Posts tagged with "holidays"

Easter illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Plant-Based Easter Basket

Spring is a few weeks away, and holidays are coming up too. Many want to put some spring-like decorations on the table or use them as a centerpiece. But some don’t know where to begin. Lively Root wants to guide you through the process so you can use what you have on the shelves while also using your indoor plants!

What type of container?
Let’s build a table arrangement together. Start with digging through your old Easter baskets, containers of any shape, size, or color (painting is optional later). Set them all out.

Gather the Extras
Then pull together any accessories you might want to use in your display. You can use Easter motifs like eggs, crosses, bunnies, carrots, cabbages, etc. We will use birds, eggs, and nests for our presentation so the arrangement could be in use for longer than just one holiday. You may even venture out on a walk and pick up bits of nature to use too. Mosses, twigs, dried cones, or leaves can also be a part of the collection.

Grouping Plants and What to Consider
Next, gather your houseplants in the 4-6″ grower pot containers that you have. Different heights would be excellent, as well as those that have pretty colored leaves or blooms. For this presentation, the kalanchoes and Neanthe Bella Palm, Snake plant, English ivy gold child, spider plant, and pink polka dot plant are compatible because they all like to dry out between waterings. As you assemble plants in groupings, you’ll want to consider their light needs as well as watering and humidity needs. You may want to use this assembly temporarily or for several weeks. It will be easier to maintain if all the plants take basically the same type of care.

Recycle and Repurpose
If this will be semi-permanent, you’ll want to make sure that your container drains well. If your planter doesn’t have a drainage hole, get out your handy-dandy drill and drill a few holes in the bottom.

You may want to recycle an old Easter basket or gift container you got a gift in prior. You may find something but not like the color anymore! That’s when a paintbrush and chalk paint comes in handy. It’s easy to use and easy to clean up.

If you don’t have a collection of has-beens, drop by the local resale store and rummage through their cast-aways. You’re sure to find the perfect container.

Create Groupings
Once you have your containers, clean them up, paint them and let them dry. Next, assemble your plants and accessories. Do small groupings to see what you like best. Place the plants (in the grower pot) in your chosen container just to see how the arrangement looks before assembling. Take a picture with your phone to remember the setup. Then remove all the items. We use a screen to place over the container’s bottom to help hold the soil, so it doesn’t drip through and clog the drainage holes.

Next, select the correct potting soil for the plants you assemble. At this point, you can either keep the plants in the grower pot and set them in the container and cover them with craft moss or pot them straight into the decorative container. It’s up to you. If it is a temporary selection, then the grower pot assembly may be the easiest way to go. We use a cactus and succulent mix with a little well-draining potting mix together for these plants.

Plant and Assemble

You will want to build the soil up a bit before placing the plants. Remember to leave the soil line below the top of the container about 1/2-1 inch so there won’t be water spillover. If using it temporarily, you can keep the plant in the grower pot and place them on the soil. If you’re using it as a more permanent collection, remove the grower pot and place the plant where you want it in the assembly. As you go, fill in around each plant, tucking soil in between each one so the roots are covered and secure.

Do the rest the same way. If needed, make a funnel out of a plastic container or poster board and feed the soil through it to get to the tight spots where your hands don’t fit. Tamp down the soil with your fingers or a spoon. Be careful not to bury the top of the stems in soil but just up to your plant’s soil line. You can add a top dressing of time-release fertilizer or use a balanced liquid fertilizer when watering. Once it all is assembled, use a clean paintbrush to brush any excess soil on the leaves. Then check the soil moisture around each plant and water as needed. Next, top dress with craft moss or colored rocks.

Then slide in your accessories to make it festive!

Mix Nature In
Another fun way to decorate around the house is to use the nature items you might have picked up outside. Bark, twigs, and moss can be a part of the next project. Inspect the items for ants, bugs, or the like before assembly and remove them.

Keep your plant inside its grower pot. Use a hot glue gun to glue the pieces around the grower pot and assemble them in an organic arrangement.

Finish it off with some twine or raffia. Set these on a side table or in a collection together. Or you can use them at each place setting as a take-home gift for your guests.

Now, once you’ve got your decorations finished, snap a photo and share it with us on Instagram or Facebook! We’d love to see your plant creations! Tag us with #LivelyRoot and share the love!

Extra bonus:
Use your children’s leftover Easter baskets to repurpose into a summer arrangement by following the same instructions as above. We didn’t plant them in the soil this time but left them in the grower pots and tucked moss around the containers. When it’s time to water, just disassemble, water, let drain, and then place back into the basket. We included a clear plastic saucer to protect the basket in case of leftover dripping

About Lively Root

At Lively Root, the green spaces created have been instrumental in development as horticulturists, for an ideal green space. Lively Root’s plants are home-grown and full-scale fulfillment centers. They only sell eco-friendly products that are packaged and delivered right to your doorstep. Founding members have over a century of horticultural experience as growers, retailers, and landscapers, ranging from small plants to indoor plants, outdoor plants, large trees, and flowering shrubs. They have planted & maintained trees on residential and commercial properties. Plants improve health by purifying the air, soothing stress, making people feel happier, and offering style and ambiance. 

360 Magazine, Business

Working From Home For The Holidays: Tips To Stay Productive And Employed

The holiday season brings families together, but it also means added distractions for the many people working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

How can remote workers keep their focus sharp and their productivity high while noise and interruptions surround them? And what can businesses do to ensure their employees aren’t slacking and projects are on track?

“Working from home creates a different psychological vibe from the all-business environment of a brick-and-mortar office setting, and that feeling is magnified during the holidays,” says Cynthia Spraggs (www.virtira.com), a veteran of working remotely, author of How To Work From Home And Actually Get SH*T Done, and CEO of Virtira, a completely virtual company that helps other businesses work virtually.

“The holidays bring new challenges to getting work done efficiently at home, and at the same time, employers have concerns about how the holidays can affect workers’ productivity in a home setting. It can cause tension between managers and employees.” 

