Author Archives: Treetopia

Weird Travels

Posted by Treetopia in Travel & Recreation - (0 Comments)

Whether you want to try something new on your next trip or just enjoy the unconventional, these tourist destinations will definitely shake things up.

When the holidays come rushing in, the travel bug bites and gnaws on our imaginations. The usual options for travelers at this time generally revolve around two choices: the Siren’s call of the rolling waves on white sand beaches for those who prefer the heat and the temptation of fresh powder for the adrenaline-pumping, winter sports enthusiasts. If you want a break from the usual vacation spots, here are some wonderfully weird but ultimately exciting activities and travel destinations:

 

Heat Seekers


Photo by Tormod Sandtorv via flickr. CC BY-SA 2.0

If you prefer warm places, you might enjoy traveling to hell and back. Located in Turkmenistan, the 60-meter wide and 20-meter deep Darvaza Gas Crater, also known as Hell’s Door, attracts tourists from all over the world. You won’t find devils carrying their tridents around the crater, though, because this attraction was accidentally made by Soviet geologists back in 1971. They discovered that this cavern was rich in natural gas, and to prevent the poisonous gas from escaping, they decided to light up the crater until the gas burned out – the crater hasn’t stopped burning since.

 

 


Photo by erik ERXON via flickr. CC BY 2.0

Chilling Challenge

Experience a different type of cold while learning history in London. Follow the trail of the infamous Jack the Ripper or scurry along with the tour group along the walkways of London, not knowing whether the person you’ll meet will pass right through you. If you want to raise the probability of ghostly encounters, you can join the tour of infamous haunted quarters, churchyards, and graveyards. You can only wonder if the chill you’re feeling is coming from the weather or something giving you a welcoming hug.
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Have a fabulous time traveling this season by following some amazing big heads that can show you a really good time!

The holiday season is almost synonymous with vacation season, so if you’re itching to travel this fall or winter but still cannot decide where to go, try following some of these literal big heads and you might just have the best vacation experience ever:

 

The Great Sphinx of Giza

The mysterious Sphinx calls the country of Egypt home and beckons you to journey through the ruins of an ancient civilization that produced architectural brilliance like the great pyramids. This mystical being is definitely guarding a treasure trove of history that begs to be explored.

 


Photo by sebpaquet via flickr. CC BY 2.0

Toltec Statues of Mexico

Some other civilizations that can match the greatness of Egypt’s arts and architecture are the ancient civilizations of the Mayans, Aztecs, and Toltecs, among many others that resided in Mexico. The country possesses an archaic and bittersweet yet magnificent history that still reverberates through their ancient sites today.

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Thanksgiving Trivia

Posted by Treetopia in Trivia - (0 Comments)

Get to know fabulous facts surrounding the much beloved holiday

We usually celebrate Thanksgiving with a feast surrounded by our families and filled with joyful conversation. After being thankful for the meal and the time spent with the family at dinner, avoid prodding questions from family members with some trivia about Thanksgiving. Here are some to get you started:


Photo by Edsel L via flickr. CC BY-SA 2.0

Thanksgiving is a pilgrim celebration.

No, it’s not a Pilgrim’s celebration, but a “pilgrim” celebration. Thanksgiving has been celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November since Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a bill proclaiming that day as a national Thanksgiving holiday, but it took more than 300 years before that date was finally officiated. Thanksgiving moved from a three-day feast during the harvest season to the third Thursday of December, then from February 19, by order of George Washington, to any day the governor of the state declared it. By the time Thanksgiving finally settled on the fourth Thursday of November in 1941 by Abraham Lincoln and his successors, it had moved through the calendar, much like a pilgrim on a quest for a settlement.

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Stand out from the crowd with a fabulous, unique gift for the host. More than just a bottle of wine, these gifts will get you invites to the hottest parties in town.

The beginning of the holiday season almost always means that it is party season once again. If you want to attend the hottest parties in town, you may want to make sure that you are known not only for your amazing personality, but also your uncanny gift-giving skills.

Before you can select the perfect gift, you have to get to know the host of the party first. If you don’t know the host too well, think of him or her as a puzzle that needs to be solved. Do your research. Find out if the party has an overall theme and ask people about the host’s interests. Just to get you started, here are a few fabulous gift ideas that will make a lasting impression:

Lovers of Fine Brews

If you know that the host of the party has a taste for beer, a personalized beer mug is a safe bet. Have his or her name engraved on the mug, or have one specially designed to reflect the host’s personality. If the host appreciates a good laugh, you can even have his or her picture incorporated into the design. If you want to go the extra mile, you can purchase a beer brewing kit so that the host can experiment making his or her own recipe.

