November 23, 2015

[Sponsored] Lens review: I.Fairy Ruby Brown

How's it going peeps? :)

I have a lens review in store today! I'm gonna be reviewing the I.Fairy Ruby Brown (sometimes known as Vassen Ruby Brown) circle lenses, sponsored by the lovely LensVillage. C: They have a wide array of authentic lenses to choose from, fast shipping and efficient customer service – there's really nothing to complain about! I'd warmly recommend them for circle lens shopping. ^o^ I used to buy from them a lot even before I got sponsored so yeah, I'm just being honest here about how good they have always been to me!

This review contains 100% my honest opinion ~

Base curve: 8.6 mm
Diameter: 16.2 mm
Water content: 55%
Life span: 1 year (I recommend 6 months)

Indoors, holding the lenses up next to the window. (sunlight)
Indoors, natural roomlight.
Bright sunlight outdoors.
These lenses have a kinda simple design featuring a dark thick-ish limbal ring with some longer and shorter lines reaching towards the pupil. The design of the I.Fairy Ruby series looks to me like a middleground between anime/fantasy and some more semi-natural lenses – they could work just as well for cosplayers as for ulzzang fashionistas!

When I first wore the lenses I had some small problems with getting them in, mainly the right lens because it kept coming off my eye once I put it in and tried to blink it in place. I don't know why but a lot of circle lenses have been doing this to me lately; I just can't seem to insert them on the first try like I used to before. I dunno why this keeps happening but I guess I either have bad luck or I'm doing it wrong lol. But yeah, I don't think it's the lenses, unless maybe they are thinner than average or something..? I didn't really react to this pair being exceptionally thin or anything so, yeah, must be me just derping around. *shrugs* Nevermind that, lol.

One lens in. Notice enlargement effect.
The right lens at first felt very slightly scratchy the two first times I put it in so yeah, I took it out, cleaned it every time before re-inserting it and then it instantly felt better on the third try! The left lens had no problems at all.
The first time I ever wore these lenses they were comfy for me – I could wear them for 5 hours before I felt the first signs of dryness appear. I biked to town (in cold weather) with the lenses in my eyes, played some video games with a friend and went to eat in a restaurant. Most of the time I didn't really feel that I had contacts on! I'm sure I could easily have worn these lenses longer if I had wanted/needed to, but I decided to take them off since I was about to start a serious gaming session. x) For me my lenses always dry out faster if I'm staring at a screen (computer screen, television screen etc) so yeah, I'd say that comfort on these lenses is definitely above average!

Lens photos up next!
All photos are taken by me during a November afternoon with a very dull clouded sky. I haven't seen the sun properly for weeks and that's also why the photo quality is lower than usual – pardon for that. :( Polar night is limiting daylight time as well so yeah, it's really hard to do lens reviews right now and get sharp and clear photos as a result. 
There's no color filters or such on the close-up photos and that's so that the colors would be as true to real life as possible, as per usual.

In my apartment, facing the window.
Indoor roomlight (lamps on) in my apartment.
Bathroom light.
Flash photo indoors.
White corridor light.
Yellow corridor light.
Weaker yellow light in the staircase.
Very warm orange-ish light in the staircase. There is a small window next to me
but I'm facing the lamp, not the window.
(by 'light' I always mean lamp light btw, unless I'm outdoors)
Outdoors, facing the direction of the sun. (which is faaar from visible..)
Outdoors while facing a corner of the building, aka back against light.
The color seems to appear as a lovely light brown most of the time, but in some lights they can take on a slight yellow tone that makes the lenses look somewhat magical, haha.
I think that the brown shade these lenses appear as gives my light blue-grayish eyes some kind of innocent touch to them, too; I don't know how to explain but I somehow felt like the light caramell-like brown color combined with the big black limbal ring made my eyes appear softer, as well as more defined, and thus gave my overall appearance a younger boyish look!

Lastly I have a couple distance photos to share ~
This time I tried for a shy boy look – that's what I think that these lenses could work well for! ^.^

Short summary:

Color: 8/10
A lovely soft light brown color. :)
Design: 7/10
The design itself is fairly simple but the effect it gives is no less than wonderful!
Opacity: 8/10
These change my eye color nicely. I have no complaints.
Enlargement: 8/10
These lenses are big in size just like I.Fairy lenses always are. They are not crazily big though.
Comfort: 7/10
Really comfortable. I could wear them for 5 hours while doing various things, both indoors and outdoors, before the first signs of slight dryness showed up. They don't hinder my vision either.
Naturalness: 5/10
I wouldn't go around and call these super natural... but they aren't unnatural either. They work for both natural looks and fantasy eyes.

Thank you for reading, I hope y'all enjoyed this review!
Thanks to my sponsor, LensVillage!

November 20, 2015

My first worbla order!

Hi there! ~

I decided to make a quick post because I'm just too excited about finally buying some worbla for the first time to use for my cosplay making! I needed it for a school project *coughimakecosplaysinschoolcough* so I finally got a reason excuse? to fork out my limited money and buy some of this everyone-swears-to-the-cosplay-gods-by-it material!

In case you don't know what worbla is it's a kind of thermoplastic that is basically the holy grail for all cosplayers when it comes to making armors, weapon props etc. Worbla can be heated with a heat gun, for example, and then shaped into the desired form. The best part with worbla is that it's non-toxic, easy to use and you get almost no waste because it can be reheated and reshaped countless times!

I want to apologize for the horrible yellow lighting and thus crappier-than-usual photo quality. I took these photos on the morning but because of the cloudy weather and the increasing effects of polar nightthere wasn't enough daylight coming in from the window. I had to rely on my really crummy apartment lights... ._.

Newly arrived, unopened XS sized roll of worbla! o/
I placed my order on a German site called (yes, that's where you can buy worbla, along with more cosplay stuff!) and that's because even though you can nowadays buy worbla directly from Sweden or Finland I thought that the prices were still a bit better on the German site and, well, the shipping price was almost better too – it's worth it if you're at least two people ordering! The shipping was fast and efficient as well. I received my order within one week and it was securely packaged so yeah, I have no complaints. 10/10 would order again!

Worbla is bought in rolled sheets of varying sizes. Worbla is also not just one single product – there's actually a little family of different kinds of worbla! The most well-known is the original "gingerbread-colored" worbla called Worbla's Finest Art (WFA), but there's also a newly released black worbla called Worbla's Black Art (WBA)! A transparent type of worbla known as Worbla's Transpa Art (WTA) is available as well and hey, let's not forget the worbla pellets called Worbla's Deco Art (WDA).

The sizes are as follows:
XS Size - 25 cm x 37,5 cm
S Size - 50 cm x 37,5 cm
M Size - 75 cm x 50 cm
L Size - 75 cm x 100 cm
XL Size - 100 cm x 150 cm

I bought two L sized sheets of black worbla as well as XS and M sized sheets of the normal worbla. I also bought a sample pack with test pieces (even smaller than XS size!) of all the different worbla products. The sample pack and the M sized worbla sheet I bought for a friend though, so those I won't be using myself.

I took this photo as a visual size reference and comparison.
Starting from the left: XS size, M size and L size.
This is to show of the thickness.
note: the black worbla is actually two sheets rolled together!
I haven't tried using these yet but as far as I know one of the main differences between the black worbla and the normal worbla is that the black one is smoother – a smoother surface to start with means less sanding and priming to do to get rid of the typical worbla texture! Another advantage that the new black worbla has over the "gingerbread worbla" is that black is a more discreet and multi-use color (it goes with everything! says the goth) so yeah, when the paint on your costume eventually wears off then the black worbla will be more easily forgiven because it will still look cool, hahah.

I was trying to show the surface texture here...
... and here. Just for comparison. :)
I'm really stoked to finally get to make some armored cosplays and take the next step on the cosplay adventure ladder! I hope I can make some good-looking creations with this magic stuff, haha. The main drawback of worbla is that it is expensive so yeah, I don't want to overheat these precious puppies and ruin them. *sobs* I'm gonna be careful!
Thankfully the activation heat is around 90 °C, so it's not anything horribly warm that would need hardcore equipment to achieve. I'm really looking forward to find out what you can make with worbla – it seems like the possibilities could be close to endless!

This is the sample pack. The bag of pellets is the Worbla's Deco Art.
All three different worbla sheets were in it, sample sized!
From left to right: Worbla's Finest Art, Worbla's Transpa Art and Worbla's Black Art.
Size comparison photo of the sample sheet size versus my Nokia cellphone. lol
Before I got to see (and touch) worbla sheets for the first time I had somehow gotten the impression that they would be thinner and less rigid. I don't know why I got this picture in my head because it is a thermoplastic after all and I've worked with polystyrene sheets before so, yeah.

I also want to mention that worbla has a shiny side and said side is the "glue side" which makes it possible for it to stick to itself and other materials because of the natural adhesive, which activates when it's heated. Worbla will stick itself to wood, metal, fabric, foam etc but sometimes additional glue might be needed just to be on the safe side.

Worbla information paper that came with my order.
When I start to actually use my worbla sheets (which will be soon ~) I might make some sort of follow-up post about what I find out – more comparisons between black and normal worbla etc. So yeah, does this sound interesting? x) Drop me a comment if you'd like to hear about my worbla discoveries on this blog because, err, then I'd be one helluvalot more likely to make it happen! o/

Shiro Samurai says baibai!
Thanks for reading!

November 15, 2015

Kitacon 2015 – When "sosiaalikerho" was born!

Hello doods ~

I attended Kitacon in Kemi, Finland, yesterday on 14th November. Because Kemi is in the north Kitacon's mascot has always been some kind of human with reindeer traits –aka horns– and this year, I must say, the mascot was especially nice! (yes, it changes every year)

Kitacon's schedule leaflet feat. this year's mascot.
So yeah, I attended Kitacon this year with Jäätynyt Enkeli, Sacchan and a good ol' friend of mine called Kiivi. Sacchan was kind enough to offer a ride for all of us and so we didn't have to pay the bus. Thanks a ton! ~ ;u;
I also need to mention that even though I had plans on cosplaying Japan from Hetalia that just didn't happen, sorry. ^^" The main reason is that I was simply just way too fucking tired on the morning, lol. I've seriously had a lot of problems sleeping lately and because of that I'm tired as shit during the days. It's really annoying because I just can't fall asleep, mumble mumble. ._. Another legit reason is that the weather has been pure crap the last weeks (where's the sun??) and the Kitacon day was no different – on the morning it was super wet outside and it was blowing so hard that I was worried that if I had cosplayed Japan I would have sailed away on my haori or something, lol. Or worse – the wind might have blown my contact lenses out of my eyes! Yeah, that can happen.
So yeah, I decided it was a better idea to leave the cosplaying for another event and strut to Kitacon in my casual gear. Haters gonna hate, eiku. Or well, I wasn't ultra casual – I still had my Monster Hunter Tigrex plush hat, a wig, and a face mask, combined with a geeky t-shirt.

Kitacon advertisement upgrade – fabric banner!
I woke up early in the morning to take my medicine and then I went back to bed. I ended up sleeping a little bit too long (hello, tiredness) and wasn't really out of the bed until 10 Finnish time, which is, honestly, quite late considering that Kitacon opened its doors at 11 – if I'm not mistaken. Oh well, I dressed up and called Jäätynyt Enkeli to ask if they (Sacchan and Kiivi were at his place) were ready to leave. I grabbed my camera bag and headed out into the moist hell outside. Sacchan drove us to Kemi and we listened to some hilarious songs in her car. I'M GONNA SMOKE SOME WEED, ONLY GOT 20 DOLLAS IN MY POCKET ~

Khrrm. Yeah... hrrhhrr.
Kitacon was held in Sauvotalo in centrum, as per usual. As soon as we got there I got the impression that it felt more crammed than on earlier years...? Then again, they had less space in use on the first floor than on previous years so yeah, that might have been a reason why.

Kitacon's entrance. This was the sight we were met with when
we entered the building.
We first went to check all the selling tables in the "Merchandise Hall", which was on the first floor mainly. It struck me that there were more sellers than previously and some new ones I had never seen at Kitacon before too! That was a really nice and appreciated surprise because, if I'm honest, Kitacon pretty much always has some sellers that are there every year and they always sell the exact same things so, err, it gets boring/uninteresting really fast. No offence but yeah, I'm not gonna spend my hard-earned money on something that I've seen a hundred times before and –to top it all off– is quite obviously bootleg merchandise. Don't get me wrong though, some of the recurring sellers are really awesome (like Fantasiapelit) but yeah, there's that one seller that irks me greatly because of the counterfeit goods. ._.

The Merchandise Hall on the first floor.
There were a lot of people; I sometimes had problems moving around.
Kitacon doesn't offer a lot in terms of activities but there was a kind of crafts room (where you could draw freely or make "kimono ladies" out of patterned paper) along with some scheduled activities like the cosplay date and a quiz game for those with smartphones. There was also the obligatory photo studio that you could use whenever during the con day. I think there was also some kind of AMV-dance too...

Some people drawing in the crafts room, aka "piirustuspiste / työpaja".
The other table in the room, where you could make kimono girls
out of paper.
I mainly went to Kitacon to meet some friends so yeah, I actually don't have much to tell about the con itself. Kitacon is Kitacon – it's a small northern con where people seem to mainly go to hang with friends. Quite few seem to bother cosplaying so I didn't really regret going without a costume on lol. But yeah, I bumped into the ever-so-awesome Karri and we shared some hugs and greetings.
I also found Ronja (or well, she found me) quite early on and I was so excited because we had been talking prior to the con a lot online and hadn't met yet in real life; we had planned to play Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate together as soon as we got bored so yeah, I was stoked to get to play with her! o/ Jäätynyt Enkeli also joined in on the hunting because why the heck not? It's not like we didn't get bored after we had seen everything Kitacon had to offer.
I personally wasn't interested in any of the panels etc, except maybe for that panel about the Russian con called Polarcon – yeah, there was a panel about "the meeting of the northern conventions!" and some Russian guys were invited to talk about their con and the con culture in Russia. I regret a bit for not attending that panel but oh well, I forgot about it and realized way too late what time it was. :'(

Some random merchandise photos coming up!

Some fleece hats with huge cute buttons on etc.
Wannabe's store. I can't recall having seen them at Kitacon before, yay fresh blood!
What seems to be Umbreon and Gengar hoodies. Oh, and Toothless fleece hats.
Cupcake Cult t-shirts and others...?
A small part of Fantasiapelit's manga selection.
... and of course no con is complete without Pocky!
On the second floor were the Maid Cafe, some (seemingly) second-hand manga sellers and the Artist's Alley. I need to say that I found the Artist's Alley quite late because it was kinda hidden. It was located in the main hall's (where the stage was) entrance. Sorry for the clumsy explanation but I mean that if you looked into the main hall –without actually entering– you might miss the Artist's Alley tables because they were placed next to the wall and were thus hidden by the wall quite effectively, if you didn't actually walk into the hall room, that is. If you just peeked in (without standing right in front of the door) you'd just see the chairs, the stage and that's about it. That's what happened to me because I didn't go near the entrance door to the main hall until many hours had passed since opening. I'm not saying that it was a bad positioning of the Artist's Alley because it wasn't – it was roomy and well-lit and all but I don't really get it why Kitacon doesn't put the Artist's Alley in the first floor? I'm just thinking that it might be better for the artists' sales if they were on the first floor too, together with all the other merchandise sellers... *shrugs* But I don't know really, it's just a thought I've had.

The sight you were met with once going up the stairs to the second floor.
At some point I got really hungry while we were on the second floor. I asked Sacchan, Kiivi, Ronja and the others (this was before Karri had showed up) if they were hungry too and it turned out that Ronja and her company had planned to go eat at Subway soon and omg, that was what my group had planned to do too! So yeah, we totally bonded our groups into one big group and everyone went to Subway. I treated Ronja to a 15 cm sub because I had a sale coupon and wouldn't manage to eat a full-sized sub in one go myself. I also wanted to at least give her something in return because she gave me some Sengoku Basara and Rurouni Kenshin rubber strap keychains for free. ;u; She seemingly doesn't really care about those series herself but knew that I'm a huge nut for samurai stuff, haha. She's so kind ~

The Maid Cafe. (and omg, there's actually a butler!)
Some yummy-looking bakeries from said cafe.
Once me, Jäätynyt Enkeli and Ronja had seen it all we moved over to a more quiet corner in the crafts room and sat there and played Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate for the rest of the con – MonHun for life! ♥ 
I need to say though that Karri would come over every now and then and talk with us but yeah, he ended up naming our gaming trio the "sosiaalikerho" (lit. social club) because we were/looked so... social. That's what online gaming with friends does to you – you can't pause without getting rekt by a random monster!! xD Oh and yeah, the whole "sosiaalikerho" thing kinda turned into a running joke and it was hilarious, hands down. And it got even better when Karri suddenly went "fuck this shit :D" and power-hugged us while we were in a heated monster battle. I'm surprised no one carted lol.
I do feel bad though for not spending as much time with Karri as I would have wanted but yeah, I had promised Ronja to play with her and it was just way too much fun. I'm so sorry Karri, next time I promise I'm gonna hang more with you too! ;_;

A part of one of the Artist's Alley tables – my favorite one actually!
The Ōkami pins! *u*
Kitacon closed it's doors at 20:30 but our group left some hours earlier because our friends had already left (Karri, Ronja) and yeah, there just wasn't anything to do anymore and, besides, we still had some other business to do in town. It felt like time went by fast but at least I got to see some familiar faces and meet some new ones too!

All in all Kitacon was a very fun experience and I'll of course keep attending it because hey, I live close and it has free entrance, woop! Gotta support the local conventions! :) I also like how Kitacon has a relaxed atmosphere and how it has that "little con charm" to it, haha. I don't feel stressed or get anxiety attacks when I'm there, compared to some of the bigger events.

This is my Kitacon purchases – a Monster Hunter art book from Fantasiapelit
and the super cute Ōkami pin from Artist's Alley.
The art book was expensive (48 €) but I couldn't help myself; I needed it because MonHun is the best shit ever, okay? So much concept arts and cool illustrations in it, hnnngh ~

That about wraps it up I guess. Thanks for reading and yeah, this was the last convention of the year!

November 6, 2015

Lens review: Beaucon Jewels Brown

Hello hello ~

I'm gonna throw in a circle lens review here before Kitacon bombs in! ^o^ Truth is that I had originally planned to use these lenses for when I cosplay Japan from Hetalia at said con but, err, I think I'll have to use another pair. ._. Read on and you'll know why!

Lenses in their vials.
Notice the authenticity stickers! Beaucon has started doing that too!
As far as I've seen Beaucon lenses can only be found at HoneyColor's site so yeah, that's where I bought mine, in case anyone is curious. ^^ So yeah, these have a pretty much identical pattern to all those very popular EOS Sugar Candy and Vassen Sakura Candy lenses. Those lenses go under some different names but yeah, they're often called something with 'Candy' in the name and there's several different manufacturers making the same design you probably know which ones I mean.
But yeah, the reason I'm mentioning this is because even though the Beaucon Jewels have the same design as those aforementioned there is one big difference and that's the size. You see, if you ever wished those Candy lenses came with a smaller diameter then the Beaucon Jewels series are the answer to your prayers! o/

Taken outdoors in sunlight.
Taken indoors, bathroom light.
Base curve: 8.6 mm
Diameter: 14.0 mm
Water content: 45%
Life span: 1 year (I recommend 6 months)

As you can see on the photos above, the similarity to those super well-known 'Candy' lenses is striking. The Beaucon Jewels series are a great choice if you like this kind of design but would rather have lenses with a smaller enlargement effect ~

So yeah, I took the lenses out of their bottles and put them to soak the night before. I had problems inserting them because they would constantly go out of my eye (with the eyelid movement when I blink) before setting properly.
As soon as I got the first lens in (my right eye) it felt really uncomfortable and kept stinging. I took the lens out, cleaned it and put it back in again. I constantly still felt that there was something on my eye at all times (in an annoying way) and if I moved my gaze it would do this kind of scratchy feeling. My eye watered but I told myself to keep it on at least until I get all photos taken.
For some reason the left lens felt normal and I think I know why – the right lens was from a production batch that was to expire next month, if I didn't open them. Yes, that's December 2015!! D: So yeah, I'm pretty sure this is why the right lens kept feeling bad.
Note to self: open lenses in good time before they expire, to avoid nasty surprises. Then again, this particular pair was ordered for maximum 2 months ago so I'm not to blame, really...

One lens in.
Notice how they aren't enlarging my eyes much; I think this is a nice enlargement as it's still discreet enough to not look too dolly/unnatural but it makes your eyes stand out.
These lenses have a very simple but appealing design – a single color and a thick dark limbal ring. I think that the limbal ring is not a true black but more or a really dark black-brown. It doesn't jump at you as much as some of the circle lenses with bolder limbal rings. 

Lens photos ahead!
All photos are taken by me during an October morning with a cloudy sky. There was a lot of fog (and frost on the ground) so yeah, the quality isn't as good as it could be, because of a lack of sunlight. Oh, and there's no color filters or such on the close-up photos and that's so that the colors would be as true to real life as possible.

Indoors in my apartment, facing the window.
Apartment roomlight, lamps on.
Bathroom light.
Flash photo.
White light in the corridor.
Yellow light in the corridor.
Yellow light in the staircase.
Storage room indoors, natural light coming from the window.
Outdoors facing the direction of the light.
Outdoors with my back against the light. (facing wall)
Outdoors, facing the corner of the building.
I apologize for my eyeliner being derpy my previous one that I had used for years finally called it quits and R.I.P:ed on me. While the new one has a more precise applicator than my previous eyeliner it also seems like it peels off easier.

The color of the lenses is a light brown it makes me think of toffee or something, yum! These lenses mix nicely with my real eye color which, by the way, is a light blue-gray with a greenish tint and a golden ring next to the pupil. I have chameleon eyes that adjust to their surroundings lol.
The lenses do show up as brown in all lights that I tried, so I'd say that the color opacity is alright. Oh, and in terms of naturalness they aren't too shabby, haha. But yeah, the thick limbal ring still make these look quite obviously like colored contact lenses...

Distance photos!

I would really like these lenses a lot, if it wasn't for the highly disappointing comfort. :'( It's such a letdown. For some reason it seems like everyone, except me, finds these lenses to be comfortable?
I want to share a few more final words about the comfort: the right lens I took off as soon as I was done with the photos because I just couldn't stand it. The left one (which wouldn't have expired until 2017, had I left it unopened) was fine for like 1,5 hours and then suddenly it felt like it was so dry that it glued itself to my eye. D: I don't know why it suddenly felt so unbearably dry when it had been all nice and comfy during the photo taking. It was weird. :S Oh, and I got an "eye headache" that lasted for hours after having taken off the lenses...
So yeah, even if a part of me wants to grade a higher number for comfort (because I still want to love these lenses) I just can't justify it because I couldn't wear even the better lens for 2 hours. :/ I hope that my other Beaucon pairs will be more comfy than these – maybe this was just an unlucky pair combined with one lens expiring way too soon?
I guess I could stand wearing these for a photoshoot, but a whole convention day is out of the question...

Oh well, whatever the case I'd still want to say that these lenses are a good choice for cosplaying especially male characters or for more serious/older females mainly because of the small size. These lenses do give the "anime eye" look, at least according to me. :)

Short summary:

Color: 7/10
Nice and pleasant light brown. The color is reminiscent of toffee.
Design: 8/10
Simple design but it's very likable. It works great for cosplaying male anime and video game characters.
Opacity: 7/10
Opacity is good because the lenses change my eye color notably

Enlargement: 3/10
It's small but it's there.
Comfort: 2/10
The right lens is almost unwearable (possibly because it would have expired next month had I not opened it) although the left one is comfy but dries reaaaaally fast. I can't wear these for more than 2 hours.

Naturalness: 6/10
These are rather natural, but the thick limbal ring still easily gives them away as circle lenses. The color blends naturally with my real eye color.

Oh and yes, that jacket is from Attack on Titan (aka Shingeki no Kyojin) but nope, I'm not cosplaying any existing character on the photos. ^^; If anything it could be just a random soldier...

Shiro Samurai says goodbye! Thanks for reading!