Thursday, 31 December 2015

2015: The Recap



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2016: The Change


We like to keep our New Year's Resolutions to ourselves because we are afraid that we won't achieve everything we set out to. We are cowards who refuse to hold each other accountable. We sneer at each other and say "HA as if you're really going to do that" or whisper condescending little sayings like "and how will you manage that exactly?" Only because we are scared of ourselves. We are scared of our power in different ways. Some of us are so scared that we laugh at others who try to achieve things we KNOW in ourselves that we can't (what?) achieve. "If I can't do it, she definitely can't." OR can she? So you panic and write a quick list that'll stay buried under your bed because you're scared of what people might say if you don't tick off absolutely everything.





The inner voice of a coward. 

"Loser."

"All talk - no action."

"HA! Arrogant to begin with."

"I thought so."

 Not 'I told you so.' Because I would never have the guts to tell you to your face that I was hoping you wouldn't make it. I didn't want to feel like you are ultimately better than me because you take actions and I suffer consequences. 




Those of us who are sane enough to know that << if he/she can achieve her dreams, then so can I  >>  have the ultimate power. We don't wait around for someone to tell us that we are good enough. We just get to work and do what needs to be done.

We're not bitching and crying about who has what. We count on hard work and hard work never disappoints.

I'm about to begin part two of two of getting my shit together with integrity, purpose, inner peace and the belief that anything that can happen, will happen. 
Most of you will find the confidence within yourselves to achieve anything you want in 2016. You'll sit down tonight or tomorrow, jut down a few goals and chase them like your life depends on it. Because it does. 

You have my undying support. Go for it. Start now and don't look back. 


Dreams of 2016: New York, LA, London, Italy, Thailand, French, completing writing and business projects, good friends, good food, being outrageous & dancing a little in the rain. 


I think I'll keep the hair too.
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2015: Lessons Learned

*These quotes represent everything 2015 has taught me. I hope 2016 comes with more lessons, experiences and thought provoking changes.



Personal 

"I want to have a spontaneous, passionate and crazy life that's worth telling."


"Consider becoming the type of energy that no matter where you go or where you are, you always add value to the spaces and lives of those around you."







Love
"You've got to stop asking everyone for their opinions. Fuck it. Love yourself, kiddo. You've got to love yourself."


"Spend so much time improving yourself that you have no time left to criticise others. Be too big for worry and too noble for anger."


"Being a true badass has no weight or gender requirement - just 100% commitment to greatness."


"So you plant your own garden and decorate your own soul, instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers."







Success 

"If your success is not on your own terms, if it looks good to the world but does not feel good in your heart, it is not success at all."


"Effort won't betray you."


 "Great things take time."


 "You are allowed to outgrow people."








Superficiality 

"Laugh at the men who tell you you're pretty. You are more than that."


"Be independent, interesting, idealistic, kind, opinionated, original, funny - a thousand things, before pretty."


"The best things in life aren't things."







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Sunday, 27 December 2015

Mood | Gone Girl


She never existed in this world. Even when sitting on trains and walking down busy streets. She was either reading a book or listening to some form of audio. She lived in a world of pure fiction and it thrilled her, for reality was bleak. Muddy and tasteless. However she found nothing mundane. She was intrigued by everything and everyone around her.  Forming stories and lives for each person that she encountered - to suit her mood of content of course. 
Layla was a girl she met in Bible studies. With loving parents and a budding career. Layla was a drug addict who sold her body for money.  
Jason didn't run a high class brothel for a living. No, Jason was into cars. Therefore he sold and bought cars.
Pastor Gibbons was a kind man who was involved with plenty of charities. Pastor Gibbons just got back from jail after a 10 year sentence for child molestation. 


But to ruin Jane's idealistic world of perfection would be tragic. 
"No. Not today, Mother"
"No. Not today, friend."
"No. Not today, Satan."

For the most part she found solace in solidarity. She wished to be on her own because people to her - REAL people were cancerous. They were lies, and heartbreak and deceit. They ruined everything. They did not know how to control their words. Why listen? What good would that do to her world of content? No good. So she buried her head in books and songs that whooshed her away to another world. 

