A very Burton-esque Halloween: Our Lydia Deetz and Edward Scissorhands costumes

Greetings ghouls and goblins! It’s been a scary Halloween here indeed. My husband and I dressed up in our finest and blackest garments for our take on classic Tim Burton films this All Hallows Eve. I’ve been a longtime fan of Tim Burton’s work, starting about when I was 13, and walked giddily into my first Hot Topic to see some of his iconic film characters on t-shirts. I grew up loving the “Nightmare Before Christmas,” and obsessing over Burton’s career, feeling like there might someday be a role for me among the Oyster Boys and Staring Girls of the world. I even had the privilege of interviewing Larry Wilson last year around Halloween time, regarding his work on “Beetlejuice,” “The Addams Family,” and his new Internet series “Cindy!” (You can see/listen to the full interview here) So, logically, these costumes are a long time dream of mine.

First up, my wonderful husband Mark, becoming my fangirl obsession, Edward Scissorhands. And by fangirl obsession, I mean my friends and I wrote fanfiction about Edward Scissorhands. And now you know. How embarrassingly dorky.


His Edward gloves came from Amazon, because making these would have been far too time-consuming, and probably just as expensive. The neck belts, shirt, suspenders and pants came from the thrift store. Simple stuff! And for his make-up, I watched this tutorial by Emma Pickles a few times over. We used a base of your basic White Halloween make-up, and then I took some brown and purple eyeshadow to try to recreate the eyes, lips, and cheek bone contouring. Mark did a bang-up job on the scars using thicker lines of white make-up, and contouring with a brown eyeliner pencil. I then styled a wig my sister used as Jane Lane from Daria to mimic Edward’s wild mane. We did it on the cheap, but damn – mission accomplished.


I recreated Lydia Deetz from “Beetlejuice” – the one where she has a big floppy black hat and is taking pictures outside of the house. I wore a shin-length black shirt, and button-up black top from the thrift store. Hairspray and hair paste took care of my weird bangs. I had the hat and blazer, as well as the tights and shoes. I found a similarly colored book at the thrift store, and used my graphic design magic (and hot glue!) to re-create the infamous “Handbook for the Recently Deceased.” My make-up for this look came with help from this tutorial by Chelsey Stacey. Light colored foundation, and brown around the eyes, as well as some nose and cheek contouring to try to achieve the Winona face.

This Halloween was a lot of fun… not only did we have really fun costumes, but role-playing is a must-do on Halloween. Mark spent most of the night pretending to cut peoples’ hair. These costumes have long been a dream of mine, so to finally be able to wear them with my husband has been so ridiculously fun!

What did you wear for Halloween? I demand pics!

Goodbye 2013. Helloooo 2014.

I had a fantastic time in 2013! And while I am plotting my 2014 resolutions, here’s a brief recap of the fabulous time I had in 2013.


January 2013

Mark and I went to Disney World in Orlando, Florida on our first official vacation and our first trip to Disney World together. We’ve both been there before, but never together. It was incredible! We spent the night in Philadelphia with our friends Jess and Janelle, and toured the town on South Street. Then we flew down to Orlando where my grandpa picked us up and we had lunch in Downtown Disney. Over the next 4 days we toured the Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, and Hollywood Studios. Mark and I loved the food in the Biergarten in EPCOT, as well as Expedition Everest in Animal Kingdom. The food and the weather were so incredible!

March 2013

Farquharson and I began what would soon be an all out Internet phenomenon – the International Geek Girl Pen Pals Club! Now with over 2,500 Facebook likes, 6,000 site members, and almost 10,000 geek girls paired, this is truly a remarkable accomplishment and touching community to be a part of. From being retweeted by Veronica Belmont and Amanda Palmer, to making it onto Geek Sugar and Sword and Laser (and tons and tons of other blogs!), we’ve had our share of the geeky spotlight! So many great pen pal memories have been made for me, Farquharson, Em, Sparkles, and now Toasty who has joined our ranks (to help me in my hiatus while I work on my wedding stuff.) Thank you again Toasty, for stepping in while I work on this wedding stuff!

June 2013

I turned 28! Oh, and I also officially began working for eBay Enterprise! I am still with the same company of course, and we will always be Pepperjam. But our company has been noticed by some pretty big people, and we were purchased by eBay in June! Working for eBay has been so incredible. Here’s to 6 more years with this company!


Aryn and I hosted a super successful IGGPPC (That’s International Geek Girl Pen Pals Club) Meet Up in NYC at The Way Station! It’s a Doctor Who themed bar. I ended up meeting one of my favorite friends, Tamara. She is just the best!  I met some increcible Iggles and Miggles, as well as gave out loads of geeky door prizes. You can read all about it here.


