Lupercalia

13 cool facts you didn’t know about Valentine’s d Lupercalia.

(Just in time for Fifty Shades of Grey! It includes whipping! -and wolves! What’s not to like?)

 

crazyfoolstiney.livejournal.com

 

 

Valentine’s Day is upon us, and many of you know how I like to investigate and share fun information about holidays. So, keeping that in mind, I decided to share with you all some fun information I found on a holiday that predates Valentine’s Day by a bit! I also just HAD to write about the wolf- one might say I was inspired. Please continue with caution as there are stories and images that fragile or vanilla minds may not want to experience. For all you others, come hither and learn a bit about the interesting holiday known as:

 

 

Lupercalia

(Lu-per-KAL-ee-ya)

 

1. Lupercalia was celebrated beginning in 44 BC, though some say it may have started at the time of the founding of Rome (traditionally 753 B.C.). It began on the ides of February (in February, the ides are the 13th) and ended on the 15th.

Yeah, we slacked and made it a one-day thing.

 

2. Lupercalia was a Roman holiday to honor Lupercal/Lupercus, the god of fertility.

In Roman mythology, Lupercus is a god sometimes identified with the Roman god Faunus, who is the Roman equivalent of the Greekgod Pan. Lupercus is the god of shepherds. His festival, celebrated on the anniversary of the founding of his temple on February 15, was called the Lupercalia.

-Wikipedia

 

3. The festival was named after Lupa, the she-wolf. She’s known for suckling the founders of Rome: Romulus and Remus.

 

And folks, I say that’s what’s wrong with kids today: not enough wolf teet

- Stephen Colbert

(yes, The Colbert Report produced a bit on Lupercalia. I’ve linked it at the bottom! Stay tuned!)

 

whathappenedtoguentherlause at wordpress

 

4. The priests (Lupercies) would slaughter a goat for fertility and a dog for purification (some say it was two dogs, or two goats… one dog, two goats… who’s counting?)

 

via candaceweddle.wordpress.com (original source unknown)

 

 

5. Thongs were cut from the goat skins, dipped in blood and then in milk, and the Lupercies would run around the city whipping people. Women in town would line up to be whipped, as this was considered a way to heighten their fertility and ease the pains of childbirth.

 

quickmeme.com

 

 

6. The Luperci were often two young men or two boys. After blood, laughing was involved. Yes, I’m serious.

Two of the Luperci were led to the altar, their foreheads were touched with a bloody knife, and the blood was wiped off with wool dipped in milk; the ritual required that the two young men laugh.

-Encyclopedia Britannica

 

 

interretialia.tumblr.com

 

 

7. The thongs were called FEBRUA (februa….. februa…. Sounds awfully familiar, doesn’t it? … Sound it out.)

 

whathappenedtoguentherlause.wordpress.com

 

 

8. Some articles claim that the Luperci wore the skins of the sacrificed wolves/dogs whilst doing the whipping (perhaps leading to the early stories of werewolves?)

 

wikimedia

 

 

 

9. MAN THIS SOUNDS LIKE SUCH A BLAST!!! WHY IN THE NAME OF LUPERCUS DON’T WE DO THIS ANYMORE?

Well, little Jimmy, you know how halloween was once a pagan holiday and Christmas was about Krampus, or the winter solstice, or a bajillion other things prior to the Christian influences?? The Christians slyly took over this holiday as well.  Pope Gelasius I changed Lupercalia to celebrate St. Valentine in 496 AD to try to expel the pagan rituals. It eventually worked (seeing as though most of us aren’t whipped with leather thongs on valentine’s day…. most of us)

 

grimwolf.net

 

10. Why is Valentine associated with love in the first place?

At the time that the Roman Emperor, Claudis II had banned marriages for the army, St Valentine arranged marriages for the Roman Army men. This cost St. Valentine his life.

 

(source unknown)

 

11. As far as the new celebrations of Valentine’s day, it kept the same overall essence as it’s big sister, Lupercalia:

It was a little more of a drunken revel, but the Christians put clothes back on it. That didn’t stop it from being a day of fertility and love.

-Noel Lenski, a historian at the University of Colorado at Boulder via NPR 

 

 

12.  I’m sharing this bit just because I love ze bard:

Lupercalia is celebrated during William Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar.  Caesar instructs Mark Antony to strike Calpurnia in hopes the action will increase her fertility:

 

CAESAR (to Calpurnia)

Stand you directly in Antonius’ way,
When he doth run his course. Antonius!

ANTONY

Caesar, my lord?

