6 Questions With Darling Army’s Cosplay Clothing Wiz

The Darling Tennant Suiting Cosplay Jumper Pinfore (left) and the Galaxy Police Box Cosplay Kimono Dress (right) are two of Darling Army’s top sellers. All photos courtesy of Darling Army/Amanda Marin.

A few weeks back, we featured “11 Awesomely Geeky Aprons” on GeekMom. People love aprons because they provide a nice excuse to squeeze a little cosplay in everyday—or at all, if you like to keep your cosplay behind closed doors.

However, as the owner of the online shop Darling Army, cosplay artist Amanda Marin makes designs that you’d be proud to wear almost anywhere. Heck, I’d wear this Pokeball skirt or even this Baymax pinafore to the grocery store, if I could.

Amanda doesn’t just create aprons, but she also does dresses, skirts, bibs, tights, and more. She aims to add one new design to her site every week, but she’s also pretty open to suggestions. She just isn’t always open to new orders. In fact, she typically only takes on 20 projects at a time, which can take anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks to create. When she does take on new orders, she usually fills up within 4 to 5 minutes. (Mark your calendar; the next order window will be open on Sunday, September 13, 2015, at 7:00 a.m. PDT.)

Although she constantly has orders to fill, I got the chance to ask Amanda about her online shop, her inspirations, and some of her best-sellers.

GeekMom: Please describe your shop…

Amanda Marin: I focus on making cosplay alternatives for cute enthusiasts. In general, I take male characters or objects from shows and adapt their designs to be more flattering for a woman’s body. Instead of making full cosplay or dresses, I focus on adapting these designs into kimono dresses and pinafores which can easily be adjusted for multiple sizes and removed, which makes them ideal for long convention days. Have you ever tried to even take a simple eating break during a con in full cosplay? It’s a nightmare!

Photo: Amanda Marin.

GM: How long have you been doing this?

AM: I’ve been sewing my own cosplay for almost 15 years (since I was 12), but I’ve only been offering them to other people for the past four years. When I was working towards my teaching credential, I couldn’t hold a normal job because I was student teaching full-time during the day and going to classes at night. Since I didn’t have money for Christmas presents that year, I made my friends fandom pinafores with leftover fabric and they loved them! Eventually, I decided I’d have to start selling my designs online since it was my only job option. The rest is history!

GM: Would you say that most people order for cosplay or everyday wear? Or do you even know?

AM: It depends. Most people order the pinafores and kimono dresses for conventions and specific costume events. The skirts and capelets are more for everyday wear. My printed dresses and tights are new, but I think a lot of people are ordering those for everyday and casual convention days.

GM: Where do you get your ideas?

AM: From whatever I am playing, watching, or reading at the time. I have a sketch folder with over 400 designs that haven’t come to the store yet. Every time I join a new fandom or see a new character design, I usually add a couple sketches to that folder.

GM: What is your top seller?

AM: That’s actually pretty hard to say! For a while, my David Tennant Suiting Pinafores were on top, but the addition of kimono dresses has brought a whole new group to the store. For now, I’d say the Galaxy Tardis Kimono Dress has been the most popular design for the past two months. It changes based on the season. Convention season usually sees more anime and gaming-inspired designs, while Halloween leans towards Doctor Who.

GM: Is this your full-time job?

AM: Yes! So much for that teaching degree. I work 10 to 15 hours a day on orders, depending on the season. Halloween usually sees me working from morning ’til night.

For a peek at more of Amanda’s designs, check out the Darling Army website and the Darling Army Facebook page.

Knitted Captain America Costume Beats All The Rest

Image: David Alvarez Cosplay
Image: David Alvarez Cosplay.

I once attempted learning how to knit, but it did not go well. The yarn has long since been given away, but this makes me wish I’d kept at it awhile longer. It’s a full Captain America costume that has been knitted from top to bottom.

She’s knitted the boots, belt, gloves, and even a bag that doubles as a shield. Although a shield is Cap’s primary weapon, cosplayer Fangirl Physics also comes armed with two matching blue knitting needles. This is just amazing!

Image: Corpus Photography
Image: Corpus Photography.

If you’re thinking of attempting this cosplay on your own, then you’ll want to check out her making-of page, which has the details of how she made it all. There’s also a link to the pattern and she has been answering questions, too.

So, if I started trying to learn to knit again, then there may be a chance I could figure out how to do this in time for next winter. Or maybe I should just stick to buying premade costumes and leave the knitting to the pros.

(via Fashionably Geek)

GeekMom Fashion Inspiration: Abigail Mills

GeekMom Fashion Inspiration © Sophie Brown
GeekMom Fashion Inspiration © Sophie Brown

Lieutenant Abigail Mills from Fox Network’s Sleepy Hollow is one of the toughest cops on television; and her wardrobe reflects that. Abbie’s clothing is all about practicality and comfort, after all, you can’t go chasing down demons, witches, and monsters in stiletto heels and party dresses. Her simple style makes her easy to emulate and it’s a look that can be adapted to suit anyone.

Abigail Mills © Sophie Brown via Polyvore
Abigail Mills © Sophie Brown via Polyvore

Neutrals: Abbie sticks almost exclusively to neutral shades in her clothing which serves to compliment both her stunning skin tone and hair color. Neutrals are great because they can be worn by everyone and are nearly always flattering (there’s a reason why every woman owns a basic black dress). Stick with greys, blacks, browns, and perhaps a touch of navy blue and you’re halfway to achieving Abbie’s look.

V-Necks: Another staple of Abbie’s wardrobe is the v-neck t-shirt. Wear one with a plain vest top in a contrasting shade underneath for instant layers. This technique is also great for adding some extra warmth to your outfit without adding bulk if you’re in a cold climate.

Boots: I love Abbie’s choice of footwear. How many female law enforcement agents do you see on TV wearing ludicrously impractical heels (I’m looking at you Kate Beckett). Not so Abbie; she sticks with comfy, practical short boots that are just as great for running away from demons as they are for kicking some serious butt.

Promo Shot  of Abbie with Ichabod on Sleepy Hollow © Fox (Fair Use)
Promo Shot of Abbie with Ichabod on Sleepy Hollow © Fox (Fair Use)

Skinny Jeans: Nothing goes with boots quite like a good pair of skinny jeans. Try to find the time to shop around for your jeans (yeah I know, I hate clothes shopping too) but the range of cuts and styles that make it so damn annoying also increases the likelihood that at least some will look amazing on you. BuzzFeed recently ran a feature where one of its female contributors tried on 10 different pairs of jeans that all claimed to be the same size. The variety of results she came up with was mind-boggling; just keep that in mind when one store claims you are two sizes larger than what you thought.

Jackets: Abbie has a number of different jackets but she always sticks to shorter lengths that end around her hips. Most of her jackets are leather, usually in either brown or tan, however she does have a few more distinctive ones including some designs with contrasting sleeves in a different color and/or fabric. A leather jacket in a style that suits you is one of my basic wardrobe essentials because they go with so much and work through much of the year.

Accessories and Make Up: Abbie usually keeps the accessories to a minimum–she’s all about practicality–but one item we have seen her don is her military style cap. It’s a less common style than the broadly similar baseball cap (more hipster-y beret) but once again it’s a practical choice. Abbie’s makeup is always very natural, almost to the point of barely being able to tell she’s wearing any. She uses a soft pink lipstick and natural or nude shades of eye-shadow to keep with the neutral look.

BONUS: Jenny Mills
Abbie’s sister Jenny wears many of the same fashions as her sister (neutral tones, skinny jeans and boots). However, there is one thing that makes her unique: her shoulders. Nearly all Jenny’s outfits draw attention to her shoulders in some way. Examples include sleeveless tshirts that cut off across the shoulder line and military style vest tops. Jenny also favours hoodies over her sister’s short jackets.

GeekMom Fashion Inspiration: Peggy Carter

GeekMom Fashion Inspiration  © Sophie Brown
GeekMom Fashion Inspiration © Sophie Brown

Agent Peggy Carter with her elegant 1940s chic and ball-busting attitude is the current darling of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Marvel fans and feminists alike applauding Agent Carter‘s daring take on what it meant to be a woman at the end of the Second World War. Peggy’s wardrobe has become something of a character in and of itself with an entire section of the show’s official website given over to analysis of her costumes (and those of other characters on the show—especially Dottie and Angie) and discussions with costume designer Giovanna “Gigi” Ottobre-Melton. It only seems fair then that we should kick off our new GeekMom Fashion Inspiration feature with a look at how to recreate Peggy’s look for yourself.

Peggy Carter © Sophie Brown via Polyvore
Peggy Carter © Sophie Brown via Polyvore

Tailored: While most of us wouldn’t be able to afford to have our clothes personally tailored, well cut clothing is essential in emulating Peggy Carter’s style. Although not always formal, her clothes are always neat with clean lines and little fuss. Forget frills and lace, her outfits are minimalistic yet very feminine, partly as a result of fabric rationing after the war. Watch out for wide collars and lapels—these are a trademark of Peggy’s style and often have contrasting angles and shapes.

Military: Peggy is a patriot—she was Captain America’s sweetheart after all—and that is reflected in her clothing. Look out for pieces with military style including Naval (she rocks a stunning navy blue dress with white stripes in episode two) and use tones of red, white, and blue. The symbolism can be subtle, such as the Eagle Wing pin brooch above which resembles Air Force wings, but remember that wearing actual medals is a big no-no unless you earned them yourself.

Stripes: Possibly for another patriotic nod, Peggy is often seen wearing stripes, sometimes more subtly than others. Her suits often have a subtle pin stripe to them and we’ve seen bolder stripes on her hats and dresses too. Try to avoid wearing them alongside a starry item unless you want to emulate Uncle Sam instead.

Agent Carter Promo Poster © ABC
Agent Carter Promo Poster © ABC

Skirts: Agent Carter is set in the 1940s when most women wore skirts or dresses every day. In order to reflect Peggy’s style, keep skirts a modest knee-length and cleanly cut; pencils and A-lines work best. Anything too long will get tangled around your legs if you have to take down some Hydra agents on your way to the office.

Accessories: Peggy often wears low heels that aren’t too showy but maintain feminine details with thin straps. Her shoes always match the overall color of her outfit, unlike her purses which are frequently in a contrasting color as with her belts. Of course Peggy’s most iconic accessory is her red hat. In the 1940s hats were commonplace, whereas today you’ll probably attract some attention simply by wearing one. The fedora has garnered some bad press lately thanks to its association with GamerGate (even though it’s been frequently mixed up with the trilby) but hopefully the combined awesome of Peggy Carter and Indiana Jones can restore its once good name.

Hair and Make Up: Peggy’s hair is always flawless. Personally I am a strong advocate of the roll-out-of-bed-and-comb-my-fingers-through-it school of hair maintenance but that simply will not fly with a Peggy Carter outfit. Her hair is usually styled in soft wavy curls but is occasionally pinned up for more formal occasions. Peggy’s makeup is mostly subtle except for her lips which are always bright red. Actress Hayley Atwell has revealed on Twitter that the show uses Besame’s 1946 Red Velvet to get that glorious red shade. To cap off the look, use a bright red nail polish too.

Superhero Summer with SuperHeroStuff.com

Superhero family Summer! \ Images: SuperHeroStuff.com
Superhero family summer! Images: SuperHeroStuff.com.

Living in Florida, you can bet that my summer (and the rest of the year) involves hanging out by the pool or lounging on the beach. I’m never at a loss of what to wear while soaking up the rays, because SuperHeroStuff.com has me and my family covered (literally). This year, I decided to pair each member of my family up with a geeky swimsuit, as well as recommended reading material.

