Penguinate at Salem Holiday Market 2019 Sunday

Jenya and penguins at the Salem Holiday Market 2018

Find the best handmade gifts for the holiday season from the best small businesses and entrepreneurs in Oregon!

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Salem Holiday Market 2019 Preview: Santiam Soap Co. (J-D17)

Santiam Soap Co

The Salem Holiday Market 2019 will feature 250 vendors in two different buildings! There are door prizes to be given away, carols to be sung, and Santa might even make an appearance! Maybe, he’ll give his elves a break and pick up some amazing handmade items! Even if Santa isn’t delivering to your house, you can still get gifts from some amazing local talents and businesses. Jessy and Vinnie Rolfness od Santiam Soap Co. took time out of the holiday preparations to answer some of our questions about their participation in the market.

How many years have you been attending the Salem Holiday Market? This will be our second year as vendors at the Salem Holiday Market, but we have been in attendance for many years as shoppers!

What are you bringing to 2019’s Market? We will have both our hand-crafted artisan soap (including our holiday collection!) and highly scented soy wax melts. 

What’s new at your booth? We have an exciting new line of soy wax melts as well as a new design of our infamous Unicorn Breath soap!

What’s your favorite thing about Salem Holiday Market? We love the environment of the Salem Holiday Market. Walking down the red carpet with the live music playing and Christmas wreaths above. It really gets us in the holiday spirit!

What’s the best advice you have for people coming to the Salem Holiday Market? Take your time when you’re browsing and do a full walk through before purchasing anything! It is inevitable that you’ll miss a few booths when you’re wandering through and, who knows, that could be the one with the perfect gift! 

What is your website address? www.santiamsoap.com

Penguinate.com will be at the market as well (J13). Make sure you get your discount coupon for entry and drop by to see us.

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Salem Holiday Market: Preview Just One Week to Go!

White Picket Fence Caramels

With the Salem Holiday Market 2019 ready to kick-off in just about a week, you may be wondering what to expect. The Market will be filled with Christmas and holiday cheer as carolers and other groups perform daily. There will be several activities available in both halls with a focus on children in the Columbia Hall where the there is a kids’ activity center, pet adoptions and a huge model train setup.

As one of the vendors in the Jackman Long Hall this year, White Picket Fence Caramels (Booth J-F) will be there for their third year! Erica Wade says that she loves how welcoming the visitors and vendors at the market and suggests that shoppers look at everything at the market before making a purchase. White Picket Fence Caramels will be bringing their handmade, soft caramels.

The Salem Holiday Market 2019 runs Dec. 12 with a special night benefiting Chemeketa Community College’s Student Relief Fund. Many vendors will have specials for that evening. At the Penguinate booth (J13), the first 100 people to come by will get a code for a free 2020 calendar download. (No purchase necessary; offer valid until supply of codes runs out.) Saturday, bring a canned food item and get a discount on entry. You can also get a discount on entry by printing these coupons and bringing them with you.

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“Daddy’s Home 2”: Laughs and Heart

“Daddy’s Home 2” is a sequel that’s better than the original and proves that, in this case, more is better. The premise of old-school, toxic masculinity meeting new-world, kinder, gentler men uses a time-tested winning formula composed of slapstick, the absurd, and a heart-felt change in the characters that makes sense. While the writing sets the film up for success, it’s the casting and the acting that keep the film together.

Brad (Will Ferrell) and Don (John Lithgow) play to type as the uptight, over-emotional dad and granddad. Dusty (Mark Wahlberg) is the tough guy trying to change and adapt to a new reality while his father, Kurt, played by Mel Gibson, is stuck in the 1980s, womanizing and espousing the old values of masculinity that still work for him, but are, at the very least, questionable in the era of #metoo. The confrontation between the two styles of living comes into conflict as Dusty tries to conform to a life his father seemingly disapproves of.

“Daddy’s Home 2” plays to the strengths of its stars. The changes in character are believable, and even in the most absurd cases, the movie is never so far out there as to invoke disbelief, which is odd as a comedy. These qualities make “Daddy’s Home 2” a high-quality movie that isn’t just about getting belly laughs, which it does throughout the film, but it also explores the relationships between family members, especially fathers and their sons. For some, this film may seem like a guilty pleasure, but look closer and you have a film that really finds its meaning in the season. For more about the movies check out my other blog posts.

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The Apartment (1960): A Christmas/New Year’s Comedy Classic?

