Archives for January 2020

Books of the week: January 31st, 2020!

Looking for Children’s books that young children will enjoy reading over and over? Here are my top choices for this week!

 Baby Shark! by Stevie Lewis

Complete with lovable illustrations of sharks of all ages Stevie Lewis’ illustrated board book is perfect for fans of the Baby Shark traditional sing-along.  I recommend this one for ages 2-4 and I’m sure that they will ask to read this one over and over!

I just love this one!  Snakes on the Job by Kathryn Dennis.

The busy snakes are back! This time, they are operating a variety of construction vehicles—bulldozers, diggers, backhoes and more. What are they building? There’s only one way to find out! I highly recommend this one for ages 3-6 years old.

As a big believer in cleaning up our beaches, this next one is one that I highly recommend!

1, 2, 3, Who’s Cleaning the Sea?: New Book Empowers Children to Champion the Fight Against Sea Pollution

Inspired by her deep love for ecology and protecting the environment, Janina Rossiter’s ‘1, 2, 3, Who’s Cleaning the Sea?: A Counting Picture Book About Protecting Our Planet’ takes all the fun of a children’s book and drapes it with a bold, vital message for young readers. In a way that is perfectly dignified, Rossiter wakes young minds up to the true horrors of humans’ deadly impact on sea creatures, and inspires them to make it a passionate cause for their future.

‘1, 2, 3, Who’s Cleaning the Sea?: A Counting Picture Book About Protecting Our Planet’ is available now on Amazon.

For more information, visit the author online:

www.janinarossiter.com

www.instagram.com/Janinarossiter

Self Disclosure: I received copies of the above books to facilitate this book feature. Cover images were provided. I receive many books and only feature those I highly recommend.

FRIENDS TV – WE WERE ON A BREAK! – EXCLUSIVE CLIP

On September 22, 1994 the first episode of Friends aired on NBC, and since then the series, characters and its infamous taglines have become a global phenomenon. After 236 episodes and its ten season run on-air, the beloved series went into syndication episodes on a number of networks, and in 2015 Netflix acquired the exclusive rights to stream the series; eventually becoming one of most watched shows on the platform, until the close of 2019!
So where have your “Friends” been, now that its 2020? According to Ross, “We Were On A BREAK!” from streaming – but have no fear, you can still get all of your favorite episodes on Digital, Blu-ray and DVD today!

For both fans and newcomers that want to buy the series to digitally stream forever – the complete series, individual seasons and compilation sets are available to purchase here: www.OwnFriendsTV.com. All seasons are also available to own at all major digital retailers; including iTunes, VUDU, Amazon Prime, and Google.
If you feel like splurging – there is something to be said for physically owning a hard copy of your favorite TV show! You can purchase the DVD or Blu-ray sets from all major retailers – including Walmart, Target, and Amazon. If you purchase the digitally remastered Blu-ray Complete Series set – you will get over 110 hours of content – including all 236 original broadcast episodes, plus 20 hours of special features. It’s like a dream come true!
Friends is an American sitcom about six friends struggling to survive on their own in Manhattan. In each episode, they find the companionship, comfort and support from each other to be the perfect solutions to the pressures of everyday life. The series stars ‘The Ones That Were There For You’ for ten seasons strong: Jennifer Aniston as “Rachel Green,” Courteney Cox as “Monica Geller,” Lisa Kudrow as “Phoebe Buffay,” Matt LeBlanc as “Joey Tribbiani,” Matthew Perry as “Chandler Bing,” and David Schwimmer as “Dr. Ross Geller.” Friends has also featured many notable guest stars including Tom Selleck, Aisha Tyler, Jon Favreau, Anna Faris, Hank Azaria, Bruce Willis, Reese Witherspoon, Christina Applegate, Sean Penn, Jon Lovitz, Alec Baldwin, and many more. Friends was created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman and aired on NBC from September 22, 1994 to May 6, 2004. The series was produced by Bright/Kauffman/Crane Productions, in association.

Credit: Warner Bros.

Troop Zero * Terrific Combination of Comedy, Drama and Diversity with a Great Cast

In rural 1977 Georgia, a misfit girl dreams of life in outer space. When a competition offers her a chance to be recorded on NASA’s Golden Record, she recruits a makeshift troop of Birdie Scouts, forging friendships that last a lifetime. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Ethan P. comments, “I like this movie because it is a combination of comedy, drama, diversity and great casting, especially the children actors… My favorite part is when Christmas starts recruiting kids to belong to her troop.” Abigail Zoe L. adds, “I recently saw the inspiring new Amazon Prime movie, Troop Zero, and love it. It’s a warm-hearted coming-of-age story with a beautiful, positive message and a fun adventure throughout. The movie guides us through the story of a quirky girl, Christmas Flint played by the talented McKennaGrace and her rag tag group of Birdies known as Troop Zero.” See their full reviews below.

Troop Zero
By Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11

I like this movie because it is a combination of comedy, drama, diversity and great casting, especially the children actors.  This film is an Amazon Prime original and has a duration of 1 hour and 37 minutes.

Troop Zero timeline is the late 70’s and the storyline is about a young girl named Christmas (McKenna Grace) who’s obsessed with outer space, aliens and planets.  She finds out there is a competition that offers her to be recorded on NASA’s Golden Record, but in order to compete she needs to belong to a Girl’s Scout troop.  She recruits four challenging kids and asks her father’s (Jim Gaffigan) co-worker, Mrs. Rayleen (Viola Davis), to be her Troop Mom.  The five children go through tough and exciting experiences in order to earn their badges to enter the NASA’s competition.  During their journey, all five children create a strong bond and friendship.
 
My favorite part is when Christmas starts recruiting kids to belong to her troop.  Troop Zero has amazing actors such as Award Winner Viola Davis, Jim Gaffigan, Allison Janney and McKenna Grace from The Haunting of Hill House.  Charlie Shotwell, who portrays Joseph, Christmas’ best friend, pulls off an amazing performance as a feminine boy.  I am happy to see Johanna Colon (internet dancing sensation) play Smash, in this movie.  She’s great!  The scenery and costumes are typical 70s style, including the hairstyles.  The story line is bit slow in the beginning, but later it gets interesting.  You will experience laughter, sadness and tears of joy with this movie.

The moral of this film is to have a child’s heart when it comes to choosing your friends or recruiting a team.  Christmas does not discriminate against skin color, gender identity, religion or personalities when it comes to recruiting her troop and becomes friends with all four of them because she sees their hearts, not what society considers flaws.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars because the beginning is rather slow.  I recommend it for ages 8 to 18.  Older adults might enjoy this movie as well.  Troop Zero is available on Amazon Prime beginning January 17, 2020.

Troop Zero

By Abigail Zoe L. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

I recently saw the inspiring new Amazon Prime movie, Troop Zero, and love it. It’s a warm-hearted coming-of-age story with a beautiful, positive message and a fun adventure throughout. The movie guides us through the story of a quirky girl, Christmas Flint played by the talented McKennaGrace and her rag tag group of Birdies known as Troop Zero.

Christmas is passionate about science. She wants to connect to the universe and her late mom through a NASA competition. The winner will have their voice recorded and sent out to the universe for posterity on a Golden Record. This movie is a journey of self-discovery, not only for Christmas, but everyone that is a part of her adventure. Each person learns more about themselves as they work together.

  
One of my favorite scenes is at the end of the movie, when the cast comes together and performs at the jamboree competition. I won’t give away what happens but it is an emotional moment when they take a stand to be accepted for who they are. Another favorite scene is the baking fight scene. I bet it was so much fun for the actors to film, because it is absolutely hilarious and, at the same time, cathartic as a baking food fight between Troops Zero and Birdie. My question for you is: Who do you think won? LOL.

The acting by McKenna Grace as Christmas Flint and Viola Davis as Miss Rayleen, is perfect. Each of them make the audience believe in the struggles they face during the movie. McKenna really embraces her character with the lopsided haircut and awkward, quirky moves. However, I particularly connected with her character’s father, Ramsey Flint (Gaffigan), because he so perfectly portrays the ideal father. He reminded me of my own father, who while not perfect, truly loves his daughter and wants her to be happy and achieve her dreams. Indeed, theirs is a father-daughter relationship very touching that I think families will connect with.

The moral of the story is to be yourself, listen to your heart and, if people try to knock you down, just keep on fighting the good fight for what you believe in. This is definitely a triumphant movie of self-acceptance and overcoming life challenges and one definitely to watch. This film would be especially enjoyable for those who love science. The transition of Troop Zero becoming Troop Hero is inspiring and uplifting. At the same time, the critic in me did find the film a little slow moving at times. All said, I think it is a wonderful movie and give it 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. It is airing on Amazon Prime beginning January 17, 2020.

Choosing the Best Multivitamin for Your Kids

The food that you give to your kid is supposed to provide all the nutrients that are needed by their small bodies. However, unavoidable circumstances cause a nutritional deficit in their diet. This is usually due to a parent being on a tight budget, the kid being diagnosed with a medical condition or allergic reactions to certain foods. Besides that, there are some kids who are poor eaters. Under such circumstances multivitamin supplements can help in ensuring that your kids get all the essential nutrients that they are not able to get in their diet.

On the other hand, choosing multivitamin for kids can be a bit tricky. This is because unlike adults, kids have different dietary needs and preferences that have to be met. In addition to that, picking the best multivitamin for kids is complicated by the fact that there are so many of them in the stores. Here is a list of tips that can guide you when shopping for kids’ supplements for the first time.

1. Taste Good with Organic Sugar

Most kids dread taking anything that looks like medicine. Similarly, they don’t like consuming stuff that has a bitter taste. If the multivitamin has a sour taste, you can be sure that making them take it will be like calling for world war III. In fact, you will have to handcuff their hands and force the multivitamin through the mouth. Such trouble can be avoided by buying multivitamin that’s designed to have a yummy taste and look like candy. When a multivitamin has such features, your kids will often look forward to taking it. You will actually be surprised when they start reminding you to give them their daily dose. The other concern is that the multivitamin should contain very little organic sugar. Keep in mind that some multivitamin manufacturers normally add artificial sweeteners. The downside is that this artificial sugar converts into fats that can trigger certain lifestyle conditions such as diabetes, arthritis and obesity.

2. Allergens Free and Rich in Fiber

An ideal multivitamin is one that doesn’t have traces of allergens. This is because research has proved that the majority of allergic reactions such as skin rash and sneezing are usually triggered by allergens. You should therefore avoid buying any multivitamin whose ingredients are sourced from either milk, yeast, soy or corn. You should also ignore those that contain artificial preservatives that are used to lengthen their shelf life. On the other hand, you should give first priority to multivitamin that contains fiber as an active ingredient. Fiber helps in the digestion of food and prevents kids and adults from overeating. This is due to the fact that fiber gets broken down slowly, which makes you feel full.

3. Right Amounts of Essential Minerals

Too much of anything is harmful to your kids’ health. Keep in mind that the purpose of giving multivitamin to kids is to supplement what they miss in their diet. Going overboard can therefore cause your little ones to become overweight. For best results, you should only opt for supplements that contain the right amount of nutrients that is recommended by a doctor. Some of the most crucial minerals that you should look out for include vitamin D, B12 vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids and Calcium.  Calcium and Vitamin D help in strengthening bones and teeth. Omega-3 fatty acids are ideal for boosting immunity to diseases and helps with memory. It also contributes towards a healthy heart and fights inflammation.

How to Choose the Best Mac for Gaming? 10 Top Tips for Choosing

Are you trying to figure out which Mac you should choose? Read this article to learn more about the best Mac for gaming.

Are you looking for the best Mac for gaming?

