Film Review: Girl in Progress: A Coming of Age Story

This is my coming-of-age blog post.

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Girl In Progress

Released: August 2012

Watched: July 2015

IMDB Rating: 5.6/10

Synopsis

Grace (Eva Mendes) is a single mom who is often too busy juggling her job, bills and two love interests (Matthew Modine, Eugenio Derbez) to pay much attention to her daughter, Ansiedad (Cierra Ramirez). Inspired by the coming-of-age stories her English teacher (Patricia Arquette) introduces in class, Ansiedad decides to skip adolescence and jump-start her life without her mother. But, when the misguided plan unravels, Ansiedad and Grace must both learn that growing up means acting your age.

My Thoughts

I had the enlightening experience of watching Girl in Progress with my mother, as the film itself is very much a mother-daughter tale.

It tells the “coming-of-age” story of Ansiedad (Cierra Ramirez), a Latina girl who is in a hurry to grow up so that she can leave her oft neglectful mother, Grace (Eva Mendez). She learns about coming of age stories in her English class, in which she reads about how teenagers “grow up” and become “mature” through life experiences, hardships, and life lessons. In an entirely impressionable and naive move, Ansiedad proceeds to manufacture her own real-life coming of age story through sheer will and planning.

Meanwhile, her mother, Grace, is a waitress and a maid, who is involved with a married-with-kids white man. With all her work and her affair-ing, mother Grace simply fails to pay attention to Ansiedad and her needs as a child. As a result, Ansiedad’s behavior becomes a cry for help.

Ansiedad grows through a whole plan of becoming a good-girl-gone-bad, with her end goal of leaving via bus to New York. It was all very silly and childish. She ends up alienating her best friend and getting bad grades (on purpose!) while hanging out with the so-called “bad girls” and seeking a “bad boy” to lose her virginity to, which she planned to be her final step towards coming of age.

Ansiedad goes off the rails, losing her best friend and only stopping her deflowering at the last minute, when she realizes how much she doesn’t really want to. Meanwhile, her mother deals with being let go by her lover’s shrewd wife and said lover’s claims that he would leave his life for her. That was obviously a lie, he was never going to leave his wife for her, my mother and I both agreed.

Everything rights itself in the end as Ansiedad and Grace get to hash things out when Grace dumps her duplicious lover and stops Ansiedad from leaving at the nick of time. Ansiedad lets out her suppressed emotions of rage and abandonment at her mother, and they finally make up in a touching mother-daughter moment. Ansiedad also patches things up with her best friend movingly.

This movie was often times over the top, over dramatic, and even downright ridiculous, but I took away a very essential message from it in the importance of family, and appreciating your loved ones, the people who are really there for you no matter what.

Rating: 7/10

On that note, I’m ready to give myself up to adulthood. If you’re reading this, it’s too late for adolescent me because she’s a grown up now. This is scheduled to be published the moment I turn 18. So long, childhood. It’s been real.

Review: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Admittedly, I read this classic for my English class, American Literature, my junior year. Yet, I felt the pressing need to talk about this riveting book as it completely captured my imagination. This holiday, I watched the modern remake of the movie based on the Great Gatsby, and it seems necessary to compare and contrast the two: The Book, and The Movie starring the striking Leonardo diCaprio.

THE BOOK

The narrator is an impressionable, analytical, judgmental young man who recently moved to the East to find glamor and adventure. He represents the young souls in all of us, eager for romance and excitement, yet judgmental of the people caught up in that lifestyle. He is the outsider, watching the lives of other people unfurl around him in New York City. Our narrator, Nick Carraway, is the voice of the readers themselves.

The main character of the story is actually the enigmatic Jay Gatsby, one of the nouveau-riche of West Egg, thrower of lavish parties and owner of a vast amount of wealth. No one could figure out where exactly the wealth came from, which intensified the mystery encompassing Gatsby. Nick Carraway is the next door neighbor who watches the parties from afar until he is invited by Gatsby himself. He is thrown into the prodigality of the Jazz Age: 1920’s America, where the only concern is having fun dancing and drinking.

