From Muggle to Mrs. – Harry Potter Bridal Shower

I took a bit of a break from writing weekly posts. Writing new posts every Sunday felt like a chore, so I knew it was time to take a step back. I figured a nice way to dive back into weekly posts would be to talk about the Harry Potter bridal- themed shower I went to a couple of weeks ago.

Me and my friend met in college and were roommates for a year. We bonded over our shared love of Harry Potter and other nerdy interests. She has always stayed in my life no matter the distance as we are a couple of states away. It was such a blast to attend.

I’m excited to get back into writing for Bizarre Brunette! I knew this break was needed, but I’m happy to be back.

Learning how to Throw an Axe

I took a week off from writing to catch up on my comic backlog, plan my wedding, and learning to throw an axe. It was my fiance’s birthday last weekend and he requested we book a reservation for axe throwing. Victoria Burrow is where we booked our reservation. Besides axe throwing, they have a full indoor mini-golf course and an arcade. There’s also a restaurant and a bar with various beers on tap. I was surprised that they let us order beers while we threw axes. Throwing an axe was an intimidating, yet rewarding experience.

There are four axe throwing lanes, with one lane being able to accommodate a group of 6+ people. The instructor was friendly and gave us a quick rundown on how to throw an axe correctly. There’s way more involved than you would think. It’s your abdominals holding you in a good posture, the upper body being able to hold the axe and power as you have to throw the axe with enough force to hit the wooden board.

My fiance picked up on axe throwing quickly. The instructor starting telling my fiance about axe throwing leagues they have during the summer. It took me way longer to figure out how to throw an axe. I was extremely nervous when I first started. I have seen numerous axe throwing videos where someone would throw an axe and it would re-bound backward. The instructor started going in to their safety measures and how they built their lanes which made it a safe experience. Once I felt comfortable, I started sticking the axe into the board. I got one bullseye!

I would happily make another reservation at Victoria Burrow. Me and my fiance had a thirty-minute reservation which I thought was plenty of time for two people. For a group of four or more, I would say an hour would be needed, so everyone would have the time to throw. For those not in Minnesota, I would recommend researching axe throwing places and their safety measures. Throwing an axe was a fun date night for both me and my fiance.

Wedding Winery Trip

In less than 6 months, I will be getting married! These months will go by in a blink of an eye and I still have a lot of planning to do. This past Saturday, me and my friends drove down to the winery to see the venue. It was such a fun time and I constantly think about how fortunate I am that I have the best of friends.

Leading into the day, my fiance dropped me off at my friend’s apartment. As we walked by her apartment, I saw that my friends had rented a luxurious SUV! They rented the car, so we can all have a couple of glasses of wine and no one had to worry about driving home. My friends brought two bottles of champagne for us all to share as we drove up to the winery. It made the day feel so special.

If I haven’t mentioned this before, I’m getting married at Four Daughter’s Winery in Spring Valley, MN which is south of Rochester. It’s located on the border of Minnesota on the southeastern side of the state near Wisconsin. Me and my fiance picked the venue because everything was on site, there was plenty of parking and it’s a gorgeous place. They have done many weddings at the venue before and it will be nice to not have to worry about doing all the set up myself.

Of course we ended up taking pictures as we always do for any girls’ day extravaganza. The pictures give a hint of how beautiful this venue truly is. The place where we had our wine is the room where we would be having dinner for our wedding. I love how rustic the barrels feel in the space. We are getting married in Fall, and I think the barrels add to the Fall feeling I’m going for.

Planning a wedding makes me truly thankful for my friends. They have gone above and beyond for me as far as planning little surprises and making this feel like a once-in-a-lifetime moment in my life. I know they have something up their sleeve for my bachlorette party and I’m excited to see what they have planned. I love my friends, I wouldn’t be who I am today without them.

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.