March 31, 2015

3 Unique “Out-of-the-Box” Family Destinations in USA #travel


Deviate from traditional and book an unforgettable, “out-of-the-box” accommodation ranging from luxury hotels all the way to tents, prisons and even boats all featured on Booking.com.


Here are 3 unique accommodations featuring quirky exteriors located within the USA.

3 Unique Out-of-Box Family Destinations in USA

Tents - Moab Under Canvas – Moab, UT

Offering spectacular views of Arches National Park, these tents allow guests to experience the great outdoors without having to sacrifice the comforts of home. These tents are located on 40 acres of land and offer spectacular views of Arches National Park. Each tent offers exquisite views and a serenity that could make even the most stressed traveler, unwind in the peace.


3 Unique Out-of-Box Family Destinations in USA

Prisons - The Liberty, a Luxury Collection Hotel – Boston, MA

Overlooking the Charles River in Boston City Center and originally built in 1851, this prison was once home to some of Boston’s most notorious criminals before being renovated into a luxurious hotel. The Liberty Hotel elegantly combines historic style and architecture with modern conveniences and features a variety of gourmet on-site dining options, including modern American cuisine at Clink. Located at the foot of Beacon Hill, the Liberty is set in the heart of the city, only steps from the Museum of Science, Kendall Square and the shops at Faneuil Hall.


3 Unique Out-of-Box Family Destinations in USA

Boats - Docked in Ventura Harbor in Ventura, CA

Boatel on the Water – this boat provides guests with the opportunity to stay in a dockside setting. Surrounded by Ventura’s flora and fauna, this boat hotel allows visitors to step outside the movement of the city and enjoy the calming movement of the subtle waves.

The Booking.com site offers a vast selection of more than 600,000 accommodations to help families plan a one-of-a-kind experience.





Tech: Sprint FREE Samsung Galaxy S6 Offer Unlimted Plus Plan


Remember a few years back when smartphones first came out? Usually you'd get a free smartphone when you signed up for service. Then smartphones started getting advanced and a bit pricey. Now you have to think if you can afford the latest when your ready to upgrade your smartphone.

 Sprint FREE Samsung Galaxy S6 Offer Unlimted Plus Plan

Right now I'm in serious need to swap out my Samsung Galaxy 3 for the latest SG model so I was really interested to learn that Sprint is bringing FREE back to wireless with one of the hottest devices of the year – the all new Samsung Galaxy S6. Hello!

For a limited time, new and existing customers can lease it free with the Sprint Unlimited Plus plan. For only $80/month Sprint Unlimited Plus includes:
  1. Samsung Galaxy S6 with 32GB of memory for free after $20/mo. credit with 24 mo. lease
  2. Unlimited talk, text and data all while on the Sprint network so you can enjoy this feature-rich phone without worrying about overage fees
  3. International Value Roaming (Telefonica countries)
  4. Annual upgrades
For just $5 more a month you can upgrade to a 64GB Galaxy S6 and for $10 more per month you can go with the 128GB Galaxy S6.

For families, the new Sprint Family Share Plus Plan lets a family lease four Samsung Galaxy S 6 smartphones with unlimited talk and text and 20GB of shared data for $200/month. Customers can also add annual upgrades for $10/month/line.

Sprint is also making it easy to get Samsung Galaxy S6 edge with great device pricing – Galaxy S6 edge with a 24-month lease is $5 after a $20 per month lease credit. Pair it with the Sprint Unlimited Plus Plan for a total of $85 per month.

The rock star duo of Galaxy S6 and Samsung Galaxy S6 edge will be available April 10, 2015. Preorder for Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge has already begun at Sprint Stores and online at - www.sprint.com/freegalaxy

 Sprint FREE Samsung Galaxy S6 Offer Unlimted Plus Plan

For those who don’t want an annual contract or lease, Boost Mobile will offer Galaxy S 6-32GB in Black Sapphire beginning Friday, April 10, 2015 for $649.99. Boost Mobile continues to provide one of the best values in the prepaid wireless industry with the $35 Data Boost Up plan. After enrolling for automatic payments with Auto Re-Boost, customers get unlimited talk, text and data with 2.5GB of high-speed data for $35 per month.

