Cinderella movie review


Let me start out by saying this movie was much better than I expected it to be.  If I’m being totally honest, I went into it not 100% thrilled that Disney was just doing another live action re-make – especially after my disappointment with Maleficent.  Then we saw a “sneak preview” of the movie at Hollywood Studios, where they showed the complete fairy godmother scene, and I’ll be honest: I didn’t think it was very good.  Luckily, that scene was the lowest part of the movie for me, and the rest turned out quite well.


The animated movie spends a lot of time on the antics of the mice, and luckily they play a much smaller role here.  In order to make this a full length movie, we delve more into Cinderella’s back story, which pays off.  We meet her mother and father and see her life as a child, when things were happy.  It develops more of a connection with her, and also shows us more of the reasons why she fell into the position that she did in the household.  We also have Cinderella and the Prince meet initially before the ball, in a very sweet and captivating scene.  It’s the basic story of Cinderella with some extra stuff thrown in, with a nice pace and without adding too much unnecessary extras.

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Stridebox Review – February 2015


I got my first Stridebox in February, which is a subscription box designed especially for runners.  It can include all sorts of goodies and equipment, and I was looking forward to seeing what was inside!  The cost is $15 a month.

stridebox 1

I think the “biggest” item in this box was a pair of touchscreen gloves.  I will say that these weren’t super useful to me.  My husband had just gotten me really nice touchscreen gloves for Christmas that are wonderful.  I wore these a couple of times, including for a 10k race.  They are fine, your typical cheap glove material, but the touchscreen aspect didn’t work that well.  Kind of a dud for me.stridebox 3

Also included was a Picky Bar, which is an energy bar.  I got the flavor Cookie Doughphness.  I was a bit surprised at the texture – I expected it to be like a clif bar but it was way more chewy.  However, it tasted really good!  And I can be very picky (no pun intended!) with this sort of thing.

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Book Review: The Beast Within

beast within

I had previously read Valentino’s other novel, “Fairest of All,” and I have to say I think I enjoyed this one even more. I was a little nervous to see what she would do with this story, as Beauty and the Beast is my favorite Disney movie, but I think it’s an interesting and entertaining take on the fairy tale.

Some people complain that the story has been changed “too much,” but to me that’s all part of this genre – I don’t know if it has an official name, but there are lots of these stories now that are twisted fairy tales, or fairy tales told from a different point of view, that sort of thing. And honestly, it’s the nature of fairy tales. Most of the Disney versions are already drastically different than the original fairy tales. And you can go into a library and read tons of different versions of Beauty and the Beast, each which have changed the story in their own way.

In this version, we get the story from the Beast’s point of view. Although we’re not given an exact age, we can suppose he’s a teenager old enough to be considering marriage at that time. He is portrayed as arrogant, selfish, and uncaring – much like his best friend (surprise!) Gaston. We learn about a couple of failed relationships that he went through and the events that led to the curse, as well as his falling out from society after he’s been cursed.

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FitBit Surge Review


fitbit surge

While not directly Disney related, I know I have a lot of runners that read this blog and I recently got the FitBit Surge, so I wanted to share some of my thoughts on it.  I’ve never had a running watch before, though I’ve been wearing a FitBit for over a year.

Here’s my history with FitBit:  I got the Force for Christmas last year and was completely in love with it.  Then, as you might have heard, it got recalled for giving people a rash.  A few weeks after they announced the recall I got the rash, so I sadly sent it back and got the Flex instead.  That was okay, but nowhere near as good as the Force.  Then I had been thinking about buying a running watch in addition to my Flex when they announced the Surge.  I figured it would be perfect to replace my Flex and get a running watch!



  • I want something I can wear every single day.  The nice thing about the Force/Flex was that they were really unobtrusive – they were small and sleek and cool looking.  The Surge is understandably bigger, but I’m slowly getting used to wearing it every day.
  • The band itself is very comfortable.  Mind you, I am used to wearing something on my wrist every day.  I got the small size, and I go in between notches depending on if I’m sweating and how swollen my wrist is!
  • The screen display itself is really nice.  It’s touch screen, and you can easily swipe to get the different stats.  Numbers are big, easy to read, and clear.
  • It comes in three different colors: black, blue, and orange.

Displayed Stats


  • Clock: Shows what time it is, which is nice because unlike the Flex it can double as a watch.  You can choose if you want the time displayed in 12 hour mode or 24 hour (military) mode.
  • Step count: Shows how many steps you’ve taken, and a bar displaying how much of your daily goal you’ve achieved.
  • Heart rate:  One of the new things to FitBit is the heart rate monitor.  This setting will show you what your current BPM is.
  • Miles:  Displays how many miles you’ve gone that day.
  • Calories:  calories burned.
  • Flights:  How many flights of stairs you’ve climbed that day (sometimes if you go uphill it will count it, even if it’s not stairs, like if you’re running).

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Into the Woods review


I should start this review by saying that I’m a huge Into the Woods fan.  I’ve been performing in musical theater since I was 11 years old, and have seen tons of musicals.  Into the Woods is my favorite – I saw the revival on Broadway three times.  As a middle school student I would most on musical message boards and chat about Into the Woods all afternoon.  So when I heard they were making a movie of it, I was both “excited and scared,” as Little Red Riding Hood would say. Excited to see it come to the big screen, but scared they might ruin it.

I have to say, overall, I was very pleased.  I might have loved it – I’m still deciding and would like to see it again, but I definitely liked it a lot.  For the most part they stuck really closely to the original musical.  Most of the dialogue and songs that were in it were the same, it was only some plot points that were changed and stuff that was cut.  I was really, really impressed by the performances in it, as I’m sometimes skeptical of Hollywood stars taking on Broadway tunes.  Luckily, they definitely pulled it off.


Spoilers will follow from here on out, so if you haven’t seen it or don’t want to know, come back after you’ve watched the movie!

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Big Hero 6 Review


Superheros are crazy popular right now, so it’s no surprise that Disney wanted to get in on the craze – aside from buying Marvel, of course, they now have their newest animated movie – Big Hero 6, a superhero movie aimed toward kids, but one that can be enjoyed by adults too.  There were plenty of fun, redeeming qualities about the film, but at the end of the day I will say that it was more or less a cookie cutter super hero movie, with a plot that was perhaps a bit too predictable for us older Disney fans.

The basic story, without spoiling too much, is this: a 14 year old genius boy named Hiro teams up with some college friends as well as a robot named Baymax in order to stop an unidentified, masked villain.  To say any more than that would be to give up too much of the plot, I’m afraid.

The biggest highlight of the movie, without a doubt, was Baymax.  He is the thing that takes Big Hero 6 from what could have otherwise been just an okay movie to a very good movie.  Baymax is originally designed to be a robot health care provider – he can scan and diagnose patients, and then offer assistance to cure them.  Just looking at him you can tell he’s comfy and huggable.  Of course, Hiro feels the need to upgrade him with some karate action once they start their superhero quest.  Baymax is an absolutely sweet character (he’s designed to be that way, after all), but he’s also hilarious, in the way that robots attempting to interact with humans often are.  If you’re a Star Trek fan, I will say that a lot of the humor concerning Baymax was very Data-esque, in Next Generation.  Let’s just say that Baymax doing a “fist bump” is pretty much the funniest thing ever.  I walked out of the theater wanting a Baymax of my own.

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Book Review: Realityland, by David Koenig

realitylandRealityland is more or less a recount of the history of Walt Disney World, from when the idea was conceived back when Walt was still alive until the book was published in 2007.  I found the book to be chock-full of great information and very captivating, and I would highly recommend it to all Disney fans and anyone with interest in the history of the parks.  While the book progresses through a general timeline, each chapter is focused around a different topic, and the book is full of fun and interesting little stories along the way.

I will admit that the book starts out a little slow, but if you push through it you’ll be glad you did.  The beginning discusses a lot of the construction and the politics that went into making Walt Disney World actually happen, and for me that wasn’t quite as interesting as much of the other stuff later on.  A lot of the events in the book show how the company dealt with trying to figure out what Walt would have wanted, even long after he had passed on.

Epcot is spoken about a lot, and the initial plans to actually make it an “Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow.”  One of the coolest things to see was a diagram of the proposed layout of Epcot when they were working on the idea in 1966.  While we all know that Epcot ultimately became a theme park and not a place to live, it’s interesting to see how the transition happened.  The company was in denial for quite awhile about building Epcot, insisting for a long time that it would still be what Walt envisioned, even after they opened it as a theme park.

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Runner’s Guide: Yurbuds


I felt like I had a tried a number of different running products, but one thing I hadn’t experimented with was earbuds or headphones for while you run. I used the ones that came with my iPod, and then when those came out I just bought cheap ones at Target.  But when I heard that Yurbud had not only created earbuds for running, but also specifically for women, I knew I had to try them.

There are two major things that are important when it comes to a good pair of earbuds – fit and sound quality. Yurbuds are unique in the way that they are designed.  They are purposely made to have the least possible chance of falling out, which is very important when you’re using them on the move.  They sort of twist into your ear.  I’ve used them on multiple runs now, including the Tower of Terror 10 miler, and they have never fallen out.  They are really comfortable when I’m running too.  The only thing I’ll mention is that because they are really in there, I sometimes feel just a little bit of discomfort when I’m removing them.  They also come with two different covers, so you can adjust the size if you have bigger or smaller ears.

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