art & culture

Theodor Seuss Geisel was born on March 2, 1904 in Springfield MA- 111 years ago today! His children’s books, written under the pseudonym Dr. Seuss, are unlike any others, filled with completely unique stories and characters, always delivering timeless, inspiring messages.  Here are 10 of my favorite quotes to read and share in honor of his special day.  Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

1. “Today you are you, that is truer than true.  There is no one alive who is you-er than you.”

2. “A person’s a person, no matter how small.”

3. “Only you can control your future.”

4. “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own, and you know what you know. And you are the guy who’ll decide where to go.”

5. “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

6. “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”

7. “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

8. “You’ll miss the best things if you keep your eyes shut.”

9. “If things start happening, don’t worry, don’t stew, just go right along and you’ll start happening too.”

10. “And the turtles, of course…all the turtles are FREE. As turtles and, maybe, ALL creatures should be.”

Happy Birthday, E. E. Cummings!  The American poet was born in Cambridge, MA on October 14, 1894.  Today, in his honor, I’m sharing two of my favorite E. E. Cummings poems: “anyone lived in a pretty how town” and “You are tired”.  The first one is best read aloud to truly appreciate the rhythm of his words and the second is perfect for quiet contemplation.

anyone lived in a pretty how town

anyone lived in a pretty how town
(with up so floating many bells down)
spring summer autumn winter
he sang his didn’t he danced his did.

Women and men(both little and small)
cared for anyone not at all
they sowed their isn’t they reaped their same
sun moon stars rain

children guessed(but only a few
and down they forgot as up they grew
autumn winter spring summer)
that noone loved him more by more

when by now and tree by leaf
she laughed his joy she cried his grief
bird by snow and stir by still
anyone’s any was all to her

someones married their everyones
laughed their cryings and did their dance
(sleep wake hope and then)they
said their nevers they slept their dream

stars rain sun moon
(and only the snow can begin to explain
how children are apt to forget to remember
with up so floating many bells down)

one day anyone died i guess
(and noone stooped to kiss his face)
busy folk buried them side by side
little by little and was by was

all by all and deep by deep
and more by more they dream their sleep
noone and anyone earth by april
wish by spirit and if by yes.

Women and men(both dong and ding)
summer autumn winter spring
reaped their sowing and went their came
sun moon stars rain
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Ernest Hemingway was born on July 21, 1899- 115 years ago today! I compiled a list of 10 of my favorite Hemingway quotes and life lessons in honor of his special day.

The world breaks everyone and, afterward, many are strong at the broken places.
(A Farewell to Arms)

The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.

Never mistake motion for action.

Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.

I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.

Courage is grace under pressure.

It’s none of their business that you have to learn how to write. Let them think you were born that way.

Worry a little bit every day and in a lifetime you will lose a couple of years. If something is wrong, fix it if you can. But train yourself not to worry: Worry never fixes anything.

There is nothing else than now. There is neither yesterday, certainly, nor is there any tomorrow. How old must you be before you know that? There is only now, and if now is only two days, then two days is your life and everything in it will be in proportion. This is how you live a life in two days. And if you stop complaining and asking for what you never will get, you will have a good life. A good life is not measured by any biblical span.
(For Whom the Bell Tolls)

We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.
(The Wild Years)

One of my favorite artists, painter Gustav Klimt, was born on July 14, 1862 in Baumgarten, Austria- 152 years ago today!  I’ve chosen 10 of my favorite Klimt paintings in honor of his special day.  His style is perfect for introducing to children.  After viewing his works (ex:  Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer 1 is great for identifying shapes, Country Garden with Sunflowers is perfect for identifying colors), ask kids to draw their own Klimt-inspired work of art.  Happy Birthday, Gustav!

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Today, we mourn the loss of one of this world’s greatest authors and poets, Maya Angelou.  In her honor, I’m sharing the beautiful quote above and one of my favorite poems, “Phenomenal Woman”.  The poem, published in her 1978 collection And Still I Rise, is so incredibly powerful and moving, like all of her writing.  First, read the poem then listen to Maya read it in the video below.
Rest in peace, Maya Angelou.

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French Post-Impressionist painter Henri Rousseau was born on May 21, 1844- 170 years ago today!  Rousseau’s story is so inspiring- he was entirely self-taught.  Henri was born is the Loire Valley in France.  He went to Laval High School, where he excelled in drawing and music.  His father, who was a plumber, couldn’t afford to support his son’s desire to pursue the arts.  In fact, Henri had to become a boarder at his high school when his parents’ house was seized!  After finishing school, Henri worked for a lawyer, served in the army for four years, and then, after his father passed away, he returned home to care for his mother and work for the French Customs office.

It wasn’t until he was in his forties that he began seriously painting.   At age 49, he retired from his job so he could focus on his art!  To support himself financially, he worked odd jobs, like performing as a musician in the streets and teaching violin lessons.  During his time (and still often today) critics didn’t treat his paintings as true art.  They called his technique childish and his works flat and ordinary.  But he continued to follow his dream and paint, regardless of the criticism or his lack of formal training.    My favorite fact about Rousseau is that, although he is known for his depictions of colorful jungle scenes, he never traveled to any jungle- in fact, he never left France!  He used illustrated books and the Botanical Gardens in Paris as inspiration.  If you analyze his paintings, you’ll see that there are lots of animals that could have never been seen together in reality.  I absolutely love Rousseau’s paintings- they make me smile.  To me, they represent the power of passion and imagination.  If they are childish in any way, it is in their childish spirit- Rousseau’s inner child who refused to give up on his dream.

 Love this.

Here are my 6 favorite Rousseau paintings in honor of his special day!

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Russian painter Wasilly Kandinsky is one of the best artists to introduce to young children. His works use lots of colorful shapes in abstract compositions, perfect for shape/color recognition and imaginative thinking. I incorporated several of his paintings in TLB Music‘s Winter/Spring curriculum, “Colors with Cozmo”.  Here are 12 of my favorite Kandinsky paintings for kids! First, identify the colors and shapes in each painting then ask children to tell you what they see in each one. After looking at the paintings, make sure to print my Kandinsky Coloring Activity for Kids!

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Happy Mother’s Day! I love this photo of my mom with my sister and I taken in 1985.
In the mood for some nostalgia? Check out my photo collection, “Mothers: 100 Years in Photos from 1890-1990″, today!

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby was published on April 10, 1925- 89 years ago today! It’s one of my favorite books and had me entranced with New York City long before I moved here. In honor of its birthday, I gathered some of my favorite quotes from the novel.

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Today, in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., I thought I’d share some of his most inspiring quotes.  His words of wisdom are poignant, powerful, and timeless.


1. “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

2. “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”

3. “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”

4. “The time is always right to do what is right.”

5. “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”

6. “The quality, not the longevity, of one’s life is what is important.”

7. “I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”

8. “We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear.”

9. “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”

10. “Means we use must be as pure as the ends we seek.”

(photo source)


Last week, we hosted our first annual Halloween Costume Party at TLB Music!  Our amazing staff teamed up to transform our music studio and playspace with giant cobwebs, bats, jack-o-lanterns, lights, balloons, LED candles, and more.  We created a Trick-or-Treat table filled with yummy vegan sweets like YumEarth lollipops, Dandies Marshmallows, Newman’s Own Cookies, and fruit.  I also baked almost 300 mini brownies!  (Brownies are so easy to veganize:  just substitute eggs with flax eggs in any brownie recipe.)  Continue reading to see my photos from the party!

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On November 1, 1946, the first NBA (then called the BAA) basketball game took place in Toronto. The game was The New York Knicks against the Toronto Raptors at Maple Leaf Gardens and the event drew in over 7000 spectators, most who knew very little about basketball! The Knicks won 68-66. Some fun facts I learned today:

-Basketball players salaries were around $5000 per season.*
-The first BAA teams paid a $10,000 franchise fee.*
-If you were taller than the tallest Raptors player (6 ft 8 in), you could attend the opening game for free!

*Source: “The First Game” by Sam Goldaper on the NBA Encyclopedia.
Top Photo Source

{Debussy at the piano, 1893}

Today is French composer Claude Debussy’s birthday.  He was born on August 22, 1862 and is one of my favorite classical composers. We often feature his compositions in our kids music classes at TLB.  When I saw today’s Goodle Doodle dedicated to him, it reminded me of the perfect video to share in his honor!  The video below is created by Steven Malinowski’s “music animation machine” and is set to Debussy’s Arabesque No. 1, one of the most beautiful, soothing pieces of music written for piano. Last August, I shared another similar animation of Debussy’s Clair de Lune. If you haven’t seen Malinowski’s mesmerizing “music animation machine”, I highly recommend it!
Enjoy and share!




{About the Photo}

On August 14, 1945, when the surrender of Japan was announced in the United States, ending World War II, everyone took to the the streets to celebrate. In Times Square, a photographer named Alfred Eisenstaedt was taking pictures of the spontaneous scene and spotted a young sailor running around kissing every woman he could find. Just south of 45th street, the man grabbed a nurse and Alfred captured the moment of their kiss, with the intersection of Broadway and Seventh in the background. The photo, entitled V-J Day in Times Square, was published a week later in a Life magazine spread and become one of the most iconic images of the era.

Did you know that another view of the same kiss was published in the New York Times? This one is called Kissing the War Goodbye, taken by photo journalist Victor Jorgensen:

(click here to enlarge photo)

photo source 1
photo source 2

Today is National Lasagna Day! This is one of my favorite recipes from my Vegan Recipes & Foods Pinterest board. Doesn’t it look delicious?  It is the Vegan Lasagna with Basil Cashew Cheeze from Oh She Glows, photographed and reviewed by 86 Lemons.  Basil cashew cheese is one of the best vegan foods I’ve been introduced to in the last couple years!  It is so diverse:  you can spread it on bread and crackers, bake it on pizza, make creamy sauce with it, or cover it with breadcrumbs and pan fry!  Make your own following the recipe above or buy a pre-made version, like the amazing basil cashew spread called Basilcotta from Regal Vegan.

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