Floogals: Project Birthday Cake: What a Fun Way to Learn How Things Work on Earth!

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Floogals: Project Birthday Cake: What a Fun Way to Learn How Things Work on Earth!

Each day, Captain Fleeker, First Officer Flo, and Junior Boomer encounter something that sparks their curiosity, setting in motion the day’s research “project” and triggering an exciting adventure! In Floogals: Project Birthday Cake, Boomer’s built a little fizzerific food finder attachment for his Fizzer controls. It’s supposed to be able to sniff out food – a subject close to Boomer’s heart. Flying by a massive birthday cake the food finder goes out of control and Boomer crashes. The Floogals have to work out how to re-make the frosting and in the process find out what a birthday cake and decorations are for. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Jolleen M. comments, “These educational episodes are great for younger kids to learn practical things. It is also interesting to look at the human household and human items, from their smaller point of view.” Kimberly M., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror adds, “Think of this as a family sit-com. The Floogal characters are done in Claymation. They take interest in particular objects located upstairs, downstairs, in the basement, the bathroom, kitchen and elsewhere. I like the originality of having the real-life backgrounds juxtaposing with the animated characters.” See their full reviews below.

Floogals: Project Birthday Cake

By Jolleen M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13
Link to Video Review

These educational episodes are great for younger kids to learn practical things. The animation is colorful and detailed. The characters, besides the “hoomans” (humans) are unique looking creatures. It is also interesting to look at the human household and human items, from their smaller point of view.

In these episodes, there are three main alien-like characters. Their names are Captain Fleeker, Junior Boomer and First Officer Flo. They live hidden inside the hooman’s house. Fleeker, Boomer and Flo explore around house and try to learn more about the hooman ways. They encounter a birthday cake, some ice, a mirror, a banana, a toothbrush, sand, roller skates, a record player and a jewelry box.

Jules de Jongh voices Flo with authority and wisdom. Even though Flo isn’t the Captain, you can tell that she knows what she is talking about and that she is more mature than the other two boys. Junior Boomer is the complete opposite of Flo. His name fits him as he has a lot more to learn than Flo and Fleeker. Hugo Harold-Harrison aptly portrays, through his voice, that Junior Boomer is a lot younger and more immature.

They use a mix of animation and live camera shots for these episodes. This brings the Floogals to life as they venture outside their ship. It is interesting to look at the world we know so familiarly from a completely different point of view. To Fleeker, Boomer and Flo everything looks weird and abnormally large. It’s like entering a modern giant’s house.

My favorite scene is when they first discover the birthday cake. Their facial expressions are so in awe of this great smelling piece of art in front of them. The birthday cake is based on outer space and looks very delicious and colorful. This is my favorite scene because it really is where the Floogals come to life.

There isn’t a moral or message in these episodes. Their main purpose is to educate younger viewers about the properties of everyday items and how to use them. For example, in the episode “Project Ice,” the Floogals teach viewers that ice can be used to keep things cool, but when it gets hot, it melts back into water.

This DVD offers great learning tools for younger viewers. I recommend it for ages 3 to 5 and give it 5 out of 5 stars for the effort put into it. It is available on DVD now, so check it out!


Floogals: Project Birthday Cake

By Kimberly M., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror

Small alien life forms, the Floogals, explore life in an everyday home setting with a particular family, where they discover certain human objects such as birthday cake, ice (for beverages), roller skates and a record player. The most fascinating and unusual part of this series is the background setup – the house is life action as well as the family members (mother, father, and kids). Think of this as a family sit-com. The Floogal characters are done in Claymation. They take interest in particular objects located upstairs, downstairs, in the basement, the bathroom, kitchen and elsewhere.

Floogals Trailer.mp4.00_00_00_00.Still001.jpg


I like the originality of having the real-life backgrounds juxtaposing with the animated characters. The episode with the record player is particularly funny, since it is an older generational way of listening to music. Young children might be as clueless as the Floogals with regards to this “strange object,” moreso than any other object they explore. This DVD consists of approximately nine, 8 minute episodes. I recommend this for ages 3 to 6 who will find it really fascinating for expanding their imagination (with every room the Floogals explore) and keep their attention with the pastel-type colors. Curious slightly older kids might tune in for the same reasons.

