My Debut in the Orlando Fringe Festival

I had been hoping for a chance to perform in the Orlando Fringe Festival- definitely a bucket list kind of performance! A lot of cities have a Fringe Festival; basically groups will perform brand new, usually off-the-wall shows in a myriad of designated locations throughout the city. I actually was invited to a part of the Fringe Festival in the spring of 2017, but I had to turn them down. I was in a wedding as a bridesmaid for the entirety of the second weekend, and that’s…you know, ever so slightly important.

In February of 2017, I performed in a premiere of a short play called Welcome to Intercourse. It’s a super cute play and I loved the role I played so much. Well, the author of the play wrote three more short plays and packaged them together as a show called Quickies, and she wanted me to come back to play Peggy again, as well as two other roles. But I couldn’t. I was so upset! I loved the role, but ultimately I wouldn’t be able to do it and I had to turn it down.

Flash forward to this past summer! I got an email from a director I’d worked with previously; Quickies was possibly going to the winter mini Fringe festival, and the actress who originally played the roles couldn’t make it. Would I be interested?

WAS I EVER!

The show was confirmed in late October and we rolled into rehearsals shortly afterward. It was a short rehearsal period, but the four plays are about 10-15 minutes long each, divided amongst the four actors, so all in all it wasn’t too terrible to balance. It was just a lot of practicing lines in the car as I drove to and from rehearsals.

The show only ran for two performances, but we had fantastic audiences and great feedback. It was a new theater for me, and it was fun playing on a new stage. And I loved revisiting Peggy, who’s one of my favorite roles to play. I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback on my performances and it just makes me pleased as punch.

I wasn’t actually in the first of the four short plays. It was a two person retelling of Scheherazade and the Sultan; it was funny and sassy and I loved watching it from backstage. Of course, backstage was about 3′ by 4′ (and that’s generous) and there were three of us back there, so it was a little uncomfortable.

The second plays was called Meet the Pets. A guy brings a girl (me) home after a date so she can meet his pets. So we had a snooty cat (a guy in a tuxedo and a British accent) and a lovable dog (a girl in flannel and corduroys). It was super funny, and while my character started off as a manic pixie dream girl, she ended up being really smart and self-assured. So it was fun playing both sides of the spectrum.

dress: Forever 21
denim jacket: …I’ll have to check?
floral leggings: No Boundaries
boots: Blowfish
hat: Target
purse: Betsey Johnson
glasses: Eye Buy Direct (Moody frames)

The second show was called Buried. It’s short and bittersweet. I played a girl named Grace who runs into her ex-boyfriend in the middle of a graveyard, and you start to put the pieces that it’s a metaphor for her mind, and she’s trying to bury the memories of him, and she can’t…and then BAM guess what it’s real and she killed him and she’s talking to his ghost. It’s one of the trickiest roles I’ve ever played even though it was only about ten minutes long. Grace is both lighthearted and deeply hurt, so there was a lot of balancing. Plus I had to drag around a shovel.

dress: Forever 21
headband: Goody’s
shoes: Keds

The final short play was my favorite, Welcome to Intercourse. I played Peggy, an accountant who just got jilted by her fiance. Her best friend Eva decides they should go on a road trip, and of course their car breaks down outside of Intercourse, Pennsylvania. And who comes to rescue them but a pair of Amish boys! Peggy and Josiah have a deeply touching conversation onstage, but offstage Eva and Ezekiel fix the car, and of course it sounds extremely suggestive. It was a great little play full of innuendoes, and the girl who played Eva is a dream and it was literally so fun to play opposite her.

dress: Modcloth (Blueberry Lemonade dress)
jacket: I’ll check…
shoes: Payless
glasses: Eye Buy Direct (Sophie frames in pink)

I had such an amazing time doing this show. It was such a quick run (haha, get it, Quickies, I’m hilarious) but it was so fun to do. I don’t know if I’ll get to be a part of it again, but hopefully I’ll get to work with this team again in the future!

Dapper Day Fall 2017

I’ve participated in almost every single Dapper Day since it was started, ranging from “let me throw on this cute dress and call it a day” to “let me hand sew my dress and craft my accessories and wear fancy shoes.” This fall’s Dapper Day was kind of in the middle. Now that it’s a two day event, I skipped the first Magic Kingdom day and attended the second day at Epcot.

I wore the dress I made to perform in Kiss Me Kate, which was adapted from Simplicity 1459. It’s a very comfortable dress, although it had been boxed up with the rest of my costumes since the show closed so it was a little wrinkled. Oops! I also wore my Malco Modes chiffon petticoat as well, but I think it’s starting to deflate. Anyone have recommendations for re-fluffing a chiffon petticoat, or where to find a new one?

My shoes were on clearance in the kids’ section of Target and were only $6. The Cat and Jack brand at Target is fantastic- I fit in their shoes and they’re so very cute. I didn’t go with any other accessories really, other than my Alex and Ani bracelets and my Ariel hairbow from Hot Topic. It wasn’t really an Ariel disneybound per se, but the colors of the dress and the colors of the bow matched enough that I went with it.

I’m planning to do a more elaborate ensemble for spring Dapper Day next year…I just need to get started! You might have noticed one particular recurring theme in my sewing posts- I procrastinate. I procrastinate like crazy. I always leave projects until the very last minute, and that has come back to bite me in the butt more than a few times.

I’ve already picked out my big Dapper Day outfit for next spring, and as long as there aren’t any bumps in the road in the next six months, I’ll be Disneybounding as Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables, with my boyfriend as Gilbert Blythe. It’s the dream, you guys.

(Source: anneofgreengables.com)

I know, I know- Anne isn’t a Disney character. But that’s all right. The plan is to make a sweet and simple dress, with puffed sleeves of course! I’ll add black boots and lace trimmed socks, and I’ll freshly dye my hair back to red right before. I’m also going to get a slate, put it on a purse, and write “carrots” on it.

Here’s hoping that I get it all done! Are you already planning your Dapper Day attire? Tell me your ideas in the comments!

OOTD: The Last Jedi (again) and Orlando Fringe

Yes, I totally saw Last Jedi again. My friend Bri is visiting from out of town so a group of us went to see it together. Honestly, it was even better the second time around. But it was cold!! Florida has been in the 40s and 50s and it’s been nuts. I wore my favorite shirt jacket and I unearthed my convertible glove mittens. We grabbed pizza from Blaze afterwards, and then I headed to the theater.

For the past few months we’ve been rehearsing our Fringe Festival show off site, so we only had a few hours in the space before our first performance. We got there at three thirty, did a run with the tech added in, and then ran the costumes changes. We also had an interview with Fringe, so we ran over to the Shakespeare to do that before the first show. I’m so tired and I definitely ate my weight in Taco Bell when I got home.

Top: Disney

Skirt: Forever 21

Leggings: No Boundaries

Boots: Target

Purse: Betsey Johnson

Coat: Converse

Gloves: Claire’s

Glasses: Eye Buy Direct (Sophie frames)

OOTD: The Last Jedi

Shane and I finally went to Disney Springs to see The Last Jedi. Finally. I don’t know how I managed to avoid spoilers for nearly a month, but I did it and boy howdy, was that a great movie. It’s not my favorite Star Wars film, and it made a lot of risky choices, but overall it was a really strong movie and I had a great time.

It has been absolutely freezing in Florida. Freezing as in I was standing at the merge point at work and watched flurries falling. It’s a terrible time to work a completely outdoor attraction. They had to pull most of the animals off the reserve, but on the upside the park was super empty. I layered the crap out of my costume- leggings, thick fuzzy socks, and a sweatshirt under my work shirt and pants, and then my work coat and a white knit hat. But I can’t find my gloves, so my hands were so cold. I couldn’t even signal my row numbers with my hands while I was loading!

It was still cold for the movie, so I got to dig my rarely-worn but much-loved winter coat out of the back of the closet. And my favorite boots! These Blowfish boots literally feel like slippers. I need to see if I can find more pairs in different colors. I’ll only be able to wear them a couple of times a year, but it’s worth it, right?

But now I need to see The Last Jedi again.

