My Favorite Things | Cinderella

Anybody else out there obsessing over the new Cinderella movie? Ahhh, it was just perfection. I honestly wasn't that excited about it when I first heard it was coming out, and decided I'd probably wait for it to come out on DVD. I thought it would be too overdone from my first viewing of the trailer, and I wasn't sold on Lily James as Cinderella. Like a lot of people, I'd only seen her in Downton Abbey and I couldn't see the willful Lady Rose playing a good Cinderella. Happily, I was wrong. :-)

Cinderella and I go way back. I remember as a little girl, we had the original Disney animated film on a large video disc... it must have been some special edition or something. It was in a fancy box and we had to play it in a specific machine. It felt like a really big deal and a special treat to get to watch Cinderella!

When I turned three, I had a Cinderella birthday party and my dad - are you ready for this - built me a pumpkin coach. (Nope, I wasn't spoiled at all). My dad is an engineer but he has a decidedly artistic side, and he hand painted a beautiful false front reproduction of Cinderella's carriage. This is one of my favorite pictures of me and my dad.

Then there was the time when we acted out Cinderella with our friends - I was Jaq, Tara was Gus, and Emily, our best friend who somehow generally ended up with the main role in our acting adventures (ahem... #diva), got to be Cinderella. Mouse ears from Disney World, our native american indian costume as Cinderella's "rags," and our best dress-up shoes turned into the real thing with enough imagination. ;-)

Last year we traveled to New York to see Cinderella on Broadway, which was an utterly magical experience. We scraped in at the very end of the original cast's run, which was amazing! Fantastic singing, acting, costumes, and sets. I was in the clouds from that for months!

It was so good that we simply couldn't pass up seeing it again when it came to Chicago this winter - especially when we were able to nab $25 tickets!

Anyway, back to the newly released Cinderella. After I watched the trailer again, and researched (read: stalked) more about it, I got more excited, and when I realized I'd be visiting Lily when it came out, we decided we totally needed to go see it in the theater on opening night. And ohhhhh my goodness gracious, I was completely swept off my feet with this movie! The beautiful cinematography, wonderful musical score, absolutely stunningly amazing costumes, and delightful acting all came together to bring the most classic fairytale lavishly to life. Lily James is lovely in the title role, Richard Madden is charming, and Cate Blanchett is brilliant.

Source: Disney Cinderella Gallery
And seriously, people... the dress... THE DRESS!!! All my life, I've loved any dress with a good "spin factor" as I termed it as a child, and that gown is the ultimate. (I'll really take any of Cinderella's clothes, and I may as well have Madam's outfits too, they are prettttty fabulous). I tried to convince Lily to make me one, but she turned down my request. I guess I need a fairy godmother.

Source: Disney Cinderella Instagram
I love that they stayed true to the story and didn't try to stir things up with unexpected plot twists. I don't want to say too much in case you haven't seen it yet, but it was just a beautiful movie, and I have seen it (gulp) four times. Yes, four. In the theater. I should probably be embarrassed to say that, but I'm not. (In my defense, though, I didn't have to pay for it all four times... ;-) Sadly, we missed the window that it was playing at the iMax. I told my mom that my goal was to see it 12 times in theaters. I was only partly joking...

Source: Oh My Disney
At any rate... go see Cinderella if you haven't yet. And if you have... well, you can be like me and see it again. Several times. ;-) I hope ya'll didn't mind this departure from the blog "norm!" Shooting season is picking up now that spring is here, so I'll be having more work to share coming up!

P.S. I was featured on Moriah's blog this week! Thanks Moriah!

New York City & Cinderella on Broadway | Personal

I'm not sure how to even begin this post, because I know that any words I use won't be able to communicate what a wonderful trip this was. :-) It all started back in December for my sister's birthday - she turned 20 and her big present from our parents was a trip to New York City to see Cinderella on Broadway! And yes... the whole family was going. (She needs to have birthdays more often).
Tara has always been more of the musical fanatic that I am; I grew up with musicals so I still really enjoy them, but I don't quite obsess to the level that she does. :-) Rogers & Hammerstein's Cinderella, however, has consistently been one of my favorites. It has great songs and seriously... you just can't beat the story of Cinderella. It's the ultimate fairy tale. So I was pretty excited about the trip, along with the chance to see New York City!

It very nearly didn't happen, because we showed up at the airport (after a drive that took twice as long as anticipated due to bad roads), running to meet our flight, only to find it had been cancelled. Long story short, we nearly got out on 4 different flights, and even were on a plane at one point, ready to pull out, when it too got cancelled. A winter storm in New York was the trouble. Nothing to do but load up again and go home. Our mom spent the entire afternoon on the phone to switch our Broadway tickets, and get everything else in order to leave two days later. Though it was depressing to get all geared up only to turn around and come home, God always has the best in mind. If we'd succeeded in flying out, we would have sat in our hotel room for 2 days because the weather was so bad! Instead, we had sun both days and were able to traipse about the city and see the sights.

New York City itself was bustling... if I ever lived in the city the biggest change would definitely be the nonstop flow of PEOPLE! We saw Times Square, took the Staten Island Ferry to see the Statue of Liberty (we were told it's the best way to see the statue for free :-), the 9/11 Memorial, Central Park and 5th Avenue. My favorites were the last two; Times Square was neat to be there, but it was crazy and slightly overstimulating. :-) Central Park was just lovely - an oasis of calm in the midst of a busy city. And had so many darling bridges! And 5th Avenue was an enjoyable walk... lots of pretty buildings there and upscale stores.
All that said, I don't recommend going just to see NYC in January. We were there for the show, and saw the city while we were there so it was fine, but it was FREEZING. As in, my toes were ice blocks. Go in spring or fall if you want to just experience New York. :-)
A few of these photos are phone snaps... I decided to travel light and only brought my 50mm, so the phone acted as my wide angle lens if I wanted a wider shot!

Ready to hit the city - first up was Times Square.

Skyline from the ferry
(which my dad informed me is actually the New Jersey skyline... oh well. What do I know, I'm a hick from Illinois!)

That shot on the right? Yeah. I felt like I was on the Titanic or something.

Brooklyn Bridge... didn't get to go on it, unfortunately. Next time!

A rainbow in the mist at the 9/11 Memorial

We had lunch at a fabulous restaurant called "Robert" on the 9th floor of the museum of art and design. Super fun, eclectic decor and overlooking Central Park! The food was AMAZING.

This was the darlingest thing! Sweet little girl in perfect stance hoping one of those birdies would eat out of her hand. *melt*

The Lindt store on 5th Avenue! :-)

And then, of course, the reason we were even there... Cinderella. I don't think I'm exaggerating if I say that it was one of the most magical nights I've ever experienced. I expected a good show, but it was 10 times better than I even thought it would be! Tara & I had "stalked" the show for a while since finding out we were going, and so it was amazing to be sitting in the audience and actually watching it - seeing Laura Osnes & Santino Fontana and the rest of the stellar cast in real life! It was witty, hilarious, and beautifully staged with incredible costumes (transformation gowns! Ahhhh!). I've always been a very girly girl (let's just say that "tomboy" is not a word anyone has ever used to describe me), and I was just thrilling to the tips of my toes. It was SOOOO good. If you have the chance, go see Cinderella on Broadway. Sadly, many of the original cast members have left the show now and moved on (we caught it right at the end of their run!), so while I'm loyal especially to Laura and firmly believe nobody will perform it as perfectly as she did, it's still a phenomenal production and well worth seeing! (Support family friendly shows on Broadway! :-).

It pays to stalk the show before hand. We ran into Ann Harada, who plays one of the stepsisters, as we were going to dinner, and we recognized her since we'd seen interviews of her not in stepsister attire. She was gracious to stop for a picture!

Theatre prettiness! (And sister prettiness).

Cinderella's Stuart Weitzman glass slippers encrusted in 5,000 Swarovski crystals.
These would make a great birthday present, in my opinion.

After the show we got autographs and photos with the cast! My photo with Santino is a bit blurry, but it's the memory that counts. :-)

And here we are with the beautiful, incomparable Laura Osnes! She acted and sang Cinderella to absolute perfection. In short, she is amazing.

Cheesecake after the show overlooking Times Square (lots of fun restaurants in New York several floors up with great views!).

One last shot of skyline from inside Central Park. New York is a beautiful city!

P.S. Here's a secret: Cinderella is officially my very favorite musical. :-) I know, big surprise, right?