Top Ten Tuesday: Series I Want To Start

toptentuesdayTo be honest, I don’t read that many book series. It’s not because I don’t like them–I really do! Sometimes I love a book so much I wish it could have endless amounts of sequels. And my favorite book of all time, Anne of Green Gables, is the first book in an 8-book series, which I still wish could have been longer ;)

I think the reason I don’t read very many series is because I don’t want to wait for each installment to be released. I’m not the most patient person… Usually when I read a series I wait to start it until all of the books have been published, or until just before the last book is to be released. The only exception that comes to mind is Harry Potter, which I started reading after the third one came out.

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday meme gives me a chance to list some of the series I have been thinking about starting. I added some TV shows into the mix as well.

Top Ten Book and TV Series I Want to Start

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The Maze Runner series by James Dashner – Just bought the 4-book box set so I’ll be reading this soon!
Percy Jackson & the Olympians series by Rick Riordan – This has been on my TBR for a while.
The Legend series by Marie Lu – I’ve only heard great things about this YA dystopian series.
The Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer – I haven’t read very many science fiction books!
Something Strange and Deadly series by Susan Dennard – Getting ready to read this first installment for my book club, actually!
Delirium series by Lauren Oliver – Another YA dystopian series (I’m addicted)

Blacklist VeronicaMars
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The Blacklist – My mom keeps raving about this series and about how much I’d love it. My husband has already watched the Pilot and he agrees. I only haven’t started watching because I don’t have the time right now. During the winter TV hiatus I’ll probably binge watch it.
Veronica Mars – So many of my friends loved this show and I think I’d like it, too.
Supernatural – Like Doctor Who and Sherlock, I know this show has a huge fan base. I’ve always been interested but I don’t really know much about the show so I’m saving it for a rainy, let’s binge watch Netflix kind of day.
Beauty & the Beast – I watched the Pilot earlier this year because my sister-in-law likes this show. I really love Beauty and the Beast adaptations, so I’m going to watch this show soon.

 

What are some book and television series you’ve been dying to start? I’d love any other recommendations as well!

Top Ten (Thurs)day: Favorite Films

toptentuesdayI was once again too preoccupied this week to post my Top Ten list on Tuesday, but I’m on vacation so I have a good excuse :)

This week’s meme was about ten things I like other than books, so I picked…

Top Ten Favorite Movies
(and yes, it’s in order!)

Pride and PrejudicePride and Prejudice (2005)
The story is based on Jane Austen’s novel about five sisters – Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Kitty and Lydia Bennet – in Georgian England. Their lives are turned upside down when a wealthy young man (Mr. Bingley) and his best friend (Mr. Darcy) arrive in their neighborhood.

I wasn’t too into romances until nearly the end of high school, but when they started playing this movie on the TV all the time during my senior year of high school, I was hooked. Even though I read the book afterwards, I still love this version. Cinematography. Music. Acting (the rain scene is my favorite!) I could watch this movie all day, everyday.

TangledTangled (2010)
The magically long-haired Rapunzel has spent her entire life in a tower, but now that a runaway thief has stumbled upon her, she is about to discover the world for the first time, and who she really is.

This movie never fails to make me laugh! Firstly, it’s perfectly casted. It’s also entertaining for all ages and genders, since Rapunzel and Flynn are both main characters. And it’s another example of Alan Menken’s musical genius. This movie also holds a special place in my heart, since Matt and I danced to “I See the Light” for our first wedding dance <3

Beauty and the BeastBeauty and the Beast (1991)
Belle, whose father is imprisoned by the Beast, offers herself instead and discovers her captor to be an enchanted prince.

A classic. The first animated movie ever nominated for Best Picture. THE movie that got me into romances back in high school. I remember watching this movie multiple times EACH night one week when I was 16, crying when we think the Beast died, and smiling through my tears when he says, “Belle, it’s me.” Awwww <3 Again, wonderful music by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, and on the newer releases there’s a fantastic documentary about the making of Beauty and the Beast that will make you cry.

Love ActuallyLove Actually (2003)
Follows the lives of eight very different couples in dealing with their love lives in various loosely interrelated tales all set during a frantic month before Christmas in London, England.

It doesn’t need to be Christmas for me to watch this movie. My friends and I in college would watch this all the time. My favorite story arch is Colin Firth’s, of course. I love that proposal! I also really like the Prime Minister’s plot too, although I HATE Billy Bob Thornton, and between his character and that one sex-obsessed guy, I’m convinced the director/writer hates America. But the rest of the movie is great :)

The Young VictoriaThe Young Victoria (2009)
A dramatization of the turbulent years of Queen Victoria’s rule, and her enduring romance with Prince Albert.

This is the movie that made me fall in love with Emily Blunt, and which has also made it hard for me to despise George Wickham in the 2005 Pride and Prejudice because that actor also plays the romantic Prince Albert in this movie. I adore the acting and the music in this movie, and I love all things about the Victorian-Era, so of course this movie belongs in that category.

Ever AfterEver After (1998)
With the sudden death of her loving father, Danielle is made a servant by her new stepmother. Still, Danielle grows up to be a happy and strong-willed young lady, and one day her path crosses that of handsome Prince Henry, who has troubles of his own at home.

Another movie I fell in love with during high school, this movie still gets me all dreamy-eyed. I was never really that into Cinderella, but this version features a stronger, stubborn heroine and the incredibly talented eyebrows acting of Anjelica Huston. Also, I will finally be visiting the main castle, Château de Hautefort, this summer!!

Star TrekStar Trek (2009)
The brash James T. Kirk tries to live up to his father’s legacy with Mr. Spock keeping him in check as a vengeful, time-traveling Romulan creates black holes to destroy one Federation planet at a time.

This is probably the most random entry on my list, but it is also probably the film I have watched the most. I’m not that well familiar with Star Trek. I’ve watched the original series and some of Voyager (because my dad watched it all the time), but I was never super into it. Not until I saw this movie in theaters. I knew it was going to become special to me after I found myself crying within the first 5 minutes. I love movies that make me cry. And soon after I would put this movie on every night to fall asleep to (I also did this with Young Victoria). My best friend and I both love this movie so we quote it to each other all the time :)

PenelopePenelope (2006)
A modern romantic tale about a young aristocratic heiress born under a curse that can only be broken when she finds true love with one who will love her faithfully.

I found this movie by mistake, but right away I loved it. It helps that I have a celebrity crush on James McAvoy :) if you like quirky romances, you’ll definitely love this one! Great acting with a fun modern fairy tale plot.

You've Got MailYou’ve Got Mail (1998)
Two business rivals hate each other at the office but fall in love over the internet.

I have always liked this movie, but it just recently made it onto my list of favorite movies. I went through a 90s chick flick phase last fall, and I probably watched You’ve Got Mail at least a dozen times. I love the Pride and Prejudice romance, and, although I feel like I’ve said this about every other movie on my list, the acting is wonderful. Plus Meg Ryan’s character owns a children’s bookstore! Love it :)

Meet the RobinsonsMeet the Robinsons (2007)
When an orphaned child genius named Lewis has his science fair project ruined by a mysterious time-traveling villain from the future, he must join forces with a strange boy in order to travel to the future, steal his invention back, and save a new-found family from a bleak future where mind control devices enslave the masses.

I feel like most people have never even heard of this geeky Disney movie, but I can’t get enough of it. The characters are so lovable and they make you laugh out loud all the time. It’s really a bunch of randomness tied up with a heartwarming bow, so if you need some warm, but not-necessarily-romantic fuzzies in your life, give the Robinson family a try :)

There you have it! So, what are some of your favorite moves? Do we have any in common?!

Disney Dates: Beauty and the Beast

16e076e56aacf18bb2b727de1bca00b3My husband and I are huge Disney fans, and Disney has always been a major theme in our relationship: the first time we said “I love you” was at Disney World (where we also had our honeymoon), last year we celebrated our first anniversary at Disneyland Paris, and for one of our first dates Matt took me to see Beauty and the Beast the musical.

Beauty and the Beast is special for us, and we both fell in love with the film years before even meeting each other. When I was in 9th or 10th grade I finally came to embrace Disney love stories (before that I wasn’t a fan of sappy romances, and my favorite movie had been The Jungle Book because it was “all about friendship”), and I remember watching Beauty and the Beast at least once a night for weeks (I am not exaggerating) and I really came to identify with Belle.  Matt had always loved Belle, and when he was younger he even vowed that he would marry her one day… *awwww*

So last week, when we finally arrived at Beauty and the Beast in our Disney marathon (since we got married we have been watching all of the full-length animated Disney movies. Currently there are 52, with #53 Frozen coming out next month), we decided to make it into a date night. Ever since the Be Our Guest Restaurant opened at Disney World, we have been really wanting to visit, and since we haven’t been able to do that yet, we decided to bring the magic to our home by having a themed dinner and movie night à la Belle et la Bête.

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I made a three course meal, with the appetizer, main course, and dessert all coming from the Be Our Guest Restaurant menu:

  • French Onion Soup: This recipe is easily the best recipe for French Onion Soup I have ever tasted. I cut out some of the spices simply because I didn’t have any in my kitchen, but I really loved the flavor that the balsamic vinegar added (I love balsamic vinegar).

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  • Chicken Provençal: This recipe was incredibly simple to make, and I only cut out the mushrooms because I can’t stand them. Originally I was planning on serving this with green beans, but after I got back from the grocery store I realized we didn’t have any so I served it with pasta instead. The extra sauce went well with that. And the marinade for the chicken was so delicious and simple that I will probably be using that for my chicken from now on!

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  • “The Grey Stuff”: This is basically cookies and cream pudding. I used this recipe from The Disney Diner, with some alterations…mainly I had to substitute the Cool Whip (which we don’t have in France) for homemade Chantilly (whip cream). I also used canned Mont Blanc crème dessert à la vanille because they also do not have boxed pudding mix here. Therefore the dish came out more of a brownish-grey as opposed to a true grey color, but it was still delicious. So delicious, in fact, that I forgot to take a picture before digging in.

