July 22, 2016

Lugia and APH Greece pre-con costests!

Yoo, you beautiful people ~

Närcon is right around the corner –aka 28-31 July– and I'm stressing my ass off because I still have things left to do. I need to iron everything (urrrgh, but it's worth it) and some lenses and accessories have yet to arrive. It's not the end of the world if the stuff doesn't show up because Lugia works without the gloves and, luckily, I do have at least one pair of orange lenses for Ibuki but yeah, if they're uncomfortable then I'm in the piss!

I spent the afternoon a couple days ago doing some outfit tests to see what the costumes looked like when worn; I had not tried them on before so I wanted to make sure that things didn't look funny. I didn't do any makeup because I was way too tired for that and it's too sweaty in here right now anyway, lol. Damn hot summer weather...

Lugia gijinka test.
Okay, so Lugia will look something like that, assuming that the gloves won't make it in time. I might still add some accessories if I come up with something. I will use a white wig for this. Yes, I pulled everything out of my closet. *Yoda voice* Convenient it is.
I do have some more elaborate makeup ideas for Lugia but I'm afraid that I won't be able to make it look good since I'm still quite clumsy and inexperienced with painting my face. I have a love-hate relationship with makeup right now, hehehe... ~

When it comes to Greece I borrowed the white t-shirt from Frozen Angel and the pants were a lucky find from a local second-hand store. The boots I had bought some time ago, to be used for another costume but they worked for Greece as well so eff yeah!

Hetalia's Greece outfit test.
I blocked out my face for the same reasons stated above – no makeup poop face. :) Another reason is that Greece's wig is still in progress! I decided to use one of my Okita wigs for him and so I washed off all the styling products from it and let it dry. Once the wig was dry and clean (sorta clean, two small spikes didn't wash away completely) me and Sacchan made the 'whale sprout', you know, the hair thingie that most Hetalia characters have.
We started by looking at references to pinpoint where the sprout was to be and then we took some spiking gel in the fingers and twinned the hair into a sturdy stalk. Once the stalk had dried in the right position we split the top into two parts, pinned each end into a roll (for shape-holding) and blasted some got2b freeze spray on it and then used the hair dryer to dry it in place – it worked. No steel wire required!

Wig in progress. The products next to it
are what we used to style the 'whale sprout'.
I have yet to style the rest of the wig but I think I'll save that for the con morning because I don't want to overdo it and it's easier to spike a wig when it's on your head anyway. I would also hate for the styling to be ruined (aka crooked) if I pre-style it and then when I take it out at the con it looks like hell went loose on it. Has happened, thank god my friend had a hair straightener back then.

Close-up of the 'whale sprout' ahoge.
I really should start packing but I'm feeling lazy. I guess I'm a time optimist because I always tell myself that I have time to do it later.... even though I don't. :D Oh well, if I can get myself to pack my stuff in advance there's a lesser risk that I'll forget something than if I stress pack the night before departure...

Oh and yeah, regarding the Närcon carpool I want to mention that the seat is now taken. We managed to snag one of our friends with us, on short notice, and it's no less than Karri the awesome one! I'm seriously so stoked to see him again and go to a big con together – he always brings the best company. I'm really thankful he can go with us because the search was starting to get really stressful because time was running out and no one had taken contact; I assume most people who had planned to go to the con had already fixed their traveling and so we were a bit too late to really get any response. But yeah, Karri saves the con and I couldn't be happier about it.

That's all I had for this round. See ya!
~ Shiro Samurai

July 20, 2016

Lens review: Beaucon Vibrant Match Green

Hello my friends!

Today I will review the Beaucon Vibrant Match Green circle lenses and, well, if I'm honest I'm kinda disappointed with these. I was expecting the color to 'pop' out more and be greener but these are much more like a blueish-green lens than a true green. So yeah, if you really want a vibrant green (as the name implies!) then these do not fit the bill... unless my lenses somehow changed color during the years of storage, but more about that at the end of this post.

Let's do the review now!

