Portland, Maine 2018

Hello! It’s me! I’m back again with a blog post! I’ve quite missed writing, but over the past months I’ve found myself to have quite a lack of focus for pretty much anything, which has been troubling in more ways than one. I thought I would ease myself back into blogging by chatting about the trip to Portland, Maine I went on nearly a year ago with my buddy Kristen (aka @kristen_m_young over on ye olde Twitter). I’ve been feeling antsy and wanting to travel with no real opportunities to do so for a little while, and I’m hoping that writing this trip up will ease my restlessness at least a little.

This trip came about when my boss let me schedule a week off of work in September. I considered just doing a staycation, but decided instead to try actually going somewhere. So I hit up my college buddy Kristen and asked if I could come visit her in Massachusetts during that time. I thought I’d maybe explore the area where she lives during times she was at work and then we could hang while she was free — I never want to be a burden and didn’t want her to feel obligated to entertain me. I was pleasantly surprised when she responded by basically saying, “I can take time off that week too! Do you want to travel somewhere? Maybe Portland?” She had been there very briefly a couple of years before and while I had been to Maine on a family trip when I was in high school we skipped over Portland to visit relatives further north. It was set to be a fresh fun adventure for both of us!  

When September rolled around I first spent the better part of a day driving up to Kristen’s town and then the next day we set off for Maine. We stayed at the Portland Ramada. Not #spon, obviously, but I’m mentioning it by name because it turned out to actually be a nice place to stay. It’s a small drive from the actual downtown area and is surrounded by strip malls (some of which contain some…questionable…businesses, see picture below), but it was in our price range, it was clean, the staff we interacted with were nice, the attached restaurants were surprisingly decent, and it has a large pool and a gym. (Kristen used the gym every day, so the quality of it must have been fine.)

20180911_151908.jpg

Yes, that is a strip club sign that says “midget wrestling.” And yes, it -was- the first thing I noticed after parking the car at the hotel, lol.

Neither of us had done very much research about the area before we set out, so after checking in we rested for a little bit and looked up local hotspots on our phones before heading into the Old Port section of downtown Portland. Several websites had recommended this area as one with a ton of little shops to poke through and restaurants to choose from. This is an area that we would accidentally keep returning to on our little walking adventures in the city throughout the weekend, but we liked it there so that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. 

IMG_2307.JPG

I fell in love outside of a tourist trap store full of nautical stuff (aka, my jam).

 

IMG_2303.JPG

There’s some cobblestone roads and a lot of old exposed brick all over the Old Port area.

But something that excited me a lot was the actual port itself because, as I like to put it, this bitch loves a water feature. 

IMG_2339.JPG

IMG_2336.JPG

We almost had dinner at the restaurant on this big boat, but decided it was too expensive.

We had dinner at a restaurant called J’s Oyster that was very small and tucked away near the end of the pier area, but it was absolutely packed so we knew it had to be good. It had a local dive kind of feel, but not in a shady way. I had lobster because, well, not having lobster in Maine would be like not getting a bagel from a mom and pop shop if you visited New Jersey! The food was pretty good — we were overall pleased with our dinner choice.

20180911_183114.jpg

Having looked up more tourism stuff when we got back to the hotel, we decided that our big goal on our second day would be to go on a tour of a famous old house called Victoria Mansion. We couldn’t take pictures inside, but it was fascinating to get a look inside such an old home. Much of the house still needs restoring, but a lot of the trompe l’oeil painting on the walls was still very impressive and I loved the library.

IMG_2371.JPG

Kind of bland on the outside, but fascinating inside, I promise!

After that we strolled through downtown for awhile. Kristen is a book lover, so she made sure we popped into a few different independent bookstores along the way. I don’t know any of their names, but we went to several. It’s definitely a good town for supporting local business! We also stopped for some excellent potato doughnuts along the way when we accidentally wound up at the Old Port. They were more dense than regular doughnuts, but still very nice. There was quite a line in the store too — I’m not sure if they’re locally popular or popular with tourists or both, but this place is apparently a popular choice.

IMG_2384.JPG

Kristen in front of the doughnut shop!

We eventually found a comic shop that Kristen knew about called Coast City Comics. I don’t really feel comfortable in comic shops because I don’t know shit about comics and I feel self-conscious that the (usually all male) employees can somehow tell and are judging me. (Why should I care? I don’t know, but I do, oops.) When I found a bunch of pinball machines in the back, I was instantly at ease while Kristen browsed the comics.

20180912_160414.jpg

I love pinball even though I’m usually terrible at it. I loved this machine based on one of my favorite bad movies (and actually had some good luck with it)!

 

IMG_2401.JPG

“I love me a good theater marquee,” said the blogger who chose her college largely because of a very old neon theater marquee in the downtown area.

For dinner that night we tried the restaurant inside our hotel, partly because we had been given coupons at check in, partly because we were curious about it. It wasn’t bad, despite this weird ominous sign on the way there!

20180912_210506.jpg

On day three we pursued a crazy ambitious plan from a guide we found on a Portland tourism website. Maine has tons of lighthouses and apparently Portland has six(!) within easy driving distance of the city/each other. This is gonna be a separate post, because six lighthouses would be a lot to cover in this already super long write up! But here is a preview picture of Kristen looking at one of those lighthouses from afar to whet your whistle for nautical adventure.

