Super Epic Awesome Contest!

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I teamed up with a bunch of other amazing bloggers to do a HUGE contest. You want to enter this. The contest includes a KitchenAid Mixer, Coach bag, Tiffany necklace, Fujifilm Camera, and a $100 PayPal gift card. Your holiday shopping will be done and/or you’ll have tons of goodies for yourself. The amount of entries may look scary, but you can get up to 148, so it’s not as bad as it looks. And bonus? You’ll get to know a bunch of awesome party bloggers! Enter in the Rafflecopter below. For more information, check out Pretty My Party’s post!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Black Friday Tips From the Hunger Games

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You’ve volunteered as Tribute to stand out in the cold and get the best deals for your house. What can you do to make sure you return a Victor and don’t just become a cannon shot in the sky? Follow these tips gathered from The Hunger Games: Catching Fire! (Warning: If you have not read the books or seen the movie, some of these tips may contain spoilers.)

Form an Alliance: You may have the best stamina for waiting in lines, but you’re nothing unless you team up with someone who can see over crowds, someone that can hold a lot of bags, or someone that can function in the early morning. Team up and form alliances–that way one person can wait in line while the other shops or does a coffee run.

Stay Hydrated: There won’t be any trees to get water from, and there may not be a water bottle in sight, either. Bring your own from home and refill it whenever you pass by a water fountain.

Have a Supporter Back Home: Have someone back home that can come to your rescue if things get too intense. They may not be able to parachute anything in to you, but they can provide you with valuable information. Call them to check up on sales/deals, ask them to have food prepped and waiting for you, or just to hear a non-crazy voice.

Prepare: I sure hope you haven’t gotten rusty since the last Hunger Games! Make sure you know the layout of the stores, the model numbers and sizes of the items you want, and the ideal shopping route. And stretch. Seriously. It also won’t hurt to practice lifting heavy bags.

Wear the Right Attire: The Hunger Games uniform is always made to be best in the environment they’re in. For most of us, that means you’ll want to dress in layers and something you can walk a good distance in. Waiting outside? Make sure you’ll be warm enough, but can shed those layers once you’re in the store. Walking around a mall? Leave the bulky coat in the car so it’s one less thing you have to carry. And don’t forget about side braids–a surprisingly fashionable way to keep hair out of your way!

It’s a Clock! Deals come in waves, and many are on timelines. Map out the stores you want to hit and when you want to hit them, and then keep an eye on your watch.

Know When To Sacrifice Yourself: Sometimes the deals just aren’t worth it. If it looks like a stampede’s about to break out, get yourself out of harm’s way. If a sweet, young couple is in danger and has a shot of winning that big screen tv that you don’t really need, let them have it. A bit of compassion can go a long way.

It’s Just a Game: Black Friday is just a game. It’s just one day of deals and gimmicks. Get the shopping done that you can, and think of it as preparation for the real war: The weekend before Christmas.

Black Friday/Weekend Deals

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Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday is upon us and I just keep finding reasons to get all of my holiday shopping done this weekend. Below are some awesome geeky sites that are having sales/deals I recommend you check out (the list will continue to change/grow as I find more). Best part? You can shop in your pajamas all weekend long! Bolded items are exclusive deals for Geeky Hostess readers!

Amazon: A variety of limited edition Black Friday deals are available at this link.

Amery Studios: 20% off with code BLACKFRIDAY. Good until 12/1.

Athena’s Wink: Items will be on sale on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Black Milk: 30% off certain items from  9:00AM (AEST) 12/2 to 9:00AM (AEST) 12/4.

Chronicle Books: 35% off and Free Shipping with code FRIENDS until 12/5.

Crit Success: Buy 2 dice rings, get one free. Good from 11/29-12/1.

Dark Horse: 150 digital Star Wars comics for $100. Good from 11/29 – 12/1.

50% off your entire order (with a $20 minimum) with code DHDCYBER2013 on 12/2 only.

DriveThru RPG: Various sales on RPG downloads.

Fab: 30% off sitewide. New user? Use this link for $25 off a purchase of $75 or more!

Geeky Hostess Store: $10 off a purchase of $30 or more with code GHSALE. Good from 11/29 – 12/2.

Her Universe: Free Darth Vader Holiday Pin and Free Shipping with purchase. Good from 11/29-12/2.

The Humble Penguin: 15% off with code GEEKY15 until 12/6. (Check out the Doctor Who-inspired clutch!)

Jordan Dene: 40% of everything with code EPICSALE13. Good from 11/29 – 12/2.

Julep: $1 Nail Polish with code BLACKFRIDAY.

Kate Spade: Up to 75% off until 11:59 on 11/30.

Katie Clark Art: 11% off all original paintings with code RainbowFriday.

LuvCherie: 30% off with code BLKCYBIZ. Good until 12/2.

Megan Missfit: 15% off an order with coupon code CYBORG13. Good from 11/29 – 12/2.

Modcloth: New sales and deals every day from now until 12/2!

Nice Rice Shop: 10% off with code SMALLBIZTY.

Nudo: 50% off the Citrus Club Box with code GEEKYCITRUS on 12/2 only.

40% off the Flavor Box Set with code GEEKYFLAVOR on 12/2 only.

Picture Purrfect Art: 25% off any orders over $10 with code HOLIDAY25. Good from 11/29-12/2.

QMX: Black Friday Sale Page at the link.

Rakani: 25% off all black watches on Friday, 20% off all watches on Monday.

Sew Cherie: 15% off an order with code XMAS2013. Good from 11/29 – 12/2.

Spiffing Jewelry: 25% off with code BLACKFRIDAY25 from 6am-8am on 11/29. 15% off with code BLACKFRIDAY15 from 8am-11:59pm on 11/29.

Steam: The Steam Autumn Sale has different featured deals every day until 12/3.

Think Geek: 20% off orders of $40 or more with code BLACKMAGIC. Good now until 11/30.

Verona the Mad: 10% off an order with code ShopSmall10Percent. Good from 11/29 – 12/2.

We Love Fine: 25% off all t-shirts on orders of $100+ with code BLACKFRIDAYTSHIRTS25. 15% off all t-shirts on orders under $100 with code BLACKFRIDAYTSHIRTS15.

Woot: It’s a Woot Off! Woot Offs will occur on Friday and Monday.

Pinterest Day Recap

Yesterday I spent the entire day only doing things found on Pinterest Pins. I wanted to see if I would turn into one of those perfect people you always imagine when going through Pinterest–you know, perfect huge house, rustic accents, perfectly layered clothing with cute makeup and nicely braided hair. Mason jars everywhere. Makes their own organic EVERYTHING. Spoiler alert, I didn’t turn into that. But I did learn a couple of cool new recipes and tricks that I can start adding into my normal life! Here’s a list of everything I did as well as links to the pins (so you can add them to your own board!):

3 Ingredient Pancake
Breakfast: 3 Ingredient Pancakes
The reason I’m not a fan of normal pancakes is because it has a lot of carbs/sugar and lacks protein. These seemed like the perfect solution. They’re only made with bananas, peanut butter, and eggs (and a dash of cinnamon, if you’d like). They started off a bit stickier and more difficult to turn than your average pancakes, but they ended up looking and tasting like the real thing. You’ve gotta like peanut butter and bananas because the taste is strong, but I really enjoyed them. Would make again!

Workout: 7-Minute HIIT Workout
Who knew you could get so sweaty and out of breath in seven minutes? This workout kicked my butt. It recommends you do the full circuit a couple times, but once was good enough for me. It’s the next day and I’m SORE.

Sugar Cookie Scrub
DIY: Sugar Cookie Scrub
I love body scrubs and I love cookies, so this one seemed like a no-brainer. The creator mentions it’s a foot scrub, but there’s no reason you can’t use it elsewhere. The ingredients are all things you probably already have in your pantry: white sugar, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and olive oil. I would reduce the amount of olive oil you use to 1/3 cup, and make sure it doesn’t have a super strong smell. Other than that, I loved this DIY. It feels and smells delicious and may end up being a Christmas gift for some of my friends. I used the scrub in the shower, and ended up with olive oil on my hands when I washed my hair. My hair was SO smooth and wonderful when I got out of the shower–my comb went through it really easily without me having to use any detangler spray/leave-in conditioner! More proof olive oil is magical.

Outfit
Outfit: Plaid, Pearls, Boots, and Layers
I pinned a couple outfits for inspiration, but drew more on the basics I see on Pinterest all the time. Boots, skinny jeans, a plaid shirt underneath a crew neck sweater, and pearls. I learned I have no basic crew neck sweaters and need a new plaid shirt. But hey, I did what I could with what I had!

Hair
Hair: Fishtail Braid
I first attempted to do one of the Game of Thrones hairstyles, but realized that it looked a little fancy for my outfit. Instead, I took the opportunity to learn how to do a fishtail braid with a Pinterest tutorial. It took me a couple tries, but I finally understood what the tutorial was saying and was able to do it! It was a nice, easy (once I learned) hairstyle that I will definitely replicate in the future.

Makeup
Makeup: Light Pink Smoky Eye and Bright Lips
I loved the makeup picture I pinned and did my best to do it justice with colors that would work for my outfit. I still love the look I pinned better than my own, but I don’t think I did too horribly! It was fun to get to play around with different colors and styles on my eyes than I normally do.

Lunch: Homemade Crunch Wrap Supremes
I pinned this recipe on my “Fun Food” board a while ago and had wanted to try it for forever. Mr. Geek enjoys Taco Bell’s Crunch Wrap Supremes and I thought it would be a fun surprise to make it at home. We LOVED it. It was pretty easy to make and a whole lot healthier when you control your own ingredients! (I was starving and apparently forgot to take pics! Whoops!)

Pinterest Potluck
Party: Pinterest Potluck
I invited some Pinterest and food-loving friends over for a Pinterest Potluck. Everyone was asked to bring a dish that they made from a Pinterest pin. It allowed some of them to try things they’ve pinned a long time ago, and others to try Pinterest for the first time. We had a really fun mix of food and I would call everyone’s recipe at least some degree of success. I’ve listed them all below with a link to the pin so you can try them at home! (Let’s just say we all went home stuffed and a few pounds heavier.)

Lasagna
Dinner: Lasagna Rolls
I made lasagna rolls for my contribution to the Pinterest Potluck. I’ve been wanting to try lasagna rolls for a while and thought this would be a good chance! They were delicious! They work better as a sit-down dinner meal than a potluck meal (they’re messy and not as good when they’re cold), but they still went fast.

Cookies
Dessert: Cake Batter Cookies
I prefer cake to cookies, but if I had to eat a cookie, eating one made from cake batter doesn’t seem like a bad way to go. These cookies are super bright and cute (thanks to all the sprinkles) and they taste almost like a sugar cookie, but with a softer, slightly more cakey texture. The only thing that would make it better would be a bit of frosting on top!

Mason Jars
Bonus: Mason Jars
Mason Jars are ALL over Pinterest, so I felt it was necessary to do everything I could with the jars during the day. Mr. Geek and I both drank water out of them all day, I used one to contain the sugar scrub, I put candles in some for the party, and encouraged others to drink out of some as well. It was my first encounter with mason jars (other than seeing them used for the actual purpose of storing jams) and was actually pretty enlightening. Guys, you can do a lot of things with mason jars! But just because you can doesn’t necessarily mean you should.

Are you a Pinterest fan? Do you have pins you’ve wanted to try but haven’t? I encourage you to set up your own Pinterest Day or Pinterest Potluck! Share some of your fave pins in the comments! And check out my Pinterest Day Board for all of the pins!

Friday Favorites: November 22

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Excitement is in the air in the Geek World. This week brought us Hunger Games: Catching Fire and is about to bring us the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special. I’ve loved catching up on all of the trailers and excitement and can’t wait to see the reviews and posts that next week brings! Here are some of my favorite things from this past week:

 Favorite Trailer: Job Hunters Season 2
We launched the teaser trailer for Job Hunters Season 2 today. It gets me excited and I know what happens! Watch it here and share it with your friends!

Favorite Kickstarter: Zeppeldrome
A boardgame involving dirigibles that encourages you to screw over your neighbor. I’m already intrigued! Plus, I know the folks behind it and they do fantastic work. This is a solid bet if you’re looking for a fun new game! Check out the Kickstarter page here.

Favorite Movie: Hunger Games: Catching Fire
The new Hunger Games movie is FANTASTIC. Much better than the first. I’ve read the books are there are still parts where I jumped during the film. I was on the edge of my seat, I laughed, I cried, I was in awe of the beauty in some of the shots. Just go see it!

Favorite Drink: Birthday Cake Tea
I’ve been sipping on a birthday present from my brother lately, and it’s Birthday Cake tea from David’s Tea. It has sprinkles and freeze dried ice cream bits in it. Enough said.

What are some of your favorite things from the past week?

Dammit Liz Holiday Special!

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Today’s the first day it hit freezing in Seattle, which means it’s time to start thinking about the holidays. Or something. I dunno. I’m cold.

But if you are in the holiday spirit and are looking for things to do, I suggest you grab your tickets for the Dammit Liz Holiday Special! An amazing geeky group of performers will be getting together to warm our hearts and spread holiday cheer at the Triple Door in Seattle on December 2nd. Everyone who’s anyone in the Seattle Geek community will be in attendance.

Want to know more about the event? Visit the Dammit Liz Facebook page, where we’re currently celebrating the 12 Days of Lizmas. Each day will bring another video, giveaway, or other bit of cheer related to the show! You can win tickets, music, and more while getting to know the performers a bit better.

You can purchase your tickets here. Will I see you at the show?

 

Nudo: Adopt Something Delicious

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Why give a friend a gift of teas or olive oils when instead you can give them their own olive tree or tea garden? This is the concept of Nudo: you can adopt a tree or garden and receive a seasonal selection from your own adoptee. I’ve written about Nudo in the past and have loved checking up on the company. (I mean, how cool would it be to tell your friends the story of the exact tree your oil is from?) This holiday season, they’ve expanded their olive tree selection and added Darjeeling Tea Gardens.

I had the pleasure of sampling their new Sicilian Feudo Giulfo single-estate extra-virgin olive oil as well as their Darjeeling Tea, and oh my gosh you guys, the stuff is good. The olive oil is spicy, fruity, and so good on its own with a bit of bread. The Golden Harvest tea was indeed golden in color and tasted like the ultimate cup of tea. This is the stuff tea parties are made of.

If you’re looking for a fun, unique gift for someone that loves food or tea, or cares greatly about where their food comes from, Nudo is for you. And because they’re so awesome, they’re giving away a tea adoption! You’ll receive an adoption certificate from your tea garden and a shipment of the Golden Harvest Darjeeling loose leaf tea. Enter using the rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Recipes From Extra Life: Tavern Stew

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One of the most popular dishes I made during this year’s Extra Life was the “Tavern Stew.” It was a slow cooked beef stew that could work for any tavern-themed game or event. D&D, WoW, Skyrim, they all have some sort of beef stew. I made it extra medieval/Tavern-y by serving the stew in bread bowls. (In medieval times, meals would be served on trenches of bread.) The dish was delicious, and the main bit of criticism came from there not being enough liquid to seep into the bread. I would recommend either serving it in a bowl with bread on the side, or adding a bit more beef broth in the final hour of the slow cooker so it has time to season but hopefully not be soaked up by all of the meat, potatoes, and vegetables.

The best part of this recipe? If you’re planning an all-day D&D session, you can get it started in the morning, play, and then take a nice break for dinner once it’s ready. Plus you’ll have the fantastic smell of stew cooking all day!

Tavern Stew

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 potatoes, diced
  • 4 carrots, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 1/4 cup red wine (optional)

Directions:

In a small bowl, mix together the flour, salt and pepper. Mix in the meat until it’s all evenly coated in the flour mixture.

Cook the meat in a pan with a tiny bit of olive oil until slightly browned. Place the meat into a slow cooker.

Stir in the rest of the ingredients.

Cover and cook on Low setting for 10 to 12 hours, or on High setting for 4 to 6 hours.

If you want to use bread bowls, get round loaves in the size you would like and carefully scoop out the middle with a knife to make a bowl shape. Fill the bowls with stew. (Pro tip: Place the bread bowl on a plate so you don’t have to worry about drips, spills, or yours guests wanting to eat parts of the bowl before it’s fully empty!)

Enjoy!

Have you made slow-cooked stews before? What’s your fave slow cooker recipe?

Get Prepped for Doctor Who

The Doctor Who 50th Anniversary special is airing this Saturday, and you’d think it’s Christmas over in my household. Mr. Geek and I are excitedly watching all of the new trailers and footage as it comes out, and can’t wait to see what Saturday has in store. If you want to catch up on some facts on Doctor Who, or if you’re a new Whovian and want to learn a bit more about the classic Doctors, check out this infographic:

Doctor Who Infographic: 50 Years of Traveling in Time and Space

Still want more info? Check out Doctor Who: A History by my friend Alan.

Get prepped for a Doctor Who party or fantastic feast with Dining With The Doctor: The Unauthorized Whovian Cookbook by the fabulous Chris-Rachael!

Will you be watching the new episode? Will you see it from the comfort of your home or in a movie theater?

Friday Favorites: November 15

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It’s already the middle of November and nothing I’m doing is helping time stop or go any slower. But I’ve found lots of delightful new things to keep myself occupied as winter closes its cold grasp on me. Take a look!

Favorite Trailer: Maleficent
The Maleficent trailer premiered this week, and you could almost hear the cries of excitement ring out throughout the land. This is a villain we’re all excited to root for!

Favorite Charity Event: Desert Bus For Hope
If you like watching sleep-deprived people play a boring video game and do silly tasks while raising money for Child’s Play, then you’ll love Desert Bus! Tune into the pre-show starting tonight at 6:30pm Pacific, or tune in on Saturday morning at 10am for the start of the event. Last year they played for over 6 days and made over $440,000. I can’t wait to see what this year holds! Tune in at desertbus.org.

Favorite Product: Real Techniques Makeup Brushes
I got these brushes from a Klout perk (of all places) and I absolutely LOVE them. You may remember that I’m not so good with makeup brushes, I prefer to put makeup on with my hands. Well, these brushes have changed that. They’re super easy to use (they tell you how to use them on the brush and the packaging), they’re cute, and they’re well made. The first day I started using them, Mr. Geek complimented me on my makeup. So far so good! You can find them at Amazon.com.

Favorite Superhero: Batkid
San Francisco has turned into Gotham City for the day as one Make-a-Wish kid becomes Batkid and saves the town from a series of villains. You can watch the events live here!

What awesome things have you discovered this week?