Five Legendary Celebrity Chefs is Immortalized On Latest United States Postal Service Limited Edition Forever Stamps

The United States Postal Service is cooking up a feast of 20 million Limited Edition Celebrity Chefs Forever stamps today. The sugar-free, fat-free, zero-calorie stamps will be on the menu of the nation’s Post Offices beginning today. The five chefs honored on the stamps — James Beard, Julia Child, Joyce Chen, Edna Lewis and Edward (Felipe) Rojas-Lombardi – revolutionized the nation’s understanding of food. By integrating international ingredients and recipes with American cooking techniques and influence, these chefs introduced new foods and flavors to the American culture.

U.S. Postal Service Celebrity Chefs Forever(R) Stamps (PRNewsFoto/United States Postal Service)

U.S. Postal Service Celebrity Chefs Forever(R) Stamps (PRNewsFoto/United States Postal Service)

The stamps feature digital illustrations by Jason Seiler of Chicago, depicting the chefs in a style intended to resemble oil paintings. Art director Greg Breeding of Charlottesville, VA, designed the stamps. Available in a pane of 20, the stamps may be purchased now at usps.com/stamps, at 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724) and on eBay at ebay.com/stamps for delivery shortly after Sept. 26.

Anointed the “Dean of American cookery” by the New York Times in 1954, James Beard (1903-1985) laid the groundwork for the food revolution that has put America at the forefront of global gastronomy. He was a pioneer foodie, host of the first food program on the fledgling medium of television in 1946, the first to suspect that classic American culinary traditions might cohere into a national cuisine, and an early champion of local products and markets. Beard nurtured a generation of James BeardAmerican chefs and cookbook authors who have changed the way we eat.

During World War II, he served with the United Seamen’s Service, further developing his culinary and organizational skills by setting up clubs and canteens for merchant seamen in Puerto Rico, Brazil, Panama and France. When he returned to New York City in 1945, the local NBC station asked him to appear on the new medium of television. He jumped at the chance, appearing weekly in “Elsie Presents James Beard in ‘I Love to Eat,'” sponsored by Borden.

In the years following, Beard appeared on television and wrote for such magazines as Gourmet and House and Garden. In 1955, he began a three-decade career as a teacher when he established the James Beard Cooking School.

From the 1950s onward, Beard became a sought-after restaurant consultant and commercial endorser while writing numerous books about cooking, entertaining and food. In 1952, he co-authored a guide to the restaurants of Paris, and in 1954 he published a guide to entertaining guests, “How to Eat Better for Less Money,” and a book about cooking fish — which covered not only 80 species of fish and shellfish, but also frogs, turtles and snails. In 1959, “The James Beard Cookbook,” a low-cost paperback for beginners or aspiring cooks in need of improvement, earned praise from Craig Claiborne of the New York Times, who dubbed Beard a “kitchen wizard.”

After his death in 1985, his colleagues and friends established the James Beard Foundation and made his Greenwich Village house a site for food-related events. The James Beard Foundation Awards recognize excellence in the food and beverage industries, and the foundation’s scholarship program has given more than $3.5 million in cash and tuition wavers to talented students. An annual James Beard food conference began in 2010, accompanied in 2011 by the James Beard Foundation Leadership Awards, an apt way to honor the gastronome that set American cooking on its way.

Joyce Chen (1917-1994) is one of America’s most well-known promoters of Chinese food. From her landmark restaurant in the Boston area to her cookbooks and trailblazing PBS television show, Chen invited newcomers to sample unfamiliar dishes in ways that firmly established Chinese cuisine in the United States

From her landmark restaurants in the Boston area to her cookbooks and trailblazing PBS television show, Chen invited newcomers to sample unfamiliar dishes in ways that firmly established Chinese cuisine in the United States. Chen was born in Beijing, China, where her father, a railroad administrator and city executive, employed an images (2)excellent family chef. After overseeing a successful banquet when she was 18, Chen became eager to learn more about cooking and food. After the Chinese Revolution in 1949, Chen left China and found herself in Cambridge, MA, where Chinese students from local universities would visit her family for meals — and to enjoy a rare taste of home.

In 1958, Chen opened her first restaurant in Cambridge, MA. At a time when even soy sauce was considered exotic in America, Chen introduced many Northeasterners to such dishes as Peking duck, moo shu pork and hot-and-sour soup, often serving Chinese food buffet-style, at first alongside familiar Western dishes so nervous patrons could comfortably sample new things.

In 1962, two years after teaching Chinese cooking classes with long waiting lists, Chen compiled her recipes and kitchen tips into the “Joyce Chen Cook Book.” She devoted chapters to proper chopstick usage, regional variations, the importance of tea, the difference between home and restaurant cooking and methods of preparing perfect rice. In the decade following, Chen’s cookbook sold more than 70,000 copies and was reprinted well into the 1980s.

Julia Child’s success on television prompted Boston public television station WGBH to ask Chen to host her own show. Filmed in the late 1960s, “Joyce Chen Cooks” aired on public television stations across the country. The show is credited with expanding America’s interest in and knowledge of Chinese food and culture. She died in Lexington, MA. In 1998, Chen was posthumously included in the James Beard Foundation Hall of Fame.

Julia Child (1912-2004), demystified French cuisine for a U.S. audience. Through her extremely popular television shows and cookbooks, Child showed us that we could make even complicated dishes in our very own kitchens, doing so with a joie de vivre that made her the public face of American cooking for more than 40 years.

Born Julia Carolyn McWilliams in Pasadena, CA, she graduated from Smith College in 1934 and moved briefly to New York City with dreams of becoming a novelist before returning to California. After a stint in Washington, D.C., Child accompanied her husband to Paris for his work with the U.S. Information Service in 1948. She felldownload instantly in love with France and within a year enrolled in cooking classes at Le Cordon Bleu, the renowned Parisian cooking school, and graduated in 1951.

In 1952, Child met two French women who were writing a cookbook for Americans in need of an American collaborator. Together they opened a cooking school and spent several years drafting a manuscript that initially proved too lengthy and too intimidating for American publishers — until editor Judith Jones decided to take a chance on it. In 1961, the year Child and her husband returned to the United States, Alfred A. Knopf published the 684-page “Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume One,” a Book-of-the-Month Club Selection that remains popular to this day.

While promoting the cookbook on the Boston PBS television show “I’ve Been Reading” in 1962, Child demonstrated recipes on the air for nearly half an hour. Her lively and engaging performance prompted PBS station WGBH to offer her a show of her own. In 1963, “The French Chef” debuted nationally — and at the age of 50, Julia Child became a star.

Child filmed episodes of “The French Chef” through 1966. She earned a Peabody Award for Distinguished Achievement in Television in 1964, while the show won a 1966 Primetime Emmy. Child published “The French Chef Cookbook” to accompany the television series and in 1970 co-authored “Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume Two,” proud to have developed the first successful recipe for real French bread made with American flour in a home oven.

New episodes of “The French Chef” debuted in 1970, followed by a 1975 companion cookbook, “From Julia Child’s Kitchen,” in which Child expanded beyond French cooking to include curries, New England chowders and even a look at microwave ovens. She became such a cultural icon that in 1978, Dan Aykroyd parodied her on “Saturday Night Live.”

During the 1980s and 1990s, Child starred in a dizzying array of new series, including “Dinner at Julia’s,” the Emmy-winning “In Julia’s Kitchen with Master Chefs,” and “Baking with Julia.” She appeared on “Good Morning America,” and wowed viewers with a multi-day series about her adventures in Italy. She appeared alongside her friend Jacques Pepin in two PBS specials and the Emmy-winning series “Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home,” which showcased the co-stars’ chemistry and lively debates.

In 1981, she co-founded the American Institute of Wine and Food, and a decade later she and Jacques Pepin worked with Boston University to help create a graduate program in gastronomy, “a unique, multidisciplinary program that encompasses the arts, the humanities and the natural and social sciences.”

In 1996, TV Guide named Child one of the 50 greatest TV stars of all time, and she became a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2000. Her kitchen became a popular exhibition at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History in 2002, and in 2003 she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, our nation’s highest civilian honor.

Today, the Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts continues to support her “commitment to educate and encourage others to live well through the joys of cooking and eating well.”

Known as “the Grande Dame of Southern Cooking,” Edna Lewis (1916-2006) found wisdom in the customs and patterns of her rural Virginia childhood. By bringing such quintessential dishes as shrimp and grits or roast chicken to the plates of fine restaurants, Lewis convinced her fellow Americans to take a second look at Southern cooking while also serving as one of the first voices to reemphasize the importance of fresh, seasonal ingredients.

Lewis was born April 13, 1916, in Freetown, VA, a farming community founded by her grandfather and other freed slaves. For the rest of her life, Lewis fondly recalled the images (1)lifestyle and customs she grew up with and strove to share with the rest of the world. “The spirit of pride in community and of cooperation in the work of farming is what made Freetown a very wonderful place to grow up in,” she wrote in her 1976 book “The Taste of Country Cooking.”

In 1948, antiques dealer John Nicholson persuaded her to be the cook at his new Manhattan restaurant, Cafe Nicholson. The restaurant soon attracted a celebrity clientele, from comedians Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin to musician Hoagy Carmichael and filmmaker Jean Renoir, while also drawing such famous Southern writers as Tennessee Williams, William Faulkner, and — one of Edna Lewis’s favorites — Truman Capote. An enthusiastic 1951 New York Herald Tribune article informed readers that Cafe Nicholson had no menu, but served the same delicious meals every day, such as roast chicken with herbs — what Nicholson himself later called “a very simple menu, and very simply presented.”

After Lewis left Cafe Nicholson in the 1950s, she raised pheasants, catered private parties and worked at the American Museum of Natural History, but her reputation as a cook never diminished. She published “The Edna Lewis Cookbook” in 1972, and at the encouragement of Judith Jones, Julia Child’s editor, she began to write books that combined recipes and cooking tips with her personal recollections. The New York Times proclaimed that her classic 1976 book “The Taste of Country Cooking” “may well be the most entertaining regional cookbook in America.”

During the 1980s and early 1990s, Lewis lived in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and New York where she worked as a chef at various restaurants and wrote “In Pursuit of Flavor,” a 1988 cookbook that included nearly 200 recipes and her own recollections and commentary.

In 2003, with her Alabama-born protege Scott Peacock, Lewis co-wrote “The Gift of Southern Cooking,” a book praised by Publishers Weekly for its authors’ “heartfelt friendship and mutual respect.” Continue reading

MONCLER LAUNCHES THE AUTUMN /WINTER 2014-15 “THE BLACKOUT PROJECT” BY DAN HOLDSWORTH

MONCLER BLACKOUT COCKTAIL - MILAN, SEPTEMBER 17TH, 2014 / WINDOW AND VISUAL DISPLAY

MONCLER BLACKOUT COCKTAIL – MILAN, SEPTEMBER 17TH, 2014 / WINDOW AND VISUAL DISPLAY

Blackout is a series of 21 large colour prints which British photographer Dan Holdsworth taken in 2010 and include shots of mountainous terrain in Iceland, demonstrating the shrinking of the glaciers. His technique includes  reduction in light that forces the viewer to look deeper to understand what is being observed. This is both the technique and the goal of the artist, who works with exposures over many hours to convey the otherworldly landscape to observers, taking them to a place where the gaze achieves its utmost essentiality.

MONCLER BLACKOUT COCKTAIL,  MILAN, SEPTEMBER 17TH, 2014

MONCLER BLACKOUT COCKTAIL, MILAN, SEPTEMBER 17TH, 2014

MONCLER BLACKOUT COCKTAIL,  MILAN, SEPTEMBER 17TH, 2014

MONCLER BLACKOUT COCKTAIL, MILAN, SEPTEMBER 17TH, 2014

MONCLER BLACKOUT COCKTAIL,  MILAN, SEPTEMBER 17TH, 2014

MONCLER BLACKOUT COCKTAIL, MILAN, SEPTEMBER 17TH, 2014

MONCLER BLACKOUT COCKTAIL,  MILAN, SEPTEMBER 17TH, 2014

MONCLER BLACKOUT COCKTAIL, MILAN, SEPTEMBER 17TH, 2014

For the forthcoming Autumn/Winter 2014 season, Moncler has chosen one of these images and reproduced it throughout a collection of jackets, trousers and a series of accessories including; shoes, bags and a clutch bag. The result is a mini collection for skiing, designed for men and women alike. The project pays tribute to the majesty of nature, which has long been an element of inspiration and a source of challenge for Moncler. Thanks to Holdsworth’s images, it offers a profound cue for analysis, something resembling a giant X-ray which reveals the hidden skeleton of the mountain to the eye. Moncler Blackout’s unique collection will be presented in the brand’s flagship stores from September 2014, and will be displayed worldwide with a touring photographic display.

Dan Holdsworth is English, and was born in 1974. He studied photography at the London College of Printing, and has put his signature to personal exhibitions at the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead and London’s Barbican Art Gallery. He has also taken part in collective exhibitions organized at London’s Tate Britain and the Centre Pompidou in Paris. His pieces have become part of the body of works displayed in institutions such as the Tate Collection, the Saatchi Collection and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

 

National Museum of the American Indian Launches Pivotal Exhibition to Celebrate 10 Years on the National Mall

“Nation to Nation: Treaties Between the United States and American Indian Nations” Opens Today

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian will open “Nation to Nation: Treaties Between the United States and American Indian Nations” today–the 10th anniversary of the opening of the museum on the Mall in Washington, D.C.

President John F. Kennedy meeting with National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) president Walter Wetzel, Senator Lee Metcalf, and Senator Mike Mansfield, 1963. Photo probably by Robert L. Knudsen. (P34169)

President John F. Kennedy meeting with National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) president Walter Wetzel, Senator Lee Metcalf, and Senator Mike Mansfield, 1963. Photo probably by Robert L. Knudsen. (P34169)

Established in 1989, through an Act of Congress, The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) is a vital component of the Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest museum complex. Dedicated to advancing knowledge and understanding of the Native cultures of the Western Hemisphere–past, present, and future–through partnership with Native people and others, the NMAI cares for one of the world’s most expansive collections of Native objects spanning 12,000 years of culture from the Arctic Circle to Tierra del Fuego. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the opening of the National Museum of the American Indian on the National Mall located at 4th St & Independence Ave. SW, Washington, DC 20560.

Oto delegation, 1881. Standing L to R: Chedo Nayį or Standing Buffalo Bull; Ma Ska Gaxe or White Maker. Seated, L to R: Waruje Nayį or Standing Eating; Mųnje Xąnje or Big Bear; Harigra or Returns from Far. Photo attributed to John K. Hillers. (P03408)

Oto delegation, 1881. Standing L to R: Chedo Nayį or Standing Buffalo Bull; Ma Ska Gaxe or White Maker. Seated, L to R: Waruje Nayį or Standing Eating; Mųnje Xąnje or Big Bear; Harigra or Returns from Far. Photo attributed to John K. Hillers. (P03408)

Nation to Nation” is the museum’s most ambitious effort yet; it will present the history of the relationship between the United States and American Indian Nations through their treaties in the largest historical collection ever offered to an audience. The exhibition focuses on historic episodes of treaty-making and will feature nine original treaties on loan from the National Archives that will rotate throughout the run of “Nation to Nation.” The first to be exhibited will be the Treaty of Canandaigua between the Haudenosaunee (the Six Nations, or Iroquois Confederacy) and the fledgling United States. One of the earliest treaties made, it was signed by Cornplanter, Red Jacket, Handsome Lake and President George Washington in 1794. Each treaty represents diplomatic agreements between the United States and Native Nations that remain in force to this day.

Delegation of representatives of the Yankton, Santee, and Upper Missouri Sioux; Sac and Fox, Kaw, Ojibwe, Ottawa, Kickapoo, and Miami Nations, posing with President Andrew Johnson on the steps of the White House, 1867. Photo by Alexander Gardner. (P10142)

Delegation of representatives of the Yankton, Santee, and Upper Missouri Sioux; Sac and Fox, Kaw, Ojibwe, Ottawa, Kickapoo, and Miami Nations, posing with President Andrew Johnson on the steps of the White House, 1867. Photo by Alexander Gardner. (P10142)

Kumeyaay (Diegueño) basket tray, ca. 1900. California. Grass, juncus. Photo by Ernest Amoroso, NMAI. (22/2729)

Kumeyaay (Diegueño) basket tray, ca. 1900. California. Grass, juncus. Photo by Ernest Amoroso, NMAI. (22/2729)

More than 125 historical and some contemporary objects from the museum’s collection and private lenders–peace medals given to Native Nations by George Washington and Thomas Jefferson; the pipe of Chief Washakie, who was present at the 1851 Horse Creek Treaty; the sword and scabbard of Andrew Jackson (on loan from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History); and iconic memorabilia from the American Indian Movement–tell the story of living side-by-side from the birth of the United States to the present. Wampum belts, richly beaded pipe bags, a Seneca dress, Navajo blanket, Cheyenne painted deer skin depicting the Battle of Little Big Horn, Potawatomi medicine bags, tomahawks, baskets, archival photographs and more highlight historical moments.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The exhibition, in development for 10 years, offers visitors the hidden stories of the United States and American Indian Nations diplomacy, the history of how the states were ultimately drawn and how promises were kept and broken and renewed with Native Nations. Guest curated by Suzan Shown Harjo (Cheyenne and Hodulgee Muscogee), the story is woven through five sections: Introduction to Treaties; Serious Diplomacy; Bad Acts, Bad Paper; Great Nations Keep Their Word; and The Future of Treaties. The exhibition also features three original media productions: “Nation to Nation,” a four-minute video that will introduce the main themes of the exhibition; “Indian Problem,” a 10-minute video that shows the cultural side of the shift in power relations between Native Nations and the U.S. government; and “Sovereign Rights,” a four-minute video that covers the topic of termination of tribes. All three videos are narrated by Robert Redford. Continue reading

TOYS“R”US® LIFTS THE CURTAIN ON 2014 HOLIDAY SEASON

Toys“R”Us® lifted the curtain on its plans for the 2014 holiday season at a special preview event for business retail reporters in New York City. Hank Mullany, President, Toys“R”Us, U.S., discussed steps the company has taken during the first half of the year to prepare its stores nationwide for the busy shopping season ahead, including building its leadership team, successfully concluding its inventory clearance event to make way for hot new holiday products, significantly improving its in-stock position, strengthening customer relationships with enhanced service offerings and redeploying capital for store maintenance.

Mr. Mullany also announced the launch of the company’s new Rewards“R”Us loyalty program, the introduction of free online layaway and ways it is making it easy and fast for shoppers to find the toys they want through its new “Here’s What’s Hot” and “Gift Express” shops, in-aisle “Top Gift” suggestions, as well as its curated online Gift Finder. In addition, Mr. Mullany discussed the company’s innovative brand marketing campaign and the important role its expert employees play in providing a differentiated shopping experience for customers. He also noted that the company will continue to offer Price Match Guarantee for store and online competitors, a $49 everyday free shipping offer and enhanced omnichannel capabilities including In-Store Pick Up.

“We are pleased with our progress and the foundational improvements we’ve made to the business in preparing for the busy months ahead,” said Mr. Mullany. “Our focus at Toys“R”Us for the 2014 holiday season is to make it easy for customers to shop with us both in-store and online. At the same time, we will clearly demonstrate our toy category leadership through our broad product assortment, by having hot toys in-stock when customers want them, and leveraging the expertise of our employees in helping gift-givers select the right toy for the child on their list.”

Launching New Rewards“R”Us Program: Loyal Customers Earn Rewards Faster, Maximizing Their Shopping Experience

Just in time for the holiday shopping season, the company has launched a new Rewards“R”Us program to further deepen its relationship with its most devoted customers. The more than 18 million existing Rewards“R”Us members, and those who sign up in-store or online at Toysrus.com/myrewards, are now able to earn more rewards. The complimentary loyalty program enables members to simply earn one point per dollar spent* at Toys“R”Us or Babies“R”Us locations. For every $125 spent, Rewards“R”Us members receive $5 in “R”Us Rewards.

To maximize their membership, loyalty members now have the ability to accumulate points up to $200 in rewards, allowing them to save up and apply their rewards toward special purchases. In addition, members can register to receive rewards directly via email and enjoy an extended 60-day validity period when redeeming rewards. Plus, members have access to the dedicated Rewards“R”Us website where they can track their purchases, print rewards and receive exclusive access to special savings and partner offers from family-friendly brands that include global resorts, iconic attractions, entertainment and more.

To extend savings even further, Rewards“R”Us members who are also “R”Us credit cardholders, issued by Synchrony Bank, earn two points per dollar spent in-store or online at Toys“R”Us or Babies“R”Us, a total of $10 for every $125 they spend. They can also enjoy special financing and partake in 10% off** Thursdays at any “R”Us location. Plus, “R”Us MasterCard® cardholders also earn one point for every four dollars spent on purchases at stores other than Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us.

Rewards“R”Us members will also receive exclusive promotions throughout the holiday season and advance notice of sales, events and presale opportunities. To learn more, visit Toysrus.com/myrewards.

Introducing New Online Layaway for Holiday Season

Toys“R”Us has expanded its omnichannel capabilities with the introduction of online layaway, giving customers the ability to create layaway orders at Toysrus.com and Babiesrus.com, make subsequent payments either in-store or online and choose to pick up their order in a local store or have it delivered right to their home. This offering is in addition to the company’s in-store layaway program. Toys“R”Us will once again offer FREE layaway for the holiday season, waiving the $5 service fee generally associated, now for both online and in-store layaway orders.

As the company strives to make it easy for customers to find and buy what they’re looking for, online layaway not only provides access to a wider assortment of products, but is also an exceptional shopping convenience for those who want to make a series of payments over time, but may not be able to get to a local store to create a layaway order and make regular payments. More details are available at Toysrus.com/Layaway.