Base curve: 8.6 mm
Diameter: 14.0 mm
Water content: 45%
Life span: 1 year (I recommend 6 months)

As you can see these lenses look pale in the bottles and sorta... blue? You know, greenish-blue, kinda ocean-like. I don't know but I hoped these would be one of those "surprise muthafucka!" lenses that look boring in their vials but are in reality super vibrant once worn – but sadly that was not the case. I really really hoped for these to be a highly vibrant bright green but they are in reality a blue-green lens and, while still a pretty color, it's not what I expected out of these.

One lens in.
My real eye color is a blue-gray with a greenish tint and you might notice that these look a bit similar to my own eyes and blend really well with them, which means that these would be amazing if I wanted to use them as a daily lens to enhance my own eyes. Once in my eyes they look like some dark turquoise. They are also small in size, thus barely enlarging my eyes at all.

Regarding comfort these are not the best; at first I didn't feel them at all but already after 1 hour they felt dry and after 2,5 hours I decided to take them off. Please note though that I have dry and sensitive eyes so it might just be that my eyes are not very combatible with these lenses, nor any other Beaucon lenses that I've tried so far; it just seems like this brand is not very comfortable for me, which is a shame because I really like how their lenses always have a smaller diameter and nice colors. :/ 

Lens photos!
All photos taken by me during a July afternoon with a clear sky.
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.

Facing window.
Bathroom light.
Flash photo.
White corridor light.
Yellow staircase light.
Standing in the staircase, turned away from the window.
Indoors storage room. Natural light coming from the side.
Outdoors, sitting under the roof/shadow. Facing sun.
Outdoors, back against sun.
Outdoors, facing sun.
These lenses have a thin limbal ring so they do still look like contacts but yeah, they really don't end up making your eyes all dolly-like since they're so small and all. They do blend rather nicely with my eyes –so if your eye color is anything like mine– then these would be a good candidate for an everyday lens since they look rather natural, despite the color.

The color coverage is decent and it covers up my real eye color well. The design is pretty simple and kinda mimics a real iris, but in a slightly more semi-cartoony way (or that's what I think), so these do look pretty dang natural. The color do make these suitable for cosplay though, especially if you happen to need a dark turquoise lens since said color is not the easiest to find – just don't buy these if you want a grass green lens or anything of the sort. 
I also want to mention that because of the size and the simple design the Vibrant Match series are a good choice for cosplaying male or adult characters.

Distance photo!

I must mention though that I bought these lenses several years ago and I have a vague memory that the color was different back then and now I'm wondering if, somehow, colored contact lenses can have their color fading over time? I have stored these lenses (in their unopened bottles, of course) in both a cupboard and inside a plastic box in front of the window, which always sees the sun rising. I wonder if prolonged exposure to the sun might have done something...? I can say that the exposure to the sun definitely has changed the color on the labels and stickers of some other lenses but that it would actually change the color of the lens itself seems a bit farfetched. *shrugs* Oh well, if I ever repurchase these lenses I'll compare them and then do another new review, if necessary.

Psst, you interested in seeing other colors of the Vibrant Match series? 
Check out these reviews: Blue, Violet, Brown

Short summary:

Color: 6/10 
Color is like a dark turquoise on my eyes, a blue-green. It's not what I expected but it's a nice color.
Design: 7/10 
Design is simple and seems to aim for a semi-realistic iris look.
Opacity: 8/10
Coverage is really good.
Enlargement: 2/10 
These lenses have a really small enlargement effect.
Comfort: 5/10 
Okay for short-time wear but start to dry my eyes already after 1 hour.
Naturalness: 8/10 
The color is not ultra natural but otherwise these work! Surprisingly realistic on my eyes.

Thank you for reading my circle lens reviews!

July 12, 2016

Närcon 2016 carpool available! One seat free!

Hello geeks!

Let's get straight to business! It recently came to my knowledge that Ronya can't go to Närcon so yeah, now there's one seat to fill in our carpool and that means that if you live somewhere in northern Sweden or Finland –and want to go to Närcon– then HERE IS YOUR CHANCE!! o(*゚▽゚*)o We really need to get one more person to take the free seat because it will make the journey cheaper for everyone! And hey, it also saves the environment to have the car as full as possible... ~

Check the image below for all the necessary details, because I'm too lazy to rewrite them all. But yeah, if you want more information just leave a comment on this post or contact me through email. :)

And for those worried about the con tickets – they are still available here! Please be aware that Närcon is on 28-31 July so act fast. I can also mention that me and Sacchan will be sleeping at the camping and that's what I'd recommend if you want the cheapest possible sleeping solution and hey, con camping is an experience in itself!
Oh and yeah, if you wonder about the Tuesday-Wednesday night at Umeå I can tell you that it's free  we'll stay one night at the apartment of the second driver. :) 

It doesn't matter if you're a cosplayer or not but as long as you're attending the con and are a nice person you're welcome in! I promise at least two of us have horrible jokes. It would be preferred though if you're not a smoker. Also, please try to keep the luggage down to the smaller end of average because there is no place for huge or bulky props (smaller props should be fine, like a katana or such).

So yeah, please spread the word to all your friends and help us fill in the available seat!

July 8, 2016

Närcon 2016 cosplans – The Guardian of the Sea and more!

Yo peeps!

My next convention will be no less than Närcon on 28-31 July in Linköping, Sweden. I'm honestly super pumped about attending the con (even though it has its faults) with my friends and yeah, I can't wait! ヽ(^Д^)ノ As things seem to look right now I will be traveling to Närcon with Sacchan, Ronya and Vicktor. There might still be place in our northern carpool for one more person though, maybe... *hinthint*

You see, for months now I've been fretting over what to cosplay and now, finally, it seems like I have an idea about my cosplay plans that might actually hold for longer than one week. Maybe. 
I've honestly been scrapping my plans and changing them every second day or something and, meanwhile, time is running out and now I don't even have enough left to safely order a new wig etc. D: 
But after a lot of thinking I managed to come up with some costumes but one of the main days still lacked a cosplay – either Friday or Saturday. I thought that I'd be pretty much forced to recycle a cosplay by now, for aforementioned reasons (lack of tiiiiiime), but I felt unsure because most of my cosplays are really hot to wear during summer and yeah, Närcon is not Närcon without its infamous heat wave!! I really don't like overheating at cons –which happens easily– and I want to believe that, by now, I should have learned from my mistakes... or not. Oh and yeah, it's also quite common that it will rain during Närcon, which makes me iffy to wear any cosplays that includes vintage silk kimono, out of fear for water stains – this and the heat wave limits my cosplay recycle choices a lot. (´_`。) *sniff*

But now, hopefully this will be my final cosplay plans!

There will be a Fruits Basket cosplay group meet on Thursday, hence why I will bring Kazuma there and then change to Greece once either the meet is "over" or when it gets too warm because it will.
Lugia will be a kimono-style gijinka and for Friday I thought long and hard before I finally decided on recycling Ibuki; I even asked over at my Facebook page for cosplay suggestions and one of my friends said Hakuouki and that's when it hit me – I haven't worn Ibuki much! I've fixed some size issues with the costume earlier (so he's ready to be reworn) and, best of all, it's my least toasty of all my current Hakuouki cosplays!
In a way both Friday and Saturday can be considered main days and thus I thought that I would maybe rather wear Lugia on Saturday because it will be quicker to put on and yeah, Ibuki will take a while and on Friday I'll likely have more energy and hype (or 'pepp', as we say in Sweden) to put time and effort into Ibuki's demanding makeup. Dem Hakuouki eyes. I know myself well enough that during a 4-day con I will be the most energetic and hyped on the first two days and on the third day I'll probably have the "still fun but I've seen everything" syndrome and on the last day I will just want a bubbletea and then go home and take a long shower, lol. So yeah, Ibuki first and Lugia second felt like the best way to roll.

I do have some small stuff to try out before all my cosplays are ready (mainly makeup and circle lens tests) and I might also need to make some accessories for Lugia (depending on what my finalized design will be) and restyle the wig for Greece. I'm just hoping that the gloves I ordered for Lugia will arrive on time, otherwise I will just have to deal without and add them for another time...

But yeah, I might do some pre-Närcon costume previews, makeup tests, circle lens reviews yada yada! Keep an eye out!
See ya later, alligator ~

July 1, 2016

Lens review: Kimchi Viva Brown


I have a circle lens review in store for today! I will be reviewing the Kimchi Viva Brown lenses. But instead of standing here and jawing around I'll get straight to the review!

Hiya, let's go ~

Lens to the watcher's right is wrong side out.
Lens to the watcher's left is wrong side out.
Base curve: 8.6 mm
Diameter: 16 mm
Water content: 55%
Life span: 1 year (I recommend 6 months)

As with any Kimchi or I.Fairy lens these are definitely on the big side but, despite the size, these have a very gentle and natural-ish look, all thanks to the big pupil hole, light color and smooth blending effect. Yes, this means that a lot of your natural eye color will show through the middle and instead of making your eye color change to brown these lenses give you more of a "brown edges" effect, aka a partial color change – or enhancement, if you already have brown eyes. I do think that the look the lenses brings is lovely nevertheless but it you're looking for a bold lens (or if you dislike lenses with big pupil holes) you will likely be disappointed with these.

One lens in.
The color is a soft caramel-like brown and it blends really nicely with my light blue-gray eyes! There's no super obvious line where the color of the lens meets my real eye color and that's always good if you don't want the "clashing effect" that tends to occur with some colored contact lenses. The thick black limbal ring makes the lenses look cute and thus my eyes end up looking sort of innocent – it's a nice effect. They do also give a lovely, almost magical look on my eyes when the light hits because of the contrast between blue and brown.

Regarding comfort I can wear these for approximately 3 to 4 hours before I start to feel the first signs of dryness. They felt stingy upon first insertion and I had to reinsert both lenses to get rid of the uncomfortable feeling but yeah, it still stayed (although not as bad) but luckily it went away after a couple minutes. Once my eyes got used to the lenses I had no further issues with them.

Lens photos!
All photos taken by me during a July afternoon with a clear sky.
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.

Facing window in my apartment.
Bathroom light.
Flash photo.
White corridor light.
Yellow light in the staircase.
In the staircase, with my back against the window. (natural light)
Outdoors, facing the wall. Back against sun.
Outdoors, facing sun.
Indoors storage room, with natural light coming from the side.
I would say that these lenses are best suited for daily fashion, ulzzang, mori etc – those more natural looks, ya know. I don't think these would show up well enough to be really good for cosplay, unless you're looking for a more discreet lens that won't be all that noticeable on photos; the coloring of the lenses is mainly on the outer edges and thus these won't do much if you're looking for a lens that will completely change your eye color.
I still think that these are a cute and quite versatile pair and a great choice if you want to wear lenses to work, school etc that aren't too obvious; the Kimchi Viva Brown are an everyday lens more than a fancy one. ^_^ It's a really soft-looking lens that gives a graceful air to your eyes – just be aware that the colored areas are not that large, nor covering, and that your real eye color will show through in the center, no matter what.

Distance photo!

Short summary:

Color: 7/10  
Lovely soft light brown color, caramel-like.
Design: 6/10
Minimalistic design with black limbal ring. Good if you want a simple and casual lens.
Opacity: 6/10
These lenses have a big pupil hole –which completely lets through your natural color– but the colored outer parts are decently covering.
Enlargement: 8/10
Pretty big, as is to be expected from a Kimchi lens.
Comfort: 6/10
Fairly average. Felt slightly stingy at first but once my eyes got used to them they were fine. Start to feel dry after approximately 3 hours.
Naturalness: 4/10
Because of the smooth blending and small amount of color these look surprisingly natural, despite their size and the black rim.

Thank you for reading my circle lens reviews!
Shiro Samurai says ciao ~