Friday, February 23, 2018

Fun Freetime: X Games Minneapolis

After a successful inaugural year in 2017, X Games returns to Minneapolis with the world’s top action sports competition in Skateboard, BMX and Moto, and world-class musical performances from Kaskade, Brother Ali, Ice Cube and Zedd (in order of appearance). The action sports competitions will take place at U.S. Bank Stadium, while all four musical performances will take place at the GEICO music stage at the Commons Park, located just outside U.S. Bank Stadium.

Tickets will start at $20 for general admission and $50 for three-day passes. Multi-day admission, several levels of hospitality, suites and travel packages are also available for purchase. For an up close and personal experience, limited floor access will be made available, offering guests an opportunity to get as close to the action as the athletes without actually competing. Tickets are available now at

Healthy Habits: 11 food safety tips to pack for spring break

Whether you spend spring break partying in a city, exploring a different country or getting some R&R at home, don’t let food safety take a vacation. “Spring break is the perfect time to make memories with family and friends and Stop Foodborne Illness wants to make sure it’s the FUN MEMORIES that fill up your social media,” says Stop Foodborne Illness CEO, Deirdre Schlunegger.

Maintaining basic food safety standards, like washing hands, and adding some travel-specific practices is the best way to ensure foodborne illness won’t interrupt a fun getaway. Check out the Stop Foodborne Illness top tips for food safety during spring break.
All-inclusive resorts have many perks; they are touted as safer, more affordable, ideal for partying and usually include 24/7 buffets. Having unlimited access to food and drink is convenient, but can be potentially dangerous. Buffets serve large amounts of food over long periods of time, meaning there are more opportunities for food to not be kept at consistent, correct temperatures. Additionally, everyone shares the same serving utensils, increasing the risk of spreading pathogens. Since many all-inclusive resorts also have sit-down dining options on site, Stop Foodborne Illness recommends avoiding the buffet when possible and following these tips when it’s not.
  • There's always the possibility that food has not been held at proper temperatures – cold foods (salads, cold cuts, dressings) should be cold and hot foods (soups, meats, fish) should be hot. Any food that's served at room temperature, and isn’t supposed to be, is within the temperature "danger zone" where bacteria can thrive.
  • If you’ve gotten away to a warmer climate, remember the one-hour rule. Any perishable foods that have been sitting out beyond one hour when the temperature is higher than 90° F, is not safe to consume. (It’s 2 hours, if the temperature is below 90° F.)
  • Another source of contamination is when food is mishandled by people with unclean hands. If you see something, say something. Don’t assume anything. And, of course, after a day’s activities, be sure to wash your own hands before eating.
  • Fresh fruit and vegetables from the buffet can be a great poolside snack but don’t forget to wash and peel the tasty treat before eating. If you’re in an area with unsafe water, wash the produce with bottled or filtered water.

Eating and drinking can be some of the best things about travelling abroad. While “going local” is a delicious way to experience a new cuisine, it can also be an easier way to contract foodborne illness. Stop encourages travelers to be adventurous, but smart when it comes to consuming food in different countries.
  • Street food is a great way to experience local culture, but often, stalls don’t have the same hygiene standards as restaurants that cater to tourists. Stop Foodborne Illness recommends being aware of this difference and making wise choices when enjoying dishes from local restaurants or street stands. 
  • Avoid establishments where the food handlers don’t practice good hygiene, such as tying back their hair, wearing protective gloves and having clean hands and fingernails.
  • Be selective when choosing foods. Avoid raw milk and raw milk cheeses, and other raw foods—including undercooked meat and seafood, and uncooked vegetables —as well as foods that require a lot of handling before serving. 
  • Be extra cautions when visiting a remote destination. Turn up the food safety dial a notch; even though you may enjoy certain foods and beverages at home—like rare meat or runny eggs—it’s better to avoid questionable foods while in a different country. (Being sick in a language you don’t know can really complicate matters.)

As they say, half the fun is getting there! When you’re road tripping, in a rental or hopping on a plane, make sure you arrive at your destination safely with safe snacking habits. 
  • Sanitize tray tables, seat armrests and door handles with an 60% alcohol-based wipe. These frequently touched areas are generally made of plastic, a nonporous material that allows germs to live on longer, and have a higher risk of spreading foodborne illness.
  • Keep food out of the danger zone . Make sure cold food stays cold—at or below 40°F—by packing it in coolers with frozen gel packs or ice. Stop Foodborne Illness suggests packing beverages in one cooler and perishable foods in another since you are likely to grab beverages most often while on the road. Since hot food needs to stay hot—at or above 140°F, Stop Foodborne Illness suggests passing on hot foods and opting instead for peanuts, and other nuts (including nut butters), jelly, crackers, chips, dried fruit, baked goods such as cookies or muffins, granola bars, popcorn, and whole fresh fruits like bananas, apples, and oranges. 
  • Rinse all fresh produce under running tap water (and patting it dry) before packing it in a cooler, including produce with peel-away skins or rinds. Follow this checklist to make sure coolers are packed properly.
Not going anywhere? Enjoy a relaxing staycation at home but don’t let your food safety practices go on a break. The best way to prevent the spread of foodborne illness is to continue following proper food safety. Wash your hands for 20 seconds before handling food, cook food to a safe internal temperature and clean cooking equipment and surfaces after preparing raw foods. Visit for more food safety tips.

About Stop Foodborne Illness
Stop Foodborne Illness is a national nonprofit, public health organization dedicated to preventing illness and death from foodborne pathogens by promoting sound food safety policy and best practices, building public awareness, and assisting those impacted by foodborne illness. For more food safety tips please . If you think you have been sickened from food, contact your local health professional. You may subscribe to receive Stop Foodborne Illness e-Alerts and eNews here:

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Caring Causes: Smile with Lay's

Each and every one of us are well equipped with a gift that gives back – YOUR SMILE – but just how far can one smile go? In a recent study, nine out of 10 people said seeing other people smile makes them happy and a staggering amount of people (95 percent) also agreed they would smile more often if they knew it could brighten someone’s day. 

With that in mind, America’s favorite potato chip – Lay’s – is on a mission to spread millions of smiles and it all started February 12. The new “Smile with Lay’s” initiative is reminding people from every corner of the nation that small actions like smiling have the power to do good – and for a cause! Specially designed bags featuring infectious smiles are hitting store shelves and, for every purchase of Lay’s specially designed bags, a donation will be made to Operation Smile, an international children’s medical charity dedicated to improving the health and lives of children and young adults worldwide who suffer from cleft conditions by providing access to safe surgical care.

Lifestyle expert Kia Malone is a true believer in the power of a smile and believes it’s time to share your smile with the world. 

Kia Malone is a familiar face in the media landscape. She has 15+ years of broadcasting experience in both radio and local and national television, most notably as a long running host of the nationally syndicated morning TV show “The Daily Buzz”. She also served as host of “Dance League” on American Sports Network and contributor on “Hot Topics TV”.

Movie Minute: Pandas IMAX Documentary

The filmmakers from the acclaimed IMAX documentaries Born to Be Wild and Island of Lemurs: Madagascartake audiences on an exciting and educational new journey for the entire family, this time in China with a species loved the world over—Giant Pandas.

Pandas are beloved around the world, and now they are coming to the big screen in the IMAX® original film “Pandas,” a breathtaking documentary adventure and amazing experience for the whole family narrated by Kristen Bell (“Frozen,” TV’s “The Good Place”).

At Chengdu Panda Base in China, scientists are taking the captive breeding program to the next level and preparing captive-born cubs for the wild.  This film follows one such researcher, whose passion leads her to initiate a new technique inspired by a black bear rehabilitator in rural New Hampshire.  What starts as a cross-cultural collaboration becomes a life-changing journey for one special panda named Qian Qian. The film, captured with IMAX® cameras, follows Qian Qian on an exciting new adventure into the mountains of Sichuan as she experiences nature for the first time and discovers her wild side.

David Douglas and Drew Fellman, the filmakers behind “Born to be Wild” and “Island of Lemurs: Madagascar,” directed the film, which Fellman wrote and produced, with Douglas as director of photography.  Donald Kushner and Steve Ransohoff also produced the film, with LiXiao Dong, David Haring, and Elie Samaha executive producing and Neal Allen serving as line producer. “Born to be Wild” and “Island of Lemurs: Madagascar” editor Beth Spiegel and composer Mark Mothersbaugh collaborated with Douglas and Fellman once again, with sound design by Gus Koven.

IMAX Entertainment presents, in association with IMAX Documentary Films Capital, Jin Yi Culture Investment (HK) and Panda Productions, “Pandas.”  This film, distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures and IMAX, will be released in select IMAX® and IMAX® 3D theaters starting April 6, 2018.  The film is rated G.

About IMAX Corporation
IMAX, an innovator in entertainment technology, combines proprietary software, architecture and equipment to create experiences that take you beyond the edge of your seat to a world you’ve never imagined. Top filmmakers and studios are utilizing IMAX theatres to connect with audiences in extraordinary ways, and, as such, IMAX’s network is among the most important and successful theatrical distribution platforms for major event films around the globe.

IMAX is headquartered in New York, Toronto and Los Angeles, with additional offices in London, Dublin, Tokyo, and Shanghai. As of September 30, 2017, there were 1,302 IMAX theatres (1,203 commercial multiplexes, 11 commercial destinations and 86 institutions) in 75 countries. On Oct. 8, 2015, shares of IMAX China, a subsidiary of IMAX Corp., began trading on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange under the stock code “HK.1970.”

IMAX®, IMAX® 3D, IMAX DMR®, Experience It In IMAX®, An IMAX 3D Experience®, The IMAX Experience®, IMAX Is Believing® and IMAX nXos® are trademarks of IMAX Corporation. More information about the Company can be found at You may also connect with IMAX on Facebook (, Twitter ( and YouTube (

Book Nook: Love Colored Pencils

My daughter's art ability outshines mine. Her sense of shading and texture with pencils is amazing. So I was thrilled to have a chance to review a book that would give her even more techniques and ideas.

Love Colored Pencils is designed by artist Vivian Wong to allow for beginner artists to learn by copying exactly what they see. A technique is demonstrated, and then there's room for artists to imitate it right in the book. She has a very bright and colorful style, so it's a fun book to use. The subjects will appeal to a wide variety of artists, either beginners who want to try out new techniques or more experienced artists who want to refine what they do or get inspiration from a new source.

Colored pencils are a lot more versatile than I thought they were when I used them as a kid in art class years ago. Even I was able to imitate some of the techniques, and I'm not nearly as talented as others are!

Consumer Critique: Sacred Mind & Body Pain Relief Cream

Sacred Mind & Body is a company that focuses on all-natural healing products. I had a chance to try out their hemp seed oil-based balm and lotion.

Hemp oil is made from hemp seeds, and contains no THC. The seeds are rich in protein, polyunsaturated fatty acids, omega 6, omega 3 and insoluble fiber. They are a good source of tocopherols, or Vitamin E antioxidants. They’re packed with minerals such as potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc, calcium, and phosphorus, plus micro elements like strontium, thorium, arsenic and chromium. There are companies that make hemp seed products for consumption - so it's definitely an ingredient that can be part of a natural personal care product.

The balm has a similar effect to other pain relief balms. It's gently soothing with anti-inflammatory essential oils. It's the kind of thing that really feels good after our marathon Friday night volleyball sessions! Not only does it help relieve stiff, sore muscles, but the natural oils also act as a healing balm for skin as well (a double-whammy for dry winters).

You can buy their products online and check out their blog for more info.

