Are Fireworks Meaningless Without Music?

4 Jul

 

 

In the town I grew up in, going to the fireworks on the green was like the social event of the year. Everyone in town was there. The parents and neighbors went a little earlier with their coolers. The little kids all had those buzzy light up things swirling around, while all the big kids walked around just “hanging out” before sitting with their family in time for the big show. There was a band playing background music in the gazebo up until the lights went out and the fireworks were about to start. As soon as the first bang lit up the sky, songs like God Bless the U.S.A.  and Born in the U.S.A. started pumping out of the speakers.

Since I moved to East Haven fireworks just haven’t been the same. I traded the bustle and charm of the Hamden fireworks to stand by the beach and watch multiple towns’ firework shows along the coastline. While I get to see more fireworks, I have found they lost part of their meaning. I always thought that it was the whole experience that made fireworks so important to the Fourth of July. The beauty of the fireworks paired up with the dramatic music filled with pride of our country and the sacrifices made to maintain our way of life were what the Fourth of July are all about, but without that music fireworks are just… well… pretty.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy looking at fireworks as much as the next person, but they just do not hold meaning on their own. I think that is why I enjoy the Disney firework shows so much. The music and story around them is captivating. And that is how I remember Fourth of July fireworks being, so every year seems to be a disappointment when that magic does not come through.

So for those of you watching fireworks from a distance and cannot hear the music, here are some of my favorite Fourth of July jams.




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Sassy Gay Friend

3 Jul

Ask Grace Adler and Karen Walker, Glee’s Mercedes Jones, or Carrie Bradshaw and Charlotte York having a sassy gay friend is always a good thing. Whether they are around for laughs, fashion advice, or putting you in your place when it comes to relationships, having a sassy gay friend is something to be cherished.

Iconic characters like Will and Jack led the way for the sassy gay friend to be accepted by most of society. While many people are not able to reap the benefits of having the sassy gay friend, most have invited them into their homes via television. We’ve laughed with them; cried with them. Most importantly, especially with the recent movements–successful ones at that–for legalizing gay marriage, it allowed attitudes towards LGBT to change. It became a little more accepted by most and made gay lifestyle more of a norm.

Sitcoms have mostly solidified the gay stereotype, usually making characters flamboyant for comedic value. The YouTube video series “Sassy Gay Friend” is no different. In the videos a ‘sassy gay friend’ tells the female lead from classic stories how it really is–ya know, what we’re all thinking as we watched/read them. Hilarity ensues.

Feeling 10 yrs old Again

2 Jul

Flash back to July 18, 1998:
Six girls between the ages of 14 and 10, and their moms of course, walking into the New Haven Coliseum with butterflies because they are about to see the Backstreet Boys perform. Crushes on Nick, Howie, and Brian consumed them as they climbed the stairs to their seats.

13 years later I can still remember hearing Alissa squeal when a little Aaron Carter came out on stage to jump on trampolines with his shoulder length blond hair as an opening act. This would begin Alissa’s crush on Aaron, which I fully supported because I saw that as less competition for Nick.

We had started the night in the car talking about the newest boy band that had performed a concert on the Disney Channel the night before, NSYNC, and how we swooned for the blond one in the shiny blue pants, Mr. Justin Timberlake, but left with nothing but Backstreet Boys on our minds.

Flash forward to June 13, 2011:
The New Haven Coliseum is now a parking lot. Those six girls are all now twenty-somethings with individual lives. And the Backstreet Boys are a man down, but have formed the super boy band NKOTBSB. It’s every 90’s girl’s dream. This night Nick, Brian, Howie, A.J., Donnie, Joey, Danny, Jordan, and Jonathon would perform at the Izod Center in New Jersey, and, thanks to Jaime, I would be there again.

