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Review: LA Zoo Lights!

07 December 2016

Hi loves! Happy December... 'Tis the Season. Take a peek at my review of LA Zoo's lovely Zoo Lights program.

Quote of the Day
Be strong, fellow sufferers! And friends/family, remember to give your loved one a squeeze and word of encouragement.. Makes such a difference!

xo Joy

Quote of the Day

01 December 2016
Two years later... Still true... If people could see inside my actual pain level they would be shocked. #JustSaying

Disability: TWO YEARS

Hi love. I hope you all are well. Can you believe it's already 1 December?!
September 7th. Surgery Date.
It has been officially two years since I came home from London. Sometimes it feels like two months where and sometimes it feels like 20 years. Either way I looked back at the last two years and have to shake my head in amazement and frustration and in some ways also gratitude. The crazy part is so when I came home December 1, 2014 the doctors said that I had post viral fatigue and will be back to school by the end of January 2015. Look at us two years later and I am gone in circles with doctors, different diagnoses, surgery, and let's not forget about the constant pain and my legs, arms, hands, back, neck, etc. etc.

Side Show is Beautiful

18 November 2016

Conejo Players is wrapping up their 2016 season with a beautiful production of SIDE SHOW THE MUSICAL loosely based on the real life siamese twins, Daisy and Violet Hilton. And what a gorgeous show vocally.


13 November 2016

Young Artists Ensemble's fall production of Shrek the Musical Jr. is one class act! Based on the DreamWorks movie and the Broadway musical this junior production takes the audience on a magical Adventure from Shrek's swamp to the colorful Duloc to Princess Fiona's dragon guarded tower and back again. And what a big, bright, beautiful show it is!

Review: Santa HQ

08 November 2016

Afternoon, friends! On this Election Day when tensions might be a bit high and as I ice my arms I thought it was time to share some more about HGTV and The Thousand Oaks Mall's SANTA HQ that has landed near the JCPenney Court from now until Christmas Eve.

VIDEO: Adoption Month

07 November 2016

It's adoption month! And what a perfect song to dedicate to all the wonderful adoptive parents out there. I honestly don't know where I would be without my Mum and Dad.

xoxo Joy

Song: Without You
Written by: Kathie Lee Gifford and David Friedman
Singer: Rachel Potter

PHOTO: Santa HQ!

Happy Monday!

It is another beautiful day here in Southern California and I have a treat for you all. Here is a first look at the new Santa HQ at the Thousand Oaks Mall, sponsored by HGTV.

More information will be coming soon as well as a detailed review. Until then enjoy this photo of yours truly, A, and the big man himself.


Pain: Phytopia Review

04 November 2016

Living with non-stop and often excruciating pain in my body (especially my hands and arms), I have tried all sorts of ailments and therapies. So when I heard about Phytopia's PainAway Synergy for Muscle Soreness and Pain Relief I decided to give it a try. And what a lovely packaging it came in!

For my review please keep reading...

Health: Siri and Dictation

01 November 2016

For two years now I have been struggling with my health. We originally thought it was chronic fatigue syndrome, or as some people call it post viral syndrome, but have sense realize it is even more complicated. Doctors discovered that I had cervical stenosis of the spine the summer when they did an MRI looking for multiple sclerosis. Pretty ironic, I'd say. So what do you do when you have troubles with your hands on a continual basis?

Magic Town: Not So Hot

30 October 2016

Hmmm... Remember how tickled pink I was last week with the Magic Town little girls' leotard? Well, a lot has happened in a week and I am left with a bad taste in my mouth about both Magic Town and their Girls' Princess Dress...

Magic Town Leotard: TOO CUTE!

19 October 2016

 Hi fashionistas! Who doesn't love a hot pink leotard and skirt combo? Or spoiling one of their favorite little girls? Seriously, I am so tickled pink (pun intended) and cannot wait to to share it with my favorite little ballerina.
So are you dying to hear the scoop about this leotard? Keep reading...
[EDITED: Please see my 2nd review for more information.]

Evita: A Mixed Bag

15 October 2016

Cabrillo Music Theatre is bringing to Thousand Oaks their most recent season including a production of Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber's Evita that is playing two weekends from now through the 23rd of October. But is it worth the steep price of $79 for Orchestra seats? [Rear Mezzanine seats can go as low as $34.]
David Kirk Grant, Joshua Rivera, Veronica Gutierrez, Cassandra Murphy. Photo by Ed Krieger.

Coming soon: EVITA

07 October 2016

Hi guys!

It has definitely been a while but I hope everyone is well. I have had a crazy couple months which I will get into soon. In the meantime I am excited to announce that to Cabrillo Music Theatre is putting on another dazzling production this month! Starting October 14th, Disney's longest running Jasmine (from Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular) Cassandra Murphy will be singing Don't Cry for Me Argentina and other show-stopping Andrew Lloyd Webber favorite numbers in Evita at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza!

MUST SEE: The Little Mermaid (Cabrillo Music Theatre)

18 July 2016

Ladies and Gents...
You are going to want to SWIM over to the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza to see Cabrillo Music Theatre's incredible production of Disney's The Little Mermaid! It is without a doubt the best production I have ever seen at Cabrillo Music Theatre and I thought that honour went to last season's gorgeous Mary Poppins but nope Alison Bagli and cast are perfection in this regional production of The Little Mermaid.
Alison Bagli as Ariel. (c) Cabrillo Music Theatre.

Vlog: MRI Drama

29 June 2016

Hi guys! What a scorcher today. For those of you who have been asking about my health... here is my latest vlog chronicling the *drama* involved in getting an MRI: Brain Scan.

Companies mentioned in my vlog:

Clinicas del Camino Real, Incorporated

Location: Ventura County, California
Insurances Accepted: Medi-Cal, Medi-Care, & Most Private Insurances are Accepted
Recommended Doctors: Dr. Veloso (Internal Medicine)
NOT Recommended Doctors: Dr. Ilona Sylvester (Internal Medicine)

Rolling Oaks Radiology

Location: Ventura County, California
Insurances Accepted: "We also accept many indemnity insurance plans, Medicare, workers’ compensation and personal injury liens."


Movie Review: Finding Dory

16 June 2016

Loved it! Opening this weekend, Disney Pixar's feature Finding Dory is a delightful treat the entire family will enjoy! And don't miss out on Disney Pixar's best yet short animation, Piper!

Enjoy! x

Vlog: How to Encourage Someone with CFS

15 June 2016

A new vlog is posted! Say hi and be encouraged and inspired...

x Joy

My First Vlog!

13 June 2016

Hi Loves.
Time for a new experience. I have uploaded my first Vlog onto YouTube! Hope you like it and please let me know if you also have a YouTube account so we can connect.

x Joy

Fantasticks Delights

06 June 2016

Looking for a fun family night out this summer? Then a visit to Camarillo Skyway Playhouse is definitely on the cards!
Laura Ring, Katy Jarvis, Parker Harris, and Dale Alpert. Photo by Rena Colette. (c) Camarillo Skyway Playhouse.

CFS: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

24 May 2016

Hi Loves! I am still alive... Sorry for the very belated lapse between posts but I have been recovering from a bout of pneumonia on top of other things and while that would normally be remedied in a jiffy thanks to medicine and rest, due to my CFS it is taking much longer to recover although I am happily not coughing near as much as I was at the beginning. Progress. :)

Which brings me to my little "rant" about medical titles and people's assumptions, however well intended...

BritWeek: LA to London Art Show

04 May 2016

May the Fourth be with You! Today I am thrilled to share about last weekend's Sur Le Mur LA to London Street Week art show and benefit, as part of the 2016 BritWeek.

A to Z: Reflection Post

Good afternoon! I cannot believe it is already May and yet here we are on the 4th of May! I am home under a blanket with a cold -- shall we blame it on the busy month of April and my first ever A to Z Challenge? Why not? :)

BritWeek: Chocolate Biscuit Cake

01 May 2016

Good evening, lovelies! Remember that scrumptious looking Chocolate Biscuit Cake that Royal Chef Darren McGrady served at the BritWeek media preview I attended? Well it's time to get out your knife and fork because it is time to feast on this deliciousness and trust me, it is every bit as amazing as you would expect.

BritWeek: A Royal Treat!

30 April 2016

Hi Lovelies! Remember how yesterday I went to a tasting and preview of Royal Chef Darren McGrady's royal inspired desserts for Sunday's BritWeek Gala? Well it's time to unveil some of the scrumptious and mouth-watering goodness. Get out your imaginary forks and enjoy!

Z: Zest for Life

We've done it! We're survivors of the A to Z Challenge. And it feels amazing. After a month of looking to the past for quotes, victims and statistics about child abuse and sexual assault, it is time to look to the future. Yesterday we focused on saying goodbye to suffering in the past. And today is a new day. It is a new opportunity to find and embrace the zest for life.

BritWeek: A Tasty Sneak Peek

29 April 2016

Yours truly with Royal Chef Darren McGrady.
BritWeek has officially wet my appetite and I bet you too will be salivating over these scrumptious royal desserts whipped up by Royal Chef Darren McGrady who worked in the Royal Kitchen at Buckingham Palace for the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh and their guests for 11 years before becoming the Private Chef for H.R.H. The Princess of Wales for four years until the tragic death of Princess Diana...

BritWeek is Making a Splash in LA!

Hi lovelies! Have you heard of Brit Week? If you are like me and hopelessly clueless, it is an annual celebration of the creative fusion between the United Kingdom and California (and now Miami) founded by Nigel Lythgoe (of So You Think You Can Dance fame) and then Consul General Bob Peirce ten years ago. Every Spring, Brit Week hosts a program of events that promotes British creativity, innovation and excellence in California across multiple categories including, film & television, music, art, fashion, design, retail, sport, philanthropy, business, and more.

This year's LA festivities are happening from 23 April - 8 May. That means that there are still plenty of interesting events worth checking out including:

Y: Yesterday

Wow! Only two more A to Z Challenge posts left! I cannot believe what a fabulous time of reflection and learning this month has been. A big thank you to all of you who have joined me on this journey and left a comment or two to share your wisdom and thoughts. For those of you just joining me, hello! I have been focusing on child abuse and sexual assault in hopes of giving a voice to victims and survivors and encouraging victims, survivors and family/friends! For this next to last post, I would like to share some encouragement...

X: eXcuses

28 April 2016

Happy Thursday. As part of this month's A to Z Challenge, I am focusing on bringing awareness to child abuse and sexual assault. It has been one eXtreme and eXhausting process but hopefully I have been able to give voice to these victims and survivors and to remind my lovely readers that we are not alone. So today lets talk about those horrid eXcuses people give for abuse and assault.

W: West Side Story

27 April 2016

Four more days left on this A to Z Challenge where I have been focusing on giving a voice and bringing awareness to the numerous cases of child abuse and sexual assault happening worldwide. With that in mind, and after two very heavy posts about children who were abused and murdered lets focus on the 'fictional' West Side Story and the infamous Anita near-rape/taunt scene.

V: Victims

26 April 2016

Good morning! Five more days of my first A to Z Challenge. Almost a survivor of the challenge! :) This year, I am focusing on child abuse and sexual assault in hopes of bringing awareness to the horrid situations happening on a daily basis worldwide. Today lets focus on two of the VICTIMS of some of the most infamous child abuse cases and give them a VOICE.

U: Gabrielle UNION

25 April 2016

Happy Monday. It's the 21st day of my A to Z Challenge and what a journey! For those of you who haven't been following, I chose to focus on child abuse and sexual assault in hopes of raising awareness for my readers. After the positive feedback I received on my Quotes post, I want to start the final week off with a couple quotes from Gabrielle UNION, best known for her work in Bring It On and Being Mary Jane, who was raped at gun-point when she was 19.

SB Zoo: Himalayan Monal Pheasant

24 April 2016

Have you been enjoying The Joyous Living's series on the Santa Barbara Zoo and its gorgeous offerings? Today I am thrilled to share with you one of the zoo's most beautiful residents -- the Himalayan Monal Pheasant.

Guard Your Eyes and Heart

23 April 2016

I will set no worthless thing before my eyes... It shall not fasten its grip on me. - Psalm 101:3
Numerous films, television series and miniseries are vying for your attention and patronage each week. So how do you choose which ones to spend your hard earned dollars on and watch? Do you look at the ratings? Reviews? Family Guides? Or do you take a chance and see a film/show because your favorite actor is the star?

As a young person, I was in the habit of seeing a movie because of the high critical praise or because someone I admired was in the film. About 5 years ago, I felt convicted in my faith and decided I needed to better guard my eyes and heart against unnecessary crassness and ugliness and came up with three questions that I ask before seeing any film/t.v. series.

This post is not meant to judge anyone else or tell you what to (or not to) watch but I hope that those of you who are interested might find this post helpful.

T: Ted Bundy

Happy Saturday! Today was a tough one as I could not think of what I wanted to share with y'all as I partake in this A to Z Challenge. But I reckon there really aren't that many more perfect Ts to mention in connection to sexual assault so today I bring you Ted Bundy and his many portrayals in literature and film.

Fantasie SS16: Ivana

22 April 2016

Hello, beauties! It's wedding season and that always brings out lace, pastels and luxurious lingerie. So whether you are a bride, going to a lingerie shower or just looking for something feminine and beautiful, allow me to present the gorgeous Ivana set.

S: Shadow

T.G.I.F.! Have you been following my A to Z Challenge story this month? What a journey! I have been studying and trying to give a voice for child abuse and sexual assault awareness this month.

Today, I am excited to introduce: SHADOW.


21 April 2016

Good afternoon! This afternoon as part of my A to Z Challenge (focusing on Child Abuse and Sexual Assault) I am excited to share about the late Ann Rule, my favorite true crime author.

Q: Quotes from Men

20 April 2016

Good morning! Today is the 20th of April and it has been quite an experience going through this A to Z Challenge with y'all. For those of you new to my series, I am focusing on child abuse and sexual assault during the month of April to bring awareness, provide support and a reminder lest we should ever forget. I hope you are enjoying this experience as much as me.

For today, Q stands for Quotes. Specifically, quotes from men who were sexually assaulted and abused. Too often the focus is on the male perpetrators and yet as I mention in my D for Date Rape post, men are also victims/survivors. So here's hoping I can give them a voice by repeating some quotes and remind my male readers that you are not alone. Even though many male assaults go unreported, there are others out there. You are not alone.

P: Terrell Peterson

19 April 2016

Good morning! As part of this month's A to Z Challenge, I am focusing on child abuse and sexual assault awareness/prevention and today's story is the tragic tale of Terrell Peterson, a 5 year old little boy, who was murdered partially as a result of gross misconduct by the Georgia Department of Family and Children Services.

O: Oatman Girls

18 April 2016

Happy Monday! This month I have been sharing stories about child abuse and sexual assault as part of the A to Z Challenge. And what an amazing experience it has been, especially given the opportunity to share true stories of victims and conquerors. Today's story is about the Oatman girls who were abducted and enslaved by a Native American tribe in 1851.

N: Never Forget

16 April 2016

Happy Saturday! Today's post is going to be short and sweet. In honour of the letter "N", let's focus on those victims we've previously mentioned lest they ever be forgotten.

Never forget! Never forget the victims and never forget the atrocities that made them victims. Let's learn from history and move forward!

M: Murdering Mothers

15 April 2016

Happy Friday! What an invigorating #azchat last night listening to others share their excitement for the challenge and getting to MOB other bloggers' pages. I was gratified to have 10 'mob' my page and it's gratifying to know that my topic on Child Abuse and Sexual Assault has been helpful for you guys! Thanks for your mentions... Means so much! xx

Moving onward - "M". We're half way through! And it's time to talk about those murdering mothers. God forbid they should exist but sadly they do...

Jungle Book LEAPS OFF the Screen!

14 April 2016

It's here! The wait is over and Disney's The Jungle Book is leaping off the screen starting tonight! And trust me, you are not going to want to miss this awe-inspiring live action remake of the beloved animated film.

L: Likens Case

Good afternoon! Today's A to Z Challenge post is on another tough topic but hopefully by people reading this, the story will never be forgotten and hopefully one day people won't commit these heinous crimes.

Freya Lingerie: Utopia

Freya's Utopia set. Photo by The Joyous Living.
Happy Thursday! Here in the Ventura County it is lovely with just the right hint of a breeze making it pleasant to leave the windows open allowing in fresh air. A lovely spring day! And ladies have I got a treat for you... presenting Freya Lingerie's recent Utopia collection for this SS16! It's everything you'll want - playful, sexy, colorful and has you dreaming of a tropical summer in paradise!

SB Zoo: Elephants

13 April 2016

Welcome back to The Joyous Living's series on the Santa Barbara Zoo. Did you know that the SB Zoo has had the same two Asian Elephants since 1972? They are Little Mac and Sujatha.

K: Kids at School

Happy Hump (Wednesday) Day! It's also the 13th of April and this great A-to-Z Challenge I have embarked on with some of the most delightful bloggers I have met. I have chosen a tough set of topics - Child Abuse Prevention and Sexual Assault Awareness - and am amazed by all the wonderful feedback and comments I have received from you all! Thank you!

So moving on... Post #11! Let's address the issue of kids at school. Do you, parents and kids alike, know your rights?

Night Manager: Olivia Colman

12 April 2016

Tom Hiddleston + Olivia Colman. Credit: AMC.
 We're back with part #3 of our Meet The Night Manager Cast!

The Night Manager is coming direct from a successful run on BBC One to America on 19 April 2016 (my birthday!) thanks to AMC and what a cast the creators have assembled including Hugh Laurie ("House, M.D."), Tom Hiddleston ("Thor", "I Saw the Light"), and Elizabeth Debicki ("The Man from Uncle"). But what about the rest of this stellar cast? Today we bring you the superb BAFTA-winning Olivia Colman.

J: Jungle Book

After seeing The Jungle Book last night at the El Capitan (review coming soon), I knew I had to somehow use Kipling's The Jungle Book as my "J" for the A to Z Challenge. Please bear with me as I use some latitude to discuss "Child Abuse Prevention Month".

In Kipling's The Jungle Book series, Mowgli runs away to be with the monkeys and after being rescued and brought home by Baloo and Bagheera he is subsequently spanked.

When I was a child in the 80s there was little to no talk about spanking. You would see a mom spanking a child in the grocery store and nobody would blink. Nowadays, I imagine many people would see that as "child abuse" and might even call the cops on that mother. And who among you remembers teachers using wooden paddle to punish for bad behavior? Now of course there is a "time-out chair" but it wasn't too long ago that corporal punishment was the norm and spanking was an acceptable choice for parents.

But now there is a raging debate about whether spanking is in fact child abuse. CNN contributor, Navarrette says spanking is common sense whereas a Texan mom was arrested and sentenced for sparking her child. What do you think??

In Kipling's children book, Mowgli is spanked (given "love-taps") as punishment for running away and disobedience.
Bagheera's reasoning for the "love-taps" is that "Sorrow never stays punishment" and that "(Mowgli) has done mischief, and blows must be dealt." In the early 1900s when the book came out, there was little discussion about this scene but you'll notice that none of Disney's The Jungle Book films show any such "love-taps" nor this specific scene of mischief being done either.
Bagheera and Mowgli in the 2016 The Jungle Book. (c) Disney.
So what do you think? Should parents be worried about possible probation and sentencing for spanking their kids? Would Kipling have included these "love-taps" in his book if he lived now?

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