Posted in The Happy

Cousins Rule

Cousins will remind you of the dumb stuff you did as a kid. Cousins will be there for you when you need them. Cousins can be somebody you consider to be a friend and not just because you’re related. And cousins can also grow up to be family that you want to go on vacation with every year, no matter how near or far you are. For Curls and Red, I hope it is the latter. For a second year, the hubby and I took the kids on vacation with his sister (who is also my BFF) and her family. They live on the East Coast so we don’t get to see them as much as we would like. We met up in Seattle for a week and then they came down to Southern California for another five days. The kids got along like no time has passed and had a blast.

Seattle

The Seattle Center is where the Space Needle, Museum of Pop Culture, Pacific Science Center, and Chihuly Garden & Glass are all located. We used our CityPass that we had purchased beforehand to help us save on the cost.

Space Needle:

Seattle Center’s “Artists at Play” (A really cool play area that all the kids loved):

Museum of Pop Culture (a place we could have spent hours in and it wouldn’t have been enough):

Pike Market (a Seattle staple):

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Pioneer Square (We did a lot of walking in Seattle-35 miles-and this was one of the coolest areas we walked around after we did the Underground Tour):

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Cruise (A very informative and relaxing cruise but I suspect most of the kids were more interested in the snacks and Italian sodas that were made for them):

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First ever Starbucks (Long line, same drinks, nice employees, and added to my growing cold drink cup collection):

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Seattle Great Wheel (I can boast that I was the only adult in our group brave enough to go on with the kiddos):

Pop Funko Headquarters (a 45 minute bus ride to the town of Everett where the kids ran from section to section which included DC, Marvel, Star Wars, Harry Potter, etc. They also made their own custom Pop Funko):

 

Stay Tuned until Friday where we show them our favorite places in Orange County!

Posted in Pop Culture

Friday Favorite: Goodies from Comic-Con

While others were out enjoying their Saturday on 7/22, I was sitting in my solar powered air conditioned house refreshing my phone throughout the morning. Why, you ask? Because down in San Diego, CA on this past Saturday was the holy grail day of panels in Hall H. The Warner Bros. Panel was scheduled for 1130 am. And even though I didn’t get to enjoy the crowds of 150,000+, the overnight lines to get into Hall H, and celebrities hidden behind masks, the family and I did get to enjoy trailers that were released throughout the day.

First up is Ready Player One. This Spielberg directed flick that comes out next March is based on the book by Ernest Cline. It was one of my favorite books of 2016. As an 80s movies nerd, it fulfilled all my dreams in one story. It is the tale of Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan), a teenager living in the future. Society is so bleak that he prefers to be in the OASIS, a virtual reality world. When the creator of the OASIS dies, he sets up the players to chase clues that will lead them to win the game and his fortune. The game is stuffed with movies, television shows, and video game references (Joust, anyone?). I have been waiting for this movie to come out since I finished the book and the trailer had me whooping and hollering throughout.

We did take a break from waiting for more trailers and dragged the kids to see War for the Planet of the Apes (which was awesome, btw). As soon as we stepped out of the theater Scarlet’s first question was, “Is there a Stranger Things trailer? Is there?!” And OH MY WORD, there was. The trailer is set to the tune of Thriller by Michael Jackson, Vincent Price narrating while Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Dustin (Gaten Matarrazo), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), Will (Noah Schnapp), Hopper (David Harbour), and the others are dealing with the aftermath of Season One and hoping for a reappearance of Eleven (Millie Bobbie Brown). There is new student Max (Sadie Sink), problems between Nancy (Natalia Dyer) and Steve (Joe Keery), and more scary monsters that are slightly bigger than the Demogorgon. Is it October 27th yet?!

Thor: Ragnarok comes in November, four months after Marvel’s release of Spiderman’s Homecoming. It is directed by Taika Waititi and it is the third installment. This time around Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is captured and forced to fight for his life, where he comes face to face with his Avenger mate the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). Together they try to battle Hela (Cate Blanchett), who is hell bent on destroying Thor’s world. I always enjoy the Thor movies but please don’t ask me to explain what each one is about other than Thor saves the day. But with this new one, the visuals (they look like a seventies rock band cartoon and Cate Blanchett looks like a total bad ass), music (70s rock), and humor (“I know him! He’s a friend from work!”) have my expectations higher than usual. Add Jeff Goldblum in blue makeup and Tessa Thompson (Westworld), and Thor Ragnarok will stand out from the rest.

I hope you have a go to list of things that make you happy and you get to enjoy them over the weekend!

Posted in Pop Culture

Friday Favorite: Black Panther

During the NBA Finals tonight the Black Panther teaser trailer will air. Why should you be excited about this? Let me break it down for you:

  • The director of Black Panther is Ryan Coogler. He has directed Fruitvale Station and Creed. Both are amazing films, with the second a worthy addition to the Rocky series. Both star Michael B. Jordan. Which leads me to my next point:
  • The CAST is take your breath away awe-inspiring. Chadwick Boseman plays our hero, T’Challa. His character was introduced in last year’s Captain America: Civil War. He has also played legends Jackie Robinson in 42 and James Brown in Get On Up. Michael B. Jordan plays Erik Killmonger. His early work in Parenthood and Friday Night Lights gained him attention but he blew us away in Fruitvale Station. Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’O plays Nakia. She not only has an Oscar and is a fashion icon, she is also a part of the little known Star Wars movies. Danai Gurira plays Okoye. As the sword wielding Michonne on The Walking Dead, the lady knows how to play a strong woman. Other notables include Angela Bassett (there’s not a role this woman can’t play) and Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out).
  • It’s a Marvel movie-DUH.

I will leave you with this picture of the cast, director, and Nerdist’s Chris Hardwick from last year’s Comic Con because it brings me such joy:

Black Panther cast

The movie comes out February 16, 2018.

I hope you have a go to list of things that make you happy and you get to enjoy them over the weekend. Thanks for reading!

Posted in Pop Culture

Friday Favorite (aka Where I blabber about what I love): Netflix Bingeworthy- Luke Cage

Luke Cage is Netflix’s third original Marvel series after Daredevil and Jessica Jones. Mike Coulter as Cage was introduced in Jessica Jones. He has an affair with Jones’ private investigator until he discovers something from her past that connects them. I loved Jessica Jones but Luke Cage was a show I got lost in. Daredevil had Hell’s Kitchen. Cage has Harlem and it is not just a setting but a character. Every person is motivated by their place in Harlem. They love their music, their history, and their place in it. And I did too.

Like most superheroes, Luke Cage is a good man made extraordinary by life’s circumstances. He leads a quiet life in Harlem. He helps Pop (Frankie Faison) in the local barbershop, which is a go to place for all its residents, including the gangs of Harlem and their illegal deals. These crimes lead to Luke trying to save kids who have gone down the wrong path. This turns into a war between Luke and Cottonmouth (Mahershala Ali) and his councilwoman cousin Mariah Hillard (Alfre Woodward). Cottonmouth runs guns and drugs but not because he wants to. He is a classically trained pianist who was put in this life at a young age and knows no other way. He will not be disrespected and his anger leads him to make bad decisions and put his club Harlem Palace at risk. Shades (Theo Rossi, aka Juice from Sons of Anarchy) steps in to help Cottonmouth. He is the true villain of this story as emotion does not affect his actions. He radiates cool. Helping Luke are two strong female characters: Misty (Simone Missick), a cop who knows there is more to Luke than he lets on, and Claire (Rosario Dawson), a nurse from Hell’s Kitchen. Both are smart and not damsels in distress, which is refreshing.

Harlem is a proud and strong city, just like Luke Cage. Historical figures such as Crispus Attucks, Jackie Robinson, and Walter Mosley are mentioned throughout the 13 episodes as reminders of what everybody is fighting for. It doesn’t matter if you are a criminal like Cottonmouth, or the much beloved Pops, or hero Cage, it is known that history is a big part of who they are and they need to always fight for it.

The scenes where we are reminded that Cage is a bulletproof is when he is being shot at by the bad guys or the guys we have come to known as good guys, the police. This is a black man in a hoodie who keeps his head down. In this day and age, that is regarded as suspicious behavior. The irony is not lost that he is trying to save the people of Harlem and is initially attacked for it.

The music of Luke Cage stands out due to its part in Harlem Palace. Cottonmouth’s club is not only a place for people to come to dance, drink, and listen to music. His dealings are done in his office that overlooks the acts performing, with his portrait of Biggie always behind him. Faith Evans, The Delfonics, and Charles Bradley are all a part of the musical lineup. My favorite cameo I won’t give away but I knew I could use it to make my husband watch the show later on.

Do yourself a favor and check out Luke Cage as your next binge. It has a story with purpose, characters that are not just black and white, and music with history. And a superhero.

I hope you have a go to list of things that make you happy and you get to enjoy them over the weekend. Thanks for reading!

 

 

Posted in Pop Culture

Friday Favorite (aka Where I blabber about what I love): WonderCon

WonderCon is Comic Con’s little brother. It doesn’t have Hall H panels of epic proportions. It doesn’t have celebrities walking the floor in Iron Man masks. WonderCon doesn’t have 130,000 attendees. You can get a hotel before it comes to Anaheim at a discounted rate, no problem. There are an abundance of cosplayers to admire and take pictures of. Artists come out to showcase their work and sell you stuff. There are smaller panels that have casts from upcoming shows and tributes to a certain princess. These are some of the reasons that my family and I attend WonderCon.

Cosplaying at WonderCon means Scarlet is poking me three days straight because of all the people dressed up as Harry Potter characters. It annoys and delights me at the same time. One, being poked. Two, it’s because she LOVES HARRY POTTER. The amount of effort they put into their costumes shows how much love they have for the character and how creative they are. We as a family spend the whole weekend pointing out all the different superheroes, Disney characters, and the Marios, Luigis, Princess Peaches, and Creepers. Scarlet even participated by wearing her Rey costume:

When we first went to WonderCon four years ago, we were treated to movie panels like The Maze Runner. Director Wes Ball, author James Dashner, and the cast all gifted us a sneak of the movie, ancedotes from being on set, and answered questions from audience members. This year we got a clip from Annabelle 2 presented by director David Sandberg (Lights Out) and footage and a chat from Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins (Monster). After sitting in WonderCon’s version of Hall H, the arena, for six plus hours hoping to get a glimpse of Gal Gadot; it was disappointing at best. We walked out feeling like an afterthought of the movie studios.  They had films coming out before Comic Con in July but didn’t care enough to promote it. Sadness aside, we did go to a panel for the CW show Riverdale. My favorite part was seeing Dylan McKay himself, Luke Perry, discussing his part:

Luke Perry

On Sunday we went to a Princess Leia tribute that was put on by the 501st Region (a super awesome organization). It consisted of fans talking about encounters they’ve had with Carrie Fisher and how she affected their lives. Everyone was heartfelt and I may have shed a few tears. Wesley said it was his favorite part of the weekend.

Leia Tribute

Walking the floor at WonderCon was Scarlet’s favorite part. Walking the floor to her means spending money (we seriously spent $22 on buttons at one booth). I love seeing all of the artists’ interpretations of pop culture. There are the usual Disney, Marvel and DC pictures. This year we found Hamilton pictures and postcards. Scarlet tried to convince me to buy a six foot tall picture of Lafayette riding into battle (nice try kid). Brian Kesinger is a Disney story artist who created the Star Wars/Calvin and Hobbes mashup last year. We have a couple of his prints and were able to tell him at WonderCon how much we loved his work. He was incredibly nice, humble, and took pictures with us.

Brian Kesinger

In addition to what all WonderCon has to offer, we love staying at a hotel for a couple of days. My kids would live in the pool if we let them so as soon as we check in they are asking to get in their bathing suits. Eating out, not having to make beds, and looking out the window where we had a Superman’s view of the cosplayers and food trucks make it a mini vacation that prepares us for summer.

WonderCon 2017 was fun. We got what we have come to expect (cosplay, good food, smaller but still entertaining panels). The best part for me is hanging out with my favorite people. We yell, Wesley’s allergies gave him the worst case of sniffles we all had to endure at night, and we sometimes let negativity drag us down (Never figured out what the hell the red stain was on our hotel room wall). But I love them with everything I have and it is always a blast, no matter what.

WonderCon Family

I hope you have a go to list of things that make you happy and you get to enjoy them over the weekend. Thanks for reading!