Thursday, March 26, 2015

My Week In Links

Last week involved a lot of John Green excitements. First of all my P4A version of The Fault In Our Stars arrived on my doorstep! Then I broke down and decided to buy the 10th anniversary edition of Looking for Alaska from my local bookstore. When it first came out I told myself I wasn't going to spend the money on a book I already owned, but it's my favorite John Green book so it happened anyway (whoops).


Finally the Paper Towns movie trailer was released last Thursday. (Can we acknowledge that Nat Wolff should star in every film adaptation of John Green's books? I swear he could fit as Miles, Colin, and Will. Okay that would be a bit overboard, but in my mind it works.)

I've had a mini obsession with Mariah Carey's Always Be My Baby lately. I was listening to a bunch of 90's music the other day and just couldn't stop replaying that one. What a classic.

Another favorite recently is Work This Body by Walk The Moon. Mostly because it makes me want to crazy dance whenever it comes on.


I found my new favorite spring outfit inspiration on Pinterest. I love the mixed patterns on the classic style. Wish I looked that effortlessly stylish while riding a bike (or doing anything really).

I've been all about the florals lately. I don't know where it came from since I've never been a flower person. The other day I told my mom I wanted to get some flowers for my room and she just laughed. I always thought they were silly and useless, a complete waste of money, but minds change and that's okay.


Even this wall paper sparked my interest.

I want this to be my future living room; just look at all the books! The room has a lot of color without looking too cluttered, although I would use less pillows and lose the peacock. Plus the big windows help the full space look light and airy. I'm smiling just thinking about it.

This interview/discussion was so good! I could listen to these ladies talk all day. What interesting conversations one could have with these women; I never wanted the video to end. I really admire how they all support and lift each other up. Kind words and kind hearts.

Speaking of admirable women, check out these totally awesome illustrated quotes on feminism from The Nib.


March is Women's History Month, and although it may be coming to a close it's never too late to catch up on amazing women in history and today. The ever inspiring Amy Poehler's Smart Girls has highlighted a few of their favorite women in history, such as Mildred Norman and Anne Frank. They even have inspirational coloring pages you can print off (how cool)!

-S

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Cinderella Movie Review

Like I mentioned in my last post, I went to see the new Disney Cinderella movie last Sunday. Besides feeling excited to finally see the movie I was also quite anxious about whether or not it would meet my expectations. Guess what? I had no reason to worry because the movie surpassed anything I had in my head. Cinderella was a beautiful, heart-warming, and fresh movie. A classic for all ages that I can't wait to see it again.


Growing up my family never owned the Disney animated version of Cinderella. We had a copy of the Rodgers and Hammerstein 1965 musical that I loved very much (even though I was always bothered by Lesley Ann Warren's voice). I knew all the words to every song and would sing and dance along pretending that I was Cinderella. I also have good memories of watching the premier of the 1997 edition with Brandy and Whitney Houston. Besides those beloved classics, Ever After is one of my favorite movies of all time. So like I said, the new film had a lot to live up to.


Cinderella is a very well known fairy tale. The story has been retold so many different times it's hard to believe people can still come up with something new. Disney did a great job of keeping all the little things we love about the animated version while adding in certain details that made it feel more real. Unlike the animated version where all the characters were very much one dimensional, we finally got to see more of the character's humanity. There's a depth to each character that wasn't there before. I particularly loved the prince's interactions with his father, as well as the stepmother's confession to Ella that illuminated her past and certain feelings about the situation. The audience is finally able to see that the stepmother is not an "evil" person; she has her reasons for being the way she is, even if that doesn't justify her actions.


The film was really well cast and the actors did a phenomenal job. Not only did each person physically fit their role, they personified the little elements of each character that I love. Cate Blanchett killed it as usual. Helena Bonham Carter's quirky self was perfect for the role of fairy godmother. Richard Madden's smile actually made me blush and Lily James lit up as Ella. Even Jaq and Gus Gus were adorable as ever.

Seriously that man is ridiculously handsome with or without facial hair.

The movie itself was absolutely gorgeous from start to finish. From the costuming to the set designs every little detail was accounted for. That is one thing I love about Disney, they are incredibly meticulous about everything they create. The film was infused with a great deal of color without ever feeling overwhelming. Bursts of emerald greens, vibrant pinks, vivid reds and shimmering blues were all tied together with delicate gold details. Ella's dresses were stunning (even the rags). There's nothing more magical than the part when her dress changes from the torn pink one to the big beautiful blue one. Though that skirt definitely looked like it would have been difficult to dance in.

This is now the dress I want for my wedding. I mean seriously it's perfect. I'm so in love.

At it's core Cinderella is a story about love and kindness. The movie was able to highlight love in the familial sense as well as a romantic one. Ella had a beautiful relationship with her parents who taught her that having courage and being kind were the most important things to remember. "Where there is kindness, there is goodness. And where there is goodness, there is magic." Being kind to other people, even when they're not so kind to you, is a great message. We should all be a little kinder to one another.

Besides being a more serious and at times sad movie, there was still a lot of fun and joy throughout the film. My heart felt a little lighter after leaving the theater. Watching Cinderella always reminds me to have hope in the future because you never know who you'll meet or when things might turn around.


It's hard to explain what the story of Cinderella means to me. Whether it was watching different movie versions of the story as a child or getting the chance to dance the part, the story holds a lot of my most cherished memories. Cinderella was the first ballet I ever attended with my grandma and I can still remember being in total awe of the dancers. Even though I was already taking ballet classes, after that performance I knew I wanted to be one of those girls some day. I was never the best dancer in the company but I really worked hard for that part. That ballet included some of my happiest moments and my greatest friendships. I don't think I will ever watch Cinderella without thinking about that time in my life. It's good to look back on those experiences with a smile, but I'm ready to make new memories to be reminded of every time I watch this movie. Just like the old fairy tale got a fresh update, my life also continues to change and improve.

The stories we hold close when we're young have a way of staying with us forever. Disney has introduced a whole new generation to the magic of Cinderella. Hopefully one that will grow up remembering to have courage and be kind. The new film was everything I could have hoped for and more. A joy-filled celebration of love and magic. Now I can't wait for the upcoming remake of Beauty And The Beast!

-S
Yes I colored this three years ago. Coloring is the bomb and you're never too old for Disney Princess coloring books. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Weekend Recap

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend! Spring seems to have already sprung in Michigan and although it's not bound to last it's definitely a breathe of fresh air. I will take mid 40's and a drizzle any day over falling snow and temperatures below zero. Even the piles of snow we had just over a week ago have all been diminished to tiny lumps.


Friday turned out to be the best day weather wise. It was absolutely gorgeous with lots of sun and temperatures high enough to go outside without a coat. In the afternoon my mom and I headed to Tandem Ciders for a little fun. We might not agree on our wine preferences, but we both love cider.


Tandem's tasting room is in an old white farm house with a casual bar area and lots of outdoor seating for the summer months. Since the property was pretty muddy on Friday we opted for inside seating where we sipped a variety of crisp cool ciders and munched on my favorite pickled eggs. The only downside to the trip was my inability to taste or smell a whole lot due to my recent cold. Hopefully next time we go I can savor the goods a bit more.


We still walked away with two bottles of cider. One of Sweet Heart and one Smackintosh.

Afterwards we decided to stop in Suttons Bay and walk around for a bit. Suttons Bay is a quaint little town located right on the water along M22 highway (and the end of the TART trail). It's home to many lovely shops but my favorites are Enerdyne and Brain Storm. It's hard to consider these separate stores since they're physically connected. Enerdyne sells mostly nature and science products while Brain Storm mainly sells games. Both stores are dedicated to the notion that learning and exercising your brain can be lots of fun.

On Saturday my dad and I decided to hit up the local record store. We've been record shopping every weekend lately. I love sharing a passion for records with my dad. It's been fun hunting for certain albums or artists that we both like, although we both agreed that we need to start bringing lists. Every time I walk into the store I get distracted by all the names and forget what exactly I wanted to look for.


