Wednesday, May 30, 2018

MegaCon Orlando 2018: My Favorite Cosplay!

Squeaking in here a little late with my first batch of MegaCon cosplay - are you guys ready for this?!

I've already talked about my panic struggles over the weekend, so I'll spare you those details. Suffice to say I finished strong, and John & I got some really lovely shots I can't wait to show you.

That said, I was surprised by how little cosplay there was this year, compared to years prior. Don't get me wrong, still lots of costumes, but not nearly to the level I've come to expect. I know Momocon up in Atlanta pulled some away, plus I had a few cosplay friends blame the rising crowds and admission prices for their staying home. MegaCon is the biggest convention in the South East, with attendance topping 100,000 people, so that's daunting even if you *don't* have a costume (or anxiety!). It is MASSIVE, with a vendor room you'll never find the end of, celebrity photo opps with the likes of Jeff Goldblum and Elijah Wood, panels, and fun fan-built displays of everything from the bridge of the Enterprise to a big Mandelorian jail cell. (See our previous videos for those.)

Let's dive in to what we're all here for, though: the costumes! I'll be posting a mix of regular and black-out flash photos, since I know you guys like to see some of both.

First up, calling all Dizgeeks: who recognizes this family?

Here, I'll help you out:

It's Tarzan's parents!! I'm not sure I've ever seen someone cosplay this, so I about lost my dang mind. They are spot on perfection, and were so sweet when I asked for a pic, too.

Next up, Lettie from Greatest Showman:

Annnnd now I'll be humming This Is Me for the rest of the post.

Emily and her parents Jen & Jeff are friends *and* FOE (fans of Epbot), and lately Em's become enamored with The Invisible Man:

 Aren't they great? And can I just say how cool it is that a young geek girl would choose to dress up as The Invisible Man? Love that.

This lady had her own Power Loader from Alien:

I'm not sure if this next one is from a movie, so help me out here:

Her makeup was incredible - plus I love the way reds photograph with flash, so rich and glowy.

I tried to photograph Barb here from Stranger Things like an old fashioned Sears portrait, hah:

Saturday, May 26, 2018

MegaCon First Looks & An Unexpected Battle

John and I are here at MegaCon Orlando this weekend, and we've already got two quick videos up of all the fun. They're only 2 or 3 minutes each, so here, take a look:

The Friday one is even better:

Freddy Krueger trying on sunglasses is my favorite. Watch allll the way to the end to see John's favorite; he still cracks up at it every. time. (If you're curious what the heck that is, it's a 3D printing booth where they scan you on a giant turntable.)

There wasn't too much cosplay Thursday and Friday, so it was nice to play with video a bit more. Those are almost entirely John's work, but I did enjoy pointing things out and suggesting a bunch of shots for him. (Like the sunglasses scene, bahahahaa.) I'm tempted to try a little myself sometime, although my first love is still traditional photography.


Behind the scenes I had a terrible start to the con, going into it already a bit ill with a bunch of health stuff I won't bore you with. Needless to say I chose... poorly... when it came to self-care, and then I had a terrible panic episode Thursday afternoon. John and I plopped down on the floor at the nearest wall, where I sat and shook like a twitchy marionette for about 20 minutes.

When I could finally stand again, I clutched John's arm and prayed I'd reach the car (which of course was a million miles away) without dying or otherwise embarrassing myself in front of everyone.

It sucked.

That night I considered canceling the rest of the weekend, I was so stinking scared. My mind went wild concocting every awful scenario - what if I was dying? What if I collapsed in front of everyone? What if my legs stopped working again when we were miles from the car? -  and I felt tiny and weak and incapable of trying anything ever again.

At the same time I'd managed to hurt my shoulder while hang-gliding in Belize,* and the pain, coupled with the fact that I couldn't do simple things like get dressed on my own, quickly turned me into a big ol' whiny baby. (John will back me up on this.) I just wanted to give up and hide at home with my ice packs and my Frasier reruns.

[*"hang gliding in Belize" = "sleeping on it wrong"]

I'd put all of this on my Instagram Story, though, and the messages were pouring in. Messages of support, of love, of permission to hide, permission to try, permission to do whatever the heck I needed to. There were stories from folks who needed to hear that someone else was struggling just then, that they weren't alone. Then there were people who were just impressed I was talking about it at all, like it was OK to talk about - which it IS, dangit.

Anyway, I'm not saying that fixed me. Not alone. Fixing also required time, rest, and proper medication. But by the next morning I felt strong enough to at least pack. Then I felt strong enough for the hour ride to the hotel. Then check-in. And finally, I thought maybe I could walk to the convention floor - you know, just for a bit.

John, meanwhile, had transformed into the perfect mix of loving husband and nagging mother, requiring me to sit and "at least eat SOMETHING" every two hours. He even had an alarm on his phone, for goodness' sake. Between that and my Xanax, we got through Friday and Saturday panic-free, and by Saturday afternoon I was even having fun again.


Tomorrow is the last day of MegaCon, so I'm hoping to finish strong. But even if I don't, even if the panic monster breaks free again, at least I know the way there and back again.

Anyhoo, stay tuned for more fun photos, gang. I'm off to to take my meds and get some sleep.

Love you guys.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Ten Blogging Years!! ...Can Give You Such A Crick In The Neck

Cake Wrecks is officially 10 years old, gang. Raise your hand if that makes you feel old.

Ten years ago I was depressingly "normal." I was experiencing my first ever panic attacks, but I didn't know what panic was yet. I'd never heard of cosplay or steampunk, my last experience with gaming was a Sega Genesis, and my geeky loves from my childhood were reserved for insider jokes with close friends - which most of them didn't get. I literally kept my love of Star Trek - and all 300 of my collected novels - in the closet. I dressed and acted the way I thought I was supposed to, really really tried to make people like me, and generally had no idea who I was.

I started Cake Wrecks for two reasons: I was bored, and I love to write. What no one knew, though, was that I also love to be funny. Being funny is often seen as being rude, though, so in my terrified, everyone-must-like-me mindset, I figured I could never joke around in person.

Ahhh, but with this new fangled "blogging" thing? There I could let loose.

Anonymously, of course.

Cake Wrecks gave me the ride of my life: the terror of being discovered when it went viral, the eventual joy and confidence that came from success, and most lasting, most fulfilling: discovering  there were people out there who got my geeky inside jokes.

When snarking on cakes became a chore, as every job eventually does, I started Epbot. I was determined to narrow in on these mythical creatures who knew what the Kobayashi Maru was, the ones who laughed and finished my Princess Bride quotes, the ones who said they had crazy themed weddings and wore costumes and just had fun.

I wanted to find my people.

Or more accurately, I wanted to find these people, and become one of them.

At the same time, I was bringing John to his first conventions, and reveling in the memories of my ones from middle and high school. We bought a PlayStation, and I watched John play through the most mesmerizing stories, feeling like I was there in the screen with him. We started going to dinner with people who'd e-mailed me to bond over movies like Oscar or old Disney parades, people who were so friggin' intimidating, because they were doing all these fabulous things and had all these passions, and I felt like the interloper among them, but then after a few hours we found we couldn't stop talking.

What I'm saying is, it was a beautifully gradual thing, turning into the 10-years-later me.

Today I have a new inner circle of friends, with only one exception (love you, Julianne!). The ones who never got my jokes, who looked quizzical when we talked about dressing up for Halloween, who said someday we'd grow up? All gone. All replaced by people we've met because of Cake Wrecks or Epbot. Every. Single. One.

So when I say these blogs have changed my life, that's what I mean. I'm free online and IRL, free to be me and love what I love, because I've found the community that celebrates those things. I can wear rainbow sneakers, play video games, build silly crafts, rave about cosplay, and most importantly, make people smile with the things that make ME smile.

And when the times get tough, and my panic rears up, or the agoraphobia holds me down, I've found unending support for that, too. I held off for a lot of years, afraid to talk about it, afraid people would see it as attention-seeking or weak. Then The Bloggess paved the way by being so open about her depression, and I realized, everyone's out here just waiting for someone to talk about it.

So I talked about it.

And it got better.

Not always in the way I wanted, but even knowing I wasn't alone, that made it better.

This month marks some big changes for me and John. My world has been shaken of late. After losing Tonks and Lily we also lost my grandmother, though her passing was mercifully peaceful and expected. (I wrote her obituary - such an incredible honor and responsibility - and wow does that help crystallize some life goals.)

John and I originally planned to shut down Cake Wrecks this anniversary, but instead - once again - we switched course last minute and decided to keep it going. I'm clinging on to the familiar, still not ready to let go of this thing that's given me so much. Not ready to stop cracking jokes and making poo puns, not ready to say goodbye to Carrot Jockeys and the Epcot bunker. (HI GUYS.)

At the same time, we have all these exciting new ideas for Epbot, with no clear plan yet on how to do them. A good problem to have, but still! Oh, and get this; my parents retired last week, sold all their possessions, and moved into an RV to tour across the country. WOW. Again, exciting, but such a big change.

Finally, my health took a nose dive, which made my panic flare up, and I spent last week just holding on, just breathing, just taking my meds and talking myself down while relying on John to make doctor appointments and even the smallest of decisions. Out of desperation we started the AIP, an extremely hard-to-follow diet that requires we home-cook every meal, so our new hobby is grocery shopping and baking with something called cassava flour. I still don't know what cassava is, you guys. This is... this is a lot to take in.

Oh, and I turned 40.

