Some of you may have heard of this cute little astromech droid named BB-8 from this little indie flick called Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. I have fallen in love with BB-8 and thought I’d share some of my favorite merchandise gems I’ve found featuring this adorable new droid.
We’ve all seen the Sphero BB-8, which looks amazing by the way. There are tons of the usual merchandise offerings like pins, shirts, hats, backpacks, phone cases, MagicBands, etc. for sale in the Disney Parks and all over the internet. I’m going to share some of the more unique items I’ve come across online in particular, but not in any specific order.
4. This BB-8 mini fridge is perfect for storing cold drinks under or on your desk at work, and it is stylish too!
5. This Rey LEGO mini figure comes with a cute little BB-8 and her Jakku-wear. You can find them both in this Millennium Falcon LEGO Set.
6. I have a tendency to lose flash drives, but I have a feeling I’d be able to keep my eye on this BB-8 storage device.
7. I cannot decide if I have to have this BB-8 suitcase, or if I just need it. 😉
8. This car decal will be mine! I mean it even has my initials on it. Maybe this is part of why I love BB-8 so much. Currently this isn’t available from purchase individually on TeeFury, but only as a part of the Galactic Bundle. I guess I may just have to get more Star Wars stuff. Oh well.
And as a bonus, I have my own favorite piece of BB-8 merchandise…The BB-8 Interactive Hoodie from the Disney Store that uses the Disney Store Become App.
We have a day for giving thanks. We have two for getting deals. Now, we have #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back. On Tuesday, December 1, 2015, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.
It’s a simple idea. Just find a way for your family, your community, your company or your organization to come together to give something more. Then tell everyone you can about how you are giving. Join us and be a part of a global celebration of a new tradition of generosity.
And while Give Kids the World has a special site set up for #GivingTuesday donations, but inside of their Memory Market is a special Alex and Ani bracelet created especially for Give Kids the World.
As the heart and soul of Alex and Ani, CEO, Founder and Creative Director, Carolyn Rafaelian, created Charity by Design, which serves as a unique division focused solely on giving and making the dreams of charitable organizations come true.
Carolyn creates customized symbolic charms that capture the essence of a charity making it more accessible to the public while raising awareness and funds. Through December 2015, 20% of the proceeds received by Alex and Ani from selling the “Sweet Treats” Bangle, with a minimum donation of $25,000, will be donated to Give Kids The World.
The Ice Cream Cone not only represents ‘Ice Cream for Breakfast’, but also exudes blissful energy in connection to shared moments with loved ones and is a carefree symbol of the simple enjoyment found in savoring a decadent treat.
The Alex and Ani Sweet Treats Bangle is available in Gold and Silver Tone for $28, and it is a great addition to your Disney stack!
Artegon Marketplace Celebrates First Anniversary With #AntiOrdinary Events
Free admission festivities include amped up Signature Events, Concert with Superstar Recording Artists, fun for all ages…and a Real Housewife of New Jersey
This week Artegon Marketplaceis hosting a week-long line-up of free admission festivities and amped up signature events to celebrate its first anniversary.
They are also celebrating a transformation that has created a unique shopping experience to create Orlando’s most eclectic, diverse and truly original shopping, culinary and entertaining destination.
I had the opportunity to walk around Artegon Marketplace with David Miskin (Chief Creative Officer and mighty fine dancer), Amy Higgins (Vice President, Leasing), and their wonderful team to take in the changes that have taken place since their doors opened last year.
If you haven’t had that chance to visit or haven’t visited in awhile, you will be bowled over by the changes, additions, and re-invention of the Artegon Marketplace.
Artegon’s Anti-Ordinary First Anniversary Spectacular kicks off on Monday, November 16 with a free wine stroll and tasting of more than 10 varieties of vino with a special guest appearance by one of the Real Housewives of New Jersey; continues nightly with special events for every age, from a movie night to family food truck rally; and culminates on Saturday, November 21 with a free live concert hosted by Orlando hometown favorite, Joey Fatone from the legendary boyband N’SYNC.
Here’s the week’s line-up; pop the champagne and let’s get this party started!
Monday, November 16, 6-9 pmSip. Stroll. Shop.
