The Superintendent Skier

Besnik Sokoli, a superintendent of five buildings in Brooklyn, entered his first serious ski race six months ago. Now he’s making a bid for the 2018 Winter Olympics. Video: Rob Alcaraz and Jake Nicol. Photo: Steve Remich for The Wall Street Journal

July 2017 Monthly Recap

Don’t you wish it could be summer forever? I sure do, because I always seem to have so much fun in the summer!

Before we get to my adventures though, let me give a shoutout to my special sponsors & affiliates! Thanks to them I’m able to bring you exciting posts, so make sure you give them some love and check out what great products they carry!

The Honest Kitchen Ad

Ammo Best Bully Sticks Ad


Birthday Week: Enter to Win a Free Barkbox Subscription

I also wanted to tell you all about the fun new magazine that my friends at Everyone Loves A Dachshund are hoping to have printed. First of it’s kind it’s called Good Hooman and it’s a Dachshund lifestyle magazine written specifically for us Dachshunds! How cool is that! You won’t want to miss it, so be sure to check out their IndieGoGo fund so they can launch the magazine – and snag one at a great introductory price!

Good Hooman

And now onto my July Adventures..

Poof Activity Tracker

I got my running in with my new activity tracker from Poof!

Ammo's Lake School

I contemplated starting my own lake school.

Adventures of Ammo + Baby P: Vol 11

I celebrated yet another happy month with Baby P.

Pop Art of Your Pup + A Giveaway

I had a blast turning my likeness into Pop Art.

Always Be Prepared

I went on a shopping trip with my sister.

Dog Toy Ice Bar

I shared some of the fun summer products I’m currently digging.

On Hot Days

I visited the pool.

When Outdoor Adventures Need to Be Contained

I got detained on the farm.

And that brings us to August! Can you believe it’s just about been an entire year since my sister Baby P was born? Boy, time really flies when you’re having fun.

What sort of adventures do you think I should go on for the rest of the summer?Ammo the Dachshund // Blog Signature // Celebrity

Brush Stroke Birthday Cake

A good birthday cake in my book comes together easily and looks like a fancy design that could have taken hours. Because I care about my people that much… but then also, who has the time!?! This brush stroke birthday cake fits the bill exactly!

With a couple quick steps any cake can be transformed into a gorgeous work of art. I was inspired by this amazing cake and figured there must be an easy way to DIY our own version of the sweet treat.

This brush stroke cake is a perfect way to bring the trend home with an simple application anyone can do and it can be recreated in any color scheme, size or style imaginable.

Brush Stroke Birthday Cake

To make the brush stroke birthday cake you will need:

1. Start by baking the cake of your choice. Allow to cool and frost cake.

2. To make the chocolate brush strokes; prepare pan by covering with parchment paper.

3. Melt candy melts in a bowl using a microwave (follow directions on package) or in a double boiler on the stove top (this was my preferred method).

3. Carefully but quickly – dip a dry pastry brush into bowl of melted chocolate. Then “paint” brush stroke onto parchment. You’ll need to re-apply the chocolate 2-3 times over the brush stroke.

4. Repeat until parchment is covered with brush strokes.

5. Allow chocolate to cool and harden. Peel each “brush stroke” by lifting parchment by the edge and carefully removing chocolate.

6. Repeat these steps if you’re using different colored candy melts.

7. Decorate cake with colored brush strokes, by gently pushing them into the frosted cake. Ta-da! An artist’s rendition of a birthday ready cake. Place a few candles in between the brushstrokes and give to the birthday gal you like the best.

PS. A painted cake and a sand art cake. We like art on our cakes. 😉

(Photography and styling by ©A Subtle Revelry by Athena Plichta.)

Reader Story: How Angela Travels the World as an Au Pair

Angela walking in a snowy town
One of the biggest challenges for people is saving up for a world trip. It can be daunting trying to save thousands of dollars for your next big trip. Yet I always say “If you can’t save, go work.” The world has an abundance of jobs that travelers can get. Millions of travelers fund their trips by working their way around the world. Today, I want to profile one of our community members who does just that. Angela works as an au pair. This funds her round the world travel dreams, let’s her stay in a place longer, and get to know a culture better. Today we share her story and tips for being an au pair.

