Posts made in June 2020

Mina Tocalini, 360 Magazine, Scooter Braun

Scooter Braun on Coronavirus

Scooter Braun, manager to Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande, among others,  sat down with Yahoo Finance’s Andy Serwer to share his thoughts on coronavirus and his position in business.

In the newly released interview, taped on May 20, Braun called on top executives to sacrifice some of their wealth, if necessary, to ensure the well-being of their employees.

Braun on his view on top executives during the pandemic: “I don’t think it’s okay to whine about being compromised when your employees are being  devastated.”

More on his view on top executives during the pandemic: “If you’re living such a glamorous life, then maybe you don’t get that extra luxury, maybe you get compromised, maybe things feel a little bit tight for you.”

On salary cuts for employees: “I’m a firm believer that if salaries need to be cut or people need to be fired, the CEO should drop their salary in this one year down to zero…I’ve made it very clear for my employees day one that if there’s going to be any salary cuts, it will be mine first.”

On the inability of political leaders to reach compromise agreements to better address the pandemic: “I really feel at this point that our leaders need to stop worrying about just their base, and realize that we’re now being put in a position by the environment — by the world, the planet —now teaching us a lesson.”

You can view the rest of the conversation here.

Follow Yahoo Finance: Facebook | Twitter

Facebook Ad Boycott

By Eamonn Burke

The social media platform Facebook is making policy changes after Unilever has removed ads from the site, as well as Twitter. They join a group of corporations such as Honda, Verizon, Ford, Clorox, and Denny’s, who have come together to boycott the site, as called for by the NAACP and the Anti-Defamation League as a way to pressure tech conglomerates to make change. Some companies are pulling ads indefinitely, and some have pledged to pull them for the month of July.

These new policies involve designating posts that are in violation of existing policies but still “newsworthy”. Twitter has already adopted this method, allowing them to label some of President Trump’s tweets as violations. Facebook claims that it allocates a large budget to keeping content safe and removing hate speech using AI that is 90% effective, and also that the company never makes policy changes based on money. However, a group called Stop Hate For Profit, who called for the boycott, want to see more change:

“We have been down this road before with Facebook. They have made apologies in the past. They have taken meager steps after each catastrophe where their platform played a part. But this has to end now.”

Unilever supplied upwards of $42 million dollars of revenue for Facebook in 2019, so it is no doubt that their absence will be damaging. Facebook is also a huge source of profit for the companies themselves, so it is an impactful decision to stopping putting ads on the site. Shares of Facebook and Twitter have already gone down more than 7% as of Friday. Other massive companies like Procter and Gamble have pledged to do the same in the face of discriminatory content.

Mina Tocalini, 360 Magazine, Don't Abandon the Mask

Texas and California Slow Reopening 

By Emmet McGewon

On March 27, a shadow, growing for weeks, reached monstrous proportions as Italy reached a grim milestone: 917 people passed away due to the novel coronavirus. The gloom pervaded for many more weeks as Italian streets emptied and hospitals overflowed. On the same day there were 5,906 new cases in the country. Yet, 2 months later dawn has broken the blackness and on Saturday, June 27, Italy reported only 8 new deaths and 175 new cases; the first time since the start of the outbreak that deaths were in single digits.Contrast this rapid recuperation with America’s two largest states: California and Texas. 

On the same day that Italy reported 175 new cases, California reported 27 times that number while Texas reported a case increase 33 times higher (4,810 and 5,747 respectively). Both states are betraying their namesake as California has not been golden in its response to the pandemic nor has Texas been a star. So why is it that Italy, the former epicenter of the outbreak, where shortages resulted in ventilators only being given to those under the age of 60, is in a recovery stage while the US suffocates under the weight of its caseload? 

“We are tired of not being able to buy the things that we need, go to the hairdressers, get our hair done. It’s time to open up.” These were the words of a middle-aged woman, sitting in her car, holding a makeshift American flag and pointing to the gray roots atop her head at a Michigan protest in mid-April. For many, this lady has become the embodiment of the entitled American who values her hairstyle over the potential loss of life that could occur from a rapid reopening. However, the uncomfortable reality is that she is not alone and that most, if not all Americans, are fatigued by the lockdown and eager to return to normality.

Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood, home to a vibrant Russian, Ukrainian, and LGBTQ+ scene was abuzz on Friday evening. Long lines traversed the hectic sidewalks as eager patrons queued to enter bustling bars. The thin trees, boasting splashes of purple among the leafy foliage, watched over the strip like solemn sentries as droves of people enjoyed Los Angeles’s convalescent club scene. The looseness of restrictions was matched only by the looseness of partygoers’ flimsy floral shirts which billowed softly in the California evening breeze. Nonchalance came to mind. It appeared, despite the scattered mask-wearing, that the pandemic was over. 

