The Christmas Rom Com

During the holiday season it seems like the only things on television are Christmas related.  Every other channel is running a Christmas movie marathon with all of the classics like Elf, Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, and Home Alone.  There are so many Christmas movies that there are genres within the genre of Christmas movie. One of the most popular genre is Christmas rom coms.

Christmas rom coms are very similar to normal rom coms.  With a plot consisting of two people meeting, waiting a while to get together, a big twist and they break up, and then a big gesture at the end so they end up together.  But Christmas rom coms have their own set of tropes that are different from other rom coms throughout the year. An example of this is that in order for them to be together they both have to be really into Christmas, and if one of them is not they will learn to love it by the end of the movie.  Snowstorms keeping someone in a small town in another classic trope that makes the two main characters stay together and then fall in love.

Some classic Christmas rom coms are “Love Actually”, “The Holiday”, and “Four Christmases”.  All of these movies are constantly playing on TV. The most popular of the three is “Love Actually”.  The movie is different from other rom coms because it follows more than one couple throughout the movie, it has 4 different story lines instead of just one.  But each storyline still follows that same general arc as a typical Christmas rom com.

Netflix has been making more rom coms in the past year, and this includes Christmas rom coms.  The most popular Netflix rom com is called “The Christmas Prince” and it follows one of the typical rom com stories of a normal girl falling in love with a man who turns out to be a prince.  “The Christmas Prince” was such a big hit on Netflix that they have now made a sequel this year. Other Christmas rom coms on Netflix are “The Princess Switch” starring Vanessa Hudgens, and “Christmas Inheritance”.  These are only movies that are made by Netflix, you can also watch other Christmas rom coms on Netflix as well.

Christmas rom coms is a feel good movie genre that is meant to put people in the holiday spirit.  Everyone in all of the movies are extremely kind and they always give to others, something that not everyone does in the real world.

Adult Onesies

Last week was Thanksgiving break, which means that most students have brought their winter wardrobe back to school with them.  They replaced all of their tank tops with sweaters. A big part of a winter wardrobe is layers of warm clothing, and the past few years have created a new trend; adult onesies.

Onesies are most popular for babies, and then for pajamas for young children.  They are nice because it is just one piece of clothing that is nice and warm. Recently a trend has risen for adult onesies, and not pajamas but for costumes and to wear to events.  Adult onesies are great because you can layer clothes under them depending on how cold it it outside and it doesn’t ruin the outfit because onesies are meant to be big.

Different styles of onesies are popular.  Animal onesies are the most popular. Most are unisex and you can now buy at Walmart or Kohls.  Some of the most popular adult animal onesies are giraffes, penguins, and pandas. Another big trend is characters.  Instead of buying a several piece costume to look like a character, you can just buy a onesie that already has the characters costume printed on it.  Onesies also do not require a mask no matter what character you are being because the hood is your mask. An example of this would be Darth Vader or the Power Rangers.  Another style of onesies is professions. You can be an astronaut or a nurse as a onesie instead of as a costume. This style is less popular than the others, I think it is because it is easy enough, and more realistic, to find clothes of the actual profession than to wear pajamas that resemble them.

With fun costume onesies rising in popularity, normal adult pajama onesies have also increased in popularity.  Now at big and popular stores like Victoria’s Secret or L.L.Bean, or even the Mden have pajama onesies that people can buy.

My friend and I took advantage of all of the benefits from wearing onesies and we were the yellow and blue Power Rangers to the last Michigan home football game.  It was perfect because we could layer under the onesies with warm clothing that did not have to be Michigan related and we were still supporting the team!

Healthy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is seen as a time for family and friends to come together and be thankful for the things they have in their lives.  It has also become synonymous with lots of good food. The traditional Thanksgiving meal includes a giant turkey, stuffing, bread, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and cherry pie.  My family is one of these traditional families who always eat the same food every year with no exceptions. But with people now being more conscious of their diet and how food impacts the environment some Thanksgiving dinners are transforming from the norm.

The biggest Thanksgiving food trope is having a gigantic turkey.  My family even eats a turkey from my aunts farm that they have raised for the event.  Now there are healthier options that people are choosing to eat as their main dish. Stuffed butternut squash is a great alternative because it is filling and squash still has the same nice fall feeling that turkey has.  You can stuff the squash with other vegetables and rice that way if people do not like squash then they can eat the things that are stuffed in it.

My family always has snacks out before the big meal so that people can munch on them while they wait and watch football.  We usually have different types of cookies and chips and dip. Having snacks out before the meal is a great idea to keep people from getting antsy while the food is cooking, but chips and cookies are not the healthiest way to do it.  A healthier option is to just put out a fruit and veggie tray. Everyone likes at least one type of fruit and/or vegetable. It will keep them occupied but it won’t fill them up before dinner.

Mashed potatoes are another staple Thanksgiving food.  Every family has their own mashed potato recipes and some are healthier than others.  A good alternative to mashed potatoes is cauliflower mashed potatoes. This is a good alternative to mashed potatoes every day, not just Thanksgiving.  A way to spruce up the cauliflower mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving is to make sweet potato and cauliflower mashed potatoes. You are still using potatoes, but you are not using as much because the cauliflower is most of the side dish.

The last food that is popular at Thanksgiving is the dessert.  A good alternative to apple of cherry pie is cranberry and blueberry crisp.  You use fresh cranberries and blueberries so you are eating healthy fruit, and you are just putting granola on top instead of the less healthy pie crust.

Technology Influencing Art

Throughout history technology has influenced art in different ways.  It was used as a medium, like photography and movies. It is also used as an enhancer, like photoshop and video editing.  Technology is also featured in art, with paintings of phones and street lamps. As technology progresses, it becomes easier for all people to use it.  The biggest example for most millenials, including myself, used microsoft paint at one point to make their own art.

Computers have influenced art in a very profound way.  The internet is the biggest factor of this, but it is not the only thing you can do on a computer for art.  The biggest example that I can think of, and that I personally use is microsoft paint. I would spend hours on paint making circles and coloring them in different colors to make an abstract painting.  Another example of non-internet art is photoshop and photo editing. It is very common for people to take their photos and change them to black and white or putting another filter on it. It also used to be a fun past-time to photoshop celebrities into pictures and onto funny backgrounds.

The internet is a big proponent of making art more tangible for the public.  Now people can look up famous artists from the past and present. With a quick Google search one can find out the personal information and art styles of famous artists throughout time.  This means that art can now be seen in more places than just a museum. Schools take advantage of this when teaching students about art. Now they can pull up photos and video tours of large and expensive museums that they can not afford to take their students to.

Social media in particular allows people to be more creative themselves.  It creates a forum for people to express themselves by posting their art online.  Whether that be art that they did not create using technology, like drawings, or art created by technology, like photos.  Social media also allows people to learn how to create art. The biggest example of this is Pinterest, where there are thousands of DIY art projects for whatever you could possibly need.  Youtube also has a lot of DIY content for people to learn whatever they need. I personally use Pinterest on a regular basis for DIY ideas and art projects.

Overall technology, computers specifically, have made art more accessible to the public.  This has helped make people more creative and learn more about art technique and art history.  The internet pushes people to explore their creative sides and to try new things that they never thought they could do before.

Maps as Art

If you handed me a printed map from a rest stop, I’m not sure I would be confident in telling you which direction to go. To me, physical maps are geographical puzzles you shove into the back of your car’s glove compartment. In the past, I never thought of a map as beautiful, let alone as an example of art; however, this perspective was challenged after a field trip to the Hatcher Graduate Library.

Instead of the normal lecture, my digital research class was treated to a brief tour of the Shapiro Undergraduate Library and Hatcher Graduate Library. Out of the numerous books, resources, and study spots, what caught my attention the most was something I would have never expected: maps. I was mesmerized by the Unique Perspectives: Maps from Tokugawa & Meiji Japan exhibit, which was on display until October 30th. While slightly faded, an array of swirling colors and intricate details captured my attention, and I found myself wandering back to the exhibit after class.

For a moment, I forgot about the stresses of essays or homework and was whisked away to another time and another place. Triangular mountains and waving rivers somehow made me feel at peace. While granting me historical facts, these displays stretched my imagination. All the lines and jagged squiggles weren’t meaningless marks on paper, but places, history, and art. I daresay the mere size and grandeur of some of the maps resembled priceless paintings. As someone studying Japanese through LSA’s Residential College program, I was also drawn to the uniqueness and artistry of the symbols. I imagined shiny black ink caressing the paper in gentle strokes, forming different characters with something important to say.

In moments I saw maps – and art – in a new light. I found myself no longer cringing at the series of puzzling lines, but captivated by the complexity and splendor the maps held. Now, I’m not educated on traditional map making rules, nor am I an analytic art critic; it’s possible my perspective of the display simply reveals my ignorance about maps. However, I viewed even the most simple of maps as anything but stereotypical or boring. This is my first blog post, and if a small trip to the library prompted me to see maps in a new light, I can’t wait to explore what other artistic treasures are in store during my journey here at the University of Michigan.

 

Fall Decorations

Happy Halloween!  It is a little late to decorate your dorm room/apartment/house for Halloween, but don’t start putting out your Christmas decorations yet.  You can still decorate for the fall season. Here are some fall decoration ideas that will help you celebrate the season.

My house is always decorated with hay bales and corn stalks on our front porch.  This is generally decorated with our Halloween decorations of spider webs and ghosts in the front yard, but after Halloween we take down the Halloween decorations but keep up the corn stalks and hay bales.

An easy decoration for the fall season is to put fake orange, yellow, and red leaves around your house.  You can put them around the coffee table, in bowls, and on ledges. This will give your apartment color and make it brighter so that your apartment is not so dark as the sun sets earlier in the fall.

Another way to make your apartment or house brighter is to buy and light fall scented candles.  This will not only light up your home but it will also make your home smell like fall. This is not a good idea for a dorm room because you are not allowed to have candles in the dorms.  Having a couple different scented candles will mix things up with your house always smelling wonderful.

An alternative to candles if you do not have a lighter or are not allowed to have them, like in dorm rooms, is a scent that you plug into the wall that will dispense a specific scent throughout the day.  This is also more discrete and does not take up much room in your home.

Other ways to decorate for fall that are not Halloween related are to have pumpkins on the inside or the outside of your house.  Pumpkins are not just for Halloween, jack-o-lanterns are for Halloween. If you have pumpkins that are not carved then you can use them for decorations until Thanksgiving.  You can potentially have painted pumpkins to decorate for fall, but the paint has to be a neutral pattern and cannot be too loud. A silver or white painted pumpkin with polka dots or chevron pattern is good for decorations, but a teenage mutant ninja turtle pumpkin is not a fall decoration.

The last way that you can decorate for fall is to have fall hand towels, kitchen towels, and bathroom towels throughout your home.  These decorations are great because they are also useful. Towels are bold enough for people to notice and so you do not have to have many other decorations because towels are in almost every room in a house.  The towels are also useful and have a purpose so they serve two purposes.