Archives for March 20, 2015

Lumi*Essence Organic Advanced Skin Brightening / Whitening Repair Treatment with Kojic Acid, Arbutin & Vitamin C, 2oz by Sweetsation Therapy


This product works really well and I am impressed! It works pretty well on dark spots caused by the sun and even freckles but my favorite thing is that it works great to improve skin tone. It is also lightweight and absorbs really well! I also like that it has a pleasant smell and is non-greasy. I have been using it only for a couple of weeks and have noticed slight improvement already in my skin tone. Another big plus is that it is also great for Men! (Maybe that isn’t a plus….actually, my husband borrowed mine and hasn’t returned it yet! 😉 ) You just may need to buy one for your husband too.

Hydroquinone-free, toxic ingredients free, Made in USA.

You can purchase on

Self Disclosure: I received this product for free in exchange for an unbiased review.


Insurgent: Intense, Action-Packed and Touching


The highly anticipated film Insurgent opens this weekend and, from our KIDS FIRST! Critics comments, you won’t be disappointed. This second film from the Divergent series shows how Beatrice Prior must confront her inner demons and continue her fight against a powerful alliance which threatens to tear her society apart with the help from others on her side. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Brianna B. comments, “Insurgent has a strong message about choices. The choices you make affects what will happen later in your life, so you should always try to make the right choice.” See her full review below.


Reviewed by Brianna Hope Beaton, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15


This second installment of the Divergent series is an action packed film with a great display of emotions from the entire cast. It’s intense and, at times, a little touching. I truly enjoyed viewing it.

War is now full-fledged between the Factions.  Tris (Shailene Woodley), as a Divergent, has to continue to battle the guilt of her past shame and her enemies while trying to figure out who her true allies are. Many secrets are uncovered and trust is indeed tested between everyone.

Insurgent is filled with great scenes that will keep you on the edge of your seat and your eyes glued to the big screen. The little sparks of pure creativity in presenting this adaptation is refreshing and satisfying with the CGI, stunts and different camera angles. My favorite character is Tobias (Theo James), aka Four. I can clearly see how much he loves and wants to protect Tris. His eyes tell the whole story of how much he cares and truly adores her. Even though some of the decisions aren’t the best, he still stands by her. There are a ton of great scenes in Insurgent. However, my favorite scene is when Tris finds herself connected to one of Jeanine Matthew’s (Kate Winslet) simulators. The cinematography and the special effects are outstanding and Shailene Woodley’s acting in this scene is phenomenal. I loved seeing it in IMAX. The picture is definitely bigger, has higher quality and the sound is all around me, feeling so real.

Insurgent also stars Jai Courtney (Eric), Ansel Elgort (Caleb) and Octavia Spencer (Johanna). They embody their characters fully and their acting performances are truly incredible. They really feed off of one another and look so natural.

Insurgent has a strong message about choices. The choices you make affects what will happen later in your life, so you should always try to make the right choice. You can make the wrong choice or the right one, but either one has a consequence.

I recommend this film for ages 13 to 18. It’s rated PG -13 for some intense violence and heavy action throughout the film. I give Insurgent 5 out of 5 stars. It’s action packed, easy to follow along and a joy to watch with all the special effects.

Make the right choice and see Insurgent in theaters on March 20th, so please check it out.

Reviewed by Brianna Hope Beaton, Age 15, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic.

Happiness is Fundamental, Universal, and Going Global Ellie Laks and The Gentle Barn invite everyone to help celebrate the International Day of Happiness!


For many who dedicate their lives to the challenge of any social movement, March 20th is the perfect time to take a moment and reflect on what has been accomplished and to connect to the global community of enthusiasts that has been established.  March 20th has been marked as the International Day of Happiness and recognized by all 193 United Nations member states[1].  As one of the leading Animal Welfare Advocates and Founder of The Gentle Barn, ( Ellie Laks understands the healing power of animals and pets and the profound happiness that comes from being compassionate towards all living beings.

The organizers of the International Day of Happiness are asking people from around the world to share images and photographs of their most authentic happiness. Showing her excitement for International Day of Happiness, Ellie will be posting hugs of happiness with her closest friends from The Gentle Barn and sharing them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. To Ellie Laks, happiness is celebrated every day at The Gentle Barn, “I’ve experienced the healing power of happiness and I’ve seen it take effect with people who come to The Gentle Barn, often from difficult life situations.  After just a few moments of hugging one of our cows or rubbing a pig’s tummy, especially the children from our outreach program turn into a whole new person.  Bright, big smiles appear and they seem lighter and more authentic and vulnerable, which is where healing begins.”


Animals have such a veritable impact on our happiness. We hope you’ll check out Ellie’s posts on what makes her happy while also posting your own pictures! Post a picture of a dog, a cat, or your beloved parrot with the hashtag #PlanetHappiness to join the International Day of Happiness in celebration.


Please be sure to find Ellie on Facebook here: and Twitter @GentleBarn to join the fun this Friday.


About The Gentle Barn

The Gentle Barn ( is a nonprofit organization located just north of Los Angeles in Santa Clarita, California that was founded by Ellie Laks in 1999 as a safe haven and place of recovery for abused farm animals. The Gentle Barn’s unique philosophy rehabilitates animals and connects their stories of survival and healing, to the personal experiences of at-­risk and special needs children who have suffered physical, mental or emotional trauma. By interacting with The Gentle Barn’s one hundred and seventy animals and taking a hands­-on role in their welfare, those who participate in the programs at The Gentle Barn learn empathy, trust, forgiveness and leadership. The mission statement at The Gentle Barn is simple: “Teaching people kindness and compassion to animals, each other and our planet.” The Gentle Barn is run by founder Ellie Laks and her husband/co­-founder Jay Weiner, both of whom were healed and supported by animals as children. The Gentle Barn is open to the public on Sundays from 10:00am until 2:00pm.  Celebrity supporters of the organization include Ellen DeGeneres & Portia de Rossi, Mark Wahlberg, Channing Tatum, Jenna Dewan-Tatum, Hilary Swank, Rondi Reed, Rose McGowan, Tiffani Thiessen, Sierra McCormick and Laura Vandervoort to name a few.

Credit: The Gentle Barn.

Los Angeles Zoo’s BIG BUNNY’S SPRING FLING BIG BUNNY IS BACK FOR 2015 AT THE LOS ANGELES ZOO'S "BIG BUNNY'S SPRING FLING," CELEBRATING THE SEASON WITH THREE DAYS OF “EGG-CITING” ACTIVITIES Friday, April 3, Saturday, April 4, and Sunday, April 5, 2015 10 am to 4 pm Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens

Big Bunny is back for 2015 at the Los Angeles Zoo’s BIG BUNNY’S SPRING FLING, celebrating the season with three days of “EGG-citing” activities on Friday, April 3, Saturday, April 4, and Sun-day, April 5, 2015, from 10 am to 4 pm.  Fun for youngsters includes photos with “Big Bunny” as well as the opportunity to pet real bunnies, face painting, musical entertainment, bunny-ear crafts, and costumed characters.  Adding to the scene is a “Big Bunny’s EGG-cellent Adventure” search for four exotic egg-laying animals, including a magnificent tree frog, which has the largest poison gland of any Australian amphibian; a short-nosed echidna, a mammal with no teeth; a Madagascar radiated tortoise, which is primarily an herbivore but occasionally eats small animals to supplement its diet; and an oropendola, which inhabits a hanging nest.  “Adventurers” are guided by clues to discover these animals, whose eggs come in all shapes and sizes.  Best of all, a special treat pro-vided by 99 Cents Only Stores awaits youngsters at each stop.  Rounding out the activities is an “EGG-ucation Station” with scent containers to give inquisitive guests a chance to see what it’s like to have a bunny’s sense of smell.  All activities are free with paid Zoo admission, except “Big Bunny” photos which are available for a nominal fee.

As an added bonus, visitors to the L.A. Zoo every day through June 30 will receive a Shutterfly promo card good for a free, easy-to-make 8×10″ hard cover photo book to use to capture their ad-ventures.  The promo card, courtesy of Shutterfly, is available at the admissions window when pur-chasing tickets or at the membership entrance.  Limit one per household.

The landmark LOS ANGELES ZOO AND BOTANICAL GARDENS, drawing 1.6 million visitors each year, is home to a diverse collection of 1,100 animals representing 250 different species, many of which are rare or endangered.  Its lush grounds on 113 acres feature a botanical collec-tion comprising over 800 different plant species with approximately 7,000 individual plants.  Ac-credited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), whose members meet rigorous profes-sional standards for animal welfare, the Zoo has achieved renown as an international leader in the preservation of endangered species and a conservation center for the care and study of wildlife.  Among its most popular habitats are the LAIR (Living Amphibians, Invertebrates, and Reptiles), Elephants of Asia, Campo Gorilla Reserve and Rainforest of the Americas.  The private, non-profit Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (GLAZA), which has supported the Zoo in partnership with the City of Los Angeles for more than five decades and provides funding for and operates seven essential Zoo departments, has 65,000 member households representing more than 240,000 adults and children.  As evidence of the Zoo’s popularity, GLAZA attracts one of the largest mem-bership bases of any cultural organization in Los Angeles.

Programming subject to change

Zoo admission is $19 for general admission (ages 13 to 61); $16 for seniors (ages 62+), and $14 for children (ages 2 to 12).  No ticket is required for children under 2.  Admission for Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association members is free.

The Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens is located in Griffith Park at the junction of the Ventu-ra (134) and Golden State (5) freeways.  5333 Zoo Drive, Los Angeles, CA  90027.  Free parking is available.  For additional information, contact (323) 644-4200 or visit

Credit: Los Angeles Zoo.