Saturday, November 4, 2017

Play That Song

I forgot to put this song on my favorite songs post which is a shame because it's one of the best songs of 2017. I just love it! It's so fun and spunky!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

It Has Happened

     Six years online and it has finally happened to me. I went an entire month without posting anything!!! I never thought I was capable of that! However, I have definitely needed a break from the blog without completely breaking from it. The last two years on Blogger were mammoth record years with over 130 posts in both years and up to 15 posts a month. 2015 and 2016 were definitely developmental and experimental years for my blog and I came up with some great content. I wrote numerous and varied movie reviews, created several blog series, had a monthly vlog, and always tried to keep up with the world news. I really managed to dig deep into my passions and creativity and I feel that I've grown a great deal as a writer and respectable Blogger.

     However, by this time last year, I was really beginning to burn out. I was only continuing with the blog series because I had to. I wasn't going to start something and then stop in the middle. I felt the well of creativity was drying up and I was in a constant frenzy to get everything written and posted before the deadline (the beginning of the next month). When 2017 rolled around, I made the decision to just take it easy on my blog. No series, no movie review lists, nothing. Then I got my new job with very early hours that left me exhausted when I got home. So really, it all unexpectedly rolled together. 

     Also, I'm rather ashamed to admit, that I'm rarely on my beautiful new computer and working on my wonderful site, because I have become rather addicted to my i-phone. I, the girl who constantly condemned people for always being buried behind their phones, have sadly fallen into that hole. I who said that I couldn't live without a computer and spent almost every moment on my old ones until the were run down, have neglected this lovely laptop in lieu of a handheld device that really does limit my creative thinking. 

      While this is hardly the confession of the ages, I feel the break from the blog has been a good thing, but it has also allowed me to indulge into viewing the i-phone as my only source of entertainment. My obsession with my phone has also stippled my once intense love of reading. I don't think I've actually picked up a book in weeks. And that is saddening. 

     Today my data was disconnected and I have eleven days before it rolls over again. In that eleven days I want to challenge myself to find better avenues of entertainment. Reading The Odyssey and Poldark or working on my blog plan for 2018. (Oh, and getting back to writing a little Cinderella inspired story that should have been finished by now!!!!) I don't want to become an i-phone addict and just let all my talent and work waste away. This blog was made to be an outlet for my passions and my love of writing and I can guarantee in 2018 that is exactly what it is going to become again.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

New Songs

A few music videos of some of my favorite songs that I've heard so far this year.

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This song is so much fun and has a great old-fashioned message about love, marriage and family.

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I heard this is the finale episode of season 4 of The Originals and knew I had to get it! Just beautiful and heartbreaking.

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Utterly stunning in sound with evocative lyrics that really nail the emotions of Princess Diana and her journey of understanding the human heart. 

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No words can describe how extraordinary this musical piece is! Just enthralling!

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A modern updated rendition of Frankie Valli's big time hit, Big Girls Don't Cry.
I love it!

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 Another updated classic for the Dirty Dancing remake that still has the vibe of the original.

Fall Layout!

So Fall time is here! And I am loving my new fall inspired layout and colors! I've never used orange before (it's a risky color for anything), but I really think it all turned out lovely.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

King Arthur: Legend of The Sword

     Who doesn't love a good King Arthur movie? The newest interpretation one of the most beloved fictional characters and his rise to the throne of Camelot is a very different interpretation. If one were to take the BBC show Merlin and combine it with A Knight's Tale, then you get a modern, upbeat version of an age old legend. Like with Robin Hood, King Arthur can never really fade away into any sense of obscurity. King Arthur was to Old England what Captain America or Superman is to modern day America. As long as you get Arthur right then the rest of the story can very easily fall into place. 

     When the small island of Camelot is under attack by the maniacal sorcerer, Mordred, brave and noble King Uther Pendragon goes to war. Aided by his brother, Prince Vortigern and his first knight, Sir Bedivere, Uther manages to defeat Mordred with the powerful sword Excalibur, however, the true evil is closer than he thinks. Uther is betrayed by his own brother and killed. However, Uther's son, Prince Arthut manages to escape while Excalibur is buried deep in Avalon lake, unable to be found by anyone.

     Arthur finds safety in the wild city of Londinium. Rescued by prostitutes and raised in a brothel, Arthur grows up learning the value of hard work, dealing with bullies, making and saving money, and how to fight and protect others. Some twenty odd years go by and Arthur and his rag tag group of friends run the Londinium streets, caring for the poor and fighting any outsider who dare come into their city. Arthur's generous nature is immediately seen when he defends the prostitute who cared for him after she is badly beaten by a viking trader. While Arthur may run the streets and protect the destitue, he is still subject to the tyranny of the king and those who serve him.

     Word on the street starts to spread of 'the future king' after Excalibur is found buried deep within a stone. King Vortigen has run Camelot to the ground with his endless wars and expensive buildings. The people hate and fear him, but no one has the courage to stand up to him. While Vortigen may have succeeded in killing his brother, his nephew still poses a threat to the crown. Now that Excalibur is found, only Uther's true heir can wield it. 

     Every young man in his twenties is taken from their homes and sent to Camelot to pull the sword from the stone. After Arthur successfully releases the sword, his once carefree life in Londinium ends and now he becomes the reality of the myth of 'the future king.' His life is now a journey from the street smarts alley rat to the Once and Future King of Camelot. Aided by his friends including the wise and powerful Mage, Arthur fights to take back his birthright and give his kingdom back to its people. 

     As I said in the opening, if you get Arthur right than the rest of the story falls into place. Well, they got Arthur right. Played by the incredibly handsome and talented English actor, Charlie Hunnam, this Arthur was as Arthur should be. Noble, honorable, and courageous, but also deeply flawed with doubt and frightened of this unexpected legacy. I fell in love with him immediately. His care for the women that raised him and he how he loved and protected them was a beautiful way to interpret a king who understood the people regardless of their station. 

     He was also delightfully humorous and Arthur and his friends brought a great deal of comic relief to the story. One thing that the movie didn't bother with was a love story (thank goodness!). There was no romance or love interest at all. The only woman that Arthur got close to was the Mage, a rather dour faced character that never smiled or showed emotion, but she certainly knew how to hold her own. While their is a great deal of fighting, I didn't really see an general blood or violence (with the exception of Uther's brutal death/suicide). 

     Simply a fun movie with a little modern edge in areas as well as an exceptionally beautiful soundtrack. King Arthur: Legend of The Sword told the basic well known story of Arthur's road to the throne to Camelot while taking artistic liberties in the legend that makes it new and different. 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Loveliest of Days


We have a new family member!!!

On September third, my younger brother, Seth, married his girlfriend of almost three years, Lydia Mae Rowlands! My family and Lydia's family have grown up together on the same street for fifteen years. Seth was eight and Lydia was six when they first met and our two families have always been close. 

Lydia is the fifth of ten children (also homeschooled) and my brother is the seventh of nine. Lydia is best friends with my two young sisters and Seth is best friends with Lydia's two older brothers. Seriously this is the type of relationship that a romantic comedy would be based off of. My brother literally married the girl next door and my family couldn't be more thrilled.

Their wedding was beautiful, simple and utterly energetic and fun! Here are the official wedding portraits and hopefully I can get some reception photos soon!

Photos are courtesy of Rowlands Photography

Monday, August 21, 2017

Solar Eclipse 2017

The total solar eclipse seen in Guernsey, Wyoming. Photograph: Rick Wilking/Reuters
     Did anyone watch the solar eclipse? Unfortunately for me, the eclipse only lasted a few minutes and it only looked like clouds passing by the sun. However, I have seen some extraordinary pictures and it's an utterly beautiful phenomenon. Also, it was somewhat relieving to see the American people set aside their bickering for a short while and all come together to enjoy something so rare and exciting. 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Have Courage...And Stay Sane

     My severe lack of posts is utterly heartbreaking right now. That being said, I will say that I've been keeping busy this summer with learning how to waitress at a newly opened restaurant in my small country town...that is weirdly reminiscent of Radiator Springs. For some reason, I had always wanted to be a waitress. I never realized how truly sheltered my life had been. My first month has definitely been a crash course in people skills, time management, scheduling conflicts, money making (and saving), dealing with co-workers and getting a backbone while keeping sane with great doses of humility. Really, nothing can really bring a person down from their high heaven like food service. 

     Now, it's not terrible, but it's not a job I'm use to. I had never realized how hard waitresses and cooks work or how horrible their treatment can be from unassuming customers. I really feel guilty about all those times when I was a complete b*tch to the staff because they didn't come and serve me immediately or an order didn't come in right or it came late. Now seeing life from the other side, I wonder how I must have seemed to those people who were working their hardest to make me happy. I must have come off as a real self-entitled, spoiled brat. 

     While the humility has been a blessing in disguise to me and has opened up my eyes to the hard work of others, Cinderella like experiences of being kind have also begun to appear as well. Without going into too much detail, I had the misfortune of dealing with a rather hostile co-worker last week. There may have been several reasons behind her hostility and maybe they didn't have to do with me, but I could tell she did not want to be around me. Now, I should say, this co-worker is ten years younger than me and is also a minor, so why should I be worried about the opinion of a 17 year old? I'm not really, but it's difficult to work along side someone that you should be able to depend on and that you hope they can depend on you. 

     For two days, this co-worker refused to smile at me, talk to me, or say anything positive. It was very difficult for me, because I hate when I feel like I'm a disappointment or a liability. If this girl was angry about a scheduling conflict (which was probably the case) then I was sorry, but to refuse to be decent to someone after forty-eight hours is a little ridiculous. I really didn't know if I should bring it up to her or ask her about it or if that would make things worse. Then a couple of days ago, after a rather comical biker couple came through bringing a great deal of laughter to everyone, the clouds of hostility lifted and my co-worker was back to her typical charming self around me. 

     You can imagine my surprise at the immediate change I saw in my co-worker. I wasn't going to question it though! I'm not sure if it was a God thing or what, but I'm thankful that I never gave in to saying or doing anything that could have damaged my own good name at the restaurant. Were there times I wanted to snap back at her, that I wanted to complain about her to everyone, to tell her off and slander her behind her back? Sure, plenty of times. However, I would think instead, "I'm the adult, she's the child. She's having a bad day, let her deal with it in her way and let me deal with it in mine." Now, I haven't seen this co-worker since that day, but I am hoping that whatever silent issue she had with me is finally over.  

     Waitressing has been rewarding in many ways, such as making money and learning how to interact with all types of people. It certainly isn't something that I would want to do for the rest of my life. As for what I want to do with my life after the summertime...that's still up in the air. Maybe go back to school or get a better paying job, I'm just not sure right now. All I know is that right now, a good part of my day is spent gaining good life experience in dealing with people and dealing with myself.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Site revamp

After years of having the same layout design I have finally revamped my site as well as creating a brand new header! Featuring two of my favorite women at the moment, Wonder Woman's Gal Gadot and First Daughter Ivanka Trump! I love the new yellow look; it has such a summery feel to it!

As for an update on the site in general, I've gotten a new job as a waitress at a restaurant that's only five minutes away from home. My regular hours are from 10:30-4:30, which means I finally have time to write again! And I have missed it a great deal. The Phoenix is still in the works as well as working on my second story.

I hope everyone is having a good summer!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Wonder Woman (2017)

     This movie...Oh God! Where do I begin!!! It went beyond the pun of wonderful and was just extraordinarily beautiful in every single way! From the storyline, the actors, the costumes, the music...just everything you want in a good superhero film! However, the best aspect of the film was Wonder Woman herself who was tough and brave, while remaining compassionate and generous without a breath of modern feminist ideals to darken such a inspiring story. 

     All her life, Princess Diana has been the jewel of the female dominated Amazonian island, Themyscira. Her loving mother Queen Hippolyta, a fierce warrior and just ruler, tries to shield her daughter from the difficulties of warfare, but Diana is insistent that she be an Amazonian warrior like the rest of the women. 

     Hippolyta tells Diana of the island's history starting with the Zeus' creation of mankind in his own image, the betrayal of his son, Ares, who turned men's hearts away from goodness, and how the Amazonians were brought to earth to protect humanity. When Zeus banished Ares from earth, he sent the Amazonian women to the magical island of Themyscira where they have lived for centuries, hidden from the rest of the world and protectors of the great weapon, the God Slayer. 

     Over the years, Diana trains endlessly and becomes a formidable warrior with unusual powers that cannot be explained. One day, a strange flying machine lands into the water and Diana rescues it's handsome pilot, Steve Trevor. The stranger tells the woman of Themyscira that the rest of the world is at war on every single side and that he himself is a spy who must return back home in order to stop an enemy attack that could wipe out thousands. Diana becomes intrigued by Steve and his story and follows him back to 'his hideous world' known as London, believing that Ares is behind this war and feels that it's her duty to protect the world as an Amazonian and defeat Ares in the process.

     Princess Diana becomes Diana Prince and soon helps Steve and his ragtag group of followers to track down the mad German General Ludendorf and his psychotic chemist Isabel Maru or Doctor Poison from creating a deadly gas that they hope to use as weapon of human annihilation. War is difficult for Diana to understand and she faces both victory and defeat in the process of hunting down Ares. Soon, she is faced with her ultimate enemy, but in order to bring peace, sacrifices of both heart and soul must be made to ensure a world without fear. 

     Gal Gadot was hands-down the ultimate prize of this film! She portrayed a Wonder Woman that's a hero our world (and especially women) need at the moment. While Diana is a powerful warrior, she also exhibits great kindness, generosity and compassion that is simply her nature. She is fascinated with humans and feels that it is her duty as an Amazonian to protect them. Her relationship with the men in the story is nothing short of endearing and charming; for a woman who grew up around other women, Diana shows great respect and humility toward male authority and companionship as well as an understanding heart. There was not a single moment of anti-patriarchal mongering in the story and any thought of third-wave feminism is utterly non-existent. 

     Chris Pine was his typical swoon-worthy hero character that makes me love him all over again! Steve Trevor is a loyal American patriot that puts him right next to Steve Rogers. Ambitious and ever hopeful, Steve will not compromise with evil and becomes a wise mentor to Diana. While he and Diana may disagree from time to time, Steve begins to accept her way of getting the job done and is willing to stay in the background and allow her to take the well deserved glory. He and his friends are much needed comic relief to the film, while hitting upon the realities and horrors of the first World War. 

     When I left the theater after seeing this film, I was so content with the two hours I spent exploring the origins of Diana Prince and admiring a true heroine that is the embodiment of flawed, but ultimate goodness. I already had a deep respect for Diana after her introduction in Batman v. Superman, but now I want to be her best friend. If you were to only see one movie this summer, than please see this masterpiece. Especially anti-feminists that may be nervous about the female warrior mentality, you will not be dissapointed! We definitely need more Diana Princes' in the world. 

Monday, May 29, 2017

JFK's 100th: Sinner, Saint, Stormbraver

     Today marks the 100th birthday of President John F. Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States. Born in 1917 in the middle of WWI, John or Jack as he was known by his family and friends would became a naval war hero in WWII and it seemed like Jack would always be made for war. He was the second oldest of nine children and born into a prominently wealthy family from Brookline, Massachusetts. His father, Joseph Kennedy, was the son of Irish immigrants and was intensely ambitious to make the name Kennedy respectful and legendary. Jack's mother, Rose Fitzgerald, was a devout Catholic who loved her children dearly, but silently suffered from her husbands public marital indiscretions. A lifestyle that Jack himself would inhabit for the rest of his life.  
A young...and very handsome Jack Kennedy
     Jack graduated from Harvard in 1940 and a year later he would enlist in the Navy. During his service, In 1943 Jack's ship crashed in the pacific and they were missing in action for almost a week. They were eventually recovered and Jack was honored with the Purple Heart for his service (there was severe damage done to his back). Jack's older brother, Joe Jr., an Air Force pilot, however did not survive the war and was killed in 1944. For years, Joe Jr. had been tapped and trained by his father to become the political prince, but now Jack would take that position...whether he wanted it or not. 

     The young Kennedy served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1947 to 1953; he primarily worked in education and military veterans affairs as well immigrant registration. On September 12, 1953 (shortly after becoming senator of Massachusetts) he married Jacqueline Lee Bouvier, a wealthy socialite from New York. They had two children, Caroline (1957) and John Jr. (1960). They also had a miscarried daughter, Arabella, and son, Patrick Bouvier who did several days after birth in 1963.

Jack and Jackie
Jack and Caroline
Jack and John Jr.
     Jack and Jackie's marriage was far from perfect and idyllic. Jack's affairs with numerous woman caused a great deal of stress. Jackie's reserved nature (that could border on coldness) and inability to connect with the lively Kennedys was also a source of contention. However they adored their children, who were their saving grace when they entered the White House in 1960. Jackie was fiercely private, but grew into her role as First Lady with her elegant style and grace as well as her restoration of the White House, allowing the American people to see the President's home for the first time.

    The new president was busy during his time in office. A few months after being sworn into the presidency JFK was hit with the Bay of Pigs crisis, which turned out to be a disaster and several American soldiers were killed. Yet, Jack persevered and fought hard and long on Civil Rights, relations with Israel, Communism and eventually his crowning glory in the Cuban Missile Crisis where he narrowly averted a possible WWIII.

The president in his famous rocking chair which
helped with his intense Addison's Disease.
     Overtime, the handsome and hardworking president and his young, lovely family endeared themselves to the American people, especially among the youth of America. Suddenly politics wasn't stuffy and boring and with Kennedy's creation of the Peace Corps, young adults were able to employ their own talents and gifts to benefit America and the rest of the world.

     Jack and his younger brother, Robert (Bobby) Kennedy, the Attorney General, work tirelessly in the Oval Office, but they were oftentimes met with hostility by the President's cabinet. Yet, the two of them were an indomitable force of nature and much of Jack's success was due to Bobby Kennedy's integrity and fierceness of character.

A sweet moment between the President and First Lady.
     Jackie Kennedy once said that her time as First Lady was her happiest time. In spite of their difficulties in their marriage, Jack and Jackie did genuinely love each other. Although Jackie almost left him early on in their marriage, she soon came to believe that she was a great asset to Jack's presidency and loved him for all his faults and flaws. After Patrick's death in the summer of 1963, there was a shift in Jack's values and priorities. He became more attentive to his wife and was open to public affection and attention toward her. 

     However those moments would remain only moments. On November 22, 1963, while campaigning for his second term in office, President Kennedy was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald, a deranged American Communist. The whole nation was shocked beyond belief and the world mourned the loss of a man who had so much ahead of him. On November 25, (John Jr's. 3rd birthday), John "Jack" Fitzgerald Kennedy was laid to rest at Arlington cemetery.  

     What is the allure of JFK? Why does he still evoke so much respect and dignity for generations that didn't even know him as their president? He was by no means a perfect man or for that matter a perfect President. He was born both sinner and saint, but a stormbraver he became. It was the hard decisions that he made that forged him into a legend. Bay of Pigs almost ruined him, but the Cuban Missile Crisis made him a hero. His fight for Civil Rights made him loved all over the racial board and his dealings with the Soviet Union could have ended the Cold War sooner.

      JFK believed in young people; he believed that everyone had potential to better themselves if they were working at bettering their world. In his inaugural speech he urged people to to devote themselves to their country, to do the hard things that others wouldn't. Even if JFK was America's Commander In Chief for only a 1,000 days, there were days filled with hope that conquered fear and words that spoke to humanity's heart.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Dirty Dancing (2017)

     Not since Trump's win of the presidential election has there been such an outcry of rage and downright drama in the Twitter world (there was actually someone on Twitter who compared it to Trump's election). Last night ABC premiered the remake of the 1987 classic film Dirty Dancing. The sleeper hit that took the world by storm and launched the career of Patrick Swayze as both a dancer and an actor. However, long before the remake premiered, there were already protests from film devotees and purists railing about what a crime it was to remake such a classic.

    Now, I didn't grow up with the movie. I only saw it for the first time last year. So naturally I was curious. I guess it's the fan-fiction writer in me that's always modifying stories in my head that makes me so comfortable and even excited for remakes. Fan-fic writers are always looking for a way to make the story better, stronger, different. Wanting to delve deeper in lesser known characters and storylines.  And ABC's Dirty Dancing did just that. 

"Now, I've had

the time of

my life"

      While there is no need to review the actual story, I will say that one thing I was very happy about is that they actually had period appropriate style! My older sister loves the original, but the costumes and the hair were all screaming late 80's! It drives her crazy and so upon watching the remake, we were both impressed by the correct and accurate costuming from the early 60's. And the costumes are beautiful! So, A+ for the wardrobe! 

     I was quite content with the casting as well. Abigail Breslin gave Baby Houseman a more saucy and independent personality. She definitely had some great humorous moments, while also providing intense emotional scenes that gave more depth to Baby's character. However, Abigail has been acting since she was five years old and quite frankly it was difficult watching the love scenes (nothing graphic or inappropriate) and thinking, "Oh yeah, she's not the cute kid from Signs anymore. She's grown up."However, she did very well, even though she would not have been my first choice for Baby. 

     While no one can replace Patrick Swayze, Colt Prattes was wonderful! His dancing is extraordinary and his singing...WOW! Oh yeah, there is actual singing in this one too! Anyway, Colt played Johnny as more of a greaser who has no problem picking a fight with people. He also gives a little more background information on his life and why he is desperate to make it as a dancer. Very good performance that can rank right under Patrick.

     Nicole Scherzinger as Penny is just as sweet and lovable as the original. She and Baby have their own dance number which is absolutely fantastic. She is by far the best dancer in the whole movie and for many seemed to be the only saving grace of the remake.  

      The remake fleshed out the Houseman family in a way that made the family as a whole more relatable and real. They weren't a picture perfect family. They were flawed and damaged and even at a breaking point. Through the Houseman family, we see varying degrees of love whether it's first love, lost love or unexpected love. Each member is impacted in some way during their vacation and I thoroughly enjoyed watching the developing characters and their individual stories come together.

     Lisa Houseman (Sarah Hyland) was not as aggravating or annoying and learns very quickly the consequences of stupid mistakes. Dr. Jake Houseman (Bruce Greenwood) and Marjorie Houseman (Debra Messing) are a couple that are secret struggling to hold on to their marriage. Jake is a brilliant doctor who has put work in front of his family and now faces losing his wife. While Marjorie, who is the quintessential 50's housewife, begins to wonder if the feminist idea of single womanhood is a better life for her. Honestly, I was more wrapped up in Jake and Marjorie's romance than I was in Johnny and Baby's!

     One concern I did have was that the movie focused on second wave feminism such as Betty Frieden's "The Feminine Mystique" and was a woman better off without a man? However, the movie was very balanced. It didn't push any feminist agenda at all, but was rather used as a historical factor for the changing times for women in the 60's. The end of the movie was rather shocking and bittersweet (and guess what? Fans hated it!), but I thought it was done very well. Baby ends up defying social norms all over the board and becomes successful in every avenue of her life, but it would have never had happened were it not for that summer in 1963. 

     While it may not have had the cute quirkiness of the '87 original ABC's Dirty Dancing definitely had more depth and emotion. Everyone in Baby and Johnny's sphere are affected by what the two of them set out to do. Being a musical lover, I enjoyed the musical/dance numbers and there is some exceptional talent among the cast. I may be in a incredibly small minority to say this, but I find this remake to be absolutely lovely, heartbreaking and just as charming and as emotional as the original. 

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