<![CDATA[NBC 6 South Florida - Dining, shopping and nightlife]]> Copyright 2016 http://www.nbcmiami.com/entertainment/the-scene http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC+6+LOGO+GOOGLE.png NBC 6 South Florida http://www.nbcmiami.com en-us Sat, 06 Feb 2016 02:12:32 -0500 Sat, 06 Feb 2016 02:12:32 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[6 In The Mix]]> Fri, 06 Mar 2015 15:17:44 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/6+In+The+Mix+still+New.jpg ]]> <![CDATA[McDonald's Salad Fat vs. Big Mac]]> Fri, 05 Feb 2016 13:40:34 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/McDonalds2.png

McDonald’s has put a lot of marketing dollars behind revamping their image to become a “healthy” fast food option, but one of their newest “simple” and “fresh” options for clean-eaters will do more caloric damage than a Big Mac, according to the chain's nutrition information.

The fast-food giant recently unveiled a new line of salad bowls that contain kale, a leafy “superfood” that has become a sensation for its nutritional value and being packed-full of vitamins.

“A salad so delicious, it might be hard to stay calm,” McDonald’s website reads of the new menu item, the “Keep Calm, Caesar On” salad. But dieters might have a hard time keeping calm after finding their bowl of greens has more fat, calories, cholesterol and sodium than most of the other items on the entire menu.

McDonald’s promotes the salad with crispy chicken as “a nutrient-rich lettuce blend with baby kale, delicately topped with delicious crispy bacon, real parmesan petals and roasted garlic focaccia croutons.”

Although McDonald’s leaves out the dressing the salad comes with in its initial calculation of nutritional information listed online, all-in-all this is the how the new “Keep Calm, Caesar On” salad with crispy chicken stacks up against other popular meals:

Kale Caesar Salad Crispy Chicken
730 calories (with dressing)
10g saturated fat
100mg cholesterol
1140 mg sodium

Bacon McDouble Sandwich
420 calories
9g saturated fat
70mg cholesterol
1050mg sodium

Big Mac
520 calories
10g saturated fat
70mg cholesterol
950mg sodium

10-Piece Chicken Nugget
460 calories
5g saturated fat
70mg cholesterol
820mg sodium

Large French Fries
560 calories
3.5g saturated fat
0mg cholesterol
420mg sodium

Regular Oreo McFlurry
560 calories
12g saturated fat
45mg cholesterol
390mg sodium

Swapping out the “crispy” chicken for grilled is an option, but will only save you 160 calories. The American Heart Association recommends eating just 2,000 milligrams of sodium and 1,200 to 1,500 calories per day.

McDonald's does offer other salad options that are not as hard-hitting to the waistline. McDonald's Southwest Salad only contains 280 calories and 490 milligrams of sodium, CNBC points out, which includes a creamy southwest dressing. A side salad without dressing is only 15 calories and 10 milligrams of sodium.

A spokesperson for McDonald’s did not immediately respond Friday to a request for comment.



Photo Credit: McDonald's Corp.]]>
<![CDATA[Snoop Dogg, Super Bowl Reporter]]> Fri, 05 Feb 2016 12:13:15 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/snoop5.jpg

Rapper Snoop Dogg turned into a Super Bowl 50 “reporter” during the Broncos and Panthers press conference in Santa Clara Thursday, chatting up Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning and telling Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis to “go to work” with a broken arm.

"That's your spirit. Go to work. And when you get a sack, dab with your broken one, for me," he told Davis, referring to the "dab" dance move newly popular with football players and other athletes.

The rapper tweeted a photo of him shaking hands with Manning: “Legend. #TurfdUp,” he wrote, referring in the hashtag to his YouTube sports show. His next tweet was a selfie, followed by a photo of himself acting as a reporter for DirectTV's "The Rich Eisen Show."

Snoop also sent out a couple of tweets promoting Merry Jane, his Marijuana lifestyle platform he hopes will act as an icebreaker for people who take pride in their love for marijuana.

One said: “ganja proving 2 help athletes with sports related injuries,” with a photo of a rolled up ball of weed.

The tweets were removed from his timeline after some time. It wasn’t immediately clear why the rapper took the tweets down.

The NFL has a strict drug policy, but many question whether it is out of date. According to media reports, marijuana is coveted by NFL players as an invaluable painkiller, and for younger players, smoking weed is normal.

"There are so many people in the closet, and we are giving them an opportunity to come out of the closet and just admit they like to smoke," Snoop said at the Merry Jane launch at TechCrunch Disrupt in September. "I’m a smoker, my name is Snoop Dogg, and I’m a stoner."



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Subway's $5 Footlong Now Costs $6]]> Fri, 05 Feb 2016 07:12:36 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-493636850.jpg

So long to the catchy “$5 footlong” jingle, because Subway's iconic deal just got a dollar more expensive.

Customers will now have to shell out $6 for "ALL of your favorite classic footlongs," the restaurant chain announced on Twitter Tuesday.

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Not surprisingly, fans of the sandwich chain were not happy. The news prompted an immediate outcry on social media. Subway responded to displeased customers in another tweet, defending the increase on rising food costs.

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The new price takes effect on Thursday in Subway restaurants nationwide.

Subway has been reeling from bad PR after its former spokesman, Jared Fogle, was sentenced to nearly 16 years in prison for child pornography and sex charges. Fogle helped fuel sales for nearly 15 years after shedding 200 pounds on a diet of Subway sandwichs.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Cat Gets Head Stuck in Vase, Becomes Internet Sensation]]> Wed, 03 Feb 2016 17:53:39 -0500

A Reddit user this week posted a photo of a cat looking like an Egyptian goddess, but the shiny collar in the photo was not supposed to be around the cat's neck.

The cat, which is doing fine, got the accessory the hard way - by sticking its head in a vase, according to TODAY.

The cat is doing fine, and its misadventure sparked some pun-filled fun on the Internet.


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<![CDATA[Trade Old Baby Items for Discounts at Toys 'R' Us]]> Thu, 28 Jan 2016 09:13:01 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/062411+toys+r+us+generic+store.jpg

Anyone looking for an excuse to rid their home of old and unsafe baby items could stand to benefit from Toys "R" Us's annual Great Trade-In event.

Since 2009 the children's toy company has provided shoppers with the opportunity to discard old and unsafe baby gear — such as cribs, car seats, strollers and more — in exchange for a 25 percent discount on a purchase of select new items. The year shoppers can drop off gear from Feb.1 through Feb. 29 and those with "R" Us credit cards also receive an additional five percent off. The event applies at both Toys "R" Us and Babies "R" Us.

"As we strive to help parents make the best possible choices as they care for their babies, we look forward to once again hosting this program at our stores nationwide. We strongly encourage parents to use this time to check their baby gear and trade in old items for new ones that meet or exceed current safety standards," said Reg McLay, Senior Vice President of Babies "R" Us, in a statement.

The benefits aren't reserved for just those who bring in old items as even shoppers without an item to trade in can take advantage of a 15 percent discount in-store and online with a coupon at Babiesrus.com/GreatTradeIn.

Over 1.1 millions items have been turned in since the inception of the Great Trade-In. Several brands including Graco, Sorelle, Baby Trend and more have signed on to support the cause and help decrease unsafe childcare items from circulation. Items can include bassinets, infant swings, bouncers, travel systems, walkers, entertainers, play yard, and toddler beds.

Organizations and child care centers can exchange items in bulk but should contact their local Toys "R" Us store. There is no trade-in limit for the the number of items a customer can bring.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Teens Too Tall for Costumes?]]> Thu, 28 Jan 2016 10:00:05 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Too-Tall-for-Costumes-Disney.jpg

Two San Diego County teens were left disappointed after being turned away from a "Frozen" Disney on Ice show at Valley View Casino for an unlikely and seemingly bizarre reason: they were too tall to be wearing costumes.

Say what?

The girls said security staff told them they could be confused with the performers.

"Honestly, more than anything, it was just disappointing," Jessica Mcroskey said.

The two friends who attend Francis Parker High School, Mcroskey and Jennifer Wineholt, were decked out in "Frozen" attire for the event last Friday – only to be turned away because they were too tall, they told NBC 7. After the girls showed their IDs, proving they weren’t adults, they were given this reason:

“They came back later and said that 'Yes, you’re under 18, but you’re too tall ... people would actually think that you’re one of the characters,' and I guess there’s an issue with them taking pictures with us or something,” McRoskey said.

The teens said they looked again at the fine print on their tickets: Nowhere did it say on the tickets nor the event's website that costumes weren't allowed.

When reached for comment, a spokesman for Feld Entertainment, the promoter of the event, told NBC 7 the company doesn’t have a policy against costumes. He said there appeared to be a miscommunication with security guards.

The company has offered the girls tickets to a later event.

The two best friends are heading to college on opposite coasts next year.

"We just want to have as much fun together as we can before we leave, and that was a night we'd been looking forward to for awhile," Wineholt said. "It's definitely a night we won't be able to get back."

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<![CDATA['Pita Rats' Battle for Flatbread in NYC Subway]]> Sat, 16 Jan 2016 19:57:43 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-97348933-subway-rat-generic.jpg

First New York's "pizza rat" had to compete for the internet's attention with a 'za-loving raccoon. Then, a bagel-wearing pigeon challenged the rodent for viral views.

But now, pizza rat is being challenged by two of its own species with a penchant for Mediterranean food.

CNN reports that a pair of "pita rats" were spotted trying to drag a flatbread up the stairs at the Herald Square station earlier this week.

The two appear to be competing to take the whole pita home, with the victor eventually dragging the bread up the platform stairs.

Last year, social media users were fascinated by the now-famous pizza rat, which was caught on camera dragging a slice of pizza down a set of subway stairs. Video of the rat garnered more than 8 million views on YouTube.



Photo Credit: File -- NY Daily News via Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Devon Still Got His Strength From Leah in Cancer Fight]]> Fri, 15 Jan 2016 18:58:03 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/487634272.jpg

Devon Still happily announced earlier this week that his daughter Leah was done with her final cancer treatment, but it was a day he initially feared might never come.

"When we first started off, it seemed so far away,'' Still told TODAY.com. "When she received her first treatment and it didn't work, that was the scariest moment. I thought I would end up losing my daughter."

Leah, 5, has been an inspiration in the fight against pediatric cancer since she was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma in June 2014 and given a 50-50 chance to survive by doctors. Devon, a defensive lineman with the Houston Texans, documented her battle on Instagram, which gave him a chance to reflect this week on how far she has come since that scary time 18 months ago.

"I looked through all the different pictures from when we started until the end, and I feel very blessed that we were able to make it through this,'' he said. "Social media really helped a lot during the dark times."



Photo Credit: File -- FilmMagic]]>
<![CDATA[McDonald's Unveils New, Sleek Packaging]]> Thu, 07 Jan 2016 13:08:14 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/McDonald%27s+All.png

McDonald’s just got a major makeover.

To start off the New Year on a fresh foot the fast-food giant took on a resolution of its own: to completely overhaul the look and feel of their packaging, opting to go with colors outside of their traditional red and yellow staples for the first time in more than six decades.

This month McDonald’s restaurants across the U.S. will begin handing customers brand new carry-out bags, fountain cups and sandwich boxes that they hope reflect the “simple” and “fresh” food the company says they aim to carry. The transition to the new packaging will expand to all 36,000 restaurants worldwide throughout 2016, according the company announcement.

Each day 69 million customers visit McDonald’s, and the company says they wanted to give their customers a noticeable change from the mainstay McDonald's look. They believe the upgraded bright and clean take-out designs are more inline with the company’s vision to be a “modern and progressive” burger company.

“McDonald’s is a fun and modern brand and this was a progressive way to turn our packaging into art and support a community where fashion is an expression,” said Matt Biespiel, McDonald’s senior director of global marketing. “It was fun to join these ideas together and create playful pieces that connect our customers to the brand.”

The company also announced they plan to source all of their fiber-based packaging from recycled or certified sources by 2020.

“We’re proud of the progress we’ve made and initiatives like this are important to our customers who care about the planet,” continued Biespiel in the company’s statement.



Photo Credit: McDonald's
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<![CDATA[Brooklyn Restaurant Sells Gold-Flaked $100 Doughnut]]> Thu, 07 Jan 2016 11:43:41 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-72742667Sufganiyot112515.jpg

In 2016, the cronut is passé. New Yorkers now have another exuberant pastry to sink their teeth into: Manila Social Club’s so-called “Golden Doughnut.”

Since Bjorn DelaCruz, the founder of the recently-opened Filipino restaurant, posted an image of the $100 doughnut to Instagram last week, there’s been buzz about the dish.

DelaCruz spoke to the website First We Feast about the doughnut, which is filled with ube mousse, covered with champagne frosting and topped with 24-karat gold.

“The Golden Cristal Ube Donut came along because there is a brewery in Bushwick called Braven Brewery, and we know the owners…We had a doughnut event where I unveiled a doughnut with icing made with Braven White IPA, dusted with gold. That was the beginning of the golden doughnut [idea].”

DelaCruz went on to tell the website that the ingredients were hand-picked to craft a delicious dish.

“I take pride in this, and to me it’s a piece of art,” he told First We Feast.

“I cook with [those ingredients] because I think they taste good,” he said.

Manila Social Club is located in Williamsburg at 2 Hope Street. It is open Tuesday to Saturday for dinner; Saturday and Sunday for brunch; Monday through Friday for coffee service in the morning.

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Photo Credit: File -- Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Michelle Obama Joins NORAD's Santa Tracking Effort]]> Fri, 25 Dec 2015 14:26:59 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/michelle-obama-santa-tracker-norad.jpg

Santa Claus made his way around the world and the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) tracked his entire movement. He continued his ride well into Christmas Day, dropping presents off in Hawaii before heading back to the North Pole.

The jolly man in red visited children in countries across the world, including Australia, New Zealand, Japan, China, Kyrgyzstan, India, Afghanistan and Yemen, delivering more than six billion gifts. Santa's last destination was Hawaii after visiting mainland United States. He delivered a total of 7,281,439,471 gifts, NORAD said.

First Lady Michelle Obama volunteered with the tracking effort Thursday night, calling children across the country to see if they wanted to know how far along Santa was and asking if they were excited to see what presents he'd bring them.

"I’m probably going to ask my mom if I can take a pill that will help me sleep, because otherwise I’m going to stay up all night," said a boy named Peyton when Obama asked if he would stay up late, according to a White House press release.

But not every child she talked to was keeping up with the sleigh. Obama spoke with a boy named Anthony who told her he was watching television.

"You’re just watching TV?  But it’s Christmas Eve!" Obama said. "Aren’t you excited that Santa is going to be coming in the morning?"

Anthony replied: "Yeah, but I just -- I get to watch TV."

This Christmas Eve was the 60th year that NORAD, which monitors the skies and seas for threats to the U.S., tracked Santa Claus’ journey. The tradition started in 1955 when Colonel Harry Shoup received a phone call from a child expecting to reach Santa Claus.

The misdirected call was the result of the child reversing two numbers of a Santa Line phone number printed in a Sears advertisement, according to the National Archives.

Sixty years later, there are now 1,250 volunteers manning phone lines to answer questions about the trip. NORAD also has a website where people were able to track the trek. The volunteers are a mix of Canadian and American military personnel and Department of Defense civilians.

The Santa Tracker hotline could be reached at 877-446-6723 starting at 5 a.m. EST on December 24th and continuing through 5 a.m. ET on December 25th.

Official NORAD Tracks Santa apps are available in the Windows, Apple and Google Play stores. Tracking opportunities are also offered on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google+. Santa followers just need to type “@noradsanta” into each search engine to get started.

Google joined in on the trailing fun with its own tracker

NBC's Asher Klein contributed to this report. 



Photo Credit: White House
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<![CDATA[Jetpacks, Virtual Reality: Tech to Watch for in 2016]]> Thu, 17 Dec 2015 15:37:03 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Martin-Jetpack-GettyImages-500287988.jpg

The world of technology is rife with opportunity, but which good ideas will become great devices in 2016? Here’s a look at the gadgets that could shape our lives in the months ahead.

JETPACKS

You may have seen footage recently of a man with a jetpack soaring around the Statue of Liberty. And although you can't get one — yet — that could change in the coming year, thanks to rival companies that hope to put personal jetpacks on the market.

Martin Jetpack, born in 1998 from the dream of a New Zealand college student, plans to make jetpacks available to first responders in 2016. Funded mostly by private investors, the company developed a prototype cleared for manned test flights in 2013 by the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority.

Describing its brainchild as "the world's first practical jetpack," Martin Jetpack envisions "potential usage spanning search and rescue, military, recreation and commercial applications, both manned and unmanned," according to its website.

The company's customizable First Responder Jetpack will be available in the second half of 2016 for $200,000. According to Martin Jetpack, the device is meant to help with firefighting, rescue missions, border patrol, disaster relief, pipeline inspections and other emergency services.

Martin Jetpack agreed in November to provide Dubai Civil Defense with 20 jetpacks and two simulators.

Also debuting in 2016 is the Martin Jetpack Experience, a simulation conducted in a "closely controlled flight environment" with help from an instructor on the ground. The simulator is meant to mimic the experience of flying a jetpack and is intended for the "hospitality and tourism sector," according to the company's website.

Personal jetpacks won't be far behind. Martin Jetpack plans to roll out a recreational device by 2017 but emphasizes that "the aircraft will only be produced when internal and external safety and reliability standards are met."

Safety features will include a ballistic parachute system, along with a pilot module and landing gear to protect the operator. The device, made mostly of carbon fiber, epoxy, foam and aluminum, has a specially designed aircraft engine and two duct fans that provide lift. It can cover about 30 miles and sustain a flight time of 30 minutes, according to the company. Maximum speed is roughly 45 mph, with a cruising speed of 35 mph and a recommended altitude of 500 feet.

The jetpack's "target price" will be under $150,000 and requires a $5,000 deposit, which puts interested buyers on a waiting list.

Martin Jetpack's device is rivaled by that of California-based Jetpack Aviation, the company behind the Statue of Liberty flight that garnered national attention in November.

The model being tested, the JB-9, "is small enough to sit in the back seat of a car but powerful enough to fly thousands of feet high," according to the company, which boasts "the world's only true jetpack" powered by twin jet engines.

Although it's unclear when a model could be commercially available, Jetpack Aviation says on its website "the whole team is dedicated to bringing a real JetPack to market." The company aims to showcase the JB-9 at flight shows internationally and is developing a next-generation model designed to climb 10,000 feet and travel 100 mph. Flight time will be limited to about 10 minutes, according the company's website.

Jetpack Aviation says it's also "in discussions with several parties about developing a JetPack racing series" — think NASCAR for jetpacks.

VIRTUAL REALITY

As virtual reality comes to the forefront, technology expert Lon Seidman wonders, "What’s the experience going to be like?"

Industry frontrunner Oculus VR — bought by Facebook this year for $2 billion — plans to launch its Windows-compatible virtual reality system in the first quarter of 2016, the company has announced. When hooked up to a Windows 10 PC, Oculus Rift will allow users to stream Xbox One games in virtual reality, according to CNET. An Xbox controller and camera will track body movements, and users will don a headset that could cost $1,500.

While Oculus may have the name recognition, Seidman said industry experts are more impressed with competitor HTC, which will launch its Vive headset in 2016. The technology, designed for computer games, will give users a 360-degree virtual experience. Sensors tracking head rotation and body location will allow gamers to walk around inside their virtual worlds, according to HTC.

Also in the mix is PlayStation VR, developed by Sony and formerly known as Project Morpheus. The virtual reality headset will work in conjunction with PlayStation 4 and is set to launch in the first half of 2016. According to PlayStation, head movements and controller location will be "reflected in the game's images in real time." It will retail for about $500 and is expected to sell two million units in its first year, Fortune reports.

Technology research group TrendForce predicts 14 million virtual reality devices will be sold in 2016. While virtual reality will find a niche in the gaming industry, it could ultimately become a "legitimate entertainment option" stretching to the silver screen, according to CNET.

DRONES

Drones have dropped bombs, scouted fires and rescued puppies. They've also become wildly popular among hobbyists, topping gift lists during the 2015 holiday season. Officials with the Federal Aviation Administration said they expect "hundreds of thousands" of drones will be gifted this month.

Also known as unmanned aerial vehicles, drones are operated by remote control or onboard computers and often equipped with cameras, making them appealing to filmmakers, realtors and journalists seeking aerial footage. The NFL is also experimenting with drones and obtained permission from the FAA in September to film practices.

Seidman said he expects drones to continue gaining traction in 2016.

"I think we are going to see a lot of consumer and industrial applications, more autonomy and falling prices," Seidman said. "It's amazing how far they've come in a short period of time."

As drone popularity surges, new regulations are in place. The FAA announced Dec. 14 that all recreational drones weighing between 0.55 and 55 pounds must be registered for a $5 fee, to be waived through Jan. 20, 2016.

Hobbyists who acquire drones before Dec. 21 will need to register them by Feb. 19, 2016. Drones obtained after Dec. 21 must be registered before flying outdoors for the first time, according to the new FAA guidelines. Registration is valid for three years and applies to all drones in a hobbyist’s fleet.

Dozens of consumer models are on the market already, including several by industry leader DJI. GoPro will enter the market in 2016 with the launch of its highly anticipated Karma drone. Although 3D Robotics' Solo drone features wireless GoPro streaming, Karma will be the first UAV produced directly by GoPro. The company says it will give away 100 drones at launch.

Online drone delivery options are also in the works. Google hopes to debut its Project Wing service in 2017, and Amazon has explored the idea of 30-minute drone deliveries for Prime subscribers. Wal-Mart, too, has expressed interest in using drones to deliver orders and asked U.S. regulators in October for permission to begin testing the technology.

HOVERBOARDS

Otherwise known as self-balancing electric scooters, the device made famous by "Back to the Future" went from concept to reality in 2015.

While self propelled, hoverboards aren't actually airborne. They balance on two wheels and respond to foot pressure, changing speed as you lean back and forth. Hoverboards range in price from $300 to $1,500, and in this case, you might get what you pay for.

While sought-after, the devices have been cause for concern amid reports of self-combustion.

Federal authorities are investigating a string of recent hoverboard fires — about a dozen in as many states. Most ignited while the devices were plugged in and charging, likely the result of overheated lithium-ion batteries.

"They are very power dense and thus can be dangerous if the electronics and engineering controlling charging are not well implemented," Seidman explained. "As these cheap knockoffs are cutting corners to hit a price point, this is what can happen."

A class-action lawsuit filed days before Christmas singles out popular hoverboard brand Swagway, which did not immediately comment but said previously it met all the safety criteria of Amazon, which yanked several brands — including Swagway — from its online marketplace.

Overstock.com halted the sale of hoverboards entirely and offered refunds to customers who purchased them. Major airlines have prohibited hoverboards, and some 15,000 devices have been seized at the U.K. border.

Amid the fallout, the Consumer Technology Association announced a ban on hoverboards at the January 2016 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the largest event of its kind in the U.S., CNBC reports.

Seidman called the self-combusting hoverboards "a great example of the commoditized nature of tech these days" and said it could be a challenge to regulate the burgeoning market.

"There are so many knock-offs that were rushed to market with cheap components that cause the issues we're seeing out there," he explained. "With Amazon, eBay, AliExpress, etc. all making it very easy for Chinese electronics factories to sell goods direct to U.S. consumers for low prices, I think we'll see a lot more of this kind of thing in the future, unfortunately."

While Fortune predicted in November hoverboards would "go mainstream" in 2016, Seidman said safety concerns could deal a blow to the industry.

"I am sure this will impact sales," he said the day the lawsuit was filed, "especially for the legit brands that are now paying the price for their cheap competitors who knocked off their designs."

APPLE PRODUCTS

A dominant force in the industry, Apple continues to push the creative envelope.

The company's quest to build a slimmer iPhone could soon make your earbuds obsolete. According to a report cited by USA Today, the iPhone 7 could be too thin to support a traditional headphone jack, requiring users to enlist the help of Bluetooth or buy a Lightning port adapter.

Eliminating the jack — and the motherboard components that go along with it — would cut costs and allow for a bigger battery, according to Seidman, who said he "wouldn’t be surprised if they did that" in 2016.

That aside, Seidman said he doesn't expect any major iPhone upgrades in 2016, since even a trailblazer like Apple is "limited by the technology" that's available. Because the company has been releasing phones on an annual basis, Seidman said to expect the iPhone 7 in September.

The technology to watch, he said, is Apple TV and competitors such as Amazon Prime Video, which allow subscribers to stream movies and TV shows from the Internet.

"You might see them pushing the cable industry harder," he explained. "I think you’re going to see companies like Apple act more like cable companies, where you can a-la-carte choose which channels you want to watch."

A spokesperson for Apple declined to comment on what's in the works.

SELF-DRIVING CARS

Driverless technology is ever-developing. Seidman said Tesla, which has less to lose than higher-profile manufacturers, will likely "push the hardest" in terms of putting that technology into practice.

Tesla’s autopilot feature allows cars to park, steer, change lanes and avoid collisions on their own. According to the Chicago Tribune, the technology works in concert with advanced cruise control, which allows cars to maintain a certain distance from other vehicles by automatically speeding up and slowing down in traffic.

Google has also been an industry leader, with its self-driving model in the works since 2009. The prototype is equipped with a series of sensors that can detect surrounding objects — from cars and pedestrians to road debris and animals — at a distance of up to two football fields.

Google’s modified Lexus SUVs and specially designed self-driving models are being tested in California and Texas, where they’ve already clocked more than a million miles. Google hopes to expand to other areas of the country and run pilot programs to see how ordinary people would take advantage of driverless cars.

Another tech company, Comet Robotics, aims to bring self-driving cars to 30 U.S. cities by the end of 2016, according to a report published by the New York Observer. Based in Michigan, the company envisions driverless buses that can carry up to 70 people. Public transit trials are planned at the University of Southern Florida in Tampa, as well as two other Florida cities, Seattle, and Greenville, South Carolina.

Comet Robotics is also working with the U.S. Army on a pilot program to bring "ground mobile robots" to military bases, according the company's website. The U.S. Military Academy at West Point may be among the first to test the technology.

Commercially, however, Seidman said most automakers are likely to pace themselves in the coming year.

"You might see updates to the software to give (cars) more functionality," Seidman said. "If they have the ability to do it, they’ll slowly upgrade the cars to do more."

He said most vehicles "can do a lot more" than what's on the market, but legal and ethical questions have slowed the application of driverless features. A self-driving car might, for instance, have to choose between protecting a passenger and avoiding a pedestrian.

"If a baby carriage is in front of the car, do you take out the baby carriage or do you drive off a cliff?" he wondered. "Those are real questions and we have to answer those."

There's also concern over whether automated features will actually work the way they're supposed to. California has drafted rules requiring drivers to stay behind the wheel until testing confirms driverless vehicles are safe and reliable.

AFFORDABLE DEVICES

Less discussed but perhaps wider reaching is the rapid declining cost of technology, according to Seidman, who said you can now purchase a "workable PC" for $99 or a Google Chromebook for $150. Chromebooks listed in Google's online store range from $149 to upwards of $999, with most models priced between $249 and $300.

"Families that couldn’t afford any computer at all can now get one for $99 that’s something usable," Seidman explained. "You’ve got something very interesting, especially for families that are trying to reduce the digital divide in their own homes."

He said lower prices are putting better technology in the hands of more people, including students, who often have to shell out hundreds of dollars for a single textbook.

Seidman said the challenge will be "convincing people that $99 computers really are useful" when they’re accustomed to spending hundreds, if not thousands, for a quality machine.

"The cost is going to go across every sector — education, consumers, business — that, I think, is the biggest thing that no one’s really talking about," he said. 



Photo Credit: ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Full Moon to Light Santa's Way Christmas Day]]> Tue, 15 Dec 2015 07:05:47 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-520845169.jpg

It's going to be a white Christmas this year – not necessarily with snow, but with bright moonlight.

Christmas morning coincides with a full moon this year, NASA says. And according to The Weather Channel, it's the first time a full moon will rise on Christmas Day since 1977.

It's rare for Christmas to line up with the full moon. It won't happen again for another 19 years, until 2034, according to The Weather Channel, which spoke to a NASA moon expert.

The timing means that Christmas Eve will be the brightest night of the holiday season in the U.S. (As long as there's no cloud cover.)

No word from NORAD, the U.S. military agency that tracks Santa's flight around the globe every year, on how moonlight affects his travel plans.



Photo Credit: File -- UIG via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Real-Life Gingerbread House]]> Mon, 14 Dec 2015 19:00:28 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/200*120/christinegingerbread23456.jpg

Many children join their parents in the building of a gingerbread house as Christmas draws near. The gumdrops have to be placed along the cookie roof, the icing has to mimic snow along the front path, and the little picket fence, the one made out of wee candy canes, has to surround the whole edible enterprise.

Fewer children, however, create a gingerbread house out of their parents' real, physical, live-in home, no baking or flour required. Artist Christine H. McConnell recently did, and the results are straight out of a brightly illustrated storybook.

"I knew I wanted to do something really fun for Christmas," says Ms. McConnell, who turned to the candy-packed, bread-crumb-y tale of "Hansel & Gretel" for inspiration. This isn't the first time the popular photographer has employed her parents' historic Highland house as a very large canvas; she gave the front entry some impressive teeth during the recent Halloween season.

Calling the tale of two adventuresome kids and one very eatable abode "a lifelong favorite," Ms. McConnell spent "seven full 15 hour days working in total" on the toothsome transformation. As for the final photo? That's the artist at the center, and her nieces, too.

Let us also note, with admiration, that Grimm-tastic garb seen on the models was also handmade by Ms. McConnell.

Stripey front pillars and frolicsome gingerbread people and a trim that looks like it came straight from a tube of thick white frosting give the home, which the artist calls "versatile," its fanciful fairy tale wear.

Best not to walk up to the house, though, and try to sneak a lick or bite in -- that's paint and Insulfoam you're looking at, and not chocolate or peppermint.

What will Ms. McConnell see next in the front of her mom and dad's place? Her Instagram followers, who number into the two hundred thousands, know she has a stylish penchant for arch symbolism and surreal details and retro chic and cheeky satire. 

Could the Easter Bunny's whimsical warren be next for a certain Southern California home? Stay tuned, lovers of domestic daft-a-tude and seasonal flights of fancy. 



Photo Credit: Christine H. McConnell]]>
<![CDATA[Reindeer Sprinkles on Live TV]]> Fri, 11 Dec 2015 16:39:15 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/reindeer-pees-on-live-tv-blurb2.jpg

Oh, deer.

When a reindeer visited NBC 7 News Midday Friday, he surprised the station's anchors on live television as only an animal can.

As soon as Megan Tevrizian and Jason Austell introduced Rudy and his animal ambassador Jen Miller, Rudy decided it was time to relieve himself in the San Diego studio.

Miller didn't miss a beat saying, "Right on cue. All this wonderful food that he's eating."

She then moved the conversation along to talk about SeaWorld's Christmas celebration being open until Jan. 3. 

As for Rudy, he didn't seem fazed at all.

See the video embedded with this article. Mobile users can click here.

]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: Magic Trick Makes Orangutan Crack Up]]> Fri, 11 Dec 2015 10:02:01 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-73348506.jpg

Turns out it doesn't take much to monkey around with an orangutan.

That much is clear in a YouTube video posted Monday that's already been seen by over 500,000 people, according to TODAY. In it, an orangutan from the Barcelona Zoo cracks up over a simple magic trick.

In user Dan Zaleski's video, the orangutan watches with interest as a man places a nut in an empty cup. When he sneakily slips the object out of the cup and shows the monkey there's nothing inside again, the monkey rolls over laughing, like the zoo resident were at a taping of "Saturday Night Live."

Watch the full video on TODAY.com.



Photo Credit: File -- AFP/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Hanukkah Doughnuts: All About Sufganiyot]]> Wed, 09 Dec 2015 07:12:53 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-72742667Sufganiyot112515.jpg

The eight days of Hanukkah are marked by song, prayer and of course, food — especially of the fried variety.

The Jewish holiday, which this year begins at sunset on Dec. 6 and ends at nightfall Dec. 14, commemorates the rededication of the second Holy Temple in ancient Jerusalem following a revolt against the Syrian-Greeks.

The holiday, also known as the Festival of Lights, celebrates that there was only enough oil for one day to keep lit a light that was supposed to always remain aglow. But that oil lasted for eight days, long enough for more oil to arrive after the temple had been ransacked.

To this day, Jews around the world remember the miracle by consuming foods fried in oil. Potato latkes are one of the most popular foods consumed during the holiday, but the fried feasting continues into dessert, too, with the sweet treat known as sufganiyot. The word comes from the Hebrew root for "sponge," where the doughnut soaks up the oil.

Sufganiyot (pronounced Soof-GAH-NEE-yote; the singular spelling is sufganiyah) are deep-fried, jelly or custard filled doughnuts, typically topped with powdered sugar. The food originates from Israel, although it’s part of a wider tradition than just Jewish cuisine, according to Poopa Dweck, author of "Aromas of Aleppo: The Legendary Cuisine of Syrian Jews."

"Throughout the Middle East, (sufganiyot) are sold as street food," Dweck said. "It's not just a Jewish food. It's an Arab food that the Arab Jews enjoy throughout the Middle East. It's not an exclusively Jewish food; it's an Arabic food. It's part of shared heritage."

Making sufganiyot can be tricky because it requires patience, as well as extra cookware, as Sheri Silver can attest. Silver, who runs Donuts, Dresses and Dirt, a food and gardening blog, advised buying a cheap clip-on thermometer to make sure that the oil is set to the correct temperature, 350 degrees.

"You don't want to burn the dough," Silver said, "but you also don't want it to sit in oil that's not hot enough, because you'll get leaden dough."

Another mistake to avoid is crowding the pot with dough balls, Silver said, because the dough needs room, so stick to two or three per pot.

"The more pots you have, the better," she said. “I’ll work with three frying pans at a time."

Silver said she prefers more tried-and-true sufganiyot recipes, even though food blogging has encouraged people to experiment with traditional foods.

"There’s pumpkin-spice everything and Nutella everything," Silver said. "I think when it comes to a fried doughnut, I like to keep it on the more traditional side."

Dweck, whose family hails from Aleppo, Syria, makes a Syrian variant dish known as zalabieh, fried pastry balls with a sugar syrup glaze, which are served alongside ataiyef, or ricotta-stuffed pancakes. This year, she is preparing her recipe with low-gluten spelt flour and sweetening it with agave syrup and clover honey, instead of pure sugar.

Using the agave and honey is "traditional, not trendy, because it’s like the molasses of old-fashioned ways," Dweck said.

Dweck said that what’s most important about Hanukkah is family gathering together around the menorah and remembering the miracle of the eight days of oil.

"This year, Hanukkah has so much meaning," she said. "Today, it’s so meaningful to know that miracles do happen. The food is a vehicle to get the message out."

Recipes courtesy of Poopa Dweck:

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Guns Become Art at New Art Basel Exhibit]]> Thu, 03 Dec 2015 18:08:13 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/120315+art+basel+gun+exhibit.jpg

They used to be deadly weapons but now they're art at a new exhibit at Art Basel.

The exhibition is called 'Guns in the Hands of Artists' and Jonathan Ferrara hopes it leads to conversations rather than heated debates.

"Instead of this screaming match back and forth you're looking at this artwork and you're having a conversation, hopefully a relevant vent and moderate one about this issue of guns and gun violence but through the lens of art," Ferrara said.

Bullets in a gumball machine illustrate the easy access. The piece was made with ringlets sliced from the barrel Of a rifle. The artist's mother was killed by gunfire.

One of the more powerful pieces is six bullet casings lodged in the wall each with a tiny picture on it of the child under six years old who was shot dead in New Orleans.

Thirty artists used about 180 decommissioned guns, all taken off the streets of New Orleans, Ferrara's hometown. Art Enthusiast Ladyane Lopez appreciates the concept.

"This makes it a little bit easier to kind of get into the conversation without it being all about gun control, no gun control, you know," Lopez said.

In light of Wednesday's mass shooting Ferrara was asked if his exhibition is even more relevant now.

"Until we as a society come together to seriously address this epidemic of gun violence in America this exhibition is going to continue to be relevant on an almost daily basis," he said.

]]>
<![CDATA[NBC 6 Interviews Lenny Kravitz at Art Basel]]> Thu, 03 Dec 2015 16:26:59 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/WTVJ_000000021171939_1200x675_578851395877.jpg NBC 6's Trina Robinson interviews Lenny Kravitz at his Art Basel exhibit in Miami.]]> <![CDATA[The Death Stars' Destruction and Star Wars Financial Woes]]> Wed, 02 Dec 2015 11:20:13 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/AP_382669718194.jpg

Destroying two Death Stars is bad business.

When the Rebel Alliance destroyed two Death Stars in the original "Star Wars" trilogy, the galactic economy would have taken such a hard hit that it would make apocalypse America's recent Great Recession, according to an academic paper published on Tuesday and reported by NBC News. 

Zachary Feinstein's paper,"It's a Trap: Emperor Palpatine's Poison Pill," concludes that the money needed to build two planet-sized weapons of mass destruction would require the galactic government to borrow large amounts of money from the bank. And they wouldn't have time to pay it all back since they soon lose to the Rebel Alliance, Feinstein concludes. 

This would leave the banks with a shortfall of more than $500 quintillion.

The Rebel Alliance would have to bail out the Imperial banking sector to prevent a devastating economic collapse. But the victors wouldn't have enough money to float such a bill, leaving the galaxy's economy in complete disarray. But hey, maybe Luke Skywalker can take a mortgage out on his light-saber.



Photo Credit: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Shipping Tips for the Holiday Season]]> Wed, 02 Dec 2015 07:20:46 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/cyber-monday-packages.jpg

The holiday shopping season is underway so expect package predators and shipping slowdowns.

Postal inspectors make nearly 10,000 arrests each year, many for mail theft, according to the U.S. Postal Service website. The Postal Service also responds to more than 27,000 consumer fraud complaints, including reports of identity theft. About 800 police officers with the service respond to such complaints.

While online shopping may have added a great deal of convenience to many Americans' shopping experience, it has also brought about a phenomenon known as "porch pirating," and according to a new study by insuranceQuotes.com, 23 million Americans have had packages stolen from their doorsteps.

But there are steps you can take to make sure your purchase arrives where intended and in one piece. 

FedEx suggests requesting a signature for your package or shipping to an alternate destination where you know someone will be available to pick it up. Or, have the parcel kept on hold for up to five days at a FedEx office location.

UPS recommends wapping up fragile packages, whether toys, electronics, or appliances. The service also promotes a package timing calculator to ensure packages get to their destinations before Santa does.

Another tip: Place an extra address label with the delivery and return address inside the package. This could help return the package should its outside label become damaged or fall off.

USPS has similar suggestions for keeping your packages secure in transit, including making sure to wrap each item separately when packing multiple items and shaking a package to ensure items are snug. 

The U.S. Postal Service alone plans to deliver 19 billion cards, letters and packages by Christmas. Here are timetables that USPS, FedEx and UPS recommend for when packages should be sent out to make it under the tree by the holiday. And post offices nationwide will be open Christmas Eve but many will be closed by noon. Regular hours will be restored on New Year's Eve. Mailing delivery will be unaffected throughout the season. 

but many will shorten retail lobby hours and close at noon. Post Offices will be open regular hours on New Year's Eve. Mail delivery will be unaffected.

If you live in New York City, Chicago or San Francisco, there's an app, Doorman, that is designed to prevent unattended packages from being stolen. It gives users the address of a warehouse to use as the shipping address during online checkout. Once the package arrives at the warehouse, customers are notified and can arrange for a delivery driver to drop it off when convenient.

If all these tips prove to be unsuccessful and your package is stolen or destroyed, you can file a claim online with USPS, FedEx and UPS.



Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[Holiday 2015: Gifts That Give Back]]> Tue, 01 Dec 2015 06:47:47 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/thumb-gifts-.gif This holiday season buy your loved ones gifts made with charity in mind. ]]> <![CDATA[Learn How to Make Coquito Cocktails for the Holidays]]> Wed, 25 Nov 2015 17:06:14 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/ENG_coquito_recipe_1200x675_574318147973.jpg Miami-based food writer Enriqueta Lemoine shows you her take on the Puerto Rican holiday drink coquito.]]> <![CDATA[Holiday 2015: Gift Guide for Any Budget]]> Tue, 22 Dec 2015 12:15:14 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/gift-thumb.jpg
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[History of Thanksgiving: How Much Do You Know About Turkey Day?]]> Wed, 25 Nov 2015 11:30:30 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/AP_51734552621.jpg

Millions of Americans will travel to visit family and friends and stuff themselves with turkey and pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving. But how much do you know about the holiday’s origins and why we celebrate? Test your knowledge of the history behind Turkey Day with this quiz.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Thanksgiving Turkey Do's and Don'ts]]> Tue, 24 Nov 2015 07:08:13 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/turkey_dos_donts_preparations.jpg #NBC5Responds' Deanna Dewberry offers a few surprising tips on how to make that Thanksgiving centerpiece perfect.]]> <![CDATA[Holiday 2015: Top 12 Holiday Toys]]> Mon, 23 Nov 2015 14:40:38 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Toys-SplitScreen.jpg Lightsabers, talking plush toys and robots make up this year's lineup of hot toys every kid would love to get for the holidays. Click through to see the top 12 toys dominating store shelves and kids' wish lists alike.

Photo Credit: Thinkway Toys/Hasbro]]>
<![CDATA[Gift Guide: 12 Hot Holiday Toys]]> Fri, 11 Dec 2015 08:00:43 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/toys-split.jpg

Lightsabers, talking plush toys and robots make up this year's lineup of hot toys every kid would love to get for the holidays. 

Hundreds of products, from puzzles to action figures based on "Star Wars: The Force Awakens”, which is being released Dec. 18, will dominate store shelves and kids' wish lists alike.  

"'Star Wars' is a good monster for the industry," said Richard Gottlieb, principal and founder of Global Toy Group, a consultancy and resource for the industry. "That, of course, will bring an enormous number of shoppers."

Remote controlled cars, droids controlled by smartphones and robotic creatures with voice recognition features are also popular. 

Take a look at 12 hot toys this holiday season:

Star Wars Episode 7 BB-8 App-Enabled Droid

Kids can link this toy and then control it through their iPhone or iPad. The toy reacts to voice command and can patrol autonomously. Also, it can create holographic like recordings. "BB-8 has something unlike any other robot--an adaptive personality that changes as you play," according to the product's description." Based on your interactions, BB-8 will show a range of expressions and even perk up when you give voice commands."

Star Wars Bladebuilders Jedi Master Lightsaber

It's not just another "Star Wars" toy. It is an essential item to have for the series' enthusiasts. It lights up and creates sounds from the movie to simulate the thrill of sword-dueling between Jedi masters and Sith overlords.

Glider Board or 'Hoverboard'

The Glider Board allows you to travel over six miles an hour. It's controlled with your feet as you move around and can climb up 30-degree slopes. The "hoverboard" can go up to 12 miles in distance after every full charge. For security, an anti-theft key lock is included so it cannot be driven without your permission. If you live in New York City, you may have to limit your use of the "hoverboard" to indoor spaces. The NYC police department confirmed that it is illegal to use the 'hoverboards' in public areas because they are considered motor vehicles that cannot be registered with the department of motor vehicles. In California, legislation passed in Oct. allowing the boards to be used in the same places as bikes. Local California municipalities have the ability to ban their use.

Despicable Me 2 Jumbo Talking Minion - Dave

The Minions, both lovable and memorable, are exactly the kind of toy you want for your child. At 16" tall, Jumbo Talking Minion - Dave is a plush toy that with a squeeze on his tummy can say up to 15 sayings in the original voice from the movie. His eyes can also "pop-out" and light up with a press. This plush toy is not only the prefect gift for children, but also for adults who enjoyed the movie.

UDI RC U818A Quadcopter with HD Camera

You can record high definition video from your drone and perform 360-degree tricks at the touch of a button. It has a built-in fast and slow speed function along with a low-voltage alarm on the transmitter to optimize your experience. The manufacturer recommends that this toy be used by people ages 14 and up. It's also important to follow safety guidelines while flying your drone.

Disney "Descendants"

Your child's favorite Disney characters have families in the feature film "Descendants." Toys from the movie feature Maleficent's daughter, Mal and Evie who is the daughter of the Evil Queen from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs." Carlos, son of Cruella de Vil is another character that you can buy. The figures can be stylized with two outfits, two pairs of shoes and three accessories.

NERF Rebelle Secrets & Spies Arrow Revolution Bow Blaster

This bow and arrow set will unleash your child's inner Katniss Everdeen. The character has spurred an interest in the bow and with the release of the final "Hunger Games" movie, this set will be a hot purchase. Using this bow, an arrow can be shot up to 90 feet away.

Zoomer Dino Jurassic World Indominus Rex Robot

The blockbuster hit "Jurassic World" rocked theaters this summer and toys from the movie will be heavily sought this holiday season. The Indominus Rex, the bio-engineered dinosaur from the movie, can respond to movement, make recorded sounds from the film and change eye color.

Peanuts Happy Dance Snoopy

The Snoopy plush toy is a great gift for fans of the new "Peanuts" movie, featuring Charlie Brown. This plush version of Snoopy dances to a popular tune from the "Peanuts" series and reacts to being kissed on the nose.

Easy Animation Studio

Crayola's animation studio pack allows all future animators and artists to digitally create scenes with characters included with the purchase. After downloading an application for iOS or Android devices, young animators will be able to create scenes with an included poseable mannequin. Position the mannequin into different poses to create a short stop-motion video.

Project Mc2 Ultimate Lab Kit

The equipment for the four super smart girls from the "Project Mc2,"a children's web show, is available for home or on-the-go use. The kit comes with a working 4x microscope and all the equipment needed to conduct a science experiment with a petri dish, safety goggles, pipette dropper and 15 pH strips.

"Lego Dimensions"

"Lego Dimensions," a video game that can be played across most gaming platforms except PC, is the latest in the toy company's reach for the digital age. Figurines such as Lego Batman, Gandalf and Lucy from "The Lego Movie" are available to use in the game. To play the game, figurines are placed on a pad connected to the system and are then represented in the virtual world. More figurines can be bought to expand the character selection.



Photo Credit: NBC Universal]]>
<![CDATA[Don't Be a Turkey: Celebrate a Bird-Free Thanksgiving]]> Fri, 20 Nov 2015 17:03:50 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/AP_554344590313.jpg

It’s that time of year again — to give thanks for all that we have.

Thanksgiving is a truly American holiday, one that is deeply rooted in tradition. The first Thanksgiving goes all the way back to 1621 when the Pilgrims sat down with the Wampanoag to celebrate the harvest at Plymouth Colony, according to Smithsonian.com.

More than 150 years later, the Continental Congress issued the first national Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1777. But it wasn’t until 1789 that President George Washington issued the first Presidential Thanksgiving Proclamation.

“I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States,” Washington said.

Since then, food and family have become synonymous with the holiday. Many of us will spend time prepping the turkey and pumpkin pie and decorating the table for family and friends before settling down to the feast. 

But if you think eating a turkey on Thanksgiving is overrated, why not change your holiday routine and break free from tradition? 

Go meatless! Sure, turkey is the go-to fare for Thanksgiving, but going meatless does have some benefit. Not only can you cater to the vegetarian guest, it will also eliminate the post-meal food coma. 

There are many different options out there, from vegetarian sides to main dishes like the mushroom and kale-stuffed squash. And, of course, you can still get the feeling of a turkey without the actual bird — products like soy-based Tofurky are a popular alternative to the real thing.

"We’re so proud to see that alternative holiday meal traditions, which were once a niche phenomenon, have become legitimately mainstream in the 20-plus years we’ve been making Tofurky Roasts," said Jaime Athos, CEO and president of Tofurky.

Whatever you decide to eat, why not ask your guests to wear an ugly Thanksgiving sweater? Since they’re not just for Christmas anymore, you can wear these delightfully tacky, non-traditional sweaters while you and your loved ones give thanks.

Staying active is a great way to help burn off the Turkey Day calories, to help alleviate the boredom and promote togetherness.

The President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition recommends 30 minutes of activity a day for adults and 60 minutes a day for children. Why not kick around the ball, try paintball or go bowling, too? 

Having Thanksgiving at a restaurant is also a non-traditional holiday option — especially if you can’t fathom the idea of spending all that time cooking.

More than 33 million Americans will visit restaurants during Thanksgiving this year, according to the National Restaurant Association. There are a number of national chains including Bob Evans, Sizzler, Morton’s and Cracker Barrel that will be offering holiday specials.

You might also consider giving back to the community while giving thanks. There are hundreds of organizations across the country that are looking for volunteers to serve Thanksgiving dinner to those in need.  

"We hope all Americans will consider making volunteer service a part of their holiday tradition and invite their friends and families to join them," said a spokeswoman for the Corporation for National and Community Service.

More than 25 percent of American adults volunteered 7.7 billion hours of time — including holiday time — in 2013, according to the organization.

Trying something new may just open you up to new holiday traditions. 



Photo Credit: AP
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Holiday 2015: Gifts for Sports Lovers]]> Sun, 29 Nov 2015 02:33:04 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Jacket-Gloves.jpg If there's a fitness enthusiast or someone looking to get in shape on your holiday shopping list, look no further than this sports gift guide. Help your friends and loved ones reach their fitness goals with gadgets and gear that will inspire and motivate them all year round.

Photo Credit: JackRabbit/Underarmour]]>
<![CDATA[Holiday 2015: Tech & Gadget Gifts Under $100]]> Sat, 28 Nov 2015 17:25:43 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Tech+Gifts+2015.jpg Shopping for a gadget-obsessed friend or family member? Discover the coolest gadgets and tech gifts in our 2015 holiday guide. ]]> <![CDATA[How to Carve a Turkey, Just in Time for the Holidays]]> Mon, 23 Nov 2015 12:22:05 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/thanksgiving-FINAL_1200x675_570319939834.jpg Chef Fitz Tallon from Eataly NYC shows you how to carve a turkey.]]> <![CDATA[Holiday 2015: Gifts for a Fashionista]]> Fri, 20 Nov 2015 10:38:58 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/fashionista2.jpg Don't know what to buy for the fashion-forward lady on your list. Click through our ultimate holiday gift guide for some of the most stylish items that will be sure to please even the most devout trendsetters. ]]> <![CDATA['Not as Exciting': Black Friday Deals Arrive Earlier Than Ever]]> Mon, 23 Nov 2015 13:36:28 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/AP_583751221090.jpg

Black Friday is becoming a month-long deal.

Amazon's sales began Nov. 20 and continue through Nov. 27, the day after Thanksgiving and what was once the start of the holiday shopping season. Target and Walmart are offering holiday discounts throughout the month, while Best Buy is holding "pre-Black Friday" weekends.

What was traditionally a single day of shopping already stretches over the weekend and now retailers are trying to extend the extravaganza even further by discounting goods long before the holiday. What that will mean to Black Friday sales is something analysts will be watching for.

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"It remains to be seen how significant the event itself is," said Traci Gregorski, vice president of marketing at the retail research firm Market Track.

Tis the season for holiday sales and strategies for capturing shoppers dollars.

Black Friday spending was down last year, the second drop in a row, according to the National Retail Federation. Spending though the weekend in stores and online dropped 11 percent from $57.4 billion in 2013 to $50.9 billion last year. The decline is partly the result of the earlier bargains, leaving Black Friday with less of a punch.

This year, the Credit Union National Association and the Consumer Federal of America are expecting a 3 percent growth in spending, down from an earlier prediction of up to 3.5 percent. The new prediction is based on a recent survey.

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But for all the debate over store hours -- and at one end is Kmart, open on Thanksgiving morning at 6 a.m., and at the other REI, the outdoor gear supplier that will stay closed on Black Friday itself --  for shoppers the season means deals. They are scouting for the best prices before ever stepping inside a store, Gregorski said. They are driving competition among retailers who know their potential customers are online comparing ads.

“They do have a lot of information at their disposal, much more than they’ve ever had in the past,” she said.

On Friday, Tanya Jackson, a hair stylist from New Jersey, will be on the hunt for a washing machine and dryer at Home Depot where she expects to save $800.

“Oh yes, I already checked,” said Jackson, 42, who lives in Orange and who was making her way through New York City's Herald Square on a recent weekday morning. She is prepared to pay about $2,800.

Thanksgiving Day hours continue to court controversy, with some shoppers vowing to stay home and labor and other groups protesting the disruption to workers' holiday.

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"l'm always with my family," said Kendall Castillo, a 19-year-old student studying theater and fine arts in college in New York City. Even the lure of good deals will not interrupt his holiday.

And Naysika Oree, a health-care consultant from the Bronx, has never shopped on Black Friday, turned off by the crowds and reports of unruly shoppers. She will stay home this year too.

"I'd rather just spend the couple of extra dollars then have to go through the madness," she said.

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This year, the federation's preliminary Thanksgiving Weekend Survey found that an estimated 135.8 millions shoppers, or 58.7 percent of those surveyed, said they might head to the stores at some point over the weekend. The findings were similar to the year before, when 133.7 million holiday shoppers were in stores and online over the weekend.

Black Friday is expected to be the biggest shopping day for all age groups, but young adults in particular find Cyber Monday appealing, according to the survey's results. Among 18- to 24-year-olds, 88.7 percent said yes or maybe when asked if they would should online on Monday. Among 25- to 34-year-old, the number was 90.9 percent.

Kate Winchester, a 23-year-old college student in New York City from Pennsylvania, will among those shopping online. She needs a new vacuum cleaner and a heavy blanket.

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"You don't have to wait in the lines," she said.

Plus now that stores open on Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday is "not as exciting anymore," she said. "No one wants to go out on Thursday."

To draw shoppers back into the stores, in the hopes that they will spend more money there, some retailers are offering special holiday events, Gregorski said. Wal-Mart for example is making the game Battlefront available to try out before its official launch.

"They’re introducing that experiential element into their promotions and events," she said. "It gives people a reason to come in."

As for what's hot this year, anything related to "Star Wars," game consoles and wearable technology, such as headphones and fitness trackers, she said. Drones are another top item.

Hoverboards, on the other hand, are not proving to be as popular as expected, likely because of their price, she said.

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Other trends to watch for: exclusive partnerships between manufacturers and retailers and bundled offers, televisions and game consoles for example, which can make it difficult to determine how good a deal it is.

Milly Mladjenovic, 21, said she would definitely be out on Black Friday, shopping for work clothes and Christmas gifts.

"What am I not looking for?" she said.

The college student in New York City said deals could be found, but she thought bargains were better in years past.
 



Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Holiday 2015: Gifts for Foodies]]> Thu, 19 Nov 2015 13:16:17 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Kitchen-Items.jpg Get your favorite foodie inspired in the kitchen with these cool kitchen gadgets. From utensils to small appliances, here's a list of great gift ideas any food lover would appreciate.

Photo Credit: Amazon/Menu Design Shop]]>
<![CDATA[First Taco Bell Goes on the Road]]> Fri, 20 Nov 2015 10:41:38 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/IMG_4536tacobellwearethenext.JPG

While the region's movie industry has made a romance or two in its time, nearly every heart-tugger in the world weakens before one of Southern California's truly intense twosomes: food lovers and historic restaurants that may be in danger of demolishment.

Letters will be written, passionate rallies held, and, if everything works out, the structure will still stand, as was the case earlier this year at NORMS La Cienega, which had the words "wrecking ball" floating above its big-window'd facade for several weeks.

Sometimes, though, the structure ends up standing in a whole new place. Look to Downey, and the very first Taco Bell, the storied eatery that founder Glenn Bell opened in 1962. It's currently at 7186 Firestone Boulevard, but as of the weekend before Thanksgiving, it will be in Irvine, at the Taco Bell corporate offices.

Yep, "Taco Bell Numero Uno" is going on a epic overnight roll on the streets of SoCal. Date? Thursday night, Nov. 19 into the wee smalls of Friday, Nov. 20. Hours? 10-10:30 p.m. to just before 6 o'clock in the morning, or so.

You remember Space Shuttle Endeavour, and LACMA's Levitated Mass, and the other big things we so regularly move around in SoCal; it takes time to put a formerly unmovable thing on wheels and move it.

To call the structure beloved among Downey denizens is to traffic in understatement, and to say that its fans were worried when word of possible demolishment arrived at the start of the year is equally understated. 

For while it has housed a number of different eateries over the last three or so decades, it remained, to many local long-timers, the Taco Bell they grew up going to after games and before dances.

Organizations like We Are the Next of Long Beach and the Downey Conservancy sprung into action at the news of the building perhaps being razed, as did Taco Bell, which met with the civic-minded, past-preservation groups.

We Are the Next's Executive Director Katie Rispoli met with both the property's current owners, which alerted the groups to the building's vacancy and potential demolishment, and Rispoli began to meet with the company to see what the wee building's future might be.

Taco Bell went full hashtag – #savetacobell – which helped spread the early word. The company found funds to put the arch-laden landmark on wheels and transport it to its HQ, and the conservancy and We Are the Next provided guidance and input on the process.

Ms. Rispoli shares that the structure, which cannot be entered, will not be on view once it reaches Irvine. But her hope is that one day it may have a "beneficial public use" and perhaps even return to Downey, its forever home.

Like the romance between food people and historic restaurants, civic organizations and major companies can sometimes unite in a moving, and movable, cause. It's a slice of Downey delight, and regional whimsy, and its a restaurant that birthed thousands of others around the globe.

Want to see it? Catch a nap on Thursday, if you can, because this'll be an all-nighter. There's a live webcam of the roll -- of course there is -- and some true-blue burrito buffs may make for a curb on Firestone, to wave goodbye to a local legend.



Photo Credit: We Are the Next]]>
<![CDATA[Nordstrom Pulls Holiday Sweater]]> Mon, 16 Nov 2015 07:05:58 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/192*120/GettyImages-2751522.jpg

Just days after Target went under fire for a highly contested Christmas sweater and hours after Bloomingdale’s issued an apology for offending customers in a misleading catalog ad, Nordstrom is now the latest retail giant to get heat for a product they were offering shoppers this holiday season.

Earlier this week, talk about Nordstrom's Faux Real "Chai Maintenance" Hanukkah sweater started circulating on social media, with customers flooding to Nordstrom’s Facebook page to express their disgust in the item.

"I'm disappointed to see that Nordstrom is selling such an offensive item that perpetuates negative stereotypes of Jewish women," wrote one user. "I hope you remove it from your inventory."

The festive blue shirt, being sold in the retailer's "ugly holiday sweater" lineup, shows a large menorah across the front emblazed with the words "Chai Maintenance" at the top. Many Jewish women believed it to be distasteful towards their faith, as the Hebrew word chai – meaning life – is pronounced "high," alluding that Jewish woman are high maintenance.

Nordstrom responded by pulling it from shelves. By Thursday morning, the product was no longer able to be found on their website.

"I'm glad Nordstrom took it down," one Facebook user wrote. "Cute and kitschy is one thing but perpetuating negative stereotypes as supposedly cute or fun holiday wear is disgusting. I expect more of a large high end retailer such as Nordstrom. Especially when the version for men is just cute, why is the version for women derogatory?"

Some customers, on the other hand, were not offended by the ensemble.

"Hey Nordstrom, I'm Jewish and a huge fan of these sweaters, where can I get one from now you've stopped selling?" another shopper wrote.

But it was too late, with the company responding: "We appreciate your interest, however, the sweater is no longer available for purchase."



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Top Food Trends for 2016 Revealed]]> Sun, 08 Nov 2015 20:32:36 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/199*120/PlantSlant2.jpg

Restaurant consultant group Baum + Whiteman has released its top food trends for 2016, and the number one spot didn’t go to one particular meal. Instead, the top trend revolves around how we get our meals.

Delivery services like uberEATS and Grub Hub will become the top food trend of 2016, according to Baum + Whiteman. One factor speeding up the delivery “revolution” is our smartphones.

Starbucks has started to rollout delivery service in New York City’s Empire State Building. Chipotle has also begun delivering in several cities, including Chicago, using the delivery service Postmates.

Coming in second on the top food trends in 2016, clean menus. The report cited a recent survey about concerns over the ingredients in foods. Thirty-six percent of participants said they worry about chemicals in their food, Baum + Whiteman found.

Several big name restaurants have changed their recipes to meet the demand for healthier options. McDonald’s announced earlier this year it would stop treating chickens with human antibiotics. Panera has also promised to end its use of 150 artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, and preservatives by the end of next year, according to the report.

With the upcoming New Year, some of us may being saying “ciao” to pasta. The possible decline of pasta came in third place on the 2016 food trends list. The carb-o-licious dish has seen a drop in sales over the last five years, according to Baum + Whiteman. In the U.S., pasta sales have slumped 6 percent. The report associated the decrease to more Americans wanting pasta made from vegetables, like zucchini and asparagus.

Other top food trends picked by Baum + Whiteman include the demise of tipping, and the rise of acai bowls. Check out the full list below:

1. Food delivery services
2. Clean menus
3. Cutting down pasta intake
4. Vegetables
5. No tipping
6. Poke (pronounced poke-ay or poh-key), a Hawaiian dish
7. Modern take on Jewish cuisine
8. Acai bowls
9. Fried chicken
10. Spices



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[H&M's Balmain X Clothes Spark Shopping Frenzy]]> Thu, 05 Nov 2015 15:34:25 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Balmainhm.jpg

Demand for H&M's new collection of clothes by luxury Parisian fashion house Balmain prompted wild scenes at some stores, briefly crashed H&M's website, and had outfits going for up to triple the price on Ebay. 

The collection, Balmain X, was released Thursday as part of a new partnership between the businesses. Interest in the 109-piece collection quickly turned some H&M stores inside-out and left the store's website offline for two hours. The frenzy led some to question online whether H&M wasn't prepared for the large interest in the new clothes.

H&M spokesperson Hallie Ruben said in an email they expected the collection to sell out.

"Most of our customers appreciate the fact that the collections are limited," she said. "Within the collection there are different quantities of the various items and it is always a challenge to find the right amount for each item."

Balmain's collection is headed by creative director, Olivier Rousteing. Balmain's clothes were made famous by model Kendall Jenner. The "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" star led the runway for Balmain during Paris Fashion Week in October, and starred in a commercial that has received millions of views on YouTube.

Videos and photographs on social media Thursday showed packed stores and shoppers rushing to grab the highly sought-after clothes. In one video, two customers tugged at a jacket.

  

H&M's website was unavailable from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., with shoppers greeted by a message saying the site had a lot of visitors due to the high level of interest in the latest collection. Customers were told to try loading the page again.

While searching for the collections online, some people spotted the same items being sold at much higher prices on the shopping and auction site Ebay.com.

A $199 Balmain "Green Sequin Embroidered Dress" was listed on Ebay for $550 or best offer. A sold-out pair of "Sandal Boots," originally listed at $199 on H&M's website, were going for almost $500 on Ebay.

Ruben, with H&M, said that while they prefer selling to take place at their stores or websites, there are no laws against people selling their secondhand clothes.



Photo Credit: Fidel Solano
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