Program of the day: CCleaner by Piriform

Did you ever experience you computer running slow, the Internet tabs and windows freeze? The problem might be with ‘unnecessary data’ stored on your computer. When you browse different sites, open attachments and download different things from the Internet, cookies, temporary Internet files and other data may clog up the system and you need to clean it once in a while to free some disk space and make your computer run faster. This is just as important for your computer as routine maintenance for your car and luckily, you don’t need to spend a lot of money, there’s a free easy-to-use solution – CCleaner by Piriform.

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Some other features of CCleaner are safer browsing, registry clean-up, program uninstallation, start-up programs disablement and deletion of system restore points.

CCleaner is available for both, PC and Mac.

A preview is worth a thousand words, so:

How often should you run the CCleaner? – The answer depends on what you do on the web, but in general once a month should be enough. Don’t run it everyday, because your web pages will load slower then.

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Artwork of the day: Happy Family

You might have seen my inspiration post recently, where I told you about lovely Kiana Underwood, her sweet family photos and her awesome blog Tulipina.

You might have also noticed that my inspiration posts turn into drawing / artwork of the day posts sooner or later 🙂

This time I was working with one of my favorite media – watercolors. The challenge was with using my paintbrushes. Apparently, I have either big ones that are great for the background, but not so good for smaller objects, or really thin one for the tiniest details. I had few in the middle, but they were synthetic brushes and while they’re great for acrylic paints, with watercolors they just don’t work the way I want them to work. I’ll need to buy few more kolinsky sable paintbrushes on my next trip to the art store.This time I tried to solve the problem by using only the tip of the brush for the faces and clothing.

I’m overall pleased with the result and I enjoyed painting this sketch. While it may not be a 100% photocopy and that wasn’t the point of this watercolor sketch anyway. The point was to show emotions, closeness, family ties and holding on to each other and to me that is a way to build a happy family.

         Artwork of the day - Happy Family by One Happy Blog

Product of the day: Brush Cleanser by Inglot

I first came across Inglot’s brush cleanser a few months ago, when my dermatologist suggested it to disinfect the make-up brushes. Before that I used to clean them with liquid soap and warm water.

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I have seen few videos on YouTube on cleansing the make-up brushes – basically they just squirt the spray on the brush and then rinse it off with the paper towel or a cotton pad. I find this method too harsh for the bristles of the brush and I think this way you can easily damage the brush and that would be a pity especially if you own expensive brushes.

English: Liquid antibacterial soap on a person...
English: Liquid antibacterial soap on a person’s hand. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, here is what I do:

1. I squeeze out a bit of liquid antibacterial soap on the palm of my hand. Then I wet my brush in water and then in the liquid soap that’s already on the palm of my hand and gently move the brush around until most of the paint comes out of the brush.

2. Then I thoroughly rinse the brush with warm water till the brush is clean.

3. To disinfect the brush, I spray Inglot brush cleanser and then gently wipe it off the brush with paper towel.

4. I lay my brushes flat to dry.

Makeup brush.
Makeup brush. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This way has helped me to preserve my brushes in a great condition and I do such cleansing once a week or more, if required.

Inglot Brush Cleanser comes in a 150 ml bottle, which will last you for a very long time.

Inglot Brush Cleanser by One Happy Blog - 1Inglot Brush Cleanser by One Happy blog -2

And here is the ingredients list:

Inglot Brush Cleanser Ingredients by One Happy Blog

What is your routine for cleansing the brushes and what cleanser do you prefer?

Art of the day: ‘The Starry Night’ by Vincent Van Gogh

Vincent Van Gogh is definitely one of my favorite artists and the one I feel I can relate to the most. Apart from sharing the love for a bit exaggerated, magical colors and shapes, we unite on battling the same monsters. Depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, constant self-doubt and lack of confidence in his abilities and his works. I have experienced very similar feelings and fears since my adolescent years and battled them with varied success over the years. But, this post is not going to be about depression or sadness, on a contrary, there is a positive point I want to make.

I have done extensive research on the painting, the artist, his life, vision and meaning behind the painting and I want to bring the most interesting facts, quotes, and bits and pieces of information I found across many different sources.

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Type Oil on canvas Dimensions 73.7 cm × 92.1 cm (29 in × 36 1⁄4 in) Location Museum of Modern Art, New York City

Just as Van Gogh, I’ve always been attracted to the night. To him night was ‘more alive than the day’ and was the time of creativity, reflection and meditation after a day of activity and it brought with it a feeling of security and comfort. It was also kind of metaphor for the cycle of life. And he linked this with the changing of the seasons. However, van Gogh was aware that darkness could also conjure up feelings of loneliness and anguish.

The night sky  is mesmerizing. It looks as the stars in the painting are swirling and moving within it’s frame. You feel captured in this magical place and you don’t want to leave. ‘Starry night’ is the mixture of imagination and reality. While the village and location of the stars in the sky might reflect what he really saw from his window at a hospital in Saint Rémy, the church resembles with his memories of his motherland, the Netherlands.

When he looked at the night sky, he wrote to his brotherTheo in August 1888, he saw “the mysterious brightness of a pale star in the infinite.”
As he wrote to his sister Willemien van Gogh from Arles, “It often seems to me that the night is even more richly colored than the day, colored with the most intense violets, blues and greens. If you look carefully, you’ll see that some stars are lemony, others have a pink, green, forget-me-not blue glow. And without labouring the point, it’s clear to paint a starry sky it’s not nearly enough to put white spots on blue-black.” (678, 14 September 1888)
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In a letter written to Émile Bernard in April 1888, Van Gogh expressed his desire to paint the night sky, and questioned whether he could achieve his intention by painting from nature as the Impressionists did:

The imagination is certainly a faculty which we must develop and it alone can bring us to creation of a more exalting and consoling nature … A star-spangled sky, for instance, that’s a thing I would like to try to do … But how can I manage unless I make up my mind to work … from imagination?

In Arles, in 1888 and 1889, van Gogh’s paintings took on a mystical, dreamlike quality. Straight lines became wavy, colors intensified, thick paint became thicker, sometimes squeezed straight onto the canvas from the tube. Some of these changes were later taken as a sign of his madness, and even van Gogh feared that “some of my pictures certainly show traces of having been painted by a sick man.” But there was premeditation and technique behind these distortions, as he tried to put a sense of life’s mysteries into paint. In a letter to Wil, he explained that “the bizarre lines, purposely selected and multiplied, meandering all through the picture, may fail to give the garden a vulgar resemblance, but may present it to our minds as seen in a dream, depicting its character, and at the same time stranger than it is in reality.”

The artist’s focus on the relationship between dreams and reality—and life and death—had a profound meaning for him, as he had confided to Theo in a letter a year before his first crisis in Arles. “Looking at the stars always makes me dream, as simply as I dream over the black dots representing towns and villages on a map. Why, I ask myself, shouldn’t the shining dots of the sky be as accessible as the black dots on the map of France? Just as we take the train to get to Tarascon or Rouen, we take death to reach a star.”
“And these trees that are drawn almost like flames of fire very much allude to Van Gogh’s ongoing concern with afterlife, with eternity, with death, and with all these different forces, which indeed he does associate with the night.”

There are various interpretations of Starry Night and one is that this canvas depicts hope. It seems that van Gogh was showing that even with darkness it is still possible to see light in the windows of the houses, and with shining stars filling the sky, there is always light to guide you. It seems that van Gogh was finally being cured of his illness and had essentially found his heaven.

 

The drawing Cypresses in Starry Night, a reed pen study executed by Van Gogh after the painting in 1889. Originally held at Kunsthalle Bremen, today part of the disputed Baldin Collection
The drawing Cypresses in Starry Night, a reed pen study executed by Van Gogh after the painting in 1889. Originally held at Kunsthalle Bremen, today part of the disputed Baldin Collection

Another popular theory is about the biblical meaning behind the ‘Starry Night’.

Perhaps the real reason why the Van Gogh painting is so famous and appreciated today is not due to the negative emotions that may have initially inspired the artwork, but the strong feelings of hope Van Gogh conveys through the bright lights of the stars shining down over the dark landscape at night. In 1888, Van Gogh wrote a personal letter in which he described “a great starlit vault of heaven…one can only call God.” With a theologian for an uncle, Van Gogh himself was also religious, even serving as a missionary in his younger days. Many art scholars believe there is a hidden religious meaning to Starry Night. In the painting, the moon and stars in the night sky are surrounded by large halos of light while a church steeple stands out above the smaller, less detailed buildings in the town below. In fact, some art critics find a biblical meaning in the number of stars painted in Starry Night that alludes to specific Bible verse in Genesis.

Then he dreamed still another dream and told it to his brothers, saying, “Look, I have dreamed another dream. And this time, the sun, the moon and the eleven stars bowed down to me.” Genesis 37:9

 

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In a letter to his brother, Theo, van Gogh refers to Leo Tolstoy´s book My Religion and its lack of belief in resurrection. His use of the word ‘quiet’ and reference to Tolstoy´s book indicates that the night sky made him feel calm and brought to mind eternity.

Why did Van Gogh paint exactly 11 stars? By painting exactly eleven stars in the Starry Night painting, Vincent Van Gogh might have been directly referencing Genesis 37:9, a key verse in the biblical account of Joseph, a “dreamer” and an outcast in the company of his eleven older brothers. It isn’t hard to see why Van Gogh might have identified with Joseph in the Bible. In the Bible, Joseph was thrown into a pit, sold into slavery, and underwent years of imprisonment, much like Van Gogh did the last years of his life in the Arles asylum. No matter what Joseph did he could not receive the acceptance or respect of his 11 older brothers. Likewise, despite his best efforts, as an artist Van Gogh failed to receive the recognition of art critics of his day.

Van Gogh considered his now-iconic The Starry Night, which he painted from his barred window at Saint-Rémy, a failed attempt at abstraction. Before leaving Saint-Rémy, he wrote to Émile Bernard: “I have been slaving away on nature the whole year, hardly thinking of impressionism or of this, that and the other. And yet, once again I let myself go reaching for stars that are too big—a new failure—and I have had enough of it.”

Theo liked the painting but was worried. He wrote Vincent that “the expression of your thoughts on nature and living creatures shows how strongly you are attached to them. But how your brain must have labored, and how you have risked everything….” Vincent didn’t live to know that in his reaching for the stars, he had created a masterpiece.

While Van Gogh died a poor and disrespected artist, he is now one of the most famous and reproduced painters today. Within the madness, there was genius.

“It is inspiring to see how a man so plagued by sorrow and despair could turn his inner battles into glowing, vibrant canvases that still speak a message of hope and joy more than 100 years later”

Following the recent news on Robbin Williams death, I spent a lot of time thinking about how many lives could have been saved, how many wonderful things could have been created, if they did find the strength to say to themselves: “I am strong. I am valuable. I am worthy”. If only they knew the impact they have on the people around them, on the world and the Universe. If only they could see their problems from the perspective of eternal starry night sky. If only there was a family member or a friend holding their hand that would tell them: “I care for you. You are loved.”

If you came across this post and you’re battling depression and anxiety, I want you to know that I love you and you’re not lonely.  While I’m battling my own hardships, I understand what you’re going through and you can reach me out to vent, to cry, to smile and laugh and while I’m no specialist, I will hold your hand and give you all the support I can give. My e-mail is 1happyblog@outlook.com.

If you have a family member, a friend or anybody else suffering from mental disorders, please don’t just ignore them. A lot of times we are seen as people with ‘personal weaknesses’ or ‘drowned in self-pity’ and our condition is not taken seriously. There are times when we cannot help ourselves and if we could, do you really think that we would stay depressed and miserable? Sometimes, a small gesture, a nice word or just being by our side, can mean the world. Spread some love and I’m sure it will come back to you multiplied.

For more inspiration, I urge you to watch Doctor Who: ‘Vincent and the Doctor’ (Season 5, Episode 10). It literally brought tears to my eyes.

I’m going to leave you with a tribute to Vincent, a song called ‘Vincent (Starry, Starry Night)’ by Don McLean.

“Vincent (Starry, Starry Night)”

Starry, starry night
Paint your palette blue and gray
Look out on a summer’s day
With eyes that know the darkness in my soul

Shadows on the hills
Sketch the trees and the daffodils
Catch the breeze and the winter chills
In colors on the snowy linen land

Now I understand
What you tried to say to me
And how you suffered for your sanity
And how you tried to set them free

They would not listen, they did not know how
Perhaps they’ll listen now

Starry, starry night
Flaming flowers that brightly blaze
Swirling clouds in violet haze
Reflect in Vincent’s eyes of china blue

Colors changing hue
Morning fields of amber grain
Weathered faces lined in pain
Are soothed beneath the artist’s loving hand

Now I understand
What you tried to say to me
And how you suffered for your sanity
And how you tried to set them free

They would not listen, they did not know how
Perhaps they’ll listen now

For they could not love you
But still your love was true
And when no hope was left in sight
On that starry, starry night

You took your life, as lovers often do
But I could’ve told you Vincent
This world was never meant for
One as beautiful as you

Starry, starry night
Portraits hung in empty halls
Frame-less heads on nameless walls
With eyes that watch the world and can’t forget

Like the strangers that you’ve met
The ragged men in ragged clothes
The silver thorn of bloody rose
Lie crushed and broken on the virgin snow

Now I think I know
What you tried to say to me
And how you suffered for your sanity
And how you tried to set them free

They would not listen, they’re not listening still
Perhaps they never will

 

Beautiful soul, Vincent, I know I’ll meet you one day somewhere across the Universe and we’ll paint the sky purple and yellow.

For further reading:

Tulipina Instagram photo - One Happy Blog

Inspiration comes from everywhere. I’ve been following Instagram account of Kiana Underwood for some time and always loved her pictures of pretty flowers, bouquets and flower arrangements. Her family photos are just as adorable. They are so real, so fun and full of emotions.

Btw, Kiana is the owner of Tulipina, a boutique San Francisco-area floral design studio and a blogger. Check out her blog, it’s really cool and stay tuned for my watercolor sketch based on above photo.

 

Ateshgah by One Happy Blog

I really wanted to do few pieces on Ateshgah ever since I visited it, which you can read about here. While I was brainstorming ideas and looking through different reference pictures, I came across one that was really blurry, but the colors in it fascinated me and I decided to do a sketch for practice and use my watercolor pencils, which I haven’t been using lately.

The drawing didn’t come out exactly how I envisioned it, but I decided some time ago to let go of judgement of my artworks and just focus on creating. So, looking at the positives, I love the washed effect on the sky, colors in general and the way the fire looks, especially in the well in the foreground.

“Sunset in Ateshgah”

Watercolor pencils, paper – A4

the-liebster-award

Ta-DA! One Happy blog received it’s first award – The Liebster Award! Yay!

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First of all, I want to thank my dearest Zaychishka for the award. I’m truly touched and honored! If I could nominate her back, I certainly would because her blog is just amazing! She writes about Russian & Ukrainian fashion designers, it-girls and the industry in general and her posts are always filled with honest and accurate opinions and beautiful photos! Check it out and here’s the link to her original post with nomination.

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So, what is the Liebster Award? The award is given to bloggers by other bloggers in order to welcome new blogs to the community, discover new blogs, and make new friends! What a great initiative! The nominated blogger then keeps paying it forward and nominates  the blogs he/she admires.

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So, here are the rules:

1. Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their page(s).
2. Proudly display the award banner on your page.
3. List eleven facts about yourself.
4. Answer the questions the award-giver asked you and make 11 more for your nominees.
5. List your nominees.

 

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11 random facts about me:

1. I finished high school with the best grades in my class.

2. I look at my phone screen and not at my watch to tell the time and it takes me a while to understand what time it is looking at the watch, so the watch is really just an accessory to me.

3. I love the rain, I love walking under the umbrella, I love fall and I love the melancholic dreamy kind of mood it brings.

4. I speak and write fluently in Russian and English, I know Azerbaijani and Turkish pretty well and am learning Spanish, Italian and Chinese.

5. I love finding, looking at and saving beautiful and inspiring pictures on Tumblr, Instagram and all over the Internet. The collection of them on my computer takes gigabytes of space.

6. I finished musical school majoring in piano, took the art classes, was part of folk dance group and played tennis throughout my childhood and teenage years.

7. I love working out and eating healthy, but I also have sweet tooth, so once in a week I indulge in cheesecakes, ice-creams, pancakes, croissants and candy.

8. I love drawing and painting. It is more than a hobby, more than a work, it’s the way of life, my mission and my purpose.

9. I’ve been an exchange student in US and lived for a year in Parker, Colorado.

10. I love stuffed animals and I don’t care if I’m too old to have them 🙂 My Mom still brings me one from every trip.

11. I cannot blow a bubble with gum.

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And now is the time to answer Zaychishka’s questions:

1. What subject did you least like the most in school? (it could be from elementary, high school, college/university etc)

I hated chemistry and physics. Ironically, my Mom has degree in chemistry and my Dad in physics. I guess sometimes the apple does fall far from the tree.

2. If you could be any animal what would you be?

Tiger! I’ve been born in the year of a Tiger according to Chinese horoscope and I think tiger has all the qualities I have or wish to have – brave, courageous, fearless, graceful.

3. Which ancient culture fascinates you the most?

That’s an interesting one, because there are so many! Having mixed blood, I’ve been strangely drawn to different cultures and countries… I love Spain and all of Latin America countries… the language and the architecture, the streets of Barcelona all seemed familiar to me or my soul. Also, the Turkish and Arabic culture hold a strong place in my heart, which probably resembles with my roots and seems very native to me. Chinese culture is also very exotic and interesting.

