Friday, August 22, 2014

Hex Hall - YA Bingo

Completed on: August 6th
# of Pages: 323
Bingo Category: A Book Based On A Myth
Here is another book that I have been eyeing at my bookstore for quite a long time now that I decided to check out of the library before my trip to Wasaga Beach. I haven't gotten a chance to pick it up until after I got back, but when I did, I managed to read it in a day!

There's more than one mythical creature present at the "illustrious" Hecate Hall, which to Sophia Mercer is anything but - witches, shapeshifters and faeries make up the reformed population of this school. There are also vampires and "weres", a form of shapeshifters, present in this book, and ghosts and demons as well. You've not only got quite the cast of supernatural species present in this book, but you've got every conceivable  high school personality staple as well; plastics and mean girls, the misunderstood loners, the gorgeous and rude jock, the sassy weres that drool in your hair . . . wait.

A lot of the mystery and intrigue that lies in the book is focused on Sophia Mercer's warlock father, whom she has never met. There's also a lot of intrigue surrounding other ancestors of hers as well. In this book, Sophie finds friendship, she learns how to better control her magic, she develops an unwanted crush, and she learns more about her family and herself then she could have ever dealt possible. One thing that I really enjoyed about this book was that just when you think enough gasp-worthy facts have been revealed, more still manage to surface. If you're interested in a supernatural book series that is all about the suspense and the occasional bite of teenage angst, it couldn't hurt to give this series a try. I found some parts can be a bit more angst-filled than I would normally like, but all in all I enjoyed the first segment of this series.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

22nd Birthday Giveaway! (Closed)

TODAY, August 19th, marks my 22nd Birthday! Instead of celebrating alone I felt like I should celebrate with all of YOU, the readers and iggles/miggles and friends that I have made throughout my 1+year of being an iggle and throughout my 8 months of blogging. This giveaway is featuring prizes that are bigger and better than my Summer Camp giveaway, but the duration of this giveaway is a lot shorter - only 3 days long! - so get these prizes while they're still here! This giveaway is also being hosted on the IGGPPC, so Click here to check it out on their site!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Pack of 15 Airmail Envelopes!

It would be a giveaway on The Written Word(s) without a pack of these classic airmail envelopes! They contain no postage, and so are good for mailing to and from any place in the world. They look amazing, and they're the perfect size for sending out letters and other small goodies.

Pack of 6 Chocolate-Covered Oreos!

As somebody who has had one of these, let me tell you, Belgian chocolate smothering an Oreo cookie is such an amazing thing. One bite will give you a sugar rush to last for hours, I guarantee it! There's two in white chocolate, milk chocolate and dark chocolate.

Pink Metal Coil Agenda!

This thing just screamed "Geek Girl/Iggle On-The-Go" to me, and I decided that I had to pick this up as one of my prizes. It will be arriving just in time for school to start as well, for those fellow students out there! On the left side of most pages there are separate sections for a to-do list, doodles, things not to forget and a call/email reminder spot, which I thought was pretty nifty. And on the other side there's room to write stuff for each day AND all the weekdays have cute annotations (Mon: One Down. Tues: Three to go. Wed: Hump surmounted. Thurs: You can taste it. Fri: TGIF.). Those crack me up.

Scott Pilgrim-themed Retractable ID Badge Holder w/ Alligator Clip!

This item was purchased over at Vintage Virtue, which has a bunch of other awesome items at their store. I personally own 4 other ID badge holders just like this one. I can't wait to have it decorating my backpack when school rolls around. Ill also be using one of these for when I finally get a new volunteer ID badge for the hospital gift shop where I work at the cash every once and a while. The alligator clip is nice and sturdy and will keep a good grip on the fabric of your backpack, a belt loop, or even on part of your shirt.

Bottle of Blue Nail Polish!

I'm not sure why, but I've always had a thing for blue nail polish. I picked this up at my local Suzy Shier, and the colour looks very unique. Whoever ends up winning this giveaway, you'll have to take a picture after using this polish and show it to me!

6 Rolls of Washi Tape!

YES, I bought double the washi tape, so the same 6 rolls will be included in this giveaway as well! These I ordered from the website of the company that I work for, and these tapes are both gorgeous and of a high quality. Your envelopes, cards and letters will be looking swank in no time!

Decorative Box of 10 Note Cards!

Just like the 10 note card pack included in the summer camp giveaway, these were purchased from Carlton Cards, and are of an amazing quality. This box is definitely one-of-a-kind as well, and the pattern on the lid matches the pretty cards included on the inside. This neat little box will look great while sitting on your shelf or desk, and even when the note cards have all been sent out you'll have a cute box to store any sort of odd trinkets inside. Or you can fill it with even more envelopes and cards! Why not?!

Birds On A Wire Page Clip/Bookmark!

