Dallas Sci-Fi Expo

Last weekend, The Nerd and I headed to the Dallas Sci-Fi Expo for a day of nerdy goodness.
Morena Baccarin (who played Inara on Firefly and Anna on V) was there signing autographs, along with Tricia Helfer and Katee Sackhoff from Battlestar Galactica.
We got to the event pretty early and wandered through the vendor booths looking at all the crazy things for sale.
There were *so many* vintage toys and comics and T-shirts.
This booth sold autographed photos from celebrities — they cost anywhere from $20 to $200, depending on the actor’s fame and the rarity of the autograph.
There were Stargate: SG 1 costumes and even an exhibit of baby vampire dolls.
Seriously. It was kind of odd.
But MY favorite thing? Definitely this “Future Captain” onesie.
I can totally see a little nerdling running around in one of those one day.
Outside the autograph area, there were several vintage games set up.
Aren’t they cool?
And there were so many people dressed as their favorite characters! The people-watching was worth the trip alone!
We were pretty worn out and didn’t really want to brave the long lines to get autographs (plus, they cost $35 each!) or to get a seat in the Q&A sessions.
So we were lame and just walked around a bit and then left.
The Nerd is *really* looking forward to seeing Stan Lee and Leonard Nimoy at Dallas Comic Con in May!
Thanks for looking!

Christmas in the Square: Frisco, Texas

My favorite part of the holiday season is all the Christmas lights.
I remember growing up, we’d go for drives and count the number of houses lit up for the season.
Those are some of my favorite memories.
Last week, The Nerd and I took a walk in downtown Frisco. I love the downtown area — it has the charm of a small town square, but the amenities of a larger city.
Each holiday season, the city sponsors Christmas in the Square, a display of Christmas lights on all the buildings in the square.
The lights are timed to music, and each weekend, a snow machine dusts the square in fluffy white flakes.
You know, since it’s Texas and it doesn’t ever really snow.
The Nerd was my photo guinea pig. Isn’t he cute?
It was really beautiful this year.
Are there any good Christmas light displays where you live?
Thanks for looking!


James and Arena in parkas 4x6
Last weekend, we decided to visit the ICE! Exhibit at the Gaylord Texan.
If you’re not familiar with ICE!, it’s a display of ice sculptures that’s 9 degrees inside.
River and Andy in parkas
Because it’s so cold, they give you these HUGE parkas to wear.
They ran out of the smaller size, so River’s was giant on her. It made me laugh.
Brad Jet and Hyrum in parkas
Here are Brad, Jet and Hyrum. His didn’t fit well, either.
This year, the theme was a Charlie Brown Christmas. The ice is colored and pretty much everything is carved from it.
It was really neat. I was afraid my camera would freeze so I didn’t take many photos.
River on the slide
I did pull it out in time to catch River sliding down the ice slide in her giant parka and getting stuck about halfway down.
She just lay there, with her arms up in the air covered completely by the huge sleeves.
What else could she do?
Brad and River on the slide
Brad was waiting at the bottom to catch her.
He didn’t know what to do either.
I’m laughing so hard remembering it.
The slide attendant had to walk up the ice (I can’t believe he didn’t slip!) and pull her the rest of the way down.
Nanna and Pappy
Once we left ICE! we decided to snap some photos with the beautiful Christmas decorations at the Gaylord Texan. That’s Nanna and Pappy.
Brad Jet and Hyrum 4x6
I love this photo of Jet, Brad and Hyrum.
Andy Alex and River 4x6
Andy, Alex and River
James and Arena 4x6
The Nerd and Me
River with snowflake
River is so cute.
Even with a snowflake on her head.
River with snowflake 2
Snowflake? What snowflake?
Thanks for looking!
We bundled up to see the ICE! exhibit at the Gaylor Texan this Christmas. It was 9 degrees inside! Burrr!

I *Heart* Faces Photo Workshop!

Last weekend, I had the chance to attend the Dream Big Photography Workshop sponsored by I *Heart* Faces.
I took the beginner class, taught by Michelle Johnson from My Two Seasons. There were about 20 of us in the class.
We learned lots about aperture, shutter speed, ISO and exposure. We even got a few tips on Photoshop Actions.
But the best thing? I got the confidence to shoot in Manual for the first time!
Here are some of my photos from that day:
This little girl was so fun.
She looked at each camera and posed perfectly.
Plus, her outfit was super-cute.
IMG_7583 eyes pop
This is the daughter of Dana Suggs.
She was so quiet but she was such a doll.
The cookies were provided by Bake at 350.
Isn’t she beautiful? I love her fiery red hair and sky blue eyes.
Simply gorgeous.

It was so great to have the chance to work on my photo skills.

Thanks for looking!

I learned a lot about aperture, shutter speed, ISO and exposure at the Dream Big Photo Workshop. And shot on manual for the first time ever!

Bakerella Book Signing!

For the longest time, I have adored Bakerella.
I just love her blog. And her Cake Pops are darling.
So when I heard she’d be in Dallas for her book tour, I jumped at the chance to meet her.
I mean, look at her. Isn’t she so fun and full of life?
First, she shared some tips to get the perfect Cake Pops.
You see the pens she’s holding in the photo? Those are the only ones to use, she said.
They last a lot longer than other brands, Bakerella told us.
But you still have to be sure to use a light hand when writing/coloring on the candy melts, she said. If you don’t, the candy will gob up around the pen.
And these little pink bowls are the perfect size for a 16 oz bag of candy melts.
Bakerella uses only the best!
Once you dip your Cake Pop into the candy melts, *don’t* stir it around the bowl. You just want to dip it and pull it out to let the excess drain off.
And here’s the trick: Don’t shake your Cake Pop to get rid of the excess chocolate.
Hold it in your hand and tap your wrist with two fingers, gently discarding the excess without messing up your beautiful creation.
Gets it smooth every time, Bakerella told us.
After her question and answer session, she signed books!
I was #8 in line, so I got to go through quickly!
We each got these super-cute buttons, too!
It was such a fun experience!
And here’s the best part: I bought an extra copy of Cake Pops by Bakerella and had it signed especially for one of my readers.
That’s you, folks!
One lovely reader will win this *signed* copy of Cake Pops by Bakerella and a set of adorable mini buttons.
The Rules:
The contest is open to U.S. and Canada residents only.
You *must* be a follower of my blog to enter. To follow my blog, simply click “Join This Site” on the Google Friend Connect widget. You can sign in with your Google, Twitter or Blogger account.
If you are a new follower, you will receive 1 entry.
If you were a follower prior to the start of this contest, you will receive 2 entries.
Fill out the form below to enter. Do not leave your entry in the comments.
Each person may fill out the form once.
If you h
ave any questions, you can consult my contest policy.
Increase Your Chances:

Complete the following tasks to increase your chances to win!

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Contest Ends Friday, Nov. 12 at 11:59 pm CST.
Good Luck!

Bakerella showed us how to make perfect Cake Pops when her book tour stopped in Dallas.

Scott Westerfeld Book Signing

Last week, I got to meet Scott Westerfeld when he spoke at a local library about his latest book, Behemoth.
Behemoth, which is the sequel to Leviathan, is an alternative history of World War I.
It blends Steampunk and fantasy to create a world where “Clankers” use steam-powered walking machines to battle Darwinist creatures fabricated by Great Britain.
Westerfeld talked about how he wanted to include illustrations in these novels to give the look and feel of an early 20th-century novel.
Behemoth is punctuated by illustrations like this, depicting an elephantine machine walking through the streets of Istanbul.
Westerfeld talked about how he would give the illustrator, Keith Thompson, an idea (or model, haha)…
…and Thompson would turn it into something like this.
Isn’t that cool?
Some illustrations were based on actual machines developed in the early 1900s, like this weird walking motorcycle thingy.
At the end of the night, I asked him to sign some copies of Leviathan, Behemoth and Zombies vs. Unicorns.
He agreed to take a photo with me, too!
This was one of the most interesting author events I’ve attended and I’m so glad I got to meet him!
Thanks for looking!
Scott Westerfeld, author of Behemoth, wanted to include illustrations in his novels to emulate the look and feel of an early 20th century book.

Fun at the Fair!

Earlier this week, I posted about the amazing selection of fried foods we tried last weekend at the State Fair of Texas.
Today, I’d like to talk about animals.
Namely, freaky looking rabbit-like animals like these ones. I have no idea what they are called.
Giraffes, which River really liked.
Goats that became so interested in a cute little blonde girl wearing an Aggie cap…
That they came over and stuck their heads through the fence to get a closer look at her.
Of course, she had to reward him for coming to say hello.
She liked him so much that she poured her entire cup of feed into the shovel to feed him.
He was one happy goat.
River got a good look at the rest of the animals…
There was this little guy, who looked strangely intriguing.
And miniature horses that liked to cuddle with each other.
And, finally, zebras! They were so cute!
While we’re at it, let’s talk about rides.
Crazy, swinging rides that you will never, ever catch me riding.
Heck, I’m even a wuss at Six Flags.
And games…
Super-fun games where cute little girls win fun little prizes.
River really liked the game with the duckies.
She liked the swan ride. Her daddy, however, didn’t like the fact that he had to pedal them around the pond. :)
But I think the carousel ride (the horsies!) was her favorite.
By the end of the day, she was all tuckered out.
And so were we.
Oh, the fun we had at the fair!
River had a blast at the petting zoo and riding the carousel at the State Fair of Texas!

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