Showing posts from 2017

The Best of Detroit: restaurants, activities, and more

Something that you may not know about me is that I am a freelance writer in addition to maintaining both this blog and my book blog (and I'm an also an editor for my day job, so basically I'm writing alllllllll the time).

I started writing for way back in December 2010, and soon after, I was invited to contribute "Best of Detroit" articles for CBS Detroit. When Examiner closed down in mid-2016, CBS Detroit continued to keep the Examiner writers on, and currently I write about one to two articles a month for them. "Best of Detroit" has been rebranded to Eat / See / Play, but it's still the same types of articles: the best restaurants, events, store,s and more,  in the metro Detroit area.

I try to choose places that I've personally been to, but sometimes I choose places based on word of mouth, or even Yelp ratings. I also crowdsource on Facebook to see if others have suggestions, for each of these articles.

{If we are Facebook friends, a…

Pasta Fresca - new (returning) dish at Noodles & Company (and a GIVEAWAY!)

*Disclosure: I was treated to a tasting at Noodles in exchange for this review. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

Last week, I was able to attend a tasting at the Noodles & Company located in Novi, MI, to try out their new Pasta Fresca dish. I say "new" but it's actually a returning favorite, and is going to be a permanent addition on the menu - it's one of my favorite dishes so that's good news to hear!

We started off with some salads and their new Thai soup, another favorite of mine. Pictured above is the Chicken Veracruz Salad, which consists of mixed greens, tomatoes, red onions, chili-lime chicken, bacon crumbles, fresh-cut corn, avocados, and cilantro, tossed with jalapeno ranch dressing and crispy jalapenos. It's a little spicy for me but I liked the chicken in it.

We also had some potstickers, which is my favorite appetizer to order at Noodles. The potstickers come with a mild spice soy sauce, and they're made out of chicken, r…

2017 Cinetopia Film Festival movie reviews {Detroit & Ann Arbor}

This was year 4 for me of the Cinetopia Film Festival, and every year I find movies that I really enjoy, that I probably would not have seen / been able to see otherwise.

Although I was at Cedar Point one of the weekend days, I was still able to see about 13 to 14 movies - I saw half of one movie, only because we were rushing to get to another, and I walked out of one movie too (which I rarely do, by the way) because 3 of the 4 people in our group fell asleep during it ... it was very slow and not very funny, even though it was supposed to be a comedy.

So let's say 13 movies, then!

Thursday, June 1st: Michigan Theater, Ann Arbor
The Hero.This movie, like most of the movies on this list, was on my "Top 10 Picks for Cinetopia" list that I published back in May, and it did not disappoint. It followed an actor who is getting older (Sam Elliott) and showed how he was struggling to book good acting jobs; he also was recently diagnosed with cancer, and must tell his daughter (Kr…

UPCOMING: Love Never Dies, October 17-19 at the Fisher Theatre, Detroit {sequel to Phantom!}

*Disclosure: I have an ongoing relationship with the Fisher Theatre and Broadway on Detroit. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.
In January of this year (actually on my birthday!) I had the pleasure of seeing Phantom of the Opera for the first time, and it continues to be the best Broadway show I've ever seen. Its sequel, Love Never Dies, will be coming to the Fisher this October, and I'm very excited to attend!

About the show: Love Never Dies will open its North American Tour at Detroit’s Fisher Theatre on October 17 with performances through October 29. Tickets for Love Never Dies start at $39 and will go on sale on Sunday, June 11 at all Ticketmaster locations, by phone at 1-800-982-2787 and online at or Starting Monday, June 12, tickets will also be available for purchase at The Fisher Theatre Box Office.

The new touring production will reflect an extensive re-working of the material by an Australian creative t…

GIVEAWAY: Room on the Broom on DVD {ends 6/28}

The witch had a cat and a very tall hat…
Public Media Distribution is re-releasing the film Room on the Broom, on DVD August 8. This program comes from the creators of the Oscar-nominated The Gruffalo and the sequel The Gruffalo’s Child,and is an animated adventure which tells a tale of friendship and family. 
I have one copy of Room on the Broom for a lucky reader to win! This would be a great DVD for parents to watch with their children.

About the movie:
Room on the Broom is based on the beloved children’s picture book written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler and features the voices of Gillian Anderson, Rob Brydon, Martin Clunes, Simon Pegg, Sally Hawkins, Timothy Spall, and David Walliams.

