Browse the Garden

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Movie Review Marathon: Interstellar, Big Hero 6 and Book of Life

I saw some great movies this week. 





For someone who always looks at the stars, Interstellar was a visual treat. But the story was also an epic and interesting tale. 
Cooper is the ultimate pioneer, and his curiosity and persistence define him. He represents the dreamer, thinker and doer. His dream to be a pilot was replaced with the necessity of farming as Earth reaches its final days, but fate has something else in store for him. As the clues add up, and time passes, the lives of people on Earth hang in the balance. The story had many twists and turns, and the idea of the way time and space works is a core idea in the movie's plot. But what is the ultimate force? What can withstand all space and time? To find a solution, Cooper leaves his daughter Murph and his son Tom, and goes on a journey with the last explorers on Earth. As he learns to work with and help people who have lost all hope, Cooper must make the ultimate decision and learn about the most powerful force in the universe. 
This movie was amazing! From the scenes in space to the family dynamics that drive the ultimate conflict of the film. 
While Cooper leaves his family behind, trying to find a solution to save their lives, they struggle with feelings of resentment and abandonment. But as time passes, and the world continues to be a dangerous watseland, Murph steps up and decides to do her best to solve the problem that the world is facing. Our tiny planet that exists in the vast and mysterious universe. 
I'd give this film 4 out of 5 stars. 
Whenever time travel and black holes are involved in stories, things get tricky and uncontrollable. The story itself can become a little strange and it plays with the idea of a linear story, but this film did a good job balancing Cooper's tale with his daughter's, and it dove into what makes us human. The philosophy and psychology of the complex pioneers really make this movie four dimensional. 


Every kid wants to be a superhero with something to fight for, or to follow their dreams, Hiro, a bored and incredibly smart 14 year old, just cruised through his life and looked up to his brother, Tadashi. Tadashi, determined to help his brother use his brain to the best of his ability, invites Hiro to see the school where Tadashi is working to create an amazing invention and change the world for the better. Hiro finally gains motivation and starts to work on a powerful and incredible project. But once Hiro loses something very dear to him, he must carry on and find purpose and solace from friends and family. He finds a new friend in Baymax, a robotic nurse created by Tadashi, who becomes his counselor and guide through a difficult time. Hiro creates an adventure of his own through the invention of superhero suits for Baymax and his friends, giving them super (scientific) powers. As Baymax and Hiro go up against a super villian, (a man in a Kabuki mask) using Hiro's invention (the microbots) Hiro must learn how to cope with what life has given him, and make a difference of his own. 
This movie was charming, and it spoke to me about important times in life. 
When going through a difficult time, it can often seem hopeless, but with support and care, you can create your own purpose through the pain. 
I give this film 4 out of 5 hairy babies (cats). 



El Dia de los Muertos or The Day of the Dead is a special day in Mexico where people reflect on and remember loved ones who have passed away. It's a time to think about fond memories, and celebrate life as much as honor the people who have passed. 
The two deities La Muerte and Xibalba watch over mortals, and rule two sections of the underworld where mortals pass on. 
La Muerte rules the Land of the Remembered which houses those honored and respected by the next generation. She believes in humans, and admires their pure hearts and kind souls. 
Xibalba rules the Land of the Forgotten, which houses miserable souls, unremembered and lost to the wind of time. He doesn't believe that humans can succeed on their own, and that each  human is only out for themselves. 
The Book of Life begins as a story about three mortals. Manolo, a bullfighter with the heart of a musician, Joaquin, a prideful man who becomes a celebrity, and Maria, a bright and strong woman with a heart of gold. 
La Muerte and Xibalba make a wager, upon seeing Manolo, Maria and Joaquin playing as children, on which boy will win Maria's heart, as an opportunity for Xibalba to change his ways and for La Muerte to restore his faith in the human race. La Muerte chooses Manolo to be her champion, and she tells him to be brave and true. Xibalba picks Joaquin to be his champion, and he gives Joaquin the metal of enternal life to impress all with strength and power. 
Their wager may be a game for them, but it impacts the lives of Maria, Manolo and Joaquin as the town is threatened by Chakal, an evil menace looking for the metal of eternal life, and as the story plays out, things do not go as the deities had planned. 
I enjoyed this film, from the beautiful visuals and rich culture to the complex characters and great story. As Maria, Manolo and Joaquin make choices that determine the future of their town, they learn what it means to be heroes, and how powerful it is to be yourself. 
Five out of five roses. 



Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Maze Runner: A Movie Review



Last year James Dashner visited the Tattered Cover Bookstore where I worked, and teens were buying his books from us in rushes. After the hype died down, and we were able to get more books in, I finally picked up this book series, and I finished it in three days. It was an epic story and a well written tale that echoed philosophy, archetypal symbolism, and an amazing thriller! 
The movie was a very impressive translation of the book!
The story begins with a boy. His last thoughts of drowning, who wakes in a box, underground, moving toward the surface. This boy doesn't know anything, not even his own name, but he is welcomed by the other boys, and nicknamed Greenie. As his confusing day begins, he panics, unable to remember anything, but he is told it will come back in time. The only thing he knows is the boys live next to the Maze, and they survive through a system where each boy is given a job. The maze is dangerous, and it works like clockwork. The boys organize themselves based on strength, endurance and intelligence. But this boy is different from the others. Where all the others took three days, he learns his name in one. Thomas. 
Thomas is curious, and his bravery, kindness and intelligence helps him survive, and discover the truth behind why he is there, and what he might be meant to do. One thing he is sure of is something else came with him when he arrived, change. As he tests his strength, intelligence and ability to survive, he sets off a series of events that changes the way everyone views the maze, and gives the others hope to discover why they were sent to this place. 
This movie was just as much of a thriller as the book. It had a good balance between the information that the audience needed to know, and the actual progress of events that lead to the truth behind the maze. I recommend it to fans of Dashner's books, The Hunger Games, Ender's Game and anyone who loves an exciting thriller. 
To put it simply, this film was A maze ing ^_^

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Does everything happen for a reason?



People change, places change. Life goes through this crazy cycle of good and bad, peace and chaos. We make decisons. Some have good consequences. Others have bad consequences, but do these things happen for a reason?
As a lover of stories, I like to believe they do. That every bad decision in my life leads to a better one in the future. That every struggle I go through makes me stronger. Every push and pull I deal with teaches me something about myself. But does my attitude create the reason, or does reason create my attitude?
Thoughts matter. There is no doubt about that. Our thoughts shape our world, and the way we view it. Thinking negatively only brings bad things to our attention. Thinking positively usually does the reverse. But what about balance? We're human, and we can't always think on a positive note, and in turn there are days where we're on cloud 9. Are thoughts controlled by these feelings, or are they a simple product of the moment playing through our heads? 
Today, I've already decided it will be a good day, so even if bad things happen (if I trip, or I lose a pen, or a student is out of control) I'm focused on the positive, and in turn life seems positive. But if I falter, is that a bad thing? Or is it just human? Do things happen for a reason? Or do we create the reason things happen? 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Life




So this is life. 
It's ups and downs.
Laughter and tears. 
A combination of dizziness and stability. 
That moment when you look to the stars. 
That feeling that everything will be okay. 
The chaos before the order. 
The painful yet necessary process of growth.
The blessings and curses. 
All of it, in one package, always there, beckoning. 
Some days are easy. 
Some days are hard, but they are all worth it. 
But what's most important, at the end of the day, is love. 
Love for yourself. 
Love for your family. 
Love for your friends. 
Love in the form of smiling at strangers. 
Doing something nice for them. 
Going the extra mile. 
Sometimes you take a step back. 
Sometimes you leap into the unknown. 
It all depends on your attitude, your mindset. 
Your story begins with you. 
How you choose to view the world. 
How you choose to see it. 
Whether you are foolish to be wise.
Wise to be foolish. 
Life is all around you. 
It's not always what you want. 
It's what you need. 
Who you want to be. 
Who you are. 

Love . . .


“Everyone has a different definition of love. Love to one person is… letting go even if it hurts them. Another would give up love for someone in a better situation. It sometimes starts with imagination. It’s motivation to live for some… and it’s mystery to solve for others. Regardless, love is a blissful thought that makes heart flutter… and is a hope.” - Surplus Princess

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Fault In Our Stars: A Movie Review



I picked up a book called The Fault in Our Stars at the beginning of last year, because Ashley Clemments and Daniel Vincent Gordh read an excerpt from it, and they posted the video on The Lizzie Bennet Diaries channel. The scene they read was so powerful, and I knew teens were hyped up about this book, because I worked at a bookstore, and that book was the most requested. 
So I gave it a shot, and my eyes were opened. Life, it's not perfect, but it's beautiful and worth living. Hazel's voice was so intune with my own that I fell for Augustus, and his zest for life. The way he viewed the world, and the way that Hazel criticized it. 
The story was a breath of fresh air in the YA genre. John Green wrote a story about life, it's ups and downs, its blessings and curses. He wrote a story that rang true to the heart. So naturally, I had to see the movie. 
It was a wonderful adaption! Shailene Woodley made a great Hazel. She captured Hazel's bitterness and straightforwardness, and the occasional warmth that Hazel let herself show. Ansel Elgort was perfect for Augustus, from his quirk of the brow to the deep and meaningful statements he makes about life and oblivion. The movie followed the flow of the book, and it stayed true to the major events in the story. My only compliant is that one of my favorite quotes was skipped over, but it wasn't right for the pace of the film. This movie was incredible, and one of the best book to film adaptions I have seen recently. It did the story justice, brought Hazel and Augustus to life and conveyed the crazy mix of ups and downs in life. 
Five out of five stars, and an infinity inbetween! 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

