Tuesday, December 31, 2013

End of the Year Review

Hello everyone! Sorry I have failed to post much lately. I guess it's been a crazy month what with finals, moving home, my birthday (yay!), Christmas, and so forth. I hope everyone had good holidays! And Happy New Years Eve!

I wanted to end the year by revisiting my year. My New Years resolutions were to be better with money and to get in shape.

As for getting in shape, I did Insanity for about three months, stopped for a while, started again, stopped for a while, and started again. In between, I tried some running (which I still hate doing) and some other miscellaneous exercises. While there is still room for improvement (especially since starting school again, I have managed to gain some more weight), I feel that this was fairly successful.

Money is still tough for me. It is something that I think about and try to work at regularly. I think that I have made small improvements this year, especially when I started school again (because I can't work as much). There is still LOTS of room for improvement, debts to pay off, et cetera, but overall, I think I did okay.

As for my GoodReads reading goal. I am sad to say that I started with a goal of reading 45 books, but school ended up taking up so much of my time that I reduced it to 35. I managed to make that goal, at least. I will try to increase it just a little for next year. Maybe 38 books.

For next year, I want to keep working out and keep making improvements to my financial situation. I also need to start eating better, but that will have to wait until after I finish school, I think. I already have a meal plan and there is only so much I can do about dining hall food.

And what a crazy year it has been. Working on fixing up this condo, a break up and getting back together, a trip with friends, going to graduate school, NDK 2013! Sounds like adventures (some better than others, of course). I have all sorts of things to post about the work we have been doing on the condo. I will need to get those bits up. There may be good information there for people! Which leads us to one more little resolution: to keep this blog going and growing!

On that note, I want to thank those of you who are regular readers, those who have supported me in so many different ways, and those who give my little blog a signal boost from time to time (Thanks Mandi-I'm lookin' at you!). Keeping this blog is just a silly little thing that I enjoy doing, but it's nice to see some of what I post getting around to people.

And lastly, here is a recent picture of my rats. Because they are cute and I love them.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Nerdy Ravings: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Over the weekend, I went to see the new Hobbit movie!

I want to preface this by saying that I am a fan of The Hobbit and LotR. I like the movies a lot, too. Possibly better than the books in some ways, but that's a discussion for another Nerdy Ravings post.

I liked this movie. (Well, Benedict Cumberbatch's voice--where's bad??). And I love Legolas, so really any time he is on screen, I'm a happy bear. Even though he's not supposed to be there.

My main issue is that Peter Jackson is determined to drag this one little book into three different movies. Fine. I think he's only doing that because he missed that bandwagon when he did the LotR series. Maybe that's just me. And while I am alright with having another movie to look forward to, he seems to be struggling to put in all sorts of filler material: see Legolas, Tauriel, changing plot lines, and so forth. And I just want to know why you would cut out ALL of these other scenes from the book just to fill it with made up junk.

Not that it's all junk, but honestly! So much of the actual book stories are completely cut, only to have them desperately (in my opinion) try to add more filler and action sequences. This seems so very unnecessary! The material is already there! Why can't you use that? I would have loved to see everything with Beorn as it was supposed to be. What about the dwarves loosing the road in Mirkwood and trying to follow the elves? What about Bilbo luring the giant spiders away with his voice so he could rescue his friends? Why cut all of that just to make up other things to fill up the time and space?? I just don't understand.

Alright, that was my mini rant. Otherwise, I liked it. Some of it was a little to action-y for my tastes. But I LOVE watching Orlando Bloom as Legolas when he does fight scenes. That man works hard to look so graceful. I love it. The romance between Tauriel and Kili was charming, I thought.

Some girl behind me (she was annoying throughout the movie) kept saying at the end, "But a dwarf and and elf?! That's just not OK. Just not OK." Et cetera, et cetera. But she had no reason except that it was, apparently, just not right. Great reason, eh? And I don't know why it matters anyway. She probably hasn't read the books. She was dumb. I liked it. (Plus, we had been refering to Tauriel as "Legolas' girlfriend," which made me want to hurt her, because he's mine! So now I can like her.) I did like seeing a strong woman and a strong female elf. Not that Arwen was weak at all, but she wasn't a fighter. And I do so love archers...

I won't ruin anything else. There were a few little issues, but overall I liked it.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Happy Thanksgivukkah!

As many of you know, Thanksgiving and Hannukah overlapped this year. This hasn't happened for (estimated) 100 years and isn't predicted to happen again for another 60 or so. That makes this pretty special, if you ask me!

I didn't do a post on Thanksgiving, though I definitely thought about it. Since it is still the season, here are some of the things that I am thankful for:
-My family who love and support me
-My friends who always know how to cheer me up and whom I am so comfortable with
-My boyfriend who works hard to make our lives better and who I am still in love with after all this time
-My rats who bring me endless joy
-Being able to go to continue my education to obtain my Masters
-Good books!

The first night of Hannukah was the night before Thanksgiving. Tonight is the fifth night. I celebrated by putting my construction paper menorah on my dorm room door:
My alternative, DIY construction paper menorah! Jealous?

Today is also December 1st. I always get excited for December. A few of my friends have birthdays this month, which means we get to have lots of fun! My birthday is in December, and I do love my birthday. I like to celebrate for about a week. Hannukah comes during December (or, this year, end of November and into December). And then, of course, Christmas.

It means that I can pull out the decorations (Hannukah and Christmas, alike), the Christmas music, and Christmas movies. I enjoy the decorations and music everywhere I go. It just feels joyful.

For me, Christmas is a very normal, public celebration. When I celebrate Hannukah, it is usually just me and just for me. Lighting the menorah (or pasting fake candles on my paper one, as the case may be) is something that I do by myself and for myself. Hannukah is personal and Christmas is what I usually celebrate with my loved ones.

I am not religious. Frankly, I would say that I am agnostic at best, but I identify atheist (or Jewish, depending on my mood). But much of my family is Jewish and the Jewish culture and religion appeals to me greatly. It is a huge part of my background that I identify with and cherish. It is a time for me to remember my grandparents who survived the Holocaust and to acknowledge their families who did not make it. It reminds me of winter and most importantly: hope. For me, lighting the menorah and taking part in my own little Hannukah traditions is more meditative than religious. Christmas is for me and my family and friends. Hannukah is for me.

So there you have it. Happy December, everyone!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Staying Positive

Staying positive is something that I try to do on a constant basis. It's not always easy to stay positive when life gets hard. Since many people have this problem, I thought that I would share some thoughts.

On a personal level, I feel that I am still trying to work on things to help my relationship with Isaac work better. Then our condo flooded, ruining our floors. After that the A/C was broken, and we had a leak in the bathroom ceiling. Now we have problems with the furnace, the dryer caught fire, and plenty of other little things like doors to be fixed. Because we don't have any money, the work falls to us and it is expensive and time consuming. We can only afford to do so much at a time and it takes a long time to finish some projects. It becomes a rather discouraging cycle in addition to our condo being a complete disaster area. And, of course, tensions run high. There is a lot of discontent at home for these reasons.

To make it worse (especially for Isaac), I am always up at school and only home on the weekends. And I usually have to cram all my work and friend visitations and time with Isaac into a very short amount of time. Not to mention trying to help out around the condo. I know that this strains Isaac because most of the responsibility lands on his shoulders.

As a result, Isaac doesn't often feel very positive about how everything is going at home. Sadly, I feel that way, too. It's hard not to feel defeated about all these bad things and not being able to make it all go away. And even when I am not around, it is difficult. I'm not there to help when something goes wrong (like the dryer catching fire) and the general negativity really begins to wear me down.

I do my best to stay positive. I know there is a lot to do and we can't do it all at once, but we are trying to get there. We always have projects to work on (some more fun than others). That our financial situation won't always be so rough. Even though I know things will get better, it gets hard to endure the time in between. Especially because I thrive best when the people around me are positive. So when Isaac is feeling down, it gets hard for me to see someone that I love so much being so unhappy and not being able to do anything about it. That part is probably the most discouraging.

Plus, being up at school all the time sometimes makes me lonely. None of my friends and family are up here and I rarely get to see any of them. I actually enjoy being alone most of the time, but on occasion, it does make me a little sad. And I really miss my little ratties. How could I not, right? Those cute little faces!
Little Remus and Romulus!

And there is one way I stay positive: I look at pictures of my rats and always look forward to playing with them on the weekends. I always look forward to seeing the rats.

I try to make some little plans with friends and Isaac. If I get to see some of my family, that's a bonus, but our schedules don't line up all the time.

Sometimes I think we have to get away and take a break. That is something that I get plenty of, but I know Isaac doesn't get enough. I try to make sure I spend time with him, preferably away from the condo for a bit. I think that helps both of us.

I watch (or listen) to a lot of shows via Netflix. Sometimes I take little breaks from homework to watch a silly video, or go on Tumblr (which always has things to make me laugh), or read a chapter of a book. Sometimes I text my friends or bother them on Facebook. I am lucky enough to have good friends who reach back when I reach out. That always makes me happy. Sometimes I just need a cookie or a cup of coffee to cheer me up. Mostly I stay busy with my program, which is a pretty effective distraction, if nothing else!

Halloween, my favorite holiday, was a little sad this year. I spent it by myself in my room doing homework in my costume... That sounds pathetic, yes? I was feeling very down, until I Skyped with Isaac. He talked to me for a long time and brought out the rats. They all cheered me up very nicely. I hope that I have a similar effect on him.

I like to feel happy and positive. In all honesty, I usually succeed. Every once in a while, I just need a boost. And I am making it my goal to try to stay positive through all of this, for myself and for Isaac. Isaac, if you are reading this, I love you and I think we can see this through together.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

All Hallow's Eve

Happy Halloween everyone!

My very favorite holiday of the year. This is how I went to my classes today:
Freckles from 101 Dalmations!

Luckily, I was not the only person dressed up! I saw several fun costumes and masks around campus. And I got lots of compliments!

I have a few last-minute Halloween-y things to share.

Here is a great site by a master pumpkin carver. He has done several nerdy jack-o-lanterns, which I love, of course. Check it out; he's amazing! The Pumpkin Geek.

And, of course, I have been busy re-blogging and re-pinning Halloween things on Tumblr and Pinterest.

You know those people who do elaborate Christmas decorations to music? Well, here is one for Halloween! Halloween Light Show 2011: This is Halloween.

My favorite song to listen to has been Werewolves of London. Not sure why, I just am really feeling it this year.

I am reading the Halloween book that I decided that I should read every year around this time: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. I love it and highly recommend it. And it isn't a scary story, for those of you who, like me, don't like horror.

I always like to share my favorite Halloween memory: 10.31.2012: My Favorite Halloween Memory.

I hope you all have a great Halloween!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Pumpkin Carving Party

Want to know a great way to extend Halloween celebrations? Have more than one party! Halloween party, pumpkin carving party, et cetera.

My friends and I had a little pre-Halloween, pumpkin carving party. We all brought pumpkins, stensils, tools, snacks, and some drinks. We put in some Halloween-y movies (Clue, It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, Hocus Pocus, and an episode of Supernatural) and carved away!

I, sadly, had a ton of homework to work on, so I did that and my friend, Jhenn, was super awesome and gutted my pumpkin for me. Katja saved all of the "guts" so she could get all the pumpkin seeds out and toast them for the party next week.

We all had a great time sitting and chatting. And everyone carved a pumpkin.

Here are the results!
Isaac's Weeping Angel

Everyone's pumpkins! Don't they look great?!
We had a grim reaper, a haunted house, Stitch (whose candle was not cooperating here), a Halloween kitty and the Weeping Angel.

Here is mine (surprise, surprise...):
It's the Goblin King!
That seems appropriate! One of Isaac's coworkers got the stencil for me! I love it! I know I messed up a bit--it was a difficult pattern, but I think he's recognizable. Sooo exciting!

That about sums up our pumpkin carving party! Our Halloween party will be next weekend. A bit late, I know, but I am perfectly OK with spreading out the fun! Stay tuned for more Halloween posts.

What did everyone else carve this year?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

A Long Overdue Halloween Post!

Here we are, halfway through the month of October, and I have posted next to nothing about Halloween! What a travesty!

Being in school all week and having to re-do the majority of our condo has really put a dampener on my normal Halloween activities. I don't have the time or space to do many crafty things or decorating.

I did decorate the door of my dorm room.

Cute, right? The eyes are construction paper and the "wrappings" are white streamers. I've gotten lots of compliments from the people on my floor.

I do have a couple of new additions to my Halloween collection. I had a brief quilting lesson from the mother of a friend of mine. She is a very talented quilter and seamstress. She makes tons of quits for her family for holidays and I was lucky enough to be included because my friend, Veronica, mentioned that I love Halloween. So here is the absolutely beautiful (and comfy) quilt that she made:
The front side.

The back reminds me of candy corn. And it's super soft!
I am absolutely IN LOVE with it! I really need to learn to quilt!

If you follow me on Tumblr, Instagram, and especially Pinterest, you will see several Halloween and autumn posts. Feel free to peruse any of these.

On Tumblr, I found this and fell in love: Heather Franzen: a Halloween comic.

