On Moving to the Next Stage of Your Life

With the month of June comes great changes. Maybe you’re graduating high school, or you’ve attended convocation. But there are some things you ought to know:


25. There are only 3 things you should ever expect on your birthday and holidays:

Good food, good company, and good times. Material presents are just bonus.


24. Don’t be afraid to keep contact with new friends.

You add someone on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, what have you, and have decided they’re pretty interesting. You want to hang out with them, but you’re worried it would be weird to contact them out of the blue. And sure, maybe it is. But chances are, they’re worried you think they are weird. If that makes sense. Point is, sometimes a little nudge in the right direction, is all a new friendship needs.


23. “Every life is a pile of good things and bad things…The good things don’t always soften the bad things. But vice versa, the bad things don’t necessarily spoil the good things and make them unimportant.” – The Eleventh Doctor

You’ve probably heard me say this in the time capsule response. But I want to reiterate because it’s just so important: you need to take the good with the bad. If anything, bad things help you appreciate the good things.


22. Men and women CAN be friends.

Never underestimate the power of platonic friendships. Being polite is so rare these days, that it’s often confused for flirting. Learn to maintain contact with people based on who they are, not what’s in their pants. Just ask Alburr, Ginger, and Kitty, to name a few.


21. Letting someone new into your life is both the easiest, and hardest thing you’ll ever do.

There’s a difference between being friendly with someone, and being friends with them. It’s easy to be friendly to someone. (I wish more people understood this…) But being friends with someone means you have chosen to keep them in your life, despite all their flaws. And I mean all their flaws. Maybe they’re unemployed, have inexplicable bouts of depression, or talk to themselves when they think no one’s listening. Or maybe that last one is just what I do. The point is, as with any relationship, you need to do your part in keeping the flame alive and burning. Call them up, catch a movie together, or just stay in and watch a movie on the couch.


20. Nothing in life worth doing, is easy.

Of course you need to put more effort into the more difficult things. You don’t get a cookie just for putting in the bare minimum. Okay, you’re nice, but what else? Okay, you’re attractive, but what else? Okay, you have decent grades, but what are you doing with those grades? Okay, you have a job, but what are you doing outside of it?


19. That being said, college and University are optional.

Many artistic paths don’t require college or University prep, and people should understand that. Coming from a culture that places great emphasis on reputation and fancy degrees, I know it’s easier said than done. Maybe you can try to compromise by enrolling in a program that sounds interesting, and will also make your parents happy?


18. But if you’re going to skip out on post-secondary education, make sure you’re prepared for the consequences.

Be prepared to watch your friends move on in life, start exciting new careers, raise a family… while you’re stuck doing the same old thing. Sit down and think about what you want in life: where do you see yourself in 5 years? Why are you pursuing the path you have chosen? Can you viably pursue this path, on top of other commitments? What if something happens to throw you off the path? If you haven’t already, now is the time to sit down and think long and hard (hehe) about the long road ahead.


17. The most difficult decision you will ever have to make…

…is whether to try harder, or simply walk away. As noble as it may seem to push through and never give up, sometimes you’re better off giving up and moving on. A true warrior knows when to lay down his sword. Remember, it’s better to withdraw from a course and have lost money, than to continue and destroy your GPA with a D.


16. It’s okay to fail.

If you applied to college and didn’t get in, so what? All you’ve lost is the application fee. Believe me, that fee is a sneeze in a bucket, compared to spending 4 years and >$40,000, just so you can tell other people you have a degree.

If you’ve put out resume after resume, gone to interview after interview, and still haven’t landed a job, so what? That’s just an excuse to keep trying. Use this time to receive feedback for your portfolio, attend resume editing workshops, volunteer and add experience… but never, ever let yourself stagnate.


15. Floss.

Peritonitis isn’t fun.


14. Forget coconut oil; hot water bottles are your best friend.

Feeling cold? Hot water bottle. Cramps? Hot water bottle. Miscellaneous body aches? Hot water bottle. Miss your sweetheart? Hug a teddy bear… stuffed with a hot water bottle.


13. There are people in this world whose lives are so devoid of meaning, that happiness and positivity actually hurt them.

It’s sad but true. You’ve seen this everywhere, from school hallways to Facebook groups to YouTube comment sections: these people are given a nice soap box to spew whatever vitriol they want, from behind the safety of their computer screen. The wise ones say, “don’t feed the trolls.” If nothing else, just make a sandwich.


