Archives for November 15, 2015

My favorite new way to make Tea is with the Happy Manatea Tea Infuser! This one is a must-have for Tea and Ocean animal lovers!

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Every once in awhile, I receive a product that I feel I want to do more than what I have been asked to do. In this case, I received a product at a discount and was asked to simply leave an unbiased review. But, this has become my new way to have tea and I really do love this product!  I now can’t imagine making tea with out it! The Manatea tea infuser is made from 100% BPA free and food grade silicone. It is odorless so that you can enjoy the natural flavor of your tea. The silicone can stand up to 425F so it is perfectly safe to submerge it in boiling water. It is so easy to use! Simply load the Manatea belly with your favorite loose leaf tea, let the Manatea hang out on the rim of your cup and do the work. When it is done, remove the Manatea by the neck and enjoy! It is also easy to clean.This Manatea actually makes me smile and I think I should get one for all my dear tea-loving friends this holiday season!

You can find it on Amazon.com.

It would make a wonderful stand-alone gift or a stocking stuffer!

Self Disclosure: I received this product at a discount for review purposes and it has exceeded my expectations. 

 

Hand Writing Heart Necklace LOVE Would Make a Beautiful Gift! A must-buy this holiday season!

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Looking for a beautiful and thoughtful gift for Mom this holiday season? Or maybe Grandma or even a good friend? How about Hand Writing Heart Necklace with the special word LOVE on it?  I received this one and I really do love it! The LOVE hand writing heart necklace is stainless steel, high polish heart with hand writing script reading “Love.” Heart measures 3/4” x 3/4”. Silver 18” chain included. I like that it really is very unique and that the word is in handwriting. I know, I know! Handwriting seems to sometimes be a time of the past but I have always loved handwriting and thought it seemed so much more personable. I don’t think that I have ever seen a necklace quite like this one! I also like the open heart because I think it represents a more unconditional love.

This one is a real must-buy this holiday season!

You can purchase at their website: http://www.faithchristianjewelry.com/womens/necklaces/hand-writing-heart-necklace-love

Self Disclosure: I received a free sample to facilitate this post. 

The 33 – A Tragic Accident and a Heroic Rescue

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Five years ago, the world followed this tragic accident in an unknown small mining town in Chile where 33 miners were trapped 2000 feet below the surface. We have hears about this type of mining accident before but, what stood out here were the family members who never lost hope and set up camp near the mine to force the powers that be to pay attention and rescue their loved ones trapped below. We know how the story ends, how against all odds, after two months these miners emerged from their death trap. The miners were in the news again recently when they visited the Pope who celebrated the 5th anniversary of their rescue. This film brings their story into perspective and makes you feel their pain. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Harmony M. comments, “Watching this film made me feel the pain of the miners, the anxiety of the families and the stress of the rescue team. I could personally feel the struggle from every side of the story.” Lainey A. adds, “This movie is so suspenseful because it connects the audience to the characters and I did not want to see any of them die.” See their full review below.

The 33

By Harmony M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

 

With its empowering story, visuals and acting, this film brings another true survival story to life. A group of thirty three gold miners go to work in the underlying mountains of Chile when their lives quickly turn upside down. Stranded by the collapse of the rocks, the men are forced to work together, struggle for food, stay optimistic despite their life threatening condition. With every second so crucial, the intensity of the film leaves the audience on the edge of their seats.

Watching this film made me feel the pain of the miners, the anxiety of the families and the stress of the rescue team. I could personally feel the struggle from every side of the story.

This is an amazing aspect of the film, especially because it is based on a true story. What better way to gain awareness than to make individuals feel the experience for themselves. I felt like throwing up throughout the whole movie and that just shows how amazingly the filmmakers depicted this horrifyingly true story of the innocent men who were stranded and their struggle to survive.

The filmmakers have created a film that makes the audience feel as though they are experiencing the struggle rather than just watching it. I felt as if I was starving and becoming dehydrated just by watching. It’s what makes the movie feel so real.

The persuasive acting contributes to the empowering movie, especially Antonio Banderas whose performance as the leader, Mario was so believable. It’s a role completely different from what he usually plays and he made me believe he was a Chilean miner.

Usually films based on tragic events feel depressing but this film feels empowering and comedic in certain scenes. I enjoyed that.

The film didn’t make the best impression at first but, it became very engaging and strong towards the end. I give a lot of credit to its great ending because, in my opinion, an ending can really make or break a movie.

I give the movie four out of five stars and recommend it for people between the ages of 13 and 18. Adults will enjoy it as well. Check this film out in theaters today.

The 33
By Lainey A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

This live-action feature film directed by the Patricia Riggen is truly inspirational and I love it!  The 33 is based on the true story of the 2010 Chilean San Jose mine collapse and the 33 miners trapped 2,300 feet below ground.  This movie is so suspenseful because it connects the audience to the characters and I did not want to see any of them die.

This movie taught me that you should be hopeful and not think the worst even when it seems hopeless.  The miners kept up hope that they are going to be rescued even though they only have 14 cans of tuna to split between them for an unknown period of time.  This film also shows the importance of team-work because, without it, they would  all perish.

