In the summer of 2019, while in Madison, Wisconsin, Shona Gupta went swimming in a lake. Right after her swim, Shona developed an angry red rash on her face and quickly went in search of something to put on her skin to help calm it down. There weren’t many store options to choose from, and Shona landed up with some topical CBD oil. Although she says the oil smelled bad, the efficacy of the CBD oil blew her away. Of Indian heritage, and with a lineage of fabulous skin, Shona started thinking.“Since my grandmother and my mother had great skin, I wanted to include their skincare regime into Western culture. I wanted to put Indian Beauty on the map and make a unique combination of Indian wisdom and CBD science.”
And thus, by the summer of 2020, Shona had launched a new beauty brand—Maharindee. In Hindi, “Maha” means great and Indira (which Shona abbreviated to Indee) means beauty. Indee also represents an independent spirit.
When I came across The Change Maker, I was skeptical as I have sensitive skin with a tendency to Rosacea flare ups. I was worried this product might aggravate my skin. The very opposite happened. The Change Maker, which is an oil (and oil is recommended for Rosacea, so I only use oil to moisturize) made my skin feel silky soft and calmed down the red. I love it! Both products are non-comedogenic, and good for all skin types, probably because they’re made with centuries-old Indian skincare ingredients including amla fruit, argan kernel, bergamot, lemon, ylang ylang, fennel, and lavender, as well as natural plant-based super stars such as vitamins B5, B3, E and C. And to top it off, Maharindee products contain 100mg of broad-spectrum CBD which brings its extraordinary antioxidant properties and anti-inflammatory response. FREE of toxins, sulfates, parabens, mineral oils, phthalates, soy, gluten, SLS/SLES, Formaldehyde, aluminum, fragrance, and artificial dyes, the CBD is non GMO, grown without pesticides, and farmed with organic practices in Minnesota.
Sounds good to me.
THE CHANGE MAKER
Super Serum $70
Each transformative drop nourishes skin with a powerful blend of pure CBD oil and vitabotanicals to calm, correct, brighten, and balance.
For a limited time you can get all 3 products for $165 and SoCal Magazine readers can get a further 20% off. Use the code SoCal20 when ordering.
Maharindee also gives back and believes that beauty, business, and doing good, are not mutually exclusive. That’s why they donate a percentage of every purchase to organizations that advocate for girls and women. Maharindee currently supports Room to Read’s “Girl’s Education Program,” an organization that helps adolescent girls around the world stay in school by promoting girl-friendly learning environments.
Face Moisturizer $65
A super absorbant, anti-oxidant, rich blend of vitamins C, E, B5, B3 and pure CBD oil – magically plumps and hydrates, restoring a radiat youthful glow to the skin
Our/Los Angeles vodka, led by distiller Anton Van DerWoude and located in the arts district of downtown Los Angeles, recently partnered with artist Ruben Rojas best known for his “love” artwork to spread the message of “Live Through Love”. This collaboration saw the creation of a custom designed label on its 750ml bottle and retails at $20.99.
The collaboration also includes a street mural by Ruben in downtown Los Angeles with a donation made to benefit Beautify Earth, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and international movement that creates impactful murals in neglected areas by engaging with brands, cities, developers, small businesses, neighborhood organizations, schools, and individuals. This will be the second initiative as a part of Our/Los Angeles’ LA Spotlight campaign partnering with different Angelenos each month for social good.
You can purchase the first edition Ruben Rojas x Our/Los Angeles collaboration bottle at Simon’s Provisions (Venice Beach) and Flask (Highland Park).
Wine has been used to cook amazing dishes for a long, long time. The Romans were known for including wine in sauces, braises, and stews. The French make Coq au Vin, the Italians have risotto and chicken marsala, and the Japanese use sake for all kinds of dishes.
Food and wine paired or cooked together can be a dream come true. Whether the wine is from your favorite winery or from your local grocery store, a little bit of wine can add a lot of complexity to a dish.
What Is the Difference Between Cooking Wine and Table Wine?
Cooking wine is different than your average bottle of wine. This wine was never meant to be drunk, but it was meant to be included as an ingredient in cooking. Cooking wine has salt and other preservatives that extend the shelf life of the product and keep it from spoiling. These small additions allow it to legally be sold at grocery stores, but you wouldn’t want to drink it. This also means that when you open a bottle, it can be used for a long long time. Unless you’re running a restaurant, you’d never need to buy a whole case of cooking wine.
