Tuesday, January 25, 2022

You May... Take A Viking... To These Photos

Last week we needed something boring at Walmart, so for obvious and necessary adulting reasons, John and I detoured through the Valentines' plushie aisle.

This little ginger viking is adorable, but plays a terrible rendition of "I'm Too Sexy."

The pun was gold, though, so a few days later I decided to do this:

... and then this:

Here's a non-flasher pose in my cold weather outfit, since I like it a lot:


The fair was a last minute decision for me, but my friends Arielle and Karen were prepared and dressed like actual Vikings:

Karen's staff is a dead branch from my back yard. (See? I HELPED.) She dressed it up with some beading and leather cord and it looked SUPER cool.

Arielle was a badass warrior:

And then there was the VERY popular Shay:

The last time I saw Shay I suggested using kids' helmets for the breastplate, and we all laughed, and then he went and did it. This costume was definitely the crowd favorite, ha.

You might notice my pics look a little different different today; I tried something new! I've wanted to bring the flash rig to an outside event for years now, so John and I spent the afternoon giving it a go. I'm still very much a hobbyist photog, so it took a lot of trial and error to get the settings right.

So delighted to run into one of my favorite local cosplayers, Aundi Lanaé!

Some of my favorite details are on her back:

A tail and a sweet lil' mushroom wreath.

I love how crisp and rich these turned out, but the fill flash does make them feel very portrait studio. Tell me at the end what you think: too weird? Or worth pursuing?

You know I chased down this Snow White, look at her gown!


Those embroidery details. Oooh.

Being Viking weekend we saw plenty of awesome face paint and furs:

I bet they're extra glad we finally had a day cool enough to bundle up.

Love al the beading and textile textures.

These feel less portrait studio, right? Maybe the key is plenty of open space behind them.

Here comes my favorite makeup of the day:

I love how it matches her hair!

This lovely was so delighted when I asked for her photo, she said, "Really? Me?"

Hard to see, but she has little white hearts on her cheeks.


I also surprised this lady when I asked for her photo, not the teenagers around her:

C'mon, how could I not. She's so regal with that gown and cape.

This warrior was dressed almost entirely in leather armor:

When you roll a nat 20 on your Intimidation check.

There were lots and LOTS of dogs at the fair, and Karen made it her mission to pet every single one of them. Since I was helping her dog-spot, I spied this lil' cutie:

The braids!

Some cool Valkyrie vibes:

We happened upon these next two as they were taking pictures of each other on the pirate throne. I asked her to sit at his feet, and DANG:

They understood the assignment.

I can't decide if I like the low or high angle better, so you get both:

This lil forest sprite is wearing a red mushroom cap, though you can't tell from the front:

Check out her fun mushroom freckles, though!

(I had to explain to John that mushrooms are "a thing" now. And I approve. Love the upsurge of forest/earthy appreciation! Especially when it comes with sweet freckles.)

You might recognize this Viking lady from my November post, when she leveled an enormous spear at me:

We have at least three large ren fairs around central Florida. This one is in Brevard county for another two weekends, then the next is in Tampa in March.

When I complimented this Sheriff she told me it would reflect well on my next tax bill, hee:

I suspect she may work for the fair, she was so perfectly in character.

I also ran into the king!

Definitely some Patrick Stewart as King Richard vibes here, right? We missed the joust, but I'm told the Lady Knight kicked butt. Excellent.

It was already a dim, gray day, so as we lost light in the late afternoon my photos got a little more dramatic:

If you were here last Friday you know I was fighting some panic last week, which is why I didn't think I'd make it to the fair. When my panic kicks up so does my agoraphobia, which makes leaving the house for a long car ride super hard. This was only about an hour and a half away, but last week it might as well have been on the moon.

That's the funny thing about panic: it can convince you something is impossible on a Friday morning that seems perfectly doable by a Saturday night.

By Sunday, I managed the car ride without even a whisper of panic. Can I get a "woohoo"? (WOOHOO!)

I mention that to hopefully cheer some of you on out there. There are times to push through the anxiety, and times to wrap yourself like a burrito and wait it out. Only you know which is right in the moment. Either way, though, we have to remember that no feeling is permanent. It will get better.

And sometimes it gets better in time for you to stroll through a crisp cool day and take pictures of elves.

Let me end with Opal the fairy, one of the children's performers at the fair. She was amazing to watch, and all the kids absolutely loved her, chasing her giant bubbles around and laughing.

When I went to ask Opal for a photo some of our friends brought their two-year-old along, and Opal immediately locked on to the little girl and starting signing to her in ASL. It was wonderful, and I was more than happy to wait while they had a moment together. I'm not sure if Opal herself is deaf, but she only communicates with ASL, warm smiles, and bubbles. Also it was 50 degrees and she had her hands in soapy bubble solution the whole time, brrr. That deserves some kudos!

You can follow Opal on Instagram, or even ask about booking her for parties. If you love fairies be sure to check out her website, where she sells gorgeous posters of herself for just $10:

My favorites are this one and the "All Smiles" on the blue background. They'd be amazing in a kids' room... or maybe your room? Eh? (Not sponsored, just throwing out some love!)

