5 Mindful Meditation Videos

Mindfulness has been shown to be very beneficial to our health. We have selected 5 guided mindfulness meditation videos on YouTube with high viewing rates that you can use for learning to be completely present in the moment, letting go of your thoughts and achieving calmness.

Amazing Food Art Ideas

Whether you love cooking or not, these 10 food art ideas can definitely inspire you to be more creative in whatever you do this weekend. Enjoy and have a great weekend!




Up Lady Angle. Source: http://www.jacobsfooddiaries.com/


Love Spaghetti. PHOTO AGUSTÍN NIETO PHOTOGRAPHY/FACEBOOK. Source: https://www.finedininglovers.com/blog/out-of-the-blue/emoji-food-art/


Up Inspiration. Source: http://www.jacobsfooddiaries.com/

Art Therapy

Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine
COPYRIGHT 2005 The Gale Group, Inc.


Art therapy, sometimes called creative arts therapy or expressive arts therapy, encourages people to express and understand emotions through artistic expression and through the creative process.


Humans have expressed themselves with symbols throughout history. Masks, ritual pottery, costumes, other objects used in rituals, cave drawings, Egyptian hieroglyphics, and Celtic art and symbols are all visual records of self-expression and communication through art. Art has also been associated spiritual power, and such artistic forms as the Hindu and Buddhist mandala and Native American sand painting are considered powerful healing tools.

In the late nineteenth century, French psychiatrists Ambrose Tardieu and Paul-Max Simon both published studies on the similar characteristics of and symbolism in the artwork of the mentally ill. Tardieu and Simon viewed art therapy as an effective diagnostic tool to identify specific types of mental illness or traumatic events. Later, psychologists would use this diagnostic aspect to develop psychological drawing tests (the Draw-A-Man test, the Draw-A-Person Questionnaire [DAP.Q]) and projective personality tests involving visual symbol recognition (e.g., the Rorschach Inkblot Test, the Thematic Apperception Test [TAT], and the Holtzman Inkblot Test [HIT]).

The growing popularity of milieu therapies at psychiatric institutions in the twentieth century was an important factor in the development of art therapy in the United States. Milieu therapies (or environmental therapy ) focus on putting the patient in a controlled therapeutic social setting that provides the patient with opportunities to gain self-confidence and interact with peers in a positive way. Activities that encourage self-discovery and empowerment such as art, music, dance, and writing are important components of this approach.

Educator and therapist Margaret Naumburg was a follower of both Freud and Jung, and incorporated art into psychotherapy as a means for her patients to visualize and recognize the unconscious. She founded the Walden School in 1915, where she used students’ artworks in psychological counseling. She published extensively on the subject and taught seminars on the technique at New York University in the 1950s. Today, she is considered the founder of art therapy in the United States.

In the 1930s, Karl, William, and Charles Menninger introduced an art therapy program at their Kansas-based psychiatric hospital, the Menninger Clinic. The Menninger Clinic employed a number of artists in residence in the following years, and the facility was also considered a leader in the art therapy movement through the 1950s and 60s. Other noted art therapy pioneers who emerged in the 50s and 60s include Edith Kramer, Hanna Yaxa Kwiatkowska (National Institute of Mental Health), and Janie Rhyne.


Art therapy provides the client-artist with critical insight into emotions, thoughts, and feelings. Key benefits of the art therapy process include:

  • Self-discovery. At its most successful, art therapy triggers an emotional catharsis.
  • Personal fulfillment. The creation of a tangible reward can build confidence and nurture feelings of self-worth. Personal fulfillment comes from both the creative and the analytical components of the artistic process.
  • Empowerment. Art therapy can help people visually express emotions and fears that they cannot express through conventional means, and can give them some sense of control over these feelings.
  • Relaxation and stress relief. Chronic stress can be harmful to both mind and body. Stress can weaken and damage the immune system, can cause insomnia and depression , and can trigger circulatory problems (like high blood pressure and irregular heartbeats). When used alone or in combination with other relaxation techniques such as guided imagery , art therapy can effectively relieve stress.
  • Symptom relief and physical rehabilitation. Art therapy can also help patients cope with pain. This therapy can promote physiological healing when patients identify and work through anger, resentment, and other emotional stressors. It is often prescribed to accompany pain control therapy for chronically and terminally ill patients.


