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CURRENTLY – OPRAH’S FAVORITE THINGS!

As a Californian, it’s sometimes tough to notice the seasons changing and for many years the holidays always sneak up on me. BUT NOT THIS YEAR!  This year, I kicked off the holiday season in the most fabulous way I ever dreamed of!

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I was invited to attend the Oprah’s Favorite Things reveal holiday kick-off party!  The evening fulfilled every dream I held onto since watching Oprah give away her list of Favorite Things for many years on her show and, now, in her magazine. While I was invited to attend the event, the decision to share my opinion, and the opinions given, are always my own.

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I’m so humbled and grateful that three of us #OMagInsiders, Tonya, Rachel and I, received the invitations as a result of being recognized by our peers for our community-building efforts within the #OMagInsiders group. 

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While this VIP invitation rewarded us with many comforts (Thank you O, The Oprah Magazine!!), the most rewarding gift is being a part of this group and celebrating this festive night with the other #OMagInsiders who inspire me and motivate me daily! My excitement grew exponentially each time another O Mag Insider walked through the door to celebrate the with us!

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Everyone’s been asking me – what were your favorites, what should I get? I’ve compiled a list of what I’m CURRENTLY OBSESSING over to help inspire you!

CURRENTLY INSPIRED
As the elevator doors opened on one of the top floors of a high-rise in Manhattan, the excitement of the people in evening attire and the colors of the inviting packages flooded my senses!

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I loved that in the spirit of giving and Oprah’s Favorite Things, we brought children’s books as donations to Books for Kids Foundation. Oprah and I have that in common – I always gift at least one book with every child toy I give! I love the idea of encouraging kids to keep reading hard copy books!

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CURRENTLY CRAVING
The enchanting twinkling city lights drew us farther into the room while inviting us up to Cloud 9 with an endless view of downtown. Delicious appetizers passed by featuring Oprah’s Favorite flavors from sweet to savory!  Savory won me over.

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The Maine Lobster Mac and Cheese – served in mini tart crusts are perfection! The Truffle Burger Kit makes burgers impossible to ignore! To unassuming guests, it’s a juicy mouthful of quality beef until the truffle flavor dances across your taste buds! If you haven’t done a lot of truffle stuff yet, start here. Beef and truffles go together!

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CURRENTLY PLANNING MENUS
I’m following Oprah’s suggestion to make holiday morning french toast using one of Roy’s Panettones. The multi-dimensional flavors and texture melt into your mouth! Red Velvet Gourmet Bundt (other flavors also available) brings on the holidays looking like something Santa would favor – but translates well to every other occasion as well! Bundts are the best because they pack as much cake goodness as possible in a slice!

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Put aside my status as a highly-caffeinated individual – you know that nothing goes better with baked goods than COFFEE! Look at the various options that Nespresso Lattissima One Silky White  indulged us with! …and so easy to use!

img_8595In my other hand, I held a signature cocktail made from Oprah’s favorite Casa Dragones Tequila – now in a size suitable for stocking stuffing!  

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CURRENTLY INDULGING
I rarely make self-indulgent purchases but, after this trip, I’m changing my philosophy. I can’t take my eyes off the clean, bold patterned Tory Sport color-block tracksuit because the pattern commands my attention and accentuates the strength of women. This weekend I’ll be the calmest shopper out there (or online) on Black Friday comfortably navigating sales while wearing fashionable Ultra Lite Caftan.  

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I love the power of scents to help me make sense of my day.  I love the La Chatelaine Deluxe Hand-Cream set because what woman doesn’t love options and a world of possibilities?

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CURRENTLY BEING SCHOOLED
While I always spent money for well-built shoes to train for endurance events, I’m the opposite with my daily wear shoes. Now Oprah’s Favorite Things boasts two footwear options with technology, structure and style to help me outlast my to-do lists. While already partial to the APL: TechLoom Bliss after hearing they were created by twin USC Trojans, I was sold by the sleek elegance of the shoes. The warm red color promoted them from athletic wear to chic wear.  

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My feet eagerly anticipate sliding into my Vionic Gemma plush slippers when I’m finally home for the night. They cradle my foot with the softest fluffy lining topping an orthotic footbed engineered to give my feet a second wind (after I’m finished reading my O Mag).

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CURRENTLY GIFTING
I’m over the idea of gift cards. I love dreaming up gifts that people will (hopefully) love and use – and remember!  I look for gifts that dazzle me like the Rainbow Tumblers – and everything else from Glitterville.com. They’re beautiful and enhance every event!  

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I love the Empowered bracelets because they share six beautiful but powerful mantras you wear on your wrist (without getting it permanently inked).

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The next gift warmed my heart and my hands because we got to hear the history behind these Knitted Faux Fur Mittens and how Oprah’s feedback helped shape the final product.  The Power of O made them happen! Your hands will thank you!

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For my sweetest friend, who invited us to stay at her home on our last trip back east, I left Face to Face Designs Napkins knowing that she’d have a house full of guests this holiday week!  Use them as napkins or bathroom finger towels! 

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CURRENTLY FASCINATED BY
I cannot stop dreaming about this item and while I personally can’t afford it, nor do I have a wall fancy enough to test it on, I’m dying to see this Samsung 2018 X7FN QLED TV in person! When it’s on, it’s a TV – when it’s off, it DISAPPEARS on the wall!?! Please call me for movie night if you get it, I’ll bring the popcorn!

