Read one of my latest Mediaplanet articles to catch up with Latina actress and entrepreneur Naya Rivera.
Recently website, SDVoyager reached out asking me to share my advice in one of their columns. Here’s the question:
Here’s my response:
Don’t give up. It gets better but it might take time. In the face of a challenge, make the best of the situation; always take care of yourself; and lean on loved ones for support.
I would want that person to not give up hope. What would your advice be?
Yay! It’s the weekend. Who’s ready for some fun?
September is here and I know my husband is excited for the kickoff of the football season. Whether you’re tailgating or watching the game at home, you definitely want to have good snacks.
Shout out to Dickey’s Barbecue Pit who invited me to sample their new game day eats.
My husband and I tried their new pit-smoked wings and fall off the bone ribs. They were yummy! I liked that you could try a variety of sauces, including my faves, classic barbecue and sweet barbecue. They also have Carolina barbecue, buffalo, hot buffalo, Texas hot, a rib rub and a new lemon pepper rub.
Plus, these wings, which are pit-smoked 12 hours at 225 degrees, are healthier than traditional breaded wings. Dickey’s hosted us for the wings and ribs*. We bought drinks and yummy sides, like waffle fries and macaroni and cheese.
All of the food was really tasty – can’t believe this was our first time trying Dickey’s Barbeque. We’ll definitely get it again for a meal and our next gameday!
*I was not paid for this post.
Ready for a fun movie? The Angry Birds Movie 2 opened this week and it’s a cute summer flick with humor, a great soundtrack and a new inspiring character. My kids and I got a sneak peek and we loved it!
Even if you didn’t see the first Angry Birds movie, you’ll quickly catch up to meet the crew. Last time the angry birds, guided by Red who’s played by Jason Sudeikis, battled the green piggies led by Leonard, who’s voiced by Bill Hader.
This time they have to join forces to take on a new nemesis – Eagle Island’s Zeta, played by Leslie Jones. Zeta is fed up living in frozen conditions so she decides she’s going to take over Bird and Piggy Islands for her own paradise. She blasts ice bombs at the birds and pigs but instead of surrendering, the once-enemies, band together to fight for their homes.
Red wants to be the hero but instead it’s Silver, voiced by Rachel Bloom, who has all the good insights, calm demeanor and scientific know-how.
Silver is cool under pressure and shows being smart is awesome. She’s girl power through and through. In the end, Red isn’t threatened by her. Instead they work together, making a great team.
Kids and adults will enjoy Angry Birds Movie 2 – it’s lighthearted but it still has lots of heart and some nice lessons too.
Packed with lively music, precise choreography and attention to detail, Disney’s “Aladdin” (in theaters May 24) is pure fun. I attended a media preview and was wowed by this vibrant and energetic musical.
The storyline is easy to follow: “street rat” Aladdin has to steal to survive; he doesn’t recognize Princess Jasmine, the Sultan’s daughter, when he meets her in the marketplace and she’s dressed as a commoner. He steals her bracelet and then rescues her when she gets in trouble with a market vendor.
Aladdin follows her home and meets Jafar, played by Marwan Kenzari, the Sultan’s trusted advisor. Jafar, who wants to rule and has a plan to overthrow the Sultan, convinces Aladdin to locate a magic oil lamp from a dangerous cave. In return, Jafar says he’ll help Aladdin. But that’s not the case.
Aladdin dusts off the lamp and unknowingly summons Genie, (played by Will Smith) who promises Aladdin three wishes.
Genie wants to be a prince to capture the heart of Jasmine, who by law, can only marry a prince. The story plays out in exciting and adventurous fashion.
This new “Aladdin” will surely draw comparisons to the 1992 animated version which is a beloved classic film. My take? On its own merit, this movie is a charmer. The animated version and this new “Aladdin” are two separate movies, both based on a Middle Eastern folktale, “One Thousand and One Arabian Nights.”
I was impressed by the performances, especially the stars: Mena Massoud, who plays Aladdin; Naomi Scott, who portrays Princess Jasmine; and Smith, who doesn’t disappoint as Genie.
Comedian Robin Williams was hysterical as the animated Genie in the animated film, so no doubt it’s a tough role for Smith to step into. He nails the multifaceted performance. Throughout the movie, he’s charismatic – singing, dancing and storytelling in big ways. When we first meet Genie, he’s larger than life and engaging; later he’s theover-the-top tailor who transform Aladdin in Prince Ali; and then we see how charming he is as the suitor for Princess Jasmine’s handmaiden, Dalia, played by Nasim Pedrad. Along the way, he becomes Aladdin’s friend too.
Massoud and Scott have great chemistry, singing and dancing throughout the movie as well. We’ll likely see more of both actors in other projects. Their star power is evident.
The common theme is freedom. Aladdin wants freedom from his life as a street rat; Jasmine wants freedom to be herself, leave the palace and someday lead the people of Agrabah; and Genie wants freedom from living in a bottle and serving whichever master picks up the lamp.
I found “Aladdin,” directed by Guy Ritchie, to be a worthy remake. I can like both the original animated blockbuster and this new version. Let me know what you think.
Summer camp season is fast approaching! There’s a lot to consider – what type of camp is best for your budget, your child’s interests and the family’s schedule?
Before you make a camp decision, check out the video I made with San Diego Family Magazine in which I share tips on how you can make sure you’re choosing the best camp for your child.
Next, check out the magazine’s summer camp guide.
I love watching a movie under the stars! 🎥
I really enjoyed the media preview of Rooftop Cinema Club, a rooftop “theatre” atop of the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego. It’s such a pretty setup and the views are amazing.
I got to watch a classic movie, “Grease,” a very fun sing-along! The set-up includes snuggling under the stars in comfortable deck chairs (blankets are so cozy!) and watching the movie while listening with wireless headphones.
Rooftop cinema season kicks off this week and continues throughout the summer.
The movies are always iconic films that people know and love. Upcoming shows include Top Gun, Dirty Dancing, Bohemian Rhapsody and The Greatest Showman, among others.
In Disney-fashion, the new version of “Dumbo” is shot well, has great sound and graphics. Directed by Tim Burton, the film is dark and moody.
There are many nods to the 1941 original Dumbo, which was animated. For example, in one of the early scenes, we see a stork fly over the train car signifying that Mrs. Jumbo has given birth to Dumbo, just like in the classic. Also, in the beginning and again at the end, we see some white mice, a tribute to Timothy Q. Mouse, the small white mouse that helps Dumbo soar in the animated original.
The premise of the film is similar to the original: a baby elephant with oversized ears is the joke of traveling circus. When the kids discover Dumbo can fly, they make him an instant success at the circus.
Soon, others want to cash in on Dumbo’s success. Enter over-the-top entrepreneur V.A. Vandevere, played by Michael Keaton, who makes Dumbo the star of his theme park, Dreamland. Aerial artist Colette Marchant portrayed by Eva Green plays Dumbo’s co-star as they fly around Dreamland. But the park isn’t as dreamy as it seems.
The themes of this movie are relatable. First, there’s the strong bond between parent and child as exhibited between Dumbo and his mother. It’s emotional when Mrs. Jumbo and Dumbo are separated.
The circus owner, Danny DeVito who’s well cast as Max Medici, decides to sell Mrs. Jumbo once he sees her baby has big ears. Devito has the perfect persona, attitude and energy for the role.
This theme plays out with the human characters, as well. Children Milly, played by Nico Parker and Joe, played by Finley Hobbins reunite with their father, Holt Farrier, portrayed by Colin Farrell, who has just returned home from war and is missing an arm. The character’s wife has died while he was deployed.
The next message is about the importance of respecting and taking care of animals. For example, a circus worker who does not respect Mrs. Jumbo, suffers a dramatic fate. Karma perhaps for not respecting the pachyderm.
I liked the film but I did have a problem with how they handled time periods. There are many anachronistic things that trouble me. For example, in the beginning of the film, we’re told the timeframe is 1919 but then Dreamland seems far too advanced for that time period. And the ringleader is voiced by the “Let’s Get Ready to Rumble” guy who announced, “Let’s Get Ready for Dumbo.”
Overall, the film was enjoyable and a pretty nice adaptation from the animated classic Disney fans have loved for years. The movie opens today – March 29, 2019.
Everything is awesome again…or is it?
Last week my family and I got a sneak peek of “The LEGO® Movie 2: The Second Part,” and it didn’t disappoint. The movie opens this weekend and kids and adults will enjoy catching up with the animated crew.
Emmet, Lucy, Batman (voiced by Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks and Will Arnett, respectively) and the Lego friends are back but this time they have a new foe: LEGO DUPLO® invaders from outer space, who seem to be on a mission to ruin everything we know and love about Bricksburg.
Five years ago, we met the team that worked together to make everything awesome but now that awesomeness is in jeopardy. There are new characters (including a character voiced by Tiffany Haddish, who’s constantly morphing into new looks) and yes, new songs that definitely will get stuck in your head.
There’s a big theme: all of the characters want one thing – not to get relegated to the bin or storage, where the fun and awesomeness would cease. The whole family will enjoy watching as new and old LEGO friends work together to prevent that sad fate.
“The LEGO Movie 2” brings out many emotions: it’s silly and sentimental; fun and imaginative; and it makes kids and adults feel wistful about growing up.
These characters definitely have more stories to tell. I have a feeling there will be a third LEGO movie.