Saturday, December 8, 2018

"The Wonderful Winter of Oz" in Pasadena!

December 15 – 30, 2018
Pasadena Civic Theatre
300 East Green Street
Pasadena, CA 91101
 
Lythgoe Family Panto (LFP)
in association with Pasadena Civic Auditorium 
presents THE WONDERFUL WINTER OF OZ
Book by Kris Lythgoe
Choreographed by Napoleon and Tabitha D’umo (NappyTabs)
Music Direction and Arrangements by Michael Orland (American Idol)
Directed by Bonnie Lythgoe
 
This Holiday Season, fly over the rainbow with Lythgoe Family Panto's THE WONDERFUL WINTER OF OZ! Join Mackenzie Ziegler ("Dancing with the Stars: Juniors", "DanceMoms") as Dorothy, Tony Award winner Marissa Jaret Winokur ("Celebrity Big Brother " Winner and Broadway's Hairspray) as Glinda, Kermit the Frog® as the Wizard of Oz,Jared Gertner (Broadway's The Book of Mormon) as The Scarecrow, Phil LaMarr ("Mad TV" and "Pulp Fiction") as The Tin Man, Juan Pablo Di Pace ("Dancing With The Stars" and "Fuller House") as The Cowardly Lion, Yvette Gonzalez-Nacer (Nickelodeon's "The Fresh Beat Band", 'Cha Cha' on FOX's "Grease: Live!", National Tour of In the Heights) as The Wicked Witch of the West, Hailee Payne and Valerie Rockey (of "So You Think You Can Dance") and Rescue Dog Pickle C. Irwin as Toto.
 
An updated version of the beloved classic, in the style of a traditional British family Panto, THE WONDERFUL WINTER OF OZ features family-friendly magic, with a comedic twist, dancing (with “So You Think You Can Dance” alumni), contemporary music and more. 

Tickets start at $40 and Family Four Packs for just $99 can be purchased at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, online at www.thepasadenacivic.com or by calling 800-982-2787. Golden Tickets, which allow the ticket holder (children ages 4 – 12 only) a special on-stage experience during the production, are available for an additional $75.00 each.  Group discounts (for groups of 8 or more) are available by emailing groups@americanpanto.com. This will be the seventh holiday season of Lythgoe Family Panto in Pasadena, and the second at the Pasadena Civic.TIX: https://bit.ly/2yUBhpf

Winter Wonderland: Audience members can enjoy this FREE pre-show celebration featuring crafts, games, Santa Claus (on select days), photo opportunities, and more! Starts one hour prior to curtain time. 
 
Previously Lythgoe Family Panto established their reputation with productions including Beauty and the Beast: A Christmas Rose starring Kellie Berglund, James Snyder and Gedde Watanabe, A Cinderella Christmas starring Lauren Taylor, Alex Newell and Morgan Fairchild, Peter Pan and Tinker Bell - A Pirates Christmas starring Sabrina Carpenter and John O’Hurley, Sleeping Beauty and Her Winter Knight starring Olivia Holt and Lucy Lawless, Aladdin and His Winter Wish starring Ben Vereen, Jordan Fisher, and Ashley Argota – and A Snow White Christmas starring Ariana Grande and Neil Patrick Harris.
 
Lythgoe Family Panto produces fun, musical theatre the whole family can enjoy. Known for their creativity and involvement in television hits “American Idol” and “So You Think You Can Dance,” the Lythgoes are dedicated to bringing affordable theatre to families across America. Based on the Grimm fairytales and others, each story has been modernized with topical scripts for parents and well known pop songs for kids. The Lythgoes pride themselves on creating a memorable experience a family can share together. In 2017 over 6000 Title 1 students were introduced by the Lythgoe’s to live theatre, through the medium of Panto.

LYTHGOE FAMILY PANTO THE WONDERFUL WINTER OF OZ 

Saturday, December 15 at 1:00 PM and 6:00PM
Sunday, December 16 at 1:00 PM and 6:00 PM
Thursday, December 20 at 7:30 PM
Friday, December 21 at 2:30 PM and 7:30 PM
Saturday, December 22 at 1:00 PM and 6:00 PM
Sunday, December 23 at 1:00 PM and 6:00 PM
Thursday, December 27 at 7:30 PM
Friday, December 28 at 2:30 PM and 7:30 PM
Saturday, December 29 at 1:00 PM and 6:00 PM
Sunday, December 30 at 12:00 PM and 4:00 PM
Venue: Pasadena Civic Auditorium, 300 East Green Street, Pasadena, CA 91101
Tickets: Tickets start at $40 Golden Ticket (Premium, children ages 4 – 12 only) -- special on-stage experience during the production – additional $75 per child.

Tickets and Information : www.thepasadenacivic.com

Disclaimer: I received 4 complimentary tickets in exchange for this post.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Paradise Hills Night Market 2018 - This Saturday November 24!

The Paradise Hills and South San Diego community is coming together for Paradise Hills Night Market (PHNM) 2018 happening Saturday, Nov. 24 from 3 to 9 p.m. at Penn Athletic Field. Attendees can expect an evening filled with local talent, quality products, delicious eats and more from this free family-friendly event. This event originated from a group of community member’s collective desire to uplift the Paradise Hills and South San Diego community and desire to give neighbors and friends a proper platform to showcase their hard work and talent. Since the first event, a little block party in 2016, the committee grew to include more than 45 volunteers who were committed to creating a wholesome event that captured the essence of the community. The inaugural Night Market last year drew in over 10,000 attendees and featured over 100 vendors, artists, and performers.

Attractions will include:
● Entertainment by guest celebrities and award-winning performers (e.g. Andra Day, Reunitted / Tribal Theory, Marvin Calderon Jr.)
● Culinary pop-ups from the top local chefs and restaurants (e.g. Masala Street, Matua’s, Snoice)
● Craft, apparel, and more for sale from trending retail merchants (e.g. Passion Planner, Armory Survival Gear, Illa Manilla)
● Art alley with powerful exhibits from renowned visual artists (Bunny Kitty, Horrible Monster Scene, Pursue)
● Safe, enclosed kids zone with jumpers, carnival rides, face-painting
● Dance battle competition, car show, photobooth, movie screen, and more!

This year’s Night Market is South San Diego’s kickoff event for the holiday shopping season and also coincides with Small Business Saturday. Many PHNM retailers are small business owners with roots in the neighborhood. Several vendors that will line the field for the Night Market will be selling outside of their homes for the first time.
Passion Planner is a local vendor scheduled to attend the Night Market. Passion Planner Founder, CEO and Designer Angelia Trinidad is a San Diego native and local success story. Her company successfully launched five kickstarter campaigns with $1,666,164 raised total. Passion Planner now uses its success to give back through their Get One, Give One program and other philanthropic initiatives. Additional local vendors include clothing brands Human Catalyst, Mana Pono, and Tribal Streetwear.
Paradise Hills does not fall short when it comes to entertainment. DJ Cros One will return home to San Diego for PHNM after winding down from his event, FreeStyle Session. This showcase is the world’s largest bboy crew battle. DJ Cros has worked with renowned artists like the Black Eyed Peas, Ludacris and LMFAO. He’s also collaborated with large-scale music festivals like Bumbershoot, Rock the Bells and Soundset. Local artist Chikle will also have a retail booth at the second annual Night Market. He began his art pursuits in 2004 and had his work displayed in galleries in California, Texas, Italy and Mexico. He transitioned from art to education after 10 years in the printing industry. He now shares his passion for art with the youth of High Tech High Chula Vista.
The Night Market will be accompanied with endless music, sounds and sights from local talent and artists. PHNM will also feature the neighborhood’s accomplished culinary talent. Philip Esteban is a well-known chef in the culinary world for his drive and innovation. Esteban honed his craft across both coasts as a line cook at David Chang’s acclaimed Momofuku in New York, as executive chef at The Cork and Craft in San Diego to several other ventures. He now serves as innovation chef at Consortium Holdings.
 

With the success of last year's event and the number of attendees, parking was an issue. This year shuttles will be available! See the schedule below:
Stay on top of daily announcements as the event approaches on Facebook at facebook.com/madeinparadisehills,
Instagram @madeinparadisehills and
Twitter @FtParadiseHills.

About the Paradise Hills Night Market (PHNM) The Paradise Hills Night Market is a community showcase with a goal to highlight the talent and success of community members with roots in Paradise Hills and South San Diego. It is run organized by Made in Paradise Hills, a non-profit that is 100% volunteer based. The movement’s mission is to positively highlight the stories of our unique talent with roots in Paradise Hills and the surrounding community, hoping to empower each other and inspire change from within. To get involved as a sponsor, vendor, performer or volunteer or for more information, please visit phnightmarket.com.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Super Mario Party for the Nintendo Switch!



Just in time for the holidays, Nintendo released Super Mario Party in early October for the Nintendo Switch! This is the first of the long-running Mario Party games for the Switch. Retailing at $59.99 MSRP, this relaunch is hoping to hook older gamers who wax nostalgic from the original board game style video game to this updated version!  I am a bit nostalgic myself thinking about how my kids, who have an age range of 13 years apart, have grown up on Nintendo! Through the years, our family has enjoyed the Nintendo DS, 3DS, the 3DS XL, the Wii, the Wii U, and now the Switch! Needless to say, we are a Nintendo family! With the kids growing up on Nintendo, it is neat that Super Mario Party contains many of our favorite characters

In the game, players take turns racing across the board in search of stars. The winner being the player who collects the most stars! At the end of each player's turn there is the opportunity to play mini-games.  In the mini-games you can earn coins which can be turned in to stars on certain spots on the game board. With about 80 mini-games to choose from, this game will keep you entertained time and time again!

In addition to the mini-games feature Super Mario Party has several modes of play:



  • As a single player in what is called the Challenge Road experience.
  • The classic four-player board game mode.
  • In teams, called the Partner Party mode.
  • In Toad's Rec Room which requires two Switch systems and two copies of Super Mario party to play.
  • In River Survival Mode, which is a co-op, four player experience where the players control a boat! 


My son and his friends had a great time playing Super Mario Party. They played for hours!  They played in person together and they also play online. But even when you don't have a partner around, my son said he still has lots of fun with Super Mario Party playing as an individual! 


Super Mario Party has been a hit in our home and I'm sure will be one  in yours too! This is a perfect gift that the whole family will enjoy this Holiday Season!

Keep up with all the latest and greatest Nintendo news on their social media channels:
Twitter:  @NintendoAmerica
Instagram: @Nintendo
Facebook: @Nintendo

Disclosure: My family received a complimentary copy of Super Mario Party and two Radio Flyer Tricycles in exchange for this post.



Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Legoland's Brick or Treat Halloween Party Nights-More Park After Dark!

There are three more Saturdays left to enjoy a spooky good time at LEGOLAND's Brick-or-Treat part Nights, happening on Oct 13, 20 and 27th! The party starts at 5 p.m. with 16 treat stations, special entertainment and specialty items to collect such as a LEGO ommemorative brick, the LEGO Life magazine containing a special gift and a bonus treat station inside SEA LIFE aquarium.
New this year, kids can create their own slime at Frankenbrick's Lab as part of an interactive show. Mail Order Monsters returns to the Courtyard Theatre where Princess Playwright orders scary monsters from a catalog; however, playful Jester Funny Bones casts a spell on them making the monsters sweet as sugar.  Returning this year, the Model Shop roof will be the home to AstroBash, a space-themed dance party that’s out of this world. Midnight Monster Jam is back at Fun Town Stage where guests can boogie down with the monster crew as they bring their spooky fun character concert to life! Deep in the castle at Courtyard Theatre, The Witchettes, five kid witches, return to celebrate the season of Halloween. The popular Brick-or-Treat celebration brings back Ghost Cruise adventure, a new pop-badge challenge in Fun Town, a fall festival complete with a LEGO® pumpkin patch building activity, BOOgrass Band and a special LEGO® Friends meet and greet in Heartlake City, where kids can decorate their own craft.  
LEGOLAND® Hotel and new LEGOLAND® Castle Hotel join in the fun with their own Halloween celebration Friday and Saturday nights.  At LEGOLAND Hotel, guests can enjoy The Monster Bash where the Heroes step inside Mad Marty’s Monster Machine, become part monster and the only cure is dancing.  Guests can also enjoy monster training from the Hotel’s certified monster trainer. New entertainment at LEGOLAND Castle Hotel includes a Royal Carnival, where guests can enjoy juggling, acrobatics, games and more plus the Musical Monsters Show and the Trickster Brigade, who are on the prowl and ready to run amok throughout the Hotel where they can freeze time and play pranks.  Plus, on Oct. 31 guests, can revel in exclusive entertainment, candy giveaways, a dance party and a special visit from Brick-Or-Treat Characters at both Hotels.
Brick-or-Treat Party Nights is a special event and admission can be purchased for as low as $54 if purchased online in advance. Special event ticket holders can enjoy costume contests, trick-or-treating at candy stations filled with tasty goodies and other surprises, festive music and live entertainment.  
LEGOLAND California and SEA LIFE Aquarium are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.on select dates throughout October and LEGOLAND Water Park is open weekends 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. through October 29. With special event admission to Brick-or-Treat Party Nights, guests can extend their day until 9 p.m. at both LEGOLAND California and SEA LIFE Aquarium. For exclusive savings and more information, www.BRICKORTREAT.com or call 760-918-5346.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Mexipino Craft - A Fusion of Two Cultures and Cuisines!


Did you know that Hispanic Heritage Month and Filipino-American History overlap during the first two weeks of October? This is a great reason to highlight a new place, Mexipino Craft, that opened earlier this year! I first heard the term "Mexipino" years ago from a friend who used it to describe himself since his father was Filipino and his mother was Mexican. What a wonderful word that fuses two beautiful cultures and cuisines. With so many residents of mixed raced in South San Diego, I wondered why this concept took until 2018 to show up on the food scene!

My friend Easter and and I chose to dine here because we heard the food was pretty good and we also like to support local businesses! We were actually able to meet Chef and Co-owner Roger Buhain too!
The place is quaint and welcoming. Murals on the walls acknowledge both heritages.


Condiments on the table also reflect Filipino and Mexican tastes! The bottles are Jufran (banana ketchup), Sriracha and Tapatio.  The chalk writing roughly translates to, "When I see you are happy, I am happy too."
One of the best selling dishes on the menu is the Adobo-fried Chicken and Waffles. Sweet and savory! Adobo is the unofficial dish of the Philippines and refers to the stewed sauce of vinegar and soy sauce with garlic, peppercorns, and bay leaves. You can "adobo" pretty much any kind of protein like chicken or pork.  Squid is my favorite!  As you can see, the portion of waffles and chicken is certainly enough to share!  The chicken had a crispy crust with juicy meat inside!

Speaking of sharing, the diners were so friendly that morning of our visit! A married couple who sat two tables down from us passed on their giant pancake for us to taste!  It was the size of a charger plate setting!  Wow! Yummy too!  

This is the Smoky Prime Beef Scramble served with house potatoes and a pan de sal! The beef was flavorful and tender! The egg, tomato mixture reminded me of a deconstructed Filipino torta (which I have eaten many times sandwiched between a pan de sal, hahaha) and it also reminded me of machaca! 
PC: Easter Finley
We also sampled the ube crepe. Ube is a derivative from the taro root. We eagerly spread the scoop of ube halaya (jam) on top of the crepe. I think we could've eaten one each! Top this with some macapuno ice cream and this would be a hit in my house!


To wash it all down, we enjoyed calamansi juice.  A calamansi is an acidic fruit that is like a cross between a lemon, lime and a tangerine. It makes for a very refreshing drink!
PC: Easter Finley
Mexipino is open seven days a week for breakfast and lunch! Like Roger said, they will be rolling out new seasonal items, so it gives you a chance to go back and have something new!  I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Monday, August 6, 2018

Halo Halo Cafe-Filipino Food and More!


Finally! A place close to home that serves all of our favorite Filipino desserts and more! Have you checked out Halo Halo Cafe in East Chula Vista?  If not, do yourself a favor, take your family, call your bestie and meet up for some IG worthy sweet treats!

New owners Cherry Reyes-Magpusao and her husband, Lee (and also Cherry's sister, Jane and her husband Ron) took over the cafe this past year from it's previous owner.  They have added so much value to the service and menu, there is almost always a line out the door! It is a cozy place so I wouldn't be surprised if they added some outdoor seating to accommodate the crowds! 

I had the opportunity to chat with Lee:


Let's explore some of the menu items, starting with the namesake of the eatery, the halo-halo!  This is a multi-layered rainbow of cut up fruits, beans, jello, crushed ice, ice cream and condensed milk! There is really no limit to what you want to top your halo halo with.  It is one of those items that is too pretty to eat, but halo-halo means to "mix-mix" so you mix all of the goodness up and start enjoying every slurp!



Halo Halo Cafe also serves other ice cream-topped desserts like this Bubble Waffle Cone! The cone's texture is not your typical crispy cone, it is a little chewy and tastes like a thin pancake. (I thought it would be cool if the "bubbles" were filled with flavors that would pop in your mouth, but that's really next-level desserts huh!) This was very yummy with the ube ice cream and coconut shavings. I love the attention to detail with a rolled wafer to add some crunch.
Bubble Cone with ube ice cream and coconut shavings
Crepes are also served here, with your choice of fillings and syrup! Whoever does the training here for plating sure does an excellent job!
Nutella crepe with cereal sprinkles

Other desserts include acai bowls, Magnolia brand ice cream scoops, brick toast, macarons, and even better-macaron ice cream sandwiches (Brick brand)!

Acai Bowl
PC: Halo Halo Cafe website Mango, Ube and Buko Pandan
PC: Halo Halo Cafe website  Brick Toast
PC: Halo Halo Cafe website  Macarons made by @MalynsSweetDelights

All these sweets need some drinks to wash them down! Look at all that awaits you in the display case! There's is quite a selection!
PC: Halo Halo Cafe website
They have all sorts of smoothies, blasts, slushes, thai teas, milk teas, with or without boba (tapioca pearls) and other specialty drinks!
Thai tea!
Milk Tea!
Sago & Gulaman!
Are you salivating by now? Hold on, there's more...you thought you would come here for some dessert, BUT they also serve some really good Filipino food too! Say what? I know!

As mentioned in the video, one of their most popular items is the Special Pancit Palabok! Shrimp-based sauce served over rice noodles topped with green onions, eggs and crispy bits of lechon (roasted pig!) It's pretty special alright!

Do you like seafood?  The Garlic Shrimp was great and the bangus is always a good choice!


See that fried egg in the last picture? Lots of Filipino style breakfasts are served with an "itlog" (egg), thus the bangus dish with an egg is called Bangsilog. Here is a trifecta of "ilog" dishes, the TLT! Otherwise known separately as tapsilog (marinated beef), longsilog (beef or pork sausage) and tocsilog (marinated pork)

Kare-Kare, an oxtail stew, is a favorite of mine and this one was superb with the peanut sauce, tender oxtail, eggplant, green beans and a side of bagoong (fried shrimp paste) to add just a teeny weeny bit of salty tanginess that is critical to the Kare Kare experience.  To be honest, I was looking for the tripe, though, hahaha! 

Feeling like you just want something light? Then the fresh vegetable lumpia is for you!  A mix of veggies served in a light crepe lumpia wrapper also served with a slightly sweet peanut sauce. 

All of the food is served in microwave safe take home containers ready for your leftovers because the portions are so generous! These dishes are definitely family style servings! I appreciate that Halo Halo Cafe is enviro-conscious and leaves you with something that you can use over and over again, the container! 

There are also some other baked goods, Filipino rice desserts and even pecan tarts available for purchase. The supply changes daily.

I had the chance to tour the kitchen and everyone I was introduced to was a member of the family. Some had literally arrived from the Philippines a couple of months ago.  You cannot get more authentic Filipino food than from the hands that are making it here at Halo Halo Cafe! They also cater too! Leave the cooking to them for your next gathering, fiesta or office party! 

Come check out the latest Filipino food eatery in Chula Vista and see why there is always a crowd!
Say hi to Lee and Cherry too!
Halo Halo Cafe is located at 2326 Proctor Valley Road, Suite 108 in East Chula Vista. 
Hours are 10:00 am - 9:00 pm seven days a week! 

Follow them on Facebook: Halo Halo Cafe and on IG: @halohalocafe

Disclosure: I was treated to a menu tasting as a member of San Diego Filipino Blogger Network.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

"Switch"ing it up-Nintendo's Family Game Night at 2018's SDCC!

My family was super excited to be invited to a Family Game Night sponsored by Nintendo of America on the eve of the 2018 San Diego Comic-Con at the spectacular Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina. You see, my twelve-year old son, EJ,  has been hanging out with Mario and Luigi since he was in diapers. He was introduced to all sorts of activities playing with the twins:  bowling, tennis, driving and of course having an adventure collecting coins to save Princess Peach!

We got the Switch for him as soon as it became available! He loves playing at home and also taking it with him to places where he knows he will be seeing other Switch gamers!
We were able to bring along my godsons to the family event and once we arrived, pictures of Mario and Luigi greeted us!
Just look at this incredible mural featured inside the Nintendo Switch Family Lounge!
Various gaming stations showcased all the latest games throughout the lounge, like Mario Tennis Aces!  My husband and I enjoyed a friendly game. The Score?  We were at Love-Love for a bit, hahaha! The boys were a bit more competitive!
After tennis, the kids previewed a new game debuting in late July called Go Vacation! Up to four players can explore an island paradise by engaging in a multitude of vacation activities!

The lounge also had some cool displays of other products coming out soon, like this Mariokart Hot Wheel set!
Another new product featured was the new Poké Ball Plus remote controller that works with the three games, Pokémon Go, Pokémon Let's Go Pikachu and Pokémon Let's Go Eevee. This controller fits in the palm of your hand and will be out in November 2018.  I immediately thought it could also double as a stress relief ball when you take it with you to catch some Pokémon! Shake it and you'll hear the sound of the most recent Pokémon caught!
A special surprise of the night was the appearance of Pikachu and Eevee!
I had my own dance party with them!

Captain Toad was another game available to play at the event. While not new, it launched recently for the Switch and 3DS. An interactive photo booth featuring Captain Toad captured all the fun we were having!
Also displayed were products from the Nintendo LABO line! This line felt like a throw back to old school toys that we could feel and touch. Items were made of plain cardboard pieces put together. The total opposite of the colorful, techy visuals usually associated with Nintendo products. It was really neat to see that one can create something that works with the gaming system!
EJ checked out the piano.
At the event was one of my good friends, Lysabeth of Garcia Memories, and her boys! They also tested out the LABO Controls.
Even celebrities use the LABO line! Check out pop star Ariana Grande with Jimmy Fallon and the band, The Roots, using LABO instruments!  Impressive!
Not only did Nintendo provide first class family entertainment, they also fed us very well! We refueled with a dinner break!
 
At the end of the event, the kids received some really cool swag, including two games! 
We all felt like special guests experiencing all things Nintendo Switch for a couple hours! 
This event will surely rank as the top memory of 2018 SDCC for the boys! Thank you Nintendo of America for an amazing Family Game Night! 
Keep up with all the latest and greatest Nintendo news on their social media channels:
Twitter:  @NintendoAmerica
Instagram: @Nintendo
Facebook: @Nintendo

Disclosure: My family received free products, food and beverage as a result of our attendance at this event.
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