Tag Archives: costumes

Warriors, Come Out And Play

15 Nov

Imagine running three and a half miles in the dust, over hills, on a trail studded with giant piles of steaming horse crap. Imagine scaling walls, swimming through mud, and leaping over open flames. Imagine enduring this ordeal with thousands of other sweating competitors, some of them dressed up as batman, ninjas, or a banana. Imagine, doing this for fun.

Welcome, athletes, to the Warrior Dash!

When Anthony first told me he wanted to run in Warrior Dash with friends, I had only a vague notion of the obstacles. I naively imagined him leaping over hurdles and high-stepping it through a checkerboard of tires. So I invited my friend Angela, who recently took up running as a hobby, to join us. Our conversation went something like this:

Me: Anthony and some friends are going to run a race in October. It’s short and it’s supposed to be fun. I think it’s called the Warrior Dash. Wanna come?

Angela: Sure! Let me look it up online.

Me: Okay.

Angela: … This race involves jumping over fire.

Me: WHAT?!

Angela: Yeah. And a lot of barbed wire. And a blackout tent, and a mud pit, and two piles of fire.

Me: Oh. Well, do you want to come and watch? I’m not running, obviously.

Angela: No, I’m still interested in doing it. I’m just a little worried about the fire.

And that, folks, is why Angela is BAD. ASS.

The Warrior Dash is so popular that heats are scheduled on the hour all weekend long and each heat hosts five hundred people. They sell out fast, so while Angela registered for the noon heat, Anthony and our other friends had to sign up for the heat that started an hour later. When we arrived there were already thousands of people there, some covered in mud that was already beginning to crust and dry in the arid heat of the late summer sun. It was hot, hotter than usual for the foothills and hotter than it had been previously that week. It was only eleven in the morning and we were working up a sweat just standing there. The runners signed up for later in the day were going to have a rough time of it.

What sets the Warrior Dash apart from other obstacle course challenges is the light-hearted spirit of the event. Many runners wore elaborate costumes and everyone who participates earns themselves a t-shirt, a Viking hat, a medal and a free beer. It was a physical challenge, no doubt about it, but the emphasis was on fun. When I saw someone get stuck at the top of a 20-foot wall, the paramedics were arranging a way to get her down when she conquered her fear of heights and climbed down on her own. The crowd cheered for her ecstatically. This is what I loved about the Warrior Dash. The crowd could have looked down on her for getting scared. Instead, they cheered her victory.

After the race, mud-soaked competitors were invited to donate their shoes to a charity that would clean them up and send them to third-world countries where they were needed.

Before we even parked the car we started spotting costume after costume. Groups of people signed up to run the race a team all sporting themed costumes. Our friend Jaime, Alicia and her boyfriend all going to dressed in homemade Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle costumes. For whatever reason their heat was filled with people dressed as TMNT, despite the fact that none of the other heats seemed to have not so much as a non-mutant turtle costume. While I waited for Anthony and Jaime to run by I kept my eyes peeled for turtles and became disappointed each time that another competitor, dressed as a turtle, ran by.

I have to admit a small amount of jealousy for the mud-soaked competitors. Not that I wanted to be soaked in mud, because, uh, no thanks. But the race, as hard as it was, looked undeniably fun. Justin and I came along for picture-taking, bag holding, and moral support, and even he talked about running it with Angela next year. Just attending the event was hard enough for me. The standing and the walking was enough to make me stiff and sore and arthritic for the next two days. No Warrior Dash is in my future.

After watching the runners start the race flanked by plumes of fire, we waited for them in the spectator area where we could watch them scale two obstacle walls before witnessing the leap through fire and the slog through the mud pit. Angela climbed the rope wall with no problem. I saw many people skip this obstacle entirely.

Then she scaled the net climb with no difficulty.

I regret to say I have no photos of her leaping fire or treading through mud. The timing of the heats meant I had to leave in order to watch Anthony’s heat, but Justin followed her and got pictures, including this one, that I shamelessly stole from her twitter stream:

Afterwards, she cleaned up with a hundred other people in the one shower provided: a fire truck’s hose. She managed to change her clothes, but look at her hair:

While waiting for Anthony’s heat to run by we spotted some amusing costumes.

The 80s Aerobic group:

Fred & Wilma Flintsone… an amazing couple in their sixties:

A lady dressed as Mario:


A ripped bunny-dude:

A bunch of bananas:

Some convicts:

Reno 911 and whatever she is:


Two Ghost Busters:

And my personal favorite, Colonel Sanders and a flock of chickens:

We kept spotting Waldos all day long, also:

Anthony’s group was at the end of line since we wanted to wait and watch Angela go by.

After seeing dozens of turtles run by (and I’m not just saying this, but their TMNT costumes were by far the best of the day), we finally saw our guys.

After they scaled the net wall Angela, Justin and I had to literally sprint all the way to the fire pits in order to watch them jump the flames. We barely made it in time for me to snap one of Jaime.

The fire truck shower kept reminding me of that Weird Al movie UHF, and the children’s show where Michael Richard’s character kept telling kids, “You get to drink from… the fire hose!” blasting the lucky kid right off the stage.

It’s a good thing that day was so hot, because the water was reportedly ice cold.

After we ate and everyone cleaned off we stopped Casa de Fruita for some pomegranate wine and miner’s hats and called it a day. The end.

Scrapbook: Sweeping at the Library

6 Nov

Last week my Mom and I took Isobel to the special Halloween program at the library. It was packed beyond anything I’d ever seen. A sea of toddlers and babies, bedecked in adorable costumes, squirming as we sang songs and motioned through finger plays.

Isobel normally loves interacting with kids at the library and wanders around gregariously among the children during story time. There were so many people that this time she stuck close to home and even sat on my lap. She kept saying, “I’m a little shy.” I’d conservatively estimate there were 75-100 people there that day.

While we waited for the library to open, she busied herself by sweeping up the leaves that had gathered by the entrance. She is such a clean, hardworking witch.

Little Big Links: Star Trek

3 Nov

The Star Trek Cookbook. Somehow, seeing Neelix on the cover is only slightly more appetizing than a photo of a replicator.

Rikers in Space. Jonathan Frakes and Mirina Sirtis discuss a spin off sitcom from ST:TNG called “Rikers in Space.” via Metafilter.

Amazing Illustrated Star Trek Wallpaper. Wow. via Sophie and Paul.

The Hipster Star Trek Tumblr. “Galaxy Class Starship? I only live on fixed-gear space stations.” via @iasshole.

Star Trek on Regretsy. The first item weirds me out.

Locutus of Borg Cross-Stitch. Lord, grant me to know the wisdom when resistance is futile.

Hull problems? I feel bad for you, son. Geordie has 99 problems.

As if the above photo wasn’t enough, lyrics. NSFW.

TNG Season 8 on Twitter. “The prime directive is completely ignored when Picard really wants to ride a Centaur. Geordie sleeps through the whole episode by accident.” Parody plots of ST:TNG.

The Corgiprise. “And you might say to yourself: ‘Hey, is there a picture of a Corgi dressed up as the USS Enterprise?’ And the answer is “Corgiprise” & YES.” Via Misskubelik.


31 Aug

Staying at home isn’t all dusting the furniture while wearing pearls. Here’s what I’ve been up to lately.

* I had the very great pleasure of being interviewed by Amanda of She Has Moxie. In it I explain what it means to be a cross between June June Cleaver a and a Viking.  She asked me the hard-hitting questions, such as “What the hell are you doing with your life?” and “So your point is…?” And I try my best to answer in complete sentences. Amanda is dedicated to uncovering stories about women who create their own path, and her whole blog is a fascinating, inspiring read. I highly recommend it. You should also follow her on twitter, as she is a fun gal who has made Follow Friday more than once. Go here to read the interview.

* Since staying home with the baby I’ve been keeping very busy. For the most part I’ve been able to stick to my WAHM Schedule but there have been times where that has been an impossibility. That’s okay, though, because one thing parenting has taught me is to roll with the punches. Mostly I’ve been trying to put together suitable storage for all of my Etsy goods, clean out and revamp my closet, and put things together for Isobel’s Big Girl room. I work on it when my schedule allows.

* We recently took a family trip to Yosemite as a family,  and although we had some great moments we decided we weren’t going to attempt something like that again until she’s older. The next day Isobel was so exhausted she passed out on the floor two hours before her regular nap time in the midst of playing “cook.”

* My migraines have been back with a force lately, and I’m feeling haunted even typing those words. For one thing, it’s something of a taboo to even mention the frequency or severity of headaches among my friends that get them. If you’re having a reprieve, it’s a sure way to attract them. If they’ve been making you their vomiting, darkroom-dwelling bitch, they will linger. But I’ve been getting them in stretches of four days at a time again and it’s making me desperate enough to consider getting pregnant just so I’ll get that 2nd trimester break from the pain. I kid! Mostly!

* Halloween is coming! Anthony and I love dressing up so we usually start preparing in August as far as choosing costumes and putting together ideas. This year we’re going with a group theme but I don’t want to give too much away. It’s going to be awesome except for the part where I must completely disrobe to use the bathroom.

* Speaking of Halloween, I’m in the midst of writing a huge post about costume inspiration for babies and children. If you have a blog post about your kid’s previous Halloween costume and would like to send me the link, I’d love to include it in the round up. I want to get as many ideas together in one spot as I can, especially handmade costumes. Contact me here, or via email, or even on Twitter and I’d love to add your link to the post.

Busy Little Bee

31 Oct

Happy Halloween from our little bee! I asked her to say hi to everybody, and to my amazement, she complied:

My goal with her costume this year was to 1. dress her as something cute 2. dress her as something she wouldn’t hate. This last one was tricky. While I wouldn’t say she loves her costume, I can say that she doesn’t notice her costume, which I consider a WIN. Basically I knew anything that had a hat, a hood, gloves, mask, headband, or anything otherwise distracting would be absolutely loathed by Isobel. It would upset her dignity as a toddler. She has a lot of dignity and she treasures it.

Once I finally decided that she would be a bee I set to work gathering the components. She already had the black pants, mary jane shoes, and white socks. After coming up empty-handed in my search for a second-hand vintage dress, I decided to go with the next best thing: a handmade dress. I searched etsy for a yellow dress and found this one by etsy seller faithworks4u. She set to work immediately making this dress to Isobel’s measurements and within a few short days I had it in my possession. I can’t recommend her enough, and hopefully soon you will see Isobel in some other cute dresses from her shop. I have a couple that I have my eye on. (It should be noted that I found Faith’s shop on my own. I bought the dress, paid for with my own hard-earned money, and after she sent it and I examined the quality I contacted her and let her know I’d be featuring it here. She’s super nice.)

I added some extra bumble-bee stripes to the dress with black electrical tape. After the holiday is over, I have myself a cute toddler dress as the electrical tape comes off easily. Perfect.

The wings I found while thrifting. They were cannibalized from a commercial bee costume that wouldn’t have fit Isobel. I pinned them on using safety pins. I didn’t want to do any damage to the dress since she’d be wearing it after Halloween, and it is a lot easier to dress her with the wings only partially on than if they were permanent.

Since I knew she wouldn’t tolerate a headband with antenna I pulled her hair into an antenna hairstyle.

I’m a big fan of Baby Legs so I ordered these bee-inspired black and yellow leggings online. I wish their color was a little more golden to match the dress better, but overall I think they are cute.

The finishing touch to the outfit is the bouquet of flowers which I found while thrifting. She loves flowers, real or otherwise, and was excited to carry them around.

This whole outfit could have been put together very inexpensively had I looked for the dress while thrifting. As it was the dress was not too expensive and she’s going to be wearing it again and again.

Go bees!


14 DIY Costume Ideas

26 Oct

Although I start dreaming up Halloween costumes way in advance (I mean months in advance) I sometimes still can’t decide until the last minute. For couple’s costume ideas go here.

If there’s one thing the internet has given me, it’s limitless amounts of inspiration.


I don’t even know this kid, but when I saw him several years ago at a Renaissance Faire I had to take a photo. This was before Anthony and I were even planning to start a family, but the idea of crocheted chain mail was something I wanted to file away for future reference. How perfect is that chain mail? Answer: completely! It looks like chain mail but without the weight. I have no idea how to make this, but it looks pretty simple. I was just going to ask my friend Susie when the time comes. I suggest you do the same. (Or if you don’t know my friend Susie, just Google it.)

Fighter Accessories: crochet chain mail, sword and shield, swash-buckling hat, cuteness of an eight-year-old



I know a lot of people who’ve been Mario for Halloween. It’s a great costume, no doubt about it. But Raccoon Mario takes it to a whole new level of Geek-chic. (It’s an awesome hidden level, BTW.)

Raccoon Mario Accessories: red shirt, overalls, yellow felt button covers, hat, felt M logo, raccoon ears and tail



That’s my handsome husband right there. All kinds of ladies were swarming all over him when he wore this to work at the bookstore. I must have been feeling generous because I let them live. There are some very expensive items in this outfit: custom leather pieces aren’t cheap. That said, there were thrifty elements, too. The gray shirt and leather pants are from a thrift store, and the “boots” are from a cheap pirate Halloween costume: they attach to regular shoes to look all buccaneer-like. The sword was borrowed from David (we accidentally broke that sword later in the night while trying to slice a pumpkin in half—sorry, David!) and the bandolier belts were purchased at a yard sale. Since Anthony has used the leather braces and shoulder guards for many occasions in many different costumes I feel it’s a justified purpose. Many times Anthony will be some sort of fighter for Halloween and the years we can afford it we add another piece to his collection. The same goes with my faerie costume.

Swashbuckling Fighter Accessories: boots, leather pants, altered tunic/shirt, bandoleers, sword, bracers, shoulder armor, leather pouch with gold coins, thrifted belts, the good sense not to try to smash a pumpkin with a sword



As I was mentioning above, the faerie costume is my default costume that I add to every couple of years. It’s worth spending money on it as long as I add pieces slowly. But not all of my costume pieces are expensive. The earrings came from Claire’s (you can see the earrings in this picture), the dress I had in my closet, the belt is actually a ribbon, the fan was a favor from a wedding I attended, and instead of a purse I carried a basket that I got at a thrift store. The headpiece I bought online somewhere and the wings I got at a Ren Faire.
Faerie Accessories: dress, headband, ornate necklace and earrings, fan, basket, dress, wings, aversion to iron



David was an OG sexy vampire in the days before the Twilight phenomenon. He darkened his hair with inexpensive, temporary dye,  put in red contacts, and dressed up in a sexy red shirt and charcoal-gray trousers. David looked so hot. It really made me feel awful for breaking his sword. (Sorry, David!) He also put on vampire “fangs” that you glue on top of your canines.

Vampire Accessories: red contacts, temporary hair dye, fangs, nice outfit, tolerance for flash photography



Melynda channels Audrey Hepburn in this iconic costume. Plus, she just looks hot. I wonder where she got the cigarette holder…
Breakfast at Tiffany’s Accessories: tiara, necklace, glasses, gloves, black dress, cigarette holder, clutch


At Halloween the devil is always in style.

The Devil’s in the Details: sexy red dress, fishnets or tights, black lace gloves, horn hairclips, impish smile



John dressed as Rorschach from The Watchmen before the movie came out. There are probably commercial Rorschach costumes out now, but John’s was excellent and definitely easy to duplicate. I know John borrowed the hat, the trench, and maybe even the scarf from our friend Caleb, but I’ve seen similar items at thrift stores. John decorated an opaque white tight with a sharpie for the mask. He could see and breathe through it.

Rorschach Accessories : trench, scarf, hat, stocking, marker



Did you watch the cartoon Doug growing up? Remember the super hero Quail Man that was Doug’s alter ego? Scott nailed it.

Quail Man Accessories: belts for headband, red towel for cape, underwear worn outside of pants, homemade “Q” sweater vest


My sister is hilarious. Her costume was “going emo” but when people asked her what she was she would make a huge, heaving sigh and say, “I don’t caaaaaaaare.” It was perfect.
Emo Accessories: pale make up, black eye make up, black satin trench coat, black tulle skirt, black tights, endless apathy


Laurel obviously purchased this costume after the movie came out, but how freaking cute is this?
Silk Spectre Accessories: costume, ability to look hot and frolic


Doesn’t he look great? John does a really good Joker laugh. Unfortunately it woke a 6 month old Isobel up from her slumber and she screamed bloody murder. Great job, John! Your costume IS scary. To an infant.

The Joker’s Accessories: Dress clothes, purple shirt, cane, costume make up, hideous laugh



Anthony used to work at a large chain bookstore that dressed up for certain Twilight-related days. His manager, David, volunteered to be Dr. Cullen, the devilishly handsome vampire doctor. David just happened to have a real stethoscope. Handy.

Dr. Cullen Accessories: lab coat, hair dye, fangs, contacts, stethoscope


It helps if you have naturally long blond hair, but if not, you can braid a long, blond wig as well. This is my sister, and she braided her hair before winding it around her head like a Valkyrie’s halo. She’s wearing some thrifted fur. I don’t remember what she has one for pants or a skirt. This was a really long time ago, but I sure do like it, the thrifted fur especially. Very creative.

Barbarian Accessories: thrifted or faux fur, braided blond hair or wig, plastic battle axe, willingness to to ascend to Valhalla


Man, this costume looked really good in person. I should have gotten a close up of the faux fur vest he is wearing. Yes. You heard me. That entire vest is faux fur and was purchased at Macy’s as an honest-to-god serious item of clothing. When Justin recieved it as a birthday present from a well-intentioned family member, he decided to get Cro-Magnon with it for Halloween. Leopard pants were easily constructed out of fleece.

Cave Man Accessories: god-awful fake fir vest, leopard pants, tray of delicious flautas

Eight DIY Couple’s Costume Ideas

24 Oct

Sometimes it’s not enough to have a costume. Sometimes you need a costume that matches another costume. Here are eight suggestions to get you started.


My husband decided to be a vampire hunter for Halloween the year I was pregnant with Isobel. I decided to be a vampire, not because I have a particular interest in vampires, but because I was not going to tolerate my husband hunting anyone but me. My options were still wide open since I was in the middle of my pregnancy still—my only caveat was that I needed a high-wasted, flowing dress. Which is easy enough.

We recycled parts of other costumes to create the Vampire Hunter look. He wore a pair of thrifted black leather pants, thrifted black combat boots, a simple black t-shirt, and some creative accessories. The he made the stakes himself by slicing up a wooden dowel into the right shape and covering the handle with black electrical tape. He borrowed a cross from my parent’s house and bought a plastic gun at the flea market for a dollar. A bandoleer found while yard saling and some garlic finished off the look.

I’m the first to admit my costume isn’t very convincing or inventive. It was actually supposed to be a lot better: I had ordered these lacy black gloves and matching kneesocks on etsy but the seller flaked out. Boo. And I bought some stick-on fangs that David recommended but the adhesive was SO FUCKING NASTY I couldn’t go through with it. I bought some knit black stockings at Target at the last minute and added a sparkly thrifted broach.

Vampire Hunter Accessories: garlic, steaks, gun, cross, bandoleer, combat boots, badassery

Vampire Accessories: cool gloves and tights from etsy, fangs, dress, sparkly thrifted broach, baby bump


Stef rocks the dryad costume with a thrifted green dress and her natural beauty. She added a “crown” made of ivy and berries and made matching wristlet and belt circlets as well. Dave has the beard and physique of a lumberjack, so this costume wasn’t a stretch. Add a piping axe made out of foam, PVC pipe and duct tape, and you’re good to go.

Woodsman Accessories: beard, hat, flannel, jeans, “axe”, stoutheartedness

Dryad Accessories:  ivy crown, belt and wristlets, green dress, natural beauty


Angela was very, very pregnant during Halloween one year, and when you’re 8 months pregnant it’s hard to find more than one pair of pants that fit, let alone a costume. But she and her husband Justin had a great idea: she would be a pregnant prom queen and Justin would be her lecherous high school science teacher/baby daddy. The funniest part about this scandalous couple’s costume is that Justin unzipped his pants and put part of his shirt through the fly.

Pregnant Prom Queen Accessories: giant belly swollen with child, fancy dress, tiara, beauty queen sash, vacant stare
Unscrupulous Science Teacher Accessories: corduroy blazer, glasses, dress shirt, tie, leering stare



My friends love a good zombie story and have often theorized about what it would take to survive an apocalyptic zombie outbreak scenario. Caleb dressed as a survialist prepared for a post-zombie world and equipped with a toolbelt, work gloves, and 2 liter of Mountain Dew. My husband enjoyed zombification via white costume make up and fake blood. He wore old clothes that he could rip and spill blood onto for effect.

Zombie Survivalist Accessories: tool belt with leatherman, bowie knife, first aid kit and firestarter, back pack, work gloves, hat, and ability to shotgun a can of Mountain Dew
Zombie Accessories: make up, fake blood, old ripped clothes, unrelenting appetite for brains



Poor Melynda. She was really distraught the year Michael Jackson died. As a fan of his music she dressed as MJ in homage to his life for Halloween. Her boyfriend, Justin, dressed as a low-key zombie and they both did the Thriller dance together. A moving tribute.

Michael Jackson Accessories: one sparkly glove, hat, shoulder-padded jacket and MJ makeup–don’t forget the pasty skin!

Low-Key Zombie Accessories: ashen face, circles under eyes, halting walk



All the romance of a dime store novel! None of the sheepish embarrassment of purchasing it! Stef and Dave win the Most Epic award for costumes with this one. Stef purchased this Arwen dress online but similar dresses could be found by the conscientious thrifter.  Dave’s craftily-inclined mother made him the knight’s tunic. I’m not sure about the cape. Anthony had a very similar cape made by a seamstress friend of ours, but Cindy could have made this, too. I’m not sure if Dave borrowed Anthony’s or not. Either way? Epic.

LOTR Knight Accessories: tunic, cape, official LOTR merch leaf-pin, large hairy feet

LOTR Elf Accessories: princess dress, regal bearing, soft focus lens



Here’s a post about my daughter’s first Halloween costume: a piece of sushi. To complete the couple’s theme, I was a Japanese housewife. My awesome friend Valerie sewed up the salmon pillow and green nori belt for Isobel and we put her in a plain white onesie. I just happened to have a beautiful kimono and obi belt given to my by our friend Aiden who was stationed in Okinawa for a few years while serving with the military.

Japanese Housewife Accessories: kimono, obi belt, parasol, graceful manner (which I probably lacked)

Adorable Piece of Sushi Accessories: White onesie and leggings, nori belt, salmon pillow, excessive cuteness

DIY Baby Costume Inspiration

4 Oct

It’s that wonderful time of year when my thoughts start turning to what the heck am I going to be this year? Except this year I really don’t care what I’m going to be. I’m focused on Isobel.

This is the last year we are going to choose her costume. She’s still too little to have an opinion but next year she’s most definitely going to have an opinion and I can’t wait to find out what that is, but for now, Halloween is basically an excuse for Mama and Dada to dress up baby.

Isobel’s costume last year rocked: it was cheap, simple, and completely adorable. It also matched with a costume I already had for myself:

She was a piece of nigirizushi sushi and I was a Japanese housewife.

My friend Aidan spent some time living in the military base in Okinawa and he came home with all sorts of presents for us. He brought me this beautiful kimono and obi belt, along with several hilarious Engrish shirts.

I saw the idea for the sushi baby in an issue of Parents magazine and my crafty friend Valerie whipped up the “salmon” pillow and green “nori” belt in about ten minutes on her sewing machine. Thanks again, Val! This awesomeness was made possible thanks to you.

While looking for online inspiration I came across this contest at a website I love called Ohdeedoh. It’s a great website and my nursery was even featured there once. I could totally enter it in the Ohdeedoh contest since it meets their qualifications perfectly, but in reading the fine print I sign over the rights to my precious baby photos for them to use forever and ever. So, um, no. Thanks, but I don’t need to win a contest to validate that 1. my baby is adorable, and 2. that her Halloween costume rocks.

If you’re looking for an adorable, cheap, simple Halloween costume for your baby, might I suggest this one?

(Cute baby not included.)