Saturday, 30 August 2014

1 Year Blogiversary!

Hello once more my readers! Today marks a momentous day in 'Teenage Fanatic' history, because believe it or not, it has been exactly 365 days since its creation.

How crazy is that? This year's gone by so ridiculously quickly, and now with 23,003 page views, 73 comments and 147 posts, I am proud to say that this blogging endeavour's been pretty successful so far. So what am I going to do to celebrate such a momentous occasion? I choose to basically regurgitate all of my statistics for the world to see, and recap some of my most popular posts of all time. Sound good? I hope so, because there's literally no other alternative.

Most Popular Posts

Over the past year, it's fair to say that I've been blogging up a storm. I like to think that I'm an experienced member of the blogosphere now, however you really never can pick which posts are going to be popular and vice versa. Seriously, I have absolutely no clue what's going to go down until it does. So what has managed to attach itself to a widespread audience? Continue reading to find out.

5. Most Outrageously Awesome Disney Conspiracy Theories

Who would've thought? A bunch of wacky ideas about kids movies would rise to popularity. Sure, when I read it for the first time I thought it was awesome, but I guess I just automatically assumed that because I found it interesting, others would find it strange and avoid it at all costs. But hey, I guess I underestimated your weirdness factor. Good job guys! You're more like me than I thought. Come on, I think everyone must secretly hold Disney movies close to their heart, because seriously, how could you not? They're actually the best things ever.

4. Timeline of Miley Cyrus

I have to say, considering Miley seems to be all the rage at the moment with her excessive twerking and strange, nude swinging on wrecking balls, this post's popularity isn't exactly surprising. This satirical timeline I guess found its way into the clutches of Lord Google somehow, although I sincerely hope fans of hers managed to avoid it. I didn't exactly trash her or anything like that, but I guess some slight Miley bashing was implied. But before you get all judgy, I used to be her number one fan back in the day, so I feel I'm owed at least some venting time considering she's pretty much ruined Hannah Montana for me (which should never be taken lightly).

3. 100th Blog Post!

This one is probably one of the biggest surprises on the list. Seriously, I had absolutely no idea that any readers ever cared about my personal life, but apparently my inherent weirdness is something that interests people besides myself. Perhaps people were reading as some sort of study of how the strange people of society live? Maybe my idiosyncrasies are laughable? Whatever the answer, somehow a bunch of random facts about myself made it to number 3. Talk about flattery.


2. 2014 People's Choice Awards Round-Up

I guess I could understand one of the award show round-ups being popular (considering the excessive number of photos is basically a magnet attracting search engines), however what sets this particular show apart I do not know. Did I do anything differently? Not in the slightest. Perhaps Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs are just super heavily googled, or maybe there was something about the amount of twerking in the award show that lured readers in. I have no idea what the answer is, but I'm not exactly complaining. A page view's a page view, and sometimes I find it's better just not to question it.


1. Ja'mie Private School Girl Round-Up

Low and behold, at number one is Ja'mie! Is it surprising? Most definitely. To be honest, I wasn't sure if countries besides Australia actually watched it or cared about it, but evidently, they seem to. That in itself is pretty exciting, but really what takes the cake is the level of search engine optimisation this post has garnered. Seriously, my photos come up on Google images and everything! How cray can life get? I'm feeling pretty cool that a man parading around as a teenage girl in a dress is one of the things Australia is known for.

There's also a bunch of other information I've been able to gather from my blog in the past 12 months. Surprisingly, the international audience is as follows:

1. United States, 8,597 views
2. Australia, 5,778 views
3. United Kingdom, 1,871 views
4. Ukraine, 1,014 views
5. France, 760 views
6. Germany, 747 views
7. Turkey, 510 views
8. Canada, 380 views
9. China, 105 views
10. Spain, 102 views

I am super stoked about all of this international diversity. I'm serious, I feel so proud. Who knew Teenage Fanatic had undergone such globalisation? Damn, I feel so accomplished and well-travelled (despite the fact I've only ever been to one other country in my entire life).

On top of all this, I also have a list of some frequently used search terms, which are always entertaining to have a quick browse at.

2. Ja'mie Private School Girl
3. Ja'mie Private School Girl Mitchell
4. Miley Cyrus 2004
5. Miley Cyrus Career Timeline
6. Annoying Person Tumblr
7. Fanatic Person
8. Ariana Grande Dialogue
9. Carrie 2013 Tumblr
10. Mother Gothel is the Evil Queen

From this little list, I think we can all understand why some of my previously mentioned blog posts have shot to popularity. Though I have to say, I'm a bit shocked that people actually google me. How cool is that? People take time out of their day to look up this crummy little blog. I suppose a major thank you is in order! So as promised, THANK YOU! Some of the other search terms I don't even understand. Can someone tell me what exactly 'Ariana Grande Dialogue' means? Who even looks for that? I mean, do they want the dialogue of her entire life like some sort of sick transcript? And how did my blog link to that? If the perpetrator's reading this, feel free to enlighten me.

