About Katie Johns

Aspirational writer and teacher

New Year’s – A Worldwide Celebration

In the United States, the coming of a new year is met with lavish parties and declaring resolutions that may or may not last. The most common of New Year’s festivities for North America is Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve extravaganza when the entire population of New York City is packed like sardines into Times Square and the entire country zeros in on television to watch a shiny ball drop at midnight. The event of New Year’s is the most internationally celebrated holiday of the year. People of all different races, religions, cultures, and continents recognize it and embrace it in their own way.

Scotland: This is the country where the song “Auld Lang Syne” originated. Just as Americans sing it around New Year’s, so do the Scots and every other English-speaking nation on this planet. The Scottish practice this New Year’s tradition known as “first-footing”. Good luck is supposedly brought to the house where a male visits after midnight. He might bring with him a gift of money, bread, or coal for the fire. This tradition is also practiced in Great Britain.

Greece: January 1st is a celebration for St. Basil in Greek culture. St. Basil’s day is celebrated much like Christmas; people will meet for meals and exchange gifts.

Russia: Also much like Christmas tradition, Russian children look forward to a figure known as Grandfather Frost who brings them toys on New Year’s.

Spain: All work stops at midnight on New Year’s, and the people consume twelve grapes, and sometimes wine, for good luck in the coming year.

Japan: The spirit of renewal is embraced. Bonenkai parties are held with the purpose of putting out of mind the cares and concerns of the past year and open up to a new beginning. It’s also tradition to clean house. New Year’s cards are sent, and if postmarked by a certain date, delivery on January 1st is guaranteed. Gongs from the Buddhist temples ring 108 times in an effort to expel the 108 different types of human weaknesses.

Korea: The Korean nations celebrate New Year’s according to both the solar and lunar calendars. The one that falls on January 1st is the lunar celebration called So-nal, and it is their second biggest holiday. Their festive traditions are more ritualistic, involving family reunions, eating special dishes, wearing new clothes, and bowing to their elders in respect.

Whether ritualized or spontaneous, the whole world celebrates another year of life on January 1st. Respected figures are honored and friends and family come together. Good fortune and gifts are bestowed upon one another. However the New Year is embraced, nothing on earth could be more common than accepting life’s clean slate on this day that begins a new chapter in our history.

ToastPop wishes you a happy New Year!!!!

The Journey Begins in 2012

Tolkien fans get to return to Middle Earth and see where the LOTR saga began during the 2012 holiday season. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is scheduled to release on December 14th of this new year. Peter Jackson agreed to the role of directing this film. Key actors from the epic trilogy like Orlando Bloom, Elijah Wood, and Ian Mckellen also appear in this prequel. For those unfamiliar with The Hobbit, as mentioned this is the account of how the events of the Lord of the Rings series came to be.

As Bilbo Baggins accompanies Gandalf the Grey and a group of dwarves on a quest to reclaim a great treasure, he meets the creature Gollum and obtains his precious possession, a ring that possesses magnificent power. An Unexpected Journey is going to be the first of two installments of this epic genesis. The Hobbit: There and Back Again will pick up where Journey left off. Christmas season of 2013 is when the second film is due to release.

As fans anxiously await the most anticipated movie of 2012, TheHobbitMovie.com would be a great place to stay connected with progress and information on the movie! It’s chalk-full of blogs about publicity and offers behind-the-scenes photos and material. This site claims to be the number one Hobbit fan site on Facebook.

Chambre De Sucre

Have you ever wanted your food dishes to look like something that came out of a cooking magazine? Enhance the look of your cuisines with gourmet sugar from Chambre De Sucre. While it’s French in name, the product comes from Japan. It’s handmade by one of the oldest family industries in the country. With over two hundred and seventy years of tradition, and even providing the Royal Japanese families with their products, quality is undoubtedly guaranteed. Chambre De Sucre offers sugar balls designed for coffee drinks and pieces in bright, spring-like colors. For $13.95 (before S&H), a canister of sugary bites can be your own. For $20 to $40, larger collections of confectionary desserts are available. These sugars will sweeten tea parties, bridal showers or ceremonies. Use them to add elegance to any dessert or give them as a gift to the aspiring chef you know.

You don’t have to go to culinary school to create beautiful cooking. Just add a little appealing saccharine from Chambre De Sucre to your dessert or drink. You’re sure to impress any food critic with them. I feel a sugar rush just looking them! Add some to your kitchen cupboard by purchasing from ChambreDeSucre.com.

Trendy Wall Tattoos

Are you looking for unique tattoo designs? Surfacecollective.com offers endless and unique tattoo designs…for your walls! These wall decals are most unique in artistic design and each piece was crafted by illustrators, artists, and creative directors. Surface Collective products easy to apply and remove and are available for your home or even your laptop.

