Under Construction

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Salutations all!

Please forgive me for my lack of posting the last couple of months. Life has a habit of getting the way of best laid plans. But…I still have plans! Big plans are coming. This site is getting a revamp. The Lady Nerd is going in a new direction. So stay tuned for the exciting new adventures!

Happy Easter!

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Happy Easter everyone!

I find water to be a very apt analogy for spirituality and religion. For some it is a mighty river, strong and full. For others, a small creek, simple, pleasant, but constant. But water has its darker sides, as rivers can overflow their banks to flood or oceans can create catastrophic tsunamis (I liken these to the terrible things done in the name of religion or trying to destroy others with misguided dogma rather than loving them and building them up in faith). And further still, there are the ice covered bodies of water, while seemingly beautiful on the surface, the life-giving water is hidden, inaccessible, and can even become stagnant.

The human condition is broken, much like parched dry land. I see many friends’ hearts broken due to the apparent or perceived tidal waves of religious misperception and lack of understanding. The water meant to nourish and sustain, instead becomes a weapon. This ought not to be! We have lost the beauty of faith in the deafening waves.

Now, I’m not here today to debate the validity of God’s existence, of Jesus as Christ, or to bash the Christian religion because of how much those bearing the name have screwed up. I simply want to share why I believe what I do. As a friend kindly said recently, “your faith is a natural to you as breathing’ and that made me think of how sadly rare that seems to be. This shouldn’t be so!

To truly live with conviction is a rare thing; to live it in Christ appears to be a rarer thing. I watch as so many turn away for various reasons, where even other Christians I know begin to shy away from revealing their faith for fear of offending due to the stigma that even the word “Christian” bears these days. It grieves me heart to see that. Both, in that non-Christians have been so wounded by the church that they refuse to have anything to do with it and those who claim Christ, practically deny their faith so as not to come across as offensive as they want to show love and not hate.

I wish I could share more of the simple beauty of my faith. Not a strict set of rigid rules. Not a damper on one’s ‘fun’. Not a guilt trip. But a message of pure love. That the One who created the universe and all of the beauty, logic, reason, and power in it was so grieved at the brokenness that saturated the world, that He sent His perfect son to experience life fully as one of His creations, to feel our every pain, our every struggle, our everyday lives, and then submit himself to one of the most gruesome tortures the human body can endure (as well as spiritually) to claim us back out of that darkness. To free us from our own inadequacies and malicious enemies to be something truly greater.

Freedom from being tied to the worst parts of you. Freedom to live life fuller than one perceives. Freedom to love people more than you can possibly do on your own. That is one of the things that brings me such great joy about my faith – the understanding that I am a finite, human creature only capable of so much. But in Christ, I can do so much more. I may be weak (and goodness knows, I am), but to serve the God of all creation empowers me to love and serve my friends, my family, my community way more than I could on my own. To know love, is to know Him.

There is a deep sense of peace that I don’t have to have all the answers all the time. To find myself befriended in my struggles, where I scramble for an answer only to find there is no answer, but the presence of an Answerer. That companionship for the soul. I screw up so much on so many levels. But in my faith, there is freedom from that. There are seemingly unending chances to grow, to be refined as if by fire to become a better person. That’s how I personally view spirituality and belief in Jesus. Not a set of religious dogma or rules to keep one confined to some narrow-minded view, but a freeing way-of-life.

So this year, Easter/Resurrection Sunday/whichever you choose to call it, means a lot to me. Even though I think on Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for me, for you, for all of us, daily, today is a celebration. A joyous jubilation of truly epic proportions.

Photograph: William Booth (from my trip to New Zealand, 2008)

Star Wars Tee

Star Wars teeWhile I’m aiming to keep this blog more on the high fashion/business side of geek style, I also like to show a well-rounded wardrobe (as, let’s face it, wearing a slinky gown or business suit all the time is not the most realistic. Can you imagine trying to clean the bathroom or help your friend move in a crisp tailored dress? Nay. Sometimes life calls for the practical).

Star Wars teeTechnically, this is the underlayer to the outfit in my Darth Vaderinspired outfit post. But due to the recent spike in hot weather recently, I’ve been practically living in this t-shirt. I’m not usually one for t-shirts in general (I’ll take a tank top over a tee any day) and definitely not loose ones. But I was trying to find any decent looking Star Wars tee a couple months ago to wear to The Force Awakens premiere. I had kept the tags on to return it, but I found I actually liked the shirt. It’s cool, breezy, and comfortable.

Star Wars teeThe catch with this kind of t-shirt though is to keep the other layers tight or else, due to the baggy nature of the shirt, one can look dumpy real fast. Now there’s no hard and fast rule on that as we live in the age of anything goes. But I find, I personally like to keep proportions balanced.

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Photographs: Kyle Matthew Williams
Tshirt: Target
Leggings: Forever 21
Boots: Steve Madden

Star Trek Dress

Star Trek Fashion dress
Set phasers to stunning!

Star Trek Fashion dress
In continuation with my geek chic outfit series (which I dearly hope can become a regular thing), I bring you the everyday Star Trek outfit. With its iconic color blocked sections, short skirt, and long sleeves it was too perfect of a dress to pass up. I paired it with boots to mimic the show as well as heels for those desiring a more fashion and less costume-y look. (Further still, for those who want to add another layer of modesty, black tights go well with the dress. Just think of it as continuing the long black lines of The Next Generation uniforms. :) )

Star Trek Fashion Dress
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the beloved sci-fi television show. With it’s rebooted movie franchise and newly announced 2017 TV show, Star Trek is more alive than ever. This cultural phenomenon has lived on in its influences on science, modern philosophies, racial issues, role models, fashion, technology, and many more facets of our society. Very few shows can claim that sort of impact, much less the longevity! (While I admit to being more of Babylon 5/Star Wars fan myself, I have a deep appreciation for the legacy of
and many of the lessons taught in The Next Generation series (my favourite of the bunch).)

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Alas, the dress was no easy thing to acquire though as it came from the hotly anticipated 2015 H&M Balmain collection. I originally had my eye on the premiere black and gold embellished dress for a Game of Thrones-inspired outfit (until I saw the price! One certainly worthy of a Lannister…). But in searching through the collection, my eye fell on this dress. My mind immediately screamed “STAR TREK!” After seeing the price was in my budget, I opted to go for it.

Star Trek Fashion Dress
Alas, I didn’t anticipate how intensely people were after this collection. I moseyed on over to H&M when the doors opened on launch day only to find that I had missed out on the information that they had opened the doors early. I was a bit annoyed at my ignorance of that fact until I discovered that people were waiting overnight for the collection launch; that they practically ripped apart the store, knocking over displays to get their hands on the coveted pieces. Forgive my bluntless, but that is asinine. I’ve never been able to understand the frenzy people go into for fashion. I love clothing just as much as the next person, but my goodness…I could never bring myself to act with such derangement.

Star Trek fashion dress
But all was not lost. I managed to be one of the lucky ones to find this dress on eBay for near the original price (many were being sold for 2-3 times the price for those looking to hawk a profit). So keep that in mind when you’re shopping. If a popular piece is sold out, it might show up on eBay!

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Geek chic fashion….to boldly go where no man has gone before.

Photographer: Kyle Matthew Williams
Coat: PCK New Zealand
Dress: H&M Balmain
Boots: Steve Madden 
Heels: Aldo
Earrings: Amazon 

Valentine’s Day Blanket Fort

While I’ve never been much for all the Valentine’s Day hoopla with it’s forced commercialized sense of love, guilty chocolates, and platitudes (except roses. I do so love roses. Despite their stereotypical nature, they truly are one of the most beautiful flowers with deep crimson hues and intricate petals), it is a wonderful excuse to do something fun with my other half.

Last year we had a lot of fun reaching back to our childhood and took over his living room with a blanket fort. We decided to take it up a notch this year with a theme. The idea for a Game of Thrones-esque fort came after laying out on the incredibly comfortable sheepskin rug he got me for Christmas. Add in some more costume furs, my love for string lights, his bevy of pillows and behold….

Fort Winterfell!

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After shifting the living room around to use the couch and futon as the main support, we lashed a couple of drying racks together to make for an arched front, attached a couple of staffs underneath, threw some furs on top, and voila!

blanket fortblanket fortblanket fort ceilingAlthough mainly used for support, we chuckled at the irony of using my crutch from my car accident in late 2014 (which was directly responsible for moving us into relationship territory after years of friendship).

He had the great idea of putting the string lights in between the tapestry sheet and the furs. It took on this beautifully magical effect, like fireflies in the night. The interior felt ablaze with candelight. All of it made for a incredibly cozy place to watch movies on a cold winter’s eve. :)

blanket fort IMG_9653blanket fort mugsblanket fort pillowsblanket fort movieHope you all had a lovely Valentine’s Day in whatever way you chose to celebrate it!

Grey Day Photoshoot

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Some days are a bit blue. Life gets a bit too much and your outlook matches the grey skies above. I’ve had my fair share of such days, especially as of late. But rather than continuously wallow in my room, I decided to get out and shake off said melancholy. My friend Vania over at VLC Productions had a free night, so I played guinea pig for some lighting and post-production techniques she wanted to try. These pictures are a couple of the results!

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Here’s a behind-the-scenes selfie from the photoshoot. You may think that’s my hair, but nay…if you’ve been around my blog or social media sites long enough, you’ve more than likely heard my tales of hair woes. This is actually beautiful lace front wig I scored for $60 at a local beauty supply store (I pushed the wig back a little to let me actual hairline show through). Now I can galavant around looking and feeling like a proper elven maiden with long flowing locks.

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Star Wars Clutch Giveaway!

10620631_10101171438694728_1387164952943616591_nMy first giveaway!

(This is the first time I’ve ever tried to attempt something like this, so forgive me as I waddle through this like a gangly newborn filly.)

Today I’m passing along a brand new embossed patent leather Star Wars Imperial Clutch. Never been used (except to take pictures with). Perfect for a night on the town fashionable storage piece to go along with either geek chic wear or stealth it up with a normal evening outfit. Whatever floats your boat! Simply follow the directions below and in a few days a winner will be randomly selected. May the odds be ever in your favour! Wait….I mean,…May the Force be with you! Wait, no…that’s not how the Force works….

Photographs: Kyle Matthew Williams

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Darth Vader Leather Jacket

Darth Vader Leather Jacket the lady nerd

In my continued flirtations with the Dark Side of fashion, today I bring you another outerwear from Her Universe and Hot Topic the beautifully designed Darth Vader jacket. This is one of my favourite pieces out there in the world of geek fashion with it’s subtle tones, understated, but well-crafted design to mimic Vader’s suit. Not to mention it is the epitome of “stealth geek”. For those who know what it is, the Vader design can be clearly seen. But for those not in the know of the culture icon, it simply looks like a stylish leather jacket. Perfect for a model off-duty look.

12360131_10154396157443662_6179332622267083029_nkmphoto-starwars-9804kmphoto-starwars-9619kmphoto-starwars-9599I opted to experiment a little with this shoot in changing the proportions of the top and bottom (normally I wear tighter tops and looser bottoms. But here I swapped as well as going for a shorter top and longer bottom when I usually do the opposite to cover my Na’vi-length torso). It felt awkward on, but seeing the photos now I like the effect. It makes me look so much taller!

kmphoto-starwars-9586 kmphoto-starwars-9666Then there’s the boots….I bought this pair of Steve Madden over-the-knee boots (on sale!) specifically for this shoot intent on returning them afterwards, but after a barrage of friends gave me the “don’t you dare!” I guess I’m keeping them…

kmphoto-starwars-9845 There’s a few wonderful details hidden throughout the jacket that bear mentioning. From the subtle pops of red to give a nod to the crimson hues of a Sith lightsaber to the imperial logo etched on the back of the jacket to the message hidden on the interior lining, this jacket is a true work of geek fashion art.

kmphoto-starwars-9743 kmphoto-starwars-9870 10620631_10101171438694728_1387164952943616591_nWith great regret though, I have to admit that the jacket doesn’t fit me. “But it fits in the photos so well!” Ah, and here is the great secret of many a modeling photoshoot – clips. I cut a lean figure with a very long, thin torso so even clothes made in the XS variety don’t fit me most of the time. Usually I get my clothes cheaply tailored, but every so often there comes a piece like this where I can’t afford to have it tailored. This jacket is better suited to those with short-to-average torsos and more curves than little ol’ stick me. (You can actually see in the first photo at the top of the blog how far the jacket flares out, almost peplum-like on me. I prefer a sleeker cut.) So with a heavy sigh, I’ll be passing this along to a friend, but I couldn’t not take a photoshoot beforehand!

Fashion clipsPhotographer: Kyle Matthew Williams

Earrings: Ebay
Jacket: Hot Topic
Leggings: Forever 21
T-shirt: Target
BootsSteve Madden
Clutch: Pop Cult
Sunglasses: Mall kiosk

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Rey Cosplay – Construction Notes 2

Rey_0001As a new leaf has turned over this year, I think it’s high time for an update on my Rey costume. Alas, I am nowhere as far along as I would like (perfectionism has it’s drawbacks sometimes). But as this is also a how-to-guide for anyone who stumbles across it, I feel duty-bound to update. So here goes!

To start, one of the lovely members on the RPF fixed my artwork to match Rey’s costume (as I originally drew the artwork before we knew what the back of her costume looked like). So here’s the updated version for those of you who have been using my turnaround for reference. :)

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Since I’m a linear thinker, I’ll be starting from the top in updating both my progress and observations for Rey. (If any of you reading this have any questions for your Rey cosplay feel free to leave a comment and I’ll help out where I can!)

Hair
I’m still trying to figure out how to do her hairstyle, to be perfectly honest. I am an absolute dunce when it comes to hair (I can barely braid!). There’s a wonderful tutorial on Youtube that I’ve been trying…

Though, I realized that longer hair doesn’t work as well with this hairstyle. It may just be me and my clumsiness, but my hair kept getting horribly tangled in trying to put up the buns. So since I needed to chop off my unhealthy hair anyways….12522966_1042449212474347_8986082793727217186_nMajor thing to note on Rey’s hair that I haven’t seen mentioned anywhere. Upon viewing The Force Awakens for a second time, I realized that the top of Rey’s hair is actually braided (or pulled back into a mini tail). I’m not sure if it extends farther than the top piece. But it’s certainly something to note.tumblr_nyqz5sK86T1srtfabo1_500

Undershirt
I bought the Hemp Jersey cotton fabric from Dharma Trading. Still need to wash it before sewing. The length comes down to brush her hips. One interesting thing to note is that the sleeves of the undershirt are two different styles.Star Wars: The Force Awakens Rey (Daisy Ridley) Ph: David James ©Lucasfilm 2015

Alas, I do not know enough about sewing to know what the different techniques are called to achieve the effect (I’ve heard the term “lettuce hem” thrown around a few times).

Wrap dress
I’m still debating the right fabric for this as the bottom of the wrap shows a thatching sort of weave. But the top is much thicker and gathered, where that thatching is not as apparent. I’m going by the listing from Star Wars Celebration that the wrap dress is viscose. The only one I’ve been able to find that seems close is the viscose silk blend from Dharma Trading.
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Arm wraps
I’m currently in the experimenting phase of trying to find the right material for the arm wraps. The general consensus is that the arm wraps of medical gauze. The trick is finding the right one. I’ve got differing styles from Ace, Band-Aid, Walmart generic, etc. ranging from self-adhering to fabric. Next is to tea dye them, distress them up a bit, and see which one looks best. Though one major thing to note, in the film costume they used a sleeve underneath to attach the wraps too. (You can see it in the first scene Rey shows up in where she drinks from her cantina. There’s a gap in the wraps where you can see the undersleeve. It appears to be a similar colour as the wraps.) You can actually see it poking out of the top of the left arm wrap in the picture I posted above in the wrap dress section.

Cuff
I bought a wonderful looking cuff from the folks at Leather Clad Legends. A beautiful, reasonably priced piece.

Rey Leather Cuff
Belt
I haven’t started on this piece yet. So I’ll save that  for another update.

Pants
I made the mistake of buying the raw silk from Dharma Trading thinking it was the right fabric. But then I got my hands on a hi-res picture of Rey’s pants and realized they’re not nubby. They’re smooth and have a sort of crepe feel to them. Alas, I haven’t been able to find a suitable alternative yet. And since I have 3 yards of raw silk, I’m going to use it. However, the team I’m working with to make this costume found that the back side of the raw silk was smoother and less nubby. So we’re going to try making the pants out of the wrong-side raw silk and see how it looks.

Rey pants
Boots
I got the screen accurate boots from Po-Zu (courtesy of a kind boyfriend taking pity on me for having to use the money I had saved up for the boots on medical bills). They are marvelous! No exaggeration, they are the comfiest shoes I have ever worn in my life. The inside is plush almost like memory foam so it gives the feeling of a slipper more than a boot. But the rugged outside made out of all natural materials (seriously! The soles feel like rubber but are actually made out of beeswax and cork. I wish more companies that), keep it a boot.

The Force Awakens Rey boots1
S
taff
I haven’t started on this piece yet. So I’ll save that  for another update.

Bag
I haven’t started on this piece yet. So I’ll save that  for another update.

2015 in Review

2015
Today marks the last day of 2015, a year’s end that I meet with mixed emotions. In some ways, it’s been a good year. In other ways, not so great. I had more lows than highs overall, so here’s to hoping that 2016 will a better sight than the last one. For now, here’s a review of the year – the good, the bad, and the well…not so stylish.

BLOG
Alas, things have not gone as I had planned with The Lady Nerd. I started out strong in the beginning of the year. Big plans. Good consistency. Then things petered off as the year went on and I fell prey to the usual pitfalls of freelancing – the need for work to pay bills (that would dry up, flood in, and dry up again. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.), health issues, personal dramas, and just plain fatigue. I’m still trying to figure out how professional fashion bloggers do it. From the finances needed to create new outfits to the time needed to plan and shoot outfit posts (especially the more creative, the more planning needed), it boggles my brain how they find the money and time to do it! I’m also not sure if anyone really reads this blog besides a couple of personal friends, so I haven’t had a ton of motivation to keep it up like other social media.

But on the positive side, I did manage to eek out 65 posts this year (so a little over one post per week). While that’s not anywhere near what I was hoping to do, it certainly is better than previous years! I actually got a self-hosted WordPress blog started and this happened…
The Lady Nerd trademarkKind of a big deal. :)

Next year I hope to do more posts, redo my blog layout, garner a wider reach of audience, and extend more into the fashion community.

COSPLAY
Cosplay2015
Not much happened this year on the cosplay front due to recovering from the car accident. (I couldn’t return to any sort of work until July of this year due to my disabilities and even then, only in limited capacity.) But here’s what I did manage to accomplish…

– Started back into the game with a simple classic Lara Croft portrait shoot.
– Visited my old faire, the Tennessee Renaissance Festival as a faerie
– Started Rey cosplay
– Continued working on Spider-girl (almost done!)
– Started The Katniss Project
– Brought out Tomb Raider again for Dragoncon and Cosplay in the Kitchen

FASHION
Fashion2015 As with cosplay, not a whole lot happened on the fashion front due to recovery. Though I actually managed to do a few actual geek outfit shoots! I’ve not done the majority of my geek fashion ideas because I don’t have all the pieces for them (and I’d rather get it all right than do it halfway just to get something out there).  But I did try and that’s the important part. I still got out there and tried to model. Just recently, I walked down a runway in a full couture gown and heels. I didn’t expect to be saying that so soon after getting off my cane. :)

But here’s what I did get accomplished this year…

– Helped fund the new Nashville Fashion Alliance and was dubbed a ‘founding member’
– Found the perfect spring maxi dress and hooped in it
– Did a business outfit inspired by Tony Stark
– Met and test shot with my new favourite photographer, Kyle Matthew Williams
– Finally finished my Katniss Catching Fire-inspired dress!
– Did a sci-fi shoot with NYC photographer, Richard Scalzo
– Did a casual outfit inspired by Grand Moff Tarkin
– Darth Vader leather outfit (photos coming soon!)

I also got my ears pierced, which while that may be a silly thing  for some. But it was huge for me! (One, because I was big wuss about it. But two, I get to wear earrings now!) So it opens up alot for me in terms of outfits and modeling items.

ART
Art1This is the year I discovered the wonderful world of Copic markers for fashion/costume illustrations. I’ve been slowly practicing those skills in between storyboard jobs and physical therapy sessions. I hope to do many more next year! In 2016, I’ll be focusing on developing my style and using my costume illustrations to draw out my geek fashion ideas (since I don’t have the finances or resources to compete with regular fashion bloggers and cosplayers).

One unexpected occurrence this year was how popular my drawing of Rey from The Force Awakens turned out to be (even to the point of some thinking it was actual concept art!) I love doing costume turnarounds as way to figure out a costume when there aren’t references of the entire costume out yet (as it happens, I got the back view of Rey’s wrap dress wrong. Ah well).
ReyTurnaround


HEALTHHealth2015
As friends reminded me recently, most of this year was still spent recovering from the near fatal car accident I was in late 2014. I got off the walker and crutches by the end of 2014 when I was cleared for rehab to learn how to walk again. By January of this year, I was on to a cane.

I’m off of the cane now (though I keep it in my car for days when I feel weak). My left leg is still weak, though no longer atrophied. I need some more physical therapy to get my leg back up to full strength. Hoping that next year I’ll be strong enough to get my first mermaid tail! (Spandex, to start. I would need to get stronger at swimming before even thinking about silicone.) Swimming therapy is good for building hip and leg muscle…right? Right.

More tests and recovery are coming for other health issues not related to the accident. Here’s to hoping that I don’t get knocked out again like I did this year with multiple bouts of digestive distress, flu, cold, pneumonia, etc. I used to be a very healthy gal, but it all fell apart a few years ago. So here’s to better health in 2016!

Number of followers for 2015 (not as a bragging point – hardly! I have very few compared to most fashion bloggers and cosplayers. More as a way of documenting growth compared to next year.)

Facebook: 6,537
Instagram: 560
Pinterest: 72
Bloglovin: 35