A Most Excellent Halloween Costume: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle

in Totally Random

As I said in yesterday’s blog post, 4 Quick And Easy Halloween Costumes, once I decided to dress up for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, I knew that I had to be something awesome.  I’ve always had a soft spot for those turtles; back when they were first popular, before I even had children, my godson was obsessed with them.  I watched the cartoons, I saw the movies, I played with the toys.  I know all about those turtles; it would be so much fun to be one for halloween!   I would get to talk like a surfer, leap around and randomly throw ninja kicks.  The fact that I get to carry a weapon was even better.

Don’t get scared by the list of materials needed for this costume, it’s pretty easy.  I’ve done the hard work for you by combining the best parts of several Ninja Turtle DIY costume ideas found on Pinterest with my own ideas into one easy-to-follow blog post.

Let’s get started!  Gather your materials:

MATERIALS NEEDED:

green shirt – I bought mine at American Apparel, but also saw shirts at Target, Wet Seal and Forever 21.  I was picky with my shade of green and wanted to match my shorts, but if you don’t care, buy the first green shirt you see.

green shorts or pants – I bought mine at American Apparel.  Honestly green shorts were harder to find than I thought they would be.  Since it was hot at Disney World (and let’s face it, I wanted to look cute), I wore shorts, but you could wear green leggings or even black leggings.  If you want to wear shorts, go straight to American Apparel and save yourself the hunt.

green socks – I bought mine at American Apparel.  I didn’t have any luck with green socks at a sports store.  Just make your life easier and go to American Apparel for all the clothes!  These are really nice socks.

dark green fabric  – You only need two strips long enough for the turtle shell straps.

light green fabric – You probably need a 1/4 – 1/2 yards, enough to make abs on the shirt.

fabric for the mask, leg and arm bands (the color of your particular turtle) – I was Raphael; he wears red.  You will probably only need a 1/4 yard, but make sure it’s long enough for a mask and to tie around your arms and legs.

aluminum roasting pan – This can be bought at any grocery store for $3.

a strip of (fake) leather  – I bought this at a fabric store.  You can also use brown fabric.  You only need a piece long enough for your waist.

a wooden circle – This is for the belt medallion.  I bought it at Michael’s for $2.

a wooden letter (the first initial of your particular turtle) – I bought this at Michael’s for $2; it was already painted black.

fabric glue or body tape – I wanted to wear my nice American Apparel shirt after halloween, so I didn’t want the turtle abs to be permanently glued on.  Body tape is sticky, but it can be removed.  If your shirt is a one-time use, fabric glue is fine.

hot glue gun and/or wood glue – You need some adhesive to assemble the belt.

dark green spray paint

brown spray paint

gold paint – I already had spray paint, but you can use regular paint as well.  A small bottle is enough.

weapon – This accessory will vary according to your particular turtle.  Raphael carries a pair of sai. I bought these at Target for $2.

With all the materials assembled now you’re ready to

MAKE THE COSTUME:

STEP 1:  Make a rectangle template from a piece of cardboard and then use that to cut out the turtle abs from the light green fabric.  Next cut the corners a bit to round them.

TMNT costume abs

 STEP 2: Before adhering the turtle abs, put on the shirt and mark the place under your breasts with a piece of tape.  Start the turtle abs under the tape.  My turtle had a six-pack.  I used sticky body tape because I wanted to wear this very nice shirt again (without turtle abs), but you can use fabric glue.  The body tape stayed on nicely, but was easy to remove later.

TMNT costume adding abs

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Shirt Costume

STEP 3:  Cut a strip of of fabric for your mask.  Have a friend draw around your eyes (make sure it’s someone you trust!) then cut out the eye holes.  Cut a little space for your nose as well.  While you’re at it, cut strips of the same fabric to tie on your arms and legs.

TMNT costume mask

STEP 4: Paint the wood medallion gold and let it dry.

gold paint Teenage Ninja Turtle costume gold belt

STEP 5: When the medallion is dry, glue on the wood initial; I used wood glue.  Then glue the initialed medallion to the leather strip with a hot-glue gun.   After I put the belt around my waist, I fascinated it in the back with a safely pin.

TMNT costume belt

STEP 6: Find a well-ventilated area to spray the aluminum pan dark green.  Let it dry according to the directions.  Next spray on the brown paint very lightly.  You don’t want to cover the green paint, you just want to make it look more turtle-y.

Teenage Ninja Turtle Costume green shell

STEP 7: When the paint is dry, poke holes (carefully!) in the top and bottom of the pan and thread two strips of dark green fabric thru the holes.  Make a knot.  This is your shell!

TMNT costume shell

TMNT costume shell straps

 Put on the turtle shirt, shorts, socks, mask, belt, leg and arm bands, and turtle shell.  Proceed to walk around like the bad-ass, yet lovable, super hero that you are while throwing punches and ninja kicks.  A most excellent idea!

Funki Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Costume

 

© 2014, Funkidivagirl.com. All rights reserved. Republished only with permission.

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4 Quick And Easy Halloween Costumes

in Totally Random

Full confession: halloween is not my favorite holiday.  I like candy as much as anyone else (actually probably more than most) but I just don’t get into halloween.  I really don’t decorate and the last time I put any effort into a costume for myself was probably back in college.

However, this year my family was going to celebrate my daughter’s 13th birthday at the best halloween party ever – Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party in Disney World.   If you know anything about me you would know that I either go big or go home, so if we were going to a Disney World halloween party, of course we were going to dress up.  And if I was going to dress up, it was going to be excellent.  I only have two speeds: i don’t care and excellent.  If I was going to dress up, then I was going to be a super-hero because I kind of think I am one anyway.  Any day I expect S.H.I.E.L.D. to come knocking on my door, asking me to use my powers for yet another alien invasion.

I wanted us to go as a group costume and had so many great ideas, but my daughter only wanted to be Minnie Mouse.  And my son based his costume decision on his favorite hat.  My husband didn’t even think about his costume until the day before we left for Disney World.  I suggested the standard  what-I-can-find-in-my-closet costume, a pirate, but he wanted to pretend that he gave some thought to his costume choice.  Translation: he wanted me to think of a costume for him that wasn’t lame and shop for it and assemble it the day before our vacation.  I was a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.  Most excellent.

Family Halloween Costumes

As you can see, all the costumes turned out great! While the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle costume was more involved than the rest, it was still only a couple of hours of work.  The end result – most excellent! – was worth the effort.  The rest of the costumes were either no work at all or took less than 30 mins to assemble.

 

Minnie Mouse

black leotard  – My daughter’s own.  I tight tee will work as well.

red skirt –  I bought this skirt at Forever 21 for about $10. If you are lucky enough to find one with dots, even better.

white felt – I bought at Michael’s for less than $1.   I cut the circles and used fabric glue to adhere dots to the skirt.

white ribbon for the belt – I bought at Michael’s for $3.

yellow ribbon for the shoes – I bought at Michael’s for $2.

black tights or leggings – My daughter’s own.

Minnie Mouse ears – My daughter’s own from a past Disney World trip, but I have seen them at Target in the party section.

 

Cowboy

plaid shirt – My son’s own.

jeans – My son’s own.

cowboy boots – My son’s own.

cowboy hat – My son’s own.

bandana – I bought at a local five & dime store for $1.

 

Clark Kent / Superman

hat – My husband’s own.

dark suit pants – My husband’s own.

white dress shirt – My husband’s own.

dark tie – My husband’s own.

glasses – My husband’s own.

suspenders – I bought at Target for $12.

Superman tee – I bought at Target for $12.

 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Costume

There is a complete tutorial on this blog post.

 

We had a ball at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and I loved talking like a surfer, leaping around wielding sai and doing random round kicks, fully in character.  Hmmm…maybe this halloween thing is not so bad after all!

 Family Disney Castle Halloween

© 2014, Funkidivagirl.com. All rights reserved. Republished only with permission.

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Meditation Myths And The Truths That Will Set You Free

in Healthy Living

stackedrocks

Meditation is not a way of making your mind quiet.

It’s a way of entering into the quiet that’s already there

– buried under the 50,000 thoughts the average person thinks every day.

– Deepak Chopra

I’m an active person.  The joke in my family is that I don’t know what our sofa feels like because I never sit down.   Not only does my energy and activity level pertain to my physical body, but also to my mind – I’m always thinking and processing.   Sounds exhausting?  It can be.

Recently I have implemented the daily practice of meditation in my life and it’s helped me tremendously.  Learning how to be still and present has been a path to more peace, joy, creativity, security and clarity.  Now I see meditation as another way to be healthy and live my best life.

I started meditating with Deepak Chopra and Oprah’s  free 21 Day Meditation Challenge.  After that challenge I was hooked.  I won’t say that it is always easy.  Some days my mind wanders the entire time I’m meditating, but even so I still think there is value in sitting still and being fully present in my body and mind with awareness and without judgement.

If you don’t meditate yet and have some reservations, maybe I can help dispel some myths.  I am no expert by any means, but this is what I have found to be true:

Myth: I need a special meditation room.

Truth:  You just need a quiet place.  I mediate in my living room, on the sofa (I am using the sofa!) or in my bedroom on a chair.   And “quiet” does not mean that you will not hear any noise.  My home sits on a busy corner, so no matter where I am, I hear traffic noise.   During meditation you will hear noise, but the goal is to not let it become your focus of attention.  Just let the noise be without any thought or judgement.  If noise is particularly distracting to you, you can listen to white noise or music while you meditate (there’s an app for that, try Noisli).  Mostly I meditate without background noise, but I did like the soft Zen music playing during the 21 Day Meditation Challenge so I might try that sometime.

Myth: Meditation is contrary to prayer.

Truth:  Meditation and prayer are not at odds – they are complementary.  I still pray a prayer of thanks every morning before my feet hit the floor and a longer more intentional prayer before or after I meditate.  I forgot where I heard this, but it’s a good answer to the meditation vs. prayer quandary: Prayer is when you talk to God and meditation is when you listen to God.   How can you even listen to what God is trying to tell you if you won’t sit still long enough to hear it?

Myth: Meditation is New Age and for those who believe in “woo-woo.”

Truth: There is some form of meditation in most spiritual practices, although it may be called something else.  In Christianity it is called Contemplative Prayer or Centering Prayer.  Don’t get hung up on labels.  If you feel more comfortable saying “I’m going to sit now and be still” then say that.  But the key is having intention around being still.  You are not going just sitting still to relax your body, you are actively relaxing and focusing your mind.  You are mindfully being present.

Myth:  I need to say a mantra while meditating.

Truth: There is no right or wrong way.   A mantra may be helpful to bring your focus back to the present moment (if you are concentrating on a mantra then you are not thinking about what you’re going to cook for dinner) or it may be distracting or not useful for you.   Do what makes you feel comfortable.  Personally I like to focus on the rising and falling of my breath in my meditation, although I did enjoy saying Deepak Chopra’s mantras during the 21 Day Challenge.

Myth: I don’t have time in my day to meditate.

Truth: We make time for what’s important.   I find that I need about 15 minutes to stop hearing noise and being distracted by my thoughts before I transfer into another zone, so a minimum of 20 minutes is ideal.  But start where you are; if you can only meditate for 10 minutes, start there.

I hope that I helped bring you closer to starting a meditation practice of your own.   There is no shortage of information out there, but here are some resources that I have used.  If you have any questions or suggestions, please let me know!

Success Through Stillness: Meditation Made Simple by Russell Simmons.  Russell really breaks down meditation in an easy non-threatening way and he gives very practical examples of how meditation helps him in all aspects of his life.

Deepak Chopra’s website is a wealth of information.  Look out for another free 21 Day Challenge or there are plenty of guided meditations for sale on the website.  I really enjoyed Deepak’s guided meditations during the 21 Day Challenge.  He helped set the intention for that day and I always learned something new or got a new insight.

Headspace: This is a good app for a beginner because it explains the benefits of meditation in cute animation shorts before each guided meditation.  The first 10 sessions are free and then a subscription is needed to access more guided meditations.

Mindfulness: This app has both guided and silent meditations.  I like that you can personalize your meditation by length and also add bells.

buddhify: My son really likes this app.  There are many guided meditations for different situations (traveling, going to sleep, walking) and also a solo practice with a timer.

Ananda – Living In Love, Infinite Abundance:  these are two different apps, both by the Chopra Center.   Within this app you are able to choose background music and combine the music with a guided meditation.   All the music downloads are free, but the app only comes with one free guided meditation; the rest have to be purchased within the app.  I haven’t used this yet, but because I did enjoy Deepak’s 21 Day Challenge so much, I can see the value of purchasing the guided meditations.

 

FOOTNOTE: I was going to end this blog post with the word Namaste – a word often spoken at the end of yoga class and meditation loosely translated to mean “the divine (or God) in me honors the divine in you” – but then I thought better of it.   Even though I just bought a t-shirt that says Namaste Everyday because I liked how it fit, as a Christian – a believer of Jesus Christ as the the son of God, – how do I really feel about that word?   I am very clear that meditation is good for me and not contrary to my Christian values.  I view meditation as an opportunity to be still and present enough to hear from God – not “The Universe” or “Divine Being” (although he is all all those things), but God with a capital G – The Great I Am, The Alpha and The Omega.    There is no question about the intention of meditation for me.

But what about saying “Namaste?” I know it has roots in Hindu culture and while I do respect other cultural and religious practices, I am also careful not to make them my own.  I think those who are easily swayed are those who do not guard their hearts.   But since I had never really researched it before, down the Google rabbit-hole I traveled and after much reading on both sides of the debate, I have ended up on the side of Namaste.    We are all created in the image of God and therefore in my opinion honoring the image of God in someone else is only recognizing our Oneness in Him and therefore respecting Him as the creator and Lord of all!  This post on Paleo Spirt (a blog written by a paleo-eating, Christian-believing, yoga-doing woman – someone I can really get with!) fostered a really good debate in the comments section.   And this article from Christianity Today makes a great case for practicing yoga, while still acknowledging that it’s cultural roots are historically opposed to Christianity.  You decide what is affirming to you.  As for me –

Namaste.

 

© 2014, Funkidivagirl.com. All rights reserved. Republished only with permission.

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Wisdom Begins In Wonder

in Best of Funkidivagirl.com, What About Me

Wisdom begins in Wonder.

-Socrates

Earlier this year I was asked to be in a Super Soul Sunday Original Short by filmmaker Jason Perez.   I was asked to talk about my favorite word.  Many words came to mind – fearless, grace, joy – but the word that stuck with me the most was WONDER.  To me wonder means being open and fully present to the beauty all around us – in nature, in people, in big once-in-a-lifetime experiences and in the everyday.  It’s also an awareness of the intrinsic connection between everything and everyone and just how blessed we all are to live in and experience this incredible world that God has created.  It’s an honor.

Sitting at my laptop writing this, I look out the window and – wow! – the sky is really blue, just so perfect and lovely.

Pay attention.

Be astonished.

Tell about it.

-Mary Oliver

Take some time today to wonder.

© 2014, Funkidivagirl.com. All rights reserved. Republished only with permission.

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Goodbye My Friend

in Deep Stuff

I wish I had something sassy to say this week, something pithy and wild and fun.  But instead I’m grieving the loss of my friend and I quite don’t know what to do with myself.    Without thinking or editing I posted the following tribute on my personal Facebook page.   It was comforting, to remember and to publicly give her love.  It feels right to do it here too.

I met Michele Harris Bennett at age 10. Along with Beverly, we were known as Slick, Smooth and Wiz and ruled the playground at Pottawatomie Hills Elementary School (we were benevolent dictators) and the queens of Four Square. There was a crew of about 5 of us, including Tracie and Lonnae, who rode our bikes to Baskin Robbins, the library and the park. Every weekend was a sleepover. Even when I moved to Minnesota, Michele and I kept in touch – back when phone calls (Long distance! On a landline!), postal mail and plane rides to visit were necessary to sustain a friendship. People didn’t have a gazillon friends back then because it took more effort. She was a bridesmaid in my wedding and we were pregnant at the same time. Many moves, kids, work and well, life, didn’t allow us to talk or visit as often as we liked over the last few years, but we always had that bond, you know the one that was formed with a flashlight under the covers when we should have been sleeping, but instead reading the liner notes on the latest Prince album. I knew her so well. I knew the important stuff (like which boy she really liked) and I knew the silly stuff. Her nickname was Mimi. She had hamsters named Mookie and Wilton. Her mom taught us how to leg wrestle. She’s the first kid I knew who drank coffee. She was very funny. She dressed preppy – even before it was a thing. As much as I wanted to wear Izod shirts, they didn’t look as good on me as they did Michele. I could go on and on because when you know someone for that long, there is so much to tell. And I CAN NOT BELIEVE that she is gone. I didn’t even get to say goodbye.  I loved her.

Goodbye my friend.

Michele-EasterBunny

 

© 2014, Funkidivagirl.com. All rights reserved. Republished only with permission.

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