August Check In

It’s the 1st of September so it’s time for a check in on how I did this month with the goals that I set out in my last post.

 

  • Drink less Coke – I switched to ordering Arnold Palmers when possible when I ate out, which is when I drink the most Coke. And I started off really well for the month. Two weeks in and one of my cats became ill and it quickly went down hill. Grade: D

 

  • Read more – I’m giving myself a big fat F/6 for this catagory. I didn’t read a single new book, comic, or graphic novel. I picked up a bunch over the month but haven’t actually read any of them.

 

  • Write more – I did do some writing this month. All of it in regards to a character I created for a game that is starting in the near future. I started working on her her prolouge to the game and wrote three or four pages before Henry (the cat) became sick.  Grade: C

 

  • Listen to more Podcasts – Nothing.Nada. A big fat F

 

  • Eat better food – I really need to work on this. It’s been really difficult. Primarily because I don’t really like eating alone, and I’m not really good at making single servings of anything. I need to learn to change my mindset on dinners. I tend to not feel like cooking anything by the time Matt gets home from work  (between 5:30 and 6:30 – sometimes later, it’s never consistent) and we end up eating out more because of it. Grade: C

 

  • Get better sleep – I set my Alta up to help me get better sleep. It lets me know when it’s time to start winding down and go to bed. It’s a nice feature and it has helped me in having a consistent schedule. Most nights I am in bed by 10 p.m. and asleep by 10:30 or ll p.m. (depending on how long it takes me to fall asleep. The Alta buzzes about 6:30  or so to wake me up. (I don’t wear it at night, but the vibration is pretty strong that I can hear it in the little box that it’s in.) It’s actually rare that I sleep until 6:30 though. I have cats. They are my alarm clock. Grade: B

 

  • Exercise more – I started out really good this month. Walking 15+ minutes every day. My average steps per day moved from 4k to 5k. And I was feeling really positive about it all. My momentum came to a screeching halt the moment Henry became sick. Grade: D

 

NOTES:

Outside influences played a large part in August. After I decided to start this reboot I paid a visit to my doctor to discuss my chronic fatigue that has steadily become worse over time. After some discussion we agreed to add a new medication to what I was already taking. It’s been about three weeks and it has, at least to me, made an actual difference. I no longer feel like going back to bed after I’ve been awake. And I do have “more” energy to move about.

The other thing that occurred was that Henry became ill. Seriously ill. So much so that we thought we might have to say good bye. It took a week to learn that he has Cancer. It’s Small Cell Lymphoma. From what the vet has told us, this cancer is not as aggressive as others. Henry could live happily and pain free for 18 months with proper care. It has been a devastating blow to Matt and me. I’ve been having a hard time processing everything. All of us are adjusting to a new feeding schedule and medication. (I’m getting decently better at turning Henry into a cat burrito.)

And that’s it. Let’s see how September goes.

 

Breathe In. Breathe Out.

Today is August 1st. I can’t say that I am surprised. I know exactly where the time has gone. It has been spent doing things. Things like visiting friends in different places, knitting and dreaming up new patterns, conventions…in other words life.

Even with all the good that has been occurring there has been a shadow hanging about. There has been for a little while now. I’ve been actively avoiding looking at it. Afraid, that like The Nothing from the Neverending Story, it would consume every piece of me if I did anything.

Before It grew to large to handle, I adjusted my medication. For a spell it seemed to do the trick.  It didn’t bother me even though I could still feel this shadow clinging to bits of me.

Until it did.

It does.

It feels like I’ve been in a mental rut without any clear path to move forward. There were goals that I set out to achieve at the beginning of this year that have completely fallen off somewhere in the mire. And the pressure I put on MYSELF to get back on track is really surprising. I am my worst critic on all things. I think that’s human nature though.

Add anxiety to the mix and I pretty much want to sleep like my cats do… all day.

Which perpetuates the cycle.

So I’m going to try something. I’m going to try ‘rebooting’ me. I know. It sounds all woo. And maybe reboot isn’t quite the right word. It’s the term that Wil Wheaton used though and I am drawing my idea from him. 

Actually, I’m going to use his list almost verbatim.  Almost, because I don’t actually drink beer. I’ll have an occasional cider or a mixed drink but I don’t generally drink much alcohol so I’m changing beer to Coke. Because I do tend to drink a lot of that.

So my list is as follows –

  • Drink less Coke – Because this is just a good idea
  • Read more – I don’t understand why this has fallen into the mire. I really like reading
  • Write more – Because I actually want to
  • Listen to more Podcasts – This is another thing that fell into the mire
  • Eat better food – Goes with the drinking less Coke
  • Get better sleep – Getting a good nights sleep is key to so many things
  • Exercise more – Feeling better about my fitness levels is a good thing

 

Accountability is key for a lot of these, so if I happen to ask you to keep an eye on me so I don’t over do something or even help keep me accountable don’t be surprised.

Let’s see how this works out at the end of August.

 

 

Still Alive

I am here. So much has been going on since my post about the Fan-Expo and I promise that I am going to tell you all the little details soon. I’m just having some trouble getting my brain to dump it all.

It’s become something of a cycle. I know I have something to say, to share, but my brain wants to chew on this last little bit and then it finds something else it wants to dwell on but won’t let me drop anything. I’m the best juggler of random thoughts I know. And it’s exhausting. Really really exhausting.

I’m going to try and write something about my trip to Canada over the Canada Day Holiday. (I had so much fun.)

There is also a yarn post. Wonderful goodies. Seriously.

I also have some thoughts regarding the current political climate that my brain is furiously chewing on.

It will get written. All of it. Just not right now. Instead I am going to work on one of the many unfinished pieces that are floating about… and maybe clean all the makeup brushes I own. Then again, I might sit and play Borderlands. It entirely depends on what my brain is going to focus on that won’t make me feel like I’m utterly useless.

Dallas FanExpo 2016

alt title: The first time I cosplayed.

 

First and foremost I need to thank some people.

My Other Half – Matt: For being patient and so supportive of my cosplay endeavor. For making suggestions and listening to my rambles and oh so many other small and large things.

Rissa – without you there would not have been a Steampunk Harley for me to wear. You worked magic with a sewing machine. I’m so grateful for your help.

Callie and Dawn – I’ve been going to you for 5 years for my hair and when I suggested all the things for transforming my hair so I wouldn’t have to buy a wig, you pulled through. I don’t think I can thank you enough for doing that.

My niece, Izzy – Girl you have skill with a makeup brush. Thank you so much for doing a run through of what I wanted to do makeup wise with me. (I did end up replacing the base with something else!)

 

Ok….

So if it isn’t obvious yet. I did my first Cosplay this year at the Dallas FanExpo this past weekend. I cosplayed Harley Quinn. Those that know me, know that this isn’t all that surprising.

I decided last year after attending FanExpo last year that I wanted to cosplay. Choosing Harley Quinn was a no-brainer for me.

I started out looking in my closet to see what I could use. I had a red dress that I had worn at wedding I was part of hanging there that looked vaguely steampunkish so I started with that. The wedding had been several years ago – long enough that the dress did not fit properly at the top. There was no way I would ever be able to zip the thing closed. A modesty panel would be required.

Rissa, a darling friend that has way to much going on in her life, took the time to help me with this project. And over the course of two days she not only attached a panel she made loops to lace me into the dress. It was fabulous.

I ordered a pair of women’s “combat boots” and a pair of goggles that had red and black lenses. I even purchased colored contacts in my prescription  turn my amber eyes blue and I would be able to see without having to wear my glasses. Then I chose the makeup I wanted to use. I used a lot of MAC, Urban Decay, and KatVonD.

The Steampunk dress wasn’t my only idea. I also decided to do a Tutu Harley Quinn. I purchased and obscene amount of tulle and in the end made two tutus. The first iteration was completely red and the same length all around.  The second was split red and black and much longer in the back than in the front. I chose to wear the second tutu.

For the Tutu Harley, I purchased an inexpensive corset online (and hoped for the best.) I also found an Etsy seller ( GoblinWorxLeather) that made the bell choker Harley wears with her Roller Derby outfit. (I love love love the collar.) I picked up a pair of fingerless motorcycle gloves that were on sale at a local bike shop.

For a prop, I decided to go with Harley’s Hammer. Usually it is depicted rather large. I decided to go the opposite way and use a croquet hammer. By adding black electrical tape to the red mallet I had an inexpensive prop that was easy to carry about. And it made sense to go with the steampunk feel of the first outfit.

My hair is relatively short since it still in the process of growing out from shaving it all off over a year ago, so I asked my two favorite hair stylist and colorist to give me their interpretation of Harley Quinn. (Work with what I have – especially since I had a scheduled hair appointment just a week prior to the convention.)  The result was amazing.

Dallas FanExpo June 2016

Friday I wore Tutu Harley. I loved the over all look. But the corset didn’t hold up very well. Without proper boning at the top my chest was just too much for it. Not even double sided tape could help the poor thing stay up properly. I found myself adjusting the corset more as the day went on.  I had hoped that the corset would at least last a single day. Sadly it didn’t. Lesson learned.

Dallas FanExpo June 2016

I wore the Steampunk dress on Saturday. Saturday is considered THE DAY…the number of compliments and kudos the dress garnered was quite impressive. But the biggest hit I think was my mallet. With all of the oversized mallets when mine was noticed there was always a smile. I even heard one cosplayer say that he was tickled that Harley was carrying a croquet mallet as we passed each other. Many of the vendors also made comments on it.

(not sure why it says the picture isn’t available I clicked on it and it’s still there…)

Sunday I dressed down but was still Harley Quinn. She was on a campaign spree. It was quite a lot of fun.

What I learned from my first Cosplay:

  1. No matter how much you try, you will always forget something. I had put several things out with the intentions of packing them – things like scissors, moisturizer, deodorant and a brush. All of these things I left at home….
  2. It’s great if you have a friend to help you get into your outfits, but if you don’t – it’s okay to ask someone to help. I needed assistance with the Steampunk dress and a kind lady in the hall helped me.
  3. Being stopped and asked to if someone can take a picture with you is an interesting experience.
  4. You will have blisters.

 

 

The FanExpo:

I can’t even begin to put into words how it felt to be walking around the con as Harley Quinn. It was scary and fun at the same time. I saw so many other great cosplays and was struck by the creativity and love that each and every one of the cosplayers had for their character.

As for loot that I picked up. The vendors naturally were many and I saw a lot that wanted to go home with me.

Here are a few that stood out and either managed to get me to purchase something or I was simply smitten and had to share.

  1. Ta Da Boutique – there was a pillow. It had words. I wanted it, but I was afraid the cats would claim it for their own.
  2. Kat of Wonders – she had Nuka Cola and Quantum bottles that were simply amazing. I suggested that she also try making some Vim bottles now that Far Harbor was out and apparently Nuka Cola and Vim were competitors. She thought it was a grand idea.
  3. Sasha R. Jones – Sasha was a delight to meet. I purchased some of his pieces as postcards to frame after we had a discussion about one of his pieces called “Holding Back Birds” Seriously go look.
  4. The Truffle Cottage – I never made it back to their booth on Sunday, but I am so glad I can order online. Seriously. They had a chocolate D20 filled with chocolate dice! How cool is that? And pokeballs that had Pokemon in it…that’s hardcore fandom…
  5. Silver Leaf Costumes – I saw them last year and held off on purchasing anything. This year I didn’t wait. I bought their Harley Quinn inspired corset (which could be used for other ideas as well)
  6. Matriart Studio -Jeanette had amazing artwork. Wood carved pictures that simply blew my poor little creative mind to pieces.
  7. The Blonde Swan – there was a hat that I so wanted to get. If they are at the next convention I go to I will certainly be making that purchase. Beautiful leather work.
  8. The Midsummer Knights Dream – Puppetry. The cats caught my eye then they showed me the owls. Yeah…I may have to cosplay someone that has a pet something in the future.

 

I sat in on several panels. And managed to meet the voice actor for Spike from Cowboy Bebop. I even ran across a friend I hadn’t seen since my wedding. The entire con was something I will never forget.

If you follow me on Facebook then you will have seen these pictures before but if don’t  you can take a look at my flikr photo album for more pictures from Dallas FanExpo 2016.

Pretty String

When I learned that Rachel and Metin decided to get married, I was over the moon happy for them. I adore Rachel and feel fortunate to be able to call her a friend. It wasn’t hard to understand why Rachel liked Metin after meeting him and spending some time chatting.

Having decided to marry in Scotland, there have been several pre-wedding celebrations held for various friends that aren’t able to make the trek to those rocky shores. I attended the Houston bash held over New Years Eve of 2015. Rachel gave us a preview of her dress and we had a grand time reminiscing on when and how everyone met.

This was also when I decided I wanted to make something for Rachel. And I knew immediately what it was that I wanted to make. The Dahlia Shawl.  I had started one for myself a year or so ago but never managed to finish it.

Since my first Dahlia project was started with Curio yarn, a cotton crochet thread from knitpicks I decided to use it again. After consulting Rachel regarding color (she chose a beautiful color called Victorian) I ordered the yardage needed. As soon as it came in I began working on it.

It took me roughly three and a half months of working on it on and off to have it done early enough to mail it off so Rachel would get it before she left for Scotland.

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Thoughts on the pattern itself:  I felt that the designer made the pattern more difficult than it needed to be. This could have been because she wrote it to the standards of the magazine she submitted to. There were certain redundancies and sections that I would have written differently. Aside from occasionally loosing track of what repeat row I was on, I wasn’t overly fond of the edging directions. I ended up not working the last four rows because of this.

Thoughts on the yarn: The pattern called for an alpaca blended fibre but I chose to make it with Curio which is 100% cotton. So I understood that there would be differences that occurred. I ordered the same yardage as a precaution. I used 1/3 of what I purchased. While I did work to the dimensions specified in the pattern there will be a major difference in length. Anything made with alpaca tends to “grow”. So while the pattern gives certain dimensions, the original shawl is much larger due to the nature of the fibre. Cotton doesn’t grow. Not at all. In most cases it can shrink if you aren’t careful.

I am pleased with the outcome and will eventually finish my first attempt at the Dahlia sometime in the future. Truthfully I’m just looking forward to seeing Rachel wear it.

I’m alive, I really am

Yikes. It’s been way too long. Dusts off the cobwebs. 

I promise I’m still here. I’ve been doing all sorts of things and haven’t really taken the time to put it all down yet.

That will be remedied in the next few days. Then I am off again on my next grand adventure.

In the meantime here’s something to brighten your day. It certainly brightened mine.

 

BeautyCon Dallas 2016

This past weekend was BeautyCon. A convention that endeavors to bring together

“…high-energy IRL experiences, around the world, for creators, traditional celebrities, brands and fans, to come together around common interests – beauty, fashion, style and staying true to yourself.”

 

In the last year or so I embarked on an adventure exploring makeup and the many reasons people use it. I am very fond of the saying, “There are no rules in makeup.”  And I am of the firm opinion that as long as YOU are the one that likes the way you look (no matter how you wear makeup) then that is all that matters. To me makeup is about creativity.

When a friend suggested that we go to Beautycon I was really intrigued and agreed. We decided to go with general admission tickets because the higher VIP levels were out of our price range.  When we looked at the attending guests a few days prior to the event there were several listed that we would have been happy to see-even from a distance. Grav3yardgirl, Patrick Starr, MannyMUA, and Madeyewlook were all listed at that time. (I’ve since gone back to look at the list of guests and they are no where to be found [other than Grav3yardgirl] – I can only assume that they updated the list the day of.)

Excited about the prospect of meeting some of the people I actually keep up with on occasion via You-tube and Instagram as well as seeing what new and exciting things were happening, my friend and I made our way to Fair Park  on Saturday afternoon to see what  Beautycon was all about.

We stood in line for a solid 45 minutes just to get into the building. Exchanging our paper tickets for wrists bands that were scanned not once but twice. This really didn’t bother me too much, though it could have been handled more efficiently.

Once inside the building we paused for a moment. I had to switch out my sunglasses for my actual glasses and we practically ran into folks standing in a line waiting to take selfies against a chalkboard that was covered in names and “red carpet” wall. After side stepping the line I had my first look at room.

The first thing I noticed: almost every makeup vendor had a selfie station and smack in the middle of everything was the convention swag truck. You know, the place you can pick up t-shirts, sweatershirts etc.  The lines were relatively short and we decided to go ahead and pick up something to commemorate our first Beautycon. As we stood in line it didn’t take us long to decide on the “swag bag” or tote. It was stuffed with things (it was actually quite heavy to carry about) and for the price seemed to be the best value. After acquiring our swag we began to wander the convention.

Now, I’ve been to a few conventions in my time. And in general I get the flow. There were several panels that were being held throughout the day. One of them was about contouring which had my interest. When we walked past the stage and saw the seating I knew there was no way that I would be able to listen let alone watch. We caught the introduction to the first panel and my friend was amazed at how some of the audience lost it as the panel came through the crowd to the stage. While I didn’t know a single person that was introduced it was clear that they were part of the You-Tube Generation. As my friend expressed her amazement at the reactions of attendees I quipped that I wasn’t surprised. Just as we had icons and inspiration, these girls represented the same thing. We listened briefly about having a crew a squad before moving on to look at some of the vendors.

As I said, I’ve been to a few conventions and sort of knew what to expect. There would be lines for meet and greets and pictures and possibly a queue in order to pay for things. As we walked around I noticed something rather odd. The entire space was filled with snaking lines. They wound about everywhere. At first I thought they were for the many selfie stations or the meet and greet with Grav3yardgirl. When I walked up to the Crown Brushes booth to look at their brushes a woman standing next to me pointed in a direction and said “The line is somewhere back there.” There was a solid 4  feet on either side of me were no one standing. It looked like there was no one at the booth. I looked in the direction the woman pointed and was floored to see a line of 50 people or more. And that’s when I noticed that EVERY vendor booth was like that. It totally floored me.  It seemed that if I wanted to look at ANYTHING I had to stand in line to do so. And with the number of attendees it would take upwards of an hour or more just to get through a single line to a booth. It was ridiculous. The convention was only open from 12 -6 p.m. and if we had to stand and wait in line to see every vendor we wanted to see we would have made it through less than half.

At every other convention I’ve been to the only lines I had to stand in was to pay for what I wanted to buy, not to actually look at what was available. We managed to stop by some of the smaller booths that had no lines – The Cutlife which is a blog for folks with short hair and their sponsor Carole’s Daughter (I had never heard of them but they make hair products). We put on some wigs and took some fun snaps, watched a girl getting her hair done – it looked amazing- and then tried to move on.

My friend and I walked about the convention for a solid hour and half trying to look at the vendors. When we finally paused to decide what we wanted to do we realized that our swag bags had samples or full-sized products from the majority of the vendors or sponsors. So we decided to leave. I spotted a jewelry vendor just before we walked out and stopped to look. I got some information about their jewelry and purchased a pair of Quay sunglasses. The folks manning that booth were very friendly and the exchange was pleasant.

Back in the car we dove into the swag bags. There were full-sized items from NYX, Tarte, Garnier, Maybeline, Lime Crime, Eden and others. While some of it may not have been something we would normally pick up (there was an entire acne treatment kit included) it did have a nice variety. I am particularly fond of the purple eyeliner from NYX and the liquid lipstick from Lime Crime that was in my swag bag.

This was my first BeautyCon, it was my friend’s first convention ever. While the bag was cool and some of the smaller booths were interesting. Were were left with an overall negative impression of the event. Perhaps this is how all BeautyCons are. I simply don’t know. My friend said she read an article that stated BeautyCon had some “growing up” to do and was only 4 years old. I’m inclined to agree after my experience there.

In the meantime I’m going to ComicCon with my friend to show her what BeautyCon has the potential to grow up to be.