POP Pilates ~ Activewear

For those of y’all who aren’t aware, Cassey Ho started POP Pilates, which is “a powerful fusion of music, strength, and choreography that takes classical Pilates to the next level. POP Pilates is a dance on the mat” (https://www.poppilateslife.com/p/gettingstarted).

In 2009, she posted her first YouTube video of one of her workouts. Originally, it was only meant for the forty students that she taught. Cassey was moving cross-country and wanted to leave them something behind to remember her by. Even though she did not know it then, that would be the first building block on what would become the world of Blogilates.

She is the #1 YouTube fitness instructor and has over four million people following along to her videos. Through 24 Hour Fitness’s partnership, POP Pilates is now their official Pilates format in all their gyms. From her best-selling book Hot Body Year Round, to her own line of activewear, Cassey’s growth has been incredible in only eight years!

Right now though, I want to focus on her activewear line. If you’re an exercise guru, a college student walking to class – because let’s be honest, athletic wear is 90% of what we wear, or just want something to help motivate you to workout, you should definitely check out POP Flex activewear! The peony and mermaid collections run sizes 2-12, while the dark bloom has sizes 2-16.

Here are some of my personal favorites:


Pointe Legging - Snow White

Pointe Legging ~ Snow White $45


Siren Tank - NightfallSiren Tank - Nightfall

Siren Tank ~ Nightfall $32

You can also find this in a seafoam color.


Heart Strings Bra - CabernetHeart Strings Bra - Cabernet

Heart Strings Bra ~ Cabernet $28

This one comes in the night and dark bloom patterns as well.

Fly Away Run Short - Night

Fly Away Run Shorts ~ Night $34.50

Also comes in the pattern of dark bloom.


Fairytale Long Sleeve ~ Snow $34.00

This one also comes in black.


Zenith Zip Bra ~ Dark Bloom $32

The zenith zip bra comes in a shiny black or normal black if that’s more your style.

In less than a week, Pop Flex is releasing another collection – Dusty Blossom! Can’t wait to see what they come out with this time!

Check out Pop Flex’s website if you want to look at more of their activewear: https://www.popflexactive.com/.

~ Southern Dreamer




Thor: Ragnarok ~ Movie Review

*cue music*

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With the third installation of the “Thor” movies, Thor: Ragnarok comes on the heels of the first two films – Thor and Thor: The Dark World respectively. The entire aesthetic in this one is very different from the others, but different in the best way. Personally, I feel that Thor: Ragnarok was the most well-made and enjoyable out of all the “Thor” movies.

Returning actors, Chris Hemsworth as Thor and Tom Hiddleston as Loki, join the newcomers to Marvel: Cate Blanchett as Hela, Tessa Thompson as Valkryie, and Jeff Goldblum as the Grandmaster. Director Taika Waititi also plays a more minor character, Korg.

If my estimations are correct, the movie spans a little less than a week’s time, and boy, oh boy does a lot happen!

*Warning: spoilers below*

**Spoilers Coming Soon*




Between realizing that the brother he thought was dead, is actually alive (surprise!), all the way to getting his hair chopped off, Thor has had a pretty rough week. Not to mention that he apparently has an older sister who wants to take over Asgard???

Cue Hela.

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Firstborn of Odin, who their father did not find relevant to mention, until literally seconds before he died. Conflict avoidance much?!

Instead of guiding his sons on how to deal with their psychotic sis – which is saying a lot, considering Loki, Odin decides to check out and hightail it to the afterlife. Thor and Loki are then left to deal with the repercussions of their older sibling being the goddess of death – something that is not an exaggeration in the least. She literally adores dying and war and bloodshed.

In fact, with one of the Asgardians working in the palace – Skurge, Hela thinks that it is actually an honor for her to offer him the job to be the executioner.

On another note, I was glad to see in this movie that Thor did not fall for Loki’s tricks again. Being someone who almost always believes-the-best in other people, for a long time, Thor seemed surprised by Loki betraying him. In Ragnarok, then, I was glad that he realized that Loki could change, yes, but might not and he should be prepared if that were the case.

I also appreciated the history that was revealed in this film. As the viewers, we get to learn more about the royal family – hello Hela – and that Odin used to be pretty ruthless as a king and conqueror. In addition, we are exposed to one of the elite warriors in Asgard – a Valkryie. With Loki’s powers, a scene from one of the Valkryie battles is shown and the reason behind the last Valkryie being so reluctant to return to Asgard starts to take on a more definite shape.

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And guys, like the humor??? A+++

SO GOOD. I absolutely loved all the funny moments, quirks, and hilarious quips.

From Thor’s interior design remarks, to the entirety of the fighting scene with Hulk, all the way to the little moments like Mjolnir pretty much wrecking Doctor Strange’s house, fireworks shooting out of the aircraft during the chase on Sakaar, and Korg’s silly statements, there was some great and clean humor.

Further, there were definitely some moments where I was like ohmyword WHAT just happened?!

Exhibit A – Hela destroying Mjolnir as if it were made of glass (as Loki so poetically put it)early in the film. Yep, basically in the span of less than ten minutes, Thor has lost both his father and his prized possession, while also learning that he has an older sister who apparently wants to take over Asgard.

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Thor: Ragnarok, otherwise known as, Thor: And the Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week

Exhibit B – While Thor is fighting the Hulk, the green guy just starts smashing him into the ground and during this incidence…his eyes start to turn a blinding white. Cue lightening, flying, and all around awesomeness.

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On another note, I could be wrong, but I sense a future romance between Thor and the Valkryie being hinted at? Anyone else?

Anyway, overall I loved Thor: Ragnarok and thought it led to a great set-up for Avengers: Infinity War, along with the amazing humor and fun, new characters that were introduced.

What did y’all think of this third film? Like it, love it? Favorite parts? Let me know in the comments below!

~ Southern Dreamer



The Purest Love

For those of y’all who didn’t realize it, American Idol started back this past Sunday! This year the judges are Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan, and of course, with Ryan Seacrest as the host.

