What I’ve Purchased During the Pandemic- Part 2: The Frivolous Purchases

It was actually a comment on the previous post that got me to consider. Most of my purchases were pretty utilitarian and in fact, it was a comment on my restraint that got me thinking: I have bought silly things during this pandemic. It’s always weird talking about the things you buy because it either feels like an aggressive flex or just wrong in a world where so much economic inequality exists. Well, I’m willing to put away some of my angst for the sake of not looking so damn beatific. I am human. I make mistakes. I make silly purchases. 

A Plague Doctor Plushie

I saw this little darling floating around the social internet early into the pandemic. It had become quite the meme that the pandemic meant the return of plague doctors with all the people wearing masks around both at home and in public spaces. The plague doctor is one that has had a curious history in the Western world. The visage of the plague doctor has been with us since the Black Death when masked doctors would visit patients and hoped that simply covering their faces would protect them and their patients from the illness but since they have no comprehension of germ theory; they were only half right. They did protect themselves but not their patients. Needless to say, when Squishable opened up pre-orders for what I can only say is the cutest little plague doctor plushie: I immediately hit the pre-order button. I can’t wait for the little guy to arrive. 

A Limited Edition Blu-Ray

I have always been very careful with my purchases when it comes to anime and manga. I try to limit what I get and when I get it. I tend to keep most of my splurges for convention weekends. I also, due to a fluke of just how I collect anime and manga, am incredibly selective due to the limited nature of finite space that comes with shelving units. I don’t just buy often: I tend to only pick up volumes of manga that are missing or volumes or series DVDs that are particularly of note. I have a real soft spot for physical media because I am old and I like owning my media. Internet connections can be fickle: my DVD copy of Fullmetal Alchemist has never failed me. Twittering Birds Never Fly is a series I have been following for years. It’s near and dear to my heart. I immediately fell in love with the characters, storytelling and the drama that inherently comes with a bodyguard falling in love with a yakuza boss. When I earlier mentioned an anime adaptation on this blog I was nearly euphoric. Well, the movie was a hit in Japan and has earned more DVD releases of the popular yaoi series but there wasn’t at the time a huge likelihood of an American license. In Japan, to commemorate the release of the film: a limited edition blu-ray and DVD was released with keychains and prints. And dear reader, after literally months of agonizing, waiting, deciding and undeciding: I did it. I ordered it. I ordered the limited edition blu-ray on the last possible day for pre-order.  It took awhile for the disc itself to arrive but once it did, the regret I had over the cost, the shipping, the implications of spending so much on plastic vanished. I was happy. I was thrilled to have the keychain set, the print, the thing in my hands. 

A Plague Nurse Plushie 

You didn’t think I wasn’t going to get her, did you? You didn’t think I’d leave my darling little plague doctor alone and without a partner. She’s darling, isn’t it? Even though plague nurses never existed in this form and most of the early models of fanart and costumes were based off of a St. Lucia outfit, more traditionally Scandivian in design, the Squishables design is exactly what a plague nurse would look like. She’s delightful and her lantern glows and I can’t wait for her to arrive and be the perfect partner for my little doctor. 

 A Fanzine 

Okay, I admit it. I am a tsundere. So, I have been indulging in some content based around and relating to My Hero Academy despite how much I rail against it in my panels. It’s…serviceable. I just happened to find a few characters I don’t hate. Listen, the storytelling is still mostly boring and if I have to focus on Deku as the main character, I’ll throw up. Give me Cheers but with the LOV and I’m set. Needless to say, when a fanzine was announced with a pairing that I quite like; I preordered and jumped at the chance to firstly, support some artists that I really like and secondly, indulge in a pairing I think is just the best and quickly entered my OTP list. Redacted Wings is a DabiHawks (don’t you dare judge me, this should be very much expected) fanzine with some fantastic talent behind it and two characters I shouldn’t love as much as I do but do so much. And it may be this…ingestion of materials that is leading me to look at red wings on Amazon…but that’s for another blog post. 

Those are the things I’ve purchased that are a little less utilitarian than a ring light and a new microphone. I’m shockingly miserly when it comes to spending because I come from a long line of women with bad spending habits. Because of this, I put almost all of my purchases under nearly impossible to stand up to scrutiny. Many things just don’t make the cut but the pandemic’s stress has forced me to loosen up a little and try and find simple pleasure in little things, like a fanzine where two disaster characters you like a lot do some smooching. It’s been a struggle to “let loose” and spend on frivolous things but it’s also been rewarding to see things that aren’t bills arrive in the mail. 

Stay well and stay safe, dear reader. 

Thanks for reading. 

What I’ve Been Wearing During the Pandemic

Wow, we sure are still doing this, aren’t we? It’s been about 6 months now since we were ordered to work from home and avoid unnecessary travel and have our lives uprooted by the pandemic. Working from home has presented a number of challenges for many people and one of those challenges has been what exactly should one wear? I admit it feels weird wearing a dress to make the long walk from my sofa to my dining area (where I have set up shop to work in a sad and sisyphean attempt to separate work from home when I work at home) but it also feels equally wrong to lounge around in my pajamas all day. Working from home often means video calls; that means looking at least somewhat presentable to human society. I’ve been more rigid with my style choices while working from home than some of my friends (no shade, they have said so.) and because of that, I’ve been thinking: maybe I should let you all know what I’ve been wearing during the pandemic. 

Velvet Leggings

You know good and damn well I am absolutely the kind of person to own a pair of velvet leggings. Well, I own more than just one pair. I own 7 at last count. I have them in two colors: green and black and they are effortlessly stylish. It takes a certain kind of boujee to wear velvet pants and despite the obvious luxury of having velvet cover your butt; they’re shockingly comfortable. Wearing something on my lower half does have its advantages: I can run out and pick up lunch without any guilt or worry about having to put on pants. Maximum luxury for minimum effort. 

Joggers

I never thought I’d see the day I’d own more than one pair of joggers but dammit they are comfortable. I got a pair for Christmas from my aunts during a very fun Costco run and they have very deep pockets, make my butt look phenomenal and mean that if I have to rush to the door; I am still technically wearing pants.  

Solid Color and Patterned T-Shirts

Listen, just because I’m working doesn’t mean that I have to dress up all the time. Sometimes a v-neck t-shirt in a tasteful pattern or color is all it takes to get the job done. If I have a client meeting or a big boss call, time to throw on a cardigan. Otherwise, just looking put together enough from the waist up is a solid start. Luckily, since my preppy youth, I’ve kept a small army of v-neck, crew cut, solid, striped, spotted and fruity t-shirts that can help me look just the legal definition of put together. 

Velvet leggings aside and t-shirts aside, this is an absolute departure from the dresses and tights and flats I’m used to wearing for work. If I had a client meeting or not, I took a ton of pride in how I dressed for work. Sure, I rarely wore makeup but I would never wear graphic t-shirts or sweatpants to work. What’s telling in how I’ve been dressing during the pandemic I think is what has been absent still: I’m still not wearing a ton of makeup and I’ve traded athletic socks for stockings. I’ve abandoned jeans, but they do still fit. I try to do my hair every morning I work even if I don’t put heat to my hair to keep it curled under or perfectly just; just to make it go in a direction that makes sense usually via lazy swipes of a paddle brush. I don’t wear earrings unless I have a client meeting now. Overall, I just dress like a more casual version of myself; albeit a version of myself that doesn’t have to wear shoes while working. 

It’s been very important to me not to slip into wearing pajamas or leaving my bonnet on because of how much routine matters to me. I still have to do all the pageantry of work to feel like I’m going to work even if my commute now is just from the sofa to the dining area. If I don’t go through all the steps of getting ready: showering, having breakfast, getting dressed, doing my hair, taking my medicine in the morning I don’t know if I’d have the mental fortitude to get on with the work day. I need structure and routine and I just don’t think I could be one of those people that rolls out of bed 30 minutes before my shift begins and drag my laptop into my lap and still have anything that resembles a productive day. 

I have recently missed having a reason to wear casual clothes. Typically my jeans, joggers, sweats and more were a reprieve from tights, dresses and nicer blouses but when every day is basically a day at home: casual versus dressy just doesn’t seem to matter. I did treat myself to a few new v-neck shirts to spice up my wardrobe and add to the rotation but as I add more t-shirts to my closet, I can’t help but look at all the dresses that have been neglected since there’s nowhere to go. But the new wardrobe additions have helped me feel a little less sad when it comes to getting dressed even if there isn’t always someone to compliment me on my outfit. 

The pandemic has changed every facet of my day to day life and by making sure that I keep the delineation between work time and not work time has been just one of the ways I’ve been able to try and stay sane. Making sure that each morning I work that I get dressed and look even a fraction of what is considered presentable has been a vital part of keeping up the routine that helps me focus on all that needs to be done during my work day. 

I hope you all are staying safe out there. I know this is a trying time; it has been for all of us. 

Fingers crossed, things will improve soon. 

What I’ve Purchased During the Pandemic

To say that the pandemic has put a near end to my impulse shopping is an understatement but that doesn’t mean that my bad habit has been entirely snuffed out. I have purchased new things during the pandemic but I think that there’s something curious about this recent slate of purchases more so than the usual impulse buys I pick up in hopes of temporarily satiating my anxiety. 

Let’s go over some of the things I’ve bought during the pandemic. 


A Yeti Nano Microphone

I run two podcasts with two friends and oh boy has audio quality always been a struggle. On top of that, I have had virtual conventions to muddle through and my videos have never been the best quality. I started some freelance work early into the pandemic and that left me with a little extra cash and after agonizing for days over what kind of mic I should get and what mic would best suit my needs I settled on the Yeti Nano. It’s good sound quality, not super expensive and it’s petite: like me. My audio quality has improved, I feel more professional and it was absolutely worthwhile to save up for the new tech.


An Anthony Bourdain Novena Candle 

Longtime readers of the blog and those close to me will know just how much Anthony Bourdain means to me. I still remember the day I found out that he died. A friend reached out to me asking if I was okay as if I had lost someone very close to me. The loss felt close; it still feels close. That’s why when my friend reached out to me showing me a novena candle with Anthony Bourdain on it depicted as a Saint: well, I had to buy it

It now sits on my bookshelf in my bedroom next to my incense, a few family photos and my degree: a contact reminder to keep living as I would and to do so decadently. 


 A Ring Light 

Remember how I mentioned that I got a new mic? Well, since I was focusing on being the best I could be when it comes to my video production and presentation? Well, I bought the secret trick used by models, “models” e-girls, cosplayers and “cosplayers” all around the world: a ring light. A friend of mine who cosplays mentioned that the ring light she used was on sale and I happened to have some Amazon gift card money to spend and thus arrived a few days later a ring light that has really done wonders of making me look alive and vibrant while being on livestreams and while recording videos. 


A Pageant Gown

Shocking development: I entered a beauty pageant earlier in the year. It was mostly at the behest of a friend. Earlier in the year, I didn’t think there’d be a pandemic so I had to continue on as if the event was happening this year. I have started and stopped with this pageant for weeks and waited until what would have been the last minute to order a gown before the coordinators finally gave up the ghost and moved the event to next year. Well, I still have the dress and now I’m not sure if I’m going to be in the pageant. I suppose now I’ll have to find an event worthy of what may be the nicest gown I own currently. 


You may have noticed a theme here. I have been fortunate enough to be able to take my time and money and be able to reinvest in my hobbies this pandemic. I’m very aware that not everyone is this fortunate. I’ve spent this pandemic either saving money or trying desperately to find coping skills that don’t involve going to the mall to avoid my racing thoughts. I’ve filled the void with many things over the years: books, clothes, fabric, costume supplies to costumes I’ll never use but having to sit and be alone with my thoughts has been trying. I didn’t realize how destructive my shopping had become until the option to do so just didn’t exist as it normally did. I was never a huge on online shopping. Probably the part of me that subconsciously knows that I would develop a habit if I fully realized that with a few button clicks that things could arrive at my apartment like magic. By removing the ability to stop at “just one more store” or pick up “well I may need it” kind of purchases, I’ve had no choice but to really take a good hard look at my spending and my desire to acquire. 

The pandemic made my shopping more intentional and for better or worse made me realize that I need other coping skills. And to be honest, I’m glad it did. It’s never fun having to take a look at a bad habit by organizing books, trading cards and clothes. It’s been trying, hell. It’s also been shocking to realize the pure amount of privilege I have to even shop during this pandemic. That guilt may also have been what’s driving my desire to consume less. Being at home means now I’m even more aware of all that it takes to get me what I want. It isn’t just walking into a store and grabbing a pair of velvet leggings. It’s having to price shop and look and find shipping prices that make sense and knowing that someone is packing that order and making sure it gets to me. It wasn’t that such awareness didn’t exist before but I am more cognizant of it now. 

I feel almost guilty for consuming. I know that I shouldn’t, that’s the comfortable lie that capitalism tells me. But when the world is on fire, there are just plenty of times where I don’t feel like adding to the system of consumerism. It’s been remarkably difficult to look up from where I am sometimes to buy frivolous things. Realistically, the things I purchased either were to reinvest in things I’ve been doing for years or ended up being a need. 

That is, if sparkly ball gowns count as a need. 

Thoughts from Austin, Round Rock and Welcome to Night Vale Live Once More

-So Buc-ee's is like the nicest and biggest gas station ever with immaculate bathrooms and all sorts of things you could never imagine you need but want in the moment. Oh and the food's delicious. So like a giant fan.png

I’m starting to wonder what I did to deserve friends that will do such things for me. Once again, Amber managed to get us tickets to see Welcome to Night Vale: Live this time in Austin. The trip wasn’t very long but the trip was fun and as always, I feel like I’ve learned a lot about myself and those I call my friends.

  • Traffic is weird in Texas and going to Austin is a constant reminder that even though in theory this place isn’t far it takes sometimes way too long to get there.
  • Buc-ee’s is still wonderful.
    • So I talk about Buc-ee’s a lot and I think it’s hilarious that so many people that I know and care about will never know or understand how wonderful this place is.
    • Also I need the “Killing my liver while floating on the river” tank top.
  • There’s nothing like bringing bottles of booze with you to a hotel room. Makes you feel ritzy and by ritzy, I mean probably going to do questionable nerd things and that you (I) are (am) too old for this.
  • If you see more than one Corvette in the parking lot of your hotel, there’s probably a thing going on.
    • The thing going on was a giant Corvette race thing.
  • Hampton Inns are surprisingly nice.
    • They’re Hilton properties so I expect that but they’re very nice.
  • Amber has never been to a Waffle House.
    • This fact shocked me.
  • Amber is a great friend and I love her like a sister but she is blunt sometimes and so much more direct than I am that she really catches me off guard. She’s very authentic and I appreciate that about her but she can sometimes say truths about me that cut me to my core.
    • I want to work on taking her word to heart and knowing she doesn’t mean it as a cruel thing, she’s just trying to help me grow.
  • Fun fact: there’s nothing on TV anymore but My Cat from Hell and Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.
  • Midnight, Texas is apparently just hillbilly Constantine.
    • Additional fun fact: Amber and I have many opinions on both shows.
  • There’s nothing like trying to cosplay as someone who you feel no one else would notice.
    • Like, really. Night Vale is a rough thing to cosplay out in public.
      • Amber said it best: “You can’t go out dressed as a bloody glowing cloud covered in dead animals and expect people to get it.”
  • Fun fact: it will start raining as soon as you put on 5 layers of concealer and foundation. And then it will stop as soon as you get into the car.
  • The Paramount Theater in Austin is pretty but not as nice as the Majestic.
    • But they had snacks and hipster popcorn so it was a win.
  • There were a lot of kids at this show…I’ve never considered Night Vale to be a mature show but lots of kids…too many kids.
  • That being said though: Austin audiences are…a different bunch. The crowd was for sure more rowdy this time.
    • Additionally, there was a woman who climbed over 2 rows of antique seating and then spread her legs over the empty seat below her. I was floored.
  • No spoilers about the show but at the risk of sounding like an huge brat (it was a birthday gift, after all) I’ll say this about the show: it wasn’t my favorite. It wasn’t bad. At its core, it’s still a show I love but it didn’t floor me the way Ghost Stories did.
    • The weather was quite good though. The artist was entertaining and rhythmic and eccentric.
      • Also “rhythmic accordion solo” are now words I can say I strung together.
      • Also lots of intense percussive foot stomping.
  • Parking in Austin makes me angry.
  • Sonic is not real food, but it is delicious once you’re half a bottle of champagne into the evening.
  • Live PD is a confusing jaunt between almost boring cop stories to very over-blown drama.
    • Like it does really feel like police propaganda a little. It’s a lot of cops doing very non-dramatic things and in a world where it seems that the police are now only involved in scandal, it was sort of nice to see them just do their jobs and no one get unnecessarily hurt or die.
  • Jasmine Green Tea with Elderflower Liquor and Ginger Vodka is magical.
    • If you have any cocktail name suggestions: leave them in the comments below.
  • Round Rock is a magical place full of delicious food.
  • Round Rock Doughnuts is wonderful. I didn’t want to leave.
    • Though I feel bad for the church and Cuban spot next to the small donut shop.

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The famous Round Rock Donut. It’s measured with a bucket lid. BECAUSE TEXAS.

 

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  • SALT LICK BBQ IS DELICIOUS AND I DIDN’T WANT TO LEAVE.

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    LOOK AT THIS. LOOK AT THIS FOOD. EVERYTHING WAS DELICIOUS.

    • Even though Amber and I had a heavy conversation about personal responsibility to family over how awful families can be as well as gentrification and how difficult it is just to be of color in America.
    • Oh and I got free cobbler because birthday weekend.
  • There’s nothing like getting new Converse.
    • Fun fact, I showed these shoes to TJ and he said we could no longer be friends afterwards because the shoes were too cool.
  • Amber gets antsy on the road trip home.
  • Discussing drug and club culture and its relationship to techno is depressing but necessary.
  • Traffic in Texas is still awful.
  • Finding something opened past 5 on Sunday is difficult:
    • Context: my power went out due to a storm in San Antonio so I didn’t feel like going home to a hot/dark house. So I drove around for 2 hours somehow past the trip and it was damn near impossible to find anything that was still opened.

I had a great time in Austin and I had a wonderful birthday and birthday weekend. I’m grateful for friendships, fun and making memories.

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This is the face of a very glossy and very tired cosplayer and friend.

Rest easy, readership. Rest easy. And thank you for the birthday wishes.