CAESAR

Forget not, in your speed, Antonius,
To touch Calpurnia; for our elders say,
The barren touched in this holy chase,
Shake off their sterile curse.

William Shakespeare

 

 

13. I’m sharing this bit just because I love ze Colbert:

 

The Colbert Report
Get More: Colbert Report Full Episodes,The Colbert Report on Facebook,Video Archive
(The Colbert Report did a bit on Lupercalia! Win!)

 

 

 

And in conclusion, to everyone, everywhere: I hope you have a fantastic Lupercalia!

 

Happy Lupercalia

The Lupercalian Festival in Rome (ca. 1578–1610), drawing by the circle of Adam Elsheimer, showing the Luperci dressed as dogs and goats, with Cupid and personifications of fertility

 

 

 

 


 

 

If you’d like to check facts, the links below are just a few of those that show my research:

(remember that the “facts” are just what we have gathered- it’s not a 100% certainty)

Wikipedia

Encyclopedia Britannica

NPR

Ancient history at about.com

India-forums

 

 

nashoba-hostina.deviantart.com

 


 

Love holidays?

 

Click here to read my top 5 High Fives (yes, there is a holiday for that)

 

Click here for my Earth day celebratory post!

 


 

crazyfoolstiney.livejournal.com

 

 

  • So, which are you celebrating? Lupercalia or Valentine’s Day?
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Hobbitses

Throw a Hobbit party!!

or at least get in the Hobbity spirit!

 

 

 

The final Hobbit movie is out today!!!! To celebrate, I wanted to share some inspiration and ideas for creating your own Hobbit and Middle Earth festivities!

 

how to throw a hobbit party. LOTR party ideas. Lord of the Rings

image given by the Hobbit films!

 

 

I actually threw a hobbit/LOTR themed birthday party (yeah, for adults.) a few years back. It was right around Hobbit day, September 22nd, which is the birthday of both Bilbo and Frodo.

 

So if you don’t have time to throw a party right now for the final film, just bookmark this page so you can throw a party for Hobbit day next year!

 

The Shire Sign

 

 

Without further ado, here are some suggestions for Hobbit shenanigans (Hobbit-nanigans? Hobnigans?) :

 

 

MUSIC

 

  • Listen to the music from the films! Howard Shore did a fantastic job creating the aural world of middle earth. Give him (and your elf ears) some love by listening to the soundtracks.
  • Are you in a symphonic band? Did you know that there was a Lord of the Rings symphonic suite written in the 1980s? Check it out! It was composed by Johan de Meij.
  • Check out this video of my roommate and I performing “Concerning Hobbits”
  • Want to play the music from Bilbo’s Birthday party? I transcribed it once for a friend. Check it out here:

 

  • That music (Which I decided to title “Shire shindig”) comes from the scene below:

 

 

 

FOOD and DRYNK

 

  • Make some food that one would find in Middle Earth:
    • Though I don’t believe they’re ever mentioned in the books, eating cherry tomatoes in a very sloppy manner would be fantastic, and remind me of one of my favourite scenes in the LOTR trilogy:

  • Cows were never mentioned. So no beef. But Fish, Pigs, and poultry are all game. Rashers of bacon are always appreciated.
  • Berries, mushrooms, pastries, breads, cheese, pickles.
  • POY-TAY-TOES

tumblr

  • Special items from middle earth: lembas bread, honey-cakes, cram.
  • Or just make something that LOOKS fitting or is cleverly titled:
    • A friend brought over a “yorkSHIRE pudding” for my party as well. It was fantastic!
    • I made this “one ring” cake (using a bundt pan. It fit exactly half of the inscription from the ring)

one cake to rule them all

 

  • Beverages are important of course!
    • Ale, wine, and mead all are quite fitting for middle earth:
      • “you can drink your fancy ales, you can drink them by the flagon, but the only brew for the brave and truuuuuuueeeeeee….. COMES FROM THE GREEN DRAGON!” (sung by Merry and Pippin whilst drinking and dancing on the table)

     

    • Ent-draught (an invigorating brew from the Ents)
    • Mirovor (a clear cordial from the elves)
    • Coffee, tea, and juice are viable alternatives for those not partaking in the alcohol.

