YOUR ACTIONS DETERMINE YOUR DESTINY

YOUR ACTIONS DETERMINE YOUR DESTINY

You are where you are right now because of the actions you’ve taken or the inaction you’ve taken. STEVE MARABOLI As we begin a new year, the first thing we need to do is to take responsibility for where we are in life at this moment. Some of cry, “Last year was so difficult. Last year was impossible.” And some of us plead, “I hope this year brings better things.” But last year can be chalked up to the actions we’d taken and the inactions we’d taken. And this year will also be chalked up to the actions we will take and the inactions we will take. Many times the real reason behind our actions or inactions is simply because we felt like it or we just didn’t feel like it or we couldn’t help it – the challenges were too difficult. The journalist, Edward R. Murrow once said that, “Difficulty is the excuse history never accepts.” Yes, we may not be responsible for the storms we’ve faced in our lives, but we are responsible for our response to the storms. For it is our ability to choose our actions and our responses that separates us from animals. Unlike animals, We, You and I, are bigger than our challenges. We’ve more power than we think we have. And not even the gravest tragedy is enough reason for us to give up. As the Television Mogul and Actress, Oprah Winfrey once said, “In every tragedy, there is a moment when there is a possibility for triumph.” Whatever you may face this year, be ready to seize your moment. This year, let your actions...
THE VIEW FROM THE SHARD: RENZO PIANO’S GLISTENING CIVIC MASTERPIECE BY MONALISA CHUKWUMA

THE VIEW FROM THE SHARD: RENZO PIANO’S GLISTENING CIVIC MASTERPIECE BY MONALISA CHUKWUMA

London is a city of inspiration and imagination. … The Shard was about the “intensification” of the city. I wanted to create a public space where people could visit the building to experience London in a different way and to feel that they have discovered the spirit of the building. … The higher up you go, so the functions change, and you need less floor space, until you get to the very top, and there, I just wanted the building to kind of mingle in the air. It’s important that it breathes up there – that it breathes in the clouds. RENZO PIANO, Pritzer Prize-winning Architect and The Shard Architect The Shard is Renzo Piano’s glistening masterpiece at London Bridge. The View from the Shard is breathtaking, spectacular and addictive. At 310 metres, the Shard is the tallest building in Western Europe and the second tallest building in Europe – Moscow Mercury City is the tallest at 338 metres. My first photographs of the Shard were taken at the nearby Great tower Street on my way to meet my photography student, Elizabeth, who chose the Shard for her third photography lesson with me. From the moment you enter the ground floor of the Shard, you know that you are in for a sensational experience. There are no time restrictions, so you can stay as long as you like. Our lesson was for three hours, so we had plenty of time to explore. External Portrait of the Shard: Photographed from Great Tower Street, London The corridor to the first of the super fast lifts is illuminated with televisual galleries featuring...
PHOTOGRAPHING THE PHOTOGRAPHER BY MONALISA CHUKWUMA

PHOTOGRAPHING THE PHOTOGRAPHER BY MONALISA CHUKWUMA

Great photographs are not taken, they’re given. FRED R. CONRAD Last week, I had a one to one with Bruce Smith, the talented and inspirational fashion photographer, whose 30 year career has given us some breathtaking images. Our day began with us photographing each other. The great thing for me about photographing another photographer is that there is understanding and immediate trust, which means that in seconds I am able to concentrate on photographing the connection, the feeling and the interior story, which are what I love about portraiture. I love it when there is an immediate connection between me and the sitter. It relaxes me and allows me to concentrate on the emotion. Photographing Bruce was a real delight. As his student, there was a moment of nerves at the beginning of the shoot. But looking through my shutter, he had a vulnerability that hit me between the eyes and gave me access to the real man.  From that moment, he was no longer Bruce Smith. He was a real man with great presence, who just happens to be a talented photographer, who just happens to be sitting for me, who just happens to be responding to my directions and who just happens to look amazing. So I let go of the nerves, and I allowed my eyes and my shutter to start telling my story. His expressions spoke volumes. His body language was warm. There was so much to translate and my eyes and my heart were in constant negotiation with my head about what I want to share with the viewer.  Bruce is very strong and determined...
HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

Grow old with me!  The best is yet to be. ROBERT BROWNING What ever your love brings you today, We, You and I, know that love does not exist in items of fine jewellery, fine wine or flowers. Love exists inside your beating heart, inside the deep look in your eyes, in your kisses and touch, in the pauses between your words, in your laughter, even in your tears. Trust me, You are the only gift that really counts. You are the main part of this incredible equation. So today, give yourself and speak the language of love; silently or as loud as you voice can carry. But speak it, please. Oh, and before I forget, I love you. Happy Valentine’s Day, I love thee – I love thee, ‘Tis all that I can say It is my vision in the night, My dreaming in the day.  THOMAS HOOD BE A STORY WORTH...
WHAT OR WHO IS YOUR ENEMY?

