Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Review - Star Wars: The Last Jedi - Episode VIII Is Great!

Once in a blue moon, hubby gets to take advantage of my blogger perks. He just about fell out of his chair when I told him we had a press preview for The Last Jedi. As you can see from his smile below, Episode VIII was great!

Guest Post by Hubby Garcia

I was scared to watch this movie. I have a serious love for Star Wars. One of my earliest memories is of entering a dark movie theater with my dad and seeing the Death Star moving on the screen. As a kid, I would watch the movies over and over. I remember watching the Ewok adventure and the Star Wars Holiday special. I read the novels, collected the comic books, and who as a kid didn't try to move something with the force. (I confess I still do at times)

I thought nothing could match the original trilogy theatrically. The prequels were just 'ok'. I thought how could they mess it up. (They did) The Clone War and Rebel series had their moments and great character arcs. Rogue One was the closest to what I wanted as a Star Wars fan. The sacrifice and desperation those characters went through were what reminded me what made Star Wars great. Hope in the face of certain death.  

But then there's The Force Awakens. Sure it wasn't the prequels, and it was passable as a Star Wars movie. I love Rey, Finn, and Poe as the new leads. But, JJ Abrams to me cribbed A New Hope because Starkiller base was just a bigger Death Star.

The trailers for The Last Jedi didn't make me feel better either. New AT-ATs (AT-M6s) advancing on the Resistance base? Luke training Rey? Rey facing Kylo Ren in a lightsaber battle? all seeming to be callbacks to Empire Strikes Back.

I was extremely and pleasantly surprised. This is hard to write without including spoilers. Sure, I had to arrest my disbelief at some parts. But Star Wars is science fantasy, not science fiction. It had the right tone and balance. It expanded the mythos of the Force and the Jedi. The best part is director Rian Johnson gave the main characters more dimension. The desperation, the sacrifice, and hope. It's all there.  There was a feeling of what was at stake as well beginning to end. Even the jokes were the right tone.

Were there flaws? Sure, no movie is perfect. There is a part that was too much of an homage to Leia's character, played posthumously by Carrie Fisher. One could question decisions made by the First Order leadership. but nothing that will pull the viewer out like the Rathars did for me in The Force Awakens.

Of course, I would recommend watching The Last Jedi. What makes it different is I believe The Last Jedi is the best Star Wars movie yet. The characters were better fleshed out and developed. The storyline is intriguing. The force is strong with this one.

Star Wars The Last Jedi hits theaters December 15, 2017.  I'll see you there! Yes, I already have my tickets for my 2nd and 3rd viewing!

Disclaimer: Garcia Memories received free passes to view and comment on the movie.


Thursday, December 7, 2017

Enjoy the Holidays at SeaWorld San Diego

The holidays at SeaWorld San Diego are always so much fun!

This year, SeaWorld San Diego brings the moving story of the Nativity with the new live holiday musical, O Wondrous Night, The Greatest Story Never Told, as part of SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration, Nov. 18, 2017 through Jan. 6, 2018.

The spectacular stage show, performed under the stars nightly at the marine park’s Nautilus Amphitheater, tells the Christmas story from a new point of view: through the eyes of the animals. This breathtaking musical features more than 30 carols, beautiful storytelling puppets and live majestic animals, including camels, a donkey, llamas, sheep and doves.

There are also our annual favorites...


Returning this holiday season is the most famous reindeer, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, making it the best time of the year to visit. SeaWorld San Diego is the only theme park on the West Coast where people can meet this lovable character that has charmed generations for more than 50 years. Families can visit Rudolph’s Christmastown, which has something for everyone, including photo opportunities with Rudolph and his friends Clarice, Bumble and Yukon Cornelius. (It’ll be easy to spot Rudolph with his nose so bright!) Enjoy the nightly tree-lighting ceremony of the 40-foot Happiest Christmas Tree, accompanied by the Misfit Brass band.


Friends and family can cozy up at Santa’s Christmas Village, where children listen to Mrs. Claus during story time. Kids can share their wish list and take pictures with Santa at Santa’s Cottage. Parents can also check in for a pager that will hold their spot in line to meet Santa so that the family can explore the Village, including educational encounters with real reindeer from Santa’s workshop,“Merry Moments” with Santa’s friendly elves and delectable culinary creations.


