New Year’s Eve Local and Around The World

2018 has come and gone; it’s time to prepare for what 2019 has to offer. New Year’s Eve is generally that one holiday where everyone feels they either go all out or go home. While every country has different traditions, one thing stays the same–December 31 is the day to celebrate. Whether you’re in Los Angeles, New York, Hong Kong, Australia or anywhere else, you’re going to want to know the direct hubs where individuals get together. Here’s some key gatherings locally and around the world that you’re not going to want to miss this year.

Local Celebrations

Not everyone likes to go out of town for the holidays. Oftentimes, it’s much easier to simply stay put. If you’re trying to have fun in Southern California, Los Angeles is a really good place to start. Here’s a short list of some of the best events happening on New Year’s Eve, with a more extensive list on Eventbrite:

LURE Hollywood NYE ‘19/ Le Jardin

LURE and Le Jardin are teaming up for their 21+ NYE party this year with a night hosted by none other than TOO $HORT. It’s two venues and one massive party. Simply put, it’s a performance you’re not going to want to miss. There will be a multi-service open bar with fun-filled complimentary party favors. Finish the night with complimentary champagne or purchase a VIP table and get bottle service all night. Ticket prices start $79 and the party starts at 9 pm, ending at 1 am.

Minimal Effort NYE

Happening at Belsaco Theater, ring in the New Year with Sasha, Skream, Justin Jay, Will Clarke and more. Starting at 8 pm, the event goes on till 4 am. Ticket prices start at $59–just a reminder, the event is 21 and up.

2018 Holiday Ice Rink in Pershing Square

If you’re looking for a family-friendly event, then the holiday ice rink is the one for you. Presented by Bai, this event is essential to bring in holiday cheer. Surrounded by art, activities and an impressive skyline, this $5-$9 event lasts until Jan. 21, 2019. Grab your friends, coworkers and family–head down to Pershing Square as soon as you can.

LA Zoo Lights

Check out giant illuminated snowflakes, a disco ball, animated elephants and a tunnel full of colors with the LA Zoo Lights. An event that originated in 2014, the LA Zoo Lights is family-friendly fun that call can enjoy until Jan. 6, 2019. Come explore new areas, various displays and your favorites revamped. On value nights, tickets start at $14.95 for adults and $11.95 for children. On premium nights, tickets for children start at $16.95 and adults $21.95. And if you have kids younger than two, they are free.

EVE at Universal Studios Hollywood

Universal Studios is already a fun place to be. Why not spend your NYE there? Jam packed with dance parties, fireworks and celebration must-haves, get the best NYE experience straight out of Hollywood. Each party area will have an assortment of specialty desserts, beer, wine and champagne for purchase. And glow items will also be available for the fun. The party also doesn’t end until 2 am. Tickets for this exclusive night start at $329. And for that price, you’re paying for unlimited night access to certain areas with cash bars and lounges, as well as reserved firework-viewing access.

Celebrations Around the World

Sure, some people stay local for the holiday. In fact, some people don’t even leave their house. But others love spontaneity and the unknown. If you’re trying to have the best night of your life not in your hometown, this is how. If you’re out of town or want to get out of town quick for the holiday, then here’s a good list for you. Compiled by Fordor’s Travel, here’s some of the best places to spend your New Year’s Eve:

New York City

Times Square has been the place to be for years on end. If you’re willing to brave the cold, it’s a magical night. More than one billion people tune into this event on the television every year. Sure, more than 38 different time zones are celebrating this moment. But most people are tuning into the Big Apple. Not only is there the huge ball drop but there’s concerts all over the city as well as endless rooftop parties to attend.

Orlando

There’s one big thing that Orlando has that’s always a good time: Disney. NYE at Disney is packed with parties, special menus, photo ops and restaurant events all over the park. The main attraction is the Countdown to Midnight. This event includes cocktails in the Fantasia Ballroom, chefs bringing your food to life, an interactive DJ, a live band and finally, a champagne toast to end the night with fireworks.

Hong Kong

While NYE isn’t the biggest firework display for Hong Kong (Chinese New Year and National Day have larger displays), the show over Victoria Harbor is hardly anything but meager. There’s synchronized fireworks visible from nearly everywhere in the city. A nightlong streetparty is right at your fingertips, with “shooting stars” beginning at 11 pm, with rooftop launches every 15 minutes until the clock strikes midnight. Having a spot along the harbor here is key if you really want to enjoy the sights because you’re going to want to walk home after this event. Public transportation and driving in general is a nightmare after this.

Sydney

Sydney Harbor is hand-down the most attended NYE event–far outpacing NYC’s Times Square. Sydney’s fireworks are simply some of the best in the world. Fireworks are launched from the Opera House, nearby buildings, water barges and from the Harbour Bridge. It’s a fantastic 12-minute display, meant to stand for the 12 months of the year. On top of fireworks, you’re also going to get to witness the waterfall: a shower of 1,100 candle-fireworks streaming from the bridge to the water below. This “bridge effect” is a pyrotechnic element that changes in design each year.

Tokyo

If you’re looking for night-long parties and endless fireworks, then Tokyo is the place to go. Other places would be Yokohama, across Tokyo Bay. Long story short, lots of places celebrate the Western tradition. And with four million people living in Greater Tokyo, there’s no end to what kind of fun you can get into here. Other approaches to New Years include visiting one of the many temples to check out the ringing of the bell. At midnight, a monk rings the temple bell 108 times to rid you of 108 worldly desires. This annual tradition is pretty big, so make sure you get in line early for it.

So whether you’re local or in another part of the world, you can definitely take the time to celebrate this day. And if you’re staying local, there’s a plethora of events that one can choose from for the night. Whether you need something kid-friendly or you want to have adult fun, there’s plenty of events available for you to enjoy the last holiday of the year.

2018 Local Día de los Muertos Festivals to Check Out

Marigolds adorning an altar with the favorite things of those who have passed is a signature note of Día de los Muertos, also known as The Day of the Dead. While the marigolds are tradition, the things that line the altars vary–from a bottle of liquor to a stuffed animal, the Orange County Register wrote in a 2017 article about the Mexican holiday. The Day of the Dead is when those still on Earth celebrate the departed with festivals and lively celebrations, according to National Geographic. While one would think the holiday would be associated with mourning, it’s actually the opposite. It’s a way to recognize death as a natural experience, National Geographic writes; it’s a special day of all the activities that those who have departed would enjoy if they were here. Beginning before the arrival of the Spaniard conquerors, the Mexican festival was merged into All Souls Day and All Saints Day, according to National Geographic. A day held dear to many families, it’s best spent with those that you love and care for. No matter where you’re at, take the time to celebrate Día de los Muertos.

Celebrated between Oct. 31 and Nov. 2, there’s plenty of time to hit some festivals. If you’re looking for a Día de los Muertos gathering to attend in Orange County, look no further. There’s plenty all over Southern California to attend, but there’s one in Fullerton located off Maiden and Wilshire that should be exciting if it’s close to you. Forth’right Productions Studio is putting together their “final event” also known as the 7th annual Día de los Muertos. Happening Nov. 3, 2018, from 5:00 pm to 9:30 pm at Max Bloom’s Cafe, entertainment is set to be provided by Freshsoul Alliance. Also performing is Icpaxochitl from de Poetras Cultura. Food will be provided by Forth’right Productions Studio. Vendors will include Freshsoul Apparel. HIP KATZ Car Club will also be in attendance. The following activities will be available for families:

  • Free coloring book
  • Free candy
  • Free snacks
  • Free entertainment/music/poetry
  • Free toy Hot Rod/custom cars from the HIP KATZ Car Club, for the first 12 children

Another festival to check out just over in Los Angeles County is the sixth annual Downey Día de los Muertos Art Festival, happening Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018 from 11am to 8pm at the Downey Theatre. Featuring a slew of festival artists (both local and regional) and activities such as Casa Calaveras, a pop-up exhibit, will be available for all festival goers. This is another good one–make sure you go check it out.

Casa Calaveras

Beginning in 1999, Casa Calaveras is a pop-up exhibit featured during the Downey Día de los Muertos Art festival. The exhibit has traveled all across Southern California, featured in places such as the Museum of Latin American Art, LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes, Old Town San Diego’s Fiesta de Reyes and 10 years at Santa Ana’s Bowers Museum of Cultural Art. The exhibit celebrates the marriage of José & Gloria, the couple from the hereafter, according to Yelp. The bride and groom go on a multicultural adventure traveling the world as they meet a host of happy skeletons from nations all over. A heart-filled tale of two lovebirds, it’s all expressed through life-sized happy skeleton figures. It’s a family fun event that’s perfect for introducing your kids to the holiday. For more information about the exhibit, check out their Yelp page here.

Other Features

Some of the groups that are set to perform include Resurrección Mexican Folk, Grupo Folklorico Mexcaltitán, Tradición Dance Company, with others. Full schedules can be found here. There are three stages during the festival, so the amount of entertainment is going to be plentiful. There won’t be a single dull moment, so plan for an all day trip.

Don’t forget that there’s free admission and free parking as well. For more information about the festival, including how to get there, photos, event schedule (coming soon) and a festival map, visit their website. Don’t sleep on these events. If you can, try to attend both and help support local communities coming together.

Quick Ways to Spice Up Your Brunch

Brunch is the perfect time to relax and reflect on your past week. It’s not something that young people often enjoy, but as we get older and age like fine wine, it becomes more of a societal necessity. It’s that special time we don’t often get with our family and friends. It’s a time for laughter and smiles all around. All in all, brunch brings people together. But don’t be boring about your brunch plans. Think outside of the box for your next get together. If you’re trying to do brunch soon, try to plan ahead with this list of ways to spice up your brunch:

  • Try a New Cuisine – Maybe you’ve always wanted to have a Hawaiian-style breakfast but have never made one. Then, it’s time to breakout the spam, eggs and white rice. Or maybe you’ve never had a Mexican breakfast and want to try making some chilaquiles for size. Trying new foods makes us not only get out of our comfort zone, but it makes us appreciate something new at the same time. Testing out new eats for your brunch can spice things up quick.
  • Host Brunch at Home – Having a brunch isn’t like a having a party. It’s actually much better than that. Hosting a brunch is a simple thing that actually shows a lot of character in a person. It takes a lot of effort to put together a brunch and it should never go unnoticed. Try hosting a brunch in the comfort of your own home if you’re tired of going out. Nothing beats homemade brunch goodies like pancakes, eggs and french toast. Having brunch at home also means that you get to safely enjoy some champagne. You can always take a little nap before getting ready to clean later.
  • Have Brunch Outside – Thinking of preparing for a picnic? Sometimes eating outside can be a good thing. It definitely holds a cute factor, if anything. If the weather calls for it, hold a brunch in the great outdoors. Everyone will thank you later. Nothing beats spending a little bit of time outside, surrounded by beautiful nature.
  • Test Out a New Recipe – Always make the same thing at brunch? Do you always eat the same thing when you go out as well? It may be time for a change. Google holds all of life’s unanswered questions, complete with hoards of recipes that are just waiting to be tried out at your home.

Useful Ways to Plan the Perfect Brunch

Photo via Instagram / @nathanyelbns

Nothing beats spending time with your friends. One of the greatest life treasures is hanging out with your friends at brunch. Brunch is like an unspoken Sunday ritual; it’s simply good for the soul. Even if you’ve never hosted or went to a brunch, it’s good to know what you need to do in order to have one. You never know when that knowledge is going to become valuable. Don’t fear the brunch, just let it happen. Get ready to plan out the perfect menu, set out the most delicate plate ware, and be prepared for those mimosas. While it may seem scary, we’re here to help you every step of the way. There’s plenty of ways you can prepare for your brunch. If you’re stuck on ideas for hosting your next brunch, check out this list of key tips to help you get the ball rolling:

Always Make Sure You Plan Ahead

The best thing you can do is plan in advance for your big day. This means setting up the event with your friends, coming up with an awesome menu, going to the store, cooking and setting up the table. Create a Facebook event so you can keep track of how many mouths you’re going to feed. If someone is lacking social media, use a group text instead. Make sure you do everything in advance, or else you’re going to be left waking up at 4 am trying to cook a bunch of gourmet french toast.

Prep For Your Brunch the Night Before

First things first, you should always prep for your brunch. Set out everything the night before. Cut up the vegetables and fruits you’re going to need. You can also set up all of your flatware and silverware first. Your table isn’t being used to cook, so might as well set up now. Setting up the table is one of those things that often gets forgotten till the last minute. Don’t be one of those people. Make sure your table is completely set up and ready to go.

Make a Service Plan

Pampered Chef suggests creating a service plan for your big day. Do you plan on plating the food yourself or will it be a buffet-style free for all? It’s really your decision when it comes down to it, but do what makes you feel comfortable. Buffet-style might be easiest, so you’re not just sitting around trying to make sure everyone has a plate of food.

 

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