Consumer Critique: Personalized Cart

I recently had the opportunity to review the site They have a wide variety of products - doormats, Yeti mugs, puzzles, mouse bags, glassware, frames, and much more.

I got to check out a doormat. The doormat is a simple neutral background with a letter on it. I had a lot of choices, some with quite witty sayings, others based on your design choices. I thought the price was fair for a personalized doormat. The neutral color means it will work for any style preference.

The backing appears quite durable. If I were going to complain about anything, it would be that the top has some loose fibers on it, almost like it should have been shaken out before shipping. Once I removed the loose ones, though, more didn't suddenly pop up, so I think it's just something from production and not that the doormat is actually falling apart.

Personalized gifts can really be unique and bring a special flair for any gift-giving occasion - wedding, birthday, Christmas, teacher appreciation, or more. Check them out if you're looking for a site with reasonably priced personalized gifts.


Poise Starter Pack
Pancakes at IHOP (2/27, donation requested)
Dr. Seuss Birthday Party at B&N 2/24

Shopping Savings:

Woot!, the site that brings you ridiculously good deals on stuff that you need and stuff that you didn’t even KNOW you needed recently announced that Amazon Prime members will now get FREE shipping on Y All members need to do is log in with their Amazon account by going to and PRESTO!

Part of the fun of shopping on Woot! is that you’ll never know what you’ll find. As the original daily deals site, Woot! sells everything and anything, from pizza beach balls and dinosaur bottle openers to top-of-the-line items like Dyson vacuums, Lenovo ThinkPads, Black + Decker tools, Kitchen Aid Mixers and Beats wireless headphones.  Amazing, you say? Yeah, we know. Oh, and we’re also the home of daily monkey chats, silly product write-ups, and time-wasting polls. We love a good joke as much as we love a great deal.

But wait, there’s more! From time to time, you may be one of the lucky ones to score a “Bag of Crap” on the site. A bag of what? Yeah, you heard that right: Bags of Crap (or BOCs, as Woot! calls 'em). A BOC is a random collection of stuff that Woot! shoves into a box and sends to you. Wooters have received a single shoe, rubber duckies, a giant metal rooster, brand new headphones, shirts, and even the occasional laptop. You'll never know when they’ll appear on site, and you never know what you'll get!

Oh, another thing we almost forgot, limited-time deals are offered every day on You can find some of the best treasure featured daily across seven categories including home & kitchen, electronics, computers, tools & garden, sports & outdoors, original t-shirts and even gourmet food. Whaaaaat? That’s a lot. Wooters should check back daily to beat out others and to get the best, coolest stuff. Be a Wooter. You know ya wanna.

So now, on top of unlimited shipping, shopping and entertainment designed to make your life a little easier, all while shopping on Amazon, Prime members can also get free shipping while shopping on! Not a member? Start a 30-day free trial of Amazon Prime at

Woot! Woot! Free shipping for Prime members on To learn more, go

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About Woot!
Ok, this is serious because it’s a boilerplate, so no jokes here. Starting…NOW. Woot! is the original daily deals site, founded in 2004 and snatched up by Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) in 2010. Originally, Woot! offered just one product per day until it sold out. Today, Woot! offers special daily deals and other limited-time offers across seven categories, including computers, electronics, home and sporting goods, plus original t-shirts, on

Shopping Savings: ECOlunchbox

Almost half a million ECOlunchbox food containers have been added to kitchen collections since the eco-friendly company launched in 2009. The original 3 in 1 stainless steel stacking, lock together bento evolved into a leak-proof single container with a silicone lid. Now, the best of both models are combined to create the 3 in 1 Splash Box.

This new ECOlunchbox set has a total capacity of 4.25 cups and features leak-proof silicone lids, two large stainless-steel containers that stack for upper and lower storage that are locked together by the lid, plus a smaller nesting container that is great for dressings, dips or toppings. Starting February 23rd, the 3 in 1 Splash Box will be available through a presale on the ECOlunchbox website with limited discounts up to 60% off available for early birds. Preorders have a target delivery date of May 1.