Krewe of Armeinius, Part Deux

I wasn't joking when I said I had a massive haul of photographs from the actual Ball put on by the Krewe of Armeinius.  There was pomp and splendor and sequins for days.  This year's royalty included two kings and one queen.  Please feel free to stop scrolling down at any point.

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Before the fun starts

How to Keep Your Blog from Going Silent

I don't like to see my blog go silent, and I try my best to avoid that even when things are crazy.  Like right now, I'm constantly working late hours and weekends.   I'm staring at my computer all day, so the last thing I want to do is get online at the end of the it and try to write something creative.  Here are the steps I take to ensure that I can be super busy and still have new blogging content.
 

1.  Use the Schedule Feature on your Platform

Most blogging platforms including Blogger give you the ability to schedule posts in advance.  It's the one best thing I've done for myself.  I can choose the date and time that my posts go live once I've decided they're ready for public consumption.  Find out how to do this on your blog, and it will be a lifesaver.
 

2.  Post your outfits 2-3 weeks late

You know what's not super easy at the end of a long day:  writing a style post and adding photos.  I may write the details of my day and a list of what clothes I wore, but my photos sit on the camera at least two weeks.  When I get two quiet hours, I add the photos to those posts and schedule them to go up.  I might have on shorts in an October post or a coat in April, but I have breathing room.  I've been able to easily take two weeks away from the blog or more without having to immediately generate new content.
 

3.  Make a Schedule for Regular Features

One of the best things I've done since expanding the focus of my blog is to run feature posts on the same day or same time of month.  I know when I need to have a random things post, a TV/movie post, and a budget post each month.  I type each one up as far in advance as I need and schedule them, so it's one less thing to worry about later. 
 

4.  Write When Inspiration Hits

It's not easy to force yourself to come up with interesting content that is not centered around photographs or your day-to-day.  When I get a few good ideas--usually within a days of each other--I write out the whole post.  Then, I just schedule it to appear some time in the future in between my regular features and my daily style stuff.   
 

5.  Stockpile Ideas

What if inspiration strikes, but you're soooo frigging swamped?  I say, make a quick draft with notes.  Pick a title that summarizes your idea, and then write an outline of what you'd like to cover in the body of the post.  Now, when there's less crazy on your plate, you can open it back up and flesh out the details of what you wanted to say. 
 

6.  Step Away from the Five a Week Model

This last tip is my absolute favorite because posting five days a week is a lot of pressure.  I stepped away from the five a week model over a year ago, instead posting on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  That means that I have to write on average 8 less posts a month.  When I'm on a super creative streak, I'm able to stockpile posts for times like right now.  And when I'm busy, I have breaks in between when I need to publish something new.
 
Let me know if you guys have any other tips that you find incredibly helpful for keeping your blog from going dark!
 

The Krewe of Armeinius, Saturday, March 1st, 2014

I watched a documentary last year called The Sons of Tennessee Williams and found out about the history of gay carnival krewes and Mardi Gras.  I had seen some fabulous illustrations of costumes from the 1970s, but didn't know much more that.  Turns out that it used to be illegal in New Orleans to dress as a woman if you were a man except on Mardi Gas Day. 



Aside from that infuriating me, I was able to see that forming actual carnival organizations helped the local gay community make a difference in both gay bashing and the attitude of some New Orleanians (wish it were more, but we're still in the South).  The story in the documentary is amazing, but it's also incredibly vibrant because of the footage of the costumes. 


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Elle looking snazzy

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Elle's mask

Near the end, one of the interviewees mentioned that the Krewe of Armeinius sold tickets to their ball.  Anyone could go and see the amazing show if they had the cash and the appropriate fancy dress clothes.  I determined right then that next Mardi Gras I would be one of the people in attendance witnessing the magnificence in person.


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The action husband

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Husband close up

Elle, the husband, and I all got dressed up and used our newly made masks to attend what is the most spectacular event I've seen in a long time.  There were drag queens, multiple sets of carnival royalty, and lots of over the top-ness.  I took way too many photos, so I'm doing an entirely separate post just featuring some of the hundreds I took.


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My puffy dress


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close up of my mask

Seven Dollar Dress, Thursday, Febraury 27th, 2014

I bought this black dress in December and boy was I disappointed.  It was wayyyyy tooo big, and it was really unflattering.  BUT, it was only $7.  I wasn't going to bother returning a $7 dress online or in the store.  I figured that I'd either donate it when I went to the thrift store next or figure out a way to wear it.  I was really surprised I ended up doing the latter.

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Let's walk through the morning, shall we?  "Where's my black wrap dress? Oh no, it's still drying outside and it's freezing, so what can I wear with sleeves?  Well, there's this hideous batwing dress.  I'm already going to be a bit rushed, but maybe I'll just try it on.  I still like the neckline and the top, but maybe with this belt it'll just look slouchy.  Too much black with those leggings, maybe a grey cardigan."  And, scene.

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Yep, I figured that I should try wearing it at least once even if I don't like the results.  My day called for warm, easy to move around in clothes, and this fits the bill.  I added necklaces and my new glasses for an experiment.  We are shooting three interviews today with bright lights, and I want to know if the sunglasses in my Progressives will activate.  The answer to that question was no.

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Did I like this look?  I like the idea of a few slouchy casual pieces that can be dressed up for work.  Is this dress that piece?  Probably not, but it was fun to try out something new, even if it was in black again.  What is that stain on the front of my dress?  Oh, I just spilled the entire contents of my lunch down the front of our office coffee machine, dishwasher, and myself.  It was not my most graceful moment.  Opinions on my oddly shaped dress, anybody else?

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Glasses :: Rivet & Sway
Pearl mesh necklace :: gift from husband from Tiffany & Co.
Long disc necklace :: Forever21
Dip dye sweater :: Loft via OBB (oldest bestest buddy)
Black dress :: H&M
Black leggings :: Old Navy
Black zipper boots :: H&M

Making Masks for Mardi Gras

At a masked event and then at a Mardi Gras parade

A mask is the easiest way to get into the Mardi Gras spirit without donning an entire costume.  The husband and I have so many that we store them in a padded box in our house.  I decided to craft something new this year for my first ever trip to the Krewe or Armeinius Mardi Gras ball.  Elle and I got some supplies and spread out all over my dining room table to craft something fancy. 

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Supplies all over the table
 
We started with basic masks from Michael's craft store and a bunch of traditional supplies like beads, sequins, paint, feathers, lace, and fabric.  We also used spray adhesive as well as regular scissors, fabric scissors, foam brushes, hot glue, tweezers, primer in a can, and cardboard.  The cardboard is a great work surface when you're inside and want a quick clean up.
 

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First, we made sure the masks fit our faces.  Elle had to widen the eye holes in her mask to see properly, but mine was fine.  Then, we played with the available materials and figured out what order to add each material.  It's imperative to figure out how to attach everything.  I had so much trouble getting the fabric to stick before we used spray adhesive that I tried to paint it and stick the fabric on.  Epic fail.

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Elle started painting her mask and was having the same no stick problem, so we primed it with white spray paint.  Once dry, she stated adding a layer of gold paint to hers.  I glued the fabric onto my mask and figured out that black paint would hide the two white glue stains I made.  We did a lot of the smellier, spray stuff outside, so don't be afraid to go in the yard or a shed to use the more toxic, messy things. 
 
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Elle moved onto adding glitter after two coats of gold paint, and I cut up some lace to cover the giant eye holes in my mask.  I learned the hard way that you can't move fabric once you apply spray adhesive, and I decided to use rhinestones and beads to cover my glue mishaps.  We had easy to use stick on rhinestones for some of the project, but we used hot glue for the bigger beads.  Using tweezers to dip an object into the hot glue is an efficient way to apply it.
 
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Once Elle's mask had dry glitter, we covered it with two coats of spray gloss to make sure it would stay in place.  She cut out some lace to go across the front, and I used the spray adhesive to put it on top.  I decided to leave the eye holes of my mask covered with lace, but Elle wanted to be able to see where she was going.  To easily hide the extra fabric, cut a cross into the eye hole and fold it backwards cutting additional slits as needed.
 
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Once we had lace and a few sequins in place, Elle and I moved onto feathers.  I always put feathers on the back of the mask, so they sort of pop out at you.  Elle choose a cluster of black feathers for the center of her creation, and I went with three giant feathers on the side.  Figure out feather placement before you start using hot glue, so you can trim and make adjustments.  Hold the feathers in place until they dry and they'll stay put.
 
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We both ended up with really pretty masks that I had no end of fun photographing.  Soon, I'll post the actual outfits we are going to wear to the ball and hopefully some pictures of the event itself.  It's not like anything you've probably seen before unless you've experienced gay carnival.

Weight Watchers, The Adventure

Since I ended my last series on weight loss, The Plan (to Get Healthy), I haven't written much about it on the blog... except maybe the occasional rant about how nothing fits, and I feel sloppy or squished in my clothes.  I lost 25 pounds a few years ago, and I was doing a really great job keeping it off until last summer.  Then, slowly but surely all my clothes stopped fitting as well. 
 
My super cool friend, Elle, had been hearing great things about her friend's experience with Weight Watchers.  I had heard similar things from another friend, so we decided we should try it out for three months.  It seemed like a good idea to write down my experiences with Weight Watchers by the week.  Here is the first part of my experience.
 

Week 1 (2/17-2/23) :: Weight 176.4 pounds

Have you ever seen that SNL clip where Chris Farley yells, "I'm STARVING!"  That's me right now...  ALL. THE. TIME.  I'm lightheaded, and that can't possibly be good.  I'm not saying I'm going to quit, but if I can't get this shiz under control, I'm probably gonna faint. 
 


Week 2 (2/24-3/2) :: Weight 173.6 pounds (-2.8 lbs)

Eggs and I are going to be besties during this adventure.  Hard boiled egg for breakfast = not starving.  In sad news, couscous and pasta are worth lots of points so I don't get to eat much of those.  Also, two sessions of ballet = 14 points of food, and I missed out on both classes this week.  Sad pants.
 

Week 3 (3/3-3/9) :: Weight 172.0 pounds (-4.4 lbs)

FYI, Don't do Weight Watchers during Mardi Gras 'cause it's extra hard.  Also, Buffalo Wild Wings wants all of your points for the week in one meal.  I'm getting tired of spending so much time thinking about eating, but bowling for two hours = 7 points which = one gin and tonic.
 

Week 4 (3/10-3/16) :: 172.2 (-4.2 lbs)

Last weekend I ate all the things, all the delicious things because we had company = gained 0.2 pounds.  Weight Watchers mobile app consoled me by saying it's normal.  I didn't mind at all.  In other news, I always want desserts and treats now, which has never happened before.  I miss normal food, but I'm proud that I'm eating so many fruits and veggies.

Random, True Things 3

Last time I did random, true things I was using a theme, but this time, my brain is a scrambled, hot mess.  Literally, I think it looks like a Saturday morning breakfast up there minus the bacon and toast.  So, let's keep it random, truly random.

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It's my hand!

  1. I like scary, terrifying movies, but I'm such a wuss that I watch them in pieces.  It took me four or five tries to get all the way through the movie Orphan with lots of fast forwarding the first time around.
  2. My hands look like my grandmother's except for a little bit of bending and a preference for nail shape.  It was very neat to realize that I could just look down at my hands and remember my Dad's Mom after she passed away.
  3. I started writing poetry as a kid because I read one my Dad wrote and thought it was awful.  (Love you, Daddy!)
  4. I stopped writing poetry after high school because it started to seem like people I knew did it to be cool, and I didn't get a single poetry assignment in college. 
  5. I like to repeat the same song over and over again for days at a time.  It drives most people nuts, but I like to savor the feeling that particular song brings up.  Lately, it's been lots of Counting Crows songs.