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1. Compliment the first three people you talk to.

2. Write a hand-written note to a teacher.

3. Say good morning to the person next to you on the elevator.

4. Pick up litter. Spend 10 minutes cleaning a park or your neighborhood.

5. Place uplifting notes in library books, on restroom mirrors, on someone’s locker, or on their computer screen.

6. Dedicate 24 hours to spreading positivity on social media.

7. Hold up inspiring signs during rush hour.

8. Leave a generous tip.

9. Send flowers to a friend.

10. Set an alarm to go off three times on World Kindness Day. When the alarm sounds, stop what you’re doing a call/text/email someone simply to tell them how awesome they are.

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The origins of Mardi Gras can be traced to medieval Europe, passing through Rome and Venice in the 17th and 18th centuries to the French House of the Bourbons. From here, the traditional revelry of “Boeuf Gras,” or fatted calf, followed France to her colonies.

On March 2, 1699, French-Canadian explorer Jean Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville arrived at a plot of ground 60 miles directly south of New Orleans, and named it “Pointe du Mardi Gras” when his men realized it was the eve of the festive holiday. Bienville also established “Fort Louis de la Louisiane” (which is now Mobile) in 1702. In 1703, the tiny settlement of Fort Louis de la Mobile celebrated America’s very first Mardi Gras.

In 1704, Mobile established a secret society (Masque de la Mobile), similar to those that form our current Mardi Gras krewes. It lasted until 1709. In 1710, the “Boeuf Gras Society” was formed and paraded from 1711 through 1861. The procession was held with a huge bull’s head pushed along on wheels by 16 men. Later, Rex would parade with an actual bull, draped in white and signaling the coming Lenten meat fast. This occurred on Fat Tuesday.

New Orleans was established in 1718 by Bienville. By the 1730s, Mardi Gras was celebrated openly in New Orleans, but not with the parades we know today. In the early 1740s, Louisiana’s governor, the Marquis de Vaudreuil, established elegant society balls, which became the model for the New Orleans Mardi Gras balls of today.

The earliest reference to Mardi Gras “Carnival” appears in a 1781 report to the Spanish colonial governing body. That year, the Perseverance Benevolent & Mutual Aid Association was the first of hundreds of clubs and carnival organizations formed in New Orleans.

By the late 1830s, New Orleans held street processions of maskers with carriages and horseback riders to celebrate Mardi Gras. Dazzling gaslight torches, or “flambeaux,” lit the way for the krewe’s members and lent each event an exciting air of romance and festivity. In 1856, six young Mobile natives formed the Mistick Krewe of Comus, invoking John Milton’s hero Comus to represent their organization. Comus brought magic and mystery to New Orleans with dazzling floats (known as tableaux cars) and masked balls. Krewe members remained anonymous.


In 1870, Mardi Gras’ second Krewe, the Twelfth Night Revelers, was formed. This is also the first recorded account of Mardi Gras “throws.”

Newspapers began to announce Mardi Gras events in advance, and they even printed “Carnival Edition” lithographs of parades’ fantastic float designs (after they rolled, of course – themes and floats were always carefully guarded before the procession). At first, these reproductions were small, and details could not be clearly seen. But beginning in 1886 with Proteus’ parade “Visions of Other Worlds,” these chromolithographs could be produced in full, saturated color, doing justice to the float and costume designs of Carlotta Bonnecase, Charles Briton and B.A. Wikstrom. Each of these designers’ work was brought to life by talented Parisian paper-mache’ artist Georges Soulie’, who for 40 years was responsible for creating all of Carnival’s floats and processional outfits.

1872 was the year that a group of businessmen invented a King of Carnival, Rex, to preside over the first daytime parade. To honor the visiting Russian Grand Duke Alexis Romanoff, the businessmen introduced Romanoff’s family colors of purple, green and gold as Carnival’s official colors. Purple stands for justice; gold for power; and green for faith. This was also the Mardi Gras season that Carnival’s improbable anthem, “If Ever I Cease to Love,” was cemented, due in part to the Duke’s fondness for the tune.

The following year, floats began to be constructed entirely in New Orleans instead of France, culminating with Comus’ magnificent “The Missing Links to Darwin’s Origin of Species,” in which exotic paper-mache’ animal costumes served as the basis for Comus to mock both Darwin’s theory and local officials, including Governor Henry Warmoth. In 1875, Governor Warmoth signed the “Mardi Gras Act,” making Fat Tuesday a legal holiday in Louisiana, which it still is.

Like Comus and the Twelfth Night Revelers, most Mardi Gras krewes today developed from private social clubs with restrictive membership policies. Since all of these parade organizations are completely funded by their members, New Orleanians call it the “Greatest Free Show on Earth!”

Site: https://www.mardigrasneworleans.com/history/

Moving to Texas Guide

It’s no wonder people are flocking to the Lone Star State. Not only is Texas the second most populated state in the U.S., it is also physically one of the largest and fastest-growing states in the country. From the scrumptious beef brisket to the booming economy, there is a lot to love about Texas. Thankfully, there’s a Texas city to fit every person’s unique budget and lifestyle.

While finding your new home in Texas will be exciting, it will pose some new challenges. We’ve put together a quick and comprehensive moving-to-Texas guide to help you get a head start!

1. Be Prepared for Warmer Weather 

Texas is big, and conditions can vary widely, depending on where you live within the state. From humid to dry, from moderate to extreme, Texas weather is an experience.

Summers are generally hot and temperatures average in the mid to upper 90s, while winters average around the mid-60s with rare drops if there is an occasional cold front that comes through the state. Texas averages more tornadoes per year than any other state, and the Gulf Coast has been hit by several major hurricanes including Carla (1961), Celia (1970), Ike (2008), and Harvey (2017).

We’ve all seen memes and made jokes about it, but the truth is the weather in Texas is highly unpredictable. Did you know Alvin, Texas, holds the infamous record for the most rain ever to fall in the U.S. in a 24-hour period?  It took place during Tropical Storm Claudette in 1979, in which 43 inches of rainfall occurred. Read more fun Texas facts here.

If you don’t love warm weather, it might be best to reconsider your move. On the other hand, if you are someone who thrives on it, moving to Texas is the best decision you have made!

2. Lower Taxes

Texas is one of only seven states where residents pay no state income tax. The state sales tax isn’t very high either. There are also several tax incentives for businesses. According to Forbes, “Texas encourages business ownership through lower taxes and less burdensome regulations.”

Visit https://businessintexas.com/ to learn more about the competitive tax climate Texas offers and its advantages.

3. Real Estate is Affordable

Texans are big on home ownership. According to zillow.com, the median home value for homes for sale in Texas is about $184,700. While Texas home values have gone up 6.7 percent over the past year and a rise is expected over the next 12 months, it’s still far less than the national average.

If you are planning on moving to Texas, livability.com rates these as the 5 best cities for raising families in Texas:

Harker Heights

This small town offers families several great options for spending quality family time including lakes, community parks, trails and a host of other activities to engage in including bowling, skating, boating and camping.

Population: 28,199

Median Home Price: $64,494

Pearland

Popular as one of the safest neighborhoods to live in, the crime rate in this suburb of Houston is significantly lower than the national average. The Pearland Town Center offers several dining and shopping options. The city’s proximity to major job hubs is also a big plus for residents.

Population: 101,725

Median Home Price: $185,400

Little Elm

This fast-growing suburb of Dallas is popular with active families. Five local community parks including McCord Park and Little Elm Park host a variety of city events and festivals.

Population: 32,581

Median Home Price: $167,200

Round Rock

Close to the state capital, Austin, Round Rock offers its residents the best of both small-town charm and the conveniences of a big city. It is known as the “Sports Capital of Texas,” because of its central location and premier destination for amateur, youth and recreational sports in the state. The city is home to the AAA Pacific League minor league baseball team, Round Rock Express and several other great sports facilities. Significant employers including Dell, IBM and IKEA have offices here.

Population: 109,690

Median Home Price: $179,900

Frisco

Residents of this city send their kids to schools ranking in the top 10 percent in the state by GreatSchools.org. The city is also home to the Frisco Heritage Museum.

Population: 137,797

Median Home Price: $277,600

While the cost of living varies from city to city, most Texas cities are well below the national average. It’s always best to do your own research before the big move and   

make the best choice for your family. GreatSchools is a useful resource for information about schools in your chosen city, including ratings and reviews.

4. You’ll Save on Electricity Bills

Texas has a deregulated electricity market, meaning consumers can choose their energy supplier. This allows you to select the company that best fits the needs of your home and family. You’re also free to change providers. If you’re coming from a regulated market, that might sound risky. Don’t worry – you’ll never experience service interruptions when you switch. Typically, once you have chosen your new plan, it takes about seven business days for the change to go into effect, and you will get your first bill from your selected provider during their next billing cycle without any interruptions to your service.

The Public Utility Commission of Texas has created some excellent resources for shopping rates and providers. Visit Power to Choose or Power to Save to help get you started and see the options available to you.

5. A Booming Job Market

The unconventional oil and gas boom over the past few years has turned Texas into an economic juggernaut. According to Forbes.com, even though the population has increased by 12.6 percent since the 2010 census, the robust  job market has been able to sustain the growth.

The Lone Star State is strong in the petroleum, wind energy, healthcare, education and technology sectors. Some of its major employers include Shell, Texas A&M University, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Dell, ExxonMobil, and Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company.

6. Foodie’s Paradise 

The great state of Texas is a melting pot of culinary comforts. Chiles everywhere, buffets of Tex-Mex cuisine, barbeque and happy-hours are just a few of the multitude of gastronomic experiences this state offers. There are plenty of options to satisfy your wandering palate, and resisting the temptations of fresh guacamole and mouthwatering fajitas is a hard job, trust me!

7. Heavy Traffic is a Part of Texas Life

The first thing you’ll notice about the Lone Star State is that things are spread out geographically. Unfortunately, one of the very real challenges you will have to face is the lack of comprehensive public transit. Every city-dwelling Texan will tell you they have had to deal with the frustration of long hours spent sitting in traffic.

Unless you are living within a 3-4-mile radius of your workplace, you will spend a lot of time commuting. Traffic is awful as the roads in most areas have not kept pace with the ever-growing population, so be prepared for the inevitable.

8. Everything Is Bigger Here

If you’re one of those folks who like things small, then Texas is not the state for you. The geography isn’t the only oversized item – literally everything is bigger! Food portions are huge, the shopping malls are enormous, houses are big, roads are large… The list goes on. The saying “everything is bigger in Texas” likely originated as a reference to the enormity of the state’s geographical area. In terms of square miles, Texas is only second to Alaska in size, and it is the largest of the contiguous 48 states.

Moving Advice – Quick Tips 

  1. Choosing your moving company: When researching moving companies, check to be sure the company you choose has a TxDMV license before hiring them. Find more tips on how to find a moving company here.
  2. Changing Your Address: Ideally, you’ll want to update your address information online with USPS a week before your move. Then you can be assured your mail is moving along with you, and you’ll receive coupons in the mail to help you save in your new neighborhood.
  3. Driver’s Licenses, Vehicle Registrations, Voter’s Registrations etc.: You’ll find all the information you’ll need on the official website for the State of Texas.
  • Driver’s Licenses: Law dictates that you must secure a Texas driver’s license within 90 days of moving to the state. Find more information here.
  • Voter Registration: The Texas Secretary of State’s gov site will give you all the details on how you can register to vote in Texas and the polling location for your new address.
  • Vehicle Registration: Visit the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles for more information on how to get your vehicle registered in Texas.

Check out our Moving Hub for a wealth of resources to aid in your preparations for your big move. We have checklists to help you get organized, packing tips, moving hacks and more:

SOURCE: https://www.directenergy.com/moving/moving-to-texas-guide-things-to-expect

Mine is #LoveJones

Darius Lovehall:

Say, baby… can I be Your slave? I’ve got to admit girl you’re the shit girl… and I’m digging you like a grave. Now, do they call you Daughter to the Spinning Pulsar… or maybe Queen of 10,000 moons? Sister to the Distant yet Rising Star? Is your name Yemaya? Oh, hell no. Its got to be Oshun. Oooh, is that a smile me put on your face, child… wide as a field of jasmine and clover? Talk that talk, honey. Walk that walk, money. High on legs that’ll spite Jehovah. Shit. Who am I? It’s not important. But me they call me brother to the night. And right now… I’m the blues in yourleft thigh… trying to become the funk in your right. Who am I? I’ll be whoever you say? But right now I’m the sight-raped hunter… blindly pursuing you as my prey. And I just want to give you injections… of sublime erections… and get you to dance to my rhythm… make you dream archetypes… of black angels in flight… upon wings of distorted, contorted… metaphoric jizm. Come on slim. F*** your man. I ain’t worried about him. It’s you who I want to step to my scene. ’cause rather the deal with the fallacy… of this dry-ass reality… I’d rather dance and romance your sweet ass in a wet dream. Who am I? Well, they call me Brother to the night. And right now I’m the blues in your left thigh… trying to become the funk in your right. Is that all right?

Single? Join the FB group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/IveGotALoveJones/

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