Diana Ross Lights Up the Hollywood Bowl for Season Opener

The Hollywood Bowl officially kicked off its summer 2028 season in a blaze of fireworks and Diana Ross. Despite a broken ankle, which she disclosed at the end of her performance, Ross was the consummate entertainer. She had the audience on its feet with the first couple of numbers, and the evening soon became a […]

Variety

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Texas Forever: Which Friday Night Lights Character Is Your All-Time Favorite? Vote Now!

Friday Night LightsGet ready Friday Night Lights fans because the football-centered TV series is coming to Hulu, which means it can literally be Texas forever on your TV and computer at any time.
After…

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Fitness app Strava lights up staff at military bases

Soldiers have been publicly sharing location information as they log their daily runs.
BBC News – Technology

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Sarah Jessica Parker Lights Up NYC & More Best Dressed Stars

ESC: Best Dressed, Sarah Jessica ParkerThe holiday season is officially over and award season has begun–celebrity fashion is back and better than ever.
Hollywood’s A-listers have traded in their loungewear for red carpet…

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Books of The Times: ‘Neon in Daylight’ Lights Up Ambivalence With Shades of Didion and Others

Hermione Hoby’s first novel is about characters struggling to connect to their desires in the months before Hurricane Sandy hits New York.
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Mysterious streak lights up Californian sky

Tech guru Elon Musk’s SpaceX rocket lit up the sky leaving Californians puzzled.
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Chiara Ferragni Lights Swarovski Christmas Tree in Milan

CHRISTMAS FAIRY: Chiara Ferragni is coming to town. The Italian influencer and entrepreneur behind The Blonde Salad digital platform and the Chiara Ferragni Collection of footwear and accessories, attended the lighting ceremony of Milan’s Christmas tree on Friday.
Wrapped in a red Dior gown, Ferragni was the fairy godmother of the event as she is one of the international personalities fronting the holiday campaign of the Swarovski company, which has provided the Christmas tree to the city since 2013.
“When they asked me to star in their holiday campaign, I couldn’t believe it,” said Ferragni a few minutes before the ceremony. “We shot it back in February in New York with an exceptional cast,” she added, hinting at fellow testimonials Karlie Kloss, Naomi Campbell, Jourdan Dunn, Ruby Rose, Boy George, Andrés Velencoso and Bryanboy, among others.
Located inside Milan’s Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, the lighting ceremony drew over 500 people around the 40-foot tall tree, which is embellished with over 10,000 decorations — including 1,000 Swarovski Christmas stars — and 36,000 lights. These were gradually switched on to the notes of Coldplay’s song “A Sky Full of Stars,” followed by the spread of fake snow in the venue and the live performance of

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The Book Review Podcast: ‘Lights On, Rats Out’

Cree LeFavour talks about her new memoir, and Andrew Sean Greer discusses his new novel, “Less.”
NYT > Books

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”Lights, Camera, Action!” Josh Henderson & Christine Evangelista Take Fans Behind the Scenes of The Arrangement Season 2

Josh Henderson, Christine EvangelistaSeason two’s in full swing!
The Arrangement stars Josh Henderson and Christine Evangelista have taken to Instagram to share behind-the-scenes pics while filming season two of E!’s…

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Willie Nelson Lights Up Toby Keith’s New Marijuana Ditty ‘Wacky Tobaccy’

Toby Keith knows you can’t do a country song about cannabis without having Willie Nelson involved in some capacity.

On Thursday, the country superstar released “Wacky Tobaccy,” a ditty about the joys of smoking marijuana ― the real stuff the lyrics emphasize, not the synthetic kind.

Although Keith has collaborated with Nelson before, the Red-Headed Stranger only appears on camera this time.

“Willie Nelson’s in the video. He didn’t sing on it, but he’s in the video,” Keith told News OK, adding that he favors legalizing pot because “if you drink liquor you ought to be able to smoke weed.”

No word on whether Keith mentioned this to Donald Trump when they visited Saudi Arabia together back in May.

The complete clip can be seen below, including a few scenes of Nelson blowing smoke ― a lot of smoke ― into Keith’s face.

Not everyone is high on the song.

Lorie Liebig, a columnist for Wide Open Country, thinks the song is Keith’s “lame attempt to stay relevant.

What could have been a fun and fresh collaboration with Willie Nelson just seems like a cheap way of keeping people interested,” she wrote. “Watching him stroll out of the bathroom with a blunt in hand feels like they are using him for a laugh instead of his talents.”

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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Bat-Signal lights up City Hall at Adam West tribute

The Bat-Signal has lit up Los Angeles City Hall in honour of the late Caped Crusader Adam West, days after his death.
Entertainment News – Latest Celebrity & Showbiz News | Sky News

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Smart Lights Are a Bright Idea, With Alexa and Siri

Reliable voice control makes smart lighting easier than ever. Geoffrey A. Fowler explains the right—and wrong—ways to improve your home lighting with connected bulbs, plugs and switches.
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Dame Vera Lynn lights up cliffs of Dover

The white cliffs of Dover celebrated in the 1942 wartime song made famous by Dame Vera Lynn had her image projected onto them to mark her 100th birthday.
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This Guy Proposed Under The Northern Lights And The Pics Are Spectacular

You couldn’t ask for a proposal backdrop more jaw-dropping than this.

On March 6, Dale Sharpe popped the question to Karlie Russell, his girlfriend of seven years, under the Northern Lights in the Lofoten Islands of Norway.

The couple are both landscape photographers for DK Photography based in Australia’s Gold Coast. Throughout their relationship, they have seen and photographed the Northern Lights, also known as Aurora borealis, together more than 30 times.

“It was the most amazing display of color in the Aurora that we’ve ever seen,” Dale told Daily Mail Australia

To set up the proposal moment, Dale tried to get Karlie to take a selfie with him. She resisted at first, telling him they should move to a different location in order to capture the perfect landscape shot instead, but finally gave in. That’s when Dale got down on one knee. 

