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House of Blues Gospel Brunch – a must-see!

Disclosure: We received comp tickets to attend this event.

I grew up with music as a very big part of my life. It was an essential part, in fact. My mom sang. I sang. Many members of my extended family sang or played instruments. I have such great memories of neighborhood jam sessions where my uncle played steel guitar, a cousin played fiddle my aunt played acoustic guitar, and another cousin played mandolin or banjo. It is part of who I am and maybe why I miss singing so much (enough to torture my friends regularly with karaoke, in fact).

You might not know this, but I grew up attending a small country church. So in addition to country music, bluegrass, and rock-n-roll, I had gospel. Lots of old-fashioned, southern-style, tap-your-toes gospel music. You name an old church hymn and I can probably sing it. (Old Rugged Cross? Check. Victory in Jesus? Check. Power in the Blood? Check.)

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Fast forward to now and one of the things I miss most is Sunday Church music. So when I heard House of Blues was promoting their Gospel Brunch, I just knew I had to check it out. I gathered up a few girlfriends and we went to HOB in downtown San Diego to see if it lived up to its reputation.

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(Melissa in front; Maggie, Debbie, Elizabeth, Rory, me; Abby had to leave & missed the photo)

I have to say, it totally did. The food (it is a brunch, after all) was great. It’s a buffet and there’s a lot of variety, with some good old southern food thrown in. We all had more than enough to eat.

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And the music. Oh, the music. It fed my soul, y’all. I needed that. Great choir, a little humor and fun thrown in, and the plenty of toe-tappin’ foot stompin’ music. They even pulled some people out of the audience to sing and each of them could sing crazy-good, too! Such a great way to spend a Sunday morning. Feed your stomach, then feed your soul.

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I highly recommend it and plan on taking the hubby back to see it with me. (It’s kid-friendly, but it depends on their age and how well they handle the crowd and noise. It gets a little rambunctious — in a good way.) It was a great time – and I think all of my girlfriends agreed!

Disclosure: We received complimentary tickets so we could attend Gospel Brunch. We were not required to write a review in any way, but I am doing so because I wanted to share my thoughts on it. All views are my own.

Disney PLANES takes off! (A review and some fun activities for kids)

Disclosure: We attended the press preview for the movie

I took my 5-year-old son on a date this past Monday. We don’t get a lot of “just us” time together. So when we got the chance to see Disney’s PLANES in the theater, I thought that’d be the perfect mother-son date.

You see, I love Disney movies. Always have. When they started coming out on video, I began my collection. I had ALL of them. And I still – at almost 40 – love to watch the movies. This was no exception.

PLANES

There’s something about the characters in this Cars/Planes world that are so cute & adorable & a little bit goofy. As an adult, you can probably guess the ending of the movie. But when a kid sees it, they get completely caught up in the story. And it’s as much fun to watch them as it is to watch the movie.

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You see, Dusty is this cute little crop duster who’s bored with, well, dusting. He wants to be more. He wants to race. Of course, the other planes think that’s absurd, because how can a crop duster compete with jets and planes that are built for speed?

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But Dusty trains, and works hard, and does his best to show everyone that you CAN do more than people expect of you. Even if you weren’t “built” for racing. And, of course, his loyal friends join him along the journey.

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I asked my son what his favorite part of the movie was. He said it was when Dusty got repaired (after an incident – don’t want to spoil it). My son was so excited to see all the different airplanes, see them flying around and doing amazing flying tricks!

This might just be another one for the library when it comes out on DVD. I bet our youngest will enjoy it by that time, too. (Not sure my 2-year-old can sit in a theater that long, so his viewing may have to wait.)

I’m glad we didn’t wait to see it. The animation is – as always – amazing. And the 3D is great. It’s perfect for a movie like that.

If you wonder whether you should see it in the theater, go for it! We had a really great time.

Want to see a preview of the movie, if you haven’t already?

And here’s one more:

You can also check out RSN on YouTube for even more videos: http://www.youtube.com/RacingSportsNetwork

There are some fun things to do from the movie, too.

Download Race to the Finish! Activities

Download Coloring & Connect the Dots

And if you want all of this cool stuff in one place, then you’ll want to bookmark FlewTube. It has things like this:

  • Planes Trailers & Clips
  • Paper Airplane Tutorials
  • Features on Remote Controlled Flyer enthusiasts
  • Introductions to parts of a plane
  • Flight-related Disney legacy content

One last thing. There are games, too! Of course there are games.

If you haven’t already, give your kids the chance to take flight with the characters from Disney’s PLANES in two immersive games available now on the web!

Final disclosure: While we went to a press preview, we paid for all our food. I am already on Disney’s blogger email list, so I get emails with these types of links to free downloads and I chose to use them in my post. Opinions about the movie are my own; I was not asked to do anything more than provide a link to my review.

MARVEL’S THE AVENGERS giveaway

So, I don’t know about you, but I’m kindof a little teeny bit looking forward to a movie coming out next week. Maybe you’ve heard of it?

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(image courtesy of MARVEL’S THE AVENGERS)

And it might have a little bit to do with Tony Stark. Maybe, but I’m not telling. Okay, so it’s not *just* Iron Man. It’s all of the characters, brought together in one place. And I’m even a little partial to The Hulk. I grew up watching Bruce Banner on the TV show(even though it’s not exactly like the comic). You know, the one with Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno? Yeah, that one. Reminds of when I was a kid. So I’m a little curious to see how the character is handled in this movie (no, I didn’t see the other movies that led up to THE AVENGERS, but now that they’re all coming together I wish I had).

Anywho, I think it’s going to be pretty cool. And even cooler, I get to give away some sweet AVENGERS gear. Here’s what’s up for grabs:

- MARVEL’S THE AVENGERS t-shirt in adult sizes of S, M, L, XL
- MARVEL’S THE AVENGERS set of 6 buttons
- MARVEL’S THE AVENGERS one pair of limited edition 3D glasses

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I love those buttons. Want!

So here we go. Contest rules:

-Must live in the US
-Must be over 18
-Winner must respond to email announcing winner within 48 hours of notification or a new winner will be chosen
-You get to choose your shirt size and which pair of glasses you’d like, which MARVEL will do their best to accommodate/fulfill based on demand
-Contest void where prohibited
-CONTEST ENDS ON MAY 12, 2012 AT MIDNIGHT PACIFIC. Entries after that time will not be counted

HOW TO ENTER:

-Leave a comment telling me which character is your favorite, and why
-You can “like” my Facebook page for one additional entry (come back and leave a comment to let me know you’ve done so in order for the entry to count)
-You can “like” MARVEL’S THE AVENGERS on Facebook for one additional entry (come back and leave a comment to let me know you’ve done so in order for the entry to count)
-You can follow MARVEL’S THE AVENGERS on Twitter for one additional entry (come back and leave a comment to let me know you’ve done so in order for the entry to count)
-And you can tweet the contest out for one additional entry (come back and leave a comment to let me know you’ve done so in order for the entry to count)

That’s it! Hope you enjoy the movie!

Disclosure: No payments or freebies for me. I just thought it’d be fun to do a giveaway for the movie coming up. I like THE AVENGERS. That’s it. Prizes will be shipped directly from the sponsor.)

If I could I would run away and join the Circus

Last night I got the chance to see Cirque du Soleil for the very first time. And what a show to see for your first. It was premiere night for TOTEM by Cirque du Soleil and man, do they put on a production. Cirque du Soleil has been putting on shows for close to 30 years. I wondered how they could be original and creative and amazing after all that time. But they are. They are fantastically good at what they do.

TOTEM is about the origin of our species. It starts with a big shape covering the stage that’s reminiscent of a turtle. But underneath that shell there’s a surprise in store for you. And from that moment, you will be mesmerized by the whole thing. The acrobats, the actors, even the stage are amazing. I have never seen a stage like that. It was like it was alive. Not only did it serve as part of the show by having scenery reflected on it, it moved like a serpent or scorpion. I was blown away by the imagination of the people who built the set.

I’ve seen some Cirque du Soleil shows featured on television. Each time, I have watched, pretty much incredulous at the feats performed. Nothing, but NOTHING compares to seeing it live. I found myself holding my breath more than once, sure that someone was going to miss their cue or timing by just a teensy bit. But they never do.

Dude, I can’t even walk across the room without tripping over something (yeah, even when the kids toys are actually put away). These actors/ acrobats/ crazy, scary good performers are flawless.

And these women:

image courtesy of TOTEM by Cirque du Soleil

Wow. Just… wow. They were incredible. I can’t even look at a unicycle without falling over. And these women were throwing things. With their feet! While on a unicycle that’s, what, 7 or 8 feet tall? Who does that? These women do. And they are fantastically talented at it. I am running out of adjectives here. I am not kidding. I cannot stop talking about it.

Wait til you see the guys that climb things like monkeys. I almost got a headache I was holding my breath so much. I have never seen things done midair like that. EVER. And the cosmonauts? I will give you a little spoiler and say that I got really excited when I saw them pull out the Russian barres. Three of them. At the same time. If it weren’t so scary and required amazing acts of skill and balance, I would absolutely love to do it. The jumping in the air? I would love. The balance? I would totally fail at. Big time.

I was talking with some friends during intermission and we all agreed that we love that Cirque du Soleil gives new life to these amazing performers that a couple of decades ago could never happen unless you were able to do something that got you into the Olympics. Some of these performers are talented on that level. Actually, all of them probably are.

One more thing. I cannot forget the musicians. (My daughter would hurt me if I did.) They went from tribal sounding music to gypsy music to almost techno music (using scientific instruments, no less). They are wildly talented. I should have bought the soundtrack. But maybe you can pick it up for me, because I have a code for you to save some money on tickets if you get them before Mother’s Day. How’s 25% off hit you? Buy just two tickets and you’re looking at saving around $50 or so in certain sections.

By the way, when you look at the map, don’t be deceived by the seating chart. While it may look like you’re a ways from the stage when you’re in the upper rows, you’re not really. You can see everything just fine. Yes, there are some supports that may block a little, but it’s really minimal. The action moves around enough that it won’t be an issue. So here are the details and fine print:

TOTEM by Cirque du Soleil has hit San Diego, and you can save 25% on tickets and make this Mother’s Day more memorable! Get 25% off price level 1, 2 or 3 tickets on select performances, and treat mom to an unforgettable experience. TOTEM is now performing for a limited time at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Click here to take advantage of this generous offer: http://tinyurl.com/MissPrissTOTEMMD

totem_mday_san_diego_300x250[1][3][2] In order to receive this special offer you will need to be a Cirque Club member—registration is fast and free, and Cirque Club members receive advance access to the best seats under the Grand Chapiteau, ticket upgrades, partner promotions and insider information on the world of Cirque du Soleil!

Applicable on select performances on Price level 1, 2 & 3 only. Prices shown during the purchasing process already reflect this offer and will appear as a 25% discount on each ticket. Maximum of 19 tickets per purchase. All tickets subject to regular service and delivery charges. Cannot be combined with any other offer. Not applicable to previous purchases. All sales final, no refunds nor exchanges. Offer expires May 14, 2012 at 11:59 p.m. Offer applicable on TOTEM in San Diego, CA.

Disclosure: I received tickets to the premiere. I was asked to please provide a review, but all words, save the promotional text for the discount, are my own. I really do love Cirque du Soleil and have always wanted to attend a show.

Today

I was supposed to go to Day at the Docks today. But I woke up with a headache and by the time it went away, it was too late to go. Unless I wanted to park miles away and take a shuttle in. No thanks.

So once hubby got home, we decided to grab some lunch and just go on a wander. We used to do our “wanders” every weekend. Just go where the wind took us, enjoying the chance to explore our city. We never really went terribly far from our neighborhood, but we still had a good time.

We wound up at the mall, and our son had a blast walking to his heart’s content. He is so cute when he’s walking as fast as he can, wind in his face, dimples shining. I managed to get a tiny bit of shopping done, too. Found a couple of tops that will be nice for the summer.

All in all? A nice spring day. We need more of those together.

Category: family  Tags: , , , ,  2 Comments

Gettin’ scrappy

So here’s what I’ve been doing with a lot of my time recently. I haven’t used my sewing machine in YEARS, but I finally dug it out, got it serviced, and am USING it. Of course, not for what you’d think. But still. Creating. Learning. Enjoying.

I’ve never made a scrappy journal like this before and I absolutely love it. I don’t think it’ll replace the art journals, but I can see how great this type of journal will be for vacations – collecting little tidbits and memories.

I so enjoyed making it. I hope you enjoy taking a peek. BTW, the video is kinda long. I couldn’t figure out how to make it shorter without skipping pages. And we couldn’t do that now, could we?

My Scrappy Journal from Becky S. on Vimeo.

Girl’s night out – a much needed respite

When you’re a work-at-home (or stay-at-home) mom it’s so easy to feel isolated. Hubby gets out of the house each day and goes to work. Sometimes you’re so busy that you don’t get a chance to leave. Or it can just be too big of an effort at times – especially when it takes you 30 minutes just to get out the door (we live on the 2nd floor and it’s not like I can just pop the kid in the car & run back inside the house if I forget something – so I have to make sure I remember everything in one trip & it can be exhausting).

I admit it – I’m a homebody. I can stay home for several days without really doing more than going to the store to pick up a couple of things. And when I do go out, it’s usually somewhere close: the bookstore, the library, or a coffee shop, none of which are more than five minutes away. I just don’t like getting very far away from home.

And that has prevented me from going to a local girl’s night out – until this evening. About 20 friends from Twitter got together tonight at a restaurant in Hillcrest, called Terra. A couple of the ladies arranged a tasting menu for all of us. It was so very good. The food was outstanding, as was the service. The chef came and spoke to us, letting us know about some of his work locally with schools and sustainable food.

I’ve seen this particular group of ladies two or three times now and the more I see them, the more I like them.

I have lamented – many times, to my husband’s chagrin – that I just don’t have enough girlfriends anymore. Since I left my previous job, it has been so much harder to meet other women. Especially fun, smart, savvy women who understand my love for social networking, blogging, and tech toys. But I think I have found them. They get me and my strange obsessions. We love food. And fun. And lots of laughter.

I think I’m going to fit right in with these ladies. And nights out like this are exactly what I needed.

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Two years – so far, so good

Today is my son’s second birthday. Originally I wanted to write a beautiful tribute to everything he means to me (us).

Instead, I spent time just watching and enjoying him today.

Mid-morning, just before his nap, he sat on his little foam couch next to the toy box, his feet up in the air and resting on the side of the box. He grabbed a piece from his toy garage that is somewhat like a straw and was blowing into it, making noises. He’d pause every so often, throw his head back in glee and just laugh.

If I close my eyes, I can still picture the joy in his face. That big smile with the gapped teeth and dimples. Bright eyes, half closed in the middle of laughter.

That? Is the best part of my day every day. I am so grateful for every minute of the last two years. And I wouldn’t change a thing. Happy birthday, boobah. May you continue to bring joy to those around you.

Thanks, I needed that

Had a really fantastic day today.

Slept in just a little. When the boy woke up, I pulled him into bed with me and snuggled for a while. Then, I got him breakfast and tossed a bunch of stuff in the crock pot. I had prepped everything last night, so all I had to do was put the ingredients in and turn it on. Left it on high for a couple of hours, then turned it to low.

Midday we went a wee bit north to see a demo and watch a movie. (Will be providing more details on that shortly, but I need to write about it on my review site.)

By the way, if you haven’t seen A Christmas Carol, I highly recommend it. I wasn’t planning on seeing it, but we went ahead and did so. You know what? It was great. We loved it. The boy behaved very well and we had a terrific time.

On our way home, we took our time and headed to the coast. We live so close and I just don’t take the time to enjoy it. But I did today. It was so nice.

And then, we went to Wally World and grabbed a copy of Up, which we had been looking forward to getting. I can’t remember where I saw it, but I got a coupon online for $10 off the blu-ray combo pack.

Then we came home to open the door and find an amazing smell greet us at the door. Our pork roast was ready. Mmmmm, pork roast. So we sat down to an awesome dinner and our movie. What a great ending to the day.

It’s so nice to have a relaxing weekend. How was yours?

(Disclosure: we saw A Christmas Carol at an event we attended, but I was not asked in any way to write about it. I just enjoyed the movie a lot. I will be telling more about the event soon.)

Category: miscellany  Tags: ,  Comments off

Dance, little boy, dance

Last Friday was my best friend’s birthday. She came over for a low-key dinner, to visit and to see the kid. And that kid loves playing with his auntie. She brought over a movie, one that she’d told us we needed to see. So we did.

Nacho Libre.

I hadn’t planned to see that movie. Like, ever. But it made her laugh, and she kept quoting from it. So we had to see it. These days, we could use all the laughs we can get, right? We knew it would be dumb. It was. Yet it was funny. And a distraction that I desperately needed.

If you’ve seen it, you’ll know the part of the movie I’m going to refer to. Nacho is at the market, buying some things, when he spots a pair of boots that he must have. And that’s when the Bubblegum song plays.

That’s when the Boobah started dancing. And we all cracked up. How could you not? Here’s this little – almost 3 foot tall – boy, moving his head from side to side, wiggling his little bottom, and grinning for all he’s worth.

So we replayed the song. Then his auntie got up, grabbed his hands, and danced with him while we sang the bubblegum part of the song. I wish I’d gotten it on tape. The pure joy in both their faces was awesome. My sides ached from laughing and my cheeks hurt from smiling.

That, my friends, was a perfect Friday night.

Category: family, spawn  Tags: , , ,  Comments off