A tale of two cities {Detroit + Ann Arbor} with the 2018 Mazda3 Grand Touring sedan #DriveMazda

*Disclosure: I received the use of a vehicle for a week in exchange for this post. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.
This past week, I was able to try out the 2018 Mazda3 Grand Touring sedan, and it was definitely a great week to have this vehicle. Last Friday through Sunday, we got about 9-12 inches of snow, and the Mazda3 handled it like a champ.

This is the second Mazda vehicle I was able to review, the first being the 2018 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring AWD back in October, so I am semi-familiar with Mazda vehicles at this point. Although the interior is sometimes a little smaller-feeling, they are fun and zippy to drive, and the Mazda3 Grand Touring was no exception.
Last week was very busy for me, and I started off my week with the Mazda3 by seeing Finding Neverland in Detroit, at the Fisher, which was a fun show.

The next day, I headed to Detroit for a foodie event at Wahlburgers, and finished my day with a screening of Fifty Shades Freed. The day after that, I chauffe…

The Friday Five, 2/16/18: 5 things I've been up to this week

Last Friday I attempted to host a game night at my condo, but the weather deterred most of my friends from going; my boyfriend and three others did show up, though, and we had a fun time despite the weather. Fast-forward to today (Thursday 2/15) and it was 45 degrees out and most of the snow and ice have melted ... #PureMichigan at its finest.

What I've been up to this week:
Booking travel. Last week I talked about the two Unofficial Yelp Spring Breaks (UYSBs) that I'm hoping to attend. This week, I booked an Airbnb in Savannah, which looks gorgeous, and Amtrak and Megabus to/from Chicago. I'll still need to book airfare to Savannah, most likely on Delta with cash + miles, and an Airbnb in Chicago, at some point.Eating out, per usual. On Saturday, my boyfriend and I went to Ann Arbor to see Joshua Bell at Hill Auditorium on UM's campus (my 3rd time seeing Joshua Bell, actually), and beforehand, we went to Frita Batido's for dinner, with one of my friends. On Sunday,…

GIVEAWAY: Dream Dinners meal prep service, in Livonia {ends 2/23}

I've been on a "prepared cooking" kick lately—I recently tried out Hello Fresh for the first time, and really enjoyed it. I recently was introduced to Dream Dinners, a national chain which has Michigan locations in Rochester Hills and Livonia.

Dream Dinners is a service that lets you go to their store and assemble your own meals to take home. So it's similar to a service like Hello Fresh, but the difference is that you can pick and choose your own ingredients in-store.

How it works:

Dream Dinners has an entire FAQ page here, which includes information on pricing (varies by location).

I haven't yet experienced Dream Dinners, but the concept is a neat idea. I like that you can pick and choose what meals you want, and then assemble it in-store—when you get home, you can either put it in the fridge for cooking that week, or freeze it for later cooking. Most customers only take about an hour to prepare a month's worth of meals, as well.

Dream Dinners can be found at…

MOD Pizza announces seasonal pizza + salad {+ $25 giveaway! ends 2/22}

*Disclosure: I received a free meal at MOD Pizza in exchange for this blog post. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

If you've been following my blog for a while, you know I'm a big fan of MOD Pizza ... so when I was asked if I wanted to try its new seasonal pizza and salad, the answer was of course YES!

The seasonal MOD (which I found out this visit means Made On Demand - never knew that!) is the Phoenix pizza, which includes a white sauce, arugula & rosemary, asiago, Italian sausage, roasted mushrooms (a new ingredient!), roasted red peppers, and a balsamic fig glaze. It's 750 calories for an entire pizza which is pretty reasonable, too.

The seasonal salad includes kale, arugula, ricotta cheese, roasted red peppers and mushrooms, red onions, and a balsamic vinagrette, and has 150-590 calories, depending on what size you get.

The Phoenix pizza was DELICIOUS. I'm not usually a fan of white sauce, but I do like sweet sauces (like the balsamic fig glaze…

New at Best Buy: LG Twin Wash system, with Sidekick pedestal washer

*Disclosure: I have been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free in exchange for this blog post. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.
Best Buy recently released a new LG Twin Wash system, and they're offering a deal: through April 25th, receive up to $500 off an LG laundry solution for your home (click here for info).
At home, my washer and dryer system is positively ancient: although I moved in to my condo in late 2016, I've had the washer/dryer looked at my servicemen before and they have told me that they're from the late 1980s, when the condos were built. It's still a good set, but it's definitely aged beyond its years. 
With LG's TwinWash system, you have both the washer itself and also the LG Sidekick pedestal washer, which is great for small loads of laundry that you want to do right away. You can even use the pedestal washer while you do a bigger load of laundry on your…

Dunkin' Donuts introduces Valentine's Day doughnut flavors {+ $25 giveaway! ends 2/16}

Dunkin' Donuts is amping up for the Valentine's Day holiday by releasing some seasonal flavors this month! Read more about the flavors below, and enter to win a $25 Dunkin' Donuts gift card.

Dunkin’ Donuts is ready for Valentine’s Day by showing a little extra heart at the donut case. Dunkin’ Donuts’ famous festive heart-shaped donuts return today, and this year the brand is bringing guests beloved Valentine varieties along with a special seasonal surprise of sweet new names for its donut and MUNCHKINS donut hole treats.

Dunkin’ Donuts’ swoon-worthy selection of Valentine’s Day donuts includes the Vanilla Truffle Donut, a heart-shaped donut filled with vanilla-flavored buttercreme, frosted with vanilla icing and topped with semi-sweet chocolate curls. The Brownie Batter Crumble Donut is a heart-shaped donut filled with rich chocolatey brownie batter filling, frosted with chocolate icing and crumbled brownies, and Cupid’s Choice Donut is a heart-shaped donut filled with Bava…

The Friday Five, 2/9/18: 5 things I've been up to this week

My schedule has been a little off this week so it's felt like a long week. However, there has been a lot of stuff going on which has kept life exciting.

What I've been up to this week:
Appointments, meetings, and events. On Wednesday, I worked from home for a few hours, because I went downtown to Wahlburgers for a tasting of the new Impossible Burger, which is 100% vegetarian. I also had a dentist appointment that day. Lots of driving this week, however I have been ... Reviewing a car. This is definitely a great week to be driving the Mazda3, because it has snow tires (and we just got WALLOPED with snow last night - about 4-6 inches maybe) as well as a heated steering wheel and heated seats. Perks that my personal car does not have, ha ... Dining out and also cooking. Last week I tried a recipe for Kung Pao Brussels Sprouts - the sauce was delicious, but the sprouts came out kind of soft instead of crispy. I also got a 1-week subscription to Hello Fresh, and I made my first meal…

Movie Review: Peter Rabbit

The trailer for Peter Rabbit looked quite cute—I always enjoy movies that combine real-life action with digital animation, such as the rabbits in the film. However, the movie ended up being very funny, as well, with a lot of "adult" humor sprinkled in, and was definitely a fast-paced film too.

Peter Rabbit (voiced by James Corden) lives in the country with his sisters Flopsy (Margot Robbie), Mopsy (Elizabeth Debicki), and Cotton-tail (Daisy Ridley), as well as his cousin. They are well cared for by Bea (Rose Byrne, aka Beatrix Potter, author of the Peter Rabbit books), and even though they don't live with her, she always makes sure they're safe and comfortable. The only problem is Old Mr. McGregor (Sam Neill), the next-door neighbor, who has a lush garden but always keeps his gates shut.

Peter is a bit of a daredevil, and always up for a bit of stealing, but one day, events transpire that are irreversible; soon, a younger Mr. McGregor (Domhnall Gleeson) moves in, i…

GIVEAWAY: A Bad Moms Christmas on Blu-ray/DVD {ends 2/22}

I've partnered with a few other blogger friends to bring you this giveaway. Good luck!

Did you see A Bad Moms Christmas during the holidays? It is now out on DVD/Bluray!


Three overwhelmed and overworked mothers are ambushed during the holidays by their own moms. The original trio of suburban Chicago pals, Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell , and Kathryn Hahn, are joined by newcomers Christine Baranski, Cheryl Hines , and Susan Sarandon as the leading ladies’ respective mothers in this sequel to 2016’s breakout hit Bad Moms. Raunchy, witty, and fun, A Bad Moms Christmas, offers a hysterical look into the lives of moms dealing with familial pressures and expectations during the holidays.
Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis, and Kathryn Hahn star in A BAD MOMS CHRISTMAS.

The movie follows our three under-appreciated and over-burdened women as they rebel against the challenges and expectations of the Super Bowl for moms: Christmas. And if c…

It's Restaurant Week season in the Detroit area! {Winter 2018 edition}

The Detroit area tends to have a lot of Restaurant Weeks, but this year a LOT of them are overlapping. I've compiled this handy list for my readers so you can check out any and all that appeal to you.

What is Restaurant Week?
Restaurant Week is a magical time. Restaurants will frequently offer 3-course (and sometimes even 4-course) meals at a fraction of the normal price. I usually try to go out at least once for the area restaurant weeks, usually to an expensive-ish restaurant that I haven't tried yet and wanted to, because you are getting such good food at a discount.
Recently I went to Gandy Dancer for Ann Arbor's restaurant week, which was $28 for a 3-course dinner, and very tasty.

Upcoming dates: Feb. 5-9: Birmingham Restaurant Week. $15 lunch, $30 dinner. (also this past week)Feb. 12-18: Dearborn Restaurant Week. $10, $20, $30 options. http://www.dearbornrestaurantweek.comFeb. 16-25: Detroit Restaurant Week. $29/39 menus. http://www.detroit…

The Friday Five, 2/2/18: 5 things I've been up to this week

It's finally February! I'm hoping to be much healthier this month, both in eating habits and in overall well-being, though I've been eating out a lot this week. Birmingham Restaurant Week is this week (M-Fri only) and also next week (again M-Fri), too.

What I've been up to this week:
Eating out and attending events. Last weekend, my boyfriend's mom threw his dad a surprise 60th birthday party at Pia's, in Taylor, which has very tasty pizza, and that Sunday we went to Malek Al Kabob for sandwiches too (those + their homemade bread are so good). Also on Sunday, I went to (another!) blogger event for Fogo de Chao, which you can read about here, and on Tuesday, I went to Bad Brad's BBQ, in Orion Twp. (Lake Orion area) to take advantage of their "half off on Tuesdays" deal. Today, some Yelp friends and I are headed to Mad Hatter Bistro for dinner, as part of Birmingham Restaurant Week ($30 three-course dinner options, or $15 for lunch).

Also, on Tuesday,…

Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse (Troy, MI), a great place for foodies and meat-lovers

*Disclosure: I was provided with a complimentary meal at Fogo de Chao in exchange for this blog post. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

I initially reviewed the new Fogo de Chão, in Troy, MI, back in November when it first opened, so I was excited to be invited back recently to try it out again.

This time, instead of going with my parents, I attended with four other bloggers, and we were seated at a table right next to the chef's window, which was fun.

For my drink, I had the Strawberry Caipirinha - last time, I had the original Caipirinha flavor. The Strawberry Hibiscus Caipirinha is hibiscus-infused and comes with cachaca, muddle strawberries and lime. I'll confess I liked the original flavor better, but this drink was good as well.

We were again treated to the full churrasco experience ($48.95 for dinner, $34.95 for lunch) which includes the Market Bar and its surrounding tables. I knew from my previous experience to eat light at the Market Bar (more room fo…

Upcoming and GIVEAWAY: Les Miserables, February 27-March 11, Fisher Theatre, Detroit {ends 2/2}

*Disclosure: I have an ongoing relationship with Broadway in Detroit. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.
Photo credit, all photos: Matthew Murphy

Les Miserables will be coming to the Fisher Theatre this February, going through March, and I'm very excited to see it—I saw the movie version (from 2012) a few years ago but have never seen it live.

One of my readers has the chance to win two tickets to opening night, as well! Read on for more details.
About the show: Cameron Mackintosh’s acclaimed production of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg’s Tony Award-winning musical phenomenon, LES MISÉRABLES, will play Detroit’s Fisher Theatre, February 27 – March 11 direct from a celebrated two-and-a-half year Broadway engagement. Tickets start at $45 and are now on sale at all Ticketmaster locations, by phone at 800-982-2787 and online at or Tickets are also available for purchase at the Fisher Theatre box office.

With glori…