Our “Despicable” Weekend Continued!

By Role Mommy Writer, Danielle Feigenbaum
MinionMayhem.jpg My family and I were lucky enough to spend a SUPER fun weekend at Universal Orlando with our new best friends, the minions. Universal Pictures gave us the royal treatment for our amazing VIP “Despicable Me 2 Adventure”. As I wrote in my last post, we saw a screening of Despicable Me 2 which was absolutely hysterical. (Go see it next week!) We went to a dinner party and danced with the characters from the film. Click HERE to see the minions dancing to Gangnam Style, with my little minion in the blue. We were treated to breakfast with the characters and then we were ready to start our day at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure!
p1641898049-o524649985-3.jpg A ridiculously funny “director” came to give us our instructions for the day. We were going to participate in a scavenger hunt around the park! Our mission was to follow the clues, take creative pictures to share via social media, and have a blast while doing so. Mission accomplished!
Thumbnail image for Universal 0653.JPG We began the hunt by riding Minion Mayhem, SUCH a fun ride! My kids loved it so much we went back to ride it again that night! When you get in the ride you are greeted by Gru and his girls and they tell you they are going to make you all minions. They blast a “fart gun” that smelled like bananas! On our VIP tour, the guide gave us the inside scoop and told us they actually pump the banana smell through the hand rails so if you hold your hand underneath and then smell it – you will have banana smelling hands! Next you walk through a room and sit down with your 3-D goggles. Then the ride starts! You soar through the air (or feel like you are), following Agnes, Edith and Margo on an incredible adventure. Everyone was laughing the whole time, it was amazing. Once we are turned back into humans, we got the chance for a little “boogie fever” time with the minions.
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Once we finished the clues at Minion Mayhem, they sent us to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. My kids freaked out! The place was amazing. We completed the task at hand and were sent all around following clues and taking creative pictures. Once a clue was completed we were given a pin to put on our VIP pass…
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After the scavenger hunt we went with another family on a VIP tour, and I have to tell you, it was the best thing! If you can do it, I highly recommend having a VIP guide take you around the park. First of all, you don’t have to wait on any lines (huge +) and they give you all the little secrets and tid bits you want to know! After we rode the Spider Man 3-D ride, our guide took us to the back room to show us how the ride actually works! It was awesome! Since my daughter has read every Harry Potter book (twice), she loved exploring the castle at Hogwarts and walking around Hogsmeade. You need to visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter to see all the magic in the store windows and the incredible rides!
After a quick rest and shower we were back at the hospitality suite for a carnival themed dinner! The room was adorable and the food (corn dogs, soft pretzels, curly fries) was yummy. Our favorite part was the dessert- cotton candy and minion cupcakes, how cute are these?
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My son was over the moon when one of the creators of the new game Minion Rush came in to tell us all about the game and actually let the kids try it out before it was available! You can download the app now! My kids LOVE playing it! Universal 1177.JPG
TransformersRideA.jpgAnd THEN the most exciting thing happened for my son! One of the creators of The Transformers 3-D ride came to tell us all about the new ride that was opening at Universal Orlando on June 20th. My son absolutely loves Transformers – he can name all of them. Much to our delight, he took us himself to the ride, and it did not disappoint! My six year old son could not believe how fantastic the ride was, his favorite part was “getting wet and helping defeat the bad guys.”
“Prepare for the greatest battle you’ll ever ride! The new TRANSFORMERS: The Ride-3D is an ultra-immersive, next generation thrill ride that blurs the line between fiction and reality!”
From seeing Despicable Me 2, to partying with the minions and Gru, to great company, great meals, VIP Tour of Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure and so much more… this was a weekend my family and I will never forget! Here’s my son and his love, Fluffy, he sleeps with it every night because it’s just SOOOO FLUFFY!!!
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If you haven’t done so already, check out Despicable Me 2, it’s guaranteed to put a big smile on your face! Coming to a theatre near you next week, July 3rd!!
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About the film
Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment’s worldwide blockbuster Despicable Me entertained audiences around the globe in 2010, grossing more than $540 million and becoming the 10th-biggest animated motion picture in U.S. history. In summer 2013, get ready for more Minion madness in Despicable Me 2.
Chris Meledandri and his acclaimed filmmaking team create an all-new comedy adventure featuring the return of (former?) super-villain Gru (Steve Carell), his adorable girls, the unpredictably hilarious Minions…and a host of new and outrageously funny characters.
Release Date: July 3, 2013
Genre: 3D-CG comedy adventure
Cast: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Benjamin Bratt, Miranda Cosgrove, Russell Brand, Steve Coogan, Ken Jeong, Elsie Fisher, Dana Gaier, Moises Arias
Directed by: Chris Renaud & Pierre Coffin
Written by: Cinco Paul & Ken Daurio
Based on Characters Created by: Sergio Pablos, Cinco Paul & Ken Daurio
Produced by: Chris Meledandri, Janet Healy

