Photo of the Week No. 49: “Show Your True Colors”

December 8, 2018

I call this Photo of the Week “Show Your True Colors” because it makes me think of the importance of being yourself. You were meant to stand out, not blend in. This image was captured on a rooftop in New York a few months back. As I was looking through the photos from that particular trip, I was struck by this vibrant cluster of flowers shrouded in darkness. This picture is a poignant reminder to let your light shine, especially when surrounded by dark times. You may feel outnumbered or overpowered, but know that you matter, that you are noticed, and your presence makes an impact — just like these dainty little flowers. Alternate titles: “On the Bright Side,” “This Little Light of Mine,” and “Bright and Mighty.”

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ashley ♥ adores

Photo of the Week No. 48: “Heavy on the Chocolate”

December 1, 2018

I’ve been thinking back to a special cup of hot chocolate that warmed my soul during a jaunt in San Francisco, since the past few days have been on the chilly side. It’s the star of this Photo of the Week. Funny story. My pals and I were at AfroTech early one morning last month and in need of a pick-me-up, so we hopped into an Uber in search of breakfast treats. We literally circled the block and ended up at the tiniest coffee shop, Dynamo Donut & Coffee, at Little Marina Green. It was so small we even questioned if it was an actual business. Thankfully, it was. But, honestly, we could have walked there in three minutes. It took us longer to drive. Bless our driver’s heart for accepting the ride and not judging us. LOL. But it all was worth it because the cup of hot chocolate that I ordered — heavy on the chocolate — was everything and more. Plus, it was pretty to look at. Shout out to the barista for complying with my ridiculous request and kicking a plain ol’ cup of cocoa up several notches. Never mind the word “Dirty” lurking in the background.

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ashley ♥ adores

Photo of the Week No. 47: “Docked Boats in the Bay”

November 20, 2018

I call this Photo of the Week “Docked Boats in the Bay” because that’s basically what it is. LOL. I love this image because there’s so much to unpack. I kid you not, every time I look at this photo I discover a new detail that I hadn’t noticed before. The names on the boats. The San Francisco skyline in the background. The beautiful homes. The reflection of the scene in the water below. I can almost feel the crisp air and hear the birds chirping. It feels very much like a painting.

To see previous Photos of the Week, click here.

ashley ♥ adores

Photo of the Week No. 46: “Haze in The City”

November 17, 2018

This Photo of the Week was taken last week when I was in that glorious city, San Francisco, for AfroTech. Generally speaking, the image captures a beautiful sight: the Golden Gate Bridge standing tall and commanding attention as she always does, the seagull gliding by, the choppy blue water and the rowers sailing in it. But the elephant in the room (photo) is the hazy sky. Unfortunately, it’s a by-product of the customary fall fog but also of the fires burning in the Bay Area. Air quality is extremely unhealthy. All around The City, I observed passersby wearing masks to protect themselves. This photo also evokes a tinge of sadness, knowing that it is a snapshot that documents the effects of the deadliest and most destructive fire in California history, the Camp Fire. Prayers up to those who have lost their lives and/or property, and the resilient firefighters working tirelessly to contain the blazes.

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ashley ♥ adores

Photo of the Week No. 45: “Family Ties”

November 9, 2018

This Photo of the Week was one of many that I captured on a recent trip to visit family in Detroit. To the untrained eye, these may look like your run-of-the-mill wooden clothes pins. But to me, they’re artifacts from my many summers spent at my grandparents’ house. Even though my grandparents have a dryer, we would often hang our clothes out to dry on the clothes line in the backyard. At first I dreaded the task (I’d much rather play on the swing or jump on the trampoline), but I soon grew to enjoy it. It’s hard to explain, but the sense of accomplishment I felt when I finished hanging a load of laundry was palpable. The chore was also an opportunity to hear stories from my grandparents about my dad, aunts and uncles’ antics growing up. Seeing the wear on the clothes pins made me wonder just how many lessons and laughs, and how much love is contained inside these “family ties.”

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ashley ♥ adores

Photo of the Week No. 44: “Pattern Party”

November 3, 2018

I love a good pattern. My eyes are innately drawn to them, and that’s why the complexities found in this Photo of the Week grabbed my attention. Located just steps away from the Charles H. Wright African-American Museum in Detroit, this sculpture makes quite a statement with its abstract curves and shapes, and, well, patterns. The black-and-white piece — Charles McGee’s “United We Stand” — is quite striking, as it features stripes, dots and an array of geometric shapes. And this is just one corner of it! If you’re ever in the Motor City, you’ve got to see it in person.

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ashley ♥ adores

Photo of the Week No. 43: “Home”

October 26, 2018

This Photo of the Week is dedicated to a place I once called “home.” This image is the address of my paternal grandparents’ house on the westside of Detroit. It’s a beautiful brick wonder full of character, warmth (Grandma has the heat cranked up to 80-something degrees at all times), love and memories. When I was about 6 years old, my Marine father was deployed to Saudi Arabia as part of Operation Desert Storm during the Gulf War, and me and my little brother Robert went to live with my Grandma Clara and Granddad Freddie while he was overseas. When my dad returned safely, this would be our summer home every year when school was out. Last week I found myself back there for a much-needed visit with my dad. My grandparents are getting up there in years — Grandma is 84 and Granddad is 93 — and while their health isn’t what it once was, their spirit is stronger than ever. It did my heart well to go back home, even if for only a few days. (*Cues “Home” from “The Wiz.”)

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ashley ♥ adores

Photo of the Week No. 42: “Itty Bitty Toes”

October 20, 2018

Look at those itty bitty toes! They belong to my newborn nephew, Marquis, and they are the most precious star of this Photo of the Week. Last Saturday, I had the privilege of meeting my baby neph for the first time, and he is the cutest, tiniest bundle of joy. Of course, the little guy was sleeping most of the time, but that didn’t stop me from capturing a few precious moments. There’s something about babies’ tiny feet that make me swoon. So adorable, right?! I look forward to watching these itty bitty toes grow over the years. Congrats to my sister, Ayesha, and brother-in-law, Skylar, on their beautiful baby boy!

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ashley ♥ adores

Photo of the Week No. 41: “Paint It Black (And Yellow)”

October 11, 2018

This Photo of the Week is striking as an image that captures a special moment in time, as the paint on this petite, square canvas hasn’t yet dried. It’s fresh. It’s as if the artist is just outside of the frame pondering his or her next brushstroke, or whether the painting has reached its completion. The artist deliberately selected black and yellow to fill the canvas, and is generous with covering the block. The stripes and swipes in the piece make quite a bold statement in such a small space. Alternate titles: “Not-So-Mellow Yellow (And Black),” “Abstract Bee,” “Quaint Paint,” and “Madness on Canvas.”

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ashley ♥ adores

Photo of the Week No. 40: “Love on Top”

October 3, 2018

This Photo of the Week was captured a couple of months ago while I was strolling through my boy bestie’s neighborhood. The meaning behind title of this image is quite obvious: “Love” is literally on top of the coffee shop in that lovely shade of red. And of course, Beyoncé’s jam of the same name comes to mind. I also think about the notion of love always coming out on top. Consider the location. This photo was taken in West Hollywood, where a large population of our LGBTQ neighbors live. I’m reminded of how much strife this community faces for simply loving who they do. In any event, I hope you’re feeling the love as you read this!

To see previous Photos of the Week, click here.

ashley ♥ adores