It's been a long time coming, but I finally started a blog dedicated to my thrift shopping adventures. I'm not sure if thrifting is the excuse for the blog, or if the blog is an excuse for the shopping. Either way, they're a match made in heaven.
While Facebook on Mother's Day turns into a My Mom is the Best Mom in the Whole World War, which can be pretty annoying, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing pictures of all my friends' mothers! I've always liked meeting people's parents because it highlights the inherited personalities and can explain so much about someone's background. And the pictures of mothers did that for me.
So here's my mom: Shari.
Mom and I are a lot alike. I got her introspective, German personality and blue eyes. She's a lot stronger than I am in many ways; she really is an emotional rock and she's highly intelligent and she's patient. Holy hell, the woman has the nerves of a saint.
The final match for the championship title was between UCLA and
University of Texas. Obviously I was
disappointed to see UCLA struggle, but I was able to watch the game
with our Event Director, who I adore, which was a great way to end
How could you not love this reaction to a win?
Sunday was a little less hectic, when it came to my responsibilities, but I'd had 7 hours of sleep in
the past 48 hours, so I was feeling a little less than on my A-game.
Our biggest entertainment act, and my biggest responsibility on
Saturday, was StarKid
who does sketch comedy of sorts. That meant I had to do more
celebrity-balancing stuff throughout the day instead of just
power-housing around the event. It's fascinating to me what an
encounter with a little bit of celebrity-status does to people.
StarKid is pretty well known, thanks to their Harry Potter themed
YouTube videos, which caused quidkids to act like starry-eyed teens.
There were no real issues and as with everything else, things ran
smoothly as a whole, but there were a couple times I had to direct
people away from StarKid, staff included.
Closing ceremonies were the thing I feel I performed weakest on. I forget how very few
people actually care about the closing ceremonies, so when we gave
away the sportsmanship awards after the final game, we were missing people and there wasn't
as much excitement as I would have liked. If I were to do it again
I'd give as many trophies away at the start of the championship match
as possible. It didn't really matter, but I wish I could have done
One thing I think we all forget is how lucky we were with weather.
While things were really hot on Saturday and most of Sunday, a huge
thunder storm was coming our way and started an hour after the
closing ceremonies. Because teams were flying out Sunday night, if
there were any more delays to games, or if the rain had come any
earlier, we would have been forced to post-pone the championship
game. But in postponing it, I don't know when we would have finished:
The storm lasted long enough and teams had to leave so who knows what
we would have done!
The IQA and Kissimmee put together an after-party at the Wizarding
World of Harry Potter for anyone who wanted to buy tickets at the
world cup. A small group of WCOT had some things to finalize some
things before driving ourselves over to Universal Studios, including
taking care of one of our team members who was dealing with heat
exhaustion, so by the time the seven of us got to the park we walked
in by ourselves. The after-party was perfect. It was dark, rainy but
warm and everyone at the event was associated with the IQA so it felt
like we were Hogwarts Students going to Hogsmead for the evening.
At one point it started pouring so everyone scattered to find
shelter, which caused me to lose the group of friends I was with. As
I stood under an overhang I saw a group of people dancing down the
middle of the street. It didn't take me long to realize it was the
marketing team. I'm obsessed with the entire marketing team so I
bolted out and joined the madness.
I'm obsessed with the IQA, quidkids and the madness that was Quidditch World Cup VI.
The WCOT staff spent Friday doing prep work and finalizing plans,
so that when we got to the field at 5:30 Saturday morning we were
ready for the onslaught. Despite our planning, Saturday morning kind
of turned into mayhem.
I tried really hard to be organized and ready but as soon as we got to the park everything went down at once and I felt completely scatter-brained. Teams
arrived way earlier than anticipated; we were low on volunteers that
early; last-minute changes to the opening ceremony (which included a surprise inclusion of the Harlem
Shake); set-up and coordinating people. I didn't expect to have so many reasons to
be running around the event all day, which is silly considering I was
overseeing teams, guests and entertainment, but I was all over the place. I prefer it that way but it was nuts.
I was oblivious to this picture. This is Katie. She rocks.
Despite the fact my
walkie-talkie was constantly buzzing I was able to watch a quidditch
match. It's very easy to see why people love the sport. Quidditch is
fast-paced, physical and unexpected. The game has very specific rules
and structure, which makes it easy to follow, but the Snitch, who is
a third-party person with zero rules, can do anything he/she wants so
everyone is on their toes. At one point in the weekend I was driving
a golf cart around the event when a Snitch ran away from his game and
jumped in my cart, safely eluding the Seekers.
It was so freaking hot. This is Kedzie. He's fab.
Our entertainment for the day was Nathan
Nickerson, a magician, and Harry
and the Potters, a wizard rock band. Yes, you read that right. They play rock music from the perspective of Harry Potter, and they sell golden snitchwiches, which are peanut butter sandwiches with Golden Grahams cereal. If you're extra lucky they'll add honey. I was one of those people. Yes, I bounced in my golf cart seat as I ate it. Delish. And very Harry Potter.
