Sunday, November 10, 2019

Library Haul 2019 (Nov 10 - 16)



Library Haul


Here's the list of books/manga/manhwa/yaoi manga I picked up this week at the library:

Hardcover:

1. Hounds of the Basket Stitch - Anne Canadeo

Friday, November 8, 2019

Theresa Piasta's Raising A Doodle Blog Tour with a Spotlight, Guest Post and Q and A

 

I am so excited to have Theresa Piasta here at Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews with a Spotlight and Q and A.

Thanks Theresa and PR by the Books for allowing me to join your Raising A Doodle Blog Tour!

Please take it away, Theresa!




100+ Uplifting Stories (and Photos!) of Lovable Dogs Who Are Changing Lives

How a service dog named Waffles inspired an Iraq War Veteran to build a tech start-up

and lifestyle brand for dog moms that is creating a more dog-friendly world

Website: https://puppymama.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/puppy.mama/

FB: https://www.facebook.com/PuppyMamaCommunity

Twitter: https://twitter.com/PuppyMamaDotCom

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FazcblX-9NA&t=6s

App: https://app.puppymama.com/auth

Raising a Doodle: Heartwarming Stories from Dog Parents Around the World

Doodles, crossbreeds that are part poodle, have exploded in popularity in the last 5 years. The tag #doodlesofinstagram has over 4 million posts. One specific breed of these living teddy bears, #goldendoodle has 5.3 million pictures. At the heart of ‘Doodlemania’ are dog mom communities who come together to share the joy of their fluffy companions at dog parks, ‘doodle romps’, yappy hours, and even workplace events. Celebrities such as Ellen Degeneres, Bradley Cooper, Usher, Blake Lively, Rihanna are all doodle parents.

According to Dr. Stanley Coren, an expert in canine psychology, poodles are one of the smartest dog breeds, second only to border collies. They also shed less and are known for being a better breed option for people with allergies. From Aussiedoodles to Whoodles, there are more than 75 different breed combinations – each with their own lovable traits.

In Puppy Mama’s first book Raising a Doodle, readers find dog expert interviews from specialists in canine therapy, grooming, veterinary, and training fields, along with practical tips, tricks, how-tos, and advice. But most important are the 100+ stories (and adorable full color photos) from this community of doodle moms. Many stories are adorably entertaining. Others are heartwarming examples of how these dogs have changed lives for the better – helping their owners through serious physical and mental illness with their furry heroism.

As an Iraq War Veteran, author and Puppy Mama Founder Theresa Piasta is also passionate about helping military veterans. 5% of the net proceeds from this book will be donated to help Canine Companions train service dogs for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Raising a Doodle shares practical tips and tricks about:

● How to survive crate and potty training

● Speaking your pup’s language: How do I know what my puppy is trying to tell me?

● Is your pup socialized and well-behaved enough to bring him/her out and about?

● 20 toxic and unhealthy foods that your pup should never eat

● Advice to keep your dog happy and healthy

● Socialization and training tips for older dogs






About the Author

Before founding Puppy Mama, Theresa Piasta served in the U.S. Army as a Captain and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for her leadership in Iraq during her fourteen-month deployment from 2008-2009.

After leaving the military in the aftermath of the financial crisis, Theresa transitioned to a Wall Street Sales and Trading career, spending six total years at two Wall Street banks (later becoming a vice president at J.P. Morgan) – compounding the stress she had experienced in the military. For years, Theresa struggled with pain and suffering that was later diagnosed as PTSD. In time, Theresa turned her attention to her health, which included a new puppy named Waffles, whom she calls “a 13-pound ball of fluffy puppy happiness.” Having Waffles in her life inspired Theresa to take on a project that has grown into a tech start-up and lifestyle brand. Puppy Mama is a platform leveraging technology to deliver community and convenience to dog moms around the world so that they may live a more connected and joyful dog-friendly lifestyle.

Since Theresa shared her story, over a thousand women have submitted their own stories to Puppy Mama about how their dogs are healing them and bringing joy to their lives. These stories are the foundation for the Puppy Mama book series. Theresa wrote Puppy Mama’s first book, Raising a Doodle, with her long time friend and Wellesley College classmate Audrey Courchesne, a writer who’s built a career in publishing, marketing, and communications after receiving an English degree from Wellesley. Audrey shares Theresa’s passion for supporting women and creating community and has loved connecting with doodle moms from around the world to help tell their stories.

Theresa’s latest passion project is Pups for Veterans. Ever since Theresa discovered the power of canine therapy through her pup Waffles, she became eager to help match other female veterans with service dogs to help them heal. Pups for Veterans brings awareness to the female veteran health crisis, and recommends scaling canine therapy from trained service dogs as a proven impactful solution.

Discussion Topics

● The suicide rate for female veterans has soared 85% in recent years. Theresa explains the overwhelming need for canine therapy and why “Pups for Veterans” is crucial and how others can get involved

● The healing power of canine therapy: true stories from real women with photos of these special heroes and their moms

● The book inspires the dog-friendly lifestyle that dog moms want

● The rising trends of the ‘humanization of pets’, and the various humanlike characteristics of poodle-mix breeds

● The most shocking or heartwarming stories in Theresa’s book and community

● Tips on photographing your pup and why Instagram is filled with women with their pups

● Navigating the holidays with your doodle: tips for boarding, traveling, meeting new family

Book specs:

SparkPress
Pub date: November 4, 2019
Print ISBN: 978-1-68463-020-2
$34.95
E-book ISBN: 978-1-68463-021-9
$12.95

Guest Post

Women Unite Through Puppy Love

Dogs facilitate positive interactions with other people.

While on my own healing journey, I personally experienced how powerful these positive interactions were for my own healthy recovery and overall well-being. At a time when I felt “alone” and not understood, Waffles changed all of that. While with Waffles, every interaction we had (and continue to have) together with other people was (and remains) positive and joyful, and she became my connection back to community.

In time, I learned how impactful building a positive community could be for others. She inspired me to build a community of women who love their dogs like family–a safe and supportive place for other women coping with pain to share their stories, a place where they were heard, understood and welcomed.

The women in the Puppy Mama community understand how special the dog-parent bond is, and how a furry best friend can brighten your home and community. They share amazing stories, post beautiful pictures of their adorable pups, and connect with each other in person and over social media. For many women, sharing their experiences online has led to friendships with other dog moms offline.

Dogs help their moms in so many ways. Women share that they are happier and more fulfilled with their pups in their lives. Many have expressed that their pups fill voids in their hearts that they did not even know were there in the first place. Their pups get them out to exercise and to meet and connect with new people, and help them to focus on the present. Even during bad days, pups help women to forget their troubles with their playful antics: from showering them with kisses to looking like they found heaven in an exciting new stick. Coming home to a furry best friend is never lonely, with a ball of fluff running at you with so much love and excitement because you finally made it back home to them.

At a time when social media has been used to foster negativity and divisiveness – our loving and compassionate community has proven that it doesn’t have to be. This medium can be used to spread joy and build positive interactions with other people.

And that’s why I love the Puppy Mama community; our members spread joy and acceptance to one another; and the way they interact with one another is absolutely beautiful.


TOP 22 ways doodles are acting more and more like humans.


They give the BEST hugs!


https://www.instagram.com/p/BsJlSy7g2Zu/


They smile:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BppaUn1Ae8x/


They go on road trips with their friends

https://www.instagram.com/p/BvCMpKmgNyH/



They go to happy hours (AKA "yappy hours"):

https://www.instagram.com/p/BmTNucogvgH/


They wear snow booties and hit the slopes:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BtEGMwJgpft/


They dress up in jammies:

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bs3-tfwgmYP/


They love to snuggle in bed:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BoMTQzxAY4h/


They love to brunch!

https://www.instagram.com/p/BsmBq8IA7LE/



They love kisses!

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bq2UfVsABwt/


They dance at weddings:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BsdTtiTggGa/


They go to the ball park:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BnXdTl3gS2W/


They love to go on adventures

https://www.instagram.com/p/BqSRs5ZAPOf/


They bundle up

https://www.instagram.com/p/BpHi8NWA0Aj/


They enjoy going to cafes

https://www.instagram.com/p/BmRwoQhgCLw/


They make amazing eye contact

https://www.instagram.com/p/BmRwoQhgCLw/


They love water sports

https://www.instagram.com/p/BmRwoQhgCLw/


They celebrate their birthdays

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bo2OuGaAgwv/


They go to holiday parties:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BrSmlrPAqnI/

They have human siblings

https://www.instagram.com/p/BiLA-39gIzK/

They attend meet-ups called "Doodle Romps":

https://www.instagram.com/p/BidHM7oAdMQ/

They give high fives!

They go to the office:

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bhbp1e0gf1W/


“Raising a Doodle: Heartwarming Stories from Dog Parents Around the World"


Amazon

Target

Walmart

Barnes  and Noble

Puppy Mama

Q/A

Where did you grow up /live now?

– Born and raised: Santa Rosa, CA

– Live Now: San Francisco, CA


As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

– a lawyer


What is your education/career background?

– Stanford GSB Ignite 2016

–Wellesley College, B.A. in economics 2006

– MIT: Military Science and ROTC scholarship recipient


Do you have kids and/or pets?

– 6 month old son: Colin


– Dog: Cavapoo Waffles (50% king charles cavalier, 50% toy poodle)


When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? Or what first inspired you to write?

I was compelled to share my story 3 years ago to encourage others to share; since sharing my story on Veterans Day, we (at Puppy Mama) have received about 1000 heartfelt stories from women around the world how their dogs help inspire and heal them. I became eager to “bottle up” these joyful and powerful stories into books.


From the more than 1000 submitted stories how dogs are helping heal and inspire women around the world, we've discovered that each dog breed has a unique story to share. The first book in the Puppy Mama series focuses on poodle-mix breeds, and how they are taking over Instagram ("by storm") and bringing joy and laughter to families and communities around the world.


With the help of my Wellesley College classmate Audrey Courchesne, we worked hard to churn hundreds of story and photo submissions into Raising a Doodle: Heartwarming Stories from Dog Parents Around the World. 5% of the net proceeds of the book will be donated to help train service dogs for military veterans in need.


Canine therapy stories: Hundreds of the stories that have been submitted to Puppy Mama center around how their dog has helped them cope emotionally (this content is fueling our book series). A sample of these stories:


In book: Infertility + Depression

Share: Traumatic Pedestrian Accident Recovery, including PTSD

In book: Chronic Pain relief story

Crohn’s disease + depression


What was your inspiration for launching Puppy Mama?


Before Puppy Mama, I thought I was a “hard ass” living an intense life  —  from collegiate soccer, to 4 years active duty in the Army and a 14-month deployment to Iraq War, to Wall Street sales and trading life. Eventually, the high stress of those environments caught up to me. It crept up on me through anxiety, horrible migraines and depression. I was ultimately diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (“PTSD”).

But, summer 2015 is when I met an angel who along with my husband helped me survive the most painful year of my life. Waffles, a 13-pound ball of fluffy puppy happiness, was there every moment to help me get through significant suffering and sadness. She comforted me when I needed it most, and never failed to put a smile on my face. Her love is contagious — she spreads laughter and happiness to everyone she meets. To this day, she continues to remind me daily to embrace life and search for love and joy.

Throughout the first year raising Waffles, I discovered that I wasn’t alone in the love that I felt for her —  that there were other women who were as passionate about their dogs as I was, who wanted to include their dogs in their daily lives. I also learned that canine therapy is very helpful for many illnesses  —  including PTSD.


Knowing how much canine therapy helped me, and learning how much it can help with other issues as well, I was inspired to create a community of women who provide positivity and advocate for others, whose lives have been changed by their dogs. From women dealing with heavily stigmatized illnesses such as anxiety and depression to women who have found joy in their pup, I wanted to empower women to live their best lives, and advocate for canine therapy for those in need.

Today, Puppy Mama is leveraging technology to deliver community and convenience to dog moms around the world so that they may live a more connected and joyful dog-friendly lifestyle. Together, the Puppy Mama community is advocating for a more dog-friendly world and for the healing power of canine therapy.


What do you consider Puppy Mama’s greatest business achievement so far?

Due to Puppy Mama’s focus on two emerging trends (1) the humanization of pets, and (2) the explosive growth of mass affluent dog moms, Puppy Mama was selected as a Spotlight Finalist at Pets and Money 2018 conference and featured in Forbes article: The Biggest Trends of The Pet Industry.


What do you consider Puppy Mama’s greatest impact so far?

Many have shared their mental health and illness stories for the first time on our platform; and women who are experiencing pain and suffering have told us how thrilled they were to find a platform that offers a safe place to discuss their battles to overcome various hardships, including PTSD, depression and anxiety. Puppy Mama is a movement to end mental health stigmas and we have created this safe and trusted place for women to share  —  I am incredibly proud of this.

One strong memory: a year ago, I teared up immediately after reading the heartfelt story we received from a Canadian woman, who was fighting through a lot of pain (including PTSD, anxiety and depression) after she was hit by a car as a pedestrian crossing the street  —  and ultimately found healing, comfort and strength from a dog she rescued from a shelter after the accident. When we shared her story as our “top story,” she immediately reshared the article to her family and friends on Facebook with a beautiful note how our platform helped her share her healing journey story — witnessing the consequential outpouring of love and support her family and friends gave to her, warmed my heart so much.

And, this is only one of the hundreds of healing stories that we’ve received and shared. When we ask women to share how their dogs help them, I’m so touched how they share such personal vulnerable stories. Their stories have become “love” letters to their furry best friends who’ve helped them cope with loss, tragedy and suffering. These stories have fueled my passion to keep this loving community growing, and are the foundation of our book series.


Why do you think Waffles has been so instrumental in your healing?

After numerous years struggling to overcome a painful illness incurred during my military service, I met Waffles, an angel who helped me survive the most difficult year of my life. Despite all of the obstacles I have had to overcome throughout the years, battling PTSD was my Everest.

Waffles, a 13-pound ball of fluffy puppy happiness, was there every moment to help me get through significant pain. She comforted me when I needed it most, and never failed to put a smile on my face. Her love is contagious – she spreads laughter and happiness to anyone she meets. And, she reminded me every day to embrace life and search for love and joy.

She also helped me to focus on the present and realize that we were "in it" together as a team–she curled up next to me when I was in pain and forced me to get fresh air and exercise on days I wanted to stay indoors. And, she brought out the loving side in me that I feel had been missing for years... I started to connect with new people in a positive way – all because of her. (I now call this the "Waffles introduction")

The unconditional love and companionship gifted to me from my angel Waffles became not only a powerful form of healing, but also became my connection back to community. While with Waffles, every interaction we have had together with other people was (and remains) positive and joyful, and learned how powerful building a positive community could be for others. She inspired me to start the Puppy Mama loving and compassionate community, and a safe and supportive place for other women coping with pain to share their stories–a place where they were heard, understood and welcomed.

And, being Waffles's mama, I've also learned many of the unique traits of poodle-mix breeds. So every time another doodle mama shared a similar silly anecdote, trait, mannerism, and/or story, how their doodle was helping her health and/or relationship (out of the 1000+ submitted stories), I knew that this breed (and all breeds) have a unique story to share. We started to work on Raising a Doodle first – with the goal to share the stories of other breeds as well in future books.


What is a memorable example of a specific time Waffles helped you through a difficult time?

Waffles always knows when I am not feeling well; she will rush right over to me, look at me with empathetic eyes, lick my leg to help me think positively and then curl right up next to me. These acts of pure unconditional love became a routine. From battling PTSD to navigating experiences with my recent pregnancy–Waffles has been there for me through everything during the past 4 years. I am forever grateful for her and our special bond.


When you are struggling to write/have writer’s block, what are some ways that help you find your creative muse again?

Coffee!


And...

I am so appreciative to the Puppy Mama community for all of their heartfelt story submissions. So many of their stories help me think about what topics to focus on next.

And, as the Founder of Puppy Mama, there are many other aspects of the business that need tending to. Finding the balance to move writing projects forward, while also running a business has its challenges. I have found that it is important for me to set aside time to focus on writing/designing the book.


What do you think makes a good story?

Stories of healing from canine therapy:

Dogs make people happy and bring us together in a positive way...add a powerful healing story, the “happiness level” skyrockets.


How does a new story idea come to you?

We’ve received over 1000 stories from dog parents around the world – these stories are fueling my passion to cover new topics that would help dog parents train, raise and take care of a furry best friend–as well as spread the word how much dogs can help people cope and/or heal in a variety of ways.

And, through raising Waffles, I’ve personally have been working hard to take good care of her, and in time, have learned various opportunities to help other dog parents navigate obstacles caring for their pups, as well.

Is there a message/theme in your book that you want readers to grasp?

● Dogs are family

● Dogs can help people cope with pain, tragedy, mental illness and loss

● Dogs bring us together

● How to properly train, raise and care for a dog

● How to build a lifelong bond with a furry best friend

● Poodle-mix breeds are bringing the world tremendous joy

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?

My goal was to create a book that brought the Instagram (photo + text sharing) to life.

Creating a beautiful layout for a photo book with the ~1000 submitted photos was challenging. From matching the photos to the text, to matching photo moods in each layout, to visual challenges after converting photos from RGB to CMYK, I learned so much throughout this book design journey that will help us with our future books.


What was your greatest challenge in writing this book?

The peak of the milestone-related due dates for this book (design and print) were during my last month of pregnancy, and my son arrived 2.5 weeks earlier than expected! I am so grateful to my husband and mother for helping me so much take care of our newborn son, especially during the first week after he was born, to help me have the space I needed to work on getting this project closer to the finish line.


When they say “It Takes a Village” – it most certainly does! Taking care of babies and dogs can be a team effort.

In Raising a Doodle, we discuss how raising a puppy “takes a village,” as well.


On a Friday night, what are you most likely to be doing?

Like other parents, work and raising a family keep our calendars full, and as an entrepreneur, I often found myself working through Friday nights and throughout the weekends.

After our son was born, my husband and I’ve learned how important it is to make the time to spend 1x1 time with one another. This has become so important to us, that we’ve maintained a calendar block on our calendars to ensure that we schedule a sitter in advance–holding us accountable to make the night happen.

We are so grateful for this ability to take a couple of hours out of the apartment 1x1 and I realize that not every couple has the capability to do so. For those who can, I highly recommend scheduling a sitter and/or ask a family member to help so you and your partner can work on maintaining a happy and healthy relationship.


What do you like to do when you are not working on Puppy Mama?

Spending time with my adorable “kiddos” – Colin + Waffles.


Who are some of your favorite authors?

Business Inspiration: Malcolm Gladwell
Overall creativity: J.K. Rowlings


Do you have a bucket list? What are some of the things on it?

– Grow Puppy Mama to be the “Glossier” for the pet industry.

– Travel to 100 countries (I’ve been to 29 to date)


Have you won any awards or honors (not just for writing)?

Bronze Star Medal Recipient (Iraq War 2008-2009)


Spotlight Finalist at Kisaco Research’s Pets & Money 2018 Conference


Other Military Awards:

Global War on Terror Service Medal

Army Commendation Medal

National Defense Service Medal

Iraq Campaign Medal with Campaign Star (2 awards)

Overseas Service Ribbon

Army Achievement Medal


What person(s) has/have helped you the most in your career?

I am so thankful for my parents; I am 4th of 7 children and my parents sacrificed so much to give me every opportunity to learn and grow.


And I am so thankful to my husband’s unconditional love and continuous support to me – to build a community that encourages joyful interactions with other people.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Library Haul 2019 (Nov 3 - 9)



Library Haul


Here's the list of books/manga/manhwa/yaoi manga I picked up this week at the library:

Hardcover:

1. Christmas Cocoa Murder - Carlene O'Connor
2. Peach Clobbered - Anna Gerard

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Pan de Muertos (Mexican Bread of the Dead)

 


Ingredients 

1/4 cup margarine
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons anise seed
1/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons orange zest
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon orange zest
2 tablespoons white sugar

Directions

1.  Heat the milk and the butter together in a medium saucepan, until the butter melts. Remove from the heat and add them warm water. The mixture should be around 110 degrees F (43 degrees C).

