Exclusive Cyber Monday Deal: Cirque Du Soleil AMALUNA, Plus Giveaway!

Following last year’s smashing success of TOTEM, Cirque du Soleil returns to Miami with Amaluna, one of its newest touring shows. Amaluna will premiere on December 11 under the iconic blue and yellow Big Top at Sun Life Stadium. Cirque du Soleil’s 33rd production, Amaluna is written and directed by Tony Award winning director Diane Paulus, and is a celebration of love and a tribute to the work and voice of women. I have an exclusive deal for Brandon’s Puppy readers. This Cyber Monday special starts a week early: starting NOW you can save $25 on seats for this hot new show!


In the wake of a storm caused by Prospera, a group of young men washes ashore the island, triggering an epic and emotional story of love between Prospera’s daughter and a brave young suitor. But theirs is a love that will be put to the test and the couple must face numerous demanding trials before they can achieve mutual trust, faith and harmony.

Amaluna is a fusion of the words ama, which refers to “mother” in many languages, and luna, which means “moon”; a symbol of femininity that evokes both the mother-daughter relationship and the idea of goddess and protector of the planet. Amaluna is also the name of the mysterious island where this magical story unfolds.



For the first time in Cirque du Soleil’s history, Amaluna features a cast that comprises 70% women, with a 100% all-female band. “Amaluna is a tribute to the work and voice of women”, explains Director of Creation Fernand Rainville. “The show is a reflection on balance from a women’s perspective”, he adds. Writer and Director Diane Paulus, winner of a 2013 Tony Award (Pippin) and recently named as one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2014, says; “I didn’t want to build a ‘women’s agenda’ show. I wanted to create a show with women at the center of it, something that had a hidden story that featured women as the heroines.” Paulus drew from a series of classical influences when creating the concept of the show, including tales from Greek and Norse mythology, Mozart’s The Magic Flute and Shakespeare’sThe Tempest.

The New York Times urges; “The display of female strength is a lovely thing”. New York Post boasts; “gorgeous visuals and dazzling circus acts”, and San Francisco Chronicle described Amaluna as; “sumptuously designed and invigoratingly female-powered”.

Hubby and I saw last year’s TOTEM, and were completely fascinated! Prior to that we had seen La Nouba in Orlando years ago, but it was so long ago we forgot how stunning Cirque Du Soleil shows really are. We are definitely not missing Amaluna! Click here to purchase your tickets to Amaluna now and take advantage of this great Cyber Week deal!

GIVEAWAY: As if the sweet Cyber Week discount weren’t enough, we are giving away 4 tickets (Yes, you read that right: 4 Tickets!) to Amaluna. Just fill out the rafflecopter below for your chance to win. Winner will be announced on Friday, December 5th. What an amazing holiday treat, right? Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Posted in Around Town, Deals and Discounts, Entertain Me, Giveaways | 4 Comments

Mouse King returns to South Miami, December 12th-14th, 2014

Disclosure: My family and I were provided tickets to Mouse King by Mut Communications for hosting this giveaway.

After an extraordinary debut run in 2013, Mouse King is back this year with three shows at The Mandelstam Theater in South Miami, from December 12th through December 14th. Acclaimed puppeteer Noel MacNeal (The Muppets, Bear in the Big Blue House, Sesame Street) and South Florida composer Jim Camacho, along with children actors, professional actors, and puppeteers, will enchant you in this family-friendly retelling of The Nutcracker, from the mice’s point of view.

Last year’s sold out shows prompted a third matinee performance this season. Tickets are $20 online and can be purchased at Mouse King Tickets.

Showtimes are as follows:
Friday, December 12th, 7pm.
Saturday, December 13th at 2pm
Sunday, December 14th at 2pm

I have a special treat for Brandon’s Puppy readers. We are giving away two tickets to opening night! Simply fill out the Rafflecopter below and complete the required entries for your chance to win. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Posted in Around Town, Entertain Me, Giveaways | 1 Comment

Disney’s #BigHero6 is so nice we saw it twice!

Disclosure: My family and I were invited to attend a pre-screening of Disney’s Big Hero 6. All opinions are my own.

About two weeks ago, we were invited to a pre-screening for Big Hero 6 in preparation for the round table interview with Genesis Rodriguez we were invited to. All four of us thought the movie was awesome, and the boys begged and pleaded that we go see it again during opening weekend.

Today was that day: Big Hero 6 opened nationwide in theaters this past Friday, November 7th, and our own little team of 6 (my two boys, my three nephews and my niece), along with my two sisters and I, went to a screening this afternoon.

Not sure what the movie is about? Here are the details:

With all the heart and humor audiences expect from Walt Disney Animation Studios, “Big Hero 6” is an action-packed comedy-adventure about robotics prodigy Hiro Hamada, who learns to harness his genius—thanks to his brilliant brother Tadashi and their like-minded friends: adrenaline junkie Go Go Tamago, neatnik Wasabi, chemistry whiz Honey Lemon and fanboy Fred. When a devastating turn of events catapults them into the midst of a dangerous plot unfolding in the streets of San Fransokyo, Hiro turns to his closest companion—a robot named Baymax—and transforms the group into a band of high-tech heroes determined to solve the mystery. Inspired by the Marvel comics of the same name, and featuring comic-book style action, “Big Hero 6” is directed by Don Hall (“Winnie the Pooh”) and Chris Williams (“Bolt”), and produced by Roy Conli (“Tangled”).

Overall, everyone loved it! Baymax is so squeezably lovable, who wouldn’t fall in love with him? The city of San Fransokyo is super cool, it’s a cross between Tokyo and San Francisco, with a little bit of Manhattan and Times Square thrown in. And the really great thing about Big Hero 6 is that it isn’t about your typical superheroes. The movie centers on Hiro being a child prodigy, a high school graduate at 14. Hiro, his brother Tadashi, and their friends Go Go Tomago, Wasabi, Honey Lemon and Fred are all students at the San Fransokyo Institute of Technology, excelling in robotics, engineering and technology.

Additionally, the girls are just as smart and brave as the boys. Go Go and Honey are just as eager to put on their superhero gear and chase down the bad guy as the boys are. Big Hero 6 proves that smart kids, and smart girls in particular, are cool. Intelligence is a superpower, and as a fellow “nerd”, I love this message!

Here’s what my boys had to say:
Brandon – I loved it, it was awesome! It’s the best movie Disney has ever made so far, even better than Frozen! There are a lot of comedic moments, mostly from Baymax.

Matthew – My favorite part is the fist-bump handshake between Hiro and Baymax, and how silly Baymax is when he has a low battery.

Other things you need to know:

  • Big Hero 6 is rated PG, mainly due to some cartoon violence and a villain who’s a little scary.
  • Don’t miss the new Disney short Feast, showing in front of Big Hero 6.
  • As with all Marvel movies, stick around until after the credits. You don’t want to miss the final scene.

Find out more about Big Hero 6:
Visit the Big Hero 6 website
Like Big Hero 6 on Facebook
Follow Disney Animation Studios on Twitter
Hashtags: #BigHero6, #BigHero6Event, #MeetBaymax

Posted in Disney, Entertain Me, Movies | Leave a comment

Disney’s Maleficent Now Available on Blu-ray and DVD!

Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this post, but I did receive a copy of the movie Maleficent. Opinions expressed here are my own.

Today’s the day: Maleficent has been released on Blu-ray and DVD! I’m so excited about this release, this was my favorite summer movie, and now I can see it over and over!


Explore the untold story of Disney’s most iconic villain in this wickedly fun twist on the classic “Sleeping Beauty.” In an unforgiving mood after a neighboring kingdom threatens her forest, Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) places an irrevocable curse on the king’s newborn daughter, the Princess Aurora. But as the child grows, Maleficent finds herself becoming fond of the girl. And as the conflict between the two realms intensifies, Maleficent realizes that Aurora may hold the key to peace in the land. Journey beyond the fairy tale in this soaring adventure that is “visually arresting, brilliantly designed” (Andrew Barker, Variety).

Blu-ray Combo Pack, Digital HD/SD & Disney Movies Anywhere Bonus Features:
· From Fairy Tale to Feature Film – Reimagining Maleficent for a new generation
· Building An Epic Battle –Creating the clash between Maleficent and King Henry’s Forces
· Classic Couture – Examine Maleficent’s spellbinding head wraps and jewelry.
· Maleficent Revealed – Explore the layers of extraordinary special effects.
· Aurora: Becoming A Beauty – Elle Fanning reveals her lifelong love of Disney’s original animated classic.

Deleted Scenes include “Stefan In King’s Chamber”, “Pixie Idiots”, “Diaval asks about the Curse”, “Pixies Seek Asylum”, “Suitor” and More!

*Digital bonus offerings will vary per retailer

Disc Specifications:
Feature Run Time: Approximately 97 minutes
Rating: Feature Film: “PG” in U.S. and Canada (CE); G in Canada (CF)
Additional Bonus Features Not Rated
Aspect Ratio: Blu-ray Feature Film = 1080p High Definition/2.40:1
DVD= Widescreen 2.40:1 / Enhanced for 16×9 Televisions
Audio: Blu-ray Feature Film = 7.1, English 2.0 Descriptive Audio, Spanish and French Dolby Digital 5.1
DVD=English, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, English 2.0 Descriptive Audio
Languages/Subtitles: English, Spanish & French
English Captions for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired

I was thrilled to see all the behind the scenes features. I’m always fascinated by the work that goes on behind the scenes in films. I loved learning how they made Angelina Jolie “fly” and the effects necessary for the epic battle scene between the King and his army and the protectors of The Moors. I’m also a big fan of Deleted Scenes, and there are quite a few to enjoy in the Blu-ray Combo Pack.

For my review about the film, go here.

For more information about Maleficent:

“Like” Maleficent on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DisneyMaleficent

Follow Maleficent on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Maleficent

or Disney Pictures at http://www.twitter.com/DisneyPictures

Check out the Maleficent Website and Mobile Site: http://www.disney.com/maleficent

Posted in Disney, Entertain Me, Movies | Leave a comment

Matty’s First Press Day: Meeting Honey Lemon from Disney’s #BigHero6

Disclosure: Disney Pictures provided me with admission to a pre-screening for Big Hero 6, as well as the opportunity to attend the round table press day with Genesis Rodriguez.

Last week I was invited to the Round Table Press Day for Disney’s latest animated release, Big Hero 6. This particular Press Day was different from others I’ve attended: instead of being hosted at a hotel, we were hosted at the Miami Children’s Museum, and naturally, our kids were invited to the event too! I took Matty with me as I knew he would enjoy it. While the press and bloggers were “working” (I have so much fun at these things, it’s not really work to me), the kids were off exploring the museum and its exhibits.

Because I took an extended lunch at work, Matty and I arrived after the other children were on the tour, so he decided to hang out with me and my fellow bloggers in the press room, playing on his DS while we waited. I’m glad he did because he had an opportunity to experience a press junket first-hand, and it was great to see his excitement about the process and about meeting Genesis Rodriguez, voice of Honey Lemon. He was also thrilled to receive a few goodies from the great folks at Disney Pictures.

Genesis Rodriguez is a Miami native, and has had several roles in Latin telenovelas as well as American soap opera Days of Our Lives. She has had movie roles in Man on a Ledge, Casa de Mi Padre, What to Expect When You’re Expecting, and The Last Stand as well. Big Hero 6 is her first animated feature.

Interview with Genesis Rodriguez

This interview was so fun! Genesis would answer our questions in both English and Spanish, and we got to learn why this movie, and this role in particular, is so close to her heart.

Do you think Big Hero 6 is only for boys?

Big Hero 6 is not only for boys, there are two very strong female characters that are even more fearless than the boys. This is the first time you see girls that don’t need saving, they are the first ones ready for action and ready to take on the world. It’s so amazing too that the one important quality being featured in the movie is their brilliance, their intelligence. I hope girls in class will start being the first ones to raise their hands and not be afraid to be the smartest girl, because knowledge is power and it is strength, and that’s beautiful.

How did you feel about playing a girl in Science? Was this something you were looking forward to, hoping to open doors for girls?

A lot of kids these days say “I want to be famous” and I would love them to add something else to it, like “I want to be a famous scientist” or “I want to be a famous chemist”. Whatever it is, but just change the world. I feel like kids need that hunger and curiosity instilled in them again, that hunger for technology and knowledge. I was in an all girls robotics team in high school, I was a welder, and I was a part of figuring out the pneumatics of the robot: how to make it turn, perform different actions, spins, punch, pick up something. I still have such a love for it, and I hope I can go to high schools and work with kids working on these things.

What do you think of Baymax?

He’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen! Do you know what it would be like if we had Baymax’s in our lives, with all the health scares, how wonderful would it be for a robot to take care of you and treat you with kindness…it would be such a beautiful thing.

What part of yourself do you see in Honey Lemon?

Everything! The only difference is maybe she’s two octaves higher than me. She is so happy, I’ve never been so happy for such a long time. I went into the room, acted like a silly person, and went out of the room and I couldn’t believe I was working, that was so much fun. It’s just not fair to get paid for that sort of thing! It is a gift for me to be giving a Disney character to generations. Disney has always been a part of my life, and has shaped my life. It teaches me about everything magical and innocent and about hope and love, all these wonderful themes have been given to me as a child, and to be able to give that back is just amazing.
Honey Lemon wasn’t written as Latina, but I was able to put a lot of my personality in there. The way she says “Hiro”, she pronounces it in Spanish, she wants to call him in an endearing way, de carino, and she expresses herself a certain way. I was allowed to put some of myself in there, and that’s the biggest blessing.

San Fransokyo, is a hybrid city, and Latinos live in a hybrid state. How do you bridge the two cultures?

(Genesis answered in Spanish, I translated the first part, but the second part of her answer is more eloquent in Spanish)Yo soy bilingue y bicultural. I only spoke Spanish at home, and English at school. It’s something in me because my family wanted it to be in me. And it’s something that I don’t see as out of place. I identify with both cultures perfectly, and not one more than the other. It comes from home, from the traditions you want to maintain in your home. Esto me da poder, no me limita. El hecho que tengo las crianzas y las enseñanzas de mi familia es lo que me hace diferente a cualquier otra persona. Al final del día una no deja la morál o lo que le da la familia, eso queda contigo el resto de la vida. Y quizas en este momento no van a apreciar, pero al final del dia si van a apreciar que le distes la oportunidad y la ventaja de otra cultura, es una ventaja. Que tengan los dos idiomas en la casa es un poder. Es un super poder.

Which were the most difficult and the most fun scenes to do?

The most difficult were the actions scenes because you have to stay still. They say, “you’re falling off a building”, and you’re making all these noises and you don’t know if they sound real or not. That was the hardest.
My favorite scene is when the team is trying out the gear for the first time with the butler, and he’s stoic. My favorite with Honey is her introduction, when she comes in rolling with the ball. She’s so kooky!

What would be your superpower?

If I were able to have a superpower it would be able to communicate in any language with anyone in the world, and everything, even animals.

Thank you, Genesis, for taking the time to speak with us, and for making a certain little boy very happy!

Matty and his girlfriend Genesis

With all the heart and humor audiences expect from Walt Disney Animation Studios, “Big Hero 6” is an action-packed comedy-adventure about robotics prodigy Hiro Hamada, who learns to harness his genius—thanks to his brilliant brother Tadashi and their like-minded friends: adrenaline junkie Go Go Tamago, neatnik Wasabi, chemistry whiz Honey Lemon and fanboy Fred. When a devastating turn of events catapults them into the midst of a dangerous plot unfolding in the streets of San Fransokyo, Hiro turns to his closest companion—a robot named Baymax—and transforms the group into a band of high-tech heroes determined to solve the mystery. Inspired by the Marvel comics of the same name, and featuring comic-book style action, “Big Hero 6” is directed by Don Hall (“Winnie the Pooh”) and Chris Williams (“Bolt”), and produced by Roy Conli (“Tangled”). The film hits theaters in 3D on November 7, 2014.

For more information, check out Disney.com/BigHero6, Facebook.com/DisneyBigHero6, and on Twitter.com/DisneyAnimation. Hashtags: #BigHero6, #MeetBaymax

Posted in Disney, Entertain Me, Movies | 2 Comments

Back on Track

That’s it, no more wasting time. No more excuses and no more delays. I am determined to start the teaching program in January. In order to do that, I have to pass the Elementary Education Grades K-6 Subject Area test, and I just registered to take the test on November 17th. I ordered the study guide last week, which arrived on Wednesday. Every free second will be spent studying for this test. I’ve put this aside long enough. Had I started school when I first decided to pursue this new career last summer (as in, 2013), I would have been already. There is no reason why I need to continue to put this dream on hold, this new path starts now!

Have you put aside something you really wanted to do? What was it, and what delayed you?

Posted in Life Happens | 4 Comments

Exercise and Sleep patterns + Giveaway #SleepMatters

Disclosure: I have received information, product and materials from McNeil Consumer Healthcare Division of McNEIL-PPC, Inc., the makers of Tylenol® PM. The opinions stated are my own. This is a sponsored post.

I’ll admit it, I’m a sleepyhead. I’ll snooze three or four times before getting up, and I’d rather stay in bed on the weekend than get up early to clean, run errands, or attend an event. I do make an effort to go to the gym during the work week, and with my busy schedule that means a 6am workout. While I’m not fan of getting up that early, I have noticed that I sleep more deeply on the days I’ve worked out than the days I haven’t.

Did you know that getting regular exercise helps deepen sleep? While I work out before the sun comes up, you can grab a quick workout at lunch, go on a brisk walk, or even take the stairs. Regular daytime exercise can help you fall asleep faster and sleep more deeply. Even if I have a long day, I have noticed that I sleep better those days that I’ve gone to the gym. What works for me may not work for you, so be sure to talk to your doctor before beginning or modifying your exercise routine.

Nutrition is an equally important factor when it comes to getting good sleep. It’s best to finish eating at least two to three hours before your regular bedtime. If you’re hungry, a light snack high in carbohydrates like bread or cereal can actually help you fall asleep.

Here are few tips for a better night sleep:

1. Physical Activity Can Promote Better Sleep (exercise, but not within a few hours of bedtime)
2. Pets disturb a good nights sleep, (get him his own bed)
3. Your coffee routine could be keeping you up at night, (limit yourself to one serving)
4. Clock watching keeps the brain stimulated and anxious, (keep alarm clock away from bed)
5. We replace our cars more often than our mattress, (It’s time to replace yours)
6. Backlit electronics keep you awake and delay your sleep, (Only use the bedroom for sleep)

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you’ll still suffer from sleeplessness. In fact, more than 30% of the U.S. adult population suffers from sleeplessness. What triggers sleeplessness varies from person to person, however sleep is extremely important. Tylenol® PM can help, it is the #1 doctor recommended brand for pain with sleeplessness. Tylenol® PM relieves minor aches and pains while helping you fall fast asleep and stay asleep. It is safe, effective, and non-habit forming when used as directed. Always read and follow the product label. Please note that Tylenol® PM is for adults ONLY and children 12 years and over. Tylenol® PM is available at your local Walgreens store.

For more information on TYLENOL® PM: Visit http://www.tylenol.com/products/sleep-pain or call the Customer Care Center at 1-877-895-3665

GIVEAWAY: ONE lucky Brandon’s Puppy reader will win $50 Walgreen Gift Card + a Tylenol PM #SleepMatters Kit!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


**One prize per person/household. This giveaway is open to U.S. ONLY and to persons 18 years or older. This giveaway will run from 10/8/14 at 10:00 PM until 10/20/14 at 11:59 AM EST. The winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter. This event is in no way administered, sponsored, or endorsed by, or associated with, Facebook and/or Twitter.

Posted in Giveaways, Health & Wellness | 25 Comments

Breast Cancer Awareness socks, designed by a 6 year old

Have you ever met a 6-year-old CEO? We have! Late this summer, we had the opportunity to meet Sebastian, a 6-year-old entrepreneur who designs his own line of children’s socks. His line, called Are You Kidding, features all kinds of fun designs for boys and girls. His mom explained to me that Sebastian has a passion for fun and crazy socks, and decided to create his own designs. Sebastian would love to be featured on The Ellen Show, here’s the You Tube video he made just for her.

This month, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness, Sebastian created a special line of socks for kids and adults. His goal is to raise $10,000 for the American Cancer Society towards Breast Cancer research. I think he can do it, but he needs our help. Please visit Are You Kidding and help a 6-year-old help others!

Posted in Fun Stuff, Health & Wellness | Leave a comment

Bloggin’ Mamas Pink & White Havana Night Twitter Party

#HialeahParkParties at 10-2-14 at 9pm EST


Since 1925 @HialeahPark has been known as a world-class venue for races and events. “The world’s most beautiful race course” has hosted dignitaries and celebrities, been the backdrop for films, and has the distinction of being an Audubon Bird Sanctuary and being listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Newly renovated, the indoor event rooms have all the modern equipment necessary for todays functions. @HialeahPark continues to be as Winston Churchill said, “Extraordinary” and will make all events there be just that. Over 75 years of experience shows because #HialeahParkParties .

Date: Thursday, October 2nd, 2014
Time: 9:00-10:00pm EST / 6:00-7:00pm PST
Hashtag: #HialeahParkParties
Presented by: @HialeahPark and @BlogginMamas
Moderators: English- @HeLoEnterprises Spanish- @BBabushka
Co-hosts: @BlogginMamas, @MamasMission, @CoolChillMom, @BrandonsPuppy, and @BabushkasBebe

During the Twitter Party there will be a chance to win one of the prizes by answering various Hialeah Park Trivia. Winners will be selected at random from all eligible entries.

5- $50 Hialeah Park Casino Free Play
RSVP Prize
1- $50 Hialeah Park Casino Free Play

US Residents 21+. RSVP Not Required, but must RSVP to be eligible for RSVP prize.

RSVP: http://twtvite.com/hialeahparkparties

Disclosure: I am participating in this sponsored campaign on behalf of Bloggin’ Mamas. Any opinions expressed are my own.
#HialeahParkParties Twitter Party

Posted in Social Media | Leave a comment

Good Luck Charms Miami Fall Giveaway!

Today Tuesday is the official start of Fall, and do I have a treat for you, dear readers! I’ve once again teamed up with Good Luck Charms Miami for a stunning giveaway.

Good Luck Charms makes absolutely fabulous pieces for both women and men. Their creations feature beads of all colors and themes, and they take custom orders too. This beautiful set of three bracelets, “Pumpkin Spice, Oh So Nice” features pyrite crystals with marble and stone beads. It’s the perfect addition to your Fall wardrobe, and you can win it below!

GIVEAWAY: One lucky Brandon’s Puppy reader will win the stunning three piece set pictured above from Good Luck Charms Miami. Just fill out the required entries on the rafflecopter form below. (For first time visitors, one of the entries is a comment on this post. Please scroll to the end of the post and “leave a reply”.) Winner will be announced on Monday, September 29th. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Posted in Deals and Discounts, Giveaways | 31 Comments