First. I LOVE movies. LOVE THEM. Second, I tried to make a simple list of my top ten favorite movies, but as my list grew and grew, I realized that was near impossible. So I’m simplifying things and doing my list of favorite Disney movies, animated or almost-animated. (If I start to add in Star Wars or Marvel or everything else Disney has done or owns or will own, things will be too complicated again.) So. Here’s my list, number one being my favorite!
10. Emperor’s New Groove – My sister and I watched this constantly as children, and without fail, we would laugh until we couldn’t breathe and tears were rolling down our cheeks every time that cat falls and screams and then launches into the air and screams again. We loved it!
9. Lady and the Tramp – I mostly loved this because of the cute little puppies at the end of the movie.
8.) Robin Hood – My sister and I had the biggest crush on that manly fox.
7.) Enchanted – This counts as half-animated and is the funniest show! I hope the upcoming sequel doesn’t disappoint...
6.) Toy Story – I’m not choosing which one is the best. They’re all great! Love Tom Hanks’ and Tim Allen’s voices in them.
5.) Pocahontas – She was my favorite Disney Princess growing up. I watched it recently for the first time since I was a child and was surprised at the heart-wrenching ending. The wind tells her to go!! Horrible.
4.) Mary Poppins – I love Julie Andrews. Everything about this film is perfection. So funny and timeless.
3.) Cinderella (Live-Action) – That dress. What I wouldn’t give to wear that dress.
2.) Tangled – Still a favorite. So romantic. So sweet. Flynn Ryder is the best.
1.) Moana – This is still a surprise to me that this is my favorite. For some reason, this movie speaks to me. Her love of the ocean, being torn between her home and the wide open waters. I absolutely love it. And you better believe that I sing along to every word each time my kids “make” me listen to the music!
There you have it! What is your list of top ten favorite animated (or almost) Disney movies? I’d love to know!
I think most of us have read books that have had significant impacts on our lives, whether for good or bad, especially the books we read when we were younger.
Today, I decided to compile a small (and I mean small) list of books that I loved when I was younger, as well as books that were most definitely not for me.
The first book that always comes to mind when I think of what I read as a child would have to be “Charlotte’s Rose” by A. E. Cannon. I loved that book so much that I based a small book I had to write in my history class off of it. I loved the cute main character and how strong she was throughout the book. I also remember this as one of the first novels I read that had a taste of romance to it. I’m afraid my obsession for romance novels only increased from that point on. Side note, I wrote the author an email once, telling her I loved her book and that I loved to write, and she wrote me back, telling me to never give up on writing. I have never forgotten her advice, nor how I felt to have an actual author write me back!
When I grew older, I read “Pride & Prejudice.” As you may know due to my Regency romance novels, this book had a huge impact on me. I watched the first adaptation of the novel (the one with Laurence Olivier) when I was maybe nine. Though I still enjoy the movie, I later came to discover how inaccurate it is in relation to the novel and the history of the Regency Era. They had a great, annoying Mrs. Bennett, though so that was spot on, at least! Nothing compares to Jane Austen’s writing, though, no matter how accurate the film adaptation!
I also remember really enjoying “This Just In” by Kerry Blair. At the time, I had a crush on my math teacher who reminded me of the hero of the novel, so that may have been why I enjoyed the book so much… You know how that goes! I laughed and sighed with the romance all the way throughout the book, and I renewed it multiple times from the library (because, you know, eBooks didn’t really exist then).
And then there were the books I cringed while reading. They aren’t horrible books, many of my friends actually enjoyed them, but they were just not for me. Maybe it was because I was forced--sorry, required to read them in school. Or maybe it was because I love happy endings and happy middles (not ALL happy. Just enough to keep me motivated), and these books were not happy. In my opinion, anyway.
being"1984". That book. Did I already mention I like happy endings? Because I like happy endings. And this book is not happy. For that reason, and many others, it was very difficult for me to get through, and if I’m being honest, I skimmed, if not skipped, more than half of it. (Sorry, Miss Merrell!) However, I did manage to pass my AP Lit test thanks to a question that applied perfectly to the book, so I suppose it wasn’t totally worthless, my reading it, after all.
