Monday, May 30, 2016

GIVEAWAY: $100 Best Buy gift card {ends 6/18}



I've partnered with a few other bloggers to bring you this contest - $100 at Best Buy would buy you a lot of Blu-rays or DVDs! Good luck!

Welcome to the Father's Day $100 Best Buy Giveaway!

Enter below for your chance to win $100 to Best Buy! Winner may choose an eGift Card delivered via email or a physical gift card delivered via snail mail.


Giveaway begins on 5/29/16 at 1:00 am CST and ends on 6/18/16 at 11:59 pm CST. Must be 18 years or older, open to residents of the US only (void where prohibited.) I will email the winner on Father's Day; The winner will have 24 hours to claim or I will redraw. Once winners are confirmed, they will be added to the Winner's List here.





Disclaimer: The participating bloggers were not compensated for this post. No purchase is necessary to enter. One entrant per household, per IP address. All entries will be verified. Void where prohibited by law. Winner will be contacted by email; Please add southernmomloves@gmail.com to your whitelist. Holly of Southern Mom Loves will be responsible for prize delivery to the winner. This giveaway is in no way administered, sponsored, endorsed by, or associated with Facebook and/or Twitter, Google, Pinterest, or any other social media platform.


Contact Holly at southernmomloves@gmail.com if you have any additional questions or comments, or would like Southern Mom Loves to organize your next giveaway.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Living your best smartphone life

*Disclosure: This is a Fashionista Event and a promotional item was provided to me. Hosts for this event are Still Blonde after all these Years and ModlyChic.

So we've all been there ... that time when you're on an important phone call, and then the call drops. Or even when you need to use the internet on your smartphone, only to realize that you're at your data limit for the month.

I drive all over the metro Detroit area for movie screenings; because of this, most of the time I know where I'm going, but sometimes, I'm in an unfamiliar area or at an unfamiliar theater and I need GPS to know how to get there and back.

"Hello ... hello? Anyone there?"

A few months ago, I was headed to the AMC Forum (Sterling Heights area) and I wanted to know the best way to get home from there. My phone kept stalling ... and stalling ... and then the Maps app crashed! Gah! I was extremely frustrated. I was finally able to re-start the phone and get safely home, but it TOOK. SO. LONG. Had the Maps app worked the first time (aka when I actually NEEDED it to work), I would have been able to get home much faster.

If you're fed up with your current cell service and you have been wanting to switch, I would recommend Verizon - right now, they're offering waived activation fees for phones (and also tablets) through June 11th. You can also get $100 off* (woohoo!) select smartphones, with code VZWDEAL.

Movie Review: Alice Through the Looking Glass


I don't believe I reviewed the first Alice in Wonderland (2010), but I did see it at the theater - my mom and I loved the 3D, the animation, and the characters. While Alice Through the Looking Glass, the sequel to that film, isn't quite as good, it is still enjoyable, with fantastic animation and special effects.

We open with Alice (Mia Wasikowska) at the helm of her father's ship, the Wonder. She gets her crew safely home, only to find that her mother has sold her shares of the trading company back to the company, and Hamish (Leo Bill), the evil man she was supposed to marry, is not approving any more expeditions for her. At the party that she and her mother are attending, she goes upstairs, and finds that one of the mirrors there (aka the "looking glass") is a portal back to Wonderland; she goes through the portal, and reunites with her Wonderland friends, only to find that the Hatter (Johnny Depp) hasn't quite been himself lately. To make him better, Alice must travel back in time, and to do that, she has to steal from Time himself (Sacha Baron Cohen).

Monday, May 23, 2016

My Top 7 Picks for Cinetopia International Film Festival 2016 {Ann Arbor + Detroit}

This is my third year attending Cinetopia, and although I'm unfortunately going to be out of town during one of its weekends, that still gives me an entire week to see movies. Last year and the year before, I bounced between Detroit and Ann Arbor for movies; this year, due to my shortened schedule, I will only be attending movies in Detroit and Dearborn.

My top 7 picks for Cinetopia 2016:


1. Goat


Brad is a nineteen-year-old whose attempts to recover from a violent assault include pledging to the fraternity that his brother (NICK JONAS, in a brilliant dramatic turn) belongs to. As Brad navigates this new world of parties, random hook-ups, and intense hazing, he must come to terms with his relationship with his brother and the violence he is now a part of. Raw and honest, this searing drama pulls no punches in its portrayal of masculine insecurities, the violent side of male culture, and the desperate measures people will go to in order to feel that they belong. Goat moves beyond the clichés of Greek life in order to find the horrors that lurk just below the surface and, ultimately, to shine a much needed light on how young men come to terms with violence - both the violence they endure and the violence they help to perpetrate.

This should be interesting - sorority/fraternity films usually are, plus I like Nick Jonas.