Our “Despicable” Weekend

By Role Mommy Writer, Danielle Feigenbaum

Thumbnail image for DM2-Poster.jpg Recently my family and I were lucky enough to spend a SUPER fun weekend at Universal Orlando with our new best friends, the minions. Universal Pictures gave us the royal treatment for our amazing VIP “Despicable Me 2 Adventure”. We arrived at the beautiful Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal and went right to the “Beach Pool”. The pool had a ridiculously fun water slide and sand for the kids to play in. We enjoyed a yummy lunch poolside and then got ready for the screening of Despicable Me 2!!!
With popcorn, drinks and our 3D glasses we settled in to watch the movie. Before the movie started we were greeted on screen by Steve Carell (who voices Gru) and Miranda Cosgrove (who voices Margo) telling us to enjoy the movie. How cool is that? I’m not sure who laughed harder through the movie, my husband and I, or my kids. I know we were all smiling ear to ear throughout. You seriously need to run to the theatre on July 3rd to see Despicable Me 2. It may even be funnier than the first one!
After the movie we were escorted to a fantastic dinner party with the characters from the film! We enjoyed specialty drinks (a minion martini – lemon drop with blueberries – yum!) and delicious Mexican food (as you will see in the movie, there is a major connection there).
Here we are with our new friends!
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Speaking of new friends… my kids hit it off with the other children on the trip and had a blast playing with the mini minion toys, minion games and dancing!
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And then… the minions came in. You should have seen my 6 year old son freak out! I don’t think he left their side for the rest of the night. He was following them around and dancing his tush off with his new best friends. Here is a taste of my little man having the time of his life…
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My nine year old daughter was having a great old time as well hanging with the girls and enjoying some yummy desserts!
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Here I am with the fabulous bloggers we were there with, what a fun group!
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It was not easy to drag our kids away from the fun, but by 9 PM we had to get them to bed since we had an awesome busy day coming up! After all the swimming and laughing and dancing, they were out cold the second their heads hit the pillow.
The next morning we were brought to the hospitality suite at Universal Studios for breakfast. The room was decorated to the nines with minions galore! Gru was there to greet us and cause a little mischief too 🙂
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Then we were reunited with our minion friends! I seriously love those guys, but not as much as my son does…
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Then, the evil Vector swaggered in. He actually didn’t seem so evil, he even sat with the kids and watched himself in “Despicable Me”.
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p1671776652-o524649985-3.jpg After breakfast they gave us adorable minion backpacks filled with goodies. Minion hats to block the sun, Universal water spray fans to keep us cool and minion goggles because who doesn’t need a pair of minion goggles? They really thought of everything!
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We were ready to go! Don’t miss my post next week when I take you on our amazing adventure through Universal Studios Orlando. A scavenger hunt, rides and surprises galore! You don’t want to miss it and you will probably book a trip for your family to go there as soon as you read how much fun it is!
If you haven’t done so already, check out Despicable Me 2, it’s guaranteed to put a big smile on your face!
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Chatting with Whitney from CBS’ American Baking Competition

