[VIDEO] Easy Milkmaid Braids!


MilkMaidBraidsYou might have noticed that I’ve been wearing my hair up in milkmaid braids a lot.  I admit, that one of the things I love about Game of Thrones has been the elaborate hairstyles – especially Cersei’s elaborate braids.  And on Teen Wolf, Lydia Martin wears her hair braided in about four different and amazing ways.

Most of these styles are out of the question because my hair just isn’t long enough.  But now that my hair is down to my collarbone, I’ve realized I can do this extremely simple hairstyle.

And trust me – I have a hard time french braiding my own hair.  So when I say it’s simple… it’s simple.

What’s your favorite way to get your hair up and out of your face?

Bob’s Burgers: Every Breath You Tikka Masala Burger


tikkamasalaburgerWe’ve been watching a lot of Bob’s Burgers lately, and one of the things I love are the names of the Burgers of the Day. Punny, funny, and they hint at flavor combinations that I’d love to try.

In one episode, Bob threw out the name of a burger (Yes, the Every Breath You Tikka Masala Burger) and never described what else was there other than being topped by Tikka Masala sauce. But I was intrigued. I can make Tikka Masala sauce (or something close, since I don’t have cows’ milk products often). Why couldn’t I just make this burger on my own?

So I thought about it. It would be a reduced Tikka Masala sauce – just the onion, and I wouldn’t puree it like I sometimes do. So it’d be chunky with onions. I couldn’t put it on a beef patty – that just seemed offensive, so I opted for a meat I’d recently had with Tikka Masala… lamb.

You can find most of these spices in your local grocery store. Cardamom pods will probably be the hardest thing to find, but I found them at World Market.

All you’re going to need is a stainless/non-reactive saucepan, a grill (whether it’s a pan or something with flames is up to you), and maybe a pair of gloves for mixing the meat.


[Vlog] March & April Ipsy Bag


It’s been a crazy couple of months. So much so that I actually didn’t get to open my ipsy bags until now. So… unboxing video!

Ipsy is a monthly subscription service, like Birchbox. Only it’s $10/month. While you might not get as high end items as you would with some of the competitors, I love the bags that come with each month and really haven’t had any complaints about what’s come in them. (If you want to try it out, click here – it’s my referral link)

March’s Ipsy Bag – Floral Fantasy

The bag – it’s vinyl, like most… but with flowers.

NYX Butter Lipstick in Pops – Available in drugstores and at nyxcosmetics.com – $6.00

I love NYX’s Butter Lipsticks, they go on smooth (though definitely exfoliate your lips first) and they smell sweet. Pops is a shade that’s pretty close to my natural lip color, just a little more pink.

Equitance Brightening Serum & Spot Corrector – Available at equitance-us.com (Full size $125, trial size given)

pur~lisse Gentle Soymilk Cleanser – Available at purlisse.com (Full size $36)

pixi by Petra Mineral Duo in Apricot Glowpixibeauty.com – While this duo was made just for ipsy, for $12 you can get a palette.

LOVE this one. The two shades are warm, natural – perfect for an every day look. It lasts well and blends nicely.

My only complaint is that I get a lot of neutral eye shadow palettes from ipsy, which are useable – but I have a lot of neutral stuff. I want something fun and crazy now and then.

Evelyn Iona Concealer in Flawlessevelyniona.com – $18.75 for the full size

The coverage was nice, though the packaging left me a little confused. Nowhere on it did it say what it was or what shade it was. Silky, feels great. It’s vegetarian (but has beeswax, so not vegan), 88% organic, cruelty-free.

Verdict on this bag – Nice! Downvoted skincare products on my quiz, though. I’ve found some skincare products I really like, so I’d rather have makeup and hair products to play with. The lipstick is in my cosplay kit, and the eyeshadow is part of my regular rotation. I’m probably going to pass along the corrector and put the cleaner in my go bag. (I keep a bag packed w/ basic toiletries and makeup and ready in case of last minute trips or hospital trips)

April’s Ipsy Bag – Beautifully Bohemian.

The bag: It’s woven and multicolor! VERY fun.

Crown Brush Concealer Brushcrownbrush.us – retail $7.45

It’s a nice brush for the price point, and yay for getting a concealer brush right after I got a pot of concealer!

Elizabeth Arden Beautiful Color Lipstick in Red Door Red – available elizabetharden.com – fullsize, $25 (!!)

Gorgeous classic red, wears beautifully. LOVE it.

JulieG Matte TopcoatJessesgirlcosmetics.com – $3.99

I haven’t tried this yet, but I look forward to using it for some fun effects.

TheBalm Nude Dude Eyeshadow in Flirtythebalm.com – we were given one shade, the palette of all 12 is $36.

Fun neutral shade. Though it’s essentially a color I’ve been given before.

Mullein & Sparrow Lip and Cheek Balmmulleinandsparrow.com $22

Haven’t gotten to try this yet. But it’s vegan, the color looks lovely in the tin- I can’t wait to try it out.

Verdict on this bag – Nice! The lipstick alone is worth more than I paid, as is the lip and cheek balm. The fun thing about this is that you have everything for a complete look, minus some eyeliner and mascara. And this is probably my third favorite bag I’ve ever received. The top being the first bag I ever got, which was a Rebecca Minkoff design, followed by the pewter colored back with silver studs, and now this! Love them.

Now, the tarte items you can get at tarte.com. The Golden Days & Sultry Nights Shadow Palette and the Be-Charmed Eyelash Curler

So tell me, my lovelies… I promise the next vlog will be about something other than makeup- but is there anything you want me to talk about for cosplaying?

[Vlog] Whitney Wears: 5 Minute Makeup


The vlog is back!

I’ve been asked how I can cram in time for makeup with kids. And honestly, there are a lot of mornings I don’t – but this is my 5 minute routine for when I want to look pulled together.

So what’s the secret? Figure out what you want to focus on, and include that in your on the go routine. Don’t want to use mascara, but you’d rather have lipstick? Swap it out!

If you have any questions or suggestions for future videos, let me know!

Products used in this video:

Pacifica Ultra CC Cream Radiant Foundation in Natural/Medium (you can also find it at Target with the other natural beauty products) – $18, but a little goes a LONG ways

NYX Waterproof Concealer Stick in Medium (you can also find it at drug stores and Target) – $4.99

Sephora Colorful Blush in Healthy Rose 09 – $15.00

Kat VonD Tattoo Eyeliner in Trooper – $15

Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes 4 in 1 Mascara – $10 for the mini size, which is honestly all you’d need for how long you’re supposed to keep mascara.

Whitney, thy name is Insecurity


(I swear, I spent 5 minutes debating which way it goes. Is it Insecurity, thy name is Whitney? I don’t even know anymore)

thynameisinsecurityMy brain is an exhausting space. Despite the fact that my therapist said I’m over my trauma and don’t need to go to therapy on a biweekly schedule… there’s a lot of little stuff that piles up and makes my head a messy place.

This is one of those weirdly personal posts, guys. So, if you were hoping for the latest on geeky stuff, go away and come back on Monday.

I’ve had a couple of really great weeks (about some awesome things that I’m writing posts about, I promise), but I’m at the tailend of a couple of rough weeks now. Things are great overall, but when little things stop going your way, they pile up and it feels like things are working against you.

An example? I could share the drama of a bike shop that was never open when I wanted it to be, but that isn’t really the story I want to share. I could talk about how frustrating it is to watch older relatives age… but this isn’t really the time nor place for that.

In the last couple weeks I’ve had a couple friends suddenly get quiet with me. Ignoring texts or responding in a way that made it clear I was intruding. Short answers, terse tone. And I’ve been agonizing about figuring out what happened. I admit, I’ve always had a hard time maintaining longer distance friendships. I lose track of time, and suddenly it’s been months since I’ve talked with someone.

Only now, basically all of my friends are long distance. I have friends scattered across the US and now New Zealand and Germany. And a sister in Japan. So I send off messages into the ether of the internet, and hope I get responses. Reminding myself that people are in different time zones.

I just don’t know what to do when I don’t hear back from someone, but can see that they’re online and talking to others. I try not to assume that it’s me, especially when I can’t think of anything I’ve done that was offensive. But inevitably, I fail as the days go on, and assume that the problem is me. I begin pouring over every comment/text/email I’ve sent, every other interaction to see if I can’t figure out what’s wrong with me. Was I too excited about the good stuff going on in my life? Have I befriended someone they don’t like? Did they think I was brushing them off when I just had to pick up my kids?

