Geeky Friday – the towel edition

Last week a dear friend celebrated her 42nd birthday, so on Saturday we gave her a surprise towel party, for which none of us panicked because we all knew where our towel was at.

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I myself combined my own birthday party outfit from last year (which was a gift from myself to myself as per yearly tradition) with a hot pink head towel similar to the one my housemate is wearing;. Unfortunately (or not) there’s no picture proof of that since nobody else took pictures…

Since it was International Gin Day, we kinda had an additional cocktail party theme going on too, hence the bow tie on the afore mentioned housemate and the tiki cocktail inspired outfit on the other housemate (who luckily doesn’t always go to parties like this).

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If none of the above makes any sense to you, you probably haven’t read Douglas Adams’ ” The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” (or seen the movie adaptation) and don’t know that 42 is The Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything.

In order to keep with the towel party theme, I decided to let this little towel kitty help me hand over our birthday gift (a voucher for an amazing absinthe and cocktail bar in Ghent).

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Instructions on how to make this particular piece of towel origami can be found here.

Have you ever held a towel party or tried your hand at towel origami? And have you read (or seen) “The Hitchhiker’s Guide”?

Travelling light

When I go on vacation, visit a museum, a theme park, a zoo, … I prefer to take along a smaller purse, preferably a backpack, as opposed to my regular one.

Mainly to avoid any unnecessary extra weight when a lot of walking is involved, but also to avoid things getting lost.

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I bought this one from Hedgren to take  along on my first trip to Disney World back in 2010.
I chose this model for several reasons:
– it’s compact but can easily hold all of the items on the above picture (bug repellent, sun screen, deodorant, chop sticks, sunglasses, reduced medicine bag, band aids, reduced wallet)
– its main compartment’s access is oriented towards your back when wearing it correctly, which makes it inaccessible to those who shouldn’t have access to it in the first place.
– it has several smaller compartments for keys, phone,…that can all be closed.
– it has a front pocket for things you want to access easily such as a pen, tickets or a map.

One a side note: no, the flowers don’t fit into the bag and are no holiday necessity. Yes, the sun screen is SPF 50+, I have such a sensitive skin that I need it. Yes, the sun screen is a “kids sun screen spray”, which I chose because it is a lot less sticky than most total sunblock adult sun screens. On top of that, most adult sun screen sprays only go up to SPF 30 which will not do for my skin (which is about as sensitive as that of a red haired baby).

Do you take along a smaller purse when on vacation? If so, which type do you prefer and what do you take along?

Heavy lifting

I guess I’ve always known, somewhere in the back of my mind, that the bags I usually run around with are too heavy and that this isn’t really a healthy habit, even though I never gave it any conscious thought or really tried to change anything about it.
In order to confront myself into a wake-up call I put my current one on the scales and learned it weighs 1,3 kilo (which all in all is still kinda acceptable). While at it I also checked the contents to see if I could get rid of anything.

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Left to right, back to front:

– a small bag with basic cosmetics and some basic medicines (allergy, headache, stomach trouble,..)
– a foldable shopping bag disguised as a fluffy kiwi (zespri sponsored a Belgian Girl Geek goodie bag earlier this year)
– my deodorant
– some envelopes that will go into the mail later today when I pass by the postal office
– paper towels
– some random paperwork and my colour chart (which you can have a better look at here)
– customer loyalty card holder thingy and business card holder
– a collection of house-, car- and other keys
– a handbag holder (from the Ladies at the movies “Fame” BGGD goodiebag, which I threw out since I don’t ever use it)
my wallet
– my own proper chopsticks, which often get me complimented when I dig them out in an Asian restaurant where they only have the disposable kind (the ones where you risk getting a splinter in your tongue)
– my sunglasses

In order to motivate myself to keep a lean purse and think of my back, shoulders and neck, I went in search of some guidelines and tips on the subject, which I’ll gladly share:

Ideal weight
The ideal weight for a purse stays under a kilo, but anything up to 1,5 kilo is still acceptable (see, I’m not being such a bad student), anything over 2 kilo is definitely to heavy.

Type of bag
If you feel that everything in your over 2 kilo bag should be dragged along, then maybe you should consider switching to a backpack model, which will distribute the weight more evenly.

Straps
When choosing a bag, make sure to look at the type of the straps: thin straps and metal straps will more easily cut into your shoulder muscles whereas a broader strap or straps will once again distribute the weight more evenly.

Posture
Make sure not to cut into your trapezium muscles, but carry your bag more towards the bony part of your shoulder.
Don’t carry a shopper on your elbow, but hold it in your hand to avoid injury.
If you choose to carry a backpack, don’t sling it over just one shoulder but use both straps and make sure it sits high enough on your back (ending at the bottom of your ribcage and not the small of your back).

Content management
The best way to avoid a purse that is too heavy, is by managing what you carry around.
You can do this by having a regular clear out or by regularly switching purses, which usually results in a clear out.
Another way to do it is by choosing a smaller bag, which will prevent you from taking too much along, but for me this only leads to an overstuffed smaller bag and lots of frustration.

Now that I’ve jotted down all of these tips I will try to live by them and maybe even post an update (if I don’t forget).

So, how heavy is your handbag and what do you carry around in it? Have you got any other tips to add to these and do they work for you?

Geeky Friday – The LARP’ing edition

One of the things that made me realise I’m a geeky girl in my own right is my love of LARP‘ing.
In short, it’s a roleplaying game where you physically act out a character. This character can be devised by the organisers to tell the story, set the mood, be the bad/good guy, known as an NPC character. Or you can play a character of your own choice (within the rules of the game) also known as a PC character.

This weekend I attended the 13th event of Chalice as an NPC character (entering this specific world for the first time) accompanied by my second housemate who had been an NPC character in the past, but now entered as a PC character (for the very first time in any specific world or system).

A lot of people I know prefer playing a character of their own device since they can feel it more, to me it doesn’t really matter, since I usually can’t be bothered with the boring details of character creation anyway.
I love the challenge of getting into the skin of the character I’m playing whether it is me or someone else who has written the background.
As such preparing for a role follows much the same pattern:

Making the background story my own
After reading or writing the script I like to make up little memories my character has about its past, things I can refer to.
I also try to imagine which mannerisms and wich typical sayings or facial expressions the character would use.
My character this weekend was a Chancellor to the Emperor of the best know region in this world, sent out on a diplomatic mission accompanied by 6 knights (my housemate being one of them), herself also a former knight in the same order: The Order of the Crown.
I came up with some memories of training and former missions as well as some fond memories of my sister with whom I used to share my line of work.

diplomatic negotiations
diplomatic negotiations

Getting dressed
As the event was a mediaeval high fantasy type of LARP (think LOTR, The Hobbit and the likes) and the role of Chancellor is pretty high-class, I decided on wearing my mediaeval dress from when I still was involved in reenactment over at the Gentsche Gesellen.
The costume actually consists of 3 layers: an off-white undergarment, a blue under-dress (both linen) and a felted wool red overdress. I decided to wear all 3; for warmth, authenticity and because the knights all had a blue detail on their costume: a blue ensign with a yellow crown.

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To convey the feeling of arriving at the festivities after some weeks of traveling I opted for laced up boots (in favour of my mediaeval shoes), a faux fur half cape and leather arm braces (as a wink to my former knighthood and to the dangers of the road).

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The devil is in the details
For many people the creation of a character ends there, but not for me. Once I get the outfit right I start thinking about details such as: purses, jewellery, hairstyle, makeup and perfume.
My mediaeval costume comes with a belt and belt purse that are embellished with little flowers, so I stayed within the floral theme for my jewellery, but I also added a red string purse, just to have a little more room to carry stuff around.
I also kept with the flowers for my perfume with a black currant and rose scented The Body Shop perfume sample.

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For my hairstyle I wanted to keep the middle between “on the road”- sensible and festive, so I went with a double braid on the top of my head going over into a single braid on the back of my head with a flower ornament in it.

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(No, my hair isn’t dyed, it has natural different shades of brown and auburn especially visible when lit up by the sun)

Larp Photography Credits: Annette D’hertefelt

Things I Like: Purple

As opposed to most of the other things I like, purple hasn’t been my favourite colour for as long as I can remember.
It used to be all shades of red (and clothes wise, red is still a favourite but that’s a story for another day), but that kinda changed around my twelfth birthday, when I got to choose my first grown up watch.

Since I have a tiny wrist, the (at the time) immensely popular Pop Swatches, were out for me. So I ended up discovering the beautiful United Colours of Benetton watch collection (by Bulova).
I fell in love with a beautiful watch that featured several shades of purple and as my love for the watch grew, so did my love of all things purple.

Just like with red, I kinda like all shades of purple (although not all shades are appropriate for all intents and purposes) and my love of purple is well spread around the house: there are ovbiously purple dresses, shoes and other items of clothing, but there are also over 10 pairs of purple earrings, several shades of purple nail polish, my favourite cup is purple with polka dots (double win) and my car is a deep blueish kinda purple.

My latest addition to my purple collection is a car key cover, which I ordered here, that arrived in the mail today. And which one of my housmates helped me get it around my key…

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So Foxy

I had been saying to myself that it was high time to get me a new wallet, but then I kept postponing getting one because of [insert random reason].
Until at the Belgian Girl Geek event a SoBaggy voucher was part of our goodie bag and I started browsing the wallets part of their site, where I was immediately charmed by all the gorgeous Shagwear models with there vivid colours and cute designs.

I ended up choosing this gorgeous blue foxy model, which was mine only 2 days later. Accompanied with a yummie chocolate and a very personal thank you card.

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The great service has me convinced that this might have been the first, but will certainly not be my last purchase!

#5BEGG : Become an e-entrepreneur

Belgian Girl Geeks organizes free events for women interested in techie stuff, innovation and the digital world.
On the 23th of February they organized their fifth. event around e-entrepreneurship at The Hotel, Brussels, the hotel where Obamma stayed when he visited Belgium last year.

First of the sponsor bol.com provided us with insights on Customer Centricity and then gave us a scoop about the launch of their web shop dedicated to bags: www.bol.com/tassen for which they work together with amongst others Sobaggy and Torfs.
Furthermore they talked about their selling platform for smaller e-entrepreneurs: www.bol.com/verkopen.

Next up were 3 passionate female e-entrepreneurs who thought us about their site and products and shared some useful insights with us:

– Claudia from Flying Frenzy, a cat toy shop, gave us tips on the choice of product, good stock management and the importance of personal contact

– Dorien from Luxedy, an online jewelry shop, thought us about the importance of differentiating yourself when you’re selling a product that numerous other web shops sell. It’s important to keep on innovating and experimenting with new ideas and as such she recently launched Luxedy@home

– Sarah from Hello My Dear, a platform where you can create beautiful “life” stories which you can then print in a gorgeous book. Her main advice was to never ask feedback from family and friends, since they’ll support you no matter what! Ask a stranger if you want genuine insights to improve your product or service

The evening ended with some more drinks and chats, a nicely filled goody bag (sponsored by Bol.com, Flying Frenzy, The Hotel. Brussels, Luxedy, Snoepzoet and So Baggy), the possibility to take a tour of the hotel and a contest to win one of 3 TOV bags worth €150.

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I helped my friend who really wanted one of the bags with a picture for the contest, which we unfortunately didn’t win.
But competing was already more than half the fun.