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I love LOVE this idea and wish I’d thought of it first – the Lumos Kickstart Helmets that show lit up blinker signals on the back of a cyclist’s helmet to indicate where they’re turning.  Whether you have 2 or 4 wheels, you’re welcome! #ShareTheRoad

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CURRENTLY RECEIVING HINTS ABOUT
My kids had renewed interest in Oprah and the list that she and Adam Glassman carefully procured when they heard iPhone XRs were on the list.  Maybe I’ll give in for the one leaving for college this fall (let’s see if he reads my blog). Perhaps I’ll buy time with the other child’s current phone by upgrading her ear buds to AirPods.

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Tell me, do you have Amazon Echo Spot in every room of your house to play tunes throughout, or for shopping? Convince me why I’ll love it!

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We waited forever to take an Elevator Selfie!

Whether this was my one time experiencing Oprah’s Favorite Things in person live, or if I ever get invited back again, or I’d even volunteer as a helpful Elf – the evening met and surpassed every idea of what I thought this evening could be.  

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Dream come true to tour the O, The Oprah Magazine offices!

Waking up the next day and finding out it wasn’t all a dream was the best feeling! I love that even on any other year, I still have fun sampling a few things off of her list!

Wanna see the whole list of 107 Oprah’s Favorite Things?!

What about you?

  • Did you splurge and buy anything off of her list?
  • Are you doing #BlackFriday or #SmallBusinessSaturday?
  • Will you be braving the stores or shopping online this holiday season?
  • Which Oprah’s Favorite Thing would you buy if money was no object?
  • Have you considered doing a “Favorite Things” exchange with your friends where everyone exchanges their own favorite things?
  • What are your Favorite Things that you feel should be on next year’s list?
  • Have you checked out the new OprahMag.com – it’s where I live now!
  • Want to subscribe to the O, The Oprah Magazine?
  • Have you seen the special edition “Let It Go!” (it’s like curling up with a good book)!

What are you Currently up to?
Consider these:

  • CURRENTLY AVOIDING
  • CURRENTLY DRINKING
  • CURRENTLY WATCHING
  • CURRENTLY PANICKING
  • CURRENTLY COVETING
  • CURRENTLY COOKING
  • CURRENTLY LISTENING TO
  • CURRENTLY NEEDING
  • Or dream up your own!

#OMagInsiders #OprahsFavoriteThings2018 #OprahsFavoriteThings #OMagazine #OprahMag #OFT #HolidayShopping #BlackFriday #CyberMonday #ShopSmall #SmallBusinessSaturday #MakesMeWander

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POWER OF CONNECTING WITH KINDNESS ROCKS

If your wish list includes any of the following:

Kindness • Joy • Community • Meaning • Friendship • Creativity
Quiet time • Beauty • Connection • Family Time • Meditation
Excitement • Energy • Purpose • Inspiration

I have a kind powerful project for you!
PRINT OUT: How-to instructions for an intimate or large event (below)!

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POWER OF POSITIVITY
During challenging times, rather than get weighed down by things outside of our control, we must positively influence the space we occupy – mentally and physically. Then, pay it forward!  

The Kindness Rock Project immediately caught my attention because of its sentiment and simplicity. People paint rocks with pictures or inspirational messages and leave them around town. Not only does this offer all the excitement of a city-wide treasure hunt, but it brightens up the scenery with little bursts of joy! Others find them and keep them or re-hide them. It’s easy to do for all ages, meaningful to both the giver and the receiver, plus it delivers unexpected, burst of beauty. This project engages the full community!  

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Bea’s original Topock Rock!

POWER OF SYNERGY
About the time I’d learned of #TheKindnessRockProject my good friend and fellow creative soul, Bea, found inspiration in a painted rock she stumbled upon while on vacation in tiny Topock, AZ! Talk about synergy! We immediately agreed on the potential for this creative venture and the potential impact on our hometown – empowering people, encouraging children, all while weaving stronger ties within and with surrounding communities! The rock group #RedondoRocks was born.

POWER OF CONNECTION
Being able to experience this project first-hand through the kind heart of the Project’s founder, Megan Murphy, really left a lasting impression with me. She, like I, lives to make connections. Sprinkling kindness and encouragement helps anonymous people connect on an non-intimidating, yet intensely personal, level and provides a boost of whatever that person needs! While each rock creates one individual connection, kindness is contagious and the excitement grows exponentially!


Some communities create Kindness Rock gardens in their neighborhoods or schools to counter bullying, and encourage kids who feel challenged while journeying through a rough spot.  It also helps center people in their lives because, truly, we all get in a grind and time flies by. But when a flash of color or a kind saying catches your eye, you are instantly anchored in that spot, in your day, feeling those emotions and getting caught up in the color or the weight of the rock. I love how a simple gesture can have such large meaning.


POWER OF FEW
The #OMagInsiders painted rocks together while cruising on Holland America.  After going ashore in Alaska, hunting for hiding spots in quaint Ketchikan, I felt thrilled and rewarded. Returning to the ship that afternoon, Megan rewarded me with the news that my rock was reported “found” before I even got back on the boat by someone who worked on the ship!  Talk about a full-circle moment! Kindness Rocks also helped us connect with a specific passenger and a very direct intent that left all of our hearts overflowing!


POWER OF MANY
Megan believes that the right rock always finds the right person.  Additionally, the interpretation of what power these rock groups hold and how to deliver it to individual communities comes from within them. Some groups start with an individual, a small troop of children or circle of friends painting and hiding rocks. Some kick off with a large community gathering evolving into regular rock-painting parties! Painters are first-timers or seasoned artists using pens, paints or stickers to adorn their rocks with pictures, sayings, or mascots. Then people spread out to cover their community (or represent it elsewhere) with kindness.

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SECRET POWERS
While Bea and I knew we were offering a fun evening for all ages at our first painting night, many secondary gifts popped up! Guests went offline. People exhaled and slowed down. Parents and kids painted together, or allowed each other the mental space to stay as long as they wanted. Folks tapped into their creative side, filled each other’s kindness buckets and painted with passion! Friends either found a new tribe or the perfect spot for quietly perfecting their craft! Plus the fun spills over from the event and carries people for weeks while hiding their rocks, posting teasers on social media for where to find rocks, or others posting when rocks are found! The power of the group’s hashtag means that the web of Kindness woven throughout the community may be felt whenever one wants it.  

A large part of this comes thanks to The Great Room Cafe who shared this vision of a kinder community and let us take over their party space while offering delicious food and fun activities for those who were done painting but wanted to linger in this evening a little longer. This was truly the perfect venue for such magic to occur!

Bea and I look forward to hosting our next painting party and helping people plan their painting events! We wholeheartedly believe that many little gestures add up to a grand statement!  The Kindness Rock Project reminds us that the power to control our own happiness, and contribute to others, was with us the whole time.

Paint it Forward!

Where to find us online:
REDONDO ROCKS INSTAGRAM
REDONDO ROCKS FACEBOOK
THE KINDNESS ROCKS PROJECT INSTAGRAM
THE KINDNESS ROCKS PROJECT FACEBOOK

PRINT OUTS:  How to host your painting party:
Kindness Rocks Home Painting Party

Kindness Rocks Community Painting Party

What about you?

  • Have you painted Kindness Rocks?
  • Have you found a Painted Rock?
  • Are you a member of a Rock Group? If so, list your club’s url in the comments!
  • Do you keep rocks or re-hide them? What would Oprah Do?
  • Do you have a favorite story involving Kindness Rocks? If so, please share in the comments!

#RedondoRocks #TheKindnessRocksProject #KindnessIsContagious #PaintItForward #PayItForward #Kindness #PaintedRocks #RockGroups #PaintingParty #Cruise #Party #RandomActsOfKindness #OMagInsiders #Oprah #HollandAmerica #Ketchikan #Alaska #TopockRocks #KindnessRockGarden #TheGreatRoomCafe #BoldMoves #makesmewander

YOU WENT WHERE? SAN FRANCISCO (With Kids)

During the toddler years, my family’s cranky moods  (mine included) disappeared with some creative distraction and a change of venue – if severe. Now that the tween and teen years dictate the mood in the house, when the bickering levels get intolerable, Mom offers a proportional change up – Roadtrip adventure!

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Photo courtesy of megabus.com

I’ve been dreaming of a trip to San Francisco since the last time we’d been almost 13 years ago. My teen son only remembers riding in a limo at 3 ½ years old (over riding his first cable car) and my tween daughter simply made it through the trip to her due date!  I love the energy of the city with its cool modern minimalistic hotels next to classic historic hotels with warm solid mahogany bars in the lobby. I love that everywhere you turn, distinct neighborhoods welcome you with their distinct charm, as do the piers decorating the waterfront!  So the three of us set out on an adventure blending history, new experiences, old favorites and of course something weird!

32 hrs in San Fran (with kids)!

DA, DA, DA – ANOTHER ONE RIDES THE MEGABUS
Always up for an adventure, the wheels in my head started turning immediately (The wheels on the bus go round and round)!  When you put things out into the universe, the universe responds! Amazingly, we received the opportunity to try Megabus.com for free in exchange for our honest opinion.  I immediately responded, “Yes, Please!” after a great first-hand testimonial from my office mate who used this bus line recently during her East Coast holiday adventure.

Planning a weekend getaway limited our time in San Francisco, so the idea of showing up only 30 min. early, getting on a bus with reclining seats and sleeping my way to San Francisco – then waking up refreshed at my destination – cemented the decision for me! The night we left, California disappeared under the rainstorm that my generation will retell vividly for generations to come. The Megabus travelled securely on the roads, unfazed by the elements. In fact, for both directions of the trip, energetic and helpful employees kept us on track. Their rates remain reasonable, only additional charge should you wish to reserve seats!  Check their site often for their $1 sales! I wish I’d known about this when I was a college kid – weekenders would have educated me! For a full review click here.


YOU ONLY GET ONE CHANCE FOR A FIRST IMPRESSION
As we crossed the Oakland Bay Bridge, the sun shone on the waking city and almost converted me to a morning person (Hah, you know how unlikely that’d be). The bus dropped us at the Caltrain station and Uber picked us up before we even stretched out our rested bodies! Everything feels closeby in San Francisco and in minutes we arrived at the Hilton SF Union Square – a hotel I’m super familiar with thanks to my Team In Training (TNT) years.  Though they aren’t the most hipster or historic place in town to rest your head, they consistently provide a comfortable experience that seems upgraded from the price paid (especially with their renovated rooms). Feels like dropping in for a visit with a long-time friend!  What cinched our future return was letting us check in 8 hours early! Thank you!

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Despite our welcome middle of the night snack from the roadside rest stop, we arrived to San Francisco hungry for adventure …and breakfast!  Wanting to set the tone for the weekend, and to fuel us for the day, we chose another favorite from my TNT days, Sear’s Fine Food

The moment you enter, you step into your grandparents’ era for some unconditional love delivered in a heaping serving of delicious warm food. With our bellies and hearts filled up, we left for our first adventure… except nothing was open yet. So we went to the hotel to plot our course, unpack, watch TV…

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THRILL OF A NEW RIDE
While the kids power napped, I navigated and doubled back cross-checking the Cable Car routes to deliver us to all of our desired locations. We opted for a single-day pass immediately opening up our access to the city. I purchased our tickets while the kids watched the city’s tradition of re-directing the cable car at the turn about.  We hoofed it 2 blocks to the next stop up from there (where 10 people stood in line vs. 100s at the turntable). For the first leg of our trip we jumped onto the outside of a crowded cable car and held on!  My daughter told me later that she got nervous – not that she’d fall off – that other people wouldn’t get out of the way.

One of the most memorable visuals of the city flashed briefly at the change between the Powell-Hyde and California lines as we looked downhill through the city.

Alcatraz is first on our list for next time!

OFF TO EXPLORE – AH, TOUR – EE, YUM!
One parental benefit allows us to run alongside our kids, watching the world through their curious eyes, bright with wonder.  At the Exploratorium, everyone’s minds expanded and repeatedly blew as we flew from exhibit to exhibit, squealing like loudly deflating balloons!  Each new stop offered fascinating exhibits where you learn by interacting with the exhibit! This museum encouraged touching or climbing into and through exhibits!  My daughter’s and my favorite experience deprived us of our sight as we traversed through a maze in complete darkness. As a pair, we relied primarily on touch and sound while traveling through the Tactile Dome (slight additional, but highly recommended fee).  She turned out to be an amazing leader providing step-by-step directions as to what challenge I would find next.  My son’s favorite challenged him to learn Morse Code – harder than it looked considering it’s only dashes and dots! Totally exhausted though only getting a fraction of the experience done, we finally broke for dinner!

PEPPER MEAL WITH HISTORY
As a divorced mom, I haven’t shared a lot of their Dad’s and my history. At first I lacked an age-appropriate answer for their innocent questions, “So if you had fun, why’d you break up?” Later, out of respect for his new wife, and largely because I’d boxed them all away, wrapped in impenetrable box in my self. 11 years later, I realize that the generic statement “Even though we’re no longer together, you were created from love.” doesn’t carry weight if I don’t sometimes share proof.  Their Dad and I enjoyed The Stinking Rose restaurant a few times both here and the one in LA. One thing we actually agreed on was that only the SF one seasons the experience with a mythical bohemian feel – being that it’s the original location.  Also, honestly, this restaurant wouldn’t have teased my palate without his family’s cooking. The first time they opened their door, a rush of garlic took my breath away! The rest is history.


WALK RIGHT DOWN THE STREET
After dinner, though absolutely stuffed, we desired something light but sweet.  We calculated the distance we needed to walk to make enough room for Gelateria Naia (who are we kidding – there’s always room for gelato)! My kids stuck with classic flavors of mango, coffee and chocolate chip (though not all together).  They featured a whiskey flavor I’d never encountered before that blended smoothly with chocolate – the recipe for the perfect evening nightcap. 

I SPY… SOMETHING GOLDEN
The next morning, after we slept in a bit, we hunted for a meal large enough to rush us through the day and sustain us until we got on the bus to relax for the ride home to Los Angeles.  Originally, we went fishing for a fish and chips truck, but, they weren’t open when our stomachs started growling at us. The mist of the heavy fog led us straight to Tarantino’s Restaurant on the pier promising a view of the Golden Gate Bridge from the top floor (talk about multi-tasking when on a limited timeframe).  The kids laughed at the names of boats in their slips, communicated telepathically with seagulls begging for the kids’ fries through the scenic glass window, and squinted to find the bridge through the fog. We raved about the crispy golden seafood (lightly battered and fried, without any recognizable fish features).  


LIKE KIDS IN A CANDY STORE
As we exited the restaurant, the bright red logo of Rocket Fizz served as a beacon from across the street.  My son’s sentimental side insisted that we go “support the company” so that they don’t go out of business (I doubt there’s any danger of that, he’s still sore we lost the location in Westchester). Your sweet tooth compels you to stop the next time you pass near this store. It offers many childhood or jumbo-sized favorites and hard-to-find imported candies.