Rehashing everything isn’t healthy. It just made me a neurotic and distracted mess.

So, I’m trying to accept that there isn’t anything wrong with me, no matter what my brain keeps trying to tell me. In the last year I’ve made a lot of new friends online- and this past month I actually got out of my comfort zone and met people in person, talked, and came away with some new friends! I’m me, and I’m trying to be a good friend. If I’m failing to be what a couple people need, I’m not a mindreader and can’t spend all my week agonizing about trying to please someone who won’t tell me what they need from me.

Because there are a lot of people who do depend on me. The kidlets, my husband. And me, most importantly. I depend on me. And a scattered and distraught Whitney is never going to be a good thing.

Also- to those who’ve been there for me, thank you. It means so much that you listen to me whine and keep me from losing my perspective on things. (And if you’re a friend reading this and didn’t know what was going on, odds are I just figured you had a lot on your plate already. Or you missed the Tumblr post)

Am I alone in driving myself crazy like this? Do you overthink things, too? We should form a support group.

The problem with slut jokes


problem with slut jokes You might have seen that Chris Evans and Jeremy Renner during a press junket responded to a question about Black Widow’s romantic interests in Age of Ultron (not saying who, SPOILERS, but it was brought up to them because in prior films it seemed like her interests were aimed at Captain America and Hawkeye) and both men joked that she’s a slut, a whore, and she has a fake leg (which painted people with prosthetics as being something unattractive).

And people on the internet immediately said that wasn’t cool.

So why do people care? Black Widow’s just a fictional character, right?

Because men (and women) say this to women all the time. Women are sluts or whores for having had previous sexual relationships, while men neatly avoid name calling. And women get labeled sluts and whores especially when we’ve passed a guy over for someone else. (And any other number of names).

It matters because this is the narrative of OUR lives, and when someone in a very public sphere makes a comment like that – it reinforces to people out there, that demeaning women for making decisions about who they sleep with is something that’s okay. And it’s not.

It’s also a big deal because right now the Marvel Cinematic Universe is one of the biggest deals out there in movies, and the Avengers are the top tier of the MCU. No matter how you feel about celebrity status – these actors are people who are looked up to by children and adults alike. So it’s a brutal reminder that the 24 hour cycle has killed any idea that movie stars are anything but normal people.

So what happened? Chris Evans apologized, Jeremy Renner just seemed annoyed that people were upset and wanted them to go away. No, really. From EW:

“Yesterday we were asked about the rumors that Black Widow wanted to be in a relationship with both Hawkeye and Captain America,” Evans said in a statement provided to EW. “We answered in a very juvenile and offensive way that rightfully angered some fans. I regret it and sincerely apologize.”

“I am sorry that this tasteless joke about a fictional character offended anyone,” Renner also said in a statement provided to EW. “It was not meant to be serious in any way. Just poking fun during an exhausting and tedious press tour.”

At least Chris gives us hope that there are real people out there, who aren’t afraid to listen when someone calls them out on something, and re-evaluate what they did.

When Movements are Co-Opted: MOVE ON. SPEAK UP.


Today, Calgary Expo kicked out an exhibitor who had applied for a table under false pretenses. It was a GamerGate group, who used one of the exhibitor’s webcomics as a ruse to put up GG branded signage. And they then started to derail feminist panels- such as last night’s Women in Comics panel. TheMarySue does a great job covering all of this– go there, come back.

Now, there are a lot of people within GamerGate who try to swear up and down that they are in it because they want ethics in gamer journalism.

Which is a hard story to buy when ultimately, members of GG have gone after women in gaming who are vocal about feminism and critical of the boys’ club mentality within gaming development and gamers. And totally ignore male critics.

So what happens if someone really did join up with GamerGate because they felt there was a lack of transparency in gaming journalism’s ethics, and are baffled by what to do now that it’s a hate group? START YOUR OWN DAMN MOVEMENT.

Way back when the Tea Party first started, I was tweeting about the GOP hijacking the group and what they were making it stand for. And I had several people tweet back who’d been in the Tea Party before Palin became a vocal supporter and it turned into a vile, racist thing. These people really were interested in overhauling taxes, and had their own clear agenda. But the problem is that when the GOP took it and made it an extremist wing of the party, it was no longer what these people signed up for.

So it doesn’t matter how much you scream and shout that you’re in it because of the ethics. When you say nothing about the GGers doxxing women who are critical of the movement, when you say nothing about the death threats being leveled against women – and not men… you’re giving your approval. If you aren’t actively trying to wrest your “movement” from these people who are so filled with hate, then you are just as big of a problem as they are.

I’m not saying that’s what happened in Calgary. No. I see a GG group who wanted to make trouble, did, and found themselves rightfully being labeled as a harassment to the convention.

So if there really are any GamerGaters out there who care about ethics? Ditch the GG label and find your own name. Make it a genuine effort, and make sure that the first thing you do is condemn GG.

Because there is no way that I won’t see GG and think of stunts like this, or threatening and doxxing women. I will never believe a random person who swears that not all GGers are like that, because nobody in the movement is actively forcing these people out. They just stand by and shrug.

UVA Rape Case: Let’s Talk About Media Coverage


Yesterday, police announced that they found no evidence to support Rolling Stone’s story about a rape at UVA. I collected a few tweets from news agencies, going from most recent to oldest.

Meanwhile, this is what @AP tweeted:

So let’s look at what everyone shared – these news social media accounts led with the police finding no evidence. ABC doubled down on their initial tweet, which helpfully included that the alleged victim didn’t cooperate with the investigation (making it look like her fault, when Rolling Stone already dragged her through the mud) and said that the fraternity is looking into legal action. Of all these major news sources, only AP (who tweeted this as the news announced) bothered to choose their words carefully. They tweeted that the investigation was suspended. Then they followed up with a reminder from the police that the lack of evidence didn’t mean that nothing happened to the victim.

Everyone else used the phrase ‘lack of evidence’ over and over. And there’s a problem with the pervasiveness of crime shows like CSI. We’re used to thinking that evidence is everywhere. When the reality is that you don’t always get forensic evidence, or a big enough sample to test. You aren’t always lucky enough to get a camera on it. So when Americans hear a phrase like there’s a lack of evidence, they assume that if there’s no evidence, there’s no crime.

I am angered to see the way that media covers these cases. The phrases they use, the way they rush to find people to defend the accused and share stories of what good boys they are, and let the victims become tried instead- because naturally if they’ve ever made a single poor decision at any time in their life, it couldn’t possibly be rape. (Think Progress wrote this excellent summary of where the media failed when it came to covering the Steubenville rape case)

Is it any wonder that women are reluctant to report? Do you honestly blame the victim in this case for not wanting to help police?

What do you think the media should do to change?

Comedy or Public Shaming: Fan Fic Theatre


Earlier this week, I saw a post going around Tumblr talking about Chris Gore’s upcoming panel at WonderCon – in which a group of comedians would read fanfic. And fic writers were terrified.

And it’s tricky. Because I don’t blame the people who were outraged, even though the bulk of them aren’t attending WonderCon. As fanfic and fanart become more mainstream, fan creations have been used to try to paint fandom as something weird. An uncomfortable example (and the most public one) was when Caitlin Moran was moderating a Sherlock panel and had the cast read fanfic. No matter how “fandom friendly” a show can be, there’s definitely an unspoken understanding that fanart and fanfiction are creations for the fans themselves. That it’s one thing to ask an actor to autograph an artwork done of two characters in a ship in a tame pose… it’s another to try to get them to sign something graphic that might make the actor be uncomfortable.

Because let’s be honest, fandom can get a bit weird. An inside joke might spark crack!fic or weird art… and it might be hilarious to those inside the fandom. But outside the fandom, it’s just baffling and odd.

And it’s clear that when interviewers ask actors what they think of fanfic and slash pairings, they aren’t looking for endorsements. The idea is that they can get some sort of a reaction that they can turn into a sound bite. (For the most part, the Marvel Cinematic Universe cast have been pros at embracing fandom and being able to deflect those questions without belittling the fans. It’s been pretty great)

Back to Chris Gore. When people saw that he was planning on reading fanfic, geekdom assumed that like Moran, it was without permission. When in fact, according to the post he made after he and WonderCon organizers cancelled the panel, he had permission from the authors of the works – and it designed to be a fun event. Not about shaming.

It’s hard. I can understand how Chris Gore feels, but I know how fanfic writers feel, too. I’m one of them. As it is, it’s hard to explain why you write fanfic to most people (though if you’ve ever watched an episode and thought that wasn’t the way it should have gone, and that you could write a better episode, you should understand). But when non-geeky people see incidents like that, or know that Fifty Shades was a fanfic of Twilight… you get people making assumptions about the quality level, or think that it’s all about sex.

I’ve read stories that felt like alternate seasons of TV shows that paid better attention to the show’s timeline and lore than the show did. Or gave characters more depth and love than the show has. But people have the perception that it’s all weird stories and bad writing.

I hope that Chris Gore gets to have his panel at another convention. Just maybe next time, they can make it a little more clear that the works are being used with permission? While he suggested it was clear, here’s the copy for the panel description:

Fan Fic Theatre with Chris Gore
It’s comedians reading Fan Fiction! Join Chris Gore (PodCRASH, G4TV’s Attack of the Show), along with other comedians and TV personalities, who will read aloud the weirdest and wildest fan fiction found on the internet. You’ll hear stories read by performers Giselle B. (Defective Geeks Podcast), Adrianne Curry (Cosplay Queen, America’s Next Top Model) Mary Forrest (The Biloon-Forrest Project Podcast), Ivy Doomkitty (SyFy’s Heroes of Cosplay, Int’l Costumer), Tommy Bechtold (ABC’s The Middle), Matt Keil (G4TV’s X-Play), Yoshi Obayashi (comedian) and more. In addition, a celebrity guest will write a piece of fan fiction based on audience suggestions that will be read aloud for the finale.

To be honest, seeing that comedians are reading the “weirdest and wildest” fanfic doesn’t exactly read as a positive event. It mostly just seems like Moran’s panel all over again. But with more overt mockery. So Chris, I’d suggest maybe “comedians celebrating Fan Fiction” instead? That one word sort of changes the whole tone.

Your thoughts?

Edit: Just as soon as I tweeted this out, I got this wonderful response from @youthinkmemad – and I think it’s a great suggestion as well.

Edit 2: If you look at the tweets I’ve received, there have been some excellent points made about Chris’s dismissive tone – painting those who complained as bullies, saying that you shouldn’t complain if you aren’t going to be at the convention.

First, complaining about a perceived issue doesn’t make you a bully. You can point out something being problematic if you aren’t attending. As it was pointed out to me, what happens in one convention can affect con culture at large. But as a whole, fanfic writers are overwhelmingly female and as I’d pointed out already mocked in media.

My goal is to show the other side of this. That these aren’t bullies, but real people who saw something that seemed like it was making a mockery (when we’ve SEEN this happen to people we care about). I just want there to be a dialogue. Not someone acting as the injured party and it being called a day. Nothing changes if that’s how things go.

I am going to be at WonderCon, so if Chris would like to talk to someone who really does understand where the complaints from… I’m open to it. I’ll be there on Saturday w/o the Kidlets, and there on Sunday with the Kidlets.

Where did the posts go?


Strangely, writer’s block hasn’t been the issue. On the contrary- I’ve had too many ideas, and somehow the appropriate reaction is to decide not to write anything than make time to write it all and then schedule out the posts.

My brain, it is a weird place.

Also, there were about two weeks where Little Kidlet was sick/really sick/recovering, and that put a stop to getting much more than my day job done. (More on that in another post, because trust me – it’s a long and involved story)

TheBoy and I just got back from Vegas. We went to Creation Entertainment’s Supernatural VegasCon at the Rio – which yeah, it’s expensive. I won’t lie. But I’ll be honest- it’s an amazing opportunity to get to make friends, possibly run across the actors… and to sit in on these pretty amazing panels.

I did convention reports over on Tumblr, but I’ll be posting them here, too. Mark Sheppard and Curtis Armstrong’s panels were especially good.

s9-abaddon-cosplayI entered the costume contest for the first time at VegasCon, going as Season 9 Abaddon. I made it through to the semi-finals, but didn’t make it to the end. I will say that I’m really proud of it, since I feel like I nailed attitude and the way Alaina Huffman played her. (Yes, I am still bitter that she’s dead.)

Some of the pieces I planned on writing will become videos. I have outlines for most of them – and even though spring break is upon us, I’ll be Tim Gunning it. (Making it work)

So how have you been?