Archives for October 2014

Ayara Thai Cuisine Wins ‘Best Dish’ at CPAF’s 36th Anniversary Gala

On September 11th, The Center for the Pacific Asian Family hosted their 36th Anniversary Gala titled “Champions for a Change” at the Majestic Halls in Downtown Los Angeles. The event was hosted by Award winning broadcast journalist, Susan Hirasuna of FOX 11. The night included light snacks, cocktails, a silent auction, celebrity appearances followed by a food competition for ‘Best Dish’.

The ‘Culinary Heroes’ portion of the event included 16 top Los Angeles restaurants including Faith & Flower, Chaya,Phorage, Ayara Thai Cuisine, Wood & Vine, ChocoChicken, Little Sister,  and more. All restaurants competed for the honor of ‘Best Dish’ which was chosen by a group of hand-selected guest judges comprised of food writers and bloggers who each did a blind-tasting. The dish that came out on top was Ayara Thai Cuisine’s Khao Soi Noodle with Coconut Foam. A Northern Chicken Curry Noodle dish made with egg noodles and melt-off-the-drumstick chicken, garnished with fried noodles, shallots, cilantro, pickled mustard greens, fried whole chiles and a squeeze of fresh lime. Vanda Asapahu, of the Ayara Thai family accepted the award on behalf of the family and restaurant says, “It was so humbling that our Khao Soi was honored as the “Best Dish” of the evening, especially amongst many amazing dishes prepared by all the talented chefs who participated. This award is a testament to my mother’s recipe and is dedicated to all women chefs.” Center for the Pacific Asian Family’s mission is to build healthy and safe communities by addressing the root causes and consequences of family violence and violence against women.


Ayara Thai Cuisine, a family-owned restaurant in Los Angeles opened in August of 2004 by chef and restaurateur, Andy Asapahu and his wife, chef Anna Asapahu, to craft delicious home-cooked Thai food. At Ayara Thai Cuisine, dishes are prepared from family recipes and cooking styles have been passed down through generations. The Asapahu family of Ayara Thai offers taste of their authentic home-cooked Thai food, where quality is never compromised. They use fresh seasonal ingredients and each dish is prepared from scratch and enhanced individually by herbs and spices to ensure the boldest, most genuine flavors.

Ayara Thai Cuisine is located at 6245 W 87th St, Los Angeles, CA 90045 (310) 410-8848

For more information, visit

Raffi Love Bug! Raffi's first album of children's songs in 12 years!


Love Bug, Raffi’s first album of children’s songs in twelve years, marks a welcome return for the artist. The effortlessly engaging 16-song collection, which will be released July 15 on Rounder, embodies all of the qualities that have already established Raffi as a beloved and trusted icon for young listeners.


“I see this album as a celebration of the real world, in response to the digital overreach that now touches every aspect of our lives,” Raffi says. “I think that these songs are rich in themes and styles and rhythms, but the main thing is that it’s filled with joy. Essentially, this is an album about love. When I hear this album, I hear myself strong and smiling.”


Raffi recorded much of Love Bug in his own living room, accompanied by an extended family of musicians whose talent and sensitivity on a wide range of instruments lends added warmth and uplift to the artist’s new songs of love (“Love Bug,” “Seeing the Heart”), nature (“In the Real World,” “Blue White Planet”), play (“Free to Play,” “To the Park”), chores (“Mama Loves It”), teamwork (“On Hockey Days”), imagination (“Magic Wand”) and the need to slow down and catch one’s breath amidst the accelerated pace of modern life (“Cool Down Reggae”).


Other album highlights include Raffi’s tributes to a pair of recently-departed heroes: folk-music iconoclast and children’s-music pioneer Pete Seeger, whose spirit animates the upbeat instrumental “Pete’s Banjo,” and human-rights icon Nelson Mandela, whose achievements are celebrated on the poignant “Turn This World Around.” Elsewhere on Love Bug, Raffi delivers a rollicking reading of the Woody Guthrie classic “This Land Is Your Land,” Love Bug‘s only non-original composition.


