Monday, January 23, 2017

5 February Festivals

 Celebrate the Coming of Spring!

February with its promise of coming spring is a very popular month for festivals. Maybe its because these events give people a chance to gather together again after the cold, wet of winter.

If you are looking for a festival to enjoy, here's a list of five we thought were pretty fascinating:

Wanderlust: Wanderlust was created to combine yoga with live music, farm-to-table food, outdoor adventure, inspirational speakers, and a healing vibe. This festival aims to meet virtually each person’s music taste while being around like-minded folks. Plus, it’s a change to enjoy a change of scenery. Location: Taupo, New Zealand. 
Dates: February 2-5.

Extreme Beer Fest: The Extreme Beer Fest celebrates some of the most progressive and popular craft beer brewers today. Two full days of beer tastings feature some of the nation's best breweries including Dogfish Head, Lost Abbey, and Revolution. Location: Boston, Massachusetts. Dates: February 3-4.

Detroit Lakes Polar Fest: Polar Fest was created in 1996 by a woman who loved winter. The annual festival includes a Polar Fest Plunge into Little Detroit Lake plus a myriad of other activities ranging from golfing on the lake to presentations by polar explorers to dances in the sand.  Location: Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. Dates: February 9-20.

Oregon Shakespeare Festival: The Oregon Shakespeare Festival displays theatrical performances of the period as well as up-and-coming and modern pieces at their two indoor stages and flagship outdoor Allen Elizabethan Theatre. Other plays from the last several hundred years also make appearances and more than 11 plays take to the stage each year, seen from start of production to finish. Most plays were written by Shakespeare, and the rest are a mix of the local best as well as the biggest shows from modern theatre. Location: Ashland, Oregon. Dates: February 17-19.

Arts Alive! Home and Garden Festival: The Arts Alive! Home and Garden Festival features the latest in gardening and home goods, offering a variety of fun and innovative home and garden products. The two-day event has a variety of demonstrations, seminars, and other educational programs on topics like gardening with native plants and keeping backyard chickens. Location: Wichita Falls, Texas. Dates: February 25-26.

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Harvest Celebrations

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Star Superstitions

How Many Star Superstitions Do You Know?

For eons, mankind has been creating myths about the heavens. Superstitions and stories about these mysterious celestial bodies helped people ‘understand’ their relationship to these majestic space bodies.

Here are a few of the folk myths, legends and lessons that have been passed on from generation to generation.

Hands to Yourself: Pointing at the stars, in some societies, can be just as frowned upon as pointing at a stranger in public. Many legends about the ancient behavioral belief stem from the notion that the stars were gods or other supernatural beings who peered down at Earth from the heavens. Such activity was ‘rude’ and could anger that deity.

Make a Wish: Given the magic associated with shooting stars, there’s no surprise there are many beliefs linked to them. While many cultures suggest that gazing upon these stars brings good luck, some believe shooting stars are more specific in their purpose. For example, if worried about finances, say the word “money” three times before the star burns out. The hope is that this can lift one out of poverty.

Lucky Stars: Some shooting stars can affect your life without any action on your part. However, the type of luck you end up with could depend on something as random as where the star is positioned in the sky. If you spot a fallen star on your right, it means good luck, while one on your left will unfortunately indicate bad luck.

Make it Count: Counting the stars may be a good way to pass the time on a clear night, but superstitious folks should skip counting them in favor of other pastimes. For some people, it is considered a sure way to bring on bad luck. Some legends state that if you attempt to count the stars in the sky, you'll die when you reach 100.

Stars at Sea: Like farmers, fishermen and other seafarers have their own star-related superstitions and beliefs. By observing the direction that a shooting star travels, it is believed that sailors have long been able to predict which way the winds will blow. The North Star has served as a powerful navigating tool at sea, allowing sailors to calculate latitude and determine the correct course to reach their destination.

Farming Superstitions: Farmers have used the stars to predict the weather. One superstition from England warns that there will be a poor harvest when the evening star is low in the sky.

Related Information

Monday, January 9, 2017

Funny and Smart

Can Smart Be Fun?

Becoming smarter can actually be fun. Here are some silly ways to check out.

Carry around a book: Try to carry around a book at all time, and every time you get bored or have a second to spare, crack it open. This allows brain activity to be consistent active, and reading is much better for your brain than any smartphone game.

Balance in weird positions: Balancing in unusual positions is a perfect example of how body and mind can interact. It can cause unpredictability rather than repetition, which allows your brain to stay engaged. Next time you’re at work and want to enhance the intelligence of your “body brain”, try to balance in a weird position.

Go to bed just like grandparents do: Getting a normal amount of sleep is largely underrated in today’s society. However, it is essential for creating new memories (newly developed neural pathways from whatever you learned that day). Next time, try to make a bed plan that allows your body at least 8 hours of sleep. Trust me, your brain will thank you. 

Eat the same meal every day: This is one cognitive advantage that allows you to preserve free will, by not having to make tiny decisions throughout the day about trivial things like choosing a meal. So, next time instead of leaving it up until just before you eat to decide, pick a meal you could see yourself eating almost every day. Spend your “interesting” brain power on more important things. 

Stare at the wall: In today's society, little time is usually given to just relax and escape the distractions of TV, music, etc. Unfortunately, these distractions can keep us away from creating ideas, or being aware and paying attention to the concept of creating or building out ideas when we do have them. So instead of waking up and immediately hopping onto social media outlets, try to enjoy the quiet and observe your thoughts. 

Bet against yourself: It might sound crazy, however betting against yourself can create artificial incentives that can get you motivated very quickly. Some economists and psychologists consider betting against yourself to be a “commitment device” that can help your brain.

Sprint into work (or school) in the morning: Our brains are programmed for convenience. Everyone has the urge to park as close to the building as possible. If your wanting to give your brain a boost to start the day however, this is not the best strategy. Research has shown that running gets blood and oxygen flowing to the brain, which enhances cognitive performance afterwards.  

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