One World Trade Observatory: New York City

The new One World Trade center is an amazing building, not one because of its architecture but because of its history. It is the tallest building in the USA and has one of the best views of New York City! The observatory has a unique view of the bay and even New Jersey. The best time to go here is right before sunrise to see it during the day and at night!

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5 Things You Need to Know Before Visiting Chernobyl

There are lots of homeless dogs living around the check points in Chernobyl and the general vicinity. These dogs are no more radioactive than the ones you’ll see around Kyiv.

This past December I did something I have wanted to do for years! I got to visit Chernobyl. I considered it to be just another exciting day trip, but then my family membered began crossing themselves and praying under their breath whenever I mentioned it.

This made me a little nervous, so I started doing some research. The information I read on English-speaking tourist websites varied greatly from what local Ukrainian websites said. I ended up sitting in the van confused and slightly worried about my safety… I wish somehow had told me the following:

1. It is 100% safe to visit Chernobyl on a tour

Although thousands if not tens of thousands suffered from the negative side effects of radiation and even died, visiting Chernobyl today is completely safe. There are people living within the “danger” zone year round. Even in the frosty December temperatures, we saw a lady going about her day from a store in Chernobyl.

The city that no one lives in is Pripyat, where certain areas do have radiation hot spots. Although no one lives there, our tour guide told us that many people break in illegally and spend the night or several nights in the long-abandoned buildings telling ghost stories and sometimes creating beautifully haunting graffiti.

2. The dogs are not radioactive

There are lots of homeless dogs living around the check points in Chernobyl and the general vicinity. These dogs are no more radioactive than the ones you’ll see around Kyiv. These dogs are all spayed, vaccinated, and they are taken care of by the local residents and employees. These dogs are also super sweet and love a good scratch. Our guide was petting them and reassuring us that it was safe!

3. Tour prices vary greatly, shop around

When Isaac and I were searching for tickets, we found tours for as much as $300 per person. Keep in mind that there are different tours, including overnight that let you sleep in a hotel in Chernobyl! But even the same day trip can vary in price, which is why I let my mom search Ukrainian websites for the best one.

The tour she chose had tickets for about $150 for foreigners and only $100 for Ukrainian-passport holders. Apparently it was the European Union, who have sponsored the protection of Chernobyl, who made the law that locals should be able to visit and learn about their history at a discount.

4. There are lots of rules on the tour

According to my mom, all these rules are just for show as part of the thrilling experience. I can see why she would think that, but I didn’t mess with any of them. One guy on our tour, however, broke every single one without consequence. He walked inside of buildings that he was told to stay out of and he took photos of things he was told not to.  Finally, I would bet anything that he snuck out souvenir that he collected along the way.

5. It is a unique and exciting experience

Even if it’s no longer unsafe and if all the precautions are overdone, what happened in Chernobyl is an important part of history. I hope that all tours play the Chernobyl documentary on the way there. You should watch it even if you never go on the tour.

The facts are that even today, there is no safe way to completely secure the reactor. Every few years, new precautions need to be made. While all of this is happening, there are still nuclear generators around the world and their dangers are 100% real. The accident at Chernobyl was unexpected and it was a miracle that it didn’t wipe out all of Europe. If it hadn’t been for the quick thinking of a handful of brave heroes, most of Europe would be unlivable today.

If you get the chance to visit Chernobyl, don’t forget where you are and what happened there. So many people suffered painfully and died in the most horrible way due to the accident. It was a terrible accident that could have been worse, but was absolutely devastating to so many already. Think about that when you walk through the abandoned kindergarten and past the homes of what was once the most prosperous city in the Soviet Union.

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Bezzikapa Illustrations by Kate

I think I always wanted to be an artist. I even went to art school, but for a long time I wasn’t considering it as a serious carrier, somehow. Couple of years ago, I realized that I’m not happy with what I’m doing…

Bezzikapa illustrations are designed by Kate, who lives in Prague. You can find her artist store here. You can find more of her links, including Instagram at the end of this post. 

How did you start doing this?

I think I always wanted to be an artist. I even went to art school, but for a long time I wasn’t considering it as a serious carrier, somehow. Couple of years ago, I realized that I’m not happy with what I’m doing (it was marketing) and that I have time to work on what I would really enjoy.

I started with participating in different illustration contests, and I’m slowly working on my artist shops. For now, I’m choosing the platforms that will print and deliver products with my designs themselves, so that I have more time to create. I believe, I’m still in the beginning of my long path!

This is the first Illustration I made (during the past few years) that I’m proud of 🙂

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What is the process of creating the design? Which part is your favorite?

I have a video 🙂

The first step, is the most difficult – the blank slate. I’m more a rational person, than creative, thinking of ideas can be a painful process for me. Sometimes when I have a good idea, I’m terrified that it can already exist, that it was on a surface, not clever or interesting enough.

It can take me a day or two to come up with something. I hope it will get easier in time.

There’s also a research part – that’s mostly googling. Styles, technics, references, poses, features, – anything that can help with the idea, and creation process.

And then, well, I just draw. I mostly use the Procreate application on iPad. And then make finishing touches in Photoshop.

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Drawing “fluffy” characters can take me 5-12 hours:

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Something simpler takes less time, of course:

Do you hope to do anything different/new in the future?

I want to design cool book covers, magazine covers and create book illustrations!

What has been your favorite design so far?

Recently I started working on dogs breeds illustrations. I love this one:

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What are your other hobbies?

I mostly collect stuff: beer caps, beer coasters, coins, books and stuffed toys. I like linguistics, documentaries and reading!

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You have a cat, does the cat help you or distract you from work?

She do both. She is my little helper, but also sometimes she sits on me, so I can’t work!

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You can see more of Kate’s work here: https://bezzikapa.threadless.com/

You can follow her on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bezzikapa/

Redbubble: https://www.redbubble.com/people/Bezzikapa

You can even find buy her designs on Society6: https://society6.com/bezzikapa

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Moana-Style Resin Flowers 25% Off

These beautiful Hawaiian-style earrings already cost $8.99 with free shipping… now this?!

Spring is coming and we’re about to see the world begin to bloom. Why not bloom with it? These Moana-style resin earrings and necklaces are bright, lightweight and they can be the center piece of any outfit! Pick amongst the various styles and colors. You can find these on my Etsy store, Everyfelt. They have dainty plated sterling silver hooks, cost just $8.99 and ship anywhere in the US for free! For the next 31 days, you can get them for an additional 25% off with the coupon: MOANA25.

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Chernobyl Photos, Ukraine 2018

Only 10,000 people visit Chernobyl a year and I was one of them in 2018.

This December I went to Chernobyl during my visit to Ukraine. It’s funny that so many people talk about visiting, but as a Ukrainian, it didn’t cross my mind until my husband mentioned it. Many of my relatives, and my husband who suggested it in the first place, were scared of the potential dangers. My mother on the other hand, got really excited and asked to came along.

So the three of us went on a day trip to this fascinating place that only 10,000 people a year! I’ll give you more details soon, for now, check out the photos:

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What’s it like to live in Ukraine?

Two expats talk about what it’s like to live in Ukraine and what they do or don’t like!

Although I spent most of my life in the Czech Republic, I am originally from Ukraine. I got to visit during Christmas 2018 and I like to visit every year or every other year. I only ‘lived’ in Ukraine until I was three and a half, so it didn’t really count. When I visit, I love being there and I wonder what life would be like there.

I also follow Quora. Out of all the newsletters I subscribe to, it’s the only one I actually open and read regularly. Based on the questions that you click and the interests that you select when you sign up, it’ll learn exactly what you like. Today, I saw a question about Ukraine and I couldn’t help clicking. Here it is: https://www.quora.com/What-do-you-like-and-dislike-about-living-in-Ukraine

What do you like and dislike about living in Ukraine?

Thank you Alain Belanger for this answer:

I’ll answer this as an expat living in Kyiv for the past 18 months. It’s an outsider/foreigner’s perspective and it’s also the perspective of someone who has a job that provides an income that most Ukrainians could only dream about. With those caveats, here are my thoughts. Let’s start with the likes:

  • It’s inexpensive. Food, rent, utilities, transportation, restaurants, etc, it’s all cheaper than in my home country of Canada, cheaper than in the “West” in general.
  • The people are fairly friendly and welcoming, despite my poor Ukrainian and Russian language skills, I’ve still had mostly positive experiences. It’s also pretty safe as long as you’re reasonably street wise and exercise a normal amount of caution.
  • A lot of tourist gems that are usually little known in the West. Many interesting and historically rich towns and cities and beautiful landscapes.
  • It’s close to the EU, as well as Russia, Turkey, large parts of the Middle East, etc. Reasonably cheap flights aren’t that difficult to find.

Now for the dislikes:

  • Poor infrastructure. Roads, rail, ports, airports, parks, etc can be in very bad shape.
  • Pervasive corruption. It’s behind the scenes and doesn’t emerge much in day to day life in an obvious way. I’ve never been shaken down for a bribe, but it’s a serious problem nonetheless that is holding the country back and those in power aren’t doing enough to combat it.
  • The huge inequality and poverty. Labor just isn’t valued much and salaries are pitiable. In my work place my Ukrainian coworkers are paid a very small fraction of what I’m being paid, for essentially doing the same work. The unfairness of it jumps out at me, but the fact is that teachers are severely underpaid and undervalued in Ukraine, but native-speaker foreigners can command high wages.

Here’s another answer by Oluwaseun Oloruntegbe:

What I like about living in Ukraine

  1. It is relatively peaceful and safe. Regardless of the recent crisis in the East and Crimea, it still feels safe to live here.
  2. Cheap and quality internet access – both WLAN and 3G/4G. Internet access does not get any cheaper than it is in Ukraine.
  3. The food – I love the variety. I love that fruits are available and affordable in summer.
  4. The people – I love the sensible ones, I don’t care much for the stupid ones.
  5. Winter – it’s beautiful and white until it becomes unbearable (for a short while)
  6. Springs – helps me appreciate the beauty of life after a cold and colorless winter
  7. Autumn – I love the yellow leaves – makes me appreciate the beauty of life
  8. Transportation – getting from A to B in Ukraine is as easy and affordable as it gets. You don’t have a car, not a big deal. Just take the metro, mashrutka, train, taxi, uber, tramvai, trolleybus etc. as everyone else. Even car owners park at the metro station and take the metro. I know I do (only I park at home).
  9. Family – I love that many Ukrainians still value family values
  10. Family – My family is here and I love waking up to their beautiful faces everyday.
  11. Affordable living – for a beautiful and capital city like Kyiv, it is fairly affordable as are other cities in Ukraine.

What I don’t like about living in Ukraine

  1. Winter – it’s wet, cold, slippery, and mostly unnecessary
  2. People – I don’t care for people who have made alcohol and cigarettes the center of their lives. I despise those who abuse others (including children and women) under the influence of alcohol
  3. Low salary – I think I do well for myself but I hate seeing people, who work hard for so little, suffer
  4. The politics – it’s weird and confusing. I think Ukrainians can do better than the people they (or are forced to) elect to represent them
  5. Labor migration – I hate seeing the best people (character, intelligence, and entrepreneurship wise) migrate to the United States or the European Union. Ukraine needs its best people to grow at a faster rate
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Everyfelt: My Etsy Store Got a Makeover!

Some of you may already know that I have an Etsy store that I work on when I’m not traveling, writing, YouTube video making, playing with Smiley and working at my 9 to 5. It’s been on the back burner for a while but I was still making sales, so I decided to refresh it and see what will happen!

Check out some of my new product pictures, either below or directly in my store:   https://etsy.me/2Xc5quv

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