Boxtrolls Interview with LAIKA Filmmakers: Anthony Stacchi and Graham Annable

While I was at my super top secret set visit of the Boxtrolls I had the chance to interview Anthony Stacchi and Graham Annable the directors of Boxtrolls. They are both so very passionate about the film and what they get to do over there at LAIKA. I mean they created The Boxtrolls, a community of quirky, mischievous creatures who have lovingly raised an orphaned human boy named Eggs (voiced by Isaac Hempstead-Wright) in the amazing cavernous home they’ve built beneath the streets of Cheesebridge. And they did a FANTASTIC job.  So here are a few things that I learned during that lunch!

The story actually came from a book called “Here Be Monsters”. I had no idea there was a book about Boxtrolls. Laika acquired almost 10 years ago when the company first began. The book is over 500 pages long and it took them quite a while to chisel it down and decide on how they wanted to tell the story. In the end they ended up with something that is nothing like the book at all, but it did spark the ideas!

It takes quite a bit of time to finish a stop motion movie. An animator typically took 1 week to complete 3.7 seconds worth of footage, which is just under 90 individual frames. Divide that by 87 minutes of run time (87 minutes of run time Times 60 seconds = 5220 seconds) = about 1400 weeks. Good thing they have more than one person able to work on the footage at one time right?


A few interesting facts we learned about the costumes for the puppets was that there are 14 different fabrics in Lord Portley-Rind’s white hat and that the movie’s smallest costumes were for Eggs as a baby: the sweater, measuring 3.5” from cuff to cuff across the length of both arms and chest, and the baby socks measuring 5/8” long. Imagine that? The scale of this movie was so small and the details in it were amazing. Really, the details were amazingly intricate.

Boxtrolls is different from all their other movies. This one isn’t going to be as intense but it’s still going to tell a great story.

Summer Family Time Enjoying the Little Things: Little Mercies #LittleMercies

This is a sponsored post by Harlequin and all opinions are my own.

I’m working with Little Mercies a book by Heather Gudenkauf and available In stores June 24, 2014. We have been asked to share with you our summer family time. You know, well you know if you read my blog or have been reading it for any length of time that my family is super important to me and that I’m a huge supporter of making family time an important part of life. Kids grow up in an instant and if you don’t enjoy all those little amazing moments in every day you’ll blink and they will be gone. So be sure to cherish each moment.

We have been enjoying our family time this summer. For the very first day of our summer vacation I took the kids to the beach. It was an amazing day together. We built sand castles and Zoe found 9 WHOLE Sand Dollars. We walked up and down the beach and even got a little wet. It was amazing! I wish I had time to take them to the beach every day even if it is a four hour drive. We finally had to leave because we were a little cold. On the way home the kids took the most precious photos of each other.


Then for the next two weeks the kids went to Theater camp at the Kids Theater in Everett. I went to all of their performances. Which wasn’t easy because they had two a day on each Friday, but it was so so worth it because they were adorable on stage. They were amazing, yes I’m a doting mother and so proud of everything they do. For the rest of the summer we’re heading off to a wedding, then we’re having a family vacation in New York and later this summer we’re spending time in Florida with the grandparents. I’m super excited about making more memories with every moment we have together this summer.


In her book, Little Mercies, Heather Gudenkauf shows how one small mistake can have life-altering consequences… 
Veteran social worker Ellen Moore has seen the worst side of humanity—the vilest acts one person can commit against another. She is a fiercely dedicated children’s advocate and a devoted mother and wife. But one blistering summer day, a simple moment of distraction will have repercussions that Ellen could never have imagined, threatening to shatter everything she holds dear, and trapping her between the gears of the system she works for. 


Meanwhile, ten-year-old Jenny Briard has been living with her well-meaning but irresponsible father since her mother left them, sleeping on friends’ couches and moving in and out of cheap motels. When Jenny suddenly finds herself on her own, she is forced to survive with nothing but a few dollars and her street smarts. The last thing she wants is a social worker, but when Ellen’s and Jenny’s lives collide, little do they know just how much they can help one another. 

A powerful and emotionally charged tale about motherhood and justice, Little Mercies is a searing portrait of the tenuous grasp we have on the things we love the most, and of the ties that unexpectedly bring us together.

Check here for an excerpt from the book:


Follow Along Socially

· Watch the Book Trailer

· Visit Heather Gudenkauf’s Official Site

· Follow Heather Gudenkauf on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest

· Visit Little Mercies page on Goodreads

and check out this BOOK CLUB KIT



*Photo credit Morgan Hawthorne*


Heather Gudenkauf is an Edgar Award nominated, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. Heather lives in Iowa with her husband and children. In her free time Heather enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and running.

L’Oréal Paris Visible Lift Blur Foundation: Wedding Ready @LorealParisUsa #VLBlurfection

This is a compensated post and all opinions are my own.

Make-up….I’m not the kind of girl that wears make-up every day but I do love to wear it for a special occasion and with blogging and family getting married left and right there are lots of opportunities. My daughter on the other hand LOVES to wear make-up. She’s only seven but she still loves make-up so much. She’s lucky that she’s in dance, acting and modeling classes because otherwise I wouldn’t allow her to wear it yet. Isn’t seven too young?

For me, I need to cover up some sun spots, freckles and the occasional acne spots for my sister-in-laws wedding, and I’m going to let my daughter wear some for the wedding as well. We received a sample of L’Oréal Paris Visible Lift Blur Foundation and it works great. It goes on feeling light. I like the way I look so much that I’m really going to try to put it on every day. Check out the before


and After:


I see a huge difference with the Loreal

It’s not that my appearance is important to me, but there is something about getting dressed in more than workout clothes and putting on a little make-up that lifts the spirits. I feel prettier and it gives me more self confidence, I just have to make the time for myself and not get lazy. A lift in mood is worth the time to put on some make-up.

My sister-in-law got married this past weekend and the make-up I used was the L’Oréal Paris Visible Lift Blur Foundation and I felt really comfortable and beautiful. It covered up the acne break-out I had and evened out all my blemishes and believe me I have a lot.


Follow Along Socially with L’Oréal Paris Visible Lift Blur Foundation:

Hashtag: #VLBlurfection
L’Oréal Paris on Twitter: @LOrealParisUSA
L’Oréal Paris on Instagram:
L’Oréal Paris on Facebook:

The Hundred Foot Journey Gourmet Getaway Sweepstakes #GourmetGetaway

This is a partnered post with Cost Plus World Market in partnership with Disney and the film release of The Hundred Foot Journey on August 8th.

The Hundred Foot Journey is about one restaurant owner being threatened by a new restaurant of Indian Food that she actually thinks is kind of tacky. But a relationship develops and things change for both sides.


Official Summary:

In “The Hundred-Foot Journey,” Hassan Kadam (Manish Dayal) is a culinary ingénue with the gastronomic equivalent of perfect pitch. Displaced from their native India, the Kadam family, led by Papa (Om Puri), settles in the quaint village of Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val in the south of France. Filled with charm, it is both picturesque and elegant – the ideal place to settle down and open an Indian restaurant, Maison Mumbai. That is, until the chilly chef proprietress of Le Saule Pleureur, a Michelin-starred, classical French restaurant run by Madame Mallory (Academy Award®-winner Helen Mirren) gets wind of it.

HFJ Sweepstakes image

For us here at MomStart this is what we call the perfect campaign. You know that I go on almost every single press trip for Disney and that Zoe and I LOVE to decorate the table for the theme of the month. So working with Cost Plus World Market and Disney at the same time is golden. Plus we get to share with all of you this amazing sweepstakes. But first we get to share with you some amazing recipes. To celebrate World Market’s Gourmet promotion and the theatrical release of The Hundred-Foot Journey, Cost Plus World Market has partnered with celebrity chefs, Ryan Scott (Restaurateur & Host of Food Rush and) and Aarti Sequeira (Author & Host of Aarti Party), to create delicious recipes inspired by the film. The chefs have developed exclusive French and Indian recipes featuring World Market’s gourmet offerings.

French Cuisines (created by Ryan Scott)

    • Berry-Ricotta Crepe Layer Cake


    • Chicken Roulade Provençale with Whole-Grain Mustard Bearnaise


    • Orange-Chocolate Almond-Nougat Champagne Trifle


Indian Cuisines (created by Aarti Sequeira)

  • Channa Masala Hummus


  • Masala Moules Frites


  • Chai Coconut Ice Cream with Curry-Chocolate & Ginger Snap Ripple


And if that wasn’t enough, You could win a Culinary Trip to Paris inspired by the film THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY. Imagine that, a trip to Paris, the city of love and amazing French Food. The Grand Prize is:

· A trip for 2 to Paris courtesy of Delta Vacations ®

· Dinner at the Eiffel Tower and Cruise

· City excursions

· One day private cooking class at Le Cordon Bleu Paris

· $1,000 World Market gift card

· Plus, 3 First Prizes: $500 World Market gift card

The Sweepstakes ends August, 15th, 2014.

Turkey Cranberry Wrap In Black Rice Tortillas Recipe

Black Rice –though often overlooked– is a true "super grain" loaded with vitamins, minerals and natural anthocyanin (antioxidants)— just like those found in blueberries, blackberries, dark cherries and acai.

In ancient times, Black Rice was reserved exclusively for Chinese Emperors. No others were allowed to consume it. There’s a reason the Chinese Emperors wanted to keep black rice to themselves (besides the fact that’s its purple, which is commonly associated with royalty and piety) —many don’t know this, but black rice rivals and often exceeds some of the most notable antioxidant rich foods. Plus it’s loaded with natural fiber – A great healthy alternative to traditional wheat flour tortillas.


Lunch: Turkey Cranberry Wrap:

1. Black Rice Tortillas

2. 3 slices of turkey

3. Dried Cranberry

4. Your choice of sauce (recommend, pesto, avocado, greek yogurt, cream cheese)

Dessert: Strawberry Cheesecake Wrap

1 Black Rice Tortilla (please ask me for prepping instructions)

2 Strawberry Jam

3 Strawberries

4 Softened Cream Cheese (or Greek yogurt)

5 Walnuts (optional)

These exotic new tortillas are 100% vegan and gluten-free, making them a great nutrient-dense option, especially for those with certain dietary restrictions. Like all Food for Life products, Exotic Black Rice Tortillas are free of conditioners, additives, artificial flavors, colors and preservatives. Each tortilla contains 4g of protein, 2g of fiber and 0g sugar.

Veev VitaFrute Cocktails Organic and Lower in Calories


VitaFrute™ Cocktails by VEEV® announces its newest flavor to their first organic and all-natural ready-to-drink cocktails with the release of Coconut Colada made with organic coconut water. VitaFrute™ Cocktails by VEEV® is the perfect way to Party Organically. VitaFrute™ Cocktails by VEEV® combines VEEV® Acai Spirit with fresh ingredients to create a low-calorie cocktail that can be enjoyed simply by pouring over ice.  Coconut Colada, 30 proof and under 125 calories per serving, is the fourth flavor in the VitaFrute™ line of Cocktails by VEEV®. It joins the Margarita, Lemonade and Cosmopolitan varieties, and is made with real coconut water and other premium, all-natural ingredients for a superior taste.

VEEV New Bottle

The popularity of coconut water among consumers has skyrocketed over the last few years and is currently the #1 fastest growing category in the grocery industry.  The benefits of all-natural coconut water combined with high quality superfruit ingredients perfectly align with VitaFrute™ Cocktails by VEEV®’s organic and low-calorie standard of A Better Way to Drink™.

Our consumers value the perfect mixture of quality organic, all-natural ingredients and convenience our cocktails provide,” says Carter Reum, co-founder of VEEV® Spirits.  “The Coconut Colada is the perfect addition to our ready-to-drink cocktails for hassle-free entertaining."

VitaFrute™ Cocktails by VEEV® are currently available nationally at a suggested retail price of $12.99. VitaFrute™ Cocktails by VEEV® are sold in independent and chain accounts across the country including Kroger, Walmart, CVS, Costco and Total Wine & More.

For more information and to find a store near you, visit or, or follow @VEEV on Twitter and @veev on Instagram.  A Better Way to Drink™.

Meet The Adorable BoxTrolls

From the makers of Coraline and ParaNorman, THE BOXTROLLS are coming to theaters on September 26th! Get to know Fish, Shoe, Sparky and the whole gang with these fun character posters!

Meet Sparky:

The Boxtrolls_Sparky

Meet Fish:

The Boxtrolls_Fish

Meet Oilcan:

The Boxtrolls_OilCan

Meet Shoe

The Boxtrolls_Shoe

The Boxtrolls will be at Comic-Con International in San Diego, daring people to sample their bug-based diet with Chef David George Gordon’s bug and insect edible creations! Signed copies of character posters will also be distributed from The Bug Chef Food Truck at Petco Park on July 25-26

Follow Along Socially:

Planes Fire and Rescue Movie Review

Planes Fire and Rescue is a great movie, it’s actually better than the first. The world-famous air racer Dusty has been pushing his engines to the limits by racing all the time. He soon learns that his engine is damaged beyond repair and if he pushes his engines too hard one more time he will never fly again unless they can find more parts. Meaning he may never race again, he must shift gears and is launched into the world of aerial firefighting to save his local airport. He has a hard time with his new transition but wants to keep his airfield safe and they need a new firefighter.


Dusty joins forces with veteran fire and rescue helicopter Blade Ranger and his team, a bunch of all-terrain vehicles known as The Smokejumpers. Together, the fearless team battles a massive wildfire, and Dusty learns what it takes to become a true hero. This is a great story of finding yourself in the middle of overcoming your fears. Dusty even goes as far as giving up his ability to fly to save others trapped in a fire. The storyline is strong and the characters are well developed.


“Planes: Fire & Rescue” features the voices of Dane Cook (“Disney’s Planes,” “Louie,” “Dan in Real Life”) as Dusty, Ed Harris (“Pollock,” “Apollo 13,” “A History of Violence”) as Blade Ranger, Julie Bowen (“Modern Family,” 1 “Horrible Bosses”) as Dipper, Curtis Armstrong (“Supernatural,” “American Dad!”) as Maru, John Michael Higgins (“Happily Divorced,” “Pitch Perfect”) as Cad Spinner, Hal Holbrook (“Promised Land,” “Lincoln”) as Mayday, Wes Studi (“Avatar,” “The New World”) as Windlifter, Brad Garrett (“Disney’s Planes,” “Everybody Loves Raymond”) as Chug, Teri Hatcher (“Disney’s Planes,” “Desperate Housewives”) as Dottie, Stacy Keach “Disney’s Planes,” “Nebraska”) as Skipper, Cedric the Entertainer (“Disney’s Planes,” “Barbershop”) as Leadbottom and Danny Mann (“Disney’s Planes,” “Up”) returns as Sparky. The voice talent also includes Barry Corbin (“Northern Exposure”) as ‘Ol Jammer, Regina King (“Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous,” “Jerry Maguire”) as Dynamite, Anne Meara as Winnie, Jerry Stiller as Harvey, Fred Willard as Secretary of the Interior, Captain Dale Dye as Cabbie, Kevin Michael Richardson as Ryker, and Patrick Warburton (“The Emperor’s New Groove,” “Seinfeld”) as Pulaski. Everyone bringing personality and life to the characters.


“It’s a movie about second chances,” says director Bobs Gannaway (“Secret of the Wings”). “Each character was something else before finding their current roles, and Dusty is a crop duster-turned-racer who can’t race any more. When we learned that historically, the very first air attack teams were crop dusters, it was clear that the plane was telling us where the story was going.” The ending is a bit intense and looks like all will be lost, and you’ll have to see for yourself how it actually ends.

Honeywell’s Quietset Table Fan Review & Giveaway

We received Honeywell’s Quietset Table Fan as a sample. It is designed to seamlessly integrate into your home and provide a cooling level customized to your personal preferences, this new fan has 4 speed settings including Sleep and White Noise; perfect for those who want the comfort of a fan without the noise of a motor.

We are a house divided with our sleep schedules and patterns. I work a Monday through Friday type desk job, where my husband works a compressed night shift. To even separate us further, I sleep with no noise, no light, no fan, and usually toss and turn with one foot stuck out of my blankets. Mack on the other hand likes to sleep with some sort of white noise, usually the TV, fan on, and tightly tucked all the way around ‘burrito style’ in his blankets. When we do get a chance to sleep together we always have to compromise, TV set on a timer, ear plugs something. Enter a test drive with the Honeywell QuietSet Table Oscillating Fan:


My first thought when trying out this product was that it would be a great addition to our desks, Mack usually has a fan of some sort on anyways. Mack however had a better idea-he bought it into our bedroom as our ultimate sleep compromise. This little fan has a ton of features; first off it looks cool and still keeps the oscillating feature. Our favorite was all the different settings: the sleep setting is silent with just a gentle breeze, no motor noise. The second white noise setting was a perfect compromise to help my husband and I sleep happy through the night. A slightly stronger breeze with just a touch more noise so he can sleep, however I cannot even hear it on my side of the bed. The next two settings are great for our desks, refresh (medium speed), and power cool (high). Even with the higher speeds you don’t have the harsh clanking or motor sounds, just nice cool air. This little guy is super light and super portable, but produces a lot of bang for your buck.

Honeywell Fans has also just launched a FAN-tastic Selfie Photo Contest on Facebook and Twitter. All your readers have to do is submit their best wind-blown selfies by July 31st and they could win a $500 Target gift card and a new Honeywell fan!

To enter, visit the Honeywell Plugged In Facebook page.

Enter to Win:

Honeywell Fan

To Enter:

Tell me how you like to keep cool

Extra Entries:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cold Stone Summertime Creation Sensations On Ice Cream Day

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Cold Stone Creamery for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

It sure is really hot here in Seattle, we don’t usually have such hot weather, at least not this much of it so we know it’s Summertime without a doubt. One way we like to cool off is to indulge in ice cream at Cold Stone. I LOVE Cold Stone, when I was pregnant with my daughter I was addicted to the Cake Batter Milkshakes and ever since then the Cake Batter flavor is still my favorite flavor to get when I’m there.

We went to Cold Stone this past weekend to cool off from the summer heat and decided to enjoy one of the Summertime Creation Sensations™! There are five different Summertime Creation Sensations™ to choose from:

  • Surrender to Strawberry:
    Strawberry Ice Cream mixed with Yellow Cake, Strawberries and Whipped Topping

  • Cake Batter Batter Batter™:
    Cake Batter Ice Cream mixed with Brownie and Cookie Dough
  • Banana Caramel Crunch®:
    French Vanilla Ice Cream mixed with Caramel, Roasted Almonds and fresh Banana
  • OREO® Double Chocolate:
    Chocolate Ice Cream mixed with OREO®, Fudge and Whipped Topping

  • Butterfinger® Caramel Crunch:
    Sweet Cream Ice Cream mixed with Caramel, Butterfinger® and Whipped Topping

I was quite tempted to try them all. Our family all decided to get the Cake Batter Batter as we all have a love for the Cake Batter ice cream flavor. It was so so good, and my kids had to add the gummy sharks to it. My silly kids. My other favorite flavor is the Sweet Cream so next time I go I’m going to try the Butterfinger Caramel Crunch.

July 20th is National Ice Cream Day and what other way is there to celebrate than to head on over to Cold Stone where they have been making ice cream daily for 25 years and mix custom creations on a frozen granite stone. Also be sure to join the My Cold Stone Club for offers and deals when you join the My Cold Stone Club. When you sign up you get a BOGO coupon right away. You should also Follow Cold Stone on Twitter to keep up with them.

What flavor will you try from their Summertime Creations Sensations???

Visit Sponsor's Site