Live and (in)direct

Today marks the day where I find out if I’m brave enough yet to go live with a reading of an excerpt from Abnormal. I have the afternoon off from my day job, and it will (theoretically) prepare me for Wednesday’s live Q&A. (Btw, still no Q’s given to me or Rhetoric Askew yet…just sayin’.)

I might wear my Dark Phoenix wig and do up some nice makeup for it, to kinda relax me and make me feel more comfortable. For some reason, I do better in cosplay than I do au naturale. Probably because it’s more like acting or role playing? I don’t know. That’s my guess anyway. I really want to do this because I’d like to see what kind of turnout I get from it, but I’m also terrified of what kind of turnout I’d get. Lol

If I chicken out, then I’ll be taping the reading and posting it later on. Either way, I get practice reading in front of a camera. I’m gonna try though. I really am. I even sent out a tweet just now declaring said live reading. No backing out now. 😉

Oh, what to wear, how to do my voice, emote, ack! An actress I am not…but for the readers, I must be.

2pm PST. 1400 Pacific. You. Me. Twitter. And a little piece of Abnormal.

An art and a science

Well, today’s the day! My first Arts and Sciences competition for the SCA. Despite all the nerves and anxiety about finishing my papers, they were both finished and printed last night. (They actually were “finished” earlier, but I forgot to put “Novice” on them so I had to reprint. Lol)

I’m feeling good about the paper on tattoos in history, the embroidery documentation not so much. I got a lot of very good but very vague advice on what was expected of me as far as documentation goes, but I followed the who/what/when/where/how/etc that I’m supposed to include, so we’ll see how I do.

Dressed in my Italian Renaissance today, because why not be fancy? (Also, hubby wanted to wear our Italian Ren outfits.) I don’t wear it often because my persona is Viking, but I gotta say, it makes my bewbs look good. Lol

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I also did up my eyes real purdy for today. They’re going to be burning like hell by the end of the day between the dry eye, makeup, and contacts, but fuck it. I wanted to look good.

I’m going to try to get some embroidery done while I sit with my projects and talk to judges and onlookers, but my stupid self lost track of where my wash-away stabilizer is at the moment, so I have to try to get some from someone else, because I’ll be at the competition all day pretty much. No time to run to JoAnn’s for more.

Tomorrow I discuss book cover concepts with Rhetoric Askew’s cover designer. 🙂 Super excited to get that process going. Things are coming together!

Book 2 is moving along as well. Not at my ideal word count yet, but I’m only three and a half chapters in as far as revisions go. Ideas for Book 3 are swirling around in the background, but I need to slow my roll and do things right. Evernote the important parts, and get Book 2 polished for submission first. Well, polished and edited for Betas. Then revised and edited and polished for submission.

Soon we leave for A&S. Wish me luck!

Picture day

It’s funny how, well, funny people are about having their picture taken. Some people will take selfies ten times a day, but have someone else pull out a camera or phone and they’re suddenly shy or self conscious. Some people, like me, feel awkward and ugly without makeup, and some obsess over their hair or outfit.

I’m all of the above.

Imagine my horror and chagrin at the outcome of some of my photo ops from last weekend’s Phoenix Comicon. Granted, in one photo I managed to remember to tilt my head up so I didn’t have 5+ chins in the photo, but for the other two I had the worst case of derpface I’ve ever seen. Head tilted down, chins aplenty, and some kind of weird psycho grin that would terrify small children.
Why are we so weird about how we look in photos? I mean, I don’t spend any time during the day worrying about whether or not I have more than one chin showing or if my smile looks goofy, so why do I care if a photo looks weird?

Maybe it’s because photos are a kind of immortality, especially in this day of Internet sharing and such. A derpface that you don’t see or are allowed to forget is a derpface that never happened. A derpface that’s hanging on the wall with you standing next to one of your favorite celebrities? Yeah. Those are painful. Brutal even.

I’m trying to get better about it, trying to remind myself that if it doesn’t matter in everyday then it shouldn’t matter in photos. Why should I care if it’s how I look all the time? I should accept who I am get over it, right? Yeah, not so easy. Even with makeup and a gorgeous wig and an outfit that blew the actor’s mind, all I see is the derpface with the extra chins.

