'Wonder Woman' Is The Superhero Movie I've Been Waiting For

"Damn. I want to be an Amazon when I grow up." This is the first thought I had when the opening credits of Wonder Woman were gone, and the action started. By the end credits three words can sum up exactly how I felt:

Inspired. Mesmerized. Proud.

Photo Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures

Photo Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures

I expected to love Wonder Woman, because let's be real it's Wonder Woman, but I didn't expect to feel joy so real that I teared up multiple times. Watching it felt like a breath of fresh air. Finally, someone — a female director to be  correct — made a female-led superhero movie that’s beyond amazing and pretty much wiped the floor with some of the crappy male-dominated superhero movies we've gotten lately. 

According to the The Hollywood ReporterWonder Woman has grossed $100.5 million in American box offices so far, officially making it the "biggest opening ever for a female director." Pretty impressive if you ask me. 

From the very first scenes I was in awe. The story begins on the paradise island of Themyscira with a beautiful community of warrior women. A young Diana run around, eyes wide with curiosity, as she tries to learn as much as she can. She sneaks away from her mother to watch General Antiope (Robin Wright) train her fellow Amazons. Her smile grows bigger as she watches the women fight one another and hone their skills mimicking their movements eager to prove herself worthy of joining them despite her mother's disapproval.

And everything about these scenes is stunning. The stunts. The setting. The camera angles and shots. The dialogue. It’s all so damn perfect. Then after some more rising action the movie really takes off and the golden standard of action stars a.k.a. Gal Gadot takes center screen. Fun fact: the veteran Israeli army soldier wished for a role of Wonder Woman’s caliber when she first began acting eight years ago and from the moment she appears on screen she proved that she was built for this. 

Best of all, as the movie progresses and the action heightens we find that Diana is a hero unlike any other, even her male peers, as she battles and leads with both justice and the purest love in her heart.

For context, in one particular scene Diana is rushed through a trench as she and her team run out of time to stop the evil plot. But as she moves forward, she sees not only the mission but also the people. Soldiers fatally wounded and others running scared. A woman refugee explains that her village is being destroyed. Diana can't take that. She can't stand by so close and watch so much suffering when something, anything, can be done and so she charges across the battlefield beautifully showing the strength, fearlessness and nurturing characteristics of women. Cue the waterworks.

And beneath all of the explosions, fights and drama, there's a few light-hearted moments that bring a laughs in addition to eye candy, courtesy of her partner in crime Steve Trevor (played by Chris Pine).

I won't spoil the ending for you, but I will say bring tissues. 

Overall, I give this film an enthusiastic 5 out of 5 stars. Like, I would definitely pay to see it again, and I might even wear my new Wonder Woman jacket to the theater. (No seriously, I'm thinking of buying this one on Amazon right now.) 

Have you seen Wonder Woman? If so, what did you think? Let me hear in the comments!

Workouts With Bey: How Beyoncé Yoga Helped Me Cope With My Anxiety

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Music plays a huge part in my day-to-day life. So, why not mix it with fitness? In a two-part series titled "Workouts with Bey" I'll be talking about my experiences with two different Beyoncé-themed workout classes. 

Confession: For years anxiety has controlled my life, dictated my every move, and lingered beneath the surface of every smile, making things harder for me then they should be, and sometimes even stopping me from doing the things I wanted to do. But, despite the daily anxious thoughts and the occasional panic attacks, I've never really been inclined to practice yoga. 

Yes, I've heard about all of the benefits, especially for people with anxiety and depression, but all it seemed like to me was “glorified breathing." Instead, I dealt with my anxiety, by nail-biting, foot tapping, lots of alone time, and listening to music. Although, something was still missing.

Then I heard about Namasbey, Queen Bey-themed yoga classes that originated in Los Angeles, before popping up in Philadelphia and Houston. According to teacher Paul Schneider (who is also the creator of Namasdrake. Yes, Drake-themed yoga!), these classes are great for beginners who might be "intimidated by the traditional class setup." Ahem, like me. So, when the class made its way to Philly in February, I instantly bought a ticket intrigued by the thought of doing musical yoga. 

And to say the class was ohm-mazing (see what I did there?) would be an understatement. I had so much fun and left feeling super relaxed and quite sore from the stretching. Despite my initial hesitations, trying Namasbey turned out to be one of the best things I could’ve done for my mental health, and here’s why.

It kept my mind from wandering

Like I said earlier, I LOVE music. Headphones are a regular part of my #OOTD and I can frequently be spotted humming to a song or swaying to the music while gripping the subway pole. Listening to songs constantly keeps my mind from wandering about bills, friend issues, work, the future—something regular yoga in a quiet candlelit studio can't-do. Clearing my mind is just impossible unless I'm sleeping or dancing to a song. Fortunately, since this class was all about posing with music, I was able to focus on my breathing and relax with one side of my brain and to sing along to "Drunk in Love" with the other. Meaning no room for wandering thoughts. #Score!

It made me feel confident

No doubt about it; Bey's music has a way of making you feel like you feel "Flawless," even if you don’t always wake up like that. I mean I know I’m pretty, but still, a lot of my anxious thoughts center around body image. My legs? I love them. My stomach? Not so much. And anytime I have a free moment to think about how it looks, I do. Fortunately, in this class, there was no time to! Literally, I was too busy in downward dog shaking my behind to "Bootylicious" (sorry to the girls behind me!) to give a crap about how my leggings were no longer pulled up over my tummy. The music allowed me to get into a zone that everyone should be in when they workout, and to not give an eff about how I looked. 

It loosened me up

And no I'm not just talking about flexibility. Anxiety plays a big part in why I'm so type-A and controlling (i.e. a perfectionist), but attending this class set my "wild" side free again. So what if I didn't do a pose completely correct? I was having too much fun lip-syncing to care. And that's what was so rewarding. 

At that moment I was unconcerned about being perfect and just let go = total inner peace. 

Now, I won't say that I don't still have anxious thoughts daily, but this class tremendously helped and I'm 100% interested in recreating the vibe at home.  Seriously, every time I feel my heart beating in my ears, I whip out my phone and put on "Lemonade" and am instantly transported to those calmer times. Guess you can say I'm officially a member of the Beyhive! #SorryNotSorry

Came, Saw, Conquered: Book Expo + Book Con 2017!

I never really thought of myself as a bibliophile, a bookworm, or any of the other words used to describe book lovers until I literally jumped at the chance to attend Book Expo + Book Con for the first time ever last weekend.. 

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Armed with a trusty media pass, I spent four long days in the Javits Center hauling around multiple tote bags full of books, smiling in the faces of some of my favorite authors and celebs, and making tons of bookish friends. To say it was an amazing experience would be an understatement. Of course I didn't enjoy standing in a shit ton of lines every day, but everything was more than worth it. 

DAY 1

First up was Book Expo, a trade event featuring authors, publishers, librarians, educators, and people like me! Definitely the calm before the storm, but don't be fooled; librarians are fighting for autographs too. Therefore I arrived for the day around 6:30 am. I was dying to see Gabrielle Union and get a signed copy of her new book, and knew that the free tickets would be gone if I showed up any later. And score I got one.

Next, I headed to the Adult author breakfast where I heard from my favorite horror story writer ever Stephen King and saw some tear jerking photos of former President Barack Obama from Pete Souza, his White House photographer. I spent the remainder of the day roaming around the show floor snagging free totes and books and listening in on panels. 

Favorite moment of the day: Learning exactly how to sell the book I plan on writing to Hollywood. :) 

DAY 2

Thankfully I got to wake up a little later for the second day of Book Expo! I even managed to make it to work before heading to the center for more time on the show floor, where I bought more books. #SorryNotSorry. Then came time for my favorite panel featuring Nicola Yoon, Stephen Chbosky, and R.J. Palacio in discussion about adapting their best-selling novels into movies. I even conquered my fear of public speaking and asked them a question about each of their writing process.

Favorite moment of the day: Getting a photo with Nicola Yoon, one of my fave authors, after the panel. (Fun fact: I met her back in 2015 when Everything, Everything first came out, but I'm so happy to have actually gotten to talk to her and take a photo this time around.) 

Day 3

Book Con officially begins, which means lots and lots of bookish fans (i.e. this is the event for the public). Bright and early Saturday morning I hopped on the train and headed to the convention center. Luckily I got there pretty early, around 9 am. Had I have come a second later I might have been way in the back of the line. Seriously, five minutes after arriving I looked behind me and the line had wrapped around the building outside. 

The day started with a much-needed panel on diversifying love in fiction, featuring some awesome romance writers. Multicultural romance definitely isn't new and I'm happy to see authors embrace that fact. Afterwards I did some more book shopping (I know I have a problem, fight me.) and got these super cute enamel pins (pictured above!), a graphic Power Rangers novel, and came this close to buying a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle cookbook. Next, I headed to my final chat for the day, a conversation with media maven, author, and trans activist Janet Mock, who was absolutely amazing. And even more gorgeous in person! 

Favorite moment of the day: When Janet Mock reminded the mostly non-minority audience that what's happening in America isn't anything new for people of color. Newsflash: We've been dealing with racism, sexism, and more since the beginning of time and long before those pink hats hit the scene. #RememberThat

Day 4

Be proud of me: I completely skipped going into the showroom. By that point I had all the books I wanted and was tapped out from standing in lines. So, instead I spent my whole day in panels listening to authors and even made a new friend! Well, actually a few. We all bonded over what turned out to be the most hilarious game of audiobook Jeopardy featuring Sarah Dessen, VE Schwab, Kami Garcia, Nicola Yoon, and Holly Black. This audience vs author game show was definitely, umm....unforgettable and sitting front and center the four of us couldn't stop laughing.  

After a few more sessions I made my way to the main stage for the final chat featuring Kevin Hart and Charlamagne tha God. I had met Kevin Hart earlier that morning (and discovered that we're basically the same height, lol). He was amazing, and not just because he was funny. He was so down to earth and humble that it's impossible not to like him after listening to stories about his childhood, family, and the early days of his career. It was the perfect end to a great weekend. 

Favorite moment of the day: Obviously meeting and listening to Kevin Hart! His best quote: "Imperfections are what make you perfect." Super simple, but deep and much needed.   

Crazy fan lines aside, I wouldn't trade the experience for the world and I am definitely interested in attending again. And hopefully I'll be an author myself by then. Hey, a girl can dream right?