A-Kon 26! Kawaii Coven!

So, I haven’t posted in a long time. Blah blah blah, excuses and what-not. Well, I returned home from my annual trip to Dallas for A-Kon a few of weeks ago, and since I’ve been blogging about that every year, I figured now is a good time to get back to blogging.  Here we go!

Thursday: Arrived in Dallas slightly later than anticipated. I blame jerk-ass truckers and road construction! Chantel and I picked up our badges, and then we took off with Liz for our traditional jaunt around Dallas. And by jaunt, I mean we went to LUSH, H-Mart, and to get food. We ate at Mooyah, which I’d heard of but never been to, and their turkey burger and sweet potato fries are delicious, especially when you haven’t eaten a substantial meal all day. Unfortunately, our delays caused us to miss an event we wanted to attend with Liz. Boo. We’ll have to make up for that next year!

This year we had two friends (Sara and D) with us that hadn’t attended/stayed in many years. It was really fun to hang out, and we spent Thursday evening having drinks and snacks, watching Archer, and playing Cards Against Humanity.

Friday: After eating breakfast, having coffee, and getting ready, we headed out with one destination in mind. The DEALER’S ROOM/ARTIST’S ALLEY! Yes, shopping! Also, Liz, Bobii, and D were dressed as the kids from Bob’s Burgers, and they looked great! The only specific item I was on the lookout for was a pink wig for with my witch costume. I hadn’t found one I liked and could afford in advance, so all I had was pink clip-in bangs and was kind of counting on being able to find a wig in the Dealer’s Room. Of course, I got distracted looking at everything else, drifted from the Dealer’s Room to Artist’s Alley, and returned to the room without looking at wigs. But Chantel and I wanted to take our dollies down to the DollAkon room, so we had a snack and ventured back out. And lucky me, in addition to finding a new wig by the awesome La Esperanza Doll Shop in the doll room, I found myself the cutest pink wig in the Dealer’s Room! Success!

There were way more food truck options this year, and we opted for food from Cajun Tailgaters for dinner. I had jambalaya and hush puppies. The jambalaya was super spicy but good, and the hush puppies were delicious!

Friday night was also spent having drinks and snacks, watching HGTV, and playing Super Fight.

Saturday: Cosplay day! Chantel, Liz, Bobii, and I were witches on Saturday. It was fun dressing up again, and while we were in costume, I commissioned LULULIN to do a Cat-icature of me. It turned out so cute, and I can’t wait to get it framed. I also commissioned Haggard Hare to draw a chibi of Saga after seeing how cute the one was that Chantel had done of Rook. Also on Saturday, our friend Dai, who we hadn’t seen in like…four years, came by. She was in town for a concert, but wanted to see us for a bit and check out the con. However, the registration lines had gotten so long, that Liz and I ended up letting Dai and her friend borrow our badges so they could go shop for a bit. So Liz and I hung out in the room for a while, which allowed us to just chit-chat, get the room a bit more organized, and retrieve more ice for the ice chest.

We witches had tickets for the Goblin Market Saturday night as well. The idea is that attendees can trade away intangible things such as eye color, memories, etc, in exchange for various trinkets and baubles, but no money can exchange hands. As the hour approached, we were all a bit iffy (anxiety!) and still hadn’t had dinner. So, we ordered Thai and figured we’d see how we felt after eating a good meal. It was a little after 8 (when the market was supposed to open), and we decided to not chicken out, especially since we’d spent money on the tickets already. I’m so glad we went!

The event took place in an area of the hotel outside of the main event spaces. In line, one of the goblins approached us and got us a bit pumped up for what might await us inside. I was even more excited after that, and that guy’s character was great! We went inside, got our actual tickets (there was a raffle at the end of the market), and made our way upstairs to the increasing volume of music played on a piano. When we arrived on the landing, there was a man and woman playing piano and singing for the entertainment of market attendees. We went into the room on the right first and just sort of looked around until we saw people with little bottles in their hands. Then we saw there was a line from the landing at the top of the stairs into another room on the left. While we waited in line, the lady entertainer saw Bobii dancing along to the music and invited her to dance. When we thought back on what the goblin told us while we were in line, we realized that Bobiii had enjoyed a dance with the devil! Oh my! She was also approached by a goblin wanting recipes, as all of hers had been stolen!

When we made it into the other room, there were two tables set up where people were playing black jack to gamble away memories and such for whatever the goblins were trading. I don’t know black jack and all the seats were filled, so I passed on that. However, on the left there was a counter where two goblins were offering up a taste of whatever sin you might like to try, no strings attached. Intriguing! I couldn’t decide what I wanted, and ended up picking Wrath when it was my turn. Bobii also chose Wrath, Chantel chose Lust, and Liz chose Sloth. Of course, we all had to sample each other’s sins. Wrath was a bit fizzy, sort of like lemon-lime soda, but with a burning feeling as it went down my throat. But, I drank it all and now have the bottle on display on my desk. Upon returning to the room on the right, we figured out that one goblin wanted stories, memories, and other such things in exchange for little glowing vials. One goblin was acting as a sort of fortune teller, though we didn’t linger near her area for long, so I could be wrong. Another goblin was accepting souls in exchange for whatever he deemed worthy as well as dealing in revenge (in the form of little voodoo doll charms). I was ready to offer up my soul and sign a contract for unlimited success doing what I love, but even when Chantel and I offered him a 2-for-1 deal on our twin souls, he chose others with which to make his final deals. Ah well, maybe next year. There was also a performer doing things like lifting a cinder block attached to ropes that were attached to his beard, snapping his hand in some kind of hinged trap, and hammering a nail into his nose. At the end of the evening, the goblins gave away some prizes, and Bobii won a cool carved wooden lamp before we were encouraged to hurry away from the market, for once the market is over and the market truce is no longer in effect, the goblins can keep any stragglers. It was fun, and I would definitely like to do it again next year. And now that we know what it’s all about, we won’t be so apprehensive.

When we went back to the room, we packed up as much of our things as we could, showered, and watched TV for a while before going to sleep.

Sunday: Boo, last day of the con! After checking out of the room and taking our luggage to our cars, we walked around for a while before bidding Bobii and Sara farewell. Then Chantel, Liz, and I went to the food trucks to get lunch. I got a super yummy Everything But the Kitchen Sink pizza from the VIP Pizza truck , and we sat on the floor in the atrium to eat and people-watch. After that, we wandered the Dealer’s Room and Artist’s Alley for a while longer before deciding it was time to start our 6+ hour drive home, so we too parted ways.

All in all, A-Kon was a lot of fun this year. Of course, there are always people that are going to annoy me or things I wish were slightly different, but I think they’ve made things a lot better since the first year the convention was held at the Hilton Anatole. I’m glad I was able to spend time with D and Sara since they hadn’t stayed with us in a long time and even though D had to leave the con early due to a family emergency, and it’s always a good time hanging out with Liz and Bobii, so I can pretty much guarantee that, convention aside, I’ll have fun while I’m there.

We’re already talking about potential Welcome to Night Vale cosplay plans, and I’m already looking forward to another year nerding out with my friends at A-Kon!

Note: Photos used in this post do not all belong to me.  They were taken by myself as well as Liz and Chantel, and were nabbed for use here.  ^_^v

Having Fun and Getting Stuff Done

I just wanted to post about a few things that have kept me busy over the past month and a half or so.

If I’m honest with myself and anyone reading this, I struggle with motivation. I want to do things, but I often just can’t seem to convince myself to do them instead of sticking with my usual and mostly unproductive routine. But! Somehow I was able to pump myself up to achieve some goals and complete some little projects recently. It made me feel really good, so I don’t know what it is that keeps me from completing more tasks and working toward accomplishing more goals in my day-to-day life. That aside, I would like to harness the motivation I used for these projects to get more done, including but not limited to participating in more events and projects such as those I’ve recently thrown myself into.

First up was CampNaNoWriMo. I’ve tried on several occasions to participate in and win NaNoWriMo, which takes places every November. However, I’m terrible at planning in advance and usually start writing with a very small idea of a plot or the dream of a fantastic new character, so I typically don’t get very far before discouragement gets the best of me. Well, I figured it was time for me to stop just saying “I need to start writing again,” and actually get some writing done. So when Lilian asked if I was going to participate in Camp, I said “Sure!” and joined her cabin. I goaled myself for 25,000 words of rewrites, edits, and additions to a story I’ve been playing with for a while now. It’s not my oldest piece, but one I’m more excited by than most of the others right now. Again, I didn’t plan much in advance, and what I wrote is a mix of scenes from different parts of what will eventually be the whole, but I’m excited about what I did. I succeeded. I wrote just over 25,000 words during July, and they weren’t comprised only of edits and rewrites. I actually added new stuff to the story. There’s still a lot I need to think about, rework, and add, but this is the most I’ve written in years. It makes me sad to say that, but it’s the truth. And I don’t want it to be the truth anymore. I want to write, so I need to make writing a habit and priority. So, while I’m unsure of whether or not I’ll participate in NaNoWriMo this November, I do know that I’m ready –no matter how hard it might be– to act more like the writer I want to be. Now, if only I was better at titling my work!

During the same month, I took on Radical Self Love July. This was a simple, but thoughtful Instagram challenge that turned out to be really fun. I love taking pictures and have been trying to love myself more, so it was a perfect thing to take part in. I’m hoping there will be another month of radical self love in the near future, because I would love to do something like this again.

Finally, I was invited to join Lilian’s team for this year’s GISHWHES, which I’ve heard about, explored a bit, but never participated in. Not going to lie, but I was really anxious after signing up because I decided to look at last year’s list of tasks and was sure I’d hardly be able to get anything done for my team. Most of them seemed fairly impossible, but I guess nothing is ever impossible. A good portion of our team met up to go over the list of 185 items as soon as it was available on the afternoon of August 2nd. The brainstorming session was fun in and of itself, and I walked away feeling like maybe we’d get more done than I originally anticipated. It was an exhausting week, and I spent more time being social during that time than I typically do in a whole month (so sad), but it was such fun! I raced in a newspaper boat regatta in a public fountain, was buried up to my neck in sand (not something I’d care to ever repeat), dressed in evening wear constructed only from items found in my bathroom, played a kazoo soundtrack for tweed “porn”, posed for a rock band album cover (and got paint everywhere making a backdrop), destroyed a book (horror!) for the sake of creating a “novel life form”, got the perfect shot of a vampire sucking blood from a doughnut (including horrified onlooker reading Dracula), and compiled 15 mug shots into a Brady Bunch-style photo grid.  Check out our Facebook group to view the photos and videos of our shenanigans!

But the team accomplished even more than that! From walking on water, building a kale throne, arm wrestling movie theater employees, and having a cat order from a food truck to constructing an angel from feminine hygiene products, posing for a multi-generational gender-swapped family portrait, making a candy swimsuit, and going toilet paper shopping as a zombie, our team did some great stuff!

Also, our team members were just awesome in general! It was a ton of fun working and playing with them!

So, that’s what I’ve been up to recently. The next little project I’m hoping to participate in is the 30 Days of Lists challenge, which starts September 1st.

Any projects you’ve participated in recently or hope to participate in someday? Also, what do you do to motivate yourself to get stuff done, especially on a day-to-day basis?

A-Kon 25! Princess Party!

The first weekend of the month saw my sister, our friends, and me making our annual trek to A-Kon in Dallas, Texas.  As in previous years, we arrived on Thursday ready to enjoy the convention and hoping for a better experience than last year, when the Hilton Anatole and A-Kon were newly acquainted.

As far as organization goes, from what I experienced, things were much better! We didn’t have to wait in lines to get into Artist Alley and the Dealers Room.  Of course, I can’t say anything regarding wait times in registration lines because Chantel and I donated to A-Kon’s Kids Need to Read charity initiative, allowing us to skip the regular registration line.  When we first saw the charity table there was a line of perhaps 20 people waiting to pick up their badges, but as we headed downstairs to see how it was while we waited for Liz and Bobii to make their way down so we could do some running around town, there was nobody waiting!  We were able to walk up and get our badges, and we only had to wait as long as it took for them to pull our badges out of their little box and check our confirmation number.  It was great, and something I would definitely do again next year.

Also, before we headed out we gave Liz and Bobii their very belated Christmas gifts, and Liz gave Chantel and me a box full of awesome goodies (also late Christmas gifts), which was fun!  She didn’t label anything, so we had to guess which items were for each of us, and we totally got it right.  Liz knows us both so well!  ❤

I was disappointed that With Photo, the purikura place that had become a traditional Thursday stop for us, had relocated to a mall that looked like the set of a zombie movie and was closed when we stopped by.  Additionally, over the course of the weekend, we were informed via email that the shop is going out of business.  How sad! It was so much fun! Other stops on our Thursday jaunt around Dallas included lunch at Panera, the Galleria (Sephora, LUSH, Godiva, and more), H-Mart, and Mozart Bakery, before heading back to the hotel to relax.

I used to be all about waking up really early, getting ready, and heading down to enjoy the con and quickly as possible every morning.  Now, I think we all take a more leisurely approach.  We ate breakfast in the room every morning, took our time getting ready, and didn’t worry about how early we could get to the Dealers Room or any other area of the convention.  Most of what I did this year was the same as last year.  I wandered the shopping areas of the convention (including DollAKon this year), and didn’t really take in much other than that.  I would really like to start taking part in more aspects of the convention again, like checking out the concerts, dances, and seeing if there are any workshops or panels I might be interested in.

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But I do enjoy shopping, and I picked up quite a few cute things in Artist Alley and the Dealers Room, including an adorable AlPacasso plushie I’ve named BonBon (he’s so cute!), the yummy smelling Satsuma Samurai salt scrub from SkullSoap, kawaii stationery grab bags from Shop Kawaii, and a number of other items.  Also, I loved just walking around and seeing everyone’s costumes!  I should have taken more pictures.  The Attack on Titan cosplayers were particularly entertaining.

Friday night, we ordered pizza, drank some very strong lemon drops (thanks to Liz), and talked until we decided we were hungry again and went down to the food trucks to get sliders, which were super yummy!  Also, on our way to the food trucks, we got stopped and scolded by Professor Snape for wandering the corridors after curfew!  Oh no!  Commence giggling like school girls!

Saturday was mostly the same as Friday, except that we dressed up as our own versions of princesses from Adventure Time.  I was Princess Bubblegum, Chantel was Raggedy Princess, Bobii was Flame Princess, and Liz was Lumpy Space Princess.  Oh my glob!  It was pretty fun, especially considering it was my first time cosplaying and I was a little unhappy with my wig.  However, I had my picture taken with some guys dressed as the Banana Guard (see first set of images), who were totally in character, sounded like the Banana Guard, and addressed us all as princesses (foxy princesses at that!).  That was probably my favorite part about my cosplay experience aside from the fact that I was dressed up with my friends.  Good times!  I’m glad I made more of the little accessories I wanted for my costume myself instead of buying them.  Additionally, using boots I already had and hand-painting a solid black shirt allowed me to save money, which was really important to me.

We ordered Thai for dinner, had a couple of drinks, got a visit from another Dallas-area friend) and played a couple of games of Cards Against Humanity.  I won both games, and I’m not sure what that says about me.  Haha!  And at about two o’clock in the morning, the fire alarms went off in the hotel.  Thankfully, we weren’t asleep, but Liz had just gotten out of the shower, and we were all in our pajamas.  But, we did as told and headed to the stairwells where we were informed that it was a false alarm (apparently some people were smoking in the stairwells somewhere in the hotel).  Excitement!  Adventure!  Thus, concluded another day at the con.

Sunday was a usual convention Sunday.  I didn’t put as much effort into my makeup or my hair, and I spent most of the morning packing up, cleaning up, and getting ready to check out.  Then we spent a couple more hours wandering the convention space, had some lunch, and we our separate ways.  Chantel and I had a 6+ hour drive home that, once again, ended up being more like an 8+ hour drive.  I don’t know what it is about leaving the Dallas area on a Sunday afternoon that delays our getting home so much. Hopefully that will improve by next year.

As usual, I felt sad at the end of the weekend.  I always start to miss and feel nostalgic for that convention atmosphere, all the people gathered to enjoy common interests and interact with new people, and the company of my wonderful friends.  I’d like to start attending more than just one convention throughout the year (I may have said this last year too), maybe check out some events I’ve never been to.  But until then, I’ll be looking forward to next year’s A-Kon and the adventure we’ll have when that time comes.

To those who attended A-Kon, how did you feel about this year’s event compared to last year’s?  And for everyone, tell me something about your favorite convention!

Things I Love Thursday: Convention Stuffs

Hello there, everyone!

I hope everyone is doing well on this lovely (though incredibly hot) Thursday.  I’m staying cool inside and hoping to quickly kick this cold or whatever it is I have.  I’m going to go ahead and blame being around so many people at A-Kon.  I used to get sick after almost every convention I attended, but this is the first time in several years it has happened.  So disappointed!  Anyway, here is my very convention-centric list for the week!  And I’ll hopefully have a proper A-Kon post up soon (just gotta load my pictures to my computer and wait for a few more from a friend).

  • A-Kon!
  • Cards Against Humanity.  Does it say anything in particular about me that I won both games we played?
  • Cosplaying with friends.
  • Mozart Bakery.
  • BBQ Chicken pizza.
  • A wonderful box of goodies from Liz.
  • Frozen cappuccino colada.
  • Being called foxy by the Banana Guard (I was in my Princess Bubblegum costume).
  • Finally getting home after a slow, and therefore much longer, drive from Dallas.
  • Catching up on Minecraft and other game-play videos.
  • Hot tea with honey.
  • Laughing.  😀
  • The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones movie.

Until next time!

 

Par-tea Time!

Oh my, that title is so cheesy! Oh well!

Last Friday, Chantel and I hosted a tea party for ourselves and the delightful Lilian.  I thought, why not write up a quick post about the fun we had and the yummy menu Chantel and prepared for us all to enjoy?

It’s always fun to dress up, so although it was just the three of us, we all wore some of our tea party best.  Yay, dresses and hats and cute hair accessories and shiny jewelry!

With a gelato-scented candle lit and some nice music playing, we set the table with a hodgepodge of dishes on which to present our edible treats, and featured a polka-dotted teapot full of carnations as the center piece.  Of course, preparing the food leading up to the event was also fun.  I love making food for other people to enjoy, and it makes me so very happy when they really like what I’ve prepared.

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Chantel and I bought some yummy Simply Lemonade, but fancied it up by muddling fresh raspberries and mint leaves into it to infuse additional flavors in overnight.  It turned out great, so pretty and pink, and we served it in a tall, somewhat narrow crystal pitcher and crystal goblets.  We had jasmine flowering tea to go with parmesan and parsley mini frittatas, ham, cream cheese, and apricot preserves sandwiches, and homemade chicken salad sandwiches.  Then we had coconut chai with half and half and sugar to go with plain scones, which we topped with a variety of combinations of clotted cream, lemon curd, and strawberry preserves, and chocolate macarons with vanilla pastry cream.  The macarons were a big hit! They were probably my favorite part of the menu as well.

We nibbled our treats and talked about jobs, writing, blogging, travel and conventions, anime, and a variety of other topics.  It was so much fun and I was super excited to finally be able to host a tea party!  I really liked how everything came together, and I think the mish-mash of dishes made everything a bit more quirky and fun.

Our visit lasted for a while before we decided to head out on the town for a bit of wandering, browsing, and shopping.  This was also fun, and we had employees from Sephora and one of the mall kiosks comment on our outfits and/or ask what we were dressed up for.  I think one of them thought it was a bit strange; she said she’d never heard of something like that.  Never heard of having a tea party!?  However, she did say we all looked nice.

All-in-all, it was a fabulous day that I hope to repeat, in some form, in the not-too-distant future.  There were mentions of a Minecraft paper craft party, macaron-making party, and/or cookie making party, so hopefully we’ll be able to get together again soon!

Anyone else ever host a tea party or similar event?  What are some of your favorite foods to prepare or ways to decorate for a get-together with friends?