Friday, September 13, 2019

The Punniest Cosplays of Dragon Con 2019

I always love a good mashup cosplay, but if there's a pun involved then I am over the moon. Lucky for me, Dragon Con is THE place for clever and groan-worthy costumes, so let's take a look at what 2019 had to offer.


(This is Rebecca Buress - a friend and FOE who helped organize the Epbot meetups!)

And she's in search of the Winter Smolder! Ha!

The Sailor Moon Scots:

The two red pom-poms were my first clue, then as I got closer I spotted the Sailor Moon symbols on their kilts and the ribbons on their shoulders.


That's Davros/Bob Ross, for those of you rusty on your Doctor Who villains. On the back he has a Bob Ross painting that reads, "A brother from another mother," and "Happy little accident."

And speaking of everyone's favorite Time Lord...

Doctor Who:

TARDIS scrubs and a scarf stethoscope! Love it!
(This is Diane, another FOE at our first meetup!)

Stevie Wonder Woman:

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Quick Craft: Let's Make A DIY Hei Hei Hat For Halloween!

On Monday John and I found out we're going to Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween party this weekend (EEEE!) so we need some last-minute costumes. 

And I would apologize for posting Halloween content this early, but I feel like this is the crowd that's already shopping for new skulls and huffing pumpkin spice for breakfast, so... hopefully we're good. ;)

Now, John and I want something cool (it's still 85 degrees at night here), comfortable, and funny, so naturally: Hei Hei and Tamatoa from Moana.

These will be sort of extreme Disneybounds: still using mostly regular clothes, but then over-the-top, costume-y accessories. This is totally different from, say, Dapper Day 'bounds, because we're leaning WAY into the ridiculous as well as going for theme park comfort over style.

My inspiration: both in life AND for this costume.

I quickly found some comfy options in my closet for a decent Hei Hei 'bound:

(That's a tank top under the cardigan, which I would wear with the sleeves pushed up.)

Now to ACCESSORIZE - and get to the crafty part of this post.

I looked all over Google for Hei Hei hat inspiration, but everything I found was heavy fleece or crochet or built into a hood of some sort, which is all WAY too hot for Florida. 

So I set out to make something on a cotton ball cap, instead.

I won't keep you in suspense: here's a peek at the finished product:


Are you intrigued - or laughing hard enough - to keep going?


Let's begin.


John found everything we needed at Michael's for about $8: a red ball cap, one large Styrofoam ball (which I've already cut in half there), and sheets of craft felt in red, yellow, and purple.

The only other things we used - and already had - was a little batting, hot glue, and some stretchy white fabric. The white fabric is technically optional, but it looks better and also holds better, so I highly recommend it.

 For the eyes, cut the large Styrofoam ball in half, then use a craft blade to slightly hollow out the back sides, aiming to fit the curve of the hat. They don't have to be perfectly flush with the hat, but keep carving 'til you're happy with how they sit.

You can hold the eyes in place with pins through the underside of the hat.

(Also if you ever need to make a Fly costume, HERE YOU GO.)

At this point I've also covered each eyeball with a stretchy white fabric. (I flipped over a stretch velvet to use the shiny backside of the fabric, but spandex or stretchy nylon would also work.) 

NOTE: Make sure you hollow out the back side of each eye BEFORE covering them in fabric.

Covering the eyes with fabric is time-consuming but easy: just stretch the fabric around to the back and pin it, angling your pins towards the center of the eye so you don't stab yourself. Start with the four "corners", then work your way around:

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Some Bunnies To Love: The 2019 Dragon Con Bunny Hutch!

Every year Dragon Con kicks off Thursday night with the Bunny Hutch costume contest and party, where everyone is invited to dress as a fandom-themed Playboy bunny or "Heff". This is where you'll find some of the most hilarious and insanely creative fandom mashups of the whole con, making the Bunny Hutch a can't-miss, quintessentially Dragon Con affair. I mean, where else can you see a bunny Ponda Baba serving Blue Milk martinis?

Or Edward Scissorhands with topiary "ears"?

That's what I love about the Bunny Hutch; this isn't just folks throwing on a pair of bunny ears and a tail. These cosplayers go ALL OUT, pouring just as much love and craftsmanship into their Thursday night bunny suits as they do their Saturday afternoon showpieces.

Here's a bunny Wampa and Boba Heff:

You can just see her fuzzy Wampa leg warmers!

Effie from Hunger Games:

(It's hard to tell from this angle, but she has two gold bunny ears off to one side.)

I absolutely love it when the ears are themed to fit the character, like Shredders' blades here:

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

STORY TIME: Dragon Con 2019

If you've been following along in my Instagram/FB stories then you're probably a little sick of Dragon Con by now, heh, but I want to get all these thoughts and photos here on the blog, just for me.

So first, here's most of those Stories put into a video with fun music, courtesy of John and his editing skills. These aren't polished like our official daily vids, but they're still super fun and have some real gems not in our other videos:

(The FedEx sign from my preview pic had its own hashtag and shrine by the end of the convention, bahaha. Some people are already talking about cosplaying #FedExJohn for next year!)

Now here come some more favorites I didn't have time to post over the weekend.

My friend Alexie LOST HER MIND when she saw this woman in armor, but it wasn't 'til the guy turned around that I recognized them:

Willow! I need to watch this movie again.

A close up of my friend Avera Cosplay in her Maleficent WoW armor:

Avera is also the incredible Ursula bunny in my video up there, the one with the puppet Flotsam & Jetsam. Now lemme blow your mind: Avera is 6 MONTHS PREGNANT. Whaaaaaat. She's out here winning contests and working the floor like a Queen with a baby on board! MAD RESPECT.

This Fast Food group was so clever: 
My favorite is the Dairy Queen with her ice cream swirl hair! You can't tell here, but the giant cherry was covered in sparkles. 

More Fast Food lolz:


That moment when you find a flaming sword in the bottom floor of the Marrott:

 No one was around, but I think if I'd tried to touch it, I'd have received some kind of epic quest.

The prettiest use of ThinkGeek's Twinkling Stars skirt I've ever seen:

 Aren't they gorgeous together? I love these two!

Han Solo frozen in...comforter?

Monday, September 2, 2019

Dragon Con 2019: Our 10 Year Anniversary!

I didn't pack my laptop for Dragon Con this weekend, which is why I've been a little MIA here on the blog. (You didn't even notice, did you? OOF, the pain.) John and I are doing daily cosplay videos again this year, so every night John needs the one laptop we brought for video editing - meaning I can't get at it to ramble on to you guys about how much fun I'm having. Blurg. Again, just bad planning on my part.

I've tried to make up for the lack of blog posts with lots and lots of Instagram Stories, but I have so much - SO MUCH - to tell you guys, and it's just not the same. So while John's taking a shower let's see how much I can cram in here.

 A couple of favorites from my Stories.

I just realized this is our tenth year coming to Dragon Con, and so much has changed since then. For one, I think my photos are a little better now:

A photo from yesterday.

Back then I was so timid getting photos, always afraid to interrupt or yell to get someone's attention. I remember running around like mad, sliding in front of some awesome cosplayer on my knees - so I didn't block anyone trying to take a photo behind me - and then often feeling a pang of frustration and failure when they never looked at my camera. I saw all the "professional" photographers around me and envied their confidence, their ease at directing people and taking up that person's time.

This weekend, I WAS that professional photographer. Sure, I'm still not as bold or brash or loud as some others, but I'll happily yell to ask permission. I make eye contact. I take up space. I clap my hands and scream out "I love you" to total strangers. I even give photo directions now, asking people to move or drop their chin or swing a battle axe. And all the while, I'm having the time of my life.

Ten years ago I didn't know anyone, not at this convention or any other. I was an anonymous face in the crowd, fangirling over amazing cosplayers and wishing I knew people half as cool and creative.

This weekend John and I have been nearly mobbed by you guys. Even after two scheduled Epbot meets (one of which we had to move because there were so many of you), we've had dozens more readers find us and hug our necks, scream our names, give us gifts, or just yell "I love you." I've also lost count of the number of amazing cosplayers who, as we're taking their photo or video, suddenly say, "Jen? JEN!!" 

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Of Tigers And Baboon Butts: A General Life Update

We're leaving for Dragon Con in 18 hours and I haven't packed a thing.


::Merrily continues procrastinating::

So hey, before my life becomes wall-to-wall Dragon Con madness for the next 6 days, I thought I'd update you guys on some good stuff.

First and foremost, JOHN HAS A CPAP MACHINE!