Spraggs offers tips to employees and employers about working from home productively during the holidays:

How WFH employees can overcome holiday distractions

  • Create a mental commute and brain warm-up. A morning routine can help clear the mind and prepare for the working mindset. “The drive to the office used to create a mental separation between home life and work life and give the worker space and time to prepare for the day,” Spraggs says. “A similar separation time is vital at home, especially in a holiday atmosphere, in order to focus on the work tasks ahead. Develop a routine, such as reading or exercise, that warms up your brain.”
  • Create must-do lists. The holidays are filled with gift lists, parties, family obligations, baking plans, and other tasks that aren’t usually on the everyday agenda. “When these distractions make it difficult to focus,” Spraggs says, “it helps to start the day with a list of work tasks that must be completed that day. Prioritizing them makes it more likely they’ll get done, even if your mind does veer off into visions of sugar plums.”
  • Keep your office space a quiet place, and show everyone the door.

“Establishing a clear boundary is a must,” Spraggs says. “I strongly advise you to put a door between you and the rest of the household, and keep it shut. Otherwise, the home holiday cheer will break your concentration as people and pets stream in.”

How Employers Can Keep WFH Workers From Slacking During Holidays

  • Trust, don’t micromanage. Some businesses go so far as screen- or mouse-tracking software on company-provided devices to check in on their workforce. But Spraggs says that type of micromanaging can be counterproductive as employees feel distrusted and overly pressured. “Such a management practice during the holidays comes across worse,” she says. “Managers can find less intrusive ways to help employees stay on track. Set targets and measure results, preferably using online dashboards with status reports. This makes it easy for employees to earn your trust. The more you trust those who have earned it, and don’t hound them, the more they will produce.”
  • Have daily check-ins. Remote managers should establish either a daily one-on-one call or team call with their employees. In the holiday season, Spraggs says, extra efforts should be made in communication to compensate for people taking time off and getting projects completed. “A regular routine of calls provides a forum for the employees to consult with the manager and each other,” Spraggs says, “and the manager can track performance in real time.”
  • Set holiday goals and rewards. “Your quarterly goals can be augmented by special holiday goals and rewards for meeting them,” Spraggs says. “These dangled carrots incentivize working diligently at home during the holidays and give them a bonus. Making it fun and competitive, the productivity goes up.” 

“It’s all about discipline and knowing how to protect the work side of your home from the fun side during the holidays,” Spraggs says.

About Cynthia Spraggs

Cynthia Spraggs (www.virtira.com) is the author of How To Work From Home And Actually Get SH*T Done: 50 Tips for Leaders and Professionals to Work Remotely and Outperform the Office. She is CEO of Virtira, a completely virtual company that focuses on remote team performance. Before taking leadership of the company in 2011, Spraggs worked with large consulting and tech companies while completing her MBA and research into telecommuting.

NBTV Holiday Offering x December Programming

The Ultimate Spirits Lovers Holiday Gift

Blow the mind of the spirits lover in your life with Spirits Network’s Holiday Gift Pack for under $300.

This festive collection includes three exquisite, expertly curated 750 mL bottles delivered monthly, plus one free bonus bottle.

It also comes with unlimited access to the Spirits Network library of engaging spirits related programming – like a Netflix for spirits! –  and numerous other spirits related goodies.

It’s a great way to fill the bar and the hearts of people you love. Learn more about this offering and Spirits Network here.

Spirits of the Holidays Gift Pack

Spirits Network is a shoppable streaming entertainment channel dedicated to the world of premium spirits. Watch hours of entertainment, buy directly from any device with on-demand home delivery and experience monthly bottle memberships, hand-picked by Spirits Network curators.

store.spiritsnetwork.com

Spirits Network December Programming

Elevate your at-home bar this holiday season with these expert cocktail tips, recipes and stories from Spirits Network.

Spirits Network, the digital streaming platform where spirits enthusiasts can learn directly from industry experts while purchasing premium product, is launching four new programs this December. These episodes will give you the perfect shoppable guide to holiday spirits, must-haves for your intimate gatherings, informative instruction for your home cocktail creations, and stories – and spirits – from the masters to share with family and friends.

The month commences with a Special Edition of ‘#WhiskyWednesdays’ on December 9. Spirits Network’s Chief Curator Flavien Desoblin is back to lead a tasting of Diageo’s 2020 Special Releases Collection of Single Malt Scotch Whiskies. Comprised of eight cask strength Single Malts from some of Scotland’s most beloved distilleries, these bottles are extremely rare, so be sure to stock up while you can. The tasting will feature Lagavulin 12 Year Old, Talisker 8 Year Old and The Singleton of Dufftown 17 Year Old.

Also launching on December 9 is the premiere episode of ‘Take Out’ hosted by culinary influencer Corey Marshall. Get your PJs and plates ready for this one, as Corey orders in some of the best takeout you can find and pairs it with a Cutwater Spirits canned cocktail for the easiest, most delicious night spent at home.

Spirits Networks’ newest series, ‘Cellar Sessions’, will premiere on December 18. This program answers the question, “What do the world’s spirits experts take out of their personal cellar when they get together with friends?” For the premiere episode, spirits industry veteran Elayne Duff cracks open three bottles from the Jose Cuervo Reserva De La Familia portfolio with acclaimed spirits writer Tony Sachs and author Kurt Maitland. Curious drinkers everywhere can enjoy being a fly on the wall during this discussion of agave, aging, and their experiences from careers in this alluring industry.

Closing out the year is liquid chef Rob Floyd, who is back with two new episodes of Home Bar Hero, Holiday Editions airing December 18 and December 23. From a Pinnacle Peppermint Hot Chocolate to a Maker’s Mark Gold Rush, Rob is mixing up some delicious cocktails from TheCocktailProject.com, an online recipe resource for easy at home bartending. You don’t have to be a mixologist to ensure your intimate gatherings this holiday season do not disappoint.

All the content airing this December will be available for Spirit Network members to watch on NBTV channels. Viewers can stream their favorite Spirit Network shows at any time, from any location, at home or on-the-go. Compatible devices include Apple TV, Apple iOS, and Android, as well as Smart TVs.

In case you are not already a Spirits Network member, here is how it works: The Explorer membership, consisting of hundreds of hours of curated premium content, is available free of charge. With Enthusiast and Connoisseur memberships, subscribers receive one bottle per month of spirits, hand selected by a team of specialized in-house curators, and based on a user-submitted custom profile. Other benefits include quarterly gifts, free shipping, and the ability to purchase individual bottles. All memberships are now available in Arizona, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

With a mission to watch, buy, and taste from virtually any location, the Spirits Network provides members with an exclusive look behind the bottle at the stories and craftsmanship of this unique spirits community.

For more information on Spirits Network, visit www.spiritsnetwork.com.

ABOUT SPIRITS NETWORK

Spirits Network is a community of engaging spirits experts and enthusiasts, creating meaningful connections through original, shoppable video programming. Through the platform, members can engage with and purchase from the top players defining the spirits business, as well as access exclusive products, gifts, and experiences. Launched in 2019, Spirits Network offers shoppable streaming video programming on any device. 

Spirits Network LLC is the newest venture from NBTV Channels. NBTV Channels builds unique content for brands and direct-to-consumer businesses, transforming marketing from a cost to a revenue center by offering in-platform ‘click to buy’ opportunities.

ROLLS-ROYCE LAUNCHES NEW ‘PURSUIT SEAT’ ACCESSORY

ROLLS-ROYCE LAUNCHES NEW ‘PURSUIT SEAT’ ACCESSORY

  • Latest Rolls-Royce accessory reimagines traditional Pursuit Seat for a contemporary world
  •   Embossed Rolls-Royce Leather seat, coloured to match or contrast with the car’s interior
  •   Created with contemporary craft materials including carbon fibre and polished aluminium
  •   Concealed torch bares double-R Badge of Honour

We have applied Sir Henry Royce’s maxim, ‘Take the best that exists and make it better’, to a quintessentially British product. Elevated to Rolls-Royce’s precise and exacting standards yet true to the original concept, the Pursuit Seat has been reimagined for a contemporary world. Our clients can now enjoy the comfort of a Rolls-Royce seat, no matter the activity or where it may lead. 

“We look to create accessories that enhance our clients’ lifestyles. Like every Bespoke commission, each detail of the Pursuit Seat has been minutely considered and meticulously designed, then handcrafted using the very finest materials. The marriage of carbon fibre, polished aluminium and Rolls-Royce leather demonstrates the art of contemporary craftsmanship.”

Matthew Danton, Rolls-Royce Bespoke Designer

The comfort of a handmade leather seat is no longer confined to the interior of a Rolls-Royce motor car, following the release of the marque’s latest Bespoke accessory.

The new Pursuit Seat is a contemporary reimagining of the traditional portable seat, designed by the Bespoke Collective at the Home of Rolls-Royce, in Goodwood, West Sussex. True to the spirit of the original, the Pursuit Seat offers instant, portable comfort in town or country, bringing ease and style to clients’ ever diversified lifestyles. A perfect perch for flying a drone, painting a landscape or simply pausing to take in the view, the Pursuit Seat is the latest accessory designed to enhance the lifestyle experience of Rolls-Royce clients.

Akin to a Rolls-Royce motor car, only the finest materials applied with utmost precision and skill are considered when designing a Rolls-Royce accessory. The Pursuit Seat’s main support is made from carbon fibre and polished aluminium, for an optimal strength-to-weight ratio.  With a fully height-adjustable seat, the accessory is designed with the utmost comfort in mind.

Should one find oneself at an outdoor performance, or even trackside at a motorsport event, a discrete pocket on the outer leather seat provides a safe repository for tickets. In case of extra time, encores and curtain-calls, a slim aluminium torch, finished with the double-R Badge of Honour, is stored in the hinge of the seat, ensuring safe passage back to your motor car.

The seat is made from the finest Rolls-Royce leather and embossed with the Spirit of Ecstasy. Clients can choose from an array of Bespoke colours to match, or contrast, with their car’s interior.

The gently flared aluminium ferrule on the end of the stick provides a solid grip on hard surfaces, while the retractable spike, cleverly concealed within, offers the same security on grass and other soft ground. 

The Pursuit Seat fits perfectly within the Cullinan Recreation Module, reflecting the car’s #EffortlessEverywhere character; its compact dimensions and elegant leather case also allow it to be stowed unobtrusively in any Rolls-Royce motor car.

The Pursuit Seat is available to purchase individually or as a pair through the Rolls-Royce Boutique and at dealerships worldwide. Prices for an individual seat start from $10.081, excluding local taxes.

Ryland James – A Little Christmas

Right in time for the holiday season, critically acclaimed breakout star Ryland James releases the official music video for his holiday single, “A Little Christmas”. Watch the full music video HERE.

“A Little Christmas” is the title track to the rising star’s first-ever holiday EP released earlier this month via 21 Entertainment / Republic Records and Universal Music Canada. The project has Ryland revisit and recharge four seasonal classics, uplifting them with his show-stopping range and a whole lot of holiday spirit. His 2019 smash rendition of “Please Come Home For Christmas”, which garnered over five million streams is also included on the five song EP.

PREVIOUS ACCOMPLISHMENTS

A Little Christmas serves as the perfect ornament for Ryland’s banner 2020. He amplified his voice worldwide with the release of his self-titled debut EP, Ryland James. In addition to peaking at #1 on Shazam Canada’s Top 200 Chart, the lead single “In My Head” recently picked up a platinum certification in Canada, while his catalog eclipsed 50 million global streams in a little over a year’s time. In 2019, he performed in venues across North America supporting multiplatinum star Alessia Cara and bringing crowds to their feet on a nightly basis.

Stay tuned for brand new music from Ryland James in the new year.

CONNECT WITH RYLAND JAMES

YOUTUBE // OFFICIAL // FACEBOOK  // INSTAGRAM

Cityscape illustration by Mina Tocalini

Visit Chicago this Holiday Season

The holidays are looking a bit different this year, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t celebrate! From virtual cooking classes and over-the-top pop-up bars to outdoor mini holiday markets and special holiday coffee blends for sale, dance classes and more, we’ve rounded up some of the best happenings and offers for the holiday season this year. Whether Chicagoans are planning to safely visit with close family and friends in-person or virtually, these fun activities, offers and gifts are sure to bring festive cheer to all!

Replay Lincoln Park

This winter season, Chicagoans are invited to share in the spirit of the holidays at Chicago’s biggest and most festive movie experiences: Miracle on West Madison (645 W. Madison St.) and Holly Jolly Drive-In (2833 N. Sheffield Ave.) with Replay Lincoln Park, Chicago’s favorite arcade bar known for its over-the-top pop-ups, beginning Friday, November 27. In an effort to create magical memories for family and friends during a non-traditional holiday season, guests will experience a holiday-style movie experience, enhanced with twinkling decor and appearances by The Grinch, Santa, Mrs. Claus, reindeer and many other favorite characters. The 1.5-hour, family-friendly Miracle on West Madison experience takes place in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood and is available for booking Thursday – Sunday between 5 – 10 p.m. The Holly Jolly Drive-In experience is located in Lincoln Park near Replay Lincoln Park and is 1.5 hours in length and open to guests of all ages, with slots available Thursday and Friday between 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday between 4:30 – 10:30 p.m. Both experiences will run through Christmas Day with more tickets becoming available in the coming weeks. Reservations are required and tickets may be purchased online for $75 per car. Tickets for Miracle on West Madison are available here and for Holly Jolly Drive-In here.

Get in the Kitchen!

Chicago’s party school offering cooking classes and more, Get in the Kitchen! is hosting several holiday events for those who love to cook, mix cocktails and bake, including a Black Friday “Bagel Making Class” in the morning and “Cocktails & Comedy Show” in the evening on Friday, November 27. Get in the Kitchen! also offers culinary and happy hour gifts and gadgets in their retail store and is available for private events including socially distanced holiday shopping mixology parties, private cooking parties, virtual cooking parties and more. Looking for a special deal Whenever it snows, until New Year’s Eve, customers get 15% off their purchases in the store. For more information, visit here.

Santa Baby Bar and Rudolph’s Christmas Bar
For those who enjoy immersive and over-the-top holiday experiences, Santa Baby (3505 N. Clark St.) and Rudolph’s Christmas Bar (3660 N. Clark St.) are returning to Lakeview East this winter! With all of the Christmas spirits you already know and love, both destinations will feature all-new interactive social experiences and wall-to-wall décor. Santa Baby will open on Wednesday, November 20, and Rudolph’s will open on Friday, November 22. Both pop-ups will feature Christmas spirits; multiple bars and experiences, including the Grinch’s Piano Bar, Frosty’s North Pole Rooftop, A Christmas Story Lounge, and more; and appearances from Rudolph, the Grinch and, of course, Santa Claus himself. Guests may purchase tickets and make reservations to the pop-ups online. For more information, visit here and here.

Stretch Bar & Grill
Get in the holiday spirit with Stretch Bar & Grill’s Elf’d Up pop-up, a high-energy holiday pop-up bar perfect for patrons who have an affinity for elf culture. Inspired by the light-hearted Christmas comedy, Elf’d Up will be decorated from floor to ceiling with over 1,000 elves of all shapes and sizes, a 10-foot Christmas tree, an upside-down Christmas tree, wreath chandeliers, strands of festive colored lights, specific tributes to the movie like figurines, wall quotes, snowflakes, Schylling Jester Jack in the Boxes, cut outs of Buddy the Elf and Miles Finch and more. For more information, visit here.

Dance On Broadway
Located in the heart of Chicago’s Lakeview East neighborhood at 3126 N. Broadway St., Dance On Broadway is a brand new, state-of-the-art dance training studio offering classes for children and adults in Ballet & Pointe, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Contemporary, Modern, Tap, Latin and more. From Monday, December 21 through Wednesday, December 23 between 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. for children ages 3-8 and 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. for children age 9+, Dance On Broadway’s Winter Dance Camps include two dance lessons in different genres, an art project and a snack break each day. At the end of the camp, Dance On Broadway will host a performance following COVID-19 protocol that will be sent digitally to the caretakers of the participating children to enjoy. For more information, dance enthusiasts may visit here.

One of a Kind Holiday Show

One of Chicago’s most highly-anticipated annual holiday experiences, the One of a Kind Holiday Show, is going virtual this season presenting more than 300 artists, artisans, and makers from across North America and beyond, from November 12 – December 6 online. For over three weeks, shoppers will have the opportunity to support small businesses impacted by COVID-19, discover new work, experience studio tours and demonstrations, shop for unique and thoughtful holiday gifts, and more through here and @ooakchicago on Instagram and Facebook.

Eleanor’s Very Merry Christmas Wish – The Musical

Eleanor’s Very Merry Christmas Wish – The Musical, a critical and commercial success in its 2019 Chicago World Premiere run, will be available for streaming this holiday season! Based on the heartfelt book of the same name by Chicagoan Denise McGowan Tracy, the family-friendly production is recommended for all ages and will be available to stream November 27 – December 27, 2020 directly into homes through InPlayer for $25 per household. Adding to the fun is the availability of two immersive Eleanor’s Very Merry Christmas Party in a Box options, ranging in price from $45 – $60 plus shipping and handling fees. The 2020 virtual production will feature additional holiday music, and the recorded opening night performance from the successful 2019 World Premiere. Tickets and party boxes can be purchased here.

Hershey Felder’s TCHAIKOVSKY – Live From Florence

Based on the original OUR GREAT TCHAIKOVSKY, and featuring an extended focus on The Nutcracker Ballet, as well as Tchaikovsky’s life in Florence, Italy, TCHAIKOVSKY – Live from Florence will stream on Sunday, December 20 at 7 p.m. CST. The performance will be filmed live on location where Tchaikovsky actually lived and worked in Florence as an interesting, surprising and engaging holiday treat. Tickets are $55 and are available for purchase online, with proceeds benefitting theatres across the world impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Purchase includes the live stream and a full week of on demand access through December 27.

Houndstooth Saloon

Houndstooth Saloon, 3369 N. Clark St., is hosting its Houndstooth Holiday Market on the saloon patio for holiday enthusiasts to enjoy snacks and shop handmade holiday ornaments. Houndstooth Saloon is offering candied nuts, hot pretzels, hot cider and Griswolds’ themed food specials. For more information, visit here.

Dark Matter Coffee

Coffee lovers, rejoice! Chicago’s Dark Matter Coffee, 1117 W. Belmont St., is offering special holiday coffee releases of Old Dank Nic and Chronikkah, as well as holiday gift boxes and themed merchandise for the caffeine fiend in your life! Gift boxes options include four bags of Dark Matter Coffee’s Single Origin Guatemala or El Salvador blends, four bags of Dark Matter’s Barrel Aged coffees and a Portfolio Box Set, which includes bags of A Love Supreme, Unicorn Blood, Starry Eyes and Old Dank Nic. For more information, visit here.

Johnson’s Real Ice Cream
Just in time for Black Friday, Johnson’s Real Ice Cream, 2951 N. Broadway St., is offering free shipping of its delicious ice cream anywhere in the continental U.S. between November 27 and November 29. For year round ice cream lovers, Johnson’s Real Ice Cream is also offering a Black Friday gift card sale, which includes $10 in bonus coupons for every $30 gift card purchase. For more information, visit here.

Fred’s Wrigleyville Garage
For Chicagoans with cars who are looking to travel for the holidays, Fred’s Wrigleyville Garage, 3848 N. Clark St. is offering a winter car inspection special, including a battery check, anti-freeze levels, tire pressure, brake inspection, proper oil levels, windshield wiper condition and windshield washer fill for just $25. For more information, visit here.

Best Western Plus Hawthorne Terrace
For those looking for safe, affordable accommodations to visit their loved ones in the city this holiday season, Best Western Plus Hawthorne Terrace, 3434 N. Broadway St., is offering their “Stay Close for the Holiday” special for 20% off the available room rates. For more information or to book your stay, visit here.

theWit Hotel
theWit Hotel, 
located in the Chicago Loop at 201 N. State Street, has officially reopened its doors back to the public for those looking to have a relaxing staycation this upcoming holiday season. theWit Hotel is ensuring the safety of all guests and staff alike with sanitation standards in place to make everyone feel comfortable. The Hilton Property has implemented a Hilton CleanStay with Lysol Protection program, which was developed in consultation with global and local public health authorities, with key features including: guestroom door seals to indicate a patron’s room has not been accessed since it was cleaned; extra disinfection on high touch areas; removal of excess in-room amenities; guest-accessible hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes throughout the hotel; along with contactless check-in/check-out and more. Please visit here to book your upcoming stay or gift a staycation to a loved on this season.

Geja’s Café
Give the gift of fine dining this holiday season. Geja’s Café, Chicago’s iconic fondue and couple’s landmark located at 340 W Armitage Avenue, is offering fondue fanatics a special Holiday Gift Card Promotion that is running now through December 31, 2020. With every purchase of gift cards that equate to $100 will receive a free $30 bonus gift card. For more information or to purchase a gift card, please visit here.

EZ Breathe
Give the gift of good health this year. Since COVID-19, households around the country have been spending more than 90% of their time indoors. Homes have become workplaces, classrooms, restaurants, gyms, and everything in between. With the rise of time spent indoors, the rise of harmful pollutants and germs in the air have also skyrocketed and have been recirculating throughout houses. The E·Z Breathe Ventilation System is a necessity now more than ever to transform homes into a healthy living environment and keep families safe by preventing the spread of harmful airborne particles. Families have the ability to gift one to their loved ones and purchase one for themselves, with self-installations now available to keep everyone’s health at the utmost importance.

Q Clothier
With the holidays just around the corner, it means it’s time to refresh your wardrobe with the latest styles of winter for you and your loved ones. Q Clothier and Rye 51, the side-by-side luxury men’s custom clothier brands provide top quality, hand-crafted attire tailored perfectly for individuals of every lifestyle. A new addition to the Gold Coast neighborhood, patrons have the ability to shop with seasoned experts as you browse the latest and trendiest garments. Bath in luxury as you sip on some whiskey while shopping warmly and safely this season. Visit here for more details.

Mina Tocalini, 360 Magazine, COVID-19

Covid Risk Increases During Holidays

By Hannah DiPilato

With the holiday season quickly approaching, Covid cases are skyrocketing all over the country and officials are advising people to social distance this holiday season.

According to CNN, more than 12 million people in the United States have been infected with the coronavirus and over 260,000 people have died. With those that are elderly or immune-compromised, the risk of complications due to COVID-19 is higher.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated the safety guidelines for traveling. “CDC is recommending against travel during the Thanksgiving Day period,” Dr. Henry Walke, Covid-19 incident manager for the CDC, said in a conference call.

“Right now, especially as we are seeing exponential growth in cases and the opportunity to translocate disease or infection from one part of the country to another leads to our recommendation to avoid travel at this time,” Walke continued.

The CDC has also recommended people stay in their immediate households for the holiday season. Even without traveling across the country, seeing those you don’t usually see can lead to a breakout of coronavirus.

Walke said he does not plan to visit his own family for the holiday season. “I haven’t seen my parents since January. I’m staying home and that’s been difficult as I have older parents who would like to see me and who would like to see my children as well,” he said.

“It’s been a long outbreak, almost 11 months now, and people are tired. And we understand that and people want to see their relatives and their friends in the way they’ve always done it,” he continued, “But this year, particularly, we’re asking people to be as safe as possible and limit their travel.”

If you plan to gather with those outside of your immediate household, there are important precautions to take to prevent the spread of coronavirus. First, keep gatherings as small as possible. Many states have restrictions in place which limit the number of people allowed to gather inside. Check your local and state regulations to ensure your gathering is following the laws.

The CDC’s Dr. Erin Sauber-Schatz said, “The safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is at home with the people in your household.”

If possible, move your Thanksgiving dinner outside. Coronavirus is less likely to spread outside where there is better ventilation than indoors. Although many places are getting cold, tell your guests to load up with blankets and winter gear. If it’s too cold for an outside gathering, keep the windows open to ventilate the area.

One of the most important and simplest things you can do to stop the spread of Covid is to wear a mask. In many states, masks are required in public places and Thanksgiving dinner should be no exception. Keep your mask on unless eating and remain six feet away from other guests.

It is also recommended that guests handle making their own food and bringing their own utensils to Thanksgiving dinner this year. This prevents the spread of germs as well as cross-contamination between households. Remember to frequently wash your hands when cooking, eating and generally to stop the spread of germs.

Covid cases are rising in communities as well as healthcare networks which is making the virus even harder to handle. Many more people are becoming hospitalized due to the virus and healthcare workings are at risk.

According to the Associated Press, 905 staff members at The Mayo Clinic Health System have been infected with coronavirus in the last two weeks. The Mayo Clinic Health System is a network of clinics and hospitals in the midwest that are run by Mayo Clinic.

Executive dean of Mayo Clinic Practice, Dr. Amy Williams, said that most cases came from exposure within the community and not from work. “It shows how widely spread this is in our communities and how easy it is to get COVID-19 in the communities here in the Midwest,” she said.

If a virtual gathering isn’t in your Thanksgiving plans this year and you will be seeing people outside of your family in person, consider isolating yourself beforehand. Since the incubation period of the virus is 14 days, a negative test result doesn’t necessarily mean a person does not carry the virus. Although a negative test result for coronavirus isn’t a sure sign of safety, it is an extra precaution everyone should add before mingling this holiday season.

Besides getting a coronavirus test, people should also consider a 14-day quarantine before seeing loved ones, or afterward. Isolating before seeing family will decrease the risk of spreading the disease within your holiday circle. If you plan on traveling for the holiday, consider isolating yourself after returning to prevent the spread of covid in your community.

The CDC has predicted this will be a dark winter and although a vaccine is in the works, it likely won’t be ready for mass distribution for a few more weeks. The holiday season will only lead to more cases with an increase in travel and group gatherings. As the weather in many places gets colder, inside gatherings are more likely to occur.

The CDC also recommends everyone get their flu shot for the upcoming flu season. By protecting yourself from the flu, you can help the healthcare system more easily manage the large influx of people going to the hospital.

In all states except Hawaii, Maine and Vermont, there is an active or imminent outbreak of coronavirus according to Covid Act Now. Even these three states are at risk for an outbreak. Currently, North Dakota has the highest number of new daily cases per 100,000 people with 159.6 cases. Wyoming and New Mexico follow closely behind.

Many states have separated their cities and counties into different zones depending on the number of Covid cases present. The restrictions in place for these areas are then determined by the number of cases.

New York City is starting to enforce tighter restrictions as cases start to rise. “In the next week or two we should see some substantial restrictions,” said Mayor, Bill de Blasio. “I think indoor dining will be closed, gyms will be closed.  I’m not happy about it. No one is happy about it but that’s what’s coming.” There is currently a 10 person gathering limit and a curfew for nonessential businesses between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.

Similarly, in Boston, Governor Charlie Baker has released a stay-at-home advisory for the same time frame. People are urged to only go out between these hours for essentials. Indoor gatherings are limited to 10 people while outdoor gatherings should be capped at 25 people.

Things on the west coast seem just as bleak. According to the Los Angeles Department of Public Health, restaurants, bars, wineries and breweries will be closed for dine-in services for at least three weeks. People in Los Angeles are being advised to stay home and have a similar curfew to Boston and New York City.

In some cities where cases are skyrocketing, restrictions are not being put in place as heavily as in California and New York. In Miami, restaurants are able to be open to 100% capacity and seat 10 people per table. Most things in Miami are reopened, but with restrictions such as requiring masks.

It is crucial for everyone to work together to bring covid cases back down over the coming weeks. As cases spike, it is important to remember that each state has precautions in place for a reason. Although many states won’t fully shut down, you can decide to continue social distancing and only going out for essentials.

Moab Arranges Private Excursions

Moab Adventure Center Arranges Private Winter Excursions In Utah’s Arches and Canyonlands

We all need a post-election tonic right now.

Suggestion: A winter road trip that doesn’t throw caution to the pandemic winds.

The red rock playground known as Moab, Utah, welcomes visitors year-round. But few know this region’s virtues in the quiet months of winter. The Moab area has long been renowned for its beautiful, otherworldly scenery that has been attracting filmmakers here since the 1940s. For example, movie buffs can explore miles of Moab that have hit the silver screen. These include, among others, Johnny Depp in the 2013 rendition of The Lone Ranger, Mission Impossible: II (1999) and Thelma and Louise (1990).

If you have a yen to write your own action scripts, the Moab Adventure Center can keep visitors engaged for hours on end in this territory embraced by Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park. The Center has a check list of preferred activities during the quiet months. Weather permitting, the staff can arrange the following, private party excursions.

  • Hummer Safaris: Where and when specific excursions travel are weather dependent. Possibilities include Hell’s Revenge Trail, a two-hour, off-trail thrills ascending, unbelievably steep, slick sandstone to access vantage points over remote canyon glens and Sunset Hummer Tour, a three-hour, off-road venture culminating with a salute to the painted evening sky. 
  • A Private Canyoneering Adventure and/or Moab Rock Climbing Lessons are each five-hour, adrenalin-induced gulps of fresh air discovering memory-making muscles and foot holds. 
  • Private Arches National Park Morning Tours engage visitors for four hours as a guide and driver provide insights into the formation of this unique landscape and its unparalleled wonders. Arches National Park has more than 2,000 known arches, most of anywhere in the world. 
  • Arches National Park Air Tour takes flightseers over Courthouse Towers, North and South Window Arches, Delicate Arch, Devil’s Garden, the Colorado River, Fisher Towers, and Castle Valley. Youth 2 and under fly free on a parent’s lap. (2 person minimum) 

The cooler temperatures of winter signal an eagerness for adventure. For example, January’s average high is 43F, rising to 63F by March when campgrounds open and river pundits assess the winter snow pack runoff with an eye to a new rafting season.

With the exception of Los Angeles, which is just over 700 miles from Moab, the major cities of the Southwest are all under 500 miles from Moab. To extend an adventure here, visitors may want to combine the red rocks with road trips to the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley and Zion National Park.

Through the late winter season, Moab Adventure Center recommends tapping into http://udottraffic.utah.gov to see real-time road conditions across Utah.

For information and reservations please call (435) 259-7019 or (866) 904-1163 or visit: https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/.

About the Moab Adventure Center – Moab Adventure Center is at the epicenter of nature-themed adventure, promising activities that include rafting, jet boating, stand up paddle boarding, hiking, mountain biking and hot air ballooning. Hummer safaris, rock climbing, canyoneering and horseback riding are popular. Many of these activities are conducted with guides, an arrangement that helps preclude the kind of damage to the land that can happen when uneducated visitors venture into areas where they shouldn’t be. Guides help people understand where they can move through back country with the least impact possible.

Moab Adventure Center is a division of Western River Expeditions (http://www.westernriver.com/) an adventure travel company headquartered in Salt Lake City, with operations and offices in Moab and Fredonia, AZ. The company is the largest single tour provider in Moab, Utah. The Moab Adventure Center is located at 225 South Main St., Moab, UT 84532. The center also has a 2,000-square-foot retail space selling adventure related gear, clothing, maps and souvenirs.


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Website: http://www.moabadventurecenter.com/

Rita Azar illustration for 360 MAGAZINE travel stories

Tips for Reducing Holiday Stress and Staying Mindful While Traveling

The holiday season is typically the busiest time of the year for traveling. People enjoy going to see family members or exploring new locations as they have time off from their jobs and schoolwork. This year, traveling may come with a bit more stress and anxiety due to the pandemic that people are facing around the world. The good news is that there are some things you can do to help reduce holiday stress, as well as stay safer while traveling.

“There may be fewer people traveling this holiday season, but there will still be a lot who do, and they need to know how to make it more enjoyable,” explains Katie Sandler, personal development and career coach. “Mindful travel is the key to reducing stress, staying safer, and making the most of your time traveling. This year will be a great exercise in mindfulness, which is something to be excited about.”

As an expert at using mindfulness, Sandler helps people not only reduce their stress, but also reach new goals. The key to traveling safely during the pandemic, as she points out, is in using the technique throughout the experience. By remaining mindful, travelers will go about their experience in a way that is conscientious and intentional. Just as with many things in life, this is an issue that comes down to learning to be more focused and plan ahead.

Sandler has created a recipe for mindful safe travel in the era of COVID, which includes the following tips:

  • Forget being spontaneous. This is not the time to be spontaneous. In order to help reduce risks and stress. Figure everything out ahead of time. Know about everything before you go do it. This goes for restaurants, excursions, and even visiting others. Call ahead so you can plan out as much as possible.
  • Know the rules and regulations. The rules today differ by city and state, so it’s important to know what they are for where you are heading. Get the information you need so that you are prepared. Whether it means all meals will be takeout, you will have to wear a mask, or you need to limit the number in your party, avoiding surprises will help keep things stress-free.
  • Get tested before you go. Getting a COVID test before you travel is a good way to help reduce stress and the spread of the virus. This way you will know that you are not unknowingly spreading it around wherever you may go.
  • Create a checklist to use. A checklist is a great way to ease the hassle of ensuring you have everything covered. Make a list of what needs to be packed, calls that need to be made, things that must be done before heading out, etc. This will prove much easier than trying to simply remember everything.
  • Make reservations wherever possible. This is a great time to make reservations for everything possible. Whether it’s at a restaurant, a tour company, or something else, this is a great way to help them limit the number of guests allowed in any one place at the same time.
  • Be kind and patient. People you come across while you are traveling are doing things differently, too, and it may cause them to be stressed out and provide slower service. Take that time to remind yourself to be in the here and now, and focus on being kind and patient.

“The holidays are a special time, and most of us still want to travel,” added Sandler. “While we shouldn’t live in constant fear of the virus, we should strive to keep being keenly aware of the situation and our surroundings. When we do that, we will reduce the stress and anxiety, help to keep everyone healthier, and still be able to enjoy life, even more than when we travel without being so focused.”

Through her personal development and career coaching services, Sandler has helped people in many different ways. From helping them to identify things holding themselves back to being able to achieve personal goals, she brings a crucial, helpful outsider’s perspective. In addition to personal achievements, she helps many people with their career goals, as well as working with companies to provide their team with impact training. Through her efforts, companies have been able to reduce absenteeism rates, motivate their team, reduce stress levels, engage their employees, and create a better workplace.

Sandler offers impact retreats, corporate impact events, and one-on-one coaching services. She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in mental health counseling, has a strong foundation in mindfulness-based stress reduction, and has worked in hospitals and private practices. She has also spent time as a research assistant at Johns Hopkins. Upcoming retreats include Reignite in Tulum, Mindfulness in Mykonos, Rewire and Renew in The French Alps, and Mindfulness & Mindset in The Hamptons. To learn more about Katie Sandler and her services, or to see the retreat schedule, visit the site: https://katiesandler.com/.

