Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

I made the mistake of stopping by American Apparel late last night for completely un-Halloween related reasons. Good god. There was a line out the door of people stocking up on skimpy costume essentials, and I seriously almost smacked one girl when I caught her saying, "I just wish these shorts were, like, shorter." Really, ma'am? American Apparel's merchandise is too demure for your tastes?

On that note, stay tuned for an upcoming installment of Don't Show-cha Your Chocha—it's a doozy!

p.s. Check out the "Miss World A.D. 300,000" Halloween costume I illustrated for National Geographic's blog here.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Capitol Obsession

I have a bit of an obsession with the US Capitol building.

This bit of an obsession makes me do strange things like sit next to the reflecting pool for approximately an hour a day (even in the biting cold), staring up at the majestic dome, sighing dramatically; or, in the context of an impassioned speech about my dreams of winning a senate seat, pointing at the Capitol (and directly at an armed Capitol guard) and screaming, "YOU'RE NEXT!" repeatedly until my brother said, "Listen to what you're saying, god damnit," and we took off down the street.

So you can imagine how excited I was when a visit to a U Street vintage store yielded this:

(click for details of necklace and my hand)

A Capitol building pendant. Surrounded by pink rhinestones. On a gaudy gold chain. "Was this actually made for me?" I asked the perplexed store owner as I handed over some cash.

It's a perfect souvenir to remind me of this city, and this building, that I adore, sometimes to a disturbing degree.

Monday, October 27, 2008

It's Martin.

The first time in a long time that I've seen a combination of my two very favorite things: shiny sequins, and bite-size frogs:

Must raise money to buy this delectable little treat. Maybe I could teach dumpster diving lessons on Wall Street?


Marc Jacobs Iris sequined bag, $1,895,

p.s. For a little background on Martin, click here.

Lovin' Daddy Likey?

This Bloglovin' thing caught on so quickly, I feel like I'm already behind (kids these days!), but if you're so inclined...

Thank you!

Friday, October 24, 2008

And Now, the Finalists. Time to vote!

I read over a hundred seriously amazing entries to my Halloween Costume Chronicles contest,and, after much agonizing, narrowed it down to these three finalists. Now, it's up to you to choose the winner. Hope you enjoy these as much as I did!

First up, a super creative costume idea and ensuing humiliation from Michele:

I think it was my sophomore, maybe junior year of high school and student council decided to have a Halloween Costume contest.

I think it was my mom's idea for me to go as an outhouse
. Actually I was an old lady in an outhouse. We used a big appliance box to be the outhouse. We made a peaked roof with construction paper shingles. We cut a half moon in the front of the door so I could see out. I had on a long nightgown, slippers with toilet paper stuck to one, and corn cobs tied to the side. My hair was all up in curlers and I had cold cream on my face. I had handles inside, to hold the outhouse up when I walked from class to class.

Well, chemistry class had stadium seating, and somehow I managed to trip and fall, outhouse and all.

The science teacher was very serious, the most strict teacher of all. (You know, the one with the "Bring a writing utensil to class or detention" and "No flying projectiles in class" rule).
No one in the class had ever seen him laugh like he did. No one even had to tip the outhouse for me, I did it all on my own.

Later, at our last period pep rally, I won $15 for the costume. I think by then every one had heard the story of my great fall and wanted to see if I could repeat it there in the old gym.
At least I could hide in my outhouse!


Next up, Christine's surreal Halloween moment:

So, here is my favorite Halloween story. I dressed up as the bee girl from Blind Melon's "No Rain" video. I grew up in Wisconsin and Madison is legendary for its Halloweens (State Street is a pedestrian only street, full of bars, and on Halloween weekend chock full of drunks and the night always ends up in a fury of riot gear and tear gas). I'd been there for Halloween visiting friends who went to college there when I was 18, 19 and 20. But on this particular year, I was 21! Finally! BARS!

I live in Minneapolis and it takes about 4 to 5 hours to get to Madison. My friend Megan and I set out early to stake out a good barstool. The bars literally fill up at like 4-5pm and from then on it's "one in, one out" at the door and who in their right mind is going to leave once you're in from the cold! I'll save you the boring car breaking down in the middle of nowhere in Wisconsin, walking like 2 miles down the road because we were convinced that everyone who stopped to help was going to drag us into the woods and do unspeakable things to us, and eventually getting the car started again, like 3 hours later.

So, we finally rolled into Madison at 8pm. 8PM!!! The street was packed, my friends were already in the bar but that didn't help with the 100 person line to get in the door. Luckily we had brought some flasks and were walking down State Street trying to get to the particular bar where my friends were. Then... it starts raining. Oh damn, not only is it cold and I'm wearing a tube top and tu-tu, but now I'm going to be wet.

I'd been getting compliments on my costume all down the street but then, it happened... "ALL I CAN SAY IS THAT MY LIFE IS PRETTY PLAIN, I LIKE WATCHING THE PUDDLES GATHER RAIN!" A drunk girl was singing to me, LOUDLY. Then her friends started in. Then ALL the drunks around us start singing and moving away from me. I am at the center of a large circle of drunk hipsters singing "No Rain" in the rain.

I begin to dance.

I jump. I frolic. I remember the moves from the video and shake my tutu around for all! Megan is dying laughing. I don't care, I am a dancing machine. A larger and larger crowd is gathering and I really wish I had drank more. When the song ends, everyone is cheering and screaming and I am a little proud and a lot embarrassed. Just then the bouncer at the door of the bar grabbed me, I grabbed Megan, and he threw us in the door. WHOO! Dryness! Drinks! My friends-- this is the right bar! Whoo! Best Halloween Ever!

And last but not least, this story from Sara, which came in an email titled, "You want to do WHAT to the panda?":

Halloween of '99 I and a couple friends had tickets to see James Brown in concert just a few days before Halloween. My dad let me know that he played in Seattle very regularly around Halloween and everyone would dress up in costume for the show. I dressed up as a panda, which was just a black outfit with long sleeves and a white tank top over the top, with black and white face paint and high pigtails to suggest panda ears.

Our tickets were for general admission and we went early so we could be right up at the front. It was a fantastic show, with much dancing and plenty of silly costumes -- we were behind some hippie-dancing people in alien costumes so we had to dodge their flailing deely-boppers.

During "Sex Machine" some guy in a fedora just behind me decided he would dance with me by humping my ass. No hello, no nothing, just all of a sudden some guy was thrusting at me from behind. My friends were dressed in tasteful but relatively much sexier costumes, but for some reason this guy decided "no, I'm going to hump the panda."

I shoved him off a few times, as did one of my friends who he'd shoved for better panda-humping access, and yet he kept coming back. I had no chance of getting the attention of one of the bouncers from where I was and the guy didn't stop until I turned around and faced him down with a cocked fist. He left me alone for the rest of the show, and I got the pleasure of seeing a truly wonderful concert (someone tried to lead James Brown away in his cape and James Brown REJECTED that, and kept singing) and a silly story.

Now toss aside that presidential election ballot and cast your vote on a contest that really matters:

So, who's it gonna be?
Public Fall in a Portable Outhouse
Blind Melon Bee Come to Life
You Want to Do WHAT to the Panda? free polls

I'll leave voting open until the end of the day on Wednesday, since weekends aren't exactly high traffic days in the blogging world and I want to make sure people get a chance to read these and help me choose the winner. Best of luck to all three finalists, and thank you again to everyone who sent me a story!

UPDATE: Congratulations, Christine! You've won the ModCloth gift certificate! Thanks to the more than 500 amazing readers who weighed in--next up, the presidential election!

One More Batch of Runners Up! I Can't Help It!

These entries to the Daddy Likey Halloween Costume Chronicles Contest were too good not to post:

OK, so last year my roommates and I went as the Mystery Gang (picture below, I am Velma). Awesome group costume that got many comments on our bus ride to school. It was unfortunate that Jill, our Daphne, had to stay late and couldn't ride home with us. While waiting for a bus, we spotted another Daphne crossing the street at the end of the block. She did a double take as we waved her over. Her companion (some sort of mad scientist) got pictures of us all. We totally made that girl's day



One of the most creative costumes I have ever seen was when a friend of mine in high school went as "The Road." It was a simple sleeveless dress that had streets sewn/drawn on it with little hot wheels cars sewn on. It was basically amazing. I wish I had a picture...


If you're a theater major in a dorm, there are likely many, many dance majors living within a few yards. And dance majors do not blink or ask many questions when you run down the hall asking "Does anyone have a flesh-toned leotard I can borrow this weekend?". They only ask "full-length or knee-length?"

I took said flesh-toned full-body leotard (and some full-coverage flesh toned underthings, naturally) and attached three black fabric strips to it. One over the boobs, one over the crotch, and one over the butt. I added some flesh-toned character shoes (you know which ones I'm talking about, fellow former theater majors!) because hey, if I'm essentially going naked to a big Halloween extravaganza, I've got to find a way to elongate my legs.

I froze my barely-covered ass off that night, but I won the costume contest in my Victim of Censorship costume.

Although I live in Australia I do have a funny, slightly embarasing, Halloween story to tell. The day after the halloween of 1998, I heard over the fence from the boy next door that he and his brothers were given an entire cheesecake and eight dollars cash! Being nine years old, I thought that eight dollars was sooo much money and was determined to try it out the following year.

As luck would have it, on October 28th the next year, my mum was invited to visit her friend for a few days. She packed her bags and left my older sister in charge.

We stayed up late! We didn't brush out teeth! We had so much fun! It was Sunday afternoon, about 4pm when we realised what day it was. We took a white shirt of hers and covered it with tomato sauce making it look like she was.. covered in tomato sauce!

She then grabbed all the toilet paper she could find and began to wrap it around my legs. She told me 'Take you pants off. You're too lumpy.' I didn't even think about it. I was way too excited! Eight dollars! I pulled off all my clothes. She continued wrapping until my entire body was covered. I stuck out my arms and grabbed a bag to fill with candy. We ran out the door!

It was pretty warm out so everyone was out in the street. Kids riding their bikes, people walking their dogs. The man across the street and his wife were planting flowers! The boy next door was digging a hole!

All of a sudden it began to get very windy. Bits of toilet paper began blowing away leaving sections of skin exposed. first my arms and shoulders. I could feel upper thigh exposed!
One giant gust of wind removed all that was left of my 'costume'.

I was 100%, completely naked, standing in shock next to my sister - covered in sauce.

I couldn't think of anything to do but run. I ran the entire length of the street. All the neighbours (and their dogs) looked up to see what my sister was laughing so hard at and got to see me and my nakedness run past. I was devastated. and haven't thought about celebrating Halloween since.

This picture is me dressed as Smurfette and my boyfriend dressed as sexy woman devil. He actually was sexy, but only for me I guess. I wore cobalt blue tights on my legs and arms, a really cheap blond wig, an even cheaper white A-line dress and I made the white Smurf cap by cutting and sewing an old white t-shirt and stuffing it with pillow insides.


My junior year of college at UC Berkeley, I was pretty poor (aren't most college kids?). I couldn't afford something extravagant. I normally make my own costumes anyway. But this year, with little time and even littler money, I walked into a costume store on a whim. In the kiddie section, I found a boys' Superman/Clark Kent costume...suit jacket, white shirt, neck tie, glasses...and a muscular chestplate! It was the day before Halloween. So naturally...everything was 80% off! I think I paid all of $12 for it. Since I'd saved so much money, I decided to get my dog a matching Superman outfit too.

Halloween morning, I was on my way to chemistry class with my dog all dressed up too (he's a good boy and has no problems waiting outside for me until I get out of class). Suddenly, I saw my professor walking towards me, huffing and puffing. "Krizia! Happy Halloween! Wait up!" My handsome professor, with his hair starting to streak silver in some places. He ran up to me saying, "I like your costume. I want to show you something."

Horror of horrors, he quickly began to loosen his tie...shrug off his suit jacket...unbutton his shirt..."Oh God," I thought..."What is this man doing?! We're in the parking lot for God's sake!" He pulled his shirt open...and underneath...a Superman shirt! "We have the same costume!" he smiled.

Sigh* of freakin' relief. I laughed. What a guy. What was I thinking? Of course my hot, intelligent, older chemistry professor wouldn't corner me in a still empty parking lot on Halloween morning to profess his undying attraction to me. It was fun while it lasted :) The kids at Berkeley got a kick out of me and my dog walking around campus in our matching outfits. A lot of people snapped pictures and shouted out comments. Was it all worth the $17 I'd spent? Supremely.

So, when I was about 20 years old, we decided we wanted to go Trick or Treating like little kids again. For some odd reason, I decided I wanted to be a chicken in a nest. I made my nest out of a hula hoop and lots and lots of yellow streamers, and I just held it all up with my hands. I'm pretty sure I wore a white turtleneck (yuck!), orange tights (hello, FAT knees!), and a headband with a latex glove blown up and painted red on my head. Suffice to say, this was not one of my most attractive costume ideas.

To make matters worse, my younger brother also wanted to come along, and his lame, last minute costume idea was the classic ghost: white sheet over head with eyes cut out.

I helped him cut out the eyes, and when we threw it over his head, I was SHOCKED and HORRIFIED to discover that he hadn't brought a regular sheet, but a small twin-size duvet cover, which meant, THERE WERE POINTY LITTLE CORNERS on this piece of fabric, and one of the corners ended up being on top of his head!!!! AWFUL!!!!

For some reason, we all went out to Trick or Treat anyway. Luckily, my brother didn't get beat up, but we didn't get much candy. People would open the door and be like, "Um, you guys are too old to trick or treat."

Embarassing. What an ugly, sad, and offensive bunch we were.

Every year at school we are allowed to dress up, and last year I went as a witty play on words! I wore a black cat suit with cut out numbers taped all over it, when people would ask me what I was, I would say, "I'm someone you can count on!" Get it? Someone you can count on? Literally and figuratively!! Oh snap!

I had just seen Poltergeist and loved it. So, I wanted to be something scary for Halloween. But my parents explained to me that I couldn't be a poltergeist because, duh, I would have to be invisible and this was way before Harry Potter and his cloak of invisibility and OH MY GOD WHY CAN'T I JUST BE A DAMN POLTERGEIST. Finally, my mom told me that I could go as just a plain ol' ghost and she would "make" my costume. Now, my mother and I have about the same level of "domestic skillz." I can cook, at least. She cannot. So sewing, stitching, fabric, costume-making - not our strong suit.

On the morning of Halloween, I'm set to walk to preschool with my Grandma and I anxiously ask my mom about my costume. "Oh yeah, hold on." And she comes over, puts a sheet over my head and tells me to "STAY STILL GODDAMMIT!"

So I stay still while my mother cuts holes for the eyes
mere millimeters from my gorgeous baby blue eyes. I am terrified. Then she realizes that it's way too long and trims the bottom up. It looks like I have been attacked by a rabid jackolope. I don't care. I want to scare the shit out of the kids at school and start for the door. That's when we realize that the sheet won't stay put. The obvious solution? TIE A ROPE AROUND MY NECK. Thanks mom.

I don't know about Sexy Pac-Man, but last year for Halloween I dressed up as the coolest Ms. Pac-Man ever! I go to college, so come Halloween, there's nothing but freshman girls in their skimpy non-costumes. In fact, last Halloween I met a girl who was dressed as... underwear. With wings.

In order to stand out from the crowd, my friend and I opted for more awesome costumes: she went as Indiana Jones if he were born a redheaded girl, and I went as Ms. Pac-Man if she were a little less circular. I bought a yellow t-shirt from the little boys' section at Target, tied a red ribbon bow around a red headband, and bought some cheap bangles with fruit charms at Claire's. Get it? Like the bonus fruits? Ha, well nobody else got it but me. At all. But I had plenty of fun running around, going "Wokka-wokka-wokka!" And at the end of the day, I got to be comfortable on Halloween in my jeans and t-shirt, while all the other girls were freezing their chochas off!



In 1976 or so when I lived in Portland, I had a friend who decided to go to a Halloween party as Adam. His costume consisted of 2 large sycamore leaves strategically glued. Needless to say, the costume made him a little nervous so he used a lot of glue. Big-time glue. I happened to be visiting him the next day as he was using turpentine to remove said leaves and glue. As you can imagine, the tender flesh did not take kindly to such treatment.

Freshman year of college I met the most amazing boy at convocation. While he was a great guy, he was an inch shorter than me and looked to be about 12 years old. Seriously, he had an extreme babyface. So, Halloween rolls around and we decide to drive to Ohio University, along with his roommate, another guy friend and a girl friend, to partake in the legendary Halloween festivities there. We try to come up with a cute couple costume... matching cellmates? ketchup and mustard? plug and electric socket?

We weren't really thrilled about anything, but then I realized: I'm a high school education major and he looks like he's in high school... I'll be the teacher who has an affair with her student! I wore a mostly unbuttoned button-up shirt, long skirt with practically waist-high slits on both sides, heels, my glasses and bright red lipstick with my hair in a bun. He wore khakis, a sweater and a button-up shirt underneath that was all messed up like he had hurriedly gotten dressed after an illicit moment. I kissed his face and neck with the bright red lipstick and mussed his hair a bit - perfect! Too bad it was about 30 degrees that night, I ended up wearing his jacket the whole night, and no one could tell what we were. Oh well. Lesson learned: I'm never doing couple costumes again.

Attached are a picture of me and a picture of both the (ex) bf and me, his roommate the cowboy and dormmate the vampire. what a miserable night.


When I little, there were these dolls that were all the rage. They were princesses, and then when you flipped their skirts up they became CUPCAKES! I mean, seriously, that is way better than camouflage or playing dead like a opossum! So this is what I wanted to be for Halloween, and it was all I talked about, and I begged my mom to make me a cupcake princess costume.

That was the year I learned exactly how much whining I could get in before my mom completely tuned me out though, since I ended up with an upside-down lampshade as a skirt and a cherry-shaped hat

Check out the comments section of the original contest post for more great stories, and Jenna has a treasure trove of past costumes (plus pictures!) on her fab blog as well.

Finalists coming soon!

Costume Chronicles, Volume 2

Update: Last night at 1 AM I thought I was close to choosing a winner, but then I ended up rolling around on the floor moaning,  "I caaaannnn't choooooooose!" instead.

My brother kindly suggested that I just pick a few favorites and have you guys vote on the winner, and to get the hell off the floor and go to bed and shut up. I really enjoyed this idea, so I'll post a poll later tonight and keep it up through the weekend. Winner will be announced Monday. 

And now, another batch of hilarious runners up!

I was on the tail end of recovering from a really ugly case of the chicken pox. I had stopped being contagious. I didn't feel so crappy and I lied to Mom that I didn't feel itchy at all. There still a lot of blotches across my face and my arms were covered in a mass of scabs since I'd been picking at my skin for the past two weeks.

Still I was intent on going trick-or-treating. My parents decided that after being cooped up for two weeks it would do me good to go out for a little bit.

It turned out to be a really terrible Halloween for an 8 year old girl. Everyone who opened their doors commented on the great zombie make-up I had on. They thought the open sores were very realistic special effects and the runny make up was a great touch.

Unfortunately, I was actually dressed up as a kitty.

Last year, Alec and Henry went as Castro and Che, so I decided to be the only female communist figure that I could think of, Frida Kahlo. Though originally it was going to be Sexy Frida Kahlo, I ended up going for authenticity instead. I did an excellent job posing as Frida. like really really good and subtle. 

I suppose I underestimated how little people know about their Mexican art history. At the party we went to people just thought I was an unfortunate, unibrowed, exchange student. When drunk girl I had just met asked what I was and I told her, her response was, "Oh haha, I was just telling my friend I didnt think you were wearing a costume and that you were just kinda ugly!" 

This year I'm going as a sexy butterfly with big boobs just to make up for the blow to my ego last year. Serves me right for picking an educationally themed costume.
(See here for another hilarious take on Lindsay's costume.)

As a poor college student with no money, it was off to the thrift store for me, to become MISS FRIZZLE! YES! From the Magic Schoolbus! I know. Amazing.  I decided to be space miss frizzle, so I found a black and white spotted dress that looked like a galaxy, I cut out all nine planets (including pluto, I know, but this is a vintage educational cartoon!) and sewed them on. I also found a plastic schoolbus in the toy bin for a dollar, drew eyes on it and hung it on a strip of fabric to be my purse for the evening. Then with a big tease of hair, and constantly singing the theme song the entire night, we have one of my favorite halloweens ever.

I always have wanted to dress up as yoshi from super mario and I finally decided to do it this year. So basically I got a bunch of friends in on it and the sewing began. It only cost about $40 for all the materials. Yoshi was by far the hardest. I ended up having to go to the chiropractor after I finished because my back was so messed up from leaning over all day.


When I was a kid growing up in Connecticut, my parents considered warmth and frugality as the most important characteristics of a Halloween costume. This philosophy resulted in a LOT of creativity, but also a few astonishingly bad outfits.

First, my mother always forced us to wear a turtleneck and a jacket, no matter what. FYI, white turtlenecks, even if paired with a 1970s bridesmaid's dress, do NOT scream princess.

Then there was the time when all I could find in the basement was a giant piece of foamcore and some red felt. After lots of thought, I cut the foamcore into a 30inch diameter circle, covered it in the felt, and drew on sunglasses and a smiley face. I added some straps to the back, donned some white gloves and went as the red Spot from 7Up commercials. Unfortunately, no one could identify me and instead guessed I was the following: "a dot?", "a tomato?", "a cookie?" Yes, I'm a bright red cookie in sunglasses. The real kicker was when my friends and I cut through a side yard and the red felt of my Spot got snagged on a pricker bush. I was stuck there for about 5 minutes until I decided to ditch the Spot and finish up the night as a kid in a white turtleneck.

My sister, a friend and I, bought long wooden dowels, which we painted black and white, huge sunglasses, and mismatched thrift store clothes. We made ears, tails, and a giant foil butchers knife, and I believe one of us carried around a cup of pencils, and went trick or treating that year as the three blind mice.

Last year for Halloween I was a waffle, because they are my favorite food! I even had a surprise waffle party on my 21st birthday, so it seemed natural that I should dress up as something I like so much. I wore a yellow shirt and brown skirt. In order to make the waffle, I cut one of those foam, egg carton mattress pads into a rectangle and then sewed on some pieces of yellow fabric for the butter. I went to see the band Mum that night and afterward one of the band members asked what I was and after I told her, she said, "of course you are a waffle!" After the show I was walking to a party and a completely drunk girl stopped me on the street and after finding out what I was, began to feel my waffle and asked me to marry her. Then a man told me that if I needed any syrup to give him a call sometime.

I had zero dollars for a costume one year so I wore all white and went as a whiteboard. I let everyone draw all over me all night and I still have the shirt, it's hilarious.
Happy Halloween.

My senior year of college, I was being courted/was courting a boy named Joe. He was the MOST creative of the misunderstood genius types I went for back in the day, and pulled some beautifully outlandish stunts during our dating days. He was a member of our school's improv troupe, and I was an arts writer for the paper. I reviewed their fall show and made that classic young writer mistake of using an impressive-sounding word without being totally sure of its meaning. I described Joe as being "languid." Yeah. Not the best thing to say about an improv performer.

He read the article and questioned me about my use of this word. I fessed up, saying I hadn't known its true meaning, but had wanted to convey "with natural flow, like water." He laughed and was not insulted.

Then, at the Halloween party his house threw later that week, he wore cords, a button down, and two clear trashbags filled with water. One on the front, one on the back, like a sandwich board dealy. He let the water out later in the evening because it was flippin' heavy. And so he could kiss me better.

When I was about 12, I was at the movies with my mom when I announced I wanted to go as a box of popcorn for Halloween (this was probably in March). October rolls around and I'm still totally committed to the idea and my mom gamely offers to help me design and build this monstrosity. It took about 3 weeks of planning and hours of hot-glueing styrofoam packing to an old sheet before I was finished. 

So the costume reads as follows: me, decked out in a styrofoam covered sheet-poncho with a square of yellow felt glued to the head (that would be the butter). Said sheet-poncho is tucked into my red bristol-board box/skirt upon which I have written "Hot Buttered Popcorn." Apparently it even registered pre-trick-or-treat that people were going to need all the help they could get with this one. 

I'm going as a "cougar" as in "a well to do Napa Valley, recently divorced, middle aged woman on the hunt for cute, young men." I may have to add ears and/or a tail to give people a hint. I figured that I'd need a bad fake tan, trendy highlighted hair (wig) and an age inappropriate Bebe outfit.

Coming from Australia, sadly we don't really *Halloween* like you Americans do - it's always been a great shame to me, as our lame trick or treating always seemed to lack a lot of spirit!

But, a good friend of mine held a party with theme "It's all white on the night". I didn't really know what that meant, and not being one who is half-hearted about these things, decided with my boyfriend that we should go as astronauts. (photo #1). We trekked in to a very trendy part of Sydney (where people are wayy too cool to be dressed as astronauts) and walked about half a mile to the party. By this stage, the space food sticks so carefully stuck onto my all-in-one white suit were beginning to sag, and the aluminum foil on my boots was threatening to come loose.

Happily, we made it. And opened the door to a room full of uber shocked people. The craziest outfit there was the party guy himself in "Tennis whites". ( Photo #2 where, incidentally, you can see my rocket pack complete with flashing lights). Our papier mache helmets, which were so eminently sensible in the car, suddenly seemed way more excessive than intended!
Either way, we had an amazing time and loved wandering around afterwards walking into shops and bars, getting people yelling out "Houston, we have a problem" wherever we went. It's one thing to dress up on Halloween, but quite another when no one else is in costume!


As for costumes past, my favourite has to be when my friends and I dressed up as the Sanderson sisters from "Hocus Pocus". I was Mary, the Kathy Najimy character: I had a red velvet dress, a small plaid apron I sewed myself, and I carried around a wee vacuum. A friend's mother was a costume designer and makeup artist, so she helped us get ready, doing our hair and makeup. She ended up putting a toilet paper roll in my hair in order to get it to defy gravity, and I had to wear white-face to get that "200 years dead" look. 

This costume was my favourite because it was so spot-on, especially when the three of us got together. We ended up winning our school's costume contest, the prize being bragging rights and a very large, very unflattering photo in the yearbook.

We went trick-or-treating together, even though were were way too old to be doing so, and we stalked around the neighbourhood, quoting the movie at children, threatening to turn them into cats and steal their youth.

Now, I can't remember the exact turn of events, but somehow, at the last house we visited, we ended up getting into an in-depth discussion about Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal" with the owner. She offered us candy, and we ... offered to eat her children? I can't explain it, but at least she didn't call the cops on us (we wouldn't have made it far, since we wearing high heels and carrying vacuums and mops).

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Costume Chronicles, Volume 1

I'm going to publish a bunch of the fantastic costume contest stories in multiple posts today, because they're hilarious, and really, who does work on Friday? Later tonight I will announce the winner of the $100 ModCloth gift certificate! Hopefully these will make you guys laugh as hard as I did, and provide some inspiration to the undecideds out there. Feel free to comment on your favorites--everyone appreciates some creative costume validation! Thanks so much to everyone who sent me a story. As always, you guys rock!

In no particular order, we begin:

My favorite costume to date happened last year. I was the iPod Shadow Dancer. I have never had so much fun dressing up. Granted I did have to wear leggings as pants (please do not shun me.) My friend Jessica painted my face for me and even had to put a little paint in my ears to get the full effect, talk about intense and it was awful to clean up when I was ready to come out of the shadow. I love Halloween so much! I can't wait for it this year, I plan on dressing up as a porcelain doll and I just bought the perfect dress for it, a Betsey Johnson I picked up a Goodwill! Ek!

Picture this: The glamourous year of 1990. Me, a tender eight year old girl...avid Hulk Hogan fan.

I blame it on my babysitter's older brother, who was allowed to sit in the den for most of his life watching WWF. When my mom asked me what I wanted to be for Halloween, I thought the answer was an easy one. I wanted to be Hulk Hogan, motherrrrr.

I don't remember the weeks leading up to Halloween nor the progress of mine and my sister's costumes as my mom hacked away at them on her sewing machine. All I remember is laughing as my mom helped my sister into her dinky clown costume...and then crying when she held up a matching one for me.

My mom was forced to paint me as a "sad clown" that year, mainly because I'm sure she was worried neighbors would ask why her daughter had two tear-stained streaks running down her face.

Shortly after that incident I decided I'd rather be arm candy for Rick Flair. And then my parents had a whole other set of problems.

We don't celebrate Halloween in Australia, but I looove a good dress-up party and wanted to send you a couple of pics anyway. I recently attended an advertising industry awards night (I'm an Art Director) where the theme was pink. I dressed up as an Aussie favourite; the Iced Vo-Vo biscuit (cookie?). This biccie is one that your grandma would serve up half-stale on weekend visits; I'm sure every Australian has fond memories. They are made up of a layer of biscuit (hmmm), a layer of pink icing and a strip of jam down the middle. Coconut flakes seals the deal.

My costume is made of layers of material and wadding mashed together and run through the sewing machine and coconut is flakes of polstyrene packaging. I felt like Gretel on the night, I left a trail of flakes everywhere I went! Was totally worth looking like a tosser: I won best dressed and 5 kilos of chocolate! Yay!

~Lindsey N.

So I think I was in grade six, and my friend Jess and I were trick-or-treating together. I don't even know what I was, I'm pretty sure I was "the Silver Queen" or something like that, with a big medieval style dress. Anyway, my friend was Pippi Longstocking. Her long blonde hair was braided and even stuck out, just like Pippi. So every house the people would say to her, "Ohh, Pippi Longstocking! That's so sweet! How did you get your hair like that, dear?!" and my friend would reply, "Fishing line and pipe cleaners.", very monotoned-like and straight forward. Almost every house we went to, it was the same question about the hair. It got to the point where instead of the usual "TRICK OR TREAAATT!", Jess would simply say "Fishing line and pipecleaners." with a bored look on her face.

If you are a fan of SNL, you may remember Molly Shannon's character Mary Katherine Gallager, the spazoid Catholic school girl. Unfortunately with very little effort including a plaid skirt, white shirt with vest and white knee socks, plus dorky glasses, I looked SO MUCH like her, EVERYONE knew exactly who I was! I mean, I guess that was the goal, but I was a little scared that this is really what I look like.

Sexy Halloween outfits are a COP OUT. Last year at my friend's party there was a sexy cat, sexy policewoman, sexy angel, sexy devil...sensing a theme? I decided to break the mould and go as some sort of a dead Edwardian groom. I sort of ended up looking like a cross between King Charles the Third and Captain Hook. Full length leggings, long mans shoes, enormous white shirt stained with blood, mans red waistcoat, black hat and long curly brown hair. My makeup was the most extreme part of the outfit- whilst everyone else had put on a little more eyeliner than usual, I was truly dedicated to my cause: with proper goth foundation and black shading, I did look dead.

Proof of the extremes of my outfit can be found in the comment I got halfway through the party. A group of guys and girls had been sitting looking at me and whispering for a while, then finally one guy came up to me. "Umm...are you a guy or a girl?"
I decided to take it as a compliment.

My freshman year of college, after meeting my favorite professor ever and deciding that I wanted to study medieval people because they're hilarious, I dressed up as Margery Kempe. This was possibly the most idiotic/useless costume ever, because it simply entailed wearing a white skirt and top, and telling everyone that I'd had sex with Jesus. So let's elaborate a little here. Margery Kempe was a medieval lady who found religion and wrote a book, yadda yadda, in which she claimed that one night Jesus came down to her in a cloud of purple (or something) and they had sex. She didn't say it quite like that, but that was the gist of it. I just thought that (and her in general) was so damn funny that I wanted to be her for Halloween. Unfortunately, as her clothing post-religion-finding consisted of wearing white, it was a dumb costume and I ended up changing. : (

Ok, so this isn't so much about the costume (although it was amazing -- She-ra, Princess of Power) but more about the experience of my Halloween of 1989. I was 6 years old, and at that point my parents (including my VERY pregnant mother) and I lived in an adorable little neighborhood out in Western PA, with many more cows than people. So every Halloween the neighborhood dads would round up all the kids and drive us in a van to a bigger neighborhood with less cows so that we could get as much candy as the other kids.

Well, this particular Halloween we arrived at the nearby neighborhood and, as I was jumping out of the van, I must have caught on a sharp edge because I (sorry, graphic!) ripped a huge gash into my palm and started bleeding everywhere. So, no candy, big gash and my dad has to rush me home to clean up this gaping wound. My mother, being a nurse, lept into action and spent probably a half and hour cleaning and dressing my wound and deciding whether or not I needed stitches. That decision was made when instead of taking me to the hospital, all of the stress sent my mom into labor and she had to be rushed there instead! So no candy that year, but a few days later, my very own little brother.
~Lauren L.

Here is my Halloween costume. It is a hungry toilet. (My 11 year old sister is wearing it in this picture). Every year, I try to come up with something creative, like last year, when I was a cardboard tree, and I fell down the stairs because the costume was so hard to walk in, and there were leaves in my face. It ended up in the recycling the day it was finished. At least this year, I can actually see. It took a very long time to make, but it was worth it.

We came up with the idea to make a toilet costume at the beginning of October, and have worked hard to get it finished. The costume is made mostly out of cardboard and paper maché. For some weeks, there was cardboard, newspaper, and acrylic paint scattered all around our house. The toilet bowl was extremely hard to make, but in the end, the long hours of work were worth it.

Keep checking back throughout the day--LOTS more stories to come!

Costume Contest Update, and a Question about Everyday Costumes

Thanks SO much to everyone who entered the Halloween Costume Chronicles contest! Your stories were fantastic and I'm currently sorting through over 100 hilarious/poignant/humiliating entries to determine the winner. I'll probably start posting some runners up later today and then, hopefully, announce the winner tomorrow.

In the meantime,  I have a question for all of you. Yesterday one of my editors came into my office and said, "Is there a word for a person who wears the same thing every day?" He explained that a few years ago he had realized that the outfit equation of khakis and a white button-up shirt could meet all of his sartorial needs. He could add a sport coat to make it more formal, different shoes for different occasions, etc, but basically, he could wear slightly differing versions of this outfit every day for the rest of his life, if he wanted, and live a perfectly good and successful life.  

I thought immediately of Joanna's awesome article about people who only wear one color, but that wasn't quite what he was talking about. He meant one outfit. "Well, my dad wears Carhartt dungarees and a stained t-shirt everyday," I said.

"Why does he do that?" he asked.

"Because he doesn't give a shit."

"See, what I'm talking about is opposite of that, it's about giving a lot of shit. It's planned and purposeful and well thought-out."

So, do you guys know if there's a word for this? I think a lot of people do it, from people who wear jeans and a black tanktop every day to Karl Lagerfeld never leaving home without his black suit, skinny tie, and fingerless gloves. Can you create a word to describe it? "Lazy" will not count.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I knew the risks

Girl on the elevator, gawking at my bright yellow tights: Oh my GOD, for a second I thought you had, like, a really bad tan!

Me: Oh. Heh, heh.

Girl: No, it's cool! It's like The Simpsons.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Inadvertently Ask Daddy Likey!

It's time once again for Inadvertently Ask Daddy Likey, the recurring feature in which I post a select few of the thousands of Google search terms that led people to my blog, and kindly and patiently respond to each. (Click here for a slightly better explanation, if you're a DL newbie.) So let's get it on! (Search terms in bold italics; my responses below.)

Inadvertently Ask Daddy Likey!

"flats for men"
This seems like it would be fairly simple request, no?

winona house centipedes
This is going to be my legacy, isn't it?

my thighs!
They're just fine, I'm sure. Settle down.

do awesome people tuck in shirt?
I'm sure there are a few awesome people who tuck in their shirt, although I'm not sure how many awesome people ask Google if awesome people tuck in their shirt. No offense.

shame on goodwill

fire out butt
I'm posting this solely for the amusement of my thirteen-year-old brother.

gilmourn girls
God, that's a bad pun. Personally, I hold myself to higher punning standards. Oh, wait, shit.

what fruit size are your boobs quiz?
Alright, alright, let me put something together for you real quick. Here ya go:

1. Which type of fruit do your boobs most resemble?
a) lemon
b) orange
c) grapefruit
d) canteloupe
e) honeydew
f) watermelon
g) this pumpkin

Scoring is self-explanatory. Hopefully.

are sex toys prohibited on planes
Not prohibited. Perhaps frowned upon, especially if they're, umm, in use.

which mac eyeshadow is like a teal?
I wear "electric eel" at least a few times a week and I LOVE it.

daddy likey should be president

Awww I'm flattered! But honestly, I just don't think I'm a viable candidate. I couldn't bear to part with my William Ayers BFF necklace--it has pink rhinestones and everything!

he wore tights under his jeans
Well, that must have been quite a surprise...Did he go for control top or low rise? Did he have any issues with bunching? I need to talk to this guy!

how to model for shopbop
First, if you're wearing pants, shorts, a skirt, or underwear, take them off. Now, pull your dress down and look really, really uncomfortable. Study this feature for more lessons from the pros.

how do i deal with my boyfriend eyeing up other women
Dump. his. ass.

im 26 years old, is that too old to become a dental hygienist?
Oh man, that strict dental hygienist age limit will get you every time! I remember once, I was having my teeth cleaned, and these agents in black suits bust the door down and screamed, "On the floor, Loretta! We found your real birth certificate!" And then they dragged my hygienist out the door as she sobbed and clutched her mouth mirror. It was intense.

will jockstrap on stage hide my boner
I'm going to cite the experience of a certain classmate of mine with a starring role in the 8th grade Shakespeare production and say, no, nothing can save you.

ooohhhh too late, pants wet
This is getting awkward.


Miss you, lil' bro!

Blogback Mountain

Don't piss on Ambika and tell her it's raining. Especially if she's wearing these "boots," cuz they offer absolutely no protection against piss or rain.

Joanna's Glamour blog is as cute and stylish as her regular blog, with a little scandalous thrown in. Love it.

Sal has some great tips on "How to Downplay Your Tum."

Let's talk about how I want to move into one of these miniature backyard retreat houses and settle down and start a family.

Since I spend approximately 2/3 of my life in the throes of writer's block, I really appreciated Gala's advice on how to snap the hell out of it.

Supercute outfit + pumpkin head = awesome.

Amber from Painfully Hip is looking, well, painfully hip in Sacramento magazine. Oh, and guess what site got a mention as one of her favorite blogs? 

Could this poster be any cooler?

And if you haven't yet, EMAIL ME YOUR HALLOWEEN COSTUME CONTEST ENTRIES! (See post below.)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

CONTEST! Halloween Costume Chronicles

There are few things in this world I hate more than slutty Halloween costumes. I mean, come on—sexy fairy, sexy firefighter, sexy ninja, sexy Pac-Man(!), sexy bunny, sexy sex worker, sexy Mennonite (my friends Meg and Lindsay came up with that one, and actually, I totally approve)—we can do better!

Reader Regina sent me this picture as a Don't Show-cha Your Chocha submission, but it was too perfect for this.

This is why I'm holding a contest to celebrate those of us who put more creative effort into our costume choices, who spend time brainstorming and hitting up thrift stores rather than investing in knee-high fishnets and stripper shoes and responding to fellow party-goers asking "What are you?" with "Duh. I'm SEXY."

I want to hear your best costume stories. What's the most original costume you ever came up with? What's the one you thought was stupid that turned out to be a smashing success? What was the most expensive? The cheapest? What's your craziest Halloween costume experience? If you're one of my fabulous readers who lives outside the US, don't fret—just send me your best costume party story!

For example, a couple years after Batman Forever came out, when my brother Devin was 7 years-old and still in the heated throes of a Val Kilmer/Jim Carrey obsession, he found a disintegrating spandex Riddler bodysuit at the bottom of a discount costume bin. It was printed with big black question marks and came with a mask and was made for a toddler, but Devin was thrilled, and proudly squeezed himself into the bright green one-piece for a long and successful trick-or-treating journey. But unfortunately for the innocent non-pedophiles answering their doorbells that night, the aging spandex was stretched miiiigggghhttyy thin...Let's just say in this costume, his private parts were not an E. Nigma.

Or there was the Halloween my freshman year of college that I got into a serious car accident while dressed as 1920s jazz dancer, and had to tearfully tell the cops my side of the story while a frat party across the street yelled, "Don't listen to her! She's a flapper!"

Maybe when you were five you were intent on dressing up as Henry Kissinger. Maybe last year you went for a traditional sexy librarian costume, and ran into your local librarian. Maybe your mom forced you to be a ghost every year because she didn't know how to sew. Pretty much any great story involving a Halloween costume is fair game! Take ten words or two-hundred to describe it, and feel free to include a photo in your email if it helps, but entries with photos won't necessarily have an advantage. You know I love funny, but poignant stories and wince-worthy humiliations are also welcome. Just do it! EMAIL ME:

I'll post a big group of my favorite entries, to help inspire my lovely readers who are still looking for costume ideas, and one winner will receive a $100 gift certificate from the fabulous! With that kind of moolah, you can afford to dress up every day as, well, someone with rockin' style. 

My readers who are also bloggers--I'd be so grateful for any help getting the word out about this contest, and I'm happy to return the favor in the future!

A huge thank you to ModCloth for helping make this contest possible!

Remember, don't post entries in the comments, email them to me: ALL ENTRIES ARE DUE BY NEXT WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 22nd, and I will announce the winner on Thursday, a week from today. I seriously can't wait to read them!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Only Thing We Have to Fear Is...House Centipedes

Preface: This is possibly the strangest post I've ever done, but you guys asked for it. Like, literally, a bunch of you asked for it. So here you go:

(Click for stunning detail)

In Monday's post, I mentioned the inception of House Centipede Awareness Month, and my dad's timely lectures about the benefits of these CREEPY DISGUSTING HORRIFYING, I mean, beautiful helpful multi-legged children of god.

Almost immediately, the comments section and my inbox filled with queries from former house centipede haters seeking enlightenment, so I had my dad transcribe his informational lecture, which, toward the end, curiously morphs into a stirring FDR-style proclamation. Per Kendall's request, I am not posting a picture of the offending adorable arthropods, but you can see one here if you'd like.

And now, without further ado, I'd like to introduce Franklin Delano Roosevelt:

The house centipede is an amazing little predator that should garner more respect for its positive attributes than its perceived negative ones. When you see a house centipede in your dwelling you will not see as many cockroaches, silverfish, ants or spiders. They are active ferocious hunters of other arthropods with no desire to confront humans or, in smaller centipedes, even the ability to break the skin if you were to unintentionally trap one next to it.

While the bigger ones may be able to pinch or bite to some effect, the "intent" of the creature is to effect escape, not any sort of malice. The descriptions I have read of centipede venom suggest it to be like a mild bee sting and only those people with a known sensitivity to bee and wasp venom need to be particularly concerned.

If you wish to control their numbers in your house your best efforts should go into controlling the conditions that foster the presence of prey species. Fewer bugs, fewer centipedes. Removing or controlling sources of dampness seems to be of particular importance. Seal crevices in general to eliminate hiding places, in particular, seal off entryways into the house. Deny access to food items; if you kill one adult cockroach without eliminating its food supply, you provide plenty of munchies for 100+ baby cockroaches.

For those who currently live with House Centipedes in varying degrees of "Harmony" you might consider yourselves lucky. There are other centipedes in the world up to 10 inches in length. So, if you like getting the heebie-jeebies or the goochie-goomies, the willies or the creeps, then Scolopendra heros may be the giant centipede for you.

As a side-bar: Growing up in Florida we had Wolf spiders with a leg width close to a hand span. They would often trap themselves in our bathtub and we would catch them in a jar at morning to hold them until evening, when we would place them back in the bathtub and they would catch and eat two to three cockroaches a night to my mother's great delight.

We may not like many things we come into contact with in our lives even if we know the basis of our dislike arises from fear and ignorance. While that may be, our place in this world requires us to be Fair! We do not have to like bugs or snakes or even our fellow man. But we must be fair to this world or it will be taken from us by an act of omission or commission by our own hand.

p.s. I just saw a house centipede the size of a small dog speeding toward my bed, and I screamed and smashed it with the Sarah Palin issue of Newsweek. Sorry, dad.

A Very Brief Conversation About This Very Cute Shoe


Me: Yep! Perfect for itty-bitty peeping toms!

FLY London "Farah" wedge pump, $46-$100 (depending on color),

Monday, October 13, 2008

Photo Journal

My dad and youngest brother were in town this weekend, so we went and did predictable tourist-y things, visited a hilarious east coast sect of our family, discussed the benefits of house centipedes, and saw Greg Giraldo buying Haggen Dazs at the Lincoln Memorial. Not bad.

LOOK! It's the Washington Monument! Again!

Tall little bro and me.

Stunning architecture NEVER GETS OLD.

Yes, that would be Greg Giraldo walking away from an ice cream vendor.

Yes, that would be a tiger.

My dad ordered the special: "Two mini filets." And they were indeed mini.

Beautiful Ellicott City, Maryland!

Beautiful cousin in her beautiful new hat! (And me in an old one I found on her dresser.)

Brother in an alley!

My dad: "I HATE PEACE SIGNS." Me: "Umm...sorry?"

More beautiful cousins!

My dad spent most every night delivering rousing lectures about the myriad benefits of house centipedes (if you don't know what a house centipede is, please click here to learn, and if you don't know what kind of person spends every night delivering rousing lectures about house centipedes, please click here to learn). We declared October House Centipede Awareness Month:

Please feel free to participate.

And finally, my crowning achievement of the weekend--a vintage clutch I found in a Maryland antique store, made from the satin love letters sent to World War II soldiers:

I'm in love.

Hope you had a fantastic weekend too! Stay tuned for an epic Halloween contest!
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