The machine is just a loan, as the drama of getting the right one continues (a story for another time), but the wonderful news is that John's been adapting pretty well. His sister sent us a few different masks to try: one gave him a big blister on his nose, another made him feel like he can't breath, but I think the 3rd was just right? 

There's a lot more to this story, and at some point I may sit down and write it all out, but for now let me just say that Bill over at Florida Lung is a saint, loading John up with free equipment (again, as a loan) to ensure John could start as soon as possible, and taking so much extra time to show genuine care for us. In fact, that entire staff there has been phenomenal: they moved heaven, earth, and bureaucratic red tape to get all of John's testing & approvals done in under 2 weeks, which usually takes at least 6. I still get a little weepy just thinking about it.


We did have another little scare when John took the mask off in his sleep, so he's been wearing the pool noodle bumpers again, plus he added extra Velcro to the mask to make it harder to remove. Fingers crossed this is all just part of the adjustment period!


Now as your reward for reading through all the Serious Life Stuff, here's Eva with a shaved baboon butt:


OK, that's just her blanket folded funny, but this thumbnail on my phone made me cackle.

And here's Suki being introduced to Terrence:


In other good news, we've started making something we've never attempted before:

If this works, it's gonna be HUGE. Literally.

One more hint:

Saturday, August 24, 2019

We've Got A D23 '19!! (My Favorites From D23 Expo!)

First things first, how has no one made a D23 '19 joke yet?? Or maybe they have and I've missed it?

You could have the tagline: "It'll knock your socks off." Eh? EH?

Really I don't see why Disney isn't paying me for stuff like this. :p

If you're lost, I'm referring to this weekend's Disney convention extravaganza known as D23 Expo. This Dizgeek Nerdvana only happens once every two years, and while I'm not there right now [sob], I've been spending the past two days virtually stalking everyone who IS. This convention has THE best Disney cosplay, merch, exhibits... I mean, they have a literal Disney parade INSIDE the convention hall, k? This thing is nuts.

So, since I need an excuse for all this obsessive pixie-dust consumption over here, I'm going to share my most spectacular finds (so far) with you! Obviously the convention is still going strong, but I've found enough from Friday and Saturday alone to fill SEVERAL blog posts, so let's jump right in.

Starting off with a transforming group cosplay that will spin you RIGHT ROUND:

All EIGHT transforming dresses were made by one woman: Katy Regnier. AHHH-mazing. The group won the Mousquerade costume contest on Friday - and deservedly so!

Here's another pic from one of the princesses:

(Pls note that none of these are my photos, btw; I'll be crediting everyone as we go!)

Here comes another fun twist on the princesses:


Yep, that's starting us off with a bang. I love all these big group cosplays!

Hang on, I've got one more: these folks are collectively The Jungle Cruise ride. Yep, the whole ride!

(Photo by CosplayMom99, who's in this group, but I'm not sure which one! Other cosplayers include Perdita's Wardrobe.)

The Jungle Cruise group did a whole performance during the Mousequerade - and the lady in blue turned around to be the Back Side of Water! Bahaha! As a former JC skipper, let me just say, I APPROVE.

Ok, on to some single cosplays now:

Marina Tinker is the most incredible Bo Peep, and she has her own rolling sheep!


Here's Marina again (in Bo's dress this time) on Saturday at a cool Frozen 2 photo opp:

Did you also do a double-take? I couldn't tell which was the real person at first!

Here's another gorgeous Frozen photo opp at the con - this time with Anna & Elsa... times 2.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Thrift Store Karaoke Is My New Jam

On Tuesday John and I went thrift shopping for a big frame for our friend Scott - which we totally found, and here 'tis:

Only $20! AW YEAH.

Along the way, though, MANY ADVENTURES WERE HAD, culminating in my new favorite thing. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's start at the beginning:

 A lot of these were videos in my Story, so you'll just have to imagine Headphone Guy boogeying down while Minnie farts celebratory music notes.

 Move over, Kitschy-Cute.

I like to include you guys with these decisions, so:

 Initially "LAWD NO" was in the lead, but eventually you guys came around. 

Then a few hours later, someone sent me this!

Several of you think he's even creepier WITH the original paint job. I'm guessing it's the eyebrows?


 This is all at The Sharing Center, which I highly recommend if you're around Orlando!


You guys are NOT helpful in leaving things behind: I've since had suggestions to turn him into a Buzz Lightyear Mickey, Rocketeer Mickey, and Retro Tin Toy Mickey.


Oh hey, remember when John was modeling this "Pooey Puiton" in the Walmart toy aisle last month?

Monday, August 19, 2019

Our $5 DIY Sleep Apnea Solution To Keep John From Dying

[Trigger Warning: Everything's fine, but there is a death scare below. Skip if you're feeling panicky.]

[Also if you just want the DIY without the back story, skip ahead to the "Read More" jump.]

I've been hinting about it long enough, so here's the deal:

Just over a month ago I started noticing that John stops breathing in his sleep. He tends to snore, so the sudden silences would wake me up. I'd count down a few seconds, start to panic, and nudge him into a sudden gasp for air. We agreed he should sleep on his side, and started looking into ordering a sleep study for him.

Shortly after that - just a few weeks ago - I woke up to silence again. John had been getting annoyed by my constant nudges to get him to roll over, so I did my best to wait, to count down a few seconds. Surely he'd breathe soon, right? Nothing. His chest wasn't moving. I forcefully shoved down the rising panic and tried to say something softly, but it came out as a squeak. Still nothing. No movement. No sound. I reached out to touch John's arm... and it was ice cold.


I grabbed John and let out a wail that was half his name, half sheer terror... and a millisecond later he gasped and sat up, panicking himself over why *I* was making that sound.

We were up for hours after that. After my tears dried, John swore to me he'd do whatever it took to ensure this never happened again. His doctor's appointment was still weeks away, though - and a sleep study would be weeks or months after that - so we started searching for ways to at least keep John on his side while he slept.

Side-sleeping is critical for anyone with apnea who doesn't have a CPAP machine to help them breath. When you're on your side your tongue can't fall back and choke you, and sometimes you won't even need a machine if you sleep on your side, as in my case. (I have mild apnea, but only if I'm on my back. Since I've trained myself to stay on my side, I don't need the machine.)

The problem is, John LOVES sleeping on his back, and despite his best intentions, would inevitably roll over in his sleep and start to choke again.

The common solution for this - as any cursory Google search will prove - is to sew a Tennis ball into the back of your shirt. The theory is the ball will poke you if you roll over, and wake you up just enough to get you to go back on your side.

            If you're not feeling crafty, you can even buy a shirt like this on Amazon for just over $20.

I'm sure the Tennis Ball method works for some people, but here were our issues with it:

1) We have a soft memory foam mattress, and John's built like a linebacker - so it's conceivable he could still roll over on the ball without waking up.

2) Even if the ball did wake John up, that means he's waking up a lot - which isn't very restful. Wouldn't it be better, we thought, to have something that physically won't LET him roll over?

3) John wears a fresh sleep shirt each night, so we'd have to make LOTS of shirts with balls in them. Ug, SEWING.

So we kept looking, and discovered the only other side-sleeping aids were a variety of "bumpers" and backpack-like apparatuses:

 This "Bumper Belt' looked promising, but the widest strap goes right over the pectorals (ouch) and it costs over $100. Double ouch.

The Slumber Bump has less straps, at least:

... but this could twist around your waist unless it's snug, and John didn't want a tight band around his middle while he tried to sleep. (Also this glorified fanny pack costs $75. Dang.)

We were in crisis mode, so our first solution was to work with what we had - and it was surprisingly effective:

 (Suki will help demonstrate...)

We stuffed two throw pillows in a backpack, and John wore that to sleep. This supported John completely on his side, so no matter how he tried, he couldn't possibly get onto his back.

Within two nights, John reported he was already feeling more rested. Between no choking and no Jen-nudges, he was finally getting some uninterrupted rest!

The stuffed backpack wasn't a permanent solution, though: after a week the straps were leaving marks on John's shoulders and upper arms, where they cut into his skin as he shifted around and put his arms over his head. (He likes to sleep on his stomach with his arms up sometimes.)  Not to mention the backpack was obviously VERY bulky in bed, ha. Nothing like getting whapped by a giant nylon bag when your hubby rolls over in the middle of the night, lol.

We had a few ideas for a new backpack we could sew, and decided we wanted to use pool noodles, since they're firm but extra light.

When John went to the Dollar Tree to buy the noodles, though, he instead found something we'd never seen before, and which turned out to be the perfect solution: