Tuesday, August 30, 2022

24 Years Of Makin' It Weird

Listening to John talk to an A/C repairman outside my office door:

John: "You ever see Charlie & the Chocolate Factory?"

Me, looking up: Oh no.

Repair Guy: "Uhh, yeah."

John: "You know Augustus Gloop, the German kid?"

Me: Where are you going with this, John...

Repair Guy: "I... think so?"

Me: ::abandoning all pretense at work and turning wide-eyed toward the door::

John: "That's what I look like when I shave this off."

Repair Guy: ::silence::

Me: ::horror::

John, cheerfully: "Yep, I'm 47, but I turn into a chubby little German boy without the beard."

This has been Life With An Oversharing Extrovert, vol. 12.

Also I think this photo series is worth a re-share:


In other John-related news, yesterday was our 24th wedding anniversary!

(This was from last week, I can math, honest.)

In true Yates fashion, we stayed home and worked on DIY projects: give-away pins and stickers for Dragon Con this weekend. Tonight we pack, and tomorrow we leave for Atlanta! Dragon Con is always the best anniversary celebration, can't wait.

If you're also headed to Dragon Con this week, I hope you'll join us at one of the Epbot meetups! We'll give you a sticker or pin, a hearty fist-bump, the secret to laughing at trees together... it'll be good times. The first meetup is Thursday night in the Marriott at 6:30pm, watch my Stories or the FoEs Go To Dragon Con Facebook group for updates.

And everyone else, stay tuned for alllll the fun Dragon Con coverage. We hope to upload daily videos on the Epbot YouTube Channel, so be sure to subscribe there to see them as soon as they drop, plus I'll be uploading silliness along the way in my IG/FB stories.

See you on the other side!

Friday, August 26, 2022

The 2022 Dragon Con Survival Guide: New & Improved!

It's Fri-Yay, y'all!

And even better, after a too-long pandemic-y hiatus, John and I are heading back to Atlanta this Wednesday for the one, the only, Dragon Con.

Eeeeee I'm so excited.

We've been going to this con every year since 2009(!!), and Dragon Con was the only cancelled event I truly missed the last two years. Take the rest, but gimmie my dragony chaos crew. DC fuels me up all year, and feels like home in a way you just have to experience to understand - which is why I tell everyone to try it at least once.

Baby Jen's first Dragon Con, 2009. This was pre-Epbot! Also my first time asking for a photo with cosplayers, because Ghostbusters 4evahhhh.

And while I'm feeling nostalgic, here's my favorite photo from that first year:

Sparkly Edward Cullen & Mighty Mugs Chewie. Yep. That' about sums it up.

Anyhoo, so today we're revisiting my Dragon Con Survival Guide. These are helpful tips for newbies and veterans alike, plus it gives me an excuse to post some of my favorite photos from last time (2019), which always hypes me up.


To keep this entertaining you'll be getting a mix of crappy cellphone pics and my dramatic black-out portraits:

So if nothing else, I hope you enjoy the eye candy. :)

First, the Dragon Con basics:

What is it?

Dragon Con is an internationally known pop culture, sci-fi, fantasy, and gaming convention held in Atlanta, Georgia. It spans 5 days over Labor Day weekend, and prior to 2020 had grown to an attendance of over 80,000 people.

That's by no means the largest convention in the U.S., but Dragon Con *feels* the largest because instead of a convention center, it's held in 5 large "host hotels" and two shopping center buildings, all of which span several blocks in downtown Atlanta.

Because the con is spread out over such a large area, it's easily the most confusing and potentially stressful event you'll ever attend. Don't worry, though, I got you.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Dollar Tree DIY: Spooky Cloche Terrariums For Craft Night

Happy Tuesday, boos! I know this may be rushing things, but I am FULLY onboard the spoop train to Halloween Town, choo choo. This is my favorite time of year for DIYs, and the best crafts are the ones that change our dining room tables from this:

... to this:

Aw yeah Craft Night!

And check out what these talented chaos gremlins made this time:


For those of you who can't watch videos right now, here are a couple examples of our spooky cloche terrariums:

This one's mine. Can you tell I've been watching Youtube videos of Mickey's Not-So-Scary?

This one's Arielle's, who used a larger cloche made of real glass, because she's fancy like that. ;)

These cloches were such a huge hit - both with my friends and some of you watching my Stories - that today I'm going to walk you through the steps, share our templates, and show you why this is the PERFECT group activity for your own craft nights.

 I'll be making this boo-ty right here:

Friday, August 19, 2022

Witchy Chapeaus, Sailor Moon Jewels, & Oh Hell, Fall


job, let's celebrate.

 I even found the perfect party hats, handcrafted by EverCrumblyAndWitch. (Say that name out loud for a chuckle).


Can confirm, my grabby hands would like to be-holding this. Heeeeeeeyo.

Or this!

These sweet witchy hats are magical, and come in so many gorgeous styles:

The mushrooms! Eee! Give Ever Crumbly a follow on Instagram to see more, or head to their website to shop.


Speaking of magic, watch THIS:

Olga makes mostly Sailor Moon designs, but she also mixes in a little Harry Potter and even Star Wars with her beaded brooches:

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Does A Wedding Dagger Really Need A Point?


Remember our friends who threw that EPIC Game of Thrones dinner party?

You know, the party where every dish was themed, and dessert was traumatizing?

This was hard to forget... no matter how I tried, bahaha.

WELL, last weekend was these friends' 50th wedding anniversary(!!), so I knew a run-of-the-mill gift just wouldn't do.


Well, Etsy, to be more precise.

I discovered the Strongblade Etsy shop, which sells personalized daggers and swords. This isn't sponsored, but what they made me turned out so nice I have to show it off.

First here's a look at the engraving, because I really like the saying John and I came up with:

Anna & John, Forged 1972
50 Years Unbroken

Eh? EH?

Listen, part of romance is having the ability to stab each other, but not doing it. (PRO TIP.)

Next we needed a way to display both the dagger and sheath, so we bought this wooden plaque at JoAnn's to modify:
John drilled holes through the plaque to pressure-fit wooden dowels:

... then Dremeled the dowels into shape so they'd cradle the dagger and blade exactly:

This is where the blade slots into place.

After this we spent a couple of days getting the finish right, because staining wood is a pain. First it was too dark, then it was too red, but our third attempt was just right.

Ready for the grand reveal? (EEEEEEE)

Here we go.

Friday, August 12, 2022

This DIY Countdown Calendar Turns Into Pretty Wall Art!

Hiya, bots and babes! John and I made something new during my sabbatical last month, and I'm super psyched to show you.

For a little background: one of our closest friends, Ken, recently started radiation for a spot of skin cancer on his leg. The good news is they caught it early and everyone expects a full recovery, but since Ken has SMA it's still stressful and a bit scary for him and his wife, Sue.

The day Ken started treatment I decided to make him some sort of celebration countdown, like an advent calendar, or a goal chart, to mark off each of his 32(!!) treatments. I couldn't find anything online, though, so I spent all afternoon brainstorming with John, then all evening experimenting with different materials.

In the end we had my new favorite DIY: something you can use to countdown to any celebration, whether it's the end of cancer treatments, graduation, or a family vacation.

Ready to see?

Here it is, mid-countdown:

 This is a photo Sue sent me a couple of weeks ago, showing their progress. See how it works?

There are 32 flowers, and 32 holes in the backer board. Every treatment day Ken and Sue add a flower, so not only can they SEE his progress, but by the end they'll also have a pretty piece of wall art!

In fact, here's what it will look like all finished:

I chose the colors and style to match Ken & Sue's kitchen, where this hangs besides the door from the garage. They tell me it's their new ritual for Sue to wait for Ken at the door every treatment day with a flower, so they can place it together. (MY HEART.) In fact there were happy tears on all sides when we first brought this over, and I think it was as much a gift to me, seeing my friends' reaction. Gah.

I promise this is easier to make than you think, and doesn't have to cost much, either. All you need is a piece of foam board, some wood-grained contact paper, faux flowers, and either vinyl or paint to add the wording and vase outline.

C'mon, I'll walk you through it:

Friday, August 5, 2022

Trying Something New At Leaky Con 2022


I'm still easing back into a full work schedule, so what better way than with MORE FUN CON COVERAGE?

John and I weren't even planning to attend Leaky Con this year, but they surprised us with Press passes - when we didn't even apply - and it's right here in Orlando. Can't say no to that! So we dropped in both Saturday and Sunday to do a little filming *and* flash portraits, as y'all requested.

Leaky Con is like no other con; it's tiny, super niche, and filled with the friendliest, most welcoming Harry Potter fans you could hope for. (They kicked off with an onstage announcement emphasizing their support for trans rights and all people, and happily that was reflected in the crowd.) The vibe is super relaxed, and with so little to do or see, nearly everyone is there to socialize and have fun.

In fact this was the perfect test run for John's latest build, which allows us to film and take flash photos at the same time. By attaching a flash to the opposite end of his camera gimble, John can carry a flash in either hand along with the video rig, while I carry the DSLR. This lets us switch seamlessly from John taking video to me taking flash portraits, zero downtime.

Plus we look EXTRA profesh with all this gear, ha.
(Except John is trying to... twerk?... here, so not THAT profesh.)

Mixing portraits with video is a new adventure for us, and I love not having to choose between the two. Hopefully we captured the best of both worlds?

Tell you what, let's find out:

Eh? Eh?

This took us FOREVER, it's so, so much work. But dang, it pretty.

But wait, I have more to tell you!