whitney.pngIf you’ve been watching the American Baking Competition on CBS, then you know that college grad Whitney Beery was the latest contestant whose desserts just didn’t make the cut with judges Paul Hollywood and Marcela Valladolid. Despite the fact that she missed out on the chance to win $250,000 and a book deal, Whitney gained so much more from her experience…she fell in love.
We recently joined Robin from Simply Southern Baking to find out what she’s been up to since leaving the show.
Simply Southern Baking: What would you say was your most special moment in the competition?
Whitney: Meeting my boyfriend, James. We realized we like the same music and all the same books and stuff while we were on the show so it kind of started then. Once the show was all said and done we started to hang out, without the competition involved. Meeting everyone on the show was also amazing and being able to get the insight from the judges helped with learning how to handle the pressure. Also, since we’re amateur bakers, we normally only hear feedback from our family and friends so they don’t critique like the judges, so it was interesting and helpful to hear how professionals see your bakes.
Simply Southern Baking: You studied restaurant management in college. What are your plans now that you’ve graduated? Are you going to go to graduate school, start a blog?
Whitney: I actually already have a blog. It’s called Appletondesserts.com because Appleton is my middle name. It has all my favorite desserts on it. I’m actually now living in Sonoma, California, and I’m working at a winery. I am using my degree, but I’m doing wine because someday I want to do a dessert wine themed bar. So I’m getting my wine education.
james.jpegRole Mommy: Does James live in Sonoma with you or is it still a long-distance relationship?
Whitney: He is here with me. He’s actually in the room with me (laughs). It’s official.
Role Mommy: You’ve obviously impressed all your friends and family with all your different desserts and you made the show, but you had some difficulty in those first few weeks. What was the biggest challenge for you?
Whitney: I think the biggest challenge was having everything so limited. The limited time, the limited resources. At home, you’re so used to baking and if it doesn’t turn out alright then you do it all over again because you have all these resources and all this time. On the show, it’s a lot more pressure than you would think being under that time limit when you’re not used to that stuff, using that equipment. A lot of things in baking are temperamental like when my cookies spread too much. When I was making the batter, it looked like every other batter I have made. So at that point, I didn’t know that I should add anything, because to me it looked the same, but with all new equipment and all these temperamental factors and then not having time to go back kind of messed me up.
Role Mommy: I tweeted you during the show and I remember that the combination of chai and mocha you were using for the macaroons seemed like it was destined to be at Starbucks. Can you tell us about that particular bake?
Whitney: I did that because it was inspired by my endless studying days in college. There is actually a Starbucks a block away from where I was living. When I first started drinking coffee, mocha was the only thing I had. Of course, I loved the combination of chocolate and coffee together: two of my favorite things. Chai is also one of my absolute favorite drinks because I usually wake up every morning and have coffee or chai, and I usually eat chocolate at some point throughout the day. So it was kind of inspired by my studying days in college and at Starbucks. I never went to the library to study, I was always at Starbucks. So yes, you read my recipe mind!
Role Mommy: I saw your sorority was tweeting during the show. Tell me about that.
Whitney: I’m a sister of Zeta Tau Alpha. I joined when I was a freshman and recruitment was a week before school even started. I went to Texas Tech and I didn’t know anyone so I wanted to meet people, and it was a really great place to make friends. Throughout the whole show, the sorority has been super supportive and great, retweeting and promoting the show. I’ve gotten a lot of tweets from Zetas from across the country. The entire organization has been amazing and extremely supportive throughout it all which doesn’t surprise me because I know Zetas are wonderful women. It’s cool to get connections through the whole country because of the show.
Role Mommy: When you were in college, did you study anything in terms of culinary and pastries, or was baking just more of something you loved as a passion?
Whitney: I just loved it as my passion. For hotel restaurant management, we did have some food courses, but we didn’t really dive into practicing any of it, it was kind of more book studying so that as a restaurant manager you would understand something such as what the different types of sauces are but you didn’t really dive into making anything. But one of those classes got me interested in it because I was reading so much about pastries and I watched Food Network and followed everything on Pinterest, so that all furthered my interest and made me really want to do this on my own. An oreo cheesecake was the first thing I made from scratch and it was really good, and I was like “I’m not that bad so I’m going to keep doing this.”
Role Mommy: When we interviewed Marcela, we asked her if she saw herself in any of the bakers and she said you reminded her of herself when she was first starting out, where she had this natural talent for it and needed to cultivate it and get more training , and she said she appreciated your spunk and the creativity in what you were doing. How do you feel about that? Do you think the experience on the show is going to propel you to do what you should be doing in life?
Whitney: I think it will definitely help. It definitely gave me real insight on to how professional pastry chefs see your actual products, which is very different from how your friends see it. The experience definitely helped me and will continue to help me in the future and propel me to do what I want. Obviously I will not stop baking. I made cupcakes last night.
Role Mommy: In terms of recipes, are you making them up or adapting them from the Food Network or things that you see?
Whitney: I do a lot of research online and I kind of find recipes and I change them. For example, I looked up a biscuit recipe and I used sour cream and added herbs and spices so that they tasted how I like them to taste. So I do get ideas from recipes from cookbooks or online so that I have the basic science, and then I change whatever it needs to manipulate the flavors or textures.
Role Mommy: In terms of the characters on the show, we’re starting to see people’s personalities develop. Brian seems to be a sinister bad guy, and Francine has the best one liners and is hilarious, and Effie seems awesome. Is there anyone besides James that you became really friendly with and continue to talk to after the show?
Whitney: Pretty much everyone is always in touch but I’ve gotten super close to Effie. She was like my mama for the month and I love her. Carlo and I also got really close while we were there. James, Effie, and Carlo are the three people that I keep in constant contact with. James was texting Effie this morning and I called Carlo a couple of days ago and we talked for a little bit so that was nice.
Role Mommy: What did you think about being critiqued by Marcela and Paul?
Whitney: It was hard being critiqued by them because they were looking for something other than what you like. They’re looking for what they like. It was really difficult, because for my chai macaroons, they didn’t come out like macaroons but they were also critiquing the flavor. It was like “well that’s how I like my chai to taste” and they told me it didn’t work but that’s how I wanted it to be like. So it’s kind of difficult because at the same point you want to bake something that you and your family likes but that might not necessarily be what the judges are looking for. So it’s really difficult to kind of gauge where you fall, and you kind of have to learn what they’re looking for and tweak what you like to fit what they want. It’s super difficult because you practice this recipe over and over and you don’t like the taste of it but you know what the judges are going to say, so it’s kind of a weird situation to make something for the judges palette. Normally your friends and your family see it as a different way.
Role Mommy: What did you think of Jeff Foxworthy?
Whitney: Jeff was great. He was really funny and he was really nice. Some of my favorite times was when he would come over personally to talk to each of us because once he came over there was no pressure. He doesn’t care how bad you are, if you’re having a bad time he’s going to try and give you some encouraging words. If you’re doing well he would give you a smile back. He was really encouraging, super super nice, and throughout the whole process he was great.
Role Mommy: Are you still going to be watching throughout the show and tweeting?
Whitney: Yes, I’m still going to be watching! I have to root for my man! I also do want to watch because we all have heard tidbits of how everyone has done, so now I want to watch how it all unfolds because I never got to see that stuff. I heard them talking about it so I really want to see all of it and see how everyone does because there are some surprises for me too!
Make sure you tune into the American Baking Competition on CBS this Wednesday at 8pm ET/PT. As always, we’ll be live tweeting during the show. To join in the fun, follow the handles and hashtags below! Hope to tweet you there!
@BakeOnCBS
@WhitneyABeery
@CarloFuda
@ChefMarcela
@FoxOutdoors
@HollywoodBaker
#GetYourBakeOn

‘Sweets Talking’ With CBS’ American Baking Competition Judge Marcela Valladolid & Contestant Carlo Fuda

