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Entertainment is enjoyable from babies to adults. Whether you’re single, married, have kids or not movies, arts, sports and events bring people together.

Lizzo, Halloween, Lizzo costume, Racially insensitive halloween costumes, cultural appropriations

Halloween is next week and I’m not going to lie, I want to be Lizzo. But I’m not sure I can do it because my skin is white. I’m Mexican but my skin didn’t get the memo. I’m a freckled Mexican and that’s ok because Latinos come in all shades of the rainbow. But I’m not black and I don’t know if it’s ok for me to be a famous black woman for Halloween?

Lizzo is such an inspiration to me. In honesty, Melissa Vivianne Jefferson may be one of my favorite people in pop culture right now. She is such a strong, straight up, force and I love that my girls have someone like Lizzo to see in the world right now. There is something about her that speaks to my soul, in a way that I’ve not felt connected to art in a long time. She is truth for so many girls and women.

Lizzo, Halloween, Lizzo costume, Racially insensitive halloween costumes, cultural appropriationsREAD ALSO: Happy Halloween, No Treat for You Fatty

Halloween is a favorite holiday at our house. We all get into it. We have, by far, the creepiest decorated house on the block. We have an annual Halloween party. We do family costumes and Zombie walks and on any given weekend, you will find us, as a family, binge-watching horror movies. We’re that family.

Halloween costumes are more than just dressing up as our favorite heroes or villains for a night, it’s the chance to emulate some of the people we love most in history and pop culture. I’ve been everyone from Bing Bong to Miranda Sings and Carrie White for Halloween. This year our family costume for the party is the Addams family. I will be playing the role of Morticia for the evening. But for the big night, Halloween, I really want to be Lizzo. This bitch is 100% that bitch.

Lizzo, Halloween, Lizzo costume, Racially insensitive halloween costumes, cultural appropriations

However, as a POC (if you know me IRL, you know that I can be any shade from alabaster to a golden goddess with my olive Latina skin) I find myself asking if I can be Lizzo because y’all know that I’m not about that appropriations life.

READ ALSO: Easy Dia de Los Muertos Make-up Tutorial

Lizzo, Halloween, Lizzo costume, Racially insensitive halloween costumes, cultural appropriations

I am a bi-cultural Latina woman who grew up in an urban African American neighborhood in Chicago. While my skin may be white and my culture may be Mexican, black people have always been a part of my story. I see color and I respect differences but to me, people are people. But as someone who has written about cultural appropriations and admonished those who’ve done it and warned others against doing it, would I be appropriating if I dressed as Lizzo, a strong black woman who I admire?

I think the fact that I’m even asking and giving pause, is a sign that I just shouldn’t do it. But at the same time, I feel like I’m a curvy woman with long wavy hair who loves and respects Lizzo and I really want to play Lizzo for a night. No, I won’t be adding padding or altering the color of my skin. It’ll just be me, as Lizzo. But that’s the thing about appropriations, right? I can be Lizzo for a night but then I can be Debi again. Debi the white Latina who blends in almost everywhere. And that is what is really giving me pause.

READ ALSO: Best Horror Movies to Watch with your Teens

So, I’m coming to you Internet and I know you’ll give it to me straight because isn’t that what the Internet loves to do?

Lizzo, Halloween, Lizzo costume, Racially insensitive halloween costumes, cultural appropriations

Is it inappropriate for this white Latina to dress up as Lizzo for Halloween?

I don’t want to be Lizzo because of her outrageous outfits (while the That Bitch outfit is amazing and I’d feel like a boss wearing it around my neighborhood) but I want to be Lizzo for the night because she is a force to be reckoned with. She is strong, vivacious and full of self-love. She has life figured out. All the things that women struggle with universally, she’s already had a come to Jesus meeting about and she has made peace with it. She is a strong female, maybe one of the strongest in pop culture, and I want to be that iconic empowered character for one night. It’s sort of like dressing up as Wonder Woman with slightly more clothes and 1000% more relatable to every woman.

Well, if this mama can’t dress up like Lizzo for a night, I guess I’ll just get tickets to a concert, wear the t-shirt and support her in all the ways I can because the world definitely needs more women like Lizzo in the world.

What say you, internet? Can I dress up as Lizzo for Halloween without being a skeevy culturally appropriating jerk?

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BEAUTIFUL, Carole King, Broadway Musicals, Morris Performing Arts Center

Broadway musicals are my jam. I love all the arts but there is something truly special about being transformed through time and space by a story told through music sung live on stage. Music is my love language.

This being said, there is nothing I love more than an inspiring story of a strong-willed woman who bootstraps her way through life and finds her way to the top. That’s why I am so excited to see BEAUTIFUL with my daughters.

BEAUTIFUL, Carole King, Broadway Musicals, Morris Performing Arts CenterDisclosure: I was provided tickets to the show for review purposes but all excitement for the theater and BEAUTIFUL are my own.

BEAUTIFUL tells the inspiring true story of Carole King’s remarkable rise to stardom, from being part of a hit songwriting team with her husband Gerry Goffin, to her relationship with fellow writers and best friends Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann—ultimately becoming one of the most successful solo acts in popular music history. Along the way, she made more than beautiful music, she wrote the soundtrack to a generation.

BEAUTIFUL, Carole King, Broadway Musicals, Morris Performing Arts Center

READ ALSO: Les Miserables Proves that Where there is Love there is Hope

BEAUTIFUL, Carole King, Broadway Musicals, Morris Performing Arts Center

Long before she was Carole King, chart-topping music legend, she was Carol Klein, a Brooklyn girl with passion and chutzpah. She fought her way into the record business as a teenager and, by the time she reached her twenties, had the husband of her dreams and a flourishing career writing hits for the biggest acts in rock ‘n’ roll. It wasn’t until her personal life began to crack that she finally managed to find her true voice.

