IT’S NATIONAL ICE CREAM MONTH! (7.11)

ITS NATIONAL ICE CREAM MONTH!  (7.11)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 1984, President Ronald Reagan designated July as National Ice Cream Month! He recognized ice cream as a fun and nutritious food and called for citizens to observe the day with “appropriate ceremonies and activities.” It is said that ice cream is enjoyed by a full 90 percent of the American population…no wonder there’s always a long line at the local Dairy Delite!

We’ve narrowed down the five most popular flavors for you to rank in your own order of preference—from (1) “Triple scoop, please!” to (5) “I’d rather eat a salad.”

Most Popular Flavors

Vanilla
Chocolate
Strawberry
Butter Pecan
Chocolate Chip

Now, see what your #1 favorite says about the kind of person you are…

ITS NATIONAL ICE CREAM MONTH!  (7.11)

Vanilla

With your classic style, open-minded attitude and easy-going personality, you are just plain cool! It’s important for you to be liked by everyone—and you are—which helps you fit into any social situation.  People feel as comfortable around you as swinging hammock on a hot summer day…which is where you’d like to be.

 

ChocolateITS NATIONAL ICE CREAM MONTH!  (7.11)

You have a passion and enthusiasm for life and like being the center of attention!  While you’re usually outgoing, optimistic and friendly, you can also be deeply introspective with
a dark, hilarious sense of humor. You also have a competitive side that drives you to get what you want…so, when faced by a challenge, you won’t stop until you lick it!

ITS NATIONAL ICE CREAM MONTH!  (7.11)Strawberry 

You’re sweet, loveable and eternally adorable! Sure there are times you might come off
a little shy, but that’s only because you’re generous enough to let others shine before you steal people’s hearts with your natural charm. And your “irresistibleness” is the cherry
on top!

ITS NATIONAL ICE CREAM MONTH!  (7.11)Butter Pecan  

You are stable, down-to-earth and well-balanced with a deep sense of loyalty and commitment. You’re a traditionalist who likes the finer things in life and works hard to get them. With your calm demeanor and solid confidence, others tend to rely on you to keep things running smoothly…which is why they’re surprised when you sometimes show your nutty side!

ITS NATIONAL ICE CREAM MONTH!  (7.11)Chocolate Chip 

You have a happy, cheerful, youthful disposition that makes you fun to be with! Being a creative type, you keep coming up with new ideas and you aren’t afraid to try new things. In fact, sometimes you’re pulled in so many different directions, you spread yourself too thin and just have let the chips fall where they may.  Yet somehow that always works out for you and you come out smelling like a fresh-baked cookie!

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RAMADAN (7.9)

RAMADAN  (7.9)

Sunrise to Sunset

Throughout the next 30 days, over 1.5 billion people around the world will be observing Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, with adults fasting and praying from sunrise to sunset.

In North America this year, Ramadan begins at sunset on July 9, but there are some years when it falls in the middle of winter! This is because, for those who don’t follow an Islamic calendar, Ramadan is a moving holiday that shifts about ten days every year based on date of the new moon. Despite the changing dates, the strong traditions of Ramadan remain the same: there is fasting, prayer and the practice of selflessness.

Fasting and Other Traditions

Fasting is one the Five Pillars of the Islam religion and one of the highest forms of Islamic worship. For Muslims, it’s a way to sacrifice earthly pleasures, share the sufferings of the less fortunate and more deeply appreciate the bounties of Allah. Only adults are expected to fast, but children enjoy the other traditions including the excitement of sighting the moon and sharing special meals.

A typical day of Ramadan begins just before sunrise with a meal called Sahur, followed by the first of five prayers, which are offered all day long. And then the fast begins. Throughout the day, Muslims are encouraged to go out of their way to help the needy, both financially and emotionally. In fact, some people are so enthusiastic about helping others during this month, they barely have time for themselves.  But since Muslims believe they will be rewarded more than 70 times over for good deeds during Ramadan, this is well worth the effort. At the end of each day, the fast is broken at sunset, often with social dinners or “lftar parties.” And then remainder of five prayers is offered, usually at a Mosque.

Eid-ul-Fitr

The month of Ramadan ends with a festive celebration called Eid-ul-Fitr (commonly called “Eid”) which often lasts three full days.  Muslims get together with family and friends, share gifts and eat delicious dinners. Or they take a short vacation…before patiently waiting for the next year.

Overall, Ramadan is a very special time of brotherhood and customs that brings about a feeling of closeness, community and religious commitment, which is a wonderful experience for Muslims of all ages around the world.

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HAPPY 4th OF JULY! (7.4)

HAPPY 4th OF JULY!    (7.4)

 

 

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YOUR JULY BIRTHDAY!

Happy July Birthday—You Natural Nurturers and Stage Seekers 

YOUR JULY BIRTHDAY! “All the world’s a stage”

—William Shakespeare

Right at home as the center of attention, those born during the month of July have a noticeable “stage presence.” Not only are they comfortable being in the spotlight, but they can help others feel at ease, too. As much as they may crave attention, they’re also intensely private, so picture them at a masquerade ball where they’d dazzle others with their costume while hiding behind their party mask.

Cancer

If born a Cancer, you’re an emotional creature of habit whose moods can shift, but with a predictability and consistency. A deep, sensitive soul who adores the comforts of home, you value not only your privacy, but recognize others’ need for privacy as well. A nurturing spirit and defender of the family, you seek peace and tranquility in a domestic setting, but at the same time, go to bat in a heartbeat for those you care about. Memories are of the utmost importance to you, so you enjoy hobbies like scrap-booking and anything else that preserves those precious moments.

Leo

What can we say, Leo? You lead, take center stage, and are the king of your castle! Generous and open-hearted, you love and are affectionate with those you care about. Taking great pride in whatever you do, you operate with a certainty that others can envy, but being as generous as you are, you willing helps others achieve their dreams. For if others admire your creations and try to mimic them, you can’t help but smile with pride and feel flattered.

YOUR JULY BIRTHDAY! July Flower

July’s birth flower, the Larkspur, get its scientific name, delphinium, from the Greek word, delphis, meaning “dolphin,” although its use in birthday celebrations dates back to the Roman Empire. Its more colloquial meaning is that of an open heart and great passion. The spur part of the flower is shaped like the hind toe of the lark, hence its more common name. Used medicinally in ancient times to heal wounds, its nectar is popular among butterflies and bumblebees. Nowadays, it is used decoratively in bouquets and other flower arrangements, for it stands out due to its considerable height.

July Birthstone

Your birthstone, the ruby, comes from the Latin, YOUR JULY BIRTHDAY! rubens, meaning “red.” Originally mined in the country of Burma in 2500 B.C., it has a history of being used by shaman for its healing and protective qualities, especially when worn next to an affected area. It’s also considered helpful in boosting energy and bringing about much prosperity. This precious red gemstone can also be made into jewelry, and has been a favorite among the rich and famous, most notably Elizabeth Taylor and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

Famous July Birthdays

Celebrate your birthday this month with these notable names:

P.T. Barnum, Sandra Bullock, George W. Bush, Princess Diana, Harrison Ford,
John Glenn, Tom Hanks, Dean Koontz, Ann Landers, Nelson Mandela, Beatrix Potter,
Ringo Starr, Henry David Thoreau, Kristi Yamaguchi,

Important July 2013 Holidays

Independence Day 7/4
Ramadan (begins evening of 7/8)
Bastille Day 7/14
National Hammock Day 7/22
National Hot Dog Day 7/23

To see a large selection of birthday ecards that range from funny to sweet, just visit bluemountain.com. We’ve got cards for everyone on your list, including talking cards that are perfect for those in the birthday spotlight this month!