“I was completely blown away as it was the last thing I was expecting at that time,” Karlie told The Huffington Post. “I kept telling Dale to hurry up so we could get a landscape shot instead. After he set up the camera, then to my surprise got down on one knee, I was in shock but of course said, ‘yes!’”

Dale had originally planned to pop the question nine months earlier during a trip to Iceland. He had packed the engagement ring in a lotion bottle, which he told Karlie was pricey and belonged to his mom. But at the airport, their luggage was overweight and Karlie unknowingly threw out the bottle with the $ 4,000 ring inside. Dale didn’t even realize what had happened until later in the trip when he asked her where it was ― needless to say, he was devastated and had to save up to buy another ring.

“I politely said, ‘That’s OK,’ while internally screaming,” Dale told HuffPost. “I couldn’t really tell her and ruin my proposal plan.”

The couple first connected online while living on opposite sides of Australia. When they first met in person, they did a sunset photo shoot together on the Gold Coast. 

Seven years later, they are happily engaged but have no wedding plans in the foreseeable future.

“Having to buy two engagement rings means the savings is a little behind!” Dale said. 

Below, more photos from the couple’s adventures. Or you can follow them on Instagram or Facebook

 H/T Daily Mail Australia

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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FASHION NEWS-Visit Shoe Deals Online-Fashion News today for the hottest deals online!

LED String Lights, Lellel 2nd Generation Solar Outdoor String Lights, 200 LED 72ft 8 Twinkle Mode, Waterproof Weatherproof for Yard Patio Garden Tree Party Wedding Christmas Decoration, Warm White

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Skechers Girl s Twinkle Toes S Lights Shuffles Baby Love Light Up Sneakers Shoes

Skechers Girl s Twinkle Toes S Lights Shuffles Baby Love Light Up Sneakers Shoes


Skechers Girl s Twinkle Toes S Lights Shuffles Baby Love Light Up Sneakers Shoes
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How the Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds Documentary Bright Lights Changed Its Director

Debbie Reynolds, Carrie Fisher, 1972Apparently directing Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds had the same effect as watching it will.
“I was surprised by how much I fell in love with Carrie and her…

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Skechers Little Boys’ S Lights: Erupters Ii – Lava Arc Light-Up Velcro Sneakers from Finish Line

Skechers Little Boys’ S Lights: Erupters Ii – Lava Arc Light-Up Velcro Sneakers from Finish Line


He’ll light up the playground in the standout Skechers Little Boys’ S Lights: Erupters Ii – Lava Arc Light-Up Velcro Sneakers. Boasting a light-up midsole and side “S” logo and plenty of lightweight comfort, these sneakers are ready for action!

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Find the Hidden Mickey in This Frozen Northern Lights Sneak Peek

Frozen, Lego Disney Frozen Northern LightsIf there’s one thing Disney fans love, it’s finding Hidden Mickeys.
In E! News’ exclusive sneak peek from The LEGO Group’s Frozen Northern Lights (premiering Friday at 8…

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Sketchers Boy s S Lights Pillar Light Up Fashion Sneaker Shoes

Sketchers Boy s S Lights Pillar Light Up Fashion Sneaker Shoes


Sketchers Boy s S Lights Pillar Light Up Fashion Sneaker Shoes
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Walking Dinosaur Triceratops Toy Figure with Many Lights & Sounds, Real Movement

Walking Dinosaur Triceratops Toy Figure with Many Lights & Sounds, Real Movement


Best Choice Products presents you this brand new Walking Triceratops dinosaur toy. This toy gives kids all the sounds and action of a real Triceratops Dinosaur. Run after the Triceratops as he stomps the ground and walks around by himself. Designed to emulate a real prehistoric animal to make it fun for all ages. The dinosaur noises and bright multi-colored lights add that extra spark you wonâ t find in other toys! It requires 3 AA batteries (not included) and is made from non-toxic ABS plastic FEATURES: Walks around by himself to emulate a real prehistoric animalMakes dinosaur noises and is equipped with bright multi-colored lightsMade from ABS plastic that is non-toxic and sturdy3 AA batteries required (not included)Product Dimensions: 14â (L) X 4â (W) x 6â (H)SPECIFICATIONS: Product Dimensions: 14â (L) X 4â (W) x 6â (H)Some Assembly Required (tail needs to be attached)Requires 3 AA Batteries (not included)Weight: 1 lbs. PLEASE NOTE: Our digital images are as accurate as possible. However, different monitors may cause colors to vary slightly. Some of our items are handcrafted and/or hand finished. Color can vary and slight imperfections in the metal work are normal and considered evidence of the hand-finishing process, which adds character and authenticity to those items.

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Blue Flashing Christmas Bulb Pendant Lights Necklace

Blue Flashing Christmas Bulb Pendant Lights Necklace


These festive blue Christmas tree light pendant bulb necklaces are a great feathery finishing touch on any festive outfit for men, women and children, and go great with our selection of Ugly Christmas Sweaters! These sweet 28 necklaces with nylon cord are controlled by a switch on the back of the bulb, and also make a great decoration when you want a little accent light without running a plug to an outlet, and are good for pets too. Great on their own and even better with the Christmas costumes, accessories, toys, and decorations in our store!

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Disney Princess Swirling Lights Cinderella Doll Toy

Disney Princess Swirling Lights Cinderella Doll Toy


Disney Princess Swirling Lights Cinderella Doll Toy Inspired By Disney’s Animated Film Cinderella!. Includes The Iconic Blue Dress And Glass Slippers With Matching Necklace & Crown!. Press On Her Necklace To Play Song And Watch As Swirling Lights Travel Up & Down Her Dress!. Age: 3+. Includes 3 AAA Batteries
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Skechers Boy s S Lights Pillar Light Up Fashion Sneaker Shoes, 10 – Toddler

Skechers Boy s S Lights Pillar Light Up Fashion Sneaker Shoes, 10 – Toddler


Skechers Boy’s S Lights Pillar Light Up Fashion Sneaker Shoes ZigZag Strap Front With Stitching Details. Side S Logo & Midsole Details Light Up With Every Step & Midsole Panels Blink & Chase. Side Hook & Loop Adjustable Closure For Precise Fit. Contrast Shock Absorbing Midsole. Flexible High Traction, Non-Marking, Rubber Outsole
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Pack of 4 LED Moon Lights 20 Micro Starry LEDs on Copper Extra Thin Copper Wire, 2 x CR2032 Batteries Required and Included, 3.5 Ft (2m) for DIY Wedding Centerpiece or Table Decorations (Warm White) Reviews

GearIt LED Christmas Lights, 60 Count LED Solar Powered String Lights Holiday Decorations for Outdoor, Gardens, Homes, Wedding, Christmas Party, Waterproof, Warm White

GearIt LED Christmas Lights, 60 Count LED Solar Powered String Lights Holiday Decorations for Outdoor, Gardens, Homes, Wedding, Christmas Party, Waterproof, Warm White


Features:-Environment-friendly products, high energy conversion rate-Put under sunshine during the day, and it begins to light up at night-It varies with the intensity of sunlight, user’s geography locations, weather conditions and shift of seasons-Put on wall, window, door, floor, ceiling, grass, Christmas tree, post or building, adds perfect atmosphere to your place-A perfect decoration for Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Party, Wedding, etc-Solar powered panel is stood by a garden stake-With ON/OFF, MODE switch. Specification: Light color option: warm white, white, blue (different colors sold separately)Power: Solar Power 0.2W~0.5W peakNi-Mh batteries: AA size, 1200mAH, 1pcsLight source: LEDSwitch: ON/OFF, MODEWorking mode: FLASH / STEADY on. Working time: Steady on mode 8~10h; Flash mode 10~20hWorking temperature: -20~+60Charging time: 4~8hNote:1. If the ground is too hard, do not twist or hammer it with force. Try to soften the ground with water and then insert into the ground. Failure to follow this may result in product damage.2. It is suggested the solar panel to be fully charged for 6h at the first use.3. The light will light up automatically at dusk and may turn off automatically when ambient light is too strong(above 15lux).4. Turn the light on and set light mode before charging the solar power, so it will light up at dusk. Package Includes:1 x Solar Panel2 x Garden Stakes1 x LED Solar String Fairy Lights

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Beyoncé Lights Up New York City With a Crazy Christmas Outfit

BeyonceSometimes not even Beyoncé can make a tacky Christmas outfit look good.
While she normally looks flawless, the “XO” singer didn’t look her best while out in New York City…

E! Online (US) – Style

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JH Specialties 80212 LED Battery Operated Tea Lights- Blue

JH Specialties 80212 LED Battery Operated Tea Lights- Blue

  • Flickering TeaLight Battery Candle Lights are safe indoor and outdoor Luminaria lights.
  • Ideal for wedding centerpieces staircases church isle and window sills for Holiday and New Years Eve Parties Halloween Weddings or event dinners.
  • Size: 1-1/2 dia. X 1-1/4.
  • Batteries (1-CR2032) is included in each light.
  • Battery life – 40-60 hours.
  • For maximum brightness turn on for 4-6 hours and off for 8 hours.
  • The flickering light casts a golden glow.
  • On/Off Switch.
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  • Prana Northern Lights Chalkbag Fitness Equipment

    Prana Northern Lights Chalkbag Fitness Equipment


    Prana Northern Lights Chalkbag Fitness Equipment

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    Skechers Boy s S Lights Pillar Light Up Fashion Sneaker Shoes, 8 – Toddler

    Skechers Boy s S Lights Pillar Light Up Fashion Sneaker Shoes, 8 – Toddler


    Skechers Boy’s S Lights Pillar Light Up Fashion Sneaker Shoes ZigZag Strap Front With Stitching Details. Side S Logo & Midsole Details Light Up With Every Step & Midsole Panels Blink & Chase. Side Hook & Loop Adjustable Closure For Precise Fit. Contrast Shock Absorbing Midsole. Flexible High Traction, Non-Marking, Rubber Outsole
    List Price: $ 42.99
    Price: $ 42.99

    JH Specialties 80312 LED Battery Operated Tea Lights- Red 12 Ct

    JH Specialties 80312 LED Battery Operated Tea Lights- Red 12 Ct

  • Flickering TeaLight Battery Candle Lights are safe indoor and outdoor Luminaria lights.
  • Ideal for wedding centerpieces staircases church isle and window sills for Holiday and New Years Eve Parties Halloween Weddings or event dinners.
  • Size: 1-1/2 dia. X 1-1/4.
  • Batteries (1-CR2032) is included in each light.
  • Battery life – 40-60 hours.
  • For maximum brightness turn on for 4-6 hours and off for 8 hours.
  • The flickering light casts a golden glow.
  • On/Off Switch.
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  • Doctor Who ‘Weeping Angel’ Lights Are Only For The Biggest Fans

    If you or a special someone in your life is a big “Doctor Who” fan, we’ve found the perfect, Whovian monster-themed gift: a set of slightly terrifying “Weeping Angel” lights that are sure to add a little horror to any setting.

    For the price of $ 24.99, you can add a string of 10 ancient Lonely Assassins to your home, courtesy of ThinkGeek. Five of the angels are front-facing, ready to attack, while the other five have their eyes covered. 

