Showing posts with label Christmas Related. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christmas Related. Show all posts

25 November 2021

[Blog Tour] 'Christmas at Hembry Castle' (Hembry Castle Chronicles) By Meredith Allard #HistoricalFiction

by
[Blog Tour] 'Christmas at Hembry Castle' (Hembry Castle Chronicles) By Meredith Allard #HistoricalFiction
Christmas at Hembry Castle - Tour Banner 

The Book:

Christmas at Hembry Castle
(Hembry Castle Chronicles)
By Meredith Allard
  • Publication Date: 1st December 2020
  • Publisher: Copperfield Press
  • Page Length: 120 Pages
  • Genre: Historical Fiction/Victorian/Holiday

The Blurb:

You are cordially invited to Christmas at Hembry Castle.

An unlikely earl struggles with his new place. A young couple’s love is tested. What is a meddling ghost to do?

In the tradition of A Christmas Carol, travel back to Victorian England and enjoy a lighthearted, festive holiday celebration.

Buy Links:

[Blog Tour] 'Christmas at Hembry Castle' (Hembry Castle Chronicles) By Meredith Allard #HistoricalFiction
Christmas at Hembry Castle - Cover

'Christmas at Hembry Castle' - Excerpt:

Preparing for Christmas at Hembry Castle was a months-long affair. In September, Mrs. Graham, in consultation with the Countess of Staton and Lady Daphne, created her festive menus for breakfasts, luncheons, teas, dinners, and other celebrations from the first of December through Twelfth Night. She gathered ingredients in October and cooked and baked in November and December. Mrs. Ellis once asked Mrs. Graham how many pies she baked in a Christmas season, to which Mrs. Graham replied, “Somewhere between one hundred and ten thousand million.” Everyone always clamored for pies—mince pies, pork pies, turkey pies, pigeon pies, raised game pies, squab pies, steak and kidney pies, roast chicken pies, beef and potato pies, cheese and onion pies, and more mince pies. Mrs. Graham baked enough for the family and their many guests, enough for the villagers, enough for the farmers, enough for all England it seemed. Pies were all Mrs. Graham knew these days.

Sometimes, when Mrs. Ellis was taking tea in her sitting room, bent over the house accounts, her head popped up at the call of “Pies!” ringing from the kitchen. “Pies! Pies! Pies!” When Mrs. Ellis went to investigate, she saw Mrs. Graham and her maids elbow-deep in pastry, nutmeg, sugar, milk, eggs, suet, beef, apples, currants, raisins, brandy, and lemons. Indeed, mince pies were most popular this time of year. Mrs. Ellis always tip-toed away, leaving them to their “Pies!”

A constant stream of visitors flowed through the ancient halls of Hembry Castle throughout the month of December, and Hembry Castle would not be caught out before its guests. The maids dusted every volume in the library, buffed every droplet of the chandeliers until they gleamed, turned on the gaslights, and set glowing candles on the shelves. The footmen polished the silver and laid bowls of pomegranates, oranges, and spices on every flat surface, the scents of cinnamon and citrus filling the air. His lordship and Lady Daphne busied themselves writing Christmas cards, and Lady Daphne made a decoupage display with the colorful cards they received. Mr. Ellis was only slightly embarrassed by the arrival of a box of Christmas crackers ordered by Lady Daphne, who had been so charmed by the bon-bons and poems inside the tissue paper at her first Christmas at Hembry Castle. The butler set his wire-rimmed spectacles back on his nose, coughed, winked, then finally accepted the box from the impatient delivery boy.

Feathered trees lined the shelves, proudly displaying their cotton stars and glass ornaments. The warm spicy scents of the season were soon overpowered by the fresh greens dragged inside by the gardeners, and suddenly the midwinter wasn’t quite so bleak. Holly with its star-shaped leaves and red berries was made into wreaths for doors both inside and out. Mistletoe hung discreetly from the Roman arches, leaving giggling maids and grinning footmen scurrying when footsteps headed their way. Pine boughs lined the banisters and framed every door. Sometimes, after their guests had gone for the day, after they partook of Mrs. Graham’s scrumptious delights, as they sat before a hot fire with a good book and a cup of tea, both Frederick and Daphne found some respite from their worries. What they would not admit, even to themselves, was that Christmas at Hembry Castle in the Year of Our Lord 1871 was all a performance with Lord Staton and Lady Daphne primed for the stage. The grand old house looked festive enough, though neither the earl nor his daughter were much in the holiday spirit. Still, they played the role of Gaiety as if wearing smiling Greek masks. Father and daughter did their duty to every guest expecting a grand celebration.

Frederick and Daphne found still another reprieve when some of the farmers dragged in the tall Christmas tree, freshly chopped from the forest. Frederick meant to speak to Clayton, to say hello, to inquire after the farmer’s family, wondering if he had made it to London after all. He had heard rumors, you know, his lordship, and he wanted to be certain all was well. Clayton turned his apple face away, slightly less brown in the winter months, ignoring Lord Staton’s gestures toward anything resembling conversation.

