PEEPin at a PEEP Art Exhibit

I hope you all had a lovely Easter weekend! For Easter, me and my fiance visit his family in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. With Covid, we would normally quarantine at his parents and watch TV. However, with both of his parents being vaccinated, we decided to go do something. For the Easter weekend, I convinced the fiance to go to the 11th Annual PEEPS Art Exhibition at the Racine Art Museum. From the title, all of the art pieces were made out of PEEPS.

The exhibit was open from noon to 4 PM. We arrived at the museum at 12:15 and there were already people waiting outside of the museum. Each ticket was $7 which I thought was a good price to see the PEEP room along with the whole museum. As we paid for our tickets, there were dots on the floor representing where to stand to be socially distanced. The museum had a cap of 50 people, so someone was counting how many people were being sold tickets. The PEEPS exhibit was in one room with a walkway with various art pieces. My favorite had to be the Baby Yoda made of brown and green PEEPS glued together. There were also several Bernie sitting on a chair PEEPS along with a Harry Potter-themed one as well.

With Covid, I missed going out and doing random activities. I would happily go to this exhibit next year. It was such a fun way to spend the Holiday.

One Year Later Covid 19

It was one year ago when I canceled my trip to Seattle for Emerald City Comic Con and spontaneously drove to Michigan. On the way home, I checked my work email and to my surprise, we all were able to work from home the following Monday. At that time, I had no way of knowing this would be semi-permanent. While 2020 was a rough year for almost everyone, I have found myself reflecting on what this pandemic has taught me. I think in order to grow as a person, it’s imperative to reflect on my time in quarantine. I wanted to share what I have taken away from this experience.

Be Appreciative of My Experiences

Before Covid, I was always planning the next vacation. I would finish my trip and a week later I would plan my next destination. Since I wasn’t able to travel, I found myself going through old pictures and reliving memories of previous trips. One example was reading through my travel journal. I have this beautiful, Maurader’s Map Harry Potter journal that I used to bring with me when I traveled. Reading through my past vacations made me hopeful for the future and decreased my feeling of isolation. It made me appreciate all of the life I have been able to live. I was always living in the future, not as much in the present. I don’t want to lose the travel bug I have acquired, but I also want to live more in the moment.

Paid Sick Leave

While the stimulus checks are crucial, I hope the United States re-evaluates the need for sick leave. In previous jobs I worked, I would show up sick because I had no other choice. This led to everyone in the office getting sick because I showed up to work. While I think the pandemic would have progressed the same regardless of paid sick leave, I think this would have made a difference.

Activism!

By staying home, I have been able to save money. Since I had more money left over, I was more aware of how I spent my money. I found myself trying to donate to various nonprofits and how that made me feel. After the murder of George Floyd, I started donating to NAACP, Black Lives Matter, and ACLU. I want to leave the world a better place, and donating money here and there helps. I’m fortunate that I’m able to do this as I was employed throughout the pandemic.

What Makes Me Happy

Playing video games, reading books & comics, and exercise all got me through this pandemic. It was a stressful time, and to get through it, I needed to figure out ways to destress. Additionally, I had to analyze my coping methods. Last April, I found myself relying more heavily on alcohol. It was a Friday staple to drink, and play video games. The morning after, I woke with a headache. I found myself having to analyze why I was using alcohol in the way that I was. I still drink, but I find I’m more in control.

I’m elated because I feel there is a light at the end of the tunnel. My mom received her first dose of the vaccine. While I wait my turn for the vaccine, I realize how much Covid has taught me about myself and life in general. I’m excited to be able to get back to attending conventions, seeing friends regularly and going to my favorite brewery.

Paola’s Pixels

I started using Etsy more now since the pandemic. I feel good about purchasing merchandise from small businesses and Etsy is the perfect place to look. Usually when I browse on Etsy, I’m not looking for anything specific. A couple weeks ago, I was looking for geeky lanyards to hang the rest of my convention badges. As I was browsing for lanyards, I stumbled upon Paola’s Pixels. Paola’s Pixels is a roleplaying themed online store with lanyards, mugs, clothing, and leggings. I found several lanyards that I adored along with a pair of leggings. I am extremely hesitant to order clothes through Etsy because I’m not sure how the fit will be. However, I was so in love with these leggings that I decided to wing it and order them. I’m so glad I did because I’m obsessed with these leggings.

I ordered four lanyards in total and purchased two of the yellow pattern. The lanyards are so soft! They seem well-made and not cheap-looking. The hook fit perfectly around my convention badges. I prefer the yellow design the most hence why I ordered two of them. I like how random the items are. There’s a cat, a feather, a sword, and flames. The pattern accompanies the randomness that occurs during a DnD campaign.

I saved the best for last which was the DnD themed leggings. I’m not an influencer, so when I say it took me one to two hours to take these photos, I’m not kidding. I wad drawn to the alchemist pattern because of the potions. It reminded me of one roleplaying session I was in where I was the only one in our group who bought healing potions. I was debating between sizes because I heard some of the leggings were sized a bit small. I like my leggings to fit tightly on my legs while leaving room in the waist. I don’t like clothing that fits tightly around the waist, it’s a personal thing for me. I decided to order a medium which is my usual size. If for some reason they didn’t fit, I could always return them.

My initial reaction when trying on these leggings was how soft they are! I will say that the leggings do fit a bit tight on my waist which as I mentioned, I’m not a fan of. I do find the more I wear these leggings, the more the waist loosens. The leggings aren’t see-through which is a huge factor as to whether I will wear them out in public or around the apartment. I can’t wait to wear these to my next convention!

I’m extremely pleased with my order from Paola’s Pixels. The shipping was fast, and accurate. I didn’t need to worry about my order being lost in the mail. For my next order, I want to try out the joggers as the joggers are a cross between leggings and sweatpants. Paola’s Pixels is critical for any roleplayers who want cute merch while rolling a D20.

Becoming a Bodmer – Wedding Planning

I haven’t written a personal post in a while, so here it goes. Wedding planning has taken up the majority of my time. This week I was organizing my hair and makeup schedule for the bridal party along with booking our hotel block. I’m trying not to get stressed with having to remember everything I need to book. Throughout this experience, I’m discovering I don’t like planning events. I’m going wedding dress shopping next weekend and the actual dress shopping isn’t even the part I’m most looking forward to. I’m excited to gather my friends together and to have their honest opinion when I try on dresses. With this post, I wanted to share what I have learned from planning a wedding along with documenting this experience.

Planning a wedding is a lot of work, so I find it’s crucial to be organized. My fiance works in finance, so he created an excel sheet with all of our vendors and what we owe. Additionally, we have been logging any down payments or payments made throughout the year. I have also been using my planner to log any checklist items I need to complete for that particular week. This helped me gather almost all of the addresses I needed for save the dates. It helps make wedding planning more feasible versus forgetting what I’m supposed to be doing this week.

The fun part about wedding planning is having an opinion on how the wedding should be. I’m all for the Fall theme. We are planning to have white pumpkins on various shelves at the winery which will feature pictures of loved ones who have passed. Our floral arrangement will be a mix of dark red, orange, and mustard yellow. I still haven’t picked out centerpieces for the tables, so that’s a work in progress. After a conversation with our DJ, he mentioned how at one wedding he was at, he played the song that plays in the Great Hall in the Harry Potter movies. I turned to my fiance who looked less than enthused about playing that at our reception.

While the wedding will be a fun day, I’m more excited to say I’m married to my partner. He is such a lovely human who is respectful to anyone he meets. He has always lifted me when I’m down and I love his knowledge about cars. He will fix things on my car and take my car to get the check engine light looked at. He is someone who I want to grow with as we go through the various phases in our life. After our wedding in October, we will be looking to buy a house. There are a couple of trips I want to go on before I’m fully ready to have kids, but that’s something we both want eventually.

I realize this post was less of a “wedding planning” and more of a personal tone with the relationship I have with my fiance. I do plan on documenting some aspects of our wedding planning as that’s been taking up a lot of my time. Time has been flying by and before I know it, it will be the time to walk down the aisle in the vineyard.

