Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Mary Poppins is Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious at the Aurora Theatre

Featuring the irresistible story and unforgettable songs from one of the most popular Disney films of all time, Disney’s and Cameron Mackintosh’s Mary Poppins, The Broadway Musical sweeps metro Atlanta with laughter and fun. The Broadway show is opening Aurora Theatre’s 19th Season Signature Series July 17-August 31. Co-created by Cameron Mackintosh with additional music and lyrics by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, the musical tells the story of everyone’s favorite “practically perfect” nanny who falls from the sky and into the hearts of the dysfunctional Banks family. With the help of a carefree chimney sweep named Bert, she teaches the family the immeasurable benefits of love, joy and mutual respect for one another one magical lesson at a time. Produced with dazzling theatrical effects and a score that includes Chim-Chim Cher-eeA Spoonful of Sugar and Step in Time, rediscover the Walt Disney classic that has touched the hearts of audiences for more than 45 years.

What is it about?

It is about the Banks, an England family from the 1910's, who are so caught up in their own lives, that have almost forgotten they are raising two children. Jane and Michael Banks have sent many nannies packing before Mary Poppins arrives on their doorstep. Using a combination of magic and common sense, she must teach the family how to value each other again. The dance numbers are breathtaking dance numbers and the stagecraft is spectacular. Mary Poppins teaches about how important is to have a close a family and how much love you should have for each other! Mary Poppins is a wonderful play to take the kids and you'll want to go back and see it again!

Tickets can be purchased online at tickets.auroratheatre.com or by calling the Ticket Sales Office at 678-226-6222. Regular show times are as follows:
·         Wednesday- Friday: 8 p.m.         
·         Saturday: 2:30 p.m. & 8 p.m.
·         Sunday: 2:30 p.m.
There will be no evening performance on Wednesday, August 6

Exclusively for this production, youngsters ages 6-12 are invited to participate in a Jolly Holiday Party on Saturday, July 26 and August 16 at 1:15 p.m. The festivities include activities and photos with Mary Poppins and Bert, as well as a special snack. Tickets are $10 per person with purchase of a ticket to the corresponding day’s matinee. 

Food We Love! The Melting Pot Menu For Gwinnett Restaurant Week #GRW2014

Friends don't forget about Gwinnett Restaurant Week. If you have been postponing visiting one of the participating restaurants now is the best time to make a reservation. For only $21.21 per person you can enjoy a 3-course dinner. I had the pleasure to visit "The Melting Pot", (it was my first time) and they didn't disappoint me. The portions might seem small, but when you start dipping everything in that smooth glorious golden melted cheese, it will certainly fill you up fast. If you are visiting this restaurant my best advice is to leave room for the last (and best) course, the chocolate founde. 

highly recommend the “Flaming Turtle” chocolate founde. Is to die for, and you will need a lot of will power, to restrain yourself to not lick the plate. Is that good! All participating restaurants/menus will be online at GRW’s official website, www.gwinnettrestaurantweek.com. Reservations are required for most restaurants, and are made by contacting the restaurants directly. To view all the menus please go here: http://www.gcvb.org/restaurantweek/GRW_2014_menus.pdf.

Happiness Explained: 10 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Happiness Level

How to improve your happiness level within minutes

"It requires some effort to achieve a happy outlook on life, and most people don't make it."
Author and researcher Gregg Easterbrook

Did you know that recent studies suggest that 40% of what makes us happy is within our control? So why not try some of the strategies listed below. You might be pleasantly surprised.

10 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Happiness Level
(in no particular order)

1. Counting your blessings, expressing gratitude for what you have.

2. Choose experience over stuff. Psychologist Ryan Howell found in his research that people felt “more alive” when reflecting on experiences compared to things—and that experiences led to more happiness in those around them than their purchases did. Howell says, "As nice as your new computer is, it's not going to make you feel alive." Lottery winners report that after a while, money and possessions don’t make them as happy as the simple pleasures they enjoyed before winning.

3. Stay in bright light because most people get a powerful surge of energy from sunlight or bright indoor light. Try moving your desk chair closer to a window or better yet, take a five minute outdoor walk every few hours.

4. People are they happiest when they achieve their aims, so set yourself goals which stretch you, but are achievable.

Kanga Partnering With Local Atlanta Nonprofit To Help Communities Burdened by Unsafe Water

780 million people lack access to clean water worldwide

Kanga is a proud sponsor of Trashwater, an Atlanta based non-profit committed to providing innovative clean water solutions through partnerships with communities in developing nations. Trashwater uses education, filtration, and mobilization to maximize lasting change for those burdened by unsafe water.

Kanga is a revolutionary new method of shipping, moving, and delivering things. By drawing upon the power of the crowd, they provide customers with a fast, convenient and affordable solution for on-demand local delivery. During the months of June and July, 2014, Kanga is donating 20% of proceeds to Trashwater to fund a trip bringing water filtration devices and educational courses to Managua, Nicaragua. To get things hopping, all users who sign up for a new account between June 1st and July 31st automatically receive a $20 credit on their first shipment. 

There’s no need to enter a code, simply create a shipment and the credit is automatically applied. Use the credit towards your first shipment & once it’s complete Kanga will make a donation to Trashwater.org.

You get a great deal on local pickup and delivery and Trashwater will receive 20% of the proceeds from your shipment. 


Downloadthe Kanga app to start shipping immediately. Move anything, anytime, anywhere, without having to rent a vehicle, hire an expensive in-store delivery service or beg a friend to give you a hand. Save your money, your time (and of most important) your friendships by using Kanga.

Kanga delivers in our hometown of Atlanta and will expand to new cities soon. 

For more information please visit: http://getkanga.com/trashwater/

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Our Daddy Needs A Kidney! Greensboro Family Turns To Community To Help Them Find A Donor

Since the age of 34, Raleigh Callaway a 24-year veteran investigator for the city of Greensboro Police Department, has fought like a warrior against diabetes, hypertension and chronic kidney disease. His commitment to regular exercise, diet management requiring constant measuring of food contents, keeping regular doctor’s appointments and taking all medications as prescribed has allowed him to avoid what he feared most…until now. 

At the age of 49, despite all that he’s done to break the cycle, genetics have reared their ugly head and taken over his body, nearly completely. His kidneys are functioning at only 10% which has made him anemic to the point of requiring weekly injections to stimulate red blood cell production. He will most likely begin dialysis within the next 30 days, depending on how soon his port can be placed and how long it takes the port site to heal for daily use. He has opted to dialyze through PD (Peritoneal Dialysis). PD differs from the most common dialysis method (hemodialysis) because his port will filter waste from his abdomen rather than his blood stream. He will connect to a machine each night, allowing specially-compounded fluids to attract and trap waste, then drain the waste into a drainage bag, all while he sleeps. He chose this form of dialysis in hopes of continuing to be able to work full-time to provide for our family.

His wife Kristi Callaway, hopes and pray that her plea posted on facebook is shared time and time again and is read by someone who is a match for her husband.

Common questions answered in Kristi’s post:

** How does this affect our family? Just to name a few… 
Raleigh is at an increased risk of developing a hernia if he lifts more than 20 pounds. Our girls weigh 30 and 42 pounds, so plane rides and air tosses will have to wait until…

Raleigh will miss at least one, possibly two weeks of work as he heals from the port placement. Once healed, his connection time to fill, collect and drain can’t be predicted. His sleep and work hours may need to be adjusted.

Due to the increased risk of infection, bathing, even in his own tub, swimming and excessive sweating must be avoided to lessen the risk of infection which could set the stage for peritonitis, an infection at his port site that extends to outer areas.

When traveling, we’ll have to plan to accommodate his dialyzing equipment, which includes bags of fluid, so we’ll probably need to take short trips.

** What can you do to help?
For those who wish to take part in trying to save Raleigh’s quality of life by finding a compatible kidney, please get tested to see if YOU are the donor match he needs. The initial testing consists of a simple blood test. Emory has assured us that they try their best to accommodate potential donors by allowing their initial testing to be done at a hospital or lab close to the donor. 
Those of you willing to give the gift of life have questions, I’m sure, and I’ll try to answer a few of them here.