This metal clip decorated with a cute bird image (I've lately been obsessed with the birds on a wire image, I'm not exactly sure why) will help you keep your place in whatever book you're currently reading! It works on paperback copies as well as hardcover books without damaging the cover or any of the pages. Instructions are included on the back of the cardboard it comes in, but basically you put the clip on the front of back cover of your book and the ribbon is placed between the pages you've currently reached, so that you can find your spot easily the neck time you pick up your book.

"Geek Chic" Memo Pad w/ Push Pins!

Anybody recognize this from the giveaway I hosted in the spring? Well I found it to be so adorable that I decided to pick up another one for this giveaway! Unfortunately the cork board design behind the memo pad sheets is not actually a mini cork board, it's just a cardboard standee. But it does come with coloured pushpins shaped like bow ties, so it all evens out :)
Hardcover Copy of Goodbye, Rebel Blue by Shelley Coriell!

I planned on including a copy of one of my favorite books for this special giveaway, but instead I decided that I wanted to include something that was less likely to be owned by the winner, plus I enjoyed this book so much when I read it for my YA Bingo Challenge. It's a hilarious and compelling read!

Stationary/Notebook w/ Whale Balloon Design!

Made by the same company as the Bird/Travel notebook in the summer camp giveaway, this book is actually the one I currently own, and it's the one I use an exacto knife to razor out pages from in order to use them as gorgeously decorated stationary. The pages are lined and are a decent size, so they're ideal for writing letters on and then sending them off to my friends and pen pals. This functions perfectly well as an ordinary notebook, but with the 4 unique styles of pages included within, it's a great way to collect a large stack of stationary for your snail mail-related use. And we'll match! How cool is that?

Monday, August 18, 2014

Mail Call! 11/08/14 - 15/08/14

Sent Mail: 2 Items!
Item #1: Birthday Card & Present for Danny!
Recently I came across this story that I posted to The official The Written Words Facebook Page, about a young boy about to turn 6 that has an inoperable brain tumor. Since he's had to stop going to kindergarten, and therefore gets lonely, but loves to receive cards with his name on them. His birthday was July 25th, and I know that my sending in a card was very late, I still felt compelled to send something when I read the article about Danny. My brother had cancer when he was 13, Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, so in a way I felt I could relate to this boy, as well as what his family must be going through. My brother eventually got better, but Danny's type of cancer is very resistant to chemotherapy, so it pains me to say that the odds aren't as great as they could be.

Even so, Danny has already overcome the odds he has been dealt by making it to his 6th birthday, and I hope that things will begin to get better for him. I also hope he'll enjoy the small toys I included, 2 small collectible Mario Kart figurines. It said in the article that he likes Lego and Super Mario, so I thought these might be appreciated.
Item #2: Letter & Gift for My Childhood Friend Paige!
Back in grade school I was part of a close-knit and small group of friends. One of the girls in that group moved away to British Columbia before the start of 8th grade, and aside from one time she came back to Ontario to visit, I haven't seen much of her since. We have each other as friends on Facebook, and we used to keep in better touch, but lately I've just been getting updated on her life from what I see on her Facebook. 

Paige is the same age as me, but she's already married and has 3 adorable children. I remember us chatting on MSN when she was pregnant with her first child. I can't remember how old we were but my first instinct was to think that she was rather young to become a mother, at least in my opinion, but she seemed so excited and happy, and the father was definitely in the picture, so I made sure to wish her well. Today I can hardly believe that I ever doubted her. She has grown into a beautiful woman (who is still gorgeous even when pregnant, something I'm sure all women can envy XD) who is still so much like the girl I spent some of my elementary school years with.

