1. Geeky Pumpkin Carving!

    October 16, 2014 ♥ Posted in: Geek Events, Nerd Topics by Kristina Horner

    Hello, lovely blog readers!

    Halloween is my favorite time of year. It’s the only time when the rest of the world shares my love of costumes, everything smells like cinnamon and pumpkins — and suddenly it’s totally normal to do things like getting lost in fields of corn and scooping the innards out of a pumpkin!

    My family was diligent about carving pumpkins together each year, and that’s a tradition I’ve carried on with me into my adult life. But I’ve never been a “scary face” jack-o-lantern type of girl… no, I’ve been making geeky pumpkins since my parents trusted me with my own knife. While I’m now a big fan of drawing my own pattern, I definitely used to look them up online before I had any idea how to do it myself.

    In the past I’ve made Harry Potter Pumpkins, Lumpy Space Pumpkins, and this year I’m planning to figure out how to get Sailor Moon’s face on there. Maybe. We’ll see.

    However! If you’re a bit artistically challenged (no judgement here!) Nintendo has graciously offered these sweet Mario templates for video game nerds to geek out with their… seeds out? That joke sort of got away from me there. Anyway we’ve got Bowser, Boo and Shy Guy for you to pick from:Bowser-Stencil KingBooStencil ShyGuy-stencilIf you decide to use any of these templates, let me know! Or, if you design your own original geeky pumpkin, please send me a picture! I would love to see what you create. Send me an @reply on Twitter, you know my username!

     

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  2. Device Theft Awareness Month – Wrap Up and Sweepstakes!

    August 27, 2014 ♥ Posted in: Nerd Topics by Kristina Horner

    As August draws to a close, so does Device Theft Awareness Month with Absolute LoJack Uncovered. I feel like I have learned so much throughout this month and have a much better handle on what to do if something like this ever happens to me! I hope you feel the same way. Today’s blog post is my last one on the subject, and a bit of a wrap up and refresher of the most important information to take with you into the rest of your lives.

    Device theft can happen anywhere, at any time — but here’s a list of the top places you should really make sure you’re on your guard:

    1. Bus or subway stations. Especially at peak hours and when transit is in the process of leaving or arriving.
    2. Restaurants, especially near exits. Don’t leave your purse hanging behind you on the back of your chair!
    3. Concerts, bars and clubs. People are in extremely close proximity and there’s typically little to no storage options for your purses or jackets.
    4. Offices, when many people feel secure enough to leave their phones on their desks while running to the bathroom or on an errand.
    5. Stores or gas stations, where people often are juggling many items at once and may leave their phone in a cart or on a counter for a moment.

    It’s a little depressing having to worry about keeping our devices safe at all times, but what I’m finding is that just a few little steps here and there can help stop these types of robberies before they even start. Keeping your phone tucked away at certain times might make a potential criminal overlook you as a victim, because you haven’t made it easy for them.

    The biggest change I am making in this regard is to start packing a book again when I take public transit. Most thieves aren’t going to steal a book, and if you have that out instead of your phone, you might have just significantly decreased your likelihood of being a target. Sure I sometimes miss playing Dragonvale on the bus, but I’d much rather lose a bit of gaming time in exchange for knowing my phone is safe. Because if your phone is stolen, think about everything else you’ll be missing.

    At the end of the day, device theft is a real threat and it’s growing all the time. It was one of the top 10 complaints with the FTC for the 13th consecutive year and had an increase of 32% in complaints back in 2012. Here’s a sobering statistic: in 2012, about 16.6 million people (which is 7% of all U.S. residents age 16 or older) reported being victims of one or more cases of identity theft. People age 20-29 are the most affected by this, so be aware.

    You don’t have to live in fear – just live slightly more carefully. Live knowing your information is safe, because you took the necessary precautions way ahead of time. It’s actually a really freeing thought, especially if your phone/laptop are such integral parts of your job, like mine is. 🙂

    I want to help you protect yourself and your smartphone! If you’re interested in Absolute LoJack, readers of my blog can get 30% a 1 year standard or premium subscription by using the code “UNCOVER30″ at checkout. This offer is valid through August 31.

    Also! They’re offering a pretty sweet sweepstakes in exchange for putting up with us blathering on about device theft all month. If you sign up for a 30-day free trial & enter the Absolute Software Laptop Lifeline Sweepstakes 2014, you could win a large cash prize & other great stuff!

    sweepstakes

    Simply visit https://www.laptoplifeline.com/ and enter a valid email address to receive a one month trial code of Absolute LoJack. Follow the instructions to activate and you are entered into the sweepstakes! There is no purchase necessary.

    There will be three winners! There will be a grand prize, one first place prize and one second place prize – all with different prize packages.  Each winner will be randomly drawn by Absolute LoJack on 9/15.  Eligibility: legal residents of the United States and Canada, excluding Quebec, age 18 or older as of August 18, 2014. The sweepstakes runs through September 12, 2014, see the official rules here

    Disclosure: This product has been gifted to me, however all opinions expressed in my review are my own.

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  3. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

    August 26, 2014 ♥ Posted in: Books, Nerd Topics, YouTube videos by Kristina Horner

    Raise your hand if you’re a fan of Stephanie Perkins, the author of Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door! Now raise your hand if you’ve managed to sink your teeth into Isla and the Happily Ever After!

    This book came out on August 14th – which was also the day I posted my video review of it. I decided to wait a little while to post it over here, to give you all a bit of time to catch up and read it, since my video is bursting with spoilers.

     

    Please let me know your thoughts about the book down in the comments! Did you love it? Did you like Anna or Lola better? I’m dying to find out.

    I’ll hopefully be doing a lot more book reviews in the future, so please let me know if you’re enjoying them.

    Leave a comment!
  4. Why Find My iPhone Isn’t Enough

    August 22, 2014 ♥ Posted in: Nerd Topics by Kristina Horner

    Hello lovely blog readers! I’m back with another update on Device Theft Awareness Month for Absolute LoJack Uncovered, and I want to talk to you a little bit about why it’s so important to get professionals involved if and when your device goes missing.

    As I’ve been talking about device theft this month, I’ve had a number of people asking me why they need a service like Absolute LoJack when they’ve already installed Find My iPhone (or something similar) on their device.

    I’ll preface this post by saying that Find My iPhone is awesome… if you’ve just misplaced your phone. If you can use it to locate your phone on the floor of your bedroom, dropped in your backyard, stuffed between the drivers seat and wall of your car — awesome. Perfect.

    But what if your phone was stolen? What if an actual criminal is in the possession of your phone, and Find My iPhone directs you to an apartment across town? What are you supposed to do then? Drive over and knock on the door? Steal it back? This could lead you to an incredibly dangerous situation, and more importantly — if it’s identity theft they’re after, it also might even be too late.

    Here’s a list of reasons you should leave it to the professionals if your phone is stolen:

    1. You’ve already been stolen from, you don’t need to get hurt as well. The person who stole your phone is a criminal, and you have no way of knowing if they’ll use violence against you.

    2. You might identify the wrong person as the culprit, which could lead to a messy situation.

    3. You are not Veronica Mars. It’s possible that you could actually get in the way of a police investigation, allowing the criminal to continue what they’re doing without arrest.

    This is a very serious situation, one that caused a teen to lose her life just last month while attempting to recover a stolen phone. Here’s an article about what happened.

    Also, Find My iPhone doesn’t lock down your information the way Absolute LoJack can. Even if you have a password on your phone, it might not take a smart criminal very much time to crack that code and get to all of your information anyway. Same with your laptop – there’s way too much valuable information stored inside your laptop to consider giving criminals even the chance the snoop around.

    Absolute LoJack not only makes sure they cant access that information, it comes with a dedicated investigation team who both work to recover your device and enlist local law enforcement to bring down the criminal(s) behind the theft.

    How secure is your laptop? Find out here with this quick and fun quiz! And if you’re interested in Absolute LoJack, readers of my blog can get 30% a 1 year standard or premium subscription by using the code “UNCOVER30” at checkout. This offer is valid through August 31.

    Disclosure: This product has been gifted to me, however all opinions expressed in my review are my own.

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  5. The Selection Series by Kiera Cass – REVIEW!

    August 18, 2014 ♥ Posted in: Books, Nerd Topics, YouTube videos by Kristina Horner

    I read the Selection series a little while ago (made up of The Selection, The Elite and The One) and it was equal parts frustrating and life ruining as well as amazingly fun. I’m not going to say it was the most exquisite piece of literature I’ve ever read, but it was definitely a journey – and a fun one, at that.

    In honor of the news that we’ll be getting not only another set of supplemental novellas but also MORE BOOKS, I figured I would make a post sharing the review I did of this series back when I first read it. You have until next summer to get caught up for the new books, but there’s no time like the present when it comes to Prince Maxon, am I right?

     

    Have you read The Selection? Did you love it? Did you hate it? Sometimes I can’t decide either, but it’s still one of my favorite series regardless of that fact. I know. I’m a mess.

     

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  6. 5 Tips to Prevent Cell Phone Theft

    August 13, 2014 ♥ Posted in: Nerd Topics by Kristina Horner

    Hello, lovely blog readers! I’ve learned so much in my research for Device Theft Awareness Month that I am just itching to tell you some of the tips I’ve picked up. I’m going to be honest with you – some of it seriously blew my mind.

    Sometimes I still catch myself thinking “but this stuff is crazy, it’s not going to happen to me” and I have to mentally kick myself. Over 1.6 million smartphones were stolen in the US in 2012, and it’s only risen since then; it could totally happen to me (unless I start changing the way I approach having a phone in public). Every time I think about losing my phone (and more importantly, the stuff that’s on it) I find myself breaking out into a weird combination of hives and a cold sweat and then my vision starts getting a little blurry and basically – these tips are incredibly useful.

    First and foremost, cellphones distract us. It’s the same reason we’re not supposed to text in class, or be on our phones while we’re driving – our attention is divided and we’re not totally aware of our surroundings. It’s funny, because in the past I’d been told if I was walking alone at night, it was a good idea to pretend to be on a call with someone who was nearby, to say loudly “Oh you left the light on, I can see it from here, I’ll be home soon!” I was told predators are less likely to accost a person who’s got backup nearby.

    But that advice has changed a bit as the years have gone by. Obviously if there’s a predator lurking about, you can never truly know what their intentions are… but with device theft on the rise, having your phone out in your hand, advertising that you’re holding an expensive piece of equipment, is a big safety no-no.

    I know, it’s news to me too. Don’t use our phones in public? But…. you mean just at night, right? Well – I know it’s hard, in a world that’s become so plugged in, but experts are leaning more toward advising people not to pull your phones out in public at all if you can stand it. At the very least, here are a few tips to keep in mind.

    1. If you need to respond to a text or answer a call, wait until you’re inside a store or your your job or school. A theft is much less likely to happen inside a well-lit building surrounded by people/security/etc. I know this sounds absolutely crazy (don’t answer your phones when it rings?!) but there are very few times a text or a call can’t wait a few moments until you’re someplace safer to pull out your phone.

    2. On that note, when you’re not using your phone, hide it away. A pocket that zips, inside a backpack or purse, or even your waistband.

    3. Even earbuds are an advertisement that you’ve got a smartphone hidden away. Obviously there are times when it’s totally acceptable to wear your earbuds (running in broad daylight, riding the bus) but maybe you should turn the music down anyway if you’re walking alone at night.

    4. Always keep your phone on vibrate when you’re not at home or somewhere equally as safe. Vibrate means you and you alone will know your phone is ringing, and no one else really needs to know anyway. A loud ringer is just another alert to thieves that you’ve got a phone on you.

    5. Don’t fall for the bait – if someone asks you what time it is and you aren’t wearing a watch, tell them you don’t know. Use careful judgement if you’re going to pull out your cell phone when a stranger asks something like this, because they might be trying to distract you by pulling out your phone.

    If you want to know how secure your phone is, you can take this little quiz to get an idea of where you rate on the scale.

    I really haven’t signed on to write these posts to scare you, bum you out, or to push a product on you. I agreed to do it because I had no idea how real this threat is, and how easy it can be to protect yourself. Signing up with a program like Absolute LoJack can give you such a peace of mind, because even if your device IS stolen, they’ve got you covered. I didn’t even know services like this existed until I first started doing my research with Absolute LoJack Uncovered.

    This month you can sign up using the sweet discount they’re giving my readers of 30% off a 1- year Standard or Premium Subscription – Just enter UNCOVER30 at checkout. This offer will be valid through Aug 31st

    Disclosure: This product has been gifted to me, however all opinions expressed in my review are my own.

     

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  7. Device Theft Awareness Month!

    August 6, 2014 ♥ Posted in: Nerd Topics, News by Kristina Horner

    Hello, lovely blog readers!

    Now, I don’t want to bum you out, but I do want to talk a little bit more about device theft. It’s a crappy thing that happens to a lot of people, but I’m partnering once again with Absolute LoJack Uncovered to help educate others on how and why this happens. Over the next month, I hope to help you learn how to take some relatively simple steps in your own life both to A) minimize your chances of device theft and B) make your device easier to track down and protect your identity if it does happen to you. And hopefully not make you fall asleep in the mean time with my stats – because this stuff is super important!

    LogoGraphic

    This past year year, 3.1 million Americans were victims of smartphone theft. To put that in perspective for you, that’s just the number for smartphone theft. Not laptops, not tablets, not even regular phones. I don’t even want to know what that number would be if we took the rest of those devices into account (although let’s be honest, why would anyone steal a flip phone these days?)

    Jokes aside, this is a much more serious issue than you may even realize. Maybe you think your neighborhood is safe enough, so this wont happen to you. That your coworkers are all great people, so you don’t even have to worry. Maybe you just know you’re more careful than those other guys. Of course device theft wouldn’t happen to you.

    But it does.

    With the value of phones and laptops at an all-time high, they’re hot commodities for thieves; easy to turn a pretty penny. But often, it’s not just about the device itself. A cell phone is easy to replace – expensive, but easy. You buy a new one. Likely you already have your info backed up to the cloud, so within an hour, everything is back to normal. Except that your old device contains more than enough information to get you up to your eyeballs in identity theft before you can even blink an eye.

    About a year ago my wallet was stolen and I was totally devastated. The whole first night after I realized it was gone I didn’t sleep a wink, I was up all night worrying. My credit cards, my driver’s license – such powerful tools in the hands of a stranger made me sick with worry.

    When I think about how much more information I have stored on my laptop and phone, I literally feel paralyzed with fear. I think about my choice not to password lock my devices because “it takes too long”. I think about how many websites store my passwords and credit card info. I think about my email inbox, my YouTube channel, my Twitter account. All things someone would have access to if they got their hands on my phone.

    It’s just – it can’t happen. That could never happen to me, it’s too horrible.

    In a world where it’s becoming increasingly more likely that something like this could happen, a program like Absolute LoJack is so, so important. Not only does protecting my devices with their software give me peace of mind, they’re really great about taking a hands on approach to spreading awareness about how to protect yourself and to take precautions, something not nearly enough of us do.

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    So this month, I’ll be sharing behind-the-scenes info I’m learning from their Investigation and Recovery Team (which is made up of forensic experts and reformed tech thieves – pretty cool, right?) to give you a better idea of what the inner workings of device theft look like.

    I know it sounds dry, but I’m going to try to make it fun. And hopefully by the end of it, you’ll have learned something as well. Let’s not become statistics. Let’s keep our devices safe.

    Follow #AbsoluteUncovered all month for more tips and stories from other bloggers! And, as a special gift to you, Absolute LoJack has offered a 30% discount to my readers on a 1-year Absolute LoJack Standard or Premium subscription. Just enter the code UNCOVER30 a checkout and the code will be automatically applied to your purchase.

    Disclosure: My partnership with Absolute LoJack includes a complimentary subscription and other consideration. All opinions, as always, are my own. 

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  8. Exclusive Loot Crate Funko Pop!

    August 4, 2014 ♥ Posted in: Nerd Topics, News by Kristina Horner

    Hey blog readers! It’s been awhile since I’ve done a Loot Crate unboxing or even really talked about the company online, but they’ve had all sorts of exciting news lately so I think it’s time for a little blog feature.

    First of all, they announced last month that they’re now shipping to some countries in Europe! The new countries that can sign up include: Ireland, The Netherlands Sweden, Germany & Norway. This adds to the list that already includes Australia, the UK, Canada & the US! So if you’ve ignored any previous mentions of Loot Crate because you lived in one of the aforementioned countries – your day has come. 

    Second piece of big news is that there’s going to be another exciting exclusive in this upcoming month’s box… and it’s of the Funko POP! variety. That’s right – if you’re subscribed to Loot Crate, you will be receiving a Loot Crate only POP! figure that’ll likely become an instant collector’s item, since it wont be available in any stores. They did something similar in last month’s crate with a Rocket Raccoon comic and trust me; it’s already on Ebay.

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    I’m personally a huge fan of Funko POP! figurines and I can’t wait to find out what it is. The theme this month is “Heroes”, so I can only imagine it’s going to be something great.

    If you want to sign up for Loot Crate, you can use this link and then type in the code “ITALKTOSNAKES” to save $3! If you decide to join in the fun, let me know in the comments of this blog post!

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  9. Popsicle Etsy Roundup!

    July 22, 2014 ♥ Posted in: Fashion/Beauty, Favorites, Nerd Topics by Kristina Horner

    It’s the heart of summer right now, which means beach days, lazing around in the sun and my personal favorite… POPSICLES! I have always been a popsicle fiend, and recently went on a little Etsy adventure to find the cutest popsicle related things I could. I was amazed at how much there was! Clearly I am not alone in this love of frozen treats.

    Here’s a little compilation of some of my favorites, with links to the stores they came from down below:

    PopsicleRoundup
    1. EyelashJewelry // 2. FushichosGallery // 3. AlbrightIllustration
    4. pigletminiatures // 5. Ploosh // 6. LushTartApparelShop // 7. acookiejar 
    8. bearandrobotstudio // 9. HappyKawaiiSupplies

    What is your favorite summery dessert? Let me know in the comments!
    And check my previous Etsy Roundup on Sailor Moon here!

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  10. BookTubeAThon 2014!

    July 11, 2014 ♥ Posted in: Books, Nerd Topics, Writing, YouTube videos by Kristina Horner

    So… I may have done something crazy.

    What could you possibly done that’s so crazy, Kristina? you might ask.

    I may have committed to attempting the Book-Tube-A-Thon starting on Monday, July 14th. For those who don’t know what the Book-Tube-A-Thon is (like me, 3 days ago), all the information about it can be found here. It’s sort of like NaNoWriMo, but for reading. This is scary for a number of reasons, but mainly because I already know I can handle NaNoWriMo, even if I undergo small amounts of insanity in the process.

    But Book-Tube-A-Thon is terrifying. Book-Tube-A-Thon is the unknown. Book-Tube-A-Thon is gonna be GREAT.

    The thing is – writing 1,667 words a day, in a vacuum, is pretty easy. It’s really the challenge of doing it EVERY SINGLE DAY that starts to make you lose your mind. But reading SEVEN BOOKS in SEVEN DAYS? Coming from a slow reader, well, let’s just say it’s going to be a challenge.

    BUT I AM SO PUMPED.

    I’ll be announcing my full TBR list in the first video check-in on Monday (oh, did I not mention? On top of reading seven books in seven days, there are also daily videos. With challenges. Sure, no big deal, next week is going to be a piece of cake) so make sure you’re subscribed to my channel if you want to witness the madness first hand.

    I will end this blog post by revealing the first of my seven books, though:

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    The Selection by Kiera Cass! I’ve heard nothing but good things about this series, even if most of the people reading it were slightly ashamed by how much they liked it. Not gonna lie, I can be a total sucker for those kinds of books.

    You’re probably wondering, after all this, why I am doing this. If it’s so scary, why do it? Well, I have a few answers for you.

    1. “Because it’s scary” is one of my favorite reasons to do anything. It’s why this year will be Year 9 of NaNoWriMo, it’s why I have a YouTube channel at all, and it’s why cave hiking is one of my favorite new hobbies. Nothing helps you grow as a person quite like attempting something that terrifies you, and coming out the other side a victor. Or, alternately, failing miserably. Both are okay options! Both are good for you!
    2. I’m really pumped on books lately, and the BookTube community seems amazing and welcoming and fun. What better way to try to assimilate myself with them than to tag along on their craziest adventure? I hope they like me. Fingers crossed they like me.
    3. How ELSE am I gonna accomplish any of my reading goals this year when there are so many distractions everywhere? I love the idea of a militant reading challenge. I write the most during November and it really works for me. Why not try the same with reading?

    I likely wont be blogging much (if at all) during the Book-Tube-A-Thon, but who knows. It’s only a week though, so be sure to check back after for my thoughts on the whole experience. And if it sounds fun to you at all… feel free to join in the fun! I’ll be talking about it a lot on Twitter, especially since it’s just perfect for #JulyReading.

    See you on the other side! Two and a half more days before THE CRAZY BEGINS!!!

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