Happy “Hug a Geek” Day!

Is he teaching me to be lighthearted and playful, or did he forget he was holding me and is about to drop me? There's no way to know. Ever.

Is he teaching me to be lighthearted and playful, or did he forget he was holding me and is about to drop me? There’s no way to know. Ever.

Last year I decided May 29th would be unofficial “Hug a Geek” Day. Why? Well, that’s when I married Mr. Geek! 3 years ago today we said “I Do” (with a secret “So Say We All” hidden into the vows), and on our anniversary I like to reminisce a bit on relationships with geeks. Two years ago I talked about geek love (and why it’s so great). Last year I talked about how common geek attributes translate into a relationship. This year? I want to chat about the way your relationships change you (hopefully for the better!).

As I’ve mentioned before, Mr. Geek is responsible for a lot of my geekiness. Before him I had never played D&D, never played European board games, and probably wouldn’t have set foot into PAX. But there’s so much more. He is more outgoing than I am, more adventurous, and more creative. He encourages me to travel, try new things, get out of the house, spend time with friends, and achieve my various goals. I joke that I’d be a mean ol’ recluse if it weren’t for him, but I think there’s some truth in that. Without someone to remind me to have fun, I would work non-stop. And even when he’s not specifically telling me to do something, he’s still inspiring me. His sense of humor makes me step up my game. (I still get really proud when I can make him laugh!) His intelligence makes me want to learn more. And his outlook on life wants me to match his positivity and drive.

So today, go hug the geeks in your life, whether they’re your partner, family member, or friend. Let them know that you’re a better person because of them, and tell them why. (Or better yet, give them a shout-out in the comments!)

(And for those interested, here is the obligatory wedding video link I post every year!)

Tips For Running a Convention Booth

Geeky Hostess Booth This past weekend I ran my very first Geeky Hostess booth at GeekGirlCon. I had a great time and learned a lot while meeting some really fun people! I think booths are addictive. While running them you’re exhausted and barely think you’ll make it through the weekend, and then the next day you’re looking at prices of booths for upcoming cons. If you’re looking to start promoting/selling items at a convention, GeekGirlCon’s a great place to begin. The vendors were all so amazing and supportive, the volunteers went out of their way to help, and the environment was really welcoming. Here are some things I learned about boothing it up:

  • Stand Out. Whether you pick a fun theme or a prominent color, find a way to make it so your booth is noticeable. Mine was definitely the pinkest booth of them all, and the giant floating cupcake made it an easy-to-find location. (Although I did disappoint two different toddlers when they found out it wasn’t edible.)
  • Have an Attention-Grabbing Freebie. I was going for a “Cupcake Bakery” theme to my booth, so naturally I needed to have cupcakes. I made a bunch of mini Mountain Dew cupcakes to give out in the mornings, and they drew people in. It was a great conversation starter: people knew me as the “cupcake girl” and it gave readers a chance to sample one of the cupcakes they’ve seen online. If you do decide to hand out food, make sure you get permission from the convention center and have a list of the ingredients available for those who ask. Other booths have done things like raffles and giveaways at specific times which draws a great crowd.
  • Have a Handout with Online Information. I had flyers for GeekyHostess.com and the Geeky Hostess Store, as well as Mountain Dew Cupcake recipes with GeekyHostess.com on them. There was something for everyone and most people left the booth with a flyer of some sort.
  • Keep Your Branding Consistent. Put the same logo on your signage, flyers, and products so people will recognize and remember it when they see it again in the future. Everyone ends up with so many flyers and cards at the end of a convention, make it easier for them to find yours!
  • Collect Information. Have an email sign-up sheet, ask a question, or have people fill out a survey. Whatever info you need, folks will be willing to give. I now have a big list of contacts I can reach out to when I start my Kickstarter, which means a big list of potential donors.
  • Have a Booth Buddy. A booth buddy means you have someone to talk to if it gets slow, someone to help talk to others when it’s not slow, someone to cover you when you want to look around or have to run to the bathroom, and someone to grab lunch or coffee for you. No booth buddy means none of these things. Mr. Geek was with me for most of the con, which was extremely helpful when I had to leave to do panels.
  • Bring a snack. Make sure you have a water bottle and a snack or two behind your booth in case you can’t escape right away for lunch. I also brought a pack of Emergen-C with me, which was very helpful in keeping con crud away.
  • Always Be Prepared. Bring extras of everything. Have small bills so you can make change. Bring a roll of paper towels, a pen, a sharpie, a pair of scissors, some tape, and some paper or a notebook. You’ll need all of those things.
  • More, More More. Someone on Twitter asked me what I learned from having the booth, and the main thing is “More.” Have more cupcakes, be more outgoing to draw people in, and have more sizes/colors available in my products. The more you have/do, the more people you’ll get to interact with and the more sales you’ll make!

I want to give a huge thank you to everyone who stopped by the booth or said “Hi” at the con. You made my experience so wonderful! I’m already planning for future booths down the line. I can’t wait! Have you run a booth? What tips do you have?

Roommate Etiquette with the cast of Being Human


One perk of going to San Diego Comic Con as Press is that you get invited to press rooms/interviews. And if you’re like me, you take the opportunity to ask the cast of one of your favorite shows about etiquette tips. Because, why not?

For those who don’t know, Being Human is an amazing show on Syfy (based on a BBC show) that focuses on a relatively simple premise: A werewolf, a vampire, and a ghost living together. If they can all get along, then any of us should be able to make our living situations work. Which is why I asked them for their character’s best roommate etiquette tips.

Meaghan Rath, who plays the ghostly Sally Malik, started us off with some practical advice that applies to ghosts and humans alike:

“Don’t do anything that you don’t want someone to see, because there’s always somebody watching. Be conscious of giving people their space, because that’s always important when you do need your privacy; you need to be able to give someone else their privacy as well. Being roommates with supernatural characters sorta breaks all the rules, I guess, because anything goes. Be prepared for your house to get burned down and your shit to be dirty.”

Sam Witwer, who plays the resident vampire Aidan Waite, went for a more simple (but effective) answer:

“Don’t bite your roommates. It’s a good way to start, anyway.”

What are your tips for dealing with roommates? Leave them in the comments!

Geek Etiquette: Manners In a Digital World

manners in a digital world

Guys, I’ve been saying that technology is changing some of our rules on etiquette for a while, and now Emily Post agrees. (“Emily Post agrees” is one of my favorite phrases/arguments ever.)

The new book, “Manners in a Digital World” answers questions such as:

  • Do you have a healthy digital diet?
  • What are your digital house rules?
  • What are the top ten mobile manners?
  • What three things should your kids know before they go online?
  • Should you friend your boss?
  • Is online dating right for you?”
It’s the perfect gift for grads, your new social media intern, or your parents. We know they need digital help.

You can find it for $12.69 at Amazon.com.

What’s your best online etiquette tip?

Geek Etiquette: Fireworks Safety

Every year a large group of my friends head down to my parents’ place to celebrate the 4th of July. We get matching patriotic shirts (the most awful ones we can find), tons of food and drink, and plenty of fireworks. It’s a grand old time for everyone, and we’ve been lucky (and smart) enough to stay mostly safe year-after-year.

As this 4th of July approaches, I thought I’d share some basic fireworks safety tips with you. If you have additional ones (or a ridiculous fireworks-related story!), please leave a comment!

  • Check your local laws on fireworks before purchasing. Americanpyro.com has compiled a great list!
  • Read the labels before using the firework, and make sure you’re using it correctly.
  • Had a couple drinks? Pass the fireworks off to someone sober. They’ll make wiser decisions.
  • Make sure you have a bucket of water, hose, or fire extinguisher nearby.
  • When lighting the firework, use a long punk or lighter to gain a bit of distance between yourself and the firework. Once the wick is lit, BACK AWAY.
  • Wait until the firework has been fully finished for at least 15 seconds before approaching it. You never know if there’s one last grand finale in there!
  • Be respectful of the time and place you light your fireworks. People expect a lot of fireworks on the 4th of July, and this year people should also expect a lot this weekend. A month from now? A week before Thanksgiving? You’ll be getting a noise complaint faster than you can yell “God Bless America!”

Stay safe and have an amazing 4th of July! And get a cool pic of yourself waving a sparkler around, for me.

Geek Etiquette: Stop Waiting

I was flipping through a magazine the other day, and came across this ad for a Honda CR-V. I was a bit startled by its sentiment, which is one I’ve heard from many friends. “Before I get married I want to…”

I’m sorry, but if getting married means you wouldn’t be able to do anything on your bucket list anymore, then why are you marrying that person? I think every item shown on this list would be more fun with a partner. And if your partner DOESN’T want to be on a superhero kickball team with you, then I think it’s time you start looking for someone else. Seriously.

Stop putting off life decisions or exciting opportunities because you haven’t accomplished something yet. Don’t wait until you’ve lost those last 10 pounds to make your awesome cosplay outfit. Don’t give up a sweet job or opportunity because you’re not sure if you’re ready to move or if your friends will still be there. And don’t put off marrying the person you love because you haven’t experienced everything by yourself yet. You will still be you. You can have your independence. You’ll just have a partner waiting for you when you get home or right there with you, supporting you and cheering you on.

Are you putting off a big life decision? What’s holding you back?


Geek Etiquette: Be Willing to Change

I love collecting vintage self-help books. It’s fascinating to see what ideas and guidelines have changed over the years, and what have stayed exactly the same. This past week, I picked up a copy of “American Etiquette” from 1926. Along with chapters on visiting cards (WTF are those?) and chaperones, is one on the twentieth century. This book, created in 1926, was aware that the telephone and other upcoming inventions would change our ways of inviting friends to events and communicating as a whole. Here’s their take:

…Invitations to any but strictly formal functions are now sent by telephone, if agreeable to both parties; though it is still considered better to adhere to the more respectful written form if there is any doubt about the new way being acceptable to the party of the second part. While I counsel conservatism in these changes, I am convinced that the new dynesty of wire and wireless is destined to dominate us; and as discovery continues and inventions multiply, the time is near when immediate communication will be had at long range; possibly telepathy–who knows? Or, possibly tele-photography with it–why not? Then, the slow, laborious writing of messages will be as much out of date as the superannuated stage-coach.

But–not yet; we are still in the process of evolution. It is still safe to heed Pope’s famous advice: “Be not the first by whom the new is tried, nor yet the last to lay the old aside.”

It’s refreshing to see a nearly-century-old etiquette book give more modern advice than I’ve seen in many current-day books. When it comes to etiquette, it’s ok to change with the times. If someone tells you you need to send a formal invite for your dinner party, but your friends respond best to Facebook invites or tweets, do it your way. And if you’re still getting push-back from the person, show them this passage. As I learned while wedding planning, people can’t refute your etiquette argument if it’s backed up in a book.

What etiquette rules do you think need modernization?

Geek Etiquette: Business Etiquette Tips from Inc.

The Geeky Hostess is gonna help you get your manners on! Have an etiquette question or topic suggestion? Email tara@geekyhostess.com!

This past week, Inc. posted an article on business etiquette from Eliza Browning of Crane & Co., and I really enjoyed it. They understand our world and business structures are changing, but believe that certain rules of etiquette still apply. Whether you’re working retail or starting the next huge social network, these tips will help you. You can see them listed below, but I recommend you read the whole article here. It’s ok, I’ll wait.

The main etiquette rules are:

  • Send a thank you note after every interview or meeting with a client or business partner. I still believe that in this day and age, it doesn’t need to be a hand-written note (though props to you if you send one!), just a quick email will do. Easy rule of thumb: Contact them in the same way they contacted you.
  • Know the names of everyone you work with. This is a tough one for me (I’m bad with names), but it’s as simple as making more of an effort to introduce myself to new people and follow up with people, asking them about their day.
  • Don’t talk about a meeting you just had until you are out of the building. You never know who might be able to hear you!
  • Focus on the people around you, not on your phone. We’ve talked about this before–I wholeheartedly agree. I’ve been in business meetings where everyone’s been on their phone the whole time, and it makes me feel extremely uncomfortable. Heck, I’ve been to movie nights and parties where everyone’s been on their phone. That’s even weirder!
  • Don’t judge others. This is another tough one. We naturally want to figure out why people do the things they do, and compare ourselves and our performances against each other. I love that this etiquette rule is posted. It’s a great reminder to focus on yourself and your own strengths.

Overall, their etiquette rules are grounded around one question: “Will this make them feel good?” Try to put out that effort and positive energy, and you’ll see yourself rewarded. It reminds me of a quote I’ve been seeing a lot lately: “You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.”—Malcolm S. Forbes.

So this week, try to be nicer to those around you–even if they can’t immediately help you get ahead. You never know where you’ll both be in a year or even a couple months!

And if you haven’t yet, please check out the full article at Inc. It’s great!

Geek Etiquette: Protect Your Table

The Geeky Hostess is gonna help you get your manners on! Have an etiquette question or topic suggestion? Email tara@geekyhostess.com!

Coasters are great for soaking up condensation, preventing rings from forming on your tables, and keeping the surface clean, but how often do you use them? How about placemats?

I encourage you to try using some table protectors this week. It may feel like a hassle at first, but the cleanliness of your table (and how fancy you feel while eating) may make you a convert.

Get the right coasters and placemats, and you’ll be keeping your place clean and decorated at the same time! Check out these ones from Fab.com:

Map Pin Coasters, $10.50 for 4

Chat Coasters, $10.50 for 4

Cinema Placemat, $7 for 2

Folder placemat, $7 for 2

What are your coasters/placemats of choice? And will you be partaking in the “protect your table” challenge this week?