Apr 29

Random Thoughts at Midnight After Getting Home From C2E2 2013

Confession Time: (Because I am still wide awake now for no reason and was looking at Sailor Moon pictures) So, I used to be in a sorority in college because my mom thought I would make more friends and it would look good on my resume. Yes, yes, I know… The girls were all sweet and I was lucky I was in a sorority that was actually really nice; but I totally didn’t fit in. The moment I really knew I was the odd duckling in the house was when I was forced to replace my alarm clock. I had this AWESOME Sailor Moon clock that played the theme song as the alarm. (OMG, I found a video of it, holy s*%&! http://youtu.be/gNtTD985vGc) Apparently, when you have to sleep in a huge room with 20 other girls in bunk beds because you’re the freshman class, the girls really find your alarm clock annoying. 2 weeks into my freshman year, I was forced to get a boring alarm clock and that’s when I knew that, as sweet as the girls were I was very different from everyone else. After my freshman year, I transferred colleges to be closer to family and my new college didn’t have a chapter of my sorority to I automatically became an alum. While I still consider myself a member and have some great memories with the girls, that was when I really realized that I just needed to embrace who I was instead of trying to be someone that I’m not. That was when I started to become proud of being a geek. And now, years later, I’m a proud lover of all things geeky. And I show my love by cosplaying the characters that I adore, by the artists I admire and getting the chance to meet the most amazing and interesting people at cons from other fans just like me to the people I admire.

Anyway, I thought I would share that random tidbit about me because I am still awake for some uncanny reason and I have work in the morning. Ok, off to force myself to sleep. We should have these chats more often. :)

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How to Choose the Right Contacts for Your Cosplay

Eyes are often said to be the windows to the soul and if you are really trying to capture the essence of a character you are cosplaying, sometimes contacts are a necessity. But with thousands of companies, brands and styles available, where do you even start? Here’s where I come in.

403051_515836971770635_1317537593_nLet’s start with the very basic and important warning that wearing non-prescription contact lenses could possibly endanger your eyes to a number of risks. The majority of this article will focus on lenses for people who don’t need a prescription. Some of the companies I will point out will have the option of adding lens strength but it’s always a good idea to double check with your ophthalmologist first.

Your eyes are delicate and even something as small as a piece of lint between your eyes and the lenses can be extremely painful (I know from experience). If you don’t know how to put contact lenses in, there are several tutorials on Youtube or ask someone you know that has experience.

#1 Rule: If a contact hurts or is uncomfortable…take it out! Better to lose a lens than an eye. (I have literally taken out and thrown away a pair of lenses on the con floor because they were bothering me.)

 

I’ll take you through the process that I use to find the right lens for my cosplays. Let’s take, for example, blue lenses for Supergirl (which coincidentally, I’m actually looking for).

Other than just picking the right color and style, the most important decision is the size or diameter of the lens. In general, most lenses will range from 14mm to 15mm in size. Here’s how I classify the sizes.

  • 14mm-14.2mm: For people who have never worn contacts before or who want a very natural look. This size is going to be the closest to your own pupil and iris. Most people won’t notice that you have contacts in unless they are a crazy color.
  • 14.5mm: These will give a bit of an enlarging effect and are great for most cosplays. This is my go-to size for contacts, especially if cosplaying comic rather than anime characters.
  • 14.8mm: I try to stick to this size for anime characters. A little bigger than the 14.5mm but not overly large.
  • 15mm: I use these for very big-eyed anime characters, Lolita or the ‘dolly’ look. These will get you a lot of attention as they will make your eyes look HUGE. These can be a little more uncomfortable to wear depending on how your eye and the lens is shaped. I’ve had some that felt perfectly fine and some that were just irritating.
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These are 15mm contacts used for my Kanu Unchou cosplay.

 

So, now we know what size contact we are looking for (14.5mm) and obviously, what color (blue). But there are a ton of different styles of lenses out there, so what are the differences?

  • Single-tone to Four-tone Lenses: Single-tone lenses will only have one solid color in them while, obviously, four-tone lenses will have four different colors in them. Single-tone lens often have a black or brown ring around the edges which is what gives the enlarging effect. I have found that single-tone lenses work well for anime characters and also have the highest success rate of covering dark colored eyes. The more tones in the lens, the more realistic the color will look and they will generally blend well with your eye but sometimes aren’t opaque enough to cover dark brown eyes.
  • Enlarging Rings: I’m not really sure what these rings are called, but they are the black or brown rims around the lens. I have found that the black rings tend to give the most enlarging effect but a thick, solid black line can be very noticeably unnatural looking when taking pictures close-up.
  • Decorative Lenses: These are the kind of contact lenses that will have designs in the color or other effects. These can sometimes be very flattering but can look a little crazy up-close. These can be fun to play with depending on the character.
  • White-out/Black-out Lenses: Black-out lenses are designed to turn your iris black thus creating a demon-y look. White-out lenses will turn your iris white leaving just your black pupil. Some white-out lenses will cover the iris as well but can haze vision a little.

Since I want my Supergirl to look a bit more natural, I’m going to look for a contact with at least 2 or 3 tones in it. (If you have dark colored eyes, make sure you read the reviews or do some research to make sure that they cover dark colors.) Now to start searching.

I generally go with three brands, though I have tried others. My favorites are: GEO, NEO Vision and Royal Vision. I try to stick to the same brand because I know that they will fit my eye shape without irritation. And finally, where can you get lenses? Here are the sites that I’ve either used or had recommended to me.

EyeCandy’s Lenses: (http://www.eyecandys.com/) My favorite place to go for lenses! Seriously, I freakin’ love this shop too much.

  • Really easy to search for lenses by Brand, Color, Diameter and Power, for those that need prescription strength.
  • Large availability of lenses that work for people with darker colored eyes.
  • There are reviews for almost every contact lens they have either on the site or by looking through their blog or Facebook page.
  • The prices are good and they offer free shipping. It’s not the cheapest place but the extra money is worth the great customer service and quality.
  • Keep in mind that shipping can take 10-20 days but mine generally arrive pretty quickly.
  • They also have tons of tips and an awesome blog where they discuss various topics about style and lenses.
  • You get a contact case with every purchase.

 

Korea Bigeyes: (http://www.koreabigeyes.com/) Funny name, good store. I’ve only ordered from here once.

  • Shop via Brand or Color. A bit harder to navigate and sort.
  • Geared a bit more towards people who need prescriptions but it doesn’t seem like they keep a lot of different strengths in stock
  • $5 shipping worldwide, generally 8-16 day plus handling. If you spend over $100, free shipping.
  • Cheap prices.

 

Contact Lens Xchange: (http://www.contactlensxchange.com) My friend bought her lenses from here but I have never tried them. The prices seem good but shipping is $7.99. The layout of the site is a little weird to maneuver through if you are just browsing.

 

I really hope that this helps you out and if you have any more questions, please feel free to ask them in the comments section below. I’m sure I’m probably forgetting to cover a topic or two so your suggestions are always welcome and I can always update the blog post.

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14.8 mm contact lenses for Christmas Miku

Thanks for reading,

<3 Ani-Mia

Mar 04

My Best Moments of Emerald City Comic Con 2013

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Disclaimer: Any typos or grammatical errors are due to me being awake for the past 36+ hours.

Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle just ended and although my brain is dead from my red-eye flight and then working today, I still can’t get the con out of my mind. It was my first time at a booth and I learned some lessons on how to optimize my time so that fans don’t miss out on me and how to schedule myself for shoots more effectively. It was so great to be back home in Seattle. I got to see all my friends and oh, the fantastic conversations we had. I had missed the crazy in-depth conversations about Superman, TMNT and of course the classic Star Wars/Star Trek topics.

There were so many unforgettable cosplay and personal memories made this weekend and while it was a great moment meeting each and every fan old or new there were two moments that made me realize that there are Con Gods and that when you are nice to people, good things happen (something that I see happen at cons all the time and make me proud to be a part of this community).

The first was on Friday. If you follow my Facebook page, you have probably noticed that I am obsessed with Funko Pop Vinyl figures which means that I HAD to go get the special edition Phoenix figure.

Emerald-City-Comicon-Exclusive-Funko-Pop-Vinyl-Phoenix_1357671162As I was in the huge line for con exclusives, the line snaked so that I was right next to an older woman and her son, who was probably around 10-12. She got my attention and said that her son had wanted to get a picture with me but he was too embarrassed but it was his birthday so he should just do it. The poor kid looked mortified so I didn’t want to embarrass him any more so I asked him a few questions until the line moved. When I got my figure I went ahead and bought an extra souvenir lanyard. I walked back through the line saying, “I promise I’m not cutting, I swear.” and found the mom and her son. I said, “It’s your birthday, right?” The kid nodded. “Well, I hope you have a happy birthday,” as I handed him the lanyard. The kid smiled, the mom was shocked and smiling and then I waved and walked back to my booth because I was super late. Making that boy smile is my number one favorite memory. (On after-thought, I probably should have just grabbed the kid and taken a picture with him but I get nervous sometimes in awkward situations.)