    If you’re into these lights, check out these Doctor Who items below to take your home to a totally Tardis level: 

    H/T CNET 

    Also on HuffPost: 

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    JH Specialties 80412 LED Battery Operated Tea Lights- Color Changing 12 Ct

    JH Specialties 80412 LED Battery Operated Tea Lights- Color Changing 12 Ct

  • Color changing from Red Green Blue TeaLight Battery Candle Lights are safe indoor and outdoor Luminaria lights.
  • Ideal for wedding centerpieces staircases church isle and window sills for Holiday and New Years Eve Parties Halloween Weddings or event dinners.
  • Size: 1-1/2 dia. X 1-1/4.
  • Batteries (1-CR2032) is included in each light.
  • Battery life – 40-60 hours.
  • For maximum brightness turn on for 4-6 hours and off for 8 hours.
  • The flickering light casts a golden glow.
  • On/Off Switch.
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  • Fisher-Price Brilliant Basics Spray ‘n Lights Bath Whale

    Fisher-Price Brilliant Basics Spray ‘n Lights Bath Whale


    The Fisher-Price Brilliant Basics Spray ‘n Lights Bath Whale helps babies and toddlers have fun in the tub while they get clean. It floats in the water with children, displaying a friendly expression while it sprays water from a spout, which also lights up. The Fisher-Price Spray ‘n Lights bath whale also includes a floating flutterball for kids to play with or hold over the waterspout. The whale is easy for parents to drain and dry.

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    Chasing Lights Romper

    Chasing Lights Romper


    Online only! We’re crazy about the allover print on the Chasing Lights Romper by Raga. Lightweight and breathable, this romper truly elevates any summer wardrobe. It boasts a scoop neckline, sleeveless construction and a concealed back zipper for easy on and off. Gladiator sandals and colorful accessories truly elevate this romper’s chic style. Concealed back zipperModel is 5’9″ and wearing a size small

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    A Friday Night Lights Spin-Off? The Cast’s Idea Will Blow Your Mind

    If you’re still cheering for the Dillon Panthers while marathoning Friday Night Lights on Netflix, you may want to sit down. When we caught up with three FNL stars—Stacey Oristano (Mindy Riggins), Derek Phillips (Billy…




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    Lucky Brand Women’s Northern Lights Halter Bikini Top

    Lucky Brand Women’s Northern Lights Halter Bikini Top


    The Lucky Brand Women’s Northern Lights Halter Bikini Top simulates the love and beauty of the northern lights. With removable soft cups and soft ties around the neck and back the Northern Lights provides the support and comfort you are looking for in a swim top.
    List Price: $ 62.00
    Price: $ 62.00

    Starlight Lighting Kit for 8 Panel Ceiling Draping Kit – 4 strands of lights

    Starlight Lighting Kit for 8 Panel Ceiling Draping Kit – 4 strands of lights


    Our starlight lighting kit features strands of extra-long 50ft white lights which are designed to be installed along every other sheer panel. All strings are to meet at the center hoop. You will need to provide a white extension cord which will travel along one of the panels and to a wall outlet or, ideally, there will be a ceiling outlet available nearby. This Starlight kit contains four 50 foot strands. NOTE: This kit does not include fabric panels.

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    Dim All the Lights for Donna Summer: My Personal Memories of One of the All-Time Great Singers

    2015-05-15-1431674422-9610088-donnasummer5432d9b4d823f.jpg

    May 17 marks three years since Donna Summer died unexpectedly, having kept her illness a secret to even those she regarded as close friends. Though her passing was widely reported at the time, the coverage was limited in scope, as so much of it boxed in one of our most virtuosic vocalists as the “Queen of Disco,” essentially burying her with a mirrored ball tied to her feet (which she would have loathed).

    I was troubled that so many of the obituaries were dry, fact-based lists of her accomplishments, wholly lacking in heart, failing to convey the true measure of her spirit or cultural impact. I knew Donna and worked with her over the years. On this anniversary, I want to share my feelings about her in a way that more vividly and emotionally reflects her legacy.

    My first memories of meeting Donna have the dreamlike quality of one of her 20-minute musical suites. It was 1989, a good year for Donna Summer, who had just scored her first huge hit in several years with “This Time I Know It’s For Real,” a worldwide, multi-format success. I knew the chart positions in every country because at the time I worked as an assistant to the head of public relations at Warner Music International, Donna’s label. One of the best parts of my job was to occasionally look after artists while they were in New York for promotion. With Donna, this never felt like work because she and her husband Bruce Sudano were real people: down-to-earth and kind.

    2015-05-15-1431674301-4218494-DSC_0566_1024x1024.jpg

    One afternoon my boss was busy and asked me to accompany Donna and Bruce to the Roseland Ballroom for a radio show soundcheck. This was what was referred to as a “track date,” meaning that Donna would be singing live to a pre-recorded track to promote the album Another Place and Time. That was the first time I heard Donna Summer’s voice live, and it was a musical moment that still produces intense euphoric recall. Donna was fairly unassuming, and hadn’t been noticed much amidst the environment of chaos that filled the room. And then she began to sing.

    The track for “Love’s About to Change My Heart,” the album’s second single, began with a hallmark Donna Summer-ballad intro. At first, her voice was lost amidst the ballroom’s din: “I never needed someone/Cause I always led a life of my own.” By the third line, I noticed the energy began to change, heads whipped around, immediately identifying the unmistakable sound of Donna Summer. The song continued, building, growing, Donna standing with one hand on her hip, casual, in jeans with a big hat, big smile, and that sound just emerging from her body with seeming effortlessness.

    The room had become hushed, the rapt silence creating an atmosphere of reverence and respect. She gave hand signals to the sound guy to adjust her levels: a secret language. The rest of us just stood and listened, rather stunned. “How does a person even do this?” I remember thinking. The voice: clear, brilliant, throbbing, thrilling. By the time the song’s rhythm track kicked in, a group of disparate people, many technicians (who generally don’t give a shit) had become a Donna Summer audience.

    At the song’s crescendo, each note moving up a half-tone on the scale, until it reaches the payoff, the money note: “Love’s about to change, change, change, my… heart.” I looked at Donna’s face, which seemed to say, “Nothing to it,” but to the listener it was everything; the moment was sublime, the essence of Donna Summer’s artistry. She sang like Fred Astaire danced.

    Though Donna Summer was synonymous with disco, there was so much more to her stylistically. To listen to recordings like “Hot Stuff,” “Cold Love” or “Protection” (which was written expressly for Donna by Bruce Springsteen, a fan), to name just a few examples, is to hear authentic rock ‘n roll vocals: shredding and balls to the wall. To hear her recording of the Billy Strayhorn standard “Lush Life,” her own Giorgio Moroder/Pete Bellotte swing era-tinged collaboration “I Remember Yesterday,” or her recording of Evita’s “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina,” is to hear a theatrical voice of exceptional power and interpretive acuity (Donna got her start on stage, in the German production of Hair).

    To listen to the 1982 Quincy Jones-produced album Donna Summer, especially its first single, “Finger On The Trigger (Love Is in Control),” as well as her subsequent single, “Mystery of Love,” is to have the odd sensation of beholding the complete chassis of the Michael Jackson Thriller-era pop sound, only the car’s exterior is now regally personified by Donna Summer and the hood ornament is a sparkling “D.”

    After the disco juggernaut was snuffed out, radio changed and Donna’s career continued as she experimented with other musical genres, scoring some of her biggest hits, like “She Works Hard for the Money” and the exuberant, reggae-flavored “Unconditional Love” in the post-disco era. Of course, anytime she even opened her mouth, no matter what came out or what year it was, the result was a number one dance record. Like the concept suggested by the titles of two of her albums, I’m A Rainbow and Crayons, Donna’s musical curiosity and diversity allowed her to paint in many colors. It’s no surprise then that she was also a fine artist of notable skill. I remember helping to plan what I think was her first major art show in New York during that first encounter in 1989.

    There were three separate periods in my music career where Donna and I orbited each other and I am so grateful for each and every memory. But first, for me and for so many other people, Donna’s music was the soundtrack of my adolescence. In junior high school, not an easy time, Donna’s voice comforted me and consoled me as I dreamed of nights on the dance floor that I was just a few years too young to live out in real life. Her music transported me to light of New York City and Studio 54, just 35 miles away, but so much farther than that if you were an unhappy teenager.

    Instead of dancing at the clubs, I danced around my bedroom. In the winter of ninth grade, as I obsessed about my lack of popularity and redecorated my bedroom for the twentieth time, I wore out my copy of Donna Summer Live and More, communing with the outstanding die-cut album art and reading the label copy over and over as if it were a sacred text.

    2015-05-15-1431674539-3880671-Donna_Summer__Live_And_More_1978frontwww.FreeCovers.net_1.jpg

    I met Donna initially during my aforementioned stint at Warner Music. This was a period when I was also writing songs myself. Like many young people who worked at the labels, I was also pursuing my own musical aspirations when I wasn’t in the office. My commitment to songwriting and passion for pop music, coupled with my youth, made this a very heady time for me, as I was beginning to meet some of the people who I had heretofore only dreamed about. This made me particularly vulnerable to the social advances of Paul Jabara, who wrote the Oscar-winning “Last Dance” for Donna, and whose larger-than-life personality redefined pushy. He was an amazing force of nature: a Lebanese Mama Rose, and a songwriting God to me.

    Paul had begun to call our offices trying to find out what Donna was up to (tracking someone down was much harder to do in the pre-digital era, you had to “call around.”) Sensing a sympathetic spirit in me (read “gay”), Paul poured on the charm, and without much hesitation, I disclosed that I had reason to believe that Donna and Bruce just might be going to Elaine’s, the legendary Upper East Side restaurant, after the Roseland show. Paul had been down, his productivity hamstrung by his battle with AIDS and a serious coke habit, none of which I knew at first. What I did know was that he seemed to crave the connection to Donna, his old friend, as a different kind of fix — a sort of talisman that he was still “hot.” I identified with so much of Paul’s desperation to be validated without understanding why. Drawn to his charisma, flattered by his attention, I agreed to bring him as my guest to Roseland. Thus began a short, but memorable, friendship.

    Paul was a trip. Everything was completely over-the-top with him, and even though I later found out he was already pretty sick, you couldn’t easily tell. His enthusiasm was infectious. Hanging out with him, you could see how his pushiness coupled with his talent resulted in such great success. He had that amazing blend of pathological determination, unwillingness to compromise, and a need to be acknowledged that I’ve only recognized in other people who are carrying childhood trauma like heavy backpacks through their lives.

    After the show, Paul said, “Okay, sweetie, let’s go to Elaine’s.” At this, I panicked. “But Paul, I can’t; I wasn’t invited and if my boss finds out she’ll fire me. ” I was frightened of my supervisor, and with good reason: She was territorial and terrifying. “Don’t worry, kiddo, you’re with me and if anything happens I’ll say I brought you. Besides, don’t you want to have dinner with Donna Summer?” The truth is I wanted to have dinner with Donna very much. I also wanted to have courage like Paul Jabara, so I borrowed his. The resulting meal was the first time I had ever had dined with a star.

    When we got to Elaine’s, Paul said hello to its owner, Elaine Kaufman, who personally whisked us in to the room and led us to a preferred table where Donna held court. I’d never been to a restaurant where there were famous people anywhere but in pictures on the wall. I noticed something magical about the energy in the room, as if I had crossed over into some other universe where everything looks the same but is somehow just better. It seemed to me that the air was imbued with magic, and all the things you dreamed about as a sad kid that would make you feel less awful about yourself had actually fulfilled their promise.

    Donna seemed surprisingly happy to see Paul, and completely unsurprised that I would be there, which struck me as odd; never having been around celebrities socially, I was unacquainted with the casual dynamic of posses and hangers-on. Paul sat me right next to Donna, who treated me immediately like an old friend. In that very moment I stopped caring about what my boss would say, because in that second, and perhaps for the first time in my life, I felt exponentially less terrible about being me. David Munk from East Brunswick, New Jersey was sitting at Elaine’s with Paul Jabara and Donna Summer! This might be accurately regarded as the first time I experienced the drug-like effect of celebrity or, to be more specific, proximity to celebrity.

