What’s a composition notebook?  We have all probably owned one for one reason or another. They’ve been around for years, well-known for having wide-ruled pages and black and white covers. Every notebook contains something different inside based on its owner. I have several stored in drawers around my house, ironically I bought a new one just to write this story. My notebooks are used to document my random thoughts, ideas and goal lists. For me these things have meaning, but to an outsider thumbing through my pages, my notebook is probably useless and hard to understand.

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As we begin the new year, this is the perfect time to look in the mirror to assess some things about ourselves. Look deep into the mirror, can you see the things that trouble you? Now look deeper, can you see the things that you are hopeful to accomplish this year? The mirror must be an interesting place to spend so much time, just ask the millions of Instagram models who spend hours in front of the glass taking pics that you can't even see their faces on. Whatever it is that keeps people in their mirrors, certain people hide there. No, not physically of course, but in a sense of never being able to see themselves outside of their reflections. Armenian born artist, Tigran Tsitoghdzyan, is someone who has brought attention to this concept through his art.

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Dubbed the Spray Paint Zorro, his art is always easy to identify: bright, colorful, and full of iconic American characters. If you know the right place to look, you just might find him thriving on adventure in the dead of night. After all, his thrills are far from ordinary. In fact, they’re illegal, often ending with run-ins with the law. But L.A. graffiti artist Alec Monopoly is not concerned about legalities.  Instead, he’s concerned about creativity and the significance of his messages. “It would only bother me if I were chased/arrested for the ‘idea’ of my work, than the act,” he told PBS. So what exactly is worth Alec being arrested? Simply put, Monopoly. alec4Loving Monopoly as a child and even now, the street artist sees the game in a different light. In an interview with Huffington Post, he explained, “Monopoly started out as a symbol of what was going on in the economy. At the start of the recession in 2008 I started portraying Bernie Madoff [the disgraced American financier] in my art and using Monopoly in the background. Then one day I was playing Monopoly and realized that Bernie Madoff is like Uncle Moneybags.” From there, his art has been comprised of various messages about society.

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Ayaan and Idyl Mohallim are twin sisters who have created their very own fashion collection called Mataano, which means “twins” in the Somali language. In 2009, after the release of their first collection, they interviewed with Oprah Winfrey to share their experience as twin fashion designers. This was the icing on the cake because this interview brought national attention to their emerging brand. Ayaan and Idyl were born in Washington, DC. Their mother felt that it was important that the girls learn the Somali language and culture, so they spent the first nine years of their lives in Somalia. Needless to say, the Somali culture ultimately inspired many of the designs for their collections. With absolutely no type of formal training in fashion design, the twins held steady to their dream and passion to create a brand that the two envisioned when they were younger.

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Many people may wonder where a man like Tyson Beckford came from. He may appear as if he’s had it all since day one. You know the story, a wealthy family, a great education, growing up in a nice neighborhood: THE WORKS. The truth is Tyson Beckford grew up in the streets of New York. The Bronx to be exact and he was born with the good looks. But his wealth did not come into his life until 1991. At that time, he jumped on one opportunity that paved the way for many blessings to come. Tyson is of Jamaican and Chinese descent (hence his very slanted but gorgeous eyes). He never imagined growing up to become a supermodel. Instead he was into sports and was a member of his high school’s football and track teams. One day while playing flag football in a park with friends, Tyson was noticed by a talent scout who worked for the Source magazine. And from then on his career as a model began to take off.

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