Archives for June 2018

Celebrating 4th of July with R.M. Palmer! Giveaway Opportunity!

The 4th of July is almost here and I know that it is fun to have parties! Want to include some delicious treats? Some of my favorites are from R.M. Palmer and I am sure that these will be a hit! They are easy to find too! I always find their products at our local CVS!


R.M. Palmer is one of my favorite chocolate brands and they have so many different choices! I love their Peanut Butter Cups and Soft Caramel Cups! I also think that the chocolate Baseballs and the Red, white and blue foiled chocolate balls will be a hit with many children this 4th of July!

Look for their products at a store near you! I always find their products at our local CVS.  Check out their website to see all of their products!

We have teamed up for a 4th of July Giveaway! One winner will win a chocolate prize package!  Leave a comment below telling us which one would be your favorite! Winner will be chosen on the 4th of July (Wednesday, July 4th at 12 pm PST). U.S. Residents only. 

Self Disclosure: SoCal City Kids will select the winner and R.M. Palmer will send out the prize package. Images were provided. 

Tips to Keep Your Child’s Sensitive Skin Comfortable this Summer Recommended by Dermatologists, Theraplex® Helps “Beat the Heat”

As balmy summer weather heats up, it is not unusual for people to experience a dramatic increase in perspiration, often causing sensitive skin to “flare up.” This is especially true for children who have eczema. To help keep your child’s skin “cool in the shade,” the experts who make Theraplex® skincare offer summer tips designed to keep sensitivities in check.

  • To help keep your child feeling cooler and drier, avoid the sun when it is at its strongest (from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m)
  • Apply a sunscreen SPF 30 or higher. Many pediatric dermatologists recommend physical sunscreens as they may be less irritating than chemical sunscreens.
  • If your child has been in the ocean or pool, rinse chlorine or salt off with a gentle cleanser and immediately apply a moisturizer such as Theraplex ClearLotion.  A light, fast penetrating emollient oil spray, ClearLotion has earned the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance. When applied to damp skin, it uniquely wraps around water on the skin’s surface, sealing in moisture and replacing the natural oils that water and soap can strip away. After towel drying, ClearLotion leaves skin moisturized for hours without greasiness. And, because ClearLotion is a spray, you will be able to apply it to even the wriggliest of children!
  • Make sure your child drinks plenty of fluids.
  • For added protection and comfort any time of day or night, try Theraplex Eczema Therapy Moisturizing Skin Protectant with natural colloidal oatmeal. It also has earned the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance. This enriched moisturizing formula helps to relieve dry skin with superior moisturization that lasts for hours. It soothes your child’s dry, sensitive skin without parabens, fragrances, preservatives, or lanolin.

Have you tried their products yet? I had the opportunity to try both and they work great for the whole family! My favorite is the ClearLotion and it is super easy to put on the kids!

You can find out more at and I know the products can also be found on


Self Disclosure: I received free samples to facilitate this post. Images were also provided. 

Summer 2018 Must-Haves!

Summer is here! Here are some of the Must-Haves for the season!

Build or Boom from Goliath Games is a must for both boys and girls! I love that this one does not have gender stereotypes and Build or Boom helps reinforce STEM skills such as analytical thinking and shape recognition. In addition, eye-hand coordination and deductive reasoning help build foundational skills. The best thing…is that the kids will really think that they are just having fun!

Find out more about this game and others at and this game can be found at Walmart!

Are you hoping to prevent summer slide and keep children reading and academically engaged this summer? Read on!

The Nocturnals book series and summer reading kit, by film director and author Tracey Hecht, brings a unique opportunity to engage children and their families off their digital devices.  The Nocturnals  is a critically acclaimed middle grade and early reader series for readers who love animals, adventure, and a hint of mystery.  The books combine these elements with real-life scenarios that are relatable to elementary and middle school children, particularly regarding the topics of bullying, confidence, friendship, self-acceptance, and empathy. These books are delightful and I recommend highly!

About the Nocturnals:

The Nocturnals by Tracey Hecht features three unlikely friends: Dawn, a serious fox, Tobin, a sweet pangolin and Bismark, the loud mouthed, pint-sized sugar glider. The stories all play out in their nighttime world with teamwork, friendship and humor in every adventure. The brand is boy/girl and appropriate for kids ages 5-12 years old.

website featuring animated shorts and fun downloadable activities for parents and their children as well as educator guides for teachers and librarians supports the brand. The first book in the middle grade series, The Mysterious Abductions was chosen by the American Bookselling Association as a Kids’ Indie Next List pick. Fabled Films Press is planning a ten-book middle grade and six-book early reader series as well as a merchandise program for The Nocturnals.

Fabled Films Press, the imprint of Fabled Films, a children’s media and entertainment company, is thrilled to announce Grow & Read, a new early reader program for The Nocturnals. Through this series, which was created under the supervision of reading specialists, children will develop confidence for success in reading while being delighted by traditional storytelling. The books are perfect for shared reading and reading aloud in both the classroom and at home.

In The Moonlight Meeting, the Nocturnal Brigade: Dawn, a serious fox, Tobin, a sweet pangolin and Bismark, the loud mouthed, pint-sized sugar glider introduce their nighttime world to early readers who discover the meaning of friendship and sharing. The book has gorgeous illustrations, which strengthen the understanding of the story while adding whimsy and humor.

Book 2 of the Grow & Read series, The Slithery Shakedown, was released in April, 2018.

The books further engage kids via a free summer reading kit that includes Makerspace and STEM-connected fun activities on  These unique activities include constructing a model crater and volcano, making animal masks, and playing Nocturnals Bingo with fun animal facts. Developed by educators in partnership with Fabled Films Press, the kit helps children learn, sparks their creativity, and makes summer reading more fun – even for reluctant readers.

It’s Summer! Time to head to the beach or the pool! This next product is a must!


Toweltails® Towels are a great product for children between the ages of 3-16 – they are 100% cotton, machine washable, and crafted at the highest quality. Our step-in towels are not only posh and fun, they are useful too and retail for $24.99!

These are really cool and the kids will love them! There are 9 fun and attractive styles to choose from and my favorite is the Mermaid one! I wish it was in my size! Our little reviewer just loves it! They have mermaid styles for girls which consist of classic prints and designs. Their classic prints come in 4 styles; pink, aqua, pink and blue chevron, and hot pink and purple stripes, and their designs come in 3 styles; blue seashells, Hawaiian flowers, and stars. For the boys, they offer a gray shark with a chevron pattern, as well as a blue and green dragon. They also come in a stunning retail box which makes them a perfect gift item!

Find them at 

Currently, for the month of June there is a 30% sale so hurry and order yours today!

I know that Men could be difficult to shop for but I bet they will love the next ones!

At Sunglass Warehouse there are many choices for sunglasses! My husband received the above two pairs (Anderson and Harlem) and they passed his test! I like that they are quite affordable and he says they are comfortable to wear. Whether it’s a pair for golfing or even a magnified frame to read a book better – their glasses will be a hit!

Kiehl’s Facial Fuel has long been a favorite of Kiehl’s male customers, and they now have two new ways to fuel up with Kiehl’s: introducing NEW Eye Fuel and Body Fuel Deodorant & Antiperspirant!

Eye Fuel ($22.50, available now on Kiehl’s instantly cooling under-eye formula provides weightless hydration and refreshing relief for tired-looking eyes. With continued use, the formula with Caffeine and Vitamin B3 helps reduce the appearance of puffiness and dark circles.

This one seems to be working on my husband and he really likes how it absorbs!

 Body Fuel Deodorant & Antiperspirant (16, available for pre-order on Their first ever, global roll-on antiperspirant deodorant provides 48-hour protection against sweat and odor. The quick-dry formula with Caffeine, Vitamin C and Zinc glides on easily without sticking. This one really is not sticky at all and is a hit with my husband!

Safety is also an important thing during the Summer!

Keep your kids safe while out and about, playing in the neighborhood or at night with the Personal Alarm with Clip and LED Light. Perfect for any age, this alarm clips on to shirts, pants, backpacks or purses to light up a dark night and alert of impending danger. This weatherproof device will alert of dangers up to 600 feet away. The easy-to-use gadget will help keep your kids safe with the 120 dB alarm and LED lights, with three modes for optimal security in all conditions and situations.

I like that these are easy to use and are great for kids!

These and many more SABRE safety products will help everyone stay safe and keep fun at the forefront of the holiday weekend. For a full list of all SABRE’s safety products, please visit their website at

I always find that I have more time to Journal in the summer and I just love these Journals!


Dean Russo, Brooklyn-based artist is currently one of the biggest names in the pop art world. Known for his signature pet portraits, his bold paintings explode with color. He recently kicked off the launch of his new journal series by signing copies of his Dog is Love journal at the NY Stationery Show.

Dean Russo’s journals will be released August 2018 with Quiet Fox.

The story behind Russo’s classic kitties and dynamic dogs is a humbling tale of animal rescue awareness. Russo would visit shelters and ask for photos of adoptable pets to paint. He would then donate proceeds from the paintings back to the shelter. Shortly after this activity, both he and his unique paintings developed an impressive following.

About the Artist:

Brooklyn-based pop artist Dean Russo is a popular animal illustrator with a vibrant graphic style. His work is widely distributed in fi ne art prints, custom commissions, and licensed products. Dean studied graphic design and fi ne arts at Pratt Institute and The School of Visual Arts in NYC. Being an avid animal lover he started his career creating soulful animal portraits in a signature style that has evolved over a period of 10 years. As a professional musician Dean has also been inspired to paint portraits of infl uential music icons.

Keep up with Dean Russo at, and connect with Dean on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

Looking for a great snack for summer travels?

The leading freeze-dried fruit snack in the nation just got a new look, designed to get your attention and better reflect its wholesome, single ingredient – 100% fruit!  The bold brand color palette and added “focus on fruit” was a collaborative design effort by Crispy Green’s brand and packaging design firms, Fastlane Communications, LLC and Foerstel Design, LLC.


The brand makeover includes a new logo, logo icon, typography and photography treatments, primary and secondary color palette and supporting messaging platform to support its active, healthy lifestyle positioning.

I had the opportunity to taste these and just love them! I highly recommend for kids and adults!

All Crispy Fruit snacks are available in convenient, single-serving “grab & go” bags (MSRP: $1.49 each) or a “family” six-pack that includes six, single-serving bags (MSRP: $7.99). Each bag provides approximately one serving of fruit and 55 calories or less per bag. For more on Crispy Fruit and nutritional labeling information, visit

About Crispy Green, Inc.

Founded in 2004 and headquartered in Fairfield, NJ, Crispy Green, Inc. is the number one freeze-dried fruit snack in the U.S., according to the latest Nielsen research, ending 12/31/17. The company’s category-leading Crispy Fruit line of 100% pure, freeze-dried fruit is made from only the finest, non-GMO fruits available with no sugar added (*not a reduced calorie food). Crispy Green’s purpose is to provide the highest quality, natural food products and inspire others to live a healthy and better life.

Crispy Green’s Crispy Fruit can be found in many major grocery retailers nationwide as well as through Amazon. Crispy Green is a delicious, convenient way to add more fruit to your daily diet. For more information, visit or our sister lifestyle site, For news updates and special offers, you can also follow Crispy Green on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Here are the perfect toys for the Summer! These are from a brand that I am quite familiar with! 


The toys many of us grown ups have played with as a kid – Frisbee®Slip ’N Slide®Boogie® boards and Hacky Sack® – are still available after all these years and can bring back some wonderful memories while introducing a new generation to fun outdoor games.

My favorite then and now is their Boogie Board! I received one to try out and I love it! I especially love how lightweight it is! 

There’s also the new ‘square’ Frisbee® called the Frisbee® Sonic. That’s right. Wham-O, the toy company that has been producing some of the most trusted toys in the market for 70 years, has reinvented the way the Frisbee® and all other discs will fly in the future.

Not only is the Sonic a completely unique Frisbee® experience, it actually works better than the traditional Frisbee®. The square-like, sine wave shape mimics many things in nature. The alternating twists and turns of the design resemble a bird in flight as it spins through the air.

The Frisbee® Sonic will also be a hit! It’s easy to grip and I love the new shape!

Find out more here!  You can find most of their products on

Looking for something to keep food hot when you’re out this Summer? HotLogic has the answer!

I love that this is perfect for on-the-go! You can keep foods hot easily! It’s super compact and really works! It’s like an electric lunchbox! Now, how cool is that?! Check them out at

Absolutely Gluten-Free Gets Creative with Great Tasting Savory & Sweet Gluten-free Snack Options that are great for Summer outings!


Absolutely Gluten-free packs a flavor-filled punch with its full line of unique and delicious gluten-free products that satisfy everyone’s craving for sweet and savory snacks, whether they’re eliminating gluten from their diets or not. The company received the 2017 Gluten-Free Trailblazer Award from Grocery Headquarters in recognition of its innovation and impact on the gluten-free and diabetic foods space.

The newest Absolutely Gluten Free product taps into two of today’s hottest food crazes: tahini and energy bars. Absolutely Gluten Free’s ’s 100-calorie TahiniBars™are gluten- and dairy-free, vegan, and made with natural sesame seeds, a.k.a. “super seeds.” These grab-and-go bars are available in Vanilla, Cocoa Nib, and Pistachio flavors, making gluten-free living tasty and convenient.

Try Absolutely Gluten-free Flatbread in three varieties (Original, Everything, and Toasted Onion). These flour-free light flatbreads can be used to make pizza, sandwiches, and lunch for kids, topped with just about anything from melted cheese to roasted veggies and sliced fruit.  They are all soy, corn, and rice-free.

Absolutely Gluten-free Crackers are available in three varieties including Original, Cracked Pepper, and Toasted Onion. They are flour-free with no soy, corn, or rice, and are light, crispy, and delicious. Serve them as appetizers with dips, crumbled atop salads and soups, or in place of breadcrumb coating.

For a perfectly sweet and crunchy surprise, Absolutely Gluten-free Blondie and Brownie Crunch snacks don’t disappoint. Blondie Crunch is available in Vanilla Chocolate Chip and Brownie Crunch in Chocolate-Chocolate Chip flavor. They are packaged in a handy resealable bag to eat on the go. And they are great toppers to ice-cream, yogurt, cakes, and mousse desserts.

For those who love a chewy snack, Absolutely Gluten-free Raw Coconut Chews are a great choice. Choose from Cocoa Nibs with Chocolate Drizzle or Cranberry with Chocolate Drizzle. Made with raw coconut, these all-natural treats are vegan and paleo-friendly, and contain no dairy, eggs, or soy.

There’s even more variety for those with a sweet tooth on a gluten-free diet. Absolutely Gluten-free Macaroons are yet another tasty snack from the AGF line, in Chocolate or Coconut flavors.

My favorite is the Brownie Crunch! They are delicious and not too many calories either!

In the Summer..sometimes easy dinner meals are something to really love and I love MODERN TABLE MEALS®!

Modern Table Meals® has an entirely reformulated product line of protein-packed pastas and meal kits. Sporting redesigned, recyclable packaging, the new and improved product line embodies Modern Table Meals’ ongoing commitment and dedication to providing convenient, nutritious meal options while never sacrificing great taste.

For the first time ever, Modern Table Meals enters the Mac and Cheese category with a fresh, nutritious take on a time-honored dish. Three delicious, complete protein flavors deliver a gooey, creamy cheese experience that’s sure to satisfy those Mac and Cheese cravings without the guilt normally associated with the classically indulgent meal

  • Classic Cheddar Mac and Cheese – (16g Protein) – Elbows and cheddar cheese sauce – GMO-free, gluten-free, soy-free and nut-free

  • Three Cheese Mac and Cheese – (17g Protein) – Penne and three cheese sauce (cheddar, monterey jack and romano) – GMO-free, gluten-free, soy-free and nut-free

  • Jalapeno Cheddar Mac and Cheese –  (16g Protein) – Elbows, jalapeno cheddar cheese sauce (peppers and cheddar cheese) – GMO-free, gluten-free, soy-free and nut-free

All three new Mac and Cheese flavors serve two people and, starting this summer, will also be available in Target, Whole Foods and more nationwide – each for $2.49-$2.99 MSRP.

In addition to the reformulated pastas and new Mac and Cheese flavors, Modern Table Meals is reintroducing its popular meal kit line with six new and improved flavors. Delicious flavor profiles, like Sundried Tomato Basil and Parmesan Pesto, are sure to please those looking for new, tasty meal options but don’t have the extra time to whip up their own recipe:

  • Creamy Garlic & Herb – (18g Protein) – Rotini, garlic, onion, broccoli, carrots and spices – GMO-free, gluten-free, soy-free and nut-free

  • Creamy Alfredo – (18g Protein) – Penne, parmesan cheese and peas –  GMO-free, gluten-free, soy-free and nut-free

  • Creamy Marinara – (18g Protein) – Rotini, tomatoes, parmesan cheese, paprika, and spices –  GMO-free, gluten-free, soy-free and nut-free

  • Cheddar Broccoli – (19g Protein) – Rotini, broccoli and cheddar cheese – GMO-free, gluten-free, soy-free and nut-free

  • Sundried Tomato Basil – (17g Protein) – Penne, garlic, basil, parmesan cheese, olive oil, romano cheese, tomatoes – GMO-free, gluten-free, soy-free and nut-free

  • Parmesan Pesto – (18g Protein) – Penne, parmesan cheese, spices, garlic, peas and carrots – GMO-free, gluten-free, soy-free and nut-free

All six, new meal kits will also be available starting this summer in Target, Whole Foods and more nationwide – each for $4.99 MSRP.

I have tried many of these and my favorites are the Cheddar Broccoli and the Sundried Tomato Basil! I love how easy these are to make!


For more information please visit


Self Disclosure: I received samples of the above items to facilitate this post. Images were also provided except for HotLogic (my own photo).


140 of Orange County’s Finest Artists at Laguna Beach Festival of the Arts July 5 – Sept. 1 Festivalgoers to enjoy a world-class arts destination!

Laguna Beach’s Festival of Arts will once again let creativity run wild throughout the beach-side community as it welcomes the return of the 86th Annual Festival of Arts Fine Art Show, July 5 – September 1, 2018.

As one of the nation’s oldest and most highly acclaimed fine arts shows, the Laguna Beach Festival of Arts Fine Art Show offers avid art collectors and festival-goers an outstanding variety of fine art to browse and purchase.  Juried to ensure the highest caliber of artists, the event showcases original works by 140 established and emerging artists from Orange County in various genres including ceramics, glass, painting, jewelry, fiber, mixed media, photography, printmaking, sculpture, and wood. Since 1932, thousands of artists have shown and sold their work at the Festival of Arts and many of the artists have their work featured in private and public collections worldwide.

Several of the exhibitors have participated for multiple years, and look forward to each summers’ new stream of talent.  “My favorite aspect of being a part of this world-class exhibit is the camaraderie with other artists,” said acrylic painter Wendy Wirth. “It’s great to be out amongst other like-minded creatives, see some new faces and reunite with those have been exhibiting at the festival for decades.”

Wirth is an Artist Member of the California Art Club, Laguna Plein Air Painters Association and Southern California Plein Air Painters Association and her work is featured in collections all over the nation. “I am extremely honored to be returning in 2018 for my ninth year as an exhibitor. They say you elevate your game when you play with better talent; I really think it shows at Festival of the Arts,” added Wirth.

For photographer Cheyne Walls, not only is it the incredible artists and sense of community at the Festival that has him looking forward to being an exhibitor this summer, but also the tremendous opportunity. “It is a privilege to be part of the Festival of Arts in Laguna Beach,” shared Walls. “To be among some of the finest artists in Orange County, meeting and talking with patrons in the beautiful outdoor setting of Laguna Beach, makes this an inspiring event that I look forward to every year.” Walls, best known for his panoramic images of the American landscape, has received multiple awards and top honors in national and international photography competitions.

Although this is an Orange County juried art show, some of the artists exhibited were originally from places outside of the country, including Pil Ho Lee (South Korea), Hugo Rivera (Mexico), Luciano Bortone (Italy), Carla Bosch (South Africa), Jordan Dimitov (Bulgaria), Mariko Ishii (Japan), Yuri Kuznetsov (Russia), Ryang Yoon (China), Michael Situ (China), Fabrice Spies (France) as well as many others. Their multi-cultural influences contribute to the diversity of the show.  For a full list of the 2018 participating artists, please visit

The 2018 Festival of Arts Fine Art Show will take place July 5 – September 1 with general admission tickets starting at $10 per person. The Pageant of the Masters, running in conjunction with the Fine Arts Show, is July 7 – September 1 with advance tickets now available starting at $15 per person. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

July 5 – September 1, 2018
Open weekdays:  12noon – 11:30pm
Open weekends:  10am – 11:30pm
Early closing August 25 at 1:30pm
General Admission:   Weekdays $10, Weekends $15
Students & Seniors:  Weekdays $7, Weekends $11
Children 6 – 12:   Daily $5
Free Admission for Children 5 and under, Military, and Laguna Beach Residents.
Passport to the Arts:
A special promotion (funded in part by Bank of America): Passport to the Arts for only $29. Includes unlimited admission all summer long to the Festival of Arts, the Sawdust Art Festival and Laguna Art-A-Fair. Enjoy works of art by more than 500 artists, 300 hands-on workshops, dozens of special events, plus a one time, all-day free parking pass with each Passport purchased. Order online at Passports also available for purchase on-site at each festival location during the summer. Offer excludes Pageant of the Masters. Valid June 29 – September 2, 2018.
The Festival of Arts and Pageant of the Masters are sponsored in part by
Southern California Acura Dealers, Fidelity Investments, KOST Radio 103.5,
Pavilions and the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel.
Festival of Arts Grounds
650 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
(800) 487-3378
The Festival of Arts, a non-profit 501(c)(3), has always been a local leader that has helped with the growth and development of the community and the arts in Laguna Beach. Established in 1932, the Festival of Arts’ mission is to promote, produce and sponsor events and activities that encourage the appreciation, study and performance of the arts. For every summer for over 85 years, the Festival of Arts has produced two world-class events: The Festival of Arts Fine Art Show and the Pageant of the Masters. Together both shows attract more than 250,000 visitors each year.
Credit: The Festival of Arts.


RED WHITE AND BOOM Celebrations in Carlsbad, CA

Carlsbad, CA is the perfect destination to spend the Fourth of July with its coastal location, lush resorts and unforgettable sunsets.

Patriotic Programming

Partake in FINtastic Mermaid experiences, friendly competitions, and a fireworks show at Omni La Costa Resort & Spa

Throughout the week the resort offers a variety of activities and events for guests and members including waterslide races, mermaid experiences, hula hoop & limbo competitions, family scavenger hunts, dive-in movies, food trucks, s’mores and more. The highlight will be the spectacular fireworks happening at 9 p.m. on July 4.

For more information visit here:

  • Enjoy dinner in the lush gardens and a poolside fireworks display at the Park Hyatt Aviara

On Independence Day, guests and non-hotel guests can enjoy a dinner buffet in the lush gardens of the Palm Courtyard with live music ($100 for adults and $50 for children who are not guests; $70 for adults and $35 for children who are guests. Both are inclusive of tax). The festivities will continue with live music entertainment in Park Lounge followed by a fireworks display by the pool.

For more information visit here:

Fireworks are set to a patriotic musical tribute with great viewing in designated locations throughout the Park. Throughout the day, kids of all ages can enjoy performances, meet their favorite LEGO® Friends and Characters, and participate in all-American family picnic games, like water-balloon tosses, burlap sack races, the Family Build Challenge and LEGO Hamburger relay. New this year, the Park has added a patriotic costume parade were visitors are encouraged to dress in their favorite Red, White and Blue attire. The celebration lasts from 1:00pm to 9:00pm with fireworks at 8:30pm. All Red, White and BOOM! Activities are included in the cost of admission to LEGOLAND California.

For more information visit here:

Specials & Promotions

  • Beach Terrace Inn

Throughout the summer months, Beach Terrace Inn is offering a “Family Snack Attack” that includes a king bed, rollaway, snack basket, and stocked mini refrigerator. For more information visit here:

  • Vigiluccui’s

Through July, mention VRG Facebook page and get a mimosa on the house when you purchase a Brunch Entree on Sunday.

Credit: City of Carlsbad. Photos were also provided.

Sencha (and Earl Grey), June 28th Pet(s) of the Week!

We’ll bet that Sencha and brother Earl Grey would be welcome at your tea party! Senchais the more aged at 2 years old—he’s got a strong, playful flavor to him! Here he is dipping himself in the pool like a veritable teabag! Sibling Earl Grey at a year old is just as refreshingly friendly! If a couple of German shepherd/husky mixes are your cup of tea, meet them 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#A609172 for Sencha and ID#A609173 for Earl Grey.

(The usual suspects contributed to this rescue)

Credit: Courtesy of Long Beach Animal Care Services.

Incredibles 2 – Great Sequel! Worth the Fourteen Year Wait!

Elastigirl springs into action to save the day, while Mr. Incredible faces his greatest challenge yet — taking care of the problems of his three children. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Calista B. comments, “Fourteen years after the first film was released, we finally have the continuation of the Pixar animated hit and I would dare say, every year of waiting was worth it because this film is truly incredible.” Sahiba K. adds, “Although bound to be compared to the original, Incredibles 2 creates a legacy and masterpiece in itself with a myriad of creativity and uniqueness. The story takes me back to my childhood and into the future with the retro, but futuristic feel created by integrating new superhero technology and vintage technology.” Rohan F. wraps it up with, “The Incredibles 2 is a great sequel to an amazing movie. The animation is brilliant, plus, the two main plots balance out well to create a well-rounded film.” See their full reviews below.

Incredibles 2

By Calista B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 14

Fourteen years after the first film was released, we finally have the continuation of the Pixar animated hit and I would dare say, every year of waiting was worth it because this film is truly incredible.

The story follows the Parr Family, as it looks like being superheroes (Supers) is against the law, but then an opportunity for Elastigirl to change people’s view of Supers occurs, while Mr. Incredible stays at home with the kids.

I always talk about the animation first, so let’s do that. The animation in the first movie was pretty good by 2004 standards. What I find interesting is that this movie looks really similar to the first. It feels as if it’s the same animation, just updated. That isn’t a bad thing. In fact, I actually like it. I love how you can actually see such small details such as the fabric textures on the clothes. You can see the sleep deprivation on the characters’ faces and not just in bags under the eyes. I really like seeing all these details.

Since the main characters are all superheroes, there’s lots of action. I feel like this movie is really creative with all the different powers, particularly those for Violet and Elastigirl. There’s lots of cool stuff they do with Violet’s force fields and Elastigirl’s stretching. They also introduce a group of new Supers who are very creative. From the design, to the powers, I think the group is a cool addition to the story.

Of course the elephant in the room is Jack-Jack. In the first movie, they show that Jack-Jack has powers. They never specify what powers he has. An important plot point in the movie is about Jack-Jack’s powers. However, now I’m even more confused. Off the top of my head, he has 11 powers and I may have forgotten some. The movie also has slight implications that this isn’t normal and now I’m incredibly curious. Hopefully it won’t take 14 years for an answer. Yes, I am ready for Incredibles 3!

This movie also excels in character development. Since the typical parent roles are switched, with the mom working and the dad staying at home watching the kids, it very subtly shows off both Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl’s character and motivations. It genuinely feels like a continuation, as it does address Mr. Incredible’s desire to be a superhero again. It also shows how raising a family is team work.

I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, as the movie is kind of dark at times. The movie opens in theaters June 15m 2018 so check it out!

Incredibles 2

By Sahiba K., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 16

Incredibles 2, directed by the legendary Brad Bird is a timeless classic that has been reborn fourteen years after The Incredibles! Although bound to be compared to the original, Incredibles 2 creates a legacy and masterpiece in itself with a myriad of creativity and uniqueness. The story takes me back to my childhood and into the future with the retro, but futuristic feel created by integrating new superhero technology and vintage technology.

The story picks off from where the Incredibles ends, when the Underminer threatens the city and superheroes are still illegal. To try and bring the superheroes back into business, a rich entrepreneur by the name of Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk) enlists the help of Helen Parr, also known as Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) to win the people’s hearts once again. Bob Parr, also known as Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) stays at home to take care of his three super children.

The same voice actors play the same characters in The Incredibles and Incredibles 2 except Dash Parr, played by Huck Milner. It made me feel as though no time has passed since I was a young child watching The Incredibles. When I was watching this film, I didn’t realize the actor was different for Dash. He has the same childish innocence and humor in his voice, as well as Dash’s famous sarcasm. Due to the fact that the same cast plays the same characters fourteen years later, Craig T. Nelson’s voice is more raspy, but it adds an element that elevates Bob Parr’s character. Bob is a lot more exhausted throughout the film and the raspy addition makes the character feel realistic and relatable.

The animation uses many of the features from the first film, while adding new perspectives and elements of modern filmmaking. The animated camera angles are a special component. During a variety of fight scenes and other relaxed scenes, the perspective switches from third person to first person quite often. This engaged me as a viewer and adds to the intensity and excitement of a superhero chase and being in a world with superheroes. The fight scenes are memorable with each one becoming better and more innovative than the last. The director, Brad Bird makes sure each of the superhero’s powers are used to the best of their ability. For example, Elastigirl acquires a new motorbike that can split apart while she provides the bridge keeping it intact, allowing for easy mobility in difficult situations.

The message of this film is that parents are heroes, whether or not they wear super suits. I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18. Be sure to check out this long-awaited sequel in theatres nationwide June 15, 2018.

The Incredibles 2

By Rohan F., Age thirteen, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

The Incredibles 2 is a great sequel to an amazing movie. The animation is brilliant, plus, the two main plots balance out well to create a well-rounded film.

The Incredibles 2 continues the story of the Parrs, a superhero family that had to go into hiding because of a law banning supers. This film focuses on Elastigirl as she tries to end the anti-super laws that stop her from being a superhero. Meanwhile, Mr. Incredible struggles to keep the kids in check.

My favorite part is when Jack-Jack uses his powers to fight a raccoon because he thinks it’s a criminal. This scene is hilarious. I really enjoyed how Mr. Incredible is sleeping in the foreground, while all the action happens in the back. I also like the scene when Elastigirl chases after the new hover train. This scene is fast-paced and funny.

The animation in this film is great. I specifically like the glass breaking, the water features of the house and Frozone’s ice. The glass and the water are both super realistic and I really like how they kept the same style as the original film for Frozone’s ice. I felt they underused Dash in this film though. His only part in this film is needing help with math. I feel this wastes Dash, because I really enjoy him as a character.

The Incredibles 2 has some very topical morals in it. It asks the question of whether a law should be followed if it is unlawful. It also focuses on the concept of “when enough people have the same idea and they fight for it, that things will change”.

The voice acting is quite good. You can hear the emotion in the actors’ voices, so you can really connect with their characters. The music in this film is truly brilliant. They wrote theme songs for Frozone, Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl that are written like 60s superhero themes. These are scattered around the movie and really make a major comedic effect.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars because, while it’s not as good as the original, it is still an incredible film. I recommend it for ages 7 through 18 because it’s really a film a huge variety of different people will enjoy. I believe adults will really enjoy watching this film as well. It opens in theaters nationwide June 15, 2018 so, check it out.


Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom – Genuinely entertaining! Great performances and outstanding visuals

Four years after the Jurassic World theme park was closed down, Owen and Claire return to Isla Nublar to save the dinosaurs when they learn that a once dormant volcano on the island is active and is threatening to extinguish all life there. Along the way, Owen sets out to find Blue, his lead raptor, and discovers a conspiracy that could disrupt the natural order of the entire planet. Life has found a way, again. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Calista B. comments, “, I was surprised by how much I liked this movie. It is genuinely entertaining and, I think it’s a good way to conclude the franchise, even though I know it probably won’t be the end.” See her full review below.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
By Calista B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 14

I’ve never really been a huge fan of the Jurassic Park franchise. I felt it went on for way too long and it needed to end. But, I was surprised by how much I liked this movie. It is genuinely entertaining and, I think it’s a good way to conclude the franchise, even though I know it probably won’t be the end.

The story takes place three years after the events of Jurassic World.  When the island the dinosaurs inhabit is about to be destroyed by a volcano, Claire and Owen go to rescue the remaining dinosaurs.

So first I want to talk about visuals. It’s not really a surprise that the visuals are really good. The dinosaurs look great. Combine that with great sound and the fact that, you can essentially feel the scale and weight of the dinosaurs. It feels as if they are actually there. Along with some really cool shots of the island and the Lockwood Mansion, the presentation of this movie is fantastic. The shot that was used in the trailers of Owen running from the volcano with the dinosaurs and being encompassed by ash, looked really compelling to me. It is one of my favorite shots in the movie and the presentation helps a lot. But, there is one particular scene that they hold on a brontosaurus that really tugs at your heartstrings. It probably wouldn’t have been as good if it wasn’t for the way the shot was directed. (J. A. Bayona)

The actors in this movie are also really good. Chris Pratt as Owen stands out to me, but that’s mostly because I really like Chris Pratt. But, Chris Pratt is still very good. He has great comedic timing and he is really funny in general. However, he’s the second best actor. Hands down, the best actor in the whole movie is Isabella Sermon as Maisie, the granddaughter of Benjamin Lockwood. This girl is absolutely amazing in this film. Talented child actors are hard to come by and wow, this girl is really fantastic. Her scenes are very compelling and she clearly is very invested in her role. I really felt for her, especially during the emotionally terrifying scenes. This is Isabella Sermon’s first role and she is great. I genuinely look forward to what she has next in store. She has a bright future ahead.

Now, I mentioned earlier that I felt this movie would be a good conclusion to the franchise. The Jurassic Park franchise has been around since the 90s and the series is still going. I feel like it’s been going for too long and I hope it doesn’t continue for much longer. I know the series is very popular, but a lot of franchises have worsened from going on for a long time just because of their popularity.

I give this movie 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18. It comes out June 22, 2018 so be sure to check it out.