Cinderella 2015: A Positive Appeal to the Modern Woman

I am tremendously excited about this film–but more about that in a moment.

First, if you haven’t yet seen the beautiful trailer:

Growing up, I adored Cinderella–Disney, Broadway, Drew Barrymore, Gail Carson Levine’s Ella . . . it didn’t matter. Cinderella was my girl–the girl I wanted to grow up to be. Why? I think that answer is pretty obvious–and rather shallow, I’ll admit. True nonetheless.

You might be able to imagine my delight when last year I discovered that Cinderella was being remade (by Disney, no less) into a live action film (and with Downton’s Lily James!). For those who know me, you can only imagine how much more excited I was when I heard that King Henry V (a.k.a. Kenneth Branagh) was slated to be the director . . . What’s the big deal about Sir Branagh? This is where I tell you that Henry V was my other favorite movie growing up (strange–yes I know). I wasn’t allowed to watch that one when I had friends over. But I digress . . .

Yesterday, when the luscious looking movie’s brand new trailer made its first public appearance, there was (and still is) quite a buzz on social media. Rightly so–it appears that it will be a brilliant film. Excited as I was, I turned to Google to scour for all of the inside details that lay in store for the movie. Why yes, I was in full-on geek mode; it only happens on occasion. I was not disappointed. The most pleasant surprise came when I read several interviews conducted with Branagh, and I discovered the most pleasant confirmation:

Cinderella is not going to be a feminist movie.

What is true, however, is that Cinderella will be  a pro-woman movie, yet it doesn’t cater to any of that overbearing victim-mentality feminist dogma (essentially, the most loudly-voiced part of feminism). Not at all. To reiterate Branagh, the film’s director, there is no victim or martyr-complex for this Cinderella–her strength is her compassion, courage and her kindness.

“I think that [Cinderella] learns to turn the other cheek with strength. She has no sense of self-pity, no sense of being a victim. She makes her own choices, She doesn’t indulge in her own pain or hardships. She looks at the world with compassion. I find her such good company because she’s so un-showy, and yet she’s so charismatic. I think she really knows herself.” ~ Sir Kenneth Branagh to Oh My Disney

It will be refreshing to see a courageous heroine on the big screen who isn’t given to retaliation, and yet whose strength is all the more evident because she chooses not to be the hapless self-absorbed victim.

Cinderella is not going to be an anti-feminist movie.

That’s just fine.

There is something positive to be said for Disney intentionally making its classic heroine pertinent to a modern female audience; really, it’s absolutely necessary. There has been lots of cultural commentary on the detriments of the golden Disney Princesses on modern-day female society–often termed “princess culture.” It’s entirely true that many of us grew up with warped views of dreams and social responsibility because of this propagated so-called “princess culture”–most of which was well-intentioned, but still inadvertently harmful.

“From the inside, we’ve given [the film] a contemporary feel that is human and humane and strangely enough, not built around the idea that Cinderella’s life depends on finding a man or things, like clothes or a title, or just hoping this magic will come along. It’s much more about who she is, what she feels about herself, and taking that kind of sort of spiritual cue to make it refreshing in a contemporary way.” ~ Branagh to E! News

It goes without saying that this production will not become a flagship for feminism rhetoric (no matter how much Bustle may wish for it )–unless a new brand of feminism that advocates for the inner strength of kindness, patience, compassion, grace, endurance, and even the beauty of femininity (this is Cinderella after all) arrives on the scene. Here’s to hoping.

There will always be injustice and oppression within the world and within our lives, but our strength isn’t necessarily defined by our ability to fight or even conquer (because sometimes, like Cinderella, we don’t always have that ability)–but rather, our strength may be found in refusing to play the victim, and instead exercising grace, hope, and even peace-filled endurance.

“[Cinderella’s] life is challenging, no question – but she doesn’t regard [her hardships] as any worse or any more important than anyone else’s. She looks outward with compassion. She feels sadness when life comes around but she is not disposed to be melancholy or tragic. She wants to enjoy the time she has.” ~ Branagh to The Globe and Mail

With hope, I’m looking forward to a beautiful and balanced film that will depict exactly what its director has described.

Image: Disney

Image: Disney

There is so much more that could be said–biblically, spiritually, culturally . . . So, what are your thoughts about the upcoming film? Please, leave a comment.

At Home in Columbus–The Fun of Decorating

Decorating is one ridiculoulsy fun part of growing up and becoming independent. I still have a good bit more to do (yay!)–but here’s the bedroom at present. Doing it on a budget makes it even more fun–no really! I went with elegant neutrals (white, cream and gray) to allow for color pops. Currently I’m on a mint/turquoise kick.


The bedroom furniture is a refurbished Chris Madden set–redone and artistically painted by a local artist in Columbus. I got it for a STEAL. I was thinking of going modern with my furniture (deep down I didn’t really want to–so when I landed this gorgeous set, I sprung for it.)

The comforter and pillows are a Cynthia Rowley set from T.J. Maxx (Maxxinista all the way). I wanted white (scary I know)-but it allows for so much room to decorate/change decor with color . . . etc.

The lamps on the night stand and the sweater chest on either side of the bed are from Hobby Lobby. I’m a firm believer in that place–and I always like to support them–especially with all the antagonism they put up with for standing on principle.

think the curtain is from Bed Bath and Beyond. But you could find an identical one just about anywhere . . .


The print above the bed was inspired by Pinterest–found the quote there–and replicated it with my own spin and design. Ordered the canvas print online–but I couldn’t tell you where. I was nervous about how it might come out–but when it came in, it was beautiful.

The little corn husk doll is from a dear friend living in Slovakia. And yes, the entire thing is made out of corn husk. And the candles were all gifts.

The lamp on the dresser is from Family Dollar. Yep, you read that right. I’m not a name brand snob–not one bit.

The mannequin necklace stand was also from T.J. Maxx and was given to me by my sister.

BOOK REVIEW: Picture Perfect Practice

taken from peachpit.comHaha! It has been a long while since I have written a book review. However, I can promise you that I have  been reading–and reading lots. However, I wanted to review this particular book because of it’s pertinence to something I have made to be a hobby of mine–and because it has only enhanced my understanding of the art and practice of photography.


I will say it right out–Picture Perfect Practice is a fantastic book. Every photographer–aspiring, hobbyist, professional, world renowned (I mean that)–ought to find a place for it on his/her shelf. Roberto Valenzuela posesses the abilities to demonstrate and communicate, through writing and picture examples, what makes his own work so dynamic and powerful, as well as helpfully break down the artistic techniques he faithfully practices into applicable and very doable exercises. But let me get into the specifics on what makes this book so wonderful.

1. Readability. It’s not heavy textually. You won’t feel as if you are reading a textbook. The book shows rather than tells. Every technique is fully explained and subsequently demonstrated with Valenzuela’s own work. Further, and a  huge positive in my opinion, Valenzuela’s tone is down to earth, simplistic, educational–and far from condescending. I feel that he has full faith in the ability and potential of the reader without being assuming.

2. Excellent Examples. Everything in the books demonstrated–and beautifully so. Valenzuela doesn’t give a rule or a suggestion without demonstration from his own work. He’s carefully thought through each practice–and he knows exactly what exercise will hone a specific aesthetic skill.

3. Explains the “Why.”  Let me explain that (yes, yes I know). Many hobbyists (myself included) can take a good picture filled with decent composition, because over time we’ve developed an eye for what
“appears nice” –but we can’t explain why; nor can we explain the technique, nor can we quickly replicate a process or a method of taking a good picture somewhere else in the same way. All we have to go on is “okay, yeah, that looks good right there . . .” But then, stuck in a different situation and we are pressed to compose a good photo (of people or things or places) we can’t find the sweet spot, or it’s laborious, and we don’t know what to do first except trust underlying instincts that aren’t always terribly quick–but yet we know what we’re seeing is going to take a bad picture . . . Okay, now let me explain how Valenzuela expedites the whole trial and error aspect of the “person who only has a good aesthetic eye”. Valenzuela explains and enables the reader, through various exercises, to not just notice aesthetic–but to understand it. And boy, he makes it fascinating.

4. Valenzuela’s photography is gorgeous. If you never fully read the book–but just glance through his photos throughout the book–there is still a lot to be learned. A picture is worth a thousand words–and Valenzuelo’s photos are worth much more than that.

Go, go read it. It’s beautiful.