Wednesday, February 29, 2012

2/29/12: Mostly Wordless Wednesday - Davy Jones RIP

Growing up I LOVED The Monkees!  I watched them all the time and couldn't wait for them to come to my town.  I was even lucky enough in 2010 to see Davy Jones in Walt Disney World in Epcot performing.  It was very sad to hear of the passing of Davy Jones today.
 It was such a thrill for me to see Davy sing again.  It was so cute to see the kids keep asking where are the Monkees?  They were so confused and thought real Monkeys were going to come out on the stage.
It is very sad that Davy Jones passed away from a heart attack at 66 years old.  May he rest in peace.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

2/28/12: Brave in Disney Digital 3D Sneak Peek

I wanted to provide you a sneak peek of the new movie Brave coming to theaters on June 22nd in Disney Digital 3D.  This looks to be a great movie portraying a strong woman and I am excited to see it when it comes out.  Read on for an exclusive Trailer for the movie.  You can also check out a sneak peek of some beautiful toys coming out from JAKKS Pacific in conjunction with this movie in my post here.
Here is a synopsis of the movie:
Since ancient times, stories of epic battles and mystical legends have been passed through the generations across the rugged and mysterious Highlands of Scotland. In “Brave,” a new tale joins the lore when the courageous Merida (voice of Kelly Macdonald) confronts tradition, destiny and the fiercest of beasts.

Merida is a skilled archer and impetuous daughter of King Fergus (voice of Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (voice of Emma Thompson). Determined to carve her own path in life, Merida defies an age-old custom sacred to the uproarious lords of the land: massive Lord MacGuffin (voice of Kevin McKidd), surly Lord Macintosh (voice of Craig Ferguson) and cantankerous Lord Dingwall (voice of Robbie Coltrane). Merida’s actions inadvertently unleash chaos and fury in the kingdom, and when she turns to an eccentric old Witch (voice of Julie Walters) for help, she is granted an ill-fated wish. The ensuing peril forces Merida to discover the meaning of true bravery in order to undo a beastly curse before it’s too late.
Check out a Trailer for the movie here:
·         Director Mark Andrews served as story supervisor for the Disney•Pixar films “Ratatouille” and “The Incredibles,” and was Oscar®-nominated as the co-writer/co-director of the Pixar short “One Man Band.”  He also contributed to the screenplay as co-writer and served as second unit director for the 2012 Walt Disney Studios film “John Carter.” Director Brenda Chapman directed DreamWorks Animation’s “The Prince of Egypt” and was story supervisor for the Disney classic “The Lion King.” Producer Katherine Sarafian produced the Pixar short film “Lifted” and served as production manager for “The Incredibles.”
·         Actress Kelly Macdonald stars as Margaret Schroeder on HBO's "Boardwalk Empire," and as Ravenclaw's ghost, The Grey Lady, in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.”  Her film credits also include “No Country for Old Men,” “Gosford Park” and “Trainspotting.”
·         Appearing in the movies “Men in Black 3” and “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2,” Emma Thompson is an Oscar®-winning actress (“Howards End”) and screenwriter (“Sense and Sensibility”) who most recently starred in, wrote and executive produced “Nanny McPhee Returns.”   
·         Scottish comedian Billy Connolly most recently served as narrator for the Walt Disney Animation Studios short “The Ballad of Nessie” and appeared in “Gulliver’s Travels.”
Give "Brave" some love:
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Monday, February 27, 2012

2/27/12: Shrek the Musical comes to the Hanover Theatre

We attended Shrek the Musical at the Hanover Theatre last night.  What a fantastic show! 
It was really cute that they had the ticket takers dressed up like Shrek so here are the kids with one of them.
The Hanover Theatre ran a wonderful promotion where tickets were two for on on Family Night.  It really worked as it was a packed house.  Here are the kids excited to see the show.
This is a touring show and the cast was wonderful and had great voices.  The backdrops and the Dragon puppet were amazing.  There was also a section where they showed Princess Fiona as she grew up in the tower and there was a little girl with a wonderful voice who played Princess Fiona as a child.  The kids loved it and my daughter exclaimed at the end "That was awesome!".  I was not able to take pictures, but here are some I got from their website.  Here are Shrek, Princess Fiona, and Donkey.
Here is another one of the Dragon.  Truly amazing.
My favorite part was Lord Farquaad.  This poor actor had to do the whole show on his knees but it was hysterical to watch.  He had little fake legs.  He was really good and cracked me up many times.
Gingy the Gingerbread man was awesome too.
 At the end they sang "I'm a Believer" and the kids were dancing and everyone was out of their seats.  This truly was a great show for all age groups.
To check out Tour Dates go to their website.  Next stop is Detroit, MI.
Disclosure: I received a family four pack of tickets for the show to promote it. All opinions are my own and no other compensation was received.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

2/23/12: Tour of JAKKS Pacific and Tollytots at Toy Fair - Big Wheels Back in Action

I was extremely lucky to be able to tour the JAKKS Pacific and Tollytots Showroom when I was at Toy Fair.  I can't tell you how excited I was when I saw BIG WHEELS ARE BACK!  Ok, how much did you love your Big Wheels as a kid?  I absolutely loved mine and felt like a little kid climbing on to this adult size one in their showroom.  I am giving you a sampling here of what I saw and I hope to provide you more in depth reviews of products in the future.
Would you believe that Big Wheels is celebrating more than 40 years of being the “King of the Sidewalk,”?  Best of all Big Wheel ride-ons are Made in America!  Little ones ages 1 to 4 can learn to ride with the My First Big Wheel, which will retail for $29.99.  For ages 2-5 there is the Big Wheel Sidewalk Screamer with an 11' front wheel which will retail for $39.99.  The Original Big WheelRacer for ages 3-8 has a large 16” front wheel, a three-position “Grow with Me Seat” and will retail for around $50.00. 
Now on to the little girls in your life.  Graco is a wonderful trusted brand for baby products, so why not buy your baby Graco baby products for her baby?  How cute is it that they now have a jogging stroller.  Little girls love to be just like Mom and how cute are these products?  This would also be great if you have a sibling coming in to the family to get your little one used to helping take care of the baby.
 I love that they also have come out with Rubik's Mini Minds toys for little ones.  Another fond memory I had as a kid was playing with my Rubik's cube.  The play sorter you can see in the is one of the best I have seen including shapes, number and colors!
 Safety 1st is also another trusted brand who has come out with these adorable Cubikals toys.  Cubikals are versatile, collectible playthings that encourage role play, stacking, sorting, plus recognition of animals, numbers, letters, and shapes. Little fingers love 'em!
 My kids also love Baby Genius.  Look at this adorable music machine  Just like with a real jukebox, kids insert plastic "coins" and use the letter & number buttons on the front to listen to their favorite Baby Genius songs.  Two microphones stored on back make it karyoke and LED lights that flash along to the beat.

 Check out these super cute Pawggles slippers.  We received a pair and Lauren has been wearing them every day.  She loves them!  Furry animal friends that magically pop into slippers!
 We are big fans of Tinker Bell in our house.  Check out this new super cool Tinker Bell that has wings that change colors based on the color behind her.
 Mark your calendars! The highly anticipated Disney movie, Secret of the Wings, is set for DVD release Fall 2012. In conjunction with the upcoming movie, JAKKS Pacific has created beautiful dolls, dress-up and role play accessories that bring to life the key themes of the movie: friendship and sisterhood. Here is a preview, but stay tuned for some spectacular surprises!
 Just beautiful!
Another love in our house, Disney Princesses!
 And soon the new Disney Pixar movie Brave will be coming out and JAKKS Pacific has you covered with beautiful new toys.
 I love that Maximus is coming out and Rapunzel in a wedding gown!
 Winx dolls are also releasing.  Winx Club, the hot new Nickelodeon show, is an animated modern fantasy adventure series that follows six best friends – Bloom, Stella, Flora, Musa, Tecna and Aisha – enrolled in Alfea College, the finest fairy school in all the realms. When trouble arises, the Winx Club transform into beautiful fairies who use their unique magical powers to fight villains and save the world from evil.
 Ok, now for the boys.  TRAIN WORLD!  My son's dream come true.

