Tag Archives: baltimore

Gee, Big Football Makes For Big Pride

16 Jan

For me, there is absolutely nothing like Baltimore Ravens football. Nothing else has the power to simultaneously tug at my heart strings and fire me up. I know that football is just a game, but this team means so much more.

Sporting my Torrey Smith jersey.

When I returned home for Christmas this year, our family bonded over our team’s triumphs. We exchanged an array of purple, Raven-themed gifts – license plate holders, pillow pets, framed stadium portraits…you name it. We are all rather obsessed. In Baltimore territory, the purple passion is electric. It is this intense appreciation that I miss the most when I leave the land of crabcakes and football.

When I was studying in Brussels, Belgium during the fall of 2009, I excitedly followed my team’s progress throughout the season. Of course I jumped at the chance to watch a live Ravens game on the television at an American bar near the Parliament. For those four quarters of hard hitting competition, I was home again.

My Ravens Family

The other day, I met a native Atlantan who said, “Ya know, the people I’ve met from Baltimore are so proud of their city. It’s truly a part of their identity. It’s kind of like Boston or New York. That pride is pretty special.” I would have to agree.

It is so reassuring to know that the team connects me to my hometown, my home people. I may be hundreds of miles away from the place where I grew up, but I feel like I’m back in the Land of Pleasant Living when those purple warriors step onto the field. Watching Ray shout at the top of his lungs in the pre-game huddle sends chills up my spine.

No matter where you are from, be it a tiny town or a bustling city, it’s truly amazing when you find something that connects you to your people and your home. Hold onto it. Don’t be ashamed. No matter how much slack you get from the people who just don’t get it.

Gee, It’s An Otakon Invasion!

31 Jul

Otakon Invasion on Light Street

Driving down Light Street this morning, my mother and I spotted two men in white overcoats strolling towards the Convention Center.  One of the young men had what appeared to be blood spatter adorning his coat.  At first, I was alarmed.  Why would someone wear a bloody ensemble out in public on a Saturday morning?

“They’re just doctors,” my mom said.  But no.  This couldn’t be right.  As I eyed the young men a bit more carefully, I noticed their dark accessories and giddy expressions… and it hit me: Otakon.  Sure enough, we drove just a block further and there were flocks of people sporting wigs, capes, wings, etc.

Every summer, hardcore anime enthusiasts can be found roaming the Inner Harbor territory in Baltimore.  According to John-John Williams IV of the Baltimore Sun,

“Otakon is an annual celebration of Japanese and East Asian popular culture, with an emphasis on music, movies, and fashion. The three-day convention is entering its 17th year. It has been held in Baltimore since 1999.”

Baltimore Tourists

When I worked as a waitress in Little Italy of downtown Baltimore during my high school summers, we had Otakon patrons waltz on in for some good Italian grub wearing full warrior princess garb.

While I do not fully understand the concept of Otakon, I truly respect these passionate people.  I can safely say that these are some of the most confident individuals that I have ever come across.  These fans assume the identities of their favorite anime characters, and they hold nothing back.  They have no qualms about looking a little bit different to pay tribute to something that they care so deeply about.

I don’t know that I will ever resort to their extreme levels of fan-dom, but I will certainly take their presence as a reminder that sometimes, you just have to loosen up and abandon some of those pesky inhibitions.  Every now and then, it’s refreshing to make a bold fashion statement or just fight the status quo.  That is some Otakon inspiration.

Gee, Vintage Never Gets Old

28 Jul

In addition to developing an appreciation for recycled music, I have also come to love recycled clothing.  Upon flipping through the pages of Baltimore’s “City Paper,” my friend and I found an ad for Debois Textiles: a warehouse of vintage clothes, fabrics, and fashion gems.

We couldn’t resist – we had to investigate the place for ourselves.  Moving from rack to rack was a true adventure.  From poofy prom dresses to flowy blouses, this place has it all.  My friend and I spent hours scouring the inventory and picking out unique pieces that we would never find in a department store.  And it doesn’t hurt that the prices are extremely college-student-friendly.

A Vintage Dress From Debois

Vintage has even gone virtual!  Thanks to online stores like Etsy‘s Dirty Betty Vintage, you can order tasteful vintage pieces in a snap.  Dirty Betty is one of my personal favorites with pieces ranging from dresses to rompers.  I can’t help but love her quirky names for each item (i.e. “Dirty Betty is Staring at the Sky Babydoll“)!  Humor and remarkable taste in clothes: two amazing qualities that flow together harmoniously in this charming online shop.

So my advice for the day: add some character to your wardrobe with vintage fashion.  Go on, live a little!