I’ve got to get over that, and everyone else needs to as well. The face you put out there is your face, your identity… It’s who you are. Makeup is fake, poses are fake, push-up bras are fake, corsets are fake–you get the point. Again, I’m guilty of all of the above, but at least it’s not on a daily basis. I try to make the makeup a minimal thing, and only when I am either going to a special event/evening out or if I’m “in the mood to look pretty.”

Today was a photo day at work.

I decided I was in the mood to look pretty for it.

Baby steps. Baby steps.

The eyes have it

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Ever since I decided to do a Dark Phoenix cosplay, I’ve been obsessed with getting every detail just right–down to the eyes. Now, I still have to get the red contact lenses I want to wear, but otherwise I pretty much have the look I want down pat…and I decided to do a quasi-tutorial for it! 🙂 Bear with me on this, because I am definitely not experienced when it comes to makeup. This is just how I do my eyes for this fiery look.

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Ack! Scary, huh? Well, this is what I start with: Nothing. Good ol’ blank canvas. (A little broken out, but whatever. Most of my face will be covered with a mask during the majority of the day that I’ll be wearing the cosplay anyway.)

Next up: Brows. Some chicks play up their brows to the Nth degree, with penciling and stenciling and whatever. I just use a bit of brownish powder to fill in where my eyebrow tattoos have faded. Are they perfect? No, but I’m not wanting the focus on my brows. (For the cosplay I will probably use a burnt orange or a red eyeshadow for this part, but I’m working today so I’ll have to skip that part and just use regular brow shadow.)

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A little better than the faded tats, and a good starting point I guess. I don’t know if it makes much of a difference, but I like to start with the brows.

Next, I took some Nyx eyeshadow primer and put it all over my lids to get the stuff to stay on better. This is the one I used (recommended by a friend):

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Then, I went on to the base color. After buying a sample pack of loose powder eyeshadows, I fell in love with Dollipop Cosmetics. Their pigments are bright and long-lasting, and it only takes a very small amount of pigment to get amazing color. The first color I’m using? It’s called “Kirk.” Now I ordered this sample pack a few months ago, so I think some of the colors I have are discontinued, but they are constantly updating their pigments with newer and more amazing colors, so check them out on Etsy. https://www.etsy.com/shop/DollipopCosmetics

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Tiny packaging, I know, but like I said it only takes a small amount to get your color on.

Since I’m new at makeup stuff, I don’t have any fancy brushes yet. My solution (also recommended by a friend): Q-tips. I’m not doing any fine details with this look, so I don’t need anything too precise. I applied Kirk all over my eyelids, almost up to the brows. I also put some around the nasal corners of my eyes to give a little “pop.”

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Doesn’t look like much–yet. But wait, there’s more!

Next up I chose a kind of burnt orange color from my samples called “Leia.” This one I think is discontinued (last time I checked their page I didn’t see it), but Dollipop has a lot of similar colors to choose from still.

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This I applied to the lid under and along the crease. (I was aiming for just under the crease, but again I was using Q-tip so no precision application there…and besides, I’m going to blend it all at the end anyway.) This is my middle color. It’s a little rough, but I’m not done yet.

Now comes another Dollipop shadow from my sample pack, “Washu.” It’s a really vibrant red, perfect for my flame-y look.

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This I applied just over the crease, just under the lower lashes, and at the temporal corners of the upper lids. Again, doesn’t look too impressive before the blending, but I’m getting there.

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Eww! Wtf did I do? Yeah, it’s sloppy and funky looking, but here’s where the blending comes in. For this part, the Q-tips are really useful. I’m not sure what brush you would use to blend, but again, I don’t have any brushes just yet anyway. So I smudged away with those Q-tips, blending all those hard edges together.

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Much better! Again, still not perfect, but very fiery colors nonetheless. After I was satisfied with my blending (I even blended a bit more after this) I put on mascara. Here I’d just say go with your mascara of choice, because there is such a wide range of types to choose from.

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This e.l.f. stuff works pretty well for me, and it’s inexpensive too. Once it’s dried I don’t have much trouble with flaking or smudging. You can use lash curlers or false lashes or whatever you normally do, but I really don’t know how to properly use lash curlers and I’ve never used false lashes…so I’m not going to advise on those. I honestly don’t know.

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Almost done! This is the step where I take a makeup remover and clean up my cheeks where the loose pigment has fallen on them. There are probably “makeup hacks” to keep pigment from doing this, but I don’t know any. I just clean up my edges and make sure no pigment gets smeared all over my cheeks, making me look bruised and is just plain embarrassing.

Now here comes a great product that–you guessed it–a friend recommended: setting spray. Here’s what was recommended to me:

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This is to keep the pigment from smearing, smudging, or otherwise getting fucked up as the day goes on. I haven’t tried any other brands, but I can attest that this brand holds up nicely. I’ve had shadow hold up through entire work days or day trips out of town. Here’s the shadow after a few hours at work, where I even occasionally forgot I was wearing it and scratched at my lids. Eep!

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love it! This may only be a half-day’s worth of wear, but I’m confident that this look will last through the whole day at Phoenix Comicon! 🙂

Experimentation

About a week ago I ordered a set of samples from a cosmetic company (Dollipop Cosmetics on Etsy) so I could try different eye shadows before Phoenix Comicon.

The samples don’t have a ton of pigment in them, but from what I understand–and I understand very little about cosmetics–that little bit of loose pigment lasts a long time. Which is good for me, because I only plan on using very little at a time, and not very often. I’m just not a “makeup” girl.

Just so you know, Dollipop Cosmetics has some awesomely geeky names for their colors. https://www.etsy.com/shop/DollipopCosmetics Check them out! (If I find a company I like, I like to give props)

A book also came in the mail yesterday, which is also awesome. Darynda Jones, one of my favorite authors! I am a bit behind on her Charley Davidson series, as I just got book 10 and book 11 is about to be released. You’ve got to check these out as well. (If you’re a library person, then literally check them out.) Great MC, great cast of characters, lots of action, lots of hotness, and amazing storylines. Rarely does a series keep my attention thisi long, so props to Darynda for her great work.

Sometimes a writer has to stop writing to re.ad a bit. It helps us see how other writers write and what writing works and what doesn’t (you can learn a lot even from bad writing).

Speaking of reading, I’m off for now 😉

Cosmetic confusion

Primer. Shadow. Foundation. Sealer. Huh?

Okay, so maybe I’m not totally clueless when it comes to makeup, but I definitely need some help when it comes to my next cosplay. I want to rock that Dark Phoenix, and to do that I’ve decided I need some kick-ass eye makeup.

My problem? This is apparently more complicated than I first realized. I’ve been told I need primer as a base to make the shadow last longer, then something to seal it after to get it to hold. Say what?

Makeup is pretty much the only thing left for me to get for my steampunk Dark Phoenix. I’ve gotten all the costume elements I need: hat, fabric, thread, leather, the breastplate. I do need to get the corset boning, but I like to order that once I’ve gotten the corset mostly made, because then I know the exact length I need (so I can order by length & not have to cut & cap the ends myself). So that leaves the makeup.

I have a particular look I want:

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I’ve found false lashes that are similar (not quite exactly like this, but will work), gold gel eyeliner, black eyeliner, black shadow, and brow liner/powder.

But primer? Highlight colors? What means this? I have no clue.

I’ve ordered some samples from a makeup company on Etsy (Dollipop Cosmetics–only have heard good things about them) for shadow to play with color & see what I can get that’s close to the above pic. As far as applying the false lashes and finding a primer that’s appropriate, I have been querying my cosplay and drag queen friends for advice.

I also might get some colored contacts to get that fire look to my eyes as well. Blue kinda doesn’t go with, well, anything I’m going to be wearing for this cosplay lol Something like this is what I have in mind:

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That would kick ass. Just need to make a leather mask to cover the lower half of my face (thus placing emphasis on my eyes) and figure out the makeup. Easy peasy. Not.

I’ll get it figured out by May. I can do this.

I think.