Armageddon Expo Melbourne 2014

I made the joke recently that Armageddon is like geek Christmas for me.  It’s the last convention of the year that I attend and there’s always a strong sense of anticipation beforehand.  Also, Armageddon was the first convention I ever went to, so for me there’s a feeling of nostalgia and homecoming that surrounds Armageddon.

Last Sunday I was awakened by a rat-a-tat-tat at the door.  It was 5am and my mate Luke was at my place, super-excited and eager to make a start on our costumes.  After a hearty breakfast, a quick shower and several hours of makeup, we were ready to head out the door and make the drive to the city.

Luke had decided to dress as Zombie Superman and I’d offered to help him out with his special effects makeup.  We had loads of fun splattering his costume with fake blood and scruffing it up.  Here’s a picture of Luke waiting on a pretty pink towel for his blood to be dry enough that it wouldn’t rub off on the interior of the car.

I had so much fun with this makeup.  It’s been quite a while since I’ve experimented with horror makeup.  The eye-socket was a real challenge but I am pretty darn pleased with how it turned out.  Luke got a lot of compliments on his costume (and scared quite a few kids as well)

I opted for a re-booted version of my old faithful Tank Girl cosplay.  I’d intended to dress as Susan Sto Helit from The Hogfather, but then I read the weather report.  I didn’t feel like sweltering  in a wig and full-length gown and cape, so I chose to don my cutoffs and combat boots once again.

I made a few small modifications to my costume this time around.  I made a ‘target’ tee shirt like the one that Tank Girl wears in the film and dyed my hair green for the occasion.  I actually really liked the way my green hair looked!

The con itself was just sensational.  Some of the highlights included:

- Meeting up with Caz from Nerdburger.  Caz and I have been blogging buddies for years.  I even interviewed her way back when my blog was just a baby.  She is so sweet in real life and it was fantastic to finally meet her.

- Catching up with Stewart McKenny and Chris McQuinlan, two of my favourite comic book artists.  It was especially awesome to meet up with Chris when I was wearing my Tank Girl costume, because Chris did an awesome Tank Girl pin-up commission for my birthday a few years back.

- Seeing a little kid in a stroller, happily munching through a pack of trading cards.  I’m not even kidding.  He was eating those things like they were chips!

- Getting my mug shot taken by the Gotham City police department.

- Seeing a giant dancing Groot.

- Getting photos taken with this life-sized Jabba the Hut.

And of course, there were some incredible cosplayers.  Here are some of my favourites:

Groot!  I nearly hyperventilated when I saw him towering above the crowds.  His costume was so detailed and he loved to dance.

I went mad for this pink Darth Vader and her Storm Trooper pal.  Although I didn’t notice until afterwards that he was carrying Jar Jar Binks’ head around (embarrassing fact: I actually like Jar-Jar.  Let me hang my head in shame while we move onto the next picture)….

Howard Moon and Vince Noir from The Mighty Boosh!  These dudes were incredible.  That synthesizer actually worked, and they performed Future Sailors just for me.  I was one happy fangirl.

I found another Tank Girl!  And she was flippin’ adorable!

Superman vs Goku.  Both were looking a little worse for wear.

What horror-lovin’ gal wouldn’t love a free smoosh from Michael Myers?

And it’s pretty cool and Freddy and Michael were able to put down their weapons and get cosy for the camera.

Tank Girl got a little pick-me-up from Walter White and Jesse Pinkman.  Don’t fret, it’s just candy!

I ran into this awesome Prince Oberyn Martell who I met at Comic Con earlier in the year.

He was positively lickable!

How cool is this Marty McFly?  I adore it when cosplayers make fabulous props to go with their costumes.

Superman vs Hellboy.  Epic!

WOMAN!  WOMAN!  There just aren’t enough Muppets cosplayers.  It was so awesome to see this guy dressed as Animal.

Apparently severed heads were all the rage at Armageddon. This time is was Amy Pond with a Cyberman head.

