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Reach Out to a Relative You Haven’t Spoken to in a While

If it’s been a while, reach out to a relative you haven’t spoken to recently. You never know, you may be able to restart a good relationship.

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Start Your Summer Vacation Planning Now

Start planning your summer vacation now. Whether you have a family meeting to decide what to do or surprise your family each year, start working on reservations now before prices surge.

Indoor/Outdoor Party Tips

Hosting the perfect indoor/outdoor party can be a little difficult, but not when you follow our tips. These types of parties are perfect for taking advantage of the beautiful spring nights, as well as work well for smaller spaces in that your guests can be more spread out rather than crammed into one small space. I’m a huge fan of them in the fact that I can get some fresh air if needed, while also enjoying a beautiful night and my friends’ company.

Indoor/Outdoor Party Tips

  • Twinkle lights will go a long way. If you have a porch or deck or patio area, add some twinkle lights around the perimeter. They’ll add a wonderful ambiance, while also allowing you light to see, but without those harsh floodlights.
  • Prepare a summery spread. This means you can choose light options like different salads, charcuterie boards, fruits and vegetables, antipasto options, and this gives your guests a variety of foods to choose from to munch on all night long.
  • Keep mosquitos away naturally with citronella plants. Not only are they wonderful, leafy green plants, but they are natural mosquito repellants. Place some around the patio border for decoration and bug control. You can also light some citronella candles around the border to help with the pest control.
  • Set up the food inside. Let your guests wander outside with their drinks, but keep the food inside to keep bugs, pollen, and other gross things out of the food. If you have a large dining table, set up your spread there or on the kitchen counters in a buffet style so everyone can just grab a plate and then move the party outdoors.
  • Use melamine plates. They won’t shatter if someone drops them, but they also won’t create waste in the same way that paper plates and cups do. They also are easy to wash and store, are fairly cheap, and come in fun colors and prints.

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  • Have a rain plan. It’s spring, so those spring showers could come at any point. If you have a covered patio or screen porch, your guests will be covered even if it rains. If not, have a rain plan and a secondary area for your guests to mingle.
  • Remember to turn the AC off. Odds are you will have doors and windows left open, which means you’ll want to make sure you aren’t trying to cool the outside world.
  • Use a variety of outdoor chairs, pillows, and cushions for seating. Some of your guests will likely wander around and prefer to stand, but for those who don’t, offer a variety of outdoor seating. This way, everyone can have a seat if they want it, and the different layers will look wonderful.

Hopefully some of these indoor/outdoor party tips will help you throw the party of your dreams. These can be great for graduation, birthdays, and even just because.

You Will Be Found

Dear Evan Hansen,

Today’s going to be a good day, and here’s why: I laughed, I cried, and I watched in amazement as a truly remarkable cast brought this show to life.

For those who haven’t seen Dear Evan Hansen, let me first say, go see it, it’s phenomenal and amazing, and second, if you don’t want a summary of the show, stop reading now.

Alright, for those who have continued, be warned, I am about to unleash my inner theatre nerd.

Let’s start with the cast. I happened to see the touring cast when they rolled into a city near me, and it was remarkable. Our Evan was played by Noah Kieserman, and let me just say, this man’s voice, his acting chops, everything is phenomenal. The range he has and his ability to channel this character and all the little ticks, how his hands shook just right, and how much he gave to this show, well done, and thank you. To the rest of the cast, Jared Goldsmith, Phoebe Koyabe, Maggie McKenna, Jessica Phillips, Christiane Noll, and Aaron Lazar, you guys exemplified that less is more. With a very small cast, I was transported into this world and enthralled the entire time. Bravo to each and every one of you, to say it was a phenomenal show is an understatement.

The set, like the cast, was small, but had everything needed. We were all so focused on what was happening in Evan’s life and his little web of lies that you didn’t need a lot of extra props or different things taking away from the drama that was unfolding. At one point, a simple stage with a couch in the center was enough.

The story was poignant, addressing so many issues, and in such a wonderful way. We have troubled teens, teen suicide, anxiety, single parenting, financial struggles, relationship struggles, friendship dynamics, and so much more, and none of it felt overdone. It felt real, it felt raw, but more than that, it felt relatable. It felt like this could be happening all around us, if we only knew to look. Beyond that, the way it tied social media into it was even more resounding in this day and age where social media takes up so much of our lives, but especially the highlight reels, the things that we want to share, to the point where if you don’t feel like you have much to share, you may just be tap tap tapping on the glass, waving through a window hoping someone could see you.

The struggles that Evan goes through with his anxiety are handled beautifully, especially the point where he is no longer on his meds because he’s too busy out there living his life, he’s too busy to be worrying about all the things that could possibly go wrong. The struggle that his single mom goes through trying to do it all, and failing because we can’t all do everything, it’s relatable, and so is his side of wishing he had his mom there to just be a mom. Single parenting is never a simple thing, and I know from experience that moms will do their absolute best, but will struggle knowing they can’t provide their kids the world all the time. And the pain of seeing someone else be able to do that is never easy on any parent. Basically, this show takes on a lot of tough, but real situations that we are faced with daily, and could not have shown them any better, while always leaving you with this resounding knowledge that no one deserves to disappear, and that you will be found.

In this day and age, this message is more important than ever, and I spotted several mental health wins within this show. It was a beautiful performance, and I truly hope that if you are given the chance to see this show anywhere, that you take the opportunity. With wonderful music and just enough humor to counteract the darkness, you’ll never be left feeling sad, but always hopeful, always knowing that things change and go on.

So, go see the show if you can, it’s beyond worth it, and was absolutely wonderful.

Sincerely,

Me

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