Archives for May 2017

Aquarium Of The Pacific To Open New Exhibits This Summer Discover exhibits featuring frogs and their amphibian relatives, fish that “shoot,” and water conservative interactives

IMG_0970This summer visitors to the Aquarium of the Pacific can embark on a journey around the planet and back to California through new exhibits, films, and programs. Explore frogs and their amphibian relatives in their diverse habitats, from tropical rainforests to arid deserts. Discover endangered mangrove forests that are home to fish that “shoot,” and journey back to California to delve into our water situation through interactive exhibits.The new FROGS: Dazzling and Disappearing exhibit will feature about two dozen species of frogs and their amphibian relatives in thematic displays. Aquarium visitors will be able to learn about the aquatic and terrestrial lives of amphibians, why they are vanishing, and what can be done to help. New displays, educational graphics, interactive exhibits, and a special lecture series will highlight the beauty of and threats to these remarkable animals. Amphibians are disappearing faster than other endangered animals. On top of threats posed by habitat destruction, invasive species, climate change, and drought, a fungal disease has caused the catastrophic decline of at least 200 amphibian species. In some places they are disappearing faster than they are being discovered. The exhibition will trace the history of amphibians, their life cycles, the different environments they live in, the diversity of species, and their surprisingly uncertain future. FROGS will be open from May 26, 2017, through March 31, 2018, and will be located inside the Tropical Pacific gallery.

After exploring the diverse habitats of frogs, visitors can travel to tropical brackish and fresh waters in Asia and Australia to meet fish that “shoot”—banded archerfish. They don’t need a bow and arrow to hunt for food. Archerfish shoot water out of their mouths with a powerful blast to hunt insects near the surface of the water. Guests can find out more about this fascinating adaptation as they explore the new archerfish focus exhibit on the outdoor Harbor Terrace starting on May 26, slated to be a permanent exhibit. The habitat of banded archerfish includes mangrove forest estuaries, and they can be found up rivers and streams. The mangrove habitat of the archerfish is among the most threatened habitats in the world. Mangrove forests also provide important protection from storms and waves that reach populated coastlines. Mangrove forests are under threat by human development and climate change. People can make a difference by supporting sustainable development and actions that reduce carbon footprints.

Once visitors have journeyed across the planet to learn about frogs and archerfish, they can return back to California as they delve into new interactive exhibits at the Our Water Future exhibit. The Aquarium’s former Our Watersheds: Pathway to the Pacific exhibit area has been renovated and transformed into the new Our Water Future exhibit. The newly themed area will open on May 26 with interactive exhibits, digital displays, a monarch butterfly garden, and other components. The aim is to help visitors understand where our water comes from and what conservation issues we face with our water supply now and in the future. Guests can find out what they can do to conserve water and which actions are most effective. The exhibit redesign is funded by a grant from the San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains Conservancy (RMC).



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 by scientists, policymakers, and stakeholders in search of sustainable solutions. Programs for adults include Aquatic Academy evening courses on current ocean issues, the ongoing Guest Speaker Series, and visual and performing arts events. The Aquarium is dedicated to conserving and building nature and nature’s services by building the interactions between and among peoples. Home to more than 11,000 animals, Aquarium exhibits include the June Keyes Penguin Habitat, Ocean Science Center, Molina Animal Care Center, and the interactive Shark Lagoon and Lorikeet Forest exhibits. The Aquarium has won a 2015 Travelers’ Choice Award for Aquariums, as awarded by TripAdvisor® travelers, and the 2016 TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence. The Aquarium offers memberships with unlimited FREE admission for 12 months, VIP Entrance, and other special benefits. Charity Navigator awarded the Aquarium a 4-star charity rating in 2016.

Credit: The Aquarium of the Pacific.Photos provided courtesy of The Aquarium of the Pacific.

Everything, Everything


A 17 year old girl named Madeline Whittier has a rare disease that causes her to have to stay indoors 24/7 with her filtered air. Her whole life is basically books, her mom, and Carla(her nurse). One day, a moving truck pulls in next door. There she sees Olly. Olly Bright is Maddy’s new neighbor. They get to know each other through emails. The more they get to know each other, the more they fall in love. Olly starts to make Maddy realize that she isn’t really living. This starts the adventures of Maddy’s new life. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Ella L. comments, “Everything, Everything is a beyond incredible movie that captivated me from start to finish. The acting is fantastic, it is directed well and the screenwriting is phenomenal.” Imani B. G. adds, “I have nothing but positive things to say about this affectionate and sensational picture. The film incorporates the use of strong chemistry with its talented actors to tell a story about understanding, acceptance, life and love.” See their full reviews below.


