Cosplay for Beginners

Cosplay Resources!!!

As an aspiring cosplayer myself, I know it can be intimidating to begin. Fortunately, we live in a time where cosplay resources are many and easily obtainable. So here is a list, made by me, for you, to make your going a little easier when you’re ready to take the plunge!
There are a few things that will hold true through most costumes, and are helpful hints when preparing that awesome new outfit.
Before anything else, 2 websites you need to know: http://www.cosplay.com and http://www.cosplaysupplies.com

1. WIGS ARE YOUR FRIEND. I know. I know. Sometimes they just look not quite right. But with some practice and a little wig know-how, plus some high quality wigs, they will make your costume. There are several reasons not to use your own hair: you’d have to worry about styling it just right every time, and you just can’t count on not having a bad hair day every day lol. You don’t want to apply color and products and heat to it very often, if ever, as it is very damaging and eventually you may ruin your hair to the point that it would fall out or something. @_@ So, when using a wig, you get what you pay for. There are 2 types of wigs: real hair wigs, and synthetic hair wigs. As I understand, for costume purposes, synthetic are almost always better. A really, really good wig site is http://www.arda-wigs.com.

2. USE COMMON WEBSITES. http://www.eBay.com http://www.Amazon.com http://www.youtube.com are all great sites with hidden treasures galore!! http://www.pinterest.com and http://www.deviantart.com for inspiration! Don’t overlook the mundane just because it’s mundane. There are tutorials for entire suits of armor and detailed explanations on how to do makeup for certain characters and all kinds of things YOU haven’t even thought of yet!

3. BUY CHEAP. Honestly, you can make yarn and hot glue look AMAZING. Your materials don’t have to cost the moon. Thrift stores often have unique clothes that would be perfect pieces to modify for a costume. You might even get lucky and find props that need little to no modification to set off a great ensemble.

4. BE CREATIVE AND THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX. Thinking of doing a Princess Peach costume, but also wanting to make it your own? Modify it to “Princess Peach: Street Fighter Edition” or “Princess Peach getting married”! Find a piece of fan art that you absolutely love and recreate that costume or whole scene! Use unexpected materials; sometimes the best costumes use the most unexpected elements. If you can’t afford to buy a Princess Peach dress, and you can’t sew, check cosplay forums for someone maybe selling an old one of theirs. Check those thrift stores for a dress that you can modify, no sewing required.

5. LEARN LESSONS FROM THE MISTAKES OF OTHERS, otherwise, what’s the point? Chances are that a cosplay you want to do has already been, and probably written about, especially if you’re doing a canon representation of a character. Read the stories of others who have done your costume before. Chances are, they may have some sage advice on what they’d have done differently in retrospect. Veterans often know what works and what doesn’t. You don’t have to go in blind, so why would you want to?

6. KNOW POSES. If you’re going to a con, expect photos to be taken of yourself. It is of key importance that you have a few go-to poses for times like this. Get to know your character a little bit and watch some tutorials on posing. Believe it or not, there really is a subtle art to getting the poses to look in-character and believable. There are ways to lessen the appearance of double chin, specific ways to jump if you want a neat off-the-ground pose, and even ways to portray attitude through stance.

7. K.I.S.S. Keep it simple, stupid. Especially when starting out. You don’t always have to have everything perfect down to the last millimeter. If something seems way too complicated, there may actually be a much simpler solution that you’re just overlooking because it seems like it HAS to be complicated. Again, use your resources on this one; there are a billion amazing cosplay hacks that will make your life that much easier.

8. MOST IMPORTANTLY, HAVE FUN. Cosplay is a hobby. It’s a thing that we, as nerds, embrace and partake in as a cultural festivity. It should be fun to play “Extreme dress up” with your friends once in a while and show off your mad costuming and posing skillz. It’s not (always) a competition and you shouldn’t feel pressured to meet impossible expectations. Set realistic goals for yourself. Maybe you shouldn’t try to build a whole Gundam Suit for your first project. I mean….nobody’s stopping you, but just be prepared for the heavy workload and frustration that will come with a complicated outfit. I say start small. You’ll get better as you go, so you may want to save that character that you just really want to get perfect for a few costumes in when you’ve had some experience. If you’re not having fun, you’re not doing it right! 😉

Know where to acquire supplies.

I named a couple places above that will definitely help a cosplayer in need, but if you’re planning on hand crafting some or all of your costume pieces, you’ll need a bit more to go off of. You’ll need to know places like Joann’s craft and fabric store, Michael’s craft store, Hobby Lobby, Hancock Fabrics, and other places like these. https://www.tandyleather.com/en-usd/home/home.aspx is a valuable resource for all your leather needs.

Makeup: http://andsewingishalfthebattle.com/basic-makeup-for-cosplay-faq/ this is a very simple and easy to understand FAQ about cosplay makeup. There are many brands of makeup you can use in costuming. Here are a few brands that are known to be very good for cosplay purposes:
http://www.sephora.com/
https://us.kryolan.com/
https://www.mehron.com/
Other resources (This is part of a list given to me by a friend who received it from a popular cosplayer that he met at a con.):
http://www.tapplastics.com/
http://douglasandsturgess.com/
http://www.therpf.com/
http://www.405th.com/
http://theleagueofheroes.yuku.com/
http://thesuperherocostumingforum.yuku.com/
http://www.tested.com/
http://www.volpinprops.com/
http://punishedprops.com/
So that’s my little introduction to cosplay article, made just for you.
I hope this is useful to you! If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask!

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Link to Life

Here I am; standing on a precipice. Am I ready to undertake the task of putting into words the story of the birth of my second son, Link? I sure hope so, because here goes nothing. (*jumps off cliff*)
I’d like to begin this story a while back, when I was married to my children’s biological father. We had a relationship that was far from healthy. In early 2012, I had a miscarriage, probably around 12 weeks, give or take a couple. It was sad and rough and emotionally draining for quite a while. However, I came to accept it and it allowed me to accept loss and view it in new light. So we moved forward. Our relationship deteriorated even further. Eventually I decided to go back to our hometown so I could go to school for cheap by living with my mom.
Well, I wasn’t there for long before I decided that I wanted a divorce. And shortly after that decision was set, I discovered that I was pregnant with his child. It was shocking, to say the least. I had my mind set, though and decided it would be best for me and our children if we were no longer together. It wouldn’t be until a year later that the divorce was finalized. Since I had Espynn at home, I knew I wouldn’t be having this one any differently.
I had a lot more time to prepare for the kind of birth experience I wanted this time around. I bought a birthing pool instead of using my mom’s bathroom tub like last time (not very comfy >.<). I started dating someone new in February when he came to visit from Michigan (my now fiancé, Jay). He was a great support throughout the pregnancy and I was working for a CPA until I was about 8 months along. I was also taking EMT classes that summer and took my Practical test only 10 days after Link was born.
Needless to say, I stayed busy, and that made the pregnancy zip by! Before I knew it, it was June and I was feeling HUUUUGE. I had considered having a midwife this time around, but decided to UC again. However, I wanted a bigger support group around me this time. Jay scheduled a trip to come out the week before Link’s due date to try to make the birth. Espynn was 10 days early so I thought I wouldn’t carry to the EDD I had been given. I invited my good friend who was a midwife in training at the time and a certified doula to attend, but not as my paid support. Just as a friend. I had asked my mother and 2 sisters and brother to all be there as well. My son, Espynn would also be there and my sister Amanda’s daughter as well.
Jay came to Colorado about a week before Link’s due date, which was July 30, 2013. While he was with me, I was trying different things to try to push my body along and kick in some labor. I would have bouts of really hard and strong contractions, even close together, but it just wouldn’t engage. Jay ended up having to leave on the 28th and get back to work in Michigan. Link was born on the 31st. We were sad that he missed it, but I called him on the phone right away when the babe was born.
I had been having serious contractions for days by the time the 31st rolled around. I woke up feeling the same as I had for at least a week; hard contractions, but not regular intervals. It was a Wednesday. My brother, John, and sister, Hannah, had a church youth activity out at a lake that was about an hour to an hour and a half from my mom’s house. I wanted to have some fun at the lake too, and mom was sticking with me, wherever I went (she’s so wonderful <3) in case I went into labor, and of course, Espynn would come along. The five of us went to the lake that afternoon and it was a beautiful day. I sat in a folding camp chair for a lot of the time, breathing through hard contractions that were becoming painful and closer together and certainly regular. I walked along the waterline and basked in the sun, I chatted it up with old friends I hadn’t seen in ages. It was very nice. But as the hours passed, I began to be unable to talk through contractions and had to stop everything and just breathe and hold my belly. Soon I told my mom “Okay, I think we better head home. That last contraction was pretty significant.” So within minutes we had the siblings and Espynn and all our belongings packed into the car and were driving down the bumpy dirt road back to the highway. It was at least a mile of that rough road and I bounced around a bit. During the bouncing, I had another contraction. Really hard. I grunted really loudly during it and my mom said “Kaleigh, what are you doing?!” And I replied with something like “I don’t know, I felt like I needed to bear down and push, so I did!” She said to me “No, don’t do that! We aren’t even close to home yet!”
So she drove, possibly faster than she would have under different circumstances. On the way through town, we stopped at Caroline’s house (doula friend) to pick up some clary sage oil from her and to tell her to head to our house. I was also frantically phoning my sister, Amanda and the vet clinic where she works to tell her to get to mom’s. While we were at Caroline’s, I used her bathroom and discovered a significant amount of blood on my panties. I alerted my mom and we rushed out of there, heading home, still about 25 minutes away. There was some difficulty getting ahold of my sister, but after a few confusing phone calls, it was discovered that she was on her way.
So there we were, a convoy of soldiers ready for birthing action. Mother was explaining to Hannah and John what their tasks would be upon arrival and I was trying desperately to not throw up, which was a huge tell that this was progressing seriously fast. As we arrived home, everyone was immediately in action. Amanda and Caroline only arrived a few minutes after we had. Everyone was getting everything ready. I had said that I wanted to try to have the baby outside in my pool, but it was getting dark and we decided (after we had used all the hot water, of course) to dump out the water and set up inside instead. So my faithful ladies (and John) were boiling water on the stove and adding it to my pool of cool water in the kitchen. During all their brilliant madness, I was in the back bathroom, having some crazy contractions in the bathtub. Caroline was with me a lot of the time and others would pop in to check on me.
Everyone was in and out, and sometimes Espynn would sit with me for a few minutes and pour the warm water over my back, bless his heart. He was very supportive of Mommy the whole time, saying things like “It’s okay mommy. You’re doing great.” And always being watchful and helpful (as helpful as a 2 ½ year old can be). Soon, there was enough water in the pool for me to move out there and I was ready. I climbed out of the tub and to the toilet to pee. While I was sitting there, I started having a contraction and stood up to try to get to, uhhh….I don’t know where, honestly. The pool was across the house. Well, this contraction was rough. Caroline was right there and I bore down with a hefty grunt when suddenly “WHOOSH”, my water broke in a gushing waterfall of amniotic fluid, all over my mom’s bathroom floor (sorry, Mom!). I laughed, it was pretty epic. After that, I moved up to the pool because, hot damn, this baby was coming with a vengeance!
There was about enough water in the pool to cover my thighs and it was only close to body temperature. They kept the pots of boiling water coming, which was a sweet relief for the pain I was experiencing. After a little while of this, the real pushing began. When his head came out, there was a significant gush of blood, and I knew I had ripped my perineum. No time to dwell on that though, because Link was now head-out and I wasn’t yet having another contraction. With some encouragement, I started to push before the next contraction and out he came. He was handed to me, a wet, waxy lump, and I help him on my chest and helped him to initiate breaths by rubbing his body and using my mouth to suction his nose (nothing needed to be sucked out though, he was doing great). At his point I asked someone to check the time, it was 8:45 pm. We had gotten to the house at about 7:40 I believe. I got Jay on the phone and told him the good news. It was a huge relief to have the baby out, but I was dreading birthing the placenta.
With Espynn, the placenta had been possibly the most painful part of the whole birth. So I went into it kind of apprehensive. Espynn’s placenta came out 30-45 minutes after he did and Link’s came out after over an hour, probably almost 1 ½. We waited to cut the cord for both births, but a little longer for Link’s. It was surprisingly painless to birth Link’s placenta. After all that was done, I got out and put some clothes on and laid down while my fearless battalion cleaned up the wreckage. Link was weighed and measured and passed around and smooched and cuddled and photographed. He was happy and healthy and I was too. We slept peacefully for a while, which was a wonderful reprieve from a rough couple weeks.
My one regret about that birth, the one thing I wished we’d done differently, was massaging and priming my perineum with some kind of oil to prevent tearing. We had done it with Espynn, but this one was so rushed that we just didn’t even have time to think about that. It healed up fine with some home remedy TLC and gentle care, but it would have been better to not tear in the first place. Preventative maintenance, ladies!!
(*hits soft fluffy ground of clouds with a sigh of relief*) This was a long time coming =) Please enjoy, and share my stories!

I am Ryland – the story of a male-identifying little girl who didn’t transition

This is so true and great and introduces points beyond only gender recognition and stereotyping. It’s a whole mindset within our cultures.

lindsay leigh bentley

I have been shying away from highly controversial topics on this blog recently because I just couldn’t take the drama that naturally associates with it.  But I keep hearing the story of Ryland, a child who was born a female, whose parents have transitioned her to male at 5 years old.  You can see the full story HERE, but in short, because their daughter identified herself as a boy, and liked “boy” things as opposed to “girl” things, they cut off her hair, bought her “boy” clothes, and have begun telling her, and others, that she is a boy.

I have no degree in early childhood development, nor have I studied psychology.  I didn’t even graduate from College.

I am also not here to pass judgement on Ryland’s parents.  I believe that they are doing what they believe to be the most loving thing for their child.  I’m simply sharing my…

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Gramps.

My grandfather, Mom’s father, passed to the Other Side today. As I shed my tears I hold comfort in knowing that he truly lived such a full life. He touched and inspired hundreds, probably thousands of people and still continues to do so. He has many grandchildren and we all love him deeply and strive to carry on his legacy and to be a fraction of the character he embodied. He was a teacher and Hall of Fame high school wrestling coach. He was always so happy and playful and ornery. As much as I will miss him, I rejoice in his sweet release. He was very sick for a couple of years, deteriorating from a Parkinson’s related disease. At the end of his life, I know he was in pain and unhappy. It was so awful and sad to see him in such a state and I know that now he can be free and fly with the eagles he loved so much. I have felt him releasing this life over the past few days. I truly knew this was the time. Although we were a thousand miles apart, my love for him held a strong intuitive bond. Now we are no longer apart, he is with us all in Spirit and lives on through those that he inspired and all our love for him. He used to call me Kalester and bop me on the top of my head. There was always so much laughter with him, but he knew how to command respect. He was the man who inspired a lasting love for karaoke in me (: and for that I am grateful:). I will hold my memories with him close to my heart. The last time I saw him, he was not communicating well. He was barely able to form coherent words. He met my son Link on that trip and he said his name. And he said Espynn. He knew my boys and although it was so hard for him to communicate I could see the love and understanding in his eyes. That is such a precious memory to me. ❤ What a wonderful man. He is survived by his wife and 4 children and his 13 grand children and 3 great-grand children (and another on the way, congrats to my sister <3). Don Adair, may your legacy live on. You are so loved and will be missed. I rejoice that you are no longer in a painful state of limbo. You are FREE. See your legacy and be as proud of it as we all are. ❤ ❤ ❤ I will  see you again, my friend.