Christmas/Holiday Gift Ideas!

Ho Ho Ho! Its time for our next product roundup to help you decide on last-minute gifts for Christmas or other winter holidays!

Note: Affiliate links below, meaning we might earn a small commission if you purchase a product directly after clicking a link.

AtGames Blast! HDMI Video Games – between $19.99 and $39.99

bandai namco blast

Want to get something cool for your little bro or sis, or even yourself, without a big cash outlay? Check out these “plug & play” video game HDMI dongle/wireless controller kits from AtGames. Each bundle comes with between eight to 20 classic videogame titles per model and are available at most retailers, including Amazon.

These are NOT arcade versions of the games, these are simulations but do the trick for quick classic-style gameplay when you don’t want to fire up Red Dead Redemption or Call of Duty.

The USB-powered HDMI dongle plugs directly into a TV with HDMI inputs and comes with an ergonomic six-button wireless gamepad. The Atari Flashback Blast! Vol. 3 swaps the wireless gamepad for a pair of wireless game paddles, which are specially optimized for its selection of classic paddle and ball games.

  • Atari Flashback Blast! Vol. 1 features 20 Atari 2600 classics like Centipede, Millipede and Yars’ Revenge.
  • Atari Flashback Blast! Vol. 2 features 20 Atari 2600 classics like Adventure, Asteroids and Missile Command.
  • Atari Flashback Blast! Vol. 3. features 20 Atari 2600 paddle-based classics like Breakout, Pong and Warlords.
  • The Activision Flashback Blast! features 20 of the most iconic Activision home classics, including Pitfall!, H.E.R.O. and River Raid.
  • The Legends Flashback Blast! features Space Invaders and an additional 11 favorites like Burnin’ Rubber and Jungle Hunt.
  • The Bandai Namco Flashback Blast! features eight gaming mainstays, including Pac-Man, Galaga and Dig Dug.

Every Blast! includes high-definition video output, an intuitive menu system, save and resume game functionality and the ability to rewind a game in progress to recover from a play misstep. An optional second wireless gamepad can be purchased for games that support two players.

LaurDIY Craft Kits – $14.99 and up

Influencer and YouTube star, Lauren Riihimaki (LaurDIY) recently launched her Craft Kit product line partnered with Mattel and available at Target, Amazon and Walmart Canada. Options include a Balloon Unicorn Kit, Illuminating Lamp Kit, Marble Desk Décor Kit and Mini Plushie Kit, in addition to a Letter Board Kit and Tie Dye Wall Hanging Kit. These pieces can serve as finishing touches to any room and reflect LaurDIY’s love of all things fun and fabulous and the content that she regularly features on her channels.

UnPlugged 10K Wired/Wireless Portable Charger – around $50

mycharge unplugged 10k

Have a Qi-enabled phone (wireless charging)? The UnPlugged 10K Portable Charger will charge your phone without a cable! If your phone doesn’t use Qi, you can use a USB cable like any other charger. The UnPlugged 10K Rechargeable 10,000mAh Wireless portable charger from myCharge allows you to wirelessly recharge your device on-the-go and provides up to 5x extra battery life.

  • Qi WIRELESS CHARGER & USB PORTABLE CHARGER IN ONE: Extend the battery life of your Qi enabled phone with 10W of fast charge wireless power and/or via Dual USB Ports to any USB compatible devices with 10000mAh/2.4A for up to 5x extra battery
  • Qi CERTIFIED COMPATIBLE: Works with all Qi enabled devices (iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR, iPhone X, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, Samsung Galaxy S8, S8+, Note 8, S7, S7 Edge, S6, S6 Edge, Nokia 9, Nexus 4, 5, Lumia 920 and other Qi enabled devices)
  • NO CORDS NEEDED: Simply place your Qi enabled smartphone directly on the wireless power bank to charge your phone wirelessly with ease at home or on the go – pass through charging allows power bank and phone to charge simultaneously
  • THIN PROFILE, SOFT-TOUCH FINISH & DUAL USB PORTS: Features a thin profile as to easily fit inside a small bag or purse and a soft-touch finish with Dual USB ports to charge up to 3 devices at once via wireless charging and USB-A ports
  • PRODUCT SPECS: Qi Wireless Output = 10W / Input = 2.4A / USB Ports Output = 2.4A Shared (Recharge cable is also included)

Saved by the Bell: The Complete Collection – $28.95 on Amazon

saved by the bell complete collection

Join Zack and his Bayside High Pals in the ultimate 16-disc collector’s set of this iconic ’90s sitcom, featuring every series episode and BRAND NEW Bonus Features.

Set in the fictional town of Palisades, California and in the hallways of Bayside High, the breezy adventures of Zack Morris (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) and his friends — Kelly Kapowski (Tiffani-Amber Thiessen), A.C. Slater (Mario Lopez), Jessie Myrtle Spano (Elizabeth Berkley), Lisa Turtle (Lark Voorhies), and Samuel “Screech” Powers (Dustin Diamond) unspooled in hilarious fashion across 86 unforgettable episodes and home audiences can relive the laughter, lessons, and love all over again with this loaded set containing more than 46 incredible hours of Bayside bliss, including every episode from 1988’s “Good Morning, Miss Bliss” which became “Saved By the Bell: The Junior High Years” and the fan-favorite “Saved by the Bell” to “Saved By the Bell: The College Years” and the two feature-length TV movies that followed.From 1989 to 1993, for a generation of TV viewers, “Saved by the Bell” was the show that perfectly echoed their lives in middle school and high school and it became a cultural touchstone, changing teen programming forever.

Bonus programming includes two BRAND NEW documentary featurettes: “Past Times at Bayside High: Making Saved by the Bell,” a retrospective documentary featuring interviews with writer/producer Peter Engel, producer Franco Bario, writer/producer Tom Tenowich, writer/producer Bennett Tramer, actress Lark Voorhies, and more; and, “Bayside’s Greatest Hits: The Music Of Saved By The Bell,” a documentary short featuring songwriter/composer Scott Gale and composer Rich Eames! Additional bonuses include more in-depth featurettes, audio commentaries, a 16-page episode guide and more!