Cheers to Artegon’s anniversary!! During this signature event, Wine Stroll guests will meander by wine tasting stations scattered throughout the entire center. Shoppers can sample more than 10 varieties paired with bite-sized morsels that perfectly enhance each wine – all for free (while supplies last). Sip and stroll through the center while enjoying live Jazz and Flamenco music. As you’re sauntering from station to station, you might just bump into New Jersey Housewife Melissa Gorga! Be among the first 150 shoppers in line at the anniversary edition of the Wine Stroll and receive a commemorative Artegon-embossed stemless wine glass. Do a little shopping. Earn free movie tickets. See you Monday.
The ARTegon Co-op is popping up at Artegon Marketplace. 6-9 P.M. An anti-ordinary art-oriented pop-up shop is celebrating its arrival at Artegon through an Opening Gala, spearheaded by Orlando’s own Justin Skip Skipper and Chris Tobar Rodriguez. Opening festivities involve appetizing foods and bubbly drinks (while supplies last) plus live music by DJ BMF. Join the celebration of #AntiOrdinary #art #cooppopupshop
Tuesday, November 17, 5-7 pmThe Art of Beer
Craft beers have tapped into America’s love of suds. The celebration continues on Tuesday with the anniversary edition of The Art of Beer. Sample and savor more than 10 styles of Florida craft beers (while supplies last). The first 150 guests in attendance will enjoy their brewskis from a commemorative Artegon-embossed glass mug. Use the mug to try out one, three or all 10 of the craft beers. What else goes well with beer? Food and music! Enjoy discounted meals from Artegon food vendors while kicking back to the Smoking Torpedoes. Real Radio 104.1 talk show host favorite Dirty Jim will make an appearance and give away prizes to local loyal fans. And that’s not all. Former Orlando Magic basketball player Nick Anderson will be there. See you Tuesday.
Wednesday, November 18, 6:30-10:30 pm The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2
Come watch the most eagerly awaited movie of the year and celebrate the Cinemark Theatre’s renovation at Artegon Marketplace. Check out The Hunger Games:Mockingjay: Part 2 at Cinemark Artegon.
Let the battle commence on an extra-large, ceiling-to-ceiling screen with custom sound, all in the comfort of stadium seating. Stay tuned to see how you can win tickets to a sneak preview of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 before the entire country sees it. (Attendance limited to contest winners.) Visit www.Artegon.com for details.) See you Wednesday.
Thursday, November 19, 11 am – 8 pmPrize Day, All Day
As a “ThankYou” to everyone who’s made Artegon Marketplace the area’s most eclectic, diverse and truly original shopping, culinary and entertaining venue, the center is giving away prizes every hour on the hour from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. to lucky shoppers. Prizes include gift cards to a number of Artegon’s new retailers and artisans, free meals at the center’s eateries, free movie passes – and other unexpected surprises throughout the day. In order to win the prizes, shoppers must be present. See you Thursday.
Friday, November 20, 5-9 pm.Food Truck Family Night
Bring the entire family to Food Truck Family Night on Friday and taste the offerings of local gourmet food trucks, with selections cooked fresh right on the spot. Shoppers who spend $20 or more during the event will receive a $5 Food Truck Buck to spend at any food truck of their choice that evening. Enjoy meet-and-greet opportunities with mascots UCF’s Knightro, Solar Bears’ Shades, Orlando Magic’s Stuff, three Orlando Predators dancers, and Orlando City’s street team. See you Friday.
Saturday, November21 , 11. am – 9 pmArtegon’s Festival of Music
The grand finale of Artegon’s Anti-Ordinary Anniversary Week Spectacular is Artegon’s Festival of Music, including all-time favorites and up-and-coming recording artists and entertainers. The entire community is invited to experience the stylings of the following recording superstars and entertainers at this free concert. The celebration kicks off at 11 a.m. with local entertainers, followed by a DJ getting everyone into the groove at 4 p.m. and headliners at 5 p.m. Sample from a variety of food trucks presented by Food Truck Crazy. Shoppers who spend $20 or more during the event will receive a $5 Food Truck Buck to spend at any food truck of their choice that evening. Meet and greets with select artists will be available.
Samantha Mumba is an Irish singer and actress whose hit single Gotta Tell You reached the Top 10 in the United States, United Kingdom, and Ireland in 2000. Her album Gotta Tell You stayed on the charts for six months and is certified platinum with a total of four million copies sold to date. Mumba enjoyed five more Top 10 hits in the UK and her song Baby, Come Over peaked at 50 on the US charts.
Judy Torres is known as “The Queen of Freestyle.” She scored club hits with songs such as Please Stay Tonight, Come into My Arms, Love Story, I Love You, Will You Love Me, No Reason to Cry, and chart- topping remake of Journey’s Faithfully. Torres has performed non-stop to sold out crowds since the release of her first single in 1987. In 1998, Torres joined iHeart Radio’s 103.5 FM KTU in New York as an on-air personality.
Aaron Carter came to fame very early in life at the age of seven and released his first self-titled debut album at the age of 10. He was one the biggest teenage heart throbs in the late 1990’s and in the early 2000’s. Carter’s second album Aaron’s Party (Come Get It) put him on the map, selling 1.5 million copies. He is set to release new music in early 2016. In addition, Carter has recently starred in the Broadway classic Fantasticks, and competed on Dancing with the Stars.
BEFORE YOU EXIT (BYE)
This Orlando-based band consists of three brothers: Connor, 21 (vocals/guitar); Riley, 19, (lead vocals); and Toby, 17, (vocals, guitar). They caught the attention of the legendary music manager Johnny Wright, who signed the group. Wright also manages Justin Timberlake and many others. BYE was named the winners of the Macy’s iHeart Radio Rising Star campaign, and performed at the 2014 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. BYE has had three hit singles on the Radio Disney charts.
Part of the hip hop duo with DJ E-Z Rock, Rob Base is most famous for his hit single It Takes two. This song was a Top 40 hit and became platinum, along with their album. They were also known for beingpioneers of the crossover success that rap music would have in the popular music mainstream.
JOEY FATONE (HOST)
Best known as a member of the legendary boyband N’SYNC, Joey Fatone’s current hosting gigs include the announcer on Family Feud; Food Network’s Rewrapped; and Live Well Network’s My Family Recipe Rocks. Joey is also guest host of the live version of The Price is Right in Las Vegas.
Artegon Marketplace Orlando is a 1.1 million-square-foot shopping attraction and artisan marketplace that is reinventing the retail experience for today’s discerning consumer. Located on the north end of International Drive, Artegon caters to both local residents and visitors looking for an eclectic, diverse and truly original shopping, culinary and entertaining adventure. Distinguishing the retail destination is Florida’s largest daily indoor artisan marketplace where over 165 local artisans and crafts people sell one-of-a-kind items. Guests can also discover the area’s only Bass Pro Shops, Ron Jon Surf Shop, Boot Barn and Gods & Monsters, plus blow their own works of art at International Hot Glass, climb a ropes course, take in a movie at Cinemark Theatres, sip craft beers at signature monthly events, and much more – essentially creating their own authentic experience with every visit.
Last week the new Mall at University Town Center opened in Sarasota as a new location for upscale shopping and dining. I had the chance to check it out this past weekend and thought I’d share a few pictures. My mom and I had seen the location last as a dirt patch before construction started, so it was quite impressive to see the change. The grand opening was last Thursday, with celebrities like our friend David Bromstad in attendance to celebrate the opening of the mall at their Macy’s location. Some of the stores are still not open yet, but I would say a good 80-90% are currently open.
The retail center has a range of stores throughout with anchor stores like Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue and Dillard’s. High end offerings also include Stuart Weitzman, Kate Spade, Michael Kors, Tory Burch, and more traditional mall mainstays like the Gap, Express, Banana Republic, and Victoria’s Secret. One of my favorite aspects of the Mall at University Town Center is the collection of home, kitchen and housewares stores like Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, and Williams-Sonoma. I could get lost in these stores along for hours checking out all the fun gadgets and gizmos as well as great decor.
For the opening weekend they had quite a bit of entertainment going on throughout the Mall. I don’t know if this will continue on a regular basis, but it definitely made this feel unlike any mall I’ve ever been to. There were living statues similar to those that used to appear in Epcot. Multiple musicians were spread out throughout the Mall at University Town Center playing music ranging from steel drums, to Celtic violins, to solo guitar players, and even some singing Jack Johnson. In addition to this there were a couple of gymnastic troupes performing in different locations. It made this much more than just your typical shopping experience. I even got to meet Hello Kitty!
Setting itself further apart from most malls, the Mall at UTC for short, doesn’t offer a food court per se. There are tons of places to eat, but most of them are table service restaurants, with a few counter service locations with seating mixed in here and there. There are also counter location like Auntie Anne’s pretzels, Starbucks, and Cold Stone Creamery where you just walk up to the counter and order. We opted for lunch at Seasons 52, a restaurant that was first mentioned to me by our own Gail a while back when talking about their fantastic meals on twitter.
Being that this was the opening weekend at the mall, we decided it might be a good idea to get there not long after the mall opened at 11am on Sunday. This was definitely a good call because parking was even scarce when we arrived a little before 11:30. We also had the good sense to make a reservation ahead of time for lunch at Seasons 52 using the Open Table website. We actually checked in about half an hour before our reservation time since neither of us had eaten breakfast, and thankfully they were able to seat us right away. Others were being told the wait was about 45 minutes unless they could find a seat at the bar, so we were very happy to get in early.
I will say the service was a bit slow, and also our server wasn’t as familiar with the menu as we were from just looking at it online ahead of time, but I will give them a pass since it was only four days after opening. The food was all fantastic. We thought we’d prefer to try several small things, so instead of ordering any entrees, my mom and I split several appetizers.
We started off with one of the recommended flights and flatbreads, where you can choose from several flatbread options and three wine flights for either $15 or $20 for three tastes of different wines and then a full glass of your favorite of the three. This would be a great lunch in and of itself for future reference. We tried the blackened steak & blue cheese flatbread with the Acclaimed wine flight, which consisted of reds that were all rated 90 points or above by Wine Spectator, the Wine Advocate, Wine Enthusiast or International Wine Cellar. We liked the cabernet the best, but none of the wines were as full bodied as we’d hoped, so we probably wouldn’t choose that flight again. The flatbread was quite tasty as long as you like blue cheese.
Next up we tried some of the seasonal appetizers on the Autumn menu. One that had caught my eye was the cider-glazed chicken skewers. They were served over a fuji apple slaw with sun-dried cranberries and toasted pumpkin seeds. This was our favorite selection we tried. Mom didn’t care for the slaw as much as I did, but still enjoyed the dish overall. We tried a cup of the porcini mushroom bisque in hopes that it might be similiar to the Portabella mushroom soup at Artist Point at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, but it was different. Good, but not as creamy as I’d hoped. I liked dipping the small garlic breadstick that came with it in the bisque to combine the flavors. Mom also ordered the carmelized brussel sprouts with crispy bacon, garlic and a parmesan crust. I’m not usually a fan of brussel sprouts, but paired with the bacon and cheese worked really well. We also ordered the organic baby spinach and carmelized pear salad with toasted walnuts, gorgonzola, and a sherry walnut vinaigrette. The salad was very good too, as long as you like blue cheese. I’m not the world’s biggest fan of blue cheese, in case you hadn’t guessed, but I did like what we had.
Last up was our dessert. Seasons 52 has a tray of mini desserts called mini indulgences that are about shot glass size and very affordable at only $2.75 each. These do change seasonally, so the offerings may very, but there were several intriguing choices. We opted to split the lemon and blueberry curd, and the pumpkin pie with a ginger snap cookie. We enjoyed both desserts, but mom and I both agreed we liked the pumpkin pie the best.
The food at Seasons 52 is all 475 calories or less per menu item, which is nice to know. They use seasonal and fresh ingredients to mix up the selections every few months. Their name, in case you were wondering where the 52 comes from, refers to the 52 different wines that are available by the glass. The food pictured above was enough for two adults to get two full meals each out of it and it was very reasonably priced coming to less than $60 before tip. The leftovers were even great the next day! I really enjoyed this restaurant at the Mall at UTC, and it will definitely be one of the reasons I come back. I’d also like to try their Kona Grill, The Capital Grill, and Brio restaurants. Friends have also recommended the Rise pizza restaurant here, which offers gluten free and traditional pies with your choice of toppings.
If you are looking for a different place to get some of your shopping done, the Mall at University Town Center offers a unique sense of style, mixed with Florida casual fun. This will now be my go to location for the Apple store, which cuts my drive time in half to the next closest location, and it is more than twice the size of the one in Brandon. I also like I can now go here for my Cheesecake Factory fix when I need one. Check this new mall out when you get a chance and let me know what you think.