Monthly Archives: April 2012

The Boxcar Children

Was anyone else a big fan of these books growing up? They were really easy reads and the kids were basically mini detectives. Sometimes the mysteries they solved involved ghosts and other scary things (I read those only in the daytime) and sometimes they just involved petty theft. They were about 130 regular books and the over 20 special novels — those Boxcar Children got busy.

If you haven’t read the series, it’s about four orphaned kids — Henry, Jessie, Violet and Benny — who take shelter in a bakery but flee when they hear the baker’s wife saying she’s gonna send Benny to an orphanage. They find a random boxcar in the woods and live there for a little bit. They furnish it with stuff and they get a dog. It’s all nice until Violet gets sick and they need to get help, which will make them blow their cover. They bring Violet to the doctor but get nervous because they don’t want their grandfather (who they think is really mean) to find them. Turns out their grandpa is actually nice and rich! They’re reunited with him, he sets up their boxcar in his backyard so they can play in it and then they live happily ever after and solve mysteries.

Now that I think about the books, I don’t even know why I didn’t question the craziness of this series. Some of it would never work in real life. Yeah, I know it’s fiction and it’s written for kids, but none of this could ever fly in the real world:

1. Hiding four kids is pretty tough. They definitely would have been turned over to child services in the first chapter.

2. How did they find an old boxcar in the woods (that were perfectly safe btw)? If this happened in real life they would have encountered a child molester or some crazy psycho. Also their real-life dog would most likely have rabies or something.

3. Henry got a part-time job helping a doctor. Um, the doctor would have most definitely figured out that the kid was living in a boxcar with his siblings. This could have been an episode of 7th Heaven.

4. Their grandpa is nice and rich. There’s got to be a catch somewhere. And if the grandpa was really rich couldn’t he have worked a little harder to find the kids? Didn’t he have enough resources to hire some private detectives or something? I know this took place in like the 1920s, but there were policemen back then.

5. They encountered mysteries everywhere. How could these kids be mystery magnets?

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S/S Saturday Selects: Girl Groups We Wish Would Make a Comeback

The late 90s/early 2000s were filled with awesome girl groups, mostly of the pop and R&B variety. Here we pick the ones we wish would make a comeback:

"blowin up my pager say you want a chance, listen when I say player please"

Sam’s Pick: 3LW

Okay, first, if I’m being completely honest my first pick would be Dream, but considering I just wrote about them, I thought it would be fair to reminisce/talk about another group that was definitely in rotation: 3LW.

Baby I’mma Do Right was my Jam. Playas gon play? Yeah, that was my jam too. Basically, everything was right with the world until they got rid of the one girl and decided to join Raven Symone and some other chick in a Disney movie/girl group: The Cheetah Girls. WHAT DID YOU DO THAT FOR?!

Let’s get some more great lines, like “here go a quarter go call Tyrone” and we’ll be set, okay guys? Thanks.

Sarah’s Pick: Nobody’s Angel

You’re probably thinking, “Who?” That’s okay. They only had one hit song, “If You Wanna Dance.” If you listen to it, I guarantee you’ll go, “Ohhh, that song!”

I was really stumped when I was thinking of girl groups that I want to make a comeback then I remembered that song and had to Wikipedia them. After I found this little nugget of information I knew they had to be my pick: Jennie Kwan (a.k.a Sam from California Dreams) replaced one of the original members of the band! Um, Sam was in a real life band? Crazy.

Anyways, they were in a couple of Disney soundtracks here and there (The Parent Trap, 101 Dalmatians, and The Princess Diaries) so I guess they were pretty legit. Can they reunite and can Jennie Kwan bring her other California Dreams friends too, please?

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Friday Fashion Flashback: Stick-On Earrings

I got my ears pierced before I even turned one, so I don’t even know why I was fascinated with stick on earrings. For some reason I was obsessed with them. Maybe it was that my mom insisted I had “sensitive ears” so I could only get the boring earrings and not the cool colorful ones. I only wore gold or silver studs. That was it. Yawn.

