Stay-cation Essentials for Introverts

Stay-cation Essentials for Introverts

I will be the first to admit that I forget to take care of my mental health. I go, go, go until I’m all out of energy and have none left to give which is a big no-no for introverts like me. Self love and self care need to become a part of my routine. It’s all about taking time to rest, relax, and recharge. Sometimes that means saying goodbye to friends and family as you shut the door to your home and become unavailable for a weekend.

Say hello to my introverted, geeky stay-cation. Once a month, I will be going on my mini vacation at home for my mental health. It’s a little something for my husband and me to spend time together, but it’s also for me to recharge. Here’s a sample of all the things we have planned and how you can do it too!

Spa Time

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I’m a lucky girl thanks to my husband in so many ways. For my birthday he got me several handmade bath bombs. I’ve only been able to use one since January. I’m looking forward to trying them all out now! This is a great time to decompress and just be by yourself. Light some candles and shut the door. This is for you.

bath bombs // bath pillow or rolled yoga mat // relaxing playlist // favorite book or comic

Movie Night

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Whether it’s an episode of Black Mirror, several episodes of Law & Order: SVU or the latest Marvel/Disney movie, Alec and I always wind up on the couch watching something right after work. It’s one of the ways we decompress after a long work day. What better way to relax on a stay-cation than to plan a movie night complete with all the fixings and the environment of home where you can take off your shoes and pants!

movie // blankets // popcorn // candy // soda // pizza // pajamas

Plan Meals and Cook

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We don’t eat out that often, and it’s a great way for us to save a little money. Plus I usually enjoy cooking. I say usually because I’m a lazy cook. As I’m on a weight loss journey, I try to find recipe blogs that are healthy, low calorie, and easy. These all fit the bill. But when you’re on a stay-cation, you can take the time to cook with your SO and make it fun! Why not try making your own pizzas from scratch or yummy Chinese “take-out?” Grab your grill and make some kebabs or hobo dinners on the grill. Make it match your movie night or create a theme night! Whatever you’ve been craving, find a recipe and make it!

slow cooker // griddle // cookbook

Take Photos

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We take pictures on vacation so why not on a stay-cation? Your home can be just as insta worthy as the beach or a hotel. Some cool photo opportunities might be:

  • bath bomb video
  • bath tub filled with bubbles and surrounded with candles
  • flat lay of your book, bath bombs, and candles
  • screenshot your relaxing playlist
  • flat lay of your pajamas, the movie, and some treats
  • selfie in your pajamas under the blankets with a tub of popcorn between you and your SO
  • the title of the movie as it comes on the screen
  • long table shot of all the goodies you’re partaking in
  • photos of each other cooking in the kitchen
  • shots of the meal being prepared
  • flat lay of the meal
  • selfies of your silly faces before digging in
  • and whatever else you can think of!

hands free shutter control // HD camera lens kit // phone tripod

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AGeekyGal’s Cosplay Guide: Buying a Cosplay Online

AGeekyGal’s Cosplay Guide: Buying a Cosplay Online

So you want to buy a cosplay online and have no idea where or how to start? I’ll break it down for you and even discuss my own experience with buying cosplay online. If this is your first cosplay, start here!

Unfortunately, I don’t know how to sew (as may be your case as well). My first ever cosplay was in September of 2015. I agonized over this costume. I wanted to make it myself and had saved tons of tutorials to my computer. I was determined I was going to make my cosplay… Until I realized I didn’t have a sewing machine and literally had no experience with one. That’s okay though. I’ve since bought my cosplay and plan on revisiting it later when I’m more skilled and knowledgeable to handcraft it like I had originally planned (maybe).

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Before you consider buying your cosplay online:

  1. Press Start. Ask your fellow cosplayers! Ask your friends and family! Where do they buy their cosplays? Are there sites or sellers or commissioners they would recommend? Do they have cosplays for sell? Would they mind helping you make your cosplay? Start in your immediate circle before branching out. You’d be surprised that you may not even have to buy your cosplay from a website!
  2. Research. Take this time to Google what you can. Write down site names, look for reviews on these sites (youtube and the reviews on the sites themselves are good places to start), and cross off the poorly reviewed ones. There’s also groups on Facebook that have cosplays and wigs for sale, offer commissions, etc. Check out the blacklist in these groups too; if they don’t seem to have one, message a moderator and ask for the list. Those are the people you shouldn’t do business with. If you choose to go the Facebook route, pay with PayPal using Goods & Services. The seller will pay the fees and if anything goes wrong, you can file to get your money back with PayPal.
  3. Check out commissions. If you know someone, or even someone who knows someone, who has a portfolio to show off their sewing and crafting skills, it wouldn’t hurt to get your cosplay priced out by them. Keep in mind that you’ll most likely be paying for materials and labor, not just materials! You’re paying for high quality work here too. This cosplay should last and last (with the right seamstress).

