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What do you envision when you think of Kiev?

For many in the West, the Ukraine's capital city — plastered on front pages and scrolling across news tickers in recent years — has become synonymous with political turmoil. And there's certainly some truth in that.

But if you've only read gripping headlines, you've missed out on half the story.


"Protectress," by Mata Ruda, depicting a goddess surrounded by sunflowers — the national flower of Ukraine. Photo by Amos Chapple/RFE/RL.

Sprinkled across Kiev's towering structures, powerful displays of beauty have transformed the Ukrainian metropolis.

"Boy With Darts," by Sacha Korban. Photo by Amos Chapple/RFE/RL.

Ever since widespread protests against government corruption sparked change about two years ago, many in Kiev have turned to art.

Mural by artist Okuda. Photo by Amos Chapple/RFE/RL.

Murals have exploded throughout the city, turning the country's political anxieties into expressions of hope and strength.

This mural by artist Nunca blends Brazilian and Ukrainian cultures to create a single subject. Photo by Amos Chapple/RFE/RL.

Both international artists and locals have brightened Kiev's weathered brick homes and businesses into wondrous works.

 The results are nothing short of stunning.

Mural by Alexander Britz. Photo by Amos Chapple/RFE/RL.

The murals began cropping up largely after the Euromaidan protests in February 2014.

Angered by mass corruption and governmental mismanagement, anti-Russia protesters shook the political status quo of Ukraine, which was formerly part of the Soviet Union. Deadly riots and a national call to action culminated in the toppling of then-President Viktor Yanukovych, as well as an overhaul of much of the country's political system.

It was a grueling time for Ukrainians — and that instability has lingered into 2016 — but the unrest also spurred a burst of creative expression that has breathed new artistic life into the streets of Kiev.

Many of the murals are either subtly or overtly political, like Fintan Magee's "The Dreamer."

"The Dreamer" by Fintan Magee. Photo by Amos Chapple/RFE/RL.

The artwork features Ukrainian gymnast Hanna Rizatdinova, who's originally from Crimea — a region that was forcibly (and controversially) annexed by Russia.

"I could not understand why," Rizatdinova said of the annexation. "How can the Cri­mea be Russia? How can our Simferopol school train under a Rus­sian flag? I was outraged."

Others are motivated by pure delight, like Sasha Korban's "Elephant Dream."

"Elephant Dream" by Sasha Korban. Photo by Amos Chapple/RFE/RL.

Because what's more delightful than an elephant carrying colorful balloons?

But every work of art tells a unique story.

"Renaissance" by artists Seth Globepainter and Kislow. Photo by Amos Chapple/RFE/RL.

And each unique story should be heard.

"The Rebuild" by Australian artist Fintan Magee, who said the subject for the piece was a Ukrainian friend, Kateryna. Photo by Amos Chapple/RFE/RL.

"The River Crossing" by Fintan Magee. Photo by Amos Chapple/RFE/RL.

"The Visionary" by Fintan Magee. Photo by Amos Chapple/RFE/RL.

As Kiev exemplifies, art often means so much more than pretty pictures.

The healing effects of creating art are well-documented and profound, with many people who've experienced tough times or traumatic experiences — from U.S. veterans to children of war-torn regions — using the medium to cope and grow.

It makes sense that the collective grief of Kiev has blossomed into artistic beauty.

This kaleidoscopic cormorant, by artist Ernesto Maranje, is easily spotted on the drive from the Kiev airport into the city. Photo by Amos Chapple/RFE/RL.

A portrait of Mykhaylo Hrushevsky — a leading figure in the Ukrainian national revival of the early 20th century — by Kailas-V. Photo by Amos Chapple/RFE/RL.

"Swift" by Alex Maksiov features Ukraine's flag in the bird's eye. Photo by Amos Chapple/RFE/RL.

"The Archangel Michael" by Gaia, which symbolizes the conflict in Crimea and Donbas between Ukraine and Russia. Photo by Amos Chapple/RFE/RL.

If anything's evident in the artwork peppered throughout Kiev, it's the unbelievable strength of a people — even in the darkest of times.

Because even amid unrest and a deep desire for change, it still rings true that home is where the heart is for the people of Ukraine.

This local mural reads "I love Ukraine!" Photo by Amos Chapple/RFE/RL.

Images provided by Pacifico

Making waves in the best way

True

At last, summer is here. And for many people, that means it's time for heading to the beach and maybe even catching some waves. Surfing is a quintessential summertime activity for those who live in coastal communities—it’s not only really fun and challenging, it’s also a great way to celebrate Mother Nature’s beauty. Even after a wipeout, the cool water mixed with warm sunshine offers a certain kind of euphoria. Or, you know, just hanging back on the sand is plenty fun too. Simply being outdoors near the ocean is its own reward.

pacifico quiksilver beach cleanupLet’s protect the places where outdoor adventure happensAll photos provided by Pacifico

However, it's well known that our beautiful beaches are suffering the consequences of overcrowding, pollution and littering. What was once a way of playing in nature is now slowly destroying it. And of course, this affects beachgoers everywhere. The sad truth is—without taking action to preserve all the natural joys the earth provides, we will eventually lose them.