Whether you're pushing through a hard week, wrapped up like a burrito waiting it out, or out there flinging joy like confetti, remember you matter more than you know. You are loved, more than you know. And the times you try, even a little, to make the world better? I promise, it's working.

::Big Squeezey Hugs::


P.S. Ad time! Here's a fun one y'all seem to like:

Years ago John and I served a magical Pensieve Potion at one of our parties, and the shimmer dust I used to make it has been a top seller in my Amazon shop ever since. THIS STUFF IS SO FUN, y'all:

 Super Pearl Shimmer Dust, Super

I prefer the Super Pearl over a color, because then you can add a drop of food coloring to make any or ALL the colors. You only need the tiniest bit even for a big punch bowl, so this little container should last you several parties, easy. And it costs less than $10! Check out the reviews and photos for more fun ideas; lots of folks use this in icing or to brush on candies. Very cool.

As always anything you buy through my Amazon links gives a little back to help support Epbot - and those little bits add up to really help us out each month, so thank you!


  1. I always love looking at cosplay photos, even though I'm not one to dress up myself.

    1. Same here; love cosplay photos even though never been interested in dressing up. The photos are filled with life and creativity, and learning about how the pictures are created is also fun.

  2. De-lurking to say WHOOO HOOO for you!!! You can do the things and are a true inspiration to the rest of us.

  3. That's so great you got to go! And thanks for sharing the fun pictures. Also, I would totally buy that shirt...

    As for the rig outside, I can't tell what I think. I think the thing that makes it looks most like a portrait studio is that the background has such different lighting it looks almost fake. For some of the pictures that is a pretty cool look! Others, it is distracting to me. But of course you had pointed it out, so would I have noticed otherwise? I can't say. So there is a noncommittal mess from me!

    1. Haha, saaaame. I'll keep trying because it's fun and different, maybe they'll get better?

    2. Also John saw all the requests and added the shirt to our Threadless shop! We’ll also add the SVG file to Etsy later for instant download - that just takes longer to set up, so y’all give us a day or two. :)

  4. A viking fair? by Odin's beard it seems a mighty good event m'thinks. Love the T shirt by the way and I am enjoying this, new to me, blog m'dear.

    1. Welcome, my friend! It's a little weird here, but usually in a good way.

  5. Looks like you had an awesome time! Hooray for no panic anxiety on the car ride! Terrific pictures too. Loved seeing all the fierce warrior women. And let Shay know he's cute. ;)

  6. I love the shirt you made (like I commented on IG, lol). Is there any way we could get a file (cost is fine)?

  7. Thank you for the photos, they're so very fun. I live in envy of those who can do the cosplay thingy. I can neither afford it, nor can I physically handle it. Don't even get me started on mentally. I so understand what you talk about with the emotions and your "mind ferrets." Unfortunately, all your pep talks do for me is to reinforce my own mind ferrets. Those little buggers dig in.

    1. Hugs. Pep talks are rarely enough on their own; that's where professional help and meds and routines and support structures all come in. I hope you're getting the help you deserve and need, or if you're not, then please reach out and ask for it.

  8. Such an interesting experiment with the fill flash! I like it in some photos, and not so much in others, but it almost always gives them a slightly off kilter somethin'somethin', if that makes any sense. I like it! I especially like the first one of the couple in the throne, who look positively intimidating in that shot. I miss Ren fairs! Haven't been in so long, and haven't seen any up here (north of Toronto where I currently live.)

  9. I'm happy Sunday was a good day for you to get out! The helmet breast plates & Snow White were two of my favorite costumes I saw and I definitely love the experiment with the lighting. These photos turned out wonderful!

  10. I'm pretty sure that one cosplayer, Aundi Lanaé, is dressed as a huldra. They're Scandinavian forest creatures who look like beautiful women, but whose backs are like hollowed, rotting logs, and they have tails (fox, cow, or ox, depending on the culture). Either way, her costume is wonderful!

    1. Yay! Yes I was a Huldra! Thank you =)

    2. Was coming here to say this. I immediately recognized she was a huldra. What a super mega creative way to do it with the wreath on the back!!!

  11. Woohoo for doing the thing!

    And thank you - I really needed the positive vibes at the end.

    Jen, You Rock!

  12. If you add the viking shirt to your threadless shop, I would totally buy one for my husband.

    1. Thank you for adding it to your threadless shop! I ordered it for my husband and it finally arrived today. He loves it!!

  13. Honestly, I think the portrait studio vibe fits PERFECTLY with a Ren fair!

  14. I gotta say, I love the Viking who brought the Necronomicon...multitasking at its finest!

  15. Those are great pics! I've missed Ren faires over the pandemic.

  16. I'm so glad you got to harness your mind ferrets and go have a bit of FUN!! The Shirt is Perfect!! I'm not sure on the lighting. I might not have noticed had you not pointed it out but the lower natural light photos for sure benefited from the rig. Maybe pick your times and lighting and not always use it?
    Thank you for bringing us along too!


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