July 2013

My niece, Madelyn, celebrated her 1 year! Wow, she is growing up so fast <3


August 2013

Mark proposed to me in one of our favorite places: The PA Renaissance Faire! It was Time Traveler’s weekend, so as you can see in our picture, we put a Doctor Who spin on our Renaissance costumes. We toasted the occasion at the Swashbuckler’s Pirate Pub afterwards, drinking a hearty ale with our comrades. What an amazing place to say “YES!” The Faire grounds are covered in beautiful flowers, Renaissance tents and cottage-y buildings, and costumed actors portraying Elizabethan nobles and peasants. We spent the day snapping pictures, wine tasting with Bacchus, perusing the market for jewelry, and played some awesome carnival games. We brought home a lot of bottles of wine including my favorite Honey Mead, as well as the Pennsylvania Spiced Apple wine for the holidays. We’ve set the date for June 7, 2014 and are planning a Renaissance wedding! We sent out our Save the Dates a few weeks ago, and they were as dorky as you can imagine.


I met up with some of my geek girl blog buddies, including KristinJamila, Yissel, Melissa, and Cassie. We had a blast drinking too many mimosas and stumbling around the geekiest of stores in New York City. What a blast!



October 2013

Mark and I celebrated our 3 year dating anniversary – again, in Disney World – and Universal Studios! We just can’t get enough! We spent the day at EPCOT with my family, again chowing down on the delicious German buffet food in the Biergarten. We spent the day in Universal Studios, where I was amazed to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I am a huge Potterhead, and this park was a dream come true. For a fangirl like me, it was an unparalled experience. The props and attention to detail were so immersive. If you go, you have to ride the Forbidden Journey and try to Butter Beer. It’s just as delicious as they say. Read more about my Wizarding World experience here: Hoofing it through Hogsmeade We also went to Hollywood Horror Nights, which was Mark’s favorite. We were practically in an episode of the Walking Dead, as they had movie quality zombies chasing people around the park. We screamed our way through the Resident Evil and Cabin in the Woods haunted houses, which were just like being in the films. 2 severed thumbs way way up!


It was also the second year for NEPA BlogCon, NEPA’s only blogging and social media conference. I am so blessed to work with the super talented techy women and squirrel girls, Karla, Mandy and Michelle.  This year’s conference was extremely successful, sold out again, and brought in $2,700 for our charity of choice, a no-kill animal shelter, Blue Chip Farms Animal Refuge. not only did we help out a great cause, but we educated our home town on the awesome benefits of being digitally dialed in and social networking savvy. We’re pretty much e-prodigies, we know. I can’t wait until next year! Stay tuned in fall 2014 for NEPA BlogCon Round 3!


My co-workers at eBay Enterprise and fellow graphic designers, Alan, Jordan, and I donned an incredible Wreck It Ralph group costume for Halloween. I love going all out for my favorite holiday! Read more here about my Vanellope Von Scweetz cosplay.

November 2013

The Larpettes hit 1,000 members! What a milestone! Find badges and gear here. The Larpettes is an online community which allows girls to discuss and connect with other female Larpers!


December 2013

I was one of the top 100 contributors to the Buzzfeed Community this year! So award, wow much view. Check out my awards!

Underneath my Christmas tree…

It’s goofy that I’d want to make this post right after having a conversation with my fiance about cutting back on the commercialism of Christmas. And we totally love that idea of less shopping, more experiences. We talked about even going skiing for Christmas next year instead of gift swapping. And generally speaking, my gift choices are cheap, second hand, hand made, or useful and green. But sometimes, I see shiny things online and like to talk about them. Even if I don’t even own them or buy them, I like to look at them. So here’s to that notion!

1. 20,000 Sips Under The Sea mug: How cute is this? Useful and super adorable. Squids are one of my favorite animals, and this mug is just so realistic and awesome. 2. Aqualillies for tarte Amazonian clay waterproof eye and cheek palette: I am transitioning all of my make-up, hair care and general body products into exclusively vegan products. This means doing a little bit of homework, but ultimately knowing my products are guilt free and didn’t contribute to any bunny butt shavings or monkey deaths. I took the advice of a few close friends including Chelsea, Jaime, and Jess, and was recommended a few great brands, and I really love this set by Tarte! 3. Antler Me This wall decor: I have a fascination with mounted deer heads. And ultimately, I think a live one (no matter how humanely killed) would bother me, so this fake deer head might be just the ticket. 4. American Rag Dawnn Cowboy Boots: I’ve been desperate for my own pair of cowgirl boots. Yee-haw! While a second hand leather pair might do me fine (and last longer) this new pair is made of man-made materials and super cute to boot! TO BOOT! HA! 5. Teddy Bear Skull necklace: I’d surely be channeling the psychotic Elmyra from Tiny Toons and Annie from League of Legends with this slightly creepy teddy bear skull necklace. It’s too cute and spooky! 6. My Melody Tea Kettle: My obsession with tea is reaching new heights. I’ve bought too many bags of a variety of loose teas from my local Wegmans (including my new favorites, Lemongrass and Hibiscus) and I really need a tea kettle! This one would suit me quite well.

Get into the Merry Christmas groove! An activity guide.

Art by Katie Daisy

This month is one of my favorites. It’s full of fluffy white snow, sparkling wrapping paper, delicious cookies, and of course, Christmas! I have a few things I do every year to get myself into the spirit. Why not come along for the ride?

In the first few days of December, I usually decide what sort of Christmas cards to send out. Some of my favorite Christmas cards I’ve seen this year include Emily McDowell’s twerking sugarplums, this festive pop-up reindeer card by Squish n Chips, and this adorable puppy dog Howl-idays card from Paper Source.

Then, I will then try to do decide what kinds of gifts I can make on the cheap that are useful and heartfelt. The commercialism of Christmas is kind of a suckfest, but with a little bit of planning, you can give a gift that isn’t going to end up in a landfill and won’t break the bank. This year I’ve been doing online research about melt & pour soap making, home made taco seasoning, and festive Christmas bark. It’s easy enough to decide what you want to try to make depending on what you think people will find most useful or delicious. I myself love a good spicy taco, as well as use lots of bar soap.

Christmas bark! Photo from Mix and Match Mama

After that, why not pop in a couple Christmas movies while you create? My favorites are National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Elf, How the Grinch stole Christmas (the new one with Jim Carrey), Gremlins, Miracle on 34th St. (the old one and new one) and Home Alone. Speaking of the Grinch, I completely adore the remake and did you know that in Universal Studios in Orlando Florida, their Seuss-land becomes Who-ified during this time of the year? I went with my family a few years ago, and the Whos are not only adorable and charming, but their make-up is killer! That’s definitely something worth doing this time of the year!


Photo from Orlando Sentinel

After you’re all movied out, you might want to listen to some good Christmas music. “Christmas Remixed – Holiday Classics Re-grooved” is one of my favorite albums. And you can find it on Grooveshark too! I also love the “Maybe this Christmas” albums featuring your favorite songs done by more contemporary artists, plus album artwork by Paul Frank and other awesome artists!


Once your ears and eyes are filled with the sights and sounds of the holiday, take care of yourself too! Buy a new hat and scarf. This is a great way to feel cute, even in a bulky unflattering winter coat. Hell, you can even take this time to learn to crochet or knit and make your own. But if you’re not feeling that creative, you can always find some cute options elsewhere. Then, once you’ve been out in the cold for too long, you can wrap it all up with a hot bubble bath. The perfect way to wrap up any day in December.

This should be a fun and festive start for everyone to properly get into the Christmas spirit. Right now I just want to drink a warm mug of cocoa, sit by the fire, and watch some cartoon Christmas specials.


Please post a comment telling me your favorite things to do get you into the merry spirit this time of year!

Vanellope Von Scweetz Cosplay! A very sweet Halloween costume!

Vanellope Von Schweetz Cosplay

This year for Halloween I have donned many faces. My friend Nina and I were Wayne and Garth from Wayne’s World. I was an zombie little girl for the Zombie Pub Crawl. But perhaps the best thing I did this Halloween was with my co-workers, Alan and Jordan. We went as Wreck It Ralph characters!

Wreck It Ralph Cosplay

Wreck It Ralph

And if you haven’t seen it, you’re missing out. It’s a Disney film about, well, the life of arcade game characters! It stars Ralph, an arcade game bad guy who is notoriously disliked for destroying buildings, and his sweet, plucky counterpart, the good guy, Fix It Felix, who cleans up Ralph’s messes. Ralph really hates always being the bad guy, so he decides to leave his game in search of his new destiny as a hero. He ends up befriending a couple of other quirky arcade game characters, including my character Vanellope Von Schweets. Vanellope is a goofy and sugary sweet race car drive from the racing game, Sugar Rush. She’s got the personality mixture of a crazy little kid, and a bit of the sassy voice actress who plays her, Sarah Silverman.

This costume would not have been possible if it weren’t for the 2 amazing Etsy stores who helped me compile this costume. The candy hair clips, a signature style piece of Vanellope’s, came from Bunny’s Craft Hutch. She’s created an assortment of polymer clay sprinkles, candy dots, and peppermints! I just want to eat them all up! It was hard not to… The outfit is a marvel of the amazing Shindig Apparel. Hand sewn with care, the perfect color choices and the perfect fit! This Vanellope costume is a masterful piece, and comfortable to boot! What talent!!

In short, Vanellope Von Schweetz is one of my absolutel favorite cosplays. It’s adorable, comfortable, weather appropriate, and a total fantastic group costume! Thanks again to Terry of Bunny’s Craft Hutch and Tania of Shindig Apparel for some seriously clutch Vanellope costume pieces. Your talent shines like a thousand gumdrops in a sugary sea of syrup! Make sure to check out these talented ladies on Etsy!

Until next time readers, I hope your Halloween is full of fantastic costumes, lots of sugary sweets, and fun times with friends and fiends. <3