But there is hope. Two popular brands that both have roots in surf culture have teamed up to help make trips to the beach a more sustainable pastime. The best part? You don’t have to know how to hang ten in order to participate.

Pacifico®, a pilsner-style lager originally brought to the U.S. by surfers, and Quiksilver, an iconic apparel company loved by both surfers and beach goers alike, have created a brand-new range of clothing and accessories with sustainability in mind.

Take a look below. These threads are great for all kinds of fun in the sun, without compromising the environment.

pacifico quicksilver beach cleanupsReady to make some waves

The collection launches on July 5 and includes tees and woven shirts, boardshorts, hats, flip-flops and a special beach towel and tote bag. The unique collaboration features the vibrant, colorful designs that are the hallmark of Quiksilver combined with Pacifico elements, created to make a positive impact.

Each item has been thoughtfully curated to minimize an environmental footprint and protect the outdoors. The hats, for example, are made from NetPlus® by Bureo®, a raw material created from South American recycled fishing nets. Additionally, the board shorts are made from recycled plastic bottles, and tees are made with 100% organic cotton. Pretty rad stuff, to put it in surfer lingo.

The prices on these pieces are equally rad, ranging from $28 flip-flops to $60 boardshorts.

In keeping with the sustainable ethos and protecting the places we play, Pacifico and Quiksilver will celebrate the products’ launch by hosting two beach cleanups. The first is on July 5 at Sunset Point in Malibu, California, from 4-5:30pm, and the second is on July 9th at Deerfield Beach in Florida from 8:30 – 10:30am.

pacifico quicksilver clothing lineCleaning up and looking good while doing it

Theses beach cleanups are open to anyone over the age of 21 who’s ready to have some fun while taking care of nature’s playground.

Those who can’t make it to the beach (bummer, dude) don’t have to miss out on all the fun. The new collection will be available on July 5th at www.quiksilver.com/mens-collab-pacifico. And even if you don’t surf, never plan to surf, have no desire to even be near a surfboard, rest assured, the apparel is still cool. Plus sustainable choices are always good fashion.

Our planet provides us with an endless supply of beauty and adventure. But without more mindful actions from humanity, its natural wonders will eventually diminish. Fortunately Pacifico and Quiksilver are making it easier than ever for people to enjoy the great outdoors without jeopardizing it. That’s a wave worth riding.

This article originally appeared on 09.06.17


Being married is like being half of a two-headed monster. It's impossible to avoid regular disagreements when you're bound to another person for the rest of your life. Even the perfect marriage (if there was such a thing) would have its daily frustrations. Funnily enough, most fights aren't caused by big decisions but the simple, day-to-day questions, such as "What do you want for dinner?"; "Are we free Friday night?"; and "What movie do you want to see?"

Here are some hilarious tweets that just about every married couple will understand.

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The dog lovers in your neighborhood.

Is there anything that dogs can’t improve? They make us healthier, happier and even more attractive. That’s right. If you have a photo with your dog in a dating profile people are more likely to swipe right.

Now, a new study reported by Ohio State News shows that having more dogs in your neighborhood can make you safer by lowering the overall crime rate.

The study, conducted by sociologists at Ohio State, was recently published in the journal Social Forces.

According to researchers, dog-walking isn’t just about getting exercise—it makes us all security guards whether we know it or not.

“People walking their dogs are essentially patrolling their neighborhoods,” Nicolo Pinchak, lead author of the study, told Ohio State News. “They see when things are not right, and when there are suspect outsiders in the area. It can be a crime deterrent.”

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Paul Rudd in 2016.

Passing around your yearbook to have it signed by friends, teachers and classmates is a fun rite of passage for kids in junior high and high school. But, according to KDVR, for Brody Ridder, a bullied sixth grader at The Academy of Charter Schools in Westminster, Colorado, it was just another day of putting up with rejection.

Poor Brody was only able to get four signatures in his yearbook, two from what appeared to be teachers and one from himself that said, “Hope you make some more friends."

Brody’s mom, Cassandra Ridder has been devastated by the bullying her son has faced over the past two years. "There [are] kids that have pushed him and called him names," she told The Washington Post. It has to be terrible to have your child be bullied and there is nothing you can do.

She posted about the incident on Facebook.

“My poor son. Doesn’t seem like it’s getting any better. 2 teachers and a total of 2 students wrote in his yearbook,” she posted on Facebook. “Despite Brody asking all kinds of kids to sign it. So Brody took it upon himself to write to himself. My heart is shattered. Teach your kids kindness.”

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