Holiday Jazz Albums Available in New Vinyl Set

FOUR TIMELESS HOLIDAY JAZZ TITLES BY ELLA FITZGERALD, KENNY BURRELL, RAMSEY LEWIS AND JIMMY SMITH BOXED UP FOR NEW VINYL SET, VERVE WISHES YOU A SWINGING CHRISTMAS

MOST ALBUMS REPRESSED FOR FIRST TIME IN MORE THAN 50 YEARS AVAILABLE NOW VIA VERVE/UMe

This holiday season, Verve Records/UMe is boxing up some of the most classic jazz holiday titles and wrapping them in a new vinyl box set titled Verve Wishes You a Swinging Christmas. This lavish collection brings together Ella Fitzgerald’s Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas (1960), Kenny Burrell’s Have Yourself a Soulful Little Christmas (1966), Ramsey Lewis’s Sound of Christmas (1961) and Jimmy Smith’s Christmas ‘64 (1964) (also known as Christmas Cookin’) for the first time. With the holidays just around the corner, it’s the perfect swinging, syncopated backdrop to get you in the Yuletide spirit and soundtrack your festivities.

Purchase Verve Wishes You a Swinging Christmas now: https://Verve.lnk.to/SwingingChristmas

Since the dawn of jazz, the genre’s innovators have pulled material from all corners of the Great American Songbook and beyond as springboards for improvisation — and the Christmas canon is no exception. On Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas, the First Lady of Song approaches Great American Christmas songs like “Jingle Bells,” “Sleigh Ride,” “The Christmas Song,” and “Frosty the Snowman” with vivacity and sophistication. Sixty Christmases after its release, the album’s timeless appeal has only grown over the years. In a retrospective review, All Musicproclaimed, “this is as good as jazz Christmas albums get,” and just last year, Rolling Stone ranked it No. 1 on their “40 Essential Christmas Albums” list, calling the set “superb” and praising Fitzgerald’s “exquisite phrasing and subtlety.” In celebration of the album’s 60th anniversary, “Frosty The Snowman” has received its first-ever official video, a charming animated video by Fantoons Animation Studio that features Ella and Frosty in a winter wonderland storybook setting. Watch here: https://youtu.be/Hmw4Fu4XupE

Verve Wishes You a Swinging Christmas includes a variety of jazz greats’ instrumental takes on the Christmas canon via three albums that haven’t seen a vinyl reissue since the ‘60s. On Have Yourself a Soulful Little Christmas, guitar master Kenny Burrell serves up soulful renditions from the carol book (“The Twelve Days of Christmas,” “Away in a Manger”), down the church aisle (“Mary’s Little Boy Chile,” “Children Go Where I Send Thee”) and the R&B wheelhouse (“Merry Christmas, Baby”). JazzTimes declares it “was and is a landmark album” while All Music admires Burrell’s “pensive, meditative, precise playing” and calls it “a must-have.”

The box cranks the fun up a notch with Sound of Christmas by the Ramsey Lewis Trio, which features bassist Eldee Young, drummer Isaac “Red” Holt, and string arranger Riley Hampton. By swerving around any potential treacle and keeping things light at a mere 29 minutes, Lewis and his colleagues ensured Sound of Christmas was a highly accessible slice of holiday cheer. “Lewis avoids the overly reverent… in favor of songs he can tear through with the brisk gait of a sleigh ride and the delight of a full stocking,” All About Jazz mused.“[H]is sensitivity to the tastes of the public served him well here.”

Rounding out the collection is a yuletide offering from Jimmy Smith, the master of the Hammond B-3 organ. On Christmas ‘64, which was known for decades as Christmas Cookin’ after being reissued in 1966 with the alternate cover and title, Smith offers up a mix of secular Christmas songs and traditional carols backed by a big band and several trios. He makes a heel-turn from dignified orchestral overtures, like on “We Three Kings (of Orient Are),” injecting the proceedings with funky, down-home energy to get bodies moving this December. “It’s hard to believe that ‘Silent Night’ could ever swing as much as it does here,” All About Jazz noted. But all you have to do is drop the needle on these bluesy interpretations to believe Christmas could be so danceable. For the first time in more than five decades, the LP will be released with its original cover and title.

Why wait until the Christmas shopping rush to secure your vintage sounds? Verve Wishes You a Swinging Christmas offers four titles in their original packaging, all beamed from jazz’s past to warm up your holiday season in the present.

Ella Fitzgerald Wishes You a Swinging Christmas (1960)

Side A:

  1. Jingle Bells
  2. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
  3. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
  4. What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?
  5. Sleigh Ride
  6. The Christmas Song

Side B:

  1. Good Morning Blues
  2. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
  3. Winter Wonderland
  4. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
  5. Frosty the Snowman
  6. White Christmas

Kenny Burrell — Have Yourself a Soulful Little Christmas (1966)

Side A:

  1. The Little Drummer Boy
  2. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
  3. My Favorite Things
  4. Away in a Manger
  5. Mary’s Little Boy Chile
  6. White Christmas

Side B:

  1. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
  2. The Christmas Song
  3. Go Where I Send Thee
  4. Silent Night
  5. Twelve Days Of Christmas
  6. Merry Christmas Baby

Ramsey Lewis — Sound of Christmas (1961)

Side A:

  1. Merry Christmas Baby
  2. Winter Wonderland
  3. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
  4. Christmas Blues
  5. Here Comes Santa Claus

Side B:

  1. The Sound Of Christmas
  2. The Christmas Song
  3. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
  4. Sleigh Ride
  5. What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?

Jimmy Smith — Christmas ‘64 (a.k.a. Christmas Cookin’) (1964)

Side A:

  1. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
  2. Jingle Bells
  3. We Three Kings (Of Orient Are)
  4. The Christmas SongSide B:
  1. White Christmas
  2. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
  3. Silent Night
  4. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen