Galaxy-Inspired Nails by Julep

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Julep, my favorite Seattle-based nail company, sent out an email about a new galaxy-inspired color yesterday called Estelle. (Why Estelle? I have no idea. EDIT: Apparently “Estelle” is a French name meaning “Star.” Thanks Wendy!) The color is black with holographic sparkles, and looks like the perfect mix of edgy, girly, and fun. To launch it, they created three “Galaxy Mystery Boxes” that contain $50+, $70+, or $120+ of Julep products for less than half the price.

If you’re looking for a fun new look and are willing to be surprised, or are looking for a great gift for someone, you should snag these boxes. You can find all three available at

I’ve been noticing a lot of my favorite brands coming out with space/galaxy-themed products for Fall. I’m loving that it’s becoming a trend. Science–it’s so hot right now!

The Care and Feeding of your Board Game Group


Photo by Andrew Ferguson

One of the fantastic panels I attended at PAX was on the care and feeding of your game group. Whether you game casually with friends, have a large weekly meetup, or haven’t found a group yet, there was some great info for you. See below for my notes from the panel based on words of wisdom from Dikla TuchmanMax TemkinMatthew Baldwin, and Boyan Radakovich. (Additional commentary from me are in italics throughout.)

How to Gather a Group by Matthew Baldwin 
1. Why have you gathered everyone together? What is the purpose of this game group? There are multiple different types of gamers, and each has a different goal. Will you be catering to the jokers of the group who want to have fun and focus on party games, or will you be catering to the competitors with a serious/tournament-style game group?
2. Set a schedule and stick to it. Will you be meeting every Monday? Every New Year’s Eve? Every day during lunch break?
3. Take a break from evangelism. Stop trying to recruit everyone. It’s not your job to convert everyone. Enjoy the group you have.
4. Teach the games. It’s your job as host. If you’re not good at it, find someone who is.
5. Enforce Wheaton’s law. (For those who don’t know, the law is “Don’t be a dick.”)

These notes are great for those ready to start a more official game group. I game casually with friends which is nice, but we wouldn’t be able to do anything like a regular RPG session because we’re so scattered. Starting and keeping a schedule is a great idea. Additionally, Matthew touched on the 9 different types of gamers and said he could “ruin a cocktail party” by talking about them forever. Matthew, you’ve piqued my interest! I want to hear more!

How to Teach a Game by Max Temkin
“No one’s there to learn the game, they’re there to play the game.”
1. Set up the board. (Bonus points if you set it up before people get there)
2. Teach the big picture about the game before you start.
3. Explain the theme of the game.
4. Explain how to win the game.
5. How the game ends. (Give basic, high level info. Not all the details/strategies are needed at the beginning.)
6. Explain what happens in a turn.
7. Don’t teach strategy
8. Don’t get into the fine print. (Instead, just teach basics. “Normally, this is how it works,” etc.)
9. Start the game. (Play your hand first, talk aloud about what you’re doing and why.)

Teaching a game correctly is one of the best skills you can have. It can make the difference of your friends understanding and loving a game or ending up frustrated and/or bored. Practice a few times or write down notes for yourself if you’re not sure how to explain it! Looking for good examples of games being taught? Check out Tabletop and Shut Up and Sit Down

The Feeding of Your Game Group by Dikla Tuchman
1. You want people to enjoy themselves. What else do they have in common, other than games? Food? Beer? Wine? Something else?
2. Make sure you plan time in your day for food prep and during the game night for eating.
3. If your group is interested in beer, try a beer share: “Let’s do stouts and Ticket to Ride this week.” Everyone brings their favorite stout (ideally a larger bottle or growler) so everyone can sample a variety of that type of beer. Think of it as a beer potluck.

Thematic Game/Beer Pairing Ideas by Dikla 

  • Ticket to Ride and Steam Train Porter
  • Cataan and 80 Acre Hoppy Wheat
  • Forbidden island and Island Big Swell IPA
  • Gloom and Dead Guy Ale (Dead Guy Ale is one of those beers that’s perfect for a lot of horror games/movies/parties. I’ve used it for Cabin in the Woods and have wanted to use it for Betrayal at House on the Hill.)

Combining your friends’ other interests is an easy way to met them halfway and introduce them to gaming.

Well, now I need to throw a beer potluck. Such a fun idea! 

Final Thoughts by Boyan Radakovich

1. It’s not about the game: it’s about getting together and having fun.
2. Stick to a schedule, even if everyone can’t make it.
3. Find someone that can be a host for your game night: Making sure it’s running smoothly, people are greeted, etc.
4. Join an Online Community. Have a consistent theme, branding, logo for your game group. Suggestions:

  • Facebook  for invites
  • Twitter for sharing
  • Tumblr for game play video or images

5. Community Engagement. Your gaming group is a community. Engage with other communities IRL, such as volunteer groups, crafting groups, book clubs, your work, etc.
6. Do it in public. #doit (This is a verbatim quote from the panel.)

Boyan couldn’t stress the first point enough throughout the panel. Getting people together to play games ISN’T about the game. It’s about getting together and having fun. Remember that as you start/attend your board game group sessions!

Do you have a regular gaming group? An other tips that aren’t included here? Leave them in the comments! Questions? Reach out to any of the panelists, or let me know in the comments and I’ll hunt down an answer for you!

Friday Favorites: September 6

Friday Faves Sept 6

Summer is over! Con season is over! (Ok, that’s a lie. I know of three more cons coming up in the next month or two.) Job Hunters production is over! (Also a lie. We’ve got a few tiny shoots left over this next month or so.) Time to sit around and relax and bask in all of my free time now that Fall is here! (HA! Why do I even try?)

Things may still be busy, but I think I’m at that point of the year where most summer things are starting to calm down and I can start being consistent with Geeky Hostess goodness again. I’ve got some really fun posts, parties, recipes and more in the works, so stay tuned! Here are my favorites from this past week:

Favorite Jewelry: Royal Star Necklace
I picked up this star necklace from the Sanshee booth at PAX, and I absolutely love it. It looks more expensive than it is, and I wear it on days where I need a bit of invincibility. You can find it online here.

Favorite Web Series: Shut Up and Sit Down
Board game reviews and instructions as they should have always been done: By an enthusiasitc British guy in costume. These are super well done. Watch them all here.

Favorite Song: Ylvis’ The Fox
Make no mistake: This is a goofy video made by a group that is essentially a Norwegian Lonely Island. No one making this thought it would be a serious video. That doesn’t make me love it any less. The tune is catchy and I caught myself singing along the second time I watched it. Enjoy.

Favorite Alcoholic Beverage: Three Olives’ Loopy Vodka
Sometimes, you just want your vodka to taste like Fruit Loops. Yes, that time is often when you’ve just turned 21 and you can handle ridiculously sweet things, but if you’re still a fan of fun-flavored vodkas, you’ve gotta try this one. I have no clue how they made it taste like Fruit Loops or why it’s so good, but they did and it is. Find out more here.

What are some of your favorite new discoveries from this past week?

PAX Crafter Round-Up


I had the pleasure of being on the “For the Love of Crafting II: The Wrath of Yarn” panel at PAX last night, and I had a fantastic time. The panel consists of the panelists talking quickly about themselves and their current projects, and then turned into a giant Q&A and Show & Tell time for the audience. I learned about new techniques and strategies and new types of crafting I didn’t even know existed! The panel is essentially like a giant crafting meetup with 5 panelists.

During the panel, we encouraged people to share a link to their store/site/photos/etc. so we could all check out everyone’s projects. Without further ado, here is that list! (Not on the list? Leave a comment with your link!)


Tally Heilke: Cute plushies and more at Tally’s Treasury

Tara Theoharis: Geeky food and parties at The Geeky Hostess

Meris Mullaley: Cosplay and sewing at Fabric Alchemist

AnnaTheRed: Geeky Bento boxes and plushies at Anna The Red

Daniel Brattland: Dice creations at Roller’s Regalia

Sarah Mendiola: Videography and Fantastic Knitting at


@Azralorne: Art and craft shop on Etsy

@briannemd: Will have things up on soon!

@CadoganThree: Painting, sculpture, and mixed media at deviantart

@CrochetLunch Sells crochet goods on Etsy

@DarkAngelYoshi: Crafty Crochet at, well, Crafty Crochet

@FeltedFamiliars: sells felted animals real and imaginary on Etsy

@jiannaprefect: Cosplay page on Facebook (She wore the Bjork Chocobo dress!)

@LunarJade: crafter and desert busser at deviantart

@kchristofersen: cross stitches, never anything too traditional or appropriate. Tweet her for commissions!

@LvCherieJewelry: geeky jewelry with elegance, whimsy, and heart at

@monicarysavy: Paper Goods shop on Etsy

@pipedreamdragon: Pipe Cleaner crafter at deviantart

@SheriB626 Crochet it ain’t so! Blog and Etsy

@Tom90deg: Steampunk crafter at deviantart

@Trillianne: Knits and quilts at

@Valeta: Cute Litte Things shop on Etsy

@veggiehearts: Vegan and Fiber artist blog at Veggies Have a Heart


3D Space Cookie Cutters

3D Space Cookie Cutters

Suck UK has added another genre to its line of 3D cookies, and this time they’re conquering the final frontier. The cookie cutters come with the pieces to make either a rocket, shuttle, star fighter, or space buggy. It looks like you can’t choose which one you get and have to pay a lot of shipping to get them to the US at the moment, but give them time and they should pop up on Amazon/in local stores. Find them now for $12 each at!

Tara’s at PAX!


PAX is almost here! I should be excited, but I’m really just exhausted. Constant cons and traveling and Job Hunters and other fun things has left me looking forward to a weekend with nothing going on. But still–PAX is here, and even if I’m tired, I’m still gonna make the most of it! In addition to daily activities, I’ll be running the @PAXParties twitter handle. If you want to see your party options each day, make sure you check it out! I update it as I get news about parties, so you’ll know what’s worth the wait and what isn’t.

Here is where you can find me this weekend:

Thursday and Friday:

Two Iron Thrones Tour: I’ll be helping out at this show at the Triple Door. It’s got Kris Straub, Mikey Neumann, and a whole bunch of guests that you know and love. (If you don’t know them yet, you’ll love them after you see them. I guarantee it.) Tickets are still available, so you should go. I’ll say “Hi” to you, you’ll see a good show, everyone wins. Get your tickets here!


I’ll be sleeping and/or wandering the floor.


Cards Against Humanity Live: I’m putting this show on, and boy is it a doozy. There are multiple things in the show that I’m not allowed to talk about, and it’s going to be amazing. I believe there’s still standing room available. Grab your tickets here!

For the Love of Crafting II: The Wrath of Yarn: At 8:30pm in the Raven Theater, I will be joining a group of amazingly crafty individuals to talk geek crafting. There will be giveaways. There will be silliness. There will be…well, I don’t know what else. But it should be a great time!

Cards Against Humanity Panel: I’ll be running over to this panel after my crafting one. You most likely won’t be able to get in unless you’re already in line, which means you’d have to skip my crafting panel. That would be sad. But if you have a time turner or a friend who’s good at saving seats, you should try to hit up this panel. More fun and surprises await!


Post-PAX Pint Throwdown: Drink beer for the children. Everyone cool will be there. Get your tickets now.

Sleep. Sleep forever and a day.

Whew! What are your plans for PAX? Will I see you at any of my events?

CONTEST: Win an Inkedibles Edible Airbrush Ink System!

 Inkedibles Airbrush

Do you enjoy baking? How about painting? Model building? Why not incorporate all of your loves into something amazing (and edible)? This edible airbrush kit will allow you to airbrush food-safe ink onto items of your choice (preferably ones you plan to eat). Use it to paint an accurate rendition of a nebula on a cookie, get the perfect shading on your cake shaped like Hogwarts, or just let your artistic side take over on a white fondant-covered cake.

What would you do with an edible airbrush system?

I told Inkedibles that my readers are great cooks/entertainers and are crafty, and that they like unique and interesting things to use while cooking/crafting. They offered up one of these amazing airbrush sets in return. Enter to win below and you could win the Edible Airbrush AND the pack of 17 edible inks to go with it! You lucky folks, you.

Too impatient to see if you win the contest? You can grab your own airbrush system now from

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I have more plans with Inkedibles in the future, and they’re going to be a lot of fun! Keep an eye out!

A Fascinating Fascinator

Yeah, the title is awful. Sorry I’m not sorry. But seriously, aren’t fascinators a bit fascinating? The British get to wear them. I’ve often seen people at cons and steampunky people working fun little hats and headpieces into their outfits. People seem to have fun with them. So why don’t we wear them more often?

I’ve been on the lookout for a fascinator for a while. Something tiny and cute I can wear to special geeky functions. A good intro into the fascinator world. I was thrilled when I came across Shilpa Iyengar, a founding designer at Young Designers Collective, and she provided me with the one seen in the photos, above. She has two hats and this ribbon fascinator (made from recycled scraps from other hats) as part of her “Pink Ribbon Collection.” When you purchase one of her pieces, a portion of the price is donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. So not only is my fascinator cute and pink, but it’s also recycled and helps support breast cancer research. Win win win win!

I had fun wearing it around today, and while I may not be brave enough to rock a fascinator out in public on an average day, I do plan on wearing it during my Geek Etiquette panel at Geek Girl Con. Where else should I wear it? Do you have a fascinator? Where do you wear it?

If you want to get started on the fascinator trend, you can pick up one of the “ribbon” hats that I’m wearing in either pink or turquoise for $30. ($5 goes to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.) Find it (and the other two hats available) here!

 This is a sponsored post powered by Brandbacker. All words and opinions are my own, and I seriously have been looking for a fun fascinator…

Get Organized with Superhero Pinboards

Comics Pin Board

I have a confession to make: I like Pottery Barn, but what I like best about it is the kids’ section. In case you didn’t know, they have some sweet licensed Marvel and Star Wars gear hiding out there. And while their bedding may be a tad too small (and too low of a thread count) for some grown-up beds, they have some other great room accessories that would be at home in, well, anyone’s home.

I’m loving these pinboards that allow you to get organized with bright colors and a pop of geek. It looks like they were originally created for little boys’ bed rooms, but I can see it being perfect in a kitchen or above a desk. Mix and match the super hero pinboards with chalkboards, bungee boards, and corkboards to make an organization system that’s perfect for your home.  Now they just need to create a Wonder Woman one…

What superhero goodies have you found at Pottery Barn?

The Ultimate Unboxing: Julep, Loot Crate, and Birchbox

This whole “monthly box” things has really taken off, and I feel like there’s a box out there for everyone. So I took the three I get and did a giant unboxing video. Now you can compare the contents and get a good feel for a variety of monthly boxes! (Also, it felt a bit like Christmas opening so many fun packages!)

Take a look at the video above and then leave a comment (on the video or blog) on monthly boxes you get (specifically if you get one I should check out!).

Here’s additional information on the boxes I get:

Julep: $19.99 a month.
Sign up here.

Loot Crate: $13.37 (plus s/h) a month.
Save $3 with code “GEEKYHOSTESS”
Sign up here.

Birchbox: $10 a month.
Sign up here.