1. How to do the Indie Bookstore Challenge – Seattle, 2019

    June 9, 2019 ♥ Posted in: Books, Geek Events, Seattle, Travel by Kristina Horner

    In early 2018, I discovered something online… something so immensely up my alley I couldn’t believe I hadn’t heard of it yet. It was called “Indie Bookstore Day” (which in itself was such a lovely idea) — but that wasn’t even all. On top of a day meant to visit and celebrate all of the wonderful independent bookstores in your region, Seattle had something that took it to another level. Something that took it to a very… Kristina-level.

    Here in Seattle, there’s something called the “Indie Bookstore Challenge”, which is a quest to visit all of the independent bookstores (during their hours of operation!) in a single day. This sounds all well and good, until I remind you that there are 21 participating bookstores in this particular challenge. And some require a ferry to get too.

    Indie Bookstore Day sits at the cross-section of all the things I love: it’s about books, it’s about patronizing stores that really do need our help, and most importantly: it’s about doing something that sounds slightly crazy, something that other people might say is “too hard”.

    So back to 2018. If this was something I discovered a whole year ago, why is this blog post only coming out now? Well, the truth is, I discovered this amazing challenge last year… and then discovered that it fell less than a week before my wedding. So believe me… I considered it. But it just wasn’t in the cards.

    I put a note in my calendar for 2019 and waited patiently the entire year. When Indie Bookstore Day finally rolled around again, I grabbed my most dedicated friends (or the ones I’m just the best at convincing to do things, you choose) and set out to make this dream come true in 2019.

    It takes a village to successfully visit 21 bookstores in one day. Here’s how we made it happen, via roles:

    Me, Kristina Horner: General cheerleader and social media documentarian. I orchestrated getting photos of us taken at every store, kept track of whose turn it was to buy something at any given store, logged what was purchased, and engaged with bookstores and other participants on Twitter and Instagram. Typically could be heard saying things like “Excuse me, can you take a photo for us?” and “Oh crap, I completely forgot about Twitter for like four bookstores.”

    Katrina Hamilton: Navigator and schedule mistress. Katrina built the spreadsheet and itinerary that set us up for success and kept us to it throughout the day. Was often the one to say things like, “Hurry and pick something, we have 2 more minutes here,” and “Guys we did not schedule in this trip to Dick’s Drive in.”

    Liz Leo: Travel agent and resident DJ. Liz booked our hotel in Bainbridge Island the night before so we could start the day on the right side of the ferry, and curated an epic girl-power playlist for the car. Liz’s signature quotes were things like “Wait this is the best song,” and “No wait, this is the best song.”

    Jenn Godwin: Snack mom and moral booster. Jenn provided the necessity that was car snacks, and generally remembered to ask us all if we were doing okay, which is a very important role in a group very driven book-nerds. Jenn could most often be heard saying things like “Anyone need some licorice?” and “Wait who’s turn is it to sit in front?” 

    Abbey Jacobsen: Gettaway car driver. As the girl in our group with the best car (no contest, she has a Tesla), Abbey provided the mode of transportation for our adventure. She had the most important job, which was making sure that not only did we accomplish this amazing goal, but that we did it in style. Abbey’s catchphrases for the day was “go on ahead, I’ll find parking” and “did you know the Tesla could do this?”

    There are a few ways to achieve Indie Bookstore Day glory, and if you search online, there are a number of wonderful blogs out there that walk you through each blogger’s personal execution of the day. I’ll let my pal Katrina explain to you the extreme methodology we exercised, because that’s much more her domain. The important thing to know for this blog post is that you need to have specific goals when attempting this challenge.

    Here were ours:

    Goal 1: Spend a reasonable amount of time in each bookstore.

    Goal 2: Between the five of us, purchase something at every store.

    Goal 3: Enjoy the day.

    Here are some crucial things we learned:

    1. Social Media Takes Time: The day goes by fast. I had all sort of grand plans to keep Twitter and Instagram updated throughout the day, and journal about the experience in real-time, and keep up a dialogue with other folks on social media that were doing the same thing. This fell apart pretty quickly. In the end I gave up on my epic documentation dreams and focused on one social media account (I posted a pic from each store on Instagram). This allowed me to feel secure in capturing the day, but also take a moment to enjoy myself, as well.