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HAPPY CANADA DAY!

HAPPY CANADA DAY!

Canada Day, once called Dominion Day, is celebrated with the same intent and fervor as Independence Day in the USA.  Canada Day marks the event in 1867 when Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the Province of Canada began the process of becoming an independent and united nation.  It wasn’t until 1982, however, that it became fully independent from the United Kingdom.  Though Canada Day has only been celebrated since the ’50s with fireworks and barbeques, it’s now a notable day for relaxing and appreciating family and freedom.

Canada’s capital, Ottawa, Ontario, and many other cities and provinces host holiday activities with games, cookouts, parades, carnivals, concerts, and air and maritime shows. There are countless events and festivals to be found throughout each city’s streets, parks, and museums. Fireworks are launched everywhere from Nova Scotia to Vancouver to conclude a day of patriotic festivities.

So how can you celebrate your neighbors to the North or honor Canada Day at home? Try decorating with some maple leaves and add splashes of red and white everywhere.

HAPPY CANADA DAY!   Make a Strawberry Maple-leaf Flag Cake, or try Eggs in Maple-Ham Cups, Canada Day Picnic Sandwiches or fun Beaver Cupcakes to savor the day Canadian-style.

HAPPY CANADA DAY!   Another way to have fun is to create some crafts.  You can make delightful Canada Day Birds of red and white paper or a simple red and white pinwheel to play in the breeze at the local parade. Today, craftsmen and hobbyists find lots of ways to celebrate the rich heritage of beautiful Canada.

You can find links for some great recipes and craft ideas for Canada Day below.

It’s always fun to join in a celebration, so come on and honor your Canadian friends and neighbors by recognizing one of their greatest days in history.  It all happens on July 1!

http://www.canadianliving.com/food/canada_day_picnic_sandwich.php
http://www.canadianliving.com/food/baking_and_desserts/canada_day_cake.php
http://www.canadianliving.com/food/beaver_cupcakes.php
http://www.rightathome.com/Food/Recipes/Pages/EggsinMapleHamCups.aspx
http://pinterest.com/twintrospective/canada-day/
 
Photo Credits: Strawberry Maple-leaf Flag cake: smallhomebigstart.blogspot.com   Eggs in maple Ham Cups: rightathome.com

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MEET THE ARTIST: Tom Page

MEET THE ARTIST: Tom PageThis month, we’re more than happy to introduce you to Tom Page, a very creative designer in his own right and an art director who’s an inspiration to his staff of talented designers and animators here at bluemountain.com.

Hi Tom, when did you first realize you had design abilities or know that you wanted to be an artist?

I think I have been drawing pictures for as long as I can remember and it has really been the only thing that I have really ever wanted to do. My mom and dad are very artistic so at a young age they were very supportive.

What is your current position at bluemountain.com and can you tell us a little about your background as a designer?

I am an Art Director with Blue Mountain and have been in the greeting card business for almost 19 years. I started out as an illustrator and over the years worked my way to Art Director.

Could you tell us a little more about your work?

As an Art Director I’m lucky to work with a very talented staff of designers and animators developing concepts and stories that can be turned into digital greetings which people can share with each other for any occasion. So, it’s really not “my” work but more of a collaborative effort with the team. We are all working toward a common goal and push each other to create amazing that we believe our customers will love.

MEET THE ARTIST: Tom Page

MEET THE ARTIST: Tom Page

Which is your favorite ecard you’ve created and what makes it special to you?

Wow, this is a tough decision because I have worked on A LOT of cards, a few of which are featured here. I have another favorite I worked on that was a Claymation piece we did for Christmas about 5 years ago. We wanted to create a piece that reminded us of all the Rankin–Bass television shows that we were fans of as kids. This was such a group effort. It was also something that we had never done before, at least a clay piece of this scale. I enjoyed every part of it from planning to the finished piece. Everyone that worked on it did an amazing job. I really grew as a storyteller and leader from that experience.

