Mandarin MiniCon, an event 10 years in the making

After weeks of wondering about rain, I couldn’t have asked for better weather on Saturday, March 28th. It was clear and sunny, but uncharacteristically cool for late March in Florida. A beautiful perfect day to put on what was going to be my biggest, most ambitious event ever.

Candy Keane at Mandarin MiniCon

Me, 9 months pregnant and happily surveying the scene at Mandarin MiniCon

Three Muses started as a website in 2005, but I’ve been in Mandarin Square since my retail store opened in early 2009. It’s an odd little spot, right on a major road, yet tucked back and pretty much hidden. The #1 phone call at the shop is from lost people asking for directions. It looks more like an office complex and has zero walk-in traffic. Nobody just casually wanders in. The good thing is that privacy also means we don’t have a lot of rules. No required hours to be open or a supervisor to answer to. The bad thing is the part where I mentioned we have zero walk-in traffic and everyone gets lost.

I’ve been wanting to do a large event to get people out to the plaza for a long time. I’ve done much smaller store events that always went well, but I’d never taken advantage of the freedom we have to use the entire plaza area. The thought of getting so many people involved and then hoping people would actually show up was very intimidating. I’ve seen too many empty events with grumbling vendors. Jacksonville can be a tough crowd sometimes.

Then Mythical Mountain moved in a few doors down and mentioned doing an event together for Free Comic Book Day. I’d have loved to do that, but I’m having a baby around that time so it wasn’t going to be possible. Not wanting to lose out on a good opportunity to kick off my maternity leave with a bang, I suggested we do an event earlier. Our own little “mini-con” with other vendors, conventions and local businesses. For some reason having a partner store in this, especially a comic book store, was the push I needed to make it happen. The fact that I would be nearly 38 weeks pregnant at the time and was the only one working at the shop was something I’d just deal with when the time came.

I contacted the building manager and the response was basically “do whatever you want, just clean up afterwards.” So I started sending Facebook messages to everyone I could think of to see if there was interest. One thing I knew was that I wanted to keep it free. We didn’t have to pay for use of the plaza and any money put in would pay off with visitors to the store that day and for long after. I was happy to discover Mythical Mountain had the same mindset.

In the beginning, I really thought I’d be begging people to be involved. But by the time word got out and things started rolling, I suddenly had a waiting list of vendors. That’s when I started to get excited about the interest being shown and knew we were on to something. I also started getting worried about logistical issues like where would they park, what if they got thirsty and hungry and where would they go to the bathroom? Our plaza area was open and free, but it was also free of the usual amenities you get when having an event in an actual building.

So next came the addition of food trucks and porta-potty rentals. With the event rapidly growing in size, I tried to map everything out and measure out spaces to see how many vendors we could fit. I can tell you I do not have a future in map making. I drew a lot of scribbling with some numbers and then decided I had the gist of the layout and would give everybody a spot when they showed up on Saturday. I’m still pretty surprised that actually worked.

I got in early that Saturday and vendors started showing up early right behind me. By our official start time at 11AM, everyone was set up and ready and the store seemed a little slow and manageable. I thought, not so bad, I can handle this. By just a couple hours in, we were slammed with a waiting line to check-out.

I’m very lucky to have friends that stepped in to help! I couldn’t have run the shop that day with Bridget and Meisha helping customers, Ted showing up early to carry the big sign down and help with set-up, Sean keeping an overall eye on things and getting people off the roof at one point and Matt emptying the large trash cans. I know there were also other people helping out and I’m thankful to you all. And all those that helped with clean-up were amazing. The plaza was left spotless.

I keep using the word “amazing” to describe the day because it really was. Things rarely go off so well and so easily. Yes a lot of work went into it to make it happen but you never really know how things are going to come together. The feedback afterwards was enough to give me the warm fuzzies for a week. In fact, I still have them. I feel like everything and everyone I have dedicated my time to, been involved with and supported showed up to return the favor. And on top of that was a whole new group of people I got to meet for the first time.

Click here to check out our photos on the Three Muses Facebook page

I need to do a few more shout-outs besides the aforementioned friends:

* Mythical Mountain- thank you for being my partner in this venture and for being as blindly optimistic as I was about everything! I look forward to doing it again.

* Max Micheals / Movement Magazine- thank you for doing the graphics for the event page, ads and fliers. And for bringing DJ ENS and the music / microphone / sound system. The event would not have been the same without the music. DJ ENS did a great job as both DJ and MC.

* The local conventions – thanks to AmeliaCon, CollectiveCon, GAAM and WasabiCon for being part of the event! Hope you all have the best year yet for your own events. Looking forward to attending them all.

* The food trucks – thanks to Delish Kabobs for coming out and serving some truly delicious food and I love the little food court area set-up! And Mister Softee ice cream was the perfect sweet treat for the day.

* Our costume contest supporters – Big thanks to all those that donated prizes and really made it a contest worth entering: AmeliaCon, GAAM, Actualized Arts, Bento Studios, Fantasi Kandy, Crafts by Helen Duffy, Red Velvet Photography, Showstoppers Variety Show, Art by Sabina

* Red Velvet Photography – thanks for coming out and covering the event! The photos area great and really show all the amazing costumes and crowd. Check out their photos here:

* The Jedi Academy of North Florida – thank you for entertaining the crowd with your performances!

* The Jacksonville geek/nerd/comics/cosplay community – it was wonderful to see so many of you come out and enjoy the day and dress up!

* All our vendors and participants:
The Art Of Joseph Daugherty
Adorable Foxie
Scrub Oak Soaps
Iron Man – Jax
Jenifer Ann
Movement Magazine
Collective Con
Jedi Academy of North Florida
Red Velvet Photography
The Coffee Bard Coffeehouse
Art by Bento Studios
Actualized Arts
Umbrella Corporation Jacksonville (Home of the 219th Brain Surgeons)
Art by edbot5000
North Florida Chapter of the Heroes Alliance
Gotham City FX
Art and Caricatures by Art by Sabina
The Retro Raver
Comic Crafts by Helen Duffy Williams
Art by Mario Scott
Kawaii Designs
Silliness of Sewing
Orchid Ink Studios
I Am Sheridon
Color Television
Fantasi Candi

* I hope I managed to list everybody but if not, I apologize! I truly appreciate everyone involved.

Mandarin MiniCon Costume Contest Rules and Prizes

Mandarin Minicon will be held March 28th, 11AM – 5PM, at Mandarin Square Plaza, hosted by Three Muses Inspired Clothing and Mythical Mountain Comics and Collectibles.

Compete in the costume contest to win the Ultimate Cosplayer Prize Pack! First place comes loaded with free event tickets, geeky goodies, gift certificates and even a cosplay photoshoot.

See below for rules and details:

1) Contest starts at 3PM

2) Stop by Three Muses or Mythical Mountain before 2:30 PM to preregister. We’ll just need your name and character. You can bring pics if you want to help the judges know who your character is, but it isn’t necessary. We will let you know where to go for the start of the contest.

3) Categories are 1st, 2nd, 3rd and kids. Kids category is basically for under 12, but we won’t be demanding birth certificates. Kids can compete in the main category if they prefer, but must choose one or the other.

4) Anyone can compete, including vendors

5) Costume can be any type or genre. Does not have to be a certain theme.

6) Contest cut-off is 20 people

7) Judging criteria: we will have 3 judges. They will be looking at your presentation (are you in character?), skill (outfits personally made or assembled will rate higher than fully purchased outfits), and overall appearance.

Meet the Judges!

Jenifer Ann – cosplayer and model Jenifer Ann has been modeling for Three Muses since before we even had a store! Check out her facebook page to see some of her amazing cosplay photos:

Jenna Esposito – owner of ShoeBeeDoo Boutique and maker of gorgeous customized shoe creations, see Jenna’s cosplay on her facebook page at

Ted Ohrt – Jacksonville’s very own Iron Man, and our honorary male muse. Check out Ted’s page at

And now what you’ve all been waiting for…the amazing prize list!

1st Place

2 Tickets to AmeliaCon, a multi-genre convention held in Amelia Island,

1 Ticket to the kickoff party for the GAAM Icons show at MOSH

$50 Gift certificate to Mythical Mountain Comics and Collectibles

2 Tickets to the Showstoppers Variety and Burlesque show at Eclipse

1 hour Cosplay Photoshoot in the studio with Red Velvet Photography

1 large sheet of Worbla from Three Muses Inspired Clothing

$10 gift certificate for Bento Studios

Scarf or 10″ Tail made by Fantasy Kandi

Video Game Print from Art by Sabina

Avengers themed chair made by Comic Crafts by Helen Duffy Williams

2nd Place

2 Tickets to AmeliaCon

1 Ticket to the kickoff party for the GAAM Icons show at MOSH

$30 Gift certificate to Mythical Mountain Comics and Collectibles

1 Medium sheet of Worbla from Three Muses Inspired Clothing

$10 gift certificate for Bento Studios

Crochet Plushie by Fantasy Kandi

Handmade Trinket from Actualized Arts

3rd Place

2 Tickets to AmeliaCon

1 Ticket to the kickoff party for the GAAM Icons show at MOSH

$15 Gift certificate to Mythical Mountain Comics and Collectibles

1 Small sheet of Worbla from Three Muses Inspired Clothing

Button or Charm for Bento Studios

Handmade Trinket from Actualized Arts


2 Tickets to AmeliaCon

$20 Gift certificate to Mythical Mountain Comics and Collectibles

1 Small sheet of Worbla from Three Muses Inspired Clothing

Button or charm from Bento Studios

Crochet Plushie by Fantasy Kandi

Handmade Trinket from Actualized Arts

*If I have missed anyone or gotten a prize listing wrong, or if you would like to be included in the prize give away, please e-mail me at

Mandarin MiniCon – A Day of Comics and Cosplay

Mandarin Minicon A day of comics and cosplayJoin Three Muses Clothing and Mythical Mountain Comics & Collectibles for a day celebrating comics and cosplay at Mandarin Square! The event will be held outside both upstairs and downstairs in the plaza. The weather is supposed to be cloudy, a little cooler, but no rain! Sounds like a great way to enjoy a spring day.

Get your costume on and come join us for a FREE event featuring vendors, food truck Delish Kebobs, ice cream from Mister Softee, music by DJ ENS from Pixelated, sales, specials, a costume contest, a special performance by the Jedi Academy of North Florida and more!

Facebook event page:

Costume contest at 3PM (details and prizes to be posted soon)
Performances by Jedi Academy of North Florida at 1PM & 4PM

This will also be the LAST DAY Three Muses is open until June. We are closing just for April & May. I am having a baby so the shop is taking a little break during this transition time. (and I really hope I make it till Saturday. I am ready to pop!)

Guests and vendors confirmed:
AmeliaCon – win free tix in the costume contest!
Shoebeedoo – one of a kind comic book heels
The Art Of Joseph Daugherty
Adorable Foxie – fun to wear furry things
Scrub Oak Soaps – all natural soaps
Iron Man – Jax Cosplay Guest
Jenifer Ann – Cosplay Guest
Movement Magazine
Collective Con
Jedi Academy of North Florida– with performances at 1 & 4PM
Red Velvet Photography – roving photographers
GAAM – with the TMNT Van for pics and tix for costume contest winners!
The Coffee Bard Coffeehouse
Art by Bento Studios – with gift certificates and buttons for the costume contest!
Actualized Arts – with trinkets for the costume contest
Umbrella Corporation Jacksonville (Home of the 219th Brain Surgeons)
Art by edbot5000
North Florida Chapter of the Heroes Alliance
Gotham City FX
Art and Caricatures by Art by Sabina– win a video game print in the costume contest!
The Retro Raver
Comic Crafts by Helen Duffy Williams
Art by Mario Scott
Kawaii Designs
Silliness of Sewing
Orchid Ink Studios
I Am Sheridon
Spiders Web Marketing
Color Television

Cosplay Review: Daenerys Targaryen Wig from Cosplay Sky

Daenerys Targaryen wedding dress costumeThe Game of Thrones Daenerys Targaryen Cosplay Wig from was final touch to the costume I’ve been working on the past couple months. The wig arrived in just over 2 weeks, so plan ahead when ordering! It did not disappoint and looked like the website photos right out of the package. It is reasonably priced at $39 and comes pre-styled with 2 braids. I actually removed one of the braids after I put it on because I wanted more hair around my face. The braids undid really easily and didn’t even leave the hair crimped.Daenerys Targaryen cosplay wig

The wig is very long and wavy with a nice thickness and texture. I was happy to find it did not tangle as some long wigs constantly do. The hair was easily finger-combed back into submission whenever the wind messed it up. The wig cap itself is nicely made with a skin colored top, lace mesh liner and adjustable hooks for sizing.

After wearing it on a windy day I was very happy to find it still looked nice after removing it. Longer wigs will often matte up on the under layers and are hard to untangle. This one still looked new at the end of the day. I’m very happy with this wig and look forward to wearing it again!

Daenerys Targaryen wedding dress

10 Ideas for Maternity Costumes from a Pregnant Cosplayer

I have a file folder of ideas and references for future costumes. One folder has Amidala’s pregnancy costumes in it. I was saving those for if I ever became pregnant. So here I am, at 8 months with a big belly and no Star Wars costume in sight. I don’t know if it was pregnancy hormones or what, but as I was looking through the costumes I felt like that was the last thing I wanted to make since it seemed like everyone did those. So that started my search for maternity-friendly costume options.

Costuming while pregnant comes with several challenges, the top two being “If I make or buy this today, will it fit my ever-expanding shape when I plan to wear it?” And “will I be able to take this off to pee every 30 min?” I have made and purchased several costumes over the course of this pregnancy and would like to share what I’ve found as far as options go for pregnant cosplay.

  1. As I mentioned, there is always the Star Wars angle. Padme Amidala is pregnant with the twins and has a few maternity costuming options including a blue nightgown looking outfit and a sporty pregnant Jedi.
  1. For me Halloween came in my first trimester, while I was pretty miserable with morning (afternoon and evening) sickness. So I stayed home and handed out candy while wearing the easiest of all maternity costumes- the humorous t-shirt. pregnant halloween shirt
  2. For the more creative and larger bellied costumer, there is always the “belly as accessory” option.
  1. If your belly isn’t quite big enough to be the focus of the outfit, but is too big for you to wear your regular costumes, choose a costume that disguises the belly. I went with Lumpy Space Princess from Adventure time. I figured she’s lumpy and so am I. I got a lot of use out of this outfit from 2-6 months along because it was so comfy and stretchy! All I did was sew some tulle onto a purple cotton dress.
  1. Halloween, horror fests and zombie walks are the perfect time for the gross zombie baby belly
  1. There’s always the packaged pregnant costume in a bag. I tried the Maternity Fairy costume from I think most of these kind of costumes are really just plus size costumes repackaged. This one ran pretty small, though it had plenty of belly room. The arms were tight enough to fit a child. There aren’t many good manufactured maternity costumes that are worth getting so I would not really recommend the packaged options. You can just as easily look for something in a plus size.
  1. Anything with an empire waist can be a pregnancy costume. I dressed as a pirate for the medieval fair. My top is just an empire waist dress over stretchy pleather leggings. I wore the Burgundy High Low Gauze Peasant Dress by Leg Avenue, which I wouldn’t actually recommend because it ripped THREE times before I even left the house. I had to sew it back together and pray it didn’t just rip right off. The gauze material is pretty delicate. My pants were black liquid leggings by Elegant Moments. They were comfy and low waisted so they fit right under my belly. Whenever someone commented on my pregnant status I just told them “Blackbeard did it.”pregnant pirate
  2. Find obscure characters. A pregnant friend of mine went to MegaCon as Most Fruitful Yuki. She wasn’t far enough along for Yuki’s big belly so she wore a deflated beach ball over her small bump.
  1. There are several pregnant characters in pop culture besides Amidala. Juno is one of the most comfortable costumes to do and the bonus is your partner can go as Bleeker. juno

    Lord_Snow_Irri_Dany_pregnantThere’s also Daenerys Targaryen, although if you watch GOT, you know that didn’t end well. I’m actually working on a Daenerys dress right now, but it’s her wedding dress outfit, not actually one of her maternity styles. The dress just looked really well suited to a pregnant shape. Which leads me to the final section-

  1. Any character can be pregnant! When you are far enough along, flaunt the bump, don’t hide it. For New Year’s Eve I wanted to be something pretty and elegant so I went as the White Queen to an Alice in Wonderland themed event. I made a flowy white empire waist dress. It was like wearing a nightgown, but I felt dressed up and it was obvious by then I was really pregnant and not just lumpy.

It’s about to get weird- Upcoming changes to store hours

Due to my only employee’s more sudden than expected departure, the shop hours are about to get weird. I’m going to try and stick to them as much as possible, but it’s back to just being me in there and at 32 weeks pregnant I have a lot of doctors appointments in the upcoming months.

The job that was going to take a while to get turned into an overnight offer. Then the part-time job where she would be available to help me in March suddenly became a full-time job. With no advance notice, I’m left in a bit of a bind with appointments coming up. This is not an ideal situation, but things never really go how you think they will, right?

This week should be fine, but next week 2/25 I’ll be closing at 5PM and I’ll be closed all day Saturday 2/28. My grandmother is going to come down in mid-March to help out so I don’t think I’ll need to completely close the store early. Regardless I will be open for Mandarin MiniCon on March 28th. When in doubt about shop hours, just call 260-5525. I’ll also post updates to Facebook.

And then I plan to officially take a break and close the shop for April and May.

Thanks to everyone who has offered to help, but I’m not ready to hire and train someone new right now. You’d be amazed at all the little stuff there is to learn to work the shop. I’ll probably start looking to hire someone mid-May so I have time to train them before we open back up June 1. I’m ready to adjust my sails, make some changes and move forward 🙂

Quote about change

Desperately Seeking Susan Jacket Original Sold for over $200,000

Thirty years after the release of Desperately Seeking Susan, the love for the movie and Madonna’s iconic style is still running strong as exemplified by the recent auction where the original jacket from the movie was sold for $252,000 and that famous single earring went for $34,375.

As an 80s kid, I was in LOVE with that movie and wanted that jacket so bad! So when I started making costumes, that jacket was always on my to-do list. I started out with the common misconception that the jacket was black. I also thought it was leather! I was wrong on both accounts. The material is a metallic dark green with gold threads as shown in these photos of the original jacket posted for the Rock-n-Roll Auction.

I do make my own version, which is an olive color with a slight sheen to it. And because so many people still request it in black, I’ll soon be doing it in black as well! I call it the Desperately 80s Jacket. My back design is the same idea but on a slightly smaller scale. Definitely a fan-made ode to the movie and not an exact replica. I really enjoy making these though!