The Art of Random Willy-Nillyness: November 2017
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Thursday, November 30, 2017

Give Yourself a Break during the Holidays with Hormel! Plus giveaway! #homegatherings

Disclosure: I received free product. Opinions are 100% my own. 

The holidays are always stressful. As I get older, I am getting more relaxed about putting out the perfect spread. I figured out that I can still offer my guests wonderful nibbles and food without all the work.

This Thanksgiving, I ordered an entire Turkey dinner from a local grocery store. It was amazing! No muss, no fuss and we ate really well. I also have learned that as long as you have good friends and good food, it doesn't mater if you slaved over it.

That's why I love the new Hormel Gatherings Party Trays! They are pre-made party trays ready with everything you need to feed your hungry guests. You buy them, open them and serve them! Easy Peasy!

Hormel Gathering Party Trays come with crackers, two types of cheese and two types of proteins. YUM! I chose the Honey ham and Turkey platter. It comes with cheddar and Colby jack cheese. The other platter includes hard salami and pepperoni with cheddar and Colby jack cheese. Both include cracker rounds.

I love these because not only are they easy to serve but are delicious. I find that these platters are really great for cocktail parties, game day parties or work parties. I always have a cheese plate at every party. Sometimes my cheese plates are super fancy but. most of the time, they are filled with foods that people love.

If you want your guests to be impressed create a cheese platter. It's easy. You need a few things. I always have crackers. I have semi-soft cheeses like the Colby jack and cheddar. I also love adding a spreadable cheese like goat cheese. I love having mustard and olives. I also add the meats. One thing I love having as well is honey or preserves. And fruit. I usually use grapes but they aren't in season so I decided on a apple.

This holiday season make it easy on you and grab these platter. You can serve them at home or take them to potlucks or a friend's house.

You can find Hormel Gatherings Party Trays at Walmart or click here to find out if there is a location close to you.

If you want to win a coupon to try one of these Hormel Gathering Party Tray, then enter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Rules: One entry per person per day. Once a winner is drawn I will contact them and the winner will have 48 hours to reply back before I draw a new winner. Giveaway is open to US residents only who are 18 years of age or older.

Disclosure: I received a sample product for review purposes. No other compensation was given and the opinions in this post are solely mine and are based on my experience with the product. Sponsors are responsible for shipping prizes unless otherwise stated. I am not responsible if sponsors do not fulfill prize. Please allow 6-8 weeks for delivery of any prizes.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Easy & Traditional Holiday Treats! #JuntosconNestlé #ad

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post in partnership with Nestlé. All opinions, however, are always 100% my own. 

When I was little, I remember Christmas being my favorite holiday. Besides all the presents and festivities, there was a lot of food. In Costa Rica, the tradition is to make Christmas tamales and sweets to give to the visitors who come by during the holidays. When my parents moved here to the states, they kept those traditions alive and passed them down.

As I got older and moved away, some of those traditions were left by the wayside. It is too difficult to make tamales by myself during Christmas. Tamales take days to make and you really need a lot of people to help make the masa, fill the tamales, wrap the tamales and then cook them.

But there were other recipes that I embraced because they were manageable. I remember every year after the tamales were done and cooking and being stored, my grandmother would make us cajeta de coco (sort of like coconut fudge) and rompope (eggnog).

I always remember watching her take the time to grate fresh coconut. Luckily, you can buy shredded coconut now. She would then add the sweet condensed milk, butter, coconut, sugar and galletas Maria to a pan and cook the cajeta down. The house would be filled with the sweet smell of vanilla and sugar. Then she would roll the cajeta into little balls and roll them in the coconut.

The little balls of cajeta were our treat after two days of helping out with the tamales. We would get a few but the rest were stored for the guests. Of course, my sister and I would always sneak a few before the guests came.

Every Christmas our refrigerator was stuffed with tamales and rompope. Plates of cajeta de coco lined the kitchen and the pantry. That is what I remember.

On Christmas Eve, our friends and family would come over and we would eat tamales, roast pork, mashed potatoes, vegetables and so many other delicious dishes. Then we would have cakes and cajeta de coco and rompope. The adults had their rompope with a little rum and the kids would have it without. Those were good times filled with love, family and traditions.

I try and keep those memories alive during the holidays as well. When I want to think of home, I head over to Walmart and buy the necessary items to create those family recipes because I need to save money. Of course, I have Americanized and simplified my family recipes. But, like my mom and abuela, I always use Nestlé condensed milk in my recipes.

The best thing about the cajeta de coco and rompope is that my guests think I slaved over a hot stove to create these delicious treats but I haven't. These recipes are easy and simple and make the holidays easier. I also love to gift these as well.

I like placing the cajeta into mini cupcake liners. I then buy some festive paper plates or a holiday treat box and place them in there. I wrap them or add a bow. I take a Mason jar and fill it with rompope. I place these all in a little basket, basket or holiday tin and violà, an inexpensive gift that is personal and unique. I love giving these out to my guests as a take home gift. These little gifts are also great if unexpected guests show up!

For me, it's important to keep these family traditions alive. It also makes me feel like my family is still with me although they may be far away. Remember that the holidays should be fun and not stressful. Most of all, the holidays are a time to create memories with your loved ones.

Cajeta de Coco

2 cups Nestlé La Lechera sweet condensed milk
1 cup butter
1/2 cup graham crackers crumbled
1 cup shredded coconut
1/4 teaspoon vanilla (optional)

Put half of the coconut aside. Then add all the ingredients to a pan and cook on low heat until it boils. Put aside to cool. Once cooled, roll the mixture into balls and roll into the coconut you set aside. Place into the mini cupcake cups. You can also place in a shallow pan and add the coconut on top. You can cut into squares.

OPTIONAL: You can spice up the cajeta by adding ground cinnamon or nutmeg. My cousin adds chocolate chips for extra added flavor.

HANDY TIP: To crumb the graham crackers, place in a plastic zip baggy and beat with a wooden spoon.


1 cup Nestlé La Lechera sweet condensed milk
1 cup milk
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
3 cinnamon sticks
3 cloves
Rum (optional)

Place egg yolks and sugar into a bowl and cream. Add the milk and condensed milk and whisk until smooth. Place the mixture in a pan on low heat until it thickens. Take off heat and let cool. You can serve it with rum or without rum. Sprinkle some nutmeg on top and serve.

OPTIONAL: Crumble some peppermint sticks and sprinkle on top of the rompope!

Monday, November 20, 2017

littleBits Droid Inventor Kit - Perfect gift for any inventor in the family! #littlebits #inventorswanted

Disclosure: I attended the #ThorRagnarokevent and my expenses: flight, accommodations, transportation and some meals were be covered by Disney. All opinions, however, are always 100% mine.

When I was out in Los Angeles at the Thor: Ragnarok event, one of the highlights was being able to meet with representatives of littleBits. littleBits makes technology kits that are fun, easy-to-use, and infinitely creative. The kits are composed of electronic building blocks that are color-coded, magnetic, and make complex technology simple and fun. Together they’re interchangeable in millions of different ways to empower kids to invent anything. This product that looks to shed light on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math).

littleBits is a great product for kids or adults who love to play and create. When we got to play hands-on with the kit, I immediately thought of all my great nieces and nephews and all my friend's kids who would love this.

I loved it too but I am not the techie type. Yet, I really knew that this was something someone like me could actually build. That's saying a lot. At the event, we had the chance to build and play with the droids. I didn't build he kit I received because I decided to leave it for a special little boy who is going to go crazy for it.

But watching my fellow bloggers build it was fascinating. It was also fun. The kit is easy to put together because everything is color coded. The instructions are pretty easy. It is pretty amazing that kids can build the droid by themselves or with your help.

What I really love about this kit and the rest of the littleBits products are they are gender neutral. It's not just for boys. I know lots of little girls who would this kit as well. I appreciate that the creators knew that all kids would be interested in creations, building and playing with the droids.

In addition to the electronics and the boards, the kit includes the skeleton of R2D2. It also offers a whole range of stickers to decorate the droid. You can make R2D2 as it was in the movie or you can get creative and make it different. It will depend on what you want.

