Tuesday, December 3, 2013

16th Birthday!

Good Evening Everyone!

My 16th birthday was on the 15th of November, and I had a great day. My dad surprised me by coming in with some pretty birthday balloons, and although they're deflating now, I plan on saving a couple to remember the day by.

Mom and I made my favorite kind of cake--pineapple! Not a pineapple upside down cake, but a plain cake with pineapple in it and cream cheese icing. It is so good. 

I put on the candles. Isn't it beautiful. ;)
It was soon time for opening presents, which is of course one of the best parts of any birthday! I had good guesses about some of my gifts, but some really surprised me. 
A doll! A doll! Who could it beeeee...

CAROLINE!!!! 

She is such a beauty. I didn't expect her, and in a way that made her arrival even better. Her hair/eye combination is striking and I love having an American Girl with curly hair. I haven't taken many pictures of her yet, but I've entered her into a photo competition, so I'll be uploading the resulting photos onto my Flickr. :) 

November was a crazy month for me. Not just because of my birthday, but because of NaNoWriMo! As you might have seen on my sidebar, I was an active participant this year. But another post about that is coming up, so stay tuned!

Have a great week.

Quinlyn

Friday, September 27, 2013

Us Singing The Confrontation - Celebrate Musicals Week Finale

Salut Les Amis!

It's the end of the week and what a week it's been. We've explored shippings, seen some awesome pictures, and cried over Jean Valjean and Cosette. I thought I should end the week with a bang, so here it is.

A couple of weeks ago, my library had a karaoke night. I'd done library karaoke before, but this was going to be different--instead of just a random song off the list, Michael and I decided that we were going to do something special. We sing the Les Mis songs together all the time, and my mom suggested that we perform one of them.

We chose The Confrontation.

We learned the words by heart because we were making our own karaoke disc and it wouldn't have the lyrics on it. We practiced over and over and over, performed it for both our parents and finally decided that yes, we were indeed ready for this. I put on a sort of boyish outfit because I thought it would be strange to get up there as Jean Valjean in a pink frilly something.

We came, we sat, we waited. Then, we got up there. 


Yes. Yes we did. 

(Mom apologizes for her laughter--she says that she was excited and watching the audience member's shocked expressions. LOL)  

It was a very fun performance and I'm glad to be able to share it with all of you...for either your listening or laughing pleasure. ;) 

Thank you so much to Amy Dashwood for hosting this Celebrate Musicals Week blog party--I've really enjoyed sharing my Les Mis love with my readers and perusing all of the awesome posts from the rest of the participants. 

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Quinlyn

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Convict and the Lark - Celebrate Musicals Week, Day 3

Welcome to Day 3!
(I'm going to do this red-and-black thing the rest of the week, guys.)

There are a number of amazing relationships in the story of Les Miserables. Most of these aren't romantic at all, and those, in my opinion, are the best ones. One of my favorites is that of Jean Valjean and Cosette, which I will spend some time talking about today. This one is a bit more serious than the last Shipping post. Get the tissues out--you might need them. But then, if you're a Mizzie (is that the correct term for us?) you're probably trained to grab your tissues whenever you even see the words Les Mis. So, you're good.


The story of Jean Valjean and Cosette really begins with Jean Valjean and Fantine. Fantine was ruined indirectly by Jean Valjean after she was fired from his factory. He didn't fire her (indeed, he would have helped her if he'd known how desperate she was) but his overseer did, and Fantine was sure that Monsieur le Maire was not as kind as he had always been thought to be. As she spiraled downwards into the depths of despair, she also developed a sheer hatred for this man who had inadvertently caused her so much distress. 

When Fantine is abused by a man, she fights back and gets arrested herself. She's given a prison sentence, but Monsieur le Maire lets her go. The truth comes out about her situation, and Jean Valjean is horrified by what he has done to this woman. He cares for her the best he can in the time she has left and they form a bond punctuated by Fantine's intense love for her daughter. However, not even the best of care can prevent Fantine's death, as illustrated in one of the most heart-wrenching songs of the musical. 

And suddenly, Cosette (called the Lark by her neighbors) was as good as an orphan with no one to care for her but Jean Valjean, on the run from the law yet again. In the musical, Javert pretty much lets Jean Valjean go after The Confrontation. In the book, it's definitely not that simple. After some shrewd dealing with the Thenardiers he has to employ every bit of his physical strength and mental cunningness (both developed via his convict years) to get both Cosette and himself hidden.


It shows such love on Valjean's part that he would risk his life to save the child of this dying woman, whom he had known for so short of a time. All he knew was that Fantine depended on him, and although he failed her, he was not going to fail her daughter. Cosette adores the man that rescued her. She is a gentle little girl who simply wants to be loved. And love her, he does. 


The paradoxes are so beautiful. The Convict and the Lark. The little girl and the wizened man. The one who loves unconditionally because she has never had anything to love until now, and the one who had to learn to love all over again for the same reason. One of my favorite quotes in the novel is this one:
When he saw Cosette, when he had taken possession of her, carried her off, and delivered her, he felt his heart moved within him. 

All the passion and affection within him awoke, and rushed towards that child. He approached the bed, where she lay sleeping, and trembled with joy. He suffered all the pangs of a mother, and he knew not what it meant; for that great and singular movement of a heart which begins to love is a very obscure and a very sweet thing. 

Poor old man, with a perfectly new heart!  
Which, of course, says it better than I ever could. 

Along with the other songs performed on Broadway for so many years, a new song was added to the Les Miserables repertoire for the 2012 movie. It's called Suddenly, and it's sung by Jean Valjean about Cosette. I think it was an excellent decision to add this song and there's no better topic they could have added to.
"Suddenly you're here. Suddenly it starts. Can two anxious hearts beat as one?
Yesterday I was alone, today you walk beside me."


On that note, I end my post for today. Have a wonderful Wednesday. 

Quinlyn 

P.S. This one is for my American Girl fan readers! I found this adorable picture of the Cosette actress Isabelle Allen with her AG doll, Caroline, who coincidentally looks a lot like Cosette! 


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Ships a Plenty, Ships Galore - Celebrate Musicals Week Day 2


Welcome to Day 2
(LOL it's red and black.)

From Urban Dictionary:
Shipping - A term used to describe fan fictions that take previously created characters and put them as a pair. It usually refers to romantic relationships, but it can refer platonic ones as well. (Just think of "shipping" as short for "relationSHIP".)
Shipping is a vital part of any fandom, Les Miserables included. Today, young students, I shall teach you how to ship characters with revolutionary flair. *puts on glasses that I have but never wear but I really should*

First, we'll make a quick little list on several possible ships. If you respond to the mention of any of these with salivating, loud squealing, hyperventilation, or fainting, chances are you already ship them.

  • Eponine/Enjolras (This one is very common and often referred to as Enjonine.)
  • Fantine/Jean Valjean 
  • Marius/Eponine 
  • Marius/Cosette (which, as everyone knows, is literally the only ship that was made "canon", or happened in the actual thing)
  • Cosette/Enjolras (DO NOT THROW THINGS AT ME, YOU KNOW THIS IS TRUE.)
  • Gavroche/Young Cosette (I cannot be the only one who thinks this is adorable even though this is technically impossible since they weren't children at the same time...don't you just love Les Mis timelines?) 
Since you can literally ship anything, it would be ridiculous to list them all in this post. Otherwise I'd have to mention things like Enjolras/His Flag and Marius/Cake. But these are the main ones I've noticed. Commence elaboration.

Enjolras/Eponine (Enjonine) 

(To be honest, I never shipped them all that much until I saw this picture with Begin Again lyrics, because I love Taylor Swift and the lyrics were just so. perfect.)

Eponine and Enjolras are often shipped together because they're fan favorites on their own (ON MY OWN, PRETENDING HE'S BE--sorry). Together, they're just a powerhouse of awesomeness. First of all, they're both pretty rough-and-tumble, and I'm sure Enjolras would appreciate Eponine's ability to care for herself and do what she believes in. On the other hand, Enjolras is obviously not a fan of people's emotions getting away of anything ("Who cares about your lonely soul?"), which Eponine was fond of doing. Nevertheless, after all was said and done and Enjolras was no longer concerned with the well-being of France's gamin, it's altogether possible he'd enjoy getting to know one better. 

Fantine/Jean Valjean
(I think I mainly shipped this because Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway looked so good together...)

I was surprised to learn that I wasn't the only one who had thought about Fanjean. Fantine, in the book, loves Monsieur le Maire dearly (albeit as a friend) because he has proved himself to her as a wonderful human being. After he realized the trouble he caused her, he cared for her and visited her every day. And for heaven's sake, he adopted her daughter!!! Granted, this was after her untimely demise, but still. 

Marius/Eponine
(How cute is this picture though. Really.)

Marius and Eponine is one of the most logical ships because Eponine spends most of the show pining away after the young Pontmercy. Some people feel that he should have gone with her all along, and that Cosette was just a passing fantasy, distracting Marius from the real love of his life. I disagree, considering that in the book, Marius actually knew Cosette longer than he knew Eponine. I love that he befriended Eponine and held her while she was dying, but I just can't see them being together. Victor Hugo did not intend it. But of course, I doubt he thought of some of these others, either...

Marius/Cosette
(Sleeves, guys. Who needs a purse when you've got sleeves?)

They got married. The end. 

Just kidding--I should spend some time talking about them. So in the musical, they see each other, they sing to each other, they're in love, they get married. It's all good. A lot of people despise Cosette for one reason or another, but I have to say that I don't, just like I don't despise Marius. Both she and Marius did some slightly annoying things but Cosette was a strong girl who loved her father and Marius with her whole heart. And she had a tough childhood! (I'm giving her points for that.) I read another post about Marius having PTSD after his experience on the barricade, and how Cosette married him anyway knowing what to expect. *sniffle sniffle* :')

Gavroche/Young Cosette

3.....2.....1.....
AWWWWWW.
That is all. 

So ends my post for Day 2. I'm actually getting more of these done than I thought. I hope they're as entertaining to read as they are to write. :D Let me know what you think about these shippings in the comments--I know we all have very strong feelings about which characters should be together. ;)

Adieu, 
Quinlyn 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Celebrate Musicals Week, Day 1 - Introduction to Les Mis!

Hello everybody!

I've decided to participate this week in something called "Celebrate Musicals Week", hosted by the lovely Yet Another Period Drama Blog. I thought it would be a great opportunity to connect with fellow musical lovers and tell you all about one of my very favorite musicals to date...


Les Miserables! 





I know a lot of people will be doing Les Mis this week, but I just couldn't pass it up. I'm pretty swamped with schoolwork at the moment so I'm going to be doing three posts throughout the week, including this one. It's going to be so much fun, y'all!



Amy Dashwood posted some questions on the blog to get everybody started:

1.  What musical did you pick to "spotlight" this week and why?

Les Miserables, because I've been just a wee bit obsessed with it for several months now. 

2.  How did you discover the musical you picked (hereinafter referred to as "your musical")?

I remember hearing the very popular On My Own a long time ago. I really liked it and sang it all the time, but as for the rest of the musical, I was pretty disinterested. I didn't even know what it was about. Then the movie came out last year, and it rekindled my interest. Historical people singing? Anne Hathaway? Definitely sounded up my alley. I can't remember exactly what the progression was from interested to loving it, but I started listening to the songs and watched the 25th Anniversary Edition when it came on TV. Another reason Les Mis is my favorite is because, even taking away the musical element, you've got a powerful story underneath. That, I think, is what makes musicals so wonderful. Not the catchy songs, but the story they represent. I'm working though the Les Mis book (all 900-some-odd pages of it) and it's quite a remarkable piece. 

3.  If you had to pick three favorite songs from your musical, which ones would they be?


Hard question. There are so many beautiful ones, each haunting for their own reason. 

  • Do You Hear the People Sing, because there are so many verses to this song and it's inspirational and rousing. 
  • A Little Fall of Rain, because it's such an emotional song and I love Eponine's final scene with Marius. I remember crying the second or third time I heard it, because I was having a bad day and it was just so beautiful (my brother always wonders why these terribly sad songs make me happy, LOL)
  • Look Down and its reprises. Again, because there are many ways to sing it and each one represents the lowliest people in the musical. First, Valjean and the convicts, and second, the peasants in the sewers. 

4.  What's your least favorite song from your musical?

Lovely Ladies. 

5.  Who are your favorite characters (choose up to three)?


Why are these questions so difficult? :D Alright. In no particular order: Eponine, Jean Valjean, and Enjolras. Eponine because of her hard life and her love for Marius to the bitter end, Jean Valjean because he made such an epic journey from convict to loving father, and Enjolras because he started a revolution based on what he believed in and looked awesome while doing it. ;) 

6.  Which versions of your musical have you seen/listened to, and which is your favorite?


I've seen the 25th Anniversary special at the O2 theater and listened to snippets from many different shows and performers, including the movie (which I haven't seen yet, but soon!). From everything that I've listened to I have to say that, singing wise, the 25th Anniversary edition is my favorite because the singers are just. so. good. 

7.   Is this your favorite musical of all time?  If not, what is?


Pretty much, yeah. I also really like Phantom of the Opera, Funny Girl, The Sound of Music, and The King and I. 

8.   Which cast album/musical soundtrack in your collection do you listen to the most?


I don't own any of the albums as of yet, but I listen to the 25th Anniversary and 2012 movie editions the most. Unfortunately, they never made an album of the O2 theater songs (I can't imagine why not!). 

9.   What is your favorite costume from your musical?


Eeeee!! I'm going to pick from the movie, because goodness, there were some lovely outfits in that thing (and I'm a sucker for historical outfits anyway). As much as I liked Cosette's puffy-sleeve dresses (I definitely think you could fit a couple of small dogs in those wedding sleeves of hers), I'm going to make it a tie between Enjolras's and Eponine's respective barricade uniforms. 




10.  If you could change anything about your musical, what would you change?


I would have preferred if they had toned down the songs surrounding Fantine's prostitution, because although I understand that she went through a terrible ordeal (as so many women did in those times) it was not made much of in the book and therefore I think they could have done without it in the show. 

11.  Which role(s) would you most like to play in any musical, if you had the opportunity to do so on stage?


Ahh, dreaming a dream here, I see! ;) Definitely Eponine. But then, what girl doesn't want to play Eponine? I'd also enjoy playing Gavroche, as girls often play his part and he's just so funny. As for non Les Mis characters, I'd enjoy being Lucy from You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

12.  Do you consider yourself a musical theatre fan in general or do you just like a few musicals?

I know that there are musical theatre fans way, way beyond my level so I think I'll just say a few musicals. I'm picky about musicals, and, like I mentioned above, they have to have an excellent underlying plot for me to really enjoy them. 

13.  Are you tired of the word "musical" yet?


No but I think the readers might be. :D

14.  Turn your music playing device on shuffle (or utilize Pandora if you don't have one) and tell us the names of the first three show tunes that come up-- no cheating!  How do these rank on your favorites/most-listened-to list?


My music is so scattered around different places that I did one song from my Musicals playlist, one from my Les Miserables playlist, (both on Spotify, because I love Spotify) and one from my iTunes on shuffle. In order, I got:


  • Glee Club Rehearsal from You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown. This is actually one of my favorite songs from that musical and I've listened to it many times. 
  • Bring Him Home from Les Miserables. I really like this one, though I haven't listened to it many times. I especially love Alfie Boe's performance of it. I like that it's a song devoted to Marius, because even though he's a bit ridiculous at times he is, after all, "only young, only a boy". 
  • People from Funny Girl. A classic in every way. 

That's it for today's post...come back to the barricade on Wednesday for another one! 

Au revoir, 

Quinlyn

Monday, August 5, 2013

AG Sale Items--Photos and Reviews!

Happy Monday Afternoon!

Last Sunday, American Girl surprised everybody with new sale items. I had passed up their last sale, but this one had things that I can never resist--cheap AGP exclusives and retired outfits! I ordered that night for fear that everything would be gone before the next morning. Turns out only one of my items had sold out, but I'm still glad I got it in early.

I opened my items yesterday (the package had come Friday but I missed that info) and I'm very happy with everything I bought. Gather 'round, folks...here are the pictures:


First we have Molly's Pajamas...they recently retired these when her new blue pajamas and yellow bed were introduced. They're really very sweet...I love the style and the stripes (Leah: Vertical stripes are slimming, right...?). By the way, the American Girl description says "Molly’s classic pajamas are made of the softest red-and-white-striped material." They lied. But for $12? I don't really care. ;)




As soon as I saw Kit's Coat on the sale I knew that I must have it. Again, this has been recently retired (you can still search for it and the link will come up, but the link has been removed from the website). I love the look of coats like this, and Kit couldn't go without such an integral part of her story. It took me five minutes to get on (phantom buttons and plastic belt buckles, Yay!) and I'm not looking forward to taking it off, but the fabric is nice and heavy and you have to admit that it looks awesome. I'll probably knit her a hat to go with it. 


Julie models the fashion show outfit (American Girl hosts fashion shows and this was the official outfit they sold one year) and the Ruffle Cap. The outfit is simply darling and great quality. 


Close-up of the printing on the front and the tag on the sleeve. 


  Oh, the pants. The pants. They're made of thick cargo material in a great color. I love the little star stitching. There's even a real pocket!


Close-up of the hat, which is totally cool, man. 


Lastly, Felicity models the pink skort (I got the shirt with another sale order a few months back). It's really sweet, just a simple stretch cotton material. It's very pink, but as you've guessed by now, I like pink. A lot. 


 Cute star detailing on the front. American Girl is also written on the back waistband. 


Last but not least, I got Lindsey's book. Wave a $2 out-of-print American Girl GOTY book at me and I'm sure to grab on every time.


(Bonus pic I took last night of everyone together! ;)

Hope everyone's having a great summer! Or, if you've already gone back to school, my best wishes for your school year!

Quinlyn

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Doll Storage Part 2: The Dolls Themselves

Good Evening!

Last time, I posted about doll clothing storage. Now I'm going to show you how I display and organize all of the dolls in my collection, with the hope that you might get some ideas for your own dolls!

Large dolls can easily take over any space that they're put in unless they're organized in an efficient manner. When I accepted that I was hopelessly taken over by dolls and needed to change my storage situation (aka sitting them in random places all over my room and sometimes Mars) my mother came to the rescue again. She suggested the rack.

No, no, not the torture device. A shoe rack, to be precise. They're incredibly versatile, you can stack them on top of each other, and even change the shelves to get whatever height you want between each one!


Here's a picture of my shelf from 2010. There aren't many dolls on it there, so you can see the design and how it's put together. At the time, I just used it for my A Life of Faith dolls because it was before we moved and my room got smaller.


Here I am posing with the current state of my shelf, in 2013! I'm about 5'4, by the way, so you can see how tall it can get. Since the previous picture was taken, I've added several extra levels and made room for many more dolls. It can hold my whole collection (minus my Girls of Many Lands, which reside on my dresser), plus Penny, Patriot, and other, smaller pets. I need to update again and either get rid of the small middle rack (it's being used for odds and ends at the moment until I can get a shelf up in my room for them) or use it for AG pets and small Webkinz. Cute, no?

We got my shoe rack turned doll shelving from Sam's Club, but I'm sure you can find them in many stores. This is the exact one I have, except in brown: http://www.bjs.com/store/seville-classics-3-tier-shoe-rack-platinum.134684589-.html. However, several different adjustable styles would work. Make sure that whatever you buy is sturdy, because you don't want your dolls to come tumbling down in the middle of the night! To dress up the shelves, you could add fabric for the dolls to sit on (like I've done with the Ginger Brook Hollow shelf) or perhaps weave in some flowers. Whatever suits your fancy!

Happy organizing!

Quinlyn