Complete List of Bonus Features:

  • NEW Documentary features: “Past Times at Bayside High: Making Saved by the Bell” and “Bayside’s Greatest Hits: The Music Of Saved By The Bell”
  • Featurette: “Saturday Morning: From Toons To Teens”
  • Featurette: “It’s Alright: Back To The Bell”
  • Featurette: “The First Of Its Class: From Sit-Com To Icon”
  • Audio Commentaries
  • Photo Galleries
  • 16 Page Episode Guide
  • About Shout! Factory

Olbas Herbal Remedies: Aromatherapy Inhaler, Pastilles, and Lozenge – Pricing varies

olbas inhaler olbas oil

The winter season means holiday fun — but it can also mean colds and the flu are in full effect. To get some relief, try the all-natural Olbas Oil line of soothing products from Penn Herb. https://www.pennherb.com/Olbas-Remedies

These products are made from essential oils from the traditional medicinal plants of Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Cajuput, Wintergreen, Juniper Berry and Clove. Olbas Oil originated in Basel, Switzerland over 100 years ago, and continues to be a European and worldwide favorite. It diffuses into the air, providing extraordinary benefits to nasal and bronchial areas. Olbas is also readily absorbed into the skin, producing a deep feeling of comfortable warmth. When used as massage oil, it stimulates circulation at the surface of the skin and brings a soothing warm feeling to tired muscles and joints. These unique properties of Olbas Oil are incorporated into each of the remedies in the Olbas line.

Apart from bottles of oil, they also sell products like the pocket-sized, portable Olbas Aromatherapy Inhaler to help you breathe easier, clear your ears, and soothe your sinuses and allergies.The all-natural Olbas Pastilles and Olbas Lozenges also help remedy coughs and colds on the go!

Icy Bev Kooler – $29.99 for set of two

icy bev kooler

The Icy Bev Cooler keeps a 12 ounce soda bottle cold (or beer bottle for your parents) thanks to a  neoprene lining. It features a silicone stopper to keep in carbonation once bottle is opened, plus a bottle built into the cap (warning, not very durable per Amazon reviews).

  • STAINLESS STEEL INSULATION KEEPS BOTTLES COLD LONGER. The stainless steel outer shell and BPA free neoprene inner lining provide a double thick layer of insulation helping keep your drink cold in the hottest weather.
  • DURABLE PROTECTION FROM DROPS AND SPILLS. The unique design protects from drops and spills. No sweat or condensation! Great for the beach, pool, lake, golfing, boating, camping, tailgating, and more…
  • FITS A VARIETY OF BOTTLE SIZES. Remove the bottom and the cap and insert bottle. Re-thread the bottom until tight. The bottom extends for taller bottles. There’s a silicone stopper that nests inside the cap to be used to re-seal your bottle and an opener built into the cap.
  • EASY TO USE. Easy to clean and fits most cup holders.

KOCOWA K-Pop and K-Drama Streaming Service – $6.99 for no ads

kocowa free

Love everything Korea? Then KOKOWA streaming service is for you! KOCOWA meets the strong and rapidly growing demand of an audience comprised mainly of teen girls and millennials for its trending K-Pop (Korean pop music and idol groups) and K-drama (Korean films and TV series) – all delivered in the US with subtitles 5-hours after airing in Korea.

The top genre for KOCOWA viewers is drama and the most popular program viewed across all age groups was Tempted, a drama about temptation and finding true love. Most viewers use mobile platforms to view KOCOWA content. Many of the actors are K-Pop idols.

What sets this content apart from US is the wholesomeness–Korean shows are not degrading with excess sex and violence like modern US shows tend to be. The pop/singing shows are fun to watch especially!

https://www.kocowa.com/  Now available on Roku

The Field by Ian Dawson – about $15

the field ian dawson

When fourteen-year-old Daniel Robinson is abducted during a game of hide-and-seek, his focus switches from enjoying his summer vacation to simply staying alive. He must find the courage and strength to escape his captors and get home, no matter what it takes. Will he survive? Or is this a nightmare that’s too real to escape?

The Field makes for a suspenseful read–especially considering it is based on the author’s real-life abduction and assault by two older teens 25 years ago. While not exactly “Christmasy,” it should please anyone who likes action-packed YA novels .

BAO Cultured Sauces – $39.99 for 6 bottle sampler

bao hot sauce

BAO Cultured Sauces include Bao-B-Que, Sour K’Chup, Original Hot Sauce, Chipotle Hot Sauce, Mango Hot Sauce, and Jalapeno Hot Sauce. These fermented sauces are a blend of briny, tart, spicy, and umami packed full of organic ingredients and vibrant probiotic bacteria. All BAO products are gluten-free, certified organic, vegan and fermented.

We received the sampler pack shown above in an insulated foam chest as these sauces must be kept refrigerated. We were amazed by the flavors, and the fact that these sauces are good for you because of the probiotic bacteria make them even more awesome!

https://baofoodanddrink.com/products/mixed-sauces

DAVIDsTEA Tea Gift Sets  – around $20

davids tea gift set

Celebrate the festival of lights with this Kosher tea gift set. It contains eight tins of caffeine-free loose leaf tea, so you can open up a tasty new treat each day. Plus each tin makes 1-2 cups of tea. Now that’s something to look forward to. Includes: Blackberry Blizzard, Caribbean Crush, Carrot Cupcake, Cinnamon Rooibos Chai, Just Peachy, Serenity Now, Super Ginger and Turmeric Glow.

 

HandsOn Gloves for Shedding, Bathing, Grooming, De-Shedding Horses/Dogs/Cats/Livestock/Small Pets – $24.99

hands on pet grooming gloves

Your dog or cat might freak out seeing you wear these for the first time, but will likely learn to love when you do because it means a nice grooming/massage session!