But I loved wearing stick-on earrings when it was time to play dress up. They were colorful, came in tons of shapes and had sparkles. I’m a sucker for sparkles. I exclusively wore the circle ones (if the came in pink or purple) or the heart or stars. I refused to wear the other shapes. But now looking back, what was the point of wearing stickers that were poser earrings? You know they’re fake. Everyone knows they’re fake. And they came off all the time. No adhesive whatsoever. You were better off with clip-on earrings (which I also liked wearing, too).

Do they even make stick-on earrings anymore? Or did they go to the place where crazy fashion jewelry (tattoo chokers, slap bracelets, etc.) go to die?

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Zoom

I’ve said this a lot before: I didn’t have cable growing up. I think my parents thought it was a distraction or they were too cheap to pay for it. Not having cable really affects your childhood experiences. You can’t go home from school and watch Doug or Hey Arnold or Rugrats everyday (although when I used to go to my cousin’s house after school I sat in front of the TV for hours watching Nickelodeon and Disney Channel). So what kind of TV did a have to look forward to after school? Well, it was either the news, some infomercials, Oprah or PBS. Well since I was too young to find Oprah compelling at 10 years old, I tuned into PBS and watched Zoom.

Zoom was pretty wholesome and I so wanted to be a Zoomer. If only I lived in Boston, MA 0-2-1-3-4 (cue song) then I could have been on the show. They made crafts, conducted science experiments and cooked. They danced and told jokes. They solved problems and talked about issues like keeping the earth clean and racism. I remember I did a bunch of crafts and made recipes from the show — let’s just say they did not turn out the way they did on the show and my parents were pretty annoyed at me.

My favorite Zoomers were Zoe (she went to NYU!), Jared (RIP!), Kenny (I had a crush on him and when I recently Googled him, I found out that he’s 28. um what.), Keiko and Caroline. Where are they now? Seriously, Vh-1 or E! has to do a special on that.

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Dream

HE LOVES ME, HE LOVES YOU NOT.

And so every girl rocked out in her room to the sounds of this girl-group made famous by the man himself, P.Diddy., in 2000/2001. (Y2K FOLKS).

This group was great. Honestly, they had the pipes. They had the catchy tunes. They had the media-mogul himself backing them… until they didn’t. They were featured on an episode of Cribs, the MTV show where superstars get to show off their cool pads and make you insanely jealous, and on that episode they basically make a dig at P.Diddy for not inviting them to his parties.

Bad move, ladies. They had two pretty successful songs (“He Loves U Not” and “This is Me”). After that, one girl left to pursue an acting career, and they held a search for a new member. They then debuted a new, sexier image and song. By end of 2003, these girls were never seen again on TRL. RIP.

In memoriam:

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Magic Mike

Yeah, let’s talk about this much-anticipated movie (well, I’m really looking forward to it, I don’t know about you guys). If you have no idea what I’m talking about, here’s a refresher: Channing Tatum used to be a stripper. Yes, he shook his booty all night long for dollar bills, y’all. But he’s not trying to hide it or anything. In fact, Magic Mike is partly based on his stripper past. Steven Soderbergh directed it (you may remember his films: Oceans 11, 12, 13, Erin Brokovich, Traffic, Contagion).

The trailer came out last week and it’s epic. First, Channing’s character is a mentor to Alex Pettyfer’s character. When the trailer opens, of course, they perform the usual stunt: dress up as cops and strip for ladies. He asks one girl, “You don’t have anything sharp on you that I could stick myself with do you? Good cuz I do.” It already has some awesome dialogue. Channing gyrates onstage.  Matthew McConaughey is randomly there, shirtless and wearing a cowboy hat. Then Rihanna’s We Found Love plays. And it was all over for me. I mean, just stick that song on any trailer and I’m sold.

So anyways, we learn that there’s more to Channing’s character. Even though he makes a ton of cash stripping, he wants to be a furniture maker (ooh, good with his hands, wink, wink). He falls in love. And probably has to decide between stripping and furniture making, because it doesn’t seem safe if he did both at the same time.

