Once In a MINION

  • July 27, 2015
  • Jenna Maxwell

Once in a MinionSomething has been on our mind, and perhaps it has been on yours as well. Is it possible that the world is slowing being taken over by Minions?  It was just an ordinary summer day back in 2010 when theaters around the globe were suddenly hit with some wacky form of yellow fever known unofficially on the streets as “Minion Mania.”  The animated film, “Despicable Me” first introduced the Minions who are the kooky, and mildly evil henchmen that loyally worked for Dr. Gru, the mastermind behind a whole lot of naughty stuff.  Are the Minions themselves bad guys?  Well, probably.  Do we love them anyway?  Apparently we do because the world can’t seem to get enough of these little knuckleheads.  Here’s everything you every wanted to know about the Minions--and maybe even a little bit that you wish you didn’t. 

Got Evil?  Historically, the Minions have been very (almost overly) excited to help fulfill the evil deeds of their bosses, in the friendliest and most fun loving way possible, of course.  Minions are said to have quite a colorful back history, doing the grunt work for the likes of vampires, T. Rex and a few other big dogs like an Egyptian pharaoh and even Napoleon.  Sadly most of their misadventures ended in the near-death of their villainous employers, necessitating the Minions to seek other malevolent options. With a story like this, you’d think that the Minions would have seen it all when it comes to dirty deeds.  The Minions, however, seem to be on a centuries-old quest.  They are on the hunt for the most villainous master they can find.  And why do they seek out the super bad guys?  Because doing the playfully wanton is what makes the Minions so very, very happy.

Got Brains?  Shhhh, there may be a bit of confusion out there when it comes to the Minions and their supposed level of intelligence.  Minions are rumored to have morphed from a single-celled organism. Thus, they are assumed to be very simple-minded and lacking intelligence.  The dumb act is likely a clever ruse.  Do NOT be fooled by the Minion’s somewhat moronic behavior.  Minions have been known to build and use weapons, are knowledgeable about operating computers and even can drive a car.  Don’t be lulled by their wide-eyed, innocent and childlike demeanor.  Minions are clearly smarter than they might have you believe.

Speak Gobbley Gook?  Minions speak fluent Minionese, which sounds a lot like nonsensical babble mostly because that is most likely what it is.  Interestingly enough, Minions clearly understand English.  Here is a list of some translations of the more common words in the Minionese  (aka Banana) language.


English                 Minionese (Banana Language)

Hello!                    Bello!                                       
Goodbye!             Poopaye!
Thank You!         Tank Yu!
I’m Hungry!        Me want banana!
Ugly!                     Bananaonina!
We love you!      Tulaliloo ti amo!
I hate you!           Tatata bala tu!
Toy                        Baboi
Apple                    Bapple
Ice Cream            Gelato
I’m Sorry             Bi-do
Look at you        Luk at tu
Butt            Butt

Got Personality?  Minions are hard, but not impossible to differentiate from one other if you know what you are looking for.  Minions have either one or two eyes and wear a pair of appropriate goggles that help them to see better, and even possess a bit of night vision.  Minions are completely obsessed with bananas and apples (bapples), and the mere sight of one of these innocuous little fruits can result in complete Minion Mayhem.  Minions have been known to be very obnoxious,  finding extreme humor in anything butt-related, while enjoying all immature and annoying activities such as spitting, laughing at the sound of bubbles and in general, just causing unnecessary trouble.  Minions only have three fingers, but it doesn’t seem to stop them from accomplishing (or making a mess of) the task that is at hand. Because of their lack of self-control and completely impulsive behavior, Minions do tend to find themselves in one hilarious pickle after another. 

Got Costume?  Dressing up as your favorite Minion character and creating the Minion look is fairly simple.  A Minion looks similar to a yellow jellybean, sporting a distinctive cylindrical shape.  Minions wear goggles with either one or two lenses, depending on how many eyes they may have along with a pair of blue overalls emblazoned with Dr. Gru’s insignia.  Minions also accessorize their unique look with a small pair of black gloves.  

Got Mad Minion Love? So what is about the Minions that everyone seems to embrace?  Perhaps it is the infectious, carefree, childlike glee that embodies them as they go about their loyal (albeit misguided) service.  Or maybe we just can’t help but secretly relate to this wacky cast of utter kooks.  They photocopy their butts.  They giggle over silly sounds.  They go crazy over their favorite foods.  Sometimes they feel insecure.  And then there’s this--how can anyone resist complete fools that sing with such unabashed enthusiasm?

Minions.  Learn more about the Minion's completely hilarious story in “Minions” playing now in a theater near you.

Once In a MINION

Christmas in July

  • July 20, 2015
  • Jenna Maxwell

Christmas In July

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard the phrase “Christmas in July.”  Now before you go rolling your eyes thinking, “oh no…no…no…I can’t start thinking about Christmas yet!!!” just process the idea for a minute and consider a few points on the matter. 