In searching for the wall art or laptop decal you want the most, products can be filtered by various criteria: price range, gender and age, complexity or color arrangement of the piece, placement, theme, and designer. You can select more than one to view the options that best match your style. The cheapest wall products run about $30 to $45 before S&H. The laptop tattoos are no more than $40. Seattle is the only store retailer for Surface Collective in the United States, so online shopping is the best option.

Surface Collective is the ideal way to express yourself without the pain of ink and needle. Their products can compliment any style and go anywhere you want them. Whether you’re artistically inclined or challenged, Surface Collective wall tattoos add and accentuate chic flair in any room.

ABC Cancels EM:HE

 

ABC’s hit reality series Extreme Makeover: Home Edition will ring in its last new year on primetime lineup. After airing four very special episodes, the show will close its ninth and final season with their 200th episode on January 13th, 2012.

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition first aired in 2003 as a spinoff from the original Extreme Makeover series where people underwent physical transformation to better their appearance. The goal of the Home Edition was to build new homes within a week for families in need. As the viewer ratings grew, so did the show itself as they visited all fifty states and rebuilt churches, schools, daycares, and other community buildings. EM:HE earned two Emmys for “outstanding reality program” in its nine years. It first aired on Wednesday nights but was later moved to Sundays where it remained till this past fall. ABC’s popular new series Once Upon a Time premiered in its place and EM:HE was moved to Friday nights where it struggled to keep an audience even with high-profile guest appearances from people like First Lady Michelle Obama and the Kardashians.

Ty Pennington, the design team leader and host of the show, called the experience “the greatest job of my life” on his personal website (Typennington.com). He is incredibly grateful for having been apart of a television show that changed the lives of so many people and says its been an honor to work side by side with the EM:HE families, builders, and thousands of volunteers who have proven that good hearts can and do change the world. Pennington is still working with ABC. This time he will be co-hosting with Tim Gunn and Harley Pasternack on a new health and lifestyle program called The Revolution, airing January 16th at 2pm.

Tune in Friday night at 8pm for the final two-hour episodes of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

Furniture Your Way

You can be your own furniture designer with Yube Cubes! Yubes have simplistic set-up and are fun to use and customize. They’re the most eco-friendly piece of furniture you could own, because Yubes are made of woodlite, a compound of bamboo and plastic. The paneling for Yubes is made of sugarcane. Yube are very versatile. They measure over fourteen inches in all dimensions, so they can be used everywhere! You can use them as storage or desk space, coffee tables coffee tables or night stands, cabinets or entertainment systems. Doors and paneling for Yubes are available in assorted patterns or you can even use your own image, making these the most personal fixtures in your home. Also available are drawer and shelf pieces to further customize your cube for best use. For up to $34, you can buy a small set, or for triple digit prices (at the least) you can buy even larger sets, which also include feet and organizational accessories. Yubes are low-maintenance; for up to $10, you can purchase spare parts for repair and replacement. Yube Cubes are the best investment to make in interior décor. They’re a simple style, but at the same time they’re your style. They’re built from recycled material and can be used in any home or work space. They’re also easy on your wallet. You don’t need to hire a professional to help you decorate with style; all you need are a few Yube Cubes! Buy your own at Yubecube.com.

*Bloger’s note: Prices mentioned are before shipping and handling

Common, but Rare: Zumreed

When it comes to music devices nowadays, they can be personalized and customized in many ways. Music devices are available in different colors, styles, and memory programming. iTunes can recognize anybody’s musical tastes and suggest tunes based on what is purchased and downloaded. Then there’s an endless supply of musical accessories available almost everywhere you go.

Speakers, earbuds, and headphones can be found in any color under the sun. Some can be found with unique artwork or brand logos stamped on them. Products from Zumreed are just more musical device accessories in that sea of endless choices. One of the more unique things about these products is that the company is based out of Japan. Product browsing is available online at Zumreed.net, but you cannot purchase anything directly off the internet if you’re not in Japan. Another difference about Zumreed compared to others is that they carry more products. Zumreed is the first I’ve seen to carry all three- speakers, earbuds, and headphones. In addition, other Zumreed “musicgoods” include iPhone stands and carrying cases, phone plug adapters for earpieces or speakers, and cord wraps.

Though Zumreed accessories are like every other audible attachment out there, they’re a rare brand. As mentioned earlier, online purchasing is unavailable in America. Many Urban Outfitter retailers carry Zumreed products, but some states have other carriers. Highlight the “Where to Buy” box on the website to find a Zumreed carrier near you.