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WIWT: Halloween Edition!

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Day of the Dead 1

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been obsessed with the macabre.  Skeletons, taxidermy, Edward Gorey, and of course, Tim Burton have fascinated and inspired me.  I guess that’s why my favorite holiday has always been Halloween!  So for this year’s Halloween, I did a slightly different take on a Día de los Muertos costume…

Day of the Dead 1

Día de los Muertos is a Mexican holiday, celebrated on November 1st and 2nd, where gatherings are held to remember family & friends who have died.  It’s a beautiful tradition that includes building altars for loved ones.  Shrines are often decorated with sugar skulls, which are meant to represent the departed souls.  And while sugar skull makeup is more of a rare occurrence in Mexico, it’s become quite popular in American pop culture.  As a Mexican-American gal myself, I guess you could say my costume is a blend of both my cultures!

I love sugar skull makeup but for my costume, I opted to go with a more traditional skeleton look.  I found a fantastic tutorial on YouTube by Promise Phan that was the perfect guide.  Promise makes the application process simple, so even if you’re a makeup novice (like me) you’ll be able to do it.  All you need is white and black makeup, and some black eyeshadow for shading!Day of the Dead 2

I found my top and skirt at a local shop that specializes in traditional Mexican clothing.  I was thrilled to snag this beautiful orange skirt, that is actually a child’s baile folklórico skirt!

Folklorico Skirt

For my hair, I paid homage to my hero Frida Kahlo, and created a flower crown around my head.  I used craft flowers (from a party store) and then bobby-pinned them into my braids.

Flowers

To complete my skeletal look, I hand-painted my tights with leg bones.  Here’s the DIY I used on how to make your own skeleton tights!

Skeleton Tights

I had a lot of fun creating this look and I especially enjoyed not smiling in pictures!  Ha!  The best part?  Having Jaime Lannister from Game of Thrones as my Halloween date.  ;)

Halloween 2013

Hope you had a spooktacular Halloween!  (ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧

 

Breaking Bad Finale Party at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery

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Let's cook.
Let's cook.

Let’s cook.

Heisenberg lookalikes walked around the cemetery as Aaron Paul happily took photos with fans in front of that famous RV.  The DJ spun Motown hits and classic rock tunes.  As the sun began to set, I looked out at the sea of fans who sat anxiously on their blankets and lawn chairs.  There was excitement in the air but it was tinged with a bit of sadness—though it had nothing to do with the tombstones lurking in the distance. For many fans, like myself, we were sad that our beloved Breaking Bad was finally coming to an end.  It was time to say goodbye—goodbye to the characters we had grown to love (and hate) over the past 5 seasons.

Hollywood Forever

So on Sunday September 29th, I, along with hundreds of other fans flocked to the Hollywood Forever Cemetery to bid farewell to Breaking Bad and watch the final episode of the series.  Aaron Paul and Cinespia hosted the special event, with tickets sales benefitting the Kind Campaign, an anti-bullying non-profit founded by Lauren Paul, Aaron Paul’s wife.  The event sold out in just 32 seconds and had people selling extra tickets on Craigslist and eBay for $700-$1000.  In fact if it hadn’t been the kindness & generosity of my dear friend Aimee (who gave me her tix), I wouldn’t have been able to attend!  As Bryan Cranston later joked about the cemetery screening, “people are dying to get in here!”

When we first arrived at the cemetery, I couldn’t believe the line of people that wrapped around the block.  People had been waiting for hours before the gates opened at 6:30pm.  I later found out that a group of people at the very front of the line had camped out all night for their precious spot!   While we waited in the bike line, I spotted this awesome group of cosplayers.

Walt, Hank, Jesse, and the Pink Teddy Bear!

Walt, Hank, Jesse, and the Pink Teddy Bear!

Whether they were dressed as Hank or the Pink Teddy Bear,**  I loved seeing all the fans cosplaying as their favorite characters.  My boyfriend even brought out his Heisenberg costume for the night!