Art therapy, sometimes called expressive art or art psychology, encourages self-discovery and emotional growth. It is a two part process, involving both the creation of art and the discovery of its meaning. Rooted in Freud and Jung’s theories of the subconscious and unconscious, art therapy is based on the assumption that visual symbols and images are the most accessible and natural form of communication to the human experience. Patients are encouraged to visualize, and then create, the thoughts and emotions that they cannot talk about. The resulting artwork is then reviewed and its meaning interpreted by the patient.

The “analysis” of the artwork produced in art therapy typically allows patients to gain some level of insight into their feelings and lets them to work through these issues in a constructive manner. Art therapy is typically practiced in conjunction with individual, group, or family psychotherapy (talk therapy). While a therapist may provide critical guidance for these activities, a key feature of effective art therapy is that the patient/artist, not the therapist, directs the interpretation of the artwork.

Art therapy can be a particularly useful treatment tool for children, who frequently have limited language skills. By drawing or using other visual means to express troublesome feelings, younger patients can begin to address these issues, even if they cannot identify or label these emotions with words. Art therapy is also valuable for adolescents and adults who are unable or unwilling to talk about thoughts and feelings.

Beyond its use in mental health treatment, art therapy is also used with traditional medicine to treat organic diseases and conditions. The connection between mental and physical health is well documented, and art therapy can promote healing by relieving stress and allowing the patient to develop coping skills.

Art therapy has traditionally centered on visual mediums, like paintings, sculptures, and drawings. Some mental healthcare providers have now broadened the definition to include music, film, dance, writing, and other types of artistic expression.

Art therapy is often one part of a psychiatric inpatient or outpatient treatment program, and it can take place in individual or group therapy sessions. Group art therapy sessions often take place in hospital, clinic, shelter, and community program settings. These group therapy sessions can have the added benefits of positive social interaction, empathy, and support from peers. The client-artist can learn that others have similar concerns and issues.


Before starting art therapy, the therapist may have an introductory session with the client-artist to discuss art therapy techniques and give the client the opportunity to ask questions about the process. The client-artist’s comfort with the artistic process is critical to successful art therapy.

The therapist ensures that appropriate materials and space are available for the client-artist, as well as an adequate amount of time for the session. If the individual artist is exploring art as therapy without the guidance of a trained therapist, adequate materials, space, and time are still important factors in a successful creative experience.

The supplies used in art therapy are limited only by the artist’s (and/or therapist’s) imagination. Some of the materials often used include paper, canvas, poster board, assorted paints, inks, markers, pencils, charcoals, chalks, fabrics, string, adhesives, clay, wood, glazes, wire, bendable metals, and natural items (like shells, leaves, etc.). Providing artists with a variety of materials in assorted colors and textures can enhance their interest in the process and may result in a richer, more diverse exploration of their emotions in the resulting artwork. Such appropriate tools as scissors, brushes, erasers, easels, supply trays, glue guns, smocks or aprons, and cleaning materials are also essential.

An appropriate workspace should be available for the creation of art. Ideally, this should be a bright, quiet, comfortable place, with large tables, counters, or other suitable surfaces. The space can be as simple as a kitchen or office table, or as fancy as a specialized artist’s studio.

The artist should have adequate time to become comfortable with and explore the creative process. This is especially true for people who do not consider themselves “artists” and may be uncomfortable with the concept. If performed in a therapy group or one-on-one session, the art therapist should be available to answer general questions about materials and/or the creative process. However, the therapist should be careful not to influence the creation or interpretation of the work.


Art materials and techniques should match the age and ability of the client. People with impairments, such as traumatic brain injury or an organic neurological condition, may have difficulties with the self-discovery portion of the art therapy process depending on their level of functioning. However, they may still benefit from art therapy through the sensory stimulation it provides and the pleasure they get from artistic creation.

While art is accessible to all (with or without a therapist to guide the process), it may be difficult to tap the full potential of the interpretive part of art therapy without a therapist to guide the process. When art therapy is chosen as a therapeutic tool to cope with a physical condition, it should be treated as a supplemental therapy and not as a substitute for conventional medical treatments.

Research & general acceptance

A wide body of literature supports the use of art therapy in a mental health capacity. And as the mind-body connection between psychological well-being and physical health is further documented by studies in the field, art therapy gains greater acceptance by mainstream medicine as a therapeutic technique for organic illness.

Training & certification

Both undergraduate and graduate art therapy programs are offered at many accredited universities across the United States. Typical art therapy programs combine courses in art and psychology. The majority of these programs meets or exceeds standards set by the American Art Therapy Association (AATA).