BEAUTIFUL, Carole King, Broadway Musicals, Morris Performing Arts Center

This show continues to dazzle in New York and to packed houses worldwide with its wit, charm and soul. Featuring a stunning array of beloved songs, including “I Feel The Earth Move,” “One Fine Day,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” “You’ve Got A Friend” and the title song, BEAUTIFUL took home two 2014 Tony Awards® and the 2015 Grammy Award® for Best Musical Theater Album.

BEAUTIFUL, Carole King, Broadway Musicals, Morris Performing Arts Center

READ ALSO: Phantom of the Opera Broadway Tour

Beautiful is playing at the Morris Performing Arts Center in South Bend, IN from Friday, October 25- Sunday, October 27, 2019.

Show times:

Friday, October 25, 2019: 8 p.m.

Saturday, October 26, 2019: 2 p.m.

Saturday, October 26, 2019: 8 p.m.

Sunday, October 27, 2019: 2 p.m.

BEAUTIFUL, Carole King, Broadway Musicals, Morris Performing Arts CenterRun time:

  • ACT I: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • INTERMISSION: 15 minutes
  • ACT II: 1 hour
  • RUNNING TIME: 2 hours 30 minutes

The performance will begin promptly at the advertised curtain time. Latecomers will be held outside of the theater until the tour approved entrance time.

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Nasim Pedrad, Marwan Kenzari,Navid Negahban, Mena Massoud, Jasmine, Naomi Scott, Will Smith, Abu, Jafar, Aladdin, Disney's Aladdin, Live-action film, movie review, Guy Ritchie,

If you love Disney’s Aladdin as much as my family does, you will be thrilled to know that not only is Disney’s Aladdin the live-action film being released on DVD on September 10 but so is the original Aladdin the signature series. Both Aladdin’s available on DVD on the same day!!

Nasim Pedrad, Marwan Kenzari,Navid Negahban, Mena Massoud, Jasmine, Naomi Scott, Will Smith, Abu, Jafar, Aladdin, Disney's Aladdin, Live-action film, movie review, Guy Ritchie, Disney, Aladdin Signature series

We are definitely a house divided over here. My husband and eldest daughter are Disney animation connoisseurs and both prefer the Aladdin animated film. My youngest daughter and I fell absolutely head over heels in love with the new Disney’s Aladdin live-action film. Either way, we’re all excited for September 10.

Mena Massoud, Jasmine, Naomi Scott, Will Smith, Abu, Jafar, Aladdin, Disney's Aladdin, Live-action film, movie review, Guy Ritchie,

EXPERIENCE MAGIC IN A WHOLE NEW WAY WITH THE THRILLING AND VIBRANT LIVE-ACTION ADAPTATION OF ALADDIN
AND
THE ANIMATED CLASSIC JOINS THE HIGHLY CELEBRATED WALT DISNEY SIGNATURE COLLECTION

Nasim Pedrad, Marwan Kenzari,Navid Negahban, Mena Massoud, Jasmine, Naomi Scott, Will Smith, Abu, Jafar, Aladdin, Disney's Aladdin, Live-action film, movie review, Guy Ritchie, Disney, Aladdin Signature series
The live-action adaptation of the animated classic, Aladdin, lands in homes on Digital and Movies Anywhere August 27 and 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD September 10. Starring Will SmithNaomi Scott and Mena Massoud, the release includes all-new bonus features, such as deleted scenes, a blooper reel and more!READ ALSO: I Loved the New Aladdin More than the Original

Nasim Pedrad, Marwan Kenzari,Navid Negahban, Mena Massoud, Jasmine, Naomi Scott, Will Smith, Abu, Jafar, Aladdin, Disney's Aladdin, Live-action film, movie review, Guy Ritchie,The release of the live-action adventure coincides with the addition of the original animated classic to the highly celebrated Walt Disney Signature Collection, granting Aladdin fans everywhere the opportunity to own both magical movies. In 4K for the first time, the new release features all-new bonus content, including alternate endings!

Nasim Pedrad, Marwan Kenzari,Navid Negahban, Mena Massoud, Jasmine, Naomi Scott, Will Smith, Abu, Jafar, Aladdin, Disney's Aladdin, Live-action film, movie review, Guy Ritchie, Disney, Aladdin Signature series

We all know that Aladdin is one of the best Disney animated films ever but if you want to be blown away, you have to check out Disney’s Aladdin live-action film. I never thought I could love a film more than the original Aladdin. I remember singing along and adoring everything about it.

Then I saw the live-action film and it moved me in whole other ways. It was the same story but it was its own movie. It took a different perspective and changed just a few slight things but it made the movie more relatable for me. The soundtrack is amazing and the themes were timely and empowering.

I’m excited to add both to our Disney film collection.

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It, the losers club, T Chapter Two, Pennywise, Bill Skarsgard, horror movie, review

We’ve waited for 2 years for IT Chapter Two the movie. Stephen King’s IT has always had a special place in my heart. IT was one of the first horror novels that I read as a young adult, back when I was my daughter’s age. It was also one of the first horror movies that I watched and from there, my love for horror movies grew. Anyone who knows me knows that horror is, by far, my favorite genre.

IT Chapter 1 was the first horror movie that I was able to watch with both of my daughters. I watched as they were enthralled and fell in love with the horror genre as much as I am. This was a new phase in motherhood. Finally, I could share my love of fall, Halloween and horror movies with my daughters. I imagined long weekends cuddled up on the sectional together being scared and excitedly dissecting plots and antagonists.

READ ALSO: Best Horror Movies to Watch with your Teens

Today, we went and saw our first supernatural horror film together as a family. Talk about going big or going home. IT Chapter 2 has a run-time of 167 minutes and an all-star cast. The film is directed by Andy Muschietti and written by Gary Dauberman. Set in 2016, 27 years after the events depicted in the first film, it stars Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader, Isaiah Mustafa, Jay Ryan, James Ransone, and Andy Bean as the adult versions of the Losers’ Club. Jaeden Martell, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Chosen Jacobs, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Jack Dylan Grazer, and Wyatt Oleff reprise their roles as the younger Losers, while Bill Skarsgård also returns as Pennywise the Dancing Clown.

It, the losers club, T Chapter Two, Pennywise, Bill Skarsgard, horror movie, review

IT Chapter Two brings the Losers Club back in full force.

Defeated by members of the Losers’ Club, the evil clown Pennywise returns 27 years later to terrorize the town of Derry, Maine, once again. Now, adults, childhood friends have long since gone their separate ways. But when people start disappearing, Mike Hanlon calls the others home for one final stand. Damaged by scars from the past, the united Losers must conquer their deepest fears to destroy the shape-shifting Pennywise — now more powerful than ever.

READ ALSO: Parents Guide to Teen Slang

IT Chapter Two had some stellar acting (particularly Hader and Skarsgård) especially the kids. The themes and faithfulness to the novel were definitely on point. Though the runtime seemed excessive and I would not consider it a horror film. It was a great film to see with my tween and teen in the theater. No one ended up in my bed that night with nightmares but if you are looking for a fright, IT Chapter two is going to leave you wanting.

Don’t get me wrong. IT is very entertaining and, in my opinion, a much better version of the original film. However, aside from a couple of jump scares from Skarsgård’s character, Pennywise, I wasn’t scared at all. But if you pay attention, it is a thriller/mystery and not listed as a horror film. If you go into it knowing that, you will enjoy the film a lot more.

It, the losers club, T Chapter Two, Pennywise, Bill Skarsgard, horror movie, review

IT Chapter Two is ambitious and thought-provoking.

It is an intellectual thriller. It tackles some deeper themes like childhood trauma, loss of innocence and memory loss. In the last film, the Losers club (stuttering leader Bill (Jaeden Martell), wisecracking Richie (Finn Wolfhard), hypochondriac Eddie (Jack Dylan Grazer), rebellious Beverly (Sophia Lillis), history buff Mike (Chosen Jacobs), intellectual Stanley (Wyatt Oleff) and gentle-hearted new kid Ben (Jeremy Ray Taylor) ) defeated child-murdering Pennywise and took a blood oath to return to Derry, Maine, if he ever came back.

Set in 2016, 27 years after the original film takes place, everyone has grown up and moved away all but forgotten about what happened to them as children in Derry and the horrors that the suffered at the hand of Pennywise the clown. Bill (James McAvoy) is a successful horror writer, Stan (Andy Bean) an accountant, Richie (Bill Hader) a popular stand-up comedian. Only Mike (Isaiah Mustafa) stayed in town, and he alone remembers everything that happened when they were kids.

READ ALSO: Why You Should Binge Stranger Things

Derry kids start going missing again and creepy messages like “Come home” appear. Mike calls the Losers home to stay true to their blood oath. The reunion at the Chinese restaurant is one of the movie’s best scenes, as they quickly fall back into their old friendships.

It, the losers club, T Chapter Two, Pennywise, Bill Skarsgard, horror movie, review

The group must discover the origins of the dark force cursing Derry. Each one has to do his or her part to find their token that will lead to the final face-off with Pennywise.

Pennywise sparingly makes appearances in the movie. Skarsgard makes each moment count. His Pennywise is sinister yet comical with a heavy tinge of human. But there’s a lot of real monsters in this world from a hate crime early on to instances of domestic abuse. Thankfully, Hader’s Richie adds some levity to this film noir.

IT Chapter Two is Not What You Expected

In the end, IT Chapter Two is a film about friendship and love. Faith in your friends and sticking up for one another, having each other’s backs and standing up for what’s right is what matters most whether you’re a kid or an adult. We all need those people who know us and love us even when life makes us our most unlovable.

It, the losers club, T Chapter Two, Pennywise, Bill Skarsgard, horror movie, review

As a thriller and mystery, I’d give It Chapter Two a 4.5 out of 5 stars and it’s the perfect scary-ish film to see with your teen if they are able to handle some of the mature themes like domestic abuse, gay-bashing and inferred sexual abuse. My girls already know about these things and know the real world is scarier than any horror movie. If your kid likes shows like Stranger Things and isn’t terrified of clowns, they should be fine to watch IT Chapter Two.

Will you be seeing IT Chapter Two? If you’ve already seen IT what are your thoughts?

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Lara Spencer, Prince George, Ballet, Fabrice Calmels, GMA

Good Morning America’s Lara Spencer went on national television and mocked Prince George for taking ballet classes. She openly burst into laughter at the thought of a little boy dancing ballet and I’m disgusted by her and her way of thinking. It’s outdated and misogynistic.

We live in a world where women and little girls are not treated equally to men and boys. It’s not my opinion, it’s a fact and if you are a woman or a little girl, you know this firsthand. It starts when we are born, in some countries.

In some countries, if you are born with a vagina, you might as well have been born missing a head because they find you useless. And in every single country, if you are born a girl, you are held to a different set of rules and made to feel like a belonging.

It always blows my mind when women don’t support women or worse still, support men who see women as less than. I feel there has to be some self-loathing percolating right beneath the surface. It downright blows my mind (and breaks my heart) when women are not the champions of feminism but a misogynist. I’m not even sure how that works. How do you reconcile yourself to being part of the problem?

Lara Spencer, you are part of the problem.

A grown woman laughing and mocking a little boy for taking ballet is everything that is wrong with the world. Lara Spencer, in my opinion, is as bad as an ignorant misogynistic man who calls little boy’s sissies. I’m not sure exactly what she found so funny that she couldn’t contain her laughter. Be careful Lara Spencer, your ignorance, uncouthness and misogyny are showing.

As a mom of ballerinas, who has spent a whole lot of years in the dance world, Lara Spencer’s outburst into laughter during the Good Morning America’s segment mocking Prince George for dancing ballet was one of the worst displays of ignorance that I’ve ever been witness to. Did I mention she was laughing at a little boy? How insensitive and ignorant can one adult woman be in the span of a minute?

Anyone in the ballet world can attest to the fact that there is a severe shortage of men in the ballet world. There are plenty of beautiful, graceful ballerinas ( who are, by the way, in my opinion, some of the most elite athletes that there are) but finding young boys and men to enter the ballet world is challenging for just this very reason. Boys are afraid of being mocked, bullied and teased for dancing by ignorant bullies not unlike Lara Spencer.

Everyone in the ballet world knows that real men lift women.

Boys who dance ballet are not “sissies”.  It’s not an insult to be talented and dance. Boys who dance ballet are elite athletes who defy gravity. Men who dance are gifted, strong mind and able-bodied individuals who spend their days surrounded by and working side-by-side with ballerinas; dancing and partnering to make beautiful art for the rest of us. What could possibly be wrong with that? What about that is laughable?

Dancers tell stories with only using their bodies. Their bodies are finetuned instruments that take years of training and dedication to achieve. For any child to be brave enough and have the passion and drive to begin that journey at such a young age ( my girls started dancing at 2 and started ballet at 7, dancing by the time they are 10, 5 days a week for hours on end) is impressive. They work so hard for so long and push their bodies and minds as far as they will go. Lara Spencer’s flippant attitude and insensitivity towards the ballet community is a reflection of her ignorance not the dance world.

Several coaches bring their football players in to take ballet classes to learn discipline and control, to finesse their own playing skills. Ballet makes you better in so many ways.

Real men wear tights.

Have you ever heard of Fabrice Calmels? He’s a French ballet dancer at the Joffrey. He’s 6 foot 6 inches. He is the tallest male dancer there is. He is an elite athlete who is at the top of his field. My daughters are tall. When they started to get disappointed because they got too tall to partner, Fabrice was their inspiration. He is a role model for many young dancers; boys and girls.

Photos: @FabriceCalmels Instagram

No matter if you have an appreciation for the ballet or not, you have to have true respect and admiration for the hard work, dedication, drive and talent it takes to dance ballet in a world full of cynics and grown women who laugh at little boys who dance ballet.

What do you think of Laura Spencer’s antics? Do you think an apology is enough? And is it really an apology if you’re only doing it because you’ve been called out by the public for being a jerk? I don’t think so.

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How to Plus up Your Walt Disney World Vacation for Free, Walt Disney World Vacation, Disney Trip

Heading to Disney and really want to get the most bang for your buck? I love Walt Disney World; it’s one of our favorite places to visit as a family. The thing we love most is that no two trips are ever the same. There are always new things to see and do and new adventures to be had. Unfortunately, everything “experience” you add, makes the price go up.  If only there was a way to plus up your Walt Disney World vacation for free.

Lots of families save and plan for a Walt Disney World vacation, sometimes for years so just adding experiences can change the price point quite a bit. When you consider that an average 7 day/6 night stay at a deluxe resort with park hopper tickets can cost $5000 and up, every single bit more that you add adds up. But what if you could plus up your Disney trip for free.

READ ALSO: What is Disney Creator Days and How to Get Invited

Here are some ways to plus up your Walt Disney World vacation for free.

Get celebration buttons

If you’re at Disney celebrating an event (birthday, engagement, honeymoon, anniversary, first time, etc.) simply ask the Disney cast members situated near the front of the park with a cart with all the celebrations buttons. Put that baby on and let everyone at Disney celebrate with you. When we go in September, we’ll be celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary, our 22nd dating anniversary and my birthday. I won’t say which one, let’s just say that I’m turning 30 again.

Become part of the show

There are several shows taking place all over Disney that you can volunteer to be a part of. Nothing makes you feel more magical than being an honorary Disney cast member for a day. It also makes for some great memories and photo ops.

Tell all the cast members that you’re celebrating when you book

When you book dining reservations or resort stays, let the cast members know that you are celebrating. They may just sprinkle you with a little extra pixie dust. It’s not required but you never know.

Use My Disney Experience app

If you really want to maximize your Disney vacation, you must use the My Disney Experience. It makes the whole trip so much more streamlined. All of your reservations and fast passes can be made on there. It updates all day long and you can see wait times, openings, get directions and even mobile order your food. It makes the entire experience so much more enjoyable and less chaotic.

Book fast passes 60 days in advance

There are a lot of great rides at Disney World and you’ll want to ride them all, some more than once. If you are staying on Disney grounds you can book your fast passes 60 days in advance and I encourage it so that you get all of your first choice rides and don’t have to wait for 180 minutes in line.

Make food reservations 180 days in advance

If you want to eat at some of the more popular restaurants like Be Our Guest, Sci-Fi Drive-in, Character dining, Le Cellier, Monsieur Paul and Takumi-Tei you should definitely take advantage of the 180-day reservation open date for those staying on property to make sure that you get those reservations.

Magic Hours

Another reason to stay on property, aside from the free transportation, early reservations and that amazing customer service and full immersion into all things Disney, you get magic hours. For example, while the rest of the world is waiting until 9 am to get into Galaxy’s Edge, Disney resort guests will be able to get into the park at 6 a.m. If you are not familiar with Magic Hours, they are extra hours the parks are open to resort guest either before or after normal park hours. It’s awesome and cuts wait times by quite a bit of time.

When you arrive at the resort, ask for free upgrades available

When you arrive at your resort, you can ask the cast member who checks you in if there are any upgrades available. That could mean a better view or even an upgraded room. It never hurts to ask. The worst they can do is say no and then you are exactly where you started…still at the happiest place on earth.


Do free resort activities

Yes, most resorts offer cool free activities for their guests. For example, there is a hidden Mickey hunt at the Fort Wilderness lodge. Restaurant tours are available at the Animal Kingdom every day from 4-4:15. Also, you can see animals for free at the Animal Kingdom. Just ask the front desk cast members and they will tell you what is offered. Most resorts offer movies by the pool and some even have campfires and s’ mores at night.

Ask for good tables at restaurants

Did you know that you can ask for good tables at restaurants when you arrive? Why not ask for a firework view and enjoy the firework display from the comfort of a seat rather than fighting with everyone else for concrete space. I love the Happily Ever After firework show more than I can express with words, it gets me in the feels, but waiting for 2 hours to have a good seat can feel like a misuse of my time.

Say Cheese

Did you know that you can ask the Photopass photographer to take your picture with your own camera? You can and they gladly will. Though, if we’re being honest, I love Memory Maker because then I’m in every picture and I can stop at every single photographer guilt-free.

READ ALSO: Best Walt Disney World Resorts for Families

These are just a few of the many ways to plus up your Walt Disney World Vacation for free. What’s your favorite tip to plus up your Walt Disney vacation for free?

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Netflix,Stranger Things, Eleven, Will Byers, Mike, Max, Stranger Things 3, Stranger Things Cast, millie bobby brown

Hope you all had a Happy Stranger Things 3 Fourth of July! Wait, you didn’t spend yesterday binging Netflix’s Stranger Things Season 3??? I have a tween and a teen girl so, forget the fireworks, we were glued to all the action happening in Hawkins and in awe of the kids in the Stranger Things cast. They are all so grown up.

READ ALSO: The TRUTH about Parenting Teens

I have a special place in my heart for Stranger Things because it not only reminds me of my youth, but my girls are around the same age as the kids in the show. I’m living Stranger Things. This Netflix binge is something the girls and I laugh, cry and bond over. Remember the Stranger Things 13th Birthday party we threw for Bella? Still one of my favorites.

Stranger Things 3: It’s 1985 in Hawkins, Indiana, and summer’s heating up. School’s out, there’s a brand new mall in town, and the Hawkins crew are on the cusp of adulthood. Romance blossoms and complicates the group’s dynamic, and they’ll have to figure out how to grow up without growing apart. Meanwhile, danger looms. When the town’s threatened by enemies old and new, Eleven and her friends are reminded that evil never ends; it evolves. Now, they’ll have to band together to survive and remember that friendship is always stronger than fear.

11 Reasons Why You Should Binge Stranger Things 3 Today

Netflix, Stranger Things, Eleven, Will Byers, Mike, Max, Stranger Things 3, Stranger Things Cast, millie bobby brown1. Big Kids, Big Problems

The kids are older and behave so. People have coupled up and the storylines are relatable not only to your tweens/teens going through the same thing but for the parents having to navigate the murky waters of first loves too. Someone met a girl at camp. I adore the bromance between Steve and Dustin. If the Eleven and Hopper relationship evolution in Stranger Things 3 doesn’t make you cry, you are dead inside.

2. Girls Rule, Boys Drool

Steve is fulfilling his destiny and winning for the first time ever. Steve might actually win a fight and, no spoilers, but a lesson in humility and an open mind might make him a better person. Mike and Lucas learn a few things about how to treat a girl, the hard way.

Hopper. Joyce, Netflix, Stranger Things, Eleven, Will Byers, Mike, Max, Stranger Things 3, Stranger Things Cast, millie bobby brown

3. Adulting, it’s complicated

Hopper and Joyce…Jopper? Does anyone need a love story more than these two? Also, a steamy near affair Mrs. Robinson style. Not going to tell you who but you might not be surprised.   

4. The 80’s nostalgia will bring all the feelings of childhood back.

If you were alive in the ’80s or love 80’s movies be prepared to have flashbacks to every 80’s movie you’ve ever seen, in the best possible way. Be prepared for your kids to ask for all the 80’s styles that you rocked back in the day. FYI, they are available now at Hot Topic. Of course, they are.

5. There are far worse things than demogorgons…like way worse.

I thought the Demogorgon and Demodogs were disgusting but there is something much scarier and Stranger Things 3 brings it to you courtesy of all the citizens of Hawkins, Indiana.

Netflix Stranger Things, Eleven, Will Byers, Mike, Max, Stranger Things 3, Stranger Things Cast, millie bobby brown

6. There is a healthy dose of girl power.  

Girls rule Hawkins from powerful Eleven to sassy Max, no B.S. Joyce to Suzy in Utah. The girls of Hawkins are tough cookies and even Nancy is giving the Wonder Woman pose this season. Go, Girls. Your girls will walk away from this season feeling empowered and elevated.

7. The Cold War is now.

You think the Russian interference now is scary, wait until you get a load of the Stranger Things 3 Russians. Nyet, thank you!

8. Something terrible happens to someone you love to hate.

We get the backstory on one of our favorite characters that we love to hate. We find out they’ve had it rough and just need a break. Self-sacrifice will leave you in deep need of Kleenex.

9. First LGBTQ character introduced in Hawkins.

It happened fast but we are pretty sure that one of the Hawkins kids is out. The best thing about it was that it was a no big deal moment. For the ’80s, that was everything. Bravo Stranger Things 3 cast and writers for keeping it 100. Never doubt that Hawkins is woke.

10. Life in Hawkins, Indiana will never be the same again.

A major character dies. I can’t tell you who because I’m not a jerk but have.all.the.Kleenex. I was ready to riot. Let’s just leave it at that. If it turns out to be real next season, I still might. I will tell you that if this character actually died, Hawkins will never be the same again. Also, there is a major shift and our gang gets separated.

11. Watch to the very end of the credits for a super plot twist.

PLEASE WATCH THROUGH THE CREDITS!! If you don’t you are going to miss a major clue for next season and you will spend the next year crying over the state of our favorite characters’ existence. The ending is hopeful.

Hopper, Joyce, Netflix, Stranger Things, Eleven, Will Byers, Mike, Max, Stranger Things 3, Stranger Things Cast, millie bobby brown

READ ALSO: Parent Guide to Teen Slang

That’s all the non-spolier reasons that I can give you to binge Stranger Things 3 today! Now, I’m off to plan our Stranger Things 3 Halloween costumes. I mean, the Fourth of July has passed so basically, it’s time for pumpkin lattes, right?

Netflix, Stranger Things, Eleven, Will Byers, Mike, Max, Stranger Things 3, Stranger Things Cast, millie bobby brownI am obsessed and we’re about to re-binge the entire series tomorrow.

If you already binged Netflix’s Stranger Things 3, let’s discuss in the comments.

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Dumbo, Disney Entertainment, Disney's Dumbo

I’m so excited to share with you Tim Burton’s all-new visionary live-action DUMBO that is available everywhere on June 25th!  Fall in love again with this heartfelt story when it swoops into homes on Digital in HD and 4K Ultra HD and Movies Anywhere, and physically on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD – with never-before-seen bonus features, deleted scenes, bloopers and more!

 READ ALSO: Disney’s the Lion King

“Dumbo,” the grand live-action adventure from Disney and visionary director Tim Burton expanded on the beloved animated classic and sent spirits soaring. Disney invites fans to fall in love again with this heartfelt story, in which differences are celebrated, family is cherished and dreams take flight, when it swoops into homes on Digital in HD and 4K Ultra HD™ and Movies Anywhere, and physically on 4K Ultra HD,  Blu-ray™ and DVD — with never-before-seen bonus features, deleted scenes, Easter eggs and bloopers.

Dumbo, Disney Entertainment, Disney's Dumbo

Stunning extras will transport viewers to the set of “Dumbo,” where cast members Danny DeVito (circus owner Max Medici), Michael Keaton (opportunistic businessman V.A. Vandevere), Colin Farrell (war-veteran-turned-elephant-keeper Holt Farrier), Eva Green (stunning aerialist Colette Marchant), Nico Parker (Farrier’s daughter, Milly) and Finley Hobbins (Farrier’s son, Joe) share their personal stories of courage and character.

READ ALSO: Why I Loved Disney’s Aladdin Live-Action more than the Original

Features explore how Disney’s timeless animated story was brought to life with an incredibly expressive, lovable, fully computer-generated baby elephant; the longtime collaboration of Burton, production designer Rick Heinrichs and costume designer Colleen Atwood, which resulted in jaw-dropping sets and costumes; and the creation of the visually colossal Dreamland parade sequence. Also included are nine deleted scenes, hidden and not-so-hidden Easter eggs, bloopers and a special performance of “Baby Mine” by Arcade Fire.

Dumbo, Disney Entertainment, Disney's Dumbo

In “Dumbo,” struggling circus owner Max Medici enlists former star Holt Farrier and his children to care for a newborn elephant whose oversized ears make him a laughingstock. But when they discover that Dumbo can fly, the circus makes an incredible comeback, attracting persuasive but sinister entrepreneur V.A.Vandevere, who recruits the peculiar pachyderm for his newest, spectacular, larger-than-life entertainment venture, Dreamland.

READ ALSO: Toy Story 4 Reveals the Meaning of Life

“Dumbo” will be released in several different formats, giving families the flexibility to watch it on a variety of devices. Viewers can watch the film in Digital 4K UHD, HD and SD, and bring home a physical copy of the film as the 4K Ultra HD Edition (4K UHD, Blu-ray and Digital Code), Multi-Screen Edition (Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Code) and a single DVD.

Bonus features include*:
BLU-RAY & DIGITAL HD:

  • CIRCUS SPECTACULARS: Dumbo’s cast shares their experience of making the film—and get to the heart of a story about family and believing in yourself.
  • THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM: Explore how one of Disney’s most lovable characters went from an animated classic to a stunning live-action retelling.
  • BUILT TO AMAZE: Get a closer look at the film’s production and costume design.
  • DELETED SCENES: A compelling collection of scenes that almost made the final film.
    • Roustabout Rufus
    • Pachyderm Plans
    • The Other Medici Brother
    • Monkey Business
    • A Star Is Born
    • Where’s Dumbo
    • Elephant Heist
    • A Seat at the Show
  • EASTER EGGS ON PARADE: Discover the hidden and not-so-hidden nods to the animated Dumboin this narrated tribute to the Disney classic.
  • CLOWNING AROUND: Laugh along with the cast in a collection of big-top bloopers and goofs from the set.
  • “BABY MINE”: Visual video performed by Arcade Fire

Dumbo, Disney Entertainment, Disney's DumboDIGITAL EXCLUSIVE:

  • DREAMLAND – ANATOMY OF A SCENE: From Final Script to Final Scene: The filmmakers and cast talk a lot about the feeling of “grand intimacy” in the film.  Step right up as they bring the Dreamland parade to life, accomplishing the rare marriage of a massive spectacle combined with an emotional tenderness.
  • 4K Ultra HD: English Dolby Atmos and 2.0 Descriptive Audio; Spanish and French 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus Language Tracks
  • Blu-ray: English 7.1 DTS-HDMA and 2.0 Descriptive Audio, Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby Digital Language Tracks
  • DVD: English, Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby Digital, English 2.0 Descriptive Audio Language Tracks
  • UHD Digital: English Dolby Atmos (some platforms); English, Spanish and French 5.1 & 2.0 Dolby Digital; English Descriptive Audio 2.0 Dolby Digital (some platforms)
  • HD Digital: English, Spanish and French 5.1 & 2.0 Dolby Digital; English Descriptive Audio 2.0 Dolby Digital (some platforms)
  • SD Digital: English, Spanish and French 5.1 & 2.0 Dolby Digital; English Descriptive Audio 2.0 Dolby Digital (some platforms)

Dumbo, Disney Entertainment, Disney's Dumbo 

DUMBO” CAST AND CREW: 
The film stars Golden Globe® winner Colin Farrell (“In Bruges,” “The Lobster”) as war-veteran turned elephant-keeper Holt Farrier, Golden Globe winner Michael Keaton (“Birdman,” “Beetlejuice”) as opportunistic businessman V.A. Vandevere, Emmy® and Golden Globe winner Danny DeVito (“Batman Returns,” “Big Fish”) as circus owner Max Medici, and BAFTA Award winner and Golden Globe nominee Eva Green (“Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children,” “Dark Shadows”) as stunning aerialist Colette Marchant. Nico Parker and Finley Hobbins make their feature film debuts as Holt’s children, Milly and Joe.

Here is a fun origami activity to do with your children in celebration of the release of Disney’s Dumbo.

Like DUMBO on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DisneyDumbo/

Follow DUMBO on Twitter: https://twitter.com/dumbo

Follow DUMBO on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dumbo/

Visit the official DUMBO website here: https://disney.com/dumbo

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Duke Caboom, Woody, Buzz, Bo Peep, GabyGaby, Toy Story 4, Meaning of Life, Love, Forky

I thought Toy Story 3 was the best wrap up of a series as there ever was. However, I was proven wrong last night. Toy Story 4 takes us parents on a ride and sees it through to the end and this mom is all in her feels. Where’s Drake when I need him?

Toy Story 4 Basic Synopsis:

Woody (voice of Tom Hanks) has always been confident about his place in the world, and that his priority is taking care of his kid, whether that’s Andy or Bonnie. So, when Bonnie’s beloved new craft-project-turned-toy, Forky (voice of Tony Hale), declares himself as “trash” and not a toy, Woody takes it upon himself to show Forky why he should embrace being a toy.

READ ALSO: What is Disney Creator Days and How Can I Get Invited?

But when Bonnie takes the whole gang on her family’s road trip excursion, Woody ends up on an unexpected detour that includes a reunion with his long-lost friend Bo Peep (voice of Annie Potts). After years of being on her own, Bo’s adventurous spirit and life on the road belie her delicate porcelain exterior. As Woody and Bo realize they’re worlds apart when it comes to life as a toy, they soon come to find that’s the least of their worries. Directed by Josh Cooley (“Riley’s First Date?”), and produced by Mark Nielsen (associate producer “Inside Out”) and Jonas Rivera (“Inside Out,” “Up”)

Duke Caboom, Woody, Buzz, Bo Peep, GabyGaby, Toy Story 4, Meaning of Life, Love, Forky, Ducky and Bunny

©2018 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Parenting is a thankless job of loving and living for other people. People we created and have made the very reason for our existence. There is nothing more fulfilling or joyous than being given the gift of loving someone so completely and unconditionally. We are in those years, blinded by that love.

But one day, they will grow up. They will move on, as they are supposed to. They will have lives, families and children of their own and as much as we want to hold on tighter and forever, we have to let them go. And it hurts so much. Too much. But that’s the job; raise good human beings and then set them free to go forth and make the world a better place…no matter how much it breaks your heart.

READ ALSO: Everything You Need to Know about the Disney Dream Cruise

But something unexpected happens, when your little birds fly away and you are left in your empty nest, you have time for you again. Time to live for you. Time to pursue what makes YOU happy. Time to love your partner. Go ahead, you deserve it. Just like Woody deserved to find his Bo Peep. He did his job. He loved Andy and Bonnie with everything that he was. He sacrificed. He selflessly served them as long as they needed him and only when they no longer did, did he let go and even then it was begrudgingly.

Duke Caboom, Woody, Buzz, Bo Peep, GabyGaby, Toy Story 4, Meaning of Life, Love, Forky

©2019 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

As parents, it is our mission to love our children. Sometimes it feels like our sole purpose and we are happy to have it. But, like Woody, we’ve got to let go of the past and live in the present. Look toward the future. We deserve to be happy. We deserve to be loved the way we loved our children. We deserve that.

READ ALSO: Disney’s the Lion King

Where, then, does Woody stand? In the movie’s scheme of things, he stands for all of us who feel we’ve lost our purpose in one phase of our life and haven’t yet found the courage to start the next phase. Toy Story 4 is all about transitioning to the next phase for everyone one of us. We are constantly evolving.

What Woody comes to understand, ever so slowly, is that life is not only for living but for loving, and he and Bo have found each other. As Woody struggles to resolve his fears and feelings, “Toy Story 4” transcends toydom. It feels exquisitely alive.

Duke Caboom, Woody, Buzz, Bo Peep, GabyGaby, Toy Story 4, Meaning of Life, Love, Forky

©2019 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

It boils down to this, in the end, our quality of life is weighed and measured in love; the love we give gives us meaning and the love we receive gives us purpose.

Toy Story 4 teaching us lessons we didn’t even know we needed to learn.

Whether it’s romantic love, familial love, parental love, friendship or mutual respect, love is the true meaning of life and without it, the quality of our lives is drastically reduced if not removed. At the basis of humanity, we need to love one another. The love we give is reflected back in the joy we feel.

Duke Caboom, Woody, Buzz, Bo Peep, GabyGaby, Toy Story 4, Meaning of Life, Love, Forky

©2019 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

In Toy Story 4, we’re shown all different types of love and its value is quantified from an outside perspective and suddenly, it all makes sense… love is the meaning of life. Giving and receiving.

READ ALSO: I Loved Aladdin Live-Action More than the Original

In the end, they all chose to love and let themselves be loved. The thing is that kind of vulnerability is terrifying. Putting yourself out there and allowing yourself to become part of something bigger than just yourself, allowing someone else to be a part of the equation to determine whether or not you are happy and fulfilled is risky but so worth it because the only way to experience life fully is with love and the only way to love is completely.

Duke Caboom, Woody, Buzz, Bo Peep, GabyGaby, Toy Story 4, Meaning of Life, Love, Forky

©2019 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

In the end, Andy grew up and Bonnie gave her love to Forky but Woody finally got to be part of something for him, he got to be loved in return and that’s something. He got to start a new adventure in life as part of a couple. His friends loved him so much that they let him go follow his bliss with Bo Peep, the same way Bo Peep put her feeling for him on a shelf and left him behind when she knew he had to stay with Andy. That’s what love is about, taking someone else’s needs and wants into consideration.

In Toy Story 4, Woody finally got to choose to love and be loved in return and there’s nothing better in this life. Sometimes love means letting go, sometimes it means jumping in with both feet and taking a chance and sometimes it means holding on for dear life. Toy story 4 taught me that.

Duke Caboom, Woody, Buzz, Bo Peep, GabyGaby, Toy Story 4, Meaning of Life, Love, Forky, Ducky and Bunny

Disney Pixar’s Toy Story 4 in theaters June 21st. Now playing. Giving me the meaning of life.

What was your biggest takeaway from Toy Story 4?

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secret life of pets 2, paton oswalt, harrison ford, kevin hart, tiffany haddish

Do you ever wonder what your pets really do when you leave the house? I do because I have a sneaking suspicion that our Lola is getting into all sorts of mischief. In fact, I got a Petcube camera just to find out for myself.  Surprisingly, at least in front of the Petcube cam, she’s as sweet and lovable as she is when we’re home with her.

Disclosure: My family was provided tickets to see The Secret Life of Pets but all opinions are our own.

Not the case with the gang of Secret Life of Pets 2. The Secret Life of Pets 2 follows 2016’s summer blockbuster hit about the lives our pets lead after we leave for work each day. This time it’s a little different.

secret life of pets 2, paton oswalt, harrison ford, kevin hart, tiffany haddish

The Secret Life of Pets continues the story of Max the terrier (Patton Oswalt) must cope with some major life changes when his owner gets married and has a baby. Max’s anxiety suddenly kicks in when he becomes preoccupied with keeping his owner’s toddler safe. He is the ultimate helicopter dog.

READ ALSO: Everything You Need to Know About Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge

When the family takes a trip to the countryside, anxiety-ridden Max has run-ins with dog-hating cows, aggressive foxes and a scary turkey. Luckily for Max, he soon meets Rooster (Harrison Ford), a gruff farm dog who tries to cure the lovable pooch of his neuroses. Rooster is more of a let-them-get-hurt-and-learn kind of canine.

A subplot has Snowball (Kevin Hart) and a new dog Daisy (Tiffany Haddish) working together to rescue an abused tiger from a Russian circus. Hot on their tails are scary wolves and a “cartoonishly villainous” lion tamer.

The dark humor and danger are toned down with more of slapstick violence that’s meant to be funny. Think Wylie Coyote and the Road Runner. Animals punch and throw knives at one another and a bad guy gets hit by a car, but no one is ever fatally injured.

READ ALSO: Why I Loved Disney’s Live Action Aladdin

For me, I saw a lot of myself in Max. I used to be a carefree, thrill seeker before I had children. The moment I had my girls and became a mom, it was no longer just my life. I was living for others. At the moment they were born, my life was irrevocably changed for the better, if not for the milder.

It was so overwhelming to love something, someone, so much that it felt like the thought of any ill ever befalling them would absolutely kill me. Our children are an extension of ourselves. They are the best of us walking around vulnerable in the world. Our children are our kryptonite but such amazing, beautiful gifts of kryptonite they are.

I went from being a “do what feels good” person to a “make good choices” person because it’s not just about me anymore. In the beginning of motherhood, I was a nervous wreck. I have never been able to be one of those parents who can go with the flow and just let things happen as they play out. I was never a “rub some dirt on it” type. I can’t overcome my instinct to protect them and to be honest, I’m okay with that.

READ ALSO: Cirque du Soleil Volta

My name is Debi and I am a recovering helicopter mom. I’m not saying that with any negativity. It was what worked for us. Maybe sometimes I was a bit neurotic in my overprotection but, in the end, as they grew older, I learned to let go little by little. I learned to trust in my own parenting.

I’ll probably never be a Rooster “let-them-get-hurt-and-learn” kind of a mom even though I know plenty of moms who are and it works too. It’s just not what’s comfortable for me. Honestly, my parenting technique was mostly about keeping my girls safe but a lot about preserving my own peace of mind.

Max gets the struggle of every parent everywhere and I loved watching him navigate his way through to the other side. I felt seen. The struggle of living with such immense love for a tiny little person is real.

Secret Life of Pets 2 is a winner for our family.

For kids, the moral of the story is to face and embrace the changes life inevitably throws at you and that’s such an important thing for our children to know. They have to know that change isn’t always bad and really, change is just an opportunity for growth.

Overall, my family loved the movie. My girls are 12 and 14-years-old and they laughed through the entire movie. In fact, the Big Guy said it’s one of the best animated movies he’s seen in a while and that’s saying something coming from him. I found it to be endearing and I absolutely loved Max.

Secret Life of Pets 2 is playing in theaters now, will you be seeing it?

 

 

 

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