I finally made it to my first convention of the year! I try to make it to a few conventions every year, but I quickly realized that my schedule was packed. I had Twin Cities Con on my radar for this year and I was happy to have been able to attend on Friday. I tabled at the Twin Cities Geek booth which is the online magazine I occasionally write for. Twin Cities Con was one of the most organized conventions I have ever been to especially since this is only the second year for the convention.
Prior to Twin Cities Con, there were several bigger conventions that tried to move into the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. However, these conventions were focused on profit and driving away the local community. Each convention never stayed longer than two years. With Twin Cities Con, there was more partnership with the community. One of the runners of Twin Cities Con talked to the local cosplay community to get a gauge for what weekends Twin Cities Con would work for everyone. With Twin Cities Con happening every November, it doesn’t run into some of the local conventions in the summer. It’s neat that there was a lot of thought put into this convention.
As far as cosplay, I always wait till the last minute. I went through all of my previous Halloween costumes and ended up settling on a Jessica Jones cosplay. I already had the leather jacket, the light jeans, and the combat boots. All I needed was the black gloves and the white t-shirt which I found at Target the night before. It was such a quick cosplay and I did get recognized which is always fun. I do wish I would have thought more about what I wanted to cosplay as. I have an orange wig sitting in my closet that I haven’t been able to wear yet.
Twin Cities Con was a blast to attend. I’m excited to see this convention grow. Minneapolis and Saint Paul need a bigger convention that’s similar to a C2E2 in Chicago and I think Twin Cities Con can get there.
I love weddings. With all the despair going on in the world, weddings are positive and light. My aunt got married last weekend and I couldn’t be happier. This ceremony was smaller which honestly, I think smaller weddings are more enjoyable. I felt that I could actually congratulate the bride and talk to people on a smaller scale. After the wedding, we went out to an intimate dinner at one of our favorite restaurants. It was so fun to be able to celebrate their marriage.
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but me and my husband bought a house! We spent all last weekend moving our stuff with the help of friends and family willing to take the time to assist. It’s been a process of unpacking and deciding where everything is going in our new space. While living in an apartment worked for a while, it always felt temporary. This is the house that me and my husband plan on living in for many years to come.
Our house hunt started shortly after our trip to Austin. Me and my husband talked about what’s next for us this year and my husband brought up the idea of starting the process of buying a house. He was looking forward to the idea of making our house a home and putting our money into something that’s a long-term investment. Shortly after this conversation, we proceeded with the next steps including partnering with a realtor.
Our house search in a lot of ways was pretty organized. We knew exactly which area of the Twin Cities we wanted to live which helped narrow down our search. We devoted a full day to walk through six homes back to back. From there, we found a house that we loved which led to us putting in our offer. Our offer was accepted the next day. I remember my heart felt like it was going to explode out of my chest when our realtor told us that our offer was accepted.
From there, it was a lot of paperwork to fill out and different things that needed to be aligned. The process itself moved fairly quickly. I’m grateful to my husband who took on a lot of the work and made this process a lot easier to handle.
2022 has been a jam-packed year and I’m thrilled to add geek elements to our home.
I took a little bit of a writing break which was quite refreshing. During this time, I went with my husband’s family on a short trip to Door County, Wisconsin. Door County is a county in Wisconsin that consists of several towns that are right along the water. Green Bay is on the left side of Door County and Lake Michigan is on the right. If you look at a Wisconsin state map, there’s a portion of Wisconsin that sticks out and that’s where Door County is. I have never been to Door County before and I was stunned by how beautiful this portion of Wisconsin is.
Everyone who has been to Door County would easily say it’s the most beautiful portion of the state. We would walk through all of these bay towns and it felt like I was on the East Coast. There were all these restaurants, coffee shops, and small businesses that bordered the water. I found myself enjoying walking and taking in all the scenery. Walking and hiking in general are one of my favorite forms of exercise and Door County has plenty to offer.
Door County is one of the best places to visit in the Fall. As my husband and I drove up to Door County, we saw several billboards for a winery that made Halloween wines. Door County Peninsula Winery has three specialty wines that they make every Halloween. When we went to their indoor space, they had it all decked out in Halloween decorations. It made the experience more fun. Everywhere we went in Door County seemed to have some sort of Halloween decoration hung up. Besides visiting various distilleries and wineries, there are also plenty of apple orchards and barns to visit that sold local homemade goods. No matter where we went, each place was so lively.
Visiting Door County was a perfect, local trip and I’m glad I could take a mini break to unwind and come back feeling recharged. As far as vacations, this is my last big trip of the year. I have a friend getting married next month and with the holidays coming up quickly, I probably won’t have the time to commit to traveling anywhere else. Door County was exactly what I needed and now I’m even more excited for Halloween.
I last went to the Minnesota Renaissance Festival in 2019 or pre-pandemic. I was planning to attend in 2021, but wedding plans quickly booked my weekends. I wanted to make it a priority to attend this year. I’m so glad I was able to go.
Normally, we always drive to Ren Fest, but this year we decided to take the bus. There’s a bus that will do drop-offs at the entrance. It’s well known that Ren Festhas extremely long wait times to get into the fairgrounds. By long, I mean you could easily be waiting 2+ hours in order to park a car. Once I found out the bus was an option, I kick myself as to why I didn’t do this years ago. It was so slick. There were times that the bus had to wait, but once we got closer, there was a bus line that was created, so we could bypass a lot of the car lines. I think it took 20-30 minutes to get there versus hours waiting in a car.
In previous years, we try to go towards the middle of September as it’s supposed to be cooler. However, the weekend we went, it was 80 degrees! It was nice to not be cold, but it messed with the tradition. I used to always order soup in a bread bowl, but it was too hot. I opted for potato skins, chicken fajita, and a chicken wrap for dinner. I did stick with the apple cider float which I still love. It’s the perfect Fall beverage.
This year, I decided to wear a full costume! I decided to go with a pirate look. I rented my costume from Royal Fashions Costume Emporium which I have been doing since 2018 except I would always rent for a convention and not for Ren Fest. Renting a costume is great because it’s cheap and I don’t have to store it anywhere. It was a little bit hot, so I ended up not wearing my red pirate jacket as I really didn’t want to overheat. Wearing a costume for Ren Fest is so fun and I plan on doing this every year going forward.
We spent six full hours at Ren Fest which included seeing two live shows, shopping, and walking around. I missed going to Ren Fest, so I’m happy that I was able to go this year.
My best friend is getting married in November! She’s one of my closest friends. I have called her in moments of crisis throughout my life and she has always made herself available at any time. I consider her “the glue” of our friend group as she’s always the one to organize group events for us all to get together. I was tasked to help plan her bachelorette party along with her maid of honor. I’m not an event planner by any means, but the whole weekend really came together.
We stayed in an Airbnb in Saint Paul, Minnesota’s capital city. The Airbnb was neat because it actually used to be an old church. There was room for all seven of us to stay. We were supposed to have a group of eight, but one of our friends had Covid. This weekend was jam-packed with a group walk, a fancy dinner, and a comedy show on Saturday night. As per a Bachelorette party, there were plenty of drinks consumed. I felt I had to take a day or two to fully recover.
As I reflect on the weekend, I am truly fortunate to have my best friend in my life. She is caring, and honest, and has always had my back. I’m so happy to celebrate her wedding in a month or two. I love her to pieces and I know she will be in my life forever.
I’m at the age where a lot of my friends are getting married. Two weeks ago, one of our friends in our friend group got married at a winery. The wedding itself was stunning! They had a lot of green plants mixed with white flowers on the tables. There was a huge group of us dancing all night. Me and my friends took a lot of pictures throughout the night in the winery. I love attending weddings and this wedding was no different.
When I was planning the itinerary for Austin, I knew I wanted to stop in Dallas. Dallas is known as the home to the Dallas Cowboys, BBQ, and unfortunately the city where John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. When I told my mom I was visiting Dallas, she was telling me where she was when she found out JFK was assassinated. She was in elementary school when she was sent home and found my grandma crying in front of the TV. It’s unfortunate that Dallas was the setting for something so horrific. I would honestly recommend visiting Dallas solely for the history and the museums that are located there.
The first place we stopped was the Dealey Plaza museum. The Dealey Plaza is the building where Lee Harvey Oswald shot the president. It’s been named a historical building and turned into a museum. I felt this museum did a great job balancing JFK’s life and all that he accomplished while also covering the assassination. It wasn’t a museum solely dedicated to the assassination which I thought was respectful. There were diagrams showing the motorcade. One thing I pointed out to my husband was the fact that there were white X’s on the road which showed the points in which JFK was shot. I wasn’t expecting that to be there and it made it more alarming to me. The museum itself was well worth the trip and I would probably go back to Dallas and visit the museum again if I was with someone who had never been.
After the Dealey Plaza museum, we went to the Dallas Holocaust & Human Rights Museum. While this museum focuses on the holocaust, it also focused on the definition of human rights along with other genocides in history. It talked about the idea of “upstanders” and “bystanders” Upstanders are individuals in history who do the right thing even if it’s illegal or banned. Individuals who smuggled Jewish people out of Europe technically were doing something illegal, but it was the right thing to do. Bystanders are those who stood by and didn’t do anything. I liked how this museum didn’t just focus on the Holocaust, but also explained how this happened and what traits dictators show that lead them to violence.
Along with the museums, me and my husband walked around downtown Dallas. We stopped at Pegasus City Brewing which oddly reminded us of the video game Bioshock since the font felt old-fashioned. After having a few cocktails and dinner, we meandered back to our hotel before driving home the next day.
It’s funny; I spent less time in Dallas, but this post was a lot longer than my Austin post. I think that’s because of the museums which I learned a lot from. There was more downtime in Austin versus Dallas as there was a list of activities that I wanted to do for the day. This road trip was such a blast. My next trip will be to Door County, Wisconsin in September. Otherwise, I’m thinking an international trip will be my focus sometime next year.
It’s been several weeks since my Texas road trip and I have been thinking fondly back to portions of the trip. For my second post, I wanted to focus on Austin as that’s where me and my husband spent a good amount of time. I have to admit, Austin is probably one of my favorite cities I have ever visited in the US.
One of Austin’s first things I noticed and loved is live music. Austin was coined as the “Live Music Capital of the World” There is live music everywhere! We were walking on Congress Street, one of the main streets downtown. We heard jazz, metal, rock, country, and bluegrass to name a few. One night we listened to EDM music at an outdoor bar. It reminded me of a music festival I attended years ago. There was truly something for everyone.
Besides live music, art was another primary focus in Austin. I had an art mural list saved on my phone and it became this scavenger hunt of finding all the local art murals in the various parts of the city. Coinciding with the art murals, several stores sold local art. We couldn’t resist buying an art print featuring one of Austin’s more well-known art murals.
In between live music and shopping for art, there were other areas we explored. We drove to Mount Bonnell which provided a beautiful view of the Austin skyline. We toured the Lyndon B Johnson Library & Museum. I didn’t know anything about Presidential Libraries, but I was glad that we took the time to visit. I convinced my husband that we should stop at Austin Books & Comics which was one of the best comic book stores I have ever been to. I’m planning on writing more about this in a separate post.
Austin was an awesome city to visit. Austin is one of the cities in the US that’s growing so quickly and I can see why. I have Austin as a city on my list to revisit because there’s so much to discover. Compared to my road trip in March, I felt that this trip was slower-paced because we didn’t do as many stops. My last post will be up sometime next week where I will write about Dallas since we did a day trip there as well.
I’m back from vacation! Me and my husband drove to Austin, Texas. Initially, I was going to schedule posts to release while I was out, but I ended up scrapping that idea and taking a week off instead. Similar to other vacation posts, I’m going to write three posts that summarize my trip. The first post is dedicated to a city we stopped in; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Leaving from Minneapolis, the fastest driving route to Austin is to cut through Oklahoma. You may be thinking, “why would you want to visit Oklahoma??” Oklahoma, like many states in the US, has the stereotype of being a “fly-over state”. As someone who eventually wants to visit all the US states, I was excited to be able to cross off Oklahoma from the list. Whatever expectations I had about Oklahoma, I was pleasantly surprised. Oklahoma City (abbreviated OKC) was a city I had a great time exploring.
One of the first things we did was visit Wheeler Ferris Wheel. The Wheeler Ferris Wheel was the original Santa Monica Pier Ferris Wheel. It was purchased and now resides in a park outside of downtown OKC. Wheeler district was really neat. There was a full park with numerous trails on the border of the Oklahoma River. The area was in a warehouse district with a full view of the OKC skyline. Wheeler district reminded me of northeast Minneapolis which is our artsy area of the city.
Besides taking pictures at Wheeler Ferris Wheel, we walked around The Oklahoma City National Memorial. For those who are unfamiliar, on April 19th, 1995 a bomb went off at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in OKC. I wasn’t even a year old when this happened. I’m learning as an adult what happened that day and how horrific this event was. The memorial was beautifully crafted, but haunting. There were several chair sculptures that represented everyone who died that day. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to go through the museum, but if I’m ever back to OKC, I will make this a priority.
That’s OKC! I was not expecting to love OKC as much as I did. There’s a lot of history here, and local businesses to support. Sometime next week, I will post my Austin Texas travel recap.