Art and Appreciation

Anytime I find myself wanting to do something fun or interesting or engaging these days, I end up somehow keeping my mind occupied by something stimulating. At first, it was just reading books I had stored in some old cardboard boxes. This kept me interested in something new with each read-through of an old book. It stimulated me in ways that not much else would and, to be honest, brought me back to a time that I had the free time to read as much as I wanted.

But then I started to take on a new hobby, and that was going to museums and gardens to view art. Art is, honestly, complex enough to seem pointless or confusing or “dumb” to people who don’t take the time to appreciate it, understand it, or “get” it.

I can’t blame them, though. I used to be one of them. I don’t think I ever thought of art as dumb. It was just confusing to me and left me with more questions than I came with. Little did I know, however, that that meant the art was working. It made me question it, question things. It made me feel things without me realizing that I was feeling them. And that, honestly, is the essence of art.

Perhaps it took me visiting a few art museums with my fiancee to see the true beauty of it all. Perhaps it was the fact that we gave each piece a healthy amount of time to sink in, which allowed us to think about it and discuss it afterwards. Perhaps it was neither of those things and I just haven’t visited an art museum in a long while. Yet now that I’ve read more and grown more and thought more and seen more and experienced more, I understand it better than I would have when I was younger.

No matter the case, I’ve a newfound obsession with viewing art. I no longer want to just stick to my books from my cardboard boxes. Instead, I want to go out and apply the knowledge I’ve gained from those books. I want to think about things. I want to appreciate things. I want to understand what it is that makes these things called art so good, so high culture.

With a little help from my experiences growing up, the things I learned in class from college, and the books and articles I continue to read, I think I can learn to appreciate art to its fullest. It’ll take time, and it’ll likely take multiple viewings, but I want to be able to achieve that.

Choosing a Favorite Candy

I’ve never been a big fan of candy or ever claimed to have a sweet tooth in the slightest, and I think part of that comes from my love for savory foods more than just about anything.

Besides, anytime I want to eat something sweet (especially containing chocolate), I absolutely have to have a glass of milk near me to cut the sweetness. Considering milk is my favorite drink anyway, this comes as no surprise to me and those who know me well. But the whole “too sweet for me” thing is quite real, especially when milk isn’t on tap.

So, I’m not often found browsing the candy boxes shelves at local stores when getting groceries, and that’s just simply because I never, ever seem to eat candy. If someone gives me candy as a gift add on, as a stocking stuffer, or just for fun on Halloween and Easter, I’ll pick through the few that I enjoy more and munch on them from time to time. But I honestly don’t crave candy in the slightest.

One thing I can remark on regarding candy, though, is my favorite types. As I mentioned earlier, I enjoy chocolates and chocolate sweets with milk any given time, though I don’t seek out pure chocolate bars like some people do.

And on the opposite end of the candy spectrum, I do not enjoy hard candies. The stickiness, pure sugar aspect, and how hard it can be on your teeth do not appeal to me. I always feel like I’m digging pieces of hardened sugar out of my teeth after eating them, and if I don’t happen to crunch through these candies to speed up the eating process, I end up sucking on them for far too long, which then feels like I’m slowly eroding my enamel with full awareness of what’s happening.

So, rather than those two, my favorite type of candy rests somewhere in the middle with gummies. Gummies aren’t hard on your teeth whatsoever so long as you clean your mouth properly afterwards. They’re fun to suck on for a few seconds before tearing them apart and swallowing. I don’t mind grabbing a few candy boxes of gummies from the store anytime I’m about to see a movie and want to save money, so the blue sharks, the rainforest frogs, the Haribo bears, and other like candies are what you’ll find me enjoying the most.

The Appeal of Vinyl Albums

I’m a big fan of vinyl records ever since my girlfriend’s father gave us his old turntable. I knew that records were popular back in the day and even gained a resurgence as of late with more hip crowds, but I never quite understood why until I owned one and bought my first few albums from the local record store.

If anything, it all takes me back to collecting CDs when I was in high school and early college. There was something real about purchasing one of my favorite bands’ new albums on CD and playing it in my truck while driving around. The whole experience had a meaning to it. It had weight. It became an experience.

Nowadays, if I want to listen to something new by someone, I can hop on Spotify and go to their new album right away to quickly cycle through different tracks until I like what I hear. It’s definitely convenient and faster than anything else out there, but it also doesn’t carry the same sort of weight as making a trip to buy a new album and then listening to it on the way home.

The only problem I seem to have with getting a new album, though, is that my first few were of records I had already known inside and out. Now, is this a bad thing? Well not at all. I wanted my first three or four albums to be of artists I already love, and I wanted those records to be of absolutely complete albums from the first to last track.

What I’m saying is I was predispositioned on the first few albums I got. I wanted what I already liked because I wanted to make those first few records special.

From here on, however, I think I want to do it differently. I want to still purchase records from my favorite artists, but I want to listen to their new music on record first. No more hopping into Spotify immediately to make sure I like the new stuff. If it’s an artist I highly support and follow closely, there’s a reason for that. Their past stuff is already amazing, so there’s no doubt the new stuff would be too.