Who is the artist that has most influenced you? How do you use that influence in your work?

It’s so hard to pin-point just one person but if I had to pick one I love the emotion you feel from an Otto Dix piece, especially the series from the First World War. I try to put some of that emotion in my personal work. At my current job, I’m lucky to be surrounded by so many talented people. I have really pulled so much from many of them.

MEET THE ARTIST: Tom Page

What types of things do you do to keep yourself motivated?

The way people communicate is rapidly changing which of course is so important to our business. Following that and how it effects what I do is very motivating and exciting at the same time.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I’d like to teach someday. I have learned so much here I would like to think I can help some students out there be better professionals.

What advice would you give an aspiring artist who’s interested in the same career field you’re in?

This is one of the reasons why I’d like to teach. Be willing to take on any task then over deliver on it. Build as many positive relationships as you can. Don’t be late with your work, that kills careers. Learn how to take and give feedback. As a creative person feedback is a part of everyday life, if you don’t take it well then this isn’t the career for you. Also learn how to communicate well and speak in front of people. Communicating your vision is important and being able to do it well will give you more opportunities to move up in an organization.

On a final note, Tom, what are some things you like to do when you’re away from work?

I do art when I can but when you’re doing that in some capacity all day it can be challenging to continue at home. So I enjoy playing golf, watching movies, hitting the gym and most of all just being Dad. I’m lucky to have a very supportive family. I have been married to my wife Tina for 20 years this June and have two great kids Dylan and Claudia.

Thanks, Tom, for sharing your background, interests and creative passion with us!

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“WHAT TO WRITE…” Apologies & Forgiveness

WHAT TO WRITE... Apologies & Forgiveness

Today Is Forgiveness Day

We’ve all been there. Life is good. Our relationships with our family, our friends, our co-workers, seem to be going along fine. And then, out of the blue, it happens. Something comes up. We have a “not-our-best” moment. And now we’ve got…well…a situation.

Let’s face it…in spite of our best intentions, sometimes we human beings hurt each other. Whether it’s through misunderstanding, an oversight, being insensitive, or a moment of frustration or anger, we don’t always see eye to eye. We say things. We do things. We hurt each other. And often, we carry that hurt around far too long.

Why Forgive?

WHAT TO WRITE... Apologies & Forgiveness  If we’re honest with ourselves, we have to admit that nothing good comes from holding on to our hurt or withholding forgiveness. Aside from being the right and mature thing to do, it’s a proven fact that it’s just better for us—physically, emotionally, and spiritually—to mend fences. Because we all need each other more than we need to “win” or take a chance on losing the very people we love the most.

To say those 3 little words, whether they’re “I’m really sorry” or “I forgive you,”and mean them, is to open the door to a fresh start. And it’s a gift—to ourselves, and to everyone around us.

The First Steps…

Even when we or someone else is sorry, it’s not always easy to know the best way to make things better. But here are some suggestions that may help:

  • Be yourself—let the thoughts and words come from your heart.
  • Keep it simple. Don’t replay all the details of the situation
    or try to defend your side of things.
  • Express how much you care about the person and how you value
    your relationship with them.
  • Accept responsibility. If this person is really important to you,
    put your own ego aside. It’s not about who’s right and who’s wrong.
  • Say you’re sorry, or accept an apology without being specific about what was said that was hurtful or how you were affected.
  • Express a sincere desire to forgive or be forgiven and to heal the relationship.
  • Tell each other what you’ve learned from this experience—about yourself, about them, about what’s most important in life.
  • Understand that it may take a while before either is ready to forgive.
  • But don’t be discouraged. You’ve done what you can. Now give it time.

Let Us Help You Find the Words…

Here at bluemountain.com, you WHAT TO WRITE... Apologies & Forgiveness  and your relationships are important to us. We love helping people say the things that are deepest in their hearts—especially when finding the right words can be difficult. So here are some perfect ways to say “I’m sorry” that we hope will help you reconnect with someone special today.

Adding Your Personal Touch…

I know saying sorry can’t change what’s happened, but…
Sorry isn’t just a word…sometimes it’s a hope for a new beginning.
How can I make things better?
Didn’t mean to let you down.
I miss the good times with you…
I never meant to hurt you, but I know I did.
I realize I’ve hurt you and I’m so sorry.
So I really messed up, didn’t I?
Wanting things to be right between us again.
I value your friendship so very much.
I want to say I’m sorry, I’m just not sure how.
I’m not proud of the way I’ve acted.
I’m really sorry and I hope that you’ll forgive me.
So sorry for __________ (be specific).
I’m struggling to find the right words, but I want you to know…
If I could take it all back, I would.
Our (friendship, relationship) is more important to me than anything.
Sometimes I lose sight of what’s most important…
You’re one of the most important people in my life
You’re really special to me, probably more than you know right now.

On a Lighter Note:

Me and my big mouth…
I don’t know what I was thinking…big shocker, huh?
Sorry. I pretty much suck.
You’re kind, smart and wonderful…not to mention forgiving?
Sorry…I’ll definitely keep trying harder.
We all make mistakes…guess I just make more than my share of them.
So exactly how mad are you right now?
I had a very good reason for doing what I did…I was being stupid and inconsiderate!

 

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JUNE IS NATIONAL ROSE MONTH

Roses In Bloom

JUNE IS NATIONAL ROSE MONTH “There is simply the rose;
it is perfect
in every moment
of its existence.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Perhaps no one ever promised you a rose garden, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create your own. Or you may already be a rose-growing enthusiast. Either way, June is rose month—a time to enjoy and celebrate these natural beauties in your yard.

Roses are the romantic darlings of any garden and exude their love on all who pass by. There may be a few fussy varieties, but whether you do some container gardening or create magical borders, you can make sureJUNE IS NATIONAL ROSE MONTH

roses will bloom for you. One place to look for amazing rose planting ideas is on www.houzz.com/rose-garden. The site is loaded with pictures that give guidance for placing roses anywhere you might like and tips for creating borders and quiet spaces for two in the midst of your fragrant blooms.

JUNE IS NATIONAL ROSE MONTH Varieties of roses are nearly
endless, along with colors and potential opportunities to design a garden that suits your taste perfectly.  Whether you let them climb the walls, protect the walkways, or flourish around backyard fountains, you can let your heart out to play.

Here are a few tips for your rose garden:

  • Keep your flower beds clean throughout the growing season.
  • Prune your roses to stimulate new growth and produce beautiful blooms on good stems.
  • If your roses are dormant, apply a dormant spray such as lime sulphur to kill any fungus.
  • Do not apply once roses have sprouted leaves. JUNE IS NATIONAL ROSE MONTH
  • Add nutritional enhancements to the soil as needed.
  • Top off your soil amendments with a two-inch layer of mulch.
  • Apply a good fertilizer. Alfalfa tea as well as manure teas will do wonders for your roses.
  • Encourage new cane growth by adding from 1/2c  to 1c of Epsom salts to the base of each plant and water it well.
  • JUNE IS NATIONAL ROSE MONTH Roses need at least one inch of water per week to produce quality blooms. Be sure to water roses at the base of the plant.
  • Only use pesticides that also kill beneficial insects as a last resort.
  • Take time to smell the roses!JUNE IS NATIONAL ROSE MONTH

It’s June, the month when eternal optimists see beautiful roses all aroundand never even glimpse the thorns.  As Richard Sheridan said, “Won’t you come into the garden?
I would like my roses to see you.”

 Happy Gardening!




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JUNE 21: THE SUMMER SOLSTICE

It’s The First Day of Summer!

JUNE 21: THE SUMMER SOLSTICE

Longest Day of the Year

Break out the lemonade because summer is here!  The summer solstice marks the moment when the sun is directly overhead at its most northern point. When it reaches “high-noon,” it creates more sunlight in the Northern Hemisphere than at any other time of the year.  The summer solstice is the longest day of the year and just a few days shy of the year’s half-way point on July 1.

Summer Memories

As you breathe in the fragrant summer air and lavish the sunshine, it may be a good time to think back on what summer meant to you as a kid. A walk down memory lane may just spark some moments you can create again. Did you love going on picnics in the park or canoeing down a river and enjoying the beautiful landscape? Did you love hiking wooded trails and camping? Maybe you simply loved your mom’s potato salad and music from bands like The Beach Boys. Think back and drink it all in.

Escape Your To-Do List

Then look at today and think of ways to start enjoying this summer. Set aside some time just for you to escape your to-do list and create some summer fun. Now is the time to catch some fireflies, grill some burgers or head out on your bike. Go to an amusement park and ride the roller coaster, or take your sweetheart to the drive-in. Summertime is playtime and you have every right to play. Think sandcastles, hammocks gently swaying in the breeze, and starry, starry nights. You might even want to wish on a star or two.

Plan a One-Tank-Trip

Give yourself a mini-vacation, even if it’s just a day trip. Catch the farmer’s markets that contain an array of colorful fruits and vegetables. Visit the local arboretum or the butterfly farm. Use your imagination and dream a little dream because the best parts of life are filled with summer dreams.

Celebrate the solstice, catch a few sunbeams, and give yourself permission to slip away and enjoy it all. Swap barbecue recipes with your neighbor and carve a smile in the watermelon. It’s time for you to simply relax and enjoy yourself! Don’t forget to send some cheerful “thinking of you” notes to your friends as well. Maybe you can get them to go along for the ride when you go out to play!

For more information on the summer solstice, please click on the following links:

http://www.bluemountain.com/blog/2011/06/celebrate-the-summer-solstice/
http://geography.about.com/od/physicalgeography/a/summersolstice.htm

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CELEBRATING JUNETEENTH

CELEBRATING JUNETEENTH

 

A Little History…

Although President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation freed many African Americans, slavery itself wasn’t abolished altogether. It wasn’t until June 19, 1865, when Union General Gordon Granger marched into Galveston, Texas, declared the end of the Civil War, and read aloud General Orders, No. 3, that all slaves were freed, creating a ripple effect across the country in what has become known as Juneteenth.

Celebrated the following year, in 1866, Juneteenth became a day similar in festivities
to the Fourth of July, with prayer services, inspirational speakers, a reading of the Emancipation Proclamation, and merrymaking which included food and drink, dancing, storytelling, and other exciting events.

 Celebration Ideas:

Here are a few ideas to jump start your Juneteenth celebration, both in educational and entertaining ways:

Host a day-at-work seminar: Invite guest speakers knowledgeable of Juneteenth
and its timeline to talk to your company’s employees in order to familiarize them with
the observance and its meaning. Create a theme and post your company’s involvement
on its web site.

Community involvement: Organize events at your local schools and libraries. Create interactive displays that can educate participants on the origin of Juneteenth and its evolution, and ask local businesses to sponsor these events.

Plan a picnic: Land in parts of Texas purchased by ex-slaves, known as “emancipation grounds,” was later turned into Emancipation Parks in such areas as Houston, East Austin, and now Booker T. Washington Park in Mexia, Texas. Host your own outdoor gathering with food and festivities to celebrate the day.

Contact Congress: Although it was made an official holiday in the state of Texas on January 1, 1980, Juneteenth has yet to receive national recognition. Several U.S. Senators, public officials, and other outspoken individuals have been working to ensure that Juneteenth becomes an officially recognized national holiday, similar to Patriot Day or Flag Day. Show your appreciation for these men and women by contacting them and supporting their efforts.

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