the most brilliant, overlooked songs from kids movie soundtracks

Inside Out taught us about our emotions. Zootopia, Trolls: World Tour, and My Little Pony: A New Generation, taught us about racism and stereotyping. Ugly Dolls taught us about superficiality, inner beauty, discrimination, and being yourself. Shrek: Forever After taught us the value of appreciating what we have. The Hunchback of Notre Dame taught us not to be blinded by religious zeal, to be kind to those who are different than us, and that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I could go on, but I think you get the idea.

Ever since Walt Disney started Disney-ing, we’ve been blessed with a myriad of films aimed at children that teach very grown-up lessons. (Lessons we could all use a refresher on, actually….Especially the adults.) And let’s not forget: the soundtracks are absolutely incredible.

In fact, I’d argue that some of the best (and most overlooked) songs of the past two decades have come from “children’s” film. The lyrics are meaningful. They’re catchy. Unforgettable. Ear worms. But they don’t get the widespread credit they deserve, cause, like the kid-centrist films they originate from, they’re considered child’s play (pardon the pun).

Just sos you know, I’m not going to include well known, obvious choices like “Show Yourself” (an important song to me) from the Frozen franchise, or hits from Moana, The Lion King, Tarzan, Toy Story, Pocahontas, etc. Everybody knows those. *Eyeroll*. (Still great songs, though, don’t get me wrong.)

So, without further adieu, I’d like to introduce you to some of the most powerful, catchy, top-notch, lyrically meaningful songs you’ll ever hear — from kids movies.

(These are in no particular order. I can’t pick favorites, I’m just not decisive enough.)

Danger Danger | My Little Pony: The Next Generation (2021)

This little ditty is a catchy number about the very serious complications of mob mentality. In brilliant lyricism, Alan Schmuckler sings ironically about the dangers of blind anger and judgment. The lyrics paint the portrait of a tribalism that mindlessly follows the orders of a fear-mongering leader: suspend critical thinking and open-mindedness. Different = bad. New = bad. The song also touches on the “wrong is right” mentality — that is, if everyone is doing it, it must be right, right? (Just because it’s legal, doesn’t make it okay, folks. Remember, slavery was once legal.) It masterfully shows how quickly we devolve into hurting each other instead of understanding each other.

Sharpen your senses, sharpen your tongues
Sharpen your moral indignation
Gather in groups and ready your lungs
Holler with pent-up aggravation

Mob, mob, m-m-mob, mob, mob, mob, angry, angry
Mob, mob, m-m-mob, mob, mob, mob, angry, angry

Fight, see in black and white
That’s your pony right
Time to lift your manes and proudly
Throng, numbers make you strong
Millions can’t be wrong
Specially when they’re screamin’ loudly

You might not have a bale of hay to borrow
Are you saddled with your sorrow? Are you scared about tomorrow?
Well, it’s all gonna work out painlessly
If you follow my orders brainlessly

 Written by Michael Mahler / Alan Schmuckler

Tried to Save the World | Planet 51 (2009)

In folksy, compelling vocals, Tom Cawte sings about a world fraught with problems, and how overwhelming it feels to live in, unable to fix it all. The chorus, “who can it be, knocking at my door? I hope it ain’t the man coming to start a war against me…” is something we’ve all related to at one point or another — feeling like the whole world is against you, and, sometimes (especially if you’re apart of a marginalized group) it really is.

Well I tried to save the world, but we ran out of words to say;
So instead I’ll write this song, with a guitar full of chords to play;
Well I really didn’t write them anyway.

Well I tried to build a boat, so I could sail myself away;
But I ran out of wood, and left standing on the harbor in the rain;
Well I’d only get seasick anyway;
Yeah I’d only get seasick anyway.

Who can it be?
Knockin’ on my door;
I hope it ain’t the man;
Comin’ to start a war, against me…

So then I bought a car, with four wheels and a radio;
But the engine wouldn’t start, so I traded my car for a horse and cart;
To help me with this heavy load.

I climbed aboard a rocket ship, but the people in the cockpit wouldn’t let me in;
I’m left standing on the ground, while these people fly around above my head.
What a way to start my day;
What a way to start my day;
What a way to start my day!

It’s a sight I never hope to see.

Well now I’ve been full-circle, but I couldn’t seem to find a miracle;
So I’ll just keep on searchin’, for a world that I believe in.
Yeah I should’ve fixed my car;
Oh, I should’ve fixed my car;
Yeah, I should’ve fixed my car;
Oh, I should’ve fixed my car!

It’s a sight, I never hope to;
Sight, I never hope to;
Sight, I never hope to see!

Written by Dave Clark / Mark Harris / Don Koch

Yellow Light | Despicable Me 3 (2017)

Pharrell is a brilliant musician, but there’s nowhere (in my opinion) his brilliance shines more than in the soundtracks for the Despicable Me franchise. I mean, where does he even come up with this stuff??? Mind = blown. My particular favorite is this not-so-thinly-veiled politically-critical masterpiece, Yellow Light.

Using the villain from the film, Balthazar Bratt, as a stand in for our world’s power-hungry, self-serving politicians, Williams artfully argues that there is a “higher power”, that is, a power greater than these leaders pulling the strings. He also derisively and humorously reminds these leaders that life is about more than power (“you control the world now! Woopdeedoo!), and that we (the people) must focus on the “yellow light” as the “cure” for ego centrism. Also addressed in the song is the pursuit of the American dream, and the denial of that dream due to economic, racial, and social barriers– “We don’t care about no fit, we don’t care about no trouble. We just wanna get in! Let’s make out like we’re lovers.”

Overall, it’s a social and political commentary that points back to something greater, a source of freedom, that can’t be controlled by the “powers that be”. A brilliant and meaningful song that is wholly overlooked. Not only that, but it’s freakin’ catchy as crap. A “total bop” as the kids would say.

Everyone’s overdosing the blue light use
United States of anxiety continues
The brat is in his tower singing the flag burning blues
But we feel like the nuts ’cause we feel the screws
We don’t care ’bout no fit
We don’t care ’bout no trouble
We just wanna get in
Let’s make out like we’re lovers

So much for taking it slow
Now everybody knows
Here we go!

The yellow light shining down (Congratulations)
The yellow light shining down (Whoopi do)
The yellow light shining down (You control the world now)
The yellow light shining down (Look at you)
The yellow light shining down (I said ‘Hey!’)
The yellow light shining down (There’s a higher power)
The yellow light shining down (Like a yellow light)
The yellow light shining down

When the stupid gets injected
The sunlight’s the best disinfectant
Oh, just let the sun dry
It be like that sometimes
We don’t care ’bout no fit
We don’t care ’bout no trouble
We just wanna get in
Let’s make out like we’re lovers

So much for taking it slow
Now everybody knows
Here we go!

The yellow light shining down (Congratulations)
The yellow light shining down (Whoopi do)
The yellow light shining down (You control the world now)
The yellow light shining down (Look at you)
The yellow light shining down (I said ‘Hey!’)
The yellow light shining down (There’s a higher power)
The yellow light shining down (Like a yellow light)
The yellow light shining down

Kill whatever you want
And undo what was done
But one thing you can’t kill is the fun

Written by Pharrell Williams

Dolled Up | Ugly Dolls (2019)

Okay, first of all, this movie did NOT get the attention it deserved. It’s a well-written, desperately needed film with an all-star cast. Second of all, Kelly Clarkson and Janelle Monáe. SINGING TOGETHER. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? My ears needed it and didn’t even know they needed it. My freakin’ auditory cortex is so happy.

For background, UglyDolls is a movie based on a toy, the Uglydoll. In Ugly Dolls the movie, a group of “reject” dolls live in an isolated world, but one daring doll, Moxy (Kelly Clarkson), wants to go to “The Big World” to fulfill her heart’s desire — being paired with a human child to serve as her toy and comfort object. When she reaches the training grounds for the “pretty” dolls, led by the evil Lou (Nick Jonas) she figures out she and her friends don’t really fit in with all these perfect dolls, and her dream seems farther out of reach than ever. The film is such a necessary lesson about individuality, beauty, and kindness. In a culture that is saturated with perfection, Instagram filters, and fakeness, UglyDolls teaches kids they’re great just the way they are — no changes needed.