12. Support is key in any relationship.

And this doesn’t just apply to dating. Surround yourself with friends who support your talents and interests. Likewise, assist your friends and family members in their endeavors. After a long day at work, give your parents the night off by cooking dinner, or cleaning the house. Let your best friend rant about her problems, even if you don’t have any solutions. Send a “thinking of you” text to your sweetheart, just because. These are little ways to show someone you care, without using words.


11. If you’re going on residence or moving out on your own, try a vegetarian diet.

Produce is dirt cheap, pun somewhat intended. And your mother always told you to eat your vegetables, so why not make her proud? Look up recipes that double as tonight’s dinner and tomorrow’s lunch, and save the TV dinners for nights when you’re too burnt out to cook. If you have extra cash left over, pick up some boneless skinless chicken breasts. I prefer breasts because they are easier to prepare and don’t have as much fat to remove, but if you want flavour, pick up thighs instead.

I recommend these creamed spinach baked eggs. To make a single serving, prepare your creamed spinach, fill a ramekin half full, make a well that covers the sides, and crack the egg into the center. This will prevent the baked egg from sticking to the sides of the dish, which can be a nuisance to clean afterward.


10. “Some people are worth melting for.” – Olaf from Frozen

Money is good to have, and is often necessary; unless you’re a dentist, smiles don’t pay the bills.

Really, the point is that some people are worth putting in a little extra effort. Sometimes it’s worth spending $70 on bus tickets to see that someone special. Sometimes it’s worth giving up the last slice of pizza to your hungry sibling. And sometimes it’s worth turning down a fun night out with your friends, just to go visit that relative who’s perfectly healthy, yet never interacts with anyone else.


9. A little rulebreaking is fine, as long as it doesn’t go too far.

You may have heard this one from the Cat in the Hat: it’s good to have fun, but you have to know how. It’s okay to play in the mud, as long as you don’t track it on your parents’ new carpet, and you wash off afterward. It’s okay to eat a sugary snack, as long as you balance it out with proper diet and exercise, and brush your teeth afterward. And yes, it’s okay to play video games the night before a test. One of our professors told us to not study the night before a test; if you’ve been studying in little daily doses throughout the week(s) leading up to the test, you should be fine.

Know your limit, and play within it. Now I see why the OLG uses that as a tagline.


8. Keep a notebook and pencil/pen on your person at all times.

Ever had an idea, and thought, “I’d better write that down?” Well now you’ll always be able to!


7. Never date someone, just to fill a void.

Maybe your best friend has a new boyfriend, and you’re jealous. Maybe you’ve been eyeing a cute girl, but she’s with another guy, so you date someone else just to “kill time” until the cute girl “becomes available.”

*Cartman voice* No reader, that’s a bad reader! *smack*

It’s just a waste of your time, and your void-filler’s time. If you just want something to cuddle, might I suggest a pet, or a plushie?


6. No amount of money is greater than your health.

There will always be things to pay for. But your health always comes first. What’s the point in saving for your future, if you’re just going to spend it sick? If you know you’re not going to be able to focus on your job because you’re in that much pain, stay home! All it will mean, is that you have to realign your budget to account for the loss. The alternate option is to go in anyway, only to be sent home. Or worse: sent to the hospital.


5. It’s okay to say no. Even to family members.

We’re taught to say “no” to drugs, and other destructive substances and practices. Why aren’t we taught to say “no” to toxic, destructive people the same way?

If someone is making you feel uncomfortable in any way, tell them! And if they still aren’t getting the hint, it’s okay to fight back! It irks me that we’re taught “fighting never solves anything,” not because it’s false, but because there are so many exceptions to the rule. Sometimes we need to fight. If the French didn’t fight during the Revolution, they would still have the classicist structure, where the nobles spent in excess while everyone else lived in poverty. If animals didn’t fight in the wild, their territories would be taken over, and their species would be wiped out without any human intervention. If Harry Potter didn’t fight against Voldemort, the world would be full of nothing but Pure-bloods. It’s okay to say, “no, we don’t want to live in poverty anymore.” It’s okay to say, “no, this is MY territory!” It’s okay to say, “no, people deserve to live regardless of their heritage.” It’s okay to say, “no mom, you can’t come with me to my job interview!

The full saying goes, “the bonds of blood are thicker than the waters of the womb.” You don’t owe anyone anything just because you share DNA. And likewise, you must never expect special treatment just because someone is related to you.