WTF: WEIRD, TOTALLY FUN!
Headed towards the Pier, we pulled inside a doorway to briefly to plot our course …and never left.  We’d stepped through a door into the most fantastically freakish place – Musée Mécanique!  This features the personal collection of Edward Zelinsky’s arcade games, and other mechanical wonders, collected from 1933 on (though some originated from decades earlier).  This collection felt slightly unsettling only because we had no idea what to expect (or was it the large clown at the entrance). Uneasiness immediately yields to exponential levels of excitement as you discover each new relic from a player piano, to old-time picture machines, to Space Invaders and a steam motorcycle.  We completely fell into this parallel universe, lost track of time, and wish we could have stayed longer.
 

MY NEW PERSPECTIVE
After a relaxing and a more spacious ride home (less people on the bus so each person could take a row of seats), we returned home from vacation refreshed, a little exhausted from our adventures, and with new perspective.  Our Three-thumb review is 3 tired thumbs up.  My tween daughter loved the unique challenge of the Tactile Dome and a new appreciation for her vision. My teen son left for San Francisco believing that one beach town resembles the next one. He returned with an appreciation for the history and the varied terrain (and we didn’t even visit the largest or curviest hills) of Northern California.

I caught a glimpse of my children and how they treat each other when mom’s not around thanks to the water fountain experiment in the Exploratorium. It featured back-to-back water fountains and two buttons on each side: SIP or SQUIRT. Each sibling simply pressed one button and if they match, it happens, if it doesn’t match, it cancels each other and nothing happens.  I fully expected to need to buy new dry clothes, or that they’d cancel each other out.  My heart grew when I witnessed my kids gently lowering their heads (and dare I say they were both a little bit surprised) to get a sip of water.

If you want even more detailed reviews on each place we visited, check out the Yelp Reviews. Plus subscribe to check back when we update the list after future roadtrips!

Follow the blog to see where we go next!

What about you?
What is your favorite San Francisco gem?
What do you do to save your sanity on trips?
How do you remain present and not skip ahead to the next destination?
What changes in perspective do you encounter while traveling?
How often do you travel with your kids vs. on your own?
Where are you off to next?
Where should we go next?

TOP 10 VIDEOS TO GET YOU IN THE MOOD (for the next Star Wars film!)

With tangible anticipation, the seduction tickles each of our 5 senses pulling us closer.  Whether we go full-body all in, or pulled in inch by inch, we feverishly mark the date on the calendar and before it’s upon us, already hope for multiple experiences. I’m not talking about the next 50 Shades of Grey,  I’m talking  

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At first I thought I was heading full-blown into a midlife crisis when I started buying t-shirts, light saber earrings, and my stomach was aching for the release date of the last film!  Then once we saw the film, Star Wars fever exploded upon us as we went to our first Convention (details to come soon). We’ve already purchased our tickets to go see the next film at El Capitan Theatre!

I never really realized how big a Star Wars fan lived inside me, but here’s why:

  1. As a writer, the fact that George Lucas started this whole thing out of his mind and created films, tv series, comic strips, etc. Just amazes me.  He and JK Rowling are my creative idols for what they’ve accomplished.
  2. Star Wars was something that I shared with and handed down to my kids. I still remember seeing the original in the theatre as a (ahem!) young girl!  To be able to share this world that still carries such weight and wonder in this generation warms my heart.
  3. In this instant gratification generation, this keeps them longing for more, anticipating something to come.  I loved to that the films inspired reading and now my teenage son could teach a college class in. He tests me before allowing me to move forward through each episode!  
  4. It’s something my two kids share in common – one of the few things. I love what makes them individual, but I love that they respect each other’s knowledge and affection for the franchise.
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WTF (Wow, they’re FUZZY!)           Get your own robe! thinkgeek.com

Almost as much as I love the films, I love the fan video snippets that are inspired by the film. With another film on the near horizon from that galaxy far, far away. Here are the Top 10 videos we love to help us get in the mood (in no particular order)!

I’ll NEVER JOIN YOU
Improv Everywhere shows just as much creativity and finesse as George Lucas to be able to pull off a live Star Wars scene on the New York Subway. I only wish I’d seen this live!


THAT BOY IS OUR LAST HOPE
You know how they say setting things to music helps you learn them? Weird Al’s song helped me learn about Anakin Skywalker’s branch of the Star Wars family tree.  He’s done a few Star Wars songs, but this is our favorite.


AREN’T YOU A LITTLE SHORT FOR A STORMTROOPER?

This projects my mind for the world to see. While I didn’t make this video, it’s exactly how I envision stormtrooper street dance crews battling. They’re the only crews I hope to see twerking ever again.
BONUS: I’m sure they opened the way for this Britain’s Got talent act.


LAUGH IT UP, FUZZBALL
Seriously, what is cuter than jedi kittens yielding light sabers?! 


YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO THIS TO IMPRESS ME
With a chance to not be outdone by the kittens, the dogs come in with the song that gives me chills every time I hear it, with any lyrical style.


THESE AREN’T THE DROIDS YOU’RE LOOKING FOR
Since 1977 I’ve hoped that when I grew up that every house would come with it’s own R2 unit.  This parakeet budgie may be the best option until that day.


I HAVE YOU NOW!

In a great example of Star Wars coming to life, it’s easy to imagine how thrilling it’d be during the middle of your daily routine, to find yourself armed with a light saber and drawn into battle!


JUDGE ME BY MY SIZE, DO YOU?
For a brief return to the Cute Side, check out a day in the life if your Star Wars fantasies came true and instead of cats, people had AT-ATs!


…BORING CONVERSATION ANYWAY. LUKE! WE’RE GONNA HAVE COMPANY!
Ever wonder what you would have these characters say if you were the word wizard? Bad Lip Reading cracks me up!!  ALERT: Some language will (hopefully) go over the heads of the young ones, some might not. You’ve been warned.


DIFFICULT TO SEE. ALWAYS IN MOTION IS THE FUTURE
Close your eyes and picture the motion of the ocean with this tune.  Remember, the original Star Wars film came from decades a long, long time agowhen Disco was King! 

ALWAYS PASS ON WHAT YOU HAVE LEARNED!
MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU!

What about you?
Do you have any favorite Star Wars snippets that get you excited?  Share links below!
Do you know what characters really said the above QUOTES?
What’s your favorite Star Wars film?
Or were you more of the Star Trek fan?
Is it possible to be both?
Which Star Wars character are you most like?
Do you already have your tickets for the next film?
Dark Side or Rebellion?

 

#StarWars #TheForce #RogueOne #R2D2 #Luke #Jedi #DarthVader #Skywalker #DeathStar #GeorgeLucas #WeirdAl #ImproveEverywhere #BadLipReading #Disco #StormTrooper #LightSaber #EpisodeI #EpisodeII #EpisodeIII #EpisodeIV #EpisodeV #EpisodeVI #EpisodeVII #EpisodeVII #Cat #Kitten #Twerk #Disney #rogueoneastarwarsstory
(C) DISNEY

HERE’S WHY YOU SHOULD RUN AWAY TO THE CIRCUS

The next time The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circus passes through your town, here’s why you absolutely must get up off the couch and see this show! I was fortunate enough to see the World Premiere in Los Angeles. While Feld Entertainment (producers of the show) promised it’d be better than ever, since retiring their trademark elephants, I am here to say they slightly missed their mark. They didn’t just “do better,” they launched their circus into a new dimension light years away! The show is truly Out of this World.  
The Ringling Bros. put on a tremendous show for a hometown price. From the first dramatic moment when the Simet Spacewalkers demonstrated graceful balance and agility while seemingly space walking in zero gravity, I held my breath. Their otherworldly skills drew us in for an unbelievable treat!   Suddenly the planets burst revealing contortionists inside as color, motion and music pulsed through every inch of the room, from floor to ceiling! Suddenly there are no rings, no boundaries, no pre-conceived notions!    To help us travel safely through this new uncharted outer space, we follow the story of Paolo who searches the galaxy in search of performers worthy of joining The Greatest Show on Earth®! However, he has an adversary in the form of an intergalactic circus queen who is keen on building The Greatest Show of any Galaxy!
 Immediately some stars take sides with dramatically different outcomes. Then the race begins to visit the many planets to round up the various stellar circus acts.   Many acts seem comfortably familiar and expected for a circus until you realize the performers blew the top off and flew to a higher level!


Trampoline acrobats and stilt walkers circle the ring… on ice skates; more motorcyclists than should fit together race… inside a small metal spherical cage; clowns juggle rings… while upside down; human pyramids form… while on horseback thundering around the ring.   Finally, their app! So fun, it lets you know what’s coming and entertains during downtime. My favorites are the photo booth and unscrambling games!

Me, fulfilling my life-long dream to be a circus clown! They ran the show!

Ringling Bros is near Los Angeles until August 7 so get tickets now! For a discount, check the events page

CIRCUS VARGAS: Be Present: It’ll Blow Your Mind!

These days live entertainment and family traditions find themselves competing with, and wondering how to beat, the virtual realities so many people live in. People shape their own ideal lives in social media or step into and succeed in any role in a make-believe dimension – how does one top that? Under the big top, Circus Vargas continues their tradition of impressing crowds daily with unbelievable yet true reality happening live right before their very eyes!  

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Leaving the real world outside behind, the mystical lights drew the kids in…

When you step through the Circus Vargas tent’s grand entrance into the dark interior, you can no longer see the rules and boundaries from daily life. Everything is possible!

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There are acts for everyone in the family! This one is for the ladies – tall, dark and handsome gymnasts!

Ticket takers and snack vendors have fanciful flirty makeup teasing about the magical evening to come. People are not defined by one role!

CV_Vova with cube_credit- Mike Rollerson

Juggling this 2-D figure was amazing but the magic started when he picks up the 3-D cube!

Encompassing the quaint one-ring circus stage, one can see hints of a stronger structure soaring into the upper points of the tent. There are no limits to Circus Vargas’ imagination!

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This show reaches new heights as your imagination soars with each new act!       WTF: Wow, They’re Flying!

The touring company is made up of the original Vargas family relatives, close friends, or long-time Circus Vargas family. Through the strength of their bond, you receive a thrilling and efficient show that keeps surprising you, act after act. At Circus Vargas, family comes first!

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A picture is impressive, to watch this unfold in reality is mind-boggling!

The show opens with a family-first reminder that when you unplug from your iDevices, you plug into the people and world around you. They warmed us up with mind-boggling contortionists! High-energy acrobats took the experience over the top with one press of a button, sending an electric pulse through the audience as their suits lit up! The show proves you can do whatever you set your mind on!

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Whether it’s hulahoops, motorcycling, or other daredevil acts, turning the lights off increases the danger and electricity!

The entertaining, well-choreographed show moved quickly through it’s breath-taking, sometimes dangerous, but always exhilarating acts, with a fantastic duo providing comedy and musical relief between acts.  Be present, it’ll blow your mind!

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Seeing two motorcycles travel the inner globe is exhilarating, but your senses will race when the lights go out!

Finally, Circus Vargas has heart! At every stop, they contribute to local charities. At our performance, Olive Crest was given the  time to share their mission with the audience and that opportunity is priceless – for real.

Circus Vargas Opens TOMORROW in Woodland Hills,, CA. To see when Circus Vargas’ big top will come to your town, check frequently at www.circusvargas.com

PARENT MUSIC FESTIVAL TRAINING PROGRAM – Part 3 of 3

Last session before your music festival event! You’ve trained for loud levels and longevity! You’ve prepped for festival fun.

Couch to Music Festival: Parents Training Guide

Again, while this applies to Wango Tango, the program easily adapts to Coachella, Stagecoach, or other festivals.

  • ATTIRE: Most music festivals take place outdoors during the spring or summer. Some experience significant temperature changes from day to evening – the more you dance, the less you’ll notice.
    • WHAT’S HOT: Crazy Loosey
      • Loose flowing clothes – Slightly stretchy, cut-outs. Clothes that won’t interrupt your groove but breeze blows through – all while fiercely flattering.
  • Accessorize – Hats or glasses required! Red sunburned faces or eyes aren’t cool – ever. Keep hats streamlined to not hinder people’s views.
  • Cute compression socks – Crazy socks are in! Concert-goers will applaud as your wild socks with cute boogie shoes outdance them
  • Comfy shoes – if you can find something in a boot or chunky heel, you’ll be above the crowd for best viewing!

WHAT’S NOT: Mom or dad jeans

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WTF Wango Tango Fangirls may change their minds about Mom Jeans – totally CUTE!

  • FUELING: Eat to stay strong for your music marathon:
    • HYDRATION vs RAGING – While there are tons of fun drinks in the festival, try to drink to hydrate:
      • Alternate – Every other drink alternate between water and soda or alcohol
      • Combine – Gatorade Margaritas, they’re real!
    • ALL-DAY FUELING – Eat a protein-filled breakfast with light carbs, preferably whole fiber. Consider bringing snacks to ensure your energy lasts all night long! The festival contains quick pick-me-up options but watch out for the crash!

Food

  • MEDALS OF COMPLETION:
    • ROCK-N-ROLL VOICE: Even with voice training, you’re apt to get some sexy, smoky voice. Time to re-do your phone voicemail!
    • EVENT JERSEY: Not only do you and fellow jersey-wearers share an instant bond, it’s a badge of pride that you went the distance!
    • ASSUAGED STRESS/MIDLIFE SYMPTOMS: With great tunes, views, and artists you’re bound to recapture your youthful spirit and strengthen family/friendship bonds! Clapping and dancing blows away stress leaving you more centered. Adrenaline highs boost productivity

Stay loose and have crazy fun! Let me know if this plan gets you into the groove to go all night or makes you look forward to your event with renewed vigor!

Let me know if I forgot anything and what music festivals you will hit!

PARENT MUSIC FESTIVAL TRAINING PROGRAM – Part 2 of 3

First, we kicked off and ramped up music festival endurance training. Now, focus shifts to comfort during and after the event!  While this applies to Wango Tango, one can easily adapt the program to Coachella or Stagecoach or longer events.

Couch to Music Festival: Parents Training Guide (con’t)

  • VOICE CONDITIONING: Being an “adoring fan” may be tougher than a performer. They sing for a few minutes up to an hour while you consistently cheer for nearly 5 hours – without training.
    • USE YOUR GUT – Learn to push your voice from your core, through your diaphragm and control it escaping from your throat – Look
    • BUFFER – Practice while in your car, on the freeway – not even shower walls  provide enough buffer for those nearby.
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WTF: Wango Tango Fangirl checked out wikihow to Scream Sing without hurting her voice!

 

  • AVOID INJURIES: Avoid training too hard to prevent injuries. Here are the most commonly occurring:
    • 2 LEFT FEET – While you may not know how to Hit the Quan, just stay loose and move any parts of your body as you feel fit!
    • BLEEDING EARS – Increase car radio volume a little each day. Smart people, not old, buffer with foam earplugs.
    • GENERATION GAP – Wider than thigh gaps, navigating this seems trickier. Though every trend comes back around, the new generation still shocks us.  To infiltrate the crowd unnoticed, buy a few accessories at local teen stores. If you blend, youngsters are more likely to behave naturally. You may learn more social and behavioral cues for the next time you try to communicate with them.

  • KNOW BEFORE YOU GO: Be prepared!
    • MUSIC – My daughter think I’ve invented this cool car radio game called Name That Tune where I quickly turn the radio on then off and they blurt out the title and artist of radio songs. While it’s fun for them, my music muscle memory kicks in from back in the days when I could remember any song lyrics but not algebraic equations.
    • FLASHCARDS – Music festivals, especially in Los Angeles, attract celebrities. So another game rises from the pages of tabloid/fashion magazines where my daughter and I verbalize what the star “must be” saying with their photoshoot poses. This will prevent me from calling a cast by the wrong TV show next time we cross paths.

How many can you name?

Coming tomorrow: Attire, Fueling, Medals of completion.

PARENT MUSIC FESTIVAL TRAINING PROGRAM – Part 1 of 3

Ecstatic, after buying 2 tickets to Wango Tango music festival for my daughter and I (for her birthday); Sentimental, having attended the same festival 17 years ago but now passing the torch; Thrilled, as every single artist tops our list of faves; Panicked, as mosh-pit concerns blind-sided me; Relieved, upon viewing my assigned seats; and Driven… I began training!

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Mom, You Rock from afavoritedesign

Don’t laugh, just follow along:

Couch to Music Festival: Parents Training Guide

  • SET CLEAR GOALS: We have 5 weeks to train for:
    • DANCING OUR ASSES OFF for at least 4 ½ hours straight
    • CLAPPING THUNDEROUSLY for every encore
    • YELLING for each amazing artist loud enough so they respond “I love you too!
      …all with minimal bathroom/snack breaks

 

Are they Over-Excited or Under-Trained? WTF: Wango Tango Fangirls

 

  • START SMALL/BUILD SLOWLY:  With one step, we’ll begin and celebrate our high notes!
    • TRAINING PLAN – Start with one step, increase by 10 min. a day. Just focus on the build, not the full distance!
    • FESTIVAL LENGTH – We chose a 1-day festival but this training may be adapted for weekend or 3-day concerts as well – just allow more time to train.
    • Advanced: Build from previous concert experience of 2-3 hours

  • ENDURANCE TRAINING: To avoid dancing muscle fatigue:
    • SHAKE IT – Grab ear buds, start dancing everywhere! In your living room, while doing dishes or brushing teeth!
      Advanced: Make your kids teach you dance moves – fun(ny) for all!
    • CROSS-TRAIN! – Swimming and cycling build endurance but for a simple weight-bearing exercise – walk or jog!

  • STRENGTH TRAINING: To avoid jello arms and legs that may inhibit your ability to drive home:
    • SQUATS – Strengthen the quads and glutes to jump up for each new act with renewed vigor. Bonus, they help your core!.
      Advanced: Hold a squat position with slight bounce to Whip the crowd into a frenzy!
    • ARMS/BACK – Push ups, bench presses, and curls strengthen and amplify clapping.
      Advanced:  Shoulder and upper back strengthening ensures your clapping remains fanatically “Above-the-head” and your Nae Nae won’t look like a no no.
    • CALVES – Calf presses lift yourself above the screaming crowd to lock eyes with your favorite artist. No need to add more than your body weight – unless someone will be seated on your shoulders.

 

Advanced: Crowd Surfing – see Wikipedia how-to

Coming tomorrow in Part 2 of 3: Voice Conditioning, Avoiding Injuries, Know Before You Go

DISNEY ON ICE: The Biggest Treasure

Click here for 30% off Discount Codes!

Disney animated films represent a memorable, magical rite of passage!  Most of us remember our first favorite Disney character that leaped from the screen, welcoming us into their world – mine was Cinderella.*  As we grew, we became more complex characters, our crowds changed and new favorites joined our immediate Disney family!

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The Princess and the Frog’s Tiana and Naveen

As with every family gathering, we enjoy our time immensely with our Disney family – build fond memories – but then return to our less magical daily routine.  While one may visit characters at their theme park homes, or rewind and re-live the films at our home, time with our Disney family remains limited.  Disney realizes that most of us do not share fences with a Disney theme park, so they’ve packed up their treasure trove of characters and are gliding into your home town!

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Disney’s Treasure Trove of memorable, magical characters

Disney chose their 50 most memorable characters from eight classic animated films to share their stories through figure skating in Feld Entertainment’s Disney On Ice presents Treasure Trove – presented by YoKids!  By adding the elegance and athleticism of ice skating, the levels of romance, suspense, comedy and antics increase by leaps and bounds! The films span the 50-year legacy that Walt Disney started!  Every guest will reunite with one of their favorites!

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Don’t be late to a very important date with Alice and the Mad Hatter as they march with the Queen of Hearts’ Army of Cards

Hit the ice with Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald and Goofy as they embark on a fun-filled treasure hunt. Get tangled up in Disney’s 50th animated feature with Rapunzel and Flynn. Ahoy, Mateys! Set sail with Peter Pan, sassy Tinker Bell and cantankerous Captain Hook & his pirate crew! Trek the wilds of Africa with Simba, Nala, Pumbaa and Timon to discover the true meaning of the ‘Circle of Life.’ Tick-Tock! Tick-Tock! Set a playdate with Woody and Buzz Lightyear – the toys are back in town!

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As with anything that Disney touches, the performance sets the gold standard!  This breathtakingly magical experience creates unforgettable memories for you and your family to treasure!

*While I enjoyed the Princess mind-set for a while, what I really loved about Cinderella was her resilience and creativity on how to get to the ball, her dignity in doing a job well-done and grace when facing down her obnoxious step-sisters! #DisneyStrong

CLICK FOR SPECIAL DISCOUNT CODE

#DisneyOnIce   #TreasureTrove  #IBelieveInDisneyMagic

All images (c) Disney

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