Friday, May 31, 2013

MonsterCon in Greenville, SC...just two months away!

So several months ago I heard that there was going to be a convention called MonsterCon right here in Greenville, South Carolina. I checked out the website and figured, hey, if anything, it's being held just a few miles from my house, so why wouldn't I go?

Then it came to light that they were looking for someone to help run some Song of Ice & Fire/Game of Thrones programming...and, well, of course I wanted to step up to the plate ;)

Fast forward to now, of course - MonsterCon is taking place July 26-28 at the Hilton Greenville, so there's just under two months to go! I'm definitely excited to meet some of the other locals (or local-ish people...) who will be attending MonsterCon. I'd love to find some other people who live in the area and are interested in conventions, costumes, and generally geeky things like ASOIAF/GoT, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, etc!


Of course there will be panels...and at this time I'll actually be on four of them :) Friday evening I'm handling a Battlestar Galactica panel, and then Saturday we'll have both Song of Ice & Fire books and a Game of Thrones show panels...not to mention a Star Wars panel!

There will be plenty of other activities as well - a costume contest, a sideshow performance, and a few live bands. MonsterCon promises to be a more intimate experience than the other multi-genre cons that I've attended (namely Dragon*Con and MegaCon) and I'm definitely excited to see how it plays out :) Tickets are just $45 per person, so to purchase them or for more information please visit the official MonsterCon website.

Hope to see you there! Pin It

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Writer's Block Wednesday: Link & Video Share :)

It's a bit of a busy week for me - coming back from a long weekend away (which was amazing...) and going into a weekend of work (day job today, tomorrow, Friday; band stuff Thursday, Friday, Saturday...sigh). Therefore, this is just a quick entry about some fun stuff that I've discovered the past few days :)

First - Winter Is Coming posted this article about the Importance of Dorne, and I just love it. So many ASOIAF fans think that Dorne is pointless and that the Martells are boring...of course I personally beg to differ, and this article is just a fun editorial including interviews from other fans who love Dorne :)

Next up, local brewery Thomas Creek shared an article they found about which six beers best represent South Carolina. Now, I love beer...and I love this state...so this one was a must-read for me :) In regards to the six beers that they named...well, personally I think that they should have chosen a different Thomas Creek beer for the list - River Falls Red is okay but definitely not in any way, shape, or form the best of TC's brews. However...YAY for them including RJ Rocker's Son of a Peach! (Though I'm on an RJ Rocker's Impeachment kick lately...) Also, yes, the Pluff Mud Porter from Holy City is AMAZING!

And now, a couple of videos! I found this one on Tumblr, and though it doesn't use my preferred version of "Safety Dance", it is pretty darn awesome as mashups go...



...last but not least, this video is actually of me ;) It was taken about a week and a half ago on one of my nights singing with The Brats down in Anderson, South Carolina. I've been performing with them since late February of this year and I'm *finally* starting to really get into the groove of things with them. Sooo...I hope you enjoy listening to me cover Sugarland's "Just Might Make Me Believe" :)

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Monday, May 27, 2013

Monday Confessions: Holiday weekend edition...




I confess...that this weekend proved to me how old I'm really getting. In bed by midnight every night, up and at 'em by 9 every morning...not because I had to be, but simply because those are "normal" hours for me these days (on weekends, I mean).

I confess...yet again I'm returning from a vacation during which I had basically no cell phone service, and spotty-at-best internet, and yet that made it all the more fun and meant that people weren't constantly checking their phones/texting/hanging on Facebook ;)

I confess...that we almost never eat stuff like burgers and brats except for during parties and vacations like the one we took this weekend, but now I'm just craving both those types of food. (Probably doesn't help that I haven't eaten since breakfast at 9 AM and I'm starving, but hey, whatever...)

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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Sunday Funday: The Memorial Day/Steve's Birthday Weekend Edition

We rarely travel this close to Steve's birthday, because it's May 28th and let's not lie...it's a pain in the butt and/or expensive to travel over Memorial Day.

But this year I surprised him with a trip to Lake Lure for the weekend :) We got a bunch of friends together to make it affordable, we were able to bring the dogs, and here we are having a Sunday Funday!


 This particular Sunday Funday involves beautiful weather, a lake (of course), paddleboarding, swimming, and many, many Bloody Mary's ;)


I got really lucky, because even though I decided to book this vacation kind of "late" (for a holiday weekend, I mean), I was able to rent an amazing lakefront house that sleeps up to eight people.

And now we're off to round out the day with some of Steve's infamous beer can chicken! I have lots of awesome stories from this amazing weekend, and I'm sure I'll post about them soon.......

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Friday, May 24, 2013

Book Review: World War Z by Max Brooks

So to be completely honest, I am shocked and appalled that I didn't discover this book until just recently.

But then, to be completely honest, I wasn't really into the whole zombie thing until pretty recently.

I mean, I enjoyed 28 Days Later and Shaun of the Dead. I caught some of The Walking Dead on AMC, got interested, but then got busy and kind of forgot about it for a while. Of course, I picked up the latter again earlier this year, and then I read the Walking Dead comics/graphic novels, and suddenly I was out looking for any and everything zombie-related that I could get my hands on ;) Sooner or later, I suppose, World War Z was going to be one of those things.

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It's been a while since I found a novel that I simply couldn't put down. No, I mean really, I was picking this book up throughout the day, every chance I got. Shirking my duties at home to read it. Staying up way too late at night to read it. Coming home from a night out with friends (a few drinks back, mind you) and reading it then, too. It's just...amazing.

I think that what really got me is how different it is - an oral history of something that never really happened? How could that possibly work? But Brooks makes it work - and very well, I might add. Though to be honest I'd love to know more about the very beginning of the - for lack of a better term - "zombie takeover", I love how this book does what most other tales of its sort do not. That being, tell what happened when everyone fought back. The rebuilding and retaking aspects, as it were.

Honestly, I really can't say much more without giving away too much of the plot. Needless to say, World War Z is a riveting read. Plus, I mean, Mel Brooks' son wrote it. So there's that.

4.5/5 stars

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Writer's Block Wednesday: I want a "book nook"!

::Sigh:: You know your writer's block is bad when it takes you until 7:45 PM to even come up with a writer's block topic.

That said, I'm not sure how I didn't think of this earlier :)

Recently it came to light that we had some home renovations that needed to be done, well, ASAP. And when we had the contractor come by to look at some things, he put the idea in my head to get rid of our useless "solarium". I call it useless because it doesn't get enough natural light or air to grow plants in there - we've been using it for storage but it's really just a waste of space.

When talking about getting rid of it, we were trying to decide what to do with the little loft area. And then one morning while I was taking my dogs for a run, it came to me - a book nook!

Of course, now I can't get the idea out of my head :) Here is some of my inspiration...

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Of course, the above pictures are just inspiration; my book nook will have to be a combination of the little things that I like about these, because I'm working with a very different type of area - it has windows, but they're a bit higher from the floor than most of the ones pictured...and I think rather than having a built-in seat, I'll go with lots of cushions and/or a bean bag. We'll see! All I know is that I'm dying to have this finished as soon as possible :) Of course...we aren't exactly on top of things when it comes to home renovations (seriously, we never finish anything :-/ ) so...for now I can only dream about my eventual book nook, I suppose. Pin It

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

100 Days 'til Dragon*Con!

Holy crap, I can't believe that Dragon*Con is only 100 days away.

Sounds like a lot of days, doesn't it? I mean, it's still three digits after all!

Unfortunately, it's not so many days when you have several costumes to finish, photoshoots to schedule, meetups to organize...the list goes on and on and on.

Really, first things first I need to figure out when I can wear all of these costumes! There's only so much time in a day, after all, and personally I really can't see doing more than one costume change per day. (Especially considering that most of my costume changes will require hair/makeup changes as well, and on top of that I'll have at least two costumes that take up to 30 minutes - or more - to get into and out of. Seriously, there are times when I wonder why I put myself through all of this...)

On top of that, Steve won't be able to be at Dragon*Con for the entire weekend, so I have to schedule the costumes that we're doing together around him. Those being...

Bonnie McFarlane & John Marston from Red Dead Redemption!
(...I'm silently "squeeing" over how excited I am to be doing this with him...)


And Glinda & Oscar from Oz the Great & Powerful
(Yes, we have friends costuming Theodora & Evanora as well :) )


I'm telling you, making the perfect necklace for my Bonnie costume is going to be an interesting experience...and I don't even want to think about Glinda's crown and wand :-/ I know that I *can* make them, but ya know, time is of the essence. ::sigh::

One costume that will be fairly easy - though I still have to figure out the smaller samurai swords for it - is my costume for the Apocalypse Disney Princesses group. I'm Aurora, and I love her because according to Tess Fowler, the artist who created the Apocalypse Disney Princesses piece, Aurora is the dragon slayer - instead of Prince Phillip - and she's celebrating said dragon slaying with a cigarette and champagne. How fun!

Aurora is in the top row, second from the right

Of course, on top of figuring out what costumes I'll be wearing when - and finishing said costumes - I also have other D*C activities to schedule. I learned so much at the Writer's Workshops that I attended last year, so I know I want to attend some of those this year as well - though I think that I'll have to forego doing so on Saturday of D*C, due to an already busy schedule :-/ Because this year, I have a list of things that I want to accomplish, and just one of them - walking in the parade - will take up all of Saturday morning.

Stay tuned for more D*C updates as we get closer! Hopefully before I post my next update - probably at the two-month mark - I'll have some more costume work done.

Hopefully.

Because honestly, I *really* don't want to be up half the night, every night, finishing my costumes the week before Dragon*Con. Which is what I did last year. Procrastination = bad! ;)
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Monday, May 20, 2013

Monday Confessions




I confess...this weekend I did next to nothing. I mean, that's kind of a lie, because I worked Friday and Saturday nights...but when I wasn't at work, I refused to do anything other than what I wanted to do. It's been a long time - too long - since I've allowed myself to do that...yet go figure, I still feel bad about it ;)

I confess...that next weekend (this coming weekend) can't come fast enough. I have my reasons for feeling this way, but for now I have to keep them to myself ;)

I confess...that after watching Game of Thrones last night and seeing the way that they portrayed Sansa's wedding to Tyrion and the aftermath of that, I seriously considered never watching the show again. The idea is still lurking in the back of my mind. Yes, I am *that* pissed. ::sigh::

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Friday, May 17, 2013

WE SWEAR IT BY ICE AND FIRE: Ice & Fire Con Recap, Part 8

We woke up on Sunday morning of Ice & Fire Con weekend to gloomy skies. However...better Sunday than Friday or Saturday, right? :)

There was one last panel on Sunday morning - a "Beyond the Books" panel in which we discussed everything from the serious theories (who is Azor Ahai, anyhow?) to the not-so-serious (Ned Stark warged into Balerion the Cat!). While some attendees actually headed out a bit early, we still had pretty decent attendance considering the severe lack of sleep that most of us were running on...and considering many of us had long drives home that day. So yes, unfortunately this panel - and the weekend - had to be wrapped up.

After encouraging everyone to fill out our surveys (over half of the attendees did so, which I think is pretty darn good considering I'm totally anti-survey myself, haha) and taking down the last of the mock election posters (I may or may not have absconded with several of them, because they were hilariousss), I finally had time to run down to my cottage and pack up my own things.

Crazy enough, despite not having to bring any of the donations home, and having gotten rid of almost all of the wine glasses, we still had quite a time trying to fit everything back in my car.

(It probably didn't help that by the time we began packing it, the rain was coming down pretty damn hard.)

Finally Matt and I settled in for our long drive back to South Carolina...of course we chatted about how much fun we had...how little sleep we got...and the fact that neither of us had time to consume even half of our daily calorie allotment (by Sunday I seriously felt like I had a hole in my stomach, haha). Matt even read the survey answers to me as I drove ;) Things were going pretty good until we hit the mountains in Virginia, a.k.a. "The Neck"...



I'm not even kidding you, for a good 20 miles or more I couldn't see more than 5-10 feet in front of my car. It was freaky, honestly, and not fun at all.

But obviously - and thankfully - we lived to tell the tale. We rewarded ourselves by listening to some of the Storm of Swords audio book, as we raced home in hopes of making it in time to watch episode 5 of Game of Thrones season 3.

Which we did, by the way...just barely ;)


In conclusion? Ice & Fire Con was one crazy weekend. As an organizer, I was so busy that I didn't get to "relax" very much, but I'm honestly not sure I would have had it any other way. I think that we knew before we even left Ravenwood on April 28th that we would be back again for round two next year - and as of yesterday it is 100% official that Ice & Fire Con 2014 will take place at Ravenwood Castle, May 16-18, 2014! More info to come, so stay tuned :D
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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Book Review: Oberon's Dreams by Aaron Pogue

First things first - I really *wanted* to like this novel. Pirates? Fantasy? Some sort of time travel? It sounded like an interesting premise.


Unfortunately, despite being fairly fast-paced and being built on said interesting premise, Oberon's Dreams simply falls short. The characters were flat and the world building was practically nonexistent. I wouldn't go so far as to say it was predictable; however, it was quite unbelievable. The main character, Corin, didn't seem to have to try at all. For anything. We were constantly reading about how intelligent he was, how talented he was, etc., but he never had to prove those things - everything seemed to simply fall into his lap. Unfortunately, in my opinion - especially when it comes to fantasy novels - this is the worst trap that an author can fall into.

All that said, if you want an easy read that doesn't cause you to become very invested in the characters - which, honestly, can be nice from time to time - you may want to give this book a try. 2.5/5 stars. Pin It

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Writer's Block Wednesday: Dig up her bones, but leave her soul alone...

I've struggled for quite some time with writing this post - or with whether I should even write it at all. This blog is meant to be fun, after all, and this topic is anything but. The long and the short of it is that, like most people out there, I'm not always happy - sometimes I'm the exact opposite of that. Sometimes it's exhausting to wake up every day and put on my "game face", and I think it's important to say this, to admit it, to have it out in the open. I know that for my part, when I've seen other bloggers post about their struggles with depression, it's been eye-opening. It's made them seem more like real people, far more so than most other things that they post.

I can go months without struggling like this - sometimes years. Wake up, put in my contacts, forget about that time I ramped myself up for lasik and it turned out that I wasn't a candidate. Take my dogs for a run and let my mind go blank, just put one foot in front of the other for two or three miles and let the adrenaline flow through me and heal me. Shower, eat breakfast, drive to work, do my job (admittedly, some days better than others), come home, cook dinner, write or read or watch TV or do a combination of those three things. On the weekends, I sleep late, clean my house, go out with friends. I'm really just a completely normal person, when it comes down to it, and I've never really aspired to be anything but.

I'm lucky, I know this. I have a roof over my head, a good job, great pets, wonderful friends, an amazing husband. I'm healthy, and if I'm not always happy with my body or my weight or whatever, I've accepted that this is who I am and how I look. I've more than accepted it - I've embraced it, especially the past few years.

And I can't even say that all of that isn't enough, because it is - yet it doesn't stop me from getting sucked into these funks. I'm probably even lucky that for most of my life, they've been few and far apart - and, in general, situational.

But sometimes it's overwhelming, sometimes it's not just situational, and sometimes I break. I can't run away from it any more. Last summer was one of those times, and now again - these past few weeks - it's felt like wave after wave is crashing into me...and far too often I feel like I'm drowning.

You'd never know it to look at me, I'm sure. This is one of the few photos of me taken during the height of my depression last year.


The thing is, if there's one thing I've learned in my 30+ years on this Earth, it's not to take anything - especially myself - too seriously.

Unfortunately, even that fails me sometimes, and now is one of those times. Seriously, taking care of oneself can be tiresome, and right now...I've been bled dry.

Don't get me wrong - I'll be okay. One way or another, I always am. The biggest issue is that I hate admitting that I battle with this. I hate admitting that I'm vulnerable. I hate, hate, hate with a fucking passion excuse my language, being emotional. At all. When I'm more me, I can listen to my loved ones, make the proper noises and expressions, give advice (which I can't call proper, because I say what I feel needs to be said whether people want to hear it or not). When I'm less me, like right now, I don't even want to talk to people. I don't want to Facebook message or chat, I don't want to text, I don't want to call, I don't want to be around anyone. It takes too much effort to care.

But I do care, and that's the problem. I care about my husband and my marriage. I care about my friends and their problems and their triumphs. I care about my pets and their health and happiness. I care about my weight and about supporting myself and about doing something more than just getting through each day.

So I force myself out of bed in the mornings, even when I don't want to get out of bed. I force myself to put in contacts and harness my dogs and take them for a run. I force myself to shower, because honestly I don't think anyone else wants to smell me after a couple of showerless days, any more than I want to smell myself at that point. I go to work and force myself to be a productive member of society. I go from being cold to being overly emotional to being suddenly and inexplicably on the road to healing.

Who knows what will break me out of it this time - previously, it's been everything from a chat with my mentor on "The Rock" behind the Sunset manager's office at MGM; to a random night spent with an old friend, a night made me reevaluate everything about my life; to hanging out on a balcony on the 20-somethingth floor of the Hyatt Regency in Atlanta, surrounded by a bunch of strangers at the Dragon*Con ABC party.

Post-"The Rock" Chat.

Post-random-life-reevaluation

"Holy crap I can attend a party full of random strangers all by myself and feel a million times better."

Regardless...something will change, something will happen, and in a week, or a month, or two, three, four months, the way I feel right now will be a distant memory.

Until, of course, the next time it comes to call. There's no way to prepare for it, really - not as it effects me. Sometimes I'm grateful for that, and sometimes I almost wish that constant therapy and/or medication would work for me. But we're all different, and the way we battle things is different, and I suppose that this just has to be my way.

Some days I'm more accepting of that than others. I'm writing this on Tuesday, May 14th, 2013, and this is decidedly not one of those days.

But tomorrow may be, or perhaps the day after, and that is what I focus on. That is what pushes and pulls and at times even carries me forward. Pin It

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

SAILING THE GOOD SHIP DAIME: Ice & Fire Recap, Part 7

We began our final night's activities with, as previously mentioned, the "Incest in Westeros" panel...which of course meant a lot of talk about Targaryens, twincest, and the Baratheon err, Lannister children ;) Somehow, though, the panel devolved evolved into discussing Jaime and Daenerys ending up in a relationship...and thus, a new ship was born - DAIME!

(I mean honestly, I'm not sure there are many ships [between two characters who are both still alive] in ASOIAF that is more ridiculous and yet have more potential than Jaime x Dany...amiright?)

When the Incest panel was over, though, it was time...for Westerosi karaoke! We had a great mix of attendees jumping back and forth between this and the Game of Thrones drinking board game in the room next door, while upstairs the final round of the gaming tournament was being played by a few brave souls...





The silent auction was wrapped up during karaoke as well, so soon enough it was time for the lucky winners to collect their new Song of Ice & Fire/Game of Thrones-themed items! I'd bid on a couple of things but never did have time to go back and check on them, so I personally didn't win any items...though honestly, my wallet certainly thanked me for that ;) And I was lucky enough to receive a gift from my friends Ren & Ascher (a.k.a. Loras and Renly)...


And the prize item - a beautifully sculpted Drogon - went to Dany, one member of our "burning of Daeneri" and in general a huge Daenerys/dragon lover, so that was perfect :)


There was a lot of Robert and Lyanna love going on at karaoke, and Cersei was not too keen on that...



Eventually we had to shut down karaoke (sad :( ) in order to give those staying in the castle some [very, at this point] late night quiet. Plenty of people came to hang out at my cottage, though, for more beers and, of course, chatting about the ASOIAF series and...fandom ;) One attendee (who shall remain unnamed) even gave us a rousing spoken fanfic rendition of the erotic life of Podric Payne, entitled Payne is Pleasure, at around 3 AM ;)

Alas, however, bedtime was nigh, especially as many of us had hours and hours to drive the next day. I made sure to stay up until the last of the attendees staying on the main grounds had wandered off to bed, and Marty stayed up with me. We chatted about how amazing the weekend bed, but when we realized that it was nearly 5 AM, well...off to bed we finally went.

Stay tuned for the final installment of my Ice & Fire Con recap, though - including a quite harrowing drive home! Pin It

Monday, May 13, 2013

Monday Confessions



I confess...that I started reading World War Z by Max Brooks on Saturday, and I am having to force myself to put it down when I need to do other things. It's been a while since I was this into a book...

I confess...that it seems no amount of coffee is enough, this morning :-/

I confess...that I've been putting off my writing - my actual writing, I mean - despite the fact that I really want to write. I need to learn to focus better on the stuff that actually matters, I suppose...

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Saturday, May 11, 2013

FEAST OF ICE, FIRE, & COSTUMES: Ice & Fire Recap, Part 6

Okay, so the costume contest came before the feast, but I couldn't resist when ti came to, err, "naming" this entry ;)

Admittedly I did miss about half of the costume contest because I was cleaning up from the Power Houses of Westeros gathering. I did, however, make it in time to catch the wonderful show put on by our "Best in Show" winner, Dom - a.k.a. Robert Baratheon - as well as to see the apprentice and master level contests for screen-accurate costumes based on the HBO series.

Sansa and Arya watching the costume contest

Renly showing off his...sword.

Costume contest viewers. Young GRRM is very interested ;)

Loras and Renly, winners of the Apprentice Costume division :)

Awesome Syrio and Arya!

And as soon as the costume contest was over, it was time for the Saturday night "feast" - which we'd dubbed "The Feast of Winterfell" :) Food included a roasted carrots and onions dish (SO good), baked potatoes *and* baked sweet potatoes, some awesome turkey legs (no seriously, I worked for Disney food and beverage and I know how AWFUL turkey legs can be), these little cheese-and-nut balls that were super tasty, crackers to spread those on, *giant* rolls, and the best thing ever - some sort of blue cheese/chicken/dried cranberry salad on a lettuce leave that was to die for. No really, I don't even know how to describe it, but I consumed at least half a dozen of those lettuce leaves with that salad on them.

And of course...more opportunities for pictures :)



The costume contest winners were announced during the feast as well. Unfortunately I don't have pictures of all of them, but they were:

Best Book Depiction: Elizabeth as Arianne Martell
Best Couple Costume: Kate & Tim as Dany & Jon Snow
Best Master Show!Costume: Carly as Sansa
Best Apprentice Show!Costume: Loras & Renly (seriously, we couldn't give it to just one of them - they were both amazing)

Next up was our second to last panel - Incest in Westeros - along with late night debauchery featuring Westerosi Karaoke, the Game of Thrones drinking board game, and an "unofficial" late-night get together at my cottage. So yes, there's still more to come! Stay tuned... Pin It

Friday, May 10, 2013

HEAR US GROWING STRONG: Ice & Fire Con Recap, Part 5

Ice & Fire Con had three separate themed gatherings that took place on Saturday - The North & Riverlands Gathering in the morning, the Targaryen & People of Essos Gathering in the early afternoon, and of course the Power Houses of Westeros Gathering in the early evening. The latter was the one that I hosted (I unfortunately missed the other two, being engaged elsewhere at those times) and focused on the Lannisters, Tyrells, Baratheons, and Martells, of course ;)

(had to include a random picture of all your favorite Queens... :) )

The gatherings were basically slots of time that we set aside for people in costume to gather and take photos, or for those who simply wanted to hang out and talk about their favorite houses...all while eating snacks and drinking themed wines, beers, etc.

Renly is the perfect salesman for Son of a Peach beer...

As you can probably imagine, the Cerseis (Cersi?) and Margaerys (I don't even know what the plural of that would be) were plentiful at this gathering ;) We even had a Melisandre at one point!

Whyever did this marriage not work...it's really beyond me...

I just think this picture is kind of amusing ;)

So many Cerseis! Robert is not a happy camper.


 ...even Sansa was invited, at the behest of Ladies Olenna and Margaery (come on, we couldn't not "reenact" this scene for pictures)...


Ashley and I - in our Cersei costumes, of course - had to give some love to [Traveling] Sandor, because UM SANDOR CLEGANE IS THE BEST CHARACTER PRETTY MUCH EVER.


Buuuut then Jaime dropped by and I had to give him all of my attention ;)






Honestly, this gathering could have lasted muuuuch longer than an hour...we were all having a great time hanging out, enjoying some drinks, and just chatting about the series (as you can tell, we did a whooooole lot of that all weekend). But next up was the costume contest, and the time for that - six-o-clock - almost came and went without us noticing! Thankfully someone had a watch and noted that we had to head over to Ravenwood's back patio or risk missing it. There were so many great costumes that needed to be shown off, and as you can imagine that made the contest very highly anticipated...and there's more to come on that in the next part of my recap :)
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