#PrincessBootCamp – Merida Week Inspo

Disney Princess Boot Camp Merida Week Brave fitness inspo nerd blog post

Princess Boot Camp Merida Week Nerd Fitness

  1. Wild Horses – Birdy, Sam Feldt
  2. Brave – Sara Bareilles
  3. Brave Honest Beautiful – Fifth Harmony, Meghan Trainor
  4. Brave – Moriah Peters
  5. Brave the Dark – Bird Passengers
  6. Touch the Sky – Julie Fowlis
  7. Into the Open Air – Julie Fowlis
  8. Siúil A Rún – Lisa Kelly
  9. Girl Named Freedom – Lisa Kelly
  10. The Lark in the Clear Air – Loreena McKennitt
  11. To the Sky – Owl City
  12. Skylines – Glades
  13. Fairytale – Alexander Rybak
  14. Catch the Wind – Donovan
  15. Babel – Mumford & Sons
  16. Home – Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes
  17. After the Storm – Mumford & Sons
  18. Dirty Paws – Of Monsters and Men
  19. I See Fire – Ed Sheeran
  20. 9 Crimes – Damien Rice
  21. Thirteen Sad Farewells – Stu Larsen
  22. Follow the Sun – Xavier Rudd
  23. Blue Skies – Noah and the Whale
  24. Sons and Daughters – Allman Brown, Liz Lawrence
  25. Daughters – John Mayer
  26. Daughters – Lissie
  27. His Daughter – Molly Kate Kestner
  28. Warrior Daughter – Wildwood Kin
  29. Beer Hands – Private Island
  30. The Monster – Eminem, Rihanna
  31. Touch the Sky – Hillsong United
  32. Noble Maiden Fair – Brave Soundtrack
  33. Learn Me Right – Karoline Sem Larm
  34. The Merry Sisters of Fate – Lúnasa
  35. He Mo Leannan (Hey my Love) – Mary Jane Lamond
  36. Under Pressure – Queen, David Bowie
  37. The Apple Tree – Nina Nesbitt
  38. Lon-dubh (Blackbird) – Julie Fowlis
  39. Tha Mo Ghaol Air Aird a’ Chuan – Julie Fowlis
  40. Hug air a’ Bhonaid Mhoir – Julie Fowlis
  41. Tunes Set – Julie Fowlis
  42. Pride – Amy Macdonald
  43. The Whole of the Moon – The Waterboys
  44. Way in the World – Nina Nesbitt
  45. Don’t Stop Believing – Red Hot Chili Peppers
  46. Scottish Fiddle Jig – The Scottish Bagpipes Highland Pipes

 

Brave

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We start our movie list with our fiery haired heroine, Merida from Disney’s Brave. As the daughter of King Fergus and Queen Elinor, there is a certain life that Merida can look forward to. The life of a royal princess and future Queen of the Scottish lords. This means she must marry and she must behave herself. She’s supposed to learn from her mother and not bring her weapons to the dinner table. But Merida wasn’t born the perfect little princess and she believes her destiny lies on a different path from the one she was born with. What I love about Brave is that it’s the story of a tumultuous relationship between mother and daughter, not about a Princess falling in love with a Prince. This movie breaks from Disney Princess movie tradition and sets a precedent for Disney Princesses to come. It’s ain’t all about the man and given her choice among the sons of the Scottish lords vying for her hand…can you blame her? Respect, Merida! Respect.

Braveheart

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Staying in the borders of Scotland, the next movie on our Merida Inspo list is Braveheart, a natural follow-up movie to Brave! I mean…if you’ve never seen Braveheart then you’ve been living in a cave or you are like…6 years old and if it’s the latter, this blog is a little old for ya, kid! If it’s the former, welcome back to the world…go watch Braveheart! “They may take our lives, but they’ll never take…our FREEDOM!” No matter how you feel about the decline of Mel Gibson, that moment is still pure movie magic!!

Highlander

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Ok, the premise of Highlander and ensuing spin offs and sequels is intense. There are Immortals…they fight to the death and of course “there can only be one.” Connor MacLeod, our main character, is one such Immortal as is his and his mentor (hey Sean Connery.) This movie did very poorly when it came out in 1986, but has gained a cult following. And obviously became popular enough to garner Highlander II: The Quickening, Highlander III: The Sorcerer, Highlander: Endgame, Highlander: The Source, and not only a TV series, but an animated TV series as well! Dive in, but beware the Highlander current will sweep you away (or maybe not. I’ve personally never felt the need to watch any of the sequels.)

