Archive for February, 2013

Steve and Amy head to Bloomington, IL, to investigate reports of horrifying paranormal encounters at a family residence. Their frightened client, Diane, says that she’s been scratched and seen some strange things, and that an entity told her she has only 2 years to live. Diane is desperate to stop the activity and believes that she and her disabled son’s lives are in danger.

In their separate, spellbinding investigations, Steve uncovers evidence of a deadly land dispute and hundreds of dead bodies buried on the property, while Amy encounters an eerie entity that crawls into bed with the living to torment them in their sleep.  Finally, the team unites to reveal their shocking findings in an effort to help this terrified family.

Will Steve and Amy be able to put Diane’s worries to rest or will Diane and her son be forced to vacate the premises? Find out on an all-new Dead Files, tonight at 10|9c.

Plus, check out exclusive behind-the-scenes photos from tonight’s episode.

Whether you love it or love to hate it, Valentine’s Day is on everyone’s minds – even travel bloggers. This week, we rounded up our favorite love-themed posts from across the travel blogosphere.

Valentine’s Day may be more popular than you think. In fact, it is the second most celebrated holiday in the world. And just like there are so many ways to say “I love you” around the world, each country has its own traditions when it comes to celebrating V-Day. Check out Hopper’s post for a look at how some countries choose to express their love.

Hoping to really sweep your loved one off their feet? Select Renaissance hotels are offering a romance package that includes coating your hotel suite in flowers: 27,000 blossoms will cover everything from the bed to the walls. Read more about this over-the-top Valentine’s travel experience on Gadling.

For fun-lovers, Rio’s Carnival is the ultimate party. But if you’re looking for something a little less touristy and crowded, you don’t have to travel to Rio to be a part of the Carnival celebration. 2Backpackers offers their list of other great Carnival celebrations where you can still experience the constant parties, parades and performances.

When you’re a kid, Valentine’s is all about the heart-shaped lollipops, conversation hearts and, of course, chocolate. Now that we’re older….well, let’s face it, we still want candy. Check out some of the world’s largest candy stores to find the perfect sweet for your sweetie.

Stay up-to-date on events around the world with This Week in Photos!

By Mommy Points

With the 2014 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony set for February 7, 2014, the Games in Sochi, Russia, are now officially less than a year away.  If you want to be at the Opening Ceremony, or one of the other 15 types of winter events that will take place during the 2014 Games, then mark this Monday, February 11, 2013, in bold letters on your calendar.

The public sale for remaining individual event tickets begins promptly at noon eastern on Monday.  This will be a first come, first serve sale, so in order to have the best shot at getting what you are after, don’t be late getting online on Monday.  Event tickets start at $22 USD and go up into the hundreds of dollars for more popular events like ice skating and men’s hockey finals.  If you are interested in a ticket + hotel package deal, some of those are already available now.

The official website to purchase Olympic tickets and packages depends on your country of residence, but those residing in countries such as the United States, Canada, Great Britain and Australia must use CoSport.com.  If you plan to participate in the ticket sale, I recommend registering for an account with CoSport now to avoid any potential delays on Monday.  Also, keep in mind that only Visa cards are accepted for official Olympic ticket sales.

Good luck!

And get a glimpse of future Games in our The Olympics: A Look Ahead slideshow!

Summer Hull is the founder of MommyPoints.coma site dedicated to helping a community of readers discover how to travel the world at a greatly reduced cost, primarily by taking advantage of current travel promotions and maximizing travel rewards programs.

Los Angeles

Los Angeles has a reputation for being a company town, a place where everything revolves around the entertainment industry. Show business is indeed a huge part of the city, and it’s there for visitors to enjoy, from tours of movie studio back lots to celebrity sightings. But LA has so much more to offer. Scratch beneath the celluloid surface and you’ll also find rich cultural and culinary diversity, a thriving visual arts scene, and natural beauty, from beaches and mountains to great parks and un-Botoxed faces.

Hollywood and West Hollywood are great for both families and party people. Many of the city’s best known nightclubs, bars, and music venues are in the area, some within trendy hotels like the Hollywood Roosevelt. For families, proximity to major attractions like the Walk of Fame and Universal Studios Theme Park, coupled with some affordable, unpretentious hotels, like the Magic Castle, make Hollywood a great base camp.

Not surprisingly, true luxury can be had in Beverly Hills at large, iconic, amenity-filled properties like the Beverly Hills Hotel and Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire. There are also small, affordable boutique properties, like the Luxe Rodeo Drive, for those who want to spend less on their hotel and more on haute couture.

- Oyster.com Staff

Photography by Ian Shive / Aurora Photos

Avatar’s lush Pandora? Or … Eastern Europe. Yes on both counts. This light-filled fantasyland of terraced waterfalls is Skradinski Buk, the most enticing corner of Croatia’s Krka National Park. More »

Photography by John Talbot, flickr

New England is bracing for a blizzard of potentially historic and crippling proportions Friday into Saturday, according to the latest weather reports. At this time, it looks like coastal New England will feel the brunt of it, with a possible 2 feet of snow.

