Archives for October 10, 2014

The Boxtrolls – Another Stop Motion Film from Laika


Based on the children’s novel “Here Be Monsters” by Alan Snow, this great animation comes to us from the wonderful animation producers at Laika. The story revolves around a young orphaned boy, Eggs, who is lovingly raised by underground cave-dwelling trash collectors and his efforts to save them. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Keefer B. comments, “The writing is witty. The comedy comes through in a very playful manner with its shock humor and, at times, straight-forward jokes.” See his full review below.


The Boxtrolls

Reviewed by Keefer C. Blakeslee, age 14, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic



Splendid! The Boxtrolls is another fantastic stop motion film by Laika. In the city of Cheesebridge’s a human boy named Eggs ( Isaac Hempstead- Wright) is raised by Boxtrolls, creatures that rummage the streets at night and live under the city. Mr. Snatcher (Ben Kingsley) intends to exterminate every last Boxtroll, all for the love of cheese and a white hat. Eggs needs to teach his family to stop hiding.


Stop motion dates back to Wallace and Gromit, Gumby and many of our favorite Christmas specials. Laika has created movies I adore such as Coraline. This film is another success with its fast pace stop-motion. The way the boxes fold, stack and bend are impressive to watch. The designs of the characters are distinct and detailed. From the trolls who are dirty with glowing eyes and pale blue skin, to the proper humans who are clean with fancy clothes and perfect hair.


The small scale sets are marvelous. The film transports you into two opposite worlds. Once is the view from above the city where we see buildings and streets of stones. At night it’s dark with only lamp posts to light the way. The Boxtrolls’ under ground lair is a whole other picture. The ground is covered in boxes and tin cans for the characters to slide around on. The room is lit with light bulbs they find and is filled with inventions that they have made.


The writing is witty. The comedy comes through in a very playful manner with its shock humor and, at times, straight-forward jokes. There is even a scene with a rim shot. The trolls, even though they speak gibberish, bring a lot of emotion into their delivery. Speaking of which, the voice talents are sensational. The villain Archibald Snatcher, who is my favorite, uses his amazing voice talents to create this mean, eccentric character. He fits the image that we see on screen. Same goes for the rest of the cast, particularly Elle Fanning who plays Winnie, a snobbish brat that befriends Eggs.


My favorite scene is in the middle of the credits. When the credits roll, please stay in your seat! What you will see is one of the funniest fourth wall jokes to be seen on-screen.


The moral of this story is you can change your nature. The Boxtrolls are used to sneaking around and hiding. Even when they are in danger, they don’t fight back. They learn that they can change.


I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend this to 7 through 18-year-olds. This movie gives the audience jokes, engaging characters and beautiful visuals which make it a great film.
Keefer C. Blakeslee, Age 14, KIDSFIRST! Film Critic

Halloween with! It's time to decorate! has everything you need for the fun holiday!

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Halloween is one of my favorite times of the year! So, it is time to decorate! Did you know that has more than Halloween Costumes? They have really great decorations like the Haunted Forest Sign from  the Wizard of Oz and really cool Ghost Pathway Lights! I was thrilled to receive a package of Halloween items to review.  I love the Haunted Forest Sign because I am a big Wizard of the Oz fan and the Ghost Pathway Lights are cool because they don’t just glow, they change colors!

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They also have really cool Halloween Lawn signs that are easy to place in your lawn! I think these may be one of my favorites!

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Are you having a Halloween party for the kids? Or maybe you want an alternative to candy this Halloween? also have a Halloween Party Favor Pack (72 pieces) and Halloween Notebooks (12 count). I really like these! They would also be great for classrooms.  Another great party idea is the Halloween Glow in the Dark Root Beer Labels. I can’t wait to use these on Halloween!


And, we can’t forget about Ghosts? My favorite is the Ghostbuster Slimer Wall Decoration! This one is sure to be a hit with those who are Ghostbusters fans! But, I have to admit, my favorite of the Star Wars Yoda Candy Bowl and Holder! This will definitely be a hit on Halloween night!

Check out for all the products listed above and so many more this Halloween!


Self Disclosure: I received free samples of the products mentioned in this feature. Any opinions expressed are my own. Photo Credit: SoCal City Kids (Ghost Pathway Lights, Lawn Decorations and Slimer) and (Haunted Forest Sign, Yoda, Party Favors, Notebooks and Root Beer Labels).



ORGANIC Argan Oil For Hair & Face by VoilaVe A Must-Have for Hair and Body!


I have to admit that I am new to using Argan Oil so I wasn’t sure what to expect! I was pleasantly surprised! I like that it is a large bottle. Most that I have seen are smaller! I also like that it has a pump instead of a dropper. It’s just easier to use this least I think so. But, what I really liked it that it works really well on both my skin and my hair. It does not feel greasy on my skin and it absorbs really well. My favorite thing though is using it on my hair because it works so well on my dry hair! It leaves it shinier and it even helps with controlling the frizzies! (My word for my hair when it is frizzy). Highly recommend!

You can find on

Self Disclosure: I received this product for free in exchange for an honest review. Photo Credit: VoilaVe.

Allergen Free Candies: Gimbal’s Fine Candies Delicious! The whole family will love them!


Looking for delicious candies that are gluten-free? Or maybe your child has a peanut-allergy? Gimbal’s  fine candies are the solution! Such delicious candies too! The Gourmet Jelly Beans were a hit with my husband and son! 41 flavors and they are packed with Antioxidant Vitamin C.  There are also Sour Gourmet Jelly beans which come in 12 flavors and are made with real fruit juice. There are also Sour Lovers made with real fruit juice and shaped like hearts! My son loved these!


My favorite though are the Cherry Lovers candies! These are made with Real Cherry Juice and are also high in Antioxidant Vitamin C. I could not believe how many delicious cherry flavors there are..from Cherry Cheesecake to Cherry Daiquiri. I still can’t pick my favorite flavor!

I also like that Gimbal’s candies are peanut-free, gluten-free and dairy-free.  These are perfect for  families that have allergies!

Check out the website for more information.

Self Disclosure: I received free samples to facilitate this feature but any opinions expressed are honest. Photo Credit: Gimbal’s.


WHAM-O boogieboard RIPSTER Surfboard Great for learning how to surf!

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If you live in sunny SoCal, you can still go out in the ocean because we still have warm sunny days even in the Fall and Winter!  I took up boogie boarding during the summer and don’t think I am quite ready for a surfboard but the boogieboard RIPSTER Surfboard is a great board to transition to. It is recommended for ages 8+ and is the perfect size for kids that age but it also worked quite well for me. I’m 5-4 and weigh around 115. I like that it s real surfboard shape ans includes a Removable Fin which is quite easy to install.  It also has a Fiberclad Deck and a Phuzion Core. I am having fun with this one during our heat wave. When it cools down, looks like I will just have to throw on a wet-suit! Maybe next summer I will be ready for a surfboard!

You can check out WHAM-O’s website for stores that sell surf goods, and/or your local surf shop or sporting good store.

Self Disclosure: I received a free product to facilitate this feature.