Cosplaying: Do it for yourself, not the contest

This post is part of a series in partnership with Raleigh Supercon.

The cosplay contestants from PlayThrough Con

I saw the new Beauty and the Beast movie on opening night, and of course, I went in costume with a group of friends. We had a blast and ended up being featured on the movie theater’s Facebook page. And yes, we were the only five people dressed up in the theater. I will take any opportunity to wear a costume. I love dressing up, which is why I jumped to do my first cosplay at last year’s OakCity Comicon.

Our Facebook photo

Problem was I had never really sewed before. I am a wiz at thrift-find transformation, but sewing from scratch? Not my thing. I own a sewing machine, so at least I had that going for me.  Armed with YouTube sewing tutorials, I was determined to make something, especially since I saw that the con had a novice category in the cosplay contest. After racking my mind and look at all the patterns I foolishly (but cheaply) purchased when Jo-Anna Fabric closed, I decided to make an Arrietty costume from the Ghibli film The Secret Life of Arrietty.

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Lavender Honey Donuts: The Perfect Spring Dessert

Lavender is my latest baking ingredient obsession. I love the way it smells as well as how it can sweeten a dessert without being overpowering.

I came across this obsession when I tried lavender shortbread cookies at a Seattle bakery. It didn’t add a perfumey, floral taste like roses can. I couldn’t wait to get home from my trip and start experimenting with my own lavender baked goods.

In my trials and errors, I have found the easiest way to infuse lavender into recipes is with lavender simple syrup. Lavender infused sugar is also easy to make, but it takes a lot of the infused sugar for the lavender taste to come out. Instead of baking with it, I am using the lavender sugar to sweeten hot tea.

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Videri Chocolate: Satisfying the Sweet Tooth

Videri Chocolate in Raleigh, NC is a sweetery and coffee shop located on the outskirts of downtown. Honestly, it is the perfect place to go for a light dessert after an amazing meal at The Pit or Jose and Sons.

Photo from Videri’s Facebook page

Videri Chocolate has a rustic feel with exposed beams and brickwork. To the right is glass cases filled with truffles. To the back left is the coffee shop where shipping chocolate is being churned.

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Top Four Travel Websites

Tryon Palace in New Bern, NC

One of the biggest lessons we have learned in our six years of marriage is that “adventure is out there…if you say yes to it” Sure most of that motto from Pixar’s UP, but it is true.

When Trae and I started dating way back in the day, I had him doing some pretty random stuff: swimming at the Lake Hartwell dam, sliding down Sliding Rock near Boone, NC, and even swimming in Clemson University’s reflection pond. I had to drag him most of the time, especially when it came to hoping the fence to get to the dam’s swimming hole, but when we got to the end destination, he had a blast. My wanderlust pairs nicely with his reality. (I every once in awhile need to be reminded of the logistics of things. Unless that thing is getting on a plane to Vietnam, then all bets are off.)

A very young Carrie sliding down Sliding Rock

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Retrying Crank Arm Brewery in Raleigh, NC

crank arm outside

“Let’s go to Crank Arm. I hated it.”

Never thought that I would say those words to my husband. Honestly, we had written off Crank Arm in Raleigh, NC when we tried it several years ago after it had been written up in a prominent publication. I can’t remember the exact one; it may have been one of New York Time‘s travel articles. When we tried it, we thought all the beers tasted the same and didn’t offer the dimension in flavors like Trophy Brewing or LoneRider. But we kept hearing our friends rave about how good the beer was there.

bike at crank arm

So that is how I found myself telling my husband a couple of Sundays ago that we should retry Crank Arm. And to be honest, it wasn’t as bad as I remember.

Crank arm beer list

We got the flight of Crank Arms staple beers: Whitewall (Belgian Wheat with Citra), Unicycle (single hop ale), Rickshaw (American Rye IPA), Darkways (dark Saison with blackberries), and Eat Sleep Bike (extra special bitter).

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Raleigh’s Growing Con Scene

playthrough games

Trae and I went to PlayThrough gaming con in Raleigh on February 25. When we first moved here four years ago, we didn’t realize Raleigh had a con scene, but since discovering it, we have become hooked. And lucky for us, Raleigh’s con scene is growing.

PlayThrough is a smaller con held at the Raleigh Convention Center. A significant portion of the con floor is reserved for gaming from board games to vintage Nintendo games. Another part of the floor is for vendors and game developers. Trae and I had a blast walking around and testing out games like Sausage Drop and Rocket League. We also attended some great panels. I really enjoyed Shawn Long‘s talk on “How to Start a YouTube Gaming Channel.” Honestly, the steps for creating a successful YouTube channel and creating a successful blog aren’t that different.


Last year’s OakCity was set up very similar to PlayThrough. The only major different was PlayThrough’s cosplay contest seemed to be a lot more organized. I honestly hadn’t even planned on entering PlayThrough’s contest, but a fairy told me I had to. Judging for Oak City’s cosplay contest took over an hour, which caused us to miss a lot of the con’s activities. Oak City’s judging did take place on the main stage area, so while waiting in line, Trae and I could people watch. However, PlayThrough’s judging was in a separate room and took like five minutes. Quick and painless!

Toad cosplay
Is it just me or does it look like Mario is giving me bunny ears?

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