venice italy grand canal rialto bridge

Exploring the Idyllic Islands of Venice

The way to discover Venice is to go without any agenda and get completely lost. As you try to navigate your way to the Rialto Bridge and St. Mark’s Square, you will traverse across bridges and canals and spontaneously find quaint restaurants, quirky shops, holy churches, and hoards of visitors and Venetians alike. While walking is one half of the experience of exploring the floating city, the other half is to be seen on water through the only mode of transportation around the roadless island—boats, from vaporetto (ferry) to taxi acquei (water taxis), and yes, even a once-in-a-lifetime gondola ride.

Beyond Venice’s enclosed group of 118 islands are even more islands to uncover within the Venetian Lagoon, most notable among them are Murano, Burano, and Torcello.

Here are a selection of photographs from the four Venetian islands.

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john legend darkness light tour

John Legend Gives Love and Light on Darkness and Light Tour

John Legend is a provider of music therapy at its finest. With his soothing and soulful voice, his calm and wise manner of speaking to his audience, his easy and smooth stage presence, and his emotional and thoughtful songs, he delivers an uplifting and unforgettable show that elevates the concert experience for those lucky enough to be present. Legend brought all this and more to his Darkness and Light tour stop in Vancouver at Rogers Arena on June 1st.

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uffizi botticelli birth venus

Florence’s Must-See Artistic Masterpieces

Under the Tuscan sun is where one can discover the birthplace of the Renaissance — Florence. The capital of the Italy’s region of Tuscany is rife with the legacies of renowned Renaissance figures such as Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Raphael, Donatello, Botticelli, Titian, and Giambologna, all of whom projected the ideals of the flourishing period of cultural rebirth and revival into their artwork.

A treasure trove for art lovers, Florence is the keeper of many of the greatest artistic masterpieces of the Western world. Here are a selection of photographs of the marvelous sculptures and glorious paintings waiting to be seen in Florence, Italy.

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elephant andy brunner

Life Lessons Learned From… Kicking the Elephant Out of the Room

Death. Illness. Divorce. Job loss. We will all inevitably encounter hard times through devastating losses in our lives. It is through how we deal with our grief and eventually rebuild from tragedy that we discover the full capabilities of the human spirit. Someone who has known this well over the past two years is Sheryl Sandberg.

In Sandberg’s latest book, Option B, the Lean In Foundation founder and Chief Operating Officer of Facebook draws from the experience of her late husband’s death to open up the discussion around building resilience in the face of adversity. The concept of post-traumatic growth and finding greater strength and deeper meaning in the wake of crushing blows resonates with me. In particular, I found the chapter on kicking out “the elephant in the room” to be most profound. During a loved one’s time of bereavement, we tend to avoid discussions on loss and grief, which, will well-intentioned, can actually have the opposite effect of providing comfort during tough times. This is a hard truth we need to rectify.

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pantheon fontana fountain rome italy

A Tour of Rome’s Most Enchanting Fountains

Earlier this April, I wandered the cobblestone streets of Rome, Italy in search of ancient artifacts and baroque beauty. What I discovered was that Roman design is best embodied in a specific architectural piece — the water fountain.

From the oldest fountain in Rome in Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere (dating back to the 8th century) to the most famous fountain of all, Trevi Fountain, here are some snapshots of the towering creations and flowing water streams I found during my recent Roman holiday.

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