If you’ve been following me for the past couple months, I’m sure you’ve seen me mention Mystic Messenger. It easily became my biggest new fandom of 2016. Well, last year, I went to my very first non-convention cosplay meetup. It was a gathering for Mystic Messenger fans to come together, cosplay as their favorite characters, buy merch, and hang out.
Keep reading to read about my experience & see some photos I took at the event!
My boyfriend, Luke, and I flew up to Seattle to spend our Fourth of July weekend with his sister, Holly, and her husband, Matt, along with a few other friends of ours. We arrived late Friday night and were planning to go camping on Sunday/Monday for the Fourth before flying back super early Tuesday morning so we only had Saturday to do any touristy activities in the city. Luckily, Luke and Holly are great planners (even if Luke denies this) and had a full fun day planned for us. If you find yourself in Seattle and only have an afternoon or even a few hours, I highly recommend you check out each of these places! We did everything in less than a day and you can too!
Greetings from Seattle! For Fourth of July Weekend, Luke and I flew up to visit his sister and meet up with some friends in The Emerald City. I’ve always wanted to visit but never have so I was super excited about the trip! We’re only here for three days but our schedule is jam packed with plenty of fun activities. I tend to overpack my makeup and toiletries but this time I was determined to keep things to a minimum.
Since I have to catch an evening flight to Seattle, I can only go for half of Friday, but regardless this will be my first time attending, and I am super excited! Even with my limited time (and maybe even because of it), I really wanted to plan a solid schedule so I could make the most of my day.
Badge pick up for attendees has been open since noon today and is open until midnight which is pretty awesome. I was originally planning on going around 1pm but a quick look at Twitter with its photos of HUGE lines at the convention center of people who had CAMPED OUT quickly made me change my mind. To avoid both LA traffic and lines, I’ll probably go for my badge a little closer to midnight. Good thing I’m a night owl!
Since I won’t have to worry about picking up my badge tomorrow morning, I’ll be able to jump right into the convention…so without further adieu, here is my (hopeful) Anime Expo schedule.
Super short post today! I very randomly had the opportunity to be a stand-in on ABC Family’s Switched At Birth this week and thought I’d share my experience. I say very randomly because I did not apply or submit to do this job at all. Two years ago, a friend and I thought it would be fun to sign up for Central Casting, a casting agency that books a lot of extras for TV shows, since a lot of our friends were doing it including my sister. After signing up, however, I never actually submitted myself for any work because my schedule was already busy enough. Well, they called out of the blue and asked to directly book me as a stand-in. Since I recently left my law office job due to health reasons, I had the day off and decided why not – it wouldn’t be very strenuous work, they would pay me a union rate, and it would be neat to see what a TV set is like.
My call time was originally scheduled for 2:30pm but I received a call around 8:45am saying it had been moved up to 9:30am. With no makeup on, I threw on some clothes and booked it to the studio. Upon arriving, the crew was so nice and thankful to me for rushing over. They sent me to wardrobe which dressed me in a J.Crew trench coat, Steve Madden boots, and a ring. Afterwards, the hair stylist put a wig on me to look more like the character “Bey.” She considered curling my actual hair, but after my bayalage last month, it was too light.
Once I was ready, I met the actress for who I’d be standing in for, Vanessa Marano (super nice and pretty!), and they put me in a trailer and told me to wait until my scene was ready. I had my iPad and a book with me so I was plenty fine with waiting and it was pretty cool having my own little room. I started hearing some commotion outside the trailer and it seemed like some changes were being made. They eventually brought me out and told me I wouldn’t be needed for the scene and to return the clothes but keep the wig on just in case. They reassured me I would still be getting paid for my time and told me to help myself to the craft services table. I was super hungry since I didn’t have breakfast so I helped myself to a sandwich, fruit, donut, and bagel.
My trailer room was needed for an actor coming in so they moved me to a soundstage where the extras were hanging out (above). Eventually, they all left and it was just me…still waiting. I honestly didn’t mind but just felt bad that I wasn’t doing anything. An assistant director or other crew member would periodically check up on me to make sure I was okay which I thought was nice. I was told to go ahead and have lunch and went over to the catering truck. It was Mexican for lunch that day and wow, did they have a lot of food! I sat down at a table and was joined by the episode’s director and an actor who were both super friendly and awesome. A crew member eventually approached me and told me I was good for the day and to go ahead and get my things and officially sign out. It was about 3:30 when I finished.
That’s my first stand-in experience! I didn’t actually get used so you won’t be seeing my back or hand in a shot on TV, but it was an overall neat experience and not a bad way to spend a few hours and make a little extra money. If they randomly gave me another call, I would do it again!
My sister, Melissa, had her 24th birthday this past week! The day was going to be just us, and I planned a whole itinerary with things for the two of us to do on her special day. I’ve been worried that with my health problems I wouldn’t be able to properly celebrate with her and do everything, but luckily the entire day went without a hitch and couldn’t have gone better!
After letting her sleep in a bit (because that’s what you do on your birthday!), we went to Denny’s! You get a free Gland Slam Breakfast on your birthday so it’s become a bit of a tradition to start our birthdays off there. We also got the bacon cheddar tots which were delish!
Afterwards, we were ready for our spa appointment! I found this great place called Anatara on Yelp that had a great “couples massage” deal! We opted for a hot stone massage – something neither of us had ever had before and it was SO nice and relaxing!
Next up, was a manicure and pedicure at this SUPER cute nail salon called Polish Lounge. They had soooo many nail polishes! Melissa eventually chose two OPI colors that were very spring-y. I opted out of doing my own nails and instead walked over to nearby Starbucks and brought us both back our signature drinks (hers – an Iced Passion Tea Lemonade Sweetened, mine – a Butterbeer Frappacino) and two birthday cake pops. After Melissa had been thoroughly pamperred, we went home to get dressed for the evening and FaceTime our dad.
For dinner, we went to Umami Burger and had our usual – the Truffle Burger and sweet potato fries. Our server, Marvin, was super cool and had a dessert (a deep fried ice cream sandwich called the “UFO”) brought out for us upon learning it was my sister’s birthday. This was something neither of us expected and was an awesome surprise. Also, SO yummy! Even after being filled with our burger, we devoured the whole thing!
We ended the day going to Mosaic, her church, for their Midweek service where we bumped into our friends Chelsea and Sammy. The message was simple but uplifting and a great way to end the day 🙂
How do you and your siblings celebrate each other’s birthdays?
For our first Valentine’s Day together, my boyfriend, Luke, planned the most amazing weekend with our good friends Cori and Michael in Yosemite National Park! I had never been before and was totally blown away by the incredible beauty all around us. It is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. We all took lots of photos, but even the best pictures can’t beat experiencing it in person.
We made the approximate 6 hour drive up north and arrived in Curry Village late Friday night where Luke had reserved us an awesome heated tent. I believe this is called “glamping” as we weren’t roughing it in a traditional sense as our “tent” did have an electrical heater, beds, and towels for the nearby showers. I enjoy regular camping but this was pretty great!
Above is an inside look at our heated tent (from our last day after we had packed up) – I found it so cozy and the beds surprisingly comfortable! I slept SO well both nights!
To not attract bears, they don’t allow cooking in the camp area so you have go offsite to make your meals and eat. Since we couldn’t find any fire pits, we used Luke’s cooking set and propane stove. Luke is pretty creative and resourceful when it comes to outdoor cooking and made the yummiest breakfast hash – it was so hearty and filling, perfect for jumpstarting our day.
I was really excited about the day’s Yosemite Falls hike but I also have some health issues that make strenuous activities difficult so I was a bit worried I would hold us back. What was so wonderful was that I ended up surprising both Luke and myself and made it much farther than either of us could’ve guessed. We did have to take several breaks but I was so proud of myself for not giving up – and my perseverance paid off as I got to see some incredible views.
One of my favorite moments from the whole trip was coming around this big rock during our hike and suddenly right in front of us – the most gorgeous waterfall complete with accompanying rainbow reveals itself. It was simply breathtaking. Just like the rest of Yosemite, photos don’t do it justice.
We climbed up some rocks to get away from all the other hikers and found a nice somewhat secluded area to have lunch and enjoy the sight of the waterfall. Definitely a highlight.
Once the sun started going down, we made our way back and found our friends Cori and Michael and decided to take a few “couple” photos of each other on this cliff overlooking this incredible view. Since Luke and I both wore red plaid, our photos ended up looking like the most “epic Brawny ads.” Haha I loved it.
The next day, traffic was a MESS – literally bumper to bumper (I thought we had left LA!). With so many people trying to leave the camp area, we decided to scratch our hiking plans and just walk around and explore the areas nearby which included this big open snowy plain where I had my first legitimate snowball fight and took some pretty awesome photos. I just can’t get over how beautiful the scenery is.
After our fun in the snow, we took an indoor break for lunch and played a game of Settlers of Catan. I had a bit of a rough start but was just making a comeback (I’m Orange) when Luke won and ended the game. Anyone else love Settlers?
Traffic hadn’t let up at all so it was back to exploring! We followed a trail farther into the woods and came across some firepits (at least we now know for our next trip!) and a river that made for more lovely photos. Cori took the beautiful photos below.
Before we knew it, it was growing dark. Luke took some gorgeous night shots with his camera as we made walked back and by the time we reached our car, traffic was gone (yay!) and it was time to drive back home.
Such a wonderful trip. Despite not feeling my best at times, I loved every moment of it and can’t wait to go back. Be sure to check out the awesome video Michael made of our trip!
My New Year’s Eve consisted of lots and lots of flying. My original flight from Orlando to Boise on December 30th was canceled and had to be rebooked the next day early in the morning – then I got an announcement at 1:30am that that flight was delayed by 9 hours, which means I would miss my connecting flight and, thus, also had to be rebooked…but being New Year’s Eve, of course, almost everything was completely booked up. Luckily, around 4am I finally found a flight that could get me to Boise around 10pm (praise God!). It would be cutting it close to midnight and really messed up plans, but at least Luke and I would get to see the new year in together.
All aboard! The tiny plane that finally took me to Boise!
I was exhausted after getting off the plane in Boise, but the moment I saw Luke and ran into his arms, I knew it was all worth it. Ten days is the longest we’ve ever been apart since dating and I hope we aren’t that long apart again for a very long time.
Unfortunately, Luke had a case of food poisoning earlier that day and still wasn’t feeling too well which made our plans to go downtown to see the annual Potato Drop (we’re in Idaho) not look so good. I really wasn’t too disappointed and I honestly really didn’t care what we did that night as long as I was with him.
After deciding we would just stay in that night, I started to eat some late night dinner when Luke tells me to throw on my coat – we actually ARE going out! It was 11:48! His dad drove us downtown towards the capitol building but traffic jammed up so Luke grabbed my hand and we bolted out of the car and started running with just 2 minutes till midnight.
The Potato Drop-ped! In front of the Boise capitol building minutes after midnight.
Out of breath, we literally arrived just as they were counting down. Before I knew it, that big potato dropped from the sky, fireworks were going off, and I was kissing the man of my dreams and the happiest girl in the world. That’s I how I ended 2015 and began 2016 <3
Day Two of San Diego Comic Con 2015!! Before I start, I was able to get a replacement badge so yay! Crisis averted! If you don’t know what I’m talking about, read my Day One post first.
Today I decided I wasn’t going to miss out on the awesome panels lined up in the Fan Culture room (like yesterday) so I lined up outside the room nice and early as soon as the convention doors opened up. I was planning on camping out in the room for a few panels once I got in so I brought my laptop with me to do a bit of blogging while in line and in between panels.
First up was the Geek Wars: The Nerd Awakens panel moderated by the awesome Tony B Kim aka Crazy 4 Comic Con. Panelists consisted of Chris Gore (comedian), Amy Ratcliffe (writer), Andre Meadows (comedian), Ivy Doom Kitty (pro cosplayer), Sam Maggs (writer), and Ali Mattu (clinical psychologist). The panelists were divided into two teams of three (Jedi vs Sith) then took turns answering trivia questions that covered various geeky topics while discussing issues such as objectification, online bullying, and casting decisions. I really enjoyed the friendly and intelligent debates and discussion. So much good stuff was being said I didn’t want the panel to end!
Next two panels were Advanced Cosplay and Star Wars Steampunk. I was really blown away by the talent and passion of the cosplayers at these panels. I do a little cosplay here and there myself but nowhere near the level of creativity and skill of any of these people. I’ve always wanted to learn how people do certain things or where they find their materials and these panels answered those questions and many more. After the steampunk panel, I was so ready to get my notebook out and start sketching some cool steampunk Leia/Padme outfits.
My last panel in the Fan Culture room was The Business of Geek Fashion. My degree is in Fashion Merchandising and Product Development and I have minors in Business and Communications so I was very excited to see this panel. Lisa Granshaw moderated and the panelists were Jed Seigel (ThinkGeek Solutions), Ed Labay (Hot Topic), Ashley Eckstein (Her Universe), Sara Scargall (WeLoveFine), and Arthur Gibree (Sanshee). The panel offered a really insightful look into how geek fashion is made, how it has evolved over the years, and the latest trends. What I actually found most interesting was the topic of licensing and how that works.
I probably could’ve stayed in that room all day and enjoyed myself but I had made plans to meet up with Luke for lunch in my hotel room. After lunch, I took a brief nap then met up with my sister at the iZombie panel in Ballroom 20. Amazingly, there was no line and I was able to join her in the fourth row! The panel included the whole cast (Rose McIver, Robert Buckley, David Anders, Aly Michalka, Rahul Kohli, and Malcolm Goodwin) and executive producers Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero-Wright. During the panel, they revealed the first 3 brains of Season 2: 1) grumpy old man, 2) frat guy, and 3) Real Housewives of Seattle. All 3 sound awesome, and I can’t wait to see the new season coming back in the fall!
Luke and I met up in Room 8 for the “Beauty in the Beast” panel. Friends joined us, but after waiting almost 20 minutes after the scheduled start time, we were told that the panelist – entertainment designer and director Neville Page – wasn’t showing up. At that point, we weren’t sure what to do next. Checking Twitter, we found out about the Star Wars concert that was happening and ran outside. While I got lost trying to figure stuff out, everyone else in our group somehow got into the concert. My sister got her and two friends VIP passes and Luke even got a lightsaber! Of course, I was frazzled from everything and feeling left out and sad that I couldn’t be having a good time with my friends. Eventually, Luke left the concert so I wouldn’t be alone which I still feel terrible about since it was the highlight of his Comic Con experience. We walked over to the Next Day Line to join our friends Holli and John. From there, we listened to the rest of the concert and enjoyed the incredible ending fireworks finale.
We stayed in line for several hours waiting for a wristband. We used Twitter to stay up to date on the handout progress, but the process was very slow and discouraging. I hadn’t wanted to stay in line to begin with, but after all those hours I was pretty stubborn about staying in it until I had gotten a wristband – we were soooo close. I’ve been rained on while sleeping out in line alone with nothing on me (gotta love Hall H), so I had definitely been through worse, but my friends got cold and tired and left. My sister stayed with me and less than half an hour later, we had our D section wristbands and finally went back to our hotel to sleep for a few hours.
Definitely a roller coaster day of highs and lows. I didn’t go to the Star Wars panel or get into the concert, but at least we were guaranteed now to get into tomorrow’s Warner Brothers panel.
I have soooo many photos from Day Three so it might take a while, but it’s on the way!
I recently went to see Wicked for the second time with a bunch of friends at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood. The first time I saw it was on Broadway in NYC where I instantly fell in love with the show and couldn’t wait to see it again. My sister who accompanied me that first viewing felt the same way so when she heard it was coming to LA, she bought tickets the moment they went on sale. That was several months ago. Of course, time flies and before we knew the night was upon us!
My sister, ever the event organizer, had us all dress “super swank” – a term of mine that in this case translates to cocktail attire – to really make this feel like a special occasion. Apparently, there was a black and blue memo too.
The show was amazing as expected although I did like the Broadway show and cast better. Seeing it with great friends definitely made this a better experience, however. Save for my friend, John, it was everyone’s first time seeing the show and it was really awesome to be able to share that with them.
I think the lead actress who played Elphaba must’ve been under the weather. She did a decent job the first half of the show, but was definitely falling short of some of the bigger, song-defining notes in “The Wizard and I” and “Defying Gravity” which was a bit disappointing. Her understudy took over after Intermission and was phenomenal especially in “No Good Deed”. Overall, still incredible and I would certainly watch a third time.
I turned the big 2-5 earlier this month! My birthday week was pretty crazy work-wise, but I managed to get the night off to have dinner and spend time with friends. I originally was planning on starting my night off by going to the opening of the 4-day cat cafe “Catfe” pop-up event in Chinatown – if you know me, you’ll know that I am a TOTAL cat lady and one of my dreams is to go to a cat cafe in Japan – imagine my excitement when I found out there was a Kickstarter campaign to open one right here in LA! You should’ve seen me flip out when I found out the pop up event to promote the campaign was opening ON my birthday – it was fate. However, turns out there was a 2-hour wait for the cat cafe which would’ve made us later for our dinner reservation so we had to pass. My heart aches just thinking about it D’:
So to pass a little time until dinner I went and got my FREE Starbucks birthday drink – a Butterbeer frappacino from their Secret Menu in Grande size, of course. Then we walked around the plaza in Little Tokyo. It’s such a cute area, I love it there.
We had dinner at this great Japanese restaurant called Honda Ya. I had been there once before alone and was really impressed with the very traditional Japanese decor, the reasonable pricing and variety of the menu, and the quality of the food. Add to the fact that they have a separate area where you can take off your shoes and sit on the floor while you eat, and I knew this was where I wanted to do my birthday dinner.
One thing that I thought was pretty cool was when they brought out the green tea ice cream birthday dessert, they turned off the lights in the WHOLE restaurant (well probably not the kitchen and stuff but at least the whole front of house). I definitely wasn’t expecting that. Maybe turn off the lights in the separate area we were at, but the ENTIRE restaurant? It puts the spotlight on you which is a little embarrassing but also made you feel special 🙂
Afterwards, we went to a nearby karaoke place and had fun singing along to Frozen tunes and songs from our high school years. If you watch the video posted below, you’ll see that my sister and I get reallyyyy into our karaoke performances. “Dream On” is also our staple karaoke song although I think “Let It Go” is going to give it a run for its money.
Thus concludes my 25th birthday night! Nothing too crazy, everyone was back home before midnight. I can’t tell if this means I’m getting older or just boring haha. Honestly, it was one of the best birthdays I ever had. I feel so blessed that I got to celebrate this milestone birthday in this new city that I love with my wonderfully amazing sister (seriously, check out the video, she’s the bees knees) and incredibly amazing friends. Last year in NYC was incredibly lonely for me, so to see the drastic change a year later, just confirms to me how my move to LA was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
Not going to lie, turning a quarter of a century is a little scary, but being surrounded by people like this, makes it a little less daunting. Looking forward to what 25 brings!
Be sure to check out my video below!!
Caution for those with sensitive ears, there IS karaoke! 😀