HandsOn Gloves work wet or dry with the 5-fingered glove allowing for the perfect combination of scrubbing nodules on fingers and palms. Users will find their animals wanting to come closer at groom time and HandsOn Gloves can help you bond with your animal. HandsOn Gloves are carefully designed with hypo-allergenic, bio-friendly components which are clinically proven to be safe for use with humans and animals. *Check out all 5 sizes Kids: size Junior and Adult: sizes Small, Medium, Large, and Extra Large.

Marvel Legends Series Black Panther Electronic Helmet – $99

 

marvel black panther mask

Gear up like the warrior king Black Panther with this 1:1 full-scale premium role play electronic helmet! Adjustable to fit most heads, this helmet features Vibranium-inspired design with flip-up eye lenses and intricate detailing. Includes movie-inspired Vibranium light effects.

Buy here

Tiwal 3 – starts at $5400 for you big ballas out there

tiwal dinghy tiwal dinghy in action

The Tiwal 3 is billed as “The Only Sailboat That Fits Down The Chimney.” And will set you back several thousand bucks! Since some of y’all are fortunate enough to afford it, and we thought it was pretty cool, we are including it here. Maybe you can get it cheaper on eBay, who knows? : )

Stored in two bags, the inflatable sailing dinghy can be taken anywhere, in the trunk of a car, a camper van or a bigger boat. It is easy to transport, store and assemble. The Tiwal 3 makes sailing accessible to everyone on the banks of lakes and on the shores of the sea. Simply inflate the hull, assemble the structure and set the sail. In under 20 minutes it is ready to be launched. It is just as simple to store and does not require any maintenance.

Lenght: 10.5 ft
Sail area: 56 sq.ft / 75 sq.ft
Total weight: 111 lbs, max. load: 418 lbs
2 bags: 57x 16×14 in / 62 lbs (each)
Capacity: 2 adults or 1 adult & 2 children

https://tiwal.com/tiwal3/

Eggnots Ceramic Eggs – $10.95 for a six pack

eggnots 12 pack eggnots decoration

Here’s a great little gift for crafty people, especially those who love to make Christmas ornaments! They are paintable eggs made out of ceramic material. They ome in their own super-cute carton but need NO refrigeration, are usable by people with egg allergies, and are more durable than the real thing.

Start a new tradition making eggnots as keepsakes finding unique ways to display eggnots not just for Easter, but other Holidays too – like Christmas.

Vegan friendly!

http://www.eggnots.com

 

Scarlet Grace from ‘Holmes and Watson’ Q&A

Scarlet Grace (@thescarletgrace on Twitter) just turned 16, but this English teen’s already got an impressive resume as a theatrical actress, having played young Eponine in Les Miserables London and Tessie in the UK TOUR of Annie. Her film work includes small roles in “Paddington 2” and “Milk,” but this Christmas she appears in her first major supporting role on the big screen, playing Pickle in the new Sony Pictures movie “Holmes and Watson” alongside a huge star cast: Will Ferrell, John C Reilly, Ralph Fiennes, Kelly MacDonald, Hugh Laurie, Rob Brydon and Lauren Lupkus.

We asked Scarlet a few questions so you get to know her better. Scroll down for the Q&A!

scarlet grace holmes and watson

Hi Scarlet, nice to e-meet you (and happy 16th birthday BTW)! Before we get into your work as an actress, tell us a little bit about yourself outside of show biz.

Hey there! Thank you for interviewing me! 🙂 Thank you for my birthday wishes! I had a fun birthday! Well…… I’m a 16 year old actress based in the UK! I love anything to do with acting, singing and dancing; it’s practically my life! I even attend a full time Drama School in London, which I travel to everyday to study drama, film studies, photography, and all basic core subjects! When I’m not acting on the stage or screen, I love to spend time with my friends and family and shop! A LOT!!!

Great! You have a role in the upcoming movie Holmes and Watson. Tell us about your character and the film itself.

Holmes and Watson is a comedic take on Sherlock Holmes! Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly play the iconic duo, using their brilliant minds to stop the evil genius James Moriarty from assassinating the Queen of England!

I LOVED playing the role of Pickle. Such a fun character to play due to how cheeky and mischievous she is! She’s such a challenging role to take on which is the best part about her! Pickle’s personality is quite different to mine, due to the era in which the film is set and her role in society, enabling me to experiment with her as a character and play her in my own way! I’m so excited for the film to be released and for the world to meet Pickle

Why do you think teens are going to want to watch it?

Well, all teens love a good comedy, and Holmes and Watson is just that! I think people of all ages will want to watch this film because it’s super entertaining and it’s never been done before! When most people think of Sherlock Holmes, they’d think of a serious drama, but Holmes and Watson is the complete opposite, with two of the most well-known comedic actors in the industry playing the most hilarious leading roles!

What was the best part about filming it?

The best part about filming was definitely being able to work alongside an incredible cast and crew. Everyone on set was honestly so nice, and I know that I’ve made some life-long friends!

Any funny moments on set you can share?

Working on a comedy film, there’s bound to be tons of hilarious behind the scene moments, it’s impossible to choose! Since we were playing filthy street urchins, we had to pick-pocket quite a lot throughout the film, so we used our skills in pick-pocketing to sneakily steal things out of the crew’s pockets and wait for them to notice! It was so funny! We always gave it back though. haha!!

What has been your most memorable show biz moment so far?

One of the most memorable show biz moments for me so far has to be when my team in Annie were chosen to perform at West End Live back in 2017! I played the part of Tessie in Annie at The Piccadilly Theatre in London. West End Live is a huge show in Trafalgar Square, with a number from every Musical in the West End performing! Our whole team were so excited to perform in front of a whopping 10,000 people! It was such an incredible experience, the crowd were buzzing as we sang Hard Knock Life, it’s a moment I’ll never forget!

Why exactly are you an actress? It is a tough job, so what is the payoff for you personally?

There are so many reasons as to why I’m an actress! I would like to say I have a huge imagination, which I use to put myself in another character’s shoes to fully take on a role that may be similar or completely different to who I am! I guess the reason why I love acting is because I’m able to tell a story through becoming another character, and living that person’s life! And the buzz which you feel from an audience member or the public, watching you in Film or TV is incredible! Just to know that you’ve delivered a story or a message to someone is such a great feeling and they’ve understood it, is the best feeling!

What’s the biggest challenge you have faced so far in this industry?

The biggest challenge I’ve faced so far in this industry is becoming very close to getting a role and then not hearing anything! But that’s just the name of the game; everyone faces rejection in their life time! But you just have to pick yourself up and go for the next role! I think everything happens for a reason, and when one door shuts, another one opens!

And your biggest accomplishment?

My biggest accomplishment is definitely landing the roles I’ve been fortunate to play so far! I’m extremely grateful that I’ve been able to perform in 2 West End Musical Productions in London in-front of live audiences, 2 huge WEST END concerts in front of a 10,000 audience and a Nationwide Tour travelling the country and lots of other works I’ve loved……. but my all-time favourite would have to be working on set in Holmes and Watson, surrounded by hundreds of people working together for the same outcome! I’m just so thankful that I’ve had the experience to work in both theatre and film!

You split your time between London and Florida, right? For each location, tell me what you like most and least.

I love the U.K and the U.S! They are so different though, so there are definitely a lot of pros and cons for both! The UK is where I’ve been brought up, and I’ve lived here my whole life, surrounded by my family and friends! But I do spend vast amounts of time in Florida where we have had our family home for around 7 years now and we also have friends and family in the States and the U.K. It’s hard to choose but I really do love the U.S, to me it’s such an amazing country full of so many opportunities! I love the weather also in Florida!

If you could pass one law that everyone on the planet had to follow without question, what would it be and why?

Mine would be to make bullying illegal in any form at any age, as I’ve seen and been subject to it at some point and have seen first-hand the emotional problems it can create and the effect it can have on the individual.

Tell me something people would be surprised to know about you?

I’m an absolute shopaholic!!! Whenever I walk into a shop I like, I literally want… everything! It’s hard to control myself. lol!

Biggest pet peeve?

Definitely when I’m eating or drinking something and someone asks to have some too!!! I’m such a germaphobe; I hate sharing my food or drink with people!!

Favorite food?

My favourite food is probably ice-cream! Any flavour literally! My favourites are chocolate, honey comb, and mint!

Secret fear?

I’m super scared of rats or mice! When I get the train to school sometimes they have little mice on the platform, and I pretty much scream at every one I see!

What’s the last movie you watched, and give me a review…but you can only use TWO WORDS for the review : )

“Good Will Hunting”; the film was powerful and outstanding! Plus I love Leonardo Dicaprio. 😉 Shhhh!

The one thing I cannot live without is__________.

The one thing I cannot live without are my dogs Poppy and Bella! I love them more than words can describe!

Please take a selfie and send!

scarlet grace holmes and watson

Find Scarlet online at

https://www.imdb.com/name/nm7051755/
https://www.instagram.com/scarletgrace1/
https://www.facebook.com/ScarletGraceActress/
https://twitter.com/thescarletgrace
https://www.scarlet-grace.com

 

Free2Luv’s Unstoppable Tour de Force Cirque Highlights and Interviews

@Free2Luv, a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting bullying, hosted the fundraiser Unstoppable Tour de Force Cirque at the Regent in downtown Los Angeles November 3rd. The event featured a team of young cirque artists including aerialists, jugglers and contortionists as well as plenty of young Hollywood celebrities and influencers united to speak out against bullying, share their stories, and give advice to others who are experiencing bullying.

Interviewed on the Free2Luv Unstoppable red carpet: Josh Richards, Nathan Triska, Curtis Newbill, Ava Michelle Cota, Janeshia Adams-Ginyard, Dr. Gloria Chance, Dalton Cyr, Norton Leufven, Kennedy Madison, Serena Laurel, Briana Roy, Georgia Bryan, Sunnie Pelant, Jocelyn Hunt, Nash Abrahams, Ava Long, Emerald Gordon Wulf, Royal Grotta, Chris Garcia, Miah Green, Julianne Collins, Lola Raie, Kate Polsfut, Britten Healey, Levi Petuela, Jason Drucker, Ryan Drucker, Kate Tomlinson, Takaya Abdou Lloyd, Kash Hovey, Danielle Palmer, Faith Ziegler, Kristi Tucker, Adrian Dev, Kayden Grace Swan, Rory Ogden, Isabella Leon, Megan Skiendiel, Stephanie Gonzalez, Jaydyn Price, Grayson Kilpatrick, Abrielle Cummings, Kobe Gosselin, Anderson Zane, Justin Price, Hunter Payton, Brodie Chadhury, Journey Slayton, Savannah Liles

 

Ethan Paisley – remarkable teen auteur shares his passions, inspirations and more

ethan paisley interview3

If you haven’t heard about Ethan Paisley, take note. This 18-year-old filmmaker has already had two films selected at Cannes Film Festival, given a TED talk, and won the “Best Young Director” award at the Young Entertainer Awards. These are just a few of his accomplishments, which you can read more about on his website.

As evidenced by the Q&A we did, which you can read below, Ethan is thoughtful, well-spoken and driven…and it is great to see a teen with such passion for his work. If he keeps it up and manages to avoid Hollywood’s many traps and vices, he undoubtedly has a very bright future ahead of him as a creative force in this industry. Excited to see where his talents and persistence take him!

ethan paisley interview3

Now onto the Q&A.

1. Hi Ethan, nice to e-meet you! Before we get into your work as a filmmaker, tell us a little bit about yourself.

Hello! I’m an 18 year old writer, producer, student, wannabe dancer, dim sum connaisseur, and all-around freakshow. I’m originally from the San Francisco Bay Area but now I’m based in LA. I currently produce for PaperChase Films, one of the minds behind The Kindergarten Teacher (available on Netflix), and I’m also pursuing a BFA in Creative Producing at Chapman University.

2. Great. For people who don’t know you, tell us how you got into making movies.

I started as an actor when I was really young. I was also exposed to YouTube when I was really young. So when I was competing to book TV shows, I gave up and decided to make one of my own online. This is where I self-taught filmmaking and augmented my talent for pairing creative thinking with marketing and public relations strategy. After I harassed every production company and student film production in San Francisco to let me be an extra, PA, whatever, I decided to make my first feature film The Art of Escape at 14 years old. The failures and successes that came from that project, and how I handled them, helped me identify my passion for working in the capacity of a producer.

3. Which film of yours are you most proud of, and what makes it stand out to you most?

Today, the slate of content I’m working on is extremely diverse in terms of genre and story which is very exciting to me. I will have a better answer in six months … that said, to date, my baby is my short film Indelible. Indelible stands out because it is the most distant from my personal life experience but also the most personal at the same time. It’s a film about a PTSD stricken war vet who time travels back to the war front to overcome his trauma. I have no relationship to the military, PTSD, or the sci-fi genre, but I do have experience self-isolating based on my fears of what others will think. This is what the protagonist in my film does, and the consoling message that comes from this in the film is that there will always be people who care. Further, this film was made by 50% women and men, and there is a ratio of 3:1 people of color we see represented on screen. It was a really rewarding experience!

4. Is there anything you have created which makes you cringe a little? What is it and what’s cringey about it?

Cringe is my middle name! My friends tell me I’m too hard on myself but I disagree. Every film is a learning experience, and it’s important to embrace the cringiness everytime as painful as it might be. The best example is a movie I made in eighth grade called Saladcide, and yes you read that right. I made a movie about salad getting revenge on America for it’s obesity crisis. My goal was to make the worst movie possible and hopefully grow some sort of cult following around it. I was going through a time when I was really into parody movies and bad comedies, because they demonstrated that filmmaking was possible from any angle. This was a great learning experience in putting something out there and not caring what anyone would think, which is a practice I still take very seriously today.

5. Why exactly are you a filmmaker? It is very tough work to make films…so what is the payoff for you personally?

I’m a filmmaker because I revel in the process. As a producer, you have to love people, organizing people, and leading everyone towards something greater than themselves. I find great community in this process. Personally, I have to live, breathe, and die on community if it means being happy. That’s the payoff: it makes me happy!

6. What’s your overall goal – like what do you want to achieve long term as an artist?

I just want to keep doing what I’m doing now and continue to tell better and better stories. I’m still finding my voice as an artist and that’s what I want to focus on doing. Hollywood moves so fast and success is so temporary. What excites me now is getting to know myself better as an artist. I just started college. Who knows what kinds of stories I’ll be telling four years down the line and what my goals will be then!

7. Which is your go-to camera to shoot with? Why?

As a producer, that’s something I discuss with my director. I don’t go near cameras unless it means renting or returning them to a facility that lends them out. Anything around tech intimidates me.

8. What’s your favorite “bad” film (like Plan 9 from Outer Space)?

On Rotten Tomatoes it’s bad but in my heart it’s gold: Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen is really one for the books in my opinion. Everything about it is so extra and fabulous. It’s set in New York City. And Lindsay Lohan sings, dances, and acts in it. What’s not to love?

9. And favorite film overall?

It’s a gamble between Rosemary’s Baby and Howl’s Moving Castle. I love stories that are fantastical, surreal, and challenge societal norms.

10. Which filmmakers or creators do you look up to most?

Sofia Coppola, Frederico Fellini, Roman Polanski, Hayao Miyazaki, Ingmar Bergman, and anyone behind the latest HBO mini-series’ or Black Mirror.

11. What does your production company name, Take18, represent?

This is the production company I made in high school, and Take18 was meant to represent how everyone who worked within the company was under 18. Now we’re all over 18 doing different things but the name still sticks! On one of our feature films Point 453, we actually had a party during one of our shoots for hitting 18 takes on one of the shots.

12. What’s the biggest challenge you have faced so far in this industry?

Staying on your own path, not comparing yourself to others, staying patient, and being selective about what you work on. In other words, slowing down. Especially now with social media, everyone is always sharing something, and it really adds to the pressure of the grind that Hollywood promotes. It’s not always true that hard work pays off, and it’s much more important to me now to create one good thing that yields a large effect rather than a bunch of little things that may or may not do anything in the world. These are the lessons I’m learning everyday.

13. And your biggest accomplishment?

Learning the distribution process and connecting four films to worldwide distribution is definitely my biggest accomplishment. My two feature films The Art of Escape and Point 453 are available for streaming in 86+ countries worldwide on platforms including Amazon Prime, iTunes, and Google Play. Two of my shorts Indelible and Wilted were recently acquired for distribution by KQED and Distribber. It’s an arduous, painful process but I got to travel to Cannes, LA, New York a lot for sales meetings last year. Next year I might be going to Hong Kong for FILMART and I’m thrilled but also daunted.

14. If you had the power to write, direct and star in your own movie with an unlimited budget, what would you call it and what would it be about?

I really want to work on Big Little Lies or anything written and directed by Jean-Marc Vallée. So when he wants to make his first feature he should hit me up!

ethan paisley interview3

15. Tell me something people would be surprised to know about you?

I’m an introvert and I crave my alone time. I’m also a cross country runner and I run about 3-5 miles everyday. I’m getting into meditation lately and taking more time for me.

16. Biggest pet peeve?

Too many to count. People repeatedly kicking the seat in class, people who make weird noises when they sleep, leaving me on read, the list goes on …

17. Favorite food?

DIM SUM! Or Sushi. I love Asian cuisine with a burning passion.

18. Secret fear?

That everyone secretly hates me and that I will never be as successful as I want to be, and that I will be single for the rest of my life 🙂

19. What’s the last movie you watched, and give me a review…but you can only use TWO WORDS for the review : )

A Simple Favor: Beautiful Joke.

20. The one thing I cannot live without is__________.

My phone. Yep. I said it.

21. Most embarrassing moment IRL you wish you could do over?

Everyday is an embarrassing moment! No for real, I’m a total mess. I wish I could redo everytime I’ve messed up in a meeting or on a date because obviously that might change the course of my life for the better. But I have faith that everything happens for a reason.

22. What else are you working on or have coming up next?

Right now I’m pitching two hilarious TV Shows with some fabulous writers attached, I’m in pre-production for a couple features, and I’m developing some really exciting scripts with PaperChase. I’m sworn to secrecy on most everything but follow me on social media @ethanbpaisley for more updates as they come!

23. Could we get a selfie of whatever you are doing at the moment? It’s something we ask to keep it real for the fans!

ethan paisley interview3

Follow Ethan Paisley:

http://instagram.com/ethanbpaisley
http://www.facebook.com/ethanbpaisley
http://www.twitter.com/ethanbpaisley
https://www.linkedin.com/in/ethanbpaisley/
http://imdb.me/ethanpaisley

Trying to Lose Some Weight? Be Careful

female trying to lose some weight

In the last few years, social media has intensified the pressure to look perfect. Teens are especially susceptible to this pressure that makes them want to change themselves to fit a new picture-perfect mold. Over the years, there has seemingly been an influx of healthy teens trying to lose some weight unnecessarily.

To be clear, when there is a true need, there is nothing wrong with trying to lose some weight. This is especially true for teenagers as building intentional healthy habits early can help them to be healthy and mindful adults. Dieting due to a concern of your health is much different than dieting due to a fear of gaining weight when you are relatively healthy, though. Dieting when healthy can lead to disorders in teens, a potentially life-threatening problem.

female trying to lose some weight

Know the Difference Between Diets and Disorders

Before jumping into information about eating disorders, it is important to establish what is and is not healthy dieting. This is especially important for teens to understand as they are becoming more and more autonomous from their parents. You’re in a time where you’re gaining independence and responsibilities. There is nothing wrong with anyone trying to lose some weight and become healthier, particularly if they are overweight. These steps are usually mindful, enjoyable, and preferably given under the direction of a doctor or nutritionist.

If you are open and honest about your desire to lose weight and your dieting intent, research and compile a balanced diet full of varying healthy foods to lose weight at a moderate pace. A diet designed with the intent to lose weight will typically consist of a 250 to 500-calorie deficit per day, allowing the person dieting to lose a healthy 1-2 pounds a week.

On the flip side of the coin, do not allow fear of a disorder developing make you discouraged from switching to a healthier diet. Eating balanced meals, exercising, and reducing or outright rejecting junk foods is not necessarily an indication of a disorder, even if it seems to be a deviation from the norm. You should tell your family and friends your goals and to let them support you, because sometimes if there isn’t communication people can get overly worried and start to think things that aren’t true.

How it Starts

Many people fail to realize that eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia are mental disorders. Individuals that suffer with these disorders have developed anxiety about food and their looks which causes them to believe they must lose weight and rid themselves of food at all costs. Eating, exercising, and weighing themselves becomes a system of torture and reward.

This mental shift of trying to lose some weight can come on subtly, or there can be a defining moment that causes it. All of a sudden, certain foods are not foods that should be avoided but are BAD and CANNOT be eaten. Exercise MUST be done to counteract the calories eaten. Weight checks become habitual and can make or break their entire mood depending on what the scale says. Some even begin eating and exercising alone because of perceived shame. Many teens say this happens “before they know it,” so it is imperative for teens to pay attention for telltale signs that something is wrong. This is another good reason to tell those around you, so if they begin to notice you doing things that are unhealthy they can step in and help.

Signs to Watch Out For

There are a few common symptoms of eating disorders that people can usually pick up on, such as:

  • Eating alone
  • Eating abnormally small portions
  • Being or becoming very thin
  • Wearing baggy clothes to hide the body
  • Exercising excessively, especially after meals
  • Using laxatives regularly

Some of these symptoms are more specific to one disorder like anorexia, but making a diagnosis is not your main concern as they can all point to danger. If you notice any of these signs, you must take action quickly.

How to Stop Disorders Before They Begin

If someone is engaging in eating behaviors that seem extreme to you, speak to them openly and honestly about what they are doing. Are they simply taking a firm stand for their positive change, or is something more serious happening? There are subtle differences in language that can help you get a feel for what they are thinking. As previously mentioned, keeping a doctor or nutritionist involved from the very beginning of anyone’s weight loss journey can help prevent unhealthy ideas about food from developing when trying to lose some weight. It is important for you and the doctor to frequently check in on your progress. These mental shifts to disordered eating can come subtly and seemingly without warning if not checked. A simple conversation with a professional is usually enough to notice a change.

If you know someone who has unfortunately shifted from developing healthy habits to disordered eating, you must be bold and take action. Here are a few tips on how to approach your friend once you notice. If you see these behaviors in yourself, seek help from a trusted adult or an eating disorder helpline. There are healthy ways to lose weight and people who can help.

Why You Should Be Thinking About Your Financial Future Now

It’s never too early to start thinking about your financial future. Even if you are a teen who is still in the process of figuring out what you want to do with your life, there are reasons why you need to start planning now. By beginning to think about your financial future, it’s possible to ensure the money is there when you need it. Investopedia provides some basics that you can start to employ right this minute and be secure all of your life.

financial future planning

Creating and Reaching Financial Goals

One reason why you need to start planning now has to do with goal setting. It’s up to you to decide what those goals may be. Perhaps you would like to own a home by the time you’re 30. Maybe you want to pursue a higher degree, like a doctorate. Start by learning how to set goals, including how to go about securing the resources to reach them. You may have to adjust or refine those goals as you get older, but that’s much different from having none at all.

Reserving Funds for Major Expenses

Another good reason why you need to start planning now for your financial future has to do with making significant purchases when you grow up. A home, a car, college, and even retirement are major investments that require cash. According to Your Quest, money management is more important than ever for young teens to learn, as retirement keeps becomes more and more expensive. Report indicate that Americans are living longer than they used to, and thus are needing more money in retirement funds to sustain themselves (sometimes needing up to 38 years of funds or more). Even if those expenses feel years away, now is the time to learn how to create a budget and live within your means. Make sure the budget includes line items specifically for each major expense.

Set goals for how much to tuck away each paycheck and stick with it. Remember to include a line item for emergency funds, since you never know what could happen. Along with watching the funds grow, you’ll learn a lot about avoiding overspending and stop yourself from going into debt.

Setting Up Savings and Investment Accounts

When you have at least a few goals for the future, brainstorm how you can begin working toward them now. On the financial front, this means learning to save money now and possibly invest in some manner. Hands on Banking reinforces, “opening a savings account is easier than ever before. All you’ll really need are forms of identification and a little bit of money to start your account with. Once that’s done, you can start planning more effectively for your future.” Start with simple plans like opening a savings account, then move on to setting up a certificate of deposit. The goal is to put mechanisms in place that allow you to earn interest on the money that you save.

In time, you will be old enough to make investments. Start with safe ones that are highly likely to earn some sort of return. As you become more comfortable with the market, it’s okay to allocate some of your money to options with higher risk and a chance for a higher return. As long as you maintain a solid financial cushion and learn not to invest more than you can afford to lose, you’ll be okay.

Ultimately, the habits you develop now make it possible to maintain financial well being and make life a little easier. As you accumulate wealth and achieve your goals, there will always be one more to set and reach. With your sound skills, there will always be a way to get where you want to go. Think about your finanical future today!

Beautychickee Christina Marie TEENA Skincare Launch Party Exclusive Interviews!

christina marie beautychickee teena title card

Popular YouTube beauty guru Christina Marie, better known as @Beautychickee, has just launched her skincare line with her “Clar-i-ty” facial cleanser. To celebrate, the 19-year-old threw an exclusive party at the posh Mondrian Hotel in L.A. for a few of her friends and fellow influencers.

TWK’s Keira Pena got the exclusive scoop, interviewing Christina and a few of her VIP guests. The vibe was amazing and so was the food, with passed crab cakes, flatbread, and cucumber slices topped with hummus complementing a robust charcuterie spread (that’s a fancy word for sliced cured meats, like salami). There was also a great dessert table with dipped strawberries, raspberry-topped cupcakes, macarons, and pink gummies and M&M’s, among others. Pink was definitely the theme!

We are looking forward to seeing what’s next for BeautyChickee!

Appearing in the vid besides Christina Marie: Ally Hardesty, Kiara Marie, Olivia Cara, Adyel Juergensen, Isabel Bina, Alara Bowsher, Brian Frank

Follow Christina Marie (BeautyChickee)
https://www.youtube.com/user/BeautyChickee
https://twitter.com/beautychickee
https://www.instagram.com/beautychickee/
https://www.facebook.com/BeautyChickee

Follow TEENA Skincare
https://teenaskincare.com/
https://www.instagram.com/teenaskincare/
https://twitter.com/TeenaSkincare
https://www.facebook.com/TEENAskincare/

Ava Cota: Former Dance Moms Star Builds Her Own Empire at Age 16

ava michelle cota dance moms2

Ava Michelle Cota (@avamichelle2002 on Twitter) seems to be on a mission. At just 16 years old, the “Dance Moms” veteran is absolutely killing it on the creative front as not only is she a professional model and dancer, but she also has a forthcoming EP as well as a sporty/chic collaboration clothing line, “AVA x JMS” with talented designer Jonathan Marc Stein. She also has plans to tour the US teaching master classes at various dance studios that will be open to all levels of dancers. This is a lot for an adult to take on, let alone a teenager!

All hasn’t been roses for Ava however. Standing 6 feet tall, she’s experienced extensive bullying because of her height, and was even dropped from Abby Lee Miller’s squad because she was “too tall.” She is committed, however, to turning this into a positive by spreading the message of self-love and body positivity wherever she can.

We got the chance to interview her so you get to know her a little better and hopefully get motivated to pursue your own dreams with as much passion as she does. Scroll down for our exclusive Q&A with Ava Cota!

ava michelle cota dance moms2  All images: Ava Cota

Hi Ava, nice to e-meet you! Before we get into your new projects, tell us a little bit about yourself.

Hey! I am a 16 year old, dancer, singer/songwriter, model and actress! I grew up in a really small town in Michigan but just recently relocated to Los Angeles! I absolutely love what I do and love my fans so so much!

Okay! So you are widely known as a dancer from Dance Moms of course, but not many know you sing also, and will be releasing your debut EP soon. What made you decide to transition to singing, and are you nervous about how your music will be received?

I have actually been singing since I was very little but it was something that was always kind of on the back burner. I always loved to sing but songwriting is really new to me! It was amazing to find another way to express myself. These songs are very personal to me and I cannot wait to share!

Tell us about the EP and what the process of writing it and putting it together was like.

Like I said songwriting is something that is new to me, but most of my songs are about what I have gone thru in the past year or so. Most of them came when I was just overflowing with emotion and needed a way to get them out. But now being able to hear songs that I wrote become a whole production that could be on the radio is so rewarding!

ava michelle cota dance moms1

As if that weren’t enough to keep you busy, you also have a new clothing line coming out right? Please tell us all about it!

Yes I do! I am collaborating with Jonathan Marc Stein, a designer I met at LA fashion week a couple years ago! It is a sporty/chic line, kinda my everyday style mixed with a little more couture!!! I cannot wait for everyone to see it!

Did they come to you with designs for you to approve, or did you draw stuff yourself for the line? How does that work?

Jonathan and I sat down and made many sketches and mood boards, I’ve gone to the fabric store and have been a part of the entire process! Whenever I’m collaborating with someone I want to make sure that I am hands on. I have learned so much during this process, it has been an amazing experience

Do you still talk to the girls from Dance Moms? If so, who do you chat with the most?

Yes I do! It’s awesome because a lot of us moved out to LA together. I talk to Nia, Maddie, Mckenzie, and Jojo probably the most! I am so happy for them and proud of all of their success! I’m so glad we can be out here supporting each other!

Are you still carrying any bitterness from being cut from Abby Lee Miller’s dance squad for “being too tall?” To get hit with such a negative blow regarding your appearance at such a young age must have been terrible—so what helped you deal with it?

I have definitely grown a lot as a human since then. I do not have any bitterness towards Abby and honestly wish her well. Yes, it was very difficult hearing these things at a young age, but social media was probably the worst. I had a lot of people attacking the way I looked but also just attacking me in general because I was a competitor. This was really hard to go through, but I found that self-love was the thing that helped me through it all. Also finding the people that love you and support you and surrounding yourself with them has been a huge game changer!

What was the biggest lesson you’ve learned from being on that show?

If you love something then go for it and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t, are not good enough, or don’t fit into the mold they have created in their heads. If you love something enough you can do anything. The experience on Dance Moms made me so so strong.

ava michelle cota dance moms4

And the most rewarding part of the whole experience?

I am so thankful for the experience! It really opened my eyes to what is out there. Being from a small town I didn’t really understand what I could do with my talent and the things I love. I would not be where I am at all without the show.

You are a crusader for anti-bullying causes and self-acceptance. What do you think is the single best way for teens to guard themselves against the negative effects of bullying—because let’s be honest, there will always be mean people around and you cannot really stop the whole world from saying hurtful things.

I totally agree. It’s hard, because a lot of people say block out the haters but from my point of view that is impossible. As humans we take in every word that someone says about us and blocking them out is just not dealing with them. The thing that helped me get through this was finding self-love. It is an amazing thing, once you have this you are confident enough in yourself to know that those comments don’t matter because you are perfect just the way you are.

Tell me something people would be surprised to know about you.

I absolutely love to cook and I am a complete foodie!

Biggest pet peeve?

Fakeness.

Favorite place you’ve traveled to and why?

I actually haven’t been out of the country yet, which Is something I really want to do! But some of my fav places here are Catalina Island, San Diego and Boston!

Favorite food?

Sushi!!!!

ava michelle cota dance moms3

Favorite TV show?

Friends, Orphan Black, Marvelous Mrs. Mazel, The 100 and Vampire Diaries! Can’t pick lol

Most attractive thing in another person?

Humbleness.

Most embarrassing moment IRL you wish you could do over?

I went to a dance competition and competed when I wasn’t feeling that good and puked on stage. Could prob do without that incident lol

Besides all we already talked about, what else do you have coming up?

Hopefully some new acting projects 😉

Could we get a selfie? 😍

ava michelle cota dance moms

Follow Ava Michelle Cota:

https://www.instagram.com/ava.michelle
https://twitter.com/avamichelle2002
https://www.facebook.com/AvaMichelleofficial/
https://www.imdb.com/name/nm6433012/

5 Habits You Can Begin Now to Give You a Head Start in College

college head start

College is something that a lot of people do, but it isn’t for everyone. If you choose to take this path, it will be a time in your life between high school and your career. This can be a time of confusion, but it can also be a great time to learn and meet new people.

All in all, college is going to be a lot of work. It is much different than high school, and it is vital to prepare for it so that you do well. If you are nearing the final years of high school and planning to further your education, this is a good article for you to read. Here, we are going to discuss five habits you can use right now to give yourself a head start in college.

college head start

Develop Time Management Skills

Time management is something that a lot of college students struggle with. This is partly because students are on their own a lot, but it is also because classes are structured very differently. Unlike high school, your teacher won’t remind you every day about an assignment that is due. It is your job to figure out when things are due and when you are going to have time to work on them. StraighterLine explains, “You need to establish your priorities. School needs to be a primary concern, not a secondary one. You also need to sleep and be healthy in general.” Without time management skills, college can quickly become overwhelming and stressful.

Learn to Study Properly

Learning to study is another important skill that you need to learn before heading to college. Above-average students may not have had to study much in high school, but a lack thereof in college can be devastating to your grades. Studying will be necessary, so make sure that you learn how to have a productive study session with minimal distraction.

Stay on Top of your GPA

Unlike high school, your teachers won’t be as lenient with your grades. At the end of the semester, your grade is your grade, and your teacher won’t give your bonus points just to help you out. Start off the year right and keep your grades up because it will be hard to catch up if you let them drop early on. GPA Calculator explains, “staying on top of your GPA in college is also important for other reasons. If you land a scholarship or grant that depends on you to maintain a GPA above a certain threshold, then not meeting your GPA requirements could mean you lose your financial backing for college.”

Learn to be independent

College is going to be a time where you spend a lot more time alone than you did in high school. You will need to learn to take care of yourself in various ways. Stay on top of your mental and physical health, get sleep, eat healthily, learn to do laundry, etc. There might not be anyone there to help you, so you should learn to be independent so that college isn’t a total shock.

Beat procrastination

With so much free time in college, you might feel like you have a lot of time to lie back and relax. In reality, any event that you have downtime you should probably take a look at upcoming assignments. Use your time wisely and don’t put things off until the day they are due because it causes a lot of stress and even low grades.

Hopefully, reading this article has given you a better understanding of the ways that you can get a head start for college. Even if you were the smartest person in your high school, there will be a plethora of people just as smart as you in college. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t feel as highly about yourself. You just need to prepare to work harder and continue to be the best student that you can.

 

Que 9 and Brooklyn Queen Interview and Try Not to Laugh Challenge

Brooklyn Queen and Que 9 Thumbnail

Detroit has two rising teen stars you need to check out. Rappers Brooklyn Queen @brooklynqueen03 (“Keke Taught Me How to Do It”) and her best friend Que9 @que9bmb (“Sophomore EP”) are currently performing together on the FACTS Tour and stopped by TWK to ask some questions they’ve always wanted to know about each other — and play the TRY NOT TO LAUGH CHALLENGE! Guess who wins, lol?!

Brooklyn Queen

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLAu1llKtsTNzhZ9QP7Tr-A
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BrooklynQueen03
Instagram: http://instagram.com/BrooklynQueen03
Facebook: http://facebook.com/BrooklynQueen03
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/brooklynqueen03
Website: http://brooklynqueen03.com/

Que 9

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCeWutlS03NLLt61su4br07A
Twitter: http://twitter.com/que9bmb
Instagram: https://instagram.com/que9bmb/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Que9BMB/