Category Archives: Philadelphia

The Ascension

Artwork by Katie Kerl, Copyright 2021

 

Artwork and Text by Katie Kerl, Copyright 2021

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The Ascension

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After the most horrific year 2020 is finally coming to an end!! When the smoke clears, and you start to feel whole again might just be the best feeling. My father is cancer free and on the mend. My mother and I gave him the support he needed to find the will to live though stage four throat Cancer. Our friends and family could not have been more caring and constantly checking in during this time. He is the true miracle this Christmas, and just turned 65, before Thanksgiving. My mom is healthy, and all three of us in our house together. By the end of Christmas Eve, I was sobbing because that feeling is not one to be topped. It was the first time in 24 years we were all under one roof. My mom really made it perfect from the décor, baking, presents, and the people you found necessary to be in your presence are the ones who counted. 

No looming feeling of dread to see people you do not find meaningful in your life.

 In a way that is amazing when you think about it. Maybe your family is divided, and you did it separately for the first time. There was no arguing just peace. PEACE when was the last time you felt that?!  I fought through every minute of the last two years of my life in different ways. I changed my way of living 130%. Which I am grateful for choosing my family over everything, and everyone.  

I tried my hardest and someone lived.

I am the lucky one this year. No matter what happens from here. I have these moments to remember forever.  I will never take that for granted. Even though the virus is still raging in a disgraceful government; honestly, it is how we the people treat each other that matter. Other than on the financial end, they have nothing to do with you being a good person and looking out for people you care about!! There is no one to blame if you have not immersed yourself in the forward-thinking changes that we are about to embark on in our country. 

I always talked about my odd black cloud jokingly through the years. A series of injuries, illnesses, and recoveries. Maybe all of that prepared me for this. 

I have been home since March 16th, 2020 with no real end in sight. 

I still have a place in the city, but is it worth it to keep, or time to see something new? 

I have moved onto crypto from the larger stock market tickers. If Corona did not show us we are going paperless with money, I am not sure what will. I guess we will see what that brings me. Currently Ethereum is up to $740 as I am looking at my phone. I started with penny stocks, educated myself, waited until Tesla was about to hit the S&P 500 sold, and bought Ethereum. I talked about a little of that in my previous piece, for better clarification. I still am not exactly sure what I am doing, but I know enough to be happy at my rising portfolio. Which also Includes Derek Automotive, who will be going public in 2021. 

Derek has built an up-and-coming empire in a global pandemic, all while using his forward-thinking ideas to take on the clean electric car movement. Derek Mobility is the second sector of Derek Automotive. The little lover scooter, e-bike, and commercial van. His company is a force to recon with in 2021. I cannot wait to write the full piece about all his progress. Being a black business developer with new technology taking on the world in 2020 and winning!! Also, who I now call a friend. You want people that do not let you make excuses for your circumstances, and help you rise with them in your life. That is true entrepreneurship. 

Some of the companies I partnered with this year, sent me an overwhelming allotment of product to protect my family’s immune systems during COVID. 

Which were my favorites?

Liquid-Iv every month by the bags. Not just the “influencer” promo pack for the month. I drink that every day! I hate the word influencer, but if I can promote being yourself and telling everyone to fuck off that does not like it so be it!! I wondered how I missed out on this hydration pack for so long. One packet on your worst hungover day, and you will feel 100 times better. The tangerine wellmune helps protect your immune system is my favorite flavor! The energy multiplier with matcha, lemon, and ginger is my second. 

I also receive the Splendid Spoon box. They like my content, so they give me the box full of smoothies, detox shots, and vegetarian bowls. My favorite is the green goddess bowl, digestive shot, and the power greens smoothie. Please refer to my Instagram for promos on boxes, and other partnered products. I will not be posting that here. I only talk about the wellness products I use in my everyday life. 

Verb Energy bars are great for that afternoon pick me up as well. There is no crash or bloating from drinking too many fluids. It is powered by 65mg of green tea caffeine no matter the flavor you choose. Which is less harsh than coffee.

Quest Nutrition sent me the biggest box of goodies. I have to say; the salted caramel shakes are my favorite. They are also great protein coffee creamers! The loaded taco chips, sprinkle donut, fiesta chips, and the lemon protein bars all measure up the same, drool worthy.

