13 October 2017

Disney on Ice - Reach for the Stars

My kids and I were so excited to attend the opening night of Disney on Ice - Reach for the Stars at the Little Caesar's Arena last night. The show, as usual, was phenomenal, and we were also really happy with the new venue.

After a brief intro from Mickey, Minnie and a couple other classic cast members, the first mini-story retold was that of Ariel. I finally learned that the most impressive part of her performance was called a 'Spanish web act.' She was like a flying gymnast, with ribbons from the ceiling supporting her as she twirled and danced in the air. It was amazing!

Once Ariel and the Little Mermaid cast completed their portion, we moved on to Tangled. Instead of just Rapunzel and Flynn Ryder, my children were captivated by the misfits and troublemakers from the 'Snuggly Duckling,' the interesting bar visited by the main characters on their journey to the kingdom. The on-ice rendition of 'I've Got a Dream,' was so fun, just like when it was one of our favorite scenes in the movie.

Intermission gave us plenty of time to grab some nachos, a pretzel, and a couple drinks for our dinner. The set-up of the new arena makes visiting the restrooms so much easier, as they're on a sort of level between the main concourse and the seating.

Returning to our seats just in time, we next saw one of my daughter's favorites - Belle, from Beauty and the Beast. She loved seeing the kickline performance by the kitchen utensils. I also loved the giant library. Of course the classic victory moment is always watching the Beast defeat Gaston and turn back into his princely self.

During some of the other acts, we'd noticed a giant snowflake above the ice, and guessed what was still coming. The crowd again (as in previous performances) went CRAZY when Anna and then Elsa took the ice. The cheering for Olaf wasn't far behind. I joked to my friend that even if they had issues with the sound system (which they didn't), the kids could certainly carry the 'Let it Go' tune the rest of the way to its finish.

There's still plenty of time to visit Little Caesar's Arena this weekend and see the Disney on Ice Reach for the Stars performance with your loved ones. Tickets start at $15. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at OlympiaEntertainment.com, The Fox Theatre and Joe Louis Arena box offices and Ticketmaster.com. To charge tickets by phone, call (800) 745-3000. For additional information, call (313) 471-6611. Here are the remaining showtimes for Detroit this weekend:

Visit DisneyOnIce.com for the shows and dates coming to your hometown. Stay current on the latest developments through social media, including instructions on how to access presale codes for future Disney On Ice productions:
Facebook: www.facebook.com/DisneyOnIce
Twitter: @DisneyOnIce #DisneyOnIce #ReachForTheStars @NicoleFeld (Show Producer)
YouTube: www.youtube.com/DisneyOnIce
Instagram: @DisneyOnIce 

I received tickets to the show in exchange for promotional posts, but all opinions are mine.

11 October 2017

Reading Challenge - Book 19

I may have officially given up on fitting my books to the actual reading challenge list. But I'm still reading!

I recently finished Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty, and I've thought of it a few times since. Moriarty is one of my favorite authors, and I love the development of her characters, so it really comes as no surprise.

In Truly Madly Guilty, we have Sam and Clementine (a married couple with two young girls), Erika and Oliver (Clementine's best girlfriend from her youth, with a complicated relationship, and her husband), and Tiffany and Vid (Erika and Oliver's neighbors).

A tragedy strikes one night as the couples hang out together, and no one will ever be the same. The book explores how all the couples and their children are affected, and even gives a great twist at the end with one more party we hadn't even known about.

Overall, as with most of Liane Moriarty's books, I would recommend reading this one for yourself. You've got to read the whole thing to get the surprising twist and backstory there at the end.

05 October 2017

Noodles & Co Review and Giveaway!

I was so excited to be invited to a tasting this week of the new mac n cheese dishes at Noodles & Co! I visited the Macomb store and had a great time. The company was fun, and the food we sampled was fantastic. As the manager promised when we started out, new favorites were discovered.

Once we had our fancy Cokes (I do love the fancy new Coke machines with a billion combinations), we started in on the sampling. Appetizers of course came first. We had the Potstickers with soy dipping sauce, the Korean BBQ Meatballs with Gochujang Sauce, and the Cheesy Garlic Bread with marinara sauce. I feel a bit disloyal to the other two by naming a favorite, but I really liked the Korean BBQ Meatballs (and their sauce was delicious where it was smudged on leftover Cheesy Garlic Bread for breakfast the next morning - don't judge!).

Next up was another menu section I'd never really tried at Noodles & Co before (my ten-year-old and I go for the noodles!). We got to taste The Med Salad with Chicken, and the Chicken Veracruz Salad. While I did enjoy the feta cheese and spicy yogurt dressing on the first, the Chicken Veracruz Salad totally won me over. It's mixed greens topped with Roma tomato, red onion, chili-lime chicken, bacon crumbles, fresh-cut corn, a jalapeno ranch dressing with crispy jalapenos, fresh avocados and cilantro. Quite a list, with a few things I never thought I was a fan of, but the salad as a whole was wonderful. I may be back for this one again soon.

But we all knew what we were really there for, right? The pasta! In particular, the Macs that are now a permanent part of the menu. We tasted the Truffle Mac (with black truffle, roasted mushrooms, parmesan cheese and toasted bread crumbs), the Buffalo Chicken Mac (with parmesan chicken, Frank's RedHot Buffalo Wings sauce, parmesan cheese and green onions), and BBQ Pork Mac (with tender, slow-braised pork, crispy jalapenos and tangy barbeque sauce). All are based on the classic Wisconsin Mac & Cheese, which is also now a part of the regular menu.
L to R: Truffle Mac, Buffalo Chicken Mac, and BBQ Pork Mac
I'm honestly not really a big spicy food fan, but the Buffalo Chicken Mac and the BBQ Pork Mac were oh-so-good. I even liked the zing of the crispy jalapenos in the BBQ Pork Mac. I can't wait to have them both again. The Truffle Mac was also very good, but those meats totally won me over to the other two.

When chatting with the manager at the Macomb location, so also mentioned that they do catering (even on short notice!), and fundraising with an excellent return for your organization. Be sure to keep them in mind for your next event.


Isn't this the fun part?!? You can enter to win a YEAR of Noodles - that's a bowl each month free for a year! Enter via the widget below, and feel free to share! If you're not sure if there's a Noodles & Co location close enough for you to enjoy regularly, check here.

Entries are accepted until October 23, 2017. A winner will be drawn and I'll attempt to reach that person. If I'm unable to contact the first winner drawn, I'll try again the next day :)

Just in case you don't win here, check out these other blogs for more Noodles giveaways:
Mommy's Favorite Things
Yes/No Detroit

Good luck!!

Noodles & Co - One year of Noodles (12 bowls)

I did enjoy a complimentary tasting night from Noodles & Co in exchange for this post and giveaway, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

02 October 2017

#GirlBoss Review

Now that the kids are in school all day together, I've had a unique opportunity to watch tv or movies while I work! And I finally don't mean cartoons or YouTube toy reviews! Okay, I can tone down the exclamation points, but I am a little excited.

My first week-long binge was the one and only season of #GirlBoss, based on the book of the same name (and because I love book/movie pairings, it's now on my short list to read too). The series loosely told of Sophia Amoruso's life as she founded Nasty Gal, an online vintage clothing retailer. It was entertaining, and I got exactly what I hoped for each time I sat down to watch an episode or two.

GirlBoss was a great way for me to pass a little downtime, but I can't see myself talking too many people into watching it. It was highly predictable, while making me feel super-old, and I really, really found Sophia's best friend to be way more likable than Sophia. Which should be okay, except I felt like I should be pulling for the actual star of the show, instead of the supporting cast.

Here's some of Sophia Amoruso's comments published on Zimbio about the series, which was canceled by Netflix after one season:
"So that Netflix series about my life got canceled," Amoruso wrote on Instagram. "While I'm proud of the work we did, I'm looking forward to controlling my narrative from here on out. It was a good show, and I was privileged to work with incredible talent, but living my life as a caricature was hard even if only for two months."
The 33-year-old, who sold Nasty Gal to UK e-retailer Boohoo in April, went on to address how she was portrayed by Netflix.
"Yes, I can be difficult," she admitted. "No, I'm not a dick. No, someone named Shane never cheated on me. It will be nice to someday tell the story of what's happened in the last few years. Ppl read the headline, not the correction, I've learned."
Overall, the show was quite watchable, and I'm happy to have seen it all. I will keep an eye out for further projects from Britt Robertson (who played Sophia, and was actually in Cake as well) and Ellie Reed (who played Sophia's best friend Annie. And I really loved her haircut.).

01 October 2017

Happy Sixth Birthday to Jack

I didn't feel right closing up my day and going to bed without a special post for my son Jack. He turned six today.

He's the kid who does the right thing, for the right reason. He wore a new dinosaur shirt for the first time last week, and his comment on the way out the door was, "[Particular boy in his class] will LOVE this shirt. Dinosaurs are his favorite!" It made me so happy to be raising a boy who wants to see other people happy. Not for his own gain or benefit, but just because happy is good, right?

His excitement for life is unmatched. He practically vibrated yesterday and today for the parties he had to celebrate his birthday with his friends and family. And his sudden embarrassment when his enthusiasm got the best of him... he yelled, "I love this shit!" in the middle of opening presents with family. The next youngest family member is his ten-year-old sister, and the rest of the room was adults. He said sometimes he just couldn't help it! I said he'd learn to help it if he wanted to keep his behavior chart clean at school and keep playing his video games. He gets it.

Jack is such a snuggle-bum for mom. He tells me all day, unprompted, "I love you," or "I love you more," depending on what's going on. He loves to climb in the big bed and curl up next to me for at least a few minutes before the alarm goes off. When he gives me a big hug, all is right with the world.

He loves to tease us, and tell whoever he's talking to that they're his second-favorite. "I love you, but I love Maggie best." Or he'll tell Maggie, "I love you, but I love Addy best." And the smirk he gives tells you that many people have all his heart.

I think he loves to laugh the best, and his sister is the one who can really get him going. If any shadow of disappointment crosses his face, she is so dedicated to 'turning his frown upside down.' I'm sure life will have its challenges for him, but for now, I love that he's such a happy, smart, funny, loving boy. He has the qualities that will get him far.

And today, he celebrated a wonderful birthday <3

29 September 2017

Stitch Fix - Fix #7

I received my most recent box from Stitch Fix in mid-July. They had offered me a free styling and of course I couldn't pass that up! Apparently the free stylings go to a stylist that initiated it, or something? While my last few fixes have been put together by Kat, this time my note says I was chatting through email (when I said, "Sure! I'd love a free styling!") with Meagan, but then Linzie put the box together for me.

For laughs, I'll tell you now that I think I was grumpy (or feeling broke) when the box came in. Reviewing it again now, I daresay there's more I would have worn if I'd kept it. Hahaha...

This shirt still isn't wowing me though. This is the Maygen Flutter Sleeve Cupro Knit Top from Coin 1804. I liked the feel of the fabric, and the nifty criss-cross detail that my stylist said matches a shirt I had pinned on my Pinterest board. But, I felt the actual shape of the shirt was almost too flowy and ended up not very flattering. I sent it back, and I'm still glad I did. The retail value was $54.

This outfit is what I kept from the fix. I had specifically asked for shorts, and mentioned that I love the fit of the Kut from the Kloth pants I'd received so far. These are the Trent Frayed Hem Shorts from Kut from the Kloth (retail value $68) paired with the Prinsloo Ruffle Neck Blouse from 41Hawthorn (retail value $58). I actually wore these two together the day after my fix was received when we had company over for my daughter's birthday. The style of the blouse brought the cut-off shorts up a notch. It could easily be paired with a skirt or dressier slacks for a totally different outfit. The shorts (according to my husband) are a great fit, with a little edgier styling than most of my old-lady summer clothes. LOL (No, he didn't actually refer to my wardrobe as 'old-lady.')

You may want to make a note of this picture. I usually cut my feet off in pictures, because...feet.
Looking at these Ethan Woven Gladiator Sandals from Report Footwear again, I could actually see myself wearing them. But with a $60 retail pricetag and no arch support, I sent them back. But somehow my feet don't look as icky as I see them in my mind. Go figure.

 And this is the dress I now look at and say, "Huh. Maybe hubby was right and I would have gotten some mileage out of this dress..." When I first tried it on, it felt like it was clinging in all the wrong places. But seeing it on, I guess it wasn't that bad. Too late now! The length and the fit on the Jes Faux Wrap Knit Maxi Dress from Le Lis (retail value $78) were adequate. I suppose the deciding factor was really the lack of occasion for me to wear a dress, and the price tag. We did have a wedding coming up, but I figured I already had a few dresses in my closet that don't get much wear. (I ended up wearing the same dress I wore to my high school reunion - 10 years ago. It was fine.)

Overall, when the time for decisions came, I kept just two items from this box. Looking again now, I'm either more forgiving of how I look, feeling rich, or in the mood to shop. It wouldn't be hard to convince me to keep the other three, but that time has passed.

I'm excited to start getting out some more of my fall and winter clothes from Stitch Fix. They definitely set me up with some nice and cozy outfits last year that will be perfect again as Michigan cools off.

If you'd like to try out your own Stitch Fix box, please use my referral link! And then let me know what you think of your new treasures, and the time and energy you save shopping for clothes at home :)

18 September 2017

Reading Challenge - Book 18

As promised last time I posted, I've finished reading a few more books, but haven't gotten to writing about them yet. So no promises on the order anymore ;)

The book I'm listing for the ninth category of the reading challenge (an espionage thriller) is The Whistler by John Grisham. Picking up a Grisham book pretty much guarantees me some pleasant reading for a week or so. I'll take it! I'm being a bit liberal with the definition of 'espionage' for the purpose of categorizing, but I assume you'll keep reading.

The Whistler is a tangled thriller about a whistle-blower unknown to the narrator, and most of the other category. Someone knows a lot of what's going on to make the nearby Indian reservation very wealthy with its casino and developments. And they're ready to see those who are cheating the system, pay the price. But there is no straight line from point A to point B here. It isn't even a regular law enforcement investigation. While it officially should go to the FBI, the whistler (the code name for their informant) wants it to start out as an investigation into a particular judge, through the Board on Judicial Conduct. Usually just a paper-chasing agency, the BJC isn't equipped for the threats that come as they dig deeper into this judge's conduct, and what's going on at the reservation.

While some of the reviews say this is far from Grisham's best work, I found it to be an entertaining page-turner. I liked the look into a non-traditional agency to try and solve the crime, or at least find out what it all is. And as I'm sure you've seen if you've read my reviews before, I liked the characters. That's vital for me. The first link to the informant is a man fleeing his past and its consequences, and he does it with interesting style. The investigator and her partner were also likable people. If I'm going to escape in a book, it should always be with people I'd like to consider friends, right?