Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Selection - mini book review

"When we got the letter in the post, my mother was ecstatic. 
She had already decided that all our problems were solved, gone forever. 
The big hitch in her brilliant plan was me." 

"I didn't want to be royalty. 
And I didn't want to be a One. 
I didn't even want to try."

The Selection
In the book which is often described as "The Hunger Games meets the Bachelor," Kiera Cass tells the story of America Singer, a middle-class girl living in a prejudice society which is run by a mostly-inoperative monarchy. 
It is every girl's dream to marry a prince and become a princess. Every girl, that is, except for America Singer. America is a stubborn seventeen-year-old girl who hates doing what she's told. When her family received a letter informing them that America was eligible to enter The Selection--a competition between thirty-five other girls between the ages of sixteen and twenty to compete for the prince's hand in marriage--America wanted nothing to do with it. The odds of getting selected were slim (about the equivalent to someone winning a lottery), but America didn't even want to try.
Not only did she despise the thought of leaving her life behind and having to marry the seemingly stuffy Prince Maxon, but America also had a secret; she was in love with Aspen, a nineteen-year-old boy who was a caste below her. The caste system, numbering from One as the highest to Eight as the lowest, was taken very seriously. America was a Five and Aspen was a Six, meaning that a marriage between the two of them would not be a praised one.
After a series of events and a plethora of persuasion, America decided to enter the Selection. Lo and behold, she got...well...selected. From that moment on, America's world turned upside down and her life changed forever. 
Just like every YA fiction novel, there were things I loved about this book and things I couldn't stand. Rather than trying to get super analytical and critical (much like the people who write reviews on Goodreads...those readers are scary!), I decided to simply write up a Pros & Cons list on The Selection. 

Pros:
  • story was very fast-paced; it never felt like it was dragging 
  • most of the Selected girls were very relatable; they felt real 
  • had a different feel to it; wasn’t just like The Hunger Games, Divergent, The Mortal Instruments, etc. 
  • lots of drama 
  • the maids reminded me of the maids in Downton Abbey and I don’t know how that’s relevant but I liked them so I’m making this a “pro” 
  • decent character development between America and Maxon 
  • May. So many giggles while reading her dialogue. 
  • entertaining minor characters 
Cons: 
  • because the story moved quickly, more could have happened 
  • the teenage girls were SO REAL (aka: annoying) 
  • really weird character names 
  • mostly romance; not a lot of action 
  • very...very...very much like The Bachelor *cringe*
  • lots of drama 
  • relationship between America and Aspen was way too dry (and physical) 
  • unclear background story about IllĂ©a as a nation 
  • love triangle was very forced and clichĂ© 
All in all, I appreciated this book. While it didn't exactly give me a sense of purpose or bestow any life lessons upon me, it provided me with girly entertainment and I loved it. Other than two short make-out scenes, this book didn't try to be sexy and I greatly appreciated that. Also, the friendship-that-grows-into-something-more between Maxon and America is adorable. I have to say, though, my favorite relationship was the father-daughter relationship between America and her dad. It warmed my heart, and some aspects of it reminded me of my own relationship with my dad. I loved it. 

I give The Selection 4 stars and suggest you read it if you're looking for a sweet story that will entertain you and leave you wishing you could own a closet full of beautiful palace dresses
Wait, what?

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Year's Reflections

(Note: this post was written on December 31st, 2013)

What Are You Doing New Year's Eve? ♪ 

I'm reflecting! 


I was a bit bummed out earlier because I didn't do much looking back on my year today. Many of my friends have been recalling all the blessings which they have experienced throughout 2013; posting on their blogs, updating their facebook statuses, and uploading "flipagrams." Meanwhile, I was doing nothing but browsing through my various social media sites, reading about everyone else's nostalgia. It's time to do some reflecting of my own. Sierra Boggess, one of my favorite Broadway actresses and role models, posted this list of reflections on her facebook earlier today. It's time to fill in my answers to her prompts, and reflect on how wonderful life has been to me in the past year: 


[Looking back on 2013]

5 biggest highlights from 2013


  • traveling
  • Disney World visits
  • joining DeArmon CAST 
  • Steubenville Youth Conference in Orlando, FL 
  • meeting new people and forming beautiful friendships 


What are you most proud of and why?


  • I truly grew as a person this year. I learned what it meant to be self-disciplined, honest, and happy. I made mistakes and I went through hard times, but I realized how very important it is to focus on the good moments in life. I am proud of how I've grown. 


What did you learn most about yourself?


  • I learned about myself in many ways. Once I allowed myself to just be genuine, I stopped conforming to the norms of society and my peers and I began discovering myself. I learned that I do not like 90% of the modern music that's popular. I learned that I would rather stay in and have a movie night than stay out super late. I learned that when spoken words fail me, my strength with written words are heightened. I learned that I love working with people, especially children. I learned that I like to treat everyone with kindness, even if they seem as though they do not deserve it. 


What surprised you the most?


  • How brave I actually am. 


What goals did you succeed in accomplishing? 


  • I got excellent grades in my college classes this past year. At the beginning of the year, I said I wanted to basically be Hermione Granger. Well, several A's and a couple B's later, my GPA is looking fiiiiiiiine. Hard work pays off! 


What were the biggest challenges you faced and how did you handle them?


  • Trying new things...everything from riding scary roller coasters to touring colleges to learning how to dance; each of these things, and many more, required stepping out of my comfort zone. That's something I've never been good at, but I did it! I definitely plan on trying new things throughout the course of 2014, which is good, because I'll have plenty of opportunities to do so. 


Who were the people who had the greatest impact on you and how did [they] affect you?


  • Audrey Hepburn. Class, humor, grace, quirkiness, sophistication, and youthful light, all rolled up in one personality. She's my inspiration. 
  • Veronica Roth. She taught me so much through her characters in her bestselling book series, Divergent. She helped me learn the importance of trust, friendship, agape love, balance, and striving to become our best selves. 
  • My new friends from CAST. They are such positive people with a desire to love and honor the Lord in all they do. They honestly make me want to be a better person, and I'm so thankful for them. 


What professional accomplishments are you most proud of and why? 


  • I GOT A WONDERFUL NEW JOB! I work at my local aquarium as a photographer, and I love what I do. I get to meet so many interesting people, including some really incredible children and people with handicaps or special needs. Also, we have a lot of guests come in who are deaf, and I can converse with them using American Sign Language. I'm the happiest I've ever been at work and I feel so blessed! 


What didn't you do that you wish you [had] done? 


  • I wish I had gone to more social events that my friends hosted. There were several parties I missed out on, simply because I did not want to drive an hour to get there (most of my friends live at least 45 minutes-1.5 hours away). I love my friends, though, and I'm willing to sacrifice the hour or so it will take to drive--I hope to see them more frequently in 2014! 


What friendships meant the most to you and why? 


  • "Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold." I made so many new friends this year, each of whom mean so much to me. Not only did I grow new friendships, but I also took care to nurture the ones I've had since a young age. It is true that some relationships are not meant to last forever--people will come and go, and that's perfectly fine. I've learned that this year. You can still love people without devoting all your time, energy, and life to them. Sometimes in life, we have to sift through our unhealthy friendships in order to make room for the positive ones. God has opened up many doors for me this year, allowing me to meet new people and form friendships that will not only last a lifetime, but transcend it. 


What was one of the best decisions you made? 


  • Deciding to be genuine and be myself 100% of the time. 


What day would you [relive] if you could relive one day?


  • I would relive April 21st, 2013. I went to the R5 concert for their LOUD Tour, and it was honestly one of the best days ever. I made new friends, spent most of my time with Taylor Mathews (LOOK HIM UP! HE'S WONDERFUL!), met the boys of Hollywood Ending (also a great band), and of course got to listen to some really awesome music. R5 puts on a great show, and that is one concert I will never forget. 


What, if any, regrets do you have? 


  • Not planning ahead better...I wish I had been more balanced and less scatterbrained. But, you live and you learn, and balance is what I'm working on in 2014. 


What made you laugh? 


  • Too many funny memories to count! 


What was one of the biggest risks you took and how did it turn out? 


  • I decided to speak my mind to someone, and it turned out better than expected. 

If you could change one thing, what [would it be] and why? 


  • Well, maybe the elimination of a few embarrassing moments, but other than that...nothing. I've come to the realization that everything happens for a reason, so there isn't really anything that happened during 2013 that I wish I could change. 


What was your biggest disappointment? Knowing what you know now, would you do anything [differently] if you had it to do over again?


  • The world does not revolve around me, I know. I'm not that extreme. However, I hurt a few people over the past year by being too enamored with myself; what did I want, where did I want to go, what benefited me me me? It was ridiculous, and not only was it inevitably disappointing to me, but I let down those around me. I am now making an effort to obtain a balanced form of selflessness. 


What did you do that deserved some kind of recognition? 


  • In January, I attended the March for Life in Washington, DC. There were over 500,000 people participating in the event, yet it got no publicity. Other than ETWN, a popular Catholic TV channel, there were no news reports of the event. The March for Life has been going on for decades, and has never gotten mainstream media recognition. Respect for all human life deserves to be noticed! 


What was one of the most meaningful things someone did for you?


  • There are several accounts from 2013 of people doing meaningful things for me. I loved whenever people would see or hear something that made them think of me, and they would send me a text or give me a phone call, just to tell me about it. Just the fact that I was on someone's mind in a positive way meant so much to me. 


What was one of the most meaningful things you did for someone?


  • In February, my family and I took my best friend Anna to Disney World with us. We took a weekend trip there to celebrate my 17th birthday, and I loved having Anna tag along. First of all, she is like the older sister I never had. I love having her around. Secondly, she had never been to Disney before, and so seeing her there was like watching a child see magic for the first time. It was such a beautiful memory and I'm so glad I got to play a minor part in it for Anna. 


What was one of your favorite romantic highlights?


  • Honestly, just learning how to become friends with a guy first, before developing romantic feelings for him. That's my highlight. Patience is important, and true love waits. 


How are you different now than a year ago?


  • I am more open to trying new things. I am more confident in myself. I have a closer relationship with Christ. I am no longer a conformist. I am more creative. I am more self-disciplined. I am learning to be more balanced. 


What were some meaningful compliments you received? 


  • "Seeing you smile just instantly puts me in a good mood." That one melted my heart. You never know when someone needs to feed off of your positive energy. Something as simple as a smile can turn someone's entire day around! 


What's still incomplete for you? 


  • There are a couple of unhealthy relationships which I have not ended completely yet. I feel like I'm floating in limbo right now, but it's time to let it go. 


What are you most thankful for? 


  • My faith, my family, my friends, and the opportunities I have. 



Reflect on the upcoming year


What would you like to be different in your life year from now? 


  • I'd like to be able to get projects done in a timely manner so that I can enjoy myself once I'm finished. I'd also like to be more open and honest with people. 


What personal goals [and] commitments are you willing to make?


  • I want to blog at least once a week. I want to have something fun that I do on a regular basis; something to look forward to, but something that also helps with my creativity and consistency. (I have not picked a "blog day" yet, but I'm thinking it'll be the Thursday of every week.) 


What bad habits would you like to [rid] yourself of? 


  • Eating way too much/too little when I'm stressed, biting my nails, cutting people off just because I'm tired of hearing them talk. It's important to eat right in order to reduce stress, I want to have pretty nails, and everyone has a story, so it's important to listen. 


What unfinished business do you need to complete? 


  • I need to get my college stuff in order; class registrations, applications for when I transfer, and my frame of mind when it comes to growing up. It's time to look at it with positivity. 


What would you like to have more of in your life?


  • Quality time with the people I love and the ones who build me up. 


What would you like to have less of in your life?


  • Stress, negative people, and an imbalanced life. 


What relationships [do] you need to improve upon? 


  • I need to be more honest in some of my friendships. "Sugar-coating" the truth isn't always in the best interest of the other person. 


What's the best advice you could give yourself? 


  • Don't worry so much. Enjoy the life with which God has blessed you! 


What personal challenges do you anticipate? What is your strategy to handle these? 


  • Learning how to juggle family, friends, work, and school. My strategy is to plan ahead but at the same time remain flexible. 


[What] professional challenges do you anticipate? What is your strategy for handling these?


  • Figuring out what I want to do with the rest of my life. My strategy is to try new things, experience new areas of business, and look into as many opportunities as I can. 


What special memories would you like to create? 


  • The types of memories that I will gladly share with my children and grandchildren some day. I want memories I can be proud of; memories which I have no reservations sharing with others. 


What do you plan to do just for you? 


  • I want to read and write more. No more excuses about "not having time." I will make time. 


What are you going to do to create healthy balance between family, friends, work, and play?


  • Same as stated a bit earlier: plan ahead while at the same time remaining flexible. Also, keeping Christ in the center of all that I do. If I start every day with the Lord, He'll carry me through the course of it. 


What are some personal growth opportunities?


  • Diving deeper into my prayer life. It's been existent throughout 2013, but there's always room for improvement. As stated in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, "pray without ceasing." 


What are you looking forward to? 


  • Everything God has in store for me. 

2013, you were wonderful. 2014, I'm ready for you. 

Bring it on. 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Just Ranting

Warning: This post contains nothing but complaints and whining. Do not read if you do not care. If you do care, by all means, read on. Just keep in mind that this post is really just to get out my frustrations. Carry on. 
I thought senior year was supposed to be fun? 
Earlier today I was mentally going through my schedule for next semester, and it nearly brought me to tears. The realization struck me that I'm going to be busy all. the. time. I'm dual-enrolled in five classes at my local community college, plus I'm taking a western literature class with a few fellow homeschoolers, plus I'm working two part-time jobs, plus I'm rehearsing for a show I'm in (that part I'm super duper excited about, though!), plus I'm trying to remember to breathe in the meantime...
Needless to say, I’m both terrified and kind of sad. My social life is going to be nonexistent. I’m barely going to have time to hang out with the people I actually enjoy in between my classes. I’m not going to have a single available day for a sleepover throughout the entire semester. My last bit of senior year is going to be a big ole pile of busy and I hate it. Honestly, thinking about it earlier began to stress me out, and I haven't even started the semester yet. 
I love dual-enrolling, don’t get me wrong, but I feel like I’ve bitten off far more than I can chew. When I first started taking college classes in 10th grade, my goal was to graduate high school with my AA degree. Due to some setbacks junior year regarding math classes, it became evident that that goal was not going to be reached. So, I formulated a new goal; graduate high school with as much college under my belt as possible, stay at my local community college for one more semester so that I could finish up whatever credits I had left, and then transfer to the 4-year college of my choice in the Spring of 2015. It seemed fool-proof until just a few weeks ago. 
I was gallivanting around Walt Disney World with a large group of friends when one of my good friends and I started (for whatever strange reason) talking about growing up. We got on the topic of school, and she asked me a question I had never thought to ask myself: “so, why are you working so far ahead and taking so many college classes?” I knew I had a problem once I realized I had no good answer. “Umm, well, like, to get my AA degree soon, and like, have a chance to, like, go to graduate school, and, um, finish sooner, I guess, and, um….” Literally, THAT WAS MY ANSWER. I felt so stupid. Then I realized, why the heck am I wasting my childhood away, just to get my degree a year or two sooner than my peers?
I have looooved not having to go to a traditional high school. I tried private school for a couple of years, but it wasn't my cup of tea. The mere thought of public school makes me want to vomit. (Disclaimer: I have nothing against the public education system in and of itself. It’s just most definitely not for me.) Not many people take homeschoolers seriously, so I made it my mission to prove them all wrong. Also, I wanted to prove to myself that I was smart. But the pressure I have put on myself to do as much work as possible and get as far ahead as possible is really catching up to me. I’m starting to crack. It’s not even that I’m worried about the workload… a lead role in a play, four college classes, an in-depth homeschool course, and two part-time jobs? Bring it on. Rather, what I’m worried about is the time span. It’s too much for the short amount of time I have in a week. 
I want to do my best during this last semester of senior year, but I want to enjoy myself, too. My desire is to look back at this time in my life and say “wow, I’m so glad I was able to surround myself with the the people I love. I’m so happy I got to spend time with the ones who lift me up and help make me a better person. I’m overjoyed that I got to go to as many social events as possible to expand my knowledge of what I was learning. I’m so glad I got to do what I love.” 
I do not want to say “wow, I worked a lot.” 
I’m a responsible person. I don’t want to go out and party every night, or hang out with friends every single day, or have sleepovers every weekend. However, I want to take advantage of the time I have left to just be a kid, because once my childhood is gone… it’s gone. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Saving Mr. Banks

Sometimes spontaneous plans are the best plans. 

After a very long day of entertaining my cousins (aged 10 and 4) and an evening of dinner and Christmas gift-exchanges, I was beat. Seriously, I just did not want to do anything or see anyone or go anywhere. Quick side note: my mom and I have been talking about going to see Saving Mr. Banks since it recently came to theaters, but we were never really sure when we would be able to go seeing as we're both so busy all the time. Well, in spite of the fact that I was ready to shut out the world, cuddle under my covers, and call it a night, we decided to bolt out of the house at 7:35 to try and make the 7:40 showing at our local theater...and I am so glad we did. 

I was sure Saving Mr. Banks would be the type of movie I'd enjoy, even though I knew very little about it. I didn't exactly get the chance to "over-prepare myself" for this movie by reading articles, reviews, and plot summaries. I was in for a complete surprise. I did know the general idea of the story: Walt Disney, along with his production team, struggle with author P. L. Travers as they try to convince her to share her beloved Mary Poppins with the world via the silver screen. I figured this would just be an interesting film about the whole process of making a movie out of Travers' classic book--which it was, however, there was a much deeper level to this movie. It had substance, it had quality, and it had me crying multiple times. 

This movie taught me so much. Saving Mr. Banks is about so much more than you would think; it's about helping a woman release the tension which her past had been giving her for so many years. It is about the complications which often accompany family life, and how misunderstood good people often are. It is about letting one's regrets go and opening up to what the future holds. It's about escaping from whatever cages hold a person prisoner. It's about singing your way through life, letting your imagination assist you in moving on.  I am so glad I got to see this movie with my mom, because I was an absolute sobbing mess. It was okay, though, because she was crying just as much! 

Saving Mr. Banks is a work of art. I want to go into every detail about the film, but I want everyone to be blessed with the same privilege I had whilst going into the theater: unknowingness. We're often touched emotionally when we least expect it--it's a spontaneous occurrence. But like I said before...sometimes being spontaneous is the best way to go. 




Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Frozen

Do you want to build a snowman? 

I saw Frozen tonight, and now I want to build a snowman! I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, but I have to say, it really surprised me. I went into it with quite a few expectations. Now I know not to do that anymore because this movie was absolutely nothing like I thought it would be. That's not a bad thing, though! Let me explain... 

SPOILER ALERT! | I thought about keeping this post spoiler-free, but then I thought hey...that's no fun. I'll be going into detail about everything because this is my blog and I can do that. Consider yourselves warned! 

Feeling and tone: The movie had an overall different feeling than what I was expecting. Seeing as the animation greatly resembles that of Tangled, I was expecting the movie to give me the same feeling Tangled did as well. This was not so, however the vibe I got was still very interesting. I'm going to try and describe this next part as best as I can: Frozen did not necessarily have a "classic Disney" feel, but it definitely had an old-timey Disney vibe. Hahaha, not very coherent, but whatever. My cousin/friend, Brianna, (I LOVE having a relative who's also my best friend and fellow Disney geek!) compared it to Brother Bear as far as tone goes, and I couldn't agree more! Both Brother Bear & this movie had a sense of culture, family, and what it means to truly love someone. Now, in spite of Frozen's "old-timey" feel, it was very contemporary. The music style is more Broadway than most Disney movies--but hey, I'm not complaining about that! 

Characters: The characters were so on-point. I'll probably leave someone out by mistake, but I'm going to talk about each of them individually. 

Okay, so Anna is obviously the main protagonist of the movie. It's common for everyone to love the main character simply because they're the main character. They're designed to make you fall in love with them. But here's what I love about Anna: she's so real. Yes, she's your stereotypical animated Disney princess in terms of her looks: big doe eyes, teeny tiny waist, hair that every real life girl dreams about having--all of it. However, her personality is different. 
She is an adventurer who is also a bit clueless, a beautiful girl who is also really clumsy, and a lonely girl who just wants to love and be loved in return. In the beginning of the film, Anna was very naive and desperate. Throughout the film, though, she develops into a strong, confident woman who knows what is truly important and does what she can to make things right. She cares about her family (especially Elsa) soooo much, and she would do anything for them. Honestly, anything. 
Sure, Anna sometimes (okay, often times) acts impulsively and doesn't always think about potential consequences which may follow her actions, but she does everything with the desire and intention to put someone else's needs above her own. Anna is selfless and brave and I admire her so much. (Even though she is a little bit crazy.) 

Elsa
We love Elsa. Here's the thing...she's not a misunderstood villain; she's not a suppressed genius; she's a girl who grew up thinking there was something wrong with her and so she felt the need to shut everyone out and hide a huge part of herself. 
Conceal, don't feel, put on a show... 
She was so ashamed of what she did to Anna when they were kids--even though it was only an accident and she actually helped keep Anna alive long enough to get her help. But because she felt she had done this awful thing to her sister, she shut her out. She shut everybody out. Throughout the beginning of the movie she was just scared and lonely. It wasn't until after her coronation that she let it go. 
She left Arendale because she didn't want to hurt Anna, but also because she just wanted to be free. It wasn't until she realized that shutting everyone out and isolating herself wouldn't make her free, but the love she has for her sister and her people would. 

This guy. I like this guy. He's kind of a weirdo, but maybe that's why I like him so much. He's definitely no Prince Charming...not even a Flynn Rider...but he's so dorky and adorable that you just want to give him a big hug. Also, he was a really cute little kid. Anyways, moving on! 
Kristoff obviously had a weird childhood considering he was raised by trolls and his lifelong best friend is a reindeer. But, just like each of the characters in this movie, he learned and he grew as a person. He realized that, while animals and mythical creatures (seriously though, I can't get past the trolls) make great companions, we, as humans, need relations with other humans as well. He may have a song called Reindeers Are Better Than People, but he comes a long way. He, probably learning from Anna, discovers how to put other people's needs and well-being above his own. It is evident by the end of the movie that he truly does know how to love. 

Hans is the reason I don't trust pretty men.
This guy swoops into the story like the suave prince that he is. He's attractive, poised, has great hair, and he's voiced by Santino Fontana. Could he get any more perfect??
Well, here's where the spoilers I mentioned earlier come into play: Sorry to break it to you, ladies, but HANS IS THE BAD GUY. SERIOUSLY. 
He was just a power-thirsty, selfish, cruel person who manipulated and took advantage of Anna just so he could be one step closer to the crown. This guy has some serious underlying issues, and let me tell you, I did not see his personal plot twist coming. Even though Hans was the villain, he was a very well written character. I mean, I had no idea he even was the villain. THAT'S GOOD WRITING RIGHT THERE.

Olaf: 
COULD THIS SNOWMAN GET ANY CUTER??? 
I adore Olaf. He's so ridiculous and dumb and honestly just kind of a wacko but this frozen guy completely warmed my heart. Immediately after the movie, I wanted to go to the Disney store and buy a stuffed Olaf and take him home. He was a great comedic character, and such a sweetheart.
"Some people are worth melting for." AWWWWWWWWWW!

Sven
Yes, Sven is a reindeer. Yes, he was one of my favorite characters. 
While watching the previews for Frozen, I was afraid that Sven was going to be exactly like Maximus from Tangled. This movie proved me wrong yet again! Sven, while he did resemble Max with some of his mannerisms and his overall animation, was totally his own character. He was Kristoff's loyal sidekick who always stayed by his side. He was also just a big ole cutie pie who liked to catch snowflakes on his tongue and attempt eating Olaf's nose. (It was a carrot, don't freak out.) 

There you have it. I loved these characters sooooo much! 

Plot: Right after the movie finished, I was very uncertain about how I felt about all the different plot lines and mini stories which occurred throughout the course of the film. However, as I sat here and tried to explain what bugged me about it, I came up with nothing. Naturally, I started wondering why I couldn't think of anything. I finally came to the conclusion that I actually liked all the crazy stuff that happened! Even though in the moment it seemed like it was just a whole bunch of story line all thrown into one movie, all the sub-plots were leading to the one end goal: to reunite Elsa and Anna. 

My only complaint at this point is that I feel Anna and Kristoff (spoiler alert: they end up together, and boy oh boy are they adorable!) didn't have very good character development. They kind of just met--and I don't recall them ever officially introducing themselves to one another--and Anna talked him into accompanying her on her journey to find Elsa and talk her into coming home. Not much happens on this journey for Anna and Kristoff's romance; they talk briefly about how Anna is engaged to Hans, whom she had just met (laaaaame), and Kristoff barely opens up to Anna about his own personal life. The movie goes on, they go through adventures together, and by the end of the film they're in love!? I don't know, it just seemed a bit lacking to me. I probably missed a lot of Kristoff/Anna bonding because I was focusing on everything else that was happening in the movie, so I'll have to see the movie again. Not complaining. ;) 
In spite of my nit-pickiness over Kristoff and Anna's road to romance, I firmly believe the character development for all the characters was overall really well done. Everyone started off one way and, although they did not necessarily change, they evolved into a stronger version of themselves. 
Side note: I normally don't trust Wikipedia, but I found this entry on Frozen and it really is nicely written. Check it out for a good overview of the plot, plus some awesome info! <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frozen_(2013_film)> 
 All in all, I give Frozen two thumbs up! It was a heartwarming story that had me laughing throughout. The music will forever be stuck in my head, but that's okay because it's beautiful. I can't wait until I can see it again; when I can really just sit back and enjoy every little thing that happens. I love all the detail in this film. 

Well done, Disney. Well done.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Little Things

Get woken up by alarm. Hit snooze. Get re-woken up by alarm. Hit snooze again. Alarm goes off a third time. Reluctantly get out of bed. Make coffee. Get dressed. Drink coffee. Put on makeup. Refill on coffee. Do your hair. Get more coffee. Rush out the door. School. Work. Meetings. Squeeze in lunch. More school. More work. More meetings. Busy busy busy.

Stop. Just stop.

We as human beings complain about being busy so often, yet we seem to take some sick pride in it nonetheless. One of our most natural responses to a question is that we're busy.

"Can you hang out this weekend?"
"I don't know; I'm really busy."

"Do you have a minute to talk?"
"Not right now; I'm super busy."

"Are you remembering to breathe?"
"Not really, I'm just so busy."

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

Why do we do this to ourselves? What is it about always being occupied that's so addictive? We get so caught up in what we need to do that we don't take the time to appreciate the minor gifts in life. When is the last time you had a real family dinner; you know, the kind where everyone sits down at the table together and catches up? Or how about the last time you and a friend just got coffee together, as in just the two of you; where you actually converse with each other instead of having your eyes glued to your mini-computers (aka life-ruiners disguised as SmartPhones) in your hand. We get so distracted by keeping up with the world that we end up missing out on the greatest moments in life. It's okay to set aside fifteen minutes--just fifteen--to do absolutely nothing.



Go outside. Read a fun book underneath a tree. Play fetch with your dog in the backyard. Take a nature walk. Pray while you hike. Enjoy the sound of the wind rustling the leaves. Watch birds fly around in the sky. Lay down in the grass, close your eyes, and just breathe. Enjoy the little things.

When you've grown old, you're not going to look back on your life and say "man, I wish I worked more." Allow yourself time to take a break; a real break. Don't check up on your twitter or facebook feeds. Don't watch stupid cat videos on youtube. Remove yourself from all of that. Take the toxins out of your life.

Just breathe. Just be.



Sunday, September 15, 2013

Divergent Thinking


     Who says that you can’t have fun while learning? Typically when I think of fun and the classroom, I do not associate the two at all. In fact, they seem like two completely different concepts. However, a few weeks ago in ethics class we had a fun activity in which we had to trade out cards with other classmates. Each of the four cards in our hands represented our personality traits and--as we later found out--our dominant mode of thinking. Each person has a dominant mode of thinking, and some modes are in harmony with each other while others tend to clash and object. As there are four main modes of thinking as represented in the F.I.R.E. model (factual, insightful, rational, and evaluative), no person truly fits into just one category. 

     Each group of people which makes up the F.I.R.E. model have their own particular ways of thinking. Factual thinkers gather all information necessary to solve whatever problem is at hand, and are typically extremely honest, blunt, and sometimes impatient. They usually like to work alone, striving to get from one task to the next as efficiently as possible. Factual thinkers often have a one-track mind. In contrary, insightful thinkers are the least likely to be understood as their minds are constantly looping around in different areas, essentially coming up with different ideas. These thinkers typically work best by bouncing their ideas off of each other in groups and assist each other in problem-solving and expanding in knowledge. 

     Much like the insightful thinkers, evaluative thinkers usually excel when working in groups. Evaluative thinkers are very people-oriented and engage in constant evaluation to insure a solution which most improves life. In comparison to evaluative thinkers often making decisions based off of their emotional drive, rational thinkers think absolutely everything through and utilize their 3D perspective to come to a conclusion. They believe that it is not about who is right, but rather what is right. 

     Some people may find it very easy to determine which mode of thinking is their dominant, while others go back and forth between two, three, or even all four ways of thinking, trying to see which best suits them. For example, when I was faced with the task of determining which group I fit in best, I kept changing my mind. I ended up going with evaluative, seeing as I often make up my mind based off of how I am feeling about a person, place, thing, etc. However, during discussion which our groups, I realized that maybe I was more of an insightful thinker. I then requested to transfer over to the “insightful group,” and began my journey on finding what mode of thinker I am. 

     I eventually came to the conclusion that I am not an insightful thinker; nor am I an evaluative thinker. In contrast, I am neither a rational nor factual thinker. I am none yet I am all. In a way, I am a divergent thinker. I work well with each mode of thinking, yet cannot accomplish a task with only that one. I must utilize what I can from each category in order to come to a proper and hearty conclusion. I firmly believe that everyone works this way, some more intensely than others. One may come to the conclusion that they are a factual, insightful, rational, or evaluative thinker. However, he or she is most certainly not confined to that one particular mode.