Things I Love Thursday 30/10/2014

This is one of those weeks when I really need to take stock and just focus on the good things in life.  I’ve been crashing hard these past few days, and it’s been very difficult to see any light shining through in the darkness that seems to surround me.  If you’re feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders too, I invite you to take the time out to make a little list of the good things.  It doesn’t have to be long, it doesn’t have to be elegantly worded.  You just have to mean it.

This week I love:

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-Mr Ringo.  Today is his fifth birthday, and I just love him to bits.  I love his first-thing-in-the-morning headbutts and the way he will kiss my toes while I’m sitting on the couch.  I love the way he prances through the house with his tail held high and I love his silky soft fur.  He’s such a special little creature.

- Zucchini slice

- Soaking in the sunshine.

- Watching friends take a leap and soar.  Two of my mates have taken big risks this past week and have been rewarded for it, and I’m so proud of them for taking the plunge.

- Being gifted a copy of The Princess Bride by William Goldman.  The Princess Bride is one of my favourite films of all time, but I’ve never read the book.  I’m looking forward to getting stuck into this.

-This awesome cover of 5000 Candles in the Wind from Parks and Recreation

 

- Catching up with friends for Halloween.

 

- Chocolate eyeballs

 

- Finding this Ultimate Life Planning System on Pinterest.  I just love to be organized, and I’m drawn to any kind of tool, app or printable that helps you to do that.  These ones are awesome and totally free.

 

- Starting a new journal.

 

- Red lipstick on an otherwise bare face.

 

- Celebrating the 15th anniversary of the release of one of my all-time favourite albums: Dream Theatre’s Scenes From a Memory.

 

What’s shining a light in your life this week?  I would love to hear all about the things you love, so please leave a comment.  :)

Daily outfit 29/10/2014: A touch of 20’s style.

My parents recently presented me with two lovely new black dresses.  One was a very modern cut, while the other was a drop-waist dress.  The drop-waist style reminded me of the 1920’s and the flapper styles that were popular at this time.  I decided to just run with the 1920’s vibe as a created an outfit around this dress.

The dress is made from a really interesting fabric.  It’s got a triangular pattern with a raised texture.  Some parts of the pattern are smooth whereas others are rough like corduroy.    It is a really great fit too, which surprised me.  I often struggle with drop-waist dresses because my hips are much wider than my waist.  But this dress fits perfectly.

I went for a more modern version of a 1920’s makeup look.  I used shades of grey to shadow my eyes, but I kept away from the heavy, sooty-eyed looks that were prominent in the 20’s.  I used Lipstick Queen matte lipstick in Rouge Sinner to fill in my lips.  I also filled in my brows to pay homage to the over-arched brow looks from the 20’s.

I looped my hair into a loose back-roll.  This style looked like a bob haircut when I put my hat on over the top.

I am wearing:

- Black drop-waist dress from Target

- Burgundy tie-front shoes (thrifted)

- Black cloche hat from Jendi

- Pearl necklace ( thrifted)

- Art deco ring (gift from my father)

Can I just take a moment to talk about Target’s clothing of late?  For years I stopped shopping at Target because I rarely found anything that I liked there.  But recently Target have kicked things up a notch.  Their clothing seems to be much better quality, and the styles are really on-point.  Each time I’ve gone into a Target store lately, I’ve struggled not to walk out with a bag filled with clothes.  Their prices have gone up a tiny bit, but I am happy to pay a bit more for garments that are well cut, stylish and will last for more than a couple of wears.

 

I just adore the fashion from the 1920’s and I had loads of fun gadding about town in this 20’s inspired get-up.

Halloween 2014: Welcome to Pleasantville.

I know it’s still a few day’s before Halloween, but as usual I got into the spirit early.  I held my annual Halloween party last Saturday.  It was a fairly subdued affair, with only a few guests.  But those who attended had an awesome time scoffing lollies and playing Silent Hill with the lights out.  Spooky!

This year I opted for a more glamorous Halloween costume than what I would usually go for.  The past few years I’ve dressed as The Joker and Corpse Bride, so it was a nice change to wear something that wasn’t quite so gruesome.

I took my inspiration for this year’s costume from the film Pleasantville and also from the work of drag queen Detox iCunt.  I have been playing around with special effects makeup a lot lately, and I wanted to see if it was possible to make it look like I was in black and white using only makeup and clever wardrobe choices.

I’m pretty flippin’ happy with how this turned out.

My costume didn’t photograph all that well.  While I still like the pictures, I feel that the effect was much more striking in person.

I did have loads of fun putting this outfit together.  I had originally thought that I would use a wig, but I couldn’t find one that I really liked.  In the end I twisted my real hair up into victory rolls and a french roll at the back and they sprayed the heck out of it with black hairspray.  It didn’t budge all night, but my hair did feel awfully helmet-like.

For the makeup, I mixed a very light grey body paint and used this over my face and any exposed skin.  As is typical of store-bought face paints, it was extremely difficult to apply a smooth and even layer.  One day when I’m rich, I’d love to try this look again with some professional quality products to see the difference.  I set the paint with a generous layer of Smashbox Photo Set Finishing Powder.

Then came the fun part.  It was so weird doing my makeup all in shades of black and grey.  I started with my eyes, creating a slightly smoked eye with a selection of blacks and greys.  I used a gel liner to create a big wing at the corner of my eye.  I was very generous with my mascara and was sure to add a lick of waterproof grey liner in the waterline of my eye to cover up the skin there.

For my lips I used the NYX cosmetics Macaraon lipstick in Chambord.  I am head over heels with this lip colour, and I now want to wear it as part of my every day look.  My only complaint is that it is a very emollient lipstick which tends to slip and slide all over the place.  I used a black eye liner to line my lips and a lip fixer over the top, but it still shifted all about.  Ah well, it was only $4 so I really can’t complain.

I coloured in my brows with a black eyeshadow and a stiff angled brush.  Then I used a mid-grey colour to contour my cheeks, jaw and brow.  I added a well-blended swipe of MAC chromagraphic liner to the bridge of my nose, my brow bone and the tops of my cheeks for a bit of highlight.

I had so much fun wearing this costume.  I also decked out my living room with a bunch of awesome decoration.  Here’s a sneak peek at some of my favourite bits.

Eyeball martini, anyone?  I found these chocolate eyeballs at the shop the morning of the party and I just couldn’t resist them.

Are you a good witch or a bad witch?  I love to have a wicked witch somewhere in my flat at Halloween.  This year she’s peeping out from under the couch.

Even though my party wasn’t big or elaborate, I had a brilliant time.  It was awesome to catch up with some of my favourite people and just chill out.

What are you dressing up as for Halloween?  Are you having a party this year?

Daily outfit 22/10/2014: Cowabunga Dude!

It’s no secret that I’m a massive Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan.  But when the new Michael Bay film was announced, I was a bit iffy.  I’m not a fan of Michael Bay’s films, and I wasn’t confident that he would do justice to my favourite crime-fighting quartet.  But I wanted to check it out anyway.  So last week, I decided to take myself on a little movie date.  Naturally, I jumped at the chance to get all dressed up for the occasion.

I am wearing:

- Blue peacock kaftan (thrifted)

- Black cotton leggings from Big W

- Brown studded platform shoes (thrifted)

- Gold rock ring (ASOS)

- Silver butterfly earring from Equip (sadly, I could only find one, so I wore a heart in the other ear)

- Black cinch belt (thrifted)

- Blue abalone bangle (thrifted)

I wanted to wear something with a slightly Japanese feel to it, as a homage to my favourite TMNT character, Splinter.  I think that the style of the flowers on this kaftan look like the sorts of flowers you see delicately painted on Japanese pottery, and that’s why I chose to wear this.  Plus it’s super-comfy to lounge about it which makes it ideal for movie-watching.

I kept my hair and makeup very loose and simple.  When I wear something a bit out-there (like this kaftan) I like to keep the rest of my outfit fairly conservative.  That way the statement piece really stands out and I don’t look quite so batty.

While I was very pleased with my outfit, I wasn’t so excited about the film. My expectations were very low, and I was still disappointed.  I didn’t like the way that the turtle’s characters had been mucked around with.  It’s like the script writers had decided to try really hard to differentiate each of their personalities, but went too far and each turtle wound up being a comical stereotype version of themselves.  Donatello was more like a green Urkel and Michaelangelo was downright sleazy.  I didn’t like the changes to the back-story of the characters, I didn’t like the casting choices and I hated the animation.  The turtles looked so flippin’ creepy.  They fell right on into the uncanny valley.

In case you don’t know what the hump I’m talking about, the uncanny valley is when animated characters look too much like real humans and they become unsettling and creepy.  My friend Frank Rosatano explains it better than anyone else:

 

So the movie wasn’t so great.  But I was happy with what I was wearing, so I figure that’s a win.

 

Did you see the new TMNT film?  What did you think?

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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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?