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Stargazers look up tonight for the Great Conjunction

By Laura Brown
September 29, 2021
Shutterstock Rf 540142198 1
©Vitalii Bashkatov/Shutterstock
Jupiter and Saturn will align for the first time in 400 years on December 21.

Stargazers who look to the sky on Monday night, December 21, will be rewarded with the Great Conjunction - the first time in 400 years that Saturn and Jupiter will be aligned in the night sky. The closeness to Christmas has dubbed it the "Christmas Star." 

If you're looking for the best place to view the stars, check out the Dark Sky Finder

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Pinterest predicts trends for 2021

Pinterest recently released its seventh annual Pinterest Predicts report, providing a look into what people around the world have been searching for in 2020 and what it could mean for trends in travel, health and wellbeing, beauty, home décor, special events, parenting, fashion, food and beverage, finance and hobbies in 2021. As Pinterest’s Head of Content and Editorial Partnerships Aya Kanai and Head of Core Research Larkin Brown explained, the “not-yet-trending” report and its coordinating boards are based on the kinds of visual content being pinned by more than 400 million Pinterest users, called Pinners, to over five billion boards. With at least 240 billion pins saved worldwide, a whopping 95% of people say they’ve used Pinterest as a source of inspiration and motivation to help get them through these uncertain times as well as a place to plan future trips. Here’s what Pinterest predicts for travel in 2021 and a look at some of its other soon-to-be trends. People will continue to plan future travels Just because we can’t travel as freely right now doesn’t mean it will be like this forever. Now is the time to plan the epic vacations we’ll take later, and Pinterest users agree, with the report showing a 50% increase in searches for luxury vacation ideas, a 55% rise in searches for romantic honeymoon destinations, a 35% uptick in searches for mountain travel and seven times as many searches as usual for dream vacations. A 100% rise in searches for forest resorts also indicates people will prefer trips to less-crowded places as we head into 2021. Road trips to the great outdoors will remain popular As the report says, “Nomadding is the new jetsetting,” with trips to more isolated and natural settings continuing to be a trend in 2021. With socially distant outdoor activities like hiking, RV camping and stargazing becoming more popular this year, we can look forward to seeing more national park road trips and cabin-in-the-woods rentals next year, especially with a growing interest in #vanlife and digital nomad adventures as companies and schools continue to allow remote working and learning. Pinterest also saw a 165% increase in searches for stargazing and wild flower fields, while other search terms including motorcycle tents, nomad aesthetic and RV accessories saw an increase of 100%, 80% and 40%, respectively. Cars will be used for more than just driving Pinterest reports double the amount of searches for the search term car date night, an 190% increase in searches for drive-in cinema, and an 115% hike in searches for car man cave, showing that people are turning to their vehicles for other things besides driving. A 60% rise in searches for car survival kits and a 100% increase in searches for dog car seats shows people are also interested in road trips with the whole family in tow, including their fur babies. Recipes will be based on international favorites Searches for tomatillo enchilada sauce, Cajun chicken pasta and hot honey recipes rose by 75%, 55% and 155%, respectively, while Pinterest saw double the usual amount of searches for jalapeño pepper jelly and a 70% increase in searches for Poke bowl sauce, meaning Pinners are taking the time to try spicier flavors and cook a wide range of international dishes. They’re also attempting fancier gourmet meals featuring expert-looking plating and garnishes as well as experimenting with specially made charcuterie boards for breakfast, dessert and brunch. Hobbies will be inspired by international activities If you can’t travel the world, why not bring the world to you? Pinterest reports an increase in searches for global-inspired hobbies like ancient Egyptian architecture and Jyotish astrology and arts and crafts projects like Irish quilting patterns, Japanese carpentry, and Persian calligraphy art. There’s also been a rise in searches for crochet basics, aesthetic embroidery, bottle painting, leatherworking, glass etching, candle making and other hands-on activities. Comfort and coziness will reign supreme In terms of fashion, a new trend called “athflow,” meant to combine “athleisure” and elegance, has been making an appearance in Pinterest searches, with people seeking flowy pants, oversized outfits and jumpsuits that can be worn everywhere from the office to the yoga mat. Trends in coziness include shawls, puffy jackets, quilted clothing, slouchy socks and other “cocoon” wear, while customized, personalized clothing remains a hot topic for Generation Z Pinners. People will keep it simple or own their own style There seem to be two distinct camps when it comes to beauty trends on Pinterest: those who are taking advantage of these pandemic times to tone down their make-up and aim for a more natural, healthy glow and those who go all out with bold and colorful make-up, statement-making eyebrows, complicated braids and emoji-inspired nail designs. Other Pinterest Predictions According to Pinterest’s report, fancy wallpaper for your cell phone and laptop will be a top trend as people lean toward more individualized stylings to match their décor. Because of the pandemic, event planning will stick to the basics, with low-key wedding ideas and desert elopements continuing to be big in 2021. Other trends—using Pinterest to grow your business, teach your kids from home, learn about mindfulness as a family and choose alternate pets like lizards, snails, chameleons, frogs and tortoises—saw a rise in searches in 2020, as did topics related to neon home lighting, minimalist décor designs and maximizing space around the house. Searches for modern mysticism, spiritualism, ritual cleansing baths and sleep-inducing bedtime routines are also on the rise as people continue to invest in their mental wellbeing and make sure they get enough rest.

Inspiration

Learn a New Skill While Traveling the World

Educational vacations are becoming one of the most popular ways to travel. Tourists are requesting unique local experiences where they can learn a skill, sport or art from residents of that region. So whether you’re looking for an extreme quest or you want to learn an age-old skill, here is a list of activities to try around the world. Sand-Boarding in Doha, Qatar If you’re an adventure junkie, hit the dunes in Qatar because sand-boarding is the new sport for you. Similar to snowboarding (but with sand), this is a regular activity in Qatar for locals and a “must-do” for tourists. There are plenty of tour operators that offer lessons in the desert about 90 minutes south of Doha, the capital city of Qatar. 365 Adventures offers half-day adventures for about $40 where you can learn how to sand-board, dune bash and take in gorgeous views of Khor Al Adaid (Inland Sea). Dust will be flying in that Arabian wind, so thrill-seekers can take a dip in the sea post sand-boarding escapade. By the way, don’t forget your sunscreen, it is the desert. Truffle Hunting in Rome, Italy Italy is the epitome of good food, so this may just be the perfect destination to learn about truffles and how to forage for them. The Rome Cavalieri, A Waldorf Astoria Resort offers guests the ultimate experience in truffle hunting in Umbria. After a quick transit from the hotel, you’ll be greeted upon arrival by the family that has been truffle hunting for centuries and their pack of well-trained dogs. Spend the morning learning tips and tricks that have been handed down for generations as you join the hunt for the elusive truffle. After participating in the hunt, you’ll enjoy a truffle-filled lunch while learning about the best ways to prepare truffle dishes. Don’t worry; you’ll depart with a basket full of truffles and firsthand insight on where to find truffles and how to eat them. Mangia! Coasteering in Pembrokeshire, Wales Ever heard of coasteering? This was an activity that surfers in Pembrokeshire coined as they traversed rocky coastlines in the 1980’s. The term coasteering came from combining coast and mountaineering and you can expect just that. A tour guide will take you on an aquatic nature-trail along the cliffs as you explore caves, rock-hop, jump off cliffs and maybe even swim with seals. This is a family friendly activity though, so cliff jumping is not a necessity, as the level of adventure is up to you and your tour guide will lead the way. You’ll be given helmets and life jackets as well, and as long as you’re over the age of eight and you can doggy-paddle this adventure is for you. Glassblowing in Corning, New York The Corning Museum of Glass offers “Make Your Own Glass” classes, where visitors are offered the chance to work with a range of glass techniques. Learn flameworking while making a bead, glassblowing while making a pumpkin or sandblasting where you’ll apply a frosted look design to a cup or dish. These classes are open to all ages and do not require any experience as there will be glassmakers on site to assist and guide participants through the process. The class is up to 40 minutes long depending on the project booked. Your creation will be ready for pick-up the following day! Wood Carving in Oberammergau, Germany Experience an authentic wood carving experience in Oberammergau (located within the Ammergauer Alps), a natural alpine park in Bavaria, Germany. The craft dates back to the middle ages and today approximately sixty active wood sculptors live in Oberammergau carving and selling their pieces. Each shop has hundreds of wooden masterpieces from intricate statues to birdhouses and every kind of figurine you can imagine. The hands-on wood carving experience is 90 minutes and costs approximately $44 per person. You’ll learn the basics of the art of woodcarving and take home your creation. Fly Fishing in Provo River, Utah Try your hand at fly-fishing in scenic Provo River, which is about 45 miles south of Salt Lake City. You can count on the gorgeous flowing waters, along with Mend Fly Fishing to help you catch an abundance of fish on your first outing. During the lesson, you’ll learn the basic concepts of casting, fly selection, reading the water and knot tying (to name a few skills). The Utah native guides all grew up fly-fishing these local waters, so by the end of the day you can expect to have fish swimming your way. A half-day guided tour is $275 and includes all your gear (flies, waders, boots, snacks, beverages, rod). Surfing in Tamarindo, Costa Rica Learning how to surf is every wanderluster’s dream. So pack your bags and head to Costa Rica for this one. Iguana Surf, located in Tamarindo, Costa Rica (along the North Pacific coast) is a surf camp and tour agency. There you can take a few lessons or enroll in a full on surf camp. Iguana Surf caters to beginner surfers who want a local experience while they check out the beautiful sites of Costa Rica. The camp is a one-stop-shop destination that provides surfing accommodations in their picturesque beachfront hotel located directly in front of the most famous break in Tamarindo Beach. You can expect to learn about the art of surfing including, popping up on your board (in and out of the water), how to position your body, how to spot a wave to catch and a newfound respect for the ocean. Hang ten!

Inspiration

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Note: Author J.K. Rowling has created a world filled with unexpected magic and tongue-in-cheek humor. All the details found in this travel guide, written by Steve Vander Ark, come from Rowling's books. If you're curious, you can learn more at Vander Ark's unofficial fan site, harrypotterlexicon.