A Toast

If wine or champagne is preferred over beer, you can give the host a pair or set of crystal wine or champagne glasses. Everyone will surely raise a toast in your direction every time your gift is used.

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Forget ghosts and ghouls! Here are some Halloween costumes that will surely get you noticed.

Halloween is creeping up fast behind you, getting closer and closer until you can feel its breath on your neck, sending chills down your spine. Are you prepared to go out on Halloween and show off your costume? If you haven’t prepared your costume yet, or have no idea about what to wear, here are some Halloween costume suggestions you can try out for yourself:

Photo from Bob Jagendorf via flickr. CC BY 2.0

Join the Horde
A classic Halloween costume, you will definitely come across a few people dressed as zombies in varying degrees of decay. Use your artistic skills with simple or prosthetic make-up to achieve the perfect look of decay. Top it off with tattered clothing, a splash of fake blood and a limp to give you that realistic zombie appearance.  Since it has been popularized by computer games, television shows and a few recent films, you will surely be a part of the horde.

Smooth Operator
Men can go for a classic crisp look with a tuxedo paired with a bow tie or a suit with a fashionable neck tie to give that sharp, smooth super spy James Bond look. Keep a stash of gadgets to impress the ladies or make a quick getaway. Don’t forget to call M to get briefed on your mission!

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If you’re throwing a party this Halloween, do something unique that will make your party one to remember. Instead of just buying candies and chocolates from the store like everybody else does, have your guests take home some memorable homemade party favors. Here are some ideas for fun and sassy party favors your Halloween party guests will absolutely adore.

Design Your Own Coffin

Since Halloween is all about ghouls, ghosts, and vampires, make your guests design their own edible coffins. Bake a few batches of cookies, gingerbread, or whatever pastry you can cut into the shape of a coffin. When the pastries have been shaped and cooled, set them aside.

Don’t forget to buy materials for decorating the coffins. Chocolate or strawberry syrup, mini marshmallows, chocolate or rainbow sprinkles, crushed nuts, fruits – it’s up to you. Make sure you set up a separate coffin station so your guests can sit down while working on their designs.

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Entertaining unexpected visitors can be somewhat troublesome. Many hosts aim to impress with complicated dishes, but this often leaves too little time to actually enjoy their guests’ company. At the same time, guests could be craving more than the usual popcorn and soda. Hopefully, with our Sensational Snacks from Around the World, you’ll be able to find some simple snack ideas that are guaranteed to please.

Moroccan Hard-boiled Eggs

This twist on the old-fashioned hard-boiled egg is easy – just slice the egg open and sprinkle with cumin. It’s a Middle Eastern favorite that is sure to please even the most jaded of appetites, and the cumin helps with your digestion too!

German Sandwiches

This European take on the traditional open-faced sandwich is made of a slice of bread, a dollop of cream cheese, and thinly sliced cucumbers. Run a rolling pin over the bread or use soda crackers for extra thinness. It’s a snack that can also double as a cocktail canape.


Photo by bandita via flickr. CC BY-SA 2.0

Hawaiian Musubi

Because Hawaii is a melting pot of food cultures, nothing shouts “Aloha!” louder than this Americanized version of sushi. All you need is a block of sticky rice, some pan-fried Spam, and Japanese dried seaweed to wrap it all in. Your guests will find themselves asking, “Why didn’t I think of this before?”

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Halloween used to be more about kids wearing spooky costumes and going door-to-door seeking candy. However, now that you’re all grown up, you need an exciting and appealing substitute for trick-or-treating that will make your holiday unforgettable. Here are some off-beat Halloween party ideas that will help ensure you won’t miss the fun on October 31.


Image by Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Hogwarts Halloween

The Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling is not just young adult fiction; it is now also a cult classic that even grown-ups can appreciate. Have your guests come as Harry Potter characters, and serve snacks and cocktails like All Flavor Beans and Butter Beer. Place a sign above your door that says, “Platform 9 ¾,” and add an element of surprise by using a Sorting Hat to divide your guests into houses. Organize games such as Muggle Quidditch. The house with the most points at the end of the party gets a prize. You can even set up your house to look like the Leaky Cauldron!

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Who does not love candy corn? Hardly anyone can recall a Halloween spent trick-or-treating without receiving a handful of these sweet, delightful kernels – and rightly so. First produced in the 1880s, this classic candy has become an American favorite, and has even inspired a Christmas tree design!