This Power Girl was so sweet.  She was awfully concerned about Luke’s face.

Jane Lane!  She likes having low self-esteem.  It makes her feel special.

This Snow White was just too chipper for my taste  (haha!  She was actually super sweet).

Astrid and Hiccup from How to Train your Dragon.

I was totally smitten with this Flynn Ryder.  He was pretty dashing.

But not as dashing as Gaston!  Swoon!  What girl could resist those biceps?

This Elsa was so stunning.  I couldn’t take my eyes off her gown, it was just so beautiful.

We had a fair bit of Superman-on-Superman action.  This Clarke Kent was the slickest non-zombie Superman I saw all day.

I had a fantastic time this year and it was awesome to meet so many brilliant cosplayers.  I am a bit sad that the cons are all over for this year, but I’m already thinking about what I’m going to wear to next-years conventions.

New Years Resolutions Update: September 2014

For the longest time I’ve toyed with the idea of running my own market stall.  I love my little etsy shop, but it bums me out that I have to charge so much for shipping and I miss getting to interact with my customers.  I thought it would be a fun experiment to run a stall at a craft market.  So my resolution for September was to make this happen.

 

DSCF9313

 

I didn’t manage to get this one off the ground.  The biggest reason is that work was insane this month and I did very little else other than eating, sleeping and the occasional round of Mario Kart.  It was pretty unrealistic to think that I’d be able to host a market stall as well.

 

I did start doing some serious planning for when I do get a stall going.  And this planning made me realise that I have a LOT of work to do before I’ll be ready to run a stall of my own.  I began researching markets in the area and calculating which ones I thought would be most suited to the kinds of crafts I sell.  In a lot of cases, it can take six weeks to apply and be approved for a market stall, so the application process alone is pretty taxing.

 

DSCF9264

 

I will also need to get the bare bones for my stall.  I’ll probably hire a trestle table, and maybe borrow a little tent or shade cloth from a friend if the market is outdoors.  I’ll also need to get display shelves or racks for my items.

 

My inventory also needs a fair bit of work.  Because I sell on etsy, and a lot of my items are made-to-order, I usually just make a sample item to begin with.  So I have a lot of single items, but not many multiples of items.  Before the market I need to think carefully about which items I think will be good sellers and then make a bunch in different colours and sizes.  I will also need to price each of these items, and think about packaging as well.

 

There will be a lot of work and planning before I am even close to ready to run my own stall.  But I’ve made progress.  I’ve planned out the tasks I need to do to get a stall going and I’ve put a deadline for each one in my diary.  I haven’t reached my goal yet, but I have a roadmap and I am plodding towards the finish line.  There is a market in April next year that I’d really like to participate in, so I’m making that my goal for now.

 

DSCF8641

 

Have you even run a market stall?  What was it like?  Did you have to do a lot of planning beforehand?

Things I Love Thursday 9/10/2014

Hey babes?  How’s your week going?  Mine has been a bit of a shit-storm.  I don’t want to go right into it, but I’ve broken it off with the guy I was seeing.  Awesome though he was, it became pretty clear that he and I both had very different ideas of what our relationship was and I needed to get out. I’m hurting, but there are still plenty of things that are making me smile this week.  For example:

- My awesome friends. I feel truly blessed with the  circle of friends I’ve built up over the years.  When the shit hit the fan this week, they rallied around me and offered sweet words, hugs, beautiful compliments and sage advice.  I am so, so very lucky to have such incredible people in my life.

- Caramel Cornettos.

- Getting into the Halloween spirit with some spooky movies.  So far this week I’ve watched Mars Attacks, The Lady in the Water, Elvira Mistress of the Dark, Elvira’s Haunted Hills and Ghostbusters.

-Using makeup to turn myself into Grumpy Cat when I was having a particularly bad night.  Ironically, this really cheered me up.