There are a lot of great musical numbers in the film, but perhaps the most poignant is Janelle Monáe’s song “All Dolled Up”, featuring Kelly Clarkson. In the catchy pop-tune, Janelle’s character sings as she gives the “ugly” dolls makeovers. As she sings, we quickly understand that the makeover isn’t as fun as it seems — changing yourself to fit with societal beauty standards, we hear the sorrow in her voice, the regret in the refrain “yeah, we’re getting all dolled up, gosh how I wish that I didn’t need to. Sure, look at me all dolled up, stuck playing a part someone else agreed to.”

This is one of my favorite messages in a kids movie ever. But don’t take my word for it, listen to the song and read the powerful lyrics for yourself. Then maybe share them with a kid you care about, so you can show them not to conceal who they really are in order to fit in.

Hey (Hey), we’re getting all dolled up
Blend in with the crowd like we know we’ve got to
Hey (Hey), ’cause when you’re all dolled up
That’s when you’re allowed to pretend you’re not you
Hey, once you conceal what’s real and true
You’ll see a whole new you

Everyone, choose your weapons!
Step one, find the trendiest of outfits
Step two, pick the one that just about fits
Step three, this is absolutely key
Choose it not for you, but for who you wanna be
And then, once you know which look you’re into
Say when, and I guess we can begin to squeeze
And stretch and stuff until we nail the whole display

Hey (Hey), we’re getting all dolled up
Feeling fresh and free, looking oh, so juice
Hey (Hey), ’cause when you’re all dolled up
People only see what you want them to see
Hey, once who you are is hidden from view
You’ll be a whole new you
You’ll be a whole new you
You’ll be a whole new you

Yeah, we’re getting all dolled up
Gosh, though how I wish that I didn’t need to
Sure, look at me, all dolled up
Stuck playing a part someone else agreed to
Ooh, if I could choose who I could be
I’d choose a whole new me
I’d choose a whole new me
I’d choose a whole new me

Written by Christopher J. Lennertz / Glenn Evan Slater

Also, check out the finale song “Unbreakable” featuring Janelle, Kelly, Blake Shelton, and the whole cast. It’s a beautiful song as well, but it’s more straight-forward about the “being yourself” message.

(Okay, we might be getting into the songs that are most personally meaningful to me now…)

Rainbow | My Little Pony: The Movie (2017)

Okay, two songs from MLP franchise, bear with me though.

Sia is another brilliant creator whom I love, and this song is no exception. Sia, as Songbird Serenade, showcases her unique tone with a special song about being misunderstood, suffering, and surviving. “I can see a rainbow through your tears as they fall on down, I can see your soul grow as they hit the ground.” Seems simple, but with Sia’s gorgeous vocals, it’s ethereal, zesty encouragement.

We’ve all felt the sting of rejection, of feeling like we don’t fit, or that we aren’t welcome. We dreamers feel hope deeply, but we feel pain and disappointment even deeper. In this pop-anthem, Songbird Serenade reminds us there is beauty after pain, and that sometimes we are our own obstacle to healing.

I know you, you’re a special one
Some see crazy where I see love
You fall so low but shoot so high
Big dreamers shoot for open sky
So much life in those open eyes
So much depth, you look for the light
But when your wounds open, you will cry
You’ll cry out now and you’ll question why

I can see a rainbow
In your tears as they fall on down
I can see your soul grow
Through the pain as they hit the ground
I can see a rainbow
In your tears as the sun comes out
As the sun comes out

I am here and I see your pain
Through the storms, through the clouds, the rain
I’m telling you you cannot escape
You can do it, just feel baby

I can see a rainbow
In your tears as they fall on down
I can see your soul grow
Through the pain as they hit the ground
I can see a rainbow
In your tears as the sun comes out
As the sun comes out

Here comes the sun
Smiling down
Here comes the sun
Smiling down
Here comes the sun
Smiling down
Smiling down

Written by Sia Furler

P.S. Check out Sia’s contribution to the Doolittle soundtrack, “Original“, an equally inspiring, effervescent tune about retaining your originality in spite of critics.

