Sunday, August 16, 2015

The D23 Expo in Anaheim!

Hey everyone! We're out of town right now and we've just done something pretty cool that I'm so excited to share with you all. 

Just before Patrick and I have our big move, we had a trip booked months and months in advance to attend the D23 Expo in Anaheim! For those who don't know, D23 is a Disney membership fan club. You pay annual dues and for that members get extra perks such as discounted tickets to the Expo, exclusive merchandise in the parks and online, sneak peaks of things coming up, a monthly newsletter, etc. 

This year, we decided to go to the D23 Expo! The Expo runs from Friday through Sunday and has all sorts of stuff: cosplayers (basically regular people like you and me who either purchase or make their own costumes for things such as conventions and dress as characters and sometimes invent original characters and outfits), exclusive D23 merchandise, panels with actors and actresses from current shows that you can view, exclusive sneak peak trailers, small museum-esque exhibits, entire displays where you can see what is coming out in the next few months/years, artist booths, antique and collectors items vendors, Disney merchandise mini "stores", photo-ops with actors and actresses, mini concerts, celebrity appearances, and more! 

While I was more interested in being comfortable than fashionable (such is my life), Patrick decided that this year he wanted to go as Anger from Inside Out (very fitting, isn't it?), which required painting his face and arms red. We got ready, walked to the convention center, arrived around 9:30am, and waited in line until around 10:00am. It was a horrible, agonizing 30 minutes in the sun-- by the time we got in, my hands were so swollen from the heat and standing still that I could not get my wedding ring off for almost three hours, and at its worst point, my finger was turning red and I was moments away from a panic attack all morning because I was afraid I'd have to have my ring cut off. Thankfully once we got inside it was very cool and we were able to walk around and re-distribute the fluid in our bodies so I didn't have to have my ring or my finger cut off (but I did need a band aid for a blister on my heel at one point)!

We made the decision months ago when we bought our tickets that we would only go on Saturday, which we are glad we did since this was our first convention. The Expo was enormous! It took us three separate "trips" (with breaks for resting and food in between) to get through the entire convention.

Anger from Inside Out
(Isn't that a nice tie? I added the red triangles on that tie at 10pm with craft paint, a pen, a brochure, and a makeup brush)

You can see my Marvel Comics backpack (which I bought at Wal Mart) here which I brought to go with my Iron Man dress (which I bought in Disneyland). 

The cast of Girl Meets World! Patrick mostly took photos of Ben Savage for me (I was too short to take the pictures above the crowd) because I'm more of a BMW fan than a GMW fan, simply because I am currently re-watching BMW so that I can begin watching GMW, so I don't know the newer characters as well.

Christy Carlson Romano (Ren from Even Stevens). At the table next to her we also saw Sean Astin (Mikey from The Goonies, Samwise Gamgee from Lord of the Rings, etc). I desperately wanted to meet him but the line was hours long so I shuffled away with a little bit of sadness (The Goonies is one of my two favorite movies and I actually have a LOTR tattoo, obviously because I also love those movies so much).

The highlight of my day-- I got to meet Richard, aka Aurora, a cross playing cosplayer, freelance makeup artist, and costume designer that I follow on Tumblr! I was so excited about this-- I love meeting Tumblr users in real life, as you can see from this post where I met Tim! When I saw that Richard was going to be there, I definitely had my eye out, and thankfully we got to meet him! 


Disgust (Victoria), Sadness (Bobbie), and Anger (Patrick). I considered going as Bing Bong but I didn't have enough time to get the costume together by the time I had the idea to do it-- maybe next year!

The merchandise we bought! I'm a little bit in love with the purse (it's made of seat belts and the colored bits are prints of vintage Disneyland ride tickets)

Anger picking Yoda's nose.

We loved this Crock Pot, but it isn't in production yet! The creators of it are trying to get Pixar and Crock Pot to collaborate and release this item. If you love is as much as Patrick and I do, use the hashtags #Pixar and #CrockPot (separate tags) together on the same post on any public social media on the internet so the companies see it and know that there are people interested in purchasing it!

Cinderella's Lego Slipper

That's my secret... I'm always angry. 
Going off on a little bit of a tangent here, I just want to express how frustrating it is to be a female who loves The Hulk. Every single item that I own with JUST Hulk on it is a men's item because almost every single women's item with The Hulk on it doesn't even really have The Hulk-- they all have She-Hulk. Any women's items with The Incredible Hulk on them that I've found either feature all of the Avengers or are online where I can't try them on! It is the most frustrating thing! The Hulk is my favorite Marvel character (and favorite super hero, for that matter) and it breaks my heart that-- even though I love my cozy, oversized men's t shirts-- I can't have anything with my favorite character on it simply because The Hulk isn't "for girls"... but She-Hulk is. 

Anger, too, is always angry.

Wreck It Ralph!

An actual playable Fix It Felix arcade game

Winning Fix It Felix

One of the most unique and hilarious cosplays we saw all day, a tour guide and a tourist on The Jungle Cruise (complete with boat on wheels!)

Lego Buzz Lightyear!

Lego Woody!

Who's your friend who likes to play?
This is one of the clay figures that they used to animate Bing Bong from Inside Out (probably my favorite Disney character aside from The Hulk, who I put in a completely separate category because he is Marvel before he is Disney)

A Pizza Planet truck! I always wish that they would put an actual Pizza Planet arcade/pizza place in Disneyland.

There was a huge wall with all of the D23 Gold and Silver members names' printed on it (in alphabetical order, thankfully), so we took a photo of Patrick's.

Though there is a lot that I didn't highlight because I simply didn't find it relevant to me, Patrick feels that I should include that there other cool things there such as signings with Dick Van Dyke and Ed Asner. There were also announcements during the convention that gave us new information. For example, parts of Tomorrowland are going to be re-done with a Star Wars theme and they let us know that Orlando Bloom will be in the fifth Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Ellen Degeneres also made an appearance after we had already left, showcasing the long-awaited Finding Dory movie. 

The D23 Expo was so amazing and we saw so much cool stuff that we could otherwise never have seen anywhere else. We look forward to doing it again in the future (hopefully with more comfortable shoes this time!). We spent Friday in Disneyland since it will be my last time going for a while since we are moving out of state, we spent Saturday at the Expo, and Sunday will be spent in Downtown Disney for leisurely shopping and probably lunch. Afterwards, we will be heading to Pasadena (about a 40-45 minute drive from Anaheim) until Thursday while Patrick is working with a client. It will be nice to spend some time in a place that isn't packed to the ceiling with boxes and I'm enjoying our trip so far and expect that some quiet time away from home next week will do us good (even if it is for work).

As a side note, today was the first annual Gasser Family Reunion which I had to miss because we had already planned this trip! My grandfather had me send "flat selves" of Patrick and I to Michigan so that we could "attend" the reunion.

Flat Brook and Flat Patrick before they were mailed off to Michigan!
(The characters are my own design, which I printed, colored, and pasted to manila folders for stabilization)

Here we are with my sisters
Photo courtesy of Gerry Gasser

I'm sorry to say that we missed it even though we had fun here in Anaheim. I hope to be able to attend next year! 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Smell Ya Later!

Hey guys!

Last night was our going away party and of course I want to document it and share it with you all!

Patrick and I have a lot of travelling to do this month (first we will be headed to the D23 convention in Anaheim and from there we go straight to Pasadena because Patrick will be working at a client in that area all week. When we get home, Patrick has just two days before he's off to New Jersey, where he will stay for nearly two weeks. When he gets home, we will have just two days to get everything finalized before we leave for Oregon) so we decided to have our going away party on a day and at a place that it seemed everyone could attend.

So not unlike most other get-togethers that we go to, we ended up at Cameron's Pub in Half Moon Bay (side note: did you know that Daniel Radcliffe was there just a few weeks ago rapping an Eminem song on karaoke night?). The party was a complete success and almost everyone we love and invited was able to make it! At a grand total count, Patrick determined that besides the two of us, 39 people showed up to say goodbye! It was incredible and we are so, so grateful that we were able to see so many of our loved ones before we left. We had people who were moving house all day, people who were moving house all day and leaving to move down state today, people who had worked all day, people who had just flown in yesterday, people who drove over an hour just to get there, people who had spent the entire day in the car driving up state, people who were in town from a different country, and people who I had never ever seen show up at Cameron's Pub for a Bawdy Caste related party.

We had an amazing time and we are both paying for it today with exhaustion, nausea, and a headache, but we wouldn't have traded that time for anything. We left with multiple gifts including a bottle of Polish vodka, a bottle of champagne, a beautiful flower arrangement, a cheesecake, a pie, and obviously very full hearts, all of which we are so, so thankful for.

Without further ado, allow me to insert a bunch of photos from the party.

Our beautiful and very sentimental cake
Photo courtesy of Shannon Wilke

James & Nate

James with the tequila and shot glass that we brought him and Nate as a parting gift. They also received a tangerine tree named Fergus the Ficus, which they will be nurturing here in California because we could not take him to some place that gets cold in the winter. 

Jackie, Siobhan, Zach, and Jack (with his brand new light up glasses!)

Fiona and Matt!

Sancho (Blake) and Delfino (Mike)!

The only normal photo that was taken all night. Kris, Delfino, Jack, and Jeb.

Team Brad Team! (minus Matthew)

Patrick with Kitten Mittens (Lisa)

Lena, Jack, and Milly!

Lena, Siobhan, and Jack

A mess. An absolute mess.

So that's it. That's what the last two years of my life have looked like because of these amazing people that I've met and come to love and consider family. Each and every one of them have changed my life and I will miss all of them more than they will ever know. Thank you all so much for coming to send us off and wish us well.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Goodbye California!

Yes, you read that right! Patrick and I are saying goodbye to California and


Many things lead up to this big change, so let me start from the beginning. I will try to keep it as short as possible*.

*Lol I say that every time and look how damn long this ended up being. Oops. 

Why We Moved to Tracy, CA
After our apartment complex in San Mateo, CA wanted to boost our 800 sq. ft. 2 bed/ 1 bath apartment to $2,800/month back in July 2014, we said "hell no!" and moved out to Tracy, CA, about 1-1.5 hours away from San Mateo. We signed a 13 month lease which we quickly forgot about.

Why We Are Moving Out of Tracy
Our apartment here, while beautiful, is full of flaws.

  • The other renters here are not very classy
  • Our apartment walls are so thin that we can hear people snoring through them
  • The management is not given enough power to take care of the things that they see that we experience every day 
  • Tracy is HOT. Neither of us predicted that most of the summer would be between 98-103 degrees F. We knew it would be hot, but not this hot. The temperature makes it nearly impossible for us to go outside during the day and even sometimes at night. 
  • Our electric bill is through the roof because we have had the A/C on intermittently since February and on constantly since about April/May. 
  • We have also found that the city of Tracy and the immediate surrounding areas do not offer enough for us in terms of shopping (we have to drive for 45 minutes to get to an Apple store and other things that we need more often than not). 
  • The drive to the airport is slowly killing us since we have only one car (and we only need one car except for cases where Patrick needs to go to the airport).

Why We Are Moving to Oregon
Initially Patrick and I simply planned on moving out of Tracy and staying out in "The Valley." First we looked in Modesto and found an apartment there we liked, but it was still about the same distance from the airport (or actually a little further). Shortly after, Patrick had a business trip in Sacramento that I was able to go on and we really liked the area, so we set a date and went to check out tons of apartments on that day. The apartment we found ended up being in Roseville, CA, about 20 minutes outside of Sacramento. We chose three apartments, weighted them against one another, and then picked our favorite. When it came time to secure an apartment at the complex we chose, we tried to call them. Three times. We left messages. Patrick was on the road at the time, so I decided to look up the number and call them myself. That was when I saw the reviews. 

Normally I don't put much stock into Yelp! reviews, but when literally hundreds of them (the complex was huge) are saying that there is a lot of crime, many break-ins, and people doing drugs behind/between the buildings, you have to put your hands up and give in. This place was not a place I felt safe moving into and we let our calls go unanswered as we tried to find a new place to live.

Only having a couple of months to find a new apartment, Patrick and I were scrambling. We went into our leasing office to figure some numbers to see how much it would cost us to go month-to-month at our current place until we found a new place. That was when we were reminded that we had a 13 month lease and not a 12 month-- meaning that we had an extra month that we didn't realize we had. 

Patrick and I have always planned on making it up to Oregon at some point. I desperately miss the different types of weather that Michigan had and I hate the heat here. In addition, while I love our friends, the general mindset of most of the people I meet is that they all have to believe in something. I feel like I can't truly be myself or even speak about something that I might feel without someone getting super offended by it. Again, not within our awesome group of friends, but that is how I feel about California as a whole.

Fast forward to the first week of July and we went to Oregon on vacation (one that we planned months and months ago). I immediately loved it-- I cannot express enough how much I loved it and how upset I was when we had to leave. 

While we were there, we set aside a day to go look at apartments since it couldn't hurt and we didn't have a place to move yet. Seven places fit our criteria. Three of them worked well for us. One of them won by a landslide. We just had to wait for an apartment to open up at that complex, or else we would be screwed and living in our current apartment at $2,300/month (to go month-to-month until we found something). 

Thank goodness something opened up. At that point we applied for that unit and waited. After a whole debacle about my delinquent credit history (I've had my identity stolen and I've been working on getting it back), we have finally been approved for that apartment and we will be moving up to Oregon on Labor Day weekend.

Patrick and I could not be more thrilled about this move. We will be saving on rent and cost of living in general and we are thankfully able to accomplish our goal of getting up to Oregon earlier than previously thought. We will be about 25 minutes from the airport, Patrick already has friends up there (who basically did the same thing we did and got the hell out of dodge while they could and sought refuge in a less physically, mentally, and monetarily taxing place). A good friend of ours gave us some fantastic advice once and reminds us of what he said any time we talk about moving. He said "Make sure you're not just running away from something. Make sure you're running to it." That is definitely true of Oregon and while we are definitely running away from Tracy, we are running (as quickly as we can!) back to Oregon where we've both been the happiest that we've been in many months.

We will be having a going away party here and we will obviously keep in touch with our friends. The only downsides are that we are moving away from them (not that we see them all that often in the Valley, anyways, since we are so far) and moving away from Disneyland. We are trying not to think about that too much-- but the true upside of that is that we will be spending less by going to the park less often.

I hope you're as excited as we are! If anyone has any questions or would like to check out our apartment complex, please feel free to shoot me a message-- I would love to share our excitement with you! Also, if you need our new address for anything please let me know!