Follow:
Browsing Category:

Geek Stuff

    Cosplay, Geek Stuff, Knowledge, Random

    Cosplay Tips – Makeup Brushes

    When we think of cosplay tools, I’m sure a heat gun or knife kit probably comes to mind first.

    However, there are other tools that you can use to bump your cosplay up to the next level.

    For me, one group is makeup brushes.

    Don’t run away yet, lemme explain.

    As you may know, I’m a big proponent of wearing makeup for cosplay. I seriously believe it can make all the difference for your cosplay – in between how you appear to others, how you appear in photographs, and how you can match your character better. Make-up is AMAZING for that. Even male cosplayers, who often growl at me at the suggestion, should wear makeup. It takes you to the next level, the same way a wig does! Get over your fear.

    So, part of applying makeup is brushes.

    You don’t need to spend $100s of your hard-earned cash to escalate your look. Lemme tell you that much right here.

    I own cheap brushes. Like $10 for 12 brushes cheap.

    But they work amazingly well- because I’ve learned how to care for cheap brushes.

    Firstly, let me show you the brushes I own:

    Here are my exact set from Amazon. I am not an Amazon Affiliate, I do not get kick-backs- I’m just genuinely admitting that these are the ones I own, and I like them.

    Here’s the deal. These range from $10-14 USD. I bought them at $12. They’re cheap. I know it.
    But, if you know how to handle cheap brushes, you’ll love them.

    Here’s my ‘new owner’ process for cheap brushes.

    1) Remove the handles. They’re wimpy at first, for real- the glue is weak, and they won’t stick on. After a few washes, the handles will fall off, so it’s better to start off right. Remove those handles first thing.

    2) Wash the brushes. These smelled like …. something. I dunno what. But, I knew it would be best to wash them. So I did. My process for washing brushes is HERE.
    If you want the simple steps – Small bowl of warm water and dash of soap (baby shampoo, brush cleaner, etc. I use my plain clarifying Suave shampoo). Tap each brush in a few times, then remove and swirl on the palm of your hand. Then rinse thoroughly. I hang mine to dry, with the bristles facing down from a rack in my kitchen. When completely dry, swirl on your clean palm to fluff the brushes. Tadaaa.

    3) Using E6000 or a hot glue gun (I used the latter), glue the handles and brushed back together. If you have the same set as me, remember that the larger brushes are labeled, so you’ll want to match them up first.

    IMG_0521

    4) That’s it. Store them in something pretty, and repeat washings as necessary.

    IMG_0523

    Also, please don’t ignore washing your brushes. Leaving them dirty will essentially put dirt on your faces, and in your pores. No fun. Check out the difference between my dirty and clean brushes below, as well as my blenders! The first (white) one is a knock-off, and the hot pink one is the my Beautyblender from Birchbox that I got using some of my points last year.

    Before: IMG_9791

    AFTER! IMG_9794

    \
    Here’s the name brand before and after. It expands, so it’s not a trick that it looks a little bigger inthe second picture.

     

    Before:

    IMG_0515

     

    After:

    IMG_0516

    For me, this makes the brushes hold together way longer, and the initial wash softens and cleans them.

    As for using them with makeup, here’s a quick guide from Allure Magazine that explains the usage of each type of brush!

    You can also check out the search terms “Makeup Brush Guides” on Pinterest to find tons of useful guides, tutorials and tips!

    Again, I don’t get a kickback on anything. i’m just letting you know everything I know.

    Let me know if you have any questions! I’ll explain more about how I use my brushes later!

    Share:
    Cosplay, DIY Projects, Knowledge, Make, Wear

    DIY Wig Detangling Spray

    I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t take care of my wigs as well as I should.
    I know that may not give me much credibility as a cosplay source, but I think it also adds credibility when I say that this easy, (sorta) 2-ingredient, DIY wig detangling spray actually works.

    I would know, because like I said, I don’t take care of my wigs very well initially, especially right after a con (when I’m too tired to do everything right). I’ll let them tangle up, lose their bags, forget to put them away- etc. You get the picture.

