When his mother started losing her memories, he found a creative way to save them.

Tony Luciani first fell in love with photography after his mother, Elia, fell and broke her hip.

While she was recovering, it became obvious that her memory was noticeably deteriorating, so her brother suggested moving her into a retirement home. But Tony, a full-time painter who worked from home, wouldn't hear of it. He knew that he should be the one to care for her.

Coincidentally, it was around that time that Tony bought a camera to take photos of his artwork.


One day, he was trying out the camera, taking photos in a mirror, when his mom came up to use the bathroom. He told her, "Five more minutes," but after that turned into an hour, he noticed his mom peeking around the corner to see if he was done yet. He caught it on camera.

"Photo Bombing Momma." All photos by Tony Luciani, used with permission.

"Then she jumped out in front and put her hands up in the air and started going 'blah blah blah blah!' and then waved," says Tony. "And I thought, 'Oh my god, this is so great.'"

The hilarious encounter was the catalyst for Tony's first photo series, "Mamma: In the Meantime."

Elia holding up a mirror with an image of herself as a child in it.

The collaboration between mother and son was a most symbiotic relationship. It reignited Elia's sense of purpose and Tony had an eager, full-time model at his disposal.

"It got to the point where I’d be painting and she’d come over to me and say, 'OK, I’m bored. Let’s do some pictures,'" Tony recalls.

The series was meant to be an homage to her life as well as the struggles of living with dementia. Her memory was leaving her, so he wanted to record as much as she could remember before it was totally lost.

"She’d tell me these stories, and I would jot the ideas down and come up with visuals in my head," Tony says.

When a child has a child. Elia standing with her walker.

"What she remembers most is when she was a little girl," he continues. "She doesn’t remember what happened 10 minutes ago, but she does remember what happened 70, 80 years ago."

Hearing the stories of her youth was especially rewarding for Tony because when he was a kid, she had worked long hours in a sewing factory, so he didn't get to spend much time with her. However, her dedication to her job always impressed him.

Elia was in charge of her entire floor which included 50 sewers who spoke a number of different languages. She actually took it upon herself to learn eight or nine languages just so she could properly communicate with them.

But despite all her language prowess, she'd never really traveled. So Tony took her on a world tour — through photos.

Elia in Egypt.

While they didn't really travel to far-away places — thanks to image editing software — they may as well have, considering the fun they had getting the shots.

Elia in Paris.

"The process of getting the end results is what I remember the most," Tony says. "The laughter and the giggling and the craziness."

Elia balancing on the Great Wall of China.

And as the photos show, his mom had a great time too.

"She felt worthy again," Tony says. "Like her life wasn’t over. And her life isn’t over — and she’s proved that over and over again."

While caring for his mother hasn't always been easy for Tony, what he got in return far outweighed any inconvenience.

Tony and Elia's hands.

Aside from a number of incredible photo series and his mom's memories beautifully immortalized, Tony has also connected with many other people who've either been caregivers or are about to become caregivers.

It all came out of the simple act of posting his photos in photography forums  to get feedback on how he could improve his technique.

"I had photographers saying, 'Oh my gosh, I wish I had done that with my mother or grandmother, but I will do that with my aunt or another loved one.' I think I encouraged people just by posting my photos."

Sadly, Elia no longer remembers her son's name, but Tony is so grateful for the three years he got to spend saying goodbye to her.

"She Ain't Heavy." Elia in Tony's arms.

"My dad died, and I wasn’t there," Tony says. "My brother passed away 15 years ago, and I wasn’t there. I never had the chance to say goodbye. This is my chance to say goodbye, even though she might outlive us all."

When children become their parents' caregivers, there can be many challenges, even if they don't have a degenerative disease like dementia. It can become easy to view them as a stressor or an inconvenience.

Tony's experience with his mother is a testament to what happens when you don't do that. When you listen to your aging loved one and try to find a way to connect with them again, it can change everything.

Even if you don't create art, the effort will leave you with incredible new memories — the likes of which you may have never imagined.

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Photo by Gregory Hayes on Unsplash

"Can I buy you a drink?" is a loaded question.

It could be an innocent request from someone who's interested in having a cordial conversation. Other time, saying "yes" means you may have to fend off someone who feels entitled to spend the rest of the night with you.

In the worst-case scenario, someone is trying to take advantage of you or has a roofie in their pocket.

Feminist blogger Jennifer Dziura found a fool-proof way to stay safe while understanding someone's intentions: ask for a non-alcoholic beverage or food. If they're sincerely interested in spending some time getting to know you, they won't mind buying something booze-free.

RELATED: States are starting to require mental health classes for all students. It's about dang time.

But if it's their intention to lower your defenses, they'll throw a mild tantrum after you refuse the booze. Her thoughts on the "Can I buy you a drink?" conundrum made their way to Tumblr.

via AshleysCo / Tumblr


via AshleysCo / Tumblr

The posts caught the attention of a bartender who knows there are lot of men out there whose sole intention is to get somone drunk to take advantage.

"Most of the time, when someone you don't know is buying you a drink, they're NOT doing it out of a sense of cordiality," the bartender wrote. "They're buying you a drink for the sole purpose of making you let your guard down."

So they shared a few tips on how to be safe and social when someone asks to buy you a drink.

From the other side of the bar, I see this crap all the time. Seriously. I work at a high-density bar, and let me tell you, I have anywhere from 10-20 guys every night come up and tell me to, "serve her a stronger drink, I'm trying to get lucky tonight, know what I mean?" usually accompanied with a wink and a gesture at a girl who, in my experience, is going to go from mildly buzzed to definitively hammered if I keep serving her. Now, I like to think I'm a responsible bartender, so I usually tell guys like that to piss off, and, if I can, try to tell the girl's more sober friends that they need to keep an eye on her.
But everyone- just so you know, most of the time, when someone you don't know is buying you a drink, they're NOT doing it out of a sense of cordiality, they're buying you a drink for the sole purpose of making you let your guard down.

Tips for getting drinks-

1. ALWAYS GO TO THE BAR TO GET YOUR OWN DRINK, DO NOT LET STRANGERS CARRY YOUR DRINKS. This is an opportune time for dropping something into your cocktail, and you're none the wiser.

2.IF YOU ORDER SOMETHING NON-ALCOHOLIC, I promise you, the bartender doesn't give two shits that you're not drinking cocktails with your friends, and often, totally understands that you don't want to let your guard down around strangers. Usually, you can just tell the bartender that you'd like something light, and that's a big clue to us that you're uncomfortable with whomever you're standing next to. Again, we see this all the time.

3. If you're in a position to where you feel uncomfortable not ordering alcohol:
Here's a list of light liquors, and mixers that won't get you drunk, and will still look like an actual cocktail:

X-rated + sprite = easy to drink, sweet, and 12% alcoholic content. Not strong at all, usually runs $6-$8, depending on your state.
Amaretto + sour= sweet, not strong, 26%.
Peach Schnapps+ ginger ale= tastes like mellow butterscotch, 24%.
Melon liquor (Midori, in most bars) + soda water = not overly sweet, 21%
Coffee liquor (Kahlua) +soda = not super sweet, 20%.
Hope this helps someone out!

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If you do accept a drink from someone at a bar and you want to talk, there's no need to feel obligated to spend the rest of the night with them.

Jaqueline Whitmore, founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach, says to be polite you only have to "Engage in some friendly chit-chat, but you are not obligated to do more than that."

If someone asks to buy you a drink and you don't want it, Whitmore has a great tip. "Say thank you, but you are trying to cut back, have to drive or you don't accept drinks from strangers," Whitmore says.

What if they've already sent the drink over? "Give the drink to the bartender and tell him or her to enjoy it," Whitmore says.

Have fun. Stay safe, and make sure to bring a great wing-man or wing-woman with you.

Well Being
Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Unsplash

Jasmine has been used as a natural treatment for depression, anxiety, and stress for thousands of years. Oil from the plant has also been used to treat insomnia and PMS, and is considered a natural aphrodisiac. It turns out, our ancestor's instincts to slather on the oil when they wanted a little R&R were correct.

A study, published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, and according to Professor Hanns Hatt of the Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany, revealed that jasmine can calm you down when you're feeling anxious.The results can "be seen as evidence of a scientific basis for aromatherapy."

"Instead of a sleeping pill or a mood enhancer, a nose full of jasmine from Gardenia jasminoides could also help, according to researchers in Germany. They have discovered that the two fragrances Vertacetal-coeur (VC) and the chemical variation (PI24513) have the same molecular mechanism of action and are as strong as the commonly prescribed barbiturates or propofol," says the study.

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Nature


Rep. Peter King (R-NY) is a name you should remember. If you don't follow politics closely, remember his name because he's the first Republican in Congress to openly join the call for a renewed federal ban on assault weapons.

If you're a Democrat or a diehard progressive partisan, remember his name because it's proof that as a nation we can put principles before party and walk across the political aisle to get things done.

If you're a Republican, remember his name as evidence that real leadership in politics sometimes means risking your reputation to do what is right even when most of your colleagues disagree or lack the political courage to go first.

But let's allow Rep. King to explain himself in his own words:

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Democracy