2.  In a large bowl combine 1 cup of the flour, yeast, salt, anise seed and 1/4 cup of the sugar. Beat in the warm milk mixture then add the eggs and orange zest and beat until well combined. Stir in 1/2 cup of flour and continue adding more flour until the dough is soft.

3.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic.

4.  Place the dough into a lightly greased bowl cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size. This will take about 1 to 2 hours. Punch the dough down and shape it into a large round loaf with a round knob on top. Place dough onto a baking sheet, loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until just about doubled in size.

5.  Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) oven for about 35 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven let cool slightly then brush with glaze.

6.  To make glaze: In a small saucepan combine the 1/4 cup sugar, orange juice and orange zest. Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil for 2 minutes. Brush over top of bread while still warm. Sprinkle glazed bread with white sugar.

Footnotes

You may substitute 1/2 teaspoon anise extract for the anise seeds. 









Day of the Dead

Day of the Dead (Spanish: Día de Muertos) is a Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico, in particular the Central and South regions, and by people of Mexican ancestry living in other places, especially the United States. It is acknowledged internationally in many other cultures. The multi-day holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died, and help support their spiritual journey. In 2008, the tradition was inscribed in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.

The holiday is sometimes called Día de los Muertos in Anglophone countries, a back-translation of its original name, Día de Muertos. It is particularly celebrated in Mexico where the day is a public holiday. Prior to Spanish colonization in the 16th century, the celebration took place at the beginning of summer. Gradually, it was associated with October 31, November 1, and November 2 to coincide with the Western Christianity triduum of Allhallowtide: All Saints' Eve, All Saints' Day, and All Souls' Day. Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars called ofrendas, honoring the deceased using calaveras, aztec marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed, and visiting graves with these as gifts. Visitors also leave possessions of the deceased at the graves.

Scholars trace the origins of the modern Mexican holiday to indigenous observances dating back hundreds of years and to an Aztec festival dedicated to the goddess Mictecacihuatl. The holiday has spread throughout the world, being absorbed into other deep traditions in honor of the dead. It has become a national symbol and as such is taught (for educational purposes) in the nation's schools. Many families celebrate a traditional "All Saints' Day" associated with the Catholic Church.

Originally, the Day of the Dead as such was not celebrated in northern Mexico, where it was unknown until the 20th century because its indigenous people had different traditions. The people and the church rejected it as a day related to syncretizing pagan elements with Catholic Christianity. They held the traditional 'All Saints' Day' in the same way as other Christians in the world. There was limited Mesoamerican influence in this region, and relatively few indigenous inhabitants from the regions of Southern Mexico, where the holiday was celebrated. In the early 21st century in northern Mexico, Día de Muertos is observed because the Mexican government made it a national holiday based on educational policies from the 1960s; it has introduced this holiday as a unifying national tradition based on indigenous traditions.

The Mexican Day of the Dead celebration is similar to other societies' observances of a time to honor the dead. The Spanish tradition, for instance, includes festivals and parades, as well as gatherings of families at cemeteries to pray for their deceased loved ones at the end of the day.

Observance in Mexico 

Origins


The Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico developed from ancient traditions among its pre-Columbian cultures. Rituals celebrating the deaths of ancestors had been observed by these civilizations perhaps for as long as 2,500–3,000 years. The festival that developed into the modern Day of the Dead fell in the ninth month of the Aztec calendar, about the beginning of August, and was celebrated for an entire month. The festivities were dedicated to the goddess known as the "Lady of the Dead", corresponding to the modern La Calavera Catrina.

By the late 20th century in most regions of Mexico, practices had developed to honor dead children and infants on November 1, and to honor deceased adults on November 2. November 1 is generally referred to as Día de los Inocentes ("Day of the Innocents") but also as Día de los Angelitos ("Day of the Little Angels"); November 2 is referred to as Día de los Muertos or Día de los Difuntos ("Day of the Dead").


