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TRAVEL : Prep


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LOOK! A Wild Post that isn’t about Cosplay has Appeared!

As much as I consider myself an adventurer, there are certain situations where I prefer being prepared for in advance instead of spontaneously jumping into the action. Traveling has always been one of those situations. Don’t get me wrong though. I totally understand when things don’t go to plan and “winging it” is a phrase I often say, but I know myself, and when I’m in a new place without having done little to no research, I find myself out of my element and prone to stressing out (flashback to my first time in Europe when I was 17-years-old and experienced my first bout of culture-shock).

I’ve since learned that being a little prepared goes a long way in keeping my peace of mind. (My first time travelling solo is a clear testament of this.)

With my trip to Japan closing in quickly, I’ve found myself stressing out a little bit as I’ve been slacking on the studying I had originally wanted to have completed by now.

I’ve decided that from now until my departure, to at least learn how to read Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji and some basic phrases for emergency situations. Now I don’t expect to have a superior understanding of the language by the time I leave, but I’m at least hoping to be able to read maps/signs or even a menu without pictures haha. It might be a very ambitious goal and if all else fails, Translation apps will be my best friend.

Outside of learning some basic Japanese, I’ve invested in a new DSLR camera, and I’ve taken it upon myself to learn the in-and-outs of this new toy of mine. Going to Japan and Korea has been a long time dream and I would like to document as much as I can~ I know, I know. Some people are annoyed by all the photo taking, and as usual— don’t get me wrong, I get it! It’s just I think Photography is a new hobby I’ve taken up and experimenting with it in Japan would be a pretty amazing experience! I think it’ll be fun to be on the other side of the camera for once 🙂 And don’t worry, I won’t live my trip only through the lens!

Anyway, I think that’s it for today, I’m going to get back to perfecting my Hiragana and making some flash cards. What an exciting Saturday night XD studying for fun haha~

I hope everyone is well! Any plans for the rest of your weekend? Did you ever experience culture shock? Or are you the kind of traveller who jumps straight into the unknown like a Gryffindor?

ALSO, if you’ve ever been to Japan or Korea, PLEASE chat with me~ I love to get some opinions and suggestions of what to see and do in the short time I’ll be there! To be honest, this trip of mine is pretty much just a giant food adventure. We all know how much I love food haha~

Much Love,
Sam ❤

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Getting Serious About Cosplay


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You can watch me stress out over cosplay sometimes on SnapChat (samiisabelle). 

Now when I talk about “getting serious” I don’t mean trying to make a career out of cosplay (don’t get me wrong, you could totally work towards a career in cosplay if that’s what you want). What I mean is putting in a bit more effort in my projects instead of just pulling things out of my closet or HOT GLUEING EVERYTHING (but don’t be mistaken. I still use hot glue for a lot of things XD).

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Lady Loki (Montreal Comicon 2014)

I think the first cosplay I put any real effort into was my Lady Loki. I learned how to put together some scale maille for a top, I fumbled my way through making some (really heavy) horns, and although I didn’t have enough time to learn how to use my sewing machine I learned shortcuts (with that stitch-witch hemming tape thingy) to put together a cape and “skirt”.

After that, I decided I wasn’t going to leave everything off for the week (or maybe two) before the convention to get my stuff done. Or at least try to anyway.

My big project after Loki and one of my pride and joys would be my Leafeon Gijinka Armour. After coming up with my concept art, I scoured all of youtube, read tons of tutorials, and then dove into the world that is Worbla.

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Leafeon Gijinka (Pokemon): On the Left 1st paint job (Atomic Lollipop 2015). On the right 2nd paint job (Otakuthon 2015). (Photo: HM Cosplay Photography)          

I worked on that armour on and off for a month or so, and even though the first paint job I did wasn’t as nice as I wanted it to be for the convention, I loved it. After that con, I went over the previous paint job, added a bit more detail, and experienced my first cosplay photo-shoot at Otakuthon.

The cosplays following Leafeon is me just going through the motions experimenting with any and all materials I can get my hands on. I sewed my first dress for Rory Mercury. I’m learning new techniques in my prop making. I’ve learned how to budget my projects. And while I haven’t perfected my time-managing skills in regards to project decisions/convention dates, I get things done.

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Thor (Jane Foster) Progress Shots (2016)

There’s just this amazing feeling of watching something, scraps of foam or fabric become something more. I don’t know… I think getting serious about cosplay is about trying new things, and learning from all the mistakes you make along the way.

Sometimes I wonder if I embraced cosplay because it’s easier to see the end result compared to my writing where trying to get to the end of my story is like trying to put out the fires of hell with an ice cube… XD that’s a thought for another time though.

Here’s a little preview of my current project~

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Bellossom Progress Shots (2016)

Otakuthon is this weekend (Aug 5 – 7) in Montreal and I’ll be attending on Saturday as Rory Mercury (because she’s one of my waifus and I had a lot of fun being her) and Sunday as Bellossom.

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Catch me as Rory Mercury on Saturday if you’re going to Otakuthon!        (Photo: Lost Dumplings Photography – Anime North 2016)

Until next time~
Much Love,
Sam ❤

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Ireland


It’s been almost a year since my mini trip abroad and I’m itching to get on the first plane out of here to experience it again, although, not quite for the same reasons as last year (unfortunately, responsibilities to school and work are the only things stopping me).

This time last year I was a bit in a bad way struggling with “real world” things and the typical twenty-something troubles like “where am I going in life / making terrible decisions / making crappy friends”. That’s why I essentially ran away to Ireland for a week and I fell in love. But not to be mistaken for one of those “chick-flick” falling in love with someone abroad type things— no. I fell in love with Ireland and I left my heart there.

Do you know why I left my heart abroad? Because Ireland offered me a sense of freedom that I felt I couldn’t get back home. However, it wasn’t only freedom from my worries~ it was freedom from my own negativity. This freedom and endless sea of positivity that I found in Ireland is why a piece of my heart will always rest there. It’s an experience that can never be taken away from me and it’s something I can always look back on when I’m feeling particularly lost.

Ireland taught me to find this freedom wherever I am and that once I find it, to always keep in sight. I won’t always hold on to it, but I will never lose it.

I didn’t do much drinking while in Ireland (in fact I can count on one hand how many drinks I had while I was there), but I didn’t mind that so much because drinking authentic irish beer wasn’t why I went in the first place. I might have mentioned this in one of the previous posts, but I went to Ireland because it was the exact opposite of home. It’s not a huge bustling city (at least, not what I witnessed), and the beautiful green space almost everywhere called to me.

I landed and based myself in Dublin but I spent most of my trip trekking; I guess you could say I fell for some “tourist traps” but I went to the ones that offered the most green. 🙂

Here’s are a few of my favourite moments:

I remember having a cup of coffee by the harbour at Doolin (on my second day in Ireland) and thinking it was a great start to the morning despite dealing with a bit of jet-lag. It was supposed to be cloudy and in Dublin it had been drizzling since the afternoon before, but once we left the city centre, it was all bright skies and sunshine.

My stroll at the Cliffs of Moher was amazing. There’s no view like that at home (not that I know of anyway) and it took my breath away. I remember sitting at the edge at one point just taking in everything around me in a state of awe. As much as the baby cliffs (at the Burren) were nice to see, the cliffs at Moher offered more green. I can still remember the earthy smells! Tt was also a pretty warm day and with the long trek, the open space offered a nice refreshing breeze. I wish I was able to express what I was feeling then and there better but as cliche as this sounds, there are no other words that could describe what it was like there. My time at the cliffs was definitely one of my favourites during my stay in Ireland.

Trekking in County Antrim, where the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge is, was also a trek to remember. For one it was really hot that day (I didn’t even need a sweater— that selfie I used as a feature photo in part one was taken then) and the view there is just as amazing as what Moher has to offer. The water there was so clear and such an amazing blue/green it was a sight to behold. I even crossed the rope bridge which for me and my fear of heights is quite the feat.

I even went to the Giant’s Causeway which is a very interesting place! Definitely a tourist-y thing to do but if you ever go, I do recommend listening to the history and stories the place has to offer. It’s a very crowded area though (or it was on the day I went) so don’t expect it to be as peaceful as the other places mentioned above.

Lastly~!

My trek at Glendalough in Wicklow was really great as well. It reminded me a bit of home because the hiking route had the same atmosphere as one of the mountains I hike. It was a calm rainy day but it was a nice kind of quiet that helped me with clearing my mind. I remember finding a spot by the lake and just sitting there with my journal and being able to write page after page after page— something I hadn’t been able to do then because I suffered from creative blocks.

Next time: I’ll talk about my side trips to Paris, Edinburgh, and London.
I hope you enjoyed some of the photos 🙂 if you want to see more photos let me know~
I’m pretty sure I can dig up a few more of my favourites!

Sam.

p.s: Can we just admire all the green wide open spaces and fresh air Ireland has to offer? ❤

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I Left My Heart Abroad


Trekking in Ireland

I never thought I’d say this about being home but it’s slightly bittersweet. My tiny trip abroad was good to me. A little too good maybe. But before I get into those post-trip feels I want to start at the beginning; let’s rewind to June when this idea was first born.

My trip was a spur of the moment plan that came to me after enduring a horrible week. I wasn’t running away exactly… more like going away for a very short time so I can breathe and think things through properly. And as you may or may not already know, once I get an idea in my head I obsess over it until I deem it a hopeless case. Well… I obsessed over this crazy idea for about two weeks. Two long weeks full of planning, crunching numbers, and tons of research; it was all I spoke about, thought about, dreamt about, and I swear I could practically taste freedom on my tongue. If it was possible to eat these ideas for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I most likely would have.

Researching involved hours in front of a computer (even browsing on my phone when I was in the car or the bus) and browsing through the travel books at work. Mapping out the best location for hostels/B&Bs, public transportation schedules, and alternative plans b through z was a long venture and Google Maps became my best friend along the way.

I probably annoyed my mother with the gigantic novel-sized texts I sent her way about these hostels, tours, prices, and savings for days on end; I very nearly went crazy. Ironic really… stressing out over the planning process for a trip that’s supposed to de-stress you… Either way, things started looking up by the end of that second week.

The next thing I know, my flight is booked. It’s official. I’m going to Ireland. Mid-June until August 1st I dedicated all my free time to work work work trying to save up tons of money to pay everything off and still have enough cash left over for food and spending in my pocket. If you’re a long time follower here, you may have noticed I didn’t update much (although, you could have just assumed it was another one of my regular breaks from the web)… Well work was why I disappeared… I worked seven days a week for nearly two months but it was worth it.

During this intense work period I was asked two questions by friends, family, and co-workers. 1. Why are you working so much/motivated to take on all these hours? To which I answered: I’m going on a trip. Upon elaborating, they asked me 2. You’re going by yourself?!

How does one decide to go traveling solo? Especially as a solo female traveler people tend to caution you “It’s dangerous/you shouldn’t go alone” before you even tell them where you’re going.

Deciding on traveling solo was an easy decision for me to make. I wasn’t going to stop myself from going on a trip because my friends couldn’t come with me. When I first thought of going to Ireland, I even contemplated and researched tour companies like Contiki, TopDeck, and EF College Break Tours so I wouldn’t have to go “alone”. I almost settled on a tour with one of them but decided against it in the end.

I remember being with a tour group for 10 days when I was in high school and as much as I enjoyed it, there were plenty of things I could have gone without seeing and places I wish I had gone to see or stayed longer in instead. Since this mini trip was for me, I came to the decision that I should just plan it to go the way I want it to be. And by plan, I mean make a list of all the things I want to see and then find the best and cheapest way to get to there (Try not to make your plans set in stone because stuff happens… and sometimes you just can’t do something about it– you’ll save yourself the disappointment this way).

After committing myself to this solo trip, the next question I got a lot was: Aren’t you worried/scared?

To be honest. I was a little worried because I’m prone to getting myself into odd situations but scared… not really. I’m used to exploring my city on my own so I figured it shouldn’t be too different. Besides, every place I chose to visit on this trip, (Ireland, England, Scotland, and France) I could get around in easily because I can speak, read, and write in english and in french.

“What is there to be scare of?” I’d ask them. In return my friends would ask me if I ever watched those “Hostel” movies (or whatever they’re called). When my answer was no, they told me not too haha.

Do people normally feel scared before their first solo trip? I imagine if someone was too scared to go abroad by themselves they just wouldn’t go without a friend. Although, I would definitely recommend going on at least ONE trip by yourself if you can. It’s something to be experienced. I don’t know if I’ll be able to describe what I felt exactly but I’ll try my best in my next post.

I’ll leave you with that for now.

Until Next Time~
Sam
P.S: I know I say this all the time but I missed you guys! It’s good to be back! I hope you’re all doing well! I’ll try to catch up on everything that’s been going on in my feed soon! 😀

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Gogo Yubari Time~


Weeee~ I had wayyy too much fun with that lovely weapon of mine.

A few weeks ago was my co-worker’s birthday and it was a Quentin Tarantino themed costume party~
Obviously I had to go as Gogo Yubari. I found the school girl skirt and the blazer at a second hand store; I used one of my work blouses; Made a giant red bow; And bought supplies to make the weapon (it’s not an exact replica and it’s still incomplete but I ran out of time haha. it still came out pretty good though! If you want to know how I made it just let me know and I’ll make a post; I took some progress shots since it was the first time I did something like that).
It was wayyy too hot to wear the blazer at the party and I wore my glasses most of the night because I didn’t want to be blind, but in the end those details don’t really matter. What did matter was that it was an amazing night with great company~

There isn’t much else to say so I’ll leave you with some photos.

Pictures were all taken by Tom 🙂

weapon~





Sam

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Drawing: Hayley Williams


I haven’t written about this, but maybe on another post I’ll elaborate on my love for drawing portraits. 🙂

Hayley Williams from Paramore
I decided to draw her since their new album just came out last week~
I spent roughly 10 hours working on this over a span of four days.

Details:
8×10 Sketchbook Paper
Pencils: 2F, H, F, HB, B, 2B, 4B, 6B
Faber-Castell Pencil Colors
Finished April 12, 2013

Reference Photo was found on Google.
Progress Shots




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Picture it & Write: Sweet


There was a haunting howl as night took over the dead forest. The living had long gone from this place they used to call home but soon… soon it would be theirs again. He glanced up at the moon and let her silvery glow embrace him; a cold lover but a soothing familiar friend all the same. He savored the short moment of peace because he knew the rest of the night would be anything but the sweet sanctuary he craved. A hand came to rest on his shoulder and he glanced behind him towards the shadows. “It’s time,” someone said and he nodded in response. There was a hiss and a sharp crack and the forest was instantly lit with red hot heat. Revenge was sweet but home was sweeter and it will be theirs before long.

This is my short short short entry to this week’s Picture it & Write from Ermiliablog~! It’s been a long while since I’ve done one of these but better late than never to get back into the swing of things. 🙂

Feel free to join in on the fun~
Until next time
Sam

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Are You Happy?


It’s a thought that came to me the other night when I said “I’m Happy” in my last post.

