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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

'Tis the Season

Christmas, Thanksgiving, Kwanzaa, Hannukah, New Year's Day, whichever you celebrate, there's no denying the warm, feel-good time of year. Here are ways that you can locally get into the holiday spirit, right in your own backyard!

Family Fun

This annual start to the holidays will take place on Monday, December 5 from 5:30 to 7:30 PM right behind the library in the Civic Center plaza. There will be live music, a Santa photo-op, light refreshments, and even an artificial snow zone. To give back, you are also encouraged to donate a can of food.

Since 1940, Palo Alto has hosted “Christmas Tree Lane” on Fulton Street and Embarcadero Road. The neighborhood comes together to produce a fabulous Christmas stroll, with most houses on that block decorating with lights, wooden cut-outs, etc. I remember coming here since my stroller days, admiring the houses and soaking in the holiday spirit. Don’t forget to bring your hot cocoa to sip, a camera to take cheesy cute photos, and some good company! The street will be lit up from 5:00 PM to 11:00 PM from Saturday, December 12 through December 31st.

Since 1977, Downtown Los Altos has put on a parade filled with floats, marching bands, dance troops, community members, and costumed characters. For a small town, Los Altos puts on an incredible show that really brings the community together. This year, the parade will happen on Sunday, November 27 at 6:00 PM. The crowds will be crazy so get there at least an hour early to stake out your seat. (Bonus: if you’re there, look for me dressed as a princess and say hi!)

Giving Back

Every year, Family Giving Tree fills a warehouse with donated holiday presents for needy children in the Bay Area. You can either donate a toy or help package and arrange children’s gifts on site. I do this every year with my family and friends and it is a great way to spend time with others while also making a lasting impact.

Cops and Gobblers is an annual Thanksgiving food drive that has been put on by the Mountain View Police Department for the past 20 years. MVPD collects donations in order to feed 400 needy families in our community. You can join in on the food basket making and delivery. It’s so special to hand-deliver these baskets to families and witness their immense gratitude for the donation! This year, the event will take place on Sunday, November 20 at 9 AM at the police station.

Get Out and Be Active

What better way to soak up the fresh November air than to get up early and race your hardest, all before most people have woken up? This race never fails to bring out huge crowds on the holiday morning, so it must be a great event.

If you are bored around New Year’s, you can do the Hot Chocolate 5K in San Francisco and get none other than hot chocolate at the finish line!

Play a sports game on the holidays.
If your folks are the sporty type, you might find it much more healthy to spend your Thanksgiving out on the soccer or football field rather than drowning yourself in gravy and turkey. A little healthy competition never hurt anyone.

How will you be getting into the holiday spirit this year? Hopefully you can take advantage of one these opportunities and have a very festive season! 

Post by Katia G., Homework Assistant

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Homemade Halloween

Now that Halloween is over, it's time to start thinking about next year's costume!

Forget synthetic fabrics and store-bought costumes for Halloween. The best costumes aren’t the ones that you purchase at the party store the night before, nor the ones that match every other kid trick-or-treating. The best ones are original but iconic, and going the homemade route can really give it that authentic feel.

If you can sew, then think of your dream Halloween costume. Awesome. You can probably make it. Find some amazing patterns at Jo-Ann’s to make your look.
If you don’t have a knack for sewing, never fear, that's why I'm here! I bet with just the items in your closet alone, you can dress up as nearly any human character. Try these ideas to start.

Go for the decades looks!
Throw on a black leather jacket, blue jeans, and white tee to look like the slickest kid straight out of the 50s. Wear any patterned shirt and pants and you’ll achieve that strange mod look that defined the 70s. Or, throw on your tie dye and hold your fingers in a permanent peace sign to become a hippie.

Do a funny group costume!
Think Wayne’s World, Napoleon Dynamite, Carl and Russel from UP, or Scooby Doo characters.

Be an iconic movie character!
Get a red cap and a white shirt and become Forrest Gump. Run, Forrest, Run! Or, go running as Rocky Balboa in his iconic jog through Philadelphia: just wear several layers of gray cotton sweats and you’ve got it down!

If you’re looking for a specific item, say an orange jacket, that you don’t have laying around, just take a peek inside a thrift store and I bet you will find the perfect thing.

Channel your childhood!
How fun would it be to dress up as Dora the Explorer? A pink shirt, orange shorts, and purple backpack seals the deal. Or, you could be a “big kid” by wearing some footsie pajamas, a pacifier, and carrying a teddy bear.

Throw it back to 90’s flicks!
Wednesday Addams might be a common costume, but a pretty awesome and easy one at that. Black braids, black clothes, and a permanent frown are all you need. On the other end of the spectrum, you can be one of the girls from Clueless.

Be a strong, independent woman.
It just takes an aviator hat and leather jacket to become Amelia Earhart, or a denim shirt and red bandana to be Rosie the Riveter. Show off your feminism with pride.

I would love to hear how you dress up for Halloween, one of my favorite nights of the year! 

Post by Katia G., Homework Assistant