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

 

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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Geek’s Guide to Seattle during PAX West

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!

MoPop Museum

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.

Add-a-Ball Arcade

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.

Pink Gorilla

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.

Pinball Museum

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.

Archie McPhee

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.

Columbia Tower

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.

Food place

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.

Happy Con, everyone!

 

Why Fitness And Gaming Go Hand In Hand

It’s been a while since I was in the workout mindset for a few different reasons. Life was terrible, then hectic, then confusing, and now I’ve landed somewhere in the territory of crazy…in a good way. In my life, there’s pretty much zero reasons for me to ever be physically active. I write all day in an office, then sit on a bus to get home, then sit and paint or game. My legs pretty much never need to be used. BUT. A few months ago I started having really extreme pain in my knees and lower back. The culprit? You guessed it – sitting all damn day.

Getting back support in my chair started helping with the back problems, but my knees were pretty much in constant pain and I couldn’t figure out why. I tried changing my shoes and tried to walk more, but I needed a serious change to stop feeling like a 73-year-old woman. So my partner in crime suggested that I started working out. Like actual cardio working out. I called a friend who honestly was the sweetest EVER about getting me onboard with Beachbody and then another friend suggested ClassPass. With the two programs combined, I started out on a two-week journey to getting fit. I figured if I could just make it two weeks I’d be good.

I’d be lying if I said it was easy to start. But with the help of some cat stickers, and a hand-drawn sticker chart I started working out every other day and I finally started to feel more like myself. I’ve always been a pretty healthy eater, but working out started making me more conscious of how important a balanced diet was. I switched from white rice to brown. I started stocking up on healthy snacks like dried mango and mixed nuts. I started upping my protein intake and drinking way more water. And guess what? After two weeks my knees started feeling so. much. better. I will say, for the first week and a half they were still hurting and I did a lot of modifications on workouts because I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t further injuring my knee in the process of trying to heal it.

The awesome thing is that by taking this time to honor my body I had more energy to do things that I loved, and I wasn’t as sluggish. Do I now have the body of a bodybuilder, no. But that was never the goal here. I started working out because I want this body to be as healthy as it can be for as long as possible. I want to have the energy to enjoy the things I love, not be walking around in some kind of coma going from one sitting posture to the next.

I’ve never considered myself a gymrat, or someone obsessed with getting their body perfectly toned, but I love having the option of going to a yoga or cardio class whenever it works in my schedule and being able to easily turn on a workout when I’m feeling sluggish when I get home after work. Usually, this only takes an hour out of my day to workout/shower and I can already feel the results. And it makes me that much more alert for when I’m playing or painting fanart, or blogging!

It’s not about perfection, it’s about taking steps toward being healthier and happier. For me, it started a month ago. For you, maybe it starts today. Join me?