My First CosplayMania

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Last October 5, I attended my first Cosplay Mania. This convention has always been hailed as one of the best, if not the best anime/manga/cosplay event in the metro, but I’ve always been unable to attend because of the various workings of fate’s crafty little hands. I’m so glad I got to attend this time, and have a pitstop in the form of my friend Billie and her friends’ art booth: McFoodie!

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I hoarded all of the Shingeki No Kyojin stickers. All. Of. Them. x__x

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Oh yes– I didn’t mention that we were dressed up as Ranma (female) and Ryoga from one of our childhood favorite anime, the classic Ranma 1/2! Here’s a photo of us posing with an adorable little male Ranma cosplayer (who even brought a Kettle.) If this kid watches Ranma, parenting skills +9000 to his mom! (Although I hope she filters out some of the more R18 scenes.)

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Found some good cosplay friends who went as the CGI world’s new heroes: Hiccup, Merida and Jack Frost (These guys have been hanging out with us at conventions since high school, particularly Tish, the PERFECT Merida cosplayer!)

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It’s been 2 weeks since Cinderella opened. And it’s been one of the best rides of my life! I’m incredibly grateful to be working with such funny, talented and positive people– I learned tons from them and so I gave them a tangible manifestation of my love on opening night:  these glass slipper cookies! Two boxes full for the cast and crew who are more magical than fairy dust because they make fairytales come alive in the real world.

After our first gala night, we cleaned up and had cocktails with the audience and other important people. (well the Stepfamily had to clean up at least, we were not gonna go out with our stage makeup on. My post-wig hair refused to cooperate with me, though.)

Anyway, here are some of the snapshots I squeezed in last night.

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And I’m done here. 😀 That’s all, folks! *Cue Bugs Bunny voice and Looney Tunes ending sequence.*

Fantasy Quest 3

 

I attended Fantasy Quest 3, the 3rd annual Fantasy Quest event. It’s a convention that caters mostly to photographers and cosplayers, as it is held in a more grandiose venue more suited for photoshoots: Fernwood Gardens.

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My friend Setsu’s awesome accessories store. (I don’t know why I haven’t snagged one of those floral spiked headbands yet.)

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I’ve recently gotten into figure collecting, (another one out of Pandora’s box here, ugh) so I had to restrain my impulses like I was taming a wild horse when I caught sight of this booth.

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Beautiful Disney girls with Ryan, a photographer whom I worked with countless times, but more recently on this Pokemon shoot.

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One of my favorite local Samurai X cosplayers. Never got his name (the rush of conventions plus wig-induced migraines make your mind all blurry) but doesn’t he resemble Munetaka Aoki?

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Lyron Aquino, a local craftsman extraordinaire! The make of his Bunny (from Tiger & Bunny) is amazingly detailed and rather flawless.

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Some Homestuck, a character I am not familiar with, and a mori girl. Adorable colorful people.

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Here’s what I wore. I cosplayed Maka Albarn from Soul Eater, the Black Blood/Demon Hunter version. That scythe (which I made to accommodate LED lights because I knew LED lights would make me feel boss and I was absolutely right about that) as you can probably tell, weighs like The Hulk, but I had immense fun accepting the challenge of its weight (worstened by the fact that the proportions of the blade are uneven so it’s also unstable) to come up with great shots, like this and this. I felt like a beast!

And that’s about it so far. Before writing this I kind of found my break week uneventful and terribly idle. Looking back, idle though it may have been, I spent it dressing up as my favorite heroes and having fun via major geekouts, as I usually do. Haha! That’s really not half bad at all!

Cinderella Manila (Tradeshow Backstage Snapshots)

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Yesterday’s Cinderella Manila trade show marked the first day I stepped into my dressing room as a cast member of Resorts World Manila’s 2013 staging of Rogers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella. The show & press conference was slated to begin at 11am, so we were called in at 8am for hair, makeup, sound checks and a final run through to make sure things were to go on swimmingly. Everything was a rush that morning, so I only managed to steal a few snapshots.

