Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Black Widow Cosplay

When the Avengers sequel premiered at the beginning of the month, the pub trivia I frequent had a special Marvel themed quiz. I'd done a themed quiz before, for Community, and Dan and I did incredibly poorly. However, I've got some friends who are huuuuuge Marvel fans and they talked us into joining their team.

Usually part of these themed quizzes is a costume contest and this one was no different. It was kind of a last minute decision to dress up, but I became inspired to be Black Widow.

For me, the costume was pretty straight forward. Black tight shirt, black tight pants, my Mara Jade harnesses, a black leather jacket, and some curly red hair.

Black Widow Costume Cosplay

For being kind of thrown together, I was really proud of my costume. I put a lot of time and effort into my hair and make up for the "effortless yet requires a crap-ton of effort" look.

And it totally paid off! I won third prize in the costume contest! It helps when you have Dan yelling in the audience and the winners are determined by crowd volume. I walked away with a pen sketch of the Avengers by a local artist and an Iron Man comic book. My friend Jeremy should have won with his Winter Soldier costume, but he took home second and a Punisher painting.

Image Source

Image Source
Image Source
While our team had the best costumes, we didn't do well at the trivia contest itself. A respectable seventh place. The questions just covered way more material than they told us to study. It was still a great night, though. We assembled well.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Project House Update: Installing Some Windows

So, when we last left the workout room (our spare bedroom), it looked something like this. In the 22 months since we painted the room and installed some new light fixtures, we bought a pair of new windows for the room. Then, the windows sat, uninstalled and wrapped in plastic, for another 15 months.

Fortunately, Dan finally conned his friend Jimmy into coming over to help install them, like he helped with the sliding glass door. They promised me they could install both in one day and I honestly didn't believe them, but they were incredibly efficient. They had one ripped out and had moved onto the second before I had the chance to take pictures.

And in what I'm sure was an effort to prove me wrong, the new windows were set in place in record time. The new windows have much thicker framing than the old ones, but they also have, you know, insulation from the heat, so it's a worthwhile compromise. I prefer the white interior and the exterior is the same dark color as the sliding door.

By the end of the day, they had shimmed them into place, screwed them down, and sealed them with insulating foam. Over the next few days, Dan caulked and painted the exterior and we suddenly had gorgeous new windows! The interior still needed some work, but we decided to wait and clean up the interior once we had decided on window sills.

So, the windows sat with torn up interiors until last weekend. Dan and I finally came to an agreement on window sills. That will be an entirely separate post in the near future, but it did give me the green light to go ahead and spackle and paint the window surround.

Hopefully we'll finish up installing the new beautiful window sills over the long weekend and the room will be the most completed room in the whole house. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Work Out Wednesday: Zumba

When I was a sophomore in college, a friend and I went to a bellydance class together because we were both too scared to go alone. She never went back. I went back for over a year and eventually became something of a teacher's assistant. The teacher got pregnant and couldn't perform certain moves under doctor's orders. I became her demonstrator, standing at the front of the class showing how to do the moves to the new students.

I absolutely loved that weekly class and I was so sad that the class basically died after the teacher had her baby.

That was eight years ago. In those years, I've repeatedly tried to find an adequate substitute. I've tried DVD workouts. Dan and I have took a Latin dance class together. I tried a zumba class that was a trainwreck. It was even a New Year's resolution last year to find a new bellydance class. And I failed at it.

After the holidays and the Superbowl and eating all the terrible food at the beginning of the year, my weight hit a number that was not good. It lit a fire under me to recommit to my goal of finding a new bellydance class. I had some different options all lined up when I got an email at work.

The campus of my work decided to start hosting free work out classes. Yoga, zumba, boot camp, all sorts of things. After realizing how expensive gym members could get just to do similar classes, I decided to give zumba a try.

I was so incredibly nervous for the first class, but afterwards, I was so proud of myself for going. I was an instant addict. The twice-weekly classes have become the highlight of my week. In the past few months, the only classes I've missed are for things I couldn't reschedule or for my business trip.

I haven't noticed a difference in my body (although my zumba instructor says she has), but I'm ok with that since there have been other great perks. The class starts later in the day, so I actually stay at work longer now and get more done. More importantly, the class has basically exposed me to a large percentage of the women who work on site with me. While the class is fialry small, ranging between one to two dozen people, there's such a small fraction of women who work on my site that it's allowed me to meet a lot of them.

And it doesn't have any of the qualities of a crappy workout class. We are all beginners, so there's no judgement. The songs rotate every couple of weekly so we're always learning. The room is huge so we all have our own space. It's free! And it's on site! I don't have to drive 30 minutes out of my way to stand in the back of an overcrowded room full of model zumba snobs.

I absolutely love it.

Monday, May 18, 2015

North Carolyn-a

So, it's been a while. Yeah, no denying that one. My life has gotten busier and I haven't dealt with that well. Hopefully, in the next couple of weeks, I can motivated and catch up on some things I've been meaning to document, but no promises. Explanations, yes, promises, no.

Oddly enough, one of the calmer moments of the past few months was a business trip I took to North Carolina. It was two coworkers and I setting up a robot system for a BIG customer. So, I had to pretend to be professional and everything. Have you tried building a large robot system in slacks? Ugh, I was just lucky my slacks still fit since they hadn't been worn in several years.

Fortunately, everything with the install went very smoothly so we could have some fun in North Carolina. Charlotte in particular. While I wasn't overly impressed with the things for a tourist to do, we still had fun.

First night in, we had traditional Southern seafood at the Riverview Raw Bar near our hotel. It was a beautiful night and it started a trend of eating all our meals al fresco. Granted I passed on the seafood for a veggie burger, but it was a great hole-in-the-wall to get some Southern flair.

Since this was a BIG customer we visited, we gave ourselves an extra day in case things went wrong. Lucky for us, we didn't need it so we got to explore downtown Charlotte.

My manager was one of the coworkers in Charlotte with me and since I'd already argued with him once on what to do with our spare day, I didn't argue with him this time. He chose the Discovery Place, a science museum for children. It was a fun morning, but it did feel creepy being three adults without kids in a place designed for children...


Look how cute and green this lizard was! I don't know what it was eating on the wall, but so adorable. Maybe peanut butter. I'm still unsure if the smudge was supposed to be there, but he sure enjoyed it.

I blurred out my coworkers faces, but it was pretty funny watching two middle aged guys try out science projects meant for kids.

My favorite part of the museum was the bed of nails exhibit. You laid on a platform, held down a button, and were lifted by hundreds of nails. An incredibly odd experience.

We rounded out the day at the most charming restaurant I've ever been to called The String Bean in Belmont. I wish I'd taken a picture, but we sat on a patio, under strings of lights, sipping vintage-inspired sodas, eating good food, and enjoying the perfect evening.

It was an exhausting trip, but it could have been worse. The work had a few hiccups but we moved past them. No bickering between the three of us. And the best part? It started on a Tuesday and ended on a Friday. No weekend interruptus. Beautiful.