thirteen fantastic movies & what i thought of them.

I did a post like this last year, so I decided to do it again!

Now, before you start saying, “Thirteen movies?!  Well, GOSH, Ashley – you spend so much money on movie tickets!”

  1. I wasn’t allowed to go to the theater much when I was little because (a) there wasn’t much I could see and (b) because my parents always had to pay for my ticket and, because of that, (c) they always had to be slightly interested in the movies as well, so now I go fairly often because I have a car and money to pay for myself.
  2. I never get popcorn or drinks.  (However, I did manage to sneak in a Starbucks frappucino this year.  #win)
  3. I didn’t pay for some of these tickets.  (PRAISE THE LORD FOR PARENTS & PARENTS OF KIDS I NANNY.)
  4. I go at the cheap times.  Every day from 4 to 5:30 at my theater is $6.  BOOM.
  5. I like movies.

Let’s do this thing.  (Links to the trailers are in the movie titles.)

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God’s Not Dead 2 | 1/21

Well.  This one was a colossal flop.  I didn’t even want to talk about it at all when I saw it, and did an April Fools post mainly consisting of Kevin McCreary’s review of it.  I can’t even remember most of what I thought about it, but I know I didn’t like it.  My dad got tickets to a super early screening because he’s a pastor (#perks) and we talked about it on the way there, basically laying out our (super low) expectations and what we wanted it to ultimately do.  It barely met my expectations, and, well, let’s just say that I got more out of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World than this movie.  Not only were there some issues with the court sequence (you cannot have surprise witnesses.  the end.  go home.), there were major issues with the basic story as well.  The one thing I did like, however, was that the hot lawyer (whose face almost made driving 45 minutes to go see this movie worth it) didn’t become a Christian at the end.  I know that may sound awful of me, as a Christian, to say that I’m glad someone didn’t become a Christian.  But think about it – how many movies have you seen where the meek, submissive, Christian main character influences his/her non-Christian rivals so much that they radically turn from their heathen ways and go to church, ending up raising their hands with tears streaming down their faces?  TOO MANY.  And that’s all I’ll say.  For more, watch Kevin’s actual review.  It’s totally worth an hour of your time.  (And this is the longest paragraph.  Obviously.)

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Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens | 1/28

HECKLES YES.  Back to the good stuff.  So, I had already watched this movie a month before with my relatives, but my friend Katelyn and I wanted to see it again.  So we did.  Four girls (including us and my two sisters) going to a Star Wars movie sounds pretty awesome to me, especially since we spent half of it whispering about how hot Oscar Isaac and Adam Driver are.  (“You know… I can take anything I want.”  *entire row bursts out laughing*)  And there were only like ten people in the theater, including us, so it worked out marvelously.

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Captain America: Civil War | 5/5 & 5/15

SWEET. BUTTERED. CRUMPETS.  What a masterpiece.  What an absolute cinematic masterpiece.  I saw it the first time with my siblings and a friend, and then again with my siblings, my dad’s intern, and Morgan and her sisters.  (This is when we sneaked in our frappucinos.)  Such a good movie.  I loved it so very much.  See my actual, non-fangirly review here.

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Finding Dory | 6/18

I saw this one with friends after exploring World of Coke in Atlanta, and it was super fun!  Our group totally symbolized the majority of the movie’s audience, since our group consisted of six people with ages ranging from sixteen to twenty-five.  We fell in love with Finding Nemo when we were little and gosh darn it we were absolutely gonna see Finding Dory as soon as possible.  I loved it so much.  It actually made half of us cry – that one scene with all the shells, guys.  I’ve heard people say that it’s not as good as the first, but I don’t think they can be compared.  They’re both fantastic movies.  I watched it again on Christmas Day and remembered how much I liked it.  It’s about family and persistence and bravery and it’s just so good.

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The Secret Life of Pets | 7/8

I took my little twins I nanny to see this one, and I think someone went with us (their grandma, I think?), but I can’t remember.  (Stupid brain, lol.)  I thought this movie was cute!  A little confusing, but still adorable.  I wasn’t planning on watching it, but I couldn’t pass up free tickets to see an animated movie that may or may not be good.  I’d watch it again with my younger siblings, if only for Kevin Hart’s adorably hilarious bunny character.

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Star Trek Beyond | 7/24

Goodness gracious.  This has to be one of my favorite movies of the entire year.  I’m not a huge Star Trek fan, but I’ve really enjoyed the reboots.  (Call me what you will, but the original show is so cheesy!)  Even though it was tainted in my mind because of Anton Yelchin’s tragic death the month before, it still made me laugh, sit on the edge of my seat, and even tear up a little.  From what I’ve seen of the show, Beyond was more in the vein of the classic episodes, and contained significantly less objectionable content than the other movies.  Because of that, it just worked.

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Pete’s Dragon | 9/2

I took the twins and my younger sister to see this one, and I knew it would be good, but it absolutely exceeded my expectations.  I’ve always been a Karl Urban fan, but Slightly Evil Lumberjack Karl Urban?  Um, YES PLEASE.  (The first time he came onscreen, my sister and I reached across the two kids between us and waved fingers at one another with excited looks on our faces.)  That, combined with Seneca Crane and Opie’s daughter… yep.  Fangirling about actors aside, it was just beautiful in a cinematographic sense as well.  I loved how they altered the story slightly, and I didn’t miss the songs ’til the credits started rolling.  It’s like the classic, but it’s a little more green and focused on slightly different aspects of the story.  And I was crying in the first scene, if that says anything.  (They showed Pete’s parents dying.  Like, heck no.  Why, Disney.  Why.)  Definitely would’ve liked to see this one in the theater again, but at home will have to do.

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Doctor Strange | 11/8

YIIIIIISSSSSSSSSSS.  Honestly, this is one of the cleanest Marvel movies ever, and I have no idea why.  There’s not much language, no sensual stuff, and very little blood.  And when you add BennyC into the mix… wow.  I really enjoyed this one – so much, in fact, that I wrote a critical thinking journal entry on it (a school project, which I got a great grade on).  I haven’t done research to see if the director is a Christian, but there are definite allusions to the Bible and Christian themes.  The only thing I didn’t like was the lack of females in it.  The Ancient One is, I think, female (played by Tilda Swinton {aka the White Witch}), but the character might’ve been ambiguous, and the only other girl is Christine Palmer, played by Rachel McAdams.  McAdams did well in the role, but the role itself isn’t that great.  Christine saves his life once with medical assistance, but she’s barely in fifteen minutes of the movie.  I like my female characters to be kick-butt and awesome.  Besides that, I really liked this one.  Not my favorite Marvel, but not my least favorite either.

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Hamlet {National Theatre Live} | 11/15

I saw this with two friends when I was in Florida for a week.  It was actually perfect timing because I already had to read Hamlet and then watch a production of it, and it was so much fun to go to a coffee shop, read the play, then go see the movie (and be able to say “Yeah, I read the play this morning; no biggie.  Now I’m going to see the version with Benedict Cumberbatch.  Again, no biggie.” when, in fact, it was a biggie).  This is, by far, the most expensive movie ticket I purchased this year ($20), but it was oh. so. worth. it.  The show itself was almost four hours long, and I can’t remember if that included the intermission or not.  I did a three-page review of this for school, and I could ramble almost that much just about Ben’s performance.  (It’ll be the basis on which I judge all other Hamlets.)  The sound production alone had me and my friend fangirling.  Every time he’d soliloquize, the sound would go “FubwubwubwUBWUBWUBWUBWUB” and everybody would slow down and the spotlight would be on Ben and it was just absolutely amazing.  And if anyone has a bootleg, I will send you both of my novels right now in return for it.