Heisenberg

“I am the one who bikes.”

Once inside, we immediately made our way to the show’s famous “Krystal Ship” RV, which was parked for photo ops.  As we got closer to the line, I gasped with delight—it was Aaron Paul himself posing for pictures with fans!  He seemed very gracious and happily posed for several photos.  He then thanked everyone, said goodbye, and as he quickly tried to exit, a swarm of fans and photographers followed him.

Aaron Paul and Fan

 

Fan Mob

Move out of the way, yo!

A few minutes later, I spotted two other familiar faces…Skinny Pete and Badger!

Badger, Skinny Pete, and Fans

I was really excited to meet Charles Baker, who plays Skinny Pete.  He and Badger bring a great energy and comedic sensibility to the show.  Baker is also a talented pianist and accomplished theatre actor.  There’s a fantastic article in the Hollywood Reporter on how different he is from the character he portrays.

Skinny Pete

If you’re wondering why I’m wearing a blue wig, it was my homage to the “Blue Sky” on the show.  I didn’t have enough time to put together a costume so I threw on the wig and turned a plastic baggy into a hair bow.  I also didn’t have any blue rock candy on hand so I filled the baggy with blue jello mix.  The consistency looked nothing like rock crystals but at least the color looked accurate!

99.1% pure. Jello, that is.

99.1% pure.  Jello, that is.

Larry Hankin, who played Old Joe the junkyard owner, was also there for the screening & party.  When he saw my boyfriend he exclaimed, “Hey, it’s Bryan!”

Heisenberg & Junkyard Owner

At around 8pm, a screening of the pilot episode was about to begin.  Suddenly, an RV (just like the Krystal Ship) drove up to the side of the stage and parked.  With smoke billowing from it’s top, the RV door opened and out came Aaron Paul, RJ Mitte (Walt Jr.) and Giancarlo Esposito (Gus Fring)!  All wearing yellow hazmat suits, they took the stage to thunderous applause.  Aaron Paul thanked everyone for supporting Breaking Bad and the Kind Campaign.  Then he perfectly commenced the screening by saying, “yeah bitch.  Yeah science.  Yeah Breaking Bad.  Let’s do this!”

Aaron Paul

I hadn’t seen the pilot episode in years so it was really interesting to see how much the show has evolved and how far these characters have fallen.  At around 9:30pm, Aaron Paul and Vince Gilligan (the show’s creator) took to the stage to introduce the final episode of Breaking Bad.  Paul then welcomed Bryan Cranston, who had just flown in from Boston!

Bryan Cranston

Cranston thanked everyone for attending the screening and for supporting the Kind Campaign—which raised $1.8 million dollars for the event.  “With 1.8 million you can take a helluva a trip to Belize!” Cranston joked, in reference to the “Buried” episode from Season 5.**

Vince, Bryan, Aaron

It’s clear that both on and offscreen, Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul have incredible chemistry.  (No pun intended.)  Cranston shared that Paul is, “a man who always understands the blessings in life and how lucky we are.”  Regarding Paul’s work ethic on set, Cranston said, “he is a person who is always willing to do the extra work.  Always willing to be there for you and to give 100%, even when he’s off camera.”  Cranston then looked at Paul and said, “as good as you are an actor, you’re an even better person.  I love you.”  Cranston and Paul hugged as the audience cheered wildly.

Then the final episode of Breaking Bad began!  I won’t share any spoilers for those of you who aren’t caught up on the season yet.  I will say that watching the finale with hundreds of other Breaking Bad fans was a fantastic communal experience.  We all cheered, gasped, and got weepy at the same key moments in the episode.  And as the final credits began to roll, we leapt to our feet for a standing ovation.  The show’s finale truly delivered and after 5 epic seasons, Breaking Bad ended exactly as it should have.  Bravo!

Breaking Bad Cast

The night ended with a Q&A session led by Jimmy Kimmel, featuring Cranston, Paul, Vince Gilligan, RJ Mitte, Giancarlo Esposito, Bob Odenkirk (Saul), and Jonathan Banks (Mike).  All the actors expressed how lucky they are to have been a part of such a special show.  “This is as good as it gets,”  Jonathan Banks remarked.  Cranston spoke about the experience of working with the same cast and crew over the course of 6 years.  Spending 13-14 hours a day on set, “you can’t help but get intimate with these people.  These are family members to us.”

Since a lot of the Breaking Bad cast and crew were in the audience, Jimmy Kimmel invited them all onstage.  Before long, the small stage was packed with people hugging and chatting.  I even spotted Tuco and one of the Salamanca twins, Luis Moncada, who I worked with years ago on an independent film!  I got a chance to say hello and it was pretty cool seeing him surrounded by fans and signing autographs.  Congrats, Luis!

Blast from the past!  Me & Luis on set in 2008.

Blast from the past! Me & Luis on set in 2008.

 

And with that, the night was over!  At least for some of us.  The cast and crew headed to the after party, which was already in full swing at another part of the cemetery.  All in all, it was a night I’ll never forget.  It was fitting that my Breaking Bad journey ended at the cemetery that night.  I would have liked for the show to continue and I will miss spending my Sunday nights with Walter White, Jesse, and the gang.  I could go on and on about how sorry I am to see this amazing show end but instead…I’ll just shut up and let it die in peace.

Final Shot

 

**The Pink Teddy Bear is a recurring motif in Breaking Bad.  It first appeared floating in the White’s pool in Season 2, Episode 1.

**As a euphemism for killing Hank, Saul asks Walt, “have you given any thought to sending him on a trip to Belize?”.

The 2013 Geekie Awards!

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Jennifer & Stephanie

When it comes to awards shows, there’s only one place you can see the Joker fighting Hawkeye and R2-D2 rolling on the red carpet—The Geekie Awards!   The 1st annual Geekie Awards was held on August 18th at The Avalon Theater in Hollywood.  The multi-talented Kristen Nedopak created the show, “to give indie ‘geekmakers’ a place to shine and be seen by leaders and experts in their respective industries.”  I was honored to have been a Geekie judge for both the Arts & Crafts category and the Epic Cosplay Contest that was held online.

When Kristen first told me about the Geekies, I had no idea the mega-awesome show it would become!  Throughout the pre-show process, Kristen’s passion, enthusiasm, and genuine love for all things geek was admirable.  With her superhero work ethic and the help of a talented team, Kristen made the Geekie Awards show a huge success!  I attended the sold out live show and had an absolute blast.  This was an awards show unlike any other.  The stage featured the Starship Enterprise D Bridge, where guests before the show could sit in the Captain’s chair!  3D Cube printers served as table centerpieces and printed rockets & robots throughout the night.  The show itself was fun, entertaining, and a celebration of many talented artists & creators.  So without further ado, here are some of my photos from the festivities!

 

Alison Haislip was the official host of the show and the event was broadcast live via Ustream. Haislip was witty, sassy, and the perfect emcee for the night.

 

Seth Green presented Stan Lee with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

 

As part of his acceptance speech, Lee sang an Ode to Geeks to the tune of “Yankee Doodle Dandy”.

 

Grant Imahara got #VandalEyes from fellow presenter, Bonnie Burton!

 

Best Geekie Art/Craft winner The Pumpkin Geek.

 

An exciting moment was seeing the Slumber Con promo on the big screen during the commercial break!

 

Andre Meadows did a little dance while singing a song to the sponsors (composed by George Shaw).

 

Cosplayers like Shea Standefer (as Daeneryrs Targaryen) appeared onstage as award bearers.

 

Geekies Creator/Executive Producer, Kristen Nedopak, gave a shout out to her mom!

 

Alison Haislip raised her glass to a successful show!

 

On the red carpet with my friend (and Slumber Con partner), Stephanie Thorpe!

 

Each VIP table had a Cubify 3D printer that made a Geekie memento which guests could take home!

 

Wingardium Leviosa! A Harry Potter pumpkin carved by the Pumpkin Geek.

 

My buddy & favorite YouTuber Andre Meadows of Black Nerd Comedy!

 

Dina Kampmeyer in her stunning Maleficent cosplay.

 

In honor of the special occasion, I made a gold R2-D2 clutch and wore my LEGO Ewok earrings.

 

Thanks Kristen Nedopak and the entire Geekie team for a night to remember!  For more photos and video from the show, be sure to check out The Geekie Awards Facebook page!

 

2013 Geekie Awards Winners:

Best Geekie Arts & Crafts:  “One Pumpkin to Rule Them All…” by The Pumpkin Geek

Best Geekie Comics & Graphic Novel:  COLONUS

Best Geekie Crowdfunded:  The Goon (on Darkhorse Comics)

Best Geekie Podcast:  A Podcast of Ice and Fire

Best Geekie Retail Store & Website:  The Nerd Machine

Best Geekie Short Film:  Undying Love

Best Geekie One Shot:  The Record Keeper for

Best Geekie Web Series:  Cosplay Piano

Best Toys & Games:  Takenoko

San Diego Comic-Con 2013 Recap

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SW Fangirls

It’s amazing how quickly San Diego Comic-Con comes and goes.  In the months leading up to the epic convention, I’m always filled with excitement, anticipation, and sleepless nights from costume preparation.  This year was no exception and just as quickly as it came, the whirlwind weekend was over!  There are so many things I love about SDCC.  Where else can you see George R.R. Martin enjoying a cocktail in the Hyatt bar or Robert Kirkman checking out collectibles on the convention floor?

Thankfully this year I was able to take time to hang out with friends.  Even if it’s a quick hug and hello as you’re running off to a panel, it’s always nice to see someone you know.  There were many highlights from my SDCC 2013 experience so here are some of those moments in picture form!

I was super excited to finally meet the woman who inspired my Miss Death Star & Millennium Falcon costumes…Robin Kaplan!  Robin (aka The Gorgonist) is an amazingly talented artist and after meeting her, I adore her even more!

I couldn’t resist buying Robin’s Star Destroyer Girl print.

 

And this Tea Rex print.  I love how delicately the T-Rex is holding the cup!

 

In honor of finally meeting Robin, I wore her Star Wars Cosplay Girls necklace just for the occasion.  To see more of Robin Kaplan’s art visit her website here or her Etsy shop here!

 

Right behind Robin’s booth was my friend Just Jenn!  While hanging out at the Hyatt, Jenn and I spotted George R.R. Martin sitting with a table full of women.  I tried not to be a creepy fan but I did find myself staring at him as he ate a delicious-looking sandwich.

 

 

(Photo via Denise Vasquez)

I also got a chance to meet up with some of my fellow Star Wars fangirls!  (And fanguy.)

 

Amanda Jean looking beautiful as ever wearing Her Universe‘s R2-D2 dress!

 

 

(Photo via Ruark Dreher)

Me with friend Ruark Dreher.  Ruark is wearing his awesome Imperial Officer uniform and I’m wearing a custom made Star Wars dress by Cake Shop Couture!

 

 

Speaking of Imperial Officers, I loved Elisa Teague‘s stylish twist on the uniform.

 

 

(Photo by Mishal Samman)

Elisa was one of my fellow “Tricks of the Trade” panelists along with Bonnie Burton, Ashley Eckstein and several other talented artists.  Many thanks to Denise Vasquez for having me be a part of this awesome panel!

 

 

I spotted a Han Solo in Carbonite cosplayer at the Steampunk meetup on Saturday!  To see all of my favorite Star Wars Costumes from SDCC 2013, check out my post on the Official Star Wars Blog!

 

 

Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice!

 

What’s this?  What’s this? It’s Jack Skellington!

