Say hello to Anna Lee Mueller - Glitzy Geek Girl and our Lady Geek of the Week. She’s a geek chic hair stylist living in the heart of Texas with her one-eared cat, Pixie, and running her own salon, Hair by Anna Lee. Find her on Twitter (@GlitzyGeekGirl), Pinterest, and YouTube. Oh, and don’t forget to follow her on Instagram, too.
Don’t have a Halloween costume yet? We especially love Mueller’s blog as we prep for All Hallows’ Eve. Get inspiration from her Black Widow costume tutorial, master her Wonder Woman-esque eyeshadow technique, or bump up your look with her Mermaid hair DIY. Have a little more time on your hands before your Halloween parties? Check out Mueller’s impressive tutorial on crafting Shrek’s warrior Fiona. Need to pull something together more quickly? Carry around Mueller’s Quibbler DIY and be ready to answer questions regarding Crumple-Horned Snorkacks and Nargles.
Just how did Mueller decide to launch her profession as a geeky hair stylist? What would she tell her “silly, awkward” 13-year-old self? What fictional boy (who lived) would she take out for a drink? Read on!
Q: How did you discover your passion as a geeky hairstylist?
A: When I was little I played with a LOT of Barbie’s and My Little Pony’s. But I would spend more time brushing or braiding their hair (or manes) than actually playing with them. My passion for hairstyling never went away even after I attended college. I enjoyed going to school and getting an education, but I still felt very connected to the beauty industry. After receiving my bachelor’s degree, I decided to go to cosmetology school! I can proudly say I have my own salon business, and one of the best ways I’ve been able to promote it is through my blog and attending comic conventions. I know that seems a little strange, but men and women of geek culture can hopefully feel comfortable coming to me for hair style advice. It’s so fun to be connected to both of those worlds. For too long stereotypes have limited who is considered “geeky” or who is “stylish.” I say you can be both! And you should be proud of it!
Q: When did you discover you were “geeky?”
A: It was probably when I was in high school that I realized I really LOVED playing RPGs. That’s also the time I began reading Harry Potter. I just felt more content staying at home being a geek than going out to socialize. That’s when I discovered it for myself. But now looking back I realize I have been geeky for much longer. When I was really little, before I was even able to play video games on my own, I would watch my older brother play for hours. So I always tell people I owe my geekiness to him. :)
Q: You can choose one superpower. What is it?
A: This is such a fun question! And I gave it a lot of thought because there are SO many superpowers I would love to have. So I decided I would like to be able to shape-shift into any animal whenever I’d like. I picked this because that gives you so many options. It lets you almost be invisible (because no one will know it’s you)… It lets you be able to fly (if you choose to be a bird) .. It can give you super speed (choose to be a cheetah) .. And it can give you super strength (become a grizzly bear) .. You can also sneak around easily (like a little mouse!) I think that would be SO MUCH FUN!!
Q: If you could take any fictional character out for a drink, whom would you choose and what would you drink?
A: Harry Potter. Hands down. We would have to drink Butterbeer, too. It would be incredible to talk to him and hear about all his amazing adventures first hand. To me nothing compares to the story that JK Rowling created. So if I could speak to the real Harry and listen to his emotional journey I would. I find his bravery so admirable, and I would love to tell him that.
Q: What would you tell your 13-year-old self?
A: I’m really not that much different now than when I was 13. I’m silly, awkward and still can’t talk to boys very well. I would like to tell myself that someday you are going to be very comfortable in your own skin. I think any teenager can admit they aren’t quite sure where they fit in. I didn’t try too hard to be popular, but I remember not being too confident in myself. Now, I am happy, relaxed and having so much fun enjoying life.
Emma Bauer is a Being Geek Chic Contributor. Clearly, she’s got great taste. She is a PR enthusiast, history scholar, tea drinker, fashion devotee, and of course, aspires to Be Geek Chic.
Follow her on Twitter: @emmalynnbauer
Confession: I really, really love to read young adult fiction. I was the kid who showed up at the library every week with a totebag full of books to return and filled it right back up. Traveling was tough for me, because of the number of books I insisted on packing in my suitcase (thank goodness for e-readers!). By the time I was 15 or so, I had read and reread about 90% of the material in the young adult section of my local library. Half-Price Books is actually one of my favorite places in the world.
The thing is, I never really grew out of that phase. I was 20 when the last Harry Potter novel came out. And I thought for a quick minute, I’d be done reading “kids” books. But from there, I plowed straight on through to the Twilight series (yes, admittedly), then Percy Jackson, The Kane Chronicles and Heroes of Olympus (big Rick Riordan fan), then Hunger Games, then Beautiful Creatures and now Divergent.
That feeling I felt as a kid, attending midnight book releases for Harry Potter at my local mall: the anxiety, the rush, the anticipation. Yeah, still feeling that ahead of the release of the next Heroes of Olympus book (Oct. 8) and the final installment of the Divergent trilogy (Oct. 22). I remember teetering on the edge about rushing out to buy the first Heroes of Olympus book after learning Riordan would write five, only one per year: Should I bother? I’ll be 27 or so when the series ends. Hell yes, I should bother. Now, my biggest dilemma is whether to pre-order a hard copy to ship on release date, or just download the Kindle version as soon as I wake up in the morning.
