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Super 4: Meet Ruby – All About Ruby, The Girl Pirate Brimming with Personality

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Movie Reviews
Super 4: Meet Ruby – All About Ruby, The Girl Pirate Brimming with Personality

Inspired by the world of PLAYMOBIL® toys, set out on a series of adventures with the Super 4 as they travel through the wider PLAYMOBIL® universes. Join Ruby and friends as they embark on 7 fun-filled pirate adventures! First, understand how Ruby came to be the amazing pirate she is. A wicker basket washes up on the shore of Gunpowder Island holding a little baby. Surprise, it’s a girl! When Ruby is old enough to jump on ship to join in on a pirate raid, little Ruby sits on the sidelines and watches it all. To prove she is a real pirate, Ruby must set out to obtain a mythical treasure. Will she find it and become a true pirate? Find out in Meet Ruby! KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Jolleen M. comments, “The message of the story is to always believe in yourself no matter what. Ruby was born as a pirate, but girls aren’t allowed to be pirates. Even though this is true, Ruby goes out and proves her worthiness. She encounters many problems, but stays strong and believes in herself. She stays determined every time.” See her full review below.

Super 4: Meet Ruby
By Jolleen M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13
Link to Video Review https://youtu.be/Pt2C2N8Nwko

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This film has a great plotline and gives each character lots of personality. The plotline becomes even more interesting because of all the strong personalities. Even though this film is meant for younger ages, I still was quite entertained.

This film is all about meeting and getting to know who Ruby is. It starts from pirates discovering her as a baby, watching her go on adventures and figuring out who she wants to be. She goes off to the sea for the first time by herself and encounters problems. Eventually she is able to overcome them. She then goes off and solves multiple tests to be able to acquire treasure.Laetitia Lefebvre has a determined and strong child-like voice which perfectly fits Ruby because Ruby has all of these traits. Ruby at times can sound very stubborn, scared, determined and strong. The Black Baron (Tom Wayland) sounds determined as well. The Black Baron is a very manipulative character and Wayland changes his voice accordingly. For example, he can sound convincing, caring and sweet, but also ominous.

The animation is very colorful and has lots of details. I also love that their faces express emotion and their body language does as well. The pirate costumes are very unique. I loved seeing all the different types of clothing that doesn’t repeat for everyone.

My favorite scene is when Ruby smartly doesn’t get distracted by the Black Baron when he wants to steal the treasure. I felt really proud of her and I knew that she was fit to become a knight.

The message of the story is to always believe in yourself no matter what. Ruby was born as a pirate, but girls aren’t allowed to be pirates. Even though this is true, Ruby goes out and proves her worthiness. She encounters many problems, but stays strong and believes in herself. She stays determined every time. She doesn’t stop continuing on her journey. Instead she just becomes stronger and fights even harder. This is a good message for female empowerment. Even though people want to limit you because you are a girl, don’t let them. Do what Ruby does. Everyone is against her and she still manages to achieve all of her goals and become successful.

This DVD, just like the rest of the Super 4 series, is well made. It has a wonderful message and an entertaining plotline. I recommend this for ages 6 to 11 and give it 5 out of 5 stars. This is available on DVD now, so definitely check it out.

Super 4: Meet Ruby
By Nathalia J., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9

 

Animation! Action! Fun-filled pirate adventures! Sounds like fun, right! I was addicted to this seven stories DVD. Get ready for the intense performances in each episode!  I have to say that the level of performances are pretty high in this well-crafted series.

This DVD taked you on a journey of getting to know Ruby! She is discovered as a baby from pirates. We watch her go on adventures and determine who she wants to be. Inspired by the world of PLAYMOBIL toys, this series of adventures follows the Super 4 as they travel through the PLAYMOBIL universe. The Super 4 friends go on seven fun-filled and outrageous adventures to save their valuable and limited treasure, and save Ruby’s Dad along the way! Ruby and her friends undertake so much fun throughout their adventures.

My favorite part is, without a doubt, when Ruby has a battle and wins all the challenges she encounters. She defeats the men and the leader of pirates! I love all the action and how she does a super funny victory dance after her victory! That is definitely my favorite part!

The lead characters in this series are Ruby the brave and bold pirate (Laetitia Lefebvre),  Gene the Genius and serious technology loving kid (Frank Lorrai), Twinkle the adorable fairy (Sarah Natochenny), Princess Leonora the beautiful ,demanding princess (Alyson Leigh Rosenfield), Alex the energized, encouraged kid (Billy Bob Thompson), Various the evil stealer (Veronica Taylor) and many more.

The animation is definitely prominent, colorful and has a unique touch. The animation is so realistic and has lots of details. The animation definitely looks realistic. The building where Ruby’s battle takes place looks so real with its marks, cracks, scratches and holes! I was definitely shocked! The pirates’ costumes are all very distinctive.

The message of the film is that girls can desire to be anything that boys can! If you just believe in yourself, everything will fall into place. For example, Ruby goes out and fights hard for who she aspires to become. She does not give up until she has accomplishes her goals. Why can’t women be leaders? Yes, we can! Don’t put any limitations on what you think you can do or be. Definitely this espouses girl power!

There is nothing in these episodes that is bad for kids! This movie definitely calls you to action to people treat one another appropriately. It definitely promotes positive and uplifting messages. I give this DVD 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 11. This DVD is available now so, look for it.

Crazy Rich Asians – Fantastic Visuals, Amazing Acting, Complex and Fun Storyline.

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Movie Reviews
Crazy Rich Asians – Fantastic Visuals, Amazing Acting, Complex and Fun Storyline.

The story follows Rachel Chu (Wu), an American-born Chinese economics professor, who travels to her boyfriend Nick’s (Golding) hometown of Singapore for his best friend’s wedding. Before long, his secret is out: Nick is from a family that is impossibly wealthy, he’s perhaps the most eligible bachelor in Asia, and every single woman in his ultra-rarefied social class is incredibly jealous of Rachel and wants to bring her down. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Calista B. comments, “The visuals in this film are fantastic. This film takes place mostly in Singapore and it looks gorgeous. From the street vendors, to the crazy mansions, to the wedding, which is fairytale phenomenal, this movie is just amazing to look at.” See her full review below.

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Crazy Rich Asians

By Calista B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 14

Link to video Review https://youtu.be/cwgxUI3KC3M

I usually dislike romantic comedies. Romance is probably my least favorite genre. I find it almost impossible to make rom coms interesting or unique. However, every once in a while, a movie like this appears. This movie is actually very enjoyable and made me laugh out loud.The story follows Rachel Chu as she accompanies her rich boyfriend, Nick Young, to Singapore for a wedding. She meets his family and tries to get along with them. The plot is very straightforward, but it is compelling mainly through the dialogue and acting. Also the visuals.

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The visuals in this film are fantastic. This film takes place mostly in Singapore and it looks gorgeous. From the street vendors, to the crazy mansions, to the wedding, which is fairytale phenomenal, this movie is just amazing to look at. I am also not a fashionista, but the outfits are just incredible. Kudos to the costume designer, Mary E. Vogt. There’s also a really cool scene near the beginning where someone sending a text is visualized as a stream of color traveling to the person’s phone. It looks really cool.  Now, a big part of this movie is the fact that the entire cast is Asian and yet, this is a mainstream Hollywood movie. Representation is very important to me and the last movie with a full Asian cast (that I remember) was in the nineties. This is what made me originally excited for this movie. Of course, this film isn’t only good because of the representation and it works a lot on other levels.

 

First, the acting. The actors in this film are amazing. There are two actors who truly caught my eye: Gemma Chan as Astrid Leong is mesmerizing on screen and Peik Lin Goh is played by Awkwafina, who is my new favorite comedy actor. I love her voice. These actors are the standouts for me, but everyone else is also great. There’s some really good mother-daughter emotional scenes. I almost teared up, which is something impressive. The dialogue in this film is also really great. It feels so natural. I feel like I’ll be quoting this movie a lot.

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Nick’s Mom is the villain, but she is complex and believes she has her family’s best interest in mine. This is more than your basic Cinderella story. I love learning about other cultures through media and now, going to Singapore is on my bucket list! You might leave the theatre a little envious, but we can all dream.

 

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18. It comes out on August 15, 2018 so look for it.

 

Photos © 2017 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. and RatPac-Dune Entertainment LLC

 

 

Alpha – A Beautiful Film About Survival and Nature

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Movie Reviews
Alpha – A Beautiful Film About Survival and Nature

An epic adventure set in the last Ice Age, ALPHA tells a fascinating, visually stunning story that shines a light on the origins of man’s best friend. While on his first hunt with his tribe’s most elite group, a young man is injured and must learn to survive alone in the wilderness. Reluctantly taming a lone wolf abandoned by its pack, the pair learn to rely on each other and become unlikely allies, enduring countless dangers and overwhelming odds in order to find their way home before winter arrives. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Zoe C., comments, “This is a beautiful film about survival. I love everything about this live action film. The editing flows nicely and there are many visually stunning scenes.” See her full review below.

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Alpha
By Zoe C., KIDS FIRST! Film critic, age 9

https://youtu.be/rgC9VMCHtEk

This is a beautiful film about survival. I love everything about this live action film. The editing flows nicely and there are many visually stunning scenes. The story is about survival, loyalty and, most importantly, following your instincts.

In this film, a boy named Keda (Kodi Smit-McPhee) is attacked by a buffalo. His father thinks he died, so he leaves him on the cliff where he was attacked. When he finally makes it to the ground, a pack of wolves attack. One of the wolves is very hurt and he decides tries to help him. During the course of movie, they help each other in many different ways. At the end of the film, you discover a beautiful surprise about the wolf.

Please keep in mind that this film takes place in prehistoric times and the dialogue is not in English, but is subtitled in English. I could understand the movie perfectly, even though it isn’t in English. Keda becomes a man as the story unfolds. It is a coming-of-age story, wherein the boy and the wolf look out after each other as if they are  family. The boy tries to prove to himself and his tribe that he can become a man and can be strong. By bonding with the wolf, he accomplishes the unimaginable.

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This type of film is uncommon in contemporary cinema. The editing is very well done and there is a flash back at the beginning that helps you understand the back story. The costumes are tribal, which makes the characters seem more believable and tribe-like. The landscapes are quite extraordinary. In so many ways, this film is truly beautiful. Everything that happens takes place in natural environments.

The message of this film is that we should bond with nature, follow our own instincts and preserve our innate quality of being kind. I rate this film 5 out of 5 stars because of the beautiful  landscapes and touching story. I  recommend it for ages 8 to 18, as well as adults.  I was very lucky to watch this movie with my dog, because I attended a special screening that allowed dogs, so that experience was truly unforgettable. Alpha opens in theaters August 17, 2018 so, look for it.

 

Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab: It’s Always Sharkest – Blends Entertainment Into Science Education

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Movie Reviews
Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab: It’s Always Sharkest – Blends Entertainment Into Science Education

Unknown to the world, Thomas Edison built a secret lab where he invented a virtual version of himself and a steampunk robot named Von Bolt. Years later, Angie, a twelve-year-old science prodigy, discovers the lab. Join Angie and friends as they learn and explore a variety of science topics from a shark s sense of smell to plants and pollinator s roles to radioactive decay to DNA and more! While visiting one of Kent s relatives, the kids come up with a great idea for attracting more tourists to his restaurant – the only catch is that it also attracts a very big shark with very big teeth! What will the Secret Lab Kids do? Guided by fun-loving Edison, Angie and friends will show just how fun science can be! KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Talia J. comments, “I found this series fun and entertaining. The storylines are interesting. The characters have great personalities. It all makes learning fun. I recommend this DVD for ages 4 to 9…” Eden T. adds, “I think this is an amazing DVD of select episodes from the TV series with just the right balance of fact vs. fiction and is chock-full of science. The plots have twists that keep you hooked until the very end!” Izzy C. wraps it up with, “Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab: It’s Always Sharkest is a really good blend of entertaining content mixed with lessons about science. This show is the perfect thing for kids to watch during summer break, because it is entertaining and yet, kids will also learn a lot.” See their full reviews below.

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Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab: It’s Always Sharkest

By Talia Jacnuk, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

Link to video review https://youtu.be/ygaR4Dw-2DM

 

Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab: It’s Always Sharkest is an entertaining DVD that helps children find fun in learning about science related topics.This DVD contains eight episodes. The series follows a group of children who find the famous scientist Thomas Edison’s secret lab, where he built a virtual version of himself as well as a robot named Von Bolt. Each episode includes a science related topic that teaches us about things such as DNA or a shark’s sense of smell.

 

This is the second DVD I have watched from this series and, I must say, they are lots of fun. The episodes are very informative and perfect for kids interested in science. There are a couple of different famous scientists that appear in the episodes, including John B. Watson and Charles Darwin. They help teach the kids about the different topics. It’s nice seeing a children’s DVD that is both funny and informative. There are lots of silly jokes embed throughout the episodes, which makes the episodes much more humorous. I am not in the target age for this DVD, but I would thoroughly enjoy it if I was younger. Believe it or not, I actually learned some things about sharks that I had no idea about! The episodes are short and sweet, which helps hold the audience’s attention. Some children’s TV shows tend to drag on for a long time, but these episodes are a perfect length at less than 15 minutes long.

 

I absolutely love the fun songs in this DVD. In each episode, there is a music video at the end of the episode. The songs are very upbeat and usually have a very catchy tune. The songs relate to what is being taught or something that relates to the episode we just watched. The songs bring lots of lightness to the series, which is perfect for a younger audience. The songs definitely will get the kids up and dancing.The animation brings a lot of character to the show. When animated programs have an overwhelming amount of colors and precision detail, it’s difficult for children to focus on what the show is trying to teach. This series has calm, relaxing colors and pretty basic looking characters. I think that helps kids stay focused.

 

I found this series fun and entertaining. The storylines are interesting. The characters have great personalities. It all makes learning fun. I recommend this DVD for ages 4 to 9 and give it 5 out of 5 stars. This DVD is out now so, look for it.

 

Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab: It’s Always Sharkest

By Izzy Cruz, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9

Link to video review https://youtu.be/Zc76uh990Ig

 

Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab: It’s Always Sharkest is a really good blend of entertaining content mixed with lessons about science. This show is the perfect thing for kids to watch during summer break, because it is entertaining and yet, kids will also learn a lot. I watched this DVD during my summer  break and learned a lot from watching it.Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab is an animated TV series that teaches science to kids through entertaining episodes that are filled with adventure and fun. Thomas Edison is a hologram and the main characters can talk to him. The shows are all about science, but they are also funny and have lots of interesting characters who learn about science or are expert scientists. There is a group of kids named Angie, JD, Kent and Nicky who are the stars of the show. They are kids who are just a little bit older than me and work very well as a team, figuring out problems.

 

In each episode there are different stories and every single one explains how something works.  When I watched the shows, I learned how something works or why it happens. The stories taught me a lot and they also have lots of factoids, which I really like. I love factoids! The lessons are very good. I think watching these shows can actually help kids understand what is taught in their science classes in school.The animation is a bit simple compared to other flashy, animated shows. Also there are music videos between the episodes, which I found a little bit bizarre. But, they sort of wrap up the lesson that was taught in the previous episode.

 

Even though I learned a lot from this DVD, I also had fun. That is what makes it so easy to watch a bunch of these episodes in a row. This DVD definitely kept me entertained for a long time. I give this DVD 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 10. It is available on DVD now, so look for it.

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Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab: The Sharkest

By Eden T., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 9

 Link to video review https://youtu.be/rXT5tgpmNPI

 

This DVD is a collection of episodes from the slightly odd TV series, Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab. It includes lots of science, but makes it interesting enough that you are not be bored. It features Thomas Edison as a hologram, a robot called Van Bolt and kids named JD, Angie, Nicky and Kent.In each of the eight episodes, the kids find a problem that seems unsolvable such as when their hamster starts growing rapidly in “Mutant Mascot.” They go through the Virtual Reality Window, which instantly transports them to a scientist who helps them. They usually end up finding a scientific solution.

 

Even though the whole series is built upon facts, the unrealistic parts make for some of the appeal. The talking shark in “It’s Always Sharkest” is so amusing that you will not care about the strangeness. The giant slime monster in “Slime Time!” is also fun.The scientific factoids are explained clearly so you will not forget them easily! Unlike actual teachers, the characters do not talking directly to you. I find it easier to learn when I feel “invisible.” Other kids might feel this way as well.

 

I think this is an amazing DVD of select episodes from the TV series with just the right balance of fact vs. fiction and is chock-full of science. The plots have twists that keep you hooked until the very end! I give this DVD 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 10. If you are a kid who loves science or a parent who wants your child to learn something, check this out! It’s available now in the usual places.

Wellness Tips For Superlearners – How Self-Care Boosts Your Learning Power

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Health & Wellness
Wellness Tips For Superlearners – How Self-Care Boosts Your Learning Power

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Whether you need to learn a new skill to advance your career or you just want to learn something new and broaden your horizons, lifelong learning is nowadays fundamental to long term success.

Today, the advancement in technology makes the world move much faster than it did even five years ago, and there are more complex changes to deal with than ever. A vast majority of people will inevitably find themselves feeling like they’re not able to keep up if they’re not constantly investing in themselves.

If you want to maximize your learning potential, you can’t afford to neglect your physical and mental health. If you’re a superlearner – or a superlearner in training – you must get serious about self-care. A healthy body and mind can make a big difference to your memory, attention span, and motivation.

Here are a few wellness tips that will take your learning to the next level:

  1. Watch your diet and drink more water: You need to eat properly to retain information. Choose slow-release carbohydrates, vegetables, fruits, and lean proteins. Drink water rather than caffeinated or carbonated beverages. Researchers have found that even mild dehydration can reduce cognitive performance.
  2. Get enough exercise, and rethink your work position: Exercise is one of the best ways to relieve stress. You don’t need to put in hours at the gym, either. For example, a brisk twenty-minute walk is enough to get your endorphins flowing.

If you work sitting down, consider investing in a standing desk. Prolonged sitting can make you feel sluggish, whereas standing helps you remain energized. If you can’t work standing up, at least stand up and stretch every hour.

  1. Learn to meditate: Research shows that regular meditation improves your powers of concentration and cognitive flexibility. It also enhances your general wellbeing, increases your motivation, and helps you feel more optimistic – a wonderful recipe for learning!

You don’t need to meditate for hours every day. As little as fifteen minutes in the morning and evening will make a difference. Sit on the floor or in a comfortable chair. Keep your back straight. You can meditate with your eyes open or closed, but most people fit it easier when they keep their eyes shut.

The goal of meditation isn’t easy, but it is simple. Your aim is to keep your attention focused on your breath. Notice how it feels to breathe in and out. When your attention wanders off-course, bring it back and refocus on your breathing.

At first, this will be hard. Your inner voice might start ruminating on various subjects. A random collection of images might flash through your mind. This is normal. The good news is that within a couple of weeks, it will become easier.

  1. Try holistic treatments to help you relax: Some people learn well under pressure, but most of us perform best when we are both focused and relaxed. For example, getting regular massages is therapeutic for both body and mind. From soothing Swedish massage to energy-based body work, there’s a treatment out there to suit you.
  2. Avoid the comparison trap: Finally, keep your focus firmly on your own progress. Don’t compare yourself to other people. We are all walking our own path. As the saying goes, the only person you should try to outdo is the person you were yesterday. Using someone else as a measuring stick will only make you stressed and miserable.
  3. Pace yourself to avoid burnout

Set challenging but realistic goals, and reward yourself when you reach them. As a superlearner, you probably push yourself hard. That’s awesome, but take care to avoid burnout.

If learning suddenly seems like a chore, it’s time for a break. It’s OK to admit that you aren’t superhuman. We all need downtime – it’s impossible to be in superlearning mode all the time. Always make self-care a priority.

Author Bio      

Valerie Gobert

Massageaholic.com

On a mission to bring massage therapy closer to those who want to live a balanced, healthy life, connecting body, mind and spirit.

Should IT Executives Show Their “Soft Side”?

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Business
Should IT Executives Show Their “Soft Side”?

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This is a guest post by Patt Hardie, Leadership and Talent Management Expert.  It is the companion to the July 17, 2018 Voice America interview with David White, CIO of Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus, Ohio, aired on VoiceAmerica “Innovative Leaders Driving Thriving Organizations”: Should IT Executives Share their ‘Soft Side’?

 

Soft skills have many definitions, one key being emotional intelligence. Research has provided clear evidence that emotionally intelligent leaders are more successful. Many of these studies yield bottom-line results. Yet, many leaders miss the mark. Why? Maybe they believe that strong leadership equates to being tough, they lack confidence, or don’t want to appear vulnerable in their role. Or some may believe it seems too ‘touchy-feely’ or soft. The ‘Soft Side’ of leadership spans beyond technical leaders to all leaders, and really isn’t about being soft (or any of those other things) at all. What it IS about is being confident and secure enough to be yourself with others; its about being humble, approachable and personable; and treating people with dignity, concern and appreciation. It’s also knowing your people, about having compassion and restraint; listening with purpose and responding with care; and caring about the impact of decisions on people. Finally, it’s about sincerity, self-awareness and learning. The ‘Soft Side’ of leading doesn’t eliminate the important responsibilities of managing performance and holding people accountable. It is a ‘both/and’ combination of strengths that leaders need to have to be successful.

As an IT Leader and someone who works in technology, David talks about why the soft side of leading is a significant contributor to success. As technology leaders, we need a diverse set of skills including a heavy dose of soft skills to be a highly successful business leaders beyond our technical skills. These skills range from awareness and management of our mood, an ability to be present and focused to skills in establishing and managing a positive culture where a broad range of perspectives can be explored and synthesized.

David has a strong understanding about the ‘Soft Side’ of leading and demonstrates it effectively.

The soft side of leading is a hot topic today for many articles and books under titles such as Authentic or Gracious Leadership, or the Genuine or Compassionate Leader because it couldn’t be more important than in today’s environment, in our culture, our communities, and in our organizations and its impact to bottom-line business results. The beauty of it all is that when leaders are willing to be their authentic self in business relationships with key stakeholders: teams, peers, customers, etc., great outcomes emerge:  trust builds, morale and engagement increases, teamwork and collaboration multiplies within and between groups, and empowerment and accountability grows. Better decisions are made, ‘conflict’ becomes ‘problem solving’, and over time, if practiced by enough leaders, authenticity becomes part of the culture. The old saying that the leader sets the tone couldn’t be truer. All of these lead to higher performance and business results.

Maya Angelou, the American civil rights activist and poet once said, ‘I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’ Janet Smith Meeks, business leader says in her book Gracious Leadership: Lead Like You’ve Never Led Before ‘Gracious leadership represents the intersection of ultimate respect ad optimal outcomes.’ These inspirational quotes represent what the soft side of leading are ultimately about: Sharing the best version of yourself in service of others. Yet, how do you do that well? It’s often the little things surprisingly, it’s consistency over time. Here are a few tips with examples:

  • Be personable, humble, authentic:
    • Make eye contact, initiating conversation with those you encounter on the elevator, in hallways, in the cafeteria, in meetings (even if you’re introverted)
    • Get to know your people, team members, key stakeholders; remember names, important information; let them get to know you
    • Acknowledge mistakes, ask forgiveness; show gratitude; be sincere
    • Ask for coaching, mentoring, training, support when needed
    • Drop by offices or invite staff to your office to chat
    • Have your meetings in the cafeteria or other casual spaces at the office
    • Have lunch with team or 1-1 with team members/others

Author personal example: When I have meetings in cities where team members are located, I always make time to meet and have lunch with them to discuss current issues and learn more about them personally.

  • Treat people with dignity, concern and appreciation:
    • Show compassion with a personal note of condolence, get well card; work from home in special circumstance if you can, etc.
    • Say thank you, send notes of appreciation
    • Celebrate accomplishments/milestones individually/team
    • Never be too busy to reach out to become aware of what’s going on with other’s needs
    • Manage performance issues with dignity
    • Do more listening than speaking so that others feel heard
    • Give people undivided attention when they come into your office to talk; put everything down, don’t answer your phone

Author personal example: I recall a time when my team was working on a lengthy project and we were closing in on our deadline. We were working long hours, so over the weekend, I put handwritten motivational notes on small post-it’s on everyone’s desktop monitors… simple sayings like ‘Stay awesome… we’re almost there!!!’ and ‘Hang in there, you’re doing GREAT!!!’ I was amazed at the impact that small gesture had the following week on the entire team!

  • Self-awareness and learning:
    • Seek feedback for yourself from others regularly
    • Know what you know, know where your gaps are; fill your gaps with learning and supplement some with smart people and utilize them well
    • Be clear about your personal leadership philosophy; your own development plan; your organization’s mission/vision/values and share it all with your team and have them hold you accountable

Author personal example: In all my regular 1-1 meetings with team members, I always ask what else they need from me to help them in their role…

Leadership is about building the next generation of leaders. People want to know how their work contributes to the achievement of results and are eager to provide their discretionary effort. People want to feel fully appreciated for the work they do, they want to matter. Step up to the leadership they deserve and deliver them the best version of yourself that you can. You won’t disappoint, and neither will they… I promise!

As a reader of this blog and listener to the interviews, please consider enrolling in one of the innovative leadership online leader development program. For additional tools, we recommend taking leadership assessments, using the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook and Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations, and adding coaching through our online innovative leadership program. We also offer several workshops to help you build these skills.

 

About the Author

Patt Hardie, Principal and Founder of The Hardie Group LLC, has 30 years of business experience across healthcare, chemical, utility, contract research and retail industries as an expert leadership consultant, coach, and advisor. Patt delivers impactful, practical solutions that support her clients’ leadership / team development and organizational challenges. She is recognized as a collaborative partner and progressive thought-leader who has the ability to connect with the business and synthesize needs into successful strategies for sustainable results.

Alisa Knows What to Do: Season 1 – Action Packed Star Wars Like Universe With Thrills Around Every Corner

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Movie Reviews
Alisa Knows What to Do: Season 1 – Action Packed Star Wars Like Universe With Thrills Around Every Corner

Alisa Knows What to Do! is based on the extremely popular Russian science-fiction novels by famous Russian author Kir Bulychiov about a young girl from the future, Alisa Salazar. This animated series weaves a tale about the adventures of a group of teenagers living at the end of the 21st century. The world has changed yet the burning questions that occupied people at the beginning of the century are still pertinent today. Alisa and her friends not only battle evil and injustice but they are also concerned with global problems like the natural balance, both on the planet and in space.

 

Alisa Knows What to Do: Season 1

By Sahiba Kaur, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 16

Link to Video Review https://youtu.be/kff1OWQvhMc

 

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Alisa Knows What to Do: Season 1, directed by Olga Baulina, is an action packed, Star Wars like universe where thrills are around every corner! Each episode seems as if I am watching a movie, with high depths of emotion, mystery, humor, and untold tales. The animation is realistic in some aspects yet surreal in others forming the futuristic universe of a myriad of planets and species.The story follows a group of five teenagers who can’t seem to escape trouble, in or out of school. When their daily actions lead them to trouble or Alisa becomes entangled in one of her father’s scientific cases, they work together to solve the case in front of them. Through a series of hysterical events and intense scenes, each teenager’s unique personality plays a role in their exciting victory.

 

The animation is a combination of a variety of elements because of its realistic yet science fictional story. On Earth, the humans are life-like with their facial features but their hair and outfits are an original, special addition to the teenagers. The city has skyscrapers with soft and circular edges forming distinctive spires. However, these obscure features are contrasted with the familiar bushes and trees decorating the streets. Each episode also consists of a journey to a different planet. On these journeys the clips of space are the most naturalistic, with beautiful hues of all different colors and millions of stars decorating the night like glitter. Once they land on the planet, any familiarity with our world today diminishes and a new surprising and imaginative world is created. These were my favorite parts of the shows because even though there is a world like ours, there are a variety of other ones in this episode which are fascinating and captivating to watch.

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Although the story and animation are original and engaging aspects, the dialogue and jokes can be cliché at times which takes away from the story. However, there are an abundance of humorous scenes and dialogue which made me smile and relate to these characters.The messages of Alisa Knows What to Do: Season 1 are countless but some of the most pertinent are to being different is wonderful, and teamwork can help you in any situation. I give this show 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. Be sure to check out Alisa Knows What to Do: Season 1 on DVD June 13, 2018.

 

Alisa Knows What to Do: Season 1

By Denise B., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror

Link to Trailer https://youtu.be/j_DffUGkd5o

 

 

Based on the Russian science fiction novels by well-known Russian author Kir Bulychiov, this is the story of a young teen form the future (end of 21st century) and her group of friends. The characters are quite unique with their brightly colored outfits, hairstyles and personalities. Kids will enjoy watching them in their adventures. The group of teens goes on adventures, solving mysteries and battling evil. The animated series is fun and futuristic and, even has moments of edge of your seat excitement! I really like that this series is not only fun to watch, but also teaches about global problems of today. The group of friends is very concerned with global problems on the planet and in space. I give this 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 thru 14. This will be a hit with kids this summer and has over 10 hours of fun that will entertain them.

Teen Titans Go! To the Movies – So Hilarious! True to TV Show, More Songs and Characters

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Movie Reviews
Teen Titans Go! To the Movies – So Hilarious! True to TV Show, More Songs and Characters

It seems to the Teens that all the major superheroes out there are starring in their own movies-everyone but the Teen Titans, that is. But de facto leader Robin is determined to remedy the situation, and be seen as a star instead of a sidekick. If only they could get the hottest Hollywood film director to notice them. With a few madcap ideas and a song in their heart, the Teen Titans head to Tinsel Town, certain to pull off their dream. But when the group is radically misdirected by a seriously super villain and his maniacal plan to take over the Earth, things really go awry. The team finds their friendship and their fighting spirit failing, putting the very fate of the Teen Titans themselves on the line.

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Teen Titans Go! To the Movies

By Dariana Alvarez, KIDS FIRST Film Critics, age 12

https://youtu.be/hfrC5nEl1eU

 

Teen Titans Go! To the Movies is such a hilarious film. During the premier at the Chinese Theatre, the laughs echoed around the room. The film stays true to the TV show, with inside jokes about Robin’s baby hands and beautiful butt. Even with those things from the TV show, the film still makes sense if you haven’t watched the show before. And, there are new things for people who have watched the TV show.This film is about the Teen Titans trying to get their own movie in order to become official superheroes. To do that, they need an arch nemesis and they come across Slade (Will Arnett). This causes them to get a movie deal with Jade Wilson (Kristen Bell) who has some ulterior motives.

 

As an original viewer of the TV show, I can tell you that it’s classic Teen Titans with many added aspects. One of which is the songs. There are occasional songs in the TV show, but this movie is jam packed with amazing songs by Jared Faber that help keep it interesting and move the story along. They are so catchy that I could hear people singing them as they left the theatre. The jokes in this film only make it better. This film just keeps you laughing throughout and at the edge of your seat with all the action.

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The cast is really spectacular! They have the original five from the TV show – Tara Strong (Raven), Greg Cipes (Beast Boy), Khary Payton (Cyborg), Hynden Walch (Starfire) and Scott Menville (Robin). They also have a couple of new voices, including Kristen Bell (Jade Wilson), Will Arnett (Slade), Nicolas Cage (Superman), Stan Lee (Stan Lee), Halsey (Wonder Woman) and Lil Yachty (Green Lantern) who also does a remix of Go! My favorite character would have to be Beast Boy, because he is so hilarious and is always there for all the Titans. My favorite line is Robin’s catchphrase, “Crack an egg on it… ca caw!” It’s just so ridiculously funny and random.

 

The message of this film is the classic: “You don’t have to be super to be a superhero, you just have to be yourself.” I give this film 5 out of 5 stars, because it kept me laughing and smiling for an hour and a half. I recommend it for ages 7 to 14, because the jokes are more geared to older audiences, with some really more for adults. Check it out when it opens, July 27, 2018.

 

Footprints in the Sand

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Empowerment
Footprints in the Sand

Footprints in the Sand

For several years Shya and I travelled down to Great Harbor Cay, on the Berry Islands in the Bahamas. We traditionally rented a little condo on this small sparsely populated island with windows facing east overlooking the ocean – a beautiful place to watch the sunrise to be sure. On many mornings, I went for a walk on the beautiful sandy beach. The shore is long enough that I could easily go for 45 minutes in either direction, enjoying the lap of the waves while keeping a sharp eye out for treasures that the sea had dropped on the sand overnight. This little beach is its own world, one where “rush hour” happened when I occasionally saw another human being – perhaps two. While this stretch of sand is sparsely populated I still was not the only Beachcomber. Sometimes when walking along the beach I followed the tracks of a fellow explorer, noticing where he or she had veered left or right to investigate an interesting-looking tangle of sea grass that had been deposited by the waves upon the shore.

I must admit I really prefer being first to cross the virgin sand after it has been smoothed by the receding tide. When I have come upon the tracks of someone who has come before me, it spurs the notion that I have fallen behind somehow, that I am too late, that everything of note to be discovered has already been found.

One morning, Shya and I stepped out our door and debated briefly whether to turn left or right. He, fly rod in hand, me wearing my light cotton tee with a kangaroo pouch on the front ready to tuck away little treasures. I was also wearing my small belly-pack, complete with water bottle, tissues and more room for seashells inside. Everything a gal needs for a trek down the beach.

We decided to go left, toward the point where the sea wraps around, often leaving interesting shells. It is also where small fish, mainly schools of jacks and pompano, chase baitfish and are likely to take Shya’s fly.

As we walked along we saw a needlefish, a long toothy creature, cruising the shallows. Farther out, shoals of tiny minnows jumped, silver waves fanning out, cascading back into the slick water as they tried to evade a predator below. Occasionally little sandpipers bobbed and weaved their way up and down the gentle rise of sand in search of edibles too tiny for our human eyes to see.

As we walked in the wavelets, Shya’s gaze was pinned on the water as he scanned for the silhouettes of fish, ready to cast the fly, my attention kept being pulled to a flash of light or a daub of color as seashells winked at me in the morning sun. It was a leisurely adventure, not really going anywhere even though our feet were taking us toward that point of land in the distance. When a small school of jacks came hunting, we both caught and released several as we took turns enticing them to eat our imitation shrimp fly.

Eventually we came to the point and Shya waded out down a long sand bar to see if he could catch one of the larger predator fish cruising the water on either side of the underwater spit of sand. I, on the other hand, rounded the corner and ranged up the beach to see what seashells had been left by the ocean overnight. But to my surprise, instead of an unblemished surface, I found footprints in the sand.

Oh no! I immediately thought. Someone was here before me. From nowhere my leisurely morning’s mood disappeared and my competitive nature surged forward, activating those niggling insecurities that whispered: You’re behind. You missed your shot. You’ve lost out.

Prompted by those thoughts, my steps quickened, heart thumped and breath hitched. How could they have gotten here before me? Shya and I came out to the beach virtually at first light.

Scanning ahead, I saw how the trail zigged and zagged and I began to follow it. Several yards down the beach, as I took a step, I noticed that the footprints I was leaving in my wake looked suspiciously the same size as those I was following. I stopped in my tracks. Actually I stopped next to my tracks also and I tipped my head back and laughed. I finally realized that the person I’d been competing with was actually the ghost of myself, for I had come this way the night before. As I looked, it became clear that high tide the night before had not come up far enough to obliterate my prints from yesterday’s beach adventure. I smiled to myself, reminded of Winnie-The-Pooh where Piglet and Pooh follow their own tracks as they circled around the same tree again and again.

Relaxed once again, my eye returned to seeing the wonders in front of me. My attention was no longer turned inward upon perceived failings, and I was no longer subjected to that automatic self-defeating mental diatribe. My stride evened out and I enjoyed the movement of my legs, the textures under my bare feet as I turned around and begin walking back toward Shya.

Suddenly I caught sight of a delicate seashell standing in the fresh sand looking like a pair of butterfly wings poised for flight. Opalescent interior in pearl, aqua and pink contrasted with the darker outside. The outer edges were not smooth but adorned with many points, feathered fingers that would interlace when closed, currently reaching toward the sky. Gently I collected the shell, wrapped it in a tissue and tucked it in my pouch for the walk back to the little bungalow where we were staying.

As my feet found their rhythm, I quietly mused about how odd the notion was that I had missed an opportunity, that I was somehow “behind.” For I had just discovered not only a delicate treasure released by the sea, but the far greater wealth-of-being that happens when I let go of the reflex to get ahead, allowing myself the luxury to be right where I am instead.

Since 1987, internationally acclaimed authors, seminar leaders, radio show hosts and business consultants Ariel and Shya Kane have acted as guides, leading people through the swamp of the mind into the clarity and brilliance of the moment. Find out more about the Kanes, their seminars in NYC, in the UKGermany and Costa Rica, the Say YES to Your Life! Meetups their work has inspired, their Being Here radio show or join their email newsletter. Also get information about their award-winning books. Their newest book, Practical Enlightenment, is now available on Amazon.com.

