About Tara

http://www.geekyhostess.com

Tara is the Geeky Hostess. Lover of entertaining, decorating, and gift-giving with a personal and geeky flair. Have a question on Geek entertaining or etiquette? Email her at tara@geekyhostess.com !

Posts by Tara :

Geeky “Ugly” Holiday Sweaters

December is here, which means the ugly sweater parties are just around the corner. Just because you’re forced to wear a bright and “tacky” sweater doesn’t mean you can’t show off your geeky side! Break the ice and show off your fandom with these geeky sweaters. I’m guessing you’ll want to wear them long after the parties are over!

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A Christmas Story Sweatshirt, $23.95 from Amazon.

Darth Vader sweater

Darth Vader sweater, $49.95 from UglyChristmasSweater.com.

Fargo sweater.

Fargo Sweater, $85 from Mondo Tees.

Gremlins sweater
Gremlins Sweater, $85 from Mondo Tees.

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Home Alone Sweater, $39.99 from Amazon.

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Laser Cat-Zillas Sweater, $48.95 from Amazon.

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Olaf Sweater, $25.55 from Hot Topic.

Pizza sweater

Pizza Sweatshirt, $59 from Beloved.

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Robot Sweater, $29.99 from Amazon.

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Santasaurus Rex Sweater, $29.99 from Amazon.

Street Fighter sweater

Street Fighter Sweater, $43.58 from Yellow Bulldog.

Think Geek Sweater

ThinkGeek Ugly Sweater Hoodie, $29.99 from ThinkGeek.

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Unicorn Sweatshirt, Starting at $18.50 from Amazon.

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Video Game Santa Sweater, $29.99 from Amazon.

Black Friday/Weekend Deals 2014

Jingle All the Way
It’s that time again! Time to leave the comfort of your home and battle for deals. Or enjoy your family while pushing a couple quick buttons on your computer and supporting geeky businesses. Whichever.

Here are some of my fave sites that are offering deals for Black Friday/Small Business Saturday/Cyber Monday/Whatever extra day they’re coming up with this year. Found a deal not listed or have your own geeky shop having a sale? Let us know in the comments! I’ll continue to add to the list over the weekend!

Amazon: Approximately one bajillion various Black Friday deals.

BlackMilk: 20% off selected gear until 12/2 at 1pm PT.

Brit.co: 30% off your purchase through 12/1.

Danielle Robbins: 15% off with code OHHEY15 from 11/28-12/2.

Dark Horse Digital: 50% off your entire webstore order (with a $20 minimum). Good December 1 only!

Espionage Cosmetics: 25% off their online store from 11/28-11/30.

Femmecraft: 20% off with code PAINTITBLACK.

Geeky Hostess: 25% off your entire order with code HOLIDAY through 12/1.

Her Universe: 60% off select items, free Boba Fett holiday pin with orders of $25+.

Hot Topic: All tees $10, 25% off everything on the site, 3 Pop! Vinyl Figures for $30.

The Humble Penguin: Free US Shipping with code BLACKFRIDAY2014 through 11/30, or 20% off with code CYBERMONDAY2014 through 12/2.

Job Hunters: 20% off all merch from 11/28-12/1!

Jordan Dene: 40% off everything with code EPICSALE2014.

Jump From Paper: Up to 30% off with code JFPBLACKFRIDAY through 12/1.

Kelly Moore: $30 off any bag with code BLACKFRIDAY from 11/28-12/1.

Len Peralta: Custom drawn holiday greeting cards on sale.

Marvel: 20% off your purchase with code MARVELTHANKS. (Friday only.)

Matthew J. Fletcher: 20% off all original art, Buy 2 get 1 free prints, and more until 11/30.

ModCloth: 50% off 100s of new arrivals until 11/30 at 10am PT.

Monkey Minion Press: Free item with purchase of $5 or more.

Optimystical Studios: $5 off shipping when you add this item to your cart until 12/1.

Penny Arcade: Various specials and new items throughout the holiday season!

Punished Props: 50% off all digital content Friday-Monday.

Spiffing Jewelry: 15% off with everything with code BLACKFRIDAY15. (Friday only.)

Steam: “Exploration Sale” from 12/26-2/2.

ThinkGeek: Save up to 30% with code ELFINSALE until 11:59pm PT 11/29.

Threadless: All tees $12 and free shipping with code BLACKFRIDAY14 through 11/28.

WeLoveFine: 25% off all t-shirts with code BLACKFRIDAY25. (Ends 11:59pm PT 11/29.)

Desert Bus 8 Wrap-Up

Last week, I spent some time in beautiful Victoria, BC to work with an amazing fundraising project. Desert Bus For Hope was a week-long livestreamed event where people play the game Desert Bus while doing challenges, auctioning off awesome games, collectibles, and crafts, and talking with various geek celebrities. It was my first time at the event, and in addition to handling media relations, I got to spend some time on the livestream.

Things get weird at Desert Bus. Memes and traditions are formed quickly, and it took me a while to learn all of the inside references from previous years. But, they did their best to educate me with various hazings. Without further ado, here are some of the moments I was on the Desert Bus stream.

(Special thanks to Andrew Ferguson for all of the photos, and the Video Strike Team for cataloging and creating the individual video segments!)

Hairography

Andrew needed to take some “hairography” pics for a challenge, so I volunteered as Tribute.


Desert Bus folks attempt to haze me by “taking me to the store” but I pass by not laughing throughout the run of the video. It’s one of the more difficult things I’ve done.

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I got to drive the bus for a bit during one of the many Caramelldansen moments, so I danced along in my seat. I’d try to explain the Angler Fish mask and hats, but it’s Desert Bus. Just go with it.

While at Desert Bus, an infomercial I modeled for a year ago ended up playing on a tv just offscreen from all the action. I come on-screen to explain the infomercial and what it’s like modeling, then lead folks in a walk-off.

The next day, the chat challenged me and Serge to a Zoolander-style walk-off. James comes in at the end and wins the whole thing.

WalkOff
James may have won, but I still got a sweet Blue Steel gif out of it!

Desert Bus Edible Logo

As the bakers of the group, Kate Stark and I are tasked with creating a “cake” with a kit of edible modeling clay. We decide to make the Desert Bus 8 logo.

As I prepare to leave, I get hazed one final time: Tally, Kathleen, and Ashley “take me to the gay bar”. It’s a wonderful, wonderful moment.

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I mean, there’s nothing better than being fed fruit while beautiful ladies dance up on you and smell your hair. Right?

And last but not least, check out our segment on NPR, where you can hear a small bit of me doing Karaoke for one of the first and last times of my life.

All in all, it was a bizarre and magical experience that resulted in more than $630,000 raised for Child’s Play. I’m honored to be involved, and can’t wait for next year!

Cakes Cove – Making Every Genre Delicious

Cakes Cove

It’s another day at Desert Bus and we have ANOTHER amazingly delicious sponsor: Cakes Cove!

Cakes Cove makes cakes, chocolates, and other goodies to fit any fandom/party. I’m in love with their life-size R2-D2 cake, their gorgeous chocolate dragon eggs, and their zombie virus rock candy. Ok, that’s a lie. I love everything they make.

I got to try some of the espresso chocolate they make while at Desert Bus, and it’s delicious and caffeinated. If you’re looking for a sweet treat for your party or a gift, you want to reach out to Cakes Cove. (They do custom orders as well!) Visit them at CakesCove.com!

Get Deliciously Geeky with Rocky Mountain Cookies

Rocky Mountain Cookies

One advantage of being at Desert Bus For Hope is that I get to see the awesome auction items in person. And after I saw the treats from Rocky Mountain Cookies, I couldn’t stop thinking about them. I’ve entered all the drawings and bid on the auctions. I need more of the cookies in my life.

You see, these cookies are gorgeous. And not only do they look great, but they taste amazing (and I’m not even a big sugar cookie person). The star cookie above is cinnamon roll flavored with cream cheese icing, and the cookie with the Child’s Play logo is a sugar cookie with orange blossom-flavored icing. I ate them both back to back.

Star Cookie

Rocky Mountain Cookies will create custom cookies for you, which means no matter what your party theme, gift idea, or favorite geekdom is, they can make it happen. And they’re going to be SO GOOD. So good, you guys.

Check them out at rocky-mountain-cookies.com and say “Thanks” to them for helping support Child’s Play through Desert Bus For Hope!

Tara’s The Geek of the Week!

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I am so flattered and thrilled to announce that I am this week’s geek. Yes, I now have my own “Geek a Week” trading card, and can be found in a pack of 52 with other amazing people like Amanda Palmer, Clark Gregg, Patrick Rothfuss, George RR Martin, and Seth Green.

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In addition to these amazing images, you can hear my podcast interview and see a speed drawing of my card here. Check out the rest of the geeks and find out how you can get your own pack of cards at geekaweek.net!

Tara’s at Desert Bus For Hope!

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Starting at 10am today, I’ll be hanging with a whole bunch of people playing “Desert Bus”, the “worst game ever.” It’s a real-time simulation of driving from Tucson to Vegas–an extremely boring stretch of desert that takes 8 hours to complete. As long as people keep donating money, our drivers will keep on driving. And while that’s happening, auctions, call-ins, challenges, and other shenanigans will be happening in the same room.

The event is a fundraiser for Child’s Play, and has already raised almost $1.8 million in the 7 years it’s run. Last year alone raised over half a million.

You can watch it all happen via livestream at DesertBus.org. I’ll be handling press throughout the week, which means you’ll see me pop in on camera here and there. Check it out, throw a donation our way, or try to win one of the amazing live auction, silent auction, or giveaway items (including a bunch of handmade geeky crafts!).

I hope to see you tuned in this week!

Adorable Plushies from Killin’ Me Softly

Plushies

Looking for a great gift, a fun item for your bookshelf, or just something to snuggle next time you’re watching your fave horror flick? You’ve gotta check out these plushies from Killin’ Me Softly. Andrea, the designer, uses her love of horror films and Disney villains to create these plush creatures. Who would have thought that Freddy Krueger would look so adorable as a doll? Above, you’ll also see her Poison Ivy, Beetlejuice and Lydia, and Daria and Jane. She takes custom orders as well, which means your favorite obscure character can finally be created in doll form!

The plush dolls are $20 each with price breaks for sets that come with multiple dolls. You can see all of the dolls available on Etsy.

An Unexpected Cookbook: The Unofficial Book of Hobbit Cookery

Hobbit

Have you only been eating one breakfast, like a boring human? Chris-Rachael Oseland‘s new book, An Unexpected Cookbook, will get you enjoying breakfast, second breakfast, AND elevensees before you know it.

The book is full of well-researched recipes that fit into the time period and world that Tolkien created. This results in a collection of comforting recipes with whole food ingredients, and pictures and recipes of breads and pies that make me drool.

Inside An Unexpected Cookbook, you’ll find:

  • Recipes structured around the Hobbit meals of Breakfast, Second Breakfast, Elevenses, Luncheon, Afternoon Tea, Dinner, and Supper
  • All recipes researched by an actual historian and based on the time and region of England that inspired the Shire
  • All historical recipes then edited around the limitations Tolkien placed on the Shire to make them fully Hobbit-accurate. (So no new world foods other than coffee, tobacco, and potatoes)
  • 50 full page photos of food porn
  • Footnotes to help people with dietary restrictions and an appendix to make finding those recipes easier
    • 11 Paleo/Primal friendly recipes
    • 19 Gluten Free friendly recipes
    • 20 Vegan friendly recipes (which happen to be kosher and halal)
    • 40 Vegetarian friendly recipes (including the vegan ones)

This book, which will come out just in time for your holiday feast or gift-giving occasion, can be pre-ordered for $19.95 on Etsy. Your pre-order will be signed AND come with a bonus poster!

Will you be picking up the book? And how many breakfasts do you have on a normal day?

Living The Life You Want

Oprah

In the past week, I’ve been thinking a lot about reinvention, setting goals, and getting the most out of my life. I just celebrated my birthday, I just quit a part-time job to focus more on Geeky Hostess, and in the next month the sprinkles will have arrived and I’ll be wrapping up three large projects that are taking up a majority of my life. My focus will get to be entirely on Geeky Hostess and the brand I want it to be, and with it, I get to focus on myself and the type of person I want to be.

It was serendipity, then, when I was invited to be a part of a media tour for Oprah’s The Life You Want Weekend. I was thrilled to get to be in the same arena as Oprah and spend a whole weekend focusing on my goals and becoming the person I want to become. Plus, I got to call my Mom and hear her excitement when I told her I got a +1. (“Are you serious? I want to burst into tears. I think I’m going to puke.”)

The weekend was full of fun activities and inspiring speakers, and one of my favorites was Elizabeth Gilbert from Eat, Pray, Love. She spoke about The Hero’s Journey and how that applies to our life.

I think us geeks can often relate to the hero’s journey, and when you put the vision of your life into quest-form, it makes it feel like a game. Your experiences, negative, and positive, help you level up and become the person you are. You have goals and prizes at the end of your journey to keep you going, and you can even gamify certain aspects of yourself and reward yourself with points or treats for doing the things you need to. Plus, just like playing a game, although you have an end-goal, it doesn’t mean you don’t have fun (and maybe even explore some small side quests) on the way.

I’m currently on a quest to make The Geeky Hostess the best it can be. I’m turning what started out as a little blog into a larger brand with a lot of new and exciting things coming in the next year. Along the way, I’m greeted with my fair share of tests, allies, enemies, and mentors. But I keep pushing through until I hit my goal. And I’m not afraid to change and revise the goal(s) as needed.

Are you the hero in your story? What is your quest? Is there something I or Geeky Hostess can do to help you with your quest? Let me know in the comments below!

Special thanks to Procter & Gamble for providing me with tickets to the Life You Want Weekend. It was a fantastic time, and I’m renewed and excited to continue striving towards my goals!