Hamilton in Michigan

The hit Broadway musical “Hamilton” is finally coming to Michigan after being on Broadway since 2016.  The show will be playing in three different theaters across the state throughout the 2019-2020 season.

The Broadway show “Hamilton” seemed to become a new classic from the moment it started in April 2016.  The writer, star, and producer Lin Manuel Miranda shot to stardom because of this show. He played Hamilton during its first run on Broadway and will occasionally come back and play him again for special performances.  An example of this is during Hamilton’s Puerto Rican show to raise money for people in Puerto Rico who are still affected by the hurricane.

The show seemed to be so popular that was even hard for celebrities to get tickets.  There seemed to be constant stream of pictures of different celebrities watching Hamilton each night.  It may not be surprising then to find out that tickets were about $500 a person to go see the show. Luckily the tickets for the three shows in Michigan are a little more manageable.

Hamilton’s first stop after Broadway was Chicago, where tickets were still expensive and hard to get your hands on.  I was lucky enough to go to a performance and see Hamilton in Chicago. They stayed in Chicago for several months before getting ready to tour elsewhere.  Hamilton’s show in Puerto Rico was the start of their tour that will be all over the United States for the 2019-2020 season.

One cast member on this touring company is University of Michigan alumni, Simon Longnight.  He graduated from the University of Michigan in 2018, and is playing Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson on the tour.

The Broadway hit musical “Hamilton” is coming to Detroit, Grand Rapids, and the Wharton Center within the next year.  Tickets for the Detroit showings have already gone on sale!

Indoor Home Garden

Winter in the midwest is the time for everyone to stay inside and wait until April before venturing outside, it’s too cold to go outside and play.  In the southern hemisphere winter is the time for people to be outside and enjoy the nice weather. Over winter break I was lucky enough to take a 10 day trip to Ecuador and learn all about food sustainability.  The winter season for them is when they start to plant their crops so that they will grow nice and large for picking season in the late summer.

This got me thinking about planting in the midwest in the winter.  It is too cold to go outside and enjoy gardening, but it is the perfect time to start a small indoor garden of your own.  Some very good indoor plants that are hard to kill are string of pearls, succulents, and prayer plant. Succulents are already very popular and famous for not needing much attention, but these other plants are also easy to keep alive and they will add some color to your room/house.

Other plants are nice to have in your home because they have a purpose.  Some purify the air, some can calm you down. The Peace Lily and Snake plant are great for purifying the air, and they  only need minimum light to keep alive, which is great for winter months when there isn’t much sunlight. Other plants like aloe and lavender are great to have to calm down and help you sleep.

The last type of plants that are great to have indoors all year round are edible plants.  Some herbs that are easy to grow, and can be useful very often are basil, thyme, and parsley.  These plants are easy to grow, and will be very useful when cooking. Another good plant to grow is mint, but that is a little harder to grow inside.

While winter is a time to stay inside, it doesn’t have to be the time to stop gardening.  These are just some of the easiest indoor plants to grow, but there are almost unlimited options to start growing an indoor home garden.

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.

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.