Archives for August 14, 2017

The Best Place for Summer Travel! La Jolla’s Pantai Inn: The Ultimate Family Destination! Enchanting Seaside Inn Embodies the Perfect Combination of Luxury and Convenience to Create the Ideal Family Destination This Summer

Pantai Exterior & Sign

Long celebrated for its stunning oceanfront location and views, Pantai Inn is perfectly positioned to be the ideal family destination in the San Diego area, hot on the heels of an extensive renovation and redesign.

While the Inn boasts a wide range of accommodations, what makes it so advantageous to families is its selection of commodious three-bedroom and two-bedroom suites as well as cottages, all with kitchens, which are well equipped to house families. The suites range from casual to deluxe, with even the more casual options providing the welcoming attitude and tropical atmosphere that the Inn is known for.

Coastal views and beautiful décor is only part of the Inn’s charm. It is centrally located to many of the area’s family and kid-friendly attractions, including the world-famous San Diego Zoo & Safari ParkBalboa Park (including a plethora of museums, performing arts venues, lovely gardens and more), and popular family attractions like Legoland are just a short drive away.  For entertainment of the natural variety, the Inn is a short walk from La Jolla’s coastal Children’s Pool, tide pools and beaches, and is situated across from the rocky outcropping that is a favorite sunbathing spot of sea lions and harbor seals. There is no shortage of oceanfront activities alongside La Jolla’s stunning coastline including kayaking, stand up paddling, snorkeling, sailing and biking.

My family had the opportunity to visit Pantai Inn for a couple of nights and we had an amazing time! We stayed in a 3 bedroom Suite and it was the best Summer vacation ever! I only wish we could have stayed longer! The view from our place was simply amazing and although I am not usually one to be up at sunrise…I was up at sunrise since the beach was so close by with an amazing view and tons of Sea Lions! I also have to point out that the Staff is the best! They made my family feel at home and I loved that Tea and Coffee are available all day and all the little touches such as chocolate on our pillows at the end of the day…well, I really could go on and on….

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The rooms were beautiful and my husband and I loved the whole Bali theme! The Original Balinese art and design really makes this place unique!

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I just loved the Kitchen! It truly was fully stocked!

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I have to admit spending time on the balcony was a favorite thing for me! I could see and hear the ocean from that spot and I loved having my breakfast there! By the way, breakfast is complimentary there and the food is quite impressive! I loved the Baked Egg Cups and there were two options to choose from! My favorite was the Mediterranean-Sun Dried Tomato with Feta! Yum! The Chef also makes a really delicious Strawberry Cobbler Muffin! But, honestly, the breakfast is something to write home about! 

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I have to admit that my teenage son wasn’t excited about this trip before we arrived but he had a great time! The room accommodations, the view and the customer service truly made this a great vacation! What really impressed me was how we had all the comforts of home yet we felt like we were so far away from home. It truly was a unique experience without leaving Southern California! 

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And, the view was simply amazing! 

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And..walking distance to an amazing beach….I was absolutely thrilled! 

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Hands down visiting the Pantai Inn and La Jolla this Summer was the best time my family had together this Summer! 

There’s still time to visit! Summer isn’t over yet! 

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6.17.2017 Denise B.-111 Del

 

More About the Pantai Inn
The Pantai Inn’s distinct guest accommodations blend a unique Balinese-inspired décor with luxurious comforts and contemporary conveniences.  The relaxing oceanfront retreat offers a lush garden setting with soothing water features and an inviting courtyard to stimulate the senses.
Offering a variety of accommodations from ocean view studios and one-bedroom suites to three-bedroom cottages, the Inn is perfect for romantic getaways or family vacations.  Whatever the occasion, the Pantai experience is completed by the warmth and authenticity of the Inn’s extraordinary guest service.   Ranked as a top hotel in La Jolla by TripAdvisor, the 30 room Pantai Inn is located in the charming seaside village of La Jolla and is steps away from the finest restaurants, boutiques and galleries the area has to offer.  The Pantai Inn is located at 1003 Coast Blvd, La Jolla CA, 92037. For information and reservations call toll free 855.287.2682 or visit www.pantai.com.               

Self Disclosure: My family was invited to visit Pantai Inn. No other compensation was received but our stay was comped. All opinions are my own.  I highly recommend Pantai Inn. Photo Credit: Top Photo: Pantai Inn. All other photos: SoCal City Kids.

100% pure and all natural essential oils from Aroma Foundry are a must!

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Aroma Foundry sells a very popular line of 100% pure and all natural essential oils. I had the opportunity to try out some of these amazing oils and am quite impressed! My favorite is the 100% Pre Lavender Essential Oil! It smells just like lavender and I love that I can have it handy when I travel or it is the perfect size to have on the night table!

