Inspiration of the day - a beautiful smile

This is Deniz Baysal, a young Turkish actress. I am mesmerized by her beautiful smile in this photo and who knows, maybe she’ll turn out to be in one of my future paintings 🙂

Hope this photo brought a smile on your face too 🙂

xx,

Natella

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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.

 

I just can’t get enough of this beautiful look by Ulyana Sergeenko.

Ulyana Sergeenko

Travel with me around Azerbaijan: Ateshgah

Hope you’re having a great day, my lovely readers!

I decided to start a new series of posts, called Travel with me. I love exploring new places, learning about different cultures and ancient buildings, tasting new food and having a little adventure and I want to share this magic with you.

I decided to start with my beloved home country, Azerbaijan and today I’m taking you on a trip to Ateshgah, the Fire Temple.

Ateshgah is a castle-like religious structure located 30 km away from Baku in Surakhani. Our adventure started right after departure as neither I nor my friend been there before and we had to lay down a route through Google Maps. Except for few wrong turns (sometimes what looks right turn on Google Maps may actually turn out to be left and few roads that we came across that weren’t on the map) we made it safe and sound. Here is Ateshgah on Google Maps.

Ateshgah was built in 17th – 18th centuries, but the history of this place dates even further back when local people worshiped at this site because of the “seven holes with burning flames” and thus the name of Surakhani – “holes with burning fountains”.

Ateshgah consists of the temple and tetra-pillar altar in the middle and pentagonal monastery complex with the courtyard around the temple. Ateshgah means “home of fire”. The name refers to the fact that the complex was built atop of natural gas field that produced spontaneous flame from gas seepage (gas coming out of the ground comes in contact with oxygen and creates a flame).

At different times the temple welcomed Zoroastrian and Indian worshipers.

After 1883 the flow of natural gas to this area stopped due to heavy exploitation of the field by petroleum plants nearby and the temple was abandoned. In 1975 the complex was turned into museum. Today, the fire in Ateshgah is fed by the mains gas piped from Baku.

Interesting facts:

  • Avraham Firkowicz, a Karaite collector, wrote about his meeting in Darband in 1840 with fireworshiper from Baku. Firkowicz asked the worshipper “Why do you worship fire?” Fireworshiper replied that they do not worship fire at all, but the Creator, which is not a person, but rather a “matter” (abstraction) called Q’rţ’, and symbolized by fire. Term Q’rţ’ (“kirdar”) means in Pahlavi and Avestan as “one who does”, “creator”.
  • There is an exact replica of this eternal natural gas flame temple on a smaller scale in India at Kangra valley Himachal Pradesh. This Indian temple is called Jwalamukhi, Jwala meaning a natural fire and Mukhi meaning mouth in Sanskrit. There the fire is considered an incarnation of the goddess Durga.
  • In 1858, the great French novelist Alexander Dumas (“the father”) (1802-1870), who is remembered for writing “The Count of Monte Cristo” and “The Three Mousketeers,” visited the Caucasus. On his nine-month journey throughout the region, one of the places that captured his imagination was Atashgah. Here is how he described the place:

 

“Great tongues of flame soared in the air from the hundreds of tiny round fissures in the ground. The wind would scatter the flames, curve them and then straighten them, spreading them along the ground and then lifting them up to heavens again. But it was impossible for the wind to extinguish them.

There was a big quadrangular building which also was lit by a fire. Reflections of the flames danced on the walls of the building, making it seem like the building itself was moving.

There was a white washed temple, surrounded by little ovens again filled with tongues of flame. The gas burned with such loud noise that each of these little ovens sounded like a big furnace. On the roof, great tongues of flame were emitted from each of the four corners of the big cupola.”

Information in this post is based on Ateshgah on Wikipedia and Ateshgah in Azerbaijan International by Farid Alakbarov.

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Album of the day: G I R L by Pharrell Williams

pharrell_girl_album_cover_a_s

Pharrell Williams is one of my favorite artists. His and Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” was a theme song of last summer, then was “Blurred Lines” with Robin Thicke and after that absolutely amazing masterpiece “Happy”.

If I could select a theme song for One Happy Blog and as a soundtrack of my life, that would certainly be “Happy”. I cannot describe enough how much I love it! It’s lyrics, groovy music, to which you just can’t help, but dance and amazing 24 hour music video! This song has been on repeat and writing, doing stuff around the house and painting while listening to it, has been awesome and fun!

24 Hours of Happy!

The phrase that always cheers me up when I hear it is “Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof!” 🙂 Inspired by The Daily Post – Pick Me Up.

Of course, I was super excited when I heard about his recent album G I R L and Pharrell did not disappoint me. I rarely buy the entire album, but this one is so worth it. Every track is absolutely amazing and one track perfectly flows into another and creates a story. I love Pharrell’s vocals and his collaboration with Justin Timberlake (my love) and Alicia Keys (another love) is also awesome!

Ok, less talking… a song is worth a thousand words, so I’m sharing you my favorites from his album and if you would like to buy the album on iTunes, here is the link.

Have a happy day!

Love,

Natella 🙂

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Thought of the day: Miracles are just around the corner

Some time ago I saw a beautiful blooming purple tree while driving  in the neighborhood. I really wanted to take a picture for use in one of my future drawings and few days ago we decided to walk there with my Dad. How much was I surprised to find not just one, but so many other purple blooming trees and flowers and even a waterfall built-in the wall of the park.

We took so many beautiful pictures, that now there is enough material for many more paintings and just had a lot of fun.

Spring is so beautiful and I’m living such a happy life and it all starts with gratitude. When you look on the bright side, when you find things to appreciate and be grateful for (and there are plenty in any situation!) and the more you love God and the Universe, the more it loves you back and shows you miracles all around you, that you didn’t see before! 🙂

Have a fantastic awesome super happy day! I know I’m having one!

Love and light,

Natella

One of "Flame Towers"
One of “Flame Towers”

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Love Taylor Swift in this really cute Louis Vuitton dress.

Every fall I want to cut my bangs similar to hers. I have really long hair and want to try a different look without losing the length. I hope to finally try this haircut after summer.

I’m working now on an illustration inspired by this cover. Hope to post it on the blog next week! Stay tuned and have a great weekend!

Elle March 2013 cover Taylor Swift - 1happyblog

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Just 1 day left to spring! To sunshine, fresh flowers, blooming trees and love in the air!

Tulips

 

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Bird’s-eye view Azerbaijan

Few days ago I stumbled upon gorgeous bird’s-eye view photos of my homeland, Azerbaijan. It’s truly amazing how familiar places can look so different when you change the angle and your perspective!

Icheri Sheher, Baku
Icheri Sheher, Baku

Images are courtesy of Gapp.az and Bakcell.

Flame Towers, Baku
Flame Towers, Baku

I go to sleep and then I wake up in a strange and beautiful dream. I open my eyes and I see that the sun has lit my room and painted all things in bright colors. There’s so much light everywhere around me! It must be a warm and sunny day. I get up and I walk to the living room. It’s is also illuminated by the light. I open the door and now I’m standing on the porch smelling the flowers and filling the lungs with fresh air.

To this day I never felt this way before! I feel life running through my veins! I see myself as strong and gentle being, passionate and calm at the same time. I’m going with the flow of the Universe, trusting the Divine. I feel lightweight. In fact, I feel so light that I can easily take off the ground and touch the sky, fill the sky and be one with it. In a flash of light, I remember my childhood dreams. I was sitting on the balcony watching birds. How they slowly flap their wings to gain height and then glide so gracefully, so effortlessly, like they are one with the sky.

Is it possible? Can my childhood dream come true? Cautiously I climb on the balcony railing and I feel wings on my back. I spread the wings and I push off the ground. Flying seems so natural! As if I was meant to! As if I always knew how to fly, just haven’t used this gift for a while! Gliding and rising above the trees and roads I watch people, cars and buildings become smaller and smaller.

I head towards the sea. Then I fly above the city. Everything seems so different from above! Then I head even further toward the mountain tops. I watch the rivers and roads framing the beautiful green land. Such a masterpiece! Creator is the greatest artist! Earth as a canvas, I imagine him mixing  colors, letting them flow one onto another, creating steady strokes, carrying over passion and love upon the painting and smiling at the beauty of his creations.

Like an eagle, I swirl effortlessly, one with the wind, I pause only to notice how all the problems, concerns, everything that seemed so large and important is nothing more than a dot in the vast Universe. I remember that infinite happiness I felt when I was a child. I remember my true self, my infinite nature and limitless capabilities. I will wake up from this dream, but I will always remember.

National Flag Square, Baku
National Flag Square, Baku
Heydar Aliyev Center, Baku
Heydar Aliyev Center, Baku
International Mugam Center, Baku
International Mugam Center, Baku
Fountain Square, Baku
Fountain Square, Baku
National Flag Square, Baku
National Flag Square, Baku
Georgian church
Georgian church
Kurkosa island, Neftchala
Kurkosa island, Neftchala
Mingachevir reservoir
Mingachevir reservoir
Ismailli
Ismailli
Kurkosa island, Neftchala
Kurkosa island, Neftchala
Zaqatala
Zaqatala
Nabran
Nabran
Mingachevir reservoir
Mingachevir reservoir
Neftchala lake
Neftchala lake

For more beautiful pictures, please visit azerbaijan.gapp.az