On the other end is West Egg of the wealthy people of old money, inherited wealth. Here we are introduced by Nick to Tom and Daisy Buchanan. Tom is your typical Alpha male douchebag who peaked in high school/college, while Daisy can best be described as a delicate flower, ditzy and romantic.

The epic romance unfurls as Nick discovers that Daisy and Gatsby used to be lovers until they were tragically separated when Gatsby went off to war. Daisy, as a rich young and beautiful socialite, was pressured into marrying a wealthy man (Tom) by her mother. What really got me was how Gatsby had purposely gotten a mansion right opposite Daisy’s in order to be secretly near her. He threw all those parties just to get her attention, hoping that she would stop by sometime, but she never did. That was literally the cutest thing I had ever read.

So Gatsby gets Nick to invite Daisy over to HIS house for tea, so he, Gatsby, could kind of just ‘drop in’ and run into Daisy again. Gatsby was so nervous about it and wanted everything to be perfect for their run-in. On the day, Gatsby is a nervous wreck, and I just found it so adorable, how much he cared about Daisy and what she thought. When Daisy arrives, at first its awkward, but then they start talking to each other like old times, and my heart is literally bursting with joy for them and their young love renewed.

The really sad thing, however, is how Gatsby wants to repeat the past, before he went to war, and fix it by having Daisy tell him she never loved Tom, only him, and by marrying Daisy. It’s also romantic but so tragic because you can;t repeat the past, and it’s heart breaking to see Gatsby get his hopes up. Nick, like us, knows Gatsby can’t fix the past, and tells him so, but Gatsby stubbornly wants to believe that he can.

Gatsby and Daisy become clandestine lovers and Daisy so much as comes to one of Gatsby’s parties with Tom, and sneak off with Gatsby.

It all comes to a head when Gatsby goes over for tea or whatever at the Buchanans’ house, and Tom has already suspected him and Daisy of hating something. The air is steely and tense. Daisy can’t stand it (she can’t cope with difficult situations) and asks if they can go into the city. They go, and Gatsby and Tom start arguing, for goodness sake! Gatsby ends up telling Tom that Daisy never loved him, and only loved him, Gatsby. Daisy echoes Gatsby’s statement, but half-heartedly, which already rang warning bells in my mind. As the fight goes on, Daisy finally admits that she had loved Tom, once, but she loved Gatsby too, and tells Gatsby that he’s asking for too much from her. By this time, I was sick of snivelly, oh-I’m-too-fragile-for-this-I-can’t-handle-it Daisy.

The fight between Tom and Gatsby thickens as Tom reveals what he’s discovered about Gatsby. He’s a bootlegger! That was where he got all his money from! The moment Daisy realizes Gatsby’s not of her social standing, she shrinks away from him, even as he pleads with her and denies everything (lying). Daisy, so typically, practically runs back to Tom to take her away from this HORRIFYING experience and Tom revels in his victory.

To cut the long story short, Gatsby dies for Daisy, it’s all very tragically romantic, and when I was reading it I was literally so surprised because I wasn’t even sure if he was dead or not, but then he was, and it was SO sad. Daisy doesn’t so much as come to the phone when Nick tries to call her, and she doesn’t come for Gatsby’s funeral either.

So I guess the moral of this story is rich girls don’t marry poor guys, which is funny, because that is exactly what happened to the author, Scotty here. Or the moral is that Daisy was a heartbreaking bitch, Tom was an asshole, and Gatsby was a hopeless fool in love.

THE MOVIE

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I know a lot of people who read the book hated the 2013 adaptation of the movie, but I LOVED it. It blew me away and I was completely enchanted from start to finish.

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Tobey Maguire is Nick Carraway, and he was so brilliant at being the wallflower kind of guy, who saw everything but didn’t really do anything. He said direct quotes from the book, poignant observations from Nick in the book and their apt time in the movie. I was so thrilled!

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The effects made everything look larger than life, which is exactly how it was meant to be. It was incredible seeing the Buchanan’s house visually represented because I could see now just how lavishly wealthy they were, how huge and magnificent a house they had.The parties were over the top, so amazing, really reinforcing how brilliant they were in the book. They did a GREAT job at that; the ostentatious opulence.

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Joe Edgerton as Tom was perfect. He looked like an asshole, he talked like an asshole, he oozed hateability through every pore. Carey Mulligan as Daisy was flawless. She was just as I imagined her, all delicate and elegant, pale and doe-eyed, with a cute nub for a nose and classy, classic beauty. She was just the right amount of ditzy and shrewd. Gatsby took the cake. Leonardo diCaprio was Gatsby, and my fangirl heart melted. He was dapper, he was charming, he was arrestingly cute, and just pure Gatsby.

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I was really happy how they basically followed the book, but with little variations here and there that didn’t take away from the surprise. Sure, it wasn’t always word-for-word like the older adaptation, but really, what did you expect in this modern day? The only thing that I didn’t like was how they didn’t show Daisy’s daughter. Apart from that, the movie was splendid.

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Rating: 8/10

My Top 10 TV Fashion Inspirations

originally posted on my fashion blog willowysleek.wordpress.com

There are just certain characters that blow me away with their fashion sense and personal style. They inspire me in my fashion choices, and they influence my style. Here’s my top 10:

10. Daenerys Targaryen – Game of Thrones on HBO (acted by Emilia Clarke)

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Dany is a queen, a Khaleesi, and her wardrobe fits her royally. Her clothing evolved from light, flowy fabric inspired by Greek mythology to stiffer, heavier fabric that accentuate her curves. She is very fond of the colors blue and white, particularly blue. Her pristine pieces suit her alabaster skin and polished rosy-under-toned face, while their soft colors set off her doe eyes and platinum blond hair beautifully. Her ornate dresses give her the perfect ivory princess look.

9. Michaela Pratt – How To Get Away With Murder on ABC (acted by Aja Naomi King)

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Michaela is a Type A lawyer-in-training and her professional style certainly reflects that. She consistently dresses in classy pieces and her clothes constantly ooze sophistication. She is usually impeccably dressed in knee-length dresses with solid coloring and trench coats. She loves the color pink, and has a tailored style comprising stripes and peter pan collars. She always manages to look incredibly put together somehow, in such an admirable fashion!

8. Mary Queen of Scots – Reign on CW (acted by Adelaide Kane)

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Mary Queen of Scots is a fierce queen which she shows in her regal garments. She always wears floor length gowns, and they are usually ornately and intricately detailed. She favors full, tulle skirts and empire waistlines. She loves the colors red, white, black, and gold and her patterns are always high fashion. She tops off her outfits with sophisticated jewelry; notably, her radiant tiaras and crowns. Her statement pieces are extremely attention grabbing!

7. Caroline Forbes – The Vampire Diaries on CW (acted by Candice Accola)

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Caroline is a really flirty character, and her clothing really complements her personality. She loves wearing flirty peplum tops and camis that are lacy and floral. She usually layers them with denim jackets, moto jackets, and cardigans. She wears lots of corset, strappy, and strapless dresses with sweetheart and square necklines and fluttery skirts. She finishes off her outfits with ankle boots and heeled booties. Her outfits are a perfect fit for her perky, peppy personality.

6. Davina Claire – The Originals on CW (acted by Danielle Campbell)

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Davina typically wears dresses, and they are perfectly styled to her petite, curvy, bosomy frame. They make her look so cute and cuddly! They are always cinched softly at her waist and flare out to just above her knees, with round necklines. Their colors are delicate and lovely, from earthy tones to creams. They sometimes have exquisitely ornate patterns on them. If I could wear dresses all the time, I’d definitely wear ones like hers!

5. Haley Dunphy – Modern Family on ABC Family (acted by Sarah Hyland)

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Haley is so fashion forward! She typically layers with cute cardigans (like me) or chic jackets. She always super cute tops and tanks in lovely prints like florals. She rocks her jeans, and wears the most fabulous shoes, especially her boots! She wears lots of darker colors, like red, brown, dark blue, and purple. She also wears dresses with beautiful tropical and floral prints. She is very petite and her dresses always fit well at her little waist and swirl out.

4. Cat Valentine – Sam and Cat on Nickelodeon (acted by Ariana Grande)

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Cat Valentine is really cute and adorable. On Sam and Cat, her style basically matches her personality: it’s super girly, feminine, cutesy, bright, and plain adorbs. She wears lots and lots of pink, one of my favorite colors. She frequently layers with cardigans, and also likes to wear cute sweaters. She wears pretty patterns like polka-dots and floral. She has a petite, slightly curvy frame that she accentuates with bustiers, peplum tops, and ruffles. I adore her peplum tops! or shoes, she wears really cute sneakers, and she usually wears dark jeans. She sometimes wears dresses as well, that are usually brightly patterned and cinched at the waist, with a bustier top.

3. Liv Rooney – Liv and Maddie on Disney Channel (acted by Dove Cameron)

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Liv is uber fashionable and always wears the cutest outfits, that when I look at them, immediately feel like a gotta wear! She is really perky and bubbly, which I feel really goes into her style. She wears lots of bright colors and bold print, and peplum tops and full-skirted dresses. She never wears normal pants; always colorful or patterned jeans and leggings. She likes to wear lovely pleated skirts with girly floral tops, or with a pretty peter pan collar. She typically wears fit-and-flare dresses that are fitted or tight on top and flared on the bottom. Her heels are always so fabulous! She also wears very cute flats. She frequently wears bold statement necklaces, stacks of bracelets, and belts. She loves the colors blue and yellow.

2. Spencer Hastings – Pretty Little Liars on ABC Family (acted by Troian Belissario)

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Spencer has a very preppy, tailored style which I love to emulate! She is tall, slender, and willowy, and her style really fits her frame. She frequently wears collared blouses, fitted sweaters, skinny pants, ruffles, and belts. Her blouses usually have really lovely patterns on them. I love her shoes! She wears lots of cute oxford loafers. Her dresses are typically cinched with waist belts to flatter her small waist. She likes to layer with cardigans and boyfriend blazers, and can really pull of schoolgirl chic!

1. Jessica Day – New Girl on Fox (acted by Zooey Deschanel)

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Jess is ultimately my favorite style inspiration!!! She is just like a ray of sunshine, and her outfits certainly reflect it! She is bubbly, perky and lovable, and I adore her outfits, and find myself modeling them whenever I can! I’m obsessed with her colorful coats, quirky prints, and A-line dresses. She wears lot’s of pleated dresses, full skirts, belts, bows, and cardigans. In the spring/summer, she wears very bright, colorful dresses with really fun prints and patterns. In the fall/winter, she wears chic blouses or fitted sweaters with little pleated dark skirts paired with tights. Her shoes are lovely flats and uber cool heels. Plus, she rocks her polka dots! I adore how proudly, loudly feminine she is. “Much of her charm is fueled by a love of classic retro pieces. From frilly A-line party dresses to Mod style frocks, Jess makes the vintage look work in modern day.”

How Paper Towns Could Propel Cara Delevingne From Model to Movie Star

Originally posted on TIME:

Everybody on the set of Paper Towns has a story about Cara Delevingne.

Let’s start with her fondness for dressing in ridiculous costumes: Delevingne, a 22-year-old supermodel who’s been the face of high-fashion lines including Chanel and Fendi, would gallivant around Charlotte, North Carolina dressed as a hot dog, a banana, or The Simpsons character Duff Girl. While shooting at a high school, she’d run away from production assistants and sneak into classrooms full of actual students between takes, at one point recruiting a few dozen extras to film her challenging rapper A$AP Ferg to a runway walk-off after he name-checked her in a song. Her co-stars are especially fond of the time she spotted a local water park and decided they all needed some R&R, organizing a field trip for the next day.

“She’s a leader,” her costar Nat Wolff says, between scenes on a giant soundstage. “She is…

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Film Review: The Age of Adaline: Charming Visual Masterpiece

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The Age of Adaline

Starring: Blake Lively

Released: April 2015

Watched: June 2015

IMDB rating: 7.3/10

My Thoughts

The Age of Adaline is such a visually stunning film. The cinematography was so pleasing to the eye. I was entranced by the enchanting scenery in pretty much every scene in the film.

THE AGE OF ADALINE - 2015 FILM STILL - Adaline Bowman (Blake Lively) - Photo Credit: Diyah Pera
THE AGE OF ADALINE – 2015 FILM STILL – Adaline Bowman (Blake Lively) – Photo Credit: Diyah Pera

The Age of Adaline is a film about a beautiful young lady who is rendered immortal and ageless after a horrific car crash, and how she struggles with love as a person who can outlive all her lovers. Blake Lively plays Adaline, the protagonist, and she is just perfect for the role.

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You may remember Blake Lively as Serena in Gossip Girl, the effortlessly classy and charismatic high society girl. Similarly, Adaline was elegant and refined with impeccable style and a winsome smile. She captured and held my attention throughout the film with her air of grace and beautifully tailored style choices.

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51358510 Actress Blake Lively films scenes for 'Age of Adaline' at the Vancouver Art Gallery on March 18, 2014 in Vancouver, Canada. FameFlynet, Inc - Beverly Hills, CA, USA - +1 (818) 307-4813
51358510 Actress Blake Lively films scenes for ‘Age of Adaline’ at the Vancouver Art Gallery on March 18, 2014 in Vancouver, Canada. FameFlynet, Inc – Beverly Hills, CA, USA – +1 (818) 307-4813

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The romance was swoon-worthy. Adaline falls in love with a dashing, disarming young man, acted by Michael Huisman, better known for his portrayal of Daario Naharis in Game of Thrones. They were so pleasantly adorable together.

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I feel like the film relayed an essential message of what it’s like to be alive without really living, confronting the blustering beauty of the past, and setting yourself free from your self-imposed chains.

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Overall, this aesthetically pleasing film is the prettiest and most charming film I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching.

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My rating: 8.5/10

Weathered Souls (another poem by me)

originally posted on my second, personal blog wildcharismaandwanderlust.wordpress.com

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Weathered Souls

Soft, silky silence.

Hallowed walls etched

With the tears of a million

Weary subjects.

Shadows reached for the ceiling,

Masking the pretty glass.

Hollow room.

White ash sprinkled on the floor.

Sorrow lives in these walls,

Yet pain ceases to exist.

Regality in misery,

Woe and pride.

Shuffled feet slide down the steps.

A hum descends.

The gray lifts.

White curtain ascends.

Soulful melody erupts,

Breaking the tepid quiet.

Gold, brass banisters,

Wither no more.

Speckled white, gray, gold.

Ash replaced by honey.

Floor the color of milk,

Wishful souls devour.

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Models that Inspire Me

originally posted on my fashion & beauty blog willowysleek.wordpress.com

Marina Nery

19. Bahia. Brazilian. Baby bird eyes and honey toned skin.

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Zhenya Katava

21. Belarus. Belarusian. Fierce cat eyes and regal gaze.

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Aya Jones

20. Paris. Ivory Coast/French/British. Droopy doe eyes and golden skin.

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Neelam Gill

20. London. Indian. Huge cocoa eyes and silken hair.

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Isabella Peschardt

Danish/Ethiopian. Spirally halo of curls and dewy yellow skin.

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