Sunday, April 6, 2014

Adventures of the Electrobat - Weekend Stuff, Dallas Zoo, VNV Nation, and Fancy Dress Picnic

Despite my best efforts, my allergies and sinuses turned into a mild upper respiratory infection. I am on antibiotics and really hope I feel better soon. I am terrified of developing pneumonia again. Since I've been out of sorts, I haven't been putting much thought into my outfits so I haven't had much to blog about.

Despite feeling icky, I have still been doing stuff on the weekends, so an update is overdue!

Going all the way back to March, I had a low-key weekend after All-Con. Sweetie and I watched The Wind Rises on that Friday. This is Hayao Miyazaki's final film. Although Studio Ghibli will continue, this is truly the end of an era. Miyazaki's films are so special and magical. The Wind Rises was a very moving and powerful film. It's a fictionalized biography of the man who designed the aircraft that were used in kamikaze missions during World War II. Here is what I wore:


Outfit Details:
Lace top: Thrifted
Black camisole: Target
Shrug: Thrifted
Skirt: Fanplusfriend
Leggings: JCPenny
Boots: Dr. Marten
Hair Floofy: Gifted
Brooch: Handmade
Earrings: One Star Designs

The following Saturday, I had a small group of friends over for a Frozen viewing party. I tried to keep it casual, but could not resist themed cocktails. Warm Hugs and Snowman in Summer. :)




The following weekend, Sweetie took Friday off to spend with me. We spent the afternoon at Dallas Zoo. I haven't been to this zoo since I was a child, and it's come a long way since then. People like to dismiss Dallas Zoo because it is small, but there have been additions made in recent years. The Giants of the Savannah and Wilds of Africa areas are especially nice. I fed giraffes and lorikeets. Feeding cute animals always makes for a good day.





After the zoo, we fancied up for VNV Nation. VNV Nation is one of my favorite bands. The music gets me right in the feels. It was such a great show, and we went to Panoptikon afteward for a fun after-party. I was able to meet the singer, Ronan. Such a great night!


Photo from the Panoptikon Facebook Page

Outfit Details:
Corset: Skeptical Skull Leatherworks
Lace camisole: Thrifted
Skirt: Fanplusfriend
Feather cape: Forever 21
Feather collar: Deaddoll's Needful Things on Etsy
Necklace: Artwith Latex
Armwarmers: Can't remember
Fascinator: Batcakes Couture on Etsy
Boots (although you cannot see them): Fluevog Wearever Xie-Xie

This past Friday I was finishing up preparations for my Fancy Dress Picnic. Sweetie took me to Build-a-Bear for the latest My Little Pony: Rarity. I wore my Spike hoodie for the occasion even though it was a tad warm for it. One of our friends came along since she was spending the night to help set up the picnic, and we had dinner afterward. I was too tired for anything else, so we came home and I introduced her to the ways of My Little Pony. I also showed her my special episode: Lesson Zero. It may sound silly, but this episode means so much to me. If you know me at all, you will understand. Here is an episode clip:

Saturday I had my Second Annual Fancy Dress Picnic at Fair Park. Despite a bit of drama from the parks administration while I was setting up (long story that I don't care to post about), we had a lovely time. Fair Park is very beautiful and is one of my most favorite places in Dallas. I'm a bit of a nerd about it, so I was so happy to have a picnic there. The forecast flipped back and forth from rain to no rain, and ultimately it rained for most of the picnic. We had plenty of pop-up canopies to shelter under, but I was a tad disappointed that we didn't get to do some of the photo ops. The sun came out as we were preparing to leave, so we did manage one group shot in front of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) House. This building was originally an oil company's hospitality center during the Texas Centennial Exposition and was later donated to DAR. (See? Nerd.) Dallas locals most likely know this house as the place to get cheap sodas during the State Fair! The building made a lovely backdrop and the lawn was just begging for a croquet match! Sadly, we were unable to play croquet.
A couple of friends generously took photos, so I will make a big photo post in a few weeks. In the meantime, here are a couple of teasers:

It had just started to sprinkle - lots of people were there that day for the Big Texas Beer Fest.

I'm already looking forward to next year's picnic.

Today is my "Monday." It's a peaceful, rainy day. Hope everyone has a nice week!
^v^

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Adventures of The Electrobat - All-Con 2014

This past weekend we attended All-Con for my birthday. All-Con is a local convention in Dallas that celebrated its 10th anniversary this year. They went to a 4-day format that kicked off on my birthday, so I decided to attend the entire con. I've always been aware of All-Con but have never attended. Sweetie and I love dressing up, and recently started to cosplay so I was excited for the weekend.

Thursday I was Twilight Sparkle from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. I went with a fluffy tutu look. Sweetie dressed as Spike. I had some trouble putting this outfit together because the corset was the wrong shade of purple. But then I had the idea to panel it with lavender satin. Sweetie did the paneling for me.





Our friend Meagan took the day off to hang out with us. She was Mei Lin from Cardcaptor Sakura. We mostly roamed about and visited the dealer room during the day. We did share our love of nerdy board games and taught her how to play Elder Sign. I was frustrated that I missed a few panels, and the one panel that we made it to did not happen. Ah well. I spent the early evening in the hotel bar so that my friends could find me and hang out for a while. My friends Laura and Blaze dressed up as ponies with me!


Laura was a Steampunk Fluttershy and Blaze was Show Pony Rarity. I forgot to have a photo taken with my phone, but I snagged this one from Laura.

After the bar, we went to the Darwin Prophet and the Chronus Mirror concert. Darwin is such a wonderful person and her music is fantastic. She took this photo of us:


We were feeling tired, so we decided not to stay for the open mic afterward.

On Friday, I was a TARDIS and Sweetie was the Eighth Doctor from Doctor Who. I went with the same fluffy tutu look. Sweetie appliqued the corset with the TARDIS markings.






Our friend Tracy was River Song. She cosplays her so well!

We started off Friday in the game room playing one of my favorite games - Ticket to Ride. We played the Europe version. Then we played an anime version of Guitar Hero. I had forgotten how much I love Guitar Hero. Next, we attended a really great panel - The History of Manga and Anime (Abridged). This was actually ran by one of the bloggers I follow - Starman of My Geeky Geeky Ways. He did a great write up of All-Con over at his blog. After the panel, we watched a performance by Carnival Epsilon, which is a Steampunk sideshow. Then there was some wandering and food, then we settled in for the Open Stage Road Show. I was so happy to be able to attend Open Stage on a Friday! There was a Rocky Horror shadowcast afterward, but we decided to call it a night.

Earlier in the day, Sweetie was chided by a self-proclaimed Whovian for having the wrong Sonic Screwdriver. Which was odd because not only is it correct, it is officially licensed and was difficult to find. Said person had to ask which Doctor he was, so there you go. Gotta love elitism. I actually have issues with this person at every con we go to. We can't all have social skills. Perhaps he is a very nice person if one gets to know him.

On Saturday, we dressed as Twilight Princess Link and Zelda. I've talked about these costumes before. Sweetie did an amazing job on them - I always feel so special when I wear my Zelda dress. I still need to create the proper wig. This version of Zelda has darker hair. But I think it still looked ok.






We got some really nice photos taken by Neither Noir Studios. We got a late start on Saturday, and didn't make it to the con until 2:00pm. We ended up not doing that much in the afternoon, mostly talked to friends and wandered. We entered the costume contest, which took up a lot of our evening. It was an experience - I am extremely shy about getting in front of a crowd. Fortunately, a skit or speech was not required. I would not have entered if it were! We ended up placing first in our category - Anime/Manga/Jpop. There was not a video game category, so that was the closest category we could think of. After costume contest and food, we popped into the burlesque show after intermission and stayed afteward so we could say hi to Blaze and Catrina Le Purr before going home. There were still plenty of things to do, but we were exhausted.

