Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Disney Channel Series 'Gabby Duran' Takes Babysitting to a Whole New Level

'Gabby Duran & the Unsittables' / Photo via Disney Channel
Gabby Duran has her work cut out for her.

The newest babysitter on the Disney Channel block is a 13-year-old girl who's moved from Miami to the suburbs, where things are definitely not (as the kids say) "chill." Whether it's meeting new friends at school or living up to the instant successes of her newscaster mom and sharp little sister, Gabby (played by YouTube star Kylie Cantrall) is having a hard time feeling like she fits in.

But things take a turn for the weird — and much more exciting — when her school rebellion leads to the otherworldly job of babysitting ... wait for it ... aliens disguised as everyday kids.

Gabby Duran & the Unsittables premieres on Disney Channel and DisneyNOW on Friday, October 11 (9 p.m. ET/PT), and the kiddos and I had the chance to catch the first episode in the series and meet the cast at Disneyland on Sunday.

Besides the cast being totally adorable, we also had such a fun time checking out the show. Will kept asking when we could watch the second episode. (I think he really liked the colorful CGI aliens!)

The first episode featured Gabby trying to navigate her way through school — and home life, for that matter — with a lot of pluck and teenage cheek. She might be looking out for No. 1 at first, but she's totally resourceful in an emergency — especially when that emergency involves carbonation and what that might do to a burbling alien stomach.

While her principal, Principal Swift (yes, his first name is Principal, and he might have a few secrets) opens the door to this otherworldly, well, world, it looks like we'll get to meet a host of new aliens as the season progresses. And, from the looks of it, they'll all need some serious monitoring, especially from someone as scrappy as Gabby.

And while we wait for Gabby Duran & the Unsittables to premiere on Friday, we do know that the show is already planning for season two. Disney Channel has announced that it's picking up an additional season before Gabby officially meets her first alien. Talk about some serious girl power!

Be sure to tune in Friday, October 11 at 9 p.m.


Gabby Duran — Kylie Cantrall
Principal Swift — Nathan Lovejoy
Dina Duran (mom) — Valery Ortiz
Olivia Duran (sister) — Coco Christo
Wesley — Maxwell Acee Donovan
Jeremy — Callan Farris

(Note: Disneyland park admission was included in this press event.)

Friday, June 30, 2017

Coming Attraction: 'Marvel Universe Live! Ages of Heroes' at Staples Center

'Marvel Universe Live! Age of Heroes'
It's time to get your superhero on!

"Marvel Universe Live! Age of Heroes" will be running, flying and flipping in to the Staples Center next weekend, with opening night scheduled for Friday, July 7 at 7:30 p.m.

Watch as your favorite heroes and heroines from the Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy join Spider-Man to defeat serious super villains in the battle of good versus evil.

Expect aerial stunts and colorful video projections to entertain the fam, as the characters band together to save the universe.

The SoCal leg of the tour kicks off in L.A., running through July 9, before heading to Ontario, Anaheim and later San Diego. (There are even two morning shows!)

Tickets start at $25!

"Marvel Universe Live! Age of Heroes"
Staples Center (July 7-9)
1111 S. Figueroa
Los Angeles, CA 90015

Thursday, May 18, 2017

UNICEF Kid Power Event Inspires Los Angeles Families

Chewbacca and R2-D2 support UNICEF Kid Power at L.A. Live.
Getting to hang with Chewbacca and R2-D2 is pretty hard to beat, and the kiddos were super excited to do just that this past weekend to support UNICEF Kid Power at L.A. Live.

Kids helping kids — that was the motto at the downtown LA event, which hosted tons of families, special guests and even a marching band. In an effort to both get kids more active and to help feed malnourished children around the globe, UNICEF created this arm of its organization to support those two worthy causes. Presenting sponsors of the event were Star Wars: A Force for Change and Target.

Inspiring kids to get active is the UNICEF Kid Power Band ($39.99), which tracks kids' activity that in turn unlocks funding that goes toward providing necessary Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food packets to children in severe need.

"We are looking to get as many children active to empower them to help in global malnutrition, so essentially UNICEF Kid Power is about unleashing your inner hero for the benefit of kids all across the world," Amber Hill, UNICEF USA regional managing director, Southern California, tells L.A. Story.

In addition to getting photo ops with the "Star Wars" guys, kids could also make their way through the Target maze, play in fun ball pits (Will liked this option) and hula hoop with "School of Rock" actress Jade Pettyjohn (that was CC's fave).

And knowing that we were helping other kids in the process only made it that much better.

So what can families do to help?

"Become active," Hill says. "Not only do we have the UNICEF Kid Power Band, but you can download the app and connect the app with your health kit on your phone, so you can participate as a family. And there's content and videos that take you on a virtual journey through the app, so you can continue to learn more about UNICEF and the children that you're helping across the globe. Literally every step can make an impact."

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Coming Attraction: UNICEF Kid Power Celebration at LA Live

Kids and their families all over the Los Angeles area are invited to get active and save lives in a special UNICEF Kid Power Celebration happening this Saturday, May 13, at LA Live.

Featuring a "Star Wars"-themed activity, a Target crazy maze, games and main stage entertainment, the action-packed event will encourage kids to channel their activity into unlocking 1 million Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) packets for malnourished children around the world.

How can you help? First off, join in the free event.

Also, to help inspire kids to get out and get active, the UNICEF Kid Power Band ($39.99) tracks kids' activity (something greatly needed, as 1 in 4 American children aren't getting enough), which in turn unlocks funding that goes toward providing necessary RUTF packets to children in severe need around the globe.

Similar to a Fibit for kids, the band counts kids' steps, helps children set activity goals and also tells the time. It doesn't require a data plan, and there's no GPS tracking. Just sync it to your smartphone and let your kid run, jump and just play.

The UNICEF goal is to unlock 1 million RUTF packets in the month of May.

In addition to the activities, special guests will include Dartanyon Crockett, a UNICEF Kid Power champion and two-time Paralympic judo medalist; actors Joshua Rush, Jade Pettyjohn, Talitha Bateman and more.

So come on downtown! I bet never has activity felt so good!

UNICEF Kid Power Celebration
Saturday, May 13 (11 a.m.-4 p.m.)
Microsoft Square at LA Live
800 W. Olympic Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90015

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Hanging With Victoria Beckham at Her Target Style Launch Party

CC and Will get a chance to say hi to fashion designer and mom Victoria Beckham.
"Come on, Ladies and Gentleman!"

That's the friendly welcome CC, Will and I received from the super-charming fashion designer and mom Victoria Beckham when I asked if we could take a quick pic.

The kiddos and I drove up the lush and winding roads of Bel-Air to the famous Mohamed Hadid house earlier this month to celebrate the launch of Beckham's limited edition collection at Target. The line, which features dresses, tops and skirts for women and girls, as well as an adorable baby collection, launched on April 9—and let's just say, I've bought my fair share of items.

With celebs including Zoe Saldana, Naomie Harris (Will's current crush), Tiffani Thiessen and Jessica Alba in attendance, you can imagine just how amazing this party was.

Zoe Saldana and Naomie Harris
In addition to the racks and racks of cute (and reasonably priced) clothing, there were fun activities for the kids (flower crowns and bunny masks) and even a colorful candy bar that Will kept going back to. There was even a gorgeous infinity pool with its own live mermaid. Only in L.A.

CC picks out a gorgeous dress from Victoria Beckham for Target.
CC and I picked out our favorites, and there were many. She loved the pink and white jacquard English lace dress ($28), while I opted for the black and white mod shift ($40) and the blue and white striped poplin dress ($35).

And who could resist this adorable collared bodysuit ($13) for the kids' new baby cousin?!

Of course, we eventually had to leave the dreamy estate and head back home, but it was a lovely day with the especially lovely mum Victoria Beckham.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

That Time CC Got Starstruck While Meeting the 'Odd Squad' Cast

CC meeting the talented kids from PBS Kids series "Odd Squad."
PBS Kids had big news to share at this year's Television Critics Association event at the Langham Hotel in Pasadena.

Starting January 16, the kid-friendly channel went 24/7 all over the country. Before, it was only part of the regular PBS programming, but the organization wanted to reach out to families whose kids thrived on access to the channel in the later weekday hours (when it was usually back to adult programming).

That's especially great for young children who don't have access to high-quality preschool and need that extra boost from educational shows like "Sesame Street" or "Odd Squad."

Speaking of "Odd Squad," I had the chance to interview the kids from the show for (where I'm the senior editor), and I was able to bring CC, too. Honestly, that kind of blew her mind.

We talked to Ms. O (Millie Davis), Olympia (Anna Cathcart) and Otis (Isaac Kragten) during a Facebook Live broadcast and learned everything from their favorite episodes to what they dream about becoming when they grow up.

But before that, when CC and I got to the hotel, we happened to arrive at the registration desk at the same time as the "Odd Squad" trio, and CC let out an audible gasp. She almost couldn't speak, which is very rare for her.

Luckily, I was able to snap this adorable picture of the four of them! What a memory.

Check out our interview on's Facebook page.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Ditching the Strip in Las Vegas

CC, Will and I took a trip to Vegas and saw the Seven Magic Mountains.
Wow, it's been a while, right?! I've got lots to catch you up on, so let's start here.

Over Christmas break near the end of 2016, CC, Will and I took a road trip to Las Vegas to visit a couple of our cousins. One of our cousins, who was basically my mom's BFF growing up, lives there, and her daughter was visiting.

We had the time (Ian was working), and I've been trying to make a point of seeing more family since we don't really have that in Los Angeles.

Well, we had such a great time, and we didn't even hit the Strip. Not once. We drove past it coming and going, but we didn't even catch a single fountain show at the Bellagio!

It was all about family and exploring nature — which is surprisingly pretty easy to do in Vegas.

In addition to the Seven Magic Mountains sculpture, which I'd been dying to see, the kids, my cousin and I hiked around Lone Mountain, which is basically a very large hill that you can hike around and to the top.

Hiking Lone Mountain.
What I loved was that the kids were able to jump out of the car and go exploring. They were able to get their hands dirty and touch rocks and cacti on parched desert trails. Of course I had to remind them to not throw rocks at each other(!), but I loved watching them make their own trails and see what the landscape had to offer.

On our way out of town, about 20-30 minutes from the Strip, we pulled off the 15 and visited the colorful rock sculpture Seven Magic Mountains, created by Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone.

Techicolor totems rising from the ground, the seven rock sculptures are meant to be a symbol of the natural and the artificial coming together — kind of like Vegas itself. There's the natural desert landscape mingled with the artificial creation of a booming U.S. city and all of the (sometimes neon) accoutrements that come with it.

The sculptures, which you can see from the highway, are beautiful and accessible. Parking is easy, and don't forget water (just a good idea no matter where you are in the desert.) And they'll only be at their location until spring 2018!

Here's info from the site about getting there:

From Los Angeles: Drive north on I-15 to Jean, NV (exit 12).  Turn right (east) on NV-161 toward Las Vegas Blvd. Drive approximately 5 miles north on Las Vegas Blvd. and the artwork will appear on your right (east).
Please park in the onsite parking lot. Street parking is discouraged. No public transportation is available to the installation site.
It's definitely worth seeing!


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