March 31, 2014

Keanu Reeves Shines in Action Adventure Movie "47 Ronin"

I'm a sucker for anything to do with Keanu Reeves. It's not so much that he's incredibly handsome and easy on the eyes--well, okay, I admit that's a large part of what attracts me to him--but there's something about his demeanor and bearing that draws me as well. I'm not talking about the adolescent Keanu of "Bill and Ted" etc. but the adult Keanu. He's the ideal tall, dark, handsome, strong silent type. And I'm a sucker for that.

So I was delighted to hear that Keanu just starred in a new movie called "47 Ronin" based on popular Japanese history/folklore. And I was even more delighted to get the chance to review this movie for you.

"47 Ronin" is, in a word, spectacular. And I mean that in a "spectacle" kind of way. The scenery is simply breathtaking. Now, I'm sure a lot of it is either CGI or green screen, but it works. It looks so authentic it makes me want to book a trip to visit this exotic yet cultured land. Happily there is a lot to see in this movie, so if you're like me and love a good adventure in a beautiful location, "47 Ronin" might just fit the bill for you too.

The basic story, based on historical events, is how a treacherous rival warlord betrays a ruler and takes command of his country--and his beautiful daughter into the bargain--all with the approval and blessing of the Japanese Shogun, the "emperor" of the whole land as it were. The betrayed ruler's faithful samurai warriors are then banished from the territory on pain of death, and the lovely orphaned daughter is set to become the rival warlord's wife.

But she's in love with a half-breed found in the wilderness and taken into the family as a young boy, and this boy has grown into a warrior who has now been banished along with the family troop of samurai. All good stories have at least some romance, right? Keanu Reeves plays Kai, the half-breed boy taken in by the royal family, and actress Ko Shibasaki plays Mika, the ex-ruler's daughter and Kai's forbidden love since childhood.

Since the Shogun banished all the former samurai on pain of death, when the former military leader of the samurai decides that honor demands retribution for his ruler's dishonorable death, all those who were once under his command are reunited in the cause, even though they all know that by doing so they have sealed their own fate. Only death awaits them, win or lose.

How they reunite, put aside their differences with the half-breed Kai (who has shown himself to be more than capable, and just as much a "samurai" as any of them), seek and find swords for battle, and eventually fight the wicked rival warlord makes for a wonderful and nail-biting journey. While there is love and violence, you'll be glad to know none of it is gratuitous or particularly graphic. No blood and gore (even beheadings are largely only suggested, not shown graphically) and no sex. You could watch this with your children--although it is rated PG-13 "for intense sequences of violence and action, some disturbing images, and thematic elements"). Parents, use your own discretion. This movie is a lot more suitable for younger audiences than most prime time network TV shows. And they just might learn something about Japanese history and honor into the bargain.

The only thing about the movie I found a little offputting was the fantasy element. Granted, I'm no scholar of historical Japanese legends, and the story of the original "47 Ronin" may well include myth, magic, and monsters. But I would have been perfectly happy with the simple historical re-enactment of the folklore without the fantastical additions. However, Japanese culture is steeped in legends of mythical, extraordinary creatures, so I guess it really isn't much of a stretch to include some of them in this film. Got to keep the audience's attention somehow, right? And since the kindly ruler was betrayed because he was bewitched by the rival warlord's staff sorceress, the whole thing moves from "history" to "legend", which kind of gives the movie the feel of an adventure or role-playing game at times. But hey, I'm sure many viewers will connect with that in the best way, so there really is something for everyone with this movie.

If you're looking for more fact than myth, you might be a trifle disappointed. But if you're just looking for a romping adventure where the good guys actually win in the end, you'll probably enjoy "47 Ronin". So grab a copy when the Blu-ray™ 3D and Blu-ray™ Combo Packs, DVD, including UltraViolet™ and On Demand hit shelves on April 1, 2014 (from Universal Studios Home Entertainment), pop some popcorn, and settle down for a trip through an exotic culture and place that will certainly make you forget the everyday least for a couple of hours.

And Keanu? Well, I'm sure you are aware of how he gets panned so often for his acting being described as "wooden". But when Keanu performs as characters such as the half-breed Kai, his acting persona moves from "wooden" to "stoic"--and very effectively. His whole demeanor fits right in with an Oriental flavor. Any other non-Oriental actor would have overplayed the role, thus destroying credibility. Keanu does it just right. In fact, it's so low-key I almost wish there were more for him to do in this movie, but the story itself isn't about Keanu, even though he's got top billing on the film. The main thrust is how the exiled leader of the samurai (played with stunning conviction by actor Hiroyuki Sanada) regains his own honor and avenges his wronged ruler. So put aside your Keanu prejudices (if you have any) and just enjoy the movie. I certainly enjoyed it!

January 24, 2014

More great Purex promotions! Enter to #WIN!

Being a Purex Insider means I get the chance to try lots of new Purex products and talk about them with friends, family, and online readers. While that's always a pleasure, I get even MORE pleasure when I'm able to bring you news of great new Purex promotions where YOU could win some fabulous prizes!! Read on!

First up, Purex is sponsoring a New Year, New You promotion and you could win a Fitness Tracker plus a year's supply of Purex Crystals! You already know the wonderful benefits of using Purex Crystals in your laundry, so having a year's supply would be a fabulous thing, am I right? Even better, to help you keep those New Year Resolutions to get in shape, you could win a fitness tracker too! Click here to enter!

Next up, Get A Clean Start with Purex! How about a year's supply of Purex detergent AND $1,000 to help you get a new spring wardrobe? Wow!! Talk about a fabulous prize!! Click here to enter!

And last but not least, get your crafty on with the Getting Crafty with Borax Sweepstakes! Learn how to use borax in your crafts and projects and share on Pinterest to be eligible to win $500!! Click here to find out more!

Good luck with all of these promotions! And don't forget to pick up Purex laundry products when you shop!

Connect with Purex on Facebook

November 20, 2013

Old El Paso Flash #Giveaway! #MyBlogSpark

When my family craves salsa and tacos, I reach for Old El Paso products. I've been buying Old El Paso for decades. Why? Consistent quality. You know what you're getting when Old El Paso is on the label.

Salsa and taco fixings aren't just the extent of Old El Paso's product range, however. They also offer some great frozen entrees.
Recently I was given the chance to try a couple of Old El Paso frozen entrees courtesy of Old El Paso and MyBlogSpark. Steak Fajitas dinner was delicious! Succulent, seasoned steak and fresh roasted onions and bell peppers come together in a sizzling medley of flavor. Pair it with warm tortillas and your favorite toppings and salsa, and you have a meal worth going out for – but won’t have to.
We also tried the Shredded Beef Enchiladas. Melt in your mouth good! Authentic corn ‒ not flour ‒ tortillas wrapped around mouthwateringly seasoned beef, topped with a flavorful ancho chile sauce sprinkled with fresh shredded Monterey Jack cheese that comes hot and bubbling straight out of the oven. Serve with rice and refried beans for a complete Mexican meal at home.
Want a chance to try Old El Paso frozen entrees and see for yourself just how good they are? You're in luck! Old El Paso and MyBlogSpark are providing one lucky Shady Lady reader with a free product coupon AND a $10 Visa gift card to help you purchase sides or other ingredients you might want to add to your meal. The winner will also receive a beautiful colorful tray to present taco fixings or chips & dip in high style.

This is a FLASH GIVEAWAY that will end in 24 hrs. So get your entry in now! I've made it simple to enter. All you have to do is leave a comment below telling me which Old El Paso frozen entree you'd love to try first. I'll select a winner tomorrow and notify them by email to get their mailing address. SO HURRY! Good luck!

Connect with Old El Paso on Facebook.

Disclosure: The information and prize pack have been provided by General Mills through MyBlogSpark. I received product gratis to facilitate my review. No monetary consideration was involved, and my opinions are my own.

November 15, 2013

More Sweeps from Purex! #giveaway #win

Mothers, we salute you. You deserve a much-needed day off, and the Purex brand would like to provide it! You can enter to WIN a day off for yourself or nominate another deserving Mom. Just click this link to enter! It's that easy!

With the kids back in school, that means more time for Mom to shop, scrapbook, read and more! Like the Purex brand on Facebook and enter to WIN one of our weekly prizes today! Just click this link to enter! It's that easy!

August 26, 2013

@BlueDiamond Artisan Nut-Thins are sensational!

I love nuts and seeds! I mean, who doesn't, right? Not only are nuts and seeds tasty, they're good for you too.

Blue Diamond is a name synonymous with quality nuts. But they have a new product out that you simply MUST try if you love nuts, seeds, crispy snacks, entertaining with style, and eating healthy.

Introducing new Artisan Nut-Thins from Blue Diamond!

I couldn't believe how crisp these snack crackers are! They come wrapped in heavy-duty foil inner package to preserve that crispness. I recommend using a clip to close the bag when not in use, or transfer these crackers to an airtight container. You don't want moisture ruining the crispness.

With all the seeds, these baked crackers are a substantial snack. And luckily, just 130 calories per 13-count serving! That's a healthy snack you can feel good about! Made from brown rice, almonds, and seeds, they are free of wheat and gluten and provide 3 grams of fiber per serving. They hold up extremely well with dips or canape toppings.
As a trial, I used some cheddar and swiss cheese, fresh tomato and ranch dressing, cucumber, bell pepper, and banana pepper with a bit of pesto. The crackers were marvelous at maintaining their crispness, no matter the toppings. They did not get soggy quickly like so many other products do, so you can make appetizers ahead of time if you like.

I cannot recommend these Artisan Nut-Thins enough!! They are simply delicious, regardless of the healthy snack benefits. I'm a sucker for sesame seeds, so that was the first variety I reached for. I wasn't disappointed! Nutty, buttery, just a hint of salt, and crisp enough to satisfy my snacking craving. The multi-seed and flax seed varieties are just as good.

Try them! I know you and your family will love them!

{Disclosure: I received product gratis courtesy of to facilitate my review. No monetary consideration was involved and my opinions are my own.}

August 3, 2013

Purex 31 Days of Fun Sweepstakes! #win

Beat the August heat by entering to win cool gifts in the Purex 31 Days of Fun Sweepstakes!

Every day in August, Purex will be giving away some cool gifts to lucky fans of their Facebook page.

Wanna see what you could win? Check it out!

I'd love to win a new Xbox One or PS4, a home theater system, or a KitchenAid mixer! What would you like to win?

Today's prize (August 3rd) is noise-cancelling headphones and new music! A $270 value! And the winner just might be YOU!

So what are you waiting for? Head over to the Purex Facebook page and "like" Purex to get your entry in. There's a new giveaway every day in August. That's COOL!

July 28, 2013

More great Purex products & ways to #WIN!

I love being a Purex Insider. It means I get to be one of the first to try great new Purex products and tell others about them.

Like the new body washes from Dial. You know and trust the Dial brand, and now there are some wonderful new products in their line of body washes to try!

My skin gets so dry and flaky in the summer, so I was excited to try out Skin Therapy Himalayan Pink Salt & Water Lily Replenishing Body Wash. For me, it worked wonders on my dry skin! You know how you love a sugar scrub to exfoliate and soften? Think of that, only better. Himalayan Pink Salt really helped get rid of the flakes and softened my skin in the process. And the scent of Water Lily was just awesome in the shower!

Dial has many great body washes for you to try. Next on my list is Coconut Water & Bamboo Leaf Extract Ultra Fresh Hydrating Body Wash. Doesn't that just sound...well... spa-like? :) celebrate 65 years of Dial, some lucky winner could walk away with $65,000 in GOLD! 65 more winners could win a year's supply of Dial Body Washes! Woo-hoo!! Now that's something to celebrate! Enter here and good luck!

Would you like to become a Purex Insider too? It's easy! Just head over to and sign up. Soon you could be trying out great new products from the Purex family.

{Disclosure: As a Purex Insider, product was provided gratis for my review. No monetary consideration was involved, and my opinions are my own.}