IMG_2603.JPG

After this big adventure we popped into downtown to grab lunch (in, you guessed it, the Old Port area) and then went back to the hotel to try out the pool and hot tub. I’d never been in a hot tub before and it was so hot it felt like my skin/blood were tingling! Between swimming in the pool and relaxing in the hot tub I found nearly a dozen lost hotel room keycards, lol. Dinner was lowkey — we went to the Chipotle near the hotel and picked out ice cream at the nearby grocery store.

On the way back down to Kristen’s house the next day, we stopped off in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, another waterfront New England town full of old looking brick and cute little shops. I’m probably wrong about this, but I have this general impression of New Jersey as a place that really doesn’t give a crap about most of its cool old buildings and just wants to tear them down to build luxury apartment complexes for people who work in NYC (or maybe that’s just my area?) so I’m super jealous of New England’s respect for its old stuff.

IMG_2642.JPG

IMG_2647.JPG

It’s also home to a kitschy looking little diner Kristen loves called The Friendly Toast. I don’t remember what I ate and I’m a terrible millenial for not memorializing it with a photo, but I remember the food was good! 

20180914_121959.jpg

Photo taken by Kristen because all this cool stuff was hanging out behind me.

Once we arrived in Massachusetts I spent one final night on Kristen’s sofa. This last night of my trip is actually one of the overall highlights for me because Kristen and I went to dinner with Kristen’s sibling and another local friend that Kristen and I went to college with. I rarely get to see or talk to either of them, so hanging out with them was a real treat! We drove out to this tiny beach area nearby and had a pretty good dinner in a bar before walking across the street to get ice cream. There was fog coming in off the sea and the area was basically deserted apart from the people at the bar. We spent a good chunk of time just chatting outside, catching up and having a laugh, and I dunno, it was just really nice! It really made me wish I could see them more and hang out like that all the time. But, alas, geography. (Why do we not yet have the power of teleportation? Or at least an equivalent of the Japanese Shinkansen for the United States so I can see all the people I love more often?)

20180914_203320.jpg

A car that I guess just lives outside the ice cream place forever.

And that was sadly the end of my trip. The next day I had to get up and make the long drive home. As if to rub in the fact how much of a bummer it was to return to my daily life, and in contrast to my smooth ride north, I got caught in a major traffic snafu near NYC just an hour or so from home and added a whole extra hour to my trip because of it. 

Someday I will get to have fun travels again, but until then I will always have my memories of this trip to Maine with Kristen.

20180915_172027.jpg

When I parked in the driveway at home, I took a picture of my odometer, which I hadn’t reset for the whole trip — in all, my travel to, from, and in New England on this trip put just over 800 miles on my car!

Stay tuned for my upcoming six lighthouses in one day post!

I hope you’re all doing well.

 

My Convention Essentials

Another Anime Boston has come and gone, and seeing as how this is about the point where I really started to fall off of blogging last year, I thought it might be a good time to make an attempt at starting things up here again! I do want to do a general overview post about my experiences at the convention, but first I wanted do a bit of a “What’s in my Bag?” kind of thing. I did this as a video a long time ago on my now-defunct YouTube channel, but this year was my sixth Anime Boston (I attended 2011-12, 2015, and 2017-19), and as such I’ve really distilled down what I like to have on me during a day of running around at the convention.

IMG_2702.JPG

This is the bag that I bring. I bought it in the Dealers’ Room on the first day of Anime Boston 2017 when the massive cross-body purse I’d brought was causing me a lot of pain and this was the most functional thing available that didn’t have Naruto or Goku’s face on it, lol. This has been a go to day trip bag for me ever since because it’s a pretty good size and is pretty sturdy, although the back is maybe not as stiff as I would like.

IMG_2703.JPG

This looks like a mess, but it’s organized I swear. Firstly, there’s two small pockets at the top of the back that are the perfect size for my travel wallet and my phone or iPod to slip into for quick access. I don’t like to use the outer zipper pocket for valuables because I am paranoid about getting robbed and not being able to feel it happen. Everything else in here is either big enough to sort through easily or organized into a series of pouches.

IMG_2706.JPG

If the weather forecast is calling for rain, I always make sure to bring an umbrella, with a plastic bag to put it into when I go inside so I can put it back in my backpack without making everything wet. The scarf in the middle is large, blanket-like, and absolutely necessary — many of the panel rooms in the Hynes Convention Center are very cold for some reason. When I start to freeze, I can whip it out, but it’s easily put away when I start walking around in the main halls again. On the right is my refillable Brita filter bottle and the plastic bag that I keep it in if I carry it in a bag because it leaks if the water tilts up to the level of the cap.

IMG_2710.JPG

On the left here we have my Kindle, with stickers of some of my favorite ghost Pokemon on the front that were drawn by Miski (but aren’t available anymore, sorry!). My Kindle is indispensable to me in my life, whether or not I’m traveling. I can’t read on the long bus ride to Boston because I’ll get sick, but it’s great to have around for reading while waiting for the bus, during downtime between panels, or when you’re the grandma of the group who goes back to the room early to rest and waits up for all of your friends to come back so you can spend time with them. The notebook on the right was designed by Maya Kern and has stickers on it from inki-Drop’s Starwhal Kickstarter. Honestly, I only bring it to stiffen up the inside of the backpack, but it’s also proven useful for keeping my bus tickets tidy and for holding small prints, like this one that I got from Milkbun this year. (Oh how I wish I could get away with hanging this in my cubicle at work!)

IMG_2711.JPG

And now finally pouches! This pouch has a bunch of miscellaneous yet important things, like aspirin, hair ties and pins (in a reused orange pill bottle!), tissues, pens, a little mirror, etc.!

IMG_2712.JPG

This is my technology pouch. I’ve got two portable batteries in here, the wires to connect them to my phone and iPod, and three pairs of headphones. In hindsight this is an excessive amount of headphones, especially considering I had a fourth pair hooked up to my iPod all weekend. All I can say is, one time on the bus on my way to the con I realized one of my earbuds wasn’t working. I had a spare pair with me, but they were in my suitcase in the bottom of the bus. I can only imagine that in my packing frenzy this year I went “what if that happens again, but more times?” I also don’t tend to use these batteries at all because I’m not a super phone crazy person when I have things to occupy me. So maybe next year I’ll keep one battery in this pouch and only two extra pairs of earbuds, lol.

IMG_2713.JPG

This pouch fits both my phone and iPod, but my phone mainly lived in the upper inner pocket of my backpack or the pocket of my skirt because I don’t use my iPod when I walk around the con. It mainly stays with me just so I don’t run the risk of losing it in the hotel room somehow. I always know where it is, and I absolutely need it for the bus because, as mentioned above, I can’t read on the bus so I need music to help me drown out the noises and sleep to pass the time, lol.

IMG_2714.JPG

I don’t typically play my 3DS during AB, but I do collect Streetpasses. I don’t tend to try Streetpassing in my daily life because I never go anywhere, but thanks to AB over the years I’ve got a nearly complete puzzle collection and have nearly completely beaten the free Streetpass games. This year I noticed I was getting repeat Streetpasses, which was kind of exciting and interesting to me because it means those people were also at past ABs. It’s a nice little connection to other people!

IMG_2715.JPG

And now for the front zipper pocket of the backpack! Which actually -is- as much of a mess as it looks, lol.

IMG_2717.JPG

This pocket is for things I want close at hand that aren’t particularly valuable. The only thing I would really be upset about losing is that pen because it’s a really good pen! The little white pot is full of hand cream because I’ve been having a really awful dry hands problem all winter. The fan was actually a $5 impulse purchase I made on Saturday this year when I was starting to get really sweaty walking around the Dealers’ Hall, and I’d say it was well worth it — I’ll probably bring it back again next year. This pocket is where I keep my convention badge at night so I don’t misplace it, otherwise that badge is around my neck. The badge lanyards at AB are usually an advertisement for some anime company or other, but for the past few years I’ve been swapping it out for this YuGiOh one that my friend Kristen surprised me with from New York Comic Con in 2016 right before the anniversary movie came out in English because I will forever be YuGiOh trash and I want the world to know it, lol.

The only thing not in any of these pictures that I have with me every day is related to those granola bars and it is lunch. To save money on food I buy supplies for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and make them every morning before I head out. I also get a couple of other small snacks that don’t need refrigeration, like those granola bars or little individual applesauces. When it’s time for lunch, I find a spot to sit that has good people watching (so I can admire people’s cosplays) and chow down.

So that’s all! I’ll follow this post up soon with one about things I actually did at Anime Boston, but I thought my convention survival supplies might be interesting to share in the meantime.

Until next time!
–Krys

 

Another Year Older

One day shortly before Christmas I got in the elevator at my job and in that weirdly lit mirrored space, I noticed something unusual sprouting out of the front of my hairline. I looked at myself closely in one of the mirrored walls. ‘Is that…a grey hair…?’ It was kind of hard to tell. After years of dying my hair different shades of copper, I’d dyed it brown in the fall with the aim letting my light brown/dark blonde hair grow in and not dying it anymore (or at the very least, not for a very long time). But my natural shade is cool toned and I had mistaken strands of my roots for grey in the past, so I wasn’t sure if this was an early morning hallucination or the real deal. I didn’t dwell on it too much.

But one morning a few weeks later when I stood back up after leaning over the sink to wash my face the bathroom light hit my hair a certain way and there was no mistaking it — I had a grey hair. I often hear my coworkers complaining about their grey hairs, but I felt an odd little spark of excitement. It felt like a weird validation and proof of the struggles I’ve experienced.

Plus, I was kind of hoping to develop a cool grey streak like Claire Saffitz from Bon Appetit! (If her streak is somehow not real, please do not burst my bubble, lol.)

My single grey hair showed up at quite a timely point as well, just before my 28th birthday at the end of January. Some people might feel quite bad about getting close to 30 and in some senses I do, but mainly just because I don’t feel like I’m as far along in my so-called adult life as I think I should be. (For instance, if this is your first time here, I still live with my mom.) As far as the actual process of my body aging, who gives a damn?

This year my birthday lasted for basically a whole week! The party was kicked off the Sunday before with a little gathering with my friends. We had pizza and cake and watched the bluray I bought a while ago of the Takarazuka Revue’s most recent production of the musical Elisabeth, which is based on the life of an Austrian empress popularly known as Sisi. It’s in Japanese with no English subtitles, but I know Sisi’s real life history and found translations of the songs so I was able to explain what was happening as we went along. It honestly felt like the most selfish, self indulgent thing I had ever asked from my friends (“for my birthday I want you to listen to me talk about history and this weird musical for 2.5 hours”). But my friends said they enjoyed it so that made me feel better! I wish I could post a clip, but Takarazuka have mysteriously taken all the promo clips for it down from their YouTube channel unfortunately. 

20190127_205941.jpg

Friendly’s grocery store ice cream cake is required birthday food, even in the dead of winter, true story!

My family’s tradition is to stick three candles in birthday cakes, so I was surprised when my friend put in eight (because I’m 28). The HAP on the cake is partly a “the cake was too small to write much” joke and also an inside joke based on our school district’s name for its Gifted and Talented program, which most of us were in back in the day. (Aka: most of us have some kind of self-esteem issue because of it, lol.)

20190128_091008

My cubicle is right next to this little snack area. Please do not ask how many doughnuts I ate on this day.

My birthday continued into my work week. My office has six people born in January so the other secretaries decided to combine mine with someone born the previous week — they set it on Monday to kind of split the difference between me and the other birthday person. Whenever it’s someone’s birthday people bring in snacks to share, and we had a pretty nice spread! It’s Valentine’s season, so the the doughnuts were heart shaped, which I thought was really cute!

20190128_091014.jpg

My office is a fan of Bavarian creme doughnuts if you can’t tell from the fact that four are in this box (and I think there were even more before I snapped this).

My coworkers jokingly wished me happy birthday until my actual birthday rolled around on Thursday. And our newest secretary gave me a little gift!  No one’s ever given me a gift for my birthday at work before. She only started at the beginning of January and we really don’t know each other well yet, so this little angel coin was a sweet surprise. I’m not really religious, but I can appreciate the vibe of something like this.

coin copy.png

Thursday was my actual birthday. Often in the past my family winds up having pizza or something at home on the person’s actual birthday and then all the same people go out to dinner on Friday evening. But this year I told my mom I didn’t want that. I said that we only needed to celebrate my birthday once, because it would be back to back and also because it just makes me feel a little weird to be the center of prolonged attention. Maybe it’s a middle child thing? So anyway, I didn’t expect much of anything on my actual birthday, but my mom made macaroni and cheese and a cherry crumble and it was very nice.

Also on my birthday my goods from inki-drop’s Starwhal Kickstarter unexpectedly arrived! It was kind of like a gift from the universe. Everything is very cute, and the soft things (Mama Starwhal and the pouch) are exceptionally soft! I’ve already incorporated the pins into my pin frames!

IMG_2700.JPG

IMG_2698.JPG

20190209_141845.jpg

This is a pouch that a whole PS Vita can fit inside!

So then on Friday, to wrap up my birthday week, we went out to our favorite local Italian restaurant. My aunt stopped by our house beforehand and lemme tell ya, she is the queen of birthday cards. She always finds the loudest, most hilarious ones. 

She also gives scratchcards to everyone on their birthdays and on my birthday last year I became the family record holder, winning $40. This year all I got was a new ticket.

IMG_2688

I have a funny story from dinner that I already shared on my Twitter, but I want to immortalize it here as well. The restaurant was having two parties that night, so they put us in this upstairs room that allows them to do regular dinner service for people when they’re also having multiple parties. We had just ordered and were chatting when suddenly from downstairs came the sound of bagpipes! It only lasted about a minute and stopped as abruptly as it had started. My family naturally burst into laughter and started joking about how they should have the piper come up and play me happy birthday! We asked our waitress what was happening and it turned out it was a police officer’s retirement party. Regardless, it’s a birthday memory that I’m unlikely to forget, lol!

I was lucky to receive some neat gifts from my friends and family (tabletop games! a Dragon Age lore book! a cute reusable shopping bag, Pusheen magnets, and a book about pins! and more!). I’d like to close this post off by sharing a just one gift photo — I present to you, a ceramic Harry Potter goblet!

IMG_2689

One might jokingly refer to this as a pimp cup, lol. This was a find of my aunt’s. I could probably use it for drinking, but I’m too afraid to break it. The dragon makes displaying anything inside of it kind of awkward. I tried to put a small Ron plush I have inside and it just didn’t work. But in the alternate universe where I make enough money to move out on my own, I think this could be good for placing next to the door so I can put my keys in it! For now, I’m displaying it on top of my dresser.

And that’s all I have to say about my birthday week!

I hope you’re all doing well. I’ll be back with another post soon!

Pin Display Project

I like decorative pins — artists all over the internet are making really great designs! But I always worry that if I attach them to a jacket or bag they’ll fall off and I’ll lose them forever. If you saw my Desk Tour post, then you’ll know I found a solution for that! It was very simple — nothing more than an embroidery hoop and a piece of cloth.

