Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Happily Ever After

When I began this blog 14 months ago, my goal was to create a fun, yet structured outlet to write. I had no idea it would become so much more. It's been an Adventure, to say the least.

Finding Truth
The writing itself turned out to be a process of discovery. Every week I would sit down at my computer and have no idea what I would end up with. But as I wrote I would stumble upon some precious truth found in the film's story, and that process became something I looked forward to every week. I will always treasure those many hours I spent alone finding clever ways to communicate my discoveries.

There were weeks where I wasn't feeling so clever. And some weeks I was feeling plain snarky (though, inexplicably, those posts seemed to receive the most views. This just goes to show everyone must agree with me about Tinkerbell's pantslessness.)

But then there were other weeks when I realized something new or different about a familiar movie. My review of Aladdin is one such example. Though I've seen that movie probably more than any other Disney movie aside from The Lion King, its theme of clinging to that which defines us was a brand new revelation this time around. In my own life this year I have especially wrestled with my identity as a (1) single (2) Asian American (3) woman (4) in ministry. Each of these aspects of my life have weighed as heavily on me as Genie's shackles and often felt as frustrating as Aladdin's fleas (perhaps less itchy, though.) But as I wrote in that review and many others, I have continued to experience the freedom found in Jesus.

In some ways, this blog has provided an unexpected form of discipleship, leading me to dwell on the Gospel every week, and ponder the ways it has taken root in the world and in my life. The True Story of redemption and hope could not stop ringing in my ears. Even despite all the loud belting of "A Whole New World." And it wasn't just me doing the belting. Though probably 95% of it was me. Sorry about that.

Finding Disnerds
This project has served as a great on ramp to community and new friendships. Hosting a weekly movie night for over a year has been tiring but also a wonderful way to practice hospitality. Apparently I am not the only Disnerd out there. Over the 51 weeks I have hosted over 60 different people at my movie nights! Five of those people, Vicki, Kylene, Mimi, Tiana and Christopher, attended over half of the movie nights, and have even started calling themselves Disnerds. I've enjoyed having these friends and others along for my mostly crazy experience. It made me feel less crazy seeing their enthusiasm for what I was doing. Or maybe I just realized that I am surrounded by weirdos. Either way, I've had a blast! I've also learned that Disney is one of those universal topics that everyone can talk about. The perfect icebreaker, and so helpful for an introvert like me!
The Disnerds recently went to Disney in Concert at the Overture Center, dressed in Disney fashion of course. Can you guess which characters inspired each of us?

a few more details pictures of our outfits! :)

Finding Creative Outlets
Possibly what I have loved most is the wide variety of opportunities to channel my creativity. I never realized how energized I could be making Mickey Mouse mummy cupcakes for Halloween or Mickey shaped Christmas ornaments. I found so much joy in gathering data and designing the self-coined phrase "Disnographics." (Maybe a little too much joy.) I think I hit an all-time low, or high, when I actually created Disnerd t-shirts. And my birthday party. Well, we all know how that went down. ;) The passion I have always had to be resourcefully creative has been thoroughly reignited this year.
celebrating nearly every holiday, Disnerd style

The Renaissance, which took me from about March to June this year, was an especially fun season. Who knew getting dressed could be Disnerdified? I'm pretty sure this is a part of my project I will carry into the future. I've already got my outfit planned for Halloween. I'll give you a hint, I will dress as a villain.
Never have I worn so many solid primary colors in one season!

Finding the End
I could probably go on and on about how this blog has changed my life. It sounds ridiculous but it's true. Not only am I proud of myself for accomplishing what I set out to do, I'm also in awe of all that God has poured onto my overflowing cup. I have learned so much about myself and God, and have made so many memories along the way. While I need a bit of a break from blogging for a while, I know I'll be itching to get back to another blog project eventually. This has been way too much fun.

So here we are. This leads me to my final goodbye, and my last words to you from me, the Disnerd:

Never go anywhere without your pants.
The End!

Monday, October 8, 2012

A Disnerd Birthday Adventure, part 3: Fashion & Fun

I was absolutely GIDDY that the vast majority of my party guests showed up in Disney-inspired outfits as requested. Yes, I indicated that it was not optional, but I kind of expected that some people wouldn't take me seriously. But to my delight, most of my friends participated... or maybe I should say...humored me.

