Archives for November 2017

Brentwood Home celebrates the holidays with 15% off sitewide through November 29 Shop gifts for new parents, homeowners, fitness lovers, pets and more with code CUDDLEUP

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Brentwood Home, California-based designer of healthy, luxurious, affordable home essentials is offering 15 percent off its entire site November 21-29 using code CUDDLEUP.

Give the gift of better zzz’s with Brentwood Home’s top picks this holiday season, including:

Better for your baby mattresses, starting at $349  

Perfect for new or expecting parents, the Wildfern and Poppy 2-Stag Crib Mattresses are handcrafted with only the best materials, offer the right amount of support for infants and toddlers. Best of all, Brentwood Home crib mattresses are free of any chemical fire retardants, are PVC, lead and phthalate free. Learn more here and  here.

For furry friends – a new pet bed, $125-$185   

The Runyon Pet Bed is designed for orthopedic support, easy maintenance, and classic style; it checks all of the boxes for the perfect pet bed. Details here.

For the yogi – Crystal Cove Yoga Collection, $169   

The Crystal Cove Bundle that comes with Brentwood Home’s top-selling yoga bolster, meditation cushion and Pranayama pillow. Made with a beautiful combination of natural and non-toxic materials like buckwheat and GOTS certified organic cotton, each item includes box-stitched carry handles for easy transport from home to class, an adjustable fill for unique needs, plus a removable and washable outer cover. The Crystal Cove Collection is a must have to wind down after a long day or for a restorative pre-bedtime practice. For more info, click here.

The gift of a better night’s sleep, mattresses, from $795

Make your loved one’s dreams come true, literally, with the gift of a new mattress shipped directly to their door. The eco-friendly Cedar,  top-selling Oceano and premium but affordable Ojai are the highest quality mattresses available for purchase online.  All handcrafted in Los Angeles and come a zero-risk guarantee. Shop here.

For the in-laws, grandparents or new homeowners – Pillows, Quilts, and Sheets, from $79

Did you know pillows should be replaced as often as every six months? Brentwood Home’s Helena Latex pillow is filled with 100 percent latex ribbons and organic cotton fibers plus an organic cotton cover for sweet, eco-friendly dreams. Pair with Brentwood Home sheets or quilt for a luxuriously thoughtful gift.

Credit: Brentwood Home.

Stay tuned! I will be featuring Brentwood Home this holiday season! 

U.S. Postal Service Letters FROM Santa Program Provides Santa’s Personalized Response to Your Child’s Letter

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Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus — and the U.S. Postal Service can help you prove it when Santa replies to your child’s letter — complete with a North Pole postmark.

Here are the steps for your child to get a letter back from Santa:

  • Have your child write a letter to Santa and place it in an envelope addressed to: Santa Claus, North Pole.
  • Later, when alone, open the envelope and write a personalized response.
  • Insert the response letter into an envelope and address it to the child.
  • Add the return address: SANTA, NORTH POLE, to the envelope.
  • Affix a First-Class Mail stamp, such as a new Christmas Carols Forever stamp to the envelope.
  • Place the complete envelope into a larger envelope — preferably a Priority Mail Flat Rate envelope — with appropriate postage and address it to:

North Pole Postmark
Postmaster
4141 Postmark Drive
Anchorage, AK 99530-9998

“Letters from Santa” must be received by the Anchorage, AK, postmaster no later than Dec. 15. Santa’s helpers at the Postal Service will take care of the rest.

Be sure to share the experience on social media using #LettersFromSanta.

Tips

  • To save paper, write Santa’s response on the back of your child’s letter. If you keep them together, your child will also be able to recall what he or she wrote.
  • When responding as Santa, make the response as personal as possible by highlighting your child’s accomplishments over the past year, for example, helping around the house, receiving good grades in a particular subject at school or participating in community service activities.
  • This is a great activity to do at Thanksgiving that the whole family can enjoy, including parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and other caregivers.

The Letters from Santa program adds to the excitement of Christmas and is ideal for interesting youngsters in letter writing, stamps and penmanship.

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.

Credit: USPS.

Frost, Thanksgiving Day Pet of the Year!

Frost, Thanksgiving Day Pet of the Week

“When the Frost Is on the Punkin,” a poem by James Whitcomb Riley, evokes warm, cozy, quiet feelings even in our hot California weather. It makes you think of a sleepy morning, a cup of tea or coffee, a silent room and a cat purring on your lap. Frost would be perfect to complete this picture! He’s the color of frost but warm as toast. He was found as a stray and has warmed up to the staff and volunteers, as he will to you. He’s only 3 years old and has lots of Thanksgivings ahead of him! Meet Frost at the Companion Animal Village at 7700 East Spring St., (562) 570-PETS. Ask for ID#A598051.

(This rescue encouraged by the usual suspects.)

Credit: Courtesy of the Companion Animal Village.

Coco – Fantastic, Family-Friendly Animated Film About Mexican Tradition

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Despite his family’s generations-old ban on music, young Miguel dreams of becoming an accomplished musician like his idol Ernesto de la Cruz. Desperate to prove his talent, Miguel finds himself in the stunning and colorful Land of the Dead. After meeting a charming trickster named Hector, the two new friends embark on an extraordinary journey to unlock the real story behind Miguel’s family history. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Abraham F. comments, “It is nice to see Disney / Pixar incorporate different cultures into their movies. Pixar’s animations, story line and character development really excel here. I am glad to see all that in an animated film geared for kids and families.” Imani G. adds, “Coco is a fantastic, family-friendly, historical movie that is quite spectacular with its many historical references about the Mexican holiday, Day of the Dead. It is filled with comedy and sentinel scenes, vibrant colors and much more!” Kimbirly O., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror wraps it up with, “The cast is entirely Hispanic and the music is rooted in heritage and the life traditions within a multi-generational family. Considering this film is about crossing over into Día Los Muertos, the land of the dead, the liveliness of the film and animation is breathtaking.” See their full reviews below.

 

Coco

By Abraham F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 12

 

 

Coco is a notable movie from Pixar which I found very funny. It is nice to see Disney / Pixar incorporate different cultures into their movies. Pixar’s animations, story line and character development really excel here. I am glad to see all that in an animated film geared for kids and families.

 

The storyline is about a 12-year-old boy named Miguel that wants to be a musician, but his family won’t allow it. So he practices his guitar in secret. On the Day Of The Dead he visits his favorite musician’s grave and plays the guitar. Then, he finds himself in the land of the dead. He goes on many adventures to try to get his family’s blessing and ends up on a big adventure to find his father.

Anthony Gonzalez plays Miguel the protagonist. This is his first time playing a major role. Benjamin Bratt  has been in a few major roles such as El Macho in Despicable Me 2. In this film, he portrays Ernesto De La Cruz, the famous musician.

 

There are many interesting things about this movie. First, the name was changed to Viva in Brazil because in Portuguese means poop. Also, when Miguel’s walking down the street, you can see pinatas of Buzz Lightyear and Woody. Last, when grandma explains why their family doesn’t enjoy music, you see a Pizza Planet truck drive by.

 

The message is to do things that you believe in, not what people tell you to do. I recommend this film for ages 6 to 12 years old and give it 4.5 out of 5 stars. It exceeded my expectations and is really well made. This movie is available in theaters on November 22, 2017 so go check it out.

 

Interview with Anthony Gonzalez by Michelle C.

 

 

Coco

By Imani Baptiste-Green, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 16

 

 

Coco is a fantastic, family-friendly, historical movie that is quite spectacular with its many historical references about the Mexican holiday, Day of the Dead. It is filled with comedy and sentinel scenes, vibrant colors and much more!

 

Due to past family history, Miguel’s (Anthony Gonzalez) family completely banned music from their lives. But, Miguel has a passion for it and wishes to become an accomplished musician like his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt). Desperate to find his true talent, Miguel finds himself in the colorful Land of the Dead, where his deceased family members are. After meeting the charming trickster Hector (Gael García Bernal), the two go off in search of the famous musician to discover the real history of Miguel’s family. Join the two on their fascinating adventure.

 

My favorite aspect of this film is the storyline and the thrilling holiday, Day of the Dead. I recently learned about this interesting holiday in school, but this movie helped increased my knowledge of it even more! For example, in Mexico they see dying as a beautiful thing instead of bad. Also, they use colorful paper called “papel picado” to tell stories. Viewers of this film will learn about the Spanish culture and how they view things.

 

The message of this film is that family is important, no matter the circumstances and we should encourage each other’s dreams. Although Miguel’s family shunned and erased music from their lives, they were able to accept it and make it part of their tradition once more. This is a very powerful message because it shows how important family is in supporting each other’s dreams. I think that this film will open the eyes of many and even change their perspective about life.

 

I recommend this film for ages of 5 to 18 as well as adults. I am 16 and loved every aspect of it!  I give this film 5 out of 5 rate this film stars for its amazing storyline, cultural history, awesome cast, vibrant colors and much more. Coco opens in theaters on November 22, 2017. Please be sure to check it out.

 

Interview with Gini Cruz Santos by Michelle C

 

 

Coco

By Kimbirly O., KIDS FIRST! Juror

When Coco opens in the United States, it will likely follow the radiant opening in Mexico with record-setting audiences. The use of color and authentic characters is unlike anything we’ve ever seen from the studio. The cast is entirely Hispanic and the music is rooted in heritage and the life traditions within a multi-generational family. Considering this film is about crossing over into Día Los Muertos, the land of the dead, the liveliness of the film and animation is breathtaking.

The film centers around Miquel, a curious 12-year-old boy who is a delight, even when he gets into a bit of mischief. The magic of Disney is well at work when Miquel leaves his family in search of his passion and the man he believes holds the keys to his life’s future success. In search of his muse, Miquel partners with a man he thinks is evil, only to learn he doesn’t know the truth. As the facts unfold, it is in technicolor and splendor. Coco offers a fantastic walk into a new world and, while it twists and turns, Coco is a complete delight.  The story has lessons in ethics and may be overwhelming for younger children since it is centered on the annual Día Los Muertos celebration, the Day of the Dead. Beyond sugar skulls, I can see future merchandising in the alebrijes!

As with many Disney films, the theme of family is front and center. In this original and unique story, it transcends generations and left me wondering what my great, great, great grandmother would be like and if she would be proud of me. Beyond Miquel, my favorite character is his great, great grandmother, both versions of her! This film has all the feels and left me wanting more. I give it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. And, it wouldn’t be Disney if I didn’t cry. It opens nationwide in theaters on November 22, 2017 so check it out.

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Credit: KIDS FIRST!

 

 

Justice League – Spectacular Special Effects and Great Acting

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Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans to stand against this newly awakened threat. But despite the formation of this unprecedented league of heroes-Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash-it may already be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Abraham F. comments, “This movie is spectacular in two main ways, the comic book references and the special effects.” Kamhai B. adds, “This movie is definitely meant to please and entertain all the DC Universe fan’s. In other words, for me this movie is just plain great.” See their full reviews below.

Justice League (2017)
By Abraham F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

 

This movie is spectacular in two main ways, the comic book references and the special effects. There are so many of them such as The Flash and Superman racing. Also the CGI costumes look so real for Cyborg and Steppenwolf.

Justice League is about Bruce Wayne/Batman tracking down parademons. Meanwhile in Atlantis, Themyscira Steppenwolf invades and steals the mother boxes from them, killing a lot of Amazonian and Atlanteans troops in the process. Batman hears this news from Diana/Wonder Woman and decides to form a team to stop Steppenwolf from stealing the last mother box.

Batman (Ben Affleck) returns as the best Batman yet. He stands out from the other characters with his two Oscars, one for best picture and another for best screenplay. Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) also has an award for best actor from Teen Choice Awards. Award-winning actor J. K. Simmons plays Commissioner Gordon and, for the five minutes he’s on screen, is awesome.

The budget of this movie is $300,000,000, so the special effects should be stupendous and that is correct. For Cyborg’s character, his whole body looks like it is actually made out of metal and is glowing. The costume for The Flash looks damaged and made out of nasa grade material.

My favorite part of this movie is when The Flash and Superman are about to race. This is my favorite part because it is such a big comic book reference, which is why I like DC more than Marvel.

The message of this movie is to stand up as a leader because your friends will support you. This message is very positive for people that are reluctant to stand up. This film has a few iffy thing such as Aquaman drinking a whole whisky bottle and smashing it, but there are no risky things kids might imitate after watching it. There is some mile profanity. This movie is dark, yet funny and is riddled with references. I give it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 10 to 18. This movie is in theaters now, so go check it out.

Justice League
By Kamhai B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age,13

This movie is definitely meant to please and entertain all the DC Universe fan’s. In other words, for me this movie is just plain great. I really enjoyed how we got to see all the main Justice League characters in one big movie. Who wouldn’t? Seriously, the way costumes are designed to the great acting is amazing.

One part I really enjoyed is when Batman starts swinging around and driving his Batmobile around town, because it shows the audience how cool Batman really is. Another part I really enjoyed is when Flash is introduced. Flash is that one character who ends up bringing all the comedy to the film, which I think is great.

The storyline in this movie is about how Batman (Ben Affleck), Superman (Henry Cavil), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Flash (Ezra Miller), Cyborg (Ray Fisher) and Auqaman (Jason Momoa) come together to save the day. They have to battle a dangerous alien race who is trying to destroy Earth so they can rule all. Throughout the movie we experience a lot of funny moments such as when Flash shows that he likes Wonder Woman and again when they’re fighting the villain. There are also some really cool CGI effects that wow’d me.

The creators of this movie should be quite proud of their creation, because I believe Justice league will be a big hit. Everybody in the movie theater enjoyed the movie. You could tell by listening to their laughs and their clapping at the end of the movie how much they loved it. While watching it, I noticed that the CGI was similar to a video game, which I think suits this movie very well. I would have to say this is the best DC movie I have seen so far. Along with the cool graphics, the acting stands out, which I found very enjoyable. Also there are some really cool plot twists.

I recommend this film for ages 12 to 18 because there is some mild profanity and some mature scenes at the beginning. I give this 5 out of 5 stars. It is playing in theaters now so be sure to check it out, whether or not you are a DC fan!

Credit: KIDS FIRST!

f You Give a Mouse a Cookie Songs by Lisa Loeb

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This month, Amazon Studios debuts season 1 of a new animated series for kids, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. A trailer for the show is here, and you may view Episode 1 of Season 1 here.

 

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie features original songs by GRAMMY nominated recording artist, Lisa Loeb, and her collaborator Rich Jacques. Also on November 7, eight songs from the series will be available to stream exclusively on Amazon Music Unlimited and Prime Music, as well as for digital download or physical purchase only on Amazon Music. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie Season 1 (An Amazon Original Soundtrack) is available today.

 

Lisa Loeb also recently released her third Amazon Original family album,Lullaby Girland two earlier award-winning family music recordings,Nursery Rhyme Parade! and Feel What U Feel. All three recordings are available exclusively via Amazon Music.  Connect with the latest Lisa news at www.lisaloeb.com or via her social networks at @LisaLoeb.

 

“As an independent artist, it’s wonderful to find new ways of sharing my music and Amazon reaches an incredibly wide audience. As a parent, I love the convenience of selecting music on Amazon. Amazon Music offers fans easy and fun ways to discover and enjoy new music,” said Loeb. Catch Lisa Loeb talking about her music on the Hallmark Home & Family show last week.

 

 If You Give a Mouse a Cookie Season 1

(An Amazon Original Soundtrack)

Track List

 

1.       “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie Theme Song”

2.       “That’s Our Song”

3.       “Space Cookie”

4.       “Toy Roundup”

5.       “Rollin’”

6.       “Dark Tonight”

7.       “Running a Store”

8.      “Tea Time Hoedown”

 

 

P.S.: If you’re also looking for children’s holiday music, don’t forget the original song, “If You Give a Mouse a Christmas Cookie,” which is also a Lisa Loeb penned song available only from Amazon.

 

More about the Amazon Originals series

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

 

When you give a mouse a cookie, he’ll probably ask for a glass of milk, and then…who knows what he’ll ask for next? Based on the beloved books by Laura Numeroff (Dennis the Menace) and Felicia Bond and executive produced by Numeroff, Bond and Emmy Award-winning writer Ken Scarborough (Arthur, Sesame Street, Curious George) who also serves as head writer, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie follows the adventures of Mouse, Oliver, Moose, Pig, Cat, and Dog, as they discover that when you’ve got a curious Mouse for a friend one thing always leads to another, then another, and then another! The show’s learning approach was developed in consultation with authors Mimi Ito and John Seely Brown and revolves around a cause and effect narrative structure that sparks imagination and the creativity engendered by knowing that possibilities are endless. The pilot and beloved book are both rated 4.7 out of 5 stars by customers with 82% 5-star reviews for the pilot and 84% 5-star reviews for the book.

 

Customers who sign up for Amazon Music Unlimited can begin their free 30-day trial today. To find out how to listen, visit www.amazon.com/howtolisten.

Credit: Sugar Mountain PR.

Visit Santa, see him SCUBA dive, see the Penguin Walk, enjoy a snow play area, and a variety of festivities during the holiday season at the Aquarium of the Pacific Aquarium Holidays Ticket Giveaway, plus coupon for Free Child Admission with Paid Adult.

Otter & Snowman

Get into the holiday spirit each weekend from December 2 through 24, 2017 at the Aquarium with a snow play area and photo opportunities with Santa in his traditional attire. Every day from December 2 to 24, Aquarium guests can also see Santa Diver giving “fishmas” gifts to the animals, watch the 10:00 a.m. Penguin Walk, take photos with Aquarium costumed characters in their holiday outfits, witness snow fall in the Great Hall, see the original cartoon Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas, view a gingerbread house display, enjoy a special holiday menu at Café Scuba, and explore the gift stores for unique holiday shopping. A toy drive runs daily December 2 through 24 and supports the Long Beach Fire Department Spark of Love Toy Drive. Hanukkah storytelling with opportunities to play dreidel will also be presented weekends December 2 through 17.

 

The festivities include the annual Holiday Treats for the Animals event on the weekend of December 2-3. During this event, the sea otter exhibit will be decked out for the “sea”son with “fishmas” treats and a real snowman, and visitors can watch the otters savor candy cane-shaped lobster treats. Aquarium staff will also give special gift delicacies to penguins, sea lions, and other animals. Children can enjoy holiday crafts along with appearances by Santa Diver, photo opportunities with Santa and holiday characters, and all the Aquarium holiday festivities.

WHEN:           Aquarium Holidays: December 2-24, 2017

Holiday Treats for the Animals Festival: December 2-3, 2017

Hanukkah Storytelling and Dreidel Activity: December 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, and 17, 2017

 

WHERE:         Aquarium of the Pacific, 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, CA  90802

 

INFO:              (562) 590-3100 or www.aquariumofpacific.org

 

COST:            Included with general admission–$29.95 adult (12+), $26.95 senior (62+), $17.95 child (3-11), and free for children under age three and Aquarium members.

 

 

With coupon receive FREE CHILD ADMISSION with paid adult admission. $17.95 savings!

Mobile-device and printable coupon valid Dec 2-24, 2017:

http://www.aquariumofpacific.org/aquarium_holidays

Here is the Aquarium Holidays web page with the full event schedule

http://www.aquariumofpacific.org/events/info/aquarium_holidays/

We have teamed up for a Family 4-pack for a day at Aquarium Holidays, December 2-24, 2017! Aquarium Holidays giveaway tickets can only be picked up by the winner between Dec 2 and 24. To enter, leave a comment below telling us your favorite thing about the Aquarium or the holidays! Deadline to enter is December 1st, 2017 at noon PST. 

Credit: The Aquarium of the Pacific. Photo Credit: Otter (real otter) & Snowman Photo by Hugh Ryono.

 

 

NEW! Sally Hansen Color Therapy Enchanting Gems Collections is a must for the holidays! Sally Hansen’s Color Therapy nail polish blends saturated color with nourishing argan oil in 6 new, elegant jewel tones.

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Stone cold stunning! Inspired by multi-faceted luxurious gemstones, the Sally Hansen Color Therapy range introduces 6 new opulent shades designed to elevate every autumn look. Sally Hansen’s Color Therapy nail polish contains a patented micro-delivery system that delivers an argan oil enhancing formula, resulting in intensive nourishment and instant moisture for healthier-looking nails. The Color Therapy nail polish needs no base coat so the oil complex can directly contact the bare nail. 9 out of 10 women experienced a noticeable improvement in their natural nails after wearing the Color Therapy nail polish. The polish glides on for a radiant, shiny finish with up to 10 days of fade-proof, chip-resistant wear. The Color Therapy nail polish provides the ultimate rich color that cares while you wear, with everything needed to help restore nails without sacrificing luminous, pigmented hues.

I just love these beautiful shades which are great for both Fall and the holidays!

  • Opulent Pearl Opt for over-the-top iridescence in a glossy white pearl hue (photo pictured above).

Other shades available:

  • Rose Diamond This dusty pink shimmery shade adds a touch of sparkle to any ensemble
  • Pink Sapphire Pamper your nails with this luxe electric pink
  • Brilliant Lapis This royal blue shimmer is a total gem
  • Orchid Amethyst You’ll be mesmerized by this dazzling orchid tone
  • Smoky Emerald Embrace evening magic with this blackened midnight teal green

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Complete your manicure with the Color Therapy top coat and nail & cuticle oil, both formulated with the same argan oil contained in the nail polish. The top coat provides an ultra-glossy finish for extended wear, and the nail & cuticle oil, the ultimate in nail therapy, instantly makes nails and cuticles look healthier, restored, and rejuvenated.

The Sally Hansen Color Therapy “Enchanting Gems” collection will be available at mass market retailers for a limited time.

Price: $8.99.

Self Disclosure: I received free samples to facilitate this post. Images were also provided.