It helps that I’m a voracious re-reader of books I love and I can read pretty quickly. During finals in college, to retreat from the stress and soothe my brain, I would fall head first into the stack of my battered Harry Potter series and refuse to come up for air until I had plowed through them all.
Even now, on my subway commutes to work, while I’m surrounded by people in fancy suits flipping through the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post, I’m feverishly re-reading Divergent and Insurgent for the third or fourth time since I checked them out from the library.
And you know what? I. Don’t. Care.
And, I’m not alone: both Buzzfeed and The Atlantic have devoted more and more space to not only adults with an obsession over current YA, but also pages to nostalgia: reaffirming their love for Bridge to Terabithia and The Baby Sitters Club. Last summer’s release of Tiger Eyes, the first Judy Blume novel optioned for film, filled us all with the urge to go running back to our parents’ houses to dig out our old copies of her books (oh wait, or was that just me?).
But YA books are awesome for a lot of reasons, not just the nostalgia factor.
* Unless you’re loaded, buying books can get expensive. So chances are, you’re supporting your local library to help feed your addiction.
* YA fiction is a great escape for stressed out people. Added bonus: you can feel way better about being able to tell people you spent the weekend reading, vs having to admit you spent the entire weekend watching Say Yes to the Dress.
* You’d be surprised how many other adults love YA Fiction too. Upon moving to Washington last year, I was immediately invited to join a friend’s YA book club because she already knew of my obsession. Liz and I reconnected a couple years ago at the Hunger Games midnight show. People who love the same authors, ship the same character pairings, and have extensive knowledge of a fictional universe usually just “click.”
* Speaking of which: midnight showings and movie adaptations. Love ‘em or love to hate ‘em. Instead of feeling old about the fact my friend and I attended the Hunger Games midnight premiere in PJs, we instead felt awesome about the fact we were the only people in the theater not working on homework while waiting for the film. Midnight showings for popular YA series have a great energy and are usually very fun. And yes, movie adaptations have a spectrum: the Good (Harry Potter, Hunger Games), the Bad (Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters), and the Ones Where You Wonder If The Director Even Read The Books (Beautiful Creatures, Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief).
* And, beyond just being downright enjoyable, YA characters and plotlines have very real-life relevance for the 20-something or 30-something who refuses to let go:
On physical fitness: if Tris can survive Dauntless initiation, surely you can drag your butt to the gym today. Her pants wouldn’t fit over her newly developed leg muscles after 10 days; you can drop those spare 5 lbs this month.
On being dumped: Being a Bella is acceptable for about, a day or two. After that, buck up and take a page from Hermione’s book (ha, pun intended).
On friends: forging new friendships in your 20s is hard, so place value on the Grover Underwoods and Ron Weasleys on your life.
On office politics: let bullies who band together like Careers be their own downfall; use your brain to outwit the Foxfaces; find unexpected allies the Rues. There are no hard and fast rules, but cannibalism is frowned upon (… Oh wait)
On family strife: Dr Kane seemed pretty boring too, then he turned out to be an Egyptian magician. Who knows what you can learn about your parents’ hidden depths if you give them a chance?
On life in general: believe in the unbelievable: magic, wizardry, gods; fear the possibilities and consequences dystopian future.
So tell us, what YA series are you currently in love with?
Post by Emma Carew Grovum. She is a data journalist working at the Chronicle of Philanthropy in Washington, D.C. She previously worked as the Digital Editor for The Cooking Club of America and blogs at kitchendreamer.blogspot.com Emma loves Star Wars, pandas and all things Joss Whedon. Find her on twitter at @emmacarew.
Ok, so technically Harry Potter’s Birthday is tomorrow, July 31st, but we thought we’d post this early in case you want to celebrate his (and JK Rowling’s!) big day too.
Even though it’s been six years since the last Harry Potter novel was released, there are still plenty of geeks out there for whom July 31stwill always be a special day.
According to the Potter canon, Harry was just 1 year old in 1981 when his parents were killed, making this week his 33rd birthday.
Pumpkin pasties are mentioned multiple times throughout the Harry Potter series. They’re first introduced in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, when Harry first rides the Hogwarts Express to school.
The recipe for the pumpkin filling makes enough for about 16 pasties. You can either make a double pie crust or save half for another day.
Let’s Make Potter’s Partying Pumpkin Pasties
1) Make pie crust and set aside to chill for at least 30 minutes.
2) While the pie crust is chilling, mix together the flour, sugar, spices and oats.
3) Use your fingers to cut the butter into the mix, then stir in the pecans.
4) Stir the can of pumpkin into the crumble mixture until it’s completely combined.
5) Roll out the pie crust. If it’s exceptionally crumbly, cut the dough into eight similarly sized balls. If it’s holding up pretty well, roll it out and use a biscuit cutter to create 8-10 rounds.
6) Scoop about two tablespoons of the pumpkin filling into each pie crust.
7) Mix the beaten egg with a tablespoon of water or milk. Brush the edges of the pie dough with the egg wash.
