Get Back To School Ready With Campbell’s Savings: Baked Ziti Recipe

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CampbellSavings #CollectiveBias

Campbell-Savings-beach

What was that sound? Was that summer zooming by? Back to School time is just around the corner, and as a busy mom of two, I’m always looking for ways to plan ahead and make our crazy life a little simpler, especially during the school year. If one of those ways saves me time and money, it’s even better! Continue reading

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Life, Animated: A Documentary

Disclosure: I was provided press materials for Life, Animated, and have been invited to screen the documentary. 

Life Animated Art (554x800)

Owen Suskind was diagnosed with autism at the age of three. For years, he couldn’t communicate with his loved ones, until the magic of Disney movies created a means by which he could express his feelings, thoughts and desires. Life, Animated is a documentary inspired by the book Life, Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes and Autism, written by Owen’s dad Ron Suskind. The documentary explores Owen’s childhood, from his diagnosis, to his use of Disney films as tools of expression, to his journey into adulthood and independence.

I’ve seen the trailer for Life, Animated several times, and every time it brings tears to my eyes. I know so many children who have been diagnosed with autism, and this film gives hope that they too can communicate in their own way, and grow up to have meaningful lives in unexpected ways. I’m very much looking forward to watching this extraordinary film. Life, Animated is currently screening in New York and California, and will hit theaters across the country during the coming weeks. Click here to find a theater near you.

SYNOPSIS:

From Academy Award® winning director Roger Ross Williams, LIFE, ANIMATED is the inspirational story of Owen Suskind, a young man who was unable to speak as a child until he and his family discovered a unique way to communicate by immersing themselves in the world of classic Disney animated films. This emotional coming-of-age story follows Owen as he graduates to adulthood and takes his first steps toward independence. The subject of his father Ron Suskind’s New York Times bestseller, Owen was a thriving three year old who suddenly and inexplicably went silent – and for years after remained unable to connect with other people or to convey his thoughts, feelings or desires. Over time, through repeated viewings of Disney classics like THE LITTLE MERMAID and THE LION KING, Owen found useful tools to help him to understand complex social cues and to re-connect with the world around him. LIFE, ANIMATED evocatively interweaves classic Disney sequences with verite scenes from Owen’s life in order to explore how his identification and empathy for characters like Simba, Jafar, and Ariel gave him a means to understand his feelings and allowed him to interpret reality. Beautiful, original animations offer rich insights into Owen’s fruitful dialogue with the Disney oeuvre as he imagines himself heroically facing adversity as a member in a tribe of sidekicks. Owen’s story is a moving testament to the many ways in which stories can serve as a means of persevering through the dark times, leading us all toward the light.

Website: http://lifeanimateddoc.com
Facebook:  www.facebook.com/Lifeanimated
Twitter: http://twitter.com/LifeAnimatedDoc

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A year.

On June 22nd 2015 at 4:30pm, heaven gained an angel. My grandmother, Silvia Aurora Prieto, who was lovingly called Tete by family and friends, was rejoined with my grandfather for eternity.

The last year and a half of her life, since my grandfather’s passing in January of 2014, was not easy. My grandmother’s dementia rapidly progressed, and for the last nine weeks she suffered a miriad of other health problems. She spent the last two weeks of her life at West Kendall Baptist Hospital, where I think she received the best care in her life. Sadly, she never saw the home she loved again.

Abuelitos

I am thankful not only for the years and memories that grace our past, but for the strength to be completely honest with both my boys about their passing. I make no apologies for telling them about hospital stays, their declining health, and ultimately their passings. Life is filled with ups and downs, and sharing the good and the bad is fundamental to our bond as a family. I am beyond grateful that both my children got to know and love their Abuelita as I did. Years from now they’ll look back and remember both her and my grandfather, not just because of the stories we’ll tell and the pictures we’ll show them, but because they were old enough to create their own memories.

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5 Reasons why you need to go see #FindingDory

Disclosure: We were invited to see a prescreening of Disney-Pixar’s new movie Finding Dory.  All opinions below are our own.

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Thirteen years ago, Academy Award-winning Finding Nemo was released in theaters, and everyone fell in love with a forgetful Blue Tang fish named Dory. A decade later, Ellen Degeneres, the voice of Dory, had the pleasure to announce to the world on her talk show that there would finally be a sequel to Finding Nemo (click here to see that announcement).  Three years later and it’s finally here! Finding Dory officially hit theaters today, and it is sequel gold! Matty and I had the pleasure of seeing Finding Dory earlier this week, and we loved it!

Here’s what you need to know about Disney*Pixar’s Finding Dory:

Disney•Pixar’s “Finding Dory” reunites everyone’s favorite forgetful blue tang, Dory, with her friends Nemo and Marlin on a search for answers about her past. What can she remember? Who are her parents? And where did she learn to speak Whale?

Directed by Andrew Stanton (“Finding Nemo,” “WALL•E”) and produced by Lindsey Collins (co-producer “WALL•E”), the film features the voices of Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Ed O’Neill, Kaitlin Olson, Ty Burrell, Eugene Levy and Diane Keaton.  “Finding Dory” swims into theaters June 17, 2016.

Disney•Pixar’s “Finding Dory” reunites everyone’s favorite forgetful blue tang, Dory, with her friends Nemo and Marlin on a search for answers about her past.

dory-and-hank

We’ve got five reasons why we think you can’t miss Finding Dory: Continue reading

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Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth at Smooshies

The boys and I were recently invited to Smooshies in South Miami to join in their re-opening festivities. Smooshies is not just a candy shop, it also features innovative educational toys and nitrogen ice cream. It’s a great space for families to hang out and spend some time together. We were so excited to visit and check out the store. We were also thrilled to try nitrogen ice cream. We’d never tried it before, and heard it is absolutely delicious!

smooshies-balloons

The Smooshies shop is adorable! With hot air balloons hanging overhead, a vast array of toys and board games line the walls for play and purchase. There are over 150 varieties of retro and modern candies to satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth. Speaking of sweet tooth, nitrogen ice cream comes in an assortment of flavors, from classics like vanilla and chocolate to fruit flavors like mango and strawberry, and specialty flavors Nutella and Dulce de Leche. They also serve coffee, and it’s not just any coffee: they serve Nespresso! Continue reading

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Alice Through The Looking Glass, in theaters now!

Alice Looking Glass Horizontal

 Disney’s Alice Through the Looking Glass is an all-new spectacular adventure featuring the unforgettable characters from Lewis Carroll’s beloved stories in which Alice returns to the whimsical world of Underland and travels back in time to save the Mad Hatter. Directed by James Bobin, who brings his own unique vision to the visually-stunning world Tim Burton created on screen with “Alice in Wonderland,” the film is written by Linda Woolverton based on characters created by Lewis Carroll. The producers are Joe Roth, Suzanne Todd, p.g.a. and Jennifer Todd, p.g.a. and Tim Burton. John G. Scotti serves as executive producer. “Alice Through the Looking Glass” reunites the cast from Burton’s 2010 worldwide blockbuster phenomenon, including Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Mia Wasikowska, Matt Lucas and Helena Bonham Carter and introduces new characters played by Rhys Ifans and Sacha Baron Cohen. Also back are the talented voices of Alan Rickman, Stephen Fry, Michael Sheen, Timothy Spall, Barbara Windsor and Paul Whitehouse, who are joined by Matt Vogel.

Continue reading

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First Trailer for Disney’s Beauty and the Beast!! #BeOurGuest

It’s here! The very first trailer for Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, the live action re-telling of our favorite tale as old as time. Just by these few scenes I can tell it’s going to be amazing! It’s still a while before it opens in theaters next March, but I’ll definitely post more sneak peeks as I get them! Enjoy!

OFFICIAL BOILERPLATE:

Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” is a live-action re-telling of the studio’s animated classic which refashions the classic characters from the tale as old as time for a contemporary audience, staying true to the original music while updating the score with several new songs. “Beauty and the Beast” is the fantastic journey of Belle, a bright, beautiful and independent young woman who is taken prisoner by a beast in his castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle’s enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the Beast’s hideous exterior and realize the kind heart and soul of the true Prince within. The film stars: Emma Watson as Belle; Dan Stevens as the Beast; Luke Evans as Gaston, the handsome, but shallow villager who woos Belle; Oscar® winner Kevin Kline as Maurice, Belle’s eccentric, but lovable father; Josh Gad as Lefou, Gaston’s long-suffering aide-de-camp; Golden Globe® nominee Ewan McGregor as Lumiere, the candelabra; Oscar nominee Stanley Tucci as Maestro Cadenza, the harpsichord; Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Plumette, the feather duster; six-time Tony Award® winner Audra McDonald as Madame Garderobe, the wardrobe; Oscar nominee Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, the mantel clock; and two-time Academy Award® winner Emma Thompson as the teapot, Mrs. Potts.

Directed by Oscar® winner Bill Condon from a screenplay by TBD based on the 1991 animated film, the film is produced by Mandeville Films’ David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman with eight-time Oscar-winning composer Alan Menken, who won two Academy Awards® (Best Original Score and Best Song) for the 1991 animated film, providing the score, which will include new recordings of the original songs written by Menken and Howard Ashman, as well as several new songs written by Menken and three-time Oscar winner Tim Rice. “Beauty and the Beast” will be released in U.S. theaters onMarch 17, 2017.

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Smooshies Grand Re-Opening!

Will you be in the South Miami area on Saturday between 11am and 11pm? Stop by Smooshies as they celebrate their grand reopening and new partnership with Ohh My Sweetness, and join them for Smooshies Day! Bring your family and friends and enjoy buy one, get one free nitrogen ice cream and candy when you sign up for the Smooshies e-newsletter. Smooshies Sweets

Post a picture of you at Smooshies tomorrow using #smooshiesday and tag @smooshiescandy on Twitter, and you’re automatically entered in a $35 gift card giveaway! That’s a lot of ice cream!!

Follow Smooshies on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and of course their website, www.smooshies.com. Smooshies is located at 5738 Sunset Drive.

 

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Alice Through The Looking Glass – The Mad Hatter’s Surprise!

Imagine walking through Disneyland and an advertisement for Disney Picture’s latest film comes to life. That’s exactly what happened to guests at the California park recently as Johnny Depp, in character as The Mad Hatter, interacted with guests via video feed.

What a fun way to promote Alice Through the Looking Glass! Mark your calendars now, it hits theaters in exactly two weeks, on May 27th!

AliceThroughTheLookingGlass

OFFICIAL BOILERPLATE:

In Disney’s “Alice Through the Looking Glass,” an all-new spectacular adventure featuring the unforgettable characters from Lewis Carroll’s beloved stories, Alice returns to the whimsical world of Underland to save her friend the Mad Hatter. Directed by James Bobin, who brings a unique vision to the spectacular world Tim Burton created on screen in “Alice in Wonderland,” the film is written by Linda Woolverton based on characters created by Lewis Carroll and produced by Joe Roth, Suzanne Todd and Jennifer Todd and Tim Burton with John G. Scotti serving as executive producer. “Alice Through the Looking Glass” reunites the all-star cast from the worldwide blockbuster phenomenon, including: Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Mia Wasikowska, Matt Lucas and Helena Bonham Carter along with the voices of Alan Rickman, Stephen Fry, Michael Sheen and Timothy Spall. We are also introduced to several new characters: Zanik Hightopp (Rhys Ifans), the Mad Hatter’s father and Time himself (Sacha Baron Cohen), a peculiar creature who is part human, part clock.

Alice Kingsleigh (Wasikowska) has spent the past three years sailing the high seas. Upon her return to London, she comes across a magical looking glass and returns to the fantastical realm of Underland. Reuniting with her friends the White Rabbit, Absolem, the White Queen and the Cheshire Cat, Alice must save the Hatter and Underland itself, before time runs out. Presented in Digital 3D™, Real D 3D and IMAX® 3D, Disney’s “Alice Through the Looking Glass” opens in U.S. theaters on May 27, 2016.

Website:  http://www.disney.com/alice
Facebook:   Facebook.com/DisneyAlice
Follow Disney Studios on Twitter: https://twitter.com/disneystudios
Instagram: https://instagram.com/DisneyAlice

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Thank you, April, for being so good to us!

April was a very busy, very exciting month for us! So many wonderful things happened, and to be honest I was too busy living it to blog about it. Here’s a quick synopsis of everything that took place last month.

As I mentioned in the post just below this one, I didn’t think I’d make it to Hispanicize 2016. It saddened me to think that I’d miss it, so I figured out a way to make it happen: I worked two full days, Tuesday and Thursday, and went to the event during the day on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Among the highlights were the first ever DimeMedia Summit, and the official launch of The Laurit Spina Bifida Project, my dear friend’s wonderful labor of love (go check it out, and contribute to the cause, if you can. Thank you!!).  Another highlight was attending a very special screening of Disney’s latest live action feature film The Jungle Book, one week before it opened in theaters!

Just a week and a half later, and the main reason why I couldn’t take any additional time off during Hispanicize, was the Star Wars Dark Side Half Marathon Weekend at Disney World. We headed to Orlando for four days, got to hang out with my dear friend Rachel, visited all four parks, and I completed my 11th 10th (darn Wine & Dine 2016 Half of a Half keeps throwing off my count!) Half Marathon.star-wars-half-collage

Last but not least, Matty and I participated in his first Run Disney event, the Star Wars Dark Side 5K. He had an absolute blast running through Epcot and seeing all the character stops. He was a bit photophobic that day, so I don’t have very many pictures, but this is one of my favorites. Poor thing had a 4am wake-up call, so clearly by 8:15am was due for a nap, holding his medal in his sleep.dark-side-5k-nap

April also had Eric and I revisiting our youth, as we attended concerts by both Pearl Jam and Bush. It was like listening to the soundtrack of our high school years. Pearl Jam was amazing, but I’d have to say the Bush concert was my favorite out of the two, if for no other reason than Gavin Rossdale went around the entire theater, section by section, during “Little Things”, and was just a few feet from us. That was a very cool experience!!

Last but certainly not least, the month ended with a huge moment for our family: my little sister got engaged! Knowing how important it was for us, her family, to be a part of it, her fiancee planned a beach day at Bill Baggs State Park (also known to us Cuban folk as El Farito). She was so surprised when they arrived at the beach to see us all there, but little did she know what was in store as the day progressed. It was a joyous, emotional, wonderful moment for all of us, and I take all the credit: I introduced them last May! Let the wedding planning begin!Maura-and-Luis-proposal

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