Go See “Teen Titans Go to the Movies”

Fun and at times irreverent, “Teen Titans Go to the Movies,” is a cute film that’s appealing to kids and adults.

I attended the preview with my sons and they loved this film.

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The premise is easy to understand: Robin is tired of just being seen as Batman’s sidekick. He wants to star in movies and save the day like all the Justice League superheroes he sees. Robin, paired up with his Teen Titan crew, struggles to be taken seriously in his life and on screen.

Robin wants the movie director, voiced by Kristen Bell to give him a shot as a movie star. She’s reluctant to do so unless the Boy Wonder can have a great adversary. He finds that rival in Slade, played by Will Arnett, who is also “Teen Titans Go to the Movies” producer.

Slade tries to manipulate Robin and the Teen Titans with mind games. But they see beyond his gimmicks. The theme resonates with kids and parents: you don’t have to be a superhero, you just have to be yourself.

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“Teen Titans Go to the Movies” was full of potty humor, fart jokes and booty shaking. The jokes are targeted to kids but much of the humor gets laughs from adults too.

The soundtrack is filled with many great 80’s hits, including Huey Lewis’ “Back in Time.” There’s also an “Upbeat Inspirational Song About Life” by Michael Bolton, which is cheesy, silly and perfect all at the same time.

Teen Titans Go to the Movie,” rated PG, opens Friday, July 27.

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Conan Live at Comic-Con

I had so much fun attending a taping of the Conan show at The Spreckels Theatre during Comic Con.

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Conan tapes four shows in San Diego every July during Comic Con.

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My husband I attended Conan’s final Comic Con-themed episode for this year.

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The episode we watched featured the cast of  the upcoming “Aquaman” movie. The taping last almost an hour an a half.

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What a fun experience!

I’ve watched Conan on TV for years – I love his self-deprecating humor and he didn’t disappoint in-person! Can’t wait for next year’s Conan visit to Comic Con and San Diego.

 

It’s Panda-monium!

Last week my sons and I got a sneak peak at “Pandas,” an IMAX movie that opens this weekend.

This documentary, which took three years to shoot, has lots of appeal. It’s educational – showing viewers the challenges pandas face in the world in terms of breeding, handling tough terrain and overall survival. Pandas are an endangered species around the world, mostly due to humans developing properties on their land, and the lack of bamboo, their primary food source.

“Pandas” grabs your heart too. It’s hard not to love these cuddling looking bears that we typically only see at the zoo.

When we first meet these cute pandas, they’re newborns, adorable and looking like stuffed animals. We see them cooing as babies and then we watch them – one panda in particular, “Qian Qian,” pronounced Chen Chen – grow up on camera and learn to navigate the world.

The pandas are born at the Chengdu Panda Base in China, a breeding center which has helped breed over 200 baby pandas. In the movie, the scientists interact with the pandas and they explain how they’re tracking the animals and helping them thrive in the wild.

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The movie took three years to shoot. The Chengdu Panda Base, which has helped over 200 baby pandas born during her tenure. Viewers meet the  scientists interacting with the pandas and they explain how they’re tracking the animals and helping them thrive in the wild.

We loved the movie – so fun and interesting. It’s narrated by Kristen Bell – a familiar voice for kids, who recognize her from “Frozen.”

Fun Fact: Giant pandas eat up to 30 pounds of bamboo every day!

We saw the IMAX film at Fleet Science Center in their Heikoff Giant Dome Theater, which has 76-foot wraparound movie screen and 16,000 watts of digital surround sound. Everything looks and feels so close. That experience makes you feel like you’re sitting across from the pandas in the wild in China.

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My sons and I enjoyed playing with the Panda props at Fleet Science Center too!

Fun Fact: Pandas sleep 10 to 16 hours a day! That bamboo they eat isn’t very nutritious and lacks protein, so they don’t have much energy.

“Pandas,” is rated G and opened April 6, 2018. Get tickets.

Check out the trailer below:

Movie Night: “Sherlock Gnomes”

This week is Spring Break in our house and a movie night is a welcome opportunity for fun.

Movie Night: "Sherlock Gnomes"

Last night, my sons and I got to attend a complimentary preview screening of the new animated kids’ movie, “Sherlock Gnomes.” The movie comes out today and it’s an entertaining film for the whole family.

Here’s the premise: garden gnomes in London are disappearing. Detective Sherlock Gnomes and his sidekick, Watson, along with two gnomes named, Gnomeo and Juliet, are searching for clues to find missing garden gnomes.

Among the highlights:

  • Johnny Depp portrays Sherlock Gnomes. He plays the character with a mix of snark and sophistication and I loved it.

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  • The movie references both “Sherlock Holmes” and “Romeo and Juliet.” My 9-year-old liked how characters from two stories could share the screen. I agree – a nice touch and it familiarizes kids with more literature and characters.

 

  • I really liked how every time Sherlock is thinking about a clue, the screen swirls into a black and white actively-animated dream-like sequence. For example, in one scene, he’s looking at a playing card with a black “9” and a scuff in the corner of the number. He’s trying to remember where he’s seen that “9” and that scuff before. So, in his daydream, we see lots of “9” – the number is in his bed, on an escalator, etc. He’s processing the information and so are we! This daydream is a lovely way of showing kids (and adults) how the brain processes information.

 

  • The movie features lots of Elton John songs and – spoiler alert – in one scene early on in the film, there’s a garden gnome that very much resembles the “Tiny Dancer” singer. At the end credits, I realized Elton John is one of the executive producers of the movie. His music is timeless and I’m happy this is a way to introduce his music to a new generation.

Sherlock Gnomes is rated PG and runs 86 minutes.

Loving LUZIA! Cirque du Soleil’s LUZIA: A Waking Dream of Mexico

Recently my boys and I got a complimentary preview of Cirque du Soleil’s LUZIA: A Waking Dream of Mexico, at the OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa.

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Like all Cirque shows, LUZIA is a treat for the senses. There are multiple performers from trapeze artists to high climbers to a contortionist. This show is told with music, movement, and even, water!

LUZIA’s look and feel blends old-world Mexico with modern times, as well as some mythical animals and imagery. The music is lovely and varies throughout the show to match the different scenes.

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The colorful backdrop mirrors the show’s theme: a sensory treat as if you’re dreaming in Mexico, where the big stars are the “luz” meaning light and the “lluvia” or rain.

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As if stunning choreography and aerobatics weren’t enough, LUZIA ups the ante. That’s because throughout the show, water is integrated into the acts. It’s impressive to watch as an aerialist – suspended from a trapeze – twist and turn in the middle of this “rain.”

Water also plays a comical role, with the gimmick being the lead character is thirsty throughout the show. He never seems to have water and when he finds it, it’s elusive to catch. My kids and I, as well as everyone in attendance, giggled as the character struggled to get a sip throughout the show.

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LUZIA is consistently entertaining.

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There’s suspense and excitement in many acts showcasing balancing, hoop diving and even stunts while moving on treadmills. Check out the juggling…

Watch below for even more nerves and fun as performers jump from swing to swing!

The show runs through March 25. Check it out. It’s fun for the whole family.

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Valentine’s Day Date Tips for Couples & Families

Valentine’s Day is coming up! Stumped on what to do? I’ve got some great ideas on how to spend Valentine’s Day with your sweetheart.

Since I’m a writer for San Diego Family Magazine, I had the opportunity today to share some Valentine’s Day date tips for couples and families with Renee Nelson at ABC 10News during a FacebookLive. We talked about specific places to go in San Diego; things to do on a budget and to splurge; ways to keep love sizzling, and more.

Get more Valentine’s Day ideas in the February issue of San Diego Family Magazine, which is available for free at Albertsons, Ralphs, Party City and local libraries, as well as online.

Here are some behind the scenes photos from the shoot.

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With Renee Nelson, 10News reporter
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L-R Michelle Hancock, Marketing Director for San Diego Family Magazine; San Diego Family Magazine writer Kristen Castillo, and 10News reporter Renee Nelson.
February issue of San Diego Family Magazine
February issue of San Diego Family Magazine
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With 10News reporter Renee Nelson

Put a Ring On It!

As a wedding editor and writer, I’m always following wedding trends. One of those trends is wedding jewelry.

There’s nothing traditional about wedding rings these days.  Like never before, there are more colors, styles and metal choices for women and men.

According to The Knot, in 2016, couples said they spent over $6000 on engagement rings. There’s another jewelry expense – wedding rings for both spouses, which can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars.

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The next consideration is style. Gold, silver, titanium, tungsten and more metals, as well as colors and looks like simple bands, beveled designs and adding diamonds of other stones.

IMG_2157While brides often know what they want their wedding band to look like, men can be frustrated by the process. And even fashionable guys, can have a tough time finding a ring that fits their personal style.

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That’s why I was eager to check out Manly Bands, which promise to fit different personalities and budgets, all while being sophisticated.

Manly Bands sent me a few complimentary bands: The Gentleman, (below) a polished band made with tungsten carbide, 18K rose gold plated; and The Surfer, a modern ring made with tungsten carbide featuring dark Koa wood and genuine turquoise.

My husband tried both rings and modeled them. His fave? The Surfer (below) for its bold color and how it popped against his skin tone. This ring is very hip and a fit for his lifestyle. After all, my husband is a California native.

The rings, available in sizes five to 17, are all under $200. Wedding or not, some of these rings (like The Surfer my husband likes) can be worn as an everyday accessory.

Falling in Love With Fall Fashion

Ready for fall? Now’s the time to get your autumn wardrobe together.

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I recently had the opportunity to attend a few Neiman Marcus Fall fashion shows at Fashion Valley Mall in San Diego. This season has lots of stylish trends that are easy to incorporate into your attire. Here’s what to expect for ladies:

 Red is the “it” color this fall.

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All shades of red are in vogue but bold shades and burgundies are particularly hot.

The 90’s are back! “This is the look of the season,” says Alex Yanez, stylist for Neiman Marcus, who explains the 90’s style of graphic makeup including heavy eyeliner is in vogue again.

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Many fall styles are punk and grunge inspired, blending feminine and masculine looks. Yanez describes this style as having a “Courtney Love 90’s feel.”

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Bulky boots are making a return too. One black pair featured in the fashion show had a floral pattern, showcasing that mix of feminine and masculine.

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Suited Up. Modern suiting for women is very sleek and totally inspired by menswear.

Check out Dior’s take on menswear below:

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Covered Legs. Another throwback that’s in fashion this fall? Hosiery. Models wore stylish patterned tights and fishnets with booties and heels. A very polished look!

Cozy up to velvet. This season’s in-demand texture, velvet is smooth and soft. It’s making its mark on jackets, tops and accessories, including shoes and purses. One model demonstrated this trend with a velvet hobo bag. Others showed off velvet pants, paired with velvet shoes.

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Velvet works for night and day. It’s “less seasonal than it has been in the past,” says Yanez.

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Leather jackets can add a little edge to a lot of looks. For example, when paired with a soft dress, a leather jacket can toughen up the attire.

Embellishments. Ruffles and fridge are making their mark on the runway and in real life.  The shows featured ruffled skirts and dresses, as well as fringe and embrodiery on accessories like purses.

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Menswear

Not to ignore the guys, here’s what’s in fashion for men this season:

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Men are rocking red too.

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They’re also looking very seasonally chic in plaid jackets and plaid shirts. Camouflage is also fashionable.

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The velvet trend looks great on guys too. Dark denim, a strong choice for men, pairs well with so many ensembles.

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The big footwear trend for men? Runners, a fashionable and functional shoe.

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What’s fall fashions do you plan to try?

A Marvelous Treat! Checking Out Marvel Universe LIVE! Age of Heroes 

IMG_7279What a fun night! My boys and I were invited to attend media night for Marvel Universe LIVE! Age of Heroes, which was opening night in San Diego at Valley View Casino Center.

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You don’t even have to be a superhero fan to appreciate this performance! The lights, smoke, music and video screens propel this live action show, which lasts nearly two hours.

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Here’s the premise: bad guys, Green Goblin, Loki and Nebula are causing trouble so Doctor Strange and the Guardians of the Galaxy come to the rescue.  That means we got to see all our favorite good guys in action, including Captain America, Spiderman, Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk, Black Panther and Black Widow.

The show’s opening is impressive. The entire arena is in darkness, with stars dotting the crowd. On the stage? A dramatic introduction to all the exciting superheroes you’ll meet during the show.

 

Marvel Universe LIVE! Age of Heroes blends live action dare devil skills like aerial skills, flips, fights, motorcycle stunts with stunning choreography.

 

The video projection sets the scene throughout the show, moving the story from fantastical Savage Land to New York City and Asia and beyond. There’s never a dull moment in this show – kids and adults will be impressed.

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The show runs through this Sunday, August 27. To find out tour dates, locations and buy tickets, go to MarvelUniverseLIVE.com.