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Don't listen to the critics—Disney's new 'Little Mermaid' brings its own kind of magic

Finally, a live-action remake that breaks out of its shell in a cool way. The haters are just Poor, Unfortunate Souls.

little mermaid 2023, little mermaid tickets, halle bailey

You'll want to be part of this world.

Look, like many, I have utterly loathed Disney’s live-action remakes. In my opinion, they have either been a lazy, frame-by-frame rehashing of what we already know (“Beauty and the Beast,” “Lion King”) or the original essence is lost in trying to be cutting edge or topical (“Mulan”). Either way, audiences young and old are robbed of that special feeling promised by the Disney brand. Instead, we’re left wondering if we’ll ever have that feeling again.

This is, sadly, exactly what I expected for Disney’s live-action remake of 1989’s “The Little Mermaid.” To be more specific, I expected to get a wondrous performance by Halle Bailey as Ariel, which would ultimately be drowned out by mediocre storytelling.

And honestly, why shouldn’t I? Even before the movie premiered, there have been some questionable choices, such as changes to the song lyrics (not inherently bad, IMO, but would lead me to wonder if the songs themselves were dulled in some way), and having the animal characters like Sebastion and Flounder look like they belong in National Geographic…which I guess is still technically Disney nowadays but just ain’t right, ya know?

Headlines that have rolled in since the premiere, cleverly calling the film a “shallow,” “not bad…but not good,” and “poor unfortunate remake” certainly didn’t lessen my skepticism. All that to say, I went in thinking I’d come out completely unchanged, unmoved and unimpressed.

Boy, was I pleasantly surprised.

(Avast! Mild spoilers ahead, though I was purposely cryptic throughout.)


First off—the design is gorgeous. The mermaid kingdom is colorful and mesmerizing. The land kingdom is given a really cool Caribbean, Barbados-y flavor that adds a whole new dimension. The beginning scene on the ship brilliantly captures the mysterious beauty and dangerous majesty of the sea that once filled the hearts of sailors and brought us mermaid lore in the first place. 10/10. No notes.

Scene from "The Little Mermaid."

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Next, the musical numbers were on point. The classics hit in all the right places but were given a light, fresh touch by the incomparable Lin-Manuel Miranda, who also added in a fun new rap song called “Scuttlebutt,” which as you can imagine, incorporates Miranda’s next-level wordsmith skills.

Also, the supporting characters definitely held their own, not least of which being Melissa McCarthy’s portrayal of the sassy, brassy, kinda scary sea witch Ursula.

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I know that I am probably the only one on the planet who wasn’t entirely excited when it was announced that McCarthy would be playing the role. (She’s talented and lovely, don’t get me wrong…I just don’t normally resonate with her usual shtick.) But, as the kids say, McCarthy ATE AND LEFT NO CRUMBS. The way she honored Ursula’s vocal mannerisms alone had me sold. And that belt at the end of “Poor Unfortunate Souls”…fuggedaboutit.

We even got a much more fleshed out Eric, who sings his own song of yearning from the “Little Mermaid” Broadway show. In the movie, we see that Eric and Ariel really are two kindred spirits with a ton of innocent, heartfelt chemistry. The moment in the “Kiss The Girl” boat scene where Eric learns Ariel’s name using the stars in the sky is romantic and sweet in all the right ways.

via GIPHY

And yes, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but the Sebastian and Flounder designs actually make sense. Looking back, if they had made them closer to the cartoony style we’re familiar with, it would have felt very wonky and out of place. There, I said it.

I haven’t mentioned much about Ariel herself, because what is there to say really other than Bailey is phenomenal. She brings the necessary purity and dreaminess, but adds her own sense of courage and determination. This Ariel steers her own course…quite literally.

via GIPHY

Overall, I think there are plenty of treasures untold to be gleaned from this delightfully creative retelling. It’s a movie that, despite the alluring siren song of criticism, can infuse a healing dose of magic into kids’ hearts—and even the heart of our own inner child, if we let it.

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O Organics make eating organic affordable

True

Friendsgiving might have started as a novel alternative to Thanksgiving, but today it’s an American holiday in its own right.

For many, especially millennials and Gen Zers, Friendsgiving offers an opportunity to get creative with their celebrations without being obligated to outdated, even problematic traditions or having to break the bank.

However, some of us might not want to go to the extreme of only having pizza and beer. What if there were a way to balance the decadence of a traditional Thanksgiving meal while still keeping it easy and laid-back? And could we make it healthy too?

As it turns out, we can.

Here’s a super simple breakdown of what your next Friendsgiving prep could look like. An appetizer, salad, side, entree, and dessert. All done in an hour—even quicker if you assign certain dishes to different partygoers. #spreadsheetsrule

But wait, it gets better—all of these meals can be made organic at an affordable price, using O Organics® at Albertsons. O Organics helps shoppers find quality ingredients at reasonable prices every day of the year. Friendsgiving is no different.

Without further ado, let’s get cooking!

Appetizer: Charcuterie Board


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Nothing quite hits like the fancy, grown-up version of Lunchables. Crackers, meats, cheeses, and various fancy toppings that can be combined in endless ways. The easiest form of culinary creativity there is.

You already know how to make one of these bad boys, but here’s a basic template if you’re needing a dose of inspo:

Meats: Some tasty choices here are salami, prosciutto, sausage, etc. I made a smaller-scale board and decided to go with salami. If you or your friends aren’t a fan of pork, sliced turkey or smoked salmon are some yummy alternatives.

Cheese: The possibilities are endless here. You can even opt for a dairy-free cheese option!

Bread or Crackers: Artfully arranged. Speedily snacked upon. Some O Organics options here and here.

Fillers: this is where the charcuterie really shines. Fill in the spaces with splashes of color and flavor. Be sure to go for both savory and sweet. That means olives, sliced cucumbers, bell peppers, nuts, and a vibrant array of fresh or dried fruit. A yummy fruit spread doesn’t hurt either.

Time: 5 min

Salad: Squash And Feta Salad

Ingredients:

(3-4 servings)

1 small red onion (O Organics sells them in a bag)

1 bag O Organics frozen Butternut Squash

6 cups fresh O Organics spinach, arugula, kale, or whatever salad green you like

1/4 cup O Organics pecans

1/4 cup O Organics Extra Virgin Olive Oil

O Organics Lemon and Olive Oil Salad Dressing

CrumbledO Organics Goat Cheese

Salt and pepper

Chop some onions. Sautee them in olive oil. Add a bag of frozen squash. Dress some salad greens with dressing. Add the onions and squash. Top with pecans, cheese, salt and pepper. Badda bing badda boom.

Time: 10 minutes

Side: Autumn Seasoned Air Fryer “Roasted” Potatoes

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As any millennial will tell you, we love our air fryers. Nothing quite ticks all the quick, easy and healthy boxes quite like one. And if you haven’t yet had a perfectly crispy on the outside, buttery soft on the inside air fryer potato, then what are you waiting for?

Ingredients:

One 3 pound bag of O Organics red or russet potatoes—honestly any potato will do

2 Tablespoons O Organics olive oil

1 tsp Italian Seasoning

That’s it. No really.

Cut potatoes into one-inch pieces. Coat with olive oil. Sprinkle seasoning. Cook in an air fryer at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Toss the potatoes in the basket and continue to cook for 8-10 minutes or until tender and crisp.

Time: 20 minutes. TOPS.

Entree: Coconut Chicken Curry

cravingsomethinghealthy.com

Because who needs turkey? This one pot piéce de rèsistance is the very essence of Friendsgiving—unique, versatile and not without a little spice.

Being the entree, this dish calls for a few more ingredients, but is honestly not much more demanding. You’re basically looking at 15 minutes for prep, and about 30 minutes to simmer.

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon O Organics olive oil

1 medium onion diced

2 teaspoons ginger minced

2 teaspoons green curry paste

2 teaspoons curry powder

2 cups O Organics Thai Style Curry Chicken Broth

1 large sweet potato peeled and cut into 1-inch dice

1 15-ounce can O Organics full-fat coconut milk

2 ½ cups O Organics cooked chicken breast

1 8.8 ounce package O Organics 7 Grains & Lentils Blend

1 16 ounce bag of O Organics frozen peas

½ teaspoon salt or to taste

Lime juice

Cilantro

Chopped O Organics cashews to garnish

Using a Dutch oven (or large pot with a lid), saute the onion and ginger in olive oil over medium heat, for about 4 minutes. Add the curry paste and curry powder and saute for one more minute.

Add the Thai Style Curry Chicken Broth and the diced sweet potato. Bring the mixture to a boil, and then cover with a lid, reduce the heat to medium-low and catch up with friends for 20 minutes while the dish simmers.

When the sweet potato is tender, shake the can of coconut milk well and pour it into the pot. Add the chicken, 7 Grains & Lentils Blend, and peas. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat and let the curry simmer for another 10 minutes.

Congrats! You are finished. You can add salt, lime juice, cilantro, extra curry powder/paste, or garnish with roasted cashews. Each bowl is customizable.

Time: 40 min

Dessert: Holiday Kettle Corn Bark

onbetterliving.com

Of course, you can always opt for pie, but sometimes people might want to opt for something a bit more bite-sized when it comes to desserts—especially after a hefty meal. This sweet and salty finger food does the trick quite nicely.

Ingredients:

1 bag (6 oz) O Organics Kettle Corn Organic Popcorn (about 9 cups)

1 bag (10 oz) O Organics Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

8 oz white chocolate, broken into small pieces

1 cup pistachios, roasted and salted

2/3 cup O Organics Dried Cranberries

2 tbsp O Organics Organic Coconut Oil

1 tsp salt

Line a 12x17-inch baking sheet with wax or parchment paper. Spread kettle corn on the lined baking sheet in one thin single layer. Put the semi-sweet chocolate chips with 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30-second intervals until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Drizzle the melted chocolate evenly over kettle corn, reserving about a 1/3 cup for finishing touches. Sprinkle the pistachios and cranberries over the kettle corn evenly.

Follow the same melting instructions for the white chocolate, then drizzle evenly over the kettle corn. You can follow with any remaining semi-sweet chocolate for a layered effect. Let the kettle corn stand for 5 minutes.

Place the kettle corn bark in the freezer for 10 minutes to harden. Once the bark has hardened, break into pieces.

Time: 20 minutes.

OR…if you want to make life even easier…just grab some pints of ice cream and call it a day. No judgment here.

Time: literally a few seconds to open the freezer and grab some bowls.

And there you have—a no muss, no fuss, healthy and affordable Friendsgiving spread. Spend less time in the kitchen and more time with your chosen family.

Get to your nearest Albertsons today and find everything you need to make these yummy dishes! No Albertsons in your area? You can also find O Organics products exclusively at Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, ACME, Shaw’s, Star Market, Tom Thumb, Randalls, and Pavilions.

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