PAX East 2017 Writeup

Note: This is a LONG post.

Travelling 700 miles by bus is a task. I’ve been told that I must really like the event to spend 17 hours on several different buses to attend, but that’s not entirely true. The weekend prior to PAX East, when many of my friends were attending Emerald City Comicon, I was filled with so much longing. The last time I saw many of them was PAX South at the end of January. ECCC is my favourite convention. I love the people, the location (Seattle!), and the event itself. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make it happen. Instead, watching my friends have a blast through their social media feeds, I became determined to make PAX East work. And I did.

The weekend started with a hiccup, as they do sometimes. Being unable to connect with anyone to hang out with when my bus arrived, I panicked. I immediately wondered if it was worth it, and my brain started working through backup plans. I finished changing at the bus station, deciding that I would check my bags there and wander the city alone, when I received a message from friends who’d just gotten in. I didn’t have to spend the day before con alone.

At the event itself, I spent a decent amount of time on the show floor, looking at merchandise and the demos available. A few that caught my eye that I wasn’t able to play were Rain World, Dauntless, The American Dream, and A Cat’s Manor. I kept eyeing the Brawlhalla booth, which I’d tried at PAX South and absolutely loved, but it was busy every time I went by. Fortunately, it’s free on Steam, so I definitely recommend checking it out.

I made a Nug kigu so Jayuna wore her Leliana with me. Perfect!

I attended two panels that weekend: the highly anticipated Mass Effect: Andromeda panel, which was Bioware’s return to the convention panel rooms, and Foreplay: Romance in Games which is a crowd favourite (though only my first time attending it).

I didn’t take too many notes during the Mass Effect panel, being totally enamoured with the content they were showing. The game looked stunning. Before attending the panel I was pretty excited for ME: A, but I didn’t have it pre-ordered and figured I would pick it up later. After the panel, my need for this game increased exponentially and I made a note to immediately pre-order it when I returned home. We got to see a bunch of Liam’s loyalty mission, and aside from being visually stunning, it brought back one of my favourite things about Bioware games: the banter. The character interactions between Ryder, Cora, and Liam were natural and entertaining. I have an undying love for witty character banter, and these scenes delivered. I’m so excited to play it myself, having made a single tweet during the panel: “So horny for this one.”

On the flip side, I took a page full of notes during the Romance in Games panel, most of which don’t make any cohesive sense. My favourite part of the panel was the very beginning, during the introductions, when fanfiction snuck its way into the conversation. The door swung open and a booming voice called out a greeting. Mike Laidlaw (creative director for Dragon Age at Bioware) had entered the room in the most dramatic fashion possible. He made his way onto the stage, saying he had one question for Arden, and pulled off his top shirt to reveal, “DO YOU EVEN RIFT BRO?” underneath. He posed triumphantly. The crowd went wild. It was the single greatest introduction to a panel I’d ever seen.

Taken by @emiliym

A few key concepts from the panel that I’m able to decipher from my scattered notes include data from a study on the three most important factors of video games to the two binary genders. Men prefer games with elements of Destruction, Competition, and Completion. Women prefer their games to have elements of Collection, Completion, and Customization. This data is important for figuring out where the similarities lie in order to market games to a wider audience. Another concept from my notes is the idea of stress reactions. We’re used to the idea of “Fight or Flight,” but there’s another key decision we make in situations, which is “Tend or Befriend.” You see a lot more video games giving you options that lean to that side, with a little more caring and a little more heart, and it’s really nice to see. “Romance in books is massive, why isn’t it in video games?”

The panelists mentioned a few of their favourite romances and relationships in video games such as Delilah of Firewatch, and the mentor/pop idol relationship in Yakuza 5. Much of the panel was currently playing My Horse Prince, which is a free dating game app where you…date a horse with a man’s face. Kind-of. They also had good things to say about the Kitty Powers Matchmaker series, which I’ve made a note to check out.

The aforementioned Arden is also the writer of Date or Die, which was demoing in the Visual Novel Room. I stopped by and picked up We Know the Devil, after having heard overwhelmingly positive reviews from my friends. And really, at $5, how could I not? They also had Ladykiller in a Bind, which I actually own and have started, and A Normal Lost Phone, which I had actually just received from the IndieBox booth (a monthly subscription box for Indie games, which sounds pretty cool).

I stopped by the Firewatch booth twice, despite having not played it yet (listen, my backlog is ridiculous). A friend of mine was working the booth, which was my original reason for stopping by, and they also had a photobooth. Photobooths are by far my favourite PAX activity, and the best way to get me to stop by your booth. The Assassin’s Creed movie booth also had a greenscreen for photos, which was super cool! The staff working it were super friendly, and even let me get into costume over my bulky Nug suit.