To the companies that have shown my whole family love in COVID thank you!!

On the opposite end of that spectrum, there is still no Toilet paper in stores and the vitamins still stocked. 

That alone makes me question people’s sanity.  I have a mask for every outfit, and I still have melt downs keeping people away from my compromised parents in food stores etc. I do not see that letting up any time soon. We still do not get it here in America. Speaking of vitamins, I personally take a quite a few including a B-Complex stress formula, calcium and magnesium, vitamin-c, and astragalus which oddly enough protects your respiratory system during cold and flu season. 

The news is telling us to stay home yet promoting shopping across the city, and holidays things to do. I wonder if they hate their jobs as much as we hate hearing their utter daily dose of Bullshit. The funny thing is I have more freedom here to write about my experience than I would if I were on the news reporting something similar. 

It is REAL…

I feel terrible for the teachers in our country who were, and some still are being subject to exposure everyday by germy kids!! One of my best friends is having to deal with this and I am not so sure I would have been able to keep going in. I give her so much credit for sticking to what she also fought so hard for to achieve.  I love kids, but there is not a right amount of money to pay someone when that was never part of what they signed up for at that income rate. 

It is kind of like the under performing NFL. Why would you risk your full potential as an athlete to have respiratory, and heart issues? Eight months in and some people are still recovering from COVID. We do not know the real long-term damage of this virus yet. The fact they are still playing games shows you how much money is dumped into gambling. Believe me I learned about that too. I rode that DraftKings rise as well in the end of summer early fall when sports came back. 

Thanksgiving crept up and I was feeling kind of lost not being able to do anything positive to give back.  

Then I volunteered again and saw firsthand what the hospital first responders are going though. The Trauma Survivors Foundation has fed 17k front line workers as of Thanksgiving Day. Ronnie Chakler has been there for my family and I through this entire thing. Another person that when they say they got you, they do. Ronnie and the members of his Lodge made that 100 Turkey Dinner meal run possible from Manny’s Deli. They put together delicious plates for all. Dennis Carraidin the curator of the foundation met us at Jefferson Emergency entrance. We made a lot of heroes happy that day. We were on a few of the news stations as they were covering people giving back in this hard time. I went home to make the Thanksgiving Turkey and was never more thankful in my life for what I have. I went to sleep happy that night. 

Only to wake to a nightmare, I have been writing about my life, and the ups and downs of dating someone with a demanding job for years. If you take anything away from this piece; check on your friends in high positions. If you think something is wrong keep asking. Tell people what is going on. At least if they pushed you away it is because they were not ready to face change, but you still fought for them to live. Stress kills, apart of me died on the day after Thanksgiving. My phone rang and it was the last person on earth I would wanted to speak to. 

Especially after having such a nice holiday with my family. 

I was informed my ex passed away. At first, I just fuck you buttoned him, because why disrupt my actual peace? After I heard what he had to say I have never felt such rage. When you talk to an entire group of people begging for help and they do not. How did you have the nerve to call me? The funny thing is we kept in touch, so he was still telling me about his life issues even with a new girlfriend. Which was fine, for the same reason I had left our home a year ago. Nothing changed; and the stress mounted. I have the utmost respect for him even though we did not work out. He deserved to live for himself and feel free. My heart aches for his mother, and I hope she one day she finds peace. Being highly intuitive sometimes can be a burden you do not want to bear. I saw something no one else wanted to wake up to. At least I know he is at peace and will always hold a piece of my soul. He was my past and will be part of my drive to not only be better but to protect my own happiness. 

 I have the right people in my life to be there for me and that is what matters. It took a long time to find that and I will not give that up. It is not the money; it is who really will ride with you on the way up. Not showing up on the doorstep once they made it. Be careful who you let in your life. It means everything in the end. A lot of people do not like me for this. You know pointing out the truth, and what is right. I’m glad I never gave a shit about that or I would probably be dead now too. 

When I really think about it. This year alone we have lived through two sets of riots in Philadelphia and watched the Cheeto bunker dive. There were a few hurricanes and tornados. The entire service industry here is dead. There is no indoor dining, or anything to do to bring joy, hobbies, etc. On this second round of semi lockdown. They want the people who are still employed to work and have no joy after?  Fuck that.

The number of tears I cried this year for people going through so many different things including myself; makes me confident the people whose lives have not changed in this will be hard for them to adapt/ relate to people who have seen it all. Especially with no cohesive plans for our country to heal. 

I lost 3 people that I am still processing. 

If your friends/ family are not taking care of their health now again, please try to help them. 

Check in and tell them you love them. 

Stress relievers for me:

Medical marijuana has kept me in shape and honestly sedated thankfully, an appetite, and a few pounds gained purposely. 

Yoga took a while to get acclimated to years ago, I thank god I learned that patience. 

If you are suffering insomnia try it before bed. 

Writing always clears my head. Although at this point, I feel so overwhelmed I started painting instead. I guess it is true if you are creative you can really channel it anywhere.

I am sure I’d pass the kindergarten art test, although my content maybe questionable. 

Food and cooking used to be my thing; if I ever cook another meal after this ……..

I do miss my top 50 in Philly and fine dining. I pray for our friends in the service industry dying in a state that refuses to help small business yet is the only thing it thrives on besides its history. 

I voted in person and there was no better feeling than voting for change. 

Before all this insane madness, I had a few brief moments of peace in the Hamptons, Philly, and NYC. Distanced of course to feel a shred of my own existence again. When your friends take a giant chance to see you getting covid tests and all; that means something! I do not care if you are not supposed to fly at this point. If someone went through all of that to see friends who are dealing with ill family members, I am doing the exact same thing for them on New Year’s. I am going to live, mask, and distance out of this god-awful state. 

We also watched our country run into the streets and celebrate the demise of Trump. 

That was a defining moment. All cultures coming together in the streets to cheer despite covid/ riots. 

That type of victory is history. 

We are living though American history. 

If you made it this far you should feel lucky to be alive 

with 336k dead as of December 30th, 2020 in the United States alone!!

When this is over are you going to be happy with how you spent your time? 

Did you do enough? 

I have been happy, depressed, enraged, hopeful, & flat out floored over a cancer win, and all mixed with my ADD brain worst nightmare, but that ADD gave me the ability to do 5 things at once and finish the projects.

I am not sure what 2021 is going to bring, but I hope more understanding and empathy for people no matter their situations.  I personally have been through enough. I am raising the white flag to 2020. 

I will be in Miami when this bitch turns 21. 

If I die from that decision so be it. After living though everything above to feel alive again is everything to me. 

I have done my due diligence here. It is time for me to breathe again before all the government aid runs out. 

When it does it is going to be bad here. 

Take your opportunities to do good things, but also still be good to yourself now. 

Parents that have lost jobs or have kids to provide meals, toys, winter coats, at home learning tools, or deliver to the compromised elderly. Do something!

Unfortunately, it is not our greatest victories that define us. 

We may think that way, but it is selfish. 

It is your ability to Rise up and keep going despite the above, being resilient and helping people that need it.

Something we should be teaching if we embody that in our personalities. 

Have a safe and healthy New Year Friends! 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Katie Kerl was raised in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania. She is currently living  in Northern Liberties, Philadelphia. Katie has a background in Psychology from Drexel University. She is a manager in the commercial/residential design field . Katie can be reached  on Instagram @kerlupwithkate 

For collaboration e-mail: Kate.kerl32@gmail.com

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To access additional article by Katie Kerl, click herehttps://tonywardstudio.com/blog/thriving-through-anarchy/

 

Also posted in Affiliates, Art, Blog, commentary, Current Events, Documentary, Environment, Friends of TWS, Health Care, History, lifestyle, Media, News, Politics, Popular Culture, Science, Travel, Women

Studio News: House of Antoinette 1950

House of Antonette 1950

House of Antoinette 1950

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House of Antoinette 1950 has been delivering sassy statement accessories since 2010. The products are a stylish alternative to mass production generic accessories. All items are limited edition or one of a kind. Our jewelry comes from Japan, China, Thailand, Russia and many more exotic places from around the globe. The accessories are top quality, durable and forever lasting.

