Happily Ever After Is Expensive

I noticed a sweatshirt on WILDFOX while I was shopping online the other night that said ‘Happily Ever After is Expensive.’ My first though was, yes it is! But when I really started to think about it, I realized the phrase poses an interesting question:  Does it really have to be expensive?

When we explore the concept of ‘happily ever after’ in fairy tales, there are two thoughts that come to mind. The first is that it’s a fairy tale and by definition the main characters have to live happily ever. The second one is, of course they live happily ever after, they’re rich!  The main characters in fairy tales are almost always royalty or at least marry into royalty by the end of the story. The prince and princess live in a castle, wear fabulous clothing and jewels, eat the finest foods, and are surrounded by servants who cater to their every whim.

But does living in a castle, dining on delicacies, drinking expensive wine, and having all the money you could ever possibly want really bring you happiness?  Is it that simple?

Think about the celebrities who seem to have everything they could ever want. Millions of dollars, adoring fans, worldwide notoriety. Think about how many of them turned to drugs or alcohol in order to self medicate due to issues we can’t even fathom that come with stardom. Are they happy?  What about people who work around the clock because they are drowning in debt from purchasing everything they think they need to achieve the American Dream? What is the point of having a giant home or an impressive sports car if you don’t have any time to enjoy them?  The truth is well known but seldom believed:  Money doesn’t buy happiness.

A few months ago I stumbled upon the concept of minimalism and have been obsessed with the basic principles ever since. I used to think the idea of minimalism was, well, more minimalistic. I had visions of bare bones living where you sleep on the floor of a studio apartment, have almost no worldly possessions, and wear the same outfit every day. After doing a little research, however, I found out I was completely wrong.

Yes, there are minimalists out there that pride themselves on owning next to nothing, but the underlying message of this misunderstood lifestyle is not to deprived yourself of possessions. Minimalism teaches you to make time and space in your life for the people and activities that you love. Instead of chasing after a huge house (our modern day castle), the latest tech gadget, and designer clothes, you would actually be much happier seeking time with family and friends, hobbies you enjoy, and new adventures.

Disney’s Shrek and Fiona are a perfect example of living a more minimalist life. Fiona is a princess, so she and Shrek could live in a palace and enjoy the perks of being wealthy, but they are perfectly happy living in their tiny shack, surrounded by a swamp, with their three children. They don’t need fancy possessions to feel fulfilled; it is more important for them to spend time together as a family and keep in touch with friends (I mean come on, who doesn’t want to spend more time with Donkey?) Compared to other fairy tale romances, I believe Shrek and Fiona have a better relationship and marriage because of their priorities. They were friends before they became a couple and they share the same values. After all, Cinderella married a man (who just happened to be a handsome prince) that she danced with once. Sleeping Beauty married a man she kissed one time (also a prince). But that’s where their stories end, and I think that speaks volumes. Looks and wealth does not a great marriage make.

Does Happily Ever After have to be expensive? The answer is an unequivocal no, because the things that truly give our lives value aren’t things at all.

The New Girl In Town

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Pinterest never fails to entertain me with the images and websites people pin and this discovery was no exception.  Some amazingly clever person (I believe her name is Kristina Webb, if I’m reading the cursive on this artwork correctly) has drawn a lady that encompasses every single Disney princess. At first, while I must admit the image is certainly eye catching, I found it a bit disturbing but, over time I have grown to appreciate the effort that was put into this drawing. Wouldn’t this idea make an awesome Halloween costume? This princess reminds me of if Pippi Longstocking (comment below if you loved that movie as a child too) and Rainbow Brite had a daughter.  What are your thoughts…creepy or cool?

If you are a fellow Pinterest addict, feel free to check out my pins www.pinterest.com/PinkPippi

Unexpected Treasure

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A few weeks ago I finally visited an antique shop near my house that I’ve been wanting to check out. While exploring shelf after shelf of random items, I stumbled upon the coolest Disney snow globe I have ever seen. The base is a wicker sewing basket adored with buttons, a thimble, a measuring tape, and thread. Inside the globe, Cinderella is modeling her lovely pink dress while her bird and mice friends altar it. This by far is my favorite scene in the movie. There is so much detail I can almost hear the mice singing “And we’ll make a lovely dress for Cinderella.” Two years ago, I visited Disney World and realized finding merchandise that features Jaq and Gus (the funny mouse duo) was impossible, so you can imagine my sheer delight at finding this snowglobe. I immediately grabbed it and after gushing to my husband (who politely pretended to care) about this incredible find, I hurried to the register to purchase it. Cinderella holds extra special memories for me because when I was a child my mom offered to invite my best friend Shannon (who I still talk to all these years later) to come to the theater with us. This was the first time I had ever been allowed to bring a friend with me to the movies and I felt so grown up (even though I was only like seven or eight). Now every time I look at my snowglobe I will have a beautiful reminder of this timeless film and the people I shared the experience with. What is your favorite song in Cinderella?

Book Review: The Fairest Of Them All By Carolyn Turgeon

imageDeep in an enchated forest, the beautiful Rapunzel spends her days helping woeful maidens with herbs and potions to ease their troubles. Surrounded by nature, she is content and eager to learn magical spells from her wise guardian, Mathenia. Until the day she meets a handsome prince who changes the course of her entire life. Instantly, they are drawn to one another and this conection fills Rapunzel with the hope of a new life but alas, not every fairy tale ends happily ever after. To ensure the safety of his kingdom, the prince must marry the fair and beloved by all, Princess Teresa. The Fairest of Them All is a clever, seemless blend of the popular tales Rapunzel and Snow White featuring some dark new twists.

Pros:

The cover is gorgeous! I know this has nothing to do with whether or not a novel is well written but, I’m sure it helps sales. When wandering around a bookstore, my eye tends to gravitate towards beautiful or interesting covers and honestly for a book to stand a chance against popular authors, the customer has to physically pick up the book or click the icon online to find out about the plot. To be fair, I love Carolyn Turgeon’s books (I wrote a review of Mermaid on this blog as well, check it out if you are interested) and will continue to purchase them regardless of the book’s appearance but, to a first time reader of her work, this cover helps it stand out in the crowd.

One of the twists was extremely troubling and I enjoy a book that disturbs me a bit. (I mean I did just read all of Gillian Flynn’s books over the summer and saw Gone Girl in theaters, so that should say something about my love of dark subject matters) Side note: Sharp Objects was my favorite one of her books.

Rapunzel was very relatable. I like that she had more dimension than the princesses of olden times. I loved her passion for nature and all living things.

Cons:

Two of the twists I guessed pretty quickly and if those had been the only ones, this book would have been extremely disappointing.

All in all, I rate The Fairest of Them All a 4: True Love’s Kiss from the very first few lines I was sucked into the story and desperately needed to know what was going to happen next. It was so captivating, I believe I finished this book in two days. This was an enjoyable read and like Turgeon’s other books (with the exception of Rain Village) I’m sure I will be re-reading this one in the future. If you love fairy tales and haunting plotlines, this novel is for you!

What are you reading this chilly winter season?

Coming Soon To a Theater Near You

Hello my fellow fairy tale fans! There are several fairy tale inspired films coming out within the next few months that I am extremely excited to share with you. Check out these trailers if you are interested and let me know which movies you want to see. Personally, I plan to watch all three of these films in the theater .

Into The Woods coming out January 2015

This musical, which features several beloved story book characters such as Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood, and Cinderella, brings back very special memories for me. I was on the props crew for this play in high school and proudly helped build a full sized cow for Jack and his mother. Being involved in theater was a big part of my life back then and I can’t wait to see this on the big screen. The movie stars Johnny Depp and Meryl Streep so it has to be great, right?

Cinderella coming out March 2015

Snow White, Hansel and Gretel, and Maleficent have had their stories retold in live action, so it is only fair that the house maid- turned-princess gets her opportunity next spring. Since this particular version is from Disney, I have high expectations for the movie to be wonderful. In related news, Netflix has recently released a few Cinderella inspired tales (Ella Enchanted and Ever After), which I plan to review in the near future. Stay tuned for that post.

Pan coming out July 2015

Our favorite boy that never grows up is back in a brand new movie this summer. Ever since I viewed the disappointing retelling of this famous story, Hook featuring Dustin Hoffman and the late Robin Williams (I know I’m probably one of the only people on earth that wasn’t a fan), I’ve been eager for someone else to try their hand at making another version. Hopefully this one will be better.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and, if you are interested, I have a “Frozen Inspired Christmas Decor” post on my other blog Reels and Writings.

A Birthday Filled With Magic

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Sunday was my birthday and since my immediate family knows that I am a fairy tale fanatic, they bought me some pretty amazing princess themed presents. The first one I opened was an adorable round tin with a picture of Belle and the Beast dancing on the lid. This tin is the perfect size for storing small items and I know this will get plenty of use by itself. Inside the tin was some gold, rose-shaped stud earrings and a charm necklace featuring the outline of Belle in her famous gold ball gown. Although I don’t wear earrings much these days (and to think when I was little I begged to get my ears pierced, had to wait until my 10th birthday, and wore earrings constantly), I think I might repurpose them into embellishments for other jewelry; any excuse for a DIY! The charm necklace on the other hand I know I will wear often. IMG_2711.JPG

The second princess inspired gift I opened is my favorite. It is a long chain with the red rose from Beauty and the Beast enclosed in a glass case. I’m impressed that the rose has so much detail, even featuring a few fallen petals. I love when miniature items appear so realistic. This necklace is almost too pretty to wear, but I plan to pair it with outfits often. IMG_2713.JPG

And lastly the most fun princess themed present was a board game called Frozen Surprising Slides. I throughly enjoy board games and have been on a real game playing kick lately so this gift was perfect. This game is so cute and actually pretty fun. It reminds me of if Candyland and Shoots and Ladders had a baby. In a fun twist you can move sections of the game board around and create different paths for the slides. The characters you get to play are Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, and Olaf which I also enjoyed very much. The directions are super easy to follow and I think kids would love playing this game. Frozen Surprising Slides is a Target exclusive (according to a sticker on the box) so if you are interested that is where you can purchase it.

My Belle jewelry came from Hot Topic which carries a wide array of Disney themed merchandise at the moment. Online I saw a Little Mermaid wallet, a coffin shaped necklace from The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Elsa cell phone cases, just to name a few things. Target also has several different Disney princess themed items, including clothing, artwork, sheet sets, and pillows. So if you are in the market for fairy tale items for yourself, your kids, or anyone on your Christmas list, those stores are a great place to start.

If Fairy Tale Characters Went To High School

In honor of school going back into session, I thought I would create a fun little list of senior superlatives, but put a fairy tale spin on it. I must give credit to my latest website addiction, Buzzfeed, because they constantly write lists that amuse me and in this case gave me a bit of inspiration.

Best Hair: Rapunzel and Flynn Ryder This adorable couple should open a salon and give the rest of us some tips on how to make our tresses grow so long and stay so shiny.

Biggest Flirt: Jasmine Not only is she a knock out beauty, but Jasmine has mastered getting men to love her. In the movie Aladdin, she entices several guys (my favorite performance being when she told Jafar “Your beard is soooo twisted”) and bends them to her powerful will. Ladies, watch and learn.

Most Likely To Succeed: Mulan When this determined princess puts her mind to something she is going to see it through to the very end. She choose to be a warrior and kicked butt, so in my opinion no other character comes close to winning this title.

Best Smile: Prince Eric Let’s face it this man has pearly whites so dazzling Ariel gave up everything to be with him. Can I get an appointment with his dentist?

Best Dressed: Elsa Her sparkly pale blue gown with the cape is amazing! I’m also a big fan of her thick, dramatic braid. Once Elsa gets her magical powers under control, maybe she should look into fashion design as an additional career.

Most Friendly: Olaf The warm loving nature of this little snowman is infectious. Who wouldn’t want to be friends with him?

Most Intellectual: Belle No one can tear through a book like Belle.

Most Dependable: Donkey Shrek smells, has a bad attitude, and prided himself of being forever alone, but that didn’t deter Donkey. This sassy four legged creature was determined to break down Shrek’s wall and teach him the meaning of true friendship.

Wittiest: Genie This lamp dwelling wish giver is hilarious! There is nothing he can’t spin into a joke. If you are planning a party, Genie is the guy you need to invite.

Most Unpredictable: Merida This princess rides horses, does archery, and climbs giant dangerous cliffs for fun. You never know what she will do, but I promise it will be a great adventure. The girl even turned her own mother into a bear, I mean who saw that coming?

Most Artistic: Rapunzel Most people would go completely bonkers being hidden away in a tower most of their life, but not Rapunzel. She used all of that free time to perfect her craft and paint the most beautiful murals. I’m hoping she still uses her artistic gifts to brighten up her kingdom.

Best All Around: Anna She is fun, bubbly, and loyal to a fault.

Most Athletic: Hercules The man is related to the Gods, need I say more?

Most Dramatic: Zazu I’ll admit I’m sure it is very stressful trying to keep young Simba in line and continue to impress the mighty Mufasa, but man Zazu has more nervous breakdowns than any animated character I have ever seen.

So there is my list. Let me know if you agree or have even better suggestions for these categories. Until next time, farewell and may the odds be ever in your favor.

In other news I now have my own shop where I sell handmade jewelry, crafts, and one of a kind artwork. Check it out at SparkleAndStars

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Movie Review: Malificent

If you think you know the classic story of Sleeping Beauty, think again. Malificent features battling kingdoms, an evil spell, and a princess in danger, bringing a whole new perspective on this age old story to the big screen.

Pros:
Angelia Jolie is the perfect choice for the lead role. She is mysterious, eerily beautiful, and masterfully balances Malificent’s desire for revenge with her longing for love and acceptance.

The graphics are amazing. The kingdom of the Moors where the magical creatures live is fantastic and I’m willing to bet watching this movie in 3-D would be well worth the price of a theater ticket.

I like the idea of retelling a well loved fairy tale through the eyes of the villain. It worked for the popular Broadway hit Wicked after all, so why not try it with Sleeping Beauty?

Cons:
King Stefan’s (Sharlto Copley) reaction to some of the significant events (I won’t give anything important away) did not make sense. The narrator tells us that he is distraught about the curse placed on his daughter, yet he seems completely indifferent during certain key moments of the film when he should have been concerned, sad, or thankful and overjoyed. I’m not familiar with this actor so I don’t know if this is a problem with the script writing or his acting ability.

I wish Maleficent’s crow Diaval (Sam Riley) had more personality. His character is very one dimensional. This could have been a wonderful opportunity to add some humor to the story. I’m guessing the writer thought the three ditzy fairies (Flittle, Knotgrass, and Thistletwit) that care for Aurora were enough comic relief, but I found them absolutely annoying. The fairies spent more time fighting with each other than they do about protecting the princess.

Rating: 3 Breaks the Spell This film was entertaining enough, but the few points I mentioned above kept me from giving this movie a higher score. As a fairy tale enthusiast, I’m glad I was able to see Maleficent on the big screen but, this won’t be something I purchase when it is released on DVD.

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Movie Review: The Secret of Moonacre

After the death of her father, 13 year old Maria Merryweather (Dakota Blue Richards) and her nanny, Miss Heliotrope (Juliet Stevenson) move to the countryside with her estranged Uncle, Sir Benjamin (Ioan Gruffudd). While getting adjusted to her new life at the mysterious Moonacre Manor, Maria discovers an ancient family feud between the Merryweathers and the sinister De Noirs. Now with the help of a zany chef, a magical unicorn, and her new friend Loveday (Natascha McElhone) she must unearth the secrets of the past and set things right by the 5000th rising of the moon to save her family’s Mansion.

Pros:
The setting of The Secret of Moonacre and the costumes are beautiful. This is exactly how a fairy tale should look. Upon further research I learned The Secret of Moonacre was filmed in Hungry and England so now I have an even stronger desire to travel abroad.

Tim Curry as the greedy and cruel Coeur De Noir was fantastic! I’m a huge Tim Curry fan (Congo is one of my all time favorite movies) so I was very excited to see him in this film. However I would have liked Tim to have more screen time. He was certainly more interesting to watch than the moody Sir Benjamin or the beautiful but no substance Loveday.

The unicorn and the lion were a nice touch. Again I wish these creatures had more screen time and (perhaps this is silly) that they talked or showed a bit more personality. The NeverEnding Story and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe do a better job with this aspect.

Juliet Stevenson was wonderful as Miss Heliotrope, the awkward, gassy governess and Andy Linden was funny as Marmaduke the quirky cook. These two provided some much needed comic relief and kept the story a bit silly and whimsical which is exactly what a fairy tale needs to be.

Cons:
While the bones of this story seem to be good I kept getting the strong feeling that this movie was missing something. This film is based on the book The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge so I suspect as with most novel to film adaptations that some characters were cut and elements of the story were simplified to fit in an hour and forty three minutes. If anyone has read this book let me know what was changed I’m curious.

Maria seems to have a bit of chemistry with Robin De Noir (Augustus Prew) but that is never fully explored. I feel that this could have been another nice side story to make the movie more interesting. Again why do I suspect that the book may have explored this more fully?

Rating: 3 Breaks the Spell This fairy tale is cute and mildly entertaining if you are looking for something to watch on Netflix with the kids.