Recent Posts

Blog, Star Wars

Introducing The Child

Life has been a bit busier around here lately, and that’s because The Geeky Hostess recently became a Geeky Mom! Leonidas (or Lil’ Geek) was born on April 15th, 2020. Everyone is healthy, happy, and sleep deprived. Not much will change for The Geeky Hostess, but I may include some geeky parenting posts here and there, and hope to put together some epic kids birthday parties in the future.

In the meantime, enjoy my son looking just as cute as that other child that seems to be so popular right now…

Blog, Parties

Keep The Party Going Digitally!

These are strange times we’re in. While almost all of us are sheltering-in-place and keeping physical distance for others to help flatten the curve of COVID-19, many events have had to be canceled. And while the introvert side of me is loving the chance to catch up on my tv watch list and TBR pile, the party-planning side of me is ready for something a bit more creative. If you had to cancel one of your upcoming events, take a look at some of these alternative options below to keep the party going.

Almost all of these include meeting with others through a video call. You can do this on the platform of your choice (Skype, Google Hangouts, FB Messenger, What’s App, etc.) but Zoom has been getting a lot of attention lately. If you do use Zoom, make sure you’re not posting your call number publicly unless you want uninvited guests to join. And while you’re at it, make sure you download some of these fun fandom-based Zoom backgrounds for your call. Just click on “virtual background” and upload the image.

Baby Shower

You can still have a baby shower complete with decorations, invitations, photo albums, and cheesy baby games with Web Baby Shower. It’s a paid service, but adds something a bit more special to the idea of a digital party, and includes guest books, registry, site, and private chat options that can continue up to a year later, so guests can see all of your updates once the baby arrives!

Birthday Party

Purchase some cupcake decorating kits for yourself and your closest friends, and decorate them over a video call. Have everyone sing awkwardly while you blow out the candle on your own cupcake! If you’re local to Trophy Cupcakes (Seattle area) or Sprinkles Cupcakes (assorted locations), they will deliver some delicious and adorable kits.

Book Club

Suggest a cheery, uplifting book title to a group of your friends and schedule a call for a week or two where you can discuss it. Bonus points if you pick a book that’s available through ebook/audio book or something you know you all have and can re-read. Try to avoid anything too dark or dense at this time.

Date Night

Not quarantined with your cutie? Trolling Tinder for some digital dates? Order delivery from the same restaurant for the same time, and schedule a call while you eat. Pour yourself a glass of wine, light some candles, and enjoy a romantic dinner for two!

D&D Session

You know how you’ve always talked about putting together a weekly D&D session, but you could never get your friends’ schedules to line up? Your time has come! Wizards of the Coast has put together a great list of online resources and free material to get you started.

Escape Room

Being stuck in a small room with a group of people that are all frantically touching everything is probably not the best idea right now. But some escape room companies are coming up with digital versions to tide you over! Check out Palace Games’ “Palace of Destiny.”

Game Night

Get your friends or family together to play some remote party games! I’m a fan of You Don’t Know Jack and Codenames. Want something a little crunchier? Tabletop Simulator lets you play some of your favorite tabletop games through Steam.

Movie Night

Netflix Party allows you to watch your fave Netflix shows while chatting with your friends. It’s a great way to watch a movie or binge an entire series together!

Wine Tasting

Have everyone order the same bottle(s) of wine or put in a large order that can be dropped off at friends’ houses. Pick a time to hop on a call and taste the wine together! (Bonus points if you put together a nice little cheese plate to pair with it.) I’m doing this with the Brooklyn 99-inspired “Wine Wine“!

 

What are you doing to stay sane during your shelter-in-place? Any great digital events you’re planning on attending?

Blog, Entertaining, Events

Create Modern Invitations with Greenvelope

It is the year of love in my friend group. Half a dozen of my friends have gotten engaged in the last 6 months, and I’ve been keeping close tabs on all of their wedding preparations. I’m an event planner–I always like to see what’s new and trendy. And one trend I can get on board with? Digital invitations. I’ve received them for save the dates, bridal showers, engagement parties, the weddings themselves…. these invitations allow the couples to get a bit more creative with the invites using animations, textures, and details that wold otherwise cost an arm and a leg, and it’s way easier for them to manage their guest list. Instead of receiving RSVP cards in the mail or phone calls from each guest, guests can just RSVP right through a link on the invitation and the couple sees it all organized through the invite’s website.

One of my fave companies doing these digital invites is Greenvelope. They have gorgeous, modern designs for every occasion/holiday, and give you the option to work with one of their designers to change the colors, text, or even create a completely unique design. If you’re an artist yourself, you can upload your own design and turn it into a digital invite.

The invitation itself isn’t all–Greenvelope’s invites also include a personalized digital envelope, liner, stamp and RSVP tracking. They allowed one of my friends a chance to make their save the dates, and I’m in love with how it turned out. When I received it in my inbox, there was an image of an envelope covered in stamps. When I clicked on it, it went to a page where it showed an animation of the envelope turning around, opening up a wax seal, and showcasing the card and liner. My friends picked the envelope and liner colors to match their wedding scheme, and it’s the perfect way to set the mood early. After seeing the invitation, I had the opportunity to put in my address for when the more formal physical invitation arrives, and received a link to their wedding website for more info. Abbey tells me that the process was super simple.

Plus, digital envelopes are helping save the world a bit by reducing paper waste. And Greenvelope helps a little more by donating a percentage of every sale to Mountains to Sound, a non-profit organization that maintains forests.

Even if a wedding isn’t in your future, Greenvelope has invitations for any celebration. I’m in love with their Halloween line–they have the perfect invites for a murder mystery dinner, haunted house outing, classy masquerade, spooky movie night, or whatever you have in mind. Want to make your next game night a bit fancier? Their Poker Night invites can be used for any card-based game.

Greenvelope has set us up with a promo code so you can give them a try: Take 15% off one purchase of any single event or membership with code “GeekyHostess”.

Clearly I’m hooked. Have you sent digital invites before? Are you thinking about them for your next event?

Recipes

A Refreshing Autumn Mocktail with Moscow Muled

I have been craving Fall. I want cool breezes, crunchy leaves, apple, pumpkin, and cinnamon everything, and sweaters. So many sweaters.

However, it is currently sunny and 80 degrees in Seattle. So I’m dreaming of cooler days while clutching this icy autumn drink.

This mocktail (or cocktail, if you add a bit of bourbon) is the perfect match for a copper mule mug, and was made for the blog by the folks at Moscow Muled. I’m a sucker for a good drink vessel, and their copper mugs are some of the nicest I’ve seen. They’re handmade and lined with nickel, which makes them stronger and prevents you from ingesting copper while drinking your mule. Plus, they’re a great price point and I always feel warm and squishy supporting small businesses. They’ve hooked up Geeky Hostess readers–you can save 15% off your order with code “GEEKYHOSTESS” until September 29, 2019. Grab them at moscowmuled.com!

Once your mugs arrive, you can get started on this delicious drink. It’s like apple pie in a mug, but chilled enough to help you survive these last few days of summer.

Apple Butter Old Fashioned Mule Mocktail
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • Brown sugar, for the rim
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • Dash of orange bitters
  • 1 tablespoon apple butter
  • 1-2 ounces bourbon (optional)
  • Ginger beer or ginger kombucha
  • Sliced apples and cinnamon, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Rim a copper moscow mule mug with brown sugar: first rub some simple syrup or lemon juice along the rim, and then turn the mug upside down onto a plate of brown sugar.
  2. In a cocktail shaker or mason jar, combine the apple cider, lemon juice, orange bitters, and apple butter. For an alcoholic version, add bourbon. Shake to combine.
  3. Pour into a copper mug filled with ice. Top with ginger beer or ginger kombucha. Garnish with cinnamon and apples and enjoy!

Are you looking forward to Fall? What’s your favorite part of the season?

Blog, Geeky Fashion

I’m a Damsel in Dis Dress

From the first time I saw Hercules, I was obsessed with Megara. She’s more than just a Disney princess–she’s a complicated, sassy, femme fatale. And “I Won’t Say I’m in Love” is in heavy rotation when my friends and I go to karaoke. So when Elhoffer previewed their “Damsel in Dis Wrap” Dress right before I left for a trip to Greece, I knew my dreams of becoming Meg were about to come true.

I brought the dress to the beautiful island of Skyros and took these photos on a breezy summer morning. While I didn’t have my own Greek chorus, I still felt the part, and I’m not afraid to say that I am in love with this dress. The fabric is magic–it’s stretchy, hardly wrinkles, durable, can be machine washed, and dries in an instant. The dress is a bit heavy, like all Elhoffer wrap dresses, but not enough to keep the wind from moving beautifully through it. I look like a sculpture! Plus, IT HAS POCKETS.

Need the dress in your life? Act fast. Supplies are limited post-SDCC. Get it at Elhofferdesign.com.

Do you have any Elhoffer pieces? Are you as in love with them as I am?

Blog

Become a Criminal with Cat and Canary

If I gave you the chance to commit some crimes–pickpocketing, theft, and fraud to name a few–and get away with it, would you?

I had the opportunity to do just that a couple weeks ago, and while it wasn’t technically real (I am posting about this publicly, after all), it gave me the same thrill I assume criminals get.

Cat and Canary Co. reached out to my friend Kristina about a new experience called The Confidence Game, and we were instantly intrigued. The experience lets you and three friends turn into conmen for the night. You meet up with contacts in bars, break into hotel rooms, steal diamonds, and sell them to diamond dealers. It is extremely realistic and there are a few fun surprises throughout the night, but if anything gets “too real” for you, you’ve got a safe word at your disposal. They split us up into groups of two: The hustlers and the thieves. Joe and I took on the roles of rogues, while we let our counterparts Alexander and Kristina do the sweet talking.

I learned a few things about myself that night: I’m a horrible pickpocket and liar, and while I can pretend to be a hardened criminal, my lawful good side comes through when you try to make me jaywalk. For now I think I’ll keep the lying and stealing to my D&D characters and continue to live a lawful life. But the next time Cat and Canary comes out with another adventure, you know I’ll be ready to suit up and play evil for the night.

In addition to doing specific experiences, Cat and Canary can also create something custom for you. You’ll go around your city, interacting with amazing actors, and doing things you’ve only seen in movies. I would absolutely recommend you do this. I’m already imagining the most epic birthdays, proposals, and more. If you end up doing something with them, let me know what you think!

Would you let a group of strangers turn you into criminals for the night?

Recipes, Television

Boyle’s Meatball Subs from Brooklyn 99

I have a few shows I re-watch whenever I need a pick-me-up, and Brooklyn 99 has started to become one of those. And while I’m an Amy all the way, I often feel for Boyle and his ridiculous food obsession. In the episode “The Negotiation” Boyle decides to open a food truck called “The One Thing”, where he will create and sell only one thing and do it perfectly. He decides to use Nana Boyle’s meatball sub recipe. I decided to emulate it using a classic meatball and sauce recipe, but add a few details (like fennel and fresh mozzarella) that I think Boyle would approve of.

Just be careful when you cut the bread. You don’t want it to slope.


Boyle's Meatball Subs from Brooklyn 99
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • SAUCE
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 28 oz crushed tomatoes
  • ½ cup red wine
  • ¾ cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbs fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tbs fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • A pinch of red pepper flakes
  • MEATBALLS
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • ¾ cups bread crumbs
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • ⅓ cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbs fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tbs fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp ground fennel
  • A pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • SANDWICH
  • 8 hoagie rolls
  • 8 oz Fresh mozzarella
  • 8 leaves of Fresh basil
Instructions
  1. SAUCE:
  2. Place olive oil in a large pot on medium-high heat and add onions. Saute until the onions are transparent, and then add the minced garlic. Cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Add tomato paste, 6 oz of water, crushed tomatoes, wine, cheese, sugar, and seasonings. Let simmer.
  4. MEATBALLS:
  5. Place all ingredients except olive oil into a large bowl and mix with your hands until thoroughly combined.
  6. Form the meat mixture into 2-inch balls, or about the size of the inside of your palm. (Don’t fondle them too much or the balls will get tough.)
  7. Put the olive oil in a heated pan and when hot, add the meatballs. Brown on all sides, and then place in the sauce. Simmer for 2 hours.
  8. SANDWICH:
  9. Slice the hoagie rolls down the middle
  10. Place 3 meatballs and a bit of sauce in the hoagie roll
  11. Top with thin slices of fresh mozzarella
  12. Chiffonade the basil leaves (roll them tightly and cut the roll into strips, creating ribbons of basil) and sprinkle on top
  13. Serve exactly 70 seconds after saucing (Boyle's orders) and enjoy!

 

Recipes, Television

Rebetzel’s Pretzel Recipe from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

Tonight is the series finale of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the most amazing musical comedy that deals with super important conversations about mental health and relationships. And pretzels. Rebecca, the main character, loves soft pretzels (as everyone should) and ends up owning her own pretzel shop in season 4 titled “Rebetzel’s”. In one of the episodes, I was able to catch a glimpse of the full Rebetzel’s menu, and holy cow. I want ALL of these pretzels. So, I decided to make them.

As a heads up, pretzels might take you a try or two until they’re pretty. The batch I made for this recipe were UGLY. So so delicious and ugly in the “mess of food that I want to eat right now” way, but still too ugly to post. So, instead, I leave you with this video of pretzels from the show. But believe me: this recipe is legit.

(Did you catch all of the puns in there?)

I’ve been a fan of this show from the beginning, and I was so thrilled to get tickets to the taping of their “Yes, It’s Really Us Singing” concert special that will be airing after the final episode tonight. Cosplay was encouraged, so my friend Makenzie and I did our best Heavy Boobs impression. (Check out my Instagram post to see how we did!)

We were seated smack in the middle of the balcony. I’m hoping one of the sweeping audience shots got us–look for the two ladies in white! Anyway, I look forward to celebrating the final episode and the concert special while emotionally eating ALL of these delicious pretzels. Use the base recipe and then top it with any of Rebecca’s signature flavors below. Which one is your fave? (I loved the pizza pretzel and the lemon poppy seed, and you can never go wrong with the classic Rebetzel with sea salt!)

Rebetzel's Pretzel Recipe from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2¼ tsp active dry yeast (1 packet)
  • 1½ cups warm water
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 TBS melted butter
  • 3¾ cups flour
  • 12 cups water
  • ⅔ cup baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 1 TBS water
  • Toppings (see below the recipe)
Instructions
  1. Place the yeast, warm water, and sugar in a mixer bowl. Let dissolve together for 10 minutes.
  2. Add the kosher salt and melted butter to the mixture.
  3. Add flour, one cup at a time, into the bowl, mixing with a bread hook attachment between each addition. Continue to add until the dough is not sticky.
  4. Shape the dough into a ball, place it in a bowl, and cover for 30 minutes.
  5. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  6. Boil the 12 cups of water and baking soda together in a large pot.
  7. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll out into a long rope, and then twist to make a pretzel shape.
  8. Drop each pretzel into boiling water for 20 seconds.
  9. Place the boiled pretzels on a parchment paper-covered baking sheet.
  10. Mix the egg and 1 TBS water together and spread over the pretzels.
  11. Sprinkle with kosher salt or other optional toppings.
  12. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until browned.
  13. Let cool for a few minutes and enjoy!

Rebetzel’s Flavors:

  • Classic Rebetzel with Salt: Sprinkle chunks of sea salt on the pretzels before baking.
  • Garlic Salt: Sprinkle garlic salt on the pretzels before baking.
  • Honey Bacon: After baking, drizzle with honey and sprinkle crumbled up bacon on the pretzels.
  • Salted Caramel: After baking, drizzle with caramel sauce and sprinkle salt on the pretzels.
  • Jalapeno Cheddar: Sprinkle shredded cheddar all over the pretzel and top with 3-4 canned jalapeno slices before baking.
  • Coconut: Sprinkle with shredded coconut before baking.
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter: Place 1 TBS of chocolate chips, 1 TBS peanut butter, and 1 TBS butter in a microwave safe dish. Microwave for 30 seconds, stir, and then microwave another 30 seconds if it needs it. Stir until fully mixed. After baking, drizzle the chocolate peanut butter mixture over the pretzels.
  • Pizza Pretzel: Lightly cover the top of an unbaked pretzel with pizza sauce, and then top with shredded mozzarella cheese and slices of pepperoni. Bake.
  • Pecan Vanilla: Make a glaze with 2 TBS powdered sugar, 1 tsp milk, and a dash of vanilla. After baking, drizzle the glaze on the pretzels and top with pecan chunks.
  • Caramel Popcorn: After baking, drizzle with caramel sauce and place caramel popcorn pieces on the pretzels.
  • Lemon Poppy Seed: Make a glaze with 2 TBS powdered sugar and 1 tsp lemon juice. After baking, drizzle the glaze on the pretzels and sprinkle poppy seeds on top.
  • Cereal Glaze: Let a bowl of sugary cereal sit in its milk until the milk changes color. Make a glaze with 2 TBS powdered sugar and 1 tsp of the cereal milk. After baking, drizzle the cereal glaze over the pretzels.

 

 

Blog, Recipes

Life is Strange 2’s “Home Alone Pasta Delight”

The second episode of Life is Strange 2 launched today, so I thought I’d celebrate by remembering the one part of the first episode that didn’t make me cry–the dad’s delightful pasta recipe.

This recipe was found on the side of the fridge–it’s meant to be an easy recipe for the kids to make on days they’re on their own for dinner. I love that the recipe has a casual, humorous feel. It’s very much the voice of their dad. …and, I’m crying again.

If you’re looking for a fast and delicious meal that doesn’t take much skill, this is for you. If you want to amp it up a bit, I’d recommend sauteing the tomatoes with some garlic and other veggies (I do onions and zucchini) and then mixing it with the olive oil, Parmesan, and black pepper.

As a heads up–this “recipe” tells you to boil the pasta for 5 minutes. My pasta bag recommended 10-11. Stick with the instructions your pasta gives you!

Have you played the first episode of Life is Strange 2 yet? Do you also need to drown yourself in a giant bowl of pasta and tears before continuing? (The game is fantastic, I swear! I just cry easy.)

Blog

My Go-To Healthy Recipes

The start of a new year is the perfect time to evaluate your life: what do you love and want to keep doing, and what do you want to stop or start doing?

If cooking, meal prep, or eating healthier are things you want to start, you might enjoy some of these recipes. These are my tried-and-true favorite meals when I’m looking for something high in protein and low in carbs and calories. They taste better than takeout and most can be made in 30 minutes or less.

Click through and give some a try! Then let me know some of your healthy standbys in the comments!

Healthy Beef and Broccoli

Better than takeout beef and broccoli and you can make it at home before delivery would arrive! Serve with some rice or quinoa.

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

These are based on the PF Changs chicken lettuce wraps, and I like them even better than the real thing. They’re surprisingly easy to make–the toughest thing is not eating the whole thing by myself! (Also, Damn Delicious is one of my fave food blogs. It is accurately named.)

Greek Stuffed Peppers

This is a great meatless option that’s also extremely flexible. I usually use veggies I have around (swapping the sun-dried tomatoes for cherry tomatoes, for instance) and I use Israeli couscous instead of millet.

Pesto Banza Pasta

Ok, this one is barely a recipe. Cook up some Banza pasta. While it’s cooking, sautee some veggies and/or grill up some chicken sausages. Mix it all together with pesto and top it with parmesan or feta. This is the lazy-too-tired-to-cook meal of choice in our house. It lets me give into the pasta cravings with something a bit better for me. If you haven’t had it before, Banza is amazing. It’s pasta made from chickpeas, so it’s high in protein and fiber, low in carbs, and gluten free. It’s available in most stores, and they’ve also just launched some mac and cheese boxes. I always keep some of their pasta in the pantry!

Sauteed Chicken with Olives, Capers, and Roasted Lemons

I don’t know if it’s the recipe itself or if it’s because it’s from Food and Wine, but I feel so fancy when I make this recipe. It’s so tasty! I use kalamata olives instead of Sicilian, and I usually make kale or broccoli instead of the spinach. Serve with some rice pilaf and greens!

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Turkey Chili

This recipe is super hearty and delicious. I make a batch at the beginning of the week for easy lunches I can take to work.

Thai Chicken Wraps and Peanut-Coconut Sauce

Instead of having this as a wrap, I add a couple cups of shredded cabbage into the mixture and eat it as a salad. This keeps super well, so it’s another one I’ll prep for weekday lunches.

Now it’s your turn! What are your go-to healthy recipes? I’d love to add a few more into my rotating list!