8) Fold the dough over and crimp with a fork to seal.
9) Place the pasties on a baking sheet lined with parchment.
10) Brush the pasties with the egg wash and cut a thin slit across each pasty.
11) Sprinkle a little sugar over each pasty.
12) Bake for 30-35 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool completely before eating.
Recipe by Emma Carew Grovum. She is a data journalist working at the Chronicle of Philanthropy in Washington, D.C. She previously worked as the Digital Editor for The Cooking Club of America and blogs at kitchendreamer.blogspot.com Emma loves Star Wars, pandas and all things Joss Whedon. Find her on twitter at @emmacarew.
Editor’s Note: I first met Natalie face to face while working on Tidal Wave Girls; she’s the genius who talks about wanting to be a scientist when she grows up. But an important pre-text to her brilliance in the film is we had been sharing text messages about our reading habits for months beforehand. See, Natalie and I are both bookworms. So when I asked her what books she’d read over and over again - I knew you’d love her recommendations too. On top of all that: she’s still in Middle School.
It’s summer. It’s hot and humid. The walk to the library seems miles long. The bookstore is expensive, and all the unread books on your shelf don’t seem right for the moment. Yet you need something to read. Something familiar and comforting, but not predictable in its every plot twist and line of witty dialogue. Need help finding a book you’ve enjoyed once and could relish again? Here’s a list.
Okay, so I lied. This is not an individual book, but you wouldn’t get the full experience reading Chamber of Secrets and just stopping. J.K. Rowling meticulously planned out this series from the first book. Pretty much every weird, seemingly unimportant incident connects to something else. The first time I read the series, I understood the connections, but I was so involved in the plot that I didn’t take the time to really appreciate the little details that matter. The second (or third or fourth…) time you read the series, the details pop out, and you can enjoy the work that went into planning everything. Plus, the books add up to a great story. Every time I read them, I feel the same suspense when Snape is about to kill - well, I guess you have to read it again.
If you haven’t read this book yet, you should. And then make sure to read it again. Apart from being an incredibly disturbing story, this book is unique in that it uses its own made-up language. Nadsat is a slang language spoken by the book’s teens who rule the night with violence. There is no glossary given. Right away you are thrown into the world of “tolchocks,” “red krovvy,” and “creechs.” The first time I read the book, the first couple of chapters made hardly any sense, but when I finished, I could say that I had a decent grip on Nadsat. When you read the book the second time, the entire thing makes sense. You can take more time to enjoy the story instead of puzzling over what a “lomtick” is (that one took me a while). The second time you read A Clockwork Orange“Aristotle wishy washy works outing cyclamen get forficulate smartish” makes perfect sense! Actually, I still have no idea what that means, but you get my point.
This is one of the most fascinating and witty non-fiction books I’ve ever read. How can a book whose subheading is “The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers” not be interesting? This book follows the life (or afterlife) of the human body after death. Stiff is informative and entertaining. The reason to read this book a second time is that there’s an abundance of information and stories, and it needs to be read more than once to capture as much of Mary Roach’s writing as possible. Plus, it’s likely that you will forget a lot of the information, because there is so much of it. Each time you read Stiff, part of it will seem like new!
These are only a few ideas for books that never seem to get old no matter how many times you read them. All are great to read over and over again for different reasons. What do you think makes a book re-readable?
Post by Natalie El-Hai. Natalie enjoys science and all things theater. She spends her free time reading and snuggling with her cats. She will be a sophomore at Southwest High School this fall.
Editor’s Note: This is a RERUN from the Being Geek Chic archives. I’m taking a bit of a break this week, so please enjoy these classics from the BGC archives while I’m away.
I just finished watching the Special Features on the new Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part 2 BluRay and I’m now obsessed with an extra behind the scenes feature called, “The Women of Harry Potter.”
Here are some of the best quotes:
"What’s interesting about the wizarding world is when you take physical strength out of the equation a woman can fight just the same as a man can fight, a woman can do magic just as well as a man can do magic.” - Jo Rowling
On the incredible character, Molly Weasley: “It comes from her womb, that feeling of defense, defending her child, because she’s already lost one. So it’s the mother, the lion, the female lion defending her babies, so it’s unstoppable. … I doubt that would have taken place had it been a man writing it.” - Julie Walters
It’s been a long time since I picked up a controller or folded open the screen on one of my favorite handheld devices. It’s not that I don’t still love gaming. It’s just that I am not a time manufacturer, so I just don’t have enough of it to sit and master Uncharted or even putz around puzzling in the latest Professor Layton game. What I do have time for? The occasional mobile gaming blitz while waiting for the bus or my lunch date is perfectly doable though.
Enter my mobile device. My iPhone is thoroughly stocked. Here’s the 5 Games I just can’t quit:
When I was a wee child, my mom used to draw a series of dots in 4 rows by 4 rows and tell me to connect them to make things. This game reminds me of that long-gone childhood tradition, except you win points in an expertly designed and beautiful layout. It never really gets more complicated than connecting dots, but for those that like to master a task, this is THE game. The kid in the video above is hilarious and adorable, so I opted for his demo instead of the other boring ones out there.