WonderCon 2014 Vlog Recap!

So if you don’t follow me on Twitter, information pills Facebook or Instagram, cure you may not have seen all of the awesome pictures that I posted over this past weekend, cure because I was attending WonderCon 2014 in Anaheim, CA!

For those who don’t know, WonderCon is basically a small version of the very well known San Diego Comic Con! WonderCon is actually put together by the same organization that puts Comic Con together. I LOVE WonderCon because its smaller, and Anaheim is SO close to me, and I always have an absolute blast.

This year was NO different :)

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I went and picked up my badge early on Thursday in order to enjoy the awesomeness all weekend without having to wait in line to get my badge. I met amazing people like Melissa de la Cruz and Margaret Stohl and James Dashner, the cast of the CW show, The 100, and SO much more.

But I’ll stop writing now so that you can enjoy my vlog post all about it! I managed to squeeze all 3 days of the convention into ONE 15 minutes vlog! That’s not bad for me HAHA!

Don’t forget you can also check out all the pictures from the weekend on Facebook here.

ALSO! I got my hands on lots of swag, which will be part of my blog birthday giveaway next month in May so watch out for that!

Until then, enjoy!

Can’t wait until next year!

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The 2nd Annual Harry Potter Roller Skating Night!

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For those of you who do not know (which is probably good chunk of you!), mind I am part of one of the BEST groups EVER in the history of all groups: The Los Angeles Dumbledore’s Army. We are a 21-and over Los Angeles/Southern California based Harry Potter group. I joined in October of 2011 and have had some of the BEST times with them. So many people associate Harry Potter with children but what they fail to realize is that the kids that read Harry Potter when it first came out (like me), are adults now! And there isn’t much out there geared toward us adults…so voila, the LADA! The group has existed for five years now and has put on some seriously cool events, like Avengers de Mayo (a HUGE party where we went and saw the Avengers and ate superhero themed food and superhero games) and a Hunger Games Capitol party to celebrate the release of Hunger Games last month. We’ve had Quidditch picnics, HP birthday teas, game nights, pub night and pub crawls, Triwizard tournaments, beach days and so much.

But a HUGE event for us is the Harry Potter Roller Skating Night. We held out first one last April, in 2012, and over 650 people showed up! It was fantastic! So, of course, we had to do it again this year, and yesterday, we partied hard at the Moonlight Rollerway in Glendale.

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And it was a blast once again! I got my Ravenclaw tie out, put my Ravenclaw bow in, tied on my super awesome Ravenclaw tutu and prepared myself for a seriously awesome night of Harry Potter fun.

There were raffle prizes, and every person who paid to come, whether they were a spectator or a skater, was automatically entered in the raffle. Prizes included all kinds of handmade Harry Potter merch, like bows, cat toys, earrings, Harry Potter candy, and more.

There was a ton of music to skate and dance to, from music familar to us Potterheads from the movies to some Wizard Wrock favorites to top 40 Muggle hits as well. Even though I chose to skip out on the skating this year (last year, I could barely move for days…wasn’t really anxious to do that again haha), I had fun, hanging out with all my friends, and dancing around in my tutu, which got a TON of compliments. Here’s a picture of me, in my tutu.

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If you’re interested in purchasing a super awesome tutu like this (in ANY colors, though I do have a ton of Ravenclaw colors left), please leave a comment below or email me at whatanerdgirlsays@gmail.com!

There was also a TON of other super cool stuff to buy as well, like BUTTERBEER!

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If you’ve never tried Butterbeer, you are TOTALLY missing out! Its delicious stuff. You can buy it in the bottle by Flying Cauldron here on Amazon.

You could also buy a TON of handmade Harry Potter stuff as well!

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This is Miss Tanya, who runs Heroine Habit on Etsy, where she makes all kinds of nerdy themed bows (or any bows, really, she’ll make custom orders!). Here is an example of some of the bows she was selling last night. Also, in the picture above, I’m wearing a Ravenclaw bow she made!

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She also just custom made me an Angels bow for me to rock at the baseball games!

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Definitely check out her store, she has some of the CUTEST bows and headbands :)

Also rocking the vendor tables at Harry Potter Roller Skate Night was SuzAnne and her super AWESOME Sugar Dukes Magical Sweets candy.

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She makes Harry Potter themed candy, and trust me, its delicious stuff. She gave me a Dill Pickle Barrel, basically a root beer barrel but in the flavor of a pickle. Okay, I know that sounds crazy, right? But it was actually SUPER delicious. Here is some of the stuff she was selling last night:

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DELICIOUS stuff, check out her Facebook page here to find out when or where or how you can get your hands on some :)

Also, the Los Angeles Dumbledore’s Army was selling some stuff of our own. Last Saturday, we had a massive craft day and made ALL kinds of Harry Potter wares for the event.

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Yup, thats a Harry Potter pillow :) I helped to make these, and by helped, I mean I ironed and helped pin and stuffed! But hey, I helped!

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We also had a ton of handmade stuff as well, like crocheted little bags in house colors, crocheted hair bows and hair ties. We had house themed earrings and nerdy doggie collars and cat bandanas. We even had SERIOUSLY awesome Harry Potter cat toys (which were tested and approved by my friend Kendall’s cat, Lucius). If you guys are interested in any of these, send a message my way, comment below, and I’ll let you know how to get your hands on them!

Also my mom was there as well, showing off her new dolls as well.

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She’s also made Ginny, Neville, Fred and George, and more. She’s also working on making some Doctor Who ones, Hunger Games, Mortal Instruments, etc. and she’s willing to take CUSTOM orders as well, so check out her facebook page, Ellie’s Quirky CreationsHERE.

Oh yeah! There was also SKATING TOO!

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It was SO hard to get a clear picture because there were SO many many many people and ya’ll were skating SO fast! But there were a TON of people there, and everyone looked like they were having a great time. There were great costumes: a seriously intimidating Death Eater, a couple cute Hedwigs going around, an entire posse of A Very Potter Musical kids, Sirius Black and tons of people rocking the good ‘ol Hogwarts ties.

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A Very Potter Musical people completely with Ron Weasley, Voldemort, Draco Malfoy, Ginny Weasley, Hermione Granger and supermegafoxyawesaomehot Harry Potter :)

Lastly, we had a *secret* special guest, miss Ellie Darcy-Alden, who plays young Lily Evans in Deathly Hallows Part 2. She also had a part in the Doctor Who Christmas Special, The Snowmen. She was a super lovely and sweet girl, and looked like she had a great time as well :)

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All in all, it was a GREAT night and I’m sure everyone who attended had a great time, because it looked like they all had a fun time :) I can’t wait til next year ;)

Much thanks goes out to Miss Adrienne, the leader of our group, and to everyone who helped to put this together (hey, that includes me too!). It was a great event and I can’t wait to do it all again next year :)

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Convention Navigation!

Okay, advice so this started off as a blog post…and it remains a blog post but I also think I’m going to make it a new section on the actual blog. It got way longer than I meant it to but that’s okay.

Because a nerd’s heaven is the convention…its a place where you can go to finally be YOU, pilule and nerd out and see all those fabulous celebrities that you worship from home. Its the place where people won’t roll their eyes at your geek tattoos or your cosplay outfit. Its home.

But it takes some navigation to make it through a con successfully and that’s where this blog came in. With the help of some of my nerdy friends, ampoule I came up with this list of do’s and don’t’s for conventions and with it, you can have the confidence to go to ANY con and rock it :D

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DO: Dress to Impress

Cosplay, cosplay, cosplay! Dress up! Don’t be afraid to dress up because so many people do and its fun! If you show up in regular ol’ Joe Shmoe clothes, you’re going to be sad that you left your super badass Black Widow costume back at home. Be creative, get crazy!

And don’t feel like you need to dress as Spiderman or Batman, just because its a comic convention. Throw on a Marty McFly (shout out to the badass The Nerdy Girlie for that one), or a Disney princess, or an old school cartoon cartoon. Again, be creative and have fun.

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DON’T: Be Unrealistic

Keep in mind that when you’re wearing a cosplay outfit that you’re going to be walking ALL day. You’re going to be waiting in lines, and navigating through crowds. You may want to wear a crazy awesome costume, but do remember that half way through the day, you may be sweaty and incredibly uncomfortable. Be aware that those sexy stilettos that you’re wearing for your Emma Frost costume will look super cute until you’ve been walking in them alllll day.

Now I’m not saying to ditch those things but I am saying that you need to think of these things. Be realistic about your day. Bring a separate change of clothes, bring a second pair of shoes. Be comfortable while you’re at the conventions because there are a lot of lines and a lot of walking. Wear comfy shoes, and if you’re cosplaying, BRING comfy shoes. Your feet will thank you!

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DO: Plan your Day Well! 

There are SO many things to do while you are at a convention and sometimes its hard to hit them all. However, you can manage to get a lot done if you plan ahead. A lot of conventions put up their panel schedule before the actual convention. Print out the schedule or keep the program handy, take a look at some of the things you want to do and plan your day from there. Some conventions even have a feature where you can create YOUR schedule, which is super handy.

Also make sure to plan some time to hit the floor of a convention, and some time to hit the vendor area of the convention. There’s always A LOT going on, and it takes a good chunk of time to get a good fill of the convention floor and the vendor area.

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DON’T: Be One A Line/Seat Hogger 

Like I said before, there is A LOT of things to do at a convention, and its sometimes hard managing to do everything that you want. That being said, be respectful when it comes to lines and saving spots. I’m not saying don’t save spots in lines, or seats in panels. That’s okay, but be respectful about it. Don’t save spots in line for more than a few people. Don’t block out an entire row of seats at a panel. Its just plain disrespectful, and you’re not going to win points with anyone. Most panel rooms do NOT clear out inbetween panels so saving seats for that many people, when someone really wants to see this particular panel…its just not right.

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DO: Take Care of Yourself

This means eating, staying hydrated and sleeping well enough the night before. I’m not saying don’t party hard, because that’s fun. But there’s a time and a place for that. Gallifrey One is a party con, but its also a convention held in a hotel, so if the party gets too much, or you need a nap during the day, you can hop in an elevator and hit the hotel room for a nap. Not all conventions have that convenience so make sure to get a good night’s sleep. You don’t want to be too tired when you have a whole day of awesomeness ahead of you, and you don’t want to yawn in front of that hot actor you’ve been waiting two hours in line to see’s face, now do you?

Make sure to drink LOTS of water, bring a water bottle, or canteen! You can usually find water fountains in the convention centers and you’ll be able to refill it. Drinks, even water, are usually VERY expensive. The same goes for food. Food at the conventions is not cheap and you don’t want to be spending ten to fifteen dollars on food when you could be spending that on a new Star Wars poster or that Star Trek box set that you’ve been eyeing for years.

Pack snacks, protein bars work really well to curb your appetite. If you are staying in a hotel room, keep snacks and fixings to make a meal, especially if you have a fridge. Bring fixings for sandwiches and stuff. The weekend is NOT about eating fantastic food; its about enjoying the convention and sometimes eating sandwiches three times a day is part of that. If you do eat, eat outside the convention center. See if there are any fast food or cheap restaurants within walking distance and hit those up. Your tummy will be happy and your money can be spent on way better things.

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DON’T: Not Shower!

Comic conventions have a distinct smell…and that is the smell of BAD ODOR. I know we’re geeks and nerds and that not all of us spend a lot of time in front of the mirror, or in front of the closet, figuring out our look for the day. That’s fine, I get that. And I know that you want to spend as much as you can at the actual convention. That being said, DO NOT avoid personal hygiene. Please, please, please SHOWER and if for some reason you just don’t want to waste your time showering, then please wear deodorant. Keep your fellower con goers in mind, and keep the body odor to yourself. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to talk to a really cool person but they’re just stinking up the room like Pig Pen on Charlie Brown.

A good note as well is to bring hand sanitizer. You shake a LOT of hands through out the day, whether you’re shaking the hands of a celebrity or just shaking the hands of someone who you meet while waiting in line for a panel. Everyone’s germs are being spread like crazy and the last thing you want to do is catch a cold on the first day of a convention. Hand sanitizer is a GREAT idea.

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DO: Think Preemptively 

Buy your badges WELL in advance. I don’t know how many times I tell people, tickets for such-and-such conventions are going on sale, and when they don’t get tickets, there’s all this anger and disappointment! Buy the badges as soon as you can! Keep in mind when badges go on sale, and plan head. Also keep in mind when badges go up in price! Buy them early and you’ll save yourself from having to pay double for a badge than what someone else paid.

With that, book your hotel well in advance too; sometimes even BEFORE the badges go on sale. Keep on top of when hotels will be releasing the rooms for that particular weekend. If you don’t stay on top of those things, the hotels will fill up fast, and you end up paying for a hotel that’s either a hefty walking distance away, or requires you to drive your car to the center. While this doesn’t sound too bad, the parking at conventions can be anywhere from ten dollars to THIRTY dollars a day, and do you really want to waste that much money on parking because your hotel is too far away? I don’t think so.

One more thing: if there is a badge pick-up the night before the convention starts, try and get there for that! Usually you can get it pretty quickly and you won’t have to wait in the LONG lines that can exist on the very first day of the convention.

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DO: Meet New People

This is one of the BEST parts about hitting up a convention. Finally, a place where you’re surrounded by people who finally UNDERSTAND you. They totally get your references and your excitement over a new movie or book or whatever. They get it! So meet up with people, get your nerd on, have different discussions about your fandom, make FRIENDS. Share your etsy page, or your blog, or geek group. I’m looking into getting some business cards for this blog to hand out to people when I meet them.

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DON’T: Be RUDE! 

Please don’t be disrespectful of those who like fandoms that are opposite of yours, or are of fandoms that you are particularly fandoms of. There’s just nothing more disrespectful than making fun of someone because of the fandom that they like. Everyone is there to have a good time and to represent the things they like and there’s nothing worse than having that guy in the Batman costume making fun of you because you’re wearing a Twilight shirt. Just don’t do it.

Also, its okay to get into discussions with people, I do that all the time! Its friendly and its fun to debate back and forth, but again, respect. Don’t criticize people for their ideas or beliefs, don’t get in their face and don’t be MEAN! I’ve seen actual arguments and fights at conventions and that just shouldn’t be happening.

One last thing: I know you’re there to have a good time, and see all the panels you’ve been looking forward to, and meet your favorite celebrities, but if you’re in a badass cosplay outfit, keep in mind that people are going to LOVE it and APPRECIATE it and that they’ll want to take a picture of it. Its always really disappointing when someone in a real cool costume refuses to take pictures. Stop and take a picture; it only takes a minute. If you’re on your way somewhere, all you have to say is “I’m on my way to a panel but find me later and I’ll be happy to take a picture!” Don’t wear a cosplay outfit if you don’t want people to notice and appreciate it.

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DO: Show Your Appreciation

Tell those celebrities you love them! They want to hear that they did a great job, they like to hear that their performance, or writing, or whatever, meant something to you. When you see them walking around, say hi, tell them they rock, etc. They want to hear these things. However, this leads me to my next DON’T.

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DON’T: Bug Celebrities 

Seriously. Don’t do it. Don’t be “that guy” or “that girl”. I’m not saying that celebrities are in the own little bubble and we should completely ignore them. No way. A lot of times, celebrities and con guests are roaming the con floor just like you, and they want to enjoy it the same. Use your best judgement, there are some guests that don’t mind people coming up to them and asking for a picture or an autograph. There are some celebrities that will say no because they have a set autograph/picture slot sometime during the convention weekend or they are charging for photos/autographs at their booth. It would be very rude of a guest to take a picture with you on the con floor and then turn around and charge another fan at their booth. Use your best judgement when it comes to the guests. They’re as happy to see you as you are to see them, but you wouldn’t want random strangers getting in your face all the time so be respectful and keep your distance when necessary.

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Lastly:

DO: Bring a Backpack

Seriously, you’ll be thankful you did! Maybe it sounds terrible because you’re going to have to carry it all day but its better than some alternatives. Some cons provide you with bags but not all do. So bring a backpack. You can carry the things you’ll need during the day AND you can stash all the things that are constantly being handed to you in there. Things you should bring in your backpack:

your phone charger! Don’t forget this!!! You use your phone to keep time, keep track of the people you came with and to take pictures! you don’t want it dying!

chapstick! suncreen! possibly a hat/sunglasses! IBUPROFEN! At some of the bigger conventions, especially San Diego Comic Con, lines will be outside, and FOR HOURS. Be prepared. It gets hot, it gets sunny and you don’t want to get sunburnt. And always keep some Advil with you, the worst is getting a massive headache when you’re trying to have a good time!

laptop. Okay this isn’t a MUST but if you’re a blogger like me, it could be a good idea for up to date blog posts and twitter updates and things like that. I can do everything from my phone, so that’s why, back to number one, I bring my cell charger!

food/drink. Keep snacks and water bottles with you at all times! Trust me, you’ll love that you did!

CASH, CASH, CASH! I preach cash! Yes, more and more vendors are taking cards because of those new little devices that you can attach to your phones and tablets but cash is so much better. One, you’ll be less likely to spend money that you DON’T HAVE and sometimes, you can haggle the vendors for a lower price because you’re giving them straight up cash.

a sharpie. I always carry a sharpie with me. You never know when you’re going to randomly run into someone and you’re going to be SUPER bummed that you didn’t have a pen or a sharpie for them to sign your program

business cards for your blog, etsy/merch store or your geek group/club. Carry those babies around with you so you can hand them out to people!

mints/hand sanitizer: you’re going to be meeting people all day. Self-explanatory, yes?

jacket: it gets cold!

-for girls: a hairbrush/little makeup kit. Sometimes you need this to help you feel not so frazzled and alien.

ipod/book: I’ve only needed these two things a couple times but bring them anyway. You never know when you’ll be stuck in line by yourself, with no one to talk to (though this is SERIOUSLY rare), and you’ll have nothing to do. The Ipod is a must

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So that’s my super long blog post of how to navigate your first con! Its super long, and I apologize for it but if you’ve made it to the end, congrats!

I will be adding this as a new “section” on the blog so that it’ll always be available and easy to find!

Can’t wait to see you all on the convention floor :)

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What are some of your do’s and don’t’s of conventions? Share them in the comments! I’ll add them to the list!

LADA…and Me

As I’m sure a lot of you can relate to, link I spent a lot of my life and time in school being teased and being bullied. It’s hard being a nerd. And I’m talking a real nerd. Lately, there’s been this blow up of “I <3 Nerds!” and “OMG I’m so nerdy!” and all that. I’m talking, straight up nerd, when you’re doing stuff that most other kids just don’t get.

So yeah, I definitely spent most of my time just being WEIRD. I’m sure, the things I liked were popular: Star Wars, Harry Potter, Pokemon, etc. But the extent to which I liked these things was a lot for people to handle. I’m a very intense person and when I find something that I like, I can be really intense. And a lot of people have a hard time understanding that. They can’t understand the serious LOVE I have for Harry Potter. No one can understand the sort of passion I feel for reading and the attachment I feel for fictional characters.

So I had a really hard time finding friends in school and outside of school. I followed my best friend for so much of my life and made friends through her. That kept me happy for awhile. I had good friends. They weren’t really MY friends, but I had good friends.

But as life happens, my best friend and I grew apart. In a seriously big way. And for the first time in my life, I felt truly and totally screwed. I had to make friends on my own and this wasn’t something I wasn’t used to. I spent a lot of years trying and failing, trying and failing to make friends. I met people I didn’t like, I met people that I did like. I met people who were really cool. But I just didn’t meet anyone who really clicked with me. I found a new best friend, as our boyfriends were friends, and I love this girl to death. She continues to be my best friend, no matter what. But I still needed to learn to make friends on my own, to branch out on my own.

And this is when I discovered the Los Angeles Dumbledore’s Army.

Its simple: its a group of 21 and over Harry Potter fans who get together and do seriously awesome things.

I first met them at Whimsic Alley when one of the members of the group, Melissa, who is a professor at a local university, did a preview of the Harry Potter Literature class that she was going to begin teaching. I was hooked. These were people who didn’t just see it as a book…it was so much more than that. I had to find out more.

The very first official meet-up I ever went to was the Intermagical Relations Quidditch Picnic. And yeah, I said Quidditch. It was a joint picnic between the LADA, the Auror Brigade, and the awesome people behind Harry Potter Day at DisneyLand. There were Potter themed games and food and you could learn to play Quidditch in preparation of an actual quidditch game. It was amazing. I had to go back for more. I was hooked, easily. These people were so welcoming and friendly and I had so much in common with all of them. I had never felt so much in my element.

That was almost a year ago. I’ve been a member of LADA for almost a year and I can honestly say that this group is one of the best things that has ever happened to me.

One, the people. This group is all adults (there is drinking involved in these meet-ups though I, myself, do not personally drink) and we all love the same things: Harry Potter, obviously, Hunger Games, Star Wars, Doctor Who, Star Trek, comics, cartoons, Game of Thrones, books, movies, video games and so much more. Every single time I am with these people, I never run out of things to talk about it. I can go from one conversation on one side of the room talking about a recent book we all read and then cross the room and talk to a different group of people about the most recent episode of a t.v. show. I’ve never met a group of people who just GET IT, they just get me. They’re funny and smart and they’re of every race, gender, religion (or not), philosophy, career, whatever. They are such a great example of diversity and yet we’re all bonded together by this.

Two, the amazing things we do. I’ve only been a member for a year and this group has been around for about four years. And yet despite that, I have already experienced a great amount of awesome times. Every month there is a book club meeting, where we read a book and get together to discuss it. And I think we all know that I LOVE talking about books.

But we’ve also done quidditch tournaments. We did a Hunger Games party where we were “reaped” into different districts, went and saw the movie, and then came back to the Capitol party to compete in the games. We had our very first, extremely successful Harry Potter Roller Skating Night. We had an Avengers de Mayo party, where we saw the Avengers and then partied and played games. I’ve met Tom Felton with these guys, we’ve had Harry Potter pub nights and Harry Potter pub crawls and Potter game nights. We’ve done beach days and we’ve celebrated Harry Potter’s birthday. We’ve done a wizard version of Iron Chef called Wizard Chef. We did a wizard version of a white elephant party called white hippogriff. We’ve done tattoo days and we hit all the cons. We’ve gone and seen geeky parody musicals. I can go on and on and on. I’ve never seen so much creativity and fun in a group of people before. Its the ultimate geek partying. There are a ton of pictures below to show the awesome things we’ve done.

We even have a Harry Potter Bowling Night coming up soon, as a part of So Cal Wizarding Weekend (more on that to come).

Just one day ago, I went to the most recent meetup, which was the second Wizard Chef. And after we held our cooking competition, which was SO MUCH FUN, we all kicked back, opened up a couple of beers and just talked. And while I was sitting there, I realized something, something super happy.

I have met an amazing group of friends and an amazing group of people. Not only are these people my friends because we have so much in common and we’re all nerds together, but they’re all such amazing people. They’re mothers, and fathers, and teachers, and writers, and filmmakers and artists, and they can sew and knit and they’re creative as hell. I look forward to each and every meet-up because I know I’m going to have a fun and unique and badass time and I’m going to do it all with the best friends that I could possibly have.

Intermagical Quidditch Picnic

The costume winners at our Hunger Games Capitol Party

Me meeting Tom Felton at a small convention we attended

My fellow members at our White Hippogriff party

Celebrating 100th Meetup at Harry Potter Game Night

The various super heroes of Avengers de Mayo

The first ever LADA Pub Crawl

A few members meeting Tom Felton <3

If you’re in Southern California, I definitely urge you to join. Its the best decision I ever made. And if you’re not in Southern California, then I encourage you to go out there, and find that group for you, no matter what your thing is. Meetup.com is a great place to start. Good hunting, everyone! We all deserve to find a place where we belong :D

Are you a member of LADA? Do you feel the same? Are you part of a group that you’ve had some awesome experiences with? As always, let me know in the comments.

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