Thursday, November 25, 2010

- So thankful for...

my family and how going home can heal my soul.

little scottish terriers who never forget me.

certain blonde haired guys who know exactly how to make me smile when I need it most.

friends who pop into my office to say hello, stay late to help with my experiments, yahoo chat with me all day, and won't let me be alone on Thanksgiving - or any other day of the year for that matter.

the end of this hellacious month.  I feel like it has tried to kill me and emotionally it nearly succeeded.  But the light at the end of the tunnel is finally getting closer.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

- All Hallow's Eve

When I was growing up I never wore a store bought costume for Halloween.  Mom always made ours and I remember going to Piece Goods and looking through the pattern books to pick out what I wanted to be.  When I was really young she made a simple pink princess dress that had a birthday hat covered in foil with pink netting out of the top that she sewed silver sequin stars to. My Cleopatra costume won a contest and landed me on the local morning show.  It was made out of gold stretchy material and had a white felt collar that we glued  jewels to and decorated with puffy paint designs.  I was a die one year (the singular for dice) and even when I was too old to go trick or treating I would dress up at home to hand out candy as a 50's girl in a poodle skirt.

So I have always bristled at the idea of picking up a store bought costume for Halloween or any other event.  Anyone can do that.  If I don't like wearing my regular clothes the same way as everyone else, I certainly wouldn't enjoy it for my costume.  Which is why in the past few years I haven't done much for Halloween.  Without an original costume idea that I can create I opt to just stay in and watch movies/hand out candy.  On top of all that - Halloween seems to be an excuse for women to dress ridiculously sexy in public - and every costume is the "sexified version".  I like to keep a little bit of class and dignity for good measure.

This year I decided to break the pattern and dress up twice.  On Friday our department had a lunch and I revived my 50's housewife look that I first wore 4 years ago.  I figured no one was still around that would remember it.  PLUS, this dress is one of the few things I've ever paid full price for at a designer boutique.  It was one of those completely unintelligent credit card purchases from my undergrad days and based on my calculations I have worn it 5 times, which means that I have come no where close to getting my money's worth yet. 

This picture is from my phone because I'm not smart enough to remember to take pictures with my awesome camera.  Also the bathroom light is usually not so yellow/orangy.
I think the hair really makes it.  I've spent a lot of money on hair products and styling devices - but the $15 I spent on a teasing comb was undoubtedly one of my best purchases.  It takes like 5 minutes, 3 bobby pins and a bunch of hairspray to get this all in place.  Other important accessories include a big fake engagement/wedding ring.  Otherwise you're single and that would be shameful if it actually was the 50's.  Another bonus of this costume was that the necklace I wore in Jaclyn's wedding matched really well, so I got to wear that again.  

My second costume was Miss Peacock from Clue.  For this one I also got to use a dress I already had in my closet, and I wore it with teal tights and bronze shoes to bring in more of the colors from the feathers - which were my only expense for this costume.  Sidenote: I don't know if it's because it was Halloween, or because peacock feathers are "in" right now, but I had a heck of a time hunting down the feathers I got.  As in I spent about 4 hours searching and drove ~40 miles around Raleigh and Cary.  So when I did find them, a chorus of angels sang from above and I said a prayer thanking the peacocks for the generous donation.  Feather fun fact: I used 12 peacock eyes and 10 peacock sword feathers which cost $16 at Michael's.
This next shot shows the veil a little bit better (it had a metallic gold sheen) - unfortunately I also look like a gigantic goober in it.  I decided to make a veil because in the original Clue the characters all had a bit of the 40's vibe going on.  Also, I thought it would be fun to attach the feathers to.  I looked at several online tutorials, none of which said it might take you 4 hours to get the shape of the tulle right so that when you stitch it, it looks good on your head.  So I stayed up until 3 am working on that thing, but since it was ultimately awesome, I guess it was well worth it.  Ultimately I would have preferred a different color for the veil that didn't match my hair color so closely...but Joanne's had a limited color selection and this one at least matched my shoes.
You can also see that I had a "Conservatory" card that I carried around, along with a vial of "poison" which was hidden for dramatic effect.  FYI - either last year or the year before was the 25th anniversary of Clue and they re-released the game with new rooms and new weapons.  Poison is one of the new ones, and while I would have preferred a traditional weapon, you just can't buy a fake gun or knife these days like you could when I was a kid.  Meaning now all guns are bright orange so there's no confusion and I didn't even see a fake knife anywhere I looked.  

I really liked the way this costume turned out, but in order to repeat it I would have to purchase more feathers.  The ones that I wore on my dress and shoes did not survive the crazy night, and neither did my left butt cheek which was mysteriously insanely sore the day after.  It could be from dancing, but I think a much more accurate guess would be from a "flounder" due to my lack of grace or ability to walk in heels.