All aboard! JAKKS Pacific modernizes a classic play pattern with a new line of realistic, motorized toy trains at an affordable price point, called Train World™. The line of small-scale trains have realistic proportions and detailing, just like the collector versions, but at a budget-friendly price that today’s kids can easily collect without paying top dollar collector price.  We are exactly at this stage with my son and this is a perfect fit for him.
 Love the quality of these trains!

The top-selling app that has turned everyday moments into music is now available as a toy.  This app turns any spoken words in to a song.  Just talk in to the toy and the app produces a song with background music.  Too funny!  The Songify app has had over 7 million downloads and 100 million songs created – be sure to add your song to everyone’s playlist!
 My son is totally in to Spy Net gear.  These products only debuted in 2010 but I know we have many in our house.  They provide "real tech" action play to kids of all ages. Nominated for four Toy Industry Association’s Toy of the Year Awards™ (2010 and 2011), as well as dozens of consumer and trade awards, Spy Net applies real world technology to kids’ toys. With new breakthrough visual technology, Spy Net™ Ultra-Vision now joins the ranks of the Spy Net™ Video Watch (which we own and love) and the Spy Net™ Night Vision Stealth Goggles as the must-have toy! The all new Spy Net Ultra-Vision builds on the Night Vision Stealth Goggles technology with new and exciting ways to see your world!
 Love this stuff.  Great for collaborative play.
Another new toy line that they are coming out with is for Monsuno.  This is an animated
series which premiered with two back-to-back half-hour episodes on Thursday, Feb. 23, at 8:00 p.m. (ET) on Nicktoons and will air in its regular timeslot on Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. The Monsuno series is being co-produced by Pacific Animation Partners LLC, a joint venture between JAKKS Pacific, Inc. & Dentsu Entertainment USA, Inc., with FremantleMedia Enterprises and The Topps Company, Inc. FremantleMedia Enterprises will be responsible for the exclusive worldwide distribution of Monsuno
debuts the much-anticipated toy line based on the original animated entertainment franchise.
The comprehensive toy line features innovative, kid-controlled action figures, accessories, combat sets, collectibles, electronics and integrated role play and brings the larger-than-life adventures of the Monsuno animated series into kids’ hands.
Another cool item is the Action Shot™ Camera. This portable mini-camera captures athletic and gaming adventures up-close with a front row view of all the action. Simply attach the Action Shot Camera to skateboards, bikes or helmets with the secure mounting system to record the most exciting thrills (and spills!) footage.  You probably have already seen footage from these on X-Games and other sports.   Super cool!
 And last but not least for the parents out there, a new baby monitor that is truly revolutionary.  I almost passed out when I saw it and wished it was around when my kids were babies.  It is called Baby Watch and the first ever wearable baby video monitoring system.  Baby Watch 1.0™ has a 1.77 inch color screen, water resistant portable monitor and high-tech features including night vision, a low battery alarm, and a 500 foot range! Retails for $179.99 - $199.99.  The Baby Watch 2.0™ WiFi Edition is perfect for parents on-the-go. It features a wireless WiFi connection from a home network router to smart phones, tablets, computers and WiFi-enabled TVs, allowing parents to check in on their child while they are at work or traveling. Retails for $279.99 - $299.99.  The line also offers a WiFi-enabled camera that connects to any WiFi-enabled smart phone, tablet, computer, or WiFi-enabled TV. This is for parents who plan on using their existing devices in place of the monitor screen.  Retails for $79.99 - $99.99
Disclosure: I was able to tour the JAKKS Pacific and Tollytots Showroom and received some toys to review. No compensation was received and all opinions are my own.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

2/21/12: Let It Grow! The Lorax comes to Theaters March 2nd

I was very lucky to attend an Advanced Screening of Universal Pictures’ Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax in TREE-D.  Cute, huh, Real 3D - TREE-D.  This screening was sponsored by HP and Seventh Generation.  The movie is arriving in theaters March 2, 2012 and features the voice talent of Danny DeVito, Ed Helms, Zac Efron, Taylor Swift, Rob Riggle and Betty White!
The movie is absolutely wonderful!  A direct quote from my 4 year old daughter is "That was an awesome movie!".  It was even her first time wearing the glasses for a 3D movie and she loved watching it in 3D.
Proof that the movie was so special is when people in the theater were clapping along with the music and cheering at the end of the movie!  It really was a very moving and inspiring movie and so well done.  It was beautiful to watch and brought a tear to my eye.  I think I may have even seen a tear on my husband's face.  You know it is a great animated film when it moves you that much.  Who couldn't love The Lorax, he is so adorable!  His voice is Danny DeVito.
This movie shows that even just one person can make such a difference (for good or bad).  My friend shows this with the non-profit she has created for Green Schools.  While watching the movie I thought of her and knew she would love it.  Green Schools is a 501(c)3 Non-profit organization whose mission is to create greener & healthier learning environments through education and awareness. 
Please check out the great work she is doing at Project Green Schools.  
Check out Betty White and the cast on the Orange Carpet at the premiere.
Love it!
"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not."  -- Dr. Seuss The Lorax
Follow them on Twitter @TheLorax

You can like The Lorax Movie on Facebook

You can also see the Trailer on iTunes here.
Disclosure:  I attended this complimentary special advanced screening of The Lorax for this post.  No other compensation was be received and all opinions are my own.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

2/19/12: Mr. Potato Head turns 60, Party at Hasbro!

Can you believe that Mr. Potato Head is 60!  I even got to attend his birthday party during my weekend in New York for Toy Fair.  What a swanky shin dig for the man and his lady.  If you had ever asked me if I would be singing Happy Birthday to Mr. Potato Head I would have said no way, but there I was celebrating with him. 
 Here I am in between the lovely couple.  He was so gracious and allowed all of us to tour the Hasbro showroom which was awesome!  I felt like a kid again getting to play with so many cool toys.  Be aware that some of these are not yet available in stores but will be released throughout the year.  This is just a sampling of what I saw at the showroom and I hope to share more product reviews and giveaways with you as the year goes on.
 What a cute cake!
 We got to see all the great Hasbro brands.  We started out with the PLAYSKOOL line. 
Kids will be rockin' out during all stages of physical development with the new ROCK*TIVITY product line.  The 2012 line includes the Sit, Crawl 'N Stand Band, the Walk 'N Stroll Rider, the Sit to Stand Music Skool, Jump 'N Jam Guitar, and the Pound 'N Jam Drum.
 Here I am rockin out with the Jump 'N Jam Guitar.  It is a motion-sensitive guitar that matches the pace of the music with their movement.  It includes ten rockin' sounds.
 Can you believe over 100 million Mr. Potato Heads have been sold in it's 60 years.  In 2012 the Mashly in love Mr. and Mrs. 60th Anniversary edition has been introduced.  The limited edition 22 piece set includes Mr. and Mrs. and lots of accessories: Holding hands, Top hat and tux, veil, wedding head band and more.  How cute are they?
There are also lots of new Star Wars Pre-School toys.  All for 4 and up.
 I love this PLAYSKOOL Spider-Man Stunt City Playset.  Spider-Man actually climbs up the wall!
 We love Chuck and Friends Toys.  These guys are so adorable.
 This Tonka Chuck and Friends Tornado Tower Playset was super cool.  Kids can have fun with this twist trax roller coaster ride.  It includes Handy the Tow Truck.
I loved Grover as a kid!  So cool to see Flying Super Grover 2.0.  He is a motion-activated Grover who can fly through the air and knows if he is going up or down.  He says silly phrases and his arms rise as he is flying.
 There are also tons of other super cute Sesame Street toys for little ones.
For girls, Baby Alive is now learning to walk!  How super cute is this, she takes her first steps with help from your little one.  This Baby Alive Baby Wanna Walk Doll is adorable and geared towards kids 3 and up.  She has 40 interactive sounds and phrases and tells her Mommy that she wants to walk.  She even asks for help when she takes a tumble.  So cute!
 Who doesn't love My Little Pony?  I loved them when I was a kid.  Now they have an animated series coming out that was created by Hasbro and will be called Friendship is Magic and will air on The Hub TV Network.  I personally loved the My Little Pony Friendship Express Train.  I think my daughter would love that.  Fans of the beloved brand can also “make friends” with MY LITTLE PONY on Facebook , Twitter and YouTube for exclusive updates, product reveals, promotions and more.
 FurReal Friends are so adorable and 2012 has many new products coming out.  This little dog Bouncy is so adorable!  She recognizes when you are near and playfully jumps around in circles barking and yipping just like a real puppy!
 I fell in love with FurReal Baby Butterscotch, My Magical Show Pony.  This is really a dream toy for a little girl and a dream for a parent as she is not very large.  She responds to you by moving her head, blinking her eyes, moving her ears and letting out a whinny.  You can even feed her a carrot and she will snuggle in your arms.  How super cute.
 Another cool item is Dizzy Dancers.  They are an assortment of spinning, twirling animals.  You pull the dizzy cord to set them in to motion.  We received one and my kids love playing with it.
 Even the Easy Bake Oven has been redesigned!  No light bulb!
 Littlest Pet Show has also come out with some new toys.  I especially loved these Fairies that have light up wings.
Now for the boys.  Collect them, and crash them, the new Transformers Bot Shots!  You can chose your power and then crash them to see who wins.  They are available in all your favorite characters like Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Starscream, and Barricade.  These are super cool!  I got to play with them.  I think these would be perfect to bring with you and have while in a restaurant or any other place to keep kids entertained.
 Another cool toy is the Transformers Prime remote control vehicle that transforms.  This is so cool.
 Koosh Galaxy is a cool line of toys for ages 3-6.  Made for little hands this is fun way to launch balls and have fun.
 What little boy doesn't love Beyblades?  My son is in 1st Grade and I know they are all the rage.  What I liked about the new Beyblades is that they are a little more cushioned on the sides, plus there are new playsets with ramps for more fun.  So go ahead and "Let It Rip!"
I think the coolest toy I saw was the new Lazer Tag from the makers of the popular NERF blasters.  I could see boys, girls, adults, almost anyone playing with this one.  Players download a free Lazer Tag app to their iPhone or iPod Touch and connect it to the blaster.  You are fully immersed in the action.  This toy is for 8 and up and will release in August, 2012 for around $69.99.
 The NERF brand has come out with Firevision Sports.  This is super cool.  You wear eyewear that works with the reflective graphic and makes the ball glow even when the lights are out.
 Here is the eyewear.  I was able to get in on the fun.  They come in Red and Green.
My husband loved G.I. Joe as a kid and there is a new movie coming out with The Rock and Bruce Willis.  This is great news as my son and husband have been playing with many old school G.I. Joes that my husband still had from when he was a kid.  Well now there are lots of new toys coming out including Ninja Toys and action figures.
 Here is a sneak peak as these come out in Summer of 2012.
 A little closer up.
Evan and John can't wait!!!!
 Hasbro is also expanding with several new KRE-O sets featuring Battleship and Transformers.
What little boy wouldn't love this and Battleship is coming out too!  The Classic Battleship Movie Edition Game!  You know you have to say it, "You sunk my Battleship!".
Check out these cool Transformers KRE-O.
 Even Twister is updated!  It is the New Twister Dance Game featuring a remix of "Till the World Ends" featuring Britney Spears.  I also got to play this and it is really fun.  My daughter would love it.
 Last but not least is the new zAPPed Board Games.  The Game of Life, Monopoly, and Battleship get zAPPed.  Notice the APP.  Hasbro is kicking off a new era of gaming with this unique gaming experience to combine face to face board games with new innovation.  The first game to hit store shelves is THE GAME OF LIFE zAPPed, was available on February 10, 2012. With more than 100 laugh-out-loud clips from “America’s Funniest Videos” mixed with humorous animations, the game provides a new spin on the beloved classic game. Simply download the THE GAME OF LIFE zAPPed app onto the iPad, cue up the game, place the iPad on the game board, and watch as game comes to life on each turn as you travel around the game board. Players can create and upgrade their own Peg Person and spin THE GAME OF LIFE zAPPed virtual spinner in the accompanying iPad app. It is available on and for the approximate retail price of $24.99. I received it and can't wait to play it!
Disclosure:  I was able to tour the Hasbro Showroom and received some toys to review.  No compensation was received and all opinions are my own.