May 31, 2013

Eleven: A Q&A

Back in February—holy crap, where have the months gone—Kristin of My Life as a Teacup tagged me to answer eleven questions about myself. (Sincere apologies for not getting to this until nearly June, Kristin!)

I've always loved filling out this type of questionnaire—remember early email forwards?—and I hope you enjoy getting to know a little more about me through my answers!

That's me, in case you'd forgotten what I look like.

Kristin's questions:

1 | If you were given a one-way plane ticket, where would you go?

Practical me wants to say somewhere where I know someone who could give me a way home, but adventurous me says the UK. I've only ever been out of the U.S. to visit Canada and Paris, France, and I've long longed to visit Ireland, England and the rest of the British isles. My ancestors are mostly all from there, I love the accents, and the scenery is to die for. Also, to be totally honest, I'd feel more secure going somewhere where I speak basically the same language. I'm not brave enough to tackle a completely foreign land.

2 | What's the first thing you do once you wake up in the morning?

On the weekdays: I kiss the Mister, tuck Mollie underneath her Beauty and the Beast comforter and then head into the bathroom to get ready for work. I check my Instagram notifications, start my town in Pixel People and check the weather before hopping into the shower.

On the weekends: Pretty much the same, other than that I get up later, and the Mister is often on a bike ride by the time I finally roll out of bed. (At like 9; Colt gets up SUPER early for some rides.)

3 | If you could go back to live in any time period or era, which would you choose?

Being a lady, this question is a bit daunting. (We didn't have it so good up until the mid 20th century. Also: I really like the Internet.) However, I would love to go back and visit the late 1800s. I'd be a bit of a radical, of course, but I'd love to be able to see how people truly lived then, rather than just read about it in a book.

4 | Who's your literary character crush?

Currently? A from David Levithan's Every Day. A is ... unique. Y'all should totally read the book, and you'll learn why I have thing for A.

5 | What is one challenge that initially terrified you, but you persevered through to overcome?

As silly as it might sound, blogging and putting myself out on the Internet was initially quite scary. I'm an introvert, and as such, I'm not exactly comfortable being the center of scrutiny. However, the community, friends and family I've found through blogging and my various other Internet endeavors has made all the self-doubt and struggles totally worth it. (I'm talking about you. Yes, you.)

6 | Tell me a story about the most cherished of your senses (a particular memory tied to the scent of baking gingerbread, a sound that strikes fear into your heart, be creative!).

The smell of garlic will forever remind me of my childhood. I don't know that my sense of smell is my most cherished, but the smell of garlic, particularly dried bulbs, definitely brings back memories of a wonderful time in my life.

When I was young, my parents owned a "vacation cabin" in Boulder Creek, California, in the mountains outside of Cupertino. We used to go there for long weekends. I don't remember much about the place other than that it had a super high loft area that I would read in, a swing set in the yard, a crap ton of banana slugs on the sidewalks, and two or three wall hangings made from garlic bulbs. The garlic would permeate the place when we closed it up each time we left, but it never became noxious. Still, to this day, that light garlic aroma reminds me of childhood happy times with Mom and Dad.

7 | What is one movie/show/book/video game that you're looking forward to seeing/reading/playing in 2013?

Since it's already June (basically), I've already seen quite a few of the movies I was looking forward to in 2013—Iron Man 3, Star Trek Into Darkness, Fast & Furious 6. But there are quite a few more that I'm looking forward to seeing later in the year—

8 | Favorite pancake flavor? (I'm partial to blueberry!)

My current favorites are the Lemon Poppy Seed variety from the famous Austin restaurant Kerbey Lane. They come with this sweet and tart glaze (rather than syrup) and are so, so good. I'm also a fan of plain buttermilk with fruit (banana, blueberry, etc) mixed into the batter. 

9 | What is the last book you read?

The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas. (I'll be writing a review of it for FYA next week!)

10 | Who would you choose to play you in a movie of your life?

I just took one of those celebrity look-alike online tests, for science, and ended up with my top match being Anne Hathaway. I don't see it, but she's pretty cool. Personality-wise, I think I'd prefer someone like Ellen Page or Emma Stone (who is a total doppelganger for my friend and TGG's wife Emily, but whatevs. This is MY movie.)

I took it a step further and thought about who would play a few of the main characters in my life. The Mister would be played by Seann William Scott (because he hates that people think they look alike), my mom by Helen Mirren (because they're both awesome) and my dad by Bill Murray (because they're both loveable weirdos who happen to have the same name).

11 | If you had to choose a single word to serve as a focus or goal for 2013, which would it be?

I actually posted about something similar in January. I chose the word create and tasked myself with making 2013 a more creative year. I think I've done somewhat well at being a more creative individual so far, but can certainly push myself even farther in the second half of the year.

I'm not tagging anyone to play along, since I'm so late in the game, but if you'd like to answer a question of my invention, leave a comment! I'll create a question just for you.

May 30, 2013

Nerd News: Fast & Furious science, Sailor Avengers, Dream Thieves and more

Vol. 4, Issue 20

I'm glad that the Internet decided to slow down a bit this week in honor of Memorial Day—the last few NN posts have been beasts! Let's jump right in.

In TV news:

Here are a couple of promos:



True Blood


Love the new TNG silhouette line from the Star Trek store. (I pulled images of the cell phone cases, but they have tablet cases, T-shirts, mousepads and mugs with these images on them, too.)


May 29, 2013

Check me out at Forever Young Adult!

At the end of 2012, I started reading Forever Young Adult (FYA), "a community for YA fans who are a little less 'Y' and a bit more 'A.'" FYA is a website run by the Alamo Drafthouse (only the best theaters in the nation), and "is a place where you can let your inner Lady Nerd loose and swoon over fictional characters without shame."

I loved the site from the start. I'm a huge fan of YA novels, and I felt an immediate affinity for the smart and snarky ladies (and gent) who write for the site. Very quickly, I knew that I had a new bucket list goal: to have a post published on the site.

A few weeks ago, I took a chance and emailed the site, asking about "intern" positions/offering my skills as a writer (who can occasionally be witty) for a guest post, were they ever to need it. I wasn't expect anything to happen, but was totally stoked when I was given the opportunity to write a couple of posts as a sort of interview.

Short story shorter: My first post—a scientific analysis of a Science Bros fan-made video—went up yesterday, with more to follow!

I'm super excited to be joining the team. As a writer on the site, I'll be reviewing YA novels and writing fun posts on a variety of other topics. If you're at all interested in YA books, a fan of snarky commentary, or miss the heydays of Lisa Frank—

—definitely check FYA out.

May 28, 2013

obsessed.: "Guy" movies

If you've been a reader for a while—and checked out yesterday's Haiku Review of Fast and Furious 6—you likely realize that I am seriously obsessed. with action movies, which are often stereotypically considered "guy" movies. (But I certainly don't think someone has to be a guy to enjoy them!)

These movies aren't films that make you think. They're not filled with Oscar-worthy acting. They're fun romps filled with car chases, bloodied heroes, stereotypical villains, explosions and fight scenes. I can't exactly explain why I love these movies so much other than that they, plain and simple, entertain me. These movies' ability to make fun of themselves makes me smile, and nothing makes me laugh as much as their ridiculousness.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy romantic comedies and philosophical thrillers/dramas as much as the next girl, but there's just something about action movies that I simply can't resist.

Here are trailers for a few of my favorites:

The Expendables 2

Fast and Furious 6

The Losers


And this is an awesome supercut/mashup of Bruce Willis roles, which I'm including, well, because Bruce Willis:

Are you a fellow action movie fan? What's your favorite?


And this week, from the Mister:

Colt is a candy fiend, but his current drug of choice is Chewy Red Hots.

They've got quite a kick to them, but with a little bit of sweetness. They taste pretty much exactly the same as regular Red Hots (which I love), but are the size of a Lemonhead and are easier on the teeth to bite down on. (The only place we've found them around here is at Walgreens, if you're interested in trying them.)

And from TGG:

TGG has been a fan of the band AFI for years. With each album the band releases, there are a lot of mysteries and conspiracies that build up, creating a game of sorts for fans. As TGG says, "I spent a good deal of down time at work on Saturday rereading a bunch of these clues from the past few releases that deal with secret websites, phone numbers, even providing a 'password' of sorts to another band's merch guy to get a secret pin."

The game has begun anew, and a new album is likely come out this year. In April, they started releasing "teaser" videos; so far there are three. The first is below.

Here's a Tumblr devoted to the current mysteries.

May 27, 2013

Haiku Revieu: Fast and Furious 6

Fast & Furious 6 (*****)

TGG sent me this haiku to use in today's post before we actually saw the movie. It was so perfect, I couldn't pass up using it.

Cars go crazy fast
Bald muscle men drive and fight
Drive, punch, drive. The end.

PROBABLE SPOILERS AHEAD. The Fast and Furious franchise—as ridiculous as it is—is one of my absolute favorites. The action is often improbable and the lines are often laughable, but that's what makes the movies so good. Fast and Furious 6 doesn't disappoint.

In F&F 6, Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel), Brian O'Connor (Paul Walker) and the gang, who are living large in non-extradition countries thanks to the spoils of Fast 5, are contacted by Hobbs (The Rock) to help catch a gang of thieves. Said thieves have a certain set of skills (i.e., crazy good car handling) and only Dom's crew can come close to comparing. (The thieves also have a very familiar face in their crew.) For the promise of pardons, Dom and his crew head to London to do what they do best. Lots of car chases and explosions ensue.

Somewhere between movies four and six, Dom and his crew went from being petty crooks who could drive pretty well to a team of internationally renowned criminals. I love it. I'm so glad that almost everyone from Fast 5 was back for this movie. Their interactions with each other, regardless of whether they're "well acted" make me smile. And I think it's awesome that the Rock has become an honorary member of the team, even if he does frequently try to everyone that he's on the right side of the law. I laughed so hard during this movie that I nearly cried. It's just that good.

And OMG, I know it's a little early to be so excited, but I cannot wait for Fast and Furious 7—there's a scene after the first bit of the credits of F&F 6 that, even though I'd heard the rumors, absolutely blew me away. (You can spoil it for yourself here, if you want ...)

May 24, 2013

Happy Friday—and weekend!

This week has been both crazy busy and crazy awesome. I hope you won't mind if all I do today is wish you the very best of weekends and leave you with promise of what's to come next week! (And if you have Monday off like I do—it's a holiday here in the states—enjoy the extra day off!)

Coming up next week:
  • A Haiku Revieu of Fast & Furious 6. (GO SEE IT!)
  • My love of "guy" movies.
  • An exciting announcement of a new "other project."
  • And more!

P.S.—If you haven't already signed up for a chance to win my Riker plush in the Punk Projects Star Trek giveaway, what are you waiting for?!

May 23, 2013

Nerd News: Doctor Who's series 8, The Great Catsby, Xbox One and more

Vol. 4, Issue 19

Hey guys! Happy Thursday. The Mister and I went to a Dave Matthews Band show last night—I gave Colt the tickets for his birthday back in March—so I'm kind of beat, but I am super excited to be going to see Fast and Furious 6 tonight. May has been an excellent month for movies!

Speaking of movies, in movie news:

Here are a few trailers and clips:

Anchorman 2


Europa Report


The Lone Ranger


Man of Steel


Pacific Rim




The Wolverine


The World's End


May 22, 2013

Lusting after ...

You'll likely notice right off the bat, but I'm introducing a new look in this edition of Lusting After ... Please let me know which layout you prefer, the new or the old. I feel like this one is a little easier to navigate, but the other does allow for larger images.

So, what have I been lusting after lately?

1 | A summery purse that reminds me of the sea.
2 | A quirky Band-Aid-inspired ring.
3 | Skull and gem jewelry. (cuff, triple skull, single skull)
4 | Tiny star stud earrings in, surprisingly, shades of gold. (rose gold, gold)
5 | Initial necklaces, both chunky and dainty; M+B would be M+C, of course. (M+B, large M)
6 | Amazing birch tree wall decals.

7 | A La Mer Collection watch, even though I often forget to wear the watches I already own. (copper, neon, black)
8 | Shoes of all shapes and sizes. (Converse wedges, glitter sandals, boots)
9 | Patio furniture that's made to fit smaller spaces.

What about you? What's caught your eye recently?

May 21, 2013

obsessed.: Dole Banana Dippers, Strava and Arrested Development jokes

I'm probably jinxing myself by posting about these, but since it's been a couple of weeks since I've been able to find these in the local grocery store, I figure I've already loved and lost. (Much like happened with Thomas' Corn English Muffins—I miss you, dear friends.)

I like bananas. I like them frozen. I like dark chocolate. All three of those things combine in Dole's Banana Dippers to mouth-watering success.

I found these in our local grocery store in the frozen section near the smoothie fixings. They are SO GOOD you guys. And only 100 calories per pack! I do hope they make a reappearance the next time I'm at the store.

Side note: Googling the above image led me to quite a few blog posts on how to make your own frozen banana bites. If they continue to be elusive at the grocery, I just might have to try and make my own.


And this week, from the Mister:

Colt's huge into cycling, and he loves the ability to track his rides and have friendly competition with his friends over who does the best on certain stretches of road. Enter Strava, an application that allows him to upload data from his bike computer and map his rides online.

Colt describes it as "Facebook for cyclists." (But I think runners can use it, too.)

And from TGG:

Our mutual friend Shaun sent Wes a link to Recurring Developments, a website that visually tracks all the running gags in Arrested Development, last Wednesday, and he immediately knew that he wanted to share it here.

Frozen bananas! How appropriate.

Wes and his wife "sort of accidentally started watching the show again from the beginning" and they're looking forward to the new episodes. Admission: I've never seen the entirety of the show, but it's been on my list for ages, so ... eventually?

May 20, 2013

Haiku Revieu: Star Trek Into Darkness

Star Trek Into Darkness (****3/4)

Starfleet is at war
You go, Benedict Cumbo
More than meets the eye

DEFINITE SPOILERS AHEAD. You might not know this about me, but I'm a huge Star Trek fan.* I am also a huge fan of the 2009 Star Trek quasi-reboot. I went into Star Trek Into Darkness hoping for a similar experience ... and I didn't quite find what I was hoping for. I really, really liked it ... but upon first viewing, I'm not totally in love with it. (And that makes me sad.)

The movie centers on the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise, the same crew we met in Star Trek. When an explosion takes out a Starfleet building in London, the crew is thrust into a manhunt for John Harrison, a Starfleet intelligence officer responsible for the destruction. The manhunt takes the crew to Qo'noS (Kronos), the Klingon homeworld, where they capture Harrison, but quickly learn that appearances are not exactly what they seem.

For the first half or so of the film, I was totally on board. I love the cast—Chris Pine as Kirk, Zachary Quinto as Spock, Simon Pegg as Scotty, Karl Urban as Bones, Zoe Saldana as Uhura, John Cho as Sulu and Anton Yelchin as Checkov continue to excel in their roles. Benedict Cumberbatch plays an amazing villain; if you weren't a Cumberbatch fan prior to this movie, you will be. The sets and effects and action are all top notch. And yet ...

The second half was marred by the fact that we've spent months being told that John Harrison is a new character. SPOILER ALERT: He's not. He plays Khan Noonien Singh. His character is quite different from the Ricardo Montalban role, but he's Khan nonetheless. I suppose it's silly to allow this to effect my viewing, but it bothers me that time and time again we were told that he wasn't. Even though I assumed he was, when it was revealed, I was a little let down. There's keeping secrets (don't click that link if you haven't seen Iron Man 3 and don't want to be spoiled), and then there's taking the denial too far. The ending, which I won't reveal, was also a little too predictable, although I did enjoy the bit of Kirk/Spock canon reversal.

ALL OF THAT SAID—I really did enjoy the movie on the whole. (The revamp of the Klingons' look was especially badass.) I'd love to go see it again, to try and push through my annoyance over the whole Khan business so that I can just enjoy.

*You should know this about me.

P.S.—The Mister and I both wore Star Trek "uniform" shirts to the movie, and took a few photos in front of our Star Trek posters when we got home. They turned out sort of hazy, but cute, so I made a faux photo strip out of them:

May 18, 2013

Star Trek Blog Hop | William T. Riker Fandom Plush

Happy Saturday, friends! And welcome to the Punk Projects Star Trek Blog Hop.

My submission for the hop is ... a William T. Riker Fandom Plush!

If you'd like to create your own Riker Plush, you'll need:
  • Two sheets each of red, brown and flesh-tone felt.
  • Scraps of black, yellow and grey felt.
  • A sewing machine or hand-sewing skills.
  • Polyfill (stuffing).
  • Felt glue.
  • Imagination.
  • Optional: A tiny safety pin, embroidery thread.

Then follow these steps.

1 | Plan your doll.

Apologies—I forgot to take a better photo of this before I started cutting.

2 | Cut your pattern pieces. You'll need a head (front and back), a body (front and back), a collar (front and back), a beard, hair (front and back), eyes, eyebrows, a comm badge and three pips.

3 | Pin your pattern pieces to the felt.

4 | Cut out your pieces, leaving seam allowance on the body, collar and head.

5 | Sew the head pieces, leaving the bottom of the neck open. Pin the collar pieces to the body and then sew the body together, leaving the top open. Sew the top of the hair. Turn the head and body right-side out. Ready your additional pieces for gluing or sewing.

6 | Glue or sew the pips to the body and the beard, and the eyes and eyebrows to the face. Glue or sew the two parts of the comm badge together. Stuff the head and body and shove the neck into the body. Pin the neck of the body to the neck of the head and the hair to the top of the head. Make adjustments as necessary until everything fits together. Glue or sew down the edges of the hair and collar. Glue or safety pin the comm badge to the chest. Let dry (if you glued).

7 | Remove all pins. Et voila!

8 | Optional: Sign your work.

After I finished, the Mister said he was cute, but that there was one thing missing: Legs ... So that he could riker properly. (I tried to riker with him as-is, but it's just not the same.)

I think he turned out pretty dang adorable, yes?

I hope you'll take some time to visit the other blogs participating in the hop, too—I'm not sure what everyone's making, but their projects are bound to be a whole lot of fun.

PLUS: Katie's holding a giveaway of a bunch of Star Trek Hop items on her blog—including my Riker! Head on over to enter.

May 17, 2013

On being creative and DIY-deas

Working on my Punk Projects-led Star Trek Blog Hop project this week has got me thinking that I need to try and make more time to be creative. I've got a load of items on my crafty to-do list, and an even larger amount of pins I'd someday like to try on my Arts & Crafts pinboard.

Although I wouldn't be able to properly function without them, lists—especially the ones I've mentioned above—can sometimes be overwhelming and so daunting that it's hard to know where to start. I've got to work to remind myself that being creative doesn't always have to involve putting a million hours into a project that involves 23 different tools and techniques. Being creative can be a simple as creating a 10-minute graphic to go along with a blog post. (See below.) It's all in the eye of the beholder—and I'm thinking that as long as I feel fulfilled in the end, I've created something great.

Regardless, there are a few ideas that I've run across lately that are just screaming to be made. (I've got issues.)

Little Lovelies | iPhone Book Dock

I really want one of these for my bedside, even though I struggle with the idea of maiming a perfectly good book. I've already got a stack of my to-reads sitting there, so one more would blend right in.

Say Yes to Hoboken | DIY Studded Zipper Pouch

I have never considered spray painting studs. It's genius. These remind me of candy buttons.

Rae Gun Ramblings | The Ward Penny Necklace

I've not read The Ward, so I don't understand the significance of the pennies, but this is another great book-related craft that could work for a variety of personally significant passages.

In Honor of Design | Crochet Bib Necklace

Most of my necklaces tend to be a lot smaller and less in-your-face than bib necklaces are, but I love the look. Again with the spray paint, too. I obviously need to open my mind to it as a multi-purpose medium.

Don't forget to check back tomorrow for even more creativity the results of my Star Trek crafting and links to the other blogs involved in the blog hop!

(And check back Monday for my review of Star Trek Into Darkness.)