A post shared by Carolyn Gonzalez (@carogonza1) on

There is an app you can download to help you build the Droid. The app also controls the Droid. It features ongoing challenges that kids can work on fulfilling. The app starts with easy missions and then it starts challenging the inventor to more complicated missions. The Droid will use its own sensors to move around or you can actually try Force Mode where you can extend your hand and move it. Just like Darth! With the lessons learned through building the first Droid, kids are encouraged to get really creative and build their own droid.

What I love most about the littleBits Droid kit is that it helps kids explore technology and inventions. Because they can use the parts to create almost anything, it allows for creativeness and exploration. You can also buy other components aside from the Droid kit and build other products. Because of the color coding, everything will work together. All you have to do is have the imagination and drive to invent.

A post shared by Carolyn Gonzalez (@carogonza1) on

Starting November 15, 2017 to January 20, 2018, littleBits is launching a global inventor movement:  the littleBits Competition: Droid Inventor Kit. This competition invites kids, families, and Star Wars fans—residing in the US, UK, and Canada - to share their own unique Droid creations with the global inventor community. Fans and families will be able to submit their own leading-edge Droid design creations, judged by Star Wars: The Last Jedi stars Daisy Ridley (the actress who portrays Rey in the current Star Wars trilogy) and Kelly Marie Tran (the actress who portrays Rose Tico in Star Wars: The Last Jedi) alongside Ayah Bdeir (founder and CEO of littleBits) and Kathleen Kennedy (president of Lucasfilm). OMG how exciting is that? Head over to the littleBits site for more information on how to enter and what you can win!

The littleBits Droid Inventor Kit costs $99.95 and is available online, Walmart, Amazon, the Disney Store and the Apple Store. Consumers interested in purchasing the award-winning Droid Inventor Kit will have the opportunity to take advantage of a 20% off discount on,,,, as well as Walmart and Disney stores nationwide from Thursday, November 23, 2017 through Monday, November 27, 2017. This Christmas give your little ones one of these and open their minds to a world of imagination and invention!

Friday, November 10, 2017

Rigoni di Asiago Review and Giveaway!

Around Fall, I start craving comfort foods. I want to eat foods make me feel comfortable and warm. When the weather changes, I start drinking more tea. When I have tea, I like to have a little treat as well. Tea time in Fall or Winter is big in my house.

I was sent some delicious treats from Rigoni di Asiago just in time for the cooler weather. Rigoni di Asiago is a family-owned company.  Rigoni di Asiago crafts Italian organic jams, honey and chocolate spreads. Rigoni di Asiago is based in the hills of North Italy with deep roots in family traditions.

The products are wonderful. I received Nocciolata Organic Hazelnut spread, Nocciolata Dairy Free Organic Hazelnut spread, Strawberry Fiordifrutta spread, and Italian Honey Mandarin Honey.

These products are delicious. I am not a hazelnut fan but hubby assured me that the spreads are really good. He loves to put it on his pancakes. I personally loved the Strawberries & wild strawberries Fiordifrutta. It is delicious on toast and with a cup of tea, it is glorious. It is thick and full of flavor. Perfect as a snack. It also comes in various flavors such as organic apricot, peach, blueberry, orange, cherry, wild berries and many more!

My favorite though is the honey. It was sweet and fruity and absolutely delicious. One of my favorite snacks is frying flower tortillas and drizzling them with honey. When I was little my mom used to make this for us. This honey was perfect for my snack.

If you love spreads, honey or jam you need to visit the Rigoni di Asiago website and check out the variety of products they have. With the holiday season coming up, these products are great for snacks or in your baking.

If you want to win a selection of Rigoni di Asiago products, enter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Rules: One entry per person per day. Once a winner is drawn I will contact them and the winner will have 48 hours to reply back before I draw a new winner. Giveaway is open to US residents only who are 18 years of age or older.

Disclosure: I received a sample product for review purposes. No other compensation was given and the opinions in this post are solely mine and are based on my experience with the product. Sponsors are responsible for shipping prizes unless otherwise stated. I am not responsible if sponsors do not fulfill prize. Please allow 6-8 weeks for delivery of any prizes.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

HOLIDAY GIFT IDEA! Vellabox for the Candle Lovers on your list! Review & Giveaway!

Last year, I introduced my readers to Vellabox. I know several of you loved it and so did I. I am a candle lover and Vellabox is for all candle lovers. Vellabox is a curated candle subscription box service. VellaBox sources the highest quality non-toxic candles hand-poured by American artisans, and combines them with a bonus lifestyle gift and a one-of-a-kind packaging style to create a memorable unboxing experience each and every month.

The reason I love Vellabox is because it makes my life so much easier. Sometimes it's tough to find the perfect gift for someone. I found that giving subscriptions is a unique way to tell someone how much you care. I had such a great experience with Vellabox last year, I was thrilled when they asked me to feature them again.

You will receive a beautiful yellow box filled with goodies. The candles come wrapped in fabric and twine. The look is super elegant. You also receive another little goodie in the box. In this box, I received a little packet of super delicious popcorn!

The candles I received were Grandma's Pumpkin Pie & Graham Crackers. And they smell exactly like pie and graham crackers. These are perfect for the Fall and for the holidays! I cannot wait to use them for Thanksgiving!

There are different levels of subscription. For $10, you get a 4 oz candle, $20 an 8 oz. candle and for $30 a 4 and 8 oz. candle. All candles are wrapped and you always get a surprise! The best part is you choose the level of subscription and the amount of time you want to gift Vellabox. If you don't want a subscription, you can also head over to the VellaBox site and buy candles. The candles sold by Vellabox are by specialty companies and are of high quality!

So if you have someone on your list that is difficult to buy gifts for, try Vellabox. these are great for co-workers, your mom or mom-in-law or your bestie! Who doesn't love candles? I know I would love to get this for Christmas!

Thanks to Vellabox, I have a Vellabox gift box to give away to a lucky reader. If you want to win a  VellaBox box, enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Rules: One entry per person per day. Once a winner is drawn I will contact them and the winner will have 48 hours to reply back before I draw a new winner. Giveaway is open to US residents only who are 18 years of age or older.

Disclosure: I received a sample product for review purposes. No other compensation was given and the opinions in this post are solely mine and are based on my experience with the product. Sponsors are responsible for shipping prizes unless otherwise stated. I am not responsible if sponsors do not fulfill prize. Please allow 6-8 weeks for delivery of any prizes.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

“Cars 3” Cruises Home Digitally in HD and 4K Ultra HD™ on Oct. 24 and Blu-ray 4K Ultra HD™ & Blu-ray™ on Nov. 7!

Disclosure: I attended the #ThorRagnarokevent and my expenses: flight, accommodations, transportation and some meals were be covered by Disney. All opinions, however, are always 100% mine.

Disney and Pixar present CARS 3, a fast-paced new tale of Lightning McQueen, his classic CARS friends and a new spirited trainer Cruz Ramirez! Lighting finds himself pushed out of racing by a new generation of faster and younger cars and goes on a journey to discover where he belongs in this new type of high-octane competition. CARS 3- the third film in the now-iconic CARS film franchise—will cruise home Digitally in HD on Oct. 24 and Blu-ray™ on Nov. 7!

We all get older and as that happens, there are others who are younger and faster. What do you do? That's the theme in Cars 3.

Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) is back and still racing. When a new car comes to town, Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer), Lightning finds himself losing to Jackson to this newer model race car. As more of these new Next-Generation cars appear on the scene, Lightning starts realizing that things will never be the same. After a car crash, Lightning finds himself back at Radiator Springs.

His friends, Mater (Larry the Cable Guy), Sally (Bonnie Hunt), Ramone (Cheech Marin) help him heal and find himself again. Lightning realizing it's time to get back his roots and goes back to dirt track racing. He gains the attention of Mr. Sterling (Nathan Fillion) and he recruits Lightning to train a his new training facility. His new trainer Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonzo) gives Lightning a new attitude on racing.

As the movie goes along, Cruz and Lighting have an interesting encounter at a demolition derby. And in the end, Lightning finds out that sometimes it is time to make room for the new generation of racers.

The movie is really good. It is great for kids and adults. I was thoroughly entertained. The characters are completely believable and fun. The movie teaches a good lesson to kids. I watched it with my great nephews and they loved it. It really brings back the original characters and shows us how friends, old or new, really matter.

Bonus Features*

Blu-ray & Digital:

Miss Fritter’s Racing Skoool (Exclusive new mini-movie) – Enjoy blindsided testimonials from the Crazy 8’s, touting the transformative impact Miss Fritter’s Racing School has had in reshaping the direction of their lives

Theatrical Short: “Lou” – When a toy-stealing bully ruins recess for a playground full of kids, only one thing stands in his way: the “Lost and Found” box.

Let’s. Get. Crazy. – Get schooled in the world of demolition derby, the “rules” of figure 8 racing, and how Pixar puts the crazy in the Thunder Hollow Crazy 8 race. This piece is hosted by Lea DeLaria.

Legendary – a close, historical look at the racing legends Wendell Scott and Louise Smith, whose tenacity and perseverance got them into the race even when they weren’t invited.

Ready for the Race – Disney Channel’s Olivia Rodrigo and NASCAR Racer William Byron check out the Hendrick Motorsports campus to showcase how real-world race training influenced the filmmakers.

World’s Fastest Billboard – Blink and you will miss all of the graphics and “car-ified” advertisements created by Pixar’s Art team to make the ”Cars 3” world as believable as possible.

Cruz Ramirez: The Yellow Car That Could – Join Cristela Alonzo and the filmmakers on their journey to create a race-car trainer turned champion racer.

Generations: The Story of “Cars 3” – For the story team, creating Lightning McQueen’s next chapter didn’t involve just a tune-up, but a complete overhaul.

My First Car – A collection of illustrated first-car stories as narrated by members of the “Cars 3” cast and crew. “A Green Car on the Red Carpet with Kerry Washington,” “Old Blue,” and “Still in the Family.”

5 Deleted Scenes – Each deleted scene is set up with an introduction as to why it was removed from the film. Deleted scenes include “The Boogie Woogie,” “The Jars of Dirt,” “Lugnut,” “The Bolt,” and “More Than New Paint.”

Cars To Die(cast) For – Take a look at the phenomenon of die-cast toy collecting and the more than 1,000 unique designs that exist in the Cars universe.

Commentary – Brian Fee (Director), Kevin Reher (Producer), Andrea Warren (Co-Producer) and Jay Ward (Creative Director)

Theatrical Short: “Lou” & “Commentary”

#95 by the #s in “Cars 3”

5 – As “Cars 3” gets underway, world-champion racer Lightning McQueen is riding high with five Piston-Cup wins under his hood.

11 – Lightning McQueen raced into moviegoers’ hearts 11 years ago—making his rookie debut in “Cars” in March 2006—and remains an iconic character today.

24 – The dramatic, slow-motion crash scene in which Lightning McQueen hits a wall and rolls several times takes 24 seconds.

95 – Lightning McQueen still sports the dynamic #95 with his signature lightning-bolt graphics. He displays five distinct looks in “Cars 3,” including one that pays homage to his original paint, a primer look he gets following the devastating crash, a custom wrap ordered by Sterling, and more.

198 – Lightning McQueen tops out at a speed of 198 miles per hour on his last lap with Cruz Ramirez on Fireball Beach. But Lightning’s nemesis—next-gen racer Jackson Storm—races at speeds pushing 207 mph.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Insights with Rachel House -Topaz in Thor Ragnarok! #thorragnarokevent

Disclosure: I attended the #ThorRagnarokevent and my expenses: flight, accommodations, transportation and some meals were be covered by Disney. All opinions, however, are always 100% mine.

Photo Credit: Marvel Studios

You might know Rachel House as the voice of Gramma Tala in Moana. But she has also done of film work in her native country of New Zealand. She has also worked with Thor Ragnarok director, Taika Waititi.

Her interview was really fun. She was so mice and down to earth. In Thor Ragnarok, her role is small but it leaves an impression. I liked her character because she is probably the only character that is surrounded by chaos and craziness but Topaz never ever let's it show. She is sassy and sarcastic. My favorite type of character.

In the interview, Rachel gives us a little insight on how it was to work in this Marvel Universe movie!

Photo credit - Allison Waken /

Q: While you were filming the scenes, there was a lot like really dead pan stuff. How hard was it to keep a straight face with all of that, which is hilarious?

Rachel: You know, I’m, I’m pretty used to keeping a straight face because I’ve done a lot of Taika’s films, and he, it’s always like that.

Some of the other actors weren’t so good at it. They were losing it, especially Jeff Goldblum because he was so funny. That’s not even half of it what you see. It’s not even a quarter of the improvisation and stuff that we were doing. Jeff was just so masterful at improvisation.

Photo credit - Allison Waken /

Q: What’s your favorite part about working with Taika?

Rachel: Just the fun.

Q: You’ve worked with him other times.

Rachel: The fun of it is really good. But, I mean, this is the [big] film he’s done. The others were very independent, therefore we had a very limited amount of time to shoot. We had to literally run around the bush, and the mud, and the snow, and the rain.

It was a lot of fun. But we had no time, you know? So, we just had to keep going. Whereas in, in Thor, because of the scale, we got to kind of breath a little bit.

So, and Taika was allowed to play as much as possible. That was really great seeing him able to do that without any kind of time restraint.

Photo credit - Allison Waken /

Q : What was that like transforming to this character?

Rachel: Kind of easy-ish. It’s a kind of character that Taika always makes me play. I just play all these really mean characters and I’m not mean at all. I’m sort of really ooh about meanness. I think [Taika] kind of enjoys that.

Q : How did you first get approached for this film? Did he come straight for you?

Rachel: No. I got a top secret kind of audition that I had to do through my agent. She said, “Oh, it’s for Marvel.”

And I said, “Well, that’ll be Taika.” I was given this tiny little saying with a few lines. New Zealand is so small, so one of my buddies, who’s a casting director, filmed [it]. And then sent it off. And then got an email from Taika saying, “Oh, by the way, you got the role.” You know, which is really lovely. I don’t know if they saw any other people. I’m not sure.

Q : How did you get involved with Taika in the first place?

Rachel: So, we, we’ve known each other since I met him when he was 17. He was in a play in this little theater in Wellington, and he was the best thing about it? I was a couple years older, and at drama school at the time. I met him after and said, “You were so great. Thank you so much.” And then started becoming a fan of his little crazy comedy stuff that he’d do with Jemaine and Bret and another guy called Nigel Collins.

So, I became a very big fan. From then, we just kept staying in touch. I had no idea he was gonna end up being a awesome film director. He was an artist, and an actor, and a comedian.

Photo credit - Allison Waken /

Q: Was last night the first time you got to see the film?

Rachel: Yes.

Q: What did you think about seeing it with all of us?

Rachel: Great. It’s so Taika. So full of comedy, and his unique brand of humor. And Korg was so great. It was amazing. And, you know, people back in New Zealand are just gonna fall about, because it’s such a familiar character. That character is very.

Photo credit - Allison Waken /

Q: Did you get along with Tessa Thompson in real life?

Rachel: She’s a darling. What a darling. She’s wonderful. And it was so, I felt so embarrassed because I watched Creed, and I said to her, “Oh, I loved in that boxing film.” I always forget names of things. Then I realized that I’d seen Dear White People like three times, because I love it so much. She’s in it. It wasn’t until afterwards where I actually Googled her, because I tend not to want to Google the people I’m about to work with, especially if they’re kind of famous because I don’t wanna necessarily have that pressure, feel intimidated. Once I realized it was her in Dear White People, I started Googling and seeing how much else she’d done.

Photo credit - Allison Waken /

Q: Was it intimidating to step into the Marvel Universe?

Rachel:  Yes. Yes. But you get over that really quickly. There’s so many wonderful people involved in the Marvel universe. They’re just normal people, talented people. The intimidation didn’t last long.

Q: Will we see you again you think, in Infinity War maybe?

Rachel: I’m not sure. Maybe. I don’t know.

Q: What did you find most challenging as a performer on set every day?

Rachel: To be honest, my costume. It was really stiff.  It was hard to move. When we were doing that spaceship scene, I was like grr, because it’s quite stiff. It’s beautifully made. The costume designer is out of this world. But that was a bit hard to move in.

