Archives for December 8, 2014

KIDS FIRST! 2014 Holiday Gift Guide – DVDs Credit: KIDS FIRST! Coming Attractions, www.kidsfirst.org

As the holidays approach, you are looking for the perfect gift for that niece, nephew, sister-in-law and of course, your own kids and family members. You know what the people closest to you want and need but those relatives who you don’t see that often are a bit of a challenge. We have compiled a collection of DVDs, Feature Films and E-Books that we think make great holiday gifts for your loved ones. Those that our KIDS FIRST! Film Critics have watched and reviewed have a link to their video reviews which gives you the benefit of the kids’ point of view.  Since kids are the audience for these films, it makes sense to listen to what other kids think about them. More film reviews are available at www.kidsfirst.org. Happy holidays, Ranny Levy, KIDS FIRST!

FOR ACTION FANS

Dawn of Planet of the Apes
A growing nation of genetically evolved apes led by Caesar is threatened by a band of human survivors of the devastating virus unleashed a decade earlier. They reach a fragile peace, but it proves short-lived, as both sides are brought to the brink of a war that will determine who will emerge as Earth’s dominant species. MSRP: 39.99; Age Recommendation:  12-18

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic review: http://youtu.be/E1MIG_uiJtQ

Harry Potter™ Hogwarts Collection

This collectible box set is sure to please fans who can now access all the Harry Potter films and exclusive behind-the-scenes content conveniently in one place. Included are all eight Harry Potter™ films, plus a whopping 45+ hours of previously released bonus material that contains the complete eight-part documentary series “Creating the World of Harry Potter.” MSRP: $249.99; Age Recommendation: 8-15

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic review:  http://youtu.be/oLgwT-acuhE

 

 

The Maze Runner
Thomas is deposited in a community of boys after his memory is erased, soon learning they’re all trapped in a maze that will require him to join forces with fellow “runners” for a shot at escape. MSRP: $39.99: Age Recommendation: 12-18

 

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic review: http://youtu.be/ouprOgTen38

 

X-men: Days of Future Past
The ultimate X-Men ensemble fights a war for the survival of the species across two time periods in X-Men: Days of Future Past. The characters from the original X-Men film trilogy join forces with their younger selves from X-Men: First Class in an epic battle that must change the past – to save our future. MSRP:  39.99; Age Recommendation: 12-18
KIDS FIRST! Film Critic review: http://youtu.be/LcJCEzJebAI

 

 

FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY

Earth to Echo

After receiving a bizarre series of encrypted messages, a group of kids embark on an adventure with an alien who needs their help. Starring Teo Halm, Astro and Reese Hartwig. Rated PG for some action, peril and mild language. MSRP: 39.99; Age Recommendation: 8-15

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic review: http://youtu.be/kRXwEupxCQI

 

Ernest & Celestine

Deep below snowy, cobblestone streets, tucked away in networks of winding tunnels, lives a tiny mouse named Celestine. Unlike her fellow mice, Celestine is an artist and a dreamer, and has a hard time fitting in. When she nearly ends up as breakfast for a grumpy bear named Ernest, the two become fast friends and embark on an adventure that will put a smile on your face and make your heart glow.  MSRP: $34.95; Age Recommendation:  5-18

Frozen Sing-Along DVD

Experience Frozen, the hit musical comedy from Walt Disney Animation Studios, like never before in a new to DVD, full-length Sing-Along Edition! Follow the lyrics with a bouncing Frozen snowflake. Join Anna as she sets off on an epic journey – teaming up with rugged mountain man Kristoff and a snowman named Olaf – to find her sister Elsa, whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom of Arendelle in eternal winter. It’s pure enchantment – and full of fun for the whole family! Includes the making-of featurette “Breaking the Ice”, the Sing Along Version of the Film, the Original Theatrical Version of the Film, and “Get a Horse!” Mickey Mouse Short. MSRP: $29.99. Age Recommendation: 4-18

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic review:  http://youtu.be/8RmRYemHZPw

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

The quest through Middle-earth continues in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug when the epic fantasy adventure is released as an Extended Edition on Blu-ray 3D™ and Blu-ray™. This extended cut of the second film in The Hobbit Trilogy includes 25 minutes of extra film footage that extends individual scenes,  more than nine hours of new bonus features. Both Blu-ray 3D and Blu-ray include Digital HD copies of the Extended Edition. MSRP: $54.98 & $35.99. Age Recommendation: 12-18

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic review: http://youtu.be/lAsCArNMpWY

How to Train Your Dragon 2

It’s been five years since Hiccup and Toothless successfully united dragons and vikings on the island of Berk. While Astrid, Snotlout and the rest of the gang are challenging each other to dragon races (the island’s new favorite contact sport), the now inseparable pair journey through the skies, charting unmapped territories and exploring new worlds. When one of their adventures leads to the discovery of a secret ice cave that is home to hundreds of new wild dragons and the mysterious Dragon Rider, the two friends find themselves at the center of a battle to protect the peace. Now, Hiccup and Toothless must unite to stand up for what they believe while recognizing that only together do they have the power to change the future of both men and dragons. MSRP: $24.96; Age Recommendation: 8-12
KIDS FIRST! Film Critic review: http://youtu.be/0I-b9KiA0fs

