Thursday, January 31, 2013

Super Bowl Eats

Super Bowl XLVII is this Sunday, and since Civic Center Plaza isn't having a public viewing, I'll be enjoying the game from the comfort of my couch.  While I'm not as big of a football fan as I am baseball, I have many fond memories of past Super Bowls celebrated with friends, parties, and 49er Championships!  This year will probably just be a small gathering with my folks and boyfriend, which is fine because I haven't planned what to eat just yet!

Food is probably my favorite part of the entire Super Bowl experience, besting the game itself and even the commercials!  I love finger food, and this is the one day out of the year I allow myself to eat it the entire day.

Here's a rough menu of what I'll probably have this Sunday:
-Spinach dip with sourdough bread and/or tortilla chips
-Vegetables with ranch dip
-Cheese fondue
-Things to dip in cheese fondue like chicken apple sausage, bread, vegetables, fruit
-Chili (possibly this chili recipe) with Fritos and/or tortilla chips
-Chocolate or caramel fondue
-Things to dip in fondue like pound cake and fruit
-Beignets instead of dessert fondue? (if not too difficult)
-Beer, wine, root beer, water
-Extra food my parents buy

For the Super Bowl, I'm all for food that is easy to prepare, can be prepared in advance, and is ready to eat without a lot of reheating.  Looking at this list is making me hungry already!


Sunday, January 27, 2013

2013 Cosplays: Star Trek TOS Uniform Shopping List

Today, I spent an excess amount of time researching uniforms from season one of Star Trek: The Original Series.  After reading posts on The Starfleet 1701st and Star Trek Uniforms and Costumes I've come up with a rough shopping list:

-Fabric: Craft velour from CR's Crafts (in Kirk Gold, Trek Teal, or Red) or Xscapes Props.  Currently undecided about which color I want, but I'm leaning towards blue since I work in healthcare.  Depending on my mood, I just might get all three colors!
-Ribbed black fabric for the collar (undecided on where I'll get this). 
-Uniform insignia from Xscapes.
-Rank braids from Xscapes.
-Sewing pattern from Xscapes.
-Tracing paper for sewing pattern.
-Boots from eBay Done!
-Zipper from fabric store.
-Pantyhose I have plenty!
-Sewing lessons so I can actually make this outfit!

This is definitely a much longer list than I anticipated!  It won't be cheap, but at least it'll hopefully be cheaper than getting a uniform commissioned by someone else.  Hopefully my friends are right in that learning how to sew is not that difficult!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Fanime Prep 2013: Pre-registration and Hotel Madness!

Today was the day many Fanime fans have been anticipating for months!  At noon, the Fanime 2013 website went live, and along with it pre-registration and hotel registration.  Here's how it all went down for me:

I happened to be at work today, so I gave my credit card number to my boyfriend and asked him to book a room for me.  As noon approached, I began to becoming increasingly nervous about my chances of getting the room I wanted, so I opened up a browser with an online analog clock.  I entered in the Fanime website address and pressed "enter" as soon as the second hand hit 12:00.

To my horror, absolutely nothing happened.  My boyfriend promptly messaged me, informing me that he could not access the site.  I told him to keep trying and in the meantime continued to refresh my screen while my coworkers weren't looking.

Eight minutes later, I still couldn't get the site to load.  In fact, the 2012 site loaded instead.  I grabbed my cell phone and went to the Fanime facebook page.  To some relief, it looked like many others were having the same issues.  When I refreshed the facebook page several minutes later, I noticed that someone had posted a direct link to the housing website.  I tapped it and it worked!  Unfortunately, I didn't think I could enter my information quickly enough, so I copy/pasted the link to my boyfriend hoping that he would get my message.  When he didn't respond, I typed the website address into my browser and decided to try for a room myself.

By then, all of the hotels adjacent to the convention center were completely sold out, along with the double beds in my preferred hotel.  Fortunately, they still had the room I book every year, so I picked that and started entering my information, using an alternate e-mail address since my boyfriend was already using mine.  Unfortunately, being in a rush I entered in the WRONG E-MAIL ADDRESS.  However, the registration site lets you send a carbon copy of your registration to another person, so I simply entered the correct e-mail address there.  I didn't want to risk going back and losing my room.

After I checked out, I looked at my phone and found out that my boyfriend had successfully booked the same type of room in the same hotel!  At this point, I decided to just take my lunch break before I got written up being on a non-work related website.  In the break room, I went ahead and cancelled my room so as to free it up for someone else.  For fun, I went to see what rooms were left.

By 12:40pm, all the available hotels in the Downtown San Jose area for Thursday-Monday were completely sold out.  As of now (7:30pm), the only Thursday-Monday bookings that are left are at DoubleTree near the airport.  Now, if you plan on spending most of your time at Clockwork Alchemy, this is actually to your benefit.

I really feel that I got lucky this year.  Hotel rooms sell out faster each year, and at this rate I probably won't get my preferred hotel next year!  While the hotel registration went pretty smoothly once the Fanime staff fixed the website problems, the process produced an adrenaline rush I'd rather not experience until I have to do this again in 2014.  If Fanime hotel room registration is like this, I can only imagine what Comic-Con badge registration is going to be like!  Hopefully it'll be on a weekend or else I'll get written up at work for sure!

Fanime badge pre-registration, on the other hand, was a total breeze.  I purchased my badge when I got home from work and had no issues whatsoever.  $50 is such a great deal for a four day convention, plus a few extra hours on Thursday night.

Looks like I'm all set to go to Fanime (minus the cosplays)!  Can't wait 'til May!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

2013 Cosplays: Ideas

One of my favorite things about attending conventions is cosplaying.  This year, my goal is to learn how to sew so I can produce more quality outfits at a (hopefully) cheaper price.  If all else fails, I suppose I could just fork out the money for some commissions.  Fanime is roughly four months away, so I really should get started soon!

So far, my planned outfits are as follows:
-Star Trek: The Original Series officer from season one (undecided on color, but probably Uhura red)
-Something steampunk
-Pinkie Pie from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic

Haven't really come up with any other ideas, as I'm not sure what works for a short girl with black hair.  I'm sure what I have so far will be plenty!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

FanimeCon Prep 2013: Lodging and Registration

According to Fanime's facebook page, convention pre-registration and hotel registration go live this Thursday at noon Pacific Time!  Unfortunately, I have work that day, so hopefully my boyfriend or a friend will be kind enough to help me out!

I'm not too worried about getting a Fanime badge, and will probably purchase between Thursday and when pre-registration ends.  By registering early, you get a discounted rate and a laminated badge with your name on it.  The catch is that (save for special circumstances) you don't get a refund if you can't make the convention.

However, what might cause some mild stress is hotel room registration.  Last year, hotels sold out in around the same time as Comic-Con badges.  Fortunately, my preferred hotel is a little ways away from the San Jose Convention Center, so there were still a number of spots left when I finally got through to the Fanime housing site.  Despite this, I'd never book my hotel any other way as Fanime offers generously discounted rooms for attendees.

If for some unfortunate reason I happen to miss out on a room, I'll probably check the roommate thread on the forums.  It helps that I'll be volunteering this year, so maybe I'll be able to find housing that way.

Best of luck to everyone vying for a room this Thursday!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Comic-Con 2013 Prep: Lodging and Transportation

Comic-Con is still roughly six months away, but when it comes to planning it seems like I've gotten a really late start.  Fortunately, despite a few bumps along the road, I've managed to book a place to stay and a means to get to San Diego.  Here's how it all transpired:

-Lodging: Since I'll be attending the convention by myself, I decided to book a room in a hostel.  I used to narrow down my search, but unfortunately most places in the Gaslamp District were already sold out!  However, when I called each place one by one, I ended up finding a bed in the Gaslamp District for a rate cheaper than that on!  So rule of thumb, always call the hostel itself before booking through a 3rd party site.  This will be my first time staying in a hostel, so hopefully 1) it won't be like the horror movie and 2) I won't be the oldest one there!

-Transportation: I knew from the start that if I decided to go to Comic-Con this year, I would be taking Amtrak to San Diego.  It's cheaper than flying, generally less stressful than flying, and the train station is conveniently located near the San Diego Convention Center.  I purchased my train tickets this week, and to save a few extra dollars, I used my AAA discount and my Amtrak Guest Rewards credit card.

As a potential first-time Comic-Con attendee, I had no idea you had to start planning this early.  If I decide to go again next year, I now know to reserve lodging more than 6 months in advance!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Tentative Travel Plans for 2013

My travel plans for this year are the most ambitious yet!  Thinking about it really encourages me to be more frugal and put in extra hours at work so I can save up a decent fund for hotels, food, cosplaying, and shopping!  Trips I am actively planning include the following:
-San Jose, CA for FanimeCon and Clockwork Alchemy
-San Diego, CA for Comic-Con International
-Las Vegas, NV for Creation Entertainment's Star Trek Convention
-Numerous day trips to places like San Francisco and Napa
-Cruise with the parents

Additional trips I may throw in include:
-Disneyland in Anaheim, CA
-Disneyworld in Orlando, FL
-New York City, New York
-Europe (specifically Great Britain, Germany, France, and Greece)

So far, I have secured the time off from work for my convention trips.  The day trips can easily be done over a weekend or when I'm not scheduled to work.  The Disney theme parks are up in the air due to expensive ticket prices (unless I take my parents and use their military discount) and the fact I was just at Disneyland a few months ago.  If I go to New York and Europe, they will likely be trips taken with my parents since we have never been to either.

Personally, I try not to get too excited about upcoming events because they are always subject to change.  For instance, today I missed a sporting event I was looking forward to due to a stomach bug!  However, I can't help but feel a little excitement looking at my plans for 2013.  It should hopefully be a fun and adventurous year!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Hello and welcome to Traveling Pumpkins! Thank you for stopping by, and hopefully this will be the first of many visits!

 I actually decided to start this blog as part of my New Year's Resolution for 2013, which is to travel a lot more. I'm fortunate enough to have a job that is really flexible and parents who insist that I live at home (though there are definitely tradeoffs to this). Hence, I have the means and the time for some extended travel! This blog will essentially be about my various trips and what I do to plan for them.

When I do travel, I tend of gravitate toward places I've enjoyed in the past and local places of interest. I also enjoy attending science fiction/anime conventions and am planning many of my vacations this year around such events. My preferred method of travel is train, but am working on becoming less scared of flying so I can take to the friendly skies more often!

Enjoy your stay, and if you have any questions you can always comment of e-mail me at! You can also add me on twitter @TPumpkins. If you're not sure why I named my blog "Traveling Pumpkins", then you'll just have to get to know me and find out!

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