“I had a lot of fun putting the album together,” Raffi notes, “and I put a lot of thought into assembling and sequencing this group of songs. Once I felt that inner spark telling me that it was time for a new CD, I’m amazed at how smoothly it went.”



Although Love Bug is his first children’s album since 2002’s Let’s Play, Raffi has been remarkably active and productive over the past several years. He has devoted much of his time and energy to the his vision of Child Honouring, an original holistic philosophy for creating a humane and sustainable world by addressing the universal needs of children and a unifying ethic for restoring human and natural communities.


In 2013, after learning about the online extortion that led to the suicide of Vancouver teenager Amanda Todd, Raffi was inspired to write his widely acclaimed book

Lightweb/Darkweb: Three Reasons To Reform Social Media Before it Re-Forms Us. The book addresses the myriad concerns posed by the internet in relation to young children’s developmental needs.


“For me, to be a children’s advocate in this day and age, and not comment on social media, I wouldn’t be doing my job properly,” Raffi states, adding, “I’m a tech enthusiast myself, and I’ve kept up with the times, in terms of how I record and the freedom that the online and digital worlds give me. But with all tech events, the challenge is to keep your humanity in the forefront.


“InfoTech is changing childhood and changing parenting, and parents are now raising children in two different worlds, the real world and the virtual world. Many parents don’t understand that this tech isn’t good for children in their early years. We adults are custodians of a real world that children growing up today may not know or remember. Zero to six is a formative time for children. What’s forming is how it feels to be human, and we need to give those kids the chance for real-world textures and rhythms to be imprinted in their growing brains. So I think that the best thing I can do, coming out with a new CD at this time, is to add a fresh voice to that dialogue.”

We received a copy of the CD and I love it! I remember Raffi from my days of being a Pre-school Teacher! Young children will love these delightful and fun songs.

Self Disclosure: I received a free copy of the CD to facilitate this feature. Photo/press credit: Raffi.

Night Sea Journey A great Halloween read for Adults!

Pick up a copy today. A great Halloween read!
Purchase: $2.99 on Amazon
Sounds like a great book for the Adults! SoCal City Kids will be reviewing later this week!
A demon is a dark powerful visitor from another realm. True. A demon inside a dream is an imaginary construct that vanishes upon waking. True? Kip Livingston will tell you, false. Kip lives in Abasteron House and is a painter among the most talented of artists with an inspired imagination. She knows the truth because each night a winged creature with bone and muscle and greedy teeth plunged out invades her dreams. Even after she struggles to bolt awake, the dream remains a haunting dark master, breaking into her physical reality.

Kip turns to an exiled priest Raymond Kera who falls for her seductive charms. Raymond discovers that Kip’s night sea journey is a descent into the land of ghosts somewhere beyond consciousness, and he is compelled to enter her world to save her. Or will Kip have to save herself from the night demon?
Night Sea Journey is like reading a Dan Brown book with a wicked twist: it has real demons. Readers will be taken on a continual thrill ride. Excellent and impossible to put down. A fast-paced thriller where reality is blurred and faith is tested, guaranteeing to keep you enthralled until the very last word.” ~San Francisco Book Review
Cappa has that special gift of being able to make the supernatural natural, so polished is her prose and ability to string together ideas and development of same in a sustaining suspenseful manner. Even as she describes supernatural imagery her descriptive sense makes the quasi-visible visible. And that is a talent that will draw even those who are not keen on supernatural stories into her fold.” ~Grady H.
Paula Cappa has sailed into uncharted waters. Dreams, in many cultures are said to be omens or the visions of the souls desires. Dreams are the playground of the subconscious and susceptible to the influence of the supernatural. The subconscious is the true self Kip finds herself confronting desires, passions and fears that her waking self rarely if ever acknowledges. This is fine as long as the dreams stay dreamland, this story explores the “what if” of that dreamscape overlapping into day to day reality.” ~ImARareBird
Self Disclosure: SoCal City Kids is posting on behalf of author, Paula Cappa and Away We Go Media.