WHAT OR WHO IS YOUR ENEMY?

You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life. WINSTON CHURCHILL Yes, we all have an enemy. Naming and facing your enemy is important. Why? Because it will help your growth and success and may even eliminate that enemy. James Arthur Baldwin, the American novelist, essayist and playwright said, that, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” You have to confront what or who frightens you; what holds you back from growth.  You cannot afford to play the ostrich and bury your head in the sand hoping that they will miraculously disappear. And there is no magic wand that you can waive to get rid of your enemies. You have to face them down. If you don’t, their hold on you will get stronger and stronger. So you really have no choice but to fight. My observation is that it is far more powerful and fruitful to become a person with a cause than a person with a grievance.  When you are face to face with an enemy, you are up against a discovery about your true strength. Because until you’ve faced and fought your enemy with every thing you’ve got, you’d never discover how strong you are. What frightens me most is how quickly many people settle to what they call their lot. A bullying boss or partner who frequently undermines your existence, racism, corporate slavery … What ever is yours; you’ve got to face and fight it. You’ve got to fight it with every thing you’ve got, even if you think you’d loose and...
WHAT IS YOUR VISION FOR YOUR GREATER FUTURE?

WHAT IS YOUR VISION FOR YOUR GREATER FUTURE?

Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve. NAPOLEON HILL,  This question requires you to step out of your comfort zone and really think big. Note that you will never rise above the image you have in your mind in any area of your life. So please be your most inspired, dynamic, and creative self. Don’t put a limit on your imagination. A modest vision will only inspire mediocre actions and a mediocre future.   So, aim beyond what you think you are capable of. Nothing you can envision is impossible. And even if you don’t hit that desired mark exactly, you’d be far beyond where you started and much closer to your dream. It may never be mine, The loaf or the kiss or the kingdom, Because of beseeching. But I know that my hand  Is an arm’s length nearer the sky For reaching.  EDWIN QUARLES BE A STORY WORTH...
JOURNALING HELPS YOU TO KNOW YOURSELF BETTER

JOURNALING HELPS YOU TO KNOW YOURSELF BETTER

In the diary you find proof that in situations which today would seem unbearable, you lived, looked around and wrote down observations, that this right hand moved then as it does today, when we may be wiser because we are able to look back upon our former condition, and for that very reason have got to admit the courage of our earlier striving in which we persisted even in sheer ignorance. FRANZ KAFKA As you may already know, many successful people kept a journal or diary. People like Winston Churchill, Thomas Jefferson, and more recently Barack Obama, recorded their thoughts and observations. They recorded their impressions of the people they meet, places they’ve been and the issues that mattered to them.  Journaling is a great way to get to know yourself. Your journal or diary is the only place you can be completely or cruelly honest about your self; your fears and your dreams. It is the ideal place to record your thoughts, accomplishments and the lessons learned from your failures and from life in general. Ten years ago I started a journal. Though I do not write in it daily, I have clung to it in moments of unbearable loss and emotional crisis. It helps me remember changes in my life that hurt like hell, moments that mattered so to me, days that I was just going through the motions of living, etc. On receiving the news of my mother’s death a few years back, I locked myself away for days, with my journal as my only companion. As tears pumped through my eyes for days, I noted my...
THE POWER OF COLOUR

THE POWER OF COLOUR

I want to know one thing. What is colour? PABLO PICASSO. Colour is one of the most essential and least costly element in dressing yourself appropriately and attractively. It is one of the essential tools for choosing the right make-up for your face, building a flattering and effective wardrobe and for managing the impression you make on others. Colour is contagious. The colour you’re wearing has an immediate and powerful affect on you and the eyes of the beholder.  It has an impact on your: natural colouring – your skin, hair and eyes; figure; mood or perspective on life; and others’ perception of you. Fine Artists understand the power of colour and have mastered how to use it as a precision tool to make their masterpieces more pleasing. Whether you’re Asian, Black, Caucasian or Hispanic, learning how to use colour effectively in your makeup, hair and wardrobe will transform your appearance and other’s perception of you. Each of us has a unique skin tone. Discovering and wearing the colours that best compliment your skin tone and overall colouring will delight the eyes of the beholder, energise you and make you look healthier, slimmer, younger, smarter and more radiant. Your skin will look smoother, your hair will glow and your eyes will appear brighter and more youthful. You will seem confident and be better able to manage the impression you make. People will notice you, not what you’re wearing. Conversely, wearing the wrong colours, will make you look pale, fatter and older. Your skin and hair will look dull or sallow, your eyes will look tired, any lines on your face will be...
THE HOLIDAY SEASON IS OVER, DON’T FORGET TO SAY THANK YOU

