We’re planning a trip to Walt Disney World for November, and I’m very excited about it. I love the parks — there is something about being there that is truly magical. The level of detail the Imagineers put into every little thing just blows my mind, and I think because I am a creative person, I love trying to find each and every one of those details. Plus things like, when you arrive to your hotel the cast members say, “Welcome home!”. I just love that. I could go one about what I love about WDW all day long.
As I’ve been doing my research for this trip, Disney has decided to include Merida, from “Brave” into their group of official Disney princesses. All of the princesses have recently gotten makeovers, so that the older and the newer princesses all look similar. Some, like Snow White, Cinderella, and Aurora have been modernized. Others, like Rapunzel and Merida, have been turned from 3D renderings to the classic Disney 2D animation style.
People are losing their minds over this.
A lot of people feel Disney shouldn’t be messing with the classic designs of the original princesses. A lot of others feel that they are being sexed up and are too ultra-feminine. They worry about the message this is sending our daughters. A commenter on one of the many articles about Merida said, “I cannot get over the lack of clothing on her shoulders. Why do they want our little girls to ‘look up’ to this more skanky look? I am totally boycotting all new princess merchandise.”
Another said, “This was a ‘Princess’ that I previously considered worthy of my [daughter's] time as a role model. Now I have to explain why Disney felt it necessary for her to be pretty, thin & glittery in order to qualify as an official princess.”
I hardly think an off-the-shoulder gown qualifies as skanky, especially considering Ariel’s and Jasmine’s original outfits. Additionally, was Merida fat and ugly before? No, she was still thin, and while definitely younger looking, attractive. And just because Disney made her rendering fit in with the others (which, from a graphic design and marketing standpoint, makes perfect sense), does that change who her character is? The movie hasn’t been re-written. Her character traits are the same, and if we are teaching our daughters that because she wears a sparkly dress now she can’t be considered a tomboy, what is that teaching them? That what’s on the outside dictates who you are on the inside, that’s what. And I take huge issue with that.
I’ve never been a princess person. Before this whole Disney Princess makeover kerfluffle, I was even one of those people who might have tried to get her [future, possible] daughter to avoid the princesses at all costs. Princesses aren’t about empowerment! I want a strong, independent little girl! But then I started reading the many, many, many articles about Merida and the other princess makeovers and I started to change my mind.
Shouldn’t we take away the core values of these princesses, instead of judging them on their appearance and their status as princesses?
Let’s take a look at them. Even the earlier, less developed personality-wise princesses have positive traits that we can highlight for our kids.
Snow White: Probably the princess with the most focus on her looks, as the entire plot develops from her stepmother being so enraged and jealous that Snow White is “the fairest one of all” that she tries to have her murdered. That’s pretty serious! But does Snow White end up completely damaged after this incident, as most 14-year-old girls would be? Nope, she picks herself up, brushes herself off, and after another scary incident getting lost in the forest, she finds some dwarf friends and proceeds to help them clean up their house and cooks for them, and sings and dances and has a grand old time. She’s not the most developed princess, but she’s kind, gentle, patient, and has great internal strength. Surely those are traits anyone would be happy to find their child emulating.
Cinderella: A little sassier, and a little more developed than Snow White. She’s been put to work and is treated like servant by her stepmother and stepsisters (it seems if anyone should take issue with Disney, it’s step-families!), but does she throw a fit about it? Does she run away and refuse to work, even though she would be well justified in doing so? No, she does everything that is asked of her, and she manages to stay sweet, kind, and thoughtful. She triumphs over adversity.
Aurora: Probably the weakest of the princesses as far as character development. The worst that happens to her is she grows up away from her parents and not knowing her true identity. When she finally learns her identity, she falls under the curse and sleeps until Prince Philip rescues her. But hey, if you thought you were a completely different person than you are until you were 16, you’d probably be pretty messed up right? But Aurora takes it in stride and turns out just fine.
Ariel: Sure, she’s pretty silly, completely enamored with a world that’s not her own and falling in love at first sight with a person not even of her species, and giving up her family, friends and voice in order to be with him, but she’s adventurous, curious, has a thirst for learning, stays true to her opinions even when no one agrees with her, and in the end she gives up everything she wants in order to save her family from the evil Ursula.
Belle: She loves to read (that makes her one of the best princesses in my book, right off the bat), she longs for adventure, and she learns to look beyond the surface to see who the Beast truly is inside. She sacrifices her freedom in order to save her father — she has strong family values.
Jasmine: Independent, strong-willed, wants to marry for love, not a kingdom, and wants to learn about the outside world. She knows that being a princess isn’t all there is to life, and she wants to find out what else is out there. She is also the first princess of color. What a great message for the younger generation!
