Soto Law Group - February 2019

February 2019 Soto’s Chronicles

DeDe Soto

Protecting your most valuable asset — your family

KREWES, KING CAKE, AND CULTURE

FROM THE DESK OF DeDe Soto

Happy February!

TheFascinatingHistoryofMardiGras

This month we have Super Bowl, Valentine’s, and Presidents Day — it’s a month of celebration! With love in the air, I hope you share that love with family and friends. Part of February should be about protecting your heart and the ones you love. That might be with a phone call, short and sweet notes, a cup of coffee, or dark chocolate! We all show love in different ways. One way you can show your loved ones that you love them is by protecting them through estate planning, guardianship, or by making sure you have your own healthcare documents in place. Make sure to check out our many workshops this month. Pass them along to those who may need some love!

Unlike most holidays, Mardi Gras is associated with a place as much as it is a time. When people think of Mardi Gras, they automatically think of New Orleans. The celebration, held on a Tuesday in either February or March, is a point of pride for NOLA residents but is often misunderstood by the general public. Here’s what you need to know about America’s most regional holiday.

THE DATE

Mardi Gras doesn’t follow the traditional holiday calendar patterns we’re familiar with. It doesn’t fall on a static date, like Christmas, or a specific day within a month, like Memorial Day. Instead, it follows the pattern of Easter, which is based on a more complicated formula. Easter takes place on the Sunday after the first ecclesiastical full moon occurring on or after the vernal equinox (the start of spring). An ecclesiastical full moon, as opposed to a regular full moon, is determined by Catholic church tables, not by lunar patterns. While that part is pretty complex, determining the date of Mardi Gras is much easier: It’s 47 days before Easter. As such, it can fall on any Tuesday between Feb. 3 and March 9, hence the name Mardi Gras, or “Fat Tuesday.”

Until next time, and many blessings,

THE PLACE

While New Orleans is undoubtedly the place everyone associates with Mardi Gras, it is not where the holiday originated in America. That honor belongs to Mobile, Alabama, which organized the first widespread Mardi Gras celebrations in 1703. As more people moved to New Orleans, which became the capital of Louisiana in 1723, the holiday took root there.

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That’s also the result of its Catholic origins. Lent, a time of fasting and giving up earthly pleasures, begins on Ash Wednesday, the day after Mardi Gras. Historically, Mardi Gras was a chance to engage in revelry before 40 days of lean living. In other words, it was the binge before the purge. Today, Mardi Gras celebrations certainly bring to mind images of people bingeing. The tourist experience of Mardi Gras is one of drinking on Bourbon Street, crowding the bars, and staying up all night. While you can definitely have that Mardi Gras if you want it, most locals will tell you that the “real” Mardi Gras is something else entirely. “Mainstream media tends to showcase a very specific kind of Mardi Gras,” says Solange Knowles, “but my experience of Mardi Gras is very different; it’s very cultural.”These cultural traditions were created by social clubs called krewes. The krewes create floats, dress in ornate costumes, and parade down

the streets trailed by brass bands known as second lines.

The official food of Mardi Gras is king cake. Though called a cake, it’s actually more of an iced bread; the dough closely resembles brioche. On top of the cake, you’ll find icing in green, gold, and purple, which are the colors of the Mardi Gras flag. A figurine called a feve is hidden inside the cake, usually in the shape of a baby. It is considered good luck to be the person whose slice has the figurine inside. All of these institutions are still in place today and have come to represent what Mardi Gras means to residents. Mardi Gras in the United States is now a celebration of distinctly New Orleans culture as much as it is a festive release before Lent. From the music and the food to the costumes and the parades, Mardi Gras is New Orleans. Or, as legendary NOLA pianist Professor Longhair once sang, “If you go to New Orleans / You ought to go see the Mardi Gras.”

At first, the people who participated in the festivities were of mostly French or Catholic heritage.

Eventually, though, it morphed into a citywide party more secular than religious in nature.

In addition to the Gulf Coast of the United States, Mardi Gras celebrations occur throughout the world. In Brazil, where it is known as Carnival, it is the nation’s most celebrated and well-known holiday. It’s also a major event in Belgium, the Cayman Islands, the Netherlands, and Germany.

THE TRADITIONS

No matter where Mardi Gras happens, it’s always something of a bacchanalian feast.

