Happy Birthday Alfred Hitchcock!

Happy birthday to the master of cinematic suspense, Alfred Hitchcock!  Alfred Joseph Hitchcock, or “Hitch” to his friends and colleagues, was born August 13, 1899, inLeytonstone,England(just outsideLondon) to William and Emma Hitchcock.

The youngest of three children, Alfred grew up in a strict Roman Catholic family.  Despite a few stringent rules, including reciting the events of his day each night at the foot of his mother’s bed, Alfred experienced a fairly normal childhood.  Educated at

St.IgnatiusCollege, he went on to study engineering and navigation.  One of his first jobs was working for the Henley Telegraph and Cable Company, during which time his interest in film began.

He first got work drawing sets and met Alma Reville, an editor, who was only one day younger than Alfred. Laboring further down the food chain than her, they never spoke to each other until the director of the film they were working on got severely ill and Hitchcock was called upon to finish the movie.  He and Alma married in December 1926 and had a daughter, Patricia.

After a number of stops and starts at directing, Hitchcock began his filmography with The Lodger, The Lady Vanishes, and Rebecca.  But it wasn’t until Saboteur in 1942 that studios began placing Hitchcock’s name before the title (i.e. Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho).

It’s been said that Hitchcock prided himself on directing and preferred studios for shooting rather than filming on locations because it enabled him more control over the filmmaking elements.  He also made a point of making an appearance in most of his films, which became something of a trademark for Hitchcock.

Not to limit himself to film, Hitchcock also made a name for himself in television in the 1950’s and 60’s with Alfred Hitchcock Presents.   He directed many of the half-hour episodes and played host every week during its run.

Years later, when given a Lifetime Achievement award in 1979, Hitchcock kidded that he must be nearing the end of his life.  He died the next year of kidney failure on April 29, 1980, in Bel Air,Los Angeles,California, a man of the world and a cinematic legend.

Know someone who shares Alfred’s birthday?  Send them a frighteningly exciting birthday eCard and make their day!




Your August Birthday

If you’re an August birthday baby, you’re an enthusiastic, energetic, honest and optimistic person.  Like the strong leader you are, you inspire those around you to greatness, tapping into the best they have to offer and reminding them of their own power.  You have considerable power yourself which is fueled by the sun and by your overflowing sense of sympathy for others.

You love doing work that is healthy and meaningful and you always work hard to overcome  any obstacles.  You take it upon yourself to create the opportunity to achieve your desired goals.  You have the heart of a lion and you share it with  kindness and confidence.

Your flower is the gladiolus, which comes in reds, pinks, whites, yellows and oranges, but which symbolizes strength of character and sincerity.  Others look to you to lead the way and nurture their dreams, for you’re always willing to shine your light.

Your gemstone is the Peridot which is known as the “gem of the sun” because of its brilliance when seen in the desert sunlight.  It was once believed that one could even see the light from a peridot in utter darkness.  Another name for this sparkling green stone is “evening emerald” and it was said to relieve innocent sleepers of bad dreams.

The peridot was worn in ancient times as a protection against undesired enchantments and against feelings of melancholy or depression.  It also could prevent infections and evil.  It’s only right that your gemstone would also signify strength and promise.

May this year bring you greater opportunities to pursue your life purpose,  beautiful moments of inspiration and all that you need to live “sunny side up” in the days ahead.  Your tremendous spirit and gracious charms benefit everyone around you.  Celebrate being fabulous you!

Know someone who’s celebrating an August birthday?  Don’t forget to share some of this great news with them or send them a birthday eCard to wish them a happy day and prosperous year ahead!



Happy Birthday Sandra Bullock!

It’s hard to find someone who doesn’t love Sandra Bullock. She’s managed to take on the role of America’s sweetheart without being flashy, annoying or fake. She is the quintessential woman everyone wants as their friend, boss, girlfriend, wife, drinking buddy, work-out partner…the list could go on forever. She has unmatched charisma on the big screen whether she’s starring in a romantic comedy or a serious drama. Her comedic characters are always funny, but never dumb, and her dramatic roles are authentic and relatable. And even though there have been a few professional bumps in the road – umm, hello Speed 2, Cruise Control and All About Steve – we forgive her because she’s not afraid to call herself out, which is just another reason we like her so much.

When she’s not on the big screen, Sandy is equally intriguing, spending a great deal of her time and money on important charitable causes. She recently donated $1 million to Japan Disaster Victims and has heavily donated to charities benefitting New Orleans after hurricane Katrina – most notably the Warren Easton Charter Foundation, which was formed to rebuild the hurricane-ravaged Easton High School. Although she’s called Austin, TX home for years, New Orleans is particularly special to Sandra as it is where her adopted son, Louis is originally from.

It’s not hard to believe that in high school, Sandra was a cheerleader and voted “most likely to brighten your day,” – a role she’s definitely lived up to. Here are a few more fun facts you may not know about Sandy…

–          Sandra is the daughter of a German opera singer and an American voice coach

–          She graduated from Washington-Lee High School where alumni also include Shirley MacLaine and Warren Beatty

–          One her first roles was for a television series based on the Melanie Griffith/Harrison Ford movie “Working Girl” in 1990.

–          Sandra took on the role for Speed 2 to help fund her own movie project, Hope Floats.

–          She donated $1 million to the American Red Cross after the September 11, 2001 attacks

–          First woman to win best and worst actress in the same year. Best Actress Academy Award for The blind Side; Worst Actress Razzie for All About Steve

–          It is reported that she has acupuncture procedures done 2-3 times a week to help maintain her weight and ageless complexion.

–          She reportedly hates musicals and has vowed never to participate in one.

Do you have a friend or family member that shares the same birthday as Miss Sandra? Don’t forget to send them a birthday ecard to wish them happy birthday!  Also, if you’re tired of remembering birthdays or managing a  birthday calendar, check out our free birthday reminder service – never feel the pressure of having to remember a birthday again!

Can you pick a favorite Sandra Bullock role or movie? Tell us in the comments section below.




Create a Sweet Birthday!

Birthday cake is so five minutes ago. Today, fads and crazes in the baking industry are affecting celebrations everywhere, as people are looking for alternatives to standard birthday cakes with butter cream frosted flowers.

The Year of the Cupcake –

Cupcakes are everywhere! There are books, blogs, tv shows and food trucks all catering to the sweet treats that are cupcakes. Maybe it’s the fact that cupcakes are miniature versions of the real deal, and it allows people to feel like a special, individual cake has been baked just for them. Regardless, one of the best things about cupcakes is anyone can make them. Go as elaborate or simple as you please. Make the cake from scratch, or use a boxed mix.

They are perfect for themed birthday parties, and you can make a beautiful cupcake, no matter if you’re a novice or an expert. Try having some un-iced cupcakes at a child’s birthday party, and let everyone decorate their own – with plenty of aprons and frosting to go around, this is a great way to bring out the artist in everyone.

Forget lollipops – Cake Pops are the new sensation! 

These bite-sized wonders “popped” on the scene a few years ago, and the craze hasn’t slowed down a bit. The super-simple recipe (It’s a boxed cake, cooled and crumbled with a jar of icing) has everyone trying their hand at the dessert.

Once the morsels have had time to set up, and have a stick inserted – the decorating options are endless. There’s room to play with colors, shapes and flavors, which allow you to tailor make these treats for the birthday girl or boy.  Try individually wrapping the pops as a great take-home favor, or wrap a piece of Styrofoam in birthday wrapping paper and stick the pops in for a cute display at any birthday party. Simple or elaborate, these treats are sure to make a statement.

Enjoy some birthday magic (and cake too) with our newest and most delicious birthday ecard!



Happy Birthday, Henry David Thoreau!

“If a man does not keep pace with his companions,
perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.”

Walden by Henry David Thoreau

Happy birthday to Transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau!  The man who made Walden Pond famous by building a house on its shores and living there for over two years was born on July 12, 1817, inConcord,Massachusetts, to John and Cynthia Thoreau.

Christened “David Henry” in October 1817, Thoreau was named after a recently deceased uncle.  Excelling at academics, Thoreau attended both public and private schools inConcord.  He graduated from Harvard in 1837 and changed his name to “Henry David”.

Trying his hand first at teaching inConcord, he experienced a falling out with his superiors over student disciplinary issues.  Returning to his family’s home to work in his father’s pencil factory, Thoreau soon tried teaching again in aConcordschool his older brother, John, and he founded.  Successful for a few years, the school closed when John became severely ill and Henry subsequently felt overwhelmed.

Once again laboring in the family’s pencil factory, Thoreau was taken under the wing of neighbor and longtime friend Ralph Waldo Emerson, serving as his handyman while Emerson mentored him.  An embracer of Emerson’s Transcendental philosophy (placing spiritual concerns over material success), Thoreau became a writer and published essays and poems in The Dial, a Transcendental journal.  Needing privacy to work, Emerson gave Thoreau permission to build a house on the banks ofWalden Pond on land Emerson owned.  Thoreau lived there for over two years; during that time, he spent a night in jail for refusing to pay his poll tax.  That experience of imprisonment turned into his essay, “Resistance to Civil Government”, later famously renamed “Civil Disobedience”.