    Donna asked me if I liked the show and wanted to know how I thought it sounded from the audience, which blew my mind. Had I had stepped into a dream where all the pain of my childhood was seemingly ameliorated by my simple proximity to Donna Summer? I looked around the table at six other gay men who, no doubt, felt the same way I did, but I also felt some bitchiness: They envied my preferential seating next to Donna.

    At some point during the meal, the conversation came around to a subject that seemed painful to Donna, the alleged homophobic comments that she’d made about AIDS being God’s revenge on gay people. Of course, I had heard the rumors which had been repeated so many times they seemed to have acquired an air of legitimacy and, what’s worse, had had a negative impact on Donna’s career, upsetting her core fan base to such an extent that some had turned their back on the woman they had once regarded as “the Queen.”

    Paul practically screamed to me, “Look at this table, David,” with a huge gesture pointing out six gay men, one well-adjusted husband and Donna Summer. “I ask you, is this what the dinner table of a homophobic person would actually look like?” He had a point, but then, I’d never believed the rumors in the first place. “Really, David,” Donna said, her voice quiet and touched with sadness, “I love everyone,” she added defensively, “I would never, ever make a comment like that.” I thought it was odd that she felt compelled to set the record straight to me, a starstruck assistant. “No woman in my position could even function for a day without gay men in her life. I love my gay friends.” “You see,” Paul added, “She never said that about gay men. She loves us.”

    I saw Paul periodically after that. I would go over to his apartment and he would make me spaghetti and listen to my demos while he did lines of coke off a table. He seemed lonely. He even let me hold the Oscar he had won for writing “Last Dance.” Even better were his critiques of my work: an Academy Award-winning songwriter tutoring me. “This is good but you have to bring the vocals forward, David. Always keep the vocals in the front of the mix,” he would remonstrate, “Always!” We’d listen to music and he’d tell me stories. He was an odd study in opposites: determined and defeated, embittered but hopeful.

    No matter how sick Paul got, I’m certain his relationship with Donna always represented the apex of his success as well as his last, best chance of having another hit. When I found out three years later that he had died from AIDS, I was extremely sad. I’d had no idea. The news of his illness, in that terrible decade when it seemed like almost everyone died, put his emotional neediness in a different perspective, as well as making his adoration of Donna and his abiding hope for having another “great moment” all the more poignant. I didn’t understand him very well at that age, but looking back from this vantage point, after my own years of career highs and lows, I think I understand him better.

    Now Donna is gone as well; I can feel the same heaviness in my heart that I felt when Paul died, for they were kindred. But there was a third person: Donna was also deeply connected to Bruce Roberts, who co-wrote “No More Tears (Enough is Enough)” with Jabara and for whom I worked in the late 1990s. It was during that time in Los Angeles, via Bruce, that Donna came back into my life and I got to know her better and spend more time with her.

    2015-05-15-1431674607-2319311-nomoretearsenoughisenough542c7834b7b3f.jpg

    I remember one day when I was in the office, which was in Bruce’s home. Bruce had gone shopping to Barney’s with Donna, an outing that I knew he relished (“David, you should have seen the faces of the staff behind the counter when Donna walked up, you’ve never seen such love.”) I was working at my desk and listening to Lena Horne’s recording of “Stormy Weather.” I remember the name of the song because I wrote in my journal that night. “Life is bare/Gloom and mis’ry everywhere/Stormy weather.”

    Suddenly the vocal was strangely doubled. I thought my speaker wires were loose. “Just can’t get my poor self together.” Suddenly Donna sashays into the room, arms rolling in a waving motion and her voice — that voice — joining with the great Lena Horne and singing just for me. Donna was like that: spontaneous, playful and not afraid to use that vocal gift to have fun, to make a point, to celebrate life. Bruce had set the whole thing up so she would walk in and surprise me.

    She wasn’t precious about her singing; she shared it freely and with no self-consciousness. I think she enjoyed what the power of her voice and what her presence could do in any context. I will always see her that way: in an imaginary spotlight in front of my desk in Bruce’s house, belting “Stormy Weather,” standing on Lena’s shoulders and giving me a “forever” moment, one that I can, in turn, share with you now.

    2015-05-15-1431676683-4633685-donna_summer_album_cover_2.jpg

    In these desultory days of auto-tune, when singer and pole dancer — two professions with formerly diametrically opposed skill-sets — are now, sadly, interchangeable, Donna Summer’s protean abilities seem even more impressive. Only in what’s left of the music business can you be a singer without really being able to sing. The fact that in addition to having that voice, Donna Summer wrote or co-wrote almost every one of her iconic songs is a detail that should be considered when properly assessing her place in history.

    It is a fact that Summer was, along with the Bee Gees, the recording artist who most completely captured the essence of what was first affectionately, then derisively called “Disco” music in the late 1970s. But what gets obfuscated in yoking the singer to the “Queen of Disco” sobriquet is her true range as an artist. “Disco” died in 1979 because the homophobic, racist majority felt threatened by what was an unabashed celebration of African-American and gay urban culture, forcing the word disco to shape-shift into the less descriptive (and less overtly gay) “Dance Music.” Donna Summer was simply one of the best singers, period.

    In the end, I think she’d like to be remembered as a great musician whose stunning, soaring voice brought joy to people all over the world for almost forty years. In order to do that, you can’t just define a trend: You must transcend it and create something that endures. Donna Summer’s music will endure. That is her legacy and it is everyone’s to celebrate.

    A different version of this piece appeared in Stargayzing.com

    — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

    Entertainment – The Huffington Post
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    Wilco Lights Up New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Fest

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    Wilco

    The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival 2015 ended its first day with a bang. And a series of lightning flashes. Then torrential rain, but not before headliners from Wilco to Keith Urban to Jimmy Cliff worked in as much music as they could before the weather shut down their respective stages.

    My first stop-in-your-tracks moment was the Kambuka African Dance & Drum Collective thanks to the kind of serendipity that Jazz Fest specializes in providing. You don’t know what’s just around the corner, but it’s always worth making the turn.

    2015-04-25-1429933722-4835740-d.JPG
    Kambuka African Dance & Drum Collective

    “I will rise again, through rain and flood and wind,” Sean Johnson & the Wild Lotus Band sang just before the heavy weather arrived. “The clouds will pass, the sun will shine and I will see again.” The band has a loyal following that ends the set with a sea of waving hands in an annual moment of Zen.

    Transitioning from trance to dance, we caught Royal Teeth, newly signed to Electra Records. Guitarist / vocalist Gary Larsen says that after their third year performing at fest, “Each year gets better for us. There’s always a familiar connection we have with the crowd at Jazz Fest because they are our friends and our neighbors. The crowd is there for the dancing and the energy you can only find at a New Orleans festival, so we try to bring out all the stops each year. They welcome us with open arms. It’s an honor to be able to play such a great festival at home and feel the love from our city.” Exuding positivity during their set, Larson told the crowd: “You look beautiful, New Orleans!” Since I had eaten a beignet covered in powdered sugar while wearing black, I resembled a speckled trout but appreciated the sentiment.

    2015-04-25-1429932972-9433445-rt.JPG
    Royal Teeth

    Next, we headed to the WWOZ Jazz Tent in case of rain and because New Orleans native son Nicholas Payton nearly blew the tent-top off with his Nicholas Payton Trio featuring Vicente Archer on bass and Bill Stewart on drums. Payton’s new album is titled Numbers, and #5 was a triumph. Payton refers to his genre as Black American Music (#BAM) rather than jazz. Since the state of jazz ends up hotly debated before, during and after Jazz Fest every year, what it is called may as well be part of that conversation.

    2015-04-25-1429933081-8112485-np.JPG
    Nicholas Payton Trio

    David Fricke, marking 30 years at Rolling Stone Magazine, is one of many writers whose festival interviews have given audiences a look behind the scenes over the years. After one of Wilco’s previous Jazz Fest appearances, he interviewed bassist John Stirratt and asked what new albums were inspiring him. Stirratt mentioned legendary songwriter Bobby Charles’ new release. When my husband told Dr. John about the shout out, he called Bobby to pass along the compliment. Their phone conversations were always long and legendary. At one point Dr. John clarified to Bobby: “Wilco … No, NOT a washing machine!! …” Once that was cleared up, Bobby was happy to know he was remembered and we got to tell Stirratt that Bobby Charles thought his band was an appliance. Bobby died later that year, so it was meaningful that he had the chance to hear the praise from a fellow Louisiana native.

    Wilco remains as popular at Jazz Fest as they are in their hometown of Chicago, and after today the band has four Fest appearances under their belt. Jeff Tweedy told the crowd: “I don’t know how many times we’ve played here but this feels like the best.” He then gave a shout to an audience member whose sign read: “It could be worse” and said: “That’s our motto. Did you know that? On our guitar pics it says: “It could be worse. We wanted to send a message that hopeful, but not TOO hopeful.”

    The band then launched into “Secrets of the Sea” while the crowd watched the clouds gather. It felt just hopeful enough.

    Photos by Jeff Beninato

    — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

    Entertainment – The Huffington Post
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    Lights Go on Part XVIII: Allow

    How many opportunities have I passed up because I did not allow my self to act upon clear instincts and give attention to what was being presented to me, especially when it felt like a good choice.

    It is my belief that instincts come to us in the form of feeling. They are not empirical, they offer no proof. How could they, because instincts deliver possibility.

    I believe our instincts are limitless.

    Once we actually know something, by proving it through testing, or example or repetition, it becomes knowledge.

    It is my belief that knowledge is limited.

    Now, I am a fan of knowledge, and it is a prime focus for me to obtain worthwhile knowledge on a daily basis.

    Case in point.

    I have just finished the first draft of my next book, which is nonfiction and yet closely related to my novel, “Anything Is Possible.” The title of my new book is: “What You Want Wants You” and it explores this immeasurable instinctual knowledge base that is available to all of us.

    Through the exercise of writing “Anything Is Possible” Many tenets that I had absorbed from the sage wisdom of my father bubbled up in cogent form. These principles became the basis of “What You Want Wants You”.

    This book takes a keen look at and closely deals with a precious phenomenon that every human being possesses. And what is amazing to me is that only we human beings possess it at this high level.

    It is called: Free Will.

    It was during the writing of AIP that I discovered for myself that Free Will is a great determiner in the success that I have experienced as a human being.

    To my mind it is truly the greatest gift of mankind.

    Why?

    We humans have a choice.

    A cognizant choice.

    A conscious choice.

    We can say yes or no.

    I used to think that animals such as lions had a choice, because they would go for the most desirable portion of a kill for themselves. Later on in my development, it became clear to me that a choice of this type was not conscious. It was a reactionary choice, built into them through eons of development at the molecular level.

    So we humans possess this thing called ‘Conscious’ choice.

    Yay! I think…

    Because I find that our subconscious, this wonderland of the unknown that hints and suggests to us on a consistent basis, is easily dominated by our conscious minds.

    Our conscious mind knows.

    Our unconscious mind suggests.

    It is my belief that what our conscious mind knows is only what we have decided, by our own Free Will, to accept as knowledge.
    I believe that history will bear me out this. Throughout time immemorial, virtually any level of belief that we once held as truth, was accepted as such because the facts that supported that belief were what we knew and understood consciously at that time.

    Yeah, I know, I’m in the deep end of the philosophical pool here.

    Don’t blame me! I’m simply following my instincts:)

    So, I’d like to dwell for a moment on the opportunity side of possibility that is governed by our Free Will. I began this newsletter by admonishing my self for opportunities passed upon because I consciously ignored my instincts.

    Here is an unfortunate tale that supports that statement.

    In the mid 90’s I had provided creative services to a start up company that was eventually sold to Microsoft. I had invested in the company shortly before it was sold to Microsoft and ended up riding that incredible money pony that saw my investment multiply by a factor of twenty. It kept on multiplying right into the crash that hit on April 4, 2000, when the Judicial Department declared Microsoft a monopoly.