Of course, a storm of this magnitude will present serious problems for travelers. Already more than 1,100 flights have been canceled, according to FlightAware.com, and that number is likely to grow as the storm hits. Check out our tips on flight cancellations and driving in hazardous road conditions.

While Nemo is a serious winter storm, we can’t help but wonder about the name … after all, most of us think of the cute little Disney fish, not a devasting blizzard. So what’s the deal? Turns out, the Weather Channel has started naming winter storms in the 2012-2013 season and reports its strict criteria when it comes to naming a winter storm — snowfall amount, wind, temperature, time of impact, etc. In this case, the weather folks were thinking of Nemo — as in a Greek boy’s name meaning “from the valley.” Nemo also means “nobody” in Latin.

It’s not likely Nemo will be nobody, though. NYC alone may see 38 inches of snow. With a storm of this scale, perhaps the other winter storm names Magnus, Zeus or Rocky would have been more fitting (definitely not Yogi).

It’s been 3 years since the Snowmageddon blizzard buried the mid-Atlantic states. Will Nemo be one of the worst US blizzards in the country’s history?

One thing’s certain: If you’re an in an area that will be fighting Nemo,  please stay home. We suggest keeping warm with a café mocha or winter cocktail and dreaming about the epic ski conditions that just may follow.

Reuters

Chinese New Year falls on Sunday, Feb. 10, but you don’t need to cross the ocean for the party. The most widely celebrated Chinese festival is a time to welcome longevity, wealth and prosperity into your life. Spot a dragon, the bearer of good luck, or set off some firecrackers to chase off evil spirits in one of these cities – our picks for the best cities to ring in the year of the snake! READ MORE

Photography by Dennis Welsh / Aurora Photos

Is this husky grinning because he is the leader of the pack? Or just because it happens to be a perfect winter day for dog sledding on Lake Umbagog, the pristine, and in the winter frozen, body of shallow water that calls both Maine and New Hampshire home? More »

As soon as I got off the elevator at baggage claim, I knew I was in New Orleans and I knew it had to be Super Bowl week. Immediately, I saw 200 limo drivers holding up signs for corporate types and A-list celebs and heard the background music provided by a Second Line band. All this was set to the staccato backbeat of a hundred pairs of 6-inch Loubs scooting across the linoleum floor as the out-of-town party girls made their way to the cars picking them up at the curb.

Super Bowl week is something else. When I got to the hotel at 6 p.m., I saw hundreds of famous faces in the lobby, including my old pal, middle-line-backing legend, Dhani Jones. I got to my room just in time to see the fireworks show over the river. The display is so impressive here in NOLA and as the entire weekend proved, NO ONE does the Super Bowl better than the City of New Orleans. Everything worked —  the proximity of the events to each other, the great food and drink, the gracious hosts. Riding elevators with guys like Dr. Harry Edwards, George Seifert, and hundreds of players and former players gave me a swivel-neck ache like no other. I have tons of pics on my Instagram account (@chefaz) and at www.andrewzimmern.com, so go check it out.

Andrew's Instagrams

Night one was all about eating. I went to August, and John Besh, Michael and Emily and their entire team cooked a meal for the record books: Three hours of insane chow celebrating all the flavors of NOLA, with a stunning array of oysters, crawfish and pastas crushed under the weight of sliced truffles and game meats. Plus, watching Aaron Sanchez get mobbed by fans, Packers great Clay Matthews have a Jerry Maguire-style dinner with his agent and Jeremy Piven work the room was a lot of the fun for sure. My pals swore they spotted reclusive super-agent and entertainment mogul Andrew Chason. Not sure I buy it.

Friday was all about the Let’s Kick Hunger Campaign for Taste of the NFL (make your reservations now for next year in New York City!). I spoke on hunger relief awareness issues at the Earl Morrall breakfast in a room filled with a hundred Hall of Famers, including most of the undefeated 1972 Dolphins team that Morral helped lead to Super Bowl glory. Mallory Hagan, our new Miss America, was my co-host for many Taste events all weekend … I have a pretty good job most days! I broke off for an hour to do the Dan Patrick show on Direct TV and make some etouffee, then Miss America and I took a slew of press and corporate execs out to Second Harvest food bank for a walkthrough and awareness-raising event, which couldn’t have been better. I spent a few hours in the NFL Media Center doing interviews and then got to spend some time with Patrick Warburton and Dhani Jones before rushing off to the Friday Night Huddle for Taste of the NFL and then to the Artie Lange show. Artie is a great guy, and hanging out with him and Joe Buck talking baseball was way cool. I cooked some Asian street food and then hit the showers before heading over to the first party of the night, the Playboy event at the old Jax Brewery.

Andrew and Dhani

A word about the scene here. The weekend can be divided into several layers: first there are the fans — they get tons of access depending on what they choose to buy into. I wanted to hit the NFL Experience but couldn’t get in … that’s a fan event. Then there are the celebs, tiered in A, B and C lists. We get invited to parties, to host events, do media interviews and participate in sponsor activations. Like restaurant health department grades, the better your letter, the better your fun quotient and … most importantly … the better your access at events. Then there are the players and the NFL execs. They attend anything they damn well please. It’s the Super Bowl! It’s their celebration. Then there are the sponsors. They run everything and make the rules. It’s always good to know the law of the jungle before you put on your pith helmet. The sponsors here create mega events: Questlove spinning with Jay Z and Justin Timberlake at the Direct TV SuperSaturdayNight, Stevie Wonder at the Bud Party, Lil Wayne at GQ, Cee-lo helmed the ESPN event, and so on.

Friday night at 11 I showed up at the Playboy party. Wow. Yes it was what you would expect: music thumping, booty-bumping, crab-cake-lumping … crazy crazy. Food by Besh, lots of great music and hanging out in small roped-off areas shouting at your friends who are 4 inches from you. Lots of networking, and fending off the Playmates … the girls all try to collect as many middle-aged, devilishly cherubic food dudes as they can. Just sayin’. By 3 a.m., I was sipping Café au Lait and eating beignets at Café du Monde with drunk street urchins, shifty grifters, cops, Lorena Garcia and crazy fans leaving bars in the French Quarter. By 4 a.m. I was in bed … wondering what the heck the next day would look like and if I would survive it.

Saturday morning I did some press and the concert at the Beach Bowl. It was amazing. Direct TV built the coolest super-tent and created a campus of buildings for all their parties and events. I went to the tailgate, then to the blue carpet. I am a mid-level B-list cable TV guy … I am so lucky, no complaints here. Any other day of year I am a “someone,” but not today. I felt about 2 inches tall as I had to explain who I am to hundreds of media gathered to talk to Snoop, Neil Patrick Harris, Neon Deion, Strahan, Toomer, Menounos, Palmer, Moon, Lolo Jones and the dozens of big deals assembled for this event. Getting taken down a peg is good for your spiritual development, and it puts things in perspective — I feel more grateful than I have in months. My agents and managers looked crushed that I got so little love, but I was thrilled — I got to walk the carpet with my idols!

I spent all afternoon and evening at Taste of the NFL, bussing it over to the Convention Center with 40 Hall of Famers and a dozen active players, which was the best hour of the weekend. We hit the floor and I checked in with one of my mentors, Wayne Kostroski — the Taste founder and a James Beard Humanitarian Award winner. I adore this man. What he has done to fight hunger in this country is epic. We raised tons of dough and as a topper, we get a $125,000 check from Party City. That will multiply 8 to 1 in the food bank world and create a million meals. I cried a little. In the middle of the fundraiser, we learned that several attendees got nominated to the Hall of Fame. Greatness. Lem Barney just kept saying the word “LOVE” over and over all night long. The greatest generation for sure.

By 10 I had to head to the Direct TV party zone for the concert. I was not prepared for what was inside. They took out the Beach Bowl field –including all the sand and bleachers — and created a nightclub in its place … in just 4 hours. There were erotic dancers, oysters and champagne, an A+ list crowd and Questlove killed it. Timberlake came out with a 20-piece orchestra after a 5-year performance hiatus and wowed the crowd … his cover of Michael Jackson’s “Shake” was EPIC. Jay Z appeared and all hell broke loose. Will Ferrell was in the parking lot as I left and took time to sign an autograph for our driver and make us laugh with some signature ribaldry. We checked out the GQ party with Lil’ Wayne and the Stevie Wonder party that Bud Light threw, then went off to the Ogden Museum for the final stop of the night. It was 4 a.m. before I got back home.

On Sunday morning I was up and at ‘em for a series of conference calls and then off to the game. Alicia Keys had a 6-car entourage leaving our hotel and 8 motorcycle cops in escort as she whipped her way down Poydras Street. The game was amazing: Beyonce amazed at halftime, Destiny’s Child had their reunion,  the game came down to the wire and we raced out after Baltimore cemented the victory. CONGRATS BALTIMORE! We hit the private party that John Besh threw at Borgne and scarfed down some of the best chow of the weekend, complete with superb shrimp and grits and a crawfish boil.

What did I learn? Well, one thing is for sure: New Orleans is a city with the biggest heart, the most gracious hospitality and unforgettable, soulful food, and they know how to throw a party. The Crescent City never felt better. As I walked into Loews Hotel, the doorman asked me how my weekend was. I told him, and he said, “If you liked Super Bowl week, you ‘oughta check out Mardi Gras next weekend … it’s even better.” And having been here for that celebration, he’s right. That’s the kind of city this is: without peer.

- Andrew Zimmern, Host of Bizarre Foods America

Americans eat over 20 billion pounds of chicken every year, and this bountiful bird is most satisfying when it’s wrapped in a crispy, golden-brown skin that’s dripping with flavor and sizzling hot — straight from the fryer.

Fried Chicken Paradise is delivering a bucketful of crispy, finger-lickin’, fried chicken goodness! Sample fiery Memphis hot chicken, a wild red-velvet-battered bird and the original Kentucky fried classic, tonight at 11|10c.

Plus, don’t forget to check out exclusive photos from tonight’s episode.

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