And if anything, the whole point of records back in the day was to listen to the next great record as soon as it drops and experience that music for yourself. To listen to it before anyone else could and then own that record for good.

To me, that’s what I’m looking forward to. I have such an expansive taste in music lately that anything goes, so all sorts of artists will be dropping new music year in and year out for me to like. While going after new music all the time will likely mean my two cardboard boxes of old albums will grow to four cardboard boxes, it’s all worth it simply because they are timeless so long as turntables are still considered vintage and can be repaired or bought like new.

Valentine’s Day for Single People

It’s officially February, marking the dead center of winter (didn’t mean for that to rhyme) and the onset of heartache, butterflies in the stomach, and all things lovey dovey.

That’s right. It’s the month of the groundhog, Valentine’s Day, and leap days. February is, to put it simply, one weird month. There’s no longer that rejuvenated feeling that January gives you at the beginning of the year, but it’s not quite March, which brings excitement of warmer weather and signs of life. February is kind of just . . . there on the calendar.

So, it comes as no surprise to hear more people commit self harm during February than any other month. This is a sort of depressing statistic, but don’t let the mid-winter blues get you down. February is home to Valentine’s Day, and that’s a day to look forward to even if you’re single. Celebrate the holiday as a reminder of self love even if you don’t have a partner to celebrate it with. The road to finding love begins after you’ve learned to love yourself, after all.

Speaking of V-Day, so many stores and businesses love to welcome it in, because it means extra sales thanks to all the sappy couples who feel the need to overspend on items for their significant other. You should be expecting to see plenty of pink and red, a lot of candy boxes, and tons of stuffed animals the next time you’re walking through the store.

As for what you should do for yourself, though, that’s up to you. A local arcade bar near me is hosting a blind speed dating event for all those people out there who don’t have a partner. I, myself, think it’s a wonderful idea to include those who are typically excluded on Valentine’s Day.

Just as well, a lot of places have meal deals for any couples going out for dinner on the big day. Well, why not seize the moment and take a friend to dinner so that you can both capitalize on savings. (It’s not like the restaurant will know if you’re dating or just friends, no matter your friend’s gender, so what are they gonna do?)

There’s also the prospect of getting a few of those aforementioned candy boxes from the store and chowing down on them with a bottle of wine on the 14th. I mean, what beats chocolate, wine, and Netflix? Nothing, that’s what.

Ultimately, you should do something on Valentine’s Day, whether you’re single or not. If you’re in a relationship, do something with your partner to show you really do care. If you are single, well, hopefully we’ve given you a few ideas on how to enjoy the day with friends or even by yourself!

Simple Ideas To Reduce The Stress Of Moving A Big Family

A big family is a lot of fun, but it also comes with big responsibility when things come up. If you ever plan to change homes with your 5 or more family members it may be overwhelming to realize all that will be involved. How can you manage a hassle-free relocation and make sure everything is checked off the to-do-list and still guarantee that everyone in the home is taken care of, pets included?

The reality is, moving with a big family will involve challenges and stress, you can’t avoid that. However, you can make it a little hassle-free and efficient by making sure your belongings are secure, making sure your family is doing ok and get everything done. You just need to be aware of the best practice for this type of process before succumbing to the stresses. Here are some easy and effective ways to move a large family and make it fun and adventurous at the same time.

Make A Plan
Of you know, moving requires quite a bit of planning as it is. Moving with a big family actually requires more than the average move planning, plus picking the best date, creating a calendar, budget, getting good affordable movers. You will also have to coordinate the plans with your household and make sure the plan works for everyone. Hold a meeting when you have the main details ironed out, the where the why and the when. Give as much information as possible to keep everyone’s stress levels down.

Include The Kids
Make the children feel included in the decision. While you’re communicating with them push the point of why your decision is better for them and how they can enjoy the area and setting up a brand new room.

Pick The Best Moment To Move
The time has to be workable for everyone so you have to consider all things such as, leaving jobs, starting new jobs, deadline to leave home if there is one, when new home will be ready, mid-school year or summer better break better for children, which season is best to move, any previously planned family events that need to be rescheduled.

Prepare For Your Plan To Change
Even though you have planned ahead, you must keep your plan flexible in case anything comes up, which will most likely happen. If you’re prepared, it won’t be such a disaster if things needs to change direction. There are apps available to help you keep track of your inventory and stay organized as well as help you calculate moving costs.

Perfect Organization
Have a detailed checklist, create a moving inventory, hire the best movers for your situation and book them ahead of time. Make sure you have the supplies you need including cardboard boxes to pack up your house but also coordinate with others. Give everyone a clear understanding of their responsibilities and timeframe in the moving situation. It may be best to assign tasks and deadlines to help you stay on top of things as well. Look at what needs to be done and assign it according to who would be best at handling the specific task. Meet weekly if necessary to keep everyone up to speed on where you are with the process or any changes.