Linda Grant is the Founder and Editor of NYC Single Mom, a lifestyle site that provides moms of all stripes with parenting tips, dining, travel & New York City centric events. As a family lifestyle and parenting (especially adoptive parenting) expert, blogger, and brand advocate, Linda shares valuable info and useful products to her readers that will assist them in managing every day dilemmas.
Yes, you may have seen the animated Lion King when it opened in 1994 or seen it on Broadway but put those memories aside. From the opening scene when you hear the iconic first words from the Circle of Life “Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba” you will find that you are going to be in for a special treat of a movie.
Disney’s “The Lion King,” directed by Jon Favreau, journeys to the African savanna where a future king is born. Simba idolizes his father, King Mufasa, and takes to heart his own royal destiny. But not everyone in the kingdom celebrates the new cub’s arrival. Scar, Mufasa’s brother—and former heir to the throne—has plans of his own.
Chiwetal Ejiofor as Scar
The battle for Pride Rock is ravaged with betrayal, tragedy, and drama, ultimately resulting in Simba’s exile. With help from a curious pair of newfound friends, Simba will have to figure out how to grow up and take back what is rightfully his. The story stays true to the classic original story and that is okay. I feel that moviegoers will love the new versions of the songs from the original as well. One thing that I think everyone will be talking about is how funny Seth Rogen as Pumbaa and Billy Eichner as Timon are. In fact, they pretty much are the standouts from the movie and I am sure your kids (and adults) will love them. They are truly hilarious and I was happy when they showed up!
THE LION KING – Featuring the voices of JD McCrary as Young Simba, Billy Eichner as Timon and Seth Rogen as Pumbaa
Favreau utilizes pioneering filmmaking techniques to bring the iconic characters to the big screen in a whole new way and it shows. The movie is stunning and is without a doubt feels that every animal, tree and plan looks like it was filmed in Africa. And I totally think that even if you are a fan of the animated movie, this version enhances the storyline for a new generation.
Behind the Scenes Footage from The Lion King
"The King Returns" Featurette | The Lion King - YouTube
Don’t miss the Annual Block Party hosted by the Rubin Museum.
Photo by Michael Seto, courtesy of the Rubin Museum of Art.
This Sunday, July 21, the Rubin Museum of Art will host its 6th annual Block Party “Power Play,” an all-day outdoor event featuring hands-on art-making, performances, participatory experiences, free museum admission, and much more. Inspired by the Rubin’s yearlong thematic exploration of Power, activities will incorporate this theme while making connections to the art, cultures, and ideas of the Himalayas. Drawing thousands of New Yorkers, the Block Party is the Rubin’s biggest annual event for all ages and will take over West 17th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues.
Photo by Filip Wolak, courtesy of the Rubin Museum of Art.
Art making activities – stress balls, portable lamps, Tibetan Namkhas, and more.
Participatory experiences for all ages –collaborative floral making, create your own DJ track, Himalayan constellation and magnetic force exploration, Playgami AR experience, and artist Milcah Bassel exploring movement
Live performances including Power Painting where artists take inspiration from music to drive their painting; Building Beats, empowering youth through music; and Fogo Azul Brazilian Women’s Drumline, and Nepal Hip Hop Foundation
Activities led by community organizations Grassroots Movement in Nepal, Siddhartha School, Tibetan Community of NY/NJ, YindaYin Coaching, and more
Snack and refreshments by Café Serai, Van Leeuwen Ice Cream, Yanni’s Coffee, People’s Pops, The Commons Chelsea, Sweetface Snoballs
Free museum admission all-day
Event Details: RubinMuseum.org/BlockParty
Date: Sunday, July 21, 2019
Time: 1:00-4:00 PM
Location: West 17th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues (block will be closed for traffic)
Photo by Filip Wolak, courtesy of the Rubin Museum of Art.
Disclosure: NYC Single Mom was not compensated for this article.
