Monthly Archives: March 2012

Disney on Ice- 100 Years of Magic; a Review and Discount Code

Click here, enter FFA 100 for Friday night show discount

I posted a giveaway and discount code a few weeks back for Disney on Ice, 100 Years of Magic coming to Denver and last night, the long awaited night was here.  Disney on Ice, 100 years of Magic  is playing at the Denver Coliseum, March 29 to April 1 and it’s a must see if you are a Disney fan or have young kids.  My daughters were mesmerized the entire time just like they were in Disneyworld.  And even the winner of my ticket giveaway, Michael, had this to say on my facebook page and in an email:  “Thanks for the Disney On Ice tickets, my daughter, son, sister, nephew, and I had a wonderful time, seats were great. Best show I have seen in the past 3 years.”  Thanks, Michael, and thanks to Feld Entertainment, Tracy Graf (Marketing for Feld), and others who make this possible for all of us and loyal readers.

Beauty & the Beast (after he becomes the Prince)

The enchanted evening started with a drive to the Denver Coliseum.  One of the easiest commutes into a venue and parking is free and included with your admission at this venue.  Getting in and out the parking lot is easy if you do not follow the crowds.  There are numerous ways in and out of the parking lot which is west of the coliseum.  Best bet is to park closer to I-70 to get out quicker.  For this show, if you go for the Friday, March 30 evening show, you can still get discounted tickets ($4 off) by clicking here and entering your code: FFA100 at checkout.  Don’t miss out on this great deal and go see this spectacular show!

Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and Donald MC most of the night

The show is divided into two acts with a short intermission of about 10-15 minutes.  The opening act is Mickey and Minnie and the Disney characters are your narrators throughout the show.  Act One is perfect for young kids – the princess and little pirates who love Mickey and the gang and characters from Aladdin, Nemo, the Disney Princesses, Beauty & the Beast, Toy Story, and I love that they concluded with a rendition of “It’s a Small World” clock tower and all.  It really brought It’s a Small World to life with ice skating, dancing, and all the costumes and lights.  I thought Act One was the highlight for my kids and was perfect for younger audiences.

At the finale, all the characters come out

Act Two starts with the characters again introducing the next act which included classics like Pinnochio, Mulan, Lion King, and the Incredibles.  The show concludes with every character coming out into the ring and your kids can run up to the front (if you are close enough) to touch their hands/shake their hands or just feel Pumbaa’s fur 🙂  All in all, I thought this was very well done and because there are so many characters and acts, there is something for everyone.

It's a Small World - looks like the real thing!

As I have stated before, in my humble opinion, Denver Coliseum is a perfect venue especially for events like this with kids involved.   It’s is easy to get in and out of, there are no lines in the bathrooms and plenty of places to get snacks and concessions if you would like.  The prices are the usual Disney prices on souvenir items, drinks and food. But, it’s a fun night for the family and the kids are sure to sleep well – well, once you can get them in bed that is.  All in all, I have to say I agree with Michael, this was one of the best shows we have seen in sometime and the girls really were enthralled with it.  Again, thanks to Feld Entertainment for letting my family be part of the Feld Family for a year.  It was great fun!

DISCLAIMER:  My payment throughout the year for doing promotions for Feld Entertainment were admissions to the shows for four of us.

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Chess A Musical – Arvada Center, Colorado

Two date nights in one month, how lucky are we! Hubby and I got to go to the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities the first time since we moved to this town and got a real treat on Saturday night- Chess, A Musical.

The Musical- Chess, A Musical has amazing music- really good songs with the highlight being Act II opening with “One Night in Bangkok”. It was a feast for the eyes and ears with all the colors, dancing, and of course, the song is a fun song anyway. There are scores that you will recognize from the 80s and 90s and although I cannot figure out the decade that it is set in, I am assuming it was 80s (before the fall of the iron curtain and the USSR) but then in Act II, you see one of the characters using a cell phone so it could easily be 90s as well. The story, to my surprise, is a love story with all the twists and turns of a giant Chess game and world politics as told through a chess board. It is a good story and was done well in this production that is playing at the Arvada Center (Denver) through April 15. Tickets to the Arvada Center productions are extremely reasonable during normal production dates but here’s a secret on what we did to make it even cheaper since we are not avid theatre goers. We got discount tickets because we went to a dress rehearsal. So the tickets were over half price off. And even for a dress rehearsal, there was not an empty seat in the venue! And, if you buy your tickets at the center instead of on-line, you can avoid all handling charges. But should you decide to catch the normal shows as well, the prices are very reasonable and much cheaper than the Performing Arts prices for downtown venues. And there ain’t a bad seat in the house – check out my venue review below. We sat front row but honestly, you are better off sitting half way up in either the center or prime sections (see seating Chart- Arvada Center) for a great view of all the action!

The Venue– “I can’t believe we have never been here,” I said to my husband as we bought tickets earlier in the day at the box office, located inside the Arvada Center. What a great venue! I cannot say enough great things about this venue and I may be biased because I live near it but there are so many great things about this place. You may know how I feel about venues like the Wells Fargo Center, the Pepsi Center, and the Denver Center for Performing Arts. Yeah, it ain’t good. I am just not a big fan of downtown Denver venues that charge you an exorbitant fee for parking miles away, takes hours to get in and out of the venues, and takes forever to get to/from due to downtown traffic and the maze of one-way roads that frustrate me. I have to say, the Arvada Center is a gem convenient to the cities of Arvada, Wheat Ridge, Westminster, Broomfield, Lakewood, and Golden. Located on Wadsworth Blvd off of I-70, it is easy to get in and out of and at 7pm on a Saturday, even Wadsworth is easy to navigate. Parking is free, ample, and very close to the venue no matter where you park. The venue is cozy and small and only fits about 400 people so there is a a hassle-free fun experience even at intermission and no lines in the ladies’ bathroom (BONUS). There is not a bad seat in the house- you can see the stage from every seat and there will not be a head or two in your way. There are no lines for concessions or snacks either. And get this – the concessions are even cheaper than at the movies. For $4.25 we got two giant cookies, and teas and I saw the alcohol and soda prices so you can see how reasonable they are: $4.00 for beer, $5.00 for wine, and $2.00 for a soda. Teas, cocoa, and coffee were only $1.75. I remember my friend paying $8.00 for a wine at the Pepsi Center for a concert. The lines are short, and there is no concessionaire peddling CDs, posters, and other such items either. The entire affair is class through and through. Even before the show and during intermission, you wait in the art center and there are exhibits to look at including beautiful paintings.

Additionally, did you know the Arvada Center offers summer camps and programs for kids throughout the year? You can also rent out their venue for weddings, and other occasions. Outside the Center, there is a play area for kids to climb a giant dragon and sculptures and a little rock garden. Just a beautiful venue for shows, events, and if you choose to enroll your kids at their various classes you should look at and download their entire catalog from this link.

We had a great time exploring another gem of our city yesterday and seeing a great musical to boot. You won’t want to miss this and the other productions coming this season to the Arvada Center.

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It’s your Birthday…it’s your day! I mean, YOUR MONTH!

That’s right, you read me correctly… nowadays and as you get older, birthdays are no longer a birthDAY but rather a celebration for a month, starting on the 1st day of the month and culminating into some real fun on your actual day and then through out the month – but, make sure you time everything out because the amount of birthday deals out there can get plain overwhelming.  For me, birthdays (now that I am broaching 40) are not about getting things from the people you love per se or feeling the love from all your facebook, twitter, and social networking buds, it is also about the deals you can score from merchants and retailers all over town.  Boo yah!

I am reminded I wrote another article on birthday deals so make sure you check it out and then compare notes with this one.  Here are some of the things you simply must do to get these deals but don’t wait til your birthday month to sign up – do it well in advance.  And once the deals come in categorize by them expiration date.  After all, you do not want to miss a free $7 meal or a free scoop of ice cream, or 80z of yogurt but what would really hurt is missing the $15 gift card at a merchant or $10 off your purchase ANYTHING as well.  So, are you ready to party like it’s your birthday?  Well, cool – here are some birthday-friendly merchants and I am sure there are more.

Food and Drink

These days, its expensive to eat out so when a merchant throws coupons and freebies your way, you are not going to pass them up right?   I have mentioned some of these before in my article written last year but here they are again.  Sign up for their birthday club and you will get an email or a coupon in the mail for free stuff:

(1) Rubio’s–  I think they have the best deal – free meal up to $7 for the birthday gal but you generally only get 2 weeks to use it so rush in and use it.  Rubio’s has some amazing meals and fresh and healthy too!

(2) Smart Cow Yogurt Bar– This one is not a chain and not franchised yet.  They are local to Westminster, CO but a free 8oz yogurt coupon is so sweet!  And if you only get 30z, fret not, put your kid’s and your hubby’s yogurt on the scale and they will discount you the entire 80z!  Sign up at Smart Cow.

(3) Baskin-Robbins – you simply should sign your kiddos up for this and yourself too!  The birthday club at BR offers a free scoop to the birthday star and it can be used in the month of your birthday.

(4) Starbucks- just sign up on-line and register your card.  The reward comes in the mail though in your birthday month and I always a order a VENTI with extra shots- yum!  $4.75 never tasted so good as a Venti Salted Caramel Mocha NON FAT of course 🙂

(5) Dunkin Donuts– you have to sign up on-line for their Club and register a DD PERKS Card and boom!  Your free coffee will arrive in the mail in your month.  I think it expires at the end of the month but many DDs will take it afterwards too because there are so few of them.

(6) Red Robin– this place is tradition for us- we go here every birthday every year and the kiddos adore the balloons and the singing.  So how could we not make this a family affair.  So, get the Red Royalty Reward Card- not only do rewards add up but you get a free birthday burger.  Register your entire family on it so the burger loads on there automatically.  This can be a $10 value and soooo yummylicious even for us vegetarians who get the veggie patty.

(7) Panera–  Get their Panera loyalty card- it’s free and register it and then for your birthday they load a special treat on it.  You never know what it is til you log on and check so check before you go and enjoy a free bagel, a free pastry, or free breakfast item– again, it varies but I can guarantee it will be yummy!

(8) Buffalo Wild Wings- does a great deal for your birthday for free dessert…. yum!

(9) Melting Pot–  Melting Pot used to be better in year’s past when I got a free chocolate fondue worth almost $16.00 and nowadays they are a little cheaper but they give you free chocolate-covered strawberries for dining there during your birthday month.  I love fondue so this is a good deal but the free fondue was so much better.

(10) Egg & I- My friend in the comment below indicated a free meal at the EGG & I for your birthday- sign up for them too – I investigated this a bit and you can do at their locations.

(11) Sweet Tomatoes– we love this place and you can sign up on-line for their birthday club.  They will send you great coupons too!

(12) AMC Theaters- my least favorite theater also just sent me an email on my actual birthday for a free large soda when I drop $50 to see one of their movies.  I guess it’s because I had a movie watcher card.  So you too can have a giant soda at AMC for your birthday for free.  It’s good for the whole month.  Of course, unbeknownst to AMC, I have given up soda for lent so I will not be using my coupon but will pass it on to someone in the office I know will.

Stores & Retailers

(1) Macy’s– If you are a red card member at Macy’s and update your profile online and make sure to include your birthday, you will get a $10 coupon in the mail or online (via email) to use if you use your Macy’s Card

(2) Kohl’s – if you have a Kohl’s card, you will get a $10 off any purchase (and you can use this with your discounts coupons too) – what a great deal!

(3) Ann Taylor– if you have the Ann Taylor MasterCard or regular card you get $15— yup! $15 off your purchase and you can use this at the outlets too – wow! Momma is going shopping.

(4) Blue Jeans Bar- this is local to Cherry Creek in the Denver metro area but you can use it online and if you know Blue Jeans Bar, wow!  you get $35 off your jeans and Blue Jeans Bar has an amazing customer service policy and if there are problems you can head into the store and they fix it for you.  These are amazing jeans and while expensive, so worth it and $35 is amazing but it is NOT usable on sale items (boo! hoo!)

(5) Anthropologie-I do not get this deal because I do not shop there but my sister in law does- make sure you sign up to get this deal at the store.  I hear it is $10 off.

(6) Eddie Bauer– I do not have an Eddie Bauer but hubby shops here a lot and we have an outlet very close to us and they send a birthday reward too of $10 off your purchase so we generally go use that for his birthday as well.

(7) Victoria’s Secret– get the Angel Card and every year for your birthday you will get $10 off your purchase made with said card.  It’s a good deal if you need stuff.  I go in and just get $10 worth of sale underwear and it is so worth it!

(8) Aveda– Aveda used to be better about this and sent cards in the mails but now they send you an email with a free product on your birthday – it is generally travel size but this year I did not get it – check your junk filters just in case.

(9) Gap– If you have a GAP Card, they also send you a $10 reward to use in the stores.  There are no restrictions but there is an expiration date so check yours.

(10) DSW– again, you need to be a DSW Card member and you give them your birthday when you sign up for it.  You will get a $10 off reward card to use in your birth month and you can take $10 off anything include clearance items.  I got my tennis shoes for free on my husband’s reward on year.  It’s a great deal.

Lots of other merchants give deals if you sign up for their club, e-mail list, or subscribe to their newsletters and rewards cards.  It is a good idea to inquire at the store you frequent and especially if you really love their products, never hurts to get on an e-mail or mail list to get some great rewards!   Happy Birthday and enjoy your …. MONTH!

Am I missing some great birthday deal? Please add to the list with your comments here and help our readers out- where should we all be signing up.  Your input is valued.

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Flames Too Close To Home

*A great website to see amazing photos of the events and the timeline is http://www.5280fire.com

Yesterday when I returned from work a neighbor came over to tell us that a fire was happening behind our houses.  I was thinking to myself “yeah yeah – whatever….  I got stuff to do – we will check it out later.”  Little did I know how close to home the flames were.  I saw my neighbors out and everyone on the trail behind my house standing around looking in one direction – NORTH-  towards the fire.  I went out in the backyard and could hear crackling and unlike when I went camping, this crackling did not give me comfort.  We quickly went to the 2nd floor of our home and from both girls’ windows, as clear as day, we could see the trail, and on the other side of the canal, the brush fire and it was spreading and as of the time we started watching, there had not been any firefighters or police on site yet.

It was a sight to see.  I can see now why people say when you are in danger to yell “Fire!” instead of yelling “help” or something else. Everyone was coming out to see and climbing onto the trail to see the flames and to see our heroes in action, putting it out.  I have never, in my life, seen a fire (other than a controlled camp fire of course) this up close and personal and hope to never have it any closer. I remember my parents had a house fire (kitchen fire) when I was in college and it was devastating- smoke damage, fire damage, and then all the reconstruction.  I remember what havoc it wreaked on their lives and they had to live in an apartment temporarily as well.  All I could think of as I saw this flames about 600 to 1000 feet from my house was, “Oh boy… what do we take if we have to evacuate?”  It was a huge wake-up call for us?  Should we go spray down the backyard?  Should we gather the important stuff and load the car so we are ready to go?  What do we take and where is everything?  Maybe we should make a list so if we have a few minutes, we can gather it and our most valued possession (The kiddos) and jet out.  All these thoughts really freaked me out because I realized for once in a long time, I had never thought of these things.  We all think we are fireproof – “Oh that won’t happen to us.” We think we are flood proof if we live in a flood area. I personally know many in New Orleans who always said growing up, “oh that dam will never break- we will never get a flood like that.”  And I remember folks in Memphis saying “nah – we are not in a tornado zone- we will not be impacted.”

In any case, the firefighters arrived on scene and you can read more about at this site with photos but it was a great effort.  I can see how if they are fighting a giant blaze that stretches miles and miles how difficult it can be and with wind and tough weather conditions, fighting a forest fire can be super tough.  I genuinely have a new respect for firefighters and the work they do and this was what they considered a minor brush fire.  I cannot even imagine a larger scale one where MAFFS are required or aircraft to drop flame retardant.  Additionally, we are all safe and our property is too and from this we have learned it is time to be ready and get organized because you just never know… we have lived here 5 years and never experienced a brush fire in literally, our backyard but here we have it.  ‘Tis better to be prepared and what a better wake up call than a small brush fire to do so.

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Friends with Kids- a movie review

copyright imdb-courtesy of imdb

We saw the movie, Friends with Kids on Saturday, a rare date afternoon, and it was a cute 107-minute movie.  The movie poster kinda gives it away:  PICK TWO and the choices are: Love, Happiness, and Kids.  Ha!  It’s a cute movie and well-done depicting the lives of married couples, friends, and couples with kids and finally, friends who want to remain friends having kids.

The movie has a lot of things that I think anyone with kids can relate to – it is not just for married couples or couples in a relationship. It’s about single parenting too and the challenges in general that life, marriage, love, and kids can bring no matter what your status.   I cannot give up too much here so you can go see the movie but all I know is, hubby and I related to a lot of the scenes and how life changes after kids no matter what you think will happen.  The thought-provoking conversation at a dinner among friends was a bit too much for us.  I think there are some things in a marriage that should be reserved for discussion between the couple and not to be shared with a group of dinner guests but, that one scene aside, I really liked the movie. It takes all kinds to raise kids and yes, even the guy or gal who thinks everything will stay the same in their relationship.  Granted, that may spell disaster for a relationship but alas, with the first-time marriage divorce rate approaching 51% in America, I think that the character who plays that guy is somewhat accurate.  In any case, for hubby and I- we talked about kids have strengthened our marriage.  It is a conversation-provoking movie so, be prepared.

And in the end, of course, it is hard to be parents and no matter how you do it – with someone, without, or just as friends, parenting is challenging and yet, the most rewarding job you can have as well.  It can strain your marriage and strengthen it at the same time, or destroy that relationship but again, it all depends on the circumstances and the people involved.  All in all, it is a cute date movie which will make you laugh out loud, nod in agreement, shake your head in disgust, cry, and make you go home and hug your kiddos too!

Have you seen it?  Let me know your thoughts and no spoilers please.  Thanks!

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