I give this DVD 5 out of 5 stars.


The Nutcracker and the Four Realms – A Wondrous, Visual Experience

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The Nutcracker and the Four Realms – A Wondrous, Visual Experience

All Clara wants is a key – a one-of-a-kind key that will unlock a box that holds a priceless gift from her late mother. A golden thread, presented to her at godfather Drosselmeyer’s annual holiday party, leads her to the coveted key-which promptly disappears into a strange and mysterious parallel world. It’s there that Clara encounters a soldier named Phillip, a gang of mice and the regents who preside over three Realms: Land of Snowflakes, Land of Flowers, and Land of Sweets. Clara and Phillip must brave the ominous Fourth Realm, home to the tyrant Mother Ginger, to retrieve Clara’s key and hopefully return harmony to the unstable world. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Arjun N., comments, “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is a wondrous, visual experience that is somewhat light on substance. Apt acting and sensational ballet dancing excel and make this something more memorable than the premise might suggest. Any Disney fans will want to check this out. Zoe C. comments, “This live action film is absolutely stunning! The sets are rich and make you enter a fascinating world of four different, colorful realms. It is so beautiful, I did not want to leave the movie theater.” Kimbirly O., KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewer adds, “Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms has brought the magic of Disney back to the big screen. From the beginning of the film, your senses will be ALIVE! Every set looks edible with color and life. Truly, this live-action Disney film is a breath of fresh air.” See their full reviews below.



The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

By Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is a wondrous, visual experience that is somewhat light on substance. Apt acting and sensational ballet dancing excel and make this something more memorable than the premise might suggest. Any Disney fans will want to check this out.

The story follows young Clara (Mackenzie Foy) as she recovers from her mother’s death. However, a spark of hope lightens Clara after seeing her late mother’s parting gift of a box with a hidden key. This key belongs to a parallel world, unlike anything, to which Clara must travel to obtain the key. With the help of budding soldier Phillip (Jayden Fowora-Knight), Clara learns of all obstacles that await, especially in the form of the menacing Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren), leader of the Fourth Realm. Most importantly is a looming war that could preside over the three Realms that are at peace – Land of Snowflakes, Land of Flowers and Land of Sweets and are threatened by the Fourth Realm. In the three Realms resides Sugar Plum (Kiera Knightley) who is on same page as Clara and braves her up for the Fourth Realm as the fate of the Realms and her mother’s dying wish relies on it.

Mackenzie Foy, as Clara, well presents her character’s central struggle to find her inner place amidst all the tragedy, while also being hopeful and cheerful. The end result of this character development is a joy to watch and most definitely the movie’s best subplot, amongst all the other slumberous ones. Kiera Knightley, as Sugar Plum Fairy, regales with well-written comedic relief, but the timing of her intervention seems quite random and very over-the-top at times. Regardless, children, most of all, will find enjoyment with all the youthful energy. Jayden Fowora-Knight, as Philip, is my favorite character, despite this being only the second film he has appeared in. His charm and braveness add a relentless vigor to the character that never gets old. Helen Mirren, as Mother Ginger, likewise shines, despite her character suffering from a lack of screen time and character development. With what she is given, she shines with the menacing undertones that could mean good under the entire demeanor. Also, Misty Copeland’s cameo is full of entertainment with her ballet proficiency bringing a certain something to the stage without feeling like a forced addition. Instead, it feels more like a celebration of the Nutcracker’s roots and remains my favorite scene.Lasse Hallstrom and Joe Johnston expertly direct the visual flair with clear attention to every nook and cranny of the special effects and sound design. Despite this, the movie has flaws coming from the lack of a compelling story line, aside from Clara’s inner struggles.  Everything feels introduced way too quickly and without clear meaning. This leaves the movie feeling rather inconsequential and just an excuse to put the Nutcracker on the live screen. Still, the movie delivers an amazing awe to each scene’s production.


The message of the movie is to never lose yourself in sorrow and always connect with your family and friends during times of grief. I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18. The movie releases in theaters on November 2, 2018 so check it out.