Top: Forever 21

Jeggings: Target

Boots: Blowfish

Coat: Forever 21

Glasses: Eye Buy Direct (Sophie frames)

Dapper Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland

Usually I go all out for Dapper Day, but the fall of 2014 was…well, I just wasn’t feeling it. A lot of stuff was going on around this point in my life. Long story. But I still wanted to participate, just without a lot of sewing.

I ended up putting together a really simple outfit out of items in my closet. I had a black strapless Forever 21 dress with big fabric flowers on the skirt that had just been sitting around for ages, and I decided it would be perfect. I based my outfit off of the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland, so I added a thin black cardigan and a red belt with a silver heart shaped clasp. The red tights were from Target and the black flats with the red hearts were from Modcloth too (but via eBay). And of course there was a petticoat stuffed up there too; it’s not Dapper Day if I’m not swathed in chiffon ruffles.

My hair was surprisingly successful. I used my little mesh donut from Target to shape my bun (since I have the WORST BABY FINE HAIR EVER) and I curled my bangs back from my forehead and pinned the ringlet in place. I sprayed the whole thing to death with hairspray and surprisingly it all stayed! What a miracle for Florida.

Dapper Day was held at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and a bunch of us Icon cast members (current and former) went together. It was also the final day of operation for the Backlot Tour, so we rode it together. Honestly, while it’s sad that the attraction closed, it took up a lot of space without offering a lot to do. I’m looking forward to Toy Story and Star Wars opening up in the now-vacant space!

(Still bitter about Movie Ride, though. Always bitter about Movie Ride.)

Also I bought a Sven plush. That happened.

Disneybounding 101

Ah, Disneybounding. One of the best and most controversial trends to pop up in recent years. Personally, I love it, but some people are divided on the topic, since there’s such a wide spectrum of possibilities.

 

For those who don’t spend all their time in Disney parks and feel a little out of the loop, Disneybounding was created by a blogger named Leslie Kay. Its a specific style of dressing in a manner influenced by a Disney character, film, or attraction. For instance, if I wear a yellow skirt, a navy top, and a red bow in my hair, I can be fairly identifiable as Snow White. It’s a great way to compromise when you can’t fully dress up to go to the parks.

 

Why can’t you dress up for the parks? That’s a great question! There’s a rule in place that no one over the age of fourteen can dress up for the parks. A lot of people think that’s unfair, but it’s really a great rule. Let’s say that five-year-old Jenny goes to Magic Kingdom for the first time, and she’s so excited to meet Cinderella. So they get to Fairytale Hall, and it’s a forty-five minute wait, and Dad isn’t too excited about that. But wait! A teenage girl in a Cinderella dress is standing outside Fairytale Hall. Close enough! Dad sends little Jenny up there, and Cinderella puts her phone away long enough to take a picture and scribble an autograph. But that’s not the same. It’s not the same at all. And imagine this- if Jenny goes up to “Cinderella” and the princess swears at her and says she’s just trying to have fun and leave her alone. Jenny would be heartbroken, right? Disney magic ruined. So yeah. Save your costumes for Not So Scary, when the party wristband can set you apart from the real characters. Maintain character integrity!

 

So that’s where Disneybounding comes in. It’s a great way to “dress up” as those beloved characters (or even attractions!) without being in full costume. The best way to do that is to pull from the color schemes of the characters- yellow, navy, and red for Snow; aqua, purple, and red for Ariel; red and white polka dots for Minnie Mouse. You get the idea. A lot can be done with makeup and hairstyles as well, although wigs should be avoided. Not only does that send you into costuming territory, but really, y’all. It’s Florida. It’s swampland. Y’all are gonna sweat to death.

 

Another way to pull inspiration is through accessories. I’ve used a necklace with a gold comb on it for Rapunzel, and a necklace with a thimble on it for Wendy. A lot of Etsy sellers create beautiful bows, custom ears, and themed flower crowns as well that can make you intsagram ready in no time. Some of my favorite shops are Ever After Bowtique, Soundsation Ears, and Magic by Courtney; all three of those shops are run by fabulous ladies who do good work.

 

But Caitlin, you say, have you ever Disneybounded? Have I ever! Here’s some examples.

