Pirate Spotted at the Minnesota Ren Fest

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 Fest has 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.

Bucket Hats & Booze – Bachelorette Party

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.

Winery Wedding

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.

Dallas Day Trip

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.

Live Music Capital of the World?- Austin, Texas

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.

Oklahoma City – Austin Road Trip

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.

Wheeler District – Downtown OKC

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.

Traveling to Texas – Road Trip!

Austin, Texas – image from Pixabay

I don’t know why I bother posting about my travel plans because they always seem to change. My original plan was to fly to Seattle in August for Emerald City Comic-Con. However, when I went to book my flight, I couldn’t find a roundtrip flight cheaper than $900. With flights being canceled left and right, I felt it was too big of a risk to make such a big purchase. I contemplated driving to Seattle, but it was 24 hours one way which would mean four days of driving there and back. It would leave barely enough time to explore Seattle plus attend Emerald City. In the end, I decided to go somewhere else. After much deliberation, I decided to plan a road trip to Austin, Texas as it was a city I had on my list to visit.

I’m thrilled to leave for vacation! My last trip was in March, so about 3-4 months ago. I was craving another trip. I find I get the travel bug every few months and it’s so satisfying to plan a vacation and have something to look forward to.

If you’re planning a vacation, let me know where you’re going in the comments section down below.

High School Graduation – 10 Years Later

2012 was a pivotal year in my life. The Avengers was released which inspired me to start reading comics, the world was supposed to end thanks to the end of a Maya calendar, and I graduated from high school. High school is a period of time that I would never want to relive. It doesn’t mean that it was terrible per se, but it’s a time that I’m glad is over and done with. I wanted to take some time to reflect on how far I have come and where I’m at now.

In high school, I was a nobody. To be fair, my high school was huge! I think my graduating class was at least 900? There were so many people whom I had never met until I heard their names read at graduation. I didn’t stand out much in high school. I was in band through my senior year and it was one of my fondest memories. I tried marching band, but it wasn’t for me. I still have my alto sax at my mom’s house and I’m not ready to part with it yet. I went to prom with my friends and we took so many pictures. There were fun moments in high school that aren’t on the top of my mind.

When I think back to high school, I think about how shy I was. I hung out with my friends, but I absolutely hated being forced to talk to someone I didn’t know. High school was a period of time when I was insecure about who I was as a person. I think that’s completely normal for this time of anyone’s life. When I graduated, I couldn’t have been more thrilled at moving forward with my life.

As far as who I am now, I’m someone who is way more outgoing than I ever thought I would be. I would consider myself bubbly and social at work. I like talking to new people I have never met. I still need my alone time as I do find that I need to recharge in between any social interaction. Writing Bizarre Brunette has allowed me a creative outlet to discuss my geeky interests. I write because I genuinely enjoy it and I want to share my interests with others. I have come a long way from where I used to be.

Thankfully, I haven’t heard that my high school is doing a ten-year reunion. If you couldn’t tell, I have no interest in going to a reunion. I have all the close friends I would need and I don’t need to revisit a time of my life that has passed.

May the 4th Be With You – 2022 Plan Recap

Summer is in full swing and I couldn’t be more thrilled. I love the sun, the smell of sunscreen, and not needing a jacket every time I go outside. With the end of May, it comes my annual “May the 4th Be With You” recap. This month didn’t go exactly as I had planned, but I still think it was a great month regardless

Books and Comics

Unfortunately, I never received the rest of my Barnes & Noble order. I ended up missing Master & Apprentice by Claudia Gray, Leia, Princess of Alderaan, and Star Wars: Darth Vader Volume #1. The only book that arrived was Resistance Reborn by Rebecca Roanhorse. It’s unfortunate because I wanted to have a big reading month and it didn’t work out.

Resistance Reborn takes place between The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker. The book centers around recruiting former allies to fight for the Resistance and an action-packed mission. Poe, leader of the Black Squadron, is tasked with retrieving a Resistance prisoner list and breaking a prisoner out of a secure First Order facility.

Resistance Reborn was an enjoyable read. I will say there was a lot of story build-up. For some, this might be boring to read, but I like all the information and context. The last 100 pages are where the action intensified. I rated Resistance Reborn 3 1/2 stars on Goodreads.

Regarding comics, I only finished Star Wars: Princess Leia Vol #1. I do have the complete run of Star Wars: Poe Dameron to read, but I didn’t finish it in May like I thought I would. I’m looking forward to the coming months because I have fewer weekends booked solid like I did in May. I’m hoping for some free Saturday mornings to read comics.

Movies & TV

I’m sad to say that I didn’t finish The Clone Wars. I did watch The Clone Wars on my drive to and from Milwaukee, so that helped. I’m now on season #3. I’m determined to finally finish the show by the end of the year. I didn’t get to re-watch The Mandalorian or re-watch The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, or The Rise of Skywalker. I still feel accomplished for the month and I’m invested in watching more Star Wars content by the end of the year.

Gaming

I did play through LEGO Star Wars The Skywalker Saga, however, my game glitched!! I am on the last episode, The Rise of Skywalker, and I’m forever stuck in light speed traveling to the next level. I looked on Reddit, and apparently, if you accepted a cargo side mission, the cargo doesn’t load at light speed, so you have to complete the cargo mission and it should fix the glitch. The problem is that I have no idea what cargo mission I accepted. I would have to go back and go through every individual side mission to figure out which one I accepted. Plus, this isn’t a guaranteed fix. There were some comments where players did this and it still didn’t fix the glitch.

I have invested so much time in this game that I’m so sad that I can’t even finish the story. The only hope that I have is if a patch is released that will fix my game save. I’m not willing to go through all the effort listed above and have it not work. I’m going to discontinue playing through the game which is such a bummer.

Since I’m done playing through LEGO Star Wars The Skywalker Saga, I’m going to go back to Jedi Fallen Order. I played through the game back in 2020 and I never finished it. I’m going to start over and devote the time to finishing the game.

Miscellaneous Star Wars Content

I’m adding a section for the “miscellaneous” Star Wars content that I listened to or discovered this month. Thanks to Anakin + His Angel I discovered the Youtube channel, Always Believe. Always Believe is hosted by Ash and Bryan who share their love of Star Wars, Disney, and Marvel. I love their channel! They are both in their mid-30’s and I like to see people carry their interests as they get older. I’m genuinely excited to see when they release a new video and I like listening to their videos while I do various chores or tasks throughout the day.

While I’m at work, I discovered two Star Wars podcasts to help me get through the day. The first is Force Toast Podcast. Force Toast is hosted by Alyce and Laura and they are based in Chicago. They talk about Star Wars content, and Star Wars trivia over a drink. The other Star Wars podcast I found was Star Wars STUFF This is more of a Star Wars news podcast versus Force Toast being a casual Star Wars chat. Both podcasts I can see myself listening to throughout the coming months.

Overall, I think this was a successful Star Wars month despite some challenges I had. I do want to carry more Star Wars throughout the year as I find that once May ends, I find I don’t discuss Star Wars nearly as much. I do want to add Star Wars books to my TBR (to be read pile) along with continuing my re-watch of The Clone Wars. Let me know what Star Wars content you’re reading or loving in the comments down below.

Frolicking in Fargo – Day Trip

For Memorial Weekend, I knew I wanted to do a trip somewhere. Originally, I wanted to fly to Arizona as there was a convention happening the same weekend. While that sounded fun, I was afraid I wouldn’t have enough time to see everything I wanted to in the few days I was there. Instead, I suggested to my husband to explore Fargo. Fargo is in North Dakota right along the border of Minnesota. It’s only a 3 1/2 hour drive, so it’s easily doable in a day. While Fargo isn’t on the same level as Arizona, I still had a blast.

I’m not sure what I expected for Fargo. It’s easy to say that North Dakota is known as a boring state to live in or to drive through. Fargo was a nice city! The downtown area has several cute shops, restaurants, bars, and art murals. I wasn’t expecting Fargo to be as artsy of a city, but there were murals everywhere. My favorite mural was a Mario wall that was on a side alley downtown.

Gold Coins are not included.

Besides art murals, there were so many ice cream shops. I’m not usually an ice cream fan, although the ice cream shop we stopped in was cute. The Silver Lining Creamery was right in the heart of downtown Fargo. I was impressed with the amount of ice cream options there were. I tried a vegan oreo ice cream made from coconut milk. To be clear, I’m not vegan, I simply like trying plant-based foods. It was delicious! The one thing I would say is that the coconut flavor was prevalent, so I wouldn’t recommend it if you don’t like coconut.

We ended our trip by stopping at a few breweries. The first brewery was DCR Brewing located downtown and then driving to the second brewery, Drekker Brewing Company. Drekker was packed! It was a gorgeous brewery with multiple levels and outdoor seating. It was a beautiful day throughout Fargo, so I could see why the brewery was so busy. My husband has seen Drekker at various beer festivals he has gone to but hasn’t been able to sip their beer. It was a cool place! I would have loved to spend more time there, but we had a 3 1/2 hour drive home and I didn’t want to get home too late.

Driving to Fargo was a fun day trip. I would say a day trip was the perfect amount of time. It got to a point where we were running out of things to do. As far as my next trip, I still have my eyes set on Seattle in August for Emerald City Comic-Con.