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The Strangers Chapter 1, A Terrifying Tale of Survival in a Remote Cabin, Froy Gutierrez as “Ryan” and Madelaine Petsch as “Maya” in THE STRANGERS Trilogy, a Lionsgate release.

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Hey there, my fellow horror enthusiasts! Ready to dive into the spine-chilling world of “The Strangers Chapter 1”? If you’re a fan of heart-pounding, edge-of-your-seat horror flicks, then buckle up because this one’s a doozy! Talk about a terrifying tale of survival in a remote cabin. It really might. make you rethink that airbnb in the woods. Also, it’s the perfect summer horror movie to watch with your teens. Just the right amount of creepy.

 

The Strangers Chapter 1, A Terrifying Tale of Survival in a Remote Cabin, Froy Gutierrez as “Ryan” and Madelaine Petsch as “Maya” in THE STRANGERS Trilogy, a Lionsgate release.

Picture this: a young couple, played by the talented Madelaine Petsch and Froy Gutierrez, find themselves stranded in the middle of nowhere when their car decides to take a permanent vacation. As if that wasn’t bad enough, they’re forced to seek shelter in a remote cabin that screams, “GET OUT WHILE YOU STILL CAN!” But hey, where’s the fun in that?

Disclosure: I was provided a screener of The Strangers Chapter 1 for review purposes but all opinions are my own. Rated R with a runtime of 91 minutes.

Now, I don’t know about you, but if I were in their shoes, I’d be hightailing it out of there faster than a toddler running from bedtime. But our brave (or foolish) protagonists decide to stick it out, unaware of the terrifying night that awaits them.

The Strangers Chapter 1, A Terrifying Tale of Survival in a Remote Cabin, Froy Gutierrez as “Ryan” and Madelaine Petsch as “Maya” in THE STRANGERS Trilogy, a Lionsgate release.

Enter the three masked strangers, who apparently missed the memo on basic human decency. These creepy intruders have one mission: to terrorize the poor couple with no mercy and seemingly no motive. It’s like they woke up and thought, “Hey, let’s ruin someone’s night for funsies!”

As the night progresses, the couple finds themselves in a desperate fight for survival. They’re forced to confront their deepest fears and make split-second decisions that could mean the difference between life and death. And let me tell you, the suspense is so thick, you could cut it with a knife (but please don’t, because that’s just asking for trouble).

The Strangers Chapter 1, Froy Gutierrez as “Ryan” and Madelaine Petsch as “Maya” in THE STRANGERS Trilogy, a Lionsgate release.

What sets “The Strangers Chapter 1” apart from other horror movies is the sheer unpredictability of the masked assailants. Their motives are unclear, making their actions all the more terrifying. It’s like playing a twisted game of cat and mouse, except the mice are armed with nothing but their wits and a whole lot of adrenaline.

 

Madelaine Petsch and Froy Gutierrez deliver outstanding performances, bringing depth and authenticity to their characters. You can’t help but root for them as they navigate this nightmarish scenario, and their chemistry on-screen is palpable. It’s the kind of connection that makes you invest in their survival, even as the odds stack up against them.

The remote cabin setting adds an extra layer of isolation and helplessness to the story. It’s the perfect backdrop for a horror movie, with its creaky floorboards, eerie shadows, and a distinct lack of Wi-Fi (because let’s face it, that’s the real horror here). The filmmakers masterfully use the environment to heighten the tension, making you feel like you’re right there with the characters, holding your breath and praying for daylight.

The Strangers Chapter 1, Froy Gutierrez as “Ryan” in THE STRANGERS Trilogy, a Lionsgate release.

“The Strangers Chapter 1” is just the beginning of what promises to be a thrilling horror series. It sets the stage for more chilling adventures to come, leaving you both satisfied and craving more. It’s the kind of movie that makes you double-check your locks and think twice about venturing into the great outdoors. Talk about a terrifying tale of survival in a remote cabin?

 

So, if you’re ready for a heart-pounding, adrenaline-fueled ride, then “The Strangers Chapter 1” is the movie for you. Available on PEST / PVOD on June 7, 2024!  Thank you Lionsgate for a new horror movie series to look forward to. Just make sure you have a buddy to watch it with, because trust me, you’ll need someone to clutch onto when the jump scares hit. And remember, if your car ever breaks down in a creepy small town, maybe just call an Uber instead of seeking shelter in a remote cabin. Better safe than sorry, right?

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Tiana's Bayou Adventure Opens June 28 at Walt Disney World

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Y’all Ready for This Splash-tastic New Adventure? Listen up, princesses and Disney adults, alike! The clock is ticking, and we’re just DAYS away from one of Disney’s most wildly anticipated new attractions dropping into the Magic Kingdom; Tiana’s Bayou Adventure!

Is Tiana’s Bayou Adventure Coming in 2024?

On January 22, 2023, the iconic Splash Mountain ride closed for royal renovations. But no fear, on June 28, 2024 the iconic ride will reSPLURGE anew as Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. This is a musical, heart-pounding celebration of the first Black Disney princess, Tiana herself! Have I mentioned that she is my favorite princess, with Merida, Rapunzel and Moana coming in a close second. Who am I kidding, I love all of the Disney princesses. I just happen tp identify with some more than others.

And if this news doesn’t instantly flood your heart with nostalgic Disney magic and pure HYPE, we might need to revoke your mom card. Because let’s be honest – what’s more iconic than a strong, determined heroine who didn’t just dream it, but DID IT? Tiana built her entire life from the ground up through hard work, grit and an unshakeable belief in herself. Bring on the Black Girl magic because I am here for it!

She’s the Disney princess for today’s mamas hustling on a million different levels ( and especially those of us with ADHD) while still trying to keep our poise, grace and beignet powder properly applied, you feel me? Tiana understood the assignment.

Is Tiana’s Bayou Adventure the Same as Splash Mountain?

While Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is replacing Splash Mountain, it’s far from a simple rebrand. This new attraction picks up where the 2009 movie “The Princess and the Frog” ended, inviting guests to join Tiana, Naveen, and their friends on a new adventure. You’ll explore the bayou, discover the rich culture and spirit of New Orleans, and experience Tiana’s story of hard work, perseverance, and dreams coming true in a whole new way.

So get ready to be DAZZLED as you drop down into the lush, jazz-filled heart of New Orleans and join Miss Leading Lady herself on a brand new, musically delectable adventure.

Is Tiana’s Bayou Adventure Going to Have a Drop?

The Iconic Drop That Had No Business Slapping That Hard Let’s start with the obvious – Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is keeping that surprising, serotonin-spiking 52-FOOT PLUMMET that made Splash Mountain an undisputed thrill ride queen.

Except this time around, you’re free-falling straight into the festivities as Tiana, Naveen, Louis and probably some dapper, lively critters get the band together for the Mardi Gras party of the century.

Just picture it: you’re bobbing along, shimmying through the bayou to some jammin’ zydeco when BAM – you get LAUNCHED over a modern day grand picture mill-esque showstopping scene starring the iconic princess herself. Then it’s “raining” as you splash down into the celebration, instantly becoming the life of Tiana’s party. WHY LAWD?! Sorta. It’s a water ride, after all. 

It’s taking the surprise element that shocking drop of Splash always delivered and leveling it UP with the festive, jaw-dropping pageantry only Disney could conceive. You’re about to be part of the show, baby!

Tiana's Bayou Adventure Opens June 28 at Walt Disney World

(Bennett Stoops, Photographer)

Everything to Know Before You Drop Into Tiana’s Bayou Adventure

But That’s Not All, Folks… While Tiana herself will obviously be the emerald-studded guest of honor, the new ride is stuffed with surprises, scenery and characters that’ll have your family squealing from the front row.

There’s the whimsical aesthetic of Tiana’s bustling New Orleans restaurant-running life to admire as you float through. The zydeco funk soundtrack hitting from every mossy branch (we WILL get songs stuck in our heads, it’s happening). Then, maybe some fun, useful cooking tips from Mama Odie’s mouth herself ? Probably not,  but wouldn’t that be cool?

And we’re predicting there will be at LEAST one critter convention showstopper celebrating Naveen’s motley princess-charming crew where we finally get the 3D Louis the Gator experience we all secretly craved.

Speaking of, how stinking ADORABLE will it be to watch our little ( and big) kiddos’ eyes lite up as they finally see their beloved Tiana & Co. in the full flesh? My teen girls cannot wait and neither can I. The first time I met Tiana at Walt Disney World, I actually cried. I cried folks. Look, my soul is prepared to levitate at the first sight of my girls screaming “THERE SHE IS!” at their favorite Disney heroine like she’s the dang president or something.

TL;DR – it’s about to be an overstuffed Sammy of New Orleans-inspired delights, magic, and heartfelt life lessons that’ll sear your childhood into the footprint at the bottom of the ride. Just as a family Disney journey should be.

The Inspiration Behind the Ride

The Powerful Princess Story We Need But beyond the splashy thrills and Broadway-esque fanfare, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure gives us a much-needed beacon of inspiration we could all use more of. Especially today’s youth.

Tiana: The Ultimate Role Model

Unlike so many other Disney princesses, Tiana wasn’t born into wealth or royalty. She was a young woman from humble beginnings who rolled up her sleeves and DID. THE. WORK. to make her wildest dreams a reality. Who wouldn’t be inspired by her? She’s a “can do” attitude icon.

From working multiple jobs to bobbing for frog princes in the dead of night when opportunity knocked, Tiana showed that grit, perseverance and leading with your heart will always win out. Her story isn’t about tiaras or toxic tropes, it’s about manifesting the life you want through sweat, smarts and self-belief. #Preach

And in this world of overwhelming think pieces and thinkfluencer anxiety…that message feels more relevant and POWERFUL than ever, doesn’t it?

Tiana's Bayou Adventure Opens June 28 at Walt Disney World

(Olga Thompson, Photographer)

A Family-Friendly Adventure

With all the social media fluff, filtered fronts and princess fallacies being CRANKED into our daughters’ worldviews on a daily basis, I’m pretty dang stoked to usher them into this next iconic Disney era. One where a hard-working young queen who looks like them gets to take the well-deserved lead and center stage, while still jamming to absolute bops.

Get Ready to Drop Into the Magic

So Let’s Dive Right In to This New Adventure! The way I see it, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is more than just an adrenaline-pumping boat ride with jazz hands. It’s set to become yet another wildly inspiring, smile-insemintating, generational bonding experience – like only Disney can provide.

The New Orleans Connection

It’s an homage to New Orleans’ rich cultural ties and Black histories; a testament to the people who live and breathe NOLA. Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is a life primer on dreaming BIG, working harder, and becoming the main character you’re meant to be. And most importantly, it’s a reason for families everywhere to make more magical memories as we collectively slip-slide into summer.

So let’s get ready to make a splash, mamas! Don your cutest Tiana-approved seersucker and make those Walt Disney World vacation plans ASAP. Because this attraction isn’t just bringing thrills – it’s bringing a whole new paradigm of Disney fun. And it’s bringing empowerment along for the ride. Believe me,  you won’t want to miss it for the world.

Don’t miss out on the adventure! Book your tickets to Walt Disney World now and be among the first to experience Tiana’s Bayou Adventure on June 28, 2024. For tips on maximizing your Disney vacation, check out 10 Tips for Maximizing Your Walt Disney World Vacation for Free. Plus, learn how to make the most of your trip with How to Plus Up Your Walt Disney World Vacation for Free.

Remember, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure isn’t just a ride—it’s a journey into the heart of New Orleans. It’s  a celebration of dreams, perseverance, and the magic that happens when you believe in yourself. Share this post with fellow Disney fans and start planning your magical adventure today!

Book those vacay packages now! The bayou is calling, and it’s time to let the good times roll with Tiana taking the lead.

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Chicago, Cirque du Soleil Crystal

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Hold onto your imaginary snowflakes, Chicago! Brace yourselves for a spectacle that’s not just cool, it’s ice-cold amazing!  Prepare yourselves for Cirque du Soleil Crystal, the world’s first acrobatic performance on ice, gliding into NOW Arena from March 22nd to 24th, 2024. This ain’t your grandma’s figure skating routine, people. Think death-defying aerial stunts, heart-stopping acrobatics, and a dazzling display of artistic mastery – all on a slippery, shimmering stage of frozen dreams!

Chicago, Cirque du Soleil Crystal

Forget Zambonis and triple axels. This show is about redefining boundaries, pushing limits, and leaving you speechless (okay, maybe gasping for air after all that awe-inspiring movement). Imagine soaring trapeze artists defying gravity on a frosty platform, synchronized skaters swirling in mesmerizing formations, and daring hand-to-hand duos defying the laws of physics – all while carving graceful lines on the ice. It’s like a Winter Wonderland meets Olympic Games meets your wildest circus dreams, and believe me, it’s mind-blowingly beautiful.

Chicago, Cirque du Soleil CrystalBut wait, there’s more! This isn’t just a showcase of jaw-dropping feats. Crystal weaves a heartwarming story of self-discovery through the eyes of its protagonist, aptly named… Crystal. Join her on a journey of self-acceptance, embracing individuality, and finding your inner sparkle (pun intended!). With breathtaking visuals projected onto the icy canvas and a chillingly beautiful soundtrack, you’ll be swept away in a world of wonder, laughter, and maybe even a few tears (happy ones, of course!).

Chicago, Cirque du Soleil Crystal

Here’s the icing on the cake (or should I say, snowflake on the ice?):

  • It’s for everyone! Whether you’re a seasoned cirque aficionado or a family looking for a unique outing, Crystal’s magic will mesmerize audiences of all ages.
  • It’s a first-of-its-kind experience! Witness history in the making as Cirque du Soleil breaks new ground with this innovative icy extravaganza.
  • It’s got all the bells and whistles (and snowflakes)! From jaw-dropping acrobatics to stunning visuals and a touching story, this show has something for everyone.

Chicago, Cirque du Soleil CrystalSo, ditch the Netflix queue and lace up your metaphorical skates, Chicago! This is one event you don’t want to miss. Get your tickets now and prepare to be dazzled, inspired, and left saying, “Did I just see someone do a triple Salchow on ice without falling?!” (Spoiler alert: you probably did.)

Tickets are on sale now at cirquedusoleil.com/crystal . Don’t let this icy dream melt away – book your seats and get ready to witness the magic of Cirque du Soleil Crystal unfold before your very eyes. Trust me, this is one Winter Wonderland you won’t forget!

Chicago, Cirque du Soleil Crystal

Don’t just imagine the magic, LIVE IT!

Cirque du Soleil Crystal isn’t just a show, it’s an experience that’ll leave you breathless, inspired, and maybe even questioning the laws of physics (seriously, those skaters defy logic!).

Chicago, Cirque du Soleil Crystal

Ready to trade your Netflix queue for jaw-dropping acrobatics and a heartwarming story on ice? Then:

  • Clickety-clack your way to cirquedusoleil.com/crystal and snag your tickets before they disappear faster than a triple axel!
  • Round up your squad (family, friends, whoever gets excited by icy awesomeness) and prepare for a night you’ll never forget. ❄️
  • Share the hype on social media with #CrystalChicago and tag @Cirque du Soleil! Let’s get this icy party started!

Chicago, Cirque du Soleil CrystalRemember, Chicago, this Winter Wonderland melts away on March 24th! Don’t miss your chance to witness the magic firsthand. ✨

For more incredible Cirque du Soleil posts:

La Nouba

Dralion

Volta

Corteo

Luzia

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Back to the Future the Musical, Broadway in Chicago

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Attention Gen X, Gen Z and anyone who loves musicals; hold onto your flux capacitors, Windy City! Dust off your DeLorean and grab your hoverboard, because Back to the Future: The Musical is blasting into Chicago’s Cadillac Palace Theatre for three electrifying weeks, August 13th to September 1st, 2024! The critically acclaimed, time-traveling, toe-tapping extravaganza, Back to the Future: The Musical, is blasting into the Cadillac Palace Theatre this August! Get ready to witness Marty McFly’s electrifying journey through time, set to a score that’ll have you humming along from the first to the eighty-eighth minute (and maybe even beyond!).

Back to the Future the Musical, Broadway in Chicago

Brought to you by Broadway in Chicago, this critically acclaimed spectacle isn’t just a trip down memory lane – it’s a time-traveling thrill ride packed with jaw-dropping effects, infectious tunes, and enough laughs to power Doc Brown’s flux capacitor!

Remember Marty McFly, that teenage rock ‘n’ roll rebel accidentally zapped back to 1955? Yeah, the chaos is back, baby! Witness Marty scramble to ensure his parents fall in love (awkward!), outrun Biff’s bully antics (classic!), and all while rocking out to new music by Emmy and Grammy award-winners (epicness guaranteed!).

Back to the Future the Musical, Broadway in ChicagoForget DeLorean-induced whiplash, because Back to the Future the Musical will leave you breathless with:

  • Jaw-dropping spectacle: Remember that iconic DeLorean ride? Buckle up for a stage version that’ll have you feeling the G-force (minus the nausea).
  • Show-stopping tunes: From brand new bangers to classic favorites like “The Power of Love” and “Johnny B. Goode,” this score will have you dancing in the aisles (or at least tapping your feet uncontrollably).
  • Laugh-out-loud humor: Doc Brown’s zany antics, Biff’s buffoonery, and Marty’s witty one-liners will have you chuckling faster than a flux capacitor can charge. Laughs for all ages: Whether you’re a die-hard fan or a newcomer to the franchise, this show is guaranteed to tickle your funny bone and warm your heart.
  • A heart-warming story: At its core, Back to the Future is about the power of family, friendship, and never giving up on your dreams. Prepare to shed a tear (or two) alongside a smile.
  • Tony Award®-winning direction and design: Prepare to be blown away by mind-bending sets, dazzling costumes, and special effects that’ll make you swear you just saw a DeLorean disappear on stage.

    Back to the Future the Musical, Broadway in ChicagoThis ain’t just a musical, it’s a cultural phenomenon! Get ready to experience the iconic story like never before, with humor, heart, and enough plutonium to send you back to the future (metaphorically speaking, of course).

    Back to the Future the Musical, Broadway in ChicagoSo, are you ready to travel through time? Tickets are going faster than a flux capacitor on overdrive, so don’t wait! Grab your friends, family, and anyone who loves a good adventure, and head to BroadwayInChicago.com to snag your tickets before they disappear!

    Back to the Future the Musical, Broadway in ChicagoTICKET INFORMATION
    Groups of 10+ are now on sale by calling (312) 977-1710 or by emailing GroupSales@BroadwayInChicago.comBACK TO THE FUTURE will be part of the next Broadway In Chicago subscription. Current subscribers can renewal beginning on Monday, February 26, and the season will be available to new subscribers on Wednesday, March 20. Single tickets will be on sale at a later date. Ticket prices range from $40 – $135 with a select number of premium tickets available. For more details, visit BroadwayInChicago.com.
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    Christmas in Connecticut's Elizabeth Lane: The Original Influencer

    Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

    Ah, the holiday season — a time for cozy sweaters, crackling fires, and, of course, classic Christmas movies. One of my absolute favorite Christmas movies of all time ( and believe me, I watch a lot of movies) is the 1945 classic, Christmas in Connecticut. Amidst the snowy landscapes, romance and heartwarming tales, there’s one character who deserves a spot on the influencer pedestal — Elizabeth Lane of “Christmas in Connecticut.” Move over, modern influencers, because this yuletide icon was the original trendsetter, making Martha Stewart look like an amateur elf.

    Why Christmas in Connecticut’s Elizabeth Lane was the Original Influencer

    1. Home and Hearth Extravaganza

    Elizabeth Lane, portrayed by the enchanting Barbara Stanwyck, wasn’t just a writer; she was the high priestess of domesticity. Her columns weren’t mere recipes and decor tips; they were a guide to achieving the epitome of holiday perfection. Move over, Pinterest, because Elizabeth’s Connecticut farmhouse was the original DIY wonderland.

    2. Culinary Sorceress

    Pre-dating the era of avocado toasts and gluten-free everything, Elizabeth Lane was already concocting culinary masterpieces that could make Gordon Ramsay nod in approval. From perfectly roasted turkeys to decadent Yule logs, her kitchen was the epitome of gastronomic delight. Forget influencers collaborating with chefs; Elizabeth did it all herself.

    Christmas in Connecticut's Elizabeth Lane: The Original Influencer

    3. Fashion Forward in Fur

    While today’s influencers flaunt sponsored fashion lines, Elizabeth Lane was strutting around her Connecticut haven in fur-trimmed perfection. Her winter wardrobe was the envy of every snowflake, making even the most seasoned Instagram fashionistas rethink their coat game.

    4. Romance, Connecticut Style

    In the age of dating apps and swipes, Elizabeth Lane was crafting romance with the finesse of a seasoned matchmaker. Her flirtations with the charming Jefferson Jones were as orchestrated as a Hallmark love story, proving that love in Connecticut was the ultimate influencer narrative.

    Christmas in Connecticut's Elizabeth Lane: The Original Influencer

    5. Multitasking Maven

    Elizabeth didn’t just dabble in one aspect of holiday magic; she juggled it all. From penning heartfelt columns to hosting extravagant gatherings, she was the original multitasking maven. Move over, lifestyle gurus; Elizabeth was doing it all before it became a hashtag. In the time of strict gender roles, Elizabeth Lane dared to embrace her independence and forged her own way.

    6. Holiday Hack Extraordinaire

    Forget life hacks; Elizabeth Lane was the queen of holiday hacks. Need a last-minute centerpiece? She’d whip up a masterpiece with a few branches and some tinsel. Her creativity was the original inspiration for everyone looking to hack their way through the holiday hustle.

    7. Connecticut Chic

    Modern influencers spend hours curating the perfect Instagram aesthetic. Elizabeth Lane had Connecticut as her backdrop, turning snowy landscapes and quaint farmhouses into the chicest of settings. Who needs filters when you have the picturesque charm of New England?

    8. No Photoshop Needed

    In the age of airbrushing and filters, Elizabeth Lane’s perfection required no digital enhancements. Her flawless holiday celebrations were presented without the need for Photoshop, making her the original influencer embracing authenticity.

    9. Literary Luminary

    In an era of tweets and short captions, Elizabeth Lane was a wordsmith extraordinaire. Her columns weren’t just about recipes; they were love letters to the holiday spirit. Move over, Twitter; Elizabeth was crafting 280-character magic long before it was a thing.

    10. Legacy of Laughter

    While modern influencers strive for likes and shares, Elizabeth Lane’s legacy endures through timeless laughter. Her comedic escapades in “Christmas in Connecticut” are still inducing chuckles decades later. In the influencer world, laughter truly is the best engagement.

    So, as you cozy up with your cocoa for the umpteenth or your very first viewing of “Christmas in Connecticut,” raise a toast to Elizabeth Lane — the OG influencer whose holiday prowess set the stage for all the Instagrammers, bloggers, and influencers of today. Here’s to the lady who made Christmas in Connecticut not just a location but a lifestyle!

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    Classic Christmas Movies

    Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

    Ah, the season of joy, goodwill, and cozying up with the Christmas movies! Maybe you’re a Hallmark movie girl? I get it, I am sometimes too. However, I love a good classic movie. As you deck the halls and await the arrival of the big man in red, why not add a touch of cinematic cheer to your holiday traditions? Here’s my merry list of the 13 best classic Christmas movies that will make your heart grow three sizes and have you ho-ho-ho-ing all the way.

    The 13 Best Classic Christmas Movies

    1. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946):

    This is my Christmas eve movie and I wouldn’t have it any other way. What do you get when you mix Jimmy Stewart, an angel named Clarence, and a lesson in holiday spirit? A heartwarming journey that proves life is, indeed, wonderful. Just remember, no man is a failure who has friends.

    2. Christmas in Connecticut (1945):

    Imagine a recipe for chaos: a food writer ( in my opinion Elizabeth Lane was the first influencer ever), a fake farm, and a Christmas-loving sailor. ‘Christmas in Connecticut‘ whips up a delightful concoction of mistaken identities and festive fiascos. Barbara Stanwyck, in a role that defines holiday hilarity, plays a writer who must fake a Martha Stewart-level home life. As you navigate through this winter wonderland of mix-ups and merriment, you’ll find yourself chuckling at the absurdity of it all while secretly wishing for a Christmas as eventful.

    3. My Man Godfrey (1936):

    Fasten your seatbelts; we’re diving into the madcap world of ‘My Man Godfrey.’ In this screwball comedy, we meet Godfrey, a “forgotten man” picked up from the city dump by a quirky socialite. What unfolds is a riotous blend of witty banter, social satire, and a dash of romance.

    With charming performances and a plot as fizzy as champagne, ‘My Man Godfrey’ is a timeless classic that proves that laughter is indeed the best medicine. This movie is sure to warm your holiday heart while filling your home with laughter.

    4. The Bishop’s Wife (1947):

    Picture this: an angel, a bishop, and a dash of heavenly charm. ‘The Bishop’s Wife’ isn’t your typical angelic tale. Cary Grant, suave as ever, plays an angel sent to Earth to help a troubled bishop. But, hold onto your halos, because this divine intervention takes an unexpected turn into the realms of love and laughter. It’s a heavenly cocktail with a twist of romantic comedy that’ll warm your heart faster than a cup of cocoa.

    5. Miracle on 34th Street (1947):

    Can you put Kris Kringle on trial for claiming to be Santa Claus? This timeless classic raises the question and, more importantly, reminds us to believe in the magic of the season. Case closed!

    6. White Christmas (1954):

    Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, and a Vermont inn with no snow — a recipe for the perfect holiday musical. It’s a nostalgic journey that’ll have you dreaming of a white Christmas, just like the ones you used to know.

    7. A Christmas Carol (1984):

    Ebenezer Scrooge, ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future — Dickens knew how to spin a holiday yarn. Follow the transformative journey of a miserly old man as he learns the true meaning of Christmas. Bah, humbug no more!

    8. A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965):

    Charlie Brown ( the original Caillou), Snoopy, and the gang are very nostalgic for me. It’s all about this the journey as this group of friends navigate the true meaning of Christmas amidst a scrawny tree and Linus’s heartwarming recitation. It’s short, sweet, and a Peanuts classic.

    9. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964):

    It’s the tale of a misfit reindeer with a luminous nose, an elf who wants to be a dentist, and an island of misfit toys. This stop-motion wonder is a delightful journey of acceptance and festive fun.

    10. The Grinch (2000):

    Jim Carrey as the mean, green Grinch? Yes, please! Dr. Seuss’s classic gets a live-action twist, and Carrey’s Grinch brings a comedic touch to the story of a heart that grows three sizes in Whoville.

    11. Holiday Inn (1942):

    This classic introduced the world to the song “White Christmas” and stars Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. With song-and-dance numbers, romance, and plenty of yuletide charm, it’s a must for your holiday watchlist.

    12. A Christmas Story (1983):

    You’ll shoot your eye out! Join Ralphie on his quest for the ultimate Christmas gift, a Red Ryder BB Gun. This nostalgic trip down memory lane is a humorous look at the trials of childhood during the holidays. I was a family favorite growing up because its based on the area I grew up in so it feels very relatable and familiar to me.

    13. Elf (2003):

    “I just like to smile; smiling’s my favorite.” Will Ferrell as Buddy the Elf brings infectious joy to this modern classic. From syrup-covered spaghetti to a magical journey to find his dad, it’s a festive ride filled with laughs and Christmas cheer.

    So, there you have it — a sleigh-full of timeless treasures that will make your holiday season extra special. Grab the hot cocoa, gather the family, and let the classic Christmas movie marathon begin. May your days be merry, your popcorn be plentiful, and your holiday classics be nothing short of legendary!

    If you enjoyed this post, found it entertaining or learned something helpful, please like, comment and follow! Happy holidays! XOXO

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    Wicked the musical, Broadway, American Girl, Giveaway

    Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

    Just went to see Beauty and the Beast the musical at the Chicago Shakespeare theater a couple weeks ago and I forgot how much I adore Broadway shows. I am actually obsessed. Have you ever had a favorite t-shirt that you just couldn’t part with, no matter how many holes it had in it? I have a few that are over 30 years old that I just can’t let go of. I am a loyal hoarder, if I am anything. Maybe you have a favorite movie that you can watch or song that you can listen to over and over again? For me, it’s Wicked. If I could spend the rest of my life watching 2 things it would be the Barbie movie and the Wicked musical. This October, Wicked celebrates it’s 20th anniversary and I’m celebrating with a Wicked Giveaway!

    Over the years, I’ve fallen in love with many musicals for many different reasons but there is just something about Wicked that hits my heart on a spiritual level. I’ve seen it many times and I never tire of it. Not any of it. I would willingly watch it every day for the rest of my life. That’s how much I love this musical. Guess what?

    I’m a writer so I love the symbolism in Wicked. It’s not what we expected it to be and that is my favorite kind of anything. I love a good plot twist, especially if its empowering. The plot sort of picks up where all the holes in the Wizard of Oz left off. It’s sort of how the Rob Zombie Halloween series is more thorough with the backstory of Michale Myers and I am always here for understanding why the antagonist is really the hero. And yes, Elphaba is definitely an unexpected hero.

    The musical “Wicked” is known for its rich symbolism. Here are a few of my favorites:

    1. Good and Evil: The story explores the concept of good and evil, challenging the notion that appearances alone can determine a person’s true nature. It delves into the complexities of morality, emphasizing that things are not always black and white.

    2. Discrimination and Prejudice: “Wicked” addresses themes of discrimination and prejudice, drawing parallels to real-world issues. It highlights the dangers of judging individuals based on stereotypes and the importance of empathy and understanding.

    3. Friendship and Loyalty: The bond between Elphaba (the Wicked Witch of the West) and Glinda (the Good Witch) serves as a central theme. Their evolving friendship showcases the power of loyalty, forgiveness, and the ability to support each other in times of adversity.

    4. Power and Corruption: The pursuit and abuse of power are depicted through the characters of the Wizard and Madame Morrible. It reflects how power can corrupt individuals and the consequences it can have on society.

    5. Self-Discovery and Acceptance: The character of Elphaba goes through a journey of self-discovery, embracing her differences and learning to accept herself. It emphasizes the importance of self-acceptance and staying true to one’s beliefs.

    These are just a few examples, and “Wicked” offers multiple layers of symbolism that can be interpreted in various ways, enriching the experience for its audiences. If you haven’t seen it yet, go see it. It will move you and change your perspective of the antagonist. You thought you knew but you don’t. Everything is not as it seems. Inside all of us is a little wicked trying to get out.

    Wicked the musical, Broadway, American Girl, GiveawayThe Wicked Collaboration and Giveaway that you didn’t know you need. American Girl and Wicked have partnered in celebration of 20 years. Thanks to the generosity of American Girl, I will be giving one lucky winner the American Girl Elphaba and Glinda costume sets! Just enter below! Good luck!!!Wicked the musical, Broadway, American Girl, Giveaway

     

     

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    Barbie movie, female empowerment, Margot Robbie, Greta Gerwig, How the Barbie movie taught me that I was never going back in the box Barbie

    Estimated reading time: 11 minutes

    I’m a Barbie girl in a patriarchal world, life’s not fantastic. It fucking sucks. I’ll be completely honest with you, I wasn’t expecting much from the Barbie movie. I thought it would be kitschy and cute. I had no idea the impact it would have on me. Now, I want to live in a Barbie World, where every night is girl’s night, the President is a woman and there’s a full female SCOTUS!

    On Saturday, the girls and I dressed in our most pink outfits and went to see the Barbie movie. I am so blown away that I was completely without words until today. Wow! Just wow! I had a lot of emotions during this film, joy, sadness, anger, nostalgia, camaraderie. It was an emotional journey in the deepest sense. Mostly, I felt seen. I laughed, I cried, I smiled, I cried some more and then I fucking sobbed. Female empowerment is all the things.

    There’s a lot to unpack. I had to sit with these feelings for a while. I can tell you that Greta Gerwig is forever my new female power hero. She deserves an Oscar for the writing and directing. The topics she tackled blew my feminist, girl mom, Barbie loving woman heart wide open. There are truly no words right now. I’m still trying to push back the tears. It was deep. It was complex. It was beautiful and messy. It tackled so much in so little time.

    This movie may be the most powerful movie I’ll ever see in my lifetime.

    This is the movie that I would watch over and over with my girls for all eternity. This is the movie I’ll watch with my friends, my sisters, my mom, my nieces and my granddaughters. This movie was brave and unafraid and I want to live in Barbie World because I’m all about the matriarchy.

    Don’t get me started on America Ferrera. OMG!!! Representation matters and her speech, her raw realness is all of us. Margot Robbie was perfect casting because she is the most relatable beautiful woman ever and she took that script and delivered the meaning flawlessly. Ryan Gosling brought the perfect Kenergy.

    When I watched the Barbie movie, I honestly experienced every emotion and it’s likely this post will do the same, so bear with me. It was everything I could hope for and, nothing I expected. This movie gutted me in the most beautiful way. I think it touched a nerve because it put a spotlight on just how truly hard it is to be a woman in this world. Something we are all painfully aware of but have to push down so that we can survive the experience. It is beautiful and messy, and we’re never given the credit we deserve but still we toil so that our daughters can someday have it better.

    Barbie world is bizarro world in an alternative universe in the most beautiful and profound way. Men are marginalized and objectified. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think men or anyone should be marginalized or objectified and have their feelings, thoughts, wants and needs ignored or minimized but it was nice for once in my existence to be part of the majority, because as a Latina woman, I never have been nor will I ever be.

    This monologue had me sobbing because it’s so hard and its never enough and no matter what we do, we’re never good enough. Even when we’re good enough. we’re not. Society puts these impossible standards on girls and women, and we internalize them and beat ourselves into submission over them and its never fucking good enough. What if we all just loved ourselves? We’d be unstoppable and I think that’s the point. they keep us in our boxes because they are terrified of what we’ll do if we didn’t have to be shackled to these stupid stereotypes and expectations of others.  I want more for our daughters. We ride at dawn, and we wear pink!

    Ryan Gosling definitely wins sexiest man alive 2023 in my book for being willing to exemplify and embody the ridiculousness that is misogyny on the big screen and real life. He put aside any societal expectation of masculinity and machismo. He played number two and will forever be number one in our hearts.

    The Kendom definitely shone a light on toxic masculinity. Life was good and then it was terrible because suddenly the Kens were introduced to patriarchy and misogyny, and they embraced it with arms wide open because they wanted the power. Being powerless made them feel small and unseen (much like women are in the real world) so they embraced the bruh life. Suddenly, the Kens went from partners and friends to domineering, demanding machismos who only cared about their own feelings, wants, and needs. I found it particularly cringey when all the Kens were singing Matchbox Twenty’s Push. I used to love that song but hearing it sung in unison by all the Kens and really listening to all the lyrics enraged me.

    As a mom, for many years, I felt conflicted and torn between my love for Barbie, the doll who made me believe that I could be anything, but looked impossibly perfect and the impossible standards she represented. I wanted to share my love for Barbie and absolute belief that anything is possible for girls with my daughters, but it felt duplicitous. By playing with Barbie, in all her perfection, was I actually part of the problem? Was I subconsciously sending the message that girls are never good enough? Because that wasn’t my intention.

    There is a scene right before American Ferrera’s speech in which Barbie is crying and talking about how she is not pretty or good enough for anything and anyone because she is just a “Stereotypical” Barbie, after all. She has no specific profession, and she thinks that she really doesn’t serve a purpose, especially upon finding out that Barbies did not really change the real world.

    Being a woman, especially a middle-aged woman and a mom, is difficult in so many ways. There comes a time where the lines of where you end and the people you love begins blurs. You lose yourself and then you start to feel invisible. Exhaustion sets in and you feel sort of gray. If you know, you know, and I know you know. You are part of those people more than you are yourself. And when they grow up and your looks start to change, you start to age out of the system of life that society has placed you in. You feel absolutely lost and unheard, drowning in the existential crisis that is who you were, who you are and who you will become. Who are you without them? What is your worth? If you disappeared, would anyone even notice?

    Barbie movie, female empowerment, Margot Robbie, Greta Gerwig, How the Barbie movie taught me that I was never going back in the box Barbie

    I love being a woman, despite how hard life can be. No matter how discounted our hard work, intelligence and opinions go, largely ignored and diminished. Being a woman means spending your entire life fighting through our fears and hiding our weaknesses, never able to breakdown. The game is rigged, and we never get to win, no matter how hard we work or how good we are.

    Being born a girl means toiling, grinding and, even with an IQ of 147 and 3 master’s degrees, still being treated like you’re less than every man in the room. Our beauty and sexuality are our only currency and its dirty fucking money. We spend our lives reduced to what lies between our legs and we know beauty is power. We are also painfully aware that beauty fades because society constantly reminds us to twist and tie ourselves up into knots to stay beautiful. We are taught to fear aging because our worth is directly tied to our beauty and our sexuality.

    From now on, I’m going to greet every woman I meet with a hearty and happy, “Hey, Barbie!” because I think every single woman is perfection. And the fact that you’ve survived this long in this cruel and unfair world makes you not only beautiful but amazing. Men couldn’t do this. Their fragile egos would break. Meanwhile, we’ve spent our entire lives swallowing our pride and ignoring our egos and everything we know to be fair and good in the name of not causing problems.

    This, got me in my mom heart. I love women but the most important women to me are the two I gave birth to and I felt this quote in my soul. The mother-daughter relationship is one of the most beautiful and complex that there ever will be. These are the women I will not only die for, I would kill for, and, sometimes they push us away. It really is the deepest cut when the person you love more than everything is just not that into you. But still, we toil and we bend until we nearly break because we want so much better for them. My Barbie dream is that one day the little girls will look back at this movie in the middle of the female power revolution and feel it’s completely unrelatable. I want a Barbie world for them, where equality is the norm and women can be seen as strong, intelligent crusaders for justice without being seen as militant.

    Just know, no matter how much she smiles, supports and loves you, nobody wants to be second all the time. No one is satisfied with always being the supporting cast, especially in their own story.

    There was a very seemingly innocuous but, all too real, misogynistic scene where the CEO of Mattel and all the Mattel executives (all men) were sitting around a table discussing Barbie with no female representatives present. Barbie enters the room and is in search of help. Their answer is to tell her to, “Get into the box and we’ll got back to Barbie land!” It was a moment of complete condescension. She agrees because she wants to go back to her Utopian female centric world. Who can blame her? Reality for women sucks. As they are shackling her back into the box, she has an epiphany. She can feel that this is not right, and she breaks free. As I watched her being shackled, I was physically nauseated and next, I was completely and unexpectedly enraged. You know, I am usually the wokest bitch in the room and this quiet and powerful moment nearly brought me to the point of wanting to set the theater on fire. The misogyny in which we women endure on a daily basis is so often and frequent that it becomes a part of our daily life, and we continue to let it pass because we are gaslit into thinking we are overreacting. When you feel in your gut that its wrong, its wrong. If you feel threatened, run. Don’t let them push you into that box.

    Ladies, may we all aspire to live in a real Barbie world someday where all women are treated like humans and not objects. Where women support women and toxic masculinity is not only frowned upon but not tolerated. Dreaming of a kinder and more equal world. In my humble opinion, if you haven’t seen it… go see it. If you have bigger girls take them to see it. If you’re a feminist, a person who loves a feminist, a woman, a girl mom, or anyone who believes in equality, GO.SEE.THIS.MOVIE!!

    I am buying the Barbie movie as soon it’s available. I am seriously so damn in my feelings with this masterpiece of female empowerment and cerebral satire, I just want to let it marinate. I want to show this movie to every single living woman and girl over the age of 12 and say…THIS…YOU.ARE.SEEN. But not just to share the movie and say we are seen but to incite a revolution for change. Who cares if we’re seen if that’s where it stops. Let’s keep the momentum going. We CAN change this narrative. You don’t have to go back into that fucking box manufactured by the patriarchy. I want so much more for all of our little girls. Barbie is the female empowerment movie that I’ve waited for my entire life. This is the movement.

    This Barbie is never ever going back into the box.

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    Beauty and the Beast musical, Chicago Shakespeare Theater

    Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

    Are you a fan of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast musical? Who isn’t, right? The hairy guy with the heart of gold, goes toe-to-toe with the brute and gets the girl, talk about an underdog tale. It’s one of our family’s absolute favorite Disney movies and now, it’s coming to the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, July 14- August 20, 2023.

    Disclosure: I was provided with tickets to see Beauty and the Beast Musical by The Chicago Shakespeare Theater. However, all opinions are mine and were NOT influenced by the Chicago Shakespeare Theater.

    It’s more than just a fun musical about a beast who gets the girl, its a story of why the substance of a person is more important than what we see on any superficial level.

    Beauty and the Beast musical is a must see if you get the chance and here are several reasons why its regarded as a great musical:

    1. Captivating Storytelling: The musical tells a timeless tale of love, acceptance, and inner beauty. It engages the audience through its enchanting narrative, memorable characters, and the transformation of the Beast.

    2. Memorable Music: “Beauty and the Beast” features an iconic score composed by Alan Menken, with lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice. The music, including songs like “Belle,” “Be Our Guest,” and the titular “Beauty and the Beast,” is widely celebrated for its catchiness, emotional depth, and memorable melodies.

    3. Broadway Quality Production: The musical adaptation of “Beauty and the Beast” debuted on Broadway in 1994 and set new standards for elaborate sets, costumes, and stage effects. The visual spectacle, along with the captivating choreography and elaborate production design, contribute to its greatness as a theatrical experience.

    4. Strong Characters: The musical showcases a cast of well-developed characters who evolve throughout the story. From the independent and bookish Belle to the conflicted and ultimately compassionate Beast, the characters bring depth and relatability to the narrative.

    5. Emotional Depth: Beyond its fairy tale charm, “Beauty and the Beast” explores themes of self-discovery, empathy, and the importance of looking beyond external appearances. The musical offers emotional resonance and meaningful messages that resonate with audiences of all ages.

    6. Universal Themes: The story’s themes of love, acceptance, and personal growth are universal, making it relatable and appealing to diverse audiences. Its messages about inner beauty and finding love in unexpected places have a timeless quality that continues to resonate with generations.

    7. Cultural Impact: “Beauty and the Beast” is not only a successful musical but also a cultural phenomenon. The 1991 animated film became the first animated feature to receive a Best Picture nomination at the Academy Awards. The musical adaptation and subsequent live-action film solidified its status as a beloved and influential work of art.

    Beauty and the Beast musical, Chicago Shakespeare Theater

    This summer, share the wonder and delight of live theater with your family at Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Dazzling production numbers, including the beloved title song, “Be Our Guest,” and “Human Again” will fill the Courtyard Theater, making your heart soar. The beloved fairytale recounts the story of Belle, a young woman in a provincial town, and the Beast, who is really a prince trapped under the spell of an enchantress. If the Beast can learn to love and be loved, the curse will end, and he will be transformed into his former self. But time is running out. If those lessons aren’t learned soon, the Beast and his household will be doomed for all eternity. 

    Recommended for ages 5 and up, it’s perfect for a birthday party or fun outing for neighborhood friends, clubs, or play groups. Tickets start at $26 & parties of 10+ save up to 30% 

    Through the generosity of The Chicago Shakespeare Theater, I am giving away a family 4-pack of tickets to the performance of your choice in July. Enter below. Good luck!!

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    why can't I buy myself flowers, miley cyrus, chris hemsworth

    Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

    I’ve seen a LOT of sarcastic TikToks of men telling women to “buy their own flowers.” Like these dudes are actually angry about it. Feels like that song hit a nerve with some people. I think those people missed the entire point. To me, “Flowers” by MiIey Cyrus is not a feminist fuck you anthem to all men but it’s actually all about female empowerment, self-love and being enough. What’s so wrong with women being able to boost their own self-confidence, provide their own happiness and depend on themselves?

    Why can’t I buy myself flowers? Who says so?

    Unfortunately, as women, we are conditioned to always put everyone else first, to our detriment and to theirs. I don’t know a woman who doesn’t put her children, her partner, her parents, and family and friends’ wants and needs ahead of her own. Sure, we are the cheerleaders of everyone else but for some reason, our default is sacrifice. Women are naturally martyrs. Call it maternal instinct or ridiculous, misogynistic conditioning to live up to societal expectations, Whatever it is, it’s real.

    It’s so real, in fact, that I didn’t buy strawberry ice cream for almost 20 years because no one else in the house liked it. It’s my favorite. Why the fuck did I not just buy myself some strawberry ice cream. Why did I need someone else to want or need it in order for me to quantify buying it? Make it make sense. No one told met that I couldn’t buy strawberry ice cream. No one. Me.

    I feel like the lyrics “I can buy myself flowers” is exactly that. I. Can. Buy. Myself. Flowers. If I love flowers, why do I need to wait for someone else to buy them for me? If I want flowers, I deserve flowers and I can buy them for myself. Fuck waiting on someone else to bring me what I can easily do or buy for myself. Do I love getting peonies for no reason on a random Wednesday? Yeah. Who doesn’t? But I can go to Trader Joe’s and buy them just as easily as the Big Guy can. I feel like waiting for someone else just adds pressure on them. It’s a lose-lose situation.

    But you know, chances are most likely anyone else is going to buy red roses because that’s what society says women want. Wrong. I fucking hate roses, especially red ones. They remind me of funerals. If you’re going to buy me flowers, I want peonies, orchids, hydrangeas or daisies. Red roses are the most cringe flowers there are, in my book. The Big Guy knows that. But just like the Big Guy can make his own plate at my Latino parent’s household, I can buy my own flowers. It’s a new day. Gender stereotypes are bullshit. There, I said it.

    I think the song is about loving yourself not NOT letting anyone else love you. Its true, who else is going to know us and love us better than we are capable of loving ourselves? Who is going to care about what we care about as much as us? Who is going to take the same measure of pleasure in the things that interest us? Look, I’m a quirky one and my interests run a wide gamut how could I expect anyone to be the exact same level of weird as me? It’s impossible and expecting that is expecting the impossible and, quite frankly, a bit selfish if I’m being honest.

    The Big Guy and I are very much opposites except for one thing, we both try to be good humans and we both love and respect each other. That’s it. The thing we have in common is love and human respect for each other and everyone else we encounter. We give everyone a chance and everyone is equal, from the janitor to the boss. That’s the tie that binds us. We’re equal in this partnership. That being said, we have grown a relationship based on love, honesty and respect for one another. We are not perfect but we went into this knowing that. We keep working on growing together and bettering ourselves, for ourselves. We’ve also realized regular gender stereotype roles have never worked for us.

    People getting upset that Miley dared to say out loud that she could love herself better than a partner is people with too much time on their hands. Let’s be honest, don’t we all believe that we know and love ourselves better than anyone else? Being loved by someone else is beautiful and amazing but if we can’t love ourselves, we are incapable of fully loving anyone else.

    Why would anyone put all their happiness on the actions of another person? That’s crazy. It’s setting your relationship up for complete and utter failure. You can’t expect your partner to guess what you want and think you deserve in a relationship. That’s where the honesty part starts.

    Be honest and communicate with your partner about what you want your relationship to look like. Be honest about what you expect. Be honest about everything because a lie to make things easy will just make it impossible in the long run. Lies are not for relationships. If you can’t be honest, or you can’t take honesty, then maybe you’re not really ready to be in a committed relationship and there is nothing wrong with that. Lying that you are or pretending to be someone you aren’t will only cause a much deeper wound later down the road.

    Women, don’t be afraid to buy your own flowers, write your name in the sand, talk to yourself for hours or hold your own hand. Don’t be afraid to masturbate, buy strawberry ice cream, say no or an enthusiastic yes. Be honest with your partner and be honest with yourself. In the end, you will be a better, happier version of yourself and that is a win for everyone involved.

    Do you buy yourself flowers or do you hinge your happiness on someone else’s actions? Why or why not?

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