    The stock price was cut in half.

    So here are the facts.

    I was very busy producing a large show around the time of the crash. Two days before the stock took a huge fall, as I was going over my production schedule I was interrupted by an intruder.

    It was my instinct.

    And it told me to sell all of my Microsoft stock.

    Cash out.

    The date was April 2, 2000.

    Did I follow this instinct?

    This was my bad.

    First of all, my Microsoft stock was much too high a percentage of my portfolio. Yet, even my high powered financial friends, one of whom owned his own nationally admired brokerage, suggested that the imbalance in my portfolio was okay because Microsoft was so strong by every measure. If I sold it, what was I going to buy that would even come close to the performance of my Microsoft stock?

    So, when my instinct advised me to sell, I did not allow it. I fell back on my conscious knowledge backed by some pretty amazing brain trusts that belied my instinct. Within a day, my net worth was cut in half.

    Now, this may be my most extreme example in regard to the consequences of not following that ‘voice’ inside of us that falls prey to our conscious mind. I can also site dozens of instances in which I followed my instincts and was richly rewarded.

    A prime example is when I invested in that start up company in the first place. All my pundits, including my wife, thought I was crazy.

    I believed in that instinct and acted upon it.

    So, what have I learned from all of this?

    Call me crazy, but I now listen with great admiration as well as a keen ear to the messages being delivered by my instincts. In fact, I will go so far as to say that I believe that they are messengers of the universe that are truly attempting to reach our consciousness if we grant them permission.

    Free Will.

    When I allow my instincts to deliver their message and when I act upon those messages, good things happen. It is when I have not allowed my instinctual wisdom to pass by the gatekeeper of my conscious mind that I have suffered most.

    I know you have had similar experiences too.

    I want to hear your thoughts on this.

    2014-05-01-AllowI.jpg
    GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
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    In The Not So Distant Future, Bioluminescent Trees Could Replace Street Lights

    According to Daan Roosegaarde, the future of art and design is awash with spectacular innovation.

    From giant vacuum cleaning systems aimed at eradicating smog to “smart” apparel that becomes translucent when the wearer is turned on, the Dutch artist/designer/architect has helped imagine some hair-raising projects that could propel us into a new era of aesthetics.

    His newest endeavor — a plan to replace light fixtures with bioluminescent plants — is no letdown in comparison.

    Roosegaarde is hoping to employ biomimicry to transform your average street-side trees into beacons of light for passersby. Like the luminescent abilities of jellyfish, mushrooms or fireflies, Roosegaarde, scientist Alexander Krichevsky and the State University of New York are all on the case, splicing DNA from luminescent marine bacteria with the chloroplast of a houseplant.

    The smaller-scale, glow-in-the-dark specimens would act as the basis for a project of greater proportions — light-emitting installations that look like trees. “What happens when technology jumps out of the computer screen and becomes part of the things that we wear and the roads that we drive on?” Roosegaarde muses in the video above.

    Watch the short clip to hear the artist speak more about his ambitious plans and the reason he’s ventured to the United States to pursue his quest. Let us know your thoughts on the merging of nature and technology in the comments.

    h/t Dezeen
    Arts – The Huffington Post
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    Pack of 24 – White – Titan Submersible Waterproof Underwater Tea Light Sub Lights Battery LED TeaLight ~ Wedding Centerpieces, Decor

    The La Shop – Fluorescent Grow Lights on Sale – Save 20% Off with Discount Code "BUD20" from TheLAShop.com!

    Fluorescent Grow Lights on Sale – Save 20% Off with Discount Code "BUD20" from TheLAShop.com!
    Code: BUD20
    Begin: 2014-01-27 00:00:00
    Expire: 2014-02-28 00:00:00
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    Lights On – 30 sec

    Let’s make great things. U.S. manufacturing is coming back, creating new jobs for American workers. Learn more: www.walmart.com/AmericanJobs.
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    Save on Value of the Day and Rollback Specials at Walmart.com!

    Lights On – 60 sec

    Let’s make great things. U.S. manufacturing is coming back, creating new jobs for American workers. Learn more: www.walmart.com/AmericanJobs.
    Uploads by Walmart
    Save on Value of the Day and Rollback Specials at Walmart.com!

    Manhattan Toy Whoozit Starz Lights & Sounds, 1 ea

    Manhattan Toy Whoozit Starz Lights & Sounds, 1 ea


    This whimsical character has high contrast patterns, teethers and squeakers. A pull on the Whoozit activates lights and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star 2 Attaches to most strollers and carriers with a velcro-like closure The remarkable and award-winning Whoozit collection has been a perennial favorite for parents and wee ones alike. This unique toy line has been proven to stimulate fundamental learning skills in babys developing mind, body and senses. Ages 6 months and up.

    Price: $
    Sold by drugstore.com

    Nimli – Secret 50% Off Savings Code to Celebrate the Festival of Lights!

    Secret Savings Code to Celebrate the Festival of Lights. Take 50% off all Azuri & Kitara with coupon code FESTIVE50. No exclusions.
    Code: FESTIVE50
    Begin: 2013-11-01 00:00:00
    Expire: 2013-11-09 00:00:00
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    Nimli – Secret 50% Off Savings Code to Celebrate the Festival of Lights!

    Secret Savings Code to Celebrate the Festival of Lights. Take 50% off all Azuri & Kitara with coupon code FESTIVE50. No exclusions.
    Code: FESTIVE50
    Begin: 2013-11-01 00:00:00
    Expire: 2013-11-09 00:00:00
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    SKECHERS and Build-A-Bear Twinkle Toes Hot Lights

    Now at Build-A-Bear stores: SKECHERS Twinkle Toes and Hot Light Bears have ears that light up and shoes that look just like yours!
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    Shop the latest fashions and new arrivals from SKECHERS!