Why Frozen Might Be My Favorite Animated Movie

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I was getting life lessons all over the place.

(plot spoilers throughout)

Over Christmas break I saw the movie Frozen twice, each time with a dear friend.  Now I rarely see movies in theaters twice, unless they are really special (or a friend can talk me into it.)  During the first viewing my attitude towards the movie quickly shifted from “there’s nothing good out, I guess an animated movie can’t be too bad” to “OMG this movie gets me.”

You see, I didn’t really know what the movie was about (other than snow) and I had noticed the majority of people in the theater were moms with children, so I didn’t expect too much. For roughly the first 20-30 minutes I thought the movie was pleasant, but nothing I’d ever want to see again.

Now most movies, especially children’s ones, teach a lesson or two.  For example, Tangled teaches us the joy of getting out and seeing the world, Up teaches us to continue on living a vibrant life after loss, Shrek teaches us the value of inner beauty, and Toy Story teaches us friendship is one of the greatest things in life.  These are great, universal lessons, but do seem to be targeted to children.  Now bear with me, this has a point I’ll get to soon.

As I watched Frozen unfold, one of the princesses (Anna) sang about how excited she was for her sister’s coronation celebration.  She was going meet a perfect man and fall in love!  I felt my eyes roll to the back of my head. (Ever since Brave I’ve grown increasingly aware to the absurdity of Disney Princess Culture.)  But I figured, hey, this is a Disney movie, I guess it wouldn’t be the same without a cliche girl-meets-prince scenario!  And sure enough, Anna met a charming prince, they sang a sweet duet about their new-found love, ending in an engagement, and my eye rolling was getting out of control by this point and I think I was even producing audible sighs of annoyance.

Queen Elsa, secretly cursed with magic, gets upset and long story short, accidentally sends the kingdom into a deadly freeze and runs away to hide. Princess Anna leaves in search of Elsa, and a short while later runs into an outdoorsman (Kristoff) she recruits for help. Along the way she mentions everything from the ice magic affecting her kingdom to her new fiance.  Kristoff is less shocked by the impossible magic than he is about the engagement.  “You got engaged to someone you just met?!”  Later he comments in an unrelated situation, “I don’t trust your judgment” and then I realized this movie gets it.  This is the point in the movie where those valuable life lessons were finally coming to fruition.

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Let’s forget about Anna’s poor life choices for a minute here and focus on saving the kingdom.

Adventure and running for their lives ensues, and when things finally slow down they meet Kristoff’s family and the song Fixer Upper breaks out.  This song alone is enough to make the movie fantastic.  The morals this song packs into 2-3 minutes:

  • Nobody is perfect.
  • Just because somebody isn’t perfect doesn’t mean they can’t be a truly wonderful person.
  • Seriously, quit overly-romanticizing the idea of some perfect man or woman. Every chick flick you’ve seen from Dirty Dancing to Twilight has royally screwed up your view of how these things work.
  • Remember you can’t change people.  Being in a relationship may inspire people to want to be better, but it’s not a guarantee, and it’s not something you can actively make happen. Don’t go into a relationship having specific traits picked out you’re planning to force out of your significant other.
  • “People make bad choices if they’re mad or scared or stressed.”  AMEN.
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Olaf. He’s just a snowman, but he gets what love’s about.

Near the climax of the movie, Olaf, my favorite skull-less snowman, mentions “Love is putting someone else’s needs before yours.” Wow, this movie just told me one of the better definitions of love I’ve ever heard. I was about ready to stand up and applaud by this point.

In the end, much to the audience’s surprise, “true love” turns out to be the love between two sisters, not necessarily a romantic, hearts, roses & kisses, kind of love. YES. Romantic love is amazing, but have older Disney movies made us think we cannot find happiness without it? We often put too much emphasis on romantic love, and not enough on the love between friends and family members.  These relationships are just as critical to life as the former, and it’s great to see movies like Frozen and Brave teaching this to girls, both young and old.

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Brands I Love: Target

Oh Target, even after you lost my credit card number to what I envision as pirates or armed thugs, I still love you.  I’ve actually visited you twice since the incident.  Yes, I paid with cash the first time, and yes, I used my secondary credit card the second time, but I still think you’re pretty great.

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This meme speaks truth.

Seriously though, the fact that Target can make such a major screw-up and still retain my love says a lot about their brand equity. 

How did I get to love Target so much in the first place?  I always remembered going to Target on occasion when I was much younger.  It was a nice store but nothing like the store I am obsessed with now.  I remember things were always more expensive there, and the store felt pretty clean but I wasn’t that excited to go.  Most Targets had a cafe, the smell of popcorn was always tantalizing, and some even had a Starbucks, which was different.  Again, nice…but not the store that people literally get excited to shop..

Little by little over the years, Target went from clean, slightly more expensive store to the place where you intend to buy one thing and leave with ten.  I think the dollar section is what came first.  This wasn’t cheap Dollar Tree stuff, these were higher quality little items. They were fun.  A way to treat yourself. Only a dollar!  Target had taken its first steps towards becoming the place where self control melts away and you feel happy despite the fact…

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The crowning achievement of what private label can do

Then over the years they began to gradually add fashionable clothing, designer kitchen appliances, delicious Archer Farms food and really tightened up their cosmetic section. Target may have cost more, but when paying 10% more led to a 50% boost in quality (I’m estimating here, don’t question my numbers) many of us began to realize it was worth it. Middle class heaven, right there.

Target has a mass-niche target market, in my marketer opinion.  What does that mean?  I mean they are a store that sells on a mass scale, but they aren’t trying to be everything to everyone.  Their target market is slightly higher income (but still very accessible,) I assume female-skewing, and generally fashionable people who seek a the fusion between form and function.  That might sound a little specific but that still is a gigantic wedge of the marketplace.  I’m convinced I’m not the only Target shopper who has thought “why buy a black spatula when I can get this amazing turquoise, polka dotted one for 25 cents more?”

I will end with that thought process, as it perfectly sums up why Target is one of my favorite brands.

A Year of Recipes: #2

So I actually made two recipes yesterday.  The second one was in the crock pot, so really not that challenging.  The recipe is Crock Pot Chili Mac!  I didn’t have the veggies to add….oops.  WordPress won’t let me upload photos right now so we’ll have to add those later.

Tips: you can add cheese on top after you’re done cooking.  Also, I did not cook my pasta ahead of time, and it soaked up enough moisture just fine.

The only real step in this was browning the beef before adding.  And using a can opener.  Seriously.  Dump everything in.  The moisture from the cans of beans and tomato sauce are enough to keep everything from drying up.

The only don’t do what I did I have is to layer the beef under the beans and tomato sauce.  I put the beef on top since I added the other ingredients as it cooked, and it was a little dry when I checked halfway through.  I was able to stir all the ingredients up then and keep it from drying any more.

Taste: 3/4
Ease: 3.5/4
Guiltless: 2/4.  Cheese.  Pasta.  Beef (at least it’s lean.)

A Year of Recipes: #1

I’m in love with this recipe.  It’s the Buff Chick Hot Wing Dip from Hungry Girl and so full of flavor!

The lineup.  Canned chicken, hot sauce, reduced fat cream cheese, light ranch, greek yogurt, mozzarella cheese.

The lineup. Canned chicken, hot sauce, reduced fat cream cheese, light ranch, plain greek yogurt, mozzarella cheese.  (jsyk – I spelled mozzarella wrong and Firefox suggested ” Barbarella.”

This was easy.  Soften cream cheese and then mix everything up in a big bowl.  The recipe intended for the finished product to be used as a veggie dip but I was intending to use mine on a bun to make a nice sandwich filling.

Finish product - don't you love the hideous green color of this tupperware?

Finished product – don’t you love the hideous green color of this tupperware?  I told you I’m not here to provide food-photography.

The recipe recommended two ways of preparing: bake the dip in a dish or microwave the entire thing.  Because I was using mine for sandwiches, I did neither.  I portioned out a half cup serving, microwaved that, then spread on my bread.  (it will melt a little, put it in a cup or container)

SO GOOD.

For lunch this week I can pack a microwave container with the sandwich filling, heat that up, then add to bread bagged separately.  The nutrition facts with the recipe suggest this is a pretty light recipe, but my ingredients varied a little bit.  I’m keeping track of how many servings I can come up with, but I think it will be a respectable meal

Taste: 4/4
Ease: 4/4
Guiltless: 3/4.  Cream cheese, light or not, is still cream cheese.

A Year Of Recipes: Intro

I’ve always hated going to second service church.  I feel like it’s so late by the time it’s over and that’s literally the only thing I’ve done all day.

This morning, like many others, I was planning to attend the 9:30 service.  However this morning I woke up knowing ahead of time there was a good chance of icy roads.  Before even getting out of bed I checked my phone and sure enough, they were.  They’d be cleared up in time for the 11:00 service.  I closed my eyes and dozed for a while but the sun coaxed me awake.

Yesterday I had been grocery shopping and got ingredients for two whole recipes (a big deal for a Liz Lemon like me!)  So I figured, why not get started before church?  I put on some relaxing music, got a crock pot meal up and running, and started preparing my ingredients for the other recipe.  After church I had a meal half-way cooked and was ready to whip together the other.

This was awesome.  So I added an additional New Year’s resolution today.  Cook every Sunday (when able) before church.  Try 52 recipes this year.  It will help with health and the well-roundedness aspects of my life I’m working on.  Plus, I’ll have something great to eat for dinner or take in my lunch the next few days.  Even better, my mom and brother are both on a crock pot kick back home, we can share recipes and tips.

So you can bet you’ll be seeing blog posts concerning these kitchen experiments in the future!  Don’t expect step by step explanations of recipes (I’ll link to them.)  Don’t look for expert food photography.  Just understand I will give you my honest opinion on the outcome of the food and perhaps a handful of don’t make the same mistake I did’s.

2014 Resolutions: Shut Up Already

And now…the 2014 Resolutions!  Honestly a lot of the same ones from last year, just focused a little differently.  I’m just now realizing how odd this is to be posting my resolutions for everyone to see.  They’re quite personal, but I guess I should have worried about over-sharing before I started a blog based on figuring out life and adulthood.

Fitness

  • Reach 36 miles by bike (I’m going to regret this one many times)
  • Run that half marathon, whether an official race or just on the trail.
  • Get those ripped arms
  • Balance exercise and diet, remembering to enjoy indulgences from time to time
  • No alcohol for the first 6 months of the year.  (also going to regret this one)

Friendship

  • Stay close to old friends.  Visit Nashville more often, especially since the drive can be done in a long evening.  Get my friends to travel with me when possible.
  • Join a hiking group.  Time to branch out and find some adventurous folk to round things out.  This also will have the nice benefit of letting me go hiking without having to worry about bears…

(I need a word that starts with F…) Living Well

  • Writing – blogging regularly.  Creative writing.  So hard to get started, but this is what I want to do.
  • Reading – instead of focusing on the quantity of books I read, I want to focus on reading quality books.  I have two on my to-read list already and I’m sure more will be found as the year progresses.
  • Humor – take a comedy class.  I’m a smartass and I’d like to be a better one.  This goal is probably the most daunting on the list.
  • Travel – bit of overlap here…but travel with work, with friends, with family.  Plan my vacation days carefully.  Go to some amazing cities.  Do more weekend trips.  Extend those business trips into real vacations when possible.  Make good use of my scheduled holidays.
  • Crafting – this is the flimsiest goal of mine – I want to stay crafty but not at the expense of my other goals.  I think it’s time to pick up a new craft (ornament making just isn’t right in the spring or summer) and I might take a jewelry-making class.
  • Cooking – I actually came up with this resolution but I want to cook more.  I am planning to cook on Sundays before (or after depending on how I feel…) Church so the goal is 52 recipes tried this year.  I’ll of course make sure to blog about them!

Career

  • I set mandatory 6 month and 1 year goals at work earlier in the year.  I want to make sure I pursue these goals.
  • Continue to grow in my ability to be decisive, one of my biggest weaknesses.
  • Champion one outside-the-box project by the end of the year.  Because why not?
  • Do a webinar twice a week over the lunch hour – When I first started working I watched quite a few webinars and haven’t been as active lately, but as things have gotten busier it’s easy to neglect continuing my marketing education.

Crazy to think how much has changed since this time last year.