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Fantastic Beasts | 11/17

To be completely honest, I didn’t initially like this one when I left it, but I’ve since realized that it’s still pretty good, regardless of the issues I had with the story.  (Spoiler-free, I feel like it was two different stories that met together in the last ten minutes of the movie.)  I still loved Newt, though.  He’s the best thing to happen to Harry Potter since Deathly Hallows Part 2.  So good.  I’ll probably go watch it again and see if my opinion’s changed.  My favorite part of the movie, however, was the fact that I went with a big group of friends, and half of us dressed up in 20’s costumes.  So. Much. Fun.

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Moana | 11/27

OKAY SO I LOVED THIS ONE.  I knew I’d love it ever since I heard about it last year – and, um, hello, it’s LIN, so what’s not to love?!  The music was, obviously, phenomenal.  Loved the cast, loved the story, loved the animation (so beautiful).  I didn’t feel like I was watching a kids movie, which is exactly what I was hoping.  The story was so precious and so relatable – and I LOVED the fact that Moana’s story isn’t centered around a guy.  She’s a princess, but she’s not looking for a prince, and I think that puts her a cut above all of the other princesses.  I mean, I love all of the Disney princesses, but her story seems so much more pure because her story has to do with doing something meaningful to benefit her people, not sleeping while waiting for true love’s kiss or waiting for a prince to find her or falling in love with the guy who keeps her imprisoned in a castle.  (Yes, this is my feminist side coming out.  #dealwithit)

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Hacksaw Ridge | 12/10

This was the first R-rated movie I’ve seen in the theater.  I went with my dad for my birthday and he loved it almost as much as I did.  Truth be told, I knew very little about the story when I saw it (I saw the trailer when it first came out, but by the time I saw it, I’d forgotten what was in it), and that makes me even more glad that I watched it because it was amazing and so inspirational!  It’s based on a true story about a guy who saved dozens upon dozens of soldiers during WWII.  I loved the fact that they portrayed his faith and his stance against violence and war without demeaning him for it or making him look stupid.  And it stars Andrew Garfield, so obviously it was amazing.

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Rogue One | 12/28

I went into this one with pretty low expectations – not because I didn’t think it would be good (I knew it would be), but because I’m still not much of a Star Wars fan.  But hooooooo boy.  SO GOOD.  I adored it, actually.  By the end, I was shipping characters so hard that the only thing keeping me from yelling “JUST KISS HER ALREADY!!!” was the fact that my fourteen-year-old cousin was sitting a few seats over and I didn’t want to set a bad example.  For real, though, it blew almost every other movie I’ve seen this year (in the theater at least) out of the water.  The story was so unique and the characters were all so wonderful.  GAH.  I loved it.

What do you think of my list?  Have you seen any of these?  Want to fangirl with me?!

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year in review: 2016.

{this post is finally done.  i feel like it’s taken me forever to write it, and it’ll take you almost as long to read it.  so i’m sorry, and if you read the whole thing… bless you.}

Can we agree that 2016 was just an all-around bad year?  I mean this for the world in general.  So many deaths and shootings – not to mention the atrocity that was the US presidential election.

{Side Tangent: In a previous draft, I said something about Carrie Fisher being okay.  Well, that’s not true anymore (for Debbie Reynolds, either) and I don’t know how to process that.  I’ve thought about it a lot and I think the reason there have been so many celebrity deaths this year is because God’s reminding us that our time here is so limited.  When we were young, we felt so infinite.  The days were long and death seemed so far away.  But that’s not true.  I’m not going to remind you to spend your time wisely because I know you’ve heard it before.  So just… cherish it.  And know that we’re all a little less infinite than we think we are.}

My personal year wasn’t quite as bad, and I think it ends up fitting with my year-long prayer, taken from this song:

“God, it has been quite a year-
I’ve lived a little bit and I’ve died a little more.
I know that I’ve asked it before,
But please let the scale tip here in my favor.”

I think it has.  This year has been full of disappointments and things that stress me out (pretty sure I had a full-on anxiety attack back in July and let. me. tell. you – that was not fun).  Even so, this year has been full of really good firsts – first crush I’ve told people about, first trip to Universal (and two trips to Disney whattheevenheck), first girls-only trip…  It’s been good.  Though I’ve had my fair share of bad things, I know I’m better for it.  While I wish some things hadn’t happened, I’m glad they shaped me into the person I am today.

Regardless of how terrible the year has been, at least we made it this far, right?

As always, this yearly review is mostly just for me to look back on throughout the year, and you can read the whole thing or just skim it.  (And, if you’re interested, here are the links to the other years I’ve done: 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015.)

January

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my siblings and i // first day at disney

February

  • Studied a heck ton, nannied a heck ton
  • Younger siblings went to a retreat, so I had a special time with my older sister and my parents, watching movies that they’re not allowed to watch yet and talking about Stuff.
  • Hosted a single-girls Valentine’s Day party (where we ate cookies and watched Julie & Julia) and chaperoned (from afar) as my sister got roses from a guy.
  • Discovered About Time – aka one of my favorite movies ever.
  • Went to Disney World for the first time in 15 years with the fam
  • Met the Taylors
  • Studied: American Lit CLEP (1/16-2/16) // Principles of Marketing CLEP (2/16-3/16) // BYU’s Writing for Children and Adolescents (2/16-6/16)
  • Read: More Happy Than NotThe Help, and Me Before You
  • Favorite Blog Posts: my thoughts during a Starbucks study session and my unplanned Valentine’s Day series – twelve ships I ship, a mushy snippet from my novel, and my thoughts on love

March

  • Again, studied and nannied a heck ton
  • Bought Jordan Taylor’s album (because I felt more connected after meeting him, duh)
  • Rediscovered Sherlock (long story)
  • Freaked out about all of the Mother’s Day posts on Instagram, only to discover that it was just Mother’s Day in the UK.  (However, since I was out of the house, I bought flowers and surprised my mom with them.  I’ll definitely be doing that again this year.)
  • BECAME A SENIOR
  • Ups and downs with my sleeping habits (definitely something I’m going to fix next year)
  • Discovered Downton Abbey and Mission Impossible
  • Watched the livestream of Daddy Long Legs, one of my favorite musicals
  • Uploaded first video to YouTube (you’ll have to hunt it down bc I’m not leaving the link here LOL)
  • In charge while Mom & Dad went to a marriage conference for a week (during which I watched too much Downton Abbey and stayed up too late)
  • Studied: Principles of Marketing CLEP (2/16-3/16) // BYU’s Writing for Children and Adolescents (2/16-6/16)
  • Read: The Boxcar ChildrenFar from the Madding Crowd, Frindle, A Thief in the Theater, Red Rising, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikryand The Bronte Plot
  • Favorite Blog Posts: my big post about my thoughts on Harry Potter, my “flatmates” story, my thoughts about romanticizing the past, and my 5-years-in-the-making blog post, “movies i don’t like.

