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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Broadway's Biggest Blockbuster, WICKED, is returning to the Detroit Opera House

After breaking box office records and selling out in record time in 2011, WICKED, Broadway’s biggest blockbuster, will return to the Detroit Opera House, December 10 – January 4.  Tickets go on sale Friday, September 12 at 10 AM at all Ticketmaster locations, by phone at 1-800-982-2787, online at www.ticketmaster.com/wicked or www.broadwayindetroit.com and at the Fisher Theatre  and Detroit Opera House box offices.

With music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz (Pippin, Godspell, Academy Award®-winner for Pocahontas and The Prince of Egypt) and book by Winnie Holzman (“My So Called Life,” “Once And Again” and “thirtysomething”), WICKED, the untold story of the witches of Oz, is directed by two-time Tony® Award winner Joe Mantello (Take Me Out, Love! Valour! Compassion!, The Vagina Monologues) and features musical staging by Tony® Award winner Wayne Cilento (Aida, The Who’s Tommy, How To Succeed…).

Based on the best-selling 1995 novel by Gregory Maguire, WICKED, winner of over 50 major awards, including a Grammy® and three Tony® Awards, is the untold story of the witches of Oz.  It is produced by Marc Platt, Universal Pictures, The Araca Group, Jon B. Platt and David Stone.

“I’m very pleased that we have secured a return of WICKED for Detroit, especially during the holiday season when many families are looking for an extra special way to enjoy quality time together,” said Alan Lichtenstein, Executive Director, Broadway In Detroit.  “In my opinion, the national tour is even better than the Broadway production, which I also loved. The producers of WICKED should be complimented for sending out such a high-quality show.”

Long before Dorothy drops in, two other girls meet in the Land of Oz.  One – born with emerald-green skin – is smart, fiery and misunderstood.  The other is beautiful, ambitious and very popular.  WICKED tells the story of their remarkable odyssey, and how these two unlikely friends grow to become the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good.

WICKED has been declared “A Cultural Phenomenon” by Variety and “The Best Musical of the Decade” by Entertainment WeeklyWICKED currently has nine productions around the world, in New York, London, Japan, Australasian Tour, South Korea, Latin America, a U.K. Tour, and two concurrent North American National Tours.  Since its New York premiere a decade ago, WICKED has grossed over $3.4 billion worldwide and has been seen by over 42 million across the globe.  WICKED has been performed in over 100 cities in 13 countries around the world (U.S., Canada, England, Ireland, Japan, Germany, Holland, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, The Philippines, and Mexico) and has thus far been translated into five languages: Japanese, German, Dutch, Spanish, and Korean. 

Performance times for WICKED appearing December 10 – January 4 at the Detroit Opera House, located at 1526 Broadway St., in Detroit, are:

-        Monday through Saturday evening performances at 8:00 p.m.
-        Saturday & Sunday matinees at 2:00 p.m.
-        Sunday evening performances at 7:30 p.m.
-        Matinees at 1:00 pm on December 11, 23, 30 & 31
-        No performances on December 15, 24 & 25 and January 1
-        Sunday, December 14 at 7:30 p.m. is a special open captioned performance

Tickets for WICKED start at $49 (includes facility fees) and go on sale Friday, September 12 at 10 AM at all Ticketmaster locations, by phone at 1-800-982-2787, online at www.ticketmaster.com/wicked or www.broadwayindetroit.com and at the Fisher Theatre  and Detroit Opera House box offices. Tickets for the special open captioned performance may be purchased at the Fisher Theatre box office or by phone at 313-872-1000, ext.0.  A limited number of premium seats will be available through Ticketmaster and at the box offices. For group sales (20 or more) please email groups@broadwayindetroit.com or call (313) 871-1132. Performance schedule, prices and cast are subject to change without notice.

Grammy Award-Winning Cast recording available on Decca Broadway. For more information about WICKED log on to www.wickedthemusical.com or visit www.broadwayindetroit.com.

The Broadway In Detroit Series at the Fisher Theatre is sponsored by Chrysler.  As part of this sponsorship, the latest and hottest Chrysler vehicles will be on display at the theatre.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Michigan Renaissance Festival

My family was granted free admission to attend this event in exchange for this promotional post, all opinions are my own.  Your experience may differ.


The Michigan Renaissance Festival is in full swing.  You can travel back in time to the 16th century and enjoy a jousting competition, comedy and theater shows, music, games, rides, food and lots of shopping.

There is plenty for the children to do, if you decide to bring the family.  There is plenty to do if you decide to leave the kids at home too!  This festival is for everyone.

We brought Rosa and Carlyn and let them wear their Elsa and Anna costumes from Frozen.  They both had a blast.


The Children's Realm (with free kids crafts daily) is packed with a ton of fun for the children including The Little Globe Stage (we watched a puppet show), Fantasy Castle Playscape, and Petting Zoo.


I took the kids and headed over to the Children's Realm while the other adults in our party wandered around for about an hour, then we met up for lunch.

Lunch was fantastic.  We decided to try out the Dragon's Lair Restaurant, which is the newest sit down dining location.  We had four adults and two children in our party and we all shared the Guiness Pot Roast, the Lobster Mac and Cheese and the Meatloaf Sandwich.  The meals were $14 each and included one drink (with refills).  I have to say, I was so impressed with everything.  The food was great, the service was attentive and the portions were so big that we had leftovers.



We didn't get to try this, but we ran into one of the girls who was a personal servant for the Renaissance Romance package.  This was the food that was to be served..  Looks yummy, right?


We attended the Joust.  I have to say, this bit was not as exciting as I remember.  Way over the heads of my five and two year old.  Although the nine year old boy behind me seemed to be in his element.  If you have never seen it, it's a cute show with a lot of pomp and circumstance.  There is a jousting competition with real contact and a bit of melee at the end.  It's cheesy and PG.  


Our program listed over fifty fun activities for the children on the day we attended.  Some of the activities that are offered every weekend include: live performances just for the kids, face painting, hair braiding, make and take crafts, and a ton of fun rides and games.

Here is Rosa and Carlyn enjoying the Seahorse Swing:


Overall we had a grand time.  Rosa said it was great and would love to go again.
You can get more info about the Michigan Renaissance Festival on their website.


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Losing Weight - the one Secret you Already Know and a few more...#Giveaway

As you know, I have been struggling with my weight for years, many many years.  I have tried everything from Adkins, to SlimFast to Shaklee, and while programs are successful while they are implemented, as soon as I got off of them, the weight slowly came back on.



I have to tell you, I know why I am overweight.  It's called food greed!  I don't understand it, it doesn't make sense, but it is the way it is in my mind.  Maybe you are the same, maybe not, but for me, I have to break this thinking process.

A few weeks ago I was given the book "Diet Enlightenment: The Real Secret to Weight Loss" to review.  First, I should say, I have been doing a ton of reading about weight loss and fad diets.  In this book, Rachel Pires will tell you (and show you) how you can lose weight by following one simple rule, count your calories.  It is that easy, and it isn't easy!  I had the most success at weight loss when I counted my calories.  Many of you followed me in 2013 (Jan to Aug) as I lost 60 pounds.  I stopped counting calories and over the past year, gained 25 of it back:(

So here I am again, ready to start anew and commit to losing weight.  Are you with me?  Great!  Let's get started.

First, can you please check out Rachel's book "Diet Enlightenment: The Real Secret to Weight Loss"?  It is a quick good read that will give you some great ideas and inspiration about how to get going with your weight loss.


If you are interested, you can follow Rachel on her Facbook Page here: Diet Enlightenment: The Real Secret to Weight Loss

Second, join me on My Fitness Pal - it's a FREE app for your phone or computer that will help you track your calories!  You can use a bar code scanner to enter product info, search their database for food, or enter in your own food.  for extra motivation, add me as your friend on MFP:  http://www.myfitnesspal.com/profile/amberlouchart

Third, if you are one to walk, dance, or want to track your calories, please check out the FitBit.  I have the flex and I love it.  It syncs with my smart phone or my computer... and it works with MFP!  Awesome!



So are you all set?  Leave a comment below and let me know you are with me.  Let's do this!

For a bit of added fun, we have a giveaway for Rachel's book: "Diet Enlightenment: The Real Secret to Weight Loss".  Just use the widget below to enter for a chance to win!

Prenatal Vitamins and You

Guest Blogger: Ashley Rogoff from Regal Pediatrics

There’s a lot to learn when you’re planning on becoming a mommy! In one of your very first doctor visits you’re going to hear about prenatal vitamins. Here’s some information to fill you in on the what, why, and how!

What are prenatal vitamins? 

Prenatals are a type of multivitamin that are recommended during a pregnancy to cover the nutritional gap that your diet cannot always give you.

Prenatal Vitamins usually include:
Vitamin D
Vitamin C
Vitamin B12
Vitamin E
Riboflavin
Zinc
Folic Acid
Iron
Calcium

Folic acid, iron, and calcium are the most important in prenatal vitamins because they help reduce the rick of neural tube defects, preterm births, and help with bone growth.

Even if you’re on a good diet it’s hard to get all the vitamins that you should have for a healthy pregnancy. It’s also very important to consider prenatal vitamins if you have a health issue.

Ideally you should start taking prenatal vitamins before you try to conceive. If your pregnancy is unplanned just talk to your doctor once you know you’re pregnant.

Since there are a lot of options for prenatals, it’s best if you ask your doctor what they suggest for you. It’s important to tell your doctor if you’re taking any other multivitamins or other supplements because it is possible to get too much of one vitamin.

For more information on prenatal vitamins go to:  Baby Center

Ashley is currently in her senior year at Lawrence Tech University getting her Media Communications degree. Ashley's passion is writing and social media, along with public relations. At school she's the President of her  sorority, Delta Tau Sigma, Team Leader for First Year Programs, Student Videographer at LTU eLearning, and she writes for the Tech News. When Ashley isn't at school or blogging she likes to go to the zoo (if it's warm) or hang out with her  sisters. She also has a slight obsession with giraffes! Check out another blog Ashley writes for, Regal Pediatrics: http://regalpediatrics.com/category/blog/

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Toledo Zoo - #ToledoZoo

Everyone has been talking about the Toledo Zoo.  How it is so wonderful, so we finally ventured down I-75 to check it out!  This zoo is worth the hour drive!


Living just a few miles from the Detroit Zoo, we are there often.  We have a membership, we love our zoo.  That being said, Toledo is a bit different and I like it.

So, the Toledo Zoo is situated right off of I-75, about an hour south of Detroit.  It is rather easy to find, 
here is their map if you are like me and work better with visuals:
http://www.toledozoo.org/visit/PDF/DirectionsMaps/ToledoZooFrom75South.pdf

The first thing you will probably notice when driving up (after you pay to park the car, bring cash) is the solar walkway.  It is amazing.  The walkway generates power for the zoo's use, and therefore reduces the cost of their energy but helps conserve energy.  you can find all about their conservation efforts on their website:  


Since we are members at the Detroit Zoo we received a fifty percent discount on our tickets for the named members on our card.  (Don't forget your current membership card!!) 

So after you enter you can check out the North Side of the Zoo which includes the Arctic Encounter, Nairobi Pavilian, the Wolf Cabin, the Carousel, Safari Railway and Africa or you can walk across the bridge to check out the main part of the Zoo.  

We chose to visit the Arctic Encounter first, which was so cool!  This exhibit contains the Polar Bears and the Seals.  I love how the bears and seals are right there.  





The girls wanted to spend their time checking out EVERYTHING!  (Live animals... bah.. let's play in the cave.)


...or play on the statues of wolves.

So we finally were able to get moving and we went over the bridge to the South Side of the Zoo.  This was NOT fun with a stroller and two heavy girls.  They do have a ramp, but it was still difficult.

The first thing we saw on the other side of the bridge was the Flamingo Exhibit.  They were right up close and all in a huge cage that we entered.


This Bear Sloth was so cool.  Carlyn wanted to share her granola bar, and he wanted to share too!!


The Penguin exhibit was spectacular.  You could literally reach out and touch them (it is possible, but not allowed) they are so close.


"Hi Penguins."


On the other side of this exhibit you can go down the stairs or ramp and visit the underwater portion, and watch them win past.


We did eat lunch at the zoo.  I would not recommend it.  The eggs on my salad had mold on them and the Oreos on the dirt pudding were stale.  If you bring your own food there are plenty of places to sit down and eat.


We did make it to see the baby elephant, which was my whole goal in attending.  There is Lucas... cute isn't he?

And this is where our story ends... with two very crabby tired girls.  There is so much more to the zoo and we look forward to going back again soon so we can check it all out!



New Series #MomsWhoShine Rachel L. Pires

#MomsWhoShine is a series about moms who have some kind of talent.  The series was inspired by Dad of Divas Dads in the Limelight.  

Rachel L. Pires is the author of "Diet Enlightenment: The Real Secret to Weight Loss".  



Tell me about yourself.

I’m a new mom and a new author. My book “Diet Enlightenment: The Real Secret to Weight Loss” just released this past April. It’s available at Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com. You can find more information at www.facebook.com/DietEnlightenment and www.dietenlightenment.com. I’m also a full-time working mom. I’m a writer at Educational Testing Service (ETS) and a contributing writer for Livestrong.com Weight Loss Blogs. My son is ten months old, and I’m still breastfeeding and pumping, and going strong. I know how challenging being a new mother can be, especially when it comes to losing the post-baby weight. So I’m excited to share my secrets and help other moms get back to their ideal weight as quickly and painlessly as possible.  


Tell me about your family.

My family consists of my husband Andre and my son Lucas. Lucas was born in October of 2013 and just turned 10 months old. My husband and I have been married since October 2011. Our son was actually due on our two year wedding anniversary; however, he came two weeks early. My husband is Brazilian so we’re trying to raise Lucas with both languages. I’m doing my best to learn Portuguese myself. We think it would be fantastic for him to grow up speaking both English and Portuguese. My husband and I both work-fulltime; we’re lucky because my mother-in-law watches him full-time with help from my parents. My husband is a Civil Engineer for Toll Brothers. In addition to working full-time as a writer, my book released six months after my son was born. I’ve been pretty busy.


Can you tell me a little more about how your book “Diet Enlightenment” came to be? 

I had struggled with weight loss and yo-yo dieting for a period of ten years. My weight was constantly fluctuating, and I was always trying the next new diet. It was only when I reached a point of “diet enlightenment” about five years ago — a complete change in how I looked at food and approached dieting — that I finally discovered the key to keeping the weight off for good.


I decided to write this book because I knew I had to share this knowledge with anyone who has ever struggled with weight loss. I had figured out the key to easy weight loss and realized why the majority of people fail. I found that the multibillion-dollar dieting industry is wrought with misinformation and misconceptions. I also made some insightful observations about ‘naturally thin people’ and realized that they were all doing something that most dieters lacked. Recently, I was able to put my techniques to the test again when I gained the recommended 25 pounds of pregnancy weight, and then lost it all within the first four months.


Most people are brainwashed by the dieting industry into believing that if you are not thin, it’s because you weren’t born with a great metabolism, you don’t eat healthy enough, you don’t exercise enough, you don’t have a strong enough willpower, and so on. But, this simply isn’t the case — there is an enlightened way to lose weight and anyone can do it. The truth is you don’t need to sacrifice the food you love or go hungry in order to be thin. You can have your favorite food and have you ideal shape if you know how to lose weight the right way.


Diet Enlightenment is not a book that offers the latest diet fad. Instead, it offers a modern spin on calorie counting, and equips readers with techniques that are easily adaptable in today’s world. Additionally, it helps readers learn how to get the most for their calories, how to listen to their body, and how to free themselves from the bondage of emotional eating. Having struggled with binge-eating and emotional eating myself, finding peace with food was just as important as losing the weight itself.


Shortly after I had my son in October of 2013, I came across an article about Maria Kang, the “What’s Your Excuse?” fitness mom, who had posed with her three young children and essentially asked other Moms what was their excuse for being overweight. One thing I can tell you is that fat shaming does not work. As women, and especially mothers, we need to be there to support and build each other up, not be critical of one another. I decided to respond to the conversation she started by posing for my own photo with my 8-month old son at the time to which I said, “My excuse was a multibillion-dollar dieting industry that wanted me to fail. Now I’m an enlightened dieter.” So I’m trying to spread the message to dieters — especially new moms — that the multibillion-dollar industry is the problem, not their discipline or lack of willpower. And that if I can do it, anyone can do it. They just need the right approach and knowledge, and an eating philosophy that they can stick to for life.



What does a normal day of meals look like in your home?
Because I know the art of choosing my calories, I eat a lot of food. After all just because you need to eat fewer calories doesn’t mean you need to eat less food. I try to eat healthy, but I don’t put anything off limits. One of my favorite meals to make is homemade pizza pies. You take a low-calorie flatbread and add organic tomato sauce, shredded mozzarella cheese, fresh garlic and diced grilled chicken. My philosophy is that you should try to have meals that are super delicious, really filling and low-calorie.



What have you done to make sure you are passing down healthy eating habits to your children?

My son is only 10-months old and doesn't have any teeth yet, but we are starting to give him some table food. We feed him a combination of organic baby food and home pureed foods. I like feeding him really slowly. One of the qualities that naturally thin people have is they know when to eat and when to stop; they listen to their body and they don’t’ overeat. I rather my son eat slowly and more times throughout the day than to overstuff him at meals. My philosophy is that you should always eat when you’re hungry no matter what, but you also shouldn't eat when you’re not hungry. I want him to have a healthy and good relationship with food from day one. I try to make feeding time a fun experience.



What is your biggest challenge of being a parent?

Listening to what others have to say, but making your own choice even if people don’t agree with it. I think as a new mom, especially in the beginning, you’re always questioning and second guessing everything. There is so much information out there. Everyone you meet has an opinion. How long should you breastfeed for. Should you let them cry it out or not? Should you co-sleep? There are a lot of different opinions and a lot of extremes. But, my Mom gave me the best advice which was at the end of the day to always listen to your own intuition as a mother. For me, I’m still breastfeeding and going strong. Also because my son is not the best sleeper, I co-sleep with him. I have a mattress set up in his room. Some nights he’ll sleep seven hours straight in his crib and other nights he ends up in the bed with me. I’m really not sure if crying it out is truly harmful or not, as there is a lot of conflicting information out there; however, my husband and I decided it was something we weren't going to do for personal reasons. Since I’m pretty open and honest about it, I definitely received a mix of negative feedback and support. You have to do what’s right for you and your family. As a Mom, I’ve tried to share my experiences without being judgmental about what other people do.



How do you find balance between being a mom, working and having time for yourself?

Somehow you just make time for it. In addition to being a new mom and working full-time, my book Diet Enlightenment released six months after my son was born. I’ve been really busy to say the least. I still think my career and personal aspirations are important, but after having my son things changed. He has become my number one priority. I started having to be a lot more efficient with my time. It’s amazing what you can get done when you do things efficiently. You know the saying “If you want something done, give it to a busy person.” I want to do well and succeed in my career, but I don’t’ want to give up my free-time with my son in order to do so. I also think a big part of it is the help and support I get from my husband, my parents and my in-laws.


When it comes to having time for myself, the one thing I do is that I watch Netflix on my phone while I pump. I always joke that Netflix saved my breastfeeding and pumping. The truth is that it’s nice to have 20 minutes a few times a day to pump, relax, and watch a TV show. I’m currently watching the show Revenge. Being a mother is a 24/7 job, and I knew that I was going to be giving up my free time and hobbies at least for a few years. I will say that the grandparents do push my husband and I to have a date night at least once every few months while they watch the baby.



What are some of the lessons you've learned since becoming a Mom?

Every child is different. What may work for one person, may not work for you. At the end of the day, follow your mother’s intuition. 



What is the best advice about being a parent you have received and who gave it to you?

The best advice I received was from my Mom, which was “at the end of the day to follow your intuition as a mother.”



What advice would you give to other moms?

The first three months are really challenging. No one seems to talk about it. It definitely kicked my butt. Major sleep deprivation, plus healing from a c-section, plus adjusting to breastfeeding, plus not knowing what you’re doing as a new mother is enough to make it one of the most challenging times of your life. It will get better though. You will get more confident. It’s okay to feel exhausted and that you didn't know it would be this hard. I think a lot of women feel like they need to put on this perfect front, but being a Mom is the hardest job I’ve ever had. It’s true that nothing can prepare you for it. It’s also true that you didn't know how much you could love something until you have a child.


Have a question for Rachel?  Please leave a comment below and I will make sure I forward it to her!  

Thank you Rachel for taking the time to answer our questions:)  Are you a Mom Who Shines or know a mom who would be great for this series?  Email me their contact info at owner@123child.com

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Princesses & Heroes - @DisneyOnIce is coming to the Palace Oct 16-20.

Enter a world of wonder where heroes and hearts prevail.  Join Ariel as she yearns to explore the world above the waves and Prince Eric breaks Ursula's slithering spell to reclaim his one true love. See Prince Philip defeat the evil Maleficent as she transforms herself into a fire-breathing dragon in a race against time to rescue Sleeping Beauty's Aurora. Be there to discover a whole new world with Jasmine and Aladdin. And, watch in awe as the dreams of Cinderella, Belle, Snow White, Rapunzel and Tiana all come true. High flying jumps, daring acrobatics, breathtaking skating and lovable Disney friends are just a wish away!  See Disney On Ice presents Princesses & Heroes where believing is just the beginning!

https://www.facebook.com/DisneyOnIce
https://twitter.com/DisneyOnIce

 You can purchase tickets through: Ticketmaster.com