First, my fabulous outfit. :) As you might have guessed, I was Flynn Rider! It's not so much Flynn as it is the actor Zachary Levi that I love. But it seemed appropriate to wear this for my birthday! The teal blouse (Old Navy) and skinny jeans (ModCloth) are both new. So, not quite an outfit on a budget, but I decided they were my birthday gift to myself. Everyone's allowed an exception when they're having an epic birthday.
And here are some of the other fabulous outfits! Click on the pictures to view bigger and read captions.
Thanks to Abi for these photos!
Thanks to Allison for these photos!
Not pictured: Carolyn as Cruella deVil & Amy as Goofy.

After the votes came in, Tiana (Rapunzel), Stephanie (Snow White), Elizabeth (Eeyore) and Kylene (Maleficent) went home as reigning Disnerd Fashionistas! Seriously though, I was super impressed by everyone's outfits. From Cassie's snake skin shoes (Jafar) to Laura's fishscale nails (Ariel), everyone did a great job! I hope you had fun because I sure did!

We also had other fun Disney-themed activities to complete the epic awesomeness. A huge shout-out to Kylene and Mimi for organizing!

Matching Game
Mimi led an icebreaker type game where each of us had a sticker on our back, with either a Disney hero/heroine, villain or a sidekick on it. We had to figure out who we were and then find our partner by asking each other yes or no questions. This was a great way for all my guests to meet each other, since I had friends from different areas of my life. Let it be noted that I was the first person to figure out my sticker (Pinocchio) and my partner (Abi - Jiminy Cricket)! I knew exactly who I was when I asked, "Am I human?" and someone answered, "Um...well it depends." :)
I have no idea what face I am making in the picture on the right.
Later on in the evening I broke out the Disney karaoke. This may have been my favorite part of the night. I found a whole bunch of karaoke videos on YouTube that I compiled into a playlist. I hooked up my laptop to my TV and we had a whole hour of Disney karaoke songs! It was both heartwarming and slightly disturbing that everyone knew all the words to every song. (I knew I wasn't the only one!) Disney songs work well for karaoke because you are allowed to be both dramatic and silly. Plus, most of the songs are within my vocal range.
why do i look so earnest? and yes, that is a Disney Princess microphone (that someone gave me a while back)

I took a couple videos but this is by far my favorite. Drew totally embraced his Gaston-ness in this clip:

Who What Where
Kylene organized our last game, and by then we were down to about a dozen people. This is when things really got crazy (aren't you all wishing you had stayed longer? haha). We played a Disney version of "Who What Where". It's sort of like Pictionary but a little more involved. In each round we had to pick out pieces of paper with a "Who" - all Disney characters, a "What" and a "Where." Then we had to draw that scene. As you might imagine, hilarity ensued. See if you can guess some of these masterpieces (answers at the end of this post):
my drawing
Laura S's drawing
Amy's drawing
Christopher's drawing

All in all, this was probably the best birthday party I have ever had. I throw a good party, if I say so myself. ;) But it wouldn't have been possible without the help of so many friends, and for everyone who came to celebrate with me. I felt incredibly blessed and cared for that night. It was the perfect way to ring in my 30th year and cap off this crazy Disnerd Adventure! Thanks for being a party of my epic day!

I've got at least 2 more posts coming before I say goodbye, so stay tuned!

Who What Where answers: (1) Aladdin break dancing in a tent (2) Cheshire Cat bowling in Madison (3) Ursula segue-ing on a mountain (4) Cogsworth pole vaulting in a cave

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A Disnerd Birthday Adventure, part 2: Food

The Asian in me loves parties that have exorbitant amounts of food. Like so much that you know you'll never finish it and have to force people to take doggie bags home. To me that's the only kind of party worth having. The problem is that whenever I host a party, I get really stressed out that there won't be enough food and then it's not very fun for me.

I didn't want my epic birthday party to be stressful, so I decided to delegate half of the food to friends and assign myself a lot of the easy prep stuff. This worked out really well! I should do this more often.

I realized that when you have every single Disney animated movie to draw from, you can pretty much make whatever you want and somehow give it a Disney spin. I did spend a lot of time brainstorming food ideas though. I even designed food labels for each item. Blame it on the day job.

Here's what we had (warning: you may want to grab a napkin to wipe the drool off your mouth as you read this!):

Savory Foods:

Pumbaa's in a blanket, made by Kylene & Vicki
haha. I used the "SHE'S GONNA EAT ME!" scene for the label. So ironic.

Koda's smoked salmon on crackers (Brother Bear)
This is seriously the easiest finger food to make. All you need is smoked salmon, cream cheese, crackers and fresh dill! No cooking required. :)

Mushu's fire-roasted dumplings
Also very easy, when you buy them frozen. The handmade dumpling days are gone. haha.

Genie, wake up and smell the hummus!
Here's a little random fact: I always thought he said, "Genie, wake up and smell the homeless!" hahaha. I mean, has anyone ever thought about how Aladdin probably smelled really bad?

Chicken Little Waffles not pictured (somehow I forgot to get a shot of these!):
This was fried chicken on homemade waffles drizzled with maple syrup, made by my roommate Amy, who on the day of my party had only been back from a 10 day trip to Africa for less than 24 hours. Seriously, my roommate rocks. We'll leave out the fact that her first batch of waffle batter used powdered sugar instead of flour. To be fair, the container was unlabeled. :D

Corn dip & blue corn chips (also not pictured...oops!), made by Kylene & Vicki ("blue corn [moon]" is a reference to a lyric in "Colors of the Wind")
I only ate a couple bites of this, but it was SO yummy. I'm still thinking about it a week later. Note to self: get recipe!

Steak strips on baguette with caramelized onion and blue cheese
Who cares if this isn't Disney. They were amazing. Once again my roommate is awesome! (I suppose we could have called them Home on the Range steak? But seeing as that my life goal is to forget I ever watched that movie, I didn't think it appropriate to make it part of my birthday celebration.)

Sweet Foods:
Cinderella's magic pumpkin cookies, made by Courtney
I actually didn't get to eat any at the party but I had one of the leftovers later. They were goood! I think I'm going to have to ask Courtney to make these again. :)

Snow White mini apple pies, made by Tiana
Um, I'm pretty sure there was poison in these because they were to DIE for. And they were apple-shaped! How cute is that? 

Dalmatian puppy chow
There wasn't really anything dalmatian-y about this chow. But it was easy to make, and a great party food.

Tarzan's tropical fruit
Another easy one! I think all parties need to have fruit. Yep, pulling the Asian card again on this one.

Mickey oreo cupcakes, blonde and chocolate, made by Tiana (sorry the picture is blurry!)
You have to have something Mickey-shaped at a Disney party!

Rapunzel's tower, made out of cupcakes, ice cream cones, and a lot of icing, by Tiana
Um, this was ridiculously awesome! I was in awe of how accurately detailed this was, and even more in awe that Tiana managed to get it to my party in one piece. No one wanted to eat it because it was so pretty!

The finale - cake & punch
A Disnerd cake
What's a birthday party without a cake? My friend Stephanie likes to decorate cakes, so we worked together on the design, featuring my special 30th Mickey logo, and symbols from the 4 main eras of Disney animation: the sorcerer's hat from Fantasia, Cinderella's slipper, Aladdin's magic lamp, and the sun from Tangled. It was both gorgeous and very Disnerdy. So basically it was perfect. Thank you Stephanie for the most memorable cake I have ever had!

Pink Elephant punch
A Disney-themed birthday party for a 30-year-old needs a little alcohol. I mean really. So I Googled "pink elephant punch" and found this recipe! I'm guessing people liked it because there was hardly any left at the end of the night, even after making a second batch. Dumbo & Timothy would have certainly enjoyed it.

Amy and I were eating leftovers all week. Actually I still have smoked salmon and dumplings I am avoiding eating. Imagine if I had prepared all the food myself! A HUGE thank you to each and every friend who helped with the food. I really could not have had such a great spread without you! 

Next and last Birthday post: fashion & games!