KUNG FU PANDA 3: SO NICE I SAW IT TWICE!

 

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For two weekends in a row  Kung Fu Panda 3‘s  slay at  the box office continued. Crushing its competition the film  threw  down like the  Broncos  but by  weekend 3, and now this past weekend, its fourth week out,  competition got tougher for  our cuddly hero Po  as he went up against the super hottie-hero,  Ryan Reynolds  in Deadpool.

Coming in second for two weekends since Deadpool’s arrival our Kung Fu  fighting Panda bear fought hard to retain a top spot  even beating out  newcomers ” How To Be Single’ and ‘Zoolander.’

Pat on the back to me  for taking the kids over the weekend, thuds counting ourselves  amongst those helping  Po to  stay  on top at the box office-

Our hero Po must find his Chi to save the  Masters

Our hero Po must find his Chi to save the Masters

 

I have a confession  and will admit that  seeing the movie on Saturday  was  my second helping of KFP3 . Need I say more!  It was so  nice, I saw it twice!!

For families  who haven’t seen this  latest installment of  the Kung Fu Panda franchise, a trip to the cinema is definitely in order.   In this version our dumpling popping Kung Fu hero’s long-lost poppa-Panda materializes. Reunited, he takes Po to a secret Panda village to meet scores of other  cute Panda  characters.  Looming though, to wreck the happy  family reunion is the appearance of   Kai (J.K. Simmons), an evil villain who has  returned from the spirit world to steal the powers of all  living Kung Fu Masters. Po’s mission? He must master his chi thus  find the secret to his own powers within,in order to stop Kai.

Raking in over $294 mil worldwide  thus far,  it is obvious  to all that  this third installment of the  cuddly warrior-hero  Panda  and his posse of kick-butt pals  including  Tigress (voiced by Angelina Jolie),  Viper (Lucy Liu) and newcomer Mei Mei ( Kate Hudson) is  destined like  its sister installments —Kung Fu Panda  and Kung Fu Panda 2 to be  a family favorite. A breakdown of the franchise and its box office numbers  can be seen here  at  Box Office Mojo.

 

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Crownheightsmom aloing with a number of other mom bloggers caught up with  stars Lucy Liu and Kate  Hudson during  the stars’ press stop in New York  to promote KFP3  earlier this month .  The actors,  both parents   popped in together  to  chat with Melissa Gerstein of the MOMS  after a  screening  of the movie at the Regal Union Square theater.   Liu,  dressed in an elegant knee high black dress and Hudson in a baby pink pantsuit paired with a  grey cashmere sweater  were all smiles and excited  to be chatting  it up  about the movie and their involvement.

Hudson and Liu talking all about KFP3

Hudson and Liu talking all about KFP3

 Hudson sitting crossed legged shared with the audience,  “when I saw the character she was so fun and funny.”  Hudson voices the girl diva Panda,, Mei Mei.

“I got a call from Jeffrey Katzenberg who said ‘we would you like you to come play the part of Mei Mei.’  It all kinda happened last minute and having known Jeffrey forever I said yeah sure,  why not! “

 “To get one [character] that is so funny, I got really excited because she is so adorable.”

Kate Hudson plays the adorable ribbon dancing panda diva Mei Mei

Kate Hudson plays the adorable ribbon dancing panda diva, Mei Mei.

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The adorable Mei Mei voiced by Kate hudson

The conversations with the two mom stars  ventured  from the movie and onto parenting. When Gerstein touched upon mom regrets in parenting,    Hudson   shared  about the time she  took her now 11 year old   son  Ryder–he was   5 or 6 at the  time —along with her to see  American Idiot,   the Green Day play on Broadway.

“When Ryder was younger he loved  Green Day .So I took him to the play.”  Recalls Hudson , “as I  enter the theater everyone is looking at me like, ‘why does Kate Hudson have her young child at this  play? ”

“So a few minutes into the play and here I am with my sweatshirt over his [Ryder’s] head and I am like ‘I am out! ” she tells us laughing.

Lui  didn’t share any parenting faux pas but she did dish on  why she loves doing animation  flicks. KFP3 is  Liu’s  third ride alongside  Jack Black and Angelina Jolie .

For Liu,  she shared , there is  comfort in doing  animation.  “You get to show up in your sweatpants.”

“You are  also in a room by yourself  and I was in NYC  so I would do skype and facetime session with the director, [Jennifer Yu Nelson] and that is how she directed me. ” Adds Liu, “you really have a limited idea of what they want in terms of the visual aspect  because the film isn’t done at that point .so they were very flexible.

 

This is Lucy Liu's third time around playing Viper in the the KFP franchise

This is Lucy Liu’s third time around playing Viper in the the KFP franchise

Liu also  talked a bit about her ethnicity telling the audience. “Everybody is always asking me how is it to be an Asian American actress.  I am like,  I really don’t know!  I really don’t want to talk about it anymore. I can talk about being an actress .I can talk about being an artist. About being someone in the industry but  I do not want to talk about the fact  that I am Asian American and an actress because it is the same thing .”In the end it is about talent and that is what really stands out.”

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So  run, don’t walk and go see  Kung Fu Panda 3. My  kids really enjoyed the movie  with my son Kai getting a kick out of the bad guy being named Kai but making sure to point out that he’s a good boy…..

By Debra Lewis-Boothman

Warrior Kai from the Spirit World

Warrior Kai from the Spirit World wants Po’s Chi

 

 

Out of 5 Popcorn Stars the kids give Kung Fu Panda 3 – 5  –

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HODA KOTB’S INSPIRATIONAL NEW BOOK MOTIVATES TO FIND YOUR CALLING IN LIFE

Are you searching for a new book to inspire you? One that will motivate you to make a change, in you! Then, look no more because  crownheightsmom has the perfect book for you.Trust me, there is no better time than now, to start reading a  book like this. Let me present, best-selling author and TV host Hoda Kotb’s newest book,Where We Belong : Journeys That Show Us The Way  . It is a definite must-read that will leave you inspired, motivated  and possibly rethinking  your life path and and where you belong.

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I  just got through   reading this book which I  received   recently at a  MOMS  and Secret Resorts & Spa   luncheon  and book signing with Kotb.  The event, held  at Manhattan’s Hunt and Fish restaurant  in mid January  made for an wonderful afternoon that was filled with  laughter, tears , the sharing of personal stories and a delicious meal  amongst a group of mom bloggers—all fans and cheerleaders, of Hoda Kotb .

The book, released on Jan  5 is filled  with  inspiring stories of  individuals who answered “the call”  from within.  Individuals, whom were able to  the answer the questions each of us will ultimately ask ourself one day. The questions of what is your life purpose and where do you belong?

Hoda explains it  best  when  she writes in the book—-Most of us wonder what we’re doing. We float around in the glass half-empty, gaze out into the world of possibilities, and wonder if we should get off of our raft and climb out. Maybe even today you asked yourself: Is it too late to do that thing that made me so happy when I was young? Could what matters most to me finally be the center of my life? Can I really trust this yearning voice in my head and longing in my heart? Do I feel like I’m where I belong?

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In person,  Kotb is very much what you see daily on Kathie Lee & Hoda. During the fourth hour of Today alongside  Kathie Lee Giffords she is witty,  fun and  full of big smiles. In person she is the same way.

Hoda Kotb at the MOMS HodaMamarazzi

Hoda Kotb at the MOMS HodaMamarazzi

 

The mom bloggers chewed down on  delicious eats from Hunt and Fish including servings of salmon, chicken, pasta , salad and even french fries . To wash it down they  sipped on speciality  fruit drinks .Midway through the luncheon  Hoda walked in dressed in a vibrant fuchsia and purple dress that popped against her  tanned skin tone . Greeting the more than 30 moms in the room she took out her cell phone  and started takings pics of everyone in the room  before sitting down with MOMS co-creators Denise Albert and Melissa  Gerstein for a frank 20-minute girl  chat about the new book, surviving cancer, getting  divorced and her wish to have children.They were joined by her  co-writer Jane Lorenzini.

More than 30 mom bloggers attended  the  special MOMS' Hoda Mamarazzi luncheon

More than 30 mom bloggers attended the special MOMS’ Hoda Mamarazzi luncheon

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The yummy salmon, a favorite was the first serving on the delicious menu to go.

 

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These fruity non-alcoholic drinks from Hunt and Fish were a big hit

The breast cancer survivor and former Dateline correspondent   really impressed the   bloggers .She shared so much of herself  and  even  gave out  hugs in addition  to signing books  for everyone.

About  surviving  breast cancer she shared.  “I wrote in my journal every day.” Adding,  “at the bottom I would write one word . That one word  everyday was FORWARD, because I wanted to keep moving . I wanted to move forward .  Kotb would have that word  written on a ring  which she wears daily . Says the  journalist, “whenever I get scared, I look down.”

On regrets she tells the  group, “all of a sudden life gets away from you and you ask, what happened? I  look at my life now and every time I see a baby carriage or a baby stroller I melt. It happens every single time and it is hard,” Kotb  shares about not having kids of her own. She goes on to say, “I feel like something is missing but what do you do when you can’t fill that space?  How  do you do it?”The answer  she says  can be seen  with  a family in the book who  adopted late in life or as  Kotb recalls from personal experience when, ” I looked at PEOPLE magazine and I saw Sandra Bullock, [adopted ] and you go look what she  did .  I always thought about maybe starting a summer camp for kids. I thought that would help or that I wanted to be a school teacher.”

 

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Hoda and the MOMS’ Denise Albert and Melissa  Gerstein share a laugh

So  adoption  just might be an answer  for  Kotb. Says  the journalist, “Something is missing!  And you know, the people in the book did say   often you don’t know what is missing until you find it.  All of a sudden you  go ‘How have I lived this long without X. So there are a lot of things I am thinking  about.”

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Sharing a smile and a hug with Hoda

Kotb uses her life path as a  teaching tool .”I  got married late in life. ….. I had a failed marriage ….and I  had breast cancer.” Adds the  on air personality, ” If I didn’t  get sick I wouldn’t have  had the guts to go in and ask for this job.”

Hoda couldn’t agree more that  the book comes at a great time of the year as  people make their New Years resolutions and self reflect.  “Now around the first of the year  people are rethinking their lives and wondering what they should be doing. ” Or ,as she also puts it quite eloquently,  “suddenly you feel like, am I just taking the path of least resistance,  just sorta  hopping on the train  and letting it go or am I choosing? ” Adds Kotb, “the thing about this book is everybody  chose.They put their hands on the steering wheels and they drove!”

 

Part of the reason  I love what I am doing now [with Kathie Lee] is for the first time in my life we get to bring JOY.–HODA KOTB

 

Kotb is  in the drivers seat .Joining the  fourth hour of Today  alongside  Kathie Lee in 2008 she says she loves it there  but can still remembers to that time when she did not find her purpose. She tells the story of covering  Hurricane Katrina  and the effect it had on her [She used to live in New Orleans].  “When you cover something that is personal you really feel it. Covering Katrina  made me think about all the other stories I’d  covered that weren’t personal to me  but were personal to somebody and I wished I had handled it differently because sometimes as  journalist you go in and you go out because you don’t have time to put your whole heart into it . It hurts your heart to do it over and over  and part of the reason is that you kinda get hardened .”

I love what I  am doing now ( with Kathie Lee)because  for the first time in my life we get to bring joy.We get to lift people up and it is cool.”

 

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Hoda alongside the MOMS and her co-writer Jane

 

Even with two New York Times  bestsellers behind her– Ten Years Later: Six People Who Faced Adversity and Transformed Their Lives and Hoda: How I Survived War Zones, Bad Hair, Cancer, and Kathie Lee she  continues to be the genuine no-airs-about-me, lovable and approachable on-air personality  viewers are drawn to.

Hoda says it best when she says,  “There is something to be said for being exactly who you are authentically, because if you are not, people sense it.” .

So true Hoda…..so true .Continue to  stay exactly who you are. This is why we love you! ———by Debra Lewis-Boothman

 

 

 

SPICE UP THAT SUPERBOWL MENU WITH CURRY SERVINGS FROM BROOKLYN’S KING OF TANDOOR

Brooklyn residents looking to spice up their menu servings on Superbowl Sunday, need look no more. Problem solved! King of Tandoor Indian restaurant  is the answer to finding  delicious, affordable bang-for-the-buck Indian cuisine in Brooklyn  when you don’t want to take that trek to Manhattan’s Curry Row.

Nestled right in the heart of Brooklyn,  King of Tandoor  is a cozy spot  offering up some of the best Indian food crownheightsmom has sampled . So if you are a curry lover like myself or you are having a hard time  finding that curry-in-a-hurry spot that’s easy to get to,  then  pop over to the Prospect Lefferts Garden section of Brooklyn –just a hop-skip and jump from Prospect Park, along Flatbush  Avenue and not far from  –Crown Heights, Park Slope, Bed-Sty or  Downtown Brooklyn. Not in the mood to come out, no worries, forego the walk,  pull out the cell phone and dial  them up for delivery.

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The family owned 32-seat  restaurant has been in the neighborhood just over eight years says  Naz who greeted me as I entered  to grab takeout on Friday night.

“Most of our revenue comes from  deliveries,” he says as the phone rang-off-the-hook while offering me a cool delicious glass of mango juice as I waited on my  order.

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A busy evening as Naz takes  yet another phone order

Located in what was once a predominately Caribbean-American neighborhood where the lively sound of soca and reggae music echoes through speakers  of small business  ranging  from —barber shops, Jamaican  bakeries, Korean fruit markets, African hair braiding salons, Dominican bodegas and international fashion shops –the neighborhood is  experiencing a boom in new businesses as high-rise buildings go up  every few months and gentrification prices out many of the moms-and-pops businesses that once lined  the avenue.   These changes  though says Naz,  “is bringing an influx of new families and we are welcoming it.”

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The restaurant  is looking to expand  later this year . “Our kitchen isn’t that big but we have two  persons on every station, ” Naz lets me know  about keeping up with filling orders for seated customers, takeout and delivery .  As customers come in and out of the A-graded restaurant Naz engages them  in small talk and a smile.

King of Tandoor manager Naz

Naz, the manager of King of Tandoor

“We know everyone that comes in or we at least get to know them,”  he adds  as another customer enters the restaurant after jumping out of one of the many Dollar Vans swooping down the  avenue -the sounds of reggae music echoing from the  speakers as the door slams shut. “If ever there is an issue that our customers have, they can talk to us, ” adds Naz . “We love the people in the neighborhood . They are are very friendly and we like that.”

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Adorning the walls of the restaurant are  traditional Indian pictures of palaces in Bombay while the tables are outfitted  with red and white tabletop settings. “We are planning on making the restaurant  bigger so we will be renovating soon, ” he says.

As the winter season gears up Naz says  they are excited. “Winter is one of our best and busiest seasons for deliveries especially Fridays and Saturdays.” In fact when the snow blizzard hit New York City a week ago the restaurant closed just on Friday  but by the next day they were open and filling orders around the clock . They experienced one of their busiest  days of 2016 thus far . “We were very busy, ” says Naz,  adding “the phone rang non-stop with orders and a lot of customers came in.”

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Deliveries and takeout orders come out of the busy kitchen

For  local residents dining and getting takeout  King of Tandoor has become their own little piece of India, especially when they get to chow down on favorites like vegetable samosas and thandoori appetizers or curry specialities like  Vindaloo Curry or Do-Piaz Curry with a choice of lamb, chicken, beef or keema  cooked with  onions and tomatoes in a spice flavored sauce. Washing it down one has  the choice of a soft drink  or a delicious mango drink.

For  one customer  who lives in the neighbor the restaurant is definitely  King! Says Kate who lives nearby. “I have lived in this neighborhood for two years now and it is  just amazing. It is the best Indian food I have  found in Brooklyn thus far.” Kate insist  that  “next to Indian food from restaurants in London, King of Tandoor  on Flatbush Ave takes a close second.”

So spice things up  with a few servings from King of Tandoor as you celebrate 50 years of the big game on Superbowl Sunday . We  certainly will!

Crownheightsmom give Brooklyn’s King of Tandoor  restaurant  opened daily  noon -11pm 7 days a week a rating of 5 out of 5  Serving Spoons for delicious food and great customer service.

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Disclousure : No monies were exchanged for this review.—CrownHeightsMom ordered  her food, picked it up  and paid for it. This review is a result of the food being so darn good! Loved it!