"Watership Down" was another novel I wasn’t too thrilled with while reading it. I read it so long ago that I don’t remember much, but I DO remember it took me all summer to read (“required” again to read it for the coming school year), and it was rather depressing. They had us watch a clip of the movie, as well, and that scarred me forever.
So there you have it! Now I want to hear from you! What are your favorite or not-so-favorite novels that changed you as a person? Comment below or shoot me an email!
When we were young, my sister and I were obsessed with the movie Quest for Camelot. It had fun music, great voice actors, an exciting story line, an attractive (to our strange, little girls’ minds) cartoon hero, and a sweet romance to top it all off. There was one thing, however, that I really did not like about the movie, and that was the two-headed dragon(s?) named Devon and Cornwall.
I hated those dragons for reasons I cannot remember nor fathom, especially the short, plump one named Cornwall. I even hated his name, so annoying I found him, so when I later discovered there was a place in England called Cornwall, I instantly turned my nose up and decided I would never see, nor have the desire to see, the place that inspired that terrible dragon.
Fourteen years passed by, and after our first year of marriage, my husband and I scrounged up enough money to take our first trip to England together. (Since moving to America from England, my husband had only been back home only once in nearly ten years, so he was ready to return!) We brainstormed a long list of places to visit during our holiday, wanting to see as much as possible, but when my husband suggested Cornwall, I protested the idea, ridiculously prejudiced as I was, and pushed to see other places instead, mostly locations related to Jane Austen and/or Harry Potter.
Our trip rolled around and, as luck would have it, I did not have to go to Cornwall, nor did I have to during our second trip to England. Despite reasonable pushing from my husband for me to feel otherwise, my unfair judgment of the county, it would seem, would stay the same.
That is, until I came across a TV series that would finally and forever change my opinion.
Watching Poldark, seeing those first few images of Cornwall on my TV, I was speechless. How could such a beautiful place exist? My husband and I watched the series together, loving the characters, the stories, the horses charging across the cliffs, but most of all, we marveled at the scenery. How could those sights, the sparkling sea, the pink wildflowers along the cliff’s edge, the glowing sunsets over the countryside, how could they have escaped my attention for so long? I was astonished and ashamed that my stubborn, childhood opinion had prevented me from experiencing the otherworldly magnificence of Cornwall firsthand, and I determined then and there to rectify my mistake.
For months I planned out our next trip to England, including a solid week in Cornwall. I had our itinerary planned out to the minute, wanting to make up for lost time and to see as much as humanly possible. When the time finally came to see the county, my beloved Cornwall exceeded even my incredibly high expectations. As can be read from my other (many) blog posts, I fell in love. I fell in love with the seaside, the coastline, the accent, the Cornish Pasties, the sunsets, the towns, the history, the windy weather, the pathways along every cliff. I even fell in love with the miniscule, no-lane roads lined with tall hedges and sharp rocks that seemed to scratch our rental car at every turn.
As we walked through small port towns and across vast moors, explored historic mines, and marveled at sunset after glorious sunset, I could not believe I had been so ridiculous as to have prevented myself from seeing Cornwall sooner, merely because of a cartoon, two-headed dragon I didn’t like as a child. I suppose all I can do now is make sure I never judge a place by its name again…that and make sure each future visit to England is filled with as much Cornwall as possible.
Each time we've been to England, we have gone during the month of May, so every May that rolls around and we are not in England, I start to have withdrawals. To satisfy my desire to go, I decided I could pack my bags and throw the money for the flights on the credit card, or I could go the more sensible route and write a few blog posts relating to England to hopefully mollify my insatiable desire to go back. I can only hope it works!
Some of my fondest memories of my trips to England are the times I have spent in the pubs, eating delicious food, conversing comfortably with family, and enjoying the lively, cozy, environment. Each of the three times I have been, I have a new experience with eating out at a pub, and each time, I find myself enjoying it even more than the last.
My first time in England, we ate at a pub in York after working up an appetite, wandering the streets all day. I ordered half a chicken, not expecting the literal half-chicken they brought out on my plate, accompanied with a hearty helping of beans and chips on the side. I felt like I ate so much, but I hardly made a dent in the meal. The pub was loud with chatter and laughter, but I loved every moment of it, especially when the burly, dark-bearded waiter called me “love” while taking my order.
Another pub I loved was in Bath. My husband, his aunt and uncle, and I were searching out food later one evening, so we walked down a small, country lane just near our hotel and decided upon eating at the Hop Pole Inn. The pub was heaving, but we decided to wait anyway, being shown to a quiet sitting area in the back. That is where I had my first orange and passion fruit J2O, the most delicious fruit drink I’ve ever had in my life. We had our drinks behind the pub, a soft breeze keeping us cool, the sinking sun causing the world around us to be covered in shades of purple. Kids played football (soccer) in the small grassy area next to us, their laughter causing us to smile as we spoke comfortably with one another. Soon, they cleared a table just for us, and we ordered our food. Again, they brought out hearty helpings. The lasagna and salad I had was enough for four people, not to mention the most delicious thing I had ever eaten. I only wish taking a doggy-bag of the food home was a common practice in England so I could enjoy it time and time again!
While in Stratford-upon-Avon, we were fortunate enough to go to a cozy little pub on quiz night, and though we didn’t participate, it was fun to see how the locals answered the questions and laughed with their teammates as they tried to win the evening’s quiz. Afterward, we walked behind the pub down a tree-covered pathway with bunnies hopping in and out of the holes in the field next to us. We loved our time there so much, we returned on our next trip to England and had another wonderful experience there.
Our most recent trip, with a wonderful week spent in Cornwall, we were able to eat out in more delicious pubs. I ate my first Cornish Pasty while there, as well. I am so precarious when it comes to trying new foods, as I’m not a fan of anything new or different, but the pasty was absolutely delicious, and I ordered it every chance I got. One of my favorite things about pubs? The amount of beans and chips they give you with nearly every meal!
Writing and thinking about the food and pubs of England unfortunately has done nothing but cause my desire to return to burn greater within me. I suppose I’ll just have to have some beans on toast for dinner tonight and work more on my latest edit for my upcoming regency romance, all while I spend a ridiculous amount of money on an order of J2O from Amazon. Bon appetite, to me!
While seven months pregnant with our second child, my husband and I flew to England. We had a wonderful time, as we always do while there, but even more so because my sister and her husband were able to join us. We explored all over the country together and had the time of our lives, however, the exhaustion I felt while pregnant and traveling with our 18 month old was acute. So much so that I promised myself I would never travel so far from home while pregnant again.
Two years later, my husband and I headed to England once again where I visited Cornwall for the first time. From then on, I was forever changed. I have never longed to return to a place (excepting my own home) more than I do Cornwall. There is something about it (the rugged coastline, the accents, the food, the views, the small roads, the peace and quiet) that calls to me.
When we returned home, my yearning for the county grew, but with our third child on the way, I knew we wouldn't be able to go back for years. To satisfy my unquenchable thirst to see Cornwall and the ocean again, we planned a trip to Oregon.
2.) I wanted to be sure to get a few sunset pictures of our growing family. After five nights spent hoping for beautiful sunsets (each night ending with thick clouds blocking any light from the departing sun), we were finally blessed with a breathtaking sunset on our last night.
After our wonderful vacation, we returned home, however, nothing could compare to my beautiful Cornwall, and I am now, more than ever, longing to return. I suppose I will simply have to wait a year or two, though, when we can enjoy the county with three children instead of two.
Now all I must do is find the patience to wait for the baby to join our family, and for the next time we get to enjoy Cornwall together!
A few months back, I was able to update my blog more frequently than before, having a great deal to write about in relation to my recent trip to England. However, when I reached the post I had been waiting to write about for months, I was stumped, deciding to take the easy way out and just give up on writing altogether...
for a few weeks, anyway.
Or perhaps I wished to start writing again because of the beautiful autumn we are experiencing this year. The colors of the leaves have been so vibrant and have lasted far longer than years past. The air has been crisp and not absolutely frigid, which has been a nice change, and now that November has come, I am happy for it to snow and drop in temperature. (At least until January when it needs to warm up day one.)
Or maybe I simply wanted to start writing again because I love it, and I missed these last few months of creating images in others' minds by putting words on a page. Along with my blogging, I nearly gave up on writing and editing my new novel, which is what I miss the most. The characters, places, and situations are so real to me that when I don’t write or read about them, I miss them like I would any old friend.
I expected great things during our trip to Cornwall, planning for months on spreadsheets every minute of every day so we could take full advantage of our time there. We had so many places to see, so many miles to drive, we were exhausted by the end of every day, but each moment of exhaustion was worth it for the sights we saw.
I was taken aback at my love for the sea once again as we stopped at beach after beach, cliffside after cliffside. The power of the incredible amount of water, the sounds of the waves on the beach, the soft sand beneath my boots, the freezing wind burning my reddened cheeks, the rugged, Cornish cliffs around me, everything was overwhelmingly peaceful and powerful.
I have not been the same since, and every day, I long to return to the place I felt such deep joy and contentment.
For now, however, I will settle for the next best thing, writing about the place I fell in love with, the fierce winds, the rushing waves, and the endless beauty of the Cornish coast.
Lighthouses have always intrigued me, though I hadn't seen one in person until last Autumn when I visited Oregon. We drove along the winding coastal road before turning the corner and seeing Yaquina Head Lighthouse perched high on the cliff's edge, mist rolling across the ocean, the rain just beginning to fall from the clouds above. I got to walk up the winding staircase, exhausted when I finally reached the top of the lighthouse's 114 steps. The journey was well worth it, though, when I was able to see the view of the ocean from the glass room at the top. Ever since seeing this lighthouse, I have become obsessed with them.
When we traveled to England this past May, I was able to see a few of the lighthouses Cornwall boasts, the first being Lizard Lighthouse on Lizard Point, the furthest southerly point of Great Britain.
We ate Cornish pasties, beans, and chips at a seaside cafe before walking along the pathway lined with wildflowers. Despite having to prevent our children from diving over the cliff's edge, we were able to enjoy our time taking in the views of the lighthouse shining in the sunlight.
We ended our first night in Cornwall with a beautiful sunset view from Land's End, the point most westerly of mainland Britain. Rising tall and majestic from the glowing sea stood Longships Lighthouse, and we watched the edifice grow more gray as the sun slowly disappeared into the ocean.
Seeing a lighthouse close up and in person was an unforgettable experience for me. So much so that I have spent the last year working on my fourth novel which will, of course, have a lighthouse central to the story. I cannot wait to release the book next year, and I hope you can't wait to read it!
Charlestown quickly became one of my favorite places in Cornwall. The only sounds we heard as we walked through the small port town were seagulls hovering above the low tide and the soft chattering of residents who nodded their heads to us in greeting as we walked past them.
We moved along a short pathway, taking in views of the ocean in one direction, while behind us, tall ships rested in the harbor. Drawing closer to the grand vessels, we noticed a man rigging up the boat, while two other men stood on the dock with folded arms, speaking together about the workings of the ships as they squinted in the bright sunlight.
We visited the Shipwreck Centre afterward, and there, I was able to learn more about the shipwrecks that occurred in the waters around Cornwall.
Visiting Charlestown was an invaluable experience, as it provided me with a great deal of information I have since been using in my upcoming novel, and I cannot wait for my next clean romance to be released.
While visiting the UK with my family this year, I had the privilege of spending a week in Cornwall. I couldn’t help but fall in love with the seaside, the cool weather, and the many walks we took along the cliffs’ edges, including the one here, where we spotted an unbelievable ship sailing in the waters. While there, I was able to do research for my next clean romance novel based in Cornwall, which will be released sometime next year. I can only hope I will be able to accurately describe in my writing the beauty of this county.
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