As the saying goes, ladies first. For the ladies, I picked out a Supergirl Wrap Halter Bikini ($43) that will make the boys go crazy. The only downside to this bikini (or upside for the guys) is the top alone ties in three different places and the bottom ties in two places. This is great for personalizing your coverage, but it can be a little difficult to do without a second set of hands (that’s where the guys come in handy). The Supergirl Women’s Costume Tank Dress ($27) goes great with this bikini and doubles as a cover-up when you want to walk the shops. For those who like to have a little music at the beach, check out the Superman symbol speaker wallet ($29). My reading material of choice for this outfit includes Superman/Batman Vol. 2: Supergirl, Supergirl Vol. 1: Power, and Supergirl Vol. 2: Candor. You can store it all in a matching Superman backpack ($55) and Supergirl Makeup Bag ($13). Supergirl Summer Fun

Next, we have a few things for the guys. In my “It’s a bird. It’s a plane. No, it’s…” collection, Superman shines with a comfy pair of board shorts ($32), the Superman Front & Back Image T-Shirt ($22), an embroidered hat ($20), a towel ($15), a rubber bracelet ($6), and a sweet collection of Superman titles including: Infinite Crisis, Superman: Birthright, and Superman/Batman Vol.3 : Absolute Power. Everything can be thrown into a matching Superman backpack ($59).

Superman Summer Fun

For the younger variety, I have designed two outfits—one for the girls and one for the boys.

The girls’ outfit was inspired by Wonder Woman! It includes a modest two-piece bathing suit ($25), an action-packed shirt to cover up between swims ($15), a Wonder Woman action figure ($19) to battle with the boys, and a journal ($15) to write down all their superhero thoughts. The reading selection includes age-appropriate Wonder Woman titles including Wonder Woman: Trial of the Amazons, Wonder Woman vs. Circe, and Wonder Woman: Creature of Chaos. Then, you can pack it all up in a Wonder Woman Backpack ($49).

Wonder Woman Summer

While the girls are pretending to be Amazons, the boys can have fun climbing the walls with a Spider-Man-inspired collection.

The boys collection includes ultimate Spider-Man board shorts ($17), the Spidey mask t-shirt ($16), the Spider-Man Symbol 39Thirty baseball hat ($22), a Spider-Man plushy ($14), a lunchbox ($16), and the kid-friendly Marvel Universe Ultimate Spider-Man ($9) series. Pack it all up in a webcrawler-approved backpack ($23). Make sure you remember to throw some sunscreen in both of the kids’ bags before you hit the water.

SpiderMan Summer

When it comes to quality, it’s hard to beat SuperHeroStuff.com. I’ve had some of my shirts for five years, all without any issues when washing them. I recommend you get any items that are 100-percent cotton a size up, just in case they shrink the first time you wash them. And ladies, if you like the bathing suits and are well endowed like me, you will want to look over the bathing suit sizing very carefully. Bathing suits are not returnable, so if you mess up your size, you are out of luck.

GeekMom received these items for review purposes.

DIY: Monster Style Pants Repair

Huge, pants-wrecking rip. (image L. Weldon)
Huge, pants-wrecking rip. (image L. Weldon)

Although my son wears heavyweight and durable pants, he still manages to stain, rip, and fray them to shreds. I used to amuse myself by cutting patches from old jeans in the shape of dinosaurs to sew over ripped knees, but he’s way too old for that. He still destroys pants and I still like to amuse myself with stitchery. So this time, rather than sew on a plain square patch or cut the pants into shorts, I made a quick repair—monster style.

I got the idea from Samantha at By Meikk (you’ll have to hit the “translate” button to read her blog, which appears to be written in Dutch). She uses fleece and felt backed with fusible webbing to cleverly patch a hole with a monster face.

Monster Knee repair (www.bymiekk.nl)
Monster Knee repair (www.bymiekk.nl)

I took a quicker route.

I positioned a contrasting color iron-on patch over the hole from the inside, making sure that the shiny fusible coating faced the outside of the pants. Before ironing in place, I cut jagged teeth from a white iron-on patch and positioned the fusible side in toward the other patch. I covered it all with a piece of parchment paper to keep it from sticking to the iron. Then I held the iron, turned up to the hottest setting, on the patch area and fused it for about 45 seconds.

Next I cut eyes from a left-over piece of contrast color iron-on patch and ironed them shiny side down on the outside of the fabric.

monster patch repair,
Monster patch repair in progress. (image: L. Weldon)

I know these patches tend to loosen after a few go-rounds in the washing machine, so I sewed around the edges with primitive Frankenstein-like stitches.

Hand sewing to ensure patches stay in place. (image: L. Weldon)
Hand sewing to ensure patches stay in place. (image: L. Weldon)

Then I colored a pupil in each eye with a fabric marker.

make a monster jeans patch,
Adding some monster personality. (image: L. Weldon)

The whole process took less than ten minutes. I folded the pants along with my son’s other clean laundry, anticipating that he’d be surprised when he put them on. That didn’t happen. His siblings found my repair job so silly that they informed him he now owned monstrous pants. I wasn’t sure he’d approve but he looked, laughed, and came over to hug me. Apparently our kids can outgrow all sorts of things but retain a lingering affection for whimsical mothers.

Contest: What’s in Your Scottevest?


I’ve reviewed several products from Scottevest, including their Travel Vest for Women, their Ultimate Microfleece Hoodie, and their Blackout Pockets. Most recently, I’ve been able to put their Q.U.E.S.T. Vest for Women through its paces. As part of the company’s new campaign, “What’s in your Scottevest?”, they asked me to make a video of what is in my Scottevest. After much personal freak-out time, I went ahead and made a video. It is tucked away with other blog-type folks on the YouTube channel that Scottevest put together for this campaign, so you can see me talk about what’s in my Scottevest pockets along side such people as Chris Pirillo, Johnny Jet, and even my dear Rory, who made a video in the name of GeekDad.

The QUEST Vest for Women. There's also a decent hood tucked away in back. Image: Scottevest
The QUEST Vest for Women. There’s also a decent hood tucked away in back. Image: Scottevest

What’s the purpose of this campaign, you ask? Is it merely for famous (and not so famous) sorts to show off their clothing? Nope. It is to set an example for the rest of you to submit your own video, showing off what you keep in your Scottevest. Submit a video to the Scottevest website and you can win a $1,111 Scottevest shopping spree. You will have no problem spending all of that money on their site, believe me. They have so many great clothing options, including accessories and underthings. There will also be second and third place winners, along with some runner-ups.

Since I can’t win, however, I want one (or more) of our readers to win. So if you love your Scottevest clothes, or were thinking about ordering some, make a video and show off your carrying capacity! The What’s In Your Scottevest contest ends July 3, 2014, so get filming!

Check out the Scottevest website for full contest rules and to see what products they currently offer. Every product of theirs that I’ve gotten my hands on I have adored. I am sure you will feel the same.

Note: I have received products for the purposes of reviews.

Mother’s Day Gift Guide 2014!

Me and my little geek \ Images: Dakster Sullivan
Me and my little geek \ Images: Dakster Sullivan

Mother’s Day is May 11th and to help you get some of your shopping done, we’ve come up with our top picks of items we think your mom will love. From the book worm to the technology lover, we have something for every mom on this list.

Clothing and Accessories

Ogio Hampton’s Laptop Bag ($70)
Next to Oakley, Ogio makes some of my favorite bags. The Hampton’s Tote is big enough for a laptop and mom’s other every day needs and comes in eight different colors.

We Love Fine Princess Luna shoulder bag and matching dress \ Images: We Love Fine
We Love Fine Princess Luna shoulder bag and matching dress \ Images: We Love Fine

We Love Fine Luna bag ($39) and matching Fit and Flare dress ($34)
This year at MegaCon, I discovered the We Love Fine My Little Pony Princess Luna purse (say that six times fast). While on their website looking for the perfect ensemble to go with my new shoulder bag, I found the Fit and Flare dress! Talk about a match made in MLP heaven.

STEM Girl Swag tank ($28.99)
Just a fun, simple tank for the science nerd in all of us. Great for summer.

Frehiwot scarf ($36.00)
Handmade with soft 100% cotton. Each scarf offered by LiveFashionable.com helps to create sustainable women-run businesses in Ethiopia.

PlanetBox \ Image: Amazon
PlanetBox \ Image: Amazon

PlanetBox Stainless Steel Lunchboxes ($39.95-$79.95)
In the past year I have thrown myself into a mid-life romance with home-made lunches. Suddenly, I’m carving out portions of my evenings in order to make tuna-olive tapenade, provencal potato salad with green beans and hard-boiled eggs, and barley salads with chickpeas, mint, and feta. My first question (“where is this coming from???“) has quickly been supplanted by a second, more immediate question: how am I going to get this to work?

Enter: PlanetBox’s stainless-steel, bent0-style, machine-washable lunch systems. The hasped boxes come with covered “dippers” or containers to hold a salad, dressing, or dip, and can be slipped into colorful, coordinating carry bags. The thing that delights me most? This is ridiculous, but I adore the  fairy magnets that I bought separately to fit into the lunchbox top. Sometimes it’s the little things…


ADAPT \ Image: Amazon
ADAPT \ Image: Amazon

Adapt Bluetooth adapter ($39.95)
I’m a headphone junkie, but one thing I’m not a fan of is the wires. By plugging your wired headphones into the adapter and turning bluetooth on your device, Adapt makes your wired headphones, wireless. I love using this with my earHeropro headphones while at work to ease anxiety and be discrete about having headphones in my ears!

HP Envy Touchsmart M6 Laptop ($620)
The HP Envy Touchsmart M6 laptop is great for moms who have a lot on their plate and want a laptop that can handle it all. With 6GB of memory, 750 GB hard drive, Beats audio system, and a dedicated graphics card, this laptop is great for moms who like to surf the internet, listen to music, do a little photoshopping, play graphic-intense games, or anything else they desire. I’ve had mine for a month and there isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not happy with it.

Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4-Inch Tablet (Black) ($369.99)
Now we’re talking. High-res 8.4 inch display to watch movies, play games, edit documents, take pictures, read, video chat, and more. View and use two apps at once with multi-window feature. Uncomplicated with multi-user mode, letting family members logs in separately to view their own apps, background, and email. Use it as a universal remote control. This one does it all.

iBN26 NFC Bluetooth Stereo System with Speaker Phone ($70)
As a mom, I have my hands full enough without a bunch of wires keeping me down. That’s why I like this stereo system with a built-in speaker phone. It’s small enough that I can move it to my work area and stream my music while I work in my office or the living room. My favorite feature of this unit is the lacking of fancy lights on it, so I can put it beside my bed and not worry about it keeping me up at night. Compatible with Apple and Android devices.

Clarus Premium Dual Driver Earbuds with Mic ($199)
The Clarus Premium Dual Driver Earbuds by Moshi are by far the most comfortable over-the-ear headphones I’ve ever worn. From the moment I opened up the box, I knew I was going to be treating my ears to luxury with the padded case and attractive clear stand. Included in the box is a set of three ear pieces to ensure the perfect fit and a splitter in case mom wants to share her beats with you.

PowerShellController \ Image courtesy of Logitech and used with permission
PowerShellController \ Image courtesy of Logitech and used with permission

Logitech PowerShell Controller + Battery ($99)
For gaming moms on the go, this will charge your iPhone while you use the satisfying controller to play. There’s an extensive list of compatible games, offering something for whatever strikes your fancy. The combo is kind of a lifesaver on flights, in doctor’s offices, and even when commuting on public transportation. If you’re all thumbs when it comes to gaming on your iPhone, this is a great alternative.

Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad mini ($79.99)
The iPad mini is such a feel-good size for a tablet, but sometimes a keyboard would be amazing. Logitech is now offering their Ultrathin Keyboard for the mini, and it is just great. A powerful magnet turns the keyboard into a sturdy cover, and it transforms the very portable tablet into a great little laptop alternative.

UnuAeroCase \ Image Courtesy of Unu
UnuAeroCase \ Image Courtesy of Unu

uNu Aero iPhone 5S Battery Case and Charging Pad ($99.95)
If you’re looking for a way to charge your phone on the go, this is a great option from uNu. Put your phone in the hard case, place the case on the Charging Pad, and you don’t have to fiddle with docks and wires ever again. Plus, when charged the case itself provides an extra six hours of battery life for your phone just by pressing the button on the back. A clever, easy system to ensure your phone never dies on you again.

Cricut Explore ($299.99)
The new Cricut Explore is an impressive piece of machinery. The die cut system is the latest evolution of the Cricut line of products, and it is fully digitized. No more cartridges necessary, and the software is a true design space where you can create your own images and even upload images to be cut out. A luxurious item for any craft room.


The Drunken Botanist: The Plants That Create the World’s Great Drinks by Amy Stewart($15.26)
Find horticulture in every sip of alcohol in this fascinating guide to your favorite drink’s biology, chemistry, and history. Fifty drink recipes and gardening tips included.

Tequila Mocking Bird \ Image: Amazon
Tequila Mocking Bird \ Image: Amazon

The Beauty of Different by Karen Walrond ($19.13)
This gorgeous book explores beauty in fresh ways, helping readers see their own beauty in differences that are not shortcomings but distinctions, maybe even superpowers. The author’s work can also be seen on the photoblog Chookooloonks.

Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist by Tim Federle ($11.40)
This is the ultimate gift for the book-obsessed. It features 65 delicious drink recipes, each with a literary twist, such as The Last of the Mojitos, Love in the Time of Kahlúa, A Rum of One’s Own, and Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margarita. Each drink is paired with wry commentary on history’s beloved novels. Oh but there’s more, like drinking games, appetizer recipes, and delightfully witty illustrations.

BookBook covers by Twelve South by Twelve South ($34.99 to $69.99)
These covers look like vintage books, but are actually cases for your phone or tablets. The hardback cover and rigid frame protect your device while also disguising it from theft. There are no corner straps or elastic bands, this case has a secure hold on your electronics. It has two zippers, making it easy to unzip just enough to connect to headphone cable or charging cord. It features an a variable-angle display stand and a built-in typing stand. It looks and feels like you’re holding a book, which you are.

Motherless Daughters by Hope Edelman ($13)
Sure, if you have kids, Mother’s Day is all about you. But if you happen to be mother who has already lost her own mother, this day can bring up some sad emotions too. Having been a “motherless daughter” myself since my early 20s, I highly recommend the book Motherless Daughters, by Hope Edelman. I’ve re-read it many times, and each time I do it touches me in a new way.

I’ve also thoroughly enjoyed her follow up book called Letters From Motherless Daughters ($12), that is broken up into chapters according to how long ago you lost your mom. Either one would be a touching gift for someone on your list who might be having trouble celebrating the fact that she is the mother, when she’s missing her own so deeply.

Renewed \ Image: Amazon
Renewed \ Image: Amazon

Renewed by Lucille Zimmerman ($11)
Starting to feel like you’re living your life for everyone except yourself? Need to be reminded why it’s important to listen to your own needs, even when there are little people in the house? The book Renewed by Lucille Zimmerman might be exactly what you need. It’s quick to read and you just might find yourself bookmarking several sections that speak to you the most. Buy one for yourself, and for any other mama in your life who might need a bit of renewal.

Game of Thrones: A Pop-Up Guide to Westerosillustrated by Michael Komarck and designed by prolific pop-up designer Matthew Christian Reinhart.($40)
This item combines so many things I love: maps, books (including interactive books), that steampunk-meets-fantasy intro to HBO’s Game of Thrones, and, of course, the dangerous and wonderful world of Westeros. In addition to the individual pop-up elements, the larger pop-ups combine to form a map of Westeros, complete with Winterfell, King’s Landing, and the ominous Wall. I challenge anyone to look through this without chanting the theme song, as well as any Games of Thrones fan to not want this in their collection.

For the Home

UniFlame WAD820SP 34-Inch Slate & Marble Firepit with Copper Accents ($129.00)
Stylish outdoor firepit made from slate and marble with wrought iron stand. This includes a heavy steel grate, with a 22″ round firebowl that’s easily loaded with wood. Game nights on the patio!

ProjectLife: Clementine design \ Image: ProjectLife
ProjectLife: Clementine design \ Image: ProjectLife

Project Life Memory-Keeping System ($19.99 and up)
Not everyone is a born scrapbooker, and the aisles of stamps, stickers, and decorative papers in craft stores can make some people itch. This was the case for GeekMom Jackie, who began using Becky Higgins’ Project Life when her daughter was born. The entire system consists of gorgeously designed journaling cards and endlessly customizable plastic sheets to hold photos and cards. You can even fit Instagram photos in special sleeves. The system is fool-proof and addictive, offering both print supplies for memory binders or a digital option to make your scrapbooks online. $29.99 for core kits (cards only), $19.99 and up for binders, and $29.99 for big packs of page protectors (all sold separately).

Hängen Wall Planter ($58.00)
Opus Garten offers unique, durable, and sustainable options for anyone who likes growing things, without any fuss. Their products contain no PVC, BPA, phthalates, or paint. GeekMom readers, use the coupon code “wiredmom” until Mother’s Day for a 20% discount on any Opus Garten products including Hängen Wall Planter and Airplant Nests.

Hänge Wall Planter is an elegant planter with sub-irrigation that hangs easy as a picture using a quick-release ball and cord system. Perfect for growing herbs or ornamentals, indoors or out

Airplant Nests  ($16.00)
Airplane Nests are wall-mounted flexible fingers especially designed to hold Tillandsia (air plants). Each pack contains four Airplane Nests for creative wall arrangements.

LED Color Changing Showerhead ($39.95)
Turn regular showers into something far more colorful. The lights are water-powered, infusing the (flow restricted) stream with ever-changing hues.

Disclaimer: Some GeekMoms may have received review samples. 

The Fall of the Christmas Sweater

Is it time to pack away the Christmas sweater? © Sophie Brown
Is it time to pack away the Christmas sweater? © Sophie Brown

The ugly Christmas sweater. A few years ago you couldn’t have paid most of us to wear one and yet during the 2013 holiday season you couldn’t take a step without seeing one. Traditional ones, rude ones you couldn’t possibly wear in front of your Great Aunt Mildred, even ones that light up or play animations—2013 was clearly the year of the ugly sweater.