     

     

    GAMES

    • There are plenty of LOTR-based games that exist (I’ve not played them. Feel free to leave comments about any of them if you have!)
      • Video: Various ones were made from companies such as Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment; Turbine, Inc; and Electronic Arts.
      • RPG (Role Playing Games): Middle-Earth Role Playing, Lord of the Rings Adventure Game
      • Tabletop: Other than there being a “Lord of the Rings” boardgame, there are also LOTR versions of Risk, Stratego, Monopoly, and Chess amongst others.
    • I was actually geeky enough to write a LOTR/Hobbit based fluxx game.
      • Since it’s an ACTUAL game written by a company, I will not share the game here as I’m pretty sure that’s against some copyright. But if you’re my friend and you want to play it, let me know! It’s actually pretty cool- and well-written if I do say so myself (I made a spreadsheet and everything).
    • You could write yourself a version of “heads up” in the spirit!
      • “heads up” is that game where the person who is “it” holds a card (or smart phone with app) up to their forehead and the other players need to get the person to say what is on the card.
      • You can write your own heads up game by writing flash cards using index cards or cut pieces of construction paper.
      • Things you could write on the cards include:
        • Characters: Gandalf, Frodo, Galadriel, Tom Bombadill, Fili and Kili, Eowyn, etc.
        • Races/Types of characters: Entwives, Elves, Orcs, Nazgul, Men, etc.
        • Places: Rivendell, Bag End, Green Dragon Inn, Mordor, Helm’s Deep, Erebor, etc.
        • Popular quotes: “It comes in pints?”, “one ring to rule them all”, “you shall not pass!”, “… and my axe”, “my precious”, etc.
        • People: JRR Tolkien, Peter Jackson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler, etc.
        • Book or film names: “Battle of the Five Armies”, “Fellowship of the Ring”, “The Silmarillion”, etc.
      • Or just play any fun game they may have played: charades, musical chairs, sack races, horseshoes, etc.

     

     

    DECORATIONS

     

    • Banners, streamers, lights, candles, lanterns, and other festive décor can be utilized in feeling more festive in a proper style!

 

joannavolavka via wordpress

  • Fireworks (or at least sparklers) would have been brought by Gandalf to add to the festivities! If you don’t have your own and live in the Orlando area, visit SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration, Universal Studios, or any of the Disney festivities to see some fun and festive fireworks displays!
  • Create your own sign!
    • One is a large piece of fabric that I painted with fabric paint to say “welcome to the shire” with the feel of Bilbo’s birthday banner.
    • Another is a door sign that says “No Admittance. Unless on Party Business (in which case, please come in)” J Like the one that Bilbo has on his door (but a bit friendlier). It’s also nice to just let people come in as they wish during a party without needing to get the door for everyone.

Welcome to the Shire Sign and no Admittance

  • Add some Hobbit-style goodness to other things around your home:
    • I made a geeky tree skirt for Christmas this year. The LOTR reference portion is the white tree of Gondor (Other bits include Doctor Who / Tardis, Harry Potter, and Sherlock).

Geeky Tree Skirt Geeky Tree skirt christmas tree

 

 

WORDS

 

  • Read passages from the Hobbit or LOTR books (out loud or to yourself). Try reading them in the voice of Gandalf. Or Gollum.
  • RIDDLES!
  • Learn some phrases in a middle earth language (Sindarin, Entish, Quenya, etc)
    • Gi nathlam hi = you are welcome here (Sindarin)
    • Dol gin lost = your head is empty (Sindarin)
    • Heca = scram! (Quenya)
    • Mara Mesta = Good journey (Quenya)
    • You can just mumble low and long to attempt a phrase in Entish….. no matter what, you’ll likely not speak it correctly, unless you’re an Ent.
  • Poems
    • Have a haiku or a limerick competition. Or just a giant piece of paper on the wall where people can write their own poems.
  • Give the gift of a homemade card for your friends, or draw your own map of middle earth. Use this one I made below as inspiration:
  • tolkien hobbit LOTR graduation hand made card

     

     

    ADVENTURE

     

    • Go on an adventure! Go find something new and try it out!
    • Go on a trip somewhere unexpected! Throw a dart at a map of your city, or of the globe! You never know what sort of fun crazy stories you’ll have to write in your own “there and back again” book.

    thereichenbachfall on wordpress

    • Go visit nature! Take a walk in the woods, or some cavern- but look out for dragons (unless it’s the green dragon inn… then go get thyself a pint!)
    • If you’re near Orlando, go on your own quest and visit It’s a Trap! A Room Adventure in Orlando (click here for information)!
      • It’s a Trap is a place where you work together with a group of 8 or less people (you need not know them prior to the adventure. One does not always get to choose quest partners) in order to solve a mystery by finding clues hidden around a room. There are currently 4 games total in 2 different rooms. One of the rooms happens to be a Wizard’s Hut- so it’s quite fitting.
      • I actually helped kickstart this place- and I got to go to a beta test of it. The quest we did was in the wizard’s hut and had a dragon character that talked to us! It’s definitely worth a visit. Below are some poor iphone photographs of the inside of the hut (taken with permission. And no spoilers!)


    Its a Trap TreeIts a Trap Dragon

    • Or go have a pint at the Cloak and Blaster! They have games and hobbit-inspired food as well as Hobbit-Hour (much like happy hour, but more geeky/awesome)

    Click here for more info about The Cloak and Blaster in Orlando

     

     

     

    And last but most certainly not least,

     

    GO SEE THE FILM!

    Click here for the Fandango movie overview

    (Or see the previous films! Or go see the old cartoon one!)

     

    image from Fandango

     

     

    oh, but check with your closest friends first, unless you want to no longer be friends:

     

    troll.me


     

    • Have you any ideas for throwing a Hobbit party? Please share them below!
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    Thor’s giving!

    It’s that time of year!

     

    Thor’s giving!

     

    Wait, what? You mean THANKSGIVNG…. right?

     

    No, no… I mean- Thorsgiving!  Thanksgiving is old hat. We need to spice things up- and geek things up!

     

    thorsgiving instead of thanksgiving

     

    Yeah, this idea started approximately ONE DAY prior to our “Friendsgiving” (where you get a bunch of friends together- most of whom don’t have families in town. Sometimes called “Orphan Thanksgiving”) festivities. So it was a lot of last-minute silly planning and fun.

     

    Someone gave me the idea of hulk smash potatoes- and I took the idea and ran with it. Sadly, we had so much fun, I didn’t take many photos of our food :( But I’ll list a bunch of ideas here so you can use them at will!

     

    hulk smash

     

     

    Food ideas for Thor’s giving:

    • Hulk Smash potatoes
      • green food coloring + potatoes.
      • Or add wasabi paste for more spice and oddness!
    • Iron man’s suit salad
      • Using only red and yellow items! I made a salad with yellow bell peppers, yellow onions, red bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, and sun-dried tomatoes. I made a sun-dried tomato pesto dressing.
    • Hawk-eyed peas
      • Black eyed peas
    • As American as Captain America’s Apple Pie
    • Nick Fury Brownies (ours were made with Kraken rum too… for fun!)
    • Black Widow Cookies
      • ours were pumpkin sugar cookies that we decorated with a pomegranate seed for the red spot and black frosting to draw the spider
    • Tony Starch (Stark) bread
    • or Agent Phil Crumbson rolls
    •  –with Doctor Bruce Butter
    • Shawarma
    • Thoreos
    • Lokit-kats
    • Hulk poop casserole
      • Green bean casserole
    • Natasha Stroganoff
    • Erik Stuffing (Selvig)
    • Loki Turkey
      • (or Thor-key)
    • Black (widow) pudding
    • Maria Hill of yams
      • make sweet potato/yam dish- form into a hill.
    • Clint Bacon (Barton)
    • Stark-bucks coffee
      • for your after-dinner beverage

     

     

    nick fury brownies and black widow cookies

     

    Don’t forget to use the OVEN-gers to do all your baking. hahah. ha. ha…..

    Your iron pan is likely to come in handy. hahaahaah. ha…..

    Be sure to provide salt and Pepper Potts so your guests can adjust flavor. hahaa. ha.

     

    I need a life.

     

    dinner

     

    It was a pretty low-key event (snicker). But we certainly had lots of fun! We ended the night playing Cards Against Humanity. Who doesn’t love that game? Seriously?

     

    thorsgiving full of friends

    note the hulk-smash potatoes front and center

    Sadly, this year, I will be flying a red eye home from working in Brazil (through my least favorite airport in the world. GRU- Sao Paulo). So we won’t be hosing a Thor’s giving this year. No reason you can’t though!

     

    Go forth and with the might of all Asgard, have a pun-tastic Thor’s giving (or normal thanksgiving, if you so desire)

     


     

    Want more geeky things?

    Click here to check out the top three moments in the Game of Thrones books versus the TV show

    or Click here to get ideas on making your own Hobbit card!

    tolkien hobbit LOTR graduation hand made card

     

    Haven’t had enough puns?

