Something to Savor: Wedding Keepsake Solution

Wedding planning is a special time, full of personal moments shared between the couple. The relationships is filled with keepsakes like love notes, the menu from a special date and tickets to a movie. Now add in a wedding and bridal keepsakes can include engagement photos, save the date cards and swatches of fabric, as well as tokens of affection as well, including cards, lists and notes taken during wedding planning.

It’s easy to see how a couple’s mementos could easily stack up as clutter, unless properly organized. It’s nice to keep all these mementos together, as souvenirs of the courtship and the planning process.

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One stylish storage solution comes from Savor, manufacturers of keepsake boxes. Their Wedding Edition Keepsake Box features two custom-dyed, cloth-covered “You & Me” and “Us” books that open to store away special wedding objects.

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The five drawers inside are designed to stash wedding-goodies like the ring pillow, dried flowers, the garter and more.

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The keepsake comes with folders, pre-printed labels and stickers to customize the box. The boxes come in two color schemes: blue/peach and slate/cream. Savor sent me the slate colored keepsake to check out and it’s pretty and practical.

What a practical, thoughtful way to commemorate a couple’s love story and wedding day!

Savor also makes keepsake boxes for curating memories of babies and kids. All the colorful boxes can neatly stack on bookshelves as memories to be treasured.

 

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:

Nailed It! Spring Manicure Time

I love a pretty manicure! I almost always wear nail polish and in a variety of colors. I like everything from soft pinks and sexy reds to bold blues and vibrant oranges, and everything in between.

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This spring I’m loving pastels. That’s why I was eager to try the “Bridal Bliss” collection from Zoya. They sent me the complimentary set of polishes, which are available in so many sweet and subtle shades, ranging from creams like “Chantal” to a classic pink named “Bella.”

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I couldn’t decide which polish to use first so I tried something new – I created a mix and match manicure. I used five different shades, one for each finger and repeated the look on both hands.

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For my thumb, I used “McKenna,” a taupe shade; for the index finder, “Rue” a mauve shade; “Abby,” a lavender for my middle finger; a pastel “Blu” for my ring finger; and “Leia,” an opal-toned white/pink for my pinky.

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I love the colors and I’m really happy with this look! Plus, the mani has staying power.  I’ve been typing, doing dishes and running errands and the polish has held up well.

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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Staying Organized

I’m old school about keeping track of information. I handwrite notes, keep to-do lists and organize my life with a calendar.

Sure, I track things in my smartphone – from business meetings and appointments to events, date nights and family activities – but I also like having a hardcopy of my schedule.

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I was pretty excited to check out Day Designer, a strategic planner and daily agenda. They sent me a complimentary 2018 planner and I’m loving it.

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First of all, it’s a hardcover, spiral book – nothing flimsy about this calendar! Plus, it has a durable pocket in the front, which is ideal for stashing those post-it notes and do-lists I make.

Here’s what else I love about this planner – there’s a two-page calendar for every month, as well as individual pages for each day.

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On the daily pages, there are prompts to keep me focused: “Today’s Top Three,” “Notes,” and “Daily Gratitude,” as well as “To-Do” and “Don’t Forget.”

IMG_8002There are daily inspirational quotes too, like, Samuel Johnson’s, ”Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance,” and the proverb, “It is better to begin in the evening than not at all.”

Do you keep a hardcopy planner or calendar?

Must-Have Accessory: Fashionable & Functional Hairtie Bracelets

If you have long hair, you know the importance of having a ponytail holder at the ready. Often times that means keeping hair elastics in your pocket, your purse or on your wrist.

Wearing a ponytail holder on your wrist can pinch and that hurts, which is why I’m intrigued about an inventive product: hairband bracelets from Maria Shireen.

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The concept is simple and stylish – wear a bracelet that has a “channel” to hold the hair tie in place. The silver or gold bracelet is fashionable and functional. They even have plastic ones for kids and teens!

I was excited to try one out. Since I frequently write about weddings, Maria Shireen’s team sent me a bracelet from their wedding collection. It’s silver and comes with a baby blue hair tie. I can picture brides and bridesmaids wearing these bracelets throughout wedding planning and all the celebrations, including the reception and after parties.

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I’ve been enjoying wearing the bracelet which is cute and comfortable. Best of all, finding my hair tie to pull my hair back onto a ponytail is easier than ever!

Think about it: you’ll always have your ponytail holder nearby. No more searching the house, office or your bag for a hairtie because you’ll have one ready-to-go on your bracelet.

The bracelet looks pretty on its own and can be worn separate from the hairtie. When worn together, it’s hard to tell you’re rocking a ponytail with your bracelet.

Times of San Diego article sources Kristen Castillo, San Diego Press Club President

Thank you Times of San Diego​ for including me in your article about the recent sale of the The San Diego Union-Tribune​ and Los Angeles Times​.

Here’s an excerpt:

For Kristen Castillo, 2018 president of the San Diego Press Club, the sale represented another change in the local media landscape. “We are hopeful this sale protects the integrity of news while also supporting our fellow journalists,” she said.

I am honored to serve as President of the San Diego Press Club.

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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