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Of course my husband, who loves presentation, did some quick decorating and rearranging of the furniture to replicate the ballroom look from the movie:

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Mickey & Minnie and Rapunzel & Flynn also joined us;)

And he even brought me home a single rose to complete the theme :)

Having themed dinner and movie nights is something I want to do with our children one day, so this also served as a test run for that (a very, very, very early test run). I got inspired after finding this post from a super-cool mom who hosted Disney movie nights for her kids.

The next movie on our Disney marathon list is Aladdin! Maybe we’ll turn that into another themed dinner night ;) Mmm… For now, let me leave you with my favorite B&B meme ever:

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Hahahaha, I seriously never get tired of this one.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Recycling in the Disney Animation Department

SleepyHollowThe Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
Published July 1820 by C.S. Van Winkle
Classic/Short Story/Suspense
Format: e-book; 102 pages
Also From This Author: Rip Van Winkle
Goodreads | Amazon
My Rating: 4/5

When I was a teenager I ran both Cross Country and Track, and because my Florida high school was practically in the middle of nowhere, we mostly ran down dirt roads and through the woods. There was one trail in particular that I always loved, and I nicknamed it The Sleepy Hollow Trail. Picture this (or take a look at the picture on the right, because it looked a lot like that minus the Headless Horseman): to get to this trail you had to run across (or jump over, if you’re cool like me) a narrow stream and then tread up a steep hill before you could enter the woods. The trail wove around tall trees, the branches of which blocked out most of the scorching Florida sunshine, creating a shady, damp, and breezy wooden environment. It was the perfect way to recuperate after a 5 mile run, especially since there was obviously no headless fiend chasing after me.

Fast-forward to this month, when I finally read Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow for the first time, and I must say that I was humorously surprised. Up until now, I had only experienced the 1999 Tim Burton film, which I love, but now I can see that it is clearly only loosely based on the original text. Nonetheless, I still love the gothic Johnny-Depp-featured depiction, despite the fact that Ichabod Crane is not supposed to be this handsome:

IchabodCrane2

Ok, clearly I like the geeky ones

But what’s with this “recycling” in the Disney Animation Department I alluded to in the headline? Back in 1949, Disney produced an animated Sleepy Hollow film that is spot on, and Ichabod resembles every bit of his original character description: “He was tall and exceedingly lank, with narrow shoulders, long arms and legs, hands that dangled a mile out of his sleeves, and feet that might have served for shovels. His head was small, and flat at top, with huge ears, large green glassy eyes, and a long snipe nose, so that it looked like a weathercock perched upon his spindle neck, to tell which way the wind blew.” Yeah, I’d much rather look at Johnny Depp.

However, something that my husband and I both picked up on while watching this movie (and I know we are not the first ones to make this connection) is the uncanny parallel between it and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Excepting the fact that Belle is beautiful (literally and etymologically) while Ichabod is…lanky, they are both bookish, awkward, and also happen to have run-ins in the woods with frightening creatures.

BelleIchabod

“Look there [he] goes that [man] is so peculiar…”

But the most incredible similarity was not between Belle and Ichabod, but between Gaston and Ichabod’s counterpart, Brom Bones, who is basically Gaston sans a hunting rifle and Le Fou. Perhaps that’s what an extra dozen eggs a day gets you? Besides the obvious similarity in looks, these two brawny villains also loved to rile up the villagers with their “It’s a Beast!” battle cries in a final desperate attempt in vanquishing rival suitors. Spoiler alert: it only worked for one of them.

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But apparently Beauty and the Beast isn’t the only Disney film to have borrowed from Sleepy Hollow…check out where Cinderella, released just one year later in 1950, got the inspiration for her original pink ball gown from:

KatrinaCinderella

Fortunately Cinderella only borrowed Katrina Van Tassel’s style…

Now everyone who knows me knows that I love all things Disney. I don’t even care that they recycled some of their own ideas. At least they threw in some catchy songs that I don’t mind having stuck in my head (“No one hits like Gaston, matches wits like Gaston; in a spitting match, nobody spits like Gaston…”).

And I really did enjoy The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. It was a quick read (it is only a short story after all), plus multiple parts had me chuckling while the climatic action at the end created a nice amount of suspense. Perfect October reading :)

[Here’s a link to the 30-minute 1949 version of Sleepy Hollow on Youtube, for those who are interested in finding more Disney film parallels: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxX66vLSZoQ]

Also, has anyone watched the new Sleepy Hollow tv series? I kind of want to give that a try…

→UPDATE Oct. 25: This week Oh My Disney (an official Disney blog) posted this article about Sleepy Hollow, and they even addressed the Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast similarities. 

Also, I started watching the Sleepy Hollow TV series and I love it! Very loosely based on the original story, but the acting is wonderful :)