Rowers? Or Hole-Drillers?

Are the people in your boat:
a) Rowing
b) Drilling Holes
?


Re-evaluation of our circles can make a big difference in our own stress-levels. Hole-drillers increase our stress. Rowers keep things afloat and can even reduce your stress. Even when you think you've been rowing alone (and that there may be no one in your boat), there may be people who are willing to jump in and row when you are tired.

Who are those people in your life?
Why allow for the people who drill holes in your boat? 
Who should you thank for continuing to row in your boat?

Are you in other boats (friends, family, coworkers, acquaintances)?
Are you rowing?
 

Ocean Beach / Cliff House; San Francisco, CA

Ocean Beach / Cliff House; San Francisco, CA

Moto Z Play & Claria-Zoom: A Low-Vision Dream

I can't see well due to ocular ischemia. Others can't see well due to age, presbyopia, or other low-vision issues. I found an awesome phone app that can help us: Claria-Zoom (on the Moto Z Play)

I've no vision in my right eye, no peripheral vision in my left, and a "wrinkle" in the center of my left eye--- making my vision very low. I was diagnosed with ophthalmic ischemia after having glaucoma surgery in January 2013, and life hasn't been the same since vision loss.

At the time, ride-share apps made it into the world, Audible became my go-to source for "reading", magnifiers could be found in every room of my house, and I used TV-sized computer monitors. My iPhone had some great ways of increasing fonts and changing color schemes so that I could better see my phone, in addition to using reading-classes... then, CLARIA ZOOM (app) danced its way into my heart. The only issue? It's not available on iPhones, only Android devices...

Transitioning From an iPhone to an Android Phone
I am married to Apple products, and will probably continue to use Apple desktops and laptops, but can imagine myself using an Anroid phone (gasp!) after having tried the Motorola Moto Z Play with the Claria Zoom app. It's just so much easier to use when your vision is impaired. I would depend less on magnifiers, and God forbid I should leave them at home, not being able to see my phone at all.  Hello, Moto! 

Features I Noticed Immediately

  • I can wave my hand above my Motorola Moto Z Play and the time will appear in a large font immediately. I like that I don't have to search for a button to see what time it is.

  • The SIM cards are located in different places, but the Motorola Moto Z Play has a slot for an SD card, and one is included with the phone (sweet!).

  • The Claria app makes things HUGE (yay), so I don't have to use my magnifiers at all to make a call, text, search for contacts, take a picture, email someone, etc. 

  • When I tap twice too fast, the zoom/magnifier enables and it drives me nuts. I had to turn off the magnifier in the settings area of the Motorola Moto Z Play. It especially drives me crazy when I'm trying to delete a few characters at a time by pushing "back/erase" too fast. I also have this same issue with my iPhone when I tap too many times by accident. Off, magnifier, off! 


Claria Zoom
The Claria Zoom app enlarges all of my selected app icons, buttons and fonts, like email, text, call, contact list, Facebook, YouTube, etc. So immensely helpful. I can see the widgets without any magnifiers, which gets me to my emails / texts / calls without having to use any magnifiers at all.

My iPhone can make things larger, but Claria Zoom can make things much larger, more bold, and zooms in to the tiniest of detail so that I may see what others have been talking about. Everything is bigger and bolder: GPS (YAY because I can't really see street signs!), all websites that I visit, all apps I use, and I can even have web content spoken to me!

Differences in Accessibility Features
iPhone v. Android: Many are the same, a few are slightly different, but both offer the same accessibility features. There are better explanations and comparisons in each phone's manual, I'm sure. These are what I noticed while using the phones.

  • VoiceOver / TalkBack
  • iPhone: "VoiceOver": Triple-tap on the home button
  • Android: "TalkBack" must be enabled in your settings. It will also read out loud who's calling, if you set your phone up to do so (in settings).
  • Zoom 
  • iPhone: double-tap with three fingers at the same time 
  • Android: Enable / disable in settings
  • Magnifier
  • iPhone: To activate, triple-tap on the home button
  • Android: Enable / disable in settings
  • Display Accommodations
  • iPhone: Change display options in your settings area. You can change the color layouts, in case you're color blind to some colors and not others
  • Android: Change display options in your settings area. You can also select different color options to find what suits you best.
  • Speech-to-text/write
  • iPhone: Use the microphone button at the bottom of your keyboard
  • Android: Tap the search button, then tap the microphone button to help you find what you are looking for / what you'd like to write
  • Font Size / Larger Text (same in both phones)
  • Increase Contrast (same in both phones)

Overall, the built-in Android accessibility features on the Moto Z Play are good--- or perhaps even better and user-friendlier than the iPhone.

f you have low-vision or decreased vision, I highly recommend trying out this app on an Android phone, even if you are an Apple products lover (like me). It takes away the need to carry different types of magnifiers with you (just to see your phone), and just makes life that much easier.