Answer this for me:
When someone asks you “How are you?” do you say “I’m happy” or “I’m okay”?
I only realized I always answer either with: okay/ fine/ tired/ great/ stressed/ sick/ better than yesterday/ could be better. Sometimes I’ll admit I’m feeling a little down… But I never say “I’m Happy”.
I noticed that when I extend the question to someone else, their response is always something along the similar lines of: “I’m doing okay/ fine/ tired/ etc…”

Does no one ever say “I am happy” anymore? Does okay/fine/great = happy? And if we are happy, then why don’t we just say it? Why do we say something so… I don’t know, non-committal, like “I’m fine”?
Is it because it’s no longer the social norm to say “I’m feeling happy today, thanks for asking, how are you”? Is it because it could be taken as flaunting something someone else might not be feeling?

Now… I’m not saying that I’ve been unhappy but does not being unhappy automatically mean you’re happy? I know what I felt the other night with my friends was genuine happiness and I don’t feel that every day. If I’m not unhappy nor am I feeling genuinely happy then what am I feeling most days? Apathetic? Neutral? Do my bursts of energy count as happiness? Or is that just excitement over whatever it is that caught my attention?

I think it’s kind of sad. How many days have gone by and I just coasted through? How many days have passed and I didn’t take advantage of being able to feel something positive? Sure around company you can laugh when something’s funny, feel sad or disappointed when the situation calls for it, but once you’re alone what do you feel?

And, I’m not saying you have to tell everyone ‘I’m happy’ all the time or even feel happy every day. I know there are those days when you’ve just reached your limit, but why do I feel as though the majority of the people today are only “okay” most of the time when they could be feeling better by being “happy”? Why do I feel as though this society we live in is prone to looking towards the negative instead of the positive? (I know I’m prone to doing that and it’s something I’ve been trying (and failing) to change)

Hell, I could be making myself a happier person but for some reason I thought I was comfortable with how I was. After the other evening, I know I’d rather feel like that on most days instead of how I’ve been feeling until now.

Am I making any sense or am I just over thinking everything like I usually do (I swear, sometimes it sucks living inside your mind). It might be a little sad, but to be honest with you, I had a good cry about all of this. I think I worried myself because I have gone through bouts of feeling extremely sad for months on end for no apparent reason and I thought that maybe, just maybe, I convinced myself that I was happy when I wasn’t. Maybe that is the case and I’m in denial, I don’t know. Maybe I just settled for feeling “alright” all the time because it’s easier being apathetic about everything… I’m honestly lost…

What I do know is: since I’m aware of how I want to be feeling on a more regular basis, I’m going to work towards that. I don’t want to coast through life the way I have been. I want to be happy. And not the “I’m okay” ‘happy’ either. I want the real ‘happy’.

What do you think? Am I crazy?

I’m probably crazy…
Sam

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I Love My Team


I feel like I haven’t written about any… I don’t know… life stuff lately?? The last few posts on my blog have been about why I haven’t updated. Belated answers to emails. General interests, opinions, and stress. Let’s change that for something a little light-hearted shall we?

Last night my co-workers organized a bowling night/reunion/going away get together. And I have to admit it was the most fun I’ve had in a long while. I think it’s because it was something a tiny bit different from the usual bar thing (not that we didn’t end up at a bar later or use the bar at the bowling alley…) and also the great company.

It was my first time going bowling since I was 9. And it was my first time using the non kid balls hahaha. I can tell you now that I’m terrible at bowling. But! At least I’m consistent in my bowling skills. We played three rounds, my final score was 45 for the two first rounds and 50 for the last and I was only in last place once! So that’s a plus. Imagine I had a competitive personality when it came to sports? (I’m only competitive about other things) I’d probably be feeling bummed the whole night. Instead I was extremely happy every time I managed to hit a pin.

The whole night we were just bonding as a team… actually, I like the word family better. I really love them all. It was so strange because it was the first time we were all very affectionate with each other, or rather, the first time we were extra affectionate with each other (I mean, there was the occasional hug and what not but that’s about it). I think that was partly because I usually only ever see them in work or at a bar (it’s hard to be “affectionate” at a bar I find), and partly because… well… I’m very rarely affectionate with people in the first place.

Last night was full of hugs and laughter and cuddles and more hugs! I can’t even elaborate on all the crazy shenanigans that went on at the bowling place, but I can swear all that laughing was probably equivalent to an abs workout. When we left the bowling alley in search for a place to eat I somehow ended up getting a piggieback ride from one of my co-workers which invoked a few others to pair off and have piggieback rides and soon we were running down the street like we were re-enacting Mario Cart… except. it was piggieback racing? People looked at us strangely but that’s okay. They probably thought we were drunk (which some of us were). Once we managed to get a table big enough for us (at the third bar we ventured too), we just mellowed out and bonded over beer, food, and interesting conversations.

Seriously. I couldn’t have asked for a better night.
I love love love my team. I wouldn’t trade them for the world and I will be sad to leave them one day (or have them leave us to head  towards their own goals).

I’m happy.
And I feel like I don’t say that enough. Strange isn’t it. That’s definitely something I’ll be thinking about.
That’s all for today~ I just really wanted to share my excitement/happiness/whatever the heck this emotion I’m feeling is. LOVE~ I’m spreading the love~ haha. 🙂

Sam

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Obsession At Its Finest


MY NEW OBSESSION

It’s scary how obsessed I get over things sometimes but I think it kind of relates to that whole “living inside my brain” thing. This time though, I’m not obsessing over an idea or a project… No. I’ve been obsessing over Game of Thrones. AHHH. Yeah. I know, I’m extremely late to the game, but when the series premiered, I watched it and the ending of the first episode threw me off guard. And then my father proceeded to make fun of my terrible choices in shows. Needless to say, it took two years to be convinced by my co-workers, friends, and then later, my cousins to watch at least until episode three before judging.

You can probably figure out what happened. I marathon-ed the first season in almost a day (I say almost because I started my day with game of thrones at 7am, left to go to the mall with my father in the afternoon, went home to watch a few more eps, went out for supper and coffee, and then stayed up until 6 am to complete it… so technically it wasn’t a day, but technically it was? — what?). I would have done the same with season two once I got my hands on it, but it was on a usb key and watching it on a laptop annoyed me.

I finished the 2nd season in a week and now I’m salivating for the new season to start. I’m happy my wait isn’t as long as my co-workers’ since I’m a late fan, but still. I’m getting impatient.

To make time go faster and fuel my obsession even more, I bought the first four books (I would have gotten the 5th, but it’s not out in pocket book size yet, and it annoys me when I own books of the same series in different formats). At work we have a whole display of game of thrones merchandise and I couldn’t help myself… I bought a beautiful Targaryen stein. I want all the other house steins too- and the pint glasses set- how about EVERYTHING. okay… maybe not everything. but you know, a few things.

I got the Targaryen stein first because I fell in love with Dany and Khal Drogo in the first season (she kind of annoyed me, but only just a little, during the second season). I also love love love Arya and Tyrion. So far, I have no emotional attachment to Jon Snow but I’m liking him in the book. I told myself not to get attached to Ned because I knew what would happen to him at the end of the first season. I really want to get to know Jaime more before I decide how I feel about him. Ahhh. Can’t wait. Apparently they’re straying away from the books a little, but I’m sure it’ll still be pretty amazing.

So, if you’ve wondered why I disappeared again, you can blame Game of Thrones. My life apparently now revolves around it.

Are you a fan of the series also? LETS GO FAN CRAZY TOGETHER. Or… we can have normal fan talk! (or not)
DISCUSSION TIME~!
If you could belong to any house, which would it be?
If you could have your own house, what would your sigil be?

TO BE CONTINUED…

Sam

P.S: on the few recent occasions where my friends discuss cosplaying, I actually contemplated gender-swapping khal drogo. If I were to ever cosplay (which I don’t think I will), I’ll beef up a little for the role. hahahaha.

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