Archives for January 20, 2016

Eating Healthier with Whole Foods Market! Stocking a Healthy Pantry is an easy task this New year!

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Looking to stock up your pantry with healthier options? I went off to Whole Foods Market last week with the idea of re-stocking my pantry with much healthier options. I found that it was easy to do! I took advantage of the sale last weekend and found many great items.  One of my favorite brands is the 365 Whole Foods Market Brand and I love the 365 Organic Peanut Butter! It’s a real must-buy!

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The Justin’s All-Natural Peanut Butters were a hit with  my 12-year-old son! I was also impressed with the 365 Just Fruit in Apricot. It was easy to get rid of junk food and replace healthier options with products from Whole Foods Market! Sometimes it is tough to find healthier options for the whole family but not at Whole Foods Market!


Check out your local Whole Foods Market today for a healthier New Year!


Self Disclosure: I received a gift card to purchase products to facilitate this post and complete my healthy pantry challenge! No other compensation was received and opinions expressed are my own.



Beauty Brands is having a Sale!


Beauty Brands stores and is having their Liter Sale, which features select shampoo, conditioner and body wash liters and value sizes for only $14.99!  Consumers can save up to 72% on their favorite hair care until February 6th!  Examples of featured brands include: Abba, AG, American Crew, Biolage, Blower, Brocato, Bosley, CHI, Joico, Kenra, Matrix, Redken, Rock Your Hair, Rusk, S-Factor, Sexy Hair, TIGI, TOWELDRY and Wella ( $14.99).

Select liters, limit 12 total, selection may vary by location.
$12.99 brands:
Total Results
Hempz Value Size
 $19.99 brands:

More info:

Beauty Brands, the one-stop shopping, spa and salon destination for the modern American beauty: This is where she can find it all: big store choice and boutique intimacy, her favorite marquee brands alongside noteworthy indie labels, quick fix facials and long, luxurious head-to-toe pampering, a lipstick to suit her mood or a new hair cut and style that take off years, not just inches.  It is all delivered with passion by expert professional staff devoted to bringing out every individual customer’s natural beauty.

Self Disclosure: No compensation was received to post. Sale ends February 6th, 2016.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs – An Epic Classic Now on Blu-Ray and Digital HD


From the Walt Disney Signature Collection comes the enchanting and inspiring classic Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. In this epic animated story of love and friendship, the kind and beautiful princess Snow White wins the hearts of the Seven Dwarfs and triumphs over the evil plans of a wicked Queen. Called “The Greatest Animated Film Of All Time,” it is available now on High Definition Blu-ray and for the first time ever on Digital HD, with special features the entire family will enjoy. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Gerry O. comments, “Before Cinderella lost her slipper and before Aladdin met the Genie, Walt Disney did his most crazy and insane project ever – a feature animated movie, the first of its kind… This film was designed for all ages and I still agree.” See his full review below.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Blu-ray, Digital HD)
By Gerry O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 13

Before Cinderella lost her slipper and before Aladdin met the Genie, Walt Disney did his most crazy and insane project ever – a feature animated movie, the first of its kind. The title of the film is Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Parents and kids loved this film decades ago and, a generation later, families can now enjoy this beautiful classic in Blu-Ray.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is a musical with catchy, and beautiful singing done by Adriana Caselotti, (Snow White), Lucille La Verne (Queen) and others. There is also a sense of adventure, and a magical romance, between Snow White and the Prince.

The story begins when the Queen discovers that she is not the fairest of them all, and that Snow White is. Out of jealousy, she orders the death of Snow White. However, Snow White gets away. She comes upon 7 dwarfs which she befriends. The Queen angrily learns about her failed death, and decides to poison the young princess!

Since this is the Blu-Ray/Digital HD Edition of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, it is packed with extra features including a tour of the animation studios in the 1930s, actual interviews with Walt Disney, cool facts, (Did you know Snow White was originally designed to have gold hair? Who knew!) and so much more. My favorite part concentrates on how Walt Disney hired over 300 artists, how he spent so much money on making it perfect, and just how much speculation and hate he got for attempting to make (and being very successful as a result) a 90 minute animated film.

Even though this film was made almost a century ago, the quality of the animation is as good as films made today. Hand-drawn animation has a quality of from the human touch that CGI can never achieve. In terms of the soundtrack, Walt Disney had a knack for making his animated films not only have background music, but he created it in such as way that the music becomes an integral part of the story. For example, when Snow White and the Prince first meet, they sing a song together and it represents almost, “Instant love,” better than words ever could. This story is based on a classic European fairy tale, and Walt Disney hired a few people who specifically made European-styled drawings, to make the film feel like the original fairy tale, which was perfect for the film. The voice-over sound quality is also top notch, amazingly so since again, it was made almost 100 years ago. I would easily compare it to the voice over acting and quality of the late 90s. This film was ambitious in terms of being the first animated feature film, but also was first feature film to have a female lead.

My favorite scene is the meeting of The Prince and Snow White. In the scene, Snow White is cleaning outside and she explains to her bird friends what a wishing well is. A prince overhears her fantastic singing and is love-struck when he meets her. This scene is one of my favorites because the music is beautiful, the animation is spectacular and this scene specifically illustrates my point about European artists designing the backgrounds. It really looks like a European castle of some sort.

This film was designed for all ages and I still agree. I recommend it for ages 6 to 13 specifically. Younger kids will enjoy the bright colors, dancing and singing. Older kids can appreciate how difficult it was to make this film and the storyline itself. Adults who have happy memories of seeing this film years ago will also enjoy it. Overall, it’s a great film for the family. I rate it 5 out of 5 stars because of the spectacular animation, exciting story (typical of films made by Walt Disney) and clear voice acting. The Blu-ray/Digital HD Edition of Snow White is available in stores and online on January 19.


Celebrate the talents and creativity of people with disabilities at the Aquarium on the weekend of Jan. 30-31, and enjoy live music, dance, art, and demonstrations


At the Festival of Human Abilities, visitors can watch performances and learn unique adaptive skills taught by artists and other experts with disabilities. Featured at the festival are hip hop wheelchair dancer Auti Angel; the Walk and Roll Dance Team; Love in Motion, a sign language choir; Dat Nguyen, a world music guitarist who is blind; Kodi Lee, a singer who is blind and has autism; and other inspiring performing artists. The festival will feature Nick Guzman, a singer and guitarist with autism who has performed with David Crosby, Steven Stills, Graham Nash, and Neil Young.


Along with these music and dance performances, the Aquarium will feature art demonstrations and displays, including mouth-stick art by local artists with disabilities. Cody Unser First Step Foundation will lead adaptive SCUBA demonstrations to show that people of all abilities can enjoy this therapeutic sport. Cody Unser began the foundation at age thirteen after she was diagnosed with transverse myelitis, the autoimmune condition that left her paralyzed. Visitors are invited to meet Unser, who will be the first person in a wheelchair to be inducted into the Women Divers Hall of Fame™ in spring of 2016.


A variety of free creative workshop classes will be held on site, lasting thirty to forty-five minutes per session. Participants will have the opportunity to learn to sing in sign language with Love in Motion, create wheelchair art with artist Tommy Hollenstein, paint a hat with Michael Seale Jr., and try hip hop wheelchair dancing with Auti Angel and the Walk and Roll Dance Team. All major programming will have sign language interpreters, and the Aquarium will provide audio tours for guests who are blind.

Abilities Dance Class

Abilities Dance Class

HONOREE:    The Aquarium’s 2016 GLENN MCINTYRE HERITAGE AWARD will be presented to Arts &

Services for Disabled, Inc. Accepting the award will be Helen Dolas, founder and CEO. The primary mission of Arts & Services for Disabled, Inc. is to provide lifelong learning, community service, and vocational opportunities through the creative arts for people with disabilities of all ages in an environment of warmth, encouragement, and inclusion.


      WHEN:           Saturday and Sunday, January 30-31, 2016, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

                        Award ceremony: Sunday, January 31, 2016 at 11:45 a.m.


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


      COST:            $29.95 adult (12+), $26.95 senior (62+), $17.95 child (3-11), and free to kids age three and under and members


      INFO:              (562) 590-3100 or


  Credit:   Aquarium of the Pacific:   The nonprofit Aquarium of the Pacific is a community gathering place where diverse cultures and the arts are celebrated and where important challenges facing our planet are explored.

Zerowater is a great product for the New Year!


This New Year I am trying to be more healthy! Yes, that is one of my New Year resolutions! With Zerowater, it makes it a little easier! ReadyPour is the first to market pitcher that allows you to keep filling your glass while the water is still filtering! I really love this product! It’s so easy to use and my water tastes great! I really believe that it makes my water much cleaner!

Ready-Pour’s innovative sealed lid and reservoir enables the pitcher to be kept full while adding up to two cups of additional capacity, helping to eliminate the wasted space on the top of the pitcher.  That means it can hold 10 cups total (eight within the pitcher itself and two in the reservoir). The underneath water filter assembly ensures water passes directly through and not under the filter. As a result, users of the Ready-Pour Pitcher can rest assured that every drop they are drinking has been filtered via ZeroWater’s patented five-stage, dual-ion exchange filtration system.  The Ready-Pour Pitcher from ZeroWater retails for $37.99 and comes with an integrated Total Dissolved Solids meter.

Find out more at

Self Disclosure: I received a free product for review purposes. No other compensation was received to post.

Universal Studios Hollywood and TripAdvisor to Send One Lucky Winner and Guests on the Ultimate Harry Potter Trip Around the World to Experience “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” at Theme Parks in Hollywood, Orlando and Japan and “The Making of Harry Potter” at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London Sweepstakes Winners Begin Once-in-a-Lifetime Adventure at the Highly-Anticipated Grand Opening of “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” at Universal Studios Hollywood on April 7, 2016



In celebration of the opening of “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™” at Universal Studios Hollywood on April 7, the global entertainment destination and TripAdvisor, the world’s largest online travel site, are launching the Ultimate Harry Potter Trip Around the World sweepstakes sending one winner and three guests on a once-in-a-lifetime magical journey to experience the wonders of Harry Potter experiences across the globe.

This exciting contest, which kicked off on January 14, will whisk the sweepstakes winner and three guests on a spellbinding voyage to visit “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” locations around the world beginning with the Grand Opening at Universal Studios Hollywood and including lands at Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Japan.  The winners will also visit “The Making of Harry Potter” at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, where they can discover behind-the-scenes filmmaking secrets at the home of all eight Harry Potter blockbuster films. Fans can enter to win at

More than five years in the making, and inspired by J.K. Rowling’s compelling stories and characters that were brought to life in the Warner Bros. films, “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” is being masterfully recreated at Universal Studios Hollywood and will be faithful to the visual landscape of the fiction and films, including Hogwarts castle which will serve as its iconic focal point.

From its snow-capped roofs and cobblestone streets to the historic British sensibilities that characterize the whimsical look and feel of the land, “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” will transport guests of all ages to the very places they read about in the stories or watched on the silver screen.

Upon entering the land through the archway, Hogsmeade will bustle to life with the same vitality of a quaint local village: merchants hard at work, a train conductor welcoming new arrivals and a pub packed to the gills with hungry patrons, but with the added element of enthusiastic guests intent on experiencing them all, including the land’s signature ride, “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey,” and the family outdoor coaster, Flight of the Hippogriff™.”

An achievement in pioneering theme park ride technology, “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey” will make its U.S. debut at Universal Studios Hollywood in hyper-realistic 3D-HD designed to further immerse guests in an already engaging storyline.  The multidimensional thrill ride features a groundbreaking robotics ride system, fused with elaborate filmed action sequences and immersive visceral effects.  In this updated adaptation of the ride, guests will sport Quidditch-inspired 3D goggles as they venture through journeys experienced by Harry and his friends, spiraling and pivoting 360-degrees along an elevated ride track on a whirlwind adventure of a lifetime.

Also within “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter,” the enchanting family coaster, Flight of the Hippogriff™ will open as Universal Studios Hollywood’s first outdoor roller coaster.

“The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” will resonate with immense detail, inviting guests to revel in Harry Potter’s world with the opportunity to enjoy authentic food and beverage at multiple locations, including Three Broomsticks™, and Hog’s Head pub, as well as the Magic Neep and Butterbeer™ carts.

A foray through the shops will add to the authenticity of the land with eight retail venues and locations, including Honeydukes™, Ollivanders™, Owl Post™, Zonko’s™ Joke Shop, Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment, Dervish and Banges, Gladrags Wizardwear and Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods™.

The Ultimate Harry Potter Trip Around the World sweepstakes began on January 14. Fans have until February 24 to register and can enter to win at The winner will receive a trip for four people, including airfare, four night accommodations at each location, ground transportation, 2-day theme park tickets for each theme park and tickets for Warner Bros. Studio Tour London. U.S. citizens, 18 years of age and older are eligible to enter. Additional eligibility information is available at No purchase is necessary.

As the countdown to the April 7 opening date continues, the website invites guests to learn more by signing up for the latest news and information at

Join the conversation online using #WizardingWorldHollywood. Like Universal Studios Hollywood on Facebook and follow @UniStudios on Instagram and Twitter.


Credit: Universal Studios.

Sometimes by Hugo Ibarra and John Seidlitz


Sometimes follows the journey of two immigrant children after their arrival to The United States. It’s a beautiful tale of the determination in the face of struggles faced by children of immigration and can insight empathy and understanding from kids, parents and educators about a world otherwise unseen.

A Must-read for all young children!

Written for 4-8 year olds,
Sometimes follows the journey of Andrés and his sister, Clara, as they immigrate from Mexico to the United States. They see many strange sights for the first time — the border filled with cars, a strange U.S. town — and wonder why they had to leave their mother behind. As Andrés starts at a new school, he receives encouragement from a beloved teacher, buoying his hopes
until he and his sister are finally reunited with their mother.
Teaching a valuable lesson about holding on to hope, the book shows the impact of the courage,strength and hope parents and teachers provide to help children through a time of uncertainty. A story of a family’s close bond above all,Sometimes is relatable for any child.

Publisher website:

The book can be purchased here.

Self Disclosure: I participated in a book blog tour and received a free book to post.