7m24eFDvvmaZzL9yE2WdCY9GTZGZJKUyrf5YjxtIDVc.jpegRole Mommy recently got the chance to chat with Marcela Valladolid and eliminated contestant Carlo Fuda from CBS’s new show, The American Baking Competition. Marcela and Carlo talked with several food and parenting bloggers about their experiences with the show, shared their favorite recipes, cooking tips and more. Be sure to watch the second episode of The American Baking Competition tonight on CBS at 8 PM!
Genesis Moments: Out of all the contestants, are there any of them that you see a little bit of yourself in from when you were first getting started?
Marcela: Absolutely! I see myself a little bit in all of them. Carlo, for example, wears the Italian flag on his chest and I’m kind of the same way with my Mexican cooking. Sometimes people want to streamline me and make me more approachable and more acceptable and my response is always, “why would you want me to change what’s in my core?” I carry both the American and the Mexican flag with equal amounts of pride but my traditions and my cuisine are deeply rooted in Mexican cooking and I see a lot of that in Carlo. In terms of Effie, she could not talk about her family without getting emotional and so much of her cooking is tied in with those family stories. For me, everything is so tied into my experience of being a daughter of a strong mexican cooking woman and also being the mother of a half mexican half american son and I think Effie is very much like that. Also, Whitney reminded me of how innocent I was at the beginning of my career. I would jump into stuff I wasn’t nearly ready for but I was so passionate about what I was doing that I didn’t care. I just jumped in with my heart on my sleeve. She stands behind what she believes in but at the same time she’s so young and she has such a bright beautiful future ahead of her.
Adventure Yum: Knowing that you like to cook fresh and with a more healthful approach, what did you really think of Francine’s chocolate bacon peanut butter pie?
Marcela: It was awesome! I appreciated that just by looking at it, you knew it was going to be a huge explosion of richness and flavor. There was no misleading in that sense. You looked at that thing and it was garnished in like a quarter pound of bacon so you knew what was coming in your mouth. I would have maybe found a way to make it a little more subtle in terms of the presentation; she didn’t need as much bacon on the top because there was so much wonderful bacon flavor in there. I love the combination of smoky bacon with rich sweet chocolate, and it’s a great combination that’s very much in and happening in the culinary world right now. Francine absolutely knows what she’s doing.
Rural Mom: What ultimately defines a “showstopper” bake for you? If all the dishes were all fairly on par with each other, would there be one key factor that put it over the top for you?
Marcela: For me, what made the show stopper a showstopper was something that I would want to pay really good money for. Is this something you could see in a pastry shop? Unfortunately for these guys, I studied in Paris so I know what a pastry window is supposed to look like, so for me that was it. Literally looking at something and saying, “I am willing to pay good money because of how it is presented and how it looks absolutely scrumptious and executed to perfection,” so from the start it has a lot to do with presentation. And it’s the same for the first bite. It just has to be something comparable with the level of pastries at the professional level, things that you’d want to pay for.
Role Mommy: What is the most surprising thing that you have come away with from the show?
Marcela: I’m very professional in terms of my work and I’ve been a judge on shows before, and I’ve always been very good at separating myself from the personal stories and the contestants. I never thought at the end of it I’d be so emotionally invested in what these guys were doing. I genuinely hope all of them either publish books or open bakeries. I wish I could award the prize to all of them. I wasn’t expecting to fall in love with each and every one of the contestants because each of their personalities are so spectacular.
51a639f75267b.preview-300.jpgQuestion Carlo, you were the first contestant eliminated from the show. What’s next for you?
Carlo: I’m working a lot on my food blog which I started when I was in my corporate setting. I’ve been to Italy 30 times, I worked in the professional social media capacity, and now after The American Baking Competition, I feel really prepared to take the next steps in this new path with my blog. I have long term aspirations of opening up a cafe where I live in Pennsylvania. I’m also a singer so I want to pursue that dream as well. I’ve learned that dreams are not impossible, dreams should be followed, and that’s exactly what I’m doing now. I’m so excited and happy and the support from my friends and family gives me the confidence and the momentum and the energy to do everything that I want to do.
Simply Southern Baking: You mentioned lavender was your secret ingredient in your Baker back story. What is your favorite recipe to use that in?
Carlo: My personal favorite recipe is one that I actually have on my blog, lemon ricotta cookies. I just adore ricotta, it’s just so good. I just love making ricotta cookies because they’re light, airy and sweet and I love to make things that are like that. Lemon and lavender is one of those flavor combinations that just go so well together so for the I make lavender icing for the cookies. You have to be careful with it because it can get too “perfume-y”, but just the right amount gives you this weird sensation in your mouth where you’re like, “Am I eating flowers?” I love that in Northern Italy, where many of my relatives live, you’ll find things like rose, violet, and lavender ice cream and that’s kind of an inspiration for me and it takes me back. I also love mixing it in cheesecakes.
Watch this sneak peek from tonight’s episode!


Don’t forget to tune in tonight at 8 PM to catch the latest edition of The American Baking Competition and join us as we tweet live during the show with @ChefMarcela, @Carlofuda, and more. Make sure you follow @BakeonCBS #GetYourBakeOn. Hope to Sweet Tweet you there!

Get Ready for The American Baking Competition on CBS!

rolemommy Jeff Foxworthy & Marcela-1.jpgGrandma’s recipes, a crying firefighter, one celebrity chef, one master baker and Jeff Foxworthy…. a great mix for a sweet baking competition show!
Rolemommy sat down with host Jeff Foxworthy and judge Marcella Valladolid (chef and bestselling cookbook author) to learn about CBS’ new show “THE AMERICAN BAKING COMPETITION,” premiering this Wednesday, May 29th at 8:00pm.
10 bakers were chosen from a nationwide search of amateur bakers through local casting bake-offs. 6 females and 4 males were chosen and they range from such careers as firefighter, attorney, college student and photographer. Comedian Jeff Foxworthy hosts with Chef and bestselling cookbook author Marcella Valladolid and master baker and current judge on the UK format “The Great British Bakeoff” Paul Hollywood as the judges.
Contestants bring their own recipes and compete in three unique challenges – “Signature Bake,” “Technical Bake” and “Showstopper Bake.” The final challenge will be between the three remaining contestants, one will be crowned the Best Amateur Baker in America and win the $250,000 grand prize. The winner will also be awarded a publishing contract with Simon & Schuster to publish their own cookbook with Gallery Books.
While Marcella and Paul have the hardest job of judging, Jeff Foxworthy gets personal with the contestants and even makes a few cry. The first challenge is the “Signature Bake” in which contestants use recipes handed down to them from generation to generation and all Foxworth had to do is ask about a grandmother or two and the tears flowed. When Foxworthy noticed the buff San Diego firefighter’s pink frosted cupcakes all he had to do is ask about his daughters and water works ensued. Recipes are an important part of who we are which tie us to our own personal family connection that this adds an emotional element to a competition show. So grab your tissues and make sure you’ve already had a snack because you’ll need those when you sit down to watch “THE AMERICAN BAKING COMPETITION”.
Check it out right HERE!

“Epic” Movie Review

By Role Mommy Writer, Danielle Feigenbaum
Epic-Poster 1.jpg I don’t know about where you live, but the weather on the east coast isn’t looking so good for the start of Memorial Day Weekend. Well I have the perfect activity for you (and if it’s really hot where you live you will need to escape to the air conditioning)… grab the kids and run to see the movie Epic opening nationwide May 24th.
Having brought to life one of the most beloved and successful animated motion
picture franchises, Ice Age, director Chris Wedge and his teams at Blue Sky Studios (of
which Wedge is a co-founder) achieve new heights of realism, action, adventure and
detail, with EPIC.
“We experience the world of EPIC through the eyes of Mary Katherine (she
prefers M.K.), a smart, spirited and headstrong 17-year-old who finds herself on the
journey of a lifetime. After returning to her childhood home to connect with her
estranged father, Professor Bomba, M.K. loses patience with his endless stories of unseen
people who live in the woods. But when she is magically transported into the Leafmen’s
world, she gains a new perspective. To find her way home, M.K. must do more than
believe in this world; she’ll have to help save it.”
All the characters in the film are amazing, but my two favorites are Mub and Grub, a slug and snail portrayed by Aziz Ansari and Chris O’Dowd. They were absolutely hilarious. Mub the slug had a thing for M.K. “Mub and Grub dream big,” says the star of the acclaimed sitcom Parks and Recreation. Mub’s big – if not impossible – dream comes in his relentless wooing of M.K, an attraction he believes is mutual. “Mub feels that M.K.’s connection to him is undeniable; it’s a done deal,” says Ansari. “Which is kind of strange because he’s not
even a human being, so there’s that barrier.”
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I have to be honest, my kids don’t usually like 3D movies but we all LOVED seeing this movie in 3D! The visuals were unbelievably gorgeous. You become a part of the magical forest adventure. They used a new technology that has been in development for 25 years! The message in the movie is wonderful too. Can you tell I really loved this movie?
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EPIC features an incredible cast including: BEYONCÉ KNOWLES, COLIN FARRELL AMANDA SEYFRIED, AZIZ ANSARI, PITBULL, STEVEN TYLER, JOSH HUTCHERSON, CHRIS O’DOWD, CHRISTOPH WALTZ and JASON SUDEIKIS.
Click HERE and take a look for yourself!
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Watch Epic videos on YouTube
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My “Epic” Day (Part 2)

By Role Mommy Writer, Danielle Feigenbaum

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Epic, the 3D CG adventure comedy hits theaters this Friday, May 24th! From the creators of ICE AGE and RIO (2 of my kid’s favorite movies) this film will please kids and adults of all ages! In case you missed my post from yesterday, I had the opportunity to attend the premiere of the new animated film, Epic, and then attend a press junket where we were able to ask questions to the stars of the movie!
What a fun day!
First off, we met the HILARIOUS duo, Aziz Ansari and Chris O’Dowd. They play a slug and a snail in the film, and in my opinion, they stole the show. Here is a taste of how our time with them began…
Mr. Aziz Ansari: Mommy Blogger Roundtable.
Mr. Chris O’Dowd: This is exciting. I’ve never done anything like this before.
Blogger: So, this is your first time at a Mommy Blogger Roundtable?
Mr. Chris O’Dowd: Yes, this is. This is my first Mommy Blogger Roundtable. This is great.
Blogger: So, just we ask questions randomly?
Mr. Chris O’Dowd: It would be good if they were about the movies and stuff.
Mr. Aziz Ansari: Has this ever existed before?
Blogger: I have a question from my daughter.
Mr. Aziz Ansari: Whoa.
Blogger: What was your favorite movie as a kid?
Mr. Chris O’Dowd: Oh, that’s a good question.
Mr. Aziz Ansari: That is a good question. That might be the first good question I’ve heard ever in my history of doing interviews.
What was your favorite movie?
Mr. Chris O’Dowd: I’m trying to think what I loved.
Mr. Aziz Ansari: Did they have kids movies in Ireland?
Mr. Chris O’Dowd: Yes, we had movies. What did I love? Jaws? Does that count?
Mr. Aziz Ansari: Jaws?
Mr. Chris O’Dowd: It’s not a kids movie.
Blogger: A child friendly movie.
Mr. Chris O’Dowd: A child friendly movie. Well, ET – loved ET.
Mr. Aziz Ansari: ET I think was the first movie I saw in the theaters. I’d just been born when ET came out, and I think my mom and dad took me to ET.
ET is great. What else did I see?
Mr. Chris O’Dowd: I guess that wasn’t a big animation time.
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And here are my questions to them:
Role Mommy: How much of what you guys did in the film was improv? You have such a good rapport together.
Mr. Aziz Ansari: There are a few things here or there, but generally, what you see is a scripted.
Mr. Chris O’Dowd: Yes. You’re a tiny piece of this massive thing. People are drawing it just for so long, they don’t draw it any more probably. But I think by the time it gets down to it, you kind of just do your bit, which is mostly scripted.
Role Mommy: Were you together when you did the voices?
Mr. Aziz Ansari: This is something people are very interested about. We’ve been asked this a few times.
Mr. Chris O’Dowd: Yes, and what we were wearing.
Mr. Aziz Ansari: No, you went to the stock questions.
We did our first big session together, which was where we did like a lot of the stuff, and then he was shooting a film in Ireland, I believe.
Mr. Chris O’Dowd: That’s right.
Mr. Aziz Ansari: And I was filming in Los Angeles, so we were not in the same area. But, we were lucky enough to do the one major big session together, which was fun.
Mr. Chris O’Dowd: Yes, it was really good. And that kind of gave us the idea of what the chemistry would be and what the dynamic would be and all that kind of stuff. So, it was good but, I had to go back to Ireland and shoot something, and it was great. And Chris (the Director) was kind of enough to of come over and record some of my stuff there, which was fun.
Here is one of my favorite parts of the interview:

Blogger: What did you think when you first found out? Did they just say, would you like to play a snail, or would you like to play a slug, or did you kind of sign up for the film and then find out?
Mr. Chris O’Dowd: Well, I auditioned for the part of Queen Tara, and it wasn’t until a couple of weeks in that they recast, got Beyonce and decided to go a different direction.
Mr. Aziz Ansari: Sorry, Chris, they’re going in a slightly different direction.
Mr. Chris O’Dowd: Yes. I thought it was kind of a cool idea to play a snail because there aren’t enough on screen, you know?
Mr. Aziz Ansari: Snails are very under-represented.
Mr. Chris O’Dowd: Which is snailist, frankly.
Mr. Aziz Ansari: Yes.
Blogger: Snailist.
Mr. Chris O’Dowd: Don’t be snailist, yes.
Mr. Aziz Ansari: I mean, I watched Iron Man 3 the other day and there’s not one snail.
Mr. Chris O’Dowd: Not one, not one.
Mr. Aziz Ansari: Not one snail or slug in this world.
Mr. Chris O’Dowd: It’s a pretty snailist movie.
Mr. Aziz Ansari: You’ve just got to focus on the human characters. Star Trek – same thing.
Mr. Chris O’Dowd: Nothing, yes.
Mr. Aziz Ansari: It’s really a little discriminatory. That’s why it’s good EPIC gives snails and slugs a fair shake.
Mr. Chris O’Dowd: And you watch the way that the landscape will change. There’s going to be a lot of mucous based things.
Mr. Aziz Ansari: Iron Man 4, one of the characters is gonna be a snail, yes.
Mr. Chris O’Dowd: That’s right.
Blogger: A slug.
Blogger: Are you opposed to escargot?
Mr. Chris O’Dowd: Yes. Well, anywhere that we get mentioned, I don’t mind, even if it’s being eaten. That’s fine. I just want to get out there.
Mr. Aziz Ansari: A lot of pressure.
Mr. Chris O’Dowd: Nobody can stand up to the heat.
And here we are with two of the funniest guys I have ever met…

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Next we had the pleasure of speaking to the Director of the film, Chris Wedge, and two of the main characters, Colin Farrell and Amanda Seyfried.
Role Mommy: When you’re creating the characters and you have the actors in there, how does that work as far as they don’t look like them, but you can tell that their facial expressions, there are things that you can say, oh, that looks like them!
Mr. Colin Farrell: Which scene, which number?
Blogger: I don’t know. I think you just look like them. Then, you have Beyonce, you can see their selves come through, the expressions.
Ms. Amanda Seyfried: Well, it’s the way the characters move. I mean, MK walks with her shoulders kind of slumped forward a little bit. And, I don’t know. There’s just a stride that everybody has.
Mr. Chris Wedge: The animated characters are collaborations. They come from a lot of different places. So, we write them, and we design them, and we have animators. But, we get voices from human beings that can create a performance for us.
Every time we record, there’s a little camera watching these guys, watching their faces as reference for our animators. But, often, the animators don’t ever look at it because so much of the performance comes through in what they hear.
Mr. Colin Farrell: Yes.
Mr. Chris Wedge: So, this part is just what you hear, really. But, it inspires a lot of what you see. I mean, we didn’t make these guys jump onto anything and ride it around or do anything crazy.
Ms. Amanda Seyfried: No.
Mr. Colin Farrell: I just rolled around in the forest before I went into work just to get in the mood.
Mr. Chris Wedge: It’s weird. His fingers were always dirty when he came in. But, you get all of it from performance.
Blogger: What was your favorite movie when you were a kid?
Mr. Colin Farrell: Star Wars for me. I had all the figures and collected all the figures and loved those films, yes, very much so.
Blogger: Still going strong.
Mr. Colin Farrell: Yes, yes.
Mr. Chris Wedge: Yes, I guess.
Ms. Amanda Seyfried: Sonic the Hedgehog.
Mr. Colin Farrell: Wow, wow.
Ms. Amanda Seyfried: And I was Sonic, so I got to fight evil myself, which is exciting.
Mr. Colin Farrell: Hey, is that fast food joint anything to do with that Hedgehog?
Ms. Amanda Seyfried: I don’t think so.
Mr. Colin Farrell: No?
Ms. Amanda Seyfried: Sonic Burger? No, probably not.
Blogger: How did you get the images to look like that? I haven’t seen 3D like that. You could tell from the very first scene it was going to be something different. It was beautiful imagery.
Mr. Chris Wedge: Well, thank you.
Blogger: The color was so saturated and it was just so beautiful. Is there something different that you did?
Mr. Chris Wedge: Well, a difference is in the technology that we use. We’ve been working on this stuff for 25 years, and so there are physicists at Blue Sky that work on the physics of light.
Ms. Amanda Seyfried: So crazy.
Mr. Chris Wedge: And a lot of it, I have to say, it comes from the art direction. The idea for this movie, I wanted to make a very romantic fantasy film. And so, I went back to the illustrations and paintings of NC Wyeth was the main one. He painted one single beautiful image for Treasure Island or Robin Hood or Sea Hawk, and that incredibly nuanced textured artwork is what I wanted it to look like a storybook.
Blogger: It’s beautiful. It grabs you from the second that it does come on the screen.
Mr. Chris Wedge: Well, thanks.
And here we are…

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So, as you can see it was a pretty “Epic” day! Stay tuned for my movie review with a sneak peak at the film.
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Chef Marcela Valladolid Chats About The American Baking Competition Premiering May 29 on CBS

marcela_valladolid_cast-shot.jpg Role Mommy had the chance to chat with Chef Marcela, judge of the new show, The American Baking Competition which premieres May 29 on CBS.
Role Mommy: So let’s talk about first how you got involved with the show. How did you find out about it?
Marcela Valladolid: They reached out to me over the phone, but it wasn’t until I saw the British version that I was like “Wow…this is spectacular. This is amazing!” I love the format of the show, the fact that they focus solely on the food and the baking, and not the drama between the contestants. In a lot of reality shows they take you back to where they sleep and they put them all together in a small apartment because they want them to rip each other’s hair off. This show has nothing to do with that. It is just about the beauty of the bakes and the intensity of the bakers and those reveals, uncovering what this amateur baker had made and seeing something so beautiful. It was a refreshing proposal in comparison to what we have on television right now. When they called, I went up to L.A. and met with Paul Hollywood and we did our test, and they called a few days after that and said “you know you’re coming to Alpharetta, Georgia,” which is where we shot the show. So just a few days after that I was on a plane to Georgia.
RM: Did you bring your son out with you in Alpharetta at all or did he stay back?
MV: No I couldn’t leave him for the whole month of production. I left for ten days, and then he came the middle ten days, and then I stayed for ten more days so he wouldn’t feel like it was such a long break. When I did “The Apprentice” I left for two months.That was the longest time we’ve been apart. If it’s going to be a long trip, he comes with me. I don’t care if I have to pull him out of school, I’d rather him be with me.
RM: I know in terms of baking shows it’s really about racing against the clock. Are you going to have that same sense of urgency in The American Baking Competition?
MV: Oh my goodness, across the board with these guys, the number one challenge that they had was time management. It was a race against the clock every single time. And it was really frustrating to Paul and myself at times because we knew they were good at what they do. But with baking, as opposed to savories, you don’t know what’s going to happen until you open the oven at the very end. You just don’t know if the proportions were right, or if you mixed it properly. You have some visuals before you go into the oven, but the fact of the matter is, you don’t have an idea of how it’s going to come out and if it’s executed to perfection until you open that oven door. So yes, you’re certainly going to get that sense of urgency there were moments when the bell rang and their desserts just weren’t done. It was not cooked. It was raw. Very intense! Lots of drama!
RM: So did you find that they got better at time management as the episodes went on?
MV: Well, they certainly adapted to the environment. I’ve said this so many times, baking is one of those things where you just really need to be in a good place emotionally and mentally for you to be able to produce your best dish. You can certainly tell in the beginning that they were struggling. It was really cold outside which is really difficult for baking, especially for bread-making and for yeast and proofing. So it took a little bit of time for them to adapt, but once they did, it was so beautiful because their personalities came out and their faces and their attitudes changed. They certainly did need a couple of episodes to make those kitchens, those stations, their own.
RM: The British version took place in a tent was well. Were the weather conditions an intentional part of the challenge?
MV: It wasn’t a part of the equation at all. They actually thought we were going to get warm weather. Within the one month production period, we experienced every season in Alpharetta. One day it was got all the way up to 75 and a few days later it was snowing. So we had to adjust, but it definitely wasn’t something that they thought about to make it more challenging for the bakers. It made for really exciting TV.
RM: What’s your favorite pastry or dish that you love to bake?
MV: I love baking tarts. My mom used to make the most amazing strawberry tart made from the Mexican version of the English tea biscuit, which is called galleta Maria, and piloncillo, which is Mexican raw sugar, to make the crust. And the filling was so simple. It was sugar, cream cheese, sour cream, tons of strawberries, syrup, and a little bit of orange liqueur, and it was the most amazing thing! So I love different adaptations of those tarts. I’m also very much about anything that involves a beautiful presentation. To me, the beautiful thing about being a chef is that that it’s one of the few professions that tackles every single one of your senses. And visually, it’s what you get first, especially with desserts. It’s not like savories where you can smell the garlic. Sometimes with desserts it’s much harder. You have to get much closer to the dish to actually smell it. So for me, putting that visual arrangement together is something I love to do.
To see a sneak peek of the “American Baking Competition,” check out this Behind the Scenes Video!

My “Epic” Day (Part 1)

By Role Mommy Writer, Danielle Feigenbaum
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I have done the full-time-working-mom thing in corporate America and the full-time-stay-at-home-mom thing in the ‘burbs. A few years ago I found my happy medium, writing for Role Mommy and working in PR. I am able to work while the kids are in school, be home for them in the afternoons to help with homework and run them to their various activities. And, oh yeah – the perks of the job are awesome! Case in point, last weekend I attended the premiere of the new animated feature, Epic, with my 9 year old daughter, 6 year old son and hubby. What a fabulous experience! (I also attended the press junket where I met some of the amazing stars of the film… but more on that later!)
We drove into NYC Saturday morning and made our way to the famous Ziegfeld Theatre. On the way we explained to the kids the cultural significance and history of the theatre and all the fabulous events that have taken place there over there years. Then came one of the highlights of our day, we walked the “green” carpet. Once we stepped on the carpet we were transported to a fantasy forest and felt like celebrities with all the paparazzi. Here’s our pic on the “green” carpet… don’t we look like celebrities?
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I was totally prepared to answer any questions about “who I was wearing” (I was rocking my J Crew wedges), but sadly nobody stopped me to ask or scream out my name for an autograph. Maybe next time.
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When we got into the theater we received complimentary popcorn, drinks, and of course our 3D glasses. Then there was this….
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Tiny scrumptious cupcakes from Baked By Melissa spelling out “Epic”. Very cool, plus we all enjoyed a tasty bite after the movie. Stay tuned to Role Mommy for my Epic movie review…
But now onto the second part of my “Epic” day! My husband took the kids home and I went to the beautiful Mandarin Oriental Hotel at Columbus Circle and enjoyed a delicious lunch with some wonderful fellow bloggers. And then, the real fun began. We had the opportunity to ask questions to some of the fantastic actors who lent their voices to the movie, as well as the incredible director, Chris Wedge.
*Check back tomorrow to see who I had the chance to meet and what they had to say about this unbelievable movie. From the creators of ICE AGE and RIO, the 3D CG adventure comedy hits theaters on May 24th. Thanks so much to 20th Century Fox who provided everything for my “Epic” day!
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Catching up with the Cake Boss

IbmpGyhqiYjrGCXWDgz5IrpV-Jwkpd5E9nTkyDHLmmQ.jpegA few days ago, a very cool invite found its way into my inbox. You see, when it comes to cable TV, my son, daughter and I (and on occasion, my husband) are officially a TLC family. From the “Long Island Medium,” to “Say Yes to the Dress” to “Cake Boss” and “Next Great Baker,” we are those viewers who can park ourselves on the couch, snuggle up and watch endless hours of TLC’s reality programming.
8t4JUsw0bgR-bKElDOq-JzugcCqjdGEht5Si_-yP5IA.jpegTwo of our all time favorite TLC shows are “Cake Boss” and “Next Great Baker” so when the opportunity arose for me to meet Buddy Valastro and his family, I jumped at the chance. I even contemplated telling my kids about it but figured they wouldn’t mind. Boy was I wrong! When my daughter was heading home on the school bus, she checked her Facebook page and when she saw a photo of me standing next to Buddy, she instantly called me demanding to know why I didn’t bring home an autograph from the event. My son also was quite miffed too.
And that’s what I love about the “Cake Boss” and “Next Great Baker” (minus the kids getting mad at me part) — the shows don’t just appeal to aspiring bakers and adults who have a major sweet tooth like me, they’ve got kids hooked on all those magical cake creations. Just take a look at the Manhattan skyline cake displayed at the grand opening celebration event that featured tiny replicas of Buddy and his family…
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Buddy and his entire family were on hand for the official ribbon cutting at the brand new Cake Boss Cafe located at Discovery Center Times Square (42nd Street and 8th Avenue). As we all salivated over the mouthwatering desserts, a few kids were getting ready to interview the proud owner about this exciting new addition to his ever expanding bakery empire. I was especially impressed with one tween girl who has her own cupcake blog, called the Cupcake Club with over 30,000 Facebook fans and a book series under her belt — and she’s only 10! She got to interview Buddy right before me and I’m sure he loved every minute of it.
When I asked Buddy what it feels like to have children as his biggest fans, he replied, “At the end of the day, I’m a dad of four so I can see how excited my children and their friends get in doing things if I bring them to the factory. And when I go around the country and I see a little child come up to me who wants to hug me and I can feel their heart racing and they look at me like I’m Superman. And you know what? I want to be Superman! It’s been awesome and we are really excited about being able to inspire children to want to bake.”
In a heartfelt speech Buddy gave during the ribbon cutting ceremony, he said he knew his dad would be so proud of their family because they have brought their little corner bakery to life in the heart of Times Square. You can’t beat that kind of real estate any day of the week!
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Now let’s get down to the question that’s probably on the minds and tastebuds of Cake Boss lovers everywhere. We also asked Buddy if we were visiting Cake Boss Cafe for the first time, what are the three must have desserts we should try. Without hesitation, Buddy revealed, “the lobster tails, canolis and the crumb cake.”
rBHNJ1QMqUInrttOQW0qZ_Mdxl3E35N8sJ1mTgdvh1A.jpegWhile I’ll be sampling those goodies the next time I visit, I did get to take home a Cake Boss cake and my kids were over the moon when they got the chance to dive into it. Sure they may have missed meeting their baking idol, but they got to enjoy what he loves most – making great cakes.
“Honestly, at the end of the day I have my dream job,” says Buddy. “After all these years and all these cakes, I still enjoy making cakes. I think with the show, it helps inspire people to pursue their dreams and do what they love.”
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And Buddy, just so you know – we love you and we love the new Cake Boss Cafe! To find out more visit CakeBossCafe.com. And check out this video below…