The Friday Five, 1/20/23: 5 things I've been up to this week

This week has been very busy, but I managed to squeeze in a movie yesterday, and hopefully today as well. Tomorrow I am leaving for a Vegas vacation (not a movie reference, LOL) and we will be there for 5 days and 4 nights. It should be pretty fun—I'm a huge Vegas fan, I go about 2x a year for both personal and work (I'll be back in September for a packaging expo, for work). 

Drinks at The Last Word, Ann Arbor
Drinks at The Last Word, Ann Arbor

What I've been up to this week:
  1. Birthday celebration weekend. My birthday was last Friday, January 13th, and I took the day off work and went to The Cheesecake Factory with my parents for lunch, which was nice. On Saturday, my boyfriend and I went to Ann Arbor to The Chop House for dinner, and we had drinks at Vinology beforehand, as well as some tasty brie, and The Last Word afterwards. I had only been to The Chop House one time before, and both times it has continued to impress me.
  2. Watching movies. Last Thursday I saw House Party at the theater, which was terrible—I'd give it 1.5 out of 5 stars—but last night I saw the new Brendan Fraser movie, The Whale, which was fantastic. He does a phenomenal job in it—he plays a 600-pound man who is basically housebound, or apartment-bound in this case—and I can see why he's racking up all the award nominations. I didn't know it was a Darren Aronofsky film going into it; his films are usually pretty strange, like Black Swan—and the ending was definitely an Aronofsky ending, but other than that, I really liked it, although it was also very hard to watch. 
    Last Sunday, I also saw the new Gerard Butler movie, Plane, with two $5 T-Mobile Tuesday tickets at Emagine Novi, which was a nice deal. I like most of his movies and this one was no exception; definitely a "popcorn movie" but I'd give it 3.5/5, and it's pretty tense/dramatic throughout.
  3. Dining out. Other than the Friday and Saturday birthday meals I mentioned, on Sunday I met a friend at Shangri-La, for dim sum, which was exciting because I hadn't had dim sum since before the pandemic. Shangri-La, in West Bloomfield, used to do the carts for lunch, but they've switched their dinner system to lunch, as well, where they give you a sheet of paper with all the dim sum options listed and you mark off which ones you would like (an a la carte system). The food was very good although pricey; I think it was $70 total ($35 each) before tip. On Monday, I met a friend at India Flavors, in the Farmington area, for dinner, and that was very good as well. I also stopped by Green Lantern in Royal Oak yesterday for my free birthday pizza they had emailed me, and they also emailed me free cheesy bread again (they do that fairly frequently, maybe every two months or so) so I have a lot of leftovers.
  4. Getting birthday freebies. Last Friday, I stopped at both Nothing Bundt Cakes, in Troy; MOD Pizza, in the same plaza, for my free No Name Cake; and Starbucks, for any free menu item (I chose a sandwich to-go, since I was so full from Cheesecake Factory). In addition to my Green Lantern items yesterday, I also went to Kohl's on Sunday, and redeemed my $5 birthday Kohl's cash; I had an Amazon return to do, too, and they gave me $5 Kohl's cash for that, as well (it's usually either $5 Kohl's cash or 20% off your next purchase, for a return; not sure why it vacillates). I still have a few more to redeem before the end of the month, the best ones being a 4-square cheese pizza at Buddy's and a free shake at Potbelly's; I also have a free meal at Rochester Brewing Co. but I'm not sure I'll make it up there by January 31.
  5. Watching TV shows. The Circle aired its finale on Wednesday, on Netflix, and overall I was happy with the winner. I watched the new Gossip Girl yesterday and they just announced that they are canceling the series, or at the very least, HBO Max will not be airing it; they may be looking for a new home like Netflix, though. There is still one new episode left next week. I watched Abbott Elementary yesterday, which is on ABC and Hulu, and I also started Love for the Ages, on Peacock, which is a bit crazy; I think it's the only reality/"dating" show I've seen where the couples are already married—some for like 15+ years—and they are "exploring new connections" with others to see if they want to stay married or not. I think all if not most episodes are up on Peacock, so that will be interesting to watch. 
Peanut Butter Bomb at The Chop House, Ann Arbor
Peanut Butter Bomb at The Chop House, Ann Arbor

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