The Apartment” (1960) starring Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine and Fred MacMurray was nominated for 10 Oscars and won five of them, including an Academy Award for Best Picture and Best Director for Billy Wilder. It is rated by Rotten Tomatoes as the eighth best Christmas film of all time and by Esquire as the third best New Year’s film. In some ways, it seems like the 1960s version of “Love Actually” (or maybe, it should be the other way around). Whether these rankings indicate a true dearth of good holiday films or something else about the film industry and its rankings, “The Apartment” is no longer a feel-good movie or one with many laughs.

C.C. Baxter (Lemmon) is a young executive looking to advance in his company. As such, he loans out his apartment to the executives above him, so that they can cheat on their wives. This leads to late nights on a park bench for Charlie as well as a poor reputation among his fellow apartment dwellers and landlady. Lemmon schedules each of four executives, gives them deadlines to be out of the apartment (which they fail to meet), purchases alcohol and snacks for them to have while they are entertaining the women.

The boss, Jeff Sheldrake (MacMurray), learns about the apartment and its shenanigans and manipulates Baxter into allowing him to use it for his dates with Elevator Operator Fran Kubelik (MacLaine), with whom Baxter is in love. Baxter doesn’t know the identity of the woman Sheldrake is dating, and with the promise of promotion and the threat of losing his job, he agrees to the arrangement.

Kubelik makes it clear, on multiple occasions, that she likes Baxter but has absolutely no romantic interest in him. Still, she’s nice enough to him in a friendly way that he keeps his hopes alive for a meaningful relationship with her.

Everyone of the main characters has low morals of some sort. Disney staple MacMurray’s Sheldrake is a liar and manipulator, who serially cheats on his wife. MacLaine’s Kubelik knows Sheldrake is married and still goes out with him while lamenting about the type of men she’s attracted to. While she may seem to be the victim, she is complicit in her decision to continue going out with Sheldrake even after she has ostensibly broken off the relationship. The company itself shows its morals at the Christmas party where co-workers make out in every corner and one of the women does a striptease on a desk. All of this can be taken in context of current and past morals. (When Sheldrake confronts Baxter, Baxter says four bad apples are very little in relation to over 32,000 employees; Sheldrake responds with the fact that even four bad apples can ruin a large barrel.)

Lemmon’s Baxter may be the least objectionable morally; he certainly isn’t as bad as he could be. He never resorts to blackmail to get his promotions. Still, he’s an enabler and a liar, and his need to climb the corporate ladder trumps his better judgement.  His character is the only one with a believable arc. At least, the doctor, his wife and presumedly, the landlady are good people.

Lemmon, MacLaine (until her sudden change of mind/heart), and MacMurray are convincing in their roles. They are sympathetic actors even if their characters don’t offer much in the way of sympathy, and as long as cheating on your wife, attempted suicide, and discussion of another attempted suicide make for funny situations in holiday films for you, “The Apartment” is a decent movie. It’s interesting as a cultural study, especially in view of many people who would like to back to the era when men in power could cheat on their wives with impunity. Though this movie includes a woman who would cheat on her husband, who is in jail in Havana, so maybe this is where the sexual revolution began.

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Scenes from Christmas Time at the Disneyland Resort 2018

Partners statue in Disneyland

For my 50th trip to Disneyland, we celebrated Christmas, my mom’s birthday and my grandma’s 90th birthday. It was a great trip. Disneyland has the ability to bring out the child in all of us. Find out how being childlike can help you be more creative. Get a copy of “Disneyland Is Creativity: 25 Tips for Becoming More Creative.” Find links to other Disneyland related articles here. Have a Merry Christmas!

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The Disneyland ‘A Christmas Fantasy Parade’

Opening float for A Christmas Fantasy Parade

As Charles Dickens wrote in ‘A Christmas Carol’:
“It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child himself.” Creativity requires people to be child-like. Children are insatiably curious. They combine things that no one else would think of; they explore the intersections where concrete meets grass and water meets land.

Enjoy these photos from Disneyland’s ‘A Christmas Fantasy Parade’ and find your inner child. Read more about being childlike and creativity.

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Two more days for Salem Holiday Market!

Jenya and penguins at the Salem Holiday Market 2018

Come find us at the Salem Holiday Market! Our penguins are waiting for you! Don’t forget your coupon!

It’s at the Oregon State Fairgrounds in Salem starting at 10 am. We’re in the Columbia Building. Go through the Jackman Long Building and into the Columbia building. Turn left, and we’re right there… or left there… Anyways, WE’RE THERE! (Video tomorrow.)