Everyday Cosplay=The Secret to Self Confidence

Everyday Cosplay=The Secret to Self Confidence

Fake it till you make it.
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Ok I have something dorky to kind of admit. When I go to job interviews and I'm really really nervous I put on my best business like clothes and pretend that I'm Leslie Knope.

Now to help make me seem not completely like a psycho I mean that I just kind of embody the positive qualities of her personality. And why not she's cool, she's smart, energetic, and get's what she wants. So I'm not going to lie when I say that it has actually worked every time.

A good way to describe this kind of thing I do is to refer to the phrase of fake it till you make it. If I'm having a day where I'm not happy with myself or I'm nervous and need a pick me up, I can just try and be one of my favorite fictional character's for a moment and act like they would in the situation I'm in until I feel better about myself. The sneaky way of doing this is through incorporating light cosplay into my life.

For some I'm sure that when you hear the word cosplay, your mind might just immediately go to people dressed in costumes at events like San Diego Comic Con. However, what I am talking about is something pretty different from that. What I am talking about is finding small and fun ways of incorporating your favorite character's looks or small nods, into your everyday life to give you that boost of confidence you need or something to turn that frown upside down. The best part about this though is that no one is really even going to notice what you're doing. You are the only one who is really seeing this and that's all that is going to matter.

We are going to talk about how this process can be done and for a character example I decided to base my look off of everyone's new and favorite Magizoologist, Newt Scamander from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Clothing:

You'll want to find very basic versions of the clothing for the character you're basing your look off of, or find a color scheme that also matches theirs. For example, if you were basing your look off Disney's Snow White you would want clothes ranging from the colors blue, red, white, and yellow (as seen below).

With Newt he has a kind of basic outfit that's easy to follow so I grabbed brown leggings, boots, a white shirt, my Gryffindor scarf (gotta rep my house), and a blue jacket kind of similar to the one worn throughout the film (fun fact when I first purchased this back in 7th grade I mainly wanted it so I could look like Jenny Humphrey from Gossip Girl).

Makeup:

This one is kind of a free for all. Whatever makeup that you think looks best on you I say wear it and rock it. But if you really want to keep this in character you could try and copy that character's look or once again go back to your color scheme. For my coloring I kept to warm brown/yellowy colors to represent Hufflepuff, the Hogwarts house from which Mr. Scamander used to be a part of.

Hair:

This step is one of the most fun ones because it allows you the chance to be really creative. You just try and copy the texture or the style and bam your done. It's like you're a whole different person. For instance here is a Arya Stark (Game of Thrones) hairstyle I did once.

Now obviously I don't have hair like Eddie Redmayne's, shocker I know, so I just went with big curls to kind of copy the waviness his hair has. Fun fact, to cut time I just tossed my hair in a ponytail and curled all of the hair in the ponytail, it saves so much time!

Photoshoot time!:

Now that you are looking at your best it's time to show yourself off. I always take selfies to make myself remember how happy I was with my look and how confident I felt that day and plus it doesn't hurt to let your inner dork out and take themed photos.

(Me and a terrifying beast/pygmy puff bonding)

(Accidentally making the same shocked face as Newt)

(Shhh totally climbing into this normal chest with not an extension charm with a beast)

(Used to much maxima with my Lumos charm)


(One normal picture for the muggles)

And now it's time to go out into the world and embody the character you're representing. Have fun with it as you start to feel more confident with who you are!


Cover Image Credit: Kennady's photos

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Dear Shondaland, You Made A Mistake Because April Kepner Deserves Better

"April Kepner... you're not average"
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I'll admit from the first time we were introduced to April in Season 6, I didn't like her so much. I mean we hated the "Mercy Westers" in the first place, so how could we see the potential in the annoying, know-it-all resident that was trying to compete with our beloved Lexie Grey.

But then, we saw her come face-to-face with a killer and thought maybe she had potential.


We then saw her surprise everyone when she proved to be the next trauma surgeon in the making and we were intrigued.

Notice how none of these stories had anything to do with Jackson Avery. Not that we didn't love her with Jackson, but for whatever reason you've chosen to end their very popular relationship. Suddenly, you think that April is not worth further exploration but you've forgotten one simple thing. We fell in love with her before "Japril" was ever in the picture.

We love her because her story was unlike the others and she had one of the best character developments on the show. She wasn't damaged like Meredith Grey or Alex Karev who have been on their journey to become all whole and healed, but she still had to fight hard to be taken seriously. Her story has so much potential for future development, but you've decided to throw it all away for "creative reasons."

I'm sorry, but there's nothing creative about doing the exact same thing you've done to all the other characters who have left the show. We've endured the loss of many beloved characters when you chose to write off George, Henry, Mark, and Lexie. We even took it when you did the unthinkable and wrote McDreamy out of the show - killing off one half of the leading couple. (WHO DOES THAT???)

But April Kepner? Are you kidding me?

She may no longer be with Jackson, but she was so much more than half of Japril. While most of us hate that Jackson and April are over, we probably could have dealt with it if April was still on the show. Now they're done and you think there aren't any more stories to tell about her character. Why? Because she'll just get in the way of Jackson and Maggie?

How could you not see that she was way more than Jackson's love interest?

She's so much more than you imagined her to be. April is the headstrong, talented trauma surgeon no one saw coming. The farmer's daughter started off an ugly duckling who became a soldier because she needed to be one and turned into one big beautiful swan who constantly has to fight for her coworkers and family to see her as such.

She's proven to be a soldier and swan on many occasions. Just take giving birth to her daughter in a storm on a kitchen table during an emergency c-section without any numbing or pain medication as an example. If she wasn't a soldier or a swan before, how could she not be after that?

Yet, you - the ones who created her - still see her as the ugly duckling of a character because she always had to take the backseat to everyone else's story and was never allowed to really be seen.

But we see her.

She's the youngest of her sisters who still think of her as the embarrassing little Ducky no matter how much she's grown.

This swan of a resident got fired for one mistake but came back fighting to prove she belongs. Not only did April Kepner belong there, but it was her talent, her kindness, her strength that made her Chief Resident. This simply wasn't enough for Dr. Bailey or her other residents so she fought harder.

She endured the pressure but always ended up being a joke to the others. When she was fired yet again, your girl came back a little shaken. She doubted herself, but how could she not when everyone was against her.

Despite everyone telling her she couldn't, she did rise and no one saw her coming because she remained in the background. She went off to Jordan broken and came back a pretty risky trauma surgeon.

We've watched for years as she was handed promising stories that we never got to see fully develop because she was in the background. We never got to see her rise. We get the beginning and the end, but hardly ever the middle.

I thought we were finally going to have an amazing story arc in season 11 when she loses Samuel, but what did we really get? Two or three episodes of her coming to terms with the loss of her baby and then April's disappearance from the show while she's grieving off screen so that Dr. Amelia Shepherd can shine her first season on the show. Where is April's life-changing surgeries? What does April get? She's background music.

Now what?

It's season 14 and we finally get the story we've been waiting 9 years for! We get Dark April and her crisis of faith. A story arc all Christians can appreciate. Here's the chance for real character development in the foreground, but wait...

Before her story is even wrapped up, you announce that this season will be her last. So we're forced to realize that the only reason we're getting this story now is that you're writing her off.

No matter how you end it, it's not going to do her story justice. If you kill her off to end her crisis of faith story, you're not reaching the many Christians who watch the show. If you have her leaving Seattle and taking Harriet with her, you didn't know April. If you have her leaving Seattle and abandoning Harriet, you really didn't know April. So anyway you choose to end her story, you lost out on one great character.

You messed up.

Both April Kepner and Sarah Drew deserved better.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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Singing About You: A Journey Through The Lens Of Kendrick Lamar

"When the lights shut off and it's my turn to settle down, promise that you will sing about me."
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“WE GON’ BE ALRIGHT!”

The echoes of Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright” from his 2015 album, "To Pimp a Butterfly" are reverberating loudly on my eardrums.

Last week, the Compton rapper received a Pulitzer Prize in the music category for his powerful contribution to the world that is his latest album, "DAMN." This marks a huge milestone in the history of hip-hop because no other artist in the genre has ever been honored with the prize.

Yes, that includes all of his influences that he succeeds: Tupac, Biggie, Nas, Jay Z, and Eminem.

2011 and 2012 saw K-Dot’s ascension with his mixtape “Section.80” and his debut album “good kid, m.A.A.d. city.” The two, particularly the latter, were concerned with the struggles of coming up in the cruel streets of his hometown. “GKMC” takes the listener on a journey in the backseat of Kendrick’s mother’s van.

The magic of this album is its storytelling ability to put you right in the middle of the action whether you are from the hood or not. The lyrics paint the imagery while the beats and melodies play tug of war with your adrenaline when bullets pierce through skin, when sirens pulse through bones, or when smoke permeates through lungs. We feel his desire to create and protect love in a place where love often means loss and pain. The encouragement of Kendrick’s friends, family, and God throughout the album pave the path out of Compton to a position where he is able to spread his influence to the world.

The anecdotes from the mad city become our own, and Kendrick goes on to discuss the racial divide in the country and the tempting evils of fame and fortune that he momentarily succumbs to in his jazz-inspired second album, "To Pimp a Butterfly."

The album is a gasp for life in the thin air of discrimination, self-deprecation, and subsequent depression. Audiences feel the struggle just to say what is on the mind when Kendrick repeatedly tries to express a coherent thought at the end of several songs, each time adding a few extra words before being cut off before the breath is even finished exhaling. But these struggles are remedied by the uplifting message of self-love present in songs such as “i.”

The culmination of the album is a release of the message he’d been trying to deliver that comes halfway through the 12-minute long “Mortal Man.” The second half of the track reveals that this message was being expressed in an interview between Kendrick and (a recording of) Tupac. The discussion dives further into the album’s themes of racism and discrimination in the country and fighting others in one’s own community because of a lack of respect; themes that are cut off suddenly after a crescendo of instruments layered over Kendrick’s poem about the “pimped butterfly.”

That sudden halt not only fits with the motif of abrupt endings in “TPAB,” but it also means that Kendrick had a lot more to say on that discussion beyond that one album or point in his life. That is where 2017’s "DAMN." comes into play.

The now-Pulitzer-winning album is the bold and biting return of a newly healed Kendrick to combat discrimination against the black community in America. If our boy had any doubts about his mission in his previous albums, they have been drowned in the same water that he emerges from as a new man with clarity of purpose, background, and worth as a black man.

The album begins and ends with Kendrick’s statement, “So I was taking a walk the other day…” Everything that comes in between that repeated line is inviting the listener to join him on that walk which exposes the cruelty of our racist society. But it does not leave us hopeless. If anything, Kendrick’s confidence and strength raging against the confines of Black America gives us an example to follow. For that, we celebrate this album so passionately.

My hope is that Kendrick knows that Heaven and Earth are shaking with his vibrations, and he has people out here praying for him, thankful for him. We'll be singing about you forever, K-Dot.

Cover Image Credit: Jalani Johnson

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