Why Cruz Ramirez Means So Much To Me


The other day my boyfriend decided to put Cars 3 on for some sweet background noise. And just like that, I found myself sitting on the couch sucked into the movie viewing experience. I don't know if you've yet viewed Cars 3 (what are you waiting for?!) but it definitely provides some great closure to the Lightning McQueen storyline.

In Cars 3, you are introduced to the character Cruz Ramirez. She is a strong, super positive, and fiesty race car trainer. Over the course of the movie, you learn a bit more about her story and motivations. From the moment she is introduced I felt a strong pull to her character in particular. Not just because I loved her personality. I also resonated from how she got to where she is at the point you meet her.

If you still haven't gotten to watch Cars 3 please stop reading now and go to Netflix and watch it, it's worth it.

Alright, let's get back to it.


There are two particular scenes that really get to me every time. The first is during a training segment for Lightning McQueen. At this point in the movie he is recovering from a car crash and trying to get himself to be faster. Cruz tags along and Lightning starts to inadvertently teach her things that he has learned throughout the years. After Cruz wins a demolition derby they entered into unexpectedly she gets really excited about winning her very first racing trophy. Lightning, who is super focused on a career he doesn’t want to see disappear, snaps at her for “slowing his training down” and that she is hindering his ability to get better and he accidentally breaks her trophy when it falls over in his rage.

Cruz demands they stop and she snaps at Lightning

Cruz: Ask me if I dreamed of being a trainer, Mr. McQueen, go ahead! Ask me if I got up, in the dark, to run laps before school every day! Ask me if I saved every penny to buy a ticket to the races when they came to town. Ask me if I did that so that I could be a trainer someday. Ask me.

Lightning: [brief pause] Did you--?

Cruz: NO! I've wanted to become a racer forever! Because of you! [Lightning is shocked; Cruz is now heartbroken] I used to watch you on TV — flying through the air. You seemed so ... fearless. "Dream small, Cruz." That's what my family used to say. "Dream small, or not at all." They were just trying to protect me. But I was the fastest kid in town, and I was going to prove them wrong.

Lightning: What happened?

Cruz: When I got to my first race, I figured it out.

Lightning: What?

Cruz: That I didn't belong. The other racers looked nothing like me. You know... they... they were bigger, and stronger, and so... confident. And when they started their engines, that was it. I knew I'd never be a racer. I just left. It was my one shot, and I didn't take it. [Lightning becomes remorseful; as she decides to leave] Yeah, so, uh... I - I'm gonna head back to the training center. I think we both know it's for the best. [starts to drive away, but turns around again] But, can I ask you something? What was it like for you, when you showed up to your first race? How did you know you could do it?

Lightning: I don't know, I... I just never thought I couldn't.

Cruz: I wish I knew what that felt like.

I felt that deep in my core. I’ve been there, I’ve felt that, and I know what that’s like. That’s why when this scene hits I start crying every time. That’s why when McQueen gives her her first chance to show what she’s got it makes my heart swell. For her to not only prove others wrong, but to finally believe in herself and her abilities. Man that is a powerful thing.


What character do you resonate with this most?

To Infinity and Beyond


As I’m sitting here typing this out, watching the gif above loop endlessly, I’m wondering where all of the time has gone. 24 years ago, little 9 year old me watched in aw as this movie all about toy’s coming to life played on the screen, and as I sat in the theater as an adult I got really emotional. With this movie reportedly being the last in the series it felt really special to be getting to watch this movie and be reminded of the simple joys of playing make-believe with toys could bring.

I’m not going to go too in-depth with a review of the movie itself but here is my two cents on it:

I loved it. The pacing felt really great, the character development felt much stronger than 3, and there were several moments that had me crying (especially the end). It was great to see flashbacks and to see the return of BoPeep and be reminded of how much I - and so many young kids- need a tough, cheerful, and inspiring woman character in my life right now. I also LOVED Forky, like a LOT. He was a breath of fresh air and a reminder of how scary, excited, and new life can be.


The movie itself was a much needed reminder for me that I don’t need to continue doing things the way I have simply because that is how its always been done. We all grow, even toys, and its okay to chase new dreams (or old dreams you just never followed) and go after new experiences. Life is too short to stay in one place and not continue to learn and grow.

Let me know what you think about the movie!

Let's Brush The Dust Off



Hey, how have you been? That’s awesome. Oh, I’ve been doing okay. Still getting back into a good rhythm since the last time I posted on this space (which was just about two months ago!!) I spent some time doing a lot of self-reflection, getting a bit of my personal life in order, and recently got back from a week long vacation at Disney World —I’ll be talking about the trip in a later post.

So, what’s going to happen with this space? Well, your girl is gonna attempt to give it one last good go. I’ve got a personal goal in mind for the remainder of the year regarding this blog (I won’t share it until I do my year in review so let’s see if I keep it up until then eh?) Biggest thing I have decided to do is focus this blog a bit more. Previously, I was just trying to do ALL THE THINGS but I’ve realized that while I have a lot of things that I am interested in that doesn’t mean I’m passionate enough to write about them.

With that said, I’ll be focusing this blog on one of my major loves: Disney! You’re probably thinking “but what about your art, crafts, books, etc?! Don’t you love talking about them?!” and you will be pleasantly surprised to learn that none of that changes! I have a ton of books on my TBR list that are related to Disney’s take on fairy tales, lots of movies I want to talk about under the Disney brand, I’ve started some brainstorming on new art projects, and even some cross stitching stuff. Now this doesn’t mean I won’t talk about some of my other geeky loves (like Harry Potter, Pokemon, or movies that really excite me), I just realized after getting back from Disney World that I tried to fit myself into a ton of different buckets but when I sat down for a moment in my office I looked around and realized that everything on my walls was Disney related (Funkos, Minnie Ears, and even art) so making it one of the primary focuses of the blog just made so much sense.

I also had a realization that every time I would try to push to do more things outside of my day job I would start panicking as if all of my time HAD to be spent on my day job. That is such a toxic mindset to have and after spending so much time at Disney World and just completely tuning out of work I can finally say that I’ve given myself a little break through. There are so many women I look up to who tackle lots of personal projects while also kicking butt at their day jobs. There is zero reason why I can’t do the same.

So here’s to new beginnings and to bringing just a little bit of magic to your day.

♡ Mana

I Hit Burnout...



I had known that I was basically running on fumes the last couple years as I pushed myself to keep going above and beyond on everything that I was doing. Of course when you do that it means that you’re going to start failing at most, if not all, those things when you aren’t giving yourself time to rest.

So a couple weeks ago (funny enough, a few days after my last blog post went up) I had a breakdown. I got unbearably sad at the thought of wanting to draw after I was inspired by a book I had just finished moments earlier. It’s only been two weeks since that incident and I am still recovering.

Burnout is just a never ending cycle, a simple vacation isn’t going to fix it. You have to be willing to make a fundamental lifestyle change and find that work-life balance that works for you. I am lucky in that I have an understanding partner and I work at a company that supports you taking care of yourself.

I have realized that I put things aside that I enjoy to focus solely on supporting the companies I work for instead of realizing that I can support my day job while still making time for supporting my own personal projects. They don’t have to be mutually exclusive. I also stopped investing in my friendships with people I care about because I let myself believe that they “understand the hustle” but I should’ve realized I was playing into a thought process that didn’t align with my personal values.

  • I stopped creating art.

  • I stopped working on craft projects.

  • I stopped streaming.

  • I stopped making videos.

  • I stopped blogging.

  • I stopped spending time with friends.

  • I stopped playing video games.

  • I stopped reading books.

I realized all of this after taking some time to just mellow out and listen to my inner voice. In that moment of self-reflection I had the “ah-ha” moment that a lot of points where I was feeling a lot of the effects of burnout I was also changing my hair away from purple. I love my hair being purple, its “my” color, and I now know that when I suddenly want to completely change it up that there is something off so I will stop to ask myself “what’s wrong?” —because boy did I get lucky that the black hair dye I used in my hair recently didn’t stick and I was able to get my hair back to its full purple glory.

So where am I headed from this point? Well, I’ve been trying to take it day by day. Focusing on trying to find the simple joys in drawing, reading, playing games, and reaching out to friends. It’s been a slow process and things definitely aren’t going to change overnight. But I know that I have people to lean on during the rough times and that I don’t have to give up my career to do the personal projects that I want to do. Everything can coincide together as long as I remember that I don’t have to take on all the things all the time and to take steps in the size that work for me — not the size that works for everyone else.

Be prepared for world domination in 2019 ;)

♡ Mana

Sparking Joy In My Life




Yesterday the new Netflix Original Series, Tidying Up With Marie Kondo, premiered and as soon as I watched the first episode I knew I was hooked. I’ve been recommended her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and while I have purchased it for my Amazon Fire I have found myself avoiding the book. But watching this show made me emotional and felt like the kick in the pants that I sorely needed.

First, I want to say that Marie Kondo seems like the sweetest and most loving person on the planet and I want to be her best friend. Second, this show has definitely made me want to start reading her book. Third, can we all just admire all of her outfits in the show?! She is basically a Disney Princess IRL.

Now to the meat of this…

In May of 2013 moved out of my parents house to try making a true go at accomplishing one of my dream career goals (want to say that I totally crushed it and am still crushing it!) but the beginning of that journey was rough. I moved to a place that was ridiculously expensive and even though I had a nice little nest egg from an account created by my great grandmother and money I had earned while freelancing it was hard. The first 7 months I had moved to three different apartments and was having to dive head first into this dream knowing finances would be tight for a while.

In that time I had to share a room with another person which made it harder to feel like I could spread my wings and figure out my style in my own room. Even when I did finally get to have my own space I found myself feeling overwhelmed. Especially since I was living paycheck to paycheck you never feel like you can really get your feet off the ground. In March 2015 my partner and I moved in together and then in March of 2018 we moved all of our belongings from the west coast to the east coast.

Since then I’ve been so wrapped up in stuff for my day job that I haven’t yet spent anytime on our home (we now live in a 4 bedroom home vs a 1 bedroom apartment). But in that time I’ve constantly been buying stuff. Whether its notebooks, art and craft supplies, video games, electronics, clothing, etc. I just keep spending. It’s nothing outrageous (you won’t see me on an episode of hoarders) but it hasn’t been sparking any joy in my life.

I feel like this new show came at such a weird and wonderful time for me where I have a lot of personal goals for 2019 but I need to start sparking the joy in my own space before I can spark joy in other things.

If you haven’t yet, definitely check out the show. I’m going to go on a life changing journey on de-cluttering my life and I’ll keep you updated on how things turn out!

♡ Mana