Fun Facts from Queen of Katwe Director Mira Nair #queenofkatweevent

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During my recent visit to LA for the Queen of Katwe Premiere trip, we got to have a sit down with Mira and it was incredible. You can tell she’s an artist by the way she speaks, and the way she paints an image with her words for you to see. She’s a born storyteller and I’m honored to have met her.

Here’s a bit of what we learned from Queen of Katwe Director Mira Nair:

FUN FACTS ABOUT MIRA:

  • Mira Nair is an ex-pat, living in Uganda since the early 90s!
  • She founded a film school in Uganda, and knew Lupita from her school years before this film was being made
  • While she doesn’t play chess, her son (I told you about him) is a competitive chess player!
  • She’s a wicked gardener, and bonded with Harriet through gardening (the woman played by Lupita Nyong’o in the film)
  • Mira lives just one town over from Katwe where Phiona lives and Queen of Katwe was shot

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ABOUT FILMING QUEEN OF KATWE:

  • Mira, having such close ties to the area, was certain to ensure that Disney maintained a green set while in Uganda
  • She was an advocate for having the children that were cast, be local children for authenticity’s sake
  • Casting Phiona was a long process that stretched as far at the UK… but they finally found their Phiona right in town.
  • Wardrobe from the film was entirely from neighboring town Kampala, which is a hub for used clothing from all over the world
  • Disney is giving back to Katwe via an educational center as well as improving on the chess programs currently in place
  • Mira loved working with the local children and non-actors for their fresh, raw, natural emotions and talent
  • Mira got very creative with filming each chess game in the film. (FYI: She ended up creating chess games that felt like sports)

The stars truly aligned perfectly for the Queen of Katwe film to come together. Lupita and the cast are amazing….but Mira Nair…and her passion for the people of and the country of Uganda…and ensuring it coming to life on film in the best possible light… it makes this film something extra special. Go. See. It. Tomorrow!!! (I told you how amazing it was already!)

Want a little peek? OK FINE!

Now…GO SEE IT!!

#QueenOfKatwe Cast + Lupita Nyong’o Interview

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We spoke about the red carpet premiere of Queen of Katwe… and how that REALLY goes down.

We went over the movie review and how inspiring and amazing the film was.

Today, Im sharing my “pinch me” moment, where I along with my fellow Disney bloggers got to interview the amazing Lupita Nyong’o and her castmates Madina Nalwanga (who played Lupita’s daughter, Phiona) and Martin Kabanza (Brian, Phiona’s sister).

So picture this:

Bloggers are seated around a conference table in a large white room. The air is full of anticipatory energy…everyone’s on the edge of their seats waiting for the flawless Oscar award winning Lupita to make her entrance. We hear the door open. Everyone’s head swivels. In walks Lupita, flanked by and holding the hands of her two co-stars Madina and Martin. The room errupts in applause and cheers. Lupita glows. Madina Glows. Martin looks abashed.

Lupita holds their hands and walks around to the 3 open seats, and she pull the chairs out for her on-screen children and in such a motherly way directs them on where to sit. PS She looks like a gorgeous tiny sprite and aint no way she’s any body’s mama with a body like that! (but don’t worry, it’s believable in the film)

Once they’re seated and comfortable…us bloggers start letting the questions fly.

We asked about how it was with the 3 of them working together (since it was Madina and Martin’s first time acting) and boy did we get a surprise.  We didn’t realize the simple questions we were asking about the film would elicit such powerful responses, and tears.

Lupita answered first sharing how they met, and prepared for the roles. She mentioned that Madina walked in and just said “Hi Mama.” And we found out that both Madina and Martin both call Lupita Mama to this day. Madina shared her story of being away from her own mother since the age of four and how Lupita is the only other person she’s ever called mama. Martin shared his tear jerker tale of being an infant when he lost his parents. He was raised by extended family and he had never called anyone Mama until Lupita in this role. And he still calls her Mama (and probably always will.)

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No dry eyes in the room after Martin shared that with us. Lupita included. (PS Lupita still looks gorgeous when she cries)

They shared about how real a certain scene was (I won’t share which because #nospoilers – go see the movie when it opens on Friday!) because both of the children lived that life. The scene had both children very pensive and quiet before shooting it (which was not the norm on set with these kids.) Madina was very similar to her character, Phiona, in that she too sold corn in the streets of Katwe. And Martin, he lived there his whole life as well. They both dealt with the realities of poverty in the area….and now are playing it out onscreen. #trippy!

When asked about acting for the first time both children said they owed a lot to Lupita.

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Lupita showed the children how to get into character, and both children said they would watch her closely and try to mimic what she was doing. Madina said she dubbed herself “copycat” because she would watch Lupita’s movements and expressions so closely and try to emulate her.

The cast shared their favorite scenes and it was hard because there were so many great scenes in the film. Martin chose the Budo scene where the children go to a “fancy” school for a chess tournament for the first time. He digs into some chicken in that scene and he said it was one of his favorites because he had never tried chicken like that before.

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Madina’s favorite scene is one where David Oyelowo’s character is telling a story to the children and acting it out very animatedly. She said she loved how David was jumping up and down, running around, collapsing and popping up. It was funny, but the reason it was her favorite scene is because he was spending time devoted to the children and it made her feel special. She said she hadn’t had someone devote time and attention to her in that way before.

These kids yo… They were pulling at my heart strings for the whole interview!!

After we finished throwing questions at them, we all gathered for a group photo so the kids could go explore hollywood and Lupita could run over to Ellen.

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It was an awesome interview. I can’t even get into every single thing that we covered because this post would go on forever. I loved how motherly Lupita was with her two “adopted” children. I loved how open, honest, geniuine and sweet the children were. It was lovely to see and I’m honored I got a chance to meet and interview these 3 amazing actors.

Drink Yourself Healthy with Alkaline Water

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Any wellness client who has ever worked with me will tell you that one of the aspects I push, hard, is drinking more water. Even if you don’t change your diet or exercise, if you add more water into your daily intake you notice a difference in about a few days to a week. As a coach I really stress this and I practice what I preach. My kids chug water whenever they ask for a drink.

We got the Cosan Pure Hydration system installed so that we could step our hydration up a notch. It uses hydrogen to alkalize the water you get from your tap.  There’s a 4 step purification process that happens in one sleek little machine. Check it out here: http://www.Cosanusa.net

When it came I got so excited. I have heard of the benefits of hydrogen water for a long while, and was geeked to give it a try. I’ve read that you should start slow when drinking alkaline water so that you don’t shock your system and have uneasiness. I also read that alkaline water works better to help your body from the inside out and combating the acidity of what we eat, even more so than eating alkaline foods.

If you don’t know, some of the benefits are:

  • Increased energy
  • Clearer skin
  • Decreased fatigue
  • Anti-Oxidant properties
  • Anti-Aging results
  • Improved metabolism

Sounds good right?

Installation is simple… John did it…. We had to get a piece from the hardware store since our kitchen pipes were weird, but for you it’ll be super simple. The instructions are clear and easy.

The unit itself… I love it. However it’s so pretty it makes me want to upgrade my old rusty dusty kitchen. So I now need stainless steel appliances to match it! (Sorry Johnny…) Outside of it being “pretty” it’s really well constructed and sturdy.

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We’ve only just begun drinking our hydrogen water so I’ll be sure to post results on snapchat so you can see/hear. The water itself tastes just fine. On the low, I was nervous about it. I was concerned with it being fizzy or having an odd flavor but it didn’t, thankfully. You can tell a difference in flavor from water straight out the bottle or straight from the tap, but it’s a great flavor.

We also tried out the Hydro Bullet. This is a portable system for alkaline water, easy to use on the go with any bottled water you have on hand. This makes it easier for me while I’m out with the kids running around.

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If you want to improve your health with alkaline water too, Cosan is offering my readers a cool bonus (and financing options too!) Use code OKDANI and you’ll receive a free Hydro Bullet with purchase of the Pure Hydration System! (It retails for $60 btw)

Visit COSAN USA today to learn more about the units.

PURE-HYDRATION-FLYER

 

 

 

Enough Video Games – Read a Book, Please!

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I’m really glad that Pokemon Go is getting everyone out the house and roaming around their neighborhood. There’s actually a pokemon gym behind a dumpster at our favorite local playground. (weird spot but whatevs) It’s gotten more people to go to the playground! My cousin got my son into it, and now he’s asking me to get the game on my phone so he can find pokemon in the back yard. He gets mad all over again each time I tell him no.

I love that the game is having folks be more active though. It’s much better than sitting hunched over a screen sedentary. If you’re going to play a game at least let it get you up and moving. But better than a game, I say read a book. Maybe start your own #52booksin2016 challenge. In my opinion if your child IS going to be sedentary, might as well be reading!

Here’s a great way to give your kids thumbs a rest, and get them to turn off the DS’s, X-Box’s, Nintendos, Tablets, Phones, and every other gadget.

I told you last week about Battlefield Earth – – the classic Sci-Fi novel from 1982 that was just re-released. Well, the hype surrounding the release has been unreal! A 25-foot tall alien spaceship from the planet Psychlo “crashed” onto Hollywood Blvd. The malevolent alien security chief for Earth, Terl, was captured by the story’s hero’s Jonnie Goodboy Tyler and Chrissie, led by a team of 10 Scotsmen, complete with drums and bagpipes.

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The book lives up to all the publicity and it’s a great way to engage your tween or teen with reading and start re-igniting their imagination, while giving them a little dose of history. The story begins with Voyager, the actual NASA space probe that was launched in 1977 in order to study the outer Solar System and hopefully make contact with would-be alien lifeforms. Watch this trailer that the publisher produced to relaunch the book.

In real-life The Nasa Voyager Interstellar Mission carried a gold-plated audio-visual disc complete with photos of Earth, scientific information, spoken greetings in 55 languages, and a collection of music, and other information into deep space so that in the event that it was ever found by intelligent life forms from other planetary systems they would come to understand our planet and civilization.

Conspiracy theorists believe Voyager actually did encounter extraterrestrial lifeforms (as depicted in the book) but then again it is unlikely we will ever find out.

Click Here to visit the Facebook page for Battlefield Earth. It has a lot of up-to-date information, photos and videos as well.

AND…if you haven’t read Battlefield Earth: Click Here to Purchase the book or audio-book on Amazon (Click Here to purchase Battlefield Earth) and get those kids to put away MineCraft and hop on a SpaceCraft! hehe!

What’s the last book you read?!

How to Get Your Legs Smooth and Sexy this Summer

I’m excited to partner with Schick Intuition to help you get your legs in formation this summer #schickambassador

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Growing up my legs were always a source of conversation. Too skinny. Chicken legs. knobby knees, etc.  Despite this, I’ve always loved my legs. They helped me zoom to the finish line at track meets in high school and college. They helped me run away (literally) from scary bad dates and dance the night away in manhattan clubs during my teens and 20s. Being a fitness junkie now, I love leg day. I love pushing heavy weight and feeling strong all from leg power… even though the days afterward I’m like…

after leg day

(^actual footage of me)

Here’s how you can get your legs in formation this summer. After this we’ll have sexy shapely soft smooth legs!

  1. Work em out
  2. Smooth em out
  3. (optional) Tan em up
  4. Dress em up

Let’s go!

Leg Workouts:

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I love doing my 30 minute Lower Body Fix workout from 21 day fix. Autumn works my legs out well. You can do a quick search for leg workouts and pull up a large assortment. Otherwise, you can do a quick workout that will burn those legs and booty. This is my go-to when I don’t have much time.

One minute each of:

  • squats with leg raise
  • forward lunges alternating leg
  • calf raises
  • sumo squats

Do as many as you can in perfect form for a minute and take a minute rest in between. (during that “rest” minute feel free to walk around or do some crunches if you’re feelin’ froggy)

Smooth Your Legs:

Keeping legs smooth starts with exfoliating. Using scrubbing brushes or a body scrub works well. Then we’ve got to remove the hair. Schick sent over their new Intuition with shave cream built right into it. I tried the razor for the first time, after using my John’s manly ones all the time. The intuition’s lavender handle is ergonomic and just looks way cuter. The head pivots to give you a nice close shave. (John’s razors don’t pivot.)  After you’re smoothed out and hair free we need to moisturize. Use a thick moisturizer to keep dryness at bay. This step is optional if you have used Schick Intuition Pure Nourishment since it has coconut milk and almond oil to help moisturize your situation.

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“It’s a simple and fast way to achieve smooth, beautiful legs at home or on vacation.”

– Dr. Annie Chiu, Schick Partner Dermatologist

Tan em up:

(This step is also optional for those with melanin) Please don’t let the sun fry your legs, girls. Use a self tanner to get your legs all glowy and sexified the safe way. Follow the directions to the T, and check the tutorials online for insider tips to make your results even better. If you’re not into tanned legs or you have natural color, try a lotion with some shimmer to ad a lil sumthin’ sumthin’ to legs.

Dress em up:

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This is the fun part. Pop on your short shorts to show off your hard work! Legs not in goal shape yet…pop on your highest heel to help highlight how well you’ve done so far. Then struuuut. (optional: weeerrk)

How do you keep your legs in formation?