All I Know | Chicken Little (2008)

This Zach Braff-led animated retelling of the classic “sky is falling” tale isn’t really my favorite. It’s cute, but for me it’s just meh. For my son, however, it’s a masterpiece only rivaled by Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel…or whatever animated movie came out most recently. Lol. The stand out of this film for me is the earworm-inducing soundtrack, which includes a cover of “All I Know” by one of my favorite voices, Five for Fighting (which is, ironically, just one guy).

The lyrics speak of a love that can’t — or won’t — let go, despite the turmoil and dysfunction (or loss?) that may exist. I’ve always loved Five for Fighting (AKA Vladimir John Ondrasik III)’s vocals and songwriting, and as a child of the 90s, there’s a certain nostalgia for me in hearing his rendition of this beautiful song. There’s a woundedness behind it that makes this kid’s movie sound a whole lot less silly.

Cue the jazzy horns and tissues.

I bruise you
You bruise me
We both bruise so easily
Too easily to let it show
I love you and that’s all I know

And all my plans
Keep fallin’ through
All my plans, they
Depend on you
Depend on you
To help them grow
I love you
And that’s all I know

When the singer’s gone
Let the song go on
There’s a fine line between
The darkness and the dawn

They say in the darkest night
There’s a light beyond
And the ending always
Comes at last
Endings always
Come too fast
They come too fast
And they pass too slow
I love you
And that’s all, it’s really all I know
It’s all I know

It’s all I know

Written by Jimmy Webb

Pssssst. There’s nobody that can do a pop-rock ballad like Vladimir John Ondrasik III. If you liked the music in Braff’s TV series Scrubs, you’ll like the Chicken Little soundtrack — heavily influenced by Braff’s musical pals (like Five for Fighting).

Darling I Do | Shrek: Forever After (2010)

Potentially the sweetest love song ever written was for a kid’s movie about an ogre? Um, yes.

Excuse me while I compose myself. Ahem.

In this song composed and performed by Landon Pigg and Lucy Schwartz, the duo sing about truly seeing your romantic partner, and how everything else pales in comparison. In a world where we’re misunderstood, overlooked, and blend into faceless crowds, “Darling I Do” says “you’re someone to me”. We’re not walking around “with eyes closed”. We see each other.

I’m not crying, you are.

Simple, sweet, quaint lyrics and lighter-than-air vocals make this song the perfect addition to your cottage core daydreams. (Or your wedding, if you actually have someone to marry.)

Golden leaves looked brown to me
The world had less color without you
Shapes in the sky looked plain to my eyes
The world had less color without you

I know plenty of people with eyes closed
They don’t see you like I do
Darling, I do

Notes on the keys meant nothing to me
The world didn’t sing without you
Birds in the trees fell silent for me
The world didn’t sing without you, without you

I know plenty of people with eyes closed
They don’t see you like I do
Darling, I do
Darling, I do see you

Written by Landon Christian Anderson Pigg and Lucy Schwartz

You Can’t Take Me | Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (2002)

Okay, this is INDISPUTABLY one of the best movie soundtracks of all time. Why? Um. Bryan Adams and Hans Zimmer, that’s why. Duh.

Spirit is one of those movies I had to rewatch as an adult to truly appreciate the sheer genius of it. Now, I’m not going to ignore the glaring issue that this movie about Native American land, Native American people, and persecution against Native American people, has only like, one Native American cast member. Matt Damon did a great job as Spirit, but the part definitely should’ve gone to a Native American actor.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about the absolute gold mine (no pun intended) of songs created by Mr. Adams and the gang for this movie. Every single song on this album is gorgeous and fits perfectly with the theme of the film. But my favorite, and the one I’m including here, is Spirit’s big inspirational anthem “You Can’t Take Me”. Perhaps one of my favorite lines of all time, Adams sings, “Don’t judge a thing ’till you know what’s inside it”.

