My Disney & Pixar Bracket

It’s been awhile since we last talked so why not do something that will likely rip us apart. 😂 We are in the midst of March Madness so naturally a Disney bracket is making the rounds on social media. I have very strong opinions when it comes to all things Mickey Mouse, but it was extremely difficult to make these “life-altering” decisions. I felt like I was choosing between children. I allow me to walk you through each category so I can relive the pain.

Brave vs Up – This was hard because I really like both movies, but I had to listen to my wee Scottish heart. 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿🇬🇧

Toy Story vs Toy Story 2 – I absolutely adore this entire trilogy so my answer to this category is WHY WOULD YOU MAKE ME CHOOSE?!? In the end, I went with Toy Story because it’s the classic that started it all.

Cars 3 vs Coco – I haven’t seen either, but I went with Cars 3 because it’s the only one I’m interested in.

The Good Dinosaur vs Toy Story 3The Good Dinosaur is good, but it never had a chance against Toy Story 3 which makes me weep with little more than a thought.

A Bug’s Life vs Ratatouille – This is another tough choice. I would drop everything & watch either right now. I ultimately went with A Bug’s Life because I’ve always loved the concept & characters . . . which is also true about Ratatouille. UGH!!

Inside Out vs Finding Nemo – Why has Pixar made so many great movies?? 😡 I chose Inside Out, but both reduce me to tears so it could be a different answer on a different day.

Cars vs Monsters, Inc.Cars is really good, but Monsters, Inc. is my favorite Pixar movie so this choice was easy.

The Incredibles vs Wall • E – I’ve never seen Wall • E so The Incredibles won by default, but I probably would’ve chosen it anyway.

Right side is complete! Moving on . . . to the left, to the left!! ⬅️ ⬅️ 😂

The Lion King vs TarzanI love The Lion King, but I chose Tarzan because it’s my favorite Disney movie. Duh!

Lilo & Stitch vs The Princess and the Frog – I chose Lilo & Stitch because it’s in my Disney top 10. Also, I’m not a big fan of The Princess And The Frog. Sorry (but not really).

Tangled vs Big Hero 6 – I’ve seen Big Hero 6 once, and it was okay but not very memorable. Tangled, however, is amazing. Flynn Rider has my heart. 💘

Frozen vs Moana – Frozen wins by default because *gasp* I haven’t seen Moana. 😭

Aladdin vs Hercules – My babies!! This category ripped my heart out of my chest, broke it, & stuffed it back into my body so I could relive the pain all over again. 💔 The only reason I was able to make a decision is because I have a set Disney trinity: Tarzan, Aladdin, & Hercules. That being said, Aladdin is pretty much interchangeable with Hercules.

The Little Mermaid vs Pocahontas – Ariel was one of my favorite princesses growing up but not so much anymore. These days Pocahontas is #3 behind Mulan & Jasmine therefore her movie wins this battle & my heart. 🍂 🍃 🍂 🍃 🍂 🍃

Mulan vs Zootopia – I love Zootopia, but as I’ve already mentioned Mulan is my favorite princess. 💚

Beauty & The Beast vs The Nightmare Before Christmas – I’ve tried to get into Nightmare Before Christmas, but it just isn’t happening. Beauty And The Beast will always hold a special place in my heart. 🌹

The time has come to choose between Tarzan, my favorite Disney movie, & Monsters Inc., my favorite Pixar film. I love both, but the choice is easy . . .

🍃  🌳  🐵  🌳  🍃   T  A  R  Z  A  N   •   F  O  R  E  V  E  R   !  !  !   🍃  🌳  🐵  🌳  🍃

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Wonder Woman Movie Review

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As a lifelong DC  fan, I have never doubted that the extended cinematic universe could reach new heights and achieve much more than superhero films from the past. Superman has never been my favorite hero, but I thoroughly enjoyed Man of Steel. I loved Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy and was skeptical about change. However, Batfleck won me over instantly, and my heart nearly burst from fangirl excitement during my first viewing of Batman v Superman. Despite harsh criticism, Sucide Squad was a fun ride; I especially enjoyed the dark aesthetic and witty banter. Leading up to the latest DC film, I was confident that this would be their best effort yet. After seeing Wonder Woman on the big screen in 3D last night, I can say with certainty that it was everything I thought it would be and so much more.

Saying I loved the animated Justice League TV show growing up would be an understatement. I have vivid memories of running around my house with my brother and our friends pretending to be superheroes. There was no discussion of who was better, boys or girls. We were all strong heroes on the same team, saving the world one villain at a time. Why do I bring this up? Growing up with a brother, I always wanted to hang out with the boys. If they played hockey, I did too. If they rode their bikes down a hill, I did too. If they had a swimming race, I made my own lane and swam alongside them. I won’t lie and say I never got hurt and cried, but I can add that there were times when the need to prove myself was enough to ease the pain and dry up the tears. I know my brother and his friends thought I was a nuisance, but I wouldn’t go back and change a thing. I never needed a visual of “girl power” to fill me with ambition and passion, but I understand why many girls and women crave it. I’m not one to get involved in political discussion, but I will say that I felt proud and inspired watching women kick butt.

⚠️   S P O I L E R S   A H E A D ! !   Y O U   H A V E   B E E N   W A R N E D ! !   ⚠️

The story is well written and deeper than what most would expect from a superhero movie. I appreciate the heroism that is showcased from men without superpowers. Even though the movie is fiction, it is a reminder of the sacrifice soldiers have made in wars past and present. I also appreciate the message about humanity which is relevant to the present. Diana believes that once Ares is dead, mankind will give up their desire to fight. Her heart breaks when she realizes the god of war is not controlling anybody. He plants ideas but is not entirely to blame for World War I. Steve encourages her not to focus on the men who are bad but rather hold on to the belief that there are good people, people with just intentions.

Speaking of Ares, the twist involving his identity is great. I didn’t have a clue who his human form was, and it was fantastic watching him battle his sister in “god form.” I am not the most knowledgeable DC fan so I had no idea who Doctor Poison was, but I liked her character. I mean, I liked her as much as you can like a villain. Perhaps I read too much into the portrayal, but I felt how her scars and insecurity led to her obsession with toxins and death. It is especially evident when Steve flirts with her while undercover; she feels desired and appreciated but quickly snaps out of it when he is distracted by Diana’s unexpected entrance.

Moving on to the side characters, each one of them contributed something special. Charlie, Chief, and Sameer provided not only entertaining banter but also courage and a whole lot of heart. Etta Candy was charming and made me laugh more than once. I love how inspired she was by Diana. When she sensed trouble and showed up in the alley with the shield and sword, I almost stood up and applauded. And then there are the Amazons. Their strength speaks for itself. The training scenes made me feel way too pumped to be sitting still. I wanted to swim laps and run a marathon. That is especially shocking if you know me well because I DO NOT run.

I want to give Chris Pine the credit he deserves for his portrayal of Steve Trevor. Steve has some doubt regarding his significance within the war, but he never gives up fighting and doing what he feels is right. His humility is refreshing and endearing; it reminds me of a certain Marvel hero by the name of Captain America. Near the end of the movie, he discovers a way to change the course of the war and puts thousands of lives above his own, cementing his value as a soldier and a person. (MAJOR SPOILER) His death, which brought tears to my eyes, was probably the most emotional scene. I do have a serious question though. Have we really seen the last of him??…

Last but not least, Wonder Woman herself. There was a lot of doubt about Gal Gadot because she is a relatively new name in the movie industry. I am not exaggerating when I say she has beat down all doubt and laid the criticism to rest. It was fascinating to pick apart her portrayal and find the nuances she brought to the character. As a child, Diana is curious and eager (credit to Lilly Aspell). As a teen, she is determined (credit to Emily Carey). As an adult, she is ready to combat any evil that might enter Themyscira. Once she ventures away from home, her naive view of mankind is shattered by the realization that their choice to fight one another is not controlled by Ares. Initially she wants to stop fighting, but once Steve’s encouraging words sink in, she accepts her new mission in life as a protector. She is a strong warrior ready to fight at any moment, demonstrated by her willingness to walk into German-controlled territory and protect innocent lives without hesitation. She also has a kind spirit and the willingness to seek the good in people. Her gentle side is seen when she handles Charlie’s PTSD with compassion and encouragement. Brava Gal!

🎶 I have to mention the genius that is Hans Zimmer. He is not the composer for this movie, but we have him to thank for Wonder Woman’s AMAZING theme music. I got chills when it first played. 🎶

🎬 Congratulations to the cast & crew on a job well done! I want to give a special shout-out to director Patty Jenkins. The finished results prove the effectiveness of her leadership. This is a career-defining film, and she should be very proud of the impact it is having on people around the world. 🎥

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Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSB4wGIdDwo&list=PLVfin74Qx3tUT-xIY0_xefei1p3auVaCh&index=1

G O   S E E   T H E   M O V I E   R I G H T   N O W  ➡️   http://wonderwomanfilm.com   ⬅️

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Show Your Colors

July 4th, the day that Americans put the flag on display and shout their pride from the rooftops in honor of freedom.  Now is the perfect time to share what makes me feel patriotic.  I love my country, but I’m not the most vocal about it.  However, there are two things that make my blood run red, white, & blue.  Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and I respect that.  But, I can’t help feeling rage when someone born and raised outside the American borders feels the need to judge.  I am American-born and American-raised.  I can count the number of times I’ve left this country on one hand.  I speak English with an American accent.  I received education and now work as an adult here.  I can criticize this country because I am a citizen and know what I’m talking about (for the most part 😉).  Think of it this way.  As a brother or sister, you can tease your sibling(s) to your heart’s content, but God help the outsider who feels led to do the same.  Suddenly you’re on the defensive!  Perhaps that paints a clearer picture of my point.  Moving on.  I see or hear stories about soldiers every day, but nothing compares to seeing or meeting them in the flesh.  As a retail employee, I meet military personnel of all races and ages and feel an indescribable level of honor and pride to serve them.  I respect the diverse group of people willing to train and fight for this country.  If any soldiers, past or present, are reading this, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸

Go out & have fun readers!  I wish you a safe, happy holiday.

🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸

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Dear Younger Self

(Image Source: https://worthyofagape.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/dear-younger-self.jpg)

Two nights ago, I had an eye-opening experience.  I couldn’t sleep so I decided to read through my old diary, and what I found shocked me.  I used vague language and failed to mention most of the significant events from my childhood.  There was no substance!  I am a writer; when the need arises, I express myself through words to vent and heal.  In my poetry journals, I was completely open about what was going on around me and how I was feeling.  However, those poems were written within the last five years.  My diary was started four years prior to my discovery of poetry.  Perhaps I’ve been watching too much “Criminal Minds” because I have an analysis.  I wont give explicit details, but I went through a lot mentally and emotionally.  My memories are crystal clear, but, based on my diary, I was not aware of how I was being affected.  I brushed aside contributing factors as minor annoyances.  I believe that repression is why, years later, I react so explosively; I am overcompensating for my silence in the past.  I don’t want to drag on so I will end with these words, a note to my younger self and girls who have gone through/are going through similar struggles:

“You feel ugly, fat, alone, and hopeless.  You have given up on yourself because no matter how desperate you are to speak up, you are afraid.  Let go of your emotions; allow yourself to scream and cry.  When you feel better, pick yourself up and start anew with your head held high.  It may feel impossible now, but you make it farther than your young mind can imagine.  Do not lose the fire inside of you.  Never stop fighting!”

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(Image Source: https://fightingchronicpain.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/never-stop-fighting.jpg)

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“And all those things I didn’t say, wrecking balls inside my brain.  I will scream them loud tonight.  Can you hear my voice this time?  This is my fight song, take back my life song, prove I’m alright song.  My power’s turned on.  Starting right now I’ll be strong.  I’ll play my fight song.  And I don’t really care if nobody else believes ’cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me.”

“Fight Song” by Rachel Platten: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xo1VInw-SKc

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“In the midst of deep sorrow, I see Your light is breaking through.  The dark of night will not overtake me.  I am pressing into You.  Lord, You fight my every battle.  And I will not fear.  I am not alone.  I am not alone.  You will go before me.  You will never leave me.”

“I Am Not Alone” by Kari Jobe: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfveawSAHJA

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I hope you feel better!  Feel free to talk and/or vent in the comment section.  This is a safe environment.  “See” you soon readers.  :)

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Kids Say The Darndest Things

(Image Source: https://childdevelopmentgrp10.files.wordpress.com/2015/06/kids-tlking.jpg)

Despite feeling pain in every part of my body, I enjoyed my five-mile hike yesterday.  Here are two photos of what I saw:

Idyllwild

Idyllwild

I was with a group of people from my church that included three brothers.  Despite physical strain and heat, the boys kept the long hike fun.  I will start with two things the youngest brother said:

1. He and his mom were discussing something about his hand.  When she brought up his fingers, he promptly asked “Mom, aren’t these phalanges?”  I had to bite my tongue to keep from laughing out loud.  Phalanges??  Let this be a lesson to haters: Homeschool kids are smart!  Also, he isn’t older than four or five years old.

2. “Mom, who made the hills?”  “God made the hills.”  “Who made the bigger hills?”  “God made the bigger hills.”  “Who made the even bigger hills?”  “God made the even bigger hills.  God made all the hills.”  *Pause*  “Wow!  That’s a lot of work!”  If I had the capability, I would be typing a million laughing emojis right now.

Next up is the oldest brother Charlie.  Where has this kid been all my life??

1. He found and gave me a walking stick for when my hands got tired.

2. He told me if I fell down the mountain, he would catch me.  He added that it would be easy because I am lighter than him.  Major points for the weight compliment!  FYI, he is no older than seven or eight years old.

3. He asked me if I had ever been camping.  I replied “No.”  He then stated that when he grows up, he is going to buy a tent and take me camping.  How cute is that?!!

I am so glad I had the opportunity to be around kids.  I forgot how funny, witty, and intelligent they can be!  It is important to give children boundaries in order to keep them safe and teach them manners.  However, there is so much to learn from their curiosity and courage.  They question everything and jump without inhibition.

I hope you enjoyed this post.  Stay tuned for a very special fashion post coming soon.  Very soon.  Within the next 24 hours.  Get excited!

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– Lauren Michele <3

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Let Freedom Ring

beautiful-fireworks-statue-of-liberty-new-york-harbor

Good afternoon readers.  I wont make this post drag on and on and on.  My words will be short and sweet.  Enjoy the food, fireworks, and time with loved ones today, but please don’t forget the price for our celebration.  The World Cup is happening right now.  As an American citizen, it does not matter if you rooted for Team USA or not.  What matters is that you, me, all of us appreciate the freedoms we are blessed to enjoy in this country as citizens.  Unfortunately, those freedoms were not free when the Declaration of Independence was signed, and they are not free now.  There are brave men and women  fighting on our behalf.  Remember those American heroes and celebrate to the fullest.  Happy Independence Day!!

Stay patriotic readers!

– Lauren Michele

“And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave,
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave” – “Star Spangled Banner”, Francis Scott Key