After the tree was set upright everyone gasped as the highest point nearly touched the cathedral ceiling. By way of Prince Albert, sadly passed nearly ten years to the day now, Christmas trees had become the fashion in England and no stately home was complete for the holiday season without one. After the mess of needles was cleared away it was time to decorate with strings of sparkling beads, candies, tinsel, paper ornaments, and candles nestled within the branches. Everyone, from the maids to his lordship, laughed aloud at the lovely sight. It was, Mrs. Ellis said to a passing maid, the most beautiful tree anyone had ever seen. Hembry Castle looked, sounded, and smelled like Christmas. Then she thought of Lady Daphne and her grandson and hid her tears behind her handkerchief.

[Blog Tour] 'Christmas at Hembry Castle' (Hembry Castle Chronicles) By Meredith Allard #HistoricalFiction
Meredith Allard

Author Bio:

Meredith Allard is the author of the bestselling paranormal historical Loving Husband Trilogy. Her sweet Victorian romance, When It Rained at Hembry Castle, was named a best historical novel by IndieReader. Her latest book, Painting the Past: A Guide for Writing Historical Fiction, was named a #1 new release in Authorship and Creativity Self-Help on Amazon. When she isn’t writing she’s teaching writing, and she has taught writing to students ages five to 75. She loves books, cats, and coffee, though not always in that order. She lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. 

Visit Meredith online at www.meredithallard.com.

Connect With Meredith Allard:

https://maryanneyarde.blogspot.com/2021/07/blog-tour-christmas-at-hembry-castle-by.html
Christmas at Hembry Castle - Tour Schedule Banner

21 December 2020

We Are Facing A Difficult Winter – But Philosophy Can Help

by
We Are Facing A Difficult Winter – But Philosophy Can Help
We Are Facing A Difficult Winter – But Philosophy Can Help (Photo by Sam Wordley)
All around the world, Christmas dreams are becoming nightmares. As R numbers increase and the epidemic spikes, people are seeing long cherished plans go up in smoke.

In England, plans have been curtailed as the five-day Christmas bubble which would have allowed three households to celebrate together has been reduced to one day for two households. For those in the new Tier 4, no household mixing at all is permitted.

After months of lockdowns and social distancing guidelines, many people will be feeling defeated – and exhausted by the prospect of a long winter to come, with further lockdowns possible before vaccines have been widely rolled out. If even the goal of spending one warm and happy day with friends and family cannot be attained, what is the point of all the hard work?

In times like this, though, we can find solace in a few philosophical ideas. One is the concept of human finitude. Simply put, human finitude means we are imperfect creatures with a limited lifespan. We are far from god-like; we do not have a god’s eye view, nor are we immortal.

In philosophy, finitude refers to the study of our human limitations. Many philosophers have explored finitude, including Kant, Heidegger, Levinas and Nietzsche.

This may seem an odd idea to cling to, but recognising that we are finite, imperfect creatures can bring comfort during trying times. It is understandable to feel bewilderment at changing government advice. It is understandable to resent other people telling us to stay away from our loved ones, and to feel deep sadness at cancelled plans. And it is understandable to begin to lose the resolve to do the right thing. If finitude tells us anything, it is that we are only human.

And as finite humans, we are vulnerable. Among other things, we can die, we can lie and we can be used against our wishes.

COVID-19 has taught us how intensively mutually vulnerable we really are. We depend on each other – but this dependency also puts us at risk. More socialising means an increase in virus transmission. Carrying on socialising during a spike in the epidemic might mean an increase in the number of people suffering severely from COVID-19, and a rise in the number of deaths.

So, while finitude tells us that it is understandable to feel the desire to break lockdowns and travel limits, vulnerability keeps us committed to doing the right thing by others – others who might be more vulnerable than us.

There is another philosophical concept that can keep us going in trying times. It is also more recognisably upbeat: hope.

Philosophically, there is a difference between good hope” and “bad hope. While bad hope is simply unrealistic optimism, good hope has warrant; it is based on the idea that goals and aspirations are possible, no matter how bad things seem.

In our current situation, hope is an attitude we have warrant to adopt: what we hope for is really possible. A vaccine is already being rolled out, and with it come warranted hopes: for summer meet-ups with family, holidays with friends, the continuance of lives and loves.

In fact, hope is also related to human finitude. Were we god-like, we would be immortal and all-knowing, and hope for how the future might turn out would be unnecessary. Uncertainty is an inescapable part of the human condition. Even when we cannot be certain of the end result of a commitment or aspiration, we can still hope.

It is understandable to feel resentment when plans are changed – and to feel the desire to ignore guidelines. Yet, recognising our mutual vulnerability means we cannot ignore the small voice telling us that the right thing to do is stay home. And hope can help us. Even as some hopes this Christmas are dashed, we can begin to formulate others. Spring is coming, and with it the hope of a better future.

About Today's Contributor:

Katy Dineen, Assistant Lecturer in Moral Responsibility and Political Theory, University College Cork

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. 

13 December 2020

Pandemic December: How to Stay Connected and Resilient in a COVID-19 Holiday Season

by

A new perspective and approach may be required to get through this year’s pandemic-heavy holiday season. (Shutterstock)
A new perspective and approach may be required to get through this year’s pandemic-heavy holiday season. (Shutterstock)
This year’s holiday season will no doubt be different. The holidays are already a time of increased mental health risks because of anxiety, depression, seasonal affective disorder, alcohol/substance use and other factors. Now, the COVID-19 pandemic will add a major pressure to the festive season.

Whether you mark holidays in December or not, typical winter customs are being disrupted. The pandemic has had a significant impact on society’s ability to connect and has also reduced individuals’ access to wellness-maintaining strategies and activities. For example, COVID-19 has limited and in some cases halted visits with loved ones, gatherings with friends and colleagues, and as cold weather comes, our options for outdoor activities will decrease.

A new perspective and approach may be required to get through this year’s holiday season.

The rewards of gratitude and compassion

As a health psychologist and a psychiatrist, our work at The Ottawa Hospital over the last decade has been focused on staff and physician wellness. When people are experiencing a chronic crisis, it’s exhausting, and leads to wear and tear on both body and mind. This can lead to “survival mode” in which we can become more focused on our own needs.

As we feel the impact of COVID-19 fatigue, there is increasing acknowledgement of the impact on health and wellness of the front-line workers. One of the biggest boosts we can give ourselves is to give to others. Self-transcendent emotions, which include compassion and gratitude, have a positive physiological impact by stabilizing our heart rate and blood pressure. In fact, giving to others stimulates the brain’s reward centre, and that’s why it feels so good.

Giving doesn’t have to be monetary. Messages of gratitude can be delivered throughout this pandemic to everyone working on the front lines, including health-care professionals, teachers, delivery services including post office outlets, and all of the those working in businesses like stores, pharmacies and restaurants. Thank you.

Rebooting and connecting

For many people, technology may be the only way to connect to others during the pandemic, and for some this might be the safest way to connect to family and friends over the holidays. (Pexels/Koolshooters)
In uncertain times, people can get overloaded by too much information. One way to reboot is to get out of your head. Try to pick activities that use your hands and your body. This slows you down and can shift your focus into the here and now. This can give you a sense of control and anchors you to the present. Art and crafts, photography, exercise and playing a musical instrument can all provide a means to focus our attention on a specific and in in-the-moment task.

For a bigger boost, think back to activities you loved as a kid, such as colouring, dancing, baking, singing at the top of your lungs.

We used to worry about how attached we were to our devices and particularly concerned about total screen time for kids. For many, this may be the only way to connect to others, and for some this might be the safest way to connect to family and friends over the holidays. It may be even more essential for those who live alone and/or who may have lost a significant person in their lives this year.

Part of “Zoom fatigue” may be linked to inactivity and repetitiveness of our daily activities during the pandemic. There may be innovative ways, through technology, for you to enjoy activities you used to do, and reach out for support and connection.

Expectations and expressions

As we reflect on how to approach the holiday season, it’s important to scale our expectations and be compassionate with ourselves and others in these unusual times. We do need to make space for all of the emotions — good and bad — that we are experiencing. This may include frustration, anger, anxiety, sadness and disappointment.

It’s important to proactively set up activities and actions that can connect us to our humanness: expressing our kindness and gratitude to others, being in harmony with our technology, and trying to reconnect with moments and times in our lives that were meaningful or joyful.

About Today's Contributor:

Kerri Ritchie, Professional Practice Coordinator, Psychology, The Ottawa Hospital, & Clinical Professor, L’Université d’Ottawa/University of Ottawa and Caroline Gerin-Lajoie, Psychiatrist, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Ottawa, and Executive VIce-President, Physician Wellness and Medical Culture, Canadian Medical Association

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. 

10 December 2020

Ho Ho Ho! Santa Claus Plans Socially Distant (and Out of this World) Visit to the International Space Station

by
Ho Ho Ho! Santa Claus Plans Socially Distant (and Out of this World) Visit to the International Space Station
Santa's sleigh flying past the International Space Station on a precise digital twin of the Earth built by Cesium, a Philadelphia-based tech startup.
The North Pole has confirmed that Santa's sleigh will perform a ceremonial fly-by of the International Space Station (ISS) on December 24. The out-of-this world visit will honor the 20th anniversary of continuous life on the ISS, a milestone achieved in November.
The official NORAD Santa Tracker at NoradSanta.Org enables users to track Santa's journey all day on December 24. New for this year, visitors will be able to see the ISS orbiting the planet in its precise real-time location by zooming out on the 3D Santa Tracker app. 

  • Other updates include additions to Santa's traditional garb, including a face mask, and for part of the journey - a space helmet.
NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, is a United States and Canada bi-national organization that defends North America by tracking objects flying in and around its airspace 24 hours a day using radar, satellites and fighter jets. Each year, it joins corporate partners in taking on a special mission to also track Santa's sleigh. 

  • The app shows Santa's position reflected on a highly accurate digital twin of the Earth provided by Cesium, a Philadelphia-based geospatial software company.
"Cesium is rooted in aerospace, so it's especially meaningful to us that our technology will allow millions of people to enjoy this event in real-time from the safety of their homes," said Cesium CEO Patrick Cozzi.
"The ISS is a spectacular example of what humans can accomplish when we work together," said Hannah Pinkos, lead developer of the app. "2020 has been a tough year, but I think this special trip is Santa's way of reminding us to believe in ourselves."
Ho Ho Ho! Santa Claus Plans Socially Distant (and Out of this World) Visit to the International Space Station
Santa Claus Plans Socially Distant Visit to the International Space Station (Photo by cottonbro)

About Cesium - The Platform for 3D Geospatial:

Cesium has been providing the 3D geospatial platform that powers the NORAD Tracks Santa app since 2012. Born at aerospace software company AGI, an Ansys Company, Cesium became independent in 2019. Its open platform is used across industries to build applications using 3D location data collected from sensors like satellites and drones. By creating precise digital twins of the Earth with Cesium, users can understand the operations of smart cities, measure piles of soil on construction sites from thousands of miles away, and even track the location of Santa's sleigh in real-time as he travels around the globe. 

SOURCE: Cesium

5 December 2020

The Elves Are Flying Off the Shelf - 'The Elf on the Shelf' and 'Elf Pets' Are Scarce but Can Still Be Found in Select Locations

by
The Elves Are Flying Off the Shelf - 'The Elf on the Shelf' and 'Elf Pets' Are Scarce but Can Still Be Found in Select Locations
The Elf on the Shelf® and Elf Pets® Are Scarce but Can Still Be Found in Select Locations (PRNewsfoto/The Lumistella Company)
Breaking news from the North Pole Press Room! Santa is aware that families are having difficulty finding The Elf on the Shelf Scout Elves and the Elf Pets this holiday season.
 "The Scout Elves really are flying off store shelves this season," states The Lumistella Company president, Mike Champion. "But Adoption Centers across the nation remain open and a few still have Scout Elves and Elf Pets ready to be taken home."
"More families are searching for safe and innovative ways to provide entertainment for their children or to lighten the family's mood this year," notes The Lumistella Company Co-CEO Christa Pitts. "Though it might be difficult to find our products, I encourage families to look at Party City, Michael's, Target, and Barnes and Noble. Those retailers still have available but limited supply. I also suggest visiting elfontheshelf.com to find out how to support community businesses and shop locally. Our website lists all of our adoption centers through a store locator feature."
  • There are lots of ways to engage with The Elf on the Shelf this season. Families can visit the official The Elf on the Shelf YouTube channel for music videos and shorts, watch the Elf Pets movies on streaming services, or visit the website for fun, engaging Christmas recipes or elf inspiration. "We are devoted to helping families create more joyful family moments this holiday season," Ms. Pitts added.
The Elf on the Shelf Scout Elves and the Elf Pets are Santa's official helpers from the North Pole. With over 17 million Scout Elves and Elf Pets adopted worldwide, and with this year marking their 15th year in business, The Lumistella Company's banner of Christmas-inspired brands proves once and for all that while their products might be tricky to find, Christmas spirit is soaring higher than ever.

24 November 2020

Bing Crosby, Chuck Berry, Ella Fitzgerald & Frank Sinatra Usher In The Holidays In New Animated Videos For Some Of Their Biggest Christmas Hits [Videos Included]

by
Bing Crosby, Chuck Berry, Ella Fitzgerald & Frank Sinatra Usher In The Holidays In New Animated Videos For Some Of Their Biggest Christmas Hits
This holiday season, musical legends Bing Crosby, Chuck Berry, Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra are returning in animated form with first-ever official music videos from UMe for some of the most iconic and beloved songs in the Christmas canon.
This holiday season, musical legends Bing Crosby, Chuck Berry, Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra are returning in animated form with first-ever official music videos from UMe for some of the most iconic and beloved songs in the Christmas canon. In the beautifully hand drawn and painted videos created by Fantoons Animation Studios, Crosby brings joy to a down in the dumps town with his trusty Bing-O-Matic in "Winter Wonderland" and croons over a multigenerational military family's holiday gatherings in "White Christmas," guitar-clad Berry helps Santa with his Christmas rounds in vintage comic book style in "Run Rudolph Run," Fitzgerald and Frosty delight in a winter wonderland storybook setting in "Frosty The Snowman" and Sinatra delivers mid-century style, glitz and grace as only he can in the holiday classics, "The Christmas Waltz" and "Mistletoe and Holly."
"UMe is incredibly honored and excited to partner with these legendary artists and estates to celebrate their iconic holiday songs and give them official videos," says Bruce Resnikoff, President and CEO of UMe, the global catalog company of UMG. "Last year was the first time we created holiday videos and we had such a tremendous response that we've gone all in again this year and our content team and Fantoons have really outdone themselves. These songs are some of the most popular year to year and we hope these videos brighten up fans holidays as well as attract new audiences across the digital platforms they inhabit. Similar to before, the video assets and creative will be deployed across UMe's holiday marketing and advertising campaigns for a cohesive look and feel and to achieve greater engagement across a broader audience."
Bing Crosby, Chuck Berry, Ella Fitzgerald & Frank Sinatra Usher In The Holidays In New Animated Videos For Some Of Their Biggest Christmas Hits
Bing Crosby - "White Christmas" (screengrab)

