Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Disney Interactive Game Night Was A HIT!

Last week, Aubrey and I had the opportunity to attend the Disney Interactive Game Night at Hollywood and Highland. Disney always throws a classy, family friendly shindig, and this party was no exception.

Aubrey is going to be three in two weeks and I went alone with her, so I spent a lot of the time wrangling her rather than playing games, but what we did experience, we really loved! Also, Aubrey is just below the target age for many of these family games, so we haven't gotten into gaming at home yet (I'm still bragging about "flipping" our home version of Atari Asteroids when I was in third grade), but it's good to know Disney is making some quality family games.

Since Aubrey doesn't really know what video games are yet, I told her we were going to a "special party" by Disney. She kept asking if Mickey Mouse was going to be there so I was worried she might be a little disappointed to find out it wasn't a Mouse party, but I was wrong. She had a blast!

The first game we checked out was the oh-so popular Club Penguin. Every parent and kid on the planet seems to know more about Club Penguin than I do so I thought I should see what all the excitement it all about. It was really cute and I can see how kids get hooked on it. We had fun just picking out outfits for our penguin!

Next we tried Toy Story Mania. OK, let me amend that... AUBREY tried Toy Story Mania. I think I mentioned that the last video games I played were the Atari classics - Tank, Pitfall, Pong. I am really bad at modern video games - mainly because they make me a little dizzy and motion sick and I can't figure out the controls. It's a good thing that my almost 3 year old picked up the controller for Toy Story Mania and figured out how to make Jessie the Cowgirl jump on and off her horse and ride all over the screen! Even the guy demoing the game for us was a little surprised. Kids!

Aubrey is currently horse obsessed after visiting relatives with horses last month, so this game was a real hit for her! I can't wait to take her to Toy Story 3 later in June!

The third and final game we played was definitely our favorite - Sing It: Family Hits. All of my favorite Disney family movie songs (Supercalifragilis, Winnie The Pooh, Kiss The Girl...) in karaoke mode! For a woman who makes her living on stage with a microphone and her kid who is a bigger ham than her, this game was a blast. I couldn't get Aubrey away so I can imagine a game like this may easily be in our future.

Just before we left, we caught a glimpse of an iPad demo of some of the cool Disney Interactive apps. The games looked really cool, but I have to admit I was just excited to touch an iPad.... oooooohhhhh!

I should mention that there were MANY more games that we didn't get to. Titles like Phineas and Ferb, Split Second, Toon Town, Cars, Guilty Party, Pixie Hollow and more were all there and everyone seemed to be having fun.

Of course, it wouldn't be a complete Disney party without awesome, family friendly food. Disney is great at putting together buffets that are gourmet versions of things kids love to eat, so the adults are in food heaven too. The buffet included cheeseburger and shrimp po' boy sliders, onion rings, French fries, fruit kabobs, hummus, wraps, quesadillas and more but the best part was the desserts which included home made ho hos, ding dongs and twinkies that were out of this world. The banana pudding and apple pastries were great too and the kids were all over the Club Penguin snow cones.

Overall, it was a great night and it was such a treat to be able to share it with my daughter. She really had fun and is still talking about the "special party". Thank you Disney Interactive for a special night together!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Summer With Fresh and Easy!

My display of Fresh & Easy YUM!

I LOVE it when I get a new Fresh & Easy delivery to my po box. I know there's some awesome stuff inside and, of course, I get to brag about it and share the info with my friends. Then, I get to EAT it!!

The fine folks at Fresh and Easy are helping us get ready for all those summer barbecues with grill packs, chips, buns, condiments, cookies, booze and more! YEAH!

For under $10, grab a ready-to-throw-on-the-grill "Grill Pack" that includes nearly five pounds of hamburgers, chili-seasonsed chicken and Italian sausages. Top them off with the basics like Fresh and Easy's organic ketchup, yellow mustard or Original BBQ Sauce, all for under $3 each!

Then toss your meaty McMeaterson on a Gourmet Wheat Hamburger Bun ($2.99) - baked daily at Il Fornaio, btw - and grab a handful of F&E Malt Vinegar & Sea Salt Kettle Chips and VOILA!!!! You have some serious kind of yum for social noshing.

Aubrey's a fan of Fresh & Easy!

I also got a small vat of F&E Soft Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies with Walnuts ($2.99) and a bottle of The Vine Yard Pinot Gris ($6.99). I have yet to crack the bottle of wine and the cookies were ok, but I have to say the Malt Vinegar & Sea Salt Kettle Chips ($1.49) are some of the best I've ever had. You can really taste the malt flavor of the vinegar and they have just the right amount of tangy bite. Surprisingly, my 3 year old daughter even loved them, so we have another new favorite to add to our F&E list of loves!

As usual, I can never say enough about Fresh & Easy. They are absolutely, hands down, my favorite grocery store on the planet and I can't wait for them to expand around the US so more of my friends and family can experience the love.

For those of you lucky enough to be here in SoCal, Fresh and Easy is partnering with award winning Grill Expert Neil Strawder (aka Bigmista) at four of their store locations to kick off the grilling season with special grilling tips and recipes and the first 100 people will receive a free reusable bag!

Fri, June 4, 5-pm
Fresh & Easy
4211 Eagle Rock Blvd, L.A. 90065

Fri, July 30, 5-7pm
Fresh & Easy
10930 Rosecrans Ave, Norwalk 90650

Sat, Aug 21, 4-6pm
Fresh & Easy
2121 W Main St, Suite 300, Alhambra 91801

Sat, Aug 28, 4-6pm
Fresh & Easy
19350-A W Nordhoff St, Northridge 91324

Love The Mom, Hate The Kid?

The social etiquette on the playground can be a delicate matter. It's not just kids sizing up each other and interacting, but it's moms sizing up each other and moms sizing up each others' kids. Admit it, we ALL do it, but where do you draw lines and who passes your tests? Here's my latest post for the LAMomsBlog:

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Food Alert: LOO HOOS!! YUM!

My best friend recently put me in touch with Cindy Liu, founder, CEO and chef of LooHoo's Inc - Asian Comfort Food. Cindy's budding food company is based in Ventura County here in SoCal and my friend asked if I might be interested in helping spread the word about LooHoo's via my blogger friends. Cindy had the great idea to host a tasting party and taste we DID! I'm really thrilled to share my LooHoo's experience with you and I hope those of you who are locals will partake in her super yum food.

The evening started out with a specially created Mom Blogger's Lychee Martini. It was the perfect way to start off a night of stuffing our faces and socializing. Light, cold and slightly sweet - it went down almost a little too easily and made me wish I hadn't driven so I could have more. Sigh...

Next, Cindy went to work steaming up some amazing, handmade dumplings (or pot stickers). We had three varieties: The Veggie, LooHoo's Original (pork) and Cindy's own original recipe, The Mondu Twist (Korean style with kimchee)! The latter were my personal favorite. LooHoo's dumpling sauce is made from scratch and it's fresh and light, unlike so many Chinese dumpling sauces which can lean toward the syrupy side.

Then, onto the noodles! We were treated to two entree noodle dishes:

Summer Cold Noodle Salad which was made with yaki soba noodles
Spicy Thai Red Curry Noodles which can be made with good old spaghetti noodles!

Both noodle dishes were delicious and so easy to make. Also the kind of meals that are affordable and crowd pleasing for people with kids. Cindy paired the noodles with a chilled riesling and it was a perfect combo for a springtime, outdoor deck dinner.

Of course we wrapped up the evening with something sweet. Now, I was not raised in an Asian household and I have to admit, I don't care for most Asian desserts. The idea of eating red beans as a sweet still doesn't do it for me. But I was really happy when Cindy announced she had made a coconut sticky rice and mango for dessert. I've had this in Thai restaurants before and it really is yummy.

Some of the other women were saying it seemed weird to eat rice for dessert, but somehow, it got all gobbled up! I don't like mango by itself, but there's something about the total combination of mango, sticky rice and sweet coconut sauce that is to die for. If you've never tried this dessert, you're missing out and LooHoo's is the best I've ever had.

Aside from the obvious factors of the food being delicious and freshly made for us, there are some company facts that make me love Loo Hoo's even more. LooHoo's is committed to using premium ingredients and supports the local economy by engaging in sustainable and scalable business practices. Now who doesn't dig THAT?!

The tasting party was a great success and so much fun. My only regret is that I didn't wear my Pajama Jeans so I could eat more. I know we can't all be as lucky as the small group of bloggers who got to be there for this exclusive get together, but the good news is LooHoo's caters and will customize a menu that is perfect for your special occasion. The easiest way to find Cindy and her delicious LooHoo's cuisine each week is at the farmer's market:

Every Thursday 1:30-6:30pm:
At The Oaks Mall

Every Sunday 8am-noon:
Valencia, Santa Clarita

Eventually, Cindy would like LooHoo's to be in grocery stores! With her can-do attitude, her great business background and most importantly, delicious creations, it won't be long before you can take LooHoo's home right from the grocer's freezer or refrigerated section. Let's support LooHoo's to help make this dream a reality for Cindy.

Until then, I'll see you at the farmer's market and on LooHoo's Facebook fan page. Happy eating and THANK YOU Cindy Liu of LooHoo's!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

You'll Laugh, You'll Cry: Two Documentary Reviews

I love documentaries and I recently had the opportunity to see two awesome documentaries and I hope you will check them out too!

The first film I saw was the much hyped and super adorable, Babies. The fine people at mPRm Public Relations extended an invite for an early screening and I jumped at the chance. I had seen the trailer a few times and couldn't wait for my chance to see it. And this is coming from a mom who is NOT a baby person!

I'm pleased to report that the documentary is as enjoyable and smile inducing as the trailer. Unless you're a baby hater, I don't know how one could not enjoy this film, however I do think parents will enjoy this film the most.

Through the static lens of the camera, director Thomas Balmes shows us the lives of four new humans in four different cultures - Mongolia, Namibia, Japan and the US (San Francisco). It is a true documentary, void of narration or backstory, as the director simply lets the babies' actions speak for themselves. There's really not much more too it as far as the description goes, but some the moments he and his crew manage to capture on film are truly breathtaking.

If this film taught me anything as a mother, it's to stop worrying so much about my child's development and to avoid overstimulating her. Yes, I live in Los Angeles and my daughter is growing up in a highly competitive and faced-paced environment. It's important for her to keep up, but it's just as important for her to just be sometimes. To let children be children. Aside from cultural differences, babies are same all over the world and this film does a beautiful job at displaying the universal truths of human nature.
Documentary number two was In The Matter of Cha Jung Hee - the follow up film to Deann Borshay Liem's, First Person Plural. Deann is a fellow Korean adoptee and has become a personal friend over the years, but I assure you, even if you have no connection to the Korean adoptee community, you will find her story fascinating. I saw this particular screening as a part of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival.

The brief backstory (without any spoilers) of Deann's life, is that she was switched for another girl during the time of her adoption from Korea to the United states in the 1960s and told by Korean social workers not to reveal her true identity. The adoption was finalized and her adoptive, American family believed they were receiving the girl they had sponsored from abroad for so many years - Cha Jung Hee. In Liem's first documentary, she tells the story of her adoption, her upbringing in California and the discovery of her falsified identity. It is in this first film that she goes in search of her true birth family in Korea.

In Liem's new documentary, which isn't a true sequel, but a companion or follow-up film, Liem battles cultural red tape and social barriers of Korea on a search for the woman who's identity she has had almost her entire life - Cha Jung Hee. Honestly, I don't want to say much more because the story is so compelling and one that she tells best. Furthermore, she tells her story with such candor and even humor, baring her emotions throughout the process so that you may take the journey with her, I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

While I believe viewing her earlier documentary, First Person Plural, beforehand offers a richer viewing experience, it is not necessary as Deann does cover the backstory of her adoption in the 2nd film. To learn more about her films and especially to make a donation to help fund her next documentary, Memories of Forgotten War , visit her production company's site, MuFilms.org.

Happy movie watching! Have you seen any great ones lately?! Please let me know. I'm dying to see Food Inc.

Monday, May 10, 2010

And the Bandai Winner Is...

...Kevin from Groton, CT! I'm so happy to send the Bandai toy package to this awesome super fan and faithful Facebook friend!

Thanks for Random.org for helping me determine the winner. I hope to have another giveaway drawing soon, so please check back for more fun stuff!

I hope you all had a wonderful Mother's Day and showed love and appreciation for the moms in your life.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

I Survived April!

Just a little personal update...

I didn't know if I would live thorough a trip to the midwest, with a three year old, by myself while doing seven shows in two states in ten days, but thanks to family, friends and an occasional alcoholic beverage... I DID IT! (and I never want to do it again)

My little Viking

April was a great, successful month with a fun show at Wartburg College in Waverly, IA a weekend of shows at The Joke Joint Comedy Club in Bloomington, MN and most importantly, a killer showcase at the Northern Plains NACA convention. The show bookings just keep rolling in and starting this fall, through the winter and into spring of 2011, I'll be covering the Northern Midwest with over sixteen shows already on the calendar in Minnesota, Iowa, Montana, Wisconsin and South Dakota.

I'm also working on a new website which I hope to have up in a week or two (fingers crossed). Wish me luck as it's my first time doing on my own.

Aubrey is almost three! Just a month until her birthday and today, I found out she got into the preschool we really wanted, so it's going to be an exciting June with some big milestones.

- Sunday, Mother's Day May 9, I'm at The Icehouse in Pasadena, CA @ 7pm
- Wednesday, May 19, I'll be reading something funny and/or interesting that I wrote at the fabulous Tasty Words show at Every Picture Tells A Story in Santa Monica @ 7:30pm
- Thusday, May 27, I'll be with the awesome ladies of Hot Tamales Live at The Improv in L.A. @ 8pm. This show will sell out so hit me up asap if you want on the guest list!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Drug Recall!

I was really disappointed to find that over $35 worth of OTC children's medicines in my cabinet were recalled by McNeil Consumer Healthcare, but at least it served as a good personal reminder. Read more to see if you have medicines on the recall list...

at LAMomsBlog.com