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Ren Fest, All Hallows’ Eve Weekend

On Sunday, Willy and I attended Ren Fest for a few short hours. We had planned to be there all day but since it was pouring down rain in the morning, I thought we weren’t getting to go at all. Fortunately, it let up about noon and we headed out to the festival.

This year I decided I really wanted to attend on All Hallows’ as a way to sneak a second Halloween costume in for the year. I always go to Fest in costume but I really wanted to do something outside of my norm: The Raven.

I have had the nickname of Raven for so many years but I have never dressed as one, until now.
to incorporate my husband in the costuming, we decided he’d go as Edgar Allan Poe. (the other option, a Khaki Scout ala Moonrise Kingdom, wasn’t very appealing to him)

This costume was definitely a labor of love. I made my tutu by following a tutorial for a very full tutu. The tutorial is for toddler sizes so I didn’t really do the math about how much tulle I would need to make one for myself, in total around 200 yards. A shopkeep at festival didn’t believe me when I told him it was that much but each strip is anywhere from 3-4 feet long and there are two strips in each little hole, stacked three deep, all the way around my waist.
I really didn’t want any “wardrobe malfunctions” so my hindparts were VERY covered. The only other drawback to this plan? Bathroom breaks were a total pain! The tulle grabbed my tights and it was A LOT of fluff to try and wrangle into a stall.

My make-up is from another tutorial. I modified it to fit the products (mostly) I had on hand, didn’t need a beak because I already had one and also, I didn’t want to change my eyebrows so I just darkened them.
I did a make-up test and then decided I needed to add some more product. On my face I’m wearing Colorstay foundation, NYX black gel smudger, NYX milk eye pencil, Eyeco fat eyestick in Old Gold, Almay Intense Eyes for green eyes, Hard Candy eyeshadow in Space Cadet, NYX Glam Liner in Glam Platnum, Almay black liquid liner, Almay black kohl liner and Physician’s Formula green gel liner.

It was hard to capture the detail of the mask and my make-up at the same time
because I’m so pale and it’s so intensely dark.

The mask was originally supposed to be an entire cowl piece but it was WAY TOO HOT HERE (stupid Texas) so I adapted and created a head piece instead.
(it’s currently sitting on this skull because I don’t have a mannequin head and want to keep the shape)

The back of the mask is a sleep mask from United Airlines First Class.
It worked perfectly.

I layered several different types and shapes of feathers over the mask and added some buttons for the eyes. The beak I cut off a Venetian style plaster mask that came white but I painted it black by hand and then spray painted a clear coat on top to give it the glossy effect.

Willy’s Poe costume was very easy to put together with a vest we purchased (this will work for our actual Halloween costumes as well) some smudged eye shadow around his eyes, a normal button down shirt, a strip of black fabric for his ascot and a feather as his quill pen.

This is probably my most favorite costume to date and we had a lovely afternoon at Fest.

Normally I would wear something else our second trip to Fest,next month,
Untitledbut this year I might just go as Raven again. I loved it that much.

Other costume notes: my little shawl thing reminded me of wings and is actually a faux fur wrap that attaches to my leather jacket, I just tied it on with some ribbon. the waist cincher is by Renaissance Leather. the black belt, mug holder and pouch I used for my phone are from Ravenswood, my boots are old Airwalk from Payless, tights are Vera Wang from Kohl’s and my mug is from Wondrous Works in Wood (it’s a purple heart wood)

the costume closet

I’ve had a BFF in Arizona since the third grade, her name is Jamie and since we are both turning (I already turned) 38 this year that means we have known each other 28 years. TWENTY EIGHT YEARS. There are a lot of awesome things I love about her and our life together over the years (because seriously, we have lived A LIFE by now) but one of the things that has always stuck with me is her mom’s closet. Renee, oh Renee, lover of all accessories and always completely accessorized with matching (clip) earrings, necklace and bracelet sets had a closet of wonder. My senior year of high school I got a wild hair that I wanted to go to school in costume for Halloween. You are all shocked. Anyway, I didn’t have access to anything or the funds to buy anything, living on my own at the time, so I went to Jamie’s house and asked for help.

It was FANTASTIC! Renee starting pulling option upon option from her closet and piling them on the bed. It was like the Rachel Zoe of costume moments! I could be Pebbles! I could be a Fighter Pilot! I could be a Hula Girl (complete with coconut bra)! I could be a Clown! I could be a Flapper! I could be Pocahontas!

Ultimately I went with the last option which included wearing Jamie’s fringed white boots from middle school (our feet are vastly different sizes even though we look enough alike that people mistake us for sisters on the regular) and that day I SWORE that I would be just like that someday. I would be able to slap costumes together from the depths of my closet at any given time. It has always been my dream and so far, I have been living it. One year for Halloween I was able to make Sprog a fairly passable Slash from GnR in under ten minutes just from stuff in my closet and one of the guitars in the house. He even wore a pair of my platform stompy boots, a wig I had and a top hat we had from another costume.

This past weekend we attended a Dazed and Confused Quote Along at Alamo Drafthouse.
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Perfect opportunity for a last minute costuming.
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My initial plan for my outfit included a Jordache shirt, but in reality it was too short for my low-slung flares so I had to swap it for an equally 70’s esque shirt instead.

Final outfit
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How can you go wrong with colored eyeshadow, turquoise, braids, a flow-y eyelet embellished top, flares, fringed leather bag (that i am still carrying btw) and platforms? NAILED IT.

Let’s talk about the shoes for a hot second longer okay?
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Because, right? They are EVERYTHING. You will be seeing them a crap ton this summer. BANK ON IT.

As much as we are scaling down, de-cluttering and purging, I will ALWAYS have my costume closet. I ALWAYS aspire to be Renee in this small way.

the walkers


I’m not sure how long ago I committed to walking the dogs every morning but it’s been long enough to make it a solid habit now. So much so that the dogs get antsy the same time every morning and Maddie (the black dog) starts slapping me if I’m not up and getting ready to go “on time”. We had to pause for Maddie’s surgery and her recovery but I went by myself during that time and I thought she would burst from happiness on our first day back out there, they really do love it that much. I’ve even forced Sprog to drag his teenage hide out there by himself and take them when I’ve had other commitments that prevented me from doing it.

We go when it’s cold. We go when it’s crazy windy.

Today thanks to DST was the first time I’ve been out before the sun was actually up
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and we almost caught Willy leaving for work. He was turning the corner right as we were about to cross the street and Maddie spotted his car and started to run for him. So cute and slightly dangerous. Thankfully I always walk the girls on the leash :-)

Over the weekend I shot an outdoor wedding and as I currently have a sinus infection, it knocked me down pretty hard but we had plans with friends that evening to see another one of our friends do an acoustic set here before heading on to SXSW shows and I didn’t want to cancel. I’m really glad I went because not only was it a crazy evening for the record books but I also had a couple of people tell me how much they love seeing our morning walk pictures and it really made my night. I didn’t plan on it turning into a “project” but somehow it has morphed into something that I not only look forward to every day but that I get excited about documenting and putting out there into the world. The fact that other people are enjoying it too? It’s just icing on the cake and brings a smile to my face.

So This Is Christmas

I feel like no one was truly prepared for Christmas this year and we were all just winging this shit, yes? At any rate, we crammed in as much of our normal traditions as we could and let some others, like Christmas lights and what I serve Christmas morning (THANKS FOR NOT SELLING PANETTONE ANYMORE PANERA) just go by the wayside.

We did Christmas cookies the Sunday before and my brother did his traditional single disgusting cookie. Last year it was the pile of shit cookie and this year? It was what looks like Oscar the Grouch with a giant penis

Decorating cookies with family. Mine (left) vs my brother's (right)

And this picture pretty much sums up our families reaction to this situation

The faces my brother frequently inspires!

Mom is wincing, sister is incredulous, nephew is cackling in glee. Yep. That’s about par.

Christmas Eve means gifts with the fam so we were back over there to share and eat appetizers. Luke refused the tree pic this year (probably should’ve knocked that out in the beginning of the evening instead of the end)
Boys with the tree

but he had a great time opening gifts


and Connor loved the new boxing bag that Gma got him.


He also got a bolt action Nerf shot gun that is SO AMAZING that Sprog desperately wants one of his own. IT EJECTS A SHELL CASING. Ha!

Christmas morning we had french toast made with some cranberry pistachio bread (I’m still bitter, PANERA) and then watched Sprog open his gifts
New stereo (retro style)

He fly. New jacket and matching shoes

and opened the gifts he got for us (we didn’t exchange gifts with each other-things need to stop breaking so we have a real budget again).

Afterwards we waited out the tornado warning (LOVELY) and storms that passed through Pasadena before driving down there for Christmas with the in-laws.



Landen throwing sparks


and I wore one of the things that Sprog got me for Christmas as part of my outfit, the necklace here

Christmas Day outfit

he did good :-)

Oh! And I should also mention before I close out this little recap, that Christmas is the 8th anniversary of our second date. 8 years ago Willy and I went to see Lemony Snicket on Christmas Day and then went to Katz. Two days prior to that was our first date so we celebrated by going to the same restaurant (Empire Cafe) and having a little celebratory date.

8 yrs ago today we had our first date in this restaurant and sat by the window <3

Happy 8 years honey!

More pics in my flickr as usual.

meeting miss katie

Our friend Amanda and her husband Vic have been down here this week looking for employment. They currently live in a small town in west Texas and want to live somewhere that has better role-models for their daughter Katie.

Their daughter is adopted and in their town they aren’t finding a lot in the way of positive role-models of the same ethnicity. Amanda and Vic are committed to ensuring that Katie is raised knowing her culture and having as many advantages as she can.

I am so excited for her new life and for them and I wanted to try and get some pictures, of her, while they were here. This was no easy task as she’s a bundle of energy but we got a few. (more than a few, honestly) She has SUCH personality, I tried to capture as much of it as I could. Here is a sampling of some of them.









the traditional family pics: outtake edition

Y’all know by now that no family session goes perfectly. Since it’s me doing the photos via remote and tripod…I don’t have someone physically standing in front of our crazy ass dogs getting and maybe keeping their attention. This results in MANY outtakes.

Half of Maddie cut off in front, her refusing to sit.

Mom has the brilliant idea to try treats

Treats are distracting


No dogs, Mom is distracted by teenager talking about his hat.

Final shot.

Compare if you please to last year’s

and pay particular attention to the GIANT looming in the background. My son is a man and it’s FREAKING ME OUT.

go fly a kite

Saturday was a really windy day and things have been very stressful around here so I had what I thought was a genius idea for some family time and we ran up to Costco to grab some kites, a family pack of fancy popcorn and a gift for my nephew’s b-day party this weekend (but that’s not really relevant to this post) and set off.


Sprog was less than thrilled to be included in this prospect and with no desire of his own to fly a kite, he was tasked with babysitting the dogs.




Can you FEEL the excitement? Maddie (the black dog) was actually in heaven as she loves being outside with every fiber of her being. Mayday (the white dog) HATES the outdoors with a flaming passion because THE BUGS. THE BUGS!! Plus, PEOPLE. So she wanted back in the air conditioning within about a minute.

The intrepid kite fliers didn’t fare much better I’m afraid

even though I was able to get mine up in the air several times without it divebombing to the ground (Willy’s owl kite has a death wish) the wind even though strong was more gusty than sustained and it was just too difficult to keep them in the air so after about an hour and a half of various attempts we gave up (the dogs and Sprog had been released before then) we gave up and went inside to scarf our popcorn.

I still had fun and would do it again and hope to soon since we have our own fancy kites.

37?! (in a row?)

As I mentioned, I turned 37 on Saturday and historically my birthday has not been good. There is usually a fair bit of drama or sickness that tends to happen on or around my birthday and this year was pretty much standard operating procedure what with the sinus infection and dental issues the weeks leading up to it. This year we opted to avoid some of the usual drama, however, and leave town to visit with some friends.

Kristie and her welsh boyfriend were going to be in Austin for the weekend so I decided I wanted to drive over and meet up with them for dinner/drinks and then drive back. Sure, it’s a lot of driving for a few hours but in our youth (HA HA) the hubs and I used to pop over to Austin for gigs and whatnot.

Friday Sprog went to hang with friends after school and then was incommunicado for 3 hours when he had made plans with Willy to go shopping for my birthday present which meant that our previous plan for him to head to the mall with friends and then spend the night while we were in Austin had to be scrapped. I don’t care that he hangs with friends as long as he STAYS IN CONTACT, else what is the point on him having a cell phone on which he is able to send over 7000 texts in a month? SEVEN THOUSAND!! So when he doesn’t stay in contact and check in, especially when his friends are people I don’t know and trust and I am going to be over 2 hours away? Boy gets sent to my sister. I guess that makes me an overbearing parent, but whatevs. I will not be the mother on the news that had “no idea” what her child was up to.

Anyway, so Saturday morning my lovely husband gave me these


and then went with me while I finally spent my Christmas cash shopping for some new clothes. I got some new skinny jeans, a new top (which I posted yesterday) as well as a new skirt, new belt and new navy flats. I tried to buy some jeggings but I just couldn’t do it. It felt as if my calves were being separated from my body. We then hopped in the car and headed for Austin and dinner at a darling restaurant with Kristie and Regan on South Congress. I WISH I lived closer to people and could just hang out with them whenever I wanted.

Us on 6th (snagged from Kristie)

After dinner some of us (Regan and her hubs bowed out) headed for a couple of drinks on 6th at a bar called Mooseknuckle (eww) and were reminded why we don’t go to 6th and also why we are OLD. Hello douchebags! When we got to the bar it was empty because no one goes out that early, read: before 10 pm. By the time we left (before midnight) it was wall to wall douchebags and half dressed girls dancing to rap music. The bar was showing football on large tvs when we got there, quite the switch.

The drive home was largely uneventful until about Brenham when we were treated to a drunk driving THE WRONG WAY on our side of the freeway IN THE LANE NEXT TO US. Even with our and the car next to us flashing the lights and honking horns, he/she kept right on going and even got into our lane after they passed us. WTF?! There is never a cop when you actually want one.

Sunday we grabbed my favorite cupcakes from Crave and then went to dinner with the fam before going back to their place to watch The Golden Globes. From them, I received the Cuisinart Griddler I have been coveting (which has already been used for burgers and last night when Sprog was taught to make pancakes from scratch) and a mix cd from my brother that I am too scared to listen to as well as my favorite candy from my nephew.

I also received some cash from my MIL which is always nice :-)

Scarf swap update tomorrow!

(Oh PS, I talked to Sprog about the whole “how I dress” concern and he said he would be embarrassed if I dressed like a mom. HAHA. He said that he wouldn’t claim me in public if I dressed any other way than how I do because he has a certain style and my style shouldn’t contradict that. INTERESTING.)