Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Party Never Ends in Pixie Hollow


Tinker Bell, Rosetta, Iridessa and Fawn were there live to greet all of their fairy friends.  They were joined by film talent Mae Whitman (voice of Tinker Bell), Raven-Symon—ź, Michael Sheen, Pamela Adlon, Rob Paulsen, Dominika Paleta, director Brad Raymond & producer Helen Kalafatic as well as Jason Earles (Hannah Montana), Billy Bush, Gilles Marini (Brothers & Sisters), Chris Cornell (Soundgarden), Mark Feuerstein (Royal Pains), Ariel Winter (Modern Family), Rick Fox (Ugly Betty), Zendaya Coleman (Shake It Up!), Roshon Fegan (Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam) and Landon Pigg.

Check out the video!

The very special outdoor premiere of Disney’s All-New Movie Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue was screened for more than 1,000 families in the local Los Angeles area.   The event featured a dozen of L.A.’s most popular food trucks, including Top Chef alum Brian Hill’s gourmet food truck,  along with a bevy of  activity  stations for the kids – including face painting, Tink tattoos, coloring stations and Radio Disney, who  emceed the event.   All fairy attendees received Tinker Bell blankets, Tinker Bell glow sticks, Fairy wings and enjoyed many Fairy activities.

Tinker Bell, the world’s favorite fairy, will be spreading her magic for audiences of all ages, as the worlds of fairies and humans converge for the very first time in Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue.  An all-new original full-length CG animated film featuring breathtaking animation, spectacular music and an all-star cast of voice talents debuts September 21st on Blu-ray Combo Pack (includes Blu-ray and bonus DVD of the film and movie download) and DVD.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Disney's Fairies: What's All This, Then?

Disney Fairies is rooted in Disney's rich heritage of children's storytelling. The franchise builds upon the enormous popularity of Tinker Bell and introduces girls to her secret, magical world and a new circle of enchanting fairy friends, each with an incredibly diverse talent, personality and look.

DisneyFairies.com is now available in more than 20 territories across North America, Latin America, EMEA and Asia Pacific. Fans have created more than 25 million(!) personalized Fairy avatars to date that can take flight in the virtual world of Pixie Hollow.

Disney theme parks have also launched a Pixie Hollow attraction where fans can Meet the Fairies:

A Water Fairy
With a delightfully offbeat and upbeat outlook on everything, Silvermist usually goes with the flow, but steps up to play an important role in Tink's rescue during the sudden summer storm.

A Garden Fairy
Brimming with confidence and grace, Ro has a quick wit and a ton of charms. Fiercely loyal to Tink, she is the also the first to admit that Tink has a knack for finding trouble.

A Light Fairy
A detail-oriented perfectionist and chronic worrier, Iridessa's goal in life is to keep things running smoothly and avoid trouble. However, when the fairy rescue team runs into trouble, Iridessa boldly saves the day.

An Animal Fairy

Always up for adventure, Fawn is a rough-and-tumble fairy who bravely takes part in Tink's rescue, teaming up with Rosetta to tame Lizzy's menacing cat (who reminds me of our big orange Maine Coon, Cheddar!).

A Fast-Flying Fairy
The fastest of the fast-flying fairies, Vidia often clashes with Tink because of Tink's impetuous, rule-bending exploits. When Vidia's attempt to teach Tinker Bell a lesson backfires, she rallies her fellow fairies and risks everything to rescue Tink.

Interact With Fairies!

Your kids can play as fairies in the virtual world of Pixie Hollow. They can play mini-games, chat, accessorize special outfits and hair-do for their fairies, even adopt pets!

Worried about online safety? No worries! I spoke with moderators and game designers, and your concerns are their very top priority. To sign up for Pixie Hollow, kids need a parent, who can control their child's account and set up parental controls. You can choose from SpeedChat (the safest option for the youngest children) or SpeedChat Plus for older kids. 

There are LOTS of other safeguards built in, too: kids are given a "fairy name generator" to pick an approved name, they can't enter in any numbers (so no ages, addresses, etc. are possible), there is a slight delay in case moderators need to delete anything before it shows up publicly on screen, and curse words are absolutely not allowed--there are special filters that keep players from even typing them in.

Your children will love Pixie Hollow! Boys (or girls who want to play as boy characters)can get in the act, too, with the Sparrow Men. For a peek at a Sparrow Man, check out "Axel Moon Buzz" in the game. He has cool costumes!

And sometimes in Pixie Hollow, even Tinker Bell or one of her "celebrity" fairy friends from the Disney movies shows up to chat "in person"!

Although PixieHollow.com has lots of free access activities, for full access a monthly subscription fee of $5.95 applies.

Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue!

I wasn't really sure what to expect of the latest Tinker Bell video from Disney Toon Studios.  It's the third in the series, and it can be hard to keep coming up with new, dynamic material when you are dealing with sequels.

Except, apparently, if you are team Disney, and led by Director Bradley Raymond. Mr. Raymond spoke with us personally about the inspiration behind the video; how he was passionate about the team's commitment to staying true to the original concept of Tinker Bell, as well as opening up new worlds to little girls who have just recently fallen in love with the CGI version of the timeless fairy and her Pixie Hollow friends.

Which is why Brad and his team spoke to little girls to ask them just what they would like to know about Tinker Bell. And of course, they all wanted to meet Tink in person. And flying? Oh, yes, they wanted to fly. Surprisingly, in the safety of their bedrooms first, because these little girls understood that flying is tricky. And one amazing little girl wanted to play Monopoly with Tinker Bell, on a specially designed little playing board scaled down to size!

So the amazing team came up with ideas that brought all of that to life. And after having screened the movie, I can personally one-hundred percent endorse Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue for your permanent video collection.

Yes, it is THAT good.

I met with the talented team behind the video, who took me through the magic behind the scenes and into the spectacular effects, the memorable songs and characters and the gorgeous settings of this full-length feature. But first, let's talk about the story.

Lizzy and Tinker Bell Become Fast Friends

Before she was ever introduced to Wendy and the Lost Boys, Tinker Bell met Lizzy, a girl with a
steadfast belief in fairies. Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue begins in summertime in the beautiful English countryside. Lizzy, summering with her father in a cottage near the fairies' summer camp, has created her own little Fairy House, which naturally stirs the Tinker Bell's innate curiosity.

Tinker Bell Discovers Lizzy's Fairy House

An enchanting encounter unfolds when Tinker Bell is discovered by Lizzy, and as their different worlds unite, Tink develops a special bond with the girl in need of a friend. One of my favorite parts of the film is how Tink and Lizzie communicate: when Tink talks, all Lizzy hears is the tinkling of bells, so she and Tinker Bell engage in charades to learn about each other. The animation team, which is absolutely brilliant, manages to do so much with the expressions of these characters!
Tinker Bell and Lizzy Make a Fairy Guide
When Tink goes missing, her friends set out to find out what's happened to her: Rosetta, the Garden Fairy; Vidia, the fast-flying fairy carrying a guilty secret about Tink's disappearance; Fawn, the fairy friend to animals; water fairy Silvermist; Iridessa, the light fairy; and of course fellow tinker fairies Clank and Bobble. I know little girls will just love the bonds these characters have with each other. They really interact just like friends!

Tinker Bell Comes Up With a Plan
As her fellow fairies launch a daring rescue, Tinker Bell takes a huge risk, putting her own safety
and the future of the fairies in jeopardy. This action-packed adventure takes the fairies of Pixie
Hollow on a daring flight to London to save Tinker Bell and all of fairy kind.

Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue

STREET DATE: September 21, 2010
Suggested retail price: U.S. $29.99 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray Combo Pack

About Disney's Blu-ray + DVD Combo Pack:
To provide consumers with unprecedented quality, value and portability of their favorite
Disney movies, in 2008 Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment pioneered the Combo Pack –
a Blu-ray Disc plus a DVD in a single package.

I visited Disney Toon Studios and spent time with the animation team, met with Paige O'Hara and attended an exclusive screening of Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue on a recent trip to LA along with several other bloggers. These activities, as well as my food, lodging and transportation, were provided by Disney. 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Hooray for...


Because, right this minute, that's where I am!

And no, I do not mean Hollywood, Florida.

Nope, I'm right around the corner from Hollywood Blvd in California's Hollywood Renaissance Hotel. I can actually see the famous H O L L Y W O O D sign from my room, and as soon as I have some lunch (been up since 5 am Eastern time since I had to fly across the country), I'm going to check out the stars' handprints down the road.

Oh, and you know what? They are filming The Defenders TV show right in the lobby!

So, viv, what are you doing in Hollywood, you ask?

I'm here to celebrate with the great folks at Disney and some of my favorite bloggers, screening Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue! And I'll be getting a sneak peek at the new Disney product line for the movie, which of course I will share with you!

I'll also be meeting with Paige O'Hara, the lovely voice of Belle from Beauty and the Beast, about the release of the Diamond Edition of the movie.

Here are the other bloggers expected to attend:

I'm so excited!

More soon, my lunch is waiting!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Daily Sun Protection Wipes are made in the shade

This weekend, the Rhino had a soccer game, so we ventured out into the heat prepared to battle, me with my chair on the sidelines and Rhino and Dad, his assistant coach, trying to think up names for the new team. I favored the Crush, due to the neon orange soccer jerseys ("You look like a big creamsicle, Coach!" I yelled encouragingly at the Engineer as he donned his before the game, much to the amusement of the other soccer parents).

The powers-that-be who arrange the games had sadistically scheduled the match for mid-afternoon, which meant we also came prepared with lots of sunblock, giving me an opportunity to try out the new Shady Day Daily Sun Protection Wipes I received from Mom Central for this blog tour.

I was pleasantly surprised by how much we liked the Daily Sun Protection Wipes, which are definitely designed with kids and Moms in mind. The convenient packaging makes them easier to tote than spray cans or goopy bottles of sunblock, and they're backed by dermatologists for their gentle botanical ingredients and full range of UVA/UVB coverage, with an SPF of 30 (and they are paraben-free).

In our own trial, Shady Day Daily Sun Protection Wipes met with unanimous approval; the guys liked them too. I loved the light scent and convenience, while the Rhino and his Dad felt the wipes were much easier to apply than sunscreen sprays, which typically gave them only spotty, unreliable coverage (too heavy and some spots and too light in others led to some really strange sunburn splotches. I've seen them come back from the beach looking like human checker boards).

No one ended up with red, sunburned skin despite the intense heat, I didn't have any sunblock running into my eyes when things got sweaty (a consistent complaint of mine with lotions), and the protection lasted through the soccer game and washed off easily in the shower.

Viv's Take: We found that one wipe gave adequate coverage per person, which means that, with a selling price of ~ $14 for 15 wipes, Shady Day Daily Sun Protection Wipes are pricey for their convenience, but with sun protection a must here, I automatically give any product a plus when the Rhino doesn't complain about using it. I loved the light scent and convenience, while the guys were impressed with the ease of application. Thumbs up!

Shady Day Daily Sun Protection Wipes are available online through these sites: www.Beautybrands.com, www.Ulta.com, www.Diapers.com, and www.rickysnyc.com.

 I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Shady Day and received a sample package of Shady Day Daily Sun Protection Wipes and a gift certificate to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Back to School? 5 minutes of your time could win you $150 from Amazon!

“Hey readers. Want a chance to win a $150 Back-to-School Gift Card from Amazon? Spend 5 minutes taking this anonymous survey from Unicast about your Back to School shopping, and you can win one of 10 prizes. But don’t wait too long – the survey closes 8 pm ET Fri. Aug. 20. Winners will be emailed on Monday Aug. 23.

Here’s the survey: http://www.zoomerang.com/Survey/WEB22B385KB4BX”

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Death in the Family

My Mother-in-law passed away last week, on Tuesday. My husband was with her when she passed, and the kids and I visited her in the hospital a few days earlier. She was suffering from pneumonia, and as usual when I saw her I was struck by how frail and tiny she seemed.

She wasn't always so...vulnerable.

When I was first dating her youngest son, I actually found My MIL, Fran, a little intimidating.

Fran was a woman of strong opinions, always up to debating her beliefs. When she was bothered or angered by an issue, she wasn't one for subtlety. You always knew just where Fran stood. Sshe was equally fierce in defending those she loved. She told me once, which I never have forgotten, "When I meet someone, I remind myself that there's good in everybody. Sometimes you just have to look harder to find it."

I really missed those discussions later in her life, when her hearing failed her and she grew quiet and withdrawn. I think that was the first indication most of us had that something was wrong. We knew she didn't care for hearing aids--a relative of hers had apparently made do with old-fashioned, unreliable ones, and so Fran didn't put much stock in them--but Fran always took an active interest in local politics, her family, and the world around her . . . Until one day, she just didn't any more.

Alzheimer's had taken her from an active participant in life to merely a spectator.

I was also intimidated by Fran's fashion sense and complete confidence. I have fond memories
of hurriedly applying makeup just before I knew we would be seeing Fran, because when we visited, I knew Fran would be perfectly put together.

As she dressed for church--Fran sang for many years in her church choir--she would have her hair done, her lipstick perfect, lightly spritzed perfume, the whole works. I have a hard time finding two earrings in my jewelry box that match.

At her funeral, pictures of Fran as a young woman show Fran pushing a stroller, the baby bundled up against the cold, while she herself sported an elegant peacock coat, hat and heels, her hair perfect, fit and trim even with such a young child in tow.

I am trying to remember if I ever pushed a stroller in heels. I suppose I must have at some point? I rally did try to look my best, of course. But I'm sure I never cut quite such a dashing figure.

Fran majored in dress design in college, and even sewed her own bridesmaid's dresses for her own wedding. I remember her daughter, my SIL, sporting lovely maternity wear during her pregnancy, thanks to her mother's skill with the needle, also.

In the hospital, during that last visit, Fran's hands shook with palsy. Parkinson's and failing eyesight had robbed her of her sewing years ago. She couldn't speak and could barely sit up in a chair when the hospital staff, aided by a special belt, moved Fran from her bed.

Her husband, as he had for 59 years, sat by her side. In the last few years, he'd gone from loving partner to full-time caretaker with amazing grace. As his son noted at the service when we said good-bye to Fran, he'd kept true to his vows in every sense, in sickness and health, till death parted them.

There was no viewing at Fran's funeral. I was glad for that. The Fran of my memories is not the fragile creature of the hospital bed, but the vibrant, opinionated woman I gained as my second Mom over twenty-one years ago when I married her son.

Rest in peace, Fran. We love you.

Monday, August 2, 2010

I scream, You Scream for Breyer's Smooth and Dreamy Ice Cream!

It's hot outside. Really, really hot.

I'm not kidding here. In Florida, we've had a heat index of 107 degrees.

One. Hundred. Seven. Whew.

You know what's really good in hot weather? Ice cream.

Of course, kids know this. That's why the ice cream trucks are out in full force, turkey-in-the-straw playing as they meander down residential roads, luring in our children.

But for us adults, wouldn't it be nice if we had some more grown-up alternatives to bubblegum-flavored sugar to cool us off? And while we're wishing, maybe something with less fat and fewer calories?

I know, it seems like too much to ask, but you're in luck.

Breyer's--which we all know makes delicious ice cream; it's our family favorite already--has a new line  called Smooth and Dreamy, with lower-fat, lower-calorie offerings that actually taste good!

As easy as a trip down to the local grocery store, the Breyer's Smooth and Dreamy offerings are easy to find. We tried out the Chocolate Caramel Brownie Sandwiches in our house, and the kids and their friends got in on the taste-test, by popular demand.

These chocolate light ice cream sandwiches, with a gooey caramel swirl and fudge brownie pieces between two brownie cookies, only have 4g Fat per sandwich. In addition, there's no trans fats and at only 160 calories per sandwich, it's an indulgence you can afford. We found them dense, fudgy and as rich as the other, higher-calorie, higher-fat alternatives we're used to. Unanimous thumbs-up from the taste testers!

Want to try Breyer's Smooth and Dreamy for yourself? There's more varieties available, including new Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Sandwiches (next on our list!), Vanilla Fudge Brownie Sandwiches, and also Chocolate Covered Strawberry Bars, Vanilla Caramel Chip Bars and Triple Chocolate Chip Bars.

And four lucky readers will get to try out any of the above flavors FREE! I've got coupons for four, randomly picked readers who comment below this post with the Breyer's Smooth and Dreamy indulgence they'd most like to try.

P.S. Try your hand at the $10,000 Sweepstakes while you're at the site, figuring out which flavor you want to try! There's hundreds of instant winners, and you can enter again each day for a chance at the $10,000!

Good luck! And good eating. Yum.

I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Breyers and received products necessary to facilitate my review. In addition, I received a gift certificate to thank me for taking the time to participate.
Cool Moms Rule! is in full compliance of the new FTC rules concerning Bloggers. I disclose on all posts where a product was received for free and/or if there was any kind of financial compensation involved.