Go Pack Go – Touring Lambeau Field

Last weekend, me and my fiance drove to Green Bay, WI for a wedding. Green Bay is in the North-East part of Wisconsin and it’s somewhere I had never been to before. With my fiance’s family living in Wisconsin, they are all big Green Bay Packers fans. The Green Bay Packers play at Lambeau Field which is a pretty historic Football stadium. Me and the fiance decided to schedule a tour of Lambeau before attending the wedding. For someone who isn’t a major Football fan, the tour was pretty interesting.

The stadium was HUGE. Our tour guide said Lambeau was the fifth largest Football field. Before stepping on the field, there were several pieces of artwork our group passed. This included a piece of art depicting the “Ice Bowl” The Ice Bowl was a Packers game in which the windchill was low and players were freezing as they watched the game. Lambeau is an outdoor field that has its benefits and drawbacks including the potential for snow. Another piece of artwork featured bicycle wheels. It’s a tradition that Packer players when starting training camp ride-on children’s bicycles. This has been a famous tradition due to kids biking to see the Packer players train during the off-season. There’s a lot of history tied to the Packers that I wasn’t aware of. It made touring Lambeau feel more like a museum than a sports stadium.

During the tour, we could walk around the field to at least see what it looks like from the player’s perspective. I think this was my favorite part about the tour. Me and the fiance lucked out because we had great weather on the day we toured. It led to some cute pictures of us that the tour guide took.

I wouldn’t classify myself as a Football fan yet I thoroughly enjoyed the Lambeau field tour. It was something fun to do while we waited for the wedding to start and it was great exercise walking the stadium. I may never be a fully devoted Packers fan, but I can at least respect the history of the team and why so many people are passionate about their home team.

Planet Comicon Haul

For Planet Comicon, I set a budget. I knew if I didn’t set a budget for myself, I would overspend. Before the convention, I pulled out $100 in cash and told myself that I would only spend this much unless I saw anything I had to have. While roaming around the con, I made mental notes on anything I wanted to revisit. This allowed me to stick to my budget and purchase merch I was satisfied with. I wanted to share my haul from the con.

Plume by K. Lynn Smith Volume #1

This was my first purchase of the con. I’m a big fan of K. Lynn Smith and her work in comics. I helped back For Goodness Sake on Kickstarter which is a series I adored. Smith is mostly recognized for her webcomic, Plume which exploded in popularity. At Smith’s booth, she had the omnibus of Plume along with each printed volume. I decided to purchase the first volume to see if Plume is a series I would be interested in.

Hufflepuff Windbreaker

Not Topic is a fashion & collectibles online shop selling merchandise primarily from Harry Potter and Supernatural. I saw that Not Topic had these Harry Potter windbreakers featuring the Hogwarts houses. I walked by their booth several times but wanted to hold off from making a purchase. Ultimately, I couldn’t resist the Hufflepuff windbreaker especially because I don’t have a windbreaker in my closet. The attendants at the booth were kind enough to let me try on the windbreaker before purchasing. I ended up with a medium. I have broad shoulders thanks to years of upper body weight lifting, so it’s tough for me to fit into a women’s small. The medium fit me perfectly. I did check Not Topic’s website and I didn’t see that any of the Harry Potter merchandise was licensed by Warner Bros.

Unstable Unicorns & Llamas Unleashed

My final purchase was at Teeturtle’s booth. I had been eyeing purchasing my copy of Unstable Unicorns after playing it at a game night with friends. Unstable Unicorns is a game that’s perfect to bring to a brewery because there isn’t a lot to set up along with being easy to teach to friends. I bought the NSFW (not safe for work) edition. Along with Unstable Unicorns, I also bought Llamas Unleashed. I have no idea what the game is about, I saw it and wanted it because who doesn’t want a game featuring Llamas?

Attending Planet Comicon meant a lot to me. In addition to being able to go to a con post-2020, it was nice to be able to support smaller businesses and creators.

Attending My First Convention Post-2020

Last weekend, I drove to Kansas City, MO to attend Planet Comicon. This was my first convention since Covid hit back in 2020. Before the pandemic, I attended C2E2 in February right before lockdown began. This trip was a bit spontaneous as I only planned it a couple of weeks prior. While I understand the pandemic isn’t over, I felt this was worth the risk. I was vaccinated, wore a mask the entire time, and tried to limit the time I was nearby people. I felt Planet Comicon did the best they could and I was grateful that this con was able to run. If there’s anything I missed in 2020, it was conventions.

Planet Comicon required masks. I didn’t see anyone take off their mask or wear it down to their chin. It seemed everyone took the mask requirement seriously. The only other improvement I could see was Planet Comicon could have required vaccinations. I brought my vaccination card in case someone wanted to see it. Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect everyone including the immunocompromised. I know Lollapalooza required vaccinations or a negative Covid test, and I wish PlanetComicon did this as well.

My favorite part of Planet Comicon was the photo ops! There was a display of Predator, a Lego Baby Yoda, and the Ghostbusters were there with the Ecto-1. There were cars from Supernatural, however, I had to pay extra for that and I’m not a big fan of the show. I had a fun time running around taking photos and endless masked selfies. I will say, I found myself taking fewer pictures of cosplayers. I think the pandemic had something to do with that. With the masks, it’s more difficult to go up to someone or get their attention. I had more than enough fun hanging out by myself and doing what I wanted to do.

I would say the only disappointment was the lack of panels. I like attending panels because it allows me to sit down and relax. I walked 17,500 steps on Friday! I did sit in on the Star Wars Costuming panel about putting together Star Wars cosplays, but nothing else in the programming caught my eye. After spending my cash, I ended up leaving early because I didn’t see anything else worth staying for.

Reflecting on Planet Comicon, I’m thrilled that this was able to happen. I felt hopeful for the future of conventions. I felt so happy waiting in line and walking around the show floor. Conventions are my happy place and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.

Taking Time to Unwind

One of my weekend plans was going to my friend’s Harry Potter themed Bachelorette party! It was at my friend’s cabin.

This past weekend, I had no plans. This was the first weekend where I could do what I wanted whenever I wanted. Planning a wedding has made my weekends more unavailable much to the surprise of no one. It’s gotten to the point where I started to feel mentally drained. I would get off of work, eat dinner, work out and then spend an hour or two browsing Instagram. It felt like I didn’t have the energy to read, play Animal Crossing or watch Critical Role. This weekend helped lift my spirits emotionally, mentally, and physically.

One thing I did this weekend was finish a book I was reading. I read The Shadow Mission by Shamim Sarif. This is the second book in the Athena Protocol series. It felt amazing to be able to spend my day reading without interruption. It allowed me to fully commit and become enamored with the characters, the setting, and the action sequences. I went through a reading slump recently, but now this weekend allowed me to get back into my books. My TBR pile is slowly shrinking.

Besides reading, I watched a couple of movies. On Friday, I saw The Suicide Squad which rocked. It was the first movie I saw in theaters before the pandemic. I’m going to write my review shortly. I also watched a documentary recently released on Netflix called Pray Away. Pray Away is about gay conversion therapy and the history behind it. It also features a couple of stories from the survivors. One of the stories brought me to tears. It’s an emotional documentary, and I would highly recommend it.

Finally, I installed some new video games to play. On my PS4, I bought Far Cry 5 and Lego Harry Potter Re-mastered. For the PC, I installed Nancy Drew: Shadow at the Water’s Edge, and Death and Taxes. I wanted something else to play besides Animal Crossing.

This is a reminder to check in with yourself. I needed a break from all the plans I have upcoming. I feel so much better and more equipped to launch into my plans. From now until our wedding on October 2nd, I don’t have any more free weekends, wish me luck!

Do Outgoing Introverts Exist?

In any personality quiz, I have taken, it always asks if I’m an introvert or an extrovert. This is always tough to answer. I like being social and hanging out with my friends. However, I need to recharge. If I’m too social or have too many jam- packed social weekends, I find myself mentally exhausted. Both introvert and extrovert doesn’t seem to fit my personality. After reading Donovan’s blog post “It’s Time to Get Rid of Introverted and Extroverted” I wanted to talk about my experience with labeling myself as either an introvert or an extrovert.

High School Mariah wearing a Band t-shirt. circa 2011

In high school, I was shy. I was insecure about every single part of myself. I wasn’t sure who I was and I didn’t feel confident in how I looked. I still needed a social recharge now and then. I would often stay home on Fridays and watch movies with my mom because I needed a break from socializing at school. When I reminisce about this part of my life, I would have labeled myself as a shy introvert. I always thought that someone’s personality can’t change throughout their life, but this isn’t something I still believe in.

Freshman year of college – Fall 2012

Once I graduated from high school, I went to college. Going off to college is where I was able to shine. I was able to fully explore hobbies, meet new friends, and confront some of my insecurities. I dated someone who wasn’t right for me, and after realizing this, I ended things with that person. It was empowering for me to take control of my life and recognizing what I fully wanted from a partner. I started meeting friends with similar interests to me and this led me to become more social in college. While in high school I labeled myself as a shy introvert, now I would rank myself as an outgoing introvert.

Some find the use of labels comforting, but I’m the opposite. Trying to fit introvert, extrovert, shy, outgoing, etc. into my personality feels a bit overwhelming. I’m a unique person where I feel opposite terms apply to me. I wish we would get rid of introvert and extrovert because I think they aren’t full-encompassing personality terms. I feel very similar to Donovan and how they describe these terms. I would highly recommend reading their post that I have linked above because it resonated with me enough to write my post.

Do you think introvert or extrovert are labels you use? or do you think that these are wholly unnecessary?

Golfing at Top Golf

My fiance has been getting back into golf. He used to golf when he was younger, and he realized how much he missed it. This led to my fiance planning a bridal party/groomsman social at Top Golf. Top Golf is an outdoor driving range with a restaurant and bar. This social was a blast! I was happy to mix our friends and have us all hang out. If there’s anything I have learned from planning my wedding, it’s that I’m so fortunate to have my friends.

At Top Golf, we reserved two bays. Each bay can host up to six people. Top Golf is a driving range, not a full course. To help keep golfing interesting, there are various game options to help keep things competitive. Additionally, Top Golf has left-handed clubs! I’m left-handed and I have tried playing right-handed, but it’s too awkward for me. As a beer drinker, we ordered a couple of pitchers and took turns golfing and drinking all day.

Overall, the day was a blast! It was a fun, summer activity. It was perfect for mixing everyone especially since it was two completely separate friend groups.

Baseball – My Favorite Summer Sport

My dad loved Baseball. He was always watching the Minnesota Twins from his comfy recliner with our family cat, Jasmine on his lap. I went to two Twins games with my dad before he died in 2006. Baseball will always have a special place in my heart because of the passion my dad had for the game. Most critics of Baseball say the game is boring to watch, and I get it. It’s a lot of watching for nothing to happen. It’s exactly why I love it. It’s a game to sit down, have a beer, and socialize with friends.

For those who aren’t from Minnesota, our baseball team is named after our two cities. In most states, there are at least two major cities. Our major cities in Minnesota are right next to each other, so they are often named “The Twin Cities” hence the Minnesota Twins. Our baseball stadium when I was growing up was the Metrodome which was this big stadium for both the Vikings and the Twins. The Metrodome collapsed one year after enough snow piled onto it. Without getting into the specifics, this led to the creation of Target Field which is an outdoor baseball field in downtown Minneapolis.

For my friend’s birthday, we went to a Twins game. The Twins played the Houston Astros, the same team accused of cheating after winning the World Series in 2017. I find that’s important to mention because while they still kept their World Series title, they still cheated. Anyway, me and my friends went to a brewery and a cidery before the game. While at the game, I had a burger with a $12 beer to go with it. The Twins ended up winning the game 5-2 over the Astros.

While driving home from the game, I thought about how much my dad would have loved to see the new stadium. My dad has been gone for 15 years now, and I’m at a point in my life where I can fondly recall memories from my childhood and feel blessed that my dad was in my life. Baseball will forever be a sport that reminds me of my dad and his devotion to the Minnesota Twins.

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.