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.

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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?

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.

Gift Suggestions For Fairy Tale Fans

As the holiday season swiftly approaches I have compiled a list of presents that any fairy tale enthusiast would love.

Movies:
Tangled
The adventure of Rapunzel, the girl with the magic golden hair, and her journey to see the annual lighting of the lanterns. Throw in a sassy thief, a determined horse, and a manipulative mother and you have a delightful animated story fit for all ages.image

Enchanted
Princess Giselle is about to have all of her dreams come true when an evil queen sends her to modern day New York City. This hilarious look at a fairy tale princess trying to navigate the real world is sure to make anyone smile.
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Books:
Entwined by Heather Dixon
A clever retelling of the classic tale The 12 Dancing Princesses Azalea and her eleven sisters dance every night in a secret ballroom which is all fun and games until they learn the cost of passage. The imagery was so detailed and realistic it made me feel like I was actually in the story.

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The Treachery of Beautiful Things by Ruth Frances Long
This book reminds me of the next Wizard of Oz. As a child, Jenny watched her older brother Tom get taken by the trees and no one believed her. Many years later, before leaving for University Jenny revisits the place in the forest Tom disappeared and gets her chance to find out what happened to Tom and attempts to save him.

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Mermaid by Carolyn Turgeon
I reviewed this wonderful book in an earlier post. See “The Truth About The Little Mermaid.”

Products:

Cell Phone Cases

Who these days isn’t obsessed with their smartphone? And what better way to dress up this must have gadget than with a beautiful fairy tale inspired phone case. Amazon has many cute cases to choose from for a variety of phone types.

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Jewelry Fit For A Princess
Baublebar features several bedazzled necklaces that would wow anyone at the ball, office, or out on the town. These statement pieces can be dressed up or down and are well worth the price. Check them out at http://www.baublebar.com.
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Saying “I Do” The Disney Princess Way

Disney inspired engagement rings are all the rage on Pinterest at the moment and immediately they caught my attention. For jewelry junkies and fairy tale fans like myself, these engagement rings are a dream come true. The designs are so inventive and truly capture the colors and essence of the princess who inspired each ring. Of course, some of these designs are more stunning than others but as they say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. As a jewelry addict, I am constantly surfing the web for the newest trends and unique pieces, so the moment I saw this collection I felt compelled to share. What surprised me the most was that my favorite pieces were not necessarily inspired by my favorite Disney princesses. For example, I love Belle and Ariel, but their designs were not jewels I would want to wear.
Here are my ratings on these magical rings:
Cinderella
This ring is a lovely combination of blue topaz surrounded by aquamarine and white sapphires. This piece is classic and effortlessly beautiful just like Cinderella. The blue matches her ball gown exactly and I can easily picture this ring on her delicate finger. Rating: 5 Happily Ever After
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Belle
While the color scheme of gold, red rubies, and blue and yellow sapphires is spot on, I don’t understand why this ring’s design is so square? The enchanted rose is such an important part of this fairy tale why wouldn’t the ring be shaped like a rose? Belle’s wardrobe is simple yet elegant so I highly doubt she would want to wear this loud, bulky ring anywhere.
Rating: 2 Ugly Stepsister

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Jasmine
Blue Topaz, sapphires, and diamonds make up this fairy tale inspired ring. I love the uniqueness this piece. I have never seen the dual row of diamonds outlining a ring on the sides before, but it compliments the solitaire blue topaz stone perfectly. I love how the design mirrors the curves of Jasmine’s Arabian outfits. Rating: 5 Happily Ever After

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Ariel
I am the most disappointed in this ring. I love The Little Mermaid and usually love anything inspired by the film, but this design falls flat. I understand the color choices: red garnet to symbolize her envy creating hair, the purple amethysts for her seashell bra, and the green emeralds for her scales, but the colors look too strange together in such a small space. I do appreciate the V shape on either side of the piece that resembles a mermaid’s tail, but I must admit I just can’t get past the odd color combination. Rating: 2 Ugly Stepsisterimage

Tiana
I have never seen a ring that looks like this one before and I love that. What woman wouldn’t want to feel that her engagement ring is truly unique and special? This emerald bedazzled flower is simple yet stunning. I can see Titana treasuring this ring for the rest of her life, always taking great care to remove it when she cooks in her restaurant to keep it safe. Rating: 4 True Love’s Kissimage

Snow White
I make no secret of disliking Snow White. She has a terrible squeaky voice and is so syrupy sweet it makes me ill. She has the personality of a seven year old child which makes it difficult for me to root for her and her prince. She seems too young and naive to get married and run a kingdom. So imagine my surprise when I actually really liked her ring. The colors and design work very well together. A center red ruby surrounded by blue sapphires on a woven band makes me willing to overlook the fact this ring is related to Snow White. Rating: 4 True Love’s Kiss

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Aurora
This engagement ring, while perfect for a princess, appears a little too juvenile to me. The pink sapphire in the center and the diamond hearts on the sides makes it seem like this piece of jewelry would be better worn by a little girl than a woman who has accepted a marriage proposal. Nevertheless it is a cute design and I think it would be a lovely present on some other occasion for a gal well in touch with her inner princess (like my immature self). Rating: 3 Breaks The Spell

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Mulan
The design of this ring accurately captures the inner strength and bravery of Princess Mulan with its intricate scroll work and dark gemstones. The center stone is emerald with green tourmaline on either side and a row of black diamonds complete the band. I usually love emeralds, but this color combination is too dreary for me. An engagement ring should be bright and beautiful but this design looks more prepared to attend a funeral than a wedding. Rating: 1 Locked in the Dungeonimage

Rapunzel
This engagement ring looks like it jumped right out of the movie Tangled. It encompasses Rapunzel’s adventurous nature and symbolizes her epic hair with its twisted golden band embedded with crisscrossed white diamonds that reminds me of the flowers she sometimes wears. The purple amethyst in the center matches her dress and the emblem of her kingdom. I loved this film and love the ring almost as much. Rating: 4 True Love’s Kiss image

Pocahontas
The design of this ring is very accurate. I can absolutely see Pocahontas wearing this because it has such a natural ‘I’m at harmony with the earth’ vibe and the dark metal and gemstone would compliment her skin tone. Normally I’m a big fan of rose gold and have several pieces of jewelry in this finish, but what makes rose gold so pretty is the contrast of its darkness against lighter stones. The garnet center stone is so dark it just makes everything on the ring’s design look muddy. Rating: 2 Ugly Stepsister

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Overall I am very impressed with this collection. I admire the creative minds that were able to take a fairy tale princess and design an engagement ring that will remind women for years to come of all of the magic and wonder of a particular story. For more information check out http://www.gemvana.com where they also feature ways to customize each ring.

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