Is it June 29th yet?

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Baby-sitter’s Club — The Movie

say hello to the people who care, nothing's better than friends

Alright guys, let’s dial it back to 1995. When the world was a bit simpler, am I right? When people wore big floppy hats with flowers on them. When The Secret World of Alex Mack was the coolest show, ever. When movies like Trading Mom really made you value your parents. And when the world was blessed with the movie to put all book-to-movie adaptations to shame: The Baby-sitter’s Club.

I loved this movie. Not only because I loved The Babysitter’s Club books (also Karen’s books, Kristy’s kid sister), but because everyone’s character was spot-on. The artist Claudia, leader and freewheeler Kristy, shy Mary Anne, crunchy Dawn, beautiful Stacey, and the two lil ones — Jessi and Mallory.

The movie basically follows these teen sitters as they set up a summer camp for kids. Kristy also has to deal with some pretty intense emotional stuff when her dad comes back into the picture, and she hides it from everyone and basically flakes out on Claudia, who has to study to pass summer school. Tough lives, guys. They also have to deal with a neighbor woman who doesn’t appreciate their shenanigans and a bunch of screaming children, and Cokie and her posse (what kind of a name!?) trying to screw things up for them, including Cokie trying to steal Mary Anne’s boyfriend, Logan.

The good: The song to help Claudia study (the brain, the brain, the center of the chain), when Alan finally wins over Dawn, the girl-girlfriend song that would get stuck in your head for hours, Logan, just in general, and Kristy (Schuyler Fisk, you deserve an award).

The bad: Claudia kind of comes off as a bia, if you know what I’m saying. She accuses Kristy of not being a good friend, when she’s not really being one herself. YEAH THAT’S REAL. Also: that little brat camper and the big reveal of Stacey being diabetic (geezus, Stace, it’s not like you can catch it!).

And since I’m an honest, non-biased reviewer (hahaha), there is ONE thing that really bothers me about this movie: Stacey’s relationship with Luca. Stacey is thirteen. Luca, who doesn’t find out her age till later in the movie, is seventeen. When he does find out her age, he has the CORRECT reaction and, well, flips out. (He basically screams thirteen! over and over again.) Finally, when he settles down, this interaction takes place:

Luca: I’m coming back next summer.
Stacey: You are?
Luca: Yeah.
Stacey: [Smiles] I’ll be fourteen.
Luca: [Smiles back] I know.

GUESS WHAT LUCA: TIME DOESN’T STOP FOR YOU, SIR. YOU’LL BE EIGHTEEN BY THEN! THAT’S GROSS, NOT TO MENTION ILLEGAL. (He is European, so maybe he doesn’t get that…)

Anyway, barring that weird relationship, this movie is a priceless gem of nostalgia and great for those who loved the books.

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S/S Saturday Selects: Best Disney Princess Movie

We’re girls. We grew up in the 90s. Ipso facto, we devoured disney princess movies like they were candy. Here, our favorite Disney princess movie:

Sam’s Pick: Beauty and the Beast

When I was little, I wanted to BE Belle. She was the prettiest, coolest and most amazing of the Princesses. Why? Well let’s see:

1) She read a lot, just like me! We were nerds and it was celebrated! (Full disclosure: I still dream of having a bookcase with a ladder, and I intend on fulfilling this dream.)

2) She knew Gaston was gross, even though he had tons of muscles. She wasn’t fooled — he was stupid, and girls should hold out for guys with some brains.

3) She values her family! She saves her dad from the beast cause she knows he’ll die if he stays there. Ugh, heartbreaking.

4) She wore blue. I loved the color blue.

5) We all remember that gold dress, right? Yeah, that sucker was BEAUTIFUL. I thought it was going to be my wedding dress. I am not kidding. I also made my mom spend like sixty bucks on a costume that had a hoop skirt for Halloween, because it was the closest thing I could find to Belle’s dress, after I promised I’d wear it at least twice for Halloween. (I danced around in my room to Tale as Old as Time. It was magical.)

But honestly, this movie was the best in terms of lessons for young girls (well, except that whole hostage thing.) It celebrated being yourself! It celebrated literacy! It celebrated inner beauty and kindness! Honestly, that pretty much rules. (The tunes weren’t bad either.)

Sarah’s Pick: Mulan

Okay, okay. I know she isn’t a princess. But can you please let me have my moment? This is the only Chinese Disney heroine we’re talking about. So I’m gonna say she’s my fave girl. She was my role model. I had everything Mulan growing up — the doll, a Mulan movie party when it premiered, the costume, etc. I was obsessed.

Unlike some other Disney princesses (Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White), Mulan didn’t need a man to do her dirty work. She took care of her own business. She was badass. First, she disguises herself and enters the army because she doesn’t want her elderly dad to fight (she’s loyal, duh!). Pretty darn brave. Then she trains to be a kickass warrior (cue “I’ll Make a Man Out of You“). Then she saves everyone’s butts by warning them about the Huns and does some intense fighting on the roof. The bad guys are defeated and everyone realizes how awesome Mulan is even though she’s a girl. Breaking that glass ceiling one Hun at time. Oh yeah and she got the hottie at the end.

Plus, who can forget the awesome soundtrack? “Reflection” by Christina Aguilera. “True to Your Heart” with 98 Degrees and Stevie Wonder (um, best combo ever). “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” with Donny Osmond. AMAZING.

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Friday Fashion Flashback: Puka Shell Necklaces

Oh, lordy lordy. Puka shell necklaces. These things were EVERYWHERE, and were super-popular when I was in middle school (some people wore them into high school. For shame.)

The scary thing was this wasn’t just a look for girls. Oh, no. Guys got in this action as well. Which, like, was not cute (I’m not into guys wearing jewelry, especially oceanic-themed).

Look, I grew up in Indiana. The land of corn and NASCAR. The closest thing we had to a tropical beach was Lake Michigan. You’ve never seen the ocean, dude. Stop pretending. You know you picked that up from Aeropostale in the mall. Just, no.

I gotta admit though, I did look damn good when I wore one to my seventh grade dance. So, I don’t really know where that leaves us. Puka shells, you fill me with conflicting thoughts. Basically: If you aren’t Hawaiian, or don’t live near an ocean, please just don’t wear them. Okay?

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Fraggle Rock

clap clap

Dance your cares away (clap, clap), worries for another day. Let the music play (clap, clap) down at Fraggle Rock.

Okay, so to be honest, this was my sister’s favorite show and so of course I had to watch it because she was bigger and could kind of make sure I listened to her (violence is never the answer, kids). Apparently, it was completely shot/over/done by the time I was even born (it was a Canadian show made with Jim Henson and muppets), but it was syndicated in the U.S. on the Disney channel, so that explains that. Basically, it followed these Fraggle creatures in their cave-like world. They sing a lot. That’s really all I remembered, until I wiki’d it:

“Fraggles are humanoid creatures, about 18 inches tall, with fur in a wide variety of colors and a tail like a lion’s, with a tuft of fur on the end. They live in a network of caves called Fraggle Rock, populated by a variety of creatures, and seeming to connect to at least two different worlds in separate dimensions of time and space. Fraggles spend much of their carefree lives in play, exploring their worlds, and generally enjoying themselves. However, at the same time they maintain a complex culture and society, with each individual having rights and responsibilities. They have basic skill with tools and with crude machinery, and the concept of war is known to them (although wars between Fraggles are very rare). Fraggles live on a diet of vegetables, especially radishes. If individuals touch their heads together before falling asleep they can “share dreams.”

Five Fraggles are at the center of the series: Gobo, Mokey, Wembley, Boober and Red. They form a tight-knit group of friends, and each has a distinct personality.” – Wikipedia

Interesting! How complex this show was! All I remember is fraggles and little green guys doing a lot of work. And the themesong, of course. One more time, ladies and gents:

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