Additional advantages of Android devices and the Moto Z Play are that there are more options and lower price. The Moto Z Play with a large 5.5' screen is available for only $450 compared to $769 for an iPhone Plus. 

Ooh, and the battery! Did I mention the battery??? No more recharging throughout the day like I do with my iPhone (at least twice a day)! The Moto Z Play battery easily lasted me two days without recharging, and I use my phone a lot.

hank you, RAZ Mobility! 
www.razmobility.com

xx
iz

#dayoftheGIRL

Not because men don't deserve recognition, but because this is a call to much-needed action: #dayofthegirl

We can create a world where girls have equal rights, access to education, healthcare, & the opportunity to live into her God-given potential.

As of today:
💗 There are 1.2 billion girls on the planet, and over 62 million of them have no access to education.
💗 Each year, 15 million girls are married before the age of 18 - that’s 1 every 2 seconds. (So in the 30 seconds it’s taken you to read this, 5 girls under 18 are now married.)
💗 Child marriage usually means the end to a girl’s education, vocation and her right to make life choices.
💗 120 million girls around the globe have experienced sexual violence.
💗 Suicide is the leading cause of death for girls ages 10-19 globally.

Change is needed, and it must be created.

Thank you, Marie Forleo, for your guidance, wisdom, and leadership!

www.lizstrom.com
 

Photography by Jason Alexander, NYC "Daughter and Mother"

Photography by Jason Alexander, NYC
"Daughter and Mother"

Unite for Change

This past weekend, I had the honor of participating in a powerful project with a group of supernova women from all backgrounds and interests. We had some known things in common: the love of Salsa, the desire to create change, the need for unity, and that setting aside the time to make it happen is important.

This project has not yet been unveiled by the project's founder, but when it does--- I will let you know.

We didn't have to know one another to know that we must come together to create big change. We set aside an entire day to get this project off the ground, and will contribute as many hours necessary to see its completion through, in the name of giving back. We know the power we have within ourselves, and understand that there is power in numbers.

Unite. Connect. Do.
It's what we have to do in this world during conflict, disaster, tragedy, et al, in support of humanity.

xx
Liz

IMG_E7193.JPG

Take To Nature

When you're feeling all over the place, going into nature brings a sense of simplicity, allowing space and time for clarity. Without societal and materialistic pressures, you'll better understand what brings you balance, joy, and calm--- as well as what causes you pain, shakiness, and fear. It all helps you to know yourself, and the world around you, better.

No distractions.
No artificiality.
No pushiness.

Just you, fresh air, nature, and time to gather your thoughts.
Clarity will certainly come.

xx
Liz Strom

Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico: "Las Salinas"- Pastel hypersaline lagoon | August 2017

Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico: "Las Salinas"- Pastel hypersaline lagoon | August 2017

Creating An Amazing Life

There will be difficult times in life, and there will be amazing times. You have to create as many amazing experiences as possible, with others who want to make life as equally as amazing. 

Plug in those things in life that help you feel the way you want to feel, with those who will say "YES!" to the journey.

You will go through difficult times again, but amazing experiences lay on the other side of those downtimes--- especially if you've created your life to feel that way.

Go get it, with those who also want it!

P.S. A huge shoutout to my girlfriends who helped me to create this experience! Life can feel heavy, but it feels lighter with great friends! 💕

"Friends are part of the glue that holds life and faith together. Powerful stuff." -JonKatz

Photography by Virak Chhang | Kimpton Rouge, Washington D.C. | August 2017

Photography by Virak Chhang | Kimpton Rouge, Washington D.C. | August 2017

Self-Worth, Addressed on Facebook

Can we talk about self-worth for a second?

In short, I'd like to say: "Be you, and own who you are, unapologetically". ❤️

1) You're intelligent.
Pease don't feel that you have to "dumb yourself down". We learn from each other, and you've a lot to offer to the world.

Side note: "Dumbing down" a post to keep things short, light, & funny is fine. I'm talking about honoring yourself as a person.

2) You're beautiful. 
Your smile is the most beautiful asset of all. Own that beauty. Please don't post a wonderful picture of yourself and say, "Bad hair, tired AF, no eyeliner, but...". People see through your words (intelligence: see point 1) to the beautiful YOU already, then read your POST and 🙄. Don't do that to yourself. It's not needed. 

If you're feeling a mess, and want to share, that's a different story. You can share how you feel, but there's no need to put yourself down.

3) Be authentically you.
Playful, childlike, outlandish, non-egotistical, creative, loving, compassionate, hopeful, light-filled YOU. At the core of you, you're not (insert negative adjective here). You were created to be a unique individual. Be the gift you bring. BeYOUtiful.