SeaWorld goes all out, with more than a million holiday lights, hundreds of Christmas trees and 5,000 feet of garland. The lights of SeaWorld’s 320-foot Skytower Tree of Lights, the largest Christmas tree in Southern California, will dance in sync with classic holiday songs. Outside Nautilus Amphitheater, guests will find the Cat’s Christmas Parlor, where the feline stars of Pets Rule! hang out in their own holiday-themed house.

We hope you'll enjoy SeaWorld San Diego as much as we did! Happy holidays from our family to yours!

For more information on SeaWorld San Diego's holiday festivities, visit


Wednesday, December 6, 2017

10 Years of Macy's Believe Campaign with Make A Wish Foundation

Have your kids written their letters to Santa yet? 

The 10th anniversary of Macy’s iconic holiday program, Believe, benefiting Make-A-Wish®, just launched. With this program, “Believers” of all ages can bring their letters to Santa to their local Macy’s store and deliver them to special red letterboxes or create and send a letter online.

For each letter received, Macy’s will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million, helping grant wishes of children with critical illnesses.

Visit for more information.

Disclaimer: I receive promotional items in exchange for his blog post and social media shares. All opinions are mine. 


Monday, December 4, 2017

Personalized Gifts in Time for Christmas

Looking for personalized gifts for the holidays?

Stuck on You introduces a collection of cool, creative personalized offerings! Great gift ideas for the upcoming holidays for children of all ages including:
  • Sketch books
  • Journals
  • Reward Charts
  • Note Pads
  • Pencil Pouches
  • Family Planners
  • Flash Cards
  • School Kits and Coloring Kits
  • Personalized stationery
  • Call Me Cards
  • Camp Post Cards
  • Desk Calenders
  • Game Pads
  • Coloring kits and more….

The planner that I am, I chose to try the Stuck On You Family Wall Planner. 

The large A2 Wall Planner is an elegant way to keep track of your family's important events in one location! Comes with 168 mini ‘event’ labels and is made from durable non-tearable paper.

I bought a cool frame to put the calendar in so I could hang it on our family room wall. My boys have been enjoying planning out 2018 together.

I look forward to looking at this calendar a year from now to see all the cool things we did in 2018!

You can see Stuck On You’s products here:

Place your orders soon at to make it in time for Christmas!

Follow Stuck on You:

Disclaimer: I received complimentary product in exchange for this blog post and social media shares. All opinions are mine. 


Sunday, December 3, 2017

Book Review: The Birthday Rules: Critical Conversations to Have with Your Children

When I was pregnant, the book What to Expect When You are Expecting was my survival guide. During my first pregnancy in 2007, pregnancy apps were not what they are today, so "old-school" books was the way to go. Week-by-week the book helped me understand what was happening with my body, not to mention the workings of the little human growing inside me. 

As they say, babies don't come with instruction manuals, but there are many books to help with the first few years with a small child.

What about after that? Where's the instruction manual?

This book starts at age 6 and goes all the way to year 16, giving parents talking points for important topics for each age.

As I read through the book, I relived the past few years with my 9-year-old. Most of the topics I have had talks with him over the years like minding his manners at age 6, limits on screen time at age 7, issues with friends at age 8, and now the "bird and the bees" at age 9 (see my post here).

Parenting has not been easy. It's not easy to stick to routines when I'm exhausted from a days work. Sometimes I want to skip the routines of checking homework, the guiding my boys in helping set up and clean after dinner, postpone the showers, not check that the teeth are brushed, skip story time and prayers, and all that. But, I push through because I know my boys need the routines to learn responsibility. I believe parents model the behavior they want in their children. I've tried my best to do that.

I wish I had a copy of this book to give to all my future students' parents. The topics presented in the book are key to help support students in their emotional and social growth. Parents I work with, as their high school school counselor, are having issues with discipline, lack of responsibility or disrespect. I believe they missed the window to have the essential conversations during the critical ages of growing up presented in the book The Birthday Rules: Critical Conversations to Have with Your Children (Ages 6 to 16).

In my experience as a school counselor, parents are scared to have some of these discussions. They don't know how to start or what words to say. They are afraid of how their children will react. they are worried they won't have an answer when their child might have questions. I believe this book can be easily used by any parent. This book is a great guide to help parents start those important conversations. It is an easy, quick read where each chapter can be read together with a child literally at his or her birthday each year. 

Where can you get the book? There is a hardcover or Kindle version available on Amazon.com This would make a great stocking stuffer for friends and family who have small children. 

Thanks again Thanks to our friends over at Farrow PR for my copy of The Birthday Rules: Critical Conversations to Have with Your Children (Ages 6 to 16). All opinions are mine. 


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