Friday, July 31, 2015

Friday Finds: 'Freckleface Strawberry' Step Into Reading Books

Julianne Moore and her alter ego, Freckleface Strawberry, are back!

This time, early readers can get in on the school-time action. The Academy Award-winning actress and author has published two more books in the series, which are illustrated by LeUyen Pham, and the pair are perfect for young kids who are going back to school.

In "Freckleface Strawberry: Backpacks!" (SRP: $3.99 paperback), the 7-year-old Freckleface and her BFF, Windy Pants Patrick, have both accidentally packed something sticky and squishy in their backpacks. When those awkward additions get stuck all over their homework, the adorable pair have to figure out what to say to their teacher.

"Freckleface Strawberry: Lunch, or What's That?" (SRP: $3.99 paperback) is a funny take on school lunches, which can sometimes look a little like green mush. When Freckleface Strawberry grabs lunch in the cafeteria, all of her friends wonder what she has on her plate. Not even she can give them an answer. But when she finally tries it ... well, I won't give it away!

CC checks out "Freckleface Strawberry: Backpacks!"
Both CC and Will have read the latest Freckleface Strawberry editions. In fact, they're big fans! While CC has read (many, many times) the first set of the Julianne Moore-written books, Will has gotten just as much enjoyment out of them, too.

He even loves the app — especially popping the digital bubbles.

The Step 2 series is especially great for little ones at bedtime. The books use basic vocabulary and short sentences, which helps keep young readers confident and attentive.

I would definitely recommend these new editions for your early reader!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

CC's 'Inside Out' Question

Update: A film writer I know answered this question, sharing copy from a Q&A with "Inside Out" director Pete Docter. Check out the explanation over at my Facebook page.

While we were in the car today, CC had an interesting question about Disney*Pixar's new animated movie, "Inside Out."

I thought it was such an astute, thoughtful question that I wanted to make a video of her asking it and see if it would somehow reach Pixar.

Fingers crossed!

And don't worry—no spoiler alerts here.

If you don't know the story of "Inside Out," which opened in theaters June 19, it's about a little girl named Riley and the emotions that wreak a little havoc inside her head—namely, Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust and Anger. She's 11 and has just moved to San Francisco from the Midwest, and she's feeling a little, well, conflicted about it all.

We've seen it twice, and I've cried—like serious tears—both times. I would highly recommend it.

And if you know the answer to this, please shout it out!

Disney*Pixar's "Inside Out"

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

'All Creatures Big and Small' + Noah's Ark at the Skirball = Awesome Animal Adventures

"All Creatures Big and Small" at the Skirball
Talk about an animal extravaganza!

Saturday was a big day for Will, as we caught a special screening of Google Play and Entertainment One's "All Creatures Big and Small" at the Skirball Cultural Center.

The museum was the perfect setting for the adorable kids' movie, given that it centers on the story of Noah's Ark. It's also available for free through July 28 on Google Play.

And if you haven't taken your kids to the Noah's Ark exhibit at the Skirball, you need to soon. (In fact, I've felt a little guilty that I haven't taken Will before now! He loved it!)

The movie starts just before Noah's Ark sets off on its famous watery adventure. One father-son pair of Nestrians (a colorful, glowing nomadic animal breed) named Dave and Finny are all set to board the Ark with the other animals, but they find out they're not on the list.

Dave and Finny then sneak onto the Ark with the reluctant help of mother-daughter Grymps Hazel and Leah. But when the two kids are accidentally left behind, they have to figure out a way to reunite with their parents.

The movie is a sweet and clever look at the Ark adventure. Whether it's poking fun at the drier parts of the world—one tumbleweed actually bursts into flames mid-roll—or showing kids how everyone can help each other out, it's a great movie that's well-suited to young children. (In fact, CC was bummed she missed it. Thank goodness for the free Google Play offer!)

Will at Noah's Ark
The Noah's Ark exhibit was just as wonderful as I remember. The interactive nature of it, the clever animal sculptures, and just the fun element of play is so great for kids. Will had a blast climbing through the rope maze and placing toy animals on a conveyor belt and sliding them up onto the ark.

Will in the rope maze.
We will definitely be going back—CC's eager for a return visit, too!

Skirball Cultural Center 
2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90049

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

'Inside Out' + 'Music of Light' at the El Capitan: A Fun Outing for Families

"Inside Out" from Disney*Pixar
If you haven't seen "Inside Out" yet — you know, the Disney*Pixar animated film that's making grownups all over the country laugh and cry like babies (this grownup included) — go ahead and add that to your to-do list for the weekend.

It's really good.

For L.A. families, there's an especially cool opportunity to see the film with a live performance beforehand. At the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, "Music of Light" precedes the new animated film through August 19.

The interactive experience from 3D Live features a fun 3D light show, music and dance that will make kids want to get up and dance themselves.

Choreographed by Dave Scott, resident choreographer from "Dancing With the Stars," the show spotlights five dancers who take on the emotions featured in "Inside Out." There's Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust and Fear — and they all have their part to play onstage.

The LED-lit landscape on the screen backdrop shows everything from whirling planets, cityscapes and even forests of brightly lit trees.

CC enjoyed donning the yellow 3D glasses, watching the dancers do their thing, as well as the aerialist finale and burst of confetti at the end.

A perfect way to jump into "Inside Out" — and the very sweet short film "Lava," which plays before the feature.

We also visited the Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop next door for a couple of ice cream cones and a photo op with Mickey.

Such a fun day!

Also check out my Periscope video, now on YouTube.

El Capitan Theatre
6838 Hollywood Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90028

(Note: Media tickets provided)

Friday, July 3, 2015

Prepping for Preschool

Ready for preschool!
Will survived his first week of preschool! Woo-hoo!

Of course there's been a bit of adjustment -- mainly getting to know his new teachers and getting used to more structure -- but it was nice walking in and seeing him sit with a group of kids who were listening to show and tell.

He's such a big boy now!

Last weekend was our time to prep for this new adventure. I took Will to get his hair cut at the adorable Tipperary kids' salon in Beverly Hills. They're so nice there and have a ton of toys to distract kids from the actual haircut. Kids also get a small toy after their cut, and Will really looks forward to that!

Tipperary on Robertson Blvd. in Beverly Hills

We found out about Tipperary, which recently relocated to Robertson Boulevard, after our regular salon, The Yellow Balloon in Westwood, sadly closed. Will loves it. The two stylists we've had have been so nice and accommodating. They even have a little car that smaller children can sit in during cuts.

Will's cut, which involved clippers on the sides and scissors on top, was $35. The service is great, the salon is cheery, and the stylists really take their time and have a positive attitude with the kids, so it's definitely worth it.

I asked for the shortest hair possible!

Next we headed down to Orange County to visit The Land of Nod store at South Coast Plaza (hoping Land of Nod will makes its way to Los Angeles soon!).

Will had seen a blue whale backpack and blue lunchboxes in the store's catalog, and he had his sights set on having them. Plus, I wanted to make this transition easier and special.

The store at South Coast Plaza is really cute and has a ton of furniture, toys and accessories.

Will was eager to carry his preschool finds at The Land of Nod.
Will picked out this backpack and this lunchbox.

And not only did we stop for a pizza lunch at the mall, Will also got to ride on this adorable carousel while showing off his cute new haircut (which is perfect for these steamy summer months)!

Will rides the carousel at South Coast Plaza.
221 S. Robertson Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA 90211

The Land of Nod
South Coast Plaza
3333 Bear St.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626


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