Build-A-Bear Workshop® Debuts Scented Sweet Hugs Furry Friends And 2016 Share Your Heart Program

New Furry Friends and Accessories Arrive to Kick off Partnership for Save the Children

As the leading expert on children, we inspire and achieve lasting impact for millions of the world’s most vulnerable girls and boys. By transforming children’s lives now, we change the course of their future and ours.”

Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc., an interactive destination where guests can create personalized furry friends, has introduced a new collection of scented, make-your-own Sweet Hugs gifts just in time for Valentine’s Day. The new Build-A-Bear Workshop Sweet Hugs Heart Bear, Sweet Hugs Swirl Bear and Sweet Hugs Pup have candy-scented fur made possible by Celessence™ Technologies microencapsulation, a license of Genius Brands International, which uses touch to release an irresistible fragrance. The more you hug them, the sweeter they smell.

Build-A-Bear Workshop Sweet Hugs Group

Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc. has introduced a new collection of scented, make-your-own Sweet Hugs gifts just in time for Valentine’s Day. The new Build-A-Bear Workshop Sweet Hugs Heart Bear, Sweet Hugs Swirl Bear and Sweet Hugs Pup have candy-scented fur made possible by Celessence(TM) Technologies. (PRNewsFoto/Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc.)

Each Sweet Hugs friend can transform into a unique, huggable Valentine with the addition of a Build-A-Sound® recordable chip featuring a personalized message, plush conversation hearts, and customized clothing.

From sweet scents to sweet dreams, the new Build-A-Bear Workshop 2 Fun 2 Sleep slumber party line includes new furry friends, a make-your-own Rainbow Hugs Stuffable Pillow, plus matching pajamas for kids and furry friends.

Build-A-Bear Workshop guests with a sweet tooth can also indulge in an assortment of all-natural, premium chocolate bars from PRAIM Group, Froose co-branded fruit snacks, Clever Cookie iced and mini cookies, as well as new co-branded NECCO® Sweethearts® candies.

Build-A-Bear Workshop is starting the New Year in yet another sweet way by inviting guests to support Save the Children through the company’s Share Your Heart program in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. From now through March 2, Build-A-Bear Workshop guests can share their heart by donating to Save the Children‘s Journey of Hope program in stores or online at

Save the Children invests in childhood – every day, in times of crisis and for our future. In the United States and around the world, they are dedicated to ensuring every child has the best chance for success. Their pioneering programs give children a healthy start, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm; and their advocacy efforts provide a voice for children who cannot speak for themselves.

Launched in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Save the Children’s Journey of Hope program empowers children of all ages to identify their own strengths, build coping skills, self-esteem and overall resilience. The program has since been delivered to more than 85,000 children in the United States, Australia, Canada, Italy, Spain,New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

The Build-A-Bear Foundation will match all U.S. guest donations up to $100,000. At Build-A-Bear Workshop U.K. and Canadalocations, guests can purchase a purple satin heart, $1 of which will be donated to Save the Children.

We want to make it easy for guests to start the New Year on a positive note by sharing their hearts and doing something good for others,” said Gina Collins, chief marketing officer, Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc.We believe all children deserve a chance at a great future and our partnership with Save the Children will help young people in the Journey of Hope program to thrive.”

At all Build-A-Bear Workshop locations, guests can fill out a special Share Your Heart card to send positive thoughts and encouragement to children in the Journey of Hope program.

Following disasters and other traumatic experiences, children often struggle to move forward, and they need support to develop coping skills and strategies to deal with their emotions in healthy ways,” said Natalie Vega-O’Neil, Save the Children’s acting vice-president for U.S. Programs.With the support of Build-A-Bear Workshop, we will work with communities to build on children’s strengths and resiliency as we expand the program and reach even more children in need.”

For more information, visit and follow the brand on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.


2016 Travvy Awards Recognize World Travel Holdings’ CruiseOne® and Villas of Distinction® Brands with Top Honors

CruiseOne wins Silver and Villas of Distinction wins Gold at second annual awards show presented by travAlliancemedia

Leading home-based travel franchise CruiseOne® and full-service premier luxury villa provider Villas of Distinction®, both part of World Travel Holdings, have been recognized by travAlliancemedia as the Silver and Gold winners in the Best Travel Agency Franchise Group and Tour Operator categories, respectively, of the 2016 Travvy Awards.WorldTravelHoldings_LOGO_FINAL

It is a huge honor to have CruiseOne recognized as a top travel agency franchise by the travel industry and travAlliancemedia, one of the industry’s leading trade publications. It would not be possible without the support of our Headquarters team, network of franchise owners and travel suppliers,” said Debbie Fiorino, senior vice president of CruiseOne / Dream Vacations. “With our new travel franchise brand Dream Vacations launching in April 2016, we decided that being the official show sponsor of the Travvys would be a good opportunity to highlight this new brand. To also win the Silver, is the icing on the cake.


CruiseOne was recognized for its prestigious travel industry accolades and active involvement with the International Franchise Association, as well as the business-building resources the Headquarters team provides to its home-based franchise owners. These include an award-winning online learning management system for continuing education, an innovative marketing program with free and low-cost initiatives, state-of-the-art technology and more.

Being recognized by our industry partners and colleagues along with travAlliancemedia as the Best Luxury Vacation Packager is a sincere privilege,” said Steve Lassman, vice president of villa product and agency relations for Villas of Distinction. “The cornerstone of our villa specialists and concierges is to provide impeccable service, and we look forward to assisting with and arranging personalized, memorable villa vacation experiences for both our travel partners’ customers and our clients.”VOD_logo

Villas of Distinction was acknowledged for its commitment to providing its clients with more than just a villa stay, but planning a completely customized vacation experience. Through its concierge services which offer a personal concierge to arrange every aspect of a vacation, Villas of Distinction has created countless, truly unique experiences for birthdays, wedding proposals, weddings, anniversaries, family reunions and more. Continue reading

National AIDS Memorial Grove Announces Recipients of 2015 Pedro Zamora Young Leaders Scholarship

$40,000 In Scholarships Awarded To Six Young Leaders Fighting The HIV/AIDS Epidemic, Through Program Sponsored By Unitedhealthcare And Wells Fargo

The National AIDS Memorial Grove has awarded six outstanding undergraduate students each with a Pedro Zamora Young Leaders Scholarship for their commitment to active roles of public service and leadership in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

The National AIDS Memorial received the honor of being designated the official national AIDS memorial in 1996, in large measure because of the leadership of Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi who helped pass legislation that was signed into law by President Bill Clinton, elevating the Grove to join the company of the nation’s other 43 federally designated memorials. The National AIDS Memorial is located in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park at the corner of Nancy Pelosi Drive and Bowling Green Drives.


Manuel Venegas, Abdon Orrostieta, Eric Ciasullo and Chanel DeLaney (PRNewsFoto/National AIDS Memorial Grove)

The Pedro Zamora Young Leaders Scholarship, named in honor of AIDS educator, activist and reality television pioneer Pedro Zamora, who passed away more than twenty years ago from an AIDS-related illness, has helped support the education of young people who today are engaged in a variety of HIV-related work in their schools, communities and chosen academic fields. The scholarship program began in 2009 and is funded primarily through grants provided by UnitedHealthcare, Wells Fargo and Project Inform.

This year marks the largest distribution of funds from the program with a total of $40,000 awarded to six undergraduate students, two of whom are two-year scholarship recipients with $5,000 awarded in 2015 & 2016. The six recipients will each receive $5,000 to support their educational goals as they continue to provide much needed leadership and community service in HIV/AIDS public awareness and prevention, public policy, and treatment and support for people living with HIV/AIDS.

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Chanel DeLaney, Mark Ng greet scholarship recipient Abdon Orrostie (PRNewsFoto/National AIDS Memorial Grove)

We are pleased to see the growth of the Pedro Zamora Young Leaders Scholarship and see first-hand how our support is helping the next generation of leaders who are actively engaged in AIDS-related work,” said John Cunningham, executive director of the National AIDS Memorial Grove. “This couldn’t be done without the strong support and funding from UnitedHealthcare, Wells Fargo and Project Inform.”

The scholarships recipients are from six states and include:

Raymond Jackson is working on his associate’s degree in Business Administration at Essex County College in Newark, N.J. Raymond’s goal is to work with the Centers for Disease Control in their Global Health Economics Department, the financial resources to help individuals in third world countries with HIV/AIDS. In addition, he is working as a peer educator at Project (WOW), where he has the opportunity to share his personal story of living with HIV and educate his peers of the importance of protecting themselves.

Adrian Nava is a second-year recipient and third-year student at the University of Denver. He plans on completing his bachelor of arts in International Studies and Sociology. Adrian plans on working in the nonprofit sector, focusing on health and access to health services for LGBT people and people of color. Adrian has worked in the sexual health field for five years and continues to do work around sexual health at state and national levels.

Uzo Okoro is a senior at Brown University in Providence, R.I., majoring in Public Health. Upon graduation, she will attend The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University to pursue her medical degree. Uzo was selected by the nonprofit group Advocates for Youth to be a Youth Ambassador for NYHAAD (National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day) to promote a message of prevention, treatment, care and youth empowerment. She also uses events, forums and social media to amplify the voice of HIV+ survivors. At Brown University, she is a lead coordinator of the Sexual Health Awareness Group (SHAG), where she participates in sexual peer education.

Abdon Orrostieta is a two-year scholarship recipient and junior at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Fla. He volunteers with Latino Salud, a nonprofit community- and minority-based HIV agency that provides HIV rapid testing and linkage services making Ryan White support and other medical services accessible to HIV-positive individuals. He is also a member of the Health Awareness and Prevention Society, which promotes increased awareness and healthy living through education and prevention, and plans to incorporate what he has learned through his involvement with HAPS and Latino Salud into his future professional endeavors. Continue reading

THIRTEEN’s Nature, Raising the Dinosaur Giant, Hosted by Sir David Attenborough, Unearths a New Species in Patagonia, Wednesday, February 17, 2016, on PBS

Paleontologists Believe They Have Discovered The Largest Known Dinosaur And Reconstruct Its Skeleton Model

A few years ago in the Argentinean desert, a shepherd was searching for one of his lost sheep when he spotted the tip of a gigantic fossil bone sticking out of a rock. When the news reached paleontologists at the MEF Museum in Trelew, Argentina, they set up camp at the discovery site to examine it and look for more bones. By the end of the dig, they had uncovered more than 200 other huge bones. As the program reveals, these fossils came from seven dinosaurs, all belonging to a new species of giant plant-eating titanosaur whose name will be announced soon.


Sir David Attenborough with a new giant titanosaur find – a thigh bone (femur) fossil. Paleontology Museum, Trelew, Argentina February 2015. © Robin Cox

When we learned that early signs at the dig site suggested this new species was the largest land animal ever known and experts were discovering such valuable information about the life of such giants millions of years ago, we were keenly interested,” says Fred Kaufman, executive producer of Nature.

Nature pioneered a television genre that is now widely emulated in the broadcast industry. Throughout its history, Nature has brought the natural world to millions of viewers and has been consistently among the most-watched primetime series on public television.


Dig site of a new giant titanosaur find at La Fletcha Farm. Dig team from the Paleontology Museum in Trelew, Chubut Province, Argentina. Over 200 fossil bones found. April 2015. © William Hicklin

Sir David Attenborough, the film’s host and narrator, takes us through the twists and turns of the forensic investigation to find out more about this new animal. He talks to paleontologists studying the fossils, along with comparative anatomy experts, and with the help of 3D scanning, CGI visuals and animation, looks at what the bones reveal about the lives of these dinosaurs. He’s on location at the dig site and in the MEF Museum labs in Trelew, and present when a life-size skeleton of the dinosaur, built by a Canadian and Argentinean team of model makers, is completed. Raising the Dinosaur Giant airs Wednesday, February 17, 2016, at 8 p.m. (ET) on PBS (check local listings). After the broadcast, the episode will be available for online streaming at


A new giant titanosaur find – a whole reconstructed skeleton. Paleontology Museum, Trelew, Argentina February 2015. © Robin Cox

As Attenborough explains, dinosaurs roamed what is now the rocky desert of Patagonia during the Cretaceous Period, around 145 to 66 million years ago. The largest of these were plant-eaters known as titanosaurs. Among the fossils unearthed during the two-year excavation were bones from the giant’s front and back legs, which are vital in determining its body mass or weight, and those from its spine, which helped establish its identity. Dr. Diego Pol, chief paleontologist on the project, was pleased that the femur (or thigh bone), found by the shepherd, was well-preserved because it was of great value to the scientific study. At 2.6 yards in length, it also turned out to be the largest dinosaur bone ever discovered. To protect the fossils, weighing more than half a ton or so, on their journey to the museum lab, the team had to apply plaster casts on each limb. A road was even built to transport them.


