Con Countdown: Time to Pack!

For the weeks heading up to SDCC 2018, we are revisiting some of our best articles in regards to con attendance and cosplay.  Hope to see you in San Diego next month!

Pack?!  What, why, we have a whole three weeks until SDCC.  Um, yeah, ONLY a three weeks, so best get going on the packing.  I’m fully serious!

OK, so what the heck do I pack for nerd camp?  Here’s a list of some must haves for any con:

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They are ready to assemble, are you?  Photo: moviepilot.com

Clothes

  • Comfy shoes.  You’ll be walking A LOT!
  • Insoles for shoes.  I bring a couple of pair and switch them everyday
  • Backpack or messenger bag.  Something with padded straps
  • Comfy leggings or jeans
  • T-shirts.  Get on sorting through which ones are going with you.  You need to suit up properly
  • Something a little dressier for any parties you are attending
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Photo: alphacoders.com

Cosplay

  • Make a list of all the pieces to each cosplay you are taking, so nothing gets left at home
  • Props
  • Jewelry, if required
  • Boots and shoes that go with your cosplays
  • Wigs, if required
  • Make-up, if required
  • A hotel quick fix kit with glue gun, safety pins, bobby pins, fabric tape, toupee tape, scissors, needles and thread, and paints with brushes
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Wow!  What a great packing list!  Photo: Marvel Studios

Logistics

  • Your badge!
  • If your badge isn’t mailed to you, don’t panic, not all of them were.  Print out the barcode to pick up your badge when you get there
  • Print out of your hotel reservation
  • Plane tickets, if needed
  • Pre-pay for airport parking and have a shuttle to get you to your hotel all set up
  • Map out your driving route and alternate route
  • If you are driving, get your car serviced
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Don’t leave without your badge!  Photo: Marvel Studios

Electronics

  • Pack all your devices and their chargers
  • Extra phone batteries
  • Ear buds
  • Download the Con app.  It’s free!
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Carpool if you can.  Photo: Marvel Studios

For the Hotel

  • Snacks and drinks
  • A cooler if your hotel doesn’t have a fridge
  • Any muscle rollers to roll it out after a long day of walking and standing
  • Heat and/or cold packs for sore muscles
  • Over the counter pain relief
  • Your prescription medications
  • Sunscreen (just in case you get stuck outside waiting to get in somewhere, it happens)

If you think of anything I left off this list, just shoot a comment and I’ll add it!  Scout and I can’t wait to see you all next week!

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All packed up and ready!  Photo: Marvel Studios

Love, Kim and Scout

 

Raising a Geek: Going to a Con with the Kid

For the weeks heading up to SDCC 2018, we are revisiting some of our best articles in regards to con attendance and cosplay.  Hope to see you in San Diego next month!

Well, we’ve made it through. Con season is upon us again!  We plan on doing some cosplaying, buying things we don’t need and just general mayhem.  I thought it is a good time to discuss attending a Con with a kid.

Attending a Con with a kid is a very different animal from attending by yourself or in an adults-only group.  So, I put together some tips and a check-list to help you out.

Helpful hints:

  • Get the guide as soon as possible and look at the panels.
  • Pick one panel to attend a day.  Yes, only one.
  • Pick back-up panels that you would like to attend, but won’t lose your mind if you don’t get to them.
  • Take a look at the time of these panels.  If your kid still needs naptime, take that into consideration.
  • How long before the panel do you need to be in line?  How long is the wait to get in that room?  Can your kid do that wait?  If they can’t, they can’t.  They’ll get older and better at that later.  Spend your time doing something else.
  • Have realistic expectations for what your kid can do and handle during the day.
  • Will the panel be family-friendly?  There are usually warnings about language and content in the guide.  Check the panel before the one you are going to as well.  Save yourself from having a very awkward conversation with your kid that neither you nor they are ready for.
  • Hopefully, the panel happens during snack time.  Nothing easier than snackage distractions, amirite?
  • Now look at the vendors/artists on the floor.
  • Pick two or three to visit in a day.  Yes, only two or three a day.
  • Basically, what I’m driving at is plan a very light day with lots of plan B scenarios.
  • Take lots of pictures, but don’t try to post them until you get back to the hotel at the end of the day (see tip on extra cell phone battery below).
  • Accept that you will not get to see as much when you attend a Con with your kiddo.

OK, so you won’t get to every single thing when you are traveling with a kid, but bear in mind that you don’t get to every single thing when the kid isn’t with you at a Con either!  Cons are crazy and crowded and even the smaller shows have more fun packed into them than you can possibly see in the time given.  It’s all good!

The good news is that attending a Con with your kid is one of the most fun and rewarding experiences a nerdy parent can have.  I have WAY more fun with the kid at a Con than without, even more so after we started cosplaying.  Cons are special experiences to share with your youngling and help cultivate their fandoms for a lifetime.  They get to meet other adults that are into the same fandoms as their parents.  They see that being a geek is a lifetime pursuit that is always fun and rewarding.  It ignites their imaginations like nothing else.

That being said, here’s a basic checklist of items to pack for your day:

  • Sturdy backpack or messenger bag.  Some good ones can be found at hottopic.com and/or thinkgeek.com.  Don’t rely on the bag that they give you at a con.  Find something with padded straps.  Trust me on this.
  • Refillable water bottle.  Just carry it around in your bag empty and use the water fountains to fill it when needed.  You will need to hydrate!
  • Non-refrigerated snacks.  Granola bars, protein bars, trail mix, beef sticks, stuff like that.
  • Small travel first aid kit with band-aids, pain reliever, antacids and children’s medications.  Pharmacies sell travel kits that are inexpensive and super handy.
  • Extra cell phone battery or two.  The service in convention centers is deplorable!  Also, we nerds love our gadgets, so competition for that wi-fi is tough.  Your battery will take a beating.
  • If you are cosplaying, an extra set of clothes for the kiddo to change into for napping in the stroller, accidents or if they just get tired of cosplaying.  It happens.
  • Bring a small cosplay repair kit with you.  Safety pins, bobby pins, fabric tape, things like that.
  • If you are still in the diaper bag realm, basically pack it like you are going to a theme park for the day.  Extra diapers, wipes, binkies and formula.  Load up for bear.
  • Note that strollers are very much discouraged these days at Cons.  If you have an itty bitty kiddo, bring the least bulky stroller you can get away with and be ready to have to park it outside.  Don’t bring the expensive fancy pants one with you this trip!  Bring the baby sling just in case and check the guide online for rules before you get there.
  • Different colored Sharpies for autograph opportunities.
  • Cash (the ATM line at Cons is always a nightmare).
  • Poster tubes (if you know you are buying art).

With all this in mind, just have a great time!  A little planning and you’ll have tons of fun.  This is just like everything else with parenting.  The key is to plan things out, but be ready with that Plan B, C and so on.  You know what I’m talking about!

Happy Planning!

Love, Kim and Scout

 

Con Prep: Cosplay Sources

For the weeks heading up to SDCC 2018, we are revisiting some of our best articles in regards to con attendance and cosplay.  Hope to see you in San Diego next month!

Cosplay Sky

This is one of my favorite sites.  If you want to have a cosplay made for you and you don’t have a gazillion dollars, this site has what you want.  They custom make their pieces according to your measurements.  I have not used them myself just yet, but word in the geek world is that their costumes are good quality.

Another way to use this site is for reference pictures.  They show the costume pieces in great detail, so it will help you build your own cosplay without having to find the perfect still from a movie or tv show online.

I used pictures of their Wanda cosplay to put together my own Scarlet Witch, and this Cap cosplay looks great!

Black Leather Jacket

Speaking of my Scarlet Witch cosplay, I got my Wanda jacket from this site and LOVE it!  They also make their pieces from your measurements, and I plan on ordering more from them in the near future.  A couple of friends of mine have also used this site and loved the results.  Here are some pics of my jacket in action:

Scarlet Witch

Here it is for my Emma Swan cosplay:

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Amazon

Does your cosplay need basic black boots, generic jeans or an easy-to-find prop?  Then start with Amazon and save some money.  Get those basic pieces (for example, my Emma Swan cosplay needed a Sheriff’s star, got it on Amazon for about five bucks).  Spend your money on the screen accurate specific items that you need for the cosplay, like Wanda’s red jacket or Cap’s shield or Anakin’s lightsaber.  You can also see if they have specific costume items as well.  We got Scout’s Hawkeye bow and arrow set on Amazon for a new cosplay she’s doing at SDCC.  It even folds like his.  So, you never know.

Ebay

Looking for something vintage?  Then Ebay might be able to help.  My Starlord Walkman for example.  Looks just like his and cost me 20 bucks on Ebay.

Etsy

If you need something very specific and don’t want to buy an entire cosplay, then Etsy can usually help.  Back to my Wanda cosplay, the necklaces were the last thing I needed.  Got exact replicas on Etsy.

Our Find It Here Guide

We update our Find It Here Guide all the time.  When we come across a great site for geek/nerd fashion or cosplay or well, anything geek related really; we will put that site up so you can enjoy it, too.  Always check back there for updates.

Until then, happy shopping!

Love, Kim and Scout

Types and Styles of Cosplay

For the weeks heading up to SDCC 2018, we are revisiting some of our best articles in regards to con attendance and cosplay.  Hope to see you in San Diego next month!

The other day I was hanging out with a friend and talking about our latest Guardians of the Galaxy cosplay and that it was a screen-accurate cosplay, but also crossplay for Scout and me.  My friend was asking what the difference between crossplay and gender-bend cosplay was.  I thought it would be helpful to list all the types of cosplay out with a description of each.

Screen Accurate

The first type of cosplay is the kind that most people think of when they hear, “cosplay”.  That is screen accurate cosplay.  The term is pretty self-explanatory.  The cosplay looks like it came from the screen or pages of a comic book.  Below are some screen-accurate cosplays:

You’ll notice that each of these cosplays are accurate down to the last detail.  Scout and I are wearing wigs, the exact accessories and the correct clothing pieces.

The Mash-up Cosplay

The next type is the mash-up cosplay.  This style takes two or more characters from a film or comic book and mashes them together.  Scout and I don’t have a mash-up, but here are some mash-ups I found online (photo credits in the caption):

The Stylized Cosplay

The next style is the stylized cosplay.  Like the mash-up, this style of cosplay has been gaining popularity over the last couple of years.  This style combines a clothing style with a cosplay.  Some good examples are the Playboy Bunny Star Wars characters, business suits Disney characters or Steampunk anything.  Our stylized cosplay are poodle skirt Captain America and American Dream:

Crossplay

Crossplay is cosplaying a character of a different gender.  Scout and I crossplay a lot!  When cosplaying, the sky’s the limit, so cosplaying a different gender is not a limitation at all.  Here are some of our crossplays:

Gender-Bend Cosplay

The last style of cosplay is the gender-bend cosplay.  This style is a little different from crossplay in that you are changing the gender of the character you are cosplaying.  So, examples would be my gender-bend Doctor Strange.  I am cosplaying a girl version of Doctor Strange, instead of Stephen, let’s say Stephanie Strange.

So, that’s a quick tour of the different types of cosplay.  If we left anything out, please shoot us a comment.  We always love hearing from you guys.

Until next time…

Love, Kim and Scout

*All professional photos of us taken by Justin Davidson Photography

Raising a Geek: Part One- Introducing Your Young Geek to Fandoms

For the weeks heading up to SDCC 2018, we are revisiting some of our best articles in regards to con attendance and cosplay.  Hope to see you in San Diego next month!

While this post isn’t expressly about fashion, it is about geekdom and raising up a new generation of geeks.  Part of that is teaching the kids about loving what you love without apology.  This confidence leads into body confidence and self-love, which will serve them well in the future.  Not to mention, you and your son or daughter can share great experiences in geekdom for years to come.

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I have a 12 year old daughter and she is thankfully into the exact same fandoms as I am.  I introduced her at a young age.  Every parent and every kid is different, so it up to you as to when and how to introduce your youngling into a fandom.  For me, I started with the fandom that started my life as a geek, Star Wars.

When I noticed that she could sit through a movie at home- that was when I introduced her to the Star Wars universe.  We started with Episode Four and took it from there.  I was also lucky in that “The Clone Wars” was on television at the time.  This was a great way to share a new part of the fandom with her.

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If you decide that you want to share a fandom with your kid, I suggest you find something where you can get excited about the new stuff together.  The Marvel universe has any number of ways to do this.  Animated series, leading to the feature films, weekly dramas, and of course comic books!  This is also a great way to get them excited about reading and will help with homework.  Get homework out of the way, and then you can watch this week’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”

If you find that your kid is really into it, then you can explore going to Cons and maybe even cosplay, which I will discuss in a later post.

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I’ve found that sharing this enthusiasm for geek culture has brought my daughter and I closer together.  She has a confidence and spirit that is amazing for a nine year old.  I feel like geek culture has given her that.  Kids are lucky these days since geekdom is more mainstream.  They don’t get the heat like we used to.  They can proudly wear their fandoms quite literally on their sleeves and not get bullied about it.  If they do get bullied, they will find back-up on the school yard from any number of kids that are into it as well.

We are also lucky in that we have several strong women characters to refer to when teaching our kids strength and confidence.  Showing them that beauty comes from their strength and ability to take care of themselves, not fitting into a certain jeans size.  Makes a Mom’s job easier.

Next time, I’ll discuss taking geekdom up a notch and taking your kid to a Con.  There is planning that must be done, Moms.  Until next time….

Love, Kim and Scout

Getting Started with Cosplay

For the weeks heading up to SDCC 2018, we are revisiting some of our best articles in regards to con attendance and cosplay.  Hope to see you in San Diego next month!

As a cosplayer, I get asked a lot how to get started in the world of cosplay by my non-cosplaying friends.  Taking that leap is difficult.  It takes all of your self-confidence and gumption to get out there in your first cosplay.  My journey to being a cosplayer is just like my journey to be a self-loving confident woman…lots and lots of support and encouragement from friends.

My fellow blogger, Toni aka the Herald of Geek, is actually my “nerd prime”.  Not only with cosplay, but really introduced me into the nerdy world.  Flashback to several years ago.  I was newly single.  Becoming single was a huge shock (long story), and I had not been on my own for 22 years.  My group of friends were friends from the marriage, so I found myself without any friends of my own.  I was attending cons alone when my daughter couldn’t come with me, and I had no idea how to get out in the world again. I saw a Meetup.com group of fangirls that got together to play Magic.  I took a chance and met Toni.  She introduced me to people and invited me to events and now we are great friends.  I will talk more about nerdy meet-ups and hang outs in another post, but she sent a note out asking about who was interested in doing a cosplay group of Marvel poodle skirts.  I called Cap and a cosplayer was born!

My advice to you if you want to get into cosplay is to find a cosplaying buddy for one.  Two, keep it simple.  Three, pick something you love.  Four, enjoy the experience.

Finding that cosplay buddy- Just send out a group text and ask if anyone is interested in doing a cosplay with you.  Get up the courage and send that email!  Have something in mind, but let your friends know that you are open to suggestions as well.  Having someone to cosplay with helps takes the edge off as far as nerves and you can help build each other’s confidence.  There are a lot of superheroes and sidekicks out there to get you started.  There are also tons of larger groups that you can try.  Avengers, Justice League, Star Wars Rebels, just to name a couple.  Pick what inspires you.

I had been toying with the idea of trying cosplay, and then as luck would have it, I was invited to join a cosplay group.  The cosplay was also not complicated, poodle skirts.  Pick something simple.  Don’t go for the screen accurate Captain America from Age of Ultron complete with magnetic harness for the shield on your first go!  Look at costumes and see if it is something you can get store bought. A good example is Scarlet Witch from Age of Ultron.  Red leather jacket, black dress, black stockings and boots and you’re pretty much there.  My Scarlet Witch cosplay was 100% store bought.  Don’t put a lot of pressure on yourself.  This is supposed to be fun!

If you are like me and don’t know how to sew at all, there are tons of websites to get your cosplay gear.  Start with Etsy.  You will be able to find artisans that can make what you need there.  No matter how obscure the character, there is someone on Etsy that makes cosplay pieces for that character.  Bank on it.  Ebay is another great source.  Then hit up Amazon.  There are also some great sites that specialize in cosplay gear and even make custom costumes.  Cosplaysky.com is a great one.  For jackets, black-leatherjacket.com is fantastic.  I sent in my measurements and got a Scarlet Witch jacket that is screen accurate and didn’t cost all that much.

If you want to try your hand at some DIY, then youtube.com searches are the best.  Two of my favorites are GoldenLassoGirl and CuriousJoi.  They both post DIY tutorials as well as make-up tutorials.

Lastly, ask your fellow cosplayers for help.  The community is super supportive and helpful.  Just reach out.  More is merrier in the cosplay world.

Links to sites mentioned are located in the Find It Here Guide on this blog.

I hope that you try your hand at cosplay.  I know it is taking a chance, but it will be fun.  I guarantee it.  Please share your pictures with us so we can see what you created!

Love, Kim and Scout