Marvel Universe Live Combines Superheroes, Technology and Live Entertainment

As a boy mom who also happens to write about trending kid products, shows and beyond, it’s safe to say, I’ve become well-versed in the realm of superheroes. It’s superheroes 24/7 up in here.

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A live action superhero show featuring our favorite characters piqued our interest when we first heard about it earlier this year; we’ve been anticipating Marvel Universe Live ever since.

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Feld Entertainment’s Marvel Universe Live, currently in East Rutherford, NJ’s Izod Center, commanded an arena of superhero-adoring children and equally bright-eyed parents.  The hour and a half live show featured choreographed stunts, motocross and non-stop action on a high-tech set, complemented by various aerial props and stunts.  Amidst an audience waving twinkling swords and slurping Spiderman Snocones, the actors/stunt people fulfilled heroic endeavors as they traveled across the globe.

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Feld Entertainment has a penchant for live shows and engaging their audiences with original story lines, and Marvel Universe Live was no exception. This show brought 25 iconic Marvel characters together in one performance as they banded together (and against) for the quest of the Cosmic Cube. Because of the Cosmic Cube’s inherent power, it is a coveted treasure that was shattered by Thor to prevent it getting into the wrong hands.  Since all the pieces were scattered around the globe, Thor’s evil brother, Loki, cooked up a plan to clone its powers that would destroy our planet and crush the Universe.  Naturally, it was up to the superheroes to save the Universe.

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With the magic of 3-D projection and the incredible set design, the storyline was fluid as it hopped around the globe. Geographically, we watched superheroes scale snow-covered mountains, battle on top of the Statue of Liberty and conquer evil all on one stage.  The transitions from scene to scene were seamless and unobtrusive. The pyrotechnics, light effects and musical score complemented the set design, and of course the talent of the stars.

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Our superhero-loving family was engaged from start to finish—we didn’t want it to end!  We loved seeing all of the superheroes together defeating the evil forces, live and in person. Some of the superheroes featured included: Iron Man, Spider-Man, Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, Thor and Wolverine who faced evil forces such as Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, Red Skull, Madame Hydra, Aldrich Killian, Electro and more. I was sort of expecting to see Stan Lee show up somewhere on the set!  The excitement of watching a movie in a theater is always thrilling, but to experience a live show with so much detail and fanfare is extraordinary. 

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As guests of The Moms, we were treated to a lovely VIP reception and pre-show activities.  My kids got to sharpen their archery skills, perfect their jabs and uppercuts and earn their own superhero badge at the end.  A big thank you to The Moms for organizing such a fun experience.

 

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Now for the fine print:  this show is NOT for everyone.  If you have kids who can’t sit and focus for an hour and half show, I’d absolutely avoid this, and any show until they could sit still.  In my opinion, it’s hard for not only the parent and kid who can’t sit still, but also for those around them.  My two year old could not and would not sit still.  He likes superheroes, but he doesn’t understand the concept of sitting still.  After letting him run around for a few minutes in the food area, one of the seating attendants let our family sit in a vacant row. If you’re on the fence about your little one who may not sit for the show or be scared by the noise/lights, my recommendation would be to wait until they’re old enough to truly appreciate the show than to force them to sit through something they might hate.

This is a show where it’s dark almost the entire time and lights were constantly being projected.  Sometimes, light effects were strobing, sometimes they flashed more intermittently.  Laser-like lights were evident throughout, as well.  Coupled with loud music and pyrotechnics, I would not recommend the show for sensory sensitive audience members.

Overall, Marvel Universe Live truly did not disappoint with its non-stop action, original story and mesmerizing set design.  This is a concept show that utilizes well-loved characters, harnesses technology and talent to tell an original story before a live audience and a fickle fan base!  This was one of those shows that we can’t stop talking about and will tell anyone who will listen all about it—it was that good!

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Marvel Universe Live will be at Izod Center in NJ until August 10th and will then be at the Barclay Center in Brooklyn from August 13-17 and then LI later in August.  Not in the tri-state area?  Check to see if Marvel Universe Live will be in your town.

Full disclosure: We received complimentary tickets and a parking pass to facilitate this review.  As always, all opinions on NKT are my own. 

Rocking Out with the Julius Jr. Rock ‘n Playhouse

When it comes to music, we love to rock out every chance we get.  We recently had the chance to check out one of Fisher Price’s latest toys, Julius Jr.’s Rock ‘n Playhouse.

 

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When Julius Jr. uses his imagination and creativity to create a playhouse with a cardboard box, awesome things happen.  Though our kids can create their own awesome on their own with regular ol’ boxes, this Julius Jr. Rock ’n Playhouse is a great playset for toddlers and preschoolers.  The Playhouse is a recreation of what can be seen on Julius Jr., including a spaceship, skateramp, disco ball and slide.  What makes the Rock ’n Playhouse so great is the catchy music and Julius Jr. figures and accessories.

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My little guy absolutely loves pushing the dance floor and watching it light up and play music.  He loves to sing and dance, so the musical dance floor is, perhaps, our favorite feature.  The cool skate ramp though?  That comes in close second.  You can’t go wrong with a playset that has a dance floor, skateramp and monkey that rocks out!

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The Julius Jr. Rock ’n Playhouse is available at major retailers and retails for $49.99.  Julius Jr. is on Nick Jr. at 5pm Monday-Friday and Sundays from 10-11am!

Full disclosure:  A sample was provided to facilitate this review and as a part of the Saban Brandbassador program.  As always, all opinions are my own.

Tommee Tippee Fiesta Fun Time Collection Now Available on Amazon

Leave it to Tommee Tippee to change it up and add some vibrant colors to the otherwise pastel-hued baby gear aisles.  Tommee Tippee has introduced the Fiesta Fun Time collection, which is now available on Amazon.  This limited edition collection features Tommee Tippee’s Closer to Nature bottles in six jewel-toned colors including Green Glory, Turquoise Treat, Party Purple, Rascal Red, Grass Green and Sea Breeze Blue.  The Fiesta Fun Time Collections comes packaged with all the aforementioned colors in the 9 oz. Closer to Nature TT bottles.

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These BPA-free bottles feature the Easi-Vent valve which aims to eliminate excessive air flow. Breastfeeding mamas on the go will appreciate the breast-like nipples that mimic bfing.  As an exclusive bfing mama, TT bottles were among the only bottles that worked for us.  There was never nipple confusion, and TT bottles just made sense for us.  And as someone who LOVES color, I absolutely love this variety pack of the Fiesta Fun Time TT bottles.  My personal favorite color in the collection is the Party Purple, not just because we love to party, but purple for epilepsy awareness.

The Tommee Tippee Fiesta Fun Time Collection includes six boldly colored 9 ounce bottles and is available now at Amazon.com

Full disclosure: This is a sponsored post, but as always, all opinions on NKT are my own.  Affiliate links are included in this post.  

Review: Little Kids TMNT Splash Out Ball

During the summer, we can’t get enough of outdoor play.  Some days, we’re outside and in the water from the minute we wake up to the minute we go to bed.

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On that end, outdoor toys get much play time.  We love sports, bubbles, biking and truly, anything that has to do with water.  I loved learning that Little Kids’ has a fun selection of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle toys, but I was immediately drawn to their cool water toy, the Splash Out Ball.

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Just as it sounds, the Splash Out Ball is a ball that can be used with water play.  Just fill the ball with water, either manually or by submerging, and then close the cap.  Toss the ball back and forth, like you would in a game of hot potato.  When time runs out, someone gets splashed when the chamber pops open.  

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The Splash Out Ball is so easy and perfect for the pool or beach.  It’s like playing with a water balloon without the mess of balloon remnants.  A caveat of this game is that it can be hard for the younger ones to fill so that it’s full enough to pop open…and of course, when it pops open too early and all over you!

Parragon Books Makes Summer Reading Fun

It’s an exciting time in our house these days.  Not only are we having fun being outdoors all day, but we’re enjoying our downtime with reading.  My older son is reading fluently now, in time for First Grade in a few weeks.  He’s at that cool/funny phase where he’s spelling everything—his answers to questions, all the signs he reads and even the things he’s thinking about out loud.  It’s both hilarious and borderline a-n-n-o-y-i-n-g.

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Just in time for this special time of further cultivating my book lovers, we were asked to join a fun program with Parragon Books.  Parragon Books has a cool Book Buddies program where a select group of bloggers read and review their titles. 

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For June, we had a great time checking out Stickersaurus and Discovery Kids 1000 Strange but True Animal Facts.

Stickersaurus is a quirky novelty book that has hundreds of dinosaur stickers and pullout pages. With the stickers and word bubbles, it has a comic book feel.  I especially love the thick pages, which makes the application and re-application of stickers easy and fun.  Stickersaurus not only encourages imagination and creativity, but it reinforces story creation and story sequence.  It’s ideal for ages five and up.

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Discovery Kids 1000 Strange but True Animal Facts is perfect for curious animal lovers.  As a kid, I loved books with lists and fragmented thoughts, so books like these would keep me occupied for hours.  I love how the book is full of education and eye-catching lists. Most of the facts are weird facts that I never knew, but ones the big kid and I enjoyed poring over on a rainy day.

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We loved checking out these great books and can’t wait to read even more fun titles from Parragon!

Cost Plus World Market Opens in Livingston, NJ

The day has finally arrived:  New Jersey just got a little more stylish and a bit more delicious—and it has absolutely nothing to do with a RHoNJ or a Jersey Shore “star.”

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North Jersey is shining a bit brighter today with a store grand opening of a beloved home furnishing retail chain.  The grand opening of Cost Plus World Market in Livingston, NJ marks the first store in the Northeast for the chain that got its start on the west coast.  With 259 stores, World Market is well known for their collection of bold and eclectic home decor, as well as their gourmet and international food selection.

Our family took a spin around the Livingston location several weeks ago during the store’s soft opening for employees and others.  Having heard the praises of Cost Plus World Market’s statement pieces, my expectations were quite high.  

As soon as we walked in, we were greeted by several employees who were anxious to help us and show off the new store.  I was too distracted by all the beautiful, shiny kitchen gadgets to have a conversation with anyone, never mind see straight.  

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On the eternal hunt for a statement chair for our living room, I was enamored by the selection of the upholstered chairs up front. I still see that turquoise chair in my dreams; it was love at first sight.

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From gorgeous window treatments to sleek dining tables to quirky cooking accouterments to copious flavors of cookie spreads: Cost Plus World Market is a foodie and design enthusiast’s dream store.  I could walk around for hours just checking out all the unique accessories and extensive gourmet food section, alone.

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After my first in-person visit, World Market truly exceeded my expectations.  I’ve perused the website many times over the years, but the brick and mortar experience didn’t disappoint.  There’s much to be said of the vivid colors and gorgeous displays throughout the store.  In terms of the customer service, I had a question about a flavored olive oil, and one of the employees who worked in a different department directed me to the exact location where I could find what I was looking for.

As with everything, there’s always a caveat.  While I love that the first Northeast location is in North Jersey, I’m curious as to why Livingston was the chosen town.  I would certainly shop World Market more often if it was closer to one of my favorite high traffic malls in my personal shopping circuit. But that’s just my opinion!

On the coupon front, be sure to join the World Market Explorer program, which gives you access to rewards and coupons!  And speaking of coupons, of course there are printable coupons available online.

As a kid product blogger, though, I absolutely loved the retro toys and gadget section in the middle of the store.  This section had all the nostalgic toys from our youth, including a pretty sweet Little Golden Books display.  My kid personally loved the candy, oh and that cushy papasan chair, too!

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And since it’s the store’s grand opening TODAY, they have quite a few fun events to celebrate.  Per Cost Plus World Market:

The first 100 shoppers through the door on Thursday, July 10 will receive a $10 Cost Plus World Market gift card. The store opens at 9:00am today. From Thursday, July 10 through Sunday, July 13, 2014, the first 100 customers will receive a free reusable World Market tote bag and will be able to enjoy live entertainment, food and beverage sampling and more.

To help celebrate the grand opening, World Market welcomes Jonathan and Drew Scott, hosts of HGTV’s “Property Brothers,” to the store on Saturday, July 12 from 1:00 – 3:00 pm. The first 200 shoppers to bring five non-perishable food items to donate to the Community Food Bank of New Jersey will have a chance to meet Jonathan and Drew and receive a signed photo.

  

Full disclosure:  this is NOT a sponsored post.  I was not individually compensated in any way.  However, because of my family’s affiliation with the parent company and my love for BBB, my thoughts are pretty biased, though my enthusiasm is truly genuine.

 

Wild Kratts on HuffPo Live Today

Any swamp animal and/or HuffPo fans out there? Today, some of our PBS Kids friends and animal experts, Chris and Martin Kratt of Wild Kratt fame, will be interviewed on HuffPo Live today.  

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They’ll be discussing their upcoming special on swamp animals, as well as sharing an upcoming clip. There will be a some kids video conferencing in for the interview, too!  If you tune in, be on the look out for my big guy, who will be asking a question or two!  Tune into HuffPo Live at 2 for the interview!

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The segment will be a quick one, so don’t blink!  If and when the video becomes available, I’ll be sure to share here!

 

You can catch Wild Kratts weekdays on PBS Kids or anytime on Apple Tv!  The PBS Kids Video App is now available on Android and Chromecast

Beachin’ it with Paul Frank Summer Essentials

Lazy summer days simply don’t exist in our house.  Since we live in an active lake community and an active town in general, we typically find ourselves trotting from one fun event to another. Most of our summer mornings are spent at our lake’s “beach,” so we are in beach mode for almost the entire summer.


 

For us, “beach mode” entails snacks and meals on the go or packaged to eat on the beach.  We also always have our beach essentials packed into our beach bag and wagon.  Beach essentials include staples for the kids such as sunscreen, towels, beach toys and, of course, snacks!

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On that end, our June Saban Brand-bassador box included some super cool Paul Frank beach staples to supplement our ample supply.  I love that our Paul Frank pride is on display with the Skurvy Beach Towel, Reusable Snack Pack and Tumblers.

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The Skurvy Beach Towel is a big, cozy towel that’s both suitable for guys and girls.  It has polka dots, complemented by the signature Paul Frank Skurvy.  Both of my guys love warming up in this towel after a swim or simply laying out on it under the sun.  This towel can be found on Amazon.com for $17.00.

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The Paul Frank Snack Pack is a cool eco-friendly reusable snack pouch.  It folds flat, yet opens up to an elongated triangular shape that seals with Velcro.  The Snack Pack holds fun snacks like pretzels and popcorn and is perfectly sized for smaller portions.  My only wish is that it was bigger!  The Snack Pack retails for $6.50 each on Zak.com

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The tumbler is a fun cup, perfectly suited for either of my guys.  It has Julius on the front, with a convenient rubber bottom.  Like the Snack Pack, the tumbler is BPA-free and dishwasher safe, so clean up is easy and convenient.

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All of these beach essentials are perfect for on-the-go summer outings or relaxing days at home!

 

Full disclosure:  samples were provided as part of the Saban Brand-Bassador program.  As always, all opinions on NKT are my own.

Marvel Universe Live Sneak Peek

And speaking of superheroes, we’re getting pumped up for the Marvel Universe Live.  Marvel Universe Live, a live-action area stunt show, kicks off at Barclay’s Center on August 13. Here’s a peek at the behind-the-scenes “white model” video, which gives us a glimpse into this show that promises to be action-packed with excitement through the roof.

I don’t know about you, but they caught my attention with the guy on fire. Yowza!

To find out more information about Marvel Universe and to see if they’re coming to your town, check them out here.

Review: Hasbro Captain America Battle Helmet and Dualshot Gauntlet

 

In a house of boys, it’s all about super heroes all the time.  My two guys love playing good guy vs. bad guy.  Sometimes, it’s even Marvel vs. DC. Ha!  

Nevertheless, we’re all big fans of Marvel heroes, especially Captain America.  Since David Wright, one of our favorite baseball players is actually nicknamed Captain America, our Captain America hero gear does a whole lot of double duty.

 

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This spring, my friends at Hasbro sent us over some of the latest in Captain America role play toys. We’ve had a great time checking out the Captain America Battle Helmet and Dualshot Gauntlet. My big guy absolutely loved the new details of these toys, especially the the light up features of the Dualshot Guantlet.

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The Battle Helmet features a button-activated light-up visor and a missile-firing projectile rocket launcher that can also be connected to three different points on the helmet via the innovative rail system feature.  You can customize the helmet by connecting more gear such as the Recon Rangefinder and Dualshot Guantlet. The helmet uses two AAA batteries and retails for $19.99

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The Dualshot Gauntlet is a cool gauntlet device that can worn on a hand and can also shoot missiles.  As mentioned, this device can be worn on a hand or can be used as an add-on to the Battle Helmet.  The gauntlet uses two AAA batteries and retails for $7.99.

If you’re into Captain America or super heroes like we are, this gear from Hasbro would be a perfect complement to your battle supplies.

 

Full closure: Samples were provided to facilitate this review. As always, opinions on NKT are my own.