Monday, November 28, 2016

Review: Noodles & Company, Macomb, MI {and enter to win Noodles for a YEAR! Ends 12/12}

Review and giveaway: Noodles & Company, Macomb, MI

*Disclosure: I received a meal at the Macomb Noodles & Co. in exchange for this post. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

Back in June, I tried out some of the newest salads and other dishes at the Noodles and Company located in Royal Oak, MI. This winter, Noodles has some new mac 'n cheese and other entrees out, so I headed to the Macomb, MI location—which just recently opened—to try them.

We started out with a few appetizers, including a new-ish one that has come to be my favorite - the Korean meatballs. We also tried some of the salads that debuted this summer, and the restaurant's garlic bread, which is always good.

Review and giveaway: Noodles & Company, Macomb, MI

The meatballs come marinated in a Gochujang sauce, and they're a little spicy; I don't normally like spicy foods, but they have just the right amount of spice. The two salads we tried were the Chicken Veracruz (left), and the Napa Market Salad with chicken (right).

Review and giveaway: Noodles & Company, Macomb, MI

Review and giveaway: Noodles & Company, Macomb, MI
Spicy Korean beef noodles

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Movie Review: Moana


In the film world, the name "Disney" is synonymous with innovative movies. Although Moana is very colorful, and has some catchy songs, it a film that is easy to forget after you exit the theater.

Moana (voiced by newcomer Auli'i Cravalho) has always felt the call of the ocean. She lives on an island with her family, who is essentially the island royalty, and they fully expect her to become leader once she comes of age. Her grandmother, however, informally known as the island "crazy person," encourages her to listen to her heart, and fulfill her dreams. When the coconuts and fish supply start drying up around the island, Moana knows it's because of the legend of Maui (voiced by Dwayne Johnson) and actions that he took many, many years ago, and she takes it upon herself to find Maui and make everything right again, for the sake of the islanders; who she finds, however, ends up being not entirely what she expected.

Movie Review: Bad Santa 2


I wanted Bad Santa 2 to be just as good as the first one, which premiered in 2003, but as we all know, sequels rarely live up to their predecessors. This one wasn't awful by any means, but definitely not as funny as the first, unfortunately.

Willie (Billy Bob Thornton) lives a meaningless life in Arizona. He has no girlfriend, and mostly no friends, except for Thurman (Brett Kelly), who occasionally drops by to say hi. When Marcus (Tony Cox) drops by and offers him a chance to earn a cool million or $2M with him, he begrudgingly accepts, and they head to Chicago for the heist. Willie almost declines when he sees who the 3rd person in on the deal is, though - his estranged mother, Sunny (Kathy Bates), whom he hates. The place they are robbing is actually a charity, and Willie must don the Santa suit again to get an "in" there, with Marcus again as an elf, and Sunny as Mrs. Claus. There are multiple side negotiations going on, too, and Willie must make sure that he doesn't get screwed out of his share of the pot.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Upcoming: The Lion King at Detroit Opera House, February 1-26, 2017

*Disclosure: I have an ongoing relationship with Broadway in Detroit. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

THE LION KING is coming to Detroit this February, and I'm super excited about it!

As a '90s kid, I'm a huge fan of the movie, but I've never actually seen the musical, in-person. Plus, the Opera House is a gorgeous venue for the show.

More info:
Disney Theatrical Productions and Broadway In Detroit announced that tickets for the long-awaited return engagement of DISNEY’S THE LION KING are currently on sale all Ticketmaster locations, online at www.broadwayindetroit.com or www.ticketmaster.com, by phone at 1-800- 982-2787 and at The Fisher Theatre box office. Tickets will also be available at the Detroit Opera House box office. Ticket prices start at $25. Detroit’s most eagerly awaited return will once again leap onto the Detroit Opera House stage on February 1 for a limited engagement of four weeks through February 26.

In Detroit, THE LION KING will play Tuesdays through Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 2:00 p.m. & 7:30 p.m., and Sundays at 1:00 p.m. & 6:30 p.m. There are also special Thursday matinees on February 2 & 23 at 1:00 p.m. Please note there is no evening performance on Sunday, February 26.

A special Open Captioned Performance will be held on Sunday, February 12 at 6:30 p.m. Tickets for the open captioned performance may be purchased in person at The Fisher Theatre and Detroit Opera House box offices or by phone at 313-872- 1000, ext. 0.

A limited number of Premium Ticket Packages, which include a prime seat location, a commemorative souvenir program and an exclusive merchandise item, are also available.

For group sales (12 or more) please call 313-871- 1132 or email groups@broadwayindetroit.com.

Performance schedule, prices and cast are subject to change without notice.

The North American touring productions of THE LION KING have been seen by more than 17 million theatergoers and grossed over $1.2 billion to date. Having already played more than 70 cities across North America, THE LION KING now proudly makes its Detroit return at the Detroit Opera House.

Movie Review: Loving


Before I saw Loving, I knew it was based on an actual court case, Loving v. Virginia, that sought to prohibit discrimination against interracial marriage. However, I didn't know much about the real people behind the case, Mildred and Richard Loving, and this film helped provide insight into their lives.

Richard Loving (Joel Edgerton) and Mildred Jeter (Ruth Negga, 12 Years a Slave) want to get married, as Mildred is pregnant, but it's unlawful to do so in their state of Virginia; therefore, they drive up to D.C. and get married there. When authorities in their county in Virginia find out what happened, they drag them out of their home in the middle of the night, to jail; Richard gets out fairly easy, but they leave pregnant Mildred there for the weekend, until her father arrives to post bail. Eventually, Richard and Mildred get their day in court, where their lawyer negotiates a deal: the 1-year prison sentence will be waived, however, the two of them cannot come back to Virginia together for the next 25 years.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Movie Review: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them


First off: I SO wanted this movie to be, well ... fantastic. I've been missing my Harry Potter fix for a while now, and the events of Fantastic Beasts take place 70 years before Harry Potter's time at Hogwarts. Unfortunately, the film is very, very slow, which deters me from giving it a high rating.

Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) travels from England to New York via boat, to accomplish some things, and he brings along some special creatures with him, in his suitcase. Due to a mix-up when he arrives, however, a "non-maj" (non-magical person, aka Muggle), Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler), ends up with the suitcase, and Scamander must retrieve it from him. Once he does, the two of them end up meeting Ms. Goldstein (Katherine Waterston) and her sister, Queenie (Alison Sudol), who will eventually end up helping them with Scamander's mission.

For those unfamiliar with the Harry Potter universe, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is actually a textbook that he and his friends use while at Hogwarts, and Scamander is the author of said textbook. J.K. Rowling released the book in actual book form a few years ago, too, and she wrote the script here, as well; however, the movie is technically unchartered territory, since the book is more of a guidebook than a novel.

Movie Review: The Edge of Seventeen


I had heard a lot about The Edge of Seventeen before seeing it in the theater, as it was being touted as "John Hughes-esque" (ie, similar to classic teen films like The Breakfast Club, etc.) and that it was going to be the most memorable "teen" film that has premiered in a while. Although it didn't measure up to quite that level, it's still a refreshingly funny movie that is worth seeing.

Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld) never had many friends, even from a young age, until she meets Krista (Haley Lu Richardson), with whom she bonds instantly. Flash-forward to today, and they're both juniors in high school, with Krista still being Nadine's only friend. After Nadine's brother, Darian (Blake Jenner) throws a small party at their house, Krista starts hanging out more with him, eventually becoming his girlfriend, and Nadine can't handle it: she demands that Krista chooses, either her or her brother. Because she's now friendless, Nadine starts hanging out more with Mr. Bruner (Woody Harrelson), her teacher, and decides to pursue her crush on Nick (Alexander Calvert), while dodging advances from Erwin (Hayden Szeto), the cute boy who sits next to her in one of her classes. Nadine's mother, Mona (Kyra Sedgwick) has had a hard time ever since Nadine's father passed away, too, and it's up to both Nadine and Darian to help keep her sane.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Spreading MODness at MOD Pizza, from November 22-27 {and a giveaway!}


*Disclosure: I received a MOD gift card in exchange for this post. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

MOD Pizza will be spreading some MODness from November 22-27 this month, and needs your help!

MOD will donate $1 for every pizza sold, to locally-based organizations.

I just visited MOD last month (and have been previously, as well), and the pizza is always fresh and tasty.

More info:
TEAM Schostak Family Restaurants (TSFR), a Michigan-based family-owned restaurant group with an expansive portfolio of casual, quick service and family dining restaurants throughout the state, and its Livonia, Woodhaven, Rochester Hills, Brighton and Northville MOD Pizza restaurants, are teaming up with five locally based organizations for its annual Spreading MODness campaign.

During Spreading MODness, a week in which the company and its restaurants focus on supporting at-risk youth and families, each MOD Pizza restaurant will donate $1 for every pizza sold to locally-based organizations from November 22-27. Joining over 175 nonprofits across the U.S. that will be the beneficiaries of Spreading MODness 2016, the following organizations will be the recipients of the funds raised at TSFR’s five MOD Pizza restaurants:
  • Woodhaven MOD Pizza (23071 Allen Road): Woodhaven Brownstown Education Foundation
  • Livonia MOD Pizza (13229 Middlebelt Road): Livonia Public Schools (LPS) Education Foundation
  • Rochester Hills MOD Pizza (3058 S. Rochester Road): The Rainbow Connection
  • Brighton MOD Pizza (8605 W. Grand River): Make-A-Wish® Michigan
  • Northville MOD Pizza (18821 Traditions Drive): Northville Educational Foundation


This year celebrates the fourth year of Spreading MODness, and through its celebration of “Gratitude with Attitude,” each of MOD’s 182 stores will be supporting their local charity, with a goal to donate over $250,000.