One for the Ages How Super Bowl XXXIV Made an Icon Out of a Grocery Store Clerk

Going into the 1999 NFL season, no one expected anything from the St. Louis Rams. When starting quarterback Trent Green went down with a gruesome knee injury in the preseason, ESPN The Magazine slated the Rams to be the worst team in the NFL that year. With few options, coach Vermeil named a virtually unknown player as his new starting quarterback, humbly stating in a press conference, “We will rally around Kurt Warner, and we’ll play good football.”

but the late Steve McNair and the Titans had different plans. The Georgia Dome was rocking after two Eddie George touchdown runs, and a field goal brought the Titans level at 16–16, with just over two minutes of play remaining. In response, Warner dropped back and found receiver Isaac Bruce for a 73-yard touchdown, bringing the score to 23–16 with 1:54 left on the clock. But the Titans weren’t done fighting. Quickly moving the ball down the field, Titans quarterback Steve McNair found himself with a third and 5 inside the Rams 30-yard line with 22 seconds left. Scrambling around and fighting off two players trying to pull him down, McNair threw the ball to Kevin Dyson at the 10-yard line. A quick timeout left six seconds on the clock, and the Titans were one play away from tying the game. What proceeded was a play that will be forever known as “the tackle.”McNair found Dyson on a quick slant, and when he caught the ball at the 4-yard line, it appeared a touchdown was imminent. Suddenly, linebacker Mike Jones wrapped the receiver up at the hips. As he fell to the ground with the ball in his hand, Dyson extended his arm, but when he hit the AstroTurf, he was 1 yard short of the goal line. The Rams had pulled off the impossible, earning their first Super Bowl title ever.

Five years before his start, 22-year-old Kurt Warner was stocking shelves at a Hy-Vee grocery store in Cedar Falls, Iowa, for $5.50 an hour. However, he had amassed a whopping 16 snaps in the NFL prior to taking the reins for the 1999 season, and what proceeded to transpire on the field was utter pandemonium, giving the Rams the nickname “The Greatest Show on Turf.”This improbable season and the resulting MVP award for Warner set the stage for one of the most dramatic games in Super Bowl history. After going up 16–0 against the Tennessee Titans in Super Bowl XXXIV, Warner and the Rams looked poised to coast on their way to the Lombardi Trophy,

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What You Didn’t Know About

Fun Facts to Wow Your Loved Ones This Valentine’s Day

Chocolate is a treat savored by people all over the world. What we know as the sweet, creamy decadence that sustains Valentine’s Day actually has greater historical and cultural significance. Fermented chocolate drinks have been dated back to as early as 350 B.C. The Aztecs believed it was the beverage of wisdom, and the Mayans saw it as something to be worshipped. While the history of chocolate is as rich as its flavor, there are some common misconceptions about the treat. Dutch chocolate doesn’t necessarily refer to chocolate made in the Netherlands; the name refers to a specific chocolate-making process that uses the cocoa press. Before Dutch chemist and chocolate-maker C.J. van Houten invented the machine in 1828, chocolate was only used in beverages. Dutch chocolate is chocolate that has been modified

with an alkalizing agent in order to produce a milder flavor, making it a fantastic option for use in baked goods, candy, and ice cream.

German chocolate actually has nothing to do with the country of Germany, either. It used to be called “German’s chocolate,” named after its inventor, Sam German, an American who made sweet chocolate for baking. Adding sugar to the chocolate made it a go-to option for bakers around the world, and the base for German chocolate cake was born. For chocolate to be classified as Swiss, it has to be made in Switzerland, as chocolate-making is considered an art form in the country. Known for its “melt in your mouth” quality, Swiss chocolate uses condensed milk to add a velvety texture. Many chocolate makers outside of Switzerland will refer to their interpretations of Swiss chocolate as milk chocolate instead.

Take a Break!

VALENTINE’S DAY COOKIE CARDS Ingredients

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2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

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2 large egg yolks 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 sticks unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Royal icing, sprinkles, and edible markers, for decorating

Directions

1. Heat oven to 375 F. 2. In a mixing bowl, combine flour with sugar and salt. Add butter and combine using a mixer at low speed, until butter breaks down into small, crumbly pieces. Increase mixing speed to medium and mix until butter and flour clump. 3. Add egg yolks and vanilla extract to bowl, return mixer to low, and mix until dough congeals.