Nomadic Matt: Hi Angela! Thanks for doing this. Tell us about yourself!
Angéla:I’m Angéla and I’m 28 years old. I was born near Lyon, France, and am the eldest of four sisters. After graduating from school when I was 21, I started working as an au pair in Germany. I wanted to get out of France and work with children, so this was the perfect job! Seven years later, I’m still an au pair, currently in Japan! I love what I do because I get to travel and work with children, the two things I love the most.

Were you always interested in travel? How did you get started?
Funny enough, out of all my big family (I have three other siblings and lots of cousins), I’m the only one who likes to travel a lot! Nobody around me ever went abroad for more than a few days, and especially not very far away. So I didn’t know much about traveling, except from watching movies and pop culture.

I didn’t begin traveling until I was 21. I guess it was because I never did it that I wanted to do it. I’d always dreamed of traveling the world and seeing the places I saw in the movies

How did you decide to become an au pair?
It happened seven years ago when I was looking for a job in France and after finding nothing interesting, I decided to have a look at the au pair thing. It sounded interesting — working in another country and living with a family. By being an au pair, I would be able to have a job, accommodation, food, lots of free time, and some extra spending cash. It was perfect. I could enjoy traveling without needing a lot of money because I could use the money that I would earn during my stay. It lets me travel without huge savings.

In 2010, I found my first host family in Germany and stayed one year with them. I loved the fact I could work in another country and use the free time to explore a new place. Plus, I get to work with children all the time, which is my field of work, so now I have accumulated years of experience. I was hooked after that first year, and decided to do it again instead going back to France to find another job.

A Japanese castle

Where have you worked as an au pair?
I’ve been to Germany, England, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and Sweden, and I’m currently in Japan. I stay from eight months to one year in each country. All of them have been great experiences. I’ve been lucky enough to stay with very good people, and everybody I met while traveling has been super nice.

My favorite place has been New Zealand. It’s simply breathtaking! The landscapes are unbelievable. I can’t recommend it enough. Canada is probably my next favorite. It is a relatively safe country to live in, the people are nice, and I love the cold winters. I got to try ice fishing and totally loved it!

How does someone become an au pair? Is it easy? Hard?
I personally think it is easy. Your main job is to take care of children, so you must be OK working with them, but other than that, the tasks are often easy enough and you have lots of free time. You work on average between 25 and 30 hours per week. All your weekends are free, as are the evenings as soon as one parent gets home. You may be asked to babysit from time to time, though.

Everything is included when you live with the family, so you don’t have many expenses. The only thing I paid for myself was my plane ticket (although you can be lucky enough to have a family that pays it for you). I never felt like this was a so-called “job” — more like helping out a family and being a part of it.

To become an au pair, you can either use au pair agencies or one of the websites like Au Pair, Au Pair World, International Exchange, and Go Au Pair. With an agency, you pay them and they do the paperwork, show you different family profiles, and put you in contact with them. All along your stay, they are in touch with you in case of any problem. It’s like any other job placement service.

On the internet, there are a lot of websites for au pairs. This is more DIY. You create a profile, search for families (they can search for au pairs too), and if one catches your interest, you start by sending a message, and from then, if both parties get along, you get in touch via phone, mails, Skype. There’s no third party involved. It’s between you and the family (so no one is there if something goes wrong). I’ve only ever used these websites, as it’s free for au pairs to join, and I’ve always been lucky in my searches for families.

What qualifications does someone need to be an au pair?
While it’s not necessary, it’s good to have experience with kids, because the families might feel more confident in hiring you, but other than that, you don’t really need much. Every family is different. Some will want you to have experience and will ask for references; others don’t ask for anything.

Angela posing near a mountain

What’s the biggest challenge?
I will say it’s learning how to live with total strangers. You’re in a brand new country, with people you don’t know, and you’re going to spend six months to a year with them. It takes some days for everybody to get used to each other and to know how the family works. You need to learn to accept their way of living. Sometimes it can be really different from what you’re used to, and it takes some time to just be a part of it.

Also the fact it is not your own place is a bit of a challenge. You may live there for a long time, but at the end of the day, it’s still not your place. I find it always a bit hard to pretend it is. For me, it is my host’s home. You can’t have guests like you would in your own home. You hear the kids playing, running everywhere all the time, even on your days off. Sometimes the parents may leave the house a mess and you have to tidy it up, because you can’t stay a day in such a mess any longer!

Personally, I’m really easygoing and used to living in any kind of place with different people. I never felt that was a “challenge” — from my first experience all was smooth during my stays. Maybe I find it easy to get along with people, and don’t mind their way of living.

Is it hard as a Westerner to get a job outside of “the West”? I always thought Western au pairs only worked in other Western countries.
It is true [that Western au pairs are] mostly in Western countries. In Japan, it is not common at all, especially because here the moms are often stay-at-home moms, so they don’t need another person to do the job. Also, it is in their culture to not accept a total stranger taking care of their own kids.

The few families I could find in Asia have always been expat families. Often one parent got a few years’ contract with a company and moved abroad, thus they know what the au pair thing is. In Nagoya, where I am now, I know at least three au pairs, but I don’t think we’re much more than that. So if you want to be an au pair, you’ll find that most of the jobs are in Western countries.

Tell me about life as an au pair. What’s the pay like? How often do you work?
The pay depends mainly on the family and the country you’re in. But my salary was usually 300-400 euros per month. It seems to be the average for an au pair working 25–30 hours a week.

The work mostly consists of bringing the kids to school and picking them up, helping with homework, cooking and having dinner, bathing them, and getting them ready for bed. Some families may ask you to do house cleaning in addition (in which case you’re paid more for that).

When the kids are at school, you’re totally free. Most au pairs will take language classes, or do sports or other activities. I usually take some of this time to cook dinner and clean the house (if needed). Mostly I try to hang out with friends or visit some places nearby. When in a country where au pairs are popular, it is really easy to meet up with them, as we all have the same free time. It’s an easy job if you are good with kids, sensitive, and practical. And especially if you get along well with the family, there’s no problem at all!

Mountains in Canada

What’s your one tip for people looking to become an au pair?
If it is your first experience as an au pair and you don’t know how you feel being away from home, my advice would be to start in a country that is near your own. That way if you’re homesick, it will be much easier to go back. And if you like the experience, you know you’ll be ready to start again farther away! I started in Germany, knowing that if anything happened I was just few hours away from home.

Other than that, nothing specific, except I can only recommend it! It is a really good experience living abroad and a way to get out of your comfort zone, as you’re going to live for a few months somewhere totally new!

What’s been the biggest lesson so far?
Never think traveling is not possible for you. I had no exposure to it while I was growing up and would never have imagined myself a traveler, as I was very shy and introverted. I think, besides shocking my family, I shocked myself when I went away. But when you go away, you realize how easy travel is and how many opportunities there are out there to make travel a reality.

I think that traveling is a good opportunity to discover new parts of yourself. It changed the way I am now. I feel more confident and more open to talking to strangers. It’s made me a better me!

You’ve be traveling for 7 years now. What’s your number one tip for new travelers?
Be friendly to people and be respectful of the country you are in. Respect is important, and people will accept you more if you are openly happy and curious to be visiting their places. Don’t judge. Learn to listen.

When I was in Australia, I was told numerous times that French people there were acting really poorly, being mean to animals and disrespectful of people and the environment. I can’t understand this type of behavior, and it made me ashamed and sad to learn that. It is so important to show respect and be kind to those in the country you are visiting. You’re a guest in their home.

Angela got a job working as an au pair in order to fulfill her desire to travel the world. When you have limited funds, find a job like Angela and use your skills or passions to earn money and keep you on the road.

Hopefully, this post will inspire you to think outside the box a bit and figure out ways to use your passion and skills to get out there, escape the cubicle, and see more of this world.

Become the Next Success Story

One of my favorite parts about this job is hearing people’s travel stories. They inspire me, but more importantly, they also inspire you. I travel a certain way but there are many ways to fund your trips and travel the world. I hope these stories show you that there is more than one way to travel and that it is within your grasp to reach your travel goals. Here are more examples of people who found work overseas to fund their trips:

The post Reader Story: How Angela Travels the World as an Au Pair appeared first on Nomadic Matt’s Travel Site.

Raf Simons First Campaign for Calvin Klein

Raf Simons présente sa première collection pour la marque Calvin Klein. Le style minimaliste et épuré du brand rencontre la personnalité discrète et méticuleuse du styliste. La campagne est à l’image de cette collaboration toute fraîche, simple et marquant, mettant le vêtement au centre de l’attention dans un cadre dépouillé et en même temps dense de références.

Do Self-Driving Cars Increase Your Chances Of Vehicle Theft?

Self-driving vehicles were once depicted as parts of some cool or dystopian future in which everything was automated. Now, you can find a whole fleet of them in Silicon Valley. The world is gradually moving towards this future. Advancements are being made everyday in the hopes of automating many aspects of our lives. According to most of these movie depictions of the future, we should be flying around with jetpacks and cars by now, but even though the world has not yet lived up to Marty Mcfly’s expectations, we are still close to breaking new ground in the automotive industry.

Self-driving cars open up a whole new realm of possibilities for drivers, and these cars will undoubtedly make traveling safer and easier. However, even though there are many good things that will come with the increased number of self-driving cars that will hit the road in the near future, there are also some security concerns that drivers, car manufacturers, and auto repair shops should have on their radar. In many discussions that involve self-driving cars, the focus is mostly on the safety aspect of these cars. It goes without saying that people will be apprehensive about letting a machine drive them everywhere since they would rather rely on their own instinct than code.

This notion was quickly debunked by Google. Google has logged over 1 million miles with its fleet of driverless cars, and they have performed amazingly well. In all the frenzy that surrounds safety on the road, people have let the security of self-driving cars slip into the background unnoticed.

The issue of security will play an important role in the future of self-driving cars, because aside from wanting to ensure that their lives are not at risk, drivers want to ensure that their investments are not at risk. Which leads us to wonder, do self-driving cars increase the chances of vehicle theft?

Car Theft Vs. Automated Car Theft

car being stolen.jpgHow often are cars stolen? In 2014, the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program (UCR) estimated that 689,527 motor vehicles were reported stolen. This might seem like a high number, but the annual number of car thefts are on the decline. Many people attribute this to cars becoming much harder to steal due to increased security measures. In addition to these security measures, many cars are integrated with 3rd party monitoring services and GPS location services. The FBI also reports that a car theft occurs every 44 seconds on average. It is important to realize that the term car theft also extends to stolen car parts.

Essentially it has gotten much harder to use traditional methods to steal cars. Even so, there was a recent spike in car thefts that revolves around cars with the push button start feature. Some car thieves are able to override the security protocols for these keys and then program an entirely new key, which renders the driver’s original key useless. However, these occurrences are few and far between, requiring professional tools and key fob replacement experience.

Self-driving cars will most likely not increase the chances of your vehicle being stolen. The odds of your car being stolen are estimated at 0.5% (as reported by the FBI), and this number increases in urban areas that have higher populations.

The reason why it will be increasingly difficult for a self-driving car to be stolen is because of how interconnected it is with other devices. These cars are powered by computers that are constantly being fed information from sensors and a host of other components in order to make it drive smoothly and safely. These vehicles have advanced security features that make them impervious to traditional unauthorized start methods. The security field will now stretch from physical security to cyber security. Automated cars will essentially be a part of the IoT (Internet of Things), which will mean that they are in constant communication with other devices. Even so, if a car thief did happen to break into your car, they would not be able to get far due to GPS tracking, or even a remote shut down by your vehicle’s manufacturer.

Owning a self-driving car will not increase the chances of your vehicle being stolen. If anything, it will decrease the chances of your car being stolen. For instance, many vehicles are stolen due to negligence on the part of the driver. Now, your vehicle will be equipped to make up for any of your shortcomings. It will also make it easier for the police and insurance companies to track down your vehicle, which in turn saves time and money. Tracking vehicles down is by far one of the hardest things to do with car thefts. However, self-driving cars almost entirely eliminate that problem.


Self-driving cars will change a great deal about the experience of driving over the next few years. These vehicles are getting closer to reality and further away from just imaginative science fiction. There is no doubt that there will be some flaws inherent in self-driving cars, but as of right now, they will not increase the chances of vehicle theft. On the contrary, these self-driving cars will make it much easier to track down automated vehicles that have been stolen, and they will also make it much harder for one to even be stolen. Self-driving cars will help reduce the number of car accidents per annum as well as the number of car thefts per annum. The future isn’t up to Marty Mcfly’s standards yet, but we’re not doing so bad ourselves.


Beautiful Landscape Paintings Emerge from Creatively Carved Wood Frames

Reclaimed Wood Frames Reclaimed Wood Art Woodensense

Inspired by rustic scenes of wild nature, artist Faith Montgomery of Woodensense creates striking works of wooden art. Featuring breathtaking landscapes framed by creatively carved reclaimed wood, each of Montgomery’s pieces exhibits her obvious penchant for painting and her undeniable love of the great outdoors.

Presenting beautifully painted peaks of majestic mountains, towering trees, starry skies, and shimmering bodies of water, Montgomery’s collection of works offers awe-inspiring views of nature. What makes these piece even more striking, however, is the artist’s inventive approach to framing. Made out of reclaimed wood, each frame showcases Montgomery’s apt appreciation for the environment. Additionally, she has carved the silhouettes of nature-inspired motifs into the timber, adorning the upcycled structures with rustic cut-outs and pertinent silhouettes.

Given the level of skill apparent in her portfolio of reclaimed wood art, you may be surprised to learn that painting is not Montgomery’s speciality. Her background, she explains, is actually in drawing. A few years ago, however, she decided to try her hand at painting as a means of artistic exploration.”I’m more of a sketch artist but I thought that painting could allow me to broaden my horizons,” she explains on the Woodensense Etsy. “And, to me, in this world there is nothing more beautiful than the world itself. We take for granted nature and all it has to offer, so by capturing just a glimpse of it, maybe the little things in life can become big things.”

Artist Faith Montgomery of Woodensense creates unique landscape paintings framed by creatively carved reclaimed wood.

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Woodensense: Website | InstagramEtsy
h/t: [So Super Awesome]

All images via Woodensense.

Related Articles:

Kenyan Artist Hand-Carves and Paints Wooden Sculptures of Local Nature

Discarded Scraps Transformed into Functional Wood and Resin Stools

Multilayered Wooden Table Mimics the Soothing Depths of the Sea

The post Beautiful Landscape Paintings Emerge from Creatively Carved Wood Frames appeared first on My Modern Met.

The Surprising Universe of Martin Bruno

Martin Bruno donne vie à un univers aux formes simples et efficaces, aux couleurs vives et frappantes, invitant au voyage. L’élégance de ces images a séduit l’univers du luxe qui a déjà collaboré avec l’artiste (notamment la maison Hermès). Ici-bas, une sélection de clichés de plusieurs séries afin de découvrir l’univers de l’artiste.

DIY copper metal photo transfer art

Embrace the copper trend with this metal photo transfer art! You'll use Mod Podge Transfer Medium - it's very easy to do and makes unique decor.It looks like this copper trend is here to stay, and I’m not complaining! I, Holly, love decorating with copper accents, so when I walked by copper coated aluminum sheets at the hardware store, I immediately knew what to do. Did you know Mod Podge Photo Transfer Medium works on metal too?! Well,…

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