4. If you could talk to anyone in the world, who would be the person you would want to have a sit down conversation with? (dead or alive)

Wow! I have a huge list! 🙂 Few names I can recall from the top of my head are Buddha, prophet Muhammad (pbuh), Jesus, Plato, Albert Einstein, Nicola Tesla, mother Teresa, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Steve Jobs, Deepak Chopra, Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Angelina Jolie. I could go on and on, but I’m afraid the space that Wordpess allows for one post won’t be enough. 🙂

5. Have you ever been mistaken for a celebrity?

No, I haven’t, but everyone tells me that I look so much like Jennifer Lawrence and I find that flattering because I adore her. Sometimes, I wear my hair braided to look even more like her character, Kateniss Everdeen from the Hunger Games.

6.  How did you build up the courage to put your words out there – with your blog, for all to see? (or did you even need any courage at all?)

I had a fashion blog before this one, so the blogging wasn’t totally new to me. But even though the other blog had lots of my pictures, I think that One Happy Blog exposes more of my personality, character and interests. In a way, it feels like being naked in public haha. I’ve done a lot of thinking while deciding between ‘public’ and ‘private’ options for publishing the blog. Finally, I decided to go public because if at least one person in the world finds the information I share interesting and inspiring, it is worth it.

7. Where are you from? Which country?

I’m from Azerbaijan.

8. What is a funny misconception about the country you are from? (Or stereotype).

A lot of people think that we’re all super rich and bathe in oil and eat caviar all day. hahaha 🙂

9. What is something that you do that you consider relaxing?

Reading books, listening to chill-out / lounge music, meditation, walking by myself and sleeping (I love to get a good sleep 🙂

10. What inspires you to blog? (this is a very good & timeless question)

Indeed, it’s a great question! I find inspiration almost everywhere around me. What motivates me to blog is meeting awesome people, learning new and interesting things from them and when they like your posts and find them interesting and useful, that’s a bliss.

11. What would be an ideal dinner & dessert? Any scenario would work, let your thoughts run wild.

Something cheesy and romantic. A nice light dinner with rose wine on a rooftop somewhere with a beautiful view followed by romantic walk in the rain and then a coffee and macaroons to get warm.

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1. Joana Miranda Studio for her beautiful artworks, designs and inspiration

2. Awesome AJ for inspiration, motivation and Law of Attraction wisdom

3. Dena’s good life for lovely photos and lovely words

4. Pilot Fish for wisdom and amazing pictures

5. Ute Smile for inspiration and fun

6. Revsandy’s blog for her infinite faith and attitude of gratitude

7. Positive Provocations for the encouragement, support and motivation

8. Geekgalz for incredibly cute DIYs, scrapping pictures and inspiration

9. Elena Fashion Girl! which I hope will return soon with fashion news and trends

10. Lifestyle Fitness for healthy eating, fitness and motivation

11. Aminelle Nali – Splendiferous Doses of Happiness would be our sister blog because our outlooks on life, positivity and happiness are just the same!

*Through this exercise I realized that there are so much more than just 11 blogs that I adore and love – so if you’re reading this, but have not been nominated, know that I love you and that you’re awesome and the only reason you didn’t make it here is because I went from the end of the list selecting the blogs I’ve been following for the longest time.

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And now it’s time for my questions to the nominees:

1. What superpowers or unhuman abilities would you like to have (if any)?

2. What country would you like to live in and why?

3. If you could help the world in only one way, what would it be and why? (Examples: remove world hunger, provide fresh water to everyone, clean the air, etc.)

4. Your most memorable childhood event.

5. What would you like to achieve with your blog and how do you see it at the top of it’s game?

6. What skill or talent you think you lack and would like to have? (singing, acting, programming, etc.)

7. What would you say or do if you met an alien?

8. What is one thing that you’d do in life if you had all the help and resources needed for it?

9. Write a few words from the lyrics of a song that first comes to your mind.

10. Name one fictional character from a movie or a book that you like or associate yourself with and explain why.

11. What would you like to get for your birthday? It could also be something you’ve always wanted when you were a child, but never did 🙂

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I love having my hair curly most of the time. Luckily, it is naturally quite wavy, but from time to time when I want more textured and defined curls, I use curling iron or hair rollers. Considering the humid and windy weather where I live, I need really strong hair products to help my curls stay and not fall apart as soon as I leave the house.

_vyrn_1015Wellaflex_Haarspray_Shiny_HoldI’ve been using hair products by Wella for a long time and was always satisfied with the results. Hairspray Wellaflex by Wella wasn’t exception. My curls stayed almost the same hours later. The one I’ve tried is Shiny Hold with strongest fixation – 5.

This is me right after I removed the rollers and sprayed my hair.

Before 1

And this is me hours later 🙂

After 1 After 2

When I met you in the summer