With the warm weather upon us, it’s fun to see what’s new in the beauty products. Here are some Summer Beauty Essentials that I have found and think you should consider trying.
Burt’s Bees Hydrating Facial Mist
This hydrating facial spray is perfect for refreshing your skin after cleansing, spritzing on post-makeup, after a long day of travel or anytime, anywhere your skin needs a pick-me-up. It’s hot folks and when it’s humid out, I just can not stay happy unless I feel cool. That’s why I am happy to throw the conveniently sized facial mist into my bag for a quick hydration boost on-the-go. And it’s perfect if you are out and about on a walk or a hike!! Price: $12.99 Available: www.burtsbees.com
LANEIGE Water Bank Eye Gel
Even during the summer months, I have to be aware of taking care of the skin around my eyes. Laneige’s Water Bank Eye Gel instantly addresses tired-looking eyes with the surge of weightless moisture. The eye gel is lovely, very lightweight, absorbs quickly is perfect for hot summer months. Price: $36 Available: https://us.laneige.com/
KMS Style Color Collection
Have you ever wanted to color your hair, but wished you could’ve done a test run first? Introducing a new line from KMS, a leading line of salon-quality hair styling and treatment products that help you achieve the color you’ve always wanted, without making the commitment. The new KMS Style Color Collection offers 9 tones of color from purple to blue to grey. The products are waterproof, pillow-friendly, and work perfectly with hot tools. Expect a flexible, ultra-thin film for a movable finish & even results on all hair colors that removes easily with shampoo, so you can rock pink highlights to a concert and have them washed out before Monday’s conference meeting. Available at KMS salons.
Lumene Glow Refreshing Hydrating Mist
Lumene Glow Refreshing Hydrating Mist is a refreshing, energizing ultra-fine mist for all skin types. I throw it in my bag so I can get an instant hit of hydration. It is also perfect for quickly refreshing skin and for applying a flawless foundation and/or setting makeup. Price: $14.99 Available at Target.com.
Lumene Glow Reveal Moisturizer
For the summer months, it makes sense to use a more lightweight cream for day and night. Lumene Glow Reveal Moisturizer brightens your complexion, intensely hydrates, and promotes healthy, radiant, youthful-looking skin. Price $23.99. Available at CVS, CVS.com, and Target.com. All Lumene products are formulated with naturally derived ingredients, including Vitamin C, Wild Arctic Cloudberry, Hyaluronic Acid and Arctic Spring Water, and are all 100% vegan, gluten-free and cruelty-free.
Disclosure: NYC Single Mom was provided with samples to facilitate this post. Opinions are 100% my own.
Without a doubt, you could weeks, months in Rome and never see everything but most of us are there for one day, a few days or week. Here are the RomeMust-See Attractions, everyone should see when they visit The Eternal City.
The Colosseum is probably next to the Vatican the most visited attraction in Rome and for good reason. Seeing the interiors is pretty amazing and that it held close 70,000 is totally believable. As you well know, spectators came to watch the gladiator fight but did you know they had wild beast hunts as well. There is no cooler view of Rome than from the top level of the Colosseum. If you have a chance, definitely take the Roman Guy’s tour of the Top Levels of the Colosseum. I highly recommend it and you can read more at Tour the Top Levels of the Colosseum with the Roman Guy (with a discount code.)
Arch of Constantine and Palentine Hill
Right outside the Colosseum is the Arch of Constantine, the largest surviving Roman arch from imperial Rome and commemorates Roman Emperor Constantine’s victory over Maxentius at the battle of Milvian Bridge in Rome. Of the famous seven hills of Rome, the Palatine Hill is supposedly where Romulus founded Rome. Romulus and Remus were twins who according to Roman mythology were the founders of Rome.
After you finish visiting the Colosseum definitely take the time to wander around the Roman Forum. The Roman Forum served as the center of the city for commercial, religious and political activity. So many of the buildings and temples are very well preserved and is so interesting to see how the Romans lived during the 6th century.
Vittorio Emanuele II Monument aka the Wedding Cake
From the Colosseum and the Roman Forum, it’s hard to miss seeing the Vittorio Emanuele II Monument. The monument was built to honor Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of a unified Italy and stands out because of the two chariots driven by the goddess Victoria. It also offers panoramic views of Rome and is the home of the tomb of the unknown soldier.
The Pantheon was built to honor the Olympian gods but it is famous for the dome with a hole in the center that opens up so you can actually see the sky. The construction of the Oculus allows light into the church so it’s not dark.
Yes, the hole in the dome means that when it rains, it pours. Wondering how the church is not flooded well, there are holes in the floor that drains the water.
There are many fountains throughout Rome but the Trevi Fountain is by far the most famous. Not only is it a stunningly, beautiful baroque fountain, both in the day and at night but you are likely to recognize it from all the movies filmed there (La Dolce Vita, Oceans Twelve and The Lizzie Maguire movie to name a few.) And everyone who goes to the fountain must throw a coin in because the legend says that “if you throw a coin into the fountain, you will return.” We did, so we must be returning, let’s hope soon.
Spanish Steps (Scalina Spagna)
After you visit the Trevi Fountain walk over to the famous Spanish Steps. Our photo does not do it justice but the Spanish Steps is known for its butterfly design and represents the Baroque style of the city. Whether you walk up the 153 stairway to the Trinità dei Monti church with a view of Spanish Steps below or come from the opposite direction starting at the top the stairs as we did, it is worth the view. And if you are into some serious shopping, the neighborhood is filled with lots of fancy shops for you to spend your money.
St. Peters Basilica, The Vatican Museum, and Michaelangelo’s Sistine Chapel
It goes without saying that you can visit Rome without visiting St. Peters, The Vatican and Michaelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. I know it’s a lot to take in but if you want to make the most of your time, I highly recommend taking a LivItaly tour of the Vatican Museum, the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica. It is well worth it. And if you can not take a tour, definitely start early!!
Triton Fountain (Fontana dei Tritoni)
It’s hard to miss the Triton fountain located in Piazza Barberini. The sculpture is done in the Baroque style and sculpted by the well-known Gian Lorenzo Bernini. The fountain is located near the U.S. Embassy and Westin Excelsior Hotel.
It goes without saying that this is a very short must-see list because there is so much more to see in Rome but if you only have a couple of days these are the must-see attractions.
What is your favorite place in Rome? And if you haven’t been, what would be number one on your list of places to visit.
Following the events of Avengers: Endgame, Spider-Man must step up to take on new threats in a world. Tom Holland returns as Peter Parker, high school student hero from Queens who made his stand-alone debut in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Along for the ride as they go on a school trip to Europe are Peter’s best friend Ned (Jacob Batalon) and classmate/love interest Michelle “MJ” (Zendaya.)
Tom Holland as the titular Peter Parker, seriously is pitch-perfect as the Queens teenager who just wants to hang with his classmates and get the girl or try to get the girl. He stumbles and hems and haws at talking to his love interest MJ. He is the typical teenager afraid of “scary” adult figures like Nick Fury. His interactions with Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury are hilarious.
Bad Ass Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury. I love that they included Nick Fury in this movie as a way to bridge the storyline from Avengers: Endgame and Peter’s connection to Iron Man. Any movie with Samuel L. Jackson is made better by his presence. He is a crowd pleaser and rightly so.
3. Zendaya as MJ and Jacob as Ned (Jacob Batalon), Peter’s best friend are integral to the movie bringing heartwarming, funny and cute scenes. Zendaya can do no wrong in my book. Her smart and sarcastic MJ is so different than the actresses who played MJ in past movies and it fits. The filmmakers also chose to not glamorize when she got to Europe. She did look nice but not glamourous would be so cliche, smart oddly dressed girl somehow becomes supermodel. What makes Peter’s crush on MJ, is that he likes her because she is so quirky and knows things.
4. Introduction of Jake Gyllenhaal as Mysterio, Peter’s “new mentor” and newest superhero. Peter is still sad from the loss of Tony Start. Mysterio becomes de facto his mentor and lifts Peter’s spirits while they battle the Elementals.
5. The action across the European cities. The movie has moved from New York to Prague, London and Berlin and it makes a difference in how the movie looks and feel. It’s a summer vacation you will never forget.
Do I recommend seeing Spider-Man: Far From Home? Yes, I do. It is the perfect summer movie, full of action, quips and bit of love.
SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME - Official Trailer - YouTube
A recent CBS Sunday Morning show segment focused on van life featuring millennials with kids to retirees who chucked it all to travel across the United States in a van. I will admit that there is much of the United States that I have not seen from Mt. Rushmore to Yosemite (yes, I know). Certainly, there are beautiful destinations in Utah and Arizona where I would love to visit just to stargaze and then keep on driving to the next destination.
Every year, a mom friend tries to convince me to buy an RV and take the kids across the country rather than flying and staying in hotels. But would I chuck it all to live in a van, dragging my teen daughter along to explore this great country of ours? Emphatically NO!
The idea of cooking, going to the bathroom and being cooped up in an RV with three other people for weeks on end does not sound like my idea of fun. And what do any of us know about changing a flat tire or fixing an RV?
Sure I guess we could learn along the way or call AAA but isn’t the purpose do it all on your own. I can barely go camping without complaining. Once I spent one night (just one night) in Monument Valley and I barely survived the experience. Of course, we were in a tent in the middle of a sand storm.
Don’t get me wrong, during my younger nomadic, I don’t have any money years, I traveled throughout China and Thailand and I did not stay in nice hotels. I stayed in what most people would call hovels. I even stayed in the infamous ChungKing Mansions in Hong Kong which is known for being the cheapest place to stay in the city. Just to be frank it’s a place you sleep with one eye open because it’s filled with drug dealers, scammers, illegal immigrants and I am sure criminals hiding from the police.
But I am older now and certainly have no interested in roughing it anymore.
So would you chuck it all to live, work and travel across the U.S. in a van?
Freewheeling: The van life - YouTube
Disclosure: NYC Single Mom was not compensated for this post. #vanlife
If you are like me, you love a tote bag that holds a ton of stuff. On the other hand, I run a lot of errands which means I am picking up stuff here there and everywhere and I don’t like all that weight on my shoulder. That is the type of thing your chiropractor or doctor would tell you to stop doing and now. For this reason, I love backpacks that distribute the weight of all my purchases and stuff like reading material and toiletries.
Solo New York has brought the busy woman on the go the perfect bag, designed specifically a bag that works as a tote and backpack. The Parker Toteis a hybrid backpack and tote designed for all of us busy women with tons to do and not enough time in the day to do it all (but we try anyway).
I love the style of the Solo bag which is sophisticated, sleek gold that goes with everything and has a number of pockets and organizational features, including a padded laptop sleeve that I can put my work computer and all my stuff into the bag and goooo!! Most importantly it’s lightweight and makes commuting a breeze!!
It's a tote, it's a backpack. The stylish Parker Solo Hybrid bag is perfect for toodling around New York, holding all your stuff including your computer! @Solo_NewYork Click To Tweet
But you don’t have to live in New York City to own this bag. The Solo New York Hybrid Backpack Tote retails for $69.99 and is available at solo.echo.comm.com.
Disclosure: NYC Single Mom received a Solo New York Hybrid Backpack Tote to facilitate this review. Opinions are 100% my own.
The toys are back on the big screen in TOY STORY 4 and if you are a fan (Toy Story Fun Facts) of the first three Toy Story movies, you will love the latest in the series of one of Pixar’s most popular movie franchises.
About Toy Story 4: Woody (voice of Tom Hanks) has always been confident about his place in the world, and that his priority is taking care of his kid, whether that’s Andy or Bonnie. So, when Bonnie’s beloved new craft-project-turned-toy, Forky (voice of Tony Hale), declares himself as “trash” and not a toy, Woody takes it upon himself to show Forky why he should embrace being a toy. But when Bonnie takes the whole gang on her family’s road trip excursion, Woody ends up on an unexpected detour that includes a reunion with his long-lost friend Bo Peep (voice of Annie Potts). After years of being on her own, Bo’s adventurous spirit and life on the road belie her delicate porcelain exterior. As Woody and Bo realize they’re worlds apart when it comes to life as a toy, they soon come to find that’s the least of their worries.
Fans of the first three Toy Story movies will not be disappointed in Toy Story 4. The movie is filled with everything you expect from the Toy Story franchise: adventure, great camaraderie and team building amongst the toys and funny quips.
There are new toys and friends in Toy Story 4 starting with Bonnie’s new friend that she makes, literally “makes” in kindergarten orientation. Bonnie loves Forky even though he is not really a toy. Forky is is a spork covered with googly eyes, has pipe cleaner for arms and popsicles for feet. It’s pretty funny to see Bonnie interact with Forky. Oh, Kids!
But when Forky—Bonnie’s craft-project-turned-toy—declares himself trash and not a toy, Woody takes it upon himself to show Forky why he should embrace being a toy and stop throwing himself into the trash. These are some very funny scenes of Woody saving Forky from the trash heap.
“Alright, Forky. You have to understand how lucky you are right now. You’re Bonnie’s toy. You are going to help create happy memories that will last for the rest of her life.” —Woody, “Toy Story 4”
The adventure begins when Woody and the gang join Bonnie and her family on a road trip. Yes, a lot so hijinks ensue when Forky escapes the van and Woody goes to save him so Bonnie doesn’t lose it when she can’t find her beloved new toy.
One of the key locations in the movie during the rescue adventure is an antique store, Second Chance Antiques. While searching for Forky, Woody just happens to see his long-lost friend Bo Peep’s lamp in the antique store. He can’t help himself and goes in search of Bo Peep.
The antique store is where we are introduced to a host of new toys – Christina Hendricks as Gabby Gabby, Keanu Reeves as Duke Caboom and three evil ventriloquist dummies.
The scenes in the antique stores with Woody interacting with the new toys is both scary (yes scary) and hilarious. Did I mention the evil ventriloquist dummies who are actually Gabby Gabby’s henchmen? Even adults will be freaked out!! Be forewarned if you have younger kids, they may be freaked out by the ventriloquist dummies.
To counteract the scariness of the henchmen, we are introduced to Duke Caboom (voiced by Keanu Reeves) as a 1970s toy based on Canada’s greatest stuntman. I love that the Duke Caboom is Canadian playing into the fact that Reeves is Canadian – Yeah Canada! Duke riding his powerful Caboom stunt-cycle is always prepared to show off his stunt poses with confidence and swagger. This interlude of his stunts is hilarious.
However, Duke has an Achilles heel: He has never been able to do the awesome stunts advertised in his own toy commercial.
GABBY GABBY – Woody finds himself in Second Chance Antiques, home to an adorable, talking pull-string doll from the 1950s and her crew of voiceless ventriloquist dummies. Unfortunately for Gabby Gabby, a manufacturing defect in her pull-string voice box has left her sounding anything but adorable. Christina Hendricks lends her voice to Gabby Gabby. “
Leaving the antique store, it’s all out race for Woody to save Forky and reunite with other toys including Buzz Lightyear. It’s a hilarious and raucous ride of an adventure which you will enjoy. And it goes without saying that there have to be some sentimental moments that will make you shed a tear or two. I won’t give it away but I did cry and if you don’t at least get a sniffle, you have no heart.
I totally recommend Toy Story 4 for everyone from 4 and up and I know there are people who were kids when this movie was introduced. You will not be disappointed.
The toys are back on the big screen with an all-new adventure in “Toy Story 4.” Woody, Buzz and the whole gang find themselves far from home, discovering new friends—and old ones—on an eye-opening road trip that takes them to unexpected places. Here are some fun facts to remind you why the Toy Story characters have won their way into the hearts around the world for generations.
10 Reasons Why You Love Toy Story
“Toy Story,” originally released on Nov. 22, 1995, was the first fully computer-animated feature film and the highest grossing movie of the year. It was nominated for three Oscars® and two Golden Globes®.
“Toy Story” required Pixar to expand its animation, editing and post-production staff from 24 people to well over 100.
“Toy Story 2” is the first film ever to be entirely created, mastered and exhibited digitally. It was also the first animated sequel to gross more than its original, breaking opening weekend box office records in the U.S., UK, and Japan, becoming the highest grossing animated release of 1999.
Toy Story 2 won the Golden Globe for a best motion picture – comedy or musical.
Toy Story 2 won a Grammy® for best song written for a motion picture, television or other visual media (Randy Newman, “When She Loved Me”).
Released in 2010, “Toy Story 3” won Oscars® for best-animated feature film and best achievement in music written for motion pictures, original song (Randy Newman/“We Belong Together”). The film also won a Golden Globe® and BAFTA for best-animated film.
Toy Story 3 was the second Pixar film to be nominated for the best picture Oscar.
Toy Story 3 is Pixar’s second highest-grossing film of all time behind “Incredibles 2.”
Toy Story 4 introduces characters Tony Hale as Forky, Christina Hendricks as Gabby Gabby, Keanu Reeves as Duke Caboom, Ally Maki as Giggle McDimples and Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele as Ducky and Bunny.
Toy Story 4 artists visited several carnivals to reference when they brought the carnival scenes to the big screen
Chris Hemsworth (Thor Ragnorak and Avengers: Endgame) and Tessa Thompson (Creed, Avengers: Endgame) star in Men in Black: International, the fourth installment in the series that began way back in 1997 and starred Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones as the original MIB Agents J and K.
The Men in Black have always protected the Earth from the scum of the universe. In this new adventure, MIB tackle their biggest, most global threat to date: a mole in the Men in Black organization. New faces to the MIB franchise are Agent M, played by Tessa Thompson, and Agent H, played by Chris Hemsworth are on the case dealing with new aliens, weapons, and locations.
As a child, Agent M, played by Tessa Thompson who just happens to see the Men in Black agents wipe her parents’ memories with the iconic “neuralyzer” and then spends the next twenty years tracking down the agency. She convinces Agent O played by Emma Thompson into a job, and is then paired with Agent H, played by Chris Hemsworth. And Hijinks ensue.
After starring together in Thor Ragnorak and Avengers: Endgame, the MIB producers saw what we saw, the chemistry between Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth which makes them the perfect MIB “buddy” cop couple.
As a fan of the original Men in Black and subsequent sequels, I love the new MIB agents. Their chemistry and dueling interaction is an integral part of the movie. Hemsworth as he did in Thor Ragnorak, proves he is not afraid to be funny and Thompson is the perfect foil. Of course, as in past MIB movies, it’s all about chasing aliens and breaking out fun new weapons to get the job done, kill aliens that is.
And what would MIB be without a snarky alien sidekick? Pawny all about steals the movie with his snarky and sarcastic comments. The loyal alien to Queen M is voiced by Kumail Nanjiani and he earns his paycheck in this movie.
Is it as good as the 1997 MIB starring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, not really but it’s a fun ride of a Summer movie.
MEN IN BLACK: INTERNATIONAL - Official Trailer - YouTube
Men (AND Women) in Black: International opens June 14.
Disclosure: NYC Single Mom attended a screening that facilitated this review. Opinions are 100% my own.