Christopher Robin – So Much Love In This Film, With Themes Of Friendship, Love, Family And Tenderness

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Movie Reviews
Christopher Robin – So Much Love In This Film, With Themes Of Friendship, Love, Family And Tenderness

A working-class family man, Christopher Robin, encounters his childhood friend Winnie-the-Pooh, who helps him to rediscover the joys of life. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Calista B. comments, “If you’re a fan of Winnie the Pooh, it’s safe to say you are going to love this movie. But even if you aren’t, you might still enjoy it. This film is absolutely adorable and it makes you feel like a kid again.” KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewer Kimbirly O. adds, “I am a life-long Disney fan. While it is not surprising I loved seeing the characters from the Hundred Acre Wood come to life via CGI transformation, I was surprised to see A.A. Milne’s beloved characters in their original book form, not their Disney animation form. See their full reviews below.

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Christopher Robin
By Calista B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 14

Link to Video Review https://youtu.be/VUD98NKtYqE

If you’re a fan of Winnie the Pooh, it’s safe to say you are going to love this movie. But even if you aren’t, you might still enjoy it. This film is absolutely adorable and it makes you feel like a kid again.

The story follows a grown up Christopher Robin, with a wife and daughter, as he struggles with his job and runs into Winnie the Pooh. The movie follows him interacting with his old friends, while also remembering what’s important.

This movie is straight up gorgeous. The Hundred Acre Wood is so lovely. It definitely looks like a place I would like to hang out and read a great book under a tree. It is just how I imagine Winnie the Pooh’s home to be. The special effects on the Pooh characters look great as well. There’s something charming about their designs, especially Pooh’s. I just wanted to hug all of them and take them home with me.

Speaking of cute, that’s a good way to describe this movie. Pooh is absolutely precious and is super charming. Every single one of his lines are just so pleasant. He’s very likable and he really made me think about my younger self. I feel like Winnie the Pooh is one of those franchises that you always associate with childlike wonder and this film represents that very well. There’s something kind of innocent in this film’s tone. There’s so many scenes that remind me of what it was like to be a younger child and it made me really happy.

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This movie also made me tear up a lot. I had tears in my eyes almost instantly, mainly because of how adorable a lot of the scenes are, but there are also a lot of pretty emotional scenes. We see how innocent Pooh is and how a child doesn’t stay a child but grows up to have different ideas about what is important.

The soundtrack is really pretty and atmospheric. The background music really works well with the setting and the instrumental version of the Winnie the Pooh song made me really nostalgic. The voice acting is also really great. Each of the Pooh character’s voices fit incredibly well with the actual characters. I can’t imagine any other voice than these ones. The Pooh characters are the real stars of this movie. Ewan McGregor is wonderful as the adult Christopher Robins. I felt the acting from Bronte Carmichael, who plays Madeline, Christopher’s daughter, to be average.

Be sure you stay till the end for a charming scene. I give it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18 as well as adults. It opens August 3, 2018 so go see it with your family. Pooh is 93 years old, so everyone, no matter their age, can enjoy it.

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Christopher Robin

By Kimbirly O., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror

Link to Video Review https://youtu.be/0URpDxIjZrQ

 

What day is it? Why it is today, my favorite day. I am a life-long Disney fan. While it is not surprising I loved seeing the characters from the Hundred Acre Wood come to life via CGI transformation, I was surprised to see A.A. Milne’s beloved characters in their original book form, not their Disney animation form.

Christopher Robin does not spend a lot of time introducing the viewer to the characters from the idyllic forest where a young British boy spent time creating adventures with his friends – Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore, Rabbit, Owl, Kanga and Roo. If one is not a Disney-phile, it may be hard to comprehend why a boy arrives from a tree to have picnics with animals.

That said, the Winnie the Pooh, Disney lover that I am, saw so much love in this film with its themes of friendship, love, family and tenderness. The vintage, live-action look is appealing and kept me intrigued wondering what the “silly old bear” would do next. Winne the Pooh is quite the adventurous wanderer as he goes in search of Christopher Robin who has grown up and works in London. The adventures suspend belief as grown-up Christopher Robin, well played by Ewan McGregor, originally annoyed by Pooh, remembers some of his favorite things, like “doing nothing” and realizing true north is his family and friends, plush or live.

As a grown man who has returned from World War II, married to Evelyn (Hayley Atwell) and father of a daughter, Christopher Robin is an efficiency manager for a luggage company or “a fish in the sea” as Winnie the Pooh says. He is a work-a-holic and has a taskmaster as a thankless boss. When told he must work rather than go on holiday to the country with his family, Christopher Robin attempts to take Pooh back to the forest where he and his woodsy friends awaken the lost child from within. They also meet his daughter Madeleine (Bronte Carmichael) and another adventure ensues. Madeline assists Pooh in getting to Christopher Robin when he needs all of them most.

For a franchise, which has historically targeted the very young, the film has melancholy themes. Visually, it is beautiful with its artistic production values and cinematography. The score is also very good. I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars for the casting, cinematography, life lessons, amazing cult Winnie the Pooh references and music. I recommend it to ages 8 to 18, due to some mature themes.  .

Photos © 2018 Disney Enterprises Inc. All Rights Reserved.

 

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