Since ’98 I have seen BSB three more times, but each time I get butterflies. Don’t ask what it is. Maybe it’s the return to when life was simple, when the hardest thing I had to do was learn the words to all the songs on the Millenium album, or maybe it’s that little girl inside of me Continue reading

Finding the other shoe

1 Jul

Everyone has those mornings where it seems you have to run back upstairs/inside fifty times to get everything you have forgotten. For some of us those mornings are more of a frequent occurence. I, for one, like to think I get my morning work out doing stairs in heels. Up, down, up, down at least four times before the key turns in the ignition.

Today was another one of those mornings, however it wasn’t because I forgot something. I was on a hunt. Somehow, in the midst of moving home from school, my favorite flats got separated. One was in my shoe organizer, but the other was no where to be found. My first thought was that I left it in Newport. But then I remembered my mentality of “no shoe left behind.” This is where the up-down fiasco begins, as does my hatred of living in a town house. Down to the basement, back up to my room, then up to the attic. Still no little black flat. So back down to the basement (mind you there are only 3 unpacked boxes so this shouldn’t be this hard). As I am tearing through them, still not finding my desired shoe, I do come across another treasure. My favorite Calvin Klein flip flop that I thought I lost! While it took me a month and a half of being home to discover my missing flat, the lost flip flop was like a whole in my heart (err closet rather). Clearly, this happy discovery changed my shoe selection for the day.

While I’m ecstatic to find my flip flop, it now begs the question: Why was it in the box with all my books??

In honor of my shoe fiasco this morning, I offer you an old Youtube classic, SHOES!

Healthier Kinda Sorta Alfredo Sauce

21 Jun

One day my friend Sara and I decided to make dinner instead of going out because it would be cheaper. Being the genius in the kitchen I am (okay genius might be the wrong word), I was able to whip up an alfredo-esque sauce that was amazing!

Here’s how I did it:
Start by putting a couple tablespoons, or a quick drizzle, of olive oil in a large sauce pan. Add a lot of minced garlic. Probably about 3 tablespoons. (I was always told that you can never have too much garlic). Let the garlic brown just a tiny bit and then lay a few pieces of chicken over the garlic. (I usually do one piece for every person). Make sure to move the garlic around while the chicken is cooking to prevent burning. Once the chicken is cooked through, pour milk over it, enough to nearly fill the pan. I use skim milk, but you can use whatever is in your fridge. I just wouldn’t suggest soy milk since it has a sweet taste to it. Then add in about a cup of parmesan cheese and stir. Add since Italian seasoning (about a tablespoon I suppose) and some crushed red pepper (I usually do 3 or 4 shakes so it doesn’t get too spicy). Mix it all up and add in about 2 tablespoons of corn starch to thicken. For the final touch chop up a handful od sun-dried tomatoes and throw them in. Stir and let it simmer for about 5 minutes and set for another 5 minutes then pour over your favorite pasta. Top with a piece of chicken and a sprinkle of parmesan and you’re ready to enjoy.

“Live from New York It’s Saturday Night”

20 Jun

Okay, so it’s not Saturday night. It’s Monday afternoon, but Saturday Night Live makes me laugh no matter what day it is.

I can’t remember the last time I actually watched SNL on Saturday night, but thanks to Hulu and YouTube the highlight skits keep my cracking up. The one I am hooked on right now is “Immigrant Tale.” Anyone around my age who lived through the boy band/Justin Timberlake years will LOVE this!

My favorite parts are Justin explaining/defending himself to a bunch of immigrants from the 1900’s. Things like what “bringing sexy back” means (“But where did it go?”) and his virgin status while dating Britney Spears (“Publicly they said they were virgins, but secretly he hit that”) make me crack up every time.

Enjoy!!

 

PS: Big thanks to Morgan who showed me this during a stressful thesis-writing night.

Strawberry Season

17 Jun

Ever since I was little, when late May/early June came around, mom and I headed up to Bishops Orchard and go strawberry picking. Naturally, as a little kid, I tended to go overboard on the picking and we would come home with many more strawberries than 2 people ever needed. So what is one to do with too many strawberries? Make the recipes you picked up at the orchard of course!

The two we always made were strawberry pie and strawberry bread. However, since now I just go to the orchard store and buy fresh picked strawberries, I don’t usually have the “too many berries” issue I had as a kid, so some things have to get cut. This year, similar to last year, I opted just to make strawberry bread. Like cookies and cake, strawberry bread is better in the raw/mix form, but, for everyone else’s sake, I do end up baking as directed. 

Last night I had an epiphany. Why not use the strawberry bread to make strawberry shortcake? I had all the necessary ingredients (ice cream, strawberries, etc) so why not give it a try? It was like heaven in a bowl!! (I do apologize for the lack of picture… I devoured it too

quickly).

Strawberry Bread Recipe (Thank you Lisa Lepone for your amazing recipe)
“Mix 3 cups flour, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. cinnamon, and 2 cups sugar. Make well in center.
Beat 3 eggs, add 1 1/4 cup oil. Add to dry ingredients. Mix well.
Fold in 3-4 cups fresh sliced strawberries or 20 oz. frozen berries. Add 1/2 tsp. lemon extract if desired.
Pour into 2 greased and floured loaf pans, 8″ x 4″.
Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees until toothpick comes out clean.”

Everything but the Refrigerator Door

15 Jun

Something I missed dearly when I was at school was being able to cook in my own kitchen. Yes, I did live off campus for two years so technically I did have a kitchen, but it wasn’t quite the same. You see, I am the kind of cook that doesn’t follow a recipe. I just kind of throw things in the pan, bowl, etc and hope for the best. My Italian grandmother, a woman I consider to be one of the best cooks in the world, told me when I was little that “baking is a science because you need the right chemicals to react together, but cooking is one of the greatest art forms there is.” I like to think I live by that rule, although the final product of mine doesn’t usually look like a work of art.

Being home and getting back to my way of cooking (aka mom buys the groceries so I have more to play with) has inspired me to add this aspect to my blog. So from now on, I’m going to try to share my recipes (if you can call them that) with you. Don’t worry, it’ll only be the successful ones. I’ll try to get the measurements close-ish.

Today’s Recipe: Summer Pan Fun
(Warning: Recipe names will not be good)

Continue reading

Confidence

3 Jun

It’s hard to find confidence in yourself no matter who you are. We live in a society where people’s flaws and downfalls are front page news, so children, despite the recent anti-bullying movements, learn from a young age to point out flaws in others. I’ll admit to being teased when I was a kid. I was teased for the bump on my nose, an insecurity that still bothers me. However, as we grow up, some of those petty insecurities disappear, and in their place come new ones that seem to weigh us down even more.

As a recent college graduate, I’m learning that this great bachelors degree I have isn’t really all it’s cracked up to be. Even though it is something I take a lot of pride in, it doesn’t seem to mean much in the job-search unless it is accompanied by 1-2 years of relevant experience… and that’s for entry-level positions. Sending out dozens of resumes and cover letters and not hearing much of anything back can really take a toll on one’s confidence. Here I was thinking “I’m going to go out there and get an entry-level job in public relations and grow within that company and have a great career.” Well, a month later and that outlook is starting to look bleak.

However, while stumbling on Stumble Upon today as I recover from having my wisdom teeth out, I found a couple videos that inspire inspiration.

And, in case you weren’t inspired by these kids to have some more hope and confidence in yourself, or in Jessica’s case a little more self love, check out there tips from The Harvard Business Review on how to build up self confidence.

Remember, a little self-confidence goes a long way in the job (interview) world and in the rest of real life.

“I Know My Calculus”

4 May

I’m sitting in the Mac labs with my friends pulling that one last late night homework session and to keep motivation up and sleepiness away, goofy songs are necessary. So, for all you twenty-somethings that might remember the MTV show 2Gether, here’s something to lighten your finals week.