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.
INSTANT FAMILY OPENING NOVEMBER 16 STARS MARK WAHLBERG AND ROSE BYRNE
INSTANT FAMILY stars Mark Wahlberg (Pete) and Rose Byrne (Ellie) as a couple who decide to start a family and stumble into the world of foster care adoption. They hope to take in one small child but when they meet three siblings, including a rebellious 15-year-old girl Lizzie (Isabela Moner), they find themselves speeding from zero to three kids overnight. Now, Pete and Ellie must hilariously try to learn the ropes of instant parenthood in the hopes of becoming a family.
INSTANT FAMILY is inspired by the real events from the life of writer/director Sean Anders. Along with Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne, Instant Family stars Octavia Spencer, Tig Notaro, Margo Martindale, Julianna Gamiz, Gustavo Quiroz and Isabel Moner.
Isabela Moner, Gustavo Quiroz, Julianna Gamiz, Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne in Instant Family from Paramount Pictures.
As poignant as it is funny, as heartwarming as it is authentic, INSTANT FAMILY celebrates the notion that a family can come from anywhere. Opening November 16, INSTANT FAMILY is a comedy that teases your funny bone, tugs at your heart, sneaks up and surprises you, coaxes your tears, gets under your skin and moves in to live with you for a while, just like kids.
One of my friends who also an adoptive parent said from the trailer it seems it might a bit “syrupy sweet.” Yes, there are those very funny moments but on the other hand, there are some heartbreaking and truthful scenes. And there are definitely real-life and angry conversations, as when the older daughter Lizzie confronts Ellie and accuses her of being just another “white couple” making themselves feel good by taking she and her siblings in because they are Hispanic. “Ouch,” but I am sure her sentiment or cynicism from an older child who has been in and out of so many homes in their short lives is accurate.
Isabela Moner in Instant Family from Paramount Pictures.
Let’s face it, if the director Anders, had made a movie that’s a gut-wrenching drama, most people would be afraid to see it so I think he does strike a balance that makes this a very enjoyable and uplifting movie.
In my opinion, there are many amusing and poignant moments but some of the best scenes are between social workers, Tig Notaro (Sharon) and Octavia Spencer (Karen) whose role is to guide all prospective foster parents through the foster care/adoption process. Their chemistry and banter were absolutely sublime, funny and sometimes awkward but perfect bringing what Notaro describes “We call ourselves Webble and Wobble rather than Ying and Yang.” Sharon (Tig Notaro) is the more positive, sincere and informational of the two while Karen (Octavia Spencer) is the more direct one. I say Hollywood give these two their own buddy movie!!
Tig Notaro and Octavia Spencer in Instant Family from Paramount Pictures.
I definitely recommend Instant Family for anyone looking for an uplifting and funny family movie. It will make you laugh, cry and most importantly offer up a positive perspective of foster kids and foster families.
'Instant Family' Official Trailer (2018) | Mark Wahlberg, Rose Byrne - YouTube
4 Things I Learned from The Cast and Filmmakers
Director Sean Anders (Daddy’s Home and Daddy’s Home 2) and his wife actually did make the life-altering decision to adopt three biological siblings from foster care. According to Anders, “A lot of the things that happened were funny and a lot of it was frustrating. To go into a situation where you bring people into your home who all of a sudden become your children and you don’t even know them and they don’t know you, it is just like a comedy of manners right out of the gate.”
The favorite days for the young stars were Julianna Gamiz (Lita) “ketchup” scene and for Gustavo Quiroz (Juan) who plays the young son was happy when craft services offered Mexican food. Don’t you love kids?
According to Producer Mark Evans, when Sean Anders showed him the script, Anders thought based on the subject matter, it would be just a small Sundance film but Evans had other ideas and thought it was actually perfect to be released on a much larger scale. The film that is being released is pretty much the script he saw when they first talked.
There was deliberate effort to not sugar coat the birth mother but not to vilify her either. And I would agree with how she is portrayed versus what we know and read in the media. It’s not that simple as they say. It shows that it’s not always easy for the kids who do want to reunite with their biological mother or the birth mother who does want to change to be with her kids. It’s all very complicated.
Instant Family opens November 16. I recommend it’s the perfect movie to see this holiday season!
Disclosure: NYC Single Mom attended a screening and press interviews to facilitate this post. Opinions are 100% my own.
Life is short as the saying goes so I have decided to report weekly on a Happy Moment of the Week. I am a pretty positive person but I do feel like my life is pretty much the same every day, go to work, make dinner, blogging, run errands, clean my apartment and the hardest part of my daily life is raising a high spirited teenager.
But life is more than the day-to-day stuff. I feel that I need to more mindful of the positive and celebrate both the small moments and big moments of my life and to seriously work on the self-care part of my life.
This week’s Happy Moment of the Week was seeing Elton John on his FAREWELL TOUR.
Along for the journey in my fun moment of the week was my good friend since grad school, my sister from another mother and one of my daughter’s God Mother, Shirl girl.
It goes without saying Elton’s playlist is every song you would recognize. Of course, there is no way he could sing every hit song because there are so many songs in his 50-year career. Yes, it’s a 5o year career full of so many ups and downs. That said, all the songs had me singing from the first few seconds they started playing.
Here were some of my favorites from the concert.
Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding (1973). This by far is my favorite only because of the instrumental 11-minute opening showcasing one of the great back up bands of all time who don’t get enough recognition and when it goes into the lyrics, WOW.
Someone Saved My Life Tonight (1975)
Rocket Man (I Think It’s Going To Be a Long, Long Time) (1972)
Tiny Dancer (1971)
Just little snippet from Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting (1973.)
About The Darkest Minds – From producers of Stranger Things comes an empowering tale of teens who mysteriously develop new abilities and are declared a threat by the government. Ruby (Amandla Stenberg), one of the most powerful young people anyone has encountered, escapes and joins a group of runaway teens seeking safe haven. Soon, this newfound family realizes that collective power is needed to take back control of their fate and save future generations.
While I found that this movie is very much like other movies of its genre, young people who have superpowers or don’t know they have superpowers, I think teens and young adults will like it.
The Darkest Minds features include:
Remember – A Look BEYOND Ruby and Liam’s Last Kiss (Original Animatic by Jennifer Yuh Nelson)
Jennifer Yuh Nelson: Heroine at the Helm
Ruby: Harnessing Hope
Liam: A Complicated Relationship
Chubs: Found Family
Zu: Awakened Abilities
Clancy: Crafting a Possible Future
The Darkest Minds is now available on Blu-ray, digital and DVD at amazon.com and major retailers.
Disclosure: NYC Single Mom received a copy of The Darkest Minds to facilitate this post.
Teen Titans Go! To the Movies Now on Blu-Ray, DVD and Digital
So far, one of the best movie for teens was“Teen Titans GO! to the Movies”, the first-ever big-screen version of DC Entertainment and Cartoon Network’s animated TV show.
SYNOPSIS – It seems like all the superheroes are getting their own movies – everyone but the Teen Titans, that
is! Determined to be a star, Robin vows to change this. If only they could get Hollywood director Jade Wilson (Kristen Bell) to notice them! With a few madcap ideas and musical numbers (of course), the Teen Titans head to Tinsel Town. But when Supervillain Slade (Will Arnett) messes with their plans, the Teen Titans will have to become true superheroes to save the world!
Teen Titans GO! to the Movies” showcases an egocentric and wildly satirical group of superheroes. This is definitely not your ordinary superhero movie. It offers up a fresh, gleefully clever, kid-appropriately crass and tongue-in-cheek play on the superhero genre. And best off it comes complete with musical numbers. Yes, a superhero movie with musical numbers. All I can is that my teen loves this movie a lot! And that is quite the ringing endorsement. This definitely makes for a fun movie to watch for you and your teens.
BLU-RAY AND DVD SPECIAL FEATURES
“Teen Titans GO! to the Movies” Blu-ray Combo Pack contains the following special
Lil Yachty Music Video: “Teen Titans GO! Rap”
Sing-a-long with Silkie “DC Super Hero Girls: The Late Batsby” Mini-Movie
Red Carpet Mayhem
Teen Titans GO! To the Movies: WB Lot Shenanigans
“Everything is Fake”: Exclusive song not in the movie
“Teen Titans GO!: Translated”
Storyboard Animatics: Time Cycles
The Final Battle
“Teen Titans GO! to the Movies” Standard Definition DVD contains the following special features:
Storyboard Animatics: Time Cycles
The Final Battle
Teen Titans Go! To the Movies is available on amazon.com and major retailers.
Disclosure: NYC Single Mom received a copy of the movie to facilitate this post.
Enjoy National Sandwich Day by upping your Peanut Butter Sandwich by adding Local Hive Honey by Rice’s Honey. Local Hive Honey is raw, unfiltered honey – natural and pure and just a delicious ingredient to add your peanut butter sandwich. I am particularly fond of adding bananas to add fiber fo my sandwich which makes a great meal. Fun Fact maybe, apparently John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich was the inventor of the sandwich.
Peanut Butter, Honey and Banana Sandwich
Up your peanut butter sandwich with Local Hive Honey.
1 TBSP Local Hive honey
1 TBSP Peanut butter of your choice
1/4 cup Slice Bananas
Whole Grain Bread, fresh or toasted
Assemble your sandwich with all ingredients – enjoy! Feel free to increase the amount of your favorite ingredient.
Disclosure: NYC Single Mom was provided with Local Hive Honey to facilitate this post.
Each LivItaly’s tour has a maximum of six people. It always the luck of the draw who is on your tour but there were no other young people on our tour. That said, I always appreciate when others engage my daughter in conversation.
Be prepared up front for an early start and waiting, before the museum opens at 8:00 am. The tour starts at 7:30 am but we were instructed to meet outside the entrance of the Vatican Museum entrance at 7:15 AM. This will not make any teen happy but trust me it’s better to start early. Tip of the day, figure out how to get food before you start because while there is a restaurant right outside the museum, the lines are at least 30 minutes long.
The VATICAN MUSEUM
Before you get to the Sistine Chapel with Michelangelo’s masterpiece, our guide took us through several rooms, courtyards and major hallways. This why having a guide is the perfect way to see the Vatican Museum as she pointed out key sculptures, archaeological objects and priceless art pieces that were collected by the Popes throughout several centuries.
One of the many reasons for taking the LivItaly Early tour is that you pretty much get areas of the museum to yourself like the Gallery of Maps.
Our guide gave us the option to visit the Raphael Room even if it was a bit of walk and we all agreed why not. And I am happy we did.
The Raphael Rooms were painted by Raphael, one of the major Renaissance masters who painted these frescoes from 1508 to 1520. The rooms were Pope Julius II’s private apartments. The photos in the post are from the most well known room, ” Stanza della Segnatura (Roo of Signature.)”
Key Facts: Raphael used Leonard Da Vinci to portray Plato as well as Michelangelo as the figure on the bottom part of the steps and Raphael painted himself in the righthand corner.
My favorite was the ceiling which is stunning and the colors are still so vivid. I would say this is one of my favorite pieces in the museum.
The Sistine Chapel
No photos, sorry, as they are not allowed. Prior to entering the room, our guide explained each section of the through each part of the Sistine Chapel ceiling and the Last Judgement which takes up one of the walls. This was extremely helpful and offered a lot of context to what we were about to see.
The focal point is obviously the Ceiling that focuses on the “Creation of Man.” It took Michelangelo about four years from 1508-1512 to complete. What I never knew is that background behind God is shaped like a brain.
The Sistine Chapel was named after Pope Sixtus IV della Rovere.
I am always surprised that my daughter is aware of key pieces of iconic art but she knew the most famous scene of the ceiling, “The Creation of Adam.” She commented on how beautiful it was and was interested in all of the ceiling even though she is not particularly religious. We were given plenty of time to view all of the ceiling and the Last Judgement. It was great and super helpful that the guide gave us numbered detail of the ceiling after explaining it to us before we entered the room.
I have been to the Sistine Chapel several times but even twenty years later, I was in awe of how spectacular it is up close! It takes your breath away. And even though you could not take photos and I am actually glad they don’t let you, it is nice to sit on the side benches and just take it all in without having to deal with all the cameras in your face!
Again I have to mention another reason for taking the early tour is that the room was not filled to capacity. We only had to wait a couple of minutes to find a seat. And you could actually stand anywhere in the room to view the ceiling from different angles without jockeying for position.
Other Vatican Museums Highlights
As you wander through the museum, slow down and take in the marvelous tapestries in the Gallery of the Tapestries. The intricacies of the work are beyond amazing.
The Gallery of Maps or hallway of maps is another area of the museum that will take your breath away especially the ceiling. It has 40 map frescoes representing the Italian regions.
As you walk through the museum you will happen up the Modern Art wing of religious-themed paintings by Salvidor Dali, Picasso, courtyards and so much more.
And after our visit to the Vatican Museum, the tour continued onto St. Peter’s Basilica.
Tips for Visiting the Vatican Museums and St. Peters Basilica
The Vatican museums are closed on Sundays and Catholic holidays
Book early as LivItaly tour sizes is small and intimate.
Dress appropriately as you will be turned away. No hats or sleeveless shirts. Ladies, your dress or skirts must cover your knees and your shoulders must be covered. found that bringing a wrap is key. And if you forget, there are plenty of vendors selling wraps the church.
Our guide gave us the opportunity to use the restroom before we started the tour. GO!! There is no other opportunity until the tour is over.
Eat before you go or arrive 45 minutes early to get something to eat at the restaurant directly in front of the entrance. My daughter doesn’t like granola bars so no point in bringing those along and plus she would have to scarf it down in secret away from the guards.
I recommend LivItaly tours for your visit to the Vatican Museum, the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica. I think we go so much more out our visit and we were able to truly appreciate and enjoy all art and architecture. And while it was a super early start, it was so worth it not to have to deal with the crowds!! Visit LivItaly.com to check out all their Italy tours.
Looking to upgrade your kitchen and make it more personalized then check out the Café Matte Collection From GE,
The Café Matte Collection is a suite of customizable appliances available at Best Buy that allows you to update and customize your kitchen appliances to fit the latest trends and style preferences, all in a more affordable way. Café Matte Collection comes in Matte Black or Matte White.
Customize Your Kitchen With the New Café Matte Appliances Collection by GE #distinctbydesign @cafeappliances @BestBuy #ad Click To Tweet
Café Matte Collection in Matte Black
Café Matte Collection in Matte White
Café Matte Collection also offers a distinct line of customizable hardware options that reflects your personal style.
Its time appliances had a personality. Yours. Learn more about Cafe Matte Collection that offers you high-performance features that will spark cooking creativity.
Disclosure. The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.