Disney Cruise Line Returns to Popular Tropical Ports

In early 2019, Disney Cruise Line will return to favorite destinations on a variety of itineraries, including an expanded two-month season from San Diego to the sun-drenched Baja and Mexican Riviera. A host of options to the Bahamas and Caribbean from Florida ports, plus cruises to the Southern Caribbean from San Juan, Puerto Rico, take Disney Cruise Line guests to visit timeless tropical locales and experience endless amounts of Disney magic.

From January to May, all cruises departing from Florida feature a stop at Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island paradise reserved exclusively for Disney Cruise Line guests. The award-winning island is a pristine Bahamian oasis boasting clear turquoise waters, white-sand beaches, world-class recreation and signature Disney hospitality.

Bookings open to the public on Nov. 2, 2017. More details on 2019 itineraries can be found on the Ports and Itineraries for 2019 page of disneycruise.com. [Read more…]

Yokohama Tire is Sending 12 US Youth Soccer Members to England for a ‘Chelsea FC Experience’

London’s calling…and Yokohama Tire Corporation (YTC) is answering. YTC, in conjunction with US Youth Soccer, is sending 12 Yokohama Skills Challenge participants (along with chaperones) to England for a “Chelsea FC Experience,” including a visit to legendary Stamford Bridge.

The contest, which runs through June 3, is open to US Youth Soccer members, ages 13-18, who compete in select Yokohama Skills Challenge events across the U.S., including the Needham Memorial Day Tournament Driven by Yokohama, May 26-29. There’s also a chance to win by going online at http://www.usyouthsoccer.org/YTCPromotion/. [Read more…]

Meatless Monday in Israel Celebrates Four Fantastic Years

It’s amazing how a good idea and some strong enthusiasm can make an incredible difference. Here’s proof. Just four years ago, Miki Haimovich decided to launch Meatless Monday in Israel. Of course, it didn’t hurt that Miki was a well-known and trusted figure in her country. She had worked as a TV news anchorwoman for nine years.

“When we brought the Meatless Monday global campaign to Israel four years ago, few people had heard of it. What’s more, most couldn’t understand why reducing meat consumption was an issue that needed to be addressed,” said Ms. Haimovich, “Things have come a long way since.”

Over Half a Million Meatless Monday Supporters

Based on a recent survey, nearly 65% of the Jewish population have now heard about Meatless Monday. More importantly, over 500,000 respondents say they are currently choosing not to eat meat one day a week. These results are particularly impressive because they were achieved only through public relations and word of mouth – not paid advertising.

Meatless Monday Embraced by Leading Israeli Organizations

The growing support for Meatless Monday is rooted in partnerships that have been developed at leading organizations, such as caterers Sodexo, ISS, Shultz and Idit, as well as health and environmental protection agencies and animal welfare organizations.

“We offer a win-win-win proposition,” said Or Benjamin, Meatless Monday campaign manager for the past year and a half, “Employees are happier because they get a greater choice of healthy foods. The service providers like it because plant-based meals cost less to make. And our country’s Corporate Social Responsibility officers are pleased because it reduces greenhouse gases.”

Gala Event to Celebrate Four Years of Meatless Monday

Late last February, partners, volunteers, friends and family attended a special Meatless Monday event held in Tel Aviv to celebrate the four-year anniversary. Awards were presented to leading partners, including Intel, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Rabin Medical Center. This festive gathering doubled as a fund raiser to help finance future Meatless Monday campaign efforts. Catch up on their latest news on their Facebook page.

Get Involved. Join the Meatless Monday Movement

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re interested in eating healthier and maybe helping to protect the environment. Why not take a moment and think if you know someone who might also share these interests. You could talk to them about Meatless Monday, or send them an email, or maybe forward this article. Like to know other ways you can help? Please get in touch with us at info@MeatlessMonday.org

Meanwhile, in honor of Israel’s four year Meatless Monday anniversary, here’s a one of our favorite traditional Jewish meatless recipes. Enjoy!

Eggplant Bell Pepper Kugel

Let’s Rise Wellness Program by Westin Hotels & Resorts

Westin Hotels & Resorts, part of Marriott International, Inc., unveiled its first global brand campaign in more than five years, taking on the disruptions, distractions and unpredictability of travel and empowering travelers to embrace well-being as a way to regain control of their routines and be their best while on the road. The $30 million dollar, integrated advertising campaign – called Let’s Rise – communicates Westin’s commitment to its guests’ well-being before, during and after their stay. The Let’s Rise mantra will also serve as an anchor for the wellness programs and partnerships that roll out for guests and associates throughout the year. [Read more…]

Baltimore Center Stage Announces Honorees for 31st Annual Young Playwrights Festival

Baltimore Center Stage is pleased to announce the honorees for the 31st Annual Young Playwrights Festival, a yearly competition that invites students in kindergarten through 12th grade in Maryland to submit original writing. The winning playwrights will be honored with workshops and in-school performances. A selection of plays will be staged at the Annual Young Playwrights Festival, which will be held at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, May 1, at Baltimore Center Stage, 700 North Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21202. [Read more…]

The White Snake: Baltimore Center Stage Announces Cast and Artistic Team

Baltimore Center Stage is pleased to announce the cast and artistic team for The White Snake. Opening Night of The White Snake, March 3, will mark the grand reopening of the theater after its $28 million renovation. The White Snake will be the debut production in Baltimore Center Stage’s completely redesigned Head Theater.

“We are so excited to open our doors and welcome the community as they experience our remarkable transformation,” said Baltimore Center Stage Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah. “We chose Mary Zimmerman’s adaptation of The White Snake as the first production in our completely redesigned Head Theater because it is a visually stunning piece. I know our audiences will be swept away with delight.”

Mystery and magic intertwine in this fantastical tale brought to life in grand spectacle in the newly renovated Head Theater. Originating from an ancient Chinese fable, The White Snake tells the story of animal spirits White Snake and Green Snake, who take human form as a beautiful woman and her sly servant. White Snake soon falls passionately in love with a poor fisherman, but their relationship is reviled by a conservative monk and tragedy lurks behind their newfound happiness.

Adapted by the award-winning playwright Mary Zimmerman—known for her stage adaptions of Metamorphoses, The Odysseyand The Jungle Book, and for Metropolitan Opera productions of Lucia di Lammermoor, Armida, La Sonnambula and the this year’s Rusalka—this production of The White Snake will be directed by Natsu Onoda Power, a Washington, DC-based author, playwright, director, designer and professor.

Power’s recent directing credits include Wind Me Up, Maria! A Go-Go Musical at Georgetown University; The T Party (which she also wrote) at Forum Theatre and Company One Theater Boston; A Trip to the Moon (which she wrote and illustrated) at Synetic Theatre; and the Elliot Norton Award-winning Astro Boy and the God of Comics (which she wrote) at Studio Theatre and Company One Theatre. She is also an associate professor in Georgetown’s Theater and Performance Studies program and the author of God of Comics: Osamu Tezuka and the Creation of Post World War II Manga.

“The power of this story is that it transcends everything that divides us, culturally, historically, politically,” said Power. “It is important to me, however, that we do not simply call the story ‘universal’— because that sounds like a move to ignore all cultural specificity and differences. It is the opposite: the characters clearly see their differences, and still make the commitment to love the other person, whatever it entails.”

The cast includes Aimé Donn Kelly* (White Snake), Eileen Rivera* (Green Snake), Joe Ngo* (Xu Xian), Peter Van Wagner*(Fa Hai),  Caitlin Cisco* (Ensemble), Samy el-Noury (Ensemble),Lucy Lavely* (Ensemble), Brett Messiora (Ensemble), Pooya Mohseni* (Ensemble), Linden Tailor* (Ensemble), Damian Thompson* (Ensemble), Jason Kao Hwang (Actor-Musician/Composer – violin/viola), Joshua Ziemann (Actor-Musician/Composer – marimba, percussion), Yukio Tsuji (Actor-Musician/Composer – shakuhachi, percussion).

The artistic team includes Mary Zimmerman (Playwright), Natsu Onoda Power (Director), Jeff Song (Actor-Musician/Musician/Music Director/Composer), Hana S. Kim (Scenic and Projection Designer), Nicole Wee (Costume Designer), Rui Rita (Lighting Designer), Alex Hawthorn (Sound Designer), Andrea “Dre” Moore (Puppet Designer and Constructor), Tommy Kurzman(Hair, Wig & Makeup Design), Rick Sordelet (Fight Director),Deanie Vallone (Production Dramaturg), Stephanie Klapper(Casting Director), Larry Smiglewski* (Stage Manager) andAlison Kochman* (Assistant Stage Manager).

*Member of Actors’ Equity Association

The White Snake opens Friday, March 3, with previews Feb. 24 to March 2, and closes Sunday, March 26. For more information, visit www.centerstage.org or call the box office at 410.332.0033. Press night is Friday, March 3.

The White Snake is made possible by Miles & Stockbridge PC and T. Rowe Price. The White Snake media partner is Maryland Public Television. Baltimore Center Stage is supported by a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC), an agency dedicated to cultivating a vibrant cultural community where the arts thrive. An agency of the Department of Business and Economic Development, the MSAC provides financial support and technical assistance to nonprofit organizations, units of government, colleges and universities for arts activities. Funding for the MSAC is also provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, and the Baltimore County Commission on Arts and Sciences. Center Stage’s 2016/17 Season is made possible by The Shubert Foundation and the Baltimore County Commission on Arts and Sciences.

About Baltimore Center Stage

Baltimore Center Stage is a professional, nonprofit institution committed to entertaining, engaging and enriching audiences through bold, innovative and thought-provoking classical and contemporary theater.

Named the State Theater of Maryland in 1978, Baltimore Center Stage has steadily grown as a leader in the national regional theater scene. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah OBE and Managing Director Michael Ross, Baltimore Center Stage is committed to creating and presenting a diverse array of world premieres and exhilarating interpretations of established works.

Baltimore Center Stage believes in access for all—creating a welcoming environment for everyone who enters its theater doors and, at the same time, striving to meet audiences where they are. In addition to its Mainstage, Off Center and Family Series productions in the historic Mount Vernon neighborhood, Baltimore Center Stage ignites conversations among a global audience through digital initiatives, which explore how technology and the arts intersect. The theater also nurtures the next generation of artists and theater-goers through the Young Playwrights Festival, Student Matinee Series and many other educational programs for students, families and professionals.

Disney Cruise Line Returning to New York, California and Texas in Fall 2017

Disney Cruise Line returns to New York City in fall 2017 with a mix of voyages to the Canada coast and the Bahamas, which includes a stop at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. (Chloe Rice, photographer).

In the fall of 2017, Disney Cruise Line will return to New York with sailings to the Bahamas and the Canadian coast – including a new seven-night Canada cruise. San Diego will serve as a home port with cruises to Mexico, and Galveston will again be a homeport with sailings to the Caribbean and Bahamas.

Bookings open to the public May 26, 2016. More details on the itineraries can be found on the Ports and Itineraries for 2017 page of disneycruise.com.

[Read more…]

Southwest Airlines Teams With Lyft On Rapid Rewards Rideshare Program

Southwest Airlines opens service in Liberia, Costa Rica. Stephen M. Keller

Southwest Airlines Co. today announced a collaboration with Lyft that will offer first-time Lyft Customers who are also Rapid Rewards Members a one-time reward of 1,100 Rapid Rewards points for their first ride. The offer is available for a ride anywhere in the following 11 Southwest® markets where Lyft has an operating agreement in place through the end of 2016:

  • Austin-Bergstrom International Airport
  • Chicago Midway International Airport
  • Dallas Love Field
  • Los Angeles International Airport
  • Louisville International Airport
  • McCarran International Airport (Las Vegas)
  • Nashville International Airport
  • Oakland International Airport
  • Reagan National Airport (Washington, D.C.)
  • San Antonio International Airport
  • San Diego International Airport

A separate offer is currently available to Southwest Customers who are not Rapid Rewards Members in the markets listed above, offering $15 off a first-time ride with Lyft. The offer took effect on Mar. 22 and runs through the end of 2016. The two offers cannot be combined.

“At Southwest, we’re known for low fares and great Hospitality—whether on the ground or in the air. Rideshare is a natural extension to air travel,” said Bob Jordan, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer at Southwest Airlines. “It offers an easy, hassle-free way to get to the airport and saves time and money on short- and long-term parking. Lyft makes sense for Southwest as a rideshare partner. Like Southwest, Lyft is Customer-focused and seeks to offer delightful and seamless travel experiences.”

Lyft, an app that can be used on iOS or Android, was founded in June 2012 by Logan Green and John Zimmer to reconnect people and communities through better transportation. Lyft is the fastest growing rideshare company in the U.S.and is available in more than 200 cities. Preferred by drivers and passengers for its safe and friendly experience, Lyft is committed to affecting positive change for cities. This promotion is part of a larger effort as Southwest explores increasing rideshare options.

“Partnering with Southwest, the country’s largest domestic air carrier is incredibly exciting, especially given our companies’ shared commitment to treating people better,” said John Zimmer, co-founder and President of Lyft. “We look forward to Southwest Customers enjoying affordable and delightful door-to-door rides through the Lyft app.”

For more information about Lyft visit Lyft.com.

Disney Cruise Line Announces Two New Ships

The Walt Disney Company announced plans on March 3, 2016 to build two additional cruise ships, each showcasing the immersive family entertainment, enchanting storytelling and unparalleled service that only Disney can deliver. The company has entered into a memorandum of agreement with the Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany, and the schedule calls for the new ships to be completed in 2021 and 2023. Each ship will be approximately 135,000 gross tons – slightly larger than the newest Disney Cruise Line ships, the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy – and each is currently planned to include about 1,250 guest staterooms. Design plans, ship names and itineraries are still in development.

The Walt Disney Company announced plans today to build two additional cruise ships, each of them showcasing the immersive family entertainment, enchanting storytelling and unparalleled service that only Disney can deliver.

The company has entered into a memorandum of agreement with the Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany. The schedule calls for the new ships to be completed in 2021 and 2023.

“We pride ourselves on the unforgettable vacation experiences we deliver to our guests each and every day, and the expansion of our Disney fleet will allow us to create even more magical memories for families at sea and in incredible cruise destinations around the world,” said Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company.

Each new ship will be approximately 135,000 gross tons – slightly larger than the newest Disney Cruise Line ships, the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy – and each is currently planned to include about 1,250 guest staterooms. While design plans, ship names and itineraries are still in development, the Walt Disney Imagineering team is already dreaming up exciting new ways to create the world’s most magical oceangoing adventures.

Since first setting sail in 1998, Disney Cruise Line has provided a quintessential family cruise vacation experience that combines the magic of Disney with the thrill of exploring different parts of the world. Guests step aboard majestic and beautiful ocean liners to enjoy legendary Disney entertainment, exquisite dining, spacious and well-appointed staterooms and magnificent public spaces.

Following The Walt Disney Company announcement to build two additional cruise ships earlier today, Disney Cruise Line celebrated with guests onboard the Disney Magic during a very special Sail Away Party. The schedule calls for the new ships to be completed in 2021 and 2023. Each ship will be approximately 135,000 gross tons – slightly larger than the newest Disney Cruise Line ships, the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy – and each is currently planned to include about 1,250 guest staterooms. (Chloe Rice, photographer)

The company also has been an industry leader in innovation and game-changing creativity. With the launch of the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy in 2011 and 2012, the company introduced several firsts for the industry, including a water coaster at sea (AquaDuck) and virtual portholes in interior staterooms (Magical Portholes) that provide real-time views of the sea as well as sightings of animated Disney characters.

Plans for the expansion of Disney Cruise Line come during a period of momentous growth and innovation for Disney properties around the globe.

“The expansion of Disney Cruise Line only adds to our excitement for the unprecedented growth taking place across our vacation destinations, from new Star Wars experiences coming to the Walt Disney World and Disneyland resorts to the 25th anniversary of Disneyland Paris and the grand opening of our newest park, Shanghai Disney Resort,” said Bob Chapek, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.

More details about the Disney Cruise Line fleet expansion and onboard offerings will be announced at a later date.

How Not To Break Your Fitness Schedule When Traveling

Travel_gear-Travel-Fitness-

Kimatni D. Rawlins

The majority of my health blogs and topics manifest from running usually while I’m on the road traveling. For instance, I recently went on a peaceful 3-mile run along San Antonio’s beautiful River Walk on a clear and sunny day and wondered how many fellow fitness companions were local in comparison to visitors on business or pleasure. I was in town for work but certainly wasn’t going to let that stop me from energizing my physique and strengthening my heart. With that in mind, here are a few ideas or pointers to keep you focused on the go whether it’s a pleasuring vacation or hectic work project.

If you already have an adoration for burning calories, staying trim and glorifying euphoria then exercising on the road is already a part of your daily regimen. For those who find it challenging commingling both, you will simply need to put a bit more thought and energy into the task at hand. Nevertheless, even the most dedicated fitness buff can let go too much and leave home without it. Yes, “it” represents your gear!

First things first, when you begin packing go for the running shoes, fitness shorts, socks and a shirt first. Some may also need their phone sleeve, headband, spandex shorts and gloves like myself. Pack two sets of apparel if you are away for two to three days. Include an additional set if your stay is longer than three days. Make sure to choose dry sweat clothes such as Nike’s Dry-Fit line so you can either wash and dry quickly in the bathroom sink or re-pack them dry opposed to damp. Who wants their dress shirts smelling like a sweaty 5-mile run? Afterwards, pick out your work outfits and dress shoes.

Vacation Fitness

If you are like me and never check in luggage, but simply flow with a rolling carry on, then there may be some concerns regarding room. Well, try the rolling technique for the sports gear which compacts your clothes so more can fit. Also, stuff the socks and briefs in your shoes. I also wear one of my fitness outfits on the plane. This not only offers the ability to travel with additional items, but also keeps me comfortable and psychologically ready to hit the ground running. Literally! I may land at 2pm and have a scheduled 5pm meet-n-greet to attend before a 7pm dinner. After settling down at the hotel I am left with a whopping two hours to run, swim, bike or hit the gym. Even if it’s just for 30 minutes your body and mind will thank you for the activity. Meanwhile, various ideas and strategies are being produced for your time with company executives and colleagues. Some of my most brilliant and sensational concepts and solutions have arisen while I was out running. Plus, your associates will be envious when they ask what you did that afternoon. “Oh, nothing much. I just went for an hour bike ride around the lake.” Trust me, I’ve been in this position hundreds of times!

The other advantages of wearing New Balance, Brooks, Saucony or Asics athletic kicks in the airport is so you can move quicker from terminal to terminal and choose the stairs over escalators. Both Washington Dulles and Las Vegas airports have an impeccable set of steps that are sure to speed up your heart rate, which equates to caloric burn. Sometimes I’m so energized that I sprint to the top with my suitcase in hand. It feels so good and you never know who you may influence. There were many times when I was about to skip the hard work until I saw another traveller taking my prescribed route. So of course that kept me inspired to follow my own guidelines. How about that!

Travel_gear-Travel-Fitness

The next habit you want to strengthen is putting your workout sessions on the itinerary or calendar. This way your plan becomes fail proof. Let’s say breakfast is at 8am, meetings begin at 9:30am, lunch is at 12pm and the event concludes at 4pm. Then you have a 6pm happy hour and 7:30pm dinner. Well, you can either schedule the workout at 6am or at 4:30pm. Either way you are prepping your mind to be on time for physical engagement. At the end of the day it is just as important (more so in my book) than any work assignment. What’s the point in accumulating all that wealth if you do not have perfect health and longevity to enjoy it?

If the travel is for leisure then of course there are no excuses. This is the time to actually put in more fitness work because you have the spare hours. For example, I may be heading to Jamaica, Miami or London with friends, but best believe every day of that trip I’m going to rise with the sun and hit it hard. As I always say, vacation is to relax the mind, not the body.

Travel-Fitness-Fit-Fathers-Jump-Rope-Bose

Lastly, organize a group of work buddies to assemble for a workout opposed to meeting at the bar. Each person will certainly hold themself accountable and surely will not want to be the reason for any team jokes. Remember, stay fit, eat clean and continue to energize your life.