But did you know that there’s more to candy corn than meets the eye? Here are some crazy candy corn facts that you probably haven’t heard:

  1. National Candy Corn Day is celebrated on October 30. This date being the day just before Halloween, we bet it was invented by adults as an excuse to get candy corn into their tummies before kids could take them away!
  2. Candy corn has 3.57 calories per kernel. In fact, one cup of candy corn has only 140 calories – lower than the calorie content of one cup of raisins. These little kernels contain mostly sugar and corn syrup, with small amounts of marshmallows and fondant for a soft texture. It’s also completely fat-free!
  3. If you put together all the candy corn made in a single year, you’d have 35 million pounds or 9 billion kernels — enough candy to go to the moon and back 21 times if laid end-to-end.
  4. Candy corn used to be available only between March to November because of the availability of the ingredients. Since then, corn syrup and sugar have become available year-round, letting you buy candy corn whenever you feel like it.
  5. Candy corn is not just for Halloween. Different variants include “Indian corn”, a brown, orange, and white kernel for Thanksgiving; blueberry coddler candy corn, a uniquely Canadian variety; “reindeer corn”, with a green end and red center made for Christmas; and the red-and-pink “cupid corn”, which is available during Valentine’s Day.
  6. History played a role in making candy corn what it is today: when it was first made in the 1880s, candy corn (which was called “buttercream” back then) was a hit with farmers because of its appearance and because it provided them with energy for long days in the field.
  7. Because of its popularity, candy makers experimented with other vegetable shapes, such as turnips. In the 1970s, many candy companies had to close shop due to a rise in sugar prices. Other companies stayed afloat, thanks to the seasonal demand for candy corn.
  8. Candy corn was first made by hand. The ingredients were combined and cooked in large kettles. The mixture was then poured into hand-made molds. It was a backbreaking process that required a lot of labor. Of course, everything is now made by special machines.

Next time you open a pack of candy corn, think of the history and the effort that made it the holiday favorite that it is now. As you chew on those cute little kernels of fun, remember that you are not just enjoying a candy; you’re also taking part in a tradition. Enjoy munching!

Every home should have a conversation piece that sparks the interest of guests. Such pieces express your sense of personal style, as well as ensure that you and your guests will have something to talk about. Whether you’re decorating a new place or just spicing up your current residence, our list of trendy ideas for conversation pieces will help you inject an extra dose of style into your home.

Vintage is in vogue!

Little vintage pieces such as old typewriters or even a chest have the potential to start a conversation, especially now that more people are starting to appreciate the good old days when almost everything was in analog. Even today’s electronic devices, such as telephones and cameras, have their vintage roots, so you can never go wrong with a collection of old but still usable items. Just remember to dust them off before putting them on display.

Scour the flea markets!

Conversation pieces don’t have to be expensive to be interesting. Most of the time, second-hand items can be just as if not more intriguing than items from high-end galleries or upscale boutiques.  Scour flea markets or online shops for unique items such as antique home décor, retro furniture or paintings by lesser-known artists – you can rest assured that the conversation piece you end up with won’t be found elsewhere.

Feature your family!

Pictures of family only get better with age, especially if they document the different stages of your life. But, you don’t have to stop at photos. For an extra nostalgic yet heartwarming touch, feature items that belong to your parents or grandparents, such as medals and old pictures, in a covered frame. Completely unique to you, family-focused conversation pieces never go out of style.

Entertain with the exotic!

You don’t have to be a traveler to appreciate different cultures. Because urban areas are already melting pots for people of diverse origins, it is easy to find items that reflect their respective countries. In fact, finding such items could be as simple as going on an exploration of Chinatown or Little Italy. A nice wall hanging featuring Chinese calligraphy or a piece of fine glass ware from Italy might get the conversation going if you have guests who are really passionate about their roots or simply curious about other cultures.

Fill it up with fun!

A fun way of getting your guests involved in a conversation is to engage them in making something decorative for your home, and then displaying the finished piece afterwards. For example, you could have small papier-mâché bowls that your visitors could paint, or a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle that you could frame and hang on your wall once it’s completed. Get your guests happy and active, and the conversations will naturally flow.

You don’t need to spend much to make your home interesting. All it needs is a bit of imagination and creativity to get the conversation started. Have at least one piece of each category in your home and watch as your guests go “Oooooh!” and ask you about them. Happy chatting!