I feel like I've milked this blog post for as long as I can. I just want to finish by celebrating once more the fact that I've spent one whole year on this thing and haven't yet lost the will to live or type ever again.

Now go on and find a place in the rest of humanity once more before you lose your minds! Til' next time . . .

Annabel xx

Friday, 29 August 2014

A Very Happy Birthday Lea!

Greetings again blogosphere members! I am very excited to announce that today, being August 29th, marks my idol Lea Michele's 28th birthday! On this day, I seriously feel as if I'm getting another birthday a mere 25 days after my own, and I always go all out to try and celebrate it. In the past, I've been known to whip up a batch of vegan, dark chocolate cupcakes, given that they're one of her favourite foods. This year, I plan on doing everything I can in bringing to life Lea's recipes published in her awesome autobiographical, how-to book 'Brunette Ambition'. However, the celebrations do not stop there. Today, I plan to list some of the reasons why 'Glee' star Lea Michele is seriously just amazingly awesome. You ready? I think yes.

She has some Seriously Awesome Talent

I thought that we might as well start with an obvious one, because there's absolutely no doubt in the world that Lea Michele is one talented celebrity. I mean come on, she'd made it onto Broadway at age 8, in Les Misérables no less! Who even does that? Not to mention, she originated the role of Wendla in 'Spring Awakening' (a Tony Award winning Broadway musical), and is now currently starring as Rachel Berry on the fabulousness that is 'Glee' (the best show in the universe and recipient of multiple Emmys). Does life get any better than that?

She's got a bunch of other amazing credits as well, however I feel if I keep listing all of her extensive accolades, this post will basically just turn into a replica of Lea Michele's Wikipedia filmography. I don't even care what anyone else thinks, but to me, Lea actually has one of the most amazing voices to ever grace the Earth. Her cover of every song ever is just brilliant, and her recent solo album 'Louder' is absolutely to die for. Anyone else who's heard her sing I'm sure will agree with me on this one.

She's a Super Duper Strong Person

What Lea Michele went through last year with Cory was truly a horrible experience for everyone involved, and it takes a strong person to be able to get through that and come out the other side. I've always loved Lea, but I'm fairly certain even the people who didn't gained respect for her last year after her amazingly heartfelt Teen Choice Awards speech. Losing Cory was immensely difficult for me, so I can't even begin to imagine what it would be like to lose someone so close to you (and fingers crossed I never have to).

On top of all this, Lea's strong in a bunch of other respects also. She's not everyone's favourite person (*cough* Joan Rivers *cough*), and people (celebrities included) have been known to say some pretty awful (untrue) stuff to her, but what does she do? She takes it in her stride. I admire her so much for that, because whenever someone even vaguely implies that Lea Michele isn't as awesome as I know her to be, I completely lose it and let my crayness fly free. How she doesn't go off the handle I have no idea, however that is something that should definitely be commended.

She Hasn't Been Changed by Hollywood

I imagine living constantly in the public eye would be a pretty hard thing to do, and yet Lea Michele has been able to remain true to herself for years now. She's still her natural, quirky self, and in the land of Hollywood, that's not something you see everyday. I mean, come on, it's no secret that plastic surgery seems to be a right of passage among celebrities, yet Lea's not even budged. Sure, maybe it has something to do with the fact that 'Glee' dedicated an entire episode to the awesomeness of her nose, and constantly promotes embracing what makes you different, however I don't exactly think she would've been jumping at the opportunity to go under the knife if that wasn't the case. What's really admirable about Lea is that she doesn't care if she isn't looking or acting exactly like everyone else in the world, she's satisfied with being who she is (which, for the record, is super awesome). 

She Has Awesome Relationships with her Co-Workers

This may seem like a strange and totally random attribute to pinpoint, however to us gleeks, this is of vital importance. It absolutely sucks when characters you look up to and idolise can't even get along in real life. Seriously, it's just the worse. Luckily, with Lea, this isn't even close to the case. Exhibit A - Jonathan Groff. They first met and worked together almost 10 years ago when they both auditioned for the off-Broadway production of 'Spring Awakening', and since then, have remained absolute biffle for liffles

On top of that, I think we're all pretty aware that Lea and the 'Glee' cast are all super duper tight. They go out all the time, they mess around in interviews, it's seriously just the best. I mean really, Lea and Dianna even lived together at one point (although she unfortunately had to move out due to her allergy to Lea's cats)! Seeing a cast actually be friends off-screen not only evokes some serious fangirling, but also proves that Lea knows how to work in a professional forum and make friendships with ease. Isn't she just awesome?

She Tries a bit of Everything

Sure, sticking to one thing can sometimes be great, but it's nice to know Lea doesn't limit herself in any sense of the word. Let's take a little stroll down memory lane just to prove how much she's managed to accomplish. Well, she started on Broadway before she got to double digits, starred in a Tony winning musical, and got a lead role in a hit television show all before the age of 25. But wait, there's more. From what I've just listed, Lea's already got singing, dancing and acting down pat, but her awesomeness doesn't stop there. She's an advocate for PETA and lead their 'Buck Cruelty' campaign against horse drawn carriages (which I myself helped her in tweeting Mayor Bloomberg about back in the day), does a bucket-load of charity work, has been the spokesperson of two major brands (Candies and L'Oreal Paris), and even managed to release her own book and #1 album. And she's only 28! That's pretty amazing. Not to mention she has an animated movie called 'Legends of Oz: Dorothy Returns' hitting Australian cinemas soon.

So that's now the end of my little celebratory post. Now I hope you all go out, tweet Lea a happy birthday, and do something to celebrate! Trust me, I know what I'll be doing:

Enjoy your lives until we meet again. Til' next time . . .

Annabel xx

Thursday, 28 August 2014

'If I Stay' Review (with GIF's!)

Hello once more readers! Today, I made the effort of trekking down to the movie theatres in order to review 'If I Stay' on the day it came out in Australia. Dedication? I think yes. However, I can't exactly say that this little journey was unwilling, because there's no denying that I've been super pumped for this movie for a while now - about a year to be exact. It all came about around this time last year when I kinda sorta started slightly stalking Chloë Grace Moretz's filmography, and from that, discovered that she was in the process of filming this movie. I read the synopsis and was instantly lured, which just intensified my super high expectations for the film. Was it as good as I thought? Did it live up to the hype? You'll just have to read on and discover the answers for yourself.

As I said before, I had pretty mammoth expectations prior to viewing this movie, and I am pleased to announce right off the bat that the film did not fall short of them in the slightest. Luckily, despite its heavy promotion and widespread popularity, the fact that the movie's going to be rather mainstream did not equate to its quality. It didn't feel like it was dumbed down for an adolescent audience, or fabricated only in the hope of selling tickets. And yeah, just a warning before you go and see it, it's going to be sad. Don't get yourself in the mood for a feel-good comedy or anything like that, because this flick definitely doesn't fit the bill. However, saying that, it's not all doom and gloom. Sure, some pretty heavy stuff happens, but there are certainly some glimmers of hope. Before I start critiquing any further, I think it's time we all got the low-down on the plot.

The film centres around wildly talented cellist Mia Hall (Chloë Grace Moretz), an awkward, uptight introvert with her sights set on a career in classical music, her only companion being her best friend Kim (Liana Liberato).

Her parents Denny (Joshua Leonard) and Kat (Mireille Enos), and her brother Teddy (Jakob Davies) are her polar opposites, her dad formerly playing in a rock band and her mother acting as his groupie.

One fateful, snow-ridden day, tragedy strikes the Hall family and Mia is faced with an immense decision - whether to live on as an orphan or die along with her loved ones.

After this incident, we are privy to some extreme flashbacks, and get an insight into the past two years of her life, in which she met rebellious rocker Adam Wilde (Jamie Blackley).

In these little visions, we get to see the relationship blossom between Mia and Adam, and sometimes even manage to forget that everything's gone to hell back in the present day. They begin to embark on a rather typical teen romance, when problems begin to arise regarding their plans after high school.

Will she choose to live or die? You'll have to spend $16 on a ticket to find out. For those of you who haven't read the book or seen the movie yet, I'll stop here with the plot retelling and avoid being brutally murdered by enraged fans. Because trust me, if you don't yet know what happens, there's no way in the world you'll want anything that even resembles a spoiler alert.

I seriously can't express to you how much I enjoyed this movie. Seeing as I haven't read the book, I can't exactly compare the two, however on its own, it certainly doesn't disappoint. The acting was seriously just flawless, and I loved every minute of it. Mia, a character that at some points could've perhaps been perceived as annoying or playing the victim card a lot, was portrayed absolutely beautifully by Chloë. And what's even crazier is that she was 16 when she filmed the movie. 16! That's my age! And how many major motion pictures have I starred in? None whatsoever.

Jamie was also the perfect choice in the role of Adam, because I seriously couldn't see anyone else portraying the character as well and as confidently as he did. I know I may seem picky, but the acting in a movie (specifically one of this nature) just has to be 100% spot-on for me to even vaguely enjoy it, and thankfully, 'If I Stay' starred in my opinion some of the best actors and actresses our generation has to offer (which is seriously a massive call).

I'm not even kidding, it's super hard to find any flaws in the movie at all. Even the soundtrack was amazing! The music just fit so perfectly with the mood of the film, and this may sound strange, but I am actually a bit obsessed with the songs performed by Adam's fictional band (is that weird? I don't even care).

As well as all of this, the film had some really uplifting moments interspersed throughout all the sad, depressing ones. I'm letting you know now, people do die, however in all of the flashbacks they've incorporated into the movie, you still get a chance to get to know the character more and see them develop further even though in the present day, they've already left us. 

Despite this though, I still suggest that girls (or guys, let's not pass judgement) perhaps forgo the eyeliner when they go to see it, because you'll be desperately grabbing for the tissue box in the dark more than once.

It's pretty safe to say that the central theme of this movie is all about making tough decisions. Sure, Mia has a pretty hefty one to deal with, but I guess that's able to put into perspective choices we consider to be difficult to make, like whether to order Thai or Indian food for dinner (though seriously, I have no idea!). I guess on top of all the amazing acting, perfect soundtrack and fancy editing, I just really like the concept of the movie. Because seriously, what would you do? I personally would just freak out and run from the decision for as long as I could. But if anything, this film's certainly a conversation starter. 

Overall, this is seriously a flick that you need to see as soon as you possibly can. It's everything I hoped it would be and more, and I highly recommend it to anyone ever with the ability to comprehend films (which I'm hoping is all of you). I'll just warn you now, you may spend the majority of the movie screaming (internally at least) at the screen the following:

Or at least you'll have picked a side of the whole 'should she stay or should she go' debate.

I have to let you in on a small secret now, the movie does end rather abruptly. However, really, there's no other way it could've ended in my opinion. If they had decided to drag it out, the last couple of seconds wouldn't have been so poignant and meaningful. Trust me, you have every right to be confused, but don't worry, just watch the movie and everything will be crystal clear. 

Congratulations on officially reaching the end of my rather extensive review! I don't know if you've got the message yet or not, but I really want you to go out and see this movie! Right now. I'm serious, go do it. You won't regret it in the slightest. And better yet, why not hop onto iTunes and purchase the soundtrack as well, because did I mention it's amazing? Just go and complete these tasks immediately and make me happy. Til' next time . . .

Annabel xx

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Interview: Upcoming Singer-Song Writer

Blogosphere, I have returned! Today, I'm doing something rather exciting. A few days ago, I was told all about aspiring singer-song writer Hayley Solano via e-mail by her manager, and since then, have decided to conduct an interview with her. Lured yet? Because you definitely should be. Whether you're in the same position yourself or just simply have the ability to read, I suggest you continue on and see what went down.

Question 1: How long have you been interested in pursuing music as your career?

I think the moment I realized I could write a song, I was hooked on the idea of pursuing music. I fell in love with the idea of being able to share my stories with other people in a very honest and vulnerable way. 

Question 2: Who would you say are your biggest musical influences?

I've been influenced by several artists for a variety of reasons. Lyrically, I'm inspired by anyone who can tell a story and paint a vivid picture for their listeners. I can always rely on Parachute for lyric inspiration, especially their album, 'The Way It Was'. I also love songs with a strong message. I think Mary Lambert is fearless when it comes to songwriting, I've been inspired by her passion and bravery. Sonically, I love artists like Skylar Grey and The Civil Wars. 

Question 3: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

In 10 years, I would love to have released music I'm proud of and excited to share, traveled to new places to tell my stories on stage, and be making a positive impact in people's lives, having inspired others along the way. 

Question 4: What got you interested in music?

I became really interested in music when I realized how powerful a song truly is. I remember being in high school and like any other teenager, experiencing moments that made me feel misunderstood or alone. Those were the moments I would turn to music. The idea that someone who I had never met could write a song about his or her life, yet it sounded like it was about mine, was magical to me. 

Question 5: You have a lovely voice, have you had any formal training?

Thank you so much! I recently started training over the summer and I've really been enjoying it and learning a ton!

Question 6: Where do you get inspiration for writing your original songs?

Inspiration for writing songs almost always comes from personal experience. Songwriting is my way of making sense of what's going on in my life. I also really enjoy writing in retrospect, so many of my songs are romanticized stories about memories and have a nostalgic feel. 

Question 7: How long have you been playing the guitar?

I've been playing for almost 4 years. 

Question 8: What are your favourite songs on the radio at the moment?

'Girls Chase Boys' by Ingrid Michaelson is one of my favourites on the radio right now. It's so cheerful and sweet. I've also been enjoying 'Maps' by Maroon 5 and 'Ain't It Fun' by Paramore . . . and of course 'Stay With Me' by Sam Smith - what a soulful voice!

Question 9: What music genre do you prefer?

I love singer-songwriter/acoustic music. The more raw and stripped down, the better! But since I'm particularly drawn to storytelling, I'll love any song with at least one lyric that will make me cry, regardless of what genre it is. 

So that's officially the end of my seriously tiny, little interview. I hope you  found it vaguely entertaining, because interviews are always fun and a good way to shake things up a bit. If you're interested in checking out Hayley's various social media pages (which I seriously think you should), hop on over to her website, Facebook page, Twitter site, Instagram account, or blog. Plus, I suggest you have a look at her recent music video on Youtube called 'If I Was There', you certainly won't regret it. Now go on and return to reality. Til' next time . . .

Annabel xx

Monday, 25 August 2014

Album Review: Ariana Grande 'My Everything'

Hello again readers! Today, I'm going to be taking a look at the new album by internationally renowned pop princess Ariana Grande entitled 'My Everything'. I can't believe it's been almost an entire year since her debut album came out, that's just insane! But now, we're back, and I'm prepared to release my inner judgemental tyrant as I have a stab at my track-by-track, incredibly detailed review. Is it worth wasting $19.99 on iTunes? Stay tuned for the results.

Here's a run down of the entire track list (as per the deluxe version):
1. Intro
2. Problem (feat. Iggy Azalea)
3. One Last Time
4. Why Try
5. Break Free (feat. Zedd)
6. Best Mistake (feat. Big Sean)
7. Be My Baby (feat. Cashmere Cat)
8. Break Your Heart Right Back (feat. Childish Gambino)
9. Love Me Harder (with The Weekend)
10. Just A Little Bit of Your Heart
11. Hands On Me (feat. A$AP Ferg)
12. My Everything
13. Bang Bang (with Jessie J and Nicki Minaj)
14. Only 1
15. You Don't Know Me

1. Intro

Believe it or not, this is actually one of my favourite songs on the album. Sure, it only goes for a minute and 19 seconds, but it's just so pretty! It's just Ariana, piano accompaniment, and super nice harmonies (which I am a sucker for). There's nothing commercial about it which I love, and it kind of takes me back to the old Ariana days when she'd post awesome Youtube covers using her fancy loop station. As I say, it was just a really nice, low key track to kick off the album. 

2. Problem (feat. Iggy Azalea)

I've spoken about this song before, and I'm pretty sure I've made it clear that I'm a major fan of it. I mean, it's just so damn catchy! Despite the fact that it's been heavily played on pretty much every radio station ever for the past few months, I can't seem to stop liking it. It's fun, it's sassy, and it doesn't disappoint no matter how many times you hear it. Plus, there's an Australian singer up in the action, so I can't help but be slightly patriotic. 

3. One Last Time

I can just tell that this song is destined to be released as a single, because it just sounds like a quintessential pop hit. It's no secret that Ariana has some pretty powerful vocals, and these are highlighted in full force with this catchy, melodic, ready-for-radio track. She should be super proud of her work on this one, because she has once again been able to stray away from the monotonous, tuneless characteristics of commercial music and shake things up with a song people actually enjoy listening and singing along to.  

4. Why Try

Produced by Ryan Tedder, this slightly slower pop track has a really strong melody and a really good vibe to go along with it. Ariana's belts in the chorus are just divine, and the rest of the song manages not to disappoint either. I feel like I'm repeating myself, but this song once again has the serious potential to be a radio hit. Although it has more production than some of the other songs on the album, this I feel works well, and in no way overshadows Ariana's vocal ability. I've grown to be more and more of a fan of this track with every listen, and it certainly has the possibility to be added to my favourites list. 

5. Break Free (feat. Zedd)

Once again, we find ourselves faced with another pre-released radio success, and if you've been an avid member of society for the past month, there's no way you wouldn't have heard it. It's jam packed with all sorts of bass drops and techno back-beats, however still manages to steer clear of becoming monotone drivel. It's ridiculously catchy, and really is the ultimate dance song. Overall, an extreme 3 minute and 34 second pop extravaganza. 

6. Best Mistake (feat. Big Sean) 

If you heard this song on shuffle, you'd swear this was a bonus track from her previous album 'Yours Truly'. Bringing back the R&B vibe she threw at us last time, 'Best Mistake' slows it down a bit with this chilled out ballad. Just when you think Ariana's gone in a totally new, pop-centric direction, she goes back to her roots and allows her voice to shine in this stripped back, production free track. Simply because of her determination to stay true to herself throughout her re-invention, this song is up there in my list of album favourites.

7. Be My Baby (feat. Cashmere Cat)

I've never even heard of Cashmere Cat before in my life, nor am I entirely certain what kind of vocals or instrumentation they lent to the song, however this track was perfectly enjoyable. Yet again we are given another song showing off Ariana's ability to provide us with some quality pop, dance tracks, although it doesn't really stand out from the pack. Don't get me wrong, it's not bad or anything, it just isn't really anything special. It's pretty mellow and monotonous, and really only an inch of what we know Ariana is capable of. 

8. Break Your Heart Right Back (feat. Childish Gambino)

Once again, who the hell are Childish Gambino, and more importantly, what kind of name is that? Despite the confusion this collaboration brings me, I really love this song. The absolute root of this song's awesomeness has to be its epic plot (one that Ariana is 99% sure is autobiographical). Perhaps one of the most talked about songs prior to the release of 'My Everything', this track describes the tale of a boy who cheats on his girlfriend with another guy, which I can't help but find just a tad hysterical. What really takes the cake though is the fact that the song manages to sample Diana Ross's gay anthem 'I'm Coming Out', all the while maintaing a fun, vibrant, pop sound. What more can you ask for?

9. Love Me Harder (with The Weekend)

This is officially how every produced dance track is supposed to sound! Some can be hit and miss, but this is just thoroughly on-point. The vocals are stunning, the melody's infectious and the harmonies are seriously just out of this world. Both artists manage to really shine in their own ways and meld together really nicely, definitely making this a candidate for my favourite song on the album. There's no doubting that this collaboration was an enormous success!

10. Just A Little Bit of Your Heart

There's no question that this is the ultimate power ballad on the album. Everyone loves a good bearing of the soul, and this delivers in spades. Ariana's voice sounds phenomenal and super powerful, and this really is the most pure and honest song on the album. Commercial elements are nowhere in sight, and this captivating track manages to slow things down a bit. The melody is simple but incredibly effective, and the performance really is flawless. All in all, a great addition to the album.

11. Hands On Me (feat. A$AP Ferg)

Although it's a far cry from terrible, this song isn't exactly my favourite on the album. The melody's diverse and catchy enough I suppose, however the level of production and constant, random rapping interludes distract from Ariana's parts. It just feels like she's trying a bit hard with this track. It's all well and good to re-invent yourself and promote a more mature image, however shoving it down people's throats definitely isn't the way to go about it. She managed to get it right before, however this has just taken her metamorphosis a little too far.

12. My Everything

Title track 'My Everything' once again gives us a chance to hear Ariana take a crack at taking on a ballad. It's pretty and delicate almost, and the melody I find really drives this song. The vocals are superb, and the emotion is there without any shadow of a doubt. It's not exactly a song showing off Ariana's range or power, however I really like that we're able to see different sides of her voice being showcased. The track is ethereal almost, and I feel it really speaks from the heart. I have to say, this is one of my favourites.

13. Bang Bang (with Jessie J and Nicki Minaj)

I've spoken about this before, and I'll speak about it again. I absolutely love this song! It's fun, it's boppy, and it's got a real 60's pop vibe which I just can't get enough of. All three of them are killing it vocally, and the melody is just flawless. You can't help but sing along whenever you hear it, and it was seriously just made for major radio air time. I actually can't fault it, it's fabulous and enormously catchy. Definitely one of my favourite songs not only on this album, but in the iTunes top 10. 

14. Only 1

This really is the ultimate throwback to some good, old 90's R&B, this track managing to shake things up quite significantly. It's mid-tempo makes it easy to casually jam to, and the sweet sounds of Ariana's definitive vocals are a joy to listen to. It's not exactly top 10 material, however that is probably one of the reasons I like it so much. Although it contains elements of her signature pop style, Ariana really has managed to echo her 'Yours Truly' style once more with this track, never managing to disappoint. 

15. You Don't Know Me

Once again, I have to admit that this isn't my absolute favourite song on the album. It kind of ends 'My Everything' on a strange note, throwing a totally new style of song into the mix just as everything's about to come to a close. One thing's for sure, this track most definitely shows off Ariana's extensive range, however that isn't quite enough to sway me. She sings it beautifully, although I really don't think the melody's diverse enough to hold interest. The song is perfectly fine, however there is indeed room for improvement. 

So that's now officially the end of my album review. What's the verdict you ask? Simple, I suggest you go out and buy yourself a copy of 'My Everything' whenever you can, because Ariana really aims to please with this one. There are a bunch of strong tracks, and some really great vocals. It is totally worth the few clicks it takes to access the iTunes store! Til' next time . . .

Annabel xx

Thursday, 21 August 2014

How To: Host a Movie Themed Birthday Party

Blogosphere, welcome back! Today, I am super excited to be sharing with you some tips and tricks for hosting your very own movie themed birthday party! What makes me such an expert you ask? Just the fact that I may or may not have recently hosted one myself. Sure, there were literally 6 people there including me, but I'm still counting that as a party. Want the perfect how-to guide? Stay tuned to make all your party dreams come true.

Preliminary Stuff


The first thing you need to worry about are invitations. Of course, there are some fun, movie themed invitation templates that you can get from the world wide web, however I decided to make my own because I wanted to jazz it up and personalise it (plus, I really wanted them to be pink). And here my friends is the result:

I thought they looked pretty snazzy if I do say so myself. Plus, it literally took me about 2 minutes to make on Pages (the wondrous powers of MacBooks will never cease to amaze me).


Of course, given that you are planning to throw a movie themed birthday party, costumes are an absolute must. As you can clearly tell from the invitation, my costume theme was to come dressed as a certain movie character, however you can make the theme whatever you want really. Some people just revolve their parties around a Hollywood glamour theme, while other people request that you dress up as your favourite celebrity. Whatever the pre-requisite, we've got you covered. I decided to go as Sandy from 'Grease' for my party, pretty much because I already had a really awesome, old, 50's style dance costume lying around that I was dying to wear again (plus, 'Grease' happens to be one of my favourite movies ever, so that was a plus). However in the midst of my initial costume search, I found a truly terrific website. It's this place called 'Delta's Dazzling Costumes', and it seriously has one of the largest costume ranges ever. Everything's relatively cheap, and the national shipping is super quick. It is Australian, however luckily for those of you living in vegemite-less destinations, Delta's happens to deliver internationally, how cool is that? Here are some examples of the costumes you may consider purchasing for your next party. 

Rydell High Cheerleader, 'Grease'

Magenta, 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show'

Minnie Mouse, Disney Franchise

Game Ideas

Movie Bingo

This game's pretty self explanatory. Assuming everyone knows how to play bingo (because seriously, who doesn't?), all you really need for this one are a bunch of movie themed bingo cards and you're set. Basically, each card has a different cinematic common occurrence on it like falling in love or breaking into song, and the first person to fill up their row yells 'Bingo' and wins the whole thing. Simple? That's what I thought. Now all you need to do is download this handy pdf and off you go!

Movie Themed 'Family Feud'

This one my friends may be a tad more confusing. Those of you familiar with the art of making computer games using Keynote will find this to be a walk in the park, however if you literally have no idea what you just read, I suggest you tread carefully. Okay, welcome to Keynote, your new best friend. Unfortunately, this is only a Macbook application, so if you're a classic PC lover, there's not really any hope for you with this one. 

What is it?

Well, Movie Themed 'Family Feud' is basically just a movie themed computer game. How does 'Family Feud' come into it? Answer is, it doesn't really. How does it work? I'm so glad you asked.

There are two even teams, and someone will be made team captain of each (hint: this should be the member with the least movie knowledge of the group, you'll understand why in a second). The team captain will be taken into a top secret space before the game begins and shown all of the answers to each of the questions. Then the game is ready to begin. 

To give you an example, my first question was 'Name the Most Popular Cameron Diaz Movies'. From that, the other team members are to come up with 5 suggestions each, and from them, you choose the best answers. For instance, the correct answers in accordance with IMDB were 'Sex Tape', 'The Other Woman', 'There's Something About Mary', 'Bad Teacher' and 'The Mask'. If I was captain and my team members managed to get all 5 of these collectively out of the 5 individual ones they listed, then I would put a tick next to all of the correct ones. However, if collectively they only managed to get 3, I would obviously tick the correct answers, and then just put a tick next to two other random movies before the answers are revealed. The team with the most answers correct wins that particular question. I initially created the whole team captain thing because I made the computer game and wanted to avoid bias (plus I also desperately wanted to play, so I made it work). As if that wasn't complicated enough, now you get to read all about how to actually make it. 

Step 1 - Create all of your pages

Well, first you need to decide what you want your pages to look like. I decided to have 5 questions, given that you have to have an odd number to eliminate all chance of a tie. My pages are as follows:

Opening - 

This page is pretty easy. You get a background, you get a logo, you get some text boxes and off you go. Think it's simple? Savour it while it lasts. 

Instructions - 

If you can't work this one out for yourself, there's no hope for you. Just seriously write what you want people to do and make them do it. 

Questions - 

This is what your first questions page will look like. Basically, all you need to do with this one is find a question, get a picture, and slap in a 'See Answers' button. This is the page you will stay on while your team members are busily searching their minds for some answers. 

Say hello to the second questions page. This, I kid you not, is pretty much an exact replica of the first one. Start off by copy and pasting the original question slide, before deleting the 'See Answers' text box and replacing it with the answers. As you may or may not know, 'Family Feud' works by drawing its answers from a public poll. Of course, I do not expect you to survey random people and ask them all these questions. I just googled 'Popular Cameron Diaz Movies' and a bunch of her films frequently mentioned on the web came up. Don't believe me? Feast your eyes upon the evidence. 


Now you've got the gist of it, you pretty much just do that for all of the other questions. 

Ending - 

This is seriously the easiest slide of them all. You just need two text boxes and you're done!

Step 2 - Linking it all together

Now you've got all your slides done and dusted, it's time to connect them so you can actually physically play the game properly. You see the words below that I underlined on the slide? These will be your buttons.

It's officially time to get everything connecting. First, highlight the word you want linked to another page and click on the little inspector icon at the top right hand side of the screen. 

Now you've done that, click on the 9th icon that looks like a blue arrow. 

Then tick the box that reads 'Enable as a hyperlink'. 

Change the number down the bottom to the slide you want this button to link to. 

And bam, you're done! Do this for every button in the slideshow and you'll have one, super terrific movie themed 'Family Feud' game on your hands. 

Character Mash-Up

Compared to the last game, this one will seem ridiculously easy and simple to prepare. Basically, all you need to do is find 6 pictures of random movie characters and put them on a word document. After you do this, print out 2 copies, cut each picture into four strips, and then place each set into a separate envelope. Then, the two teams will get and envelope each, and the fastest group to piece the pictures back together correctly wins the game. Simplicity as its best!

Prop Scavenger Hunt

This one, I'm warning you now, is super fun. It was a big hit, and totally worth all of the deceit and treachery going down between the teams. So basically, all you have to do is buy a bunch of movie related props, get a family member to hide them in random places around your house, divide your friends into two teams and let the games begin. But remember, no lounge cushions will be left unturned. 

Spoofs and Remakes

For this one, everyone needs to get a hold on their dramatic selves (luckily mine isn't too hard to find). Considering there were 6 people in total at my party, I organised 3 scripts from random movies, found an awesome scene between two people, and changed everyone's character names. The activity was to totally re-imagine the dualogue and change-up the relationship between the characters. Plus, you just got brownie points if you were able to accurately guess the origin of each script. For inspiration, my chosen scenes are below:

Scene 1

This just so happens to be a dualogue from everyone's new favourite Disney sisters Anna and Elsa from 'Frozen'. 

Scene 2

If you got this one, you're seriously just a movie genius. This is a little, totally forgettable scene between the Principal and the Janitor in 'The Breakfast Club'. 

Scene 3

Believe it or not, you're hearing from Brad and Janet from 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show', because I just couldn't resist. 

Quote Lucky Dip

This is also probably one of the most simple games on the list, however I am proud to say it was executed beautifully by my mother. Seeing as I wanted to participate, she gladly found me 12 movie quotes to be cut up, put in a hat, and passed around in a circle. It was similar to pass the parcel, as we all just kept handing it around until the music stopped and someone pulled out a quote. Everyone by the end of the game got two quotes each, and if they got it correct they got a point, and if not, well they just suck. We had an awesome array of quotes, ranging from 'The Fault in Our Stars' to 'Bad Lip Reading', and extending to this 'Legally Blonde' beauty below:

So that's seriously the end of my mammoth post. Congratulations on completing it all the way through, you should win some kind of award! Now at least you know how to throw an awesome, movie themed birthday party all thanks to the wondrous help of Teenage Fanatic. Now go and plan your own lives! Til' next time . . .

Annabel xx