After leaving Walden Pond, Thoreau published Walden in 1854 to celebratory reviews and a new following.  Although never wealthy, he spent the rest of his days earning a modest income working in the pencil factory, as well as surveying, lecturing, and publishing essays.

Thoreau died in 1862 of tuberculosis, leaving behind volumes of unfinished work.  At his funeral, Emerson delivered a eulogy, noting Thoreau’s quest for knowledge, virtue, and beauty in nature.

Know someone who shares Henry David Thoreau’s birthday?  Send them a birthday ecard to wish them a happy and prosperous birthday.



Happy Birthday, Helen Keller!

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched.  They must be felt with the heart.”

Helen Keller

Happy Birthday to the woman who overcame overwhelming odds afflicted at infancy and went on to live an abundantly rich life, inspiring the world.  Helen Adams Keller was born on June 27, 1880 in Tuscumbia, Alabamato Arthur H. Keller, an army captain and editor, and Kate Adams.

Born a healthy child, Helen contracted “acute congestion” (possibly scarlet fever or meningitis) at nineteen months, rendering her deaf and blind.  After many attempts to help her and several referrals later, Helen’s parents enlisted the help of Anne Sullivan, a recent graduate of the Perkins Institute for the Blind who was recommended by the school’s director, Michael Anaganos.

Wasting no time, Anne began working with Helen upon arrival to her family’s home.  She taught Helen “finger spelling”—sign language letters in the palm of her hand, starting with “doll.”  Initial lessons were marked by bouts of defiance toward Anne, interspersed with attempts at understanding her new language.  Helen would experience difficulty in making connections between word and object.   Subsequent temper tantrums would follow and become a regular occurrence until Anne remedied the situation by isolating the two of them in a small cottage on the family’s estate.  Shortly after their cocooned period together, a breakthrough occurred when Helen learned the word “water” from a pump just outside her home.  By the end of the day, Helen had learned over two dozen words.

As Helen grew up, attended different schools, and her story spread, she began to meet many famous figures from all walks of life, including Mark Twain, who dubbed Anne Sullivan, “The Miracle Worker.”  Anne stayed on as Helen’s companion, long after her lessons out of the unseen-unheard world were established, and helped translate Helen’s studies and lectures while they were atRadcliffCollege, where she graduated from cum laude in 1904.

Over time, Helen expanded her methods of communication, including touch-lip reading, typing, speech, and Braille, as well as finger-spelling.  She used her new found communication skills to write her first book, The Story of My life, with the help of Sullivan and future husband, John Macy. 

Sullivan’s health deteriorated over the years.  She lost her eyesight entirely in 1932, whereby Polly Thompson, Keller’s and Sullivan’s secretary, took over as Keller’s companion when Sullivan died in 1936.

Helen and Anne’s journey out of darkness was made into the classic film, The Miracle Worker, directed by Arthur Penn, starring Anne Bancroft as Anne and Patty Duke as Helen in award-winning roles. 

In sum, Helen Keller wrote twelve books, including The Story of My Life, The World I Live In, and Out of the Dark.

She died June 1, 1968 at the age of 87, less than a month shy of her birthday, having transformed her world and inspiring our own.

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”  Helen Keller



Happy Birthday Johnny Depp!

He’s tall, dark, handsome and oh-so-talented: happy birthday Johnny Depp! Born on June 9, 1963, this mega-star is most recently known for his role as Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. He once lived on a tight budget while selling pens for a telemarketing firm – good thing he didn’t keep that day job!

Bet this isn’t the only piece of Depp trivia that may surprise you – here’s some more dish on Depp that you may not have known!

  • Johnny Depp’s full name is John Christopher Depp, Jr.
  • Born in Owensboro, Kentucky, Depp is the youngest of four children.
  • At age 16, Depp dropped out of high school and joined the garage band, The Kids.
  • Depp fell into acting when he was introduced to actor Nicolas Cage. How’s that for a mentor?
  • After filming Sleepy Hollow, Depp adopted the horse who played Gunpowder in the movie.
  • Depp isn’t just an actor, he’s also an accomplished musician. His credits include the soundtrack for his film, Chocolat. He’s also played lead slide guitar on the Oasis album Be Here Now.
  • The country of Estonia has a nightclub named after Depp. What’s it called? “Who Wouldn´t Like Johnny Depp?”
  • Depp has been named People Magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive”… twice. The honor came in both 2003 and 2009.
  • Depp is the godfather of Billy Ray Burton, the son of entertainment power-couple Helena Bonham-Carter and Tim Burton.
  •  Depp’s many acting credits include 21 Jumpstreet, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Platoon, Edward Scissorhands, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Finding Neverland, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Finding Neverland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and most famously Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean movie series.

What’s your favorite Johnny Depp role? Tell us in the comments section below!



Happy Birthday, Leonardo da Vinci!

Happy Birthday to Leonardo da Vinci, born April 15th!

He was a handsome, left-handed, vegetarian animal lover who excelled in art, anatomy, architecture, engineering, geology, hydraulics, military arts, optics and sculpture. His mystique was also captured in a book and subsequent 2003 Hollywood movie called The Da Vinci Code by author Dan Brown. Who is it? It’s Leonardo da Vinci, who was born in Vinci, Italy on April 15, 1452. Best known for his painting of the Mona Lisa, Leonardo da Vinci (which literally means “Leonardo from the town of Vinci”) was a brilliant scholar and artist.

Da Vinci was the illegitimate son of a notary and a peasant girl. Although his parents split up shortly after his birth, both remarried and eventually gave Leonardo a total of 17 half sisters and brothers! As a young boy, he had access to many scholarly texts and great writings. At age 15, his father apprenticed him to artist Andrea del Verrochio in Florence, where he showed early and rapid signs of brilliance.

Along with his artistic flair, da Vinci is revered for his technological ingenuity. Centuries ahead of his time, he conceptualized a helicopter, a tank, a calculator, and brainstormed the ideas of concentrated solar power, and outlined a rough theory of plate tectonics. His smaller inventions included an automated bobbin winder and a machine for testing the tensile strength of wire. In his spare time, he doodled parachutes and flying machines, and wrote lengthy scientific thoughts in personal notebooks… backwards.

It’s a shame that so few of his designs were constructed or were even feasible in the 1400s. A failure by him to publish his findings meant that his grand scope of influence on many fields of study and ingenuity is not well documented by historians.

Known best as an artist, though, da Vinci is the talent behind works such as The Last Supper (1495), two different paintings with almost identical compositions called Virgin of the Rocks, or Madonna of the Rocks (1483-1486 and 1495-1508, respectively) and The Mona Lisa (1503-1506).

Leonardo da Vinci died of natural causes on May 2, 1519. It is said that he passed away as the King of France, Francis I, held da Vinci’s head in his arms.

Leonardo da Vinci left the world with a lot to ponder, and much to smile about. But one question remains: why do you think the woman in the Mona Lisa painting was smiling? Tell us in the comments section!

For other famous birthdays, check out our famous birthdays category here in the BlueMountain blog!  Have a friend or loved one celebrating a birthday today?  Send them a birthday eCard to show you care!



Dr Seuss’ Birthday: National Read Across America Day

Theodor Seuss Geisel — known as “Ted” to his family and friends — is famous for his whimsical rhyming books that inspire both young and old alike. Dr. Seuss (pronounced in Bavaria as “Zoice”) began his career as an advertiser and a cartoonist. His works are known for imaginative characters, rhyme, and frequent use of trisyllabic meter. Of the forty-four books that he personally wrote and illustrated, only four are in prose (non-rhyming). He was awarded a special Pulitzer Prize in 1984.

Dr. Seuss’ success was not immediate. His first children’s book, a sort of ABC of fanciful creatures, was written in 1931, but no one wanted to publish it. It took him to his 13th children’s book to achieve one of his most famous works, The Cat in the Hat, proving that persistence can pay off. Published in March of 1957, The Cat in the Hat sold nearly a million copies by the end of 1960.

People often asked Dr. Seuss how he, a childless person, could write so well for children. His standard response was, “You make ’em. I’ll amuse ’em.” He had the desire to motivate and to teach through his work. His purpose for writing The Cat in the Hat stemmed from his worry that children weren’t learning to read. Although he did not start writing children’s books with this goal, he eventually became America’s best-known reading teacher.

 Dr. Seuss was challenged by the director of Houghton Mifflin’s education division to write him “a story that first-graders can’t put down!” The extra twist? Limit the book’s vocabulary to no more than 225 different words, chosen from a list of 348. And thus greatness was born.

Later, another publisher bet him that he couldn’t write a book that used fifty or fewer words. Dr. Seuss took the challenge in stride and produced Green Eggs and Ham, his best-selling title. The Cat in the Hat is his second best-selling, followed by two more Beginner Books: One fish two fish red fish blue fish (1960) and Hop on Pop (1963).

But Dr. Seuss did not just want to teach children how to read, he also hoped to teach them how to think. He wanted to nurture that potential for good in his post-war publications, which included Horton Hears a Who!, Yertle the Turtle, The Sneetches, The Lorax, and The Butter Battle Book.

 Dr. Seuss’ birthday is March 2, and has been deemed National Read Across America Day, the National Education Association’s annual initiative on reading.

What’s your favorite Dr. Seuss book? Tell us in the comments section!