Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Anniversary #2 Level Up!

I really can't believe it's been two years already! It doesn't feel that long ago that we were on that beautiful island, vowing to stay together for life.  Time really does make it seem more and more magical too. I'm glad I wrote recaps though, because our anniversary made me nostalgic and it was nice to have all the memories and pictures just sitting here online.  If you marrieds haven't written recaps yet (even if they are just for yourself) - I highly encourage it!

Anyway, this past year was kinda strange.  We had BIL living with us for most of it, and were generally cheaper than usual due to us trying the rebuild the nest egg that we spent on our house. I was stressed out for a good three months of test studying. More stress just waiting for results. We spent a lot of couple time with our pal, Netflix - watching Lost, Firefly, Better off Ted, Arrested Development, Stargate, Doctor Who and horrible dubbed anime (seriously Netflix, why no subs?).  I guess we watched a lot of TV. I can feel my brain rotting inside my skull in retrospect, but Sak says it's important stuff to make sure we're in the loop on nerd references.

But whether we're out doing something fabulous, or laying in bed with the remote control - I still cherish all the time we have together. We laugh, we fight, we have stupid conversations and serious ones too. Sometimes the stupid ones get serious, you know how that goes.  We still have fifty million ideas and though we're getting better at making them happen, we're still pretty lazy.

We both screwed up our anniversary surprises - Sak used my Woot account to buy me a present (thus having the confirmation email sent straight to me), and I used Sak's Gamestop account to buy him a present (thus having the confirmation email sent straight to him).  Mutually dumb ideas, haha!

In short, I love Sak, more even than when I married him, and I'm looking forward to a stellar year three!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

DIY Dishtowel to Pillow Conversion

So this is so simple it probably doesn't need a tutorial, but here it is anyway. Haha!

I found these cute dishtowels at Daiso and decided they weren't really good for actual dishtowels (my Ikea ones are much thicker and absorbent).
So maybe some small accent pillows?

I used two dishtowels to make two pillows, first cutting two squares out of each towel.
Place two squares together, right sides facing.
Sew around the square, leaving a small hole somewhere for stuffing.  Turn it inside out and stuff away!
Once stuffed, sew up the hole.
You could stop here, but I thought mine looked a little too lumpy.  I attempted to top stitch around all four edges, and I think it gives the pillow a little more "shape".

Not bad for two dishtowels and some stuffing.
Though I definitely need some bigger, probably solid colored pillows to go with these.  The poor little guys look teeny tiny on our manstad couch!
Maybe I should sew an actual face on it...

Monday, July 23, 2012

Anime Convention Survival Guide

...If you no longer have the stamina and fortitude of a young teen.

This is from the perspective of a working "adult" that is used to waking up at 6 AM and sleeping again at 10 PM.  A person who can no longer live consequence-free on a diet of wheat-thins and cream cheese, easy mac and cup noodle.  And a person who has had over a decade of opportunities to "do it the wrong way".  Most of these are common sense - but in the midst of pre-convention excitement, you'd be surprised how easily basic things get overlooked.

My thoughts on how to survive (and enjoy!) a con:

  • Bring earplugs.  Events are loud. And even if they are not, it's guaranteed that a shrieking flock of fangirls will be.  One year we sat in an event next to a girl that decided to replace all her laughter with the "Oh ho ho ho" stereotypical high-pitched anime villianess voice.  We lasted about ten minutes before we went insane. Earplugs would have helped. Actually this year was the first time we remembered to bring the things, and it made a world of difference.  We made it through the entire cosplay show this year thanks in part to the little squishy plugs!
  • Bring ibuprofen/tylenol/headache meds.  For the same reason as the earplugs: less headaches = better mood = more con enjoyment!  Usually I like to tough things out and not resort to medication if it can be avoided, but I think things like conventions are a good exception.  You paid good money to go - you want to be able to enjoy as much as you can!
  • Eat real food.  Even if it means you have to walk a bit, don't eat McD's every day.  I know as a high schooler we saved every little bit of money we had to spend in the dealer's hall, so we often brought our own food from home.  This is a good idea if you want to save money.  Now that we have jobs and all, we end up spending more on good food than on action figures.  I guess our priorities have shifted! (But to be honest I still bring a few cup noodles for late night snacking. A little nostalgia is okay!)
  • Hydrate. For those of us not used to it - constant air conditioning can really dry you out.  In Sak's case he even gets a little sick from it.  The increased walking to and from events doesn't seem like much while you're doing it, but it's easy to get a little dehydrated.  If you don't want to carry a water bottle around, at least find a reliable water fountain you can count on.  Energy drinks, soda and coffee may help you stay alert during a convention, but make sure you throw some regular ol' h2o in there as well!  (Also, if you can stand the heat, turning off the A/C in your hotel room will help if you feel too dried out.)
  • Bring some bags.  I always carry a couple fold up tote bags in my purse for things like artist alleys and swap meets.  The small sellers won't always give bags to hold your purchases!  I learned this the hard way once when I ran out of arm space in the swap meet and couldn't buy anymore $2 manga. (On the flip - maybe don't bring bags if you want to limit your spending..hahaha!)
  • Bring your portable gaming device.  DS, PSP, smartphone - lines are always going to be long and plentiful, so if you're not the type to strike up random friendships in line, make sure you have something to keep you sane.
  • Bring a power strip.  Hotels don't always have enough plugs for all those electronic devices. Phone charger, game charger, camera charger, laptop power, etc.! Now multiply all that by the number of people in your room.
  • Study the schedule beforehand.  Circle the few things you really really must do - and make sure you get there early to line up.  There's nothing quite as depressing/maddening as missing out on the one thing you wanted to do because you didn't bother to look up when it was happening.  Also with this - go with the flow.  There's a lot going on, so if something is booked up, why not try a different panel?  Don't let one missed event get you down! Some cons record their panels, so you might be able to watch them later.  (Still, I'll never forgive my friends for ditching the Moonchild movie with me that one year. All I wanted was for everyone to see Gackt and Hyde's movie together, and nooo, we ended up at a ultra loud no-earplug concert instead. Not that I'm still bitter about that or anything. >.>")
  • Stay safe.  It's extreme, but it wouldn't hurt to do a little research on crowd safety.  Things like - always move with the flow of the crowd, cover your head if you fall and are being trampled, know where your exits are and have an emergency strategy.  Also, keep your valuables close and don't trust just anyone to watch your stuff.  This happened to someone at the past convention, he made a new friend, asked the friend to watch his bag while he went to the restroom, and both friend and bag (of electronics) were gone when he came out.  Be careful with your stuff!
  • Go all out.  At the end of the day - let's face it.  You're an adult.  There's not a lot of opportunity to let your crazy otaku-flag fly.  So make the most of the convention - if you've always wanted to wear a pink wig or a homemade gundam suit, just do it! No one will judge you for it at a convention.  Usually. (If you wear a mask then no one has to know it's you!)
You'll notice I left off hygiene related things.  No one should have to tell you to take a shower.  That is all.

Fellow seasoned conventioneers, have any pro tips?

(All images from Lucky Star Episode 12, when Konata & friends go to Comiket)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Casual Cosplay: Kerons

Okay! Last time we made the hats, time to make the rest of this Keroro Gunsou casual cosplay!

To recap, here's what we're casually cosplaying for Otakon:
I bought T-shirts from Michael's again ($2.50, gotta love it), and cut out a big white felt "belly".  Sew the emblem onto the belly, and then figure out how to attach the belly to the shirt...
I really didn't want it to pucker, so we bought some no-sew adhesive spray to iron the the belly on.
I followed that up with a quick sew around the border, just so it's secure.  Pretty simple! Repeat for all four shirts~
Giroro's (red) shirt is pretty cool - he has a buckle belt instead of an emblem - fully removable!
This method would also totally work for Care Bear Shirts. Haha!

I only wish I would have made the belly size dependent on the shirt size..it looks okay on the large shirt, but it's huge on the small shirt! They are also very..stiff. Since it's felt and all, it kinda makes the wearer (me) look  chunky. That's right - blame the shirt! Haha!

Anyway, here's the look with the hat and a skirt made with leftover material (using this method).
I got the glasses from Cousin T's wedding. Hehehe. Sak says I look silly. Whatever. Attituuude.

And the rest of the hats..
Except for Sak's.  He was wearing his ridiculous hat, made with a cut styrofoam ball.

I guess we're as ready as we'll ever be now! Can't wait til the whole platoon is together (minus Dororo - no one cares about him >.>")

(Oh, and if you'd like to make a simple hat, here's a pattern you can print on my google docs...try to use full bleed/edge print on 8.5"x11"..the image should be as big as possible on the paper.)

Monday, July 16, 2012

Cooking with Friends: Saag Paneer

First of all, go check out Mina-Pug's scrumptious saag paneer recipe! It's a winner, as you can see from DBZ's Goku and Vegeta below!

Thanks Mina-Pug and Sister-Pug for your yummy recipe! And for giving me the opportunity to play with my toys >.>" It's super-saiyan approved! Hur hur hur.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Sweeney Ridge Trail

Sak - Eagle Scout, and me - tubby, decided a bay area hike was in order last weekend. We chose Sweeney Ridge Trail in Pacifica because we wanted to check out the historic Nike Missile Site (named after the Greek goddess of victory).
There's several trail heads, but we chose the one at Skyline College.  It's towards the back of parking lot C, which took us forever to figure out.  Free parking on weekends.

I thought this would be a simple 3 mile hike, and for the most part it was.  However the trail was super overgrown in some areas, and I felt like I needed a machete! Especially since THIS was everywhere:
Three leaves, reddish - poison oak?!
Me, unprepared non-scout, was wearing shorts. Luckily I did not get any rashes, though there was much wailing and scaring of other hikers whenever the leaves would get too close for comfort.

Aside from the possible poison oak, there was many other pretty flora around.

As well as plenty of lizards!
There were mountain lion warnings, but thankfully we didn't run into any.

By far the best part of the trail is the fact that you can see both the Pacific coastline and the Bay at the same time!
Pacific Coast side
Bay side
The views were spectacular!
Sutro tour in the fog
South SF hill sign
At the end of our trek, we reached the Nike Missile Site. It was built to protect the Bay during the cold war.
The place was tagged all over!
I think the graffiti kind of took away from the ominous cold-war atmosphere. :P
Keep it funky indeed
There was also a beehive inside one of the buildings! Eep!

Overall it was a pretty cool hike, though there was definitely some brush involved so long pants are a must!

Have you ever had a poison oak/ivy rash? Itchy itchy!