How To Train Your Dragon 2: A Review



How to Train Your Dragon is one of the best Dreamworks movies ever to grace the big screen. (Right up there with Megamind and Kung Fu Panda) It started as a book, evolved into a film, and is now a TV show. 
This film returns to Berk five years later, where the world of dragons and humans have coexisted in peace and harmony. But Hiccup has a much bigger challenge to face than dragons. Due to his bravery and perserverance, all of Berk expects him to become the new chief. With this new responsibility on his shoulders, Hiccup begins to wonder who he is, and who he is meant to be. While Hiccup endures this internal conflict, the dragons and humans have one of their own. A dangerous man, by the name of Drago Bludvist is building a dragon army under his control, threatening all who don't join him with destruction and imprisonment. As Hiccup and Toohthless venture further into the world and learn more about dragons, dark secrets await them, and Hiccup's greatest battle will unfold. 
This film was amazing! From the silly moments to the epic battles, How To Train Your Dragon 2 is one hell of a ride! As familar characters grow and change, the film balances serious lessons with fun loving moments. This is a short review, because I don't want to spoil anything. 
I will say that How To Train Your Dragon 2 was on amazing adventure that tugs at your heartstrings. 
I give it five out of five sheilds! 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

A note on fear



My adventure in Japan taught me a very valuable lesson. It's really important to accept who you are. Not just in the "I love this tv show and I'm going to let the world know" kinda way or even the "I create my own fashion" way. But there's something to be said in accepting your own insecurities. One of my biggest insecurities was getting lost. I was afraid I wouldn't be smart enough, resourceful enough, and I wouldn't be able to adapt in order to go where I needed to. But I decided to go on this trip, despite my fear, and now I can honestly say that I'm proud of doing so. Maybe fear can be a good thing, if you acknowlegde it. But if you don't want to be afraid, you need to face the fear and learn that it doesn't hold power over you. 
So I have faced a fear, and now I know: I can go to places on my own. I can make friends and adapt to my surroundings. I can fend for myself and get to where I want to be. 
Facing one fear leads to the ability to conquer fear altogether, and to understand that sometimes fear exists to show us who we are. 

More details on my trip here: 


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

It's okay to be human



It's okay to be human.
It's okay to make mistakes.
Just learn from them,
and don't dwell on them. 
Move forward.
Don't look back.
Do your best.
Don't put yourself down.
Remember that life goes on.
You'll get through this.
One day you will laugh it away. 
For now, it's a mountain you can climb.
It's a bridge you can cross.
It's a step toward learning who you are. 
It's a challenge.
It's a single moment in time. 
Just don't give up
and soon
you'll bloom. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Friday, June 20, 2014

La Belle et la Bete: A movie review




Beauty and the Beast is my favorite fairytale, and though I adore the Disney version, there are few adaptions that honor the orginal story. Before I go into too much detail about the movie, I want to introduce a little history. 
Beauty and the Beast began as a short story wriiten by Madame Gabrielle Suzanne de Villeneuve in a magazine for women in 1740. It was inspired by folklore and mythology. In fact, one of the earliest versions of this fairy tale is the myth Cupid and Psyche. Many cultures all over the world have some derivative of this tale, but Beauty and the Beast is among the most popular and well known stories. 
Villeneuve's story was later adapted into a short story written by Madame Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumount who is better known as the tale's creator and had it abridged and published in a book for children in 1756 . 
Beauty and the Beast has evolved over the years from fairy tale to novel to Television show to film. But in France, the most well known adaption, besides the Disney version, is a black and white film under the name of La Belle et la Bete made in 1946. In fact, this version was the adaption that Disney used as an outline to create the animated classic Beauty and the Beast
I recommend watching the 1946 film and reading the original tale before watching the new 2014 film, because you may be confused, and so many people criticize this film based on the Disney version, which is very different from the actual fairytale.
While this movie is true to the original tale, it has it's own mythology and a new story behind why the Beast was cursed, but it echoes some of the genius of Hayao Miazaki's film Howl's Moving Castle, while creating a story of its own.
This film is beautiful. Not only are the special effects like stepping into a painting, the costumes are elaborately detailed, the cinematography is well done, and the acting is wonderful. 
Lea Seydoux is a clever, kind and beautiful Belle, and Vincent Cassel is a mysterious, intriguing and layered Beast. Both stars shine in their roles, and make the characters their own. 
I give it four out of five roses. A beautiful movie, timeless tale and wonderful adaption. 



Saturday, June 7, 2014

Palace of Wonder and Garden of Dreams




The Changdeokgung Palace is a step back in time. From the imperial gate to the secret garden, it has been the movie set for many historical Korean dramas. The picturesque view and the artistic atmosphere draws in tourist after tourist. But for me, it's more than that. Once I arrived, it was like walking in a Korean fairytale. I could see the crown prince running along the game field. I saw the servants walking through the gate quickly with laundry to the great well next to the public garden. And of course, the minute I walked over the Geumcheongyo (stone bridge) I could see the crown princess with her ladies in waiting, and the procession that followed. 
This palace also has a forbidden garden, that we were lucky enough to grab tickets for, right before it sold out. (I reccomend geting them as soon as possible- they sell out fast) The great pavillion was a private resort for the royal family and a few selected noblility. The garden itself was a quiet retreat for tea, and it even has it's own area for the rice only eaten by the royal family. 
The area was beautiful, and reminded me of many Korean myths and legends. 
Unfortunately, it is very difficult to find books about Korean folklore, but their history begins with a myth, and slowly turns into facts. The Kingdom of the Four Winds begins Korea's tale, and from then on, the history unfolds. But actually walking around the regal and beautiful buildings gives you a taste of what life was like whne men feared Gumihos, women were chosen to be the crown princess, and the great school of Sungkyunkwan was the most promising school in the country. 
This area of Korea, preserved in the Joseon period is inspirational and its own work of art. 
Some of the Korean Dramas filmed here include The Moon that Embraces the Sun, Sungkyunkwan Scandal, Gu Family Book, Goong, Goong S and of course Queen Inhyeon's Man. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Don't Panic



So I'm kind of known for being ridiculously hard on myself, expecting myself to fit my own definition of perfect and setting insanely high standards for myself. My usual process when things go wrong is this: 
1.Panic
2. Beat myself up
Well, that process doesn't do anything great for anyone. 
First of all panicing only annoys people, mostly whoever you're panicing with, and second of all, life has a way of working itself out. No matter what the problem is, there is always a way to solve it. Sometimes the solution isn't what you expect or even believe, but the problem eventually works itself out. 
Secondly, beating yourself up is just as pointless. It's kind of like falling down a chasm and then sitting there, telling yourself that you belong in the chasm. Well, that won't exactly help you get out! You're not focusing on what's in front of you, what you have to accept and what you are able to do. 
So I guess this is my declaration. Yes I make mistakes, but I don't want to beat myself up anymore. I always give others the benefit of the doubt. I think it's time I give myself the same. 
And as my good friend Kim tells me, things happen for a reason. Maybe I'm meant to be in this situation now, so I can prepare for problems in the future. Maybe this new mindset will help me adapt to the changes I go through starting now. 
Just as the lotus flower blooms from the nastiest mud, I will bloom no matter the circumstances and do my best, because at the end of the day it's all I can do. And you know what? That's enough. 
New mindset. New adventure. 
BRING IT ON! 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

On Endings and New Beginnings



As the time for me to leave draws near, I'm already wishing many other people well on their new chapters. 
Before you say goodbye, there's this moment where you run through all the happy memories in your head, and even if you're not saying goodbye for good, it's a melancholy moment. I've met so many people this year. I've reconnected with old friends, made new friends and I've learned so many valuable lessons. Several of my friends are beginning their own adventures all over the world, and some of my friends have already reached stepping stones in their life that I can't even begin to comprehend. 
The beautiful thing about life is that despite differences, distance and perspective, people are ever changing and the world is always changing around them. At work, I'm leaving alongside many other travelers and adventurers. Several of my friends are leaving as well, off to new exciting adventures all over the world.  It's times like these when Kingdom Hearts goes through my head. It's a quote from Kairi that says it all. "There are many worlds, but they all share the same sky. One sky, one destiny." 
It's funny how much you think of people when you're away from them. I'm so blessed to have all these people around me, and I know that their lives are wonderful stories filled with ups and downs. I only hope that my story continues to be connected to theirs', and as all these new chapters begin, we will never forget each other. 


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Call to Adventure






It's the oldest troupe in the world. The moment when everything changes pulls the protagonist out of the normal everyday routine, and they are forced to make a choice. Do I continue to live my life this way, or do I risk the unknown? Well, the funny thing is, this moment actually exists in real life. Most people recognize them as the midlife crisis, the life-changing decision, and the ever important epiphany. These moments are celebrated in stories, because they are important events in our lives. 
Once we discover that we don't like the pattern of our lives, or the situations we end up in, we realize that something must change. 
Change can be scary, but it can also be exciting. Once you change, or you accept a change, the possibilties are endless. This can be anything from moving away to adapting to a new schedule. Either way, one fact about the world is that change is always happening around us. In fact, stories would be boring and bland without the element of change. 
How many stories have you read where the protagonist stays the same? In most stories, the main character must go through a series of events, many of which that are painful, in order to change their perspective  in the world and what they believe they can do.
But the fact of the matter is, change is crucial to life. It is the ever flowing element that surrounds major events in history, and the entire spectrum of growing from a child to an adult. 
So I'm about to face a major change in my life, but in my opinion, it's a late one: leaving the nest. It's time, and I know it's been time to get out into the world and actually discover what I am capable of. It's time to broaden my horizons and begin a journey I should have begun years ago. But I put it off for one simple reason. I was afraid. Afraid not only of the unknown, but of my ability to handle whatever came at me. I'm still afraid of many things, but I also know that whatever you're afraid of, you will have to face sooner or later. 
So this is my call to adventure, and it's about time I answered it. Whatever happens after this moment is one step on the journey that I will now decide on my own. Yes I have a number of weeks before I leave, but that doesn't mean I should stay the same. 
If I want to be brave, I must act brave. So here I go. I have made my decision, and now there is no going back. 
I will be in South Korea for a year, teaching English. My adventure begins here. 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Beauty of Pain



At the very beginning of this year, I met a friend's parents, and they asked me what I was doing, and what were my goals and dreams. I told them that I loved writing, but I hadn't written anything in months. 
"You're not suffering enough." My friend's father said. And those words stuck with me. I agreed at the moment, but I still didn't quite understand what he meant. Now I do. 
I just watched the Doctor Who episode that features the famous artist Vincent Van Gogh, and the struggles he went through in his life. To be honest, I don't know much about Van Gogh, except that I've loved Starry Night since I first saw it, and my Dad and I both agree that it's one of our favorite works of art. But I had no idea what kind of life he lived, or what obstacles he went through to become the famous artist we all know today. Whenever I heard about someone who was sucessful, especially when I was a child, I assumed that they went through life creating art, writing stories and sharing works that were so amazing they were never rejected. But once I grew older, about sixteen, I no longer believed that was true. I learned about the struggles, and pain that many great novelists, artists and historical figures faced, but I had no idea they used their struggles to achieve great things. 
I'm beginning to learn that our struggles, and our pain can become tools to create incredible things in our lives. Many successful people have dealt with the doubters, the critics and of course their own depression and self doubt. But, as my Dad told me, the difference between successful people and unsuccesful people is that they never gave up. No matter what, they pushed on. They wrote, painted, sung, acted, filmed and just lived following their passion and dream. They lived day to day, taking small steps to achieve greatness, and they believed that one day they would make a difference. 
But that kind of mentality is not easy, and even the most famous and inspiring people have had their doubts, their slumps and their failures. 
Being human is a crazy and complicated experience. One moment you're on top of the world, everything's great, then all of sudden a storm rolls in, or you slip and fall down the mountain, only to land right where you started. 
When this happens, there are two ways to respond to it. You can complain, and use those events as excuses to stop moving, or you can observe the situation, and use your current situation to your advantage. Is there a branch? Do you see a better way to climb that mountain?
The truth about life is that no one really knows what they're doing. Sure they have a basic idea, but everything changes and life doesn't really have a fair system. Knowing that fact can be really scary, but it can also be comforting. Because if you're stuck currently in a situation you don't want or need, it will change.
So if you have a dream, if you have a wish, never give up! You never know how much of a difference you could make if you don't keep going, keep believing and just push through that wall or break down that boulder! This is the challenge of living life, but it's also the beauty of it.  All those moments that made you happy. All the things that inspired you and motivated you to share your own gift with the world. These things matter, and they can guide you to become succesful. 
You never know what path you're on, but you have a basic idea of where you want to be. That idea drives you to eventually arrive at your destination and look back with pride. 
I have been suffering a lot lately, on many levels, and I have let those obstacles drag me down. But if I look at them as challenges. If I stare uncertainity in the face, who knows what I could accomplish! 

It's so simple, and yet so difficult. Never give up! Keep moving forward!

"No successful person has ever known how his or her dream would happen. They simply believed that it would happen, and they did not give up until it had." - Rhonda Byrne

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Happy 22nd Anniversary Sailor Moon!



Happy Anniversary to the first superhero I wanted to be! I discovered Sailor Moon in elementary school, and from the first episode, I aspired to be as brave and powerful as a sailor senshi. 
Sailor Moon inspired me. This story taught me that an ordinary girl can be brave enough to vanquish the darkness in the world, and no battle is too difficult. There is always a way to win, if you believe in love and justice. The mythology behind Sailor Moon was one of my favorite parts of the series. The idea that the stars told stories, and the Earth was just one part of the Alliance that protected the Moon and fought against the evil in the universe. Sailor Moon was a princess, but she was also a warrior, the only warrior that never backed down when she faced the enemy. While fighting evil alongside her friends, Sailor Moon became more than a middle school student and Sailor V fan. She became the savior of the universe, and grew into an amazing hero that stood for love, courage and hope. 
My favorite series of Sailor Moon is the Super S series. The enemy tried to spread negative thoughts, feelngs and destroy dreams. Each victim would have a dream, and the enemy would rip the dream away from them by telling them it was too difficult, it was impossible, and they would never earn the right to make that dream happen. Sailor Moon's speech to the victim was always inspirational. She didn't say that it would be easy, but she did say that a lot can happen when you believe in yourself and never give up. 
Sailor Moon's battles were external, but they represented the internal struggles we all have in daily life. Each epic battle of good and evil stood for a battle within. Sailor Moon was far from perfect, but she was human. Her determination, courage and belief in herself have inspired me to do the same. 


Friday, February 28, 2014

The Lego Movie: A Movie Review (Possible Spoilers)



I wanted to see this movie the minute I saw the trailer. The film looked fun, creative and brought back memories of Lego building when I was a kid. 
First of all, I want to say that you should go see this movie. I don't care how old you are, or what you even think of Legos or children's films. This movie has so many good qualities and it's just a fun story. 
Emmet, the main character is someone that I believe we all can relate to. He's the archtypal underdog, trying to fit in and be noticed. He wants to be special, to be remembered and to make a difference. He follows the instructions and does what everyone else does. But he is meant to be more than that, because he is the hero of a prophecy that will save all of Lego world. Once he is brought to the Master Builders, the creative heros of the lego world, Emmet begins his journey on discovering what he is capable of. But Emmet isn't the hero that everyone's expecting, and he begins to realize that not only is he different from the crowd that he tried to fit in with, he's different from the Master Builders and what the Master Builders expected him to be. He begins to doubt himself, and he tells himself that he doesn't have the ability that they do, to be creative. Even when the wizard Vitruvius tells him to believe in himself, he doesn't. So through the first act of the movie, he watches the other master builders, but once he creates something, and it works, his confidence in himself and his abilities steadily grows until he becomes a leader. 
Now I want to talk about the antagonist of the movie, Mr. Business. He wants everything to be perfect, and his idea of perfection is order. He brainwashes his citizens through television, keeping them distracted from any originality, and he wants total and ultimate control over everything and everyone. His obssesion becomes a madness that doesn't paint him in a good light. 
But this movie is more than it seems. It's not just a story about Emmet becoming a hero. It's not just a story about Legos. Once the movie takes a quite dramatic, and yet familar turn, you will understand what is really going on, and why Mr. Business is obssesed with perfection and order. 
In fact it was the final act of this movie that moved me the most, because it all made sense: Emmet feeling like he didn't fit in, The corporate versus the creative and the reason behind the prophecy. 
This movie is fun, inspirational and has a wonderful message. 
"The only thing anyone needs to be special is to believe they're special." - Vitruvius
From that belief alone, a web of ideas grows and you discover who you truly are, and what you are capable of. Sometimes we forget this when we focus on a goal or a dream. We compare ourselves to others, tell ourselves that we're not good enough, and we get wrapped up in what we believe is reality. This film has something for everyone. With character cameos, clever jokes, great voice acting and a wonderful story, The Lego Movie is a film worth watching. 
I give it five out of five Unikitties. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Transition




Sometimes life will hit you all at once. One thing after another doesn't go as planned. Unexpected events occur and surprising revelations come to you. You're on an unstable path, jumping from one illusion of security to another, all the while trying to accept each situation and be able to move on. 
There's a saying: "the darkest hour is just before the dawn." Just when you think all is lost, the light will shine through and show you the way. 
This is the point of transition. When things fall apart, it's a sign that things will change. But, if you don't accept or believe things will change, then you will be caught in a cycle of misery and disappointment. 
I have to be honest. I'm in this stage right now, and I'm afraid I haven't been able to stay strong, and I haven't been able to deal with anything. 
Yes, I still believe in that light, but my path is a mess! I have a lot of choices to make, internal and external. Life is pulling me in all kinds of directions. But I need to be strong. I need to get through this. 
I'm sure that there are many people out there who have worse situations than I do, but I also know that I can't hide how I feel or what I need. 
This is the point of change, transition, and a defining moment on the hero's journey. It's time to face my dragons head on. Time to get up and move! Time to take charge, and time to discover who I truly am. This is no one's fault but mine. 
This time, I will make the change!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Beauty and the Beast



Beauty and the Beast has been on my mind lately, since it's Belle French month on tumblr, and a new film adaption has been released in France, the country of the fairy tale's origin.  I even began writing my own adaption of this story.  So I wanted to write about the original tale, and why it means so much to me. 

            There is a reason why I love the fairytale Beauty and the Beast. It is the most realistic fairy tale that I know when it comes to explaining true love. 
            There are so many messages that the story is associated with. One being that you can never judge a book by its cover, and another that to truly love something, you must set it free. 
           But for me, the story is deeper than that. The story shows that love, true love is not something to be rushed, and it is not as simple as falling in love at first sight. It is a combination of the good and bad of both souls. Whether one may seem more pure or dark than the other, neither Beauty, nor the Beast are ever anyone but who they truly are. 
           The Beast, because of his appearance, is immediately judged to be fearsome and cruel. In many ways, Beauty is also judged by her appearance, and is almost taken for granted by her looks and personality in the story. But neither of these protagonists is ideal or perfect. Both are lonely. Beauty by being sent away from her only home, and Beast by being locked away in a self made cage. 
            It is their loneliness that brings them together, but it is their love that keeps them together. Beauty is naturally loving, and her personality is even put to the test with much of the Beast's behavior. But the Beast is also loving, even though he doesn't realize this. He never wishes to harm Beauty, and he doesn't keep her prisoner there for the rest of her days. His ultimate act of love is setting Beauty free, and Beauty's ultimate act of love is returning to his side. 
             This does not make Beauty a prisoner. She chooses to go because she loves her father, and she chooses to return because she loves the Beast. It is Beauty's ability to love that defines her freedom. It is Beast's ability to love that defines his freedom. 
             They are both prisoners in society because they are both different. Beauty is different through her personality, her kindness, which rivals even her beloved father's actions. The Beast is obviously different through his appearance. Both of their differences come together and create the psychological and symbolic formula of true love. They both save each other. Beauty saves the Beast from his curse, and the Beast saves Beauty from her cruel sisters, in the original fairytale.
             True love is the art they create, even while they believe they are trapped in their lives. And that is the story of most relationships. We are told that if we are single, we are incomplete, and we all feel very different from the crowd. But once we fall in love, it is the desire to love one another that sets us free from daily routine. A relationship is more than just being attracted to someone, it is loving their faults, accepting their flaws and wanting to be there for them. This is why Beauty and the Beast is my favorite fairy tale. And I believe it is the reason Disney deems it "the most beautiful love story ever told."

Here are some of my favorite book adaptions/versions: 

Beauty and the Beast by Madame Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont

Beauty by Robin McKinley

Beastly by Alex Flinn

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Heart's Blood by Julliet Mariller

Similar Novels: 

Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

East by Edith Pattou

Sun, Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George
If you love this story, or have recommendations, feel free to share them here in the comments. 


Thursday, February 20, 2014

How to go after what you want in 5 steps



Step 1. List what you want- this may not be as simple as it sounds. Sometimes we find that we don't actually want something as much as we thought we would. Listing the things you want gets them out of your head and into the plan. 

Step2. Make a plan- Yes, this is a lot of work. Planning takes patience, time and effort. Also, you have to be realitsic and honest. Some steps are instant while others involve waiting and watching for opportunity. 

Step 3. Believe that you can achieve what you want- this is the hardest one for me. It's difficult to shut up the constant critic or even the echoes of nay sayers. But you can do this, especially if you believe in yourself. 

Step 4. Prepare for rejection - the harsh truth is that barely anyone gets what they want on their first try. You have to look at each rejection as a challenge instead of an obstacle. 

Step 5. Go for it! - Once you are moving, don't let anything stop you. Build your confidence and be sure to stay focused. How far are you willing to go to get that dream? To achieve that goal? 

"It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that things are difficult." - Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Monday, February 10, 2014

Erased

How am I supposed to feel

if I've cherished someone

who didn't 

cherish me?

Once it became 

too difficult

to keep in touch,

I was simply gone

from their mind.


How can I be 

invisible?

How could I be

wiped from their life

because I didn't matter

that much?


No goodbye.

No well wishes.

Just a mask

and an act 

disquised as caring.


Was I not part of their story?

Was my name even mentioned

in their tale?

No. 


They only kept

the parts of me

that they wanted.

They only remembered 

the times that 

I was their ideal.


Yet I . . .

miss them. 

I am sad 

that they are no longer

a part of my story. 


While I didn't exist in their tale,

they existed in mine. 


Why do I care more about 

people who don't care for me?


How could I have been

erased?




Saturday, February 8, 2014

Heartsong of the day: A New Life by Debrah Cox


Lyrics:

A new life,
What I wouldn't give
To have a new life
One thing I have learned
As I go through life
Nothing is for free
Along the way!

A new start
That's the thing I need
To give me new heart
Half a chance in life
To find a new part
Just a simple role
That I can play

A new hope
Something to convince me
To renew hope!
A new day
Bright enough to help me
Find my way!

A new chance
One that maybe has
A touch of romance
Where can it be,
The chance for me?

A new dream
I have one I know
That very few dream
I would like to see
That overdue dream
Even though
It never may come true! A new love Though I know there's no
Such thing as true love
Even so,
Although I never knew love
Still I feel that one dream is my due!

A new world
There's one thing I want
To ask of you world
Once before it's time
To say Adieu, world
One sweet chance to
Prove the cynics wrong!

A new life
More and more I'm sure
As I go through life
Just to play the game
And to pursue life
Just to share it's pleasures
And belong
That's what I've been here for
All along!
Each day's a brand new life!



Lyrics curtesy of http://www.lyricsfreak.com/l/linda+eder/a+new+life+from+jekyll+hyde_20491046.html

Friday, February 7, 2014

How to Hurry Up and Wait



So now you've put in that application, done that interview or taken that test. 
Despite how calm you try to be, you get restless, waiting for that call, email or opportunity to knock at your door. Your friends and family have already given you advice. "Hurry up and wait." But what does this mean?

You're in a transition, and taking another step forward in life. How do you deal with waiting?

Here are a few ideas to keep craziness at bay: 

Slow down: Take a walk, listen to your favorite playlist, read a book or just take a few deep breaths. Worrying over things won't make them happen, and now that you've taken the first step, you should take a moment to relax. 

Make some plans: Whether it's in the far future or just next week, planning can calm you down. Instead of worrying about the future, you're mapping it out as best you can.

Have some fun!: Call up a friend and hit the town. Go to your favorite haunts and celebrate! You're allowed to be proud of moving forward. 

Get to know who you are: Ask yourself some big questions, and try to answer them as honestly as possible. You may not have all the answers, but you can discover something new about yourself. 

Try not to expect anything: Don't be too optimistic and don't be too pessimistic. This is difficult on both ends, because it's easy to get caught up in your excitement, and if you're feeling down, it's easy to tell yourself that it won't happen. 

Accept where you are now: You weren't here two years ago were you? You've come far, and you'll go far again. Try to enjoy this time of indecision before life decides for you. What are all the positives in your life currently? After all, they don't call it the present for nothing. 

Whether you're going through a major or minor change, these tips can help you stay on track. 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Souls of Light and Dark ( A Cruel Beauty Fan mix)



Based on the novel Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge. 

Writing Prompt 62: A glimmer of hope




Prompt: A picture is worth a thousand words. Write the story behind this one. 

       The great stone castle surrounded me. I walked its paths everyday, yet nothing seemed familiar or comforting. I was here for my family, locked in an extravagant cage. I was here because he wanted me to be. This strange Beast. 
       Every morning I walked the palace alone. Every evening he asked me a question, and then left me to the shadows. I began to feel lonely, and I knew that my heart was breaking. Being isolated from all I knew had its own freedoms, but today it felt stale. It was as if my very act of defiance had condemned me to sorrow. Confusion clouded my brain. 
       Why was I here if I was not needed? And why did my heart long for a creature who ignored my presence until he wished for my company? 
       Memories haunted my dreams. My few friends when we lived in the bustling town. My family in our peaceful cottage by the river. Loneliness eventually became emptyness. A bird does not belong in a cage, no matter how beautiful it was. And I was already letting him see too much of my heart. 
       I became desperate for his company, and I scolded myself when I acted like one of those flitty girls who giggled like idiots when a man walked toward them. 
       Was I falling for him?
       My heart already knew the answer. 
       Yes. Yes I was. 
        I found his attempt at conversation endearing. He was always polite, and never interrupted me, even when I belived that I was boring him. He always bowed before dinner and afterword once I answered his question. 
        I noticed that he did have emotions, but they were very well hidden. The way he watched me while I accidently knocked over a salad fork or a bowl of strawberries because I had never learned proper ettiquette revealed a touch of amusement. When I told a joke poorly, he supressed a laugh by muffling the sound with his napkin. Even the slight pause he made before answering my questions revealed a nervousness I couldn't understand. 
        Each answer he gave me brought more questions. Questions I knew he wouldn't answer. Why was he like this? What caused him to live this way? How long had he lived with loneliness? Why was he the nervous one when I was the guest and he the master of the castle? 
       So, that night, I decided to do the unevitable. I invited him to walk with me. The rose garden was finally in bloom, and no one should miss such a sight. I was bored of the cold walls and dry halls. I longed for fresh air and a step in the sunshine. 
       To my surprise and delight, he agreed. 
       The next morning, as the fog crept over the hills, a gentle knock sounded on my door. 
      "I know it is early," the Beast said, "but I thought the garden was best before the fog leaves."
       I followed him to a stone stairway, and we walked into the hazy air. The walkway was a maze, but the Beast offered his arm, and I took it, entranced by the beauty of the flowers dancing in a soft mist. The walkway ended at a bridge made of stone, and that bridge lead to another stone building. 
      Light graced this area, and the building had tall windows with wooden frames. The forest reflected in them now, with fog shrouding the edges of the glass. A set of wooden doors stood before us, as we crossed the bridge. 
     "It's beautiful." I told him, "What is it?"
     "The library." he said, "Would you like to see?"
     I nodded eagerly, and a weight lifted in my chest. While the castle was cloaked in shadow, and the garden in a hazy fog, the sun shone on this building and the flowers surrounding it. It was a glimmer of hope.