All prices exclude Sprint taxes and surcharges.

Preregistration is available now at www.boostmobile.com/gs6

BTW Don’t forget, Sprint will pay all the costs to switch to Sprint from another carrier, including the contract and whatever is owed on the device. Double hello!






Giveaway: Celebrate Walk to Work Day with Aetrex Ballet Flats #AetrexWalk


April 3 is National Walk to Work Day! This day is a chance to reduce carbon emissions, get some fresh air and exercise while avoiding traffic jams.

Celebrate Walk to Work Day with Aetrex Ballet Flats

Now’s your chance to do your part! National Walk to Work Day is this week so put on your walking shoes and share a photo. For every photo that tags @Aetrex on Twitter and @AetrexWorldwide on Instagram with the hashtag #AetrexWalk, Aetrex will donate $1 to the American Heart Association!

Restrictions apply. For details see - www.aetrex.com/AetrexWalk


Aetrex, the leader in on-trend comfortable footwear, is the perfect shoe to wear. With the built in support and memory foam board you will be able to avoid blisters and leave your commuter shoes at home!

Aetrex Ballet Flats

Aetrex Joanna Ballet Flats - $99.95 These ballet flats are not only comfortable but also feature on-trend cut out flower designs and come in tumbled or burnished leathers in black, cognac and sage!


Aetrex Ballet Flats

Aetrex Erica Ballet Flats - $99.95 These ballet flats are simple yet functional to match any outfit and accommodate any activity. They also come in green, nude and red.


Ballet flats traditionally lack support and comfort, but the Aetrex Ballet Flats include a Lynco® orthotic footbed and memory foam cushioning to create the healthiest shoes you’ll ever wear!® All Aetrex shoes feature the Aetrex Healthy 3: Built in Orthotic Support, Memory Foam for extra cushioning and advance technology to keep them odor free.

Aetrex shoes are available at local retailers and www.aetrex.com


In honor of Walk to Work Day, Aetrex is offering a pair of Joanna or Erica Ballet Flats to wear on your walk to work and beyond!


ENTER TO WIN THIS GIVEAWAY!
  • (1) Aetrex Ballet Flats (Choice of Style/Color)
WAYS TO ENTER:

Entries must be made on or before 11:59 p.m. April 8, 2015.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


TERMS AND CONDITIONS

Winner will be selected by random.org. Giveaway entry must be completed before extra entries will count. Winner will be contacted by email and must respond within 24 hours or a new winner will be selected. Open to residents of the U.S. with a valid street address.





Disney Junior's "Muppet Moments" Premiere


This Friday, April 3, Disney Junior is debuting "Muppet Moments," a new short-form series of amusing conversations between Muppets and young kids about everyday topics including "apologies," "favorite foods" and "manners."

Disney Junior's Muppet Moments Premiere

photo credit: Disney Junior/Rick Rowell

Starring Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear and other beloved Muppets, the series will premiere on Disney Channel with four shorts on Friday (8:25 a.m., 8:55 a.m., 9:25 a.m. and 9:55 a.m., ET/PT), followed by a new short rolling out daily through Friday, May 8.



All of the shorts will also be available on WATCH Disney Junior the same day as their linear premiere.





Song of the Sea Animated Film Returns to New York's IFC Center


Critically acclaimed animated feature, SONG OF THE SEA will return to New York's IFC Center for one week only beginning April 3, 2015. Families in New York enjoying the spring break now have another chance to see the Oscar-nomiated masterpiece.

 photo songofthesea_zpsyrlhsx1x.jpg

Song of the Sea, a stunning animated film from Oscar-nominated filmmaker Tomm Moore (Secret of the Kells) tells the fantastical story of Ben and his little sister Saoirse – the last Seal-child – who embark on a journey across a fading world of ancient legend and magic in an attempt to return to their home by the sea.

Here's the trailer:


The film takes inspiration from the mythological Selkies of Irish folklore, who live as seals in the sea but become humans on land.

For showtimes and tickets: www.gkids.tv/inTheaters





Tech: Social Protection Monitors Child's Social Media Accounts


With so many kids now on social media, parents are dealing with new concerns including questionable sharing practices, cyberbullying, and even sexual predators. One of the best ways for parents to protect their children is by monitoring their child's social media accounts.

Social Protection Monitors Child's Social Media Accounts

A new application called Social Protection, developed by a father and son, Robert and Justin Beegel, offers five powerful tools in one program that helps parents protect their children who have social accounts on Facebook and Instagram, without restricting their online social life.

“We wanted parents to have a set of tools to help them deal with the potential dangers presented by today’s social media landscape,” noted Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Robert Beegel. “Our mission, passion and focus are clear: make sure kids are safe and parents are informed and empowered.”

Social Protection Monitors Child's Social Media Accounts

SocialProtection is an online social media monitoring service that offers robust 24/7 protection, enabling parents to proactively monitor language, behavior and online photos.

The Social Protection app isn’t spyware, while it doesn't give access to the child’s Facebook or Instagram profiles, it does alert a parent via text message or email about situations that may need attention such as questionable or dangerous content or photos posted.

Social Protection Monitors Child's Social Media Accounts

The five key features of Social Protection include:
  • Facebook and Instagram Alerts – Sends emails and text alerts letting parents know they need to login on to their Social Protection Parent Dashboard to review potentially harmful content or images in their child’s Facebook or Instagram accounts.
  • Language Alert – Watches for conversations or postings displaying potentially dangerous language, such as violent or aggressive bullying, which may indicate a dangerous situation for a child.
  • Photo Monitor – Scans and watches for dangerous and humiliating posted photos on Instagram and Facebook that may affect a child’s safety or future.
  • Curfew Alert – Allows parents to set Facebook curfew times, and if their child breaks curfew, it lets parents to find out who they are chatting with after curfew.
  • Photo Delete – Enables parents to decide with their children which Facebook or Instagram photos are inappropriate and should be deleted to avoid embarrassment.
Social Protection may be purchased online for $9.95 per month and includes a free 30-day trial for parents to try it.

For more information about Social Protection, visit - www.SocialProtection.com





Marvel Mighty Heroes Mobile Video Game Trailer


DeNA and Marvel Entertainment have launched Marvel Mighty Heroes, a real-time co-op written by Fred Van Lente, creator of Marvel comics like X-Men Noir, Marvel Zombies 3-5, The Amazing Spider-Man, and The Incredible Hercules.

Marvel Mighty Heroes Mobile Video-game

In Marvel Mighty Heroes, players must defend the world by assembling a dream team of Marvel Super Heroes including Iron Man, Thor, Spider-Man, Captain America, Star-Lord, Hulk, Hawkeye as well as dozens of Super Villains yet to be announced.

Marvel Mighty Heroes Mobile Video-game

Each character is equipped with a unique set of powerful, upgradeable abilities along with alternate costumes that grant new powers and allow for a variety of different play styles based around speed, strength, and health.

For the first time on mobile devices, up to four players will suit up as iconic Marvel characters to battle evildoers in action-packed gameplay.

Marvel Mighty Heroes Mobile Video-game

Regular updates will consistently add original content, letting players fight their way through all-new worlds and storylines never before explored in a Marvel game.

Today kicks off the first event in the six-part weekly “Infinity” series which finds the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy teaming up to battle Thanos the Mad Titan. In a tight race, Marvel fans have registered and voted to receive Hulk as a special in-game reward for players who download the game in the first week.



With the first in-game event starting today, Marvel Mighty Heroes is available as a free download on the Apple App Store for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and on Google Play for Android phones and tablets.

To learn more about the game, visit www.marvelmightyheroes.com





Nickelodeon Egg-Tastic Preschool Episodes


Nickelodeon hops into the Easter season with brand-new themed episodes of preschool favorites Blaze and the Monster Machines, Little Charmers and Wallykazam!, premiering Friday, April 3, followed by Tickety Toc and Dino Dan premieres on Saturday, April 4, on Nick Jr.

Nickelodeon Egg-Tastic Preschool Episodes

Following is Nickelodeon and Nick Jr.’s programming lineup:


Friday, April 3 - Wallykazam

12:00 p.m. (ET/PT) -- ! “Hopgoblin”
Hattie the Witch turns Bobgoblin into a bunny for riding her broom without asking. Wally has to help Bobgoblin find Hattie and get her to change him back before sunset or he will be a bunny forever.


Friday, April 3 - Little Charmers

12:30 p.m. (ET/PT) -- “Sparkle Bunny”
Hazel and the Charmers are in charge of stuffing eggs for the Sparkle Bunny Day egg hunt, but all the eggs are missing when Sparkle Bunny shows up in the morning to get them.


Friday, April 3 - Blaze and the Monster Machines

1:30 p.m. (ET/PT) -- “Zeg and the Egg”
Zeg is out smashing things with Blaze and AJ when he finds a tiny dinosaur egg. The three friends must embark on an epic journey across a prehistoric landscape to return the egg to its Truckodactyl mother.

Saturday, April 4 - Tickety Toc

1:30 p.m. (ET) – “Easter Egg Time/Easter Parade Time”
Easter Egg Time: Tommy and Tallulah decorate scores of eggs for the Easter egg hunt, but Hopparoo breaks the prized golden egg. With Chime Time fast approaching, the twins must get the egg back together again.

Easter Parade Time: The competition to make the best Easter parade float leads to a big collision at the town clock. Everyone must work together to build a new float from the wreckage that will get them to Chime Time through a windstorm.


Saturday, April 4 - Dino Dan

2:00 p.m. (ET) – “Dino Footprints/Dino Egg Hunt”
Dino Footprints: When Hannah and Trek take an after-school art class with Hannah’s dad, Trek decides to use a sculpture to see just how different dino footprints can be.

Dino Egg Hunt: Ms. Carver organizes an egg hunt for her class, which gives Trek a chance to solve “Dino Experiment 419 – do the Compsognathus, Dromaeosaurus and Albertosaurus eat eggs?” and learn about what different carnivores eat.






March 30, 2015

Häagen-Dazs New Shop Design is a Premium Experience #HDShopsBronxville #HaagenDazs


Soon the hot summer weather will be here, which leads to enjoying a cool ice cream treat. If you plan on visiting your local Häagen-Dazs shop, you might be surprised to see a new shop design.

Häagen-Dazs New Shop Design Premium Experience

Note: I was invited as media to this event. However, any personal views expressed are always 100% my own.

Häagen-Dazs New Shop Design Premium Experience
Häagen-Dazs New Shop Design Premium Experience


Earlier this year, I visited the Häagen-Dazs Shop in Bronxville, NY and met with the Häagen-Dazs team to learn more about the new design and features coming to new Häagen-Dazs shops going forward.

Häagen-Dazs New Shop Design Premium Experience

“The new Häagen-Dazs Shop was designed in collaboration with Interbrand Design Forum to be both modern and classic, like our ice cream,” said Justin Chafe, Marketing Manager for The Häagen-Dazs Shop Company. “We are focused on providing an exceptional experience for guests to enjoy the brand’s super-premium ice cream, gelato and sorbet while staying true to our artisan roots.”


Häagen-Dazs New Shop Design Premium Experience

“Häagen-Dazs is such an esteemed brand. Everything about it is super-premium but there was room to elevate the retail experience to align with its other touchpoints,” said Tom Kowalski, lead designer on the project for experience design agency Interbrand Design Forum. “The aesthetic reflects the old-world traditions and craftsmanship at the heart of the brand.  You can see this in the classic details like the tin ceiling, the carved wood stools and the ice cream cone-shaped syrup pulls which give the space substance within a contemporary setting.”

Häagen-Dazs New Shop Design Premium Experience

The aim for the remodel Häagen-Dazs stores is to give customers a more premium experience with a focus on three key goals: simplify the ordering process; create a tasting station to sample new flavors; and, lastly, minimize the “ordering pressure” so the experience is more enjoyable.

The shops areas are broken into sections where customers can "experience" these 3 goals.

Häagen-Dazs New Shop Design Premium Experience
Häagen-Dazs New Shop Design Premium Experience


Taste Station

Customer can sample from the various flavors of ice cream, gelato, sorbet and frozen yogurt the shops offer. Also on view are delicious ice cream bars which are hand-dipped in either milk or dark chocolate.

Häagen-Dazs New Shop Design Premium Experience
Häagen-Dazs New Shop Design Premium Experience

Create Station

After making an order, customers are able to watch the making of their treat. I order an banana shake and saw the process step by step.

Häagen-Dazs New Shop Design Premium Experience

Enjoy Station

Once you have you treat you can enjoy in comfort.

Get ready to enjoy your favorite Häagen-Dazs treats in a new way!


About Häagen-Dazs Shops

The first Häagen-Dazs Shop opened in Brooklyn, NY in 1976, giving consumers a new outlet for Häagen-Dazs pure, super-premium ice cream. Today the Häagen-Dazs Shop system in the United States is made up of more than 200 Häagen-Dazs Shops, franchised by The Häagen-Dazs Shoppe Company, Inc., which proudly offer top quality indulgent desserts that start with Häagen-Dazs products.

For more information about Häagen-Dazs , visit www.haagendazs.us/shops
Join Häagen-Dazs’s fan page at - www.facebook.com/HaagenDazsUS
Follow Häagen-Dazs on Twitter at - @HaagenDazs_US





Perfectly Powerful Peanut NYC Pop-Up Event #peanutpower


The National Peanut Board is in New York City this week for public sampling and engagement which includes a special pop-up public event from March 31 to April 1.

Perfectly Powerful Peanut NYC Pop-Up Event

During the Perfectly Powerful Peanut Pop-Up event, visitors can meet and have their picture taken with peanut farmers, learn about peanut farming and sustainability and find out more about how peanut products are helping to feed people in need here and around the world.

And of course, you’ll be able to sample peanuts and peanut butter – as well as innovative creations from dietitians, chefs and other culinary professionals.

WHEN
Tuesday, March 31 – Wednesday, April 1, 2015
7 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
4 p.m. - 7 p.m.

WHERE
The Corner at the Roger Smith Hotel (47th St. and Lexington)
501 Lexington Ave
New York, NY 10017


The National Peanut Board represents all USA peanut farmers and their families. Through research and marketing initiatives the Board is finding new ways to enhance production and increase consumer demand by promoting the great taste, nutrition and culinary versatility of USA-grown peanuts.

For more information, visit www.perfectlypowerfulpeanut.com and follow #peanutpower on Twitter.





March 29, 2015

Moose Toys Preview: Toy Fair NY 2015 #TFNY #TFNY15


Moose Toys, home of hit toy brands Shopkins and Little Live Pets, had lots to share during the New York Toy Fair this year! Here are a few items that caught my eye.

Moose Toys Preview Toy Fair NY 2015
Moose Toys Preview Toy Fair NY 2015
Moose Toys Preview Toy Fair NY 2015

SHOPKINS™ Season 2 price from $2.99 - $19.99 and is available at major retailers.

The Shopkins Small Mart playset was named a 2015 Toy of the Year (TOTY) finalist by the Toy Industry Association.

Shopkins Season Two is appropriate for ages 4+ and has over 140 new characters and four new themes, including Shoes to Choose, featuring new flocked textures, details and surprises.

The new line features a brand new playset, the So Cool Fridge, where girls can store their collection and decorate the fridge with fun Shopkins stickers.


Moose Toys Preview Toy Fair NY 2015
Moose Toys Preview Toy Fair NY 2015

QIXELS price from $9.99 - $19.99 available at mass retailers June 15

Using the “Craftstruction” technology, Qixles is the newest boys activity to hit the market. Qixels are the cubes that fuse with a blast of water. Kids can create their own pixel world of monsters, warriors, bugs and more one Qixel at a time

Once the template is ready, kids can blast water on their design to make it fuse with the Qixels Fuse Blaster. The Turbo Dryer spin-dries the design in half the time! Age range: 5 years and up.


Moose Toys Preview Toy Fair NY 2015
Moose Toys Preview Toy Fair NY 2015
Moose Toys Preview Toy Fair NY 2015


THE UGGLYS PET SHOP!

These collectible Uggly figurines are small in size, but big on gross. Nauseating noise-making accessories make a variety of sick sounds such as flarps, burps and more. There are 101 pets to collect with characters like Butt Ugly Bull Terrier, Barfing Beagle and Mugged Pug. They can collect the Uggly Pets and place them in their Gross Homes to make over eight fully sick sounds

Pets also come with their own gross home that makes over 8 sounds. The homes can stack to make a symphony of gross sounds

The Dirty Dog Wash Van, perfect for storing and transporting kids’ Ugglys collection, makes over 30 gross and wacky sounds. Age range: 5 years and up






March 27, 2015

Giveaway: Honest Fizz Organic Golden Ginger Ale


If you read my post about introducing my family to Honest Tea, you know I'm a fan of this beverage company. So when they offered to send me some of their Honest Fizz Line, I grabbed a cup and said yes!

Honest Fizz Organic Ginger Ale

While we've enjoyed the other Honest Teas beverages, the Honest Fizz Line is new to me. But this was a great time to try it out since there's a new addition to line - Golden Ginger Ale Honest Fizz!

Honest Fizz organic Golden Ginger Ale: Organic ginger and other flavors are sweetened with a combination of organic stevia & erythritol and carbonated for bubbly refreshment. Available in 12 fl. oz. cans.

Honest Fizz Organic Ginger Ale
Honest Fizz Organic Ginger Ale

I enjoyed the Golden Ginger Ale Honest Fizz. It's like a light version of Ginger Ale soda without all the "stuff". The taste was refreshing and clean so no lingering after taste. Best of all it has zero calories!

To learn more about Honest Tea line of beverages, visit - www.honesttea.com

Find Honest Tea on Facebook - www.facebook.com/honesttea
Find Honest Tea on Twitter - www.twitter.com/honesttea


Interested in tasting Honest Fizz for yourself? Then enter this giveaway to win some.


ENTER TO WIN THIS GIVEAWAY!
  • (1) Case of Honest Fizz beverages
WAYS TO ENTER:

Entries must be made on or before 11:59 p.m. April 6, 2015.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


TERMS AND CONDITIONS

Winner will be selected by random.org. Giveaway entry must be completed before extra entries will count. Winner will be contacted by email and must respond within 24 hours or a new winner will be selected. Open to residents of the U.S. with a valid street address.





Giveaway: Public School Superhero Book by James Patterson with Chess Set #PublicSchoolSuperhero


As my son grows in his reading ability, I keep on the search for kids books that have new and interesting story lines. Recently my son and I reviewed Public School Superhero, a new illustrated Middle-Grade novel by James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts.

Public School Superhero Book by James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts

Note: I received product sample for review purpose. No other compensation was received. Any personal views expressed are always 100% my own.

While the book deals with subject like bullies, being nerdy (Kenny plays chess) and trying to fit in with other kids in middle school, it's done in a way that not too serious.

Public School Superhero Book by James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts

There's lots of humorous illustrations (by Cory Thomas) and story-lines. Kenny himself is quite a creative thinker and imagines all sorts of wacky but action filled alternate views of his current situations. Seriously what child doesn't think about being coming a superhero when faced with challenging situations?! Overall I think it's a great book for young readers (and even those older)

Public School Superhero Book by James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts

ABOUT THE BOOK

In this story about a good kid with a great imagination struggling in a less-than-ideal world, James Patterson brings his bestselling "Middle School"-style humor and sensibility to an urban setting.

Kenny Wright is a kid with a secret identity. In his mind, he's Stainlezz Steel, super-powered defender of the weak. In reality, he's a chess club devotee known as a "Grandma's Boy," a label that makes him an easy target for bullies. Kenny wants to bring a little more Steel to the real world, but the question is: can he recognize his own true strength before peer pressure forces him to make the worst choice of his life?

James Patterson's newest illustrated novel is a genuinely funny yet poignant look at middle school in a challenging urban setting, where a kid's life can depend on the everyday decisions he makes.

To learn more about Public School Superhero, visit - www.PublicSchoolSuperhero.com


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

James Patterson was selected by readers across America as the Children's Choice Book Awards Author of the Year in 2010. He is the internationally bestselling author of the highly praised Middle School books, I Funny, Confessions of a Murder Suspect, and the Maximum Ride, Witch & Wizard, Daniel X, and Alex Cross series. His books have sold over 275 million copies worldwide, making him one of the bestselling authors of all time.

To learn more about James Patterson, visit - www.JamesPatterson.com


First Book

FIRST BOOK DONATION

When James Patterson meets with underprivileged kids at schools in some of the country’s poorest neighborhoods, they often ask him, “Why can’t we be heroes in any books?”

To answer that question and to bring more books into more kids’ lives, James Patterson is donating 100,000 copies of his new book, Public School Superhero, to young readers in some of the most under-resourced schools and youth programs in the country. He was moved to make this donation after recognizing a large and underserved community of children who don’t see themselves portrayed in dynamic, entertaining stories often enough.

These same kids also inspired Public School Superhero, by James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts, with illustrations by Cory Thomas, a book about an African American sixth-grade chess devotee named Kenny Wright who lives in an inner city. It’s a story brimming with wit, action, and heart, one all kids are bound to find relatable and entertaining.

The books will be distributed through First Book, a nonprofit social enterprise that has distributed more than 125 million books and educational resources to programs and schools serving children from low-income families in the United States and Canada.

For more information visit www.firstbook.org or join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter


Public School Superhero Book Giveaway

Do you know a young reader who would enjoy Public School Superhero? Then enter this giveaway to win a copy along with a chess set.


ENTER TO WIN THIS GIVEAWAY!

Kenny may be a pawn in middle school, but he’s a King on the board! Enter for a chance to win a chess set and a copy of Public School Superhero book.

Prizing & samples courtesy of Little, Brown. Giveaway open to US addresses only

WAYS TO ENTER:

Entries must be made on or before 11:59 p.m. April 3, 2015.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


TERMS AND CONDITIONS

Winner will be selected by random.org. Giveaway entry must be completed before extra entries will count. Winner will be contacted by email and must respond within 24 hours or a new winner will be selected. Open to residents of the U.S. with a valid street address.





HOME Movie Cast Interview: Rihanna, Steve Martin & Jim Parsons #DreamWorksHOME


Aliens coming to planet earth for invasion is not exactly a new idea. But in HOME, the upcoming film from DreamWorks Animation and 20th Century Fox in theaters March 27, 2015, this latest batch of alien invaders from the planet Boovs have to be the cutest and most thoughtful invaders earth has ever seen (so far).

DreamWorks Animation HOME Movie Cast Interview Rihanna, Steve Martin and Jim Parsons

Note: I was invited as media to the press screening and interview. No other compensation was received. Any personal views expressed are always 100% my own.


DreamWorks Animation HOME Movie Cast Interview Rihanna, Steve Martin and Jim Parsons
DreamWorks Animation HOME Movie Cast Interview Rihanna, Steve Martin and Jim Parsons

To learn more about this invasion and the HOME movie characters, I was invited by 20th Century Fox and DreamWorks Animation to a special screening and press interview with the cast of the HOME film including Jim Parsons, Rihanna, Steve Martin and Director Tim Johnson.


DreamWorks Animation HOME Movie Rihanna, Steve Martin and Jim Parsons

During the invasion the Boovs nicely relocate all humans before taking over our homes and cities. But it seems they missed one little girl named TIP (voiced by Rihanna).

DreamWorks Animation HOME Movie Rihanna, Steve Martin and Jim Parsons
DreamWorks Animation HOME Movie Rihanna, Steve Martin and Jim Parsons

As TIP tries to reunite with her mom (voiced by Jennifer Lopez), she starts an adventure with a banished Boov named Oh (voiced by Jim Parsons) that will change how humans and Boovs deal with the invasion and each other.


DreamWorks Animation HOME Movie Rihanna, Steve Martin and Jim Parsons

Talking about her character TIP, Rihanna shared


I think it was both important to me and DreamWorks Animation for this to be as realistic as possible. We wanted little girls to feel empowered, little girls of any size, shape, color, race. It didn't matter. We wanted girls to just feel strong and brave and empowered and beautiful and like they can do anything. And they can take charge of their life or their situation no matter what.


DreamWorks Animation HOME Movie Rihanna, Steve Martin and Jim Parsons

Talking about being in animated films Mr. Steve Martin shared


I loved doing animated films. You know, when you do your line, and then you see the animators express it with their genius, and they make it so funny, it's like some kind of classic comedy that you really can't do anymore live because people don't buy it. But, in an animated film, you get to be your silliest self and it looks genuine.


DreamWorks Animation HOME Movie Rihanna, Steve Martin and Jim Parsons

Talking about what he learned from his character OH, Jim Parsons shared


Oh has his own selection of wonderful qualities, this optimism, eagerness, friendliness and hopefulness, that I don't carry with me as in abundance and as much of the time as he does. And there's not a good reason. I mean, life gets in the way. But, other than that, there's not a good reason for that. You could choose to view the world that way almost all the time. So, that's kind of inspiring to be like our characters, alter egos.


DreamWorks Animation HOME Movie Rihanna, Steve Martin and Jim Parsons

Talking about the new technology, Apollo used for the animation, Tim Johnson shared


You know, the biggest thing I could do is I could bring the camera closer to the characters. And with voice performances like this, the classic film close-up is something animation didn't usually do. This new technology, we could go right up to Tip, right up to Captain Smek, right up to Oh.

And the animators were able, by the tiniest squint of their eye or the little, little tiny glint in a smile. You would get so much more subtlety. And so, it was very empowering as a director to be able to do what I think audiences loved, get very intimate with the characters.


DreamWorks Animation HOME Movie Rihanna, Steve Martin and Jim Parsons

These are just a few highlights from interviewing the cast. The interview was filled with many more conversations and discussions including what apps they use, their experiences with surprise parties and would they like the ability to change colors.

The answers had the group of media laughing and the cast trading hilarious commentary back and forth. The cast was SO fun to interview and you can tell they worked well together in real life which also came through in the movie.


DreamWorks Animation HOME Movie Rihanna, Steve Martin and Jim Parsons

The movie itself is filled with humor, teaching lessons about tolerance and a wonderful sentiment about family (real and made). I fell in love with Tip and Oh as they learned to accept each others differences and form a new bond, besides alien invader and invaded human.

It's a sweet lesson that I think families will enjoy learning with their kids. HOME is one of the most see movies this year so get ready to take your family this opening weekend!


DreamWorks Animation HOME Movie Rihanna, Steve Martin and Jim Parsons


SYNOPSIS

When Earth is taken over by the overly-confident Boov, an alien race in search of a new place to call home, all humans are promptly relocated, while all Boov get busy reorganizing the planet. But when one resourceful girl, Tip, (Rihanna, who also contributes a song) manages to avoid capture, she finds herself the accidental accomplice of a banished Boov named Oh (Jim Parsons). The two fugitives realize there’s a lot more at stake than intergalactic relations as they embark on the road trip of a lifetime.

To get to know The Boov’s, visit - www.meettheboov.com

To keep updated on the film, visit www.dreamworks.com/home
On facebook - www.facebook.com/DreamWorksHome
On Twitter - www.twitter.com/DWAnimation





 
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