Mary Crosby of The Bing Crosby Estate:

"Keeping dad's spirit alive, especially during the holidays, is not only of huge importance to us as a family, but to everyone. During these trying times his voice gives hope and comfort to all of us. I am thrilled that there is another way dad is being seen and heard. I love the videos Universal came up with and, of course, love his music! Dad believed supporting the troops was one of the most important contributions that he made in his life. When he was asked about his career it wasn't his awards or the fame that came his way, it was that 'in some small way, if he made the life of a soldier a little bit easier then, that was what mattered. The video for 'White Christmas' is a wonderful tribute to his love and appreciation for the troops."
Bing Crosby, Chuck Berry, Ella Fitzgerald & Frank Sinatra Usher In The Holidays In New Animated Videos For Some Of Their Biggest Christmas Hits
Chuck Berry - "Run Rudolph Run" (screengrab)

Charles Berry Jr. of The Chuck Berry Estate:

"What an honor to have 'Run Rudolph Run' given such a dazzling visualization as its first music video! The marriage of animation and music could not be better – you can't beat flying reindeer, Santa Claus and electric guitar! My dad always told stories in his songs and his poetic skills are on full display here. The lyrics tell a Christmas story that young and old can't help but enjoy. Fun, frolicking and certainly perfect for the season, it was a holiday favorite in our house and we hope this video for a timeless Chuck Berry song brings joy and helps people get in the spirit this holiday season."
Bing Crosby, Chuck Berry, Ella Fitzgerald & Frank Sinatra Usher In The Holidays In New Animated Videos For Some Of Their Biggest Christmas Hits
Ella Fitzgerald - "Frosty The Snowman" (screengrab)

Richard Rosman & Fran Morris Rosman of The Ella Fitzgerald Foundation:

"Since it was released 60 years ago, Ella Fitzgerald's Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas has remained a perennial and beloved standard for the holidays, livening up countless festivities and family gatherings with its joyful and jazzy takes on Christmas classics, including the swinging 'Frosty The Snowman. The Ella Fitzgerald Estate is thrilled to partner with UMe to bring Ella and Frosty to colorful life in this fantastic, beautifully animated video and hope that both Ella's fans and the new generations just discovering her music will love it. What a wonderful gift for the song and album to receive as it celebrates its 60th anniversary!"
Bing Crosby, Chuck Berry, Ella Fitzgerald & Frank Sinatra Usher In The Holidays In New Animated Videos For Some Of Their Biggest Christmas Hits
Frank Sinatra - "The Christmas Waltz" (screengrab)

Nancy Sinatra of Frank Sinatra Enterprises:
"I really think he might be the voice of Christmas. I just think that the sentimentality of my dad's recordings is what grabs people. He was emotional when he sang them, and people are emotional when they hear them. That doesn't really change."

The Videos:







These videos are just some of the many ways that UMe is celebrating its unmatched Christmas catalog and helping to turn up the joy this holiday season. In addition to the new animated videos, a variety of "Christmas With…" collections for artists including The Beach Boys, Bing Crosby, Brenda Lee, Burl Ives, Chuck Berry, Dean Martin, Ella Fitzgerald, The Jackson 5 and Nat King Cole are available to stream on your favorite DSP and there's of course the annual Christmas Music playlist which features some of the most popular songs and artists across the holiday music canon, pairing timeless classics with contemporary favorites. 

For those looking for more holiday entertainment, The Ed Sullivan Show's official YouTube channel is celebrating the season with a music-and laughter-filled holiday playlist. Classics include "White Christmas" by Bing Crosby, "Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer" by Gene Autry, "Jingle Bells" by Paul Anka, and more. Festive fun lights up things with "Mrs. Claus Interview" by Stiller & Meara, "Deck The Halls" by the Baird Puppets and holiday cheer with The Muppets.

SOURCE: UMe

23 November 2020

Chloe Flower Brings a Touch of Hollywood Glam In New Holiday Music Video "Carol Of The Bells" [Video Included]

by
Chloe Flower Brings a Touch of Hollywood Glam In New Holiday Music Video "Carol Of The Bells"
Chloe Flower (Credit Deb Tam)
After giving the holiday classic "Carol Of The Bells" an eloquent twist on her latest single, dynamic pianist, producer, and activist Chloe Flower today unveils the music video for the track, which was co-written and co-produced alongside Grammy Award-winning icon Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds
  • Once again, Chloe teams up with Asian-American female director Deb Tam who shot the music video on film.
"Carol of the Bells" delivers a cinematic visual that evokes old Hollywood glamour as it switches from black-and-white to color vignettes. Taking place in the iconic Grand Prospect Hall in Brooklyn with Great Gatsby glee and high-fashion elegance, Chloe performs with palpable passion at a Steinway & Sons piano as a choir carries the heavenly chorus and ballroom dancers joyfully launch stunning routines. 

The Video:

"My inspiration for 'Carol of the Bells' was to bring the joy of music and dance to everyone this holiday season," says Chloe Flower. "With this video, I set out to create a dream world where everyone can escape this difficult time and celebrate the spirit of Christmas, no matter where you are. The director's exquisite old Hollywood vision came to life by intersecting fashion, choreography and piano, bringing glamour to instrumental music."
Styled by Colin LoCasscio, Chloe's wardrobe proves almost as impressive as her playing as she's spotted in Liberace's ornate white coat, graciously on loan from The Liberace Foundation, The Blonds' shimmering gold mini, Alessandra Rich and Stina Randestad couture, as well as vintage Gucci. 
The pianist also worked with James Alonzo for choreography and Jackson Hallberg on art direction. 

Chloe Flower Brings a Touch of Hollywood Glam In New Holiday Music Video "Carol Of The Bells"
Chloe Flower - "Carol of the Bells" (Single Front Cover)
Earlier this year, Chloe released her original single "Flower Through Concrete." Garnering critical acclaim, The Coveteur profiled her extensively and proclaimed, "Chloe Flower is changing the music industry." Cosmopolitan also states that "Chloe will smash whatever you think you know about classical music and look fire doing it."

The instrumental ballade, "Flower Through Concrete" follows Chloe's 2019 release of "No Limit," her solo piano cover of the viral hit "Old Town Road" as well as her chart-topping single debut, "Get What U Get." Chloe's musical style is ever-growing and has cultivated her into a multi-genre artist. "I'm so inspired by pop and classical music that when I create songs, I naturally incorporate classical ideas within a pop music structure," notes Chloe. With an album set for first half of 2021, Chloe plans to continue her hybrid blend of classical and pop music making a genre all her own, "Popsical."

Continuing her mission of bringing classical music to the masses, Chloe appeared as the centerpiece at this year's Roots X BOY MEETS GIRL New York Fashion Week event and at 2019 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Finalist and Runner-Up, Danielle Frankel's runway show with Vogue stating Chloe's performance was a "funky, energetic spectacle." She performed alongside Cardi B at the 2019 GRAMMY Awards, which exploded on social media and garnered over 9 million impressions and unanimous media praise. Her high-energy and high-fashion performance style has garnered attention of everyone from Pitchfork to Harper's Bazaar with Cosmopolitan stating "Chloe Flower will smash whatever you think you know about classical music, and look fire doing it." The superstar pianist also has received praise from The FADER, Entertainment Tonight, People, TIME and countless others.

Chloe Flower Brings a Touch of Hollywood Glam In New Holiday Music Video "Carol Of The Bells"
Chloe Flower (Credit Rob Berry)

About Chloe Flower:

The Pennsylvania native developed an appreciation for classical early on. By the age of two, Chloe would sit on phone books and play the piano. At 12, she went on to study at the prestigious Manhattan School of Music Pre-College under Zenon Fishbein and later with Herbert Stessin of The Juilliard School. She continued her education at The Royal Academy of Music London, where she experienced a life-changing revelation while playing Bach and listening to hip-hop at the same time. She decided to blend the two together and quickly realized that "hip-hop beats and classical music sound really cool together."

In 2010, she serendipitously met industry icon Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds and landed a deal with his label imprint SODAPOP/Island Def Jam. Soon, she found herself in the studio working alongside the legend and co-producing "Lullaby" for Céline Dion. Swizz Beatz caught a set and invited her to contribute to Nas's 2012 chart-topper Life Is Good. As a result, she was featured prominently on record highlight "A Queens Story." More recently, she teamed up with Mike WiLL Made-It, co-producing 2 Chainz for "Poor Fool" from 2017's Pretty Girls Like Trap Music. Later that year, she also unveiled a holiday single entitled "Drummer Boy" alongside Questlove and Babyface in addition to other solo compositions. In 2018, she co-produced Swae Lee's "Christmas at Swae's."
  • Beyond writing and performing, Chloe stands out as an active philanthropist, working with the United Nations as a UNODC Artist Ambassador, combating human trafficking and supporting music education globally with a variety of charities. Most notably in her role as a Music Education Ambassador for the Liberace Foundation.

Connect With Chloe Flower:

WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | YOUTUBE

20 November 2020

'Tis the Season to Be Safe: Top Tips for Your Family During COVID-19 [Video Included]

by
'Tis the Season to Be Safe: Top Tips for Your Family During COVID-19
'Tis the Season to Be Safe: Top Tips for Your Family During COVID-19 - Poster
The holidays normally are a time to get together in person with friends and family. However, the pandemic may mean virtual celebrations this year. Regardless of how you celebrate, it's important to protect yourself from possible dangers associated with holiday trees, candles, and cooking fires, as well as unsafe toys.

To keep the season safe, here's what you need to know:

'Tis the Season to Be Safe: Top Tips for Your Family During COVID-19
'Tis the Season to Be Safe: Top Tips for Your Family During COVID-19 ( Photo by Polesie Toys)

Toys:

Data:
  • Choking on small parts and riding toy injuries: CPSC reports that in 2019, there were an estimated 162,700 toy-related, emergency department-treated injuries and 14 deaths to children younger than 15, with most of the deaths associated with choking on small parts, like small balls and small toy parts and riding toys.
  • Toy recalls: continue to decline, with nine toy recalls in fiscal year 2020, three involving a lead violation, compared to 172 recalls in 2008, with 19 involving lead violations. Toys were also recalled for defects, such as choking, entrapment, ingestion and laceration hazards. Recalled toys present choking, entrapment, ingestion and laceration hazards, among other hazards that pose the threat of death or injury to a child.
  • Scooters: The number of injuries associated with non-motorized scooters significantly decreased from 2015 to 2019 for children younger than 15, from about 45,500 to about 35,600 injuries.
Tips:
  • Follow age guidance and other safety information on the toy packaging, and choose toys that match your child's interests and abilities.
  • Get safety gear, including helmets for scooters and other riding toys–helmets should be worn properly at all times and be sized to fit.
  • Keep small balls and toys with small parts away from children younger than age 3, and keep deflated balloons away from children younger than 8 years old (discard broken balloons at once).
'Tis the Season to Be Safe: Top Tips for Your Family During COVID-19
'Tis the Season to Be Safe: Top Tips for Your Family During COVID-19 (Photo by Andrea Piacquadio)

Cooking:

Data:
  • Cooking fires are the # 1 cause of residential fires.
  • An average of 1,700 cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving Day each year, more than three times the average number on any other day of the year.
  • In the last two decades, there were 220 fire or scald/burn incidents involving turkey fryers, resulting in 81 injuries and $9.7 million in property loss.
Tips:
  • Never leave cooking food unattended on the stove.
  • Keep children away from the cooking area, and keep flammable items, like potholders and paper or plastic bags, away from the stove and oven.
  • Only fry a turkey outside and away from your home–not inside your garage, or on your porch. Do not overfill the oil in the turkey fryer and follow the manufacturer's instructions on use, including thawing your turkey thoroughly and maintaining control of the oil temperature.

'Tis the Season to Be Safe: Top Tips for Your Family During COVID-19
  'Tis the Season to Be Safe: Top Tips for Your Family During COVID-19 (Photo by Jonathan Borba)

Decorating:

Data:
  • On average, there are about 200 decorating-related injuries each day during the holiday season, with about half of the incidents involving falls. And in the 2018 holiday season, about 17,500 people were treated in emergency rooms due to holiday decorating-related injuries.
  • In the 2019 holiday season, there were six deaths associated with holiday season decorations.
  • From 2015 to 2017, on average, there were about 100 Christmas tree fires and about 1,100 candle fires (in November and December), resulting in 20 deaths, 160 injuries and nearly $50 million in property damage each year.
Tips:
  • Make sure your live Christmas tree has plenty of water, and look for the "Fire Resistant" label when buying an artificial tree.
  • Place burning candles in sight, away from flammable items, and blow them out before leaving the room.
  • Only use lights tested for safety by a national recognized testing laboratory. Throw out sets with broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections.

The Video:

About the U.S. CPSC:

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $1 trillion annually. CPSC's work to ensure the safety of consumer products has contributed to a decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 40 years.

  • Federal law bars any person from selling products subject to a publicly announced voluntary recall by a manufacturer or a mandatory recall ordered by the Commission.

23 September 2020

#WeKnowPlay: The Toy Insider Experts Help Shoppers Sleigh the Holidays with the Hottest Toys of 2020 [Video Included]

by
#weknowplay: The Toy Insider Experts Help Shoppers Sleigh the Holidays with the Hottest Toys of 2020
Star Wars The Child Animatronic Edition (Hasbro)
The Toy Insider today unveiled its expert picks for the best kids' toys and gifts in its 15th annual holiday gift guide

The hottest and most coveted items for 2020 are broken out into three lists: the Hot 20 (the most wished-for items of the year), the STEM 10 (science, technology, engineering and math toys that make learning fun) and the 12 Under $12 (affordable toys packed with play value and unboxing experiences).

Shopping for holiday gifts will look different this year as the Coronavirus pandemic continues: social distancing guidelines are still in place, limiting the number of in-store shoppers; retailers are starting holiday promotions earlier; and consumers are increasingly conscious of their spending during a tough economic year.
"This holiday shopping season will be unlike any other. It will be in your best interest to plan ahead and grab these hot toys before you start carving out your pumpkins," said Laurie Schacht, Chief Toy Officer, The Toy Insider. "Playtime offers a powerful way of coping with the world we live in, and the wide assortment of toys we reviewed for this year's holiday gift guide showcase the innovative, creative and affordable ways toymakers are serving the needs of families during challenging times."
  • This year's hand-picked selections represent an extensive variety of open-ended toys to keep kids busy; screen-free playthings filled with educational value; toys that promote diversity, sustainability, and accessibility; and affordable toys that fit any budget, among many more categories that are sure to please kids of all ages this holiday season.
#weknowplay: The Toy Insider Experts Help Shoppers Sleigh the Holidays with the Hottest Toys of 2020
Pokémon Trading Card Game Battle Academy (The Pokémon Co.)

