Hogwarts was Breathtaking.. Universal Orlando Trip Recap

It’s been about two weeks since my last blog post, but I’m back! Two weeks ago, I attended a table top gaming convention and then a couple days later, I flew out to Orlando on vacation to see Universal Studios along with Islands of Adventure. Life has been a little off kilter, however I had the most amazing weather in Orlando and it was refreshing to be able to escape the harsh Minnesota winter.

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No one else I would rather share a Butterbeer with. ❤ 

What inspired our trip to see Universal Orlando besides being huge Harry Potter fans was due to my mom’s retirement gift. When my mom retired from her employment after 38 years at the same company (longer than I have even been alive), they gave her a $500 Universal gift card to spend at Orlando and at Harry Potter World. It was a very generous gift which my mom took full advantage of after buying two wands, a couple t-shirts and a deathly hallows bracelet. I ended up purchasing a Luna Lovegood wand, a Harry Potter thermos, an Avengers tank top and a stuffed Niffler which is pretty good because I stuck to my budget.

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Seeing Hogwarts up close and riding the Hogwarts express brought me to tears. My dad was the one who brought home the books to read as a family and he would have loved to been able to see the world of Harry Potter brought to life. I also had a chance to ride the Escape from Gringotts ride in Diagon Alley which was thrilling. I’m not a roller coaster person, but the visuals were enough to make you feel as if you were in this part of the movie with the characters.

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mmmmmmmm… Beer………

Besides all of the Harry Potter/Hogsmeade/Diagon Alley parts, I also had a blast at the Simpson’s section which allowed me to fully indulge in a Duff beer. The Simpson’s ride was a little too bumpy for me and I was glad the ride was over otherwise I probably would have puked. The Revenge of the Mummy ride was another favorite of mine along with the rides on Marvel Island in Islands of Adventure.

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What beautiful weather. !

This vacation has been one to remember. It gave me enough of a break from work where I’m excited to get back to a routine again. The Harry Potter book series represents a huge part of my childhood and I’m grateful I had the chance to visit the theme park. Chances are, I will be back to visit as they are adding a Hagrid themed roller coaster, but for now, I’ll have my wand displayed in my room to remind me of all the fun I had this past week.

Before I conclude this blog post, I wanted to share what’s to come on Bizarre Brunette.  Next month, I’ll be attending C2E2, which is my first time attending this convention in Chicago. I’m also planning on writing a post about un-boxing all the comics I received from Mad Cave Comic Studios to write and review. Sitting in my queue are eight different blog posts waiting to be written, but I’m up for the challenge.



My Love / Hate Relationship with Magic the Gathering

On Sunday, I attended my first Magic the Gathering pre-release for the Ravnica Allegiance expansion. Me, my brother, and my two friends from college met up at the coffee / game store I occasionally work at. I played terribly at this pre-release because I didn’t win a single match. Honestly, I was slightly embarrassed having to turn in my score card saying I lost eight matches. The worker at the game shop even made a comment and was giving me sympathy which made me feel worse. This is what prompted my post describing in detail my love / hate relationship with Magic the Gathering. 

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I started playing Magic the Gathering in 2003 when my uncle taught me and my brother how to play. I became obsessed with the mechanics of the cards, the art on each card and the story behind each set. I even had a Magic the Gathering birthday where I received a hand picked deck and played Magic all day. This teaching didn’t stick as I gave up the game a year later because I became focused on other things. Ten years later, I was in college and an ex-boyfriend of mine had been playing Magic more often with his friends. I decided then I would try again and re-learn how to play.

One thing that was different when learning Magic in 2013 was realizing how toxic the Magic the Gathering community can be. I had played against players who were specifically targeting me because I was the only woman in the group. I had players where if I was winning, they would “scoop” or draw from the match instead of allowing the game to finish. I had players be condescending towards me if I was losing and telling me I had “a lot to learn” if I ever wanted to win against them. The toxicity I experienced became exhausting to deal with.

It led to several times where I would play Magic more often and then go breaks without playing. I became discouraged at times based on who I had played with recently. I don’t want to give up a hobby based on my experiences within the community, but it’s hard not to. I will say, my brother and my two friends never made me feel embarrassed because I hadn’t won a game. They were friendly to me and my brother wants to sit down and play more games with me and offer strategy advice which I would find beneficial.

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My specific goals involving Magic the Gathering is to play more! I can only get better as a player if I play more games. I also downloaded Magic the Gathering arena which is an online format of the game where you play against players in real time. This way even if I can’t get in a physical game at a game shop, I can play at the comfort of my own home. Finally, I discovered an all female Magic group that plays at various game stores in Minneapolis. I’m hoping this will be a judgement free place to learn more about the game without the harassment I had experienced in the past.

I would love to hear your thoughts about the game if you ever played. Specifically if you have experienced harassment in this community, let me know in the comments below.

2018 Pop Culture Year in Review

2018 became a memorable year loaded with trips, comic book conventions and everlasting memories. I wanted to write my recap post a little bit earlier before time gets away from me and I forget to publish it. 2018 was a fantastic year.

Movies I saw in Theaters:

Aqua Man 2

Seeing Aquaman early! Picture taken by the boyfriend

  • Black Panther *twice*
  • Avengers Infinity War 
  • Solo: A Star Wars Adventure
  • Antman & the Wasp 
  • Mission Impossible Fallout 
  • The Spy Who Dumped Me 
  • Venom 
  • Crimes of Grindelwald 
  • Robin Hood 
  • Aquaman 

My Favorite Movie of 2018: This is a tough call, but I’m going to have to say it’s a tie between Aquaman and Black Panther. Aquaman was a win for DC’s movie universe and Black Panther was representation for the African American community along with the fact it was an amazing movie.

TV Shows I Watched:

BBC Bodyguard

Richard Madden ❤ ❤ ❤ Image by BBC

  • Riverdale Season #2
  • Rewatching Jessica Jones Season #1 
  • Jessica Jones Season #2 
  • Parks and Recreation 
  • Mindhunter 
  • Amazon Prime’s Jack Ryan 
  • Luke Cage Season #2 
  • Iron Fist Season #2
  • The Bodyguard 
  • DC’s Titans 

My Favorite TV Show in 2018: I’m indecisive which led to me picking The Bodyguard and Parks & Recreation. The Bodyguard is only six episodes long which meant I finished it in a day. Richard Madden is an excellent actor and it also helps he’s extremely attractive. Parks & Recreation has easily become one of my all time favorite TV shows which is surprising considering I didn’t think I would like the show initially. Shout out to the boyfriend for convincing me to watch this with him.

 Video Games I Played:

Black Cat Game Informer

This Spider-Man DLC rocks. Image from Insomniac Games

  • Lego Marvel Superheroes 
  • Uncharted Drake’s Fortune 
  • Uncharted #2 Among Thieves 
  • Uncharted #3 Drake’s Deception 
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man + the DLC

My Favorite Video Game of 2018: Marvel’s Spider-Man is the best game in 2018. I probably will end up playing through the campaign again in 2019.

2018 Biggest Pop Culture Moments:

  • James Gunn’s pedophile Tweets resulting in him being fired by Marvel
  • The disgusting Brett Kavanaugh trial.
  • Aziz Ansari and the importance of asking for consent prior to engaging in sexual activity

Biggest Pop Culture Moment: The Aziz Ansari story shocked me when it first released online. Reading through the story, Ansari crossed the line. If someone says no about wanting to engage in any sexual activity, that’s a no. It doesn’t give you a free pass to try other activity. I can’t stress enough how important it is to get consent. This incident shows how little people know about what giving consent looks like because it’s not discussed in sex education and that’s a big problem.

Podcast I Couldn’t Stop Listening To:

Anna Faris’s Unqualified Podcast was recommended to me by my best friend. In each episode, Anna interviews a celebrity of sorts and then they take questions from fans. I prefer the questions from fans because it’s interesting hearing their life problems and hearing Anna Faris’s advice. This is the one podcast I will make sure I’m caught up on.

Catchiest Song in 2018:

I Like It by Cardi B, Bad Bunny & J Balvin has been on repeat every time I work out. Anytime this song beats through my head phones, I work out harder with whatever I’m doing.

Conventions Attended in 2018:

Panelist 2

First Panel at Convergence 2019 

Waiting in line for Matthew Lewis

Planet Comic Con: Waiting for Matthew Lewis’s Autograph 

4. (Planet Comicon, Convergence, Spring MSP Comicon and Fall MSP Comicon).

Personal Memories:

Top Three Memories in 2018:

Adopting Athena:

Halloween 2018 2

I’m so lucky to have this kitty in my apartment. If you follow me on Instagram, I post a cat picture often. I can’t help it, she’s too adorable. Cats are easy to take care of and it’s nice to come home from work and a have a fur ball waiting for me by the door.

Driving to Boston:


My family has started a tradition of going on one major family vacation every year. This year we drove to Boston. Boston is a city I had always wanted to visit and I wasn’t disappointed. It’s colonial history combined with the East Coast environment led me to falling in love with the city.

Flying to the Big Apple

Brooklyn Bridge

I will say, Boston has nothing on NYC. New York City was ginormous, but captivating. Central Park was much bigger than I had expected it would be. Getting lost in the subway is something I will never forget, but it taught me how to navigate around. If I were to visit NYC again, I would do a lot better with knowing where to go.

My Resolution for 2019:

Spend lots of money at Harry Potter World at Universal Studios in Orlando!




Attending the Aquaman Pre-Screening

Writing for Twin Cities Geek gives me the occasional perks such as seeing Taron Egerton in Robin Hood for free on Monday night. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to score Aquaman seats from Twin Cities Geek as another reviewer snagged them before I could. However, through the Warner Brothers website, I was able to score two tickets to the advanced screening show which made the boyfriend happy.

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The day of the advanced screening, me and the boyfriend left about 3 hours early because it was a 40 minute drive in rush hour traffic. When we got there, we were surprised at how many people were camped out already. We thought we were getting there early, but not early enough. The line wrapped around the theater towards the back entrance where me and the boyfriend found the end of the line. I was a little nervous we weren’t going to make into the theater.

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For those who have never attended a pre-screening event, the tickets we had didn’t guarantee us seats. It was a first come, first serve basis. This was a huge lesson learned for me if I ever attend another screening like this. The earlier you show up, the better. However, after waiting in line, I was elated to see us entering the theater and we were able to get seats right in the front row.

Since Aquaman hasn’t been released yet, I won’t say too much about the movie until others have had the chance to see it. I will say this movie is visually stunning and Jason Momoa does a great job at portraying Aquaman on the big screen. I will never forget when I met Jason Momoa and he told me this movie was going to be great and he wasn’t wrong.

C2E2 Press Badge + Other Life Updates

It’s been a week since I published a new post due to traveling for Thanksgiving. I had a wonderful time with the boyfriend’s family and visiting my friend in Chicago. Since driving back to MN, I was reviewing all of the exciting moments happening in my life right now and I wanted to share them below. so

C2E2 Press Badge Application Accepted

This is probably my most exciting news I have received, but yes I will be attending C2E2 for the first time in 2019 along with getting accepted for a press badge. As I was browsing C2E2’s website, I was curious if my experience writing at Twin Cities Geek along with this blog would be enough to procure a press badge and with nudging from the boyfriend, I decided to apply to see what would happen. I certainly didn’t think I would get it because this blog isn’t famous or anything. However, I turned out to be wrong and this press badge is mine.

Chicago for Thanksgiving

When I was in college, I met one of my friends through my major classes. We lived together for a full year before she moved back to Chicago area. Anytime I’m near the boyfriend’s family in Milwaukee, I try to visit her plus it gives me an excuse to roam around Chicago.

We settled on going to the Adler Planetarium because it’s the only museum downtown I haven’t seen yet. It was a smaller museum easily doable in an hour or so. For ten dollars, it was worth it to learn more about astronomy.

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Chicago is fun this time of year because of all the Macy’s Christmas decorations. Each individual window has a holiday themed decoration set along with wreaths lining the buildings. It’s fun to walk around and get more into the holiday spirit.

Macys Window

This window was my favorite ❤

Before we left downtown, I walked to Graham Cracker Comics which is located approximately right across the street from Millennium Park. They had a buy one get one 50% off on trade paperbacks which led me to purchasing Paper Girls Volume #4 and the famous Hush Batman graphic novel. I have a lot of new reading material now!

Orlando Feb. 2019 for Harry Potter World

Every year me and my family go on one big family vacation. This past year, it was a road trip to Boston. We decided to visit Orlando primarily to see Harry Potter World. I have never been to Florida in general let alone a huge theme park. I’m super excited to be able to experience Hogwarts, drink butter beer and walk down Diagon Alley. Along with Harry Potter world, we want to explore Universal Studios along with Disney World. Any guidance to exploring these areas would be greatly appreciated in the comments below 🙂

Starting My Harry Potter Re-Read

Since I’m visiting Harry Potter World next year, I want to be fully caught up on all of the lore again. The Harry Potter universe made me the geek I am today, so it’s fitting I would read the series again before I fly to Orlando.

I’m incredibly thankful for all of the experiences I’m able to be apart of. 2019 is going to be a busy year filled with more traveling and geek adventures. I wanted to wish anyone who reads my blog a Happy Holiday season and I hope you had a great Thanksgiving holiday with friends or family.





Halloween / October Review

There’s 365 days until Halloween next year. My Halloween was a chill night spent drinking beer with friends and staying out later than I usually do. Towards the end of September, I wrote a blog post of my October Bucket List items I wanted to accomplish. As always, my goal list was ambitious and I didn’t complete every task on this list. I wanted to do a brief reap of October 2018.

  • Watch the Classic Horror Movies! I own Dracula, Frankenstein and the Mummy.

For me and the boyfriend’s 4 year anniversary, we watched the original Frankenstein although it seemed familiar which makes me think I watched the original in some high school or college class. The boyfriend ended up falling asleep through the movie which is unlike him.

  • Watch Rocky Horror Picture Show *the original* which I have also never seen before.

Nope, but it’s in my Netflix Queue.

  • Visit an Apple Orchard

Me and the boyfriend had plans to go to an Apple Orchard, but the weather didn’t cooperate as we had quite a few rainy days.

  • Attend a Halloween Costume Party
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Me & The Boyfriend at our Halloween Brewery Party Thing.

On Halloween, me and a couple friends drove to a brewery that was hosting a costume party plus beer samples. Not necessarily a costume party, but I’m going to count the brewery as succeeding in this goal.

  • See the new Halloween movie in theaters

I want to see this still, but I haven’t gotten around to it.

  • Carve a Pumpkin

Carving pumpkins is messy which stopped me from completing this goal

  • Watch Nightmare Before Christmas on Netflix

It’s on my Netflix list!

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The kitty w/. her pet kitty. 

October 2018 was a blur because I was busy almost every single weekend. I’m sad to see October is over, but now I have these cute pictures to cherish forever ❤


Midwest Comic Book Association’s Fall Con

I’m grateful to be living in a place that has a strong geek presence. I became aware of this community when I started writing for Twin Cities Geek in the summer of 2015. Three years later, Twin Cities Geek has allowed me to become comfortable in this geek community. Every year, Twin Cities Geek tables at Midwest Comic Book Association (M.C.B.A)’s two comic themed conventions; Spring Con & Fall Con. Last weekend was Fall Con and I had the pleasure of attending this volunteer run convention.

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MCBA Fall Con Guide & Pass

As I mentioned, this convention is run 100% by volunteers. This isn’t a for profit show and the M.C.B.A. wants to highlight all of the Minnesota comic talent living and thriving in the Twin Cities area. This is a spending convention meaning it’s designed for people to show up, bring cash, and support local creators. However, I only brought $20 in cash, I still left with two comics I’m looking forward to reading. You don’t need a lot of money to be able to support creators. $20 goes a long way.

An extra added bonus is the M.C.B.A. volunteers provide lunch to everyone who tables at the event. They always have hot dogs and pulled pork to share along with chocolate chip cookies and hot coffee. I gravitated to the hot coffee because I happened to be running on 4 hours of sleep. It’s especially appreciated by creators who are at their booths for hours. It’s easier to grab something quick to eat on site than to leave their booth to get food which risks losing sales.

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YAY Free Comics 

Another nice feature to the con is the M.C.B.A. always gives away free stuff. They do raffles and draw tickets fairly often. In fact when I received a ticket, it was automatically the winner. I could choose from coloring books, comics and complete comic series. I ended up picking Spider Gwen #2, Mockingbird #1 and Scarlet Witch #1. At Spring Con this year, I won a Lois Lane Bombshell figurine along with a graphic novel. It’s fun leaving the convention with free comics and comics I originally paid for.

A lot of my readers probably aren’t from the Minnesota or Midwest region of the U.S., however if you are, this is a con you have to attend. Everyone is incredibly friendly and I have never had a negative geek experience at any of the M.C.B.A. conventions. I cannot wait for Spring Con happening May 2019.