Many people consider the Apple Mac to be a luxury desktop compared to Windows PCs. A big reason for this is the prices of Apple products. Most people find this to be too expensive and often buy a PC instead.

This has caused more people to rally behind PCs because, for their price, they rivaled and even surpassed Mac in all important aspects, especially in gaming. With the latest products and updates to the Mac, though, it stands a chance to compete with PCs. Some PC users have even switched to using a Mac because it suits them better.

You may also think about doing this, but being behind on the updates on these products can make it hard to choose which Mac to buy. Read on to know how to choose the best Mac for playing games on.

1. Consider Your Budget

Your budget is the first thing to consider when choosing any new device. This is even more important for Apple products because of their reputation for being expensive. The good news is that some Mac desktops and MacBook models are cheaper than some other Apple products.

Knowing your budget can help you work out the power of the Mac that you can afford. What’s great is that even a low-cost Mac is stronger than most PCs of the same price range. The only reason to worry about the price tag is if you’re thinking about getting the latest product in the market.

These products can reach up to $13,000 on the market for a few weeks after its release. The good news is that other Apple products often lower in price when this happens.

2. Mobile or Non-Mobile

You must choose between a Mac desktop and a MacBook before you can make any progress with your decisions. Many people get themselves Mac desktops today despite their price. This is because of the power these devices have.

Their power alone is enough to run demanding games. Their customizability also plays a huge factor in the Mac desktop’s popularity. This doesn’t mean that the mobile option isn’t viable, though.

Some people will opt for MacBooks as their gaming computer. This is because some of them can offer the same power as the older desktop models. It makes for an obvious choice for people who want to spend a fraction of the price of desktops.

3. Storage Space

When you’re looking to play games, you always want to have a lot of storage space. Deciding your storage space is important because you won’t be able to upgrade it after you get your device. The only way for you to add more storage space is to get external hard drives.

There’s no way to change out the hard drive in your Mac without ripping it apart. For most people, this isn’t an option. So you’re stuck with the hard drive that comes inside the model you buy.

When it comes to gaming, the faster your computer can read stored data, the better. Go for a Mac with an SSD option if you want a machine that really flies.

Never go under 256 gigabytes of storage space. This is because games nowadays often take up a lot of room in your device. The OS updates will also share some space, making 256 gigabytes the lowest storage space option for efficient space management.

4. Battery Life

You won’t have any problems with this if you go to the desktop option. All you need to do is to plug it in and you’re good to go. You may need an uninterruptible power supply in case of a sudden power outage, though.

You can get these for around $100 and they can help you save your progress before you shut down your device. When you’re looking at a MacBook, though, battery life becomes important.

What’s great about a MacBook is that it can last up to five hours on a single charge. This is if you keep on playing on it without a break.

5. Graphics Card

If you want your games to look pretty, then you must have a great graphics card installed on your Mac. What’s great about this is that any external graphics processor will be compatible with your Mac device.

This is thanks to the Thunderbolt 3 port. A modern Mac will have this port built-in by default. It allows you to install any eGPU onto your Mac with ease.

6. Operating System

Certain games only work with a certain operating system. New Apple operating systems often make it harder for a game to run. This is because the new features in the OS are incompatible with the old games, bringing confusing changes to users.

What’s great about Apple is that you can revert your OS to older ones. It requires some tinkering, but once you learn how to do it, you can play even the oldest games on your Mac.

7. Processor

The best Mac for gaming will have a strong processor to run the latest games. The demands of modern games are often high as games become bigger in scope and more detailed in graphics. Choosing a Mac with a good processor will help you run modern games without a problem.

The faster the processor you go for, the higher the price. It may be worth it, though, to secure a device that can last you for a long while.

8. Compatibility with Popular Games

While some of the best games for Mac are already compatible by default, some popular games aren’t. They’re only compatible with devices that run Windows operating systems. 

Thankfully it is possible to run Windows on your Mac, instead. You can either create a dual boot system or run a virtual machine in your macOS. Doing this will help you play the latest games on your Mac as soon as they are released.

9. Screen Size

You must also take the screen size of the device you want into account. Some games demand a large screen resolution to run. These are often first-person shooter games or games that feature a scenic background. Get a Mac with a big screen if you want to make it a worthwhile investment.

10. RAM

RAM is among the most important aspects of any gaming device. 8 GB of RAM is the standard to run most games, and the more RAM you can cram in, the better.

What’s great about Mac is that you can upgrade it when you have the resources to do so. You can even get as high as 64GB of RAM by upgrading. This is a cost-effective option that provides scalability for your device.

Get the Best Mac for Gaming Today

There are many options to go for when looking for a Mac to play games on. Use our guide to choose the best Mac for gaming. Want to learn more about Apple products? Continue learning more about MacBooks, iPhones, and other devices by reading more of our guides today

The best contraception to use while you’re traveling

While traveling it’s important to get your birth control method right. Whilst abroad, depending on where you are, it might be difficult for you to change what you’re using or get more of something. Sometimes we don’t know how contraceptions are going to affect us until several months of using it. So it is important to prepare in advance and know that you are safe. Constant bleeding or any other complications can be made more uncomfortable and frustrating whilst you are traveling. That being said, complications from birth control can happen at any time. For example, the link between Mirena IUD and neurological side effects has proved to be a serious issue. Whilst some things can be out of our control, you should still do what you can to prepare.

Condoms

The best birth control while traveling is condoms. They won’t interfere with your hormones and most importantly,  they will protect you from most STIs. STIs are increasing in many countries. Although condoms can break, if this happens you should try and get the morning after pill as soon as you can. This will be available in most countries, although the best thing to do is to use a different birth control method alongside condoms.

The implant

An implant is potentially a fantastic option for travelers. The implant is a small, hairpin sized rod that can last 3 or 5 years. Put it in and then you don’t have to worry about it. If you are lucky it will also stop your periods, so you don’t have to worry about them while you are away – amazing! However, some girls experience some adverse side effects such as irregular periods. Be sure to get it in plenty of time so that it can be taken out if it is causing you any problems.

IUD

The IUD is a T shaped device made from plastic or copper which is put into your womb by a nurse or doctor. It can last 5 or 10 years. Therefore, it is also a great option for travelers. Again, it does cause problems for some girls so get it in plenty of time to ensure that you are happy with it.

The pill

The pill may not the best option for travelers and that is why it comes in at the end of our list. You should take the pill at a similar time every day. If you are traveling between timezones or moving around a lot, then this could be hard to keep track of. However, if it is your preferred option just set alarms on your phone, keep them somewhere accessible and be strict with them. If you do miss a pill, then use a condom.

Conclusion

When choosing a contraceptive method consider your travels and how you will stay safe. The last thing you want is to have to come home due to pregnancy or an STI. Although, most countries will have sexual healthcare which you can use. Speak to your doctor or nurse about your options and any concerns that you may have. If you can, try out your contraception method in plenty of time so that you have the option to change it if necessary.

Pete, Jan. 30th Pet of the Week!

We have a special request for Pete. Pete is a 3-year old tan pittie and a darling dog who had the horrible luck of being hit by a car—twice. He’s getting around on a leash, but he needs special surgery to fix his poor hip, and our shelter isn’t equipped to do the operation. If you are willing to provide care please meet sweet Pete at Long Beach Animal Care Services, 7700 East Spring St., (562) 570-PETS. Ask for ID#A638378. Donations for Pete’s surgery can be sent to the above address, marking it “Medical fund for Pete.”

(The usual suspects contributed to this rescue)

Credit: Courtesy of Long Beach Animal Care Services.

The Park Comes To Life in Los Angeles & Orange County All-New Unparalleled and Thrilling Live Arena Experience Jurassic World Live Tour Roars into SoCal This Summer from July 9–19

Brace yourself for a new species of live entertainment 65 million years in the making!

Jurassic World Live Tour, an exhilarating and unpredictable live, family entertainment experience that will bring the wonder and thrills of Jurassic World to generations of fans, will be debuting in SoCal this summer playing Honda Center in Anaheim from July 9–12 followed by STAPLES Center in Downtown LA from July 17–19.

  Sign up today to become a Jurassic World Live Tour Preferred Guest at JurassicWorldLiveTour.com to get exclusive access to advance pre-sale code to purchase tickets early starting today Tuesday, January 28 to get the best seats available before tickets go on-sale to the general public on February 4.

With unrivaled arena production quality, Jurassic World comes to life with dinosaurs from the iconic franchise, including fan-favorite Velociraptor Blue and a Tyrannosaurus Rex more than 40 feet in length, taking center stage off the big screen onto the arena floor.  The production features more than 20 film-accurate, life-sized dinosaurs, each custom built with the latest technology, scientific precision and Hollywood studio quality.  With scale, speed and ferocity, the animatronic and performer-operated dinosaurs deliver colossal, edge-of-your-seat excitement that brings the Jurassic World park right to your hometown.

Jurassic World’s unmistakable musical score combined with projection and practical scenery transforms the arena into the dense jungles of Isla Nublar, where real Gyrospheres roll through the valley…but then your trip to Isla Nublar takes a terrifying turn after the Indominus Rex escapes and causes chaos in the park!  The adventure continues as you join forces with a team of scientists to unravel a corrupt plan and save an all-new dinosaur named Jeanie from a terrible fate. 

With pulse-pounding stunts and an original, authentic storyline that takes place between the Jurassic World and Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom movies, this all-new live adventure is guaranteed to to take fans on a larger-than-life immersive journey and make family memories that will last another 65 million years.

“Working with a world-class production team and Universal filmmakers, we have extended the Jurassic World canon with a new story that can only be told through this live, arena spectacular as we bring full-scale dinosaurs to generations of fans around the globe,” said Juliette Feld Grossman, Chief Operating Officer of Feld Entertainment. “We have maximized the power of everything we do at Feld Entertainment, pushing the boundaries of technology and innovation to ensure audiences have an authentic, awe-inspiring experience. Fans will leave with a sense of wonder, as if they’ve boarded the boat to Isla Nublar and literally stepped into Jurassic World.”

USA Today praised the show saying “my heart still races when the velociraptor’s nose is pointed my way. It’s a testament to how well the ‘Jurassic’ movies have instilled an illogical fear of extinct creatures, how true the Jurassic World Live team stayed to the animals from the movie, and how high-tech animatronic puppets have gotten in order to tell stories about prehistoric creatures.”  The New York Times describes the Feld Entertainment production as “the most technically complex the company has ever produced.”

A N A H E I M

WHEN:                July 9 – 12, 2020

Thursday, July 9     7:00 PM

Friday, July 10 7:00 PM

Saturday, July 11        11:00 AM, 3:00 PM & 7:00 PM

Sunday, July 12            11:00 AM & 3:00 PM

WHERE:          Honda Center – 2695 E. Katella Avenue, Anaheim, CA 92806

TICKETS:      Ticket affordably priced for the whole family starting at just $20*

Tickets available for purchase online at Ticketmaster.com or in-person at the venue Box Office. *prices subject to change; additional venue/ticketing fees may apply

L O S   A N G E L E S

WHEN:                 July 17 – 19, 2020

Friday, July 17       7:30 PM

Saturday, July 18        11:00 AM, 3:00 PM & 7:00 PM

Sunday, July 19                 11:00 AM & 3:00 PM

WHERE:               STAPLES Center – 1111 South Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, CA 90015

TICKETS:              Ticket affordably priced for the whole family starting at just $20*

Tickets available for purchase online at AXS.com, charge by phone at 888-9AXS-TIX or in-person at the venue Box Office. *prices subject to change; additional venue/ticketing fees may apply.

Credit: Feld Entertainment.