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When you buy your cosplay online:

  1. Look for your costume specifically. What I mean is: look up the costume by your character’s name and the name of the show. You’ll get better, filtered results this way. No one wants to dig through hundreds of pages for a Sailor Moon costume with things like “crescent moon necklaces” and “lunar eclipse sunglasses” popping up alongside the actual costumes.
  2. Look at the reviews for your costume. Say you’re on AliExpress. The store you’re shopping with has high reviews and lots of favorites! Sounds like it’s pretty reputable. Now, when you get to your costume, look at its reviews. These are separate from the stores reviews and favorites. Sometimes they’ll even have pictures with reviews which I love and count on the most. This helps you know what you’re really getting!
  3. Compare prices. Now it’s time to really utilize those browser tabs! Find your cosplay on several pages and compare the prices! Lower is not always better but it’d good to know the average price for the cosplay itself.
  4. Get out the tape measure. You’ll need to measure yourself for the best fit. Most likely your cosplay will be in standard Chinese sizes which differ from what you’re used to! So get out that fashion tape measure that you bought years ago and take your measurements: neck, chest/bust, waist, hips, arm, inseam. See this link here for how to measure yourself!
  5. Compare your measurements to the provided sizes. Click on the sizing chart. Most cosplays should have a sizing chart available. If not, contact the seller for one. Now most people will be between sizes. My personal rule of thumb is to buy the size that accommodates my largest measurement which is my hips. I can get the rest of the cosplay tailored if needed.  The flipside is to think about how the cosplay should fit you: Should it drape and flow? Should it be tight and form fitting? Using your measurements, choose the best size for you. Another option is to see or ask the seller if they offer custom sizing, then you can give your measurements to the seller. Always add a little wiggle room in your measurements if going with a custom option!
  6. Email the seller any questions. Ask them about sizing, fabrics, shipping, when you would receive it, or anything you need to know before you place your order. This is a great opportunity to feel out the seller and make sure you’re getting what you pay for!
  7. Order the closest size to your measurements. After double checking your measurements and asking the seller all of your questions, it’s time to place your order!

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After your cosplay arrives:

  1. Carefully inspect the cosplay and all the accessories. First insure that you have received the full cosplay you ordered. Check that all pieces are accounted for. Next, check for loose threads, glue, missing buttons, stains or anything that is not right. Take photos of any damage for reference. Unfortunately, things happen, and if your cosplay is damaged or missing pieces, it’s time to email the seller. If everything is right…
  2. It’s time to try it on. Hopefully those measurements were right and your new cosplay fits like a glove… or however it’s supposed to! Take pictures of the front, sides, and back to make sure it all fits right. If it’s uncomfortably loose in some areas, it’s time to take it to the tailor. If it’s too tight, double check the measurements and politely contact the seller.
  3. Test it with your wig, shoes and make up. Once your cosplay is the right fit, it’s time to put it all together before the con. Make last minute adjustments and buy any necessary accessories.
  4. Leave an honest review. Just do it! Now everyone else can find a great cosplay and reliable seller like you.

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Places to buy your cosplay from:

  • Facebook Groups – Before doing a search for your cosplay and size, take a look at all the files and documents for the group. This should include a blacklist. Stay away from anyone on that list! They are a no-go for purchasing your cosplay. Ask for pictures of the cosplay and up close pictures of damage. Always use PayPal’s goods and services when purchasing from individuals. They will get charged a small fee, but PayPal protects you if something goes wrong. If a seller asks you to pay through PayPal’s friends and family, it might be a scam!
  • Etsy – Choose a shop with tons of reviews and read them all: the good and the bad. Take into account the complaint and how the seller handled the situation. Look at their listings and note the quality of their skills. If you’re still unsure, send them a polite message about the cosplay they have listed.
  • Ebay – Be wary if you decide to go the Ebay route. See if anyone has purchased the cosplay before and see if they wrote a review. Read all the rates and feedback on the seller before making a purchase and don’t be afraid to ask for more pictures or precise measurements! Many times stock photos will be used over and over again so check that if the seller is using a stock photo that their own logo is on it.
  • AliExpress – This site should come with a big, fat warning sticker. Be aware that everything ships from China and could takes months to arrive. Research any shops you’re considering buying from. Read all the reviews on the shop then all the reviews on the cosplay. Try to find reviews with pictures. Research the hell out of this one before making a purchase.
  • Other sites: EZCosplay, CosplayMagic, Uwowo, CosplaySky, Hello Cosplay, Amazon, HotTopic

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Some tips:

  • Don’t let anyone make you feel bad for not making your cosplay.
  • Make sure your cosplay is comfortable for sitting, standing, and walking.
  • Do your research on any and every seller and website.
  • When leaving a review, add photos.
  • Iron your costume (if possible) before the con. Shipping adds folds to the garment and a quick ironing will take them out!
  • Now get out there and cosplay!

Got any tips for buying a cosplay online? Share them in the comments!

Saturday Suggestion – Anime: Ouran High School Host Club

Saturday Suggestion – Anime: Ouran High School Host Club

Looking for a good time with cute boys and laughter? Look no further than Ouran High School Host Club!

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Brief intro: Meet Haruhi Fujioka, a middle-class scholarship student in Ouran High School, an elite school for rich and high ranking students. While looking for a quiet place to study, Haruhi unexpectedly stumbles upon the Host Club. Led by Tamaki, the club—whose other members include Kyouya, the Hitachiin twins, Haninozuka “Honey,” and Mori—is where good-looking boys with too much time on their hands entertain the girls of Ouran High School.

In a frantic attempt to get out of the club before being noticed, Haruhi ends up breaking a vase worth eight million yen. Of course this causes quite a bit of noise, and she is noticed by the hosts. Due to her having a deeper voice than other female students, short hair, and androgynous clothing, Haruhi is mistaken as male. Haruhi is then forced into becoming the host’s errand boy to repay her enormous debt. Soon after, she proves to be a natural host and is promoted to full status as a host of the Ouran Host Club. It then becomes clear to the other hosts that something isn’t quite right…

Review: OHSHC will have you laughing, tearing up, and head over heels in love.

In the words of Tamaki, the leader: Only those with excellent social standing and those from filthy rich families are lucky enough to spend their time here at the elite private school, Ouran Academy. The Ouran Host Club is where the school’s handsomest boys, with too much time on their hands, entertain young ladies who also have way too much time on their hands. Just think of it as Ouran Academy’s elegant playground for the super rich and beautiful. Thanks for the intro Tamaki (who is also voiced by the same VA that did Fullmetal Alchemist’s Edward Elric).

Let’s meet our hosts! Tamaki: the princely president of the Host Club. Kyouya: the cool vice president of the Host Club. “Honey” Haninozuka:the child-like and cute martial arts champion. Morinozuka: the strong and silent protector of Honey and the Hitachiin twins, Hikaru and Kaoru who are mischievous troublemakers.

Upon meeting Haruhi and pushing her into becoming the club’s errand boy (that is, until they decide she would be more valuable as a host) to pay for the vase she broke, the members of the Host Club have no idea that Haruhi is actually a girl. Haruhi’s mistaken gender doesn’t last long though. The club members quickly come to her aid once the secret is out. They must keep their female clientele fooled as Haruhi fills a gap in the club’s collection of anime male character tropes. Plus she still has to pay them back for that vase.

What we get is a ridiculously huge amount of hilarious circumstances and lots of romance. Bizarre events, characters with gobs of money, and intricate costumes; OHSHC doesn’t hold back. The Host Club is Tamaki’s invention and his week-to-week themes keeps you on your toes. But in the best way. You’ll just have to go with with flow on this one.

The Japanese shoujo tropes are all a part of the fun, too. Don’t feel guilty when picking a favorite. It’s hard not to! The guys are all so easy to like and are even more likable as the anime digs into their past and lets you see who they are behind the tropes they represent during club time. On the surface, the club is superficial and lacks depth. Underneath is a gang of friends who love and care for each other like no one else.

One thing that this anime does well is the play on gender roles and being non-gendered. Obviously Haruhi doesn’t look or dress like a girl and it lets her choose her own identity. Then we meet her dad who has formed himself into a mother AND father figure to help Haruhi. If you’re curious to read more about this, check out Lyn’s post: Disrupting Gender in Ouran High School Host Club.

An anime that promotes identity versus gender and gives us a peek behind the curtain of typical anime tropes is sure to become one of your favorites of all time.

Bottom Line: Don’t let the stereotypical tropes fool you into thinking Ouran High School Host Club is a flop; it deserves to be on your watch list!

Official Rating: PG-13

Genre(s): Romance, Comedy, Reverse Harem, Shoujo

Geeky Gal’s Score: 5 out of 5 stars!