Saturday, August 31, 2013

CONTEST: win Bounty Killer on DVD, ends 9/8

Bounty Killer on DVD giveaway

I'm definitely not a horror/slasher film fan, but I know some of you are (too scary/bloody for me!) ... for those, I bring to you Bounty Killer, coming to theaters and VOD soon.
-

This is the age of the BOUNTY KILLER.

Bounty killers compete for body count, fame and a fat stack of cash. They're ending the plague of corporate greed and providing the survivors of the apocalypse with retribution.

Based on the graphic novel, Bounty Killer follows the exploits of Mary Death, the leading Bounty Killer on the scene.

It’s been 20 years since the corporations took over the world’s governments. Their thirst for power and profits led to the corporate wars, a fierce global battle that laid waste to society as we know it. Born from the ashes, the Council of Nine rose as a new law and order for this dark age. To avenge the corporations’ reckless destruction, the Council issues death warrants for all white collar criminals. Their hunters: the bounty killers!

It’s Mad Max meets Grindhouse while getting slashed by Kill Bill, and it's on VOD and in theaters September 6th.




GIVEAWAY:


Enter to win a copy of Bounty Killer on DVD. One winner will be chosen, and the contest ends Sunday, September 8th at 11:59pm - winner will be notified September 9th and have 24 hours to respond or an alternate winner will be chosen. Prize will be sent via FedEx or USPS - no P.O. Boxes, please, and U.S. and Canada only.

Good luck!


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Friday, August 30, 2013

Getaway

Ethan Hawke Selena Gomez Getaway
I probably should have known to stay away from Getaway once I heard Selena Gomez was in it - I like her as a singer, but she definitely can't act. Also plaguing the movie was an awful script and the fact that about 90-95% of the film took place with Ethan Hawke and Selena's characters in a luxury car. Movies can definitely make one setting work - take 2003's Phone Booth, for example, which has almost the exact same premise - but Getaway is an awful movie, and the one-location didn't help.

The movie starts up right away with former race car driver Brent Magna (Hawke) coming home to find his wife abducted. A man tells him to go to a garage and pick up the sports car that is there, and to start moving; he does so unquestioningly. Later, "The Kid" (Gomez - no name is ever given for her) tries to carjack him with a gun, but he disarms her; turns out it's her car, and the man on the phone has stolen it. The man tells him to kill her, but he refuses, so they keep going. The two of them must find Brent's wife and also trick the man on the phone so that they can escape the night unscathed, despite the missions he is making them do, such as crashing into public events and venues.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

TICKET GIVEAWAY: A Single Shot, 9/3, Maple Theater (Detroit area) - 5 pairs

Sam Rockwell, William H. Macy

This movie looks like a good one - Sam Rockwell is a great actor, as is William H. Macy.

The Gathr film series giveaways continue this week, with A Single Shot. The film will be playing on Tuesday, September 3rd, at 7:30pm at the Maple Theater (Bloomfield Hills, MI).

Film synopsis:
David M. Rosenthal's white-knuckle thriller starts with a bang: a single shot, aimed at a lone deer, that hits and kills a young woman. The hunter, John Moon (Sam Rockwell, SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS), watches her die before discovering a box of money near her body. In a desperate panic, he takes the cash — hiring a low-rent lawyer (William H. Macy, FARGO) to fight his wife's (Kelly Reilly, FLIGHT) divorce suit — and attempts to cover up the killing. But when he discovers that the money belonged to a group of hardened criminals, the hunter becomes the hunted in this tense cat-and-mouse struggle in the backwoods of West Virginia.


GIVEAWAY:


Enter via the Rafflecopter form below. The ticket giveaway will end this Sunday, September 1st at 11:59pm EST, and winners will be notified the morning of September 2nd. Winners must respond within 24 hours or other winner(s) will be chosen. Tickets are in PDF form and will be emailed to winners, who may print two tickets each (one for you + one for a guest).

Good luck!

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Review and CONTEST: Lean Cuisine's Honestly Good meals - ends 9/6

Lean cuisine frozen meals
*Disclosure: I received product coupons to facilitate this blog post. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own. 

When I attended BlogHer this summer, Lean Cuisine was one of the brands featured in the expo hall, and I got to try their new Pomegranate Chicken. I'm a big fan of "the quick meal" - I work full-time, and I run this blog and my book blog. It also takes time to stand in line for movie screenings, and sometimes I rush home from work and want to eat something quick for dinner before I go back out again.

My big problem with most frozen meals is that they don't fill me up. I usually stick to the pastas and individual-size pizzas, but even then I need to eat a side dish with it to feel completely full. With the Honestly Good meals, however, I was full after eating, and they tasted pretty good as well.

Honestly Good is made with 100% all natural ingredients, and part of why its meals taste so good is probably because the sauce comes in a separate packet - you have to add it to the meal after initially microwaving it.

Pineapple Black Pepper Beef, before taken out of its packaging

Once you do that, you microwave the meal one more time, and then, voila - dinner (or lunch) is served.

The Honestly Good line has six different varieties to choose from, as well, including beef, chicken, and fish. I've now tried the Honey Citrus Chicken, Pomegranate Chicken, and the Pineapple Black Pepper Beef, and although I've liked all of them, the Honey Citrus is my favorite - it has a nice taste and comes with some pasta too. The other varieties include Plum Ginger Grain-Crusted Fish, Lemongrass Salmon, and Roasted Red Pepper Chicken

Left: Pineapple Black Pepper Beef
Right: Honey Citrus Chicken 

I will say that it takes about 4 to 5 minutes total to make these meals, so you may not want to take them to work, if you're in a rush. However, I have enjoyed eating them at home when I don't feel like cooking, or even when I'm craving something citrus-y or some pasta. 


GIVEAWAY:

Lean Cuisine has graciously allowed me to give away six free product coupons for Honestly Good to one of my lucky readers! Honestly Good frozen meals retail around $4.69-$4.99, so this prize is worth about $30 - a big savings!

Enter via the Rafflecopter form below. One winner will be chosen, and the contest ends Friday, September 6th at 11:59pm - winner will be notified on September 7th and have 24 hours to respond or an alternate winner will be chosen. U.S./Canada only, please.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

CONTEST: win The Ultimate Gift on DVD plus book, charm bracelet, journal - ends 9/4


The Ultimate Life is the sequel to The Ultimate Gift, and opens in theaters on September 6th.

Between the pressure of running a foundation started by his late grandfather, being sued by his greedy extended family, and seeing his beloved Alexia leave on an extended mission trip to Haiti, Jason Stevens' world is unraveling. But when Jason discovers a journal that his grandfather began as a Depression-era lad, his writings transport Jason on an incredible rags-to-riches ride. With everything he loves hanging in the balance, Jason hopes he can discover THE ULTIMATE LIFE.

Check out the widget below to see if you live life to the fullest:




GIVEAWAY:


Enter to win an Official Ultimate Life Prize Pack via the Rafflecopter below. The prize pack contains:

• DVD of The Ultimate Gift
• The Ultimate Gift book by Jim Stovall
• The Ultimate Gift charm bracelet
• The Ultimate Life leather-bound journal

One winner will be chosen, and the contest ends Wednesday, September 4th at 11:59pm - winner will be notified September 5th and have 24 hours to respond or an alternate winner will be chosen. Prize will be sent via FedEx or USPS - no P.O. Boxes, please, and U.S. and Canada only.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, August 26, 2013

Contest: win $100 in Rightfully Raw products, ends 9/9

I'm always looking for new snacks that can provide a quick bite before or after I go to the movies. Check out Rightfully Raw's line of foods and enter below to win $100 worth of products.

Rightfully Raw has taken the local markets by storm with their tasty and satisfying dips, salsas, desserts, and snacks. Their food is made fresh and contains no preservatives. Rightfully Raw's products, even the snacks and desserts, are designed to be completely gluten free and vegan. Some of their products are also Paleo / Caveman friendly if that is your thing.

For more information on Rightfully Raw's Products visit their website: RightfullyRaw.com

Stay up to date with Rightfully Raw Information by Liking them on Facebook and Following them on Twitter!

Rightfully raw 3

The Prize:$100 in Rightfully Raw Products

Contest runs from August 26th - September 9th, Michigan Residents Only

The prize includes your choice of $100 in Rightfully Raw available products.
Complete the Mandatory Entries in the Rafflecopter and complete the extra entries for more chances to win.a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out what Mitten Moms thinks about Rightfully Raw Products!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Review: Yappem

Navy Pier Crystal Gardens, venue of the Yappem party in Chicago
*Disclosure: This is a sponsored post from One2One Network and Yappem. All opinions stated are my own.

I'll be honest: when I went to a party that Yappem threw at the Navy Pier Crystal Gardens (Chicago) in July, I didn't know a lot about the app. I downloaded it in preparation of the party, and scrolled through it a little, but it seemed confusing and a little bit like Facebook, without the "Facebook friends" part.

At the party, however, we were required to do some Yappem "missions" in order to participate in contests (I love contests!) and I was able to learn more about the app and interact with it a bit. It turns out that it's a form of social media where you can share your experiences - either good, or bad - about products, brands, and places, by doing "missions." Here's one example of a mission:


In this case, you'd write a short post - almost like a tweet - sharing your favorite summer song. For all Yappem posts, it requires the hashtag - #SummerMusic - as well as some text and a picture. You get 100 Yappem coins for this mission, and later you can use your coins for gift cards, deals, and discounts to retailers like Amazon, Gap, Fandango, and more - how cool is that!

You can also share your posts through Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, and via email, if you like. 

Recently Yappem has a mission about Disney's Planes (which I recently reviewed), and I participated in it and got 200 coins:


Pretty easy, right? 

You can find Yappem on its site (Yappem.com) and you can also download the app in the Apple App Store or in Google Play

At Yappem's "The Awesome Party" in Chicago, we also received enough coins for a $25 gift card on the app - I redeemed mine for a Gap e-gift card! I've been playing with the app a bit more since then and hoping to save up enough coins for a Fandango gift card next - you can see three or four matinee movies with $25!

For more information, you can check out Yappem's site or follow them on Facebook and Twitter

The Spectacular Now

It's going to be really, really hard for me to not compare the book and the movie in this review, since I recently read The Spectacular Now and absolutely loved it, and I was going to try not to; but it's inevitable that comparisons will be made. I'm not the type of person that gets angry if minuscule details vary from the novel to its movie adaptation, but the movie was very different from the book, and I have to say that I much preferred the book version.

Sutter (Miles Teller) is all about "the now" - he doesn't make plans for the future, and he likes to get drunk frequently. Until, that is, on one hungover morning, he meets Aimee (Shailene Woodley), a classmate of his who is all about the future - she gets into college in Philly and wants to move there, but can't because she has to help her mom with her mom's paper route. Sutter's original goal is to maybe have some fun with Aimee, who has never had a real boyfriend before, but soon it turns into something more serious, even though events keep happening that should deter Aimee from falling for him (but which do not).

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Papadopoulos & Sons

Papadopoulos & Sons movie Greek

I saw Papadopoulos & Sons at the newly renovated Maple Theater, as part of the Gathr film series, which I have posted about before. The trailer looked interesting and I was excited to see the movie. Although the film had some slow parts throughout, and the gist of the story ("prince becomes pauper") has been done before, in other forms, the film was still very cute, and overall I enjoyed it.

Harry Papadopoulos (Stephen Dillane) has come a long way from his humble beginnings, and he's now a millionaire who owns a food business and is making plans to build Papadopoulos Plaza. However, when the stock market takes a turn, he loses everything, and soon he and his three kids are about to be homeless. However, the government can't seize an asset he still co-owns with his brother, Spiros (Georges Corraface): their old "3 Brothers" fish and chips shop. The shop has a two-bedroom apartment above it, as well, and Spiros suggests that Harry and his kids live there and that they re-open the shop to make some money; Harry is reluctant, but has no other choice, so he agrees. They'll soon learn the value of family, as well as what it really means to be an entrepreneur and work for a living - and, oddly enough, they might even end up enjoying themselves in the process.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

Cassandra Clare
The Mortal Instruments is a beloved book series, and fellow blogger The Romance Bookie has been telling me for quite some time now that I should read the novels. Alas, I never have, but perhaps that's a good thing, because I went into the screening of City of Bones, the first in the series, not knowing much about it beyond the basic plotline. Although some of the dialogue in the movie wasn't quite as polished as it could have been, the action scenes were fantastic, and I ended up enjoying it overall.

Clary (Lily Collins) lives with her mom in a Brooklyn walk-up, and is about to celebrate her 18th birthday. Her best friend, Simon (Robert Sheehan), has been in love with her forever, but she considers him more of a friend. Clary's mom always tells her to get home early, but one day when she and Simon are out at a cafe, her mom calls her and tells her NOT to come home - and Clary can hear signs of a struggle through the phone line. At the same time, Clary has started to see a mysterious symbol, as well as a boy named Jace (Jamie Campbell Bower), who is a Shadowhunter: his job is to kill demons that we come across in the "mortal world." Clary's mom has Shadowhunter gifts as well, and Clary must tap into her own gifts in order to find her mother, who has been kidnapped.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Ticket Giveaway: Breath of the Gods, 8/27, Maple Theater (Detroit area) - 5 pairs

Hey, yoga fans!

The Gathr film series giveaways continue this week, with Breath of the Gods. The film will be playing on Tuesday, August 27th, at 7:30pm at the Maple Theater (Bloomfield Hills, MI).

Film synopsis:
ticket giveaway movieModern yoga, that is, the form practiced daily by tens of millions of people around the world, goes back directly to the god Shiva according to Indian tradition. At the same time, however, modern yoga originated in the early 20th century - acreation of Indian savant T. Krishnamacharya (1888-1989). That story is far less known.

Krishnamacharya's life and teachings are seen through the eyes of the director Jan Schmidt-Garre on his search for authentic yoga. His journey leads him from the legendary students and relatives of Krishnamacharya's to the source of modern yoga, at the palace of the Maharaja of Mysore. From Pattabhi Jois Jan learns the Sun salutation, from Iyengar the King of Asanas, the headstand, and finally Sribhashyam reveals to him his father's secret Life Saving Yoga Session.


GIVEAWAY:

Enter via the Rafflecopter form below. The ticket giveaway will end this Sunday, August 25th at 11:59pm EST, and winners will be notified the morning of August 26th. Winners must respond within 24 hours or other winner(s) will be chosen. Tickets are in PDF form and will be emailed to winners once they respond.

Good luck!

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Saturday, August 17, 2013

CONTEST: Standing Up! Autographed DVD by director D.J. Caruso

Standing Up by D.J. Caruso

Did you know that more than 160,000 U.S. students stay home from school each day from fear of being bullied? (Source: Pacer.org)

Based on one of the most beloved Young Adult novels of all time and directed by the acclaimed D.J. Caruso, Standing Up follows two kids who get bullied by a vicious summer camp prank. Left together on an island, their adventure begins once they decide not to be victims and instead they Stand Up!

Standing Up is a heart-warming gem of a movie with an important anti-bullying message that’s suitable for the whole family, and will be released on DVD on August 20.

Synopsis (via IMDB):
Based on one of the most beloved Young Adult novels of all time: Two kids are stripped naked and left together on an island in a lake - victims of a vicious summer camp prank; But rather than have to return to camp and face the humiliation, they decide to take off, on the run together. What follows is a three day odyssey of discovery and self-discovery.

Check out the Standing Up Blog App below to take the Do You Stand Up to Bullies? QUIZ, unlock tips to BEAT THE BULLY, and sign the ANTI-BULLYING PLEDGE!




GIVEAWAY:


Enter to win via the Rafflecopter below. The contest ends Sunday, August 24th at 11:59pm - winner will be notified August 25th and have 24 hours to respond or an alternate winner will be chosen. Prize will be sent via FedEx or USPS - no P.O. Boxes, please, and U.S. and Canada only.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, August 16, 2013

Kick-Ass 2

I saw the original Kick-Ass back in March 2010, about a month before its release, and loved it - it was Tarantino-esque in that it was super bloody, but also artsy, and very, very violent. I expected more of the same with Kick-Ass 2 and that's what I got; it's a great follow-up to its predecessor.

Mindy Macready (aka Hit Girl, played by Chloe Grace Moretz) now lives with her father's friend Marcus (Morris Chestnut), who took her in after her father died. She promises Marcus that she won't be Hit Girl, a superhero, any more, but she can't help it - she starts training with Kick-Ass, aka Dave (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), and it's only after a crazy night that she decides to make good on her promise. Meanwhile, however, Chris D'Amico (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), aka Red Mist from the first movie, wants revenge on his father's death, and to do this he wants to kill Kick-Ass. He creates a new persona, The Mother f--ker, which he dubs "the first supervillain," and since he's a millionaire, he throws his cash at anyone that will help him form a "death squad" of sorts. Dave has also joined a squad, though for good, not evil, but once people start to die and things start to heat up, they have to decide if they really want to be a part of all that violence.

Paranoia

I had to choose between a screening of Paranoia or Jobs this past Wednesday night, and I chose Paranoia. What I didn't know, however, was that Paranoia is similar to Jobs, in that it's also about a computer maven - two, actually - though, in this case, they're at "war" with each other, and one of the mavens will take great lengths in order to save his company.

Adam Cassidy (Liam Hemsworth) is 27 years old and sick of still working an entry level job at Wyatt Corp. He and his co-workers pitch the CEO, Nicolas Wyatt (Gary Oldman), and Wyatt basically tells them to get out of his office. Fired and dejected, Adam has a bright idea: the company "slush fund" credit card, so to speak, is still active for them, and he parties with his former coworkers to the tune of $16,000 at one of NYC's finest clubs. The next day, he gets a call from Wyatt, who isn't very happy, but who offers him a solution: go to work at Eikon, his competitor's company, and find out about the new cell phone prototype they have - so that Wyatt Corp. can scoop the competition and release it first. Adam has no choice but to agree, and he soon finds himself entangled in a world of illegal trickery and espionage.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

First look, with video: Newlywed and Broke

Newlywed and Broke web series
Newlywed and Broke
*Disclosure:  I am a member of the Entertainment New Media Network, and we help promote, sometimes for a promotional fee, entertainment industry projects we find meaningful. As always all opinions are my own. For a full disclaimer, visit www.ENMNetwork.com/disclaimer.

The new web series Newlywed and Broke aims to be a modern-day "I Love Lucy," in that it will focus on a couple who has to deal with life today while juggling a job loss and financial hardships. They're trying to budget and save their money ... with interesting results.

Fractured Atlas, a nonprofit arts service organization, is sponsoring Newlywed and Broke, and all contributions to the project are tax-deductible.

Newlywed and Broke has started an Indiegogo campaign so that they can produce this TV-quality web series. They aim to first air it on their own site, and then, once it is more established, it will be pitched to the major networks, such as ABC, FOX, and HBO.

If you donate, you get perks, also! Check out the Vimeo video below for more info:



I tend to be frugal in general, but during the time I was in college and the year immediately after, when I was just getting started in the workforce, I was pretty broke myself. There's a few things you can definitely do, however, to save money, including:

  • Coupons - they're not just in your daily newspaper anymore, either. Check coupons.com and even business sites - Yasso and Udi's recently gave me $1 off coupons for signing up for their e-mailing lists. 
  • Make a budget. I keep an Excel list and keep track of rent, electric bills, my credit card bills, and any other money that's coming in or out. It's good to plan for the year and also plan out your next year's income too. 
  • Take the bus instead of driving. When I lived in Ann Arbor for college, I didn't have a car, so I either carpooled with friends OR took the bus - it was free for students, but otherwise I think it was only $1 or $1.25 each way. Much cheaper than paying for gas!

Newlywed and Broke is aiming to raise $25,000 to get started, and currently has $11,979 raised, with 18 days left in the campaign. Check out their Indigogo page, and if you like what you see, consider making a contribution! Its cast and crew thanks you.

Newlywed and Broke web series

Ticket Giveaway: Papadopoulos & Sons, 8/20, Maple Theater (Detroit area) - five pairs

Maple theater bloomfield hills michiganLast week I brought you my first Gathr/Maple Theater giveaway, for The Trials of Muhammad Ali, and the giveaways continue this week, with Papadopoulos & Sons.

The film will be playing this Tuesday, August 20th, at **8:30pm** (not 7:30 - note the time) at the Maple Theater, in Bloomfield Hills, MI.

Synopsis of the movie:
Harry Papadopoulos has got it all: a mansion house, awards and a super rich lifestyle. But when a financial crisis hits, Harry and his family lose everything. Everything, except the dormant and forgotten Three Brothers Fish & Chips Shop half owned by Harry's larger than life brother Spiros who's been estranged from the family for years.

With no alternative, Harry and his family are forced to pack their bags and reluctantly join "Uncle Spiros" to live above the neglected Three Brothers chippie. Together they set about bringing the chip shop back to life under the suspicious gaze of their old rival, Hassan, from the neighboring Turkish kebab shop whose son has his eyes on Harry's daughter, Katie.

As each family member comes to terms with their new life. Harry struggles to regain his lost business empire. But as the chip shop returns to life, old memories are stirred and Harry discovers that only when you lose everything can you be free to find it all.

Enter via the Rafflecopter form below. The ticket giveaway will end this Sunday, August 18th at 11:59pm EST, and winners will be notified the morning of August 19th. Winners must respond within 24 hours or other winner(s) will be chosen. Tickets are in PDF form and will be emailed to winners once they respond.

And don't forget to check back next week for a chance to win tickets to see Breath of the Gods, playing at the Maple on Tuesday, August 27th.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

CONTEST: win "In a World ..." movie poster signed by Lake Bell!


“In A World...”

How many times have you heard a deep, gravelly voice speak this classic line in a movie trailer? It’s practically featured in every film preview since the beginning of time!

In this hilarious and heart-felt new film, In A World... Lake Bell (No Strings Attached, “Children’s Hospital”) stars as a struggling vocal coach who strikes it big in the cutthroat world of movie-trailer voiceovers, only to find herself in direct competition with the industry’s reigning king—her father!

Written and directed by Bell, who won the Sundance 2013 Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award for the script, In a World... also stars these indie-comedy heavyweights:

  • Nick Offerman ("Parks and Recreation")
  • Rob Corddry (Hot Tub Time Machine)
  • Demetri Martin ("Important Things with Demetri Martin")
  • Ken Marino ("Veronica Mars")

I personally loved Lake Bell in the TV show Boston Legal and am excited to see her back on the big screen! It's especially impressive that she wrote, directed, and is starring in this film.

First, check out the blog app below:




GIVEAWAY: 

Enter to win via the Rafflecopter below. One winner will be chosen, and the contest ends Wednesday, August 21st at 11:59pm - winner will be notified August 22nd and have 24 hours to respond or an alternate winner will be chosen. Prize will be sent via FedEx or USPS - no P.O. Boxes, please, and U.S. and Canada only.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, August 10, 2013

CONTEST: Cracker Barrel Cheese, and How I Learned to Cook

Kraft cheese
*Disclosure: I was provided free product for the purpose of this post. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.


I am not a cook by any means, but I was invited to the Big Cheese Challenge when in Chicago a few weeks ago, and it sounded like an interesting party. Top Chef's 2012 runner-up Sarah Grueneberg was there to teach us about cheese platters, and we were even able to make our own creations after being assigned a theme - mine was Cinco de Mayo, and it was a lot of fun.

A group of bloggers and I learning about cheese, at the beautiful
rooftop bar at the Wit hotel, Chicago - do you see me on the right?
(also, this is not my pic - thanks to Cracker Barrel for sharing!)

My friend Melissa and I with our creations - my theme was Cinco de Mayo,
and hers was Super Bowl. The themes were assigned randomly. And yes,
we did keep to keep those aprons! (as well as an awesome cheese knife)

I was pleased, then, when Cracker Barrel reached out and asked if I wanted to do a review of sorts and giveaway on my blog. I don't usually review food here (although this post and this one would contradict that!), but I'm a bit of a "foodie," and although I'm not GOOD at cooking, it's something I occasionally like to try. I cook chicken for work lunches - usually pesto chicken with cheese, actually - and it's easy to make it in the oven and then freeze the additional portions for later in the week.

What I ended up using the Cracker Barrel cheese for, though, was thin-crust pizza with turkey pepperoni. I used to make myself pizza all the time in college, but I haven't made it since I moved into my new apartment, so I thought I'd give it a try.

The pizza before it was cooked
I only put the cheese on half of it, because I'm a bit of a picky eater and wasn't sure if I would like it. I used the Cracker Barrel Sharp (Cheddar) on the left half and mozzarella cheese on the entire pizza.

Before I devoured it at work - the left slice has Cracker Barrel
Sharp cheese on it. Delicious!

It turned out that the half with the sharp cheddar cheese was ridiculously good and later I wished I had put it on the entire pizza! (hindsight is 20/20 ...) I now know for my next exploration into pizza to do this, or I might try the Vermont Sharp-White - I bet that would taste good also.

GIVEAWAY:


I have two Cracker Barrel cheese product coupons to give to a lucky Yes/No Films reader - the coupons can be used for packages of Cracker Barrel's cheese chunks, cuts, or bars, and each one is worth up to $6.50 in value.

Enter to win via the Rafflecopter form below. The contest ends Sunday, August 18th at 11:59pm EST; winner will be notified August 19th and have 24 hours to respond or an alternate winner will be chosen.

U.S. entries only, please.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, August 9, 2013

Blue Jasmine

Woody Allen, Alec Baldwin, Kate Blanchett,
I saw four movies this week at screenings; I can do three movies, but three in a row (M/Tues/Wed or Tues/Wed/Thurs) is hard. I can do four movies, but it pushes my sanity a bit, I'll admit, especially when it's M/Tues/Wed/Thurs. However, I ended my week with a treat: a screening of Woody Allen's newest, Blue Jasmine. The trailer made me hate Cate Blanchett's character instantly, so I wasn't sure if I would enjoy the film. Fear not, however: Allen is in top form here, and the movie is both interesting and fascinating to watch.

Jasmine (Blanchett), formerly Jeannett, moves to San Francisco to live with her sister, Ginger (Sally Hawkins), as she's flat broke and her husband, Hal (Alec Baldwin) has been indicted for fraud and is in jail. Jasmine and Hal used to live in a life of luxury: two houses, many cars, and anything Jasmine could ever want ... until Hal is accused of fraud and carted off to jail. Now, Jasmine, who is unused to working, must find a job and a way to support herself, all while adjusting to living with Ginger, with whom she's never been particularly close. Her sister's boyfriend, Chili (Bobby Cannavale), already dislikes Jasmine because he and Ginger had plans to move in together (Jasmine's arrival is delaying those plans), but Jasmine doesn't like him either. Jasmine meets a new man, Dwight (Peter Sarsgaard), and lies about who she is - she says her husband died of a heart attack and that she is an interior designer - and for a while, things go well with him, until her lies start to fall apart. Jasmine herself is in need of a visit to the psychiatrist: she starts talking to herself on street corners frequently, and people are starting to notice, too.

Planes

I knew that Planes was in the same vein as Cars and Cars 2 before I saw it, but I didn't know it was in the same "universe" as those movies as well - there's many cars in the movie, some of which I believe were from the other movies, and the landscape/background is the same. I liked Planes a lot more than Cars 2, but unfortunately it's one of those Disney movies that was just "okay," even though I will say that the 3D in it was incredible, and maybe the best I've ever seen.

Dusty Crophopper (voiced by Dane Cook) is bored with his job as a crop duster; his real passion is racing. He decides to enter the prelims for a racing competition, even though he's made fun of by the other planes for being a crop duster, and he's bummed when he comes in 6th, as only the top five get to continue on to the finals. He and his friends soon find out that the 5th place winner had been taking some "illegal fuel injections" (read: steroids ... ha!), and he now gets to be included in the race. There's only one problem, though: the race is a worldwide journey, and he's afraid of heights. With the help of his friends Skipper (Stacy Keach), Chug (Brad Garrett), and Dottie (Terri Hatcher), he will train for the race as best he can, and have a shot at winning the entire thing.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Ticket Giveaway: The Trials of Muhammad Ali, 8/13, Maple Theater (Detroit area) - five pairs!

movie posterToday I'd like to tell you a bit about a film series that Gathr puts on every week, both in the Detroit area and nationwide. I had the opportunity to see The Iceman through them back in May, and it was a nice experience.

You can buy tickets for individual movies or sign up for a membership, which gets you guaranteed seats to any of the movies that you'd like to see. In the Detroit area, Gathr shows its films at the Maple Theater, a beautiful theater in Bloomfield Hills that has recently been remodeled. I've been seeing films at the Maple for a while now, back when it was called the Maple Art Theater, and I love the renovations - the theaters there are 10x better than how they used to be, and there's an attached coffee shop that's great as well.

Gathr has been kind enough to let me give out some tickets for their showings for the next three weeks, and to kick it off we have The Trials of Muhammad Ali, for next Tuesday, August 13th, at 7:30pm. I have five pairs of tickets to give away, and you can enter to win in the Rafflecopter form below.

About the movie:
The Trials of Muhammad Ali covers Ali's toughest bout: his battle to overturn a five-year prison sentence for refusing US military service in Vietnam. Prior to becoming the most recognizable face on earth, Cassius Clay became Muhammad Ali and found himself in the crosshairs of conflicts concerning race, religion, and wartime dissent. Trials zeroes in on the most controversial years of Ali's life, when an emerging sports superhero chooses faith and conscience over fame and fortune.

The ticket giveaway will end this Sunday, August 11th at 11:59pm EST, and winners will be notified the morning of August 12th. Winners must respond within 24 hours or other winner(s) will be chosen. Tickets are in PDF form and will be emailed to winners once they respond.

And check back for these two movies over the next two weeks:

  • Papadopoulos and Sons - showing on 8/20
  • Breath of the Gods - showing on 8/27

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

We're the Millers

I had been looking forward to seeing We're the Millers for a while now because the cast looked great and the trailer looked hilarious. Many times, however, the trailer for a comedy will be good and the movie itself will just be so-so; luckily, this was not the case here, as the film was one of the funnier ones I've seen in quite a while.

David Clark (Jason Sudeikis) is a drug dealer who dresses like he's still in college, answers text messages from people looking for weed, and then delivers the weed with cash upon arrival. One night, his innocent neighbor Kenny (Will Poulter) sees a girl being robbed in the alley near their apartment building, and he goes to help; David tries to intervene and the crooks then turn on him, chase him back to his apartment, and steal his drug stash as well as $22,000 in cash. He then has to go begging to his "boss," Brad Gurdlinger (Ed Helms), who makes him a deal: if he goes to Mexico and brings back a "smidge" of weed that is waiting for pickup there, he will be paid $100,000 and the stash debt will be forgiven. David takes him up on his offer but realizes that he needs a cover to look less suspicious, and he soon figures out a great one: going as a family. Only problem? He's single and has no kids.

He then rounds up Kenny, the homeless girl who was being robbed earlier (Emma Roberts), and his stripper neighbor, Rose (Jennifer Aniston), who he promises to pay $1,000, and they embark towards Mexico in an RV, which later becomes stuffed to the brim with pot.

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief came out in 2010, and it reminded me a lot of the Harry Potter movies, except more mythical and less wands, and I liked it. Sea of Monsters is the second movie (and also book) in the series, and although it's not quite as good as its predecessor, it's still a fun film to watch.

Percy (Logan Lerman) and his friends start off the movie at Camp Half-Blood, a camp for those who are sons and daughters of the gods (products of the gods and humans). They are protected by a force field surrounding the camp, until one day an angry, electronic-type bull breaks in to the camp and causes havoc. The campers soon deduce that the force field is no longer working, and the reason for this is that the magical tree that emitted it - who used to be a person, but that's a whole other story - is dying. The only thing that will cure the tree is the Golden Fleece, which is located in the Sea of Monsters, a place that humans call the Bermuda Triangle. Although Percy is not the "warrior" chosen to go on this mission to find the Fleece - that would be Clarisse (Leven Rambin), a fellow camper who is an awful, snotty person - he knows that he must go anyway to try and find it, and he and his friends sneak away from camp and embark on their own self-imposed mission to get it.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Recap: Seadog fireworks cruise, Chicago

Chicago
picture courtesy of Seadog Cruises
*Disclosure: I received a free fireworks cruise in exchange for writing this post. All opinions expressed, however, are my own.

In my massive BlogHer '13 recap from a few days ago, one of the (unofficial) activities I mentioned doing was the Seadog fireworks cruise, courtesy of Madame Deals and her team. I was super excited to be included in this as Navy Pier always does a great fireworks show - I was in Chicago last year for a wedding and was able to catch it then, as well - and I was curious to see how the view would be different from a boat versus sitting on the pier.

The answer is: fantastic!

Waiting to board the fireworks cruise
After checking in at the Sheraton, Shannon, Melissa and I, along with our new friend Sarah, cabbed it to Navy Pier and found the Seadog Cruises departure area. Amee from Madame Deals along with Gwen, a Madame Deals team member and also a Michigan blogger, were waiting to check bloggers in and let them board the cruise. We were given a swag bag, too, and were told that snacks and drinks would be given out on-board as well.

Once on board, our cheery Seadog host for the night introduced himself, and started giving us some Chicago history. We zoomed (well, slowly zoomed) away from the Pier and I got to chat with some of the other bloggers on the boat, as well. Amee talked a bit about Madame Deals and their "payit4ward" campaign, which I was familiar with since I had been afforded (another) boat ride from Madame last year in NYC.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Massive BlogHer '13 recap: One week later

Chicago - view from our room at the Sheraton, downtown
Last year I did four separate posts for my BlogHer '12 recap, but now that I'm no longer a "BlogHer newbie," I'm hoping to contain that all in one post this year - we'll see if it works out! If we are Facebook friends, I'm sure a lot of you saw the pictures I posted while in Chicago, as well, so I'll try to pick the best ones to post here.

Last year, BlogHer was in NYC, which is a city I like but not one of my most favorites. This year, it was in Chicago, and what a difference it made. I think my schedule was just as jam-packed but I somehow made time on Thursday AM to walk around Michigan Avenue - Ghirardelli is a must-go whenever I'm in Chicago, and I like exploring Water Tower Place as well - and I made sure to get some Chicago deep-dish pizza too.

I arrived in the city on Wednesday with Shannon (GlamorousMoms.com) and Melissa (BargainShopperMom.com). We made the smart decision to drive rather than fly to Chicago, and we traveled in style, in an Escalade. It was only about a five-hour drive with stops and we were able to park at the hotel and check in to the Sheraton that day.

Wednesday night was my first (unofficial) party - the Sea Dog fireworks cruise, sponsored by Madame Deals, which embarked from Navy Pier. There will be a separate wrap-up post about the cruise, but for now I will say it was AWESOME. Seriously the best vantage point to watch the Pier fireworks. Before the fireworks cruise, the Sheraton (host hotel) also did a wine/appetizer dinner, which we attended, and a lot of other bloggers were there too, which was great.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

CONTEST: win a Bear Grylls Survival Bracelet from Get Out Alive

Bear Grylls

Would YOU Get Out Alive?

Renowned British explorer and survivalist Bear Grylls is back with the ultimate survival competition, Get Out Alive, airing Mondays 9/8c on NBC!

In #GetOutAlive, 10 teams of 2 compete to survive in the beautiful New Zealand wilderness with Bear Grylls as their guide. The teams are faced with various survival tasks as they battle the terrain, mountains, gorges, glaciers, rainforests, rivers and rapids. Each week, one team is eliminated, and the last remaining duo will win $500,000!

And most importantly, don’t forget to watch the unmissable #GetOutAlive SEASON FINALE on August 26!

Check out the widget below for more info on the show, and then enter via the Rafflecopter form below - I have one Bear Grylls Survival Bracelet to give to a lucky Yes/No Films reader.



GIVEAWAY:

Enter to win an official Bear Grylls Survival Bracelet from Gerber. 
Taking advantage of Gerber's decades of experience and Bear Grylls' adventure knowledge, this survival bracelet's design provides 12 feet of high-strength paracord to help you work your way out of a difficult situation. Weighing less than an ounce, it has an easy, one-hand size adjustment and an integrated whistle.

Get Out Alive


You can also find the full range of official Bear Grylls Gerber merchandise at Walmart here: http://spark.walmart.com/#inspire/bear-grylls-kit-room.

Enter to win via the Rafflecopter form below. The contest ends Sunday, August 11th at 11:59pm EST; winners will be notified August 12th and have 24 hours to respond or an alternate winner will be chosen. Prize will be sent via FedEx or USPS - no P.O. Boxes, please, and U.S./Canada only. 

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, August 2, 2013

CONTEST: win $100 to ZLZ.com, ends 8/12

zlz giveaway

It's sometimes hard to find a cute outfit to wear to the movies - right? Enter this giveaway to win a $100 gift card towards ZLZ.com, an online clothing website for women's clothing. 

Girls who love fashion: we have a nice treat for you. Together with a group of my blogger friends, we're giving you a chance to win $100 gift card from ZLZ.com.

ZLZ.com is an online store offering fashionable women's clothing at an affordable price. They have cute tops and bottoms, gorgeous dresses, shoes, accessories and more at a low price and offers worldwide shipping.

I love wearing dresses and ZLZ offers a lot of cute styles below $30 and a lot of interesting tshirts below $20. Since back to school season is just around the corner for sure girls will love to shop for some new outfits and if you win $100 from this giveaway, you can already get several items Free!


Join Our ZLZ.com $100 Gift Card Giveaway Now!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please wait for the Rafflecopter to load above.

Giveaway is open to US residents only and runs from 8/2/13 until 8/12/13 at 11:59pm EST.

Movie Night & Yasso Frozen Greek Yogurt Bars

Yasso frozen Greek yogurt bars
courtesy of Yasso.com

*Disclosure: I received free product coupons to help facilitate this review. No other compensation was received.

Instead of going out to the theater, I sometimes stay at home and watch DVDs, either with friends or family or solo. It's hard to find a good snack to eat while watching said DVDs, and popcorn can sometimes be either high-calorie or too messy.

DVD collection
Choose a DVD from my vast and varied collection ...

When I was in Chicago for a conference last week, I was invited by Yasso to attend a "Yoga in the Park" (Millennium Park) event. As much as I love the Millennium Park area, the event started at 7am (I don't usually wake up until 8am or so) and it was on the first day of the conference, too, so I politely declined. However, I'm very glad I got that email, because it then led to this post: movie night with Yasso!

frozen bars
Raspberry flavor
Here's a thing you may not know about me: I love sweets. And when I say I love sweets, I mean I would eat them 24/7 if I could. The same goes for ice cream, but there's a problem with eating ice cream 24/7: first, brain freeze (duh) but second, it's not very healthy. In fact, I don't usually keep containers of ice cream in my apartment because I usually eat way more than a serving of it.

The nice thing about Yasso bars, though, is that they taste like ice cream - like frozen yogurt - and each bar is only 80 calories. When I read that they were only 80 each, I figured they must be tiny, like little mini bars, but they're not, as you can see in the picture here: they're NORMAL SIZED (whoa!).

I tried out the Raspberry bars, but I also bought Coconut, and they also come in Mango, Strawberry, Vanilla Bean, and Blueberry.

Some other interesting facts about Yasso's bars:

  • They are gluten-free and do not contain artificial sweeteners
  • Only natural ingredients are used
  • They are certified Kosher
  • They're made with rBST-free milk
  • Each bar contains at least 6g of protein
frozen yogurt bars
0g of fat and only 80 calories is what I like to see!

At this point you might be wondering an important thing, too: how do they taste? The raspberry bar I tried tasted pretty good. I've tried Healthy Choice's frozen Greek yogurt as well, but I'll admit that I like Yasso's a little bit better - the flavor was better and no spoon was needed like with HC's. 

So the next time you're planning on staying home with a DVD, make sure you check out Yasso's frozen Greek yogurt bars at the grocery store first! I bought mine at Kroger but they can also be found at other stores like Sam's Club and Publix - check the full list on their website to find them in your area.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

LiveSmart bars review: "Good Health Should Taste Good Any Time"

photo courtesy of LiveSmart's Facebook page
*Disclosure: I received samples to help facilitate this review. No other compensation was received.

Putting on my "Yes/No Foods" hat once again ...
I received a big box in the mail the other day, and I found six bars waiting for me. I couldn't remember if I had won these or agreed to review them, and then I looked through my Gmail and found that the LiveSmart company had been looking for bloggers; therefore, these were mine to eat (yay!) but I would have to take some pictures first.

The LiveSmart bar samples I received.
I gave two to my mom who loves flax seed, but ate the rest of them.

I am always on the hunt for new snacks and also new breakfast foods. I tend to not eat a big breakfast, choosing either toast with peanut butter or butter or cereal, like Cheerios, and for me, a fast breakfast is also a priority since I am usually rushing off to work during the week.

Me in Ann Arbor with one
of the bars
I found that the LiveSmart bars are good for both breakfast or a snack. I went to the Ann Arbor Art Fair(s) a few weeks ago and packed a few of them, and they made for a nice treat on the car ride home when I was hungry and wanting a snack. I also was in Chicago for BlogHer last week, and had the foresight to stow a few of the bars in my bag; I ended up eating them for breakfast on the days when breakfast was too early for me to get to the conference center on time. (7:30am ... yikes!)

Some cool facts about the LiveSmart bars:

  • They come in six flavors: Original Flax Bar, Chocolate Flax Bar, Original Fruit & Nut Raw Bar, Cranberry Pumpkin Seed Raw Bar, Power Fitness Raw Bar, and Chocolate Suicide Raw Bar
  • Their Flax bars are gluten-, lactose-, peanut- and wheat-free, and are also vegan and non-GMO
  • Their Raw bars are gluten-, soy-, lactose-, peanut-, wheat-, and dairy-free, and approved for vegans and non-GMO
  • Both the Raw and Flax bars are under 200 calories each - I think most were around 190
  • The company is a Michigan company and is based out of Oak Park! I love supporting Michigan businesses.

And the most important part ... I'm not really one for "health bars" - I've tried ClifBars in the past and didn't usually like them - but I did like these. The Fruit & Nut Raw Bar had a satisfying crunchy taste and also tasted good, and the Chocolate Suicide Raw Bar had a chocolate-y/carob-type taste (yes, chocolate-y) to it which I liked. 

You can find LiveSmart on their website or on their Facebook page - give them a try if you're looking for something new for breakfast or snacks that you can bring with you "on the go."