Then, on Saturday, I got in line to meet Richard and Wendy Pini who wrote the comic series, Elfquest. It was the first comic I had ever read and I was so excited I was about to cry. I was talking to the guy in line in front of me about how excited I was (seriously, I was about to cry). I just kept blabbing (in probably the most annoying way) about my love for the comic and how I was going to have them sign the copy that I first read as a kid. The guy behind me overheard me and got my attention. He had a cardboard sleeve that he said had official artwork from the ’70/80’s original set. Suddenly, he asked if I wanted them. I thought there was no way he was just giving them to me so I asked if he was asking to sell them. No. He just wanted to give them to me since I loved the comic that much. Then, just like I did with the kid the day before, he put the sleeve in my hands and walked out of line. I literally stood there with my mouth open in shock for at least 30 seconds before I turned to the guy in front of me and asked, “Did that just really happen?” And then I spent the next two minutes going “Oh my god”, nearly crying and then carefully opening the sleeve and looking at the artwork. [Picture the scene in the movie Fanboys after Windows gets the girls to flash the van which I can't believe there isn't a clip of on Youtube to paste here.] After getting them signed, I raced back to my booth before I started crying. That was the most unbelievably kind action I have ever experienced at a con.

I’m glad that I got to share this with you guys because these were the two best moments for me and they were acts of kindness. I love it. Now for a bath, some dinner and SLEEP.

P.S. My funniest fan girl moment was meeting the Pini’s and wanting to buy anything that they were selling at their booth. They had a graphic novel that they were selling. Let it be known, I completely brain fart in front of people that I fangirl over. Richard asked, “So you know this isn’t Elfquest.” And I said yes completely out of my mind fangirling. Wendy looked over and spoke to me, “You know this is Ecchi, right.” I didn’t even think to process that in my head when she talked to me. I just nodded and said, “I would love anything you write and illustrate.” It wasn’t until I got back to my booth that I realized what I bought. And you know what, I’m not going to lie, it might not be my thing but I will read a homoerotic elf graphic novel just because I love Wendy and Richard’s work that much (well hopefully it’s not too graphic). Hehehe. I’m a goober.

Feb 27

My ECCC 2013 Packing List

I’m just a little OCD so I usually make a packing list for myself a few days before my trips so that I don’t forget anything. I figured I would post this so that people could get some ideas for their own packing lists. I usually forget one or two things and end up adding it to the list as I get closer to my departure.

(3 nights, 3 days)

Regular Clothes

3 pairs of socks

3 bras (light, dark, strapless)

5 panties (various)

1 jeans

1 jeggings

1 black leggings

3 shirts

1 hoodie

2 sleeping shirts

2 tank tops

2 pajama pants

I belt

Hat, gloves, scarf

Tardis dress

Power Rangers dress

Ghostbusters dress

White heels

Spiked boots

Comfy shoes

 

Beauty/Health

Primer

Foundation

Concealer

Powder

Eyebrow supplies

Eyeshadow palette

Makeup Brushes

Eyelashes/Eyelash Glue

Tweezers

Contact Lenses

Contact Lens Solution

Lipstick/Lip gloss

Make-up Remover

Perfume

Nail Clippers

Towel

Tylenol

Soap

Hair straightener

Brush

Lotion

Deodorant

Hair Spray

Hair ties

Razer

Gel insoles for shoes

Toothbrush/Toothpaste

Wig head

Shaving Cream

Vitamins

Earrings

Blonde Wig

 

Cosplay Items

                Supergirl

Top w/ cape

Skirt

Boots

Wig

Wig glue

Glue Remover

Sally Jupiter/Silk Spectre

Undersuit

Tunic

Belt/Sash

Black Heels

Wig

                Rydia

Top

Bottom

Green Heels

Wig

Headpiece

Earrings

 

Emergency Repair Items

Wig brush

Glue Gun

Glue Sticks

Travel Sewing Kit

Extra fabric

 

Misc Items

Convention Tickets and Schedule

Camera, Battery and Charger

Laptop and Charger

Cell Phone Charger

Flash Drive

Badge holder

Book for plane and lines

Posters

Prints

Black and Silver Sharpies

Buffy S8 Vol1 (to get signed by Andy Owens)

Elfquest Issue 1 (to get signed by Wendy & Richard Pini)

Lollipop Pia print (to get signed by Camilla d’Errico)

Wesley Crusher figure (to get signed by Wil Wheaton)

Feb 16

Ani-Mia’s Easy Bacon and Cheddar Biscuit Bites

Makes about 20-30 bites depending on how big you make them

  • Bisquik mix
  • Milk
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese (I like a nice Extra Sharp NY Cheddar)
  • 1 Package of Bacon (uncooked and sliced finely)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup of fresh dill (optional)

1) Preheat oven to 450 degree

2) Prepare dough following the instructions of the Bisquik box for Biscuits. Add an extra teaspoon of milk after the dough is prepared so that it is a little sticky.

3) Add in cheddar cheese slowly, making sure that you mix it into the dough thoroughly. Do the same with the bacon and dill if you decide to you use it.

4) Make balls of dough that are about 1 1/2 inches in diameter and place them on a baking sheet at least 1 1/2 -2 inches apart.

5) Scramble the egg and brush the egg mixture on top of each ball of dough.

6) Place in oven and cook approximately 9-11 minutes. You’ll know they are done if you can stick a toothpick in and it comes out clean.

photo(15)

 

Feb 13

Crunchyroll Review: Problem Children are Coming from Another World, Aren’t They?

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It may be one of the longest anime titles ever but “Problem Children are Coming from Another World, Aren’t They?” is not only an awesome source for my next cosplay but a really fun new anime.

Without giving away too much of the plot, a bored boy, Sakamaki Izayoi, receives a letter telling him to abandon everything he knows to figure out his full potential. Curiosity gets the better of him and he finds himself thrown into an entirely new world along with two other problem children, the snobby Kudou Asuka and shy Kasukabe You who arrives with her cat. Each of the children has their own special power that you discover within the first three episodes and which corresponds to their personality.

Now they need to discover why the cute bunny-eared girl Kuro Usagi (aka Black Rabbit) has summoned them to her world. And can I just say, who doesn’t love a bubbly, cute bunny girl? I for one am already in love with her character and can’t wait to get to know her better so that I can cosplay her.

For those that like a little action in the anime, there is this concept of “Gift Games” which is a battling card game where the challenger faces a dangerous trial in order to gain a reward or face the consequences of failure. Only three episodes in and I’m already hooked. I can’t wait for the next episodes to air so that I can delve further into this funny anime. This anime is currently being simulcast on Crunchyroll (5 episodes currently subtitled) so you have to wait a little bit between episodes airing but definitely worth it.

You can check out this movie on the Crunchyroll website. Get a free trial of their Premium Membership by following this link —–> https://www.crunchyroll.com/freetrial/?from=aff_redirect&aff=af-50026-baxs

Feb 10

Facts and Fun: Q & A with Ani-Mia

Last week I asked my Facebook fans to send me any questions they would love to ask me if they could and boy did I get a lot of responses. I decided to pick some of my favorite fun questions and then the ones that I was asked the most. The most important thing is that I wanted this to be questions that you guys haven’t heard in any other interview I’ve had. So…here we go.

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1) What goes through your mind when designing an outfit for any cosplay that you want to do?
It takes me a while to start creating a cosplay once I decide on the costume. I find as many reference pictures as I can for the costume, trying to get all angles. Then I spend time looking at the costume piece by piece. For example, I’d look at just the top and dissect it, trying to figure out how to make each piece of it. And then the bottoms, the accessories. I kind of write out a list of what I need to do or buy. Once I get an idea of what the process will be like, I start buying my supplies and working on it piece by piece.

 

2) What is your favorite food? What food don’t you like?
I’m a huge pasta addict but I have to try and not overdo it sometimes. If I could eat pasta every day and not gain a pound, I would be so happy. I’m also a huge sucker for cupcakes. I’ve always been a bit of a picky eater growing up so there are a lot of foods that I don’t really like but my top three would be: seafood, mushrooms and chocolate.

 

3) How do you pick which cons you want to do and how has this changed because you have representation now?
I try to definitely go to my hometown conventions and ones near me. I also try to make it to SDCC because, well, it’s SDCC. There are also some conventions that I try to go to just so that I can see some of my cosplay friends. Things have changed since I joined an agency that is helping me make it out to more conventions. I’m able to go to more conventions now as a guest which makes it much easier for me to travel to different states. At this point, there isn’t a convention that I wouldn’t go to if I could. I love meeting new people and making friends at conventions.

 

4) Favorite comic character?
This one is a really hard question. I would have to say for female characters, it would be Rogue. I have always loved her storyline and X-Men was one of the first comics I ever read. For male comic characters, I have always had a thing for Superman.

 

5) Ani-Mia, wondering how difficult it is for you to keep your “public” persona separate from your personal life?

It used to be easier but I try really hard. I really have to because I have a very professional job and I have to keep my two sides separate. Just consider me Clark Kent and Superman.

 

6) What books/comics are you currently reading?

Right now I’m on the 3rd book in the Song of Ice and Fire books. Though I’ve been taking breaks to read my favorite comics: The Walking Dead, Buffy, Angel, New 52 and a few more that I’ve been waiting a while for the next ones to come out.

 

7) Is your cosplaying just the beginning of something bigger?

For me, cosplay is what I do. If it brings me new opportunities then I’m welcome to it but I don’t think I’d want to stop cosplaying just to do something else.

8) What advice would you give new cosplayers?

The biggest piece of advice I could give is to never give up and to always try new things. I get intimidated by certain pieces of cosplay sometimes but then I realize that I need to at least try. Look up tutorials, read what you can about the materials or supplies that you don’t know about…do your research and you can conquer anything.

 

9) What are some of the go-to tools that you use?

Here’s a list of the tools/supplies that I use the most: Sewing machine, sewing supplies, a really good pair of scissors, hot glue gun, heat gun, Wonderflex, gesso, paper clay, sandpaper, drill, expanding insulation foam, and spray paint. There’s a lot more that I use but those are the most frequent.

 

10) Do you have a con tradition?

I always get a print from Camilla d’Errico as well as a Funko Pop Vinyl. And I keep all of my con badges in my craft room for the memories and motivation.

Jan 28

Crunchyroll Review: Hansel & Gretel (2007)

When I found out I was chosen to become a Crunchyroll Ambassador, I had no idea what I was in for. There are so many choices of things to watch on their site! I figured I would use my membership to watch and review some of the movies and animes that I find on Crunchyroll but I had no idea where to start.

220px-Hansel_and_Gretel_(2007_film)
Considering I’m half Korean and love Kdramas, I figured I would start there. I’m also a huge Horror movie fan so when I came across Hansel & Gretel (which I’d actually kept seeing pop up everywhere) I decided to give it a try.
Holy crap, Korean horror movies are frightening in a way that’s not senselessly gory but chilling to think about. The storyline reminded me a lot of the 1983 Twilight Zone movie with the segment about the little boy and his family (‘It’s a Good Life”). The children in this movie are horribly frightening, not only in their dead stares but the creepy tones in their voices. This is the reason why I don’t want children.
To think, the main character, Eun-Soo, goes through all of his trials because he swerves to not hit roadkill. Other than that ridiculousness, the plot is extremely well thought out and the characters are very compelling. The acting is spectacular, especially coming from the three children. Although the movies isn’t in-your-face frightening with special effects or gory like a lot of horror movies tend to be; there is an internal fear when you begin putting yourself in Eun-Soo’s shoes. Trapped in an eternal nightmare with no way of escaping.
This is a great movie if you like creepy horror movies that are more psychological rather than special effect driven.

You can check out this movie on the Crunchyroll website. Get a free trial of their Premium Membership by following this link —–> Get a Crunchyroll Premium Membership!

Jan 27

My first blog!

Hi guys,

So yeah, this is my first blog and I guess I’m just diving right in. I suppose there is really only one way to start this, even though I kind of dislike having to write bios for myself.

So, who am I? I’m just a girl who likes things that are usually considered either ‘guy things’ or ‘geek things’ and who likes to dress up in costumes based on various characters, a passion called cosplaying. I grew up on Knight Rider, She-ra, Jem, Rainbow Brite, Star Wars, TMNT, Star Trek, X-Men comics…all the best things in life. And I don’t think the day will ever come where I will ever grow out of it. It’s just the way I am and always have been. Even when liking these things wasn’t cool, when I ate alone in the library playing Doom during lunch in high school.

Now my love for all things ‘geeky’ has transformed into a love for cosplaying, which I’ve been doing since 2008. I create the majority of my costumes and find inspiration from the comics I read, the games I play and the movies/anime that I watch. I have had the honor of working with a few fantastic designers Castle Corsetry and Vengeance Designs on a few of my costumes. I love going to conventions to showcase my cosplay and hope to expand the number of conventionsI’m able to attend through my management with D-Mentd Entertainment.

 

So what will you find here? My random thoughts on various things cosplay or geek related, reviews for Crunchyroll as one of their Ambassadors, cosplay tutorials, updates on my friends at Hound Comics who are awesome for hosting my blog, and much, much more. :)

I hope you guys stick around!

Love,

Ani-Mia