 

From the satin hood to the Police Box corset, I love everything about this Tardis dress.

 

 

Luigi’s nemesis, Waluigi, took his cart around the con.

 

 

Move over Ariel, this Ursula is the most glamorous sea witch under the sea.

 

 

I was surprised to see a Manny Pacquiao cosplayer walking outside the convention.  Random?  Perhaps.  But his resemblance to the famous boxer is uncanny!

 

 

YouTubers iJustine and her sister Jenna Ezarik did a signing at the So So Happy booth.  I was so excited to say hi and take a photo with them that I accidentally cut to the front of the line!   Oops!

 

 

I also got a chance to hang out (and interview) my hilarious YouTuber friend, Andre Meadows!

 

 

This year I decided to pay homage to Comic-Con by making a dress from comic books!  I used countless panels from my Star Wars comics to create this skirt and corset top.  All my accessories (bracelet, ring, & clutch) were decoupaged.  To complete the look I made a belt from blue duct tape.  No comic books were harmed in the making of this dress.  I used color copies instead!

 

 

Thanks for all the nerdy fun, San Diego Comic-Con!  Until we meet again next year!  | (• ◡•)|

Why I Dance For Star Wars

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SW Dance 1

Let it be known—I’m not a dancer.  At least not a professional one.  But I never let that stop me from dancing around Los Angeles!  So when this year’s Star Wars Day approached, I knew I had to take another shot at dancing in honor of The Wars.  I danced in Union Station for last year’s Star Wars Day and it was a little crazy but a lot of fun.  A couple months ago, I came across an amazing remix of John Williams’ “Binary Sunset” by a group called Coyote Kisses.  Their “Binary Suns” is an incredible song and after listening to it nonstop, I knew that this was the track I had to dance to.

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Geeky Glamorous Art Show

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Lazarus

It was a Saturday night and the JapanLA store on Melrose was packed with people.  The DJ was mixing beats, the grilled cheese truck was serving cheesy goodness, and I was wearing my Black Milk Stormtrooper dress just for the occassion.  ;)  The event was the Geeky Glamorous Art Show, a celebration of geek girls through art & fashion.  Mandie Bettencourt organized the event and is also the creator of the Geeky Glamorous brand.  Mandie is super sweet, has incredible style, and is a strong supporter of her fellow artists/crafters.  So when she asked if I wanted to participate in the show, I was honored and so excited!

 

When I walked into the gallery on opening night, I instantly fell in love with every piece of art I saw.  If only I could collect them all!

Geeky Pamyu Pamyu by Chingyi Liu

 

 

KaMeow by Locketship

 

Wonder Woman by Hanie Mohd 

 

 
My Date with the Doctor by Misha (top)   Chikuwaemil by Virtual Girl (bottom)

 

 

Nostalgia by Lazarus

The frame was decorated with action figures & toys!

 

 

In addition to the paintings/prints/sketches, there were also wearable pieces on display as well!

Geeky Glamorous Controller Necklaces

 

 

Pinup Peach BitRom necklaces by Okeegu

 

There she is!  Miss Millennium Falcon.  I decided to display the skirt (which I made for last year’s SDCC) and create a few new accessories for the show.  I wanted her to look as geeky and glamorous as possible!

I revamped the X-Wing hair clip and attached it to a sparkly headband I made.

I also created a glitter resin Millennium Falcon necklace and matching bracelet.  These two pieces are part of my Glitter Galaxy Collection, which I’ll be selling in my Etsy shop soon!

 

It was neat to see how many people came out to support geek girls, Mandie, and all the artists!

 

Stephanie aka @zilla308 (and her uh-mazing hair) cast a spell on this muggle!

 

 

The ever stylish Chrissa Villanueva modeling Lazy Oaf‘s Batman dress

 

 

Super Kawaii!

 

 

 

Me with Mandie, the hostess of the evening

 

 

Cassie & Keith (who decorated his tie with glow in the dark stickers!)

 

 

Angie as Link (The Legend of Zelda)

 

 

The lovely Set to Stunning team, Victoria Schmidt & Lindz

 

 

Ashphord Jacoway & my favorite YouTuber Andre Meadows!

 

 

Thank you Mandie for all of your hard work and for organizing such a special event!!  (And be sure to check out LA Weekly’s awesome article about the show!)  The exhibit runs though the month of February, so if you’re in the LA area, stop by JapanLA to check it out!  And if you’re a fan of Hello Kitty, you might just leave with a few trinkets as well.  ;)

Geekette out! *

 

*Who says Ryan Seacrest can be the only one with a signature goodbye?!  I want one too.  Let me know what you think of this one or if you have any suggestions!  :)

 

My Etsy Shop!

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Millennium Falcon Ring

I can’t believe 2012 is almost over!   Wowzers.  The past few months have been a bit of a blur for me.  My sketch group DWG Comedy put out our first music video.  I also came down with the flu…TWICE!  But in between all the madness, I finally launched my Etsy shop.  Over the years people have asked me if I sell my handmade accessories, so now I can proudly say yes, I do!  The name of my shop is Rockets and Rainbows.

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WIWT: Halloween Edition!

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Hello Kitty

A week before Halloween, I spotted the biggest Hello Kitty piñata I had ever seen.  It was seriously almost as tall as me!  As it proudly dangled from the party store’s fence, only one thought popped into my head…I must make a Hello Kitty piñata costume!  I headed home and immediately began researching the idea.  What I found were a lot of crafty ideas and a very handy video that I eventually used as my costume-making guide.

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Star Wars Day of the Dead

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guerra+de+las+galaxias+-+dia+de+muertos+-+john+karpinsky+-+blog-bluff

Whenever I think of Dia de los Muertos, I picture ornately decorated skulls and whimsical skeletal scenes.

Even though the holiday is synonymous with skeletons and skulls, Day of the Dead is actually a celebration of life!  On November 1st in Mexico, people gather to remember & honor family members & friends who have passed away.  The idea is that even though the deceased are no longer with us physically, they are with us spiritually.  For those who celebrate this holiday, the memories of past times are alive and well.

For artist John Karpinsky, the same can be said about his childhood memories of Star Wars.  His Guerra de las Galaxias prints are a “tribute to characters of my youth, an invitation to the celebration of that cultural phenomenon that shaped my life so long ago.”  I’ve been an admirer of John’s work ever since I first saw his prints on Tumblr last year.  I loved how beautifully he fused Star Wars with the traditional Dia de los Muertos artistic style.

So when my birthday rolled around this year, my boyfriend surprised me with the greatest gift of all—13 prints from John Karpinsky’s Guerra de las Galaxias collection!  What a guy.  When I opened the box and started looking through the artwork, I was amazed at the vibrancy of the colors, not to mention the incredible detail in each print.  As a lover of Star Wars and a Mexican-American gal, John’s art perfectly encapsulates who I am. Whether it’s the ornately tribal Stormtrooper or the X-Wing Fighter Pilot with roses in his eyes, I’m in love with all of his designs.  In fact, I’ve dedicated an entire wall in my living room to displaying his artwork!

There was also another little surprise in the box from John Karpinsky himself!  <happy dance>

I was so touched by this special birthday card John created for me!  I must admit, I got a little teary-eyed.  The detail in my Death Star costume is astounding.  He even included the tiny stars on my tights!  And the little Ewok piñata…I can’t repel cuteness of that magnitude!  Thank you John for making my birthday so memorable!!!

For more on John Karpinsky’s work, check out his store on Etsy.  The quality of his artwork is impeccable!  If you want to infuse your home or office with a little Star Wars magic, then these are the prints you’re looking for.  No Jedi Mind Trick necessary.  ; )

Star Wars Transmission!

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Cosplayers, crafts, and tattoos…oh my!  Check out my two segments from the Star Wars Transmission at Celebration VI!