We feel guilty for wishing to return to regular life given that such a return could result in a spike of hospitalizations and deaths. Thus, we stifle our impatience and seek scapegoats. Indeed, many are under the illusion that the persistent nature of the virus in the US is due to conservatives like those who armed themselves and entered the Michigan State Capitol. Yet, the reality is that a wide and diverse cross-section of US society has ceased caring about the virus. Whether you’re a patriotic Michigander or a bored frequenter of the Hollywood Hills, the suspension of day-to-day life is disconcerting and infuriating. 

The combination of over 400 protests in all 50 states after the horrific murder of George Floyd has no doubt led to an increase in coronavirus cases, yet this is not the only reason. Bar reopening’s have acted as a catalyst for the spread of Covid-19. Indeed, California Governor, Gavin Newsom, issued an order on Sunday to close the bars in 7 California counties including LA county which has seen approximately 90,000 cases. His office also recommended, but did not order, they close in 8 others. Establishments that serve alcoholic beverages without serving food at the same time will no longer be allowed to open. Largely due to the nature of bars, it is close to impossible to maintain social distancing as well as contact tracing. People remove masks frequently to take drinks, talk louder (spreading more airborne particles), and mix with a large number of people meaning that were a case to be identified it would be very difficult to track and contain. “It is critical we take this step to limit the spread of the virus,” said Newsom.

In addition, in response to the surge of cases in Los Angeles, the LA County Board of Supervisors has decided to close all LA county beaches from July 3rd to July 6th. Those caught trespassing by local patrols could receive a $1000 fine. Furthermore, LA Mayor, Eric Garcetti, has placed a “hard pause” on movie theater reopening’s and has banned Fourth of July firework displays in an attempt to prevent the formation of crowds. 

Meanwhile, Texas has ordered the state’s four largest cities to stop offering elective surgeries in order to free up hospital space. Just a few days before Governor Abbott’s ban on elective surgeries, restrictions were eased on amusement parks and restaurants. The Lone Star state has, arguably, had the most aggressive reopening strategy with phase one commencing as early as May 1st – a month later allowing almost all businesses to operate at a 50% capacity. Abbott also issued an order to close bars on Friday, June 26th, also scaling back dine-in restaurants to 50% capacity. Previously, bars were allowed to operate at a 50% capacity and restaurants at a 75% capacity. More so, outdoor gatherings of over 100 people are now prohibited unless given explicit approval by local officials. 

Peter Hotez, a professor of virology at the Baylor School of Medicine in Houston, said that the pause in the reopening will be enough to maintain the status quo but that “the status quo is unacceptable,” and the Governor will soon have no choice but to “dial things back.” In San Antonio, ventilator availability dipped below 70% for the first time and in Houston, one hospital’s ICU reportedly was at 120% capacity, while another one was at 88%. On top of this, the Texas Medical Center in Houston said Tuesday that 97% of its ICU beds were occupied. These numbers are undoubtedly worrisome and only time will tell if more restrictions will be enacted.

Obviously, the crisis is not over, but from an outside perspective one is left wondering: does America even care? Our European counterparts appear to be coming out the other end of the pandemic while for the United States, there is no end in sight. 

Mina Tocalini, 360 Magazine, COVID-19

The Pandemic is Not Over

Nursing homes and aging care providers have been working for months to protect Illinois’ older adults from the threat of COVID-19. In the face of this virulent virus, they have faced heartbreak, shortages of life-saving tests and supplies, and personal risk to their health and safety. Now older adults are facing a new danger: complacency.

Although the coronavirus curve has been flattened in Illinois, the danger to older adults has not passed. “Our older family members and friends can only be as safe as the communities around them,” said Karen Messer, President/CEO of LeadingAge Illinois.“That’s why it’s so important that Illinois and states around the country include clear protections for older adults as we move forward.”

As of June 29, there are over 141,723 cases, including 6,888 deaths, in 101 counties in Illinois. Illinois has made great strides in reducing COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths. As a result, all four regions have moved into Phase Four of the Restore Illinois plan.

Local policies need to prioritize older lives, planned and conducted with caution, thoughtfulness and respect for the rights and dignity of older adults. That’s why LeadingAge Illinois has worked with other state organizations to advise the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) on recommendations for a safe and phased-in plan on reopening strategies for nursing homes and assisted living communities. The plan has been submitted to the IDPH.

It’s essential that aging services providers – here and around the country – have the PPE, testing supplies, and financial resources they need to stem this rapidly spreading, deadly virus, so that a new crisis doesn’t threaten our oldest residents. Consistent messaging from the federal, state and local levels is imperative to ensuring providers can do everything they can to keep their residents safe.

LeadingAge Illinois is also joining our national association of nonprofit aging services providers, LeadingAge, to urge Congress to allocate $100 billion in new funding to help nursing homes and other aging services providers protect older residents and clients. They are also calling for hero pay, paid sick leave, and health care coverage for heroic frontline workers who are risking their own lives serving older people during this crisis. 

For older Americans, the coronavirus threat is not over. The good news is that we know what to do. It’s time to begin.

Follow LeadingAge Illinois: Facebook | Twitter

360 Magazine, Burna Boy

Burna Boy – “Wonderful”

GRAMMY-NOMINATED GLOBAL SUPERSTAR BURNA BOY RELEASES OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO FOR “WONDERFUL” ARRIVES AFTER BEING CROWNED AS BEST INTERNATIONAL ACT AT THE BET AWARDS FOR THE SECOND CONSECUTIVE YEAR

“JA ARE A,” ORIGINALLY SEEN ON BEYONCE’S THE LION KING: THE GIFT SOUNDTRACK, TO ALSO BE SEEN ON THE RECENTLY ANNOUNCED BLACK IS KING VISUAL ALBUM UPCOMING ALBUM TWICE AS TALL DUE FOR RELEASE LATER THIS SUMMER

WATCH HERE

GRAMMY/BRITs-nominee and two-time recipient of BET’s Best International Act award, BURNA BOY, officially unveils an official music video for his newest single “Wonderful” from his upcoming 4th studio album TWICE AS TALL. You can watch/share the official video HERE.

The “Wonderful” visual arrives after his second-consecutive win as the BET Award’s Best International Act which was presented to him this year by Naomi Campbell. Using his acceptance speech as an opportunity to share the importance of unity he went on to say, “I’d like to use this opportunity to say that sometime around 1835 there was a mission to turn the nation of Africa into a dominated nation. Now is the time to overturn that and go back to the royalty that we were because in order for black lives to matter, Africa must matter.”

Burna Boy continues into 2020 after wrapping an extremely successful 2019. His GRAMMY-nominated album (Best World Music Album), AFRICAN GIANT, saw incredible critical acclaim at its release and now adorns a galore of ‘best of’ lists – including Pitchfork’s 50 Best Albums of 2019, NPR’s Best Albums of 2019, Billboard’s 50 Best Albums of 2019, Rolling Stone’s 50 Best Albums of 2019, Complex’s Best Albums of 2019, and many more. He was also named Apple Music’s Up Next Artist. He was also seen on Beyonce’s THE LION KING: THE GIFT with “JA ARA E” in addition to the official “Queen & Slim” soundtrack with “My Money, My Baby.”

The Nigerian star made his U.S. late night television debut on Jimmy Kimmel Live! followed by appearances on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. He also appeared on NPR’s Tiny Desk, performing four live songs including his global hit “Ye.”

He also had an extensive year of live performances, traveling across North America on his THE AFRICAN GIANT RETURNS TOUR with sold-out stops in Toronto, New York, and LA through September, spending an additional two months for its European leg from Paris through Leicester, and had two fiery live sets at both weekends of Coachella.

ABOUT BURNA BOY:

Burna Boy was born in Port Harcourt City and started producing music when he was ten years old. After graduating from school, Burna relocated to London for university. After two years, he dropped out and moved back to Nigeria to pursue his passion. A creative by the name of LeriQ allocated studio space for Burna to record and produce.

His father always listened to dancehall and reggae music, an early influence and integral part of his musical style. Burna’s grandfather managed Fela Kuti for the first 15 years of his career, a relationship that would come to shape Burna’s sound and his understanding of himself as an artist that represents Nigeria, and more broadly Africa, to the world. Burna Boy classifies his own music as Afro-fusion, a genre he coined.

CONNECT WITH BURNA BOY:

TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | YOUTUBE

Mina Tocalini, 360 Magazine, Road Trip

Planning a Road Trip?

A survey conducted by Morning Consult commissioned by the American Hotel & Lodging Association(AHLA) found that only 44 percent of Americans are planning overnight vacation or leisure travel in 2020, with high interest in road trips, family events, and long weekends over the summer months. Encouragingly, 68 percent of these expectant travelers say they are likely to stay in a hotel in 2020.

Among Americans planning to travel in 2020, 59 percent expect to take their first overnight trip by the end of the summer. Of these, 75 percent expect to drive two or more hours.

On their next overnight trip, 43 percent plan to stay with family and friends, and 39 percent plan to stay in a hotel; just nine percent plan to stay at a short-term rental such as Airbnb or VRBO, and five percent in a camper or RV. Nearly eight in ten (78%) are planning a trip of four days or less suggesting long-weekend trips will be the first vacation travel to return.

Key findings among those planning to travel in 2020:

  • What kind of travel they’re planning: 81% expect to take a day trip and 72% expect to take an overnight vacation via car within the next five months. The overwhelming majority do not expect to take cruises (14%), camper/RV trips (28%), or vacations via plane (32%) in 2020.
  • How far they’re traveling: Among those planning a vacation via car, 75% plan to travel two or more hours (40% plan to drive more than four hours, and 35% plan to drive two to four hours).
  • Where they’re staying: On their next overnight trip, 43% say they will stay with family or friends, 39% in a hotel, 9% in a short-term rental, and 5% in a camper/RV.
  • How long they’re staying: 78% are planning trips of four nights or less.
  • Why they’re traveling: 55% plan to travel for a family event, such as a wedding, birthday, anniversary, or family reunion; 50% plan to travel for Christmas, 43% for Thanksgiving, 33% for 4th of July, and 30% for Labor Day. About 70 percent of Americans take a vacation in any given year, according to OmniTrak (TNS) data—suggesting that travel is a long way from pre-COVID-19 levels.

“Travel is by no means back yet, but we are encouraged to see people begin to travel as their communities reopen, and we all learn to navigate this new normal,”said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association. “If you are thinking about traveling in 2020, my message to you is that hotels are clean and safe places, and we are ready to welcome you when you’re ready to travel. Through our Safe Stay initiative, we’ve enhanced our already rigorous cleaning protocols to be more transparent and give you evenmore peace of mind.” By a wide margin, Americans planning trips in 2020 plan to travel by car and stay either at family/friend’s house or hotel.

AHLA recently launched  “Safe Stay” the industry’s initiative focused on enhanced hotel cleaning practices, social interactions, and workplace protocols to meet the new health and safety challenges and expectations presented by COVID-19. The Safe Stay guidelines were created by an advisory council comprised of leaders from all segments of the hotel industry in accordance with CDC best practices. Safe Stay provides direction on employee and guest health, employee responsibilities, cleaning products and protocols and physical distancing and will be revised as needed based on the recommendations of public health authorities, in compliance with any federal, state and local laws. 

“Cleanliness and safety have been at the core of our industry since its beginning. Safe Stay is an industry-wide commitment to our top priority – the health and safety of guests and employees. With the implementation of Safe Stay, hotels will be cleaner than ever before.  As we see leisure travel slowly and safely resume, hotels are focused on establishing greater transparency and confidence throughout the entire guest experience, representing a new level of focus and transparency for an industry already built on cleanliness,”said Rogers.

Regardless of their future travel plans, respondents were also asked about their interest in and comfort level with different types of accommodations. Would-be travelers expressed high interest in and comfort with hotels, and less interest and comfort in cruises and short-term rentals.

Across the country, travel ground to a halt in March. Hotel occupancy dropped to just 24.5 percent among open hotels nationwide in April, the lowest occupancy for any month on record in the U.S., according to STR. Since then, hotel occupancy has continued to tick up slowly, reaching 43.9 percent nationwide on June 20, but still far below the 74.5 percent occupancy at this time last year.

As we enter 4th of July weekend, hotel bookings are strongest in beach towns and smaller markets, according to Amadeus, a travel technology provider. Among the top 25 travel markets, only Norfolk/Virginia Beach has eclipsed 50 percent occupancy. 

Rogers urged Congress to continue to prioritize the industries and employees most affected by the pandemic, including the travel and hospitality sectors. The industry has laid out a “Roadmap to Recovery” calling on Congress to help hotels retain and rehire employees, protect employees and guests, keep hotel doors open and incentivize Americans to travel again when it’s safe.

The Roadmap includes Congress passing a temporary tax incentive to encourage domestic travel, which would provide a boost to local economies, including hotels, restaurants, and retail stores that rely on business from travelers. According toMorning Consult survey data released last week

Americans widely support a new, temporary federal travel tax credit to encourage people to travel again.“The hotel industry was the first impacted by the pandemic and will be one of the last to recover. We are a major economic driver, supporting millions of jobs and generating billions in tax revenue. Getting our economy back on track starts with supporting the hotel industry and helping them regain their footing,”concluded Rogers.

This poll was conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of AHLA. The survey was conducted June 16-19, 2020 among a national sample of 2200 Adults. Of these, 973 respondents indicated they plan to travel in 2020. The interviews were conducted online and the data were weighted to approximate a target sample of Adults based on age, educational attainment, gender, race, and region. Results among those who plan to travel in 2020 have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) is the sole national association representing all segments of the U.S. lodging industry and contributes nearly $660 billion to the U.S. GDP. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., AHLA focuses on strategic advocacy, communications support and workforce development programs to move the industry forward. Every day, America’s hotels make dreams come true, not just for our guests, but also for the 8.3 million people whose jobs we support—more than 1 in every 25 American jobs. 

Follow AHLA: Facebook | Twitter

Carl Reiner Honored and Remembered

People For the American Way extends heartfelt condolences to the family, friends, and fans of comic genius Carl Reiner, who died Monday night at the age of 98. Reiner was an award-winning producer, director, and actor who took the responsibilities of citizenship seriously.

“Reiner served in World War II to defeat fascism. He was grieved by the election of Donald Trump and encouraged Americans who felt the same way to vote in 2018 and in 2020.

“‘In my 96 and a half years, I have seen a lot of things,’ Reiner said in an October 2018 video encouraging people to vote. ‘But the one thing I cannot bear to see is America being destroyed by racism, fear-mongering and lies. Fortunately, there is something we can do about that.’

“‘On November 6, we can vote for elected officials who will hold this president accountable,’ he continued. ‘And after we’ve done that, my personal goal will be to stick around until 2020, and vote to make sure we have a decent, moral, law-abiding citizen in Washington who will make us all proud again to live in America.’

“Carl Reiner did not quite make that goal of sticking around long enough to cast his vote to replace President Donald Trump. But his determination to do so will add to our own determination to mobilize Americans who share his disgust at the ‘racism, fear-mongering and lies’ that he feared were destroying the country he loved.

“Reiner was a longtime friend of People For founder Norman Lear and supporter of the organization. He and his son Rob frequently attended People For the American Way events.”

About People For the American Way

People For the American Way is a progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right-wing extremism and build a democratic society that implements the ideals of freedom, equality, opportunity and justice for all. We encourage civic participation, defend fundamental rights, and fight to dismantle systemic barriers to equitable opportunity.

360 Magazine, FunimationCon 2020

FunimationCon Screenings

FUNIMATION TO EXCLUSIVELY PREMIERE NEW EPISODES OF ‘FIRE FORCE’ SEASON 2, ‘DECA-DENCE’, AND ‘BY THE GRACE OF THE GODS’ AT FUNIMATIONCON 2020 JULY 3-4 

Check Out the Full Schedule for FunimationCon 2020

Funimation announced it is premiering new episodes from Fire Force Season 2, DECA-DENCE, and By the Grace of the Gods at FunimationCon 2020. Fans are in for a treat as FunimationCon 2020 debuts the first two dubbed episodes of Fire Force Season 2 before anyone else. FunimationCon 2020 is previewing Episode 1 of the larger-than-life DECA-DENCE (subtitled) before Japan, and will exclusively premiere Episode 1 of By the Grace of the Gods (subtitled), the fantasy isekai anime based on the light novel series of the same name from Roy and Ririnra. FunimationCon 2020 also unveiled the Full Programming Schedule of activities happening during the two-day event.

The newly announced panels round out an impressive lineup of cosplay, voice actor panels and events at Funimation’s free, two-day event. Previously announced voice actor panels include Attack on Titan, My Hero Academia, Fire Force, Fruits Basket, Dragon Ball Super, Toilet-bound Hanako-kun, Listeners, and One Piece along with partner panels VIZ Media’s Shonen Jump Virtual Panel, ANIPLEX OF AMERICA’s The Aniplex of America Living Room Sessions, and RIGHT STUF’s Right Stuf Anime Industry Panel. FunimationCon 2020 events include Live My Hero One’s Justice 2 Esports Tournament, My Hero Academia Game Show with Voice Actors, and July 4th live programming from Aniplex Online Fest. Funimation, in collaboration with Sony Music Labels Inc., will feature special programs from music guests BLUE ENCOUNT, FLOW, KANA-BOON, Luna Haruna, and a DJ performance by DJ MarGenal, as well as a special airing of the 2019 SACRA MUSIC Festival. FunimationCon 2020 is gathering popular cosplay personalities Yaya Han, Riddle, Phil Mizuno, Dresses and capes, Alicia Marie, and Stella Chuu; plus new home video releases and merchandise available to purchase in The Funimation Shop.

Register now for FunimationCon 2020 HERE.

Screening: Fire Force Season 2 SimulDub™ Premiere and Voice Actor Q&A

Don’t miss the world premiere of the first two dubbed episodes of Fire Force Season 2! Plus, join Funimation for a hot discussion about Season 1 and what’s to come in the new season—with host Matt Acevedo and the English voice actors.

Premiere Screening: DECA-DENCE Plus Interview with Japanese Cast

Be one of the first fans in the world to preview Episode 1 of the larger-than-life DECA-DENCE (subtitled) before the Japanese broadcast! Plus hear commentary from director Yuzuru Tachikawa (Death Parade, Mob Psycho 100) and Studio NUT producer Takuya Tsunoki.

Premiere Screening: By the Grace of the Gods (Subtitled)

Be the first to see Episode 1 of By the Grace of the Gods (subtitled) at this exclusive premiere event. Join us for the official unveiling of the fantasy isekai anime based on the light novel series of the same name from Roy and Ririnra.

About Funimation: 

Funimation distributes the best anime to a passionate, global community of fans. For over 25 years, Funimation has pioneered an omni-channel approach to engaging and entertaining millions where they want it most—streaming, home entertainment, theatrical, e-commerce, merchandising, live events, and more.

Funimation’s streaming services offer a growing catalog of over 700 anime series and 13,000+ hours of content available on 15 platforms and in 47 countries. Funimation’s in-house team designs must-have, exclusive collectibles distributed through major retailers and an e-commerce site; Funimation’s theatrical division is responsible for six of the top 20 anime films in the U.S. As pioneers of the SimulDub™, Funimation is the gold standard for foreign language dubbing of Japanese anime with the highest quality standards and fidelity to the original artists. With a fan-centric approach, Funimation has built a loyal social community of over 30 million followers and earned the trust of Japan’s most iconic creators.

Funimation has nine offices in six countries, and over 400 employees worldwide. As an independently operated joint venture between U.S.-based Sony Pictures Entertainment and Japan’s Aniplex, a subsidiary of Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc., Funimation benefits from deep entertainment expertise across cultures, territories, and languages.

4th of July in Chicago

Cheers with Bottomless Mimosas at Offshore, the World’s Largest Rooftop Bar

Offshore, world’s largest rooftop deck and one of Chicago’s most exciting hotspots located at Navy Pier has re-opened their doors to the public, and is ready to cheers to the 4th with the return of their bottomless mimosas available Saturday and Sunday for $29 per person, for two hours. Start your weekend festivities with friends alongside unprecedented views of the Chicago skyline, still just as epic without fireworks. Reservations are highly recommended, and are available via OpenTable for tables of 8 or less. For more information, please visit www.drinkoffshore.com

Enjoy DIY and Ready-For-The-Grill Meal Kits at Carnivale

Carnivale, Chicago’s one-of-a-kind restaurant serving Latin inspired cuisine from Central America, South America and Mexico, located at 702 W. Fulton Market St., is offering special July 4th DIY and Ready-For-The-Grill Meal Kits available for curbside pick-up on Friday, July 3 and Saturday, July 4. These meal kits include the guests’ choice of Guacamole and Chips or Ropa Vieja for an appetizer, Skirt Steak, Peruvian Chicken and Baby Back Ribs for entrees, and includes Caesar Salad, Corn Bread, Potato Salad, Dulce de Leche Cookie and Rainbow Cookie for salad, sides and dessert. The July 4th DIY and Ready-For-The-Grill meal kits are available to serve four for $135 (includes choice of four total entrees) or six-to-eight (includes choice of six total entrees) for $245 and guests may call Carnivale directly at 312.850.5005 to place their order for curbside pickup.

Decorate Your Outdoor BBQ with Incredible Balloon Arrangements from Luft Balloons

For those looking for big, bold and beautiful decorations for 4th of July BBQs and get togethers, Luft Balloons offers a variety of impressive balloon bouquets and installations ready to decorate the backyard! Balloons are available for pick up from Luft Balloons’ studio, 345 W. Armitage, or for delivery in the Chicago area. For more information or to place an order, visit www.luftballoonstore.com

Host the Perfect Cookout with Geja’s Café Ultimate 4th of July Grilling Kit

Celebrate your 4th festivities this year with Geja’s Cafe’s exclusive 4th of July Grill Kit, The kit, each $75 and serving 4, includes 8 kabobs, with your choice of beef, chicken, shrimp, or vegetable, plus 4 corn on the cob, 4 strawberry shortcakes, 3 Geja’s dipping sauces of your choice, a 2lb pan of fingerling potatoes, 1 quart of fruit salad, and grill seasoning to top it all off. Sauce options include Fresh Dill, Horseradish Chive, Thai Chili Garlic, Chimichurri, Teriyaki, Sriracha Aioli, Curry and their salad dressing Dijon Vinaigrette Salad Dressing. Orders must be placed by June 30th and can be picked up beginning July 2nd between 12:30 – 6 p.m. Please reserve your ultimate grilling kit by calling (773) 281-9101 or visiting www.gejascafe.com for more details.

Mina Tocalini, 360 magazine

Back-to-College Tips

6 Ways to Make Back-to-College Better

By Merilee Kern, ‘The Luxe List’ Executive Editor

It’s about that time for our co-eds to head toward, or back to, university life—whether that be an on-campus dorm or off-campus dwelling. Whichever the case, here are a few lifestyle-enhancing and productivity-boosting finds that can make this upcoming year an A+.

Embroidered Collegiate Pillows

Here’s a wonderful way to get those bright eyed students excited for back to college—whether that’s campus life or taking the fall semester online: embroidered Collegiate Pillows available at catstudio. Working alongside each university, catstudio has created some fabulous, officially licensed hand-drawn artwork celebrating college life and the essence of each college. Their original, licensed art embodies the spirit and uniqueness of each school—the architecture, education, sports, history and traditions. Created on tea-colored background, the 16 x 20-inch pillow is accented with black piping, and finished with a zipper closure. Plus, you can make this already great gift ever even more ideal by personalizing it. Just consult with your local monogram shop and easily add to the back—initials, graduation class, personal note, logo and more. Beyond these spirited and decidedly decorative pillows, catstudio’s collegiate collection also includes zipper pouches, dish towels, glasses, thermal bottles and fine art prints that any co-ed is sure to adore The company’s collegiate gift line is personal, thoughtful and meaningful. What’s also admirable about this company is that a percentage of each purchase is donated back to each respective school, serving to fund scholarships, student activities or recreational programs.

Blue Light Glasses

The human eyes are not designed to be exposed to blue light emitted by computer screens, phones and television constantly. This strong blue light causes eye fatigue, dry eyes, blurred vision and headaches, which are all symptoms of digital eye strain also known as Computer Vision Syndrome. Beyond damaging the eyes, exposure to blue light at night disrupts the circadian rhythm that regulates the release of melatonin, preventing rest and degrading sleep quality. One great way to safeguard your student’s eyes while simultaneously sporting stylish frames from Pixel Eyewear. This company provides breakthrough lens technology that filters at least 50 percent of blue light and up to 95 percent at the strongest wavelengths, without the yellow tint. They provide a clear, surgical protection that allows wearers to focus on their work instead of ensuing migraines. The lenses of the eyewear also have a super-hydrophobic outer layer, which is a nanotechnology that reduces smudges and repels water and dust. This means no more constantly taking the glasses off for cleaning and wiping. The premium anti-reflective coating eliminates computer glare and reduces stress on your eyes all the while. It’s time to experience the world in High-Def. Each model is designed, engineered and built with comfort in mind. The full lens features, among those already mentioned, include glare elimination; UV light blockage; scratch, fingerprint and smudge resistance; water, liquid, dust and particle repellence; and a reduction of color and image distortion.

Wireless Charging Stand

STM Goods, a leading designer of innovative bags, cases and related products for consumer electronic devices, recently announced the latest addition to the company’s growing line of power and cable accessories. Their new ChargeTree wireless charging stand can power up to three different items: an iPhone or other wireless ready smartphone, AirPods/AirPods Pro, and Apple Watch—all simultaneously on one slim stand. It’s a handy, small footprint solution for eliminating wires and the need to use separate charging units to repower these devices individually. The ChargeTree is Qi certified to work with Qi-enabled devices and also plugs into the power source with a USB-A to USB-C cable (a one-meter cable is included). ChargeTree is also compatible with AirPods in a wireless charging case and will function with most phone cases (non-metal) up to 5mm thick. Slim and sleek, the ChargeTree leaves a small footprint that takes up minimal space on a desk or nightstand. If you’re like me, multi-tasking is a way life, so this multi-device charger will help ensure your go-to tech is fully juiced when you need it.

External Hard Drive

No matter the student’s major, rest assured there will be a need to access, store and transport digital data. Ensure they don’t run out of hard drive space with Western Digital’s G-DRIVE Mobile USB-C External Portable Drive that’s available in 1TB, 2TB, 4TB and 5TB capacities. With a plug-and-play USB-C-ready port (that’s USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt 3 compatible) and with speeds up to 140MB/s for super-fast file transfer and backup, this mobile hard drive offers portable storage in a stylish design to complement any computer. It actually includes both USB-C and USB-A cables to make it universally compatible. Its sleek and beautiful aluminum case provides sturdy, portable storage that’s designed to travel well. And with up to 5TB of storage on-the-go, you’re instantly ready to back up your favorite documents, presentations, videos, photos, music and more, wherever you go. It ships Mac ready, but is easily reformatted for Windows. Plus there’s a 3-Year limited warranty to ensure your student’s productivity will never be stifled.

Copper-Infused Dual Filter Face Mask

Copper Compression, a designer, manufacturer and provider of a wide range of copper-infused recovery wearables and self-care solutions, now boasts anti-bacterial, reusable and washable copper ion-infused face masks. Copper is broadly recognized for its natural ability to destroy bacteria and the mask’s dual filter is among the highest protection available today. The non-medical mask, reportedly embraced by doctors, nurses and emergency medical technicians, has also reportedly been favored among fitness, fashion, and foodie elites. The mask features a four-layer structure with a protective copper-infused cotton outer layer. Its middle layers include a high-efficiency bacterial filter and supportive lining creating dual filters, which blocks fine particulate matter over a five-year period. The interior of the mask is made with a soft, 100 percent cotton-lining and provides extra space for ventilation and moisture absorption, making it extremely comfortable for extended wear. The copper protection infused within each fiber maintains its hygienic potency throughout the lifespan of the product and never washes out. Each mask comes with a certificate of conformity, ensuring its standards meet the consumer product and safety commission.

The company’s other helpful copper-infused products that’ll help keep students feeling their best by lessening slumping and realizing better posture. This includes their unisex Full Posture Corrector with Support Bars, which provides comfortable specifically designed to reduce pressure on joints, discs and muscles, while providing the necessary protection. Their Slim Back Brace with Extra Support Bars is also helpful. This non-intrusive design effectively engages your core and lower back muscles, giving you back pain relief without feeling cumbersome. Steady pressure from the brace also stabilizes your lower back muscles, giving you better balance and improved posture.

Allergen Vacuum

Help your college-bound kiddo feel well and stay focused by avoiding those annoying allergies that can infiltrate their dorm or apartment. One highly effective tech solution is RAYCOP, which has advanced its allergen vacuum technology with its new, hand-held RS Pro model. Mattresses, pillows, blankets, upholstered desk chairs and other cloth furniture are the perfect home for allergens like dust mites and pollen. The RS Pro is the reported to be the only allergen vacuum that eliminates 99.99% of these and other allergy-causing irritants. In fact, the RAYCOP RS Pro emits heat of up to 158° Fahrenheit—a temperature that instantly kills dust mites and eliminates pollen—plus it uses the same UVC light that hospitals use to combat bacteria and viruses. Safety measures built into this and other RAYCOP products ensure the UVC sanitizing light and heat can be safely used in a residence. For even more efficacy, the vacuum also includes HEPA filtration and air redirect suction technology to protect fabrics while reducing allergens. The RS Pro is the latest in Raycop’s line of handheld vacuums. With advanced RayClean technology, this model combines a multitude of features–heat, UVC sanitizing light, HEPA filtration and our Air Redirect Suction Technology—to kill dust mites and pollen completely. This can lead to less dependence on medication and a more comfortable, clean environment.

About Merilee Kern:

Forbes Business Council Member Merilee Kern, MBA is an internationally-regarded brand analyst, strategist and futurist who reports on noteworthy industry change makers, movers, shakers and innovators across all categories, both B2C and B2B. This includes field experts and thought leaders, brands, products, services, destinations and events. Merilee is Founder, Executive Editor and Producer of “The Luxe List” as well as Host of the nationally-syndicated “Savvy Living” TV show. As a prolific consumer and business trends, lifestyle and leisure industry voice of authority and tastemaker, she keeps her finger on the pulse of the marketplace in search of new and innovative must-haves and exemplary experiences at all price points, from the affordable to the extreme. Her work reaches multi-millions worldwide via broadcast TV (her own shows and copious others on which she appears) as well as a myriad of print and online publications. You can connect with Merilee at www.TheLuxeList.com and www.SavvyLiving.tv

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