    2. Pace yourself: It’s incredible how much energy it takes to be constantly moving all day. No one in our car considered this ahead of time, but there’s something incredibly overwhelming about never staying in one spot for more than a few minutes, and doing this for hours on end. On top of that, we started the day on such a high that we all got excited and started buying this immediately — some of the later bookstores were a bit more of a stretch to find something to purchase, since we’d all spent a lot of money already. It was overall a lot more exhausting than we expected. 

    3. Eating out of the trunk of a car sucks: It was wonderful to have car snacks when we needed them, but we realized we didn’t schedule in an actual sit-down lunch. I think we all would have benefitted from a bit of a break, even if it was short. If we do this again, we’ll definitely need to budget this into the day.

    4. Even very good friends might get cranky: This one speaks for itself. The Indie Bookstore Challenge is an intense day. You’re often confined in close quarters while driving from place to place. Always assume best intent, and be a little extra kind to each other.

    5. Book people are the best people: Despite living in a large city with many bookstores, the books community is small. We were often on a different route than most people, but we ran into the same people over and over again through the day, regardless. This is one of the best parts! Everyone was so happy and excited, and the bookstore employees in particular were a delight. This alone makes the day worth it. 

    6. You very rarely regret purchases you make at bookstores: I will caveat this one, of course, with the reminder that only you know your own personal finance situation, and should go into the day with some kind of budget… but we were often making snap decisions on what to buy, fueled wholly by adrenaline. And when I got home and looked at my little haul, I was still so pleased. Buying things at indie bookstores is the best.

    If you’re curious, I thought I would make a list of every bookstore we visited personally and the things we purchased there (for reference, there are a couple bookstore chains that allow you to pick one and have it count for all of them). Being that we never spent more than 20 minutes in a single bookstore, this was the epitome of impulse shopping, but as stated above… it’s hard to regret a purchase you made at a place as delightful as a local indie bookstore, especially when you know that money goes directly toward keeping these places in business. 

    1. Eagle Harbor Book Co. — “Read Wild” tote bag (Jenn)

    2. The Traveler — Insect repelling scarves (Kristina, Jenn), Travel Writer (Katrina), Collapsible water bottle (Liz), Travel guide to Nice (Abbey)

    3. Liberty Bay Books — Font/Letter themed tote bag (Liz), The Grave Keepers — free ARC (Kristina)

    4. Edmonds Bookshop — Ordinary Magic and a blind book (Liz)

    5. The Neverending Bookshop — Tea Rex (Kristina), Harry Potter 2 & 3 Illustrated Editions (Abbey), The Antidote (Jenn), Voodoo Killings – won (Liz)

    6. Open Books — A Poem Emporium and American Journal (Katrina)

    7. Book Larder — Rhubarb Cookbook (Kristina), How to Be Gluten Free and Keep Your Friends (Abbey)

    8. Magnolia’s Bookstore — Digital Minimalism and a blind book (Katrina)

    9. Arundel — Dead Feminists (Jenn)

    10. Fantagraphics — Grab Back Comics anthology (Jenn)

    11. Page 2 Books — Eleanor Oliphant (Kristina), Architecture for Dogs (Abbey)

    12. Island Books — No One Here is Lonely (Kristina), Koala plush (Abbey), Mysterious Mansion (Liz)

    13. Brick & Mortar — The Vanishing Stair (Katrina)

    14. Book Tree — Little Nothing (Jenn)

    15. Secret Garden Books — Women Talking (Katrina)

    16. Queen Anne Book Company — “Choose Kindness” mug (Jenn), I Love You Mommy (Liz)

    17. University Bookstore — My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life (Kristina)

    18. Third Place Books: Ravenna — I’m A Lot Cooler on the Internet mug (Kristina), Housegirl and a card (Jenn)

    19. Madison Books — Oregon Trail Choose Your Own Adventure (Jenn), Future Cities (Liz)

    20. Ada’s Technical Books — Very tiny Moleskin (Katrina)

    21. Elliot Bay Book Co. — A journal (Liz)

    Overall, Indie Bookstore Day was worth the wait. I’m not sure I mentioned this before, but winners get a 25% coupon for every single bookstore, and it’s good the whole year long — but that’s not why we did it (though that coupon is definitely nestled happily in my wallet now). We did it for fun, for the community, and for glory.

    If you’re interested in checking this awesome event out yourself, be sure to read up on the official website, and check out my friend Katrina’s post for the logistical side of our day. Everyone’s Indie Bookstore Day is a little different, but there’s no wrong way to celebrate the book community and thank our local bookstores for being there for us. The general consensus in our car was that folks weren’t sure they wanted to do this every year, but I think I’ve got plenty of time to start convincing them to join me again next year.

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  2. Booktubeathon 2018!

    July 27, 2018 ♥ Posted in: Books, Geek Events by Kristina Horner

    Listen, if there was gonna be even one good thing about my role being eliminated at work and needing to find a new job — it was going to be that I would actually have time to do Booktubeathon for serious this year. Because as I’m sure you’re all aware — it’s my second favorite book-related challenge on the Internet. The first of which, of course, being NaNoWriMo.

    But get this. While I don’t technically have a day job I need to go to, Booktubeathon falls on the perfect storm of days I still will be quite crunched to actually read books at all, let alone seven.

    Monday: Job interview that will take at least half the day
    Tuesday: Doctor appointment in the morning, going into the office for something midday, then a hair appointment afternoon/evening
    Wednesday: Nothing, thank goodness. I’ll be reading pretty much all day, when I’m not packing
    Thursday: Why was I packing? Oh right, because I am spending the rest of the week in NYC. Which will be amazing, just – you know – ill timed. At least I have a long flight to read on.
    Friday-Sunday: Doing NYC things, and trying to fit some reading in amongst it all

    Basically, I’m doomed. Here’s my TBR:

    I opted for a bunch of short books, thankfully, with a ratio of 3 actual novels to 4 graphic novels. The bottom two graphic novels I’ll be doing a coin flip over, as per the challenges. To find out about the rest of the challenges, watch the official challenge video. I also need to consider doing one of these as an audiobook, since I now have two days of commutes I didn’t account for. Plus I need to find time to watch the movie version of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas… yikes. This is going to be something.

    But this is par for the course, with me. Nobody is surprised. If you want to watch me flail along during this challenge, be sure to follow my Instagram account!

    As a fun little bonus, this week I have also created a series of lists with recommendations for things I like and use, like board games and cute stuff and even products I use to maintain pink hair. I’m an Amazon affiliate, so I do get a small commission if you end up buying anything, but I get asked so often for recommendations that this seemed like a good solution. I recently made one for writing, and while it’s not exactly made for readathons, there’s still a lot of stuff in there that applies. Like fuzzy socks. Man, I love fuzzy socks.

    Okay, that’s all I’ve got. This was initially going to be a video, since I had this small inkling of a desire to make a video, but that was a fleeting idea. Then it took me another week to actually write this, because apparently, all content on the Internet is difficult for me these days.

    Who else is doing Booktubeathon? Do we think Kristina will actually win this year?

    I haven’t successfully won since the very first time I tried it, back in 2014. Coincidentally, that was the last time I didn’t have a full-time job taking up all my time.

     

    If you want – leave a comment telling me what you’re most excited to read, or give me NYC recommendations!

    Leave a comment!
  3. Happy Halloween! NaNoWriMo is tomorrow!

    October 31, 2017 ♥ Posted in: Cosplay, Geek Events, Writing by Kristina Horner

    Alright, guys. I’m in a better mood about NaNoWriMo this week. I’m feeling positive. My outline is 7,000 words long. I’m ready to go.

    Also Halloween just tends to put me in a good mood. Over the weekend I had two different themed parties to attend, including a Harry Potter party (I dressed as a grindylow) and a super villain dinner party (where I was ‘Night Shade’, the poisoner). Both costumes utilized various things I have collected over the years at renaissance faires and cons and I’m always glad to reuse silly costume-y impulse buys.

    Plus, today my boss insisted we all dress up as witches for work, as it is her dream to have a coven. My boss is weirder than your boss.

    This gave me an excuse to rewear the cloak that was made for this Halloween short film I created two years ago, and the witch hat I decided I needed to buy at the Wizarding World.

    harry potter costumes, witch costume, numphadora tonks costume, grindylow costume

    I also signed up for a digital 5k called the Halloween Hustle, which I agreed to run with my pal Justin with the condition that we wear costumes for that, as well. This was the final check on my Halloween to-do list for the year, before settling in to pass out candy (we hardly had any trick or treaters) and watch Halloween movies.

    So that makes four costumes this Halloween, total? I don’t know why I do this to myself.

    halloween 5k, running costume, peanut butter and jelly costume

    Our time was 44:07, which isn’t anywhere near my usual times. It was cold, and we kept stopping to wave and give thumbs up to people who were excited about seeing peanut butter and jelly running around the lake. It was a real delight, and I highly recommend it. The time was much less important to me.

    Plus the sun went down as we were on the tail end of the run, which was absolutely beautiful.

    NaNoWriMo begins tomorrow (or in 1 hour, technically), and I’m really hoping to start off strong. My goal is to write at least 2-3,000 words a day for the first 3 days, since I have to head down to Portland this weekend for some wedding stuff.

    I keep feeling nostalgic about NaNoWriMo starting, thinking about how this is the 12th year in a row that I’ve got butterflies in my stomach on Halloween night as I wait for the clock to strike midnight. I keep thinking about how every year I’m at a different place in my life, but this writing challenge is a constant. How I started this challenge over a decade ago as a kid in my childhood bedroom, writing on a hand-me-down desktop computer and fitting my noveling in around homework, and how in all this time, NaNoWriMo has seen me through 4 laptops, 3 different houses, at least 4 boyfriends, two different colleges, a graduation, 4 different jobs, a decade of YouTube videos, a certificate degree in writing, an engagement, a castle, and now wedding planning.

    I know earlier this month I was worried this might be the year I don’t finish, but look at everything I’ve been through since I started doing NaNoWriMo. I’m good at this. And I’m ready to start year twelve.

    Make sure you’re following me on twitter if you want to join in my inevitable word sprints!

    Lastly, I’ve been slowly building a mailing list over the last year, but this past weekend I finally kicked it off with a snazzy little welcome letter! If you’d like to be on the list for semi-regular life updates, news and perhaps even sneak peeks at what I am writing, you can sign up here. It’s going to be fun.

    Okay. 50 minutes until midnight. We’ve got this.

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  4. The Summer Challenge TRIPLE THREAT

    July 22, 2017 ♥ Posted in: Books, Geek Events, Journal, Writing by Kristina Horner

    Booktubeathon is upon us yet again, and I fear I have made a grave mistake this year. Actually, let’s take a step back.

    So, as you all likely know, I am participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this month. I set a modest goal for myself, but writing 20,000 words in a month (arguably the busiest of the summer months) is still nothing to shake a stick at. I knew that attempting Booktubeathon and Camp NaNo in the same month would be a stretch, but I’ve never been one to look in the face of a challenge and back away. I welcome challenge. I thrive on challenge.

    This was all well and good – totally doable – until I found out about the Marauder’s Marathon. This is a month long virtual Harry Potter themed marathon, which I, of course, signed up for because you can absolutely trick me into exercising if you disguise it as a fun Harry Potter fandom activity. Plus I am trying to be more active, so why not apply a NaNoWriMo-esque filter to running, to make it more exciting? 26.2 miles in a month? A whole month? No problem!

    Problem is, it started on the 17th of July. While I was in New York, in oppressively hot weather. Listen, I’m as committed to pretending to be a wizard while I run as the next person, but I’m not going to start my running adventure in 90 degree weather. So here I am, finally home from NY, 5 days behind. But still determined.

    Okay. Okay Kristina. Three marathon style events in one month. All overlapping for one chaotic week starting on Monday. Is this possible? You can listen to audiobooks and run at the same time. You can get up early to write. This is doable.

    You can listen to audiobooks and run at the same time. You can get up early to write. This is doable.

    Oh wait. Your friends invited you on a spontaneous trip to Las Vegas for one of their birthdays starting on the Saturday of your Week of Madness, and you can’t turn down a spontaneous adventure? AND your best friend gets married on August 9th and you’re not only in the wedding, you’re also planning the bachelorette party, which happens right in the midst of all of this?

    Guys, nothing can save me now. I um… I may have over-committed.

    BUT! Follow me on Instagram and Twitter over the next couple weeks to see if I survive, and in the mean time… here’s my Booktubeathon TBR:

    The challenges:

    1/ Read a book with a person on the cover: PAPER GIRLS by Brian K. Vaughan
    2/ Read a hyped book: MILK AND HONEY by Rupi Kaur
    3/ Finish a book in one day: DEAR IJEAWELE, OR A FEMINIST MANIFESTO IN FIFTEEN SUGGESTIONS by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
    4/ Read about a character that is very different from you: HOMEGOING by Yaa Gyasi
    5/ Finish a book completely outdoors: MEN EXPLAIN THINGS TO ME by Rebecca Solnit
    6/ Read a book you bought because of the cover: THE WILD ROBOT by Peter Brown
    7/ Read seven books: THE ONE MEMORY OF FLORA BANKS by Emily Barr

    I forgot to mention… it would be so nice to have this weekend, this glorious Saturday and Sunday, to get ahead in writing, to do some solid running, cleanse my reading palate with some television, do laundry and relax and prepare for the insanity ahead – but I’m got another wedding tonight and won’t be back until tomorrow. *falls over and dies*

    Wish me luck, and please let me know if you’re participating in any of the above challenges. Bonus points if anyone out there is crazy enough to do all three, like I am!

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  5. PAX West 2016 Wrap Up!

    September 10, 2016 ♥ Posted in: Conventions, Games, Geek Events by Kristina Horner

    Hey everyone! Last weekend was PAX West here in Seattle, and while I am totally and completely exhausted, I have decided I need to do a better job of documenting the stuff I’m doing. So here’s a comprehensive overview of the highlights of this awesome gaming convention.

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    COSPLAY BREAKDOWN:

    Cosplay is always a big part of my conventions, and PAX is no exception. I had actually planned to wear costumes every day (it’s a four day convention so I had FOUR different costumes ready) but I only managed to make 3 happen. I seem to forget each time how much energy costume-wearing really takes. Uncomfortable shoes, pin curls and wigs, carrying around props, stopping for pictures… these are all things I love, but I’ve learned that 4 days of anything just starts to feel like how your life is now, so after 3 days of this – I needed a break. The picture above is the very comfortable outfit I opted for on Monday.

    That being said, here’s what I wore on Friday-Sunday!

    FRIDAY: These costumes were from last year, but we had so much fun wearing them that we decided to do it again! Plus Roosterteeth always has a presence at PAX and the were demoing their new RWBY game, so it seemed fitting to bring Blake and Ruby back. Jenn also remade a big portion of her scythe, so a round two was in order. I downplayed this at PAX, but you’ll notice I opted for slightly more comfortable shoes this time… 😉

    ruby rose and blake belladonna costumes cosplay pax rwby

    SATURDAY: This was one of the best cosplay days I’ve ever had. The three of us fell in love with this as a cosplay idea last year at GeekGirlCon when we met the artist (Skirtzzz) in artist’s alley. I’ve always loved Princess Peach but I am not the biggest fan of her basic iconic dress, so seeing such a fun alternative outfit for her instantly grabbed my attention. Luckily Eia and Jenn also loved the outfits, and we vowed to make them for PAX, this year. And we did.

    Fanart Gunner peach daisy rosalina FF-X2 princesses cosplay costume

    People at PAX really seemed to like the costumes, even if they didn’t totally get them. They’re a stretch, believe be. The concept is Mario Princesses wearing FFX-2 dress spheres, in the style of the gunners. I haven’t actually played FFX-2, so I had to have someone explain this to me, but I was relieved when a number of people referred to it as “isn’t that the dress up game?” I’ll take it.

    skirtzzz art peach daisy rosalina cosplay costume

    Here’s a side by side reference of the costume I was recreating. I this this is my favorite costume group we’ve done yet, and personally – I cant wait to see what new art Skirtzzz brings to GeekGirlCon this year! Maybe we’ll be inspired again!

    cosplay inspired by skirtzzz art gunner peach

    SUNDAY: Maybe it was the Pokemon Go craze this summer, but I was finally, finally motivated to do the Misty cosplay I’ve always dreamed of. I have literally had this Togepi plushie sitting on my shelf for years. Funny story – a fan from Germany actually sent me this Togepi because he thought I might need it if I ever dressed up as Misty. Amazing – and he was right!

    misty cosplay good wig arda pumpkin togepi plushie costume halloween

    Eia was in the Pokemon spirit as well, and since we ran out of Indigo League to watch while we were making our costumes and recently started XY, she decided making a Serena costume would be the perfect thing for her Sunday outfit. We had fun representing the old and new of one of our favorite franchises, and Pokemon XY is surprisingly fun. I do miss the old voice actors, though.

    misty from pokemon, serena from pokemon xy, costumes cosplay wigs

     

    BEST GAMES:

    We played a LOT of games at PAX. I mean naturally, since that’s what the convention is all about, but I am actually very impressed with how many games we fit in despite how much time cosplaying tends to eat up at cons.

    Here are a couple of my favorites from the weekend:

    Firewatch: First person mystery adventure game that looks like a lot of fun. Played a demo and liked it so much I bought their adorable camp-themed logo tank top.
    Grimm Ecplise: RWBY game. 4 player online co-op hack-n-slash. I’m not usually into these types of games, but getting to play as Blake really sold it for me.
    Complicated Board Game The Card Game: This game was hilarious. It’s a card game about playing complicated board games. It’s like a combination of Fluxx and Munchkin. To be fair, I don’t actually like either Fluxx or Munchkin all that much, but we had a great demo-er and we had a pretty good time with this one. If you don’t like Fluxx though, proceed with caution, because it’s definitely a constant rules-changing card game.
    JunKing: Another card game, and probably my favorite one from the Indie Mega Booth. You play as a… garbage imp? And you basically rifle through the trash to collect prestigious items to raise your status with your garbage tribe. I think you’re essentially a raccoon. I don’t know. It was fun.
    Star Realms: This game was by no means new, and Joe and I actually already owned a copy, but my friends and I spent a good deal of time at the Star Realms booth – and now I think I have everyone hooked. It’s a great game because it plays 2, but if you combine two decks, it can play up to 4. Great versatility in a game! It’s a competitive deck builder set in space and now that we have all the expansions and whatnot, I imagine we’ll be playing this a lot more.
    Captain Sonar: We happened upon this game by chance in a tabletop free-play room. It’s an 8 player game (four on four) and it’s like if you added a ton of skill and strategy to ‘Battleship’. Very stressful, very fast paced, and a lot of fun.
    Costa Rica: This was a cute little game Eia and Jenn and I stumbled upon, and we had a great time playing it. It’s like if you mixed ‘Hey That’s My Fish!’ (hex piece puzzle game) with ‘Zombie Dice’ or ‘Pass The Pigs’ chance-taking gambling game. It was a fun mix of the two, and collecting cute animals from the rainforest was a plus.

     

    THORNWATCH:

    I had the pleasure of getting to play a demo of the new Thornwatch by none other than one of the creators himself, Rodney Thompson. Plus, the other players in my demo were Jimmy Wong, Kiri Callaghan and Lauren Bond – fellow creators I know and love dearly! All in all it was an ideal situation for getting to check out an awesome new game, and a big thanks is due to my friend Tara of the GeekyHostess, who set the whole thing up.

    Thornwatch Demo PAX west

    Thornwatch is described as a “graphic novel adventure” and it’s made by Lone Shark Games and Penny Arcade themselves. It played liked a game somewhere between a longer form RPG and a sit-down-and-play board game, which is my favorite kind of game. The coolest part was that so many elements of the game changed depending on which campaign you played – from the pieces of the board used, to which monsters you fought, to actual in game elements like protecting villagers or stopping the enemy from making matches of tokens needed for them to win.

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    Replayability is such an important feature in a game, especially when they are an expensive as full games can be! Thornwatch seems like it can change over and over again, and I seriously look forward to owning this, when it’s out. If Thornwatch sounds like something you’d like, it has a live Kickstarter running right now, which ends on Oct 5. Joe and I already backed for our copy!

     

    PAX was such an awesome time. Getting to run around in costumes, play games with my friends, and take two days off work is an ideal way to spend a weekend, and I can’t wait until next year. Were you at PAX, or have you ever been to a game-centric convention? Tell me about it in the comments!

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  6. Vloggerfair and PAX Prime 2015

    August 20, 2015 ♥ Posted in: Conventions, Cosplay, Geek Events by Kristina Horner

    I have a busy couple of weekends coming up – and I figured it was time to fill you in on what’s going on and what I’ll be doing!

    First up is Vloggerfair, a fun little YouTube convention happening here in Seattle this weekend – August 22-23. I will be there Saturday the 20th, on both the “Women of YouTube” panel (happening at 3:15pm) as well as hosting another little book swap (happening at 12:30pm) with the lovely Mallory. Are you going? You should go! It’s going to be a lot of fun, and the more people we have there swapping books, the better it will be for everyone!

    Book Swap Kristina HornerIf you find yourself with a free day on Saturday, swing on by and bring a wrapped book! You can get a discount on your ticket price if you use the code “SPACE NEEDLE”.

    Next up will be PAX Prime! That’s happening over August 28-31 and I seriously can’t wait. It’s a jam-packed weekend for me, as I will be doing things for work, cosplaying, and I’m on a number of panels. If you’ll be attending, I’d love to meet you!

    Here are the panels I’ll be speaking on:

    The Couple That Games Together – Friday, August 28th at 12:30pm in the Sasquatch Theatre.
    Women in the Gaming Industry – Friday, August 28th at 2:00pm in the Chicken Theatre.
    Damsels in Distress: Exploring Tropes in Gaming – Monday, August 31st at 12:30pm in the Chicken Theatre.
    As I said, I will also be cosplaying! I toned it down a little this year (last year I debuted three new costumes at PAX, whereas this year it’ll only be one). My friends and I will be wearing the costumes we’ve made of the main characters of RWBY.
    TeamRWBY
    I am going to be Blake Belladonna, the quiet, sarcastic, book loving badass (and the second one from the right, for those who don’t know). I usually end up picking the bubbly happy characters, so I’m happy to be doing something outside my norm.
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    PAX is going to be great, and I’m so incredibly happy my job let me cosplay at least one day of this con. Thank goodness for Sunday! That’s the day I’ll be walking around in costume, so keep and eye out for me! I’ll be working the other three days of PAX, but I can’t imagine not cosplaying at all. This is such a great convention for cosplaying and I’m hoping this year will be no exception.
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    The last event in my 3 weekend summer extra extravaganza is Faerieworlds (from Sep 4-6), a three day outdoor music festival/renaissance faire/faerie festival/gathering of awesome people. I can’t wait. It’s probably my favorite event of the year, surprisingly.
    It will be a nice break from the craziness of conventions, and I’m taking a day off work to go to it. By then, I’ll need it.
    Let me know in the comments if you’re planning to attend any of these events and if I’ll see you there! I’m going to get back to my costume making now, since PAX is currently 7 days and I’m not finished. Yikes!
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  7. VidCon 2015 Wrap Up

    August 4, 2015 ♥ Posted in: Conventions, Geek Events, YouTube videos by Kristina Horner

    I just spent a lot of time writing a long blog post with my thoughts on VidCon, but then when I hit “publish” – rather than, you know, my blog post going live… WordPress decided instead to delete it! Isn’t that cute? Isn’t WordPress so quirky and fun tonight?

    I really can’t bring myself to re-gather all of those thoughts, so I guess that’s just gone to the ether, then. Here are the videos I made:

    This first one is a video I filmed over the course of the entire trip. Basically any time I was talking to another YouTuber, I asked them what they were reading. I was very pleased with how it came together, and even more pleased to see literally every person I talked to was reading a different book. Can you believe it?

    This second video is my more all encompassing “VidCon vlog”, and it contains a bit of footage from the panel I moderated (The Growing Community of Booktube), the Team Hypercube “Ultimate Werewolf” gaming meetup, and of course, the first annual VidCon Book Swap.

    Okay. It’s been 2 days since “the great blog post crash” and I think I am finally ready to retype this stuff. I’m going to talk about the Book Swap for a second.

    It was incredible.

    There were things I would change. I would have a megaphone, for one. Or we’d not be doing it in the middle of a construction zone. I’d love to have music playing to signify when we’re just looking at the books and when we’re actually picking them, a la musical chairs. I’d love for it to be indoors, and potentially even on the VidCon schedule. I’d love to work with a sponsor in the future to donate books for those who might not have known about it beforehand, and I’d love an opportunity for participates to donate an additional book to a charity.

    But even without all of these changes/things I learned this year, it was still really incredible. I loved seeing so many people gather in the name of books, get to know new people and share which books they ended up getting. I loved to see books getting new homes, seeing people walking away excited, knowing they could read a book its old owner maybe never read.

    I was such a beautiful meetup and I can’t wait to do it again.

    Regarding my VidCon video — if nothing else, you should watch it to see Joe and I duke it out in giant inflatable balls. You won’t regret it. VidCon was great. I can’t wait for next year.

     

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  8. BookTube-A-Thon 2015!

    August 3, 2015 ♥ Posted in: Books, Geek Events, YouTube videos by Kristina Horner

    I have been excited for this ALL YEAR LONG and now it’s finally here… BOOKTUBEATHON!

    Above is my TBR video. This is the video that explains the reading challenges and which books I’ve decided to read for each one. The overarching goal is to read 7 books over the course of the week, and due to my extremist tendencies (coughNaNoWriMocough) I obviously take this one the most seriously.

    Here’s a photo of the books I’m reading. Aren’t they pretty? The phone represents the Jenny Han book, since I am audiobookin’ it:

    11838890_10204240696129213_4866062118417568841_oHere’s my progress so far:

    The Last Girlfriend on Earth by Simon Rich: 50% done
    I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest: 50% done
    To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han: 15% done

    I have successfully started 3 of my books (1 is an audiobook, 1 is a compilation of short stories and 1 is straight fiction, so I’ve been juggling all three pretty easily) and I’m feeling pretty good for my first day. At least on the reading front – as far as video and instagram challenges go, I’m failing miserably. I’ll start doing those tomorrow. Today I was too excited for the actual reading, and also having a day job AND a dentist appointment were not conducive to day one of a readathon the way it is.

    I’m loving this week already. Stay tuned to my blog/twitter/youtube channel/instagram/basically everywhere for my reading updates. Also, don’t know what #BookTubeAThon is? Check out the YouTube channel!

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  9. BEA 15 Haul + Video Diary!

    June 10, 2015 ♥ Posted in: Books, Conventions, Geek Events, YouTube videos by Kristina Horner

    I was a little late on this, but here’s the video I put together about my trip to NYC for Book Expo America! I had a fantastic time, got to spend time with friends new and old, and came home with a sizable stack of ARCs I can’t wait to read. I absolutely adored this event and I can’t wait to go again next year!

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  10. Bout of Books – Day 4 Update

    May 14, 2015 ♥ Posted in: Books, Geek Events, Journal by Kristina Horner

    Whew! I could not have picked a crazier week to attempt a readathon – I’ve had to squeeze reading into the nooks and crannies of my schedule, but I’ve still managed to find a bit of time each day, which is important to me. I even managed to read on my lunch break twice, which I’m sure made me look anti-social but luckily I could not care less about coming across as the weird book-reading girl. Literally everyone who works at Microsoft is a nerd in some way. I’m in good company.

    I’ve also shifted up my TBR a little bit. I’ve read way too many amazing reviews of An Ember in the Ashes in the past week or so to ignore it any longer, so it’s earned a spot in the stack of books I am trying to finish for this readathon. In fact, it’s almost replaced everything else, since it’s so long.

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    My goal is to read The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (TGWCFIASOHOM, if you will) first and then to power through An Ember in the Ashes this weekend. If I can do all of that, I will be 100% satisfied with myself. If I can’t, well… that’s okay too.

    I haven’t actually read anything yet today, but I didn’t get home from work until almost 8pm and then I decided to go running because I had pent-up ‘i just sat through a five hour meeting’ energy. I needed to relax a bit by writing this blog post (because working relaxes me, yes, I’m strange) and then I’ll start reading.

    Current progress overall:

    Attachments by Rainbow Rowell: Done! (323 pages)
    The 100 by Kass Morgan: Done! (323 pages – weird, they’re the exact same length)
    Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins: Put on hold.
    The Utterly Unintersting and Unadventurous Tales of Fred, the Vampire Accountant: Listened to 2 hours of the audio book
    The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland: Just started.

    Why are all of my book titles so long? These are abnormally long.

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