Everything, Everything

By Ella L., KIDS FIRST! Film Critics, age 13




Everything, Everything is a beyond incredible movie that captivated me from start to finish. The acting is fantastic, it is directed well and the screenwriting is phenomenal. I laughed, I cried and I felt all sorts of emotions. The time I spent in the theatre was time well spent.


Everything, Everything is about an 8-year-old girl named Maddy (Amandla Stenberg) who suffers from SCID (severe combined immunodeficiency). This means she is allergic to pretty much everything and has to stay in her house for her whole life. Maddy can only really talk to her mom (Anika Noni Rose) and her nurse Carla (Ana de la Reguera). She manages to cope with this until she falls in love with Olly (Nick Robinson), the boy next-door, and everything changes.


Although this film is not comedic at all, there are several times when I laughed, such as the whole part with the Bundt cake. Olly’s character is very funny and the actor plays him well. Maddy and Olly’s romance feels genuine and, although it isn’t perfect, I felt very emotionally connected to their relationship.


One thing I noticed is that the film’s music is upbeat and happy. It makes the experience more magical and enjoyable. I also found the scenery breathtakingly beautiful. Maddy’s house is amazing as well as the Hawaiian landscape, from the forest of trees to the sandy beach. The scene transitions are smooth and well organized.


I love how the scenes are set up. For example, when Maddy and Olly are texting, instead of seeing the texts on Maddy’s phone, we see the characters talking face-to-face. I found the script to be very well written. Listening to Maddy’s innermost thoughts was captivating as was much of the dialogue between characters.


I rat this film 5 out of 5 stars because it is an incredible cinematic experience. I recommend it to ages 12 to 18 due to the mature themes and some suggestive content. This is an absolutely riveting film. No review can aptly describe the movie’s flawlessness and beauty. The only way to fully understand that is to go check it out for yourself when it comes out in theatres on May 19. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed!


Everything, Everything

By Imani Baptiste-Green, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 15


I have nothing but positive things to say about this affectionate and sensational picture. The film incorporates the use of strong chemistry with its talented actors to tell a story about understanding, acceptance, life and love. Everything, Everything is a dramatic, romantic film that the teenage and young adult audience will definitely enjoy.


Maddy (Amadla Stenberg) is an imaginative and creative 18-year-old girl who has an illness which prohibits her from going outside. A new boy, Olly (Nick Robinson) moves to town and the two instantly share feelings for one another. He won’t let anything keep them from being together. Maddy and Olly develop an online relationship which progresses throughout the film, leading to them risking everything to be together, even if that means losing everything. We join the two lovebirds on a romantic unforgettable adventure.


My favorite scene is when Maddy and Olly first meet. I can safely say that the audience and I were all screaming (silently of course) with joy and excitement when the two exchange smiles and when Olly constantly flirts with Maddy. The chemistry between the two actors is extremely well executed and seems so realistic. I also love the diverse cast because we need that in our society today. The director really respected and developed the interracial relationship very powerfully and wonderfully. I applaud the crew and cast for making the movie so enjoyable to watch and understand.


The theme is about acceptance and growing from the obstacles that you face. Maddy has stayed inside for the majority of her life, but when she meets Olly, she is finally able to take risks and enjoy what life has to offer step by step. Teens will definitely relate to the storyline in terms of growing and experiencing what life has to offer. Both Maddy and Olly send a message to not let people drag you down or stop doing what makes you happy and helps you become a better person.


I recommend this film to ages 13 to 18 because of its teenage love scenes. I also encourage parents to see this with their adolescents because they will definitely find themselves smiling and feeling happy throughout the whole film.  I rate this film 5 out of 5 due to its impeccable cast and crew, intriguing storyline, vibrant colors, soothing music and much more. Everything, Everything is in theaters now so, please go and enjoy this movie as much as I did.



Reveal Your Most Radiant White Smile with Colgate Optic White this Spring!

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Do you want a Whiter & Brighter Smile? Colgate Optic White is a must-try! I just love how this makes my smile look brighter!  It also doesn’t leave a bad after taste in your mouth. I highly recommend!

Radiant™ includes Pro-Oxide™ Complex, with hydrogen peroxide, the professionally recommended whitening ingredient to both whiten below the tooth surface and remove surface stains.

  • This premium toothpaste is also formulated with a new unique cooling technology so that you may enjoy an intense freshening experience.
  • Contains the highest level of fluoride in an everyday toothpaste to prevent cavities.


  • Suggested retail price: 3.0 oz toothpaste for $6.99
  • Availability: Mass, Food and Drug stores nationwide.

Self Disclosure: I received a free sample to facilitate this post. Photo Image was also provided.


Books of the Month

Having a Baby? This one is a Must-read!


Welcome to Baby Land
By Maggie Lord
Illustrated byKathryn Holeman

Babies bring their parents a tremendous amount of joy…and sometimes a little bit of stress. WELCOME TO BABY LAND (Little, Brown; September 13, 2016; $15.99) to the rescue! This new adult coloring book, by Rustic Wedding Chic blogger Maggie Lord, will relax and entertain new and expectant parents as they navigate the always exciting, sometimes stressful months from birth through babyhood.

WELCOME TO BABY LAND is the perfect de-stress activity for new and expectant parents and makes a wonderful gift for baby showers, or for anyone who just loves babies! So next time you drop the pacifier or can’t figure out why your baby is crying, take a deep breath, grab your pens and pencils, and color your way to calm.

Maggie Lord is the founder of the popular blogs and, which have millions of readers monthly. Maggie is a sought-after wedding expert who shares her planning tips on TV and in a variety of publications, including the New York Times, the Huffington PostFast Company, and more. Maggie is the author of four other books, including the adult coloring book Color Me Married. She lives in Connecticut with her husband, the writer Jonathan Lord, and their two young sons.

This would make such a wonderful baby shower gift!

Looking for a great read for your Tween?


A BLIND GUIDE TO NORMAL by Beth Vrabel (10/11, middle grade): Richie “Ryder” Raymond can find the punchline in any situation, even in his limited vision and prosthetic eye. During the past year at Addison School for the Blind, Ryder’s quick wit earned the respect and friendship of his classmates, and he’s convinced that heading to mainstream school for 8th grade is going to be awesome… Until he learns that the only thing worse than explaining a joke is being the punchline. But with help and encouragement from his family and friends, Ryder finds the strength to not only fight back, but to make peace. This is a fun read and will keep your tween entertained!

Here are two more books that are perfect for New Moms!


This is a terrific book for new moms!    BEING THERE: Why Prioritizing Motherhood in the First Three Years Matters (a TarcherPerigee hardcover, on sale April 11th, 2017) by Erica KomisarNamed “the new Dr. Spock for the 21st century,” veteran psychoanalyst discusses the critical importance of a mother’s physical presence in the early years of her child’s life. Drawing from the latest neurobiological and psychological research on caregiving, attachment and brain development to support her findings, Komisar also offers both working and stay-at-home moms guidance on establishing an emotional connection with their babies; easing transitions to minimize stress for babies/toddlers; combating feelings of postpartum depression or the taboo topic of boredom; and taking control of career and family choices to prioritize parenting during the first 3 years.

I like this straightforward book full of support and guidance! I highly recommend it! 


THE UNMUMSY MUM: The Hilarious Highs and Emotional Lows of Motherhood (a TarcherPerigee paperback, on sale April 18, 2017) by popular mom blogger Sarah Turner. Inspired by the immensely popular blog of the same name, this no-holds-barred account of new motherhood will resonate with parents experiencing the range of emotions that come with the arrival of pregnancy and a newborn. Covering everything from “babywearing incompetence” to “second-child shortcuts,” this candid and relatable title reveals that we can read every parenting manual under the sun but still have no bloody clue—and not having a clue is just fine.

I like that this one is fun to read and such a helpful book for new Moms!


Self Disclosure: I received copies of the above books to feature in our Books or the Month. Photos were also provided.

Old Joe is Pet of the Week!

Old Joe, JUne 1 Pet of the Week

The shelter staff named him Old Joe, but even at 7 years old, this guy is far from old. What’s probably meant is “Good Old Joe!” He’s been called the coolest dog at the shelter and definitely deserves the best home! He’s classified as a senior and his adoption fee will only be $20, but he’s lively and easygoing, and he bonds instantly with those who show him love! Adopt Old Joe, and your smile will match his. Meet him at Long Beach Animal Care Services on the shelter side of the P.D. Pitchford Animal Village, 7700 E. Spring St., Long Beach, (562) 570-PETS. Ask for ID#A586410.


(The usual suspects contributed to this rescue)

Credit: Courtesy of the P.D. Pitchford Animal Village.

Are you having a BBQ this Memorial Day Weekend? Heinz BBQ Sauces are a Must!

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Are you ready for Memorial Day weekend? Time to fire up the grill!

This BBQ season, Heinz has you covered with 7 delicious flavors from America’s most famous BBQ regions – Kansas City Sweet & Smoky, Memphis Sweet & Spicy, Texas Bold & Spicy, Carolina Tangy Vinegar and NEW this year, Kentucky Bourbon Rich & Savory, Hawaii Style Sweet & Smoky and Carolina Mustard Style…yum!

I haven’t had a chance to try them all since I am planning to do that this weekend but I did just try the Hawaii Style and it is delicious! I can’t wait to try the others this weekend!

Heinz worked with award-winning Pitmaster Partners and used only 100% natural, locally-inspired ingredients and recipes to craft each delicious BBQ sauce – Kansas CitySweet & Smoky, Memphis Sweet & Spicy, Texas Bold & Spicy, Carolina Tangy Vinegar and NEW this year Kentucky Bourbon Rich & Savory, Hawaii Style Sweet & Smoky and Carolina Mustard Style – each with flavor as distinct as the regional barbecue taste it represents.

 You have to check out these recipes!

Kansas City: “Sweet and smoky” lends to the signature flavor profiles of this city’s sought-after barbeque. A thick sauce shadowed by a sweet tang takes traditional pit-style Kansas City BBQ up a crowd-pleasing notch.

Pitmaster Partner: Joe & Mike Pearce of Slap’s BBQ

Regionally Inspired Recipe: Kansas City BBQ Ribs


  • Texas: In Texas, there’s nothing shy about barbecue, and a great Texas style sauce means bold flavors and big personality. This sauce captures the very best of Texas barbecue – combining spices like cumin and chili powder for a sauce that’s bold and flavorful with just the right kick.

Pitmaster Partner: Robert Sierra of S&S Pit Crew competition barbecue team

Regionally Inspired Recipe: BBQ Beef Brisket Sandwiches with Coleslaw


  • Carolina Vinegar: Carolina is all about the traditions of whole-hog barbecue slow-cooked over wood coals. Meet a true Carolina style sauce that blends the tang of apple cider vinegar, with just the right balance of sweet and spice to make it the perfect addition to pulled pork.

Pitmaster Partner: Sam Jones of Skylight Inn

Regionally Inspired Recipe: Carolina-Style BBQ Pulled Pork Sliders


  • Carolina Mustard-Style: South Carolina’s ‘mustard belt’ is where mustard-based BBQ sauce reigns supreme. From slow cooked pulled pork to ribs on the grill, this deep golden sauce delivers the right balance of sweetness and spice that will redefine swine.

Pitmaster Partner: Bryan Furman of B’s Cracklin’ BBQ

Regionally Inspired Recipe: Carolina Style BBQ Baby Back Pork Ribs


  • Memphis: Rock-n-Roll isn’t the only revolutionary combo courtesy of Memphis. The city’s barbecue also shakes things up. With sweet brown sugar and the flavors of the region’s traditional dry rubs, this is a sweet and spicy sauce that’s sure to please.

Pitmaster Partner: Dan Brown of Leonard’s PIT Barbecue

Regionally Inspired Recipe: Memphis-Style Sweet and Spicy BBQ Chicken


  • Hawaii: Hawaii is home to a rich food heritage that brings sweet tropical fruit and the smoked flavor of Kalua Pig together in one delicious luau feast. This sauce delivers a mouthwatering balance of pineapple and mango, savory Asian soy, and subtle smoke that is distinctly Hawai’ian.

Pitmaster Partner: Mark “Gooch” Noguchi of Pili Hawaii

Regionally Inspired Recipe: Slow-Cooker Hawaiian Pulled Pork and Slaw Sliders


  • Kentucky Bourbon Style:  Kentucky is home to great bluegrass, great bourbon and great barbecue. This rich & savory sauce reflects the deep heritage of Kentucky BBQ – real bourbon, a hint of smoke, and the seasonings of the region’s traditional “dip”.

Pitmaster Partner: John Foreman of Old Hickory BBQ

Regionally Inspired Recipe: Spatchcock BBQ Chicken with Grilled Green Bean Salad


Self Disclosure: I received free samples to facilitate this Memorial Day holiday post. Recipes and photo were also provided.

Thirst-Quenching Bevs for Memorial Day BBQs

Memorial Day Drinks

It’s time to start planning delicious drink ideas for all your upcoming barbeques and Memorial Day festivities. Skip the calories and keep the flavor with refreshing drink recipes which can be whipped up in a minute’s notice – how convenient!

I can’t wait to try some of these recipes this weekend!

Melon Mixer

Time to buy that delicious watermelon you’ve been dreaming about all winter! Start with 3oz of Cascade Ice Blueberry Watermelon. Then pour 1oz of club soda. Add several slices of watermelon and blueberries and stir to release the fresh flavor. Voila!


Pomegranate Icer

Pomegranates pack a punch of vitamins and anti-oxidants and now that they are in season, it’s a great time for this refreshing drink. First pour 4oz of Cascade Ice Pomegranate Berry and 1oz of Cascade Ice Strawberry Lemonade into a glass with crushed ice. Top if off with fresh pomegranate seeds for the perfect touch and serve!

Grapefruit-Lemonade Refresher

A BBQ isn’t complete without some ice-cold lemonade! Try the Grapefruit-Lemonade Refresher for a new twist. Start with a chilled glass full of ice and add 3oz of Cascade Ice Grapefruit and 4oz of Cascade Ice Lemonade. Garnish with sliced lemons and a sugar rim.


Which one will you try?


Happy Memorial Day weekend!


Self Disclosure: Thanks to our friends at Cascade Ice for the recipes and photo!


Netflix for Organic Cotton Sheets, Towels & Duvets Premium organic linens that never end up in a landfill starting at $5/month


Did you know 10 million tons of textiles—e.g. clothes, bedding, towels, etc.—end up in landfills each year. That’s a pile of sheets and towels 150% the size of the Great Pyramid in Egypt!

I recently partnered with Coyuchi—a pioneer in organic sheets, towels, and sleepwear—to explore the importance of sustainable home linens and share the good news about their new linen subscription service.
For 25 years, Coyuchi has been a leader in natural and organic home linens that are good to both you and the planet. Now Coyuchi is launching ‘Coyuchi for Life,’ a first-of-its-kind subscription service for environmentally sustainable and organic sheets, towels, and duvet covers.
With ‘Coyuchi for Life,’ users subscribe to organic bed and bath linens from Coyuchi in 6-, 12-, or 24-month increments. When the subscription period is up, customers send back used linens to be recycled or renewed, and receive a new set. The service allows consumers to subscribe to sustainability and change their sheets for good.
Textile waste in landfills takes up space and decomposing natural fibers release methane gas, a potent pollutant that contributes to climate change. Reclaiming textiles and keeping them from entering the landfill in the first place has many positive benefits.
Coyuchi sheets, duvets, and towels are made from natural and organic fibers, free of the toxic dyes, bleaches, and finishes used in conventional textiles. Coyuchi for Life subscriptions makes it easy to get new linens every 6, 12 or 24 months starting as low as $5/month for towels or $7/month for sheets and duvets. They are also GOTS-certified—the highest organic standard for cotton, all over the world.
‘Coyuchi For Life’ subscribers enjoy the luxury of fresh, new organic sheets, towels, and duvet covers, while also making it easy to recycle their old linens (something which is harder than one would think). Beautiful bedding that feels good, supports a healthy home and cleaner environment, for roughly the price of a Netflix subscription? It’s a no-brainer.
To subscribe to Coyuchi for Life, please visit:
I’d love to hear about how you live sustainably! Would you ever consider organic linens? What about an organic linen subscription service?  Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Self Disclosure: I received some form of a gift to post.