Spirit is determined, stubborn, a little prideful, but he’s got an unbreakable, untamable spirit (get it??) and a fire for freedom that can’t be quenched. The entire soundtrack is full of pop-rock ballads with soulful, scratchy vocals from Adams, which propel the story and well, yeah, our SOULS.

Simple lyrics, perhaps, but powerful and inspiring. Put this on your workout playlist when you need some motivation. Thank me later.

You can’t take me, yeah

Got to fight another fight
I gotta run another night
Get it out, check it out
I’m on my way and I don’t feel right
I gotta get me back
I can’t be beat and that’s a fact
It’s OK, I’ll find a way
You ain’t gonna take me down, no way

Don’t judge a thing till you know what’s inside it
Don’t push me, I’ll fight it
Never gonna give in, never gonna give it up, no
If you can’t catch a wave then you’re never gonna ride it
You can’t come uninvited
Never gonna give in, never gonna give it up, no
You can’t take me, I’m free

Why did it all go wrong?
I wanna know what’s going on
And what’s this holding me?
I’m not where I’m supposed to be
I gotta fight another fight
I gotta fight with all my might
I’m getting out, so check it out
You’re in my way, yeah, you better watch out
Oh, come on!

Don’t judge a thing till you know what’s inside it
Don’t push me, I’ll fight it
Never gonna give in, never gonna give it up, no
If you can’t catch a wave then you’re never gonna ride it
You can’t come uninvited
Never gonna give in, never gonna give it up, no
You can’t take me, I’m free

Oh yeah, I’m free

Written by Bryan Adams / Gavin Greenway / Robert John Lange

Wonderful | Over the Moon (2020)

Over the Moon is a gorgeous film about grief, new beginnings, and moving on from pain. It’s a creative stand-out, both for its emotional depth and beauty. The soundtrack, filled with hip-hop, pop, and sing-songy numbers, is equally compelling. This gentle but upbeat tune, sung by the character Gobi (Ken Jeong) deals with the main subject matter of learning to let go after a loss and discover new opportunities, beauty, and love.

The reprise of the song, sung by Cathy Ang with additional lyrics, takes place when the characters find themselves in “The Chamber of Exquisite Sadness” (I have visited this chamber frequently myself, as I’m sure you have, too). It is this song that resolves the conflict Chang’e feels about losing her beloved Houyi, and gives her the strength to live again. (Same for our main character realizing there’s life after losing her beloved mother).

Do yourself a favor and just watch the whole movie. Even the Grinchiest of hearts will grow three sizes. You’re not too old for it, I promise.

Pssst. Listen to Phillipa Soo’s “Yours Forever” and weep over the ancient lost love from the past life you never had.

Learn Me Right | Brave (2011)

This is perhaps the most poignant and lovely track on my list. A favorite of the lad also, this Irish-inspired number plays during the end credits of Pixar’s “Brave”. A collaboration between Birdy and Mumford & Sons, it’s a regular Irish affair, and rightly so.

The song gives the air of ancient tradition and timeless ideals as the speaker acknowledges that no amount of prestige in the world can make up for the inability to accept help from others. Admitting when you’re wrong or need guidance is a form of honor all its own. The speaker admits that regardless of their strengths, they’re still human, and they want to do this journey together.

If you’ve seen the film, you know this poetic, interdependent call from home is the perfect wrap up to Merida’s relationship with her mam, and with herself. Not only is it a love letter to Ireland, it’s a letter of reconciliation to whomever you may share it with.

The lyrics are particularly beautiful:

Though I may speak some tongue of old
Or even spit out some holy word
I have no strength with which to speak
When you sit me down and see I’m weak

We will run and scream
You will dance with me
We’ll fulfill our dreams and we’ll be free

We will run and scream
You will dance with me
We’ll fulfill our dreams and we’ll be free

We will be who we are
And they’ll heal our scars
Sadness will be far away

So I had done wrong but you put me right
My judgement burned in the black of night
When I give less than I take
It is my fault my own mistake

We will run and scream
You will dance with me
We’ll fulfill our dreams and we’ll be free
We will be who we are
And they’ll heal our scars
Sadness will be far away

Written by Ben Lovett / Marcus Mumford / Ted Dwane / Winston Marshall

I’m Still Here (Jim’s Theme) | Treasure Planet (2002)

I’ve saved the best (well, the most dear to me, anyway) for last. Allow me to introduce you to a breathtaking box-office failure called “Treasure Planet”. It’s a brilliant re-imagining of the novel “Treasure Island”, filled with pirates, aliens, solar-surfing, and betrayal…but also discovering who you are, recovering from the rejection of a parent, and not fitting into the expectations society has placed on you. It bombed at the box office, but it’s the highest-grossing film in my heart.

As a kid, Treasure Planet was my favorite film of all time, but I didn’t watch it frequently. Like an emergency stash of chocolate you hide and savor at the right moment, this film was a luscious treat I only indulged in once in a while. I still keep this mentality, only whipping out this gem when the time calls for it. I did, however, watch the music video for “I’m Still Here” (below) on repeat. The music of the film spoke to me, this misunderstood, weird kid — and made me feel known.

The soundtrack is the brainchild of Goo Goo Dolls rocker John Rzeznik (who captures the angsty desperation of our main character), and James Newton Howard, the composer of the score for the film (who captures the wonder and drama of our outer-space swashbuckling adventure).

James Pleiades Hawkins, AKA Jim Hawkins, is a hurting teen guy with a chip on his shoulder. He goes on an incredible adventure, sailing through the stars, in search of a mythical treasure. Rzeznik’s gritty guitars and vocals gave a voice to the oddballs among us, the ones who longed for greater, dreamt of more, and desired acceptance and understanding.

(P.S., James Pleiades Hawkins — and by extension, Mr. Rzeznik — was probably my first crush. Rightfully so.)

Enjoy this stripped-down version as well:

Honorable Mentions

This post was getting too long, and my song choices might become questionable toward the end here.

It’s Tough to Be a God | The Road to El Dorado (2000)

Okay, so I can’t technically include “It’s Tough to Be a God” from The Road to El Dorado (one of my all time favorite movies) because Elton John’s version is the only one on the soundtrack, and my preferred version is the one used in the movie. Costars Kevin Kline and Kenneth Branagh sing excitedly about being worshiped and idolized. “It’s great to be a god/Tread where mortals have not trod/Be deified when really you’re a sham/Be an object of devotion/Be the subject of psalms/It’s a terrifying notion/All those prayers and those salaams/Any normal man would bridle if he’s forced to be an idol/And a normal man’s exactly what I am”. The song is an inspired (forgive the pun) way to illustrate the trappings of celebrity and religious zeal.

She’s So Gone | Lemonade Mouth (2011)

Okay, let’s face it: pretty much every song from the Lemonade Mouth soundtrack is a banger…but this one has a special place in my heart. It’s about a girl finding her own way and standing up for herself. The character who sings the song, Mo (Naomi Scott), comes from a strict Indian family, has a semi-controlling and self-absorbed boyfriend, and discovers her voice — literally and figuratively — through forming a band with her newfound detention buddies. “She’s So Gone” is a short but catchy anthem you’ll want to yell-scream-sing-cry while you’re driving.

Feel the Light | Home (2015)

Jennifer Lopez blesses us with airy yet assertive vocals on this track for the Rihanna-led animated film “Home”. The main character, Tip (Rihanna), becomes separated from her mom (Jennifer Lopez) during an alien invasion. A camaraderie ensues between Tip and a mishap prone alien named Oh (Jim Parsons). “Feel the Light” is the song which sets the climax of Tip and her mother’s long-awaited reunion. It’s about love, reconciliation, and being grateful for how far you’ve come. The live version (linked above) is a stunning visual performance.

Hero | Starstruck (2010)

Maybe it’s the love-struck teenager in me, but this DCOM song hits my nostalgia and romance buttons in all the right ways. It’s a sappy teenage love song about your girl empowering you to be a better dude. Unrealistic expectations and hormones, awwww how cuuuuuteeeee. (The “unplugged” version is the best, imo.)

What’s your favorite song from a kid’s movie soundtrack?


for an audience of one

“I feel as one who has inadvertently stumbled upon a private moment between lovers. Perhaps, I muse, that is some of what art is meant to be? Why not? It already is a language of love between God and me. Now it appears to be even more than that, spilling outward and touching another life and heart.”

Sara Joseph | Gently Awakened

In her incredibly moving and insightful book, Gently Awakened: The Influence of Faith on Your Artistic Journey, Sara Joseph masterfully explains the relationship between God, art, and self.

Tonight as I was reading, this passage stood out to me (condensed for LI):

“My art is not for all, but for specific others. They almost seem to be predestined to be drawn to a specific work. The urge to have another enjoy [my work] as much as I do is not as pressing as it once used to be.

It is His business what is done with the work upon its completion.

Another casualty in this slow stripping away of all that once consumed and stifled me is the desire for the praise or approval of others. Instead, I participate in many more moments of His love, sacred and holy.”

So many of us (myself included) are guilty of creating with the intent to share. The intent to have our work admired, widely read, distributed, talked about, and adored.

We obsess over every jot and tittle of our prose, every line and brushstroke, every 1 or 0 in a piece of code, hoping that someday, we will make it “big”.

(Not you? Okay, quit reading.)

We so desperately want our work to be loved. *We* want to be loved *through* our work. We check our social media stats, read articles on how to become ‘successful’ (whatever that means)…we toil & fret, for what?

This perspective has rattled me. I do not need to write for everyone. I need only write for the *right* one!

I may never be published in a major publication, never go viral, shoot, I may never even pass 200 Instagram followers. But by golly, I’m going to keep going.


Because somewhere, I have an audience of one.

I will create in such a way that I will touch the right person’s life. I don’t need to touch thousands of people’s lives. Just one. The right one.

A favorite tale of mine is about a missionary who started a church in a foreign land. The congregation was small, sometimes only consisting of one man.

The missionary prayed, he wept…why could he not grow his tiny congregation? What was he doing wrong? He was sorely discouraged. Yet still, the young man who frequented his church kept coming, kept listening, kept absorbing the missionary’s teachings like a sponge.

Eventually, the missionary became severely depressed, and sadly, took his own life.

After his death, that young man who faithfully attended the missionary’s church became the *pastor* of that church; a church that grew, and grew, and grew to a congregation of THOUSANDS.

Never underestimate creating for an audience of one. You never know how your work will change the life of another.

If you liked this post, consider giving Sara’s book a read. It’s been invaluable and transformative for me, as I know it will be for you. I don’t get paid anything for sharing this link with you, I just want you to benefit as I have.

recent obsessions | dairy-free delights

a few months ago, I went dairy-free.

well, almost dairy-free.


I still eat regular cheese, but I have eschewed milk and ice cream, and other milk-related products.

which, for me, as a sugar addict and self-proclaimed ‘ultimate sweet tooth’, has been an adjustment.

I’ve been trying every sweet, dairy-free treat I can get my hands on. and lemme tell you what, I don’t miss milk at all.

I’ve rounded up a few moo-less milky delights to share with you, so that you can partake in dairy-free ecstasy, too.

these are the best of the best.

the A-team of dairy-free sweet thangs.


No. 1 | Chloe’s Oatmilk Salted Caramel Pops

Chloe's Oatmilk Pops, Salted Caramel (12 each) Delivery or Pickup Near Me -  Instacart
image courtesy of Instacart

these heavenly bars of deliciousness will make you say, “wait, what’s ice cream, again?”

seriously, they’re that good.

the sweet, hearty flavor of the oatmilk combines with the rich caramel to create a unique and satisfying experience.

what’s more satisfying than the taste is the TEXTURE.

I’m a huge picky eater, mkay. like, pickier than your toddler. (or my toddler). so, when I say that this is one of the best textures ever to dance across the doorstep of my tooth-cave, I’m not fibbing.

it’s best to let these sit out for a moment before consuming, (or you can just demolish it immediately like I do…) but oh boy, once you do…get ready for your mind to be blown. it’s a far different texture than that of ice cream or even a traditional pop. but it’s thick, luscious, and well, you’re just gonna have to try it and see what I mean.

No. 2 | Blue Diamond AlmondBreeze Chocolate Milk (sweetened)

image is courtesy of moi

this chocolate milk is the best I’ve ever had.

hands down, no contest. and that *includes* regular chocolate milk. in fact, don’t tell the cows, but it’s better than any dairy-full milk I’ve ever tasted.

on my hunt for good-tasting non-dairy milks, I’ve tried a couple. I found Silk to be too bitter, but Almond Breeze’s choco milk is smooth, rich, decadent, and extremely chocolatey.

I choose to drink mine out of a vintage chalice I found at a local thrift store, but I suppose you could just use a regular cup. (you won’t feel like a princess, tho, cause you’ve got to have the pink sherry glass from Goodwill for that.)

it’s also great for freezing into pops or cubes for smoothies and a variety of smooth, chocolatey delectables. there’s a whole chocolate-almond-milk world for you to explore.

No. 3 | SO Delicious Dipped Salted Caramel Cashew Bars

image courtesy of Instacart

it’s like being a kid at the ice cream truck again, except you are no longer young, everything is more expensive, and cashewmilk has made your life 3x (rough estimate) better.

these delightful bars taste very similar to my next pick, SO Delicious Salted Caramel Cluster Cashewmilk Dairy-Free Frozen Dessert. only difference is, these bars don’t contain any *whole* nuts.

if you like Magnum ice cream bars, but you’re looking for a dairy-free option, these guys are your pick.

smooth, creamy center with a naturally nutty and rich flavor (thanks to the cashewmilk). cashewmilk also gives the center its thicc, delightful texture. coat that bad boy in some luxurious, velvety chocolate and you’ve got yourself a decadent dessert perfect for watching rom-coms and pretending you’re the protag. (don’t act like you’ve never done it).

and hey, if caramel isn’t your thing, SO Delicious also has a mocha fudge option. which, I mean. IT’S MOCHA FUDGE. mocha fudge is never wrong.

No. 4 | SO Delicious Salted Caramel Cluster Cashewmilk Non-Dairy Dessert

Salted Caramel Cluster Cashewmilk Frozen Dessert
image courtesy of SO Delicious

this is the best non-dairy ice cream in existence. there. I said it. (sorry, Ben. and Jerry.)

I have searched high and low for a good non-dairy ice cream, and I’ve been strung along by brands that promise a creamy, ice-cream like experience, but only offer me a broken heart and a crystallized, icy, mess.

following Elsa’s lead, I let it go and forged on.

that’s when I discovered SO Delicious, and a gateway opened. the genius behind this particular flavor and brand, is that cashewmilk lends itself so naturally to frozen dairy treats. it’s got the body, the taste, and the stamina to accept loads of flavor combinations. he just sits there, patiently, in your freezer, not growing one ice crystal. strong, flavorful, sweet, and spoonable…if this ice cream were human, he’d be the perfect boyfriend.

disclaimer here, i really, really wanted the best dairy-free ice cream crown to go to Ben & Jerry’s; a. because they’re my favorite brand of ice cream, ever, (for many reasons) and b. because they have such an amazing assortment of flavors.

but I’ve noticed that when it comes to moo-free treats, you often have to sacrifice the goodies, like toppings, sauces, multi-flavor combos, etc. in order to have a great base flavor.

that’s not the case with SO Delicious. the base for this flavor is SO good, you could eat it by itself, but you don’t have to. they’ve thrown crunchy cashews in with real ribbons of caramel, and little shaves of chocolate. if I sound like a snake-oil salesman right now, it’s because I really am selling you a cure.

it’s the cure for a bad date, the cure for lackluster non-dairy ice cream, and the cure for a hard day at the office (or at home, if you’re working remotely).

seriously, it’s the best non-dairy ice cream I’ve found, and you should try it…if for no other reason than as a foolish attempt to prove me wrong.