How would YOU prepare for life on Mars? #MARSDay


I have always been fascinated by outer space. When I was a young girl I wanted to be an astronaut. I think at some point in their lives, most kids want to be an astronaut.

When I was a young girl, my father gave me a telescope. My brother-in-law also gifted me a plethora of books about the planets, stars, space exploration and more.

I even went so far as contemplating study Astronomy as a major in college. Sadly, I didn’t go that route because I didn’t think I had what it took as far as math skills were concerned (Math is not my forte).

Even as an adult, I am still fascinated by outer space.

Rose Center at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

One of my favorite places to visit is the Rose Center for Earth and Space located at the Museum of Natural History in New York City. I also enjoy the Hayden Planetarium which is also located at the Rose Center.

Once I was fortunate enough to be invited to a special event at the Hayden Planetarium hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson – astrophysicist, cosmologist, author, science communicator and Director of the Rose Center.

I can’t fathom living on another planet. I know that if I was given the opportunity I would do what I could to ensure that other residents took better care of that planet then they did Earth. Look at how much we’ve damaged out planet. We’re destroying our planet in so many ways. If I was given the opportunity to live on another planet I would make certain that people did not engage in harmful behaviors to send the other planet down the same path as our precious Earth.

Living on another planet would be an amazing experience – but also a terrifying one. Nothing would be the same. You wouldn’t have the same “creature comforts” as you do here on Earth. There would be no pizza delivery. No malls. No trips to the beach. No amusement parks. No movie theaters. Nothing like that. You would essentially be starting from scratch with the most basic essentials.

Available on Blu-ray TODAY is the National Geographic series Mars. The series originally aired on the National Geographic Channel back in December.

Mars is unlike any show I have ever seen. It’s part scripted drama, part documentary.

Mars was directed by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer.

Mars takes place decades into our future. The year is 2033 and scientists are preparing to send humans to the “red planet” to colonize it. That idea might seem a bit “far fetched,” but great scientific minds like Neil deGrasse Tyson, Elon Musk and NASA astronauts don’t think the idea of living on Mars is that far off.

Mars follows a crew of courageous international astronauts on its exhilarating maiden voyage to Mars and quest to colonize the fourth planet from the sun. In a unique blend of scripted drama intermixed with documentary sequences and feature-film-caliber visual effects, the series presents what the greatest minds in space exploration are doing to make traveling to Mars a reality, featuring Big Thinkers like Elon Musk, Neil deGrasse Tyson and Stephen Petranek. Experience MARS in breathtaking high-definition. The must-own National Geographic sci-fi docudrama is jam packed with two hours of extras, including prequel Before Mars, Living on Mars, Cast & Crew Interviews and more.

I have the opportunity to check out the series.

I’ve watched the first two episodes thus far. I plan on “binge watching” the remaining episodes this coming weekend.

The series is interesting how it combines a scripted drama with a factual information in the form of a documentary-type film.

The six-person crew on the Daedalus. The global event series MARS premieres on the National Geographic Channel in November 2016. (photo credit: National Geographic Channels/Robert Viglasky)

The series goes back and forth between the fictional story of the first people to land on Mars to colonize it and all the troubles they encounter on their journey with inserts of factual information from some of the world’s greatest minds when it come to space and space exploration. It’s like two films (a dram and a documentary) rolled into one. I honestly would have watched the series if it was divided into two different series (the fictional story and the documentary), but I think combining the two adds to the fictional story. Knowing what would be involved in actually inhabiting Mars makes the fictional story that much more interesting.

So far I haven’t seen any “blow-your-mind” special effects, but, the film makers do a great job of making viewers feel just how overwhelming the task of being one of the few people to inhabit Mars. It’s void of natural life with no trees, water or any signs of anything living. It’s kind of scary. I know I couldn’t do it.

The information provided by the actual scientists is truly fascinating. I know some information about Mars from all those years when I was little and read up on the subject of outer space, but listening to the scientists talk about Mars piqued my interest in outer space and space travel. I feel like a kid again. LOL!