---What if I don’t know my blood type? It’s okay! Raleigh’s blood type is AB+ and is considered the universal recipient, meaning he can accept blood from anybody. The key factor when determining compatibility is the reactivity of Raleigh’s antibodies to the potential donor’s antibodies. A simple blood test can provide this information.

---What if I don’t have insurance to cover the testing and surgery if I am a match? It’s okay! For any potential donor without insurance, Raleigh’s insurance will pay for testing of all potential donors as well as surgery if you are the match we’re praying to find. For those with insurance, you may or may not have “donor benefits”. If you don’t, again, Raleigh’s insurance will cover all expenses. If you do have donor benefits, Raleigh’s insurance will pay any fees your insurance doesn't cover. 

---What is the recovery time if I am a match and donate my kidney? The donor’s recovery time is much less than Raleigh’s – typically 3-7 days. Raleigh’s recovery time will be 8-12 weeks after receiving a transplant.

---Will I be reimbursed for travel, lodging and time missed from work if I donate my kidney? Not through Raleigh’s insurance, but there is a fund to cover these expenses.

---Will my one remaining kidney be able to function as two? Yes! Most donors’ remaining kidney actually grows slightly in order to take over the full role. The kidney function of donors pre-donation compared to post-donation is generally the same or very close to. Some of you may have additional questions, and I’d be glad to give, find out or lead you to the answers.

If it is in your heart to possibly give the gift of life, please message Kristi Callaway on Facebook or email her at kcallaway0106@aol.com. She will provide you with the phone number to Emory’s donation center as well as Raleigh’s identifiable information, which you’ll need when calling to register as a potential donor.

Photos by Randy Angel Photography

Iron Yard Academy Atlanta Launches First Free Coding Class For Teens

It's hard to believe that with all the technological advances in our world, girls are continuously dissipated to stay away from STEM careers. According to the National Science Foundation: 66 percent of 4th grade girls say they like science and math, but only 18 percent of all college engineering majors are female.

The Iron Yard Academy is passionate about lowering the barrier for women who want to pursue a career in programming and is currently offering two $1500 scholarships per semester. The Iron Yard Academy "Women in Tech Scholarship" offers a new possibility to women who want to take their intensive engineering courses.

"On many occasions, the mothers, older sisters, and aunts of our students have expressed that they wish programs like ours had existed years ago. Many women we’ve spoken to were directly discouraged from STEM when they were younger, being told, “engineering is for men.”

Making tech a more welcoming environment for everyone is a cause we support wholeheartedly, and we’re working to make that vision reality."
In addition, they academy is launching a new push to engage boys and girls into coding. The academy is offering free Scratch (level 1 and 2) coding classes for kids, a special coding fundamental class just for girls (8-12) and a basic HTML and CSS class for teens. The HTML and CSS class is intended for teens 13 – 18, and parents are required to make sure their kids are able to attend all sessions, complete any homework for each week, and stay for the entire duration of class (2 hours) before signing up. The course is 3 short weeks, two hours/day per week, so attendance and participation are essential. No experience is required, but they do require that you bring a laptop that can connect to the Internet.

The students will go through the process of becoming acquainted with HTML and CSS, learning the basics of how these two languages work together to display content in browsers. They will work on an ongoing project of building a personal homepage featuring fun information about themselves. If you want to sign up please make sure your kid has access to two appropriate and high-quality photographs of themselves for use as a profile picture. To sign up or have more information about their upcoming classes please subscribe to their mailing list. Space is very limited and fills out fast. Just visiting the Atlanta Tech Village is a cool experience by itself. Don't miss this unique opportunity to help your child cultivate creativity and curiosity through coding.

LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Atlanta Celebrates Christmas in July with Charity Toy Drive

Donations Benefit Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Guests Receive a Special Offer!

ATLANTA (July 17, 2014) – LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Atlanta invites children to jump start the season of giving with Christmas in July! Families can bring a new, unwrapped and unopened toy to LEGOLAND Discovery Center and receive a Kids Go Free voucher with the purchase of an adult ticket! LEGOLAND Discovery Center will also match the donation with a LEGO® toy, all benefitting Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta!

WHAT: Christmas in July at LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Atlanta

WHEN: Through July 31, 2014

WHERE: LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Atlanta
Third Floor, Phipps Plaza | 3500 Peachtree Road in Buckhead

HOW: Bring a new, unwrapped and unopened toy valued at $10 or more and receive a Kids Go Free voucher. The voucher is valid for one free child ticket with the purchase of an adult walk-up ticket.

For more information, please visit http://www.legolanddiscoverycenter.com

Animal Emergency Center of North Fulton Hosts Animal Fire Safety and Disaster Preparedness Event

Because emergency action plans for your family should include your animals, the Animal Emergency Center of North Fulton hosted a safety event on July 13, to help educate the public about pet fire safety and disaster preparedness. Home fires are the most common disaster and also the most preventable. According to the United States Fire Administration, an estimated 500,000 pets are affected annually by fires.

The best way to protect your pets from the effects of a fire is to include them in your family plan. This includes having their own disaster supplies kit as well as arranging in advance for a safe place for them to stay if you need to leave your home. In the event of a disaster, if you must evacuate, the most important thing you can do to protect your pets is to evacuate them, too.

Attendees learn how to perform CPR on pets, some first aid treatments, obedience training, dental care, and diet and nutrition tips. The Georgia SPCA had a offsite pet adoption. 

Camp Bow Wow, Top Dogs, Heather Gaston Agency Insurance Professionals, Best Friends Blood Bank, Home Depot (with kids' work shops), Q100, K-911 Dog Training, Casey Spinks of Close to My Heart Scrapbooking, as well as many other local pet friendly businesses attended the event.

The American Red Cross was also present to educate the public about their new Pet First Aid App. The American Red Cross Pet First Aid app puts veterinary advice for everyday emergencies in the palm of your hand. Get the app and be prepared to act when called upon. With videos, interactive quizzes and simple step-by-step advice it’s never been easier to know Pet First Aid.

Pet First Aid App Features:
  • Convenient toggle between cat and dog content.
  • Simple step-by-step instructions guide you through everyday emergencies in the palm of your hand.
  • Prepare and protect your pet’s health with advice on administering medication, time to say goodbye, behavioral help and how to act in a disaster situation.
  • Early warning sign checker for preventive care.
  • Programmable veterinary contact number to be available when needed throughout the app.
  • Learn first aid steps for over 25 common pet situations through a combination of text, video and images, in addition to identifying common toxic substances.
  • Locate your nearest emergency vet hospital or pet-friendly hotels.
  • Respond to pet emergencies with “how to” videos for the common and stressful emergency situations inclusive of size specific CPR techniques.
  • Customize multiple pet profiles and set veterinary appointments.
  • Interactive quizzes allow you to earn badges that you can share with your friends along with a picture of your pet.

Save The Date For Gwinnett Restaurant Week July 20 - 24 #GRW2014

Foodies rejoice: Explore Gwinnett has announced the 2014 restaurants/menus for Gwinnett’s longest running dining promotion, Gwinnett Restaurant Week. Beginning Sunday, July 20 through Thursday, July 24, 2014 deal seekers are invited to enjoy the best dining that Gwinnett has to offer.

This is our 9th year running Gwinnett Restaurant Week and July continues to be a great month to support our locally owned upscale restaurants,” says Lisa Anders, Explore Gwinnett Executive Director. “When visitors travel to Gwinnett, they want to have a dining experience, and enjoy our local flavor. It’s important for Gwinnett to have those dining options and to celebrate them.” Gwinnett Restaurant Week provides the opportunity for diners to enjoy a three-course meal at one 15 participating restaurants for one low price of $21.21, plus tax/gratuity. The average savings per meal is about 30%.

Local flavor and farm-to-table are two of the biggest draws for several Gwinnett Restaurant Week participants. Local favorites Graft, Kaet’s Steakhouse and Sperata feature primarily locally sourced food, with rotating menus that focus on what is fresh. “We are also very excited to add two new restaurants to our Restaurant Week portfolio this year – the newly opened 1910 Public House in downtown Lilburn, and the new steakhouse, The Crossing, located in the heart of Historic Norcross.

While the word-of-mouth about Restaurant Week drives a lot of traffic, “we have a strong marketing partnership with Yelp OTP this year, and residents and visitors will see Gwinnett Restaurant  Week extensively on local media, billboards, social media and foodie blogs,” adds Anders.

All participating restaurants/menus will be online at GRW’s official website, www.gwinnettrestaurantweek.com. Reservations are required for most restaurants, and are made by contacting the restaurants directly. To view all the menus please go here: http://www.gcvb.org/restaurantweek/GRW_2014_menus.pdf

Fernbank Museum Continues 97 Days of Play with Carnival Science Day

Come one, come all to Fernbank Museum's Carnival Science Day
Enjoy Circus Performers, Science Shows, Games And Much More!

Fernbank Museum of Natural History (fernbankmuseum.org) announces Carnival Science Day on July 26 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. This new family day will embody the fun of a carnival, all while teaching guests a little bit about the science that inspires all of those fun games and tricks.

Big Thinkers Science Exploration will be performing Air Up There at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. This exciting show will feature a hovercraft and a cannon that will launch smoke ring cannons into the audience. This show will amaze guests and leave them more knowledgeable about the world around them.

The Imperial OPA will bring along a stilt walker, a hoop dancer and a strolling musician. These talented characters are sure to amaze as they pose for pictures and perform tricks.

Guests will also have the chance to create their own optical illusion. The Giggy Thaumatrope will teach guests about the persistence of vision using printed images and chopsticks, which will turn into a colorful picture when twirled.

As always, Fernbank will have an exciting array of games to keep guests entertained, including a carnival ring toss, a game of planko and much more.

In honor of this special event, The Fernbank Café will get in the spirit by serving up special carnival-themed treats that will ensure that guests’ taste buds will have fun as well.

Visitors are encouraged to visit the permanent exhibition Sensing Nature to experience various interactives that help guests learn about the relationship between science and their senses in a new and exciting way.

Carnival Science Day activities are included with Museum admission and are free for Fernbank members. As part of Fernbank’s 97 Days of Play, the Museum has made it a goal to provide families with fun activities from Memorial Day until Labor Day.

Upcoming 97 Days of Play activities include Shark Tooth Tuesdays (every Tuesday in July), Safari Hat Sundays (every Sunday in July), Reptile Day (July 12) and Dinosaur Birthday Bash (August 23).

Museum tickets are $18 for adults, $17 for students and seniors, $16 for children ages 3-12 and free for children aged 2 and under. Value Pass tickets, which include Museum admission and one IMAX film, are $26 for adults, $24 for students and seniors, $22 for children ages 3-12, free for children aged 2 and under and $8 for members. The Museum is located at 767 Clifton Road NE in Atlanta. Parking is free. For tickets, call 404.929.6400 or visit www.fernbankmuseum.org.

Atlanta Ronald McDonald House and Peach State Pride RMHC Twitter Party #helpingkidsheal

On Monday, July 21, ARMHC will host the first Peach State Pride RMHC Twitter Party. Please join ARMHC and RMHC chapters across the state of Georgia from 7:00-8:00 p.m. EST as they share stories of empowerment and improvement using the hashtag #helpingkidsheal. We would love for you to be a part of this evening. Please join us in the conversation, and let us know why you support ARMHC and #helpingkidsheal.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Other Ugly Duckling Makes a Splash at Center for Puppetry Arts

Renowned Spanish Artists Put Charming Spin on Classic Tale

WHAT: Guyi-Guyi: The Other Ugly Duckling by Periferia Teatro de Títeres of Murcia, Spain
Acclaimed Spanish puppet company, Periferia Teatro de Títeres, performs the English/Spanish bilingual production of Guyi-Guyi: The Other Ugly Duckling, a story about a crocodile accidentally born into a family of ducks. Guyi-Guyi lives happily with his family until he meets another crocodile and realizes his true nature. After learning that he is not like his feathered siblings, Guyi-Guyi goes on a journey of self discovery and finds that he is more than what meets the eye. Through play and humor, Guyi-Guyi is a new take on Hans Christian Andersen’s classic story The Ugly Duckling.

To learn more about Periferia Teatro de Títeres, click here. This production is sponsored in part by the Instituto Nacional de las Artes Escenicas y de la Musica (INAEM), Spain Arts & Culture and the Spain-USA Foundation.
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