#I can take terrible pictures and stick a lot if stickers on them
I am having the time of my LIFE
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Evening to ya, Ghosti✌️😆
Sorry if the wording sounds silly, but I wanted to ask if you know any rituals I could do for the New Years. 🤣 Christmas hasn't been exactly an easy time for me for various reasons and I tend to get the holiday blues pretty bad, and for a long old while New Years has felt very similar. I'm doing my best to feel hopeful and to have some faith for the new year, but it's turning out to be trickier than I anticipated. So I wanted to ask for suggestions as to do anything that could help feeling more hopeful, I dunno. :3
Though feel free to ignore this if you don't have the energy for it. I hope you had delightful holiday however you celebrated!!! 😊💖💖💖💖
Hey anon! (it’s now afternoon here in the UK, and it was morning when I started this! I got a bit carried away). I don’t know that I’m necessarily the right person to ask about this, but here are some ideas of things I’ve found helpful/centring/calming anyway which you could draw from. Other folks, please feel free to chime in with your favourite ways to put the old year to bed and welcome in the new one!
(first of all, I’m sending you lots of virtual ghostli hugs to help drive away those holiday blues. That sucks, and I’m so sorry it’s been so tough for you.)
Here’s a rundown of what’s below, and I’ll put in a ‘keep reading’ so that it’s not an incredibly long post! Some of it is more on the ‘spiritutal’ side of things, and others are just mundane and practical things.
Congratulate yourself on making it through the clusterfuck that was 2020
Make some tea and meditate on what’s been and what you wish for
Go outside, be still, and breathe deeply
Let go of negative events and thoughts by writing them down, then safely burning the paper
Disconnect from social media for a few days (or however long you’re comfortable with)
Start a bullet journal
Write lists of goals for 2021 and then refine/distill them down to 3 manageable objectives
Commit 100% to 6 months of positive change
Pick three dates/months in the year when good things will happen, and make them happen (including growing veg/fruit)
Light a candle on the full moon or New Year
Ok, so, first of all, you’ve made it through this year!! That’s no small accomplishment, given the sheer volume of absolute shite that has been flung at us from all angles, no matter where in the world you live. Celebrate that. Seriously, I’m not being flippant. Take a moment of stillness wherever you are, be ‘present’, and just think about the fact that you’re here, right now, reading this post. Not everyone is here any more for one reason or another, but you did it. Congratulate yourself and celebrate that. Treat yourself to a slice of cake (or something you really enjoy) specifically to celebrate making it through 2020.
Make a cup of tea (try a new blend or recipe perhaps, or stick with your absolute favourite), or make a comforting drink of your choice. As you pour the water into the cup, breathe in the steam and enjoy the scent of it. Try and imbue all the positive things - memories, achievements, moments etc. - that you encountered this year into the tea/drink, and think about them growing in strength as the tea steeps, and envisage them continuing on to next year too. When you drink the tea, you take the positive thoughts into yourself and they become a part of you. You could try it in the morning with a caffeinated drink (if you enjoy those) and let it fuel you for the day, or you could try a herbal tea at night to let the good vibes steep overnight while you rest. Make it part of your daily routine; a private meditation.
Go outside and find a quiet spot somewhere and either stand or sit and just soak up the atmosphere. If there’s a tree nearby, think about the way its roots are planted in the earth, its trunk stands tall, and its branches reach towards the sky. Feel that space inside you. Breathe deeply in and out, visualising your lungs filling to the deepest parts, starting at the bottom. Count to four for each inhale, and six out (or whatever you’re comfortable with, so long as the exhale is longer than the inhale). This will help to still you and calm you.