Aroma Foundry has a wide variety of different oils available. I also really like the Peppermint because it great to use around the house. So, if you are looking for essential oils, check them out at https://www.aromafoundry.com/ 

They currently have some great sale prices!

More about Aroma Foundry:

Aroma Foundry is a Santa Barbara, California company founded by a team with a goal to create quality All Natural products that let Mother Earth show off what she can do.

Self Disclosure: I received free samples to facilitate this post. 

Cosmic Watch – An Interactive 3D Tool To Explore Sky & Universe THE WORLD'S FIRST INTERACTIVE ASTRONOMICAL CLOCK

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Cosmic Watch, It’s an app that is an interactive 3D tool. You can use it as a realtime worldclock, time travel machine, an astrolab, an antikythera mechanism, an orrey, an armillary sphere, or an astral-chart generator.

The unique thing about the clock face is its ecliptic view around the planet. The complex mechanism of telling time is at the touch of your hands with the Cosmic Watch App. A fun learning tool to explore the relation between time and the celestial dynamics.

I had my husband check this one out for me and he thought that it was pretty cool!

To Know More: http://www.cosmic-watch.com

GET THE COSMIC WATCH APP HERE

Google Play Store:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.cosmic_watch.cosmicwatch

iTunes Store:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/cosmic-watch/id971231853?mt=8

Self Disclosure: I received a free code to check out the app. Images and Info were also provided.

Whole Foods Market 365 Santa Monica Opened on August 9th!

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The fifth Whole Foods Market 365 opened on Wednesday, Aug. 9, at 9 a.m. in Santa Monica, CA at 2121 Cloverfield Blvd at Pico.  Regular store hours are 7 a.m. – 10 p.m., seven days a week. This will be the second Whole Foods Market 365 location for the Los Angeles area.

The vibrant 30,000-square-foot space takes “neighborhood grocery store” to the next level with its mix of affordable grocery items, unique venues and retail innovations for customers seeking convenience and value. The store will offer high quality products without any artificial colors, sweeteners or preservatives.

“Whole Foods Market 365 is all about the easy everyday shop—whether you’re meeting a friend for dinner and a glass of wine, stocking up on groceries for the week, or grabbing food to go, this store has a blend of fun foodie finds and convenience,” said Jeff Turnas, president of Whole Foods Market 365. “Our Santa Monica store is a great example of the evolution of the 365 brand and we’re thrilled to bring this neighborhood a new place to shop and hang out.”

Exciting Features & Flavors

Groundwork Coffee: Open daily from 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., local favorite Groundwork Coffee features 100 percent certified organic hot and cold coffees and teas, including nitro cold brew coffee and a new vegan horchata & cold brew. In addition to coffee, Groundwork will offer a full menu of made-to-order breakfasts, sandwiches, salads, and bowls with many vegan, gluten-free, and vegetarian options. Highlights include house-made granola, Bitches Brew short rib sandwich, vegan kale caesar salad, and umami rice bowl. All eggs served are organic, and all meats are free of added hormones and antibiotics.

Asian Box Street Food: Regular hours 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday, and 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. Sunday to Monday. All menu items are 100 percent gluten-free, customizable, and “dtam sang,” or made to order. Guests pick a base of rice, rice noodles or Asian salad, a protein like Six Spice Chicken, Lemongrass Pork, or Coconut Curry Tofu, then top it with a variety of ingredients likes wok steamed or spiced vegetables, crispy shallots, fresh jalapeno and caramel eggs. House made sauces include tamarind vinaigrette, Miss Jones’™ Sriracha, no-oil fish sauce, peanut sauce, and Asian Street Dust™.

Taqueria: An in-house kitchen offers tacos, bowls, burritos, plus build-your-own pizza and convenient ordering via kiosk. This venue includes many vegan options like tofu picadillo and jackfruit al pastor tacos, plus a full menu of Detroit-style pizza.

Antipasto bar: A mouth-watering selection of olives, roasted garlic, tapenades, pickled and marinated artichokes, beets and cauliflower sold by the pound.

Specialty cheeses: Planning a party? Stop by the specialty cheese set for a hand-picked selection of nearly 30 artisanal cheeses, from Parrano and Pavino to Seaside and Vermont Creamery’s Minimont, made exclusively for Whole Foods Market 365 stores.

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Organic soda fountain: 100 percent organic, non-GMO sodas by Tractor Beverage Co made without artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. The organic soda fountain will have rotating flavors on tap like Cola, Root Beer, Ginger Beer, Coconut, Cherry Cream and Cucumber.

Grab-and-go: Build your-own salad and meals at hot and cold bars with fresh ingredients. Shoppers can pick up ready-made wraps, sushi, pizza, sandwiches, pastas, breakfast tacos, plus crowd pleasing favorites like cakes, pies, fruit and veggie trays.

Fresh baked goods: Pick up baked goods by local favorite, Larder Baking Company, and choose from a selection of cookies, pastries and hearth breads. Plus, a bulk cookie bar will offer cookies by the pound.

“Flash Finds”: New, seasonal or unique offerings available for a limited time.  Flash Finds for opening week include Jica chips, Severino pasta, Coolhaus Ice Cream Sandwiches and Milkadamia Macadamia Nut Milk.

On-site pairing kiosk: Scan wine bottles, beer or spirits for food pairing ideas, ratings, user reviews and recommendations. The beer, wine and spirits section has 400+ wines, 200+ craft, domestic and imported beers, 50+ spirits, with many organic and sustainable options.

365 Rewards:  A free digital loyalty program that gives customers special discounts, free products and other surprises. 365 rewards members receive 10 percent off more than 100 items throughout the store. Program highlights include 20 percent off all berries on Wednesdays, digital punch cards with buy 5 get 1 free offers and $5 off a $25 purchase for new members. Shoppers can sign-up here.

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Credit: Whole Foods Market 365.

Oh My Gravy! Weruva BFF OMG! ‘People Food for Cats’

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With  Happy Healthy Cat Month in September, now is the perfect time to address the ‘cat in the room’—and that’s your feline friend’s diet. I’ll be the first to admit my own cat’s diet isn’t ‘purr’fect. Titan can be a picky eater, or ignore her water bowl even when it’s placed right next to her food. I struggled to understand how I could address these issues. But then I realized I wasn’t alone—my cat was just experiencing one of the three most common cat concerns: picky eating, weight gain, and urinary tract issues.
I learned about the Big 3 by partnering with Weruva [http://www.weruva.com/]—a luxurious, natural pet food dubbed “people food for cats” which is launching a full line of gluten, grain, and carrageenan-free cat food in honor of International Cat Day. It’s called B.F.F. OMG! (that stands for Best Feline Friend, Oh My Gravy), and it’s all about preventing these Big 3 Cat Concerns.
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If your cat has any of these, you might want to consider changing their diet:
  Is your cat picky? Picky eating is usually a problem with texture, since cats are carnivores whose tongues and teeth are perfectly evolved for meat-eating. It’s easy to see why a cat might dislike something without real shreds of meat—would you eat a steak with the texture of tapioca? Weruva’s food features these shreds of real meat right off the bone, which is why my cat took to it like a duck to water (or a cat to gravy)! Honestly, Titan will not eat can cat food but he loved this food!
  Got a fat cat? The problem is in the kibble. It’s filled with unnecessary carbs, which are almost impossible for cats to process (they don’t produce amylase, an enzyme which helps humans digest their food). Weruva’s B.F.F. OMG! has no kibble to worry about because it’s 100% real meats in their true form.
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  UT-why? Urinary tract issues often stem from dehydration—even if you’re giving your cat plenty of water. In the wild, cats stay hydrated through the food they eat instead of what they drink. Cats are used to ‘eating’ their water—but most wet foods don’t have nearly enough hydration to keep them satisfied. All of the products in Weruva’s B.F.F. OMG! line are over 85% hydration, which satisfies my cat’s hydration needs.
I love Weruva products because they are considered ‘people food for pets.’ The new line of B.F.F. OMG! cans and pouches feature land proteins like boneless and skinless white chicken breast, salmon, beef, duck, lamb and more. All recipes are grain, gluten, and carrageenan free. And if you are a BPA-free home, check out the pouches because they are BPA-free. Best of all, my kitty loves it!
Health isn’t just for humans, and I’m glad I took the time to learn how to feed my BFF properly. Even better, in the process, I found my kitty’s new favorite food. She especially likes Weruva’s Duck & Salmon Dinner in gravy (Date NIght!) flavor, which you can read about at http://www.weruva.com/. You can also explore the whole B.F.F. OMG! lineup there, and find a flavor your cat will ‘paw’sitively adore, at Chewy.com
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Has your cat experienced one of the Big 3 Cat Concerns? Share your experience in the comments!
Self Disclosure: I received free samples for my cat Titan to try out! Photo Credit: SoCal City Kids. 

The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature – As Good or Better than the Original

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Surly and his friends, Buddy, Andie and Precious discover that the mayor of Oakton City is cracking one big hustle to build a giant yet quite-shabby amusement park, which in turn will bulldoze their home, which is the city park, and it’s up to them and the rest of the park animals to stop the mayor, along with his daughter and a mad animal control officer from getting away with his scheme, and take back the park. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Dariana A, comments, “With some movies, the sequel is never as good as the original, but with this movie, they are both awesome films. There is never a boring part or unnecessary scene.” See the rest of her review below.

 

The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature

By Dariana A., KIDS FIRST Film Critics, age 11

 

 

The Nut Job 2 is wonderful! With some movies, the sequel is never as good as the original, but with this movie, they are both awesome films. There is never a boring part or unnecessary scene. It keeps you wanting more and gets you really attached about the characters’ lives. The background music really helps keep the story going and makes the chase scenes more suspenseful since there are no silent moments.

 

 

 

In the film, an accident happens and all the animals who are eating at the nut shop are forced to move back to the park. Unfortunately, Mayor Muldoon (Bobby Moynihan) has some nefarious plans to destroy the park. So, Surly (Will Arnett) and his friends have to find a way to work together to save the park.

 

 

 

One of the things I care for in both of The Nut Job films is the animation. I love how you can see every single hair on all the animals and how each one is different. Another thing that I love about this film is the music. That, you can thank Heitor Pereira for. The music goes with the lines and scenes so well, that it truly enhances the story. My favorite character is Buddy because, even though he never talks, he is always there for Surly and it’s funny to see Buddy’s expressions that make it seem as if he’s talking. I also really like the backstory showing Surly and Buddy’s friendship. Another thing I really like is Mr. Feng’s (Jackie Chan) tail because it makes him more intimidating, which adds to his character. My favorite scene is when Andie (Katherine Heigl) starts singing about how the park is their home and they make a joke about how “no one can break into a spontaneous song.” Go watch it and you’ll see!

 

The two messages in this film are to work together, which this movie is all about, and that nothing comes easy. This message comes into place when the animals have to move back to the park and scrounge for food. I rate this film 5 out of 5 stars because of the extraordinary animation, plot and music. I recommend this film for ages 5 to 14 and parents and older siblings will enjoy it too. You can find this film theaters nationwide.

Credit: KIDS FIRST!

 

The Glass Castle – Excellent Acting, Top Level Cinematography And Spectacular Direction

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A young girl comes of age in a dysfunctional family of nonconformist nomads with a mother who’s an eccentric artist and an alcoholic father who would stir the children’s imagination with hope as a distraction to their poverty. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Arjun N. comments, “The Glass Castle fascinates me because of its excellent acting. The cinematography is top level and the spectacular direction captures every scene from the memoir.” See his full review below.

The Glass Castle

By Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

 

The Glass Castle fascinates me because of its excellent acting. The cinematography is top level and the spectacular direction captures every scene from the memoir.

The storyline is about a young girl, Jeannette (Brie Larson), who comes of age in a dysfunctional, yet creative family with an alcoholic father, Rex (Woody Harrelson) and a mother, Rose (Naomi Watts), an eccentric artist. The family moves from city to city, due to their nomadic lifestyle, which leads to a split in the family when Jeannette leaves for New York, as the events are told in flashbacks. Jeanette now lives with her fiancé, David (Max Greenfield), only to be reunited with her brother, Brian (Josh Caras) and her sisters, Lori (Sarah Snook) and Maureen (Bridgette Lundy-Paine). Jeanette meets her parents to reveal her engagement and they are not excited about it.

Brie Larson, as Jeannette, excellently presents her love for her father and the braveness of her character. Woody Harrelson, as Rex, is my favorite character due to how he presents his extremely vulnerable behavior of his alcoholism, as he wants to quit it with Jeanette. Naomi Watts, as Rose, brilliantly presents her enthusiasm for painting. Max Greenfield, as David, provides great comic relief with his comedic timing. Josh Caras, as Brian, determinedly pursues his career. Sarah Snook, as Lori, is independent of her brothers and sisters, when Rex and Rose are off on their escapades. Bridgette Lundy Paine, as Maureen, presents her hatred of the family lifestyle and wants to leave.

The direction by Destin Daniel Creton and the cinematography by Brett Pawlak are splendid. Innovative camera techniques are used to present the juxtaposition of the flashbacks and present day. My favorite scene is where Rex promises Jeannette that he can fulfill whatever she wants and she asks him to stop his alcohol abuse. The scene is touching and well acted. My only problem with this film is its pacing which drags at times. Also, there is a bar scene which is useless. Despite that flaw, the acting makes it worthwhile.

The message of the film is about being and listening to yourself. I give it 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18 because of its mature themes and language. The movie opens theatrically on Aug 11, 2017, so check it out.

Credit: KIDS FIRST!