Feel free to look back on my past Halloween posts. I have party ideas, some costume-making, Halloween songs, movies, and TV show episodes, some crafts and more. Here is a good one of activities to do in Colorado around Halloween: Haunted Houses, Corn Mazes, and Pumpkin Patches, Oh My!

I hope everyone is enjoying getting geared up for Halloween! What are your favorite Halloween-y activities?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Why Feminism? Concerning Marriage and Children

So my boyfriend and I had a weird debate about feminism over the weekend that got me pretty upset and angry. Not because of my boyfriend, just in general. And Isaac doesn't understand my anger. In his defense, anger is probably not the best emotion for me to feel when it comes to feminism, but it often is.

Let me clarify: yes, I am a feminist and a great supporter of feminism. My main focus is usually trying to become aware of the ways women are discriminated against and sharing that knowledge. In my opinion, nothing will change unless we realize what is happening and take steps to correct it. It can be hard though, even for myself. There is so much that in ingrained in us, socially, that we sometimes have a hard time catching the parts that are bad. Especially when it comes to language and expectations.

I also should tell you that Isaac considers himself a feminist, too. However, I think that his view and support is very different from mine. He likes that women can be strong and independent and make their own way. But he has a hard time understanding the barriers that we face, I think, and how even the strongest women (or people for that matter) can waver in doubt when no one will support them. Being a male who supports equality for women, though, makes him a pretty great guy though, right? I think so!

This is just going to be a portion of a much larger topic that I am passionate about. I could go on forever about feminism and why it is important. Really. I will leave some parts for other posts. I am expecting to do a little series over time titled "Why Feminism?" with individual subtitles.

This weekend, I think I surprised Isaac with the knowledge of having been judged many, many times by whether or not I a) have a successful relationship that will end up with me being married and b) want kids. This usually comes from a slightly older generation, not normally my own, though I have received judgement from my peers as well.

As a woman who has always valued her independence, education, and ability, who works hard in the work place and in school, and who is motivated to constantly better herself and her environment, I find it very insulting to have my entire person degraded into whether or not I have a successful relationship and whether or not I want kids. Let's break this down a little.


When I meet new people, unless Isaac is with me, I actually refrain from mentioning ANYTHING about having a significant other. Once waters have been tested and I feel like my worth as a human being has already been established, I have no trouble bringing him up. The thing that is sad about this is that Isaac is an important part of my life and I should want to share that. Sadly,  I have encountered so many people who pry into that part of my life as a way to determine my worth that I feel like I almost have to hide it if I want people to see other aspects of myself.

That is why this usually comes from an older generation, I think. Women are supposed to settle down, right? They have to "catch" a man! (I don't know if we should start on language in this post, but I absolutely HATE that term--In Tamora Pierce's book, Shatterglass, her character, Tris, says, “If I have to 'catch' a man to get a husband, I don't want one.” Amen, sister!) Admittedly, in the past, a woman's worth has, sadly, been linked to the worth of the men in their lives, namely her father and husband. Sometimes, it is difficult to break through this mold. When talking about Isaac and how long we've been together, I have had many people ask if we were getting married. Worse, I have had people I hardly know trying to make sure we were headed that direction. In one case, I even had someone my age assure me that we would get married. Most of these people didn't care about my personal merits at all.

In fact, I never wanted to get married. Even if I met someone who could be a potential life partner (and let's be honest, I wouldn't date someone if they weren't a potential life partner because I was never interested enough in having a boyfriend to just date for the sake of it) I wasn't ever planning to marry. To be honest, I was pretty sure that I could NOT have a successful relationship. Isaac came along and proved me wrong (though I still have things that I need to work on). It turns out, that I would like to marry Isaac, but not because I want to get married. Isaac is the factor here, not marriage. If I weren't with Isaac, whom I love and would like to share my life with, I probably would still be planning not to marry. There goes my worth as a woman, right? Never mind my education or my ambitions and my dream jobs--those give me little to no credibility to some people. Which makes me sad because I have worked hard to get where I am. Women are judged all the time by whether or not they are married or have steady boyfriends. It provides a pressure to women to conform to social standards and you earn the scorn of others if you don't fit in.

And you know what else is sad? That people judging me for not being married ("You've been together seven years?! When are you getting married?") makes me feel rebellious and stubborn to the point of not wanting to get married ever. Which is probably a bad reaction. You should never let people take from you what it is you want out of life. I just hate that this is what defines me. I can't even count the suspicious and occasionally pitying looks and replies I've gotten when I brush off the question, "Oh, I don't know, maybe some day." I even have a couple of customers at Starbucks who ask me nearly every time I see them when I am getting married. It makes me want to scream. Don't you want to know when I will complete my Masters? Don't you want to know what jobs I have my eye on? Do you care if I want my Doctorate? (To be fair, I also have customers regularly ask about my studies. I guess I get some balance at least.) But, no, some people only care about me getting married, or at least making sure that I can maintain a successful relationship that will end in marriage.


Oh my. So I like kids, but kids usually scare me. Especially babies. The only baby that I really know and love is my niece, and I am still not sure what to do with her. At least now she's getting older so I feel like I can handle her a little better. Part of me has always wanted kids and another part of me does not want those terrifying creatures running around (I'm told I won't see it that way if they are mine. A mother's love and all that).

If I tell people that I'm not sure I want kids, I usually get that condescending "you-don't-know-any-better-yet" look. You know that look, right? Or, I am told, "You'll feel differently when you're older." Damn that biological clock. By the way, biological clock or no, I wouldn't let that get in the way if I decided one day that I absolutely don't want children. And for those of you who think all women need to settle down and have kids: there is usually a good reason if someone doesn't want kids. Don't just assume that they are selfish or stupid.

And what, exactly, is wrong about not wanting children, may I ask? Seriously? What do you even care? Why is it required for me to want kids? Oh, wait, it's because I am a woman, and good women want kids, right? You thought this was a thing of the past, you are wrong. I encounter this enough to know that people will still judge you by your desire to have kids. 

At every wedding I have been to, and I have been to many, the couple is asked repeatedly when they are going to have kids. Not "if," but "when." (My mom's second marriage is the exception to this--she already has great kids *ahem*). Yet another reason to dislike the idea of marriage. If I marry Isaac, I am going to have to prepare myself to deal with this, which is sad. Just because two people marry, they have to have kids, I guess.

So instead of my worth as a person being an accumulation of what I am and my accomplishments (personal and professional), I have often been pegged down by my relationship success and desire to have children. I think that I am much more than that.

Side note: I do not mean for any of this to reflect badly on the women who DO want marriage and kids. For some women, that is their dream. And good for them! What I am trying to say is that we need to be more open minded and not try to fit all women into the same box. Not all of us fit in there, you know. 
Definition of discrimination according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary
  The Flip Side: The Men's Side of Marriage and Children

I actually think that there are a lot of men who are subject to the same pressures that women are. I bet that many men are expected to get married and have kids. It is the social norm, after all. But based on what I see, hear, and read, I am going to say that it is not the same.

People expect men to be independent and self-sufficient. So if a man doesn't marry, it's more acceptable. Society tends to focus more on a man's job and money (which isn't fair, either) than his marital status.

Also, for men, jokes are always made about marriage. It is something that "ties you down" ("The old ball-and-chain") which I think is drastically unfair. You've seen the t-shirts and heard the jokes. "Game Over," and so on. Besides feeling sad that men feel the need to say these things, women rarely receive such sentiments. Because it's always the woman who wants to get married. She caught a husband. And tricked him into marrying her. Or some other BS that I guess I don't really understand. I thought this was a two-way street, but it turns out it isn't. I suppose most of this is in jest, but I still find it distasteful and degrading. Or can we at least acknowledge that marriage is tying down to both parties? That man is the woman's ball and chain?

OK! I will try to reign in the sarcasm. I get sarcastic when I get angry. (And I get angry when I am upset; confused much?)

As a side note, if Isaac and I got married and he came home with one of those shirts, I would probably cry. Just so you know. As a woman in a relationship that is based on mutual love, I actually find the idea that I drag him down to be very heart-breaking, joke or no.

I am not sure how much men are pegged by their desire to have kids. I think for most men, it is expected that they marry and have a family. There are occasions where men don't want kids, though. Here I need some male input: are you judged for not wanting kids? I know in some cases, the "blame" (of not wanting kids) can be put on the woman. I think that is because, historically, this is the woman's sphere, not the man's. But I have encountered several men who don't want kids. Are you judged harshly for that?

Who has thoughts or experiences to share? What are some of the ways we can work to change these things?

Monday, September 23, 2013

Fall Equinox!

Yesterday was the fall equinox! Yay! I love fall!

And you know what this means, don't you?

It means that Halloween is coming! Yay! I love Halloween-it's my favorite!

In honor of the equinox, I brought out some decorations to scatter around my dorm room. Our condo is in a state of upheaval because of all the repairs. Poor Isaac has been doing all if that himself with little help. But that means little to no decoration at home. Sad face.
My cute little Halloween mice! I got this figuring at a Hallmark store a couple years ago.
There will be plenty more Halloween posts to come. Feel free to look back at last year's! There are some good ones! Also, if you follow me on Pinterest, I am constantly scouting for Halloween stuff! 

Fall means beautiful colors, crisp air, apples, pumpkins, and sweaters! I am super excited and happy! Welcome to my favorite time of year!

So happy autumn everyone! What are you looking forward to?

Monday, September 16, 2013

NDK 2013: Finishing Touches and the Main Event!

Yesterday was the last day of NDK 2013. Sad faces.

This year's program. Pretty, yes?

First things first, I had to finish my costumes! Namely my Jareth costume.

My wig! Starting to put in the blue. I used a sharpie. They seem to work fine.
Coming along!

Before I put rhinestones on, I sprayed the whole thing with fabric glitter spray (which I actually used on the wig as well). It added a general sparkle. Then I created a paste with mod podge and lots of glitter (like I did for the lace cuffs) and painted it on the lapels, shoulders, and back where the rhinestones go.

Dried glitter paste.

Rhinestoning! (That's a word now). I got tons of blue, black, and silver ones and just rhinestoned (see, it's a verb!) until I achieved a 1980's level of tackiness.

It had to look tacky from the front, too. I watched a lot of Sailor Moon during this time.
Nan Desu Kan 2013!!!

Unfortunately, Colorado had some pretty major flooding the week before NDK. I couldn't get down to Denver on Friday to join in the fun. The roads did open back up so I could make it there on Saturday morning.

My first cosplay was Nausicaa:
How it turned out!
How it is supposed to look.
I think it came out alright! Plus, my good and talented friend, Cat (here is her little company page: Addict Outfitters) made me a plushie Ohmu! I love my Ohmu!
Aww, Ohmu!!

Here was our big group cosplay this year:
The whole gang! (Minus our Totoro)
This was a fun one. Not everyone really realized that we were there as a group, but people kept noticing that they were running into a lot of Ghibli characters.

Saturday was when my friend, Jhenn, held her NDK panels. Her first one was on Japanese book binding. I know they were short on time, but she managed to gather a large group of interested people, which was wonderful! It was too full for most of us to sit in on, sadly.

I was supposed to wear my Jareth costume on Friday evening, but since I didn't make it, I wore it Saturday evening. Cat, my Sarah, wore her beautiful Sarah dress Friday by her lonesome. Sad. But here she is looking absolutely beautiful in her home-made ball gown:
So pretty!
Here is my Jareth costume. There are actually a few floating around on the internet, too. That's cool, right? It's OK, most people won't know that it's me.
Trying to glare in a menacing fashion.

How it's supposed to look. Not too bad a job, right?

I bought colored contacts that were not prescription nor were they fitted to my eyes so they were very uncomfortable! But here they are with my makeup that my friend, Katja, did much of.
I also have a decent amount of glitter on my face, which is difficult to see.
On Saturday night, Jhenn had her second panel: Ink! This one I managed to sit in on. Which was nice because she sketched a picture of me with my rat babies for an example. It was a good panel and very educational. Jhenn is a good teacher. Go to her panels! Plus, she is a great artist. She had some art pieces up for the art show that they hold every year. Both were beautiful. People bid on both! So proud!

Saturday also held many of the main events of the convention. The AMV contest and awards are always highly packed. The costume contest happened this day, as did the "Mask-a-rave." They had so many events going on, it is impossible to keep up with! The best strategy is to pick panels that you want to see and make sure you hit those and do anything else in between. Oh, and for future con goers: get to your panels early! NDK has gained a ton of popularity since I started going. They offer so many things, but it is very crowded and space is limited!

And remember, there is always Artist's Alley where artists gather and sell their crafts. This is a favorite spot for me--people are so creative and talented! I actually bought a couple of beautiful dragon prints from an artist. I highly recommend checking her out: Little Wings Dragons by Carla Morrow.

They have two different gaming rooms, one for live games and one for video games, both of which can attract quite the crowd. You may have to wait a while for your turn at the games, but it is fun!

They always invite many, many guests who participate in panels, interviews, and autographs. It is always great to connect with the people involved in the anime and manga industries and hear what they have to say. This has always been a base for NDK. They have been very successful and lucky with participation from the greats out there!

And last, but certainly not least, is the Dealer's Room. It's a hot spot! The lines to get in are almost always long, but they move fast! My advice though? Watch what you are buying. Some of the venders mark their prices up quite a bit, which I think is unfair. Be aware of what is good pricing and what is oddly high. You can probably find these at a shop for a reasonable price. That's not to say that they are all there to rip you off, that's not true at all. Just be aware. Really though, you can find SOOOO many cool things here! It is crowded, but worth waiting and browsing.

And just sitting and watching people is part of the fun. Lots of cool and creative costumes to see. There are several sites where you can find costume pictures. I was pleased by the numbers of people doing female versions of strong, male characters. Represent, ladies! Speaking of which...

Sunday, Katja and I did our Lady Doctor costumes.

I probably shouldn't be smiling... And Katja lent me that hat.

The fourth and tenth Lady Doctors!
I did get many, many compliments on my scarf! Which made me happy because I love it! It is probably 13 feet long or so.

Every year in the past (since NDK has been held at this location, anyway) we have taken a picture of our group in the reflected ceiling windows at night. We actually forgot this year so we used this conveniently dark wall art to take our reflection picture in. You can kind of see us.

Our annual picture!
That's the end of NDK 2013! If I happen to stumble upon anything interesting that relates to this, I will be sure to post it for those who are interested.

Here is the official NDK website: Nan Desu Kan. Check it out! They are already starting registration for next year! And, yes, they do sell out.

Next year, our big group cosplay is going to be a cross between Sailor Moon and Disney heroines. Yes, you heard right. It might sound weird, but it will be fun! Maybe the boys can be Disney heroes crossed with Tuxedo Kamen. Who knows. I don't know what else I will do. There was talk of Power Rangers, so maybe I will be the pink ranger. We will see.

But, if you ask me? The best part about NDK is that it is a tradition for me and my friends (apparently we've been going for about 11 (or so?) years, though I know I missed a couple in the middle). We get to see each other and hang out together all weekend. We get dressed up, we eat our meals together, and we just hang out! I always look forward to spending this time with some of my best friends. I love you guys! You are the ones that make NDK fun for me. I look forward to next year!

Friday, September 6, 2013

NDK 2013 Costumes Part Nine

I am pleased to announce that my Nausicaa costume is pretty much finished! It may be a little rough around the edges (for instance, I didn't feel like adding buttons so it buttons to the top so I will be using safety pins), but it is ready to go! I just need gloves!
Not shown here are the leg warmer things, yellow tights, and belt. And the shoes.

My Lady Fourth Doctor (that's awkward to say... how are you supposed to say it??) is nearly finished! I have made all of my necessary alterations to coat and capris! I just need to finish the scarf, clean off the hat, and find a silly broach. Don't you love the progress? And the scarf is oh-so-close! It is about 12 feet long and just needs another foot or so and then the fringe on the ends!
Not shown are the capris, white shirt, and shoes. The scarf is nearly finished!

I wish I could say that I had progress on my Jareth costume. I left that one at home this past week because I'm scared of it. It still needs to have a lot done. But now I have this weekend and all of next week to finish! Yay! And keep your fingers crossed that my wig makes it in time. I still have to put blue in it and spray it with glitter. Oh, and I need to finish his broach! Don't let me forget!

Monday, September 2, 2013

NDK 2013 Costumes Part Eight

Nan Desu Kan 2013 is fast approaching! Who is getting nervous?!?

Being up in Fort Collins most of the time has really put a dampener on my costume progress. I may have to drag my sewing machine and supplies up here.

I did bring supplies to glitter the lace sleeves for my Jareth costume.
Necessary supplies

I mixed some modge podge, blue fabric glitter paint, and dark blue, blue, and silver glitter into this paste.
What it looked like at first.

It looks light because the modge podge hasn't dried.

After the first coat. I decided to do a second. And while it was still wet, I put a little more glitter straight on.

The finished product! Pretty right? If a little stiff. That's OK.

All pretty and sparkly!

I also brought all my yarn up for my Lady Doctor costume. My scarf is about half-way finished now! Though that's difficult to really tell from this picture:
I have actually added at least another foot since this was taken.

I'm excited about it!

And I started to make Nausicaa's leg warmer things. That's the technical term. I may end up having my Nausicaa costume finished first. I will feel better if I can knock at least that one out.

With some help from Krissy, I started to fit my baggy clothing for my Doctor Who costume, but I have yet to actually sew anything.

I did order my Jareth wig which will hopefully be here just in time. I also ordered contacts for Jareth:
One hazel and one blue!

Cool right? They are non-prescription so I won't be able to see well, but they were much cheaper. We will see how they work out!

Because NDK is less than two weeks away, I finally broke down and brought my sewing machine and some of my stuff up to my dorm room. Otherwise, I highly doubt I can finish everything. Wish me luck! I hope everyone else is getting ready!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Returning to College as an Adult

As some of you probably know, I recently returned to college to get my Masters. I entered an intensive, one-year long program for Microbiology and Immunology.

The problem for me was leaving my home, friends, family, and many of my work hours behind to move up to Fort Collins. Not only that, I am living in the dorms with all of the 18-year-olds. I guess a couple of them are 19. Even my RA is just barely 20.

At 25 going on 26, I felt that 18 wasn't that long ago. And luckily for me, I look young enough to blend in with my floor mates. But 18 has never looked so young before.

Several of my floor mates are directionless, have never been away from home, and have never had to be an adult before now. When I went through all of that for the first time, it was overwhelming and often confusing. While 18 is not so far behind me, I realize just how much I have changed since I first went off to college.

When I went off to college at 18:
  • My parents were still together.
  • My relationship with Isaac was still new--we were only a few months in. I still never thought I could make it in a relationship. (But more than seven years later, here we are.)
  • I wanted to go into forensic science and was forced to choose between a Biology or Chemistry focus and went with Biology. (Now I have a degree in Biology with a Biotech focus and a Chemistry minor).
  • I NEVER wanted to teach. (Now I tutor and am considering going into teaching.)
  • I was still living at home with my parents when I wasn't in the dorms.
  • I thought I could work at Peaberry Coffee all the way though college.
  • I was still in Westernaires. That's weird to think about.
  • I thought I would stay at the University of Northern Colorado for the whole four years to get my degree (I transferred twice and it took me five and a half years to get my undergrad...).
  • I still had a great group of friends. Some have drifted away, but I am proud to say that I still have many, many good friends and have been able to make more during college.
So even thought 18 wasn't far away for me in terms of years, it seems very far away from me in terms of experience and life. Living in the dorms with all these fresh college students has been a very interesting experience so far. And most of them are nice, but not sure what to make of me. I have to say that, overall, I am enjoying the experience in this new light.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

NDK 2013 Costumes Part Seven

Costume update time!

First and foremost, we have decided not to do Rogue and Gambit this year. Isaac wasn't ready to put the time, money, and effort into it and I didn't feel like doing all of the work, so it is out. Perhaps next year. I hope so anyway. It would be totally awesome.


I made the cartridges to put on the front of my dress! Here is how:
Bead tubes! After I removed the lids.

First, I wrapped them in orange felt. Hooray for hot glue guns.

Then I wrapped the felt in strips of the matching blue fabric.

And we have a cartridge!

I sewed them together and sewed them to a solid piece of fabric.

My finished cartridge packs.

And then I sewed them onto the front of my little dress! Nausicaa is nearly finished! I just need to make her little leg warmers.


I finally got some lace for the sleeves. I need to put blue glitter on them.

While I was trying the jacket on, I realized that it wasn't fitting quite right because, like a dolt, I forgot the band and buttons in the back.

See those there? Yeah, I need to add that and that will help the coat fit properly. I am working on that currently.

Along with this, I decided to safety pin the front of the coat so it will stay in place with the vest since the coat doesn't close. I just put one on each side near my waist. It will help with the coat fitting better and keep my costume nice at all times without me having to adjust it every two minutes. I was going to sew in snaps, but I am starting to run short on time.

I also haven't hemmed the bottom of the coat yet because I am having trouble getting it in just the right shape. It just needs some more adjusting, but it is fairly simple so it will be done soon! Then I just get to glitter and bedazzle the crap out of the coat!

I ordered the wig! I got it from Amphigory: Punky Wigs. It should get here *JUST* in time (I hope...) and then I will need to put some blue in it. And spray it with glitter (I'm sensing a pattern here).

I also ordered contacts! One blue and one brown! Non prescription, but that's OK. It's cheaper and who needs to see properly?

New Costume Announcement!

Lady Fourth Doctor!

Yes, you heard correct! A friend of mine is dressing as a female version of the tenth doctor. I decided to join her at the last moment.

I have been watching a lot of Classic Doctor Who lately and I really like them. I may have considered the second Doctor, but the fourth is more distinctive.

So I went to a thrift store and found these:

Everything will need some altering. The fourth Doctor is possibly the frumpiest Doctor ever, which makes me laugh. Though he gets less frumpy later when they change his clothes out as his saga goes on.

And then, of course, his signature scarf which I will be crocheting!

So that's that! Stay tuned! I am getting excited!