Hunger Games

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Bad ass chicks who shoot bow and arrows stick together! Katniss and Merida have plenty in common. Mommy issues? Check. Mad archery skills? Check. A destiny that calls them where they don’t want to go? Double check! This movie has plenty of those Brave vibes and you have to be brave to make it through the Hunger Games…see what I did there!

Lord of the Rings Trilogy

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Ok, it’s not Scotland, but there’s archery and sweeping country side and that’s about where the comparison between Brave and LOTR ends, but the Lord of the Rings trilogy basically belongs on every list…so, here it is!

Brigadoon

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Brigadoon has absolutely nothing in common with the above list of more action oriented movie, other than the Scottish thing…to tie it back to Brave. But it’s a classic Hollywood musical starring Gene Kelly, Cyd Charisse and Van Johnson and is an absolute treasure, hence it’s addition to this list! Brigadoon is a disappearing town in the Highlands of Scotland that appears once every 100 years. One that Gene Kelly and Van Johnson happen upon when they are on holiday shooting grouse or whatever it is you shoot in Scotland. And guess which day they happen upon the usually wild and empty space where Brigadoon usually isn’t…yep, that 100th day. Gene meets Cyd and falls in love, obviously. But Gene and Van have lots of questions about this disappearing paradise, especially after a native tries to leave and gets shot in the process. Mystery abounds, love is in the air and there’s lots of singing!!

The Decoy Bride

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This one is a bit of a fringe choice and unless you are a big fan of the 10th Doctor and have actively searched out all you can find of David Tennant, you might not know anything about it. But this rom-com has 2 things going for it that are directly relevant to Brave. #1: It takes place on the island of Hegg, which “lies half-drowned and wind-battered, the furthermost drop of the outermost spray of the curling wave of the Outer Hebrides.” And #2: The Decoy Bride stars Kelly Macdonald, none other than the voice of Merida herself. It’s a simply adorable romantic comedy and on sick days, it is my go to feel better movie these days! Give it a watch, why don’t ya?!

#PrincessBootCamp – Mulan Week Inspo

Mulan Week movie inspo watch list

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This week’s playlist is a mix of Mulan story telling and songs about being strong, a warrior, a fighter…like Mulan! Enjoy.

  1. Honor to Us All – Mulan Soundtrack
  2. Matchmakers – Bandshes
  3. Matchmaker, Matchmaker – Ella Fitzgerald
  4. Reflection – Christina Aguilera
  5. Man in the Mirror – Michael Jackson
  6. Mirrors – Justin Timberlake
  7. I Ran – A Flock of Seagulls
  8. Hard Love – NEEDTOBREATHE
  9. Fight Song – Rachel Platten
  10. I’ll Make a Man Out of You – Mulan Soundtrack
  11. Rise – Katy Perry
  12. Confident – Demi Lovato
  13. A Girl Worth Fighting For – Mulan Soundtrack
  14. Run the World (Girls) – Beyoncé
  15. Run This Town – JAY Z, Rihana, Kanye West
  16. Roar – Katy Perry
  17. Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) – Kelly Clarkson
  18. Fighter – Christina Aguilera
  19. The Fighter – Gym Class Heroes feat. Ryan Tedder
  20. This is War – Thirty Seconds to Mars
  21. Stronger – Kanye West
  22. Warriors – Imagine Dragons
  23. Warrior – Ke$ha
  24. Warrior – Hannah Kerr
  25. War – Sum 41
  26. Warrior – Steve James feat. LIGHTS
  27. War – Edwin Starr
  28. War of Change – Thousand Foot Krutch
  29. Fight for You – Jason Derulo
  30. Battle Scars – Lupe Fiasco, Guy Sebastian
  31. True to Your Heart – 98 Degrees, Stevie Wonder
  32. Princess of China – Coldplay, Rihanna

For the movies this week, we are focusing on Chinese actors and strong female characters. Take a look and let me know if you’d add anything to the list.