Pocahontas: Our next non-white princess, Pocahontas also wants more out of life than to be a princess. She wants to discover more of the world. She’s in tune with nature, and teaches John Smith that it’s just as valuable as gold and to look and learn before he acts. ”Colors of the Wind” is an amazing and beautiful song that teaches some great values.
Mulan: Definitely one of the best princesses. Mulan does not want to change who she is in order to be found suitable to marry and then pretends to be a man in order to save her elderly father from having to go to war. She wants to be recognized for her brain and always speaks her mind. She ends up saving the Emperor and all of China from the Huns. Quite a feat for a young girl!
Tiana: Another of the best princesses, in my opinion. Our first black princess, Tiana is motivated and hard working. She works two jobs and saves all her money to achieve her dream of opening her own restaurant. When given a chance to get her restaurant the easy way, by betraying her new friend, she refuses. Tiana represents loyalty, tenacity, conscientiousness and drive.
Rapunzel: She dreams of the outside world, and prior to getting to see it she betters herself with reading and activities and learning. When she finally escapes her tower, she brings out the best in Flynn Rider. They both change each other for the better, and they both make huge sacrifices to save the other. Rapunzel is imaginative, optimistic, and selfless.
Merida: Adventurous and fearless, Merida longs to be in control of her own destiny. She is also the first princess to not end up with a prince. She loves being a tomboy, and while she makes several mistakes in her story, she learns good lessons from those mistakes.
I firmly believe that what these princesses look like, and what they are wearing on their official merchandise (can we all remember for a moment that Disney is a huge corporation, and while they have truly made some wonderful and inspirational movies, their primary goal is to make a profit) makes no difference to who their characters are. If we, as adults, choose to focus on their outer appearance, that’s what our children will focus on as well. If we choose to highlight all of their wonderful personality traits, that’s what our kids will take away from their stories. This is not to say that there aren’t problems with the princess mentality or with what is presented to our children for their intellectual consumption, or with women still being marginalized and discriminated against in popular culture today, but it’s all about perspective, and I’m glad to say that if I have a little girl someday, I will be proud to watch these movies with her and teach her the lessons that I want her to learn from them.
I can’t believe it, but it’s time to start another 101. Will I improve upon my success rate this time? I think I learned a lot about what I am and am not interested in actually doing from my last list, so I hope this one is more successful, and I’ve already started working on it since I started it April 1. Here are my new 101 in 1001 goals!
Start Date: April 1, 2013 End Date: December 28, 2015
- Get a DSLR
- Complete seven goals in a week [0/7]
- Keep a trip journal on our Disney vacation
- Take a Facebook break
- Celebrate five random “holidays” like National Sandwich Day [0/5]
- Attempt to purge 365 items from our home in a year [113/365]
- Complete a 1,000 piece puzzle
- Write 101 list-themed blog posts [0/101]
- Play Stratego with my husband
- Go to church on Christmas Eve
- Finalize and get my next tattoo inked
- Give yoga another try
- Discover 10 new music albums, again [0/10]
- Get Bigby trained to always come when he hears a certain command, for emergencies
- Get the kitties trained to always come when they hear a certain command, for emergencies
- Put together the FEMA recommended 3-day emergency supply [0/37]
- Start a journal to write down random memories that come to me
- Get a record player
- Make 10 recipes from any of my new cookbooks [1/10]
- Chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter buttercream frosting from How to Cook Everything
- Bake bread from scratch
- Make a pie for Pi day
- Try five new specialty hot dogs from Danny’s Dogs or Johnny Dogs (or make my own) [0/5]
- Discover a new brunch place in the city
- Have lunch at Water Works
- Eat dinner at Moshulu
- Go to a restaurant just for dessert
- Get a roast pork sandwich at DiNic’s
- Make homemade butter
- Ask a server to order for me or order the chef’s tasting menu
- Make ice cream from scratch
- Start a new garden
- Start an herb garden
- Finish living room
- Finish library
- Finish dining room
- Finish guest room
- Refurb and hang my type tray
- Get new furniture for our bedroom
- Organize books by genre
- Try out DVDs organized by genre
- Buy or build a fire pit
- Hang our bat house and birdhouses
- Start a compost bin
- Fix up the landscaping in the front of the house
- Do something to at least improve how I feel when I walk into the hideous upstairs bathroom
- Get all the windows in the house some kind of covering (in rooms we use) [0/9]
- Read The Sandman series by Neil Gaiman
- Watch the 12 series Alan Sepinwall deems the most important of the new golden age of TV and then read his book on the subject [2/12]
- The Sopranos
-Buffy the Vampire Slayer
-Friday Night Lights
- Start training Bigby for the AKC Canine Good Citizen® program
- Learn about 10 strong female role models that I know very little about [0/10]
- Read ten books from my ‘Want to Read’ Goodreads list [0/10]
- Ask five people to recommend a book, read them all [0/5]
- Learn five constellations besides Orion [0/5]
- Watch Citizen Kane
- Fill out the family tree book I bought
- Read Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
- Read A Passage to India by E.M. Forster
- Learn about five U.S. Presidents that I know very little about [0/5]
- Watch some of the TED conferences available on Netflix Instant
- Read some chapters from my New York Times Guide to Essential Knowledge
- Experiment with watercolors
- Make a scarecrow
- Participate in Delaware Fun-A-Day
- Complete 10 Pinterest projects [0/10]
- Complete another 365 photo project
- Make friendship bracelets with Sabrina
- Make a spring or summer wreath
- Create chalkboard art for the major holidays [0/9]
-St. Patrick’s Day
-Fourth of July
- Bury some treasure (and leave a map to it in public)
- Make an advent calendar
- Paint a picture
- Build a snowman
- Leave nice notes for strangers in public places
- Send out five ‘just because’ cards [0/5]
- Draw a heart in 20 places [0/20]
- Bring Christmas cookies to public service offices [0/5]
- Foster again
- Buy someone a cup of coffee (or tea!)
- Buy someone a meal
- Pay for the person behind me
- Send someone flowers for no reason
- Put money in someone’s expired parking meter
- Do five free design projects [0/5]
- Leave a server a 100% tip
- Visit the Jewish History Museum in Philadelphia
- Tour Shofuso House
- Visit Bartram’s Gardens
- Take a Mural Tour
- See the gingerbread house contestants at Peddler’s Village
- Visit a new (to me) baseball stadium
- Bring Bigby to a new park for a hike
- Do five photo walks [0/5]
- Visit a new (to me) winery and do a tasting
- Show my husband the awesome-ness of Cowtown
- Find and attend a local Native American festival
- Visit the Newseum and the National Museum of the American Indian in DC
- Check out the Audubon Center at Mill Grove
- Visit a city I’ve never been to before
- Check out a roller derby bout
- Find and document 30 Hidden Mickeys on our trip to WDW [0/30]
- Visit the Bronx Zoo
I have always wanted a makeup table, and I finally got one! I had only a little space to work with, next to our bed in our bedroom, so I needed something small. I finally found the right piece at Home Goods, but it was plain white, which was not what I wanted. Thanks to the overwhelming amount of time I spend in the internet, I knew I could just paint it to be exactly what I wanted.
Here’s how it started:
And here it is all painted and pretty. I used a hunter green because I really wanted to paint our living room that color, but it would have made it look like a cave. So I used it here to get it out of my system.
And I used a simple gold leaf paint from the craft store on the details. I purposely did it a little rough and not perfectly so it would look like I found it in the thrift shop this way. Except for the shiny new finish on the green paint.
Isn’t that little print so sweet? The colors fit perfectly in our bedroom, and it’s actually a greeting card I found at Trader Joe’s. I love it!
I found the gray velvet storage ottoman I’m using as a stool on Target’s website for a great price. I’m keeping all my rarely used clutch bags in the storage part of it.
I’m really happy with the whole situation, and now all my makeup has its own designated place, which is going a long way to helping my dresser top not look like a Sephora threw up on it. Progress, yay!
This song speaks to me so deeply, I have a physical reaction to it. I doubt my words can add anything to the beauty of the song, so here it is:
Same Love by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, featuring Mary Lambert:
When I was in the third grade, I thought that I was gay, cause I could draw, my uncle was, and I kept my room straight. I told my mom, tears rushing down my face. She’s like, “Ben you’ve loved girls since before pre-k. Trippin’.”
Yeah, I guess she had a point, didn’t she? Bunch-a stereotypes all in my head. I remember doing the math, like, “Yeah, I’m good at Little League.” A pre-conceived idea of what it all meant for those that like the same sex. Have the characteristics, the right wing conservatives think it’s a decision and you can be cured with some treatment and religion—man-made rewiring of a predisposition.
Playing God. Aw nah here we go, America the brave still fears what we don’t know. ”God loves all his children” is somehow forgotten but we paraphrase a book written thirty-five-hundred years ago.
I don’t know.
If I was gay, I would think hip-hop hates me. Have you read the You Tube comments lately? “Man that’s gay” gets dropped on the daily. We become so numb to what we’re saying.
A culture founded from oppression, yet we don’t have acceptance for ‘em. Call each other fags behind the keys of a message board. A word rooted in hate, yet our genre still ignores it. Gay is synonymous with the lesser.
It’s the same hate that’s caused wars from religion—gender to skin color, the complexion of your pigment. The same fight that led people to walk-outs and sit-ins, it’s human rights for everybody, there is no difference.
Live on, and be yourself.
When I was at church they taught me something else: If you preach hate at the service those words aren’t anointed. That holy water that you soak in has been poisoned when everyone else is more comfortable remaining voiceless rather than fighting for humans that have had their rights stolen. I might not be the same but that’s not important. No freedom til we’re equal, damn right, I support it.
We press play, don’t press pause. Progress, march on. With a veil over our eyes we turn our back on the cause. Til the day that my uncles can be united by law. When kids are walking ’round the hallway plagued by pain in their heart, a world so hateful some would rather die than be who they are. And a certificate on paper isn’t gonna solve it all but it’s a damn good place to start.
No law is gonna change us, we have to change us. Whatever God you believe in, we come from the same one. Strip away the fear, underneath it’s all the same love.
About time that we raised up.
67. Spring breezes
70. Street fairs
71. Farmer’s markets
72. Kohr Brother’s strawberry banana swirl with rainbow jimmies
73. String lights over city streets
74. The library (any library)
75. Ferris wheels, especially on warm summer nights
77. Getting it right the first time
78. The smell of the beach
80. Fresh paint
82. Mini golf holes in one
83. The smell of a charcoal grill
84. Brackets & ampersands
85. Rainbow colors
86. Sparkly nail polish
87. Random acts of kindness
88. Christmas songs
89. When Bigby goes crazy
90. My favorite coffee mugs
91. Patterned tights
92. Old books
93. Finishing a project
94. Using something I packed for “just in case”
95. Friendly, happy sales or service people
96. A joy happening in the life of one of my loved ones
97. Seeing my husband interact with children so naturally
98. When the radio plays the perfect amount of awesome songs to get me home without minding my long commute
99. Putting on clothes fresh out of the dryer in winter
100. Waking up and realizing I have more time to sleep
and one more for good luck:
101. Any memory from my wedding!
As my 1001 days winds down, I’ve decided to give up the goat of some of my goals that are just not going to get crossed off. Here they are, and why:
- Watch AFI’s 100 Greatest Films: I made it through quite a few, but the list is hefty, in quantity and content, and it’s tough to get through. I’m still interested in viewing the majority of these, but 1001 days, while it sounds like a ton of time, is a short time for a busy person who has a tendency to fall asleep on the couch if the movie isn’t action-packed.
- Replace the donut in the car with a real spare tire. I think I’ve come to realize that maybe there’s a reason cars don’t just come with a spare tire anymore. You can’t just throw on a tire and call it good to go, it has to be aligned and balanced and all that, so I think it’s best to stick with the donut and go to professionals to get the tire replaced when necessary.
- Visit four ballparks/six zoos/all Philly tourist destinations/wear a fancy hat to a Triple Crown race/see the Lion King. Shit costs money. And especially with the wedding saving and planning, it was hard to travel/spend just to fulfill some list item. I still hope to do all of these things someday, but putting a time deadline on them isn’t going to work out.
- Run a 5k/maintain a healthy weight/stretch every day. Can’t say I’m not a little disappointed about the healthy weight thing, but my shins have pretty much said NO to running, and I know stretching would help, but stretching is boring and takes a lot of time. Oh well. I’m still working on working out consistently, and I hope I can get back to a point where running is feasible for me.
- Pay off my debt/start a retirement fund. I don’t even know why I put these on the list? I guess I was excited that paying off my car was in sight, and I did do that. But my student loan schedule was never going to permit me to finish in the 1001 days. The credit card debt, though I suppose it technically was possible, it wasn’t realistic with the wedding. I am proud to say that I didn’t ADD anything to the debt throughout the wedding process.
- Photograph a landscape in all four seasons. Procrastination/inspiration fail. I couldn’t find a landscape I liked enough to photograph that was also accessible to be easily photographed four times in a year, and I honestly didn’t try all that hard.
- See a falling star. Did you know that if you want to see a falling star you either have to get up or stay up til 2 or 3 in the morning? Yeah…probably never going to see a falling star that way.
- Take the bf (now H) camping. He was never all that into the idea, and time got away from me. I still hope to do this someday with him, as I have many happy memories of camping both as a child and as an adult. It can be fun people!
- Pumpkin picking. Ditto. We did apples and strawberries, but never got around to the pumpkins. Mostly because it’s just so much easier to pop around the corner to our local church and buy them at the huge fundraiser they have annually.
- Get a bicycle and ride with the bf. He pretty much stopped riding when we moved, and my interest in riding was pretty much limited to wanting to spend more time with him. Now that we have a dog, we usually prefer to take him for a hike instead.
- Write all my recipes on index cards. I started this and when my hand started cramping I thought, “Why am I doing this?” They are perfectly usable on the print outs that I currently use.
- Wear all my fancy shoes. Fancy shoes are uncomfortable. I prefer to save them for fancy occasions, of which we just don’t have that many anymore. At least not any that I’m willing to sacrifice the feeling in my toes for.
- Increase upper body strength to the point where I can shoot a 9mm without pulling up. HA! As H said as soon as I put that on the list 944 days ago, that is ridiculous. I will never be able to do that, and I shouldn’t feel bad about it. Though I do intend to work harder on my upper body strength going forward.
20 things that I definitely will not be completing, out of 101. There could be more by the end, these are just the ones that I know without a doubt I won’t even attempt to finish in the next 57 days. What do you think? Terrible? Reasonable? Honestly, I’m just proud of myself that I don’t really care all that much. That’s good news for someone like me—the list did not take over my life, and I’m better for what I did complete, but no worse off for what I didn’t. Good for me!
I saw these neat little ready-to-eat meals in a box at the movie theater recently, and I thought they looked interesting, but also, meal in a box? No, thank you. Then I saw them again at Target and they had even more varieties. I was intrigued and decided to throw one in the cart on a whim (as one tends to do at Target) and see if it was any good. I had very low expectations. Here’s my train of thought while eating it:
- Black bean dip: This doesn’t look particularly appetizing. Needs a stir. There we go. Hey, it’s actually pretty tasty. Good black bean flavor, doesn’t taste shelf-stable, a smidge spicy. A little too citrus-y for my taste.
- Plantain chips: Crispy and not greasy at all. Good accompaniment to the dip. Sturdy enough to actually dip, and serve as the stirrer I needed earlier too.
- Edamame, pepita & watermelon seed blend: That’s an interesting blend, I’ve never purposely eaten watermelon seeds before. VERY satisfyingly crunchy. The roasted edamame is by far the overwhelming flavor, and that’s not a bad thing. Perfect amount of salt—enough to add flavor, but not enough to make you concerned for your daily salt intake. How much salt is in this meal anyway? …450 mg. Not exceptionally low, but pretty good. Oooh, the individual items each have their own nutritional facts as well, that’s nifty. The seed blend has 70 mgs of sodium in it.
- Fruit and nut mix: It has ginger peanuts, cranberries and banana chips in it. I could have done without the banana chips, as I just had the plantain chips, but it’s not bad. I like the ginger peanuts very much. If you just eat it as a handful, that’s the thing you taste. Also perfectly salty and sweet. 35 mgs of sodium in this packet. 8g of sugar, that seems like a lot for a couple of handfuls of trail mix. Yummy though.
- Dark chocolate with orange: I’m not the biggest fan of chocolate with orange flavor, but this two-bite disk is a good amount. And a nice finish to the meal. The chocolate seems pretty high quality, in that it’s smooth, and the orange flavor is subtle.
Did it fill me up? Shockingly, after I was finished, I actually did feel full. The box is so tiny, I did not think I would feel full at all. And I felt the good kind of full, the I-just-ate-a-healthy-meal full, not ugh-double-cheeseburger-you-are-so-good-but-now-I-feel-sick full. I ate the meal between 12:30 – 12:45 at work. I had my usual breakfast of two cups of coffee and a Nutri-Grain bar. (Did you know they have pretty much the identical nutritional values as the Kashi Cereal Bars? And you get more bars for less money, so I’m sticking with Nutri-Grain.) I didn’t really feel hungry again for several hours. Very impressed.
Overall thoughts: Delicious! Not what I was expecting from a boxed ready-to-eat meal at all. And I’m pretty pleased that I felt full after eating it, qualifying it as a true meal, not just a snack calling itself a meal. I would definitely buy this again, and if I was hungry and needed food from the concession stand at the movies, I would even pay their inflated prices for it (though to be fair, I don’t remember what the theater was charging and if it was inflated. I paid $3 for it at Target). Though it might be a bit tricky to deal with the chips and dip in the dark and on your lap. Plus, you get a fun fact on the inside of the box! Plus a sudoku puzzle, but those aren’t really my thing. Fun facts most definitely are though!
Final grade on the Taco Bell Scale of Satisfaction: 5 out of 5 - Nachos Bell Grande