To learn more watch Spreading MODness 2016 or visit our blog: http://modpizza.com/spreading-modness to see stories on how MOD is using their business as a platform for good.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Review - Looking: The Movie


By: Travis Noon

HBO's Looking was an original series that lasted two seasons on the premium network, and it provided a updated look into the lives of gay men in San Francisco in the modern day. Comparisons may be drawn with Queer As Folk, which was a popular show from 2000-2005 on Showtime. In my opinion, that show seems a little dated; however the importance in the gay community was very important.

Looking had relatable characters in the show's short run; nevertheless, by the summation of season two, closure wasn't drawn in the series finale, and HBO made a wise decision to have a two-hour movie to bring the fans what they wanted. 

As for relatable characters, the one that is like myself is Patrick, played by Jonathan Groff from Broadway fame. Patrick is a video game designer and had a circle of close friends in San Francisco; he's now left them and moved back to his hometown of Denver. This is where Patrick's story begins for the Looking movie, as he comes back to San Francisco for his friends Augustín and Eddie wedding.

Patrick's journey gets closure, as does the other men of Looking, such as one of my favorites, Dom (Murray Bartlett) as one of Patrick's close friends. 

If you were a fan of the series, I highly encourage you to have some great snacks at home, and enjoy this proper finale of Looking. Definite Yes!


Travis Noon is an award-winning new media artist who graduated from Oakland University with his Bachelors of Studio Art in New Media. He also has a yogurt blog, "Yog-in-a-min," and is a purveyor of creating anything in life.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Cold weather holiday winter gear choices {and free shipping!} with Sierra Trading Post + $250 giveaway {ends 11/27}

*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.

It's November in Michigan currently, which means that very shortly, it's going to get cold. I'm not talking about cold like "kind of cold" (aka, 60 degrees to those of you in California and in the South), but like BRRRR cold. Like stay home and drink hot cocoa all day cold.

Unfortunately, most of us can't stay home all day and drink hot cocoa, so we need to purchase some jackets and other gear that will get us through the winter.

I'm in need of a new winter coat this year - I think my current coat is 7+ years old - and Sierra Trading Post has a large selection from which to choose.


I headed over to the women's jackets and coats page on Sierra Trading Post's site, and the first one that caught my eye was this North Face jacket ($99.99). I love anything purple, and the jacket comes in a variety of colors, including that, blue, green, pink, and others. It comes with some insulation, too, which is important for a Michigan winter.

Sierra Trading Post offers winter wear from brands like The North Face, Marmot, Columbia, and Marker at discounted prices, thanks to items being overstocked, small blemishes and irregularities, and closeouts. This jacket is normally $199, but the site has it for $99.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Movie Review: Arrival


I didn't know much about Arrival before seeing it - I watched the trailer the day of the screening, and it had a good cast and looked like it could be interesting. However, it ended up surprising me by far exceeding my expectations, and it's one that I'd like to rewatch at some point.

Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams) is a professor at a university. One day, she arrives to her class to find only a handful of students there, and one of them asks her to turn on the TV - it turns out that there's been an alien invasion, although for now it mostly seems peaceful. Twelve alien crafts have descended upon various countries across the world, including the state of Montana (this is a state, not a city), and the government wants to know what they want from us. Soon after, Colonel Weber (Forest Whitaker) arrives at her door, asking for her help translating the aliens' language - she had helped the government previously with a different project. She and Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner), a scientist, are the two experts that the government has brought in to help them, and they must work together in order to interpret who the aliens are and what they want.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

GIVEAWAY: Bad Moms on Blu-ray combo pack {ends 11/13}

*Disclosure: I received a copy of this movie on Blu-ray combo pack in exchange for this post. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

A few weeks ago, I had a giveaway up for a Digital HD code of Bad Moms - so if you didn't win that one, you're in luck, since I now surprisingly have a Blu-ray combo pack to give away!

The Blu-ray combo pack was released in November 1st, so you can find it in stores and online now.

About the movie:
Bad Moms, the year’s biggest R-rated comedy – a runaway hit with audiences and critics alike – is coming to Digital HD on October 18, 2016 and Blu-ray™, DVD and On Demand on November 1, 2016, from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. The raunchy film described as “incredibly funny!” by Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly, is the first R-rated comedy since The Hangover to earn an “A” grade from audiences nationwide. Hailed by critics from The New York Times, Chicago Sun-Times and Washington Post, Bad Moms is one comedy not to be missed. The Blu-ray™, DVD and Digital HD come with nearly an hour of exclusive bonus content including hilarious deleted scenes, gag reels and exclusive interviews with the cast and their moms that will have everyone laughing again and again!

In this hilarious and heartfelt comedy from the writing duo behind
The Hangover, Amy (Mila Kunis) has a seemingly perfect life – a great marriage, over-achieving kids, beautiful home and a career. However, she's over-worked, over-committed and exhausted to the point that she's about to snap. Fed up, she joins forces with two other over-stressed moms (Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn) on a quest to liberate themselves from conventional responsibilities – going on a wild, un-mom-like binge of long overdue freedom, fun and self-indulgence – putting them on a collision course with PTA Queen Bee Gwendolyn (Christina Applegate) and her clique of devoted perfect moms (Jada Pinkett Smith and Annie Mumolo). See the movie that critics are cheering as “…a funny, giddy, sentimental laugh-in…” - Manohla Dargis, The New York Times.

The film will be available on Blu-ray™ with Digital HD and UltraViolet™ and DVD.

BONUS FEATURES ON BLU-RAY, DVD AND DIGITAL HD:
  • Deleted Scenes 
  • Gag Reel 
  • Cast & Moms Interviews: A collection of intimate moments between the leading cast including Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Kathryn Hahn, Christina Applegate, Jada Pinkett Smith and Annie Mumolo and their moms.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

GIVEAWAY: Jason Bourne on Blu-ray combo pack {ends 11/11}

*Disclosure: I will be receiving a copy of Jason Bourne in exchange for this post. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

I didn't get to see Jason Bourne in the theater, but am a huge fan of the Bourne series - specifically, with Matt Damon in the lead role - so I'm excited to see this one.

Jason Bourne will be released on Digital HD on November 15th, and on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD, and on-demand on December 6th. One of my lucky readers will win a Blu-ray combo pack - read on for details.

About the movie:
Matt Damon (Bourne Franchise, The Martian) is back and this time it’s personal in JASON BOURNE, the action-packed fifth installment of the blockbuster franchise, coming to Digital HD November 15, 2016 and 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and On Demand on December 6, 2016, from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. Nearly a decade since fans last saw the former operative, the explosive return brings Jason Bourne into a whole new era, revealing key secrets about Bourne’s origins to a new generation. The 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD include commentary from the cast, filmmakers, stunt performers and fight coordinators, plus behind-the-scenes features that take viewers inside the making of the film’s intense stunt choreography and one of the wildest car chases in Bourne history.

BONUS FEATURES ON 4K ULTRA HDTM, BLU-RAY, DVD:
  • Bringing Back Bourne - Matt Damon and Director Paul Greengrass discuss how they brought a beloved character back to the big screen.
  • Bourne to Fight - A behind-the-scenes look at the fight sequences in Jason Bourne.
  • Bare-Knuckle Boxing - Matt Damon discusses his love for boxing and how he prepared for the bare-knuckle fight sequences.
  • Close Quarters - A behind-the-scenes look at the brutal fight between Jason Bourne and Christian Dassault.
  • Underground Rumble - Matt Damon, Vincent Cassel, and fight coordinator Roger Yuan discuss how they staged Bourne’s final showdown with The Asset.
  • The Athens Escape - Matt Damon, stunt coordinator Gary Powell and second unit director Simon Crane discuss the challenges of shooting a chase sequence through cramped city streets.
  • Las Vegas Showdown - For the final act of Jason Bourne, filmmakers wanted something bigger and bolder than ever before. Here’s an inside look at how they pulled it off.
  • Convention Chaos - Join the cast and crew on location in Las Vegas as they film the final act of Jason Bourne.
  • Shutting Down the Strip - A behind-the-scenes look at one of the wildest car chases in Bourne history.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Smart shopping with Groupon Goods

*Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. However, all opinions posted here are my own.

Most of you already know about my love of Groupon for all things deal-related. I actually just bought a great deal for Pieology, in Royal Oak, a fast-casual pizza place - $10 for two unlimited-topping pizzas, which normally would be $15-16. [if you're in the Detroit area, check that deal out!]

However, did you also know that Groupon also has a Groupon Goods section too? I first found out about this when I was looking to buy Meghan Trainor's newest CD, Thank You - Groupon had it, and it was even less expensive than Amazon.

Today I actually stumbled across this in an ad on Facebook, and as a new Gilmore Girls fan, I was immediately enthralled - Groupon Goods is selling t-shirts based on the TV show: