A Chick’s Opinion on Disney’s #Cinderella

cinderella header

This past week I had the opportunity to see a sneak preview of the new Disney live-action version of Cinderella.   Also before the movie is a short film called “Frozen Fever” which made every little girl and the adult guy next to me squeal a bit.

In case you have lived under a rock here is the plot:

The story of “Cinderella” follows the fortunes of young Ella (Lily James) whose merchant father remarries following the death of her mother. Eager to support her loving father, Ella welcomes her new stepmother (Cate Blanchett) and her daughters Anastasia (Holliday Grainger) and Drisella (Sophie McShera) into the family home. But, when Ella’s father unexpectedly passes away, she finds herself at the mercy of a jealous and cruel new family. Finally relegated to nothing more than a servant girl covered in ashes, and spitefully renamed Cinderella, Ella could easily begin to lose hope. Yet, despite the cruelty inflicted upon her, Ella is determined to honor her mother’s dying words and to “have courage and be kind.” She will not give in to despair nor despise those who mistreat her. And then there is the dashing stranger she meets in the woods. Unaware that he is really a prince, not merely an apprentice at the Palace, Ella finally feels she has met a kindred soul. It appears her fortunes may be about to change when the Palace sends out an open invitation for all maidens to attend a ball, raising Ella’s hopes of once again encountering the charming Kit (Richard Madden). Alas, her stepmother forbids her to attend and callously rips apart her dress. But, as in all good fairy tales, help is at hand, and a kindly beggar woman (Helena Bonham Carter) steps forward and – armed with a pumpkin and a few mice – changes Cinderella’s life forever.

cinderella stepsisters

This film is different is one huge way from the recent live action fairy tales Disney has done (Alice in Wonderland, Maleficent).  They left the story alone.  You see there’s a reason we were all crazy about Cinderella in the first place- it’s a GOOD story.  Magic, love, loyalty, deception, cute animals, beautiful clothes, a prince… it has everything you need to tuck a child into bed at night.  They built the movie on the foundation of a great story instead of trying to make something new.

The Best Parts

While Lily James and Richard Madden are absolutely adorable the highlight of the film hands down is Cate Blanchett who plays a great Wicked Stepmother.  ( In the spirit of full disclosure I played the stepmother in a college production so I am partial to the character.)  The trick with this character is to make you hate her and feel sorry for her at the same time and she nails it.  The one perplexing thing about the character is her style.  Her clothing, hair, poise and presence are AMAZING.  Yet her two daughters run around in awful dresses.  No way would a mother in that time period with such class encourage this!

This movie is beautiful.  The sets, the music, the costumes- they are all breathtaking.  If they used green screens to film portions of it I couldn’t tell.  The bright colors keep the movie interesting and that big, blue ball gown becomes a character all on it’s own.  The film looks timeless- I have no doubt in 25 years it will still be a classic.

The Worst Parts

Honestly I couldn’t find much to complain about besides the insanely rude audience in the theatre with us.  As I was watching the line I saw people there with young children and knew it was going to be a long night.  The movie is rated PG for a reason- it’s live action with no singing.  It’s not going to entertain a three year old for very long.  If you want to try it with a child that young I suggest waiting for the DVD.

The Moral of the Story

One of my least favorite things about Cinderella has always been how timid she was in the original cartoon.  This production manages to capture the strength in someone who chooses to be happy and serve those around her with a good heart.  She is a different heroine because she makes a decision to be good instead of destroying those who wrong her (a la Maleficent).  While in most portrayals it appears she just is a good person this movie points out her conscience decision and the struggles she has to keep her commitment.  In a world where people make promises and back down without regrets it is nice to see someone follow through.  In a nice surprise the prince holds the same values, which makes the two of them becoming a couple not seem all that spur of the moment.  Love at first sight seems to make a bit more sense.

The movie was wonderful.  If you have a little prince or princess in your house who can make it through a two hour live action feature I highly recommend it.  It’s worth seeing!

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It is important to note that this blog accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorships, paid insertions, or other forms of compensation. The compensation received will never influence the content, topics or posts made in this blog. All opinions stated in this blog belong to its author and no one else. I will only endorse products, companies, and services that I have found worthy of my time and opinion. A Frugal Chick is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to www.amazon.com.


Can You Answer One More Question For Me?

question mark

Thank you so much to all my readers who completed my recent survey!

With the information you gave me I decided my first series of the year will be to help my readers (and myself) become more organized at home.  But I can’t decide HOW to do it so I want to ask you guys!

Would you prefer:

Option 1:  A series of posts broken up by rooms (i.e. “7 Simple Ideas for Organizing Your Kitchen”)

Option 2: A series of individual projects for around the home (i.e. “How To Use Toilet Paper Rolls To Create a Drawer Organizer”)

Thank you so much for your feedback!

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It is important to note that this blog accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorships, paid insertions, or other forms of compensation. The compensation received will never influence the content, topics or posts made in this blog. All opinions stated in this blog belong to its author and no one else. I will only endorse products, companies, and services that I have found worthy of my time and opinion. A Frugal Chick is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to www.amazon.com.


Talk to A Chick: Who Are You?

Talk To Me

As I begin planning for the holidays and 2015 (yikes) it helps me tremendously to get some feedback from you guys.

After all I do this for you anyway- without you I don’t have a job!

Can you take just a second and fill out this anonymous form?  Let me know what you love and hate about my site and what you would like to see more of!

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It is important to note that this blog accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorships, paid insertions, or other forms of compensation. The compensation received will never influence the content, topics or posts made in this blog. All opinions stated in this blog belong to its author and no one else. I will only endorse products, companies, and services that I have found worthy of my time and opinion. A Frugal Chick is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to www.amazon.com.


How To Make A Rag Wreath

How To Make a Rag



I have stated many times before on this website, I am not an crafty person.  My art is in the form of music or acting but NOT cute things for around the house.

I really wanted to make a wreath for my front door so I scoured the web looking for easy tutorials.  After a thorough examination I combined information from about 5 sites and came up with my own plan.  My finished product is in the picture above!

This was super easy for us craft challenged people!

How To Make a Rag Wreath

This is Bella guarding the material for me!

Step One: I went to the fabric store and looked through the Halloween fabric that was on sale.  Purple is my favorite color and I was pleased to find that there was a great deal of Halloween material with that color.  I got 2 yards of three different materials (total of 6 yards).  In hindsight 1.5 yards of each material would have been plenty.

Step Two: I got a wreath ring.  You could absolutely just use a wire coat hanger stretched into a circle but I wanted the wreath to be very full.  They did not have this at my fabric store so I had to go to Michael’s.  I also got the “Boo” decoration at Michael’s. Did you know with Michaels you can shop online and have it shipped to your local store FREE?  Check item number M10174333- that is the one I used.

How To Make A Rag Wreath

Step Three: This was the longest part.  You  have to cut the material into strips.  I found numerous websites suggesting different lengths and widths.  After testing some I made the strips one (1) inch wide and eight (8) inches long.  I used a black sharpie to mark the material and then cut it.

Step Four: Once you have a healthy amount of strips cut, you just tie them around the wire.  I tied each of mine twice so they wouldn’t fall off.  Then make sure the material is all sticking the same direction.  It’s hard to get a good picture but the back should look sort of like a knitted blanket- everything tightly together.  Then the extra material is sticking out toward the front.  This way the wreath is as full as it can get.

Step Five: Do this all the way around the wreath.  I pretty much did this project while watching television.  Other than being sure I didn’t cut myself the level of concentration was pretty minimal.

Step Six: Add your “flair.”  I decided to go simple and hang the “Boo” sign in the middle but you could do almost anything.  Some people attached lettering to the actual wreath.  Some added plastic spiders or bats.  Anything goes!  Spend some time browsing online at Michaels and have what you want shipped to the store!

And you are done!  Mine is hanging on my front door and probably will be until I trade it out for my holiday wreath!

Thanks to Crystal from Crystalliora.com for the beautiful pictures!

Think this was simple?  Check out my 5 Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookies!

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It is important to note that this blog accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorships, paid insertions, or other forms of compensation. The compensation received will never influence the content, topics or posts made in this blog. All opinions stated in this blog belong to its author and no one else. I will only endorse products, companies, and services that I have found worthy of my time and opinion. A Frugal Chick is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to www.amazon.com.


Voice Lessons in Chesapeake, Virginia

Since 2007 I have been teaching private voice and piano lessons in the Hampton Roads area (between coupon classes of course).  This past year I took a breather and only had one lovely piano student and two lovely voice students who have put up with me trying new teaching material on them.

I am ready to begin teaching again and wanted to be sure my local readers know in case you or your children are interested in voice or piano!  I will only take a few new students and they must be 10 or older.

I teach in the Greenbrier area of Chesapeake or for an additional fee I can come and teach in your home.  My base cost is $20 for a half hour lesson and students are expected to take one lesson a week during the school year (with the exceptions of normal school breaks).

I am also available to do short term lessons if you have an audition coming up or just want a little extra feedback for singing in church or school.

If you are interested contact me and I can send you my qualifications and answer any additional questions you might have!

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It is important to note that this blog accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorships, paid insertions, or other forms of compensation. The compensation received will never influence the content, topics or posts made in this blog. All opinions stated in this blog belong to its author and no one else. I will only endorse products, companies, and services that I have found worthy of my time and opinion. A Frugal Chick is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to www.amazon.com.


A Monk, A Vow of Silence and Burning Toast

Joshua Tree

When I was in graduate school I had the unique opportunity to live with monks for a week in a Mojave Desert Abbey.

I’ll wait while you read that again.

It was an incredible experience and I have many stories but the funniest is the story of the burning toast.

At this particular Abbey they have a practice where you spend a good portion of your day in silence.  After the last service of the evening, which I believe was around 9 p.m. there is no more speaking until after breakfast the next morning.  It allows for self-reflection and also a chance to be more aware of what is going on around you.

It also allowed some people in our class to go absolutely mad.  It’s pretty much 12 hours of your day with no talking at all.  No thanking someone when they open a door for you.  No singing in the shower.  No radios or music playing.  They even have someone from the Abbey who goes through in the morning and rings a bell when it’s time to get up (for the first service) so that no one has to use an alarm clock and creates an artificial noise.  Some of my more tech savvy extroverted classmates went bonkers.

Room At The Abbey

This was my little room at the Abbey.  

Honestly I found it very refreshing.  It was easier for me to wind down and go to bed without having a big conversation.  Some components were strange but for the most part I liked it.

The weirdest thing was breakfast.  You couldn’t talk at all during breakfast.  (Actually you didn’t talk during lunch either but that’s another post.)

Think for a moment about what it’s like when you sit at a big long table with lots of people to eat.  Picture a big Thanksgiving.  Generally it’s incredibly noisy- people shouting over each other to be heard, clanging of spoons against bowls and just general noise.  Let’s say that 5 people down from you is Uncle Frank.  And in front of Uncle Frank is the syrup.  If you want it you just yell at Uncle Frank and ask him to pass the syrup.

Now imagine you can’t speak.  But you still want the syrup.  We spent three days figuring out a system.

So the last morning we are at breakfast.  My 20 classmates and I have gotten REALLY good at making eye contact and somehow communicating things like “pass the butter.” (It’s amazing what you can figure out when you can’t talk.)  Each morning there was a cart put out with bread, bagels, butter and jam.  While they served an incredible hot breakfast some people did prefer something simple. Additionally a few of the monks only ate bread and water on certain days and seemed to prefer if they were eating something plain they would like for it to be toasted.

This last morning one of the older monks puts bread in the toaster and walks off.  It has been cooking for about 30 seconds when smoke starts billowing out of the toaster.  It really was ALOT of smoke for two slices of bread.  I open my mouth to shout something and then realize I can’t.  As I was trying to decide if “FIRE” was an acceptable word to shout in a quiet cafeteria the guy sitting across from me (John) sees the same thing. He jumps up, goes over to the toaster, pops the bread up and comes back to his seat.  I smile at him in a “thank you” kind of way and we continue eating our eggs.  In total silence.

After a minute or so the monk comes back to the toaster and is surprised to see his bread has popped up.  Upon examining it he discovers it is not quite toasted yet (I am assuming something lodged INSIDE the toaster was what was actually smoking).  So he pushes the bread back down and walks away again.  30 seconds later smoke begins billowing out again.  John  jumps up, runs over, pops out the toast, blows the smoke away and turns to the look for the monk.  He has totally disappeared so John comes and sits back down.

(By the way this was one of the SLOWEST monks in the abbey.  Yet I swear after he pushed that toast in he RAN out of the room.  It was like he teleported.)

Eventually the monk returns again to the toaster.  As he walks up a look of confusion is all over his face.  John and I are trying so hard not to laugh as he pulls the toast out and stares again at the fact that his bread has popped up and yet it is not toasted.    Finally he seems to accept his fate, takes his slightly warm bread to the table and eats.

John and I never did talk to the monk.  But we shared the story with our classmates as SOON as we could talk!

I believe this story has two morals.  One- you never know when you are being watched.  And two- sometimes when things don’t go the way you think they should it’s for your own protection!

Want to read another story about my adventures?  Check out The Journey To Delaware!

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It is important to note that this blog accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorships, paid insertions, or other forms of compensation. The compensation received will never influence the content, topics or posts made in this blog. All opinions stated in this blog belong to its author and no one else. I will only endorse products, companies, and services that I have found worthy of my time and opinion. A Frugal Chick is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to www.amazon.com.


Build A Dog Bed

Build  A Dog Bed

Grabbing a dog bed at your local pet store can be expensive and honestly, they don’t often last too long.   If your dog is just going to tear something apart you might want to Build A Dog Bed of your own.  Or if you have a unique color or print you like this can give you a chance to create something to blend in with your home.

Build  A Dog Bed

Supplies:

56” x 30” piece of fleece fabric
Sewing Machine*
1-2 large bags of stuffing
Straight pins

Build A Dog Bed

Directions:

Step 1: Lay the fabric out on a flat surface. Fold the fabric in half (with the print on the inside). You should now have a 28”x30” square.

Step 3: Use the straight pins to pin the sides together. This will help keep the fabric from shifting when sewing.

Step 4: Using a ¼” allowance sew the sides of the fabric together leaving a 6”=8” opening on one side.

Step 5: Turn the fabric right side out. Stuff the bed with the stuffing until it’s as full as you like.

Build  A Dog Bed

Step 6: Use the sewing machine to sew the opening closed.

*If you do not have access to has sewing machine you can use seaming tape to adhere the edges together. Simply fold the raw edges in, tape down with the seaming tape and then use a warm iron to secure the edges together.

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It is important to note that this blog accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorships, paid insertions, or other forms of compensation. The compensation received will never influence the content, topics or posts made in this blog. All opinions stated in this blog belong to its author and no one else. I will only endorse products, companies, and services that I have found worthy of my time and opinion. A Frugal Chick is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to www.amazon.com.