    Click here for food ideas for a Geeky British Party

    British Geeky Party. Facebook Event Cover Photo


     

    • Have you any great Avengers food puns? Please share them below!
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    Dia de los muertos

    dia de los muertos in mexico city

     

    Two years ago I was working on tour with Ricky Martin and had the opportunity to be in Mexico City for Halloween and

     

    Dia de los muertos

    or

    Day of the dead

    It was a pretty cool experience and I wanted to share some photos of the weekend with you all:

     

    Dia de los muertos (Day of the dead) in mexico city

     

     

    I meant to post this FOR Day of the Dead celebrations, not AFTER. Sorry guys. Well, I still wanted to give you a little love, so here you have it! I never posted my awesome halloween costume from last year because I’m still waiting for some actual good photos of it. One of these days…

     

    Dia de los muertos (Day of the dead) in mexico city

     

     

     

    I spent some time wandering the city and snapping photos of these altars. They were all over the place! Even in our hotel lobby. It definitely made the atmosphere quite festive.

    Halloween night itself a  group of us roadies went bar hopping. I remember we started in an Irish pub. I know, I know…. it DID feel a bit odd to be drinking Guinness in an Irish pub in Mexico city on Halloween, but us roadies stick together! I brought a pumpkin baggie full of tequila chocolates and went reverse trick-or-treating (I handed out the tequila candies to strangers and friends). It was good times.

     

     

     

     

    Dia de los muertos (Day of the dead) in mexico city

     

     

     

    Day of the Dead (Spanish: Día de Muertos) is a Mexican holiday observed throughout Mexico and around the world in other cultures. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died.

     

    Dia de los muertos (Day of the dead) in mexico city

     

     

    Dia de los muertos (Day of the dead) in mexico city

     

     

     

    It is particularly celebrated in Mexico where the day is a public holiday. Prior to Spanish colonization in the 16th century, the celebration took place at the beginning of summer. It was moved to October 31, November 1 and November 2 to coincide with theRoman Catholic triduum festival of Allhallowtide: All Hallows’ Eve, Hallowmas, and All Souls’ Day.[2][3] Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars called ofrendas, honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed, and visiting graves with these as gifts. Visitors also leave possessions of the deceased at the graves.

     

    (thanks to Wikipedia for the paragraphs when I’m slacking)

     

    Dia de los muertos (Day of the dead) in mexico city

     

     

     

    The following year when I was on tour with Jennifer Lopez in Germany. We had a show (with a load in and load out) on halloween and some of us decided to dress up- even though we were working. And then as a throwback to this time in mexico, myself and another friend decided to do some Dia de los muertos face painting.

     

    day of the dead makeup

     

    We had planned to remove the halloweeny bits for show, but Jennifer said she was happy that some of us dressed up and encouraged us to stay in costume/makeup for the show.

     

    day of the dead makeup

     

    I ran hand-held camera (thank pete I painted only half face, otherwise I would have gotten the makeup all over the camera, or would have needed to remove it), and at one point was on stage with her VERY visible- with this makeup, black and red tights, a black lace veil, etc….

     

    day of the dead makeup

     

    It was a fun time- and she loved it.

     

     

     

     

    Curious about other adventures?

    Click here to see photos of Saint-Pierre, Martinique where you can learn about the beheaded and bloody Empress Josephine statue.

    beheaded and bloody Empress Josephine statue in martinique

     

     

    Or if you want something more chipper, click here to visit Disney’s Flower and Garden Festival

    ~pirate fairy

     

    And standby for ideas on throwing your own Thorsgiving (yeah, that’s Thanksgiving, marvel-style)

     


     

    • Sugar skulls are such an “in” thing now! Have you done any sugar skull festive things for these autumn holidays?
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    Halloween BINGO

    Alright friends! I got excited this morning and decided to make you all a gift!

     

    Halloween BINGO!

     

    Halloween Bingo! Free download at museinitiative.com/blog

     

    I’ll be throwing a last-minute mini party/game night at my place. I’ll be home for the first time in about 4 years, and will actually get to hand out goodies to trick or treaters! So, I decided to add a new game to the mix!

     

    If it’s not obvious, I’ll give a quick rundown:

     

    • There are 8 different halloween cards. Everyone gets one (or two?)
    • When a trick or treater arrives at your door with the aforementioned costume, you get to mark that square.
    • Once you have marked squares in a row (up/down, across, or diagonally) you yell BINGO
    • yelling Bingo = winning
    • yelling Bingo when you don’t have Bingo = not winning, your friends picking on you, and you have to take a drink.

     

    Feel free to change it up if you wish:

    • Bring your cards downtown and check off what costumes you see tramping around the pubs.
    • Having a large costume party? Just play using the people in attendance and what they’re wearing.

     

     

    Them’s the rules kiddos! Easy-peasy!

     

    What sorts of costumes will you be looking for?

    • Characters from Frozen (a given this year)
    • Superheros
    • A specific historical figure
    • Athlete
    • Minion
    • Group costume (3 or more people)
    • Pirate
    • Vampire or Werewolf
    • and many more!

     

     

    I hope you all enjoy!

     

     

     

    Click the link below to download:

    (this is for all 8 cards. Print on regular size paper: 8.5×11. PDF file)

    Halloween BINGO free download at museinitiative.com/blog

     

    (the pdf will open in a new window. Choose save to save the pdf onto your computer.)

     

    Want more Halloween fun?

     

    Click here for some halloweeny cupcake ideas

    halloween cupcake decorating ideas! The mummy is my favorite!

     

     


     

    • Planning to play halloween bingo? Did you already play it? What did you think?
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    Halloweeny Cupcakes!

    YAAAY!!! It’s autumn! That means it’s almost halloween- arguably one of the best holidays of the year! So I’ve decided to do a series of halloween-related posts for your enjoyment! Since I’m not home much at the moment, I will need to rely on old photographs!

    halloween cupcake decorating ideas! The mummy is my favorite!

     

     

    Most of you may remember that I like decorating cupcakes in fun ways but I don’t use fondant. I know that means I lose in quality sometimes, but that’s a price I’m willing to pay for better tasting frosting.

     

    If you’ve forgotten how I love to decorate cupcakes, just visit this post about my geeky cupcakes (well, some of them. I haven’t posted about all of them yet).

    star wars superhero cupcakes

     

    Or visit this post about St Patricks day workplace ideas, where you can see a batch of Irish-themed cupcakes I had decorated once for the office.

    irish cupcakes

     

     

     

    But I digress…. back to HALLOWEEN!

     

    I’ve made two different groups of cupcakes in the past which have included the following characters:

     

    halloween cupcake decorating ideas!

     

    You may notice that sometimes I color using sprinkles. I enjoy this because it changes things up a little, and I have one less color to mix :)

     

    Speaking of color, definitely invest in the gel icing color instead of using the liquid stuff. It will help keep your frosting the correct consistency without you needing to add powdered sugar.

    That means if all you have is the liquid stuff and it makes your frosting too runny, you can add powdered sugar to help stiffen it back up.

    Oh, but if you purchase a box set of the gel color (I got mine at Michael’s), open it before you get home to be sure it has ALL the colors. I was very sad to find out mine had two maroons, but no black :( I was a sad panda.

     

    halloween cupcake decorating ideas!

     

     

     

    So, what other trick-or-treat goodies might you anticipate in the following weeks you ask? Well, here are a few hints:

    • Three years ago I was lucky enough to be working in Mexico for Halloween… which means I was there for dia de los muertos (day of the dead).
    • Last year, I was working for Beyoncé and was in Sydney for Halloween. She threw a cast and crew party, so I knew I had to go big (just kidding, I’d go big anyway). Being on the road and having no sewing machine, I needed to get creative but still wanted to MAKE a costume. I will go so far as to say it is arguably one of the coolest costumes ever, and certainly one of the most awesome things I’ve ever made (I’m waiting on one of my photographer friends from the tour to find some better photos… somehow, all the ones I have are just ok).

    Subscribe to keep posted on these fun upcoming bits!

     

     


    Want more fun stuff?

     

    Click here to see photos of Partnachklamm, a beautiful gorge in Germany in Autumn

    fall foliage

    gorge from above

    Or if you want to geek out about holidays, click here for the top 5 high fives in TV and Movies- for national High-five day!

     

     

     

    • Have you done any Halloween cake/cupcake decorating? Share your stories and links below!

     

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    Hobbit Graduation Card

    Has anyone else tried finding a decent graduation card for someone this year? … I looked & have come to the conclusion: GRADUATION CARDS ARE BORING.

     

    Rather than fork out my money for a lackluster symbol of my congratulations, I decided to MAKE a graduation card for a special graduate I know.

     

    tolkien hobbit LOTR graduation hand made card

    also, this post is out in time for you all to celebrate

     

    Geek Pride Day (May 25)

     

    Geek Pride Day is an initiative to promote Geek culture, cosplay, and the like.  So go forth and celebrate time travel, wear your one ring, drink your butterbeer, daydream, assemble!, read a book, fight some crime, and for all of these shenanigans: may the force be with you.

     

    May 25th was chosen as the date in order to commemorate the first Star Wars release (some people even consider this day “Star Wars Day” over May the 4th), though it also shares a date with references from the Discworld series as well as Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

     

    Click here to learn more about Geek Pride Day

     

     

    Hobbit Lord of the Rings card home made

     

    Oh right, back to the graduation card….

     

    This was written/drawn with ink and quill (yes, olde-style dipped ink), though you could do it with a pen or a sharpie even…. just try it!

     

    I cannot draw.  Seriously.  This is about as good as it gets (I cannot even draw a straight line), so I had to choose an idea for a card that would fit with my level of drawing ability and my geek knowledge.

     

    I also love to age paper whenever I can (look forward to a post later on coffee/tea staining… though if you request it, I can expedite it!), so I purchased blank cards from Michaels and aged them, let them dry, then drew on them with the ink via quill.

     

    map of middle earth

     

    One of my first ideas for the inside of the card was to mention something along the lines of :  You’ve defeated SMOG Graduate School! Now you can return to the Shire real life! Huzzah!

     

    Then I decided I could find some cool Sindarin (one of the Tolkien Elvish languages) phrase of sorts to add to the inside, so I did!

     

    Had I the time, I would have written the message in Sindarin letters, but alas.

     

    tolkien hobbit LOTR graduation hand made card Sindarin Elvish

     

    Elvish Sindarin phrase

     

    If you’d like some Sindarin / Elvish phrase ideas, click here.

     

     

    I also wanted the envelope to match and hint at the Tolkien Middle Earth Map.  It worked, of course- he knew that it was Tolkien-esque :)

    LOTR envelope style idea

     

     

    And once again, the final product:

    tolkien hobbit LOTR graduation hand made card

     

    I hope this helps to inspire you to do something fun and geeky today!  Enjoy, fellow muggles!

     

    Want another geeky idea?  How about making some Geeky Cupcakes!  Featuring Star Wars and Superheroes!

    Or perhaps you want to learn about another random holiday?

     

    • What did you do to celebrate Geek Pride Day?
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    Love a Tree Day!

    Were you aware that “Love a Tree Day” is a national holiday?

     

    hug a tree you treehugger

    Photograph taken in Portugal outside of Monserrate Palace

     

     

    Well, it is!  It occurs every April 16th.

     

    If you wanted to celebrate, you could look into making your backyard a certified wildlife habitat!

     

    Or just see what the National Wildlife Federation has as suggestions for how to celebrate Love a Tree Day.

     

    Or, check out my tree-inspired photo gallery below (I love me some trees)

     

    tree path

    Path of trees in Switzerland

     

     redwood tree

    Redwood tree in California

     

    tree copenhagen

    Tree in a park in Copenhagen, Denmark

     

    sun through the tree

     Sunlight through the tree branches in Big Sur, CA

     

    ~bonzai

    Bonzai trees at EPCOT during Disney’s Flower and Garden Festival.

    Click here for a link to the post.

     

    cool tree

    Red River Gorge, KY on a climbing adventure…. I just loved how this tree bended itself around the rock.

     

    ~cool tree

     Funky tree in Glendalough, Ireland.  

    Click here for the first post on Glendalough… there are more to come!

     

    UT tree

    Cool dead tree in Zion National Park, UT

     

    trees berlin wall

    A forest painted on the Berlin wall

     

    awesome tree house Florida Everglades

    Cool climbing tree in a hostel in the Florida Everglades.

     

    trees portugal

    Sunlight through the trees outside of Castelo dos Mouros in Portugal

     

    fall foliage

    Autumn colors on the trees in Germany.

    Click here for the post about Partnachklamm, the gorge where this photo was taken.

     

     

     

    Or, visit my page on ways to celebrate Earth Day

    (since trees and the earth go hand in hand)

    earth day

     

     

    All of the photos above were taken by me (well, except for the photos with me IN them, of course) on one of my random adventures.

    If you would like to know more about any of these adventures and see more photographs, feel free to contact me or write in the comments and I will expedite a post on the topic you request!

     

     

    • Do you have any fantastic tree quotes or photos?  Please share them below!
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    Happy Earth Day!

    In honor of Earth Day, I present you with: 

    earth day

     

    You know today (April 22) is Earth Day, but you’re not sure what Earth Day is all about? Or what to do about it?  Read on for some ideas!

     

     

    1. Plant something!

    Plant a tree, or a shrub, or a garden! Or heck- just do some yard work and get your hands dirty!  Why is it so good to plant trees anyway?

    Or support Earth Day and learn more about the Canopy Project (video below).

     

     

    2. Purchase your groceries locally

    Visit a farmers market near you or even a local farm if you can!  Or find out which of your local grocery stores carries produce and other items from local farmers.

     

    Why is local food so much better anyway?

     

    For those of my friends and readers in my local Orlando, here are a few links to help you out:

    Five Best Farmers Markets in Orlando

    Homegrown Food Co-op

    Freshfields Farm

     

     

    3. Visit a restaurant that sources local food

    Find what restaurants in your area source food locally, or promote a better way of eating/living with raw, organic, vegan, and/or vegetarian choices.

     

    Again, for my Orlando friends, here are a few suggestions:

     

    The Rusty Spoon- Downtown

    Dandelion CommuniTEA Cafe- Downtown

    Cafe 118 Living Cuisine- Winter Park

    Ethos Vegan Kitchen- Winter Park

    The Crooked Spoon- Clermont

     

     

    4. Enjoy Earth Day with your kids!

    Raising awareness of the Earth’s importance is a great thing to begin at a young age.

    Here are some Pinterest Earth Day ideas 

     

     

    5. Upcycle something

    Upcycling is like recycling, but better since you’re taking the thing that once was mostly useless and making it into something super-awesome!

     

    Click here for upcycling ideas

    Or click here for upcycling ideas on Pinterest

     

     

    6.  Try an Eco-Friendly alternative in your home

     

    There are a whole lot of ways to make your home more green, and it can start with your cleaning supplies!

    Click here for cleaning ideas

    Shower cleaning DIY eco friendly and green

     

     

     

    7. Watch a green movie or read a green book

    My favorite is The Lorax of course!

    Or check out these other suggestions.

    the lorax- ideas for earth day

    wikipedia

     

     

    8.  Get outside! Enjoy the Earth!

    Go for a walk, a hike, a bike ride.  Go kayaking, or swimming, or snorkeling (depending on where you live).  Go soak up the sun, or dance in the rain, make snow-angels, or go puddle-jumping.

    Live.

     

    beautiful partnachtklam

     

     

     

    And just remember:

     

     

     

    • What did you do to celebrate Earth Day?

     

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    Top 5 High Fives

    I love celebrating obscure holidays… and April 17 (2014) is

    National High Five Day!

     

    5 of the best high fives in TV and Movie history.  National High Five Day April 17th 2014

    maniacworld.com

     

     

    High Five Day is the THIRD THURSDAY of April.  So go and high five some people… or ALL THE PEOPLE!

     

    To read more about National High Five Day, click here.

     

    Use the following tag on social media if you’re talking about it (or sharing this link): #NH5D

     

     

     

    To celebrate, I give you 5 of the best high fives in film and television:

     

     

     

    5. Barney Stinson

    How I Met Your Mother (HIMYM)

    His high fives are legen – – – dary.

     

    5 of the best high fives in TV and Movie history.  National High Five Day April 17th 2014

    reactiongifs.me/

     

     

     

    4. Jim and Pam

    The Office (US)

    Jim and Pam have celebrated their awesome team-up on numerous occasions by giving each other an office air five.

    5 of the best high fives in TV and Movie history.  National High Five Day April 17th 2014

    college humor

     

     

    3. Brian

    The Breakfast Club

    Brian Johnson: Dear Mr. Vernon, we accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong. But we think you’re crazy to make an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us – in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain…

    Andrew Clark: …and an athlete…

    Allison Reynolds: …and a basket case…

    Claire Standish: …a princess…

    John Bender: …and a criminal…

    Brian Johnson: Does that answer your question? Sincerely yours, the Breakfast Club.

    breakfast club high five

    strawburry17

     

     

    2. The Todd

    Scrubs

    The Scrubs wiki puts it best: “The Todd enjoys giving and receiving high-fives, putting them in second place behind sex. He will give any type of high-five to anyone for any reason. He is very adamant about being the only person who gives out high-fives.”

    5 of the best high fives in TV and Movie history.  National High Five Day April 17th 2014

    cptcliche at gifsoup.com

     

     

     

     

    1. Top Gun

    ’nuff said.

    5 of the best high fives in TV and Movie history.  National High Five Day April 17th 2014

    from m3wass on gifsoup.com

     
    (well… ’nuff said except for that part where I leave you with a silly-awesome video.  Thank you They Might Be Giants for being amazing.  OH- and for writing/performing a song that fits here perfectly)

     

    Want to see more things like this?  Check out 7 things you should drink INSTEAD of green beer.

     

    • I know there are a whole many more AMAZING high-fives that didn’t fit here.  What high five would you have put on the list?
      OH! OH!!! and go high five everyone you see (and maybe even people you don’t see! send them an internet five!)
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