There’s always the moments after the convention where regret sets in, from not enough time spent with people you wanted to see, from the people you missed entirely, from the things you wanted to do but didn’t find time for. But when I look back at the weekend, it was perfect. It’s hard to make all the connections work, and we did our best, and it turned out great. For the first time since my first PAX East in 2012, I felt like I actually attended the convention.

I travelled 700 miles by bus because I was lonely. And it was totally worth it.

Shout out to Jayuna aka Jackie for being awesome!

New Year! Con o’clock!

I don’t have the highest of expectations for 2017. Let’s be real, the world as a whole is kinda going to hell. I keep looking on the bright side of things though, which is that the complete shock of 2016 being so so bad has prepared me for whatever 2017 throws at me. Go through hell, come out stronger. Nice.

I attended PAX South again this year, and had a complete blast. I mostly hung out with Sam, Mae, and Mike, and it was so chill? No big parties, which I do enjoy sometimes, but lots of dinners and drinks. I wore Pidge from Voltron on both Friday and Sunday, because it was just the perfect casual costume, and the idea of Pidge at a gaming convention brings me so much joy. Sam and I did up our Asari makeup on Saturday for a few hours (mostly for Mike’s panel and lunch). Costumes went over great and sorta made me feel a little more of the positivity I used to get from cosplay. Lots of people yelling out “PIDGE! YOU LOOK GREAT!” And otherwise general good feelings from people being excited to see the characters.

Pidge selfies. Me, Mae, and Sam, being super classy

I met some awesome new folk and got to talk a lot about Voltron, Yuri on Ice, and just general queerness in media which is definitely one of my favourite things. Also got to spend more time with people I only met briefly last year, and admire a lot (Hybrid Cosplay – check them out!), and actually played games on the con floor! (I recommend Brawlhalla. It’s easy to pick up and play, and it’s free! It’s on Steam right now and coming to PS4 soon with both local and online multiplayer? Nice.) I picked up some tabletop games I was looking forward to: Simon’s Cat, which I had tested last year, and One Deck Dungeon, which a friend worked on and features five different (ONLY) female characters of varying races.

I stayed an extra day after the con because of cheaper flights, and treated myself to a day out at the San Antonio Zoo. It was really great spending some alone time after a weekend of people, and doing things entirely at my own pace. I took HUNDREDS of pictures which I don’t know if I’ll ever get through, and I got to FEED A GIRAFFE. We took a selfie together.

One of the best con weekends I’ve ever had, and I don’t think I would’ve changed anything about it. I definitely needed that. <3

An Extended Hiatus – The Good Bits

I promised I’d follow up the last blog entry with some positive notes. Not that it lessens the unfortunate negative impact 2016 has had on my life, but it is good to note things weren’t all bad. So here we go.

January: I attended PAX South in San Antonio for the first time, thanks to my friend Jay. We were vending in the Diversity Lounge, which was also my first time selling my own wares at a table. I learned a lot about what I could improve on for the next time, and really appreciated the experience it gave. I met some other awesome ladies (Chiara and Allegriana), and also got to see Texas.

February: We planned and executed a weekend winter photoshoot adventure. We had a campfire, freezing butts, lots of chocolate, and pizza. I had the best companions for the drive there and back in Amanda and Toast, and every time I listen to Hamilton I still think of our additional commentary. (“I have THREE FRIENDS!”)

March: Through my friends at Skyleaf Creations, I was able to attend the March Toronto Comic Con and see some people I hadn’t seen in a long time. The con itself was meh, but hang outs were always appreciated and excellent, and I also got to wear Imai Cosplay‘s Hawke costume, which is remarkable.

April: Undoubtedly the best month for me. I attended both Emerald City in Seattle for the first time, and returned to PAX East since I’d missed it last year. Emerald City was quite possibly the best convention I’d ever been to, both in terms of the actual con, and in my own personal experience. It was my first time travelling alone and leaving most of my plan to the wind, which was an exhilarating experience. Special thanks to Cara and Emma for putting up with me during the weekend. PAX East was super different in which it felt like I had too much to do because EVERYONE was there. I was once again selling things in the Diversity Lounge (though it was a little last minute), and I actually attended some panels this year. PAX is always something of a a whirlwind, and I am super looking forward to some of the games we have coming out soon.

May: Anime North happened. My sister bought me a pass so I could actually go in, and it was nice to spend so much time with her at a convention.

June: YetiCon! We hiked in the Blue Mountains and that was super rad.

July: Sailor Moon Celebration happened! I equipped the Cosplay for a Cure group with costumes and we looked rad and it was super good. I also finally moved out of my shitty apartment, even if it meant putting my stuff in storage and couch surfing until I found my new forever home. A huge shoutout to Chris and Sarah for hosting me for two months, and for my brother for the month and a half after that while I finished my placement.

September: I attended Tony and Zeena’s wedding, which was beautiful and magical and one of the best weekends I had this entire year. I felt so blessed and things were so good.

October: I finally started my Paralegal placement, which was the last time I needed to complete my diploma. I made my plans to move, and attended the Silver Snail Halloween Party as my sorta last Toronto hurrah before leaving the city.

Novemeber: I finished my placement, and I moved! I live in a house! In a new city! It’s pretty great.

December: I received my diploma, and I graduated with Honours.

And I’m still here.

An Extended Hiatus – What’s Going On?

TW: Suicide, depression, rape, long post

2016 has been a whirlwind of emotions. The first half of the year, while still containing the same undertone that infected this whole mess, feels like a whole other lifetime ago. I travelled. I saw friends. It was great.

But, as anyone who follows me on any other form of social media knows, those were some of the only good things to come out of this year for me. 2016 literally started with my mother calling me to tell me about the divorce. January 1st, about 6pm, “Did you see your father’s post on Facebook?” I hadn’t. I’d been sleeping all day. “We didn’t want it to come to light like this but…” The following day brought a phone call from my father. He was devastated. It was a shitty start to what was ultimately the worst year of my life.

I entered my last semester of my program, still keeping cosplay on the backburner, but taking on commissions for some income. I attended PAX South at the end of January…and then pretty much stopped attending classes.

While I make no attempt to hide the status of my mental health, under the belief that talking about it helps to end the stigma toward it (after all, no one has a problem talking about getting a cold), how bad things were apparently still went unnoticed by many people. Since October 2015, I can think of at least 5 separate occasions where I had been seriously contemplating suicide. I was diagnosed with depression when I was 16, and while I had moments of “I wish I didn’t exist,” this was the first time the frightening reality that I wanted to be dead was a problem.

I was in counselling. I had been since February last year, after what I refer to as “my very bad summer” (wherein I had been seeing someone who did not understand “no”, which was right before I started college again in 2014). I was back on anti-depressants for the first time in 10 years. (Fortunately with a doctor who was willing to find the right one for me, as well as offer additional counselling and insight.)

But that was it. My two mental health professionals were essentially all I had as far as “support system” went. My family was in turmoil; my sister and I were also dealing with my father’s mental health issues, as he struggled with depression and suicide. I had been growing more and more distant from my main friend group since “the bad summer,” due to all sorts of reasons both related to my mental health and friend politics that still confuse me to this day. Things were not good. I dropped all but two of my courses, and I barely survived the semester.

I enrolled in summer classes, desperate to get my schooling done since it was the last semester and it was so close. I closed commissions. I tried to focus on schooling. But then…my apartment issue. Between abusive roommates and my manipulative landlord, the mold, the fire hazard, the lack of windows or fresh air, the water damage from the washer overflowing from bad repairs…I needed out. Unfortunately, the freelance work I do on the side had dried up, with promises of contracts being pushed off indefinitely. Making for another stressful semester.

My parents moved out of the province, with one going to each side of the country. I was unable to find a new apartment, and at the end of July, I moved my things into a storage unit and was very fortunate to be able to stay with a couple of friends. I finished the semester, while still struggling to secure my placement to finish my program proper. My mental health continued to decline. My birthday was spent alone and crying. I had to cancel PAX West, despite having my flight and tickets. Things did not improve.

With a mess of email/phone tag, I did finally secure my placement, but not until the end of September, and not starting until mid-October. By this point I had to move to stay with my brother, having overstayed my welcome with the other friends and having no other options. My commute to my unpaid job was an hour-and-a-half to two hours each way from my brother’s apartment, which was taxing. I did finish the 133 hours required for my placement, however, and in mid-November I finally moved into a new home.

Unfortunately things did not get better with the “main friend group” over time. I largely feel lost and alone when I think about my social situation, and the local cosplay community. It’s an odd feeling.

Commissions: While I am mostly settled, I am still unsure of when/if I will be opening commissions back up. In the event that they do open again, the prices will be raised. While I do enjoy seeing how happy and how good everyone looks in their fukus, I unfortunately can no longer afford to undersell myself and my work, and would like to even remotely break even when taking my time into account.