But let’s say a recipe calls for cooking wine and you don’t have any on hand. You can substitute almost any leftover wine you have in a recipe as long as you stay close to the flavor profile and color called for. Substituting red wine for white wine can have a significant impact depending on the dish, but if you are an adventurous cook, it could be a fun journey. Fortified wines, like dry vermouth or dry sherry, are other good options for cooking as the high alcohol content preserves them from going bad.
It should be noted that there is contention in the cooking community, and some chefs think that using leftover wine (or bad wine) is fine, whereas others disagree and call for only the finest in their dishes. We think this is a somewhat silly argument when the wine is being cooked (as opposed to being used as a final topping). Heat exposure will destroy much of the wine’s flavor, such as tannins or those imparted by oak barrels. So we wouldn’t ever recommend cooking with expensive wine.
Uses for Wine in Cooking
There are so many applications for how we can use wine when we cook. Wine brings acidity, sweetness, and flavor to a dish which enhances the complexity and makes a better final product.
Marinating meat or vegetables in wine, herbs, vinegar, and other flavoring agents, is a great way to ensure what you cook is flavorful and retains some moisture in the cooking process. A good rule of thumb is to use one cup of wine for every cup of oil in a marinade.
Stocks are used as bases for soups and grains and can be much more flavorful when accompanied by the right type of wine.
Roasting meats in a liquid base (especially when flavored by good wine) creates a robust flavor and tender finale for a dinner entree.
Wine can be poured into a hot pan that has been used for searing or for braising, to help loosen what has stuck to the pan (called the fond). This is the base for many pan sauces which are the foundations of French cooking.
Fruit can be cooked in wine to form the base of many Italian desserts, or poached fruits can be used to form the filling for pies.
Simply pouring a bit of sweet wine over the top of ice cream or other cool desserts is a delicious way to finish a meal.
How to Use Wine in Cooking
Some Dishes Featuring Specific Wine Varietals
If a recipe calls for cooking wine a table wine will suffice, but the reverse is not always true. Different wines bring different flavor profiles, and sometimes when a recipe calls for a dry white wine, a Marsala will not cut it.
We wanted to list a few dishes that are either closely associated with a certain wine, or are a particularly good use for a varietal.
Pinot Noir: A good pinot is earthy, but still has good forward fruit. We would love to pair this with braised meats and mushrooms or maybe roasted duck breast. Pinot is also a good candidate for making a rich pan sauce — with pork chops, for example.
Chardonnay: The buttery full-bodied Chards will be a great addition to a coq au vin blanc. It could also be used to make a beurre blanc, a delicious butter and wine mixture that can be spooned over vegetables and other meats.
Sauvignon Blanc: Sauvignon blanc typically doesn’t carry heavy flavors that will overwhelm lighter dishes, so we would recommend cooking the sauvignon into a cream sauce or with seafood dishes.
Riesling: Riesling has many different flavors that can show through depending on how it is made, but look to classic German and Alsatian dishes. Pâté in a riesling jelly is a classic, as is chicken braised in riesling and cream.
Pinot Grigio: The lightness of pinot grigio will be very helpful for seafood dishes and could be used to poach light, Mediterranean fish with olive oil. Served over pasta, the pinot grigio flavored cooking liquid makes a delicious sauce.
Zinfandel: The big fruit flavors of zinfandel work well with gamey dishes. Think about cooking venison or wild boar and using zinfandel to make a pan sauce.
Merlot: We love the flavors of duck breast and merlot. Make a rich, buttery pan sauce to accompany it.
Cabernet Sauvignon: Risotto tinted with a dry red like cabernet is a great side dish that can be paired with pan-seared scallops or roasted chicken.
Chianti: Classic pairings for cooking with Chianti include lamb, boar, and offal all braised in rich Chianti.
Syrah: Syrah is another wine that is great for making pan sauces and braises. We really love it as a pan sauce that gets spooned over grilled red meats.
Sparkling Wine: Sparkling wine (and particularly champagne) is a classic addition to a lot of desserts. Truffles, mousses, and foams can be pepped up with a little bit of sparkling wine.
Vermouth: Vermouth is a classic cooking ingredient due to its high acidity, and can be used as a base for sauces and braises. We would recommend trying it in chicken Provençal.
