20 things to do when you’re down in the dumps

1. Wash your hair, like they do at the salon.
Or go to a local salon and get your hair washed. I love it when someone else washes my hair! If you don’t want to go to the salon, wash your own hair. Really massage your scalp and hair folicles. Massage therapy, especially on our head, has a great affect on our mood. It gets the blood flowing to our head, relieves pain, and helps us feel relaxed. So treat your head to 15 minutes in the steam, and give it a good rub!

2. Go to your local library and find a book you read as a kid.
Maybe you’ll run into a little kid you can non-creepily recommend it too. If you don’t want to check it out, read it while you’re in the library. Kids books are pretty quick reads, after all. Notice little details about it you never noticed before. Try to remember the first time you read it. I would probably look for The Very Hungry Caterpillar or Where the Wild Things Are. And you can’t go wrong with Dr. Seuss.

3. Take a step to make a change.
Something specific bothering you? Take a step to change it, even if it’s just talking to a confidant about what you’re upset about. Taking steps to change something that’s upsetting us, no matter how small, can help us feel like we’ve accomplished something important, and helps us to relieve the stress of the problem.

goosebumps

4. Write a thoughtful letter to a famous person who changed your life.
I’ve been meaning to (I mean I totally did) write a letter to R.L. Stine to let him know how much the Goosebumps series shaped me as a kid. They were my favorite, and I knew being a spooky weirdo was okay if books like this existed! Pull out the pen and paper, and pick someone who created something meaningful to you, as a kid or an adult. Then let it all spill out onto the paper.

5. Get some vitamin D.
It’s time to go say hello to the sunshine! Get outside and lay in the sun, or go for a walk in the park. I think we can all relate to the winter-time blues, so if the sun is hiding away, you can fake it. Make your own beach getaway in your house! Turn up the heat and put on some summer clothes. It’s time for Jimmy Buffet and margaritas! (don’t forget some of those fancy tropical drink umbrellas!) Put on some beachy movies like 50 First Dates, Lilo and Stitch, Jaws, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, or Blue Hawaii, and watch them while laying on a towel.

6. Find a kindred spirit.
Think you’re down in the dumps? Chances are someone else is too. Use your sad radar and seek them out. Go out of your way to do something for them to pull them out of their slump. You’d be surprised what a random act of kindness can do for your mood!

7. Go fish.
Fishing for compliments isn’t something we should do all the time, but if we need a little pat on the back, it’s nice to get positive feedback from friends. Post something to social media and ask people what they think your best quality is. Hopefully your friends won’t troll you, but this plan may backfire. Who knows, maybe they’ll make you laugh!

cinamaroll
Image from hellokittyjunkie.com

8. Sign up for a pen pal.
Not only will you have a friend from another exciting land, but chances are, your hometown is going to be new and exciting to them too. Go buy some postcards of your local area to send to your pen friend. Maybe snag some of your favorite candy or coasters from your favorite restaurant. Check out my favorite website for finding a pen pal!

9. Sponsor a child.
Mark and I sponsor through Compassion International, but there are so many great charities out there that can help you find a child in need. Charity Navigator has ratings and helpful search filters to help you find your perfect organization. Leave a comment with some of your favorites!

10. Get back to nature.
Spend some time in the woods. Let all 5 of your senses loose in the forest. Nothing rights a downtrodden spirit better than reconnecting with God and the planet. Sit on a stump and meditate. Sniff some tree bark. Poke some plants. Be on the look out for faeries. Maybe don’t eat any mushrooms though…

11. Check out the Darwin awards.
…and be glad you aren’t any of those people.

12. Spring clean, even if it isn’t spring.
Clean out your closet and donate some clothes you don’t wear anymore. Imagine how happy (and stylish!) their new owner will be. Clean out a cabinet or cupboard you haven’t opened in a while. Rearrange your furniture to freshen up your house. Make sure to put on the Happy Working Song as you clean crud up in the kitchen!

carebears

13. Watch one of your favorite movies or cartoons from when you were a kid.
Bonus points if you do it with wine, because wine makes everything better. I love getting on YouTube and finding episodes of Rainbow Brite, the Care Bears, Gummi Bears, and David the Gnome when I’m feeling down.

14. Get lost in a good spiritual book.
Sometimes our soul needs some TLC too. I find My Utmost for His Highest an encouragement to me on the daily. Find a book that speaks to you and get reconnected to a higher power.

15. Ask for suggestions for laugh-out-loud comedies from your friends.
Post it on a social network. Watch whatever they choose. Then, pop some popcorn and live-post about the experience!

timon-dance

16. Move it, move it.
Exercise is proven to make us happier, so get off your butt and shake it! Go for a walk while playing Ingress. Take your dog to the dog park. Go geo-caching. Find a local pool and go for a dip. Hike somewhere new. Make a game out of a TV show, and every time you see a certain character, or they say a certain word, do a jumping jack or a squat. Put on a dance song and jump around. Jump up jump up and get down.

17. Call your mom or dad, or a relative you haven’t talked to in a long time.
Tell the person you call all the silly little things you’ve been doing on this list. Maybe they’ll have a suggestion. Don’t forget to tell them you love them!

18. Pull out some art supplies and make a self portrait.
Getting creative is a great way to get happy. Do a quick sketch, drawing, pastel, painting, or just take a selfie and get crazy with your filters. Submit your selfie on French Girls and someone else will turn you into art. Maybe get weird, and make art using shaving cream on a table surface, or face paints. You go, Picasso!

animal-kingdom-map
A map of Animal Kingdom in Walt Disney World!

19. Plan a pretend vacation.
Where have you always wanted to travel? Money is no object when you’re playing pretend! Scout out plane tickets, seek travel tips, and search for photos of your vacation location. Look up fun tourist attractions at your fake destination. Imagine what you’d pack if you left tomorrow. Think about what souvenirs you would want to bring home. I do this all the time with Disney World!

20. Write a blog post like this one.
Write down your own tips for things you can do the next time you’re down in the dumps, specific to your tastes. Include feel good movies and books you love, foods you enjoy, people who you would call to cheer you up, or songs you’d listen to. Then share your ideas with the world, and spread the happiness!

5 things I’ve learned from running a popular online community

You can never tell where a project will go when you first begin it. And when I co-founded the International Geek Girl Pen Pals Club in 2013 with my friend from the UK, Farquharson, I had no idea what uncharted waters I’d be traversing, and what new skill sets I’d be forced to develop as a result. The club is by far one of the best parts of my life now. I’ve learned so much from the staff, taking on challenging new projects, and tackling problems as a team. It’s been a real roller coaster, with ups and downs, and of course, crazy butt-clenching scream-your-head-off fun.

I can imagine how someone who is about to embark on a similar journey might be terrified, and I know I myself could have used a few pointers before running blindy, headfirst into this. Don’t get me wrong, the friendship adventures have been well worth it. But in case there is someone else who might need a few tips, here are some of the things I’ve learned from helping to run this magical friendship machine.

om-nom-mailbox
Photo by @rqup

1. Work specifically with people’s talents and personality quirks.
When attemtping to give people work to help your community out, play to their talents. Make sure they are doing something they love, or are good at. I was stupidly surprised to learn that not everyone has the same skill sets that I do. Surprise, surprise, haha! Not everyone is proactive, or creative, or aggressive (like I tend to be). I mean seriously, sometimes I have energy of 1,000 rabid wombats. So make sure, if they are not a wombat type of person, that they have appropriate work loads that cater to their particular skill sets. If they are confused as to what they should be doing, outline work on a task list. You can tell a lot about a person by the little things they say, or what they post online, so find out their unique way, and make sure to give them work that helps to accentuate their talents and passions. Try to keep a balance of many different personality types in leadership roles, especially people who work well together. Additionally, I’m a fan of Myers Briggs tests for compatibility.

halfling
Photo by @earthtogirl

2. Never stop trying new things with the community, because you never know what they will love next.
You might have a plan in mind for the things that the community will do, but always continue to try new things. You never know what new idea might be the next IGGPPCamp (our highly successful annual summer camp). Take tips and pointers from other online communities, or collaborate with them. It can get stagnant for long time members, so always give them something fresh and fun to do. Even if it flops, at least you tried. Consult the community often to see what kinds of new things they want to do, or what new things they want the staff to do. Make sure your staff is all on board, and excited, for new projects. Excitement is contagious, and has a trickle down effect if it comes from the top. Remember to actively take part in the community, and new things, the same way that your members do. This will help with bugs as well, if you can see the process for your users, and help to ensure the flow is flawless.

snail-mail
Photo by @bettercallbecky

3. Shit will go wrong for no reason, or for reasons. Sometimes you will have no control over it.
We all make mistakes, even when we’re supposed to be flawlessly running something. We need to make sure we handle it. If you make a mistake, own it, don’t pretend it didn’t happen. If things start going wrong, due to the drama that tends to crop up online, manage it. Make sure to monitor potential problem makers, but give everyone the benefit of the doubt, and a second chance. If it comes to it, ban trolls or repeat offenders. But remember, we all have bad days, and deserve a chance to redeem ourselves after we’ve cooled off. Appoint level-headed and consistent community members as little baby sheriffs to keep an eye out for potential problems. They will appreciate being recognized for their dedication, and in turn will help to keep the community water clean, and free of tidal waves.

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Photo by @kuriouskatie

4. Cherish your members. Be real with them. Reward them. Without them, you are absolutely nothing.
Always cater to the reason the community exists – the community. They are really the ones running the show. Whatever they want, try to facilitate. Be honest with them. Be transparent. Reward them for being loyal and amazing members, either through a nice piece of snail mail or even just an e-pat on the back. Find out what they are doing in the community, and engage. Be present for them not just through the community, but through other social media. They are the real stars of the show, so make sure you’re working for them in as many ways as possible. Hug them. Pet them. Feed them cake.

glados-list
Photo by @cori.cee

5. Online communities are like little baby alien creatures that will grow random arms and legs.
The organism that is the online community will grow, change, sprout random limbs, and take on a complete life of its own. Things will go wrong for no reason and things will go right for no reason. Be flexible, understanding, but attentive. You have to keep watch at all times and be vigilant. That alien creature could wonder off into the street and get hit by a car, so take care of your baby. Nurture it, and let is become that freaky critter it can be. Be prepared for the extra and unexpected workload that comes from parenting a cute alien baby. This little creature might even take you out of your comfort zone and into new projects and priorities, but don’t be afraid to try out those new things. Dare to be the best mommy to that alien creature you can be. It might grow and change into something you did not plan, but let it happen. It’s its own thing, after all. Let it all hang out.

jimbob
Photo by @dezpresso

Thanks to everyone for your patience and help throughout this entire project. The club has changed a lot, but grown and matured in so many ways. And I want to thank all my new friends, especially my staff members, for being amazing contributors to the success of this community. We’re pretty awesome, iggles. xoxo

Kawaii Chibi Portraits by Yokokins

As a gift to my co-staffers at the IGGPPC, I was seeking out someone to do custom portraits for our staff page. Lucky for me, my pal Mia came to the rescue and told me about Lisa, aka Yokokins, and her fantastic art!

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Yokokins herself as Princess Celestia!

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Copic Pattern by Yokokins! So beautiful!

I’ve always been the biggest fan of the chibi. Chibi is like an anime styled tiny adorable person. Basically, take a regular style anime person and turn them into an adorable tiny baby version of themselves. Yokokins drew up the 9 staffers at the IGGPPC in this adorable kawaii chibi style! Take a look!

iggles

Farquharson
farquharson

Joanna
joanna

Kara
kara

Kim
kim

Sparkles
sparkles

Stewie (me!)
stewie

Sumsy
sumsy

Toasty
toasty

Valerie
valerie

Make sure to check out how we added the art onto our revised Staff page, like Yokokins on Facebook, and check out Yokokins on Deviant Art!

Also, be sure to like the Geek Girl Pen Pals Club on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for all the updates about the International Geek Girl Pen Pals Club!

The art of fangirling: What it means to be a true geek

This article is probably some kind of expansion on my homegirl Emily’s article “A definition of geek.”


“What is means to be a true geek? Stewie, dear God, please tell me you aren’t here to tell us how and why to geek. Could you be anymore presumptuous?”

Before your hackles get raised too high, and you knock down my door shouting “KILL THE BEAST” with pitchforks in hand, read this post. I’m not the entitled geek-shamer that the title may lead you to believe.

Geek doesn’t start in grade school for everyone, but we can see how the subculture of a typical high school has made the fangirl to feel ashamed of what they are. The noogies and wedgies weren’t reserved for the jocks or cheerleaders, oh no – they were given to the “geeks” – the nerds, the otaku, the academics, the Sci-Fi club, the theatre kids. And yet geeks today still treat other geeks of certain fandoms, or of no particular fandoms, with disrespect or even disdain.

geekschool

At Setsucon this weekend, I met so many genuine people. So many people who were in an environment that made them feel comfortable enough to be their true selves. Yes, some of them may have been considered a little bit socially awkward, obnoxious, or child-like. But the truth of it was, what some may take as being “socially awkward” was really just a fearless attempt to try to meet strangers who shared the same passions in a short 2-day span. What might be mistaken by some as being “obnoxious” was really just a boistrous excitement for a fandom. That their “child-like” attitude was them expressing themselves in a way that was unhindered by doubt. None of them held back in expressing what they loved, and why. They were being true to their geek selves. And it was glorious, and beautiful. But… it’s not always easy, and not all fandoms are necessarily created geek-qual.

geekchartbig
This chart, while hilarious, probably makes certain furry people feel like crap.

Yes, sometimes geeks shame other geeks. In the proverbial high school of geeks, comic book fans are giving LARPers swirlies, and Trekkies are giving Furries slushie facials. How can they call themselves geeks, when they know the stereotypes, and the way that the strange subculture of high school has made it hard for people who love something to feel comfortable expressing that love?

furries
Totally fluffy and loveable. Via aceofgeeks.blogspot.com

To be a fangirl, or fanboy, is to embrace something, ANYTHING, without fear of being shamed for it. And that goes both ways, for the taboo, and not so taboo. Maybe “furry fandom” is something that’s hard for people to understand, but it’s just as legitimate as any other fandom. Hell, you can fangirl about normal things too! Coffee, the stock market, football, Bieber, celebrity gossip, fashion, or nail polish. Things that weren’t always wedgie-worthy, YES, you can geek out about them. As Emily puts it in “A definition of geek“, a geek can geek out over anything they want to geek about. When you finally coming to grips with what you truly love and who you truly are, then you too can fangirl.

pizza

You can definitely be a pizza geek.

People can have things that they like, but the fangirl comes out when you’re not afraid to be in a giant roomful of people and squeal excitedly about whatever it is that you love. It’s going to a convention with people who are being true to themselves, and being your true self right along with them. It’s that child-like enthusiasm of Christmas morning coming out all over again. It’s singing songs loudly and hoping others join in, without being ashamed. It’s dancing because you’re so excited that you don’t know how to express it other than to wiggle and jiggle your booty. It’s making a high pitched “Eeeee” noise like a “Woo girl” because you’re just so thrilled about something that you might explode if you don’t express it somehow.

Excited-Kids-Christmas-06

I guess a little anecdote is in order. I have a younger sister, named Natalie, or Noot Spoot. She’s 27, but she’ll always be 5 to me. And Natalie has always been a fangirl. She loves Disney, heart and soul. She unashamedly loved it as a child, she loved it through high school, and she continues to love it to this day. I was more jaded. I couldn’t fully embrace my love of Disney until I was an adult, even though I adored Disney as a kid and still loved it. When I was in high school, I felt like Disney was, well, for kids… and couldn’t really bring myself to say, “Yes, I’m not a little kid, but I freaking biddidy bobbidy love Disney.” Seeing my adult sister continue to express her unashamed love of Disney is what inspired me to finally come out of the “fangirl closet” and embrace something I always felt too silly or ashamed to really embrace.

disney-princesses

When I was finally able to say that I was going to love what I wanted to love, no matter what society might think about it – including Disney, which I had my own personal misconceptions about – that was when my true self was born. I began to surround myself with people who wouldn’t shame me for it, and who would encourage any and all geeks to geek about whatever it was they wanted to geek about – be it little kids’ cartoons, costumes, coffee or Christmas. You can geek out about anything if you aren’t afraid to reveal your love for it loudly, and without being afraid of getting a slushie to the face.

It’s very possible that I’ve made it sound like to be a true geek or fangirl, you must be EXCITED about something. That, I think is true, but perhaps you express it in a different way. I’m ENFP after all, and I tend to throw glitter at everyone and everything! I get excited, and sometimes I need to be calmed down a little bit. Some of you out there are not boisterous, loud, excitable types – and yes – you still fangirl. So to introverts and less squealy types, I leave you with this: As long as you express your love of whatever you love however you want to express it, without being afraid, then yes – you geeked it good.

The true geek of today is now the one who is unashamed of their love of whatever it is that they love, and they don’t shame others for their loves either. They scream, dance, squeal, and get real giddy over stuff. They accept the furries and the Beliebers. They are not going to let you dip their head in the toilet anymore, oh no – they are geek, hear them roar.

beavis

Twitter Snapshot: Making up weird nicknames for Benedict Cumberbatch



Do you have any good nicknames for Bongfeather Cushionpill?