Do You Dare Wear a Purple Wig?

Costumes at Ren Fests are almost a must. You see everything from queens, kings and highlanders to wenches, fairies and stormtroopers. Everyone likes dressing up and I am no different. I loved dressing up and pretending to be the fairy princess when I was little. Even my brother used to dress in one of our mother’s old bridesmaids dresses and say he was the Pope. I always thought that costuming was pretending to be a different person for a little while. Two years ago I realized that costumes were more than about pretending.

In May of 2013 I was diagnosed with Stage IV Primary Ovarian Large Diffused B-Cell Lymphoma. Sounds scary doesn’t it? Well it sorta was. This is a rare (0.5% of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphomas) and aggressive (Hello! Stage IV!) cancer that if not caught when it was I probably wouldn’t have lasted through the autumn of that year. On the plus side, it is a very treatable and survivable (90% survival rate) cancer. Surgery and six rounds of chemo and I’m cured. (I won’t be considered a survivor until after 5 years remission.) This was and still is a life changing experience that I’m still trying to digest.

Before starting chemo, I had to go through a “chemo class.” Basically someone sat down and talked about all the good and bad (mostly bad) things that would and could happen. At this time I was advised to go ahead and get my wig just in case my hair fell out. It’s more than just a vanity thing. Watching your hair fall out can have a bad psychological effect on patients. So I went to my best friend who is an instructor at a cosmetology school and we looked at wigs. I found the one that I would order if necessary. Well, being frugal and being the type of person I am I started thinking, “Why do I want a wig that I won’t wear again after my hair grows back in?” So I started looking online. This purple bob-cut wig called out to me. It was what I was looking for! This is who I am!  

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Everyone loved that wig, even my boss! I don’t wear it as much since my hair has grown out, but thinking about it and my time being a baldy is somewhat of a revelation about costumes: We don’t dress up to be different; we dress up to show who we are.

Kansas City Renaissance Festival: Wonderful Treasures, Priceless Memories

Whew! The last couple of weeks have been busy! I’m finally getting time to sit down and write my review of the Kansas City Renaissance Festival which I attended on Sunday, September 13, 2015.

I’ve been to the KC Ren Fest several times over the years and each time I find something new or interesting that pulls me into their world. This year did not disappoint in that aspect. Highland Fling was the theme of the weekend and it was the first time I’ve really seen any Highland games. From the very brief research I’ve done on the games, they were started a very long time ago to help condition and strengthen the Scottish army. Now they are a way to keep the Scottish heritage alive, measure brute strength and so I can ogle the hotties in kilts! (Hey, what’s a fair maiden to do while waiting for her prince?)

Coming from a town that has an annual fall festival, I always think about the food when attending a fair or festival. KC Ren Fest does not disappoint. I always go in thinking about turkey legs, but end up with a bread bowl of something and hopefully a stout coffee or ale. The White Stag Inn (see photos) is a fairly new feature with a pub-like atmosphere and wonderful bread bowls of Guinness Beef Stew. Yeah, my mouth is watering right now! The tables in the White Stag Inn are narrow and the bench is tall. While I’m average height (5’5”) my feet didn’t touch the ground. Swinging my leg was fun for a little while but made it difficult to chow down on the stew. The entertainment at the inn was passable but not as enjoyable as some of the musical groups elsewhere at the fair.IMG_0652  IMG_0657

Speaking of musical groups, one of the first stops we made (after getting some sweets) was listening to the Maguire Brothers. Listening to Irish and Scottish ballads always put me at ease and tugs at my Scots-Irish heritage. I could have sat and listened to them all day but there is more to pursue at the Fest than just music.

One of the best parts of the fest is visiting all the shops with handmade treasures. I did not purchase anything this year but last year I did lay out some coin for a few items. I purchased a one-of-a-kind, handmade headband from A Wench in the Gear that is decorated with brown/black/tan feathers that mold to my head and a lovely cameo that sits just above my ear. Everything in this shop is a one-of-a-kind and her corsets are made to order. You can use these for anything from Steampunk cosplay to general back brace for better posture. They are true steel-boned structure and molded to your body and don’t come cheap but are well worth the money spent.  

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I got a lovely real rose necklace from Real Rose Jewelry. These are real roses that they have frozen in time and look Victorian and wonderfully old-fashioned. I chose the gold crescent moon for a whimsical look. The necklace goes with almost every piece of clothing I own to that is a pleasant bonus!

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This was the first year I attended in costume and it certainly made the experience better. Being mistaken a few times for ren fest actors and being approached by the king and queen made me feel special. The costume I wore wasn’t authentic by any means, but was well made. While there are clothiers at the fest, I didn’t buy from them. I found most of my pieces on eBay where it is nice to find quality construction.

All in all, the Kansas City Renaissance Festival is a great way to spend a day or weekend. You will come away with wonderful treasures, a full belly and priceless memories.