Costume Advice from the Perseverance Expert
One of my favorite things about Halloween is the costumes! I love any chance to dress up. Don’t believe me? I’ve been twitter organizing the Life List Club members to be classic horror flick monsters. Picture it: Marcia Richards as Morticia from the Addams Family, David Walker as the Wolfman, Gary Gauthier as Dracula, Pam Hawley as The Fly, and if I get to be the Madeline Kahn version from Young Frankenstein, then I’ll play the Bride of Frankenstein. Gene Lempp, our honorary LLC member, offered to be Frankie himself. So, Sonia, Jennie B., Lyn, and Jenny H….it’s only a matter of time, choose your monster, or I’ll choose one for you! LOL
Over the years I’ve had to get pretty creative with my costumes. My parents didn’t believe in buying ready made costumes; whatever we wanted to be we had to make it ourselves. I’m pretty sure that’s why we have a family photo of me as a fairy wearing my Easter dress and a turquoise tinsel wig, my brother is a bum with a drawn-in mustache and pillowcase sack, and my sister is Charlie Chaplin.
The plus side of homemade costumes is that you have to think outside the box, be creative, inventive and resourceful. All qualities that I, your perseverance expert, feel I have. Just look at my Halloween costumes the last five years and you’ll see it!
Lion: In 2006, I was supporting myself in my first year living off campus. I had three jobs, paid my own bills, and bought my own groceries. Money was precious. So when Halloween rolled around, I went simple: Lion. I curled my hair, balled up two buns and made ears, wore the only brown clothes in my closet, and drew some whiskers. Bam! I mean, RAWR! When in doubt, or poor, go for the animal trend, it is always in style.
Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman: The next year I went as one of my all time favorite guilty pleasures Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. You can’t read it, but in that photo, I was “hanging up my shingle.” The magic of a costume is in its details. I bought the skirt, shawl, and my “medicine bag” at a local thrift shop. While my friends that year dressed up as Unicorns, Corpse Brides, and Playboy Bunnies, I couldn’t have been happier rocking my Dr. Mike outfit. Passion, confidence, and a heart full of fun can make your night on the town all the better.
The Incredible Hulk: Ok, so this year obviously needs a backstory. I
was am still working my butt off, supporting myself. And this year, Halloween sort of crept up on me. Before I knew it, the day had arrived and I still didn’t have a costume. I worked in the morning, and then ran to the store to scope out the remaining costumes. *gasp* I know, this was the only year I bought a pre-made costume. Problem was, I’m petite and all the adult costumes left were like XXL. But Perseverance Experts know how to improvise! This is child’s Incredible Hulk costume that I stuffed my body into. I had to buy some green tights and a longsleeve green shirt to wear underneath. I also had to cut the neckline open to breath and I ripped several seams throughout the night, but I was a hit! Strangers got their picture with me! So I say, if you’re in a hurry, seek out your inner superhero.
Medusa: Now this costume is a particular fave. As a kid we learn the 3 R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Why not do this with costumes too? I borrowed this one from my sister who made it with her husband the previous year. The dress is a simple sheet material toga with some gold jewelry. Then buy a bulk bag of toy snakes that wiggle or bend and spray paint them green. Adhere snakes to a wire cap, and place over a fabric cap for comfort. Don’t look now, you just got the evil eye from Medusa! Every time I moved my snakes moved with me and people oohed and aahed all night. Dancing was a little tricky, but totally worth it!
Mrs. Peacock: Last year’s costume was a group effort because more heads are better than one. A friend and I went to the thrift store and held our own “supermodel documentary hour,” AKA fashion show with the craziest dresses we could find. Suddenly the idea hit me. The cast of the board game CLUE. I purchased the perfectly peacock colored dress with the feather sleeves. I went to the craft store and bought a pack of peacock feathers for my hair and made earrings. I borrowed the belt, glasses, and wrench from friends. This was a great ensemble idea and friends felt like part of team!
So there you have a brief history of costume advice from your perseverance expert. I’ll bet you have more clever ideas. Tell me, what have been your favorite Halloween costumes over the years? Do you make your own, recycle with friends, or elaborate on pre-made? No matter how you style up, have fun…or else! It was Mrs. Peacock with the wrench in the blogosphere!
Guilty Pleasure? Don’t Mind if I Do
It’s time I came clean about something. I am a sucker for guilty pleasures. So much so I could easily change the name of this blog to Jess Witkins’ Guilty Pleasures and have plenty to write about. I unabashedly love bad movies, bad TV, bad music, bad food, and the occasional bad book once in awhile. And I’m guessing, you do too.
So, I’m introducing a new theme here on JW’s Happiness Project, every other Friday, I will tell you about some of my guilty pleasures, and I’m hoping you’ll make me feel better about myself by sharing yours. 😉 Guilty pleasures keep me sane. If I worked all day, came home to cook gourmet meals, and only watched cinema of the existential kind, you probably wouldn’t like me very much. I wouldn’t like me either. The guilty pleasures that we indulge in define us. Take one example, the films we watch with our girlfriends may be different than the ones we watch with our partner or parents. If I had to guess how those three groups defined me based on the movies we watch, I’d say: friends=quirky, family=snarky, and the boyfriend=crazy. Why? Because my best friend is the one that watches BBC series and makes cucumber sandwiches with me, my family has to sit through me quoting every movie, and my poor boyfriend is subject to whatever whim I’m in the mood for: Jurassic Park marathon, yes!, Sphere, sure!, La Bamba, ok!, Twilight, if I beg!
So let’s dig in to the guilty pleasures that make life more manageable at times. I’m talking TV, people! September is around the corner and new shows and seasons will be starting up again, so to kick off Guilty Pleasure Friday, I’m going to share with you my favorite guilty pleasure TV dramas of all time.
The Vampire Diaries: I just finished watching Season 2 and I can’t wait til September for the next season to begin. Sure it’s your typical love triangle, you’ve got the vampire/werewolf war going on, you’ve got an endless amount of legends to keep you just confused enough but still invested. I am in love with this show. It may be based for the teenage crowd, but I can’t help but fall for it. A big reason for that is THE WRITING. No joke, whoever the CW put together to write the episodes is smart about their plotting. Every episode leaves you on the edge of your seat, wanting more, all the while you are getting new information, and even the side stories are interesting. I give kudos to the writing team of Vampire Diaries and think any writer would because the show is action-progressed while still being believable (despite the fact it’s about vampires and werewolves). Plus, hello, major chemistry with the cast! I am as torn as Elena over Stefan and Damon Salvatore. *sigh*
True Blood: Yes, I am bought in to the vampire craze. It’s fun! And the storylines between True Blood and Vampire Diaries are drastically different. True Blood depicts a world where humans and vampires exist together, not always on good terms, but they know they’re there. And a new substance called True Blood, allows vampires to drink blood without killing people. Add a psychic waitress named Sookie, her shapeshifting boss, and hotheaded brother who always causes trouble, you’ve got great TV. The lead vampire is Bill Compton, a southern plantation man in his day. He and Sookie become bonded when she saves his life from Vampire Hunters. New twists to the tale include humans drinking vampire blood, street name V, to get high. Aren’t you intrigued yet?
Six Feet Under: No longer on air, it lasted 6 amazing seasons, this show about a family that runs a funeral home is one of the best out there. Every episode begins with a death, the person whose funeral will take place in the funeral home owned by this family. At times, Six Feet Under could be very dark, there’s a season where everything goes wrong, and you’ll want to stop watching and curl up thinking about your happy place. Keep watching! The final episode of this show is one of the best final episodes I’ve ever seen. Mainly, this show is about finding yourself, despite all the loved ones lost, all the crap that happens, however dysfunctional your family may be, this show is about finding out what you’re made of.
Dexter: See a familiar face? That’s Michael C. Hall starring as Dexter, but he also played David in Six Feet Under. Polar opposite rolls. Dexter is about a serial killer, but he only kills other serial killers. He’s a good guy? That’s what makes the show worth a watch. You want him to get away even though he’s murdered quite a few people. Apart from the killings, he tries to lead a normal life. He works as a blood specialist with the Miami Police (convenient), has a girlfriend, and a sister who also works at the police department. If you’re writing a suspense thriller, or want to study a great antihero, you should absolutely check out Dexter.
Desperate Housewives: Could be a drama or comedy, but due to all the murders that occur, I’m putting it here. Suburbia. It’s a scary neighborhood. Primarily this show is about friends. A group of women who get together and see each other through the thick and thin, but sometimes the thick includes dating each others’ husbands, burning down each others houses, poisoning one another, and general spying, lots of spying. Another example of a tight knit cast, each woman is wonderful in her role. The key players in the beginning are Edie, the blonde bombshell realtor, Lynette, the high strung mom with several trouble causing children, Susan the ever worrisome, low self-esteem, yet competitive housewife, Gabby, the saucy, selfish one, and Bree, the picturesque role model of a strong woman: excellent baker, homemaker, gun owner.
Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman: Ok, I had to put this one at the bottom or you might not have finished reading, but hear me out! I love Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman; I grew up watching this show with my mom. It’s a period drama about a woman doctor braving the Wild West frontier of Colorado Springs, CO. She’s stubborn, incredibly smart, always stands up for the less able, proves her worth, and she’s a redhead. What’s not to love here? Dr. Michaela Quinn, or Dr. Mike, as they called her on the show was a great example of a strong woman for me growing up. And the love story between her and Indian Agent, Sully, is a realistic example of a strong couple. They had arguments in the show, but they always worked through them, not every show depicts that side of a couple. I still rent a season or so from the library time to time, this show is still a favorite.
So how bout you? Do you share any of these guilty pleasures? What are the TV drama guilty pleasures you watch? C’mon, I won’t make fun, as long as you play nice to Dr. Quinn!