Movie Review: Frankenweenie, a Tim Burton Film

 Frankenweenie Movie Poster

So, let me start out by saying I’m not a fan of Tim Burton films. I didn’t like The Nightmare Before Christmas or Corpse Bride. They were a little too “out there” for me. So when I was invited to the Frankenweenie screening I almost passed up the opportunity. But BabyGirl and her BFF really wanted to see it, so we went. And I’m glad I did.

Frankenweenie is based on a story Tim Burton wrote about 30 years ago. The story is classic Tim Burton, but didn’t have the years of being jaded by Hollywood or filmmaking. Disney hit a home run with this film. Macabre and dark, what you’d expect from Tim Burton. But the family-friendly story and the love a little boy has for his dog keeps you connected to the story.

The premise of the movie is a takeoff of the traditional Frankenstein tale, without the adult themes. And a slight twist. Keeping with the black-and-white horror film genre he’s known for, Tim Burton created a visually exciting film despite it’s obvious lack of color palette. The labor-intensive stop-motion animation only added to the depth of the film. And you’re easily transported to 1970s New Holland despite not having the usual visuals in a live action film.

With Tim Burton at the helm you know you’re getting a modern horror flick. With voices by Hollywood veterans Martin Short (Edward Frankenstein, Mr. Bergemeister, Nassor, Dad, Bob), Catherine O’Hara (Victor’s Mom, Gym Teacher, Weird Girl) and Martin Landeau (Mr. Rzykruski) parents hear familiar voices. The young newcomers are excellent and give not only a voice but a personality to their characters.

Rendered in 3D, it’s not visually overwhelming. The end is really where much of the 3D effects add to the dimension of the film. Both BabyGirl and her BFF really liked the movie. This, despite the BFF having just experienced a pet death the day prior. On the way home I didn’t hear any talk of trying to recreate the film to bring back her cat, which is probably a good thing.

The movie is very tame, until the end when it’s more Godzilla-like than Frankenstein. There were some kids crying in the theater, but BabyGirl and her BFF (both 9 years old) thought the movie was awesome. The BFF is a fan of Tim Burton’s horror flicks so I expected her to like it. BabyGirl has never seen a Tim Burton film prior so with this as her first experience I know she’s willing to see more of his work.

The fact the movie was in black and white was lost on some in the audience. But for those of use who remember the original Frankenstein, or even grown up watching the Aadams Family, had the movie not been in black and white it would not have felt authentic.

I liked that the story was generally family-friendly, although I don’t know if it would be appropriate for younger children. There were a few around us at the screening and they really didn’t seem to understand a great deal of it. This film is perfect to get you in the Halloween spirit.

Frankenweenie is rated PG due to some thematic elements, scary images, and some action scenes. I agree with this given that the younger kids at the screening didn’t seem to enjoy it as much.

Official Promotional Details

From creative genius Tim Burton (“Alice in Wonderland,” The Nightmare Before Christmas”) comes “Frankenweenie,” a heartwarming tale about a boy and his dog. After unexpectedly losing his beloved dog Sparky, young Victor harnesses the power of science to bring his best friend back to life—with just a few minor adjustments. He tries to hide his home-sewn creation, but when Sparky gets out, Victor’s fellow students, teachers and the entire town all learn that getting a new “leash on life” can be monstrous.

A stop-motion animated film, “Frankenweenie” was filmed in black and white and rendered in 3D. The talented voice cast includes: Catherine O’Hara, Martin Short, Martin Landau, Charlie Tahan, Atticus Shaffer, Robert Capron, Conchata Ferrell and Winona Ryder. 

Presented by Disney, “Frankenweenie” is directed by Tim Burton, produced by Tim Burton and Allison Abbate, from a screenplay by John August, based on an original idea by Tim Burton. “Frankenweenie” releases in U.S. theaters on October 5, 2012.

Disclosure: I was invited to a press screening and did not pay to see the movie. I was not required to write about the movie as a condition of the invitation. This post reflects my views and opinions and was not reviewed or edited by a third party. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Sara

Review: Disney’s BRAVE

Disney Movie Brave

Disney/Pixar pushed the limits on technology to make BRAVE. The story of a Scottish princess uses technology that animators wished existed years ago when making other familiar films. This time, though, they had what they dreamed of and really challenged themselves not only to make the most of the technology they had but also to take the audience along on this adventure in the Scottish Highlands.

Queen Elinor is voiced by Oscar-winning actress Emma Thompson, who does a phenomenal job of giving life to an animated character. You hear the emotions in the voice which matches the animation, so much so that there were times I forgot all of the visuals were tech-created. King Fergus is also so well done you may think actor, musician, comedian Billy Connolly really is acting the part. Kelly Macdonald gives princess Merida her soul and you’re drawn in to her as a young girl rather than, like prior Pixar films, a computer generated character.

The scenery is beautiful and very authentic. It’s easy to believe the characters are real and living in medieval times. The cast of characters we see bring laughter and comic relief at just the right times.

The story, though, is where I had some challenges. From the initial press, BRAVE seemed to be a story about a young girl bucking traditions to establish a new path for her life rather than accepting tradition. I knew that the princess wasn’t going to do exactly what a princess was supposed to do. The title is, afterall, BRAVE. I thought Merida was going to be more Mulan than Ariel or Belle or Snow White.

It’s one thing to take control of your destiny, it’s something completely different to be part of a corporate formula of what little girls should learn about a being a princess. Princess Merida wasn’t born into royalty. It stems naturally then that she’s going to be different. In many ways she’s no different than other young girls when it come to pushing boundaries with what your mom tells you. And while it’s a challenge to learn all the princessy-stuff, Merida does her best while wrestling with her inner country commoner who was taught to be independent at a young age.

As a princess, though, Merida doesn’t see eye-to-eye with her mother. In a fit she storms off and this is where I was less than pleased with the storyline. It’s formula. Sure it took its cue from the legend Queen Elinor was teaching to Merida. The story had Merida living out the gist of the legend. Although, it did throw in a witch (which, oddly, looked very much like the witch from the Snow White’s Scary Adventure ride) the story really didn’t need if they’d put a little more thought and creativity to making the legend more an integral part of the film.

At the end, of course, everything turns out OK and all is well in the Kingdom once again. It’s not without suspense and the edge-of-your-seat hoping that everything turns out OK and Merida and her mom are, once again, happily together. Was it a good movie, absolutely. Were there parts I was disappointed with, yes to that one too.

The big measure of success was what BabyGirl and her BFF thought of the movie. Two 9 year old girls loved the movie. They both thought the story was OK and they were sad that Merida and her mom got into a fight. While they knew it was just a movie, it impressed upon them that it’s OK to be mad at your mom but you shouldn’t wish anything bad to happen to her because maybe it will and that part made them sad. Overall though, they were so excited to have seen it (in 3D, too!) and see a strong girl as the main character, as well as the love among the family. They also liked that there were very funny parts too.

Directed by Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman, and produced by Katherine Sarafian, BRAVE opens in theaters across the US on June 22, 2012, and will be presented in Disney Digital 3D™ in select theaters.

Disclosure: I was invited to a press screening and did not pay to see the movie. I was not required to write about the movie as a condition of the invitation. This post reflects my views and opinions and was not reviewed or edited by a third party. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Image courtesy of Disney/Pixar

Sara

DreamWorks Studio War Horse Movie Review

War Horse Movie

Opening Christmas Day, this DreamWorks Studio film brings to the big screen a story based on the children’s novel of the same name, War Horse. Since it was a story originally written for children, there was some liberty taken to create a vivid and visually stimulating film that would transport you back to World War I Europe. Directed by Steven Spielberg, you can expect a seamless transition from the opening to the very end.

Despite not having the money to buy the thoroughbred, Albert’s father’s pride overtakes him and he commits to buying a horse that is not intended to do farm work. Joey, as the horse is named, becomes Albert’s best friend and does for him chores and tasks a horse of his caliber never should. Joey and Albert work together to save the family farm, only to be sold to Captain Nicholls (Tom Hiddleston) as the war begins to mount. Distraught, Albert Narracott (Jeremy Irvine) tried to join the military but is too young.

The story follows the horse from owner to owner, and through it, Albert becomes woven in as he joins the military effort. Nominated for two Golden Globes, War Horse features a grand view that is often associated with Spielberg films of this caliber. It is an episodic production that takes you from pre-war Britain through epic battles, grissly scenes of war and destruction, personal determination and love for a horse that somehow connects with every owner, to an ending that you hope for as the movie progresses.

It’s a very intense movie, as one would expect from a war-focused film. But just as intense as the war scenes, the interaction that each person has with Joey (played by 15 horses from foal to adulthood) is lovingly developed. As a representative of the over 8 million horses that lost their lives in World War I, Joey shows how much the war relied on the efforts of these amazing animals. Furthermore, it demonstrates that although they were often used to the point of breaking, the equine faction of the militaries were critical for more than just power. While most don’t befriend their war horse, there are those special bonds that do develop that allow the ordinary to do the extraordinary.

While it is historical fiction, we get a very good understanding of the various relationships that existed during the war as well and a glimpse at life in pre-war Europe.The cinematography is extraordinary and the entire cast transports you back to a time and place few of us would ever want to know. For adults who grew up hearing stories of World War I from their grandfathers, this movie will solidify those memories. For those of us who did not, the simplistic nature of the story sufficiently creates a narrative for a war we’ll never fully understand.

This isn’t as much a story about war as it is about courage and dedication. With a star-studded cast, and a few newcomers, War Horse is definitely an award-worthy film.  The main character doesn’t speak, but his story is beautifully told. Since the story was originally penned for children, it’s more a story about the powerful human bond with nature and the dedication to caring for each other that is basic to humanity. Set in a war, the story takes on multiple dimensions but never strays far from the theme of courageous action.

Definitely not for young children, War Horse is rated PG-13. While not overly violent or gory as compared to some movies, discretion is recommended. The mostly male cast allows for the few female roles to shine and both Emily Watson (Rosie Narracott) and Celine Buckens (Emilie) are wonderful and reel you further in to the theme.

War Horse Movie Trailer

Directed by Steven Spielberg; written by Lee Hall and Richard Curtis, based on the novel by Michael Morpurgo; and produced by longtime partners Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy. The movie is released by DreamWorks Pictures and Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. Run time: 2 hours 26 minutes.

Opens December 25, 2011


Disclosure: I was invited to a press screening and did not pay to see the movie. I was not required to write about the movie as a condition of the invitation. This post reflects my views and opinions and was not reviewed or edited by a third party. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Sara

Disney’s The Muppets Movie Review

Formula, trite, hilarious and laugh out loud funny, Disney’s The Muppets is a combination of 1980s schtick and current comedy. Co-written by Jason Segal, who also stars in the movie as Gary, the story stays true to what made The Muppets part of the family when they were TV darlings in the late 1970s. Amy Adams is the perfect balance, as Mary, to a cast that includes a multitude of cameos from celebrities most parents will easily recognize. And we’re introduced to Walter, Gary’s brother, who is, well, not like the other kids in Smalltown.

First things first – go see the movie! It’s not a film that will teach you anything or make you ponder the plight of anyone or anything. It’s a movie that will make you laugh and bring back memories of watching The Muppet Show in your living room as a child. All the characters are there, not having aged one bit – Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Beaker, Gonzo, Animal, and a host of ‘minor muppets’. And all the goofy gags are sprinkled in too.

Jack Black plays a small but important role, which I think missed the mark. He really could have been used better and the interaction funnier. Then again, I thought Nacho Libre and School of Rock were both very good. He is such a versatile actor and his sarcasm, wit and physical comedy would have added a great deal if it had been used better. Jack Black does a great job with what he’s given though.

Watching the movie it was easy to predict what would come next, which is why I say it was formula and trite. I say that in a good way. The Muppets franchise is very formula. I don’t expect out-of-the-box routines. Although, with so much more technology and all that has happened in the years since they’d last been together I expected more references to pop culture and current situation than were there.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a movie without Kermit or Miss Piggy. The love story was spot on, albeit a very minor part of the movie. I’m glad it was included because it’s that romantic tension between the two that really is the cohesion for The Muppets. That being said, Miss Piggy could have had a better back story. She’s the editor of Plus-Size Vogue in France! That could have been a bit more developed than the 3 minutes it got.

Enter the trite again with Kermit singing The Rainbow Connection and Miss Piggy appearing at the end. Again, I say that in a good way. If the movie did not include such a sappy rendition it just wouldn’t have been true to the history of The Muppets. And speaking of trite, let’s not forget the hokey musical numbers that are both lame and hilarious at the same time. Amy Adams really goes all out to take the sappyness we’d expect to a very muppetational level!

Without giving away the end, let’s just say it left me hanging. I realize the movie wasn’t about how it ended, but I just needed to know did they or didn’t they save the theater. There was too much attention paid to the bad guy at the end, although it did include a very typical muppet moment with Fozzie Bear banging his head and altering the tote-board.

I saw the screening and it included quite a few little and young kids, many of whom talked through the movie and asked a million questions. Annoying, to say the least. But it demonstrated that while the Muppets themselves are universal the story was probably over their head and definitely geared toward the parents who grew up with these characters. Even tweens, talking after the show, didn’t seem to understand why some of the gags were funny. Well, they’re funny only if you’ve watched the Muppets before and understand the relationship between the characters. For example, Animal being in an anger management program isn’t pertinent if you don’t realize how crazy Animal is. Gonzo blowing up his plumbing business is only funny if you understand that Gonzo’s many attempts at blowing things up is part of the Muppet franchise formula.

The Muppets movie is rated PG due to ‘some rude humor’. DUH! It’s the Muppets, of course there is rude humor. But, really, there isn’t much in there that I’d say you’d object to the average 5 year old seeing. Nonetheless, don’t go thinking this is one of those bland, milquetoast kind of movies with cute little muppets. There movie obviously wasn’t written for kids, but for the grown-ups who grew up with Muppets.

Go see the movie! It is funny, despite being something that feels like you’d have seen while sitting on your living wearing your pajamas before heading off to bed when you were a kid. I think Jim Hensen would be proud!

Manah Manah!

Disclosure: I was invited to a press screening and did not pay to see the movie. I was not required to write about the movie as a condition of the invitation. This post reflects my views and opinions and was not reviewed or edited by a third party. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Sara

Recipe and Review: Tavern Direct Smokin’ Chipotle Marinade

Smokin' Chipotle Street Tacos image - All Rights Reserved

This month, Tavern Direct sent me Smokin’ Chipotle Marinade and Sauce. It’s a Mexican twist on a gourmet BBQ sauce when you want that sweet and hot flavor. My first thought, though was to use it in making something that is basic but enjoyed by everyone that eats them – Street Tacos!

I marinaded the chicken for a few hours and baked them in the oven at 400F for about 20 minutes. After they cooled, I shredded the chicken and tossed it with a few tablespoons of marinade to give it a little extra kick.

When you’ve read my other reviews and recipes for other Tavern Direct sauces you know I go for quick and easy but a lot of flavor. So just like the Steak Sauce Vinaigrette, Chandelier Greek Pasta Salad or Asian Slaw, these Smokin’ Chipotle Street Tacos are – as they say on The Food Network – Off The Hook!

At just $8.50 a bottle, this will turn you into the gourmet chef everyone already thinks you are. Only you don’t have to do any work. Add it to burgers, marinade chicken, use it as a spicy BBQ sauce for steak. You can’t go wrong!

And because Lou is such a great guy he’s giving me a 20% off code so you can get some in your kitchen ASAP!

Visit TavernDirect and Save 20% on your favorite oils, sauces and gift baskets! Use coupon code: Wild20

Smokin’ Chipotle Chicken Street Tacos

Serves 4
Level: Super Easy
Time: 15 min prep, 20-25 min cooking

2 Chicken Breasts (I use on the bone for more flavor)
1/4 cup Smokin’ Chipotle Marinade

1 can Black Beans
1/4 Red Onion, chopped fine
1/4 cup Mexican Cheese
12 corn tortillas
Salsa or pico de gallo
Avocado, sliced or cubed
Lime

Place chicken and marinade in zip top bag and marinade up to 2 hours. Remove chicken from bag and discard unused marinade. Place chicken on baking sheet and bake at 400F for approximately 25 minutes. Cook time will vary depending on the type/size of chicken used. When juices run clear, remove from oven and cool slightly so you can shred the chicken.

Warm the tortillas and beans.

You can either make all the tacos yourself or let everyone make their own. We’re a “make your own” family!

Variation:
I don’t always use the tortillas and instead will make rice and create a ‘taco bowl’ layering the ingredients more like a casserole.

You can make these however you wish and add any ingredients your family likes for tacos or burritos. Get creative!

This is just one way to use the Smokin’ Chipotle Marinade from Tavern Direct.

How do you think you’d use it?

To learn more about Tavern Direct and its mission to support children, read about Lou Bivona. I support Tavern Direct and the programs at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children because I believe that we are the village.

Disclosure: I was provided a complimentary bottle of Smokin’ Chipotle from Tavern Direct. All opinions are my own. No affiliate links are used in this post.

Sara

Mrs. Prindable’s Apples: An Apple A Day …..

Actual Mrs. Prindable's Apple Received

I was in college when I was first introduced to Mrs. Prindable’s luscious caramel and chocolate apples. These things are as big as your head! OK, not really, but they are ample to say the least.

My mom bought me my first Mrs. Prindable’s apple. It was a regular caramel apple with chocolate. I still remember it because it was so fancy and it was such a splurge. Not much has changed in these last 20-plus years. Even the prices of these beauties are still about the same. And they’re still certified kosher!

Mine arrived in a box with ice to keep it cool. That was great because it was still in the 80s here when it arrived. And it was left out front for a few hours too. I opened the shipping box to find a gorgeous purple box wrapped in bubble wrap for added protection.

Inside was a beautiful, extra large fancy caramel and 3-chocolate apple. It weight about 3 pounds! I put it in the refrigerator for a few days until CycleGuy came home for the weekend so we could all share. I’m giving like that! And, also, I knew that if I opened the package and started nibbling that I’d end up eating the whole thing. Even though it’s a large apple, I saw the serving size and knew that eating the entire tasty delight would not be prudent.

Oh, but when I did, heaven! The apple was crisp and tart to balance the sweet of the creamy and chewy caramel and all three chocolates that enrobed the apple. I followed the directions and took the apple out of the refrigerator and let it stand at room temperature about 30-minutes. Definitely sound advice. Otherwise it would be too cold and the caramel would be too hard to truly enjoy.

Years ago I would watch QVC and buy the petite Mrs. Prindable’s gift sets when they were on the special value. Everyone loved them! Really, how can you go wrong with a tasty apple and quality caramel, chocolate and other delicious toppings? And they always reminded me of my mom.

One of the things I love about Mrs. Prindable’s is that they are Kosher. I have friends that keep kosher and it’s always a challenge to find them a gift to send for the holiday that will make a gathering extra special and less stress.  Who wouldn’t want to get a jumbo apple with a dreidel? My favorite, though is the petite apple 4-pack for either Hanukkah or Christmas.

The petite apples are just so adorable. You get to try different flavor combination, and for under $30 there are several gift sets from which to choose. Really, you can’t go wrong ordering these for friends and family as a gift or as a desert for your family.

Besides the fact that I’m not a great photographer, I don’t have any pictures of the apple cut up. Why? Because if I moved away from my apple to take pictures someone, who shall remain nameless, would take my apple. All because that person is trying to keep the doctor away.  I’m not sure this is what was intended, but I’m pretty sure that my doctor wouldn’t turn one down if I were to show up with one!

If you want to give a quality gift to a colleague, or a hostess gift or to send to friends and family, you can’t go wrong with Mrs. Prindable’s.  They are the original! I’ve tasted others and I’ll stick with Mrs. Prindable’s, thank you.  You should too!

Now you’re wanting one, right? And you’re asking yourself “How do you order?”

The Mrs. Prindable’s website is easy to navigate and will make you drool so get a tissue before you go there. Also, they’re giving away an Apple a Day on their Facebook. You can read all about how you can enter to win a Mrs. Prindable’s apple.

Disclosure: My friend Kim loves me so much she sent me a Mrs. Prindable’s apple.  Actually, Kim owns Mom Impact and they work with Mrs. Prindable’s and the Mrs. Prindable’s fairies sent me one because I’m a member of Mom Impact and it is all kinds of awesome!

Sara

Mastermind Game Review & Giveaway [CLOSED]

Have you ever told your kids to find a book and read? Or play a quiet game? Have you wanted to play board games with guests but wanted something a little more sophisticated? Even though I only have one child, quiet is something I often long for. Even if I’m going to play the game, I don’t always want the buzzing or zapping or whirring of an electronic game. Or the active nature of the Wii.

Sometimes, I want to sit down and have my mind be still. Tune out all the sounds and electronics and do something interactive with BabyGirl. My brother and I played board games when we were kids and while they often devolved into a screaming match of “you cheated” and “no I didn’t”, it was the brain games that were always the most fun. The games where it was truly me against my much smarter (please DO NOT tell him I am saying that or my life will never be the same) brother.

Today, though, it seems kids still crave the mental gymnastics of brain teasers, mental math games and games of strategy (or, strategery if you’re being silly in my house!). That’s why I’ve really enjoyed the Mastermind game I got at the SITS Girls’ Bloggy Boot Camp in San Francisco. I can still engage with BabyGirl and I don’t have to look at TV or listing to electronic sounds.

And she gets to try and outsmart Mamma! Now, we all know that’s a ton of fun!!

With its colorful pegs and very simple directions, kids of all ages can play Mastermind. It does have small parts, so keep it away from the little ones though. BabyGirl picks the 4 pegs she wants as the secret code and places them in the order she wants in the compartment. Then, it’s up to me or any willing sucker (uh, player) to try and break the code.

Except for the occasional misplaced marker, it’s a game with lots of laughter and bantering. Sometimes, I even hear the occasional taunt when BabyGirl plays with her daddy. They’re both pretty competitive!

Each game takes about 10 – 15 minutes, just about the right amount of time to avoid becoming bored. Because just when you start to think the kids will get bored, the stakes are raised and someone is about to break the code.

We have all three versions of the Mastermind games – Deluxe, Standard and Travel. We actually do travel with the game just incase we’re stuck in an airport or have too much down time. It’s also great on a plane because it’s compact and everything has it’s own compartment so the pieces don’t get loose. We love taking ours to restaurants to pass the time waiting for our food.

Mastermind is a classic game that harkens back to the pre-electronic game days. No batteries needed. Just the desire to make your opponent work hard to break your code or be the best codebreakers! Taking turns, thinking, figuring out patterns – all the things needed to keep the brain in tiptop shape!

Most anyone can play, especially older family members who may not know how to use electronic games. And while there is plenty excitement, it’s a relatively quite game that the kids can play when mom or dad need quiet time or if using the travel game out at a restaurant, in an airport or on a plane or train. The travel version is terrific for camping or at hotels when the kids start in with the “I’m bored!”.

Does your household need one? Do you think this is the key to a peaceful meal at a restaurant? Then you’re in luck!

Mastermind is giving one reader their choice of the Standard or Travel version of the game. Whether at home or on the go, you and your family will love this game!

How to Enter: Leave a comment telling me if you grew up playing Mastermind. Easy as that! Of course, if you don’t follow me on Twitter you can always do that. You can also subscribe to my blog via email or in a reader to get me delivered to you daily. I’m on Facebook too!

Details, Details: One entry per person. Multiple entries will be deleted. Please provide a valid email so you can be contacted should you win. This giveaway will end at 11:59pm on Monday October 4th.

Sara

Smart & Final Review and Giveaway {Closed}

You know how I like a good grocery deal. So, when I was approached to check out Smart & Final of course I said yes! I’ve shopped at Smart & Final in the past. Normally, I’ve gone there to get things if we were having a party. I have purchased plastic coffee cups, extra flatware and plasticware type of things.

This time though, my goal was to check out Smart & Final and see how it could help me manage my time and my budget. I took my time and checked out every aisle. They had many things that are carried in the local grocery store, but often in different sizes. So if you have a large family or are shopping for a gathering it would make shopping easy. Plus, you don’t need a membership card! That makes it very convenient for so many people, who want to take advantage of bulk deals but aren’t interested in joining a warehouse club.

I loved that there were restaurant grade items available. I love cooking and I’ve often thought it would be great to have a commercial grade giant muffin tin? Makes me want to mix up a batch of muffins! You don’t have to belong to a restaurant or work in foodservice to buy one. And they have large stockpots and heavy duty skillets too.

As I walked the aisles I noticed they had quite a few organic foods too — milk, juice, various foods. I appreciated this because not only would I be able to get organic foods but I could buy them in a larger quantity. Often, organic foods are sold in small packages. So having the opportunity to buy enough for a few weeks or to take to a gathering was a plus because it was a time savings and a good price.

Like most grocery stores and club stores, Smart & Final sells cleaning supplies. What I liked most was that many of the cleaning products were commercial grade. Not that my house needs them, but because I sometimes buy things for organizations I volunteer at we need professional strength goods. Not having to make an extra stop at the janitorial supply would be a great convenience.

In general, I was really impressed with what Smart & Final offered. It had been quite awhile since I’d been in to one. I really liked that it was small enough to get in and out quickly. And you won’t be tempted to buy a TV or books or a vacuum cleaner. There was always a good selection so you had plenty of choice. The prices were very competitive and you won’t need a membership.

If you haven’t been to Smart & Final, I recommend you check it out for yourself.

WIN TWO $5 SMART & FINAL GIFT CARDS

Smart & Final is located in the following states: Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, & Washington

To Enter:

1) Visit the Smart & Final website and leave me a comment about what you think you might like about shopping there.

EXTRA ENTRIES (feel free to do as many as you wish)

2) Subscribe to Saving For Someday in a Reader. Confirm your subscription, come back here and leave me a comment letting me know you subscribed. If you are already a subscriber, thank you, please leave me a comment letting me know!

3) Tweet about this giveaway on twitter and include @Saving4Someday. Leave a comment letting me know you tweeted! (limit to one entry per day)

4) Grab my Button or add Saving For Someday to your Blogroll. The code for the button is on my sidebar. Leave me a comment with a link to your site so I can come visit your site.

Leave a comment for each entry and enter by Tuesday July 6th at 11:59pm PST. I will choose the winner on Wednesday using Random.org and will contact the winner by email or twitter, so please make sure I can reach you. The winner will have 48 hours to contact me to claim their prize. U.S. Residents only.

Disclosure: Collective Bias compensated me for a few items I purchased at Smart & Final. I purchased the gift card myself to give away to one of my readers. My opinions are my own and were not influenced by either Smart & Final or Collective Bias.


Sara