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.

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.

Literary Baby Names

Every year a list of the most popular baby names is published.  Some names are always on the list, or have been for the past twenty years like John and Andrew.  Throughout history names have been chosen from different sources. Some common inspiration for names are nature, religious, historical, and literary.  Art has influenced names throughout history.

Historical names are taken from all different types of historical sources.  The most popular example is a family name. Even though family names generally do not descend from a specific historical figure, a lot of names go back generations and they are historical when considering timelines.  Other historical names are from famous historical figures. Some possible potential historical names for females are: Jane Austen, Susan B. Anthony, Amelia Earhart. Some male historical names are: George Washington, Martin Luther King, and Marlon Brando.  Historical male names could also include all past presidents. While most historical names only use the person’s first name, if a parent wanted there to be a stronger connection then they could use the first and middle name to have a stronger significance.

Literary names have also been prevalent throughout history.  The most common literary names are Biblical names. These names have been prevalent since the Common Era has started.  Some other old literary names come from Greek Mythology. Some very common names are: Achilles, Caesar, Aphrodite, and Artemis.  Similar to historical names there are more male names to choose from than female names. Names from Greek Mythology are not as common now as they used to be.  Greek names are now seen as more formal names and are not common at all in America.

Other literary names are more modern.  One of the most modern examples of this is Harry Potter.  Harry Potter names are slowly becoming more common as people who read the books as a child are having children.  The names Harry, and Hermione are becoming more popular and will only continue to become more popular for the next 10 years or so because of the popularity of the books and the movies.  Other modern literary names come from childhood books that children attached to and remembered. Some examples would be Charlotte from Charlotte’s Web, Ramona from Ramona and Beezus, and Matilda from Matilda.

Literary names have always been common, and they change throughout the generations as new books come out and capture a generation.  Some names have always been popular and will continue to be due to the significance the names have.

Fall Tropes

Every season has fun activities that people associate with it and they look forward to doing these activities when the season gets closer.  The activities tend to vary based on where you live because the weather tends to dictate what activities are doable. It in the Midwest activities for summer are going to the beach and playing in a pool, for winter it’s sledding and building snowmen and having a fire indoors, for spring it’s being able to not wear winter coats and walking outside again, and for fall it’s pumpkin carving and sweater weather.  Fall has a range of activities that people look forward to based on their interests in particular.

A lot of fall activities rely around Halloween, because Halloween is the main event that happens during the season.  Some Halloween fall related activities include haunted houses, trick or treating, and Halloween parades. These activities are directly related to Halloween, but a lot of other fall activities are associated with Halloween even though they are not directly related to it.  Some of these activities include pumpkin picking, apple orchards, and corn mazes. While carving pumpkins is a specific Halloween activity, going pumpkin picking is not. These activities get lumped into the same category because they happen around the same time because November might be too cold to do them.

Other fall activities are not related to Halloween, but are related to being back to school.  The main thing that this includes is football season. Fall is the season for high school, college, and professional football.  While professional football continues into the winter, high school and college generally do not. This means that for a lot of people across America, the leaves changing colors means football seasons and Saturdays being taken over by tailgates and football games.  This is especially true at the University of Michigan. Game day is the most popular day of the week for the entirety of football season (a.k.a. fall).

Fall also means seasonal retail items, mostly pumpkin flavored things.  Only in the fall can one find pumpkin bread and pie at the grocery store, and a pumpkin latte at Starbucks.  This is when people go overboard of consuming their favorite fall themed things, not only food. Fall scented candles and decorations with leaves and acorns on them also increase because they reflect the weather.

This happens with each season, fall is just particularly noticeable because people associate so many things with this one season unlike the others.

Romcom Redemption

Since the late 1980’s romantic comedies (romcoms) have been a staple genre.  It was popular all the way until the late 2000’s when the genre feel out of popularity.  Now Netflix is bringing it back.

There seems to be a gigantic list of romantic comedies that came and are now classics from the 80’s.  There is “When Harry Met Sally”, “16 Candles”, “Pretty In Pink”and “Can’t buy Me Love”. These romcoms are now classics and must watches for all romcom lovers.  The 80’s also had several romcom stars. The most notable being Molly Ringwald who starred in “Pretty In Pink” and “16 Candles”. The theme of female romcom stars continued all the way to the present.

The 90’s was the arguably the golden age of the romcom.  Movies from “Notting Hill” to “10 Things I Hate About You” were somewhat popular while some of the biggest hits that every person still knows are “Sleepless In Seattle” and “Clueless”.  “Clueless” was the “Mean Girls” of the 90’s and became a quotable icon very quickly. “Sleepless In Seattle” is one of the most iconic romcoms that everyone knows and loves. It is one of the most must see romcoms and movies in general.  Some of the stars from the 90’s romcoms are Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks. Not only were the two popular romcom stars but they also starred opposite of each other in two of the biggest romcoms of the 90s (“Sleepless In Seattle” and “You’ve Got Mail”).

The 2000’s were the downhill slope of the romcom.  The theater and tv were getting so saturated that not that many stood out to the general public.  Some of the big romcoms were “27 Dresses”, “Bridget Jones Diary”, “The Proposal”, and “13 Going On 30”.  The 2000s split romcoms into several categories because there were so many movies. Romcoms were split into teen movie romcoms, made for tv romcoms and then hit romcoms.  Some of the teen romcoms were “She’s The Man”, “What A Girl Wants” and “A Cinderalla Story”. The star of the teen romcom category was Amanda Bynes who starred in over 5 romcom movies.  There were many stars of the popular romcoms, One of the stars of the popular romcoms was Sandra Bullock who starred in “Two Weeks Notice”, and “The Proposal”. Two others were Anne Hathaway and Jennifer Lopez.

After the early 2000s were over saturated with romcoms the genre died down for a little bit.  There was only made for tv romcoms, with most of them coming out of the Hallmark Channel. Over the past year Netflix has tried to redeem the genre and have been creating a large amount.  There most recent movies have gotten a lot of attention and they are bringing new romcom stars. The most popular Netflix romcoms are “The Kissing Booth”, “Set It Up”, and “To All The Boys I Loved Before”.  With these movies the biggest star that has risen is Noah Centineo who starred in “To All The Boys I Loved Before”. With all of these new Netflix romcoms the genre is coming back into the lime light and is being revived.

Happy Mean Girls Day

“On October 3rd he asked me what day it was” said Cady Heron from the hit 2004 movie Mean Girls.  Ever since this movie has come out October 3rd is the official Mean Girls day. This year is more special in particular because October 3rd is a Wednesday, and even if someone hasn’t seen the movie it is a well known fact that “On Wednesdays we wear pink” – Karen a.k.a a plastic.

Mean Girls has been a phenomenon since its release in 2004.  It stars Rachel McAdams as the villain Regina George and Lindsay Lohan as the protagonist Cady Heron who just moved back to the United States from Africa with her parents.  This movie is a classic teen movie because it shows some truth to high school while also exaggerating everything in the funniest possible way. Mean Girls quickly expanded by adding a much less popular sequel in 2011.  This one starred Camp Rock star Meghan Martin. A Mean Girls musical was also created in 2017 and is now playing on Broadway.

Mean Girls quotes became common knowledge after its release.  Some of the most popular are when Regina George yelled to Cady “Get in loser, we’re going shopping”, when Regina George told the other plastics that she “wants to lose 3 lbs”, when Janis and Damon described Gretchen saying “Her hair is full of secrets”, and when Gretchen repeatedly tried to make “fetch” happen.  It seems as though every other line of the movie is now a popular quote that most millennials know.

The mastermind behind Mean Girls is Tina Fey.  She wrote the movie and the musical. Fey was a writer on the tv show SNL and then she began to act on the series as well.  She then went on to create and star in her own tv series separate from SNL called 30 Rock. Tina Fey has a famous friendship with Amy Poehler.  The two of them were actors on SNL together and have starred in each others productions since then. They have become a famous dou by hosting award shows together as well.  Poehler had a role in Mean Girls as the “cool mom” of Regina George.