DIY Ghostbusters Halloween Costume

October 31, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF, POP CULTURE, THINGS MY KID DIGS

At some point I may do a write up of how I turned my occasionally mild-manners son into Egon Spengler, the nerdiest of those superhero/super-scientists known as the Ghostbusters. But for now I’m just going to share the photos of my very happy little boy. And go take a nap…

DIY Ghostbusters Halloween costume

Who you gonna call? THIS GUY, striking an impressive pose in his Dad-DIY Ghostbusters Halloween costume. And next year he’s going as Jonathan Lipnicki in Jerry Maguire.
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FREE FAMILY EVENT! Tysons Microsoft Store 10/30 #FitnessDayDC

October 29, 2014 | By Brent Almond | THINGS DAD DIGS

Microsoft Store #FitnessDayDC

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TYSONS MICROSOFT STORE #FitnessDayDC EVENT

Thursday, October 30, 2014  12:00 PM to 6:00 PM (EST)

DETAILS

This Thursday, October 30, visit the Microsoft Store at Tysons Corner Center to jump start your health and fitness goals before the biggest candy-eating holiday of the year! It’ll be a day of fun activities — Kinect and Xbox sessions, Zumba and yoga classes, and more — all designed to keep you and your kids moving. You can also enter to win prizes, some of which will be “big-ticket” items. Which is code for “expensive.”

[Tysons Corner Microsoft Store Info]    [Tysons Corner Center Map]
The Microsoft Store is located on Level 2 of Tysons Corner Center, next to Banana Republic and across from Restoration Hardware.

Designer Daddy will be there to help host!

If you come between 1:00 – 2:00 pm, you’ll have a chance to meet me in real life! Okay, that’s not much of a draw, but I’d love to see/meet/re-meet you and snap a co-selfie (an “ussie?”) before you run off to take a Zumba class, kick butt on Xbox, or enter to win some prizes.

CAN’T MAKE THE MAGICAL HOUR I’M HOSTING?

Want to attend the event but can’t make it from 1-2pm? No worries — but please be sure to take a selfie at the event and send it to me via Twitter or Instagram (@DesignerDaddy or use the hashtag #FitnessDayDC) so I can say hello and get brownie points for getting you to the event!

WHO CAN ATTEND?

The event is open to the public so invite/bring/drag all your friends, family and kids. RSVP’s are not necessary, but it does let me know who’ll be attending so I can keep a lookout for you. RSVP to the event on Facebook.

SCHEDULE & PRIZES (UPDATED)

 10am-6pm: In-store giveaways to first 150 consumers. Other (bigger!) prizes announced throughout the day.
 10am-6pm: Product demos happening all day long!
 12-1pm: Yoga class or store-provided fitness activity
 1-5pm: In-store workouts in Xbox Fitness Area. Optional fitness tests available. Xbox Fitness workout options to include Gillian Michaels, P90X, and Insanity. Trainers in-store to help  with all workouts.
 5pm: Evening snacks provided (see!)
 6-6:45pm: Zumba class or store-provided fitness activity

I will be adding more info about prizes and class times as I receive them.

QUESTIONS ABOUT #FitnessDayDC?

Shoot me an email: Brent (at) DesignerDaddy (dot) com. Hope to see you there!

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Disclosure: I partnered with XYMedia for the #FitnessDayDC event, and was compensated for my involvement.

Movie-Inspired Halloween Costumes

October 28, 2014 | By Brent Almond | POP CULTURE

If you’re frantically looking for easy, last-minute Halloween costume ideas, this is probably not the post for you. But if you love Halloween, creativity and the movies, you’ve come to the right place!

I recently started writing family-related content for Fandango, and my first assignment was an article about creative family Halloween costumes. Our family has always had a blast dressing up together, and I knew I had more than a few friends out there who did the same. So I pooled my massive sea of Internet resources, and they delivered… TOO MUCH! I ended up with more content than Fandango could use, so I wanted to give these other cinematically-creative families the spotlight on my own site. Go grab some popcorn, sit back, and enjoy these picturesque, movie-inspired Halloween costumes!
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Halloween costumes - Rocket Raccoon - Guardians of the Galaxy

Rocket from Guardians of the Galaxy
An avid comic book fan, James decided to make his young son into Rocket Raccoon for an upcoming comic-con, who had seen (and been enamored by) the Guardians of the Galaxy trailer he’d seen on TV. The costume was a simpler version than shown here, but James made it all himself. At the convention it caught the eye of an experienced costumer who ended up making the custom mask, feet and tail shown in the photo. Way to work a room, Rocket! James’ son will, of course, be trick-or-treating in his full Rocket gear this Halloween.

Get the look: The jacket was made by cutting up and sewing pieces from a red t-shirt onto a navy turtleneck, accented with gold buttons. The raccoon tail (found at a frontier shop) was sewn into the seat of blue sweatpants. Read more here.

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“When I’m Five Years Old…” LEGO Edition

October 24, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF

Let’s see… we’ve covered miraculous growth spurts, accelerated maturity, and avoidance tactics. Now we come to the I WANT EVERYTHING portion of this series.

When I'm Five Years Old - LEGO

You’ve got to hand it to LEGO. They were a pretty popular toy when I was a kid, but nothing to lose your mind over. Yet somewhere along the way, they went from being huge piles of plastic bricks you made stuff from to elaborate kits with bazillions of teeny, tiny pieces branded to every pop culture property you can imagine. Okay, there were kits back in the olden days, too — but not like they have now. And my son (and nearly every other boy I know, and quite a few girls) are ravenous for them.

We’re at a point right now where Jon’s fingers and dexterity are still not quite developed enough to put together the bazillions of teeny, tiny pieces on his own. Combine that with my too-large fingers and too-old eyes, and building LEGO sets are not my favorite father/son activity.

And never mind how OCD I get thinking about all of these kits and their bazillions of teeny, tiny pieces being assembled once, played with a few times, falling apart piece-by-piece, and eventually ending up all mixed together in the same box… never to be re-assembled the same way again. AUGH! I’m all for free-form creativity, but if we’re gonna shell out the bucks for the kit, and go through the trouble to configure these things, can’t we just dip them in hot glue, throw them on a shelf and call it a day?

Alas, no. That isn’t the way it works. And by “it,” I mean the mind of an almost-5-year-old. Or perhaps the sinister machinations of the LEGO necromancers. Either way, I don’t stand a chance.
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Check out all the other installments of “When I’m Five Years Old…” and share your own child’s aspirations in the comments.

For more fun and creativity, be sure to visit and like Designer Daddy on Facebook!

“When I’m Five Years Old…” Broccoli Edition

October 20, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF

It’s no secret that the struggle with our 4-year-old and food has been long, frustrating and fraught with many, many carbs. As with a lot of kids his age, tastes change as frequently as the Power Rangers’ uniforms. Sometimes it’s Banana Week, other times Apple Week. But it’s almost nearly never an Anything Green Week — which is surprising since green has been his favorite color since he could tell us so.

Yet as we near his fifth birthday, in addition to the personal goals, the promises are starting to pile on as well. Thanks to a book we recently read, Jon now knows that broccoli gives you gas, which elicited the expected glee (and gas). Seeing an opportunity to encourage some veggie digestion, I played up how fun it would be to eat broccoli and all the smelly farts he would have. Being my well-trained son, he of course took it to the next level, proclaiming…

When I'm Five Years Old - Brocolli

As long as he’s eating healthy, I suppose I can wear a gas mask during dinner. But I’m not holding my breath.

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Check out all the other installments of “When I’m Five Years Old…” and share your own child’s aspirations in the comments!

For more delicious fun (and the occasional fart joke), trot over to Facebook and like the Designer Daddy page!

Fridge Wisdom: Way To Go, Idaho… and North Carolina, Alaska & Arizona, too!

October 19, 2014 | By Brent Almond | LGBT STUFF

I don’t have a particular fondness for Idaho over the other three states that legalized same-sex marriage last week — it just made for a better rhyme. Ironically, it’s the only state of the four I’ve not visited. In any case — way to go! Over 60% of the US population now lives in a state where marriage equality is the law of the land!

Join me in celebrating the four new states that this past week helped to make the inevitable all the more so. And when you stop and think about it, it’s pretty amazing that gays and lesbians can now legally wed in places like the Grand Canyon, Outer Banks, Twin Falls or right next door to Sarah Palin
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same-sex marriage north carolina

North Carolina: same-sex marriage legal, effective October 10, 2014. (Magnet on left courtesy of Mark Mitchell)

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Nobody’s Hero

October 15, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF

I was coming off a four-day stint of flying solo while Papa was away at a conference, and not feeling too confident about my parenting skills. In fact, I was feeling downright shitty about them. Wallowing in self-doubt, self-pity, and other self-related things that suck, I walked by a drawing Jon had done earlier in the day.

The forecast for Saturday had been for a day full of rain, so we had a couple of preschool classmates and their dad over for the afternoon. Sometime in-between watching videos and the MMA match that signaled the end of the play date, the kids had pulled out the crayons and a Star Wars notepad I’d gotten Jon from the dollar bin at Target, and were cranking out quite a few masterpieces.

As I noticed the drawing again that evening, I added to the mental list of my shortcomings, “kid can’t draw.” I wasn’t upset with him or the quality of his artwork. Instead, I took it as evidence of an inability to transfer my skill set to my son. And I was jealous that the other boy that was here was a better artist, and that this was something Jon and I didn’t have that in common. All this landed atop the pile of misery I’d already put on my tired, beaten-down shoulders.

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“When I’m Five Years Old…” Movies Edition

October 15, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF

As I mentioned in my first installment, Jon’s list of things he wants when he turns five is exhaustive and exhausting. In addition to things he wants to be (taller) and have (all manner of toys), there are things he wants to experience. Things that are well above what’s appropriate for his age. He claims he’s not afraid of anything (except for getting shots, going into a darkened room alone, biting spiders and vegetables) — and I’m proud when he’s my brave, little toaster. But I’m not ready for him to be 100% fearless yet. He’s got stuff to learn, limits to experience, dangers to fully comprehend. Like cyborg assassins from the future.

When I'm Five Years Old... Movies Edition

SPOILER ALERT! THIS IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. Stay tuned for more sequels to “When I’m five years old…”

On your way out of the theater, leave a comment telling us what movies well above their age range your little ones are clamoring to see. Or ones you saw long before you were ready.

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For more family-friendly(ish) fun… stampede, swim or crawl (because the lower half of your cybernetic body has been severed) over to Facebook and like the Designer Daddy page. I’ll bring the popcorn!

“When I’m Five Years Old…”

October 13, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, MAKING MEMORIES

It’s hard to wrap my head around it, but in just a few weeks I will be the father of a 5-year-old. The time seems to have raced past (oftentimes knocking me on my ass), but of course for our little big boy, it can’t go fast enough. Ever since Jon understood he was a certain number and that there were other numbers higher than his, he’s longed to be higher, bigger, older, faster… and just all around more. As if that were even possible.

Yet as he’s gotten closer to his quinquennial anniversary on Earth, the plans Jon has made for when that day arrives have grown more specific, more elaborate, and good god, more frequent. So between now and his birthday, I’ll be randomly posting a sampling of the things our ambitious boy has declared he will do/be/have when he turns five years old.

When I'm Five Years Old

But wait, there’s more! Stay tuned for further installments of “When I’m five years old…”

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Don’t wait for YOUR next birthday… pop over to Facebook and like the Designer Daddy page, join in the fun and share the love!

Fridge Wisdom: Same-Sex Marriage in the U.S., Over Halfway There!

October 10, 2014 | By Brent Almond | LGBT STUFF

Are you having trouble keeping score? Yeah, me too. But this is a good trouble to have. So that’s 27 states and the District of Columbia — 55.3% of the US population — lives where same-sex marriage is now legal.

Here’s the play-by-play from another watershed week in marriage equality… On Monday, the Supreme Court declined to re-visit decisions from lower courts, thus granting marriage equality in Indiana, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Utah and Virginia. Colorado lifted its ban on same-sex marriage on Tuesday. Similar actions followed on Wednesday in Nevada and West Virginia.

It looked like Idaho was in the green (see map below) for a while, but on Wednesday Justice Kennedy implemented a temporary stay. I feel bad for the couples in Idaho wanting to get married, but maybe this will give me time to find someone that has an Idaho fridge magnet. Even a magnet of a potato would be fine!
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Same-sex marriage in Nevada and West Virginia

Nevada and West Virginia: same-sex marriage legal, effective October 9, 2014.

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