? Check out: http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20858718,00.html for even more foods! 

Opinion Blog: Top 5 Songs of 2016

Last year, so many hits came out in the music world. I love music to make me feel good, think, or sound like something I have never heard before. Ready for my top 5 songs of 2016? Feel free to comment your top songs and let me know why you chose your top 5! 

1. Where Are U Now - Justin Bieber

While everyone may have their negative feelings about Mr. Bieber and some of his less than desirable behavior choices in 2016, you have to admit he had some hit songs this year. Did you know that Jack U created the song Where Are U Now to let people see Justin Bieber in a different light? A song that everyone would love so that maybe they could start liking someone again for his music. Aww precious. Secondly, we all relate to this song as we've all felt like we are alone and did everything for someone or people we love, but they weren't there for us when it mattered the most. Give the man a chance!

2. Party Monster - The Weeknd

This is probably The Weeknd's best song on his newest album. Every and any time we get prepped to go out or are with friends, this song gets requested to play! With a fresh new beat that has not been heard before with amazing vocals and catchy rhythm, this song is a hit. Maybe not a song for children to be playing, but his confidence shows in the song that somehow we all want to feel at some point. 

3. Needed Me- Rhianna

Probably a song favorite by women in 2016. Love how Rihanna takes a stand at wearing the "pants" with her male lovers/partners. She is a woman that is going to do what she wants, how she wants and that is what women tend to love! She expresses herself in a song a way that I feel like shows a side of women that they would like to hear me- being in charge and blunt. Nothing is more catchy than "Youuu neeeeeeeeeeeeeded me".

4. Montreal- What So Not

Many people may not know who What So Not is, but trust me you are missing out if you are a fan of trap/edm/instrumental/hard beats/intriguing noises. What So Not always puts out music where you definitely know it is them who created the song. Montreal starts off slow with a calming voice trying to almost lure you in saying "can you handle this". When the bass drops, or the beat drops, it is a sound that I have never heard before. The crowd or get-togethers jump off their feet when it drops. Can you tell I am a huge What So Not Fan?

5. Baptized in Fire- Kid Cudi

This song is the Kid Cudi we all loved and missed. From his own troubles, he has shown his talent in his new album. He is a rapper we can all relate to with depression, anxiety, or the other pressures of this world. His comeback album if I may say. Travis Scott's addition to the song is perfect as their voices mesh. This song touches upon fake people in our lives that want us for "other" reasons whether we are being used, for fame, or more. The beat is catchy and it makes you want to listen to the rest of the album. We support you Kid Cudi!

Winter Gadget Gift Ideas For Him

Winter Gadget Gift Ideas For Him

Looking for a little something extra to give your man this holiday season? Check out Tom Tollen's favorite winter gadgets that would make perfect gifts.

What Not To Do While Snowboarding

What Not To Do While Snowboarding

There are some things that just should be avoided while snowboarding. Check out my short list of helpful reminders so you can be the courteous boarder that we all know you can be. 

Top 7 Travel Destinations

Top 7 Travel Destinations

Looking to check a few items off the bucket list? I compiled a list of the top 10 travel destinations you should visit before you die.