 

I put together a Disneybound pajama outfit for the 24 hour day at Magic Kingdom the one year I went (RIP, but mostly RIP to the cast members who worked all night). I wore a white tunic from Target, lavender leggings from Walmart, and cream lace shoes from Payless. I made the flower crown myself, and the satchel was a gift from my friend Carrie (Pascal was hers but she lent him to me for the night). Her pajamas bound was even cuter- green plaid pajamas and bear slippers, because she was Merida!

My hipster Kylo Ren disneybound is probably my all time favorite. The dress is one of my faavorite Modcloth purchases, the Bells of London, Ohio dress made by Dear Creatures. I wore it with black low top converse style shoes and made myself a flower crown- the best part is the hidden Darth Vader.

I had a blast running around Studios and taking pictures, especially when I went to Starbucks. I had a conversation that went like this:

 

Barista: What’s your name?

 

Me: Can you please…can you please write Kyle Lauren on it?

 

Barista: …

 

Me: …

 

Barista: Okay.

 

So then flash forward to when they’re calling my name.

 

Barista: I have a venti peach green tea lemonade for…Kyle Lauren?

 

There was a dad wearing a Star Wars shirt leaning against the bar. He looked at the cup, then me, then back at the cup, and he started laughing hysterically. “Come on!” he chortled. “Kyle Lauren! Kylo Ren! It’s so funny!” Thank you, random dad. The barista might have looked at me like I had twelve heads, but I appreciate your laughter.

On St. Patrick’s Day a while back a bunch of us met up in our best green disneybounds. I chose to go as Pascal, so I wore a green dress from Pink Rose, a brown Faded Glory belt, a pair of Nicole sandals from Ross, and a Forever 21 flower crown that had been admittedly rather sparse, but I spruced it up with some extra blooms left over from another project.

Elsa is always one of my favorite cosplay choices, especially when my sister and I are disneybounding together. For Frozen Fever Elsa, I wore an aqua tank and white shorts and a flower crown made by my sister. As an extra surprise, she ordered the Frozen Fever bows from our favorite Etsy shop, Ever After Bowtique, and added them to the backs of our crowns. You can also see that Lindsay went a little more intense with her disneybound- she cosplays as Anna and has made three of her outfits so far, so she wore the vest from her Frozen Fever cosplay, but styled it with street clothes.

Our first Anna and Elsa Disneybound was a lot more intense. This was when the movie had only been out for a few months and the princesses were at their first meet and greet location in Epcot. Lindsay usually likes to wear wigs, so she wore her Anna wig, but the rest of her outfit was clearly street clothes in Anna-inspired colors, which balances out. I wore a dress from Ross and sparkly shoes, and we both wore the park tiaras. I also styled my hair and makeup to be Elsa-inspired.

For another example, I custom ordered a beautiful set of holiday Anna and Elsa bows (also from Ever After) for me and my sister. To be super honest, I don’t have any full photos of our outfits and I don’t remember what we wearing, but aren’t these bows cute? Amber custom made them after I had a terrible experience ordering from Caleigh’s Crowns (which has now closed), and not only was she brilliant to work with, she delivered them to us personally in cute holiday gift bags with candy canes!

I don’t always disneybound as just Elsa- this was my adorable Kristoff inspired outfit! I wore an embroidered peasant top and a gray skirt, both from Forever 21, navy leggings, my black Hamish boots from Blowfish, and my Kristoff bow from Ever After Bowtique. And of course I posed with a troll. I think that’s like a rule or something.

This is a sweet and simple Alice in Wonderland disneybound- a blue dress from Target, a white lace top from Forever 21, a blue bow from Ever After Bowtique, and my trusty iCarly sandals. It was cute, comfortable, and just identifiable enough.

Dapper Day is another great opportunity for subtle disneybounds! I’ve documented my Queen of Hearts, Queen Elinor, Rapunzel, and Wendy themed outfits before, but my very first one was a simple disneybound of the house from Up. I wore the Air of Adorable dress from Modcloth with the same Modcloth oxfords I wore for Rapunzel, plus a small petticoat, the Grape Soda pin, and a borrowed vintage hat. It was subtle, but effective.

