Comic con – embracing the inner geek!

Lego Hulk

Photo credit to S Gudlaugson

Let your inner geek come out. In fact, set a spot at the table, make some really good British tea, and pull up a chair with a comfy cushion on it. Fan Expo Vancouver is here!

I am a sci fi fan. Who had never been to a comic convention. I wasn’t really aware of their existence, and for that, Now Me would like to go back to Then Me, and make myself aware! Yes, that is a photo of an enormous Hulk made out of Lego.

As someone who went to grad school to study science fiction, I thought I had cornered the market on geek. Let me assure you, I now realize that I’m a small player in the scales. There are people who are far more intense than I may ever be.There’s this gentleman, on his way to answer a call:

Light sabering


And a few Jedis in search of their people:

Comic con 003


But most importantly, I got to get a photo taken with James Marsters, Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, who was a very important piece of my thesis.

Me from seven years ago would probably think this was the penultimate moment.


Inner geek, I commend you. Welcome to the mothership.





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Bringing back the simple things.

1980 playing rollerhockey

Do you ever think back to twenty, ten, or even five, years ago and wonder what you used to do with all that extra time? Before you spent time on Facebook or tweeting, when the only one to take care of was you?

My husband has been slogging away in his first grad school semester and has finished his final, and is now back in the land of the living. (It was a tough few months being an accounting widow, let me tell you!). So this weekend felt a bit like we were ‘off the clock’.

I haven’t really touched my computer all weekend. I entered hardly any contests, which for me is highly unusual (see here for further details on how I spend 45 minutes a day to upgrade my lifestyle to something vastly beyond my salary). What did we do with two glorious days of no work and no real commitments?

I took Kate to dance class. We had a group nap (though the baby was in her crib, it was group in spirit!). We had friends over for dinner, went swimming and went to the park. I read my new magazine and a few chapters of my book. And I’m coming into Sunday night feeling more awake and aware and content than I have in months.

And then I had an ‘aha’ moment – THIS is what I used to do. And it didn’t become Scrabble triumphimpossible from any outside factors – my time use changed. We have the same number of hours in the day as Leonardo da Vinci, Einstein, Joss Whedon, Mercedes Lackey, Oprah, L.M. Montgomery, and a number of others famed for genius in past and present. It isn’t about how much time we do or don’t have. It’s about the choices we make when we’re using it. It’s about choosing to read a few more pages instead of skimming Facebook. Writing in your journal instead of playing a new video game. Of saying ‘yes’ when the baby wants to go outside and dig in the yard for the third time that day, and spending some time just watching her wander from one end of the tiny yard to the other, waving her spoon in the air. She couldn’t care less about the news online – there are dandelions to pick!

Let’s all spend a bit more time playing board games, making cookies and connecting with our friends and family and a bit less time mindlessly zoning out on our i-Things. It will make the world a nicer place.

How could you use your time differently? What are you focused on right now?


The yearly wardrobe update – 6 ways to jazz it up on a budget


Photo credit to Sunshine Gudlaugson

A new year, a new series of spring fashions…what’s a girl to do? Stay stylish on budget, of course!

My clothing allowance has taken a plunge since the advent of grown-up-ness…which is kind of ironic, since now I have grown-uppy sorst of jobs and the occasional requirement to look all fancy.  We also have a space crunch, since our adorable turn of the century house is more than a little lacking in the closet department. The combination of these has led me to a variety of creative options to find some new outfits.

1) Option 1, because it’s my favourite annual clothing related activity, is the yearly swap party. For those of you who are new to this, the drill is that everyone goes through their closets and finds the stuff they don’t wear/don’t fit into/hold a deep and abiding dislike for/reminds you of your least favourite cousin, and bring it over to my place, washed and folded. Clothes, accessories, books, CDs etc. It all gets piled in the middle of the living room, and then at the appointed time, everyone dives in and starts trying stuff on and swapping.  Many of my friends have kidlets, as do I, making it an excellent opportunity to get some new(ish) baby clothes and items that are in good shape (only a reasonable amount of teeth marks :) ). I usually make mine a potluck, for sanity’s sake as well as for fun, and there’s wine and food and general good times. Whatever’s left goes to charity

2) The old fashioned route: dye!

This pertains in particular to clothing trends in a particular colour. If you have something that’s white/beige/light grey, and you love love love it but it is just past its prime, this is a solution that can bring new life. Remember those old boxed dyes? I had a white satiny dress that I loved in the store, and loved on, in the slightly dim lights of the dressing room, but became a bit of a show once I tried it on at home in regular light. I hadn’t kept the receipt, and had taken the tags off. My Mom (who is known for keeping *everything*) had an old box of blue dye, and I thought ‘hey, why not?’ And you know what? It turned a lovely sky blue, and was a favourite for years afterwards. There are lots of sites that have DIY advice on the actual process of how to do it, but usually an old wash basin (that you aren’t attached to in any way, since dye stains are not really easy to remove!), some hot water, and a couple of hours are required. If you’re particularly creative, you can put elastics around bunches of the fabric to create cool circle designs, or draw on it in thick crayon to create pictures of slogans.

3) Accessorize! Accessorize! Accessorize! Accessories are cheap. They’re fun. Scarves, bangles, bracelets, chandelier earrings – they even sound fun! A really colourful scarf can do wonders to change an outfit, or a funky hat and boots can give it a completely new look.  And places like Ardene and Claire’s and even some of the dollar stores have a variety of items that are interesting and can jazz up something boring quite cheaply.

The hat makes the outfit! Photo credit to Sunshine Gudlaugson

The hat makes the outfit!
Photo credit to Sunshine Gudlaugson

4) Actually go through your closet. As my coworker Gina pointed out recently, she had a bunch of things that hadn’t seen the light of day in a veeeerrry long time that she genuinely likes. Particularly if your closet is as coffin-like as mine, it’s easy for things to get mired back in the dim recesses and forgotten about. So take an afternoon and spend it on a trip down the clothing version of memory lane. And with the stuff that you just don’t wear anymore or don’t really like, see bullet point #1 and hold your first swap party!

5) The humble t-shirt. My colleague Maureen pointed out that the t-shirt is really an underrated creature. You can get very well made ones cheaply, and a colourful t-shirt can be paired with everything from jeans to blazers to make an outfit come together. And if colour is your thing, it’s far cheaper to pair a trendy coloured t-shirt with a skirt or jeans than to invest in an item when you haven’t really come to a decision about whether you actually genuinely like this season’s ‘it’ shade.

More on swap parties can be found over with Lindsey, another fabulous Canadian blogger:

6) Winners, outlet stores and sales sales sales.

When it is time to buy something new, keep an eye out for sales. If there’s a particular store you enjoy shopping at, join their e-club – they will often offer sales and discounts to email subscribers that aren’t available in the store. Do a web search for coupons and discounts before you head to the mall, and print out the coupons before you leave. And if you are going to choose just one thing to buy, make it something you’ll wear and love. A fabulous spring jacket will have a much lower cost per wear than a turtleneck in emerald green if you’re not a turtleneck person. Try places like Winners, which encompass all labels but at a far cheaper price, and if you wait until seasonal sales  you can score huge discounts on already low prices. Always check the clearance rack first!  (But go on a Tuesday morning so that it’s not a zoo!).

There are a number of other ways to jazz up your wardrobe on a budget – thrift stores, vintage and estate sales are a whole other post!

What’s your favourite item of clothing? Where (or who) did it come from?

Spring – the yearly life assessment!

calendar photo

There are two months that seem to galvanize me into action: April and September. September is a flashback to the waning of summer and going back to school…the transition from sunny Tuesdays eating watermelon on the beach to the smell of crayons and freshly sharpened pencils. And gym strip. But that’s a whole separate (and pungent!) discussion.

The other month that gives me an impetus to get stuff done is April. One would think that it would be March, since that’s technically when spring begins, but March is only halfway springy. By April, there’s no debate that it’s winter (despite half of Canada still being in the negative temperature digits). In BC, the daffodils are out, birds are starting to twitter you awake (remember when twitter only had the single meaning?), and days have gotten long enough that it’s not dark when you leave for work and equally dark when you get home!

How I start is to go for a walk at one of the local parks and do a ‘state of the union’ conversation in my head. It goes something like this:

“Self, how am I feeling about blogging? Where do I want the blog to be a year from now? Two years from now?”

Once I’ve gotten straight where I want to be in two years, or five years, or whenever, I can Butterfly photothen work backwards. So, for an example, let’s use this blog. I began it approximately two weeks ago. Two years from now, I want to have 1000 readers. How am I going to get there from here? Well, let’s work backwards. What would I have done two years from now that got me to the magic number?

For example:

*I would have been very active on Twitter and Facebook

*have held a bunch of regular giveaways

*posted regularly, twice a week

*made some PR connections through approaching companies to sponsor my giveaways

*gone to some blog conferences and met other bloggers and done some reciprocal posts on their blogs.

So, to make that happen now, those are the steps I need to take. My first blogger conference is April 30th – we’re on our way, people!

So when you’re stuck on how to move forward or how to get where you want to go, imagine that you’ve been completely successful two years from now. Then go through the steps you must have taken to get there. It’s almost like you’re remembering things that haven’t actually happened. A little ‘1984’ and a little uncomfortable until you’ve done it a few times, but it works.

So on that note, guess I should go work on some tweeting!

Spring cleaning – giveaway!


Photo credit to Jon Gudlaugson

Once the calendar turns to April, my urge to get spring started goes into  minor overdrive. And what better thing to do to motivate yourself to sort out the spring than to win a gift card to buy some new house odds and ends?

Winner will be contacted by email and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

No idea how Rafflecopter works? Check out the tutorial here:

The Anatomy of a Rafflecopter Giveaway - Infographic
Courtesy of: Rafflecopter