We ended up in the Dallas Observer's All-Con slideshow. Ed Steele took this cool photo of us in the bar:


On Sunday, I revealed a secret cosplay. I honestly had not seen this couple's cosplay done anywhere and was afraid no one would "get it." Well...I was correct in that regard. Although a lot of our friends got the reference when I posted the photos on Facebook, I got so many ugly looks from other con attendees that I felt slightly uncomfortable. Yet another irony. I could make a whole other post on the subject of Geek Elitism. I wasn't too surprised that most people didn't get it, though. If you haven't watched the show through Season 3, then you would have no idea whom I was dressed as.

Anyway, on to the cosplay. We were Nathan Explosion and Abigail Remeltindrinc from Metalocaplyse. I am a huge Metalocalypse/Dethklok/Brendon Small fan, and I had a lot of fun with this. I plan to send the photos to Brendon Small soon.





Sunday was a very quiet day. We attended another panel by Starman - Secret Origins: The History of American Comics. I'm going to make it a point to attend more of his panels next year. We caught Cris Gale's ocarina performance, then spent the rest of the day hanging out with friends. We went home around 5:00pm and rested up so that we would have the energy to go to The Church. The Church is a Thursday and Sunday Goth Night, so I rarely get to attend due to my work schedule. I decided to be extra fancy, and I wanted to wear my new Artwith Latex necklace. I was a Raven Queen...or something. My hair was a mess, so I put the Abigail wig back on and pinned it up.



I really enjoyed All-Con and plan to make this a birthday tradition. The con usually runs during my birthday, although it appears they moved it to the beginning of the month in 2017. I celebrate my birthday all month (Although I didn't do all that much this year - gotta step it up next year!) so that works. We are definitely staying in the hotel. Even though we only lived 10 miles away, it would be great to be able to change into a more comfy costume for after hours events and have a place to nap if needed. Also not worry so much about alcohol moderation. ;)

I have a few photos to sort through that I will eventually put up on Facebook. I haven't loaded any of my photos since November. Good grief.

This weekend I'm going to have a small group of friends over for a Frozen viewing party. It's going to be a pretty low-key weekend. Sweetie and I might also catch a showing of The Wind Rises tomorrow after I run my errands.

^v^

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Adventures of the Electrobat - Visia Face Analysis at Whole Foods

I've stayed in this weekend catching up on chores again. The goal is to have everything clean and ready to go so there is no last minute scrambling before All-Con on Thursday. (All-Con is a local geekdom convention. I'm attending all 4 days for my birthday.)

I *did* visit the Preston-Forest Whole Foods to have my face scanned on Friday. I never go to that location since the Park Lane store opened down the street, so I had no idea that some Whole Foods locations offer face scanning - for FREE. I also found out about it in the funniest way. A friend posted this Whole Foods satire on Facebook a few weeks ago. I found it quite amusing - I love Whole Foods, but I can appreciate the humor. However, this passage stuck out:

"Next I approach the beauty aisle. There is a scary looking machine there that you put your face inside of and it tells you exactly how ugly you are. They calculate your wrinkles, sun spots, the size of your pores, etc. and compare it to other women your age."

Where is this face machine? I need it! Another friend commented that Preston-Forest Whole Foods had one. *happy dance*


So what exactly is the scary face machine? It's an 8-point skin analysis that would usually run about $200 in a dermatologist office. I jumped on this because I really should be going to a dermatologist with my pale skin. It's just something I keep putting off and forgetting about. I figured this analysis would be a great way to see what state my skin is in. I have a pretty extensive skin care routine and wear sunscreen daily, but without a dermatologist it is hard to know if it is actually working.


I arrived at Whole Foods with nothing on my face but eyeliner and mascara. I didn't even apply powder, since I was unsure how the machine would operate with anything other than moisturizer and sunscreen on my skin (as it turns out, the machine can beam through makeup, but I still recommend having as little extra junk on your face as possible.) Angel was the beauty department rep that helped me out. He took down some basic info from me and I sat down for the scan. He scanned the left side of my face since that is the side that is most exposed to the elements due to driving. The scanner is very similar to the machines that you stick your face in for eye tests at the optometrist. It only takes about a minute and you are all done! It took a couple of minutes for the system to compile my results, and then Angel went over the reasons I scored how I did and recommended some products. I was not pressured to make a purchase at all, and I received a printout of my results and recommendations.