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

By Zoe C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

This live action film is absolutely stunning! The sets are rich and make you enter a fascinating world of four different, colorful realms. It is so beautiful, I did not want to leave the movie theater. I want to see it again. The film is inspired by the original story from German author E.T.A Hoffman, written in 1816 and the ballet by Tchaikovsky (1892).The story is simple, but powerful in concept. This is the journey of Clara (Mackenzie Foy) who is  dealing with the loss of her mother, trying to reconnect with the world and with her family, especially her father. On Christmas Eve, she receives a special gilt from her mother – a mysterious box. But, she is missing the key. With the help of Drosselmeyer (Morgan Freeman), her godfather, she enters a world of mysteries with characters that will help her find the key. When she first enters, a cute mouse has the key, but is impossible to catch. She meets a Nutcracker soldier, Phillip (Jayden Fowora-Knight) who tells her about the realm of Flowers, the realm of Sweets and the realm of Snowflakes, but warns her about the dangerous fourth realm and Mother Ginger. But, Clara is determined to find the key and will do what it takes to find it.


This film has the power of captivating you. There are moments I was really afraid and others I was delighted and amused, depending on the characters in the scene. It has the power to be frightening, like in the fourth realm, with all kinds of circus characters. All the performances are amazing. Mackenzie Foy conveys innocence and courage at the same time and is just perfect for this role. She has an ethereal look and is a brave actress who did as many of her own stunts as can could. I love that she is a princess and a hero at the same time. Morgan Freeman adds gravitas to his role and a sense of wisdom. Mexican actor Eugenio Derbez is so flamboyant and adds a nice touch to the cast. Keira Knightly is the perfect fairy. She has a special tone in her voice. Helen Mirren is also absolutely believable as Mother Ginger. There’s a mystery about her character and, despite her bad reputation, you want to know more about her. Actually, the only thing that bothered me in this film is that we don’t know her back story and why she is a villain when we first meet her.I love the ballet and the fact that the filmmakers decided to incorporate dance into the story. Misty Copeland’s dancing is flawless. She is the first African American woman promoted to principal dancer in American Ballet Theater. Although the story is simple, all the visual and camera work put you in a fascinating world you are exited to be part of. The costumes are beautiful and the art direction and production design deserve an Oscar nomination.


The message of this movie is about embracing your own courage and discovering yourself. I think this is very important for kids to learn and understand the answer to so many questions. So many times we underestimate the power we have to make the world a better place. I give this film 5 of 5 stars and recommended it for ages 4 to 16. Unlock the mystery!

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

By Kimbirly O., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror

Do you remember The Nutcracker ballet? What about Cinderella? As I screened this film, both childhood memories came to mind. Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms has brought the magic of Disney back to the big screen. From the beginning of the film, your senses will be ALIVE! Every set looks edible with color and life. Truly, this live-action Disney film is a breath of fresh air.


While you may know the story of The Nutcracker, your senses will be awakened by the colors, costumes, and scenery in this film. As with most Disney films, there is a theme of loss, yet it is also so alive!


Clara (Mackenzie Foy) is an amazing young protagonist. I found myself drawn to her curious nature and determination to live up to her mother’s curious nature. As a young girl, she plays a curious and adventurous spirit, who is also very mechanically inclined. She amazed me by her desire to succeed, and her courage.  She walks into dark spaces knowing she is enough, and encounters creatures who challenge her along a path of discovery. She encounters toy soldiers and magical mice – some of whom are not kind! Clara’s quick mind and wonderful, kind skills help her get through a lot of sticky situations!


Without giving too much away, the gist of the story is about a gift, presented by her Father, but left to her by her mother at Christmas. Her second gift is from her godfather Drosselmeyer (Morgan Freeman) at his annual holiday party, which leads her to a coveted key – which promptly disappears into a strange and mysterious parallel world. From one world to the next, Land of Snowflakes, Land of Flowers and Land of Sweets, Clara and a soldier she meets named Phillip (Jayden Fowora-Knight) must brave the ominous Fourth Realm, home to the tyrant Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren), to retrieve Clara’s key.


The Sugar Plum Fairy Sugar (Keira Knightley), we learn, is not to be trusted and at times, gets annoying with her over the top antics. But in the end, this film has all the feels (and reminds me of so many things) of a Victorian English Christmas, the beloved Russian ballet, lively forest creatures from Disney and the bond of family. Misty Copeland makes a magnificent addition to the film, showcasing her balletic perfection.


Hats off to the costumers and make-up artists! I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 18, as well as adults. You should know this film deals with the death of a parent. It opens in theaters nationwide November 2, 2018. Look for it! You’ll be glad you did.






The Grinch (2018) : Funny, Cute, Reminds Us of the Real Spirit of Christmas

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Movie Reviews
The Grinch (2018) : Funny, Cute, Reminds Us of the Real Spirit of Christmas

For their eighth fully animated feature, Illumination and Universal Pictures present The Grinch, based on Dr. Seuss’ beloved holiday classic. The Grinch tells the story of a cynical grump who goes on a mission to steal Christmas, only to have his heart changed by a young girl’s generous holiday spirit. Funny, heartwarming, and visually stunning, it’s a universal story about the spirit of Christmas and the indomitable power of optimism. Academy Award® nominee Benedict Cumberbatch lends his voice to the infamous Grinch, who lives a solitary life inside a cave on Mt. Crumpet with only his loyal dog, Max, for company. With a cave rigged with inventions and contraptions for his day-to-day needs, the Grinch only sees his neighbors in Whoville when he runs out of food. Each year at Christmas they disrupt his tranquil solitude with their increasingly bigger, brighter, and louder celebrations. When the Whos declare they are going to make Christmas three times bigger this year, the Grinch … KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Damon F. comments, “The Grinch is a cute and funny movie that reminds us of the real spirit of Christmas. This film is based on the famous Dr. Seuss book about the Grinch who hates Christmas so much.” Nathalia J. adds, “Get ready to enjoy this perky piece of family entertainment, just in time for the holidays. It is filled with memorable and touching moments that catch you off guard.” See their full reviews below.

The Grinch

Damon F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

The Grinch is a cute and funny movie that reminds us of the real spirit of Christmas. This film is based on the famous Dr. Seuss book about the Grinch who hates Christmas so much. He tries to spoil it for everyone in the very Christmassy town he lives in, Whoville. Meanwhile, a small Who child tries to catch Santa, so she can talk to him about something very important that she wants for Christmas. The Grinch is an orphan and never had a family Christmas. He used to sit at his window watching all the Whos playing and celebrating outside. This made him hate Christmas. Years later, he decides to try to stop it. The Whos are a species that are always incredibly jolly around Christmas, so it will be hard to take it away from them.

I like how the music is the same music from How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966), but modernized with a hip-hop beat, complements to Danny Elfman. The way the Whos move around the town quickly is quite unique. Instead of roads, the Whos get around get on snowmobiles and sleds.  The main characters in this movie are, The Grinch (Benedict Cumberbatch), the only person that hates Christmas and Cindy Lou, (Cameron Seely), the little-girl that is trying to catch Santa and talk to him.

The Grinch lives in a cave north of Whoville that is full of rooms with inventive passageways and elevators to move between them. It is clear that the Grinch is very inventive. For example, in the music room there is a thin pathway that leads to a massive organ for the Grinch to play and a tiny drum set, for Max, his faithful dog. The Grinch is always telling Max to stop playing because he is ruining the vibe, but eventually gives in. He does this most times Max wants something, showing he is not as mean a character as he pretends.

Max is my favorite character in this movie. He goes about his day using Rube Goldberg machines to help the Grinch get ready for his day. My favorite scene is when Cindy Lou is sliding down the hill to get to the postman and crashes into the Grinch. That scene is hilarious and cool at the same time, featuring lots of fast action and comedy. Another good scene is when the Grinch is choosing his clothes. Inside his closet, he has clothes that have tags on them that read, “sad, very sad, miserable, very miserable, Christmas or happy.” The happy pants are super clean while the very miserable pants look old and worn. This shows that the Grinch has been extremely sad lately.

The message of this film is that being together with friends and family is the only gift you ever need. Cindy Lou shows this through how forgiving she is, even though he steals their Christmas.  I rate this movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 18, because it is a great family Christmas movie with a good message. This movie opens in theaters on November 9, 2018. Be sure to check it out.

Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch
By Nathalia J., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

What a touching moment! This full-length animated film intensely has you gazing at the screen, without a doubt. This enjoyable, wonderstruck, emotional, touching and kid-friendly movie is directed by Yarrow Cheney and Scott Mosier. Get ready to enjoy this perky piece of family entertainment, just in time for the holidays. It is filled with memorable and touching moments that catch you off guard.

The story follows a mean-spirited, cynical and grumpy Grinch who sets his eye on a mission, with his energetic dog Max, to destroy Christmas for one deplorable reason. The Grinch really hates Christmas, especially the loud, bright celebrations in Whoville. In order to get some peace and quiet, the Grinch disguises himself as Santa Clause and you’ll have to wait to see how he steals Christmas from The Who’s. He doesn’t expect what happens when he meets a young girl names Cindy Lou. The Grinch realizes he is only afraid of one thing that has affected him his whole life.

The lead characters in this film are Grinch (Benedict Cumberbatch), Cindy Lou (Cameron Seely), The Mayor of Whoville (Angela Lansbury), Izzy (Scarlett Estevez) and narrator (Pharrell Williams).

My favorite part of the film is when the grumpy and cruel Grinch changes his attitude and action choices. He has a change of heart and experiences his old ways to become happy and respectful as he feels valued (which is what everyone should feel). A quick theory of what happens is the small young girl changes the Grinch heart with a sentence, and that sentence changes everything.

This holiday film will definitely bring lots of laughs and humor. The film certainly provides positive messages about optimism, compassion and generosity. The animation deserves a big round of applause. It is jaw dropping, extraordinary, realistic to the story theme, beautiful and vibrant. The amazing animation is brought to life  by Cinzia Angelina (storyboard artist), Sylvia Deboissy (Character Designer/ Development Artist), Patrick Muylken (color designer) and many more.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 16, as well as adults. Truly, the whole family will enjoy the film. It is designed with so much reaction moments. Don’t miss this live-action film when it opens nationwide November 9, 2018.


Welcome to Soweto

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Welcome to Soweto

This weekend we got invited to yet another event happening in Soweto, LoCrates Market at Lebos Soweto Backpackers. This event was laced with food, beer and entrepreneurs selling their products to the people and looking to make further connections. The DJ was live playing the best African Jazz and Club tunes and then later he spiced it up with solid American artists who have made their presence known here in South Africa. From J Cole to Drake and Jay Z and Beyonce’ there wasn’t a tune that the neither I nor the South Africans knew the words too. For a moment, I forgot we were in South Africa. It all felt so comfortable and familiar and we invite you to feel it too. We were so happy to find out, this LoCrates Market in conjunction with Lebos Soweto Backpackers happens every first Sunday! So this will not be our last visit and if you are one of the ones who choose to travel with us, this will be a choice stop on the experience during African summer.

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click link for a short video of time



Winning in the Face of Adversity

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Winning in the Face of Adversity


This is a guest post by Patt Hardie, Leadership and Talent Management Expert. It is the companion to the October 23, 2018, Voice of America interview with Joyce Beatty and Doug McCollough, Congresswoman of Ohio and CIO of Dublin, Ohio respectively; aired on VoiceAmerica, “Innovative Leaders Driving Thriving Organizations”: Winning in the Face of Adversity: Overcoming Challenge with Grace.

We’ve all enjoyed times in our professional lives when we’ve had a major success, knocked it out of the ballpark, and know how amazing it feels to bask in the glow of well-deserved kudos and celebratory pats on the back. It would be awesome if we could ride that wave of good feelings all the time, yet we know that life isn’t always that way. We know that reality at times, is going to make life interesting, more challenging (maybe even more controversial), and in some cases, provide opportunities to change the world.

