Top 10 Photographs of 2016

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Combing through all of my photos from this past year has been a trip. I’ve been to so many incredible places, have met and spent time with equally incredible people- and have been fortunate enough to occasionally just be in right moment at the right time to catch a perfect shot. Narrowing down hundreds of photos to just ten, and then ranking them proved to be quite a challenge- but this is one of two year-end traditions here on ‘Legally Redhead’. The other, my “In a Nutshell” post that will summarize 2016 in it’s excruciatingly long entirety- will be up tomorrow! I wanted to do this the right way, after all!

All but two of these photos were taken by me (and the two in question have me in them and were taken by other people)– and most are from my travels around New England and across the country this past year. It’s been a lot of fun re-visiting those moments and memories as I organized these pictures for this post- and I hope everyone enjoys them as much as I do!

Without further delay, here are my ten favorite photographs from 2016.

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#10: Coney Island (July 5th)

In the early, sunny morning hours following the 4th- my best friend Sean and I hopped a train bound to New York City for a day out together. The original plan had been to try and get a crazy elaborate milkshake at Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer and maybe hang around Central Park for a while- but we ended up riding the subway all the way to Coney Island, instead. I had never been- and Sean hadn’t been since he was a kid.

On the agenda was riding the famous and historic Cyclone roller coaster and strolling the boardwalk for a couple of hours. The weather was perfect, it wasn’t too crowded- and I snapped this quick photo of the Cyclone before we headed back to the subway so we could catch a quick dinner near Grand Central Station before our train departed for home. This is a nice memento from such a beautiful day.

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#9: Negan(ette) & Eugene (July 30th)

Some of the most fun I had in 2016 was cosplaying as Negan from ‘The Walking Dead’, and when you combine that aforementioned fun with the hilarity that Josh McDermitt (who plays Eugene on the show) brings each and every time he’s in town- you’ve got the making for a pretty epic photo- even if the roles are reversed and he’s the one holding Lucille! This phone selfie, taken by Josh, was taken at the ‘Walker Stalker’ convention this past Summer when it rolled through Boston for a long weekend. It was my first time wearing my Negan costume- and it was a big hit.

There were a lot of photos from that weekend- but this is by far my favorite. It never fails to make me grin. I had so much fun and I can’t wait to go back next year if it returns to Boston!

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#8: Last Night in The Chelsea Apartment (July 23rd)

I swear, not all of my favorite photos are from July of this past year- but a lot was going on then- including saying goodbye to the beautiful apartment in Chelsea following some unforeseen circumstances with the landlord selling the place and booting all the tenants out per the buyer/developer’s request. After a “moving out” party, which involved my friends and I eating way too much pizza and drinking way too much alcohol- I snapped this photo at sunset from the balcony that overlooked the Mystic River, the Tobin Bridge, and the Boston skyline. It had been unbelievably hot out that night- and a thunderstorm was blowing in from the West- making the sky explode with pinks, purples and oranges.

It was a bittersweet scene, really- and I couldn’t think of a better send-off to a place my friends and I hung out hats for years and years.

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#7: “Didn’t they film The Shining here?” (April 23rd)

Back in the beginning of Spring, Sean and I decided to take a weekend road trip up to the White Mountains in New Hampshire and spend a couple of days at the (allegedly haunted) Mount Washington Hotel- which eerily resembled The Overlook Hotel from “The Shining”. The history of the hotel is fascinating, and the entire place was stunning inside and out- complete with a former speakeasy-turned-fully-functioning-bar, restaurants, a cafe, movie theater, arcade, indoor swimming pool, spacious conference areas, etc.- and Sean and I opted to stay up all hours to explore as much as we could in-between zip-lining over and repelling down huge trees in the still-snowy mountains.

This photo was taken on our last day at the resort, from across the road that leads up to the hotel. I thought it was such a beautiful scene with the mountains looming behind it. I’d love to go back in 2017!

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#6: Overlooking The Atlantic (January 1st)

I spent last New Year’s Eve and this past New Year’s Day on the island of Nantucket- drinking champagne, dancing the night away, and then trekking through the quiet cobblestone streets and taking in the views of the big, beautiful houses and the ocean until it was time to catch a ferry back to my car in Hyannis. Sean captured this photo of me by one of the lighthouses on the island and I think it sums up the “aimless wanderer and avid traveler” part of my personality perfectly- beanie on my head and backpack stuffed with my belongings.

Even though it was January, we were on the waterfront, and it was cloudy out- the weather wasn’t too chilly or windy that day- and it felt nice being outdoors. I miss Nantucket, and since it’s technically the off-season for tourists, I think I’ll head back for a visit soon!

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#5: Stop & Enjoy The Foliage (October 11th)

After a stressful Summer and a long return flight home from San Diego a few days earlier, it felt nice to take a day to stroll through the pretty, picturesque New England Autumn scenery- which always brings me so much calm and comfort. I stopped to take this photo on a cloudless, brisk afternoon hike through Sudbury, Massachusetts before heading to a friend’s apartment for dinner plans we had made. While most of the trees were only just starting to turn various shades of oranges, reds and yellows- this one was already in full-blown Fall mode- and I thought it looked gorgeous against the blue sky.

When I eventually leave New England- it’s days like that one that I will miss the most.

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#4: San Diego After Dark (October 5th)

On my last night of my Fall vacation in San Diego, during one of my usual “but I don’t want to leave!” bouts of sadness at the prospect of having to return to chilly Massachusetts the following morning- I went for a late night stroll around downtown and The Gaslamp Quarter and came across these illuminated palm trees not far from the convention center (where San Diego Comic-Con is held.) There wasn’t another single soul around apart from me, so I basked in the light and their leaves and snapped this photo with my cell phone to look back on whenever I got homesick for the West Coast.

It was a lovely night and an unexpected find to wrap up my trip.

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#3: The Most Bizarre Snowstorm Imaginable (February 5th)

Growing up in New England, I’m no stranger to unusual and unpredictable weather. Blizzards? Heat waves? Tornadoes? Hurricanes? I’ve seen just about everything- but the freakish snowstorm that blew through the area in early February and covered EVERYTHING with a heavy blanket of snow that stuck to the trees like glue was something new to me. I captured this photo in my mother’s driveway, where literally INCHES of snow clung to every single part of every single branch instead of simply falling to the ground- making her neighborhood look like a weird, cartoon version of a Winter wonderland.

High winds blew all of that snow off the branches that very same night- but it was really neat looking as the sun began to set and this is one of my favorite photos I took of it as I was losing daylight. It really was something to behold.

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#2: “I see London…” (September 30th)

What can I say about my Vegas trip at the end of September, apart from that it was incredible? Seeing one of my favorite bands perform one of my favorite albums at the venue it was named after was just surreal- and sharing the experience with people I simply adore and cherish and who have become lifelong friends and family made it all the better. I couldn’t resist taking a photo of the Sam’s Town sign with the marquee advertising The Killers weekend performances there. I completely had a fangirl moment the very first time that I saw it (I had never been before!) and needed to commemorate the occasion.

Side Note: Don’t ever drink too much whiskey in Sam’s Town. Yikes. I’m still feeling that one.

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#1: “The Echoes They Left Behind…” (October 18th)

Leave it to me to have something completely morbid and maybe a little depressing at the top of the list- but I’m still not over this discovery of discarded grave markers Sean and I found thrown away in the woods on the outskirts of what was formerly the Danvers State Hospital/Asylum. Each marker represents a person with a past, a life, a family somewhere- and their death- and to see these things just heaved into the woods like trash was a sobering moment for me. I’ve been photographing abandoned buildings and places for years- and sometimes you see some pretty messed up stuff- but this admittedly got to me and made me a bit emotional.

I took this photo not only because I couldn’t believe what I had seen- but as a reminder that those who lived and died within Danvers’ walls shouldn’t be forgotten.

And there they are- my top ten photographs from the year. Looking back, I really did travel to some gorgeous and exciting places- a tradition I hope to continue well into 2017 where I plan to take even more pictures and make it even harder on myself to narrow them down come the New Year’s Eve before 2018 starts- but I shouldn’t get ahead of myself.

Here’s to documenting the finer moments of 2016 and keeping the memories they’ve left in my heart and mind forever!

xx

Curtain Call for Comic-Con 2016.

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Taking a break at Rhode Island Comic-Con 11/12/16

I’ve only been actively cosplaying at comic conventions for a couple of years now (in the years prior to that, I would just walk around in my every day clothes and admire everyone else’s costumes while simultaneously feeling too shy or not nearly talented enough to participate myself) but each time I do, and with every convention I go to- I personally feel like my work gets better and better and I get to meet more and more people who share the same interests and the same passions as I do while we all put our hard work and craftsmanship on display.

I love it. It’s fun- and I encourage anyone who has been on the fence about cosplaying and who might be feeling shy or self-conscious like I used to be to give it a try. Chances are, you’re going to feel right at home when you do. You don’t have to be a master metal fabricator or a whiz with a needle and thread to come up with something that looks great- trust me. It all comes down to proper time management and knowing when to ask for help if you need it. There’s a lot of really great resources and tutorials online, and plenty of places to shop for materials you may need without breaking your budget.

I digress. While 2014 saw me go above and beyond with Cheryl Blossom, Daryl Dixon AND Poison Ivy costumes for my first ever pilgrimage to San Diego Comic-Con, and 2015 was the year I put together a top notch Peggy Carter ensemble- 2016 was all about Negan from “The Walking Dead”. While I’ve mixed and matched my previous costumes in the past for different events- this year’s Negan costume was the one I wore to every. single. convention. I went to from Spring right up until this past weekend’s 2016 Comic-Con closer in Providence, Rhode Island.

And it was the perfect ending to a fun convention season- specifically because I got to meet Negan himself- Mr. Jeffrey Dean Morgan!

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Forgive the reflections and how FRIGGIN’ PALE I AM. OH MY GOD.

Now, I had never been to Rhode Island Comic-Con before this past weekend, and leading up to my stopping by on Saturday- I had heard a lot of mixed things about it. Overcrowding. Long lines. Rude and agitated staff- but having survived the general clusterfuckery of Wizard World a few years ago while I was in NYC- I didn’t think it could be any worse.

Boy, was I wrong.

The heads of the convention, having booked stars like Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Millie Bobby Brown, and Stan Lee- did not take the limited size of the venue vs. the amount of people who would turn up into consideration and continued selling as many tickets and passes as they possibly could to make more money. As a result, the lines were long enough to (supposedly) catch the attention of the Fire Marshall since stairwells and exits were pretty much overflowing with people to the point where no one could move and it was extremely dangerous.

The lines for JDM were so full that he ended up staying later than he was supposed to in order to sign more autographs for the crowd. As a result, his scheduled photo op was delayed by a couple of hours- however none of the staff thought this was pertinent information to share with anyone and hundreds of us remained in line for the duration, waiting for it to start. When it came time to prepare for the actual photo, the volunteers herded us around like cattle in four different directions- screaming and shouting at us the entire time.

Picking up my photo was another nightmare in itself. Rather than having the photos ready on a table post-photo op the way other, more organized conventions do- the staff instead would stand on tables, hold up a photo- and scream over a sea of waiting people “IS THIS YOU? DO YOU KNOW WHO THIS IS?” like an auction. Thankfully, a woman in line recognized me in my photo and managed to grab it and pass it to me before it could get damaged while changing multiple hands- but it was enough to get me teetering on the edge of my patience and sanity.

Finally, after debating how much more I could take- I made my way back to JDM’s booth to see if I could get my Lucille replica signed. I had come that far, I reasoned with myself- so I could go a little further. The line was once again insanely long (and they were still selling tickets, mind you) while he finished up his designated photo op- consequently missing his scheduled panel and returning to his table nearly an hour before the convention closed for the day to meet fans and sign more autographs. There was looming fear that those of us near the back would be turned away come 7 p.m. if we didn’t make it up to his booth in time.

But I will say this: Jeffrey Dean Morgan is a class act. Not only was he a sweetheart during our photo together, but he made it a point to stay late- well after convention hours wrapped up- to make sure each and every single one of us got a chance to have our things signed and talk to him. While the majority of us were exhausted, hungry, and maybe a little delirious (a security guard brought me peanut butter crackers when he saw me swaying where I stood in line shortly before I reached the front, and the people waiting around with me had the absolute best senses of humor- which helped keep everyone sane and help the time go by a little quicker, too)– but JDM was so kind, so funny, so humble- and just an overall decent guy who went above and beyond the call of duty to accommodate those of us who had been screwed over by the convention right alongside with him.

I honestly cannot say enough good things about what he did and how he managed to keep a genuine smile on his face even though we all knew how worn out he must have been. Celebrities should take note and follow his lead. He is a truly awesome person with the best sense of humor and I have all the respect in the world for him.

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Will I return to Rhode Island Comic-Con? I honestly don’t know. Considering I didn’t get to actually SEE the rest of the convention because I was stuck in multiple lines for hours at a time was a huge turn-off of going back again next year. Also knowing that this isn’t the first time this has happened per the convention’s social media (which was flooded with complaints from angry attendees who were encountering similar, if not the same issues that I did on Saturday) or that it wouldn’t be the last time it happened- since another uproar with “Wonder Woman” Gal Gadot’s scheduled photo ops/autograph line unfolded on Sunday- I’m not exactly keen on willingly spending another day dealing with it.

Other popular, fairly new-to-the-scene conventions are able to get it together and keep things running smoothly. I have no idea what RICC is doing.

Oh well. At least JDM was fantastic and at least his kindness was the beacon of light in an otherwise stressful day. That’s my take away. That, and him yelling “you heard the lady- NO EXCEPTIONS!” in full-on Negan mode after I shouted that security was going to “shut that shit down” when people started getting antsy. So, so good.

There are no other conventions around here until Spring of 2017- which gives me enough time to prepare my next round of costumes: including an updated version of one of my favorite “Walking Dead” characters and a little something from my other AMC-based obsession- “Preacher”.

I’m excited to get started!

xx

My Guide to Surviving Boston Comic-Con.

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Thanks to Rodney at Nerd Caliber (http://www.nerdcaliber.com/) for making me look tough at this year's 'Walker Stalker' Convention!

Thanks to Rodney at Nerd Caliber (http://www.nerdcaliber.com/) for making me look tough at this year’s ‘Walker Stalker’ Convention!

The very first genre-specific convention I ever attended was an annual horror-themed one, “Rock & Shock”, located in my hometown in Central Massachusetts when I was in my early twenties. I had gone for one very specific reason- to meet one of my favorite actors, Malcolm McDowell- and have him sign my very old and very beat up copy of “A Clockwork Orange” book.

I had never been to any type of comic convention before that. I was an avid fan of certain types of movies, video games, comics and books- but most conventions were far away- too far to get to- or seemed expensive. I discovered “Rock & Shock” completely by accident and can vividly remember excitedly heading over to my hometown’s event center after I had left work for the evening- clutching my book under my arm the entire time.

And it was there that a love affair was born- not between Malcolm McDowell and myself (although he really is the coolest)– but between myself and comic conventions and the people who attend them. While at “Rock & Shock” that night- I encountered so many passionate fans, incredible artists, fantastic cosplay- and way too much fun merchandise- that I knew right then and there I was hooked. I felt like I belonged- like I had a place where my enthusiasm for certain things and genres was not only welcomed- but matched by others, too.

I started attending “Rock & Shock” every year. Then I ventured out to Boston Comic-Con, Rhode Island Comic-Con, Super MegaFest, Walker Stalker, New York Comic-Con- and I even managed to make my way to mother of all conventions- San Diego Comic-Con- in 2014, where I tried my hand at cosplay for the first time and which was undoubtedly one of the most fun experiences of my life.

While I wouldn’t consider myself a seasoned veteran of the comic-convention circuits- I’m also by no means an amateur anymore. I cosplay regularly, I know where to go and what time to be there to get the best spots for panels/Q&As, and the typically stressful photo op process is now a breeze.

With Boston Comic-Con taking place over the course of this coming Friday, Saturday and Sunday- I thought I’d share some of my tips and tricks to getting through the weekend (relatively) unscathed- and share some of the more fun local events planned to coincide with the convention for those who don’t want to spend the entire weekend walking the floor of the Artists Alley or vendor booths.

PLAN AHEAD: This one sounds like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how often some people skip this step and find themselves scrambling around later on. Whether you’re making a costume or heading to the convention in your regular clothes- give yourself plenty of time to prepare so you’re not left frantically getting your things together the night before. Make sure you get your tickets in advance, set aside some time to work on any costumes/props so that they’re not just done in time- but completed early– and bookmark the convention’s official website. Not only that, but be sure to check the site regularly- since changes/cancellations/rules and regulations/and schedules can be posted and updated sporadically. HERE’S the schedule (for panels, contests and events) for this year’s BCC. Make a mental (or written) list of the things you definitely want to see- and get to the line early to snag yourself a seat.

Also, for the cosplayers- familiarize yourself with the rules for costumes/props. There’s nothing worse than working your ass off making something you’re really proud of, only to be denied entry to the convention because your costume/prop is made with the wrong type of material or doesn’t meet safety standards.

CONSIDER THE ELEMENTS: Regardless of whether or not you’re attending the convention in a costume- make sure to take the weather and temperature into consideration. Your Deadpool costume is awesome- but it’s also hotter than the surface of the sun that day. Or you spend hours perfecting your Daenerys Targaryen hair and makeup- but it’s pouring outside. Don’t risk heat stroke or ruining your stuff with water damage by not doing your research! The convention, from what I’ve seen over the years, is pretty lenient about letting people change/touch up in the bathrooms- so keep your wig in a plastic bag until you’re safely inside where it’s dry or keep your mask off until you’re within reach of air conditioning. Trust me- you’ll be happy you did and you’ll still look great.

One more from Nerd Caliber! (http://www.nerdcaliber.com/)

One more from Nerd Caliber! (http://www.nerdcaliber.com/)

EAT AHEAD OF TIME: You’ve worked overtime and you’ve put money aside for weeks leading up to the convention so you can buy some limited edition gear or memorabilia. So tell me why you’d blow some of that hard earned cash on $15 nachos or a $8 soda? Come on. It’s no secret that food vendors at any and all conventions put astronomical price tags on their snacks since they know they’ll make bank on hungry attendees who need to refuel. Save yourself some time and money and eat a decent (and filling) meal before you head over to the convention center. It’ll get you through the majority of your day. Need to hydrate? There are water fountains in the convention center and they work just fine.

SHOP AROUND: I love FUNKO figurines as much as the next person, and that Harley Quinn shirt is practically screaming my name- but what one booth charges $40 for, another booth across the convention center might be charging way less for the same exact product. While I have a few local companies I trust and shop with religiously- it never hurts to take a spin around the vendor area a couple of times- especially when you’re looking for items that aren’t necessarily hard to come by and aren’t considered limited edition or rare. Keep your eyes open and browse before you make a selection on merchandise.

REALIZE CELEBRITY PHOTO OPS ARE INSANELY FAST: I know doing an elaborate and fun pose with your favorite celebrity guest at a convention sounds almost too good to be true- but please keep in mind there’s going to be a long line of people thinking the same exact thing and that the guest, the staff, and the coordinators of the event have a pretty strict schedule to adhere to. Celebrity photo ops last about 5-10 seconds and you move right along so the next person can get their picture taken. The best thing you can do is smile and make sure you don’t blink or sneeze when the flash goes off so your 8 x 10 glossy print comes out fabulous.

Don’t get too discouraged, though. A lot of guests are really cool about posing for selfies/photos at their respective booths when they’re doing signings and meeting fans. You’ll also get more time to talk to them- but, you know- just don’t be clingy or anything.

BE RESPECTFUL OF COSPLAYERS – AND SPEAK UP IF YOU SEE ANYONE NOT BEING RESPECTFUL: There’s a lot of incredible handmade costumes/props to marvel at every year at various conventions- and you may want to take photos of some of those costumes/props- but please be sure to ask, first! Sometimes folks are heading to a panel or a photo op. Sometimes they’re trying to find some water or a restroom- and they may not have time to stop and pose. It’s always a polite and appreciated move to ask if you can take a photo, first (plus- they would probably want to pose so their stuff looks good in the picture- so give them a heads up!) rather than just snapping away when they’re unprepared or not interested.

And in a related note- always, always ALWAYS be respectful of the cosplayers. Be careful if you’re touching their stuff. Don’t gawk or grope. Don’t make inappropriate comments. Don’t behave like a pig, basically- and if you see someone acting like that- notify security immediately. People dress up for conventions for fun- not to be harassed or objectified. Stand up for them if you see anyone being less than courteous towards them.

FINALLY, HAVE FUN AND TAKE A BREAK IF YOU NEED ONE: I get it. You’ve been walking around- to and from panels, around the vendor booths, to the celebrity area, etc- and you’re exhausted. There are wall to wall people and you may start to feel a little overwhelmed. It’s okay! I’ve been there. Everyone has been there- and probably more than once, too. The point of a convention is to have a good time. Enjoy yourself! Don’t stress out about things too much. If you missed a panel, a Q&A, or couldn’t find that one artist you were trying to track down- it’s not the end of the world. You’re doing the best you can with the time you have in the convention center!

And if you need a break- take one. Don’t hesitate. There are plenty of places to sit down, cool off, and recharge without having to go outside or go home and risk not being allowed re-entry for the day/weekend. Find the designated resting spots and utilize them as much as you need to.

In addition to the scheduled events inside the convention center- there’s almost always things happening in and around the city to commemorate the weekend, too. Different bars and restaurants have deals (and additional discounts/specials for those of you who show up in costume!) so it’s always worth checking out Boston Comic-Con’s official FACEBOOK PAGE for info/active promotions.

One event in particular that’s going to be pretty great is the Star Trek/Boston Comic-Con themed night at Fenway Park on Friday. While the event is sold out at the moment, it doesn’t hurt to check out sites like StubHub for those last minute cancellations and freed up tickets.

From the MLB’s website for the event:

Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek and the kick off of Boston Comic Con at Fenway Park on Friday, August 12th. The Boston Comic Con is the largest comic book and pop culture convention in New England (held from August 12-14th at The Seaport World Trade Center). Fans who purchase tickets through this special offer will receive this limited-edition Captain Kirk Red Sox figurine. Be sure to get here early to see the original Captain Kirk, William Shatner, join us to throw out the first pitch, compliments of Boston Comic Con!

It may be hard to see the photo of the Captain Kirk figurine on the website, but seriously- how funny is this thing?

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That alone is worth heading down to Yawkey Way for.

With all that being said, I’m ready to grab my Lucille prop and strap on my leather boots to dress up like Negan from ‘The Walking Dead’ again. I’ll be popping in and out of the convention throughout the weekend- so if anyone sees me- come say hello! Don’t let the bat wrapped in barbed wire scare you away!

I hope those attending have a phenomenal time! Have fun and stay safe, everybody!

xx

July 2016: In a Nutshell.

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"This is Lucille- and she. is. awesome." Me as Negan for 'Walker Stalker: Boston'! 7/30/16

“This is Lucille- and she. is. awesome.” Me as Negan for ‘Walker Stalker: Boston’! 7/30/16

Oh, July- you had me worried for a second there. I was really, REALLY concerned that despite my best efforts- you were going to turn into “June 2016: Part II” and be something I looked back on at some point in the future with sadness and maybe a little anger. I was worried you were going to carry on my baggage from my breakup last month and just toss it everywhere- maybe even into the month of August, too.

… But you surprised me in the most pleasant of ways and ended up being a wonderful, fun, and most important of all- empowering– month for me. I can’t thank the stars and the cosmos enough for showing me some mercy and giving me the strength and clarity I so desperately needed (with the help of good friends, good music, and new and unexpected opportunities!) to get me through my rough patch and give me a renewed sense of purpose and optimism.

Not that long ago, I’d written about my mini-epiphany following a lovely couple of days spent in Connecticut where I caught up with beloved friends and watched The Killers put on one hell of a show- an experience that recharged me after I’d been running on empty for what felt like so long.

Well, in the days that followed- while I was still on cloud nine- I was contacted about new and potential prospects for me on the opposite coast (specifically Las Vegas and San Diego.) I’m currently looking into each of them, doing my usual weighing of the pros and cons before I take any kind of step forward in either direction. I don’t want to get ahead of myself- but I’m undeniably excited. I’d put off the idea of moving anywhere near the West Coast anytime soon since I felt tethered here in Massachusetts- but now that I’m feeling liberated (and have the unyielding support of my friends and family who only want to see me happy and successful)– it’s nice to know that it could actually happen, after all.

Legally Brunette?

Legally Brunette?

I also pulled an unexpected move in recent days to celebrate the changes in my life and went back to brunette- dying my hair a lovely chocolate color. I don’t know how many of you have seen the first “Sex and the City” movie (I LOVE IT) where Carrie, post-being left jilted at the altar- dyes her trademark blonde hair considerably darker- but I can assure you that’s what I felt like when I was leaving the salon. I kept doing double-takes at my reflection. I didn’t recognize myself at first!

I don’t know what the new hair color is going to do for the “Legally Redhead” name (I mean, there are still some red highlights in there, so, technically…?) but I’m not going to stress about it too much right now. I like the way it looks and that’s all that matters to me.

To finish giving July a much-deserved sweet send-off- I’ll be heading over to the House of Blues tonight to check out a gig by The Last Shadow Puppets. This comes right after I spent yesterday at The Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel for the annual “Fan Fest/Walker Stalker” convention where I finally got the chance to show off my completed Negan costume. Although I was looking, I didn’t see any other women dressed as the character (but if any ladies were there and dressed as Negan- I want to see how great you looked!) but I did see quite a few men and boys swinging their Lucilles around. It was fun- whenever any of us would run into each other- we’d tap our bats together. It sort of became an unofficial handshake or high-five throughout the day.

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The definitive highlight of my afternoon was finally meeting David Morrissey. I’ve been a big fan of his prior to ‘The Walking Dead’ but he’d never attended a convention anywhere around here before. He was an absolute sweetheart (and very tall!) and it was an honor to get to pose with him and speak with him about his extensive and impressive body of work.

And we all know how much I love Josh McDermitt. It’s always a party whenever that guy is around. I was going to take a photo of me using my Lucille prop with him- but he sort of turned the tables on that one- as evidenced above.

Speaking of photos- I was completely STUNNED at the amount of people who stopped me to request a photo with me (specifically me looking like I was about to bash their heads in with my bat.) It was seriously so much fun and I hope that everyone enjoyed their pictures as much as I enjoyed posing for them! I’m really looking forward to bringing the costume back for August’s Boston Comic-Con. It’s definitely one of my favorites I’ve put together over the years!

Apart from BCC- what else do I have planned for August? Well, it’s the last full month of the Summer before we slip into the Fall (and I reach maximum power since it’s my favorite season)– so I’d like to try and spend as much time as possible outdoors- in the sun and on the beach. I have a few more Summer-esque recipes to share, a giveaway to commemorate the wind-down of the season, and a couple of day trips/weekends out of state scheduled that should be fun to document and share with everyone.

Cheers to an incredible and much-needed month that was, and to even better and brighter days in August!

xx

Comics, Cosplay, and Cheeseburgers

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Yesterday marked the third and final day of Boston’s annual Comic-Con. I had been unable to attend on Friday or Saturday due to prior commitments, but was able to stop by for a few hours in the afternoon in my Peggy Carter costume to browse the booths, admire other cosplayers’ ensembles and intricate props, pose for photos, and geek-out at the guests (like Stan Lee, who I caught a glimpse of as he passed through the photo op area with a coffee in hand and a smile on his face!)

I snapped a few photos with my cell phone, since it was more convenient than digging my big camera out of my bag over and over- and easier to hold while trying to simultaneously juggle my little toy pistol and my purse. There were so many fantastic costumes on display as I roamed the aisles (and quite a few other women dressed as Peggy Carter- all of who looked absolutely beautiful!) and even though my feet were killing me by the time I took my heels off- it was worth it.

Marvel Team!

Marvel Team!

This lovely lady was dressed as Angie from "Agent Carter" and she looked incredible!

This lovely lady was dressed as Angie from “Agent Carter” and she looked incredible!

Ms. Frizzle!

Ms. Frizzle!

Owen and Claire from "Jurassic World". I loved these two!

Owen and Claire from “Jurassic World”. I loved these two!

My ultimate fan-girl moment of the day came when I had the pleasure of meeting and posing for a photo with Peggy Carter herself, the absolutely stunning Miss Hayley Atwell. She’s so beautiful, and so sweet- and her complimenting my costume brought me enough joy to last me through this life and probably well into the afterlife, too. I was so completely elated. I think my huge smile in our photo speaks for itself, really:

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I swear I must have looked like the heart-eyes emoji for hours afterwards.

The best part of the day, though- was that my good friend Steven (who I only get to see once every year or so!) met up with me at the convention. We had so much catching up to do, and when my feet couldn’t take the heels anymore, we continued our conversation all the way to Harvard Square- where after changing into some flip-flops- I gave Steven his first tour of the grounds at Harvard University and stuffed my face with a double cheeseburger and fries at Charlie’s Kitchen. One of the perks of the Peggy Carter costume is that without the hat and the suit jacket, it looks like I’m just enjoying a break from a formal business meeting. It’s a lot more practical (and comfortable!) than my semi-itchy Poison Ivy costume from San Diego Comic-Con last year, for example!

We also caught an evening screening of ‘Ant-Man’ by Fenway, too- which seemed like the perfect way to end a beautiful afternoon of good, old fashioned geek-dom. I really, really enjoyed the movie- so much that I would happily see it again- and I all but clutched my chest at the post-credits scene (no spoilers!)

Tonight, I’m re-joining Steven at the House of Blues on Lansdowne Street for his last night in town where he will be working his lighting magic for Brandon Flowers’ show. I’m so excited. I’ve been loving Brandon’s latest album and I’m looking forward to singing and dancing along.

I’ll be wearing more comfortable shoes for it, at least.

Steven and I post-convention!

Steven and I post-convention!

Top 10 Photographs of 2014.

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Last year around this time, in the midst of drafting my summary of 2013, I had compiled a list of my ten favorite photographs that I had taken/were taken of me throughout the year. I’ve recently completed my “In a Nutshell” post for 2014- due to be published on New Year’s Eve, and thought that I would put together another post ’til then of my ten favorite photographs from this year!

It was hard to narrow it down to just ten photos, because I saw so many great places, did so many fun things, and met so many wonderful people this past year- so I was frequently re-arranging my list- adding and omitting things- but I think I finally have it sorted. Here’s my “Top 10” pictures that span the course of 2014!

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# 10: Fireworks in Cape Cod (July 5th)

The best thing about the Fourth of July landing on a Friday this year was that any and all celebrations of the holiday were extended well into the weekend. Such was the case when my girlfriends and I headed to Cape Cod on Saturday, July 5th, to spend a day at the beach and watch some delayed fireworks displays. The shot above, taken as the sun was setting over nearby Hyannis, captured a group of teenagers setting off some smaller firecrackers near where my friends and I were lounging. It was a beautiful, memorable night.

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# 9: Brighton Sharbino smothering me at Boston’s “Walker Stalker Convention” (June 14th)

While I met a lot of really fun actors and actresses at Boston’s very first “Walking Dead” centric-convention (Jon Bernthal and Steven Yeun being two of my favorites,) I had the most fun posing with Brighton Sharbino- the beautiful young lady who portrayed the unhinged Lizzie Samuels in Season 4. Brighton was a sweetheart, and was more than happy to oblige me when I asked her if she could smother me for the photo the way her character attempted to do to baby Judith in one of the most unnerving scenes of the show to date.

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# 8: Abandoned House, Rhode Island (May 24th)

On a beautiful, sunny Spring day, after cleaning out and washing my car- I found myself traveling along the back roads heading towards Rhode Island to spend an afternoon in Newport. On the way, I passed this abandoned house- nearly being taken over by the elements and plants growing around it- and had to stop to snap a few photos of it, the partially collapsed garage next to it, and the abandoned VW Bus tucked away under a tree across the street. This was my favorite picture out of the bunch that I took that day.

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# 7; The William H. Mason House. Thompson, CT. (March 16th)

This was another find while driving aimlessly one Sunday afternoon after grabbing a coffee and running some errands. I found myself in Connecticut, and spotted this beautiful (and unfortunately decaying) home off the side of the road. Some research into the area turned up information- specifically that this beautiful structure was once known as The William H. Mason House, and is currently scheduled for demolition due in part to the current owner (a wealthy New York-based interior designer,) failing at any attempt to preserve it. It’s a shame, really- because the building is gorgeous and could be turned into a number of things.

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# 6: “Is my grin cheesy enough?” Old Orchard Beach (June 22nd)

While I visit Hampton Beach a lot throughout the year (it’s one of the easiest beaches to get to, after all-) June 2014 saw me returning to one of my favorite locations, Old Orchard Beach in Maine, for the first time since my teens. In the photo above, taken by my best friend Sean, I attempted to re-create an identical picture of me that was taken in the exact same spot when I was 16. Although my hair is much redder and my fashion sense is considerably better than it was at the time of the first photo- my big, cheesy grin is pretty much the same.

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# 5: My favorite Starbucks date (October 2nd)

In the Fall of 2014, my niece began kindergarten and my brother started a new job. Because of scheduling conflicts- he recruited me to bring my niece to school a couple days every week. Since then, we’ve mastered making pancakes or french toast sticks in the a.m. while still getting her to her classroom on time. Sometimes, on the days we’re running a little behind and don’t have time to cook in my kitchen- we stop at Starbucks. I snapped this picture of her, mid-sip of her hot chocolate (because I’m not giving caffeine to a six year old,) while we were walking to her school.

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# 4: Sleeping Red Panda, Roger Williams Park Zoo (May 18th)

As someone who has to bribe my dog with treats to get him to hold still for photos, it was a pleasant surprise to be able to snap a couple of pictures of some Red Pandas during a Springtime visit to the zoo/conservation society in Rhode Island. Granted, they were sleeping soundly at the time, so it wasn’t a challenge getting good shots- but this one, taken from a distance- is my favorite. His/Her little face is just so precious!

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# 3: The Lizzie Borden Sofa, Fall River (February 15th)

I traveled, on a whim, to quite a few places in 2014. One of my earlier outings in the year, a short drive to Fall River, brought me to the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast one snowy afternoon where I, and maybe 5-6 other people, were given a tour of the legendary crime scene. I took this picture of the couch where, in 1892, Lizzie’s father Andrew was found murdered (the picture of the scene is easily available on Google- if any curious minds have the stomach to see it for themselves.) The tour was fun and informative, and the home is beautiful, if not a little bit creepy- and this will always be my favorite photo from the day.

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# 2: Oliver’s Sunday Best (April 20th)

As a joke to surprise my mom this year, I dressed up my miniature schnauzer, Oliver, in a button up dress shirt, vest, and bow tie that I had picked up in the children’s department of a clothing store for Easter dinner at her house. I only kept the outfit on him long enough to take the photo above while he sat on her couch, but all of my relatives that were present at the time thought it was the cutest thing ever. Since then, I’ve turned this picture into a greeting card for friends and family alike. My little guy looks like such a dapper gentleman!

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# 1: Ashley Dixon, San Diego Comic-Con (July 27th)

I hope a photo of myself ranking at #1 doesn’t come across as conceited or egotistical- I just really had the time of my life dressed as Daryl Dixon from “The Walking Dead” while at the biggest comic convention in the world over the Summer. This picture, snapped on the last day of SDCC by a stranger who had asked me to pose with his children a few minutes earlier outside the convention center- was taken just a half hour or so before the event and weekend came to a close. I was tired, hungry, and my feet hurt more than a little- but it was worth it and I really hope I can do it again someday.

And there they are- my top 10 photos from 2014! It’s been a blast going through all of my photos and albums from this year. So many good memories and great pictures from throughout the months.

Here’s hoping there’s even more of them next year!

A Visit to Boston Comic-Con ’14!

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I was actually getting ready to photograph the guy on the right when the guy on the left showed up. The two of them were so adorably excited that they had on the same costume. I had to snap a photo of them both!

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I ran into a little trouble in the Artists Alley.

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This guy right here.

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Wilfred!

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I found my twin, Daryl- and big brother Merle!

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SO. MANY. DEADPOOLS. This group just kept getting bigger and bigger with every Deadpool cosplayer that came into the mix. You can’t really see the bubble someone held above them, but it says “I hope no one has the same outfit.”

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The cutest little Sharknado ever.

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And the cutest little Harley!

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Sorry, Rick. No one ever knows where CAR-UHL is.

I thought for sure that after San Diego Comic-Con, I’d be convention’d out through October, at least- but yesterday afternoon I found myself once again donning my Daryl Dixon costume and heading down to check out Boston Comic-Con 2014 at the Seaport World Trade Center for a few hours. The photos above, some taken with my cell phone (it’s very difficult to juggle a cell phone, camera, and a crossbow all at once, by the way,) were some of my favorite cosplays and props that I saw while perusing the exhibitors hall. I ran into a couple of familiar faces- which is always a treat- and I met a lot of really fun people, too. Shout-outs to the other Walking Dead enthusiasts I got to pose with!

The convention was a lot busier than last year’s, which made stopping to shop around with such a large crowd milling about at any given time a little difficult. Ultimately, I didn’t take home anything save for a few pamphlets and flyers. I think it may have been for the best, anyway- since I already spent enough money in California.

There were some great guests in town for B.C.C. this year, including James Marsters, John Barrowman, and Jason Momoa- but the one I was most excited to see was none other than Darryl “DMC” McDaniels from Run D.M.C., who has his own comic book coming out later this year. With good timing on my part, I made it into Darryl’s panel, and with my knowledge of useless movie trivia- I answered a question correctly prior to the panel’s start-time and got to sit in the front row- as well as have a moment with the man himself backstage afterwards. The panel was a lot of fun, and Darryl is such a kind, sweet, down-to-Earth guy. Getting to see him was the highlight of my day.

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Darryl and Daryl.

I had such a great time, but with a fully-loaded work week ahead of me, I’ve got to hang up my angel winged vest (for now!) and get some much needed rest.

Notes from SDCC: Day 4.

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I am LOVING these 'Game of Thrones' pedicabs!

I am LOVING these ‘Game of Thrones’ pedicabs!

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It's blurry, mainly because I was fangirling SO HARD.

It’s blurry, mainly because I was fangirling SO HARD.

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I’m taking a break from packing up my suitcase for my return flight to recap the fourth and final day of San Diego Comic-Con. That’s right- the long weekend of costumes, panels, surprise guests, and very long lines- has come to a close!

I spent the first half of yesterday in the exhibitors hall, purchasing gifts for some of my family and friends back home and snapping photos of the amazing cosplays and props on display- before bringing my loot back to my hotel room and returning to the convention in my Daryl Dixon costume again (it just didn’t feel right to end the weekend not dressed up!)

So what can I say about the overall experience of SDCC? Well for starters, I had an incredible time. As crazy and as hectic as it was at certain moments- I’m so happy and so grateful I had the opportunity to come to this beautiful city I love so dearly and see and experience as much as I did. I met wonderful, talented, fun, and creative people from all over- some of whom I’ve since traded contact information with and hope to see again and possibly collaborate with at future conventions.

I got to participate in awesome panels and see exclusive snippets and sneak peeks of upcoming projects in movies, television, and video games. I’m so psyched for the movie “Air,” and for Marvel’s “Agent Carter,” just to name a few. I’m still reeling from the fact that I was sitting mere feet away from Robert Kirkman himself. It all feels so surreal!

I also got some really awesome merchandise- some of it limited edition- that I can’t wait to display and wear proudly once I’m back on the East Coast. But I’ll get to that in a bit…

Would I come back for a second round of San Diego Comic-Con next year? Absolutely- and I hope I get the chance to do so when the time for pre-registration comes around. I definitely learned some tips and tricks for 2015 if I am fortunate enough to score weekend badges again, and I think they’d be beneficial to anyone looking to attempt SDCC:

1. Carefully plan what panels you want to see, and then prioritize them from there based on what you absolutely must be in attendance for and what can be skipped and watched in a designated “replay room” later on. There’s a good chance you may have to sacrifice seeing one or two panels over the course of the weekend since many of them run so close together and the rooms may not be located close to one another for convenient access. You also have to take into consideration that many panels have lines- long ones- so you’ve got to be prepared to do some waiting and miss out on some things from time to time to see the stuff you REALLY want to be present for..

2. Be sure to eat. Since lines at SDCC aren’t just limited to panels and merchandise booths (ask any of us who wanted to get Starbucks throughout the days in the convention center,) I highly recommend eating before you arrive- not only to save yourself from yet more waiting around, but to avoid being so hungry/thirsty that you end up losing your place in line to run and get something to snack on. I made the mistake of not eating much before I showed up for the first couple of days of the convention- and by the time the afternoon rolled around- I was feeling woozy. Bring a snack with you to hold you over until you leave to get a real meal. Security is pretty lenient when it comes to food and beverages.

3. Unless you plan on camping outside Hall H at all hours of the night to get into one of the bigger, more popular panels (“The Walking Dead,” “Game of Thrones,” and Marvel, for example-) check out the designated replay rooms I mentioned earlier. Some of the nearby hotels offer screenings of re-plays following the biggest panels for those who couldn’t make it into Hall H. It’s less crowded and there are no sleeping bags required.

4. Explore your surroundings! I had mentioned when I first arrived here that SO many places in downtown San Diego get into the Comic-Con spirit and have special events, parties, and promotions. If you want a break from walking the convention center- do some digging and head to the Gaslamp District! You’ll never know what or who you’ll see. Plus, you may even score some cool stuff!

5. It’s crowded. Just remember to breathe. There are times, especially in the exhibitors hall- where it is wall to wall people and moving more than a few inches at a time feels like a daunting, maybe even impossible task- as people stop to snap pics, pose, stare at merchandise, or try to find the end of a line. If you get claustrophobic- just try to breathe and relax. You won’t be trapped in that same spot for the rest of eternity. I promise.

And with all that being said- let me show you the stuff I got! Not pictured are the gifts for my friends and family- since those are already carefully packed away. This stuff is alllllllllll mine.

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First up, from the Archie booth- I snagged a copy of “Afterlife with Archie” and “The Best of Betty and Veronica.” Afterlife, which briefly features my girl Cheryl Blossom, is a little dark and twisted- which is right up my alley- and the B&V book is a shot of nostalgia that I’ll probably be reading on the plane in a few hours.

Funko POP! Figurines hold a special place in my heart and around my place, mostly because of how friggin’ adorable they are- so when I saw this Alcide figurine from “True Blood,” complete with abs- I had to buy it. I mean, really- look at it:

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Way too adorable.

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From Skybound Entertainment, I snagged this adult-sized version of the wolf paw print t-shirt worn by Carl Grimes in “The Walking Dead.” I figure all I need is the oversized sheriff’s hat and I’m good to go.

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From Her Universe, the makers of my Captain America cardigan I love so very much- I picked up this Black Widow jacket to wear in the Fall. It fits perfectly and is so, so comfortable and cozy. Plus- I feel like a bad ass in it.

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And lastly, from Marvel- I couldn’t leave without getting some Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes love. This hoodie is MASSIVE on me- but I don’t even care. It looks cool and it’s really, really soft and warm. As much as I dislike the cold weather- I’m rather looking forward to wearing this out and about when the temperatures begin to drop.

And that’s everything! Getting it all into my suitcase has been surprisingly easy- although closing my suitcase and zipping it shut might be a whole other story- one best reserved for tomorrow morning after I’ve had a good night’s sleep under my belt.

So long, San Diego! See you all back on the East Coast!

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Notes from SDCC: Days 2 and 3.

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I can’t believe that another two days at San Diego Comic-Con have passed already! Be it the frenzy on the exhibit floor or the mad rush to get to panels- but it feels like it’s gone by so fast. I’m exhausted- definitely having a blast, no question- but exhausted just the same! As I’m writing this from my hotel room, I’ve got my feet up and am attempting to decompress from the whirlwind of the past couple of days before I try to get some sleep and prepare for the final day of SDCC.

Friday, the second day of the convention, saw me break out my Daryl Dixon cosplay- complete with (an unloaded) crossbow, tattered jeans, his signature angel wing vest, and a good amount of fake blood to give me that nice, dirty, post-apocalyptic bad ass look. I just FELT cooler when I had it all on, and some fellow TWD fans at the convention center really seemed to appreciate the effort, too- which was super exciting and made it all worth it.

Although I would have loved to have made it into the actual “Walking Dead” panel that morning, there was no way I was willing to camp outside Hall H at 3 a.m., and therefore I had to catch the replay at a nearby hotel following it’s recording. I did see the season five trailer, however- and once again- October can’t get here fast enough.

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Despite Hall H being filled to capacity pretty much 99.9% of the time, I did manage to catch some less cut-throat panels in Ballroom 20 that I had been really excited for on Friday. The first, a panel by Entertainment Weekly called “Brave New Warriors,” featured actors Jon Bernthal, Tom Mison, Theo Rossi, Freddie Highmore, and Brenton Thwaites. It was ridiculously funny (Tom Mison especially!) and was followed up by Marvel’s Television panel- which offered some information about the highly-anticipated second season of “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” and a glimpse into their upcoming new series- which I CANNOT WAIT to see- “Agent Carter.”

I had seen the star of “Agent Carter,” Hayley Atwell, at the Marvel booth earlier that afternoon- and she’s so, so stunning.

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After the convention on Friday, I washed the fake blood off of myself and changed into something a little more appropriate to go see a comedy show/live episode of Comedy Central’s “@midnight” with Chris Hardwick at the Balboa Theatre. Although I’ve walked by the theater no less than a hundred thousand times during my stays in the city- I’d never actually been inside of it ’til I saw the show. It’s a beautiful building.

And @midnight? Hilarious, as usual. I had tears running down my face from laughing so hard- and the live tweet-a-thon that was projected on a screen in front of the crowd prior to the show was a nice touch. #butts

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Yesterday, the third day of San Diego Comic-Con, was also the day I wore the last of my three cosplay costumes. Probably the most intricate, difficult bodysuit to put together, what with all the leaves and hot glue gun burns it took to get it just right- I’m quite pleased with my Poison Ivy costume. Not pictured, since I couldn’t take photos/text/function with them on, were the leaf-covered gloves I carried with me around the convention center for photos:

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Just to give you all an idea of the amount of leaves this took!

I have to say, as someone who has never cosplayed before-  I really, truly enjoyed it- and I don’t think I did half-bad for a first-timer! I felt confident enough in each costume- and the responses I got from other attendees and staff was overwhelmingly positive! I’ll definitely be wearing these costumes again for future conventions- and have already started thinking of ways to improve them and am coming up with new ideas, as well.

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Yesterday was another morning through afternoon of posing and panels. There was one in particular I really wanted to see, as did a lot of other people- and to ensure I got a space- I took a lesson from Hall H and showed up a few hours early. It worked in my favor, though- not only because I got in and found myself a good seat- but because before my panel began, I got to see James Spader’s Q&A regarding the show “The Blacklist,” which I’ve heard good things about but have never seen. Everyone in the crowd was also given one of these fedoras, in the style worn by James Spader’s character, Reddington.

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So, what was the panel I had so patiently waited to see? Why, Robert Kirkman’s Skybound Entertainment panel, of course! Robert Kirkman is a wonderful, yet evil mastermind- who has both improved/destroyed my life with his “Walking Dead” franchise, so it was such a treat to be able to be in the same room with him and David Alpert and listen to them discuss updates in other aspects of TWD world (i.e.- Telltale’s “Walking Dead” video game,) rather than just being limited to discussing the show.

Norman Reedus, forever my mancrush and still such a lovely human being- was also in attendance to discuss his upcoming movie with Skybound, entitled “Air.” We were shown a trailer- and it looks really, really intense. I’m excited to see it.

The panel was one of my favorites, and not just because of the content discussed or because Norman Reedus is very attractive- but because it was funny, moderated fantastically, and the questions some excited fans asked were a lot of fun to hear.

I had wanted to stick around the convention center for the “American Horror Story: Coven” panel shortly thereafter- but the line was insanely long and I needed to get my uncomfortable boots off. I begrudgingly made my way back to my hotel, which actually provided an unexpected surprise: I saw Orlando Bloom just hanging out.

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Wild!

Today is the last day of San Diego Comic-Con, and my full report and summary will be updated after that. Most of the panels are more family and children-oriented today, which means I’ll be roaming the convention center one final time (and not in costume) to snap photos of any exhibits or cosplays I didn’t get the chance to photograph over the past few days.

I can’t believe it’s almost over!

Notes from SDCC: Preview Night and Day 1.

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I have arrived! I’m here! And it feels like I hit the ground running the moment my plane landed this past Tuesday afternoon. Yes, I’ve reached the bustling center of all things fandom-related and I am right smack in the middle of San Diego Comic-Con! With three days left of the convention, I thought I’d use some of my downtime to unwind and recap my very first day (and night!) of SDCC before I dive head-first into what is shaping up to be a really busy second day.

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As stated previously in this post, I arrived in San Diego late Tuesday afternoon. My hotel, the same one I typically stay at whenever I’m in town, is right off the Gaslamp District- which in turn is literally minutes away from the convention center. As I approached my hotel via cab from the airport, it was clear to see that Comic-Con wasn’t just limited to the convention center- but had extended well into downtown San Diego, as well. So many of the buildings were decorated- some elaborately- to advertise shows, games, and movies that were being predominantly featured at the con. Come to find out, many local bars and restaurants in the Gaslamp District were and are having their own special promotions, contests, and previews for convention attendees and locals alike.

My hotel is also located right across the street from Petco Park, which just held a Nerdist-sponsored laser tag tournament and will be transformed into “The Walking Dead: Escape” today through Saturday. Literally EVERYWHERE is celebrating SDCC!

Wednesday, having most of the morning and afternoon freed up until the doors opened for attendees with consolidated admission (like mine,) to pick up their badges- I managed to have a lovely lunch and car ride around town with my good friend Duncan, who I haven’t seen since the last time I was in town in September 2013. I love him!

When it did eventually come time to pick up my badge, I was also provided with a detailed, elaborate guide to all events, panels, guests, artists, locations, times, etc. to the convention- a souvenir book- and a durable and oversized backpack to carry my stuff in. Since it clashes with my costumes, I’ve opted to use it to store my belongings I picked up at the convention for the flight home, instead.

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Batsuit nipples!

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With my consolidated weekend pass, I also had access to Wednesday night’s preview night- where I spent the majority of the evening within the exhibit hall- checking out different vendors and artists- and getting a head start on what I can only assume will be a bit of a weekend shopping spree (my collective haul will be shared in a later post!) While there were some panels going on, I think it was best for me to get my bearings in the exhibit room- which was packed in a matter of minutes- to sort of get used to the crowds and figure out where everything was. I also saw the first of many amazing cosplays!

My favorite part of the hall, however, had to be the re-creation of the tunnel leading to a replica of the Terminus shrine (and of course, it featured some very convincing walkers!) to promote the upcoming fifth season of “The Walking Dead.” It was so well done and so detailed!

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Now, with this being my first ever San Diego Comic-Con experience, I thought I’d make it a weekend of firsts and try my hand at cosplaying- a hobby I often enjoyed watching others participate in but had been too indecisive, and frankly- shy- to try myself.

With yesterday being the first official day of the convention- I decided to start slow, breaking in my Cheryl Blossom costume. Surprisingly enough- I got some love (especially from the folks at the Archie Comics booth!) and even had a few people stop me to take a photo with/of me- proving once again that the “Archie” series is still classic and that Cheryl is an awesome, recognizable, underrated character.

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This was made entirely out of Lego blocks!

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Pam & Cheryl/Carol/Charlene!

Pam & Cheryl/Carol/Charlene!

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Again, being new to the SDCC scene- I took it slow yesterday, mapping out locations and even managing to catch a couple of panels from Riot Games and Blizzard Entertainment before I stepped out to have a couple of beers with a friend.

Today I’ll be going into Daryl Dixon mode- and I can’t wait to snap a few photos once the costume is on and ready. I worked so hard on everything I brought with me to wear and display, and it feels so awesome to finally be able to do it! Also, now that I (sort of) have my bearings- I’m planning on making an attempt to catch a few panels I know for sure I don’t want to miss. There’s already a lot of people camped outside the coveted Hall H to establish their positions within the room- but we’ll see how it goes!

Stay tuned for more updates!