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Written By: Dartangnan Johnson

Looking to jazz up your next vacation with something a little more exotic, then take a trip through the Orient–“Crazy Rich Asian” style! Whether you want to take in some culture, relax on the beach, hike the trails, or shop ‘til you drop many countries that make up the mysterious Orient can offer you all that and more. We’ve decided to offer four hot spots and the reason they should be tops on your list of places to get away from it all!

Brunei

travel asia

If you’re a Millennial you probably grew up watching “The Fabulous Life” in which case you’ve probably heard talk of the Sultan of Brunei and his many golden toilets, and with good reason, the country is super in black gold, Texas tea or as the lay folks like to say oil. The capital Bandar Seri Begawan is known as one of the most opulent cities in the world, with the crown jewel being the golden tipped Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque. The mosque has marble minarets and golden domes, courtyard and is surrounded by several trees and floral gardens. The mosque’s most recognizable feature, the main dome, is covered in pure gold. The main minaret is its tallest feature, it mixes Renaissance and Italian architectural styles. The minaret has an elevator to the top, where a visitor can enjoy a panoramic view of the city. The interior of the mosque is for prayer only. You can also check out Istana Nural Iman the largest governmental building on Earth, home of the Legislature of Brunei.

travel asia

If prayer temples and parliamentary procedure isn’t your idea of a good time, then you can take a hike along the rope bridges and canopies of the Ulu Temburong National Park which is a state sponsored conservation effort that a natural rainforest ecosystem. After you’ve hiked the trails, you can rest your weary legs on the beaches of Kuala Belait which is on the western edge of the Sultanate.

Indonesia

travel asia

The archipelago known as Indonesia is made up of over 13,000 islands so you’ll never be short on catching some shore time. The most popular amongst these being Bali. The blue water and white sands of Bali are must for those who just need to get away from it all. Grass huts built out over open waters that offer ocean views for miles on end have become a standard in advertisements for the island nation.  Interested in someplace a little less crowded try Kuta which offers the same amenities as Bali, but with less people.

indonesia gilli islands

If you’re more of the adventurous type, then you can find your way to the Gill Islands for diving and snorkeling near the turtle sanctuary. Once you’ve taken in the ocean breezes and swam amongst the aquatic life you can meditate the Borobudur Buddhists temple. Built during the 8th century Borobudur is a UNESCO world heritage site. You can light torches at sunrise and walk to the center of the temple for prayers and meditation. Lastly, but certainly not least you can hop over to Java, which sits in the Ring of Fire, a circlet of islands that boast the worlds most active volcanoes. The most popular of these is Most Bromo which can be found in Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park.

Japan

travel asia

As you’re walking through the Narita International Airport to the baggage claim you’ll most likely hear Nihon e Yokoso. Welcome to Japan. Japan has long been one of Asia’s most visited countries, with everything from the latest in technology and historical culture that and art to rival that of Europe there is no shortage of things to do, places to see and people to watch. Start your trip by taking in the Imperial Palace. Originally built during the 17th century it is surrounded by walls and moats. Much of the palace is closed off to the public, due to the royal family still being in residence.

travel asia

Next you can hop a train to Mount Fuji and hike the trail to watch the “Sunrise in the East”. More experience hikers start at the base of the mountain, where as those who are less inclined can start from Station 5 which is bout halfway up the peak. After you’ve elevated yourself you can Zen out by walking through the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove of Kyoto, which boast some of the worlds tallest bamboo. Kyoto was Japan’s most important cultural center, a legacy that continues with its many museums and art galleries, each bursting with important sculptures, paintings, and other art forms. Another noteworthy spot is the Kyoto Imperial Palace which is where the royal family resided before moving to Tokyo. A little-known fact is that there are over one hundred castles in Japan built during the Shogun Era, it is believed that at one point in history there may have been more than five thousand.

Thailand

travel asia

Thailand is in Southeast Asian. Mainly known for tropical beaches, decadent royal palaces, ancient ruins and grand temples displaying figures of Buddha. In Bangkok, the capital, a metropolitan cityscape coexists next to quiet canal communities and the iconic temples of Wat Arun, Wat Pho and the Emerald Buddha Temple (Wat Phra Kaew). Nearby beach resorts include bustling Pattaya and fashionable Hua Hin. If you really want to drown out the world you can do so on the Phi Phi Islands, Koh Phi Phi, is the only one that is inhabited and host to dozens of resorts that offer all the amenities you’ll need while “ruffing it” along the beach. There are many tour companies available that offer day trips to other well-known tourist spots such as Phuket, Koh Chang, and Maya Bay.  

travel asia

Back in Bangkok you can tour The Grand Palace which was once the residence of the King of Siam. The palace isn’t just a royal residence there is also the Emerald Temple which is said to hold a relic from Buddha himself. There are also dozens of guesthouses and government buildings enclosed by courtyards and gardens. Tour guides recommend giving a full day over to exploring all the grounds. A visit to one of the floating markets is a fun way to do some shopping and eating while supporting local vendors. The long wooden boats offer fruits, vegetables, spices, and local cuisine meant to tantalize the palette. There are several floating markets near Bangkok, Amphawa and Damnoen Saduak being among the most popular. Round out your trip by visit any of the hundreds of wats (monasteries or temples) dedicated to Buddha. The most historically significant spots include Ankur Wat, Sukhothai Old City (the ancient capital), and Ayutthaya (the former capital). Ayutthaya is just a short train or bus ride away from Bangkok and can be done as a day trip.

 

lifestyle

Proposing While Gay! How To & Where To Pop The Big Question!

The moment you decide you want to spend the rest of your life with someone is one of the most important days in your life. Picking and choosing the right husband or wife can in many cases make or break your life. When it comes to LGBT couples the stakes are no less higher. However, you are not alone in your endeavors as we have the perfect guide to how and where to pop the big question!

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gay proposal

The moment you decide you want to spend the rest of your life with someone is one of the most important days in your life. Picking and choosing the right husband or wife can in many cases make or break your life. When it comes to LGBT couples the stakes are no less higher. However, you are not alone in your endeavors as we have the perfect guide to how and where to pop the big question!

The Proposal

gay proposal

The trick to a proposal is when to actually propose. First, be sure this is the person you want to spend the rest of your life with. Weigh out the pros and cons of matrimony with them, and if they meet your needs perfectly. Go for it! Just understand that marriage is a constant job, requiring your time, love, attention, and commitment.

The Spots

Below are a few amazing spots in each corner of the country–New York City, Atlanta, Chicago, and Los Angeles— where you can propose your eternal love on bended knee.

brooklyn botanic garden gay proposal places

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is a “daily dose of spring,” with lush gardens filled with beautiful flowers and beautiful scenery. The garden has numerous spots and settings that let you feel in tune with nature, as if the Earth itself is blessing your union.

the atlanta history center's the swan house gay proposal places

The Atlanta History Center’s The Swan House

Atlanta History Center’s Swan House has all the nostalgia and beauty of a scene from “Gone With The Wind.” The mansion and its regal decor met with Southern style and class is to die for. If you want your proposal to be “picture perfect,” few places can match this place.

shedd aquarium gay proposal places

Shedd Aquarium

Shedd Aquarium is one of Chicago’s biggest attractions. Some of the aquatic wildlife housed there are so exotic, beautiful, and alien looking they might as well be from another world. Coincidentally another world is exactly the beautiful backdrop you might want for your own proposal. It’s very Atlantica from Disney’s “The Little Mermaid!”

griffith observatory gay proposal places

Griffith Observatory

Griffith Observatory is truly a gateway to the stars. It boasts some of the most amazing equipment that will allow you to view and learn about the observable universe. There are few ways and places than to pop the question better than here. Your love may very well become its own harmonic convergence as you align with the cosmos!

Love, and the pursuit thereof is never easy, but finding someone you want to spend your life with is worth celebrating! Congrats in advance!

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lifestyle

Moving In The Right Direction w/ The Right Hand Foundation (@righthandfdn)!

Anytime successful individuals feel compelled to give back to their communities I feel God smiling down on us. The Right Hand Foundation has supported shelters for women, children, and group homes all throughout Atlanta. With plans to build Right Hand “Havens” in communities throughout the country, Courtney Stewart is on the right track.  

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Anytime successful individuals feel compelled to give back to their communities I feel God smiling down on us. The Right Hand Foundation has supported shelters for women, children, and group homes all throughout Atlanta. With plans to build Right Hand “Havens” in communities throughout the country, Courtney Stewart is on the right track.

Courtney Stewart Hey Mikey ATL

Stewart cutting ribbon on Right Hand Foundation

 

So the other day I was invited to this event and I was told that it was DJ Khalid‘s nonprofit. As I’m putting the address in my GPS I realize I’m heading to College Park from the north side of Atlanta. I know what some of you are thinking … yes there was traffic but the house was in a good area. Down the street from million dollar homes and my favorite restaurant right now, The Real Milk & Honey.

Stewart & Bobby Valentino, Stewart & Family

Stewart & Bobby Valentino, Stewart & Family

Pulling up I got connected with the PR folk on site and they got me introduced to Courtney Stewart. Prior to meeting him I was sipping on some rosay and enjoying these delicious jerk tacos made by Chef Joe. Oh and let me “Slow Down” … it was nice to see Bobby Valentino there as well. Stewart is truly a god-send a very humble entrepreneur. The artist manager, record label executive, and humanitarian maximizes every opportunity for success from all angles and was also recognized on Billboard’s prestigious “40 under 40”.

Right Hand FND Home

Right Hand FND Home

 

Right now Stewart is moving one family in their newly renovated home and once they are stable continue to work with other families. Where him and his team will provide weekly educational sessions, life-skill activities and income-savings programs. The Right Hand Foundation partners offer workshops as well as mentors and personal coaches to provide hands on education for families. And as I told Courtney I definitely appreciate what he’s doing for our community. So many people say they want to give back but to do that and also take it a step further by insuring that theses families get hands-on attention is truly unbelievable.

 

Right Hand FND

Right Hand FND Event

Follow the movement at RightHandFDN.org

 

 

 

Written By: Triston Devon @TheTristonDevon

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lifestyle

Slinging Into Success! DeAndre Lemans’ Slingshot Headshot is ATL’s New Hot Spot for Great Head Shots!

When it comes to the entertainment world there are a few things every actor, artist, and model should have–comp cards, a professional bio, and above all else a head shot! Having all of these just shows you’re serious about your craft–think of it as part of your resume. However, head shots–good ones at least–can be expensive and hard to come by for many in the industry.

Thankfully one company has realized, and is capitalizing off that need, SlingShots Headshots! Ran and owned by noted model, cinemaphotographer, and actor, DeAndre Lemans (Freefall), SlingShots, has become the one stop shop of Atlanta for all of your head shot needs!

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slingshots headshots

When it comes to the entertainment world there are a few things every actor, artist, and model should have–comp cards, a professional bio, and above all else a head shot! Having all of these just shows you’re serious about your craft–think of it as part of your resume. However, head shots–good ones at least–can be expensive and hard to come by for many in the industry.

DeAndre Lemans slingshots headshots

DeAndre Lemans

Thankfully one company has realized, and is capitalizing off that need, SlingShots Headshots! Ran and owned by noted model, cinemaphotographer, and actor, DeAndre Lemans (Freefall), SlingShots, has become the one stop shop of Atlanta for all of your head shot needs!

We came across SlingShots after a few noted Web Stars and producers like Tripp Ali, Lyrik London, Sherrod Willis, and Jaquay Wilkerson posted their own amazing head shots from the company. We were even more amused and surprised to learn the price of these professional photos was a mere thirty five dollars! In an interview with us DeAndre discussed his company’s origins in depth. “I myself, have been in the entertainment and fashion industries for a number of years, and I’ve always noticed that there was a need for head shots among the community…Atlanta is full of actors and quite a few of them just did not have the essentials they needed to move and be noticed in the industry. Head shots are definitely one of the basic tools they need, but many of them either can’t afford them or find a photographer that captures them correctly. That’s what we do at ‘SlingShots Headshots,’ provide quality and affordable photos for the public.”

We have to admit we initially thought the affordability and production had to be a fluke or have some Catch-22, but we are happy to admit we were wrong. Our very own, Michael “Hey Mikey” Fanning was invited to get his own complimentary head shots and the results were magnificent. See below:

The process was simple. We made an appointment with DeAndre via SlingShots’ Instagram page, @slingshots.atl, showed up, and followed his directions to a “T.” “I can make anyone look great each head shot is only thirty five dollars, and any additional edits are only five dollars a piece. You can pay me cash or Cash App me at ‘$DeAndreGresham.’ I figure even a starving artist can afford those prices [he laughs]. We also shoot on weekends to make it more convenient for everyone.” We definitely endorse DeAndre and his sprawling business as legit and a surefire investment in yourself. We live in an age of imagery, and how you present yourself is everything! Do it right and start here! Mr. Lemans wants everyone to know “when you come to ‘SlingShots’ you’re going to have a great experience, receive amazing customer service, and you’re going to want to tell a friend–so please do so!” 

**Check out his website for more information and booking, https://www.lemanscinema.com/slingshots!**

BOOK TODAY!

 

 

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