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 Spotify.com 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! :)