These are the 8 points that the scanner analysis:

  • Visible Spots (Skin irregularities that appear on the surface of the skin — freckles, scars, age spots or blemishes)
  • Wrinkles (A result of the aging process and most common around the eyes and mouth)
  • Texture (High and low points of the skin — blue points show skin indentations; yellow areas are raised points)
  • Pores (Small openings dispersed throughout the skin)
  • UV Spots (Sun damage and spots on the surface and in the deep layers of the skin)
  • Brown Spots (Skin discolorations including localized hyperpigmentation, under eye shadowing and moles)
  • Red Areas (Redness caused by broken capillaries, Rosacea, inflammation or the aftermath of breakouts)
  • Porphyrins (Naturally occurring bacteria that can become lodged in pores and lead to breakouts)
The system scores you from 0% - 100% in each area, with 100% being a perfect score. This is also just not looking at surface layers of the skin - the scan goes pretty deep. So, how did I do? Well, although it makes me feel a bit vulnerable, I do not mind sharing my results.




Spots - 91%
Wrinkles - 99%
Texture - 99%
Pores - 88%
UV Spots - 13%
Brown Spots - 76%
Red Areas - 69%
Porphyrins - 79%

I was very pleased with my results for spots, wrinkles, texture, and pores. I've been feeling awful about my skin lately. My job is incredibly stressful and I went through some things in 2011 that caused me to cry almost every day for a few months, so I feel like I've aged quite a lot. And my pores have been more clogged than usual. But it seems things were not so bad as I thought. It really lifted a small weight from my shoulders.

I know that the UV spots (and brown spots - which is a direct result of the UV damage) result is pretty frightening, but I honestly was not surprised. I am *extremely* sensitive to the sun and I live in Texas. I was also bullied incessantly for having pale skin, so I fried myself in tanning salons off and on through most of junior high and high school. I thought if I could just get a tan everyone would leave me alone. It's a big regret because I was only damaging my skin and would pay for it later. (And no, I did not get a tan at all. It's just not possible with my pigmentation.) Fortunately, if I continue to care for my skin, wear sunscreen every day, and make some tweaks in my skincare routine, I should be ok and those spots will not surface.

The red areas result is a bit rough, but I'm not surprised by that either. Rosacea and broken capillaries frequently occur with pale skin, but I don't think it will really surface on me.

The porpyrins are easily avoided by not touching my face and keeping my makeup brushes clean. I scored fairly well in that area at 79% because it is not possible to have a completely germ-free face. Also, that category makes me think of this:


As far as the products I use and my skin care routine, I am keeping things mostly the same.  To combat the UV and brown spots, I'm adding a vitamin C serum and a vitamin A night cream. I needed a new serum and am running low on night cream, so these were reasonable purchases. I went with the John Masters Vitamin C Serum and Derma E Vitamin A Creme per Angel's recommendaitons. I also plan to do my own product research in case I want to try different products, which I most likely will. I am always trying new things. I'm also going to utilize my masks and treatments more to help de-clog my pores; I've been a bit lazy about doing extra treatments lately.

The plan is to return in 3 months for another scan. The system will compare the new results to these results to see if my skin has improved. I definitely recommend doing this if a Whole Foods in your area offers it!

^v^

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Skirting the Issue - Skirts 47, 48, and 49, Adventures of the Electrobat, Thrifting Haul, and Various Outfit Details

Huge catch-up post is huge. Wow, February flew by! I've been in a bit of a mental fog. I've been blaming allergy and sinus problems, but to be completely honest, I'm not doing very well mentally these days either. I've been feeling demotivated, tired, anxious, and my temper is very raw. I'm starting to perk up, though. It's Birthday Month after all!

As far as fitness- I have decided to stop running. I even skipped a 5k we had signed up for in February. It's not that I don't like running...I hurt myself. We overdid it one day, and ever since I've been dealing with near-constant hip pain. Running made me feel great, but I was careless. I have been afraid to exercise in general after hurting myself, and I need to get over that. (I've considered trying racewalking as an alternative to running.) And on top of that I've been eating garbage. :(

Lifestyle changes are challenging, yo.

Despite my funk, I've still been trying to make the most of my weekends. On Valentine's Day, Sweetie and I went to the opera. We took big-production symphonies, operas, and musicals out of our budget in 2013, and decided to continue this in 2014. However, we would have regretted not seeing Death and the Powers. It's not everyday you see a Sci-Fi opera. Death and the Powers is a one-act futuristic opera. The set designs were simple, yet striking and the story left me feeling a bit melancholy. I think they did a great job of combining advanced technology with the art form without losing the emotion. They also beautifully incorporated the Moody Chandelier into the production. We got to the Winspear very early, and tried out the Sensor Chair. It's a lot like a giant theramin.



We attended the Opera Talk, and learned a lot about the technology behind the opera. It was really impressive. You can read more about it here. You can attend the Dallas Opera for as little as $20, so we tested out the $25 seats to see if we could make a compromise our budget without depriving ourselves of performance art completely. I was very pleased that the "cheap seats" are quite good at the Winspear. We brought opera glasses, but did not really need them.



The photo makes the stage looks farther away than it actually was.

If this opera comes to your area, I highly recommend it!

For my outfit, I went for a futuristic quasi-Victorian look. I didn't really get very good photos of the outfit. It's hard to see, but I wore a patent leather neck corset and corset made by Sweetie.


Outfit Details:
Neck Corset and Corset: Skeptical Skull Leatherworks
Blouse: Lip Service
Skirt: Retroscope
Armwarmers: Can't remember
Hat: Hot Topic
Boots: Fluevog Wearever Xie Xie

Saturday, we met up with friends at Lakewood Brewery. Lakewood is one of our local breweries, and they are one of my favorites. They open the brewery to the public every Saturday for samples and an informal tour. The Bourbon Barrel Raspberry Temptress was phenomenal. I spent the afternoon quite inebriated.



Afterward, we went to Medieval Times. Tickets were discounted for Valentine's Day, and a couple of our friends had been wanting to go with us for a while. We got there a bit early to have a drink, and my friends were entertained by watching Sweetie hold me back from buying all of the unicorn plushies. I ended up with just one - Rarity! Twilight Sparkle and Rarity are the Ponies I most relate to. What, doesn't everyone relate to a Pony?


Here are a couple of photos of the show:



I wore Skirt 47, which is another spooky damask cotton from JoAnn. The skulls glow in the dark!


Skirt Details

Outfit Details:
Shirt: Betsey Johnson
Skirt: Handmade
Tights: Merona - Target
Boots: Dr. Marten
Necklace: Betsey Johnson
Brooch: Handmade
Earrings: One Star Designs
Fascinator: Bubbles and Frown

The next weekend, one of my friends stayed over while Sweetie was out of town at a Ren Faire. We went to the museum late nights in the Arts District on Friday. A couple of my friends were in a J-Fashion show at the Crow Collection of Asian Art. We ended up participating rather than just watching. I was dressed casually, so I was flattered to be asked. I was actually wearing this shirt and skirt. I haven't seen any photos surface yet. I wish I had dressed up more!

After the fashion show, there was a sake tasting and we watched a performance by Orizon. They were fun to watch. We ended the night by taking a guided late-night tour of my favorite gallery at the DMA. It was a rather quiet late-night - it's usually much more crowded than it was. Here are some photos of Orizon:



Saturday, we went on a thrifting adventure in Arlington. I visited several new-to-me thrift stores, and found a lot of great items. More burgundy jackets (yay!), and I *finally* found a pink velvet jacket. Here is my haul:

Elbow-length sleeve burgundy velvet jacket

Purple blouse - it has a slight leg o' mutton sleeve

Flocked damask jacket

Dusty pink velvet jacket

Burgundy velvet jacket

Pink velvet jacket - loooove!

Pink brocade jacket. I was afraid it would look ridiculous and twee with the elaborate trim, but I couldn't leave it behind.