You don’t even have to be at Disney for a disneybound! I went to Unviersal in a Hogwarts student disneybound (who else is a Hufflepuff?) I wore my Record Time dress in black from Modcloth, a yellow coat from Forever 21, black tights, black combat boots from Charlotte Russe, and a black hair bow from Forever 21. It was a great time (and my wand fit in my coat pocket!)

Here’s another example of a more subtle disneybound. I bought my sister these matching shirts from Tee Public for Christmas, and we styled them to be the stepsisters from Cinderella. She wore a lime green tank, aqua shorts, and an aqua bow to be Drizella, and I wore purple shorts and a pink bow to be Anastasia. (Even better, our mother disneybounded as the stepmother! We don’t have any pictures, unfortunately.)

And just for fun, here’s one of my favorite meet and greets in a Disney inspired outfit. I wore my Arendelle crest shirt from Tee Public and my Kristoff bow from Ever After for a VIP meet and greet at the Frozen singalong for my birthday. Clearly I had a little bit of fun (and was super embarrassingly excited to meet Kristoff!)

What are some of your favorite Disneybounds? Do you have any tips, tricks, or rules for disneybounding? Comment below if you want to see a follow up blog or video about disneynounds, and maybe you’ll be featured!

 

Dapper Day Queen Elinor from Brave

Fall Dapper Day is somehow always harder to plan for. Dapper Day in the spring naturally lends itself to soft pastels and fluffy petticoats, but picking something in a fall color scheme is harder. I have no idea why. Maybe it’s just me.

I went through multiple options for my Dapper Day attire until I finally settled on Queen Elinor from Brave. I love the character and I hadn’t sewn anything in that rich green color before. I also decided to make it easier on myself by making a skirt and cape instead of a dress.

The skirt was self drafted- if I’m making a dirndl or circle skirt, you can bet I’ve drafted it myself. (Comment below if you want to see tutorials!) I made a basic circle skirt (with pockets) out of a gorgeous green taffeta I had in my stash that had been sitting around for years, waiting for the right project. The zipper came from my stash too, so I ended up not paying anything out of pocket for the skirt! I also pulled out my trusty Malco Modes skirt.

The cape was a little more complicated. I wanted to do something special with it. I bought a super basic New Look pattern for a cape and used the hood pattern piece from McCall’s 5534 (it’s out of print, but if you can find it it’s a super cute hooded bathrobe pattern). I bought a cream and green plaid and a black textured fabric, and made the cape fully reversible. I also made little ears and sewed them to the black hood. Why? So I could turn into a bear, of course! It was lightweight, easy to wear, and added just the right touch to the outfit.

I paired the skirt with a cream colored lace top from Forever 21 and a brown leather belt from…someplace. Walmart, maybe? I’ve had it since college, so who knows. The boots were bought at TJ Maxx after a long, nearly fruitless search. Really, why is it so hard to find plain brown lace up ankle boots without zippers and cuffs on them? But I found them at last and paired them with lace trimmed socks folded over the tops. My hair was straightened and I added a pearl circlet headband from Claire’s.

Dapper Day was actually scheduled to be at Disney’s Hollywood Studios for the fall, but beforehand I needed to go to Magic Kingdom to meet Merida (obviously). It was by far one of the best meet and greet experiences I’ve ever had. Merida was very sweet when I came up, and in order to make things easier (I get weirdly awkward and nervous when I meet characters and I have no idea why) I blurted out “Hey, Merida, I’m dressed like your mum and I can turn into a bear.”

She stopped and looked at me in confusion, and I took off my cape and started flipping it inside out. You can actually pinpoint the moment that she realized what was going on.

It was so great. She adjusted my ears for me and we posed like bears, and then she told me to make my best mum face and scold her (but she kept sticking her tongue out at me). It was a great interaction, and as I was about to leave, she stopped me and with the most sincere expression said “you’re beautiful.” I’m not going to lie, I got a little teary walking away. It was a great moment.

After a few more shenanigans at Magic Kingdom, my friend and I moved on to Studios, where clearly photoshoots had to happen, especially in front of Great Movie Ride.

All in all, it was a really successful (and comfortable!) outfit, and one of the best dapper days I’ve experienced.