Cuphead Inspired Cake

It’s September 29th, and that means it’s CUPHEAD DAY! Cuphead is a highly anticipated game that is HAND. DRAWN. in the style of 1930’s cartoons. It’s weird, it’s a little creepy, and it’s supposed to be super hard. I can’t wait to try it out. (Check out the trailer below!)

I recently found out that one of the levels would be dessert-themed, and I thought it would be the perfect excuse to practice my cake skills. The cake incorporates elements found in the level, including the cake-castle, gum drops, jellybeans, pretzels, lollipops, and sprinkles, as well as the various things you have to fight, including a waffle, a cupcake, jawbreakers, and Baronness Von Bon Bon and her sugar cone hat. Take a look at the level and the cake toppings:

(I don’t know how I feel about those eyeball sprinkles. They’re always looking at me funny, no matter what angle I’m at!)

The cake itself is a combination of Funfetti and Strawberry cake mixes, which makes an incredibly sweet and almost Bubblegum-ish flavor. I then added pink gel coloring to a classic buttercream frosting recipe to make the pink frosting. The cake/frosting layers are reminiscent of the layers on the castle!

I love these types of cakes: You don’t need tons of skill to put it together, just a bunch of fun candies and sweet items. I’m still perfecting it all, but loved this opportunity to practice. What fandom should inspire my next cake design? And will you be grabbing a copy of Cuphead? (You can grab it today for Xbox One and Windows 10!)

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

PUBG is one of the hottest games out there right now, and it’s making the phrase “Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner” a serious term that all esports players are vying for. But whether you play or not, a delicious chicken dinner is easily within your reach.

For those not in the know, PUBG, or PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, is a “battle royale” survival shooter game. 100 players are (literally) dropped into a map of an abandoned Russian island and must fight to the death until only one remains. The playable area continues to shrink, forcing you to face the other players. Before it shrinks down you equip yourself with loot and pray you can stay alive while getting a couple kills yourself. The final person remaining gets the elusive “Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner” title.

Inspired by this, I put together a “Russian Chicken” recipe. While I don’t believe anyone in Russia actually eats this, the chicken is made with Russian dressing. The recipe is extremely simple and makes super moist and delicious chicken. (While there are a few different versions of this recipe online, I must thank my friend Makenzie for giving me some tips straight from her family’s “secret” recipe for this. Their version is definitely the best and I feel honored to be able to pass down some of it to you!)

But seriously. You’re going to mix a couple of ingredients together to make a sauce, pour it over the chicken, and let the oven do it’s job while you play a few rounds of PUBG. (You’ve gotta earn that chicken dinner, after all!) I recommend pairing the chicken with some rice (to soak up additional sauce), salad, and a nice energy drink to boost your health. See the recipe below!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Winner Winner Chicken Dinner
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Dinner
Serves: 4
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 1 bottle Russian dressing
  • 1 packet French Onion soup mix
  • 1 can cranberry sauce (with whole berries)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place the chicken breasts in a casserole dish.
  3. Mix the dressing, soup mix, and cranberry sauce in a bowl.
  4. Pour the mixture over the chicken breasts.
  5. Cover the casserole dish in foil, and bake for 1 hour.
  6. Serve with rice and salad and enjoy!


Top 10 Parties for PAX Prime 2015


When I’m not making recipe and putting sprinkles on everything, I’m running the @paxparties twitter handle. I keep everyone at PAX informed of the hot parties happening each night, and this year there are more than ever! Not sure which ones to head to? These are my top 10 choices (in chronological order). I look at cost, exclusivity, people/companies putting on the event, and location to make my decision. These will be the parties with the big lines outside of them, I guarantee it! (But if you can get in, it’s worth it! Show up EARLY!)

Giant Bomb: Live, In Person, and Fully Clothed: Thursday August 27th, 9pm

Giant Bomb has rented out The Parlor to do a show, and with a swanky space and a promise of entertainment, how can you go wrong? They’ll also debut some new merch!

Free, 21+, cash bar.

Trion PAX Party: Friday August 28th, 7-10pm

If you’re a fan of Trion’s games, you’ve GOT to be at the W Hotel right at 7pm. There’s free food and drink, free t-shirts, free LED devil horns, free game codes, and tons of other swag, but it’s all while supplies last! Plus, they’ve hinted that there will be some new reveals at the party. What are you waiting for? There’s probably already a line forming.

Free, all ages (but 21+ with ID to drink!), free food and drink while it lasts.

Lara Croft GO Launch Party: Friday August 28th, 7pm-2am

This party is promising to have Lara Croft GO, poutine, free stuff, and live snakes. It’s an intriguing combo and I want to learn more. Plus, it’s at the Hard Rock Cafe, which is walking distance from the convention center and a great party venue. Come party and pet snakes and stuff!

Free, 21+, poutine! (Not sure if poutine is free or not. Bring money for additional food/drinks).

Amazon Game Studios Presents: Twitch PAX Party: Friday August 28th, 9pm-2am

Twitch parties are the place to be, and this year is no exception. They’ve rented out Garage Billiards, which means there will be 20 bowling lanes, 25 pool tables, 6 bars, a photobooth, a karaoke room, and lounge space. Get in line EARLY to make it in. Grab your dinner to go and eat it while standing in line. I’m serious. Get there EARLY.

Free, 21+.

Super League Gameplay Party Hosted By Captain Sparklez: Saturday August 29th, 2-4pm

This party’s a bit different than the other ones you’ll see on the list. It’s during the day and it’s an all ages/family event. But hey, you’ve gotta start the gamers young, right? The whole family will LOVE this party. They’re putting Minecraft up on a movie theater screen at the Regal Meridian and letting you play it! Plus there will be a free collectible and a meet and greet with popular YouTube gamers. It’s a great excuse to get out of PAX during the busiest day/time.

Free, all ages.

Dungeon Boss Rooftop Bash: Saturday August 29th, 6:30-9pm

Here is another fun all ages event to end your day! Demo Dungeon Boss before it comes out, enjoy free snacks, and check out their guest DJ. Frolik is also a beautiful venue and has a great rooftop deck (if the weather shapes up)!

Free, all ages, free snacks while supplies last.

A Most Excellent Double Fine Fan Meetup: Sunday August 30th, 5:30-9:30pm

Double Fine will be showing their new, unannounced game for the first time publicly. Plus there will be live music! It’s at the Hard Rock Cafe, which is a popular post-PAX spot. Plus, it starts early enough you can still hit up some of the later parties on the same night!

I believe this is free and all ages, but don’t quote me on it!

After 6 – 2015 Party Edition: Sunday August 30th, 6-10pm

I’ve got a soft spot for indie games, and a softer spot for indie game parties. The Seattle Indies Expo is throwing this party in their space at Melrose Market Studios. You can meet some indie devs and try out their games while noshing on some free food and drink. Win-win!

Free, all ages, free food/beer while it lasts.

PAX Prime Karaoke Time 2015 with Mike & Tifa: Sunday August 30th, 9pm

Come sing geeky songs with some really awesome people at The Mercury @ MachineWerks! Mike and Tifa are both incredible and throw some great Karaoke parties. Baby Ketten Karaoke will be there, meaning they’ll have all your fave nerdy, pop culture, and video game songs to sing. Seriously, this is gonna be a blast. Grab your free ticket here. There will also be a bus giving free round trips to and from the convention center and the venue. You have no excuse.

Free, 21+, Eventbrite ticket required for entry, bar is cash only.

RockBand After Party II: Monday August 31st, 7pm-1:30am

PAX is over but you’re not ready to stop? Head to The Unicorn to join the Seattle RockBand Group for their end of PAX party. There will be a RockBand competition and casual play, and Harmonix will be hosting a Twitch stream of the party. Sounds like a lot of fun!

Free, 21+

Recipes From Extra Life: Saints Flow

It was late. I needed to make an energy drink. And I was slowly losing my mind. Watch me laugh to avoid crying in pain. Join me.

Want to make your own Saints Flow? (Why? Why would you do that?)


  • 1 can Cranberry Red Bull
  • 1 bottle generic 5 Hour Energy, in berry flavor
  • 20 ounces (or so) of pink stuff. (Tropical punch in a gallon jug)
  • A splash of Grape Juice (bonus if it’s warm and leftover from dinner)


Mix the ingredients together. Drink. Cry.

Friday Favorites: October 18

Friday Faves 10-18

This week has me prepping my Halloween post shoot, prepping for GeekGirlCon, and prepping for various other parties/events happening in the next few weeks. With my birthday, my friends’ birthdays, Halloween, and more, the 2nd half of October is always an adventure! Here are the things I’ve been loving this past week:

Favorite Con: GeekGirlCon
GeekGirlCon is this weekend! I’ll be writing up a full post later on where I’ll be and when, but regardless, I’m thrilled to spend a weekend with tons of lovely geeky women (and geeky women supporters). Tickets are sold out online, but a limited supply will be available at the door. Will I see you there?

Favorite Charitable Event: Extra Life
Extra Life is coming up on November 2nd and I still have to make a list of the video game-inspired food I’ll be making! I’ll be making all of the meals during the 25 hour time frame, and they all will be video game themed. Cheer me on by making a pledge, all the money goes to the Seattle Children’s Hospital! Let me know in the comments what video game food you’d like to see me make.

Favorite Game: Full Screen Mario
When I need a quick break and a dose of nostalgia, I turn to Full Screen Mario. It’s got all of the levels you know and love plus a level generator for some new fun! Try it out now.

Favorite Party Supplies: Oriental Trading
I just received a new shipment from Oriental Trading this week with supplies for four different projects I’m currently working on. I love ordering from them because they have so many cool things, their prices are great, and it gets here fairly fast. I can’t wait to play with all of my new goodies! Start shopping.

What are you loving this week?

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?

Nintendo Cartridge Jewelry

NES Jewelry


Etsy shop OhMyGeekness has come out with the cutest little pieces of nostalgia: NES cartridge jewelry. The pieces range in price from $14-45, with most items around $16. In addition to NES, she’s got N64, Xbox 360, PS1, and PS2 cartridges, and a variety of cute geeky and game-related characters and references. These would make a perfect inexpensive and unique gift!

Check out the full selection at

Pwn Love: 365 Days of Video Game Fashion


K. Stewart of the blog PwnLove has embarked on an extraordinary journey: To wear video game fashion for 365 days straight. Today, on her 100th day into the challenge, she tells us a bit about the project and gives us her best video game fashion tips. Read on–I guarantee you’ll learn something and fall in love with Ms. Stewart!

Describe your challenge: What are the rules?  Wear a new piece of video games fashion each day for an entire year with no repeats. This item should be worn for the majority of the day. For example, I don’t always wear video games gear to the gym or bed but I wear it for the other 12+ hours of the day.

What counts as “video game fashion?” I define video games fashion as anything that I can physically wear so it includes apparel and accessories inspired by gaming or celebrates video games. It can range from hoodies, jewelry, bags, dresses, t-shirts, headbands and more.

For example, I wore a Kate Spade necklace on Day 69 which is in the shape of the iconic Legend of Zelda currency, the Rupee. I doubt the designers behind it intentionally modeled it after the Rupee but it’s such an iconic shape that fellow gamers would recognize so I count it towards my goal in the same way as a Small Key Necklace from Fangamer which is intentionally modeled after an item the video games series.

What made you decide to do this? After writing my video games inspired blog for almost three years and writing about just video games fashion for more than a year, I decided it wasn’t enough to write about it and that I should live it. The quest became a bit of an experiment and a fun challenge to see if I could pull it off. I’m a full-time, working professional so I wanted to be able to show that your gaming gear wasn’t limited to the weekends but you could wear it to your job.

Another reason that I wanted to do this challenge was to showcase the variety of video games fashion items available in the market. There is a misconception that video games fashion is just t-shirt and hoodies. In reality, there is so much more out there such as dresses, tanks, leggings, bathing suits, jewelry, bags and more.

The final decision to move forward with this quest was due to overdosing on gluten-free pumpkin pie after Thanksgiving.  The euphoria from the pie gave me the sugary courage to empty my bank account on Black Friday to stock up on video games items to prepare me for this challenge.  There’s no going back after you buy the goods. It was time to go big or go home. I never back away from a challenge so here we are, almost 100 days completed.

What have been the biggest challenges so far? It’s actually been counting the days. Seriously, I know that sounds silly. The Count from Sesame Street is going to be so disappointed in me. You think this would the easiest part of the challenge but for some reason, I find it very hard to remember if I’m on Day 56, 57 or maybe it’s 59?!? To avoid any additional confusion and ensure that I don’t repeat any items, I made a giant spreadsheet to track it all. I threw it up on the cloud so I can access it remotely which helps a lot. I also made a rule that I can’t post before I’ve had my coffee. It’s hard to count without caffeine.

Any foreseeable challenges in the future? (Weddings, job interviews, sick days, etc?) How do you plan on dealing with them?  I’m actually not worried about weddings, job interviews or big meetings with upper management. I purposely stocked up on some subtlety, designed apparel and jewelry that I can easily sneak by non-gamers as just every day fashion.  I’m saving them for those important and more formal occasions.

Initially, I didn’t even think about sick days. Unfortunately, this has been one of the worst Winters for me because I caught every cold, flu, bug and germy grossness lurking out there. I had to think fast and I had a stockpile of video games socks and pajamas which were perfect for those days where I could barely get off the couch. I do hope that those sick days are behind me because I escaped the vicious PAX East flu so I’m counting it as a new beginning. Now, I just need to survive the PAX Prime flu. Just in case, I still have some socks and pajama bottoms in the reserves.

The first big challenge that I saw coming was how would I get and afford 365 different items all inspired by video games? Luckily, I had some previously in my wardrobe and I set a budget toward getting new items with each paycheck.  PAX and Con swag has definitely helped me make my fair share of outfits especially in the beginning.

The other big challenge that I see potentially see coming up is burnout. I love video games fashion but I’m starting to miss my old clothes like my beloved Hey Arnold! T-shirt or my collection of sundresses. The video games jewelry that I have in the reserves should come in handy so I can bust out these other goodies but still complete the challenge. I can see my “Move It, Football Head!” T-shirt paired with my League of Legends “Mid” bracelet as a future outfit. I think Arnold would’ve been a great mid.

What have been your favorite outfits so far? 

Day 81: Sparkly Triforce (American Apparel Tank Top, J Crew Cardigan, Black Milk Leggings, Marc Jacobs Scarf)
Day81 I adore this outfit because it marked such a special occasion for me. I wore it speak on a panel at PAX East. It was important for me for two reasons. The first is that I used to have a fear of speaking in public as a child and in order to make sure any childhood fears didn’t creep in, I needed a special outfit. An outfit completely out of my norm and like one of a rockstar. Rockstars speak with confidence, they own the stage and don’t let their fans down. I knew if I dressed the part then, I could pull it off easier. Plus, the leggings featured a Triforce pattern. If I needed a little extra courage, it was right there on my legs. Second, it was such a honor not only to be selected for this panel but to meet so many great people who loved gaming culture. PAX is a great conference and I’m still completely humbled that I was able to share my experience with others.

Day 44: I’d Choose You (PanicPop T-shirt, Old Navy jeans, BCBG heels, Clinique lipstick)
Day44 What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a cheesy saying and some red lips? I’m a huge sucker for corny Valentine’s Days cards especially ones with video games references.  I liked being able to incorporate the piece of myself into the outfit. This outfit also marked the first time that I did something outrageous (for me) with my make-up as part of the quest. I usually prefer the natural tones so it was fun to experiment with a pop of color especially a daring red.

Day 38: Golden Triforce (Wisdom Courage Power T-shirt by Cory Schmitz, H&M Skirt, Hue Tights, Abound Cardigan, Cole Haan Sunglasses)
Day38 This is probably one of my favorite gaming t-shirts of all time along with “Don’t Make Me Go Zelda On You.” One of my favorite TV characters and style icons is Cassie Ainsworth from Skins (UK) especially in the first episode where she wears a beautiful gold dress paired with a tuxedo jacket.  That look is one of my favorites and for New Year’s Eve, I wore it with a bunch of friends who channeled their favorite Skins characters. It was a bit of an experiment to resurrect one of my favorite outfits of the past and make it part of the challenge. On Day 38, Cassie met Link and they seemed to hit it off.

Day 18: Companion Cube Chic (Companion Cube skirt by GoFollowRabbits, Hue Tights, 14th & Union Tank, Pashmina Scarf, Anne Klein Boots)
Day18 This is one of my favorite looks because it is so clean, simple and chic. Most people wouldn’t even realize the skirt’s subtle pattern was even a video games reference. I try to support independent designers like Ashley Mertz of GoFollowRabbits, the maker of the skirt. She crafts so many incredible geek chic skirts that seems like she has something else that I want to buy every time that I visit her Etsy shop.

Day 9: On Wednesdays, We Wear Pink & Pixels (Pixel Dress by Red Squirrel, Game Love Necklace by Sanshee, Gibson Blazer, Lululemon Leggings)


This is one is a bit of a odd story. I posted this pixel dress on my blog when I saw that technology expert and TV host, Katie Linendoll, wore it and I complimented that it looked great on her. After I shared it, Katie was sweet enough to tweet me to back to say it would look great on me too. I was on the fence about buying it since it was a little outside of my normal budget. When a tech guru reaches to you out of the blue and advises you to walk the path. Well, you walk it. I took it as a sign and I got the dress.

I’m glad that I did too because it’s one of my favorites. It’s a unique piece that few own and it’s a colorful celebration of the building blocks of video games. I paired it with boots and a blazer so it would be more work appropriate. I wanted to keep it youthful so I paired it when the Game Love necklace. The Game Love necklace is special to me because 10% off all proceeds go to Child’s Play Charity, a game industry organization that seeks to improve the lives of children in hospitals with toys and games.

What tips do you have for someone wanting to incorporate video game apparel into their every day life?

Look Past Tees – Not everyone can wear t-shirts to work so I also recommend that people look to video games accessories such as jewelry, cufflinks, bags or scarves. They are an easy wear to add some subtle video games flair to any outfit. It can be as simple as adding a pin to your jacket. It’s a fun way to spice up a boring coat and show off your passions. It also makes a great conversation starter.

Layers & Staples – For people who want to incorporate video games apparel into their everyday look especially in the workplace, I always encourage them to stock up on layers and staples. You can add dimension and dress up a video games t-shirt by adding a blazer, scarf or cardigan. It makes it easier to pass off in the workplace than an oversized t-shirt paired with jeans.

Use Items in New, Creative Ways –There are tons of great tutorials and ideas on how you can transform video games apparel and accessories. For example, you can turn a too big t-shirt into a tank or dress. You can use Pokemon Gym Badges as cufflinks or lapel pin to add some color to a formal outfit. Experiment and don’t be afraid to try something new.

Not Limited To Merch – You don’t have to depend on logo t-shirts or gaming branded apparel to incorporate video games fashion into your life. Amanda McGinnis from Console To Closet creates everyday outfits inspired by video game characters.

Have Fun With It – If you want to add some video games fashion into your life then, make it fun. Video games are your passion and you play games because you like it. Then, show that same passion with your outfits.Video games fashion has come such a long way in the past couple of years. There are so many options available and great stores packed with video games and geek chic styles including Attract Mode, Bitmap’d, Black Milk, Fangamer, Insert Coin, J!NX, MightyFine/WeLoveFine, Rockhart, Sanshee, ThinkGeek and Treehouse Brand Stores. I also love shopping on Etsy, RedBubble, Shanalogic, and Society6 to support the independent artists. For a daily, 24-hour t-shirt site, I recommend The Yetee.

Anything else? 

Follow along with my quest on Instagram and join in the fun by sharing your own video games inspired outfit by tagging it with #365VGFashion.  I write about daily video games fashion finds and news on my blog, PwnLove.  You can also follow me on Pinterest.

On another note, I’d like to request that my fellow Job Hunters fans rally with me for some “Basket of Blood” Nuclear Redemption t-shirts because I’d like to wear one for my challenge. I’d also like to see my favorite character Max wear one in Season 2. Why is he my favorite? Well, it may or may not be because he is a fellow gamer with a hidden sensitive side and badass style. One might say he’s got deadly style, muwhaha! Yeah, I went there and I’m not ashamed. Seriously though, his arena outfit accessories are pretty great. He’s like a Rambo hipster. Not just anyone can pull off that look so kudos to Joe Homes for his superb acting and being able to really embody his character from emotions to ensemble.

I guess that is enough about Max because Tara says I have to talk about me now. Well, I just started my first styling gig with Lisa Foiles on her Top 5 show which recently returned to The Escapist. I write a weekly column each Thursday about how you can “get the look” and dress like Lisa did in each episode:

When I am not writing about fashion or styling, I write about video games news, reviews and random geekery over at On The Level (OTL) Gaming.

I just want to say a huge, massive thank you to everyone for their on-going support with this project. I owe you all Funfetti cupcakes, tiny marshmallows or some other delicious delicacy because I couldn’t have done it without your support.

Which is your favorite look? Let us know in the comments!

Retro Video Game Cartridge Pillows


One of my favorite parts of PAX East was visiting the Classic Console room and playing some SNES with my little brother. It felt like we were kids again, fighting over games! Now I can relive the nostalgia of old-school Nintendo games in my home with ThinkGeek’s Retro Video Game Cartridge Pillows. They’ve created some game names that I wish existed when I was younger, and made the pillows extra large and squeezable.


Now that I’m home with the “con crud,” “PAX Pox” or whatever the kids are calling it now, snuggling up with these, some classic consoles, and some chicken soup is pretty much all I want.

You can get a pair of these pillows for $34.99 at

Other Awesome Geek Lifestyle Bloggers


At PAX East, I had the pleasure of running into a bunch of great geek lifestyle bloggers–some I knew of, some I just learned about this weekend. Take a look at the list of awesome people I met, and make sure you start including them in your daily reading!

  • PwnLove: This gamer fashion blog will keep you up to date on all of the latest gaming clothing lines, as well as what the blogger is wearing. I may have a special post planned with her for a later date!
  • Console to Closet: Another gamer fashion blog, this one focuses on wearable outfits inspired by your favorite video gamers. They’re subtle and fashionable to be worn anywhere–only you and the biggest gamers will know what you’re really wearing!
  • The Drunken Moogle: Looking for a cocktail based on your favorite game? Look no further. The Drunken Moogle is one of my fave blogs, and I was psyched to meet the creator in person!
  • GamerWife: The creator of the GamerWife blog gets extra points for making me look good in front of my brother when she recognized me on the floor at PAX. Her blog includes video game reviews, recipes, adorable animal pics, and more!

What are some of your favorite geek lifestyle bloggers?