IMG_2097.JPG

I don’t know the artists for all of these, but I’ll have links to all the pins I do know at the end of this post!

However, this first attempt was far from perfect. I cut the fabric quite short around the back so it wouldn’t show at the front, but I don’t own a hot glue gun, so it wasn’t terribly secure. Adding or removing pins would cause the fabric to shift or lose tension. I do have a friend with a hot glue gun and I always meant to fix this up, and also make more hoops, but I kept forgetting. Until recently!

IMG_2660.JPG

Awhile ago I got two new hoops at a craft chain called Michaels (the little one and the biggest one). The fabric I picked up at Walmart. The label on each bit of fabric (the colors were sold separately) said they were “fat quarters” which makes me giggle for some reason. Apart from a hot glue gun, to make these you’ll also need some nice sharp scissors and maybe some string depending on how you plan on hanging them. And also some kind of flat piece to press the fabric into the hot glue — I used a disposable chopstick for this.

I don’t have any progress pictures because I needed both hands to work on these and I didn’t want to ask my friend to stop playing Dragon Age, because it is a very important game that we both love, lol. But here are the steps of my process:

  • Load the fabric in between the two parts of the hoop and tighten the screw at the top so the fabric is taut.
  • Cut the fabric short until it is close to the hoop, but still long enough to tuck around inside. (You could also measure the fabric around the hoop and cut it before putting the fabric in, but I couldn’t be bothered.)
  • Apply hot glue to the hoop, going little by little, and press the fabric into it somehow (fingers are not recommended for obvious reasons).
  • Optional: loop a string around the screw at the top to help you hang it. I discovered when I was taking photos for this post that my hoops will fit over my hook of choice without string, which I didn’t realize with my first hoop. (For the record, I’m obsessed with all things Command Strips/Hooks for hanging things in my room.)
  • Ta-da! You’re done!

IMG_2670.JPG

To be honest, my hoops are kind of a mess inside. I didn’t cut the fabric very carefully — I probably could have cut it closer so it would lay flatter.

IMG_2665.JPG

This excess fabric/my sloppy mess is super visible in the yellow hoop (which formerly held the gray fabric, hence the string). On the darker colors this doesn’t show much or at all. So maybe I wouldn’t recommend light colors for this if you’re not prepared to be super precise, but the fabric I bought is also cheap/thin so if you had thicker cloth you might also be able to get away with a light color. My friend suggested getting some nice beads and gluing them around the edge so you can’t see the ugliness.

My only other regret with this project is that I didn’t take better care lining up the creases in the fabric. (Because, let’s be honest, who is going to iron the fabric for a little project like this?) If I make more of these, I’ll do a better job at lining the creases up horizontally or vertically, because looking at the crooked creases kind of irritates me. But again, this is something that shows less on darker fabric.

IMG_2675.JPG

I haven’t entirely decided which pins of mine are going on which hoop, but I know I want to bring the little one to my cubicle at work. The big polka dot one will hang in my room, and I can expand to the yellow one once I fix it up/need more pin space.

I’m very excited to collect more pins now! Are there any artists you recommend? And if you have any questions about this project, please let me know.

Pins Featured In This Post (That I Know The Source Of):

 

Once upon a time…

Once upon a time there was a female who felt herself to be (in the words of the immortal Ms. Spears) not a girl, not yet a woman. After all, on the cusp of 28 years old she was well past her girlhood and probably didn’t even qualify as a young woman anymore. But for a number of reasons she could not escape her family home and live a life with full adult responsibilities and therefore often felt like a child. (Although, for the record, she was very thankful that her family home was a pleasant place to live. Just wanna put that out there.)

P3180057.JPG

Additionally, there were aspects of her personality that occasionally made her feel childish. For instance, she would much rather stay in and play a video game than go out into the world and make connections that could perhaps advance her adult life. She had no long term goals besides “be happy and be able to support myself” which really was getting in the way of finding a job that would help her achieve those goals, as she had no firm direction to point herself in. When she reached her point of ultimate frustration, her body’s reaction was to cry (and then to cry more out of embarrassment for having cried).

IMG_1320.JPG

However, her greatest problem was that she had very little discipline. This can be traced back to her years in college. After spending high school driving herself crazy to get good grades in her full course load of high level classes, she very quickly noticed that she had enrolled in a college that was perhaps slightly too easy for her. She realized that she could do the bare minimum and still get good grades, and so that is what she did (while somehow still managing to graduate a semester early). By the time she left the mountains to return home to the land of Jersey, her discipline had fluttered away on a breeze.

IMG_6886.JPG

She turned her attention to various endeavors as she started her adult life, but she had lost her ability to follow through when it was not required by an employer. She took up the ukulele and wrote a handful of songs that were well received by people she knew, but when her inspiration fled, so to did her relationship with her ukulele. She bought a beautiful blue guitar and attended lessons, but when her teacher left the community center she let the guitar sit in the corner because there was no outside force compelling her to practice. There was a watercolor kit that she’d purchased after watching a few videos that had been barely touched. She couldn’t get herself to stick to an exercise regimen even though her overweight body begged her to by developing hypertension. There was a box of video games in her room that had been started, but never finished.

polishthumb.png

Then there was the whole slew of internet videos, over 100 of them, made over the course of many years. YouTube was her most successful attempt at keeping up with a hobby long term. She occasionally took breaks for months at a time, but always returned. Until one day it hit her that she did not want to go back. There wasn’t any particular reason, she just somehow lost interest in creating online videos (although she did still spend an inordinate amount of time watching online videos instead of doing any of the things mentioned in the last two paragraphs).

If she was being really honest with herself, in most of the things she tried she grew to feel she was hopelessly mediocre and would never be good or worth notice no matter how much effort she put in, so why should she even bother?

IMG_2539.JPG

But just because she had given up on talking to a camera did not mean that she never wanted to talk to anyone about her more long-winded thoughts on the internet ever again. The internet can give the impression that we are meant to share everything about our lives, and while she knew that many aspects of her life were probably too dull to share, she still wanted to share some things. So she started a blog. She could have kept a physical journal, but the notion that someone might read her words and interact with her because of them excited her. She had made some quality internet friends on YouTube and thought that once she got going she might make some blogging friends as well.

She plugged away at her blog, dedicating time to make sure there would be a new post each week. While she didn’t make any new friends, she did feel herself to be free to talk about topics that she never felt alright talking about on YouTube. She finally unburdened herself regarding a few heavy stories from her life and was more open and raw about her mental health than she’d ever been before. She had friends and family to talk about these things with, but she could be clearer and take her time composing her thoughts. Somehow it was easier to write everything down instead of having to use her actual voice. It was freeing.

IMG_2622.JPG

But then, the inevitable happened. After taking a week off to go on a trip, her posting became more irregular and ultimately ceased entirely. Her main excuse at the time that she stopped was “it’s too hot to sit at my laptop for hours during the summer to put these posts together” and she swore she’d return in the fall. But autumn came and went and winter began and still she had not really posted anything, besides a post saying that she would be posting again soon that had actually been posted quite some time ago.

P1070083.JPG

The blog tugged at the back of her mind, but she was nervous about returning. She realized that was scared that she had nothing new left to say after all of the YouTube videos and blog posts she had already made. Nothing interesting anyway. But she wanted to write. So just after the new year started she put Google Docs on her phone so she could work on the same documents both at her desk and away from it and she started typing away. She wasn’t sure if it was any good, or if she would even be consistent about it, but she very badly wanted to be. She wanted to prove to herself that she could follow through, even if she felt like a worthless mediocrity while doing it.

IMG_0266.JPG

It was a new year, a new start, a new chance to do and be better. Hopefully this time something would stick.

[All images are from my collection of photos/YouTube thumbnails that I’ve taken over the years.]

Blog-a-versary!

Hello, all! It’s been a loooong while, hasn’t it?

If you thought I had given up on this blog, you thought wrong. It’s just that this summer has been A Time. By the end of it, I was referring to it as a cursed summer, because it seemed like less than ideal things were happening not only to me, but to everyone around me.

IMG_1861.JPG

Pictures in this post are all from a walk in a wooded place in my area last fall that I never used for anything!

For instance, just as I was beginning to feel confident in my new position, I had to cover our calendar for a week because of a near death in someone’s family, which always puts me in a bad headspace. (Why are people so fucking rude??)

My doctor put me on a low dose of a diuretic at the end of July because my blood pressure finally went from borderline bad to actually bad. Needless to say this made me feel like shit mentally, but I didn’t have time to worry about that because the day after that appointment, one of my close friends experienced a major medical emergency.

Thankfully they survived it, and while they could’ve suffered major losses of mental or bodily function, they did not. They were home by the end of August, but that month was full of a lot of hospital visits and anxiety and trying to take my mind off of that anxiety by driving through the desert in GTA Online. (My friend is doing relatively well most days now, although they still have a lot of healing to do at home.)

IMG_1863.JPG

A relatively minor gripe, all things considered, is that we had kind of crummy weather on a lot of the weekends, so I couldn’t get down the shore at all.

However, the biggest thing that always keeps me away from computers after work in the summer is the heat. Even in my YouTube days, I was always less active in the summer. I’ve spent the past two summers getting by with just a big fan in my room, without putting an air conditioner into the window. The only thing I want to do when I get home on a hot summer day is sit myself right in front of the fan doing something that requires minimal energy (like reading or, again, video games) until it is time to flop my whole body down in front of the fan so I can go to sleep. The cord for the fan isn’t long enough to reach that close to my desk, and if I plug another thing into the ancient powerstrip at my feet, I’m sure it will catch on fire, lol. As a result of all of that, sitting at my desk is too sweaty to tolerate during the summer.

IMG_1897.JPG

But! Now that the weather is cooling down and life is becoming calm, I am ready to make my return. I’m not ready for a full return just yet — I want to prep at least two blog posts first, to give me a head start on a regular schedule. You can look forward to posts about Flame Con! The New York Renaissance Faire! Portland, Maine! And much more!

However, I noticed that my first blog-a-versary just passed, so I wanted to throw up a quick post to say hey, let y’all know why I dropped off the map, and to thank you if you’re still willing to read my stuff after I disappeared without warning.

Throughout my life I’ve tried to keep many different diaries, and then blogs once the internet came along. I always lost interest in them very shortly, but I’m somehow still interested in writing here after a whole year has passed, and I intend to keep on doing so for quite awhile.

See you soon (for real!),
Krys

IMG_1835.JPG

My Makeup Routine!

I didn’t really get into makeup until 2014, but I was never the type to wear it daily. It just really requires way too much effort and time — I’d rather get a little more sleep before work! However, there was a period of time where I was putting on a full face of makeup every Saturday. This was mainly during the time when I was really into making YouTube videos, as that was my filming day and I wanted to look polished. However, in 2018, while I’ve swiped on just a bit of lipstick here or there, I’ve really only done a full makeup three or four times. Two of those times were at Anime Boston, and one of them was for the cosplay I did there.

But it struck me lately, that I’ve had the same profile picture on several of my social media outlets for nearly a year now, and I figured if I was going to haul out my nice camera to take replacements, I might as well try to look decent for it, lol. So last weekend I put on a ton of makeup, and documented each step. I’ll be the first to say that I’m not the greatest at makeup application, but I have fun with it, and that’s what counts! For starters, here is my bare face, clean and layered with skincare — the Before picture, if you will.

IMG_2235.JPG

There is a whole range of things going on here, from uneven skintone, to my highly visible pores, to my various large, crater-like chicken pox scars (which I actually quite like). Also, fun fact, I have a dimple.

IMG_2238.JPG

I always start my makeup with my eyeshadow, because I have a penchant for getting it all over my undereye area. I had a very hard time taking a picture of it, this is the best I got. I always start with an eye primer, because I have greasy, crease-y eyes. (I’ll be listing all the specific products at the end of the post!) Once my primer is down, I put a shadow that’s close to my skintone all over my lid, up to my browbone. Then I blend whatever dark color I’m using into my crease using a blending brush, and use a flat brush to pat a lighter color onto my lid. Here I’ve used a purpley color and a orangey glittery color from the nerdy indie (and vegan/cruelty free!) makeup brand Shiro Cosmetics, which I’ve been a fan of since they started!

If this looks kind of like a mess, it is. Not only am I not the greatest at blending, but the bristles at the tip of my crease brush somehow became fanned out a bit at the end the lat time I washed it so it’s no longer as precise as I’d like. But whatever, when my eyes were open, it didn’t look like quite as much of a disaster, lol. Often I do winged liner as well (although not so often anymore), but I’m glad I didn’t go for it here because even though I’ve applied it hundreds of times, it still can go very hit or miss (as I’m sure you know if you’ve got any experience with winged liner).

IMG_2248.JPG

Next is my face base! I start with a primer, trying to fill in my pores so they don’t show so much once I put on the foundation (which never quite works as well as I want, despite using a product which is supposed to be helpful in that regard). I’ve never found a foundation that I’m 100% satisfied with, but the one I’m wearing here is the closest I’ve got. It’s slightly the wrong shade for me, especially since I’ve got just the sliiiightest bit of summer color, but it doesn’t look nearly as off once I put my blush, etc. on top. There’s a bit of concealer under my eyes. Usually I don’t have dark looking undereye circles, but once I’ve evened everything else out with foundation, they appear, so I smear something over them even though I know it will crease horribly before the day is done, lol. I’ve also got my setting powder on — as a greasy girl, it is required if I want my makeup to look alright for a long period of time.

I apply my foundation with a makeup sponge, usually a Beautyblender, but the Real Techniques ones are nice as well. (I keep trying foundation brushes, but they tend to make the makeup SUPER visible in my pores. Not sure if that’s my skill or just the nature of the tool.) I press my powder into my forehead, undereyes, nose, and chin with the flat part of a Real Techniques sponge and then use a large flat fluffy brush to sweep away any extra and apply powder to the rest of my face.

IMG_2250.JPG

Here I’ve added my eyebrows, blush, and highlighter. I’ve never groomed my eyebrows, as I’ve been lucky enough to have brows that grow in a way that doesn’t make me self conscious. When I first got into makeup, I didn’t put makeup on them at all, but I was subscribed to Birchbox at the time, and they sent me a brow pencil, and when I tried it with my makeup I had a moment of “oh. maybe I should be doing this.” My eyebrows are relatively light, so they tend to get a little lost when I do a full makeup, especially if I accidentally get foundation on them. Brow pencil prevents me from looking eyebrow-less. I don’t fill them super thickly like the beauty gurus do, I just lightly shade them and hope for the best (you’re probably noticing this is a theme with my makeup application, lol).

I’ve tried to learn contouring, but I just can’t get the hang of it, so I stick to blush and highlight, both of which get applied in accidental abundance.

IMG_2252.JPG

My final steps are finishing/setting spray, mascara, and lipstick. The finishing spray helps my makeup survive the oil factory that is my face for just a little longer. I wait until after that to do my mascara, as I had a number of incidents where the spray would re-wet the mascara, and then I’d wind up with smudges under my eyes. Very annoying! I do my lipstick very slowly and carefully, and I prefer drier formulas because I don’t understand lipliner. Even if I use it, I still have wound up with feathering and smudging, so I’ve decided that super creamy lipsticks just aren’t for me.IMG_2284.JPG

So that’s the finished look! I took a whole bunch of photos in a couple of different tops, but I’m not actually sure if I’m going to use them for my Twitter or anything. This is not my best, most successful makeup application, and I’m a little afraid someone might zoom in and notice that, lol. I know I shouldn’t give a damn, but if I’m creating “promotional” photos, I want to put my best foot forward.

Despite my mixed feelings about this makeup, however, I still wanted to share these photos to show that even if things come out wonky, as long as you have fun doing your makeup, it’s fine! The great thing about makeup is that it washes off, and you can always try again!

flatlayfinal.jpgI think this is my first proper flatlay? Anyway, here’s the massive list of everything I put on my face, with comments where I feel one is needed. (As usual, none of this is #spon, I just wanna let y’all know where to get the good stuff!)

  1. NARS Blush in the shade Orgasm
  2. Anastasia Beverly Hills Perfect Brow Pencil in Medium BrownI use the spoolie end to brush product out of my brows before lightly coloring them in.
  3. Shiro Cosmetics Highlighter in Siren SongAs of this post, it’s on sale because it’s being discontinued, so scoop it up quick if you want it!
  4. BeautyblenderThis is the Nude one, I got it in a gift set but they sell it individually as well. I cut it in half because a beauty YouTuber suggested it, and it’s kind of old anyway, but I find it doesn’t help my application much and actually makes it harder to hold.
  5. Real Techniques Miracle Complexion SpongeI actually don’t like this for foundation as much as the BB, but I like the flat end for pressing powder in really well.
  6. Tarte Rainforest of the Sea sprayUsed this as a setting spray here because I looked a little powdery, and this one helps relax that a little. Smells nice, somewhat citrusy!
  7. Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder in TransparentMy current favorite setting powder, in case you couldn’t tell from the fact I’m hitting pan. I use this translucent one so I don’t have to worry about it clashing with my foundation. Nice applied with sponge or brush.
  8. Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Concealer in BrighteningThis can go on hit or miss for me. I actually experimented with mixing it with #14 in this look and it turned out kind of well!
  9. e.l.f. Powder BrushUsed for translucent powder. The flat top lets me press things in, but it’s still big/fluffy enough to sweep stuff around.
  10. I’m not sure I’ve found the exact brush because it’s got no name printed on it, but the e.l.f. Complexion Brush looks pretty close to it. I use it for blush!
  11. e.l.f. Blush BrushI actually use this for highlighter. It’s a relatively flat brush, so I put the product one of the sides and sweep it over my cheekbones. 
  12. From left to right: e.l.f. Blending Eye Brush, Eyeshadow “C” Brush, and Eyeshadow Brush. The blender is self-explanatory, the “C” was used to put my neutral base on over my eye primer, the plain eyeshadow brush was used for the glitter shadow, to keep the other flat one clean for mattes in the future.
  13. Bite Beauty Matte Creme Lip Crayon in the shade Liquorice:  I -love- this shade, and the formula wears well. They also have this shade in their Amuse Bouche lipsticks, which is where I discovered it first, but god those lipsticks are SO smudgy!
  14. This concealer is from Target’s Sonia Kashuk line, but when I tried to find a link I discovered that the brand is no longer selling cosmetics and is only selling brushes now. So I can’t provide a link, sorry!
  15. Loreal Voluminous Waterproof Mascara in BlackThis is an old favorite of mine that I recently returned to when I realized the mascara I’d been using was probably well past expired and also discontinued. It’s still a good product. I buy waterproof because otherwise I get under eye smudges through the day because of my greasy face.
  16. This is a tiny little sampler palette I got in a Smashbox Try It Kit a long time ago — so long in fact that they no longer sell that particular kit. I haven’t tried other shadows from their brand, but these three are quality, and in this look I used the lightest one as the neutral base over my eye primer. 
  17. Shiro Cosmetics Eyeshadow in Yzma’s Essence of LlamaShiro shadows can be tricky to work with because they’re all loose pigments, but they’re definitely worth getting used to. This one has a nice shift — it’s purpley if you blend it like I did here, but if you pat it on it has a bronze cast. 
  18. Shiro Cosmetics Eyeshadow in Wizard WheezesThis one from Shiro’s Potter themed collection can be quite messy to work with because it is largely just glitter. If you sweep it on it’s quite sheer, but if you really work and pat a few layers on a nice orange/copper color develops.
  19. Dr. Brandt Pores No More primerA favorite primer of mine, because when I get it right it fills in my pores so the makeup sits nicely on top instead of revealing all of them. Also supposed to be good for oil control, but I’m not so sold on that.
  20. Loreal Infallible Total Cover foundation in the shade 301 Classic IvoryThe only foundation that I’ve found consistently gives me a look I’m happy about. There’s probably a foundation out there that’ll give me a look I’m even happier about, but I’m too lazy to look for it. This can cling to dry spots rather badly, so make sure you exfoliate and moisturize first!
  21. Smashbox 24 Hour Photo Finish eye primer: I forgot to include this in the flatlay because I wanted you to know I’m a human being. My favorite eye primer, and I’ve tried a lot of them in my quest for eyeshadow that goes a long time without creasing!