It’s All About Gifting Made Easy

This fall, the company is introducing brand new navigational signage in its Toys“R”Us stores nationwide. This thoughtful and layered approach to making it easy and fast for gift-givers to find what they’re looking for includes a welcome map located at the front of the store featuring merchandise category locations, plus large overhead signage identifying major product categories and brands. Additional way-finding signage at aisle entry points and within each aisle breaks down merchandise selection even further, leading shoppers right to the item they came to find.

In addition, the company announced the launch of two new gift solutions shops located at the front of each store, providing shoppers with easy access to top gifts and helping to eliminate guesswork:

  • The “Here’s What’s Hot” shop showcases hot, new product arrivals and top trending toys for children of all ages. Featured products will change on a monthly basis, providing parents with instant knowledge of what kids are currently clamoring for.
  • For grab-and-go shoppers, a curated assortment of top items available for $30 or less is presented in the “Gift Express” shop, which is designed to help even the most indecisive gift-giver choose something great for the holidays, a birthday or other special occasions.

To further assist holiday shoppers select a gift sure to please, the company’s team of merchandising experts have chosen16 “Top Gift” suggestions to showcase through in-aisle presentations. Identified by bright green signage, these items help focus shoppers on some of the hottest items within a large product category.

For online shoppers, a new curated Gift Finder will be available at Toysrus.com with fun gift ideas that will deliver big smiles. This specially selected guide, featuring top gifts for every toy category, allows shoppers to easily search items by age and price range, and then further narrow the results by brand and character. Continue reading

Crystal Cruises’ Top Brass Of Past And Present Headline 2015 Silver Anniversary Theme Cruises

Luxury Line Celebrates Milestone with Special Parties, Special Guests

Two Ships1_ 10x13

Crystal Cruises will be celebrating 25 years of sailing in 2015 with multiple theme cruises bringing back former Crystal captains, as well as current top executives. (PRNewsFoto/Crystal Cruises)

Luxury cruise leader Crystal Cruises announces a celebratory twist for its Experiences of Discovery theme cruises for 2015, when the line will mark its 25th anniversary of cruising.  During six designated sailings – in addition to more than a dozen themed cruises focused on culinary, musical, theatrical, political and athletic pursuits – Crystal guests will be treated to commemorative parties and receptions, where they’ll rub elbows with Crystal’s top leadership.  Of these, four voyages will be Crystal’s first-ever “Captain’s Cruises,” wherein former captains will join Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity again to regale travelers with their Crystal memories.  The four cruises, and hosts, include:

 April 11, Asia (Hong Kong to Tokyo) with Captain Reidulf Maalen, the captain of Crystal’s first ship, the Crystal Harmony, when the company began sailing in 1990.

–  May 4, Southern Trans-Atlantic (Miami to Lisbon) with Captain Glenn Edvardsen, a 21-year Crystal veteran, and the youngest Crystal captain when he joined the line in 1999.

–  June 12, Northern Trans-Atlantic (New York to London) with Captain Helge Brudvik, captain of Crystal Symphony in its inaugural year, retired from Crystal since 2000.

–  December 19, Caribbean/Brazilian Holiday (San Juan to Rio de Janeiro) with Captain John Okland, who just retired in 2012 after 15 years with Crystal.

Crystal Cruises will be celebrating 25 years of sailing in 2015 with multiple theme cruises bringing back former Crystal captains, as well as current top executives. (PRNewsFoto/Crystal Cruises)

Crystal Cruises will be celebrating 25 years of sailing in 2015 with multiple theme cruises bringing back former Crystal captains, as well as current top executives. (PRNewsFoto/Crystal Cruises)

Crystal’s Experiences of Discovery theme cruises set throughout 2015 also include two Wine & Food Festival voyages in Asia (January 5 and 29) and one in the Mediterranean and Canary Islands (November 13); music-focused programming on two Trans-Atlantic Ballroom at Sea sailings (June 12 and December 11), a Jazz cruise down the Pacific Coast (May 11), and two back-to-back Mediterranean voyages featuring Emerging Artists from the acclaimed Music Center of Los Angeles (May 31 and June 12); plus a Trans-Atlantic Film & Theatre cruise (May 4); and a Golf-themed British Isles sailing (July 25).  Three segments of the 108-day “Silver Celebration” World Cruise also offer an Ocean Views theme, featuring debates and interactive discussion with some of the most knowledgeable world affairs experts of today.

We’re thrilled to welcome some of our most beloved captains back aboard to celebrate this milestone, as they have each played a significant role in our 25-year history of extraordinary worldwide explorations,” says Crystal President and COO Edie Rodriguez.  “Our anniversary theme cruises will be like Crystal family reunions, made even more special with our ship ‘masters’ returning home to celebrate with us.”

In addition to the Captains’ cruises set for the anniversary year, Crystal’s annual President’s and Chairman‘s voyages will also feature added programming and celebrations, hosted by Rodriguez on Crystal Serenity’s 13-day, July 12 Western Europe cruise; and Crystal Chairman Nobuyoshi “Nob” Kuzuya on Crystal Symphony’s 18-day, July 8 North Cape/Arctic Circle cruise.

All-inclusive, value-priced “Book Now” fares for the Experiences of Discovery cruise series start at just $2,810/person, double occupancy, with up to $1,900/person in savings if booked by October 31.

TOYS“R”US® UNVEILS THE 2014 #TRUHOTTOYLIST

Charm-azing Bracelets, Stretchy Heroes in a Half Shell, Little Chirping Love Birds, a Virtual Construction Set and 200 Pound-Towing Truck Are Among the Top Toys Named to the Company’s Annual and Industry-Leading Gift List

With the holiday shopping season approaching, Toys“R”Us® has revealed its highly anticipated 2014 Holiday Hot Toy List. The annual list of 36 items, determined by Toys“R”Us play experts after months of extensive research, is packed with a wide range of brand new toys, games and other playthings expected to be at the top of kids’ wish lists this year. For the full list, visit Toysrus.com/HotToys or follow the conversation on social media using the hashtag, #TRUHotToyList.

“We take great pride in providing parents and gift-givers with a reliable and definitive shopping list that they can use as a starting point to help ensure kids will be smiling from ear-to-ear when they open their presents on Christmas morning,” said Richard Barry, Executive Vice President, Chief Merchandising Officer, Toys“R”Us, Inc. “Our team of toy experts has a proven track record of predicting what are expected to be the most coveted toys each holiday season. By sharing our unique toy insights, while offering compelling services and savings opportunities, including the introduction of free online layaway and our new Rewards“R”Us loyalty program with “R”Us credit card incentives, we’re determined to help make holiday gifting easy for our customers.”

THE TOYS“R”US “FABULOUS 15”: The Best-of-the-Best of the Holiday Season

Among the 36 items named to the Toys“R”Us Holiday Hot Toy List are the Fabulous 15, expected to be the most sought-after and anticipated items of the holiday season:

THE 2014 #TRUHotToyList

From Baby’s First Christmas to Big Kids, the 2014 Toys“R”Us Holiday Hot Toy List represents the top new toys of the year in each age group:

Baby’s First Christmas:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Bright Starts Having a Ball! Hide & Spin Monkey from Kids II®

It’s time for some monkey business! By picking up balls, placing them into the top of the monkey’s hat and pressing his nose, little ones can watch with excitement as the balls spiral down the ramp. With bright lights and silly monkey sounds and songs, parents should prepare for ongoing laughter. The Hide & Spin Monkey also encourages sit-to-stand play. 4 “AA” batteries required (included). Ages 6 to 36 months.

MINNIE MOUSE Musical Touch 'n Crawl (In Packaging) - C.Hung Yu photographer

MINNIE MOUSE Musical Touch ‘n Crawl (In Packaging) – C.Hung Yu photographer

MINNIE MOUSE Musical Touch ‘n Crawl from Fisher-Price®

This too-cute Minnie Mouse is moving and grooving, encouraging crawlers to join along and further develop gross motor skills. With just a press of Minnie’s back, babies will hear adorable phrases such as “great job!” and “aren’t you sweet?” followed by Minnie crawling to a sweet melody. Minnie is soft to the touch and sized just right for little ones. 2 “AA” batteries required (included). Ages 9 months to 3 years.

13 months to 2 years:

3-in-1 Bounce, Stride & Ride  (Out of Packaging)

3-in-1 Bounce, Stride & Ride (Out of Packaging)

3-in-1 Bounce, Stride & Ride

3-in-1 Bounce, Stride & Ride

3-in-1 Bounce, Stride & Ride Elephant from Fisher-Price®

This adorable elephant pal comes ready to play and ride with lights, music and three “grow-with-me” stages to get infants moving. Babies can bounce up and down, then steady their first steps as a walker, and ultimately take a ride. Upbeat tunes, fun sounds, phrases and sing-along songs encourage and reward actions of little learners. The elephant’s big, soft ears move as babies move to add even more fun and excitement. 2 “AAA” batteries required (included). Ages 9 months to 3 years.

Giggly Gears Twirltable

Giggly Gears Twirltable

Giggly Gears Twirltable from Little Tikes®

Little imaginations will spin into gear with this engaging and interactive Toys“R”Us exclusive play table. With over 20 colorful gears that turn, swirl and wind, there are endless ways to play and countless hours of imaginative fun to be had. Parents will love to watch as toddlers invent new ways to spin and stack gears while music plays. 2 “AAA” batteries required (not included). Ages 12 months and up.

2 to 4 years:

Cabbage Patch Kids Twinkle Toes 2 (Out of Packaging)

Cabbage Patch Kids Twinkle Toes 2 (Out of Packaging)

Cabbage Patch Kids® 14-Inch SKECHERS® Twinkle Toes Kid with Backpack from JAKKS Pacific, Inc.

Kids can’t help but shine when playing with the all-new Toys“R”Us exclusive 14-inch Cabbage Patch Kid, featuring real light-up accessories and SKECHERS shoes. Available in a variety of ethnicities, face shapes, hair colors, eye colors and more to choose from, each Cabbage Patch Kid has a one-of-a-kind name and comes with a birth certificate and adoption papers. 6 “AG13/LR44” batteries required (included). Ages 3 years and up. Continue reading

Absolut® Launches Limited Edition Andy Warhol Bottle

Celebrated Vodka Brand Honors Iconic Collaboration with Legendary Artist in time to Make the Holidays “Pop”

“I love the bottle; I want to do something…” – Andy Warhol on the iconic Absolut® Vodka bottle

Absolut Vodka has proudly announced the Limited Edition Andy Warhol bottle, a new design celebrating the brand’s iconic collaboration with the illustrious Andy Warhol, embodying the brand’s commitment to supporting all things rooted in artistic expression and creativity.

In 1986, Andy Warhol became the first in a long line of celebrated artists to collaborate with Absolut, when he created an original piece inspired by his adoration of the brand’s iconic bottle. This fall, Absolut brings Warhol’s creative vision into the 21st century, by transforming his artwork into a three-dimensional bottle, allowing anyone to “Make the Holidays Pop” with their very own Warhol. Since 1986, the Swedish vodka brand has collaborated with thousands of cutting-edge artists, including Keith Haring, Damien Hirst, Louise Bourgeois, Annie Liebovitz – and more recently, Jay-Z , Spike Jonze, Swedish House Mafia and Lady Gaga. The Warhol Limited Edition bottle design is black with blue, pink and yellow details – replicating Andy Warhol’s original Absolut Warhol painting and features approximately four million bottles, which will be distributed worldwide beginning October 2014.

Absolut Vodka unveils new Limited Edition Absolut Warhol bottle, offering a three-dimensional replica of Warhol’s original 1986 Absolut-inspired artwork and print ad for the vodka brand.

Absolut Vodka unveils new Limited Edition Absolut Warhol bottle, offering a three-dimensional replica of Warhol’s original 1986 Absolut-inspired artwork and print ad for the vodka brand.

We are incredibly excited to launch this unique bottle, the design of which exemplifies our iconic partnership with the legendary Andy Warhol,” says Joao Rozario, Vice President, Vodkas, Pernod Ricard.We hope party-goers everywhere will view it as the quintessential ‘plus one’ that will make their holiday parties pop this season.”

To support the launch of the Warhol Limited Edition bottle of Absolut Original, Absolut is launching two transformative consumer-facing initiatives: the Warhol Spirit by Absolut experience and the Andy Warhol Art Exchange by Absolut.

In celebration of the new Andy Warhol Edition, Absolut will collaborate with Andy Warhol once again by reaching out to his spirit for a one-of-a-kind nightlife experience in New York City. During the experience, acclaimed DJ A-Trak, light artist Schnellebuntibilder and experimental EVP artist Leif Elggren, will work together to transform sound waves originating from Warhol’s spirit into a one-of-a-kind nightlife experience. Using the sound waves as the main input, the three artists will create a live-collaboration where Schnellebuntibilder’s interactive light installation will react to A-Trak’s music, which mixes in Andy Warhol’s words picked up by Leif Elggren’s EVP machine. Through this truly unique experience, Absolut seeks to inspire audiences to realize that anything is possible through creativity.

By transforming Warhol’s artwork into a three-dimensional bottle, Absolut allows anyone to “Make the Holidays Pop” with their very own Warhol.

By transforming Warhol’s artwork into a three-dimensional bottle, Absolut allows anyone to “Make the Holidays Pop” with their very own Warhol.

To allow audiences anywhere in the world to experience the connection with Warhol, an interactive site will live-stream what sounds are picked up from the EVP before, during, and after the event. Continue reading