4. Carefully roll dough into a sheet 1/16-inch thick and cut into 4x6-inch cards. 5. On a parchment-lined baking sheet, bake cookie cards for 6 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. 6. Let cookies cool completely, decorate, and distribute.

Inspired by Food & Wine magazine

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INSIDE THIS ISSUE From the Desk of DeDe PAGE 1 The Holiday of New Orleans PAGE 1 The Most Iconic Super Bowl in NFL History PAGE 2 All About Chocolate PAGE 3 Take a Break PAGE 3 Valentine’s Day Cookie Cards PAGE 3 Candy-Free Valentines PAGE 4 For a parent of a child with allergies, every day can feel like a battle with food labels and ingredients lists—andValentine’s Day only exacerbates this fear. Avoid the danger of an allergic reaction onValentine’s Day by creating alternative, candy-free valentines that the whole class will enjoy! GET CREATIVE This valentine idea taps into your kids’desire to create by using commonly found household items. Have your children draw pictures, create cards, mold tiny sculptures, or braid together friendship bracelets to create one-of-a-kind gifts that will be safe for their classmates to enjoy. Kids can put their own effort into gift-giving, and their valentines will have a personal touch candy cannot replicate. THINK LIKE A KID If you’re looking for a creative valentine that will be safe for all your child’s friends to play with, check no further than the toy aisle of

SAFE AND SWEET

Allergy-Friendly Valentines for Your Child’s Classmates

your local dollar store. While beingmindful of latex allergies, you can purchase little toys that kids will love that won’t break your bank. Think bouncy balls, mini skateboards, Army men, yo-yos, puzzles, rubber ducks, hand-held games, markers, or bubbles. Adorn these little gifts with yarn, ribbons, or personalized tags, and slap on cute sayings tomake them fit for the holiday. Finish off the masterpiece by having your kiddo sign their name on each valentine, and you’ve got a kid-approvedValentine’s Day favorite. FANCY UP SOME FRUIT If you’re worried about food allergies but still want tomake a yummy treat, ask your child’s teacher for a list of students’allergies, then just

work around them. Fruits are usually a safe bet, but it’s best to double check. You could skewer strawberries and heart-shaped pieces of watermelon onto kabob sticks for a sweet and fun snack, or pass out goody bags with apples, bananas, and clementines. Offering a group snack that is allergy-friendly will keep your children and their friends safe and healthy, and it can also help children with allergies feel included in the festivities. As with all Valentine’s Day gifts, keep in mind that it’s not the item or money spent that means the most. It’s the thought behind each gift that makes receiving valentines the sweetest part.

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For more information: Call: 888-735-7686 | www.TheSotoLawGroup.com | DeDe@thesotolawgroup.com For more information: Call: 888-735-7686 | www.TheSotoLawGroup.com | DeDe@thesotolawgroup.com

FREE WORKSHOP: ESTATE PLANNING NEW DIMENSIONS FOR WOMEN

FEBRUARY 20 TH AND 27 TH AT 8 AM Register online at TheSotoLawGroup.com/workshops.shtml

REGISTRATION REQUIRED! This workshop is free to attend, but you must register. Light appetizers and refreshments will be served. Register at: www.thesotolawgroup.com/ Workshops.shtml or call us at 888-735-7686 LOCATION: 3001 Redhill Avenue, Building 4, Ste. 109, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Come and join us for a morning that will help you discover how you can protect your loved ones AND leave a legacy for the future. Learn about the

what-ifs of an estate, with or without a plan. KEY POINTS THAT WILL BE COVERED: ➢ ➢ Trusts, wills, administration, and health directives ➢ ➢ Legally avoid ALL estate taxes and PROBATE ➢ ➢ Inheritance protection from lawsuits and divorce ➢ ➢ Conservatorships, incapacitation ➢ ➢ Leave a legacy that will last for generations ➢ ➢ Current tax laws and how they affect your plan

Even if you have an estate plan or a living trust, new laws and overlooked items may mean your current plan is out of date or won’t work as intended. Is your trust out of date? SPACE IS LIMITED — RESERVE YOUR SPOT TODAY!

ABOUT R. DEDE SOTO, ESQ. With more than 15 years of legal experience, R. DeDe Soto is prepared to provide you with the knowledgeable advice and skilled representation you need. DeDe is focused on providing personalized, tailor-made legal solutions that protect the assets and the wishes of her clients.

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