Archives for October 31, 2017

Discover Wildlife on the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks Experience a Virtual Wildlife Takeover November 1 to Catch a Glimpse of Native Species on the Landmarks

unnamed (1)

Irvine Ranch Conservancy invites the community to discover native wildlife on the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks by registering for a public program on the open spaces. Nature lovers can also catch a glimpse of fauna on the lands through a virtual “Wildlife Takeover” on Wednesday, November 1 beginning at 6 a.m.

The first annual virtual Wildlife Takeover will include 24 hours of wildlife and feature a photo or video of a different animal posted every hour to the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks’ FacebookInstagram, and Twitter pages. Virtual takeover participants can look forward to posts that will include a picture or video of a native animal, information on the species, and links to programs on the Landmarks where visitors have a chance to see wildlife firsthand in their natural habitat.

“Fall and winter months are ideal for exploring the lands, and if you’re lucky you can spot wildlife in person during a program,” commented Dave Raetz, Irvine Ranch Conservancy Deputy Director. “From mule deer to migratory birds to arachnids, there’s an incredibly diverse community of native species on the Landmarks. We’re excited to launch our first-ever virtual Wildlife Takeover on social media where you’re guaranteed to see these amazing creatures.”

Join the virtual takeover by “liking” the Landmarks’ Facebook page ( following them on Twitter (@IRLandmarks) and on Instagram (@OCMountainstoSea), and find birds like the California Gnatcatcher, arachnids like tarantulas, and mammals like coyotes and bobcats to enjoy a wide variety of wildlife in their natural habitat.


Irvine Ranch Conservancy works in partnership with OC Parks, City of Irvine, and the City of Newport Beach to offer a wide selection of activities where nature lovers can connect with the land and catch a glimpse of wildlife that calls the Landmarks home. Whether visitors choose to register for a volunteer-led activity or explore the open spaces during self-guided access programs, outdoor enthusiasts have a chance to spot wildlife in their natural environment throughout the year. Click the programs below to register for a free program and experience the great outdoors.

  • Wilderness Access Day: Black Star Canyon on Saturday, November 4 from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. welcomes hikers, bikers, and equestrians ages 12 and up to discover the plant and wildlife in Black Star Canyon through self-guided access.
  • Orchard Hills Evening Hike on Tuesday, November 7 from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. invites hikers to explore the three-mile Orchard Hills loop trail and be rewarded with sweeping views of Irvine and the Pacific coastline
  • Thursday Morning Trek: Bommer Canyon on Thursday, November 9 from 8 – 11:30 a.m. invites visitors ages 12 and up can hike a seven-mile loop through Bommer Canyon in Irvine and spot a variety of different animals.

Irvine Ranch Conservancy offers a full calendar of free programs all year long, including hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, habitat restoration, and other special events for nature and wildlife lovers of all ages and skill levels. For more information about the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks and to register for an activity visit

 Credit: Irvine Ranch Conservancy.

Circus Vargas Unveils Original New Production- Steam Cirque! Returning to San Pedro! Family 4-Pack Giveaway Opportunity!


Circus Vargas embarks on a brand new epic adventure under the big top! Bringing their innovative new production to Arcadia from November 2nd – 13th and coming to San Pedro November 16th – 20th.

The show:

Goggles, gears, and gadgets set the stage for Circus Vargas’ 2017’s retro-futuristic production, SteamCirque!  Join them on a journey of fantastic proportions where children of all ages will marvel at the wacky and wonderful cast of characters that come alive in this exciting steampunk, science- fiction fantasy inspired circus odyssey!

Arrive 45 minutes early for an entertaining, interactive pre-show celebration, where kids can create their own magic under the big top, learning circus skills such as juggling, balancing and more!   Meet and mingle with the entire cast after each performance.  Capture the fun by posing for pics or selfies with your favorite cast members, all part of an unforgettable Circus Vargas experience!

 unnamed (1)

The storyline:

An eccentric group of adventure seekers stumble upon a traveling circus in an imaginary Victorian city, far, far-away. SteamCirque’s peculiar protagonist, part magician-

part inventor, attempts to industrialize the circus by incorporating his steam powered mechanical contraptions into the ordinary, typical circus rigging, filling the big top with new, imaginative acrobatic apparatus for the artists to perform their acts.


“SteamCirque is inspired by adventure, colored by imagination and brought to life by the amazing cast of Circus Vargas!


Join us for an amazing experience, under the big top as Circus Vargas celebrates its 48th year and create new and treasured memories for generations to come! This wonderful show has something for everyone! It’s 2 hours of amazing music, lights, magic, acrobats, aerialists, daredevils, comedians and more!


Ticket Information:

For Circus Vargas performance dates, times and to purchase tickets, visit, call 877-GOTFUN-1 (877-468-3861) or visit the box office at each location. Follow Circus Vargas on Facebook and Twitter for updates, discounts and behind the scenes video.

Thursday, November 2 – Monday, November 13 

Santa Anita Park (285 West Huntington Drive, Arcadia 91007)

Thursday, Nov 2 – 7:30pm

Friday, Nov 3 – 4:30, 7:30pm
Saturday, Nov 4 – 4:00pm, 7:30pm
Sunday, Nov 5 – 12:00pm, 3:00pm, 6:30pm
Monday, Nov 6 – 7:00pm

Thursday, Nov 9 – 7:00pm

Friday, Nov 10 – 4:30, 7:30pm
Saturday, Nov 11 – 1:00pm, 4:00pm, 7:30pm
Sunday, Nov 12 – 12:00pm, 3:00pm, 6:30pm

Monday, Nov 13 – 7:00pm


Thursday, November 16 – Monday, November 20 

By Battleship USS Iowa (250 S Harbor Blvd, Los Angeles 90731)

Thursday, Nov 16 – 7:30pm

Friday, Nov 17 – 4:30, 7:30pm
Saturday, Nov 18 – 4:00pm, 7:30pm
Sunday, Nov 19 – 12:00pm, 3:00pm, 7:00pm
Monday, Nov 20 – 6:30pm.

Circus Vargas will be in the parking lot outside USS Iowa, and when you bring your Circus Vargas ticket stub to the museum you will get discounted entrance into the museum! Now, how cool is that?! It is a fun museum to visit!

Main Link:

Ticket Link:

I am excited that they are returning to San Pedro and we have teamed up for a Family 4-Pack for the San Pedro show! The winner can select one of the dates for San Pedro! To enter leave a comment below telling us why you would like to go! Deadline to enter is November 4th, 2017 at noon PST. 

Self Disclosure: I received free tickets to facilitate this post and giveaway. Images and information were also provided.

Wonderstruck – A Shining Gem in the Cinematic “Cabinet of Wonders”


The story of a young boy in the Midwest is told simultaneously with a tale about a young girl in New York from fifty years ago as they both seek the same mysterious connection. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Clayton P. comments, “Wonderstruck is a shining gem in the cinematic “cabinet of wonders”… I love this film because it combines the artistic style of old black and white silent films with the more modern color palette of today’s films.” Dariana A. adds, “Wonderstruck is such an amazing and inspiring movie. It has a great plot that is very inspiring to all kids. In the beginning, the story takes a while to develop so it’s a little slow. Once you get to the climax, there is never a dull moment.” See their full reviews below.



By Clayton P., KIDS FIRST Reporter, age 18



Wonderstruck is a shining gem in the cinematic “cabinet of wonders.” The film is adapted from the book Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick, the same author who wrote Hugo Cabret. Directed by Todd Haynes and written by Brian Selznick, the film envelopes you in its beautifully detailed vision of old New York. The movie stars Oakes Fegley, Julianne Moore and Michele Williams. I love this film because it combines the artistic style of old black and white silent films with the more modern color palette of today’s films.


Wonderstruck tells two similar stories that have a connection. One story concerns a twelve-year-old boy, Ben, in the 1970s, who, after losing his Mom, decides to run away and look for his father in the big city. Recently losing his hearing from a lightning strike, he must deal with his disability without knowing sign language. Luckily, when he arrives in NYC he makes a friend, Jamie, who takes him to the American Museum of Natural History. The other story follows a young girl, Rose, in the late 1920s. It is portrayed as a silent black and white film, as befits the time period. Rose is born deaf and never learned sign language or how to properly talk, but she is talented at creating artworks with paper.  She is depicted as a very shy, quiet type, but loves visiting her brother who works at the Museum of Natural History.


This film reminds me of Hugo and The Night at the Museum because of the attention to historical detail and the wonder inherent in the natural world. I also enjoyed how it keeps changing from a silent, black and white film to a talky, color film. It gives you the best of both worlds –  old style filmmaking and more modern. Each time the film shifts time periods, the music changes as well. The film revels in many different textures, such as the gritty reality of NYC in the 1970s, all the old curiosities in the Museum of Natural History and even the paper cityscapes that Rose creates. The crux of the film is the director’s fascination with the old “cabinet of wonders” and how it is the precursor to the modern museum. This film itself is a “cabinet of wonders,” revealing many treasures in its depths. My favorite scene is when Ben and Jamie explore the secret rooms in the Museum of Natural History.


Before Wonderstruck, I was not familiar with the director, Todd Haynes.  Until now he has created mostly sophisticated, art house, independent films.  This film can be considered a fascinating, art house, family film. I give Wonderstruck  4 out of 5 stars for its creative way it combines two different artistic styles. I recommend it for ages 12 to 18. It opens October 20, 2017 in select theaters nationwide so look for it.



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



Wonderstruck is such an amazing and inspiring movie. It has a great plot that is very inspiring to all kids. In the beginning, the story takes a while to develop so it’s a little slow. Once you get to the climax, there is never a dull moment.  If you stick around, it’s an awesome movie! It also is a little hard for kids to understand, but if you are over 10, you should be able to follow it.


Wonderstruck is a story about a boy named Ben who gets in an accident in 1977 which causes him to become deaf and inspires him to run away in search of his father. This story intertwines with another, set in 1927, about Rose, a young deaf girl who runs away looking for a mysterious woman whose scrapbook she has. As the story progresses, we find out more about how their stories really are alike.


One of the many stunning things about Wonderstruck is the cinematography. The way they change from a silent film (Rose’s story set in 1927) to a movie that is set in a future time (Ben’s story set in 1977) is seamless. All the actors bring so much to the characters they play,  especially Oakes Fegley (Ben) and Millicent Simmonds (Young Rose) who are child actors and perform beautifully. Another marvelous thing about this movie is that it really gives you a look into what it’s like to be deaf. Rose’s story is a silent film, so you have to read people’s facial expressions to know what they are trying to say. During Ben’s time, there are moments where you can hear what Ben hears, which is almost nothing except for very faint sounds. Wonderstruck really gives you a glimpse into deaf people’s lives and you learn to relate to them through the filmed story.


My favorite character is Jamie (Jaden Michael) because he is Ben’s friend throughout the whole movie and that is his whole purpose –  to be there for Ben. My favorite scene is at the end when Ben is standing on the rooftop of a museum with Jamie and another person (I won’t say who because that’s a spoiler) and they are watching fireworks in the Queens’ skyline. I love it because of its beautiful cinematography.


The message of this film is that you may not always find what you’re looking for, but what you do find, might be better. This is a really fortune cookie message, but it’s the message I got because both Rose and Ben don’t find exactly what they are looking for, but still find something great. I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars because it has stunning cinematography, star power, great acting and gives you a peek into what it’s like to be deaf. I would give it an extra .5 if the beginning wasn’t so slow. I recommend this film for ages 10 to 18.  It opens in theaters nationwide October 20, 2017 so be sure to check it out.



Mardy is Pet of the Week!

Mardy, November2 Pet of the Week

Mardy looks like a lawn statue in this photo! This little 2-year-old Chi/pug mix is all personality, and as still as he’s standing, it all comes through here! He’s neutered, ready to go and absolutely adorable! Meet Mardy on the shelter side of the Companion Animal Village at 7700 East Spring St., (562) 570-PETS. Ask for ID#A598551.

(The usual suspects contributed to this rescue)

Credit: Courtesy of the Companion Animal Village.