19 top U.S. aquariums join to tackle plastic pollution threat Aquariums from coast to coast shift away from single-use plastic products and packaging, rally consumers to build market demand for innovative alternatives


The Aquarium of the Pacific has joined with eighteen other aquariums across the United States  and created a new Aquarium Conservation Partnership (ACP) to address one of the gravest threats facing ocean and freshwater animals – plastic pollution. Today, the ACP announced the launch of a nationwide consumer campaign and a business commitment to drive a shift away from single-use plastic among their visitors, in their communities, and beyond.


“The Aquarium of the Pacific is a trusted source of science-based information on the ocean and environment in our region. It is our aim to provide our visitors with practical things they can do as ocean stewards in their communities. We are proud to be joining with aquariums across the country to promote ocean conservation,” said Jerry Schubel, Aquarium of the Pacific president and CEO.


Through the national “In Our Hands” campaign, the ACP hopes to empower their 20 million visitors and millions more in their communities to drive a national shift away from single-use plastic and toward innovative alternatives. The public can learn more about the Aquarium of the Pacific’s commitment and achievements atpacific.to/singleuseplastic.


“The public trusts aquariums to do what’s right for the health of the ocean and for ocean wildlife,” said Julie Packard, executive director of the Monterey Bay Aquarium. “We’re just beginning to understand the full impacts of ocean plastic pollution on ecosystems, marine life, and human health. But we already know enough to say that now is the time to act.”


All nineteen aquariums are also supporting this shift away from single-use plastic within their own businesses. As of today, all ACP members have eliminated plastic straws and single-use plastic take-away bags in their institutions. In hopes of additional plastic reduction, the aquariums have also committed to:

  • Significantly reduce or eliminate plastic beverage bottles by December 2020
  • Showcase innovative alternatives to single-use plastic in their facilities

“As leaders in aquatic conservation, aquariums are expected to walk their talk, and that’s exactly what this partnership is meant to do,” said National Aquarium CEO John Racanelli. “We are uniquely qualified to set an example for others—in reducing our plastic footprint, encouraging sustainable operating practices, and inspiring hope in a public that is hungry to be part of the solution. We’re right where we should be.”


About 8.8 million tons of plastic enter the ocean each year worldwide – roughly a dump truck full of plastic every minute of every day. In the United States alone, plastic waste averages more than 200 pounds per person each year.  If nothing changes, by 2025 the flow of plastic into the ocean is expected to double.


But it’s not just the ocean that’s affected: Plastic pollution in lakes and rivers has been found in concentrations as high, or higher, than in oceanic gyres that concentrate plastic trash. Today, there are an estimated one billion plastic particles floating on the surface of Lake Michigan, alone.

The Great Lakes are the largest surface freshwater system on Earth, making up approximately 21 percent of the world’s supply of surface freshwater. Additionally, more than 3,500 species of plants and animals live in the Great Lakes basin.


“Approximately 22 million pounds of plastic flows into the Great Lakes each year — in Lake Michigan alone, it is equivalent to 100 Olympic-sized swimming pools filled with bottles,” said Shedd Aquarium President and CEO Dr. Bridget Coughlin. “Small actions can turn into big solutions, and we believe the 24 million people in the United States who rely on this beautiful, massive resource for their drinking water, jobs, and livelihoods want to be part of that wave of change. We look forward to working together in these commitments.”


The Aquarium Conservation Partnership was first championed by the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California, National Aquarium in Baltimore and Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, in collaboration with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Coalition partners are located in 16 states and include:



This summer, the aquariums will focus on raising awareness and sparking consumer action, and sharing their own success stories to highlight the many ways they’ve cut back on single-use plastic in their operations.

They are working with business partners to showcase innovative alternatives to single-use plastic products, and will collaborate with vendors to accelerate design of new products and materials. They are also finding ways to use less plastic packaging in gift store items, and scaling back on single-use plastic in their cafes and restaurants.


The aquariums are also using their collective voice – at the local, state and national level – to support policies that reduce the flow of plastic pollutants into the ocean, rivers and lakes. Beyond sponsoring clean-up events and education programs, many have backed successful efforts to stem the use of plastic shopping bags and plastic microbeads found in personal care products.



About the Aquarium Conservation Partnership

The Aquarium Conservation Partnership (ACP) is a collaboration of 19 AZA-accredited public aquariums across North America committed to advancing conservation and advocacy of the world’s oceans, lakes and rivers through public action, business leadership and policy changes aimed at addressing major threats to aquatic environments.

DreamWorks Animation’s Favorite Characters Headline All-New Universal Studios Hollywood Attraction, Kicking off with Kung Fu Panda in 2018

It’s an exciting time at Universal Studios Hollywood as the #1 tourist destination in Los Angeles introduces compelling new theme park attractions and noteworthy new Universal CityWalk establishments. Click here to see what’s new.

Below highlights what’s on the horizon in 2018 at Universal Studios Hollywood even as the Entertainment Capital of L.A. continues to unveil dynamic new opportunities for the remainder of 2017:

  • With DreamWorks Animation’s recent acquisition, Universal Studios Hollywood will soon roll out the red carpet for a unique, never before seen DreamWorks Theatre attraction. Opening in 2018, this newly designed venue will play host to a variety of action-packed DreamWorks Animation themed attractions beginning with the multi-sensory adventure inspired by the global blockbuster franchise Kung Fu Panda, and created in partnership with Universal Creative and DreamWorks’ Artists. This new technologically advanced attraction will take guests on a legendary journey that fuses captivating storytelling with state-of-the art projection mapping and LED lighting effects for a highly engaging and immersive, unstoppable-awesome experience.

Meet the lovable DreamWorks characters that will join Universal Studios Hollywood beginning in summer 2017 to entertain guests and pose for memorable photos. Newly introduced characters will include:  Kung Fu Panda’s Po and Tigress; Madagascar’s Alex the Lion, The Penguins—Skipper, Rico, Kowalski and Private, and King Julian; Trolls’ Poppy and Branch; Shrek’s Puss ‘n Boots will join existing characters Shrek and Fiona. These many new entertaining characters will join the vast array of Universal Studios Hollywood’s many other diverse walk-about characters.

  • Hello Kitty, the beloved global pop icon created by the Japanese company Sanrio, joins Universal Studios Hollywood in 2018.  Hello Kitty and her signature red bow, along with more Sanrio friends including My Melody, Keroppi, and Chococat, will be featured on park-exclusive merchandise including accessories, apparel, collectibles, and confectionery. Highlights of the exclusive product offerings include designs incorporating classic Universal titles such as Jaws, ET, Back to the Future and more. Hello Kitty herself will also appear to meet and greet guests.

The following highlights Universal CityWalk Hollywood’s newest introductions:

  • World-renowned filmmaker, Steven Spielberg headlined the grand opening of Universal CityWalk’s multi-million dollar Universal Cinema renovation and shined the spotlight on the state-of-the-art venue as the place to “see movies where movies are made.” Featuring screening room quality theatres, deluxe recliner seats, next generation sight and sound achievements and a trendy Director’s Lounge cocktail bar, the all-new Universal Cinema redefines the movie-going experience, setting it apart as a category leader.

“As a filmmaker, we create movies that invite moviegoers to enter other worlds, even if it’s just for a couple of hours. In the best case scenario, the movie-going experience and its venue are on par with the movie that you came to enjoy. Universal Cinema defines advancement and technology with this incredible new movie theatre. I am happy to be here at Universal CityWalk to join the official opening of the Universal Cinema, where movie-goers have a rare opportunity to see movies at the very place where movies are made.”

—Steven Spielberg, filmmaker

  • Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band took center stage performing at the grand opening of Universal CityWalk Hollywood’s newest dining experience,Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville. The first-ever Los Angeles-based location invites guests to escape the everyday and dine within a casual seaside retreat environment amid palm trees, thatched enclaves, island music and surfboard tables. The venue’s expansive 5 O’Clock Somewhere Bar features such hand-crafted cocktails and signature margaritas as the Who’s to Blame® Margarita or the 5 O’Clock Somewhere boat drink while live music and entertainment complement the dining experience featuring such signature dishes as LandShark Lager Fish & Chips, Jimmy’s Jammin’ Jambalaya ®, Volcano Nachos or a Cheeseburger in Paradise ®.
  • Voodoo Doughnut casts a spell on Universal CityWalk Hollywood with its decadent and eclectic palate-pleasing pastry creations that range from Bacon Maple Bar and Oh Captain, My Captain to Grape Ape, Mango Tango and its signature Voodoo Doll doughnuts. This first-ever California location serves up delicious traditional and vegan out-of-this-world sweet and savory treats inspired by its hometown Portland, Oregon location.
  • Inspired by celebrated restaurant Meizhou Dongpo and its renowned and innovative owners, Chef Mr. Wang and his wife Mrs. Liang, Dongpo Kitchen serves authentic Sichuan cuisine in the first-ever U.S. casual dining concept exclusive to Universal CityWalk Hollywood. Offering both indoor and al fresco dining, the CityWalk restaurant caters to  Southern Californians and guests visiting from around the globe with a variety of tantalizing signature dishes, from Dongpo fried noodles, roasted duck salad, spicy chicken to specialty beverages such as dragon well green tea and roasted oolong milk tea.

Credit: Universal Studios Hollywood™ is The Entertainment Capital of L.A. and includes a full-day, movie-based theme park and Studio Tour. As a leading global entertainment destination, Universal Studios Hollywood delivers highly themed immersive lands that translate to real-life interpretations of iconic movie and television shows. Recent additions include “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter TM” which features a bustling Hogsmeade village and such critically-acclaimed rides as “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey” and Flight of the Hippogriff™, Universal Studios Hollywood’s first outdoor rollercoaster, as well the all-new “The Walking Dead” daytime attraction.  Other immersive lands include “Despicable Me Minion Mayhem” and “Super Silly Fun Land” as well as “Springfield,” hometown of America’s favorite TV family, located adjacent to the award-winning “The Simpsons RideTM”. The world-renowned Studio Tour is Universal Studios Hollywood’s flagship attraction, inviting guests behind-the-scenes of the world’s biggest and busiest movie and television studio where they can also experience such authentic and immersive thrill rides as “Fast & Furious—Supercharged.”  The destination also features the Universal CityWalk entertainment, shopping and dining complex, including the Universal CityWalk Cinemas and the “5 Towers” state-of-the-art outdoor concert venue.

Go Little Tokyo’s 2nd Annual Delicious Little Tokyo Returns July 21 – 23 Go Little Tokyo’s Weekend of Authentic Culinary Experiences Returns Friday


Go Little Tokyo for a weekend of authentic, delicious food and drinks garnered from the streets of Little Tokyo with the 2nd Annual Delicious Little Tokyo, Friday, July 21 through Sunday, July 23, 2017. Experience culinary demos, food tours, workshops and one-of-kind activities at various Little Tokyo shops and restaurants exclusively available during the Delicious Little Tokyo weekend. Go Little Tokyo invites expert foodies and first time explorers alike to experience diverse cuisines from a plethora of restaurants located in the heart of Los Angeles: Little Tokyo.


Kick-off the weekend festivities with neighborhood social group, Little Tokyo Vibes, at the pre-launch party on Thursday, July 20. Then, sink your teeth into Delicious Little Tokyo weekend at Sake at First Street North, Little Tokyo”, the 11th Annual Sake & Food Tasting Event hosted by the Little Tokyo Service Centeron Friday, July 21, 2017. The event will feature small plates from local neighborhood restaurants and sake, provided by Mutual Trading Co., Inc., while drawing attention to First Street North, a block that is critical to the past, present and future of Little Tokyo.


Following, food aficionados and festival goers will have the unique opportunity to experience special interactive culinary and cultural workshops daily on Friday (7/21) to Sunday (7/23). Learn from Japanese whisky experts on how to concoct the perfect cocktail and have a sip, or two, of your favorite at Little Tokyo’s neighborhood highball bar, Wolf & Crane at the fan-favorite Cocktail Demo. Take a journey through Little Tokyo’s culinary past with a guided walking tour from the Little Tokyo Historical Society and learn about the historical food landmarks found in the neighborhood.


Knit a foodie-themed figure with a beginner’s “Amigurumi” Knitting Workshop presented by Opodz and jam out with U-Space at their beginner’s Ukulele Workshop. Coffee enthusiasts will have the opportunity to get involved with the Latte Art Competition with Café Dulce, and foodies can put their taste buds to the test with Snociety’s Poke and Tea Tasting. Additional activities include a Sushi Making Workshop with Mitsuru Sushi & Grill, a Lunch Box Furoshiki Workshop(traditional Japanese wrapping) by the Little Tokyo Service Center and Bunkado, and a Spam Musubi Workshop with Aloha CaféBaldoria will host a Pizza Making Workshop and Kuragami Florist will teach attendees how to create a beautiful, table centerpiece at their Floral Arrangement Workshop. More workshops, demos, and activations are being announced as Delicious Little Tokyo nears.


To stay up to date on participating venues, specials offers, demo and food tour registrations, parking and more event details visit golittletokyo.com/delicious. Delicious Little Tokyo is brought to you by Go Little Tokyo, a Little Tokyo Community Council (LTCC) run neighborhood marketing campaign created by Community Arts Resources (CARS) and funded by Metro Los Angeles. In collaboration with the Little Tokyo Historical Society (LTHS), Little Tokyo Service Center (LTSC), and Little Tokyo Vibes.

Credit:  Go Little Tokyo.

Whole Foods Market celebrates National Ice Cream Day


July is National Ice Cream month and tomorrow is National Ice Cream Day!

How are you going to celebrate?

On July 16 and in celebration of National Ice cream Day, all Whole Foods Market stores will have a one-day sale on Ben & Jerry’s ice creams, frozen yogurts and non-dairy frozen treat pints. Customers can choose two of any of Ben & Jerry’s euphoric and uniquely flavored pints for just $6.

Ben & Jerry’s is one of my favorites and I quickly ran to Whole Foods Market earlier today to pick up one of my favorites! Today it is on sale for $3.99 but tomorrow will be the 2 for $6 deal!!


This offer is valid on July 16, 2017, while supplies last.


Happy National Ice Cream Day!



Self Disclosure: This is a sponsored post and some form of compensation (products) was received. 

Get ready to slay your back-to-school photos with zulily’s Picture Day contest! Photo tips & tricks

unnamedI know we are still enjoying summer break and all the adventures that come with the season! I know that I am not ready for summer to end. But, sooner than we know it, the entire family will be heading back-to-school (BTS).  To commemorate the BTS season, now live, zulily has kicked off a #zulilyPictureDay contest.

So, what have they launched?

  • All zulily fans are invited to submit their favorite school’s unique story in 100 words or less as to why zulily should outfit their school with back-to-school photos.
  • Nominations are open from July 10-16, 2017 on zulily.com as well as in our app.
  • On August 11, 2017, zulily will identify the eight lucky finalists and launch an interactive Facebook Live series highlighting each entrant’s unique school story. During the series, viewers have a chance to cast their vote and help select the winning entrant and school.
  • The nominator with the winning entry will receive a $500 shopping credit on zulily.com.
  • And, the winning school of which the entry is about will receive a zulily Studio team visit, during which professional photographers will bring to life what we do every day! Plus a few surprises for students & teachers!
  • A special gift for entering #zulilyPictureDay is that for every person who submits a nomination, you’ll receive a special $10 off on $75+ purchase during this limited time.

Here are zulily’s Tips & Tricks for Capturing the Perfect First-Day-of-School Photo & More! Thank you to Jana Krinsky, Head Editorial Studio Manager, zulily.

The first day of school is as exciting for parents as it is for kids. It’s the time of year when social media newsfeeds are filled with eager smiles, adorable front porch shots and uniquely styled back-to-school ensembles!


zulily’s studio department features 310 in-house photographers, stylists, make-up artists, photo editors and copywriters, all working to create custom creative imagery designed to accompany our fresh, daily assortment of 100 events (aka sales!). They’re photographing nearly 100 kids per week!  And, when we photograph children’s merchandise, we engage our community and we photograph children without modeling experience, be it an employee or customer’s daughter or son, toddler, baby, etc. so you can imagine all of the tips & tricks our teams know from interacting daily with families and children to capture the zulily spirit.

This year, we want to help YOU take the best first-day-back photos with our studio team’s photography tips & tricks.

Kindergarten to 4th Grade


  • Give your memories some context. Try posing them in a familiar setting with elements that define that time in your child’s life. Use the photo as a way to tell a story to their future selves.


  • Squish the Bug! Sometimes it’s hard for kids to understand why standing in one place for a photo is important. In our studio, we draw a little bug on a piece of masking tape and place that tape precisely where we want the child to stand. When the time comes, we don’t demand the kid stands still, we just play a game! “Can you jump on the bug?”  “Can you squish him?” Every time the model starts to wander off we say “jump back to the bug,” “Quick! Squish him before he gets away!”



  • Simon Says. Games are the best way to keep your kids involved and present during your photoshoot. Rather than ordering them to stand up straight and smile, play a game of Simon Says! Mix in fun commands with your desired poses so as not to give away your new trick… “Simon says put your hands in your pocket!”


Tips for Photographing Tweens


  • Get them moving. Whether it’s a hair flip, throwing a football or flipping through a notebook, movement can capture the perfect candid (and what is more Instagram-worthy than that?)


  • Give them something to do. A task. An Act. Three steps. Often times, standing still and smiling can get really old, really quick. For a more entertaining, enjoyable photoshoot introduce some sort of task and the photos will come effortlessly.


  • Big laughs, close crops. More than capturing a moment, we want our pictures to capture the essence of our subject’s personality. Laughter is a beautiful way to bring out those genuine features and we recommend getting up close so you don’t miss a thing!


Self Disclosure: This is a sponsored post and some form of compensation was received. Photo, info, and Tips were provided. 



How to throw the perfect summer party

The sun is out, you have two weeks’ vacation leave to play with, and the urge to throw an awesome party for your family and friends is growing and growing. So you think, heck why not, let’s throw one.

Suddenly though, the doubt creeps in. What if nobody comes? What if the food isn’t perfect? What if the weather isn’t great? If we listened to all these ‘what if’ questions, we’d never get anything done.

Well to help you out a little we’ve put together a quick guide on throwing the best summer party. Let’s ensure your party rocks so much that nobody will want to go home.

Get those invitations out

The one thing that everybody needs is notice. With people being busier today more than ever, most plan their schedules months in advance. To avoid the ‘oh, we’re busy that weekend’ excuse, it’s best to make the event a little more formal by setting a firm date.

Now you could go to the store and buy a load of invitations, but why not make your event extra special by adding a little personal touch? Find a hilarious photo of you and your closest friends, and use the internet to create a card, which you can then send off as an invitation. This is a sure way to get RSVPs, or at the very least, a laugh or two.

Take the party outside

You’re throwing a summer party – it’s going to be hot! Don’t have everybody cooped up inside your home. Let your guests roam free by taking the party to the garden. Sure, you might be worried about people messing up your flowers or plants, but most people are respectful enough, so let your hair down for one day. If needs be, just remind guests not to tread in certain areas – that should be enough.

One of the benefits of partying in the sun is that cocktails taste so much better. There is a huge range of summer cocktails out there, so check out the many guides and get practicing. Generally, fruity drinks go down well such as sangria, daiquiris and margaritas.

Prepare mouth-watering food

If there’s one thing that any guest will comment on a few days after the party, it’s the food. After all, it is one of the main things that most people look forward to, aside from the drinks.

By throwing a summer party outside, it is almost always presumed that there’s going to be a BBQ. Frankly, it’s a cheap way to feed people – all you need to do is throw together a salad, buy the burgers, sausages and buns and you’ve got a quick and easy way to settle rumbling stomachs.

Of course, if you want to go all-out, bring out the gas BBQ and throw on those ribs, chicken breasts, pork loins and anything else you can think of. It’s not just about the meat though – remember to sauce up. Sticky Memphis or Texas barbecue sauce, or even the Coca-Cola variety, will add a whole new dimension to any meats you’re rustling up.

Of course, you’ll have to account for any vegetarians showing up – if you’re struggling check out this cool guide on how to prepare vegetarian dishes for your barbecue.

OC PARKS PRESENTS SUNSET CINEMA 12 free movie screenings at OC Parks June 3 – August 18

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The County of Orange and OC Parks are pleased to present the first Sunset Cinema film series, featuring 12 free movies at Carbon Canyon Regional Park, Craig Regional Park, Salt Creek Beach, Mason Regional Park, Laguna Niguel Regional Park, and Yorba Regional Park. Sunset Cinema will screen recent favorite and popular classic films June 3 – August 18 around sunset.


Sunset Cinema then moves to Mason Regional Park in Irvine and OC Parks invites families to take a virtual trip across the ocean to Ancient Polynesia with Moana on Friday, July 14. Then invite all your friends on Friday, July 21 to catch the beloved film, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off at Mason Regional Park.

Gather the family for the screening of Finding Dory at Laguna Niguel Regional Park on Friday, July 28Friday, August 4 welcomes the 80s hit E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial at Laguna Niguel Regional Park.

OC Parks Sunset Cinema series continues at Yorba Regional Park in Anaheim with the animated tale of a misfit ant and his circus troupe of friends in A Bug’s Life on Friday, August 11Wrap up the summer with family and friends on August 18 at Yorba Regional Park with the 1993 American coming-of-age film, The Sandlot.

“We are excited to invite the community to OC Parks Sunset Cinema,” Michelle Steel, Chairwoman of the Orange County Board of Supervisors, said. “These free events welcome locals and visitors alike to gather outside and enjoy their favorite films under the summer sky.”

Pack a picnic, blankets, and beach chairs and head to OC Parks Sunset Cinema and enjoy recent popular flicks and introduce the young ones in your life to beloved classics. All movies are free to attend, with free parking beginning at 6 p.m. and show times starting around 8 p.m. after the sun has set. Food trucks will be serving on-site. For more information visit ocparks.com.

Mason Regional Park
Location: 18712 University Drive, Irvine, CA 92612
Contact: (949) 923-2220masonpark@ocparks.com
Date: Friday, July 14
Movie: Moana (PG)
Date: Friday, July 21
Movie: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (PG-13)

Laguna Niguel Regional Park
Location: 28241 La Paz Road, Laguna Niguel, CA 92677
Contact: (949) 923-2240lagunaniguel@ocparks.com
Date: Friday, July 28
Movie: Finding Dory (PG)
Date: Friday, August 4
Movie: E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (PG)

Yorba Regional Park
Location: 7600 E. La Palma, Anaheim, CA 92807
Contact: (714)973-6838, yorbapark@ocparks.com
Date: Friday, August 11
Movie: A Bug’s Life (PG)
Date: Friday, August 18
Movie: The Sandlot (PG)
Credit: OC Parks.

Jelly of the Month Club & Flashback Heart Attack Return to Mason Park 7/6 & 7/13

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Fan favorite, Jelly of the Month Club, will be opening tomorrow’s concert at 6pm – the band was a hit at Babychella in March and we’re so excited to have them back at Mason Park! They’re sure to get your kiddos on their feet and groovin’ to the music.
Next Thursday, July 13 Journey Tribute band, Open Arms, and ’80s cover band, Flashback Heart Attack will play the best hits of the era.
More info:
Credit: OC Parks Summer Concert Series.