Antonio Banderas really steps out of his typical roles and his rendition of Mario Sepulveda is truly outstanding!  He really transforms into a Chilean miner and he is a true leader among the miners.  Another stand out actor is Rodrigo Santoro who plays Laurence Golborne, Minister of Mining for the Chilean President. He is caring, loving and compassionate and does an outstanding job making me believe that he really cares about these men trapped in the mine.  He does everything in his power to make sure that the miners stay alive and pulls together mining teams from across the world to drill into the ground in hopes of saving the miners.  Josh Brolin plays the role of Jeff Hart, one of the miners sent from the U.S.A. who eventually succeeds in drilling a hole large enough to send in a body cage for the miners.

The target audience for this film is anyone who enjoys adventure and suspenseful movies.  I recommend this movie for ages 10 to 18 because this isn’t gory or a violent movie, but it is suspenseful.  This movie is good for kids because it makes you learn what the lifestyle of a miner in Chile is like. Everyday, they face life or death situations such as this one.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars because it made me feel like I was there every step of the way.  As the miners said, “All we have is family.”  The love of family, teamwork and hope brought these 33 men back from the depths of despair.  You will be cheering from your seat! Come see this outstanding film when it opens nationwide on November 14!

Credit: KIDS FIRST! Upcoming Attractions, www.kidsfirst.org.

Brooklyn – Two Countries, Two Loves, One Heart

Brooklyn

This romantic drama follows an Irish immigrant who lands in 1950s Brooklyn where she quickly falls into a new romance. When her past catches up with her, however, she must choose between two countries and the lives that exist in each. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Mia A. comments, “Brooklyn is a romantic drama that I would watch again and again because of its heartfelt moments and the relationship between the characters. “ See her full review below.

 

Brooklyn

By Mia A, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

 

 

 

Brooklyn, directed by John Crowley, is a romantic drama that I would watch again and again because of its heartfelt moments and the relationship between the characters.

Brooklyn is about a girl named Eilis who lives in Ireland with her sister and mother and is going to America to find a better opportunity for work.  It is hard for her when she first moves to America because she grieves over leaving her family and is terribly homesick.  She falls madly in love in New York. Eilis returns to Ireland for a family crisis and she puts herself in a very complicated situation, making her wonder if she ever wants to leave Ireland again.

The acting in Brooklyn makes it realistic and a pleasure to watch.  The cast members are chosen very well and they play their parts with a lot of character and emotion.  My favorite character is Eilis, played by Irish American actress Saoirse Ronan.  She is a perfect Eilis because she is so believable which helps build the audience’s love for the story.

I really felt the love between Tony and Eilis.  Tony, played by Emory Cohen, is sweet, funny, and sweeps Eilis off her feet when she is vulnerable and needing comfort the most.  Tony’s Italian heritage both attracts her and stretches her as a character.

The settings, scenery and costumes are appropriate for the time period of the 1950s and really captures the essence of what it life would have been like in Ireland and Brooklyn at that time.  The costumes are very realistic and transport the viewer to a different time and place.

My favorite scene is when two of her boarding school friends teach Eilis how to eat spaghetti properly in preparation for dinner with Tony’s Italian family.  This scene got many people in the audience laughing.

The moral to this story is that “home is home.”  We also see that home is where the heart is. Eilis loves both Ireland and America, and a gentleman in both places.  Which man and which home will she ultimately choose?

I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars for the beautiful romance and the amazing settings.  I recommend this for ages 13 to 18.  Parents should be aware that there is some bad language and there is a sex scene that they might not want their younger kids to watch.

If you are a romance lover or looking for a cinema vacation, aka “cinecation”, then Brooklyn is just right for you!  Check out this movie on November 4th in theaters near you.

Credit: KIDS FIRST! Upcoming Attractions, www.kidsfirst.org.

 

Combo Ticket to LA Zoo and Aquarium of the Pacific Includes Holiday Events REINDEER ROMP at Zoo and HOLIDAY TREATS FOR THE ANIMALS at Aquarium Among Special Winter Activities, Along with Opportunities to See Zoo Jaguars in New Rainforest Home and Aquarium's New Jellies Exhibits Emphasizing Importance of Environmental Conservation on Land and in Ocean

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A special combo ticket for the Los Angeles Zoo and Aquarium of the Pacific in Southern California this winter includes holiday celebrations at both destinations along with opportunities to see the Zoo’s jaguars in their new Rainforest of the Americas home and the Aquarium’s new Jellies exhibits. REINDEER ROMP from late November through early January at the Zoo and AQUARIUM HOLIDAYS throughout the month of December and HOLIDAY TREATS FOR THE ANIMALS in early December at the Aquarium are among special winter activities enjoyed by visitors via the discounted combo ticket, which can be used on one day or separate days. It can be purchased online or at either for $40 per adult (12+), $27 per child, and $39 per senior (ages 62+).  http://www.aquariumofpacific.org/visit/discounts/aquariumzoocombo

During the holiday season, the AQUARIUM hosts HOLIDAY TREATS FOR THE ANIMALS (DECEMBER 5-6) as “Santa Diver” delivers an ocean of gifts to Aquarium penguins, sea otters, seals, sea lions, lorikeet birds, and fish while guests watch. Also featured are holiday music, crafts, special presentations, unique photo opportunities, shopping, a snow play area, and festive seasonal decorations. During AQUARIUM HOLIDAYS (DECEMBER 5-24), snow will fall daily in the Great Hall, the Aquarium will be decked with festive décor, and the Aquarium’s costumed characters will appear in their holiday outfits. On weekends in December choirs will perform carols and a snow play area will be set up on the front lawn.

Meanwhile, L.A. ZOO visitors are bound to appreciate the only opportunity to see live reindeer in Los Angeles at REINDEER ROMP (daily November 27, 2015, through January 3, 2016, except Christmas Day). Guests are invited to make the most of the season with a full day of fun and adventure at a great value highlighted by a visit with Noel, Belle, Velvet, and Jingle in their wintry Reindeer Village home. A flurry of other activities on weekends include holiday crafts for youngsters, ice carving demonstrations (Saturdays), Swazzle Holiday Extravaganza puppet shows (Sunday mornings), entertainment by the Satin Dollz, Los Angeles’ popular retro musical troupe (Sunday afternoons), docent talks, and a rotating schedule of animals unwrapping gifts all their own. Visits with Santa Claus in an all-new whimsical Santa Village and photo ops (for a nominal fee) take place every weekend through December 20 plus December 21, 22, and 23 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

At both the Los Angeles Zoo and Aquarium of the Pacific, ongoing exhibits offer insight into the importance of environmental conservation on land and in the ocean. Visitors to each institution can explore exhibits and attend presentations to find out ways to help protect the planet for the benefit of humans and animals. Earlier this year, L.A. ZOO jaguars moved into a brand new home built on a hillside and landscaped with tall grass and shrubs, deadwood trees, and a waterfall. This habitat is set within the Zoo’s newest exhibit, Rainforest of the Americas, an extraordinary collection of endangered and exotic mammals, reptiles, fish and amphibians living in spaces that exemplify their natural habitat in the rainforest biosphere and replicate their natural homes in Mexico and Central and South America. New Jellies exhibits are now open at the AQUARIUM, inviting guests to delve into the mysterious world of sea jellies while learning about their importance. Often referred to as jellyfish, sea jellies are are actually invertebrates, animals with no backbones, hearts, or brains. These sea creatures have existed on this planet since before the time of the dinosaurs, and some species can indicate if ocean water is clean while others indicate if it is polluted. Jellies features the opportunity to explore the amazing life of these gelatinous animals through new exhibits, educational programs, films, a fall art exhibit, and more. Ever wondered what a jelly feels like? You can even safely touch them at the Aquarium, too.

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 the LAIR (Living Amphibians, Invertebrates, and Reptiles); Elephants of Asia; Campo Gorilla Reserve; Rainforest of the Americas, an extraordinary collection of endangered and exotic mammals, reptiles, fish and amphibians living in spaces that exemplify their natural habitat in the rainforest biosphere; Tom Mankiewicz Conservation Carousel; an Indian Rhino Encounter direct-contact opportunity; Chimpanzees of Mahale Mountains, home to one of the largest troops of chimpanzees in the United States; Red Ape Rain Forest where visitors can walk among orangutans; the Winnick Family Children’s Zoo; one of the largest flocks of flamingos in any zoo in the world; a botanical collection comprising over 800 different plant species with approximately 7,000 individual plants; and much more. Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), whose members meet rigorous professional 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. The Zoo, open daily except Christmas Day from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., is located in Griffith Park. For more information call (323) 644-4200 or visit www.lazoo.org.

The AQUARIUM OF THE PACIFIC, a nonprofit AZA-accredited institution, is dedicated to conserving nature and its resources by building relationships among people. Home to over 11,000 animals and visited by 1.5 million people annually, the Aquarium invites visitors to explore the waters of Southern California and Baja and the Northern and Tropical Pacific. The Aquarium features its interactive Shark Lagoon and Lorikeet Forest aviary, June Keyes Penguin Habitat, hands-on discovery labs, the Molina Animal Care Center, Ocean Science Center, Wonders of the Deep gallery, and new Jellies exhibits. Beyond its exhibits, the Aquarium offers educational programs for people of all ages, from hands-on activities to lectures by leading scientists. It is a community gathering place where diverse cultures and the arts are celebrated and important topics facing our planet and our ocean are explored by scientists, policymakers, and stakeholders in the search for sustainable solutions. A world of discovery awaits. The Aquarium is open daily from9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and is closed on December 25 and during the Grand Prix for three days in April. For more information, visit aquariumofpacific.org or call (562) 590-3100.

Credit: Los Angeles Zoo and The Aquarium of the Pacific. Photo Credit: Jamie Pham (Los Angeles Zoo photo) and Robin Riggs (Aquarium of the Pacific photo).