Saturday, September 28, 2013

Thursday, September 26, 2013

the "hair day cinderella"

All children referred to in the post are actually *not* my siblings - we just pretend that they are. They are the lovely K. children - church friends that appear frequently on the blog due to the fact that I help braid Mihret's hair about once a month.

I think I mentioned that the 1997 Cinderella with Brandy is one of Mihret's favorite movies. As a result, I've seen it many, many times while braiding the aforementioned young lady's hair. I don't think I'll ever be able to think about this movie without thinking of hair day, but that's okay. 

Here's a little peek at that rather....creative production.

Brandy as Cinderella. She does a precious, stunning job. Nothing lacking at all - I love the way she puts her own style into each song, and yet still keeps the same spirit of the original. Her Cinderella is very believable, and obviously relatable, since children are so drawn to her character.

Yes, that's Bernadette Peters as the stepmother. *grin* Oh, one thing that keeps us laughing every time the children and I watch this is the fact that this film is….very….culturally diverse. Which is wonderful, of course…but it does get slightly…confusing at times.

But it's a fairy tale! Honestly, where else would you get a sweet couple like this:
 (yes, Whoopi Goldberg and Victor Garber :P)

who have a son and future daughter-in-law like this:

Anyway. We get a kick out it, and it just wouldn't be right any other way. *grin* 

Note for parents and curious others:
As Mihret will gravely inform you, "We don't think the blue dress is good because Mama says it's too low." That's true. And there's also some romantic scenes that make Yosi groan, and could probably be FF with no harm done, but overall, no worries.

Oh, right. Whitney. Not sure what to say, except that…well…it's Whitney. *cough* 

not the foggiest idea what's happening in this photo, but it's hilarious.

I'll leave you all with my favorite scene - Ten Minutes Ago, plus the Waltz for a Ball. Firstly, the song is lovely, and beautifully done. Secondly, the dancing is the happy kind that makes my heart soar when they spin. Double plus! Check out the fun little twirly thing they do at 1:45-1:50….*sigh*.

I say, worth your time. And when you watch it, think of me cornrowing, surrounded by my little posse of friends eating chips and crackers and cookies and enjoying ourselves. It'll make you laugh, leave you with a happy spirit and a song in your heart.

And that's what fairy tales are for…right?

btw, that question's a set up for tomorrow's post. *evil chuckle*

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

the princess diary (the laura osnes kind)

Remember my question from yesterday - What's NOT to love about Cinderella? Well, today's post is about something TO love about Cinderella on Broadway - The Princess Diary.

Oh, whoops - to clarify. No, not the movie(s). The vlog. Video-blog.

The vlog, hosted and starring Laura Osnes - Miss Cinderella herself.

This is a lovely, hilarious "reality show" about the cast of Cinderella and what it's like to be in a Broadway shoe on a daily basis. Compared to other shows on Broadway, Cinderella is as close to completely family friendly as you're going to get, and the vlogs are no different. Aside from a couple…odd….moments here and there, they are an absolute DELIGHT to watch, and satisfies the desire to know how it all happens that some of us *cough* (me) *cough* need to see for anything that we decide to love.

Also, without the vlogs, you would never get to meet one of the most important members of the cast.

Herman the Fish.

Given as a gift on opening night from Laura to her co-star/co-conspirator Santino Fontana, Herman has become the mascot of the show and dearly beloved. He even has a unique voice....which my wonderful sister imitates...daily. Thank. You. San-I mean Herman.

Ah, Herman the betta fish.

So, yes. One of my favorite things about this show - something that endeared it to me even more - is Laura's The Princess Diary. I guess I appreciate a recording/show/show history more when I know something about the people behind it. I've watched some interviews with Laura, and her faith and convictions make it much easier for me to enjoy the musical, 'cause I know she's just as light-hearted, sweet, and joyful at heart as the role she's playing.