So yeah, big stuff, mostly exciting stuff, but big. And now that my panic monster is settling down, I can start to look at it all with hope again. Hope that we'll figure it out, hope that we won't screw up, hope that Cassava flour isn't something gross like ground-up snail tails, because who does that?

I'll leave you with my last IG post, since I'm lazy and don't want to retype this caption again:

10 years ago today I started a "goofy little cake blog" that would change my life forever. πŸŽ‚πŸ° I've never posted my face on Cake Wrecks, and I probably never will, but here's a frizzy, no-filter selfie to celebrate. πŸŽ‰(I put on a little makeup for my 2 doctor appointments today, so I felt yucky AND semi-cute. 😊It's been raining for nearly a week now, though, so there's no helping the hair.) ------------------------------------- I've been struggling this month with health issues, big life changes, and panic from both those things, so it's hard to appreciate today. It's too big. So instead I try to focus on the people: the many, MANY friends I've made, the boxes of homemade cards & fan mail in my closet, the thousands of e-mails & messages saying something I did - something *I* did - made their lives a little happier, a little better. That's what I'm celebrating today. (That, and being brave enough to take a selfie sometimes, so someday maybe I can learn to like my face.) ------------------------------------------- I love you guys. Thanks for sticking around. And extra sprinkles for those of you who've been with me for the long-haul! πŸ†πŸ’–
A post shared by Jen Yates (@epbot) on

The response so far on IG - from all over the world - has been amazing and heartwarming and I've cried at least twice. You're just proving my point here, friendly FOE: when you find your tribe, it's worth it to take some risks. It is so worth it. Talk to someone new, be a little vulnerable, make that inside joke. Assume someone out there is waiting for you to lead the way.

You might be surprised where it takes you.

Love & Sprinkles, Inside a Heart

10-Years-Later Me

Monday, May 21, 2018

John Just Made Me Cry With A Poem About A Spider

 I mean, maybe it's the wonky hormones, but is it dusty in here?


Maybe I've just been watching too much Lucas the Spider.

Did you see there's a new this week?

When he cuddles the little black cat cut-out.  


Friday, May 18, 2018

Queen Of The Night, (Not) So Still, So Bright

It's a lot of pressure finding the perfect name for a cat, you guys. And while I'm not saying it's perfect, John and I do finally have a name for Kitten.

But first, look at this cuteness:

She's almost comically hard to photograph, between blending in with our dark floors and always being in motion.

Not to mention she thinks my phone is perfect for pouncing.

Here she is enjoying my birthday red panda from readers Pinkie & Anni:

That pretty kitten collar is *still* too big, so after a few pictures I had to take it off again. Maybe once she hits 3 pounds? (She's about 2.4 right now.)

And in case you missed her featurette on Instagram:

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

How To Resize Thrift Store Frames And Save SO MUCH MONEY

If you collect art like me, then you know custom framing is on par with unicorn blood for pricing. But what else can you do when the thing you want to frame is a funky size? Mats can only get you so far, since it looks weird if the mat is really wide on one side and skinny on the other.

Enter... JOHN.

With a solution.

He even forgoes power tools this time, just to show you this can be done with minimal tools & cheap supplies.

So sit back, relax, and enjoy one of my favorite activities in the whole wide world:  
watching John build stuff.

We've done this for a lot of the frames in our house, which John will show you in the video. Even if your art is a standard size, this way is usually cheaper - especially for big pieces! Keep in mind we often repaint our frames, though, so when you're shopping keep an eye out for ones with good design/structure regardless of the finish. You'll be amazed what a coat of gold or silver paint followed by some quick aging can do.

I hope you guys find this useful! This video was actually a request from one of you readers, so please, keep those suggestions coming. What do you want to see us build, fix, or modify next?

And as always, if you have any questions, hit us up in the comments!

UPDATE: Since it's a FAQ, John's shirt is from Woot. ;)

Monday, May 14, 2018

Jewelry Roundup! Bugs & Books & Beautiful Dinos, OH MY

I haven't gone jewelry shopping in ages, so let's hurt our bank accounts together, shall we?

(Nothing here is sponsored; these are all Etsy finds I dug up on my own, uhthankyouverramuch.)

First, get ready to say "BIRCH, PLEASE," because that's the name of Fran's incredible Etsy shop. Fran uses her original illustrations on laser-cut wood to make statement necklaces like this:

Look how beautiful.

What's really blowing my mind, though, is her layered scarab beetle with iridescent acrylic wings:

 Hang on, you need to see the side-angle close up:


Even the wood has iridescent paint on it! I'm not generally a bug jewelry kind of girl, but this is stunning.

Oh! Then Fran has a Koi fish using gold layered acrylic, which you could swear was real metal:

These are BIG, btw; about 4.5 inches across for the Koi. True statement necklaces!

Promise me you'll go see the rest, because I could put half of Birch, Please in here as my favorites. Prices range between $30 and $50


Next up, Dori of Rainbow Overflow makes the most adorable polymer clay charms, and most only cost between $5 and $7!

Friday, May 11, 2018

WDW's Spring Dapper Day 2018: Sunday at Epcot

Ahhh, you thought I was done with Dapper Day photos, didn't you?


Well, sorry and/or SURPRISE!, 'cuz I still have all of my Epcot photos from Sunday to show you! Although John tells me enough is enough already, so I have to cram everything into this one last post. 

Right. Deep breaths, gang. HERE WE GO.
Lets. Get. DAPPER.

...with the Three Cabelleros!

I love "Donald's" little sombrero. So cute!

That reminds me: I've had several people mention they have a hard time figuring out Disneybounds. Just so you know: it's not just you. Using fashion to represent a character can be super subtle, and I frequently have no idea when I ask for a photo. That's what makes it fun, though: watching for those little hints, then seeing if you've guessed right. (It's perfectly fine to ask; I do it all the time!)

Here come two Disneybounding couples - let's see if you can ID them:

Did you guess?

That's Belle and Beast on the left, and then - a little trickier - Jasmine and Aladdin in their wedding finery on the right.

Of course not all Dappers are Disneybounding. Check out these lovelies in their vintage pastels:

And this gorgeous group:

... and this one!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

DIY Rose Box For Mother's Day, Flower Lovers, And/Or People Named Rose

 Here's a fun little craft I made up the other night:



Are you impressed? :D

Ok, not really.

There's a little more to it.


Inside I have my rose petal ring (remember that?) displayed on a rolled up paper scroll - cute, right?

I like the idea of putting rose petal jewelry inside a rose gift box, plus you could write a little note on the scroll.

This was surprisingly fun to make and kind of hard to mess up, which is my favorite sort of craft. Plus it's a perfect box for a Mother's day gift, right? (Sadly last year's Wonder Womb plush will NOT fit... unless you make a mini version, which I would very much like to see. Hint hint.)

SO, who wants to make one?

The box, I mean, not a mini superhero uterus. (Although...)


- This cupcake-shaped paper box from JoAnn's:

Friday, May 4, 2018

WDW's Spring Dapper Day 2018: Saturday Part 2!

Right, Jen, it's crunch time and you still have a loooot of Dapper Day photos to share. So stop talking so much. (Like that's going to happen. :D)

Mouseketeers! Pineapple suit! (And a pineapple purse!)

The first thing I noticed on this next group was her blue Gonzo fascinator - I wish my photo showed it better, because I'm still Kermit-flailing over it:

Yesssss. We need more Muppet 'bounds, you guys. Kermit's rainbow shoes! And Fozzy's polka-dotted neck scarf! Love love love.

I'm a huge fan of all the color-blocking on Dapper Day. So many cheery color combos and dreamy pastels... it's just the most beautiful the parks look all year, gang.

More matching pineapples and a twirling Tinkerbell:

Ooh, you know what else needs to be an everyday thing? Flowers in hair. Like this:

Oh hey, and another pineapple purse! Spring Dapper Day is very fruity. :D

Another genius 'bounding group coming up in 3...2...

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

WDW's Spring Dapper Day 2018: Saturday at the Magic Kingdom

It's that time again, Dizgeeks! Last weekend was Orlando's own Dapper Day, the fan-run Disney event that invites everyone to dress their best and hit the parks. Vintage fashions and Disneybounding are huge, and every year more and more people join in the fun. In fact, the event has gotten so big that Dapper Day is actually two days, so all weekend the parks are flooded with the most gorgeous dresses, suits, parasols, and hats. (Oooh, the hats, you guys. THE HATS.)

Saturday was Magic Kingdom day, so I spent the afternoon camped out in the main hub area chasing down some of my favorite fashions. It was blazing hot and made me long for air-conditioned convention halls, but I think you're about to agree: WORTH IT.

C'mon, where else can you get a backdrop like that?

Parasols are almost a necessity in the Florida sun - plus they're so stinkin' cute. Can we bring these back for everyday use?

I caught the most fantastic Robin Hood group just as John and I were coming in:

From the left that's Sir Hiss, Prince John, Robin Hood & Little John, and Maid Marion. SO GOOD.

They even had little bags of chocolate gold coins they were handing out, score!

But wait, there's more. I found the group again later, and they'd added this gorgeous Lady Cluck:

See her chicken pin? Also I am completely smitten with her hair. (She did everyone's hair for the group, too! And I think I'm allowed to tell you this: they're all wigs. Shhhh.) 

Check the group's hashtag #GollyWhatADapperDay on IG for more.

An adorable Jessie:

And some stunning Scarlett O'Hara vibes here:

Oof. So pretty it hurts.

I love taking Dapper pics on Main Street; the setting is perfect for all these vintage lovelies: