March Favorites: Fairytales, Wisdom, and a Pair of Pants

March turned out to be a really lovely month. I spent a lot of time with my family and friends, went to Magic Kingdom with an adorable three-year-old who was delighted by everything, attended my cousin’s beautiful wedding, and got back in touch with my creativity after falling into a bit of a rut.

One not-so-great thing that happened was a nasty cold that I got toward the end. It kicked me on my ass and I’m still recovering from it, but even something positive managed to come from that. It made me realize something. In being forced to slow down, I first experienced an onslaught of guilt for not having the energy or mental faculties to get any work done. I got really down about it because I’m at a point in my life where I’m razor-focused on accomplishing my goals.

But then, when my mind finally went quiet after resisting relentlessly for a few days (because I was getting worse, not better, from pushing myself to stay active), I began to re-evaluate some things. In that quiet time, I had the opportunity to look more deeply at what I was doing since I’d barely taken a breath in a while, feeling like I had to constantly hustle, hustle, hustle. Hustling is important, but so is (I learned) taking the time to be still. I became more centered and clear on what I needed to be focusing on. (I also started practicing gratitude, which is something I talk about more later in this post.)

Since that time, I feel refreshed and renewed and more inspired than I have in a long, long time. I felt myself on the brink of snapping from all the pressure I was putting on myself. Taking some time to look inward, indulge in things that inspired me, listen to my favorite gurus offer words of wisdom, and take large amounts of time to simply nap and do nothing was the therapy I needed to be able to come back to my goals with more clarity and intention. This is a hard lesson for a stubborn, ambitious person like myself, but I’m going to strive to incorporate these things in both my daily life and take some time out regularly to recharge.

Moral of the story: sometimes, your body knows what you need better than you do. And guilt-free moments of gratitude, contemplation, self-awareness, and rest are just as important to your happiness and productivity as the tasks leading you toward your goals.

Here are some other things I appreciated in March:

M A R C H  ♥  F A V O R I T E S

Beauty and the Beast

Of course, I have to start with this. Unless you’ve been living under a nice shady rock, you know that Disney’s live-action version of Beauty and the Beast came out in March. My expectations for it were as high as humanly possible. The animated version was the first movie I saw in a theater and I’ve watched it countless times since then, not to mention the stage show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios which I’ve also seen half a billion times. (Someday, I hope I get the opportunity to see the Broadway version.) Belle has always been my favorite Disney princess and the one I relate the most to.

To be honest, I wasn’t thrilled about Emma Watson being cast as Belle. While I adore her as a person, I was worried it would end up being Hermione and the Beast. She wasn’t what I had imagined as Belle. However, once I saw the movie, my feelings about her as the character completely changed. I was pleasantly surprised and ended up loving her portrayal of Belle. Thankfully, it didn’t feel like I was watching Hermione in a Disney movie; she created a new character that embodied everything I admired and respected about the original, so kudos to her.

Everything about this film was the best of the best: the sets, the costumes, and ─ oh, God – the music. Beauty and the Beast has some of the most captivating, impeccably crafted music I’ve ever heard. It always stirs such emotion in me. This film not only stayed true to it but managed to breathe fresh life into it, as well. My only wish was that Emma was a stronger singer to really belt out Belle’s iconic songs.

Josh Gad was brilliant as La Fou. Luke Evans made Gaston darker and more richly layered. Ewan McGreggor and Ian McKellan had wonderful chemistry as Lumiere and Cogsworth, respectively. Kevin Kline brought all the scatter-brained charm to Maurice while giving him a sharp, underlying intelligence.

And Dan Stevens made the Beast wonderfully human and endearing. I fell in love with him right along with Belle.

(Warning: If you haven’t seen the original Beauty and the Beast and don’t know the story, stop here — spoilers ahead.)

My only disappointment in the film itself was the transformation at the end. For the most part, it was as breathtaking as the rest of the film, but I would’ve liked to see Belle and the Prince speak to each other after he approached her in his human form. The close-up of the eyes was great (and a nice throwback to the original), but I think some light banter would’ve really solidified that he was the same person as the Beast and made it even more emotionally satisfying.

The movie fully enchanted me. I laughed, I cried, I grinned like an idiot, and I got completely swept up in the magical world Disney created. I’ve seen it twice so far and honestly, I’d go see it at least once a week until it left theaters if I wouldn’t go bankrupt. I need the DVD like yesterday.

Marie Forleo’s Interview with Cheryl Strayed

I’ve been following Marie Forleo for years now. She is a brilliant business coach, inspirational force, and overall beautiful soul who also knows how to have fun. (She and her team are a bunch of goofballs and I love it.) Her content is full of “nuggets o’ wisdom,” as she charmingly calls them. I never get tired of watching her weekly videos.

Recently, she interviewed Cheryl Strayed, author of WILD: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. (The movie adaptation with Reese Witherspoon came out in 2014.) This was one of my favorite interviews by Marie to date. Cheryl offered some wonderful advice to aspiring writers and their conversation was full of wisdom.

 

It’s a must-watch for creatives, especially writers. It was refreshing to hear an acclaimed author share her more relaxed view on what it means to be a writer. It definitely helped relieve some of the stress and expectations I’ve imposed on myself.

Style Your Mind Podcast

I discovered writer and master life coach Cara Alwill Leyba’s blog The Champagne Diet almost a year ago and have been hooked ever since. I adore her message, her way with words, and her beautiful (and badass) spirit. I’ve read two of her books: Fearless & Fabulous: 10 Powerful Strategies for Getting Anything You Want in Life and Stripped: A Collection of Inspired Writings for the Evolving Woman. She has a few others out that are on my to-read list, and I follow her blog, Snapchat, and Instagram religiously.

In March, Cara launched a podcast called Style Your Mind. She offers sage business and life advice that is real, honest, and instantly applicable. It feels like I’m listening to a girlfriend of mine give me great advice. Sometimes, she says things I know but need to be reminded of, and other times she slaps me with epiphanies that change my entire outlook on something. She’s such a powerful, positive force who I’m grateful to have found.

Definitely give it a listen on iTunes if you’re an Apple user or Stitcher for Android.

“Murder Most Foul” (Once Upon a Time: Ep. 6.12)

This was one of the best Once Upon a Time episodes to date. Truly great episodes of this show seem to be getting fewer and farther between. I have a love-hate relationship with OUAT. I love the concept (I’m obsessed with Disney and fairytales, so this isn’t surprising) and many of the actors, and some brilliant pieces of television have come from this show. However, the writing is, unfortunately, very inconsistent. This episode, however, is one where they got it right.

We got to see what Josh Dallas is truly capable of as an actor as David faced some old demons. I loved seeing the depth of both the actor and the character. I also loved the dynamic between Hook and David. There were some moments that had me cracking up and moments that had me experiencing some major feels.

This episode had everything I wish the series always had: darkness, humor, and real, honest character development. Too bad the episodes that have followed it so far have been some of my least favorite.

Writing Outside

I was getting into a creative rut so I decided to switch up my surroundings and start writing outside at least once a week. Sometimes, I only go as far as my backyard, but I’ve also started going out to Starbucks and other little spots I love with my laptop just to do some writing. It does so much for my soul to get out and have life happening around me while I write. Definitely going to keep it up.

Practicing Gratitude

This is something I’ve heard a lot of life coaches recommend and I’ve always considered myself a grateful, appreciative person, but it wasn’t until I consciously started listing things out during rough moments that I realized how much of a difference it makes. Whenever I start feeling bad about something, whether it’s my writing, my day job, my appearance, my finances, my productivity, anything – I flip my thoughts around and start listing things that I am grateful for. It’s a small thing that has already helped me crawl out of a negative headspace more than once. I’ve heard some people suggest starting and/or ending every day by writing a list of what you were grateful for that day, too. I haven’t tried that yet, but it’s not a bad idea.

High-Waisted Jeans

Seriously, why am I just figuring this out? I finally gave into this trend and damn it if I don’t love it. They are so flattering! I got one pair from Forever 21 and now I want to fill my whole closet with them. It’s the little things, you know?

There you have it ─ my favorite things in March. I really enjoyed reflecting on the past month. I hadn’t thought of it as being part of my new effort to practice gratitude, but it actually fit right in with that. If you haven’t tried it yet, I definitely recommend it.

In fact, I’d love to hear about your March favorites. If you’re open to sharing, feel free to leave a comment!

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