I love dolphins. Really…I do!!!

Anytime the thought “Mama would have loved this” crosses my mind,  I know whatever it’s in reference to is a keeper. So when that was the first thing I said after seeing the trailer for “Dolphin Tale 2” I knew I needed to share it with y’all. In fact, I’m not so sure there wasn’t some sort of motherly, ‘divine’ intervention behind me being asked by GraceHill Media to sneak peek the trailer and give my thoughts. After all, the film IS due out on September 19, 2014, and that happens to be Mama’s birthday! If she were alive, I could take her to see it in celebration of her 82 years on Earth. Unfortunately, that’s not possible…so I’ll just take The Beans in her honor, and remind them how much she would have loved it 🙂 Although I haven’t had the privilege of  seeing the entire film yet, The Beans and I saw the original Dolphin Tale when it was in theaters back in 2011. All four of us were laughing, crying and cheering simultaneously. It’s just that kind of movie. So to say I am excited for the sequel is an understatement! And with the original cast (Morgan Freeman, Harry Connick Jr., Ashley Judd, Kris Kristofferson, Nathan Gamble, Cozi Zuehlsdorff, and Winter the Dolphin) teaming up again to help save a new member of the Dolphin Tale family, –Baby Hope–this film promises to be just as wonderful as the first one! Don’t take my word for it though; watch the trailer for yourself below…. and check back here as September draws closer, because I might just be participating in a Dolphin Tale 2 giveaway of some kind!!

Dolphin Tale 2 OFFICIAL POSTER

 

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GRACE UNPLUGGED

Every so often, I’m invited to cool events as the result of my incessant over-sharing here  at a calibama state of mind. Some are blogger networking soireés, others are invitations to be part of the audience for a talk show, and others are opportunities to attend private screenings of great films before they are released.  That’s what happened last week, and the film sent such a positive message, I want to tell y’all about it so you won’t miss it once it opens in theaters this Friday!

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**A talented young singer and aspiring songwriter’s Christian faith and family ties are tested when she defies her worship-pastor father and pursues pop-music stardom in GRACE UNPLUGGED, a moving and inspiring new film that explores the true meaning of success.

Grace Trey has just turned 18 and aspires to do more than sing in her church’s worship band, which is led by her father, Johnny Trey, a one-time pop star who gave up his life in secular music when he became a Christian. Grace longs to escape his shadow and make a name for herself singing songs about something other than God, but Johnny warns her that fame is not as glamorous as it looks and reminds her that serving and worshipping God with the talent she’s been given is a far more worthwhile goal.

When Johnny’s former manager, Frank “Mossy” Mostin shows up 20 years after the two parted ways to offer him another shot at the big time, Johnny declines the opportunity. But Grace takes it – without telling her parents. She records a cover version of her father’s old Top 10 hit, runs away to Los Angeles and, under Mossy’s guidance, begins to taste the kind of success she’s always dreamed of, landing on the charts herself, attracting the attention of the entertainment press, even dating a popular TV star.  But with each rung of the ladder she climbs, Grace feels pressure to compromise her Christian values, and her relationship with her parents gets further strained. Even as plans move forward for her to record a follow-up album, Grace learns not everyone who says they’re on her side really is. The one exception is Quentin, an intern at her record company and a fellow Christian who urges Grace to reassess her choices and put God first again in her life. Will everything she experiences lead her to reject her faith … or …rediscover it?

 

Ironically, the screening was scheduled for last Wednesday evening, which happened to be not only the eve of Sugar Bean’s 14th birthday, but also the night she attends her beloved youth group meeting at our church. And as much as I adore attending a private screening (and even more so the party that usually follows) I must admit, when Sugar Bean opted to attend youth group instead of the movie, I smiled a bit. Okay, a lot. Because raising a teenage daughter in LA is really tough, and there is always a moment of pride when you are presented with unequivocal evidence your angel has her priorities aligned properly: God, Family, and Fun. In. That. Order.

Our very important scheduling conflict did not, however, mean all was lost. Thanks to the miracle of modern technology, and a great girl named Briana at Grace Hill Media, who hooked me up with a digital link, and provided me with log-in credentials…we were able to enjoy the film from the comfort of our own home, snuggled up together in our jammies. And it’s such an amazing, feel good family flick, that was an outstanding way to experience it. Quality mother/daughter bonding time is always sheer perfection! And the icing? The film is partly set in Birmingham, Alabama, which is not far from where I grew up, so I recognized the scenery. That’s always fun!

Anyway, the film itself is just the kind of movie I love to show The Beans. It’s packed with teenage angst, disobedience and rebellion. Wait…what?! Did I just say that? Yes. Yes I did. It’s incredibly relatable, and the rebellion is dealt with sensibly; emphasizing faith, family and the importance of remembering your roots, following your beliefs, maintaining strong morals, and trusting God to lead you along the path to where you belong. It’s packed with teachable moments. Yes, it’s a Christian film. But it’s much much more than that, so don’t shy away from seeing it, even if your spirituality and faith is rooted elsewhere. Because with all the horrifying images and behavior exhibited these days by the very pop stars whom our youth once viewed as ‘role models’, this movie is a gust of fresh, clean air our children can breathe in and be inspired by. The character of Grace Trey is just the kind of girl anyone would be overjoyed to have as a daughter, and fortunately….I’m pretty sure I’m raising three of her, with help from positive works of cinematic brilliance like GRACE UNPLUGGED. 

Starring AJ Michalka, James Denton, Kevin Pollack, Shawnee Smith, Michael Welch, and Jamie Grace, GRACE UNPLUGGED arrives in theaters October 4 from Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions. Inspired by a true story, GRACE UNPLUGGED is directed by Brad J. Silverman and produced by Russ Rice, the team behind NO GREATER LOVE.

AJ with Dad Performing In Church[1]

Grace Piano & Guitar[2]

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You can visit the official website, view the trailer and follow the journey of this film by clicking the links below:

Website: www.graceunplugged.com

Official Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0zIUGjIR1Q

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/GraceUnplugged

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/GraceMovie

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**Denotes synopsis provided by Grace Hill Media. All images provided by Grace Hill Media, with permission from Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions.

The opinions stated here are entirely mine, and mine alone, and I did not receive any monetary compensation in exchange for my review. 

Shout out to FRESH BROTHERS PIZZA!!

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It’s no secret that when I plan things, Murphy’s Law kicks into high gear and throws a curve ball the size of the moon. So I usually just trust the wings I have growing out of my butt, and fly by the seat of my pants. It works for us, so probably best not to tempt fate too often, right? On occasion though, it is necessary to deviate from our mellow, go with the flow lifestyle in order to enjoy one day only, special events (hint: Murphy doesn’t take the day off.)

This past Saturday was one such day. I planned for our family tribe to attend an event at the latest location of FRESH BROTHERS PIZZA in Hollywood. The event was for MomsLA contributors and promised to be awesome….packed with pizza making, face-painting and all around fun. The Man and The Beans were ecstatic when I told them, so off we went!

It was scheduled for 11am and we arrived around 11:15. Much to my surprise, we were the only ones there…..except, of course Murphy and that Law Book. I approached the counter and confidently introduced myself to the manager, announcing we were there for the event. He looked at me with a bit of surprise, and asked if we’d booked a private party. Wait…what?!!  When I explained, he immediately got on the phone with Debbie Goldberg, one of the owners, while I whipped out my phone and logged into FB to check the original posting, and see if I’d completely lost my mind (don’t answer that). Turned out, the event was rescheduled for September….but of course, I’d missed that detail. Yeah…I’m a bonehead, and this is a sparkling example.

Not to worry though. Debbie and I chatted briefly on the phone, and she said for us to have a blast…lunch was on FRESH BROTHERS! I couldn’t believe it. The mix-up was completely my mistake, and she went out of her way to fix it. That is the ultimate in customer service!! The staff rolled out the red carpet of hospitality, and we had THE BEST TIME! The Beans made pizza, The Man watched sports, and I took pictures. A fabulous day was had by all!!

playing with dough

playing with dough

ingredients for perfect pizza making

ingredients for perfect pizza making

The Man, The Beans and some quality pizza making

The Man, The Beans and some quality pizza making

YUMMY!!!

YUMMY!!!

Oh, and the pizza?  To be honest, I’ve never been much of a pizza fan…so it takes  a lot to impress me when it comes to that particular cuisine. But I can, without any hesitation at all, say it was the YUMMIEST I HAVE EVER TASTED! Fresh Brothers has shown me the light…lol. In fact, I told The Man I would be ordering it often, and he would be picking it up on his way home from work 🙂

Again, I can’t thank Debbie and her staff enough. What a way to make me look like a hero in front of my tribe!

 

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best 2 days ever

Monday was my Oldest’s birthday. She turned 12. Wowza….I have a pre-teen. The day was grande though! Cake for breakfast, presents (including a pogo stick) in the afternoon, and the event I have been waiting on the arrival of for 5 years: her return to gymnastics. She began training when she was 4.5, reached competition level, and decided it was too much. I cried that day. Nothing worse than watching your child, with a divine given talent for a sport decide to quit, having no choice but to allow it. Swore that if she returned, it would be her idea, and I patiently waited. Finally, it happened, and away she went. Muscle memory kicked in, and she lit up the facility. On the way home, she said, “Mommy it feels so good to be back on the mat!”. Music to my ears:-) Tonight she is being evaluated for placement on one of the teams (update to follow). Wish her luck! 

So that was Monday. Yesterday held another surprise….

I received notification that my Youngest had been granted a Kindergarten spot at the school where my Middle baby attends. Hallelujah! She starts tomorrow. The only hurdle left, is getting the Oldest there. We’ll know in a couple of weeks. Nonetheless, my life is getting easier! 

Oh, and just this morning I received a very sweet email from Andrea Burridge with Mereadesso Woman, informing me that I have a goody bag full of their phenomenal skin care products on it’s way via FedEx!! You really must visit their site, and order some Face + Neck Toning Gel. It’s an all-in-one product I will never be able to live without. Ever. Although I already have a few products from Sophyto I have been using for a bit, this new gem of a product fit right in!!! So wonderful when things peacefully co-exist together, huh? 

Ciao for now….I have to embrace Wednesday and see what else is in store!!