New Video: Summertime Madness Book Tag!

My lovely friend Mallory tagged me, so I thought I’d finally make a video!

Want more info on the cookbooks I mention? Find them below:

Sprinkles!: Recipes and Ideas for Rainbowlicious Desserts

The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook

I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence

CakeSpy Presents Sweet Treats for a Sugar-Filled Life

Bite Me: A Stomach-Satisfying, Visually Gratifying, Fresh-Mouthed Cookbook

Elizabeth Falkner’s Demolition Desserts

What are your favorite cookbooks?

 

Pre-Order Geeky Sprinkles!

Missed my Geeky Sprinkle Kickstarter? Now’s your chance to order sprinkles!  I opened up the pre-order page today so non-backers can place orders before the initial shipment arrives.

You can purchase bottles of lightning bolt, blue policebox, steampunk gear, or meeple sprinkles as well as accessories like the Geeky Hostess apron, themed recipes, and cupcake pins.

Go here: http://bit.ly/sprinklepreorder or click through the widget above to visit the pre-order page! (And let me know in the comments what you’re planning on making with your sprinkles!)

It’s Summer: Treat Yourself!

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I work hard. And in the Summer, most normal people take some time to relax and rejuvenate. So when Robert Leonard Salon & Day Spa asked if I wanted to come in for a cut and a color, I decided to make a mini “Treat Yo Self” day. No, I didn’t spend tons of money on fine leather goods or drink any mimosas, but I did some small things that made me feel great. I wore my favorite fuchsia lipstick, I walked around Downtown Seattle, I took the time to read a bit, and yes–I got my hair done.

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I don’t normally color my hair, so the prospect was a bit scary, but as soon as I met my stylist, Cara, I knew I was in good hands. I even said the scariest words to utter in a salon: “Do whatever you want!” She put in a subtle ombre that is absolutely perfect for the color-shy. It’s not glaringly obvious that my hair is much lighter, but the colored parts catch light and create more bounce overall in my hair, and I’m in love with it. She then gave me a cut that got rid of some weight in my hair while keeping the length, and styled it with tons of volume.

The treating didn’t end there. I left the salon with two amazing new products, so I can continue to feel glamorous even after my hair is washed and re-styled. I got Oribe Royal Blowout, which helps your hair dry faster and smoother (like you got a blowout at a salon), and Oribe Apres Beach, which was lovingly referred to as “Gisele in a bottle” by Cara. (Apparently it’s what’s used on the Victoria’s Secret models to give them that perfect shiny, tousled hair.) I can’t wait to play around with my hair and the products!

So, by spending some time on myself, I ended up happier and more energized for the rest of the day. Treating yourself is an important thing! What do you do on your “Treat Yo Self” days? Watch a favorite movie? Eat a cupcake? Visit a friend? Get a message? Sleep? Leave a comment below telling me what you do when you want to treat yourself, and you’ll be entered in to win a $25 gift card from Robert Leonard salon! (Still want to comment but you’re not a Seattleite? Just let me know and I won’t pick you!) I’ll pick a winner on Wednesday, August 20th and will mail out the card!

EDIT: The winner is Deedee! Congrats! 

I challenge you to do something this week just for you. Whether it’s big (a new cut and color, buying a Batman suit), or small (making your favorite lunch, wearing your favorite shirt), I promise it will change your mood for the better!

A New Nomiku is on Kickstarter!

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You may remember my post about Nomiku from last November: It’s a super easy-to-use sous vide device and it’s about to get even easier and sleeker. The new Nomiku, announced today via Kickstarter, is smaller, has a larger screen, and is Wifi-compatible. This means you can use Nomiku’s “Tender” app to find sous vide recipes from well-known chefs and other members of the Nomiku community, and send the instructions straight to your Nomiku.

The Kickstarter has been up for half a day, and they’ve already reached over 60% of their goal. If you’re interested in trying out sous vide cooking, take advantage of their early bird pricing and get yourself a Nomiku asap! Visit them at Kickstarter.com.

It’s Summer: Read a Book!

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I love Summer. It’s hot, it’s sunny, the days are longer, there’s tons of fun stuff to do, and I’m just generally in a great mood. It’s now August, and I’m realizing that I’ve got about a month left to take advantage of everything I want to do in this beautiful season. I’m going to start posting about some of my experiences and recommendations. Come enjoy Summer with me!

These past few weeks have been packed full of trips (Yay SDCC!), work, and fun activities with family and friends, but there hasn’t been a whole lot of “me” time. I’m usually a stickler on finding a bit of balance and time to relax, and I realize I haven’t just picked up a book for fun for what’s felt like years. My friends Kristina, Mallory, Emily, and Jenn all participated in “BookTubeaThon” a couple weeks ago (where they were challenged to read a bunch of books over the course of a week), and their example made me want to pick up a book myself.

I picked up some fun new books at Powell’s in Portland and at SDCC in this past month, and can’t wait to go through them all! Here’s what’s on my “To-Read” list:

Cinder: Book One of the Lunar Chronicles
I’ve been meaning to read this book forever, and finally picked it up to read on the flight to and from SDCC. It’s a cross between Cinderella and Sailor Moon, and that’s pretty much all you need to know. If you like those, you’ll like this. It’s a quick, fun, fluffy read. I found it a bit too predictable for my tastes, but I’m a big fan of retellings of fairy tales, and prefer subtle ones.

Veronica Mars: The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line
I’m what you may call a bandwagon Veronica Mars fan. (If you were mean, that is.) I hadn’t seen the show until the Kickstarter came out and I realized everyone whose taste I respect was talking about this show. I marathoned the show, went to the movie on opening night, and then got Rob Thomas to sign a copy of this book at SDCC. I’m only a couple pages in, but it’s already grabbed me. I can’t wait to read it!

Ex-Heroes
It’s LA. There are superheroes, and the zombie apocalypse just happened. That’s all I needed to know before I bought a copy of this book. I got a chance to meet the author, Peter Cline, at SDCC (he’s a really nice guy!), and I can’t wait to start reading this.

Ex-Patriots
This is the second book in the “Ex” series, and folks at SDCC were so positive that I’d like the first one that they gave me the second one for free. I called it a “reverse drug deal.” Give me the second so I have to buy the first and get myself hooked! Bonus: this one’s signed by the author.

Betty Crocker’s Guide to Easy Entertaining
I love collecting vintage books, specifically ones about etiquette, entertaining, or social situations. Although this book isn’t actually vintage (gasp! Don’t tell anyone!), it contains anecdotes and recipes from a version of this book that was released in 1959. I look forward to learning about recipes such as “Cocktail Surprise” or “Cheese Kix” (which are exactly it sounds like).

Vogue Book of Menus and Recipes for Entertaining at Home
This book was written by Vogue editors in 1964, and profiles the different types of dinner parties and events you can have at home. It’s full of menus, recipes, and cocktail ideas, and has that delicious vintage book smell. This one will be displayed on a bookshelf more than it will be read, but I still look forward to perusing through it.

Sweet Designs: Bake It, Craft It, Style It
I’ve had my eye on this book since it first came out, and I’m so psyched to finally own a copy! It showcases all aspects of making beautiful dessert displays, including recipes, crafts, and beautiful style inspiration. I’m hoping it will help me up my decorating/tablescape game, and gain some fun tips and tricks. I’ve read about half of it so far, and it’s really cool.

Are you taking some time to read this summer? What’s on your “To Read” list?

Tara’s at San Diego Comic Con!

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I’m in sunny San Diego and I’m ready to spend the whole week inside!

I’ll be helping out with a Dragon Age Dragon Egg puzzle at the Dark Horse booth (#2615) and Geek & Sundry lounge during the day. So come find me, say “Hi!” and give a puzzle a try!

I’ll be roaming around in the after-hours as well, so come up and chat if you find me!

Are you at SDCC? What are you most excited to see?

Happy Batman Day!

Happy Batman Day! Today we celebrate the 75th anniversary of Batman, which is convenient for all of us heading to SDCC. So while I travel off to San Diego to immerse myself in comics and pop culture, I recommend you make yourself some Batman Cupcakes and check out the evolution of the Batman Symbol! It’s so fascinating to see it change throughout the years as comic and movie styles change. Which one’s your favorite?

Batman Symbol Evolution Infographic

William Shatner Talks to Hip Hop Stormtrooper, Drinks Wine From Paper Bag


I discovered a new show yesterday, and I’m kicking myself that I didn’t know it existed until now.

“William Shatner’s Brown Bag Wine Tasting” is a show in which William Shatner interviews an interesting person, and then the two of them taste a “mystery wine” from a brown paper bag. That’s it. Simple and genius.

The above episode features Stryder, a cosplayer known for his “Hip Hop Trooper” character. Other episodes include Shatner talking to a magician, marijuana dealer, butcher, musician, and even Alton Brown.

You can find all of the episodes of William Shatner’s Brown Bag Wine Tasting at Ora.tv.

The Only Convention Hoodie You’ll Ever Need

Nerdist Convention Hoodie

Just in time for SDCC, Her Universe and Nerdist teamed up to create the ULTIMATE hoodie. It’s made to be a convention hoodie (with pockets for poster tubes, comic books, water bottles, and more), but looks like it would come in handy on a daily basis. I can see wearing this to street festivals, while traveling, while running events…I’d basically never take it off.

I’m even more psyched to see that the hoodie comes in men’s and women’s sizes, which means I can still have it fit and look cute. The hoodie is available at the Her Universe booth (2913-E) at SDCC, and should be available online after the con.

Will you be picking one of these up? What features would you include in an ultimate convention hoodie? (I wouldn’t mind a mini flashlight on the drawstring for when you’re walking home after parties, and maybe a special “protein bar and ibuprofen” pocket for the early mornings….)

Uplifting, Energetic Songs For Your Summer

There’s been a trend of songs coming out that uplift the listener. Some are slow and sweet, and some just want you to stand up, do a high kick, and start dancing. (Or maybe that’s just me.) This post is dedicated to the latter. These are some of the songs and music videos that have been making me smile, start to dance, and just generally feel great about myself and life.

It’s sunny, it’s the summer, it’s a Friday…turn up your volume and have an impromptu dance break with me!

All About That Bass – Meghan Trainor

This song is so so catchy and fun, and the video in all of its pastel glory just makes me smile. Some people see this video as shaming some body types to make others feel better, but I don’t see that. She’s just saying that if someone doesn’t like her as she is, they can move along. Be proud of your body shape, no matter what it is, and get up and dance! Remember: “Every inch of you is perfect, from the bottom to the top!”

Tacky – Weird Al

We all have tacky moments. Why live in embarrassment when you could celebrate them? I challenge you to put this video on and mimic the comedians’ dance moves. You’ll feel awesome, look a bit tacky, and overall have a great time.

Shake it Out – Florence + The Machine

You know those days where you’re just in a funk and keep thinking about past mistakes and regrets? This song will help you shake those thoughts out and move on, in a better mood. I find it works even better if you sing along loudly to the chorus!

Gonna Get Over You – Sara Bareilles

Just got dumped? Fired? This video tells you it’s ok to not feel 100% happy right away, but in an uplifting and ridiculously adorable way.

Marvelous – Adam WarRock

Try not to feel marvelous after this song is over. There’s not a video for this one, but you don’t need anything extra distracting you from the great message.

There are about a thousand other songs that are most likely missing from this list. What are your go-to songs to put you in an instant good mood?