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:

PEONY COLLECTION

Pointe Legging - Snow White

Pointe Legging ~ Snow White $45

MERMAID COLLECTION

Siren Tank - NightfallSiren Tank - Nightfall

Siren Tank ~ Nightfall $32

You can also find this in a seafoam color.

DARK BLOOM COLLECTION

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.

activewearactivewear2

Fairytale Long Sleeve ~ Snow $34.00

This one also comes in black.

activewear3activewear4

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*

***WARNING: SPOILERS***

**LAST WARNING**

*YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED*

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

Sources:

http://www.nerdcoremovement.com/black-panther-already-surpassed-total-domestic-revenue-justice-league/

https://www.thewrap.com/black-panther-billion-box-office/