But now Christmas is over and we’re slowly getting back into our routines, so what do we do with our often rather costly, sweaters? When exactly should you stop wearing them? Well it seems there are several schools of thought on the subject:

A: December 26th

Christmas is over, the stores are open again and we’re all just tidying away the aftermath. Time to pack the sweater away ‘til next year.

B: New Year’s Day

The celebrations often continue on until New Year’s Eve with extended visits to or from family and friends. Keep the sweater love going throughout the celebrations with one last hurrah on New Year’s Eve before putting it away for good.

C: Twelfth Night

Tradition states that Christmas decorations should be taken down by the end of Twelfth Night or bad luck will fall upon the household. Surely Christmas sweaters fall into this category (after all they decorate our bodies to an extent) so they should stay out until the tree and other decs are packed up too?

D: You Shouldn’t

You paid good money for that sweater and it’s a perfectly practical and serviceable item of clothing, especially given the current weather situation. Why would you pack away something of use simply because of how it looks? Keep wearing it until the climate means you no longer need to.

Which category do you fall into? Did you pack the sweater away with the turkey leftovers or are you still using it as an extra layer against the “Polar Vortex”?

ThinkGeek’s Soft Kitty Hoodie Is Perfect For You And Your Kids

ThinkGeek Soft Kitty Hoodie, Image: ThinkGeek

Who would have thought that the ThinkGeek Soft Kitty Hoodie would be the absolute most loved thing my daughter found under the Christmas tree this year?

We occasionally watch The Big Bang Theory with the kids and when my youngest first became aware of Soft Kitty she fell in love. I’d hear her humming it from time to time, sometimes singing the words, and I have even sung it to her to cheer her up. It works every time.

When I saw the Soft Kitty hoodie on ThinkGeek, my first thought was that I wanted it for myself because it’s so darn cute. It’s actually a costume hoodie that turns you into Soft Kitty with a little tail, paw covers for you hands, and a hood with ears. It’s adorable.

It was about this time that the Mom part of my brain kicked in and I knew it would be the perfect thing for my daughter. In fact, there was no way that I alone could have one because it would make her cry. And then I would end up giving it to her anyway, so, losing scenario.

ThinkGeek Soft Kitty Hoodie, Image: ThinkGeek

It runs in adult sizes, but she’s ten so a ladies small fit her with some room to grow. There is a unisex version too that’s cut a little wider and has a grey-lined hood instead of pink. If you’re looking for a looser fit, go with the unisex. Either way, it does run a little on the small side so I’d go up a size if you’re in doubt.

The hoodie is just as cute as it looked online and was of a better quality than expected. It’s a 60/40 polyester/cotton blend which can sometimes feel a little cheesy but not this time. It’s very soft and I’d swear that it’s got more cotton than anything. Soft hoodie, warm hoodie, indeed.

The little paws button back so you can warm your cold fingers and then fold them back out of the way when you need to send your next text message. The tail doesn’t come off, so you’ll have that all of the time, although it’s short enough that it doesn’t really get in the way. Yes, I did test this before I gave it to my daughter because it was too cute to not try on when it arrived.

The Soft Kitty Hoodie ($49.99) is now available at ThinkGeek.

GeekMom received this product for review purposes.

Dress Your Little Ones In Geeky Style From We Love Fine

Image: We Love Fine
Image: We Love Fine

We Love Fine has long had a fantastic product line of geeky clothes and accessories for adults and now they’ve got a kids’ shop, just in time for the holidays!

They’ve been introducing kids’ items into their line a little bit at a time, but now they’ve got a dedicated kids’ shop that features all the delightfully geeky kids’ apparel that you, and your kids, are going to love. The sizes range from infant onesies all the way up to youth sizes and feature many of their most popular adult styles so there’s something for every child.

Image: We Love Fine
Image: We Love Fine

The onesies are 100% cotton with snap closures and they are adorable. They gave me a few to check out when I was at New York Comic Con, and I’ve washed them dozens of times and they still look good as new. They’re even a little softer than when they were right out of the package.

Styles range from the classic red, blue, and gold uniforms of Star Trek to My Little Pony, Doctor Who, and Star Wars. Yes, you can turn your child into R2-D2 or even the TARDIS.

Bigger kids have a range of girl and boy toddler’s shirts with all the characters they love. There are costume-style shirts that can turn them into one of the Power Rangers or Chewbacca and even a few with capes to make them feel like superheroes.

Image: We Love Fine
Image: We Love Fine

Your tween can get in on the fun, too. There are plenty of choices for fans of The Avengers along with Hello Kitty and Adventure Time. You’re not limited to t-shirts for older kids either since they’ve even added a few hoodies to the mix.

I spoke with the folks at We Love Fine and they’re really looking forward to giving geek kids, and geek parents, quality shirts with the characters they adore. To that end, they want to hear from you about what kinds of shirts you and your kids want to see.

Image: We Love Fine
Image: We Love Fine

It doesn’t matter if it’s a character, a style, or an age group, tell them! Send their customer service department an email at wlfcs@mightyfineinc.com and you just may see the design you’re looking for show up in the We Love Fine kids shop.

GeekMom received some of these products for review purposes.

Back to School with SuperHeroStuff.com

Dakster's Favorite SuperHeroStuff.com \ Image: Dakster Sullivan
Dakster’s favorites from SuperHeroStuff.com.  Image: Dakster Sullivan

I’m a huge fan of SuperHeroStuff.com for a few reasons. First, economically they are a good fit for my wallet. Second, they have something for every member of my family. Last, but most importantly, I’ve never had any issues with the quality of the products or their longevity after washing, drying, and otherwise putting them through everyday life. It’s for those reasons I feel confident doing my son’s back to school shopping with them.

In honor of school starting ::and a thousand parents screamed in anticipation:: I’ve come up with a few outfit ideas to help you send your student back to school in superhero style. Since we are still on the heels of The Man of Steel release, I felt inspired to use the Man of Steel himself for some of the outfits I’ve chosen to share with you.

First up is Superman for Geek Chicks. The Man of Steel shirt ($24.99) is 100% cotton and I found it to be a little form-fitting. If you like your shirts to fit a little loose, I would suggest ordering one size up. The only thing in this outfit that you can’t purchase from SuperHeroStuff.com is the black fedora (aka Clark Kent-like hat). I found that on Amazon for a real steal. Complete the outfit with Superman earrings ($10.99), speaker wallet ($28.99), backpack, and seatbelt key chain ($14.99).

Superman for Chicks \ Images: SuperHeroStuff.com
Superman for chicks. Images: SuperHeroStuff.com

The guys have their own Superman variation to fit their style. My favorite part of this outfit is the underwear because of the cape on the back. It’s one of those “no one will ever know” details that is really neat. To achieve this look, you will need the Man of Steel Shirt  ($21.99) , Man of Steel hat  ($21.99), the awesome caped boxers ($17.99), and the Superman wallet ($17.99).

Superman for Guys \ Images: SuperHeroStuff.com
Superman for guys. Images: SuperHeroStuff.com

The big kids aren’t the only ones who get to go back to school in style. Pick up a few of these items for your younger fan to show off his or her Superman pride. In my opinion, girls could easily wear the boys’ shirts, but I understand that some girls have a fascination with pink. The shirts are 100% cotton and after washing my son’s shirt, I didn’t see that much of a difference in the way it fit him. The shirt sizes are pretty universal for kids, but to make sure they can grow into it a little, I’d get one size up. To achieve the look below, you will need the Superman T-shirt ($14.99), seatbelt belt ($14.99), Superman hat ($11.99), backpack ($47.99), and lunch box ($15.99).

Superherostuff Kids \ Images: Superherostuff.com
SuperHeroStuff Kids. Images: SuperHeroStuff.com

Of course, not everyone is a fan of Superman, so if your student is more Transformers than superheroes, check out the selection of Transformers apparel available. I created this outfit with the college student in mind, but of course, it can be for the non-student as well. Keep in mind the juniors shirts are a little form-fitting, so if you like it to fit a little loose, order one size up. The guys’ sizes, like the kids’ sizes, are pretty universal so you can feel confident in ordering them in your usual size. To achieve the look below you will need one of the Transformers shirts (shirts start as low as $19.99) and the pajama pants ($24.99), wrist bands ($7.99), wallet ($19.99), and backpack ($39.99 ).

Superherostuff: Transformers \ Images: SuperHeroStuff.com
Superherostuff: Transformers. Images: SuperHeroStuff.com

If school doesn’t start for a few more weeks in your area, how about a superhero family water day? Pick up a new swimsuit for everyone in the family and head to the water-park, beach, or your front lawn for some water fun.

Ladies, make sure you double-check your sizing before you order. Swimsuits are not returnable or refundable due to health precautions, so make sure you get your sizing right. If you have any questions, SuperHeroStuff representatives will be happy to help you make the right call.

Also, make sure you look at the care instructions. My husband accidentally washed my Wonder Woman bikini and then out of habit threw it in the dryer. The gold coloring on the suit started peeling off as soon as he took it out of the dryer. Air drying the suit will prevent that from happening. To outfit your family like the image below, you will need the Wonder Woman bikini ($35.99), Wonder Woman flip flops ($34.99), Batman board shorts ($28.99), Justice League retro action sandals ($16.99), girls’ tank splash binki set ($13.99), Batgirl sandals ($27.99) Batman red and black board shorts ($13.99), and JLA Heroes sandals ($17.99).

Superhero Beach Day \ Images: SuperHeroStuff.com
Superhero Beach Day. Images: SuperHeroStuff.com

SuperHeroStuff.com offers items for every member of the family in a wide range of geeky patterns. Make sure you check out their website for more options so that you can help your kids hit the books in high style this academic year!

GeekMom received some items for review purposes.

D23 Kids Cosplay: A Labor of Love

Of all the cons I’ve been to throughout the years, I have to say the cosplay at D23 is top notch! The level of fandom and complete devotion to detail is unparalleled. Rather than store-bought pieces, most Disney cosplay is a labor of love. From hours of hand-stitching to custom made jewelry, Disney fans go the extra mile to bring their favorite characters to life.

d23 cars and planes dress
D23 Cars and Planes dress. All images: Jenn F.

I rarely take pictures of kids at conventions, mostly because I don’t allow my own kids to be photographed, but some of these outfits were so amazing I couldn’t help but share. I asked the parents for permission, and all of them were happy to oblige, and proudly tell me how they’d made the costumes themselves.

This little girl’s dress stopped me in my tracks. It was a unique tribute to Disney’s transportation films, Cars and the newest release Planes! Her mom appliquéd the characters and made the jewelry from the necklace to the hair-bow, and she happily posed to show off every detail!

d23 anna frozen
D23 Anna from Frozen

This is how dedicated Disney fans are, they cosplay characters for movies that haven’t even been released! I saw this girl at the Frozen pavilion looking at the displays, making sure her cosplay was correctly detailed. Adorable! She was a perfect “Anna” from her hair to the fringe on her cape!

D23 Bert and Mary from Marry Poppins
D23 Bert and Mary from Mary Poppins

I had seen these two kids earlier in the day but didn’t want to bother them. When I saw them as the hall was closing, I couldn’t help but ask their mom about their costumes. The most elaborately costumed Bert and Mary under 4′ tall, the attention to detail is exquisite and all custom made by the kid’s grandmother.

d23 starspeeder
D23 StarSpeeder
d23 star tours stewardess
D23 Star Tours Stewardess

Okay, so she’s not a kid but she was cosplaying with her mother! These two were quite a crowd pleaser on the show floor. Many Disney fans dress as rides but the level of thought put into this costume was incredibly creative. From the mom as a StarSpeeder 3000 (a genius way to get the crowds to part in the aisles) to the Star Wars “flight attendant” costume. From her Millennium Falcon Pan Am badge to her Death Star stewardess bag, she had it all!

Big applause to all these parents and their cosplaying kids. Keep encouraging your kid’s fandom!

My Imaginary Well-Dressed Toddler Daughter


Screen grab of Pinterest page

You may have met Quinoa. She’s been spotted in London, Hollywood, Seattle, Chicago, and Miami. You may have even seen her in your home town.

Tiffany Beveridge—wife, mother, freelance writer, aspiring novelist, maker of incredible cookies, kitchen dancer, clothes horse, funny in person, funnier in print, middle child—has created a Pinterest board that excels at pure entertainment. “My Imaginary Well-Dressed Toddler Daughter” introduces us to the fictional Quinoa and her equally fictitious friends. Toddlers and tweens, boys and girls, all share in the chance to be dubbed Quinoa for 15 minutes of fame on Pinterest. Populated with images of sultry children in fashion garb, divas with glitter, and disinterested young hipsters, the board features Beveridge’s sarcastic wit shining through with each description.

Everything went fine at Quinoa’s playdate with Booker until she realized that when he said he loved vinyl, he meant jackets not vintage records.

Know what really gets Quinoa down in the dumps? Pleather.

When Quinoa wears her chevron maxi, she opens a portal in the trendy space/time continuum and can travel to any fashion trend in history.

The page is a most excellent diversion, though I have to point out that many of the pins go to uncredited images or bad links.

History Geek: 1930s Week

Image By Lilianna Maxwell
Image By Lilianna Maxwell

Swing dancing! The creation of Superman! Adagio for Strings! Radio Plays! Migrant Mother photojournalism! Heath bars! The Wizard of Oz! Monopoly!

The last few weeks I’ve been preparing for and directing a History Through the Creative Arts Camp about America during The Great Depression. Originally history was written down by conquerors who took political power. This legacy continues in history textbooks that think that war and politics are the most important parts of history to study. I disagree. I think history is the whole human experience during a time period. Of course, this makes it tough to design a children’s summer camp that only lasts five days. So I turn to passion.

Rebecca explaining something with lots of hand movements…. Image By Lilianna Maxwell
Tasting historic recipes each day. Image By Rebecca Angel

Passion makes for great teaching. I’m passionate about the creative arts, culture, and social justice. So that’s my focus on history. And when students learn why certain songs were written, when the photographs were taken, how the plays were created, they learn about the power struggles during that time and place. I run the week by having the campers sing, dance, write, eat, sew, and create their way through the time period.

A student talking about their own research. Image By Lilianna Maxwell

I also asked for help. During the week of camp there were other adults bringing their expertise (geeky excitement) to the campers. Plus, the kids themselves taught each other. My daughter ran the camp newspaper, “Typewriter Talk,” with the campers taking turns being reporters for the day. Another student of mine asked if I was covering Europe during the ’30s. I wasn’t getting into the details of the start of World War II with this camp. She asked if she could do a five minute presentation each day because she thought it was really important for everyone to know this stuff. Sure!

Campers taking their parents on a tour of camp. Image By Rebecca Angel

What I wasn’t covering in active learning, I put out on display. In the space I use for camp is a huge wall for push-pins. The other counselors and I fill this wall with all the things we found out, but couldn’t squeeze into the time allotted. Scientific achievements, slang terms, maps about the Dust Bowl (then and what’s happening now!), details on the stock market, the 1936 Olympics, weird advertisements, and lots more. My daughter created a display on photojournalism. My son did one on the Public Works of Art Project (PWAP—he pointed out it sounded like a sound effect). There were puzzles and written activities available during downtime where the answers could be found on The Wall. Whoever completed a sheet got a tiny harmonica (so they could sound like hobos around a campfire…) or candy created during the 1930s.

In the spirit of the '30s, I asked the kids to wear the same clothes everyday (washing was encouraged) and they worked on making outfits for Friday's party. Image By Lilianna Maxwell
Sewing clothes for Friday’s party. Image By Lilianna Maxwell

I’ve run many history camps over the years, but this was the toughest to research; so many aspects made me cry. A Secret Gift: How One Man’s Kindness—and a Trove of Letters—Revealed the Hidden History of the Great Depression is one example of trying to get to the heart of The Great Depression. I read some of it to the campers. I focused on the positive things of sharing and kindness, but the fact that people were so grateful for so little during this time—is enough to make the tears flow. (I kept myself in check during camp.)

Family history as decorations. Image By Rebecca Angel

I’ll write a few more posts about aspects of camp I think you might enjoy: games, comics, movies, and radio plays. If anything, I encourage everyone to do one of the projects during camp: Research your own family history. The campers presented how their families got through the hard times of the 1930s, and there were some great stories. My own grandfather was a newsboy in the lower East side of NYC.

I could write so much more because everything was so cool! I hope I inspire you to get geeked about history! Here’s a video of the swing dancing each day:

What the GeekMoms Want for Mother’s Day


Each year, as we contemplate gift guides for Mother’s Day, we think about what we want for Mother’s Day. Chances are good your GeekMom will like this stuff, too.

Photo: Penny Arcade
Photo: Penny Arcade

Penny Arcade Match T-Shirts and Onesies: Mom and her Player 2 can team up in these cute matching tees. There are a bunch of different combinations available, including shirts for older kids and for Dad.



Photo: Oliver Jeffers for Digby & Iona
Photo: Oliver Jeffers for Digby & Iona


Oliver Jeffers Jewelry: Children’s author/illustrator Oliver Jeffers has turned his delightful illustrations into equally delightful jewelry, like this Paper Airplane necklace from his book, The Great Paper Caper.

Continue reading What the GeekMoms Want for Mother’s Day

GeekMom T-shirts, Now Available at ThinkGeek!

me-GeekMom-shirt-475x509We here at GeekMom are proud and excited to announce that GeekMom T-shirts are now available for purchase at ThinkGeek! The shirts have our zippy space-age car logo, in slightly less varied colors (due to printing restrictions), and our URL on the back. The shirts come in black, cut for women but still generous in fit. (ThinkGeek notes on the website that the cut is the same as for their “Huge Tracts of Land” T-shirt, if that’s any indication.)

Demonstrate your geek pride and show your solidarity with other GeekMoms out there. Get your own GeekMom T-shirt! (And while you’re there, get the GeekDad in your life his own GeekDad T-shirt, which is currently on sale.)