I love country music and was elated to be invited to attend a Private Frontier Communications Brad Paisley concert last week. The Fall weather in Southern California never lets us down, so I put on my best Fall concert outfit (a.k.a. jeans and a tank top), my husband put on his cowboy boots, and we were off!When we arrived at Stub Hub Center in Carson, California, we were ready for some good old-fashioned country music fun. This private concert was one of Brad Paisley’s stops while he was out on his “Country Nation College Tour“. Frontier Communications sponsored the concerts on bringing the experience to fans across the country, as a way to show appreciation to its customers.Before the concert started, we spent time in the Fan Appreciation Zone. In addition to a relaxing outdoor lounge area for us to relax in there were also several different stations for us to play at including a Plinko game, a bean bag toss game, “Design Your Own Trucker Hat”, and a fun Fan Appreciation Photo Booth, where photos were instantly emailed to you for social sharing. It so fun to hang with our group over there.I loved the venue because it was held in an intimate location in the Tennis Theater, which is an open-air amphitheater. The warm Southern California weather didn’t even leave us wishing for a jacket that night.I’d never seen Brad Paisley in concert and let me just say that he was amazing! It’s so fun to sing along with him and the venue was so small that you could practically see his face. Actually, you could see it on the big screens surrounding the stage! I also loved all of the videos playing as he performed on the surrounding big screens. The Brad Paisley South Park footage was priceless! He even looks adorable when he’s animated! Have you seen Brad Paisley in concert before? If not, he’s a must see! For more information about Brad Paisley’s latest tour dates, go here. Get Insider Access by following Frontier SoCal on Instagram or join in on the conversation by following #FrontierSoCal.
I don’t even know where to begin with DreamWorks Animations’s Trolls! I watched the trailer a few dozen times when it was released, and have been giddy about ever since! When I received a very special opportunity to attend an advanced screening and a press junket with some of the cast of Trolls, I walked around asking my friends to pinch me! I think my family was equally excited to see it early! Can you tell we’re big movie fans in our home?
Have you watched the trailer yet?
The Story of Trolls
In my opinion, Trolls is like the happiest story about happiness there ever was! It’s from the creators of Shrek and is a clever, adorable, hilarious family film about the search for happiness and just how far some will go to get it. Here’s a synopsis:
This hilarious film transports audiences to a colorful, wondrous world populated by the overly optimistic Trolls, who have a constant dance in their step and a song on their lips, and the comically pessimistic Bergens, who are only happy when they have trolls in their stomachs.
After the Bergens invade Troll Village, Poppy (Kendrick), the happiest Troll ever born, and the overly-cautious curmudgeonly Branch (Timberlake) set off on a journey to rescue her friends. Together, this mismatched duo embarks on a rescue mission full of adventure and mishaps – trying to tolerate each other long enough to get the job done.Once I screened Trolls, I found that I’d completely fallen in love with it! By the time I walked out of the theater, I felt so happy, colorful, invincible, empowered, and positive. Part of my empowerment may have come from the adorable Trolls wigs they gave us! 1. It features an all-star cast.
I will fully admit it’s a little difficult to speak calmly about the cast when it features JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE and ANNA KENDRICK! Can it get any better than that? Trolls also stars Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Russell Brand, Zooey Deschanel, Jeffrey Tambor, Christine Baranski, James Corden, Kunal Nayyar, Ron Funches, Icona Pop, Quvenzhané Wallis along with John Cleese and Gwen Stefani! And did I already mention that I got to meet Justin Timberlake and Anna Kendrick?
2) It’s SO beautifully done.
From start to finish, there’s just no detail left behind in Trolls. The colors and animation will wow you, the story will warm your heart, and the music might just have you up and dancing in the theater, although that will only last for a few seconds once your 11 year old daughter orders you to sit down and stop embarrassing her! (I may be speaking from experience here.) I think I was as enamored by the art and scrapbooking effects in the film as I was by the actual animation. (This will make more sense once you’ve seen Trolls.)3) The music
The music in Trolls is amazing! With the soundtrack produced by Justin Timberlake you already know how good it is! The soundtrack features five original songs including songs by Justin Timberlake, Ariana Grande, Anna Kendrick and Gwen Stefani, in addition to a number of classic hits from the ‘60s through the ‘80s. There are songs that any theater goer can sing to and it’s fun to watch the youngest generation singing songs from way back when. We were so inspired by the music, specifically Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling”, that we made our very own family musical.ly to it, right outside the theater! Take a look!
The Trolls soundtrack is a must-have! I received a copy of it on CD at the press junket, but I also purchased the entire thing on iTunes! 4) Princess Poppy
She might be small but she’s mighty! Poppy (Anna Kendrick) is the most happy-go-lucky, positive Troll around. I love how big her heart is and how infectious her attitude is around the other Trolls, especially Branch (Justin Timberlake). She is everything we should want for our own daughters to be. She is the perfect princess without the stereotypical perfect princess look and shape. Most of all, I love that she believes everyone deserves to be happy! (because they do!)
5) Trolls is EXACTLY what our world needs right now!
My most favorite reason for recommending Trolls to everyone is because it is exactly the kind of thing our world needs right now! I don’t like to get political, so I won’t go there, but it’s no secret that every time you turn on the TV right now, nothing good comes of it! Whether it’s relating to the election or it’s hearing about and/or seeing all of the violence happening in the world, none of it is pleasant. 2016 has been a tough time for a lot of people (including me) and even if it’s just for a couple of hours, Trolls is the kind of film that will take you directly to your “happy place”! Who couldn’t use a little bit of that right now, right?
I don’t believe in posting spoilers or any sort of details that will ruin it for someone who has yet to see a film, so don’t worry, nothing I’ve written will spoil any of it for you! I can honestly say that Trolls is appropriate for all ages and will definitely keep anyone from young child to senior citizen engaged and interested! DreamWorks Animation’s Trolls is in theaters November 4th! Please come back and tell me how much you loved it, ok?
Connect with Trolls on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
I was so elated to be invited a very special screening of the new Amazon Original Special: An American Girl Story—Melody 1963: Love Has to Win at The Grove LA. The Amazon Studios special is set to premiere on Friday, October 21 on Prime Video in the US and UK and is the first of four original American Girl specials that will be made for Prime Video.“Melody Ellison” is one of American Girl’s newest historical dolls and she’s beautiful. Each of the American Girl historical dolls has her own “story”. Melody’s story is an extremely important one and is based in Detroit, in 1963, during the civil rights movement.
The Amazon Original Special is based on American Girl’s Melody character and inspirational story. 10-year-old Melody’s eyes are opened to the racial inequality surrounding her, including the tragic 1963 Birmingham Church Bombing. As a result, her belief in the “indivisible” promise of our country’s Pledge of Allegiance comes into question, as she challenges her teacher on the validity of this given the horrific tragedy. After an emotional journey of self-reflection, her mother gives her the courage she needs by instilling in her that love brings out the best in everyone, reminding Melody that it’s important to “stand up for what’s right, even when it’s hard or scary.” You’ll instantly fall in love with Marsai Martin (Black-ish) as the title character Melody. Idara Victor (TURN: Washington’s Spies) who stars as Melody’s mother, Frances Ellison and Frankie Faison (The Wire) who stars as Melody’s grandfather, Frank Ellison. Together, these 3 have such a special family that you just want to be a part of it. Frances Fisher (Titanic) also stars as Miss Abbot, Melody’s teacher. The feature is Executive Produced by Alison McDonald and Common.
Watch this sneak peek:
Before the screening began, the film’s cast, along with some other celebs, were on hand for interviews and photographs, on the red carpet. My niece was very excited to see everything set up out in front of the theater.
My Own Thoughts
Once the movie began, I don’t think my eyes were dry for very long. It’s a very powerful and realistic portrayal of what Melody and her family experienced during a time where racism was widely accepted everywhere. Most school and public places were still segregated and the portrayal of the way many white Americans openly treated black Americans was horrendous, yet accurate. The Amazon special addresses a big issue that was presented as being in the 1960’s but sadly, there is so much of these kinds of things that still happen in today’s world. It was an eye opener for me and as I sat there with my 7 year old niece. I did have to explain some of the scenes to her but I believe it was an important her to see how so many other children lived (and live) this way as their reality. This story presents themes that are very timely and relevant for the world we live in today and in my opinion, it is a way to start a healthy dialogue in families about the topic of racism, both historically and present day.Melody’s character was one that was filled with so much grace. She endured so much ugliness in her little world and because of her momma, she continued to have hope and respond with kindness and kept love in her heart.
This is one of my favorite sayings from the special: I won’t post a complete spoiler of the film but I will say that it’s a must-watch for everyone. It’s a topic that may be uncomfortable to watch but that’s all the more reason to watch and maybe even learn something. Also, it is an American Girl story, so rest assured that it will have a happy ending…but the story will always remain in my heart. Melody Ellison is one special little girl and I’m happy we will always have her doll, her books, and her movie in our home. Where to Shop for Melody
Amazon and American Girl have collaborated to create a destination for fans of Melody’s stories to find a wide selection of American Girl Melody products. Visit http://www.amazon.com/americangirl to shop the 18-inch Melody doll, historically accurate 1960s doll outfits, a Motown-inspired recording studio that plays and records music, and more. From toys to books to crafts, Melody’s biggest fans can now discover and shop a wide selection of items available with free Two Day Shipping for Prime members. We also checked out all the Melody collection while we were inside the American Girl Store.Don’t Forget to Watch
An American Girl Story—Melody 1963: Love Has to Win beginning Friday October 21st and will be available for Prime members using the Amazon Video app for TVs, connected devices including Fire TV and mobile devices, or online at Amazon.com/originals. More exciting news is that Prime members will also be able to download the series on mobile devices for offline viewing. This news couldn’t have come at a better time for us because we’re heading out on a plane soon and my daughter will love watching this new special on the trip. I’m guessing she’ll be watching it several times! A very special thank you to American Girl and Amazon Video for hosting us at this very special event and also for the beautiful Melody Ellison doll. It was a night to remember!
Did you see the new teaser trailer yet for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales? I get excited about every new Pirates of the Caribbean movie and this one is no different!
Johnny Depp returns to the big screen as the iconic, swashbuckling anti-hero Jack Sparrow in the all-new “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.” (Although I was sad not to see him appear in the teaser trailer.) The rip-roaring adventure finds down-on-his-luck
Captain Jack feeling the winds of ill-fortune blowing strongly his way when deadly ghost sailors, led by the terrifying Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem), escape from the Devil’s Triangle bent on killing every pirate at sea—notably Jack. Jack’s only hope of survival lies in the legendary Trident of Poseidon, but to find it he must forge an uneasy alliance with Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario), a brilliant and beautiful astronomer, and Henry (Brenton Thwaites), a headstrong young sailor in the Royal Navy. At the helm of the Dying Gull, his pitifully small and shabby ship, Captain Jack seeks not only to reverse his recent spate of ill
fortune, but to save his very life from the most formidable and malicious foe he has ever faced.
Watch the Teaser Trailer:
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales opens in theaters May 2017 in 3D, RealD 3D and IMAX 3D! How excited are you about it? I can’t wait!
Find the film’s official Facebook page here. Connect with Walt Disney Studios on Twitter and Instagram.
Have you been to the Discovery Cube Orange County lately? They just opened a brand new exhibit, which is actually the first-ever museum exhibit featuring Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!Now through January 16, when you visit the Discovery Cube, these four heroic ninjas-in-training will show you how to leap to the rescue and learn teamwork, collaboration, and problem-solving as you work your way through puzzles, mazes and obstacles. Guests can explore the turtles’ sewer-like lair, where good guys win and bad guys lose!Since 1984, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have rocked it with their talent and teamwork, inspiring and teaching generations of fans that being part of team lets us discover and exercise our own hidden strengths and those of our teammates. Together we can achieve more than we can on our own. Now you can join the pizza-eating, crime-fighting “Heroes in a Half Shell” to hone your own ninja skills and problem solving intellect while learning the secrets of the sewer!The exhibit includes:
The Dojo and Splinter’s Room
In order to create a seamless ninja fighting team, Master Splinter has devoted many hours to training the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. In the Dojo, Splinter and Raphael show visitors the value of hard work, practice and knowing your enemy.The Common Room
Families are encouraged to explore the Turtles’ Lair, discover facts about these teenage crime-fighters and hone their individual skills.Donatello’s Workshop and Lab
Donnie is the inventor of the group; his lab is the place to try your hand at creative problem solving, as well as learning from mistakes. New York City Streets
Put your skills and training to the test in the streets of NYC. Try working together to stop the villain Shredder and his foot clan! For more information about the Discovery Cube Orange County, go here. Connect with Discovery Cube OC on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
This is not a sponsored post. We were invited to attend a media preview in order to write this post. Some images are property of the Discovery Cube. All opinions are 100% my own.
Whenever I hear the word SMURFS, my childhood self emerges! Everyone loves the SMURFS and Sony Pictures Animation just release a new teaser trailer and poster for the all-new, fully animated feature “SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE“, which will be in theaters in April 2017! This all-new take on the SMURFS features an all-star voice cast which includes Demi Lovato (Smurfette), Rainn Wilson (Gargamel), Joe Manganiello (Hefty), Danny Pudi (Brainy) and Jack McBraye (Clumsy), and Mandy Patinkin (Papa Smurf).
Directed by Kelly Asbury
Written by Stacy Harman and Pamela Ribon
Produced by Jordan Kemer
Co-Produced by Mary Ellen Bauder Andrews
Based on the Character and Works of Peyo
A Little Bit about the Story
SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE is about a mysterious map that sends Smurfette and her best friends Brainy, Clumsy and Hefty on an exciting and thrilling race through the Forbidden Forest, a wondrous place filled with magical creatures, to find a mysterious lost village before the evil wizard Gargamel does. Embarking on a rollercoaster journey full of action and danger, the Smurfs are on a course that leads to the discovery of the biggest secret in Smurf history!
Here’s the teaser trailer:
Notes from the Director
In an interview with the film’s director, Kelly Asbury, she talked about how “SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE” is different from the previous 2 SMURFS films saying,
Sony Pictures Animation’s previous two SMURFS movies were live action films in which real humans interacted with more realistically designed and animated Smurfs, and the stories centered as much around the human characters’ issues. SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE has nothing to do with those other films. It is a radically different take on the Smurfs and their imaginary world, fully computer animated, and much closer to the tone and style that creator Peyo initially envisioned.
Kelly was also asked to speak about the inspiration for this film.
Many things inspired the type of movie we wanted to make. Everyone involved agreed that the story should be a high-adventure journey, so classic movies like RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK and GOONIES came to mind. The richness in color was influenced by the great French Impressionists painters. The Forbidden Forest where the Smurfs venture was envisioned as equal parts Oz, Pandora and Wonderland, filled with dangerous and magical creatures like Smurf-eating Flowers or Boxing and Kissing Plants, to name a few.
Here’s what she had to say about the Voice Cast for this film:
Demi Lovato has a certain toughness mixed in with a confident brand of femininity, which is perfect for Smurfette. Mandy Patinkin is one of my favorite actors, who can play both comedy and drama, each with honesty and sincerity. Who better then to play Papa Smurf? Rainn Wilson has a unique way of portraying wacky, comical characters, who are self-important, yet deeply insecure and flawed – that’s Gargamel in a nutshell. Joe Manganiello is the manly man, with a big heart, so he’s perfect for Hefty and happens to be a major Smurfs fan. Danny Pudi has a way with nerdiness that encompasses Brainy Smurf’s persona. Jack McBrayer can channel the fumbling nervousness needed to play Clumsy Smurf. All together, they form a wonderful ensemble, each of whom is hugely fun to work with. And there’s other incredible talent in the film which I can’t tell you about just yet.
Although she didn’t want to give away too many details, during the interview, Kelly shared a little bit about what’s new in this SMURFS film:
Without giving too much away, all I’ll say is that this new movie takes the Smurfs – and the audience – on a journey into a Forbidden Forest, a fantastical world like no other, filled with crazy plants, insects and animals. Most of all, there are surprises at every turn. The colors, shapes and overall environment are transportive and exciting, just the way a fun adventure movie should be. And the clever humorous tone should delight audiences of all ages–Smurfs fans or not!
Well, I know I’m already excited for SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE! What about you? Stay tuned, as I’ll be sharing more information about this fun, upcoming family film, as it comes out!
You can find the film’s official site here. Connect with Sony Pictures Animation on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
A few months back, we were sitting in a theater, watching previews before the feature film. The trailer for STORKS came on, which I saw was an animated film, assuming it was kid-friendly. Not soon after the preview started to play, I began to worry it would suddenly trigger some questions about babies that I wasn’t ready to answer. I mean, everyone knows what storks traditionally bring but I just wasn’t ready to talk about the topic of “babies”, right then and there! Well, I’m happy to report that it didn’t trigger any unwanted questions from my child. The STORKS preview was so adorable that I couldn’t wait to see the whole movie! Fast forward. I was elated to receive a special invitation for my family and I to attend an advanced screening and “Blue Carpet” event for STORKS on the Warner Bros. lot. My daughter was so excited to go, she could hardly sleep the night before!It’s always exciting to pass the lot when you’re driving in the area, but going inside those gates is way more fun! (Have you ever done a tour of the lot?)As we proceeded to walk around, we saw some of the characters from the film on movie posters. You’re going to love Tulip, you’re going to love The Gardners, and you’re probably going to fall head over hills with The Baby! and ALL the babies!Inside the theater, I think there were more kids than adults, anxiously awaiting for it to start. If you’re wondering about whether or not you can take your young kids to see it, I’d say yes. There were so many toddlers in the audience with us, and not only were they engaged in the story the entire time, I heard no crying. I don’t believe in spoilers, but as a mom, I would say that this film is “safe” to take kids of all ages to see. (other than your newborn, who isn’t going to be interested in anything for that long).Here’s a little bit about the STORKS movie:
Storks deliver babies…or at least they used to. Now they deliver packages for global internet giant Cornerstore. Junior, the company’s top delivery stork, is about to be promoted when he accidentally activates the Baby Making Machine, producing an adorable and wholly unauthorized baby girl. Desperate to deliver this bundle of trouble before the boss gets wise, Junior and his friend Tulip, the only human on Stork Mountain, race to make their first-ever baby drop – in a wild and revealing journey that could make more than one family whole and restore the storks’ true mission in the world.
Directors: Nicholas Stoller and Doug Sweetland
Writer: Nicholas Stoller
Producers: Nicholas Stoller and Brad Lewis
Executive Producers: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, Glenn Ficarra, John Requa, and Jared Stern
The Cast features: Andy Samberg, Jennifer Aniston, Ty Burrell, Kelsey Grammer, Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Katie Crown, Danny Trejo and more.
This film is Rated PG.
You just HAVE to watch the trailer! It’s adorable!
After the screening, we were treated to a fun party on the lot which included food trucks, a candy station, face painting, photo opps, a Super Slide, and more! They definitely know how to throw a party!STORKS is now playing in theaters everywhere. Grab your flock and head out to see it! Don’t forget to come back and tell me your favorite part about the film! Visit the STORKS official site here. Connect with STORKS on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
We’re really excited in our home right now about all things Beauty and the Beast! First, with the release of the film’s 25th Anniversary Edition on Blu-ray™ and DVD on Sept. 20 and also with the upcoming “real life” version of the story, which will be in theaters in March 2017! How can you not be excited and nostalgic? Right now, I’m having a giveaway to win a code for a Digital Copy of “Beauty and the Beast”. To enter, go here. This “tale as old as time” has always been one of our favorite Disney films to watch as we absolutely adore Belle! She is so beautiful and kind and as a teacher, I love that Belle has such a love for reading! She is absolutely breathtaking in her gown and every time we wave to her in the Disney parade, we can’t help but grin from ear to ear.In honor of the release of this Disney classic’s 25th anniversary, we made a super cute no-sew Belle hair bow. It was very easy to put make.Here’s what you’ll need to make your own “Belle Hair Bow”:
- One big yellow bow (ours had a rubber band already attached to it.)
- Tulle “rounds” (I used white tulle rounds that had a touch of gold glitter)
- Red ribbon roses
- A hot glue gun
To make your bow:
- Take one of the tulle rounds and roll up.
- Use the glue gun to fasten rolled tulle round to the yellow bow in the center.
- Snip the ends of the round to shorten.
- Use parts that you snipped off to tie around the middle of the tulle “bow”, to cover up the hot glue spots, tying in the back of the yellow bow.
- Add the red ribbon roses to the center, using the hot glue gun. “Traditionally”, Belle has just one rose, but we liked adding a few. How cute did our “Belle” bow turn out?
Do you have a favorite character in Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast”? Tell me which one in the comments.
Twenty-five years ago, Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” broke ground as the first animated feature film to receive an Academy Award® nomination for best picture, and now this tale as old as time joined the Walt Disney Signature Collection on Sept. 6 on Digital HD and Disney Movies Anywhere, and will be available Sept. 20 on Blu-ray™ and DVD.The beloved animated classic has truly stood the test of time and now a whole new generation of viewers are invited to be our guest and fall in love with this enchanting tale, its captivating characters and unforgettable, award-winning music score and original song, “Beauty and the Beast.
The Walt Disney Signature Collection edition features four versions of “Beauty and the Beast.” The Blu-ray release will include the original theatrical film; an extended version with the “Human Again” song sequence and a never-before-released on home entertainment sing-along version. The original work-in-progress version will be available digitally and on Disney Movies Anywhere.
Here are some of the features for the film versions:
Blu-ray™, Digital HD* & Disney Movies Anywhere include:
- Original theatrical version
- New advanced sing-along version
- Extended version with “Human Again” song sequence
The Bonus Features for Blu-ray™, Digital HD* & Disney Movies Anywhere are amazing! Check them out:
- Menken & Friends: 25 Years of Musical Inspiration – Get a front-row seat for an intimate discussion between legendary music composers from classic and future Disney films, including Alan Menken (“Beauty and the Beast,” “Aladdin”), Stephen Schwartz (“The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” “Pocahontas”), Kristen Anderson-Lopez (“Frozen,” Disney’s upcoming “Gigantic”), Robert Lopez (“Frozen,” Disney’s upcoming “Gigantic”) and Lin-Manuel Miranda (Disney’s upcoming “Moana”). Discover how the composers are personally connected, how they first experienced “Beauty and the Beast” and how they find inspiration for their own films. And watch as they pay tribute to the film’s award-winning music score and the man who has inspired them all—Alan Menken.
- #1074: Walt, Fairy Tales & Beauty and the Beast – Long before “Beauty and the Beast” became the instant classic we know and love, Walt Disney made two attempts—between the 1930s and 1950s—to adapt the famous fairy tale into an animated film. Discover what Walt and his team was dreaming up through Walt’s actual voice recordings, archived artwork, story notes, and learn why the project was sidelined for decades.
- Always Belle – The original voice of Belle, Paige O’Hara, reminisces about earning the role of the beautiful bookworm in “Beauty and the Beast” and recalls how the iconic character changed her life and continues to inspire fans both young and old.
- The Recording Sessions – Go in the recording booth with the cast of Beauty and the Beast and see what went into adding voices to the characters and the lines we know and love.
- 25 Fun Facts About Beauty and the Beast – Disney Channel’s Gus Kamp and Kayla Maisonet host this entertaining countdown featuring little-known fun facts, anecdotes and hidden Easter Eggs (references to Disney animated films and characters) from one of the most cherished animated films of all time.
- “Beauty and The Beast” Sneak Peek – An exciting first look into the live-action re-telling of “Beauty and the Beast,” which refashions the classic characters from the tale as old as time for a contemporary audience, staying true to the original music while updating the score with several new songs. This new film will be in theaters in March 2017!
On Digital HD* & Disney Movies Anywhere there are also Classic Bonus Features which are offerings from prior home entertainment releases include over five hours of bonus material, such as an alternate version of “Be Our Guest” and the “Beauty and the Beast” music video performed by Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson, and deleted scenes.