It’s been a couple of months since I competed in the Western Championships of Cosplay and I haven’t had any time to debrief because I’ve been heads down on creating more cosplays and then going out of the country on a much needed vacation. Now that I’m back and finally over jet-lag my brain is starting to fully process the enormity of what happened in March.
We gambled. We had no idea what this movie was, and hadn’t seen any trailers or reviews…but by the end of it we agreed, with tears in our eyes, that it was one of the best movies of 2019.
I’ve always been a fan of Seth Rogan movies. It’s a fact that often surprises guys since apparently they’re “dude movies” that I’m not supposed to enjoy. But I was largely raised by my older brother and I think besides that fact that they’re just hilarious I’ve probably inherited my crude/rude sense of humor from him. Also just stop with the “girls should like this kind of movie” thing.
Anyway, it was Saturday night and we’d decided to go see a movie (which in today’s world takes reorganizing our budget, IRA accounts and 401K because of prices). Our options were pretty slim other than Detective Pikachu and Aladdin, both of which are getting sautéd by reviewers (I think one of the New York Times reviews for Aladdin bluntly stated “This is not what you wished for”. Harsh.). So we decided to gamble a bit on the Seth Rogan + Charlize Theron flick Long Shot.
No spoilers, but the movie starts off with Rogan hanging out with a bunch of white supremacists so we were a little unsure we’d made the right decision. But after a moment of realizing that shock factor is one of the spices Rogan cooks with on a regular basis, we decided to continue sitting in our chairs, even though our teeth were clenched a little more than is dentist approved.
But let me tell you…we’re happy we did.
There are so many things about this movie that make it wonderful, it’s hard to put them all into a post that doesn’t spoil the whole thing for readers (who I’m assuming haven’t seen the movie yet…if you have, please leave a comment and we can talk about the glory that it is. If you haven’t…don’t read the comments).
The premise of the movie is this:
Long Shot is a 2019 American romantic comedy film directed by Jonathan Levine and written by Dan Sterling and Liz Hannah. The plot follows a journalist (Seth Rogen) who reunites with his former babysitter (Charlize Theron), now the United States Secretary of State.
Actually now that I’m reading that synopsis…I’m kind of glad I didn’t know anything about this movie because that sounds so sappy. The good news is the writers work with this story beautifully and the character development that happens over the course of 125 minutes is refreshing. Especially after whole season of mediocre writing by the show that shall not be named (*cough* Game of Thrones *cough*).
I honestly think I forgot how satisfying good writing could be before seeing Long Shot. Not because I’ve never seen a well written movie, but because it’s just been so long since one has checked all the boxes for me. Because something magical happens when characters are given human emotions, motivations and have real consequences to their actions.
I felt that Long Shot brilliantly portrays the natural tug-o-war of being a woman in a successful (and in this case powerful) career, while being a person who wants to connect with that inner child we’re so often forced to forget. On the flip side Rogan does an amazing job or portraying a character who faces his own insecurities and flaws while realizing that sometimes being open minded is more powerful than being right.
I would honestly argue that this is one of the first times I’ve seen a romantic comedy work so well at developing both love interests while engaging the viewer in the storytelling. Not to mention having two leads that actually have amazing chemistry. There wasn’t any part of this movie when I felt bored or like the scene had been left just to fill screen time. And I think that’s a testament to writing in itself. Sometimes the most powerful writing is that which has been edited well.
In short, go to this movie and support it in theaters because while big box names are “killing records” and “smashing expectations of sales” we all need to remember why going to the movies is magical in the first place. It’s about more than special effects and billion dollar budgets. It’s about connecting with the soul of humanity and reminding us that we can be a little bit better, dream a little bit harder and fall in love with a little less inhibition.
The crazy started the moment I decided to replicate a fur coat with a bath robe.
I’ve been known to thrift shop more than a few times a month and this month was no different. While I was on one of my weekly trips I stumbled across a bath robe and got struck with inspiration. A cosplay shoot had just been announced and the theme had already struck my heart: Winter is Coming. The shoot was going to be shot in the snow and I immediately knew the direction I would want to go for the shoot. The only problem? I had absolutely nothing from Game of Thrones to wear.
So I put on my big girl thinker hat and thought about how I could make something bad ass from Season 7 of Game of Thrones. It was a bit of a tie between Cersei and Daenerys to be perfectly honest. I only cosplay bad asses and those are the two characters I relate with the most in the show (yeah, yeah, don’t judge me for liking Cersei). Ultimately it was Daenerys’s winter coat that really struck me in the heart. The coat is something made for the gods and I knew I absolutely had to make it…or as close to it as I could get on a beer budget.
Champagne taste in cosplay is never a good thing when you’re struggling to buy cat food.
Anyway, when I saw the robe on the racks of Value Village I knew I had to turn it into something sumptuous. Something amazing. Something that was nothing like a robe. And thus, my project began:
Step 1: Interface the shit out of this thing
Interface makes things stiff and can usually find in the collar and cuffs of shirts. Since my robe fabric was made to drape and I needed more structure (a LOT more structure) I grabbed some fusible fleece (fusible meaning iron-on) and started piecing it on the parts of the jacket I wanted to hold structure.
Step 2: Plan out the back of the coat
One of the coolest parts of this jacket is the back, which is a completely different fabric and feel than the rest of the jacket. Knowing that the robe fabric wasn’t going to cut it, I went ahead and purchased an extra large coat that had the same animal feel. Then I killed it and pieced it together on the back. Brilliant.
Step 3: Kill a jacket to make the back look bad ass
Next up I cut up some $5 faux fur (white) that I had also found at Value Village (and which I had washed because it seriously smelled so bad when I got it). I was on a time crunch so this part of the back is actually hot glued down, rather than being sewn. I definitely plan on going back in and sewing it down in the future.
Step 4: Use a scarf to make the front look legit…and some faux fur
For the front of the jacket I took a knitted ribbed scarf and sewed it down so that there would be a piled texture to that part of the jacket. I also took the rest of the white fur and added in a side panel on the left side of the jacket which isn’t part of the original design…but I just like fur and wanted more on the jacket. Sue me.
Step 5: Paint lines until the wee hours of the morning
What then ensued happened at 11pm at night so there aren’t any pics, but the jacket was hand painted/markered to have the well known black and brown marks you can see in the original jacket. This whole process took 2-3 hours and was f-u-n (not really). I also sewed in grey panels to the sleeves which you can’t see in most of the pictures but were true to the original design so I wanted to make sure to add them. I also added a low cost wig because obviously I don’t have natural Targaryen hair, which you can find HERE. The chain was a necklace I found for three dollars at a thrift store as well, which I loved because the little gems are Targaryen red.
Step 6: Experience the glory of seeing your creation come to life
And THIS was the end result. For only having two weeks to make it (and under $50) I’m extremely happy with how it turned out. Sure I could sit and make a list of improvements I still want to make, but for now you can just call me the Mother of Dragons.
Want to support more awesome cosplay projects? Check out my Patreon page!
All photo credit goes to Meghan Rush-Jones Photography
Oh my word I’m terrified and excited as I’m launching this but it’s up and it’s HAPPENING! My Patreon is currently launched and I can’t wait to share with you guys all of the amazing that will be happening over the 2019 year (and beyond). Cosplaying has never been just about me. It’s about bringing representation to characters and concepts that might otherwise not be seen in competitions and in the nerd world. It’s the same reason my handle has the word “our” in it. This is about US. Thank you for being a part of this community!
To support or just to see the awesome stuff you could be getting, click here: https://www.patreon.com/ourshieldmaiden/overview
What happens with the money? The money I make from my Patreon goes ENTIRELY to funding my creative projects including cosplay materials, photo shoots, and boring business expenses (but hey, you gotta have em, right?). You will NOT be funding things like my rent or cat subscription boxes. You can support and unsubscribe at any time, and you can also pledge support without taking any of the perks, if you just want to help out. 🙂
What’s my cat’s name? Oh! And you’ll probably get to meet my cat Freya. She helps me out sometimes. Last week she ate super glue. She’s a very adventurous cat who may be showing off some of her own cosplay very soon, as well.
Patreon is such a fun way you can support my art as it grows to bigger and better cosplay. I’m also always open for cosplay suggestions, so if you have someone you think would be fun to see, don’t hesitate to reach out and let me know.
If you could wear anything to work, what would it be? This is the question that has haunted nerds for generations. Although, if we’re honest, I can probably guess what you said: something comfortable, something that reflected your unique personality and something fun…or at least something you liked.
Nobody wants to be walking around in clothes that clearly make them uncomfortable in whatever way. The good news is that the fashion industry is starting to notice, and we’re finally getting clothing that can be worn on a day to day basis that speaks to our individual nerdom. Great, right?
I’ve seen this movement pop up in a lot of different places but it wasn’t really until last weekend when I was part of a geeky fashion show that I realized how privileged I am to live in a city where these resources exist. Here’s a list of some of my favorite nerd brands so you can enjoy the sprouting geek chic industry as well.
One of the first things you’ll notice about these designs is the hang. Lovingly nicknamed the “sisterhood of the traveling dress”, these dresses somehow look good on pretty much every body type. They’re also just incredibly beautiful.
My Fav: Queen of Dragons dress (which I’m wearing above)
From constellations to molecules, Svaha is a beautiful compilation of clothing and accessories that speak to your inner nerd. I’m also super proud of this brand since they are Washington local!
My favs: The dresses!
Another Seattle native, Bombsheller leggings are honestly the coolest thing I’ve seen on the runway for day to day wear. I’m definitely a leggings girl, and I love that these prints are bold and brilliant without sacrificing any ounce of quality.
Favorite: #Osmia leggings
This site should come with a warning because it’s straight-up nerd heaven. I pretty much want everything they carry, and that’s saying a lot since I’m a pretty picky shopper. But when you know, you just know.
Favorite: Everything Slytherin
The Quirk Shop
This is a line I was just introduced to when I went to Geek Girl Con and I’m absolutely in love. With everything from unicorns to Black Girl Magic, it’s a true nod to the girl geek and everything that comes with it.
Favorite: Unicorn Club crewneck
I own more corsets than I probably should, but that still doesn’t keep me from looking at more. I’m a strong believer that every woman should own a couple that just make her feel like a total badass, and Castle corsetry is a great place to start if you’re nerdy. Oh, and they do custom designs!
Violet Phoenix Designs
Let’s hear it for the small businesses! This shop is not as large as the rest, but I still think the products are absolutely gorgeous, so I had to share. There are some accessories here…but what I absolutely adore are the aprons.
Favorite: 14th Doctor pinafore apron
The Colorful Geek
I was really happy to find a shop that’s keeping up with what’s fresh and new in geek fashion and I definitely bought a few pieces from this shop just based off of the fact they existed.
Favorite: Dinosaur eats man camo hoodie
What are your favorite nerdy places to shop? Share in the messages below!
How much can you laugh in 30 min? Because the cult-classique-esque Norsemen will have you smiling like an idiot while losing count. With a brilliantly written script, all Norwegian cast, and some of the best puns in Scandinavia this show is pretty much guaranteed to have you completely confused by how much you love it.
One of my favorite shows on TV is Vikings, and I was so pleasantly surprised to find Norsemen on Netflix while I waited for Nov 28th. I definitely have a darker sense of humor with a love of puns and clever writing (cue Galavant) so this show was such a brilliant surprise. If you’re a fan of Vikings you
might will notice there are some pretty blatant similarities *cough* *cough*…
But after the first season the show really starts to prove that it can stand on its own. Perhaps the best part of this show are the memorable characters that are just brilliantly written. From the slave that chooses to stay enslaved to the diva villian Jarl Varg, you really can’t dispute the brilliance of this show. Unless you just don’t have a sense of humor.
Norsemen is set in Viking era Norway and tells the story of the people of Norheim who are ultimately just trying to survive their day-to-day with the usual issues of invasions, cultural upheaval, lack of theater, and some serious problems with leadership. All of this is served up with a healthy smathering of hilarious plots and completely ridiculous scenarios. Not to mention too real dialogue.
One of my favorite parts of this show is how attached you get to the characters. As I said, I really had no idea what this show was when I turned it on, but once I started watching I couldn’t stop. Right now there are two seasons on Netflix USA and I cannot wait for the next one *fingers crossed*.
In a world where there are more TV shows than any healthy human can feasibly watch, this show is a breath of fresh air with its honesty and simplicity. It’s a parody done right and a comedic masterpiece.
So next time you *bum-bum* into Netflix don’t spend three hours picking what you want to watch. Watch a show that will have you happily walking away from the TV thinking, “What the hell did I just watch?”
Red Dead Redemption 2 won everything…
…then God of War won it all.
Procrastination is my Kryptonite and I don’t know that I’ll ever grow out of waiting until the last minute to do things. This year’s PAX cosplay was no exception with me getting the idea exactly five days before PAX. Yes, five. Since I’m a strong believer in not spending a whole lot on cosplaying (but still looking like a BAMF), I decided to test my paper mache skills and make a skin from one of the most popular games in the world. Maybe you’ve heard of it?
Yes, that’s right. I hopped on the Fortnite bandwagon. And if you haven’t heard of Fortnite…what are you even doing on this blog. Really? Despite Fortnite not being the game I play the most (even close) I’m absolutely in love with this skin because who doesn’t want to be a cute bear? And who doesn’t want to be wear all pink? And who doesn’t want to wear SPARKLES!? Okay, so I added the sparkles. Sue me.
The actual construction process was five days total and included a trip to a craft store, thrift store, and me making a giant stink of a mess on my kitchen table. The great thing about paper mache, though, is that it’s pretty much free. I already had the water, flour and paints at home, and I paper mached over some foam forms for the eyes. I also bought some fuzzy fabric to cover the base…because PINK. Here are some pics from my initial process:
As you can see the whole thing looked very glamorous in the beginning. Honestly I had no idea if it was going to turn out to be a monster, but I pressed on and I was actually super happy with the end result.
While I was waiting for the paper mache to dry I also took some time to make a matching dress. To be honest, I originally thought I would just make the head and walk around with it, because like I said I came up with the whole idea five days before it was go-time. But like I said, you can’t sit and watch flour and water dry so I hopped to a thrift shop and found this glorious pink dress…in a size XL. I am not an XL. I had to do a little sewing to fix up the dress to actually fit and then of course I put the heart on the chest. In the end, I’m pretty happy with how the look came out: helmet, dress, boots (which I already owned haha) and socks. What do you think?
I was so excited to get my gaming laptop and then life got in the way…so it’s been sitting in my bedroom in a box for a week. It was so worth the wait. I’m pretty pumped to get this baby up and running!
So you’ve bought your passes, packed your suitcase, and you’re ready for PAX West! But while you’re in Seattle, what else are you gonna do?
One of the largest U.S. gaming events, PAX West is something you’ve probably looked forward to for months…if not years. Personally I’m pretty pumped for the event and I’m a Seattle native. I can’t imagine how much excitement there would be if you’re riding, flying, or driving into town for this event. The good is that the wait is almost over! And even better, you’re coming to one of the nerdiest cities this country has to offer. Even beyond PAX West there’s a whole ton to do here while in between events, or if you just want to get away from the crowds for a bit. Here are some of my favorites!
Right now the Marvel exhibit is being shown at the Museum of Pop Culture and it is absolutely to die for. Not only does it feature first edition comics and original costumes from all of your favorite Marvel movies, but it’s more extensive than you might think. Another feature of the MoPop is their Indie video games lab and sci-fi/fantasy exhibits. I’m actually a member of this museum I go so often. It really is the best.
This gem can be found a block away from the Lenin statue and across the street from Theo Chocolate (which gives chocolate factory tours FYI). The spot is jam-packed with arcade games, pinball machines and all kinds of nerd goodness. It is a bar, so this is not a kid friendly establishment, but if you’re looking for one of those you can try out Full Tilt in Ballard.
This retro game spot has drained quite a bit of my savings on their rad retro games and gaming systems. They have just about everything you could wish for with retro gaming and even some newer games/gaming systems. Word on the street is that they might have a booth at PAX West but, just in case, you can find them in the University District.
Still looking for some fun? Check out the Pinball Museum on on the south side of downtown with the Pinball Museum! With systems dating back to 1934, the Pinball museum is a great way to keep the nerdom alive in between events.
This is a joke…shop. This store is packed to the brim with practical joke merchandise, and is a fun spot to grab a souvenir more impactful than a magnet. You’ll find this haha spot in Wallingford.
While most may point you in the direction of the Space Needle, you can save your dough and get some pretty spectacular (weather permitting) views from the Columbia Tower. Hop in and take the elevator to the 73rd floor for the observation deck! You won’t regret it.
Outsider Comics and Boutique
This little shop is pretty awesome and you’ll find them at a lot of geek events around Seattle. You can find all of your fav comics and game pieces here as well as jewelry, clothing and events.
Since there a are quite a few food places that you could/should stop by in Seattle I’ve added some great ones here with links to their pages. Pick your poison.
- The Backdoor at Roxy’s (Speakeasy)
- Top Pot Doughnuts (carbs, carbs, carbs, carbs, carbs)
- Dicks Drive-In (Seattle’s In-N-Out, but less healthy)
- Ivar’s (Seafood chain on the waterfront)
Happy Con, everyone!
I wasn’t able to make it to E3 this year, but that didn’t keep me from staying glued to my computer checking updates and watching trailers. What did keep me a little bit farther than I would have liked was getting a kitten last Tuesday. So this list is a little bit later than I would have liked, but life happens. And kittens are worth the slight delay. After finally getting caught up, here’s what I’m super pumped to play:
1. Ori and the Will of the Whips
This game really has everything I want in a game. The fantasy heavy design, the soundtrack, and the overall gameplay is just definitively me. I’ve just started playing Ori and the Blind Forest so I know the second installment is going to be just fantastic. I can’t wait!
So usually I’m not really a Playstation girl, but when I heard about this game I had to check it out. I really love the possibilities of being able to create your own animated game or short…or really anything you want, with the swing of a game controller. I love this demo because it shows you just how much you can do in 20 minutes. It really is amazing. As an artist, I think this tool is great both for people who are already creatively inclined and also for people who aren’t so much. There are endless possibilities and I just love the creativity of this existing!
3. Cuphead DLC
This is kind of my wildcard because I’m usually really particular about the graphics that I like and what I don’t like. I either like fantasy heavy illustrations or IRL-type graphics. BUT Cuphead taps into another side of my personality that I honestly didn’t think I needed. But I do. And yes I know there is already a Cuphead game out, and I plan on tapping into that one before the release of the newest version. I just love the vintage feel and the overall idea that this game not only exists but is a thriving part of the gaming community.
4. Cyberpunk 2077
My initial reaction to this trailer: “AAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!” I’ve watched some demo videos from E3 and I’m pretty excited for getting my hands on this game. Take my money. Not only does this game have amazing visuals, and what appears to be a badass storyline, but there’s car-racing and we all know how I feel about that *swoon*. Also, I want this trailer soundtrack. Okay, thanks.
5. Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey
I’ve been a fan of Assassin’s Creed for a few years now and I’m super excited for the latest installation coming out. Right now I’m playing through Origins and the storytelling and gameplay are just so great that I can’t wait for what’s next. A couple things that stand out about this trailer are the graphics, which look crisp and delicious. I’m also really jazzed about the underwater capabilities and how they’re going to potentially build that out.
What E3 games are you excited about? Let me know in the comments!