New Year's Eve

The first time I ever got tipsy was during a champagne toast at a cousin's wedding reception.

All was good, until the room started spinning — and the sight of my cousin's bride dancing in her wedding dress was just a whirl of lace.

Of course, if you're an uninitiated teenager, any amount of alcohol can go straight to your head. But, decades later, bubbly wine still seems to hit me faster than, say, beer. It turns out there's a reason.

freedigitalphotos.net

Editor's Note: This is a community contributor post.  The views expressed here are those of the author and not WLRN or WLRN-Miami Herald News.

Happy New Year!

New Year, New Laws: Here's What's Changing In Florida's Rules

Jan 3, 2014
Hin255 / freedigitalphotos.net

Bills that crack down on human sex trafficking, address problems from the 2012 election, allow foster care children to remain in the program until 21, and provide an incentive for companies to expand their fleet of natural gas vehicles become law Wednesday.

While the bulk of the nearly 200 new laws approved by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Rick Scott from the 2013 session hit the books in July and October, a few more kick in with the New Year.

Accompanying the handful of new laws is a slight increase in the paycheck for Florida's minimum-wage earners.

nirots / freedigitalphotos.net

The first moments of every New Year are accompanied by a number of reliable staples: the cacophony of explosives, the smooching of lovers (or strangers), and a proliferation of New Year’s resolutions.

Every year we see headlines in the news about keeping your resolutions, but these always appear early in the year then seem to simply fade away. (Resolution-keeping strategies in July, maybe?)

Whether resolution plans persist or materialize, conjuring up ideas for self-improvement is a holiday tradition.

Every time I spend New Year's Eve with my mom, she tells me the same thing: "Be careful with that Champagne, honey. The bubbles go straight to the head. And it won't be pretty tomorrow."

Thanks, Mom. Glad you're looking after me after all these years.

But is she right?

On the last day of the year people all over South Florida will be looking to bring in 2014’s first moments with a bang. But Miami officials are asking that guns be excluded from those New Year’s Eve celebrations.

On Monday, county commissioner Audrey Edmonson took a swing at tackling celebratory gunfire again this year with the “One Bullet Kills the Party” campaign.

Pitbull, also known as Mr. Worldwide, is the face of the campaign which seeks to make people aware of the dangers of celebratory bullets that cause can injuries, property damage, and in some cases, death.

If the thought of watching the ball drop in Times Square again is already making you yawn, consider perking your New Year's Eve celebration with this tradition from Spain: As midnight nears on Nochevieja, or "old night," the last day of the year, the entire country gathers in front of television screens or in town squares, clutching a small bowl of green grapes and wearing red underwear. More on the underwear later.