Valentine’s Day Book Suggestions!

Looking for some great gift ideas for the kids? Especially the younger ones? Here are a few of my favorite choices!

IF ANIMALS SAID I LOVE YOU by Ann Whitford Paul; illustrated by David Walker

This is such an adorable board book for the younger kids! With signature gentle text and adorable illustrations, Ann Whitford Paul and David Walker’s books have broad appeal.

As in the other If Animals… books, this title features gorillas, whales, hippos, and many other parent/child pairs celebrating the holidays.

A great gift for the little loves in your life—on Valentine’s Day, or any time of year! I love the beautiful illustrations in this one and it’s a really simple story for ages 2-5.

This next one is another really adorable board book and I just love the main character in this one!

Where Birdie Lives

This one is a must for toddlers! The main character is an adorable dog on his quest to find a birdie! It is fun and interactive with a lift the flap format and amazing illustrations! This one is by Clever Publishing and illustrated by a young artist named Elena Tsvetaeva. I highly recommend for ages 3-5. You can find on

This next one is not a book but young children will love to color these special Valentines by Clever Publishing!

so cute!!!

This set of 25 cards is so cute! I love the lovely pictures on the cards! My favorite is the two cats! I like the pretty colors of the cards and these are just perfect for ages 4+. Envelopes are also included. You can also find them on for under $10!

This next one teaches that even if you are little you can make a big difference!

Love Big (January 2019) by award-winning children’s author Kat Kronenberg

Love Big takes kids on an adventure through a once lush, thriving African savanna, which has turned dry and desolate. Hungry animals seek only their own interests, and Baboon watches as his friends begin to make poor choices instead of coming together to find a solution. But then Baboon witnesses something that fills him with hope! He watches as Rhinoceros gives Hare his snack and realizes that a transformative power exists between the animals once they realize that they are all on the same team. Using their newly discovered power, will these animals be able to band together to save the savanna?

I love the brightly colored illustrations and the many lessons in this book for young children! Just perfect for ages 3+.

Self Disclosure: I received free samples of the above books/cards to facilitate this special holiday post. I only feature items under media reviews that I highly recommend! No other compensation was received. Images were also provided.

Loretta, Feb. 7th Pet of the Week!

Loretta is a 5-year-old black-and-white Australian cattle dog—with those ears, she can hear a stampede from miles away. She can also hear the approach of the person most important to her—her human companion. Loretta has a sweet disposition and for the most part gets along with other dogs. But as a cattle dog, she needs things to do and would do great in a home with someone who has experience with herding dogs. Meet Loretta on the shelter side of the Companion Animal Village at 7700 East Spring St., (562) 570-PETS. Ask for ID#A613469.

(The usual suspects contributed to this rescue)

Credit: Courtesy of the Companion Animal Village.

Pinners Conference & Expo California Comes to Ontario Convention Center The Pages of Pinterest Come to Life as the Largest Lifestyle Expo Connects Consumers, Retailers, Wholesalers, and Influencers Together

Friday, March 8 – Saturday, March 9, 2019
** Tickets On Sale Now **

For the first time in the Southland, the Ontario Convention Center will host Pinners Conference & Expo California, Friday and Saturday, March 8 – 9, 2019. Pinners Conference is a must-attend event where lifestyle experts connect with those who love to craft, cook, and create.  For two days, guests will have the opportunity to attend more than one hundred classes and presentations covering a variety of topics led by industry leaders.

 “Pinners Conference is the only DIY, cooking, crafting and style expo where the pages of Pinterest come to life,” said Roxanne Bennett, CEO.  “We connect consumers with the top influencers in their fields who offer the know-how needed to start (and finish!) any project.”

Originating as a women’s expo, with a few retail vendors, the idea of a Pinterest-inspired Expo was born. “We were inspired to provide a space for the “everyday” woman to be inspired, try something new, re-discover herself and be educated, as well as shop,” said Bennett.  “Our first Pinners Conference was in Salt Lake City in 2013. We have since expanded to six locations throughout the country, adding Texas and Arizona in 2016, Georgia in 2017, California and Minneapolis in 2018 and moving to Ontario, California for the first time in 2019.”

Expecting an estimated 10,000-15,000 attendees at the Ontario Convention Center, Pinners Conference showcases the best and brightest influencers in one forum to share their knowledge by offering classes that aren’t easily found at local craft stores, community colleges, or boutiques.  Retailers include Michael’s Crafts, Bee Kissed Caramels, Clover Needlecraft, Inc., Discovery Toys, Dunn-Edwards Paints, Jada Rose Jewelry, Matilda Jane Clothing, PB Creates, Petal Salad, She Shed Living, The Cat’s Meow Shop, and Verse Your Hair.          

“Pinners Conference is continually adapting to what is trending now. Whether that is the hottest trends in fashion and beauty, in home decor, DIY, cooking, fitness or crafting.”  said Bennett. “Our classes and exhibitors change every year based on what people are excited about now.” Want to learn the intricoes of Macrame or chalk painting? Enroll in Macrame Plant Hanging or Chalk Painting 101. Looking for a twist on flower arranging? Try Wood Floral Arrangements.  Discover the secret to creating a Japanese Kokedama, at the Kokedama String Garden Workshop. Other specialty classes include Handlettering, styling a customized gallery wall, sewing and quilting classes, photography workshops, party planning, food arts, beauty secrets to even designing a DIY wedding centerpiece.  

“Pinners Conference is truly about the experience. When consumers come, they get to pick and choose which classes they take or if they just want to shop and who they shop from,” said Bennett. “Guests can customize their most fun and creative weekend, ever. Someone might stop by the Michaels Crafts booth and create a free make-and-take before taking a class by a local artist to learn how to watercolor, then find their new favorite outfit from a local boutique.”

Advance registration is recommended (as classes do sellout) however spots are available for walk-ins the day of the event. 

“Come with your friends as a girl’s weekend, or make it day for yourself,” said Bennett. “Our guests are always amazed after trying just one class or buying that something special, they’ve discovered a love for something new!”


Ontario Convention Center

2000 East Convention Center Way

Ontario, CA 91764

Pinners Conference & Expo California
For the latest information, and to purchase tickets visit  


  • General (exhibits and shopping) – $8
  • Class passes (includes admission) – $19 to $49
  • VIP Pass $129
  • BLOG50  – applies to general admission tickets and will give 50% off.
  • PINNERS10  – receive 10% off on VIP or class pass tickets.


  • Many classes will have optional kits to purchase upon enrolling


  • Friday, March 8th, 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, March 9th, 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

We have teamed up for a giveaway! One winner will win
4 general admission tickets (value $32). To enter leave a comment below telling us which class you are most excited about! Deadline to enter is February 22nd, 2019 at noon PST. One winner will randomly be selected.

Self Disclosure: I received free admission to attend the event and images and press information was provided for posting.

Celebrate Valentine’s Day at Dana Point Harbor

Enjoy seaside dining, sunset cruises, and explore the harbor throughout February

Dana Point Harbor welcomes everyone to celebrate love this Valentine’s Day with a seaside view at the romantic Dana Point Harbor. Couples, friends and families can shop along the waterfront, dine dockside, and truly enjoy the harbor experience filled with picturesque waterscapes and beautiful sunsets. Continue the Valentine’s Day spirit throughout February with special events and promotions at Dana Point Harbor restaurants, retailers and adventures all month long.


● Dana Wharf Sportfishing & Whale Watching will host Valentine’s Day

cruises February 14-17. For more information visit

● The Harbor Grill is celebrating Valentine’s Day with Oyster Day! Enjoy any oyster preparation for only $10.95 and then end the evening with sharing a piece of their delicious key lime pie.

● Spice up your Valentine’s Day with 10% off any regular priced item now through February 14 at Jerky & Cali Gifts. Stop in for a unique selection of jerky and gifts!

● Woody Hut is sharing the love during Valentine’s week with a complimentary chocolate rose or heart shaped lollipop just for coming in, no purchase required. This offer is valid February 10-14.

● Set sail towards the perfect Valentine’s date at Westwind Sailing. Enjoy a two for one private sail lesson now through February 18 and a two for one paddle session February 11-18.

● Celebrate Valentine’s Day on a romantic Sweetheart Sunset Safari. You and your sweetheart will enjoy a complimentary glass of champagne or sparkling cider, magnificent whales, playful dolphins, cute sea lions, and much more while watching the beautiful sunset on the ocean. Book now for these special trips on February 14 and 16 at or call 949-488-2828.


Valentine’s Day and select dates throughout February 2019


Dana Point Harbor, 34555 Golden Lantern St., Dana Point, CA 92629

Celebrate Valentine’s Day at Dana Point Harbor and experience all of the adventure, fun, romance, and relaxation available. For more information visit or connect with us via FacebookInstagram, or Twitter.

Credit: Dana Point Harbor.

12 LUCKY ANIMALS: A Bilingual Baby Book is a must-buy this month!

The perfect Baby Board Book for Chinese New Year!

12 LUCKY ANIMALS: A Bilingual Baby Book is a delightful book! I love the characters and I highly recommend for babies and their parents and caregivers!
Written by Chinese-American author, Vickie Lee, this delightful board book introduces young readers to the Zodiac calendar, and the animals associated with them. Plus, as this is the year of the Pig, Joey Chou’s delightful illustration of the pig is front and center!
This book is a perfect way to introduce young readers to the concept of animals and get their first education in Chinese characters.

I love the illustrations and I think this will be a hit with young children! The book can also be found at Barnes & Noble and

Self Disclosure: I received a free copy of the book and only feature books that I highly recommend. Image was also provided.

What’s Valentine’s Day without Chocolate? With R.M Palmer you don’t have to find out!

Aren’t these adorable? They also include chocolate!

What is Valentine’s Day without Chocolate candy?

It wouldn’t be a very sweet one, I suppose!
Thank goodness for  R.M. Palmer!  They have such delicious candy like the ones you see pictured in this post! So, there doesn’t have to be Valentine’s Day without chocolate!

We have teamed up for a Valentine’s Day Giveaway! One winner will win a surprise Valentine’s Day candy package! To enter, leave a comment below telling us what you will be doing on Valentine’s Day! You can also tell us what would be your favorite gift! Deadline to enter is February 8th, 2019 at noon PST. Now, how sweet is that?!

I really love these Chocolate Double Crisp Dogs! I think these are one of my favorites this year!
and don’t forget about the peanut Butter Hearts!
The Double Crisp Hearts are sure to be a hit too!

These didn’t last long in my house!

and isn’t this the cutest thing ever?!

Look for all these tasty Valentine’s treats at a store near you!

Self Disclosure: I received free samples to faciliate this post. Images were also provided. SoCal City Kids will randomly select the winner from comments below!

Miss Bala – Enjoyable Thriller, Very Scary and Fast-Paced

Gloria finds a power she never knew she had when she is drawn into a dangerous world of cross-border crime. Surviving will require all of her cunning, inventiveness, and strength. Based on the Spanish-language film. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Lexi G. comments, “I definitely had some mixed feelings, but overall I enjoyed the story and found it fun and interesting. If you enjoy being misled through twists and turns, never knowing where the next scene will take you AND you like being scared along the way, you’ll love Miss Bala!” See her full review below.

Miss Bala                                                                  

By Lexi G., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 13

Miss Bala is quite a movie! From the friendship that led to a whirlwind of violence and manipulation, to the caring of others, that is the reason behind the storyline. Miss Bala has it all. While watching this film, I definitely had some mixed feelings, but overall I enjoyed the story and found it fun and interesting. If you enjoy being misled through twists and turns, never knowing where the next scene will take you AND you like being scared along the way, you’ll love thriller Miss Bala! If you don’t like being scared or a fast-paced, violent movie, you may want to stay away.  

In this action-packed film, a young woman, Gloria (Gina Rodriguez), returns to her birthplace Tijuana, to visit a close friend. Little does she know that going to enjoy a fun night out would lead her down a path of constant trouble. Gloria gets pulled into a literal turf war between the gang La Estrellas and the Chief of Police (Damian Alcazar) when she witnesses a shooting where her friend also disappears. Luckily, Gloria survives the shooting, but in an effort to locate and rescue her friend, she experiences a number of mishaps with the gang, the DEA, the Police Chief and more.  Unbeknownst to Gloria, all of these men are using and manipulating her to get what they need. When all she needs is to find her best friend Suzu (Christina Rodio). Does she rescue her friend?  Does she escape the gang’s awful manipulations?  I guess you’ll have to watch it to find out!

There are so many elements of this movie that make it awesome and entertaining! The funny comments, realistic music, beautiful sets and locations, and super cool special effects. Despite this being a live-action film with quite a bit of violence, there are actually some really funny parts and comments, too.  Plus, with the help of the music and the costumes, the story flows and makes sense. What I liked and appreciated the most was how perfectly the music changes and is paired to match the feelings of every scene!

The deeper message that this film displays is that we have to be careful with who we put our trust into. In Miss Bala, Gloria puts her trust into the gang and they end up doing things that are not okay and using her. Then, she trusts the DEA and just wait until you see how they treat her. These are not the kind of people we want to trust. Keep in mind that this is a pretty violent movie, even though it’s rated PG-13, it has lots of blood, guns and more scary stuff. Also, look out for some partial nudity and profanity. I definitely would never bring anyone under the age of 13 to this movie!

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars. I’m not giving it 5 stars because I am not a big fan of scary and violent movies, so it was unsettling, for me.  I can see, however, that others would really love the action-packed sequences.  I recommend this film for ages 13 to 18 and adults. That said, I wouldn’t even bring a sensitive 13 or 15-year-old who scares easily. This film opens February 1, 2019 all over the USA. If you like action, drama and thrillers, check it out. You’ll enjoy it!!!

Photos © Columbia Pictures. All Rights Reserved.


GLAZA / Jamie Pham
The Los Angeles Zoo announces “Haechan” as the name of its newborn resident, a southern pudu born at the L.A. Zoo on December 19, 2018, to first-time parents Steph and Mario. The L.A. Zoo launched a Facebook fundraiser to name the pudu, with fans and followers of both the L.A. Zoo and K-pop star Lee Dong-hyuck, a.k.a. Haechan of the band NCT, taking particular interest in the Zoo’s newest offspring, a petite deer species from South America.  Over the years, fans of K-pop star Haechan have given him the moniker “pudu” due to his likeness to this adorable little animal, even sharing their own fan art and photo comparisons online. The fundraising goal to officially name the fawn Haechan was met within hours of the Facebook announcement, with fans making tax-deductible donations to support wildlife conservation.  “Due to Haechan and NCT fans’ overwhelming enthusiasm, this campaign raised over $2,500 in support of our conservation efforts,” says Kait Hilliard, vice president of marketing at the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association. “We are thrilled to see this groundswell of support and excitement, and we can’t wait to introduce our newest resident to the Los Angeles community.”  The Facebook fundraiser set a goal of $2,000 to name the pudu newborn Haechan, which was surpassed with 192 individual donors contributing a total of $2,687.  The proceeds go to supporting conservation of endangered, vulnerable, threatened and near threatened species such as the pudu, whose wild populations are decreasing due to habitat loss. “The Zoo’s animal naming program provides groups and individuals an opportunity to develop a deeper connection with a Zoo resident while supporting the Zoo’s animal acquisition fund, which promotes vital wildlife preservation and breeding projects here and around the world,” says Eugenia Vasels, vice president institutional advancement at the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association. “Key to our conservation work here at the Zoo is our ability to acquire or move animals from other institutions accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which allows us to contribute to healthy insurance populations of species that face a variety of threats in the wild.” 
WHERE: Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens
5333 Zoo Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90027
Credit: The Los Angeles Zoo.