    But, this always means that I have to detangle them before I can use them again, and that’s how I know that this spray works.

    Plus, chances are, you already have the ingredients, and you may already use the spray in a soak form (if you’re like me and spend a lot of time on the internet).

    Also, I say sorta 2 because one ingredient that you add is already pre-mixed for you, but it itself contains many ingredients. You’ll see what I mean.

    So, one thing you need is a spray bottle (which I’m not counting as an ingredient). I’d recommend reusing an old bottle you have on hand, but only after you’ve cleaned it thoroughly.

    I end up reusing my NYX Setting Spray bottles for things like this – they’re tiny, so I can take them with me, and it means I don’t have to worry about harsh chemicals like if I were using a leftover cleaning spray bottle.

    The recipe itself?

    1 part fabric softener (liquid) to 3-5 parts water.
    That’s it. Mix and shake. Spray on wigs to coat the surface for easy detangling.

    I got this idea mostly because of the internet. It may have been done before, but I tried this on my own recently after C2E2, and a particularly nastily snarled, long wig after a long Saturday of use.

    Since I normally clean/condition my wigs by soaking them in fabric softener, I figured that should be the main, non-water ingredient in my detangling spray.

    I typically use this mixture, with softener replaced with hair conditioner, to detangle my own, real hair, but that doesn’t work as well on wigs (if they aren’t real hair – the synthetic fibers don’t hold the conditioner like real hair does, so especially you need the fabric softener to make your wig slippery), and the water prevents it from getting too greasy.

    Experiment until you find a ratio that you like. It’s your life. You have the power.

    With my short wigs, I’d water I use 1 part softener to 5 parts water, so that my wig doesn’t get too weighed down.
    On long wigs, when I really need that extra detangling power, I like to use 1 part softener to 3 parts water.

    Since I’m using old make-up bottles, I typically only make small amounts at a time, which really lets me customize the mixture often, and play around with the ratios.

    That being said, it also means I dunno about the staying-power of the mixture. I’m assuming it would keep for a long time, like fabric softener does, but I’ve just never found on my own. Lemme know, if you know.

    Also, let me know if this works for you, or if you have other suggestions! As we know, I’m an Open Book Cosplayer, which essentially means I’ll tell you anything and everything I know about cosplay if you ask. I’ve got nothing to hide, no secrets to keep, and I love spreading the knowledge wealth. This is how I detangle my wigs, and I find it works for me!

    Plus, I smell like clean laundry a lot.

    As a word of warning, try not to use too much, especially if you don’t rinse our your wigs. If you have sensitive skin, and you use this on the scalp of the wig, all of your sweat mixed with the softener could make you break out.
    It hasn’t happened to me, but it is something I just thought of while writing this out.

    I talk a lot! My bad.

    Share:
    DIY Projects, Geek Stuff, Instagram, Make

    DIY X-Files Painting

    After a very long hiatus, I AM BACK.
    Sorry for the delay.

    Let’s jump right into it, shall we?

    Tomorrow is another Geek Girl Brunch in Chicago, and the theme is Reopening the X-Files.

    Needless to say, I’m absolutely stoked.

    In honor of the brunch subject, and my new found obsession with the X-Files, I made you a little tutorial for a painting of the iconic ‘I WANT TO BELIEVE’ poster from the show.

    It’s pretty easy to do, and I LOVE IT SO MUCH.

    Check it out, here’s the finished painting:

    So, gather your supplies.

    Starting to paint


    I used a large cheap canvas (Got it on sale from Michael’s for $5!!), some cheap acrylic paint ($0.66 each from Michael’s) in the colors Hunter Green, White, Black and Bright Blue (to get the various shades, just mix the colors with black or white, depending on the look you’re going for), some paintbrushes (about $0.20 each, but I bought a big variety pack), vinyl letter (I used 2 inch) and some water.

    So first, plan out your letters. I just drew some pen lines based on where I roughly though the letters belonged, based on my reference photo of the original poster.

    Add vinyl stickers


    Next, take the hunter green (or whatever bottom color you’ve chosen), and use it to lay the base layer of paint over the bottom 1/4 or 1/3 of the canvas. I used letters that didn’t stick very well, so my first layer is a little choppy looking, since I was trying to carefully paint over the letters. Once I did this, he letter stuck on the canvas, so I could use a rougher touch later (which is good, because I mixed hunter green and a little black together for the 2nd and third layers on the green parts).

    first layer of paint


    Next comes the sky. First, ‘paint’ the rest of the canvas with water. Not enough to soak it, but this will help us blend the sky paint.
    I mixed the bright blue paint with the white paint, not fully mixing the paint (it will look a little marbled – that’s the look I like). Slather it on the canvas, dipping your brush in a little water in you need it to smooth and blend it. It should look like a nice, smooth mix of shades of blue and white. niiiiiiice.

    finished sky and ground


    Now, add the rough shapes of the trees. I used the original poster as a reference for my shapes. Don’t worry about being perfect – you’ll paint over parts of them now, and fix the details later.

    rough shape of trees


    Add in some clouds. I basically started with plain white paint on a smaller brush and continually smushed it on the painting. Then, for the details, I made a little blue-gray paint by mixing white, black and blue- I used this as the darker parts of the clouds. Create whatever shades you want by changing the amounts of each color you use! This is your painting!

    add some clouds

    This next photos shows several steps.
    One was adding the bottom of the UFO, to gauge the placement and shape between the clouds.
    The other is that part I mentioned would happen a bit ago- slightly painting over the trees. In the original, there’s far off mountains/trees, that are shown by various shades of green/gray (depending on what version you look at). In my photo, I just show the random layers I made for those hills. The shades were created by mixing the hunter green with a little white, painting that layer of hills, and then mixing even more white, and then painting another layer on top. Does that make sense? I don’t communicate well. Just check the picture. Or as questions – I’m always here.

    start the UFO and clean up

    Next, paint the top of the UFO – I mixed black, white and green for a green/gray shade.
    I also re-detailed the trees here and blended the paint down the canvas again.

    re-detail trees

    Final details on the painting: for me, that’s some touches on the UFO, blending the bottom a bit more, and cleaning up the sky a bit. Use water if you want to re-blend.

    Almost Done!


    Now, WAIT UNTIL THE PAINTING IS COMPLETELY DRY. I just did some other stuff around the apartment for an hour, then came back. When the painting is dry, peel off your vinyl letters from the bottom of the painting.

    Before Clean Letters

    The letters may have gotten a little paint under them, so just freshen up the messy spots with some of the white paint.

    Clean Up Letters

    AND VOILA!!!
    You’ve got your own X-Files painting.
    Put it on display, boo. Be proud.
    I won’t lie, I was so happy, I kept giggling to myself. Alone. In my Apartment.
    Like a loser.


    Finished X-Files Painting


    But a really cool loser, you know?

    Share:
    Random

    HANG IN THERE!

    Hey guys-

    I know it’s been a while, but I’m going through a lot right now.

    I know you may not care, but let me explain anyways.

    These aren’t excuses for my lack of posting, just explanations.

    I’m in a weird place right now.
    As some of you know- I am a graduate student.

    Or, technically, I was.
    I graduated recently with my MBA, so I feel like my life has kind of turned around.
    Being a student was all I knew, and now I’m at a different point in my life.

    It’s scary; it’s exciting; it’s new.

    I have to find a job,
    I just moved to Chicago (before I was kind of near St. Louis),
    I just got back from a trip to NYC.

    I’m just going through a lot, haha.

    I promise I’ll be better, now that I’ve settled in.

    Hang in there please!

    Share:
    Geek Stuff, Random

    Brilliant Day

    So, if you know anything about me, I assume it’s that I’m a geek.

    I mean, it’s fairly obvious, given that I have a website showcasing my love for everything in the nerd realm.

    This is why I think you’ll understand why I’ve declared a brilliant day, once I explain it all to you.

    Let’s get started.

    Today, I got to hang out with Dr. Michio Kaku.

    Yes. The (Dr.) Michio Kaku.

    If you know who that is, skip ahead.
    If you don’t know who that is, keep reading.

    Dr. Michio Kaku, my fair lads, is one of those lovely ‘popularizers of science.’
    This means his work is so interesting that even those not generally interested in science get excited. He makes the idea of science ‘popular,’ to the general public, much like the lovely Bill Nye (The Science Guy, as you may know him) or the ever amazing Neil deGrasse Tyson. They are demigods within their fields, and the eyes of fellow nerds. Science celebrities, basically.

    Luckily, I’m into science, so this was even better.

    He considers himself a futurist- meaning his work generally focuses on the systematic predictions or possibilities of the future, for human society and life on Earth as a whole. He’s written tons of books filled with his thoughts, such as these titles below [which are linked to places where you can buy them, btw. I really recommend them. They’re fascinating reads!]

    futureofthemind  physicsofthefuture  physicsoftheimpossible  parallelworlds  hyperspace  beyondeinstein  visions

     

    These are the covers, and I love them. There are older versions of most of the books, but I love the illustrations for these covers. They just look so great. Perfect and sci-fi-y.

    ‘The Future of the Mind’ is his newest; it’s hit #1 on The New York Times’ book lists, and it’s at #1 on Amazon for scientific research books overall!

    My personal favorite, although they’re all amazing, is the ‘Physics of the Impossible’ book, which talks about sci-fi elements from movies, and tvs shows, and such, and then actually talks about the physics of their concepts, and which are actually something that can be achieved in the future and which are total imagination. He talks about things like phasers, teleportation, time travel, all sorts of stuff. If you like sci-fi shows, and are looking for a read to start with, I’d definitely say this is the book for you.

    Dr. Kaku is an amazing person, and I really think you should research more about him if you are interested in learning more! He has had an amazing life so far, and is FULL of awesome information. Keep an eye out for him.

    ANYWAYS.

    The reason why today is brilliant?

    I’ll tell you why.

    Read more

    Share:
    Random

    GEEKIFIED: DIY Bird Feeders

    Inspired by pinterest (1) So, along with my new post series ‘Inspired by Pinterest,’ where I show my version of crafts that have been floating around on pinterest, I figured, I should create a new series for projects whose inspiration also came from pinterest, but that got a ‘geek’ remake. Thus, GEEKIFIED posts are born. Happy birthday, GEEKIFIED. Welcome to the world. You’re so beautiful.   As an example in the series, let’s start out with with these DIY bird feeders I saw on Pinterest. The pin itself leads to a buzzfeed link, which I then followed to the original content, found at Pink Pistaschio. Her instructions were simple- she even called a bird handler to make sure all the ingredients were safe for birds beforehand (SPOILER ALERT: they are safe).




    Inspired by this initial pin, I was excited to create some different shapes than the traditional circle (although I still did a heart. I love hearts. Like fun, I’m not going to make a heart.) I chose some dinosaurs, a skull, a heart (duhhh) and a raven. Half are from a dinosaur cookie cutter set I got from Walmart, one is from a Wilson fondant set that is supposed to be used to make Calla Lillies, and the others are from a Halloween cookie cutter set.

    Choose your cookie cutters I chose the Raven because I love the idea of birds eating something bird shaped. Is that weird?

    Anyways, here’s what you need for my version:

    + Fun cookie cutter shapes

    + 2 packets unflavored gelatin (I used Knox. It’s the only unflavored brand I know)

    + 2/3 cup water in a saucepan (cool/cold water. DO NOT heat up the water until after the gelatin dissolves)

    + 2 cups birdseed (I used a random generic brand, but you can lure different types of birds with different types of seeds!)

    + Cooking Spray (to coat your cookie cutters)

    + Cookie Sheet lined with Wax Paper (do this first, trust me)

    + A beverage straw or two, for making the hole in the bird feeders.

    + Twine, string, wird, etc. i.e. something to tie to the bird feeder so you can hang it.

    Let’s get started.

    Step one: In a small saucepan, stir the two packets of gelatin into the water until the gelatin is fully dissolved.

    Pour the Gelatin Step two: Turn your burner on, to medium heat, and stir constantly until the gelatin simmers. I may have heated it too much, but it didn’t affect the outcome of my treats, so don’t worry about mistakes! Simmer and Stir Step three: Remove the pan from heat, and stir in all your birdseed. MIX MIX MIX! Then, let cool. Pour in Birdseed
    Step four: While the birdseed mix is cooling, line your cookie sheet/baking sheet with the wax paper. This didn’t need a picture, haha.

    Step five: Spray the inside of your cookie cutters with cooking spray, to make the treats easy to get out and easy to clean afterwards. Then, line them up on your baking sheet for the next step. There is no picture for this either.

    Step six: Spoon your birdseed mixture into your little cookie cutters. You could do this carefully, but you’re still going to make a little bt of a mess, I bet. No worries. That’s why you’ve got that wax paper. Spoon them at least halfway full (mine are filled to the brim). Spoon it in

    Step seven: Insert a bit of a cut beverage straw into each treat to preserve a hole for string. Add a straw bit

    Step eight: Put baking sheet with treats into fridge to firm up. Leave it alone for at least an hour. All ready for the fridge: Ready for the fridge!

    Step nine: Remove treats from fridge, remove treats from cookie cutters, remove straws from treats. Remove the treat from mold: Remove from mold

    Step ten: String them up, and hang outside!! FInished Raven FInished Heart

    LOOK HOW CUTE.
    String them up I CAN’T DEAL WITH IT! Admire your work! Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.

    HINT: If you aren’t going to put all of your bird feeders out at once, you MUST store them in the fridge. Gelatin molds if left out, and your bird feeders will mold if left out on the counter and stuff.

    Typically, birds eat them before they have a chance to mold outdoors, so don’t worry about it.
    The birds in my area are savages, and the feeders were all gone (I made more than pictured) within three days. SAVAGES.

    Share:
    LootCrate Unboxing

    LootCrate Unboxing: March 2015

    It’s time for another unboxing of my monthly LootCrate.

    Just so we all remember:  LootCrate is a geeky subscription box. Each month, you get a box filled with nerdy goodies, gamer gear, comics, toys and sometimes an exclusive shirt. Items vary each month, following a theme.

    LootCrate can be found here. Subscriptions are $13.95 a month, plus shipping and handling [If you choose a one month at a time option- You can save month by signing up ahead for several box plans, like the prepaid 3 months plan). My LootCrate monthly total typically ends up, after S&H, being about $20 a month. There’s typically some sort of coupon code online for $3-5 off for your first box, if you’re thinking about a subscription!

    Here’s the crate for March 2015! The theme was ‘Covert’ and it featured spy themed goodies.

    I actually had an issue with this crate: an item was missing. HOWEVER: LootCrate is amazing. Within two days of notifying them about the missing item, I had a replacement for the missing item on my doorstep. They even responded to my tweets asking what I should do. A+ response time, guys. I really appreciate it. That’s why I stick around.

    On another note, This crate was a ‘miss’ for me. I have a love/hate relationship with the items I get from LootCrate a lot. Sometimes, they are useless or uninteresting to me. This month had a lot more items that I disliked or didn’t care for than items I actually liked, which bummed me out. Bummer.

    I did love two items,and liked one, but in a crate of 9ish items, that’s not a very strong rate of likeage.

    Anyways. Here’s almost everything in the crate:

    Full LootCrate March 15

    I say ‘almost’ because when I unboxed the crate, as previously mentioned, I had a missing item.
    I could go back and take pictures of it now, buuuuuuut 1) I’m really lazy and 2) it’s at my office and I’m at my house, soooo. Make do.

    But, if you didn’t already know, LootCrate is amazing.
    I reached out to them on Twitter, and they responded within 15 minutes with instructions on what to do.

    Then, after following their instructions, of course, I was reached by someone at LootCrate who apologized and had a replacement item in my mailbox within two days. Beautiful people. Good work.

     

    ANYWAYS. On to the items in the crate.

    This first item is an exclusive Bond: This is Stirred Tshirt from Loot Crate Labs.

    Lootcrate shirt March 15

    It’s cute, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t wear stuff like this, and I’m not a huge Bond fan. I probably should have skipped this crate, and bought the two things I did like later, but how was I to know? Hindsight is 20/20.

    Next, we have an item I liked: Spy Mad Libs, from Penguin Books.

    Mad Libs

    If you haven’t played Mad Libs, you are missing out. It’s goofy and a nice quick game.
    It’s the game where certain words are missing from a story, and the reader asks you for nouns, adjectives, verbs and adverbs to fill in the blanks. Then they read you the entire story, with your goofy words added in.
    More often than not, it’s hilarious.

    The next one is an exclusive Orphan Black Comic from IDW Comics.
    If you haven’t heard of this series, this could be a neat way to get into it, if you already get LootCrate.
    Apparently it’s about a girl who finds out she has clones running around.
    This comic follows one of the clone’s lives.

    Orphan Black Comic

     

     

    So, an item that I actually LOVED- the Exclusive Field Agent Blink Time Wrist Watch.

    Spy Watch

    It doesn’t look like much here, but watch this clip I took:

     

    Awesome, right? I love it.

    Another item was the Exclusive Paracord Survival Bracelet from Loot Crate Labs.
    You can tell it’s theirs, not only from their logo, but the distinct orange and black color scheme.

    Bracelet

    I have brothers and friends in the military, so I own a couple of these bracelets already.
    And I really don’t like the color orange. I try not to wear it.
    This is a neat item in theory, but it wasn’t for me.
    Although I may disagree with saying that if I’m in a tough spot and happen to have it on me. Although, again, I probably won’t because it’ll stay at home sitting in the crate.

    NEXT, we have a replica Agents of Shield Lanyard and Badge, from EFX Collectibles.

    Shield Badge

    I’d probably like this if I watched the show (don’t yell at me). Another miss for me.

    And, it wouldn’t be a LootCrate if they didn’t give you a code for something in your crate.
    This month’s code is a digital download of ‘Ninjak’ from Valiant.

    Comic Button

    I’m not a fan of the codes, because I either forget to download things, or I deem it too much work from something I’m uninterested in. Soooo, this will probably go unused as well.

    Here was my missing item (that got shipped out to me super fast after I reported it missing). It’s labeled as an exclusive Special Agent Dossier Notebook (2-pack) from Field Notes. This was an item I loved.

    Field Notes

    Now that I’ve gotten my replacement, I can say that this is one of my favorite items in this crate. They are super slim, cute notebooks. If any of you know me personally, you’d know that I always carry a notebook with me, so these geeky, slim ones are so perfect.

    Anyways. Have another photo.

    Open LootCrate
    Freshly opened LootCrate

    This crate opened up to fold into a pretend laptop or something, I think.
    But, like I said, I was kind of disappointed in most of this crate, so I didn’t even unfold it.

    Sorry for letting you down.
    But, there you have it folks. That was March’s “COVERT” themed box.

    Once again, if you’re interested, you can go to LootCrate to check out their subscriptions.
    I’m still thinking about switching to the yearly plan, to get the expense out of the way and to save an additional $24, but I don’t know. It depends on whether or not I like APril’s crate. If it’s kind of disappointing, I may just unsubscribe. Womp Womp.

    If you’d like to save $3 on your first crate, they typically release a coupon code at some point, so watch for that.

    The theme for April is stated as ‘Fantasy,’ stating “Swords and sorcery, myths and magic, dragons and… things that aren’t dragons. This month, it’s all about FANTASY!” [Source – LootCrate].

    I have high faith for April’s crate.

    Here’s hoping.

    Share: