Archives for October 2017

DIY Beauty and the Beast costumes

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Well, there’s only a few days left to get your costume situated, you guys! Might I recommend trying out a classic?

A couple years ago, I conned Brian into Beauty and the Beast costumes. He has costume restrictions:

  • No glitter
  • Lots of accessories (as evident by Captain Mal — guns! — and Jack Skellington — Zero!)
  • The opportunity to get creative with his look (When he was Ra’s Al Ghul)
  • No masks that cover his mouth (This was the biggest problem with Jack Skellington)

And a Beast costume didn’t necessarily break any of his restrictions, so I got to be a Disney princess!

Beauty and the Beast Halloween costumes

Beast costume pieces and tips

We weren’t going for full-on Disney style, but a mash-up of the different versions of this tale as old as time. So we went looking for ways to create a regal beast.

He started with finding the right headpiece. He ended up with this goat head quasi-mask from Amazon (one-day shipping anyone?), and it actually was perfect for what he needed.

Then, he picked up wolf feet from Amazon and wolf arms from Walmart (you can pick-up in store to avoid a shipping delay). We created his chest with a thrift-store jacket, lined with faux brown fur ($7). He cut the sleeves and bottom of the coat off, turned it inside out and backward, and essentially wore it as a dickey.

beast costume head and upper body From there, he needed the right ensemble. For his outfit, we found a thrift-store tuxedo shirt ($3) to make him look fancy. He used the cape he bought for his Ra’s Al Ghul and a pair of dress pants and a belt.

For his makeup, he just grew his beard a little scruffy and used brown make-up to give a furrier appearance than his light red-gray beard.

Ta-Da! A magnificent Beast to complement my Belle.

Belle costume pieces and tips

My costume was a million times cheaper and easier than Brian’s. And I like accessories too. I was just able to pull a lot of them from my closet.

First I needed a dress. I searched on Amazon for the perfect dress, and when that didn’t work, I bought a cute 1950’s style polka dot number that will totally also work if I ever want to be Alice for Halloween, am I right? I had to safety pin the halter straps to the back of the dress to make them regular straps because I’m not so much a fan of halters most of the time. Of course, if they had this pretty blue dress then, I totally would have gone for it instead.

I got the white top to wear underneath the dress at a thrift store, but you may even have one in your closet! The apron came from my closet. Sure, it may say Betty Crocker on the front, but all I had to do was turn it around and kablam! Plain white apron. I finished the look by adding a plus-size white petticoat under the dress for a little poof.

I accessorized with the Chip cup I’ve had since I was a child at Beauty and the Beast on Ice (you can find a similar Chip cup on Amazon) and the biggest, coolest book I could find (my Norton Anthology of English Literature).

For my hair, I did a simple topsytail (Put your hair in a ponytail. Split the top section in half and loop the tail through the hole) and tied it off with a Christmas ribbon. Don’t you judge me. It was available and it worked. And no one else noticed the snowflakes.

topsytail for Belle's hair Beauty and the Beast costume

So there you have it. A relatively easy to put together Beauty and the Beast costume for your next cosplay, whether it’s Halloween or just for funsies.

Beauty and the Beast halloween costumes

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

How I ended up in the worst neighborhood in Orlando

It had been a busy week of anxiety and blog conference nonsense. Work was stressing me out to the max. I was in the middle of a month of travel (15 out of 26 days, to be exact), having returned from Vegas two days prior to my Orlando departure, and the exhaustion was starting to wear on me. But I was finally having a magical night thanks to some friends and a fabulous twinkle skirt. We were closing down the BlogHer dance party, and some of those friends got together at the end of the evening and said, “You know what, gang? This just isn’t doing it for us. Let’s get outta here and do something crazy!”

I believe it was Mary who suggested we hit up a local private-room karaoke bar that she had googled. It was only a 5-minute Uber from the hotel we were staying at. I hemmed and hawed something about needing to wake up for an early morning press trip to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, but in the end, I decided that I needed a “Yes!” moment. And so I said yes. I went up to change out of my now sweaty AF skirt and finish packing for my flight the next day.

We met down in the lobby a half hour later, and I hailed the car that would take Mary, Kristen, Lea, Brea, and me on quite the adventure.

We had been driving for about 7 minutes when I looked at the map on my Uber app. “Hey uhh, guys…I don’t think this is quite as close as we think it is. We’re still about 35 minutes out…”

It was at this point that we thought it might be best to ask the driver about our destination, an address on Orange Blossom Trail in Orlando.

“Is the area we’re going to an okay part of the city?”

The driver gave a vague answer, at best, but he was hinting that it wasn’t really the best area for a group of women set to arrive just before 11 pm. We kept probing, spending the next half hour debating whether to turn around and find a different bar to spend the evening. By the time we arrived at Q Karaoke, we noticed the area was definitely the type of place we wouldn’t want to find ourselves stranded on a rainy night. Very desolate, few businesses open, and the ones that were closed were barred up. The bar itself was in the middle of an empty-looking strip mall with the neon lights of an exotic clothing store at the helm. The driver offered to take us back to our hotel, but we persevered.

one-way street sign

We decided to scope the place out. A few of us went inside, asked about prices and took note of the surroundings. It seemed innocuous enough, and so we opted to stay…until 1:30 in the morning. As shady as it seemed, we had A BLAST. Our little gang of singers had an unbelievable time busting out some of the most ridiculous and amazing karaoke tunes that we could muster. If you’ve never tried private-room karaoke, I highly recommend it. The lights flashing and the room jiving was everything. If my twinkle skirt didn’t make me feel alive this adventure sure did.

As we called our next Uber for the ride home, we were flying high on adrenaline and friendship. A night that surely wouldn’t be forgotten. When our driver arrived to pick us up, he seemed surprised to be collecting 5 30-something-year-old women, and we, of course, asked him about our location. He pointed out a few things that we had missed on our way in (a woman who was likely a prostitute, different establishments, etc) and told us that they called this stretch of road the OBT, known for the violence and crime rates. He even mentioned a recent murder that had occurred.

Welp. We survived that one, guys. 

We made our way safely back to the Hilton and hugged goodbye to each other until our next adventure. I proceeded to ask my next two Uber drivers about the OBT, and both were as surprised as anyone that we were hanging out down there. My driver on the way to the airport just shook his head and smirked like I was crazy.

I love saying yes to adventure.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

You are not alone

It’s hard to be light and funny when your entire Facebook feed is congested with posts stating, unapologetically, “Me too.” Some posts just two words, and others…others full tales of Harassment. Abuse. Rape.

Girl hiding behind tress

For those of you who haven’t seen it, women have been sharing stories on social media in solidarity with one another to show just how many women have been sexually harassed or raped. Spoiler alert: It’s a lot. We’re far from alone in these experiences. Which breaks my heart.

This is rape culture.

When girls and women know that what is happening is wrong, but it’s easier and sometimes safer to just brush it off or act as if it never happened. When we have to bring a guy friend with us to parties to make sure we’re safe. When we travel in groups to avoid confrontation. When we have to lie and say we have boyfriends to get men to leave us alone. And when that doesn’t even always work. When we break up with someone in a text or ghost them because we’re afraid of what they’ll try to do. When we let someone say inappropriate things to us and feel the need to smile and giggle even though we feel dirty and exposed.

It’s the little boys who chased me and looked up my skirt when I was just a child.

It’s the teen boy who directed a video camera into my bedroom window.

It’s the teen boy who exposed himself out his bedroom window.

It’s the guy at the teen dance club who kept coming up behind me, rubbing his junk against my backside, no matter how many times I moved out of his way.

It’s the bartender that always looked me up and down, appraising my curves and licking his lips as he told me how much he wanted my 18-year-old self.

It’s the man who blocked my car in a parking lot to ask me out and didn’t move until I made up a boyfriend who wouldn’t like it.

It’s the stranger who relentlessly offered to father my children because he liked my blue eyes.

It’s the man who, on the first date, asked if I had hangups about sex when I responded to his continuous begging and pleading with a broken record “no.”

It’s the man at the karaoke bar who belittled me when I told him I didn’t want to date him. Seven times.

It’s the man who flipped out on me in a restaurant parking lot when I wouldn’t go home with him after a first date.

It’s the man I was dating who took pictures of me while I was asleep, naked.

It’s the man who told me I owed him when he couldn’t finish because of his own drug addiction.

It’s the man I told no, who did it anyway.

I don’t tell you this to feel sorry for me. I tell you this so you can see how often women are put in situations that can damage or break them. How prevalent these situations have become. I know that I’m not the only one with a list, and these situations are not unique to me. But the more we see them, the more we can do to stop them.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Never have I ever

When I was younger, I hated playing the game, Never Have I Ever. For those of you who don’t know how the game is played, this covers a brief rundown (before people start adding house rules):

  • One person says, “Never have I ever ___________ (insert something they’ve never done)”
  • Everyone in the group who has done that thing does something to indicate that they have (typically taking a drink from an alcoholic beverage).
  • Those who haven’t done the thing sit quietly while the others in the group explain or don’t (it really depends on the group), but there’s often a lot of oohing and OMGing.
  • The game continues until everyone is wasted or someone gets bored enough to start dancing on tables or running around the block naked. (This may indicate that the game has moved onto Truth or Dare).

I hated playing the game in my early years of college because I NEVER GOT TO DRINK ANYTHING. Because everyone liked to throw down the dirtiest things people did, and I was a shy prude. Here are a few nuggets that would have given me ample drinking opportunity prior to attending Bradley University:

Never have I ever…

And until my junior year of college, the only thing that really changed was my alcohol consumption. So I hated playing the game. Because I wanted to do more things, and the few things that I had done felt embarrassing to me.

But now, as an adult, I’m proud as fuck of the things that I’ve done. I love playing never have I ever because almost everything I’ve done has been an adventure, even if it was stupid/crazy/insane/ridiculous/horrifying.

Just for reference, a few of my favorites that would cause me to drink:

Never have I ever…

  • Seen Stephen King speak (20 feet away from me)
  • Gone on vacation by myself
  • Gotten married
  • Been fired from a job (one I hated)
  • Ordered a pizza for delivery while finishing a plate of nachos in a taco joint
  • Seen Hamilton performed live in Chicago
  • Made out with the same guy as three of my girlfriends
  • Gone home with someone on the first date
  • Punched a hole in my apartment window because I was mad at my boyfriend
  • Smoked my first cigarette after smoking was banned in bars
  • Stayed up partying for an entire weekend without sleeping more than 2 hours ( with no drugs involved)
  • Gotten lost in France
  • Dated a drug addict (or two)
  • Threatened to punch a bouncer at my bachelorette party
  • Gotten lucky on a golf course

My bucket(list) hath runneth over. And I can’t wait for the next notch on my wall.

we took wedding photos at a playground, and had so much fun on the purple dinosaur.

What’s on your completed bucket list?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Creepy Halloween Jack O Lanterns

I love carving pumpkins. It’s one of my favorite Halloween activities. With our Halloween party coming up fast and furiously, I thought I’d share some more of my favorite creations with you! The first year we went fast and furious with pumpkin carving, I used Pinterest heavily (before Pinterest was cool, mind you) to make these magical creatures.

Finger-Eating Carved Pumpkin

Yes, that goofy-looking pumpkin is eating a finger. This was Brian’s work of art. The eyes were my idea.

Jack o lantern with a bug crawling out of its eye

I read somewhere that the awkward looking pumpkins make the best carvers…so when I went to the grocery store a week before Halloween, I felt that the lonely clearance pumpkins needed a home! And now I absolutely agree that awkward looking pumpkins are amazing. We didn’t carve the top, just a big ole hole in the mouth to scoop out the pumpkin guts.

Little pie pumpkin jack o lantern

This little guy was on the clearance pile too…a pie pumpkin going a little soggy, but I loved him and his cuteness.

Cannibal Pumpkin-Eating Pumpkin

This cannibal pumpkin is one of my pride and joy pumpkins. I had so much fun carving the big guy, and while those little decorative pumpkins are pains in the ass to carve, the finished product was pretty impressive.

Scary Baby Eating Pumpkin

By now, you must realize that I’m a little fucked up when Halloween rolls around (what with my creepy Halloween snackshangman, bloody bathroom, dead babydolls, and spider den bathroom). This baby-eating pumpkin is definitely my favorite. All I did was buy some infant-sized footy jams and a stuffed animal with posable legs at a resale shop, and BOOM. Baby eating pumpkin. I saved the “baby” so I can do this, or some variation of this every year. Stop judging me.

Creepy Jack O Lanterns

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Storytelling false starts

I’ve been telling stories here for more than 5 years now. Sometimes, I’ll get an idea and run with it, publishing almost immediately. Other times, I start something, but can’t quite find the right words. And more times still, I’ll think of what I think would be a fantastic fucking title, only to forget what I wanted to say entirely. Luckily, I’ve saved some of these titles, and I thought I’d share some of my favorites. Maybe you can offer some inspiration, and I can get these word babies in the air.

possible blog post titles from a writer

Titles in time

  • How to get a thigh gap and other pertinent answers from the universe
  • Meet my uhhh new boyfriend Ryan and wife Mandi
  • What Hillary is doing for little girls
  • Screenshots of a year in my life
  • All the fucks I have to give
  • Lectured for laughing at a humor conference
  • That one time I went BATSHIT crazy or why my life is like a Taylor Swift song
  • There are people who hate me and other confessions
  • Things I wish I did before I left my old job
  • Let’s talk about narcissism
  • On parenting, from a non-parent
  • Let’s talk about your kinky group on Facebook
  • When it comes to red light tickets, the internet fucking lies
  • Giving more fucks this year
  • Clark Griswold is my spirit animal
  • How to passive-aggressively handle passive aggressiveness
  • We built this city…we built this city on rock…to roll?
  • That’s the kind of thing an idiot would have on his luggage
  • People, for the love of all things logical, look shit up before you post it: A lesson on clickbait
  • How many how-to videos does a girl need to watch to figure out how to put together a freakin’ mop?
  • How I ended up in the worst part of Orlando

What do you think, guys? Any of these titles look delectable?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!