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A Brief History of American Independence Day

4 Jul

Independence Day is one of America’s most cherished holidays. The celebrations and festivities are commemorated with fireworks, barbeques, parades, and the flying of our American flag. Our younger generations enjoy the festivities and though most know it’s an Independence Day celebration, many don’t understand the significance or history involved that led to the national observance of July 4th.

In 1775 conflict and tensions between the 13 North America ruled British colonies in and the British colonial government came to a head after many years of growing conflict. The ongoing conflicts eventually lead up to what we now know as The American Revolutionary War or the U.S. War of Independence which lasted until 1783.

As early as 1765 the colonists began to protest the British authorities due to taxes and equal rights on the basis that they were not properly represented in Parliament. British authorities wielded their power in such a way that they were taking political liberties and using them to the greatest advantage of British crown thus causing many colonist to rise up in resistance. There were several historical events that happened between 1765 and 1775 when the American Revolutionary War broke out. A couple that we’ve all heard of is the Boston Massacre and the Boston Tea Party, Massachusetts was at the heart of the resistance.

The Boston Massacre happened in 1770 when 5 colonists were killed by British troops. Though the officer in charge, Capt. Thomas Preston and eight of his soldiers were arrested, he and six of his men were acquitted and release while two soldiers received a guilty verdict for manslaughter. The tensions created by the massacre and resulting verdicts led to the eventual retreat of the British troops from Boston as well as abolishment of most import duties, note duties on tea remained in place. In 1773 The Boston Tea Party led by Samuel Adams boarded three ships importing tea from the monopolistic East India Company and dumped 342 chests filled with tea into the Boston Harbor. This defiant act against British is considered to be a pivotal moment in our history. These events in Boston (among others I’m sure) led to British authorities to invoke the Intolerable Acts which were designed to bring the colonies back into submission of British rule.

In 1775 when the American Revolutionary War did break out, not all colonists subscribed to independence from the British. Resistance groups grew quickly and by 1776 a full blow revolution that led to American independence was well underway. By July 2, 1776 the Continental Congress embraced a nearly unanimous vote in favor of American independence. Then, on July 4th 1776 the Declaration of Independence was officially adopted by Congress, thus our Independence Day was born and celebrated each July 4th.      

I wish you all a very Happy Independence Day!

Source: History of July 4th The Boston Tea Party of 1773, Declaration of Independence, American Revolutionary War, Intolerable Acts.

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5 Gift Ideas For Valentines Day 2012

15 Feb

When thinking about Valentines Day the first thing that comes to mind is candy and flowers…then perhaps cupid or love. Women expect flowers and candy and men don’t have to give much thought to getting those gifts because every place they shop makes those items easily accessible.

This year I observed the same-o-same-o when it comes to gift giving. All the ladies received their flowers and chocolate at the office and each made the same little giggly squeal of joy. All this commotion for the same gifts each year got me thinking…I’d really love it if I saw someone’s partner actually put some thought into the gifts they were sending their loved one! Personally, I hate candy and flowers die. So, if you’re a man with a girl like me that has different tastes…listen up! Here are some alternate suggestions for your Valentines Day 2012…when is Valentines Day in 2012? Tuesday February 14th. You have plenty of time to plan, there is no excuse.

Does your significant other appreciate art? Consider spending a small amount on a single rose, and a large amount of quality time at a museum or art show. Take an interest in where you are taking your loved one and take a few moments to become familiar with what will be shown or on display so that you can actively engage with your partner. The quality time is priceless, and your loved one will treasure the memory.

Is your partner in need of a spa day? Daily stress, pressures of work, family issues, or just life in general can get to the best of us. A trip to the spa is a wonderful gift you can give your significant other. Get him/her a massage with relaxing aroma therapy. This gift is not too expensive ($65-$350), but make sure to shop around. You can find mobile services that are available that will come right to your home. These at home spa services can be a little less expensive and if done right (send the kids to the grandparents), the service can be just as effective if not more so than a full spa experience.

Does your lover dig live theatre? Book a show. You can book months in advance, the cost can be what you want it to be, and you get to choose where to go. You may be pleasantly surprised. When I met my significant other, I booked a couple of shows for us in Las Vegas after carefully listening to things he liked, music and British humor are among his favorite things thus, when considering what he would like, I found Blue Man Group and Monty Python’s Spamalot were perfect live shows for him, he LOVED it! He still talks about that being his favorite Valentines Day ever.

Quality time is always appreciated by your loved one. Consider cooking a special meal for him or her. You can still do the candy and flowers, but the added touch of actually cooking something will mean the world to him or her. Don’t worry about being a chef, the effort will be appreciated. Just a suggestion, practice what you will be cooking first unless it is a tried and true recipe. Don’t forget the candles, his/her favorite beverage and a sweet desert, chocolate dipped strawberries are almost always a hit! Add some whipped cream and oh la la!

Last but not least, if your partner has a hobby, consider making a small purchase to enhance that hobby. For example, if he or she cooks, get a gift certificate to take a class with a local chef, buy some specialty cookware that he/she has been talking about, or give a gift certificate to Pampered Chef. If he or she loves photography but perhaps has never taken a class, schedule a private lesson with a local professional. Any purchase made to support your partner’s passion is always a great idea. It demonstrates that you have an interest in the things that bring joy to his or her life!

Happy Valentines 2012!

Top 4 Winter Skin Facts – Fact or Fable?

11 Feb

Fact or Fable #1: Drink lots of water for healthy looking skin.

Fable! Drinking plenty of water is always great advice. As school kids we learn that the average person has a water content of about 70%, so we know from the time we are kids that consuming liquid is necessary to sustain life. Water consumption in proper amounts hydrates our internal organs and is vital for our overall health but there is little scientific evidence that water does much for our skin. Thus, applying topical moisturizer is important for your skins health all year round. I always suggest using products that are richer in the winter and lighter in the summer. Look for products that contain antioxidants and other nourishing ingredients.

Fact or Fable #2: A hot shower is healthy for your skin.

Fable! Hot showers feel wonderful, but the fact of the matter is that a good hot shower will actually dry out your skin. The heat from the shower zaps your skin of its natural oils and it dehydrates your skin leaving it tight, itchy, ashy, and in some cases cracked and painful. Use warm water and limit your time in the shower to less than 15 minutes, if you can pull off a shower in 5-10 minutes, you are on the right track. Always moisturize right after your shower to maximize the hydrating benefits of your chosen body lotion.

Fact or Fable #3: Winter indoor heating systems can dry your skin.

Fact! Indoor heating wreaks havoc on your winter skin. The warm heated air is dry and it reduces the natural humidity in the air and your skin. This dry air can sometimes even cause individuals to experience dryness in the eyes and nose to the point that OTC solutions must be used (eye drops, saline solutions, etc.). Humidifiers can work wonders in terms of getting that moisture back into the air and can help your skin to not get so dry.

Fact or Fable #4: SPF is not as important in the winter and it is in the summer.

Fable! SPF is important 365 days a year, rain or shine! The sun rays penetrate the cloud layer and can cause sun damage to your skin in both the summer and the winter. Protect your skin daily to reduce the effects of the sun on your skin, and to help prevent early signs of aging.

Do you have a fact or fable you wish to share? Please feel free to leave a post or comment.

Best!

5 Benefits of Antioxidants

2 Sep
beautytrixWe’ve all heard that to get healthy skin we should consume foods rich in antioxidants. Berries, vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans and whole grain are all said to contain healthy antioxidants. But what are the real benefits?

1.) Antioxidants help to combat cellular damage caused by free radicals. They do this by neutralizing the free radicals. Free radicals are unstable cells that attempt to attach to healthy cells for stabilization, in doing so, they cause damage.

2.) Because antioxidants combat cellular damage, they also help provide better looking and healthier skin. Cellular breakdown slows and this facilitates firmer and more youthful skin.

3.) Sustained eye health is also among the reported benefits of antioxidants.

4.) Antioxidants help to keep your heart healthy. Free radical damage is thought to contribute to heart disease. By neutralizing the free radicals, you also increase your ability to fight heart disease.

5.) Finally, antioxidants are believed to help combat cancer. Thought not a cure, by incorporating healthy foods rich in antioxidants and reducing your intake of unhealthy or processed foods, you increase your ability to fight cancer.

As with anything that you put into your body, moderation is key. Too many antioxidants can actually be harmful according to some resource.  Ultimately, we are all responsible for our own health and well being, thus I encourage anyone to increase the intake of fruits, vegetables, and less processed foods. As a general rule of thumb, your food selections should incorporate color. If everything on your plate is brown, you may want to grab a serving or two (1-2 coups) of some veggies or fruit! Add some color.

Be healthy!

~BeautyTrix XOXO

A New Leaf

25 Jun

Here we are again, its mid-year and that passion for diet and exercise has all but gone out the window! Maybe I am speaking only for myself. At any rate, last week I once again said “enough is enough” and decided that it was time to get back into a regular routine. I’ve started eating more vegetarian meals, incorporated a nice circuit training routine and I’m feeling pretty darn great! The trick will be keeping up the momentum as I work through my last few weeks of school.

Looking Forward To 2010

1 Jan

As I was poking around on the internet today, I noticed a lot of chatter about what has happened over the last 10 Years as well as last year. The trending topics on Twitter were #10yearsago, Y2K, Goodbye 2009, #09memories and so on. There was a couple trending topic about welcoming in the New Year and so forth.

This made me think (yet again!) about the past decade and all of the good and bad things that have happened. So I decided that I am totally going to step into that rabbit hole and first share a little personal insight then fill you in on how I am looking forward to 2010!

I had horrifically scary moment in December of 2006 that changed by life forever. I had just gotten home from travelling abroad for work, I had a 6 week stay in a foreign country that is less developed than the U.S., that said, I got sick but refused to go to the doctor. I got better, finished my assignment then came home. Within three weeks of getting home, I was sick again but thought “hay, I got better last time” so there I was still pushing myself to work and get back into my life back in the U.S. Then it happened, I got deathly ill and landed myself in the hospital, near death. Turns out, I had a real big problem on my hands and it needed to be taken care of right away. Emergency surgery was performed within hours of being admitted. When that whole ordeal was over, I decided right then and there to do things differently from that point forward. I went back to school, got divorced, bought a new house, got a new job and a there I was! I found happiness all over again.  

This year will be yet another turning point for me. I am in a position to move forward with my career. You see, for the past three and half years I have been a full time student trying to finish what I started many years ago. Can I get a show of hands from all of the divorced people that wish they had focused on their education many years ago!? Should, coulda, woulda, right! With the recent economic situation, individuals just like me are finding that just being the smart chick (or dude) has not been enough to secure the employment, without a degree, many of us have been stuck finding less that what we desire for employment.

Unlike me, I would hope that it would not take a life changing event to get you to focus on what you need as an individual. Whether it is education, love, health, or other area that you feel is lacking or could be better in your life…what is stopping you? Have you ever sat alone pondering life, then wondered “what if?”…suddenly you find yourself feeling guilty for thinking that right? Well I did! And I have to admit, getting over that guilt was the only thing that led me back to school full time. I finish this summer.

What prevents you from going back to school? Can 2010 be your turning point whereby you say “enough is enough” and you begin to focus on what you need? Do you have a cheerleader to help you in your resolve to get your education? Do you know how to gain access to information about how to return to school as an adult? These are all things to consider, and the first steps in the process of looking forward to 2010.

Happy New Years! Cheers!

A New Christmas Tradition

24 Dec

Christmas is just about a day away and many of us are still scrambling to get that last minute shopping done. For those of us who cook the Christmas dinner, we have an additional level of stress worrying about how everything will look and taste and if we will prepare enough…even though we always cook way more food than necessary (sound like you?). With so much going on this time of year we often forget about taking time for ourselves. This self sacrificing comes at a price and often leads to additional stress.

Normally, on Christmas Eve day I shop, cook, and clean until I absolutely drop. With nothing more to give, I retreat to bed in the wee hours of the morning exhausted and completely overwhelmed, only to get up the next day and start the process all over again. The thought passes my mind “something has to give, and it can’t be me!”  

This year I am doing things a little different. First, I finally recognize the need for me to put Christmas into perspective. Everything does not have to be absolutely perfect. I am my own worst enemy when it comes to perfection. This year, I am choosing to take the stress out of things and will be accepting the fact that I am only human rather than some crazed Christmas perfecting machine. I’m going to give myself some breathing room for once *sigh*!  

The second thing I changed this year is that I started my Christmas shopping earlier in the year while there were still plenty of goodies to choose from. In addition, rather than guess at what people wanted, I asked them and through the year I pick up things that were on their wish list. I also minimized my shopping list this year and focused on close family rather than extended family and friends and I committed myself to a modest budget.

Finally, this year I am committed to continue to exercise and eat right, even if it kills me! This is also part of giving me a breather. Exercise is so important during the holidays and it helps to keep the mind and body focused on healthy habits. I plan to do everything in moderation this year, no over eating, no over drinking (holiday party bummer!) and give in to resting on my normal sleep cycle.

Are you doing anything differently this year? I’d love to hear about it.

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