THE HOLIDAY SEASON IS OVER, DON’T FORGET TO SAY THANK YOU

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. WILLIAM ARTHUR WARD As the holiday season ends, don’t forget to say thank you to all those who made this time precious and memorable. By Thank you, I don’t mean a half-hearted text or email. It is more thoughtful and stylish to handwrite thank you notes to friends and family for gifts received and time-shared over the holiday. And before you start worrying about time to do this, it takes me about two minutes per card and forty-seconds to address the envelope. Our nearest and dearest have spent their hard earned money on gifts, food and entertainment and given us their time to cheer, encourage and to show us that we are loved. A Thank you note shows that you took the time to acknowledge and appreciate their kindness and efforts. This needs to be done now that normal postal service has resumed and by the end of 14 January. A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all the other virtues. CICERO BE A STORY WORTH...
HEALING AND ANTI-AGEING FOODS

HEALING AND ANTI-AGEING FOODS

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food. HIPPOCRATES. Add a healing and anti-ageing new food to your repertoire. The healthiest and anti-ageing foods available to us have phytochemicals in them. Phytochemicals mean chemicals derived from the energy of light. They contain intelligent nutrients that are both healing and anti-ageing. Foods that are rich in phytochemicals are highly coloured. Think of the seven colours of the rainbow; Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet, when choosing foods that have phytochemicals. Some well-known foods that contain phytochemicals include: Flavonoids found in Apples, Cherries, Berries, Grapes, Citrus Fruits, Broccoli, Onions, Tomatoes, etc. These range of foods are antioxidants. Antioxidants protect our cells against oxidative damage and reduce the risk of developing many types of cancers and protect us from heart disease. Lycopene found in Tomatoes, Red Grape fruit, Pink Grapefruit, Red Oranges, Guava, Watermelon, etc. These foods are anti-carcinogenic. They inhibit the development of cancer. Phenolic Compounds found in Cherries, Strawberries, Pomegranate, Nuts, Green Tea, Chili peppers, Oregano, Sage, Rosemary, etc. These range of foods contain antioxidants and are anti-carcinogenic. Isoflavones found in Soya beans, Chickpeas, Kudzu, Red clover, etc. Isoflavones lower cholesterol and block hormonally stimulated cancer. Sulphides found in Garlic, Onions, Chives, etc. These inhibit blood clotting and are anti-carcinogenic. Isothiocyanates found in Broccoli, Cauliflower, Kale, Turnips, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage, Watercress, etc. These cruciferous vegetables inhibit tumour growth. Terpenoids found in Peppers, Horseradish, Turmeric, Cinnamon, Rosemary etc. These contain antioxidants and antibacterial properties and help prevent stomach cancers. BE A STORY WORTH...
THERE ARE NO SHORTCUTS TO SUCCESS

THERE ARE NO SHORTCUTS TO SUCCESS

It takes twenty years to become an overnight success. EDDIE CANTOR We live in a want it now, quick-fix society. Our expectations have been moulded for our needs and desires to be met almost instantly. There is a constant temptation of quick fixes; instant makeovers, diet pills, fillers, botox, fast food, speed dating, etcetera. The modern credo is, Time waits for no man or more accurately, Man waits for nothing. It’s more short-term gain and instant gratification rather than building for long-term success. Many of us move from one quick fix to the next, but no matter how many of these quickies we invest in, the image and the life we desire continue to elude us.  The expectation for a greater life will always be there, but it is not going to be fulfilled by quick fixes. For example, we all know that the only sustainable method for losing weight and keeping it off over the long-term is to eat sensibly and to exercise regularly and sufficiently. Still, many opt for the quick fix route of diet pills. Often, the only weight they loose as a result, is in their wallet. I understand that it is natural to want to achieve results quickly. We want to avoid wasting time. However, my observation is that life is a marathon, not a sprint. What makes us thrive and great requires a long-term focus on what matters most for our wellbeing and a compelling vision. To achieve life lasting benefits, we must first accept that there are no quick fixes. Quick fixes or instant makeovers often focus on our external image. Image building...
HOW TO GIVE YOURSELF A QUICK FACIAL

HOW TO GIVE YOURSELF A QUICK FACIAL

Nature gives you the face you have at 20; it is up to you to merit the face you have at 50. COCO CHANEL. Your face is key to expressing your individuality. It is your signature, your brand and what people visualise when they think of you, so take good care of it. Start by scheduling a facial to deep cleanse and revive your complexion after the Christmas and New Year’s stress and excesses. How to Give Yourself a Quick Facial Wash your face using the right cleanser or face wash for your skin type Use an exfoliating scrub in a circular motion on your face and neck, avoiding your eye area. Rinse off the scrub thoroughly with warm water. Pat face dry with a clean towel. Apply a lip moisturiser on your lips and and eye gel around your eyes. Apply the right face mask for your skin type on the rest of your face and neck. Leave on for ten to fifteen minutes. Wash off the mask thoroughly with warm water. Apply an alcohol free toner to a moist cotton ball and wipe over your face. Massage in the right face cream or gel for your skin type into your skin in a circular motion. You may repeat this facial weekly. BE A STORY WORTH...

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