Archives for February 2016

SkyDream Dog Leash, Nylon Webbing Great for Training and Walking!


I like this Dog Leash because it seems sturdy and well made. I also love the bright blue color and it goes great with the Blue Collar by this same company. The leash isn’t very long so it is a short leash and I find it perfect for training and for walks when I need to have my dog on a short leash. It seems well made and I am very happy with this product. My dog seems to like it too!He doesn’t try to bite it up like he does with many other leashes. This one is a real dog must-have!

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Self Disclosure: I received a free or heavily discounted product in exchange for an unbiased review. My opinions are my own and this product exceeded my expectations.

SkyDream Dog Collar, Nylon Webbing Great for Dog Walking!


I love how well this Dog Collar fits my dog and it seems safe. I also love the bright blue color and it has replaced our dog’s previous collar. I highly recommend! It’s a real Dog Must-have! I like that it seems durable and is simple to put on. My dog seems to like it too!

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Self Disclosure: I received a free or heavily discounted product in exchange for an unbiased review.

Books of the week! A Series about Bullying that teaches young children how to make a difference with this issue and Two books that will teach children about Chinese Culture in a fun way!

park cover - SM     1 words front cover

What Would JeeMin Do: Master Martial Arts Duo Pen Powerful Series of Anti-Bullying & Stranger Danger Kids Books. It’s Time to Kick Adversity’s Butt!

There’s no way to sugarcoat it, bullying and dangerous contact with strangers has become a fierce epidemic for modern young children and turns the lives of millions into a misery. Most victims find it hard to speak out and, acutely aware of young minds and their thirst for stories, one U.S. couple has found a novel way to reach out to them and their peers.

‘What Would JeeMin Do’ is the new series brought to market by Master martial arts instructors, Lori and Matthew Brown. The series’ eight current volumes have a bold and clear-cut goal: to teach children what bullying and stranger danger really is, how it can plight their lives and what they can do to help themselves and friends who may be suffering.

Series synopses:

‘Being Bullied at the Park’ – While at the park, JeeMin sees a little boy getting bullied and not sure what to do. She learns ways she can help the little boy learn confidence to overcome the fear of being bullied and to stand up and say STOP.

‘Bullies On The Bus’ – JeeMin helps her friend Joey who is bullied on the school bus. Finding out this is normal for Joey; JeeMin encourages him to get help from their teacher.

‘Cyber Bullying’ – JeeMin is at a friend’s birthday party. Her friend shows off her new cellphone she had received for her birthday. Being so excited she passes hernumber on to several friends, some who send her very unkind bullying text messages. JeeMin and her friend learn what to do in this bully situation.

‘Words Do Hurt’ – It is a new school year, JeeMin and her friends are starting the third grade. A new girl from a different country has started at JeeMin’s school. JeeMin and her friends befriend the new girl who is treated very badly by kids from the fourth grade. In the process, they help teach that bullying is wrong and words do hurt.

‘Home Alone Stranger at the Door’ – JeeMin is home alone after school; a stranger is knocking at the door. JeeMin’s parents teach her what to do. JeeMin teaches her friend about strangers at the door when home alone.

‘Halloween Stranger Safety’ – Halloween approaches, JeeMin and her friends prepare for trick-or-treating by going to their karate class to learn Halloween Safety and Stranger Danger.

‘Stranger in the Shadows’ – One evening JeeMin and her mom go to the grocery store to find a stranger in the shadows watching them. Together they learn what to do about strangers while out at night at the store.

‘Stranger Near the Neighborhood’ – JeeMin and her friends walk to school not aware they are being watched and followed by a stranger, later to be approached by the stranger. JeeMin shares with her friends what her parents had taught her about strangers.

“Our primary goal was to educate and empower those who have become victims of bullying or strangers,” explain the authors. “Children find it very hard to reach out to anyone about such emotive subjects, so we wanted to create a character through which they could find a friend and draw comfort. Equally, the books are a vital tool for parents, schools and community groups to use for the prevention of bullying and other forms of abuse.”

Continuing, “You’ll notice that the situations JeeMin gets into are very eclectic and varied, and that’s a deliberate attempt to show that bullying and strangers are two harrowing realities that know no boundaries – be in in school, at home or even just while out walking the streets. We need children to be aware of the constant need for vigilance.

The Browns’ work has scored rave reviews. For example, Richard comments, “Should be in every school. Can’t wait for other books in the series.”

I received a copy of one of these books and I highly recommend this series of books. Bullying is a very big and important issue and I am impressed with how this book teaches that children can help other children deal with this issue. A must-read! 

The entire ‘What Would JeeMin Do’ series is available now:

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I love these next two books!
To introduce children to Chinese culture at an early age, China Institute in America created the “We All Live in the Forbidden City” book series. The books are part of their children’s programming which aims to bridge the Asian culture gap through educational resources and regional workshops.
mr emperor cover


What Was It Like, Mr. Emperor? (ages 8+)

Engaging stories take kids through the average life of an emperor and learn about the real people who lived in the palace, including the prince who fought off a rebel invasion, the palace maids who lived in the Inner Court, the emperor who ruled twice, and the emperor who loved crickets.
Author Chiu Kwong-chiu is an artist, designer, and professor who explores Chinese traditional visual arts and adopts groundbreaking methods to interpret and promote Chinese art and culture.

I really like this one especially since it is for older kids. My son (who is 12) found this one interesting and I love that it teaches about Chinese Art and Culture. 

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bowls of happiness cover

Bowls of Happiness (ages 4-8)
Created by internationally renowned artists Brian Tse and Alice Mak, this China Institute book teaches children about Chinese artwork and culture and their universal spirit of generosity, love, and respect for nature. The loveable illustrations are coupled with photographs of porcelain art found in the Palace Museum’s collection. Kids learn about how bowls are made and be able to draw their own Bowl of Happiness after reading the story.

I absolutely love the illustrations in this book and love the positive message that this book portrays. A must read for children ages 4-8!

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Self Disclosure: I received free copies of the above books to facilitate this post. No other compensation was received.



The Singing Lizard (Liz DeRoche) Club Called Awesome AlphaBeat Records Releasing on 25 March 2016!


As one of the first artists to combine original and traditional children’s music with electronic, pop, and dance genres, Liz DeRoche (a.k.a. The Singing Lizard) moves listeners to the beat of an entirely new style she calls “Electro-Kindie.”  The Singing Lizard is thrilled to announce the March 25 release of her third album for families, Club Called Awesome.

Described as “Regina Spektor mixed with Daft Punk,” The Singing Lizard is an electro-pop singer/keyboardist/drummer who creates seriously fun dance parties for all ages.  Enthused Marcy Fisher of Our Kids, “Her songs will have you digging into your imagination and shaking your tail feather!”

Inspired by Radiohead, Daft Punk, and Bjork, Liz DeRoche wrote, recorded, mixed, and performed all the vocals and every instrument onClub Called Awesome.  The thirteen original songs on the album are replete with highly imaginative, plot-driven lyrics, tight electronic elements, and anthemic choruses that touch on themes ranging from starting a club where everyone’s invited, being yourself, and trying new things, to enjoying the outdoors and growing up.

Exhibiting a penchant for mixing mediums, Liz DeRoche has created a comic book to accompany Club Called Awesome.  With text by Liz DeRoche and colorful illustrations by Marc Rene, the Club Called Awesome comic book encourages listeners to follow along as three young adventurers band together to start a club called Awesome, meet a robot named Beat Bot, make new friends, play games at the park, take a bite of something new, and celebrate every day.

The flip side of The Singing Lizard as a solo project for kids and families features Liz DeRoche performing and recording music for grownups with The Pushovers (since 2009), Cane & the Sticks (since 2011), and Tom Goss (since 2013).  Liz tours regularly with Tom Gossand, on his latest release, Wait, she played drums and piano/keyboard, as well as doing the vocal arrangements.  She has produced several remixes for Goss, and on his upcoming album she sings back-up vocals.
A native of Western Oregon, Liz DeRoche traveled the world prior to settling down in Washington, DC, where she lived for eight years.  Since January 2015 she has been happy to call the San Francisco Bay Area home.

Previous albums by The Singing Lizard include Make Believe (2013) and AlphaBeat (2010).

I like the electro-pop sound of this album! I think that young children will just love dancing and singing along! be on the look out for this one in March!

Club Called Awesome will be available on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, Bandcamp, and at The Singing Lizard’s live shows.
Visit The Singing Lizard’s website HERE.

The Singing Lizard on Facebook.

The Singing Lizard on Twitter.

The Singing Lizard on YouTube.

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

U.S. Bank OC Marathon Announces NutriliteTM as Presenting Sponsor of Kids Run the OC


The U.S. Bank OC Marathon is pleased to announce that NutriliteTM will continue as the Presenting Sponsor of Kids Run the OC (KROC) annually through 2018, demonstrating the brand’s commitment to supporting youth wellness and healthy living.

“We are very excited to have Nutrilite™ return to the OC Marathon family as the Official Kids Run the OC Presenting Sponsor,” commented race director, Gary Kutscher. “We are committed for the next three years to enhancing the event experience and making this year’s Kids Run the OC the biggest and best-ever.”

The Nutrilite™ brand offers families a complete range of nutritional supplements and health-related products designed to address the nutritional needs of anyone at any life stage.

“Supporting the OC Marathon and Kids Run the OC is a natural fit for the Nutrilite™ brand and we look forward to supporting youth wellness and healthy living through these events over the years to come,” commented Jim Siewertsen, vice president, Nutrilite™operations.

KROC is an exciting training program, in 114 Orange County schools and agencies in 2016, provided by the OC Marathon Foundation designed to help children in Orange County become more physically fit through the encouragement of healthy habits to combat the onset of childhood obesity. KROC certified coaches lead children through dynamic games to improve speed, agility, flexibility, and hand/eye coordination. Over the course of 10 – 12 weeks, students at participating schools will accumulate more than 25-miles of exercise through the training program and will be prepared to finish their own “marathon” by completing the “Final Mile” at the Kids Run the OC onSaturday, April 30 during the U.S. Bank OC Marathon event weekend.

In 2015, KROC attracted more than 6,200 participants from more than 90 schools and agencies in 18 Orange County school districts making it one of the largest youth events in the country. Now in 2016 the program continues to grow with more than 7,500 children registered for the “final Mile” and thousands more utilizing the program in their participating schools.

Visit for more information on the U.S. Bank OC Marathon and visit for more information on KROC.


About Nutrilite™

Nutrilite is the world’s top selling brand of vitamins and dietary supplements.  We are phytonutrient pioneers, combining the best of nature with the best of science, providing effective nutrition designed to fill gaps in your diet.

Credit: Nutrilite™

Hail, Caesar! – Brilliant Comedy about the Entertainment Biz from the Coen Bros.


Hail, Caesar! follows a day in the life of Eddie Mannix, a Hollywood fixer for Capitol Pictures in the 1950s, who cleans up and solves problems for big names and stars in the industry. But when studio star Baird Whitlock disappears, Mannix has to deal with more than just the fix. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Gerry O. comments, “This is a comedy that never bores the audience. It is delightfully smooth and original…. It has an exciting and original plot, with just a hint of dramatic turns throughout the story. What can be better than a movie about making movies, beautiful sets and intrigues behind the scenes?” See his full review below.

Hail, Caesar!
By Gerry O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 13

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What happens when you mix legendary actors, an original story, smooth and hilarious script and two of the greatest directors of all time, the Coen Brothers? You get Hail, Caesar! – an absolute hilarious masterpiece that I absolutely adore.

This is a comedy that never bores the audience. It is delightfully smooth and original. There are some elements of romance a few times in the film, but not enough to call this film romantic. It has an exciting and original plot, with just a hint of dramatic turns throughout the story. What can be better than a movie about making movies, beautiful sets and intrigues behind the scenes?

The story starts when Baird Whitlock (George Clooney), a famous actor, disappears right before the filming of his final scenes for the movie, Hail, Caesar!, where he plays the main character. Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) is rushed to try to get him back before studio loses a lot of money.

Although the comedy makes the whole audience laugh out loud time and time again, the cinematography is what made me fall in love with the film. The Coen brothers who directed the film, execute mastery with every shot, from aerial to 360 degree views, each shot looks so carefully planned it is perfect for the scene and simply breath taking. The acting also excels with mega stars including George Clooney, Josh Brolin, Scarlett Johansson (DeeAnna Moran) and Channing Tatum. They play their parts as if they are that person and forever have been.

My favorite scene is when we first see Scarlett Johansson. The scene shows her doing a majestic and beautiful swimming show where she and others perform an extravagant number. What I really love about this shot is the camera angles showing everything from the side to the top, showing the scene in a very unexpected and wonderful way. The scene is peaceful and enjoyable and then ends with an abrupt joke (which is perfectly smooth, original and so unexpected).

The comedy is somewhat mature, so I recommend it for kids age thirteen to eighteen. I give it five out of five stars for its excellent comedy, beautiful camera shots and an exciting, yet original story. This film is in theaters now so, check it out!



Bonnie is Pet of the Week!

Bonnie, February 25 Pet of the Week.jpgsmm

Our Bonnie would rather lie over a lap or a soft blanket than the ocean, even with all the fish involved. Bonnie is a 9-year-old brown tabby, with thick, plush fur. She loves a good tummy rub. She needs a dental workover, but she’s otherwise healthy and loving. She’s spayed and ready to go home. Meet Bonnie at the Companion Animal Village at 7700 East Spring St., (562) 570-PETS. Ask for ID#A563716.


(This rescue encouraged by the usual suspects.)

Credit: Courtesy of the Companion Animal Village.

Traveling Photographic Exhibit Featuring Iconic Images Made By Renowned Photographer Daniel Kramer To Open Monday, Feb. 29, 2016 The GRAMMY Museum® Presents Bob Dylan: Photographs by Daniel Kramer

The GRAMMY Museum® has announced its popular traveling photo exhibit, Bob Dylan: Photographs by Daniel Kramer, will get its Los Angeles premiere at the Museum on Monday, Feb. 29, 2016. The exhibit documents Bob Dylan’s metamorphosis from folk musician to rock & roll icon through more than 50 photographs taken by New York-based photographer and film director Daniel Kramer for a year and a day during 1964 and 1965.


“The unique photographs Daniel Kramer captured while working with Bob Dylan during one of the most pivotal moments of his career sheds a never-before-seen light on one of America’s greatest songwriters,” said GRAMMY Museum Executive Director Bob Santelli. “We first opened this exhibit in Dylan’s hometown of Hibbing, Minnesota. Now, we are thrilled to showcase the incredible work of Daniel Kramer at our home in Los Angeles just in time for Dylan’s 75th birthday.”


On display on the Museum’s second floor through May 15, 2016, Bob Dylan: Photographs by Daniel  Kramer offers viewers a striking intimate account of the folk singer’s transition into a rock superstar. This photographic “backstage view” of the singer/songwriter showcases key moments in Dylan’s musical career during one of the most dynamic periods of American history.


Daniel Kramer
Daniel Kramer is one of America’s most noted music and portrait photographers. His seminal pictures of Dylan in 1964 and 1965 not only revealed the rising young star to international audiences, but set a standard by which all other rock portraits would be judged. Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., and self-educated in photography, Kramer worked as an assistant to Philippe Halsman and Allan and Diane Arbus before gaining an international reputation of his own. His 1967 book, Bob Dylan, was critically acclaimed, as were the three Dylan album covers Kramer created — Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited and Biograph. Rolling Stone magazine called Kramer “the photographer most closely associated with Bob Dylan.”


Kramer’s photographs have been shown or collected by the national Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.; the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum; the International Center of Photography; the Whitney Museum of American Art; the Folkwang Museum in Germany; the George Eastman Museum; and many other prestigious institutions.


Bob Dylan
In the 1960s Bob Dylan revolutionized popular music. Writing with the passion of a poet, the lyrical reach of a philosopher, Dylan, just in his 20s, changed the way we heard music and what we demanded from it. By blending elements of American folk music, blues, and rock, Dylan stitched together these influences to become one of the greatest songwriters of the 20th century. He wrote songs of serious social, political, and cultural consequence and in the process gave rock music the conscience it never had in its early years. Later in the decade he broke from folk music, found his own voice and created a unique body of work full of musical masterpieces.


“Very often a photographer is an historian with a camera,” said Kramer. “So, if I was successful, then, yes, there are a lot of pictures. But, that’s not the only thing you come away with. What you come away with is information, and something about Bob Dylan, and something about the time. You can see the change in the music, from the one microphone and acoustical guitar in a simple setting to a vast stadium, hundreds of feet of cable, huge speakers that are bigger than a person. So I think all of that, if you get that out of it, then the pictures did their job.”


The exhibit will be on display in the Museum’s Special Exhibits Gallery on the second floor through May 24, 2016.


About The GRAMMY Museum®

Paying tribute to music’s rich cultural history, this one-of-a-kind, 21st-century museum explores and celebrates the enduring legacies of all forms of music, the creative process, the art and technology of the recording process, and the history of the premier recognition of excellence in recorded music — the GRAMMY® Award. The GRAMMY Museum features 30,000 square feet of interactive and multimedia exhibits located within L.A. LIVE, the downtown Los Angeles sports, entertainment and residential district. Through thought-provoking and dynamic public and educational programs and exhibits, guests will experience music from a never-before-seen insider perspective that only the GRAMMY Museum can deliver. For more information, please call 213-765-6800 or visit For breaking news and exclusive content, follow @TheGRAMMYMuseum on Twitter and Instagram, and like “The GRAMMY Museum” on Facebook.


The GRAMMY Museum is open Monday through Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Museum admission is $12.95 for adults; $11.95 for senior citizens (65+) and college students (18 years and older, valid ID required); and $10.95 for youth (ages 6–17) and members of the military. GRAMMY Museum members and children 5 and under are admitted free. Located at 800 West Olympic Boulevard, Suite A245, Los Angeles, CA 90015, with an entrance off of Figueroa Street, the Museum resides within the L.A. LIVE campus, at the intersection of Olympic Boulevard and Figueroa Street in downtown Los Angeles.

Credit: The GRAMMY Museum.