The accessories have been featured at New York Fashion Week, special events like birthday parties, expos, and New Years Eve celebrations. House of Antoinette 1950 has been featured in media publications such as IndieFlava Magazine, World Fashion Media News, Philadelphia’s Main Line Today and a variety of fashion blogs. The accessories continue to delight clients from all over the world. The company founder, Antoinette Nassef is based in Philadelphia.  For inquiries to purchase her hand made works of Art, email:antoinettenaseef8@gmail.com.

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House of Antoinette 1950

House of Antoinette 1950

House of Antoinette 1950

House of Antoinette 1950

House of Antoinette 1950

House of Antoinette 1950

House of Antoinette 1950

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Portrait of Antoinette Nassef

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Also posted in Accessories, Announcements, Art, Blog, Current Events, Fashion, Friends of TWS, Gifts, Glamour, lifestyle, Media, News, Popular Culture, Student Life, Women

Tony Ward: A Sunday Ride to Atlantic City

A Sunday Ride to Atlantic City. Portrait of Howard Lee by Tony Ward, Copyright 2020

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Text by Tony Ward, Copyright 2020

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A Sunday Ride to Atlantic City

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I received a call recently from one of my childhood friends, Howard Lee to take some pictures of a group of motorcycle enthusiast that he put together for a ride to Atlantic City on August 30th..  Howard and I go back to the very beginning of our lives, as toddlers.  We grew up in the same neighborhood.  Our parents were friends.  We even went to the same Catholic elementary school for a brief period.  It wasn’t until we finished high school that we began to loose close contact.  I went on to college.  Howard  entered the  Philadelphia police academy where he served as a Philadelphia police officer until his retirement just a few years ago.

In his retirement years former officer Lee is enjoying being a landlord and an avid motorcycle enthusiast.  So when he called and asked me to photograph a group of his friends assembling for a ride to Atlantic City on a beautiful Sunday morning in August, I couldn’t resist.  I got there a little early to see the fellowship and bond that formed with a group of people from all walks of life.  Many in the group are active police officers, some retired as well as civilians who share a similar passion for riding bikes. 

It was great to share a new memory with an old friend.

Also posted in Blog, Cameras, Current Events, Documentary, Environment, Friends of TWS, History, lifestyle, News, Photography, Popular Culture, Portraiture, Travel

PSA: Pennsylvania Primary Day – VOTE!

PSA: Pennsylvania Primary Day – VOTE!

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Joy Bao: Inside Out

 

Photography and Text by Joy Bao, Copyright 2020

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Inside Out

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I have always considered myself as a homebody. At the beginning of self isolation this spring, however, I felt the longing to go outside desperately. “Home”, a word that represents warmth and comfort, also becomes a kind of burden that restricts our activity. After a few weeks into this life style, I began to get used to it and took it as a chance to reexamine my living space.

The dorm I currently live in is also my freshman dorm. At that time, I lived in the basement and the window in my room was higher than normal, resulting in significantly less natural lighting inside. I hated that room. I also learned how important, for me, the windows and natural light are. Especially nowadays, windows become the closest and most literal connection we have with the outside world. They frame in different views, make our indoor spaces less dull and more fresh.

In this series, I focused on the indoor spaces and the presence of windows. We walk pass all these windows everyday, but not every time we would stop and look outside. The views are always unique, depending on the time of the day, but also the different angles we have when looking at them. I also wanted to use this chance to observe the natural lighting that comes through windows. I found the backlighting in some of these pictures fascinating, as the effect that it creates resonates with my image of cinema. When I stand in a dark room and look at the bright world outside, it is almost as if I am looking at someone else’s life in another world. During special times like this, it is very easy to feel the disconnection with the world around us. While windows build and create the connection for us, they can also enhance that isolating atmosphere.

I also tried to capture the stillness and quietness in these spaces. Modern life seems to always involve a fast-paced schedule, but now is the time for us to take a moment and look at where we are. I hope this set of pictures provides the viewer a chance to reflect on living spaces and the relationship with the outside world, as well as a reminder for all the beautiful moments scattered around us that we have missed before.

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About The Author: Joy Bao is a senior enrolled at Bryn Mawr College. Class of 2020. To access additional articles by Joy Bao, click here: https://tonywardstudio.com/blog/sensational-

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Also posted in Architecture, Art, Blog, Cameras, Current Events, Documentary, Environment, Friends of TWS, Haverford College, lifestyle, Photography, Popular Culture, Student Life, Women