The Toy Insider's Hot 20

0-2 years
  • Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Grow-the-Fun Garden to Kitchen (Mattel)
  • Speak & Learn Puppy (LeapFrog)
3-4 years
  • Blippi Recycling Truck (Jazwares)
  • Blues Clues & You! Dance-Along Blue Plush (Just Play)
  • Barbie Color Reveal Slumber Party Fun (Mattel)
  • HEXBUG Nanotopia (HEXBUG)
  • Pinkfong Baby Shark Dancing DJ (WowWee)
  • PJ Masks Transforming 2 in 1 Mobile HQ (Just Play)
  • Ryan's World Shadow Warrior Ninja Mystery Box (Bonkers Toys)
  • Star Wars The Child Animatronic Edition (Hasbro)
5-7 years
  • KidiZoom Creator Cam (VTech)
  • LEGO Super Mario Adventure Starter Course (The LEGO Group)
  • Present Pets (Spin Master)
  • Rainbow High Fashion Dolls (MGA Entertainment)
  • Squeakee the Balloon Dog (Moose Toys)
  • Zoe (Healthy Roots Dolls)
8+ years
  • Beyblade Burst Rise Hypersphere Vortex Climb Battle Set (Hasbro)
  • Chocolate Pen (Skyrocket)
  • Pokémon Trading Card Game Battle Academy (The Pokémon Co.)
  • Snap Ships Gladius AC-75 Drop Ship (PlayMonster)
#weknowplay: The Toy Insider Experts Help Shoppers Sleigh the Holidays with the Hottest Toys of 2020
JIMU Robot Mythical Series: Firebot Kit (UBTECH Robotics)

The Toy Insider's STEM 10

  • 3D Build & Play (3Doodler)
  • Apollo — A Game Inspired by the NASA Moon Missions (Buffalo Games)
  • Blockaroo (Blue Marble)
  • Botley 2.0 The Coding Robot (Learning Resources)
  • Circuit Explorer (Educational Insights)
  • Crayola STEAM Paper Flower Science Kit (Crayola)
  • DIY Music Maker Science Lab (hand2mind)
  • JIMU Robot Mythical Series: Firebot Kit (UBTECH Robotics)
  • Mega Cyborg Hand (Thames & Kosmos)
  • National Geographic Science Magic (Blue Marble)
#weknowplay: The Toy Insider Experts Help Shoppers Sleigh the Holidays with the Hottest Toys of 2020
Cats vs. Pickles (Cepia)

The Toy Insider's 12 Under $12

  • 5 Surprise Mini Brands Series 2 (ZURU)
  • Blume Petal Pets (Skyrocket)
  • Butter Cloudz Castle Bucket (WeCool Toys)
  • Cats vs. Pickles (Cepia)
  • Curligirls (Basic Fun!)
  • Glitter Burst (YULU)
  • Junkbots (HEXBUG)
  • Kitten Catfe Purrista Girls (JAKKS Pacific)
  • L.O.L. Surprise! Present Surprise (MGA Entertainment)
  • Oh! My Gif – 1-Bit Pack (Moose Toys)
  • Ravel Tales (Sunny Days Entertainment)
  • Something Wild Card Games (Funko Games)
The Toy Insider's 2020 holiday gift guide will appear in the November issue of PARENTS magazine, on newsstands on Oct. 5. An extended guide appears online at thetoyinsider.com starting today. This year's print guide features nearly 160 toys, and an additional 150 toys can be found online, representing more than 110 toy companies in total.
  • Parents and gift-givers can easily search for toys and games by a child's age (broken out into 0-2, 3-4, 5-7 and 8+ age groups). They can also view the guide online with their children to create a wish list of favorite toys, making holiday shopping easy for friends and family.
  • The Toy Insider is an independent organization. Its team of experts attends major toy industry trade shows and events, and conducts briefings with manufacturers, retailers and analysts throughout the year. The Toy Insider gift guide submission process is open to all toy companies, of all sizes. Toys must be new for 2020 and available to consumers for purchase for the holiday season, either on the company's website or widely available through any retail partner. When evaluating toys, the team considers play value, originality, skill building, product integrity and, of course, fun factor.

The Video:


  • To join in the holiday toy fun on social media this season, use #weknowplay and find @TheToyInsider on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
The Toy Insider is published by Adventure Media & Events, publisher of The Pop Insider, a daily pop culture news and review site that fuels fandoms, as well as leading trade publication The Toy Book
SOURCE: The Toy Insider

You Might Also Like