I had the opportunity last weekend to get dressed up as a gypsy and walk around in public like that. Jealous? Don’t be! Sherwood Forest Faire is still going on! It ends April 3rd though, so get on it if you want to go. If you haven’t heard of it, this is a smaller, newer version of the Texas Renaissance Festival, that is much closer to Austin. The whole thing is themed around Robin Hood, and it has many of the same shows as other Renaissance festivals around the state.
There were lots of shops, and food vendors, and the place wasn’t that crowded. If you haven’t been to one of these before, I highly recommend it. Tons of people wear normal clothes, and tons dress up in “historical” clothing. Believe me, there are no history police walking around pointing out errors in anyone’s costume, so feel free to wear what you’d like. The shows are funny, you can walk around with beer and funnel cake, and this festival is in the midst of tons of trees, so it was nice and shady. The place is also very kid friendly, with a couple rides, face painting, and photo ops.
Our friend Todd competed in the archery contest:
A couple of our men-folk tried their hand at throwing knives (only my Hubby made anything stick )
I got some great shots of the Oskar Hasselhoff fighting school, and the Ded Bob Show was there also. I had never seen it before, and it was hilarious! A little tip from my friend Todd: If you’re in costume you are less likely to be called up on stage during these types of things. For me, that was comforting, because I really like to watch other people get teased on stage, rather than me.
Hubby and I were both dressed as gypsies, until he found an AWESOME pirate hat. Apparently gypsy + hat = pirate.
Obviously, I didn’t take pictures of everything available to do there. We circled around the whole place a few times, and spent a lot of time at the pub. There was a lot of conversation along these lines:
“Oh look! A pub! We should probably stop and have a drink!”
(not long later) “Oh look! The pub! Well, we want to stay hydrated!”
(a short time after that) “Hey! The pub! Well, the beer wenches have already seen us. I wouldn’t want to hurt their feelings by walking away now”.
(an even shorter time later) “Oh my! Is that a different pub?” “I don’t think…” “We should go in and check, just to be sure.”
After everything was over, and we were dusty, sunburned, and exhausted, we needed some sustenance. I sent Hubby into our favorite pizza joint, thinking hilarity would ensue. Nobody batted an eye!
We had a blast, and I would recommend it to anyone.
Antiqueing is one of those things I think everyone should try at least once. I think some people have the mistaken idea that there are just a bunch of overprices doilies you have to fight old ladies for. That is definitely not the case. I have found some awesome treasures and deals at antique stores over the years, and I have fun hunting through all the random stuff they have. I took all of these pictures at Out of the Past, on Burnet here in Austin.
I just randomly found this guy sitting there like that:
I totally wanted this, but it was a bit out of my price range. Gorgeous though, right?
I love Dia de los Muertos stuff!
You can see why Hubby and I like this place:
At this particular store, you are possibly taking your life in your hands. There is crap piled everywhere, and nothing has a price on it. I hate asking for prices on every little thing I’m interested in. Overall, the place is worth at least one trip. Most antique shops are WAY more organized than this, and most even have everything priced.
The advice I would give is don’t buy something just because you think it might be valuable. If you aren’t an antique dealer, the odds of you selling it for what it’s “worth” is kind of low. I only ever buy stuff I really love and can easily afford.
Road trips are a tradition in my family and across the nation. As I was slogging through the first 15 minutes of my 6 hour road trip this weekend, I thought about all the preparations that go into it, and the cleverest way to get ready.
1) Check your vehicle. Got a crappy vehicle? Consider renting something for the weekend, rather than risk getting stranded in the middle of nowhere. Weekend rentals are much cheaper than I would have thought, and can be a viable alternative. Taking your own vehicle? Make sure to check the following: get your oil changed if you’re anywhere close to the 3,000 mile mark, fill up the gas tank, and check out your tires. You need to make sure they have enough air, and look good, meaning have enough tread and no nails or bald spots.
2) Think about where you’re going. Will you possibly encounter snow, salt water, sand, hurricanes, deserts? What type of emergency stuff do you need in the car? A box of baking soda is always good, because you can use it for everything from putting out fires, to brushing your teeth, and even throw it on your engine if your battery explodes acid everywhere. In case of snow bring kitty litter. You can put it under the tires to get traction if you get stuck. In case of sand, bring a small shovel to dig yourself out, and possibly a board or rocks for traction (or just don’t drive in loose soil. I’m looking at you, MOM). In case of salt water or deserts bring a gallon or 2 of water. Rinse the salt water off your car before it damages anything, and use it in case your engine overheats or to stave off dehydration.
3) Know where you’re going. Even if you have some kind of GPS, do not trust it! Mine took me through the back of beyond this weekend, adding an extra 30 minutes of butt-numbness to my trip. Have a map with you in case of emergencies (yes, a paper map), and check out your route on Mapquest or something before you go.
4) De-clutter. Get as much extra crap out of your car as possible. The more you’re hauling around the more gas you’ll use. Packing light also fits in this category. Keep in mind that there may be laundry facilities, if you’re going to stay with friends or family for example, so maybe you can live with only 2 pairs of pants, instead of 17.
5) Stock up. Make sure you have cash (just in case), your insurance info, snacks, drinks, your emergency supplies, and CDs or books on tape, or whatever entertainment you plan for yourself. Always bring more than you think you’ll need, in case one CD is busted, or one of the books on tape is boring. I usually keep a stack of napkins or paper towels in the car also. You never know when you’ll sneeze, spill coffee in your lap, or have nowhere to pee but a bush. I also keep hand sanitizer in my car for various events. I’ve used it for deodorant in an emergency.
6) Things I do to prepare: I make sure the washer fluid is full, and I have a mini-squeegee in the car. Nothing is sadder than driving with a dead butterfly flapping on the windshield for 800 miles. I go to the grocery store and buy a variety of snacks and drinks so I won’t be tempted to buy bad and expensive stuff at gas stations along the way. I keep a sweater in the car all the time, because I get cold easily. I have prepaid roadside assistance on my insurance (only $5 per month) so that I don’t have to worry if my car breaks down. I also make sure my cell is fully charged so I don’t have to walk to find a phone.
7) Organize. Set everything up in the car so that you know where it is. Put snacks and entertainment where you can easily reach them, and pillows and things far away where you don’t need them and they won’t get in your way.
I know there are some people that have never taken a road trip, and I think it is absolutely something everyone should do once. It is so much fun, and a great time to practice for your karaoke. Yay, bucket list!
As you loyal minions know, I went on a massive road trip this weekend for my sister Bean’s graduation. In Texas, almost all road trips are massive by other state’s standards, but this was 6 hours each way. I listened to every CD in the car to the point of nausea, all within the first hour and a half. A few of the songs got me thinking about karaoke, and how some people are scared of even trying it!
Karaoke is a lot of fun, and I didn’t become a convert until I tried once myself. I have some advice on how to get started, and how to prepare so you can relieve the pre-show jitters.
1) Pick a couple of songs ahead of time. If you pick something that was a fairly big hit in the 1980’s there’s a pretty good chance the bar will have it in their song list. Having a couple choices is the best way to ensure you’ll feel confident enough to sing something.
2) Listen to the songs ahead of time. I know this seems ridiculous, but there are lots of songs I could have sworn I knew well enough to sing, but it turns out there are whole verses I had totally forgotten were in the song. “Head Over Heels” by Tears for Fears is a perfect example of this. Listen to the song ahead of time to assess how well you really know it.
3) Learn the song. Burn your prospective songs to a CD, or load them on your mp3 player so you can really learn the lyrics. Yes the bar will have a large screen with the lyrics on it, but I still feel more comfortable when I can sing a song with my eyes closed. Road trips are the perfect time to practice and test yourself. Don’t sing with your eyes closed when driving, however, at least not near where I live.
4) Test yourself. I prefer to sing in the car, alone. Test yourself by turning the music down really low, and singing really loud. This will give you an idea how in tune you are, and how well you know the song.
5) Find a place. In Austin, I prefer The Common Interest karaoke bar. You may not have a dedicated karaoke bar near you, but many bars have karaoke night where they bring in equipment. You may be able to get a list of the songs available from their website before you go.
I prefer going on nights when the bar is really busy. This may seem counterintuitive, but the more people are there, the less they pay attention to you singing. It also means that it will take longer for your turn to come up, which can be either good or bad.
Otherwise, just go out and have fun! This is not part of my quest to become more interesting, because this is no longer stepping out of my comfort zone, but I think everyone should try it at least once. Consider it part of your bucket list.