My dad and I both managed to find worth while purchases Saturday. I walked out with a 2008 limited edition remastered version of Pain In My Heart by Otis Redding in red vinyl and my dad went with a greatest hits kind of album from The Beatles. I had been looking for a Redding album for quite some time, and although I prefer old over remastered I was still quite happy with this purchase. Since my parents only had one Beatles album in their collection (Let It Be), my dad's been trying to find a reasonably priced record to add to the list. Some of those Beatles albums can get pretty pricy! I almost bought The Beatles White Album last weekend, but I just couldn't manage $50 at the time. It's definitely an album I would like on vinyl, so I might try saving up for it.


That night my parents had a work party and my brother had to work, so I was left with the house all to myself. Taking full advantage of my time alone, I decided to make cookies. I always prefer to bake cookies alone because that way I can blast music, dance around the kitchen, and eat as much dough as I like.


Later, just as I was about to go to bed, I found my brother watching a feature on the Mercedes Benz Formula 1 racing team. After a few minutes I was totally sucked in. It's fascinating what all goes into making the vehicles. Soon after I decided to just stay up to watch the whole Australian Grand Prix with my brother. I don't go out of my way to watch Formula 1, but I find the races exciting. It's one of those sports that I always find interesting and want to know more about. There's just a lot that goes into the sport between it's careful engineering and constant teamwork.

Sunday morning, after unfortunately forgetting I set my alarm before decided to stay up so late, my dad suggested we try one of the antique stores for more vinyls. Browsing the antique store usually requires a little more digging and careful inspection, but you can usually find better prices.


Lastly, Sunday afternoon my parents and I went to see the new Cinderella movie. My mom and I were already on our way to the theater when my dad called to say he would meet us there. My dad is kind of finicky about watching movies, so we were both pleasantly surprised that he decided to join (the more the merrier!) The movie was excellent and I was very happy revisiting a story that I hold so close at heart.

I ended up having a very family oriented weekend. I'm thankful my family is still able and willing to spend so much time together. Cheers to the great weekend!

-S

Sunday, March 8, 2015

February Favorites

Boy am I glad February is over. It was a long month here in Michigan with extreme colds and buckets of snow. My dad read somewhere that this was the 3rd coldest February in Traverse City in the last 100 years (yikes). I spent most of the month inside trying to stay warm and enjoying the little things that helped make life better.


Book Club - The Traverse Area District Library has some really cool monthly book clubs and I was finally able to attend one of the meetings at the end of February. Books and Brewskis meets at a local microbrew pub called The Filling Station where you can sip on craft beer while talking about the latest piece of literature. For February we read "The Kept" by James Scott, which wasn't bad but definitely wasn't a favorite. The book itself was pretty depressing and just wasn't what I felt like reading last month. Luckily the book club meeting was a blast, with nice people and great discussion questions. I was really impressed by how comfortable the atmosphere was and the number of interesting books they have lined up for the future. Now I can't wait to meet again!

The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafón - I love Zafón's writing style and the way he can keep you guessing. Just when you think you have the story figured out, you realize maybe you aren't so sure. What's better than literature, mixed with a love story, history, mystery, and a psychological twist? The answer is nothing. I had previously read Zafón's "The Shadow of the Wind" and am currently reading "The Prisoner of Heaven." All three books are a part of The Cemetery of Forgotten Books series and I really like the way each story line intersects with the other.

Boyhood - OMG guys! This is one of the best movies I've seen in a very long time. When I started watching Boyhood just before midnight one night I figured I'd fall asleep or decide to finish it in the morning. Instead I got totally hooked and ended up staying up until 3 am to watch the whole thing. The acting was phenomenal. I really felt like I was watching this growth of a family with all their hardships and triumphs. The whole movie felt so natural and real, almost like you're watching a reality TV show (only better). Boyhood really leaves you thinking about your own family and your own relationships. I think every person is able to relate to at least one aspect of the movie.


Goodbye by Who Is Fancy - I've been obsessed with this song.


Cat Shirt from LOFT - Who doesn't want a shirt with a bunch of cat doodles on it? I wear this shirt all the time and it never fails to make me happy. I can't get enough.

Just Taylor Swift living in my dream world, like always. (Source)


Emu Oil - My scalp was having issues last month and emu oil came to the rescue. I've tried everything for these scaly dry patches I have on my scalp, but there's not a whole lot that really helps. Mostly I just have to be patient and try to keep my hands from picking at it (gross I know). I already have a bald spot on the right side of my head from an old patch that I didn't care for properly. Years ago my dermatologist prescribed a steroid based gel for the area but the spot came back shortly there after. I just wasn't comfortable with the idea of using the gel for a longer period of time, so I started searching for more natural treatments. Now I try to alternate between emu oil, coconut oil, and trying to increase my protein intake.


Bare Minerals Eyebrow pencil - This is the second bareMinerals eyebrow pencil I've purchased and I just love how well the product works. I'm amazed at how filled in eyebrows can really help complete a look. Now I can hardly go out without using this first, even if I'm wearing no other makeup. I have always had dark, full eyebrows (even before they were cool) and I think I've managed to maintain them pretty well. I actually use the lighter color available and try to keep things to a minimum. The only issue is that my eyebrows don't exactly match and most of what I fill in is on my right side. A little goes a long way, but I do think this pencil could last longer than it does. My first one only lasted about 4 months, so if anyone has a recommendation for a better or longer lasting pencil feel free to share!


Like I said, as much as I hate wishing away time, I'm glad to have February over with. So far March has brought a little warmer weather and lots of sun (can't beat that). Hopefully we will have an early spring and I can share some more outsides adventures. I've been loving all the spring related blog posts going around, but sandals and fresh flowers are a long way off in my world.

Happy March everyone!

-S

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Winter Sunday Adventure


On Sunday my family drove out to Empire and the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore area because we had heard the ice caves from last year were back. Unfortunately once we got out there we learned there were no ice caves yet this year (major bummer). The temperatures were below zero, the wind was blowing hard and snow was coming down, but we decided to drive around and explore a little anyways. Might as well enjoy the area while we were there.




My dad, brother, and I all went out on the ice at Empire. The snow was deep but climbing down onto the ice was a slipper task. Surprisingly none of us ended up on our butts during the process. After a few minutes I was getting cold and worried that my pant legs were getting wet, so I headed back to the car. My dad and brother both had snow pants on so they explored a few minutes longer.






Even though it was cold and windy we still had a lot of fun exploring. I don't think I've ever been out to the National Park in the winter (or if I have it's been a long time).







I love this picture of my parents. We were walking back and they reached out to grab each other's mittens. I'd image holding hands with mittens on isn't the easiest, but they're pretty dedicated hand holders. Aren't they adorable?

-S

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Musical Therapy

It's been freezing lately and for some reason that's put me in a Keaton Henson mood. His soft, slowly drifting melodies can be played in the background or soaked up on their own for a full emotional experience. I hadn't listened to Henson in a while when I came across his song "Sarah Minor" on my Tumblr dashboard this morning. That spiraled into several hours of Henson background music as I got ready for the day. His music is the perfect combination of feeling and soothing, it's like the exact equation for musical therapy.

So in case you're like me and you need a little soothing on these harsh winter days, I thought I'd share some of my favorites. Starting with Henson's Tiny Desk Concert featuring three of his amazing songs off the album Birthdays, "You Don't Know How Lucky You Are," "Sweetheart What Have You Done To Us," and "You."


La Naissance ft. Ren Ford is a song off Henson's album Romantic Works. The album has been added to the long list of music that proves songs do not require words in order to make you truly feel something. I had a really hard time just choosing one song from this entire album, so I'd definitely recommend checking it out.


And lastly, the song "Sarah Minor" from the album Dear.
"Young love I feel you know me better than most. In spite of real distance we'll always be close."


-S