Monthly Archives: January 2013

Disney Dream Portrait Series

Are you familiar with this? I’m always a Disney fan and I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of it. Anyway, after having to discover the Disney Dream Portrait Series, I always look forward to new picture shots. All photographs are shot by the ever-famous Annie Leibovitz, featuring celebrities portraying Disney fairy tale scenes. I’m very fascinated with her shots and I can’t help sharing those photos with you guys.

2007

Alice in Wonderland

2007 - Alice in WonderlandBeyonce Knowles as Alice; Lyle Lovett as the March Hare; Oliver Platt as The Mad Hatter

Sleeping Beauty

2007 - Sleeping BeautyDavid Beckham as Prince Phillip

Cinderella

2007 - CinderellaScarlett Johansson as Cinderella

Pinocchio and Disney Fairies

2007 - Pinocchio and Disney FairiesAbigail Breslin as Fira; Julie Andrews as The Blue Fairy

Snow White

2007 - Snow WhiteRachel Weisz as Snow White

The Sword in the Stone

2007 - The Sword in the StoneRoger Federer as King Arthur

2008

Aladdin

2008 - AladdinJennifer Lopez as Princess Jasmine; Marc Anthony as Aladdin

Pocahontas

2008 - PocahontasJessica Biel as Pocahontas

Peter Pan

2008 - Peter PanGisele Bündchen as Wendy Darling; Mikhail Baryshnikov as Peter Pan; Tina Fey as Tinker Bell

Aladdin

2008 - Aladdin 2Whoopi Goldberg as Genie

The Little Mermaid

2008 - The Little MermaidJulianne Moore as Ariel; Michael Phelps as a merman

2009

Sleeping Beauty

2009 - Sleeping BeautyVanessa Hudgens as Princess Aurora; Zac Efron as Prince Phillip

2011

Snow White

2011 - Snow WhiteAlec Baldwin as the Magic Mirror; Olivia Wilde as the Evil Queen

Beauty and the Beast

2011 - Beauty and the BeastJeff Bridges as the Beast; Penélope Cruz as Belle

The Little Mermaid

2011 - The Little MermaidQueen Latifah as Ursula

Pirates of the Caribbean

2011 - Pirates of the CaribbeanJohnny Depp as Jack Sparrow

2011 - Pirates of the Caribbean 2Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow; Patti Smith as Second Pirate in Command

2012

Haunted Mansion

2012 - Haunted MansionJack Black as Phineas; Jason Segal as Gus; Will Ferrell as Ezra

Peter Pan

Russell Brand Appears as Captain Hook in New Disney Parks Dream Portrait by Annie LeibovitzRussell Brand as Captain Hook

2013

Tangled

2013 - TangledTaylor Swift as Rapunzel

There you have it! I’m hoping there will be more in the coming months and years. I’m just so fascinated by them. So do you have any favorites? I can’t seem to choose, all are just amazing!

Updated (as of October 12, 2014)

The Princess and the Frog

Jennifer Hudson as Tiana

2014

Brave

2014 - BraveJessica Chastain as Merida

Advertisements

One Hundred Names by Cecelia Ahern

Each of us has our own story to tell: a story that would change us and others for the better or a story that would destroy and harm ourselves as well as the others. And it’s up to us which story we choose to tell. That is what this book, One Hundred Names, is all about. Here’s the summary taken from Goodreads:

One Hundred Names coverJournalist Kitty Logan’s career is being destroyed by scandal – and now she faces losing the woman who guided and taught her everything she knew. At her terminally ill friend’s bedside, Kitty asks – what is the one story she always wanted to write? The answer lies in a file buried in Constance’s office: a list of one hundred names. There is no synopsis, nothing to explain what the story is or who these people are. The list is simply a mystery. But before Kitty can talk to her friend, it is too late. With everything to prove, Kitty is assigned the most important task of her life: to write the story her mentor never had the opportunity to. Kitty not only has to track down and meet the people on the list, but find out what connects them. And, in the process of hearing ordinary people’s stories, she starts to understand her own.

In this book, we are introduced to a world of media, specifically journalism, that we are very much familiar with and there, we get a glimpse of the inside methods and processes employed by the people in this career as they produce the outcome that will eventually be released and be read by the public. I’m not into journalism, but I still have the slightest idea of how it works. To be honest, it is inevitable to be intrigued by the scoops people have on celebrities and artists and some other scandalous rumors. I mean, who wouldn’t right? I would often update myself with those kinds of news because, admittedly, it’s fun. However, as time passes, I slowly start to get tired seeing and hearing about those stuffs. I realize that they’ve just been going around in circles just to keep the fire burning, if that makes sense. And then you also realize that you’re not really sure what the truth is anymore.

Anyway, moving on to the story, Kitty just happens to be one of the bad journalists in her town. With most of the people already angry at her, her life continued to bottom out when Constance is nearing her death due to an illness. With no one to back her up and support her, she must find a way to make herself a credible journalist again. And that’s when the list of names comes into the picture. The list, as the title suggests, consists of one hundred names of people Constance left Kitty with. Nobody actually knows the purpose of the list and it’s up to Kitty to find it out and make a story out of it, so she begins to search for the answer by finding each and every person listed.

At the beginning of the story, I won’t deny the fact that I got irritated with Kitty’s personality. She comes out as selfish and indifferent towards others and I actually hate her for being that way. I keep wondering why Cecelia Ahern would create a protagonist with a bad attitude. But then again, I still give Kitty the benefit of the doubt. Fortunately, though, as the story progresses, I learn how dynamic her characterization becomes. Readers can see throughout the book how Kitty changes. And true enough, I’m quite satisfied with the outcome.

I believe one thing that is being emphasized here is Constance’s view of journalism. Readers will notice that Constance has a different take on journalism and I actually admire her for that. It teaches Kitty and us that there’s more beneath the surface when you look more into it. It’s somehow the opposite of what most journalists do. With Constance’s life-changing lessons, readers will eventually grasp the depth of the story that the book is not just about the story of Kitty, but also about the people she meets. I am quite amazed by how each person’s story slowly unfolds as Kitty gets to know them. When at first, they come out as mysterious, they slowly learn to trust Kitty and reveal their lives to her and to us.

I have come to love Cecelia Ahern’s book because there seems to be a magical element added to her every book. As much as the story is realistic, there’s always a twist that doesn’t normally happen in real life. This uniqueness in her strategy is what makes her stand out from the others. Although there’s nothing magical about this book, in literal sense, I guess the magic happens in Kitty herself and perhaps the effect it will have on the readers.

Moreover, the story is so beautifully written with vivid descriptions of the undertakings in the book that I devoured every page, wanting to be involved in the story, too. Cecelia Ahern took her time to introduce us the few people from the list whose life stories are satisfyingly justified. Even I can’t choose which is better among the others because each of them has a unique story. I just wish I could meet them, too. I guess it would be nicer to be friends with people like them. The book truly touched my heart and I definitely fully enjoyed every part of it. Now, the question is: What is your story?

Finally, I would like to end this review with a quote from the book: “Every single ordinary person has an extraordinary story. We might all think that we are unremarkable, that our lives are boring, just because we aren’t doing ground-breaking things or making headlines or winning awards. But the truth is we all do something that is fascinating, that is brave, that is something we should be proud of. Every day people do things that are not celebrated. That is what we should be writing about. The unsung heroes, the people that don’t believe they are heroes at all because they are just doing what they believe they have to do in their lives.


The Choice… Not For A Day But For Eternity…

Last Saturday, my sister and my friend attended and watched The Choice, a theatrical play presented by the Chancel Repertory Theatre in partnership with Jubilee Evangelical Church, at Music Museum for free. Here’s the synopsis from the program book:

The ChoiceDuring the rule of Tiberius Caesar in the seaside city of Capernaum, a young Roman centurion, Marcus, falls in love with a beautiful Jewish girl, Hannah. She is a follower of Jesus, the radical teacher from Nazareth. As Marcus becomes fatefully intertwined in the tumultuous events leading to the execution of Jesus, he weighs the words and example of Christ against the wealth and power of the world. In the balance hangs… The Choice.

At a glance, The Choice seems to center on Marcus and Hannah’s love story, but that’s just the tip of an iceberg. Evident from the synopsis, the play is mainly about choosing between becoming a follower of Christ and possessing the mundane wonders of the world. To some, the choice may be easy, but in Marcus’ case, he struggles and is torn to choose, weighing the importance of the two in his life. Eventually, though, Marcus chooses what is right for him and bravely prepares himself for what’s to come.

For those of you who’ve been reading this, I’m pretty sure you’ve already figured out the ending to this story. However, despite the predictability of it, it’s the middle part that keeps us guessing, wanting to anticipate Marcus’ reaction and how he’d handle the situation presented. I’m amazed by the bravery and humility of Marcus to break the status quo and somehow, make a difference. On the other hand, Hannah shows to be a true follower of Christ. With her dedication and faithfulness to Jesus, no matter how hard the difficulties she faces, she continues to fight her battle and trust Jesus. Moreover, it is also in this play that the audience gets to witness Jesus’ performance of some of the miracles, His crucifixion, death, and resurrection.

Overall, The Choice is a perfect example of a good show to portray what it means to forgive and to have faith. I actually didn’t expect the venue to be full house and throughout the show, I can see that the audience actually enjoyed it. The only problems I have with the show are the sound system and lighting. They lack timing and glitches are evident at some parts. Because of this, the play doesn’t quite project an impressive show to me. Other than that, the performance of the talented casts is amazing and they explicitly gave their best to perform for the Lord. The powerful lines and lyrics are able to reach one’s heart and leave a heartfelt message for everyone to remember and reflect, hoping it will to continue to live in the hearts and minds of people, allowing them to choose the choice not for a day, but for eternity.


A Girl Like You by Gemma Burgess

I stumbled upon this title while I was browsing through the blogosphere before. Upon checking the summary, I thought that the premise looks promising, so I decided to buy a copy. I always enjoy reading chick lits and I can confidently say that this book was no exception.

Here’s the plot description from the back cover of the book:

A Girl Like You cover“I’ve discovered the secret to successful singledom. I’m acting like a man. And it’s working.”

After breaking up with her boyfriend of, well, forever, Abigail Wood must learn how to be single from scratch.

Her dating skills are abysmal, and she ricochets from disaster to disaster – until Robert, one of London’s most notorious lotharios, agrees to coach her.

With his advice, she learns to navigate the bastard-infested waters of the bar scene and practices the art of being bulletproof. The new Abigail is cocky, calm, composed… but what happens when she meets her match?

Intriguing, isn’t it? Being together with someone for several years and then suddenly breaking up would definitely give you a shock of your life. From doing things together, one suddenly ends up alone, doing things alone and I’m pretty sure you won’t get used to that kind of lifestyle immediately. In Abigail’s case, she encounters that. However, with the help of Robert’s expertise in dating, perhaps Abigail could survive and enjoy her status of being single once again, well, until she meets the right man for her.

Dating, as highlighted in this book, is about fun. It’s not the avenue to look for one’s future partner, based on Robert’s definition. And as time passes, Abigail slowly gets the hang of it and eventually enjoys what she’s doing. Taken from the point of view of Abigail, the book introduces me to the thoughts and feelings of Abigail. I actually like being in her head and at the same time, become the spectator of her life. Her side comments going in her mind are just funny and at times, pardon my word, bitchy. I can feel her thoughts, like she’s sharing secrets with me while no one else knows and this makes me empathize with her. There are times, though, during her desperate and insecure moments, when I just want to dive into the book, slap some sense out of her, and you know, be her friend when she seems hopeless and couldn’t tell whatever she’s thinking to her friends, sister, and family.

Furthermore, I may not have experienced what Abigail does, but her dating phase surely opened my eyes to the side of the world where I’m not familiar with. Her interaction with different men of varied personalities also made me get to know them too, but of course, my impression on them is based on Abigail’s. Somehow, it still broaden my knowledge of the possibility that the men she meets may exist in real life and perhaps this will serve as a preparation on how to respond when I am faced with a similar situation as Abigail.

While the story centers on dating, I guess the theme of this book is also about finding the right person to love. It is inevitable to compare and contrast the men Abigail meets with each other and I can’t help rooting a certain person to hopefully end up with Abigail in the end. All the things that happened throughout the book make me reflect on the things I learned about true love in one of my Theology classes in college. Surprisingly, the outcome of the story justifies my perception about love and I’m happy with it. I won’t reveal who Abigail ends up with, but I can say that what happened serves as a proof that true love still exists.

Gemma Burgess certainly did an amazing job coming up with an exciting storyline full of emotions, funny dialogues, sweet and scandalous moments, and some bitchy characters. Readers will laugh, smile, and cry with the characters. If you were to ask me what my favorite scene is, I, without a doubt, would choose the wedding scene where the best man gives his speech. It’s the sweetest thing ever said and it’s nice to be able to witness the whole thing through words. I could never ask for a better ending than this. Overall, this book is a nice escape from all the stress one is experiencing. In my case, it absolutely helps.


Something Like Normal by Trish Doller

I came across this title in the blogosphere before, but I haven’t gotten myself to read it, let alone acquire a copy. Then one day, as I was browsing for new books to read, Something Like Normal caught my attention again and right there I decided to grab a copy immediately.

Here’s the summary of the book:

something like normal coverI just came home from Afghanistan.

My parents are splitting up.

My brother has stolen my girlfriend.

(He also stole my car.)

And I’m haunted by the ghost of my best friend.

Then I run into Harper.

(Technically, her fist runs into my face.)

She’s beautiful, smart, funny…

…and she wants nothing to do with the messed-up Marine who ruined her life.

Sometimes the best you can hope for is something like normal.

Sometimes what you get might be even better.

It’s kind of hard to look for this copy at our local bookstores. It took a while for one of the bookstore’s staffs to notify me of its availability. I think I waited for a month and I even included this in my Christmas wish list in case our family ‘Santa Claus’ will be able to find a copy. Because of that, who would’ve thought that I now own two copies of the book: one from the bookstore and the other one given by our ‘Santa Claus’ uncle who immediately ordered the book abroad right after I listed my wish list in our family Facebook group.

Anyway, moving on to the story, Something Like Normal talks about the life of Travis Stephenson during his Marine service in Afghanistan and his extended vacation break after his friend’s death. Since then, he’s been struggling with hunting and troubling nightmares coupled with his break-up with his ex-girlfriend, as well as his relationship with his father.

At a glance, it’s kind of hard to imagine a nineteen-year-old person to encounter all of the conflicts mentioned in the book at the same time, but I’m amazed by how Trish Doller successfully portrayed the situation in the eyes of a teenager and perfectly described how he would react to it. The storyline just flows so naturally that I do not have a hard time looking into Travis’s life and understand what he’s going through. The burden he carries may be a bit heavier than the burdens any other normal teenager would have, but his actions are definitely justified based on his experiences.

The story is set in the present time with flashbacks here and there whenever a certain situation or object reminds him of his past. It is in this case where readers will begin to notice the changes in Travis’s attitude and personality. From being the immature boy that he was, Travis grows to become more mature, confident, and independent with an open mind and a new perspective in life throughout his time as a Marine. This character development is also made possible with the help of other characters, especially his family, Harper, his friends, and even Paige.

One of the things I like about this book is that it does not limit itself to Travis’s relationship with Harper. It is not entirely a pure love story as the book also explores and elaborates his relationship with his parents and Marine troops. Secondly, being a Nicholas Sparks fan, I like how his work is incorporated into the story. If you’re familiar with Dear John, then you would understand. And lastly, this book got me hooked immediately. Moreover, it unexpectedly captured my heart. I won’t deny that I almost cried at one part of the story. I have to actually stop myself from tearing up while on the airplane as people might see me (hihi!).

All in all, this is one heck of a book to read. I undeniably enjoyed it. This book may be a light read, but the effect it has on me makes it worth-reading. The pacing is good and the way the author writes the story pushes the readers to keep reading, root for the characters, and feel giddy on the sweet things. This will definitely not be the end of reading Trish Doller’s works. Something Like Normal offers a story that makes normal look fun and extraordinary.