Lighting Solutions for Selfies

The more that I blog and the more that I post to Instagram, the better I get at taking selfies.  Part of getting better is the equipment that I’ve found to use as well.  So, for this post I thought I would highlight some useful products that I use in taking a better selfie.

The Ring Light

First up is the ring light.  Ring lights comes in a ton of sizes and intensities.  I have a clip on ring light for my phone.  The light has three different intensities and is rechargable with an android charger.  I got mine on Amazon, click on this link to buy.

small ring light

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I also have this eight inch ring light set-up.  This kit is fantastic!  The light comes with a tripod, an adjustable phone mount and a remote that uses Bluetooth so you don’t have to mess with a camera timer app.  If you have ever used those, they are kind of a pain.  This light has three different types of light, a warm light, sunlight and a bright bluish light as well.  All three of those types have varying intensities as well.  The power source is USB, so you can use a power pack with it, which makes this easily portable.  I also got this on Amazon, click on this link to buy.

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The Selfie Stick

Selfie sticks get a bad rep, but I disagree with that.  Used with safety in mind, they are a great tool to get a great selfie.  You can get a selfie stick almost anywhere.  I like this one from Amazon because it has a button on the handle that allows you to take your picture without using a timer app.  Click on the link to buy.

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Echo Look

The last tool I use quite often is my Echo Look by Amazon.  Part of the Alexa AI product line, this tool is specific for fashion and wardrobe planning.  You simply plug it into a wall socket and download the app (the app is free).  Set-up takes a couple of minutes.  After that, just say, “Alexa, take a picture.”, and she does.  Alexa takes the photo and blurs the background for you.  The Echo Look also has built in lighting that is perfect for selfies and flashes to reduce red eye issues.  The photos are put on the app, and from there you can share them to a number of social media sites or text them.  Another feature of the app is a “which outfit is better”, wherein fashion stylists compare two of your outfits and critique them for you.  You can also save your outfits in a gallery by occasion, style and even color.  It comes in very handy for this blog.  Obviously, you buy this on Amazon as well.  Click on that link to buy your own Echo.

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That’s it!  If you have any tools you use for taking a great selfie, put it in the comments below.

Until next time…

Love, Kim and Benji

Here’s to Being Seen!

I recently went back to therapy.  I like to go every few years for a kind of “brain tune-up”.  This time around has been especially helpful.  My therapist just gets right to the heart of things quickly.

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Why am I telling you this?  Well, the other day I was at my appointment, and the subject of holidays came up.  I am not especially fond of any holiday except Halloween these days.  I don’t like Thanksgiving in particular, but it wasn’t always like that.

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When I was a kid, I liked all the holidays, including Thanksgiving.  After my Grandmother died, I stopped liking the holidays.  The holidays became this tense and unpleasant time where everyone complained about everyone else, and the energy was just plain… bad.

So, my therapist asked me what in particular was so great about the holidays when my Grandmother was still with us.  I told her about how it was my job to set the table.  I was my Grandmother’s assistant.  She would go to the china cabinet and get out this photo from a magazine of an elegant place setting, so I could copy it.  That photo always came out to help me during the holidays, and I just liked helping her.  I felt so proud, so important.

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Unfortunately, after my Grandfather passed, the family was packing up the house, and I couldn’t find the picture.  I was going to frame it.  So, that is why I really enjoyed the holidays, but I didn’t feel like I had communicated to my therapist why.  As usual, she knew exactly what I was trying to say.  “You were seen during those times.  She saw you.”  Wow, just wow.  Yes, that is exactly what it was!

My Grandmother always “saw” me.  She saw me when I was happy, sad, silly, whatever.  She loved me no matter which one of those people I was.

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Cut to today and my life as it is now.  It is pretty great, I gotta say.  I am seen.  I am living my best life.  I have a job I love.  I have a great home.  I have friends.  I have my writing to express myself.  I have a blog and a hobby that makes me happy.  I had no idea that my blog and cosplaying were my way of being “seen” again!

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Out of all of these great things in my life, most of all, I have a great kid.  Now that I know how to properly express it, let me say this.  My one job with him is to make sure that he is “seen”.  Everyday and in every way.  I think I already am, but I definitely will.  I will because of how great being seen made me feel when I was a kid, and I want that for my own kid now.

