Giving Thanks on Giving Tuesday

Hello friends! It's been a while since my last post and A LOT has happened in the world. October seems like ages ago, and we're already at the end of November!

Since I last blogged, I've been Rey for Halloween, been back to New York & in the room where it happens, been in disbelief and sadness by the Election results, and lost my phone. But I've also finished my Christmas shopping, which might be a record.

A photo posted by alice (@akangaru) on

That said, the roller coaster that was November, primarily because of choices and adversity we now face in the U.S. as a country, has left me feeling both stressed out and fired up. I've never been too politically outspoken, but what this election has shown is that none of us can afford to be bystanders. Citizenship in the U.S. is, to put it one way, a contact sport - and, of course, change doesn't come without effort and without cost. I know my role now is to remain vigilant and to help however and whenever I can.

Which brings me to #GivingTuesday, the Tuesday after the "biggest spending weekend of the year," when people are encouraged to give back - donate to charities, start fundraisers, volunteer.

In the spirit of that, I'd like to leave a few links to organizations who support things I care about and do so much good for the world. If you can spare some change, please consider donating today. Many of these organizations have matching incentives happening today, so any little bit you can give will actually have double, maybe triple the impact.

  • First Book - a nonprofit dedicated to providing quality education for children in need. They get books and learning materials into the hands of children who need them most. 

  • We Need Diverse Books - a grassroots organization working to change the publishing industry so that it produces more and better diverse books, "literature that reflects and honors the lives of all young people."

  • ACLU - defending individual rights and liberties in courts since 1920. They do so much work, and their work is more important now than ever.

  • The Erythromelalgia Association - they promote research and awareness of Erythromelalgia, a rare disorder that essentially causes burning pain in the extremities. There is currently no cure and no one way to treat it. 
    • This cause is slightly more personal because one of the best people I've met through the internet and the book community is also the person who made me aware of this disorder because she has it. She has spoken publicly about it before, which is why I mention this here. DONATE to TEA to support further research into this rare disease.

  • Donors Choose - Want to help specific teachers/classrooms and their projects? Donors Choose lets you pick the project you want to help fund and donate directly to that classroom!

  • FORCE 4 CHANGE / UNICEF: Force4Fashion with Target - if you like Star Wars and cool T-Shirts, consider buying one of the new Rogue One Force4Change shirts carried exclusively at Target. They are donating $5 of every shirt purchase directly to UNICEF from now until the end of the year. So shop, look geek chic, and do some good.

And if you can't donate money, don't sweat it. Non-money things you can do include:
  • volunteering your time and/or skills
  • donating gently-used items you don't use/need
  • calling your government representatives to voice your concerns (the new Twitter account, from people within the book community, @Roadto18 can help)
  • educate your friends/followers/neighbors/community on important causes & goings-on
  • signal-boosting organizations so they get as much exposure as possible

As always, thank you for reading through this. I am grateful for your readership and for the friends I've made through this blog and on social media. I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, and remember, you are worthy. Rise up.

P.S. There are a few more/ different links to causes/organizations featured at Girl on the Roam, including Eliza Hamilton's orphanage and how you can help the people of Flint, Michigan and the protesters of #NoDAPL.


On Patience & the Timing of the Universe

Lately, this blog has become mostly about geek lifestyle and Real Life updates, but originally, the focus was on writing, reading, and books. Those things are still present here, but it's been a minute since I talked about anything really writing-related. So this post is past due. (And it comes with Hamilton gifs!)

Anyone who has spent even a little time in the book-publishing world knows that the industry is often a game of luck and waiting - lots and lots of waiting. Once you're done writing something and have sent it out, that's it. You've done the part you can control, and then, you wait. (In the meantime, you should, of course, work on something else/new.)

My long-form writing is far from that stage, but in recent years, I've returned to poetry - and trying to get poetry published is a similar tale of patience. A year ago I made the decision to actually send something out in hopes of publication. I publicly stated my intent in my original 30 Before 30 list. That was posted in July 2015; I'd sent out my first poem at the very end of May 2015.

About a month after I told the world I wanted to sell a poem, I did. Strange Horizons accepted "Actaeon" in August 2015, and it was so unexpected and gratifying, not to mention validating. I'm still not comfortable calling myself a poet, but the fact that a selective market like Strange Horizons wanted what I'd written did a lot to make me believe in my abilities. In September, I received a close-call rejection on a different poem, but the note I received was encouraging. So I continued sending things out, reworking poems, and writing new ones.

Fast forward to 2016 and months of either rejections or waiting games ending in rejection. By August, when I was making my new The 30 List, I'd sold nothing since "Actaeon" a year ago, and I was feeling worn and discouraged - like maybe that first sale was a fluke. And it kind of was; it's lucky that I got through on what was essentially my first try.

To get myself out of that funk, I put "sell more poems" on my new list to firm up my resolve and just to send my intention back out to the universe. I looked at the good things "Actaeon" and all this waiting had brought me.

  • It brought me to other poets, and these poets have humbled me and taught me so much with their work. There are 3, specifically, who ended up in my online sphere thanks to the publication of "Actaeon," and I'm grateful to know them. Roshani Chokshi constantly dazzles with her bejeweled and lyrical language. Shveta Thakrar's lush world-building and magical imagery leave me breathless. Tehlor Kay writes with such quiet intensity that I'm almost unaware of how powerful her poetry is until I've reached the end.

  • It gave me time to work on my craft and to understand my own voice better. I'm a sucker for pretty prose, so it's no wonder I like to write it. But I've come to realize my natural "voice" is much more spare than the kind of prose I'm attracted to, and that's okay. "Actaeon" is actually a good example of that.

  • It brought me closer to some writer-friends. For whatever reason, writing poetry is more personal for me, and my insecurity about it is way worse than it is over my other kinds of writing. So letting other people see it for feedback was kind of big step, and using their help to improve was not a small thing.

  • It let me rest and write more. I write in starts and stops, and especially when it comes to poems, I have long fallow periods. Having started the submission process gave me the fallow time I needed (because hello, waiting) but also motivated me to produce more, shortening the non-writing time.

  • Despite my dip in optimism, having sold a poem and working on more did give me more confidence about the whole endeavor. It also helped that "Actaeon" was nominated for a 2016 Rhysling Award - which is still surprising to me.

Despite knowing better, I do think I let that initial sale set a perhaps too optimistic expectation for the future of my poet-ing, and I let myself seek that outside validation too much. But the truth is the year that lapsed since my first sale was good for me, as you can see in my points above. I think it's important to recognize that sometimes these uneventful/ low sections are necessary and are opportunities for growth, and that this is something that happens to everyone.

So I readjusted my expectations and got back to work.

Here's where the timing of the universe comes in. As I said, by the end of August 2016, I'd readjusted my expectations, told the universe I'd continue to work at my poetry, and resolved to just write more in general. Try more things, etc. etc. I'd turned 30, and I'd put my recent funk behind me. September came along with Labor Day weekend, and I'd filled it with fun activities with my friends.

That Friday, I found out one of my favorite new poems had been accepted by Liminality. It was a great way to end the work week, that's for sure!

Buoyed by the news, I enjoyed my weekend even more. I went to a John Williams concert (lots of Star Wars music featured) and visited LACMA's fascinating, creepy-delightful Guillermo del Toro At Home With Monsters exhibit. The museum visit was followed by a trek through neighboring Hancock Park & the La Brea Tar Pits, catching Pokemon with the ConSquad girls. It was during this adventure that Labor Day Monday that I saw a new email in my inbox.

My other poem "Susurrus" had been accepted by Through The Gate. It was published to the weekly's site on September 13th, and you can read it now if you'd like.

Apparently, the poem had been accepted some time before but I'd never received the email. This wasn't discovered until I queried the status of the submission. Luckily, the news I got back was good!

Which is all to say, there is perhaps some method to the madness of the universe's timing, and maybe putting your intentions out there can help lure them to fruition. I don't know; this life lesson stuff is a little outside of my realm.

For me, I guess, I had to be willing to wait for it (thanks, Aaron Burr, sir), and just because there's a wait doesn't mean that time is wasted or that nothing will come of the wait. But again, we are only in control of so much (Aaron Burr has another relevant line for this), and we can't spend time worrying about the things that are not in our control. What will come will come.

I think the universe wanted me to remember writing shouldn't be about the external validation and that I shouldn't be content to rest on my laurels. The moment I realized that, admitted it, the universe answered me back.


To recap:


Geekchic OOTD: Weekend Vibes

Friends, how is August already over? We are coming up on the Labor Day weekend here in the U.S., one of our last long weekends before the winter holidays and sort of the last hurrah of summer.

(Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Lootcrate and have not subscribed to their boxes, but I've seen them around, and it looks like fun stuff!)

Recently, I was inspired by Loot Crate to blog about a favorite geeky look because they so often have cool apparel in their boxes. Loot Crate creates monthly subscription boxes that feature geeky collectibles (like shirts!) from current fandoms, and they're usually themed, which makes things extra fun.

Since we are headed into the final days of summer (and school has already begun for many) and summer is my favorite season, I thought I'd give it a nice send-off by talking about my most casual but also most tried and true warm-weather look - shorts and a geeky tank. This is seriously my uniform for the summer and a lot of the year since I'm in California.

These outfits are the epitome of my weekend vibes.

1) Witchy Chic

As much as I love my Ravenclaw gear and Marauder's Map everything, sometimes I like my fandom pride to be a little more subtle. That's why I love this Deathy Hallows muscle tank because unless you're a Harry Potter fan, it's not as immediately obvious what it is. I paired this with plain, light denim shorts but played up the magic and whimsy with my accessories (star shoes, quote bracelets, flower crown).

I took a little bit of inspiration from festival fashion and the stylish summer goths and witch girls out there. There's something to be said about wearing black - even when it's hot out - because it just looks so damn cool.

Outfit details: SHIRT (Hot Topic) // SHORTS (Target) // SHOES (Eeight) // BRACELETS (Show Pony Until the Very End cuff via Owlcrate / CynicalRedhead Isadora Duncan cuff) // FLOWER CROWN (Forever 21 - similar) // LIP COLOR (Colourpop in 'Beeper')

2) Back to Basics

Labor Day weekend in the U.S. is usually marked by BBQs, beach days, and the last of the outdoor gatherings as summer winds down. So I thought I'd go a little more simple with my second outfit, which honestly, would've been great for the 4th of July too. This Team Cap tank is your basic "graphic tee" type design. I matched it with patterned shorts and fun sunglasses but made sure both pulled from colors on the tank (blue and red, respectively) to keep it all streamlined. To top it all off, I had to have a classic red lip.

Outfit details: SHIRT (Target) // SHORTS (Target x Marimekko n/a - similar) // SANDALS (1st pair - similar, 2nd pair - Miista) // BRACELETS (Show Pony Until the Very End cuff / Sparkling Rampage ACOMAF cuff) // SUNGLASSES (Hot Topic) // LIP COLOR (Colourpop in 'Creeper')

I hope this inspires you to dress up those graphic tees and tanks that you have in your closets! And if you're looking for an easy way to up your geek style game, check out Lootcrate! They have tons of different monthly subscription boxes filled with pop culture goodness, including ones that focus on apparel if that's what you want. :)

Wave that geek flag high! Happy weekend, friends!

Q4U: What's your favorite fandom gear or style to wear?


Unique, Geeky Goods from Calamityware

This post has been long in coming, but I promise this is something good.

As you know, I'm a sucker for geeky knickknacks and am always on the look-out for things that are fun and unique. I also love things that are subtle, that prompt a second look.

So when I saw Megan (the Nerdy Girlie) instagram her Things Could be Worse Calamityware mug, I was smitten! I love that it looks like classic porcelain, but if you take a good look at the design, you can spot dinosaurs, monsters, UFOs, and more!

You can imagine how excited I was when Calamityware contacted me and asked if I was interested in posting about their products. Spoiler, I said yes!

(Disclaimer: Calamityware sent me some items in exchange for a blog post about them.)

Earlier this summer, they sent me 2 things. The first is part of the product line that gave Calamityware their start: a porcelain plate featuring a monstrous surprise in its design.

This is Calamityware Plate 7: Tentacles. I love how from afar it looks like regular fine china, but up close, it is filled with awesome little details.

I mean look at those tentacles, that man running away across the bridge, the chill black cat. The border pattern is just gorgeous. And yes, these are actual dinner plates. You can eat off of them or display them.

Also, you may have noticed this is Plate 7, and that's because it's part of an entire series of plates featuring different calamities - pirates, volcanoes, giant robots, and plenty more. In fact, one of their newest plate designs features a plague of frogs. Ribbit.

The other item Calamityware sent me was something you might recall seeing if you follow me on Instagram. It's the BADbandana 3: Spirited Bones!

A photo posted by alice (@akangaru) on

The Sister instantly picked out this dancing skeleton print when I showed her the different styles of BADbandanas that Calamityware offers, and I have to say these bones are even more delightful in person and up close. Again, the design is so detailed and whimsical. I love that there are animal and monster skeletons enjoying the festivities too! It makes any outfit just a little more awesome.

The squares are large, and while the fabric is a little rough when it's brand new, a few washes softens it up nicely. The bandanas also come in packs of 3! So you can get 3 of the same design or a mixed design pack. And 3 bandanas means everyone in the family can have one to rock.

So, if you liked any of these items, check out Calamityware for more products with quirky, unique art. I think they even have a sea monster shower curtain on the way! Basically, when the time comes for me to shop for a nice set of dinner plates, I know where to look for ones with personality.

Hope you enjoyed this little feature on a small business putting silly and adorable art into the world!

Q4U: What do you think of these designs? Would you buy a set of calamitous dinner plates?


Currently... (21)

"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!

This is going to be a long one because I missed all of June and July!! Yikes!


My girl gang. If you follow me on Instagram, you know it's been a whirlwind since the end of May. I've gone on a few adventures with my best gal pals - namely, New Orleans and Comic-Con!

  • NOLA - my first time in New Orleans and in the South. This was also a really spontaneous girls trip. We got caught in thundershowers, visited a gorgeous swamp and plantation, had my fortune told, ate our weight in delicious food, met up with one of my oldest blogging friends, and beignet every day.

  • SDCC 2016 - met up with so many friends at the con this year. Did 2 days of cosplay, one of which was a group one with my gals. Did the Hall H thing with relatively little drama, got donuts from Bryan Fuller while in land, and got a new wand (Newt Scamanader's!) for swag. OMG, and there were Hamilton coplayers!!

ConSquad the sequel

A photo posted by alice (@akangaru) on

Adventures at home - 4th of July fireworks! Outlander costume exhibit! Movies at the beach! Loki swimming!!

A video posted by Loki (@dogdaysofloki) on

  • The Cursed Child (just finished) - I don't know how I feel about it being the next bit of HP canon, but I enjoyed it for what it was. Wish the plot hadn't been so grand because the quieter, character thematic parts of the play were probably what I liked best.
  • Jellicoe Road - I'm finally reading this!!
  • This Savage Song
  • Various Tarot Books

  • The Olympics!
  • Suicide Squad (recently) - I wanted this to be good so badly. Was I entertained? Sometimes, but honestly, I can't say because I left this movie feeling so much frustration that I can't honestly say my experience was good.
  • Mr. Robot - so good. Seeing their presence in SD was one of the highlights of this Comic-Con.
A photo posted by Catherine (@catherine) on

  • UnReal - the season finale was last night and OH. MY. GOD. I love this show. Seriously, if you haven't tried this show, do it.
  • The Night Of - we just started this, and it is so stressful. It's about a guy who may or may not have committed a crime & the workings of the justice system starting from the night of the crime.


The Black Tapes podcast - to give me another creepy/intriguing thing to listen to other than LORE, I started The Black Tapes podcast in June and basically binge-listening to the entire first season. I'm all caught up with Season 2, and I am so obsessed! It's like Serial + LORE + supernatural mystery.

  • My birthday! Starting today, it is the last week of my 20s. HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE??!
  • 2017 when a bunch of my writer-Twitter friends are going to have books out!!


Teleportation was real so I can hang out with people who don't live near me! This desire is worse now because I've been spoiled by being able to meet up with online friends pretty often recently thanks to mutual traveling and things like Comic Con.


How much has changed in just this last year - like Hamilton! It is such a huge deal now. They've won 11 Tonys. They just celebrated their 1-year anniversary of their debut on Broadway, and so many of the original main Broadway cast has departed the show. This all blows my mind because it has only been a little over a year since this thing came into my life and changed it.

A photo posted by alice (@akangaru) on

There have been some other life things happening personally and with friends and family too. I've been to spin class (who am I?), had my tarot read, built my first major costume prop (Rey's staff), and inadvertently cosplayed at SDCC.

  • Summer! Ice cream, sunshine, bright colors, and unicorn floaties.

A photo posted by alice (@threadedpages) on
  • Flight of the Conchords concert
  • Learning the tarot - basically, a psychic in New Orleans was convinced I have untapped spiritual powers. So I'm trying to unlock them. Wish me luck. ;)
  • Hammer + Sarah time!
  • Celebrating nerdy things in nerdy ways - like all of Comic Con and midnight book release parties for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

A photo posted by alice (@akangaru) on

What's up with you?


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?