July 31 - National Get Gnarly Day

Posted on July 31, 2020

(Last Friday in July)

To be honest, this is not the year for me to embrace this holiday! "Gnarly" can mean exciting, but it often means dangerous...and right now, even going to the grocery store can seem pretty gnarly!

Right now, we don't need to add this to our lives: 

Just the holding hands part of this stunt
seems pretty gnarly right now!


Still, we can appreciate the "excitement" part of Get Gnarly Day. Instead of doing this:

...start the process of doing this:

 Instead of doing more of this:

...plan and carry out a bedroom update!

While stuck at home:

...send away for a passport. It's like a promise to yourself that you WILL travel, someday!

Also on this date:

Author J. K. Rowling's birthday

Talk in an Elevator Day

(Last Friday in July)

Plan ahead:

Check out my Pinterest boards for:

July 30 - Food, Food, Food!

Posted on July 30, 2020

This year has been really weird for celebrating birthdays, holidays, festivals, and so forth - because of the global pandemic. 

But food holidays are another matter. We can probably get take out, or order some groceries and cook up a storm, and then we can celebrate all the food holidays we want.

After all, aren't we all gaining at least a little pandemic weight? LOL

Today is the last Thursday in July, so it is National Chili Dog Day (see below). July 30 is Cheesecake Day and National Chicken and Waffles Day. Umm three holidays on one day?...Sounds perfect for putting on pandemic weight, doesn't it?

Did you know...?

Cheesecake may date back to Ancient Greece, and there is evidence that cheesecake - made from wheat flour, honey, and cheese - was served to athletes during the first Olympic Games way back in 776 B.C.E.!

The oldest known cheesecake recipe was Ancient Roman. Apparently cheesecake in that empire was made with crushed cheese and eggs, served warm - and often served in a pastry.

Henry VIII's chef cut cheese into tiny pieces and soaked those pieces in milk for hours. After draining off the milk that still remained, the chef would add eggs, butter, and sugar.

When an American dairy farmer accidentally invented cream cheese, cheesecake took a big-time turn. German American chef Arnold Reuben (known for his sandwich) is often credited with New York style cheesecake. Yum!

Cheesecakes around the world use different cheeses - for example ricotta (Italy), mizithra (Greece), and cottage cheese (Germany) - and many use different special ingredients - from tofu to seafood to chilis. 

Above, Basque cheesecake.
Below, chocolate and chili powder cheesecake!

Here is a relatively simple cheesecake recipe.

Did you know...?

Some folks say that the chicken-and-waffles combo was started by Joseph Wells of the Wells Supper Club in Harlem, back in the 1930s, but apparently chicken and waffles go back a lot farther! Enslaved African Americans are credited with the combo. The waffles were probably thinner and crisper than those we make today, made with cumbersome wafer irons on the open hearth. Those of us who have electric waffle irons have it easy!

Also on this date:

July 29 - National Lipstick Day

Posted on July 29, 2020

I tend to assume that days like this are just excuses to sell stuff, but I see that a beauty blogger started National Lipstick Day, so maybe not in this case?

At any rate, lipstick is the name for the cosmetic that generally contains pigment, oils, waxes, and moisturizers (or emollients) - a cosmetic meant to give lips protection and also provide color and maybe shine.

Lip balm is the name for products trying for protection only. Men, women, and kids often use colorless, non-shiny lip balm to prevent or soothe chapped lips. 

In many modern societies, it is mostly teenage girls and adult women who use colored lipstick. 

Not necessarily in the past, however. There have been loads of places and times when almost nobody used cosmetics such as lipsticks, and other times when men and women wore lipstick and other cosmetics about equally.

Scholars say that men and women in the Sumerian civilization used lipstick about 5,000 years ago. This may have been the invention of lipstick. Ancient Sumerians used - get this! - crushed gemstones to add color and sparkle to their faces, mostly their lips and eyelids. Yikes!

Ancient Egyptians crushed bugs to paint their lips red. Uh...can I say double yikes?!

Nefertiti - what red lips you have - but who'd want to kiss them?? LOL

Like Sumerians, ancient Egyptian men and women wore makeup, and they did so mostly to show their high social status.

Unfortunately, some of the experiments with cosmetics proved to be dangerous. Ancient Egyptians experimented with dye extracted from a particular kind of seaweed, but that dye caused severe illness. And ancient Greek women sometimes used toxic pigment called vermillion, which is made from powdered cinnabar. Lead is another toxin that sometimes crept into early cosmetics.

Other ancient peoples who came up with early forms of lipstick include Indus Valley women (they used ochre), Minoan and Greek women (sea snails and mulberries), Chinese women (beeswax and scented oils), and Indigenous Australian girls (ochre, again).

In England, Queen Elizabeth I popularized the look of red lips on a very pale or white face. At that time and place, only upper-class women and male actors wore makeup.

In the 1800s, however, respectable people - including those in the upper classes - couldn't wear obvious cosmetics (I bet some used really subtle hard-to-spot makeup, though). Finally, by the 1920s, use of makeup by women became totally acceptable again. And for a while, use of lipstick was a symbol of maturity and womanhood - AND was the source of a lot of arguments between teenage girls and their parents!

During World War II, all cosmetics were rationed in the United Kingdom - EXCEPT lipstick. Winston Churchill thought that women wearing lipstick was a morale booster, so he made sure to keep that one cosmetic in production.

Fashion dictated dark red lips in the 1950s...

...white or nearly colorless lipstick in the 1960s...

...and a quite a few pink lips in the 1970s. 

Black lipstick became popular among punk and goth teens, men, and women in the late 70s through the 90s.

And semi-matte (not very shiny) browned-down (not bright) colors became popular for the more mainstream types in the 1990s.

In the 2000s, a lot of variety has bubbled up in fashion. Pearlescent lipstick, glossy lipstick, and matte lipstick; playful colors, deep colors, almost-colorless lipstick. There are a lot of different sorts of "lipsticks," including waxy sticks-in-tubes, liquid lipstick, pencils, liners, crayons, glosses, and stains.