The Ch-Ch-Ch Chia Apocalypse is Here Meet Lifeless Lisa, Restless Arm, and Creepy Holden CHIA Zombies Are Dead-in-Time for Halloween

Female Zombie_Lifeless Lisa copy Zombie Male_Creepy Holden copy

The dead are alive this Halloween – Chia Zombies creep into stores and moan into markets across the country today announces San Francisco-based makers of the Chia Pet, Joseph Enterprises. The Company introduces Lifeless Lisa, Restless Arm, and Creepy Holden just in time for Halloween decorating and nationwide Zombie events. Each Chia Zombie includes:

  • Unique handmade pottery planter
  • Chia seeds for three plantings
  • Drip tray
  • Planting and Care information

Creating a Chia Zombie is easy, simply soak the decorative planter, moisten the Chia seeds then paint on and place in an area with good sunshine. Chia Zombies come to life in days, and reach full growth within two-three weeks. Start early and achieve the ultimate dead Chia ZOMBIE before the first Trick-or-Treaters knock on the door.

Chia Zombies retail for under $20 and are available nationally at retailers like Walgreens, Home Depot, CVS, Rite Aid and other fine stores.

Joseph Enterprises releases the Chia Zombies into a market moaning with events; nationwide Zombie walks and activities are taking place from today through Halloween.

Additionally, Joseph Enterprises launches its Chia Zombie contest today giving fans the opportunity to share a scream or give a moan through the company’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages. A winner drawn at random will receive all three Chia Zombies.

From the makers of the Ove Glove, Pogo Whisk, the Clapper and other products, Chia Zombies round out a line of self-contained chia gardens first introduced in 1981 by Joseph Enterprises. For more product, planting and care information, please visit Chia Pet.


We received a Lifeless Lisa Chia Zombie and it’s really easy to do! We just did ours yesterday so she hasn’t fully grown yet. This is a Must-Have for Halloween fun for the whole family!


Self Disclosure: I received a free product to facilitate this feature. Photo Credit: Joseph Enterprises (except the photo of our Lifeless Lisa).

PUMP – How, When and Why to End Our Oil Reliance KIDS FIRST! Coming Attractions


PUMP is an eye-opening documentary that tells the story of America’s addiction to oil, from its corporate conspiracy beginnings to its current monopoly today, and explains clearly and simply how we can end it and finally win choice at the pump. This film is well researched and easy to understand. The directors, Joshua and Rebecca Tickell won a Sundance award for their 2008 documentary Fuel. They have honed their skills and come across stronger than ever. This film is a wake up call offering alternatives that you can implement today and help break the oil monopoly. Appearances are made by John Hofmeister, Elon Musk and Luiz Inácio da Silva. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Keefer Blakeslee comments, “The purpose of this film is to spread the word that oil is not the only source of fuel for the U.S.” Gerry Orz adds, “This film should be seen by everyone who thinks we pay too much for gas and appreciates how it negatively affects all aspects of our lives.”



Reviewed by Keefer C. B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14



Riveting! This film examines the story of oil addiction in America. The question is, do we have a choice of fuel?


The purpose of this film is to spread the word that oil is not the only source of fuel for the U.S. I’m guessing parents out there love their cars and know that gas prices are the highest they’ve been in years. In order to take your child to school, you need to pay and pump expensive gasoline. Or, do you? This film shows that we can have a choice about fuel. Fuel is available that is safer, better for the air and cheaper. Pump proves these ideas with intriguing facts and mind-boggling statistics.


This movie’s focus is not about which fuel is better. This documentary provides information about alternative fuels such as ethanol, methanol, natural gas and even electric. Each one has its pros and cons, but just being able to have the ability to choose is what moves this production along.


We hear extremely intellectual interviews with people who are strong about the subject. My only criticism is that the audience for this film is not young kids. Teens who are driving or those starting driver’s education will find this important enough to watch. While I found the subject interesting, I do not think kids from 7 to 13 care about the big oil epidemic.


My favorite part is when we see the comparison of air pollution with regular gasoline and methanol, also known as “Wood Alcohol.” Dr. Robert Zubrin conducts an experiment where he ignites both fuels. We see that methanol is clean and leaves no residue while gasoline is the opposite. It made me realize what we put in the air every time we run a gasoline engine.


My favorite person interviewed is Luiz Inacio Da Sliva, 35th president of Brazil. The movie states, “under Da Sliva’s leadership, Brazil’s economy grew by the trillions.” He did something that no other country has ever done, achieve complete independence from foreign oil. He gave Brazil the choice of gasoline and ethanol. Da Sliva is what you might call a dreamer. He states, “I believe we will conquer this. I believe the world will learn to live without oil.”


This film wants to expose U.S. citizens to the idea of having a choice. We know that there are other forms of fuel and you might think we would use them. This idea was introduced in 2006 with the “Open Fuel Standard Act.” Sadly, it never left a committee for a vote. The reason being, that members of the Congress receive 32 million dollars in campaign contribution from big oil.


I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to 14 to 18-year-olds. This film shows a great message and an even more amazing vision. This film was released September 12 so check your local theaters.

Reviewed by Gerry O, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

This movie shows you the real, untold story behind oil usage, what we can do about it and how it affects real people. Pump is a film that shows the truth about the current oil crisis and the start of an oil movement.

This film has intensity wrapped together with a side of history and, of course, an educational aspect. All that while still presenting an entertaining documentary.

This examines our love for oil since the first automobile – our highs and our lows in oil history, the people who it affects and the people who are happily profiting from it. We see the businesses that have fallen and others that rose. Most importantly, this movie shows what we can do to stop this oil epidemic and make things better in U.S. as well as around the world.

I believe this film has a great message. We also see a story and a timeline based of the history of oil usage. The part where they describe how to adapt your car for healthier and cheaper fuel by just clicking on the computer is very exciting. But then, 20 minutes later, they mention it is illegal. I wish they pointed out this little detail right in the initial scene.

My favorite part which shows people trying to stop oil-dependency is when they talk about all these electric cars and natural gas cars and how hundreds of cars today can run on multiple fuels, if not all the cars. You know if you are using more than fuel in your car RIGHT NOW if you check your fuel tank cap. If it is orange, you have one of those special cars.

This film should be seen by everyone who thinks we pay too much for gas and appreciates how it negatively affects all aspects of our lives. There is a little bit of action, so I recommend it for ages 8 to 18. I also give it 5 out of 5 stars for its message and desire to make things better. I always admire those that stand by what is right.

Credit: KIDS FIRST! Coming Attractions.


The Book of Life – Funny, Cute and Festive KIDS FIRST! Upcoming Attractions


Just in time for Halloween comes this new animated feature by producer Guillermo del Toro and director Jorge Gutierrez. In a unique visual style, The Book of Life reveals the journey of Manolo, a young man who is torn between fulfilling the expectations of his family and following his heart. Before choosing which path to follow, he embarks on an incredible adventure that spans three fantastical worlds where he must face his greatest fears. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Katherine Starr comments, “This film has a terrific message:  To never stop fighting for what you believe in, to follow your own dreams and be true to your heart.” Morgan Bertsch added, “This animated feature is set in South America.  It is colorful and festive and I enjoyed learning about all the different cultural beliefs of South America.” See their full reviews below.


The Book of Life

By Katherine S.



I love this movie.  It’s a terrific, animated family film full of adventure.  It’s a visual spectacular with fantastic sets, costumes and intriguing characters.  And, it has a great positive message.