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So, first my Grandmother gave me a love of style and fashion, mid-century style in particular.  Then she “saw” me as I was.  Both of these gifts serve me well in my adult life.  Finding cosplay and blogging is a way to be seen, and my love of 50s style is a perfect fit for my cosplays.  I feel like she is still helping me.  I love how I continue to discover new ways to be grateful to my Grandmother.  What incredible gifts she gave me.

Helping you be seen is one of our goals here at inplainsight.style.  Let us know what you want to see to help you achieve that goal, so I can pass my Grandmother’s gift to me on to you!

So, here’s to being seen!

Love, Kim and Benji

*All pro photos by Justin Davidson Photography.  Book him here.

I’ll Be in My Dressing Room!

I, like every other fashion-obsessed person, always wanted to have a big ‘ol closet.  I have a small closet at home that has always been a struggle to keep neat and tidy.  So, when the kiddo got old enough that he didn’t need a toy room anymore, I pounced on the opportunity to make-over the room into my own dressing room.

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We had the desk in the room already, so creating a vanity for myself was a simple task.  Just add a make-up mirror and some make-up, and I was good to go.  I kept the computer and printer in the room for the kiddo’s homework and for blogging too!  Get the lighted make-up mirror from AmazonThe desk is from WayfairThe chair is from Amazon.  I get my plexiglass make-up organizers from various places, but here is a good one on Amazon.

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This small wardrobe with shelving is a great place to display some of my handbags, and I use it for skirts and cardigans.  I use these Loungefly mini-backpacks for Cons and theme park visits because they hold everything I need, and they are super cute and great for bounding.  For Loungefly’s website, click hereThe wardrobe is from Target.

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This cube storage unit is from Target from ages ago.  I actually traded furniture from Benji here.  He obviously did not want pink furniture in his room anymore, and I love pink, so it worked out.  I replaced the pastel cubes with cubes from Dollar Tree.  The vignette on the wall I put together with items from the 99 Cent Store.  The bat light is from Amazon.

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The wicker high-boy is the first piece of furniture I ever bought for myself back in 1990.  I will have it always.  The shield I glittered it myself because my shield got all scratched up, so I rehabbed it.  Click here for instructions.

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This clothing rack is from Bed Bath and Beyond.  It has shoe storage below and a shelf on top.  I keep my dresses here because they are much heavier.  And finally, the large zip-up wardrobes hold our cosplays and we’ve had them forever.  We purchased them at Bed Bath and Beyond.

So, I took the room and built it wall by wall to give myself the dressing room of my dreams.  I hope I’ve inspired you to do a make-over of a space within your space.

Love, Kim and Benji

 

Shop Your Closet Challenge!

I don’t know about you, but I do love to save some money.  Problem is, I also love to shop for new nerdy-themed wardrobe items.  The good news/bad news in that is that now, more than ever before, we have really good choices!

But, let’s say there’s nothing new catching your fancy out there on the interwebs, but you still have an event coming up.  You need to put on something new.  What is a nerd to do?

Well, try shopping your closet.  I recently had WonderCon coming up, and I wanted to dress in dapper/pin-up styles the whole Con, but I didn’t have enough pieces.  I couldn’t find anything I liked really, so I decided to shop my closet.  After all, I have a ton of pieces, so maybe I could put together something with what I already had.  Guess what?  I did just that, and now I have a new go-to fave, this Black Widow bound!

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Here’s a Team Build break-down:

The LeaderSkirt from Amazon

The Brick– T-shirt and shrug from Torrid

The ScientistShoes by Converse

The ExoticArrow Necklace from AmazonBelt from Amazon

The Blaster– My everyday make-up look

The best way to do this is to take something you really like and challenge yourself to find something in your closet you’ve never paired it with before.  If you usually wear something with jeans, then try pairing it with a skirt and vice versa.

I put together pieces that I didn’t buy to go together here, for this Tony Stark bound…

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Here’s a break-down of this look:

The Leader– Jacket from Her Universe

The Brick– Dress by Steady Clothing

The ScientistShoes by Converse

The ExoticBelt from AmazonArc reactor necklace from Amazon

The Blaster– My everyday make-up look

I recently did a Team Build break-down of my bobby soxer Avenger look here.

Have some fun with it, and you’ll be surprised at what you find!

Feel free to download and print your own Team Build Checklist download and print your own Team Build Checklist here.

Let me know what you “find” that you already have in the comments.  We love to hear from you.

Happy closet shopping!

Love, Kim and Benji

 

Disneyland After Dark: Heroes Assemble

I recently got to take part in my first ever Disneyland After Dark event, Heroes Assemble.

It was an amazing time!  The event took place at Disney’s California Adventure park in Anaheim.  All the heroes, ALL of them, were there for photo ops, which was just great.  Star Lord and the Guardians had a DJ’d dance party going on.  Ashley Eckstein from Her Universe was also there for a meet and greet.  The park had special themed food and drinks, including infinity churros!  I had a lovely boozy lemonade with red, white and blue stars sprinkled on top.  Yummy!  20190430_221440

I became a part of the collector’s collection…

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BF and I got to meet Doctor Strange…

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And I met Carol Danvers!!!!

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Now, let’s break down the fashion, shall we!

I did a basic pin-up style Captain Marvel bound for the event.  Here are the pieces:

The Leader and The Brick are one in the same here with the dress by Her Universe for Disney Dress Shop.

The Scientist are my trusty DIY saddle shoes.

The Exotic is my cardigan from Amazon.

The Blaster is my everday make-up and hair, but I really love this red lipstick from Revlon.  Get yours on Amazon here.

Print your own Team Build Checklist here.

That’s it!  Happy shopping and see you next time!

Love, Kim and Benji

We Saw “Avengers Endgame”!!!

Well, I mean, who hasn’t yet?  I will warn you that there are tons ‘o spoilers here, but it has been over a week since the movie’s release, so the spoiler-free zone is over!

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As always, here are some of our favorite moments from the film.  We aren’t movie reviewers, and we aren’t going to start trying to be one now!

So we are in the Endgame now…

  • The addition of Captain Marvel to the Avengers is amazing!
  • All of the remaining Avengers going to space
  • Nebula is the MVP for most of the film
  • Korg and Meek are OK!!!
  • Hulk with glasses and dad wardrobe is the best thing ever!
  • Time Travel!
  • Chunky Thor has been problematic for some, and I can understand why.  However, I liked that we saw how the five years had really affected him in a visual way.  It is also important to note that he was taken back on the team “as is”.  No magic weight loss or anything of the sort.  He is valuable at whatever size he is
  • When Nebula isn’t the MVP, the rat that released Ant Man is
  • Carol got my haircut
  • Now I have to SA cosplay Carol
  • Everything Rocket
  • Cap is worthy, but we already knew that
  • I think Loki is alive, fight me!
  • America’s ass
  • The convo between Tony and Howard
  • Girl squad moment
  • “Hey there, Peter Parker.  You got something for me there?” #iheartcarol
  • Cap finally got his dance
  • Captain Sam!

OK, those are just some of our favorite moments.  Please let us know yours in the comments.

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Now for wardrobe… Benji’s hoodie is from Amazon.  My bobby soxer Avenger cosplay build has the following pieces:

The LeaderAvengers bomber jacket from Torrid (online exclusive)

The BrickDress from Amazon

The ScientistMy DIY saddle shoes

The ExoticScarf from Amazon; Belt also from Amazon; Star Necklace from Amazon as well and Infinity Gauntlet bracelet from Hot Topic

The BlasterWore a nice red lip from Revlon called “Love Is On”

Print your own Team Build Checklist here.

Happy Shopping and until next time…

Love, Kim and Benji

In Plain Sight: Using Everyday Fashion to Express Your Inner Superhero

Dear Readers,

Benji and I recently changed the name of our blog, and I thought maybe an article with the reasons why was in order.

Basically, as my kid grows, the blog needed to grow a bit as well.  We also found ourselves feeling negativity in the cosplay community such as, picking on people’s cosplays, their size, their gender or nationality and what not.  We both needed to, as my friend Justin so aptly put it, “rekindle joy”.  So, we refocused our efforts on cosplay, but with a bounding and dapper slant.  When we did, we found our new voices.

Now, please don’t worry.  I will still be posting tips and tricks on raising a good little geek, but our cosplay ideas will now be more bounding and will actually be more inclusive in your everyday life, which brings us to…

Recently,  we had the amazing opportunity to present a panel idea I have had for ages, “In Plain Sight: Using Everyday Fashion to Express Your Inner Superhero”, at WonderCon in Anaheim, California.  Not only did we get to present this panel, but to have some of our closest friends sit on the panel with us and moderate the panel for us.