Can You Say Sales, Deep Discounts and Clearance?  While you are out vacationing, swimming and dragging the kids to see all those summer blockbusters, what are your local retailers doing?  Markdowns--lots and lots of markdowns.  There are a lot of awesomely crazy sales going on out there in retail land and you may want to clean the sand out from between your toes for long enough to take advantage of some of these major deals.  Besides epic markdowns, you can bet that the throngs of people that flock to your local shopping mecca are mostly on vacation.  No lines?  Amazing deals?  Now how does this whole Christmas in July thing sound? 

Consider this.  Amazon now has “Prime Day” which they hope to parlay into a bargain hunter’s shopping event akin to Black Friday or Cyber Monday.  Walmart is following suit, simultaneously rolling out thousands of special deals and even some “special atomic deals” just in time for July shoppers--wow, that sounds like a bona fide sales explosion. 

Christmas in July sales are hardly a new concept for retailers--these types of promotions have been a summer boon to mass marketers such as Target and Best Buy for years.  Now that Amazon and Walmart are fully on board, however, the face of Christmas in July may be forever changed.  The bottom line for consumers is, there are deals out there to be had, so why not take advantage of them?  Haven’t we all been saying for a decade that we were going to try and get our Christmas shopping done earlier, anyway? 

Not into shopping for holiday gifts in July?  Well, July still makes a great month for travel and to reconnect with your family and friends.  There is no snow or winter weather to deal with, airports are less congested, and many people were already planning on vacationing during the summer.  Now, we’re not suggesting that we move the holiday season to the summer months; however, we do think that there is a lot about Christmas in July that is worth checking out.  


Christmas in July

Comic Con: So Much More Than Cosplay

  • July 13, 2015
  • Jenna Maxwell

Comic Con 2015If you think that Comic-Con is just an excuse for comic loving nerds to dress up as their favorite characters, well you may be a little bit off the mark.  Truthfully, many who do attend Comic Con do so for the Cosplay and thus, elaborate costumes have become part of the game.  But Comic Con goes way beyond costume dress up.  With so much happening at Comic-Con, attending this bonafide dweeb-fest may not be so nerdy after all.   With this year’s Comic-Con in San Diego just winding up, we’re here to set the record straight.  

Something for Everyone! If you think that Comic-Con is just for shining members of Geekdom, you are probably going to be very surprised.  Comic-Con has become a big deal.  It has morphed into an event of epic proportions that carries with it a very wide appeal to the masses, thus the crowds wanting to go, get bigger each and every year.  This year, a lottery was required as a fair method of distributing the suddenly hard to come by tickets! The event itself has become very big business and to draw bigger and bigger crowds into Comic-Con, the schedule and itinerary now has a huge and rather an eclectic mix of events including:

  • Star-studded panels. Cast and creative team members were on tap representing many of favorite movies, television programs, and, of course, video games.  This year there was a surprise appearance by Harrison Ford, who made his first public appearance since his plane crash.  His appearance was a major highlight of the much-applauded Star Wars panel.
  • New Trailers.  Many new trailers for upcoming films were released at Comic-Con.  We’ve included a few of these for your viewing pleasure below!
  • Speakers. Experts on a wide variety of industry topics come to Comic-Con.  These include pros speaking on subjects such as prosthetic use in costumes, makeup techniques, writing tips, making movies on a low budget, drawing skills and plenty of topics specifically targeted for kids.
  • Lots and Lots of Comics!  Comic Con didn’t get its moniker by accident.  Panels and booths for all the heavy hitters ran amok at Comic Con.  Wolverine, The Simpsons, Batman v. Superman, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Monster High and many, many more.
  • Selfies, Selfies, Selfies.  There was never a better or more appropriate opportunity for selfie-takers.  Stars and fans alike were seen taking photos that today are likely making the rounds on social media.
  • Cosplay!  Comic Con is what die-hard cosplayers live for and many will spend the entire year designing and creating the costume that they will wear to this very special event.


Check out these Comic-Con highlights!

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Comic-Con Reel:

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice Comic Con Trailer

Hunger Games:  Mockingjay Pt. 2

The Walking Dead Season 6 Comic Con Trailer

Comic-Con--where it’s just so cool (not to mention fun) to be a nerd.   

Comic Con:  So Much More Than Cosplay

9 Strange (But True) Facts Straight Out of The Wild West

  • July 13, 2015
  • Jenna Maxwell

9 Strange (But True) Facts Straight Out of The Wild WestAmerican’s love the old west.  Gunfights.  Stage Coach robberies. Cowboys and Indians.  Hearty pioneers were heading west.  Gold Rush fever.  Outlaws.  Poker games and saloon brawls.  Life in the old West can almost seem romantic at times, and there are plenty of gritty Western films that fully perpetuate this notion.  No matter what your vision of the old west may be, it’s likely that the reality of nineteenth-century western life is not nearly what you may have envisioned.  Here are some strange facts about the Wild, Wild West that you probably didn’t know! 

Very (Very) Smelly Cowboys.  Native Americans were appalled at how uncivilized (and smelly) the new western emigrants were.  Can you imagine traveling in the sun for days on end with no sunscreen or deodorant, no change of clothing and no access to clean water?  The reality for most westward travelers was overly sun-baked, leathery skin and filthy sweaty bodies that just reeked!  Women wore long dresses and men long pants while traveling in extremely high temperatures.  Because these folks likely never changed clothing--let alone bathe--to say that they were stinky is a vast understatement.  The water that was available along the trail was often foul and contaminated, resulting in chronic diarrhea for many, only compounding the trail travel woes. The local natives were completely repulsed by the wretched stench of the new settlers due to their complete lack of hygiene.  The more civilized Indians had adapted to the rough conditions of the west, and most of them did bathe on a regular basis.  

And You Think Your Bottled Water is Expensive?  Water demand became a huge issue for trail weary travelers because they were ill prepared for such a hot, long and arduous journey.  Sly businessmen from California took barrels of water westward to sell to the desperately thirsty and parched settlers.  It was not unheard of for a cup of water to sell for one dollar, five dollars or even at times up to one hundred dollars.  Just to give you a little perspective, in those days a pound of bacon sold for approximately one cent.  Water, in some instances, was as valuable as gold.

Trail Traffic Jams. You think you have traffic problems? Well, the western emigrants had their share of traffic woes.  That vision you have of a lone wagon, making its way slowly through the prairie--well, that’s probably not very realistic.  Wagons of folks traveled on trails in enormous groups. Historians have noted that there were sometimes so many wagons on the trail that you could see dozens and dozens of them, for as far as the eyes could see.  No big deal right?  Well, if you were at the rear of the pack, the dust that was kicked up by the giant wagon train could get incredibly thick and miserable. A pair of goggles was necessary for one to be able to see.  The horses and animals that brought up the rear often had nowhere to graze, as the animals that were leading the way had already overgrazed the land.   The earlier travelers often had made latrine facilities near the trail that would eventually contaminate the water supply of those that came along later.

Mormon Pioneers Were Illegal Immigrants:  Technically speaking, when the first group of Mormon pioneers hit the Salt Lake Valley in 1847, this area of the West was still a part of Mexico.  In 1848, Utah was finally annexed, becoming an official territory of the United States.

Elmer McCurdyNo Rest for the Wicked.  A notorious bank robber and the outlaw named Elmer McCurdy died in 1911 during a shootout in Oklahoma.  Because no one came to claim Mr. Mc Curdy’s body, the funeral home director felt compelled to embalm the body with a very strong preservative solution. He shaved Mr. Mc Curdy and dressed him up nicely in a suit.  The parlor director refused to bury or release the body until he received appropriate payment for his services, but no one ever came forward to claim poor Mr. Mc Curdy’s remains. To recoup his losses, the funeral director decided to put the outlaw’s body on display to the public, charging an admission fee to view the corpse.  Outlaw Mc Curdy became advertised as “The Bandit Who Wouldn’t Give Up,” and many folks came by to see the remains of poor Elmer.  Eventually, a traveling carnival company bought the remains of Elmer Mc Curdy and used the corpse as part of a sideshow tour until 1949.  Eventually, the body was put into storage.  By this time, Elmer’s body was thought to be an old, deteriorating prop, no one realizing that the truth was much more macabre. For a time, the body was even being used as a scary decoration that was part of a funhouse down in Long Beach, CA.  In 1976, the supposed “prop” was shockingly discovered to be actual human remains.  After an investigation, the Los Angeles coroner’s office determined that the corpse was that of long-deceased Elmer Mc Curdy.  Mr. Mc Curdy received a proper buried in Oklahoma in 1977.

Cowboys and Camels?  Believe it or not, during the early 1800's, someone came up with the idea that camels would acclimate themselves rather nicely to the arid western climate.  In 1843, sixty-six camels were imported to the west from the Middle East, forming the U.S. Camel Corps.  The experiment was largely considered a success--that is until the Civil War broke out, at which time the camels that had not escaped into the wilderness were purchased by the circus.  The last known sighting of a wild camel was in Texas, in 1941. 

Most Old West Cowboys Didn’t Wear Cowboy Hats.  Most everyone wore some form of headwear back in the old West. The traditional cowboy hat, however, was not making a strong fashion statement at that time, and very few people wore one. The old-fashioned bowler, however, was far more popular amongst fashionable western men.  

Risky Travel.  The famous Oregon Trail measured a very long 2,020 miles.  Approximately 350,000 emigrants would set out to traverse this trail but it is said that one of every seventeen travelers would die while on the journey.  The most common cause of death was from cholera, which is likely due to contaminated water.

Young, Reliable Mail Service. The Pony Express only operated for a mere nineteen months, but even during this surprisingly short time, the riders carried nearly 35,000 pieces of mail over 650,000 miles. Only one bag of mail became lost or missing.  The average age of a Pony Express rider was nineteen, and his salary was less than $150 per month, plus room and board. 

Stick ‘Em Up!  Back in the Old West, everyone had a gun, didn’t they?  Believe it or not, back in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, gun laws were even stricter than they are today.  As towns and cities began to pop up throughout the western territories, local law enforcement officials often prohibited the carrying of all firearms. 

Do you want to create some exciting Wild West fun of your own? Don’t forget to check out our collection of western, frontier and Wild West styled costumes along with our corresponding rugged cowboy how-to videos that will help you put together a truly epic western look. May all your cowboy adventures come true! 

“The West, where a man can look farther and see less of anything but land and sky”~Will James

9 Strange (But True) Facts Straight Out of The Wild West

How to Make an Amazing DIY Dress Up Box

  • July 06, 2015
  • Jenna Maxwell

Dress Up DIYEveryone knows that dressing up in character is not just for Halloween! Kids have been playing  “dress up” for decades, mostly because it’s just plain fun! In spite of all the new-fangled technology that is now available for our children, sometimes there is nothing better than old-fashioned dress up play to keep kids happy and busy for hours.   Seriously, what could be better than that?  Now that the summer months are in full swing, there is no time like the present to put together the ultimate dress up box.  The best part of this idea is that most of the items can be obtained very inexpensively and in many cases, for free.

Get a Large Box or Container:  The first thing to do is to get a large container that will eventually hold your dress up supplies.  A large cardboard box will do nicely, or you can obtain a large storage container with a lid from a discount store.  Don’t underestimate how much fun your kids might have decorating this box as another “stay busy” summer project.  Stickers, markers, crayons, etc. can be used to add those special touches to the dress up box.

Gather Dress Up Items: Obviously you will want to consider your children’s likes/dislikes when assembling potential clothing/accessory items to use for dress up.  Here is our checklist of possible suggestions that you may like to have as part of your own collection.  Many or most of these items you may already have!

Adult Clothing Items:  Many old or used adult clothing items are perfect for children’s dress-up purposes.  Cleaning out your closet can be a great resource for potential dress up clothes. 

•    Old prom dresses or formals.  These can easily be cut off or re-hemmed so that a child can use them.  Consider short or mini-skirt adult styles that will fit a child as a long dress. 
•    Nightgowns
•    Men’s shirts
•    Men’s suit coats
•    Vests

Adult Accessories:  Accessories will be the most critical part of your child’s dress up box.  Many of these items you already own, so think about what you may be all too willing to retire!

•    Scarves
•    Gloves
•    Low heel shoes (avoid high heels for safety reasons)
•    Purses
•    Wallets
•    Sunglasses.  Remove lenses if you like so they look more like spectacles or glasses.
•    Ties
•    Beads, costume jewelry and clip-on earrings.  Avoid pins for safety reasons.
•    Furs
•    Wigs
•    Hair accessories:  headbands, hair bows, etc.

Kid-Size Items:  There are a few items you may want to consider having in your dress up box that should fit your child well.

•    A Basic Leotard
•    Boots (cowboy-style, rain boots, or even work boots)
•    Old Halloween costumes that still fit, or just use the components of them that still work.

Household Items:  There are a few household items that your kids may enjoy having as part of their dress-up box! 

•    Apron
•    Hairbrush and comb
•    Old cell phone
•    Old keys on a key chain
•    Plastic dishes
•    A full-length mirror.  Half of the fun of playing dress up is being able to check yourself out in the mirror during the getting ready process--and then again after the desired look is achieved!  Oooo la la!! 

Children’s toys to consider adding to your dress up box:

•    Child’s Doctor’s kit
•    Play Weapons (guns, swords, etc.)
•    Toy Microphone
•    Play Money

Other Fun Dress-Up Extra’s:  Any of the following items will add extra fun and excitement to your child’s dress-up experience and you may want to consider adding them to your dress up box as a little extra splurge.

•    Feather boas
•    Hats
•    Fairy wands and wings
•    Animal tails, masks or parts
•    Crowns or tiaras
•    Capes

May all your summertime imaginative adventures come true!  Happy dress up from your friends at Halloween Express! 

How to Make an Amazing DIY Dress Up Box