Sunday, August 4, 2013

Salt City Steampunk Convention

My good friend, Allen, texted me about a month ago and asked me if I could help him make a steampunk costume. If you want to know what steampunk is, go google it. Wikipedia actually has a great description, or just look at the google image search.
Anyway, I love making costumes for Allen, because he is always excited about projects that I do for him! I made a great Dr. Frankenstein costume for him once when he was in a play where they made the actors get their own costumes (Ugh. Never okay.) And he was so enthusiastic and excited. It makes me want to sew for him all the time! Anyways, I didn't really have time, but I wanted to do it so bad, I moved some dates around so I could do it. But as I finished the costume, I wanted to go with him SO BAD! So I made myself a corset the night before so I could go with him and we had a blast! We've already started planning next year! And we have some AMAZING ideas that are going to kick butt! Allen is even hoping to do a panel, in which I'll be his assistant.  But I was SO proud of how his costume turned out!

Photos taken by Vladimir Chopine

 That is not a wig. That is my hair.

Please ignore my messy Sewing room. It's kind of a disaster right now. 

Full shot without the jacket

Vest up-close and Vest back. I wish you could see the detail. And it was all in black, keeping it sleek and keeping all the details very very subtle. I loved it.

Full shot with a messy sewing room. :(            Up close of the jacket

With his jewelers loop.

Allen and I at the convention          I did my hair all saloon-girl

Ran into my good friend, Angie!

Other players at the Convention

His costumes were fantastic every single day.

Day 2 We went a little more traditional, also, they were walking by with that background as we took a pic. coincidence.

I made this costume in high school with a historical pattern. I got SO many compliments and so many pictures taken! I was in historically accurate underwear and everything. A woah. That corset was fine as long as I didn't sit for too long, then it kind of dug into my kidneys. But I wouldn't have fit back into that dress without the corset. 

It was a blast. I am way excited for next year and I want to be more involved. I love theater, I love doing costumes, but I absolutely love conventions and Renn Faires. Seriously. They are SO much fun. 

Friday, July 5, 2013

"Clean Eating"

Yesterday was the fourth of July! Happy Birthday 'Murica! Which is my favorite holiday in the whole entire world. I'll have to write a post on that another time. But today is about the realization I had yesterday that has nothing to do with the birthday of America, but my own body.

Almost three weeks ago I joined Crossfit.  When I joined, I started eating clean according to our box's "Eat to Compete" challenge. It wasn't really hard. As long as I kept working out, it was easy to keep eating healthy, and vice versa. For example. Anytime I wanted to "cheat" and eat something not on the plan I just thought of how many burpees that was worth and it usually kept me from straying. Haha. (Burpees are not my favorite.)

I told myself on the fourth of July I could have a rootbeer float and a hamburger with the fixins. And I did. I also had a handful of M&Ms that my dad offered while I was watching Independence Day. The M&Ms about threw me into sugar shock. I couldn't believe that after two and a half weeks of clean eating, and only having fructose as a form of sugar, a handful of M&Ms made me feel so...blech. I did have the hamburger and the rootbeer float. And again, the root beer float was SO SUGARY, (But that Hamburger was incredible and I savored every bite. :)
This morning, getting back to the eating challenge hasn't even been a problem. I KNOW! I HAD A CHEAT DAY AND IT DIDN'T TURN INTO A CHEAT WEEK!

I'm just amazed at what we're willing to put into our bodies. I can't believe I used to drink Mountain Dew and Diet Coke by the gallon. I can't believe I used to eat as much sugar and unhealthy carbs as I used to. No wonder I felt the way I did. 
So in three weeks of Crossfit (almost every day) and adhering to the eating challenge, here are the changes I have seen:
1- No Migraines. (I usually got one to two a week, and more during my period. I haven't had one.)
2- A better ability to control my blood sugar levels (This helped with the Migraines.)
3- I have lost 10 pounds, two inches around my waist, an inch around my hips, and an inch from each thigh.
4- More energy.
5- Better recognition of when my body is "satisfied" so that I don't over eat and make myself sick.
6- Every day tasks have started getting easier, my body moves easier, bends over easier, lifts easier, etc.
7- I CAN TOUCH MY TOES WITH MY LEGS STRAIGHT! (You don't even understand how happy this makes me.)
8- My muscles are repairing and building faster, resulting in me not staying as sore as long after workouts.
9- My emotional/mental state is absolutely more positive, happier, and goal oriented. <--big div="" one="">
10- More creative ways to prepare food that fits into the parameters of eating challenge.

I've made friends with some of the people at the Box and I love them. I usually attend the women's class, because the women are incredible and absolutely inspiring. One of the women I adore is Shelly. She did the eating challenge and did the WODs for two months and won the challenge.

Before and After

I love that woman! I try to stand near her during WODs, because she pushes and inspires me!
Seeing her success has pushed me to keep working at what I'm doing, keep eating clean, and keep WODing it up, because I can feel myself getting stronger. And it just feels SO GOOD.
"Randy" for time: 75 Power Snatches at 55 lbs
My time was 6:53

That's a nervous smile as in: I'm not sure how I'm going to finish this WOD, because 75 is a lot more than I thought it would be.

Monday, July 1, 2013

I am so Lucky!

I don't think people understand how amazing my sisters are.

I'm not kidding. They are my favorite people in the entire world. They love me unconditionally and I feel the same way towards them. I love being with one of them or two of them or three of them or all of them. Doesn't matter how many of us there are together or in what combination, we have the best time. We never fight. We never have drama. Even when one of us accidentally dumps the cake the other one had been working on for hours on the ground. We just feel sad, then we laugh, then we move on. 

My mom was one of five sisters as well. And we grew up watching them have the same kind of relationship. There's no other people in the world that I love more and would rather be with and never get sick of being with. We love each other's kids as if they were our own. Our love for each other is almost more than we can contain in our bodies. And together we are absolutely and utterly unstoppable. 
I wish I had the words to tell you how amazing my sisters are, but I don't, because there are no words. 
Just trust me when I say, I am the luckiest person in the world. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Cheat Days and Rest Days

I don't do cheat days.
I'm not saying there's anything wrong with cheat days. I'm just saying I don't do them.
My cheat day becomes cheat days. My cheat days turn into Cheat weeks. Next thing I know I'm spending a whole day in bed watching Hugh Grant movies eating my weight in European Chocolate and Hot Pockets (Which I don't even like anyway.)
So I don't do cheat days.

When it comes to exercising, I don't like rest days. 
Now this isn't necessarily a good thing. After a few days of really hard workouts, it's really good to take a day to recover. But I hate it. I get agitated and bored and anxious. Last week with CrossFit I went every single day and then took a break on Sunday. I don't know what happened, but when Monday rolled around, I could NOT get myself to go to the box. And I started to get anxiety. All day I had a conversation with myself that went something like this:
"Just get up and go to the box. You'll feel better after you do a WOD."
"I know."
"Well then what's the problem."
"I don't know. I just..."
"You just what?"
"Don't want to go today."
"You're losing interest already!?"
"Typical you would give up so easily. Especially after telling everyone that it changed your life. You might as well go eat some HobNobs."
"Don't be silly. WAIT. We still have HobNobs?"
"Yeah, I think so. Back of the pantry. Do you want some?"
"Sigh. No. It's not worth the burpees I'll have to do to work them off."
"So are you going to go to the Box?"
I didn't go. And it really upset me. I mean, I was really disappointed in myself. Only because I was worried that I had already given up. So I promised myself I'd go Tuesday.
So I woke up and as I've developed the habit, looked up the WOD on the website. 
It was the Filthy Fifties. NOOOOOO! 
"I should have gone yesterday so I could skip today!"
"You can always skip again. Nobody will know."
"Shut up, Brain."
Now for you who don't know what the Filthy Fifties are, they are one of the crossfit WODs that is known by all Crossfit Boxes. And it kicks your butt.
50 Box jump, 24 inch box
50 Jumping pull-ups
50 Kettlebell swings, 1 pood
Walking Lunge, 50 steps
50 Knees to elbows
50 Push press, 45 pounds
50 Back extensions
50 Wall ball shots, 20 pound ball
50 Burpees
50 Double undersLook it up on Youtube. It's intense.
I seriously had to psyche myself up all day to go. I knew it was going to be hard. I saw something about Cross Fit once that "If you're not scared of your workout, it's not hard enough for you."
So I went to Crossfit and did the filthy fifty.
And it was quite possibly the hardest thing I have ever done. No joke. I didn't think I could do it. I got to the point where I just stood there and thought: I physically can't do anything more. I had done my stupid 50 burpees (and wanted to die) and I just couldn't do my push press or my Jumping Pull ups. (I did mine a little out of order.) And then I remembered something my brother-in-law said about difficult WODs that kicked something into gear for me. 
"One rep at a time."
Somehow, something kicked in and I finished those last two sets. And you know what else? I cried the entire time. (I'm laughing right now realizing how ridiculous I must have looked.) But it was like after last week's fire and excitement had worn off, all this emotion I had been welling up for months just came out at that moment and I just cried! And I cried all the way home.  
And this morning, Tuesday, I was back to killing my WOD and pushing myself to limits I didn't know I was capable of reaching.
Post my filthy fifties

So next time you're having a bad day, or a negative day, have it. Then the next day, take that negativity and use it to fuel whatever you're trying to accomplish. I need to remember that. And I need to learn how to let my rest days not be a stumble in my momentum. But I'm fine without cheat days.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

How this week, and Crossfit, have changed my life.

It's been a long time since I consistently blogged. I like blogging, but this last school year was more intense than you could possibly believe. My mom is amazed at how much time I spend on campus and keeps saying with the time I'm putting in, I should have been a med student, not a theater student. I reply that I like to cut fabric, not people. :)

I have had one of the most remarkable weeks of my life. 

Let me explain. (And I can never do so quickly.)

Now I don' talk about this much with those not close to me, but before Germany I was in a really bad relationship. I'm not going to go into much detail about why, but I will simply say, I was stupid and not in love, but I was obsessed and devoted and because of that and they way he responded and used that, I came out broken. Ran to Germany to get away. (Life lesson learned: you can't run away from your problems even if you run away to another continent.) 

I broke even more. 

The situation I was in when I Au Paired in Germany was just a bad situation. Again, there is too much to go into. 
But I didn't just come out even more broken (which I didn't know was possible) I came out with a severe depression. (Life lesson learned: depression is a real thing and not as easy to escape as people think) 
I once heard someone say that by the time I had been through the ringer of the relationship followed immediately by the time in Germany (almost two year span of time) I came home a hollow shell of someone who had been Mandee. No more light, no more life, just someone who had spent the last part of her life trying to emotionally survive day to day. 

Before Germany I had (I think) healthily (is that a word?) gotten my weight down to 135. I had never weighed that little since Junior High. I'm just a stocky girl. I am. I am very bottom heavy, and fighting weight gain has always been a a know what? No. It has been a full out spartan war for my adult life. People are usually shocked at how much I weigh and tell my i carry my weight well. But emotionally I don't. My sisters are all beautiful small girls, and I'm the tall, big, clumsy elephantine sister in the china shop. Ha. Or at least that's how I've felt. So when I got down to 135, I felt and looked good. 
In the six months I was in Germany, I gained 30 pounds. (Bratwurst, Pommes Frites, Gelato, European cheeses, etc plus depression plus no exercise equals weight gain which equals more depression.)
I came home from Germany, like I said, a hollow shell. 
My sister's husband got interested in Cross Fit about the time I moved home from Germany, and I thought the people in the videos he showed me were insane. But it was cool they could do that. 
Over the next four years I struggled with my weight. I tried so many things. I tried weight watchers (which only kind of helped me. And just for a little while) and I tried different workouts and running and what felt like starving myself and I just couldn't do it. My weight went up and down and up and down and so did my confidence. My depression didn't last much past coming home from Germany. Being home with my family and getting back into theater really helped. But I resolved that I was never going to be the person I was when I got home from India, before I started dating "him," and Germany. 

Fast forward to summer 2010. 
I studied in London. It was the happiest I'd been in 2 years. I felt my potential. I had a target, to get my bachelor's and get into Grad School in London. 
It has been my "dream" since I got home. This last school year was harder than you could possibly imagine. I don't think people in the world understand how demanding it is to a-) be a college theater student. And b-) be a theater design student. 
Let's out it this way: I usually left for school around 8. I got home around 1. In the morning. Sometimes not till 4. And sometimes I didn't come home. (Dressing rooms have showers). And when I say I usually did this, I mean 98% of my semester was this way. I spent the hours I was home catching a little sleep and mostly trying to get homework done. Saturdays were spent at the costume shop. Sundays were for homework, which I am against, because religiously for me, I believe in keeping the sabbath day holy which for me means no homework, work, working out, etc. 

Recently I weighed myself and I was 2 pounds away from a weight I swore I would never reach. I was up to 198. I never in my entire life had reached that weight. 

I can't express the emotional turmoil of being overweight. Some of you understand how I feel, others of you don't. That's just how it is. I watched a friend of mine (Jackson Carter) battle his weight on this last season of Biggest Loser and felt inspired, and I tried and failed again. I'd tried everything. Or it felt that way. 

The problem was more than the way I looked, which WAS one of the reasons I was so unhappy. But it was more than that. I felt bad. I felt weak and unfit and unhealthy. I didn't fit in most of my clothes. This summer was supposed to be about getting my life in order. And I was doing a piss poor job at it. (My mom won't like that I used piss poor, sorry mom.) The last school year had knocked me so out of whack, I just...couldn't get back into gear. I just felt like every time I tried to get back on top, life was a big bully and pushed me back to the ground.

My cousin, Erica, and her husband, Aaron, recently opened with a friend, a new cross fit box. (Http:// 
They kept asking me to join but all I knew was cross fit was for crazies who liked pull ups and heavy things. Like my brother in law and my sister. Don't get me wrong, my sister and her husband looked AMAHZING, but they were crazy. :) but I was still intrigued and I still wanted to try it. Erica and Aaron asked me to join their box and I just didn't have the money. 

So I continued to try to get my life in order. And I continued to gain weight and to fail. 

I sang at a benefit for my cousin's little boy who is battling leukemia last week. (Reiss Timothy, if you google him you can find his blog) I had nothing to wear. Rather trivial when your cousin's family is facing cancer, but also doesn't change the fact that I had nothing to wear, because all my "nice clothes" just did not fit. 
I discussed this with my mother in tears. Embarrassed about who I'd become and the only way I could cope with it was to become apathetic towards myself and have no goals and motivation. I was numb.

On the 3 hour drive home from the benefit, my sister and her husband talked to my parents about Crossfit and what it had done for them and what it was. (I drove separate with my pianist). Something clicked in my mom. She saw how inspired Celena and Kevin had become, what changes they had made to their lives and how healthy and fit they were living. And she remembered my tears and words and self loathing from the day before. 
My mom sat me down the next day (a week ago) and told me about what Celena and Kevin had said. 
It came down to this: she wanted me to try crossfit. 
So I did. Monday morning I woke up and went to the block. Aaron and Erica were so excited to see me. I had showed up for the women's class and it kicked my butt. But it pushed me. And there was or major thing. 
I didn't quit. 
And it felt amazing. 

This week has been the most amazing week I can ever remember. I have done our box's WODs every day. I have been sore, I have been tired, and I've been pushed to my max at times. But there are a few things that have also happened. 
I haven't wanted to quit. And I haven't. 
I have accomplished things I didn't know I was capable of. 
I haven't focused on my weight at all. 
And I feel amazing. 
I have followed an healthy eating regimen all week, and it hasn't been hard at all. Because it helps me improve on my crossfit. Seriously. I haven't had sugar, dairy, or wheat in a week and I feel so good. 
I wish I could express to you how much crossfit has done for me in a week, but I can't. But I will tell you this:
My sister Celena was visiting and she went with me this morning. (I wasn't going to go this morning, I wanted to rest) but I thought it would be fun to WOD with my sister so I went. 
We had a blast. 
It was a partner WOD and we tore it up!!! We couldn't let the teenage boys beat us, so we pushed ourselves and even went farther and did more, and still had the best time. (I couldn't have finished the run if she hadn't been there to push me.) 
Afterwards at home we were talking an she just looked at me and hugged me and said, "It feels so good to have my sister back." She commented that I haven't been me since Germany and the stuff before that. And I didn't realize it, and I can't explain it, people. But this week has changed my life.
I've heard so many knock cross fit and call it stupid and herd mentality and a joke and it doesn't work and it's a bunch of meatheads etc. etc. etc. 
Okay. First of all, it does work. Trust me.
Second of all: I don't know what your experience is, but I do know what mine is. It has given me my light and my life back. It has brought something back in me that has been missing for a long time. I finally feel like me again. 
And I'm determined to keep it and I'm determined to share it with people. Because even if this inspires one person out there to find what I found, then mission accomplished.  

If a week ago you told me I could squat 150 lbs, I would have laughed in your face. Heck if you had told me 10 minutes before this pic was taken I'd be doing that much I would have laughed at you. 

Sisters getting it done
Can't stop sister power

Finished strong thanks to Celena

We may look happy, but at that moment I wanted to puke, pee my pants, and then die, but feeling incredibly accomplished. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Just an update

I've been super duper busy for months and months. Here's just an update of what I've done:

Worked on Costumes for "Charm" at Weber State University. I didn't design, but I was a stitcher. I made that fantastic Dress.

Designing Hair and Makeup for Weber State University's Production of Lucky Stiff

Bonding with Coworkers

Making AWESOME tardis bags for Work Christmas Party

Flew to Cali to hang with sister and nieces

San Francisco

Big family christmas in Cambria, California

Walking on the beach, Christmas Eve

Picnic at Hearst Beach

Christmas with the whole fam damily

Morrow Bay

Got snowed in, had my first snow day ever

Made dresses for my niece's American Girl Dolls

Worked on Costumes for Will Roger's Follies, including making 8 pairs of chaps from scratch. I never want to make chaps again. They were the bane of my existence.

Travelled to Cali for KCACTF (This is us at Getty Vila)

Entered my makeup and hair designs into KCACTF competition
I did not win anything, unfortunately. But next year? I'm going to kick trash.