Myth Busters: Holiday Edition!

Hi everyone!  Today we’re taking on trip down south to the tip of North America.  Canada? No!! We’re heading to Mexico to prepare for Cinco De Mayo.  While a generally minor holiday in Mexico, Americans have taken over May 5th as a day celebrate Mexican culture!  For all we Americans enjoy the holiday, though, there are truly many misconceptions about it. So, now, it’s time to get to the bottom of all these myths!

Myth #1: Cinco De Mayo is Mexico’s Independence Day

Many people tend to assume that Cinco De Mayo is the Mexican equivalent of the American Fourth of July, but Mexicans actually celebrate their Independence Day on September 16th.   Actually, the holiday commemorates the Battle of Puebla. Battling against the French, the Mexicans were victorious in his 1862 battle (www.history.com).  While the French would go on to later capture the city, this battle marks a major victory for the Mexicans.  Underdogs, the Mexicans had to overcome a huge deficit to defeat the French. It would also help lead to Mexico eventually gaining freedom from French control by motivating the Mexicans to continue fighting for their cause (www.nationalgeographic.com).   Ergo, this has grown to become a celebrated holiday in remembrance of these brave soldiers!

Myth #2: Cinco de Mayo is a huge holiday all over Mexico.

The extent of Cinco De Mayo celebrations are diverse all across Mexico.  For instance, those in Puebla, the site of the battle, throw huge celebrations!  An exhilarating parade plus a reenactment of the battle is a super fun way to celebrate such a cool holiday! (www.theguardian.com). It’s sort of like how people from Lexington and Concord of Massachusetts celebrate Patriots’ Day each year.  Leaving Puebla, though, you’ll see that not everyone is as enthusiastic. With the lack of the title of a federal holiday; establishments are still open, causing many to have to attend work (www.history.com).

Myth #3: Eating tacos is how to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.

When many people–myself included–think of Mexican food, their mind immediately jumps to tacos!  While delicious, though, they are actually not authentically Mexican. Tacos are yet another victim of Americanization [sic].  Italian food, Chinese food, Mexican food, basically anywhere on the globe!  That’s besides the point, though. If you want a truly Mexican taco, try eating it with a soft tortilla rather than the hard shell that crumbles all over.  However, there is actually a dish that has actually been created specifically for the holiday, which is called mole poblano.  Poured on top of some meat variant, this is a sauce that includes chocolate, chili peppers, and a variety of spices. (http://listverse.com). CLICK HERE for a full recipe of how to make the dish!

Image result for mole poblano

CLICK HERE for image source.

Myth #4: The biggest Cinco de Mayo celebrations take place in Mexico.

Aforementioned, the Mexico city of Puebla–the location of the commemorated battle–has a great celebration for Cinco De Mayo.  This is still not the largest celebration, though. Housing the largest celebration for the holiday in the world is Los Angeles, California!  With a large Mexican population (fun fact: Los Angeles actually means “The Angels” in Spanish) along with the fact that Americans love Cinco de Mayo, the city is obviously going to hold a huge celebration.  It’s inevitable! Beginning in the heat of the American Civil War, celebrating this victory helped to prevent the Californians from joining in support of the Confederate Army; and the celebration has continued ever since.  Smaller parties take place in neighborhoods; but a huge, exciting fair takes place in the busy streets of Los Angeles (www.tripsavvy.com).

Image result for los angeles cinco de mayo

CLICK HERE for image source.

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Here’s just a few of many misconceptions possess about this great holiday!  Of course, it’s alright if you didn’t know some–or any of these! I have to admit that I didn’t know some of these myself either.  If you would like to learn more, THIS SOURCE provides extensive information about the background of the holiday and its present commemorations.  As always, make sure to stay safe and have fun! Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Sincerely,

Nora

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A Beautiful Day to Save the Planet

Howdy everyone!   Okay, that was cringey, but I can’t help it.  Why? Well, spring is finally coming! Blooming flowers, shining sun, chirping birds, Spring is definitely my favorite season.  With such a beautiful season on its way, I thought I would talk up a less-popular holiday that is all about this beautiful world: Earth Day!

Related image  CLICK HERE for image source

Background- The History of Earth Day

Happening for the first time in 1970, Earth Day has been honored each April ever since 1970.  On April 22nd of that year, widespread protests took place against the pollution that came as a result of the factories and machines that have been increasing exponentially ever since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.  Understanding the wants of the people, the U.S. government developed the Environmental Protection Agency that July–just three months later! Earth Day has since expanded across 192 countries all over the world ever since that first protest in 1970.  With worries about the effect of humanity on the Earth expanding, honoring Earth Day has become increasingly imperative. Enough about all this history, though, let’s move onto the celebration!

Earth Day 2019

Each year, the Earth Day Network, chooses a theme to be the main focus of that year’s events.  Entitled as “Protect our Species,” this year’s event is centered around spreading awareness for endangered and threatened animal species.  Currently, extinction rates are incredibly high–we are losing several species each day– and they have the potential to eliminate very necessary animals from the world as we know it.  Linking back these increased rates of extinction to human civilization, these animals are suffering at the expense of human convenience. Destroyed rain forest and cut-down trees. Releasing greenhouse gasses into the air.  Throwing animals into jail cells at zoos. For all these reasons, the Earth Day Network is choosing to honor these animals this year, 2019, and it is incredibly important to participate and spread awareness about the issue!

Image result for bees CLICK HERE for image source

Bees are one of many species slowly moving towards extinction.

How to Celebrate Earth Day 2019

Celebrating Earth Day really comes down to appreciating and helping to save the sandy beaches, towering mountains, clear waters, and soaring green fields of the Earth.   In order to celebrate, though, a lot of preparation is needed (maybe almost as much as Christmas!) First most, it is imperative to thoroughly educate oneself on the topic at hand.  Why are so many species going extinct? What types of species have gone extinct in the past? This is a great source that can give background information on the theme of the event as well as the specific of many unique endangered species in need to saving.  Once done, you can develop a plan to help out in some way, shape, or form. Remember: even something little can have a big impact. One idea could be to spread awareness around the community.  Put flyers up around town. Post something on a community Facebook group. Anything. Gaining donations for the cause is also a great way to help; and organizing a school-wide fundraiser could be a great idea!  Even if you don’t want to do any of this, just making sure to recycle certain plastics, or maybe walking somewhere instead of driving are great ways to help the environment in only a small way.

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Overall, Earth Day is a great day to help the community and honor our home!  It may be one of the lesser-celebrated holidays; but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a fantastic one, and it should definitely be celebrated on April 22nd of this year.  So take this opportunity to have a little fun while doing something incredibly fulfilling inside; the Earth truly is a beautiful place, and we need to keep it that way!

“When you do something noble and beautiful and nobody noticed, do not be sad.  For the sun every morning is a beautiful spectacle and yet most of the audience sleeps.” – John Lennon

Sincerely,

Nora

Everyday’s a Holiday

Hi everyone! So, February is almost over, and that means it’s time to move on to March, when the flowers are supposed to begin blooming and the birds are supposed to begin chirping. Well, this isn’t exactly true in the Northeast. This is when the snow begins to melt, and the ground is all muddy. Gross!

Overall, March can be a very gloomy month. The mud, the schoolwork, the lack of holidays. The only holiday that really takes place in March is Saint Patrick’s Day, but that’s mostly just fun for adults. So, I thought I would share some fun national days that could help spruce up March!

National I want you to be Happy Day (March 3rd)

This national day is simplistic in its foundation but deep in its meaning. All it is, is just giving others a little joy in their life. Donating to charity or even just complimenting a peer’s outfits can be the celebration. There really is a true glee that comes from making someone else happy, and this day is the perfect opportunity to put others before yourself and spread a little hint of joy!

“The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up.” – Mark Twain

National Pancake Day (March 12th)

Yum! Who doesn’t love pancakes? On National Pancake Day, which changes its date every year, the number one destination is IHOP (not IHOB). You might be wondering: what is so great about National Pancake Day? Can’t I have pancakes any day of the week? Well, on this day, IHOP gives out free pancakes to anyone who stops by, just encouraging its visitors to leave a donation to charity. I know I can’t wait for National Pancake Day!

“There was no time for chit-chat where there were chocolate chip pancakes to be eaten.” – Kristen Day

National Pi Day (March 14th)

Pi Day is one of the better known holidays on this list and really popular among math lovers like myself. Celebrating this holiday can be really fun! The puns are amazing as well as the pie–the dessert I mean. I think I might have some Chicken Pot Pie this year, followed by some Boston Cream for dessert!

Image result for pi day puns  click here for image source

“Love is like Pi… Natural, Irrational, and Very Important.”- Lisa Koffman

National Awkward Moments Day (March 18th)

Aww, a holiday created specifically for me! Accidentally laughing out loud in a silent classroom. Bumping into someone in the middle of the crowded hallway. So many awkward moments take place each and every day–there are even hashtags. Why not take some time to forget about the embarrassment and celebrate them?

“My life is just a series of humiliating moments separated by snacks.”- Bill Murray

National Prom Day (March 31st)

Image result for pretty in pink prom click here for image source

Prom is a huge milestone for teenagers. Whether you are attending prom or not, you can still have a little fun for prom day! Going to try on prom dresses is always a super fun activity, and you can get really goofy with it, too! For those going to prom, you could try out different hairdos and makeup on this day to prepare yourself for this huge event!

“You can get married three or four times, but a prom is a once in a lifetime experience.”- Unknown

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These are just a few of the national holidays to celebrate in March, but I hope you find one on this list that inspires you to have a good time! I know I’ll definitely enjoy celebrating these! If you want to see a complete list of the March national holidays, click here! Before I go, one last word of advice is that National Days are what you make of them: if you do nothing that’s fine, but they can be really fun if you take the time to even set up even a minimal celebration. Get creative with it and have fun!

Sincerely,
Nora

Tis’ the Season to Watch Cheesy Movies

Hi all!  It’s my favorite time of year: Christmas!  One of my favorite parts of Christmas is watching the Hallmark channel constantly.  I know, I know, they’re super cheesy and predictable, but nothing puts me in the Christmas spirit like watching a city girl fall in love with a small town guy in a town called something like “Candy Cane.”  I thought I’d share three of my favorite Hallmark channel Christmas movies that you might want to watch, too!

 

A Bride for Christmas

Image result for a bride for christmas Click here for image source

In this movie, Jessie (Arielle Kebbel) has sworn off relationships after leaving her third fiance. Attempting to leave her past behind her, Jessie plans to point her focus toward the interior design business she owns with her sister, Vivian.  On the other hand, Aiden (Andrew Walker) has recently set up a bet with his friends, challenging himself to find a fiance by Christmas, which is only four weeks away! When Jessie and Aiden cross paths at an art gallery, Aiden figures out the victim of his bet.

This movie is so adorable!  This movie just makes you smile, but also yell at the screen when sad events happen to the character.  For once, actually, I was slightly surprised by the way the movie ended up, which was a nice change of pace.   Although, the best part of this movie might have been Jessie’s family, her mom, dad, and sister had some comedic bits that made me giggle, which is probably more than I have ever laughed–minus the times in which I laugh at something that isn’t supposed to be funny–at any Hallmark movie.  With these funny characters involved, the film was so enjoyable!

 

My Christmas Love

Image result for my Christmas love Click here for image source

Cynthia (Meredith Hagner), a hopeless romantic, is left dumped right before she is supposed to go home for both Christmas and her younger sister’s wedding.  Determined not to be single at the wedding, Cynthia brings along Liam (Bobby Campo), the illustrator of her children’s books. Upon their arrival, gifts begin arriving at her father’s house.  Each day, a gift coinciding with one of the Twelve Days of Christmas arrive, beginning with a Partridge in a pear tree. Cynthia is convinced the gifts are for her, and is determined to solve this, in her own words, Christery!

While this movie is absolutely annoying at some moments, it’s one of the Hallmark movies I always find myself coming back to because it is just so fun and cheery (it also involves a wedding which is always a plus for me)!  These characters were lovable and relatable but also really interesting; some of them seemed to have more layers than your typical Hallmark character. The joy of Christmas really shines in this movie, and it would be perfect to watch whenever you’re a little stressed and need to be reminded of the happiness of the holidays!

 

A Royal Christmas

Image result for a royal christmasClick here for image source

In “A Royal Christmas,” Emily Taylor (Lacey Chabert), a tailor from Philadelphia, learns that her boyfriend of about a year, Leo James (Stephen  Hagan) is actually Prince Leopold of Cordinia. Now, Emily must go with Leo to spend Christmas in Cordinia with his mother, Queen Isadora, who disapproves of her son marrying a “commoner.”  As Emily spends the holidays away from home, she must prove herself worthy of royalty and the queen’s son.

Is it possible for a Hallmark movie to be bad when Lacey Chabert is in it?  As of right now, I’m pretty sure that answer is no. As many have said, Lacey truly is the queen of Hallmark, and if you have no idea who she is (which is likely), she actually played Gretchen in Mean Girls.  This movie is just another feather in Lacey’s Hallmark hat.  The setting and the drama mixed with how absolutely adorable Emily and Leo were as a couple made this movie truly a stand-out in the universe of TV holiday films.  This is definitely one to put on your DVR each holiday season!

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During December, I love to just snuggle up on the couch in a blanket and watch movies like these, and I hope you find these movies great to watch, too!  Since I couldn’t include all of my favorites, here are a few more fantastic Hallmark movies!

More suggestions:

 

Feel free to click here if you’d like to see all the new Hallmark movies of the 2018 season!

Sincerely,

Nora

 

Too Cold for a Football Game? No Problem!

One common Thanksgiving tradition across America is to watch football, and teens love to see their team face off against their rivals.  If you’re like me, though, football is much too boring, and the weather up here is much too cold, so you need to find another way to pass the time into the coveted feast of turkey, mashed potatoes, and stuffing.  Well, a perfect solution is watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade! Remember that parade you always used to watch when you were little, and you would get so excited when you saw Santa Claus as the grand finale?  Well, it’s still a ton of fun to watch as a teen! Here are some of the highlights from last year’s spectacular:

 

Dear Evan Hansen

This musical has taken over the Broadway scene since it first premiered on Broadway, and theater fanatics have been obsessing over the hit musical ever since.  The beauty of this musical doesn’t stop at the stage, though, and its excitement translates to their wonderful performance on 34th Street, which opened the parade with a bang.  The cast performed the popular song, “You Will Be Found” from the show. Click here to see the full show-stopping performance.

 

Angelica Hale

Not much can compete with how adorable young kids with amazing talents are, and this includes Angelica Hale.  After having to undergo a kidney transplant at only six years old, the young singer became well-known after appearing on season 12 of the hit show America’s Got Talent just a few years later.  America fell in love with her voice and her story and skyrocketed her to become the youngest 2nd place finisher ever on the popular reality show.  After appearing on the show, she has made several more TV appearances, such as appearing on Little Big Shots and the 91st annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  Here, she performed an incredible rendition of Alicia Keys’ iconic “Girl on Fire.”

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Getty. Angelica Hale rides in the 91st Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on

    November 23, 2017 in New York City. 22 Nov. 2017. Zimbio, Livingly Media,

  www.zimbio.com/photos/Angelica+Hale/91st+Annual+Macy+Thanksgiving+Day+Parade/

    fqXSTH4gGft. Accessed 14 Nov. 2018.

 

A Tribute to a Classic

Miracle on 34th Street is no doubt a classic that anyone, whether you’re eight, sixteen, twenty-five, or fourty, can enjoy.  This movie one of the most famous Christmas movies ever created to this day, and last year, the classic movie celebrated its 70th birthday during the Parade.  Macy’s established a tribute to the popular film through one of their giant balloons that have become a trademark of the parade. This balloon was meant to be identical to a balloon that made an appearance in the movie: a balloon of Harold the Baseball Player.  

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Harold the Baseball Player will debut in the 2017 Macy‘s Thanksgiving Day

    Parade celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the film classic Miracle on 34th

    Street. Business Wire, http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20171005005769/en/

    Twentieth-Century-Fox%E2%80%99s-Holiday-Film-Classic-Miracle. Accessed 14

    Nov. 2018.

 

The Rockettes

I’m sure many, myself included, have dreamed of becoming a Rockette after seeing them perform in the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  The Rockettes are a staple of the parade year after year, and with their high-energy, Christmas-inspired, sparkly routines, they are always a crowd pleaser.  The Rockettes were first given the title of “Roxyettes” in the early 1930’s when they first began performing at Radio City Music Hall. It wasn’t until 1934 for the group to be given the famous title of the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes.  However, the first time they performed in the Parade was thirteen years later in 1957, and they have continued performing year after year ever since. In 2017, their performance consisted of candy cane-inspired costumes, upbeat music, and of course the kick-lines for which they have become famous. Click here to see their full performance for yourself. (more…)