Things I Love Thursday: the Birthday Wishlist Edition

My birthday is more than a month away, but I’m one of those people that celebrate all month. I get pumped for a day all to me. Last year we went south to the Maryland Renaissance Fair. I’m not so sure what we will do this year, probably dinner somewhere at Destiny, USA (Formerly the Carousel Mall of Syracuse) since we’re so close.

I thought that I would make a pre-shopping list to share the things I’m dying to get my hands on.

Books

The day after my birthday, two authors that I love dearly are dropping new novels.

Leigh Bardugo is the author of the Grisha series and this sequel to Six of Crows is set in that very same fantastic universe. Something happened to one of my favorite characters at the end of Six of Crows so I’m excited to finally pick back up where it left off.

Laini Taylor wrote Daughter of Smoke and Bone, a book I loved so much that I ordered a second copy for my best friend. If I understand correctly, this book is set in the same universe, after the war between the great awful thing and the characters from that series. Confused as I am, I still really want this book.

Charm Beads

I think we all know that I have an obsession with these things. But I haven’t bought myself any of them yet! Now that I’m working at Hot Topic, I can wear my charm bracelet without ruining it and I need to add some cool beads to it.

What can I say? I wear my geek on my sleeve. Or, my wrist, rather.

Fan Art

Specifically, Charlie Bowater’s interpretation of characters from A Court of Mist and Fury. I’m currently rereading it because it has hit the top of my favorites list in an obsessive way. Mix that with Bowater’s devastatingly beautiful art and I’m sold.

Bowater1bOWATER2

These would have to hang in the area I choose to use for art and writing. Hopefully, it would inspire me to reach for Bowater and Maas’s levels of awesome.

SDCC Her Universe Fashion Show

In my teens I loved fashion. I had an opportunity to learn how to make clothing through an extneded school program and I’m kind of kicking myself for not doing it. At the time, I didn’t seem to fit in with what was fashionable, though. So I backed away from it, telling myself that it just wasn’t for me after all.

Buuuuuuut,

It would seem that I was totally wrong. For the past couple of years, not only has Her Universe been pumping out some really sick geek designs, but they’ve hosted entire fashion shows at the San Diego Comic Con! Every dress (or what have you) that comes down that runway is heavily inspired by the things that geeks love.

This year, Ashley Eckstein stepped out in a dress made completely of legos. Not only that, but it was sporting the face of Ahsoka from the Star Wars cartoons, a character that Eckstein, herself, voices!

I think my favorite was the Diana Prince Jacket that unfurled into a blazing Wonder Woman dress that sparkled under all those lights. It was freaking magnificent.

Wonder_Woman

Wonder woman sdcc

I love love love the classic Wonder Woman colors in this dress! it was designed and made by Adria Sanchez-Chaidez, seen here wearing her own gown.

Oh, but there’s more!

AlwaysDress-SelinaZawacki

always

There are LED lights in this one that create a glowing doe patronus in the skirt. How cool is this blend of technology and fashion? Also, if you look closely there are hints of Slytherin green not only in the boots, but in the underskirt as well.

The Always Patronus dress is designed and made by SZMOON.

There are a number of other dresses dedicated to all sorts of fandoms, such as Supernatural, The Never Ending Story, and Labyrinth. There are some that I just want to love because I love the Fandom, but can’t really find it in myself to love the design. Maybe you’ll like them better than me!

Fashion isn’t just for the stick thin models and politicians that can afford 1,200$ jackets. It’s for us, too, so that we look good at our new job or on our way to the bus. I know I feel pretty kick ass when I wear my Wonder Woman jewelry or like I could be spirited into another world when I wear my Ghibli get-up.

Check out the dresses here and vote for your favorite until August 11th!

I’d like to note that I in no way own the rights to these photos, they are property of Her Universe. I’m just using them to promote Her Universe and the Her Universe Fashion Show because I love both.

How to Geekify Your Adult Bedroom

I think many of us can remember having or our friends having super neat themed bedrooms. A co-worker that I had in Maryland did her son’s bedroom with an X-Box theme, complete with the neon green touches. Why does that kind of fun have to end when we become adults?

Why does all fun have to end when we become adults?

Thaaaat’s a question for another time…

Throw Pillows

You can hit up sites like Etsy, Look Human, and Society Six for some really cool throw pillows, these days. Even Bed Bath and Beyond had a cool Star Wars collection that I kind of needed at one point. These little pillows can be tossed on your bed for a cushy, adult touch.

My personal favorites are Evie Seo‘s Book-ish Designs on Society Six. I plan on adding a few of these to my couch and bed this summer when my wallet is padded, like this one:

Six

Art Prints

Blank walls are never fun. They drive me a little crazy, honestly. Especially all white. I hate all white. Why not brighten it up with a framed poster or print. You can easily pick up poster frames at Wal-mart or Michael’s to dress up that college dorm poster you still love. Or you can buy a print of some super cool fan art off Etsy or Society Six.

Dad’s game room got an Art Nouveau inspired Nintendo piece by Megan Lara for Christmas, but I rather like these cool prints I found on Amazon.

Kick AssBedding

Okay, let’s just admit now that we all still want those supersoft Star Wars sheets we had on our twin mattress when we were nine. If you don’t you’re lying to yourself. That’s okay.

There are some sick adult options out there right now between Think Geek and Hot Topic. Even Etsy has something to say on the subject. You can rock the Avengers in a super elegant, minimalist way or you can sleep in the Tardis if that’s what you really want. It was for me for a while.

Or, if you can’t find what you want you can create a color palette to match your fandom. If you love Sherlock, but can’t find sweet Sherlock wallpaper sheets (which must be a thing, right?) then pair some super slick purple sheets with a nice black comforter, preferable in a black on black damask. Cause that screams freaking elegant.

AvengersAccessorize

Go ahead and add the final touches. Get that golden unicorn lamp you’ve been eyeballing. I’ve been eyeballing one at Target. Flowers of any kind brighten up a space. I learned this from my BFF who has around twenty bouquets of fake flowers in her studio apartment. And candles can go a long way towards making a room cozy or making it romantic. Etsy has a plethora of sellers offering geeky themed candles, such as Frostbeard, to add scent to your decor.

I bought the BFF this sweet candle for Christmas.

Romance

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A Geek Girl’s Guide to the Art of Baking

Last time we spoke, I let you in on my little secret: that I’m a science geek, too.

Science is really important when baking. It gets you the form that you want. On the other hand, there is also an art to baking. Especially the kind of baking you’ll find on here. Of course, you might think of art as re-creating our favorite geeky icons, but there’s a bit more to it than just that.

Totally Not Me, But Totally Cool
Totally Not Me, But Totally Cool

Flavor. I mean, they can be pretty, but we also have to eat what we make in in the end.

Here’s where you can have fun. There’s a lot of ways to add flavor to something these days. There are extracts and concentrates for everything. You can use citrus zests, flavored liqeurs, jams and jellies, as well as anything else you could think of. Add them to your batters and dough. Add them to your icing. You can use only a single note, like plain vanilla, or you can play mix and match to create depth of flavor.

We all know some tried and true flavor combinations that no one should be afraid of. For example: Peanutbutter and Jelly (or Chocolate, duh), Chocolate and Coffee, Lemon and Raspberry. Honey and Lavender is delicious in bread. Sage and Blackberry is deceptively good in tea. Sage and Lemon, even, is good in a shortbread cookie. I had a friend single-handedly devour that batch when I made it. Even, bear with me, Strawberry and Balsamic Vinegar is delicious. It so is.

Just make sure that when adding these flavors you account for any extra moisture or dryness in your recipe. Adding too much liquid flavoring can cause your batter to become too runny while a bevy of dry flavor can create something too crumbly. Finding the sweet spot is key in all things, right?

Once all is said and baked, then comes the art of decoration. As I displayed with my Sailor Moon cookies, I used wax paper to draw and cut out a template for my cookie shapes. This kept me from spending a lot on cookie cutter clutter. Feel free to print your desired shape off the internet and trace over it with the wax paper. Then you have a reference photo nearby when decorating!

For piped cookies, draw your templates directly onto the paper with enough space between each so that the cookies don’t touch each other while baking, but don’t cut it out. You can simply lay the (preferably) parchment paper onto the cookie sheet and pipe your cookies directly onto the paper before throwing the whole shebang into the oven. This works well with Macarons and Spritz cookies.

Later, once all is cool, you can use buttercream frosting, royal icing, sprinkles, edible glitter (yeah, that’s real), and fondant to make your cookies geeky and pretty. I saw a DIY where one baker used fondant to cut out and make her own Sailor Moon inspired sprinkles. With a few supplied from your craft shop we could do something cool like that, too!

All in all, have fun in the kitchen. There will be failures. It happens with any venture. Just be sure to laugh it off and try again. For Christmas, Mom and I (both seasoned bakers) left a pan of cookies in the oven for about an hour. We laughed, tossed them away, and went on with our baking. Shit happens.

 

Girl Getting Her Geek On New Year’s Resolutions

We all know that New Year’s Resolutions are hardly followed through, but they are a great way to ring in the new year. Bringing the idea of fresh starts and positive energy into such a charged time of year seems powerful. Just keep the resolutions within your reach.

ONE: Do More DIY

Ever since I saw this really cool Chain Chomp Cat Bed I’ve been dying to try it. My cat doesn’t love pet beds, but he does love small spaces to chill in. I’m the kind of person that loves to put things together, to make it myself and feel that sense of accomplishment. Plus, my house could totally use more geeky elements. I especially love hoop art (not my pinterest board, but it shows you what I mean). I could totally do that!

TWO: Fix My Eating Habits

Five years ago I put a lot of effort into losing more than fifty pounds. Happiness in marriage always adds on weight, but I’ve also noticed that my eating habits have almost reverted back to the days before my weight loss. That is a definite NO NO.

Also, I’ve discovered a love for tea. There are so many different varieties and flavors and effects. I’ve fallen in love with a lavender chamomile blend that I just purchased from Target. I would definitely like to try to work more teas into my daily diet.

THREE: Finish Writing My YA Books

I’m not letting go of this story. I feel as though it is just different enough to become a hit, but it needs so much work before that happens. There’s alchemy and tattoos and, of course, dragons. Fun, right?

FOUR: Go Back To School

Very recently I decided that I’d like to get my Bachelor’s in Library Science (most likely online). I’m going to spend the beginning of this year filling out as many scholarships as I can and self-publishing my first novel so that I can get the money for my new start.

FIVE: Figure Out What I’d Really Like to Sell on Etsy

My shop is a dud. Honestly, we need to get it together and figure out what we really want to sell then get some graphics made up to spruce the place up. I also need to work on better marketing and SEO.

SIX: Do More For … Everyone

I’d like to do more. It does look good on scholarship and job applications, but it also gives to those who need it. I should donate books to the library. I should try to fund a food drive (as someone who benefits from similar things). I should try to bring awareness to suicide and depression, something that affects me greatly as well as many others either directly or by proxy.

I don’t know how I plan on doing any of these things, but there’s still time to find out.

SEVEN: Adventure

To me, that is what life is really about. It’s about fun and discovery and truly enjoying each day. My mother-in-law has somewhat planned a road trip to Indiana and then to Nashville, Tennessee. Halfway through the year we will be moving again. It will either be in or close to my old college town, a place full of cafes and shops and restaurants to discover.

I’d love it if hubs and I could get together the funds to attend more conventions. For me to visit the bestie in Portland, Oregon. Also, I’d like there to be more hiking and perhaps some kayaking to come in the year.

EIGHT: Moar Tattoos

Because we are a married couple, we often shower together to conserve hot water. I’m not kidding. Hubs commented today that I should get a huge back tattoo as the space is still pristine. I’m not so sure that I’m down for a back piece, but I do like the idea of a back tattoo. Oh, and a thigh tattoo. Aaaaaand all the other tattoos I have planned in my mind.

While hubs reserves tattoos for things with great sentimental value, I’ll drop cash for ink at the drop of a hat if I like the idea. The only thing sentimental about my foot tattoo is that I designed it myself. I tell people that my arm tattoo is for my grandmother, but I added that after the fact. It’s honestly just really pretty.

EDIT: Nine

I’m a baker at heart. Always have been. Always will be. One of my goals should be to post more geeky sweets, collect more cookie cutters, and share my recipes with you! I’ve always wanted to master iced cookies.

Adventures as a Lady Dungeon Master

Let me introduce you to the troubled city of Ivobridge. It exists solely in the minds of my D&D players and, well, myself. It is a sword and sorcery type place. The city itself is dissected by a river, distinctly marking Uptown and the not so great side of the city. It is connected by a system of bridges to a long, thin island filled with shops. A council runs the entire city, but for how long?

This is honestly one of my fist attempts at DMing a longer term game. Most of my games ending after one or two sessions because of time constraints, my own frustrations, or lack of knowledge. I still don’t know enough, but I have two DMs playing (it helps immensely). We use a combination of Skype and Roll20.net to conduct our game, a fun foray into my imaginary world.

This tale begins with a wanted ad dispersed through the shadier side of town, West Ivobridge. It simply says Adventurers Needed, Come in Person to Council Keep and a date. Four people answer this ad. Some out of boredom, others out of loneliness, and others for reasons they haven’t yet confessed to even themselves. One, a noble man seeking to spread his family name. Another a drow paladin with dark powers. A man with a minor illusion and a screw loose. Then, a kobold with very strange mechanical gear. All of them secreted into a small meeting room in East Ivobridge’s Council Keep, they meet a frightened young man.

Trying to keep his problems from his superiors, he asks this ragtag group to assist him in a kind of…extermination. Goblins have invaded his family home, terrorizing his family and servants. Intrigued out of boredom or bought, if you will, they agree to help this man and find themselves on the edges of the city. Homes become larger, the lands more sprawling. His home is one of beauty from the outside, but inside the group can tell that something has been causing trouble.

They find a goblin caught in a birdcage on a kitchen counter. The old cook wants information while the young servant is noticeably frightened. Much happens from here on out, including the loss of a certain minor illusion, the stabbing of a caged goblin, and a bit of squabbling.

Tabitha, our drow paladin, vows to vanquish all things undead. She never expected a fellow party member to be a denizen of the undead. She also never expected him to be a few apples short of a bushel. The DM also didn’t expect a certain kobold’s gun to blast so efficiently through her goblin horde.Community

We left them in search of a missing servant girl after goblins raided the noble home once more. The kobold and undead gentleman got quite the kick out of an eighty year old cook wielding a cast iron pan as a rather efficient weapon. I kind of liked playing Gertie, too.

Needless to say, I had fun with my first episode. The second was a bit unsteadied by my own ignorance of the game and timing as well as the addition of an awkward luchador player. They did thwart an assassination attempt, mostly, and found out that an NPC is trying to overthrow the council. We took a week off because the holiday season had me busy and strung out, but I’m looking forward to our next session. I’m definitely throwing in more fun NPC characters and playing up a character flaw one player chose for my own amusement.

Fingers crossed! Can’t wait to see what they will do next.

Five Fandom Friday: Holiday Traditions before and after Marriage

A few years ago my life changed for the better. I married the man I love. Then we moved away from home and the Holidays stopped feeling like the Holidays. We weren’t a hop, skip, or a jump away from family. We were 12 hr flights away. Not fun.

Finally, we are back home. Across the street from his grandparents, in fact. I’m so excited for this year’s Christmas. There’s no piling in the car right after festivities. There’s no racing to flights in two feet of snow.

Here are the Holiday Traditions I observed before and after marriage.

Holiday Traditions Before Marriage

  1. Watching A Christmas Story for 24 hours straight. Because duh. We’d get up every Christmas morning and put on TBS and switch it back if anyone changed the channel.
  2. Mom and me baking marathon days before Christmas. We fling flour and batter at each other. It’s a fun experience. Everyone I knew got a really big tin of sweet goodies. Believe me, baking is my calling.
  3. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is my parents’ favorite Christmas movie. They quote it all year round. I can’t tell you how many times we would watch this movie before Christmas. Mom and Dad are still looking for those moose cups they had for eggnog.

Holiday Traditions I hope to have During Marriage

  1. Adding new geeky ornaments to the tree each year. (Last year we had a Cthulu hand puppet on the top of our black tree). My mom gave me some cute felt owls and his mom gave us a Wonder Woman. We’d already added a bunch of Star Wars to the collection, too.
  2. Even more baking with my stash of really cool cookie cutters (Ninja Bread men and Star Wars space ships). I’m so excited to bake with my mom this year. We can finally do it at MY place.
  3. This year it seems as though we were giving each other gifts all month long. I accidentally spoiled the surprise for his gift to me so I got to open it early and I wanted to see him smile so I gave him a couple of his gifts a bit early. Needless to say we went out and bought even more after that. They weren’t expensive gifts, just things to say I know you and I love you.

The Holidays, no matter what you observe, should be about love and peace. For me, it’s about my family. It’s about the family I grew up with and the family that I’ve chose to join. I hope that you, too, get to spend the Holidays with someone that you love and loves you just as much!

EDIT: I’ve noticed some of you creating you Funko selves and thought that I needed to get in on this. My Funko turned out pretty adorable if I say so myself.

Leah's Pop

I tend to wear a lot of black and purple and I definitely favor combat boots. I own all sorts of boots to make my tiny form look a bit more kick-ass. My long green hair is no longer green, but back to my natural shade of brown. And the witch hat was the cutest way of showing my wiccan side.