Why Long Shot Is Pretty Damn On Target

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.

Fred Flarsky (Seth Rogen) and Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron) in FLARSKY.

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.

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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.

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Western Championships Of Cosplay: I Still Can’t Believe That Happened

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.

Wow. Just wow.

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Competing at Emerald City Comic Con had been on my list of to-do items for years. I wanted to do it “someday” and thought that maybe I would get a chance when I was older or good enough…or just, someday in general. When I applied to compete I barely thought I would get in. I knew that this was one of the most prestigious cosplay competitions and they were very picky about who they let compete. I had no idea whether I would even be allowed to walk.

When I received my invitation I literally stood up on my bed crying. I honestly couldn’t believe it. I WAS GOING TO COMPETE AGAINST THE BEST. It also meant that I needed to get started immediately on building out my cosplay to match my vision for competing. I had already rebuilt it twice and had a month and a half after receiving my invitation to build on what I already had. To be honestly I didn’t really build on it. I pulled that cosplay apart and down to its core and built it anew. For the third time.

Looking back I COULD NOT be happier with how the cosplay turned out. To be absolutely honest I tear up when I think of how perfect that night was. The adrenaline, the crowd of 2,000+ people chanting “Rufio! Rufio! Rufio!” I honestly don’t know how I will ever top that experience for the rest of my life. Knowing that people connected with a character as deeply as I do is just such an incredible feeling.

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I do hope that I can compete again next year although I don’t know which character I’m going to bring to life for the stage. There is still so little representation of POC cosplayers in these arenas that my hope is that by competing I can inspire others who feel like they aren’t “worthy” to apply to try and pursue their dream. I did. And despite every little insecurity that whispered I wouldn’t make it, I did.

In case you missed the show: https://www.syfy.com/videos/the-western-championships-of-cosplay-eccc-2019

 

I Went To My First Lolita Swap Meet: Here’s How It Went

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Lace. Frills. Cuteness. ALL THE accessories.

Lolita fashion was basically made for me. But I’m getting ahead of myself. First, for those of you who might have no idea what Lolita fashion even is, here’s what the Wikipedia gods define it as:

Lolita is a fashion subculture from Japan that is highly influenced by Victorian and Edwardian children’s clothing and styles from the Rococo period. A very distinctive property of Lolita fashion is the aesthetic of cuteness.

Lolita is something I’ve known about since I was a wee homeschooler. I think being raised alternatively meant I found out about a lot of nerdy communities earlier than a lot of other people. For instance, I had kids playing Magic at the lunch table when I was 10 years old (before it was cool) and I’ve pretty much always had friends who were furries. We were all a little weird, and built our own beautiful little nerd utopia. It wasn’t until I went to college that I found out these things were pretty niche. Especially since I went to a small private school, the expectation was more around knowing about designers than Dungeons and Dragons.

It’s pretty apparent that I’ve now settled right back into my nerdy childhood ways, but I definitely had a span of about five years where I tried desperately to be normal. Ha. Me, normal. As an adult I’m now able to invest in a lot of these communities that I was raised around and Lolita is one that I’ve been excited to pursue for a WHILE. About a month ago I decided to just go for it.

After signing up for a couple of local groups I saw that there was an event coming up. The thing about Lolita is that it can be a bit overwhelming. There’s a LOT more than just clothes that goes into it, but I also wanted to make sure I looked somewhat presentable…on a budget. The Swap Meet was perfect for the getting to know some people and getting some great clothes. So I put it in my calendar.

Then I got sick.

The morning of the swap meet I felt like a total mess as I was struck down by the plague. But the thing about swap meets is that they only happen every few months so not going meant having to wait months until the next one. So I pulled myself out of bed, took a Dayquil and some allergy meds and went anyway.

The meet was so much fun!

It’s always a little bit awkward to show up to an event where everyone seemingly knows each other, because I definitely didn’t know anyone. But as I started talking to people and buying merch I started to make some new friends. Honestly, everyone I met there was SO welcoming and some of the girls gave me free stuff since I’m just starting out on my Lolita journey.

One of the really special things I found out about from this swap meet was that the community in my city is super active and does a lot of activities regularly. I’m pretty excited to go to some events while dressed in my full Lolita gear. Actually THRILLED is more of the word. I’m just so incredibly happy I found this community and really feel like it’s the beginning of some beautiful friendships.

Here’s what I ended up getting at the swap meet. What do you think!?

 

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How I made Daenerys Targaryen’s coat for only $30

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

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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

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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.

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Want to support more awesome cosplay projects? Check out my Patreon page!

All photo credit goes to Meghan Rush-Jones Photography 

Check out my NEW Patreon!

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 do I do? I am a cosplayer + writing addict from Seattle who curates buckets of geeky knowledge while building original cosplay designs based off of books, movies, and shows!

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.

THANK YOU!

Where To Get Geek Chic Looks You Can W-O-R-K

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.

Me too.

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.

Elhoffer Designs

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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)
Shop: https://elhofferdesign.com/ 

Svaha Apparel

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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!
Shop: https://svahausa.com/

Bombsheller leggings

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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
Shop: https://shop.bombsheller.com/

Blackmilk

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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
Shop: https://blackmilkclothing.com/

The Quirk Shop

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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
Shop: https://www.thequirkshop.com/

Castle Corsetry

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!

Favorite: Custom
Shop: https://www.castlecorsetry.com/

 

Violet Phoenix Designs

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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
Shop: https://www.violetphoenixdesigns.com/

The Colorful Geek

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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
Shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/colorfulgeekiness

What are your favorite nerdy places to shop? Share in the messages below!

Norsemen is ridiculous. Here’s why you should be watching:

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*…

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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.

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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.

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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*.

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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?”

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The Making Of A Cuddle Team Leader: PAX 2018

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.

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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?

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