She didn't believe in wearing nice clothes or brushing her hair.  There was no happiness to be found in superficial beauty. Just pain. Just critics. Just people who talked about things that didn't matter. 

Sitting in her uniformed beige pants and t-shirt, she stared out of the window of her beige room. A knock on the door. 
"Are you ready for your medication Jane?" 
She stared at the woman blankly. Medication. As if she needed them. She created her own happiness. She was the mastermind behind her own life. She didn't need the meds. She. Needed. To. Be. Left. Alone.
So she screamed :  a shrilling sound of utter madness. Until the nurse backed away, shutting the door to the outside world.

They thought she was mad. They thought she was crazy. She thought THEY were crazy. She laughed at THEY. There was nothing more beautiful than a world full of imaginary peace. Chaos... No chaos  led to unimaginable pain. And the real world? The real world was chaos. 

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Classe | Dear Karl



Dear Karl, 

I wish for you to teach me a thing or two about real elegance. Not the type flaunted on TV and magazine covers. I mean archaic, old fashioned elegance. And then I would like you to teach me how to morph it into something of the next generation without loss of quality. 
Quality - such a precious yet rare thing found into today's world, but for you quality flows through your veins. You read books and paint art. You sleep in only white sheets and enjoy complete solidarity. You let the art do the talking commercial or not. You are mysterious but so very charming. You don't think outside of the box. There is no such thing as that. Instead you draw new boxes and find a way for people to want to hop from one box to yours. You own fashion. It's taken me  while to learn why it's taken you so long to brig out your brand. You've built great brands like Chanel, Fendi and now your own brand. What fashion house or magazine exactly does not require the Karl Lagerfeld input? Always a head of the game you are but never one to state it. I have only one nickname for you: 

Chameleon. 

Karl  Kids

We sit around reading books and drinking coffee from wine glasses. It'll be the thing of the future.  You know the thing. The thing you absolutely must do. Running on alcohol seems the thing of the 90s. Coffee is the new drug. Dressed in the whitest button down shirt. No jewellery. And NO blogger hats. Just a pair of ox blood Oxfords. Straight short hair and minimal makeup. There is no beauty in coloured-in eyebrows. Pinstriped tights and a tight leather skirt to match, I don't care to do much but to live life to the fullest. Not for pure enjoyment alone but for the purpose of creation. At dusk we attend the coolest parties. Dancing the night away. Meeting several different people to establish the new aesthetic. Walking home light headed from the music. Not alcohol. Alcohol dulls the mind and there is nothing worse than a mind that cannot be put to good use at dawn.




"Like poetry, fashion does not state anything. It merely suggests."
- Karl Lagerfeld. 





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Dreams of | Italy


(Img source: Tumblr) 

Italians. They have good taste in everything. Wine, cheese, pasta, gelato, style, art, music and books. With their dark features and seductive culture, they simply stun the world into oblivion.  If I was to be born again, I would wish to come back as an Italian. Preferably with curly black hair and an alluring sexy accent.  Perhaps as a gallery owner somewhere in Florence capturing the hearts of the new generation of romantics. Maybe as a business guru in Milan. I'd own  a fruit and vegetable market, working from early morning until dusk. Exchanging life stories with neighbouring markets and retiring to a cosy home with just the right bottle of Pinot Grigio. How about Venice? I think I'd spend my days imitating Nancy Drew on the quest to finding out what really happened to that worshipped  painter from the late 50s. Boat rides and a compass Google Maps (because new generation) would be  a part of my aesthetic.   Then there is Rome, I'd return as a common tourist to  relive the lives of those who lived before me. The memories that lie in the cracks of the colosseum and the stories that could only be told by ancient locals. To hear Italian - not to understand it - but to feel a part of it for a second or two, pretending that everything that is said could only be made up of the most charming dialogue.  






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Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Life | Late Nights


I promised myself that I would post something new at least 15 times this month. Today is the 22nd of December and I can admit that I am slacking a little bit but all for good reason. For me to write consistently on this site, I need to stop for a minute and live outside of the bubble of social media so that I can come back with new ideas, new experiences and sometimes a new perspective. That's exactly what I attempted to do in the last seven days. 
I spent a lot of time hanging with family, Facebook calling my sister who lives in the UK, jump rope sessions with my brother to get our hearts racing as we watched the moon disappear behind the fog several times only to reappear 5 seconds later (magic?), drinking a stupendous amount of wine with old friends and new friends.

Remember when I said I couldn't find my old self? Well she reappeared this week. Bold, daring, unashamed, unafraid. The girl who has fun because it's literally in her DNA. Staying up late staring at the ceiling with my hand on my racing heart. Why is my heart racing in the middle of the night? Why am I even awake? Do I sleep? No. I just dream out loud.

Do you ever get a feeling that something REALLY good is about to happen and you don't know how to even deal with the thought? So your heart races in anticipation. You're energetic and all of a sudden you're being goofy and silly. Taking nothing seriously except living. Content with what you have, not seeking anything more but knowing you're about to receive more anyway. It feels great and I feel grateful. If you're friends with me on snapchat, you'll notice how silly I'm being - taking countless selfies/videos. I'm trying to distract myself. I am anxious and excited and I do not know how to contain it. It's ridiculous. Ridiculously good. 

Wow this sounds so badly written but can you feel that? My excitement is taking over and I don't care if this isn't written in perfect grammar. I don't care if there are spelling mistakes (I do) or if a full stop is missing somewhere. 

I have no desire to be perfect so I do crazy things and reflect on them later. Imperfect but always willing to learn, cheerful but also melancholic. 
Impatient, satirical and critical but I'll never get rid of those aspects - it wouldn't work out. I wouldn't be me.

My Tumblr Accounts














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Friday, 18 December 2015

Dreams of | Manhattan



Polluted wafts of air . Tattered walls and buildings we call art. An intoxicating atmosphere that pulls you into the midst of something you've never experienced before. This isn't real life. This is Manhattan: the island of grimy dreams. 
Drunk on the views, the lifestyle, the people. The waiters will flirt with you and  so will men in Armani. They'll ask for your hand in marriage but you'll politely decline because psychopaths wear suits too. You'll work 17 hours a day, exercise for one hour, lunch for 2 and sleep for 4. Rockefeller is your goal. 
You'll make friends easily and keep them around because everybody has something to offer in New York. You'll never be overdressed and when you are, they'll treat you like Kate Moss. You'll spend money you don't have with time you don't have. 

Your old life will never again feel like your old life. You'll learn and you'll flourish in a city full of grime that glitters. This is new. This is the truth. 

My Tumblr Accounts
1. Diamants au chocolat
2. Kilimanjaro Stars



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Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Mood | Cafe Rendez-vous


On entering the Starbucks cafe on Broadway, Addison slipped her Dior sunglasses over her head. Her eyes were proof of tiredness but she didn't want to be that person - you know, the one who speaks to people with their bloody sunglasses on. The click of her Manolo heels echoed across the room as she made her way over to the counter in a tight turtle neck dress and a tweed Chanel blazer. It was a Sunday afternoon and if this wasn't New York City, the stares would be endless. Addison didn't mind though - she dressed according to mood and right now she was in the mood to make money. 

At just 26, Addison was the founder and CEO of a high tech productivity app. She had been working on the app for 8 years with a couple of her engineer friends before it caught the eye of the big guys in Silicon Valley. Addison smiled coyly at the memory as she placed her laptop on one of the rounded coffee tables.
Can you imagine their faces when they realised that she was a girl? Sexist pigs - every single one of them but getting the 100 million dollar investment was like taking candy from a baby. They loved her - not enough of the smile, the legs and the certainty in her voice when she declared to them at a networking party that she stole the idea from her boyfriend after he cheated on her. She didn't- it was all hers but Addison was adept to playing the game. 

On hearing the sound of the door open, she looked up. Before her was a man in beige slacks and a denim shirt. Sandy blonde hair, dark green eyes and a light stubble. An iPad in one hand and an iPhone in the other.  Staring intensely at his phone before approaching the counter, Addison wondered what that was about. An email or a text from a soon to be ex lover? She knew what kind of guy he was just by looking at him - oh yes - egotistical and a proud money making machine.

Or was that who she was?
Putting aside her people watching habit, Addison got back to her research.

There was a business conference tomorrow morning exclusive to the top 10 Alpha startups in Santa Clara. She planned on taking the first flight out.


Julian stared at his phone for a long 10 seconds. There was no fucking way they were going through with that deal. Why was Ian even bringing it up again? As the two cofounders of their gaming app he knows how hard they've worked to get to where they are today. Julian feared for his business partner. There was a difference between taking risks and being stupid.
He was not about to lose everything for a friend who was great at networking and drinking scotch but not much else. With a steady 45 million dollars coming in this year in revenues, Julian was confident about the future. Maybe it was time he finally bought him out once and for all.

Julian looked up from his phone only to notice a young girl with black hair and a lazy smile. She held a newspaper in her hands. He didn't understand why she was staring at him but she was pretty. 'The rich kid of a movie star in expensive Chanel' kind of pretty. She didn't look like she was complicated. Yes, that seemed fitting. If he didn't have to get back to his office so quickly, he would stay and strike up a conversation. 

But there was a business conference tomorrow morning exclusive to the top 10 Alpha startups in Santa Clara. He planned on taking the first flight out.

***

Tumblr Accounts:
1. Diamants au chocolat
2. Kilimanjaro Stars 
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Monday, 14 December 2015

Life | Killing Smiles



I caught the flu last week (didn't everyone?) ultimately destroying my concentration level. Even worse than losing concentration, I lost my appetite. Can you imagine the devastation when your favourite pastime is consuming food? My snapchat went from grade A food to grade C selfies. What. A. Hard. Life.

As a result of the flu and some kind of intolerance to all things wheat and lentils, I found myself with plenty of unused late night hours - half staring at the ceiling, half dreaming of 2016. Fun isn't it? Knowing you can wake up any morning and decide what your next step is. There are so many places I would like to visit and so many projects I'd like to complete. 2015 has been the biggest roller coaster of my life: lots of surprises, lots of challenges, lots of decision making and hefty prices to pay. With the best came the absolute worst - it shook me up more than I thought it would. Sometimes I feel like a shadow of myself and if I'm honest, I don't know what to do with her. I'd like to say I'm stronger for it but really I have a lot to learn. 

So I can assure you I'm feeling the pressure, but in a "this is going to breed diamonds" kind of way. 

I'll let you in on one of the first moves for 2016: I'm restructuring the 'Lookbook' section on Diamants au chocolat. Posting outfit photos on a blog is so 2013. I mean we have Instagram now for blatant self promotion - do we need a blog too? I don't think so. Or maybe I'm just redefining what a blog is...or maybe this won't be a blog at all. 

Yep, Diamants au chocolat is about to change a whole lot yet again in 2016. I've been highly focused on innovation and with that, I finally think what I will be doing in the next two years could possibly 'break the (already saturated) Internet'. Something so big that I'm going to need to hire a team. I'm sure you know I can't say much (because there are daggers in men's smiles hmm) but I will leave you with this - 

Don't let people tell you you're not good enough to do something because more often than not, you're better than what they tell you you are. 


My Tumblr Accounts



SNAPCHAT: @ayisha_o

INSTAGRAM: @ayisha_ogbara

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Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Mood | Oscar le Martel



Sitting in his trailer at 4AM wide awake and fully dressed wasn't an unusual occurrence for Oscar le Martel. Hair and makeup would be ready for him in less than an hour and he didn't see much point in going back to sleep. Closing over his Macbook he stared at the hand written notes he had taken down from his online computer science program, wishing for another life. A life without excruciating fame, unethical opulence and... lies.

Oscar le Martel was really Oscar Smith. Scouted on the streets of California, his agents had changed his surname to le Martel. After all It sounded sexier - what more could you want for a potential star? Nothing but the best, that's what. 

A 19 year old extremely into gaming, building apps and silicon valley. He didn't require much to keep him content: a laptop, a book or two and comfortable clothing: plain white t shirts, hoodies and baseball caps. Oscar Smith was a loner and he enjoyed every minute of it. Digging up research on projects he hoped to create rippling impact with, he aspired to be like the greats - Mark Zuckerberg, Kevin Systrom, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates. 

Except Oscar Smith was stuck being Oscar le Martel. TV SENSATION!!! Dark mysterious eyes, a head of black hair, a jawline that could cut ice and a smile that melted the hearts of young teens who lived their lives according to his. Oscar laughed to himself - if only they knew. Pretty boy had brains and didn't find anything empowering about being an actor. However before he could object, a boat load of money was already being jammed down his throat by those who were extremely motivated by profiting from the kid with good hair and an abundance of on screen charm. Money. How it could silence any god damn person into submission. 

So he submitted himself to the interviews, the guest appearances and the demands of his agency. He dressed in Calvin Klein, Giorgio Armani, Balmain and whatever other brands he was paid to consider. 
Would he ever get out of this rut? He didn't know. The money felt good, the attention felt great and there was nothing he could require that he wouldn't get. Would it be the same in Silicon Valley or would he become a joke?
In the eyes of the public he was the boy who had it all and it was true. He did have it all - fame, money, luxury, attention, power, pain, a feeling of dissatisfaction, loneliness, hopelessness and more.  But to himself, he was simply the boy who cried wolf. 

Oscar checked the time on his gold Rolex subconsciously wishing he was the man who invented it instead of the man who merely wears it. 

A knock on his trailer and his 25 year old assistant entered. 
'How's the programming going?'

'I'm still taking down notes.' Oscar replied reverting his eyes to the floor.

'Just dive into it Oscar. You can always come back to acting if it fails.' She joked.

At least someone believed in him. 

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Monday, 7 December 2015

Life | Lost Connections


I've read almost three books since my last life post. I say almost because I have a habit of reading three or more books at the one time, which probably says a lot about me - mainly that I get bored and distracted quite easily. These days I find myself more connected to people I don't know - journalists, authors, researchers but most of all fictional characters. One can say It's easier to get to know characters in a book because their story is so openly and honestly told. Human beings however are far more complex. We keep secrets. In this day and age of social media we give less information and display one sided lives. We hide the dark thoughts and burdening emotion in order to appear less vulnerable. 

When I came back from Canada, I thought I was the same person as I was prior to my move. That turned out not to be true. Setting foot on Irish soil proved it. Everything and everyone were the same but I was different. I had picked up new values, new behaviours and a new way of thinking in 2015, which to my surprise further isolated me from my own world that I had already carefully built. A world that I left in one piece, hoping to come back to it just like I left it. But I was different. 

The world I once built for myself didn't fit anymore. 

In Canada I met people with different interests and staggering ambition. It fuelled me but most of all it excited me. Suddenly I wanted to do more and in that half a year I achieved more than I ever set out to in the first place. Yep, every single one of my New Years Resolutions came to pass. Every single one. And I don't dream 'small' - ever 

...but damn was it harder than I expected. 

Then came my move back to Ireland. No one around me was going through working for hours on end, facing risks, putting together business  plans and proposals, opening rejection emails, to simpler things like changing dietary lifestyle - or at least they didn't talk about it. I didn't talk about it either.

So I drowned myself in TV shows and books and people that talked about the things I was facing. I learned about the 10, 000 hour rule where in order to become great at something, the minimum of 10, 000 hours of work must be achieved. My focus is no longer on who gets it or who gets me (although it would be nice to know people facing the same debacle IRL) but the work I'm doing and why I'm doing it. It's lonely for now yes but a part of me thinks It's going to be worth it. 

After all the future is looking very very bright.



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Saturday, 5 December 2015

Classe | Girl in Prada


What does it take to build powerful brands like Miu Miu and Prada? What does it take to be worth 3.4 billion dollars? What does it take to create a brand that speaks fluent adage? 
The ability to think like and unlike the masses simultaneously to create outrageously clever concepts. 

Sometimes I think of refining my style because the business side of my brain says simple is commercial and commercial sells. Then Miuccia Prada reminds me that fashion isn't art. Fashion is commercial. Now that doesn't mean the creativity ends there. What it means is that you must work smarter to turn boundaries into advantages. 

For many years, I missed the intelligent part of fashion (blaming the glamourisation of fashion and celebrity construct) which left me in utter frustration. It turns out I wasn't looking closely enough in the first place. Most people don't look close enough. We're stuck in a world where skin defines sexy but Miuccia Prada says otherwise. Miuccia Prada says sexy is intangible. 

I've always felt a bit wilder than the other girls. With acute opinions, raging passion, the will to achieve the impossible, to drink more wine than necessary and to rely on melancholy as much as happiness. I never fit in. It used to bother me. It doesn't anymore.


Prada Girl

Leaving the local library at 6AM in the morning having just finished a classic Jackie Collin's. Page turner created only to leave the heart racing. Hair loosely tied back. No makeup. No nail polish. A palm imprint on my chin from resting my elbow on the table. Legs crossed in the darkest pair of tight denim jeans. Patent black boots. A long ombre coat of aubergine and copper. A white button down shirt placed under a loose black t shirt with the words 

"B E  B O L D  O R  I T A L I C.  N E V E R  R E G U L A R." 

spawled across the chest. Who needs sleep? 3 hours should do before meeting friends at an Andy Warhol exhibition. 





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Thursday, 3 December 2015

Dreams of | Switzerland


Swiss Chalets. Does anything sound more luxurious? An exterior elegantly decorated with clouds of snow. An interior boasting a large fireplace and inviting lounge sofas. The burning sensation of heat or passion to ski. Feeling the chill of the air, like stilled water: unmoving but thrilling. Swerving and sliding in a mesh of snow, dedicated and fearless. Training with natives who come looking for laughter and peace of mind. Slightly arrogant, immensely cheerful. Friendly competition on ice.
With Genève only an hour and 30 minutes away, there are always last minute gifts to be bought. A stop to Louis Vuitton to seek out the latest Twist shoulder bag in cassis. Pursuing unique art decor to symbolise another memory home for the taking. 
A pre Christmas dinner arranged for late evening in the attractively furnished dining room of the chalet. Pacing around languorously as a feast is prepared. 

Wine glasses clinking and snow falling graciously. 
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Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Mood | Lover Girl


Chatter echoed off the walls of her dining room. Seated were 16 of her friends, laughing and discussing the events of last night's event: The British Fashion Awards. She watched them contentedly half listening,  half day dreaming. 
'Ivy, you looked like a million bucks on the red carpet. And fashion innovator of the year? You really couldn't have done it without me.' James exclaimed - hand on heart - grinning triumphantly.
'I would have been nothing without you James. You know you're the hottest makeup artist in London right now but I'll tell you anyway.' Ivy laughed. 
Adoration was the name of the game and she dashed it out like sprinkles on a cake - to whomever and whoever sought it out.
She was everybody's lover in one way or the other - keeping an eye on whose birthday was next, who had a promotion coming up and who needed a lift when life didn't play fair.

'Anyone for dessert?' Ivy stood up, lifting the white napkin from her pleated burgundy skirt, with which she wore a crisp white shirt, opaque tights and patent black ankle boots. Her hair was scraped into a neat bun and her face was bare.
'Coffee is good with me.' her assistant Sal said.
'You could do with a slice of red velvet.'
She couldn't. Sal was plump enough but Ivy didn't believe in worrying about things that simply didn't matter. It was Thanksgiving for God's sake.

Not often did people walk out of Ivy's life. Attached to the charisma, the charm. Her wicked smile and manic laugh, they found it hard to leave. Ivy had a knack for making people feel good. With Ivy, the world was not going to end and the moon would stay radiant, illuminating clouds of worry and doubt. She created a place in the corner of the minds of others that envisioned only good things to come. A place that shut off looming darkness.

A man made bubble full of only things that shine in the dark. 



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