Here’s why I can’t get over Ben Barnes’ soulful cover of the ‘Friends’ theme song

British actor Ben Barnes may be known for his many roles in film and television; but one thing some viewers might not know about him is that he’s an insanely talented singer and musician. In fact, the Shadow and Bone actor often posts his music covers and song collaborations with other artists on his Instagram account.

Just check out this duet he did with singer-songwriter Anoushka Lucas.

Recently, Barnes thrilled his followers with a soulful rendition of the Friends theme song–and it’s so good that you’ll be left in awe and utterly speechless.

Screengrab of the song cover from Ben Barnes’ Instagram.

The one-minute and 51-second cover has a slower tempo compared to the The RembrandtsI’ll Be There For You track. This allowed Barnes to take a more soulful and emotional approach to the original song–making it seem more personal and sentimental rather than fun and upbeat.

Couple that melody with Barnes’ clear vocals and smooth falsetto and you’re left with song cover that’s worth fangirling over.

This is definitely me after watching the video. Via GIPHY

Understandably, I wasn’t the only one to admire Barnes’ version of the song. A lot of his followers also left positive comments on the video praising the actor’s vocal abilities. One Instagram user even wrote, “So much talent [in one person] should NOT be allowed.” While another person posted, “Ben, you blessed us so much with this [cover].”

As of this writing, the video has garnered over 560,000 views on the social media platform. And hopefully, it continues to increase in views as fans still continue to gush over Friends: The Reunion.

Watch the song cover for yourself below:

Here’s to hoping we see and hear more songs from Ben Barnes in the future!

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In case you missed it, ‘Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure’ turns 10 this year

Back in 2006 to 2008, kids and teens alike were obsessed with the movies and songs of the High School Musical franchise. Because of this, Disney created multiple projects centered on the pop culture phenomenon. This included a North American concert tour, sing-along and dance-along versions of the films, and even a 2019 Disney+ drama series inspired by the movies. And until now, fans (including myself) continue to sing the songs and talk about the movies–especially since the first film turned fifteen in January of this year.

However, there is one High School Musical spinoff that does not necessarily get as much attention as the television series and the original three movies–and that’s Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure.

As you can already tell from the title, this 2011 film focuses on the life of the East High alum Sharpay Evans (Ashley Tisdale) as she moves to New York and attempts to make a career in Broadway. But when things don’t go according to plan in the Big Apple, Sharpay is left reassessing her goals and dreams as a theater actress. What happens next is a journey of rediscovery and love that will remind Sharpay (and viewers) why she deserves to be in the spotlight.

It’s a lighthearted and fun movie that more High School Musical fans need to be talking about. And this April–particularly today, April 19, 2021–the movie officially turns ten!

To celebrate its tenth anniversary, I’ve rounded up four reasons that make this High School Musical spinoff worth watching (or rewatching). Here they are:

Sharpay finally gets to shine in this movie

Let’s face it, back when we were younger, a lot of us thought that Sharpay was the villain of the movies. Though, now that we’ve grown up, many of us have come to realize that she was actually robbed of recognition during her high school days. I mean imagine this, you and your brother work tirelessly for days practicing and rehearsing for the musical and then, some newcomers show up and immediately take your spots onstage. Annoying right?

Via Giphy

But in this film, we get to see Sharpay in all her much-needed glory on the stage. And finally (after three movies), her talent and dedication to the art gets recognized by the world, albeit after some less-than-pleasant events.

Sharpay is finally seen as more than just a spoiled drama queen

In the first High School Musical film and in the first half of the second movie, Sharpay was portrayed as Ryan Evans’s (Lucas Grabeel) narcissistic, spoiled twin sister who was obsessed with getting everything she wanted no matter the cost. But in the latter half of High School Musical 2, viewers finally got to see the goodness that was inherent in her character–especially when she decided to give up her duet with Troy Bolton (Zac Efron) so that he can patch things up with his girlfriend Gabriella (Vanessa Hudgens). This particular scene also showed viewers that there’s more to this pink-obsessed queen than meets the eye. In fact, in Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure, we get to see different facets of her character.

For one, we got to see her generous and selfless nature, which was evident when she chose to share her dog Boi’s stage time with his canine competitor Lady, even after going through so much trouble dealing with her handler.

Second, we got to see her learn to adapt and make the best of her situation–especially when it came down to improving her living arrangements.

Third, we got to see her openly admit to her mistakes. In this movie, she wholeheartedly acknowledges her wrongdoings against Peyton (Austin Butler) and becomes a better person from it.

Honestly, her character development alone makes this movie worth the watch!

Sharpay finally gets a love interest that’s worthy of her

Throughout the first two High School Musical movies, we saw her character constantly obsessing over Troy Bolton (Efron). And in some parts of all three movies, it was hinted that she might have had a romantic fling with the baking-basketball player Zeke (Chris Warren). However, none of these two boys seemed to truly appreciate her character and dedication for theater.

In Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure, she gets introduced to Peyton Leverett (Butler), the son of her mother’s friend–and finally, Sharpay finds a love interest that’s worthy of her!

Not only was Peyton very attentive and helpful towards her, but he also never tried to change her or force her to be something she was not. Instead he embraced her as the overdramatic (and somewhat, high maintenance) go-getter that she was.

Moreover, he encouraged her love for the theater and even helped her gain back confidence when it was initially lost. It’s because of him that she was even recognized by theater producers as a possible lead for the musical. Without him, she would have never made her debut performance on Broadway–so yeah, he really was a great catch!

The Evans twins finally get the endings they deserve

Earlier, I mentioned that Sharpay finally got her spotlight in this movie. But another thing that I absolutely loved about this film was the fact that it gave viewers a look into Ryan’s (Grabeel) promising future as well.

In the ending credits of the movie, Ryan makes a surprise appearance wherein he congratulates his sister for her success and shares that he’s been touring the country starring in a musical.

This is the perfect ending for two siblings who have worked hard to master their craft and go after their passions!

Via Giphy

So after reading this, I really hope you watch (or rewatch) the movie on this special anniversary. And to Ashley Tisdale and the rest of the cast and crew of Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure, happy ten years!

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Fans are going to love these new Star Wars-themed postage stamps

For years, the Star Wars universe has delighted fans with a series of epic adventures. From Han Solo, Luke, and Leia’s  first mission to destroy the Death Star in Episode IV: A New Hope to The Mandalorian’s exciting quests with Grogu (a.k.a. Baby Yoda), it’s understandable why many viewers can’t seem to get enough of the franchise. And with Disney+ announcing a new lineup of shows for the fandom to enjoy, it’s safe to say that the Star Wars phenomenon will just continue to grow in popularity in the years to come.

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That’s why it’s not surprising that many companies have decided to capitalize on its success, creating collectible figures, clothing pieces, and even footwear inspired by the George Lucas films. But now, fans have another thing to consider adding in their collection of Star Wars memorabilia–and it’s this new set of Droid postage stamps.

This is not an actual picture of the stamp but a creative representation. To see the full set of designs, visit the USPS website here.

The United States Postal Service (USPS) announced the new line of Star Wars-themed postage stamps last January 26, 2021. According to their website, the stamps will feature the following droids: “IG-11, R2-D2, K-2SO, D-O, L3-37, BB-8, C-3PO, a GNK (or Gonk) power droid, 2-1B surgical droid and C1-10P, commonly known as ‘Chopper.’” 

These stamps come in a timely manner as the Star Wars franchise is set to celebrate its 50th anniversary this year.

Via Giphy

More than that, these stamps will reportedly help support Lucas Films and Disney’s efforts in further promoting STEM learning amongst the youth via the organizations “Star Wars: Force for Change” and “FIRST” (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology).

As of now, there has been no formal announcement on the release date of these Droid postage stamps. So for now, I guess fans should stay put in and enjoy re-watching their favorite Star Wars movies and television series. May the force be with you all!

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‘Bridgerton’ fans might enjoy these underrated Jane Austen screen adaptations

If you are anything like me and you are obsessed with regency era films and television series, then you’ve probably already binge-watched Netflix’s Bridgerton.

Photo Credit: Facebook.com/netflixph

The first season of the historical drama followed the whirlwind romance between Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor) and Simon Basset (Regé-Jean Page). And through its eight episode run, viewers were able to see how the two turned from friends to eventual spouses. 

Understandably, many people were drawn into the Duke of Hastings and the eldest Bridgerton daughter’s love story. And many of them–including myself–are eager to see more of the Bridgerton romances unfold. But until the streaming platform can confirm a possible next season, here are a few Jane Austen book-to-screen adaptations that Bridgerton fans can enjoy as they wait for more news on the show. 

Emma (2009)  

Through the years, there have been many screen adaptations of Jane Austen’s Emma. From Gwyneth Paltrow’s 1996 version to Anya Taylor-Joy’s 2020 adaptation, many Austen fans have seen different versions of the titular character portrayed on both TV and film. However, out of all of these adaptations–many of which I have seen–the BBC 2009 mini-series was the best one of them all. 

Not only did it gradually showcase the friendship-turned-romance between the two best friends, but Romola Garai and Jonny Lee Miller seem to be the best embodiments of Emma and Mr. Knightley. 

Garai’s tenacious and effervescent portrayal of Emma made the character very likeable and Miller’s stern yet endearing Mr. Knightley will leave fans rooting for him throughout the series’s four-episode run.

Photo Credit: David Venni via IMDB.com

Why Bridgerton fans might like the show: Much like Lady Whistledown or Queen Charlotte, Emma enjoys meddling into the love lives of those around her. So, fans might take pleasure in watching her succeed–and oftentimes, fail–at her attempts in matchmaking, whilst realizing all along that she herself has found her perfect match and it was the man standing right in front of her. 

Northanger Abbey (2007) 

Although this is one of Jane Austen’s less popular novels, I enjoyed Northanger Abbey for its unconventional hero, Mr. Tilney. Unlike the likes of Mr. Darcy or Mr. Knightley, Mr. Tilney is not always so formal and likes to tease Catherine quite a bit. And the movie version of the Austen hero is not far from how the author described her character to be in the book. 

Played by JJ Field, Mr. Tilney presents a comical and amiable persona that complements Felicity Jones’s portrayal of the shy and naive Catherine. And it’s through their meetings in Bath and subsequent stay in Northanger Abbey that the two realize their true feelings for one another. 

Photo Credit: IMDB.com

Why Bridgerton fans might like the movie: I think fans might enjoy the “rich vs. poor” kind of love story the 2007 film shows. Because like many of the socialites in Bridgerton, Mr. Tilney’s father wants to make an advantageous marriage for his son. But upon learning that Catherine has no money to her name, he forbids a possible union between her and Mr. Tilney and sends her away. But little did he know that Mr. Tilney will do a lot more for the woman he loves… even if that means disobeying his father’s wishes and giving up his inheritance. 

Persuasion (2007)  

Persuasion focuses on the romance between Frederick Wentworth and Anne Elliot. 

Frederick and Anne were two young people in love. However, Anne’s parents refused the union, noting Frederick’s lack of fortune and title. So, the two parted ways. 

Eight years later, Anne’s family is struggling with their finances and Frederick has now become a wealthy and recognized Royal Navy Captain. With their heart-wrenching parting still lingering in both of their minds and with the tables turned, it begs the question: is there still a possibility of romance between the two despite everything that has happened?  

Starring Rupert Penry-Jones and Sally Hawkins, Persuasion reignites the viewers’ belief in the possibility of second chances, when it comes to love. 

Photo Credit: IMDB.com

Why Bridgerton fans might like the film: Fans might be able to appreciate Captain Frederick Wentworth’s unwavering love and devotion to Anne, in spite of the hardships he faced while being with her during his younger years. And despite having more options for a partner when he returned, he still chose her above everyone else.

Moreover, if fans loved the Duke of Hastings’s “I burn for you” line in the show, wait ‘til they hear Captain Wentworth’s “I am half agony, half hope” spiel–as he pours out his immense love and affection for Anne even after all these years. 

Via Giphy

NOTE: This review is not sponsored by Netflix or any other production houses. This was written purely from the perspective of the writer as a fan of these TV shows and movies.

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Five true crime and horror podcasts to listen to this Halloween

As many of us already know, Halloween is the annual occasion where you can express your creativity by dressing up in your most outrageous, provocative, or absurd costume.

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It’s the only event wherein you can justify eating boatloads of candies since you (or your kid) have worked hard trick-or-treating for them. And it’s quite possibly one of the only times you can enjoy a series of horror movies and television specials released in honor of this spooky celebration.

All of these things put together is what makes Halloween such a special event for kids and kids-at-heart. Unfortunately, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of the things we look forward to on this holiday have been put on hold. 

For instance, the large costume gatherings we might’ve been planning to attend have likely been cancelled. Because of this, many of us would have to settle for video chat rooms to commemorate the “day of horror”–something that doesn’t feel quite like an actual party.  

Trick-or-treating has also been banned in certain areas of the metro–leaving many children candy-less on Halloween.

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Although these restrictions can put a damper on your plans, it doesn’t mean the end of the Halloween festivities. In fact, there are still a few things you can do in the comforts of your home to celebrate the scary occasion. And one of those things is listening to true crime and horror podcasts that will leave you either frightened or entertained by the stories told there. 

To help you get started on what could be an epic podcast listening party (at home), I’ve rounded up some of my favourite true crime and horror podcasts that you might want to check out. 

Crime Junkie Podcast 

If there’s one thing that can frighten a person, it’s the idea that someone can kidnap, kill, or murder another fellow human being. In the Crime Junkie podcast, hosts Ashley Flowers and Brit Prawat discuss at length the details of these true crime incidents. It is through their discussion that listeners can gain insight to the crime, understand the possible motives of the suspects, and elicit discussion amongst themselves about the reality of the situation. 

What is especially great about Crime Junkie is that it also discusses cases that have not had the same media attention as others. They even add links to their website and social media accounts so that listeners–who may have a lead on the case or could add something more to the investigation–can reach out to the proper authorities. 

Moreover, they share “Crime Junkie life rules” that help ordinary people, like us, spot danger when it approaches. Their “Be weird. Be rude. Stay safe” mantra has definitely reminded me to be more wary of my surroundings. 

You can listen to them on their website, Apple Podcast, or Spotify. 

Serial Killers Podcast by the Parcast Network 

Much like Crime Junkie, this podcast also discusses true crime cases. But the difference between the two is that this one focuses solely on the stories of serial killers, whereas Crime Junkie includes topics like missing persons, unsolved mysteries, and even conspiracies. 

The Serial Killers podcast typically devotes two episodes per killer. The first episode often looks back at the individual’s childhood–examining his or her past and how it inspired their modus operandi (MO) for killing in the future. The second episode then discusses the killers’ crimes and how they later got caught by authorities. 

Now, what makes Serial Killers so interesting is that it delves into the minds of these notorious people by offering psychological studies to explain their actions. It is through these well-researched explanations that listeners gain a better understanding of these killers’ minds. 

You can listen to them on Stitcher or on Spotify

Let’s Not Meet–A True Horror Podcast 

Let’s Not Meet gathers real-life stories from fans and retells them in a such a way that you feel like you’re witnessing the situation firsthand. And that’s thanks to host Andrew Tate’s charismatic reading of these stories.

Listeners will literally feel chills go down their spine as they hear stories of psycho exes, strange stalkers, and even crazy house burglaries. Honestly, this podcast may even turn out to be the perfect scare you need for the Halloween season! 

Additionally, Tate sometimes changes up his normal podcast scheme and invites guests to read some of the stories. This gives fans a somewhat different feel as the other hosts offer a new kind of listening experience.

You can listen to Let’s Not Meet on their website, Apple Podcast or Spotify

Radio Rental Podcast

Similar to Let’s Not Meet, Radio Rental also gets their scary stories from the real-life experiences of people. However, what makes this podcast unique is that it has a fictional character as its host. 

The podcast is hosted by video store owner Terry Carnation (voiced by The Office actor Rainn Wilson), who welcomes you into his store called Radio Rental. In each episode, you will be offered to listen to tapes from his exclusive collection, which features the actual audio recordings of people who have been through horrifying, real-life situations. Some of these stories include near-death experiences, possible paranormal sightings, and even an an actual encounter with a serial killer. These stories will leave you on the edge of your seats, anxiously waiting for what would happen next! 

You can listen to them on their website or on Spotify

Full Body Chills 

Now, unlike the previous two horror podcasts mentioned, Full Body Chills features only fictional paranormal stories. 

Narrated by Crime Junkie host Ashley Flowers, the stories in this podcast are creepy to say the least. And couple that with Flowers’s emotional reading and the sound effects, you’ve got a scary audio to listen to in the company of your family or friends. 

Lastly, since it’s going to be Halloween, the Audio Chuck team–which is the group behind this podcast–recently released more episodes for your listening pleasure this season. 

You can listen to Full Body Chills on Stitcher or Spotify

*NOTE: This article is not sponsored by Spotify, Apple Podcast, Stitcher, or by any of the podcasts or audio platforms mentioned here. This was written purely from the perspective of the writer as a fan of these podcasts.

This online shop proves that vintage wear will never go out of style

Much like technology, fashion evolves through time. For instance, back in the 90s, people couldn’t get enough of bell-bottom jeans, baby shirts, and all-denim ensembles. But this time around, you would rarely see people donning that kind of get up.

Now, it seems that wearing the “basics” is what’s trending–from simple colour-block shirts to the quintessential sweatpants. (Case-in-point, the new Yeezy clothing line) 

It’s true that fashion continues to change as the years go by. But there are some essential pieces that seem to never go out of style. And among them is vintage wear

From the puff sleeves to the long, flared out skirt, vintage wear defined the 60s through the 80s. And even though it’s been decades since that time, the style never seems to go out of date. In fact, you would still see celebrities and  other prominent figures sporting the look during special events. 

Princess Beatrice wore her grandmother Queen Elizabeth II’s 1960s gown on her wedding last July 17, 2020.
Photo Credit: Facebook.com/TheBritishMonarchy

But what makes the style so timeless? 

Well, for one thing, it gives off a casual yet chic vibe. For example,  wearing a button-down blouse makes you look more put together than just the regular crew neck shirt. 

Photo Credit: Unsplash.com

And second, it’s a style that can be fused with a more modern look. Think about it, you can pair a puff-sleeved blouse with some denim shorts for a more effortless, semi-casual look, or even wear a flared skirt with a graphic tank top for a more unique style.  Seriously, the possibilities are endless when you think about it!

To prove this point, Pampanga-based shop Style for LESS PH shows you how to combine vintage wear with a more modern look. 

With their second collection, the owners remind people how fashion can be fused together for the perfect #OOTD. Here are a few examples of the styles you can do with the items in their new lineup. 

Photo Credit: Facebook.com/StyleForLessPHbySnC
Photo Credit: Facebook.com/StyleForLessPHbySnC
Photo Credit: Facebook.com/StyleForLessPHbySnC
Photo Credit: Facebook.com/StyleForLessPHbySnC

Moreover, these items are super affordable. Priced at 150 Pesos per blouse, you can definitely get your desired look without breaking the bank.

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So, if you’re interested to know more about their collection, click here to open the album. You definitely won’t regret the purchase!

NOTE: This is not a paid, branded post, which means the author does not receive any money from the clicks or purchases on this article. This article was made in an effort to help a friend better advertise her products and online store.