#PrincessBootCamp – Mulan Week Inspo

Mulan Week movie inspo watch list

mulan

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) – BeyoncĂ©
  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 – Mulan Meal Plan

Disney Princess Boot Camp Mulan Week Chinese meal plan fitness nerd blog post

Princess Boot Camp Mulan Week Disney Fitness Blog

After a brief hiatus, we are charging forward into Week 4: Mulan Week! This week we are in China and studying all about Chinese culture, foods and fitness all while keeping Mulan herself as the central inspiration for the week.

When the Emperor sends out conscription notices to every family in the face of a looming attack from the Huns, Fa Mulan takes the place of her father, Fa Zhou, who is too old to fight. In an effort to spare her father, Mulan disguises herself as a man and uses the moniker, “Ping” to gain access to the training camp and not only pretends to be a soldier in the Emperor’s army, but eventually becomes one!

Disney Princess Boot Camp Mulan Week Chinese meal plan fitness nerd blog post
Photo by Cristina Fowler (@thelittlestfowler)

With the help of Mushu, a diminutive dragon who was decidedly NOT sent by Mulan’s ancestors to aid her, Mulan manages to find her place in the world in the most unlikely way. She discovers a strength in herself that was not permitted for women at the time. And, in turn, becomes the hero she deserves to be. (And in the meantime she gets the hots for Captain Li Shang, voiced by very American actor, Donny Osmond.)

Mulan is voiced by Chinese actress, Ming-Na Wen (most recently Agent May on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), while her singing voice is Lea Salonga (also the voice of Jasmine.)

This is another movie that lives in that happy place for me. I was a freshman in high school when this movie came out and was still very much into Disney movies! So despite it’s flaws, I can easily find it’s virtues. But I can also call a spade a spade and recognize that Disney could have done a lot better to do justice to Chinese culture and representation.

That being said, here’s a look at my meal plan for Mulan Week, which includes a rich assortment of Chinese foods:

-green tea

-meat (chicken, pork and moderate amounts of red meat)

-Chinese fruits (kiwi, lychee, dragon fruit, pomelo, rambutan, ya pear)

disney Princess Boot Camp Mulan Week Meal Plan
Rambutan…tricky to get into, but ultimately delicious!

-Chinese vegetables (bok choy, napa cabbage, water spinach, watercress, pea shoots, bitter melon)

-Other vegetables (broccoli, green beans, carrots, cauliflower)

-soy sauce (use very moderately or swap out regular sauce for a low sodium or light version)

-soup at every meal (the Chinese believe in yin and yang meals that consist of wet and dry foods together)

-white rice (another thing to eat moderately)

A note about switching from a Native American (Pocahontas Week) meal plan to a Chinese (Mulan Week) meal plan. It was a drastic change for my stomach and I tried very hard to ease into the new assortment of foods. I had never tried some of these fruits and vegetables, which was a lot of fun. But it meant that I didn’t know how they would effect me. Just be careful and try things in small amounts and who knows, you might discover some delicious flavors you’ll want to keep eating after Mulan Week is over! I personally loved the Chinese ya pear. It is a fruit I have added to my shopping list permanently!!

There are plenty of other Chinese foods to choose from, this is just the shopping list I was working with. I tried to keep it balanced with the food groups I’d already been working with. Fruit, lots and lots of vegetables, very moderate grains, and meats. The new piece to this week’s equation was the balance of wet foods and dry foods creating the yin/yang meals found in an average Chinese diet. Another interesting fact I found out, the Chinese believe vegetables to be more of a main course item than meat. So a lot of the recipes are veggie centric, which I really enjoyed! Stir-fry was an easy go to for dinners when I wanted something filling and easy to make.

Disney Princess Boot Camp Mulan Week Meal Plan stir Fry nerd blog post

Enjoy!!