Friday, March 25, 2016

5 Fandom Friday: Favorite Places to Buy Geeky Gear

Confession: I submitted this 5 Fandom Friday prompt in the hopes of finding new places to I'm really looking forward to picking up a few new sources this week! :-)  Here are a few of my own favorite places to pick up geeky gear:

1. ThinkGeek

One of my favorite sites to shop, has it all: wide selection across numerous fandoms, regular sales and deals, and decent customer service.  If you shop there often, it's worth starting an account, so you can accumulate rewards ("GeekPoints", which can often be redeemed for double value) and start wishlists to keep track of all the stuff you haven't bought yet.  Being something of a cheapskate, I only shop their sales, but I've picked up some awesome stuff for great prices over the past few years.

Some ThinkGeek favorites: Boba Fett hoodie, Jayne hat, and sonic screwdriver (actually a pen with invisible ink and blacklight!)

My favorite recent purchase, though, was definitely upgrading from my old diaper bag (which was falling apart, but my youngest should be out of diapers soon, so I was reluctant to spend money on a new diaper bag) to this awesome Kaylee-inspired bag:

My new "diaper" bag--Firefly's Kaylee-themed messenger bag. Shiny!

It's only slightly smaller than my old bag, but with the same number of pockets, so it's perfect for a diaper bag (I'm kicking myself for not comparing measurements and realizing this sooner!), but it's a bag I'll still want to use for myself once I can finally ditch the diapers, too!

2. Deal-of-the-Day Tee Sites

I seldom wear anything that isn't a geeky tee with jeans, but with how many geeky tees I buy (I try not to get carried away, but I keep finding awesome designs!), I definitely save money by sticking with deal-of-the-day sites, which usually offer one or two designs that are available for a discounted price that day only, since it's cheaper for them to print in bulk (you can often shop their previous designs for a higher price).  Most shirts come in at under $16 including shipping.

The collection has grown since I first featured it here, but I was too lazy to take another picture....

At this point, I don't go out of my way to shop for new tees (I think I have enough...), so I've stopped checking my favorite sites daily, but I still get emails from a few of them and make occasional purchases.  My favorites are (daily designs) and (weekly design collections), but I've also ordered from,,, and

3. Walmart

With geekiness in general becoming so mainstream over the past few years, I've also had a lot of luck finding some awesome stuff at major retailers like Target, Kohl's, and Old Navy, but my best luck has actually been at Walmart.

All Walmart finds: Harry Potter, Jurassic World, Star Wars, Power Rangers, & Hunger Games.

I mean, it's Walmart quality, so you have to spot-check for crooked printing and holes at too-narrow seams, but for $7.50, I don't mind screening what I buy first.

4. Etsy

For geeky jewelry, I often turn to Etsy.  You can find just about anything there!  Here are a few of my favorites:

Some favorite Etsy finds.

The only's usually not going to be licensed.  As an Etsy shop owner who makes geek-themed items without a license myself, I've done a fair bit of research into copyright law, and most jewelry falls into the illegal "reproduction" category (my own items, which aren't jewelry, are legal "redistribution" under first sale doctrine).  Unfortunately, it can be so hard to find affordable pretty jewelry in fandoms that aren't "in" at a given time, that I've bought jewelry that probably wasn't licensed just because I hadn't found anything else I liked as much from any known retailer. :-/

5. DIY

Okay, so this isn't a place to shop...but I'm a big fan of making my own stuff!  I've dabbled in jewelry-making, so I have quite a stash of stuff I've made myself rather than buying unlicensed (personal use without monetary gain is an exception from copyright law).  And while I do a lot of sewing, I haven't made my own geeky clothes yet (though I did make a black dress to wear with my store-bought Star Wars leggings--and then, of course, there's cosplay...I'd like to start making some everyday cosplay pieces myself), but I have a friend who doesn't wear tees but buys geeky ones anyway and alters them into dresses or cuts out the design to add to something else.  When you can't find exactly what you want, there are often ways to make what you want instead, if you have the skill for it!

So where do you like to shop for geeky gear?

Friday, March 11, 2016

5 Fandom Friday: Favorite Fictional Foods.

I'm back for another 5 Fandom Friday!  This week's prompt is favorite fictional foods, which is an interesting one for a picky eater like myself--sometimes I daydream about liking ordinary things like hamburgers, so in my world, "a tasty hamburger" is sort of like a fictional food. :-P

But there are a few foods I've come across in books (and film) that I'd really like to try, and hope I'd love, so let's get to those ones, shall we?

1. Lembas - Elvish waybread ("The Lord of the Rings")

One small bite can fill the stomach of a grown man!


I've wanted to try lembas since I first read the books in high school.  Bread is one of the few foods I do really like, and lembas sounds awesome.

There are a lot of recipes online to try it, but I haven't yet.  I stumbled on this one (pictured below) just today, though, and it's so simple that I think I'll need to try it soon!

Pic from this recipe--check it out! :-)

I'll still always daydream about trying the real thing, though. ;-)

2. Butterbeer ("Harry Potter")

Doesn't every Potterhead want to head to The Three Broomsticks for a hot mug of butterbeer?


I finally went to Universal Studios in Orlando a few months ago (or "Harry Potter World", as I call it), and got to try the closest thing to the real deal that we muggles will ever get.  Hot was good, but the frozen version was one of the best things I have ever tasted in my life.

3. Turkish Delight ("The Chronicles of Narnia")

I know this one's not actually fictitious, but it makes my list because I thought for years that it was a made-up thing from "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe".

Turkish Delight. (THIS was the movie version that I grew up on.  Love the new one, but this right here is my childhood!)

It seemed like such a magical thing.  And if it was enough to get Edmund to betray his siblings to the White Witch, it had to be good, right?

Turkish Delight.

So then I found out it was a real thing, and then I FOUND SOME in a store, and bought it, and I was SO EXCITED!  Turns out, it's absolutely disgusting.  Or at least the rose- and lemon-flavored ones are.  I've heard there are other flavors, so maybe some of those are better, but I'm not sure I'll have the courage to try it again if I ever find another kind.

So to me, this one's still kind of fictitious: delicious Turkish Delight.

4. District Bread ("The Hunger Games")

As I mentioned above, bread is one of my favorite foods, so any time a book makes a big deal about some sort of bread, I start drooling.  And bread is central to "The Hunger Games".  I wanted to try all the districts' breads!

District Bread (post series here).

...So I did!  Last year, I tackled a project I'd been wanting to try since I first read the books: I researched each district, and used what Suzanne Collins wrote about the few breads she described along with what we knew of the districts, and came up with a bread recipe to represent each one.  While some are a bit of a stretch, I strove for accuracy for the ones that Collins did describe--I'm especially proud of my District 11 bread, and I think District 4 turned out pretty well, too. :-)  So while I'd still love to know what Collins would consider "the real thing" for each district, I think I did all right! ;-) (You can find the master list, with links to each individual recipe post, here.)

5. Mudder's Milk ("Firefly")

As Jayne explains it, "All the protein, vitamins, and carbs of your grandma's best turkey dinner, plus fifteen percent alcohol!"

Mudder's milk.

Although Simon goes on to explain that it's basically "liquid bread", like what was fed to the ancient Egyptians' slaves, I'm fairly certain this is one "bread" that I'd actually hate.  But I'd still want to try it!  Besides, "A Man They Called Jayne" is really a great drinking song, right?  Seemed to go over well in Jaynestown, anyway. :-)

Might just need to wash it down with some butterbeer. ;-)

So what are some fictional foods you wish you could try?