If you have something fireproof (can just be a ceramic bowl), take a piece of paper and make a moment to write down all the negative things about this year, using a pen that you’re comfortable with. If you’re not one for words, draw pictures. You can make it really beautiful or just scribble it all down - it doesn’t matter. Get that shit out. Look at it for a while and read it through, mentally letting go of each thing as your eyes pass over it, then light one corner (carefully!!!) and let it burn somewhere with good ventilation (a cooker hood is good for that, but outside is better). Visualise all that negativity being swallowed by the universe and let it go. My favourite line from the Seamus Heaney translation of Beowulf comes at Beowulf’s funeral when a Geat woman is singing her grief at his passing to the sky, and there’s the simple sentence: “Heaven swallowed the smoke.” How beautiful is that? The sky swallowed up her grief as she poured it out to the universe. The negativity might take some time to vanish from your life (it’s not going to disappear at the same time as the paper, sadly!), but watching it go can be the first stage of letting things go. I did this last year, and I’m only just letting go of the last things on that list, but it was a start, and it made me feel more at peace.
Disconnect from social media. I know that with so much more happening online this year out of necessity, we’ve become even more dependant on our phones and computers, and it’s wonderful that we have this chance to connect with people when we can’t see them face to face, but social media can also act as a crucible for negative feelings. People usually post the best or the worst aspects of what’s going on for them or what they care about, so it leads to a skewed view of both the world and of what’s going on amongst our connections. It’s easy to start feeling insignificant next to someone else because of their achievements or their looks etc. and it’s also easy to start to get a bleak outlook when the news is full of terrible stories and people are reacting to it in a volatile and often knee-jerk way. Take some time off - uninstall the apps, or put the limiter setting on, or just step back - for a day, two days, a week, whatever you’re comfortable with. It doesn’t have to be forever. If you use those platforms to talk to people, tell them what you’re doing, and give them another way to reach you if they need. No need to isolate yourself completely!! Think about how you felt before you started it (write it down?) and do the same afterwards, and compare. If it didn’t work for you, then that’s fine too.
Start a bullet journal! Now is the perfect time to start bullet journaling. I first started this year when I felt like time was slipping through my fingers and my life was out of my control, and it’s really helped me to get a sense of order back. It’s not the magic cure-all for procrastinators and time wasters, trust me, but it can help to organise your mind as well as your day, and keep track of your habits etc. It can be literally whatever tool you need it to be. There’s a trend on social media - particularly Instagram and YouTube - that shows off these gorgeous journals that are basically works of art in themselves, and while it’s absolutely fine to aspire to that if you want to, the essential point of the bullet journal is to be a tool. You can buy print-outs from Etsy if you don’t fancy doing your own spreads. But don’t get completely hung up on pretty spreads and layouts because you won’t use it fully then. If you’ve got ‘new book fear’, like I did, make your own! I literally started my journaling by folding a few pieces of paper over, slapping a few stickers on them to cheer them up, and writing some lists. I didn’t buy a ‘proper’ journal until July 2020 when I’d got the hang of what I wanted out of the tool, and how to use it. I adapted one or two things, and I’ll be changing one or two things for next year, but it was a good way to start.
Here are two ‘minimalist’ journals and styles that I found helpful when setting mine up. They focus on usefulness and practicality, rather than overwhelming, artistic spreads and cutesy designs. I’m about to do a ‘plan with me 2021’ journal video for YouTube, so I’ll put that up when I’ve finished it, in case that’s helpful.
Pick Up Limes
Write down the things you want to achieve for 2021. These can be more abstract concepts like ‘more organised’ ‘healthier’ ‘start a business’ etc. Then, when you’ve got as many things as you’d ideally love to achieve/accomplish/manifest (don’t hold back at that stage), take another piece of paper and choose a maximum of six from that first lot to focus on, and below that, choose just three absolutely essential things to focus on. Make those your things for 2021.
Now, this one is a personal one for me, so it may not be applicable at all to you/others, but I’ll share it anyway. For me, I need to make some significant lifestyle changes for my physical and mental health. So, I’ve decided to commit to 6 months of really hard work to bring about those changes. Time is going to pass anyway, from January to June. Six months will come and go anyway. Where will I be in six months’ time? I could be physically and mentally exactly where I am today. That thought is super depressing to me. Or, I could devote 200% focus, commitment, and energy, and bring about those changes, and be the ‘me’ I want to be in six months’ time.
It’s like the adage of ‘given a week to write a speech, it will take you a week, but given a day to write the same speech, it will take you a day’ - your brain will tell you it takes the amount of time that you have at hand to accomplish the task, and that’s simply how long it then takes. Use those three things from the 2021 list above, and commit to making those three things happen.
As an aside, tell someone (whose opinions you value) that you’re going to do this. By telling someone, you’re helping to cement the idea in reality, and you’ve got a support to turn to if it gets rocky, someone to cheer you on, and someone to celebrate with who knew what a struggle and commitment this was to you in the first place.
Pick three points in the year where good things will happen. Book yourself something nice, save up for something and have it delivered then, or tell yourself that you will have achieved [x] by May, or September, or December. For me, it’s a working draft of my novel, and certain health goals by October, but make it yours, and keep those points fixed in your mind. It will help 2021 not to be one amorphous mass of time, and will give it structure and form. You could also choose to grow something in a pot - lots of vegetables can be grown cheaply from seed in a pot on a windowsill, and you’ll have something tasty to eat at the end of it!!
Here’s a slightly gentler idea to finish with:
On New Year’s Eve take a moment to yourself, go outside if it’s not raining or too cold etc., light a candle, hold it (safely) in your hands, and be still. It doesn’t have to be exactly at midnight, but it will help your focus if it’s dark. Otherwise, go to a quiet part of the house and turn the lights down so that the candle flame is your focus. As before, think about what you’ve achieved this year, and be honest, not just negative! It’s very easy to say ‘oh I didn’t achieve anything, it all sucks, it was all awful’, when there will be tiny victories tucked away in there, I promise you, even if it was the toughest year of your life. Then think about where you are at the moment, mentally and physically. Acknowledge that state of being. Look at it with honest eyes. This moment is not for anyone else, so you don’t need to colour it one way or another. It’s for you. If you’re finding it hard not to be negative, be neutral. Let those thoughts come and go, and then turn your mind to the future. Mentally feed those negative thoughts into the flame in front of you, one at a time. Say it out loud if that helps, but do what makes you comfortable. Let the light from the flame fill your mind and your heart, and think about your intentions for the new year.
Tonight (30th Dec) is a full moon, so if that is significant for you, you may wish to do this tonight instead of tomorrow.
I hope that some of that gives you some inspiration, and I hope that people will chime in with their own new year’s rituals and habits. Be honest with yourself but not harsh, and be positive but not unrealistic. This year has been one hell of a ride, and we’re not done yet... Here in the UK, we’ve got the highest numbers of Covid that we’ve ever had, we’re in the harshest lock down (Tier 4) and can’t visit anyone, and we’re also going through Brexit (which is proving a nightmare for everyone, especially small businesses...).
Control the things you can control, and learn and employ systems to ride out the things that are beyond your influence. And take heart - you have a family of folks on here, all across the world!
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VIP Pets arrived!
Ok. A lot of my friends hate blind packed toys, so I volunteered to buy a bunch of these VIP Pets off Amazon (looks like they jacked up the price after I ordered by almost double......) and open them so they could choose the ones they want.
I’m a bad judge of size unless I have the item in-hand. The containers are HUGE. There’s a lot more gimmick to these than I realized. I’m not sure what shape this container is supposed to represent... Note the Glitter Confetti warning sticker at the bottom.
Water???? Uh oh.
The “Unboxing” instructions say:
Disassemble the container most of the way by removing the cap and the base. That makes the container kind of like a strainer with holes at the top and the bottom so water can run through. The base holds the accessories pouch.
Run water through the container.
Twist the base until it can be separated from the container.
Separate the container.
Wet a cloth and wipe the paint from the face.
Throw away the “shower cap” (it’s just a plastic bag).
