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April 2012 Archives

April 4, 2012

The Lorax: We Speak for the Trees

catm.jpgI know The Lorax has been out for awhile, but like other things recently, it took me a bit more time to get around to seeing it. Still, I wanted to make sure I brought the kids to see it in a theater, since I expected it to be much more fun on the big screen, particularly in 3D. When Stonyfield Organic offered to pay my way, of course I accepted!

Last weekend, all four of us enjoyed some family time as we giggled over our 3D glasses, enjoyed the previews (the boys are already plotting plenty of summer excursions to the cinema) and thoroughly enjoyed the main event.

The Lorax movie creates a rich story using Suess' classic The Lorax book as a springboard. Taking a short book and turning it into a full-length (but not too long) feature presentation is no small feat, but Universal Studios created a great flick that appeals to adults and kids alike.

I loved that there were plenty of musical numbers. My kids loved that it wasn't too scary, although this movie definitely tugged on my eco-conscious seven-year old's heart. While the movie speaks for the trees, it also relies heavily on humor, so this flick is plenty entertaining. In other words, don't fear that it is a huge lecture on environmental consciousness. The message is clear to those who see it, but the movie is fun on its own. (Still, I'm glad we were getting into a Prius on our way home, and that our popcorn container was recycled properly upon becoming empty.)

Thank you Stonyfield Organic for facilitating our fun excursion!

Disclaimer: Stonyfield provided 4 free tickets for my family to see The Lorax. We paid for transportation and concessions. There was no posting requirement; the words above are my own. I am an Amazon affiliate.

April 7, 2012

Wicked as They Come

wicked_as_they_come_blud_steampunk_delilah_dawson.jpgThe last couple months I've had several medical tests (ultrasound, CT, MRI, sigmoidoscopy, and X-ray, plus the usual things involving bodily fluids.) it seems we've finally discovered that some things that were originally deemed just "female issues" can be attributed to a majorly screwed-up back. During this time, I've been stressed both about my personal business and about getting my various work done. But during my downtime this past week, I was thrilled to read Delilah S Dawson's captivating first novel, Wicked as They Come. I had been counting down the days until its March 27th release, and so when my tablet was dead that day, I read the first few chapters on my phone. I read it in the waiting room at the doctor's office. I read it before bed. I read it while watching my son's gymnastics workout.

And now I have to start the loooooong process of awaiting the next book in the Blud series, Wicked as She Wants, which won't come out until 2013. How am I supposed to hang on until 2013, hmmm?

I knew this book would be fabulous because I'm familiar with Dawson's writing already through our mutual employment at Cool Mom Picks. Plus, I'm a sucker for vampire books, even though I'm scared of actual blood. You can imagine the irony: I'm sitting in the doctor's office freaking out because I'm about to have blood drawn, and I'm reading about bludbunnies. But this isn't your traditional stud-with-a-bite novel. For me, the adventurous turns of the plot meant more than the fangs (or for the steampunk aficionados: more than the existence of clockworks.) The protagonist's dual-world existence is exciting, and definitely meaningful for someone like me who wishes for a little escape time and again.

Of course in the name of not ruining anything, I'll stay mum on the specific parts of Wicked as They Come that I enjoyed, but I'll gladly say it is the best book I've read this year. I was drawn into the story and appreciated Dawson's fluid writing. Her descriptions aren't overly heavy, so the story itself is free to shine. Often times I'll enjoy a plot but roll my eyes at repetitive language or when the author tries too hard to set a scene. Not so of this book: the writing enhanced the book, and allowed me to escape into the story.

I'm impressed with this debut novel, and definitely anticipating more of the Blud Series.

Disclaimer: I purchased this book on my own. I am an Amazon affiliate.

April 24, 2012

Let's Pretend This Never Happened

Lets_Pretend_This_Never_Happened_Jenny_Lawson_The_Bloggess_first_novel.jpgThe first time I met Jenny Lawson it was in a hotel room in Chicago. A small group of us decided to take the party upstairs, and enjoyed just lounging around on the beds telling stories. She told us the serial killer story (which is in Let's Pretend this Never Happened) and several other stories which I won't relate because they will probably be in her second... or third... novel. I told her I thought she looks like Amanda Seyfried. At the time, I kept saying, "You know, that chick Lilly from Veronica Mars?" because I couldn't remember Amanda's name until we googled it. (Because of course - given this was BlogHer - we had computers all over the room in addition to the wine bottles and other room-service remnants.)

Back then, Jenny was just one of the gals. Now she's HUGE. I mean, anyone who can get celebrities to send her photos of themselves holding random objects, such as Matthew Broderick holding a spoon, is big in my book. Luckily, she wrote her own book. And I read it this past weekend.

Of course she's funny, and of course her story is just wacky enough to make you laugh instead of cry, but you probably wouldn't wish her childhood on anyone. My comparatively sheltered life would make a pretty boring book, although I'll save the exceptions for when I finally get off my duff and pen something. But in the meantime, I'm thankful for Jenny, who may be socially anxious, but who is comfortable with making her life a comedy in front of the world.

She will go far, and she already has. Can't wait for Book Two!

Disclaimer: I bought this book with my own money; I am an Amazon affiliate. I am "reviewing" it because I appreciate Jenny wanted to spread the word.

April 27, 2012

Santa Clara Disney Store Grand Opening!

Disney_Store_Logo.pngUp in Northern California we are just far enough away from Disneyland to not go all that often, and yet close enough so that we get a little envious when our fellow Californians seem to go every weekend. But, we NorCal folks have our own little mini-fantasy lands in our malls with the Disney Store. My local mall's version is pretty small, but tomorrow is the Grand Opening of a new Disney Store at the Westfield Valley Fair in Santa Clara. This is a new "concept store" that goes beyond the traditional stuff-on-a-shelf display cases. For example, the store includes a Disney Princess castle with a magic mirror, where children are encouraged to play and interact. Each time a child waves a magic wand in front of the mirror a Disney Princess will appear, bringing the fairytale to life. For those who aren't into princesses, there is an interactive CARS world. And don't miss the Disney Store Theatre.

princess_section.jpgThis new Disney Store includes elements that are unique to Santa Clara. Disney characters on the walls are placed in historic landmarks such as the Santa Clara Depot, the Santa Clara Interlocking Tower, Mission Santa Clara de Asis, the Harris-Lass Historic Museum, and much more. I know my son will get a kick out of seeing his favorite characters interacting with familiar local places. (See, Mickey, Belle, Aurora, Donald Duck, and Cinderella don't all just live down in Anaheim or Orlando!)

The official Grand Opening begins at 10am on Saturday, April 28. The first 500 guests to attend the grand opening celebration will receive a free gift. From noon to 4 p.m. a meet and greet with Mickey and Minnie Mouse will take place in the mall's center court, with an opportunity for guests to take photos with the characters.

Of course, the Disney Store hopes you'll buy some great goods while attending the Grand Opening; the Disney Store will donate 10 percent of grand opening day's sales to Make-A-Wish®. Sounds good: you can make both your child's and another child's wishes come true all in one day!

I'm eager to check it out for myself tomorrow!

Disclaimer: Disney Store logo, photo, and some descriptive text are from Disney Store North America. Although I was invited to a preview event, I was unable to attend. I hope to attend a small media walkthough tomorrow morning to experience the magic on my own. I received no compensation for this post; I'm posting because I enjoy Disney magic.

April 28, 2012

A Mickey Mouse Morning

IMG_20120428_093519.jpgMy Disney-crazy son and I awakened early this morning in order to go to the Santa Clara Disney Store grand opening at the Westfield Valley Fair. We both wore Disney attire, and were thrilled to go behind the scenes at the store before it was open to the public.

My son was particularly enthralled with a magic mirror in the princess castle display that played a movie clips from various Disney movies. Each piece of merchandise around the display (tiara or wand) played a different clip. So Cinderella's wand would play one clip, while Arial's tiara would play another one. Kids wave their favorite princess' tiara or wand in front of the magic mirror to activate it. (Tiara and wand each have their own separate clips per princess.) New and seasonal characters will activate the mirror from time to time, so each visit to the Disney Store might be different for your child.

I loved the pixie dust on the floor (embedded into the floor; don't worry about tripping!) and was thrilled to see a display for Brave the flick coming to theaters June 22nd featuring the fiery Princess Merida. I also got a kick out of seeing Toy Story cowgirl Jessie's very sparkly cowboy hat. My son loved the chandelier. Clearly, we like sparkle!

The stuffed animal tower is interactive: a tunnel beneath the tower provides a little hiding nook, while a button on the side creates wacky sounds. Twisting a lever prompts the tower's top to spin around. The Disney Theater is also interactive: it operates like a jukebox so kids can select their favorite clip to watch while Mom and Dad are in the check-out line.

My son called the new Santa Clara Disney Store the "best store ever" and wished to share his impressions with you:

Remember, the Disney Store will donate 10 percent of grand opening day's sales to Make-A-Wish® - so come on down!

Disclaimer: My son and I received a gift bag for visiting the store today; it was a privilege to walk through prior to the official Grand Opening. I will receive no further compensation or commission. We just love Disney and enjoy spreading the word!

About April 2012

This page contains all entries posted to A Spectrum of Reviews in April 2012. They are listed from oldest to newest.

March 2012 is the previous archive.

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Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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