Short-sleeved satin jacket

Elbow-length sleeve cardigan

Striped tee for layering.

This. Shirt. A skeleton riding a rooster into battle. It's so beautiful.

Basic top with sheer sleeves.

Kitty skirt. KITTY. SKIRT. I may have jumped up and down and squeed when I found this.

Red and black ruffly blouse

Some of those jackets were only $3.00 - $4.00. I have a hard time buying off the rack for obvious reasons!

This past weekend was very low-key. Stayed in on Friday and Saturday afternoon. Saturday evening, we had a lovely dinner at Del Frico's and drinks at The Londoner to celebrate a friend's birthday. Here is what I wore:



Outfit Details:
Jacket: Thrifted
Blouse: JCPenny (dyed pink)
Skirt: Handmade
Tights: Crochet tights (Kohl's) layered over solid pink tights (Target)
Boots: Fluevog Mini Babycake
Bow Tie: Hot Topic
Skeleton Lady Brooch: Handmade
Cameo Brooch: Sam Moon
Earrings: One Star Designs
Hair Floofy: Gifted
Fascinators: Bubbles and Frown

For Skirting the Issue, I wore Skirts 48 and 49 to work last week. (I'm running a bit low on skirts in the closet - but I have a TON of skirts in the Sewing Pile of Doom, so Skirting the Issue is far from over! There just might be some breaks here and there.) This skirt is made from Japanese fabric I ordered on Etsy. It's an adorable spooky pattern. There are even squirrels with bat wings!


Skirt details - can you spot the bat-wing squirrel?

Outfit Details:
Jacket: White House Black Market
Blouse: Fanplusfriend
Lace-trimmed camisole: Ebay
Tights: Sheer patterned tights (Kohl's) layered over solid grey tights (Merona - Target)
Boots: Funtasma
Fascinator: Batcakes Couture
Necklace: Gifted
Brooch: Handmade

Skirt 49 is a skelly hand printed cotton from JoAnn.



Outfit Details:
Jacket: Love Culture
Blouse: Gifted
Skirt: Handmade
Leggings: Walmart
Boots: Dr. Marten
Brooch: Handmade
Hair Floofy: Gifted
Hair Flowers: Striped flower - gifted, other flowers - Michael's
Earrings: One Star Designs

And here are some various Outfit Details from the past couple of weeks.


Accessories and Jacket Details

Outfit Details:
Jacket: Thrifted
Blouse: Thrifted
Skirt: Handmade
Tights: Merona - Target
Boots: Funtasma
Hair Floofy: Gifted
Fascinator: Bubbles and Frown
Skull Brooch: Hot Topic
Bow Tie: Hot Topic
Cameo Brooch: Michael's
Earrings: One Star Designs



Accessories


Outfit Details:
Jacket: Thrifted
Blouse: JCPenny
Skirt: Handmade
Tights: Merona - Target
Boots: Fluevog Mini Babycake
Armwarmers: We Love Colors
Skeleton Lady Brooch: Handmade
Cameo Brooch: Sam Moon
Earrings: One Star Designs
Hair Floofy: Gifted
Fascinator: Bubbles and Frown

RELEASE THE KITTIES! I seriously love this skirt. Dolores Umbridge realness.

Accessories

Outfit Details:
Jacket: Thrited
Blouse: Macy's
Skirt: Thrifted
Tights: Merona - Target
Boots: Dr. Marten
Pink Cameo Brooch: Michael's
Small Cameo Brooch: Came with a Lip Service jacket
Earrings: One Star Designs
Fascinator: Bubbles and Frown
Armwarmers: Can't remember


Outfit Details:
Jacket: Thrifted
Blouse: Thrifted
Skirt: Handmade
Tights: Lace tights (Kohl's) layered over solid cream tights (We Love Colors)
Boots: Dr. Marten
Brooch: Handmade
Bow Pin: Michael's
Earrings: Handmade
Hair Floofy: Gifted

WHEW! Still with me? You're awesome. Here's to smaller and more frequent updates in the future, ha!

^v^