If you aren't already a quidkid I recommend taking a few minutes to listen to this amazing TED talk from the founder of the Harry Potter Alliance about the influence of Harry Potter throughout our society.
I've struggled getting to this post (which has subsequently
turned into four posts) because I was too busy to take pictures,
there is so much to tell (because I've completely failed to even
mention quidditch on my blog yet) and I hate having long posts with
limited images. But, the 2013 Quidditch World Cup was too epic to
leave out, so here we go.
Over Christmas Taylor and I met up with some of my high school friends at La Vics and Nadia mentioned she was volunteering with the International Quidditch Association's world cup. Let me stop here: Yes, the magical sport from the Harry Potter books. Read my breakdown of the non-magical quidditch sport if you missed it.
Because the event was happening close to where I live (Kissimmee, just next to Orlando), she said I should volunteer. Assuming I would be a day-of volunteer, I got online and started poking around the site, only to stumble on the position of Hospitality Director. Apparently the original director's team qualified for the event so he had to back out of the position. I applied, had a Skype interview, received a "You're Hired!" email that evening and the next night I was back on Skype for my first meeting.
When you're thrown into an upper-level management position half-way through the planning process of a major event, with an organization you know nothing about, you tend to feel like you're drinking from the world's largest fire hydrant. Luckily, the entire World Cup Organizing Team (WCOT) was amazing. When I say "amazing" I mean I go through withdrawals every Thursday night because we no longer have our weekly meetings.
My team was split into three sections: Teams, Guests,
Entertainment. Let me just take a second and say I could not have asked
for a better team. They were hard working, easy to communicate with, and
they made the entire process fun. Seriously, I got so lucky.
– Registering teams and organizing player rosters; check teams in to
the event; communicate with teams; coordinate travel and accommodations.
Guests – Ticket sales; plan and coordinate VIP everything; guest experiences.
Entertainment – Plan, book and support our non-sport entertainment.
Kidditch – Kid-sized quidditch for attendees.
I drove down to Kissimmee (just outside of Orlando) on the morning
of Thursday 4/11. Let me just say, I understand why toll roads exist,
but I hate them with a passion. I would much rather pay taxes than
pay tolls. I was so pissed off after my third toll stop in ten miles
I swore them off for the rest of the weekend.
Anyway, the whole shebang took place at Austin Tindale park, which
was great, apart from the 30 minute drive from our hotels. We spent
the day getting all the general set-up and organizing done.
much everyone already knew each other, so it was kind of like being
the +1 to the popular kid's high school reunion. Only one person knew
me beforehand, but I was immediately accepted.
There's something unique and very distinct about
quidkids. They are quidditch and Harry Potter nerds and that
passion drives them to volunteer hundreds of hours in developing the
sport and the league. It pays off. The event was wildly successful
behind the scenes and we heard lots of positive feedback from players
and guests alike.
The alchemy of the Harry Potter generation: Play quidditch despite lacking magic.
The Game as Played in Harry Potter
Players fly on brooms around the field. Points are earned by
throwing balls through hoops. The game ends when the snitch is
The Game as Played by the International Quidditch Association
Players run on brooms around the field. Points are earned by
throwing balls through hoops. The game ends when the snitch is
Beater (Two per team)
Novel: Players responsible for using bats to beat bludgers away
from their team members and toward the opposing team members with the
goal of knocking them off their brooms.
IQA: Players throw bludgers at other players. When a player is hit
by a bludger they are out of play. In order to become an active
player they must tag the hoops on their side of the field.
Keeper (One per team)
Novel: Player responsible for protecting the hoops on their side
of the field.
IQA: Player responsible for protecting the hoops on their side of
Chaser (Two per team)
Novel: Players responsible for throwing the quaffle through the
opposing team's hoops to score points.
IQA: Players responsible for throwing the quaffle through the
opposing team's hoops to score points.
Seeker (One per team)
Novel: Player responsible for finding and catching the snitch.
IQA: Player responsible for finding and catching the snitch.
Quaffle (One in a game)
Novel: Points are scored when Chasers throw the quaffle through
one of the three hoops positioned on the opposing team's side.
IQA: Slightly deflated volleyball used by Chaser. Points are
scored when Chasers throw the quaffle through one of the three hoops
positioned on the opposing team's side.
Bludgers (Two in a game)
Novel: Magic balls that fly around the field with the sole purpose
of knocking players off their brooms.
IQA: Dodge-balls. Beaters throw them at players on the opposing
team, temporarily knocking players out of play. When a player is hit
with a bludger he/she must get off his/her broom, run back and touch
his/her team's hoops before becoming an active player again.
Snitch (One in a game)
Novel: A small, magic ball that that flies around avoiding
capture. Once the snitch is caught the game is over.
IQA: A person. This person is not associated with either team and
has no rules about where he/she can go or what he/she does. The
snitch has a flag-football styled tennis ball in a sock hanging from
the back of his/her shorts. When a Seeker pulls this off the snitch's
shorts the game is over.
The biggest challenge of adapting the game is the golden snitch.
Without magic, what do you chase? I remember playing a version of
quidditch in elementary school, right after the third book came out,
that was superbly lame because a tennis ball was used as the snitch.
Not difficult to catch, nor interesting. The IQA nailed this one. The
rules of general play are very structured, but the snitch's freedom
brings a level of spontaneity and unknown that adds a unique level of
interest to the game.
I've been wanting a bike for a while, so it wasn't a huge surprise to get one for my birthday, but I was really excited. Taylor found a big beach cruiser that is all aluminum, so it won't rust, and looks slick. The first time I took it down to the grocery store, I was locking it up when a man said, "Looks like you got the Cadillac of bikes!" and as I unlocked my bike a woman asked where I got it. Taylor said that it got cat-called as he was leaving the store.
Because I want a bike buddy, we also got Taylor a bike. His is a switch fixie, so you can either have it as a fixed gear or a single gear. We tried out the fixed-gear style and it was counter-intuitive to always pedal, but it definitely gets you moving. I almost rode backwards, but I didn't trust my balance enough to really do it. We've gone on a bunch of bike rides around our neighborhood so far. Once we rode down to Publix and got some spicy fried chicken, which was actually really good.
We don't really have a great spot to store it in our apartment, but we're working on some crazy schemes. Any recommendations?
Our last full day with Mom and Dad was cool and gray so we decided to drive around downtown Jacksonville.
We stopped by Sweet Pete's and wound up at Gators BBQ, a hole-in-the-wall Mom discovered when researching places for us to go for Taylor's birthday, but is far enough from our house we had never tried before. As can be expected from a southern BBQ pit, the food was delicious.
Side note: Dad reminded us that he was subjected to sulfuric-water-based drinks all weekend, which I don't notice anymore. Taylor even claims it makes the drink taste better.
As we chatted with the lady who took our order she mentioned taking her grandson up to the Okefenokee swamp where they went on a guided boat tour and saw dozens of alligators. Because we had no plans, we headed up to the swamp that is just over the border in Georgia.
The Google directions wound us up into the middle of the swamp, which we later realized was not the closest entrance and we worried would put us in the wrong location for sight seeing. When we finally reached the park we had indeed missed the last guided boat tour.
We ended up renting a john boat and took our own tour. It was incredible. We saw dozens of alligators in such close vicinity they hissed at us before splashing into the water in addition to birds and turtles. I know, the white pants were a bad idea but I had no clue I needed to be on adventurer mode.
Surprisingly enough I found the little, yellow water lily flowers to be one of my favorite things.
On our way out from the shore we found a little armadillo snuffling through the grass beside the wood walkway. It was the first time I'd ever seen a live armadillo and they're really cool little creatures. At one point we scared him up the walkway and his feet sound like little dinosaur feet. Apparently they are carriers of lots of different diseases, so while I had zero interest in getting close I was able to get a couple pictures.
We then walked along the quiet main street of Fernandina Island where we bought some salted caramel ice cream. It was a really salty ice cream, which was a lot of fun and when I hit a pecan it tasted just like pecan pie. I really must be southern that I am obsessing over that right now.
From here we went and watched the sunset while eating fried alligator. I was a little disappointed to not have it taste weird, but it did taste really good.
I have finally pulled myself out of a week-long birthday-induced food coma. Yes, I am now 25 years old and it has been an epic celebration, starting with Mom and Dad's visit two weeks ago.
First, I'll start by saying that every meal we ate was delicious. You know how most times you'll have a couple rock-awesome meals interspersed with some good, but not hugely note-worthy meals? Not this trip. Taylor and I planned out our favorite restaurants and then we tried out some new places that are now on our "Favorite Food Spots" list.
Some highlights were:
Chicken and waffles with spicy, maple syrup from Metro Diner (Served with "Strawberry Preservatives." Dad found that to be hilarious.)
Our first full day we spent in Saint Augustine, which offered more people-watching opportunities than when Taylor and I went because 1-this is Spring Break season and 2-this is motorcycle get-together season. We experienced everything from a small church sponsored thrift shop to a very high end art store that tried to woo us with promotions of a pre-iron-casting party with the artist. We also stood at the apex of the main draw bridge and waved to the ferry passing below.
On the drive down we walked along the beach where we ran into an elderly couple from Budapest. They were the ultimate stereotype from the knitted vest with heart buttons to their racist, but not malicious, comments, their love of Romania and America and their accents. Bless them and my parents for striking up the conversation.
After dinner we drove down to a park along the Saint John's river where we watched the sunset while Mom and I took pictures.