As I was watching the second night, the very last audition shown caught my attention – and maybe, not for the reason that one would first think. If you haven’t watched it, I would encourage you to check out the clip below:

David Francisco auditions for them, and when he first walks in, you notice the braces that are helping to support his arms and weight. Like they do with many of the auditions, they explain the history of the person, and David was no different. In 2016, he moved to Nashville for the purpose of pursuing music, and in a tragic turn of events, was hit by a distracted driver who ran a red light. A bike offers no protection in the case of an accident, and this situation caused him to be paralyzed from the waist down at only twenty-three years old.

A friend wrote him a letter to encourage him not to give up, and long story short, that friend – Christie – is now his fiancé.

For his audition, David sang “Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder.

As he is singing, you can see that Katy Perry starts to really tear up and get emotional. I couldn’t find the exact clip – this video doesn’t show it, but after they walk out of the audition room, you can hear Katy say, “It’s the purest kind of love” referring to the couple.

When I was talking about it with my mom, we came to the conclusion that it wasn’t his story in and of itself that brought her to tears. It was the fact that he and his fiancé were so in love, despite all of the difficulties that life had thrown at them. How Christie, chose to stay by his side and love him through everything, even when he could not walk or dance or do all the activities that you would normally find a couple doing. She could have easily decided to leave him and find someone else, someone who was completely healthy – but she did not. Christie stayed by his side.

And most of Hollywood does not have that.

They have cheapened romance and love, thrown commitment out the window – made having affairs something to be admired and sought after. There is no depth, no lasting promise to stay with someone forever – even when you disagree, argue.

random by southern-dreams on Polyvore featuring artWhere are the stories like Jack and Rose from the Titanic, how he would rather die than see her perish? Or The Princess Bride with Buttercup and Wesley, the loyalty and willingness to not care whether they were poor on the farm or living in the grandest castle? What about the comical adventures of Lucy and Ricky Ricardo, from I Love Lucy, who were committed and enjoyed the journey of life together?

The amount of classic, appropriate romances coming out of Hollywood, that actually have depth and commitment, are unfortunately not many. This is why, I believe, Katy Perry became so emotional watching David singing, and Christie lovingly waiting on the sidelines.

She does not see that in her day-to-day life. Most people, especially in the stardom industry, could care less about keeping vows that you make to someone – if they even manage to become committed enough for marriage!

It is truly sad how far our society has gone, and the relationships and family unit that have suffered as a result. Divorce? Cheating, affairs? Far more common than it should be. And what really gets me angry, and stumped if I’m being honest, is how people can cheat on their spouses when they have children?! The notion that having an affair and then divorcing because of that or because you do not want to have to do the hard work in a relationship, the idea that this does not affect the children is absolutely ridiculous.

As a society, we need to start taking back these things. Why should we let how Hollywood and the media portrays relationships, love, and sex dictate our actions? We are better than that – we need to be better than not.

I’m not so naïve to think that this is easy. We are all sinners, who unfortunately struggle with sin. Nothing good ever came easy, but for heaven’s sake, let’s start doing something about it. 

If we fail, well, there’s the next day to try again. But we a society, we need to start redefining romance and love to what it is actually meant to be…sincere, loyal, committed, respectful.

Let’s stop lowering our expectations with these “celebrate a one month anniversary” for dating. Yeah, that’s great that you’ve been dating for one month! Exciting, fun. But in my opinion, one month is just getting to know someone – it is not even a true test of commitment yet. What we should be celebrating and encouraging others to do, is for someone who is resisting the temptation to sin in a relationship – cheer them on! Encourage them. What we should be making a big deal of, is for those who get through the first year of marriage, for those who have been married for ten years, twenty years, fifty years. For the people that say we are going to stay together and work through these issues in our relationship. For the couples that decide to be committed and not leave the other, even when hard times hit.

Faithfulness is such an important component in life. No one would ever abandon a pet, or decide after two weeks of working at a job they had dreamed about for their entire life to quit – most people wouldn’t that is…then why do we treat relationships any differently?

Both sets of my grandparents, and my own mom and dad, have demonstrated what it looks like to be faithful even in the midst of hardships. Being faithful doesn’t mean you always agree with the other person, or even like them very much at some particular moment, but it does mean that you stick with them through thick and thin.

And honestly, I think that’s why having faith in Jesus as a part of a marriage is so important. When you have Jesus, then you have a higher loyalty – so even on the days when you want to give up, you can remind yourself of the promise you made to God. Not only that, but looking at the example of Jesus. He loved us even when we did not love him back, and he continues to love us even when we blatantly oppose his authority and sin.

In conclusion, I hope that Hollywood will create more films like The Greatest Showman that show love with depth, sincerity, and commitment, and as a society, I pray that we will start reclaiming the true definition of love and not let it be changed to something that is cheapened.

~ Southern Dreamer



Behind the Scenes

Last month, I went to see Black Panther with a group of my friends. We all drove to the movie theater, found our seats, and waited for the film to begin. There was action, humor, and everything in between, but I’ll save my longer review for another post 😉

After I see a movie, I like to go on YouTube and look up interviews with the cast.  So, that’s what I did! One of the characters in the movie, is T’Challa’s younger sister – Shuri. As a genius, she helps to design Wakanda’s technology and weaponry. The actress, who plays her is Letitia Wright.

During one of the interviews I was watching, she mentioned her faith in God. My interest was piqued, as a believer, so I scrolled down to see other videos that might hold similar content.

I was really encouraged from what I saw. Sometimes it can get so discouraging, seeing actors and actresses in Hollywood constantly going down this destructive path of immorality, etc – where are the role models? When I watched these interviews then, it encouraged me. I would also like to note, that a lot of times people will mention god/God, but not be referring to the one, true God. What caught my attention though, was not her reference to God in and of itself, but how she also talked about the Holy Spirit, prayer, church, and the fact that she gave up a huge acting job for Jesus.

If you watch the video above, you’ll notice that she says that God told her he could do more, if she would trust him with this. This is going to sound like a rabbit trail, but I promise it comes back around!

Yesterday, my mom and I were driving home and I had just shown her the video. We were talking about it, and then suddenly it was just like God let a lightbulb go off in my head. If you’re not aware, Black Panther has…

  • in four days (opening weekend) made more than the Justice League in its entire run in North America
  • in its four day opening, is only surpassed in revenue by the first Avengers film.
  • has reached $1 billion at the global box office
  • it is the second highest grossing superhero movie of all time
  • it is the seventh highest grossing movie out of all films
  • has currently made $950.40 million in the US alone

Ok, are you ready for this?

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,” ~ Ephesians 3:20

Letitia was obedient in giving up a huge acting job – one with Nicole Kidman and Elle Fanning. That was an act of trust and faith; God did not tell her “hey, by the way, you’re going to get a role in a Marvel movie.” And she spent seven months just with Christ.

And y’all, LOOK WHAT HAPPENED. The success of Black Panther is amazing. Please don’t take me as saying that the movie does not deserve its success, I think that it definitely does, but here’s the thing…this is not just because it’s the first African American superhero movie.

Letitia was obedient, and God is a good and gracious Father, who delights in giving incredible gifts to his children. Hollywood, the secular world is coming up with reasons why this film has been so successful, and yeah, that definitely has merit, but y’all, don’t miss the big picture here!

Since Letitia is the daughter of the King, and she was faithful, God is blessing this movie and the success of it in so many ways! I can just see God saying something like, my daughter has put me first in her life – giving up something that she highly valued. I am going to bless her with a role in a Marvel movie, and not only will it be successful, but it will be one of the highest grossing films of all time. 

Is that not so exciting??? I don’t know about y’all, but I think that is freaking awesome! I love this entire story. Not only do I find her faith in a profession where it is looked down upon encouraging, I also adore this entire situation. It is such a good reminder of the blessings that come when we are obedient to God.

I’m not saying it’s easy, nothing worthwhile usually is – especially if it calls for sacrifice. If Letitia were writing this, I feel certain she would say the same thing. But look what God did! He orchestrated it so that she not only got another acting job, but one that would put her in a position to be noticed and have more opportunities.

The next time God asks us to do something, I hope and pray that we have the courage to be obedient and faithful.

~ Southern Dreamer





The Greatest Showman ~ Movie Review

Dim the lights.

The theater goes dark.

Anticipation rises…

The Greatest Showman is seconds away from beginning!


Y’all, I have already seen this amazing movie three times. The first time was with one of my friends at Alabama, the second was with my dad, and the third with my entire family and Nana. Each viewing, I noticed something new about the movie and still enjoyed it immensely even after seeing it three times in such a short time frame!

There are so many components to love about this movie. The historical time frame, which is always a favorite of mine –  I love seeing all the beautiful costumes, how people lived back then. And of course, it is a musical!

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Musicals are pretty much the best. You have dancing, singing, acting – and a story being told through all of those different, moving parts.

For this film, Hugh Jackman – aka Wolverine aka Jean Valjean – stars as the leading character, P.T. Barnum. Other names you might recognize are Zendaya from Spider-Man Homecoming (M.J.) and Disney Channel (K.C. Undercover, Shake It Up), as well as, Zac Efron (!!!) from High School Musical 1/2/3 (Troy Bolton), among other work.

Additionally, there are several stars from Broadway, such as Keala Settle (Hairspray, Waitress, Les Mis, etc…) and Michelle Williams (Cabaret and Blackbird). 

The movie is loosely based around the real life person of P.T. Barnum, who started the Barnum and Bailey circus, which closed on May 21, 2017, after having been opened for 146 years. Like I said, it is loosely based, so please don’t watch the movie and take it for 100% historical accuracy.

With that said, onto the spoiler part of the review!

WARNING: Spoilers ahead





Alright! Now that that’s out of the way, let’s delve into the movie-musical!

The way this musical was constructed was so smartly done. A lot of times, when a musical has many reprises of the same song, it can be boring and feel redundant. I’m not entirely sure what the formula was for how they managed to create such an emotionally jarring reprise each time, but they succeeded fabulously.

My favorite part of the entire musical is the first fifteen minutes. Seriously, PERFECTION. The introduction – SO GOOD. Like such a smart move. I adore how they did these sharp clips of Hugh Jackman with his cane, and then flashed to some of the script.


Absolutely awesome.

The kids they chose to play a younger P.T. and Charity, his wife, were adorable. Their scenes were so cute, and the fact that they sing the first “A Million Dreams” version, in this house that (SPOILER ALERT) is later the one they buy???

❤ ❤ ❤

Fast forward, and the next reprise is when P.T. and Charity are now adults, and they are starting their lives together. Charity, who grew up in a wealthy family, is leaving all of that behind to go and be with him. As they walk through the town, you see him wishing that he could offer her everything the world has, and with this, Charity pulls him away and the dance, the reprise begins.


My favorite reprise however, is the last one. Y’all, when it started, I literally looked over at my friend, Ashleigh, and was like what even. FIFTEEN MINUTES into the movie and I’m already getting serious feels???

You know. The scene where it’s his daughter’s birthday, and he has to put SOMETHING together because she’s his little girl…but he kind of got fired, and they don’t have much anyway, so he spins this tale of wishes and firelight and danger, all the while putting together this rag-tag gift that’s basically a candle holder, but SHE LOVES IT (help me now), and then he says that you tell it your wishes and it keeps them safe AND THEN THEY START SINGING THE SONG OK. IN THEIR BABY CHILDREN VOICES.

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It’s funny, cause most of the time in movies, my favorite scene is the romantic one, but for this film, the entire way they orchestrated the “A Million Dreams” numbers, and how the emotional gravity kept increasing with each rendition, just got me.


Another one of my favorite components of the movie was Phillip Carlyle, played by Zac Efron, and Anne Wheeler, played by Zendaya. The progression of their relationship is really told through the music – even if neither one is the main singer in a particular song.

For instance, in “Never Enough,” Jenny Lind sings:

I’m trying to hold my breath
Let it stay this way
Can’t let this moment end
You set off a dream with me
Getting louder now
Can you hear it echoing?
Take my hand
Will you share this with me?
‘Cause darling without you

Cue Phillip taking Anne’s hand – so adorable.

All the shine of a thousand spotlights
All the stars we steal from the night sky
Will never be enough
Never be enough
Towers of gold are still too little
These hands could hold the world but it’ll
Never be enough
Never be enough

Then, as the song continues, Phillip looks up and sees his parents watching him.

Uh oh. What’s going to happen?

He drops Anne’s hand instantly, and at this, she leaves Jenny Lind’s performance. It really is so heartbreaking, because they both care about each other, but all these things and pressures of the world just keep getting in their way.

There’s also a scene between them during the song “This Is Me,” where Anne stares up at Phillip from the circus floor, while he is in the office, and just gives him this look. 

Sometime after this, Anne goes to the theatre because P.T. said he “left” her a ticket. Sneaky man! Because, as you continue watching, you realize that it was in fact Phillip – with the help of Lettie and P.T. – who orchestrated this, all for desiring to go on a date with Anne Wheeler.


They start to go up the steps; Anne whispering that she always wanted to go to the theatre, when suddenly, something happens that crashes their happiness.

Guess who?

Phillip’s parents.

Being the gentleman he is, Phillip introduces Anne to them, however, the situation only goes downhill from there. Mr. and Mrs. Carlyle treat Anne rudely, making their racism apparent and Phillip is having NONE OF THAT. 

Long story short, he basically says he wants no part in their world or in his inheritance if this is how they’re going to act. He leaves the theater, rushing after Anne who darted out at the comments from his parents.

Cue “Rewrite the Stars.” Honestly, every single song and musical number in this film was A++, but this was another of my favorites.

You have Phillip, who tries to tell Anne that they can be together – they can change their fate; they can do what they want no matter what anyone else says. You have Anne, who despite wanting to be with him, doesn’t think that’s possible, says it could never work in the world they live in.

The entire number is heart-wrenchingly beautiful.

There are honestly so many parts of this musical I could go on and on about. I love the scene between Anne and Phillip in the hospital, where Anne is finally willing to risk it all, after almost losing him. I love the entire “This Is Me” number, where they are not shying away despite what society has labeled as useless – and the choreography for that is really awesome too, it shows the exact emotion coming through in the lyrics and matches them word for word. I love the part at the end where the birth of the entire circus tent came to be, how P.T. hands the baton over to Phillip, and goes to be with his family.

I love how P.T. wears his father’s hat for the rest of the film, and how in the song, “Tightrope” you can see the wish holder sitting on the little girls’ bedside table. I love the attention to detail, especially with the costumes – personally, I believe that P.T. sewed the costumes for the circus, seeing as how he was broke when it first started, and his dad was a tailor. Which, makes it entirely plausible.

I love that this was a family film – that it was clean, decent, and filled with everything that made people want to go watch movies and musicals in the first place. We don’t need all this inappropriate stuff, foul language, or vulgar meanings. What people need, and want, whether they realize it or not, is hope, love, something that actually has depth and meaning. Something where commitment is honored, and traditional, good values are kept. 

I’m so happy that Hugh Jackman decided to make this, despite it taking seven years. I wish that it had gotten all the recognition it deserved in awards, but I hope he and everyone that helped make it, knows that the audience and the people loved it, and were it up to us, it would have received more awards.

If you haven’t seen it yet, go watch The Greatest Showman! You will not regret it, and will likely find yourself going back to watch it again and again. If you have seen it, what did you think? Did you have any favorite songs or scenes? Let me know in the comments!

~ Southern Dreamer



To Fear Or Not To Fear…

Fear. That dratted emotion that can get us all wound up and in a messy pit.

See the source imageWouldn’t it be great, if we never experienced fear again, never had to worry over anything? Lived in a world where anxiety was non-existent? I think that would be pretty amazing. 

Unfortunately, we do live in a fallen world, and because of that, can feel fear. Something I have been off and on struggling with, in terms of that, has been fearing what God might ask of me.

It’s funny, because I do want to please God and be used by Him, but somehow, fear sneaks its way in and starts whispering all sorts of silly things. What if He asks you to do something that scares you? What if He tells you to do such and such thing that freaks you out?

This past week, I went to a Bible study, and then afterwards read a devotional. Once I finished reading it, I realized there was something similar in both what the devotion was saying, and a small part of what we had been discussing in the group (just a side note, often times, God will make those sorts of things align like that, because He wants you to pay attention to it or is trying to tell you something). In His Treasure, by Sheri Rose Shepherd, this specific day’s verse was from Ephesians.

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them,” ~ Ephesians 2:10

Of course, my first thought was ok so God is wanting me to do something. OH. GOD IS WANTING ME TO DO SOMETHING. Cue my brain semi-panicking.

blog17Well, I turned to Ephesians, since I like to read the entire chapter of wherever the verse came from…and guess what the title of that section was?

By Grace Through Faith.

By Grace Through Faith. 

Crazy, huh? Here I am, panicking, and then God is like, “LANIE. GRACE.” It’s amazing how patient the Lord is with us, because I know for me, there are so many times that God has shown me grace, and yet, I’m still like grace??? WHAT. Does not compute.

I want y’all to see just how many times grace is mentioned in this passage.

“…by grace you have been saved…”

“…show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus…”

“…For by grace you have been saved through faith…”

Ok. Grace. Right. After noticing this, I went back to verse 10, now trying to remember that God bestows grace on us, as I read it. So, Jesus has created good works for us to do. What does that look like?

In Matthew, Jesus tells a parable, which, I believe, gives some insight into this.

“His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master,” ~ Matthew 25:21

I know a lot of times, people focus on the beginning part – the “good and faithful servant.” And while that is definitely a part of this, I want to focus more on the second half of the verse. The last line says, “enter into the joy of your master.” 

Isn’t that beautiful? He has just given his servant a larger assignment, and right after that, says enter into the joy of your master. This is not an assignment to be a burden or cause him to panic – you don’t tell someone, “enter into the joy” if what you are having them do is something that will cause fear, stress, or grief. 

Another way to look at this, is like a job promotion. Imagine you work at a huge company. You’ve been bringing coffee, fetching papers, doing odds and ends. Then one day, you come into work and your boss is there.


He gives you a grin, takes the coffee out of your hands.

Naturally, you are surprised, a bit confused. Weren’t you supposed to deliver those?

Chuckling, he tells you that you have been such a faithful worker, that he wants to give you a promotion. He’s got a job with you specifically in mind.

His excitement is contagious, and despite your worries over whether or not you will actually be good enough to do this next assignment (you had only been delivering coffee and papers up until now!), you nod your head and follow him to the next floor.


I love analogies – they always help me to better understand concepts and visualize what that would look like in day-to-day life. How would our lives be different if we could come to God, with no fear of what he might do/what he might ask of us, and just be excited because He wants us to do something more?

Over the past couple of months, I’ve talked to several godly adults, and something that has been common in their responses is this: God has gifted each and every one of His children with specific skill sets. He wants to use those. He gave them to us for a reason.

Yes, He might ask us to do something outside of our comfort zone, but it will be within our skill set. For example, my mom loves God’s Word and she loves to encourage others, but speaking in front of others? No way! And yet, that is what Jesus has her doing. But, do you see my point? It is outside of her comfort zone, but it’s not so far out that it’s in another hemisphere.

It’s easy to say all that of course, and much harder to actually believe. Changing the way you think isn’t easy, but I hope to retrain my mind to stop thinking about God like a drill sergeant, and more as a loving Father, who is eagerly wanting to show me more of the “family business,” and let me have a larger role in it.

~ Southern Dreamer

Note: This does not mean that we won’t be challenged when God is asking us to do something, or that we won’t experience difficulties. However, as His children, Jesus is not trying to make us afraid.


Your Guide To College Fashion

To any senior who is planning their wardrobe for college, I thought I would offer my two cents on what ACTUAL college students wear during the year. After all, you don’t want to waste any more money than you’re already having to fork out for the university. Ahem 😛 Anyway, without further ado…

*Cue dramatic music*



t-shirts! exercise pants! nike shorts! tennis shoes! repeat!

Literally, 90% of the time, everyone – including myself – is wearing workout gear to and from classes. The only time I’m not wearing Nike shorts and a t-shirt, well, exercise pants and a long-sleeve now that it’s finally getting chillier, is when I attend church on Sunday. I love dressing up though, so that’s always fun!

Here are some cute t-shirts brands I love!

Southern Shirt Company

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Simply Southern


Southern Marsh

Southern Fried Cotton

Welcome Home - Long Sleeve blog4

If you like any of these examples, check out their websites below! You can also find some at Kinnican’s, along with other brands and designs. No need to fret if you don’t have a Kinnican’s in your town, you can find their website at https://www.kinnucans.com/. They have tons of awesome clothing and other cool items! I even found a dress there on sale one time for $15! Can I get an amen from my fellow shopping lovers? 😉





Those are my suggestions for finding some practical (and stylish!) college clothing. Are there any other stores that y’all love to shop at to find cute active wear? Let me know in the comments!

~ Southern Dreamer


The Last Jedi ~ Movie Review

*Cue drumroll*

Pause. Ok, announcement: I AM LATE WITH THIS REVIEW. MY APOLOGIES Y’ALL. Alright, continuing!

*Drumroll resumes*


The Last Jedi came out December 15, 2017. I was totally not counting down the days, and absolutely did not look at any Star Wars related content up to its release. Nothing. Nope. Nadaaaaa.

Fine. Y’all caught me. I was 100% counting down the days until it came out, and browsed Star Wars content albeit religiously on social media (read: Instagram). I’m going to be honest here; I have a terrible weakness for spoilers. It’s a bit of a problem. And I was doing so good! I was so proud of myself the week that it was going to be released, because I had resisted the urge to read any spoilers! But the day before I went to go see it, something in my brain *ahem* snapped.

Read it. 

No. Nope! I am going to wait til the movie.


I can do this. I have gone almost the entire week without reading spoilers. 

Click. The. Link. 

Well. As I’m sure you can tell, I did not make it without getting some spoilers. Whoops. But hey, I made progress! The next movie I’ll definitely make it the whole way without looking at spoilers.

Anyway, onto the review!


This review is going to have spoilers in it, so to those who have not seen it – DO NOT SCROLL ANY FARTHER. Be strong (though I’m totally not blaming you if you can’t resist. The struggle is real y’all!).





Well, that’s as many warnings as a person can give, so here we go! Gosh, where do I start? So much happened! I will attempt to contain my enthusiasm and – eh, who am I kidding. What fun is a review without some excitement?

Let’s start with a breakdown of how the movie begins.

The Resistance is fleeing the First Order, who is tracking them ruthlessly and not giving them a moment of peace. On the other side of the galaxy, Rey and Chewie have gone to Ahch-To in search of Luke Skywalker, who they feel certain will return with them and help defeat the First Order.

Now that we have the background set, I’m going to dive in to my random thoughts of the movie. First of all, I love love love the character development arcs. My favorite one, in terms of just the over all beginning and ending, would have to be Poe’s.

blog6The way Rian Johnson, the director/writer, constructed it was awesome. We see Poe, who is the best pilot in the Resistance, get some reprimanding from his leader and idol – Leia. When the film first starts, Poe takes some reckless risks and because of them, lives are lost. He ignored Leia’s instruction to turn back, and kept fighting. It becomes clear that Poe is zealous for the Resistance and its cause, and while passion is a key component when battling obstacles, unbridled passion can lead to causalities and ignoring leadership.

blog5Further, when Leia puts someone in charge; Poe completely disobeys Vice Admiral Holdo. To be fair, until we learned the reason behind Holdo’s statements, I was actually on Poe’s side in this instance. It seemed like she was giving up, but as we learn, Holdo actually had good reasons for what she was saying.

Anyway, as the movie continues to progress, Poe starts learning that fighting is not always the answer. You can’t rush into the thick of the battle every single time. When they’re on Crait, we really start to see his growth in becoming a better leader and shaping his passion into something that also takes into account consequences.

Now, onto Luke. There have been mixed reactions about his character in The Last Jedi, and I think I fall somewhere in the middle. I don’t think it’s unrealistic to think that Luke is suffering from depression, and if you think about everything he’s been through, it would be ridiculous to assume that he could come out on the other side, the same boy that left Tattoine. So, I’m not upset that they didn’t portray him as untainted or as enthusiastic as he was in the original trilogy.

On the other hand, I do wish that Rian would have made there be a better reason for Luke to be on the island for so long. Personally, through reading meta and different theories, I always thought that he went to Ahch-To to seek out the first Jedi Temple – to find answers through the Force. In my own mind, I’m still going with that as I think it makes more sense than just saying he isolated himself. Though. To be fair, his two previous mentors exiled themselves to planets, and Yoda going to one without any companions. Who knows! It’s plausible, I suppose, if you look at Yoda and Obi-Wan’s exile choices.

Speaking of Yoda, we got a Force Ghost! I was actually surprised that it was Yoda, not that I’m complaining of course! I thought it was neat that Yoda was the one who was basically saying that it’s time for the past Jedi order to die out (he did burn the whole tree down after all), seeing as how he was a stickler for the Jedi rulebook in the prequel trilogy. I was a little bit disappointed that we did not get Force ghost Anakin though. Here’s to hoping that happens in episode nine! Pretty please Lucasfilm.

I cannot go this far without mentioning my favorite part of the film.

Reylo. Yep. IT HAPPENED PEOPLE. Also, disclaimer here, you’re free to disagree with me, BUT NO HATER COMMENTS. Or they will be deleted. Anyway.

Two years, and people said reylo shippers were crazy (unfortunately, including my own dad and brother *sigh*). Thank you Rian Johnson for doing what we all had theorized and actually making it come to life!

blog9The Force bond is real y’all. And yes, I know Snoke said he created it, but honestly that’s the stupidest statement I’ve ever heard. And I’m not just saying that because I ship reylo. For one, why should we trust anything Snoke says? He is a manipulator, and so of course, he would want to take credit for something that has formed between his apprentice and Rey. Secondly, the major indication that he did not form it, to me, is that after his death, the Force bond did not disappear. It was still there. With that said, I do not think it is too far-fetched to think that Snoke manipulated Kylo’s end of the bond. After all, it is canon that Snoke has been “whispering” and basically in Kylo’s head since he was a child. With his dark knowledge of the Force, he could have manipulated it to suit his own objectives.

Personally, I believe the Force bond was created when Kylo and Rey were in each other’s minds during the interrogation in The Force Awakens. Another theory, that I have seen is that the Force itself bonded them.

blog12With that out of the way, onto the actual Force bond scenes! They were so awesome. Better than I could have ever imagined! It definitely left me wanting more! For starters, I think it was really neat that not only could they see each other’s surroundings, but they could actually feel them (rain with Kylo) and touch. 

Yep. The hand scene. Y’all, like where do I start??? I love it so much. The simplicity and innocence of the entire interaction – how they are both so lonely and desperate for affection and validation, and yet, like the INTIMACY of such a pure, childlike action was crazy!


I can’t even imagine how amazing it is going to be when they finally kiss! And for those of you who doubt that it will happen, I’m just going to point you to something the late Carrie Fischer (RIP) said to Daisy Ridley: “I’m looking forward to your space kiss” (just search Carrie’s name and space kiss and the quote will come up).

Also. THE SCENE IN SNOKE’S CHAMBERS. Ya know, where they are fighting back to back and in complete sync with each other. Where they LET THE OTHER ONE USE THEIR LIGHTSABER (the amount of trust???). Absolutely beautiful. Honestly, it’s the first time since the prequels that I can remember seeing two Force users fighting together – and who doesn’t love that?!

Pure awesomeness.

blog13Alas, with mentioning the throne room scene, I would be a terrible movie reviewer if I skipped over the final moment. The one where the lightsaber breaks in half, and our poor characters hearts shatter. I saw something on Pinterest or Tumblr that really explains this better than I can.

Other moments I loved were where Luke is trying to teach Rey to reach out with the Force. He uses a plant leaf/stem to touch her, and she excitedly thinks that this is the Force! Y’all – SO HILARIOUS. Literally one of the best parts of the movie xD

Being the animal lover that I am, I cannot finish this review without referring to the new creatures! Porgs – ADORABLE FLUFF BALLS, so cute! Ice crystal foxes – visually, completely stunning! Fathier – seriously, do they not have the sweetest face ever??

blog15On the whole, I loved The Last Jedi. There were some parts that I did not like – I thought Luke drinking milk from that creature on the island was super weird, and I also wasn’t completely satisfied with his death. I loved the whole interaction with Leia, that he finally came to his senses and did what needed to be done. However, I’m still not fully convinced that projecting an image like that could drain you enough to kill you. But who knows, maybe I just want to think that because Luke is one of my favorite characters.

I thought Rose’s addition was great. It really gave a perspective of someone who is in the background, and who is dealing with real losses – her sister dying. Up until now, other than Han, our characters haven’t really lost someone close to them, and I think this was a good, grounding addition. War has consequences.

Also, I think she really helped Finn achieve some character growth. He was confronted with someone who looked at him like a hero. Would he rise up to the challenge of being part of the Resistance? Or was he going to run away and save his own skin? Great stuff.

Honestly, there is so much more that I could go on about, but I’m going to try and keep this review at a realistic length xD

If you haven’t seen The Last Jedi, go see it! It’s an amazing film. And if you have watched it, comment below and let me know what you thought! Did you love it? Hate it? Fall somewhere in the middle?

May the Force be with y’all!

~ Southern Dreamer

Undercover Boss

The lights flash overhead – flash flash flash.

See the source image

The crimson curtains fall in perfect line across the stage – swish swish swish.

Center Stage Design Challenge

In the crowd, dozens upon dozens of angels stand transfixed – gaze adoringly focused on their Lord. No sound is made, and yet there is an uncanny sense of destiny and heroism about to be embarked upon. The foreboding aura of – wait. A breeze shifts through the auditorium, whispering to the congregation.

Watch. Listen. Believe. 

Another murmur.

See my Son, unblemished and without fault. He now goes to the world below. Our creation, that became riddled with sin and darkness. So lost and desperate for anything real, blinded by their own brokenness. He will become in likeness with them, transforming to be both God and man, trading the riches of His throne, for the dust of the Earth. 

Eyes were wide in the crowd, silence filling the room.

Through Him, the canyon of sin – the gap that separates our creation from us, will finally be bridged. By His sacrifice, they will have a way to come home. Now, let it begin.

Lightening scintillated in shards of electric light, and the clock of eternity ticked on.

Tick. Tick. Tick. 


The stage is set; the prologue has been written. What will happen?

In nervous anticipation, the heavenly audience watches from above. There is the birth – raw and painful, yet filled with so much beauty and relief. He’s here! God, in the flesh! The trembling hand of a father, strokes the babe’s cheek – held in his mother’s arm. How is this real?

Oh, but it is real. Very real.

See the source image

The child, Jesus, grows up. People do not know who he is, not really. They say that he is such a wise young boy, always obeying his parents. The years fast-forward and adulthood has come.

Miracles are performed and lives are saved.

The instrumental music’s tempo dramatically increases. Oh! Oh! Now-now there is pain and betrayal – blood seeps His skin, inch deep wounds scar His body, and agony covers the atmosphere in a dark display of thunder and rain.

The audience holds their breath, watching anxiously to see what will happen next.

There is a stone, a grave. Three days. Seventy-two hours. And, then!


He lives.


Jesus was the ultimate “Undercover Boss.” If you have never watched the show, the premise of Undercover Boss is the CEO of a business disguises themselves and works several different jobs that are part of their company. They meet different people, those who are struggling and need help. These individuals show them how to work their specific skill, and so the show goes on.

No one knows that this person is the boss. Not, that is, until the very end. During the last portion of the hour, the CEO – now looking like themselves, meets with each of his or her employees that they worked with.

The employees are naturally shocked, surprised! They had no idea!

But the best part is yet to come. Finally, the boss leans forward – grinning, he references their struggles in life, and what they had gone through. “I want to do something,” he says, “I’m giving you a check for $20,000 dollars.”

Instantly, the recipient is in tears – wondering if this is real. Could all of their anxieties really be over? Did someone actually notice them? All they can do is thank the CEO over and over again.

This is what the Holy Spirit revealed to me.

I was sitting in the bed one night, condemning myself for not reading my Bible enough or feeling like just worshipping God was “enough.” Dratted perfectionism y’all!

Anyway, Undercover Boss was on the TV and the Holy Spirit suddenly told me that’s me. I came to Earth and I am your undercover boss. This person offered financial help to these people, they did not expect it and yet, they accept it. Why then, do you continue to try to prove yourself to me, when I have canceled all of your debt. You are debt free. 


Basically my brain xD

So yeah, the CEO gave them thousands of dollars, sent them on vacations, helped them out of whatever problems life had thrown their way. And Jesus? Oh boy, here comes the surprise! Can you feel the tension? The big reveal is here!


A hush feels the room. Then…

I am offering you a clean slate. Freedom through me. You will have no more sin debt, I have already paid the price for it. I want you to become my heir – royalty. Everything I have is yours: my righteousness for your robe, my divinity for your soul, my love for your spirit. All I ask is that you trust me with your heart, and all this shall be gifted to you. 

There has to be something more, right? It-it can’t be that easy! That simple? Crazy! No one just offers everything to a stranger. No one could possibly want to give someone like me this!

Your flaws and failures do not frighten me away. I see your greatest potential, the best version of yourself. The natural state of your humanity is nothing compared to the magnitude of my love, with which even the darkest of souls can be saved if they only believe. 

But, me?

I have chosen you. You are my chosen one, my treasure.

The question is…

Will you trust me?

See the source image

~ Southern Dreamer

*Scripture references: 1 Peter 2:9, Romans 8:17, 2 Peter 1:4, John 15:16, 1 Corinthians 2:16, Isaiah 61:10, 1 John 4:19, Exodus 19:5

Red ~ A Reylo Songfic

Disclaimer: The song “Red” belongs to Taylor Swift. All characters and the world belong to Star Wars, but the plot and everything else is mine. Please don’t steal my work, and give credit if you decide to post it somewhere else and whatnot. With that said, I hope y’all enjoy it! Oh, and the collages are made by me.

Loving him is like driving a new Maserati down a dead-end street
Faster than the wind, passionate as sin ending so suddenly

His hand hovered over her face, until the black leather touched her cheek in a feathery, soft wisp. She was frozen in place, unable to move. Her hazel eyes locked on his darker ones, knowing she should call out a warning to the Resistance – do anything but stand here in a dreamlike trance.

“Do you even know what you do to me?”

Oh, most certainly. Likely the same horrible, spell-binding pull that seemed to draw them together – always together. Never being able to truly hate one another, always with the longing that they could be something more. Together. As One.

In a sudden burst of movement, he pressed his lips to hers in a passionate kiss full of the ridiculous adoration that he could never stop carrying for this tiny, spitfire of a woman. And to her shame, she found herself responding in equal longing and neediness.


Loving him is like trying to change your mind once you’re already flying through the free fall
Like the colors in autumn, so bright just before they lose it all


She shook her head, already knowing what he was going to say. The hallway of the building was eerily empty save for the presence of two orphaned souls. Turning, she saw her friend’s crestfallen face – sensitive spirit trying to understand why in the universe she would do this. “I’m sorry Finn. I-I can’t change how I feel – it’s beyond my control – the Force…” Her voice trailed off, shoulders sagging wearily. There was no logical explanation for this, nothing she could say that would make him or herself feel any better. “I’m sorry,” she whispered.

Losing him was blue like I’d never known
Missing him was dark grey all alone
Forgetting him was like trying to know somebody you never met

Rey clung to him tightly, refusing to let go. She would not, would not let him do this. Of course, considering the fact that he was a good foot taller than her and at least physically, much stronger, she knew he could easily pull her off and leave. Leave. “No! I will not allow this! Not after everything, does this mean nothing to you?” She shoved her ring finger in front of his face, tears pooling in her eyes.

Closing his eyes tightly, he rested his forehead against hers – breathing in deeply. “Sweetheart, this-this running from planet to planet is no life for a family. No life for-for you. You deserve better…”

“But what if I don’t want anything better?” came her choked reply.

“I have to do this.”

But loving him was red
Loving him was red

“Don’t be afraid, I feel it too.”

“I need someone to show me my place in all of this.”

Touching him was like realizing all you ever wanted was right there in front of you
Memorizing him was as easy as knowing all the words to your old favorite song

She staggered backwards, battle wounds causing her vision to swarm. Right before black completely clouded her sight, she thought she saw a worried, anxious face leaning over hers.

When she finally awoke, she wondered where she was, what had happened. Then, she remembered. Luke had sent her on a solo mission to an Outer Rim planet. While there, she had encountered Kylo Ren. So much had happened…strange creatures had attacked, forcing them to become allies out of necessity. Even before that, he had – surprisingly, saved her from drowning.

Looking to her left, she gasped. There lay Kylo Ren, knocked out cold. She shifted slowly, not wanting to disrupt her wounds, but when they did not pain her, she came to the strange conclusion that he had healed her. But is that not a Light Side technique?
Shakily, she crawled over to him, hand trembling as she unconsciously rested it against his scarred face. In his current state, his entire body was relaxed and she almost felt as though she had known him in another life.

Fighting with him was like trying to solve a crossword and realizing there’s no right answer
Regretting him was like wishing you never found out that love could be that strong

“It is you.”
“You’re a monster!”

“I can train you! Show you the ways of the Force!”
The Force…
She swung.

Losing him was blue like I’d never known
Missing him was dark gray all alone
Forgetting him was like trying to know somebody you never met

She could not stop shaking. Frantically, she reached up and cradled his face in her hands. His face that she knew so well. Subconsciously, she traced every scar that marked him, tenderly brushing her fingers over their surface. “Please,” she begged, voice barely audible. “Please, we can leave now.”

His tortured soul grew more conflicted as his wife lovingly caressed him.

She glanced down at her swelling stomach. Eight months pregnant. “I can’t do this alone. Please, please. We can go – live in some remote planet. I don’t care! Just – ” She broke off in a choked sob.

Overhead, aircraft sounded. It was too late. The Resistance had come for Kylo Ren. Her heart shattered into a thousand pieces, and she could only muster more tears as her love, her soulmate held her tightly.

But loving him was red
Oh red
Burning red

“How can you love me? After everything I’ve done?” He whispered to her, voice broken.
She tilted her head to look at him, noticing the sorrowful, self-hatred emotion that filled his eyes. Shushing him, she rested her head against his chest. It was late at night, they had both been exhausted after numerous death threats throughout the day. Shrugging her shoulders, she yawned sleepily. “Dunno, I guess-I guess I just always saw the good in you. And I blame Snoke for starting you on it. No, no. I know it doesn’t excuse anything, but that-that,” she let out a sharp, insulting curse word for the disgusting creature, “he watched you since you were born. And anyways,” she snuggled against him, “you’re the only one who understands me.”

Emotion filled his throat, and he could do nothing but place the most tender and innocent of kisses on her forehead.

Remembering him comes in flashbacks and echoes
Tell myself it’s time now, gotta let go
But moving on from him is impossible
When I still see it all in my head
Burning red
Burning it was red

She awoke with a sweaty gasp, shuddering under the weight of memories. Tears slipped down her cheeks, though she alone saw them in the darkness of night. How much longer could she go on like this?

Oh losing him was blue like I’d never known
Missing him was dark gray all alone
Forgetting him was like trying to know somebody you never met

She wanted so badly to kill every single one of the guards who were holding her husband, her love captive. They had tied his hands together, feet locked in chains. He wore a black cuff on his hand that weakened his contact with the Force. Clenching her fists tightly, fury bubbled up in her as she watched them mockingly parade him around on the platform.

As though sensing her emotion, Ben Solo met her gaze – shaking his head slightly. Somehow she knew what he was saying…no. don’t Rey. I don’t want you to suffer on account of me.

But you’ll die! she shouted through their bond that not even the Force inhibiting cuff could cut off. In some part of her mind, she knew he was right. They had a child, her infant son. She could not leave him without a father and a mother. “I love you,” she whispered, blinking back tears.

He gave her a sad, lopsided smile. “I’ll always love you, sweetheart.”

‘Cause loving him was red
Yeah, yeah red
We’re burning red

As he fell to the ground in a heap, killed by the Resistance in accord with his First Order history, something in her snapped. An unearthly scream escaped her throat, and in some manner, she managed to instantly appear at his fallen side. Cradling his body to her, tears flooded down her cheeks and face.

No, no. This could not be happening! Where there was once his comforting presence in the back of her mind, now there was nothing. Her head spun with the pain of having the one she was bonded with taken from her in so cruel a manner.

A giant wave of the Force erupted from her – freezing everyone in place.

She had lost her lover, part of her soul. All she had left of him was her son, and she would be damned if she let anyone lay a finger on him. Not after losing Ben.

And that’s why he’s spinning ’round in my head
Comes back to me, burning red


Yeah, yeah
His love was like driving a new Maserati down a dead-end street