Friday, March 13, 2015

Wrapping Up the Hiatus, Cinderella, Frozen Fever, and Other Randomness

Hey everyone!  Thank you so much for letting me take a much-needed break to prepare for Mount Hermon. :)  I was able to get a lot of things ready for the conference.  Posting will still be a bit sporadic this month, as I still have some things I'd like to finish before I leave.  (Two short weeks from today, I'll be attending my first day of seminars!) :D  However, I have at least two posts in the works that should be up sometime next week. :)

My "Ask Beast'sbelle" YouTube vlog is going to have to wait until April.  Between the ongoing cold and flu bugs my family has been fighting and my preparation for Mount Hermon, I just haven't been able to pull it off.

So what did I do during my break?  Well, first off, I took care of three kids with colds, caught a cold myself, and then took care of a kiddo with the flu.

I also experienced an unexpected loss.  My sweet uncle "E" passed away unexpectedly on February 28th.  He was just diagnosed with cancer at the beginning of the year, but had some other health problems that contributed to his death.  He was a kind, thoughtful man who was a huge influence in my life, always encouraging me in my art and in my writing.  To the best of my knowledge, he never gave his life to the Lord, which adds to the sorrow.  I will always appreciate the part he played in my life, and will miss him very much.

As far as conference prep, I wrote about six more chapters on my first book, wrote the first four chapters of my second book, plotted out the first four blog posts of a tie-in blog I hope to do when the books are published, did some concept art, ordered business cards, and wrote my query letter and synopsis.  Not bad, if I do say so myself. ;)  Things are really coming together.

My blog also hit another milestone.  For the first time ever, I was contacted by a high-end doll company to review one of their dolls! :D  I've been very interested in the Maru and Friends doll line ever since I heard about them a few years ago, so I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to review Maru for the blog.  Her review post will be up next week.  Here's a sneak peek at this adorable doll (I think I have a new favorite!):

I can't wait to share the full review with all of you. :)

In other news, I had the chance to see Cinderella and Frozen Fever today! :D  I took my girls, and my dear friend, who is visiting from Arizona, met us there with her two girls and her mom.  My girls and I got there a little early and took some pictures for the blog:

My three princesses. ;)

This is only the second time my younger two have been to a movie theater (it's Oldest Gal's third trip, as she got to see Big Hero 6 in theaters), so they were very excited! :)

Little Gal and Middle Gal brought their Disney Store Cinderella dolls they bought on their birthday trip.  For some reason, I didn't need to tell the cashier which movie tickets we were purchasing. ;)

Little Gal's Cinderella.  It was very important to Little Gal for Cinderella to hold her skirt. ;)

Middle Gal's Cinderella, feeling dreamy and contemplative. ;)

This movie lived up to and exceeded my expectations.  Patrick Doyle's beautiful score was just wonderful, something I could listen to over and over again.  (I'm actually listening to it on right now as I type, reliving the magic.) ;) The cinematography was lush and beautiful.  The acting was superb, and the main characters were wonderful, positive role models with integrity, something that is missing from many of today's films.  I loved the fact that both Ella and Kit (the Prince) had good relationships with their parents.  I also appreciated that Ella and Kit's relationship was fleshed out and given more depth. 

  I felt that Disney and Mr. Kenneth Branagh did an excellent job of paying homage to the original film, yet at the same time, giving us more detail and background on the characters and the story.  The best part of all is that it is a film the whole family can enjoy.  Okay, most little boys probably won't be begging their parents to go see it. ;)  But I so appreciated that they didn't go really dark with this film like some of the other fairy tale films that have been released.  While there were some emotionally intense parts that had me tearing up, there was nothing horribly scary or demonic in this film.  Most of all, I loved the overlying theme of the movie: "Have Courage and Be Kind".  This theme was not only repeated again and again, but it was also demonstrated in Ella's actions.  I give it my 100% recommendation, especially for moms and daughters.  The girls and I all agreed that we could turn around and watch it all over again right now.  It was that good. :)

Oh, and Frozen Fever was adorable, too! :D  It was so much fun revisiting all of the familiar characters.  My two favorite parts?  Kristoff's sudden declaration (and yes, he sings in this movie!) and Hans' hilarious cameo! :D

And, for those of you who haven't heard, Frozen 2 is in the works.  I'm hoping they do it justice, but I have to admit that overall the little nerd girl in me is completely geeking out!  It's all the same directors, producers, and actors, and they love this story as much as we do.  There are definitely some obstacles they'll have to overcome to make it live up to the original, but I'm definitely more confident about Disney sequels now than I used to be. ;)

I'll wrap things up with a few more pictures.  In keeping with the theme, of course. ;)

So first off, my mom was really sweet and bought me the Frozen Fever dolls from the Disney Store. :D  This is the Elsa and Anna "Summer Solstice Gift Set".

I love this set and all of the detail in both dolls.



I am planning on keeping these girls in the box for now, but if you'd like to see more detail (including a comparison with the Mattel Frozen Fever dolls), you can check out Chad Alan's YouTube review HERE

And back to Cinderella now. ;)  The Mattel dolls are FINALLY starting to show up in local stores in my area.  I found these at Walmart. 

I would really love to add this version of Ella to my collection at some point.  I just can't quite justify the $40 I'd need to spend on her right now. ;)

I think that's about it for now.  I'll be slowly publishing comments and responding to them over the next few days.  Email responses will have to wait until after the conference, although a few of you caught me at just the right time and actually got a response right away! ;)

Talk to you guys again soon! :)  


Farrah Lily said...

I am so glad to see you back! My deepest sympathies to you and your family, though on the loss of your uncle. It's sad to lose a loved one and my thoughts and prayers will be with you guys tonight.
In other news, congrats on all you have achieved on your blogging hiatus! It seems like you got A LOT done, which is great and you must feel a bit relieved. :)
That is amazing that you were contacted by Maru and Friends to do a review!! Their dolls are gorgeous and what a wonderful milestone to hit as I know it's been your goal for a while.
I'm glad to hear you guys really liked Cinderella! I'm hoping to see it soon. SO excited about Frozen Fever and Frozen 2. I also treated myself to the FF dolls and am looking forward to their arrival! :)

tofanpw said...

Indonesia released cinderella on the 12th and I immediately went to see it,for frozen fever actually. The short is kinda disappointing(probably because of my high expectation),but cinderella surprised me,it was really good,too good,made me want to buy mattel's royal ball cinderella. My favorite scene is fairy godmother's,and I half expected the prince to throw away the shoe because he recognizes and accepts her as she is when they finally meet and she bear(is this the right word?) her heart to him. Made me excited for next year's beauty and the beast.

Kewpie83 said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. :( On a brighter note, I look forward to reading your review on Maru. My Tanya review is going next week. :)

Stephanie said...

Congratulations on writing all those chapters and for the honor of receiving Maru to review.

Meritre said...

Sounds like you had a lot of fun!
Oh, lovely Frozen dolls! I wonder if the paint on Annas legs is removable or not. I want them so badly but I don' like those painted legs... (and the ice skating set is sold out...)
I'm looking forward to the Maru doll review, she looks really sweet! I really like her face though she looks a bit serious. And I love dolls with long hair!
I'm sorry for your loss. :((( 'Nothing sinks and disappears if we don't forget it, the memories live on somewhere' - it's a quote (well, sort of) form a hungarian musical I know and love
Good luck to the finishing preparations and have a really nice trip!

Lydia Therese said...

It's good to see you back, and I'm glad you got a lot accomplished. I'm very sorry about your loss. :(

I hope to purchase tickets for Cinderella - I really want to see it and I'm sure Frozen Fever is going to be adorable!
I have to admit I'm a little scared about Frozen 2 - Disney's sequels never were that great in my opinion.

Ahh! Maru is sooo cute! I've been eyeing those dolls for awhile now. I can't wait to hear what you think of her. ;)

~Lydia~ <3

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for the post. I really enjoyed reading it. Sorry for the loss of uncle E.

P.s. Middle gal's Ella might want to see a chiropractor. That, or she's extremely flexible. ;)

MyLittleMegara said...

I am so sorry for the loss of your uncle. You are in my prayers.

I am trying to keep my DS FF sister set in the box as well, though I don't think that will last much longer... I absolutely loved Cinderella and Frozen Fever... my whole family did! And Kristoff's solo??? AYEEE!!! *fangirling* He is my favorite Disney guy and there I was, dressed like Anna in her birthday dress... I hope we get a wedding (or at least an engagement) in Frozen 2!

Nina said...

I'm very sorry about the loss of your uncle. You are your family are in my prayers.

I'm so glad you got to see Cinderella! I heard it was amazing, as is Frozen Fever. I'm going with my family in the coming week or so and I cant wait!

Have a great day!:)

Carrickters said...

I'm not surprised the cashier didn't need to ask what tickets you wanted. It's good to hear that it is such a good movie.
I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your uncle. It's doubly hard when you don't know exactly where they stand in relation to eternity. But you do have good memories of him and his influence on your life.
Looking forward to your review of Maru.

beastsbelle said...

Thank you so much to all of you for your sweet thoughts and comments. :) I'm glad to be back and sharing with all of you again. :)

Meritre said...

Bringing once more some Frozen doll news:
Bed time:


I think the bedtime set is worth even only for all those pretty gowns :)

MyLittleMegara said...

Oooh Meritre they're lovely! Do you know when they come out?

Meritre said...

Sadly, I have no idea when they come out :( I just found them looking at dollphotos, I can spend our wandering about on flickr. I wanted to share it and thought it won't harm to share it here. I have high hopes that these are sets that will come to my country, too! It just takes a little (or a lot of) patience.
PS: It is worth to check back later on the pictures, when the release date is known it 'll perhaps appear in the comments.

MyLittleMegara said...

I'll definitely keep an eye out! Thank you!

beastsbelle said...

Thanks for the links, Meritre! I still prefer the Disney Store dolls, but these sets look really fun. :)

P.S. I love it when you guys carry on your own conversations in the comments. :D It's so fun seeing you connect with each other. :)

Meritre said...

They now are available on

beastsbelle said...

Thanks, Meritre! :)