- Doing my first ever yoga headstand!  I have been totally intimidated by the idea of headstands but also really wanted to give it a shot.  So this week I decided to just bite the bullet, try it out and see what happened.  I got down in front of the wall, prepped myself by getting on all fours and then creating a base with my forearms on the ground and my head cradled by my hands.  I straightened my legs and began walking them towards my head until my toes were barely touching the floor and then kicked off gently.  It was the weirdest sensation, but I got totally vertical without even touching the wall!  I didn’t stay up very long, but I’m so excited to have hit the headstand.  Now to work on holding it for longer.

- Getting an email from a mate who can’t make it to my Halloween party in person, who asked me to tell the rest of my guests that he would be there as the Invisible Man.  Clever.

- Laying on the grass by the lake with my book.

- Seeing a little blue wren hopping about my backyard.

- Lemon tart with raspberries.

- Taking in deep breaths and repeating, “you’ve got this,  you’re going to be OK” over and over.

- A good, hard cry.

- Watching my cats fight with each other.  They love tumbling about on the floor, playing together.

- Daylight savings.  I’m so pleased to have an extra hour of daylight.

What do you love this week?

Daily outfit 8/10/2014

It’s been such a long time since I’ve done an outfit post.  With all my Liptember selfies, I just ran out of time to take proper outfit shots.  But now we’re into October and I’ve got more opportunities to record my outfits.

I’m really feeling the Halloween vibe at the moment.  I wore this witchy outfit to go out for dinner with my family.

I am wearing:

- Black sequinned dress from Living Doll

- Black and white striped jacket from Cotton On

- Black fishnet tights from Leona Edminson

- Ruby slippers from Betts

- Studded belt (gift from my ex-boyfriend)

- Green vintage cocktail ring (Faye Bella on Etsy)

This look actually began with my makeup.  Miss Fairchild sent me a huge care package filled with the spoils from her latest beauty clear-out.  There was a beautiful emerald green eyeshadow in the package that I was instantly smitten with.  It is one of the Bourjois intense eye pots in 05 and I just adore the colour.  Sadly, the pretty green didn’t show up on camera.  The rich green shade instantly put me in mind of the Wicked Witch of the West and the rest of the outfit started falling into place.

I created a smokey eye using the green and some soft grey shades.  In keeping with the witchy theme, I used my Urban Decay lipstick in Theodora from the Oz: the Great and Powerful collection.

Then I added black on black, playing with texture.  I threw on this stripey jacked for a bit of lightness.  And of course, I couldn’t resist wearing my ruby slippers to complete the look.

I’m looking forward to adding some more Halloween-inspired outfits to the blog this month.  I’ve definitely started embracing my dark side now that Halloween is on it’s way.

Lunette cup review.

You might remember a couple of months ago that I wrote a post about switching to reusable menstrual products.  In that post, I talked mainly about re-usable pads, but now I’ve got another product to share with you.

 

Once I’d run through my stash of tampons, I decided to buy a menstrual cup.  A menstrual cup works in a similar way to a tampon.  To use it, you fold it up and insert it into the vagina.  Once it’s inserted, the cup pops open and creates a seal around the cervix and collects menstrual fluid.  Then you simply remove it, empty and clean the cup and then re-insert it.

 

 

I did a fair bit of research before purchasing my cup.  While there are a lot of cups on the market, they aren’t widely available in Australia.  I ended up choosing the Lunette cup, which retails for $54 online.  The reason I chose the Lunette cup is that I’ve heard that they are softer and easier to fold than some of their competitors.  They have a good reputation among first-time cup users too. Plus Lunette includes a cute carry pouch with each cup, which I liked.

I’m going to start by saying that the menstrual cup has a pretty steep learning curve.  Using it takes a bit of getting used to, but once you get the hang of it, I think it’s much more convenient than other menstrual products I’ve tried.

I found it pretty easy to insert, but I was worried that the cup hadn’t opened fully.  The best way to check this is to insert a finger alongside the cup and just feel your way around.  After a few goes, I noticed that I was actually able to feel if the cup hadn’t opened.  It just felt…wrong I guess.  Not unlike when you don’t insert a tampon far enough.  I noticed that certain folding techniques made it easier for the cup to open.

Removing it was very difficult to master.  For starters, I had to be a lot more *ahem* “hands-on” with myself than I’d expected.  If you aren’t comfortable touching your lady-bits, then I wouldn’t recommend using this product.  I found that the best method was to locate the stem at the bottom of the cup and then use that to guide by thumb and forefinger until I could feel the bottom of the cup.  Then I would give it a little pinch to release the suction and gently rock the cup back and forwards to ease it out.  The first few times I removed it, it was a tiny bit painful but I think that was because I was anxious about spilling the contents.  Once I got used to it, things went much more smoothly.

I was a bit worried with how I would manage with a cup because I’m quite squeamish about blood and other fluids.  But once I got used to it I was totally fine.  The experience really opened my eyes to how far our culture removes us ladies from our periods, to the point where we have so many products that are designed to make sure we never come in contact with our menstrual fluid.  Actually seeing it there in the cup was a bit of an eye-opener, but overall a good experience.

I didn’t experience a single leak while I was using this product.  It was incredibly discreet too.  You only have to empty the cup every eight hours (or more often if your flow is very heavy), so it’s perfect if you are at work or school.  You don’t have to hunt for a bin to dispose of used tampons.  You can wear the cup while you’re sleeping and it’s ideal for exercising.  I used mine during several yoga sessions and I didn’t even notice it.

If you’re interested in trying a cup, here are a few handy hints I learned to make things easier:

- Practice using the cup when you don’t have your period.  That way you can experiment with inserting and removing without the added stress of worrying about leaks and mess.

- A few drops of water-based lubricant will make inserting the cup about a million times easier.

- If you’re worried about spilling the contents of your cup, try removing it in the shower.

- Experiment with different folding techniques.  Every body is different and you might find that one of the more unusual folds works well for you.

 I am totally converted and am very happy with my cup.  I would recommend it, especially if you are travelling, are a very active person or are looking to save money.  It might not be for you if you aren’t comfortable getting hands-on with your body or if you are grossed out by bodily fluids.

Do you have any questions about the cup?  I’m happy to answer any queries you might have, but let’s keep all the questions respectful, Mmm-kay?

Things I love Thursday 2/10/2013

It’s been another long, rough week with a few little rays of sunshine peeking through. Here’s a look at what’s been making me smile this week.

This Thursday, I love:

- Figuring out how to crochet lego blocks.  I’m making a whole bunch of them, which will either be used to make a bunch of scarves or one big blanket, depending on how I feel when I’m done.

- Driving to Beechworth Gorge and looking out over the drop.

- My incredible friends.  I don’t know how I would have gotten through this week without them.

DSCF8351

- Findind a pair of my favourite jeans in the op-shop (in a different colour to the ones I already own) for just $4.

- Helping my mum to pick out some new bathers for her holiday next month.

- Glass grapes.  I know some people think they’re the height of tackiness but I can’t help but like them.

- Wearing a tee shirt with no jacket quite comfortably.  The weather has been glorious this past week.

- Managing to miss every last bit of the football on AFL grand final day.  I couldn’t care less about it.

- Dr Pepper

- Sleeping soundly after many restless nights

DSCF6615-Halloween anticipation.  I’m so excited this year.  I’ve begun working my way through my Halloween movies and preparing a soundtrack for my Halloween party.  I also had a trial run of my makeup for this year and I am so pleased with the result.  I also had fun looking back over Halloween makeup from years past…like this zombie makeup I did a couple of years back.

- Facing up to things that frighten me, and feeling strong enough to push ahead anyway.

- Mario Kart.

What do you love this week?  I’d love to hear all about the things that have been bringing joy to you, so share a comment if you please.

Yoga for body confidence.

A few weeks ago I read a really interesting blog post about yoga and body image.  The post really tugged on my emotions and got me thinking about how people of different shapes and sizes experience yoga and I feel compelled to respond to it.

I should start by saying that I’ve never been fat.  I’ve only ever had a thin body with varying degrees of fitness.  However I’ve struggled quite profoundly with my own body image and perception of my body.  I’ve gone through long periods of hating my body and periods of tentative tolerance.  Only recently have I begun to make peace with my body’s appearance and ability, and I truly believe that yoga has played a huge part in that.

DSCF9324

I have spoken with many friends who are bigger than me, and they have told of similar experiences to those described in the article mentioned above.  Hearing those stories was heartbreaking for me.  Not only because I don’t like to hear about people being shamed or discriminated against because of their size, but because I find it upsetting that these people are being excluded from a practice that could truly help them to accept and love their bodies.

I find yoga to be an exceptionally healing and energizing practice.  The reason I’ve stuck with it for so long is that it not only exercises my body, but it calms my mind as well.  I’ve found so much peace and acceptance during sessions on my mat.  It sounds a bit silly, but it’s the truth.  Here are some of the ways that yoga has helped me to create a better relationship with my body:

-  I’ve learned to focus on what my body can do rather than what it can’t do.  I’ve learned to appreciate all the amazing things that my body is capable of and rejoice when I manage to reach a little further or balance with a bit more stability.

- Yoga is very introspective.  It’s not a competition to see who can bend further or get into the most mind-bending poses.  It’s about scanning your own body and working with yourself to create space and ease in each pose.  It’s about noticing pockets of tension and gently working them out. It’s about easing into a pose over time, rather than cranking yourself into a certain shape.

- Over time, yoga has helped to tone my body.  I’m much stronger, my posture is better and I feel more balanced than I did before I began practicing regularly.

It is my belief that yoga should be for everybody.  There are so many different styles and types that there should be a variety of yoga that is suited for your particular body and abilities.  It shouldn’t matter what shape or size you are, or how old you are, or if you have limited mobility.  Yoga is a wonderful practice that should be accessible to anyone who wants to give it a go. And I find it upsetting that so many teachers and classes have turned it into a competition, or are peppering their classes with discrimination and shame.  If you’re interested in trying yoga, but are worried about feeling left out, self-conscious or being discriminated against there are a few things that I can suggest.

- First of all, research different yoga classes in your area.  Some gyms and yoga centres offer a variety of classes which target different groups.  You might find that there is an awesome Fat Yoga class in your area, or a group that specially caters for people who are recovering from injuries.  Do your homework and see what’s available.

- If you can’t find a specially targeted class, consider arranging a meeting with the teacher of a beginners class in your area.  Chat with them about your concerns and highlight any areas that you are likely to struggle with.  Then ask whether they can keep these in mind when planning the class.  If they are rude to you or if you feel like you might be treated poorly during the class, don’t go.

- If there are certain poses that you find difficult or impossible, try researching some variations to common poses.  Many of the most basic yoga poses can be targeted to different levels of fitness, strength or flexibility.  Use these variations during class when you come to a pose that is difficult for you.

- Try practicing at home.  I find it much easier to practice when I’m by myself.  I’m less likely to compare myself to others and I find that I’m more focused on my practice when I’m by myself.

- Look for at-home yoga videos that are size positive.  One of my favourite channels which I recommend to everyone is Yoga with Adrienne.  I love her videos because she gives loads of variations of poses for different levels and her videos focus on achieving the sensation of each pose, rather than attaining the perfect form.  She uses body-positive language and is really laid-back in her approach.

- Add a short meditation to the end of each practice, where you thank your body for all that it’s done and congratulate yourself on any progress.  I find it’s also helpful to give myself a little pep talk on days when I feel as though I’ve gone backwards with my yoga.  Taking the time to nurture yourself and doing that positive self-talk is very helpful.

Yoga is something that has helped me so much with my self esteem and body confidence.  It truly angers me that certain groups are being left out of this practice because of their size and abilities.  Yoga is for everyone, and nobody should be made to feel less-than when giving it a go.