Tag Archives: family

Here Comes The Boom Movie Review

Here Comes The Boom – A Feel Good Movie

naturally beautiful

Here Comes The Boom – A Feel Good Family Movie

Here Comes the Boom Movie Review

This Friday Dude’s (my husband) latest movie – Here Comes The Boom will be released nationwide. The movie stars Kevin James, Salma Hayek, Henry Winkler, Charice, Bas Rutten, a number of MMA superstars, and East Coast (my stepson) makes his big screen debut – look for him lugging the base in the opening sequence of the movie!

Donning my reviewers hat…

Critics are describing the movie as School Of Rock meets Rocky and I think if you liked those movies, you’ll love Here Comes the Boom. I loved the movie, but I recognize my objectivity might be a bit clouded.

Kevin James plays disenchanted school teacher – Scott Voss – who rediscovers his passion for teaching and life when he unwittingly volunteers to save his school’s music program, by becoming a losing MMA fighter.

The break out star of Boom is Voss’ coach for this adventure – Bas Rutten. This mixed martial arts legend knocks it out of the park, playing a former MMA athlete who missed his shot at UFC greatness and is now coaching at a gym. I don’t want to give anything away here… but he checked his image at the door and comitted to this role, his comedic timing is impeccable, and I predict we’ll be seeing more of him in the future.

The movie soundtrack was another highlight of the movie – I’ve had the NSFW Remix of Neil Diamond’s song Holly Holy firmly lodged in my mind since screening the film – in a good way. Fan’s of Charice won’t be disappointed as she does a great job playing one of Mr. Voss’ students, and has a chance to show off her amazing vocal talent.

Is Here Comes The Boom A family Movie?

Here Comes The Boom is rated PG, and I think that this is a great movie for families with tweens. The message of determination and pursuing your passion is the perfect take away for a feel good family movie.

If your children are younger, and involved in martial arts and contact sports like football and boxing – this is  likely an indicator this movie will be a good fit.

The language is clean, their are no sex scenes, there is not gratuitous violence… aside from the fight training and fight scenes, it’s clean.

I’ve been watching MMA for years and I thought the fight scenes were a highlight of the movie, the contact looks very legit – which again, the tweens will love and some younger children will find to intense. As a parent – you know your children best.

If you decide to go with your kids and you’ll find yourself at a movie you’ll enjoy right along with them.

A Sneak Peak from the Red Carpet of the Here Comes the Boom Premiere

I was lucky to be in New York for the premiere of Here Comes the Boom… and took a ton of pictures to share a bit of the red carpet experience with you!

Here Comes The Boom Movie Review

Salma Hayek walks the crowded red carpet.

Bas Rutten steels the show with impeccable comedic timing.Here Comes The Boom Movie Review

Salma Hayek stops for a quick photo before we watch the premiere.

Go check it out this weekend, and let me know your thoughts! Here Comes The Boom – did it bring it?

The Montage Beverly Hills Paintbox Experience

The Montage Beverly Hills Embraces Family

Lil Diva and I were recently invited to the Montage Beverly Hills to experience the hotel and their Paintbox Program.  I love the Montage, and was easily sold with the promise of massages and afternoon tea with Lil Diva, but Paintbox?  Whats that I wondered?

Happily, on this stay, I found out! Now I keep trying to find Montage Hotels in cities where they don’t yet exist!

Before sharing, let me ask a few travel-with-kids related questions:

  • Did you enjoy luxury hotels before you had your children?
  • Do you want to travel with you children, and enjoy a relaxing child-free dinner?
  • Have you tried to revisit some of your favorite pre-baby spots, only to feel like you had chosen the wrong spot?
  • Do you really need a break, but don’t have anyone that you feel comfortable leaving the lil’s with overnight?

The Montage Beverly Hills offer’s visiting lil’s Paintbox

Paintbox is an exclusive childrens’s program that ensures your next visit is just the right mix of family time and mommy & daddy downtime.  Paintbox at the Montage Beverly Hills is run by the AMAZING Stacy.  She is highly experienced and has extensive child development training, not only did my lil diva love the staff, but all the lil’s in the group wanted to go back at the earliest opportunity.

I’ve seen a number of hotels offer children’s activities that typically wrap by 4PM. which doesn’t really give mom & dad a chance to have quiet time.  Paintbox is open Friday and Saturday from 6-10.

The space is located in the lower level of the hotel and don’t be taken aback by it’s compact size – they use the Paintbox room as their operations base, roving around the hotel for games on the terrace, swimming and  even meals!

Paintbox Beverly Hills is open from 9 am to 4 pm daily.  Rates are $90 per day per child and half days are available.  Evenings are $60 per child.


The Montage Beverly HIlls

A Greeting Sure To Make The Lil' Smile!

 

The Montage Beverly Hills has a few other ways to let their pint sized guests feel welcome!  Upon check-in younger guests are treated to a mini-Mercedes stuffed with plush animals.  Lil’ Diva  happily chose her favorite brown bear.  I loved that they’ve chosen to offer one nicer quality gift offer their younger guests as opposed to something that would get used once and thrown away.

Montage Beverly Hills

Monogrammed Neck Roll

 

Once in our room I was impressed with the hotel’s personal touches, from the monogrammed neck roll to the pint sized robe and slippers set on the bed… and while not nearly as elegant, I can’t think of a mom  who wouldn’t be completely charmed the personalized greeting awaiting expected paintbox visitor,  Lil’s will be excited too!

 

Montage Beverly Hills

Lil Diva Welcome to Paintbox!

 

If you are looking for a relaxing, luxurious getaway, the Montage knows how to pamper their guests!  Quality and attention to detail encompassed every aspect of our visit.  I was surprised by the Spa – it was more spacious then expected (not sure why I thought it would be smaller!).  I loved afternoon tea –  the hand painted china it was served on was delightful.  The open kitchen at Scarpetta is GORGEOUS, did I mention that Scarpetta just launched a brand new brunch that is laid out in this fantastic kitchen!

 

Montage Beverly Hills

Good Company

 

One of the highlights of the grown up portion of the visit was a rooftop dinner, served poolside in a private cabana.  The company was amazing, Kimberley, The Go To Mom, Jennifer from Modern Mom, Katie from La Jolla Mom, Julie Taylor from Family Finds and Alexandra from The Beverly Hills Mom – the conversation flowed with the food & wine!  I think we all shared how we met our spouses.  It was delightful… all the while the kids were having a blast at Paintbox.

 

Montage Beverly Hills

Matching Grown Up & Lil Robes. Fun.

Back in the room we enjoyed a nice bubble bath and it was time for some much welcomed sleep!

One last note about Paintbox, you don’t have to be a guest of the hotel.  Dining and Spa guests are also welcome to take advantage of the paintbox program.

The Montage Beverly Hills Paintbox  Spa Offer

Through 2011 the Montage is offering an amazing promotion, book a treatment and your lil’s will enjoy 2 hours at paintbox – complimentary – while you are pampered!  LA Mama’s…  it doesn’t get any better than this!

Love letter to the FDA – I was invited to visit The Montage Beverly Hills, Lil Diva and I dined, slept, and played as the Hotel’s guests.  Even though the beds were sumptuously comfortable, and the massage at the spa melted away my stress, the organic eggs were cooked to perfection… all the opinions expressed remain my own.

The Montage Beverly Hills

225 North Canon Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
(310) 860-7800

www.montagebeverlyhills.com

The Montage Beverly Hills is Family Friendly Luxury, What is Favorite Family Friendly Destinations?

Our Visit to Park Hyatt Aviara Resort

Park Hyatt Aviara Review

We discovered the Park Hyatt Aviara while we were planning a family  trip to Legoland in Carlsbad, CA.  Carlsbad is just north of San Diego and just over an hours drive from Los Angeles, making it a perfect local getaway.

Park Hyatt Aviara

The Quiet Pool

One of the ways you can make keep your travel eco savvy is to go on local adventures.  I also think local trips are easier on the family in many other ways  too.  For our family, the children are out of diapers, bottles, pack n plays and our world is beginning to open up again!  We are starting to enjoy traveling together as a family!

Those who know me well know that I haven’t been a great a traveling with the lil’s.  Frankly, it exhausted me, but now that they are a little older, it’s actually becoming fun. Especially when you find destinations that truly make it a priority to cater to families like the Park Hyatt Aviara.

Back in the day, we’d escape to one of the many Southern California luxury destinations, but once we had children, it wasn’t quite the same.  We just didn’t feel comfortable with the idea of imposing our children on others – regardless of how delightful they are.  For this trip we were connecting with friends at Legoland, they chose the Park Hyatt Aviara (formerly the Four Seasons Aviara), we decided to go for it.  I’m not going to lie, I was a little  nervous.  Would we REALLY be comfortable with the children at a luxury hotel? Would I be so worried about the lil’s behavior that the trip would be exhausting?

I called the Resort directly to discuss which room might best meet the needs of our family for this trip, I have to share, from my very first contact with the hotel they were very welcoming and made a point of sharing their family friendly amenities.  While they do offer one bedroom suites, we decided to go with 2 adjoining rooms, this ended up working well for us.

Park Hyatt Aviara

Our Room

From the minute you arrive at the Park Hyatt Aviara they let you know that they welcome you and your lil’s. The front desk staff wheels out a wagon full of toys and the children get to pick one – now of course the eco savvy in me wished the toys weren’t made in china 2 days toys – but the message they are sending is clear.  Bring the family.

Family Friendly Amenities at the Park Hyatt Aviara

  • Toy wagon greeting from the front desk
  • Toys & DVD’s available for check out from the Concierge
  • A separate pool area, spa & wading pool dedicated for families
  • A super cool large family room style game room with shuffleboard, pool tables, air hockey and video games (It’s actually 3 rooms)
  • Restaurants with children’s menu’s that go beyond mac n cheese
  • Step stools in the public restrooms for easier hand washing for the lil’s
  • Camp Hyatt.  A free day camp for  children to enjoy during your visit.  Yes… you read that right free.

    Park Hyatt Avaira

    Welcoming Families

Our “unofficial” Aviara Itinerary

Everyone practiced their best manners at afternoon tea in the Lobby Lounge – TIP – book early or you won’t get a reservation!

Park Hyatt Aviara

Clotted Cream & Scones

While the lil’s played in the pool, we took advantage of the poolside lounge.

Park Hyatt Aviara Child Friendly

Pool Time

While the lil’s slept, we took advantage of the games room (we had a sitter!).  Turns out I am clueless when it comes to shuffleboard, but have fun regardless.  I might have become a little addicted during our Aviara stay.

Park Hyatt Aviara Game Room

Great Games!

Dined at Vivace, a wonderful on site Italian Restaurant – they brought carrot sticks with dip out as a starter for the lil’s!  Love that.

Dined at the California Bistro where it’s worth noting children 12 and under dine FREE.  Yes, free.

Park Hyatt Aviara Breakfast Buffet

Breakfast Noms

We had an amazing time.  We took full advantage of the amenities, although I didn’t get a chance to visit the spa… hmmm…. perhaps we’ll have to go back.  SOON!

Park Hyatt Aviara Grounds

The Grounds

Love Letter to the FDA:  After booking our reservation with the Park Hyatt Aviara I was contacted by their PR firm and accepted the discounted media rate during our stay they extended.  As always my opinion remain my own.

Our latest family adventure took us to the Park Hyatt Aviara, where was your last family getaway?

Contact the Park Hyatt Aviara: 760 448 1234

Gardening 101: Week 3

Six weeks ago we had a patch of grass next to our pool that we converted to an organic vegetable garden.  Click here to read all about my lack of skill in the gardening department and all the help I required to get this project off the ground.

We were a little late getting the plants in the ground… I was worried the heat would prevent them from getting established, but fortunately it’s been a cooler June in LA so most of the plants survived.

Ready to plant! Woo Hoo! June 4, 2010

Not only did they survive, they thrived.  When I took the family to away to the Evolution of Women in Social Media conference in Park City, Utah we were gone for a total of 5 days.  We came home and all my itty bitty plants literally exploded!  I knew the tomatoes would need staking as soon as we got back from from the trip, but was shocked to come back and find the plants falling over only days later.

The Garden Three Weeks After Planting

Tonight we made our first salad out of lettuce, radishes and basil harvested from the garden.  The tomatoes and cucumbers are close behind!  I’m also SURE before I know it the butternut squash, zucchini are going to be overrunning my pantry.  What will I do with them all!

To give you an idea of how tall the tomatoes have gotten – I staked them on 4′ Bamboo U-Stakes – if you can’t see from the picture I’d say they are easily 2′ tall already.  And there are baby heirloom tomatoes sprouting all over the place!

More Photos from my gardening adventures to date:

The Littlist Pepper Plant

This little pepper plant has been the same size since the day I planted it!  It hasn’t died, but at the same time it refuses to grow.

This Little Pepper

This pepper is growing on a plant that is almost smaller than it is!   How is that possible?

Lettuce, Green Beans and Baby, Baby Carrots - look closely!

I think it’s almost time to thin the lettuce – not sure what that entails – but I’m sure google will be happy to help guide me through.  I also think it’s about time to plant more lettuce seeds… they say to sow every 3 weeks or so for continual harvest.

Flowering Cucumbers

I’m pretty sure this means I’ll have more cucumbers than I know what to do with very, very soon!

Fresh From the Garden

Our first Salad from the garden – Basil, Romaine Lettuce and a few radishes – or pink & whites as I called them in an attempt to get lil diva to like them! No luck BTW.

So far so good, but my gardening adventure has just begun… I’m sure there will be more stories to come!  And… if you need any Basil… I have a lot, let me know I’m happy to share!

Couples Dispute over Green Living! Dude & I featured on ABC News

Dude and I were recently interviewed by ABC News – The producer found me after I wrote this article “Is Going Green Making Your Spouse See Red” – all about the tension that can be created at home when partners aren’t on the same page.

For the record – Bamboo underwear are super soft and I ASKED him if he wanted them after a company approached me to work with them!

In the event the video feed isn’t working try clicking HERE to read the story.


Dude & Diva


Image Courtesy of Don’t Smile Now Photography – Thank You Shani!

Earth Day Money Saving Eco Friendly Tips

For Earth Day – I decided to put together a few of my favorite green money saving tips.

You’ve switched out your florescent light bulbs, sealed your drafty windows and bought energy efficient appliances when you updated your kitchen.  What else can you do?  Well the truth is there are countless things you can do.

Paperless Paper Towels

Create a paperless paper towel system – it costs very little to set up and will save many dollars over the course of a year!


Foaming Hand Soap

Make your own foaming hand soap – with hand soap ringing in at $3-5 per bottle – it doesn’t take long for this to pay off – readers will benefit by having a triclosan free hand wash – not using, disposing, transporting and manufacturing of about 50 containers per year and they will save about $180 a year.  Multiply that by the size of your community and you get the idea of the impact this small step would have if every family did this!

Waste Free Lunches

Pack Waste Free Lunches – Send your children to school with waste free lunches and if this seems overwhelming for you to go waste free for your own lunches, take baby steps.  Start with a goal of 2 lunches per week and build from there!

Bonus – BYOB

Bring Your Own Bottle – If you aren’t already doing this – why not?  It’s easy, good for the environment and you’ll save money too!  Don’t like the stainless – try glass.  They are heavier to carry, but extremely durable (think – bounce off concrete) and dishwasher safe.

I selected these things because they require very little investment, and have a quick payback.  Once you get in the habit you’ll be saving a little green and living a little greener.

Nothing on this list is monumental – they are all little things.  Little things that added together and multiplied can grow into a meaningful difference.

Family Meals + Sleep – TV = Lower Risk for Childhood Obesity

Sitting down to a family meal, ensuring your child doesn’t watch too much TV, and that they get a good nights sleep! All great ideas, but sometimes it can be hard to get it all done.

A new study out of Ohio State University has just linked all three habits together with a 40% reduction in childhood obesity rates!

Other studies have looked at these activities singularly, but this is the first study that has looked at the three habits in a national sampling of 8550 US preschoolers born in 2001.

Image Courtesy of andrea pi

The study criteria for family meals, sleep and television were as follows:

  • Eating a family meal more than 5 times per week
  • Sleeping at least 10 1/2 hours per night
  • Watching less than 2 hours of television per day

It does seem logical that families who will take the time and commitment to foster these routines are likely going to be taking an active interest in the health of their children.

It’s worth noting that these routines alone will not protect all children – an indicator that there are other factors that come into play when looking at the issue of childhood obesity. However, children with higher risk factors for childhood obesity were able to overcome the odds when these habits were a part of their family life! Great news.

Risk factors for Childhood Obesity:
  • Mothers who are Obese
  • Household Income Below the Poverty Line
  • Mothers who have not finished High School
  • Growing Up in a Single-Parent Home
Encouraging News:

56% of families studied have meals together at least 6 nights a week.
57% of families reported their preschoolers are sleeping 10.5 hours per week.

To read the full report:

Family Meals, Adequate Sleep and Limited TV May Lower Childhood Obesity.