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The first shot I took of my look for that day: the obligatory dressing room selfie.. Okay; I dislike “obligatory selfies” since really, nothing and nobody has contracted you to indulge in vanity. It’s really more like something that kind of always just happens to me. When you’re standing in front of the classic dressing room mirror decked out with lights in all its backstage-show-business pseudo-glamour, fully costumed and made up, especially when it’s the first time you’ve slipped into the costume and stood in front of that mirror.. Taking dressing room selfies almost seems like it is nature’s order. Haha!

This wig is the most gargantuan thing that has ever been placed on my head. I named it Beevus, as suggested by our co-director Rem Zamora because it looks like a beehive, and because I wanted to give it a manly name. It was begging for a manly name.

By the by, you can only imagine just how many bobby pins are holding Beevus in place.

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I adore this shot of my stepfamily getting prepped for the show by the M.A.C team! For some reason they really look in-character here, and the hair and makeup helps plenty, but it’s really because of their facial expressions and body language. In the foreground is Sweet Plantado of The Company, who alternates with theatre veteran Pinky Marquez Cancio as the stepmother. In the background is Giannina Ocampo, a Repertory Philippines talent, who plays my fellow stepsister. My darling dysfunctional family is made up of some really talented women who are just as funny off-stage as they are in their roles.

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Speaking of makeup, look at how marvelous a stage face the M.A.C artists paint on! My character, Joy, is a grumpy, sullen girl, so they chose to use dark neutrals and gave me a gaunt-looking face with heavy-looking eyes.

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Most of my castmates are celebrated local theatre veterans, and it’s a huge honor to be surrounded by such awe-inspiring and seasoned performing artists! This is Caisa Borromeo, who is a part of the ensemble and plays one of the eligible young maidens!

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This is Red Concepcion, who plays Lionel, the royal steward.

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Celebrities Christian Bautista and Karylle Tatlonghari play Prince Christopher and Cinderella, respectively. A few minutes before we were called onstage, I managed to sneak in a dressing room selfie while they were getting ready! Alternating the roles of the prince and Cinderella are Fred Lo and Julia Abueva, pictured below. A dear old friend, Justine Pena, is also another one of the Cinderellas, but I wasn’t able to see her before the show started.

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Stepfamily assemble! Welcome to the Jersey Shore of Fairytale Land.

The dress I’ve got on actually isn’t my costume for the show at all. The designers were pressed for time and were unable to finish my costume, so I used a Resorts World entertainment costume they already had on-hand just for the trade show. (What I’m wearing is a can can dress! Haha!) Can’t wait to see what my real costume’s going to look like.

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These two gorgeous women are Sheila Fransisco and Pinky Marquez. Tita Sheila plays the queen and Tita Pinky plays the stepmother. She also alternates with Tita Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo as the fairy godmother.

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The press con ended and we morphed back into regular human beings. It took me a little bit beyond forever to get Beevus off and I couldn’t do it alone! I was starving and getting frantic because everyone was going ahead to the lunch with the press and I still hadn’t gotten the wig off. Hahaha!

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We still had rehearsals after the press con as there was one final scene that needed to be choreographed, so during the 2 hour break in between I waited and chatted in the dressing room with one of my castmates Giansy (my stepsister dearest!) and Christian. It was a pretty exhilarating day, and this was the last shot that I captured of it.

I’m gonna get a little sappy here: as I stepped out onto the stage for the trade show, I was so overwhelmed by the magnitude of the realization that “this is really happening; I’m really on this beautiful stage performing for an audience and it has what I have always longed for” and kind of had to fight back tears. Coming back onstage for the cast interviews after the show, I felt them welling up again. This opportunity is such a crazy dream come true. I feel so fortunate that I still can’t believe it! “Because these daft and dewey-eyed dopes keep building up impossible hopes, impossible things are happening everyday” indeed. I’m beyond grateful and extremely excited, and I really can’t wait to tell you more stories about this production!! It has been motivating me to become better and filling my heart with overwhelming, true happiness. It sounds overstated but I really mean it.

By the by, the run begins on Oct 9, and you can catch more details about the show through the Cinderella Manila FB page, or the Resorts World Manila FB page.

Bangkok 2013 Diary

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I’ve been to Bangkok countless times. I guess one of the challenges of returning to a foreign country that you already know rather well is finding a balance between discovering new places and revisiting the old haunts you loved, so the place still has that otherworldly new spark while keeping that comforting sense of home-away-from-home nostalgia. That’s sort of why I prefer to stay in youth hostels. It’s definitely a new place in a new country, but the friendly, no-frills environment allows me to settle and become attached to the place easily. Traveling becomes more fun with hostels too– if you end up in a good one you’ll have access to the best ways to get around the country for cheaper rates (if not no rates at all.) There’s that, and then there are also daily social events that are always worth checking out, where you’ll always be around some very interesting and diverse people.

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The next time you head to Bangkok, check in at Lub D. (In case you needed this bit of info: there are two branches. We stayed in the Siam branch.) The staff are immensely friendly and helpful. The rooms and communal bathrooms are very clean, well-equipped and well-designed. The location is great (and so are the rates. ;)) I don’t know if I’m just a  being a helpless carbnivore but their snack night was one of my favorite nights in the trip.

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The street food vendor they hired for free snack night made trays upon trays of these addictive wonton chips stuffed with minced pork. Of course, they were best eaten with the sauce they came with. They tasted like outer space! I asked for the Thai name but I don’t recall it anymore as I dismissed the thought when they said that if I pronounced it wrong I would end up saying “penis” instead.

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The day after our arrival was spent far, far away from the city (it was 3 hour drive on the way back to the hostel!) First up on the itinerary was this floating market.

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We then boarded another boat and were taken around the residential area.

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My real objective this trip around was to meet and greet some big cats. En route to the tiger temple, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get a photo-op stopover with this little cutie, who was very sweet.

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After another long drive, we finally arrived at the tiger temple.

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It was the first time I’d ever interacted with this many fully grown tigers. Needless to say, I was beyond myself with glee! (Digressing a little, I really feel strongly about doing something for the first time or trying something new every time I travel. After all, experiencing new things should one of the most basic reasons for anyone to do it!)

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The next night, we watched the Calypso Ladyboy Cabaret. I honestly wasn’t impressed with the execution of the show, but felt proud of these fierce ladies regardless.

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I also tried out a fish spa for the first time! The nibbling really tickles at first, but then it slowly starts to feel like a “look ma, no hands” exfoliation service. My legs felt squeaky clean, light and re-energized afterwards.

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Ah, this lady. I was saving my words for her.

This has got to be the most beautiful thing I saw in this Thailand trip. This lovely woman was sitting quietly  in a corner of the incredibly humid Chatuchak market, selling her handmade palm leaf animals for a humble 10 baht each. They were so well-made that they could’ve been priced for a little more, in my opinion. After I purchased one, I asked for a photo and she gave this smile for the camera, and that moment was so wonderful that I swear I literally felt my heart swell. The legs in blue pants behind her belong to her husband. He sat behind her watching over her the whole time. To see this lovely lady using the best of her skills to earn an honest living despite her age, the heat and the crowds, and to see this couple who must’ve supported each other through so much inspires me in so many ways. I hope that someday I’ll find a love like theirs and live life with the same strength, positivity and solidarity. Absolutely beautiful. 🙂

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That one sight defined my entire Thailand trip by billions of lightyears beyond any tour or show that we paid for, and I’m very lucky to have chanced upon that lovely lady before we headed home. But now I have this souvenir from that memory– easily one of my most favorite now– and more importantly, I also have this story to share with anyone who might be touched or inspired by it.

This trip was a great getaway and a great teacher, as traveling should be.

I hope you enjoyed this post, because I quite obviously enjoyed this trip! If you have any questions about Bangkok, please do feel free to ask me (by whatever means of communication available to you and by that I mean if you’re my friend and you’re planning to go to Bangkok soon, hit me up with a message on Facebook by all means. Otherwise, feel free to comment!) I’ll do my best to help you out!

The Great Orange Lipstick Obsession

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If these lipsticks actually contained Vitamin C, I’d have OD’ed by now.

I don’t know why I’ve found this strange new resonance with orange lipstick. I’m not even that big a fan of the color on its own. I guess it’s because I think that changing your lip color is the easiest way to morph without doing anything permanent like changing your haircut. I guess it’s also because lipstick is my favorite focal point in makeup– probably the only makeup-related thing I’m gung ho about at all. I am, however, sure that– connected to all those predispositions to lipstick– orange is the most unique lip color that still somehow doesn’t look too niche, like blues or blacks. That’s probably because it’s still a warm color and is more closely associated to the “natural” color of lips. Regardless, orange lipstick looks off-beat and fun and I fell in love hard and fast. You know how writers are inspired to write some form of prose about the people they love? Yeah, well, I’ve decided to make an entry about orange lipstick, somewhat in the same vein. Er… Please do not let this single post be the measure of how you perceive my intellectual and emotional depth. Haha! I am partially doing this because I need to be more productive with this sudden addiction, so my hoarding doesn’t feel so wastefully self-serving. So here I am, sharing my collection, in case you, dear reader, were considering picking up your own tube of orange lipstick. (Or in case I might be able to influence you. Join the Dark Side. Mwahahahahaha. *Spirit fingers*)

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From left to right, my collection consists of the following: (I bought these over the span of a few months. 2 or 3, maybe.)

1.) Sleek True Color Lipstick in Tangerine Scream. P400-500. Purchased from The Ramp in Glorietta.

2.) Too Cool For School Lip Sticker in Tangerine. P400-500 (this range may be off, but the actual price won’t stray too far from it.) Purchased from their store in Mall Of Asia.

3.) IN2IT Moisture Intense Lipstick in Juice. Around P400-500. Purchased from PCX in Power Plant Mall.

4.) MAC Matte Lipstick in Sounds Like Noise. P1000. Purchased from Hoops And Loops.

5.) 3CE by Stylenanda in #406 Milky Tangerine. Around P800. Purchased by my mother in the actual store, but you can get it online at the Stylenanda website.

6.) Ever Bilena Matte Lipstick in Autumn Breeze. P150. Purchased at Watsons which is pretty much everywhere in Metro Manila.

7.) Nyx Butter Gloss in Cherry Cheesecake. P250. Purchased at a bazaar, but you can find Nyx in a lot of online makeup stores & at the nearest bazaar.

I can’t believe I have 7 orange lippies– that’s even more than the variety of natural shades and reds that I own. (Come to think of it, I only have 1 true red lipstick.)

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Sleek’s Tangerine Scream is an incredibly bright red orange that’s borderline neon. Actually, “Tangerine Scream” does the color a lot of justice; it’s a juicy orange color that’s so vibrant it’s almost screaming at you. If I don’t pat it down a little, it appears almost like a highlighter color on my lips, probably because the sheen makes it all the more… well, bright and shiny. Dab it a little and you’ll get a nice matte effect. Various beauty bloggers have called it a dupe of MAC’s Morange, if it’s of any concern to those who may be looking for that specific color but aren’t excited about the wallet binge. I just wanted an affordable obnoxious orange lippy, and this is definitely the one. It lasts pretty long, too. This firecracker’s a far cry from subtle, and you’ll be likely to catch people’s attention. If you’re not iffy about that, I highly recommend this one. Best worn with pop art prints or a monochrome-blocked outfit, in my opinion. Sleek, in general, is a great brand. Great colors, great pigmentation and great prices. I’m not much of a makeup enthusiast, but if I were I’d hoard a lot of their products.

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I am a believer in the importance of subtle differences. Too Cool For School’s Tangerine Lip Sticker is a nice middle ground between Sleek’s Tangerine Scream (above) and IN2IT’s Juice (below.) What I love about this one is that it doesn’t settle into your fine lines and has this creamy-matte finish. It’s a medium orange with a pink undertone and I find that this lipstick goes incredibly well with my Nyx Butter Gloss in Cherry Cheesecake (the last one on the list.) For some reason, I’ve been wearing this color the most, probably because it’s not too dark, and pairing it with the butter gloss emphasizes the pink undertone which  maybe makes it look younger and very casual-friendly. (Plus, the yellow tartan packaging is adorable.. But then, all of Too Cool For School’s products have irresistible packaging.)

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IN2IT’s Juice is a very versatile and wearable shade, for those who’d like to experiment with loud pop art lips but aren’t really feeling a fully tangerine mouth. While the tangerine is definitely there, you’ve got an equal amount of friendly coral red, and a pomelo pink undertone in there to back you up. Dare I say this color could even work in a more corporate setting. It’d shake things up without disturbing the peace. The formula isn’t drying at all, too, and it figures: it contains SPF15, vitamin E and other moisturizing oils. What a pal. The texture is creamy but not runny, and it lasts pretty long. I’d say this is a lippy you can dress up or down. Plus the sheen makes your kisser look like a gummy bear. Nomnomnom.

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MAC’s Sounds Like Noise is my personal favorite in my orange collection, and that’s because of a big, holy bias for Hayley Williams. This lippy was part of a small collection she released for the ever-hyped MAC, and since I’m such a big fan of her and of Paramore, I needed my hands on this as soon as I saw an online seller that had ’em in stock for a reasonable price (considering it’s MAC and an exclusive collection.) That it was orange was a big selling position advantage, too. This is another color for the bolder and more experimental, as it is a rather interesting yellow-orange. It applies pure yellow-orange if you put on 2 coats, but the pink of your lips makes for an interesting undertone if you settle for just 1. Either way, you’re gonna be toting a really uniquely colored mouth– — another reason why this one’s my personal fave. One thing you need to be wary of is that this is a matte lipstick, so not only will you be sporting an attention-grabbing color, but you’ll also be exposing and/or emphasizing all the dryness and fine lines on your lips. That is, unless you exfoliate and moisturize properly or top things of with a lip gloss– but then again, these are basic precautions that are done when wearing any light matte lipstick.

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This photo is blurry because I liked it that way. Ssshhh, don’t mess with my “artsy aesthetic.” Haha! Anyway, 3CE’s #406 Milky Tangerine goes on creamy and is slightly sheer. This is the most natural, casual looking orange in my collection. “Milky” is definitely an accurate description of the color. Seeing the “Tangerine,” color, however, depends on the kind of lighting you’re in. Sometimes it does appear to be a creamy yellow orange, sometimes it’s the color of a melon milkshake and sometimes it’s more of a nude peach. Either way this baby’s for those who prefer a more subtle color. It’d look great with light-and/or-dreamy colored clothing, plus a simple and fresh-looking face. This lipstick has got a very unique but natural color that’ll make you slip right into spring and become reminiscent of the girls in Audrey Kawasaki’s artworks.

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Ever Bilena’s Autumn Breeze seems similar to IN2IT’s Juice, but this one has no pink undertones, and has a matte finish. It does have that rather warm brick-red-orange color of a maple leaf! This was my very first orange lipstick actually, but I didn’t realize how much I enjoyed the shade back then. I purchased IN2IT’s Juice a few months later and that’s when the bug bit me. Anyway, back to the lipstick: This lady’s definitely the cheapest on the list but the color payoff and longevity rival those of high-end brands, as most (if not all) of Ever Bilena’s matte lipsticks do. Most of my friends who own them are in love with them as well. The only problem is that they can get chalky and drying over time. You’d have enjoyed the lipstick thoroughly by then, though.

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Last up is Nyx Butter Gloss in Cherry Cheesecake. It’s actually pretty opaque for a lip gloss, and it’ll coat your lips with a pinky orange color. It smells great, it feels really creamy– but the best part is it doesn’t feel like a sticky glob of slime, like most lip glosses do! While it brightens up your face when worn on its own, sadly it doesn’t last very long. It works wonders when used on top of any lipstick though– well, orange lipsticks are a given, but I’ve tried wearing this on top of pink shades and neutral shades and it has thus far been consistent in giving me some pretty new colors.

That sums up my whole collection, and now I’ve purged way too many descriptions to think of a decent conclusion. I think you’ve read all that needs to be read before you start thinking that I’m a crazy orange-lipstick-lady who has secretly assigned each tube a personality and has tea parties with them. So. THERE. I’ve made productive use of this obsession. I hope it’s of any use to you! If you plan on trying orange lipstick out, best of luck to you. Let me know how your search goes! Be careful not to hoard like I did. (Though honestly, I regret nothing!)

Back Again, Somewhere Else

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“The grass is always greener on the other side,” goes the saying that is thrown around like the shower of arrows that killed Gerard Butler’s Leonidas. Well. It killed him for a reason. ‘Cause like the saying, it hit hard. (BADUM-TSS!!!) I used to be on tumblr, but now it’s too cluttered with cute animals and scenic views of the beach taken with different angles and different lomo filters (I’m not hating btw)… I’m exploring how WordPress fares for me, since I’m trying to write again.

I figured I should impose this upon myself—ironically, I found that both my speaking and writing skills deteriorated in college (or at least starting from my junior year, when I was well out of my merit english classes, well out of inspiration and most of all well out of time.) Why? Because I unfortunately have very low tolerance for things that do not make me happy, and because I am helplessly impatient, when I am forced to do these things my whole being always manages to degrade somehow. Although I feel like this is the case with pretty much anybody, I know I am somehow more childishly intolerant of inspidity than most people.

This post seems off to a good and positive start! Heh. But the point I was getting at is that I won’t allow any part of me that is capable of expression to regress any longer—I don’t recall how it happened in college but I think I didn’t have time to deal with it and that was that. Anyway, I had a huge load of opportunities to perform as the brunt of all my artistic pursuits. My time rehearsing and my time on stage did a lot to help me contemplate, learn and grow. I love telling stories to people and rendering myself vulnerable in the hopes that whatever I am sharing contributes something fruitful to anyone at all. It’s the combination of both showing and telling people about reality’s many facets (through fact or fiction) that makes stories incredibly educational, no matter what form they’re in.

Of course I’m not (and will never be) all beauty-pageant-wholesome-goodness, so I’m admitting to the self-serving side of this.  As mentioned, I don’t mind rendering myself vulnerable through forms of public expression such as blogging and performing, but that is also because I’m weirdly a little uncomfortable with the intimacy of opening up to one specific person as opposed to leaving general musings for faceless internet viewers or groups of people. At least in the latter scenario it still feels more like solitary contemplation. There’s that, and there’s also this quote:

There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost.” -Martha Graham

(Martha Graham is a largely influential dancer, but I looked that up on Wikipedia, and found the quote on tumblr. Haha.) Many times have I contemplated and had ideas I wanted to physicalize or put out there, many times have I failed to do so, and many times have those ideas been forgotten. That’s also because I’m 2nd to Finding Nemo’s Dory in terms of memory and attention span. I’m horrible with birthdays and I’m trying to fix it. I’m horrible with making my almost nightly contemplations useful and here I am trying to fix it as well, now that I have more time (and will) on my hands, and now that social media has just made it so easy for us all. While I believe in searching beyond what is all-too-brainlessly at hand, I also wouldn’t want to waste the immediate opportunity in this case. (The fast food service of creative expression!)

I’m kind of everywhere and nowhere at the same time. I have a whole bunch of social media accounts (segregated according to purpose: some for cosplay, some for fashion, some no longer in use but still there ‘cause I’m a pack rat and can’t let go, some personal, like this blog.) They communicate to everyone or no one (I have no idea of the reach of any of them) but it doesn’t matter—as long as I’m not creating useless rubbish and (I’m repeating myself) hopefully entertaining someone, sharing them a tip or value or two.

Cue perfectly practiced smile and graceful Miss Universe wave. Just imagine that it’s happening in some parallel universe where I can definitely pull it off. Haha!

TLDR, I made a youtube channel for my joint fashion blog to practice speaking, be less awkward in front of a camera and explore a new way of fashion blogging. Tumblr is no longer a clean enough slate for me to cultivate inspiration to improve on writing and sharing things,  so here I am. Hi, I’m Maronne, let’s be friends! 😀