Hanging out with one of her favorites, Ben
1. DIY Ideas
The Cricut Explore booth featured all kinds of crafts made using their cutting machine.
2. Celebrity Sightings
3. The Awesome Expo
From photo booth set-ups to hair and make-up demos to great products, it was so much fun to walk around.
4. Inspiring Speakers
Cara Brook, of Maskcara.com, who was voted Allure’s Beauty Blogger of the Year for 2013. (I didn’t a great action shot, so this is from Rue Rococo at a different event.)
Cara showed us so much.
Priming. Highlighting. Contouring.
It definitely made me want to revamp my makeup supplies!
5. The beautiful setting of Utah
The last time I was in Utah I was this old (I’m on the right). We lived there when I was younger, so it was awesome to get to be back in that gorgeous state.
I miss mountains. And big pretty piles of snow. And seasons!
When I heard Travis had written a book, I couldn’t wait to read and review it for my blog, and his publisher graciously sent me a copy for that purpose. A few thoughts I had as a made my way through the book…
This is not your typical football story.
This is not your typical faith story.
This is not even your typical story of overcoming the odds to do great things.
Yes, all of those things are part of Travis’s journey, but the way he tells the extraordinary experiences of his life make them relatable and accessible. He is a son, a student, a football player, a seminary graduate, a preacher, a professor, and he also happens to be blind.
At the age of 12, Travis contracted an infection which led to the complete loss of his eyesight. As a Christian, there’s part of me that wants to go, Really, God? Why does a twelve-year-old kid have to suffer through something like that at such a young age?
Travis’s response then was one rooted in the strong faith his parents and community had encouraged throughout his life. His parents remember him saying, “I’ll believe I’ll see again, but if I don’t, I can’t wait to see what God’s going to do with my life.”
And God has certainly done marvelous things through his life. Travis had an awesome coach who didn’t believe the loss of his eyesight necessarily meant the loss of his long-dreamed-about football career. He trained him to play center, which Travis went on to do throughout junior high and high school. Rather than follow advice from some professionals that he attend a special school for the blind, Travis and his parents decided he would work with a mobility coach to helped him navigate his regular campus. Time after time, his family sought God’s wisdom on how best to deal with the unique challenges they were facing.
The book doesn’t present a sugar-coated, glossed-over, once-I-found-Jesus-my-life-was-perfect testimony. Instead, readers will find the reality of both walking through life’s deserts and also finding peace and relief at the oases God provides.
As Travis writes,
The thing is, everyone has challenges, they’re just different than mine most of the time…
We’re all wandering around in this desert of a broken planet, trying to find our way to the next oasis. Most of the time, I’m afforded a little more grace on the journey because I’m making my way in the literal dark. What could happen, though, if we granted each other a little more grace automatically?
What I loved most about this book is how it made me reflect on God’s faithfulness to me in my own times of suffering. And how, as Travis highlights so well, God has a purpose for the suffering we endure.
As I’m sure you can tell, I’m a big fan of both the book and the movie, and I plan on getting multiple copies of the book as Christmas presents. I hope you’ll join me!
To hear more from Travis about his life story, check out his interview with writer Mike McClelland.
For this easy DIY, my friend Mary and I work black skirts/pants we already had. She also had a yellow shirt (I dyed an old white shirt with yellow RIT dye.) We bought cheap red hats, and used small wooden dowels, hot glue, and flags cut out of paper to create the full look. The final step was cutting out the collars and bows from felt, and then writing Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum on the collars.
Alexis went all out for her Mad Hatter look, most of which was thrift-store finds. She dyed the jacket that lovely purple hue, made the hat shape out of cardboard, and then covered it in fabric for a fabulous accessory. The Alice in Wonderland and Queen of Hearts costumes were purchased, but it could be really fun to do DIY versions of these.
This is perfect for the person who doesn’t want to put too much work into it, but still wants to be part of the group costume idea! Our Cheshire Cat was Brock, who wore all black, cat ears (which you can make by glueing triangles on a black headband), and sported a drawn-on grin (black eye-liner does the trick!)
For all of the diehard Dr. Who fans out there (you know, those of you who watched this season’s opener in the movie theater), this costume’s the one for you! Kate nailed it with her creative use of props, transforming a simple cardboard box into an impressive-looking TARDIS.
Simple and super-cute, this costume only requires hay, a hat, and some face paint. Stephanie did a great job of posing for photographs to bring her costume to life!
The thrift store is the DIY costumer’s best friend. You can walk in there without a clue as to what you want to dress up as and walk out inspired! Most thrift stores carry old formals and sometimes wedding dresses, so you can get creative without breaking the bank. This bridal costume was especially fitting for Kaci, as she was soon to be married. She bought the wig and with that plus the intense make-up and black eye polish, she really looked the part.
An old flannel shirt stuffed with batting, t-shirts, crumpled-up newspapers, or whatever else you’ve got around the house is a quick way to transform into the giant from the classic story Jack and the Beanstalk. Suspenders and a beard finish the job!
Add black patches to a white hoodie and white patches to black pants, plus ears to the hood, to create your own cow costume. If you don’t want to permanently alter the outfit, you can always safety pin the patches on to remove them after you’re done with it.
Another easy-to-make costume, this Beanstalk was created from a matching green sweatshirt and sweatpants, plus a green hat and sash. Green fabric, felt, paper or a combination of these things will work for the hat, sash, and any other accessories.
10. DIY Dinosaur Costume
The Oklahoma City Zoo has an annual Haunt the Zoo event, and last year our group was assigned the dinosaur section. We had so much fun making our own costumes by cutting out teeth, eyes, and spikes from felt. A lot of people sew theirs on, but we just hot-glued them. I didn’t realize until I got home that night that my costume matched the dinosaur outfit I’d gotten for my pug, Daisy. We’re stylin’ like that!
11. DIY Minion Costume from Despicable Me
One of my favorite costumes I’ve ever made is the minion! I couldn’t find a yellow hat, so I dyed a white one from Walmart with RIT yellow dye and then used black pipe cleaners for the hair. To make the goggles, I used a photobooth props template from Pinterest (lots of options to choose from) and hot-glued elastic on to be able to wear them comfortably. I lucked out and found a denim jumper at Goodwill, and I added the minion logo to the front with a black Sharpie.
13. The Giving Tree DIY Costume
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein is one of my favorite children’s books. (Here’s a narration of the story if you’re unfamiliar with it, but the woman’s voice on this made me laugh…it doesn’t quite fit the story.) It’s about a really touching story about a boy who’s best friends with a tree. This guy really went all out for his costume!
14. Punk Rock Pirate DIY Costume
This is one of those random, thrown-together costumes that turned out pretty fun. I already had the pink wig, and since skulls were very popular at the time, it wasn’t hard to find a cute tee. You can get creative with accessories…I went for simple (fingerless gloves, a pink boa, and black nail polish).
15. Christmas Caroler DIY Costume
This is a really funny alternative for an ugly sweater Christmas party—everyone has old formals/bridesmaid dresses (or hit up the thrift store again) and then bust out your winter gear (gloves, hats, scarves, the works!) This would make a great group costume idea too.
16. Cheerleader Group DIY Costumes
When I was in grad school at Fuller Theological Seminary, we had annual show called the Fuller Follies, and we absolutely LOVED it! My friends and I decided we had to perform the perfect cheer, an ode to our school. I’m not embarrassed to say we rehearsed this, and more than once, but it was worth it. For a bunch of non-cheerleaders, we got those grad students up on their feet and rowdy!
This is one of the easiest costumes ever. We wore red t-shirts and black pants we already had or borrowed, and bought cheap megaphones, pom poms and headbands that we personalized. If you do this as a group costume, you could always have a simple cheer ready to do to get people laughing.
17. DIY Hobbit Costume from Lord of the Rings
My friend Melody’s hobbit costume cracked me up. You can’t see it in this picture, but the best part was the fake hair she’d added to her feet to really look the part. The cape didn’t hurt either!
18. DIY Tooth Fairy Costume
Creative costumes can be cheap to make! For the tooth fairy look, you’ll need:
(2) Tooth decor: I printed a simple image out and glued it to an old shirt.
(3) Sparkly bag: you can store a toothbrush, toothpaste and your wand there!
19. Oompa Loompas
This is not for the faint of heart. You’ve got to commit to the costume if you want the full effect. Orange face paint is for the hardcore costumers only! Temporary green hair-dye spray will transform your hair, and Brittney and Becca made their own suspenders with ribbbon.
20 and 21. Tinkerbell and Peter Pan DIY Couple Costume
Seth and Ali look way too cute in their Peter Pan and Tinkerbell outfits! Ali’s actually isn’t 100% DIY, but you could definitely make a version of this with a bright green shirt and shorts and matching ribbon. And Peter Pan’s rocking the shredded green tee and leggings with a belt and cap.
This wordy wear was perfect for Halloween in the editing department! I used the binding of any old dictionary for the base of the wings and then hot-glued pages from it fanning out from the base. I cut two holes in the top of the binding and strung ribbon through them so I could wear it sort of like a backpack. The fairy skirt was rolled-up pages of the dictionary stapled to a belt in layers for some extra poofiness, and don’t forget your wand! (My shirt said “I heart books!”)
23. DIY Peacock Costume
Theresa went for glam with her peacock costume. What I love about this one is really all you have to worry about is the feathers and the eye makeup…everything else can be stuff you already own!
24. DIY Minnie Mouse Costume
Theresa sewed her own Minnie Mouse skirt. You can either purchase Minnie ears or make your own with a headband, construction paper, and ribbon or a bow.
25. Ugly Christmas Sweater Couple Costume
You can always get that holiday spirit started early with some crazy Christmas attire. My brother and sister-in-law raided my mom’s closet for these gems.