Because these are the things I love. Tue, 12 May 2015 17:57:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Guest Post: 5 Must-Haves If You Are A Marvel Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Fan Tue, 12 May 2015 17:53:50 +0000 - Because these are the things I love.

Whether you are a diehard Marvel aficionado or a newbie to the world of SHIELD, you must have at some point wished you could be a part of this universe.

Guest Post: 5 Must-Haves If You Are A Marvel Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Fan

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by Tasha Kates

Whether you are a diehard Marvel aficionado or a newbie to the world of S.H.I.E.L.D you must have at some point wished you could be a part of this fantastic universe – I know I have. I’ve spent a good half-hour after every Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D episode wishing I could be riding aboard the Quinjet saving the world. The show seems so real that I often wonder whether my dream will one day become a reality. Unfortunately, I don’t think that time is quite as near as I’d hope, so in the meantime, these must-haves that will make anyone feel like a true Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D  will have to suffice!

1. Every agent needs a badge – how else would you get in to super-secret bases hidden in random parts of the world? This website lets you create your own S.H.I.E.L.D badge , customizable with your name, photo, access level and more – and it’s free! You can download your badge and publicize it all over social media, but a real S.H.I.E.L.D agent would surely print out this bad boy, laminate it, and carry it everywhere in their wallet!

Agents of SHIELD Badge

2. In almost every episode, we are given insight to a new and crazy invention by Fitz and Simmons. Really, Fitz and Simmons are two of the coolest cats out there. One of my favorite inventions are the D.W.A.R.F.s (Drones Wirelessly Automated to Retrieve Forensics), that can seek and scan evidence at various S.H.I.E.L.D hot-spots. While you may not be able to acquire a real D.W.A.R.F, this “drone” comes pretty close. It rolls, flips, and flies and looks significantly like a D.W.A.R.F when in the air. It even has a mini camera, allowing you to survey locations!


3. Every S.H.I.E.L.D fan is familiar with Director Fury’s toolbox, now in the hands of Phil Coulson. Wouldn’t you love to have your own toolbox, to store all your information about secret missions, files on enemies and/or friends? This development in holographic technology allows you to just that. The first of its kind, your “toolbox” would be extremely handy, letting you access your information anywhere in holographic 3D.

Nick Fury's Toolbox

4. Seen Avengers: Age of Ultron Yet? If not, don’t worry, I won’t spoil it for you. All I’ll say is this – you better know how to communicate over old school radio. You probably have a radio stashed somewhere in your garage, but what good is it if you don’t know how to use Morse code?  This comprehensive guide explains the basics, and contains a variety of resources to some of the best Morse code tools out there. Maybe you will decide to invest in a pair of walkie-talkies too!


5. All that’s left now is mobility. It may be a while before the Quinjet becomes a reality, and unless you have your own private jet, you aren’t going to be able to fly around the world. However, with this 2-in-1 bike and motorcycle, you will be able to ride and chase bad guys when you need to, much like the wonderful Agent May! It is fingerprint activated and controlled, and is pretty much the ultimate hi-tech mode of transport for any agent.

Agent May's Bike

So what are you waiting for? Go on and get some swag, and reveal the S.H.I.E.L.D agent in you!

Tasha is a freelance writer who loves to read, watch TV and concoct things in the kitchen. As a certified scuba diver, she has a passion for travel, and has had the privilege to explore some of the world’s wonderful oceans. 

Guest Post: 5 Must-Haves If You Are A Marvel Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Fan

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Cosplay: Becoming 1941 Wonder Woman Sun, 10 May 2015 14:00:05 +0000 - Because these are the things I love.

Have you ever wanted to cosplay the 1941 version of Wonder Woman? If so, read on, because here's how I created that costume.

Cosplay: Becoming 1941 Wonder Woman

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So last year, after I completed my first sort of handmade costume, which was Wonder Woman, a friend put the idea into my head that I should do a more vintage version of the character. So I started doing some research and decided on creating a costume based on Wonder Woman’s first comic book appearance in 1941:

1941 Wonder Woman

That shouldn’t be too difficult, right? But this time, instead of using bits and pieces of other things found on clearance racks and in costume shops, I decided to make the costume from scratch. I’ve got a sewing machine now, so why not?

The good news is that I already had the boots from my previous costume, along with tights, a pair of shorts to wear underneath everything and a red corset to give me some support (and give me a nice lean line when wearing the costume). So I started with the wig. I searched everywhere for a good representative 1941-style wig and eventually found this one on the Wiltshire Wigs website in black.

Then I bought a gold satin fabric I found dirt cheap on Etsy (yay for budget cosplay). It took me a few tries to decide how to do the tiara and after deciding that using hot glue on the fabric to wrap it around craft foam wasn’t going to work, I decided on a different plan of action. In the end, I used fusible interfacing and Liquid Stitch to make the tiara. The Liquid Stitch made it stiff, but that was okay. I used velcro and hot glue in the back to make it adjustable. I had some red glittery craft foam stickers left from my previous Wonder Woman project, so, voila, tiara.

1941 Wonder Woman tiara

Of course, then I had to find the right material for the bottoms, which I first thought was a skirt, but after some serious research, I realized that this was actually more like a culottes, or split skirt. I searched through pattern sites, and settled on Simplicity 1429. Of course, that left me hunting for fabric. You’d think finding blue fabric with white stars in a knit would be easy, right? Guess what? IT’S NOT! I found a spandex fabric that was $11/yard (EEP!), and was willing to buy it, until I saw that the company charged another $11 for shipping (which is the most ridiculous thing ever as it weighs next to nothing). Although the pattern on that fabric was perfect, I’m a budget cosplayer.

Instead, a hunt on Etsy found a good fabric that I was happy with, although the stars were smaller than I initially wanted. But the price was right, so I purchased it. Unfortunately, that fabric is no longer available (sorry about that), but I’d recommend Etsy for a good place to search for fabric that’s hard to find elsewhere. When I got it in, too, the fabric was great: very easy to sew with just the right amount of stretch. The pattern was also really easy to work with and I had the split skirt done quickly.

But I came across a problem with other material purchased from Etsy. I purchased a gray, red and white stretch fabric that was really cheap and really stretchy that I just couldn’t work with (it kept getting pulled into the sewing machine’s teeth). So there’s also a lesson: always get fabric samples first to make sure you can work with it.

I tossed the red fabric out because it was impossible, but somehow I managed to make a white waistband for the shorts (I bypassed the elastic because the white material was already super stretch). Lots of cursing was involved, but once the shorts were done, I was thrilled.

1941 Wonder Woman Split Skirt

I ended up losing weight and had to take in the waistband twice, though, but sewed it by hand because that material sucked so much. Lesson learned.

Unfortunately, I still had to do armbands with the gray. I somehow managed to get those sewn by machine, but again, I sewed about five before I had two I was happy with.

1941 Wonder Woman Bracer

I also ordered some adorable red sequin-like earrings from Etsy, that were perfect for the look.

1941 Wonder Woman earrings

I ordered samples of red satin knits from so I could figure out what I was going to do for the top. While waiting for those samples to come in, I started on the eagle chest piece. This was by far the hardest thing I’ve worked on. First, I figured out quickly that my initial idea of using the gold satin fabric wrapped around craft foam wouldn’t work. And although I really wanted to do something else, the only real solution was applique, something I’ve never done before.

But hey, I enjoy costuming because it challenges me, so I began. I finally found a way to make the piece that would work: I started with card stock and traced the design for the eagle’s body, arched feathers and individual feathers. I cut those out and used those as a pattern on fusible interfacing. I cut the fusible interfacing pieces out and attached those to the back of my gold satin fabric. Then I measured 5/8″ around each piece and marked that with a fabric pencil. I cut along that line and then sewed around it with a satin stitch. After that, I cut around the satin stitch to make each individual piece.

If that sounds like a lot, it was. And it took me a lot of tries to get exactly what I wanted. I threw away a lot of pieces and cried a lot over the final thing. I eventually got all the pieces to where I thought they were decent and hand-sewed them into just one piece.

1941 Wonder Woman eagle crest

By then, my new red fabric had been chosen and ordered, and fortunately, it was really nice and of a very good quality. So that meant I had to make the top. I had no idea how to make the top and although I downloaded a sweetheart neckline pattern from Etsy, it wasn’t exactly perfect, at least to my measurements. I’m pear-shaped, which means that with shirts, I need a little extra room once they go past my waist.

So I searched the web and found a good tutorial that shows how to make a custom-fit sweetheart neckline shirt. However, that tutorial didn’t add a seam allowance, so I was left to do that myself. I did get the shirt made, though, and it was too big.

So I had to figure out how to take the darn thing in. I ended up with a big dart on the side and a tuck in the back, but in the end, I had a good fitting sweetheart shirt. I carefully pinned the eagle to the shirt while it was on the dress form (because I do have a few curves) and then hand-sewed it while it was on the dress form.

However, the costume was finally complete, so I took a preliminary shot of the full thing, including my 1941 make-up:

1941 Wonder Woman costume

I’ll be debuting this costume at Wizard World St. Louis Comic Con, but you’ll see it onstage at the Superman Celebration in Metropolis, IL, in June, where we’ll be discussing superheroes of the 1940s at a panel. Hope to see y’all there!

Cosplay: Becoming 1941 Wonder Woman

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ECCC 2015: Days 2 & 3 Fri, 24 Apr 2015 23:26:09 +0000 - Because these are the things I love.

I did so much at ECCC this year that I had to split my review into two parts! This is part two, if you’d like to read part one head over to ECCC: Day 1. *** Amazingly, my Saturday was actually a lot tamer than my Friday of ECCC. The first thing I did was head to the autograph area ...

ECCC 2015: Days 2 & 3

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I did so much at ECCC this year that I had to split my review into two parts! This is part two, if you’d like to read part one head over to ECCC: Day 1.


Amazingly, my Saturday was actually a lot tamer than my Friday of ECCC. The first thing I did was head to the autograph area to see Gina Torres, my Firefly book in hand. I ended up spending a lot longer waiting in line for Gina Torres than anticipated which set a course of missing a few photo shoots and all the panels I had anticipated going to that day. It was totally worth it though, Gina was so sweet and I was able to get another autograph in my book! Plus, I was able to spend more time socializing with friends after a panel heavy day 1. I got to see Marissa of Titanesque Cosplay who was visiting from Texas! She was there for Saturday only and with the cell service so unreliable during con we hadn’t gotten a hold of each other most of the day, but fate was on our side and I ran into her towards the end of the day when I was trying to find a seat for the Clark Gregg panel. It was standing room only by the time I got there and opted not to stay but having found Marissa I stole her away from her family for a bit and introduced her to some friends before snapping a few photos of her fantastic Spider-Woman cosplay. It was good to take a day to relax and be with friends.

Marissa totally rocking her Spider-Woman cosplay.

Erin and I left the convention around 6:30 in favor of getting to the Sheraton early to snag good seats for the event, An Evening with John Barrowman. There were only 200 tickets sold, so really there were no bad seats, but we scored some seats in the second row. Let me tell you, the event was everything I had hoped for and so much more! Being twice as long as a convention panel awarded us more stories, and being a private event with no cameras allowed granted us access to stories he doesn’t usually tell. It was an intimate affair and it really felt like sitting around with friends trading stories. John even made sure we all got out of our seats to socialize before he started. Not to mention all the delicious appetizers they served during the whole thing. Oh, and did I mention he brought his parents? Well he did, and that didn’t stop him from being totally naughty, in fact he kept making raunchy jokes about his parents! It was hilarious. Definitely a highlight of my whole weekend.


Sunday was a blur of photo ops and a few panels. They changed the layout this year so that the autographs and photo ops were in the same area on the 6th floor. I’m guessing they did it so that the guests could get from one thing to the other easier, and that makes sense. But having two main attractions in one area like that is pretty rough crowd wise. If they decide to have that layout again next year I would suggest taking over the whole large area of the 6th floor and moving the Writer’s Block section to another part of the convention. Other than that though everything was absolutely fantastic.

Most of my day was spent hopping from one line to the next, starting with a photo op with Tyler Hoechlin around 11:30 followed by the “Avengers” photo with Clark Gregg, Stan Lee, and Anthony Mackie. Like with con photo ops our encounters with the guests were brief but pleasant. Everything was running pretty smoothly until I went to get in line for my last photo op of the day with John Barrowman. There were so many people trying to form an unofficial line that the staff had to beg us to disperse because it was violating fire code. Eventually they lined us up in John’s autograph booth while he was still finishing up the last of his signings before heading to the photo booth area. That was definitely the most chaotic and crowded photo op line I had ever been to, with good reason really, everyone loves John Barrowman. It also turns out that Stan Lee’s photo op was scheduled right before Barrowman’s and naturally his line was so long that nothing could start on time. Once the photos did get started there were so many people that they had to move even quicker than normal because Barrowman had a panel to get to by 3pm. He was charming and sweet to everyone as usual despite how quickly everyone had to move.

Photo op with Tyler Hoechlin

Avengers photo op with Clark Gregg, Stan Lee, and Anthony Mackie

Photo op with John Barrowman

Since John Barrowman’s photo op ended up starting about an hour late, I missed part of the Firefly panel. Luckily, my friend saved me a seat so I was able to jump right in though. I still caught enough of the panel to enjoy Jewel Staite and Gina Torres’ sass. They shared stories about Firefly and discussed what it’s been like for them to have played so many influential female characters in television.

Gina Torres and Jewel Staite with moderator Grant Imahara

Next up was John Barrowman’s panel. That man is such a delight I swear I never get tired of listening to him. Despite having just seen him the night before there was actually very little repeat of stories between the two events, which was nice. He told so many wonderful stories covering his long and successful career and even sang with one young lady aspiring to get into musical theater. His panel was humorous, heartfelt, and inspiring. I loved every moment but I’d say the part that left the most impact was right at the end when the convention staff tried to cut him off early. He stood up for us and told the staff how dare they threaten to cut his mic, everyone has paid a lot of money to come to this show and they deserve to see the guest of their choosing for the full extent of promised time. He even told them if they ever tried to pull a stunt like that again that he would never come back, and when we all let out a cry of dismay he turned to the audience and said he would come back and make his own event in Seattle if that happened. This, more than anything else showed me just how much he cares about and cherishes his fans. We were all feeling very loved and respected.

What lovely biceps you have, Mr. Barrowman.

The last panel we went to was Anthony Mackie’s. He was super chill and cracked a lot of jokes, it was great. He had several stories to tell during his time on set for Captain America: The Winter Soldier and The Hurt Locker. I also really enjoyed hearing about his time at Julliard and the hard work he put into his career to get this far. A fan also came up to thank him on behalf of her younger cousin, who is so excited to finally have a black superhero to look up to. He thanked them back and talked about how happy he is to be a part of the Marvel universe for that very reason. He kept things light-hearted but didn’t stray from the serious topics either. It was an excellent last panel of the con.

Anthony Mackie with moderator Clare Kramer

After the panel I got together with my friend Pixie and several others for an impromptu Doctor Who shoot in the park. We ended up taking a ton of photos that I’m still wading through but for now here’s an epic group shot of everyone!

Look at how awesome they are!

ECCC is one of my main cons that I look forward to all year long. Seattle just embraces the geeky culture in ways I haven’t really heard of in other cities. I’m looking forward to attending ECCC for many more years to come.

With the exception of the photos from celeb photo ops, all the photography in this article is by Fearless Photoworks.

ECCC 2015: Days 2 & 3

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ECCC 2015: Day 1 Thu, 16 Apr 2015 01:52:58 +0000 - Because these are the things I love.

Another Emerald City Comic Con (ECCC) has come and gone and what a whirlwind of a con it was. Maybe it’s just from the sheer number of panels and guests I wanted to see, but this year felt crazier than ever! I remember being completely blown away over each guest announcement during the months and weeks leading up to con. ...

ECCC 2015: Day 1

]]> - Because these are the things I love.

Another Emerald City Comic Con (ECCC) has come and gone and what a whirlwind of a con it was. Maybe it’s just from the sheer number of panels and guests I wanted to see, but this year felt crazier than ever! I remember being completely blown away over each guest announcement during the months and weeks leading up to con. Some of the people I was most excited to see were: John Barrowman, Tyler Hoechlin, Stan Lee, Gina Torres, Clark Gregg, and Hayley Atwell. I knew going in that I’d probably be spending a good portion of my con waiting in lines for autographs and photo ops and I wasn’t wrong. In fact, I spent almost the entirety of the weekend either in the main panel hall or the celebrity autograph/photo area, with a few breaks in between to see a couple of friends. I never even made it to the dealer’s room! Although to be fair my wallet is probably thanking me for that right now.


The con shenanigans started Thursday night when Erin and I checked into The Camlin. When we arrived, I took one look at the lobby and just knew I had to do a shoot there at some point during the weekend. It’s so freaking gorgeous there, I can’t even. The Camlin was built in 1926 and they’ve kept all the beautiful architecture of that time while adding modern conveniences. Our room was so fantastic too, there was a master bed along with a Murphy bed (that was actually comfortable!) in the living room as well as a kitchenette with a microwave and mini fridge. I swear, we are both ruined for regular hotels. We want to stay there next year for sure!

When I say shenanigans, I may be over exaggerating because neither of us slept well the night before and we found ourselves in our pajamas eating delivery food (shout out to how delicious and HUGE the calzones are at “A Pizza Mart”!). We watched Wall-E by 8pm and were in bed by 11pm.


Friday was our busiest day. We knew we wanted to get a few autographs before heading to several back-to-back panels in the main hall and headed straight to the celebrity tables on the 6th floor. Originally, we were both going to wait in line to see Hayley Atwell as she was only going to be at ECCC for Friday, but her line was absolutely massive and we weren’t even sure we would get through her line before our panels started. Instead, we decided to hop in line for Tyler Hoechlin’s autograph, which ended up taking much longer than anticipated as he missed his flight and ended up being about two hours late to the con.

It’s okay though; we passed the time talking to each other and those around us in line about Teen Wolf and who else we were excited to see at con. Meeting Tyler was so lovely; he has this wonderful, beaming smile that is absolutely infectious. Tyler Hoechlin was really sweet and even humored me when I asked him to draw a wolf on my autograph (it’s adorably deformed).

After we both got Tyler’s autograph, we headed straight to the main hall on the 4th floor to score a couple of seats for our first panel of the day at 1:00pm. This panel was the Lost Girl panel with Rachel Skarsten, Emmanuelle Vaugier, and moderator Clare Kramer. Being a pretty big Lost Girl fan, I was really excited to see these ladies and I was not disappointed. It was great to hear funny stories from on the set and just to watch Rachel and Emmanuelle interact. You can tell they’re really good friends that have a lot of fun doing what they do. I’m sad that Lost Girl is on its last season, but I can only hope I see these amazing ladies in many more wonderful things in the future!

Emmanuelle Vaugier, Rachel Skarsten, and Clare Kramer

Following the Lost Girl panel was the lovely Hayley Atwell with Grant Imahara as moderator. She was absolutely brilliant and did so well for her first convention! Not only was she humorous but she was also very inspirational. I love how outspoken she is about equality. One of my favorite parts from her panel was when she mentioned that we shouldn’t worry about being bogged down by labels in regards to our sexuality and gender identity. She mentioned that we are so much more complex than the simple labels we give ourselves and each other. I also really loved that, like her iconic character Peggy Carter, she knows her value and her advice to any aspiring young women out there is to know their value and not to let society, or themselves, limit what they can do. It was a truly wonderful panel.

Hayley Atwell and Grant Imahara

Next up was Jewel Staite’s panel, which she did with no moderator. You can tell Jewel has been navigating conventions a long time, no moderator was needed for her. She came out and took questions right away and would tell stories that fit with each question. I love her confidence and her ability to be blunt about awkward questions while still being nice to her fans. In addition to all the great stories about being on set of Firefly and Stargate: Atlantis, Jewel brought up an interesting point: People often think that she acts exactly like Kaylee from Firefly, even directors have given her advice to act “more herself” during a part but what they meant was to act like Kaylee. She mentioned how it sometimes puts her in a predicament, she wants to please the fans but she also wants to be herself. Personally, I love her sarcasm and witty banter and don’t want her to feel the need to act like Kaylee all the time, even if she is a beloved character for us all.

Jewel Staite

Continuing our panel marathon was Tyler Hoechlin’s panel with moderator Grant Imahara. I’m so thrilled that Teen Wolf has reached a level of popularity that we’re starting to see cast members at cons other than SDCC. His panel was wonderful! I really enjoyed hearing about all the pranks everyone pulls on each other on the set of Teen Wolf and how like a family the cast is. At one point during the panel, someone asked him if he preferred Stydia (Stiles x Lydia) or Sterek (Stiles x Derek). His answer (much to the heartache of many a fangirl, I’m sure) was Stydia because it’s been a long time coming.

My favorite part however had to be when someone asked if he ever feels objectified as Derek to which the answer was a resounding yes, he even cheekily added in while miming reading a script “Derek takes off shirt then makes macaroni and cheese.” He takes it in stride though, knowing who the show caters to, and he mentioned that the directors are really good about listening to him if he thinks something is over the top or could be done another way.

Tyler Hoechlin

Our last panel of the day was the Buffy panel with Charisma Carpenter, Julie Benz, and Clare Kramer. These ladies are a riot! They had several funny stories to share over their years of working on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and both remarked on what a truly unique and extraordinary experience it was to work with Joss Whedon. All three of these ladies played relatable “bad girls” well before it was the norm. This diverse representation is thanks to Joss’ wonderful work as well as these amazingly talented actresses. Charisma and Julie also showed off their competitive sides when they played a Buffy trivia game with the audience, splitting the audience into two teams. Whoever got the most points at the end won. The ladies were definitely playfully competitive about it.

Julie Benz and Charisma Carpenter

Once the panels were done Erin and I headed back to the autograph area with the hope of getting Hayley Atwell’s autograph. Luckily for us everyone had gotten her autograph before her panels and there was no line by the time we got there! I’m fairly certain we were some of the last people to get her autograph too, it looked like they were starting to pack up as we left.

By then we were feeling giddy but stiff and we finally went to walk around to stretch our legs. We saw a few friends and I snapped some photos of cosplays. I didn’t get too many for Day 1 but those that I saw looked amazing!

Shortly after, con was wrapping up and we were getting pretty hungry. We met up with our friends Kayla, Dahlton, and Jen and got some dinner to go from the Cheesecake Factory and went back to our hotel. Jen was wearing her gorgeous Effie Trinkett butterfly dress from The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and I was still itching to do a shoot at our beautiful hotel. We put dinner on hold and did a quick photo shoot in the lobby and on the 11th floor of the hotel in the Cloud Room that one of the employees had told us about. We got some absolutely stunning results!

After the shoot we ate dinner and hung out a bit before heading to bed at a reasonable hour to get ready for day two of ECCC, which we knew would be just as busy.

ECCC was such an adventure that I’m splitting my review into parts for ease of reading. Part two coming soon!

All photos by Fearless Photoworks.

ECCC 2015: Day 1

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Game of Thrones “The Wars to Come” Review Wed, 15 Apr 2015 14:40:34 +0000 - Because these are the things I love.

A Game of Thrones season premiere is often an exercise in reestablishing the geographical positioning and physical state of the story’s enormous tableau of players, and season 5’s premiere last night was no different. We rarely spend too much time with any one character as the show scrambles to cover all its bases (and leaves some out entirely to be ...

Game of Thrones “The Wars to Come” Review
Maria Ramos

]]> - Because these are the things I love.

A Game of Thrones season premiere is often an exercise in reestablishing the geographical positioning and physical state of the story’s enormous tableau of players, and season 5’s premiere last night was no different. We rarely spend too much time with any one character as the show scrambles to cover all its bases (and leaves some out entirely to be dealt with next week), but the beginnings of new plot threads that we do get provide some tantalizing possibilities for the show’s notoriously unpredictable plotting. Of course, if you haven’t had a chance to catch the premiere yet you better hurry and catch up via HBO Go or DirecTV before someone inevitably spoils it for you.

“The Wars to Come” opens with the first flashback in the series so far. Two young highborn girls, a blonde and a brunette, trek through a forest to find a small, ramshackle hut in the middle of the woods. They enter to find a witch, and after some barbed dialogue and references to her father, we know who the blonde is: a young Cersei Lannister, come to receive a fortune telling. The witch sucks blood from Cersei’s thumb and tells her another queen, younger and fairer, will come along to cast her down and destroy all she holds dear.

Cut to present-day Westeros, where Queen Regent Cersei (played by Lena Headey, fresh off her first Emmy nomination for her role) visits the funeral altar of her recently deceased father Tywin. On her way into the sept, Cersei exchanges a glance with Margery (Natalie Dormer), who is betrothed to Cersei’s son King Tommen Baratheon (Dean-Charles Chapman). Cersei, already a tightly wound ball of fierce hatred and paranoia, surely sees Margery as the younger queen in her prophecy.

There are other young, beautiful contenders for the throne in Westeros, however. Among them is Sansa Stark, who fled the capital last season under suspicion of involvement in King Joffrey’s death. Having made her way to The Vale and changed her name and appearance under the tutelage of the exceedingly clever and unscrupulous Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish (Aidan Gillen), Sansa’s role in the story to come is unclear, but it seems certain the writers have something grand planned for her.

While in The Vale, we also catch up with Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) and her young traveling companion Podrick Payne (Daniel Portman). Brienne is still recovering from last season’s brutal bout with Sandor “The Hound” Clegane, and lamenting the fact that for all their efforts, they are no closer to fulfilling Brienne’s promise to Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) to bring the Stark girls back to King’s Landing. Book readers will note that the show has changed this plot line completely, starting in last seasons finale, so it’s anyone’s guess where Brienne will end up, but the show has a special performer in Christie, a 6’3″ former model capable of projecting both fierce determination and warm compassion. Brienne may be the show’s most relatable character.

The Game of Thrones gigantic cast list necessitates that kicking off all the story threads for a new season takes two full hour long episodes. Next week we’ll be seeing Arya Stark’s arrival in Braavos at the House of Black and White, as well as meeting a slew of new characters in the Kingdom of Dorne, including Prince Doran (played by Alexander Siddig), brother of the recently deceased Oberyn Martell. Dorne’s quest for vengeance should dovetail nicely with Cersei’s power grab in the capital, leading to some savvy political maneuvering, hair-raising tension, and of course major character deaths along the way. It’s nothing less than we expect from the most exciting, unpredictable show on television.


Game of Thrones “The Wars to Come” Review
Maria Ramos

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Con-GT 2015: My New Home Con Sat, 21 Mar 2015 14:34:54 +0000 - Because these are the things I love.

Last weekend, I attended Con-GT in Clarksville, TN, just three hours from where I live. I have a new home con! Read all about it here.

Con-GT 2015: My New Home Con

]]> - Because these are the things I love.

You know that feeling you get when you go somewhere and you feel like you’re home? That’s exactly how I felt about last weekend’s Con-GT. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the con, located in Clarksville, TN, is only a three-hour drive from where I live. Or that my niece only lives about 45 minutes away.

But mostly, it’s just that Doctor Who fans, as always, no matter where you go, generally rock. There’s a sense of family when you go to a Doctor Who con that I miss when I attend non-Doctor Who cons. I get that feeling at Gallifrey One and I also get that feeling at Con-GT.

Even better? Con-GT had me at their convention as a guest, which makes this my first appearance as a guest at a con. It feels weird, but I have published several books and done quite a bit these past few years, so I suppose I was worthy.

I drove to Con-GT last Friday through a lot of back roads and changing speed zones (OMG, PICK A SPEED AND STICK WITH IT, TENNESSEE). I arrived around 4 p.m. at the Riverview Inn in Clarksville, TN, where I promptly ran into Edward Owen, who I like to think of as the man in charge. He took me to my room, handed me an awesome gift basket, loaded with lots of Southern treats and wine and I got settled in.

Con-GT Gift Basket

Isn’t that lovely? Even if the UT hat makes those people in my town angry (which is why I’ll wear it… heh).

Then it was time to get ready for the VIP party, which is basically a separate con event with wine and snacks and meeting with the celebrities. The other two guests were Andrew Cartmel (who wrote for Sylvester McCoy’s Doctor on Doctor Who) and Ellis George (from “Kill The Moon”). Of course, I couldn’t dress normal, so I went for a ginger 9th Doctor costume:

Ginger Ninth Doctor

I was a little worried I would feel awkward at the VIP party, but it was so much fun that I didn’t want to leave when it was over. I talked Doctor Who with a lot of folks, and even gave some writing advice (and later got word that my advice was heeded, which was awesome).

I also met the other guests (although I met Andrew already at Gallifrey One) and got a photo taken with Ellis, who is just a really great kid.

Me with Ellis George

A lovely young lady gave me four boxes of Girl Scout cookies, too, because this is the South, and we are ALL ABOUT THE FOOD.

Speaking of which, after the VIP party, we all went out to dinner. Because ‘ya know, you can never eat too much.

I was very full when I got back to the hotel that evening, but knew I was in for a very good, and special, time. I was already feeling like I’d come home.

Saturday was also a lot of fun. I put on my BioShock Infinite TARDIS dress, which was a hit with just about everyone. I’ve never posed for so many photos in my entire life. We opened the con with an introduction of the three guests, myself included. We also took a selfie with Ellis, because she’s a teenager and teenagers love their selfies.

Again, I’m still sort of in awe that I’m sitting up there with Andrew Cartmel and Ellis George, both who’ve probably been inside the real TARDIS. WOO!

We opened the con and I went to sit at my table (yes, I got an official table with my name on it and everything). I was a little worried that I’d sit there all alone, but I took a ton of photos, signed autographs on postcards I’d brought to promote my books (which blew my mind) and talked to a lot of people. I even discovered I had fans of my books, those who’d already read the series, asking me about the next one (which should be out this year). It was so wonderful just to meet everyone!

I met my niece for lunch, which consisted of me trying Radler for the first time (in honor of my upcoming trip to Germany), and then went back to the con. Honestly, I spent most of Saturday just hanging out with folks and it was so much fun. I hated leaving and missing the dance that night, but I promised my niece I’d spend the night with her.

At noon, we got everyone together to do a group shot with a drone. How cool is that?

In other news, my niece and I had a wild night. We drank a bottle of wine and passed out at 9:30 p.m.

But hey, I was well rested for Sunday at Con-GT. I got up early, dressed as Rose and headed back over to make my first panel, which was about cosplay. The panel went well, and I learned a few new things, too. I feel a little more prepared for that Dragon Age Inquisition Sera costume I’m working on later this year.

I sat at my table a little more, hung out a little more, posted for a few more photos.

I had another cosplay panel later that day, as well as a panel with Ellis and Andrew where we did a Q&A. Again, I was nervous that I’d be ignored, but the first question of that panel was FOR ME! Of course, most questions for Ellis, because she was the star of the weekend, but I was really happy that people seemed genuinely interested in what I had to say and asked me a lot of questions about writing. That was pretty awesome.

Of course, all good things must come to an end, and soon it was time to say goodbye and drive back home. I definitely felt sad, but I’ve collected an entirely new group of friends and met some fantastic people that it gives me something to look forward to when Con-GT rolls around again next year. And I know that when I return, it will, once more, feel like home.


I’d like to thank the entire group of people responsible for making Con-GT happen, as well as everyone who attended. Because I had the best time of my life. See y’all next year!

Con-GT 2015: My New Home Con

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Last-Minute Resources for Putting a Cosplay Together Thu, 19 Mar 2015 18:39:46 +0000 - Because these are the things I love.

It's con season and that means every cosplayer is scrambling to put together costumes. But what if you don't have a lot of time? Help has arrived.

Last-Minute Resources for Putting a Cosplay Together

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by Talyn

As soon as Katsucon takes place, that’s when I know con season is officially upon us. I’m usually the insane person who’s sewing, styling wigs, and shaping armor up to the morning I leave for a convention, but I’ve also had experience with simply purchasing elements in order to save myself some time (and potentially, money). Even when I have plenty of time, I always love a bargain, because let’s face it – cosplay is expensive!

Anyway, when you’ve got a month or less to go, the last thing you want to do is live at your sewing machine and practically pay rent at the fabric store. Or maybe you’ve never cosplayed before and you want some elements to be easier. All of these resources are helpful for veteran or novice cosplayers, and I think they’ll help whether you’re crafting the entire thing yourself or need a leg up with certain items.

So I present a (non-exhaustive) list of things I’ve found helpful for getting a cosplay ready on the quick, easy, and relatively cheap.

Irvy Cosplay

Thrift stores and consignment stores.

Best for: Base pieces that you intend to modify in some way, like shortening a skirt or top; accessories like belts, jewelry, gloves; simple pieces, like undershirts, especially if they’re going to be obstructed in some way by something like armor. Consignment stores often carry inexpensive pieces in excellent condition if you’re looking for formal attire for, say, a costume masquerade at the con.

Not for: Complex modifications, unless you enjoy seam ripping an entire garment in order to reconstruct it, in which case, you are my (masochistic) hero.

How I’ve used this resource myself: A button-up, capris, and holsters for a Sherry Birkin cosplay. Belts and belt buckles for my Pacific Rim cosplay, and jewelry for the same cosplay. A tank and shorts that turned into a friend’s Misty cosplay. An off-shoulder top and black leggings to go underneath armor.

Costume retailers or joke shops.

Best for: Props that you don’t have the time or experience to craft yourself; basic props, like toy guns* that need little modification; gloves, stockings, and bodysuits; masks for the masquerade ball. Depending on the retailer, you may also find wigs, Spirit Gum or other adhesives, and prosthetics.

Not for: Depending on the retailer, wigs. Some costume suppliers are great and sell good quality wigs, while others only sell the sort of thing you usually think of when you think “Halloween.” Try to find a heat-resistant wig, especially if it’s not pre-styled and you need to style and spruce it up quickly.

How I’ve used this resource myself: Wig styling tools like brushes and shampoo. Pointed ear prosthetics. Fake cigarettes. Tights and bodysuits to wear under armor (or under my Taokaka dress). Also, you can purchase Spirit Gum and remover for helping anchor heavy wigs or accessories! Both costume shops in my town closed, so I rely on online costume retailers, especially if their sales or coupons are timely.

* Important note: make sure you read your con’s policy on props and weapons before you bring a toy gun into the convention space. Many cons have strict policies regarding these, as security can easily mistake a well-made replica for the real deal. If you’re not sure, ask an official. And even though it’s tempting to do so for accuracy, do not remove the orange cap that indicates the gun is fake. Even if the con doesn’t find it offensive, you never know when someone on the street could be alarmed. I got a ton of weird looks walking around downtown San Jose in a Resident Evil 6 cosplay, and it was definitely because of the toy guns I had strapped all over me.

Irvy Cosplay

About Talyn
You can find Talyn’s cosplay on Facebook, where she goes by Irvy Cosplay. When she isn’t stressing over costumes, she’s de-stressing through reading or video games…which leads to more cosplay.

Last-Minute Resources for Putting a Cosplay Together

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Don’t Miss The Stormy & Craig Adventure Hour Mon, 02 Mar 2015 17:00:19 +0000 - Because these are the things I love.

Although we still have some time before new episodes of Who air, we've still got something to be happy about, especially for those fans of baby Stormageddon

Don’t Miss The Stormy & Craig Adventure Hour

]]> - Because these are the things I love.

Cheer up Doctor Who fans. Although we still have some time before new episodes of Who air, we’ve still got something to be happy about, especially for those fans of baby Stormageddon. The folks behind Gallifrey One’s sketch comedy show The Idiot’s Lantern presented us with this special sneak peek of an all-new series: The Stormy & Craig Adventure Hour.

The Teletubbies are on the rampage again? Don’t worry! Stormy & Craig are on the case!

Don’t Miss The Stormy & Craig Adventure Hour

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Off to See the Wizard World of Portland Thu, 26 Feb 2015 02:30:24 +0000 - Because these are the things I love.

Last month, I had the opportunity to attend my first Wizard World convention in Portland with my friend Christina of UrbanFlower Designs. Having previously heard some of Robin’s adventures at both Wizard World St. Louis and Wizard World Nashville, I was already pretty ecstatic even before Christina and I hit the road Friday morning to make the drive from Seattle ...

Off to See the Wizard World of Portland

]]> - Because these are the things I love.

Last month, I had the opportunity to attend my first Wizard World convention in Portland with my friend Christina of UrbanFlower Designs. Having previously heard some of Robin’s adventures at both Wizard World St. Louis and Wizard World Nashville, I was already pretty ecstatic even before Christina and I hit the road Friday morning to make the drive from Seattle to Portland. The three hour journey passed by in no time as we bonded over mutual fandoms and geeky music. We also discussed who we were most excited to see at con: for me it was Tyler Posey, Ksenia Solo, Karl Urban, and Ming-Na Wen.

Once we arrived at the convention, we opted to take it easy. Friday was a short day anyway and neither of us had gotten much sleep the night before. I had decided to forgo cosplay that weekend in favor of my favorite geeky dresses but Christina brought a different cosplay for all three days. For day one, she went with her “casual” Tenth Doctor cosplay, which was a big hit, especially since she had borrowed a rather realistic looking banana from her kids’ plastic play food set. We even ran into my friend Pixie in her Rose Tyler cosplay, who was simply delighted to no end. She finally broke her curse of not having a Ten to take photos with as Rose, which had lasted something like five conventions. It was pretty cute she actually noticed Christina in her Ten outfit before realizing I was even there.

After taking a few photos and walking the exhibitor’s hall together for a bit, we decided to go check out the Doctor Who Celebration panel. I’ve got to say it was one of the best Who panels I’ve been to. There was fun and engaging conversation on the direction the show is going in, with a focus on Peter Capaldi as our latest beloved Doctor. The panelists did an excellent job of engaging with the audience and standing strong on their opinions without stepping on toes with anyone that didn’t share their opinion. There were even trivia questions with some great Whovian prizes! Christina won a companion ring and Capaldi pin.

After the panel, we continued to walk around and mingle with friends. It’s always great to see friends at con, especially ones I don’t get a chance to visit very often. I was particularly excited to finally see Ryan Wells in his Mars Attacks cosplay and for the debut of Abi Sue Cosplay, Jerikanda Cosplay, Abie Ekenezar, and CIR Carving in their Emma Frost cosplays, whom I quickly dubbed the Flock of Emmas (complete with ridiculous Flock of Seagulls impression). They definitely had some of my favorite cosplays, along with a few other highlights of day one that included a really adorable and Bubbly Tinkerbell, an Animaniacs group, and Jessica Merizan in her Daria cosplay (oh, the nostalgia!)

Things wrapped up around 8pm and then I went to dinner with some local friends not attending the convention. I was pretty exhausted from lack of sleep the night prior, so I decided to turn in early and get a fresh start for the next day.


Upon arrival on Saturday, I promptly ran into my buddy Aaron (Last Oryx), who had driven to Portland for the day just so he could see the Weta Workshop booth. By the time I ran into him, he was positively giddy: he’d gotten his Bilbo Baggins wig styled and Hobbit ears applied by one of the makeup artists there. He looked fantastic! I just wish I had been around to see the process. While we were chatting, the Game of Thrones meet up hosted by some members of Ice and Fire Cosplay was just ending and they made their way to us, including Christina in her beautiful Margaery Tyrell cosplay (wedding dress version).

Apparently, I had arrived just in time for the Weta panel, where makeup artist Warren Dion Smith would be answering questions while transforming a con attendee into a dwarf. Now, as I’m sure many of you probably know by now, I’m a bit of a Tolkien fan (okay maybe more than a bit). So, it almost goes without saying that by far one of the biggest highlights of the con for me was the Weta Workshop booth and panel. It was a wonderful experience to watch a talented artist as Warren change someone from an ordinary man into a fantastic dwarven warrior. He also had some really great stories to tell from being on various sets during his career. The whole thing was truly such a treat for us fans. After the panel was over, we all collectively decided to go visit the Weta booth again. I had seen it briefly the day before but hadn’t gotten to take it in as much as desired.

When you first enter the exhibitor’s hall from registration the giant orc of the Weta booth towers above you, it’s thoroughly impressive even if you’re not a Tolkien fan! As you walk further into the booth, you’re greeted with other props from the Tolkien films and other productions Weta has been a part of. I swear could have spent my whole weekend there but there was more con to see, so I managed to pry myself away after a good look around and several photos later.

As one might anticipate, the Weta booth was a big attraction of the con and thus a great place to gather to find friends or to snap pictures of cosplayers on their way to/from the booth. It’s there that I ran into Ryan Wells again, this time in his Falkor cosplay from The NeverEnding Story. I had been watching his progress on this cosplay online and was thrilled to see it in person. Naturally, he and his Atreyu had quite a crowd around them so I couldn’t chat for long. After mingling a bit longer I headed outside with Aaron and Christina for some fresh air.


Before long, I was heading back inside for my photo op with Tyler Posey. Teen Wolf is one of my greatest guilty pleasures (can you even call it that when you have no shame about it?), so I was pretty excited. As I was stepping up for my photo, Tyler, in what I can only assume was a move to keep his energy up, threw his arms in the air and screamed “Yeah!” I was a little thrown off and by then the nervousness and excitement had all blended together and I couldn’t help but giggle. My expression is so fangirl-y and a bit dorky, but that’s okay because you can just tell how happy I am! Also, Tyler made an expression that is probably five times dorkier than mine and it’s positively adorable. That man is a treasure.

Earlier that day, my friend Brittany had offered me to join in her Karl Urban photo op to which I proclaimed a very enthusiastic “hell yes!” Between the two photo ops, I had just enough time to run over to Ksenia Solo’s table for an autograph. She’s even better in person than I anticipated. I absolutely adore her as Kenzi in Lost Girl, for me she practically carries the show. After that, it was back in line again with Brittany. We passed the time easily as we talked about our favorite roles Karl Urban has been in with a few others in line with us. Once it was our turn for a photo, Karl was very polite, greeting us with a big smile before saying hello and asking how we were doing. Not gonna lie, I definitely swooned a little as he told us to have a good day as we walked out. I think we all look really great in this photo op and it thrills me to no end. As a side note, it’s during photo ops like these that I really remember that I am so much freaking shorter than everyone else!

The photo op lines moved quickly, as these things always do, but unlike some cons it felt like a well-oiled machine not a frenzy. You go into these knowing your time with a guest will be brief but, depending on how a con runs their photo ops, sometimes you leave feeling cheated because you were rushed in the wrong ways (maybe the photographer didn’t give you a chance to smile or didn’t care if you blinked, or the line keepers were rude, etc). I didn’t get that feeling at all at Wizard World, which was pretty great. I was also impressed by how quickly the photos were available, by the time I left the booth my photo was waiting for me along a row a printers. Even better was their system for retrieving a digital copy of your photo, if you purchased one. Instead of giving someone your email, which can easily be keyed in wrong, you go to a website and enter the number on the bottom of your photo. Simple and very effective.

After a bit of walking around I headed towards where the costume contest and pre-contest concert by Critical Hit were held. The concert was very lovely. I always love when band/orchestra and geeky music combine! I was impressed with how well run the costume contest was run. Despite a late start, things went smoothly and it still ended on time, which is rare at any con. The judges for this year’s contest were the green Power Ranger, Jason David Frank, Jesse Lagers of Midnight Armor, Jessica Merizan of Crabcat Industries. Both Jesse and Jessica are also known for appearances on Syfy’s Heroes of Cosplay.

I’m glad I wasn’t one of the judges, there were so many great cosplays to choose from! Some of my favorite entries included Marvel’s Sif and Thor, Oz’s Wicked Witch, TMNT’s Shredder, and a Tank Girl with an actual tank (modified Power Wheels Jeep). Props to everyone for their hard work and congrats to the winners!

After the contest, I ended up at Red Robin with Jesse, Chin Chin, and Jessica and a few of their friends. A relaxing dinner after a hectic con day was just what everyone needed. Enjoying food and drinks with friends is always a great way to end your con day.


Sunday was pretty low key. I had a bit of a late start to the day and by the time I arrived at the con, I was starving. I met up with Christina in her Minerva McGonagall cosplay. While I ate, she sent the word out to the rest of our friends in Harry Potter cosplay to meet up for a photo shoot. We all gathered outside for a quick, and slightly, chilly photo shoot. The brisk weather was worth it though; we got some absolutely fantastic photos.

I didn’t make it to any panels on Sunday, but I did get a chance to walk around snagging more pictures of cosplayers before saying goodbye to all my Oregon friends. A few of my favorites from the last day were Batwoman, Iron Man, and Steampunk Dory from Finding Nemo.

As we were about to head out, I wanted to make sure I had a chance to visit my favorite Marty McFly, HyperShadow Cosplay. She had spent the weekend at the Seattle Time Machine booth. We even got permission for a quick photo shoot with the DeLorean, which was an absolute joy for both of us.


I thoroughly enjoyed Wizard World Portland. You sometimes hear about people complaining about how corporate or commercialized Wizard World cons are, but I don’t think that is a big deal. I didn’t feel slapped in the face with gimmick-y advertisements or that anyone was pushing too hard to sell me something. Wizard World is a seasoned traveling convention that has been able to hone their skills, like streamlining the photo ops for less wait time and many things behind the scenes I would imagine. In my opinion, It was a smooth and well run convention. Yes, the prices are a bit steeper than other cons, but because of it, they are able to afford more big name guests. I came to this con knowing it wasn’t going to have the same atheistic as smaller cons and I had a blast. I definitely look forward to covering more Wizard World conventions.

All included photography by Fearless Photoworks, with the exception of the celebrity photo-ops.

Off to See the Wizard World of Portland

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