This is the story of a kind witch who invites a surprising collection of animals to join her on her broom, must to the frustration of her cat. When the witch encounters a fearsome and hungry dragon, her animal friends come to her rescue. To show her gratitude, the witch rewards t…

Movie Review: Rough Night

Rough Night starts off very funny, but unfortunately the humor wanes as time goes on. With such an A-list cast, the movie should be much funnier; unfortunately, the script is not very strong during the second half of the film.

College friends Jess (Scarlett Johansson), Alice (Jillian Bell), Blair (Zoe Kravitz), and Frankie (Ilana Glazer) decide to reunite, ten years later, for Jess's bachelorette party, which involves a weekend girls trip in Miami. Jess's friend Pippa (Kate McKinnon), whom she met while doing study abroad in Australia during college, will also be joining them. It's been a while since the four (+1) girls have been together, and they've all changed a bit in the last ten years: Jess is running for office, Blair has become a mom and kind of a trophy wife, although she and her husband have separated, and Frankie is involved with social activism. When they accidentally kill the stripper that they hired, however, their trip turns into a nightmare, and they ha…

Cocktails made with 1893 (from the makers of Pepsi-Cola), at The Skip in Detroit

*Disclosure: I was invited to an event and enjoyed free cocktails and appetizers. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

Last Thursday, I had the pleasure of stopping by The Skip, located in The Belt in Detroit, a colorful alley with a few restaurants. One of the restaurants located there is The Standby, and we had their bartender, Dorothy Elizabeth, on hand at The Skip, making us cocktails that use 1893 cola.

I hadn't heard much about 1893 before the event, but it's a premium craft cola (soda) brand that is from the makers of Pepsi - and it's very tasty.

About the brand:
1893, From The Makers Of Pepsi-Cola, is a premium craft cola inspired by the original recipes created in that same year by Pepsi founder Caleb Bradham. A modern twist on the original flavors by Bradham – apart from being a delicious standalone beverage, 1893 makes for the perfect enhancement to quality and newly refined cocktails. With summer finally here, 1893 blends perfectly into some of the s…

Movie Review: Megan Leavey

Megan Leavey tells the true story of the real-life title character, who was a Marine deployed to the Middle East with her bomb-sniffing dog, Rex. Megan ends up very attached to Rex, and eventually ends up wanting to adopt him; however, the Marines try to stand in the way of this.

Megan Leavey (Kate Mara) doesn't have much going for her in her hometown, and seemingly on the spur of the moment, she decides to join the Marines. She finds a home there, though she still gets in trouble for doing stupid stuff. When she finds out about the K9 program, which includes bomb-sniffing dogs, she pulls herself together and eventually applies and receives a German Shepherd, Rex, who is a bit of a "problem dog"; he bites people and barks at everyone. Megan and Rex eventually bond, however, and are deployed to the Middle East. When Megan eventually decides not to re-enlist in the Marines when her tour is over, she wants to adopt Rex, but instead Rex gets sent back to the Middle East.

UPCOMING: Salute to America, at Greenfield Village, June 30-July 3 {and a giveaway!}

*Disclosure: I will be receiving tickets to this event in exchange for this blog post. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

Salute to America will return this year to Greenfield Village, from Friday, June 30th through Monday, July 3rd.

I have yet to attend this event, so I'm excited to attend this year! I love the DSO, as well, and they are involved in the concerts, as well as the Jazz Ambassadors of the U.S. Army Field Band.

More info about the event:
The Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) will return to Greenfield Village at The Henry Ford for Salute to America, a classic family-friendly Independence Day celebration. This year’s concerts mark the 25th anniversary of this Metro Detroit tradition and unique partnership between two cultural institutions.

Tickets are on sale now for the four nights of performances, which will take place on Friday, June 30, Saturday, July 1, Sunday, July 2, and Monday, July 3. Please see below for ticket information.

DSO Associate Conductor …

GIVEAWAY: PeachSkinSheets set in your choice of size/color! {ends 6/17}

*Disclosure: Yes/No Films did not receive compensation for this post and is not responsible for prize fulfillment.

Hosted by: Queen of Reviews, IMHO Views, Reviews & Giveaways, Tammie's Reviews, Giveaways & More, Southern Mom Loves, Our-Wolves-Den, Love, Mrs. Mommy, Jerri1962sBlog, Deliciously Savvy & Networking Witches Sponsor: PeachSkinSheets
A few bloggers and I have partnered to present this giveaway to you.
Good luck!

