Monday, July 29, 2013

Ten Best Places to Eat in Tucson

Since I've lived in Tucson my entire life, I feel like I've got a pretty good grasp on what this city has to offer. While it's constantly changing and evolving and I'm hunting the next new thing, I do know more about this city than most. Most of these places are also on the list because of sentimental reasons. Many big life events were celebrated at these places. So, this post goes out to anyone wanting to visit Tucson to see what we're all about, because, let's be real, whenever I travel to somewhere new, the first thing I look up is a good place to eat.

1) Eegee's: this is our local fast food chain, only found in Tucson, AZ. It's the place that fast food workers get their start, before moving up to McDonald's. So, the service is terrible and the sandwiches are pretty good, but the reason to stop in is their frozen drinks. Well, they aren't really drinks. It's kind of like a thicker version of a slushie that locals know to only eat with a spoon, not a straw. Three permanent flavors plus a monthly flavor are great to mix and match, especially on a hot summer day. Also, they cater and we ate like cheap kings at my bridal shower.

2) Los Beto's: OK, so Eegee's isn't the only local chain, but it's one of a kind. On the other hand, there are a lot of Mexican food chains around town, but Los Beto's is the best. You know how people go to Philadelphia and try to find the best cheesesteak and it's not in the fancy restaurants but the places where the bag goes clear from the grease? Los Beto's is the border food equivalent. {Sidenote: there are three types of Mexican food in Tucson: 1) Mexico City food, which tends to be fancier and have things like mole 2) Coastal food, focusing on seafood which aren't that great considering the closest coast is six hours away and 3) Border food which is some combination of cheese, tortilla, meat, and beans.} Their portions are huge, come in styrofoam with hot sauce on the side, and are the best bang for your buck.

3) El Charro: This is probably the best Mexico City style restaurant in town, if you go to the downtown one. It's the oldest restaurant in the state and the building has expanded with cute additions over the years. It's great to sit out on the patio on a cool night, eating the never ending baskets of tortilla chips and salsa. The food is good, but the service can be hit or miss, mainly because it's so popular. For better service, go with a bigger group. A party of two can easily be lost in the shuffle. It was the last minute location of our rehearsal dinner when our original (and cheaper) place canceled.

4) Mi Nidito's: This is the best Border style restaurant, not fast food joint, in town. Technically, it's not in town, it's in South Tucson, which is its own city just south of downtown. It can be a bit sketchy at night, which is why this is our lunch spot. Any time there is something to celebrate at work, we head here. It's got its wall of All-Star customers, including President Clinton and people line up at the door before it even opens. The food is simple, but tasty, and worth the bad parking and inevitable wait.

5) Lindy's: the best burger place in town. This is the definition of a hole in the wall restaurant, down on trendy 4th Ave. It feels more like a tattoo parlor inside than a burger joint. The burgers can be gigantic, have dirty names, and are so delicious that I get a cramp every time because I eat it so fast. The wait can be ridiculous (we waited over an hour in the cold at my Bachelorette party), but it's definitely worth it. Mmm, I'm starting to drool thinking about a Hawaii veggie burger with cheese fries...

6) Millie's Pancake Haus: I'm pretty sure this is a German pancake restaurant, annoyingly only open for breakfast and lunch. The interior is lined with duck knick-knacks, carved wooden booths, and the feeling that you're grandma is cooking in the kitchen. It's my favorite breakfast place in town when I want breakfast food in the AM. Somehow, the waffles are crispy and golden brown, yet fluffy and moist, and impossible to resist with apple topping. Even though it's so far from campus, it's where our families celebrated after Dan and I graduated from college.

7) Traildust Town: this isn't technically just a restaurant. It's two restaurants, a chocolates shop, several gift shops, a carousel, and an arcade. Traildust Town is a old western style 'town' in the center of town. You can get a great hunk of meat in their steakhouse or celebrate your 26th birthday over a big bowl of fancy pasta in their cafe. It's a wonderful place to spend the evening, especially a date night, when you want something different than dinner and a movie. Grab some dinner, ride the tiny train and the carousel, pick out candies in the chocolates shop, and finish it off with some old fashion video game rifle shooting.

8) Little Anthony's Diner: classic Americana. When I don't feel like driving all the way across town to Lindy's for a burger or when I want the best shake imaginable, we head to Little Anthony's. Great diner food and pizza. Amazing and gigantic shakes. Car shows in the summer, character cut-outs, and the best part? The comedy theater right next where you can order the full menu while watching a great performance. And for the sentimental attachment, we had our engagement pictures taken here during one of their car shows.

9) Guadalajara Grill: this is probably Dan's favorite restaurant. The food is pretty standard, yummy Mexican food. The main thing that sets this place apart is that they make your salsa for you at your table. It. is. awesome. It can be as mild or as spicy as you want it. Plan on filling up on chips and salsa and taking whatever you order home.

10) Pin-Up Pastries Food Truck: the best whoopie pies ever. This one technically isn't a restaurant, but it's one of the best dessert places in town. I follow this food truck on facebook and whenever they are within a fifteen minute drive, I grab some cash and speed off for a salted caramel whoopie pie. If I could cook half as good as their whoopie pies taste, I'd be 100% happy with that.

So, there you go. The best places to eat in town. Trust me.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Unofficial Kind of, Sort of, Reunion

Me, at Age 15
Over the weekend, my high school friends and I had a mini reunion. Not really a high school reunion because my friends went to a different school, were two years older, and all boys, but a reunion none the less because I hadn't seen most of them in a couple of years. You know, at something other than a wedding, so we could actually catch up and just hang out at one of the guy's parents' house, like we did every Saturday night for most of my teenage years.

Some things had changed. Almost everyone is now married. Everyone has a good job. No one, fortunately, lives with their parents anymore. Most of them have migrated away, as well as their hairlines...

It was actually a really weird experience. On the one hand, there was some immediate regression to the girls and boys we were ten years ago, making fun of each other, being loud, and talking smack while playing video games. On the other hand, it was a big, subtle bragging contest: who's living in the best place, who's got the best relationship, who's got the best job, who's gone to the coolest places. Some of us were on better behavior because our spouses were there. Some of us were on worse behavior because they weren't. The catching up and reminiscing lasted long into the night.

Reflecting back on the night the next day, I was amazed to realize how close all of these guys are to the goals they set for themselves when I first met them. Dave is now working his way up the Navy ranks. After all kinds of hurdles, like a motorcycle accident, resulting in knee and shoulder surgery which cost him his Seal dream, he's now the boss of a group of fresh faced navy guys.He and his wife, who is this tiny, little, perfect girl who I secretly hate for being good at absolutely everything while wishing was my best friend simultaneously, have built a life for themselves in sunny San Diego. Good money is on a pregnancy announcement in the near future. Nick is working as an engineer in Illinois with his wife, the veterinarian. I'd be very surprised if they weren't living in his dream city of Chicago within a few years. Paul, who wasn't able to attend, is a wildland firefighter (and scared the crap out of us when he went radio silent after the death of the 19 hot shots upstate) and has a cute wife that I have yet to meet in person. Even my ex is working as an engineer in Phoenix and traveling all over the world in his vacation time.

The weird part, which I didn't expect at all, was the amount that it made me reflect on my own life. I've got a great husband, great job, great house, great family, and the two most obnoxious cats a girl could want, but is it what I wanted? I know that sounds greedy, but is it enough? How is my life different than the life I imagined myself living at 26? Looking back, I just can't seem remember what I wanted ten years ago. My goals were probably shallow things, like flat abs, more friends, and a better wardrobe, like most 16 year old girls.

I've spent the last few days trying to answer these questions: would my 16 year old self be proud of the life I have now? What were my dreams and goals? Am I doing enough to work toward my goals? What are my goals? As cliched as it sounds, my brain has begun to travel down the path of a quarter-life crisis.

I can't claim to have had any revelations, or answers for that matter, but it really has got me thinking. How much of my day is spent just going through the motions? Am I really living each day with its full potential? At 16, would I have been proud of the decisions I'm making today?

My apologies that this post has taken a rhetorical and existential turn. Back to reality...

After reuniting with everyone, it makes me sad that we just can't hang out like that all the time anymore. I wasn't aware of how much I missed them until I saw them all again. Given how much I was dreading it and how anxious it made me, I am really looking forward to the next time it happens.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Project House Update: Upgrading the Sconces

When we were painting our formal living room/front room/future play room/whatever the hell we're calling that stupid room this week, we just put back up the old light fixtures. Dan wasn't a big fan of them, but they actually aren't have bad.

The base is solid, high quality wood with a fixture made out of antique-ish brass.

The only problem was the intensity of the light. With clear glass fixture, it was bright. Too bright. So bright it gave me headaches. This photo sums it up pretty well.

Dan was completely fine with just replacing both fixtures in their entirety. However, I liked their vintage charm and wanted to save some money. I did some measurements and research and found that the dimensions of the glass bulb were the same as the individual glass fixtures they sell for pendant lights at Home Depot.

I was hoping they had one almost identical to the existing one, but frosted. I still really liked the round, glass globe design. They didn't have it, but they had one similar. It's hard to describe it, but it's kind of frosted and kind of beaded with water, like a car window during a hot rain storm.

I just popped it on the light fixture, and Bam! What a difference!

No more headaches for me! A simple $20 upgrade for a big and easy impact. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Fan of Friday: Week of 7/19/2013

I don't usually rave about just one particular product, but the exception will be made because it's just that awesome.

Rimmel's Show Off Lip Laquers.

I first saw this lip color in a video by Fleur. In the UK, it's called Apocalips, but here, it's Show Off.

Then, I saw Zoella rave about them, too.

With my interest piqued, I did some research for more thorough reviews. Fleur references it in one of her other videos and after seeing her swatch it on her arm, I was flabbergasted by the amount of pigmentation. I had to see what all the hype was about. {Sidenote: she swatches all of the colors here, although I think the British ones have different names.}

I went to Target on Sunday to hunt it down and was disappointed when I could find it there. However, I did some research and Walgreens was supposed to have it. I stared at the Rimmel section for at least ten minutes, but couldn't find it. After I had given up hope and headed to the make up counter to pay, I found them set up on a display stand on the checkout counter.

It was a pain to find, but worth it for this color. Look at it! Aurora. And this isn't even their brightest color!

And, AND, it's only $4.99! Yay! I love it so much that I took my sister before trivia yesterday so we could buy some more. Go buy one! You won't be disappointed. Seriously, go right now! My Walgreens is almost out!

*This post is in no way sponsored by Rimmel or Walgreens. I'm just excited.*

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


If you're not from Arizona, you probably wouldn't believe me if I told you about how it rains here. You think, "It's the desert. It doesn't really rain, right? Maybe an occasional storm, but never anything significant."

And most the year, you would be right. However, from roughly Fourth of July to Labor Day, you would be very, very wrong.

Summer in Arizona is a fickle thing. It starts with living in an oven for the months of May and June. The temperature is ridiculous, but the air is so incredibly dry. In the sun, it's agony, but the second you step in the shade, it's almost tolerable.

Just when you're about to lose your mind from the constant heat, the storm clouds roll in. The temperature finally drops to the 90's and the humidity skyrockets. The side effect? Almost every afternoon, nearly 4 o'clock on the dot, the storm clouds roll over town.

For anywhere between five minutes to half an hour, the skies will open and it will pour. I've posted about it before, but you have to time doing anything outside around it. Especially the long dash from my building to my car.

Anyway, here are some pictures from the storms this week. Of course, the first one is from when I was leaving work. It may look like a little dust and dirt, but the lot where the dirt was being stirred up was probably half a mile away, at least. I really thought I was going to see my first tornado. And that I was driving straight for it.

One of the benefits, though? Gorgeous sunsets.

The other amazing benefit? The smell of the desert after a rain. It's almost impossible to describe. Inhaling it should be on everyone's bucket list. The clean air, the moist earth, and the fresh tang of the creosote. If I could bottle it, I would be so freakin' rich.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Project House Update: The Sectional

This post has been a couple months coming. I first mentioned our living room furniture upgrade plans back in April when we switched out the coffee table. It was the first step in a grand plan to make our great room more functional.

Let's start at the beginning. Here's what our living room used to look like:

The main problem with this set up is that there really isn't that much seating. Add in my parents and my sister and someone is stuck turning one of the bar stools around or laying on the floor.

Let be honest, with a wall of windows, five doorways, and a fireplace, the configuration of the room was really limited. I spent a lot of time on Icovia trying to figure out how to make it work. There had to be a way to include more seating.

Oh, and here's the real kicker. Dan was insistent that if we were buying new seating, he should be able to have the recliner he's always dreamed about having. Ugh. Trying to create a stylish and functional room around an old man recliner? I don't believe it can be done.

Anyway, here was the best layout that I could come up with:

Sectional city! I've always wanted a sectional. Throw a independent recliner in the same material on the end of it and everyone is happy, right? Just remember this is a 'dream' layout when we have new floor and a sofa table and a big ass rug.

Off to La-Z-Boy we went. We ended up spending over three hours, sitting on sofas, debating materials, arguing loudly in front complete strangers. Can't say it was our proudest moment, but the people who work there offered to send their interior designer to our house for free to help us decide.

A week later, she showed up, and without showing her my layout idea, she basically suggested the exact same thing. The only difference was she wanted the sectional pushed up against the windows, which I absolutely abhorred.

We did the math, added in all the discounts {Sidenote: if you go into the store on a weekend with a good sale and they offer to send someone to your house, they'll still apply the sale prices when you purchase}, and found out we'd basically get the coffee table for $100 if lumped it in. Yay! The fabric we liked on the sectional was no extra cost, but it did cost more to add it to the recliner. All in all, it cost us roughly $2300 for a five cushion sectional, a custom fabric recliner, and a coffee table. Certainly a dent in our bank account, but I definitely don't feel like we got ripped off.

Ready for some 'After' pictures?

{Sidenote: I know the pictures aren't great, but the couch has two pillows from my sister's new Etsy shop. You should go check it out...}

So, here's the thing. I know the pictures aren't great because everything is crowded. Unfortunately, that's just how the room is. It's a lot more, um, full than I imagined. I love the sectional and Dan loves his recliner, but to be honest, the room is much more occupied than the layout suggested.

However, I'm not heartbroken or even stressed out about it. It works great for now. Our house is a work in progress and this temporary layout is just part of the journey. Some day, I can see this sectional ending up moving to the formal living room/play room. We paid more for the Scotch guard so, even though it's a light color, I can see our future kids and their friends lounging on it. The recliner will probably move to the den or the shop, whenever either of those get redone (geez, the list is so damn long.)

Eventually, I'd like our great room to evolve to something like this:

Or this:

Image Source
Maybe even this one:

Image Source
I know they have less seating, but once we get to the point where we can have this room, hopefully our house will have evolved enough that guests won't feel trapped to just this one room.

Friday, July 12, 2013

My Cats have, umm, Skills...

Even though Sammy is older than Rusty, he will always be my baby cat because he's spoiled, manipulative, and scared of absolutely everything.

Topping the long list of things of things that he is afraid of is water.

Which is why I was so surprised when I found him doing this the other day.

He's learned to drink out of the toilet. I'm just so proud, I think.

Unlike Sam, Rusty has no aversion what so ever to water. He loves to sit in wet sinks. Not just wet like there's a bit of residue left after brushing your teeth. No, like, an inch or two of water to soak something.

Cats are so weird.

UPDATE: While writing this post (I literally was in the middle of a sentence), I had the biggest, grossest cat poop disaster I've ever experienced. It. was. everywhere. So, from now on, lids will stay down, in case for some reason, toilet water was the cause.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Project House Update: Painting the Gym - The After

Once all the little things had fallen in place, like finally overcoming the ceiling fan and picking a paint color, painting the walls of the gym was actually really quick. You know, once you decide to ignore the new window issue completely and if we have to repaint a bit after we install them, whenever that is, so be it. We did decide to not try and paint the surroundings of the windows until they are installed, so they remain the weird beige color, but you really don't notice unless you are looking for it.

The only real problem arose that the color 'Dreamcatcher' is so light that when you're painting and it's wet, it almost looks white, making it impossible to differentiate from the white of the ceiling. Afterward, with close examination, there are a couple of spots where we may have been too enthusiastic with our edging, resulting in some spots on the ceiling.

It's a great color, though. Dan thinks it's gray. I think it's blue. It's barely a color, barely a neutral, but so much better than the all white we were originally planning. It's also the first room we've tried an eggshell finish on and it really helps subtly light the room. The indistinguishable sheen of the walls reflect light around the poorly lit room.

Speaking of poorly lit, the only decision left to make was how to replace the ceiling fan. {Sidenote: As promised, I destroyed the crap out of the original fan and got so much joy out of throwing it away. {Sidenote sidenote: don't worry, it wasn't in good enough shape to salvage or donate to begin with.}}

Couple of things: 1) We wanted the fan to include a light fixture since the only previous lighting source was a small sconce near the door. 2) Since the room gets such poor ventilation, we wanted a good, sturdy fan. 3) The ceiling in the room is very low, roughly eight feet, so it needed to be low profile. 4) It needed to be able to be remote controlled for Dan's wiring configuration to work, eliminating most flush mount fans. These restrictions quickly eliminated most fans we came across.

Over two days and trips to a high-end lighting store (seriously, who spends $500+ on a ceiling fan?), Lowes, and Home Depot, we decided on some continuity in our house and chose the same fan we have in our breakfast nook. Great light, clean lines, and we already know that it works well. On a similar note, we also replaced the tiny sconce with the same sconce we have in the hallway (right). It went better with the fan than the original sconce, was cheap, and Dan had never been a fan of the existing sconce (left).

The last detail before the room could be declared finished? Where to put everything back. Since I only wanted to move the heavy workout equipment once, I broke out my favorite tool, Icovia, and played around with things. I measured all the pieces, modeled them out, and moved them around without breaking a sweat.

After an hour of playing around, the only option was a configuration almost identical to the previous one. The only difference, which did make me pretty happy, is that the cat box is no longer the first thing you see when you turn the corner in the hallway. And you don't have to awkwardly balance over it while trying to access the closet.

Finally ready for the complete after pics? Here's a reminder of what it looked like before:

And here's what it looks like now:

And to answer the two questions I know you have right now, 1) No, we didn't buy all this equipment. We were gifted it by my parents when they got membership to a gym near their house, and 2) Yes, we know we should be in a lot better shape for having all this stuff.

{Sidenote: if you ever spill water on ancient weight equipment when you're painting, clean it up pretty quickly so it doesn't rust and leech into the carpet like this. Good thing we were going to have to replace the carpet anyway.}

There are two things that are Rusty in this picture! Hahaha...
So, in all, it took us roughly two weeks to paint this one room. Here's the time breakdown:
  • Three days to move furniture, attempt to remove a ceiling fan, actually remove the chain from the ceiling, patch holes with spackle, and test out six colors of paint. I probably could have condensed this down to a day if I'd been able to defeat the fan, but I have learned the hard way in the past to not rush choosing a paint color. Take your time, try it on multiple walls, and view it in as many lights as possible. 
  • Two days to actually remove the ceiling fan and finish running the wire for the ceiling fan through the wall. I had been under the impression that hard part had been done when the wire was laid in the ceiling, but it took a good chunk of time for Dan to run the wire from the ceiling to the wall outlet. And some pretty big cuts in the wall that had to be patched.
  • One day to paint the ceiling. That was a long, hot, difficult day of trying to paint over the pile of furniture. Once Dan came home from his business trip, we should have just moved it out of the room. I wouldn't recommend the "move all the furniture to the center of the room" strategy.
  • One day prepping the walls. Lots of holes to spackle and sand and light fixtures and outlet plates to remove. Don't be one of those people that paints outlets. It's never a good look and they just become impossible to take off. 
  • One day to paint the walls. A full day of taping off the ceiling, painting over it in the white to prevent leaking, taping doors, and actually rolling and edging. Thankfully, my sister helped out and we were able to edge the whole room twice pretty quickly. Although, it still wasn't faster than Dan rolling out the whole room twice.
  • One day to swap out outlets and replace outlet plates. You should really let fresh paint dry at least a day before replacing the outlet plates otherwise they can stick and mar the paint if they ever need to be removed. If you don't believe me how much this little change can make, take a look at this:
  • Two days to argue in both a fancy lighting store and Home Depot about which ceiling fan we should get. Laziness won out on the second day we were able to pick out fixtures pretty quickly because we were tired of thinking about it. And then installing them.
  • One day to clean all the spackle dust off all the furniture that got past the drop cloth, vacuum vacuum vacuum, debate the new layout of the room, and return the furniture.
Not bad when you throw in celebrating the Fourth of July, a date night, and taking my sister out as a thank you for helping.

The important thing to remember is that when we paint a room, there's so much more that goes into it than just paint. Our house is a fixer-upper and the room needs to be fixed up before we even get to paint. This isn't a superficial "I got bored of the color" sort of thing. We attack so that we won't have to paint again for another ten years, hopefully.

I am so sick of paint, though. Good thing we can move onto the windows, but let's be real, I have no motivation to try and tackle that for a long, long time. Who really cares if they are without sills for a while, right? Although, we probably should figure out curtains or blinds or something so that my neighbors can't see me huffing and puffing on the treadmill. Hmm, priorities...

Monday, July 8, 2013

Project House Update: Painting the Gym - Days 2-8

So, where did we leave off? I didn't like any of my paint colors, I had a ceiling fan that refused to be removed, and had two days to work before Dan returned home.

To be honest, without removing the ceiling fan, there wasn't much I could do so I called it a wash until Dan came home. Instead, since the first three colors didn't work, back to Home Depot I went for three new colors. I know they all look the same, but the subtle, little differences were driving me insane.

Six different colors on the wall and nothing stood out. One looked better in natural light on one wall, but not the other. Another one looked the best at night in the artificial light from the sconce.

And, because I am the worst at remembering to take pictures, there aren't any. (Ok, Dan rolled over the paint samples before I realized I hadn't taken pictures.) With all six shades, I still couldn't make a decision by myself, so I used the remaining time to patch the nail holes in the walls.

Once Dan returned home, he made quick work of the ceiling fan, although he did say it was much more difficult than he imagined. And we were finally able to pick a color. We ended up with 'Dreamcatcher', the lightest shade from the first batch of colors.

Without the ceiling fan in place anymore, I was finally able to give it the coat of clean white paint it needed. All by myself, too. I'm not good for much when it comes to house stuff, but I was going to do this one on my own.

There were two reasons I didn't jump in and paint the walls at the same time. One, Dan hated the window sills and ripped them out. There were like a fake granite countertop type of material. The window sills needed some clean up and we needed a strategy going forward before we tackled the surrounding wall. Why paint the walls if we were just going to need to tear them up to install new sills?

Secondly, the windows themselves. Dan had been pushing to replace the windows and I had been fighting him on it. The windows are originally to the house, meaning they are not at all energy efficient. And dated. I fought him on adding yet another cost to working on this room, but I was quickly converted. When I was painting the ceiling, I was brutally aware of how much heat was radiating through them. I may have only survived the process by talking myself through it, like my own little motivational speaker. Also, the ventilation in the room probably the worst of any room in the house and the windows aren't helping anything. Replacing them made a lot of sense.  However, we've never replaced windows. Is it something better to do before you paint or after? Would it bang up the walls in the installation process?

So, a week in and all I've really gotten done is painting the ceiling, my original task for Day 1. Geez. Hopefully, by Wednesday, I'll have the complete 'After' ready to go, as well as a more detailed breakdown of the little things that make the whole process turn into a two week affair. I'm honest. None of what these other bloggers do and say they painted a room in an afternoon.

Stay tuned...

Friday, July 5, 2013

Happy Birthday, 'Merica

Usually, July 4th is hit or miss for us. Either the stars align and we celebrate big or it's a quiet night that we enjoy from our own backyard. In the eleventh hour, it actually turned out to be a great day yesterday.

It was a relatively low-key day until dinnertime when we finally went to my favorite diner to enjoy a veggie burger, onion rings, and a big ole milkshake. {Sidenote: I really intended to take some pictures of our good old fashion American dinner, but we were so hungry that I forgot about pictures until there was nothing left.}

And for something completely different, here's some pictures of Dan looking silly on our way out of the diner.

After dinner, we headed over to the firework display. When I was little, we used to go to this golf course at a local resort and sit on the grass with some of our friends' families. It was an incredible view. Unfortunately, the last time they held their display was 2003.

So, imagine how surprised I was when the morning news listed the resort on their list of fireworks displayed. To be honest, until the fireworks started going off overhead, I doubted that they would actually happen. And we only had to run once from unexpected shot from the sprinklers. It was just like I remembered them.

It was a really nice way to celebrate the day.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Ponyo and Princess Mononoke Walk into a Bar...

Last weekend, our local indie movie house hosted a showing of Ponyo with a costume contest to follow. So, what is a redheaded girl to do? Cosplay the crap out of it!

See? Don't we look just like them?

My little sister was Princess Mononoke. Our friend Schmidt made (remember that, he MADE) a Princess Mononoke mask, so we really thought Cheryl had the costume contest in the bag.

He MADE that mask! That's insane!

And in the ridiculously easy costume category, you have me. I spent Saturday afternoon at the mall, finding the red dress at Forever 21 and white shorts (like bloomers) at Old Navy. I wanted pieces that I could wear again. {Sidenote: I tried to jump in the pics so I could make it look like Ponyo in the movie, swimming or jumping or something. Clearly it was not that great of an idea.}

For only having two hours at the mall to find it, I'm quite proud of my costume. Now, I already had the crab sandals, but they were perfect for the costume.

In an upset, Cheryl didn't win the costume contest. The guy who won stayed in character all night and given that it was a million degrees and the lack of visibility, she wasn't keeping the Mononoke mask on constantly. It may be hard to tell, too, but Schmidt was dressed up as Sosoke.

We did both walk away with a small poster each, featuring raccoon testicles. Yay...

Oh! And the "walked into a bar" part. Afterward, we were starving since we skipped dinner to make our costumes so we went to a chicken and waffles bar. Which closed five minutes after we got there. No waffles for me. Why would a waffle bar close at 10PM is beyond me.