Evolution Of The Princess

All the princessesIt is 2013 and the princess has come a long way from ye olden times. No longer are animated women being portrayed as delicate, docile, and reliant upon their beauty to reach a happily ever after.

Let us begin with the classics: Snow White (1937), Cinderella (1950), and Sleepy Beauty (1959). These women are exactly who come to mind when thinking about classic fairy tale characters: Stunningly beautiful, sweet as pie, and completely helpless. All three princesses wait for adventure to find them and when they fall upon hard times a handsome prince swoops in and saves the day. Another key plot point in these fairy tales is that the princesses have lots of help from others to make their dreams come true. Snow White relies upon the kindness of the dwarfs, Cinderella upon her Fairy Godmother, and Aurora upon the good fairies. And in the end each princess finds a prince, kingdom, and happily ever after by a stroke of luck, not their own doing.

Next we move to the princesses of my childhood: Ariel (1989), Belle (1991), and Jasmine (1992). These women are not afraid to want more out of life and set out on an adventure themselves. Ariel becomes human, Belle becomes a prisoner to The Beast to spare her father, and Jasmine leaves her palace seeking freedom. They speak their minds, argue with villains, and help their prince succeed in a happy ending. All three women display a strength and independence prior princesses did not. Ariel saves Eric from drowning, Belle fights off wolves with the Beast, and Jasmine seduces Jafar while Aladdin sneaks in to free her, the Sultan, and Rajah. These princesses make more of a connection with the audience in my opinion, because they let us see their fears, flaws, and not so lady like moments. I appreciate seeing a more down to earth, well rounded character, versus the simple minded beauty of earlier princesses.

And lastly the modern day princesses: Tiana (2009), Rapunzel (2010), and Merida (2012). These princesses take fairy tales to a whole new level. I admire them for having dreams that extend beyond finding true love and teaching little girls to follow their own dreams. Tiana opens her own restaurant, Rapunzel forces a stranger to go on an adventure to see the floating lanterns, and Merida defies a long standing tradition in her kingdom. I love that these princesses are so spirited and capable. They show that while beautiful and kindhearted, you can also be full of personality and take charge of your own destiny. Tiana is a force to be reckoned with in the kitchen, Rapunzel with a frying pan, and Merida with archery.

In closing I feel each type of princess is important but for different reasons. The classics represent the origin of fairy tales that we all heard as children. The princesses of my childhood helped me feel less alone when I had dreams that differed from what others wanted for me. And the modern day princesses inspire us to never stop chasing our dreams. Which era of princess is your favorite? Leave me a comment below.

My All Time Favorite Disney Villains

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An important part of any successful fairy tale is the villain. Let’s face it, a story with no conflict would be boring as sin. What would Cinderella be without an evil stepmother? A girl getting along with her family and being treated as an equal would be a pretty pathetic tale. Most people would stop reading or watching mighty quick.  And you can’t tell me in grade school you didn’t secretly wish to be cast as the bad guy because it was a more fun to play that role. (Unless I’m a total odd ball.) And so I have compiled a list of my personal favorite villains for your reading enjoyment:

1. Jafar from Aladdin

“Tonight the part of Al will be played by a tall, dark, sinister, ugly man…” This is not only one of my favorite lines from the Genie but also describes Jafar to a T. He is clever, mysterious, and extremely manipulative. When compared to other villains he is actually in an excellent position in his life when the story opens. Most villains are cast off to less than desirable surroundings and have to plan a way to insert themselves in a better situation; but not Jafar. When the movie begins he is living in the palace, working as The Grand Vizier to the Sultan (a highly respectable position) yet he hungers for more.  With the help of the blue diamond and his sarcastic parrot, Iago, the calm, power-hungry Jafar almost succeeds in getting everything he ever wanted.

2. Scar from The Lion King

Everyone can relate to a time when the spotlight was stolen from them by someone less deserving. Which brings me to my second favorite villain, Scar. For one glorious moment he had the crown within his grasp only to have it snatched away by his little nephew, Simba. This spiteful, jealous trickster makes this movie a sheer delight. Every time things in the plot start to get a bit too fluffy, Scar finds a way to manipulate the situation for the worse. He almost kills Simba three times and does succeed in killing his own brother, Mufasa.

3. Ursula from The Little Mermaid 

Ursula is truly a scene stealer in this fairy tale. She has such a commanding presence with her jet black corset, white hair, and bright red lipstick. I love her confidence, her deep, throaty voice, and that you still get to see a softer side when she interacts with her pet eels Flotsam and Jetsam. I also admire her big picture thinking. Instead of trying to trap King Triton directly, she uses Ariel’s longing to be human as the perfect opportunity to strike a deal and seize power of the under sea kingdom.

4. The Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland

The Queen of Hearts makes me think creator Lewis Carroll either didn’t think too highly of women or that he was a mad genius. This lady villain is the perfect balance to Alice’s innocence and whimsy. She is spoiled, irrational, ill-tempered, and hungers for vengeance. While these qualities would make for the most awful mother-in-law I could imagine, for a fairy tale she is perfect. I mean how many people do you know are so feared that their royal subjects attempt to paint roses red in order to avoid a beheading? And who else would be such a sore loser in a sport as silly as flamingo croquet? In my opinion, she completes the zany Wonderland ensemble in the way a kindhearted person never could. I can’t say I blame her for her sinister behavior. Wonderland is completely bizarre. Talking to the Mad Hatter, Caterpillar, or Cheshire Cat for any length of time would make even the sweetest person frustrated and question their own sanity.

Fairytale Sprites Are Quite a Delight

My husband arrived home from work this evening with the most thoughtful and savory surprise. He remembered a brand of brownie I love that we discovered four years ago and haven’t eaten in a very long while. So when he walked through the front door and immediately presented me with this beautifully packaged treat I was over the moon! When you have been in a relationship with someone for eight years it really becomes the little gestures of love that start to mean the most. Fairytale Sprites are the best gourmet brownies you will ever eat. They are moist, rich, and delectable. Tonight’s brownie was raspberry swirl and it was pure heaven. I was shocked that it tasted better than I remembered. How is that even possible?!

Fairytale Sprite

Fairytale Sprites come in several flavors including Caramel, Chocolate Chip, Cream Cheese, Mint Chocolate, and Peanut Butter just to name a few. I haven’t tried all of the flavors yet but every one I have tasted was amazing. There is a reason these brownies have Fairy Tale in the name…they are truly made of fairy magic and fit for a princess. If you are a brownie fan or love sweets in general I would definitely recommend Fairytale Sprites.

Rating 5: Happily Ever After

Check out the website for more information http://www.brownies.com/

(I have not been paid a dime to review or feature this product. I honestly just adore them.)

Trinkets From The Magic Kingdom

20130609-124851.jpgOn a recent vacation to warm, sunny Orlando, Florida I purchased some items featuring some of my favorite Disney princesses. I honestly would have bought more but I had to make sure everything would fit in my suitcase. Random Disneyworld tip I just thought about…while the ferry is a beautiful, relaxing method of transportation to the park, the monorail is much faster. We took the ferry in the morning and the monorail in the evening to get the full experience. But if you are like me and your excitement bursts through the roof when you first arrive at a theme park, I’d suggest the monorail. Now on to my treasures…

20130609-125038.jpgThe first item I purchased caught my eye the moment I entered the shop. Sitting on an end cap ten inches high stood a bank of Ariel, The Little Mermaid, combing her long red hair with a fork. I squealed with delight (at least on the inside) and had to buy her.

Pros:
Excellent detail
Works as a bank or display piece
The dress has a hint of sparkle and what girl doesn’t love some sparkle?

Cons:
The bank is plastic which means while it is durable it does look a bit cheap
I admit this is rather nit picky but I would have preferred for Ariel to be wearing a dress that is seen in the movie. I’m all about keeping things consistent. In fact I passed on buying the Jasmine bank for that very reason. Jasmine was in a formal ball gown and it just didn’t look right at all. I needed her to be in her signature blue top and pants.

Rating 3: Breaks The Spell

20130609-125110.jpgThe second item I bought was an adorable jewelry box featuring Ariel (I’m obsessed I know).

Pros:
Love all of the artwork on the top and sides of the box
Liked that the figure that spins around in the jewelry box is her as a mermaid
The music is a good volume

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Cons:
The artwork is paper stickers that I worry will peel off over time
The song only plays the chorus of “Under The Sea”
The mirror is some weird, cheap, gold material that isn’t very reflective.

Rating 4: True Love’s Kiss

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My third item is my beautiful Belle purse. I was shocked it was so difficult to find Belle merchandise. I’m guessing I either missed the gift shop that heavily featured her or she isn’t as popular as Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Merida.

Pros:
Love the artistic rendition of Belle she looks even more stunning in this drawing on the handbag than in the film
The glittery letter B on the side of the purse is a nice touch
The chain is very sturdy black suede wrapped in gold links
My favorite part is the soft, black suede bow on the side of the bag; I’m a sucker for bows.

Cons:
The price. $40 for this small handbag seemed steep but I was determined to own something Belle related and I am a bit of a purse junky.
No inside pocket. I hate that!
The zipper is slightly wonky so I have to be careful. They all were I checked before I bought one.

Rating 4: True Love’s Kiss

20130609-125249.jpgAnd lastly I added a Rapunzel souvenir to my collection as Tangled has quickly become one of my favorite newer fairytale films. The bank is the same height and material as the Ariel bank so you can display them together or seperate and either way works.

Pros:
Lots of detail
Outfit, designs, and colors hold true to the movie
Works as a bank or display piece

Cons:
Rapunzel is standing on a platform which makes the bank almost look like a trophy. I would have preferred the base to just be the skirt of her dress like the Ariel bank.
The platform also makes the bank look even cheaper than the Ariel one
It is missing her sidekick Pascal
Her expression looks pouty like she is either annoyed or trying to be sexy

Rating 2: Ugly Stepsister

The Truth About The Little Mermaid…

disney-little-mermaidDo you remember the charming 1989 Disney film The Little Mermaid? If not, allow me to recap this motion picture in a few brief sentences. Ariel, a headstrong sixteen year old mermaid, explores the upper world against the wishes of her overbearing father. During this visit she rescues a handsome prince from a shipwreck and falls madly in love with him. Desperate to win Eric’s affections and tired of her life as a mermaid, she makes a deal with Ursula, the Sea Witch, trading her voice for human legs. But there is a catch. If Ariel can capture Eric’s heart with true love’s kiss, she can live as a human forever but if she fails she must return to the sea and become Ursula’s prisoner. Since this is a Disney movie you can easily guess how this ends. Add in some catchy tunes that shaped the very core of my childhood, and some quirky sidekicks, and you have one heartwarming little movie.

MermaidNow that you know The Little Mermaid is one of my favorite childhood motion pictures you can imagine my surprise and delight when I stumbled upon Mermaid at my local bookstore. A new version of this timeless tale in book form? For an avid reader this felt like an amazing find. And as soon as I read the first few pages I knew I was right. Mermaid explores this famous story in a new and equally compelling way. The basics stay the same. A mermaid falls in love with a human prince. But in this version Lenia, the mermaid, must compete with Princess Margrethe, the daughter of a rival kingdom, for the prince’s affections. If the Prince marries Lenia he risks his kingdom going to war. If he marries Margrethe he will have peace in his kingdom but Lenia will die.

I loved this novel. Carolyn Turgeon has such a gift for drawing the reader in and not letting go until the last page. I found myself wanting the prince to be with both women equally but for different reasons. This is a refreshing change from the usual love triangle format in literature where one person is written as the clear winner and the other as a villain. The book is narrated by Lenia and Margrethe so the reader gets an opportunity to view both perspectives and understand each woman’s inner struggle. I could hardly wait to see how everything would unfold.

I rate this book a 4: True Love’s Kiss. While I loved several aspects of this novel, the most unlikeable character was the prince both women were pursuing. I strongly felt Lenia and Margrethe could do better. The prince didn’t seem to have any redeeming qualities and his romantic interests varied moment to moment; made even worse by the fact both women were advised of his fickle nature.

HCAAfter thoroughly enjoying Mermaid, I decided I needed to pay my respects to the original story and researched the Hans Christian Anderson version from 1837. I was impressed that Carolyn Turgeon kept the integrity of this famous tale intact but added her own flavor. In this version the prince is also sought after by two women but I was surprised to find he loves only one. It broke my heart that the mermaid gave up her life in the sea, her tongue, and her tail, only to suffer with every step she takes and lose the prince to another woman. Even more heart wrenching, she is given the opportunity to get even with her beloved and spare her own life, yet refuses. I had no idea this fairy tale was so dark and tragic but it has helped me gain a new found respect for all versions of the story.

It Is Time To Start Your Own Adventure…

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Fairy tales have the power to transport us to a happy, whimsical place and help us escape our own troubles. As an avid reader, movie watcher, and fantasy enthusiast I’m writing this blog to share my thoughts and introduce you to literature and films you haven’t yet discovered. If you have read or seen whatever I happen to review, please let me know your thoughts and opinions. I’d love to hear from fellow fairy tale fans. This blog will be reviewing and recommending movies, books, and anything else fairy tale related. In order to keep these reviews consistent I will be using the following rating scale:

1.Locked in the Dungeon

2.Ugly Stepsister

3.Breaks the Spell

4.True Love’s Kiss

5.Happily Ever After

Thanks for reading 🙂