Reaching Out to Old Friends

Last week, I reached out to a friend of mine. She lives in Minneapolis and we have been friends since 3rd grade. I reached out to her regarding wedding information, however, we ended up talking for much longer. The next week she called me again and I found we were talking for almost an hour. Whether our conversation was about wedding stuff, anime, or playing the Sims, it was refreshing to hear what was going on in her life. It’s sad because my thought that went through my head originally was “she’s probably busy, and she won’t answer”. My assumption was incorrect. This post is a reminder to me and others during this time to check in on your friends during the pandemic.

I was watching the news with my fiance this week and I saw a news story that made me sad. Mental illness is skyrocketing in the pandemic. This is unsurprising, to say the least. It’s a stressful time of trying to stay quarantined, not seeing older family members and avoiding events or big groups of people. I find myself longing to attend conventions again. I miss being around like-minded people and cosplay! I haven’t planned any cosplays in a while because I have no place to go to wear them. I’m an introvert to a certain degree and even I find myself feeling lonely or missing old aspects of my life.

Me and my friend are set to hang out sometime today and I can’t wait. I’m hoping we will play Sims, watch anime, and play with her new puppy. This is my reminder to you to reach out to anyone you haven’t seen in a while. Send them a text, Facebook message, call, or DM them on Twitter. It doesn’t matter if it’s been 6+ months since you last reached out. It feels good to receive a message from someone I haven’t spoken to in a while. If you’re struggling during this time, feel free to DM me on Twitter @bizzarebrunette My DM’s are open.

Wanderlust My Travel Bucket List 4 Years Later

Four years ago, I wrote a post titled Wanderlust & My Travel Bucket List. In 2016, I was still in college and excited to finally graduate. As I re-read the post, I realized I actually crossed off a few of these places. I wanted to re-visit this topic to update my list, recap where I have been, and look to the future when the borders open.

Wanderlust *noun* a strong desire to travel.

Harry Potter World Orlando, Fl DONE! February 2019

This was my first trip listed in my post four years ago. I didn’t even list this as Universal Studios because I was so focused on going to see the Harry Potter portion of the theme park. This trip was planned for February because that’s my mom’s birthday month. It was also an excuse to leave the brutal Minnesota winter to go somewhere warm. This was one of my favorite trips I have ever taken and I’m glad I made this a priority after I graduated college.

Seattle, Washington – HAHAHAHA 2020.

I was supposed to go to Emerald City Comic Con in March of last year, however, I canceled my trip due to the pandemic. It was 100% the right decision to make. I hope to make it to Seattle one of these days. This picture itself is breathtaking.

London

I convinced the fiance to go to Europe for our honeymoon. With the borders being monitored, I do want to wait to go on a honeymoon until it’s safe to travel to Europe. London is a great beginner travel city since I haven’t been overseas yet.

New York City Comic Con / A Bigger Con Partly Done! Planet Comic-Con in 2018, New York Trip in 2018, and C2E2 twice.

This goal is partly completed. Since 2016, I have attended Gen Con (Indianapolis), C2E2 twice (Chicago), and Planet Comic Con (Kansas City, Missouri). In 2018, we flew to New York to explore the Big Apple. Once attending conventions becomes safe again, I do want to attend NYCC in all of its glory.

Reading my Wanderlust post reminded me how much I have accomplished since graduating from college in 2017. Going through 2020, I struggled with this insecurity of “not doing enough” with my life. 2020 felt like a wasted year. I realize in saying this that it’s a privileged thing to say. None of my loved ones tested positive for Covid-19. I’m still healthy as I’m sitting in my apartment writing this post. My main hope for 2021 is to speed up the distribution of the Covid vaccine! Bring on the herd immunity!

Starting a Comics Pull List

I have always wanted to start a comics pull list. I started reading comics in college, however, I wasn’t particularly fond of the comic book store in my college town. This meant starting a pull list back in Minneapolis wasn’t feasible since I wasn’t driving home consistently. Once I moved to the cities, I struggled to find a weekly comic series. I found reading trades easier than comic issues. Now, I have found at least a couple of series I’m trying to read weekly, so it made sense to finally start a pull list. I’m excited to be able to support a local comic book store weekly and get new comics! Wednesdays will have meaning for me again.

I started my pull list at Hot Comics and Collectibles. Hot Comics recently moved to a new store location in Minneapolis. It’s a quaint little shop, and it gives off a cozy vibe whenever I stop by. Hot Comics has three retail locations with two of these locations being within reasonable driving distance from my apartment. When I knew I wanted to start a pull list, I wanted a comic book store close by me. This would be a place I would drive to weekly to pick up my comics and nothing is worse than dreading a long car ride. The winter season in Minnesota makes winter driving unpredictable, and I’d hate to not be able to pick up my comics because of poor driving conditions.

So what’s on my pull list? At the moment, I have three titles on there so far. If you have kept up with my posts, this shouldn’t come as a surprise as to what’s on my pull list. First, I have Finger Guns. Finger Guns is such a fun comic series. I’m all caught up on the story, so now I’m waiting for issue #6 to release. Besides Finger Guns, I have the latest Doctor Aphra series on my pull list. The new Doctor Aphra series made me a fan of the character and her adventuring team. Finally, I have King in Black on my pull list. King in Black is the Avengers / X-Men crossover with Knull, the god of the Venom symbiote invading Earth. I haven’t been reading Donny Cates Venom series which supposedely leads up to King in Black. I never felt lost reading King in Black because the story is clear and easy to understand.

Despite having a pull list, I will read trade paperbacks. There are certain series I started way too late where I don’t think I will ever catch up to the current weekly comics. It took me a long time to feel comfortable with reading comics to have the confidence to begin a pull list. I’m happy to begin my pull list and add more titles. Let me know if you have a pull list and where your pull list is in the comments below.

2020 Pop Culture Year In Review

Before writing this post, I read my “2019 Pop Culture Year in Review.” Many of us had such high hopes for 2020. I’m trying to stay positive for the most part, but I can’t help feeling Covid-19 took so much from me. Conventions, trips, seeing my family all have been canceled, put on hold, or decreased. While quarantine allowed me more time for introverted activities, I found myself longing for social experiences. This is my fourth Pop Culture Year in Review post and it’s likely the most different recap I have written.

Movies I Saw in Theaters:

  • Rise of Skywalker
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
  • Birds of Prey

Birds of Prey was the last movie I saw in theaters before the pandemic hit. I do miss movie theaters. I hope theaters will bounce back after the pandemic. Birds of Prey was my favorite film of 2020. It was such a chaotic, girl-power action film.

Since being in quarantine, I did make a point to watch movies I had never seen before. These included the Blade movies, The League of Extraordinary Gentleman, Ready or Not, The Normal Heart, BlacKkKlansman, Ghostbusters re-make, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. My favorite movie I watched for the first time this year was BlacKkKlansman.

TV Shows I Watched:

  • Girls
  • Fleabag
  • New Girl (finally finished the whole series this year)
  • You
  • Barry
  • The Mandalorian
  • True Blood
  • Normal People
  • Challenger: The Final Flight

The obvious choice of the best TV show in 2020 is The Mandalorian. The second season topped the first season in many ways. Pedro Pascal’s back must hurt from carrying the Star Wars franchise. Besides the Mandalorian, I loved Fleabag. Phoebe Waller-Bridge is an excellent writer and Fleabag allows her to shine.

Video Games I Played:

  • Spy Fox in Dry Cereal
  • Monster Prom
  • Sims #3: Supernatural / Late Night expansions
  • Kingdom Hearts 3
  • Star Wars Battlefront II
  • Costume Quest II
  • Nancy Drew and the Ghost of Thornton Hall
  • Hidden Through Time
  • Marvel’s Avengers

This year I experimented with games on Steam. I cleared out excess programs on my laptop to make space for my Steam games. My favorite game I purchased on Steam was Hidden Through Time. It was such a soothing hidden objects game. While other gamers were playing Animal Crossing, I played a lot of Sims. There’s something comforting about simulation games while being stuck inside.

My favorite game I played on a console was Costume Quest II. Costume Quest II is a game that appealed to my love of Halloween. I was able to play it for free on Xbox Game Pass, although I’m considering purchasing both Costume Quest I and II on Steam to re-play them.

Another fond gaming memory was spending hours playing Star Wars: Battlefront II. I played Battlefront II for most of the summer. It was such a great way to unwind from work, crack open a beer and play as Lando.

Gaming in 2020

Star Wars Outer Rim: Playing as Jyn Erso.
  • Star Wars: Outer Rim
  • Tattoo Stories
  • Virus < how fitting
  • Vampire the Masquerade Roleplaying
  • Ravine
  • Hocus Pocus

To be clear, I played all of these board games before the pandemic started. The highlight of my gaming in 2020 was the Vampire the Masquerade role-play session. My character was named Karen and she was the “talk to your manager” vampire. She would only feed on managers. I had such fun playing as her in this one-shot.

Once quarantine began, I didn’t play nearly as many board games. Besides board games, I missed playing DnD. DnD podcasts filled the void of being able to roleplay in person.

Graphic Novels / Comics I Read this Year:

  • The Weirdos
  • Chandra IDW Issue #2
  • Pumpkinheads
  • Teen Titans: Raven
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Omnibus Edition
  • Wolvenheart Issue #2
  • Birds of Prey
  • Batgirl #1 Rebirth
  • Lucifer
  • Waves
  • Ghost in the Shell
  • Eat and Love Yourself
  • Ghosted in LA
  • Doctor Aphra Issue #1 & #2
  • She Said Destroy Volume. #1
  • Glitterbomb Volume #1
  • For Goodness Sake
  • Joker 80th Anniversary Edition
  • Cult Classic Volume #1
  • Berserk Volume #1
  • Finger Guns Issue #1 – #5

I read way more comics and graphic novels this year than in 2019. The graphic novel that stood out to me this year was Eat and Love Yourself by Sweeney Boo. This graphic novel discusses some intense topics regarding body dysmorphia and eating disorders. It was an emotional read. I adore Sweeney Boo’s art style. I follow her on Instagram where she posts her art. Besides Eat and Love Yourself, I did enjoy Ghosted in LA published by Boom!

As far as individual comics, I was impressed by Doctor Aphra. It captured my attention within the first issue. Finger Guns is another comic series I enjoyed reading. I read through all five single issues quickly.

2020 Pop Culture Moments

  • Phoebe Waller-Bridge winning all the awards
  • QUARANTINE!
  • Celebrities & the “Imagine” video
  • President Trump advising people to drink.. bleach?
  • President Trump losing the election

Podcasts I Couldn’t Stop Listening To:

  • I Weigh hosted by Jameela Jamil
  • Ain’t Slayed Nobody

I didn’t listen to as many podcasts in 2020 versus 2019. Once I started working from home, I wasn’t listening to podcasts on my bus rides. I still listen to Not Another Dnd Podcast, This Podcast Will Kill You, Science Rules, however, the podcasts listed in the bullets were podcasts I discovered in 2020.

Jameela Jamil’s I Weigh features Jameela interviewing various actors, activists and friends. At the end of every episode, she asks her guests “what do you weigh?” meaning what gives your life meaning other than the weight of your body. Jameela Jamil seems like a lovely human being and I adore how intelligent and charismatic she is.

Ain’t Slayed Nobody is a Call of Cthulhu roleplaying podcast. This podcast takes place in the 1800’s Wild West era in the United States. Each episode is well-edited, there’s a recap at the beginning of each episode, and the keeper does an excellent job telling the story. Ain’t Slayed Nobody releases their episodes once a month for their main campaign, but will often feature one-shots as well.

Catchiest Song in 2020

Conventions I Attended in 2020

I forgot I attended C2E2 this year. The convention was in February before Covid-19 hit. I debuted my new Punisher cosplay. The cosplay is comfortable. The only change I would make is to wear my new black combat boots versus my workout shoes. At C2E2, they had the outfit Jon Berenthal was wearing on display. It was pretty cool to see.

Personal Memories

Top Three Memories of 2020:

Traverse City, Michigan (replacing canceled Seattle Trip)

Girl’s Cabin Weekend

Taking Our Engagement Photos!

My Favorite Nonprofits

I’m fortunate to still be employed throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. I have been working remotely since mid-March and my company extended working remotely until next March of 2021. Being Quarantined, I have been able to put money away since I’m not spending money on traveling, going out to eat, or at breweries. When my payday approaches, I budget out a portion of my paycheck to donate back. I wanted to list my favorite nonprofits to donate to.

Before I launch into my favorite nonprofits, I wanted to make a statement. If you live paycheck to paycheck, I understand giving isn’t a possibility. In my first position out of college, I didn’t have much leftover to donate. I’m excited to be in a new position where I do make enough and have money to give.

The Trevor Project

I have discussed The Trevor Project multiple times on this site because it’s one of my favorite LGBTQIA+ nonprofits to give to. The Trevor Project helps young LGBTQIA+ under the age of 25 by providing access to crisis intervention, and suicide prevention. It breaks my heart how young LGBTQIA+ folks are abandoned by their families. Society has moved forward in some ways, but clearly not enough. The Trevor Project provides resources, education and a hotline to call for assistance. I believe in The Trevor Project, so I try to give to them often.

Center for Reproductive Rights

I’m pro-choice. I believe anyone capable of getting pregnant deserves a choice in their reproductive health. I want reproductive rights to be protected. The Center for Reproductive Rights is trying to advance reproductive rights throughout the globe. Reproductive rights doesn’t mean abortion, it also means the protection, accessibility, and affordability of birth control. This is a cause I’m passionate about because of how many people in our world are impacted by the lack of reproductive rights or healthcare.

Black Lives Matter

I’m based in Minneapolis and while I’m passionate about my city, there needs to be change. Philandro Castile, George Floyd, and Jamar Clark are names to never be forgotten. I have white privilege in the sense that I have never feared the police. I believe in Black Lives Matter because of their work to bring awareness to this movement.

Feline Rescue Inc

Feline Rescue Inc is where we rescued our kitty, Athena. I’m a cat person and while there are so many cat people in this world, I do believe cats are at a higher risk of abuse. Cats have a bad reputation based on outdated stereotypes. I could start crying if I think about all the mistreated cats in our world. I will continue to adopt cats for as long as I’m on this Earth. Feline Rescue Inc is local to MN, but I encourage you to find your local animal shelter or cat shelter and give them some financial love.

Feeding America

There hasn’t been a Covid-19 financial relief since March and many who are unemployed are struggling to afford food. Feeding America allows for monetary donations to be routed to a local food bank.

2020 has been awful. Donating to these charities gives me a sense of purpose. If you’re able to financially give, I encourage you to do so. If you’re living paycheck to paycheck, I hope here in the United States, we get a financial Covid-19 relief package soon.

Halloween 2020

Happy Belated Halloween! I hope you all had a wonderful, spooky season. I still haven’t taken down my Halloween decorations yet. My stormtrooper holding a pumpkin is still sitting on an end table while my windows are decorated with fun Halloween themed window stickers. With the era of Covid, I was able to host a small gathering with my friend and her boyfriend and it was fun to be able to celebrate Halloween safely.

You disappoint me.

Me and the fiance went as Darth Vader and a Stormtrooper. This is the first year we put our kitty Athena in a costume. She had a harness with a cowboy mouse sitting on top of it. I think technically Athena was a horse for Halloween? She hated the harness, so we only put it on for photos and took it off.

One Big Happy Family.

We were able to eat pizza, play music, and have a couple of cocktails. I made a cocktail titled Witches Brew. I found the recipe off Pinterest. It has white rum, blue curacao, raspberry juice, ginger ale and I topped it off with blackberries. They were boozy. I did wake up feeling slightly hungover the next morning.

Darth Vader and Alexis are actually best friends

Ultimately, I’m glad I was able to not miss out on Halloween. It wasn’t what I wanted it to be. Last year, I spent it at a brewery dressed up with friends. With Covid, we have to make do with what’s safe to do. Now, I’m quarantining until Thanksgiving because we are seeing the fiance’s family in Milwaukee. Let me know what you were for Halloween this year in the comments below.

Better look at Athena’s harness.