4. If you’re good at something, never do it for free. – The Joker

This one is a bit more personal, but I hope it extends to anyone with a service to offer, especially after this post went viral. (I do recommend reading it, that programmer deserves better) Never, ever, ever, EVER sell yourself short. Sure you need the sale, but if you sell your crafts cheap once, you will never be able to sell them for their true worth.

Say you make a plushie, and your initial rate is $15, or $20 for larger/more detailed plushies. But your “client” says they can’t justify spending more than $5 on a plushie. You may rationalize that the client is a friend of a friend, or that “money is money,” but the fact is that once you take that $5, EVERYONE will want your plushies for only $5. Oh and the best ones are the ones who simply offer exposure.


Conceding to hagglers undersells the value of your time, effort, and skills. Don’t fall into this trap! Set your rate limits and stick with them. If you want to offer discounts to close friends and family members, do so at your own discretion. For best results, discuss payments with your customer up front, and make it clear that once the price is set, that’s it. If they try to haggle with you after your work is done, let them take their business elsewhere. And hey, you may not have gotten paid, but now you have an already-made plushie you can sell for its actual price.


3. Falling in love happens. Staying in love is a choice.

It’s easy to look at someone and think, “that person is attractive.” But when I met the Mad Hatter, the last thing I thought was, “that person will be an amazing partner.” Fast forward a few years, and it was only after spending a lot of time chatting and listening to each other, that we finally got together. That was 8 months ago, now we have attended a full Anime North together. I look forward to seeing what other adventures await, down the rabbit hole. I won’t say I’m in love, but I certainly do have immense affection for this Cracky Nutters Capped Crusader.

That being said…


2. You’re not Fix-It Felix

We all knew that one kid in school whom nobody liked, or wanted to play with. So we decided to hang out with that person, just to be nice. We thought that maybe we could prove this person wasn’t so bad.

And then our new “friend” started spreading rumours about us, got into fights with our old friends, stole or broke our toys out of jealousy, basically proved to be a complete ingrate. Getting out of these kinds of friendships proved to be near impossible, and it was usually by sheer coincidence that we would be separated from them, and never had to deal with them again.

Unfortunately, many of us continue to adopt the “I can fix it!” mindset into adulthood. We love stories in which the cold cynic who has never loved anyone before, meets the man/woman of their dreams, and suddenly their whole world makes sense, and the two fall in love and live happily ever after, bladdy bladdy blah…

In fact, we love those stories so much that we try to recreate them in real life: we date people with whom we have nothing in common, or people who have so many red flags they could make China jealous. But we stick with them because, “I can fix them! If they love me, they will change!” That’s just it — staying in love is a choice. And staying in love with someone who needs to be “fixed” is a terrible choice!

If someone is always alone, constantly moving around from friend group to friend group, or their current group of friends/family members have nothing but negative things to say about them… there’s a good reason why.


1. Above all, remember:

It’s gonna be okay. You’ve got this!


The above list isn’t the be-all end-all of how you should live your life, it’s just my experience after 26 years on this spinning rock called Earth. Some of these were things I’d been told, yet took for granted. But what works for me, may not work for you. Refer back to #16: if you fail, take time to mourn, use it as a learning experience, and move on with your life.

Wherever you may be in life, I hope my insight has helped. Maybe you needed to see one of these things, or you want to share this with a friend who needs to see them.

This also marks 3 years of this blog. Thank you for following me on this journey, following me through the weeks and months of silence, and taking an interest in these rambling posts and low-quality photos. I hope you will continue to support my rambling nonsense along the way, and I wish you the best in whatever your future holds. Here is my cute picture tax:

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How’s life treating you? What’s next on your life list? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~

Anime North 2017! (Floof and Poof’s Excellent Adventure)

So much for blogging during the actual con, we were too busy enjoying every moment of it!

And so much for posting the weekend after… ( > _ > )

Anime North 2017 concluded on Sunday, May 28. I attended for the full weekend, cosplaying a childhood favourite: Sheena Fujibayashi, the ninja summoner from Tales of Symphonia. (I got hyped just by saying that out loud!) I even had the Corrine plushie to match!

This blog will cover my experiences, and include some updates to the blog from two years ago. For title purposes, Top Hat/Mad Hatter will be referred to as “Floof,” and I will be referred to as “Poof.”


Friday – Arrival and first evening

Since we were staying in a hotel this time around, I managed to avoid the worst of the rush. Or so I thought… it turns out the 52 will be crowded no matter what. I guess it didn’t help that I was travelling during rush hour, when kids get off school. Nonetheless, I made it to our hotel, and after a traditional Anime North dinner, I threw on my costume and headed to the con.

Some tips for commuting by TTC’s green line: go to Kipling station, and grab the 43 from there. It looks like a long trip, but believe me, it will save you the fumbling from Lawrence West, to Lawrence, and back again.


Corrine meeting Sheep for the first time

Now before we move on, I would like to share a pro tip on hotel living, re: food. If you have a long commute from your home to your hotel, pack non-perishable foods that are inexpensive, yet filling. Some ideas include:

  • Hot Rods (salami sticks)
  • granola bars
  • Bread (specifically buns)
  • fruit cups
  • cookies
  • muffins
  • summer sausage (or other non-perishable meats that you can slice as needed)
  • ramen noodle cups

A traditional Anime North dinner

The last one is a staple of conventions in general, because they are lightweight, filling, and easy to prepare. I think further meal information will be part of a second blog, since there is quite a lot to cover. We made our noodles with the coffee maker. Don’t forget to use the coffee maker for its intended purpose as well, and take advantage of the hotel’s complementary breakfast! And remember, there’s nothing like a hot cup of tea after walking all day.



Remember what I said two years ago, about crunching on your costume no matter what? Well, this year I barely slept at all the night before. I literally stayed up all night trying to sew the gloves just right, before saying “forget it,” not completing the boot covers, and falling asleep from 9:30 am – 12:30 pm. I was running on 3 hours of sleep, and the con hadn’t even officially begun!

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You can tell from the pictures why I’ve dubbed myself “Poof.” My poofy hair is my defining feature, so instead of donning a wig, I like to make use of its natural state. Too bad I balked at cutting the appropriate bangs. But for the most part, I’m pretty happy with how my costume turned out. And it was really flattering, that people asked me for pictures. In the future, I would like to make a blog about what went into the costume.


Artist’s Alley

We spent most of our time in Artist’s Alley, looking at all the cool things people had for sale. While there, we ran into a few nice cosplays. (If anyone knows the people in these pictures, please tell me so we can give credit where credit is due!)



Yato gave me his business card. Perhaps I’ll call him in to write a guest post one day.


With impending changes, I thought it would be nice to pick up some updated artwork deco. I also found some inspiration for future crafts and plushies! Corrine and Bunny were very happy to be among their kind. I will include links to the interesting shops and art pages below. Please pay them a visit! The amis pictured below were made by Golden Enigma Crochet.

About that jellyfish… it seems great crafters craft alike. 😀 I prefer the way hers turned out: the frill is wide and defined. Not to mention it ripples around uniformly, between each leg.


More of Golden Enigma’s kawaii kreations

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I always feel bad browsing the cute amis and thinking, “I could totally make this, if I would stop being so darn lazy…” Then I remember Corrine, and how happy I was to see him finally completed. The girl running Golden Enigma booth also admired him. I think it’s important that crafting communities take time to admire each others’ work, and give constructive feedback, rather than tearing each other down or trying to outsell each other. We are skilled in rare arts; we mustn’t let them turn into yet another mass-produced, corporate mess.

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Shoon Jr. the Alpaca

We also found some alpacas with bows on their heads. Just like Shoonie! Sadly, I don’t remember who made these. Let me know, if you find it in the links below!


Here are some artist links worth visiting:

Golden Enigma (awesome crochet!)

Yuukiice (an old friend from Uni. She’s a talented artist!)

Janice Sung (more arts)

Red Paw Designs (hilarious chibi prints)

Colourfy Me (Cute crafts)

Snow Paws (Art and unique plushie design)

Geek @ ❤ (Geeky trinkets and knick knacks. This name sounds familiar…)


Saturday – Panels and stuff

We actually attended a panel today! It was a panel about paper cutting. The presenter made some interesting cutouts, and even demonstrated his techniques. For further information, you can visit his blog, at https://japanesepapercutting.wordpress.com/. Maybe one day, I can try making something for Floof. I find myself drawn toward educational panels; it’s fun to learn about new crafts, and polish your knowledge of old crafts.

We also attended a few improv sessions. Have you heard of the 404s? I hadn’t, until I viewed their YouTube channel and noticed a couple familiar names… Andre (Black Nerd Comedy) and Skitch. Hm…


Holy sheep on the farm! Skitch orchestrated the intro/outro theme for Nostalgia Critic! And Black Nerd is the same Black Nerd from the Smurfs review! The world of YouTube just got a bit smaller. And I begged Floof to take me for chicken nuggets afterward. (He did take me out. But I’m not gonna say where. ^_^ )

I avoided fandom panels this year, mainly due to how nutty bananas people have gotten over the years, in regards to their favourite things. Seriously guys, we all love the same things, we just have different ways of showing how much we love them. Unfortunately, you get too many vocal “purists” who make fandoms inhospitable to newcomers. That, and the panels overlapped with other things we wanted to visit. XP And we avoided the One Punch Man panels, because Floof knew that none of the Saitama cosplayers’ heads were shiny enough.

IMG_20170528_183956We also watched a kimono dressing race. It was interesting to watch how they tied the kimono, compared to the way I tied mine. Sheena’s belt is tied in a big bow, with long trailing ends. To tie my belt, I used a tutorial for tying basics, and worked out my own method to look closer to the official artwork. I want to post the full method in a seperate blog, about the costume.

Although you’ll want to save your money to buy souvenirs from the con, it’s okay to go out to eat at least once. (I really wanted chicken nuggets, okay?!) We found a familiar restaurant, which didn’t have any lineup at all. And yes, the food was tasty. I think it was because it was so out of the way, that many people didn’t consider it an option. That’s another tip: costume and comfort permitting, try to explore the area outside the con. You never know what you might find!


Sunday – Photoshoots!

Finally, the day we’ve all been waiting for! The Tales of… photoshoot was held today. I knew I was home when we were trying to cross the street, and the Kratos in charge squee’d, “OMG SHEENA!!!” I got to pose with an adorable Collette, and Zelos cosplay. There sure were a lot of Zestiria cosplays. This group was amusing: the Mikleo was hesitating to join in the Sorey/Mikleo shots, so Alicia pushed him in. XD


You can also click here for the official Anime North photoshoot page. Be prepared for a swarm of D.Va cosplays in the Overwatch category. If you attended this year and got some great photos at the photoshoots, please upload them to share the awesomeness with the world!

Here are a few more shots I managed to get, with Colette and Zelos. We recreated some funny scenes and fanart.


“Sheena’s real name is ‘Violent Demonic Banshee!’ …. >_< SEE?! I TOLD YOU SHE’S VIOLENT!”


A memento from Corrine




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Click image to view fullscreen

The last one was based off this point in the game.

Sunday is also the last day to purchase things, so get over to Vendor’s/Artist’s Alley to grab those deals before they close up shop! I bought a few candy kits for Shoonie, the “OMG THEY KILLED RORY!**” print, supported Yuu-ki by buying a Gerudo Link sticker, and got the candy bento kit to try with Floof. I’m quite proud of myself: my only real weakness is candy kits. X3;

Expect to see fewer cosplays on Sunday, as this is the last day of the con. At 8:00 pm, say goodnight to the best 52 hours of otaku life in Toronto. (Though technically, it’s in Etobicoke) But it’s okay, because then you can head back and enjoy the merch you bought, and the last night of chills in your hotel. I made Floof try the bento candy kit. His verdict was 7/10, and the broccoli didn’t turn out mushy and slimy. Maybe Shoonie and I just have bad luck.

If possible, stay the night on Sunday, and leave Monday morning. This will significantly reduce the rush to get home, as many people will leave after the closing ceremonies on Sunday.

And so ended a lovely weekend at Anime North. Before Floof returned home, we used the coupon we received for Uncle Tetsu’s Angel Cafe. Considering all the time we spend apart, you think I’d be used to seeing him go…

I’ve decided to go again in two years. While it is a fun trip, Anime North gets pretty darn expensive. Once you account for the cost of tickets, hotel, food, transportation, and merch, you’re looking at spending no less than $300, and that’s a very forgiving estimate. It helps to put aside a little bit of money throughout the year, so you can treat yourself once the big weekend rolls around. And in my case, that two year wait gives me enough time to decide on a couple’s cosplay for Floof and Poof. :3

Did you go to Anime North? If so, have we met? Do you plan to go in the future? If Colette and Zelos from the pics are reading this, you girls were awesome!! Comment below!

Pika, **you Daleks!