Laura and her husband, Nathan, are professing Christians, and, if you watch her "Show People" interview with Paul Wontorek, she's certainly not "ashamed" of it. We have some differences in our standards and the way we're living out our faith, but it's still encouraging to see folks making a conscience effort to live differently in an industry that's pretty much godless.

I've embedded one of the episodes below - and, as a matter of principal and respect for y'all, I must say: just like anything else, take everything in the video with a grain of salt and understand that I'm not standing behind every action done, dress worn and statement made. Of course. But you knew that already. *grin* That said, it's great, so enjoy it. :)

But now I'm curious - is it just me, or does it make a difference to you to know the backstory and character of actors and actresses in shows or movies that you like? Would it bother you if you found out that someone's character was inconsistent with their appearance?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

celebrate musicals week.

So, evidently there's a blog event happening ahora mismo that I was unaware of. This is not surprising, since there are many, many blog events that happen that I don't know about, but this actually is surprising considering the topic of this particular one - musicals.

I know I haven't really posted about the theatre aspect of my existence in a long time, so this seemed like it would be fun to do and get back into the groove a little bit.

celebrate musicals week
with Miss Dashwood

Yet Another Period Drama Blog

Joining the party by doing the tag - here goes!

1.  What musical did you pick to "spotlight" this week and why?
It's technically a revival, but I'm not sure why, since this is the first time it's been on Broadway. Hm.

After much thought and deliberation (how in the WORLD does someone like me pick ONE musical to highlight?), I decided to think out of the box and give y'all a glimpse of a new favorite show of mine, aside from my classics. (read: Phantom) The new Cinderella production is one of the sweetest shows you will EVER see or listen to, and even though I was bummed that it opened for previews just one short week AFTER my trip to New York City, I've heard nothing but rave reviews, and I've fallen in love with the soundtrack myself. 

2.  How did you discover the musical you picked (hereinafter referred to as "your musical")?
Actually, it's a long story. Rachel and Sarah introduced me to R&H's Cinderella years ago, but the black and white Julie Andrews TV special.

Then, during a hair day with Mihret last year, we watched Disney's remake of the same, but starring Whitney Houston and Brandy. It quickly became one of Mihret's favorite movies, so I've seen that one countless times. Both the Julie Andrews and the Brandy versions are lovely, so naturally, I was excited when….

I was in NYC, I saw the billboards up for Cinderella and it clicked that it was the Rogers' and Hammerstein. So I looked up the cast, and after some more investigation, came up with the question, "What's NOT to love?" Catherine and I eagerly awaited the release of the soundtrack, and now's ranking pretty high up there with Les Mis and Phantom and Joseph on our "most played" list.

3.  If you had to pick three favorite songs from your musical, which ones would they be?
"Ten Minutes Ago" hands down for a start. Followed closely by "Impossible." The third one…humph…making me choose again….okay. "In My Own Little Corner." (sorry, "A Lovely Night" - you're lovely too :P)

4.  What's your least favorite song from your musical?
"There's Music in You." No comment.

5.  Who are your favorite characters (choose up to three)?
Considering I have yet to see it on Broadway, I'm not sure who my favorite of the secondary characters would be. But obviously Ella and Topher….and I think I would love Charlotte and Madame….Cassie, thoughts? :)

6.  Which versions of your musical have you seen/listened to, and which is your favorite?
As I mentioned before - I've seen the 1957 Julie Andrews TV special, the Brandy/Whitney one from 1997, and listened to the 2013 Broadway cast many, many times. I would have to say, the Brandy movie is my favorite of the two films, but the Broadway cast is my favorite over all.

7.   Is this your favorite musical of all time?  If not, what is?
Um, haha. NO. What is? Phantom of the Opera. Yes, Les Mis is a super close second, and I listen to the latter more often, but Phantom is the one nearest and dearest to me.

8.   Which cast album/musical soundtrack in your collection do you listen to the most?
Depends on my mood. Recently it's been an overwhelming dose of Fiddler on the Roof. But in general, it's either the original Broadway cast of Les Miserables, or 25th Anniversary of Phantom of the Opera.

9.   What is your favorite costume from your musical?

As much as I love the ball gowns, Ella's "servant" dress is my favorite. I love the touch her headscarf gives to the look, as well as the color combination.

10.  If you could change anything about your musical, what would you change?
Hmmm….maybe if Topher was a little bit more of a man at the beginning….not a huge fan of undecided wimpy princes. Hehe.

11.  Which role(s) would you most like to play in any musical, if you had the opportunity to do so on stage?
Hodel in Fiddler on the Roof, Maria in West Side Story, and Eponine in Les Miserables.

12.  If you could choose one performer to play any part in your musical, who would you choose and which part would you have them play?
Aside from the fact that the current cast is stunning, I would love to see Kristin Chenoweth as Charlotte…I think she would do a hilarious job. :D

13.  Do you consider yourself a musical theatre fan in general or do you just like a few musicals?
Haha. *cough*

14.  Are you tired of the word "musical" yet?
(see answer to above question)

15.  Turn your music playing device on shuffle (or utilize Pandora if you don't have one) and tell us the names of the first three show tunes that come up-- no cheating!  How do these rank on your favorites/most-listened-to list?
1. A British Bank/The Life I Lead from Mary Poppins
2. You Won't Be An Orphan For Long from Annie
3. They Live in You from The Lion King: Broadway

Goodness, that is a straaaange combination. Well, I used to listen to Annie more than I do now, simply 'cause I was IN the show…but it's been a while since I voluntarily turned it on. I do listen to the others on occasion as well…but not frequently. Interesting.

Well, that's all for now! Stay tuned for more Cinderella-themed posts this week. *grin* Didn't realize how much I'd missed posting about musicals - it was a nice break, but it's lovely to be back.

Friday, September 20, 2013

why I stayed home.

“The highest glory of the creature is in being only a vessel, to receive and enjoy and show forth the glory of God. It can do this only as it is willing to be nothing in itself, that God may be all. Water always fills first the lowest places. The lower, the emptier a man lies before God, the speedier and the fuller will be the inflow of the diving glory.” 
- Andrew Murray

Thursday, September 19, 2013

throwback thursday // narnian edition.

It's movie night over here at my house - Mama and Daddy took Caroline out for her half-birthday supper (Morales tradition) and those of us left at home are enjoying a fun evening of treats and time together. Normally, I let the younger one choose the film we're going to watch, but this time, Sissy called an executive decision - we're going to watch The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

It's probably been a good two years (at least eighteen months) since I last saw this - and I've been feeling nostalgic lately as the autumn has been coming on. It's been almost four years since I started this here humble blog, and for a long time the main focus of my time was re-creating costumes and reading costume blogs - many of them Narnia-oriented. Oh, the hours spent studying Susan's dress, saving hundreds of pictures and wishing C.S. Lewis's magical world was actually real. :) Good times of fourteen/fifteen year old Liza. (Olivia, you know what I'm talking about :P)

So, we made popcorn, snacked on brownies, and re-entered this lovely land of fawns and beavers and scrumptious outfits and hilarious CGI. :P

Reliving the past….it's fun.

"Once a King or Queen in Narnia…always a King or Queen."

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

after long absence.

After long absence, it's a sewing project. A real, honest-to-goodness sewing project. After all, this is a sewing blog...right? Whoops. Hehe. Yes, I hear you Joanna. It's been too long. So, without further ado, my most recent creation:

This project was sort of spur-of-the-moment, after I discovered the $2 See-and-Sew pattern and the discounted fashion corduroy on the same day on a shopping trip with Caroline over the weekend. It only took two afternoons of sewing, and the most time consuming thing was the eight darts (four in front, four in the back). 

Personally, I think it turned out great. I've never been as close to 100% satisfied with something I've made ever, I think.

By the way, the photos are taken by my wonderful Catherine - we made this a full-fledged photo shoot after a little while. I can't believe it's been a year since Ashley took my picture! Time flies.

Yay for ruffles! So happy.

There's no separate bodice/skirt for this dress - the darts make the waistline, which makes adjusting to fit super duper easy.

The material is a light-weight cordoruy - perfect for the transition season. It keeps in the heat, without making you sweat. (always a plus) It's also quite soft inside, and swishes around very nicely. A new favorite material!

what you can't see are my coordinating toe nails. hehe.

Zipper closure with a hook-and-eye at the back.

I think I'll keep it. *grin*

Monday, September 16, 2013

why ketchup is my new best friend.

Life is never dull.
Our family grows hot peppers. 

^^that's a bit of Hebrew poetry for you. Rephrasing the same idea with different words to prove a point. 

I repeat: Our family grows hot peppers. I don't know why, but we do. I guess it's because my daddy has always liked hot stuff and thought he should try growing the little fire balls themselves.

I don't know. But we grow them.

Actually, our family now has a reputation for hot peppers in all forms - fresh, chopped, dehydrated, ground to powder, salsa-fied, etc. This reputation has often preceded us, and we have a quite a name. My dad and myself almost always bring peppers with us to social gatherings, just in case anyone wants to try one. We both get a kick out of watching folks try these little guys for the first time. Or the tenth.

What is not so commonly known is that we not only grow hot peppers, but they grow themselves.. And they grow very well. They are prolific. We're talking PROLIFIC.

pro·lif·ic adjective \prə-ˈli-fik\
: producing a large amount of something

So, what to do with this abundance of peppers? You can only give away (or ship away - yes, I'm looking at y'all, my Ellerslie family. You got the package. *wink*) so many. 

We process them.

That's a fancy word for chopping them up. Just sounds more appealing somehow. But we really do process them. We slice them open down the middle and dehydrate them - then we can grind them to powder later and use it all year long, or mix various varieties together to create the notorious "Morales Fire Flakes"…or we chop them up and make salsas of various intensities.

On Saturday, I chopped them up for salsa - but a salsa with hardly any diluting agent. It's pretty hot.

One thing that I, in my great humility and humbleness, have refused to do is wear gloves while cutting peppers. It's never irritated me like it has my mother or sisters, so why bother? I like feeling my fingers anyway.


That changed.

So, on said Saturday afternoon, about six hours after chopping up four pounds of various varieties of hot peppers (including jalapeño, habanero, caribbean red, anaheim chili and chinese five color), my hands began to feel a little funny. I've had hot pepper burns before, so I wasn't alarmed and continued on with my day.

By bedtime, I was a mess. I couldn't sleep, couldn't focus on anything, felt my mental functions turning off to try to block out the pain throbbing through my fingertips. Finally, I swallowed my pride, climbed back out of bed and went to find my mommy. *waahhhh!*

We tried a lot of things. Coconut oil, my best friend and daily companion, failed me. As did lavender oil. So I just sat with my hand in a bowl of water (instant salvation) and waited for Mama to Google something that would work. First thing - washing my hands with shampoo, then rubbing with vaseline. I'll give it some credit, it helped for ten whole minutes, but after that it was back with ferocity. Well, pooh. 

And then, we found it.

My new best friend. Sorry, coconut oil. Feel the burn.

Ketchup. *dun-da-daaa!*

I sat for fifteen minutes at our kitchen table at 10pm at night trying not to fall asleep with my hand in a bowl of ketchup. 

This is my life, my friends. This is my life.

For all its awkwardness though, there was quite a glorious result - soft, slightly prune-ified, pink-tinted fingers and no burning sensation at all.

I'd like to think I've learned a lesson from all this. Something about wearing gloves while cutting hot peppers, perhaps? But it might just be that ketchup is the perfect kitchen companion for those who continue to live in stubborn rebellion.

Moral of the story: I don't like gloves and I love ketchup.

Oh, and Mamas are the best. Especially mine.