Madeira: Madeira can be a magical addition to dishes, and works particularly well with gamey flavors. It can make great sauces for game birds and it is an integral part of making some types of cake.
Sherry: Sherry is used to add acidity to many glazes (for desserts or savory dishes) and makes an incredible vinaigrette.
Amidst nutrition facts, ingredient lists and dietary claims on food packages, the term organic might seem like just one more thing to decipher at the grocery store. Are those organic eggs and carrots really worth the extra few bucks?
Well, from a physical health standpoint, eating organics won’t make a noticeable difference in your physique. Unfortunately, the media tends to focus on this point, alone, causing many people to overlook organics. Yet, organically grown food can make a big difference in your mental health and overall sense of wellbeing.
What Is Organic Food?
Organic food includes plants and animals that were produced without harmful pesticides, fertilizers, GMOs, antibiotics or hormones. Instead, farmers rely on biological fertilizers and eco-friendly pest management practices to produce a healthy crop and fertile soil year after year. They also use environmentally friendly production practices like water management, no-till farming and habitat maintenance. In doing so, organic farmers enhance the ecosystem and promote biodiversity.
To gain organic certification, a farmer submits an organic system plan to an accredited certifier and undergoes an inspection each year. Farmers must also meet animal health welfare standards, keep a detailed record of all products and abide by all rules that the National Organic Program has put in place to maintain their certification.
Pesticides and Mental Health
Nearly 47% of U.S. adults will battle a mental illness at some point in their lives, and 18% of the population suffers from anxiety each year. In many cases, lifestyle changes, major events and even chemical imbalances in the brain can cause anxiety. However, what you put in your body can also increase your risk of developing this debilitating disorder.
Many conventional farmers use fertilizers and organic insecticide pesticides like organophosphates to protect their crops. Despite some differences, all organophosphates inhibit acetylcholinesterase. This enzyme is responsible for clearing chemicals that transmit signals between brain cells and other parts of the body. If this acetylcholinesterase doesn’t do its job, the pesticide can disrupt the central nervous system.
Over the past few decades, researchers have discovered a link between organophosphates and neuropsychiatric disorders. Some of the most striking evidence comes from instances of short-term, high-level exposure in agricultural workers, veterans of the Gulf War and civilians in the Sarin gas attack on a Tokyo subway. Each of these groups of people have shown high incidences of depression, anxiety, and related neurological impairments.
Now, many scientists surmise that long-term, low-level exposure to this compound can play a role in disorders like anxiety and depression as well. Therefore, eating foods free of these toxic compounds can minimize your risk of developing these mental illnesses.
Which Organics Are Best?
Because organic foods are free of anxiety-inducing pesticides, fertilizers, and insecticides, they can potentially help with anxiety. However, if you don’t want to commit to a fully organic diet, buy foods that will give you the best bang for your buck.
The following foods are especially beneficial for those looking to ease anxiety and live a happy, healthy life.
Brazil nuts are high in selenium, which can reduce inflammation, a common symptom of anxiety. They also contain other antioxidants like vitamin E that can effectively treat anxiety and potentially prevent depression in some people. Consume three to four brazil nuts or no more than 400 micrograms of selenium per day to get 100% of your daily intake.
Researchers have begun to link vitamin D deficiency to mood disorders like anxiety and depression. Luckily, you can boost your intake of this essential vitamin by consuming more eggs. Eggs also contain tryptophan, an amino acid that creates serotonin. This chemical neurotransmitter helps regulate mood and can even relieve anxiety.
Although it’s unclear how dark chocolate reduces stress but, experts have found that cocoa can improve mood. Like eggs, chocolate contains high levels of tryptophans. Plus, dark chocolate contains magnesium, an essential nutrient that may reduce symptoms of depression. Aim for 70% or more cocoa when choosing a dark chocolate to reap the most benefits — and minimize sugar intake.
Chamomile tea also works to reduce inflammation and relax the body. It’s also similar to chocolate in that it contains flavonoids, which can reduce anxiety symptoms. The herbal remedy contains antioxidants as well, which help to prevent cell damage and treat mental illnesses like anxiety.
Fermented foods like Greek yogurt can benefit natural gut bacteria and reduce chronic inflammation, a condition that may be partly responsible for anxiety, stress and depression. Look for organic brands that contain living bacteria to really give your brain a boost.