The Art Therapy Credentials Board (ATCB), a voluntary organization, grants the designation ATR (Art Therapist Registered) to professionals who have completed an approved master’s level program of study in art therapy (as described by the AATA) and have accumulated at least 1,000 hours of additional supervised clinical experience. Board certification is also available through the ATCB for art therapists who have met the ATR requirements and have passed a certification exam (ATR-BC). Art therapists with the ATR-BC designation must complete continuing education credits to maintain their certification.

Registration and/or certification is a recognition of professional expertise, not a legal qualification or requirement to practice. Professional licensing requirements for art therapists vary by state. However, if the therapy is intended as a companion treatment to psychological counseling or other mental health treatment, state licensing requirements typically apply. Where licensing is a prerequisite to practice, a combination of education and clinical experience, a written test, and continuing education are required to maintain the license.



Fausek, Diane. A Practical Guide to Art Therapy. Binghamton, New York: Haworth Press, 1997.

Ganim, Barbara. Art and Healing: Using expressive art to heal your body, mind, and spirit. New York: Three Rivers Press, 1999.

Malchiodi, Cathy A. The Art Therapy Sourcebook. Los Angeles: Lowell House, 1998.

McNiff, Shaun. Art as Medicine: Creating a Therapy of the Imagination. Boston: Shambhala, 1992.


American Art Therapy Association.1202 Allanson Rd., Mundelein, IL 60060-3808. 888-290-0878 or 847-949-6064. Fax: 847-566-4580. E-mail: arttherapy@ntr.net www.arttherapy.org.

Paula Ford-Martin

Photography With iPhone

I love to take photos to capture moments I see beautiful in my life, whenever and wherever those moments come. It’s maybe when an autumn leaf is falling down or when a bird is flying in the blue sky… These moments come fast and go fast, usually suddenly, that’s why my favourite camera is my iPhone, though I’ve bought two professional cameras of Canon and Nikon. Another reason is that I can easily edit photos and post to my Facebook or Instagram instantly. After two years taking photos here and there in both Vietnam and Canada, the following are my top 10 tips I’ve learned and collected when taking photos with an iPhone.

1. Keep Your Photos Simple

As it is said by Coco Chanel: “Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance.” And she is right when we want to have a truly impressive photo.

We tend to capture everything we see in our photos and that distract the viewer, making it hard to create a harmonious composition. Try to allocate one single subject for your photo. And it’s much easier to get the composition right when your photo has just one subject. Don’t worry if most of your photo is filled with empty space. In photography, we call this “negative space” and it’s a great way of making your subject stand out.

Simple, minimalist compositions are also ideal for sharing on social media as people will be viewing your photos on the small screens of their phones.


Dandelion in autumn – Thu Ho

2. Shoot From A Low Angle

The majority of iPhone photos are shot from the chest height of a standing adult. This may be the most convenient way of taking a photo, but there are usually more creative options!

You can easily improve your photos by finding a more interesting perspective to shoot from. Often the best way to do that is to simply shoot from a lower angle.


Cape Breton Island – Thu Ho

Your photos will automatically become more interesting because they allow the viewer to see the world in a new way. This is particularly useful when you want to capture reflections in the water. Try kneeling or even lying on the ground to use this terrific iPhone photography tip!

3. Show Depth In Your Photos

This is especially important in landscape photography. There are several easy techniques that you can use to create depth in your photos. One of the most powerful methods is to incorporate leading lines into your composition. Roads, paths, railway tracks, rivers, fences, ripples in the sand, or the water’s edge at the beach make excellent leading lines.


Dad & Daughter in snow – Thu Ho

4. Align Your Subjects Diagonally

If you have multiple subjects in your scene, try aligning them diagonally within the frame. This will usually create a more balanced and harmonious composition. In landscape photography, you’ll need to move around the scene to find a perspective where the main subjects appear to align diagonally.


Old Quebec City – Thu Ho

You can even use leading lines to create diagonal balance in your photos. Notice how the water in the bottom left of the image below gradually leads diagonally towards the land on the right.


Parlee Beach in Shediac – Thu Ho

Once you train your eye to notice diagonal compositions, your photos will appear more balanced and harmonious – ultimately more engaging and interesting to look at.

5. Capture Close-Up Detail

This is particularly important when photographing objects with intricate details like flowers, leaves, water droplets and textured subjects.

Processed with VSCO with g3 preset

So don’t be afraid to get up close to objects in the foreground when you’re shooting scenery. It might make all the difference to your photo!

6. Include Shadows In Your Composition

When the sun is low in the sky, the long shadows cast by your subjects are often more interesting than the actual subjects themselves.

Photographing shadows are great for adding visual interest to the foreground of your composition.


Butterflies – Thu Ho

To ensure the shadows are prominent in your picture, you might need to manually adjust the exposure so that the shadows appear dark enough by using an app such as Camera 360 or  Snapseed.

7. Take Silhouette Photos

A silhouette is the dark shape of an object taken against bright light. Silhouetting is one of the most interesting iPhone photography techniques, and it’s actually very easy to achieve.

To shoot an incredible silhouette photo with your iPhone, all you need to do is find an interesting subject (such as a person) and shoot towards the light source.


Beach in Danang City, Vietnam – Thu Ho

While sunrises and sunsets offer the perfect opportunity to take silhouette photos, you can create them wherever there’s a light source behind the subject.

8. Photograph Reflections

Reflections make wonderful iPhone photography subjects. You can find reflections on many different surfaces including glass, shiny cars, and ice – but water is probably the best surface for reflection photography.


Ontario Lake – Thu Ho

Once you start paying attention, you’ll notice that reflections are everywhere – and they’ll look really great in your photos!

9. Use Symmetry

In photography, the word symmetry describes an image in which both halves are identical (or almost identical).

Reflections provide an easy way to create symmetrical images. If you position the line of symmetry across the center of the frame, the top and bottom halves of the photo will be symmetrical.


Cape Breton Island – Thu Ho

Look out for symmetrical scenes and subjects, and don’t be afraid to place them in the middle of the photo to really make the symmetry obvious.

10. Enhance Your Photos With VSCO Filters

You don’t need high-end editing skills or technology to add beauty or drama to your iPhone photos. The easiest way to apply powerful yet subtle effects to your photos is to use the preset filters in the VSCO app. And the VSCO app is even free to download!

Hope this post can inspire you to become a more active iPhone photographer. Let’s get started!

Source:  http://iphonephotographyschool.com/iphone-photography-tips/

Enjoy A Cup Of Blooming Tea

Blooming tea is also called blossoming tea, display tea, flowering tea, art tea, Artistic Tea, hand-crafted tea, and hand-tied teas. Blooming tea is the combination of green tea leaves and certain flowers. One or more dried flowers like jasmine, osmanthus, globe amaranth, marigold, lily, rose, trollius chinensis, and yellow chrysanthemum, are wrapped in bundles of dried tea leaves formed into a bulb shape then set for drying.

The tea buds are picked young in early spring before they open. The leaves are then sorted, only the finest whole leaves making the grade. They are now ready for tying. The flowers are also picked young and fresh so the flavors are delicate and the shapes small and perfectly formed. The leaves and flowers are then tied together by tea artists that pride themselves on their exceptional skill. Some varieties are gently infused with jasmine flowers for many hours to enhance the jasmine aroma of the tea. The tea buds are then very slowly dried and packed until they awaken once more in your pot.

Blooming Teas have become very popular as gifts, party favors, table decorations and meditation aids. They are beautiful to watch as they transform themselves, with the help of some hot water, from a tightly-tied bundle of tea into a bouquet of flowers or a sculptural work of art. Besides being a visually pleasing experience, the taste of this tea is very enjoyable.   The floral scents are detectable yet mild, and the tea is subtle in flavor.

From its origin in China’s Yunnan province, blooming tea is now known across the world for its unique features and health benefits.

9 benefits of blooming tea.png

Blooming or flowering tea is best served in clear glass or teapot. You can explore the details at How to Make Blooming Tea. Enjoy your tea time!




Live a life you love

At our midlife stage, change is a hard thing to make as most of us tend to choose settling in the comfort zone we have created during our first half of our life. I’m not an exception. At the age of 45, I made a big move when deciding to move our whole family from Vietnam to a completely new country – Canada, starting my working life almost from zero and right at this moment, the article written by Amy Chuber has really motivated me to move on. So, I’ve decided to put her article into this nicely-designed infographic as an inspiring reminder for myself to live a life I love during this new stage of my life.

Whether you are inspired to start a business, grow a business, design and live the life you’ve always dreamed, Amy Chuber is a strategic success coach for life and business with a mission to help you become the leader of your own life.


Happiness is…

Every day when we wake up, we don’t know what are going to happen today. I’ve trained myself to prepare well for a new day with the following mindset:

  1. Whenever there is a problem, I need to confront it and find a solution.
  2. Bad things cannot prolong forever, so if I am strong during the hardship time, they will come to an end.
  3. Not new but always good to know: Tomorrow will be better than today.

So, welcome November!