Wednesday, April 30, 2014

April 2014 Favorites!!

I usually do this series on my YouTube channel, but I haven't had a chance to film recently. If I do, I'll add the link to the video here. I've uploaded this blog as a video blog HERE!

So, this is my monthly favorites for April - products or other things I've loved and have gotten me through the month. Since I just kind of thought of the idea of blogging about it as well as video blogging it, I haven't taken my own pictures to use for this post, so they'll all be stock photos this time around, sorry! I'll be including links to all products under the images if you want to check out anything I mentioned!

I'd like to start off with beauty products with two MAC items - the first being MAC's Nightmoth lip pencil. I'm not much of a lip person, but I'm trying to change that. Nightmoth is a beautiful burgundy shade that is very dramatic but also very wearable. It goes on great and stays on fantastically. It's nice alone or paired with a lipstick!

The second item from MAC is a perfume from them that has instantly become my favorite: Turquatic. The bottle is gorgeous, isn't it? I have the rollerball instead of the full bottle, however. It's a very earthy, appealing sort of scent that reminds me of oceans and forests. 

Next is a mascara from a brand I'm not very familiar with - Makeup Forever. It's their Smoky Extravagant mascara! I thought I had found my new favorite mascara in Eyeko London's Black Magic mascara, but then my mom gave me a ton of sample products (how does she get them??) and I fell in love. What was missing from the Eyeko mascara, I found in the Makeup Forever one - not only is the length fantastic, but it thickens as well! It gives a very fake lash-like effect, so if you like natural lashes more, this probably isn't the product for you. But if you want drama with none of the hassle of actually putting on fake lashes, I definitely recommend this product!

Another sample size product I received from my mom is Stilla's Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in black! Except for Urban Decay, I've all but sworn off pencil eyeliners and I'm constantly on the hunt for the darkest, most stay-in-place eyeliner I can find, and so far, this is it. I really don't have anything to say about it other then it's really good, it's very precise, and it dries quickly!

We're done with makeup, so next is my one favorite clothing item for the month. After house-sitting for my parents I placed a big Forever 21 order. While I have mixed feelings about some of the items I received (maybe I should do a haul??), the one item I LOVE the most is the Yellow Ombre High-Low Skirt! I've love the high-low trend ever since it started…what, two years ago or so? And yellow happens to be my second favorite color! Naturally I had to get it. As someone who is a bit on the bigger side, the opaque underskirt is rather short, so it's easier just to wear shorts under it. The long part of the sheer overskirt reaches to about my knees, so it's the perfect length. I also got it while it was on sale for about ten dollars! Unfortunately, I believe it's out of stock now. 

My second to last favorite is a game I've become enamored with - Paper Mario! I'm playing the version on the Virtual Console. I do love traditional Mario games, but to be honest, I'm not very good at them. This one however, I find myself pretty good at, seeing as it's sort of an RPG. I love all the characters and their interactions, and the music is just awesome. Not to mention the art style is really cute! I don't know how much the game costs now because my fiance bought it ages ago, but it's probably not too expensive if you want to give it a go! I hope to do some fan art of it soon! 


And my final favorite for the moth of April is…this blog!! Is this a cop out, haha? To be honest, I love sharing my opinions, advice, stories, et cetera, and I thought video blogging was the way to go. While I do enjoy vlogging, I don't have the chance to film much anymore. But with MeltyBunny, I can always write up whatever I'm thinking and any ideas I may have and share them! While I haven't really gained any followers yet (^^;) I'm still getting pageviews, which means someone is reading. Hopefully someone is liking what I write!

And that's it for my April Favorites! Hopefully I'll be doing one every month, because they're loads of fun to do, whether I'm vlogging or blogging! Next month is Me May…because of my birthday at the end of the month! I truly hope all of you are doing well!!! 


Monday, April 28, 2014

Weight Loss for the Beginner

This is me in 12th grade. This is the weight I wish to return to!!

As I said in my last entry, I am on a journey to lose some weight. I'm not going to say how much I weigh or how much I want to lose, but I want to do so in a healthy way. So here's a list of tips for getting started/staying on track, some workouts that I enjoy doing, and some useful apps!

I think one of the biggest things that has helped me keep fitness and weight loss in my mind no matter what state I'm in is tumblr. Tumblr has a huge community of bloggers called "fitblrs" who are kind, post resources, and encourage one another. I follow quite a few, so whenever I'm on tumblr, I always see motivational posts, healthy foods, and so on. But why stop there - make a fitblr of your own! I have one which can be found here. Like many others, I post my progress, whether it be my daily workouts, my intake, progress pictures, or sometimes I just reblog motivational content from others! It's also a great way to have others keep you in check. 

Another great way to have others keep you in check is to tell people about your workout and weight loss plans. You're more likely to follow through with something if you tell others. It's also great to have a workout buddy! Someone who may be feeling the same things you feel, who you can motivate and can motivate you. While working out alone can be nice, it's always fun to have someone to talk to!

As for actually motivating yourself, it can be hard. Sometimes I want nothing more then to just skip the workout and lay in bed until noon…but that's not good for you, is it? Put on those workout clothes. Get yourself pumped up with your favorite high energy music. And just…do it! Trust me, the feeling you get afterwards is phenomenal. You'll have much more energy throughout the day as well!

They say that working out is only thirty percent of the weight loss equation - and the other seventy percent is your diet. Don't expect to just throw away all your junk food and sweets and you'll never eat unhealthy again. It's okay to have a treat every now in then, but like everything, moderation. And of course if you have a craving, go ahead and feed it. It is good, however, to really look at what you're eating and drinking, and cut out constant Starbucks trips, full-calorie soda, and boredom eating. I like to keep a food diary to really see what I'm eating and when. And of course - water!! Drinking loads of water every day can help you shed excess weight really quickly.

Counting calories is something that some people swear by, and others swear off. I think counting calories can be good in the beginning, when you're taking a hard look at how much or little you eat. But getting obsessive over it can be dangerous and make you miserable! I think once you know what your body needs and how to eat in a healthier way then you currently do, you can ease up or cut out the calorie counting.

Along with counting the calories I consume, I also count the calories I burn! Later on when I talk about apps I use, I'l talk about an app that can try and estimate how much you've burned doing what depending on what information you give it. But an estimate can be way off. The solution - a heart rate monitor! I have the Polar TF4 (in pink, of course) and I love it! It's important to know how many calories you burn so you can eat enough during the day!

I also want to talk about scales. Do not weight yourself every day. Do not weight yourself more then once a day. Got that? Only weigh yourself in the morning, once a week at most. Why? Your weight will fluctuate from day to day, from hour to hour, and it's really easy to get down on yourself if that number suddenly goes up. Your weight also doesn't determine your size, anyways, so if you want to keep a more accurate track of loss and gains, measure your neck, bust, waist, hips, etc. Also, that number on the scale? It's just a number. It does not define you. It doesn't measure your self worth, your awesomeness, or anything else. Please, please, please do not get obsessed with a worthless number and hurt your body by restricting your food.

Weight loss is a winding, twisty journey and you might not always see the results you want when you want. But keep going, maybe change a few things here and there, and eventually you'll see progress. But if at any time, your progress is making you feel depressed and worthless, or you find yourself doing harmful things such as skipping meals, restricting or purging, or even constantly binge eating, please get help. Eating disorders are serious.

I don't have a gym membership (yet!) nor does my apartment complex have a gym that I can use. So, I have to do workouts at home, which is perfectly fine! My workout buddy, however, has a gym at his apartment, so I'll talk about beginner gym experiences/exercises last in this section. 

Firstly, I recommend the tumblr fitblr community again. They have many resource posts full of workouts to do at home for all skill levels, all focuses…and some even say you can find some posts floating around with links to watch or download popular workout DVDs, but you didn't hear that from me. 

There are many YouTubers who have channels wholes devoted to fitness, whether it be showing you how to do the basics, full routines, or even dance exercises! I wholly recommend a website/YouTube channel called "Blogilates." Cassey Ho, creator of pop pilates, has hundreds of videos that are all upbeat and fun as well as  good for any skill level. On her website, she has monthly workout calendars, a beginner calendar, recipes, and more! The calendars have different videos to do almost every day, which is perfect for people like me who get bored easily. 

If you have a bit of money to spend on workout DVDs, I highly recommend Zumba! Zumba is great for people of all workout levels and all sizes. Zumba is, essentially, dancing. The dance moves are made to target specific areas of the body and burn calories, all while having fun! There are tons of Zumba videos so you can have a variety of dances to choose from. There are also Zumba games on Playstation, XBox, and Wii! 

Now, if you do have access to a gym - great! Do not be intimidated of the gym. Everyone there is there (or they should be) because they want to lose weight, get fit, or maintain. Only jerks judge others at the gym, and jerks are no one to pay attention to. When you go to the gym for the first time, you're probably going to be a little confused by all the machinery! Don't ever be afraid to ask what something does or how to use it. It's always good to put cardio in your routine when you're going for weight loss, be it a walk (or run!) on the treadmill, using the elliptical, or even just using the stationary bike. But don't completely neglect strength training as well! While it shouldn't be your main focus until later in your weight loss journey, you should start building up a bit of strength and start toning and shaping. 

Of course, this is all just what I like to do, or what I can do. I'd love to start running, but when I'm off from work it's starting to get dark, as well as the fact that I also have asthma so running is hard for me now (but I'll talk more about this in a moment). But if you can or like running? Do it! Like swimming? Do it! No two people lose weight the same, so why should they work out in exactly the same way either? Find what works for you and what makes you happy.

Finally, I'd like to talk about a few apps for smart phones that can be really useful (no, I won't mention tumblr again, haha).

Myfitnesspal (free on Apple and Android) is a very popular calorie and weight tracker, and has a community that can be very helpful and encouraging. You input your stats, your daily calorie input and output and weight, etc. There are a few problems with this application, however. As I said before, calorie counting can become addictive and dangerous and as such this app might not be for everyone. The app also has a tendency to tell people they need to eat fewer calories for their body type and lifestyle then the really do. But I love this app as a food diary on the go.

Carbodroid (free on android) is a very simple app that reminds you to drink enough water daily by filling a cute robot with every glass you drink! It also gives you reminders to drink water. This app is unfortunately not on Apple phones, but I've recently found an equally cute substitute. Plant Nanny (free on Apple) is essentially the same thing with a few tweaks. You choose a plant to grow, and with each glass of water, you water your plant. This app also gives you reminders. 

C25K (free and paid on Apple and Android) or Couch to 5K is a great way for anyone, no matter their skill level to start running! Unfortunately I haven't been able to use this app yet, but I've heard great things about it, and I can't wait to be able to try it out. 

Well, that was my workout post! I hope you enjoyed it and it was at least a little useful to someone! 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Lolita Fashion and the Plus-Sized Girl

Classy bathroom shot? Sure, why not.

In ninth grade, I was in art class when I saw my friend pull out some interesting pictures to use as reference. They were very beautiful people dressed in all black upon a red backdrop, staring at the camera vaguely. I was told that they were members of a Japanese visual rock band called Malice Mizer, and I was also told that the one I assumed to be a girl was in fact a guy. This really intrigued me, so I decided to look them up. The one who dressed in women's clothing, Mana, had his own clothing line of very elegant, yet frilled clothing. I came to find that this style was called "elegant gothic lolita" and was one of many variations of the Japanese street fashion called lolita.

I loved the style since then, though now my likes are more towards sweet and classic rather then gothic. In my first year of college I finally got my own lolita clothes. They were cheap, I didn't have a petticoat or proper accessories, and they didn't really suit me, but I was happy. Since then, and after many fashion mistakes, I feel I've grown in the style. I actually don't really consider myself to have been a lolita until the beginning of 2013. Before then, I was just slapping clothes together, but now I actually do try to put together a cohesive coordinate. I know I'm far from perfect, but that's besides the point.

My love for lolita has waxed and waned over the years. Sometimes I'll stalk the sale communities every day and think of when the next opportunity to get frilly is. Other times I'll pass by the pictures I see on my tumblr dashboard without giving them a thought. Right now? I'm somewhere in the middle. I'm trying to be an adult and control myself. Because when I get too into lolita, sometimes I end up spending money I don't have just yet x_x So I'm occasionally seeing what's for sale, but reminding myself I can always find it later and I don't need it right right now.