Mulan

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Mulan is a film that came out of what is considered Disney’s Renaissance period. And as with Pocahontas (another Renaissance film) there are some glaring issues that I’m gonna go ahead and side step because 1. I love this movie and 2. Mulan is a seriously kick ass female! The problems that present themselves are there. They are worth pointing out and they are equally worth ignoring momentarily to honor the great parts of this movie and to find inspiration from Mulan’s journey. You want a searing critique, that’s not what I do. But there are plenty of sites that will rip this movie apart for you, if that’s what you’re into. Otherwise, enjoy it for what it is and what it was at the time. The first Asian princess. A celebration of Girl Power! And a movie that has my favorite Disney song of all time “I’ll Make a Man Out of You.”

Mulan: Rise of a Warrior

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Before Disney has a chance at a live action version of their animated classic, Mulan, take a look at this version from 2009. A wonderful representation of the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan. And another celebration of strong feminism in a time when that was not celebrated at all.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

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If we’re looking at epic Chinese movies, we cannot look any further than Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. This movie was an international success when it came out in 2000 and was rather surprising, given that the entire movie is in Mandarin with English subtitles. It has a cast of Chinese heavy hitters including Michelle Yeoh, Chow Yun-fat and Zhang Ziyi with direction from Ang Lee. If you haven’t seen it in a while or have never seen it at all, watch it! This movie has strong female characters, incredible action and martial arts sequences and intensely captivating cinematography!

House of Flying Daggers

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This film came out in 2004, after the success of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, but didn’t have quite the punch that Dragon had. Still a very strong film with a Chinese cast and strong female lead in Zhang Ziyi. It’s an action movie, a love story and is another must watch for Mulan Week!

Once Upon a Time in China

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We cannot create a comprehensive list of Chinese movies without having Jet Li on that list! Arguably one of the greatest action stars of our time, Jet Li has been in so many movies that it would take a whole separate list to do justice to all of them. So I started us off with Once Upon a Time in China which has plenty of sequels to watch, if you want to go down the Jet Li rabbit hole…which you absolutely should (see Once Upon a Time in China II, III, Once Upon a Time in China + America and do not leave without watching Last Hero in China!) Once you start down said rabbit hole, add these Jet Li movies to your list as well: Hero, The Forbidden Kingdom, Romeo Must Die, Kiss of the Dragon, Cradle 2 the Grave and the movie he made his debut in, Shaolin Temple.

The Assassins

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Next up on the list of must watch list of fantastic Chinese actors, Chow Yun-fat. As with Jet Li, there are plenty of movies to choose from. I chose this film from 2012, a more contemporary Chinese action movie starring Yun-fat, but you could also add any of these to your list for Mulan Week: A Better Tomorrow, The Killer, Bulletproof Monk, Anna and the King oh and hey! Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End!

Michelle Yeoh

Movies to watch for Mulan Week Disney Princess Boot Camp Inspo

Speaking of amazing Chinese actors that belong on this list, we cannot go further without talking about Michelle Yeoh. Michelle was discovered in a commercial with none other than Jackie Chan (next on our list.) She then went on to become one of the most amazing female action stars, starring alongside Pierce Brosnan in the Bond film, Tomorrow Never Dies and arguably earns her place as one of the very best and most kick ass Bond girls of all time. In this movie, Tai Chi Master, Michelle stars alongside fellow Chinese action star, Jet Li. Michelle along with Jet Li and Chow Yun-fat have an impressive roster of movies that you should watch in your spare time.

Rush Hour

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Jackie Chan is another Chinese heavy hitter. Chan has been in movies since he was a kid back in the 60’s. His roster of films is incredibly long and diverse. But I chose Rush Hour for this list mainly because it was one of my introduction films to the wonderful world of Jackie Chan. I consider him the Robin Williams of marital arts. He is funny and a master and what he does! Here’s another sub list to start you down the path of greater understanding into the genius of Jackie Chan: Shanghai Noon, Drunken Master, Dragon Fist, Armour of God, Police Story, Twin Dragons, Rumble in the Bronx and so many more! Fun fact: Jackie Chan did the Beast’s voice in the Chinese dubbed version of Beauty and the Beast!!

Yentl

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Ok, I know what you’re thinking…Yentl is a strange choice for Mulan Week. But think about it! A girl who wants something different out of her life, dresses as a man and challenges a culture’s perception on what women can do or should do or are capable of doing. Barbra’s Yentl and Ming-Na Wen’s Mulan share many themes and struggles. And hey…girl power to both of them! Give Yentl another watch!

She’s the Man

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And for something a little lighter than Yentl and even lighter than Mulan, hit up Amanda Bynes in She’s the Man. She wants to compete against the boys in soccer, but can’t. So what does she do? She dresses like a man, gets on the team and in the final moments…reveals that they all got their asses handed to them by a girl! Just like Mulan! (Ok, it’s a stretch, but I think it works! Come at me!)

#PrincessBootCamp – Pocahontas Week Meal Plan

Disney Princess Boot Camp nerd blog post Pocahontas Week fitness meal plan

Week 3 has begun and it’s all about Pocahontas.

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Pocahontas is a great Princess to find fitspiration with and incidentally she is the Disney Princess I find myself relating to most. (No one is making a case for historical accuracy here. Favorite things often defy reason and logic!) Pocahontas is free-spirited, strong, fiercely independent and has her own way of looking at life that often contradicts her upbringing.

The older I get, the more I feel like Pocahontas sometimes. I don’t always fit in with “the way of things.” I’m over 30 and unmarried and sometimes I feel like life is waiting for me “Just Around the Riverbend.”

Disney Princess Boot Camp nerd blog post Pocahontas Week fitness meal plan

This week, particularly, I felt very connected to the fitness that I was doing and the foods that I was eating. This week’s meal plan is based on what Native Americans were eating in the early 16th century. Here’s a look at Pocahontas Week shopping list:

-lobster, oysters, shrimp

-corn

-berries (black, rasp, blue, straw)

-nuts and seeds (peanuts, cashews, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, etc)

-pumpkin

-wild game (I don’t like game meats, so I substituted pork and called it wild boar!)

-beans

-honey

-wild rice

-eggs

-greens

This shopping list offered a lot of variety and I felt so healthy this week because everything was very natural. This is a week to appreciate what the Earth can give us in the way of natural foods. Mother Earth provides everything we could ever need. And I had no desire or cravings for processed or refined foods. I started to feel much better in my own skin.

I still haven’t checked to see how much weight I’ve actually lost, as far as numbers on a scale go. But I started to find myself wondering about it less and less and actually focusing on how much healthier I was feeling. How much more I appreciated my muscles after working them. I took note of the way the different foods I was eating made me feel and discovered that dairy wasn’t sitting so well with me and quickly decided to cut it out altogether. Something amazing happens when you listen to your body…it starts communicating with you. That was new!

#PrincessBootCamp – Ariel Week Inspo

Disney Princess Boot Camp Little Mermaid Week fitness inspiration nerd blog post

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This week’s playlist is full of songs you’d expect to be on the list like “Part of Your World,” “Under the Sea,” and of course “Kiss the Girl,” but you’ll also see a little Hunchback of Notre Dame on the list, some Pirates of the Caribbean and basically any song I could get my hands on that was about water, the ocean,  kissing and the Sea. Enjoy this music as you swim your way to better health this week!

  1. Hoist the Colours – Hans Zimmer
  2. Fathoms Below – The Little Mermaid Broadway Cast
  3. Water – Pentatonix
  4. The Ocean and the Sea – Wilderado
  5. Daughters of Triton – The Little Mermaid
  6. Part of Your World – Jodi Benson
  7. Out There – The Hunchback of Notre Dame
  8. Under the Sea – Samuel E. Wright
  9. Poor Unfortunate Souls – Pat Carroll
  10. Evil Woman – Electric Light Orchestra
  11. Caribbean Queen (No More Love on the Run) – Billy Ocean
  12. Nightswimming – R.E.M.
  13. Seaside – The Kooks
  14. Jump in the Pool – Friendly Fires
  15. By the Sea – Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter
  16. Beaches – Moon Taxi
  17. One Step Closer – The Little Mermaid Broadway Cast
  18. Tenerife Sea – Ed Sheeran
  19. Rowing Song – Patty Griffin
  20. Rock the Boat – Aaliyah
  21. Kiss the Girl – Samuel E. Wright
  22. Kiss Me Slowly – Parachute
  23. Every Teardrop is a Waterfall – Coldplay
  24. Lost! – Coldplay
  25. Swim Until You Can’t See Land – Frightened Rabbit
  26. New Love – Gavin DeGraw
  27. We Found Love – Rihanna, Calvin Harris
  28. Marry Me – Train

Here’s a selection of movies to watch that will keep you swimming…

The Little Mermaid

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Obviously the movie that features this week’s Disney Princess is first up on the watch list. But as I’ve mentioned before, she is not my favorite Disney Princess by a long shot. Still, I do consider this a Disney classic from early Disney heydays. And the music comes in higher on my favorites list than Ariel herself. If you haven’t watched it in a long time, give it a look with grown up eyes. It’s tough to justify her falling in love at first sight, abandoning her God given body and family and making a deal with a sea witch to lose her voice for mere days in the presence of the man she loves. I guess I’ve gotten a little more cynical as I’ve grown up, but I just can’t give Ariel a pass on this one.

Splash

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SPLASH!! Classic 80’s movie right here featuring Daryl Hannah and Tom Hanks. This is the mermaid movie that beats all mermaid movies in my mind! A young boy (Tom Hanks) almost drowns off the coast of Cape Cod and is rescued by a mermaid. That boy grows up and is reunited with the mermaid who saved him as a kid, but she’s all grown up and has shiny new legs. He falls in love with her, blissfully unaware of the secret she keeps about her true origins. When an eccentric scientist (Eugene Levy) outs Madison to her one true love and to the rest of the city of New York, Allen (Hanks) will race to save her from the people who will experiment on her and treat her life a lab rat. Will she choose to remain on land or return to the sea where she belongs?

Aquamarine

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This mermaid movie is a fluffy, pink, teeny bopper romp that is pure fun and frivolity. Don’t look deeper than the surface. It’s cheesy and adorable, just accept! Chock full of the kind of fish out of water hijinks that includes, not being able to walk correctly with brand new human legs, falling down a lot, reacting inappropriately to normal human situations and phrases like “There’s something fishy about that girl.” My one small beef with the frothy comedy is that Aquamarine sets her sights on the boy of Emma Roberts’ dreams which breaks all kinds of Girl Codes. Just give that fish a different love interest, that’s all I’m saying!

Hook

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Another classic that deserves it’s place on all kinds of lists and makes this one due to the very limited use of mermaids and the fantastical nature of Neverland. Hook is a retelling of the beloved J.M. Barrie story Peter Pan. Only this time Peter (Robin Williams) is a middle aged lawyer who was left in the land of men and has forgotten who he truly is. When he ends up in Neverland to save his children from the evil clutches of the maniacal and strangely humorous Captain Hook (Dustin Hoffman) the Lost Boys will teach him who he truly is before he can have a chance to bring his family back. And…there are mermaids in one scene! 🙂

Peter Pan

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Same goes for the classic Disney animated version of Peter Pan. There are mermaids in Neverland so I used that as an excuse to put it on the list this week. This version is a faithful adaptation of the classic story. Peter meets Wendy, John and Michael. He brings them to Neverland. We meet the Lost Boys and Tiger Lily. Captain Hook is bad and there is a ticking crock who is looking for some Hook meat. It’s fun, it’s classic and oh yeah…occasional mermaid sightings!

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

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Look, I’m not saying this is the best of the Pirates’ movies. I’m not even saying it’s a very good movie. Jack Sparrow works best when he is helping the Turner Family (Pirates 5 is far more enjoyable!) What I’m saying is that mermaid tears are a necessary ingredient when in pursuit of the Fountain of Youth. And that is just what everyone is searching for in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Jack Sparrow, Captain Barbossa and the dreaded Blackbeard are all in a race to drink from the cup that gives eternal youth along with the British Empire and the Spanish Armada. First…mermaid tears and a scene depicting mermaids as truly scary creatures from the deep. They sing you pretty songs, entice you to the edge of your boat and then drag you to a watery grave. Except for Syrena (Astrid Bergès-Frisbey), the mermaid that falls in love with the young cleric (Sam Caflin) who happens to be along for the ride. Not a great movie, but there are only so many mermaid films to work with here.

Blue Crush

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Which brings us to a decidedly un-mermaidy movie. Blue Crush has a special place in my heart. It came out when I was in college and fervently dreamed of running away to Hawaii and becoming a surfer girl. Ocean…strong, athletic females….love story…it works for Little Mermaid week and is still a stronger love story than The Little Mermaid’s! (Come @ me!) I still dream of being a surfer one day because of this movie, but it certainly is dated in the early 00’s and if you are coming to it with fresh eyes, don’t get too excited about it’s quality. You have been warned!

 

Do you have any movies you feel should make the list for Ariel Week? Let me know!

#PrincessBootCamp – Cinderella Week Fashion Inspo

Cinderella Week Princess Boot Camp Fitness Blog Disney

When I’m in the middle of a fitness series, especially one that has such a specific theme, I like to do all I can to stay in theme, as you could tell from my other blog posts this week. The foods I ate reflected Cinderella, the movies I watched, the music I listened to, the fitness activities I did and since I do consider myself a fashionable person, my fashion reflected Cinderella this week too. From my workout clothes to my nails and beyond.

Work, work, work, work, work…

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Top Knot…

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On the steps of the palace…

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Photo by Cristina Fowler @thelittlestfowler

Nailed it…

Cinderella Week Disney Princess Boot Camp fitness nerd blog post

Tea Time…

Cinderella Week Disney Princess Boot Camp fitness nerd blog post

Dancing through life….

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After the ball…

Cinderella Week Disney Princess Boot Camp fitness nerd blog post
Photo by Cristina Fowler @thelittlestfowler

Squad goals…

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Happily Ever After…

Is there something that helps you focus on your goals?

#PrincessBootCamp – Cinderella Week Inspo

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Movies and music are where I tend to draw the majority of my inspiration. And Disney is a treasure trove of both. Starting with music, here is my complete playlist for Cinderella Week available on Spotify! I used it for my stair runs and throughout the week to keep me thinking happy fairytale thoughts. Play from start to finish for a musical story telling or shuffle it up. Your choice!

 

There are plenty of Cinderella movies and adaptations out there to watch during Cinderella Week that will keep you in an Ella state of mind…

Here are my favorite ones:

Cinderella (1950)

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Obviously we have to start at the very beginning, a very good place to start! In 1950, Cinderella made her debut on the big screen as Disney second resident princess. And her tale has lasted decades! And while there are plenty of lovely remakes on this list, this classic telling will always hold a place in my heart.


Cinderella (2015)

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As far as adaptations go, this live action remake that came out in 2015 is absolute perfection. Lily James was just coming out of her Downton Abbey success and was primed for a great role! And she got it in Cinderella. With an accompanying prince in the form of Rob Stark himself (Richard Madden) playing the dashing and ever so handsome Kit. Where the cartoon glosses over the nuances of a relationship built in a night, the live action fills in the space beautifully and offers an extra chance encounter to get sparks flying. This deserves it’s place in the Disney vault! Though I can’t end this blurb without saying something about Cate Blanchett’s evil stepmother. She puts a shudder down your spine with just a look. The true mark of an excellent Disney villain!

Rogers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella (1965)

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Diving right in to the musicals, we have Roger + Hammerstein’s 1965 Cinderella featuring Leslie Ann Warren. This musical actually debuted on TV in 1957 with none other than Julie Andrews. This is not my favorite Cinderella musical adaptation (look to the next entry for that one) but it is enjoyable and the chemistry between Leslie Ann Warren and her Prince Charming, Stuart Damon is delightful!

Rogers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella (1997)

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Let’s first by talking about the year 1997. I was in the 8th grade and Whitney Houston was my idol! I had every Brandy CD and loved Seinfeld. This musical had everything I could ever want. It was cheesy as hell! There’s no way that Whoopi Goldberg + Victor Garber = Paolo Montalbán, but who cares when you’re an 8th grader with a love of all musical things. This movie caught me at the exact right time in my life and will continue to hold a place in my heart!

Ever After

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I love, love, love this more realistic telling of the Cinderella story. Drew Barrymore plays the poor, orphaned Danielle who has been living with her horrible step family since her father’s death. Angelica Houston nails the role of evil stepmother. And Dougray Scott plays the very charming prince. Her dress at the ball was a serious prom dress goal for me. This came out in 1998 when I was in the 9th grade.

The Glass Slipper

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The Glass Slipper is an adaptation that falls through the cracks for a lot of Cinderella fans. It stars Leslie Caron as a very different kind of Cinderella. She is much more of a tomboy who is very unhappy with her lot in life. She meets who she thinks is an apprentice in the palace, but who is in fact the prince. Given that Caron is an excellent dancer, there’s some great dance numbers in this one and Michael Wilding’s Prince Charles is…well…I know I keep saying they’re all charming, but they are and it’s sort of a requirement, isn’t it!

A Cinderella Story

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Oh Chad Michael Murray, you beautiful specimen. In 2004, Hilary Duff was in the midst of her Lizzie McGuire fame and Chad Michael Murray was smack dab in the middle of his One Tree Hill fame. Which made for the perfect pairing in this teen high school comedy about two students at either end of the popularity spectrum at school, falling in love through IM/text and never seeing each other’s faces. Until he asks her to meet him at the school dance at midnight. She shows up as Cinderella, he shows up as Prince Charming, but will he discover that it’s really the “Diner Girl” under all that glamor. Yep, I love this one too!

Cinderfella

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I’m pretty biased when it comes to Jerry Lewis movies. I was raised on them! And this adaptation of Cinderella in the form of Cinderfella is a favorite. Poor Fella is orphaned as Cinderella’s often are and left to the ministrations of terrible stepmother and stepbrothers. But he’s got a fairy godfather who’s gonna help him meet the princess. Lewis is an expert physical comedian. My favorite part in this movie is a dance scene he does in the kitchen. Love it!

Ella Enchanted

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Ella Enchanted was based on a book of the same name, so I get a very mixed reaction to this one from people. I happen to love it. Anne Hathaway plays Ella, a girl who was given the gift/curse of obedience by her fairy godmother when she was a baby. When her evil stepsister figures out her secret, she’ll use it against her. When Ella meets the handsome prince who she is determined not to like (but ends up totally liking), she’ll do all she can to save him from the consequences of her gift. This movie has a great cast: Minnie Driver, Hugh Dancy, Lucy Punch, Vivica Fox, Parminder Nagra, Eric Idle, Steve Coogan and the one and only Cary Elwes as the evil Edgar.

If the Shoe Fits

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Well, if you’ve never seen this one, you don’t even know what you’re missing. Rob Lowe plays a famous fashion designer, Francesco, who is looking for his perfect muse. Jennifer Grey plays an assistant with big dreams to design the shoes for his fashion shows. But she gets no notice from him till she tries on an enchanted pair of shoes that transform her into the perfect muse for Francesco and hey, a love interest too!!

A Cinderella Christmas

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This one has got Hallmark Channel Christmas movie written all over it, though it is an Ion TV original. I’ll let the blurb from the website speak for itself, “At a holiday masquerade ball, fledgling event planner Angie Wells and wealthy playboy Nicholas Karmichael, who needs to marry to retain his inheritance, meet and fall for each other anonymously. While Nicholas tries to locate the girl of his dreams, Angie must choose between pursuing her lifelong dream of running a business or following her heart.” This one has merit purely for the handsome Peter Porte who plays the wealthy playboy Nicholas.

Aladdin

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Aladdin is very much a Cinderella story. A poor boy of low circumstance has a magical companion who assists him in changing his appearance so he can go meet the beautiful princess. It’s far more in depth than the classic telling of Cinderella and the genie is by far, my favorite character in all Disney canon. But I added this one to the list for it’s Cinderella overtones and because the movie itself ranks high on my Disney list as well.

Sabrina (1954)

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Ah, Sabrina. Not exactly a Cinderella story, but the template is there. A simple chauffeur’s daughter falls in love with the youngest son of her father’s wealthy employer. She goes off to Paris where she is transformed from a gawky girl to a beautiful woman, there’s even a memorable dress involved. This one has a twist, because it isn’t the younger son who turns her head in the end.

Sabrina (1995)
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See the notes from the 1954 Hepburn/Bogart edition, because this is a faithful adaptation of that movie. Except it has the ever handsome Harrison Ford as Linus Huckabee and the transformative Julia Ormond as Sabrina. Greg Kinnear rounds out this cast as the younger brother who first steals Sabrina’s heart.

There are plenty of other Cinderella adaptations to choose from, but these are my favorites. Which is yours?

Dear Inspiration,

Dear inspiration,

Dear spark of imagination,

Dear intense, unfailing dedication to sharing my inner conflagration,

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Where have you gone today? Correction, where have you been for a while now? I remember the days when we would sit in Central Park, me with a pen and paper, you swarming through my whole being, igniting the cobwebs in my mind and turning every silken thread into a tapestry of thoughts. These days my thoughts feel less substantial. My writing less inspired. My blog sadly missing you and your flare for the dramatic honesty.

Something was lost between New York, California and Florida. Perhaps you lost track of me in my travels. I tend not to stay in one place for long, if I can help it. The fault is yours, for I travel to experience more of you. But lately when I sit down to write, what comes out is a cacophony of words that have no cohesion. A maelstrom of thoughts with no clear conclusion. Where have you gone, my inspiration? Did I leave you in New York? I thought I felt your breath on my neck when we went to California. Every sunset we saw together would inspire poetry. I wasn’t seeing those sunsets alone was I?
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I know, I know…sometimes you visit me in the wee hours of the morning, when I’m still drunk on dreams. But what you leave behind, I cannot seem to grasp. The mere whisper of magic…the faint scent of the divine. I wish I could lasso your power and harness your energy. I wish I could keep you in a bottle and pour you on when I need you most.

But you are not to be caught in my fisher’s net. You, imagination…you are fierce and wild and will not be tamed by a mere mortal. Even one who thinks as highly of you as I do. Even one who puts a store of dreams in the mention of your name. Even I don’t deserve to keep you locked up, like a tiger in a zoo. Locked up and caged where you do not belong.

There are others who call upon your influence. Others who need you as much as I do. And I know you have to answer their siren call, for their call is no more important than mine. You have to be in so many places at once. God made it so. The way He made it so Santa Claus could travel through the night and need no rest till his work is done. You, too, are undaunted by the call of your duty to the dreamers of the world.

Galaxies are created in your name. Brand new worlds uncharted by human cartographers are discovered. Characters spring to life, upright and fully functioning in the minds of the creators, your offspring. Those who write and draw and sing and dream. Those who make empowered speeches that inspire others to write and draw and sing and dream. This is the evidence of your majestic influence. The bright colors splashed upon our world to brighten dull days and give bold words to mundane moments. You, the paintbrush of God himself, are hard at work in someone else today.

Don’t forget to return to me. Don’t forget your faithful friend. I await your return with eager anticipation. My pen still finds the paper in your absence. My voice is not gone. I use the remnants of what you left behind when last we were together and I will write and draw and sing and dream until the day you come back to me.

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New Year, New Word

As you may (or may not, if this is your first visit to my blogosphere) know, I gave up New Year’s Resolutions a few years ago. I decided it was time to stop changing things about myself and start challenging myself to simply be better.

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Each year I choose a word that will become a mantra, a creed, a manifesto to use for the whole of the year.

2016’s word was “Free” and to be honest, it was the opposite of a free-ing year. At times I wanted to be anywhere other than where I was. But in the aftermath of the year that seemed interminable, I can’t help but reflect upon those inalienable rights that I have taken for granted, like…you guessed it, Freedom.

But I don’t want to start this year with the same mistakes as last year. The challenge is to be better. And better is what I intend to be.

With that being said, this year I have chosen the word “Believe” to represent my journey through 2017. Somewhere between New York, California and Florida I stopped believing. I stopped believing in myself, in humanity, and in basic human decency. And while my belief in God never wavered, my trust in Him sure did and my belief in His plan over mine definitely took a hit. God and I have been in a bit of a knock down, drag out for the majority of the year.

But let’s be honest, I was only one doing any fighting in this relationship.

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Believe is one of those airy concepts like “Dream” or “Imagine.” It’s not quite as tangible as other words might be. “Trust” is a word you can sink your teeth into, but Believe…it’s more abstract. There are a lot of ways it can be applied.

That’s exactly what this year is gonna be about. What exactly do I believe? What do I believe about myself? What do I believe about the world? What do I believe are the best practices from a political standpoint? And how does my belief in faith translate to my daily life?

This is a big one, guys. You know how you never pray for patience because if you do God’s gonna throw something or someone at you that will force you to BE patient? This feels like that kind of mine field. Figuring out my core beliefs could take me anywhere.

The Liz of 2016 wasn’t ready for that kind of adventure. The Liz of 2016 wasn’t ready for that kind of challenge. The Liz of 2016 was merely treading water. But no more!

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I hope you’re ready to share in this journey with me. And I hope you choose a word that will represent your year. If you decide to give up on resolving to change, then share your word in the comments below and I will do my best to encourage you this year.

What I’ve learned most from 2016 is that community and encouragement are more important than ever. There are way too many things in this world, in this country that will divide us if we let them. The way we speak, the words we say, the colors of our skin, the religions that we practice. That’s why we have to find common ground. The fact that we are all flawed human beings is a great place to start!!!

Have a Happy New Year and know that I BELIEVE in you!

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Yes…YOU!