August 30, 2012

OOGIELOVES- A Review/Giveaway of The Big Balloon Adventure

Don't you love going full circle?  I started off the month with my screening adventure of the OOGIELOVES movie (and yes, anytime I'm with La Princesa it's an adventure) and I'm finishing it with my review.

I took my grandchildren El Dr. and La Princesa along with their other grandmother y La Tata. Queee? JU SO FONII!!! I'm no dummy, you better believe I took reinforcements! El Dr. is six years old and loves the movies, La Princesa is 3 and has never been to one.  Oh yeah, you know I took reinforcements!  I sat with my grandson near the front while the other grandma was in charge of the girl, behind us, in the first row of the upper level. Whaaatt?? I was "working", besides, my mama didn't raise no dummy! So, it was 2 grownups taking care of La Princesa; enough for one toddler right?  So you would have thought... but this was no regular 3 year old and definitely no regular movie either!!

Didja see that?!?!?

Now mind you, my grandbabies don't read yet, but they sure got the butterflies and turtle part down fast!  Mariposas - fly, get out of your seats.  Turtles- slow down, sit down.  An interactive movie My Beautifuls- how "about time someone did this" is this? Children were laughing, jumping up and down, dancing- and so were the adults!  This is not a movie for stick in the muds or Uptight Ursulas, this is for the kids in all of us. Warning though- wish I would have had more cafe, 'cause Oogieloves in The Big Balloon Adventure had me getting up and down more times than a Catholic misa, but of course that just got the kids to giggling more!!  Thankfully there were times to rest, at least for me and 6 yr old El Dr.; he did tend to be a bit bored during the slower songs and some of them were a tad long for my opinion, but as far as the 3 yr old La Princesa?  She was just starting to catch on to the movements- so for her it was great.

Actually, for La Princesa it was too great.  Now she'll think all movie theatres have this kind of movie and you're allowed to jump out of your seat and go to the screen to touch the characters.  Ok, Si, she really did do that- and she was la unica who did that, but the point is she had a blast and future expectations will be high.  Hopefully this will start a new trend of TRULY RATED G movies, interactive movies for 2 - 6 yr olds who enjoy a song and silly dance, especially if their grownups join in the fun.  So go have a good time, see some well known actors show some hidden talents, and let the theater and others know how much you enjoyed it.  If we're lucky the movie makers will see what a great idea this is, and I won't have to wait until La Princesa's a teen to take her to another movie.

; )

Babushka Besos a todos. Cuidensen.

P.S. In case I was too subtle (jehe) I'm giving this movie an emphatic ESO!!! Not only am I giving it an ESO!!! I'm having a giveaway.  Oh yeah.  Just comment about my review, what you thought of the pic if you've seen it, or who you would take if you haven't.  Anything related to OOGIELOVES is welcomed- just remember to keep it TRULY RATED G!  One of the comments will be picked the winner of:

Obviously I was given the above prize pac for this post, 
but the review (hopefully also obviously) was my own. 

August 29, 2012

American Latino Heritage Fund Roadtrip- Recap

Babushka was asked to write a recap on her part of the American Latino Heritage Fund RoadtripEstan ready?  Day by day countdown (with links to the posts) and a fav moment/memory/fact of the place will be listed. Get your dancing shoes on My Beautifuls- a bailar rapido!!

Day 1- Tallahassee  De Soto Winter Encampment 
and the Museum of Florida History

This being my first interview/video, I didn't know who was more ill at ease- Dr. Daniel Seinfeld or BB. Still, along with embarrassed laughs we managed to get some facts in.

The second part of the day was spent at the Museum of Florida History examining 
One of BB's fav paintings- by Xavier Cortada
And let's not forget the exclusive behind the scenes look at the lab with Conservator Catherine Sincich.
 This was too cool- BB felt like a combo Dexter and Indiana Jones. 
She had me at "chocolate"; check out my youtube channel to see what I mean.
Day 2- Tallahassee   Mission San Luis and TWAM
The beauty, history, and activities at Mission San Luis son digno of a full day visit- at the minimum!  Where Spaniards and the Apalachees learned to live together as two separate people, to then join together as a new breed.  Multi- cultural- ESO!!!
And of course it's always great to be amongst friends. 
                                   BB & Costume Mistress Gabrielle Reed
Ben Gunter, TWAM Director & BB
and for those who missed the mini intro on TWAM, here's the original 10 min. version.
Day 3- Bradenton   De Soto National Memorial
Such a vast, picturesque site on the waters of Bradenton, the De Soto National Memorial
has many things to be proud of.  The Rangers, the grounds, but what struck me the most of this place was its dedication to community- especially the youth.  If you'd like your children to learn/live history and the beauty of nature, this is definitely the place to go to.  They do not take their Jr. Ranger program lightly and one of BB's highpoints of this trip was being given an honorary Jr. Ranger Badge.  Thank you Ranger Jorge Acevedo for the badge and all the information that was bestowed along with it.
Mine and I'm not sharing.
Day 4 - St. Augustine   Castillo de San Marcos 
Started in 1672 the fort of St. Augustine, the Castillo de San Marcos is still going strong and open to the public everyday except Christmas.  Plan at least 3 hours to visit, you don't want to be rushed during your travel back to time.  With the self-guided tours, the rangers talks and the re enactments it's very easy to find yourself in another era in this well maintained and proper example of Spanish colonization and construction.
Day 5- St. Augustine Beach    Fort Matanzas
Babushka could truly spend a whole day here at Fort Matanzas National Monument .  
Besides the beauty of the place, 
I could listen to this Ranger for hours!
My Beautifuls, gone are the days of the boring Park Rangers.  Today's Rangers are animated, make jokes, ask questions- they do the schtick to make it stick!!  A wonderful philosophy that I embrace wholeheartedly and I commend the National Park Service for training and encouraging this sort of storytelling to the people.
Day 6 -  Tampa      Ybor City Historical District
Ybor City, what can I say about it except- I wanna go back!!! 
 It's a town of contradiction, a town of extremes- perfecto for BB.  The power of determination and the styles of a simpler time, both are still evident in Ybor City.  The history of a time when cigars were king in Ybor and the community its' faithful and dedicated servants.  A time when honor was everything and management and labor respected their places and each other; together to be the best.
The Don Vicente de Ybor Historic Inn
BB relaxing on the porch of a worker's "casita"
And the Latino contribution of Ybor City? 
 Dr. Wallace Reyes does the honors:
Day 7 - Miami     Freedom Tower
400,000 Cubans went through these doors;
 the city of Miami- and the US
would never be the same. 
And so ends BB's recap.  Almost.  
Having made so many videos (unbelievable) I will now do my version of an acceptance/thank you speech.
To the Hispanicize team and Maria de los Angeles for believing in this vieja viajera,
to my fellow bloggers Alex de Carvalho, Cristy Clavijo-Kish, Eva Smith, Lance Rios and Roberto Rios III  for being so generous with their help and encouragement.
 to the sponsors- the American Latino Heritage Fund, GM Diversity and Verizon Wireless for their marvelous contributions, 
to the wonderful people BB interviewed who took time out of their lives to share their vast knowledge and experience,
to the Park Rangers who were terrific and oh so entertaining, 
and to you My Beautifuls for following my adventures and for bailando con migo.  
To all of you I say Mil Gracias and I can't wait to do it again for VivaFlorida 500!
; )
Nos vemos prontos.
Babushka Besos a todos.  Cuidensen.

P.S.  Por supuesto there are more people and organizations (Visit Florida,Florida's Historic Coast,Visit Bradenton)   I need to thank and highlight in future posts, and I will- I promise.  Just let me get a chance to buy some new dancing shoes; I kinda wore these out.

P.P.S.  There will be a recap Tweety Fiesta next week- I'll keep you posted. 

August 25, 2012

American Latino Heritage Fund Roadtrip- Freedom Tower

Day 7, Miami's Freedom Tower, the last stop for BB on this great American Latino Heritage Fund Roadtrip. Ironic if you think about, because this was the first stop into this country for so many.  Built in 1925, modeled after the Giralda Bell Tower on the cathedral of Seville, Spain, this building became the entrance to America for thousands of immigrants.

Freedom Tower- Miami Ntl. Landmark

 We spoke with an expert on the Freedom Tower and Florida, Dr. Paul George- nothing but the best for you My Beautifuls.  Dr. George is a noted historian and past president of the South Florida Historical Society.  My Capitan  Maria de los Angeles had taken a class with him and we were honored that he agreed to an interview.

At this point My Capitan had come in with the big guns- the professional video camera and on person mikes.  We'll have to wait to see the finished edited shoot, but it'll be worth it; Dr. George was a fountain of knowledge and Maria and I were just fabulous!  heje Especially my surprised look when he told me Miami was a well established town before the Cubans mass arrival.  JU SO FONII!!!  No really, he said that!  Look for my surprised face on the video.

Another thing I'd like you to look at are the pictures I took of the Freedom Tower on my Feibu page. It was my last day w/Maria's camera so I made sure to take lots of fotos.  

BBP  (Babushka Bullet Points) on Miami's Freedom Tower

* Housed Miami's 1st Newspaper the Miami News & Metropolis
* The cupola has a beacon light said to represent the enlightenment the newspaper was to shine upon its' readers
* During the Cuban mass exodus away from Fidel Castro's regime in the 1960's to the early 70's, 400,000 Cubans were welcomed into the US  through the doors of the Freedom Tower
* Currently administered by Miami Dade College, it serves as an art gallery and exhibition space.

Through these doors and into Freedom.

As I look at the Freedom Tower I recall many of the stories I heard during my youth.  The hope this building brought, the reunions with loved ones, and the gratitude to a new homeland.

The Majesty of a Classic- standing out among the modern.

Like looking in a mirror.

; )

Babushka besos a todos.  Cuidensen.

P.S.  Thanks to our wonderful sponsors who gave us the freedom to take this trip and to tell it in our own words.


August 21, 2012

American Latino Heritage Fund Roadtrip- Ybor City

Day 6 of the American Latino Heritage Fund Roadtrip and Babushka's visiting Ybor City.  Now part of modern day Tampa Florida, Ybor City has so many fascinating stories that a 2 hour walking tour just started my curiosity. I never imagined the importance this quaint locale had in our nations history.  Imaginate, I could have kept asking  questions even though the sol was already out- so you know BB was captivated!

  And here's the man in the know- 

Dr. Wallace Reyes, Historian and Master Cigar Maker

Now let's start listening to some of his know- Introduction into Ybor City's History.


The main industry in Ybor city was the cigar.  Here the four nationalities came together to produce first class quality that was world renowned, but it was not just the quality of the cigar that was exemplary. The business practices and social organizations in Ybor City were ahead of their time in the US and the pride of being here was handed down to each generation. Dr. Reyes illustrates this point in this video where he explains a typical workday for a cigar artisan.

In a city where Spaniards, Cubans, Italian and Germans all resided together you know there had to be good food.  Queee?? You thought I'd go to a Cuban town and not talk about food?  JU SO FONII!! As a matter of fact, on my youtube channel you'll see Dr. Reyes explain the history of the Ferlita Bakery -current housing of the museum. Naturally this brings to BB's mind the current debate about the real Cuban Sandwich.  Sorry Miami, the ORIGINAL sandwich was called "The Brick" and then renamed "Cuban" sandwich because it became the main lunch item for Cuban cigar artisans.

Home of the ORIGINAL Cuban Sandwich

 As a matter of fact, thanks to the Italian influence in Ybor City, there were Italian meatcuts in the sandwich. A sandwich invented because the factory owners noticed that artisans would be slower after a typical Cuban lunch.  In that, time has not changed.  Heje  Siesta- a tradition BB is proud to continue.  

 ; ) 

And yes, another part of tradition I continue, loving my Latino roots, however I have never visited Cuba- until now. When I said Ybor City was a Cuban town I was not kidding. The Jose Marti Park located in Ybor City is governed by the same laws as embassies; it is still owned by the Cuban government and currently protected by the United States of America.


Check out the full story on BB's Feibu Video page  
and while you're there check out the many pics I posted on Ybor

BBP (Babushka Bullet Points) of Ybor City

* Thanks to the foresight of Vicente Martinez-Ybor and Eduardo Manrara, an industrial and cultural powerhouse arose out of the Florida swamps.  
*Ybor city revolutionized the Southeast United States, was second only to New York City in the artistic and theatrical events of the day, and brought together four distinct cultures in creating a community dedicated to cigars and their distribution.  '
*The collaboration resulted in a world wide reputation for superior cigars- so much so that each of the major cigarmaking houses were the exclusive suppliers for different royals throughout Europe.
* Was the home to advanced thinkers in the area of industrialization and business practices
* At the peak year, 1929, half a million cigars were rolled in Ybor City
*DEFINITELY take the Ybor City Historic Walking Tour. Make reservations con tiempo and a recorder- sooo wish I had done the latter.

Will I be going back to visit Ybor City? 

Let's see... Dr. Reyes just skimmed the surface of the city's history.

I didn't get to try the Ybor City/Tampa Cuban Sandwich in the famous, open since 1905, 
oldest US restaurant, the Colombia  Restaurant

And as if that wasn't enough, there's a memory that will always be haunting and calling me...
Continuing the tradition-
the duo of decadence

Ybor City-have the bread & the cafecito hot,  que pa'ya voy!

Babushka Besos a todos.  Cuidensen.

P.S.  Thanks to Dr. Wallace Reyes, a man of much knowledge and many talents.  
His cigar company:  
His world record breaking cigar:
See his thoughts on the Latino Heritage in Ybor City and its' effects on the nation-

P.P.S. The National Park Service has an interesting lesson plan about Ybor City- captures the history and feel of the place nicely.

P.P.P.S.  Thanks again to the sponsors of this roadtrip- without them there would have been no trip and I couldn't have expressed myself.  Now, de verdad, how boring would that have been?? Gracias.

American Latino Heritage Fund Roadtrip- Ft. Matanzas

Day 5 of the American Latino Heritage Fund Roadtrip finds BB at Ft. Matanzas National Monument. Fifteen miles away from St. Augustine, it was a nice leisurely Sunday drive, especially with Carlitos and his guided navigation. Ok si, a lo bueno se acostumbre facil. I am quickly and easily spoiled by the finer things in life.  But can you blame me?  Look how purty he makes it!

Colorful Composition by Carlitos

And talk about purty-  look at this pic of Ft. Matanzas.

Of course this shot was taken when the ferry was close to the fort.  Queee?? You didn't know it was only visitable via ferry?  Here, a little video to give you a taste of the waters and what's ahead. 


Now remember the part about the narrow opening at the top to go to the flag...

We arrive at the actual fort, Fort Matanzas. 

A National Monument for its' history, its' longevity and its' service to our country.  
As told brilliantly by this Park Ranger.

In the fort-  

On the ground floor we see how soldiers may have been housed 
and the different uniforms used by various troops who served at Ft. Matanzas.

the view from inside-

the second floor- 

These stairs Babushka had no problem with.

The sentry's quarters.

Now, remember what the ranger had said about a narrow opening?  
BB had no problema with the stairs going to the second story, but the ones going to the roof?

Babushka's Cuban Cadera (Caboose) going through there?


BBP (Babushka Bullet Points) on Ft. Matanzas National Monument

* Back door protector for the city of St. Augustine
* Under Spanish govt. Gov. Manuel de Montiano commisioned the fort 
* In 1740 construction made from coquina taking 2 years to complete
* Never overtaken by battle
* Acquired by US in 1819  Declared a Ntl. Monument in 1924

*Can only be reached via ferry- so take precautions if you get seasick.
*No entrance fees but donations are always welcomed
*Is very relaxing and if you want to make a day of it you can go fishing, hiking, and picknicking. (of course check out licenses for the first one- the other two are done near the visitor center.)

So tempting and sooo perfect for this Sunday afternoon,
but Carlitos was ready to navigate to Ybor City, and at this point I happily let him.

Babushka Besos a todos.  Cuidensen.

P.S.  I had such a lovely time and the surroundings were beautiful, plus I actually had a good camera, so look at the photos on my Feibu page- they're very good- if I say so myself.  
; )

and don't forget my YouTube Channel-

P.P.S.  Thanks once again to the Beautifuls at Florida's Historic Coast for all their hospitality in this part of my travels.

P.P.P.S.  And of course, to the wonderful major sponsors- Mil Gracias.  The views expressed in my posts are always mine (who else would claim them?) but there'd be no roadtrip w/out them.  Thanks.