Archive of ‘children’ category

Disney’s stage production of Beauty and The Beast roars with love, laughs and all the feelings

Brooke Quintana as Belle and Sam Hartley as the Beast in Disney's Beauty and the Beast. Photo by Matthew Murphy_

It’s a tale as old as time and delivers a message that’s truer these days than ever before. Disney’s “Beauty and The Beast” returned to Broward Center for the Performing Arts June 15 and runs through Sunday June 19 before heading to Dallas to continue its summer tour.

The musical that teaches the message to look beyond appearances and get to know people for who they are on the inside is a necessary lesson all of mankind could benefit from, especially at this moment. Just three days after the tragic Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando, I was still in a deeply somber mood. “Beauty and The Beast” provided the perfect diversion from the constant sorrow that kept popping up in my newsfeed and my mind.

It was truly wonderful to escape to the Beast’s castle for a few hours and reunite with Lumiere, played by the hilariously cheeky Ryan N. Phillips, the delightful Mrs. Potts played by Stephanie Gray and her adorable sidekick Chip, portrayed by Deandre Horner. Samuel Shurtleff shines as the Beast’s faithful servant Cogsworth and Christiaan Smith-Kotlarek delighted the crowd as the strapping and narcissistic town player, Gaston. The beefy baritone has also performed in multiple operas, which was obvious after watching him effortless belt out solos in this show.

The musical numbers in “Beauty and The Beast” are familiar and more feel good than ever with plenty of high-kicking dance routines and the show-stopping “Be Our Guest,” which features dancing flatware, spinning plates and plenty of confetti.

In the lead role of Belle, Brooke Quintana charms in her national touring debut as the book-loving introvert who refuses to conform to the norm. Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” is a wonderful show for families, couples and anyone looking for a carefree night out with some truly unforgettable characters.

Get tickets for Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” at

The Enchanted Objects of Disney's Beauty and the Beast. Photo by Matthew Murphy_Christiaan Smith-Kotlarek as Gaston and the Silly Girls of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.  Photo by Matthew Murphyfacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Blogging and Jogging: My adventures with the Bugaboo Runner continue


Taking daily walks with Jack has become my therapy. I gave up my gym membership and I’m exercising more than ever before. I know that sounds insane, but the freedom of putting Jack in the Bugaboo Runner and just hitting the pavement with him, some earbuds and Billy Joel on Spotify has been my salvation.

I read that Steve Jobs frequently preferred “walking  meetings” to traditional sit-down meetings and Facebook phenom Mark Zuckerberg has also been cited as being partial to the “walk and talk.”

When you’re moving, so is your mind. Sometimes I get so caught up in tasks and chores, I just need to clear my head out and literally head out the door. The many benefits of walking have been well-documented on the web. According to a blog post by writer Andrew Tate,  “Just 30 minutes of walking each day is enough to dramatically reduce your risk of heart disease, colon cancer, breast cancer and dementia.” He also mentioned a 2014 Stanford University that found walking can make people 81 percent more creative.

So, I originally decided to get moving for my body, but now I’m discovering it’s become even more beneficial for my mind. As a mother to a one-and-a-half-year-old toddler, I’m constantly moving, but walking is the only time I feel a sense of zen.

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No excuse to miss Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical

Stefan Karl as The Grinch with Seth Bazacas as Young Max Photo by PAPARAZZIBYAPPOINTMENT.COM

Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical easily made my heart grow three times bigger. I’m very impressed with this intermission-less show starring Stefan Karl as the evil yet strangely endearing Grinch. Karl slithers through this musical with plenty of sinister swagger as the classic Christmas-loathing villain of Whoville. On opening night at Broward Center for the Performing Arts, Karl demonstrated the Grinch is wittier than ever as he had a couple of live interactions with some overzealous children in the office who were trying to snatch his spotlight for a moment. Karl glowed as a traditional Seuss-created Grinch but added a few modern twists. The 2015 Grinch uses hashtags when he’s ranting about how much he despises Christmas.

Bob Lauder does a superb job narrating the show as Old Max, The Grinch’s former dog. While the play is definitely suited for children as maybe even a first taste of the theater show, this is one holiday play that will appeal to the child in all of us. Don’t miss this magical show that includes an epic audience sing along to  the beloved tune: “You’re A Mean One Mr. Grinch.” After all, it isn’t Christmas without The Grinch!

Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical  runs at Broward Center for the Performing Arts through Dec. 27. There are no performances on Christmas Day.

Tickets start at $35.

The show takes place at Broward Center for the Performing Arts

201 S.W. Fifth Avenue, Fort Lauderdale.

For tickets visit or call 954-462-0222.

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Jogging and blogging: The Bugaboo Runner has me going in the right direction


I have been using the Bugaboo Runner daily to get both my son and myself out of the house for a little fresh air and exercise. My new adventure with this incredible jogging stroller was first chronicled in my Glamazon Mama column for South Florida Parenting magazine. You can check out the original story here.

I used to be very into exercising but then my ongoing battle with endometriosis significantly slowed me down. It just got too easy to stop. Then once I had my son, going to the gym became an impossibility. So I took the advice of a local fitness guru and fellow mom, Kristy Wexler, who told me to ditch the gym membership and invest in a jogging stroller instead and just do what was possible for me.

I have to admit, I am one of these people who simply thought having a gym membership and not actually using it would somehow help. Like, if I were to cancel it, it somehow meant I no longer cared about my health. But I decided to be bold and canceled it because there really is no sense is keeping a monthly subscription on anything you’re not really using.

So, here I am each day, sometimes very early in the morning or early evening, pushing my Bugaboo Runner along. My son Jack is smiling as the occasional breeze blows through his curly hair. The smile on his face says it all. He’s enjoying the walks with me as much as I do. We have even boldly jogged for a few minutes each day together. We are both learning and growing together in this process toward better physical fitness.

The Bugaboo Runner really has changed my life. The stroller is so easy to glide along on the asphalt or sidewalk, I really have no excuse now not to want to get moving. The hood on it is easily adjustable for the unpredictable Florida rains shower. I don’t have any excuses anymore.

I will continue to journal my adventures with the Bugaboo Runner here.

Thanks for reading and have an epic day!


Joanie & (her new favorite workout buddy) Jack



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Being a mama means getting puked on at the AT&T store


Before I became a mom, I used to have laundry night. Now laundry night is every night. Yes, I live in a Dreft-soaked land. My son has a knack for puking on my clothes in the most random environments. I went to the AT&T store tonight to order my new iPhone, the rose gold 128 GB iPhone 6s plus and the second I walked into the freestanding AT&T store, the clerk told me I’d be better off dialing 611 and ordering the phone using the iPhone 5s I was already holding. OK, way to go bricks and mortar store clerk!

Eventually, there will be no need for a freestanding store with service like this. Just as I was about to dial the number, my son puked up a little bit of his most recent bottle of Enfagrow. The clerk wished me “good luck” as he walked away. I retreated to my car to put my son back in his car seat and order my new phone over the phone. The first phone clerk I spoke with told me the iPhone was back ordered for 35 days in the model I wanted. Then, I decided to roll the dice again and call back. I got a different AT&T employee this time who said he had the phone in stock and could ship to me over night at no extra charge. When one door slams in your face, always try to open another. Eventually you’ll get what you want, even if you’re covered in puke.

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Enjoy every minute…they grow up so fast

If I had a dollar for every time someone came over to me and my son and said “Enjoy every  minute, they grow up so fast,” I’d have quite a nice college fund saved for him already. My boy is 9-months-old now and I’m thrilled with him. I appreciate everything about him. He’s my whole heart. I’m just not sure why total strangers come over to me EVERY DAY and say this to me. It’s almost like the universe doesn’t want me to forget for a single moment that I am in fact holding a miracle.

I most definitely know Jack won’t be a baby forever. And yes, I’m aware that I’ve already written about this phenomenon before. And yes I appreciate him. Dear God, do I appreciate this boy. But the reality is life does move pretty fast. On Sunday, I was in the pool with my little cousins, looking out at my family members. It seems like just yesterday, I was the 5-year-old kid in the pool. I think the best thing I can do for Jack is love him, set a good example and just let him grow into the wonderful person he was destined to be.

I get the feeling that if people actually appreciated each moment more instead of telling others to appreciate it, the world would be a much better place. If people only took their own advice and stopped complaining and just lived in the moment, it would be glorious.

One of the photographers on our newspaper staff, Anna Collins, recently captured an amazing moment with my son. I will forever remember him at 9-months-old in this unforgettable set of shots. You can really see the love in his eyes. I am forever grateful Anna was able to capture this.

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Six months into motherhood and feeling so good…

vOHQT_Nt2D1LS9ci7pvDSyB3NA2c6Vtj_OTChVu7H_7BP2RXlFAsHavN7Y207AjqAt least once a day, a random person stops me and tells me “Enjoy him, they grow up so fast. This doesn’t last forever.” Honestly, it’s starting to freak me out a bit and I’m getting tired of hearing it. I am completely aware life moves pretty quickly. Ferris Bueller pointed that out to me in 1986. And trust me, I listened to every word Ferris said.

The reality is, nothing lasts forever, especially the good stuff. And that’s ok. I’m learning not to look so much toward tomorrow and just focus on this moment. I cherish every minute with my sweet Jack. I went through a lot to have him—phsyically, mentally and spiritually and I wouldn’t trade a minute of it. I wouldn’t change a thing. This journey has been mine. Every prayer, every tear, every moment of laughter and joy—it’s all part of this wonderful trip we call life. Thank you God for choosing me to be Jack’s mom. And so I’ll admit, in a greater effort to stay completely present in the moment, I find myself putting down my iPhone and iPad more and picking up the beauty of the present instead.


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Easy like Sunday morning…


As the rain collects on my apartment windows this Sunday morning like the tears I once cried not knowing if I’d ever be blessed with the miracle of a child, I cannot help but sit here and engulf myself in deep and total gratitude. Life is hard but it’s moments like these that make it all worth living. My precious son turned two months old yesterday and although I still battle the aching and often debilitating pains of endometriosis, I look down at my precious boy and I thank God He chose me to be this boy’s mother. It’s something I will never stop being in awe of and it’s a privilege I am forever thankful for.

As he sleeps on my chest after feeding him, I hear his sweet, soft coos. It’s a sound I’ve memorized because I love hearing it so much. Before putting him in his beautiful white bassinet, I always want to hold him a few seconds longer. I cherish every moment with him and I know and completely accept that this moment will not last forever. However, the feeling has no expiration date.

I choose to only dwell on the positive in life. In life, people lie to us, hurt us and even annoy us, but they can also heal us, love us and make us smile.

Nothing makes me smile more than my son. When I am holding him, the world stops and for a few moments, I can without hesitation say I have felt a little piece of heaven on earth and I know for sure that God’s plan for me is unfolding with every breath I take.

What makes me happiest in life is building others up and seeing the beauty that lies in all of us. I encourage all of you to pay it forward in life. Be spiritual. Speak your mind. And always live your truth. In the end, the truth is really what sets you free. And never stop hoping or praying. Follow your heart and walk by faith. Miracles do happen every day. I’m holding one right now.


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Life is good:)


It’s hard to believe, but I am finally a mommy now. Just uttering the word “mom” and my own name in the same sentence makes me feel like I suddenly grew up.  Although, I have to admit that even in my early 30’s, I still feel like a teen mom. [Yes, I know that’s weird and no I’m not apologizing for it].  I am so in love with my little boy Jack, who I had almost two months ago. He is the most precious angel I have ever laid eyes on. I have been having an absolute ball just staring at him and every night, we have a runway show with new outfits after he pees and pukes on whatever he was wearing. I have never known a love like this before. Welcome to my wacky world, Jack. Mommy loves you.facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather