Truly Geekchic: Hero Within & Elhoffer Design

Took an unintended hiatus from blogging because the summer months always get really busy for me, but I hope to be back somewhat more regularly - at least until Comic Con hits.

And since it is the season of the biggest geek convention around, it's the perfect time to talk about 2 amazing geek fashion brands. One of them just launched last week, and the other has been making noise around the web since last year. What they have in common is their subtle yet wonderfully geeky and chic designs. I'm so excited to feature them and their latest collections.


If you've been online searching for SDCC tips, you've likely stumbled upon Tony Kim a.k.a. Crazy4ComicCon and his helpful posts. His newest venture that just launched last week is the menswear brand HERO WITHIN, which offers "heroic style for everyday geeks."

From the press release: Whether it's Superman, Batman or your favorite DC Comics(TM) hero, we uniquely integrate iconic symbols into the construction of each garment, creating a subtle yet bold statement. This innovative approach will redefine how men express fandom.

Here is what Tony has to say about Hero Within:

“As fanboys, we’ve grown up settling for limited and boring nerd style- graphic tees and hoodies. While our passion hasn’t changed, our fashion needs have. HERO WITHIN apparel was designed to be sophisticated while shamelessly embracing our geeky side. We hope everyday you can celebrate your hero within.”

Full disclaimer, I was at the meeting where Hero Within was first discussed, and I loved not only the idea of a menswear collection that wasn't based on the ubiquitous graphic tee but also the message behind it - that geekery can be sophisticated and all of us can be heroes. In fact, Hero Within is dedicated to supporting and inspiring local foster youth through comic books. It's amazing to see that idea I heard about as a realized menswear collection now, officially licensed by DC Comics(TM) too!

I'm so excited to see where Tony takes this and hope to be able to support this endeavor more in the future.

HeroWithinStore.com will be open for Pre-Orders from July 6th to July 31st 2016 (or until capacity is reached). The store will reopen at a future date. If you're headed to San Diego Comic Con, you'll be able to see the entire collection in person. Check the website for location and details.

Keep up with Hero Within on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter: @HeroWithinInc.


Unlike with Tony, I don't know Catherine Elhoffer, but I am familiar with her creative and super stylish geek designs. I think her Captain Phasma-inspired dress was the first one to really make me pay attention, and I only later discovered that a number of my favorite We Love Fine styles were designed by her as well.

Any of you who follow me on Instagram know that I don't shy away from wearing my fandoms loud and proud in bright colors and bold prints, but I also love "inspired by" designs. It's so cool when clever color-blocking or thoughtful silhouettes are enough to evoke a character or fandom. Catherine's Elhoffer Design has this type of fashion locked down. Just look at these Star Wars dresses!

So given how much I love Catherine's designs and how much I adore a certain musical, you can imagine how excited I was to hear Elhoffer Design's latest collection would be Hamilton-inspired!!

Affectionately called the "Hamilgown" collection, it includes a mix of full dresses and tunic tops that are faux 18th century style coats.

From the press release: Expanding her geek fashion detailing, these pieces are more elaborate than any of her previous geek-inspired works with fabric-covered and metal buttons, cuffed sleeves, pocket flaps above side-seam pockets, epaulettes, lace detailing, and more. While some of the dresses may look like coats, it’s an optical illusion due to topstitching and asymmetrical patterning.The entire collection was handmade by Catherine at Elhoffer Design as a love letter to the musical that has changed the world.

Tessa Netting as Alexander Hamilton (https://twitter.com/tessanetting)
Milynn Sarley as General Washington, Laurens, and Peggy Schuyler (https://twitter.com/milynnsarley)
Anastasia Washington as Angelica Schuyler and Mulligan (https://twitter.com/AnastasiaW)
Susan Damon as Eliza Schuyler (https://twitter.com/bloosusan)
Aabria Lipscomb as Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson (https://twitter.com/quiddie)
Armani Jones as Aaron Burr (https://twitter.com/armanijones_)
Sabina Ibarra as Ensemble (https://www.instagram.com/la_spectre/)

Ensemble Corsets courtesy of Castle Corsetry (https://www.instagram.com/castlecorsetry/)

My favorite piece is the blue Continental Army coat-inspired tunic. Buttons for days!

Check out previous collections (and maybe order something for yourself) at ElhofferDesign.com.
Keep up with ElhofferDesign on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter: @elhofferdesign.


To hear more about both of these fashion brands in their own word, listen to Tony's latest podcast with Catherine Elhoffer - in which they discuss their fashion journeys.

Looking forward to whatever geeky looks these guys come up with next!

Q4U: What do you guys think of these collections? Do you want more subtle geek clothing?



It's been a stretch since my last book review, but I am SO EXCITED to share my thoughts on Sarvenaz Tash's newest book because it's about something near and dear to my heart - geeks!

THE GEEK'S GUIDE TO UNREQUITED LOVE is OUT TODAY, and if you get it this week, you can get a geeky swag pack, including a signed book plate! Details here.

Anyway, on to the review!

Disclaimer: Won an ARC through a Twitter giveaway held by the author. Twitter friends with the author. I am not part of the blog tour and am reviewing this book of my own accord.

PROS: Quick read, good representation of geek life, strong narrative voice, funny

CONS: non-POV characters are a little lightly sketched, pop culture references could be overwhelming to the non-initiated

Intellectual Rating: 7 out of 10
Emotional Grade: A

Goodreads blurb: John Hughes meets Comic Con in this hilarious, unabashedly romantic, coming-of-age novel about a teenager who is trying to get his best friend to fall in love with him from the author of Three Day Summer.

Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy...
Archie and Veronica...
Althena and Noth...
...Graham and Roxy?

Graham met his best friend, Roxana, when he moved into her neighborhood eight years ago, and she asked him which Hogwarts house he’d be sorted into. Graham has been in love with her ever since.

But now they’re sixteen, still neighbors, still best friends. And Graham and Roxy share more than ever—moving on from their Harry Potter obsession to a serious love of comic books.

When Graham learns that the creator of their favorite comic, The Chronicles of Althena, is making a rare appearance at this year’s New York Comic Con, he knows he must score tickets. And the event inspires Graham to come up with the perfect plan to tell Roxy how he really feels about her. He’s got three days to woo his best friend at the coolest, kookiest con full of superheroes and supervillains. But no one at a comic book convention is who they appear to be...even Roxy. And Graham is starting to realize fictional love stories are way less complicated than real-life ones.


Getting right to it, I loved this book. It was everything I hoped it would be - a love letter to being a geek and a sweet teen romance about grand gestures and friendship. The plot revolves around Graham and his epic plan to confess his love to his best friend (and comics co-creator) Roxy at NYCC. There is just enough drama to keep things interesting - because let's face it, nothing ever totally goes right when it comes to Comic Con - and more geeky references than you can shake a stick at.

One of my biggest concerns going into this book, actually, was how geek life might be portrayed. We've all read or seen portrayals of geeks that might've felt forced or ultimately seemed to denigrate the culture, and while I didn't think Tash would have that problem (I know her to be a big geek herself), there was still that slight fear. I was quickly reassured that I was in good hands. I recognized so much of what I've lived and what I've witnessed in terms of being a geek in both Graham and Roxy. They both felt like my people, in love with their fandoms and unabashedly proud of it.

Tash also wonderfully captures the heady but also frustrating experience of geek convention-going. NYCC is an unexplored land for me, but I've been to San Diego Comic Con (this year will be my 4th!), and let me tell you, some of the nerd rage moments in this book are so, so real (two words: line drama). Of course, Tash shows us some of the random but truly magical moments and connections that can happen at big conventions too, and she really gets what it's like to be immersed in a fandom, which shows in the characters.

The book also briefly touches on a number of deeper issues regarding geek/pop culture ("fake" geek attitudes, how women are treated as fans and creators, etc.), which I didn't really expect from such a light book, especially since it was focused on Graham's attempts to confess his feelings. So I appreciated that these topics weren't ignored and were acknowledged in a way that felt natural and didn't veer us away from the main story. I also appreciate that Graham is realistic enough to sometimes have problematic reactions and thoughts about certain people and situations, but that the character reflects on these feelings and grows from the self-assessment.

I do wish I got to know Roxy better, but the time span covered by the book is so short (3 days!) and we spend all of it deeply in Graham's POV that I understand why it would be hard to give us an accurate or even deeper portrait of Roxy. I also wanted a little more from the minor cast, but again, there are a lot of limitations inherent in the premise of this book. What I did get was good though. You get a firm sense of Graham and Roxy's friends, so much so that I want to know more about them.

Also, while I loved all the nerd references sprinkled throughout the book (and it indeed is what makes Graham's character feel so real), I imagine it can be a little overwhelming for readers who aren't super into geek or pop culture. That doesn't mean non-geek readers won't enjoy the book - I truly think they will - but Graham and his friends speak in pop culture references, which would obviously be less enjoyable if you don't get the reference. That said, they're very accessible references that I imagine most readers will know and a good chunk of their references is about the in-book-invented fandom, so all the info for that is provided in text. But the sheer volume of the other references did make me think of this as something to point out so readers can be prepared.

All in all, this book was delightful! It was a quick and fun read: proudly geeky, heartfelt, funny (can we talk about the chapter headings? So good.), and satisfying. It is the perfect pre-Comic Con (and summer) read, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to all of you - my geek friends. Tash did us a solid, and I'm so excited for you to read this book!


Again, the book is out NOW! If you want a swag pack of nerdy stickers & a signed book plate, be sure to get yours before JUNE 19, and follow the instructions here: Geek's Guide Swag Pack.

If you read this book or have read it, I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Q4U: What's the best "geek life" book you've read?


Currently... (20)

"Currently..." updates will be every 2 weeks or so. Going to try to update on Tuesdays when Katy Upperman posts hers.

I found the Currently post at Kate Hart's blog, who got the idea from Amy Lukavics, who found it here. Please join in and link me in the comments if you do!

  • Celebrating Star Wars Day aka May the Fourth (be with you)! My last post was actually an Outfit of the Day post featuring some of my favorite new Star Wars gear. Do check it out if you haven't yet!
  • Captain America: Civil War! We were lucky enough to watch it a few days early because we won tickets from a local radio station to see it at IMAX HQ, which is pretty dang cool. (The Sister and I saw Age of Ultron here too.) Bet you can't guess whose team we're on. ;)
    • Our second viewing of the movie was with some of our Comic Con Hall H line buddies and "Chris Evans." And all this fun stuff aside, yes, I loved the movie. They handled the large cast incredibly well, and I really liked how they handled the character arcs and themes.
A photo posted by @mylifewithchrisevans on

  • Brunching with my Founding ladies. I wish I had a catchier name for this, but here we are. I'm so lucky to have found my people so relatively early in life and to have kept them in my life.
  • Brunching for birthdays - specifically for my Con Squad sister Jenn's birthday this past weekend. Obviously, it was a fun time but it was also cool to see how everyone knew everyone else. It's incredible to me that a year ago, Comic Con squad did not exist, and now look at us!

  • Blackmilk Sample Sale haul. Sadly, Blackmilk has closed their Los Angeles location, but the bright side is they had a sample sale as a last hurrah and we bought all the things. I am most pleased with our LOTR and Harry Potter lucky finds! Map dresses! Daily Prophet legs!
  • Yallwest goodies: I scored an ARC of Garth Nix's upcoming GOLDENHAND, which is a BIG DEAL to me because it is an actual sequel to his original Old Kingdom trilogy. I love the Old Kingdom books A LOT, and I can't wait to see where some of the characters are now!! And I didn't even think I'd have a chance at Victoria Schwab's THIS SAVAGE SONG ARC, but thanks to an amazing friend who also went to the fest, I NOW HAVE A COPY. *cue freak out*

  • The Night Manager: So much beautiful Tom Hiddleston.
  • Game of Thrones: this season is exciting. I need more reunions and Tormund x Brienne, lol.
  • TURN: it's the Benedict Arnold betrayal season and I love it.

  • Writing a special blog post for a friend's project.
  • NOLA - in about 2 weeks, I will going to New Orleans for the first time!!! So let me know if there's anything I MUST do and/or eat!


Beyoncé. I wouldn't call myself a member of the Beyhive, but that all changed when I saw her 2 weeks ago on her Formation World Tour. I can't even begin to explain the experience of being at her show because it was incredible, and I don't think I exaggerate when I say it was like a religious experience. I totally get why Queen B is the queen and why her fans are so intense about her. Yes, she's a consummate performer, talented and that beautiful in real life, but there was just something electric about the entire show.

A video posted by alice (@akangaru) on

I think I also found it strangely moving (I actually teared up at the show because I was so overwhelmed, and that is so not me) because it was such an empowering night. Like it was all about the strength of women and loving yourself.

  • Always, seeing online friends. The Yallwest book festival was actually perfect for that. I finally was able to meet Erin Bowman, who I've known a while on Twitter and who was the one who convinced me to read The Scorpio Races, which is one of my favorite books ever now. We also love Harry Potter, and she makes an amazing Luna Lovegood.

    • The bonus, of course, was also meeting so many authors I admire and fangirl over, as well as Twitter/author friends. I had such a great time actually putting faces to Twitter handles and chatting and eating over-priced truffle fries. Oh, and I wore my Marauder's Map dress, which was the best decision because I don't think I've ever been complimented so much on it in my life.
  • Speaking of the serendipity of making friends on the interwebs... I was so lucky to be able to make Sarah Maas' signing earlier this month, mostly thanks to some help from Sarah, and she was as funny and delightful as she always is. The big surprise though was while I was starting to read A COURT OF MIST AND FURY, I was amazed and really touched to find myself in the acknowledgments.
  • My contributor's copy of THE 2016 RHYSLING AWARD anthology! My poem is in a book-shaped thing with so many, truly magical poems. I am so humbled and happy.

  • My newest Jordandené tank, which is a collaboration between Jordan and Megan aka The Nerdy Girlie. Oh and if you want one of these for yourself OR even the Hamilton design which is back for a limited time (!), don't forget you can get 25% off through the end of May with my code: workwork!

Q4U: What's up with you?


Geekchic OOTD: May the 4th Be with You!

For those of you of the geeky persuasion, you'll know today is something of a geek holiday. It's STAR WARS Day! To celebrate, I put together 3 more geek chic outfits all featuring Star Wars pieces from awesome lady geeks.

One of them is actually the debut of the newest Poe Squadron shirt! So let's start with that. You might recall that my friend Gennia designed shirts for our little Poe Dameron-loving squad after we saw The Force Awakens.

Outfit details: SHIRT (TEEPublic)

Well, Gennia designed another Poe Dameron shirt featuring a quote of his from the movie! We just got ours, and I thought it would be perfect to debut it on Star Wars Day.

AS LONG AS THERE'S LIGHT - I originally was going to accessorize the shirt with my gold stars necklace since you know, space, but I bought this amazing bandana while I was at Coachella. It has bears IN SPACE on it.

Outfit details: SHIRT (TEEPublic) // SHORTS (Forever 21- similar) // SHOES (Jeffrey Campbell Starburst - similar) // BANDANA (Coachella)
(I bought the tee in black, Medium size, V-neck.)

MATT THE RADAR TECHNICIAN - Of course, I had to feature a Jordandené design, and this Kylo Ren tank is one of my all-time favorites from Jordan's shop. I tapped into the Dark Side for inspiration and layered the tank over a drapey, hooded top and my Hamlet leggings.

Outfit details: TANK (Jordandene) // 2ND TANK (Blackmilk) // LEGGINGS (Blackmilk) // SHOES (Miista)
(I'm wearing the Jordandene tank in XS, all the Blackmilk in Small.)

KYLO REN IS A PUNK BITCH - And my third outfit was inspired by the Rebel Alliance and the X-Wing pilot flight suits - hence the orange blazer. The Rebel emblem necklace was made for me by Alz - yes, my sometimes co-blogger here! She's a fabulous jeweler (commission her!)

This was actually the first time I wore the tank a few months ago, and Gennia and I accidentally matched when we met up for brunch. Photos had to happen. The Resistance will not be intimidated!

Outfit details: TANK (Jordandene) // BLAZER (Tahari N/A) // JEANS (Uniqlo) // SHOES (Eeight) // NECKLACE (Sparkling Rampage)

Hope you enjoyed those outfits!! MAY THE FOURTH BE WITH YOU!

Oh hey, and REMEMBER, my Jordandené code is still good for 25% off the entire shop through MAY 31. So if you love this Matt the Radar Technician/ Kylo Ren shirt as much as I do, you can get one with a discount! The code is workwork.

Q4U: How are you celebrating Star Wars Day? Which outfit is your favorite? I'd love to hear about it in the comments!


Currently... (19)

"Currently..." updates will be every 2 weeks or so. Going to try to update on Tuesdays when Katy Upperman posts hers.

I found the Currently post at Kate Hart's blog, who got the idea from Amy Lukavics, who found it here. Please join in and link me in the comments if you do!

  • My second trip to Coachella~! This time, I was more prepared to have my allergies destroy me, so I took the appropriate medication. It was also windier than last year, which made taking a fashion cue from Star Wars' Rey kinda prudent. Oh and the reason we ended up going to Weekend 1 when we hadn't bought tickets? The Sister won tickets! I think this must be her super power...

A video posted by Alice (@girlontheroam) on

  • Being able to share this poem with you for National Poetry Month! I'd written the poem for a contest/challenge in February, and I really liked how it turned out. It was written during my February flurry of poetry writing. In any case, when the poem came back to me, I didn't really think about sending it elsewhere and since I wanted to share it, I did. :) If you haven't read it, I'd be delighted if you took a look: "Well-Met"
  • Poe Dameron Day / The Force Awakens - this was at the beginning of the month, but obviously, we bought all the comics, wore our T-Shirts, and watched the Force Awakens again - with our (sphero) BB-8! BB is actually not a good person to watch the movie with. He beeps at all the most dramatic moments but is so cute! And yes, we still love TFA a lot!

  • Meeting up with Tweeps - especially the writing kind. As I mentioned last time, I got to see long-time Twitter friend Lydia Kang when she was in town for a conference. It was also great finally meeting Jessica Love in person! (We now have matching Hamilton-Schuyler Sisters shirts.) Bonus! Seeing Elizabeth Briggs again and commiserating about Comic Con Hotelpocalypse. :P


The HAMILTOME! This book, guys!!! It is BEAUTIFUL. Great content aside, I just love everything about the design of Hamilton: The Revolution. It's bound like a history book, has deckle-edged pages, and the inner layout - the photos, how they're presented with the lyrics and text - is just gorgeous. I love it so much, and I'm loving all the stories about how this crazy thing came about.


The Jungle Book - so beautifully done and a classic family film.

The Night Manager - only one episode has aired as of my writing this, and I can't tell how much I like it in terms of plot so far. BUT my goodness is Tom Hiddleston just wonderful to look at and listen to, and basically, however this show turns out, it is still a gift to me because I get to see TH on the small screen once a week for 6 episodes.

Game of Thrones - Yes, this show continues to upset me with how it chooses to handle certain characters and story lines, but I still desperately want to know what happens - and there are still aspects of the show I enjoy. So really show, stop pushing me away!

Lemonade - I wouldn't say I'm part of the Bey Hive, but Beyoncé's visual album for her new album Lemonade was all kinds of amazing. It's visually stunning, but her music and choice of visual is so powerful. It's intimate, gorgeous, political, introspective, and moving.


  • YALLWEST! It's the West Coast companion to the much loved book-fest YALLFEST that takes place in South Carolina. Anyway, this is Yallwest's second year, but it'll be my first year going! I'm excited because I'll get to meet up with some blogger and author friends AND there's a Hamilton sing-along.
  • Also, it is almost time for Captain America: Civil War - and given how much I loved Winter Soldier, I am so excited for this.
  • TURN: Washington's Spies - we're getting really into the Revolutionary spy game now. This season? Benedict Arnold's betrayal! (Also, I hear we're finally getting some Hamilton!)
  • Roshani Chokshi's debut The Star-Touched Queen, which is out today! I've read her poetry and short stories online, and her writing is so beautiful! It's vivid, rich, and lyrical. I cannot wait to read an entire book by her!
  • And, of course, today is the release day of THE RAVEN KING by Maggie Stiefvater. It's the final book in the Raven Cycle series, which has arguably been my favorite on-going series these past few years. I'm already so sad to have to part ways with this magical world and amazing, amazing characters. I love them all so much! I'm so excited to find out what happens.

A photo posted by alice (@threadedpages) on


What new Annotations posts I'm going to do next. Don't know what this is? It's a blog supplement to my new bookstagram Instagram account, Threadedpages. The first post is here: Annotations.


  • Hanging out with the Founders squad this weekend. We watched the boy-band zombie-Western flick Dead 7 (it was...really bad. Eck!), listened to Hamilton on vinyl (absolutely incredible - like the violins are in the room with you), and then re-enacted part of the opening number when we realized our friend's house kind of mimicked the stage. Here's a gif from our efforts.

  • Seeing Years & Years perform last night at The Fonda. We missed them at Coachella, so we were so glad we'd gotten tickets for "localchella." Every show with them is a party. Love it.

A video posted by Catherine (@catherine) on

Q4U: What's up with you Currently? Also, if any of you are going to YALLWEST, please let me know! I'd love to see you! :D