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It was an amazing experience to say the least!  We filled the room and handed out all the ducks!  Thank you all for coming to see us.  We really appreciate it.

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To explain why it was so meaningful, we need to go way, way back into my childhood.  I’ve written about my early experiences with fashion before.  My maternal grandmother was a huge influence on me.  Matching bags and shoes.  Dressed up for church.  Red lipstick applied in the rear-view mirror.  Other early influences include old movies, which remain the epitome of glamour in my humble opinion.  I was in love with the 50s style dubbed, “the new look” after WWII.  The swing dresses, the lady-like look of a scarf of your hair to preserve your “do”, the red lipstick, the handbags, all of it, really. Problem was, I was born in 1967, so as a kid, I was subjected to 70s fashion.  I never felt comfortable in any of it, to be honest.  I tried.  I really did, but the skirts weren’t twirly and my long hair was always tangled, and my Dad wouldn’t let me cut it.  I just didn’t feel, “right”.  I longed for pretty twirly dresses, but my Mom didn’t care about fashion, so I didn’t have any kind of sources really to explore my personal style until much later in life.

The 80s were my teenaged years and things were a lot better.  The music was better and the fashions for teenagers were way better.  I discovered thrifting, and holy crap was that amazing!  Big blazers, rubber bracelets, wearing 5 watches at one time, hats! Yes, please!!!  Also, what was really great about it was, first, I got to put outfits together by myself for the first time, second, at thrift stores there were tons of old vintage 50s looks.  Turns out, I could incorporate them into my wardrobe and make my own outfits.  I felt like me for the first time.  There were swing dresses too, but unfortunately for a plus-size girl, they usually didn’t fit, but I didn’t give up trying.  The lack of clothes choices forced me into creativity so I could really create a look that was me.

The 90s and 00s were made up of work uniforms and trying to figure out how to recapture my confidence of the 80s to no avail.  But then…

I got divorced and started fresh with everything.  I started going to comic conventions and discovered a whole world of fangirl fashion, size inclusivity and positivity.  I also discovered that most geeky girls are like me, they love vintage 50s looks.  I began to celebrate my fandom and feel like myself again.

My first geeky dresses were purchased at the Her Universe booth at Comikaze.  I saw them from afar.  Immediately assumed they weren’t for me, but something told me to go ask the question I always ask and walk away disappointed.  Gluten for punishment, I guess.  I go up the booth and ask, “What size do these go up to?” I was expecting, “An XL”, then me saying a soft, “Thanks anyway” and walking away.  But, BUT, instead I got, “Oh, we have up to 3X.”  Then, because I wasn’t born yesterday, assume they are an Asian 3X, which is about a Medium for us big American types.  I ask if I can hold up a 3X and see if it will fit.  The lady says, “Oh, it’ll fit ya for sure!”  I’m thinking, “Yeah, right.”  I hold it up.  It looks like it will fit me, but I’m still waiting for disappointment.  I say, “OK, if I buy it and go try it on in the bathroom and it doesn’t fit, can I bring it right back?” She says sure.  I buy the dress.  I got into the bathroom and try it on.  It fit.  I cried for 15 minutes.  I go back to the booth and buy another dress and thank her for her kindness.  I’ve been a faithful customer ever since.

That was the beginning of the realization that the geek community is very body confident and positive.  All sizes are included in the fun.  These companies have figured out what others have not, that style has no size limit.

To be able to fit into fashion pieces you want is a, pardon the expression, a big deal.  You are included.  That positivity and confidence is contagious.  You find yourself carrying yourself taller, and you want everyone to feel this amazing.  I feel stronger when I wear something superhero themed.  I feel more confident.  I am a part of a team.  I don’t want anyone to ever feel excluded like I once did.

I lost my grandmother when I was 13, so she never got to experience either of my fashion metamorphoses, but I like to think she knows and is proud.  If she was here, with her love of movies and fashion, I also like to think that she would be participating right along side me in this.  I am doing my best to pass on all this knowledge to Benji as well.

I hope that this site has and will continue to inspire and encourage you to find your inner superhero, your body confidence and body positivity.  I look forward to hearing about your adventures and triumphs in the comments.  Huzzah!

Love, Kim