Food

During Day of the Dead festivities, food is both eaten by living people and given to the spirits of their departed ancestors as ofrendas ("offerings").  Tamales are one of the most common dishes prepared for this day for both purposes.

Pan de muerto and calaveras are associated specifically with Day of the Dead. Pan de muerto is a type of sweet roll shaped like a bun, topped with sugar, and often decorated with bone-shaped phalanges pieces.. Calaveras, or sugar skulls, display colorful designs to represent the vitality and individual personality of the departed.

In addition to food, drink is also important to the tradition of Day of the Dead. Historically, the main alcoholic drink was pulque while today families will commonly drink the favorite beverage of their deceased ancestors. Other drinks associated with the holiday are atole and champurrado, warm, thick, non-alcoholic masa drinks.

Jamaica iced tea is a popular herbal tea made of the flowers and leaves of the Jamaican hibiscus plant (Hibiscus sabdariffa), known as flor de Jamaica in Mexico. It is served cold and quite sweet with a lot of ice. The ruby-red beverage is called hibiscus tea in English-speaking countries and called agua de Jamaica (water of Jamaica) in Spanish.

Friday, November 1, 2019

November Releases

5th
Leopard's Wrath - Christine Feehan

25th
Criss Cross - James Patterson

26th
Where Winter Finds You - J.R. Ward
The Rise of Magicks - Nora Roberts
Lethal Redemption - April Hunt

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard

 


Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is a survival horror game developed and published by Capcom, released in January 2017 for Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, and in May 2018 for the Nintendo Switch in Japan. Diverging from the more action-oriented Resident Evil 5 and Resident Evil 6, Resident Evil 7 returns to the franchise's survival horror roots, emphasizing exploration. The player controls Ethan Winters as he searches for his wife in a derelict plantation occupied by a cannibal family, solving puzzles and fighting enemies. It is the first main series game to use a first-person view.

Plot

In June 2017, Ethan Winters is drawn to a derelict plantation in Dulvey, Louisiana, by a message from his wife, Mia, who has been presumed dead since going missing in 2014. He finds Mia imprisoned in the basement of a seemingly abandoned house, but she becomes violent and attacks him, forcing him to kill her. After receiving a call from a woman named Zoe offering assistance, Ethan is attacked by a revived Mia, who cuts his hand off. Jack, the patriarch of the Baker family, captures Ethan. After Zoe reattaches his hand, Ethan is held captive by Jack, his wife Marguerite, their son Lucas, and an elderly woman who is using a wheelchair and is in a catatonic state. Ethan escapes but is pursued around the house by Jack, who has powerful regenerative abilities. In the basement, Ethan discovers reanimated monsters known as Molded. Zoe reveals that she is Jack's daughter, and that the family and Mia are infected, but can be cured with a special serum. Ethan makes his way to an old house to retrieve the serum ingredients, kills Marguerite, and has visions of a young girl. Lucas captures Zoe and Mia and forces Ethan to navigate a booby-trapped barn to find them. Ethan chases away Lucas and frees Zoe and Mia. Zoe develops two serum doses, but they are attacked by Jack, now heavily mutated; Ethan kills him using one of the serums.

Ethan must choose to cure either Mia or Zoe. Choosing Zoe leaves Mia heartbroken, despite Ethan's promise to send help. As he and Zoe flee on a boat, Zoe reveals that the Bakers were infected after Mia arrived with a young girl named Eveline when the wreck of a tanker ship washed ashore. Eveline stops their escape by calcifying Zoe, killing her, and Ethan is knocked from the boat by a creature. If Ethan chooses Mia, Zoe gives a bitter farewell to him and Mia. As he and Mia flee on a boat, they come across the crashed tanker, where they are attacked by the creature and knocked from the boat.

Mia awakens after she was knocked off the boat and searches the wrecked ship for Ethan while experiencing visions of Eveline, who refers to Mia as her mother. Eventually, Mia's memory is restored, revealing that she was a covert operative for a corporation that developed Eveline as a bioweapon. Mia and agent Alan Droney were to escort Eveline as she was transported aboard the tanker; Eveline escaped containment, killed Alan, and sank the ship. She infected Mia in an effort to force her to be her mother. Mia finds Ethan and gives him a vial of Eveline's genetic material.


If Ethan cured Mia, she resists Eveline's control long enough to seal Ethan out of the ship; if he cured Zoe, Mia succumbs to Eveline's control and attacks Ethan, forcing him to kill her. Ethan discovers a hidden laboratory inside an abandoned salt mine. He learns that Eveline is a bio-organic weapon capable of infecting people with a psychotropic mold that gives her control over her victims' minds, resulting in insanity, mutation, and superhuman regenerative abilities. Eveline grew up obsessed with having a family, driving her to infect Mia and the Bakers and lure Ethan. Lucas was immunized against Eveline's control by her creators, The Connections, in exchange for providing observations on her. Using the lab equipment and Eveline's genetic material, Ethan synthesizes a toxin to kill her, and proceeds through tunnels that lead back to the Baker house. He overcomes Eveline's hallucinations, and injects Eveline with the toxin. She reverts to her other form, the elderly woman in a wheelchair; Eveline has been rapidly aging since escaping. Eveline mutates into a large monster and, aided by the arrival of a military squad led by Chris Redfield, Ethan kills her. The squad extracts Ethan (and Mia if she was cured) by helicopter branded with the Umbrella Corporation logo.

Not a Hero

BSAA agent Chris Redfield teams up with the now reformed Umbrella Corporation in order to apprehend Lucas Baker and uncover evidence on the mysterious group that created Eveline, called "The Connections". After rescuing Ethan Winters and sending him away on a helicopter, Chris proceeds into Lucas' lab in the salt mine, where he accidentally runs into one of Lucas' traps and has a bomb attached to his left wrist. Undeterred, Chris continues his pursuit. He tries to rescue several captured Umbrella soldiers, but they are killed by Lucas' traps. Eventually, Lucas decides to activate a timer on Chris' bomb. Chris is forced to freeze the bomb in liquid nitrogen, disabling it long enough for him to remove it.

With the bomb removed, Chris battles his way through more of Lucas' Molded and traps. He then finds his way into a secret Connections research lab, where Lucas had killed all of the Connections researchers and plans to betray the organization. Chris manages to corner and shoot Lucas, which triggers a mutation in his body. Chris battles and eventually kills the mutated Lucas, and also stops him from transferring all of his data on Eveline to an unknown party. With his mission done and Eveline's infection contained, Chris returns to the Umbrella base camp for an urgent call.

End of Zoe

Following the path in the main game in which Ethan cures Mia instead of Zoe, Zoe wanders into the swamp and is apparently killed by Eveline; however, a pair of Umbrella soldiers find her body and discover she is still alive. They are soon ambushed by Joe Baker, Zoe's uncle. Joe initially believes Umbrella is responsible for Zoe's condition, but a surviving Umbrella soldier claims they have a cure for Zoe stored in a nearby shack. Joe goes to the shack, finding a partial cure, and returns to find the Umbrella soldier killed by a Molded.

Joe initially flees with Zoe on a boat to find the Umbrella base but is soon forced to search for the base on foot. A powerful and seemingly unkillable Molded called the "Swamp Man" pursues them along the way. Joe and Zoe find the Umbrella base abandoned. They learn that the cure has been moved to a nearby paddle boat. Joe boards the boat and, after encountering the Swamp Man once again, uncovers a full dose of the cure. The Swamp Man captures Zoe before Joe can administer the cure. Joe gives chase into a heavily infected portion of the swamp and finds Zoe in an abandoned church. Inside, Joe is ambushed by the Swamp Man, who is revealed to be a heavily mutated Jack Baker. Jack knocks Joe unconscious and throws him into the swamp water to die.

Joe eventually washes up near the Baker mansion and finds himself in the midst of a battle between the Molded and Umbrella forces. He recovers an Umbrella power gauntlet and enters the mansion, where he successfully kills Jack and administers the cure to Zoe just as Umbrella reinforcements arrive, including Chris Redfield. Chris assures Joe and Zoe that they are there to help, and Zoe is fully cured of her infection. She then receives a phone call from Ethan, and thanks him for keeping his promise to send help for her.
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