The movie begins with a museum tour-guide telling her field trip students about The Book of Life.  Her voice is played by Christina Applegate who serves as narrator throughout, which is especially helpful with all the flashback and flash-forward scenes.  In the book, it starts with a flashback to three children. Maria, Manolo and Joaquin are childhood best friends, living in San Angel, the ‘center of the world’ in Mexico, in the Land of the Living (aka Earth).  As they grow up, we see the two grown men compete for Maria’s affection. The story revolves around the celebration of the Day of the Dead, when Mexicans celebrate their loved ones who have passed away. As legend has it, as long as they are beloved, they live in the Land of the Remembered. For those not remembered well, they live in the Land of the Forgotten. The two rulers of these two lands, Meurta and Xibalba make a wager on which boy will marry Maria.  The winner gets to rule the Land of the Remembered.


Great adventure and drama ensues as Manolo and Joaquin, voiced by Diego Luna and Tatum Channing, compete to win Maria’s heart, and fend off the pressures from their families’ expectations, while saving their home town. Joaquin’s father was a war hero and Manolo comes from a long line of Bull Fighters, though he prefers to sing and play guitar.


My favorite part is when Manolo visits the Land of the Remembered and is reunited with his mother, grandfather and great grandfather, both matador heroes, who were killed. He learns of their common musical interests too, and what mother really wanted him to be.


This film has a terrific message:  To never stop fighting for what you believe in, to follow your own dreams and be true to your heart.


The music throughout the movie is awesome and helps tell Manolo’s story, especially with the songs “I Will Wait” and “The Apology Song.”


The three sets are very distinctive and perfect for each of the three realms:  San Angel is a beautiful town in the present day. The Land of Remembered is a colorful, vibrant, happy place and the Land of the Forgotten is dull, grey and has spiky architecture.


I really enjoyed the animation. The characters are wood-like with joints like Pinocchio. The boys have broad shoulders and super skinny legs. Maria and the other girls have skinny waists, full Mexican skirts and dramatic hair and eyes.  While I love it in 3D, the animation is so good it will be great in 2D also.


This is an all-around great family film. I recommend it for families with kids ages 7 to 18. There are some intense bull fighting scenes, slightly scary music and fights in the Land of the Forgotten. I give this film a 4.5 out of 5 star rating. Be sure to check out The Book of Life which is in theaters now.


The Book of Life
By Morgan B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9


On October 17th Twentieth Century Fox brings a new Halloween movie to the big screen. This is sure to become a must-see for everyone at Halloween time!
This animated feature is set in South America.  It is colorful and festive and I enjoyed learning about all the different cultural beliefs of Latin America. On the day that we celebrate Halloween, they celebrate Mexican Day of the Dead. This movie is funny, cute and the story keeps your attention from beginning to the end.


Many of the movies we see today seem like the same story or theme told in different ways. This movie is truly an original. There are many hints of movies you have seen before but overall, it is truly a different movie. The animators’ attention to detail is mind boggling.


The characters are made of wood but, after the first five minutes you see them as real people. The intercut details are astonishing. The unique personalities and different characters will keep you entertained. Animals, people, spirits – this movie has it all.


Maria is my favorite because she is a little girl with cute pig tails. She is fun, bubbly, tough and adventurous. Her independence gets her in trouble but at the same time it is her greatest asset. We watch her grow from a child to a young lady. She keeps the same spirit and kind heart. She must choose who to marry between her two best friends. Zoe Saldana voices the character and really brings her to life.


The candlestick maker, voiced by Ice Cube, is laugh-out-loud funny. Even though he is not in the movie for very much time, you will leave with a smile on your face just thinking about him.


Gabriel Iglesias, Cheech Marin, Hector Elizondo are three amigos who try to help one of our heroes win Maria’s hand in marriage. The singing group is hilarious. The song choices are great and made me giggle.


There are many messages in this film. The two heroes follow in their father footsteps. We see how it is important to remember your ancestors but also know that you are your own person and should follow your own path. Although it has been a long-standing tradition, bull fighting is beginning to be thought of as wrong. The bulls should be allowed to live. We see how it takes a whole village of people to protect and look out for each other and how everyone needs to be on the same team helping everyone else.


I recommend this movie ages 7 to 18. It is about Halloween and the Mexican Day of the Dead. Although it is entertaining it is still about death and there is violence. I give this movie 5 out of 5 twinkling stars.  It opens in theaters on October 17 so check it out!


Credit: KIDS FIRST! Coming Attractions.

New Halloween ComicFest Costume Contest! “The Greatest Halloween Costume Contest Ever” Returns!


Halloween ComicFest is conducting “The Greatest Halloween Costume Contest Ever”, where participants take a picture in costume showcasing one of the 19 free Halloween ComicFest full-size or mini-comics and then upload their costume photos to be entered to win great prizes, including a Grand Prize of a $500 shopping spree at their local comic shop!


Starting October 25th through November 9th contestants can upload their photos and choose one of the five costume categories— Superhero/Comics, TV/Movie, Gamer, Horror and Original to enter.


How To Enter:

  1. Contestants must get one of the 19 official Halloween ComicFest full-size or mini-comics.
  2. Contestants must take a picture holding one of the Halloween ComicFest comics while in costume.
  3. The photo must then be uploaded to the Halloween ComicFest website at ( and submitted into the appropriate costume category where it will be screened by the HCF staff to ensure the photo is appropriate and has a HCF comic included in the picture.
  4. Contestants are encouraged to share their photo to try and gain votes online.
  5. Photos can be submitted anytime they receive a Halloween ComicFest 2014 comic until 11:59PM on November 9th.


From Sunday, November 2nd until Sunday November 9th at 11:59PM, fans will be able to vote on their favorite entries featured on the HCF website, ultimately helping decide a category winner. In addition to the category prize winners, two Grand Prize winners will be picked at random to receive a $500 shopping spree to their local comic shop and one adult and one child from each category will receive a $100 shopping spree. The adult and child who earn the most votes in their respective categories will receive a prize pack containing a variety of items from contest sponsors which include DC Comics, Dark Horse Comics, Archie Comics, IDW Publishing, BOOM! Studios, Diamond Select Toys, Zenescope, Oni Press, Abstract, Funko, Giant Microbes, Funimation, Tweeterhead, and Bandai.


“This year, it’s easier to enter the costume contest, as anyone who receives at least one of the free Halloween ComicFest comics and has a costume is eligible to enter,” said Halloween ComicFest spokesperson Deborah Moreland. “Comic shops are packed with great comics, graphic novels and other pop-culture merchandise and on Oct. 25th they’ll be packed with customers picking up the Halloween ComicFest full-size and mini-comics for free in addition to having a fun experience all-around at their local participating comic shop.” “We expect some friendly competition to take place once the voting begins and look forward to seeing what people wear to win.”
To enter the contest and view other participants photos, go to For more information about the free full-size and mini-comics and to find a participating comic shop, go to

Credit: Halloween ComicFest.

Set Sail for London!! "Jake and the Never Land Pirates: Battle for the Book!" premieres SUNDAY OCTOBER 26 at 6:00 p.m. ET/PT


“Jake and the Never Land Pirates: Battle for the Book!” premiering thisSunday October 26 at 6:00 p.m. ET/PT on Disney Channel and Disney Junior.


The beloved Disney heritage characters Wendy, John and Michael Darling make their series debut, with Maia Mitchell (Disney Channel’s “Teen Beach Movie” and ABC Family’s “The Fosters”) voicing the role of Wendy as well as performing new original song “Once Upon A Time.” And of course, Peter and Tink also show up!


Jake and his crew take flight over beautiful London to help Wendy get her storybook back from Captain Hook. If you are or were ever a fan of “Peter Pan,”  I think you (and your kids) are going to love it!