More Fall Colors! by Smiling Notes (BLW Contributor)



I cannot believe it’s November already! Which means winter is approaching soon…but please, pretty please can I make Fall stay with me forever!?

I must have said this a hundred times before that Fall is my favorite season! Especially for east coasters where the winter can get pretty brutal at times. Now that the Halloween festivities are over, everyone will be geared up for the upcoming black friday sales and Thanksgiving. For people like me who celebrate ‘Diwali’ – the Hindu festival of Lights (which is just around the corner) it is yet another reason to enjoy!!

Ok…so enough of my ramble…getting to the point – I captured these photos over the past few days. I kid you not, once I literally made the hubby stop the car as we were driving by so I could go all bat-shit crazy clicking photos! Now I know that certain states like New Hampshire or Maine get the prettiest fall colors (there’s no denying that) but New Jersey and New York get fascinating glimpses of Fall too!

Loving the beautiful bed of leaves –


By far, this is my favorite pic –  

They say ‘Fall is a second Spring…when every leaf is a flower’so I am enjoying this ‘second spring’ as much as I can because honestly, even though I love snow…it can truly get depressing in the winter sometimes. Hope this post added a little bit of extra color in your lives the way it did for me! 

Keep smiling!

Check out more pictures from Smiling Notes

The Truth Hurts – Expectations always Hurt



Artsy Fartsy – Freedom From Want by Norman Rockwell


Freedom from Want, also known as The Thanksgiving Picture or I’ll Be Home for Christmas, is the third of the Four Freedoms series of four oil paintings by American artist Norman Rockwell. The works were inspired by United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt‘s 1941 State of the Union Address, known as Four Freedoms.

The painting was created in November 1942 and published in the March 6, 1943 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. All of the people in the picture were friends and family of Rockwell in Arlington, Vermont, who were photographed individually and painted into the scene. The work depicts a group of people gathered around a dinner table for a holiday meal. Having been partially created on Thanksgiving Day to depict the celebration, it has become an iconic representation of the Thanksgiving holiday and family holiday gatherings in general.

Three generations circle the food—a nuclear family more rarely seen today, but still existing in some hearts and minds as an ideal. (If Rockwell were painting now in 2013, what might that modern American family look like racially or even in terms of sexual orientation?) From the lower right corner, in the finest Renaissance tradition of painting, a young man looks out at you directly—the classic challenge to the viewer posed by the painter and his painting. His smile asks you to join in with the wonder at the bounty set before them, but is that all it asks? After more than a decade of overseas wars draining of us blood and treasure and an economic downturn further depleting our reserves of good will and thankfulness, that young man’s smile reminds us that the Thanksgiving thanks are not necessarily for abundant protein and four kinds of vegetables. Instead, the thankfulness is for having each other and the enduring capacity of people to free one another from all kinds of want—physical, emotional, and even spiritual.

Credit: Wikipedia

The Dragon’s Philosophy – Bend but do not Break



Hibernation started, France & Marion Cotillard by Matthew Suarez



A week has passed and I have nothing to show for it. I didn’t get published even once. That is because I didn’t even write one single article. I told myself that during weekdays I had to work at least on one a day. This last week I only took pictures for two I had in mind but didn’t do any work there after. And it is not like I was out partying. I simply have been sleeping, eating, listening to music, netflix and cuddling with my cat. I left my apartment a couple of times just for food and a couple of beers. I did almost nothing productive. It’s too cold, I’ve been in hibernation mode.

Despite having many ideas, they all seem to come to a halt. Suddenly the whole world revolves around the terrorist attacks in Paris. People are quick to make their opinions and blast them in social media, most posts are about themselves. My favorite status that everyone is sharing lately is asking people why do they care so much about Paris and fail to share or grasp all the horrible occurrences that happen elsewhere in the world on a daily basis. I feel like I need to give them a simple reason why.

Because Westerners (especially middle class) relate to the people in France and not with war-torn nations. I am not saying that I believe that someone’s life is more valuable than another, I am just acknowledging that I can relate to them easier and it makes it much more scary. If you haven’t seen the graphic videos or photos, those were just people my age enjoying a rock concert. No one imagined the horrible shit that happened that night.

Compared the Paris situation to people in the Middle East who live this horror on a daily basis (and a lot of other countries as well). I am not saying just because they are in that shit situation that they should get used to it, but it sure is a different context. The attacks happened in Paris. I have never visited the city, but I imagine is like any other developed city in the world. A safe bubble where horrible shit is not supposed to happen. Of course it is way more relatable and shocking than to find out that some country you never heard off got bombed. Again, not justifying the bombing, just trying to explain why some news matter and others go unseen.

Also, it matters more because I know people from Paris, who have visited Paris and who currently live in Paris. Again, not saying that one life has more value than another, but to my relatable context, I care much more for the city of Paris and the country of France than any other in the Middle East. Not because I care less does it mean that they should bomb it to the ground, I am just more likely to not pay attention.

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Anyway, here is Marion Cotillard. I remember seeing her more than twice and couldn’t only find this one set from July 13, 2010. I remember her not being that cool with the paparazzi, that that day, as soon as she got out of the car we started flashing her. Turns out, she checked in with her boyfriend and we had more than 20 minutes to shoot, which was good, cuz most of my flash photos were soft. Here is some frames out of a set of over 200 pictures.

And the obligatory TSA bullshit that no more than 3 oz of liquid can be in the same container. So tiny make-up and creams in a zip-lock and chug your motherfucker water cuz Marion Cotillard might be a terrorist.

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Wisdom Wednesdays – Peace can be a Reality



Artsy Fartsy -Yoko Ono and John Lennon “Bed-In” World Peace demonstration (Peace in Paris)



Knowing their March 20, 1969 marriage would be a huge press event, John and Yoko decided to use the publicity to promote world peace. They spent their honeymoon in the presidential suite (Room 702 – later renovated and became 902) at the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel for a week between March 25 and 31, inviting the world’s press into their hotel room every day between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. After their other stunts, such as the nude cover of the Two Virgins album, the press were expecting them to be having sex, but instead the couple were sitting in bed—in John’s words “like angels”—talking about peace with signs over their bed reading “Hair Peace” and “Bed Peace”. After seven days, they flew to Vienna, Austria, where they held a Bagism press conference.

During April 1969, John and Yoko sent acorns to the heads of state in various countries around the world in hopes that they would plant them as a symbol of peace. For eight months, the couple was not granted a single visit with any world leader. Their marriage (“You can get married in Gibraltar near Spain”), the first Bed-In (“Talking in our beds for a week”), the Vienna press conference (“Made a lightning trip to Vienna…The newspapers said…”), and the acorns (“Fifty acorns tied in a sack”) were all mentioned in the song “The Ballad of John and Yoko“.

Due to John and Yoko’s very public image, the Amsterdam Bed-In was greeted by fans, and received a great deal of press coverage. Following the event, when asked if he thought the Bed-In had been successful, John became rather frustrated. He insisted that the failure of the press to take the couple seriously was part of what he and Yoko wanted: “It’s part of our policy not to be taken seriously. Our opposition, whoever they may be, in all manifest forms, don’t know how to handle humour. And we are humorous.

Credit: Wikipedia

Weekend Inspiration – Step into the Light



Wisdom Wednesdays – Help those, who helped us



The Truth Hurts – You owe nothing to no one