Entertaining

Yumbots: Robot Cupcakes

yumbots

These little guys are some of the cutest things you’ll ever eat. Seriously. I’ve received a few boxes of Yumbots over the years, and just recently took them out and played with them. The silicone robot heads get filled with cake batter and cook like a cupcake–just stick them on a baking sheet. After they’re cooked and cooled is where the real fun begins: the frosting. The robots become more fun and fashionable the higher (and brighter) the frosting is. Give them a fun hairstyle and try not to smile while eating them!

The robots have swivel feet, so you can turn and pose them as you wish, and the silicone bots are reusable for lots of robot-cupcake fun!

Grab a box of Yumbots (they come in a pack of four) for $14.22 at Amazon!

Cupcake Inspiration From the Trophy Book Launch

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I attended the Trophy Cupcakes Book Launch Party over the weekend, and was in awe of how many ways they displayed cupcakes throughout the event. They were all beautiful and a lot of them were pretty unique! Here are some of my favorite bits of cupcake inspiration taken from the event. Keep them in mind for your next party:

Display Your Cupcakes Proudly

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A giant cupcake display looks even prettier when you mix flavors, colors, and sizes of your cupcakes.

DIY Cupcake Station

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This “Decorate Your Own Cupcake” station was a super cute idea, and was clearly being used. Keep in mind: If your party has a lot of kids (or childlike adults), this station will get super messy and most people will focus on quantity of sprinkles over quality.

Gold Frosted Fruit

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A piece of fruit sprayed gold with edible spray paint is an elegant way to top a cupcake. This would be fantastic for a wedding or fancier event!

Cotton Candy/Cupcake Collaboration

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Spun skewered a mini cupcake on a fork and used that to spin the cotton candy onto. It was a super fun and creative element. A bit messy to eat, but still fun!

Decorate with Cupcakes

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Cupcakes don’t just need to be used to feed the masses–they can also be used to decorate the party! Just find a fun container to put them in. (Tip: If it can hold a candle or an air plant, it can hold a mini cupcake!)

Have you done any creative cupcakeing at parties in the past? Let me know in the comments!

Trophy Cupcakes and Parties Book Launch

Trophy Book Launch

I attended the media event for the new Trophy Cupcakes and Parties book yesterday, and holy cow. I am blown away. I own my fair share of cookbooks, cupcake books, and party books, but this is my new go-to.

First off, it’s written by the amazing Jennifer Shea. Not only is she the founder of Trophy Cupcakes, but she’s also a beautiful, sweet, charismatic person with an amazing sense of style–she’s the type of person everyone either wants to be or befriend. I had a fantastic time meeting her when we worked on the Hunger Games Cupcake video and I always look forward to seeing what new beautiful cupcake or project she’ll announce.

Second, the book is just BEAUTIFUL. Rina Jordan did a fantastic job with the photography and the styling of the photos and the book as a whole makes you feel like you’re at a charming and whimsical party and leaves you inspired to create one yourself.

Third, the book holds so much great information. Not only does it include tons of recipes for popular Trophy cupcakes (and fantastic tips and tricks on how to frost cupcakes like the pros!), but it also includes decoration, craft and activity ideas as well as other recipes, all broken up in adorable party theme ideas. There are parties for adults, kids, babies, and everyone in between. I love the Andy Warhol-inspired Pop Art Party, the “Superhero Training Camp” Party and the Life Aquatic Party meant for a baby’s First Birthday.

If you enjoy making cupcakes or throwing parties, you NEED this book. You can get it on Amazon, Trophy’s Website, or in Trophy’s stores.

Or, if you’re in the Seattle area this weekend, you can pick up your book at the Trophy Book Launch Celebration. Cupcakes, champagne, an amazing book, a dance floor, and me? You know you want to. You can get your tickets here. If you decide to attend, let me know so I can say “Hi” in between bites of cupcake!

Now I’m off to practice my piping skills and study up on methods of cupcake-making.

Hey Girl, Thomas Edison Likes You

GE has started some kind of marketing campaign of some type that involves them creating “Hey Girl” memes, but replacing Ryan Gosling with Thomas Edison. It works. It works so well. Check them all out on their Pinterest page and send your favorite to some fellow geeky ladies. Below are some of my faves:

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I’m expecting a Tesla version to pop up any moment. Seriously. One of you, get on that.

The Care and Feeding of your Board Game Group

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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:

  • Boardgamegeek.com
  • Reddit.com
  • Meetup.com
  • 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!

Giveaway: Ariel Apron by Jordan Dené

 Ariel Apron

I was sitting down to watch The Little Mermaid the other day when Jordan reached out to me. “Would you like to review a Little Mermaid apron?” It was like she was psychic.

The apron is fun and extra-pretty to wear because of the style of the bottom. It feels more like a skirt than your average apron. The construction of the apron in general is really nice: it feels sturdy but girly, and I was impressed with the level of detail in the design and stitching. I look forward to wearing the apron while making some Shark Week cupcakes–it’s only right.

The Ariel Apron is one of four different designs in the “Princess Aprons” category of Jordan Dené’s shop, and that is only one of the many fandoms she works in. Between the astronaut, TARDIS, Arrested Development, and Harry Potter aprons, I would have a ridiculous time trying to pick my favorite. Check out everything available in the shop here.

You can win your own Ariel Apron by entering the Rafflecopter giveaway below! Too impatient, or want a different apron? Use code “geekyhostess20″ to get 20% off your order! Get shopping now at jordandene.com.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I was compensated in exchange for this post. All words and opinions are my own!

Justice League is at Target!

Justice League at Target

If you need more Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman in your life, then get yourself to a Target. Their summer collection features some great pieces starring your favorite DC characters! Some of my faves include:

Wonder Woman Apron. You can’t go wrong here. $9.99.

Justice League Serving Tray. Perfect for surprising your Wonder Woman or Superman with breakfast in bed. $11.99.

“Flash” Cup. This cup looks cool and the fact it’s acrylic means it’s super easy to take with you for picnics and parties! $2.99.

Batman Beach Towel. Your pool adventures just got more epic. $10.99.

You can find the whole collection at Target.com. Make sure you check out their ideas for incorporating the Justice League in your summer activities, like their fantastic comic book picnic spread!

EMP’s Fantasy Exhibit

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If you find yourself in Seattle, you’ve gotta check out the EMP Museum’s new Fantasy exhibit. This exhibit is the third and final part of their permanent exhibit’s redesign that focuses on exploring our hopes, fears, and dreams. Our hopes are found in the Sci-Fi exhibit,  our fears in the Horror exhibit, and now our dreams can live in the Fantasy exhibit.

I had the pleasure of checking out the exhibit and partaking in opening night festivities this past Friday, and I had a great time! (I swear, I didn’t have to fight anyone to win a seat atop this throne!)

EMP Fantasy

The exhibit itself was well laid out with beautiful features like straw on the floor, metal sheeting on an in-exhibit house, a dragon’s cage (complete with dragon with glowing eyes and a nice soft purr!), and fun secret areas kids or small adults can climb through.

The movie/tv props all look amazing in person–I was impressed with the quality of the weapons and  costumes and enjoyed seeing items from The Princess Bride, Xena, Snow White and the Huntsman, Harry Potter, and many others, up close. I also loved seeing the hand written manuscripts and notes from J.R.R. Tolkien, and the comparison of a page from George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” with the same scene in script form for the show “Game of Thrones.”

In addition to props and artifacts, the exhibit teaches people more about the Fantasy genre, and allows you to complete interactive activities like building your own map. (For those interested, you can then save and print out your map to take home!)

You can find out more about the exhibit and the museum as a whole at EMPMuseum.org. Check it out! (And while you’re there, make sure you also check out the sci-fi and horror exhibits. They’re all extremely well done.)

Decorate with Octopi

What is it with geeks and octopi? Is it the relation to Cthulu? Kraken? Steampunk? Just huge fans of Ursula? Or maybe the sea in general? Anyway, whatever it is, octopi + geeks = true love. So I was thrilled to see all of these items appear in Pottery Barn’s spring line. Outfit your whole house with octopi!

Octopus Serving Pedestal
Octopus Serving Pedestal
Display a fancy cake or a new bottle of Kraken on this awesome serving pedestal. This is one of the coolest things I’ve seen in a while, and will definitely stand out at your next party!
$89.00 at PotteryBarn.com.

Octopus Salt and Pepper Cellars
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Salt and Pepper shakers are out–whatever this is is in. Allow this fierce-looking octopus to guard your salt and pepper!
$24.50 at PotteryBarn.com.

Octopus Bottle Stopper
Octopus Bottle Stopper
This cute lil guy is the perfect addition to a gift of wine for the octopus-lover in your life. Plus, it instantly turns your bottle into an item you can display!
$16.50 at PotteryBarn.com.

Are you an octopus-lover? Let me know what you think the correlation to geek culture is down in the comments!

Dungeon-Building Dice Set

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GMing a campaign and the players have decided to deviate off the set path? Need some fresh ideas on how to layout a dungeon? Want to play an impromptu campaign out and about and don’t have your notes with you? Grab these dice!

The dungeon-building dice set allows you to roll to put together a dungeon map. The five dice included in the set are all different, but all connect with each other through two separate pathways. I’m down for any excuse to roll more dice!

You can find them for $19.99 at ThinkGeek.com.