There's another reason I'm waiting to make any purchases besides the fact that I just spent the last of my paycheck. I am a bigger girl. Plus size, if you will. And lolita, being a Japanese fashion, does not always cater to girls and guys my size. There are many work-arounds to this, of course. You can always make your own clothes, but my skills are only sub-par. There are indie brands that make clothes in custom sizes, which is an option I look forward to exploring soon. Brand pieces could be altered, which I don't dare do myself, aside from the minor change. And then there are brands that have some pieces that will fit a wider variety of sizes.

But what about the pieces that aren't made for bigger sizes? My favorite brand, Angelic Pretty, has loads of cute dresses I want to wear - including my dream dress, Dream Doll - only fit a very small range of measurements. Well, it depends on what you yourself decide to do. Some buy replicas. Some just shrug and love the plus-size friendly pieces. And then others decide to change themselves.

Let me start by saying this - I'm not losing weight for the sole purpose of fitting into a certain style of clothing. I've had body image issues my whole life, but right now, I am the heaviest I have ever been. And I hate it. So, when you don't like something, you change it. I'm tired of hating my body and not fitting into my older clothing. I'm tired of feeling like I have no energy and tired of not being able to shop in some of my favorite stores. 

I've been on and off a weight loss journey since mid-january, though unfortunately more off then on. As most people are, I was very motivated at first, but then that started to dwindle away. A few weeks ago I was back in a gym every day, but now I've started a new job and my gym buddy is busy on his final project, so the gym has been pushed to the back of our minds. 

But now that I'm working at this new, physically demanding job and have a schedule again, I can start anew! Also my friend should be done with his final project soon, so we'll be able to go back to his gym again before too long. I'm very excited to see what changes my body undergoes. I'm excited to feel the highs of working out. And I'm excited to be able to fit not only my old clothing, but new clothing such as new lolita items!! 

I will admit, it sometimes makes me sad that I cannot fit into certain items I love.

However, this is just me. If you're happy with the size you're at - don't change a thing! There are loads of other workarounds as I said if you're a bigger person, and even some if you're much smaller as well! This is just what I feel I want to do. 

My next entry will probably be all about working out, websites and apps I find useful, and any tips and tricks for starting out! If you have anything you would like me to address, please just let me know! I know this entry was a little…pointless, ehehe, but fun to write nonetheless. 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Artist Alley? Artist Alley!!

A staple at any good anime or comic convention? An Artist Alley!

I recently attended Middle Tennessee Anime Convention - or MTAC -  this past weekend. MTAC was my first convention and this was my eighth time attending. Yet as the con drew closer and closer, I found myself not excited at all, which is strange for me. I figured I'd get excited once I was actually in the hotel and in the con environment. But when the time came...I was severely underwhelmed. Now, there were a few problems with MTAC this time around which I won't get into with this entry, but the environment of being around all my fellow nerds and cosplayers should have gotten me properly hyped! I spent the entire convention feeling like I was just floating around a hot, crowded, sea.

In the past, I used to perform parapara at the convention, as well as helping run some teaching panels or some of my friends' panels. One year I was part of the fashion show, and another year, I volunteered. So maybe it was the fact that I was obligated to do nothing that made me feel this way. The more I thought about it, the more this felt right. I was so familiar with MTAC that just attending was no longer exciting. While I will probably never do volunteering or the fashion show again, I'm open to the idea of performing again if my teammates feel the same way. But the chances of that are slim. So what else is there to do?

As an artist, I've always been my worst critic. I always feel like I'm not good enough. Yet as I cruised through the hallway, through Artist Alley, I saw a few tables of art where I thought...and how do I say this without sounding stuck up or rude...I thought that I could do that, too. I felt that my art could maybe stand next to some of these artists' works. And so, I decided that I am going to apply for Artist Alley at next year's MTAC!

Of course, this means a lot of planning has to be done.

Firstly, I have to figure out a name for myself. A brand, if you will. Unfortunately, I have the habit of choosing a different name for every social media site I join. And even more unfortunately, the name I chose for both my deviantArt account and my art tumblr (though the former can be changed for a price and the latter for free) is "halcyonwh0re." It's a cute name, but not exactly something family friendly. I feel I could put it on a business card as a way to contact me, but not the first thing you see when you would see my booth, does that make sense? I don't feel "worthy" of just using my name, I feel that's something only the very well-known get to do. Also, I noticed that only one person at MTAC's AA did this. I've been leaning towards "Melty Bunny," which is why I chose to name my blog this. A little bit of cohesion, at least? I already have a logo and a business card mocked up if I do decide to use this.

Secondly, I have to decide what sorts of items I would like to sell. Prints of various sizes and commissions are obvious, but what else? I need to choose things that can be quickly produced for not so much money. I was thinking about stickers - everyone loves stickers! I also thought about making either phone charms or keychains using Shrinky Dink paper and a sealant, though I haven't looked up the costs yet. I looked at the price of a button maker and...eek. Although it could be a very good investment if I do make the cut. Buttons are usually very good sellers as well. I should know, I've bought enough. Then there are things that are not so quickly produceable, like plush toys. I know I can make some, but they take a while and they also aren't mass produceable like prints and buttons could be. I could always make one or two. I saw one person doing a giveaway of a handmade plush with a purchase from their booth, I could always do that! (I already have a Pikachu plush in the works!)

Thirdly is the easiest and hardest part - the art. As someone with depression, I can't always control when I'll feel like I can handle things. Sometimes I just can't handle looking at my own art. And that's something I'm going to have to overcome, not only to create a portfolio to be considered, but to create all the works necessary to sell. Then, there's appeal. I know what I like. I know other people like what I like. I like drawing what I like. But, for example, even though I like Super Mario Brothers I might not do art of it because it's not my most favorite. Other people, however, would probably really love Mario art because it's such a classic. Now, I don't mean I'm going to go completely out of my comfort zone and draw things I hate just because it's popular (cough, HonestuckFreeNightvale, cough), but it means I should open my mind and really think about what I should be drawing and how it would be received. Another thing I need to think about is original art, as most anime conventions at least require you to have a certain percentage of your work be non-fanart. I have many fashion pieces in mind as well as some body positivity ideas, but I feel like there's more I could be doing!

I have a lot to think about and do, and unfortunately I have no idea when the deadline is! Luckily, the thought of sharing my art with others and getting experience and exposure - not only at MTAC but at other conventions - seems to be getting my creative juices flowing. Even if they reject me, I'm still going to keep trying. Wish me luck, and feel free to share any tips or experiences you may have!!


Obligatory "First Post" Post

First there was my Xanga. Then a Livejournal. Then Wordpress, Blogspot, and tumblr. And now I'm back here, on Blogger. Apparently I had a Blogger blog already? It's deleted now, I was writing silly personal nonsense there. Anyway, this is my umpteenth attempt at having a blog, except this time I have a purpose for this blog. And that purpose is...blogging! Not venting, not reblogging, but good old fashion BLOGGING. Let's see how long I last this time.

As for an introduction - here you go: My name is Bunny. Yes, really (actually, no, not really, but let's pretend). I am 23 years old, but only for about a month longer. I live in a medium sized college town in a small apartment with my fiance. My ultimate goal is to write and draw my own comics, or perhaps even just illustrate...but right now I work for a certain large online retailer putting product from one place to another. I haven't graduated from college, yet, I had to take a break due to my depression and anxiety and haven't been able to afford it again.

Where hobbies are concerned, I of course love writing and drawing most of all. I also enjoy making pointless video blogs for YouTube. I'm usually playing about four video games at once and never completing any of them. I sometimes do a type of Japanese club dancing called parapara. I also sometimes dress up in a Japanese street fashion called "lolita," which entails looking like a frilly cupcake. I also highly enjoy wasting time on tumblr, feel free to follow me there.

Why I started this blog: um. I keep wanting to have a place just to write...I suppose you could call them articles? Opinions? Thoughts? Not quite a personal blog where I vent and cry, and not quite a tumblr made for reblogging thousands of images I don't own. You know. A normal vlog. "Normal." I'll probably be blogging about my thoughts on various types of media, be it new anime, video games, fashion trends, etc. I might also make personal opinion lists or coverage of any experiences I may have. You know. What all those other blogs do.

Whatever it is I end up writing here, I do hope you enjoy and stick around~!