Saturday, December 21, 2013

Five Best (Fictional) Christmas Receive

Hi everyone! My finals are taking me a lot longer to finish than I expected, and I was feeling guilty over the fact that I hadn't updated since December 5th. Luckily, Erin from The Pixel Party volunteered to write this guest Top 5. I hope you like it--I really enjoyed the theme and agree with her 100%!

Have you ever watched a movie, read a book or played a game, and wished instantly that you could have whatever thing the character is using? That’s how I feel EVERY TIME I see the Holodeck being used in Star Trek. Here’s a list of other things that I have desperately wanted every time I crack open a good franchise:

1.) Dire Wolf Pup - Game of Thrones

So, you want a puppy for Christmas? How about a DIRE WOLF PUPPY?! Guaranteed to protect you, and they’ll do it in the most bad-ass way EVER! Oh, and by the way, they are also down for a good cuddle-sesh. I would love to have a Dire Wolf as a pet, and not have to become a Stark to get it (unless you mean Tony Stark, in which case… I’m in). I love that family, but man… Their lives are not a cake walk.

2.) Time Turner - Harry Potter

While I did ok in school, I am not anywhere near Hermoine Granger’s level of genius. She was so smart, that the school let her jump from timeline to timeline just so she could add more classes! Wha??! What I am trying to say, is that there is no teacher who will be giving me a Time-Turner anytime soon. So, I guess I’ll just have to put this on my wishlist and hope for the best. Can you imagine having this thing? Spilled an entire bowl of salad on your customer’s head while waiting tables at Olive Garden (it’s strangely specific, because it might have happened to me)? Go grab that Time Turner, henceforth solidifying a tip. Yes… I could use one of these bad boys.

3.) The DeLorean - Back to the Future

Apparently I have a thing about time travel. While I believe the Time-Turner would be great for getting things done, or fixing things you messed up on (salad!), the DeLorean would be great for actual pie-in-the-sky time travel. Want to see the dinosaurs, or go to a David Bowie concert during his prime?! Get into that DeLorean and make it happen. I would need some plutonium as a Christmas stocking gift though. This car is useless to me without any plutonium.

4.) The Holodeck - Star Trek

Ok, so listen. The Holodeck. It can create all kinds of “programs” for you to interact with. In The Next Generation, you see the cast use the Holodeck in all kinds of ways- from physical training courses to solving mysteries as Sherlock Holmes. This description alone should be enough to explain why I want one of these more than Jean-Luc wants a cup of tea… Earl Grey….. hot. Since I’ve thought about this though in great detail, here’s a quick list of things I would do with it IMMEDIATELY: No-lines Disneyland trip, make out session with Tom Hiddleston, lightsaber battle with Katniss (it’s my holodeck program- I can mix franchises if I want!), and maybeee VIP tickets to a Lady Gaga concert.

5.) Babelfish - The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

The last thing on my list is this fish from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. You put the fish in your ear, and you can then understand any language spoken to you. It’s similar to the translator microbe in Farscape (which, I just finished the WHOLE series- thank you, thank you). I am quite the social butterfly and I would love to be able to go anywhere in the world and be able to speak to anyone I wanted. Can you imagine how much more culturally saturated you would be when travelling abroad if you could understand the language? It would be amazing, which is why the Babelfish is on my list!

About the Pixel Party (

Hello! My name is Erin, and I am head nerdette behind The Pixel Party! In my corner of the internet, I specialize in merging fashion, DIY projects, cooking, illustration and design with nerd and pop culture (all while driving 88 miles per hour). So come visit - you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Funko Thursday #2

I'm obsessed with the Funko Vinyl figures. Funko Thursday is my way to share my obsession with you as I highlight upcoming releases and awesome exclusives.

I almost got my hands on this awesome Batmobile exclusive from Toy Tokyo--it's blue! But it was only at NYCC and my friend wasn't quick enough to snag one for me--the last one sold out two people ahead of her in line! Blast!

The next wave of Game of Thrones figures will be released on January 14th, and will include Tywin Lannister and Ygritte.

Also, a line of Thundercats figures are coming out on December 17th. Right after my next paycheck. Crafty Funko.

From the best and most emotionally touching children's movie about robots, the Iron Giant comes out on December 24th.

And from what is DEFINITELY not a children's franchise. Judge Dredd is released on December 10th. 

That's it for this Funko Thursday! Which of these figures do you want to add to your collection?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Chicago TARDIS Recap

     I always mean to write these recaps for conventions right after the con, but I usually don't get to it until a few days after. I was on top of things for Chicago Comic Con, but somehow it's Tuesday and I'm only just now writing about my time at Chicago TARDIS.

The hotel allowed dogs!
     If you've been reading my blog, you'll know that I was really excited to go to Chicago TARDIS. I even wrote a whole blog on why people should go without even having gone myself. And to be perfectly honest, the convention lived up to my expectations. I enjoyed the entire day, even though I attended the con by myself. The attendees were friendly, the space wasn't too crowded (each day was capped at 2,000), and it had a laid back and relaxed atmosphere. With my anxiety issues, I sometimes become very uncomfortable at conventions, but I was relaxed and enjoying myself all day at Chicago TARDIS.

      I started the day early because I had an interview schedules with Paul McGann (the Eighth Doctor) at 11am--but I had to get there ten minutes early. There was a bit of a kerfuffle, though--the night before, I saw on the Chicago Tardis Facebook page that the photo ops with Paul McGann had been moved to 11am. I sent the person I had been in communication with an e-mail, but I didn't receive an answer until I got to the convention. While I assumed that there wouldn't be an interview at 11am, I still wanted to be there before then, just in case. The response I got from the convention staff was brief, saying that they were trying to determine if the interview was going to happen or not. I didn't have anything planned at the time, so I went to one of the TV rooms to wait for my first panel. On Saturday, this TV room was playing The Fires of Pompeii--the fourth series episode with soon-to-be-Twelfth-Doctor Peter Capaldi. It was a decent way to spend my time. At about 1pm, I got another e-mail letting me know that Paul McGann's schedule wasn't going to allow for me to do my interview, which was a bummer. I had spent a lot of time getting ready for the interview, and I was sad I wasn't going to be able to do it. On the other hand, though, I was extremely nervous about it so the fact that it was canceled allowed me to relax a little bit before speaking on my first panel.
From the Chicago TARDIS Facebook page.

     The two panels I spoke on were at 12pm and 2pm. The first panel was a discussion of SyFy's Heroes of Cosplay, and the second panel was a beginner's guide to cosplay panel. I had thought that there would be moderators at the panels, but when we got there the panels were three of us sitting in front of a room of people. We went through and introduced ourselves, then asked each other questions and asked questions from the audience. I kind of went into my default TA/lecturer mode in each panel because I was a little uncomfortable about not having a plan or structure, but I think it worked out alright. I wish they had let us know more about the structure of the panels beforehand. If I had known that there wasn't going to be someone in charge of structuring the panels, I would have contacted my fellow panelists beforehand in order to devise a plan of attack. The lack of structure meant that we inevitably left out a lot of information that could have been helpful in the "So You Want to Cosplay" panel, since we conducted it on the fly. One of my fellow panelists was wearing an incredible Barmaid Clara costume, and has a really impressive costume portfolio, so I think you should check her out (here's a link to her blog).

Also from the Chicago TARDIS Facebook page. 
      I spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around the con collecting cosplay pictures (you can see them now on my Weekly Cos-Day post on Junkies Nation), deciding what I was going to buy from the dealer's room (a Fourth Doctor/Dalek action figure set), and attending other panels. I went to a panel called "Moffat's Girls," which was a critique of the characterization of female companions during the Moffat era. It was an interesting panel, but I was a little disappointed that I didn't hear anything new. It's a critique, though, that's just my own fault--I spend too much time on the internet and thus have heard all of these comments before. The panel kept the audience involved and interested, though, so I thought that it was very successful.

     I also spent some time trying to collect some badge ribbons. I have always been jealous of the Gallifrey One ribbons, so I was really excited to see these at Chicago TARDIS. Unfortunately, as I'm a giant introvert, I wasn't very successful at gathering ribbons. I got two, though! Good for me!
The bottom ribbon has a silver UNIT logo.

     There was a good amount of time between the last few panels and the masquerade, so I drove to the nearby Portillo's and grabbed dinner. While I was there I ran into a girl I met earlier, and she invited me to eat with her and her dad. It was very nice of them to be so friendly and welcoming, and we had a very interesting conversation on sci-fi and reality over dinner. This was just one example of how nice the whole Doctor Who fandom was at this con. It was great.

      I got in line early for the masquerade, but I sat about halfway back in the main programming room due to VIP tickets. I think, though, that they would have been better off seating the VIPs first, since only about 50% of the seats they had saved were filled. As a result, I wasn't able to get any good pictures of the masquerade for this site or for JN, which was a bit of a bummer. Some day I will invest in a better camera that will allow me to take pictures from further than three feet away. However, that's waaaay out of my budget for now.

     I left after the announcement of the masquerade winners, even though I had initially wanted to see the MST-like presentation of The Five Doctors. It was after 9:30, though (about 30 minutes after it was scheduled to end), and I had a baby shower I needed to go to in the morning.

     I'm definitely going back to Chicago TARDIS next year. I have a few people who decided they wanted to go with me too late to grab Saturday tickets, so next year I won't have to wander around by myself. Despite some of the issues with organization that plague all cons, Chicago TARDIS was a great way to spend the day. If you're in the area, you should definitely check it out next year.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Chicago TARDIS: My Schedule

Hey everyone! Here is my schedule for tomorrow (Saturday) at Chicago TARDIS. I'll be spending most of the morning in registration and waiting for my interview, so things will really kick off for me at noon.

12:00 PM

My first panel! Come to the Cypress room, where we'll be talking about SyFy's Heroes of Cosplay.

1:00 PM

Going to the Lilac room to see the panel "Fangirls Are Real Fans, Too."

2:00 PM

Speaking on my second panel, "So You Want to Cosplay" in the Cypress room.

3:00 PM

I'm going to check out the dealers room and the gaming room.

4:00 PM

I may go to the "Moffat's Girls" panel in the Lilac Room, or I may just wander around.

5:00 PM

"Saturday with Freema" panel in the Grand Ballroom.

6:00-7:30 PM

Break. Gotta find somewhere to eat!

7:30 PM

Masquerade! The best part of the day!

I have Geekphoria stickers to give away to people who come say "hi!." And also, as a special surprise, I will have a K-9 necklace and a Tardis necklace from my Etsy shop to give away to the first two people (one each) who come introduce themselves at Chicago TARDIS.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving: My List of Geeky Things I'm Thankful For

I've been a geek since before I even knew what a geek was. I was a geek throughout elementary school, middle school, high school, and college--even if I had to sometimes hide the extent of my geekiness (don't know why I even bothered, it didn't make me any cooler). Now that I'm an adult, and completely comfortable being my ridiculously geeky self, I can make this list of the geeky things I am thankful for--and the geeky women role models that I'm thankful I "met" as a child.

I'm thankful for these things that made me into the geek I am:

My life has always had Star Trek in it, and The Next Generation and Voyager in particular were the series that defined my childhood.

Not just Labyrinth (though it's #1), but all of the awesome fantasy movies from the 80s helped to foster my life-long love of fantasy, just as TNG did for my love of Sci-Fi.

While I played ton older systems, the Sega Genesis was the first console of my very own. I will always remember you fondly, Sega. Even if Echo the Dolphin was too difficult for kids my age, which was ridiculous BECAUSE WHAT FIVE-YEAR-OLD DOESN'T WANT TO BE A DOLPHIN?! (It's alright. I still love you).

Ocarina of Time is the video game that turned me into a gamer--there is no question about it. Forever grateful that I had the chance to own and play this game as a kid. It's still my favorite game in the world.

I'm grateful that I grew up in an era with the "right" type of children's shows and books that fostered me as a geekling.

I picked up the first Harry Potter book around the time that The Chamber of Secrets was published in the U.S. I love the Harry Potter world. When my anxiety gets crazy and I get upset, I grab one of these books, sit back, and it always manages to calm me. The Harry Potter fandom was also the first time that I realized how amazing and welcoming a fan community can be, and I'll always be grateful.

...but these will always be my #1 love (in terms of books). I started reading chapter books in kindergarten, and my silly Dad suggested that I read these only in first grade. Of course, they were waaay above my reading level, but I wanted to impress my father so I sat down and read them (and stole the dictionary to help me make my way through). Still, a lot of it was over my I came back to them the next year. And the next. And the next. Revisiting LotR over and over again each year allowed me to see new things each time, to grow my vocabulary, and to foster in me a love for fantasy. So even though my dad was completely insane to suggest that I read these at age six, I'm grateful for his urging (and to the Professor).

And I am grateful for these geeky women role models for making me into the person I am today:

I covered a few of these in my Geeky Heroines blog post, but I wanted to give credit where credit is due. Overall, I have to be grateful to these characters--and the people who created them--for giving a growing girl female role models who were intelligent, strong, brave, creative, and dedicated.

Alanna of Trebond and Olau

Captain Katherine Janeway

Agent Dana Scully

Buffy Summers

So those are my lists--even though they're nowhere near 100% complete. What is your geeky heart thankful for this holiday season?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

DIY T-shirt to Lacey Tank

I made this shirt to wear to Chicago TARDIS on Saturday, but then I scored an interview with Paul McGann and brought myself something nicer to wear (this TARDIS dress from Her Universe, to be specific). I still really like this shirt, though, so I thought I would share the DIY with you.

I began by cutting off the neck line, then cutting two inches off each side of the shirt. This allows for room to add in the lace without making the shirt too large and baggy.

Cutting two inches off...

From there, it was pretty easy to just sew in a strip of black lace on both sides. Make sure to sew the strips in so that the seam of the t-shirt/lace line are on the inside of the shirt. It's easy to mess this up. I didn't do that this time, but I did do it for my Halloween DIY.

I laid each strip of lace down so that the edges of the lace lined up with the edges of both the front and back of the t-shirt. I cue enough lace so that there was an inch or so left at the bottom, but it was flush with where I wanted the top of the lace to end for the arm hole.

Once I had the side sewn in, I cut across the top of the t-shirt's shoulder and inserted more lace there. I followed the same process of sewing in the top lace as I did sewing in the side lace. The picture above shows the process of sewing in the shoulder lace.

Remember that inch or so left at the bottom? I then folded it over and sewed a hem. I made sure to fold back the inner hems before I sewed the lower hem, to keep them in place.

Here's the shirt hanging over the door. I pushed out the sides in the first picture so you can see where they are.

I wasn't originally going to take a picture of the shirt on (it was a sweats day at my house), but then I threw it on over the tank top I was wearing under my sweatshirt. It doesn't go, but you get an idea of what the shirt looks like on. Luckily, the flash was ridiculously bright which helped to hide the fact that it wasn't a make-up day at my house, either. This shirt should be worn over a bandeau or a cami. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Tips for Cosplaying (While Broke)

I love to cosplay. I love making costumes, fashioning props, and showing off all my hard work. I love being the characters I adore, even if it's just for eight hours in a crowded convention hall.

I'm also a graduate student, which means I'm broke.

Cosplay is an expensive hobby. Whether you're making your own costumes and props from scratch, or buying some or all of a costume, it can certainly take its toll on your wallet. I've been cosplaying for a few years now, and while I'm nowhere near the level of some of the elite cosplayers, I'm comfortable enough in the cosplay world to give some hints on how you can keep your cosplay costs down. Or at least manageable.

1. Plan in advance.

An essential part of keeping your cosplay costs down is setting a budget for your costume. I usually go to two big cons a year, and I will ideally have one new costume for each convention. This means that I have roughly half a year to plan. The planning includes figuring out what kind of materials I need to buy, and then picking them up over a period of time. It allows me to spread out my spending, and to take advantage of different sales. I'm able to buy almost everything I need for a costume at a greatly reduced price, while I wouldn't be able to do this if I didn't plan so far ahead. Shopping at sales also allows you to stock up on notions and thread, which can be pricey if you have to buy them at full price.

2. Be realistic about your costume.

Do you have a budget of $40 for your costume? If you want to keep to that budget, you'll have to carefully choose which character you're going to cosplay. You'll probably be limited to characters with basic cloth fabrics--cotton blends and the like (but whatever you do, stay away from broadcloth. It's cheap, but it never looks "right"). Incorporating silks, satin, or anything approximating armor will most likely send you way over budget. If you want to include a large prop, you can expect to spend at least $20 on that alone, once you add it all up (foam or wood, glue, paints, etc.)

You should also keep in mind your skill set. If you're working on a tight budget, it may not be wise to try out new methods, materials or to work with new fabrics. Wait until you're comfortable with new approaches, or have enough money to use as a safety net. You don't want to accidentally mess something up and "lose" the money you invested in that material.

3. Work with what you have.

This works the best if you're cosplaying a video game, TV, or movie character who wears normal clothes (or something close). I broke my first rule and had two new cosplays for Chicago Comic Con this past August. I was able to make my second costume for under $20.00, though, since I was Zoey from Left 4 Dead. All I had to do was buy the red track jacket ($4 at the thrift store), toy shotgun ($10), and make the med kit (about $4). The rest of the costume--jeans, white shirt, and shoes--were in my closet. Also, if you have a cool replica prop you can sometimes make yourself the rest of the costume without breaking the bank. A friend of mine had a Master Sword and Hylian Shield replica. It wasn't too costly to get the fabric to make Link's costume from Ocarina of Time.

4. "Recycle" pieces.

Sometimes you have pants, a coat, a robe, or a shirt that you can use for multiple costumes. This really helps to keep your costume on budget. One of the best pieces to recycle, though, is a wig. A wig is a very important part of a costume. It's hard to really pull a character off if you don't have the right hair. Some people can get away with it sometimes, but I'm definitely not one of those people--my hair is a curly, frizzy, unruly mess. The good thing about wigs, though, is that they're investment pieces. I have nice wigs that I use for different costumes, and sometimes I plan costumes based on what wigs I have. $30-$40 on a wig can put a dent in your bank account, but if you can use it for three or four different costumes it could be worth it. Make sure to get a nice wig, though. I prefer Arda Wigs.

5. Invest the time.

So you can't afford worbla or sintra, or to make your own molds. But you can afford Sculpey, cardboard, foam board (and paperclay), and craft foam. If you study up on the material you can afford, and take your time to meticulously and carefully craft your pieces, you can make the cheaper materials look as good (or at least nearly as good) as the pricier materials. Sometimes this takes practice, though, so before you try to make a large sword or full armor, try out a character that has a smaller weapon or pieces of armor.

6. Participate in costume swaps.

Do you want to wear a new costume, but you don't have any money? If you and a friend are the same size (or near enough that it doesn't matter), and both have old costumes lying around, you can trade costumes and satisfy your desire to be a new character without spending a dime. It's fun to try new things without being locked into it. For example, I'm not that invested in anime, and I would probably never spend the money required to make the perfect anime character costume. But there are definitely characters I like and would like to cosplay--and some of my friends have these costumes already made. So I'll go as Motoko Kusanagi and she'll be Dove for the day. It's perfect!

I hope you all find this list helpful. I think that these tips can be helpful even if you aren't pinching pennies to create your costumes. Let me know what you think in the comments :). And check out the weekly blog series on cosplay that I'm writing for Junkies Nation. Weekly Cos-Day features some of the best cosplays found on the internet and submitted to my e-mail ( At the end of each Weekly Cos-day is a link to a cosplay tutorial. You can see the first two editions here and here

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Funko Thursday #1

I'm obsessed with the Funko Vinyl figures. When they first started a few years back I began to buy every one I could get my hands on, and I dreamed of collecting them all. Of course, the Funko Vinyls have exploded since them, with exclusive and limited pieces, and hundreds of normal vinyls. This has made collecting them all completely impossible, but I still follow the brand closely and love seeing the newest pieces and exclusives.

So this is why I've started the Funko Thursday blogs. This is my time to show you what new Vinyls are coming out, and where you can get some of the coolest exclusives I've seen lately. I'll probably do this every two weeks, in order to gather the best intel on a timely basis.

Today, though, enjoy the goodies I've gathered for you!

Legolas (blue-eyed variant) and Cobweb Bilbo are exclusives at Hot Topic. I've heard they're sold out online, but if you're lucky you can still find them in-store.

Brienne and Hodor have been announced as some of the newest characters for the Game of Thrones Vinyl lines. Hodor hodor hodor.

 I have the blood-splattered Daryl figure from Harrison's Comics. Now I want Glenn. You can get him from Men of Action Figures through this link.

Leonardo was my favorite as a kid. I would love the metallic variant that was a SDCC exclusive, but it's a little out of my price range at around $25.00 on Ebay.

The battle-scarred Tyrion HBO store exclusive is pretty great. He's still available, and you can get him here.

Monday, November 18, 2013

New Products in the Geekphoria Shop!

Hey everyone! A new type of product just premiered at the Geekphoria Etsy store--just in time for holiday shopping! It's jewelry!

I'm particularly proud of these K-9 necklaces (he had adorable ears and a tail, d'awww), and these pictures don't NEARLY do him justice. Seriously. I need a better camera. But K-9 isn't the only new thing at the store! I have already put up Avatar: The Last Airbender, Harry Potter, Pokemon and more Doctor Who themed necklaces. I'm currently working on even more necklaces from even more geeky franchises!

Here are some pictures to get you excited. Look for all the new products on the Etsy store page. You can follow this link, or click on the link on the side bar.

Also, guess what? I've created a coupon code to celebrate the new jewelry items! It's good for anything in the store, though--including any custom orders (contact me with your order either through the Etsy store or by e-mail at Use the code GeekphoriaJewelry to get 20% off until this Friday!