Prize: Sheet Set in Winner's Choice of Size and Color
The Original PeachSkinSheets was founded in 2013 and is based in Atlanta, Georgia. They pride themselves on being The Original, One and Only Authentic Brand, and their signature peach zipper pull is featured on every sheet package. Their affordable bed sheets are made from a breathable, high performance athletic grade SMART fabric that is great for hot sleepers due to its thermal control and moisture wicking properties. In addition, the ultra soft brushed finish provides a softness level that par…

Movie Review: Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman starts off a lot slower than I expected, and it doesn't pick up until the action sequences begin midway through the movie. The action sequences, however, are awesome.

Diana (Gal Gadot) is raised on a secret island, which only contains women. Her mother, Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen), doesn't want her to start her "training" too young, but her aunt, General Antiope (Robin Wright), starts to teach her, in secret. When a pilot and his plane fall into the ocean nearby, Diana swims to save him; his name is Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), and he's a spy for England, who was placed in Germany. There's a war going on, he says (WWII), and Diana leaves the island with him to try and stop the war. Along the way, she'll find that it's not always clear who the enemy is, and that humans are more complicated than she once thought, too.

GIVEAWAY: The Shack on Blu-ray/DVD/Digital HD combo {ends 6/3}

*Disclosure: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Review Wire Media for Lionsgate. I received information to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.
I haven't yet watched The Shack, but I am interested in seeing it - although it's a Christian movie, the cast looks phenomenal (Sam Worthington, Octavia Spencer, Tim McGraw), and I'm a big fan of Octavia Spencer's movies.

The film is already out on Digital HD, and it's arriving May 30th on Blu-ray, DVD, and On Demand. One of my lucky readers has the chance to win a Blu-ray/DVD/Digital HD combo pack!

About the movie:
Based on the worldwide best-selling novel, with over 22 million copies in print, the inspirational story of faith and love, The Shack, arrives on Digital HD May 16, and Blu-ray, DVD and On Demand May 30 from Lionsgate. Starring Sam Worthington (Avatar, Hacksaw Ridge), Academy Award® winner Octavia Spencer (Best Supp…

Movie Review: Baywatch (2017)

I've never seen the TV show that the movie version of Baywatch is based on, but a few of the original cast members are brought back for cameo roles in the movie. The show initially only ran for one season, and then was canceled by NBC; however, it was later picked up through syndication. Baywatch (2017) isn't the first spin-off of the show, but it is the first movie adaptation of it, and it takes place in Florida rather than California.

Mitch Buchannon (Dwayne Johnson) is the Lieutenant lifeguard of Baywatch, and they're looking to expand their team by three people this year. One slot will definitely be going to former Olympian Matt Brody (Zac Efron), who is mandated to be there for community service; the other two slots end up going to Summer Quinn (Alexandra Daddario) and the dedicated but clumsy Ronnie Greenbaum (Jon Bass), who is shocked when he's chosen for the team. However, something's not right currently in the bay - bodies keep washing ashore, as well as…

GIVEAWAY: Two Cinetopia Film Festival movie passes (for the ENTIRE festival!) - ends 5/29

*Disclosure: I will be attending Cinetopia Film Festival as media. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

Cinetopia is one of my favorite film festivals to go to, and it takes place every summer in both Ann Arbor and Detroit. Last year, they added some Dearborn screenings too, at the Henry Ford Giant Screen Experience, too.

I'm very excited that one of my lucky readers has the chance to win TWO movie passes - one for you and one for a friend! This will get you in to any movie you'd like to see during the ENTIRE festival. And that's a lot of movies - in 2015, I saw 16 movies over the course of two weekends.

Each of these passes are worth $120, so this giveaway is a $240 value.

You can click here to see my top 10 choices out of this year's vast schedule, too; click here to see the festival's entire film lineup; and click here if you'd like to purchase a ticket. Tickets range for $12 for one movie to $150 for a festival pass. (or $120 for a movie pass, …

UPCOMING: Top 10 picks for the 2017 Cinetopia Film Festival, June 1-11, Ann Arbor & Detroit

*Disclosure: I will be receiving media passes for the festival. All opinions expressed here, however, are my own. 

It's that time again! The Cinetopia Film Festival starts on Thursday, June 1st, and this will be my 4th year covering the festival here on my blog. I already have a tentative schedule for myself, and this year I'll be in town for most of the festival, as well (last year I was in out of town during one of the festival weekends) so I'm hoping to maximize the amount of films I get to see.

If you're unfamiliar with the festival, you can read more about it here, and also purchase tickets - prices range from $12 to a single ticket ($9 for Michigan Theater members) to $120 for a festival pass. If you're a student, you can score a festival pass for only $50, too.

>> Click HERE to enter to win TWO movie passes, valid for the entire festival! Ends 5/29/17.

*All images courtesy of

1. The Hero

MICHIGAN PREMIERE. Western star of yesterye…