Con Countdown: Time to Pack!

Pack?!  What, why, we have a whole week until WonderCon.  Um, yeah, ONLY a week and a half, 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

 

Con Prep: Cosplay Sources

Since we are a week away from WonderCon, I thought I would share some great cosplay sources with you.  That way if you want to create a cosplay, you have a nice stepping off point.

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

Raising a Geek: Going to a Con with the Kid

Well, we’ve made it through. Con season is upon us again!  We are both super excited to hit the ground running at our favorite con, WonderCon!   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

 

Happy 10th Anniversary Marvel Studios!

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Marvel Studios.  What began as a huge leap of faith for the studio, has paid off in every way imaginable.  Marvel Studios decided to take their “second string” heroes and move them up to top billing.  The studio planned a long-game, ending their Phase One with “Marvel’s The Avengers” in 2012.  The movie was a game-changer.  Then they continued knocking it out of the park to the present day.  What the next phase after “Avengers: Infinity War” will bring is anyone’s guess, and there is a lot of guessing going on, but we have to wait and see.  I think even non-comic book movie fans can admit that the movies have been quite an achievement.

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While the anniversary of the studio is a big deal to a lot of people, the anniversary means a lot to me.  Why?

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To explain, I need to take you back ten years and then five years ago.

Ten years ago, I had a two year old kiddo that I had already begun to raise as a little nerd.  She loved Star Wars already, and was becoming increasingly obsessed with Spiderman animated series on TV.  She wanted a Black Panther movie before the rest of us knew we wanted one.  I was still married at the time and was still attending Comic Con International by myself every year.  I loved going, but I was lonely.  I wanted to get a seat at the table, so to speak.  I was still primarily a Star Wars and fantasy nerd and not very knowledgeable of the various comic book universes.  I saw “Iron Man” and really liked it.  I was interested in what the Avengers would bring to the table.  The kiddo and I started to discover the movies together, which changed everything.

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Both of us were entranced by these movies.  We discovered Captain America together.  That was the first super hero movie I didn’t pre-view for her, so we just fell in love with the film at the same time.  By the time the Cap movie was released, Marvel Studios had already begun tying in each movie with the others and having cross-over appearances from characters.  They created a cohesive universe, into which I found myself falling in love with every bit of it.  The Arthurian nerd in me realized that the MCU is a modern-day reimagining of the Arthurian legend, which if you know me at all, really speaks volumes to me!

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Then five years ago, I had one of the most horrible years imaginable.  My husband of 20 years left me and three months later, I lost my father.  Yeah, it wasn’t OK in my world.  What does this have to do with Marvel?  Nothing really, but to me they tie together.  Let me explain.

The rug was ripped out from under me, so I had to truly start over.  I needed a new life, or I was just going to fade away, to be honest.  I was tired.  So tired.  I had no friends really.

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So, I jumped into the nerd world with both feet and began to meet people and make friends.  Again, what does this have to do with Marvel?  Well, I met other nerds, and what do nerds talk about?  Movies!  Then cosplay came into my world and more Marvel influences and so on, and so on.  The movies helped by giving me a social circle.  Through that tribe, I got the confidence and positivity to just try new things (like cosplay for one).  Meeting my tribe and spending time with people that are like-minded and passionate about things let me relax and be myself.  They encouraged me, and in turn, I found my long-lost confidence.  I started to get my picture taken and not hate it!  Heck, this blog exists because of Marvel movies.

So, this anniversary means a lot more to me than it might to some others out there.  It is a celebration of a great undertaking that changed the movie industry and changed my life at the same time.  A little silly?  Yeah, maybe.  If you think so, that’s cool.  I am confident enough now to not sweat it much.

Love, Kim and Scout

*Lead photo and all pro photos- Marvel Studios

*Cosplay large group photos- Avengers Initiative

Ashley Stewart Photo Shoot- WAY Out of the Comfort Zone

I recently got the opportunity to model for Ashley Stewart, which was a huge deal for me and way out of the ‘ol comfort zone!

The shoot was for a spec commercial spot, which will hopefully land on their site.  I will keep you posted, of course.

Ashley Stewart has brick and mortar stores, but also a great online store with some really beautiful clothes.  Not pictured here is my second look, which was a pair of jeans that fit me perfectly!  I highly recommend you do a bit of shopping here.

Until then, please enjoy the photos from the shoot!

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Until next time…

Love, Kim and Scout

Black Panther: What an Amazing Experience!

The kiddo and I got to finally see “Black Panther”.  Like all other MCU fans, we had been waiting and waiting for this movie to hit theatres.  It was well worth the wait!

Spoilers are ahead, but this movie has been out for two weeks now, so I honestly have no sympathy for you if you read on and get something spoiled (just sayin…)

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Here are some of our thoughts on the movie:

  • The entire cast was amazing!
  • The girlpower present in the film, start to finish
  • An excellent and complicated villain in Killmonger.  He presents some valid points, but at the end of the day his “solution” to these issues is way, way off base.  Reason being is that his true motivations aren’t altruism or justice, but to take over himself and rule the world
  • Speaking of Killmonger, the points he makes about colonialism, particularly in the museum scene at the beginning of the movie are on point and brutally honest
  • The costumes are so beautiful, they made me want to cry
  • The color palette of the whole film was like spending time inside a painting.  Just beautiful
  • The relationship between T’Challa and his sister, Shuri.  Just lovely and REAL
  • The way the M’Baku tribe handles dissention.  I bark in approval
  • Beating up someone with a wig and a shoe.  Yep, for the win!
  • Those rhinos!  I want one!
  • Oh how I wish Wakanda was a real place!
  • Shuri’s tech and wardrobe
  • The Dora Milaje.  I mean, COME ON!
  • Marvel has done it again

This movie takes us into the beginning of Infinity War, which is now only two months away, not that I’m counting… (I’m totally counting)!  The post-credit scene shows us that Bucky is doing very well in Wakanda and is no longer a Bucksicle, so he is ready for the war that is coming.

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I was hoping for an appearance from Cap, but I completely understand why they didn’t do this.  Black Panther needed to be its own separate movie, start to finish.  Now, while T’Challa is safely nestled within the MCU (“Civil War” took care of that), we needed to have a separate movie so we can get to know and love our newest heroes in the MCU.  The Wakanda universe will be a huge part of the next Marvel phase I’m thinking, so we best get acquainted with their people and their culture, not to mention their tech.   I really hope for scenes with Shuri and the science bros.  Give me what I desire, Marvel!

They will.  I know they will.

Wakanda Forever!  Kim and Scout

*Lead Photo and all movie photos: Marvel Studios and Disney

ACE Comic Con- Phoenix

Last month we had the opportunity of a lifetime at ACE Comic Con in Phoenix.  We got to meet and get a photo op with several Marvel heroes, Chris Evans (aka Cap), Anthony Mackie (aka Falcon), Tom Holland (aka Spidey) and Jacob Batalon (aka Ned aka The Guy in the Chair).

IMG_20180113_191058_838In short, we had an amazing time!  Photo ops are a new thing for us, and it is a very unusual experience.  We learned a couple things this go around that we will put to good use next time.  Here’s a run-down in case you are thinking about doing a photo op:

  • Know that you will not get to have any kind of conversation with the star.  They scurry you in and out so quickly.  A photo op literally is seconds, so plan on saying a quick “hello” and “thank you” and that’s it
  • Practice your pose so you can strike it immediately
  • There will be conflicting info on props from the photographer, the con, etc.  We got no less than four different stories on whether or not I could bring my shield.  It is super frustrating.  My advice is to just bring whatever you want in the picture, and don’t worry, they’ll stop you if it is not allowed
  • There is a gift basket, so bring a gift for the star if you want.  You will have to just drop it in the basket.  You will not get to present it to the star in person
  • They only allow retakes for blinks, so you get only one shot at it, no pressure…

IMG_20180114_134729_209Other than the photo ops, there were autograph ops, which we did not go for this time around.  Maybe next time.  For those, also expect conflicting information on what the star will and will not sign.

20180113_123838.jpgThis con was a little different in that it is held in a stadium.  Half of the floor is the staging area for photo ops and a vendor area and the other half is the main stage for the panels.  I did really like the set-up for the panels.  The panels were a lot of fun and most of the attendees wanted to go to the panels.  So, the ability to see them without sleeping on a sidewalk was a great thing.  It also brought everyone together.  We really enjoyed that shared experience.

20180114_181850.jpgThere were other vendors sprinkled outside the main floor in the concession areas.  There was a pretty big artist alley with some great artists in attendance.  The vendors, on the other hand, were very disappointing.  No fashion to speak of.  Not even a t-shirt tower.  The vendors were predominately from the Phoenix area, which is to be expected.  They were local comic shops, and I have to say, I felt first-hand that unwelcome feeling because I’m female from almost all of them.  I’ve been very fortunate in that every comic shop I’ve gone into until now has been very welcoming to me.  I’ve never encountered this, “Get out of our clubhouse!” feeling before.  Because we were in a setting with literally thousands of other people, I didn’t ever feel unsafe or anything, but I can only imagine what this would feel like if you walked into a small comic shop alone.  It is pretty creepy.

That being said, the staff at the Gila River Arena were the best, the best!  So helpful and so friendly.  The local PD did weapons check and were great!  The staff opened extra gates to get us all out of the sun and into the shade while we waiting for the gates to open.  They had a DJ there to entertain us while we waited.  They opened the gates almost on time (only 10 minutes late, no biggie).  We felt welcome there, unlike other cons where the staff makes you feel like a criminal and barks orders at you (I’m looking at you, SDCC and LA Convention Center!)

I was also surprised to see that there was almost no cosplay at this con.  I chose to not cosplay for my photos, but Scout did and Anthony Mackie was super nice about her Falcon cosplay, which made her year!  I think most people were like me and decided to dress up and not cosplay for their photos.  I saw some great bounding and got some ideas for the future.

20180115_131521.jpg My favorite part of cons, no matter where or when, is running into friends:

20180114_165811.jpg20180114_171146.jpgWould I go back to this con next year?  Maybe, depending on the photo op and autograph opportunities.  I know better how to prep for it and what to expect.

So, now we wait til the next con, WonderCon Anaheim in March!

Love, Kim and Scout