Managing Anxiety Holistically
Of course, eating whole, organic foods can do wonders for your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. However, the best way to treat anxiety is with a holistic approach. Treat the whole body to sunshine, fresh air, movement, and meditation. Practice mindfulness, start a gratitude journal, or try traditional Chinese medicine. When paired with a healthy, organic diet, natural remedies can help ease your mind and minimize symptoms of anxiety.
What Should You Do If You Have Lingering COVID-19 Symptoms?
Many in Los Angeles who were infected by Covid-19 now find themselves experiencing symptoms long after they are no longer infected. Read on for more information about what the symptoms of ‘long-haul’ or ‘long Covid’ may look like and what you should do if you have them.
What is long-haul Covid-19?
Recent studies indicate that of those who recover from Covid-19, 50-80% will experience lingering effects three months after infection. Symptoms can linger regardless of whether you were hospitalized or not. Researchers have also learned that long-Covid symptoms can first appear in waves:
It’s important to note that not everyone who has long Covid will experience all of the symptoms indicated in the timeline and that they may even skip one or more of these “waves.” There is still much to learn about the novel coronavirus, but it is believed that these lingering symptoms stem from inflammation caused by the virus. Most common lingering symptoms not mentioned include:
Brain fog and impaired memory
Joint and chest pain
Loss of taste and/or smell
Those who experienced severe symptoms, adults over 50, and people with underlying health conditions are most likely to experience long-haul Covid-19.
Image cr.: pexels.com
Avoiding the risk of long-term symptoms
The best way to avoid long-term Covid-19 side effects is to avoid infection. This means following social distancing and mask-wearing guidelines.
In the event you need to get tested, the LAPH website has guidance regarding testing – including what types of tests you need, and ways to access testing and treatment for free.
Families may also consider using DIY Covid-19 testing kits to test themselves at home. The tests most widely available are PCR tests, which require lab processing. This means after self-administering the test at home, samples are mailed to the laboratory which produced the kit. Depending on lab and mail delivery times, your results can take 3-14 days.
The first rapid antigen DIY testing kit was recently authorized by the FDA for use by the general public. This test requires no lab processing and produces results in 15 minutes. These tests are still in production, but are expected to debut on shelves in the coming weeks. Once production is in full swing, these tests are expected to cost roughly $30 each, but will likely be priced much higher when they first hit shelves.
Those in need of testing options that balance both convenience and safety may wish to consider getting tested at home. Onsite medical service providers will send a nurse with a Covid test for a home visit to administer Covid-19 tests to everyone in the household. As healthcare providers, they already have access to rapid test options.
Angelinos with specific testing needs who may particularly benefit from at-home Covid-19 testing include:
Young children, as well as neurodivergent children and those with disabilities unable to wear a mask for long periods of time
People with severe cases of Covid-19 who need regular testing as part of treatment and want to minimize risk of transmission to others
People at high risk of severe symptoms who have not yet been vaccinated, and those who interact with them regularly
People with physical conditions who would benefit from medical professionals administering the test
What should I do if I have long Covid?
If you are still experiencing Covid-19 symptoms 6 weeks after recovery, you should contact your primary care physician, even if you had mild symptoms while sick. Doctors can work with you to find treatments and strategies that reduce discomfort and help you cope.
Earlier this year, Cedars-Sinai opened a Covid-19 recovery program exclusively for patients with lingering symptoms. Anyone interested in participating must be referred by a physician. Low-income LA County residents should reach out to My Health LA through the LA County Department of Public Health (LAPH) if they are in need of Covid-19 treatment.
Along with the rising temperatures comes an increased urge for some good old-fashioned backyard barbecue vibes, and refreshing drinks. Cann, the leading cannabis-infused social tonic, relaunched a delicious seasonal flavor on March 15, just in time for Spring: Ginger Lemongrass!
This bright, crisp, THC-infused sparkling tonic is the perfect drink for Spring celebrations, and unlike alcohol-based tonics, will leave you feeling refreshed and reenergized the next morning. Cann tonics are infused with 2mg of THC and 4mg of CBD to create a light, uplifting buzz at a fraction of the calories of a normal drink. Ginger Lemongrass, like all of Cann’s products, are gluten-free, non-GMO, vegan, and contain only organic ingredients.
The launch of Linger Lemongrass comes on the heels of a big year for Cann — they’ve been named the fastest-growing cannabis-infused beverage to date, and take up 24 percent of the cannabis beverage market in California. They’ve also observed YoY growth of over 2,000 percent — and they aren’t slowing down anytime soon! With A-list investors and fans like Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Hudson, and Rebel Wilson, Cann has cemented itself as one of the best non-alcoholic adult beverages around.
Whether a Spring refresh, or a Summer cool down, Cann comes in a variety of flavorful favorites that are sure to come in handy for your seasonal celebrations, including Lemon Lavender, Blood Orange Cardamom, and Grapefruit Rosemary.
Spring cleaning is an annual routine where we rid our homes of unnecessary materials that no
longer serve us. You can also apply this method of cleaning to your body. Get your health back
on track this spring to ensure a safe and carefree summer.
If you plan to travel, or your children plan on attending camp, schedule doctors’ appointments
now to reduce stress when planning summer activities. Evaluate your nutrition, exercise routine,
skin, oral health, sleep, mental health, and family history to maximize your well-being this
Consult a Dietician
Increase your nutrition efficiency by visiting a dietician. One of the most effective ways to aid
your overall health is through your gut. If you or your family members struggle with significant
weight gain or loss, allergies, picky eating, bloating, stomach pain, diarrhea, or constipation,
schedule an appointment this spring.
In the U.S., we normalize the intake of fast food and the negative feelings it causes. These
consumption patterns cause a variety of health impacts that you can challenge with a good diet.
Working with a nutrition specialist to craft adequate meals for your family can:
● Reduce their risk for heart disease, stroke, cancer, osteoporosis, and diabetes.
● Reduce their blood pressure.
● Lower their cholesterol.
● Increase their ability to fight illnesses.
● Increase their energy levels and well-being.
Reevaluate Your Exercise Routine
Increase your muscular and skeletal health by switching up your workout routine. To maximize
your fitness, research the benefits of your previous exercise forms and contact a professional
trainer to add in necessary elements.
Your well-rounded workouts should last 30 to 60 minutes. You should engage in them five days
a week. You can also participate in 20 to 60 minutes of vigorous exercise three days a week.
There are additional alterations you can make to increase your happiness while training.
If you typically work out at the gym alone, try taking a communal cycling or yoga class. And if
you cycle in a studio, try biking outside in nature instead. An easy way to change your routine is
by altering your warm-up. Instead of spending 10 minutes on the treadmill, shorten your start
with high-intensity circuits.
Visit a Dermatologist
Less than 20% of the U.S. population visits a dermatologist regularly. If it has been a while since
you or your family members have scheduled an appointment, it may be time to do so.
Many people believe that you need an urgent issue to see a dermatologist, but annual checkups
can improve everyone’s health. If you, or a family member, has a mole, acne, or hair loss, it may
be a good idea to consult a dermatologist. Some topical issues resolve on their own while others
worsen over time, so it’s essential to address them early after identification.
Schedule a Dentist Appointment
Biannual dentist appointments can address issues outside of tooth health. These professionals
completed oral hygiene training, which covers the entire mouth. Before attending your dental
appointment, it can help to jot down concerns you have about your mouth’s health.
Over two-thirds of patients struggle with persistent oral cold sores but never discuss this issue
with their dentist. Rather than waiting for your health to decline, consult your doctor about cold
sores and other abnormalities to maximize the health of your mouth.
Challenge Your Sleep Routine
With spring beginning just days after Daylight Saving, it is a great season to reevaluate your
sleep patterns. A limited number of civilians receive adequate amounts of rest at night.
Signs that you need to alter your or your children’s sleep routines include:
● It takes 30 minutes or more to fall asleep.
● Waking up more than once a night.
● Lying awake for 20 minutes, or more, in the night.
● Skin breakouts or puffy eyes.
● Difficulty concentrating during the day.
You can improve your family’s sleep habits by sticking to a schedule, researching how many
hours of rest each member needs, rearranging bedrooms, and managing worries.
Visit a Therapist
A vital tip for improving your family’s health is to evaluate everyone’s mental status. Mental health includes emotional, social, and psychological well-being. If you or your family members
are showing signs of struggle in these areas, it may be time to visit a therapist.
Therapy is an effective form of treatment for many underlying struggles that everyone feels.
Staying on top of your family’s mental well-being is a crucial way to keep everyone healthy this
Learn Your Family’s Health History
A smart way to prevent future illness is to evaluate your family’s health history. Most civilians
have at least one chronic disease present in their immediate or extended family. This increases
your likelihood of developing the same illness later in life.
