Friday, February 22, 2013

Captain America: The First Avenger

Captain America: The First Avenger
     As one who has never been a big comic book fan, I only watched Captain America, because I enjoyed the fact that it took place during WWII. My brother had brought it home one night for a family movie and I thought, "Why not?"

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 Capt. Steve Rogers/Captain America
Chris Evans as Capt. Steve Rogers/Captain America

     In 1942, America is at war with Germany, patriotic spirit is high and every available young man is eager to sign up to fight for their country's freedom. Especially Steve Rogers...the only problem is he isn't soldier material...at least on the outside. He has a list of health problems, too small, too skinny, and just isn't the best man for the job. On the inside he has courage, compassion, honor, and an iron determination to do his part and fight. After failing to join the army for the fifth time, he is seen by a kindly German doctor, Abraham Erskine, who sees what he possesses internally and not what he lacks externally.

     Through a leap of faith, Erskine gets Steve into the army, but as a recruit for Scientific Strategic Reserve. He believes Steve to be a perfect candidate for a special super human testing that turns an ordinary man into an extraordinary man, to turn a soldier into a super soldier, but above all, to take good and make it better; not for ourselves, but for everyone around us. Afraid, but determined to do his part, Steve accepts, not knowing what the ending results will be. 

     To everyone's shock and disbelief the super-soldier formula works and the once small, scrawny, unimportant little guy from Brooklyn turns into a tall, strong, and powerful soldier. Steve has abilities that are superhuman, but instead of enlisting him for military service, he becomes a showman under the name Captain America. Although, he somewhat relieved to be doing something, Steve feels that he can do something more. When he finds out that his best friend is a POW in enemy territory, he defies orders and risks life and limb to rescue his best friend and over 300 other soldiers in the 107th regiment, and comes face to face with his worst enemy of all, Red Skull. There he is finally in the war zone and has found that his superhuman powers are truly meant for something more, that he is meant for something so much more.

     I have to admit, I kind of...sort of...fell in love with Steve Rogers...I mean he is too good to be true, but at the same time there is a reality to his story. He wasn't born with a perfect body, but his heart was honorable, he wasn't born with superhuman strength, but his strength of character was so much stronger, he wasn't born with incredible speed, but his courage kept him from running away from war.

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Johann Schmidt/The Red Skull
Hugo Weaving as Johann Schmidt/The Red Skull
     I have seen a lot of frightening villains, but this one was nothing short of terrifying! Johann Schmidt is a part of the inner Nazi Research Division HYDRA. His mission is to tract down artifacts with supposed mystic powers to be used for Nazi intelligence. Schmidt is mainly after the tesseract, a legendary Norse relic that possesses an extraordinary amount of energy than can be limitless in its uses. Schmidt will stop at nothing to find and capture the relic, but more than anything, he wants complete possession of absolute superhuman power. 

     He is as evil as evil can get. He has no heart, no moral conscience, no code of conduct that he lives by. When Schmidt got a hold of the super-soldier formula before it was done with its testing, the formula backfires causing terrible burns throughout his face and body. His real appearance is now a bright red deathlike skeleton that reflects the evil inside and out. The formula also amplifies whatever characteristics the person had and in Schmidt's case, who was already power hungry and evil, he become even more power hungry and evil.

     Johann Schmidt's lust for power to be used for evil and selfish gain is the utter antithesis of Captain America, who uses power for good and to protect others. It's a recurring theme throughout the story, is complete power used for good and for evil? Can what is bad become worse and what is good become better?

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Agent Peggy Carter
Hayley Atwell as Agent Peggy Carter
     When I saw Peggy's appearance in the movie for the first time, I was surprised to find that they would have a female (as well as a British) soldier on the front lines. Then upon the realization that Peggy wasn't a soldier, but a reconnaissance worker and field agent for Britain, it made more sense to me. Aside from Dr. Erksine, Peggy is the only person who sees any potential in Steve before he is brought in for the experiments. She is actually charmed by his gentlemanly manner and sees the hero's heart in him.

     What I loved most about Peggy, though, was her never-ending drive in the work that she did. A woman with many talents and gifted leadership abilities, Peggy's calm and clear presence in the throws of the war is a relieving effect for Steve. She encourages him to think outside of the rules and restrictions of army life and see that there is more to winning a war than with guns and machines, but rather with friendship, bravery, and love.

     A rare combination of beauty and intelligence that coincides with kindness and courage, made Peggy Carter one of the most enjoyable, as well as enviable, heroines in the Marvel movie series. Her romantic relationship with Steve is strained because of the war, but she hopes that maybe... possibly she may be his right partner for a dance, for the war, and for life.

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Doctor Abraham Erksine
Stanley Tucci as Doctor Abraham Erksine
     I have noticed a recurring theme in the Marvel movies. Usually before our heroes become heroes, there is a mentor/father figure that lead them to the path that they are meant be on. With Tony Stark it was Dr. Yinsen who helped him create what would eventually become Iron Man and whose dying words were for him to value his life. For Thor, it was Dr. Erik Selvigg, who not only got him out of trouble with S.H.I.E.L.D. but taught him that true honor is found through sacrifice of oneself for others. 

     Now, in the case of Steve Rogers, whose own father died on the battlefield in WWI, Dr. Erksine sees potential to become a  great soldier while remaining a good man. He of all people would know the consequences of doing the right thing. He was originally a brilliant German scientist who was commissioned by Schmidt to create the serum for Hydra, but refused to finish it due to what serum had done Schmidt before it was even finished. After that, Dr. Erksine become a fugitive running from Schmidt and Hydra.

     One can safely say, that without Dr. Erksine, there would be no Captain America. He knew the pain and agony of being judged by outward appearances and not by what was truly inside. Sometimes in life, we come across ordinary people who believe in ordinary ideals, but when these ideals are used in extreme situations, they may not seem so ordinary. Dr. Erksine proved that with Steve Rogers who proved that with becoming Captain America.

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Colonel Chester Phillips
Tommy Lee Jones as Colonel Chester Phillips
      As soon as Tommy Lee Jones appeared, I immediately knew that this was going to be a great movie. As usual, he was the needed comic relief for the film. As the creator of  the Scientific Strategic Reserve, Col. Phillips is at constant odds with Dr. Erksine's request to recruit Steve as a candidate for the super-soldier formula. Even when the formula comes our with fantastic results, Col. Phillips still refuses to let Steve fight and believes he is better off in a science lab. After Steve proves him wrong and delivers the rest of the 107th back to allied territory, Col. Phillips gives him the go ahead to become an army captain, while still remaining the status of Captain America.

     Without a doubt, Col. Phillips had the best lines in the movie! These are some of my favorites.

"If you have something to say, right now's a perfect time to keep it to yourself."-- to Peggy Carter

"Look at that. He's makin' me cry." --[looking at Steve's best effort but belabored execution to do jumping jacks

"Our goal is to create the best army in history, but every army starts with one man. At the end of this week, we will choose that man. He will be the first in a new breed of super-soldier. You may personally escort Adolf Hitler to the gates of Hell." --to the new recruits at The Scientific Strategic Reserve.

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James "Bucky" Barnes
Sebastian Shaw as James "Bucky" Barnes
      Steve Roger's loyal and protective best friend who is everything Steve is not. When Bucky is held captive in a POW camp in Austria, Steve's only motive is to rescue his best friend who had always rescued him. Every story needs a good companion and every hero needs a loyal best friends that believes in the strengths that no one else may see. Bucky was the epitome of the honorable best friend who, although shocked at first at Steve's drastic change, fought alongside his best friend no matter what the outcome may have been.

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Howard Stark
Dominic Cooper as Howard Stark
     If the last name didn't tell you anything, this dashing young man becomes the father of Tony Stark and the creator of Stark Enterprises. For now, he is a brilliant scientist with head full of ideas for a better tomorrow. Like his son, Howard can be rash, a little reckless, has no regard for the rules (the only reason he stays on good terms with Col. Phillips is because of his money) and full of himself because of his incredible talent, but is by no means as arrogant and self-centered as Tony is. Reason being, was that he was in war and the last person someone needs to be thinking about in a country's time of need is themselves.

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Captain America: The First Avenger
     What this movie captured the most was the real essence of a WWII action film. It was in the costumes, the set designs, the music, and even the lighting gave it an old-fashioned quality and you immediately get into the feel of the patriotic spirit. While I was watching it, I would sometimes forget that it was a super hero movie and find myself thinking that it was an actual film about WWII, that tells you how into it I was! Of all the Marvel movies that have been made, I believe this one to be its absolute finest.

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     As Steve Rogers continues his affiliation with S.H.I.E.L.D and struggles to embrace his role in the modern world, he's reunited with James 'Bucky' Barnes, who is now brainwashed Russian assassin known as the 'Winter Soldier'.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

 

"Your roguish eye, a glance it darts, and around falls a shower of hearts. I've prayed to good St. Valentine, You keep the one I called mine."

~A Prayer to St. Valentine.

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"A Flower cannot blossom without sunshine and a man cannot live without love."

~Max Muller

Edit:

I found this quiz on >>>Downton Abbey Addicts<<<

Which Downton Abbey Couple Are You? 

 

Anna & Bates

 

You may not call your man "Mr." but your relationship is most like Anna and Bates'! You have stood by your man with unswerving devotion and been a true partner, helping him through his hardships. Both of you want the best for each other and are willing to sacrifice your own happiness for the other. But if you're blessed with, finally, a bit of good fortune, neither of you should have to sacrifice happiness. May you continue to find it in each other!
Click on the banner to take the quiz!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

All The Single Ladies Blog Party ~ Day Seven



Hey Soul Sister

     I have four sisters and I'm right in the middle of them, as well as in the middle of four boys and the middle of nine children. So basically, this is how my family goes:  

Girl, Girl, Boy, Boy, Girl (me), Boy, Boy, Girl, Girl

     Crazy? Pretty much. Everyone in my family has always had their own little buddy system going on since they came into the world. I'm seven years younger than the sister before me and seven years older than the sister after me, even crazier sometimes. I'm close to my sisters, but we have never been like really super tight with one another. We all definitely need our personal space!

     As I've said before, I don't really have a lot of friends. Friends came in and out of my life like the changing seasons. We would have great times together and then they would always go off and find someone else; it would hurt sometimes, but I got use to it. That's probably why I'm such a private person, because I've never really had anyone to share my personal feelings to.

     Even though I enjoyed my teenage years, high school was very difficult for me. I was homeschooled and so I had little to no social interaction outside of my own household. All the interaction I got was at my church. Between the ages of about 13 to 15 was my hardest time, because I was just entering into high school and therefore I would be attending youth group. My church youth group wasn't bad, but it wasn't easy to break into either, because almost every teenager in the church went to the same Christian school. Oh yeah, this was also when the minority of homeschooling was at 1% and me being that part of that one. So, I was literally the only homeschooled kid in youth group whereas all the other kids knew each other from school.

    It really was a difficult time for me, but then we went to another church and it got slightly better. Notice, I used the word slightly. By that time I accepted the fact that I probably never have a real best friend. Then I saw "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe" in December 2004 and everything changed for me.

     In 2006, I was watching TLLW on DVD when I had the idea to write a fan-fiction about Edmund. It was as simple as that. So I sat down at the computer and I began to write. I wanted other people to read it, so in November, I got a Xanga account (by that time Facebook was just becoming popular) and started to post my story there.

     At the time I was taking an art class for homeschoolers and it was one of the most enjoyable classes I have ever had. I had so much fun there! (sorry I'm a little reminiscent). Anyway, we had started talking about writing and I had mentioned that I was writing a Narnia fan-fiction. One of the girls there (who bore a striking resemblance to Anna Popplewell) was curious about them and so I gave her the link to my site.

       On Monday, February 26, 2007 I received this in my comment feed:
     
Hi! Sarah Hartung told me about your xanga...she said we have a lot in common and I would agree from reading your profile. By the way, I know Sarah because she is my cousin's cousin, if that makes any sense. Anyway you can ask her exactly how we know each other. God Bless!
Posted 2/26/2007 9:56 PM by Whereforeartthouromeo 
     That was posted by Celeste White who was a fourteen year old from Lothian, Maryland. I replied back to her comment and I was never the same again. In less than a couple of weeks it will be six years since I read that comment. Six years that Celeste and I have been friends. Here's the twist, she and I have never met face to face, not once. Over the years we have tried to meet, but it never worked out. As a matter of fact when we first met online, I wasn't holding out much hope, but then we started to write letters and then talk on the phone. Our relationship just grew and grew.

     Celeste and I are very similar and we are also very different. I like to say that we are different enough to find each other interesting, but similar enough to understand one another. I'm a Protestant and she's a Catholic. She is surrounded by her extended family and I only have my immediate family. She's a dancer and I'm a writer. Where I can be melancholy and a introvert, she is very outgoing. Oh yeah, and we tend to have very different taste in men too.

Examples:

I say Sherlock, she says Watson (Sherlock BBC series)

I say Capt. Kirk, she says Dr. McCoy (Star Trek 2009)

I say King Caspian, she says King Edmund (The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of The Dawn Treader 2011)

     And somehow she believes that her choices are so superior to mine. The only two men she and I have ever agreed on are Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman. Which is all right with me.

     Celeste has been a constant and unwavering support in my life. She came to me in a time where I desperately needed someone to rely on, to talk to, and to just generally care. When I talk to Celeste, I have complete faith in the fact that she is generally interested in me and my life (which has always been a rarity with me) and I don't have to feign interest to know about her.

     Both of us are huge "Anne of Green Gables" lovers and so we often like to say that we are kindred spirits and I honestly believe that to be true.


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

All The Single Ladies Blog Party ~ Day Six



The Hope Chest of Dreams

     I wanted a hope chest when I was little, but then I realized in a family as big as mine and a house as small as ours, a hope chest was just too big a commodity. Anyway, my family considered them a little too old-fashioned; so it wasn't too big of a loss. Still...a girl can dream.

     As for dreams about my future, isn't ironic that I was posting about that in yesterdays link-up post? Well, alright, I do have dreams about my future married life, granted a guy ever comes for me. I try not to get to dreamy about it, because we all know how life can be sooo unpredictable and nothing ever turns out the way you dreamedit to be.

     I would love to get married! In a small private ceremony, no fuss or drama. Likely chance of that happening; my family is drawn to drama like bees to honey. Anyway...I'll admit, I do love looking at wedding gowns, you can see my favorites here >>>Wedding Gowns<<<

     What do you think? Pretty?

     And have children...lots and lots of children! At least seven! Actually, I would love more than anything in the world to have a baby, my own baby. I feel that I want a child more than I want marriage. Is that wrong to think that way? I hope it's not, but my desperation to have a child is fueled by the prospect that I may have a difficult carrying a child to begin with. I have epilepsy and the medication that I'm on is a mild birth control, meaning that if I take it, while I'm pregnant, then it could cause physical deformation with the baby. That thought terrifies me. So that's why I want to have a child, at least one child, more than anything.

     So, I guess that is my hope chest dream. To have a child; and I would want a girl so badly!!! If I had a boy, I would be happy too. It just seems that boys (even in this day and age) are still more preference than girls. I do better with girls, but either way I want a child, boy or girl.

Sybil and Tom Branson with their newborn daughter

Monday, February 11, 2013

All The Single Ladies Blog Party ~ Day Five


Silly Love Songs

     I love silly love songs! It's just feel good music : ) I have so many songs tht I want to play at my wedding, but I'm not sure what my wedding song may be...Here are a few.

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"At The Beginning" by Donna Lewis and Richard Marx

I have loved this song ever since I saw Anastasia! The lyrics are perfect and I love the music and the beat...and it's just perfect!

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"I Want To Spend My Lifetime Loving You" by Marc Anthony and Tina Arena

Similar to the song above, this has been a favorite of mine since I saw The Mask of Zorro (Great movie!!!). I love the slight Spanish influence that they put into the music and the lyrics almost sound more like lines you would hear from a romance novel instead of a love song.

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"Angel By My Side" by Do

I don't know if anyone is familiar with this song, because you can't find it here in America. It's beautiful, though and something you would probably play at anniversary party.

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"Heaven" by Do

The same as Bryan Adam's "Heaven" only sung by Do. It had a softer more feminine sound to it, making it much more romantic.

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"Inspiration" by Chicago

I'm not an 80s girl, but even I love this song. I use to sing it around the house all the time!

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"Glory of Love" by Peter Cetera

I know, you're thinking, "The song from The Karate Kid 2?? Why??" and I say. "Why not?" It's a great song!

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"I'm Alive" by Celine Dion

Being a Celine Dion fan since I was eight or nine, I knew I have to have her music at my wedding and this song is just perfect!

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"I Can't Help Falling In Love With You" by Elvis Presley

Although, I've never been a big Elvis fan, when I heard this song playing in the background of the movie Fools Rush In, I fell in love with it!

~ ~ ~

     That's the beginning to my wedding playlist, but I'm sure more will be added eventually.

     Do you think it's unhealthy to make expectations about your wedding when you've never even had a boyfriend? I mean, I know girls who spend most of their young teenage life pouring over bridal magazines, picking out their favorite gowns or ring or making exact detail plans of what their wedding day is going to be like. I think it may be considered odd, maybe it's just part of our inherent feminine nature that makes us want to get married in the first place.

     Anyway, I leave this post with a special treat! This is my newest Donwton Abbey video! I hope you enjoy watching it as much as I enjoyed making it!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

In Defense of Frodo Baggins


     With the advent of writing my >>>Cosette/Eponine<<< post last Sunday, this is a post that I've been wanting to write since The Hobbit came out. "The Lord of The Rings" trilogy is going to always be a memorable part of my generation. It was an extraordinary piece of work and something that I will always remember. Now, I have never read the books, but I know enough of the storyline from talking to people about it.

     When The Hobbit came out, I couldn't help but notice how some of the reviews that while praising Bilbo for his courage and charming personality, they would come down on Frodo saying that he was wining, complaining, boring, had no character, etc. Similar to the Cosette/Eponine comparisons, this too made me angry and I started to wonder why Frodo, who was the epitome of the Christlike character in the story, was being victimized in such a way.

     Not ever reading the books,  I really didn't know what his literary personality was, I asked a few book experts their opinions on the subject.

Catria from >>>My Unicorn Has Wings<<<:

     Hmmmmmm. My first response is... WHO ON EARTH IS SAYING THAT!!! All of my friends and I love both LotR AND the Hobbit. And we recognize that you CANNOT compare Bilbo and Frodo.

     First off, Bilbo is lighthearted, quirky, fun, and kinda runs around in his own little world. It makes for a great comic film with laughable moments and just a hint of the evil to come in LotR's. He is not supposed to be strong-willed and purposeful.

      Frodo, on the other hand, is very different. There's a strength of character and purpose about him that, even though he is such a little person, you have to admire because he doesn't let it stop him. He is scared. He is even weak. But he is real and relateable because of that. No one is perfect or unbeatable. And we all fall prey. Even Bilbo did. Actually, Bilbo did very much. And as for Frodo having no personality, I suppose that must just be a lack of ability on some people's part to recognize the different people {or Hobbit} types out there. No two people are the same.

      As far as the movies go, Bilbo was supposed to be lighthearted and charming. Frodo was supposed to be messed up and striving for something impossible. That very difference affects their personalities. LotR's is all about defeating evil. The Hobbit is not. No one should try to make it so. And no one should try to make LotR's try to be light. That is not the point. They are two different movies and should be.

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 Cate and Mime from >>>Notebook Sisters<<<

      Cate: Ivy, I HAVE to agree with you on this one. I see the pins on Pinterest (yep, I go there a lot) that say how Sam is the true hero and Frodo is a whiny brat. I've always disagreed too. Of course, without Sam, Frodo wouldn't have made the journey. But Sam didn't carry the Ring. In the extended editions at one point, Sam had the Ring, and he was just as entranced by it as Boromir. So it HAD to be Frodo carrying the Ring.

      I think Elijah Wood did a fine portrayal (and realistic) of Frodo! There were lots of supernatural forces going on in Middle Earth and they were tougher then the physical forces at times.

     Mime: In Frodo's defense, he was stabbed by a Morgul(?) blade, a spear (but that didn't pierce him), shoved around by Faramir (before he let him go), bitten by a poisonous spider, had Gollum sit on his head a few times, not to mention having his finger bitten off. I think he did pretty well under the circumstances. And that's not to say that he had a ring messing with his mind so much he tried to kill Sam.

      Complaining? A little bit. It's true. But realistic. I don't think he was a coward. I mean, he stood up in Rivendell and said he'd take it. I actually found him more of a coward in the book The Fellowship of the Rings, because he kept trying to farm off the ring, first Gandalf, Tombombadil, Galadriel... but I haven't read the rest, so I don't know how his character development went along in the next two books.

~ ~ ~

        I was glad that they seemed just as shocked as I was about the whole situation.

      Did Frodo sometimes complain about having to carry the Ring? Yes.

      Did Bilbo complain about the idea of going on a journey? Yes.

      Did Frodo run away from a duty that wasn't rightfully his? No.

      Did Aragorn run away from a duty that was rightfully his? Yes.

      Did Frodo ever doubt Gandalf ? No

      Did Thorin ever doubt Gandalf? Yes...constantly.

      Are people expecting a small person from simple beginnings to carry the fate of the world around his neck and do it with a cheerful attitude?

      Are people expecting a small ordinary person to possess superhuman abilities to lighten his load and quicken his journey?

      Do people expect Frodo to want to carry this burden, to want to change the world, to want to be a glorified  hero?

     I have always likened Frodo Baggins to Aslan from "The Chronicles of Narnia." The difference between the two is that Frodo is ordinary, Aslan is extraordinary, Frodo is mortal, Aslan is immortal, Frodo chose to take the Ring of his own free will, Aslan chose to die for Edmund because it was written in the prophecy.

     The closer Frodo got to Morder and Mount Doom, the more of an effect the Ring had on him. It was weakening him and he was beginning to lose control of senses. Does that make him any less of a hero just because he lost control?

     The true hero wasn't the one who actually threw the Ring into the fire, but the one who stood up amongst all these men and leaders, Frodo Baggins the orphaned son of a farmer, and said he would carry the Ring to Morder. The true hero was the one who watched with admiration as Aragorn turned down his offer to take the Ring for himself.
  
     Frodo Baggins is the hero of the story, sure there are other heroes such as The Fellowship, Faramir, Theodan, Eowyn, Eomer, Galadriel, Arwen (yes, I consider her a hero and I'll do a defense post on her if you doubt her role in the story!), Elrond, and others, but in the end it was Frodo. One small person who changed the course of the future, the livelihood of his people, and the fate of Middle-Earth forever.

All The Single Ladies Blog Party ~ Day Four


   
The Ultimate Pursuit 

   For quite a while I've felt far away from God. I don't normally say it, because I know people will start preaching to me about how I can get closer. That's all well and good, but growing up in church, reading the Bible and knowing every single story, and giving all the right answers since you were five years old, eventually becomes monotonous.

     That being said, I feel that maybe I've been moved in the right direction by him, by attending college. I really can't explain why, but it feels so right for me to in college right now, that I'm meant to be there. I am happy, actually happier than I've been in a long time, to be honest.

     I usually don't enjoy talking about 'how God said this to me or showed me that or how he's changing my life.'  I usually get annoyed when I hear other people say it, but that's just the way I am and maybe I need to change. Really, I do have a lot to be thankful for, I'm healthy, I come from a great family, I'm attending college and doing very well, I have a job as a private nanny, I attend a fantastic church, all of those are from God and I never try to take that for granted.

     This is probably the most honest I've ever been about my relationship with God. I've been in a Christian environment all my life. I've seen it all, heard it all, read it all and some of it, I really deem unnecessary to the Christian life. So, while I may never be one of these people who believes that 'God spoke to me about this certain issue,' I do humbly thank him for all that he has given me and all that he is continuing to give me.


Saturday, February 9, 2013

All The Single Ladies Blog Party ~ Day Three



You Know You're Single When

    I don't have any funny stories or anecdotes about being single, because most people know how resilient I am to getting close to people, but I can tell you my feelings on being single.

     Sometimes I enjoy being single. Examples: I don't have to worry about if he's seeing someone else or feeling like he is hounding me every single second. I can escape the constant questions of "How long have you been going out? Are you still together? Are you planning on marriage? Are you pregnant?" And others, thank goodness.

     My parents, despite their good feelings, still don't understand why my older sister and I enjoy being single. Maybe it was because they were married very young or they dated a lot when they were younger, or whatever. Being single gives you a sense of freedom to be yourself, find out who you are, or just enjoy life as it is right now. Don't worry about marriage or family now; they'll all come soon enough!!! And sometimes when you least expect it.

     By the time I was 21, I was devastated at the fact that I had never had a boyfriend. Then I started college and found out, "I have no time for a boyfriend!!!" Eventually he'll come around, whether you still have yet to meet him or you've known him for a while and just made the discovery that "IT'S HIM!!!"

Friday, February 8, 2013

Sisterhood of The World Bloggers Award


Bella Rose over at To Say Nothing of Reality tagged me for the SWB Award. Thank you! I'm glad you enjoy my blog!

Rules:

*Acknowledge the Person who passed the award to you and provide their link.

*Include the award Logo on your blog

*Answer the ten questions posted below

*Make up your own ten questions for the next people

*Nominate blogs and link those you have especially enjoyed reading. The number you select is up to  you.

*Notify each individual that you have nominated them.

 Bella Rose's questions

1) Can you fry an egg in a storm at sea while the vessel is under attack?

Wouldn't I be better off defending the vessel??

2) Have you ever started a TV show thinking you'd hate it and fell in love with it?

Sherlock (BBC). Mainly because most of my family (who are die hard Sherlock fans) gave it the bad rap because it took place in modern day. Those opinions changed quickly.

3) Is there a death of a fictional character you still have not gotten over?

Hedwig from "Harry Potter"

4) Do you know why you should never let go of your blanket in outer space?

Of Course!!

5) Have you ever done school in your pajama's?

Absolutely!

6) What is your view on worms?

Repulsive, disgusting, nasty creatures.

7) Have you ever wanted to trade places with your friend for a day?

Seeing as I don't have many friends to begin with, then no.

8) Do you like the TV show "Merlin"?

Sadly, I've never seen it. I really want to, though!

9) What did you do on 12/12/12, the day the Earth 'should have' ended?

Absolutely nothing, because I knew the earth wasn't going to end to begin with.

~ ~ ~

My questions for Celeste, Mime, Cait, and Alexandra.

1.) What would be the last words you say before you die and to whom would it be to?

2.) What is the craziest dream you remember having?

3.) Favorite TV Show: Sherlock, Merlin, Dr. Who, Downton Abbey, Criminal Minds or Once Upon A Time?

4.) Who is your favorite super hero?

5.) Would you rather read "Pride and Prejudice" or watch it?

6.) Your view on "Harry Potter" is...

7.) Do you prefer sports or arts (that can also include writing) and why?

8.) Pinterest or Facebook?

9.) What books did you love as a child that you want to read to your children?

10.) Should opossums be exterminated off the face of the earth?

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All The Single Ladies Blog Party ~ Day Two



It Is a Truth That Is Universally Acknowledged...

     To be honest, I am really picky about my drinks. Like I said in the icebreaker, I don't like coffee or tea or really any drink, except water. Also, I can't drink wine because I have epilepsy and the medication that I'm on can have a negative effect with alcohol. I really don't think I'm missing out on much.

     What I do really enjoy is hot chocolate! Any kind of hot chocolate will do. Normally when I head into Starbucks with my sister, I order hot chocolate instead of a coffee. Of course, I love chocolate as well! Im addicted to it, especially the Hershey drop candy; I could eat those all day! I love just about any brand of chocolate, Hershey, Reeses, M&Ms, Twix, Godiva, Ghirardell, Lindt truffles; yes, just about anything.

     When season 2 of Downton Abbey premiered in America last January, I started going out to the store to buy candy (there was always some kind of chocolate involved) to eat as we watched each episode. When season 3 (FINALLY) premiered this year we continued on with the tradition. Something we'll always remember <3

     Candy + Downton Abbey = Best Sunday nights ever!!!


Thursday, February 7, 2013

All The Single Ladies Blog Party & Tag


Hosted by Meghan Gorecki at >>>Just As I Am<<<

This looks really fun!



1. White chocolate or milk/dark chocolate? Milk Chocolate!

2. Tea or Coffee? Actually, I really don't care for either. I have tried apricot tea before and I loved it.

3. Movie or book on a night-in? Movie; I'm a really slow reader!

4. Rom-com or a tear-jerker? Romantic comedy. Tear jerker puts me into a really bad depression.

5. Who is the first literary couple to come to your mind? Anne Shirley & Gilbert Blythe.

6. Who is the first *movie* couple that comes to your mind? Matthew Crawley and Lady Mary Crawley (Downton Abbey)

7. Roses or chocolate? Chocolate

8. Fancy dinner in a 4-star restaurant or a simple picnic? Picnic. I enjoy simplicity.

9. Dream wedding scenario: outdoor family affair, or a formal church wedding & reception at a 5-star hotel? Small wedding party at a church with a reception afterwards, but not at a 5-star hotel. That money is better spent on the honeymoon.

10. What was the last love song you listened to? "My Heart Will Go On" by Michael Ball. I'm using it for a Sybil and Branson (Downton Abbey) video that I'm currently making.

11. Favorite real-life/celebrity couple? Prince William and Princess Catherine.

12. One piece of advice about love: Love is a sacrifice of one's self. It's not on abstract feeling or emotion, but concrete evidence that there is something far greater and more powerful than our own being.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

In Anne's Circle of Friends, I am...

Diana Barry


You are Diana Barry! Loyal and loving, your friendship is a true and precious gift.


Awesome! I love Diana!!!

Click on the banner to see which of Anne's friends you are! 


Saturday, February 2, 2013

In Defense of Cosette and The Reality of Eponine


      I've been reading other movie reviews from blogs about Les Miserables and almost all of them have the same review of Cosette: airhead, spoiled, no character, pretty rich girl who gets the guy. That seems to be the general attitude most people have about her. So my question is why? What's with all the hate for this girl?

     I don't understand why people view Cosette with such dislike and raise Eponine on a pedestal. I mentioned this in my movie review, but now I'm going to go a little deeper with it. I have never really liked Eponine at all and to those who say that she is the true heroine of the story, well then you clearly haven't understood the story. Fantine is the true heroine. A single mother who gave her life for her precious daughter is far greater than a lovesick girl getting shot for a man who doesn't love her at all or at least not romantic love. It's clear that Marius cared about her, but it wasn't the love that Eponine wanted. He loved Cosette, end of story.














~ ~ ~

In Defense of Cosette


 Amanda Seyfried as Cosette in Les Miserables

     I always saw Cosette as the Cinderella of the story and isn't that what people love? A poor girl from obscure beginnings who is rescued by a kind man and raised in his love. Why do people see her as a clueless airhead? They condemn her for being silly and ridiculous for falling in love with a man she only saw once, but didn't Marius do the same thing? How come Marius isn't ridiculed and called an airhead for the same reason?

     Cosette has lived a sheltered life in a convent with her father for nine years, so she hasn't really grown up around men at all. She has been raised to be innocent, generous and kind. Yet, she probably hasn't forgotten her abused former life and the Thenadiers, so she isn't that clueless about the outside world. Then comes the first glance of love from the first man who seems to notice her and she is curious, amazed and even a little scared. Give her a break, I think we've all been there.

    Quit punishing Cosette for being kind and generous. Stop going on about how she has no real importance in the story She plays a very distinct part in Les Miserables. It was because of her that her mother gave her life, it was because of her that Valjean could live the life he always dreamed of, it was because of her that Marius finally saw love in a concrete form and not as an abstract illusion.

     In a world that was dominated by darkness, terror and fear, Cosette stood out with a gentle, but strong light to those who needed it. Her mother, her father, and her lover.

~ ~ ~

The Reality of Eponine

Samantha Barks as Eponine in Les Miserables
     Even as a little girl and watching the musical, I found Eponine incredibly annoying. All she seemed to do was whine and moan about a man who didn't notice her. I didn't understand her role in the musical at all and even now, I'm annoyed by her. They're at the brink of a revolution and she's crying about how alone she is. Dry up Scarlett. 

     Now, I'm not going to be entirely cruel. There are many honorable aspects to Eponine. She was courageous, she helped Marius find Cosette as well as take a bullet for him. There is a general charm and kindness about Eponine and that's how a lot of people see her, but they don't have to slander Cosette just because she got the guy and the poor girl didn't. 

     Also, Eponine is is completely destitute, she has no home and no money and is also (in the eyes of Javert and the Parisian government) a menace to society, because she helps her father with his plots. She knew full well that Marius couldn't conceive the thought of taking her because of those qualities. Unfair as they may, they are what make Eponine who she is. She didn't join the barricades because she believed in a better world, she was there to be with Marius and nothing more or less than that.

     We all live, we all love, and eventually we all die with love, without love, or fighting for love. That's what Eponine did, she died for love. She died so Marius could live and love Cosette.

Downton Abbey Confession #11


The only consolation that Edith Crawley had on her wedding day is that her dress was prettier than Mary's.

 No argument needed there.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Les Miserables (2012 movie)

Les Miserables: Fight, Dream, Hope, Love
      I went and saw Les Miserables last month...and OMG! It was AMAZING!!! Just extraordinary, brilliant, beautiful, romantic, heartbreaking, and so much more! If it doesn't win Best Film at the Oscars, I'll...well, I don't know what I would do, but I just really hope it wins!

~ ~ ~

Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean

    For twenty-five years he  had been alone in the world,
never father, lover, husband or friend.
-Victor Hugo

      After serving nineteen years in prison for stealing a loaf of bread for his sister and her child (as well as attempting to runaway), Jean Valjean or prisoner 24601 is let free from prison only to find out that he has been put on probation. Basically he travels from city to city in France to find some kind of living, but it's hard to do when you forced to show your papers or in his case, his yellow ticket signifying that he is a convicted criminal. No one wants him, no one cares for him and he doesn't even care for himself.

     Then God intervenes in the form of a kind priest (played by the wonderful Colm Wilkinson, the original Jean Valjean!!) He gives him food, shelter and a place to rest. Instead of thanking the priest for his generosity, Valjean makes off with his silver. He is caught by the police and then in an unlikely miracle, pardoned and forgiven by the priest who gives him the silver in hopes of becoming a better man. Valjean is overwhelmed by this incredible act of mercy and swears before God that he will never be the man he was before.

     The rest of the story is about Valjean as a better man and a man of God (the religious element is very deep in this story). He extends mercy and grace to those who suffer, raises a child who is not his, but loves her passionately, fights for justice by God's law and not the governments, forgives his enemy and sets him free, and in the end is rewarded for his faith in God and his compassion toward the suffering.

      I knew that Hugh Jackman was a stage actor in Australia long before he hit it big here in the USA. I had seen him in >>>Oklahoma!<<< and he was great. Because he was so well known to American audiences for his role as Wolverine and other action roles, a lot of people were skeptical if he could portray Jean Valjean in an honest way.  Well, he definitely won me over! He was incredible in the role and gave a very personable portrayal of Valjean as a man who is trying to forget his past, redeem himself from his sins, and fight for a better future. His singing voice is very different from what I'm use to hearing, but there was a lot of strength in the softness of his tone. 

     Acting-wise, he was perfect, like always! There is very little dialogue in the film; it just blends from one song to the next, but it still requires believable performances with the actors. Hugh Jackman really captured the essence of Valjean from a godless prisoner, a redeemed man, a respectable mayor and business man, which all led him to be a father, and a very good one too. It was wonderful seeing his character evolution through the film, seeing where he began and where he ended.

~ ~ ~

Russell Crowe as Inspector Javert
He was the guardian of order,  the lightening of justice,
 the vengeance of society...
-Victor Hugo

     "I am the law and the law is not mocked," quotes Inspector Javert. Never has there been a man who lives his life so rigidly by the law as Javert. Cold and heartless, with no concept of kindness or mercy, he goes through the world keeping order and reform with the law as his only guide.

     Javert has been in hot pursuit of Valjean from the very start. It is made very clear from the beginning that these man hate each other and they both realize that their paths will eventually cross. When they do cross, it is an all out war between good and evil, the law and mercy, God and the government, and what is right in the eyes of God and in the eyes of man.

     With the exception of Fantine, Inspector Javert is probably the the character I pitied the most in the entire story. He is definitely a conflicted man whose view of justice was warped at the most. He is a hard man, a lost man, and a man who doesn't believe in redemption at all. Russell Crown displayed that compromised characterization very well. I loved the depth he gave to Javert, instead of just seeing him as a cruel man, you see him as a very broken man that can never except love or forgiveness.

     It took me a while to get use to his voice. It's very mellow and soft compared to most men I've heard play Javert. He does sing quite well, but I'm use to hearing a strong and powerful voice for Javert therefore giving the appearance of a strong and powerful man. In spite of that, I think Russell did a very good job at Javert. His ending scene is without a doubt his best scene, completely powerful.

~ ~ ~

Anne Hathaway as Fantine
She had known everything, borne and suffered everythin
and shed her last tear.
 -Victor Hugo

      No one has fallen farther from grace in Les Miserables than Fantine. The mother of an illegitimate child who is being raised by complete strangers, Fantine is fired from her job when her coworkers think that she has taken a second job as a prostitute to pay for her daughter. Although completely untrue, the foreman sends her away (mainly because she refused to sleep with him) and now Fantine is left in the streets with no way to care for her daughter, who is the only light in her life.

      For money, she cuts her hair, sells her two back teeth and becomes a prostitute. No matter how deep she falls, she still tries to maintain some kind of dignity, which is stamped upon by a cruel client and Javert. Finally after what seems to be the end, Valjean rescues her and gives her the redemption she has been searching for.

      Without a doubt the BEST performance in the entire film! Anne Hathaway was incredible! Her voice was beautiful and her acting was exceptional! I just loved her as Fantine. She gave the most heartbreaking and powerful performance out of anyone else in the whole film (that's saying something because everyone in the film was great!). No one could have played a better Fantine than her and she deserves all the praise that has been given to her for her breathtaking performance.

 ~ ~ ~

Amanda Seyfried as Cosette


Isabelle Allen as young Cosette
The bishop had caused virtue to dawn on his horizon;
Cosette brought the dawning of love.
-Victor Hugo
                                                                       
     An illegitimate child who is unwillingly left behind by her mother in hopes to save her, she is raised and abused by a heartless innkeeper and his wife who lie, cheat, and steal to make their living. Like her mother, Cosette dreams of happiness, but in her little mind she feels that she will never find it. That is until a handsome stranger comes and pays her evil caretakers to take her away. Then Cosette's dream of happiness comes true. She is loved, she has a home, a father, and a future.

     Nine years later, Cosette has blossomed from a raggedy and pitiful orphan into a beautiful and generous young woman who is devoted to her loving and protective father. Her life changes when she sets eyes on a handsome revolutionary and she captures his heart. Now Cosette questions her life, her loyalty and her love to her father and to this new man.

     When I heard that Amanda Seyfried was cast as Cosette my initial reaction was PERFECT! Her clear voice, prettiness and sweet demeanor was a perfect match for this role. Amanda played Cosette as a very innocent, but intelligent girl who is on the brink of womanhood in the midst of boiling revolution.

     Isabelle Allen who plays young Cosette was as charming as a child could get! She has a pretty voice for someone so young and you just want to hug her everytime you see her! Her scenes with Hugh Jackman are some of the most enjoyable moments in the story.

~ ~ ~ 

Eddie Redmayne as Marius Pontmercy
 In all his trials he was sustained
and at times even exalted by a
secret strength in himself.
-Victor Hugo

     Handsome, intelligent, political, a university student and heir to quite a bit of money; bourgeoisie citizen, Marius Pontmercy seems to have it made. He could stay up in an ivory tower making plans with what to do when he inherits his grandfather's fortune, but instead he is making speeches in the street, rallying the poor and forgotten people to revolt against the king.

     Marius has everything, but love. A ideal he scoffed at for years, until he sees Cosette, the beautiful daughter of a gentleman in the streets of Paris. With one look, Marius' life is never the same; he becomes infatuated and longs to know more about her. Even amidst the teasing he receives from he friends, Marius is resolute in his pursuit. He finds Cosette with the help of a friend (more on her later) and they both fall in love. When the revolution begins, and Cosette and her father have to leave, Marius is torn between following his heart or following his dream of a better world.

     I had only briefly heard of Eddie Redmayne, who seems to be very well known in England, but isn't really well known here in America. Well, is spite of that, he gave role of Marius a great deal of justice. His voice is...lets sum it up, heavenly to listen to! His acting is wonderful as well. Marius' solo, Empty Chairs at Empty Tables, was beautiful. A well cast choice for a love struck revolutionary.

~ ~ ~

Samantha Barks as Eponine Thenardier
  She had accomplished a double progress,
towards the light and towards distress.
-Victor Hugo

     Once the spoiled brat of her parents, Monsieur and Madame Thenardier, Eponine is now a street rat who lies and steals for her family. She'll do anything for food and money, no matter what it may take. Eponine has a double sided problem, she is in love with Marius Pontmercy, who is far above her rank and he is completely clueless about her affections . Especially when he sees lovely Cosette, the young girl that Eponine use to bully and look down upon, and he demands to know more about her. So Marius sends Eponine to do just that. Hard living and humiliation is a real bitch when it turns on you. Eponine lives for only one reason and that is Marius. She would do anything for him, but seeing him in love with a wealthy girl, especially one who was once in her present position, breaks her heart. When Eponine realizes that he may never be hers, she does the unthinkable and follows him to barricades.

      Many people have favored Eponine over Cosette mainly because most people can identify with Eponine's plight as the other girl. The one the guy never sees as someone he could be in love with. Understandable, but still, Marius' is in love with Cosette, who is a gracious and loving young woman, and chose her because of those qualities. Eponine is a liar and a thief and no matter how courageous and honorable her intentions might have been at the barricades, she was simply not the one for him.

     That all said, I loved Samantha Barks as Eponine! Her voice is beautiful and so is she. Her acting as a young woman thwarted by love was a great watch. I have the 25th anniversary edition of Les Miserable where she was Eponine and when I heard she was the official cast for the same part in the movie, I was floored! Perfect and exceptional in every way! (To think that people honestly wanted Taylor Swift to play Eponine. I don't think there could be a quicker way to debauch a great story than that. She would actually have to know about sacrificial love to be able to portray it.)

~ ~ ~

Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter as The Thenardiers
 "(A) dreadful pair, the Thenardiers, a marriage of cunning and fury."
-Victor Hugo 

     The villains that never seem to go away. The Thenadiers are about the worse couple anyone could think of. They lie, cheat, steal, terrorize, and will do anything to get money, which is all they care about. Cosette's former guardians, who hated her and parents of Eponine who spoiled her as a child and now use her in their plots to get rich. (Gavroche, the little revolutionary boy is also their son, but they threw him out in the streets when he refused to help them). By the end of the movie they (or at least Monsieur Thenardier) get their comeuppance from none other than Marius, the complete opposite of their worthless lives. It's a great scene!

     Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter were wonderful in their roles, but the problem was, the Thenardiers are suppose to be ugly people and trying to make Helena B. Carter ugly is almost an impossibility! Either than that, they provided a lot of comic relief, especially in their immortal song, Master of The House, which is absolutely hysterical!

~ ~ ~

 Les Miserables: International Trailer

     Wonderful, incredible, beautiful film!!! Surprisingly enough, I only cried a little bit in two scenes, both involving Fantine. Either than that, I didn't cry at all; which is more than I can say for the rest of the audience as well as my sisters, there wasn't a dry eye in the room!!!      I'm so glad it won best film at the Golden Globes as well as best male and female awards for Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway! They totally deserved them! This film had better make best film at the Oscars!
     

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