Catalina In LA

Visiting Los Angeles County through the eyes of a local.


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Pampered by Aveda

Nothing is more wonderful than being pampered by an Aveda experience. That was how my sister and I felt as we exfoliated our hands with a combination of the Hand Relief and body scrub. After a series of washing and rinsing my hands felt smooth and my shoulders were relaxed. I had no idea I was in need of this treatment.

With hands soft as marshmallows, we glided over to the next station to unveil our scent. Oddly enough we selected the same aroma, then again we are sisters. By this time we were fluttering around the Aveda store and ready to experience more pampering. We learned about which cleansers would work best for our skin and hair. Our day was topped off with sexy hair that left me feeling luxurious and ready to take on the world! Actually it relaxed me so much that I took a sexy nap at home instead.

*Ahhh, Aveda you Rock! Thanks the Establishment LA for the rejuvenating experience and samples.

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Workouts Powered by Honey

Finding time to workout is something I struggle with on daily basis despite the fact that I’m a stay at home mom. For the most part I manage to drag myself to the gym 1 to 2 days a week. Occasionally, I will also run around my neighborhood for about 30 mins. That’s not too bad if you’re trying to maintain your weight however, my goal is to lose my chubby curves.

Last week I went to an event at the Kyoto Grand Hotel in downtown Los Angeles to learn how I can incorporate fitness into my busy schedule from fitness and wellness expert Bárbara Trujillo Gómez. We first powered up with a Pomegranate Apple with Honey Shot (recipe below) from Miel Pura. “Honey is a natural source of carbs and essential nutrients,” says Trujillo Gómez. “Try adding a couple spoonfuls to your water for a naturally energizing drink and enjoy throughout the day or before, during and after a workout.”

Pomegranate Apple with Honey Shot

    Ingredients:

1 teaspoon honey

2 ounces pomegranate juice

Splash of apple juice

    Preparation:

        • Blend or mix all ingredients by hand
        • Pour into a shot glass or small cup for a quick energy boost
I’ll be posting more recipes later next week!
Afterwards, we broke a sweat learning some easy exercise moves that can easily be done in your home. According to Trujillo Gómez, some of the routines could be done while watching tv, standing in the kitchen, or even in intervals when working on a computer. For cardio boost, she recommended jumping rope for 10 minutes which can equate a 30 minute run. If you enjoy running, try walking in intervals of 2 to 5 minutes to heat your core and burn more calories. Below are a few great exercise tips to help you tone and trim before dipping into a swimsuit.

Upper Body and Core

Figure Eight – A great exercise for the arms, core and back

  • Stand with legs shoulder-width apart and hold medicine ball with both hands, arms extended over your right shoulder.
  • In one continuous motion bring the ball down at an angle toward your left leg in a curve-like motion, bringing the ball up straight over your left shoulder and down toward your right leg and back up to the right.
  • One movement, one flow, as if you were making the figure eight.
  • Bend your knees slightly as you are bringing the ball toward that leg.
  • Keeping body fully engaged, belly tight.
  • Perform 3 sets of 12 reps.

Medicine Ball Oblique – Great for the core and obliques

  • Lie on your back and bend your knees at a 90 degree angle so that your calves are parallel to the floor.
  • Place the medicine ball between your bent knees and hold tightly.
  • Holding the ball between your knees and keeping them at a 90 degree angle, bring both legs to the right and get as close to the floor as you can without letting them touch, then back to center and hold.
  • Repeat over to the left and return to the center. Be sure to keep your back as flat on the ground as possible so that you are using your core to move and hold your legs on each side.
  • Perform 3 sets of 12 reps.

Ball Toss Fantastic for the arms, core and back

  • Stand firm, feet hip-width apart.
  • Hold the medicine ball with both hands.
  • Bring ball up in front of your chest and slightly toss up and catch.
  • Toss up and down, keeping feet firmly on the ground only using the core muscles and arm movement.
  • Repeat tossing upward and catching.
  • Perform 3 sets of 12 reps.

* In the event that you do this exercise with a partner, toss the ball back and forth as opposed to up and down.

  

Lower Body

Squats – Squats are a great exercise for those who want to tone their lower body: hips, glutes and thighs.

  • Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart.
  • Bend your knees so that you are in an upright sitting position and hold for a few seconds.
  • Bring yourself back up in standing position and repeat.
  • After 15 reps stay in squat position and hold for 10 seconds.
  • Keep your arms along your sides, keeping your abs tight and body fully engaged.
  • Add 15 jump squats for added challenge.

Curtsy Lunge – This twist on the classic lunge is excellent for your legs and glutes.

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart and hands on hips.
  • Take a big step back with your left leg, crossing it behind the right.
  • Keep your belly/core tight, shoulders back and body fully engaged.
  • Bend the right knee and lower the hips until the right thigh is almost parallel to the floor.
  • Repeat motion with the opposite leg.

Plank Full body action and toning.

  • Lie face down on a mat resting on the forearms, palms flat on the floor.
  • Push off the floor, raising up onto toes and resting on the elbows.
  • Keep your back flat, in a straight line from head to heels.
  • Tilt your pelvis and contract your abs to prevent your rear end from sticking up in the air or sagging in the middle.
  • Hold for 20 to 60 seconds, lower and repeat for 3-5 reps.
  • For an extra challenge, do 20 push ups (modified is ok) followed by a 30-second plank.
Kickbacks – Excellent exercise for the glutes.
  • Kneel on the floor and get on all fours with your knees hip-width apart and back parallel to the floor.
  • Place hands slightly wider than the shoulders.
  • Keep head steady as you lift the left leg until thigh is in line with torso.
  • Bend knee and slowly push flexed foot up toward the ceiling.
  • Squeezing butt, hold for one second and continue the slow movement for 12 reps.
  • Bring leg down, back on all fours, and repeat on opposite leg.

Back to the Basics – We all know what they are, but we just forget how great they are for the body. These can be implemented when you travel or even during your lunch break.

  • Jumping Jacks
  • Jump Rope
  • Hula Hooping
  • Walk/Run Intervals
  • Power Walks
  • Heel Walking~ great for your legs & your balance
  • Push ups

For a total body workout, don’t forget the arms! Grab your 2 lbs jars of honey and work those biceps and triceps!

*All photos are courtesy of Miel Pura.

*Thank you Miel Pura for my yoga mat and healthy recipes.

*Thank you Bárbara Trujillo Gómez for showing us how to trim and tone!

*The above review on this post is unbiased. I have not received monetary compensation to write this review, although I may have received a party favor that may or may not have been part of this review.


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Love the Muppets?

When I was a young girl, many of our evenings were spent with the Muppets. We used to love watching the numerous misadventures that the lovable wacky felt characters would find themselves in week after week. My mother would laugh hysterically every time the grumpy old men from the balcony would poke fun at Fozzie Bear’s jokes. Gonzo’s chickens would have my sister and me giggling whenever they fluttered onto the stage. It was a lot of fun to watch them! They produced a few movies later and are an all time favorite of ours. Theses movies are something that my boys have had the good fortune to enjoy thanks dvd’s. Now the Muppets are hitting the big screen later this year with another adventure I’m sure all will love to watch.

Bellow is the synopsis, trailer, and some additional information about their latest movie.

Synopsis:

On vacation in Los Angeles, Walter, the world’s biggest Muppet fan, and his friends Gary (Jason Segel) and Mary (Amy Adams) from Smalltown, USA, discover the nefarious plan of oilman Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) to raze the Muppet Theater and drill for the oil recently discovered beneath the Muppets’ former stomping grounds. To stage The Greatest Muppet Telethon Ever and raise the $10 million needed to save the theater, Walter, Mary and Gary help Kermit reunite the Muppets, who have all gone their separate ways: Fozzie now performs with a Reno casino tribute band called the Moopets, Miss Piggy is a plus-size fashion editor at Vogue Paris, Animal is in a Santa Barbara clinic for anger management, and Gonzo is a high-powered plumbing magnate. With secret, signature, celebrity cameos, “The Muppets” hits the big screen Nov. 23, 2011.


Genre:  Family Comedy

Rating:  TBD

U.S. Release Date:  November 23, 2011

Cast:  Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo, Animal, Jason Segel, Amy Adams, Chris Cooper and Walter

Director:  James Bobin

Producers:  David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman

Executive Producers:  Jason Segel, Nicholas Stoller, Martin G. Baker

Writers:  Jason Segel, Nicholas Stoller

*Photos and trailer are courtesy of DreamWorks.

*The above post is primarily a press release.  Any additional thoughts expressed are 100% my own and are andunbiased. I have not received monetary compensation to write this review.

 


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Sneak Preview of the Help

When I first learned that the book “The Help” was going to be made into a movie I couldn’t wait to finish reading it. It’s one of those stories that inspire discussion about women’s struggles and their relationship to each other. I believe this is going to be one of those movies that can easily be appreciated in both forms. Let me know if you read the book and are planing to watch the movie in the summer.

Look for its release on August 12! Below is the synopsis of the movie followed by a featurette and additional information.

Synopsis:

Based on one of the most talked about books in years and a #1 New York Times best-selling phenomenon,  “The Help” stars Emma Stone (“Easy A”) as Skeeter, Academy Award®–nominated Viola Davis (“Doubt”) as Aibileen and Octavia Spencer as Minny—three very different, extraordinary women in Mississippi during the 1960s,  who build an unlikely friendship around a secret writing project that breaks societal rules and puts them all at risk. From their improbable alliance a remarkable sisterhood emerges, instilling all of them with the courage to transcend the lines that define them, and the realization that sometimes those lines are made to be crossed—even if it means bringing everyone in town face-to-face with the changing times.

Deeply moving, filled with poignancy, humor and hope, “The Help” is a timeless and universal story about the ability to create change.


Genre:  Drama

Rating:  PG-13

U.S. Release date:  August 12, 2011

Running Time:  137 mins.

Cast:  Jessica Chastain, Viola Davis, Bryce Dallas Howard, Allison Janney, Chris Lowell, Sissy Spacek, Octavia Spencer, Emma Stone, Cicely Tyson, Mike Vogel

Director:  Tate Taylor

Producers:  Brunson Green, Chris Columbus, Michael Barnathan

Executive Producers:  Mark Radcliffe, Tate Taylor, L. Dean Jones Jr., Nate Berkus, Jennifer Blum, John Norris, Jeff Skoll and Mohamed Mubarak Al Mazrouei

Screenplay by:  Tate Taylor

Based on the novel by:  Kathryn Stockett

*Photos and movie trailer/featurette are courtesy of DreamWorks Pictures.

*The above post is primarily a press release.  Any additional thoughts expressed are my own and 100% unbiased. I have not received monetary compensation to write this review.


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Movie Release: Pirates of the Caribbean on Stranger Tides

My boys love to watch the swashbuckler high adventure action from the Pirates of the Caribbean movie series. On our must see list is the latest of the series, On Stranger Tides. We can’t wait to see what troubles Jack Sparrow finds himself this time.

Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and directed by Rob Marshall, “Pirates of the Caribbean : On Stranger Tides” captures the fun, adventure and humor that ignited the hit franchise—this time in Disney Digital 3D™. Johnny Depp returns to his iconic role of Captain Jack Sparrow in an action-packed adventure. Crossing paths with the enigmatic Angelica (Penélope Cruz), he’s not sure if it’s love—or if she’s a ruthless con artist who’s using him to find the fabled Fountain of Youth. When she forces him aboard the “Queen Anne’s Revenge,” the ship of the legendary pirate Blackbeard (Ian McShane), Jack finds himself on an unexpected adventure in which he doesn’t know whom to fear more: Blackbeard or Angelica, with whom he shares a mysterious past. The international cast includes franchise vets Geoffrey Rush as the vengeful Captain Hector Barbossa and Kevin R. McNally as Captain Jack’s longtime comrade Joshamee Gibbs, plus Sam Claflin as a stalwart missionary and Astrid Bergès-Frisbey as a mysterious mermaid.

Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) finds himself on an unexpected journey to the fabled Fountain of Youth when a woman from his past (Penélope Cruz) forces him aboard the Queen Anne’s Revenge, the ship of the formidable pirate Blackbeard (Ian McShane).



*Photos and trailer are courtesy of Disney.

*The above post is primarily a press release.  Any additional thoughts expressed are my own and 100% unbiased. I have not received monetary compensation to write this review.


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LéaLA: Los Angles’ first Spanish book fair

Finding a large variety of books that are written in Spanish is nearly impossible at most book stores, that’s why I’m very excited about the LéaLA Spanish language book fair that’s being held this weekend at the Los Angeles Convention Center. When my husband and I first learned about this book fair, we couldn’t wait to find out more. It will feature more than 80 renowned authors from different Latin American countries including the U.S.

Over three days LéaLA will bring together one of the most impressive gatherings of highly acclaimed authors from the literary and cultural worlds. The Mexican state of Jalisco is the honored special guest and in recognition of its rich culture will present three literary greats: Juan Rulfo, Agustín Yáñez and Juan José Arreola; the performance of “Los placeres de la lengua” (The pleasures of language) with Ofelia Medina and Rubén Albarrán, as well as the Ballet Folkorico from the University of Guadalajara.  Stars from the education and entertainment worlds will also take part to foster the Spanish language and to recognize the varied cultural spectrum and traditions of Latinos in this country.  LéaLA is an initiative organized by the University of Guadalajara USA Foundation and supported by the Guadalajara International Book Fair, Feria Internacional del Libro, known worldwide as FIL; and the University of Guadalajara in Los Angeles.

LéaLA book fair will include daily seminars and workshops. Celebrities will participate in different literary cultural programs and activities, particularly reading to children in the kids’ zone. Isabel Allende, José José, Elena Poniatowska, Laura Restrepo and Francisco Martin Moreno are among the featured participants. Many activities and programs will be presented simultaneously in English and Spanish.

Admission is free, so you can bring your whole family!

When:  April 29, 30 and May 1st.

Time:  10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Where:  Los Angeles Convention Center, Concourse Hall, 1201 South Figueroa St., Los Angeles, 90015.

If you’ll be in town, I hope to find you at LéaLA this weekend!

*LéaLA graphic above is courtesy of LéaLA.

*The above review on this post is unbiased and all thoughts are my own. I have not received monetary compensation to write this review.


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African Cats from Disneynature

Earlier this week I was treated to a special screening of Disneynature’s African Cats. I was quickly swept away by the gorgeous cinematography. The close-ups of the cats were amazing! I could literally see a tick at one point in the movie!! Samuel L. Jackson’s buttery narration boomed beautifully throughout the theater. It pulled the action on screen together nicely.

African Cats takes viewers to a real life nature reserve in the African Savanna. It features two cat families- lions and cheetahs. The movie is rated G so you don’t have to worry about any horrific hunting scenes. It’s a Disney movie so expect to see a lot of cute and sweet moments. I loved the connection that African Cats made between the love of a mother for her cubs and the need to survive. I hope you’ll get a chance to see this movie!

Below is a synopsis of the movie and a trailer.



Genre: True Life Adventure
Rating: G
U.S. Release Date: April 22, 2011

Narrator: Samuel L. Jackson
Directors: Keith Scholey, Alastair Fothergill
Producers: Keith Scholey, Alix Tidmarsh
An epic true story set against the backdrop of one of the wildest places on Earth, “African Cats” captures the real-life love, humor and determination of the majestic kings of the savanna. Narrated by Oscar®-nominated actor Samuel L. Jackson, the story features Mara, an endearing lion cub who strives to grow up with her mother’s strength, spirit and wisdom; Sita, a fearless cheetah and single mother of five mischievous newborns; and Fang, a proud leader of the pride who must defend his family from a rival lion and his sons. Disneynature brings “The Lion King” to life on the big screen in this True Life Adventure directed by Keith Scholey and Alastair Fothergill (“Earth”). An awe-inspiring adventure blending family bonds with the power and cunning of the wild, “African Cats” leaps into theatres on Earth Day, April 22, 2011.

*I received a free screening of this movie.

*All photos and movie trailer are courtesy of Disneynature.

*The above review on this post is unbiased. I have not received monetary compensation to write this review, although I may have received a party favor that may or may not have been part of this review.