The “Assembly instructions are:
Open the container and pop the toy off of the chair.
Pop the chair off of the strainer-base.
Attach the suction cup to the bottom of the chair.
Congratulations there is a suction cup on the bottom of your chair.
Apply the suction cup to a flat surface.
You did that. Go you.
I’m guessing the suction cup is meant to hold the pet in place while you play with their hair.
Oh. Not a surprise at all, once you get the outer wrapper off. My weird blind bag luck struck again! The very first one I opened was the one I wanted the most. The pet has a little cape and a “shower cap” that are semi-opaque, and paint over one eye. The checklists don’t mention any variants of the face paint, so I’m not sure why they bothered.
The pet is attached to the strainer base with a single zip tie that also wraps around the neck.
I was surprised to discover that there is a different checklist + hair style ideas sheet for each character. It also lists all of the accessories you’ll get.
Alexia Exhibition comes with a head scarf, a paintbrush hair clip, one blue hair tie, a suction cup with a pink plastic ring, a periwinkle hair pick, and a little container of clear heart glitter. I’m saving that for my resins.
I did one following the directions for you, and I hope you appreciate it....
Run water through the container, and TA-DAA the barely opaque “shower cap” and cape dissapear! Or so it seems...
In reality, they kind of dissolved. Kind of. Not completely. See those strings in the back of the left picture? They’re sticky, slimy, gooey, gelatin-y, boogery feeling strips of probably starch. It’s all over her head....
It’s all over her body. I had to take her head off to get it all off from around and under her neck. It’s all over the inside of the not-quite-clear plastic container. Every time I thought I was safe, I’d stick my finger in more.
I hated this.
Slimy and sticky are two very big No Thanks textures for me.
Her first combing she lost a few plugs of green. I’ve seen worse.
Her bangs are also a disaster and will need fixed.
I had tried rubbing the paint from her face with my thumb while running it under the faucet and there was still a bit stuck. Normally, rubbing alcohol won’t affect a factory faceup, but it took the white right off. It does come off easiest if you use a wet paper towel or wash cloth.
Look at all that hair! It’s long, and bright, and colorful, and doesn’t feel very nice. It’s not the worst, but it doesn’t have a texture that makes me want to play with it.
The headband sticks into a hole in her head with a peg. It stays on well and is super cute. I am going to have to fix her bangs..... That’s terrible.
A closer look at the checklist. There are only 6 different pets with 2 variants each.
Then I opened a second one to see if it could be done without water, meaning without the slime.
It totally can.
The second one I opened was Lady Gigi Exclusive Event, which just happened to be my second choice... Weird blind bag luck. Lady Gigi’s outer wrapper did NOT have a glitter confetti warning sticker.
Lady Gigi is in worse shape than Alexia with missing plugs even before her first brushing. She also has really sloppy and scuffed paint all around.
So here are the two I’ve opened so far. The color of the bottle.... nipple??? matches the chairs and the each have unique to them accessories and hair styling guides. Apparently you’re supposed to put the glitter hearts in Alexia’s hair, but there’s no way to get them to stay. No hair gel or anything like that.
As I always do, here is the waste (assuming you keep the checklists and container). It’s not that bad as far as blind bag toys go. The items on the left are the ones that would dissolve (partially) when you run water through the container, so you may or may not count those as waste.
Thinking about it, these might make weird but fun bath toys. My son liked strainers in the bath when he was little and you can put things inside and put the cap on, too.
The containers don’t really work as displays since they’re not really clear. Though you could stack them on top of each other if you wanted.
All in all, I’m kind of meh on VIP Pets. They are cute and have pretty colors.
Very happy they can be opened without activating the sliminess.
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StEx Appreciation Month, Day 31: Nitpicks
SO, I have a LOT of nitpicks about literally every aspect of the show, like I could go on and on, but then this post would be the embodiment of this gif:
So for today I’m just going to focus on costume nitpicks! Like with everything in the show I have an ideal version of everyone’s costume/wig/makeup, so today I’ll just go over my main nitpicks with the various costumes and post my favorite versions!
Obligatory JapanAus picture because those tours overall had the BEST costume aesthetics.
Let’s get started:
(Also just to go ahead and get this out of the way, this post is almost completely ignoring the 2018 redesigns, like. Those don’t live in my head. I’ll just be focusing on the Broadway/Bochum/tour designs.)
Okay so with Rusty my main nitpick is!!! That stupid empty black space that’s above his chest plate in SO many of the costumes!! Like WHY is that there?! Here’s a good picture of it:
It drives me absolutely insane aljsldf. Luckily Bochum eventually corrected this but that it was ever there drives me up a wall.
Another nitpick is his headband… I can tolerate it when it’s paired with the hat, but I can’t stand it on its own, it just looks ugly to me. And speaking of his hat, I love most versions of it, EXCEPT for the New Starlight Express one where it was styled after a baseball cap. That bothers me on a level I don’t even fully understand alsjflds.
Anyway, I think overall my favorite version of Rusty’s costume is the 2018 version… I think the silhouette looks strange, especially from the side, like kind of too baggy? But overall it’s really cute, I love the colors and the new chest plate design, and the HAT. Also really like the new makeup!! It was looking rough for a minute lmao.
This is Peak Performance (not the Pearl…definitely not the Pearl):
Being as I’m in love with most of Pearl’s costumes I actually don’t have a ton of nitpicks. I think my main one is that I’m not a fan of the salmon/gold tones that were sometimes used for the bodice. For example:
I think moreso than the costumes I’m critical of Pearl’s wigs. I HATE when she has straight wigs… the only exception to this rule is Stephanie Lawrence’s and Nikki Belsher’s because those wigs were also big and fluffy. But that lanky thing Bochum had in the early 2000s? Terrible. Pearl should have big, dramatic curls. Also, this should go without saying but her hair should be PINK. Blonde Pearl actually gives me acid reflux.
Also I don’t think much attention is given to her headpiece, but I really love when they’re big and princess-y. Like, this headpiece with these earrings? I love:
As far as a favorite Pearl costume, that’s really hard because I love so many of them, but I’ll say this one. I think it’s a nice balance of pink and white:
I don’t have a ton of nitpicks about Greaseball’s costume… like, it fucks pretty hard? I moreso have beef with his makeup. NONE of these men know how to blend and it looks terrible. I get that it might be a stage makeup thing that looks better under stage lights but I still don’t even really buy that because every other character blends?? Also, I don’t like how the makeup is just contouring… I get that it’s to make the actors look more masculine, which does suit Greaseball’s character, but PLEASE give that diesel some character makeup!!
I really stan the Broadway makeup for this reason. Look at this Jareth-looking bitch, he looks amazing! And it’s just SO cool:
Idk even this London makeup is pretty okay imo… anything to make him more visually interesting 😭:
My main gripe with Dinah’s costume will forever and always be the apron lmao. I’m very, very picky about it because it’s SO easy to make look tacky as hell. The 2018 apron is the ugliest its ever been, I’m sorry:
LIKE WHY IS IT SO BIG AND LONG. Also the silver strap around her chest is WAY too high now. I swear they tried to make the 2018 coaches more modest in the ugliest ways possible. But anyway.
I prefer for the apron to only be beneath the belt, but if it also has to be above the belt I can tolerate it if its small, like the Broadway design or the earlier Bochum designs. I also prefer when her leggings are on the more silver/metallic side than just straight up blue. Broadway and Japan-Australia had the right idea with how metallic they made everyone look.
As far as Bochum goes, I feel like the costume’s peak was from like 1997 to 2007:
PERSONALLY, though, my ideal Dinah costume would be Debbie Wake’s from the Japan tours. The color, the leggings, the wig, it’s all so… Peak! I also really love how the top of her skirt is divided into sections?? It’s really cute. The only thing I’d change is I’d remove the part of the apron that reaches above the belt and adjust the color of her wig. But otherwise I love this one so much 🥺🥺🥺:
I have a lot of very disjointed thoughts on Electra’s costume, but bottom line is I’m rarely content with it… but my MAIN nitpick is definitely the color scheme. I know that it’s intended to be blue/red/silver but instead it often looks blue/red/white to me and I just CANNOT dissociate that from the American flag/overzealous patriotism alsjdlf, it kind of gives me heartburn. I’ve seen some fan redesigns of the costume that incorporate a blue/red/gold color scheme instead and I think that could REALLY fuck, though I don’t know how it’d translate to the stage/irl. Or just?? Design his palette after the bi flag colors??
Another nitpick is how boxy and bulky his chest box often is. I feel like I can’t criticize this TOO harshly because, in my opinion, this musical should be FIRMLY 80s, and that’s probably what counted as “futuristic” in the 80s, but it’s just a personal preference of mine that I wish his chest piece was more slender and streamlined. I think it’d make the silhouette better and just?? Look better??
I also don’t like most of the mohawk wigs… they just look… VERY cheap and fake to me most of the time. I prefer the looser/wilder wigs because they look softer and more natural.
ANYWAY I’ve found that the costume that actually sates most of these complaints for me is the Japan-Australia costume. The palette actually looks blue, red, and SILVER to me, and the body suit is just?? Sooo shiny and metallic and sparkly?? It’s so pretty. The wig is a perfect balance of the looser/wilder London wigs and the early mohawk wigs, and the MAKEUP is so good, it’s the only time I’ve seen a silvery/metallic base on Electra work and NOT whitewash the fuck out of the actor. Not to mention the base in JapanAus matched the body suit REALLY well and aaaah idk I could wax poetic about this costume all night aljsfld it’s really good and I appreciate it for being the, like, one (1) Electra costume I vibe with 😭.
Again, I’d streamline the chest box if I could but overall? This is peak performance:
Off the bat I’ll say I hate how big his shoulder boxes have gotten over the years. Like they are just ridiculously massive, it looks kind of awkward when the actors can’t even rest their arms by their sides due to it. They look like little kids wearing arm floats. Also not a fan of how much lower the neckline has gotten, and how much smaller the bandana has gotten?? His chest and neck are SO exposed now when they use to be completely covered and it irks the hell out of me.
Funnily, this one picture pretty clearly displays all three of these nitpicks:
Compare this to back when the neckline was higher/the bandana larger, he’s completely covered. He also isn’t fucking DROWNING in his shoulder boxes:
Also not a fan of the hair piece Bochum has used in recent years. Like it was just so much cuter when the actors used their real hair :^//. And I just Do Not Vibe with how straight and neat the hair piece is, CB has wild, curly hair and I’ll die on that hill.
ALSO, and this is more specific to just one actor, but I kind of hate Dan Ellison’s makeup aljsldf. Like it’s well done but it just has far too much going on. All what CB needs done is his cheeks, his eyes, and his lips— all that extra that Dan does on his jawline and with the laugh lines around his mouth and eyes is just… too much. And it frustrates me so much because he would be SO much cuter if he went with a simpler makeup!! Ugh. But anyway.
This was 100% the makeup at its best, like. Absolutely peak, thank you Thierry Gondet:
And my favorite costume comes from the 1990 Japan tour. I ADORE how this chest box is fitted and designed, and it just looks so shiny and red? Like it was freshly washed and painted 😭. Not to mention the red contour on his temples is kind of a Look:
The only thing I’d adjust is I’d give him the suspenders present in most of his costumes, because they’re honestly adorable. And, of course, he needs his Chessie System sticker. But otherwise? This is Peak Performance.
Okay I was gonna do more but this thing is fuckoff long as it is, so I’ll just stick to the Big Six. If you made it this far you’re a trooper, thank you for taking the time to read my ramblings aljsldfs.
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