Archives for May 7, 2020

Critical Thinking * Incredible, fleshed out Characters, Emotional Story

The true story of the Miami Jackson High School chess team which was the first inner city team to win the U.S. National Chess Championship. Directed by John Leguizamo, starring John Leguizamo, Rachel Bay Jones, Michael Kenneth Williams and more. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Rohan F. comments, “Critical Thinking is a film with incredible, fleshed out characters in an emotional story, which surprises you at every turn. It gets you to connect with the characters quickly and made me actually feel bad for them when things went wrong.” See his full review below.

Critical Thinking
Reviewed by Rohan F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

Critical Thinking is a film with incredible, fleshed out characters in an emotional story, which surprises you at every turn. It gets you to connect with the characters quickly and made me actually feel bad for them when things went wrong.

Critical Thinking tells the true story of the lives of members of the Miami Jackson High School chess team during the U.S. National Chess Championship. It goes into the motivations behind the members and their team supervisor, Mr. Martinez, as they struggle to get out of a system that doesn’t value them via the chess tournament. It follows the journey of them starting out, raising money to get to the tournaments, and the events that occur during the tournaments, As well as all the problems throughout. The film also goes into the specific details of the members personal lives to show their daily struggle.

The characters are developed incredibly. The film makes you feel like you know the characters. It makes even the most insignificant characters interesting. They are all real people who make real choices about their lives for better or worse. I really enjoy the way they showed the players develop during the competitions. They play like real people and make mistakes like them too. There are very complicated relationships between characters that help them develop their abilities and personalities.

The score is subtle and matches the film. There was never a point where I noticed that the score was practically good or bad, but it fit the themes and changed when necessary.

My favorite scene was the final chess match. Marcel took risks which made sense for his character. The other members of his team appear genuinely nervous because they don’t know who is going to win. They put Marcel under a lot of pressure, and it is unclear if he is going to break because of it. There is one point where an offer is made to him and it is unclear if he would be willing to abandon his team for personal gain.

The film has a message that people who come from different places can still accomplish incredible things. As well as the problems with the school systems view on people of color.

Overall, I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 13- to 18, plus adults because it covers some very mature topics. Critical Thinking will be released in the spring of 2020, stay tuned for updates.

Springtime Must-Buys!

Hand Sanitizer that’s Safe for Kiddos from Zoey Naturals is a real must-buy! Experts advise handwashing with soap and water as an effective way to fight germs.  When a bathroom isn’t close by, Zoe Naturals Hand Sanitizer is! I love that no water is needed to use this and that it is effective and completely safe for young children! It is available in two fragrances: Island Hisbiscus and English Garden. I like that the one I tried (English Garden) was not too strong of a scent. They are also affordable (a 4 fl.oz. is $6.00) and you can find out more here.

Find them on Facebook too at

I love these kid and eco-friendly polishes!

Piggy Paint – a line of safe, non-toxic nail polishes that put a rainbow of colors at kids’ fingertips without the harsh solvents and their dizzying fumes. Plus, it’s non-flammable, hypoallergenic, cruelty-free, vegan, and proudly made in the U.S.A. The following are their Spring products:
Just in time for Easter, Piggy Paint had debuted their Funny Bunny gift set! With bright spring colors and fun nail art, this set is sure to delight children of all ages! This cute gift set contains 4 Piggy Paint 0.25 oz. polishes: Pinkie Promise, Dragon Tears, Tutu Cool & Sea-quin  – plus, Flower Nail Art. It retails for $19.99 and is only available on
In addition, Piggy Paint has just launched their NEW individual scented polishes – the same trusted, non-toxic formula – but with extra fun! These water-based polishes have yummy scents that last long after the polish is dried. Smell the fun, not the chemicals! The 0.33 oz. individual scented polishes retail at $4.99 each and can be purchased in select Target stores and online. And, if you know a soon-o be mom…these are also safe
for use during pregnancy!

Soda Smarter With This Zero Sugar, Zero Calorie Option

Virgil’s, is an all-natural handcrafted soda brand, and are Zero Sugar Sodas. A much healthier option than sodas. I put this one through the test with my teenager and he really liked the taste!  Available in a variety of bold, yet classic flavors (think refreshing black cherry, orange, and root beer), Virgil’s has unlocked the secret to great taste with zero sugar using a proprietary blend of natural sweeteners. Even better, all Virgil’s sodas are all-natural and certified ketogenic with no chemicals or preservatives. Available in-stores and online at Target // $5.99

Keto Friendly Folios Cheese Wraps are Gluten Free, Lactose Free and Naturally Delicious! 

 For those who follow a lactose free, gluten free diet for health or dietary reasons – these cheese wraps have you covered. Folios Cheese Wraps are the first and only keto-approved lightly baked sheets of cheese that can be wrapped, stuffed, rolled, melted, crisped and baked to perfection.!  These wraps are extremely popular with keto, allergy-friendly and low-carb diets and for anyone looking for alternative to culinary wraps or as an interesting twist to an everyday recipe. They taste great!  These wraps come in three varieties, Jarlsberg, Parmesan, and Cheddar. They are the first and only wrap made of 100% natural cheese without starch, fillers or added sugar, and are naturally lactose and gluten free. So, if you are looking for an alternative to wraps, tortillas, chips (or many other high-carb foods), Folios Cheese Wraps has you covered. They are available in a 10-count pack at Costco for $8.99 and all other retailers nationwide in a 4-count pack with prices ranging from $3.99 to $5.99. Consumers nationwide can also now buy online at

This hat is cool! It has a pocket!

This next one is quite handy when you are on the go and don’t want to take your wallet or purse with you! Introducing HANDY HATSHandy Hats are the patented hats with built-in pocket pouches to conceal your everyday essential items including: credit cards, cash, IDs, keys, and even lip balm! Now, how cool is that?! Not only are these caps handy for everyday life, but they are also handy for SOCIAL DISTANCING! The discreet, inside pocket can hold gloves, homemade bandanna masks, or even your car keys when you go out for your store essentials. Not to mention, these stylish hats are the perfect way to cover-up shaggy hair or outgrown roots!

Another really cool thing is that these were created by a young woman when she was a college student! She is 23 now! Check out the video below:

To learn more, please visit them on: Instagram: @handyhatsFacebook: @HandyHatsWebsite:

Did you know you can drink a Banana?

Banana Wave, the first non-dairy milk made from bananas was successfully formulated in 2015 as an alternative to dairy, nut, and rice milk.

This one is quite tasty! Find out more at and you can also find on

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

Get the grades – how to check your work

Sometimes, we all need to take a step back from our own ego and admit that a little outside help can transform our own work from the ordinary to the extraordinary. Now, not every piece of work you produce needs to be checked and verified by NASA’s top minds. But when it counts, you need to know what you’re looking for and how to go about rectifying the errors. Otherwise, all your effort was for nothing. And there’s no worse feeling than being handed your graded paper to realise you’ve made several blindingly obvious mistakes that have blown holes in the deck of your otherwise buoyant prospects. With all of that in mind, you can always check out proofreading services – find out more – that can take out all of the hassle of checking your own work.  Otherwise, let’s continue.

Keep your style in check

One of the major problems that sees the grades of many essays dip lower than could have been helped is style and tone. It goes without saying that taboo words and other less than acceptable phrases should be avoided. But making sure that you don’t type like you speak isn’t just about leaving out bad language. Where your native sentence structure means you often use ten words where one will do, you will be left tying yourself in knots on the page, and it really shows. One could almost argue that you should aim for simple language rather than littering your work with attempts at phases and paragraphs that leave the reader thinking “I know I just read something, but for the life of me, I haven’t got a clue what this writer is going on about”. One of the common mistakes in this sense is overuse of the passive voice. Keep your sentences ‘active’ for an instant improvement.

Grammar gives away the game

If your grammar isn’t the type of thing you hear on the news or read in textbooks, you may have some learning to do. Poor grammar will single you out as someone who can’t be bothered to learn the correct way to speak and write in your native language – why should the reader believe a lazy person has anything useful to say? Help with grammar online is widespread. But as a little bonus, try to remove all uses of “then”, “so”, and “just” in your professional work. These words are generally used to link wordy sentences, where two sentences would work better.

If you would like to read more about doing your college classes from home while the children are home, check out this post: