Cinderella movie review

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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.

Cinderella

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

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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.

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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

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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

 

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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!

Appearance/Fit

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  • 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

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  • 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

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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.

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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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Nadine West Review

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What is Nadine West?  It’s a new subscription box service that sends clothing and jewelry.  I wouldn’t compare it to Stitch Fix, because you only get one shirt a month (as well as two jewelry pieces), but it sounds fun and more affordable.  Most of their pieces are $25 or less.  But the best part is that there’s no service fee.  Everything is free – they send you the package, you try it on, decide whether or not you want to keep anything, and send back what you don’t like.  So you literally have nothing to lose!

That’s why I’m going to keep getting Nadine West, even though my first package was a huge disappointment. I’d read other reviews online that looked good, so I still have hope.  But here’s a look at what I got.

Shirt (I returned the order form so I don’t have exact names or prices, but I know it was around $24.95).

nadine west shirt

I took one look at this and thought “no way.”  On your style profile you can check off what colors you like, and light pink is most definitely not one of them for me.  I am so not a light pink person.  Plus, with the fringe it kind of looks more like a rug.  When I put it on it was even worse, which is why you don’t have a picture of me wearing it.  It had a really weird shape in that it seemed like it wasn’t long enough, but it was really wide.  And it was totally see through, so you’d have to put a tank top on underneath.  I didn’t feel like doing that so no picture!

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Bulu Box Review

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Bulu box is another subscription box that I’ve started getting.  It is a box that will deliver samples of health, nutrition, and weight loss products.  I love the fact that they make it very clear that they are providing samples, so you don’t expect full size products from them.  Other boxes, I’ve found, have been a bit ambiguous when it comes to that.  When you sign up you can choose from either a general health box or a weight loss box.  I’m getting the weight loss box.

I will admit that this isn’t normally the type of thing I would try.  I’m not hugely into miracle weight loss pills and that sort of thing – I’m much more an advocate of healthy eating and exercise.  But I got a groupon deal where a 3 month subscription to Bulu Box and a year long subscription to Women’s Health magazine was only $15 – so I figured I’d give it a try!

I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised by what I received the first month.  Only one item seemed less than legitimate.

Rutaesomn Sleep Aid

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So I’m one of those people that often lacks energy throughout the day, and all I can think about is taking a nap or going to bed… but then when it’s actually time to sleep I’m wide awake.  I take melatonin every night, which helps a lot.  This sleep aid claims to not only help you sleep, but to negate the effects of caffeine.  I tried it one evening in place of my melatonin.  I had caffeinated soda around 9pm, took this pill at 11, and was asleep by midnight.  Since it’s a sample I only got to try it once, but it seems to have worked!

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Big Hero 6 Review

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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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