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Where I’ll be at Emerald City Comic Con ’15!

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Hey guys! Are any of you going to Emerald City Comic Con here in Seattle? I sure hope so, because it’s going to be AN EXCELLENT WEEKEND! I figured I would post this a bit early, in case you want to know what I’ll be up to and where to find me this weekend.

First off – I will of course be cosplaying. I have been working my face off, which has been exceptionally challenging in tandem with my new full-time job. Needless to say, after many nearly sleepless nights, I am so, so, so excited to finally show these bad boys off.

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Also, I’m going to be on a super-fun panel on Friday that you won’t want to miss!

The Couple That Games Together
Room: Hall J (WSCC 3B)
Date: Friday, March 27th
Time: 2:00PM – 2:50PM

This will be my and Joe’s second time getting to be a part of this panel, and I can’t wait. We’ll be discussing the benefits and challenges of being a couple that games together – be that board games, card games, video games, etc! it’s such a fun and interesting topic to delve into, and people always have so many great questions! We had a great turnout last year and I’m hoping this year is even bigger!

Other than that, I’ll mostly be hanging out in the various “cosplay” areas of the convention (including the main entrance room by the windows) and trying not to spend all my money in the expo hall/vendor area. I am so pumped for ECCC, and glad it’s always my exciting start to convention season. Imagining walking around with my army of Disney Princesses on Saturday is making me giddy with anticipation.

If you’re planning on going to Emerald City Comic Con, let me know what you’re most looking forward to seeing! And of course – I hope to see you there.

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Spring 2015 Life Update!

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I’ve got a few cool things I want to fill you guys in on, stuff I’m working on and whatnot. I’ll just throw it all together in a little update blog because, why not?

1. I decided (about a month ago) to put my head down and actually start editing one of my NaNoWriMo novels. I am making absolutely no promises about what this means, except that it’s a thing I am doing. I just thought it was worth mentioning that I liked my 2014 NaNo novel enough to focus some serious energy on sorting through the mess that is my first draft, cleaning it up, and potentially giving it to some friends to read to help me turn it into… something.

Mostly I wanted to let you guys know because unlike the thrill of NaNo and writing that first draft, it turns out that editing is an extremely solitary activity with no way of sharing anything until it’s done. So, if I’m quieter online for awhile, that’s probably why. If you were following me during NaNoWriMo you already know this, but the novel is called “Delaney Unlaced”.

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2. My Patreon page is still a thing, and I try to take an active effort to keep it new and exciting as often as I can. Especially now that I have a 40-hour-a-week day job, it’s harder than ever to prioritize what I use my extra time for. I’ll never stop making YouTube videos, but after that – Patreon really helps me decide where to dedicate those precious few remaining hours. Want to be able to influence the types of things I’m creating? What new projects I work toward? Here are a few of the goals I’m considering, that you can help make possible by becoming a patron!

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I’m always curious to know which of these ideas/projects people are the most excited about (and there are of course other ones listed on the site; these are just the bigger ones). If these sound interesting to you at all, or are things you’d like to see me do, consider checking out my Patreon! I would never ask for something for nothing, so in addition to these overall goals, there are other perks available for becoming a patron (including being part of the Secret Facebook Group, getting your link in the sidebar of this website, joining my monthly Google Hangout, etc).

Again, don’t feel any pressure to use Patreon. I’ll never make it a requirement for watching my content and I won’t think less of you if you don’t care to use it. But I do have to make sure that potential new readers/viewers at least know it exists at all!

3. Costumes, costumes, costumes. I’ve been hard at work getting my cosplays together for Emerald City Comic Con, and it’s been a crazy amount of work – especially Rapunzel! Curse you, Rapunzel!! There will be pictures to come, of course. I seriously can’t believe how much work it’s been. If I seem a little crazy over the next few weeks, it’ll be because of this costume. Dear god. So much hair. There’s so much hair!!

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That’s about it for me right now. Be sure you’re following me on Twitter and Instagram for more frequent updates about costumes, what I’m reading and general news. It’s been really difficult not having the same amount of time to interact with you guys, which is why I am so adamant about keeping this blog current.

I don’t want it to feel like I’ve gone away. I’m right here! I’m still making things! Love me!

Until next time,

Kristina xoxo

 

 

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Early 2015 Video Roundup

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Okay. I am determined to keep current with my videos on this blog, STARTING NOW. However, this was not the case for a few months there, and because of that, we missed a good chunk of videos I posted on YouTube. So! This post is going to be another good ‘ol fashioned roundup of the videos of note over the last 2 months.

So, first – Joe and I buddy read Ready Player One, which was an amazing book that we both loved. Here is our joint review:

Then I wrapped up all the books I read in January:

It was feeling pretty book heavy up in here, so I took a little breather to talk about something extremely important for Valentine’s day… which is, of course, OTPs:

Then I shared my favorites with you, for the month of February!

I posted a number of other fun videos, including books hauls and unboxings, but to find those you can go check out my channel directly. Which of the types of videos that I make are your favorite? What do you look forward to the most? Let me know!

 

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February Reading Wrap Up!

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Here are the books I completed in February! I read a total of 9 books, hitting 9 of the challenges in the Popsugar Reading Challenge.

I am zooming ahead of schedule for reading 50 books this year, but I have a feeling that convention season is going to slow me down a bit — and that’s just around the corner!

What are you reading right now? Have you read any of the books I talked about in this video?

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I Can Feel The Sun Coming…

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There’s something incredibly magical and infectious about knowing the weather is getting nicer. I realize it’s only March, but here in Seattle the sky has opened up and the sun’s peaking through, and I can feel it in my bones.

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Seattle’s a funny place, because when the sun comes out, we know our time is limited. The sun is a finite resource here, and when we have it – we use it to its full potential. As soon as those clouds part, the city goes crazy. We plan vacations. We have picnics. We start jogging again. We sit on our decks. We make lists, we spring clean, we dust off old hobbies and vow to start doing them again.

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This happens to me every year, and I am always thankful for those first, early rays of sun that really get my muscles pumping (both actual muscles and creative muscles). And after a solid three months of adjusting to my new job, I think I just might have started to find some semblance of a life/work balance again, which means I actually might have the capacity to take on these new summer plans I’ve got churning in my mind.

I am a chronic over-achiever. I mean this in every sense of the word – while I love saying yes, yes yes to everything, it often leaves me with not enough time to accomplish everything I set out to do, stress knots in my shoulders, and a to-do list that would make even the most organized cringe.

But at least when the weather is nice, I have that extra something on my side. Energy. Motivation. Positivity. The promise of long car rides with friends, inspiring conventions, seeing people we never get to spend enough time with, camping trips, and best of all – getting stuff done.

I have a lot of things I want to do this year. My convention list has eight events and counting, I’ve got a laundry list of cosplays I want to make, and I’m trying to bite the bullet and finally edit one of my novels. I miss doing Team Hypercube regularly. I would love to take a personal vacation for once. I’m still trying to read 50 books this year, work exercise into my routine, and keep in better touch with the people I care about.

It’s going to be a crazy summer. But somehow, the sun on my face on this chilly March morning is telling me I can do it. And whatever I can’t accomplish – that’s okay too. Because we’re only capable of exactly what we’re meant to do.

What are your plans for the good weather season? Does the hint of sunshine ramp you up? Let me know in the comments, and let’s all try to encourage each other!

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2015 Reading Challenge

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Okay, I wasn’t going to do this reading challenge, but hearing other people talk about things is the biggest catalyst in making me want to do those things. So here I am. Doing the Popsugar 2015 Reading Challenge. I’ll be updating this list all year long as I tackle the challenges, so check back if you want to see how I am doing.

Challenges Completed: (19/50)

A book with more than 500 pages: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
A classic romance
A book that became a movie: Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison
A book published this year
A book with a number in the title: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
A book written by someone under 30 (Vicious by V. E. Schwab)
A book with nonhuman characters: The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black
A funny book
A book by a female author: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
A mystery or thriller: The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
A book with a one word title: Hazed by Mark Sable
A book with short stories
A book set in a different country (The Girl on the Train)
A non-fiction book (Made to Stick by Chip Heath & Dan Heath)
A popular author’s first book
A book from an author you love that you haven’t read yet (Attachments)
A book a friend recommended: Cinder by Marissa Meyer
A Pulitzer Prize winning novel: All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
A book based on a true story
A book at the bottom of your TBR list
A book your mom loves
A book that scares you
A book more than a 100 years old
A book based entirely on its cover: In Real Life by Corey Doctorow and Jen Wang
A book you were supposed to read in school and didn’t (1984)
A memoir
A book with antonyms in the title (A Great and Terrible Beauty)
A book you can finish in a day
A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to go
A book published the year you were born (Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency)
A book with bad reviews
A Trilogy
A book from your childhood: Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn
A book with a love triangle
A book set in the future: Cress by Marissa Meyer
A book set in high school (Since You’ve Been Gone)
A book with a color in the title: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
A book that made you cry: The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski
A book with magic: Spell or High Water by Scott Meyer
A graphic novel: A Wrinkle in Time the Graphic Novel by Madeleine L’Engle/Hope Larson
A book by an author you’ve never read before: This One Summer by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki
A book you own but never read (The Last Book in the Universe)
A book that takes place in your hometown: Off To Be The Wizard by Scott Meyer
A book that was originally written in another language (The Diary of a Girl, Anne Frank)
A book set during Christmas
A book by an author who has your same initials
A play
A banned book: On The Bright Side I’m Now the Girlfriend of a Sex God by Louise Rennison
A book based on or turned into a tv show
A book you started but never finished

*Books in parenthesis are just ideas for books I could read to fulfill the challenge

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Book I’ve Read 2015

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I wanted a place to document which books I read this year, in what order, and what I rated them. Because I like when things are organized into lists, and because apparently Goodreads alone isn’t enough. So here it is! My 2015 Reading List:

January:

1. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart (4.5)
2. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (4.5)
3. Hazed by Mark Sable (1.5)
4. All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (4)

February:

5. Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison (4)
6. Cinder by Melissa Meyer (3.5)
7. On the Bright Side, I’m Now the Girlfriend of a Sex God by Louise Rennison (4.5)
8. A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel by Hope Larson (4)
9. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (2.0)
10. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (5)
11. In Real Life by Corey Doctorow and Jen Wang (4.5)
12. Off To Be The Wizard by Scott Meyer (5)
13. The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black (4)

March:
14. The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski (5)
15. Wait Til Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn (3.5)
16. Spell or High Water by Scott Meyer (4.5)
17. The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson (4)
18. This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki (4)
19. Cress by Marissa Meyer (2.5)
20.
21.
22.
23.

*feel free to bookmark this page and check back over the course of the year to see what I’m reading.

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I Got a Job at Microsoft

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Hello, lovely blog readers!

As you can see by the title of this blog post… I’ve got some rather big news to share. Life alteringly big news, in fact — and something I’ve kept quiet for the last two months.

I got a job at Microsoft.

This is some intense news, so here is a picture of some kittens at a birthday party.

This is pretty intense news, so here is a picture of some kittens at a birthday party.

To be honest it feels a little cliched, having grown up in Seattle. If you were raised here, you know what I’m talking about. If your parents didn’t work at Microsoft they worked at Boeing. While I’d mulled over the idea of getting some sort of day job over the last year or so, I always imagined some hip new media company. Not… Microsoft. Not the most obvious place to work in the Northwest.

But here I am. And to be honest, it is a pretty hip job. I was hired as a Community Manager, which means my responsibilities include a whole spectrum of various types of community engagement for a laundry list of games owned by Microsoft Studios.

But Kristina!? you’re probably asking. Why did you take this job? I thought you were a professional YouTuber! I thought you made oodles of money talking to your camera!

First of all, I am flattered if you think that. Alas, while I enjoyed my freelance time immensely, it was really starting to weigh on me. If anyone ever tells you that turning your hobby into your job is the ~American Dream~, then you should just tell them to talk to the hand. Because (let me drop a wisdom bomb on you for a second here) if there’s one thing I have learned in my twenty-seven years of life, it’s this: we have hobbies for a very specific reason. We have hobbies because we are creative animals, and we enjoy making things, doing things, being part of things. Sometimes we even enjoy making things just for the sake of creation, but when you add financial pressure to that, you can literally feel your enjoyment start to deflate.

I didn’t want to hide sponsorships in my videos anymore. I didn’t want to make videos for other companies’ channels anymore. I didn’t want to wake up every day knowing I had to film videos, or had to write blog posts, or I might not pay rent. And I also didn’t appreciate the ever-present self awareness of “what am I actually doing with my life” looming overhead.

I am acutely aware, however, of how special a thing I’ve created online. And how lucky I am that so many of you care enough about what I’m doing to have stuck around this long. For a long time, considering getting a different job felt like giving up. Throwing in the towel. It felt like I was admitting I hadn’t “made it”.

But then I start re-evaluating my goals. Made what, exactly? I starting thinking about what I was actually doing, and what I wanted to be doing. I love making videos. I love blogging. I love my Patrons, and my book club, and I love the amazing community of intelligent, caring people who engage with the things that I do.

Why would any of that need to change, just because I wanted to get a day job?

It was at that moment that I realized it wouldn’t change. I could still make videos. I could still read books. I could still blog, and tweet, and interact with people online exactly like I always have. This moment of clarity changed everything and I began applying for jobs. The Microsoft opportunity came at exactly the right time and while I’ve been extremely stressed out as I struggle to adjust to a vastly different lifestyle… not much has actually changed, at least online.

In fact, that only thing that’s been really tough has been not telling you guys about what I’m doing, which is precisely why I am writing this blog post. So… I work at Microsoft now, 40 hours a week. This probably explains why I might have seemed a little distant lately. It was tough to figure out what to talk about without spilling the beans, but I wanted to give myself time to adjust on my own before I told the whole Internet.

Oh, it’s also been tough to keep up with my email. I did not realize how much email I got until I wasn’t able to check it regularly. How cow. But that’s another issue entirely.

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So just to sort of let you know what to expect from me now, my online presence mostly won’t change. You can still count on 2 new videos a week. The Restricted Section book club is still going strong. I’ve got three cosplays planned for Emerald City Comic Con. And this blog will always be here.

I’m just going to have a bit less free time, and I might complain about traffic a lot more, since my commute is right in the heart of rush hour and includes a toll bridge. But audiobooks are a new obsession of mine, so there’s always a silver lining.

Whew. I don’t know why I am so nervous to be announcing this. I guess it makes sense, because it’s the biggest change that’s happened in my life in a long time. It’s been sort of a tough adjustment, and I miss having all the time in the world to create things for you guys.

But I think this is going to be a very good thing for me.

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Winter Video Round Up!

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Hello, lovely blog readers!

Yet again I have sort of fallen off the face of the planet, but I’m here to make amends by doing another little roundup of my favorite videos I’ve posted in the past month or so. If you missed any of them… go ahead and catch up! I’ll wait here.

So, first of all.. this video I’m about to show you is probably my favorite video I’ve ever made. Half the views it has are probably from ME, rewatching it and laughing hysterically alone in my room. I have no shame about this. It’s that funny.

Joe and I did a slightly different take on the whisper challenge. Rather than asking each other inane questions sent in on twitter, we just said nerdy phrases at each other. It was amazing.

The next video I want to share is my wrap-up from the #xmasbooktubeathon. I love booktubeathon. In fact, I am really coming around to just loving ALL readathons, and I can’t wait to do so many more in 2015. But this was the weekend long readathon I did right before Christmas, complete with a lot of struggles:

This year I am, of course, doing the 50 book challenge, so there will be MANY more readathons to come. And, I can imagine, more book struggles.

As we get closer to the end of the year, I started getting reflective. About books, of course. I realized too late that the trendy thing to do was your top FOURTEEN books of 2014, so I look a n00b only listing five. Whatever!

Then I had to show off all my NEW books, of course. This is a very book heavy blog post, I’m finding. No regrets! Here is my most extreme book haul yet:

I posted many more videos over the last month or so, so scoot on over to my channel to catch ‘em all! Like a Pokémon master. Or you can stay here and leave me a comment telling me what kinds of videos you’d like to see more of in 2015. Whatever you want.

Thanks, as always, for reading my blog! It makes me smile. I like you guys.

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