Monday, November 24, 2008

Halloween Part 3: Party On!

To finish up Halloween (finally!)...

For the rest of the story, go to Part I and Part II.

After dinner, we headed to our first party at the Annex with one of our favorite bands - Paperdoll. They are a super talented group of musicians and play some super fun music, which is great for watching live and dancing.

The band in action! If you want to hear their music, go to Amazon, Myspace, or Itunes.

FI and I in full Amazing Race mode! We kept our headlamps on and pretended to be running down the streets as we were making our way to each party.

Since Paperdoll is 3 guys and 1 girl, they went as the 2008 presidential and VP candidates.

A picture of Teresa doing the Palin wink. I think I'm chanting "drill, baby, drill" or something like that.

I ran into an old friend from business school. Regardless of the occasion or theme, if we had a party that required dress-up, he would wear his cow costume. For our beach themed spring formal, he wore it with leis and was a beach cow. For our pajama themed party, he told everyone that's what he slept in. I saw the cow out of the corner of my eye and my first thought was "That looks familiar..." and it was...

After listening to Paperdoll's set at the Annex and hanging out for a bit, we headed over to another friend's office party in Brooklyn. We really felt like Amazing Race racers since we didn't have a map and were just running around the streets trying to figure out where we were supposed to go.

There were some amazing costumes.

Josh went as Iron Man. This costume is homemade! He made the battery for Iron Man's heart out of a salsa jar lid and LEDs. The Iron Man glove is made from random scraps and wires and he used red electric tape to make the finger joints for the glove. It was amazingly detailed and intricate. Check out how accurate he is. He even grew a goatee to match.

Our friend Calvin has been going as some version of an egg for the last couple of years. The first year, he was a plain egg with a yellow t-shirt under a white t-shirt with a hole in it and white pants. Then he was a Ranchos Heurvos, which was the egg costume with a sombero. This year, he was Eggs Benedict. We spent the subway ride home thinking of other possible costumes for future years. Western Omelet - wear a cowboy hat. Eggs Florentine - wave an Italian flag.

Our friend Sam went as Gloomy Bear. Which I know nothing about, but apparently it's very popular in Japan and is sort of the anti-thesis to Hello Kitty. That costume is all homemade except for the pink paw with claws. He bought a pink sweatsuit and sewed the bear ears and eyes and made the face mask and sewed little blood splatters on his outfit.

Our friends Danny and Judy came as Ravin Rabbids from the Wii game Rayman Ravin Rabbids. It's a super silly video game where the main character Rayman (who kind of looks like a psychedelic Warner Brothers character) has to escape a bunch of crazy rabbits by getting through a series of obstacles. The games are similar to ones in Super Mario Party and also childhood games like Red Light, Green Light. The rabbits are the enemy and they are pretty freaky looking. Judy captured the crazy rabbit eyes pretty well.

It was a long but fun night. I loved seeing all of the costumes and people dressed up. Our friends are super creative!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Halloween Part 2: Putting the Look Together (and extra)

To continue on our Halloween costumes, the day of Halloween...

I wanted to make fake Amazing Race clue envelopes for us to hold and run around with. My original ambitious plan was to also write real tasks inside the envelopes and have people open them at the parties we were going to and do the tasks.

"A Detour is a choice between two tasks, each with its own pros and cons. In this Detour, teams must decide to 'Shoot it up' or 'Drink it down.' In 'Shoot it up', each team member must do 1 shot of some kind of strong alcohol. In 'Drink it down', each team member must chug 1 glass of beer."

I couldn't think of many party/bar-related tasks, so I didn't end up doing this.

I looked online for images of the race envelopes to print out, but there wasn't much. I finally found some teeny-teeny images, like little internet icon sized ones, that I decided I would blow up and edit.

I used Powerpoint since I did this at the end of the day at work and it was actually pretty easy and the clues turned out really cute.

I first blew up the image so it fit along the page. Then I used basic shapes to redo the images so they came out sharper. The circle with the bar was made by 3 basic shapes - 1 black circle ovaled a bit and rotated slightly, 1 smaller red circle ovaled and rotated, and 1 black shape made with straight-line connectors. I just lined all of the shapes up with the original image and moved them front and back to get the right order. I also looked for a similar font to redo the titles as well.

To color the rest of the envelope, I basically looked for a color that matched the original image and did a filled shape over the rest of the page. I made 4 types of clue envelopes and also printed out a bunch of the Amazing Race flags. Note the slide sorter on the left.

Here are the completed clues! They looked pretty good! And fairly realistic if I do say so myself.

Here is FI all dressed up with his shirt, clues, backpack, and headlamp. Isn't he a cutie?

Here I am all dressed up as well. Note I am wearing the Amazing Race fanny pack. We borrowed a fanny pack from FI's dad and FI taped an Amazing Race flag printout across the front. While FI stored his clues in the back of his backpack, I put mine in the fanny pack.

Now you may be wondering why we have bits of foil on our heads and on FI's wrists, it's because we were going to Chipotle for dinner. We dressed up like burritos (basically wear some tinfoil) to get a free burrito from Chipotle on Halloween! You don't need wrap yourself in tinfoil, pretty much any bit will do and your meal is free!

The Chipotle employees were pretty tickled by our costumes and one even took some pictures on her camera phone.

FI enjoying his burrito and me enjoying my burrito bowl. While we were eating, we got several questions about the tinfoil on our heads. We happily explained about the free burrito and a couple of guys even "borrowed" our foil pieces to go back in line and get more food. :P

Next post, onto the parties and the great costumes we saw...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Halloween Part 1: Making Costumes

So this is a bit of a late post, but I still wanted to write about Halloween...

FI and I would be spending our 2nd Halloween together and we needed to figure out what we'd want to be. We wanted to do something fairly inexpensive, something as a couple, and something we could put together ourselves. Last year, we went as Hiro (from Heroes) and Betty (from Ugly Betty). FI keep his hair shaggy, wore glasses, wore geeky middle management clothing, and fashioned a Takezo Kensei sword out of a plastic ninja sword and a belt that he wore over his shoulder. He also ran around yelling "Yatta!" For me, my Betty costume consisted of a pair of red sunglasses (with the lenses popped out) and a fake mustache (that I cut in half) for bushy eyebrows and then the most bright clothing I had assembled into one outfit.

This year we decided to take inspiration from television again and go as competitors from The Amazing Race. We weren't going as a specific couple but the typical racer pair.

With that said, we knew we needed a few key items that all Amazing Racers had:
- matching outfits
- backpacks
- headlamps
- fanny pack with the Amazing Race flag on it (also known as the Amazing Purse)
- lots of Route Clues, Detour, Road Block, and Fast Forward instructions

Prior to Halloween, we made our t-shirts and tried out the headlamps.

We bought iron-on letters and t-shirts from Michael's.

The iron-on letters are very easy to use. You just peel them off the sheet and position them on the fabric.

We decided to go with our friend's suggestion for a team name - Amasian Racers! There weren't quite enough As so we had to improvise by using upside Us and Vs and cutting up an I to cross the modified As.

There are directions on how to iron, but basically an iron on a low to med setting works. You just run the dry iron over the letters until you can see and feel that they're really stuck.

Then we set up the headlamps. We tried to find headlamps at the local Modell's and Target, but they didn't have any. So we went online. FI found some relatively inexpensive headlamps on Amazon - the Wenzel Mini LED Head Lamp - . We asked Stephen to order 2 for us so we could save on shipping.

FI trying to open the package.

FI putting in fresh batteries.

FI testing out the headband.

FI testing out the headlamp. It is really bright. And even though the main purpose of the lamps was to flesh out our costume, they will come in handy when we go camping or do some ourdoorsy night activity.

Our final budget:

$ 13.68 - T-shirts (2), iron-on letters (2 packs) - from Michael's Arts & Crafts (FI also found a coupon online for 20% off 1 item per person, so we each bought a t-shirt and iron-on pack and save 20% on the iron-ons.

$19.98 - Headlamps (2) - from Amazon with no shipping costs (since Stephen had Amazon Prime)

Free - backpacks (our own), fanny pack (borrowed), TAR flag (printed), Paper instructions (Powerpoints that were printed)

Total cost of $33.66 - Not bad for 2 costumes!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


A couple of weeks ago, FI and I were in Chinatown, visiting a potential DJ for our wedding, and after the meeting was over, we went to Dumpling House to get some dinner.

We actually were at some other dumpling restaurant, but then were charging $4.95 for 8 fried dumplings. Outrageous! We left and found found our way to Dumpling House, where 4 yummy friend dumplings were only $1. Yeah, that's right, for the price of a Starbucks Grande Latte, you could have eaten 16 dumplings.

The inside of the restaurant. It's actually a lot nicer now. I think they just had a major renovation.

We were pretty hungry so we got 2 orders of guo-tie (the fried dumplings).

We would have gotten more had we not spotted the sesame bread sandwiches. Basically a round flat doughy bread covered with sesame seeds is toasted in the oven and it comes out all puffy, like the bread from Cosi. Then it's cut up into slices, like pizza and the inside is split open for whatever fillings are ordered.

We ended up getting 2 - the Peking Duck with cucumber (in the picture above) and a roasted beef one. The 8 guo-tie and the Peking Duck sandwich actually filled both of us up, so I was able to bring the other sandwich for lunch the next day!

To wash down all of the good cheap food, we each had a bottle of soy milk. This would have been true Chinese style if the soy milk had been served in little plastic bags.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A 2nd mea culpa...

Sorry for the lack of posting.... I was doing so well all through October, but then things got busy and kept me away from the laptop...

- Halloween (of which I do have pictures and am ready to blog about)
- Road trip to see the So You Think You Can Dance tour (which was awesome and I have the blurry pictures to prove it!)
- FI's brother and nephew visiting
- Election Day
- Road trip for my grandma's 90th birthday

While I'm busy writing up posts, I'll leave you with a funny conversation (paraphrased) I had with FI's nephew, who is a super-smart, super-confident, self-assured, arts-enthusiastic, 4-year-old.

Me: Did you like The Little Mermaid? (His grandparents, FI's parents, had taken him to the city to see the matinee.)
Nephew: Yes!
Me: Was it cool to see the fish and the water?
Nephew: Yes!
Me: What did you like best?
Nephew: Ariel!
Me: That's cool!
Nephew: I want to be Ariel for Halloween!