April

  • Watched the High School Musical movies with a friend
  • Went to the first wedding of the year (and first since 2014, I think)
  • Started watching more movies by myself (bc I’m tired of waiting on my siblings and bc I have a brother whose opinion we have to consider) (movies include 17 Again, 13 Going On 30, and Napoleon Dynamite)
  • Literally have a note in my journal that says “2pm-3pm – Question Everything.”  Basically, yeah.
  • Discovered The Great British Baking Show.  HECK YES.
  • Had coffee with a friend and talked about her recent engagement, told her I didn’t have any guys in my life and wasn’t going to be interested in any until I graduated, Discovered A Guy that night (again, long story)
  • Officially met one of my new best friends
  • Studied: BYU’s Writing for Children and Adolescents (2/16-6/16)
  • Read: Roomies, All the Bright Places, After Youand Golden Son
  • Favorite Blog Posts: my uber- nostalgic “favorite childhood movies” post, the snippet from my novel, The Boy and the Theatre Girl, and my ranty defense of CollegePlus students
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me & the twins

May

  • Submersed myself in blog posts about singleness and contentment due to aforementioned guy
  • Changed DSST after studying for a month (a first and a last)
  • Texted aforementioned best friend’s younger sister (with whom I’ll become good friends but won’t meet ’til September)
  • Learned how to cheat the system with college coursework – aka befriend the prof and say yes when she lets you submit part of your novel instead of several different assignments.  FISTPUMP.
  • Started a tough time with one of my best friends (drama goes down)
  • Dad’s intern arrived for the summer
  • Started officially going to a church
  • Discovered Friends and Taylor Swift (entire discography instead of just the ones on the radio)
  • Made a summer bucket list for the first time
  • Enrolled in Thomas Edison State University
  • Studied: BYU’s Writing for Children and Adolescents (2/16-6/16) // BYU’s Creative Writing (5/16-7/16)
  • Read: Golden Son, The Raven Boys, and The Rest of Us Just Live Here (which I loved enough to review on my blog as well)
  • Favorite Blog Posts: my reasoning behind taking off my purity ring (which got so much more feedback than I ever expected ohmygosh), my review of the gloriousness that was Captain America: Civil War, and my addition to the flame war behind that random dude’s “open letter to Rey” (which by the way, lemme say again, ugh)

June

  • Younger sister graduated from high school and we have a pretty awesome dance party
  • Taught myself how to play ukulele
  • Started going to Starbucks with my sister during the second hour of church (since there isn’t a Sunday morning class for college/career young adults)
  • Discovered Waitress during the Tony Awards (Hamilton won the other 11!)
  • Surprised with a weekend visit from one of my best childhood friends
  • Gave in to the stereotypes and got a Snapchat
  • Broke ground on our new house
  • Drove back and forth with my sister instead of staying at our grandparents’ for a whole week like we usually do (a first)
  • Had two entire days to myself, in which I did school, watched movies, cooked lunch for myself, and blasted Imagine Dragons
  • GOT A FRIKKIN LETTER FROM LIN MANUEL MIRANDA
  • Studied: BYU’s Writing for Children and Adolescents (2/16-6/16) // BYU’s Creative Writing (5/16-7/16) // Marriage and the Family TCEP (6/16-7/16)
  • Read: The Rosie Project, Extraordinary, and The Rosie Effect
  • Favorite Blog Posts: fangirling about tøp after being a fan for a year and a short story I wrote for school (“my best friend’s brother”)
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our awesome car on the way back from WIT

July

  • Studied and wrote like crazy
  • WITAlive again, this time without my older sister and with a car of friends (and I was a co-leader at a table this year!)
  • Wrote some poetry for the first time (including a sonnet based on Gilmore Girls)
  • Watched my “little” brother star in The Pied Piper of Hamlin at a local theatre
  • Had a movie date with a friend every two weeks or so (during the entire summer)
  • Witnessed the beginning of my sister’s relationship with my dad’s intern
  • Finally started accepting and actually loving my body, even its flaws… and it wasn’t until then that I started losing weight
  • Forgot to journal for two weeks, so I completely don’t know what happened except I know a lot of studying was done and a lot of books were read.
  • Studied: BYU’s Creative Writing (5/16-7/16) // Marriage and the Family TCEP (6/16-7/16) // BYU’s Writing in the Social Sciences (7/16-9/16) // BYU’s The American Novel (7/16-9/16)
  • Read: Salt to the Sea, The Vintage Book of Contemporary Poetry, The Art of the Personal Essay, Imaginative Writing, The Marriage and Family Experience, If You Find This Letter (which became my favorite non-fic book by the fifth page and I literally bought four copies to give to friends for Christmas – seriously, READ. IT.), and Everything, Everything
  • Favorite Blog Posts: another post about love & waiting & purity & stuff, my first post on writing advice (“what do do when {you think} your writing sucks”), and another snippet from The Boy and the Theatre Girl

August

  • Dad caved and finally got Netflix for us – YESSSSS
  • Started reading classics for my lit course and developed a deeper appreciation for classics
  • Went book shopping one Saturday with my sister (to two bookstores) and then had a fries taste-test – a day that will be remembered with fondness in both our hearts
  • Took my “little” bro to his first co-op and greatly enjoyed getting stuff done so early in the day (although I didn’t enjoy getting up so early)
  • Hosted a surprise sleepover for my friend (my first sleepover since I was six)
  • Started meeting new friends at our new church
  • Figured out the situation that caused the anxiety attack back in July (something I highly recommend – figure stuff out, guys; save yourself the stress; even if you do. not. want. to, it’ll be so much better in the long run, I promise)
  • Repaired more friendships – YAY
  • Had some bro time with my “little” brother while our sisters went to a camp for a week (we watched movies without them #oops)
  • The Furies happened (and we continue to talk about feminism and movies and relationships and generally just kick butt in all areas of life and I’m so happy to have such a close-knit friend group like this)
  • Blew through so many classics in such a short period of time – such a good feeling
  • Volunteered to play in an orchestra concert… the day before
  • Shared my testimony for the first time in a class at church
  • Studied: BYU’s Writing in the Social Sciences (7/16-9/16) // BYU’s The American Novel (7/16-9/16)
  • Read: The Coquette, Hope Leslie, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, The Scarlet Letter, Benito Cereno, The Outsiders, Life in the Iron-Mills, The Problem With Forever, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and Washington Square (DANG THAT’S A LOT OF BOOKS)
  • Favorite Blog Posts: fangirling about Stanley Tucci, a peek into my life, and some rambling thoughts about Friends and the validity of your opinion.

September

  • Started the month out with my car breaking down.  Yay.
  • Nannied three days in a row – including a 9am-11pm day (which was my favorite day of the three because I took the kids to see Pete’s Dragon with my sister and then put them to bed early and watched movies ’til their parents got back)
  • Started watching Stranger Things with my sister… at 11pm at night… all by ourselves…  (protip: not a good idea)  (still, we finished the show within a week)
  • Hosted some friends for a weekend and had an absolute BLAST
  • Saw a friend star in You Can’t Take It With You
  • Went shopping with some girlfriends and actually bought something.  And not just anything.  A DRESS.  I DON’T EVEN KNOW.
  • Got baptized : )
  • Started practicing music with friends for two weddings (and started calling ourselves The Last Page)
  • Introduced some friends to Lord of the Rings (which they loved, obviously)
  • Cut my hair super dang short (and loved it)
  • GOT A NEW PHONE HECK YES
  • Stopped journaling (haha whoops)
  • Studied: BYU’s Writing in the Social Sciences (7/16-9/16) // BYU’s The American Novel (7/16-9/16) // Marketing Communications TCEP (9/16)
  • Read: Ethan Frome, My Ántonia, Marketing Communications, Absalom Absalom, Pale Fire, and Writing in the Social Sciences.
  • Favorite Blog Posts: blogged the results of my summer bucket list, talked about bad boyz (even though my opinion on Jess Mariano has changed so much because he turned out to be the best guy for Rory), continued to ramble about love & feelings & stuff, and rambled about life in general (which y’all liked so I started doing it more)
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failing at a jumping pic with ‘the last page’

October

  • Started a course on theatre which is just *heart eyes emoji*
  • Started planning my very first girls-only trip with The Furies
  • Gilmore-bounded with my frens (which is honestly still one of my favorite events of the entire year)
  • Introduced my other siblings to Stranger Things
  • Lost enough weight to fit loosely into a dress that didn’t fit me a month before *sunglasses emoji*
  • Played in two weddings with The Last Page (twas lit)
  • Had an impromptu brunch with people who came in for aforementioned wedding and hosted almost twenty-five people
  • Deepened friendships and fell in love with people in general
  • Started planning a watch party with friends for Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life (obviously including soda and Chinese food and poptarts and all kinds of junk food)
  • Scott Gordon Patterson (Luke from Gilmore Girls) liked our Gilmore-bound picture (!)
  • Did Halloween for the first time in over a decade (thank you, younger adopted siblings)
  • Again, studied and read like crazy
  • Studied: BYU’s Intro to the Theatre (10/16-12/16) // BYU’s Playwriting (10/16-12/16)
  • Read: Writing in the Social Sciences, The Strangeness of Beauty, and Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour
  • Favorite Blog Posts: fangirled over Stranger Things, made a list of songs that make me happy, and rambled about life again

November

  • Studied like crazy – including writing three plays (!!!)
  • Talked to dozens upon dozens of people about the presidential election
  • Voted in the presidential election for the first time (but not my first time voting)
  • Read books on top of my car overlooking the mountains (heck yes I did)
  • Visited a friend at his college with my sisters and another friend and talked about hard stuff for over four hours (“It’s rough all over“)
  • Bashed around Charleston with mah girls
  • Visited a friend for a week, in which I stayed at their house and basically became a member of their family
  • Went to a movie theater and watched a recording of Benedict Cumberbatch in Hamlet
  • Went to Disney and Harry Potter World at Universal – and had an absolute blast
  • (Charleston, becoming a member of another family for a week, Hamlet, and Disney/Universal all happened in the same twelve days and it. was. magical)
  • Had the Gilmore Girls watch party with my frens
  • Studied: BYU’s Intro to the Theatre (10/16-12/16) // BYU’s Playwriting (10/16-12/16)
  • Read: The Cherry Orchard, Anything But Typicaland Hamlet.
  • Favorite Blog Posts: expressed my thoughts about the election, converted a play I wrote into a short story (and y’all loved it, which just makes my year), and offended some people after writing about courtship (lolz whoops)

December

  • Finished my schoolwork the day before my birthday – HUZZAH, AN ACTUAL CHRISTMAS BREAK FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THREE YEARS!!!
  • Turned 22
  • Watched Return of the King with friends for my birthday
  • Basically just chilled for the entire month.  Read a lot of books, watched a lot of movies and TV shows, but mainly just lived.  I made cookies and brownies with my baby siblings twice, and cleaned the kitchen and my room a lot.  It was really fun to just relax and live life without the pressure of schoolwork looming over my head.
  • Went to a young adults Christmas party at our new church and had such a great time
  • Realized that my blog turned seven – w h o a
  • Celebrated Christmas four times – with each of my parents’ families, my family, and an extended family Christmas (and had my sister’s boyfriend do Christmas with us, so that was An Experience)
  • Went to my grandparents’ house for an extended weekend before New Years and partied hard with my cousins and aunt & uncle (who talked with my siblings and I about stuff for hours upon hours, which was a blessing)
  • Rang in the new year with friends and a headache
  • Studied: BYU’s Intro to the Theatre (10/16-12/16) // BYU’s Playwriting (10/16-12/16)
  • Read: The Bad Beginning (Series of Unfortunate Events #1), If You Find This Letter (re-read bc I bought four copies for friends and wrote in them like my friend did for me), and Crosstalk
  • Favorite Blog Posts: hosted a Christmas movie marathon because I love movies and posted some Stucky fanfiction (part one / part two) that I wrote a few years ago

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    le fam (+ sister’s boyfriend) at church on christmas day


Whew.

Honestly, it always blows my mind whenever I write these posts and look back at all of the amazing things I did.  (And hOW DANG LONG IT TAKES ME OH MY GOSH.  This one took me several sittings over several days – and I know I didn’t over everything.)

Anyway, I’m always so blown away with what I’ve been able to do in a year.  Even though the year was ridiculously crazy at times, I wouldn’t trade any of the craziness for the world.  Even though the year was rough, it still had some amazing experiences for me.  I invested in friendships more than I ever have before (including at three people who are 5-8 years younger than me), I’ve learned more about relationships (the good and the bad), and I’ve learned to be authentic, to be honest, to give second chances, to know when to stop pouring myself into toxic relationships, to let go of grudges, and, obviously, I’ve learned how incredibly far I have to go.  I know I won’t ever get there, but it’s nice to look back on a year and know that I’m a better person than the selfish idiot who wrote last year’s Year in Review post.

2017 is going to be incredibly interesting and I can’t wait to see where God leads me!  My word of the year is “excelsior,” and I explained why on my Instagram, so I’ll just link to that and keep this from getting any longer!

Can’t wait to see where God has me at this time next year!

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continuing the tradition of taking pictures of myself in the bathroom mirror on new years day even tho i didn’t feel like putting on makeup or doing anything to my hair or fixing my christmas nails but i won’t apologize bc this is how i look kthxbye

you, sir, are wrong. {a response to “an open letter to rey”}

you, sir, are wrong.

I made the mistake of reading Nathan Alberson’s article, “An Open Letter to Rey” at Starbucks, around other people.  To say I was livid would be an understatement.  I wanted to punch something.  Thankfully, I read two responses to the article (Mirriam’s and Jennifer’s), and my anger calmed a little.

HOWEVER.  Because I can’t keep my opinions to myself… I’ve decided to write my own response.  Read it or don’t read it, but this is my personal opinion.  If it offends anyone, I’m sorry, but I’m not backing down.

OKAY.

First of all, I completely agree that men and women have different roles, both in society and in God’s eyes.  Usually, the men are the breadwinners and the women are the… oh, I don’t know, helpmeet-stay-at-home moms.  That’s how it was in my homeschool circles, and I thought it was completely right.  (I still kind of do, even though I’ve learned that there are ALWAYS exceptions to the “rule” or stereotype or whatever.)

NEVERTHELESS.  To put men and women in a box like Mr. Alberson did is a travesty and it’s completely and totally wrong.  Like Jennifer said, the lines between masculinity and femininity are rarely black and white.  I know plenty of girls (including myself) who would rather shoot a gun or get their hands dirty than sew anything, just like I know plenty of guys who like to bake and paint and – GASP – dance.

Sure, there are God-ordained roles for men and women to play, but to say that women are the weaker sex and therefore only suitable for the kitchen or taking care of the kids?

UM, HOW ABOUT NO.

The way I see it, men and women are equal.  Because of verses in the Bible that talk about submission, I totally agree that women should submit to their husbands (not all men, though).  But men have to submit to God’s authority, too, or else they’re abusing their God-given right to have authority (but not total authority) over women (which is why so. many. marriages – especially where both husband and wife are Christians – end up in the gutter).  (See Phylicia Masonheimer’s post on why Biblical submission is dangerous.)

Women aren’t meant to be only there for men to save and defer to their much smarter male lead.  Women aren’t meant to be “protection objects” or “damsels in distress.”  Women aren’t put on earth solely to be a man’s wife or have kids.  Women are not less.  A woman’s worth is NOT defined by men.

And if a woman’s worth is wrapped up in what a man thinks about her, she’s got some work to do.

Women are loved by God just as much as men, and designed by Him for specific purposes in mind – yes, for helping their husbands to raise godly children and being keepers at home, but if we’re going to tout the Proverbs 31 woman, we also need to acknowledge that she’s able to earn money and buy things that will further her income and be hospitable to people other than her husband and family.

And another thing.  These three paragraphs were especially incorrect.

Men lie to themselves and women about the sort of women they want. Women are gullible and believe the lie and become the women they think men want. Then men reject them because men never wanted those sorts of women in the first place.

How is this the woman’s fault?  I. Don’t. Understand.  Women shouldn’t change themselves for a man (because men aren’t worth it) and men shouldn’t reject women because they’re not “their type.”

And men do reject them. Look at the divorce statistics, look at the TV shows and books and articles by women desperately wondering why it’s so hard to hold on to a man. That’s a bigger problem than the purview of this letter, but you fictional female warriors are part of it.

Men rejecting women because there’s more to a woman than the pleasures of her body or her willingness to submit to his whims is wrong – and it certainly isn’t the woman’s fault.  “Fictional female warriors” are definitely part of it, but certainly not for the reason you imply.  (More on that later.)

So stop it. I’m nobody’s idea of Prince Charming, but let me do my little part to rescue you from yourselves.

SHOCKINGLY ENOUGH, MR. ALBERSON… NOT ALL WOMEN WANT TO BE RESCUED.  Rescued by God, sure, but by a fallen, sinning man?  No thank you.

(And I’m going to stop responding to specific phrases because it’s making me too mad.  I need to take a break.  Brb.)

So what’s Mr. Alberson’s point?  Why does he think that Rey and Katniss and Leia and Black Widow and River Tam have no destiny other than… what???  He doesn’t even give his readers the courtesy to explain what he thinks women in these movies should be doing instead of being the strong heroines that they are.

(The only thing he says is that women are put on earth to be rescued by men and that women having the indecency to be anything more than that “robs men of their dignity.”  How egotistical is that?!  Men and women were put on earth for many more reasons than to simply fulfill one another.  If a man or woman’s identity is wrapped up in what the opposite sex – or anyone else – thinks of them, they have some serious work to do on their true identity.  REVELATION: Maybe – just maybe – that’s why people are so unfulfilled???  Shocking, I know.)

Every. Single. One. of the women were pulled out of their comfortable environments by outside circumstances and into something greater.  Rey wanted to wait for her family to return for her.  Katniss didn’t want to be Reaped.  Leia didn’t want her planet to blow up.  Natasha didn’t want to work for the Soviet Intelligence.  River Tam wanted an education so she could help people.

These women were made stronger because of the complex circumstances they were pulled into.  They weren’t destined for what they wanted – they were destined for making their world a better place, even though they went through struggles and incredibly hard trials.

If Rey hadn’t been pulled into helping Finn escape the Alliance,  she wouldn’t have discovered the truth about her family or saved Finn’s life and helped the Resistance fight against Kylo Ren.  If Katniss hadn’t been Reaped, Panem wouldn’t have escaped the tyrannical rule of President Snow.  If Leia hadn’t been kidnapped by Darth Vader, she wouldn’t have known the truth about her family or met Han Solo or {eventually} become chief commander of the Resistance.  If Natasha hadn’t been tracked down by Clint because of her status as an assassin, the aliens would have overtaken earth and Tony probably would’ve died and so would Steve and Bucky and SHIELD/Hydra’s information would still be secret.  And don’t even get me started on River.

It’s so ironic that Mr. Alberson would pick all of these characters because the stories that they’re involved in would be so different if they were doing what they’d originally wanted to do.  (See the previous paragraph.)  They all pass the Blechdel and Sexy Lamp tests.  They’re strong, well-rounded, and important to the plot.

MUCH LIKE REAL-LIFE WOMEN.

In my opinion, the world needs more characters like this – characters that prove to women that they’re needed, wanted, and important.  This is why I write books with strong female leads.  Too many female characters in books and movies are whiny, one-dimensional, flimsy girls whose only purpose is to further the male lead’s storyline.  (See almost every action film ever, especially the highly-irritating Mission Impossible II.)

That’s what movies are telling girls, Mr. Alberson – that they’re unimportant and only suitable as pretty companions for the uber-ripped male lead.  And when directors make movies that tell girls anything other than that, they should be applauded, not condemned.

So, ladies, keep watching movies with strong female characters.  You weren’t put on earth to define a man’s dignity or satisfy him.  Guys, you could definitely benefit from it, too.  Women aren’t your playthings – they’re precious individuals made by a God who loves them dearly.  JUST LIKE YOU.

Ladies and gentlemen, your worth is found in Christ alone, and not what anyone else thinks about you.  You will never be satisfied until you discover that.

sixteen of my favorite childhood movies.

(Instead of posting two very ranty posts about perfect people, or one that’s literally just my text conversation with my sister about a guy at Starbucks who was literally sitting next to me the whole time we texted, here’s a list of ten of my favorite childhood movies.  Because I like being nostalgic more than I like ranting at you guys.  ALSO because this is like a make-up for my “movies i don’t like” post, which freaked you guys out.  I still have good taste!  Be my friend again!)

You know that moment when someone bashes something you love and you feel like building a barricade and taking up arms to defend yourself and your opinion?

Well.

A few weeks ago, Shia Labouf said that he “wasn’t proud of Holes.

My knee-jerk reaction was, “WHAAAAT?!  HOW DARE YOU SAY THAT ABOUT ONE OF MY FAVORITE CHILDHOOD MOVIES?!  IT DEFINED MY CHILDHOOD.  THAT MOVIE IS A WORK OF CINEMATIC GENIUS.  YOU KNOW NOTHING OF THE WORLD.”

And then I calmed down and decided to write this blog post.

Because I feel like I need to defend Holes, here are my top ten favorite childhood films (including Holes).  Honestly, these aren’t all Oscar-worthy, but they’re movies that I saw in my childhood (birth-twelve) and have stuck with me since then – and enough that I’ll eternally love them, no matter what anybody says.  In no particular order, because I can’t narrow movies down like that.

{And this was originally gonna be just five… then ten… then fifteen… then I remembered a huge one, so yeah.  Skim it if you don’t care.  It was way too nostalgic to write.  *runs away sobbing*}

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Holes (duh)

I distinctly remember when my siblings and I first got introduced to this movie.  We were on the way to Hershey, PA (it was a homeschool field trip that was my idea – booyah), and stopped at somebody’s house for the night.  The kids begged Mom and Dad to let us watch it, but it had gotten too late.  They had recently gotten the DVD, so they gave us their copy of the VHS (remember those???).  We later watched the movie in the hotel room and fell in love with it.  I’ve loved it ever since.  Because what is not to love?!  Bravery, comedy, adventure, and insanely hilarious one-liners, plus a FANTASTIC sub-plot set in the Old West.  We’ve seen this movie so many times, we can quote all of it, and certain lines come up in our daily conversations, such as “I can fix that” and “Once upon a time, there was a magical place where it never rained.  The end.  *annoying laugh*”  (The book is pretty great, too, and almost exactly like the movie – that’s when you KNOW the movie’s good!)

If you haven’t seen it, totally go watch it right now.  Seriously.  Right now.  Go.

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this is the actual cover of the actual vhs we actually still own.  good gracious.

The Country Bears

Okay, so this one’s more of an inside joke in my family – one of those it’s-so-stupid-you-can’t-help-but-like-it movies.  My brother and I watch it every now and then, if only to poke fun at it.  I’ve always loved it, though.  The songs are fantastic (plus, I had a babysitter who looked like the waitress in that one musical number), and the comedy is genius.  Some of my favorite parts are when the parents and police (HAMM AND CHEETS) ignore the fact that Beary (B e a r y) is a bear who was literally adopted, and whenever Beary meets a new member of the Country Bears – thus starting a new musical number.  Favorite lines include: “We’re gonna play this little game I like to call Hidin’ In The Car Wash.” “What do we do?” “We hide… in the car wash.” and “OH NO!  NOT COUNTRY BEAR HALL!”

If you need a totally stupid movie that you can just mindlessly watch that will make you laugh ’til tears stream down your face, this one’s for you.

Robin Hood

Robin Hood

This movie.  This. Movie.  I have memories of singing the “Oodilally Oodilally, Golly, What a Day” song in the car… at nineteen.  With fellow teenagers.  And when we went to Disney last month, I ran towards the guy dressed in the Robin Hood suit.  (And he hugged me and kissed my hand and let me take pictures with him.  I basically died.)  That’s the impact this movie has had on my life.  It’s set all of my relationship goals (‘Love Goes On,’ anyone?), all of my husband goals (because Robin IS goals), and it’s basically one of my favorite stories ever – SET TO MUSIC.  WITH ANIMALS.  I mean, seriously, HOW CAN YOU NOT LOVE THIS?!

Pretty sure you guys have all seen this, so watch it if you want some insane nostalgia.

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Chicken Little

Okay, I feel like I need to defend this movie, too.  One of my friends just dissed it and I felt memories from eleven years ago rise up and form my soapbox from which I bashed him.  My younger siblings watched it while I saw The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and I was slightly jealous, until we watched it later and I fell in love with it then.  I love how funny this one is.  (“Pfft – bandaid solutions!”)  Plus, it’s just a great take on the story.  And with the undertones of friendship and fatherhood and bravery, it’s maintained its place on my list of favorite movies of all time.

Literally just watch this one if you want a good laugh.

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Treasure Planet

I feel like this movie is ignored in the Disney canon a lot because it’s in that awkward stage when Disney was trying to figure themselves out again (it came out in 2002, right along with Lilo and StitchThe Emperor’s New Groove, Brother Bear, Home on the Range, Chicken Little, Meet the Robinsons, and Bolt – all good movies but not considered “classics”).  And I have NO IDEA WHY because this movie DEFINED MY CHILDHOOD.  Seriously, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen this.  We have the pre-release version (long story short, a good friend’s dad was a theater marketing guy for Paramount, so he’d give us the VHSes after he was done with them – actually, a good chunk of these movies are from him.  Thanks, Mr. A!), so I’ve been in love with this movie for a while.  Then, when the 10th anniversary Blu-ray came out, Katie and I lamented how old we’ve gotten and bought it.  Because duh.  Everything is amazing – the cast (Emma Thompson!  Martin Short!  Baby Joseph Gordon-Levitt!!!), the post-apocalyptic-18th-century-SPACEPIRATES setting, the hilarious references to older movies (“Dang it, Jim, I’m an astronomer, not a doctor!”), and the incredible accuracy to the original Robert Lewis Stevenson book.  (And, I mean, it’s probably my favorite adaption.)  Plus, Jim was one of my first major fictional crushes (not telling you what the first one was – it’s embarassingggg), and Doctor Doppler and Captain Amelia were probably my first ship (before I even knew what shipping was!).  This movie is amazing.  Plus, dang it, that SONG.  And the soundtrack is E P I C.  I used to do my math homework to it.  Every single day.  And this huge paragraph just goes to show just how much I LOVE this movie.

If you need something fantastic in so many ways, go for this one.

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Cinderella (1997)

*adjusts hipster glasses* Chances are, you haven’t heard of or seen this one.  It’s based on the Rogers and Hammerstein musical (originally on television in 1957, starring Julie Andrews), and it played a major part in my decision to go see Cinderella on Broadway in 2013.  (I’ll take this opportunity to say again that I saw the original cast – meaning Santino Fontana and Laura Osnes.  Yes, Cosette, this is true.)  To be completely honest with you guys, I got this movie (the VHS from Target – yes, I’m that old) as a reward for success in potty training.  It’s been in my family for a while, and my baby sister watches the same VHS I did.  *melts from the happy feels*  The music is amazing, the sets and costumes are breathtaking, and the color-blind casting is genius.  (How Whoopi Goldberg and Victor Garber had Paolo Montalban as a child, I will never know.  But I love it.)

If you need a dose of amazing music sung by the TALENT that is Brandi, Whitney Houston, and Bernadette Peters (THE QUEEN), be prepared – this one will knock your socks off.

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Pride and Prejudice

This one seems a little mature to fit in this list, but TRUST ME – IT BELONGS.  I can almost remember the day we got introduced to this movie by our amazing friends in North Carolina (who also introduced us to Redwall, Monk, The Penderwicks, and Hogan’s Heroes) – mid-November of 2005.  We were at their house for a literature class, and their sixteen-year-old son (no joke) casually mentioned that they were going to see “the new Pride and Prejudice” later that day and asked if we’d heard of it.  The second my mom said no, he gasped a little and found the DVD for us to borrow.  He later told us that the new one wasn’t any good and that we should just stick to the old one.  (Before you guys fall in love with him, just know that he’s married now.)  I love this movie.  I like the new one (we’ve formed a cordial friendship ever since I’ve decided that it isn’t as bad as I thought it was), but this one is amazing.  It’s what started my love for period dramas.

If you haven’t seen it yet… seriously, why are you even following this blog.

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Little Women

This one is such a classic, and I connected with it in so many ways when I first saw it.  Jo and I are both second-born, love writing, have a flair for theatre, and are tomboyish.  I can’t see Laurie played by anybody else, either – Christian Bale is Laurie.  And it’s so accurate to the book!  (Which, confession, I didn’t read until about 2012.  What can I say – I’ve never loved classics.)  I’ve seen this one too many times to count, and I still can’t watch Beth’s death scene without covering my eyes or fast-forwarding (because we have the VHS, duh).  The only thing I don’t love is the fact that Jo and Laurie didn’t end up together.  I understaaaand why Laurie wasn’t right for Jo and why Prof Bhaer was, but… dang you, Louisa, they were SO CUTE.

If you love period drama, watch this one.  (And then listen to the musical.)

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Anastasia

SWEET BUTTERED CRUMPETS, THIS MOVIE.  I’ve been in love with Dimitri ever since 1997.  (He. Is. Mine.)  The entire thing is amazing, but the music is what makes up for the historical inaccuracies and the creepily-almost-demonic Rasputin.  “If I can learn to do it, you can learn to do it!”  And ‘Once Upon a December’ is one of my favorite songs of all time.  Not to mention all of the songs are breathtaking (even the kind of lame, totally 90’s ‘In the Dark of the Night’), just like the costumes.  (GAH.  I need ALL OF THEM.)  The action is amazing – that train scene, guys.  *dies*  Plus, hello, the love story between Anya and Dimitri – TALK ABOUT GOALS!  I shipped them (along with Captain Amelia and Doctor Doppler) before I knew what shipping was.  I want a guy like Dimitri, guys – sassy and loyal and a little bad.  *WINKKKK*  This movie has just the perfect amount of romance, one-liners, action, and comedy.  I will never get over this movie.  It’s on Amazon Prime and I don’t care to mention how many times watched snippets on my phone in between study sessions.  It keeps the kid in me alive.  ; )

If you just want to see a really good animated movie, watch this one.

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Barbie: Princess and the Pauper

Say what you will about all Barbie movies being self-insert fanfiction, but this list had to have at least one (and it’s probably the stupidest movie on this list but I love it anyway).  This one’s gotta be my favorite, probably because of the music.  (I’m sensing a theme here…)  I listened to some of it the other day and got all nostalgic again while realizing I still know all the words to ‘Free‘… plus all the other songs.  (“Imagine life without the strife of an unfamiliar groom!”)  And my relationship with my husband/boyfriend/whatever will not be complete until we sing ‘If You Love Me for Me,’ amen and amen.  Plus, the older ones are just so much better than the newer ones.  (We still own this one, Nutcracker, Rapunzel, and Swan Lake, and my younger siblings watch them all the time.)  I love all of the stupid lines (“It was always lilac!”) and all the music and the insanely unbelievable and predictable plot and all the plot holes and the stupid romance subplots and just everything about it.  I don’t know how or why Martin Short sunk so low, but b l e s s.

If you need something to watch at 2am after studying for six hours *cough* not that I’ve done that *cough* but… yep.

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i couldn’t find a picture of josh and buddy together… but who needs that when you can have just this adorable little kid, amiright?!

Air Bud

One word: Dimples.  This movie introduced me to them, and I’ve never been the same.  (I’ve also harbored a nineteen-year-old crush GOOD GOSH HAS IT BEEN THAT LONG on Kevin Zegers.  The other day, I found myself speed-watching an episode of a TV show that I’m not interested in just because Kevin played a very sick teen and I needed to make sure he ended up okay.  {He did.})  This movie is amazing.  It tugged at my baby heartstrings and I cried when Josh told Buddy to leave.  (The pudding cup, guys… *sobs*)  I still can’t watch it without crying when Buddy comes back, even though there’s no way he can help Josh with the basketball game.  (HE’S THERE FOR MORAL SUPPORT, OKAY?!)  I still watch this occasionally.  And my opinion on all the Air Buddies movies – no.  Just… no.

IF YOU NEED TO SEE SOME ADORBS DIMPLES (on a twelve-year-old but whatever), WATCH IT.

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Hook

This movie really set in stone everything I want from an action film – ACTION SCENES STARRING SMALL CHILDREN.  (Just kidding.)  Seriously, though, I will never stop loving this movie.  I just watched it again with the kids that I babysit, and let me just say… it’s a classic.  Robin Williams is amazing, Dustin Hoffman is fantastic, and, according to Blimey Cow,  you’re not a REAL homeschooler if you haven’t seen it.  (“RU-FI-OOOOOOOOOO.”)  Plus, John Williams is phenomenal, as always.  And I’m always just 100% here for anything about Peter Pan, so yeah.  (Speaking of: Peter Pan: Return to Never Land.  First movie I distinctly remember seeing in the theater, and ‘I’ll Try‘ never fails to make me weep.)  When I first saw it over a decade ago (whyyyyy am I so ooooolllllldddddd), the scene when Hook kidnaps Peter’s kids freaked the living snot out of me, but in a good way.  (When that handle turns, SHIVERS RUN DOWN MY SPINE. S O.  G O O D.)

If you want a true 90’s classic, go for it.

lww old

*intense war flashbacks*

Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (1988)

The newer version (yes, the newer one that came out over a DECADE AGO) is also on this list, but this version belongs first because I fell in love with the world of Narnia because of this movie.  (I loved the books, but I didn’t get around to reading the books for myself until I was about nine, long after I first saw this movie.)  The 80’s feel is kind of redic, the clearly-human-people-in-animal-costumes (the Beavers, anyone?), Animatronic Aslan whose mouth goes up and down – even when he’s not talking – YES IT’S ALL INSANELY STUPID BUT THIS IS THE NARNIA THAT I KNOW AND LOVE.   We had this library we would go to every Tuesday that was in a church that had all of these amazing books and movies but my siblings and I would get one of the old Narnia movies every other week, without fail (this one the most).  I remember being insanely offended at nine years old when I found out that “they” were making another one.

If you want intense war flashbacks because you had an amazing childhood, give this a much-deserved rewatch.

lww new

OH MAH GOSH I LOVED THIS SO MUCH.

Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (2005)

I seriously have so much love for both of these versions, so they both belong on here.  Like I said before, I was mad when I found out that a reboot was being made.  Then I saw the trailer and I was like, “NOPE, I’M GONNA SEE THIS.”  I took some friends for my eleventh birthday and loved it.  (Even though I left the theater with a friend to go to the bathroom during the Stone Table scene because I was so freaked out.)  This movie influenced me so much, and the entire series formed a lot of my views of God (even though I didn’t know it at the time).  Plus, everybody said I looked so much like Georgie Henley that I cut my hair short like hers.  Of the three reboots that have been released (SO FAR – SILVER CHAIR, BABYYYYY), this one’s probably my favorite.  I had such a crush on Will Mosley (and of course I don’t still have a crush on him even though he only gets more hot why would you say that) and it was one of the first movies that I saw in which WWII played a pretty big part (we thought we’d gone into the wrong theater for the first eight minutes!).  Anyway, this one’s such a classic and, thus, such a favorite.

If you want to see an amazing version of an amazing classic… yes.  Just yes.

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Muppet Treasure Island

“He’s some kind of a blind fiend.”  “I believe they prefer visually-challenged fiend.”  Seriously, the sass in this movie is unreal.  Which is why my siblings and I loved it so much when we were younger.  Pirates, swordfighting, hilarious one-liners, MUPPETS – what’s not to love?  It’s one of those movies that’s somehow distinctly for homeschoolers, and I didn’t care about conforming to the stereotype when I was six.  Even though Jim’s voice is so high – seriously, the kid hits notes that I can’t hit with a ten-foot pole – and even though some of it is so stupid, we still loved it.  (And I’m pretty sure my older sister had a crush on Tim Curry’s Long John Silver, even though she’ll flat out deny it if you ask her.)

If you want to see (another) hilarious take on Stevenson’s classic tale, here you go.

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look at how cute this guy is!!!

All of Roy Rogers’ movies

My siblings and I own and have seen so many of these and I CANNOT NARROW THEM DOWN.  (Seriously, we own a collection of twenty, plus about twenty other standalone DVDs.  It was an obsession.)  Roy Rogers influenced me so much that I even read not one but two biographies about him and his wife, Dale Evans (and their relationship is just so many goals).  (At fifteen.  When I hated nonfiction!)  Many, many, many happy hours were spent with my siblings watching classics like Eyes of Texas and Jesse James at Bay and Young Bill Hickok and Sons of the Pioneers and Hands Across the Boarder and Heldorado and Roll On, Texas Moon and Springtime in the Sierras and then reenacting the scenes in our backyards and other friends’ backyards.  I wrote so many western short stories and scripts because of him.  And then to grow up a little more and find out that he was a CHRISTIAN who had NINE KIDS, FOUR of which he ADOPTED?!  It’s unreal.  He was my first childhood hero (I even put a framed photograph of him and Dale up on my bookshelf… where it still stands today) and I know I’ll love him for forever.  AND WAY MORE THAN JOHN WAYNE, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

If you love Westerns and haven’t seen at least a dozen of Roy’s old movies, you really need to do this for yourself.  Watch one.  Eyes of Texas is probably my favorite.

Honorable Mentions
(because expanding already-too-long lists is what I do BEST)

All of the Pixar movies, but especially my favorites – Toy Story (1,2,&3) and Up
ALLLLL
 of the old Disney movies, but especially my favorites – The Lion King and Beauty and            the BeastAladdin, Pocahontas, Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Mulan
The Rescuers
The Great Mouse Detective
The Iron Giant
Mary Poppins
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
The Love Bug
Escape to 
(and Return FromWitch Mountain
The Princess Diaries
(mostly just the first one, though – I didn’t see the second one ’til like             2011)
The Emperor’s New Groove
The American Girl movies, especially the Kit one (STANLEY TUCCI)
Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (two words: Bryan Adams)

Gosh, this entire post has given me so much nostalgia and now I feel SO INCREDIBLY OLD.  Please tell me that you’ve seen at least some of these!  (And if you haven’t, let me know in the comments and I’ll pop us some popcorn because it’s time for you to L I V E.)

i met the taylors and i’m in a blimey cow video. my life is complete.

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If you don’t follow my Instagram or don’t know me personally, you may or may not know that I met Jordan and Josh Taylor of Blimey Cow at Disney earlier this week.  (!!!!)  I was gonna wait to tell you all about this ’til the video came out, because it was just easier that way.  And it did and my heart still hasn’t pounding.

Here’s the whole story.  Sit back, guys, it’s a long one.

{Josh and Jordan, if you read this… sorrynotsorry.  I’m a huge fan.  Meeting you guys has been a highlight of my life.}

SO I’M AT DISNEY ON SUNDAY, RIGHT?  And it’s already the most magical place on earth.  We were at Epcot, actually, and it was our last day.

Actually…  *Hamilton-voice* Rewind.

We aren’t even supposed to be there, guys.

WE WEREN’T EVEN SUPPOSED TO BE AT EPCOT.

Saturday was going to be our last day, and we were gonna get a park-hopper so we could do Hollywood Studios and Epcot in the same day and drive back home on Sunday.  (Which, looking back, was a terrible idea because both of those parks took us at least eight hours to go through.)  My dad went online a few days before we left (we’re great planners, guys) to get the park hopper and, money-conscious that he is, realized that it was the same amount of money to just stay another day, including tickets and hotels and food and whatnot.  (We actually went for four and a half days.)

So Sunday was our actual last day and we were going to spend it at Epcot and it was gonna be great.  We walked in right after it opened, rode the actual golf-ball ride (Spaceship Earth, I think) (and it freaked me out because it’s inside a huge golf ball, and what if it falls over and how on earth are we even all inside it and there are different levels and what if one collapses and etc – yes, I have anxiety, what of it?), and then went to ride the Finding Nemo ride, which was great.

Immediately afterwards, we got in line for Turtle Talk with Crush.  I had no idea what it was, but didn’t really care because it had something to do with Finding Nemo, which I love.  I wasn’t paying attention to anything in particular when my younger brother James just started pounding my shoulder.  I was like, “What the heck, James???”  And I turned around and all of my siblings were stage-whispering and pointing.  They’re like, “THE TAYLORS ARE IN FRONT OF US.  JORDAN AND JOSH TAYLOR.”

AND I TURNED BACK AROUND AND, LO AND BEHOLD, THEY WERE RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME.  IF I HAD REACHED OUT MY HAND, I COULD HAVE TOUCHED THEM.

Apparently the entire Cowmunity knew that they were going to be at Disney EXCEPT ME, so to say it was a shock is a bit of an understatement.

Confession time: We totally stalked them.  We made sure we sat right behind them (a row, actually), and stared at their backs for most of the show.  (Which was hilarious, but so hard to pay attention to when TWO LIVING LEGENDS AND THEIR ENTIRE FAMILY (except Kelli *sad face*) ARE SITTING DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF US.

My dad kept taking pictures of them, and I kept hitting his shoulder.  (Won’t share those pictures because it’s embarrassing… but not as embarrassing as the totally cringe-worthy thing I did the day before, which I’ll talk about in my actual Disney post.)

After the show was over, we high-tailed it out of there.  HIGH. TAILED.  As we followed them out of the show, we whisper-debated who would talk to them first.  “James, you do it.”  “No, Ashley, YOU do it – you’re the most… the most…”  “KATIE, DO IT.” “NO, YOU DO IT.”

So I did it.

I summoned all the courage I required, ran forward a little, and called out, “JORDAN!”

He and Josh turned around and I was speechless for a minute.  I can’t even remember what I said, and I hope it was coherent, but it was something like, “We’re huge fans of Blimey Cow [praying that my siblings were still behind me] and we love you guys and uh can we get a picture please?”

And then they said sure and asked my name and then Jordan hugged me (*melts*) and asked all of our names and shook hands with us and the rest of my family joined us.  We talked about College Plus and Blimey Cow and how we had supported the Kickstarter for their podcast and homeschooling and random stuff for about ten minutes, and they took pictures with us and signed my sister’s autograph book.

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And then Jordan got a video, and I’ve been SO excited about it ever since.  I haven’t really told anyone just in case he didn’t include our part in the video, but he DID and now my life is complete.

GUYS, I MET THE TAYLORS.

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hello from the other side.

HELLO, MY CHILDREN.

(Wow, that was weird.  I’m in a weird mood.  We drove home all day and I used my “extra day” for finishing off the second draft of The Art of Letting Go {WAHOO} and my sister and I are gonna watch Leap Year in a minute {yes, starting it at 11pm, because #yolo}, so I’m super hyper right now.  My apologies.)

Anyway, DID YOU MISS ME?!  I certainly missed you guys!

I have so very VERY much to tell you about my trip – so many pictures to spam you all with and so many exciting things to tell you!  Bottom line, we had a PHENOMENAL time and so many great things happened and I took so many pictures (honestly, almost fifteen hundred!), and my feet and legs are so sore from all of the walking we did, but it was TOTALLY worth it.

First, though, I did promise to share my post-Harry Potter post, and it’s scheduled for tomorrow morning.  You’ll probably see it before you see this one.  Enjoy it, talk to me about it, start a comment war, whatever, and then I’ll spam you all with Disney pictures.  Sound good?  Good.

If you read this, what did you use your “extra day” to do?

*waltzes off to watch Leap Year*