TL;DR: My mental health has been shit. For the first time in my life I no longer have a family home which is super uncomfortable. Depression is no joke. I probably won’t be at any GTA cons next year. Commissions may never open, or prices are gonna go up. I am going to write a happier post later, since there have been some good things, and I want to shed some light on what got me through this extremely trying year.

Mid-Summer Break

As much as I love cosplay, I went straight from school to finishing commissions to six straight weeks of cosplay events and cons. It’s time for a break!

The next confirmed convention for me is DragonCon! I’m not 100% sure what I’m wearing yet, but I’m super excited. Keep an eye on the events page for lineup and con updates.

Meanwhile, got new pages up for Swimsuit Moon, Sora, Misty, and Inquisitor Trevelyan. I’ve got more things I still need to get on the site, but this is a good start. Enjoy!

2015 Update

Been busy updating everywhere else that I haven’t been using the blog portion of my website. Whoops!

I went to 14 conventions in 2014 and that was too many so I’ve been taking it easy in 2015. Also started school again in September, so there was that.

Been focusing a lot on commissions and Dragon Age costumes. Also decided to start taking videos of things! Here’s my first video, which was of our Dragon Age weekend shoot the last weekend of June.

Took a lot of footage at Atomic Lollipop so hopefully I’ll put that together soon. Next up is ConBravo! Woo!

Con-G: The End

So last weekend was the final year of Con-G, and what a weekend. While I didn’t spend too much time doing con things (I rarely do), I got to see so many people, and had such a good time. We took so many photos and partied super hard. Went out for late night pub food, danced until we couldn’t dance anymore, got up for the earliest hockey game ever (GOLD BABY) and just. Amazing. I also helped out with two panels! And that’s always been what this con was for me. It was that reason to go out in the winter and see all those people you only see in the summer months. To dress up and run around and just be a geek.

And I’m going to miss it. I’ve got photos up for most of the costumes I wore (SWOL Neptune, Casual Usagi, and Casual Morrigan), as well, reminiscing with the costumes I wore in previous years (Rattata, Miwako, Peach, Raven and Marceline). How I’ve changed! Look at this oldie!

It’s been fun, Con-G. We’ll miss you.



It’s been a quiet year on the blog side of this website, but active everywhere else. I’ve got the Costume page fully updated, aside from a handful of costumes I have 0 photos of. I also have most of my convention schedule figured out for the next year, including a surprise trip to Florida for MegaCon! While the costumes themselves are subject to change, this is pretty much what I’m doing next year. There is also the possibility of more cons being added in, but I am trying to do a little less, just so I can focus more on school and the like.

Aside from that, my commissions are open for the coming convention year. While it’s mostly still just Sailor Moon costumes, I am also opening commissions for N7 coats, if there’s interest. Hit up my contact page for quotes.

Summer Con Season

It’s almost over! Oh my.

Con Bravo was pretty awesome. With Cosplay for a Cure we raised $1600 for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. I made Sophitia from Soul Calibur 2, and rewore my casual Morrigan. Had SO much fun partying and meeting new people.

It is now confirmed that I will be attending FanExpo in two weeks! I won’t be there on the Thursday, as it’s my birthday, but provided I can get my Saturday off work, I will be there the other three days. Not 100% sure what I’m wearing, but I’ve got some ideas on the Events page.

After that it’s DragonCon! SO excited. I have way too many plans and I’m going to be in the parade and I get to see people I haven’t seen since last year, and some since the year before and some I haven’t even met yet. It’s going to be great.

Cons! And Commissions.

Anime North and Niagara Falls Comic Con have both past. The next event coming up is the Cosplay Picnic on June 29th, and then Con Bravo at the end of July. I’ll finally be wearing my casual Usagi costume for the picnic, and I’ve got big plans for Bravo, so I’m excited for that.

I realized it’d be a while since I actually updated the costume page, so I started doing that. So far I’ve just got all the new icons up. Pages will come over the next couple of days.

And with Anime North come and gone, commissions will be opening up soon! However there are some changes! I will only be doing Sailor Moon costumes going forward. I will also no longer be doing the round front brooches, as I still haven’t developed a way I’m 100% happy with, and there are lots of other people who make them better, for cheaper. I will still be making the heart brooches, as long as I have materials available for them.

And that’s it! Keep an eye on the events page for where I’m going to be, and what costumes I might be bringing with me. Though this is always subject to change right up until the day of.