Congresswoman Beatty and Doug McCollough both exemplify leadership at its best through continually focusing on purpose-driven change for the future; finding opportunities to advocate and influence for diversity and inclusion at the top; and impacting young talent through role modeling and bringing others along with them through mentoring and standing with them.

How might you describe their leadership style? Agile, respectful, civil, tactful, decent, poised, leading with courteous goodwill and with finesse, maybe even simple elegance. All words found in the definition of GRACE. They are both others-focused, being driven from family values deep from within, well-honed from navigating many challenges and, in some cases, controversies over time. It is these life lessons they’ve carried forward to maneuver through obstacles today: know who you are and build on who you are; life isn’t always easy… expect challenges and know how to respond with courage, grace, and perseverance; be positive, be better, move forward, focus on solutions; expect to win, and bring others with you.

Facing obstacles is a normal part of life and learning how to deal with and overcoming them is what builds character and resilience. It’s so easy in our toxic world to get caught up in playing victim, or ‘poor me’ since we are human, and forget that it is often at these opportunities that we grow and learn the most if we’re open to it. Every difficulty we’re able to confront serves to strengthen our self-confidence, our motivation, and our skills for future challenges. The Greek philosopher, Herodotus, said, “Adversity has the effect of drawing out strengths and qualities of a man that would have lain dormant in its absence.”

So, while we don’t expect ourselves to look forward to obstacles, what can we do to be ready for them and manage them when they do occur so we can approach these times more gracefully and with less stress? Z. Hereford offers a few good thoughts on how to get started in his article Tips for Overcoming Adversity.:

  1. Be aware of and accept that adversity is inevitable in life. Adversity is everywhere in the world, much of which is out of your control.
  2. Build your internal resources. Before adversity hits, work on cultivating emotional strength, courage, and discipline.
  3. Build your external resources. Build a support system of family and friends.
  4. That which does not kill you doesn’t always make you stronger. Not necessarily true!
  5. Take inspiration and learn from others who have dealt successfully with adversity. There are many inspiring stories of those who overcame seemingly insurmountable odds.

When we think of conquering adversity we also think of courage. We heard it referenced often in the rich storytelling referenced in the podcast as well in simple ways as speaking an opinion clearly with conviction when others were silent. Courage is a mental and emotional preparedness and ability to deal with difficult, challenging, and sometimes seemingly impossible circumstances. It is the ability to confront fear, pain, danger, uncertainty, intimidation, and other threats. And it can be cultivated and honed.

When we work to develop courage, we acquire skills to manage life’s challenges and empower ourselves to confront issues head on. In the article Live a Life of Courage, there are several ways to become more courageous:

  • Acknowledge and understand that it’s not the absence of fear.
  • Muster up the willingness to do so.
  • Read literature, the latest news, and watch movies about tales of courage.
  • Start small but start somewhere.
  • Develop faith and confidence.

Congresswoman Beatty and Doug McCollough were able to take everyday injustices and obstacles and transform them to gain momentum and make a difference for themselves and others. You can do the same yourself by taking one step at a time. How about it. Are you willing to make a difference for yourself, perhaps others, and possibly the world?

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, and works with Metcalf & Associates. She 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 can connect with the business and synthesize needs into successful strategies for sustainable results.

Kristen Harper will be speaking at Arizona Pinners Conference on the “Top Ways to Reduce Stress” in Scottsdale, Arizona November 9, 2018

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Health & Wellness
Kristen Harper will be speaking at Arizona Pinners Conference on the “Top Ways to Reduce Stress” in Scottsdale, Arizona November 9, 2018

Please attend Kristen Harper’s speech on November 9, 2018 (Friday) at the Arizona Pinners Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona at 6:30pm on the “Top Ways to Reduce Stress.”


Kristen Harper is a Health and Wellness Speaker who inspires audiences to get healthy and stay healthy.  She is also  the radio show host for Tips to Keep You Healthy, Happy, and Motivated on every Tuesday at 3pm Pacific Time.


You can purchase tickets for the event at  Free Foot Reflexology Rollers as Giveaways during Kristen’s speech!


Kristen Harper’s speaking website:


Tips to Keep You Healthy, Happy, and Motivated radio show:  Health and Wellness experts, Celebrities, Influencers, authors, researchers, and doctors have been interviewed on Kristen Harper’s radio show.

Maboneng Precinct

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Maboneng Precinct

Let me take you on a quick journey as to how we ended up in what is called the “Living Room”. We had planned to meet our friends in the Maboneng Precinct, as I had ordered a dessert sampler from a newly made connection that happens to be a pastry chef. The plan was to meet very quickly for a hello, exchange of money for goods then home…. But this is South Africa… AND there is always something going on.. soooo we follow the lead of the young people and end up and this cool ass bar with a DJ on a beautiful Sunday afternoon just before sunset. Watch the video and take it all in.

We do want you to experience all the things the media chooses to omit. Yes, it appears as though South Africa is very westernized and it is but the flare they put on something you must feel to believe.

Connect with us:

Be a part of the revolution to bring the truth about South Africa to the world. The Real South Africa, Luxury, Culture and Couture. Defining Life and Style.

A Review of Melrose Arch- Churchills

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A Review of Melrose Arch- Churchills

The Real South Africa has some places that we love to visit and are eager to share with you. Just recently we visited Churchill’s which is a choice stop on our experience. South African’s take pride in the spaces they use for leisure. AND THERE ARE A LOT. Our goal with The Real South Africa is to change the way you think about you Africa and South Africa in particular. Just recently, another one of our American friends, who has lived in South Africa for over 20 years, recently visited New York City, in the United States. He was eager to hear the thoughts and perceptions of South Africa from fellow Americans and travelers while there.

Here is a link. Hear what people think for yourself.

http://We are here to change the perception as well listen to Timothy Maurice he is American but lives in South Africa. The Brain & Brand Show, 30 Oct What People in New York think of South Africa 5:31 AM – 2 Nov 2018

Then Click on the next link to get the reality.

We look forward to seeing you soon in South Africa and being your personal guides. Visit our website for more information:


Monitoring Social Media for Situational Awareness

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Monitoring Social Media for Situational Awareness

Social Media can help us in many ways but it can also cause us harm if we don’t pay close attention to what information is being presented by the various social media platforms. This week, we talk with Lt. Glen Mills who is a specialist in monitoring social media for situational awareness and is a Lieutenant with the Burlington, Massachusetts police department. Drawing upon extensive experience and using some real-life examples, Lt. Mills gives us tips and insights into how we can better prepare ourselves for the deluge of information conveyed through various social media sites and identifying what information is real and what may not. These tips will help all organizations, communities and individuals better prepare for – and respond to – potential situations that can cause us harm and prevent us from being taken in by those who would do us harm.


Conversation with a stranger

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Conversation with a stranger

In an unlikely chain of events, it took our visit to South Africa to meet a fellow American who happened to have a fiance’ who lives in the same estate as us. It gives new meaning to the term small world. Rick Wilder (name changed) an american who travels frequently to South Africa and based on his current home base, probably ran in the same government circles as my husband Mark, however, it took South Africa to bring a chance virtual meeting and conversation that turned into a quick friendship.

Just recently we posted a video of our experiences here in South Africa. We tagged the new area we live and it sparked an unlikely connection and messenger conversation that started like this.

Inbox message from Rick Wilder –

Hi Latasha! I look forward to meeting you guys! Such a coincidence – Blue Valley Golf Estates. Small world. My girlfriend owns a home there. I plan to move SA soon (would do it now but I’m to close to being eligible to retire from the US Federal Government) and US Federal Gov jobs in SA are hard to find. A US State Department (Embassy) gig would be wonderful.

I explained that Mark too was in his position and felt the very same way regarding leaving a government position so close to retirement. His enthusiasm continued.

“My girlfriend is South African. From the Tswana (Botswana tribe). I’ll share your details and ask her to do likewise. Well done and congratulations on the successful business, selling and relocating. Smart! I plan to have a business running in the USA (likely something online) to produce dollars. I will need to lean on you all for advise so the transition is smooth. Curious — When and How did you all discover SA? With me it was purely an accident. But the best accident ever. lol So much to do in SA. So much to do in Southern Africa (Zambia, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland, Lesotho. So many adventures there. So many interesting people who look like us and where we are the “normal” ones. So much to do in Africa overall. All of it fascinates me. I love it. I regret waiting so late in life and wish I first visited in my 20s.”

I express joy and let him know his sentiment for wanting to have visited earlier is part of what The Real South Africa is about. Trying to bridge the gap between america and Africa and showing you the possibilities that exist on the continent. And still he continues. He has asked if we have ever visited Zimbabwe, to which I responded no. We are still trying to settle in here before we continue our exploration of the country and continent as a whole.

He goes on to say, “Zimbabwe is a VERY interesting place. I have a sister-in-law from Gweru, Zimbabwe. I traveled through half the country in 2015. It was unforgettable. I felt more “at home” in Zim than SA. Zim reminded me of many places in my home state of SC. They have very, very nice and very smart citizens. One of the most intellectual strong continents on the continent. More than SA.”

I explain to him Mark’s first trip was for work and that mine was shortly after. I tell him that Mark was in complete awe and couldn’t wait to share it with me, so we returned, with our daughter and his mom. I can understand his reasons for saying that about Zimbabwe, given there history and close ties to operating by using the dollar as their form of currency. And still he continues…

“My first trip, like his, wowed me. It was in March 2012 when I emailed Patricia, a woman I met by happenstance while walking on the Great wall of channel 6 months prior). She told me to visit SA. We exchanged a few emails and I said “what the heck…the plane ticket is cheap. Nothing to lose.” She met me at the airport, found me a hotel (Protea Fire & Ice Melrose Arch) and my eyes started bulging. I was like what is this? I’ve never seen stuff like this on TV. She spent two days giving me a tour of Johannesburg. I expected her to leave me afterwards so I can make my trek to Kruger and then return to the USA. But we hit is off so good that we went to Kruger together and (long story short) a couple. Hopefully married next year. I have a lot of friends in Johannesburg, a good friend (judge in the SA government) in Cape Town and a good friend in Durban. Johannesburg is like a seance home and most of my best and most trusting friends live in Gauteng. So many memories over the years. You and your husband are the first Americans I know who moved there. I try to see my girlfriend at least once every 4 months. I love traveling so we meet in Joburg or some halfway point. Recently it was in Egypt. Next month she comes to the USA (which I dislike because I would rather us go somewhere else. Anywhere warm…but I will compromise and host her in cold Washington, DC. lol (She’s been many times).”

You can hear the reluctance to have her visit USA in the winter since its going into summer in South Africa. I can’t blame him. An opportunity to have second spring and summer and NO winter. Is what we can all hope for.

“You guys are truly in paradise. Summer in South Africa is amazing. And you are a short flight from the GORGEOUS islands of Africa (Mauritius, Seychelles, Zanzibar). I’ll be so jealous as the temperature on my side dips below 20 degrees. I wish many fellow Americans knew and appreciated the beauty of the motherland. Some are like I used to be. Brainwashed by mainstream media.”

I express to him again that the idea behind The Real South Africa and it gives us so much more confirmation that we are doing the right thing. We are supposed to share this story, his story and ours so that folks in the USA, know that South Africa is not a “shit hole” country. That the continent itself holds more beauty than they will ever show you in media presentations.

Rick continues on to say “I had traveled every continent before Africa. Traveled throughout Europe a few times before Africa. Barcelona and Ibiza were my second home. I had no reason to go to Africa because I didn’t know anyone and know anything beyond “I’m from West Africa” and there are Pyramid in Egypt. So brainwashed, I was. And so it came to be that my first trip to Africa would be South Africa and it would lead to me traveling there and other parts of Africa more than anywhere — including my hometown.”

This last statement of his was one that resonated so deep. It is so very true that most will not travel to a place because they don’t know anyone or anything about it. Which again leads us to The Real South Africa. Mark and I are clear in our ability to make experiences pure. We want you to travel with us and feel like you are going with friends and to make friends.

The last thing he says, sums it all up and it was a perfect way to end our conversation. It makes what we are doing here in Africa all the more real each day we are here.

There is so much to do…one can never be bored in Africa.





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