Maleficent

MALEFICENT explores the untold story of Disney’s most iconic villain from the classic SLEEPING BEAUTY and the elements of her betrayal that ultimately turn her pure heart to stone. Driven by revenge and a fierce desire to protect the moors over which she presides, Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) cruelly places an irrevocable curse upon the human king’s newborn infant Aurora. As the child grows, Aurora is caught in the middle of the seething conflict between the forest kingdom she has grown to love and the human kingdom that holds her legacy. Maleficent realizes that Aurora may hold the key to peace in the land and is forced to take drastic actions that will change both worlds forever. MSRP: $36.99. Age Recommendation: 10-18.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic review: http://youtu.be/twMOHKxt0WE

Sleeping Beauty Diamond Edition

Fall under the glorious spell of Disney’s Ultimate Princess Fairy Tale! The magic is real as you experience all the pageantry and power with incredible high-definition picture and thrilling, soaring sound! Beauty, wonder and adventure spin together in a grand legend that transcends time as Maleficent, one of animation’s most spectacular villains, sends the kingdom’s beloved Princess Aurora into an enchanted sleep. In a majestic story that awakens all your senses, Good Fairies arm brave Prince Phillip to defeat a fearsome fire-breathing dragon and rescue Aurora. But success in battle may not be enough, for the only way to awaken the Princess is with True Love’s kiss! MSRP: $36.99. Age Recommendation: 4-18

FOR FILM BUFFS


The Fault in our Stars
H
azel and Gus are two teenagers who share an acerbic wit, a disdain for the conventional, and a love that sweeps them on a journey. Their relationship is all the more miraculous given that Hazel’s other constant companion is an oxygen tank, Gus jokes about his prosthetic leg, and they met and fell in love at a cancer support group. MRSP:  29.99. Age Recommendation: 12-18

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic review: http://youtu.be/J_4vTWlkA54

Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart

Step inside the imaginative story book world of the highly popular French novel La Mécanique du Cœur (The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock Heart) and beguiled by the wildly inventive adventures of Jack and Miss Acacia as they leap from page to the screen. Directed by Mathias Malzieu and Stéphane Berla, this is a visually opulent animated fairy tale set in an exciting period full of fabulous inventions, enchanting music and marvelous adventures. This superbly animated movie brings to life a unique tale of love and the acceptance of others through an awe-inspiring cinematic adventure filled with whimsical characters, stunning CG animation and unforgettable musical numbers. MSRP: $16.97; Age Recommendation: 8-15          

Pee-Wee’s Playhouse: The Complete Series

All 45 wacky episodes, plus the Pee-wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special, have been meticulously re-mastered from the original film elements. Mecka-lecka hi, Mecka-hiney ho!  Pee-wee’s Playhouse is an educational, artistic and entertaining show that teaches kids strong ‘life lessons.’  With its innovative production design and Reubens’ rich original characters and humor, Pee-wee’s Playhouse is a magical place that sparks creativity and imagination—and brings joy to children and adults alike. Parents and grown-ups have always enjoyed the show’s many double entendres. Pee-wee’s Playhouse: Seasons 1 and 2 in a high-definition 4-DVD set. MSRP $149.99; Age recommendation: 5-18

Rio 2

It’s a jungle out there for Blu, Jewel and their three kids in RIO 2, after they’re hurtled from that magical city to the wilds of the Amazon. As Blu tries to fit in, he goes beak-to-beak with the vengeful Nigel, and meets the most fearsome adversary of all – his father-in-law. All our favorite RIO characters are back, and they’re joined by Oscar® nominee Andy Garcia, Grammy® winner Bruno Mars, Tony® winner Kristin Chenoweth and Oscar/Emmy ® /Tony winner Rita Moreno. RIO 2 also features new Brazilian artists and original music by Janelle Monae and Wondaland. MSRP: $24.99; Age Recommendation: 5-12
KIDS FIRST! Film Critic review: http://youtu.be/gtmLsJd1ChE

 

FOR YOUNGER KIDS

Littlest Pet Shop: Passport to Fashion

Blythe Baxter has two amazing gifts – she can talk to animals and can create amazing fashion!  Together with her pet friends- Zoe the spaniel, Pepper the skunk, Sunil the mongoose, Russell the hedgehog, Penny the panda, Vinnie the gecko and Minka the monkey, Blythe is determined to make her dream of a career in fashion come true. Join Blythe and her animal friends as they visit exotic cities such as Paris, Rio and Shanghai and learn that true friends will support you no matter what! MSRP $14.93 DVD; Age Recommendation: 5-8

My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic: Keys of Friendship            

My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic: The Keys Of Friendship includes “Rarity Takes Manhattan,” “Pinkie Apple Pie,” “It Ain’t Easy Being Breezies,” “Twilight’s Kingdom, Part 1,” and “Twilight’s Kingdom, Part 2.” A fun sing-along is included as a bonus feature. Since her arrival in Ponyville, Twilight Sparkle has learned the true meaning and value of friendship. With her very best friends — Rainbow Dash, Rarity, Pinkie Pie, Applejack, Fluttershy and, of course, Spike — Twilight goes on the greatest of adventures and comes back with even more lessons. All of this has earned Twilight her wings and the crown of a Princess and now you can learn what Princess Twilight Sparkle has learned and take with you The Keys Of Friendship. MSRP $14.97 DVD; Recommended age: 4-12

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic review: http://youtu.be/y6RYefdTMVw

My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic: Spooktacular Pony Tales  

My Little Pony – Friendship Is Magic: Spooktacular Pony Tales features six episodes and a sing-along. Every pony loves Halloween… the candy, the pumpkins, the costumes, the friends! Join your favorite residents of Ponyville — Twilight Sparkle, Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, Rarity, Applejack, Pinkie Pie and, of course, Spike — as they take on some of the spookiest adventures Equestria’s ever seen! Time to gather around and hold on tight, because these six exciting tales are a chillingly good romp. The DVD comes with pumpkin carving stencils and a color Halloween poster perfect for seasonal decorating. MSRP $14.97 DVD; Recommended age: 4-12

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic review: http://youtu.be/IGL_BdyZZZg

Planes: Fire & Rescue Blu-ray

In this heart-pumping, laugh-filled follow-up to last year’s smash hit “PLANES,” world famous racer Dusty Crophopper joins an elite fire and rescue unit and learns what it takes to be a true hero. Featuring non-stop action, memorable characters and never-before-seen bonus features, “PLANES: FIRE & RESCUE” is this fall’s must-own animated family film! Bonus features include the all-new exclusive short “Vitaminamulch: Air Spectacular;” the mock-umentary “Welcome to Piston Peak;” and more. MSRP: $39.99. Age Recommendation: 2-12

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic review: http://youtu.be/PDQWRqNc1j4

Veggie Tales: Celery Night Fever

Bruce Onion (voice of Terry Crews) is a nefarious real-estate developer who plans to turn the serene, green Celery Park into a parking lot.  His unsavory scheme spurs Laura Carrot and Junior Asparagus to enact a bold plan: reuniting the long-lost ’70s band The Groovy Brothers to play at a fund-raising concert. The problem is, The Groovy Brothers haven’t spoken to each other in decades, and the members have little interest in getting back together.  Their long-simmering feud spills over to affect Laura and Junior.  It’s not just Celery Park that’s in jeopardy – if best friends can’t learn to forgive each other and accept each other’s faults, the veggies might lose their cherished community gathering spot. MSRP: $14.97; Recommended age: 5-10.
HOLIDAY THEMED FAMILY DVDS

10 Movie Romance & Family Collection

Stuff your stockings with love this holiday season with ten films overflowing with the hope of the season. For family movie marathons or snuggly date nights, each of these stories spread a little Christmas magic, reconnecting family and friends as well as rekindling long-lost loves. In the end, you’ll hold your loved ones a little tighter, find your heart a little brighter, and spread the true meaning of the holiday season. Includes 10 best-selling movies: Christmas in Canaan, Merry-In-Laws, 12 Days of Christmas, A Christmas Proposal, Holiday Baggage, Annie Claus, Holiday Engagement, Christmas Pageant, Moonlight & Mistletoe, Most Wonderful Time of the Year. MSRP: $29.93. Age Recommendation: 8-18

A Belle for Christmas 

Dean Cain of Lois & Clark and The Dog Who Saved Christmas stars as Glenn Barrows, a recent widower doing his best to raise his young kids Elliot and Phoebe who really miss their mom. When the Barrows adopt an adorable puppy named Belle during the holiday season, it seems that their healing may have begun. But will Glenn’s dog-hating, gold-digging new girlfriend spoil their newfound happiness, or can Elliot and Phoebe pull off a daring Christmas Eve rescue of their beloved new pet? Haylie Duff costars in this heartwarming comedy about family, friendship, and a four-legged holiday miracle. DVD SRP: $19.98; Age Recommendation: 7-18

The Christmas Ornament
Newly widowed Kathy plans to skip out on decking the halls and trimming the tree this Christmas, trying to avoid anything that will bring back memories of her late husband. The only Christmas tradition she will observe is baking cookies for her friends, a passion since she was a child. When Kathy meets handsome Christmas tree shop owner Tim, their undeniable chemistry – along with an ornament Tim gives her that symbolizes hope – helps Kathy open up to the joys of the season again. With the support of her best friend Jenna Kathy begins to embrace the hopeful message of the ornament. Although Kathy wants to take a chance on Tim, she struggles to find the balance between preserving the memory of her husband and moving on with her own future. MSRP: $14.93; Age Recommendation: 10-18

 

Octonauts: Very Vegimal Christmas

On this very merry DVD, join the Octonauts as they celebrate the holidays! The Vegimals’ plans for a Christmas feast aboard the Octopod are interrupted when the Octonauts become entangled in a gigantic blob of sea snot! The holiday excitement continues when the Octonauts travel to Professor Inkling’s childhood home, an undersea mountain, but soon discover that a rockslide has endangered the local creatures, including Inkling’s nephew, Squirt!  Can the Octonauts rescue the creatures and save Christmas in time?

MSRP: $9.99; Age Recommendation: 5-8

 

 

Nine Lives of Christmas

Fireman Zachary Stone is a confirmed bachelor who doesn’t believe in love or commitment. When a stray, tabby cat named Ambrose shows up at his door, Zachary takes him in and slowly starts to see that a little companionship might not be so bad. Zachary’s commitment to solitude is further challenged when he meets Marilee who teaches Zachary how to care for his new feline roommate. With Christmas rapidly approaching, Marilee’s sister Jaclyn convinces her to add romance to her nose-to-the-grindstone life of work and school, while fire chief Sam encourages Zachary to understand the importance of love, marriage and having someone special with whom to share the holidays. MSRP: $14.93; Age Recommendation: 10-18

A Royal Christmas 
As the only daughter of an expert tailor in Philadelphia, Emily Corrigan is a kindhearted young woman proud of her blue-collar background. She is a devoted seamstress at the family business and madly in love with her doting European boyfriend, Leo. As their first Christmas together approaches, Leo drops a bombshell on his unsuspecting girlfriend: he is actually Prince Leopold, heir to the throne of Cordinia, a small sovereign country. Emily is in shock and they fly to Cordinia to announce their engagement and spend the holidays with Leo’s disapproving mother, Queen Isadora. Less than enthusiastic about her son’s relationship with a commoner, Isadora makes Emily feel anything but welcome at their grand castle. Attempting to stay true to herself in a world where she clearly doesn’t belong, Emily wonders if love is enough to keep her newly royal relationship from falling apart before Christmas morning. MSRP: $14.93. Age Recommendation: 10-18.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Celebrate the magic of Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer ​in the golden-packaged 50th Anniversary Collector’s Edition. Newly produced bonus features teach fans how to draw Rudolph, Hermey and Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster; present video sing-alongs of the musical holiday favorites Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Holly Jolly Christmas; and offer a video version of a Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer pop-up book.  MSRP: 17.99; Age Recommendation: 2-18

Signed,  Sealed,  Delivered Christmas
Signed Sealed Delivered Christmas, based on the highly successful Hallmark series Signed, Sealed, Delivered created by Touched By An Angel’s Martha Williamson, follows the four postal workers turned detectives in their next mystery as they track down the original recipient of a Christmas card from the past. MSRP:  $14.93

Saving Santa: Adventures of a Time-Traveling Elf

Bernard, a low-ranking elf dreams of joining Santa’s elite team of inventors, who make the magic of Christmas possible. But when one of Bernards inventions reveals the secret location of the North Pole to a billionaire scoundrel Santa and Christmas are in jeopardy leaving Bernard to time travel to rescue Santa in time to save Christmas. Voices of Martin Freeman, Tim Curry, Tim Conway and Ashley Tisdale. MSRP: 19.98; Age Recommendation: 5 – 12

The Snowman (special anniversary edition)

An Academy Award Nominee (Best Animated Short Film, 1982), this delightful animation weaves a spell of magical enchantment as a young boy’s snowman comes to life and escorts him on a magical flying visit to the North Pole. Absolutely superlative family enjoyment that Includes the original introduction by author Raymond Briggs. Bonus features include The Story of the SnowmanTM and an alternate introduction from David Bowie. MSRP:  $9.99; Age Recommendation: 4 – 18.
A Very Awesome Yo Gabba Gabba! Live! Holiday Show

Join DJ Lance Rock, Brobee, Foofa, Muno, Plex and Toodee as they dance, sing and decorate the tree to prepare for the arrival of Santa Claus! Filmed live at New York City’s The Beacon Theatre, celebrate the season with the colorful cast of characters singing their hits, including “It’s Wintertime,” “Every Snowflake’s Different, Just Like You” and a holiday version of everyone’s favorite “Party in my Tummy!” Includes special appearances by superstar Leslie Hall and the one and only Santa Claus! MSRP: $12.99. Age Recommendation: 2 – 8
A Very Merry Mix Up

Shop owner Alice Chapman (Alicia Witt) is nervous to meet her future in-laws at Christmas, especially because she is arriving ahead of her new fiancé, Will Mitchum (Scott Gibson). Alice’s trip becomes more stressful when her luggage is lost and her phone is damaged, leaving her no way to find Will’s family! As fate would have it, she meets her future brother-in-law, Matt Mitchum (Mark Wiebe), at baggage claim and is happy to get a ride home with him. As Alice meets Matt’s doting family, mom Penny (Susan Hogan), dad Joe (Richard Fitzpatrick) and Grandpa Charles (Lawrence Dane), she falls in love with their festive holiday traditions and warm welcome to their home. And when unexpected romance comes calling as Christmas approaches, Alice must decide if her “Merry Mix-Up” will actually turn out to be her destiny. MSRP$14.93; Age Recommendation: 10-18

 

 

FOR THE FAITHFUL

Son of God

Now, the larger-than-life story of The New Testament gets a larger-than life treatment in the stand-alone feature SON OF GOD. Told with the scope and scale of an action epic, the film features powerful performances, exotic locales, dazzling visual effects and a rich orchestral score from Oscar-winner Hans Zimmer. Portuguese actor Diogo Morgado portrays Jesus as the film spans from his humble birth through his teachings, crucifixion and ultimate resurrection. It marks the first motion picture about Jesus’ life since Passion of the Christ, released ten years ago. MSRP: $25.99; Age Recommendation: 12 – 18

 

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic review: http://youtu.be/rOZ1ukHrCj8

 

 

Black Nativity

 

Struggling to pay the bills, single mom Naima (Jennifer Hudson) sends her teenage son Langston (Jacob Latimore) to live with his estranged grandparents, Reverend Cornell and Aretha Cobbs (Forest Whitaker and Angela Bassett) in New York City. At first Langston resents their strict household, but with the help of new friends – and a little divine intervention – he embarks on an inspirational journey of self-discovery that brings the whole family together. MSRP: $14.99; Age Recommendation: 12-18

 

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic review: http://youtu.be/snXvPVjpxnU

 

 

E-Books

25 Days of a Tropical Christmas

25 Days of a Tropical Christmas is a celebration of the holiday season incorporating beautiful illustrations with a variation of a classic melody. Similar to the 12 days of Christmas but extended with a tropical theme, this is a fun and entertaining read with beautiful beach- themed illustrations. Written by D.G. Stern and Illustrated by Susan Lane. MSRP: $1.99; Age Recommendation: 5-12

 

 

 

 

 

THEATRICAL HOLIDAY MOVIE RELEASS

ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY October 10

Disney’s “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” follows the exploits of 11-year-old Alexander (Ed Oxenbould) as he experiences the most terrible and horrible day of his young life—a day that begins with gum stuck in his hair, followed by one calamity after another. But when Alexander tells his upbeat family about the misadventures of his disastrous day, he finds little sympathy and begins to wonder if bad things only happen to him. He soon learns that he’s not alone when his mom (Jennifer Garner), dad (Steve Carell), brother (Dylan Minnette) and sister (Kerris Dorsey) all find themselves living through their own terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Anyone who says there is no such thing as a bad day just hasn’t had one. Starring Steve Carell, Jennifer Garner, Dylan Minnette, Ed Oxenbould, Kerris Dorsey, Megan Mullally, Jennifer Coolidge, Bella Thorne. Rating: PG    ANNIE
Dec. 19
 Business tycoon and mayoral candidate Benjamin Stacks launches a campaign to take in Annie, a young girl who has been living with her mean foster mom Miss Hannigan since her parents left her as a baby. Starring Jamie Foxx, Quvenzhane Wallis, Rose Byrne. Rating: PG

BIG HERO 6 (In 3D)
November 7

From Walt Disney Animation Studios, the team behind “Frozen” and “Wreck-It Ralph,” comes “Big Hero 6,” an action-packed comedy-adventure about the special bond that develops between Baymax (voice of Scott Adsit), a plus-sized inflatable robot, and prodigy Hiro Hamada (voice of Ryan Potter). When a devastating event befalls the city of San Fransokyo and catapults Hiro into the midst of danger, he turns to Baymax and his close friends adrenaline junkie Go Go Tomago (voice of Jamie Chung), neatnik Wasabi (voice of Damon Wayans Jr.), chemistry whiz Honey Lemon (voice of Genesis Rodriguez) and fanboy Fred (voice of T.J. Miller). Determined to uncover the mystery, Hiro transforms his friends into a band of high-tech heroes called “Big Hero 6.” Starring: Maya Rudolph, James Cromwell, Damon Wayans Jr., T.J. Miller, Alan Tudyk, Jamie Chung, Genesis Rodriguez, Daniel Henney, with Ryan Potter as Hiro Hamada and Scott Adsit as Baymax. Not yet rated.

BEYOND THE LIGHTS
Nov. 14

A talented young musician on the brink of super stardom struggles with the pressure of her new-found success. Starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Minnie Driver, Danny Glover, Aisha Hinds. Rating: PG-13

 

THE BOOK OF LIFE
Nov. 7

Manolo, a young man who is torn between fulfilling the expectations of his family and following his heart, embarks on an adventure that spans three fantastic worlds where he must face his greatest fears. Starring Zoe Saldana, Channing Tatum, Ron Perlman. Rating: PG

THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF FIVE ARMIES
Dec. 19

The Company of Thorin has reached Smaug’s lair; but can Bilbo and the Dwarves reclaim Erebor and the treasure? And, if so, can they hold on to it? Starring Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman and Richar Armitage. Not yet rated.

INTO THE WOODS
December 25th

“Into the Woods” is a modern twist on several of the beloved Brothers Grimm fairy tales, intertwining the plots of a few choice stories and exploring the consequences of the characters’ wishes and quests. This humorous and heartfelt musical follows the classic tales of Cinderella (Anna Kendrick), Little Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford), Jack and the Beanstalk (Daniel Huttlestone), and Rapunzel (MacKenzie Mauzy)—all tied together by an original story involving a baker and his wife (James Corden & Emily Blunt), their wish to begin a family and their interaction with the witch (Meryl Streep) who has put a curse on them.  Starring: Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, James Corden, Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine, Tracey Ullman, Christine Baranski and Johnny Depp. Not yet rated.

NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: SECRET OF THE TOMB
Dec. 19

Larry spans the globe, while embarking on an epic quest to save the magic before it is gone forever. Starring Robin Williams, Dan Stevens, Ben Stiller. Not yet rated.

PENGUINS OF MADAGASCAR
Nov. 18

Super spy teams aren’t born…they’re hatched. Discover the secrets of the greatest and most hilarious covert birds in the global espionage biz: Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private. These elitists of the elite are joining forces with a chic undercover organization, The North Wind. Led by handsome and husky Agent Classified (we could tell you his name, but then…you know). Together, they must stop the villainous Dr. Octavius Brine, from destroying the world as we know it.Stars: Tom McGrath, Chris Miller, Christopher Knights, Benedict Cumberbatch. Not yet rated.

Credit: KIDS FIRST!

Burke Williams Introduces the New Radiance Facial Special Holiday Giveaway!

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Burke Williams Day Spa is pleased to unveil the Radiance Facial, the newest skin care treatment available at all spa locations beginning November 15. The results-driven facial combines concentrated anti-aging ingredients with cutting edge Microcurrent technology to target the signs of aging caused by sun damage. The 80-minute treatment leaves the skin visibly more even, brighter, smoother and firmer.

 

The Radiance Facial combines the most potent ingredients from both H2V and Eminence skin care lines. The Eminence Arctic Berry Pro Peel infuses the skin with antioxidants that assist with anti-aging and inflammation reduction. Azelaic Acid inhibits pigment production, while Lactic Acid gently smooth and hydrates the skin’s surface by stimulating collagen production.

 

Following the peel a brightening bicarbonate treatment that visibly illuminates the skin’s appearance is applied. The skin is then treated with a Bright Skin Masque that contains natural ingredients including African potato, Tara tree, licorice root, bearberry extract and stone crop. All of these concentrates combine to create a potent brightening treatment that prevents and lightens pigmentation.

 

Lastly the skin is revitalized with a face lifting Microcurrent treatment using the award winning NuFACE PRO. The surface of the skin is pre-treated with the highly concentrated H2V illuminating vitamin C treatment and a hydrating gel that help the current penetrate deep into the muscle tissue of the face. Microcurrent increases the delivery of vitamin c deep into the skin while stimulating collagen production and energizing facial muscles. Unlike anywhere else on the body, the facial muscles are directly connected to the skin and the Microcurrent results show a visibly improved and lifted appearance.

 

The new Radiance Facial is the ideal treatment for those with pigmented, mature, dehydrated, acne prone or lackluster skin that needs reviving. The service incorporates Burke Williams signature head, shoulder and foot massage and paraffin hand treatment. This innovative 80-minute facial will be available at all Burke Williams spa locations beginning November 15 starting at just $189. Experience a Burke Williams near you and indulge, regenerate and revive with the new Radiance Facial.

I had the opportunity to visit Burke Williams Torrance location on a rainy day last week and one of the services I was able to review was the Radiance Facial.  I was quite impressed and I loved it! I think that I was a little anxious about the face lifting Microcurrent  treatment but there was no need to be anxious and it left my skin feeling firmer and my skin really glowed afterwards! I highly recommend this New facial! 

We have teamed up with our friends at Burke Williams Spa for a Holiday Giveaway! One winner will win a pair of  3-day spa passes. Now, how cool is that?! To enter, leave us a comment below telling us why you think you are in need of a Spa trip! Deadline to enter is December 16th, 2014 at noon PST. These would also make great stocking stuffers! One winner will randomly be selected vis Random.org.

Self Disclosure: I received free services at Burke Williams Spa to facilitate this feature. Any opinions expressed are my own. Photo Credit: Burke Williams.com.

DealTicket.com Offers 70%, 80% and 90% off Retail Prices on Stylish Travel Finds for Fashionistas

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With the holiday shopping season in full swing, DealTicket.com, a new hub for amazing discounts on the best brands in health, fashion, beauty, home furnishings, travel and personal electronics launched this week on The Rachael Ray Show.

 

Now, shoppers can discover new items on the site every week at 70%, 80% and 90% off retail prices. The deals are announced each week on The Rachael Ray Show and viewers can purchase items online until they sell out at www.dealticket.com.

 

Whether you’re buying gifts for the family and friends on your holiday shopping list or treating yourself to an end-of-the-year gift, this week’s deals are fit for the savvy traveler or anyone who is on-the-go and looking for stylish and affordable shoes, accessories and gear.

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Deals for the week of December 3 include:

 

Travel Sized Hair Tools by Cortex: Blow dry bars and style salons might be all the rage these days, but the busy woman can save time and money by getting a gorgeous blowout on-the-go – and sleek, super straight style – with this travel seize dryer and flat iron by Cortex. All feature the latest pro technology to keep hair shining and healthy – even during the harsh months of winter.

  • Today’s Deal: $20
  • Original Price: $75-$125
  • Savings: up to 84%

 

Lightweight Rolling Luggage by Sherpani: Travel in style with these chic rolling luggage pieces by Sherpani. Eye-catching designs paired with brilliant organizational features and functionality make these perfect to take anywhere.

  • Today’s Deal: $74-$86
  • Original Price: $220-$270
    Savings: up to 68%

 

Travel Size Steamer by Salav: Lightweight, portable and incredibly easy to use, tis travel steamer by Salav will have you looking polished wherever you go – just add distilled water and let the steamer heat in less than three minutes. Perfect for business travelers or a road trip over the holidays with the family, you’ll look fresh and your outfit flawless around the clock.

  • Today’s Deal: $22
  • Original Price: $60
  • Savings: 63%

 

Foldable Ballet Flats by Footzyfold:  Don’t let a killer pair of heels ruin your next night out. These foldable flats by Footzyfold are available in a variety of colors and styles to suit any preference. Compact enough to take anywhere and chic enough to wear everywhere, you’ll want to keep a pair tucked in your purse any time you leave the house.

  • Today’s Deal: $36
  • Original Price: $98
  • Savings: 63%

 

Chic Designer Sunglasses by Betsey Johnson: From a Classic Cat Eye to a Vintage Wayfarer, Betsey Johnson has your peepers covered with this gorgeous collection of chic shads for ultimate old school glamour. No more squinting into the sunlight – plus they make an excellent stock stuffer for accessories-loving ladies.

  • Today’s Deal: $18
  • Original Price: $60
  • Savings: 70%
  • Online excusive!

 

Collapsible Carryall Tote from Go! Sac: From weekend getaways to trips to the farmers’ market, carry your must-haves in this convenient and cute bag. The ultimate space-saver, it comes with a matching zippered pouch designed to enclose the bag for consolidated storage.

  • Today’s Deal: $16
  • Original Price: $35
  • Savings: 54%
  • Online exclusive!

 

Tune in to The Rachel Ray Show to see the new weekly products for sales and then visit DealTicket.com to grab the deals before they sell out. Check your local listings for show times: http://www.tvguide.com/Listings. For more information visit online or Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Google+.

 

Self Disclosure: This is a compensated post. Credit: DealTicket.com. 

Natural Baby Giveaway

Pamper your baby with this Natural Baby Giveaway hosted by Green Scene Mom! Featuring Eco-friendly and natural products designed to make life easier and be kind to the earth. Each of these brands meet practical needs with their innovative products and many were designed by Mom Entrepreneurs who were problem solving for their own families. Enter to win this great prize pack!

Green Scene Mom Natural Baby Giveaway

Giveaway Prizes

Buti-Pods giveaway

Buti-Pods 6 pack – $36

Buti-Pods were designed by a mom who was tired of needing wipes just to have nothing better than a dry napkin to help! They are the affordable way to buy wipes in bulk instead of repeatedly buying expensive disposable travel packs. The slim zippered design keeps air circulation to a minimum, thus allowing your wipes to stay moist for when you need them most! Featuring a super-thin, soft, feather-light material, Buti-Pods are easy to carry in any bag or pocket, or even in your car’s glovebox, for when you really need those wipes to be wet! Shop @ butibag.com.

Bundle Organics juices giveaway

Bundle Organics juices 6 pack – $36

Bundle Organics juices are designed especially for expecting and new moms. The juices are made with USDA organic fruits and veggies, and fortified with OBGYN-recommended nutrients that complement daily prenatal vitamins. Shop @ bundleorganics.com.

PunkinLinks/PunkinSnaps giveaway

PunkinLinks/PunkinSnaps – $19

PunkinLinks are ‘C’ shaped allowing you to link several together and connect toys to carseat, stroller, playmate, or any other baby gear! PunkinSnaps are an oval shaped with a clasp. These are great to use alone or in conjunction with PunkinLinks, they offer an added security to keep things attached. Shop @ punkinsolutions.com.

Mindful Soap honey oatmeal soap giveaway

1 bar of Honey Oatmeal Soap – $6

Mindful Soap makes 100% natural, handcrafted soaps and body creams. This honey oatmeal bar is made with gluten free oats and raw, unfiltered honey. It’s especially good for sensitive and problem skin and has been known to help clear up skin rashes and eczema. Scented with therapeutic-grade essential oils of clove, cinnamon, and orange, this soap is safe for the entire family. Shop @ mindfulsoap.com.

yummi pouch reusable food pouch giveaway

Yummi Pouch Reusable Food Pouches set of 6 – $15

Yummi Pouch reusable food pouches combine style and convenience in an Eco-friendly container you can fill with homemade smoothies and blended snacks! Yummi Pouches are easy to fill and clean through the top zipper opening and are great for taking healthy snacks on the go. Shop @ yummipouch.com.

Enter to win this Amazing Prize Set!

This giveaway is open to United States entries who have a US mailing address.

Green Scene Mom Natural Baby Giveaway

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Holiday Book Gift Suggestions for Kids!

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New Children’s Book: Cleo’s Tomato Sandwich

 

Eleven year old Cleo loves tomato sandwiches more than anything else in the whole entire world. She loves tomato sandwich so much that she had been trying, ever since she was six, to grow her own tomato garden. Now, finally, at age eleven, Cleo is making one more effort to grow a tomato garden. Will she succeed? And if she does, will it be everything she’d hoped? Read Cleo’s journey, as she sets about fulfilling one of her long held dreams.

We received a copy of this book and I love how simple it is and it is also very educational. Children will enjoy reading it! We give it a 5 stars! Great for younger children ages 4-7.

Find it on Amazon.com.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

 

Dr. Julia E. Antoine began writing professionally at the age of 19. At that time, she wrote short stories for the local radio station in her home town. She gave up writing when she moved to the United States to attend college. She has since earned several degrees, including two Masters and a Doctorate in Higher Education Administration from Northeastern University in Boston. During the course of her schooling, she wrote and published a working curriculum for a career school, a business manual and its answer key, as well as other literary work. In 2010, she revisited her first love, writing for fun and enjoyment. Dr. Antoine writes children’s books under her given name and romance novels under her pen name, Ju Ephraime.

 

Visit her at: http://www.too-clever.com or on her blog at http://www.too-clever.blogspot.com

 

Our next suggestion is for  The Middle School age readers!

This is a wonderful trilogy-the Giants in the Land trilogy by Clark Burbidge.

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The trilogy begins in a world where the giants and villagers have lived side by side for as long as anyone can remember. When these great protectors leave suddenly, with no explanation, a young farmer named Thomas sets out on a journey to discover why. The first two books in the trilogy, Giants in the Land Book One: The Way of Things and Giants in the Land Book Two: The Prodigals are now available.

The Giants in the Land series encourages young people to become giants in how they live, respond to difficulties and interact with others. It also seeks to help kids find hope and faith amidst sudden changes in their life.

I love the messages in this book!  Really so positive such as how to recognize those special giants in your life. My son and I are looking forward to more books in this series. You can find the books on Amazon.com.

More about the Author:

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Clark Burbidge was born and raised in the mountain valleys of the Rockies. He earned an MBA from the University of Southern California and a BS from the University of Utah. His finance career spans three decades and he has been active in community and church service for more than 35 years. He and his wife Leah currently live near Salt Lake City, Utah and enjoy their blended family of 10 children and three grandchildren.

His previous books include Life on a Narrow Path: A Mountain Biker’s Guide to Spiritual Growth in Troubled Times and A Piece of Silver: A Story of Christ.

Actually, the next one is not just for kids! Many adults will love and relate to this one! I know I loved my Little Golden Books as a kid!

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A Holiday companion to the New York Times Best Seller Everything I Need To Know I learned From A Little Golden Book! It’s Everything I Need To Know About Christmas I learned from A Little Golden Book by Diane Muldrow. If you are searching for wise and witty advice about getting through the hectic holiday season-while still having fun at the same time- look no further than this book! It really is good for all ages! Adults will remember and love the familiar characters of Pokey Little Puppy and The Gingerbread Man.  I love the illustrations and the really wise advice that this book gives! A Must-Read this holiday season!

You can purchase here.

 

Self Disclosure: I received free copies of the books mentioned in this holiday post. 

 

 

 

Cookie Decorating with Walkers Shortbread

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It’s that time of year for baking and decorating cookies! But, sometimes you just don’t have the time to bake, roll out sugar cookies and then decorate! Walkers Shortbread Cookies are the answer! We received a box to review and these are addicting! I could not just eat one and they sure didn’t last long in our house! The Christmas shapes are just adorable and they are really easy to decorate but the taste is just delicious!

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Decorating Walkers Shortbread is a great option for the kids (or anyone) when you may not have enough time to bake cookies, but still want to engage in a fun and festive activity. It’s also a great classroom project – especially when you’re tasked to bring in a treat or activity, but are strapped for time. It’s as easy as paint by numbers: the festive shapes’ imprints will guide your decorating, allowing you and the little ones to easily create an edible masterpiece.

Look for these delicious cookies this holiday season!

 

Self Disclosure: I received a box of free cookies to facilitate this holiday post. Photo Credit: Walkers Shortbread.

Harvest Snaps for the Holidays! Cinnamon and Brown Sugar, Coffee Toffee and Salted Caramel..yum! Giveaway!

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I love Harvest Snaps! I am a BIG fan! Did you participate in their recent promotion “Shake the Season?” This was a fun one where you could win prizes including Harvest Snaps. It just ended but you can still find these yummy flavors at Super Target, Safeway, Raley’s, Savemart, Bristol Farms, Albertsons (Arizona), Vons, and other fine retailers. It wasn’t easy to select which one was my favorite this time!  I received samples of  Cinnamon and Brown Sugar and  Coffee Toffee to try out. Both flavors didn’t last more than a day in my house! Let’s just say they are both my favorite and I am on the look out for the Salted Caramel!

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I also received a couple of their original flavors and they are too delicious! It was tough to select my favorite! But, I think I will have to go with Wasabi Ranch! I just love the flavor of cool ranch and wasabi.

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Don’t forget to check out Harvest Snaps on Facebook! It’s a great way to check out any current promotions they are having!

You can also find them:

Twitter: twitter.com/HarvestSnaps
Instagram: instagram.com/harvestsnaps
Pinterest: pinterest.com/harvestsnaps

We have teamed up for a Giveaway! One winner will win their own Harvest Snaps! Leave us a message telling us which flavor you would want to try! Deadline to enter is December 12, 2014 at noon PST. One winner will randomly be selected via Random.org.

 

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Celebrate the Holiday Season at Burke Williams Day Spa

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Looking for the perfect gift? Burke William is my favorite Spa! This holiday season is the best time to either buy someone special a gift card or go and have the most amazing Spa experience yourself!

This past week, I had an amazing visit at the Torrance location and was able to try the 25-minute Sugar Glo with Hair Masque Enhancement and I just loved it! I’m not quite sure how to describe the experience of the Sugar Glo but it’s like a massage, shower, bath that left my skin incredibly soft!  I really love Burke Williams because it’s actually like you are “somewhere else.” You leave the busy hustle bustle of the season and just really get to relax! I went on a rainy day last week and I actually was surprised that it was still raining when I left. I expected to walk out into sunny skies…

Ring in the holidays by giving the ultimate gift of relaxation to those you love. Burke Williams Day Spa is pleased to offer four special gift card packages that provide the ideal pampering this holiday season. Each gift purchased will include an exclusive 3-day spa pass, $135 value, as a special gift from Burke Williams to you.

 

The “Relax” package features a 50-minute Pure Relaxation Massage or 50-minute Spa-Style Facial and a 25-minute Salt or Sugar Glo with Hair Masque Enhancement starting at just $169, regularly priced at $228 and up. “Renew” with a 50-minute Pure Relaxation Massage with Hot Stone Enhancement, a 50-minute Spa Style Facial plus a 25-minute Salt or Sugar Glo with Hair Masque Enhancement starting at just $269, regularly priced at $367 and above. “Inspire” with a 25-minute Salt or Sugar Glo, an 80-minute Burke Williams Massage and the newly enhanced Nourishing Facial starting at just $369, regularly priced at $457 and higher.

 

Give the men in your life a 50-minute Deep Tissue Massage, 50-minute Men’s Facial and Burke Williams’ signature Hunter’s Retreat service starting at $289, regularly priced $387 and above.

With each gift card package purchase you will receive a coveted 3-day spa pass good for three complimentary visits to the Burke Williams spa nearest you and 20% off services booked the same day. This is our gift to you.

Burke Williams 2014 holiday gift card packages are available beginning November 28 through December 31. Indulge in the joy of relaxation at Burke Williams this holiday season.

Holiday Gift Card Packages

Relax: 50-minute Pure Relaxation Massage or 50-minute Spa-Style Facial and 25-minute Salt or Sugar Glo.

$169 ($179 San Francisco – $225 – $250 value)

Renew: 50-minute Pure Relaxation Massage with Hot Stone Enhancement, 50-minute Spa-Style Facial and 25-minute Salt or Sugar Glo.

$269 ($289 San Francisco – $367 – $387 value)

Inspire: 25-minute Salt or Sugar Glo, 80-minute Burke Williams Massage and Nourishing Facial.

$369 ($399 San Francisco – $457 – $515 value)

For Him: 50-minute Deep Tissue Massage, 50-minute Men’s Facial and Hunter’s Retreat.

$289 ($329 San Francisco – $387 – $435 value)

Self Disclosure: I received free services to facilitate this post and any opinions expressed are my own. Photo Credit: Burke Williams.