Asking your parents or other family members about their chronic illness can help you better
prevent your exposure to them. You can also contact doctors of deceased family members to
access medical records for further precautions. When it comes to major medical issues, staying
ahead of the game can allow for a healthy and stress-free future.
It All Starts With a Conversation
If you are living with older family members, they may resist particular medical treatments. Talk
to your family about their increased risks for certain illnesses and the benefits of maximizing
their health. When your family supports one another, it benefits everyone’s well-being.
Made in L.A. 2020 artist Reynaldo Rivera’s large (and largely unseen) body of photographic work captures Los Angeles’ queer clubs and house party scene in the 1980s and 1990s. These images depict a version of the city that has all but disappeared: Echo Park as a predominantly Latinx neighborhood rife with artists, writers, and performers full of flair and queer glamour. For Made in L.A. 2020, Rivera shares a selection from this archive, including intimate photographs from clubs (front of stage and back), bars, and house parties.
Reynaldo Rivera was born in Mexico but spent his childhood traveling across the border and within the United States—mostly between San Diego de la Unión, Mexico; Los Angeles; and Stockton, California—before settling as a young adult in East L.A. Rivera’s large (and largely unseen) body of photographic work captures the city’s queer clubs and house party scene in the 1980s and 1990s. These images depict a version of Los Angeles that has all but disappeared: Echo Park as a predominantly Latinx neighborhood rife with artists, writers, and performers full of flair and queer glamour.
For Made in L.A. 2020, Rivera shares a selection from this archive, including intimate photographs from clubs (front of stage and back), bars, and house parties. A vital aspect of his ongoing project is remembering and lending visibility to a community of vibrant trans women and drag performers who often died tragically and young. His images of people who are missing from public ledgers and administrative records offer a reminder that L.A. is a place with a deep history and a short memory.
Stay up late to wait for the Roaming Gnome… like waiting for Santa.
A few weeks back, we taught readers about Travelocity’s ‘Toe-Dip-Trip’. If you need a recap on what that is, you can learn more here. Now that we’re all caught up on the term, perhaps you’re feeling eager to set sail on your own trip to test the waters. Well, how does $1000 to help you get started sound?
That’s right — Travelocity’s Roaming Gnome is giving out $1000 for a family getaway! As vaccine rollout ramps up in the U.S., Travelocity is seeing strong demand for spring and summer vacations. As a result, Travelocity’s ‘Early Bird’ sale is timed to launch on Daylight Savings (March 14) when clocks spring forward. This incredible opportunity is arriving just in time to give families a little help getting their plans together.
The extremely limited time offer is taking place on Travelocity’s Twitter during the lost hour when clocks spring forward. At 1:59 am CT – when clocks spring forward to 3:00 am CT – Travelocity will drop a 1-hour ‘Early Bird’ flash sale. The first 25 people to reply to Travelocity’s Tweet and creatively answer the travel prompt will claim a $1,000 vacation package voucher to book their upcoming family travel and vacations.
To give early bird bookers and families everywhere some travel inspiration, the brand has also compiled a list of the 5 most popular family vacation destinations reserved on Travelocity so far in 2021. Pair this with the list of Top Spots for Spring Break from Travelocity’s team of experts for “toe-dip” destinations, and the possibilities are endless!
Top 5 Most Popular Family Destinations:
1. The Ozarks: Branson, Fayetteville, Table Rock State Park
2. Southern California: Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Diego
3. Central Florida: Orlando, Kissimmee, Lake Buena Vista
4. Rocky Mountains: Colorado Springs, Denver, Rocky Mountains
5. South Texas: San Antonio, Galveston, Padre Island
Top Spots for Spring Break:
Tennessee is the top family-friendly destination so far in 2021 – Home to 4 destinations in the top 20 most reserved and most loved by families so far in 2021.
Top TN Cities:
1. Pigeon Forge
Orlando and Vegas remain popular, even in pandemic times – Resorts in both locations are popular for families with extra amenities and safety built in, like free cancellations, giving travelers time to change their trips if they change their minds.
In the West, families are road tripping for lake views and tiny mountain towns. Lake Tahoe, Big Bear Lake and Lake Havasu City are among the top road trip destinations, in addition to smaller ski towns with mountain views.
1. Lake Tahoe
2. Big Bear Lake
3. Lake Havasu City
1. Blowing Rock, NC
2. Mammoth Lakes, CA
3. Glenwood Springs, CO
Midwest cities are popular for weekend getaways. Chicago, Detroit and Minneapolis are seeing the greatest demand for weekend getaways and shorter stays (2-night stays or less). Kansas City, Lincoln, NE, Indianapolis, Oklahoma City, and Columbus, OH are also in the top 25 most reserved by families.
Travelocity’s Top Travel Tips
1. Change your mind, change your trip.
Shop hotels with free cancellation and flights with free change fees on any future travel. That will make it easy for you to alter plans if you need to. Many hotels are offering free cancellation up until the week of the reservation.
If you’re flying, consider skipping basic economy fares which often don’t come with as much flexibility right now.
2. Prioritize what makes you feel safe when traveling in the short-term.
Enhanced cleanliness filters can help you sort for hotel, VR and resort properties going above and beyond right now.
Look for 3 things in particular:
Additional safety measures (like PPE and temperature checks)
Social distancing (such as limited use of amenities such as pools and extra vacancy time between bookings)
Cleaning practices (including use of disinfectants and hand sanitizer for guests)
3. Pack and plan with pandemic prep in mind
Cover the basics by packing clean masks and sanitizer and do your prep by familiarizing with local guidelines at destination and when you return home.
In November 2019, beekeeper Ted McFall was horrified to discover that 60,000 of his honeybees had been had their heads severed and their hive wiped clean. He had no clue as to what kind of creature was behind the carnage, until a looming threat provided him the answer: the Asian Giant Hornet. This dangerous, new, and invasive species has made headlines across the nation since its arrival in the U.S., specifically the Pacific Northwest, where the first nest was discovered in Blaine, WA. The all-new feature documentary, ATTACK OF THE MURDER HORNETS, by filmmaker Michael Paul Stephenson (Best Worst Movie, The American Scream) launched on February 20 on discovery+. It centers on a concerned crew of beekeepers and scientists who must work together to protect their quiet Washington community from the threat of the Asian Giant Hornet, known famously today as the “Murder Hornet.” The documentary is part of Discovery’s UNDISCOVERED, the Discovery documentary strand that explores some of our greatest mysteries, potentially rewriting the history books along the way.
“Murder Hornets” use their enormous mandibles to behead every honeybee they catch; a single hornet can behead 20 bees a minute, and a small group of hornets can destroy a hive of 30,000 bees in just 90 minutes. The danger of the hornet in the U.S. threatens our fragile food supply, putting the livelihood of honeybees — the world’s most important pollinator of food crops — at risk. A threat to a honeybee is a threat to all of us.
Interview with SAMANTHA SMART – Editor of ATTACK OF THE MURDER HORNETS.
How did you come to work on this project? I’ve been working with the director, Michael Paul Stephenson, for the better part of a decade now. He and I have such a great collaborative relationship, so when he asked me to move up to Washington to help him make a movie about murder hornets, I didn’t hesitate.
So you actually went on location for this shoot? Were you living with the crew? I did move up to Bellingham, WA for this project which is somewhat unusual for an editor, or at least it is for me. Normally they would finish or get most of the way through the shoot before I come in, but with our original schedule being so tight, I began editing the first day they started shooting, so me being on location was crucial. I lived in a house that doubled as the post facility with two other crew members – John Lang, a producer on the film, and Rich Wong, the cinematographer. As an editor, I don’t always get to meet the crew. Rich, for example, I’ve been working with for years on many different projects, but I hadn’t met him in person until this project. I certainly didn’t expect our first meeting to be us living together for months, but it was incredibly fun. The whole crew was great and I’m really glad I got to spend time with them.
Did you ever get to see any actual murder hornets? One day while I was working, the crew came by and called out, “we’re putting some hornets in the fridge so don’t bump the jar they’re in!”, then they left. I slowly snuck into the kitchen and opened the refrigerator and there they were! Two murder hornets just chilling in a jar. Not too many people can say they’ve had murder hornets in their fridge.
That sounds scary! Did anything else scary happen while you were there. I wasn’t too scared of the murder hornets, but on night one in the new house there was the biggest spider I’d ever seen in my bedroom. It was my first time meeting John and Rich so I was pretty embarrassed that I immediately had to ask them to help me kill a spider. I think they thought I was being a baby, but when Rich came in he actually thought I was playing a prank on him and had bought a fake spider from a Halloween store. We tried vacuuming it up and it was literally stronger than the vacuum suction. It clung to the carpet for dear life but eventually the vacuum got it. And actually, over the course of this documentary I’ve come to appreciate and respect insects more, and I honestly regret killing that spider. But probably the scariest thing that happened while I was there, has to do with the podcast I host called Too Scary; Didn’t Watch. I love horror movies, so each week I watch one, then recap it for my co-hosts that are too scared to watch. Well, there were a few times that I was home alone when the rest of the crew was staying in Olympia for a shoot, and on one of the nights that I was home alone, I had to watch Paranormal Activity 2. In Los Angeles, I live in a tiny little apartment surrounded by other apartments, but now I was in this big empty, secluded house in the Pacific Northwest, and wouldn’t you know it, there was a thunderstorm that night. I don’t know if I’ve ever been so scared. I kept thinking, “Is this how regular people feel when they watch scary movies? This is horrible!”
Speaking of horror films, Attack of the Murder Hornets definitely has an element of horror to it, was that intentional? – Yes, from the beginning we kind of imagined it as “a horror film meets Christopher Guest.” One of my favorite horror tropes is the killer’s POV shot, and we got some amazing hornet POV shots using a small drone. I think it’s a really fun device that adds suspense but also a bit of comedy. We also used a lot of horror movies as inspiration for the score. I used temp music from things like It Follows, Stranger Things and The Rental.
The music in this is great. Our composer, Julian Cisneros, is INCREDIBLE. The first time I heard his finished score, I cried. I think he did such amazing work.
How did Covid impact the shoot? We had to take weekly Covid tests, and of course there’s the fact that in a large percentage of the footage, people are wearing masks. That actually turned out to be kind of a blessing as an editor, as it’s a lot easier to cheat certain coverage if we need to.
How did you edit together footage when you had no idea what would be happening the next day? It was certainly a challenge! Basically my process was to watch and log each day’s dailies, and keep thorough notes of what stood out to me as important story points, or good character moments. Part of the problem was that these characters were so compelling that there was an incredible amount of great footage. However, we realized pretty early on that the main driving story was going to be the hunt. So the million dollar question was – are they actually going to find a nest? We were always hopeful that they would, but at a certain point you have to start making backup plans and start asking – ok, how do we end this movie if they’re not successful? So you’re basically playing out various scenarios in your head and trying to plan as best you can for each (while hoping and praying for the one you want!) I don’t want to spoil too much, but I will say I’m very happy with the way it all ultimately panned out.
What was your favorite scene that didn’t make the final cut? Like I said, the people featured in the film were so awesome that there was definitely a surplus of great footage. There were many scenes that we ended up cutting, but a favorite of mine would be a scene at Sven’s home. He’s the Chief Entomologist and he showed us his insect collection, then his young daughter showed us hers as well. It was a very sweet and heartwarming scene, but as we started leaning further into the horror/suspense aspects of the film, it just felt out of place. And I should add, that was not a scene I edited. As we got deeper into the shoot, it became clear we needed a second editor and so we brought on a very talented editor, Eric Martin. So shout out to Eric for editing my favorite deleted scene!
Your editing helps the film move at an urgent pace and keeps viewers glued to the screen. Can you tell us more about that? There were times when this felt almost like a heist movie. You’ve all these people each with specific roles – Chris Looney leading the charge, Vikram assisting with the tech, Ruthie Danielsen and all the citizen scientists helping them cover more ground. There is a real urgency to what they’re doing, and the stakes are incredibly high, not to mention it’s all happening under intense public scrutiny. We wanted the audience to feel that urgency and root for these dedicated individuals. Normally I edit at a much slower pace and give things room to breathe, but for this we wanted to keep it moving as quickly as possible and keep viewers on the edge of their seats.
How do you feel about the hornets after learning about them everyday?
I’m definitely less scared of them then I was before this project. That goes for insects in general. Seeing how these entomologists just love insects and spend all their time with insects made me feel less grossed out by bugs and more fascinated by them. And while I obviously think the murder hornet, a.k.a. Asian Giant Hornet, does not belong in North America and must be eradicated, I also don’t think we need to have nightmares about them swarming and killing humans. Unless you stomp on their nest, you probably have nothing to worry about.