4) There is no such thing as a "perfect" person. Perfection has everything to do with what we think; it doesn't define what "is". There are so many versions of perfect, and what others think of you is none of your business (because you can't change what others think, you can only do what you know is right for you).

As Maya Angelou said, "If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attidude". She didn't say "if you don't like someone, change them...", because she knows that's not feasible / possible. Have compassion with yourself, and others. We are all here in this thing called life.

Instead of "good and bad", think in terms of what "is and isn't", followed by an action step. That should take you much further.

You're intelligent, you're beautiful, & the world appreciates the real (authentic) you.
Remember that.

Photography by Kristy Yang | 2017 | The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Washington, D.C.

Photography by Kristy Yang | 2017 | The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Washington, D.C.

Finding Work-Life Balance: A Temporary Imbalance

Everything "worth it" in life will create temporary imbalance. Your passion will fuel you. If you're only passionate about earning money, no amount will ever satisfy you. Go for the experiences in life instead. 

Find what moves you, find a place to do that in, & surround yourself with others who share in this joy. 

You have the power to make life a beautiful adventure.

Ponce, Puerto Rico

Ponce, Puerto Rico

Head Full of Dreams

Last night, a sky full of swirling stars fell over me. Music filled my spirit as I danced, laughed, jumped, cried, & became one with a stadium packed with fun, kindred souls. For a few hours, the world was perfect, and it still lingers...

You, the people, have the power
to make this life free
and beautiful
to make this life a wonderful adventure. 
[Coldplay- Intro | Charlie Chaplin Speech] 

Be grateful for whoever comes
Because each has been sent as a guide
[Colplay- Rumi]

#ColdplayDC
#HeadFullofDreams
www.lizstrom.com

Contributing to a Fairytale

Everyone's got a fairytale of their own and, as long as you don't think it's impossible, it's possible.

It is a very beautiful thing when one is able to give you an EXPERIENCE that contributes to one's own fairytale; an encounter, bliss, time spent w/ those who love and care about one another. Today,

I am deeply grateful for the gifts of experience shared with me! 💋

Beaté Nest, Woodbridge, VA! Thank you, Ambi, for this beauteous day of experiences!

Beaté Nest, Woodbridge, VA! Thank you, Ambi, for this beauteous day of experiences!

Things Can Go South, or...

Morrie: Mitchell? Is that what you'd like to be called? 
Mitch: Mitch. Mitch is what my friends call me. 
Morrie: Well, Mitch it is then (Morrie says, as if closing a deal). And Mitch?
Mitch: Yes?
Morrie: I hope that one day you will think of me as your friend.
-Tuesdays With Morrie, Mitch Albom

Enjoying the company of author, Mitch Albom, and Ted Koppel, talking about Tuesdays With Morrie. This discussion made me laugh, cry, laugh, & cry some more. 

Remember that you have a choice; either things can go south, or you can find a positive thing in this deal (life). Look for that one thing. ❤️

Sixth & I Synagogue, Washington D.C., July 25, 2017

Sixth & I Synagogue, Washington D.C., July 25, 2017

Joy

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” -Thomas Merton

Passing through CityCenterDC, replicating a moment in time, made whimsical by the great Kristy Yang, whose photography art is being featured for the FotoDC Style Exhibition (on exhibit through August 2017). 

This particular photo was a result of a no-stress, just for fun, last minute photoshoot I wanted to have. Why? Because I had dresses. That's it! I took the opportunity to do what I believed would bring joy, contacted Kristy Yang in hopes that she would agree to hire her for the afternoon for some fun, and we enjoyed a few hours of sunshine at THE John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, lovingly known as The Kennedy Center, in Washington DC.

Little did we know that a result of our fun afternoon would be recognized by many Washingtonians, via FotoWeek DC's Style Exhibition AND The Kennedy Center's IG page. Her work is stunning, and it absolutely deserves the recognition (and then some).

We did what brings us joy, and it resulted in more joy.

What brings you joy? What will you do to feel the way you want to feel?
Get it on your schedule, and be prepared to enjoy a life full of moments that keep on giving.

This particular moment was captured by my aunt, Xuan, another photographer artist! 

www.lizstrom.com

What Lifts You

We give meaning and emotion to what we see, likewise to the things we hear: art, music, actions...

People's words are *just* words. We are the ones who give them meaning. You can't be offended if you refuse to be offended. You can't be uplifted unless you refuse to be uplifted.

If something/someone makes you feel offended, address what it is that is truly bothering you--- and move through (& past) it.

Look for, and absorb, that which propels you forward and uplifts you.

www.lizstrom.com
Artwork: @kelseymontagueart
#WhatLiftsYou
Mott Street, NYC, 2017