Like THOR: RAGNAROK on Facebook:  

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THOR: RAGNAROK opens in theaters everywhere November 3rd! 

Friday, November 3, 2017

Thor: Ragnarok Products! #thorragnarokevent

Disclosure: I attended the #ThorRagnarokevent and my expenses: flight, accommodations, transportation and some meals were be covered by Disney. All opinions, however, are always 100% mine.

Along with every almost every film, there will be merchandise. Sometimes, the products are as much fun as the film itself. While on the Thor Ragnarok press junket, we got an advance view of some of the products that go along with the film.

You will love them. They had some really cool Funko Pop figurines. There is also a lot of clothing like t-shirts and beanies. There are lots of toys for the kids or for the adults! I have the Thor Ultimate Mjolnir Hammer. It has voice and sound effects and is just pretty cool.

The other product I love is the Hulk Mask by Hasbro. The mask activates with a chin lever that opens Hulk's mask. And if you get the mask, you need the Hulk Smash Fists by Hasbro 

I loved this Thor beanie and the Hela shirt. I really have to get my hands on this t-shirt! It is so cute and pretty badass.  Of course, there are tons of Funko POP Figurines. You have Hulk in the gladiator suit. Thor, Loki and Hela. My favorite is Valkyrie

There are also the figurines and, of course, LEGO toys as well. These will make great Christmas gifts this year. I know I need to get my hubby some Thor tees. I need the Hela shirt and I already have my hammer. I am eyeing the LEGO set for the little ones in the family. I know they will love it.

Like THOR: RAGNAROK on Facebook:  

Follow THOR: RAGNAROK on Twitter:

Follow Marvel on Instagram:  

THOR: RAGNAROK opens in theaters everywhere November 3rd! 

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Thor's Skurge - an interview with Karl Urban! #thorragnarokevent

Disclosure: I attended the #ThorRagnarokevent and my expenses: flight, accommodations, transportation and some meals were be covered by Disney. All opinions, however, are always 100% mine.

I have to say that the best interview we had during the Thor Ragnarok event was Karl Urban. What a nice man. He came into the room and shook every single one of our hands. Then he sat down and gave us a great interview.

The other thing about Karl is that he is charming and funny and so unlike his character in Thor Ragnarok. In Ragnarok, Karl's character Skurge is a man who makes the wrong decision in order to stay alive. His wrong decision leads to a lot of conflict. Karl's acting is amazing because you see the pain, indecision and realization of his choice. Of all the characters in Ragnarok, Karl's is the most emotionally compelling.

You probably recognize Karl from Star Trek and Dredd. He was so different than I imagined him to be. He was a real gentleman and such a great guy! Here are the highlights of our interview!! Enjoy!

Photo Credit: Allison Waken / 

Q: I heard that a lot of the movie is improvised, can you go into that?

Karl: Allegedly. I guess full credit to Marvel. They hired a director who has a very strong comedic style and sensibility and they actually let him do his job.

There was already a brilliant foundation in the script and we would shoot a couple of versions of what was on the page and then shoot a wealth of material that Taika [Waititi] quite frankly just made up and there was nothing sacrilegious about a take, you’d be in the middle of a take and he’d be, oh why don’t you say this line. It was actually kind of liberating because you felt comfortable in that you could- there was no such thing as a bad choice that, there was nothing precious about it. I think that really kind of afforded everybody a wonderful freedom to fully explore all the options. I can't wait to see the extras on this movie. The movie is funny and entertaining but I think the extras are going to be as equally entertaining and I can't wait to see them.

Photo Credit: Allison Waken / 

Q : Do you have a favorite scene that didn't make it in that you wish it had?

Karl: I like Skurge’s introduction when I'm trying to woo the young ladies. They had a whole collection of stolen stuff that Skurge had had pillaged from the universe. You only got to see one thing of me shaking whatever that thing was.

[From the group] it's a shake away.

They had all sorts of stuff. We shot for hours with me with fishing rods with lures and all sorts of crazy stuff, so I'm looking forward to seeing that.

Q : Was last night the first time you saw the movie?

Karl : Yes, it was.

Q : What did you think?

Karl: I just you know what it was it was and I feel so blessed. It was such a pleasurable experience to not only see the with my friends and colleagues but to to see the film with an audience who were thoroughly entertained. Again, you have to give full credit to Taika and to Marvel for producing a film that I think reboots Thor in a wonderful healthy positive way. And I'm so happy for Chris that he's finally been given the opportunity to spread his wings. I think that this film showcases his complete full potential. Everyone is allowed to bring it.

Q : I really like the arc of your character, how he wanted to be part of the warriors?

Karl: I got a call from Taika saying listen there's this character in this movie that I I’d love you to go and I’d wanted to work with Taika for a long time. I'm a huge fan of his work from What We Do In The Shadows, to Wilderpeople, and Boy. He had my half hooked right just by calling me but he sent me the script and I immediately recognized that there was actually something profoundly emotionally compelling about this character’s journey that was eminently relatable.

Here's a character that's put in a situation where he has to make a decision, he has aligned himself with a cause that he does not believe in but it's the only thing he can do in order to survive. I thought that was a very interesting moral dilemma. And once he's crossed that bridge and he realizes there is no turning back, then he is looking for a way to redeem himself and that was ultimately his journey. It resonated on the page.

I had full confidence that left unmolested it was going to translate onto the screen.

Q : I heard you didn't realize what the role was at first, what did you think when you found out that there was a transition?

Karl: It's always a mistake to play a stereotypical caricature of the villain, you know, just to twirl the moustache, wear a black hat, that's pretty boring. What makes a character, in my opinion, interesting is the faults and the flaws that you you can understand. In this case, it's pretty clear this character is just trying to survive.

You could see what it meant to him, like his fear, his re- regret, his internal repulsion at what he was seeing was palpable. But he had no choice. It just felt like it was eminently relatable.

Q : What kind of things did you do to help get into character?

Karl: I can say this is one of the most fun sets that I've ever been on. Taika is constantly playing music in between takes. I'm so proud of him. He really handled himself with quite aplomb and I imagine it would have been a pressure cooker situation to be responsible for this behemoth movie. But he did it with such aplomb and such grace and style. And he created an an environment that was not only fun but it was focused. And, that's a rarity.

Q : [Women] are awesome and were fighting against everything, what does that mean for you? Is that important for you?

Karl: It's imperative. I think it would have been a boring movie without Cate and Tessa [they] are so wonderful in this film. They are my favorite parts of the movie and I love seeing Tessa’s swagger. I love the journey of her character from the dark place that she was in to redemption, to reclaiming herself with her identity.

I thought it was a strong compelling journey. I had such a wonderful time working with Cate Blanchett. To be perfectly honest, she was the reason I decided to do this movie, it was the opportunity to work with Cate Blanchett. I read that script and saw that ninety percent of my material was with her, I'm like where do I sign up. How much do I pay you?

Q : What's it like being part of Marvel Universe and what's next for you, will we see you in any of the Dredd films?

Karl: Being part of Marvel Universe is an absolute pleasure, they are a wonderful collaborative company. I just have a huge degree of admiration or respect for what they have done. Particularly what they have done on this film and how they've supported Taika and put a network around him and gave him the freedom and had the courage to let him do his job.

Nobody does it better than than these guys. Many people try and copy them, they have got a formula and they they are heavily aligned with the creative element of the process. And I think that's to their benefit.

Rebellion who own the rights to Dredd are in the process of developing a a TV show that won’t be a sequel to the movie, but it’ll be I guess a reboot or a reimagining. And I've said to them I'm interested in reprising that role if they write a character that has a purpose and a function and an emotionally compelling story, then I would love the opportunity to go back and continue to explore that character.

We'll see what they do. I guess the movie that I'm most excited about apart from Thor is a film that I shot this year with Sofía Vergara, who’s so brilliant. It's this movie called Bent that was written and directed by Bobby Moresco, wrote Crash and Million Dollar Baby. It's got a great pedigree. It's a sort of a modern take on a classic noir genre and I just had the best time working with Sofía. You all know her for her comedy, which she does extraordinarily well.

In this film she engineers a real paradigm shift and she plays this femme fatale she's going to blow people away.

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THOR: RAGNAROK opens in theaters everywhere November 3rd!