Look for Mars from National Geographic where ever Blu-rays/DVDs are sold.

If YOU were one of the selected individuals to move to Mars to help with colonization, what would be on your packing list? What necessities would you make sure to pack and take with you?

Here is my packing list which includes “must haves” for survival, as well as some comfort and necessities from home.

  • (2) Space Helmets (in case one cracks)
  • (2) Space Suits (in case one tears)
  • At least a (2) year supply of water (ideally I’d like to have more)
  • An abundance of long lasting batteries and if possible, rechargeable ones and a way to recharge them.
  • A generator to provide me with heat, A/C and electricity (ideally two of them if possible in case one breaks)
  • Crop seeds so that I can grow fruits and vegetables.
  • Books to read so that I am not bored.
  • Music. I would download A LOT of music so that I had plenty of choices to listen to.
  • Movies. I would download A LOT of movies to watch.
  • Walkie Talkie or some kind of device that would allow me to contact people back on Earth so I can talk to my family and friends, as well as scientists in case I need help or I had questions.
  • I’d like a camera or some way to take photos that I can share with the people of Earth so they can see what life is like on the “red planet.”
  • Medicine so that I can take care of myself, and others, if they get sick or injured.
  • Games and/or Indoor/Outdoor activities. I’d want something that was fun and entertaining to do and something I could enjoy doing with my Mars “neighbors.”
  • Photos and mementos of my family, friends and life on Earth.
  • Coffee (I need my coffee!).
  • Blankets, pillows and other comforts from home.
  • Paper, pencils, pens, crayons and paint. I love to draw, write and color. It’s a great way to de-stress and relax. Living on Mars and getting used to life on another planet would not be easy, so I’d need some way to relax.
  • Animals. If there was a way to have animals on Mars (dogs, cats, rabbits, cows…) that would be wonderful. I cannot imagine a world without animals.
  • And the #1 thing I would love to bring with me is my family. I cannot imagine, nor do I want to, a life without them.

To see what other bloggers would pack on their mission to Mars, check out the hashtag #MARSDay on social media.

If YOU were packaging for life on Mars, what would YOU include on your packing list?

Some of the crew exploring Mars. The global event series MARS premieres on the National Geographic Channel in November 2016. (photo credit: National Geographic Channels/Robert Viglasky)


*I received a free screener copy and companion book in exchange for my review/participation. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

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Movie Review: Monster Trucks


Now available on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD is the fun, action-packed, family friendly film Monster Trucks. 

The film stars Lucas Till (X-Men: Apocalypse), Jane Levy (Don’t Breathe), Thomas Lennon (“The Odd Couple”), Danny Glover (Lethal Weapon), Amy Ryan (Central Intelligence) and Rob Lowe (“Parks and Recreation”).

I knew this was going to be a silly movie, just going by the trailers I have seen for it. But that is OK with me. I enjoy films that are there to entertain you and not made to make you think. Sometimes we all need a fun film – which is exactly what Monster Trucks is. It might not be nominated for an Academy Award, but it will keep you and your family entertained for a little over an hour and a half.

Lucas Till stars as Tripp, a high schooler who is a bit of a loner and passes his time working part time in a junk yard.

One night Tripp is shocked to find a creepy looking creature that looks like an octopus lurking about at the junkyard. The creature is actually friendly (and cute) and Tripp befriends him. He even names him Creech, short for Creature.

Creech lives on oil. It’s his food source. He was living happily underground until an oil company drilled into his home environment, forcing Creech to flee his home.

The oil company, run by a man named Reece, is looking for Creech. He knows that if the government discovers a new species living where they are drilling for oil, they will halt further drilling and he’ll be out millions of dollars.

To hide Creech from Reece and the rest of the people in town, Tripp puts Creech into the area where the engine would go on his vintage truck. Creech turns into the trucks engine, allowing Tripp to not only drive his truck, but also giving his truck the ability to do amazing jumps and even climb walls (imagine a TRUCK climbing a WALL?).

With the help of his friend Meredith (Levy) it’s up to them to not only protect Creech, but also to find a way to bring him back home.

Will they succeed? To find out you need to pick up (or download) a copy of Monster Trucks. Look for it where ever movies are sold.

This was a fun movie from start to finish. Even my hard to impressed 17 year old son enjoyed it (our daughter was at work when we watched it). My husband really enjoyed it too. My husband is a “big kid” just like me.

The film has humor, cool special effects and likable characters – most especially Creech. He’s adorable! It also has Monster Trucks which appeal to kids.

This movie seemed to come and go quickly in the theaters, and I don’t know why. My husband was shocked it was already in theaters. He figured it hadn’t come out yet.

I don’t know why there wasn’t a lot of buzz around this film. Sure, it’s not a high-octane, bang-bang-shoot-em-up, star studded film – but that is OK. It wasn’t meant to be. The film was meant to entertain children and adults alike and I think it succeeded at that. It’s just a silly, fun and entertaining film.

In a subtle way this can be a film about our environment and how creatures (wildlife) are being killed off and their habitats destroyed by greedy big businesses.

There is some bonus content available with the Blu-ray copy of the film.


  • Bonus Content:
    • Who’s Driving the Monster Trucks?
    • The Monster in the Truck
    • Creating the Monster Truck
    • Gag Reel
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Production Diaries

The gag reel was cute. I also love the behind the scenes look at how they created Creech.

Personally I feel that you appreciate a film more when you know what went on behind the scenes to bring the film to life.

For more information about the film you can visit the official website, or check out the film on social media – Facebook and Twitter.

The film is available for purchase on Amazon and iTunes, as well as other places that sell movies.

Did you see Monster Trucks? If so, what did you think of the film? Feel free to leave a comment and share your thoughts.

Here is the film’s trailer for your enjoyment.



*I received a free screener copy to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

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Movie Review: Lion


Now available on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Download is the Academy Award nominee for Best Picture – Lion. ‘

The film stars Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire), Rooney Mara (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), David Wenham (300),  and Nicole Kidman (The Hours). The film also stars newcomers Sunny Pawar and Abhishek Bharate.

Five year old Saroo loves to be involved with his older brother Guddu. The boys live with their single mother and baby sister in a tiny village in the middle of now where in India. Their mother struggles to put food on the table every night, so the boys do what they can to find work to bring home food, milk and money for their family.

One night Guddu was planning to leave to go to some work when Saroo insisted that he go with him. He shows Guddu how strong he is and that he can do a good job. Reluctantly, Guddu allows Saroo to tag along.

As the night went on Saroo was getting very tired. Guddu had to carry his little brother around, but that made it hard for him to get any work done. Guddu ended up leaving Saroo on a bench at a train station to get some sleep. He told Saroo to wait there and he’d come back for him when he was done working.

During the night Saroo woke up and was concerned about the whereabouts of his brother. He even went to look for him on a train that was “parked” at the station overnight.

Saroo accidentally fell asleep on the train. When he woke up the train was moving.

Saroo was in a panic. He had no clue where his brother was, or where the train was heading. Even worse, he didn’t know how he was going to find his way back to his mother.

Saroo finally got off the train in Calcutta, India – thousands of miles away from his home. Keep in mind he was only five years old too. He also didn’t speak the native language in Calcutta (he spoke a different Indian language).

Alone, afraid and hungry, Saroo did what he could to survive on the streets of Calcutta. A few times he escaped being captured by the authorities. Eventually his luck ran out and he ended up in a horrific orphanage.

Saroo was one of the lucky ones. He was eventually adopted by a lovely couple in Australia. He was afforded the life that he wouldn’t have had in India, including a college education.

Saroo never forgot his past and eventually he became consumed with the idea of going back to India to find his mother, brother and younger sister. He knew his mom must be wondering what happened to him and he didn’t want his brother to feel guilty about “losing” him.

What transpires next is his odyssey to figure out where he came from and how to find his family.

Will Saroo succeed? Will he find his birth family? If he does, will he move back to India? To find out the answers you need to pick up (or download) a copy of Lion. Look for it where ever movies are sold.

The Blu-ray and DVD bonus content includes Deleted Scenes, Behind the Scenes Gallery and “Never Give Up” Official Lyric Video performed by Sia.

I can see why this film was nominated for Best Picture. This is an amazing film – and it’s based on a TRUE STORY!

I loved this film. I could easily watch it again and again.

The young boy who played the young Saroo did an amazing job. For such a young boy, he pulled it off like a seasoned actor. This was his first acting role – ever. He didn’t even speak a word of English when he was cast in this role.

Even the cinematography was breath taking. Saroo (real speaking Sheru) truly lived in the middle of no where. And as an adult I don’t know how I could survive the streets of Calcutta, with no money and not speaking the language, let alone a five year old child.

The film is rated PG-13. I honestly didn’t see anything wrong with it except a suggestion that the main character had sex with his girlfriend (there was no actual nudity).

This is a great film. I cannot rave about it enough. I didn’t see all the Best Picture nominated films, but I did see a few and from what I saw, Lion should have walked away with the Oscar.

Did you see Lion? If so, what did you think of the film? Feel free to share your thoughts. I always love to hear from readers.

Below is the film’s trailer for your enjoyment.



*I received a free screener copy to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

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Movie Review: Youth in Oregon


Now available on DVD and Digital Download is the comedy/drama Youth in Oregon. 

The film stars Christina Applegate, Billy Crudup, Mary Kay Place, Josh Lucas, and Frank Langella.

The film has been labeled as a comedy/drama, but I found it to be more of a drama. There were are few “giggle worthy” moments, but 99% of the film is dramatic, and frankly, very depressing.

Youth in Oregon stars Frank Langella as Raymond. Raymond has just found out that he is not a good candidate for surgery on his heart. Not wanting to just wait around to die, he decides on his 80th birthday that he wants to travel to Oregon where assisted suicide is legal.

His family is not too keen on his decision, especially his daughter Kate (Applegate). Raymond said he’ll walk if he had to. To prevent him from doing that (and hopefully change his mind), Kate offers to drive him. That is until an incident at school involving their teenager daughter prevents her from making the trip. Instead she sends her husband Brain in her place.

Brian is not happy that his in-laws (Raymond and Estelle) live with him, Kate and their family. He’d love to get Ray out of his house, but not this way.

Brian thinks he can use this road trip to change Ray’s mind about wanting to die.

As you can imagine there are a lot of adventures along the way, and a lot of soul-searching and thought provoking conversations.

Will Ray make it to Oregon? Will he go through with the assisted suicide? To find out you need to pick up or download Youth in Oregon. Look for it where ever movies are sold.

You would think that such touchy subject matter that this film would be more of a comedy to make light of it – but it’s not. I found the film to be very depressing. It brought me down! I don’t know about you, but I try NOT to think about my own mortality. While watching this film, and even after it was long over, I couldn’t help but think about when it’s my time to “go.”

Frank Langella did a great job in his role of Ray. Kudos to a job well done. The only problem is that I couldn’t really connect with his character. He was a bit too crotchety for me to really feel for his character.

I also think they could have come up with a better “family emergency” that prevented Kate from making the trip with her father than the one they came up with involving their daughter. I realize stuff like that does happen (sad to say), but another reason would have been more appropriate. I would have settled for a business trip she couldn’t get out of.

Although the film was depressing, it was also entertaining. I found myself wanting to hold on to the last minute to see what finally happens to Ray (Does he die? Is it assisted suicide?…).

This is NOT a family friendly film. It’s too “deep” for younger viewers. I honestly don’t think my kids would have wanted to watch it either (they are 17 and 20 years old). My husband was “on the fence.” He liked it but didn’t love the film.

Below is the film’s trailer for your enjoyment.



*I received a free screener copy to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are  my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Star Wars: Rouge One is available TODAY on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital Download


Available today on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Download is the much anticipated spin-off from one of the biggest movie franchises around the world – Stars Wars: Rouge One.

Let me back track a bit.

I remember seeing the original Star Wars film (A New Hope) in theaters when I was a young girl. Yes… I’m that old. LOL!

I was HOOKED the moment I saw the opening credits, let alone the entire film. From that moment on a die hard Star Wars fan was born.

I was in love with all of the films including The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.

Fast forward to when the prequels came about. I’ll admit that I didn’t want to see the new films. To me they were no really Star Wars films, even if they features characters and story lines from the original films.

I missed the first film in theaters (The Phantom Menace). But my husband and I did watch it when it came out on DVD (we picked up a copy). It wasn’t that bad.

When the next film came out (Attack of the Clones) we went and saw it in the theater. When we saw that film we became fans of the prequel movies as well as the originals (Revenge of the Sith is our favorite of the prequels).

We have seen the most recent film (The Force Awakens) because we are curious to see what has happened to our beloved characters after all these years. We cannot wait for the next film in the franchise, The Last Jedi, which is due in theaters in December of this year.

This brings me to Star Wars: Rouge One. 

I will admit that I had no interest seeing this film in the theater. I didn’t see it as a true Star Wars film, even though it features the same kind of story line and similar characters. There was just something about it that didn’t sit well with me.

As time went on friends and family members would rave to me about how awesome the film was. But the time curiosity got the best of me the film was no longer showing in any of our local movie theaters. I had no choice but to wait until it was available on Blu-ray or DVD.

Today is that day. The film is now available in those mediums, as well as digital download.

Normally when I do movie reviews I write a synopsis based on what I saw on the movie screen. This film was a bit confusing. I honestly have to watch it again because I can’t remember the names (or spellings) of some of the key characters. Plus there was a lot of action going on that I lost track of some of the story line.

Former scientist Galen Erso lives on a farm with his wife and young daughter Jyn. His peaceful existence comes crashing down when the evil Orson Krennic takes him away from his beloved family. Many years later, Galen is now the Empire’s lead engineer for the most powerful weapon in the galaxy, the Death Star. Knowing that her father holds the key to its destruction, a vengeful Jyn joins forces with a spy and other resistance fighters to steal the space station’s plans for the Rebel Alliance.

I was surprised to see familiar characters including Princess Leia, Tarken, Organa, C-3PO, R2-D2 and the big guy himself, Darth Vadar.

Actress Felicity Jones stars as Jyn.

I liked the film. I thought it had a lot of great action and cool special effects, but I still haven’t gotten into it yet. I know it’s a Star Wars film, and it has familiar characters, but I don’t love it like I do the other films in the franchise… not yet anyway. I think I need to watch the film again to really get into it. I think I’m a bit “jaded” because I love the other Star Wars films so much.

There are a lot – and I do mean A LOT – of bonus features. To be honest I found them to be even more entertaining than the film. I LOVE all the behind the scenes features. I think is so fascinating how they make all the magic happen on the screen.

A Rogue Idea – Hear how ILM’s John Knoll came up with the movie’s concept – and why it’s the right film to launch the Star Wars stand-alone films.

Jyn: The Rebel – Get to know Rogue One’s defiant, resourceful survivor, and hear what it was like for Felicity Jones to bring her to life onscreen.

Cassian: The Spy – Diego Luna shares insights into his complex, driven character, who becomes a hero through selflessness, perseverance and passion.

K-2SO: The Droid – Explore the development of this reprogrammed Imperial droid, from initial pitch and character design through Alan Tudyk’s performance.

Baze & Chirrut: Guardians of the Whills – Go deeper into the relationship between these two very different characters, with Chinese superstars Jiang Wen and Donnie Yen.

Bodhi & Saw: The Pilot & The Revolutionary – Forest Whitaker and Riz Ahmed reflect on Saw Gerrera, the broken Rebel leader, and Bodhi Rook, the Imperial pilot who defects.

The Empire – Meet a dangerous new Imperial adversary…and cross paths once more with the most iconic villain of all time.

Visions of Hope: The Look of “Rogue One” – The filmmakers describe the challenges and thrills of developing a bold new look for the movie that can fit within the world of the original trilogy.

The Princess & The Governor – See what it took to bring the vibrant young princess of “Star Wars: A New Hope” – as well as one of her most memorable foes– – back to the screen.

Epilogue: The Story Continues – Filmmakers and cast celebrate Rogue One’s premiere and look forward into the future, to the Star Wars stories yet to be told.

Rogue Connections – Uncover Easter eggs and film facts hidden throughout the movie that connect “Rogue One” to the Star Wars universe.

If you have the opportunity to check out the bonus features I highly recommend it. The “Easter Egg” bonus feature is especially interesting and is a great way to see how this film IS connected to the Star Wars franchise.

Speaking of bonuses, I have a fun bonus you can download and enjoy with your family.

For more information you can visit the film’s official website. You can also check the film out on social media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Did you see the film? What did you think about it? Feel free to share your thoughts. I always love to hear from readers.


*I received a free screener copy to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 


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Movie Review: God Knows Where I Am


I am a big fan of documentaries. I know they are not everyone’s “cup of tea,” but I enjoy them. I think it’s an entertaining medium to learn about different things, places and people.

I recently watched a documentary called God Knows Where I Am. It’s the sad tale of a woman named Linda Bishop and her demise due to mental illness.

According to the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI), approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S.—43.8 million, or 18.5%—experiences a form of mental illness in a given year.

Mental illness can take many forms, from phobias, anxiety, OCD and depression – to name a few.

Linda Bishop was a part of those statistics.

Linda Bishop didn’t show signs of a mental illness growing up. She was a pretty, independent, outgoing and very smart young lady. She led, for the most part, an idyllic life. She did have some ups and downs like most people (marriage, divorce…) but she never exhibited signs that something was just not “right” until later in life.

Linda Bishop was found dead in an abandoned farm house that she “squatted” in for the last few months of her life. Found next to her decaying remains were two notebooks that she wrote in daily that recounted her last few months alive.

Inside the notebooks investigators got a glimpse into the mind of this mysterious woman. Her journals were filled with tales of all the apples she found on the property, and things she discovered about the previous homeowners based on photo albums and other mementos she found.

God Knows Where I Am starts off with the death of Linda Bishop and works it’s way backwards to find out how she got from a remarkable young woman to a homeless person squatting on an abandoned farm with no heat, electricity or running water.

Linda’s life is re-told by the people who knew her the best – her daughter, sister, friends and other acquaintances. Their stories are brought to life with old home movies and photographs of Linda.

Viewers quickly learn that somewhere along the way Linda developed mental illness, from paranoia (she was afraid the Chinese Mafia was after her) to schizophrenia.

Linda was off and on medication over the years to treat her illnesses but towards the end she opted not to take them anymore. She was also institutionalized for her mental illness, but was released from the hospital without notifying her family. That seriously mistake lent it’s self to her death. Had her family known she was going to be released they could have made arrangements for her to find housing. Instead Linda was left to fend for herself with no money, no job and no place to live.

God Knows Where I Am is a deeply moving story about one woman and her struggles with mental illness. Linda’s story – although not typical – is similar to what thousands of others are going through right now in our country.

Here is the film’s trailer for your enjoyment.


I found the cinematography in this documentary really highlighted Linda’s story. The film was beautifully shot. The images around the farm house where her body was found only heighten your sense of how alone Linda must have felt in her last few weeks of life.

This is an interesting film. It might not be for everyone, but if you are a fan of documentaries, or know someone who deals with an mental illness, you’ll appreciate this film.

God Knows Where I Am opened this past Friday (March 31, 2017) at Lincoln Plaza in New York City. Th film will be opening on April 7, 2017 at Laemmle’s Monica Film Center in Los Angeles, followed by a national roll-out. Look for God Knows Where I Am at select theaters across the country.

Do you or someone you know suffer from mental illness?


*I received a free screener copy to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

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