Posts Tagged ‘Entertainment & Culture’

For the Grandkids

Friday, February 24th, 2012


for-the-grandkids-teensy-fruitsPlum Organics is an award-wining provider of premium nutritious, organic baby food and toddler snacks.  They have set the stage for a new way of nurturing the next generation with yummy, nutritious foods that are convenient and come in eco-friendly packaging.  Plum’s full range of delicious food offer the best building blocks for a lifetime of healthy eating, and they are now proud to introduce Teensy Fruits™, a soft, real fruit snack designed for the wee independent eater. Teensy Fruits offer a full serving of fruit in every pack and are available in three tot-friendly flavors:  peach, apple, and berry.  Be warned, though, not only will the little ones love these sweet-but-healthy snacks, but you will, too, so be sure to stock up!

Teensy Fruits ~ which contain no high fructose corn syrup, trans-fats, or artificial ingredients ~ are $2.99 for 5 single serving packs and can be found at Whole Foods, Target, and Babies-R-Us. To learn more about Plum Organics, please visit


Highly Breathable Sleeping System for Babies

UBIMED, manufacturer of the Cleanoz® Nasal-Aspirator Kit, has just launched their most innovative product to date, the LifeNest Sleeping System. Recently, the LifeNest Sleeping System has been listed with the FDA as a medical device helping to prevent Plagiocephaly (commonly referred to as flat head syndrome in infants) and has earned the PTPA Media Seal of Approval (Parent Tested Parent Approved,

for-grandkids-lifenestCreated by renowned ear, nose and throat pediatric surgeon specialist, Dr. Jose Bensoussan, UBIMED’s patented LifeNest Sleeping System was specifically designed to ensure the highest level of comfort and safety for infants while they rest. The LifeNest’s curved mesh hammock cradles the baby’s head, maintaining the recommended baby-on-back sleeping position while allowing unrestricted movements. The elevated breathable hammock permits the free circulation of air via the venting channels to help prevent overheating and enables the baby to breathe freely even if they accidentally turn on their tummy. A second hammock is also built into the tight fitting mattress cover (available in a full line of fashionable colors to compliment any nursery), reinforcing strength and safety and prevents mattress cover entrapment and strangulation risks. Additionally, the mesh hammock of the LifeNest allows liquids and mucus to pass through it, helping to prevent against smothering. Intended to be used for babies from birth to 5 months of age, the LifeNest measures approximately 33.5”( 85 cm) long, 27.5 (70 cm) wide” and 4.7”/1.5” (12cm/4cm)  high fitting securely on any standard crib. The product also comes with a convenient travel case, as it is easily portable making it ideal for parent’s on-the-go.

While sleep is one of the most important aspects of a newborn’s life, it is also the main cause of anxiety for parents and grandparents as accidental suffocation or strangulation is one of their worst fears.

“The LifeNest Sleeping System was specifically designed for babies’ wellness,” says Dr. Bensoussan, UBIMED’s President and inventor of the LifeNest, who, hocked by the death of a family friend’s daughter due to accidental suffocation while she slept, began researching this detrimental occurrence, looking for a plausible solution to effectively prevent it. It was during this research that Dr. Bensoussan studied the existing baby sleep positioners and found most of them to be dangerous as he identified the risk of entrapment between the positioner itself and the crib bars. Additionally, most of the pillows designed to prevent Plagiocephaly presented the same suffocation risks if the baby were to flip over. So he set out to design a mattress that would help to prevent both risks. Patented by Dr. Bensoussan in 2010, the LifeNest Sleeping System was the end result of years of research and testing specifically designed to ensure the highest level of comfort and safety for infants while they rest.

The LifeNest Sleeping System is available for purchase online at and at select retailers nationwide for $149.99.


for-the-grandkids-naturepedice28099s-organic-cotton-waterproof-mattress-1What’s special and convenient about Naturpedic’s organic mattress for babies and children is that they have a 2-in-1 crib and twin mattress.

This versatile 2 in 1 Organic Cotton Ultra is waterproof on one side, perfect for infants and bed wetters (because an accident with potty training toddlers is bound to happen), while the quilted side provides a more luxurious feel for older children (They do have mattresses that are completely covered in their waterproof layer, or ones that are 100% quilted, too.).

The waterproof coating is made of polyethylene and is a safe alternative to waterproof barriers typically made from PVC/vinyl. Polyethylene is an environmentally friendly plastic that is used throughout the food packaging industry for its purity and non-toxic properties.

The polyethylene surface of the No-Compromise Organic Baby Crib Mattress is specially formulated using only pure food grade materials, creating the ultimate non-toxic and waterproof mattress cover. It is also easy to clean and will not stain. Have no worries about how comfortable this plastic coated mattress can be, either; it is supportive yet still soft and dreamy and has passed many a tot AND mom test!
The exclusive fire protection system is based on the unique fire retardant properties of baking soda and hydrated silica bonded to cellulose fiber. Baking soda is a non-toxic substance with excellent fire retardant properties. Silica is a natural mineral that comprises about 60% of the earth’s crust. Clay, rocks, sand, etc. are all composed predominantly of silica, which is also a major percentage of human tissue, bones, teeth, etc., and is even available at health food stores as a food supplement. It is also a primary ingredient in natural toothpaste. The cellulose fiber used is derived primarily from eucalyptus and poplar trees and has a low carbon footprint. These materials provide the best way to meet fire regulations without the use of dangerous chemicals or allergenic wool. Also, the mattress’s protective layer makes for a dust-mite proof surface.

Hot Tot Haircare: White, Hot, & Green!

for-the-grandkids-hot-totsHelp your grandtot celebrate Earth Day and every day in style with Hot Tot, a fabulous line of eco-friendly styling products formulated especially for children!

Hot Tot’s contemporary white & silver packaging puts a posh spin on healthy products

Confidence, style, generosity & global awareness are all critical components of being “hot” according to Megan Gage, founder of Hot Tot


Hot Tot cares about the planet! Committed to sustainable business practices, the company strives to be an industry leader in innovation & awareness

Hot Tot’s investments in people & technology enable the brand to make a positive impact

Cruelty Free- Never Tested on Animals
Recyclable Packaging
Safe & Gentle Ingredients, all of which are biodegradable

About Hot Tot

Hot Tot produces salon-quality hair styling products for babies and children without the use of harsh or harmful chemicals. Created to improve the lives of little ones, Hot Tot is committed to sustainable business practices and also donates a portion of its proceeds to charities that benefit children.

Hot Tot products are sold at various online retailers and are also available at salons and upscale boutiques in various states. To find a retailer near you, please visit

Patricia Wolf and Christopher Sawyer’s Denholms: The Story of Worcester’s Premier Department Story

Friday, February 24th, 2012

By Harvey Fenigsohn

copy-of-3950-denholms-cvrIn this warm, nostalgic combination of memoir and history, Patricia Wolf and Christopher Sawyer reveal how a 103-year-old department store became a Worcester icon. It all started in 1870 when two enterprising Scotsmen discovered they could make a good profit selling dry goods to the burgeoning number of factory worker who kept the machines of the Industrial Revolution humming.

At the corner of Main and Mechanics Streets and later at Main and Franklin, in a state-of-the-art building funded by furniture magnate Jonas Clark, William C. McKay and William Denholm set up shop. Ultimately their “Boston Store” would become what the book aptly describes as “…a Disneyland, a shopping adventure and a community center.” Indeed, “Meet me at Denholms” became an oft-repeated refrain on the streets of Worcester for more than a century,

Patricia Wolf’s father, Harry Wolf, was just one in a succession of dynamic businessmen whose visionary leadership transformed a department store into a legend. Each generation of shrewd, imaginative merchants, most notably Frank Krim and Russell Corisini, introduced cutting edge innovations ~ credit accounts, electrical lighting, lavish interiors, eye-catching window displays, holiday promotions, international exhibitions, central air conditioning, fashion shows, gleaming escalators, and sophisticated advertising  ~ all to increase sales and establish Denholms’ reputation for retail excellence.

In what became the largest Massachusetts department store outside of Boston, employing over 500, “the grand dame of Main Street” attracted legions of loyal shoppers. The store’s six floors offered every variety of quality merchandise ~ from fashionable cosmetics to children’s toys, from ladies’ lingerie to kitchen appliances. Customers went to Denholms to choose a suit for graduation, to shop for an Easter outfit, to select a wedding gown, and to furnish their homes.  At Christmas, ecstatic children bounced on Santa’s knee and the whole family marveled at the 80 foot tall fir tree, listening enraptured as the store’s choir sang carols to the crowds.07-31-2011103b013b59am28229

Co-authors Sawyer and Wolf carefully chronicle Denholms’ evolution through the centuries, demonstrating how the store’s periodic changes in women’s fashion, progressive hiring practices, and innovative marketing strategies reflected America’s social, political, and financial history. We learn, for example, how in 1963 Denholms’ management was compelled to take a hard look at the store’s hiring policies when a group of angry picketers gathered outside to protest the fact that “In the ninety one year history of the store, only one African American had been promoted above the blue collar level.”

Always sensitive to community relations, the store’s managers made the reforms necessary for fair employment and Denholms continued to thrive. However, on January 14, 1973, to the city’s lingering regret, the doors of Worcester’s premier department store closed forever, one of the many downtown businesses no longer able to compete with nearby shopping malls. Nevertheless, through this charming book and the vivid memories of all who recall the pleasures of shopping in downtown Worcester, Denholms, in the words of Patricia Sawyer, will “…forever live as a symbol of a kinder, grander era of retailing.”

Denholms: The Story of Worcester’s Premier Department Story is available at

Pictured: Denholm and McKay Company, 1945

Artist John O’Reilly, Master of Montage

Friday, February 24th, 2012

By Bernard M. Whitmore

culture-lead-john-oreillyIn preparing for my meeting with John O’Reilly, I first turned to Google for some background.  The number of results it returned was incredible, but I guess that’s what happens when you’ve been included in the art world’s foremost exhibitions and have received   accolades from its foremost authorities.   If you’ve not yet heard of or viewed O’Reilly’s talent, perhaps Open Salon explains it most succinctly: O’Reilly’s work explores the relationship between eroticism and art, nature and the self and the bricolage of desire.

But those are just words.  Within moments of being welcomed into the home he shares with sculptor James Tellin, I realized I was in the presence of a truly rare breed:  original, unabashedly kind thinkers at ease with their intellect.  John led me to his studio; though it’s right alongside a busy Worcester street, this place felt like the stacks in an ancient library where someone had set up a production studio and personal art gallery.

BMW:  How do you describe your genre?  Collage?

JOR: This is collage taken a step further, what I call montage.  The reason being that when you think of collage, it is more abstract; the person takes a group of images and relates them as an idea ~ or leaves them abstract.

My things start by aiming for a thought or feeling I have and then I fuse it like a painting. It’s a montage made of all these disparate things. But, like in a movie, I’m trying to bleed from one scene to another.

BMW:  How did you discover your artistic talent?culture-lead-john-oreilly-still-life-with-italian-mask-howard-yezerski-gallery

JOR: Talent? [Chuckle.]  Montage started when I was living in Spain in 1960.  Jim and I had gone to Spain for about a year and a half ~ until we ran out of money.  When we had to come home I found I had made a lot of art that was headed for the garbage.  But when I started tearing them up I found I could use the pieces to make collages.

That’s how it started.  When I returned I started cutting out figures from Muybridge photographs and I’d add other things.  Over the years I needed images I couldn’t find, so I started taking pictures with my camera ~ starting with myself.  I’d superimpose myself onto a Rembrandt.

Then I got a Polaroid camera [gesturing]; that table used to be like another world and I’d build little dioramas.  Then I’d run the camera down the table taking a series of ‘pieces’ and then put the pieces back together, perhaps inserting other photos.

culture-lead-john-reilly-dogtown-hartley-series-9-30-08-credit-credit-howard-yezerski-galleryWhen Polaroid went out of business I started using a regular camera and would take color film to CVS for developing.  The colors were never true; they’d come out [with a] bluish or reddish tint. Disappointing if you want a photo of Mom.  But I wanted the color… Like a red ocean!

I did another series and one day I went into CVS and the woman that was developing came out and said, ‘I’ve been looking at your pictures and they’re very strange, we have nothing like this come in here!’  I explained what I was trying to do and she started to help me and spent hours getting it down to a good black and white print.  She came to my opening and posed with the work!

BMW:  Speaking of openings, the Whitney Biennial is the contemporary art world’s most important exhibition.  Please tell me about how you were invited to show your montages.

JOR: The Whitney curator went to San Francisco and was shown a book I was collaborating on and said, ‘He’s in the Whitney!’  I didn’t believe it until they came to Boston to interview me.  I was very lucky, as the oldest person in the show there was a profile on me in the NY Times magazine section.

The nicest thing that happened to me was the next time I went up the street for my Sunday paper.  The woman said, ‘You’re John O’Reilly, aren’t you?  I’ve never had a famous person in my store before!  Please keep coming!’   She actually read it and I had a fan!  That was more fun than the show.

BMW:  Do you think creativity is universal?culture-lead-john-oreilly-to-hart-crane-7-1987-credit-howard-yezerski-gallery

JOR: I think everyone is creative.  Photography has become universal.  I did a series of Polaroid photos of myself nude. There was a reason for it:  I grew up hating my skinniness ~ I felt like an outcast.  Taking the photos forced me to look at myself.

People are doing that with Facebook.  It’s trash, most of it, but they’re being creative and they have a need and that need is to have a self.  That’s what creativity, in a sense, does.  Creativity gives you a self.

Perhaps it’s fitting that a self-described warrior in battle against technology who doesn’t own a computer and dislikes the telephone would be the person who finally explains to me the secret of social media.

You may view John O’Reilly montages in person at these galleries:  Tibor de Nagy Gallery (New York) and Howard Yezerski Gallery (Boston) and view some of his work online at and

Works featured are as follows:
(top right) Still Life with Italian Mask Howard Yezerski Gallery
(second left) Dogtown Hartley Series, (9-30-08), credit Howard Yezerski Gallery
(bottom right) To Hart Crane #7, (1987) credit Howard Yezerski Gallery

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