Before she left for BC, I had bought her a gift - whether it was for Christmas or her January birthday, I can't remember - but I never actually sent it off to her. So recently I decided to remedy that. I got her address from her, wrote her a letter where I tried to sum up what she's missed of my life throughout the past near-10 years, and asked her all sorts of questions about how things are going with her right now. I look forward to getting a reply from her, either in the mail or through Facebook or email. But of course I'll be patient in my waiting - she has three kids and a husband to wrestle with now, after all :P
Received Mail: 6 Items!
Item #1: Spigen Protective Phone Case!
After my phone died recently, and very suddenly (right before I was to begin travelling by bus from Barrie to Toronto and then to St. Catharines XP), I was able to get a brand new phone from Rogers. My new phone is an LG G3, and it is a miracle worker. The picture quality is unbelievable, it has a split-screen feature so I can check email and watch My Drunk Kitchen on YouTube at the same time, along with a lot of other amazing perks. But if I have any sort of history with my electronic items, it's that I drop them on a regular basis XP Since this phone model is so new, I had to go online to order a case. But it finally arrived, and my phone is now protected by the shock-absorbent mint-green rubber edges. Both stylish and convenient :)
Item #2: Card from My Aunt Kathy!
My Aunt Kathy and my Uncle Mike are the ones I went to visit for 5 days in Wasaga Beach during the last week of July, and I had a lot of fun with them. The reason my aunt was sending me a card was because it included a special present - and luckily it wasn't her sending me money to cover the bus tickets I took to visit them, because I'd be shaking my fist at her XD Inside was a pair of feather earrings that I'd been wearing while the two of us were walking on the beach that I'd taken out and zipped up in her purse when they were starting to bug my ears. I really appreciate her sending those back to me.
Item #4: Nail Polish Subscription from +blacksheeplacquer!
It's always a happy time of month when I get my three brand-new nail polish bottles in the mail! All three colours look positively exquisite and I'm very keen to try them out. It's been a while since I painted my nails, and I might not get the chance until school starts, what with FanExpo being right around the corner, and having pretty nails won't exactly match a lot of my cosplay costumes. But I can't wait until school starts, when I get to try out some kick-ass colourful nail art!
Item #4: Postcard & Birthday Package From My Amazing Pen Pal Diana!
This girl definitely knows how to spoil another girl XD First I checked out the cool-looking postcard that arrived from my far too awesome pen pal, which told me that I'd be receiving a birthday package soon (which oddly enough was sitting right next to me on the bed that same day :P). She also explained the design on the front of the card, telling me that it's from a Mexican card game called Loteria. She explained it's kind of like bingo and said she'll send me the game if I want.

If you're reading this Diana, I say Hell yes! XD New games are always a blast! Maybe I'll even be able to review it for PaperDroids? Who knows? And I'm curious to hear more about the game, like how many players it's for and how it works. Let me know when you get the chance!

Then came the amazing Birthday package!! On the postcard she said that I could open it whenever I wanted, so to all of you judging me for not waiting until my birthday. I shall stick my tongue out at you XP So first came a super-sweet card that was folded kind of like a story book and had stuff written on each of the folds, AND it was my favorite colour, so that was pretty great. And inside the card was a back of Game of Thrones trading cards, which I think is super cool. I haven't opened the pack yet but I will be soon.

Diana included a little note with each wrapped gift, which I thought was amazing. In her amazing birthday package to me, she included a tube of L'Oreal Voluminous Miss Manga Mascara, which I've been curious to try for a while (and I finally have since receiving it in the mail, it separates my lashes super well, I really like it :) ); a silver Kingdom hearts necklace, which I adore because it's blue and I might even be wearing it with the blue dress I'm wearing for my birthday party on Saturday; a really nice Hand of the King pin, which is way better than the crappy plastic ones I've seen on sale around here, this one's actually metal and it's super nice; and a paperback copy of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith, which I haven't read yet but is now definitely on my list!

All in all this was an incredibly generous birthday package, and Diana, I can't thank you enough. You're the best :D
Item #5: Thank You Card from Emily Farquarson!
For those of you who saw these amazing pictures put up by Emily of all the thank you cards she received in lieu of her operation . . . yes, one of those might have been from me.
Maybe that black Snail Mail stamp on that yellow card looks familiar . . . ? XD
I didn't include it as part of one of my Mail Call posts because it had to be kept a secret; it was a very hush-hush operation. Now Farq has received all of her Get Well Soon cards from amazing iggles all around the world, and I'm so glad that she enjoyed them :) I certainly didn't expect to get a thank you card in the mail, but I did!

In the card, I couldn't get enough of her robot drawing, and I was happy to hear that she was feeling "at least 74,926% better." In the card she also asked be about where I got the cool washi tape I used on the card I sent her, which is one I picked out specifically because it was a cool black and white lace pattern and I knew she was into everything macabre from the stuff she sells on Etsy. Now, let's just say that Em might be receiving another package from me including some cool black and white washi tape of her own? Stay tuned!
Item #6: Birthday Card From Uncle Mike & Aunt Kathy!
It was so sweet of my aunt and uncle to have sent me a card to wish me a Happy Brithday! When I got the card my mom had a hunch it was from them, and sure enough she was spot on, as always. The card included a $20 bill, which is very sweet but YOU GUYS SPENT WAY TOO MUCH ON ME WHEN I CAME TO VISIT AND YOU WOULDN'T LET ME PAY FOR ANYTHING AND I LOVE YOU FOR IT AND GAH but it's still very, very much appreciated :) I actually used their generous gift to buy myself a new book from my store that I have been super anxious to read, The Opposite of Loneliness. I'll have to let you guys know how that turns out.

That's all the mail from last week! I plan on sending out some other things this week, but it will probably be a bit slower, what with my birthday and the IGGPPC Camp and all of that. Either way, there should definitely be another mail call happening this coming weekend. I'll keep you all posted!

We Didn't Win - And That's Okay.

Tonight I donned my comfy PJ shirt, whipped up a couple of Peanut Butter & Jelly & Potato Chip sandwiches (it sounds weird, but trust me, and Hannah Hart - it's delicious!), gripped my phone tightly and sat at my computer and watched the live stream of the 2014 Geekie Awards on Twitch TV. Thanks to the generosity of many iggles, we were able to send 2 of our leading ladies to Hollywood in order to represent the International Geek Girl Pen Pals Club at the award ceremony, and to be there to accept the award if we should win.

I waited anxiously, and once we that were streaming the event were given our first glance at the stage and the iron throne made from axes instead of swords (courtesy of Gibson), I could actually feel tears prickling at the corners of my eyes. Yes, I found myself literally in tears, both at the excitement of us potentially winning this award and at the fear that we wouldn't and overall just from feeling so incredible nervous about either outcome. For those that know me well enough, you know that I am commonly referenced as being made of stone because I'm not the type to cry at things like sad parts in movies or when Christmas Shoes is playing on the radio in December. But tonight, I was overcome with so much emotion that I couldn't hold it in, and I sat there, crossing everything I have, shutting my eyes when the award was at last announced.

And we didn't win. And at first it hurt. I could've sworn I caught a glimpse of Stewie in the audience wiping her eyes, and that nearly killed me. But I've never been the type of immature highschooler that would quickly grow resentful and start bashing on the recipient of the award over social media, because that's not how I roll, and I'd never want to do that anyway. Screen Rant ultimately deserved to win, and all of us iggles and miggles congratulate you.

So we lost . . . and you know what? That's okay.
Would it have been awesome for one of our girls to take home that detachable ray gun award? Yeah, there's definitely a lot of fun selfies and silly poses that could be taken with that kind of a toy. But we still managed to achieve quite a few things tonight, even if they didn't involve having our name written on a scroll.

The exposure alone is a big deal. They saved our amazing community for last, and to have our logo blowing up screens all over the place is pretty amazing. Plus Stewie tweeted earlier about how they have done so much networking on this trip, and I'm sure that this trip is going to be great for our amazing group of ladies.

Not to mention the tweets that have been going around since the award was announced have made any of the disappointment in not winning vanish from my heart and my mind. Members are tweeting with hashtags such as #iggleandproud and #iggles4ever and even #LoveYouGals and all the overwhelming support that everyone is exhibiting for the iggle community right now has shown me something.

I love this community, and I love how it has allowed me to change my life for the better. What could trigger such a sudden and uncontrollable emotional response - such as tears from the Tin Woman - than an overwhelming sense of pride and love for her fellow iggles and miggles? I wish there were some iggles present with me right now so I could give them a big hug and tell them how much they mean to me.

From the amazing overlords to my incredible pen pals that mean so much to me and to every staff member and volunteer that has helped to make the International Geek Girl Pen Pals Club what it is today, I have to thank you. I love this community, and I can say without a doubt that I plan on being a proud iggle for the rest of my life. Nothing, not even the great distance from here to Hollywood, could keep me away :)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

GIVEAWAY: Summer Camp Fun! (Closed)

It's that time of year again - Giveaway time that is! Summer might now be winding down, but the IGGPPC Summer Camp is in full swing! To commemorate the IGGPPC's first annual summer camp (assuming this becomes an annual thing, because it totally should!), I thought this would be the perfect week to giveaway some interesting items. I've got some supplies to help you iggles with "writing home" from camp, along with a few other treats. Check out the details with the Rafflecopter app below, and under that I'll show off all of the prizes. This giveaway is also being hosted by the lovely people at the IGGPPC, go ahead and Click Here to go to the blog post on their site where this giveaway is located.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Pizza & Chocolate-Scented Stickers!

These are the kinds of stickers I use when sending out letters and postcards on a regular basis. There's nothing like a cute little sticker with a pleasant scent to make somebody smile :) Each box contains a roll of 80 stickers, and the roll can be fed right out of the box for easy convenience. I have about 8 of these things lined up in my room right now XD

10 Pack of Blue Pattern Note Cards!

I scored these from my local Carlton Cards, and their stuff is always of the highest quality. This pack comes with 10 envelopes as well that are the perfect size for mailing. Hopefully if there are any other note card addicts out there like myself, you'll be able to appreciate these simple cards and have the perfect people in mind to send them to.

Owl-Themed 7 Year Pen!

Another 7 year pen to give away to another lucky recipient! We've only been selling these at the bookstore where I work for about 5 years now, so I can't say if this pen's promise to be able to write 1.7 meters every day for 7 years is actually true, but surely one of you guys will want to test that out for yourselves!

3 Pack of "Retro Days" Lined Notebooks!

Just like the 3 pack of notebooks I included with my spring giveaway, all of these notebooks are filled with lined pages and are decorated by attractive colours, each one sporting a different retro pattern. The orange chevrons would definitely be my favorite of the three in this pack, but you can always let me know which would be your favorite in the comments below.

On The Go Game Pad!

I saw this at my store and I couldn't resist picking it up for this giveaway! There are 10 sheets of each game, those being MASH, Pick 9, Connect 5, Paper Golf, and Out and About Bingo. *this pad has a folded crack at the top of the pad where it's been folded open, that would be my doing. I wanted to scan one of the Out and About Bingo pages. None of the pages have been removed.*
6 High Quality Washi Tape Rolls!

I ordered these from the website of the company I work for, Indigo Books & Music. They sell high quality merchandise, and this definitely includes their stationary items. I picked out 6 different washi tape patterns just for you guys, which should keep all the washi tape addicts out there, like myself, busy for a good long while.

Box of 6 Flavors of Gummy Bears!

Personally I prefer gummy worms, but once you pop one in your mouth there's hardly room to notice any difference. Although it is more satisfying to rip the body of a gummy worm in half with your teeth than it is with a gummy bear, but that's neither here nor there. Still sealed in this colourful box, you'll receive a handful of watermelon, raspberry, orange, mango, green apple and blueberry gummy bears which are perfectly fresh and delicious. Plus if you're anything like my mother, who saves plastic and cardboard containers to better store her scrapbooking supplies, you'll be able to make use out of the box once all of the gummy bears are gone XD

One Notebook with Patterned Paper/Stationary Paper!

This would probably be one of my favorite prizes to be giving away to one lucky winner. I own a notebook like this - not this exact one but made by the same company - and instead of using it as a regular notebook, I use an exacto knife to razor out the lined pages and BAM! Instant stationary. There's 4 designs that make up the pages of this notebook, and it's a great way to gain some nice stationary without having to buy an expensive set where the paper is perhaps not lined or too small of a size to write on properly. Of course, it can be used as a simple notebook as well; nothing wrong with that.

"Street" Themed Nail Stickers!

I've never tried putting stickers on my nails before, but they look like they would stay on pretty well, plus they're a nice size so you can add more than 1 sticker to each nail if you wanted, even if you have really short nails like I do. Lately I've been getting more and more involved with nail art, and these stickers look like they would brighten up any style of manicure or pedicure.
3 Outdoors-y Mini Notebooks!

These three little gems were picked up at Michaels, and 2 of them even come with a small pen to help you keep notes on the go. The notebook in the middle shapped like a butterfly is definitely precious too. If you're anything like me, I always like to keep some sort of notebook and pen on hand to jot down any ideas that come to me, and these small-sized notebooks would be perfect to just throw into a purse of back pocket before you leave home.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


It's all anyone is talking, sharing, tweeting or thinking about right now. Oscar-winning actor and comedian Robin Williams, dead at 63 from a now confirmed suicide. Numerous sources on the internet state that Robin Williams had been battling depression for quite some time, and since then I can bet that everyone's news feeds have been taken over with talk of depression and suicides, but there's also been quite a few wonderful quotes from the man himself and from his movies, not to mention the occasional Genie photo.

This is a difficult time for so many people. Almost everyone has been charmed by at least one of Robin's quirky characters or has had their gut busted by his stand-up routines. I myself prescribe the Alcohol/Marijuana bit from one of Robin's early shows at the Met to people who are in need of a laugh. The last time I linked that video to somebody was to a friend after they'd just had their wisdom teeth removed.

I didn't find out about this beloved actor's deaths until around 7:40 on August 11th (which oddly enough happens to be my mother's birthday). I was at work when my coworker got a call from his friend and co-worker from his other job at EB Games. At first I was sure it was some sort of internet hoax, like the vicious practical jokes played on actors like Adam Sandler and Morgan Freeman in the past. But I was sad to see that the story was being confirmed more and more across various web channels.

This recent news has caused me to think back to my own personal history with the works of Robin Williams, as I am sure many have been doing over the past few days. I remember that Jumanji scared me too much to watch when I was a little kid, so I didn't get to enjoy the film until later in life. I'd giggled in the ways of my childhood at the charismatic and over-the-top personality of the genie in Aladdin and I cracked up at Robin's many voices portrayed in Mrs. Doubtfire. 2 summers ago I took quite a few trips to my local video rental store (yes, those still exist!) and in that one summer when I was recovering from a bad breakup I was soothed with my own laughter as I watched Patch Adams for the first time, and I felt an entirely new kind of sorrow as I watched Awakenings. I watched Good Will Hunting for the first time as well and finally I was able to understand what so many people I knew had been raving about.

During this difficult time I also thought of Zelda Williams, one of Robin's children, who is also an actress and who has made various appearances with her dad, such as in commercials for Nintendo and in an Cobra Starship music video. I retweeted a picture she shared on August 4th, when she still had her father here in this life.

This difficult time has brought up a lot of feelings for a lot of people. They have cherished Robin's words and his achievements, they have memorialized him in their own special way. This tragedy has caused people to reflect, and to share. Will Wheaton tweeted with 2 blog links that put me in higher spirits. I tweeted the link to another blog post about Robin Williams that also gave a link to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, where you can go to seek help for yourself, a friend, or even if you see someone on your social media who is exhibiting signs of suicidal thoughts. I've read posts about the impacts that depression has on lives and how it's not to be taken lightly, and how it's far from a "get over it" situation.

As someone who suffers from anxiety with occasional bouts of depression, I too understand how this feels to a degree. And when I think of Zelda, I've found myself thinking about my own father as well, and how we're not as close as we might have been once upon a time. Even with the difficulties one faces in life, perhaps it is better to battle with those difficulties such as awkwardness and dread than to later be consumed by regret. That is a message to anyone, including myself, that has someone in their life they wish they were closer to and who needs to realize that life is short.

As Robin Williams' character says in my favorite of his films, Dead Poets Society, which I am watching as I write this, "Carpe Diem. Seize the day."
RIP Robin Williams
You will always be "O Captain! My Captain!"

Friday, August 8, 2014

Cosplay Prep #1 - FanExpo 2014

Holy Convention, Batman!
This is going to be my first year attending FanExpo in Toronto, and I cannot begin to express how excited I am to get too attend this massive metropolitan convention! This is a 4 day convention, which is also the longest con duration I have ever experienced. It's definitely the biggest as well. The main thing I have heard about this con from friends that have frequented it in the past is about how crowded it is, which you can see from the picture. Luckily, I love crowds, and as long as I don't have a massive migraine during any of the 4 days of the convention I should be good to go.

As of today, the first day of FanExpo is 20 days away! It might seem like a lot to some people, but when I've got one final cosplay costume to put together, the clock is definitely ticking. At least I don't have to go desperately searching the internet looking for ideas; I know exactly what I'm hoping to pull off for one of the four days of this convention.

WIP Thrift Store Cosplay: The Boss/The President from Saints Row IV
Here is a picture from the Saints Row community site that I uploaded of the character I play in Saints Row IV. This is my rendition of what my boss character would wear as the President of the United States. She's dressed to impress but at the same time you can tell from the nonexistence of a proper shirt underneath that blazer that she doesn't have to impress anybody and does what she wants, whenever she wants, and she does it just the way she likes it - the mark of a true Saint! Those heels could definitely be described as ankle-breakers, but she can easily sprint and dive in those things without breaking a sweat. It's that kind of reckless abandon and confidence that I hope to embody with this character. I hope to turn myself into a true-blue puckish rogue ;)
This will be my first-attempted thrift store cosplay. I don't yet know how to sew, and all the other cosplay outfits I've worn so far have been ordered off the internet, so this should prove to be a unique experience for me. My friend that I'm going to FanExpo with is also planning on dressing as a Saints Row character, target more towards Saints Row the Third, and when he comes into town for a visit next week we'll be hitting up the Welland Goodwill to try and find him some Saints-appropriate attire. But I was recently able to stop in on my own, and I found the perfect centerpiece for my con outfit.
Target Acquired: Blazer, Skirt & Push-Up Bra
It was the blazer that I happened upon at Goodwill this week. One great thing about this jacket is that it fits me so well and I'll actually be able to wear it outside of conventions, unlike all those bridesmaid dresser sitting in the back of women's closets that the bride swore up and down they would be able to wear once the wedding was over XD It fastened closed with two buttons instead of one, which is helpful for me, since it will reveal what I want it to but it won't end up being too much.

The skirt is something I already had in my closet that I'd picked up from Ricki's. It has a wrap-style decorating the front. It's actually a couple of years old, and with the weight I put on this winter that I've had trouble taking off since then it is a little tight, but honestly, for this particular cosplay, having the skirt be a little snug is perfect for what I'm going for. And it's not too tight to be uncomfortable, so I won't be fidgeting with it as I wanted around the merch tables or feeling self-conscious when I'm asked to pose for photos.

As for the double push-up bra . . . it may have already have been an article of clothing that I had in my possession before I began putting this cosplay together XD It's going to be perfect to provide the dramatic cleavage I'll need to recreate the look for this video game character.
The Look So Far
As you can see the blazer gapes quite a bit. While that is the look I'm going for with this particular outfit choice, it's a little bit more than what I need, so I'll be needing to discretely pin the blazer a bit so that it's just right. I've also got a Fleur de Lis pendant that I'll need to fashion into a necklace for this costume. I also plan on raiding my mother's crafting supplies to help me with creating a unique accessory to really complete this look - but for now it's a surprise ;)

Also, I'll need a pair of nude pantyhose to really complete the look. As for shoes, I'm still in decision mode about that. I know from personal experience that the shoes you choose to wear can make or break you when convention time rolls around, because comfort is paramount when you're going to be on your feet all day. I'm tempted to use a combat-style of boots I have that aren't heeled but might help reinforce the bad-ass factor. As of this moment, I am still undecided. Doing a little more research about con-appropriate shoes or reading tips on how to be comfortable in cosplay may be in order before FanExpo arrives.

I've also got plans for my hair too. I won't be wearing a wig, and I won't be dying my hair the same outlandish colour that I have set for my boss character in SR4, but I do have some pretty great ideas. And the glasses won't be worn as part of the outfit either, but I've got some great contacts at the ready.

So far, that's where I stand with my cosplay prep - there will be plenty more to do before Thursday the 28th arrives. I can't wait to share all the cosplay-related details with you guys! I'll be keeping you guys posted!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

A Letter To July - 2014

I was inspired to do this by Yulin Kuang's video A Letter To July, which itself was inspired by the Letters to July project by Emily Diana Ruth. Since I write so many letters to people, and I can only tell you small fractions about them because part of what makes letters special is that its kept between the sender and the recipient, I thought I would share a different kind of letter with you.

Each month I will be writing a post which will act as a letter to the month that has just concluded. It will sort of sum up what I've been up to for the past 30/31 days, I will be sharing my hopes for the next month, and I will also be trying to give you guys more of a personal glimpse into the way that I write letters. This style of letter writing is quite different than the way I would write to my pen pals or to my boyfriend, since this is a bit more reflective and sentimental, but it will still give you guys a taste of how I write letters on a regular basis. Anyway, to start things off, here is a letter to July.
Dear July,

Here you were and now you're gone - another month to fly away in the blink of an eye. I can recall some very hot days and come very pleasing rain showers, but all in all you seemed to pass me by in a blur.

You've always been one of my favorite summer months, but you you always seem to be the one to breeze by the quickest. Why is that? Even with August marking the month before I'm back to school, you've always been the most evasive of the summer months. Perhaps you're shy? Don't want to be out on display for too long? I suppose I know how that feels.

Regardless, I have rather enjoyed the short time I spent under your sun - and my time in the sun was especially short given the number of days I spent indoors and in front of my computer screen XD But you've always given me the freedom to choose how I want to spend my time without the added responsibilities that come with the school months. For that, I am eternally grateful.

You are the first month I have chosen to address directly in a letter. Does that make you feel special? :P I'm not really sure how much of an honor it is. I think that in order to really be able to inform you of how your days have impacted me, I will structure my letter thusly: I will tell you about all the things I am grateful to you for bringing me in the past 31 days, I'll then tell you about the things I came to regret or that brought me sorrow, and finally I'll share with you the things I'm looking forward to when your brother August rolls around.
In your early days, I was able to venture out to Toronto and actually get to experience the city for the first time in over a year. Never before you arrived did I fully realize that all I need to do was put myself out there in regard to asking my Toronto-dwelling friends if I could spend the day with them and my wish would be granted. It was that simple! I visited my first board game cafe, I was able to reconnect with two of my high school friends, and even with the rain that came down hard for the majority of that day, I was able to take in Toronto in all its splendor! I'm sure I'll be grinning ear-to-ear when it's time for me to become a resident of this amazing city.
Fun fact: The purple ribbon on the inside was put there both because purple is one of the recipient's favorite colours, but it was also set against the black of the box to replicate the design on the neck ties that are part of the Ouran Academy male uniform.
You were also the month in which I participated in my first ever Gift Exchange with members of the IGGPPC! The theme for this particular gift exchange was Christmas In July. As soon as I received the email pairing me up with a fellow iggle, I set off to work rounding up gifts, specifically with the box I made for her. Box painting was a hobby I picked up in my last year of high school, and it is something that you reunited me with this year. Before this gift exchange I made a box for my mom's boyfriend, which was Saints Row themed and he really loved it. This box was based off the anima/manga series Ouran High School Host Club, and I did my best to get the painting on it just right and to add as many cute personal touches as I could. I also tried to correspond with the iggle's favorite colours as much as possible.
Along with that giveaway package, I also included a copy of one of my favorite books, Dash & Lily's Book of Dares because it's such a funny read and it's not too popular of a book and I hoped that she wouldn't already have it. I also included issue 0 of the new 52 version of Harley Quinn, since we're both members of House Quinn and I figured that if she wasn't a comic book enthusiast than this sampler would work perfectly and she still might find it entertaining. Enclosed with her gift I left a note telling her that if she already had the book or the comic in her possession to let me know and I promised to send her something different. I wasn't able to include any other small items with this package (mainly I was trying to stick to the spending limit since I was still in the process of purchasing items for my upcoming giveaways) but looking back, I wish I had, and now I will know better when it comes to participating in the next gift exchange.

Within your 31 days I also received my own package as part of the Christmas in July gift exchange :D The effort that this lovely lady put in to collecting all these glorious items for me - a handmade bookmark, various postcards and note cards, chocolate-covered pretzels, stickers galore, and even a paperback book among other items - was extraordinary. She told me in her letter that came enclosed with an adorable Christmas card that she'd read my blog as well, and her methods of gathering research to put this package together astounded me beyond words (and you all know how I love my words :] ). I'd like to send a big shout out to Shelby, aka @shelbyfromthtwp for sending me this incredible package, and I can't wait to send you a letter in return, most likely with a little something extra :)
My boyfriend wouldn't be comfortable with me sharing his picture on the internet, so here is a picture of the last things I sent him in the mail.
Now is as good a time as any to move on to the sorrow and regrets that you brought to me this month. Probably the biggest would be the fact that my boyfriend was given the opportunity to work at a vineyard in California. When he first shared the news with me, of course I was proud of him, but I also couldn't easily hide how sad I was by the fact that he was leaving. I probably cried for the majority of the weekend after he got the news. While this wasn't an unexpected turn of events - we talked about the very definite possibility of him moving anywhere in the world for work once he was finished with school early in our relationship - it's still very hard to not be sad about not having him around for the foreseeable future. This is something we've talked about quite a bit, and we're going to be giving long-distance a fair shake. At the moment I'm feeling optimistic about our chances - recently having read an article published on HelloGiggles titled "Why Long Distance Relationships Are Kind Of The Best" - and even among my sadness I have been incredibly proud of him for claiming such an amazing work opportunity. If there's one thing I regret, it would be not sending him more little notes in the mail before he moved out of his place in St. Catharines. Now I'll have to wait until he's settled in California to send him anything aside from a text.
You were the month in which I was able to visit my lovely aunt Kathy and uncle Mike in the gorgeous community of Wasaga Beach for 5 days and 4 nights. While I enjoyed my stay there tremendously, where I got to watch Game of Thrones season 3 and Return to Cranford with both my aunt and uncle and where I got to play some board games on the deck and go to a movie with my aunt Kathy, there are a few things that I do regret. Mainly those things would include the weather - how there was really only 1 days of beach weather, in which I was able to take this shot of Beach 1 with my aunt's iPhone - and the fact that I spent a lot of my time on a borrowed laptop. Granted, I got a massive amount of online roleplaying done while I was away, since there's something about being on vacation that is great for the muse, but typing away on a computer is what I spend my time doing at home, and I know I could have tried better to spend more time on the deck or just enjoying the company of my family. I hope that if I am able to see them again during my fall reading week that I will be able to smarten up a bit and enjoy their company more than enjoying the company of their neighbor's Acer laptop (that being said, it was incredibly generous for their neighbor to lend me his laptop so I could write - thanks Paul!).
I know for a fact that I have big change coming up on the horizon. Not long after you first arrived, I experienced my annual early summer morning, up for the 6AM registration of my university classes. This early morning came very early in the month because it's my final year and I have a higher number of credits. To my astonishment, and for the first time ever, I was able to register for all of the courses I had hoped for, including all of the seminar times I wanted. In the fall I will be greeted to the beloved Jane Austen course, which is one of the main reasons I chose Brock University as the place to continue my education (that and it's only a bus ride away from home). We have a Jane Austen expert at our school, who I've met from taking another one of her courses in 3rd year. I'm certainly curious as to which Jane Austen books we'll be reading - is it possible to cover all 6 of her novels within 12 weeks? - or if the course will be strictly made up of paratexts surrounding Austen's novels. I'm also curious if we'll be introduced to The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, Welcome to Sanditon or Emma Approved throughout any part of the course :) I love using any excuse to do a project on one of these web series.
Next month will also signify my first ever experience at FanExpo in Toronto! I'll be going with a friend of mine from university, and I am hoping that I will get the chance to meet some other iggles while I'm there. I already know that Sparklegirl Jen will be there as a vendor, and I'm looking forward to seeing her again. I'm hoping to put together a new cosplay within the 30 days your brother will be offering me, and I'll also be wearing some old favorites while I'm in attendance. This is looking to be an exciting event indeed!
Next month will also be the month that marks my 22nd birthday. There will hopefully be fun and celebrating to be had to mark the occasion. I'm planning on having a party where me and my friends will visit Clifton Hill early in the day and then head back to my house to play a bunch of board games. I've also heard word that my brother and sister-in-law will be taking me to the Shaw festival at some point to celebrate my birthday. I hope that will be happening next month and as close to the date of my birthday as possible. It will be interesting to see what sort of changes 22 will have in store for me (aside from an association with that Taylor Swift song XP).

I think that's about all I have to offer to you, July. Again, thank you for all the ups and downs you have brought to me, and you will be a month that will be hard to forget :)
Always keeping you posted,