2. Ma ma


Magda is spiraling. Her husband has left her for a younger woman and her young son is still dealing with his parents’ separation. On top of it all, she has been diagnosed with breast cancer. This may not be a death sentence and what follows is not a new lease on life, but it just might create a new path and give Magda a chance to forge new bonds. PENÉLOPE CRUZ handles this role with a soft radiance, a steady motherly touch, and seamlessly turns a serious subject into a meditation on selflessness. The film’s corners are rounded even further by reuniting cinematographer KIKO DE LA RICO (Blancanieves, Cinetopia 2012) and writer/director Julio Medem (Sex and Lucia) whose combined efforts add to the radiance, seemingly basking Magda in a bright white light.

I'll see anything that Penelope Cruz is in. This is in Spanish with English subtitles, as well.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

TV Review - Girls: The Complete 5th Season (& Digital HD code giveaway!}


*Disclosure: I received a Digital HD code in exchange for this post. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

I started watching Girls, on HBO, a few seasons ago, and it's a great show. It follows the lives of four twenty-somethings who live in NYC, and the four girls couldn't be more different, so it makes for great TV.

Season 5 is now out on Digital HD, and one of my lucky readers will win a Digital HD code (redeemable on Google Play, iTunes, etc.) so they can watch the show.

More information:
Hailed as “deeper and funnier and better than ever” (Washington Post) and “spectacular” (Vulture.com), the fifth season of Girls is “the best yet” (New York Post).

Just weeks after the hot HBO comedy ended its latest season, Girls: The Complete Fifth Season will be available to own via Digital Download on May 16, 2016 for the SRP of $18.99 (SD), $24.99 (HD). Season Passes are available now!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Movie Review: Neighbors 2


Neighbors 2 follows the same formula as the first Neighbors, which I gave 4.5/5 stars to back in May 2014. This formula luckily works a second time, as the movie was hilarious, yet also covers new ground that the first movie did not.

Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne) are expecting a second child, and they decide to sell their house. The house is in "escrow," which they later find out means that there's thirty days before the house ACTUALLY sells and they get their money. Normally this wouldn't be an issue, but a sorority, headed up by Shelby (Chloe Moretz) and friends, has just opened up next door, and they're actually worse than the frat that used to be there. The sorority's "den mother" of sorts is their former nemesis Teddy (Zac Efron), who at age 25 or so is trying to find his place in the world, and that doesn't help matters; however, after the sorority unceremoniously gives him the boot, he switches sides, and tries to help Mac and Kelly evict the sorority so that they can sell their house.

Movie Review: The Nice Guys


First off, Ryan Gosling is bae, so I will see pretty much any movie he's in. There's been a few I didn't enjoy - Drive, for example - and a few that I loved, like Crazy, Stupid, Love, The Notebook, and The Ides of March (in which I was also an extra). I'm also a fan of Russell Crowe. However, The Nice Guys was a bit too much slapstick for me, and it ran a little slow as well, so overall I wasn't that impressed with it.

The plot of The Nice Guys is a bit all over the place - the official IMDb description says: "A mismatched pair of private eyes investigate the apparent suicide of a fading porn star in 1970s Los Angeles." Holland March (Gosling) and Jackson Healy (Crowe) end up together since they are looking for the same girl, Amelia, and wondering what her connection is to Misty Mountains (Murielle Telio), a porn star that died in a car crash. March's daughter, 13-year-old Holly (Angourie Rice), wants to help them solve the case too, and she sneaks off with them when they interview people. Amelia's mother, Judith (Kim Basinger), ostensibly wants to find her too, but we find out later that her motives are a bit shady.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Upcoming: Riverdance at the Fox Theatre, June 3-5 {and a ticket giveaway!}


*Disclosure: I have an ongoing media relationship with Olympia Entertainment. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

Riverdance - The 20th Anniversary World Tour is coming to the Fox Theatre this June, and I'm excited to see it - I've actually never seen it live, and I love Irish music and dancing.

More information:
Moya Doherty is proud to announce the international Irish dance phenomenon is back by popular demand with Riverdance - The 20th Anniversary World Tour, which is celebrating an extraordinary milestone for an incredible show, as it makes stops in over 60 North American cities during the 2015-2016 season including a stop at the Fox Theatre on Friday, June 3 through Sunday, June 5; as part of the Fifth Third Bank Fox Theatre Series.

Tickets ($25, $45, $65 and $75) are on sale now and can be purchased at OlympiaEntertainment.com, the Fox Theatre and Joe Louis Arena box offices, Hockeytown Authentics in Troy (without service charge) at all Ticketmaster locations and Ticketmaster.com. To charge tickets by phone, call (800) 745-3000. Discounts are available for groups 10+, for details call (313) 471-3099. For additional information, call (313) 471-6611.

“The success of Riverdance across the whole world has gone beyond our wildest dreams,” said producer Moya Doherty. “The fact that the show continues to draw and excite audiences is a tribute to every dancer, singer, musician, staff and crew member who have dedicated themselves to the show. This 20th Anniversary Tour is a thank you to our audiences and a celebration of what has been an incredible journey across two decades.”

Riverdance - The 20th Anniversary World Tour is an innovative and exciting blend of dance, music and song. Drawing on Irish traditions, the combined talents of the performers propel Irish dancing and music into the present day, capturing the imagination of audiences across all ages and cultures. Riverdance - The 20th Anniversary World Tour has set design by Robert Ballagh, lighting design by John Comiskey, costume design by Joan Bergin and sound design by Michael O’Gorman.

With engagements which will include the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium in Calgary, Canada, in October 2015, Riverdance - The 20th Anniversary World Tour will play a coast to coast marathon stopping in more than 60 cities.

For over 20 years, nothing has carried the energy, the sensuality and the spectacle of Riverdance. Riverdance began its journey as the interval act in the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest, produced for television by Moya Doherty. This electrifying and innovative seven minute dance piece was then developed into a full-length stage show by Producer Moya Doherty, Composer Bill Whelan and Director John McColgan. With its fusion of Irish and International music and dance, the show broke all box office records during its world première run in Dublin in early 1995. When the show transferred to London in June of that year, the reaction was unprecedented, with the original 10 performances being increased to 151 in subsequent months. There followed a hugely successful tour starting in New York in March 1996, where 8 sold-out shows at Radio City Music Hall heralded the start of 16 years of non-stop touring by Riverdance companies throughout North America. Since its inception Riverdance has packed theatres throughout North America, Oceania, Asia, Europe, South Africa and most recently South America.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Movie Review: Money Monster


Just from its trailer, Money Monster reminded me a little bit of The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, in that there was a hostage situation and the "bad guy" had an ulterior motive. The "bad guy" in this film is much different than Travolta's character in Pelham, but Money Monster was just as engrossing.

Lee Gates (George Clooney) advises people what to do with their money, on a TV show called Money Monster. The show is managed by Patty (Julia Roberts), who has recently given her notice of leave for another job. The show is being filmed on a normal day, when something not so normal interrupts the broadcast: a man waving a gun, named Kyle (Jack O'Connell), with a vest strapped with explosives, which he makes Lee wear. Lee and Patty must figure out how to get everyone safely out of the studio and the building, while keeping themselves safe as well, and soon the reason for the gunman's interruption is brought to light.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

GIVEAWAY: 90 Minutes in Heaven on Blu-ray and Digital HD {ends 5/20}

I actually received this a while ago for a giveaway, but it kind of got trapped under my pile of books and movies. I haven't yet watched the Blu-ray but I plan to sometime soon, and it's based on the book (which is based on a true story) so it looks pretty interesting.

Official synopsis:
Based on a true account and The New York Times best-selling book comes the feature film adaption of 90 Minutes in Heaven. During the 90 minutes he is declared dead after a traffic accident, Don Piper experiences love, joy and life like he's never known. But when he finally wakes in the hospital, Heaven's bliss is replaced by excruciating pain and emotional turmoil. With the support of his family and community, Don clings to his faith and fights to recover the life he's lost. Featuring Hayden Christensen and Kate Bosworth, 90 Minutes in Heaven is an emotional and inspiring story of perseverance that will bring hope and encouragement to all who see it.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

GIVEAWAY: Living Hope on DVD {ends 5/17}

Living Hope is now out on DVD, and two of my lucky readers will win a copy.

Official synopsis:
LIVING HOPE is the story of three extraordinary individuals who have devoted their lives to serving the poor in South Africa. It is a feature length documentary created by the filmmakers behind Journey to Everest, Apostles of Comedy, and Honoring a Father’s Dream: Sons of Lwala. John Thomas, a pastor who is leading his church to serve the sick, hungry, and dying in the communities that surround them. Journey beside John through the neighborhoods where they work, meet the people their ministry has impacted, and hear from his heart why they chose to make a stand for the poor. Joey Lankford, a businessman and father of four who moved his young family from the United States to Cape Town. Journey beside Joey as he equips men and women with job skills, and leads them out of the bondage of poverty. Leonie Rustin, a single mom and nursing assistant, who turned from a life of crippling drug addiction to follow Christ. Journey beside Leonie as she attempts to help other in her community unshackle the chains of addiction and prostitution.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Movie Review - Captain America: Civil War


For some reason, Civil War felt more like an Avengers movie than a Captain America movie - the gang was all there, minus the Hulk, and the film focused only slightly on Captain America. The big difference, though, is that this film was more serious, and didn't have as many laughs as an Avengers film usually has.

In this movie, the Avengers are informed that the United Nations plans to curtail their work because they've caused too much death and destruction, even when the goal is to save people, so the Avengers need to be regulated. Some of the Avengers are all for this - Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) agrees to sign, as does Black Widow (Scarlet Johansson), but Captain America (Chris Evans) and some of the others are against it. At the same time, the Captain's friend the Winter Soldier, aka Bucky (Sebastian Stan), is having problems, as a long time ago he was programmed by the Soviet Union/Russia to be used as a soldier, and that programming keeps resurfacing; Zemo (Daniel Bruhl) has an agenda, to harm the Avengers, and wants to use Bucky in order to do it.