Sir David Attenborough with a new giant titanosaur find – a thigh bone (femur) fossil. Paleontology Museum, Trelew, Argentina February 2015. © Robin Cox

According to Attenborough, scientists dated these fossils to precisely 101.6 million years old by examining the ash deposits in the rock layers surrounding them. He shares the team’s discoveries gleaned from meticulous forensic work and makes comparisons to the biology of living creatures. Among some early findings are that the giants are thought to have eaten plants such as fern, cycads and conifers without chewing them; it’s estimated that its heart weighed just over 500 pounds to pump blood around its massive body and is thought to have had four chambers; and this largest titanosaur measured 121 feet from head to tail and weighed just over 77 tons.

The film also follows Attenborough as he visits the largest known dinosaur nesting ground 500 miles north of the Patagonian dig site, where the remains of their eggshells can be seen scattered for miles. He discloses that hundreds of buried titanosaur eggs, originally laid on an old river plain, have also been found intact. The unhatched ones were preserved in mud when the river flooded, providing clues to what a baby titanosaur may have looked like.


Dr. Jose Luis Carballido (right) and Dr. Diego Pol (left) measure the femur bone of a new giant titanosaur find at the dig site on La Fletcha Farm near Trelew, Chubut Province, Argentina, April 2015. © William Hicklin

Like so many people, young and old, I am fascinated by dinosaurs,” says Attenborough. The subsequent confirmation from Dr. Pol that they believe they had discovered the largest dinosaur ever known was like icing on the cake. But the research continues as the fossils contain many secrets yet to be revealed. Continue reading

Celebrate the Month of Romance at Mandarin Oriental Hotels Across the U.S.

Mandarin Oriental hotels in the U.S. invite guests to indulge in a selection of exclusive offers that will make for the perfect Valentine’s Day.28a4f352-fb86-4bdd-8379-3686ac15cfe2

This Valentine’s Day, travel to Mandarin Oriental, Atlanta and delight in the Decadent Romance package. Couples will be welcomed with a rose petal turndown, chilled champagne and a box of heart-shaped chocolates from Cacao Atlanta featuring flavors such as Aztec Aphrodisiac and Cayenne Passion Fruit. Sparks will fly during a performance of Atlanta Ballet’s Moulin Rouge – The Ballet, a story of young love and rising stardom set against a glamorous and sizzling Parisian backdrop. The package starts from USD 575 per night and is valid from February 5 to 13, 2016.

At Mandarin Oriental, Miami, couples looking to experience a luxurious Valentine’s Day can book the Be My Valentine package. Priced from USD 747 and available throughout the month of February, the offer features accommodations in a deluxe room, full American breakfast at La Mar with mimosas, and a bottle of Piper-Heidsieck champagne with chocolate-covered strawberries upon arrival. Guests can also select from the hotel’s romantic Spa offers and delectable menus at Azul and La Mar by Gastón Acurio.

Escape for an evening of romance at the Five-Star Mandarin Oriental, Boston. With views overlooking the city’s bustling Back Bay, the Month of Romance package includes luxurious accommodations for one night with a complimentary room upgrade based on availability. Couples will be treated to a rose petal turndown, a perfectly chilled bottle of champagne and a decadent chocolate dessert from Pastry Chef, Robert Differ. The offer also includes breakfast for two in Bar Boulud or in-room, as well as late check-out at 2 p.m. The package is available from February 1 to 29, 2016. Rates start at USD 705 per night and are subject to availability.

Couples will have all the makings for a sultry stay at Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas. The Lovers Toast package features a private tour of the Kiki de Montparnasse Boutique with celebratory champagne and aphrodisiac delights. Guests will indulge in a Tian Quan thermal experience at The Spa as well as an American breakfast for two at MOzen Bistro. The Lovers Toast package is priced from USD 449 and valid throughout the month of February. 

A long weekend escape full of romance and luxury awaits guests at Mandarin Oriental, New York this Valentine’s Day. Couples are invited to book the Extra Fun Day Away package which includes a complimentary night after two consecutive nights’ stay. Rates start from USD 845 and a minimum three-night consecutive stay is required.

Wine and dine loved ones with an unforgettable dining experience at Mandarin Oriental, Washington DC. The Five-Course Lover’s Menu at Muze is designed for sharing and features delicious aphrodisiacs and the delectable Nutella Fondue for Two. Available February 13 and 14, from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., the dinner is priced at USD 88 per person and an additional USD 75 for the wine pairing option.

For more information on these Valentine’s Day offers, please visit