Quick & Crafty: DIY Takodana Terrarium

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Takodana Terrarium 1


  • Glass vase/bowl or cloche
  • Takodana Encounter action figure set
  • Preserved or artificial moss
  • Fake ferns, succulents, or other plants of your choice


I’m calling this DIY a “Quick & Crafty” project because it truly is super easy and quick to make! Maz Kanata and BB-8 are my favorite characters from The Force Awakens so I had to buy this Takodana Encounter action figure set when I saw it at Toys”R”Us. Plus, it came with Rey and Finn! What a deal!


I wanted to display my new action figures in our home, but our bookshelf is getting full and I knew I didn’t have time to make a diorama with Maz’s castle. Then I remembered that I had a terrarium left over from our wedding! The night before my wedding, my sister, cousin, and I crafted the night away doing last minute projects, including making 5 terrariums that would be displayed at the venue. I dubbed them the Endor terrariums because we placed tiny Ewoks inside amongst the ferns and succulents.

Cacá Santoro Photography

After the wedding, I didn’t have the heart to dismantle my beloved terrariums. Instead, some ended up in a box in the garage and one was collecting dust in the closet. But no more! I love repurposing old items and giving them new life. Since I made the terrarium almost 2 years ago, I don’t have step-by-step photos. But the steps are so easy, you don’t even need them!

STEP 1: Select your glass vase or cloche. You can find great options at the craft store. I found a vase similar to this one at Michaels in the sale section.

Glass bowl vase

STEP 2: Buy your greenery. I bought the moss, fake ferns and succulents at Michaels as well.

Moss & Ferns

STEP 3: Fill the bowl halfway with moss. Then place the succulents or plants of your choice in and top of the moss. I used 5 succulents for my terrarium but sticks, rocks, and other green plants would also look neat. As Rey first said when she saw Takodana,”I didn’t think there was this much green in the whole galaxy.” So when selecting your fake plants, go green! I also added a few ferns towards the middle and back of the bowl for height.

STEP 4: Add Maz and the gang! Place your action figures inside the bowl in and around the moss and plants. No need to secure them down with anything since the figures will be pretty secure once you nestle them into the moss.

Takodana website

And that’s it! Like I said, this DIY was super quick and easy. I placed our Takodana terrarium on our windowsill and I just love seeing Maz and the gang every time I’m in the kitchen. It’s not a screen accurate Takodana terrarium but it makes me happy just the same. I think it’s the perfect way to display these new action figures! May the Craft be with you! 😀

‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Meets Day of the Dead

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Every year on May 4th, fans celebrate International Star Wars Day by throwing parties, wearing their best Star Wars gear, occasionally dancing in the street, and of course, watching the famous saga. We also say, “May the fourth be with you” because, let’s be honest, it’s such a great pun! The month of May has been an important month for Star Wars fans since the original film was released on May 25, 1977. In fact, all of the first 6 Star Wars films were released in May. (It also happens to be the birthday month of the Maker himself, George Lucas.)

Opening day at Grauman's Chinese Theater, May 25 1977

Opening day at Grauman’s Chinese Theater, May 25 1977

I always look forward to May 4th because I love seeing all the artwork, crafts, and videos creators make in honor of this special day. This year, one of my favorite artists, John Karpinsky, has released a new Día de los Muertos collection inspired by The Force Awakens. Just in time for Star Wars Day! After watching The Force Awakens, John said he was inspired to start creating again and boy, am I glad he did! A few years ago my husband surprised me with 13 of John’s prints from his Guerra de las Galaxias collection and I’ve been a fan of John’s ever since! Here is some artwork from his previous collection:


I think John’s work is a wonderful blend of American culture and Mexican culture. It means a lot to me as a Mexican-American Star Wars fan. Death can be a scary thought but Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is actually a celebration of life. The holiday is a chance to celebrate the lives of family members and friends who have passed. In some ways, it’s a holiday that unifies opposite emotions—the sadness you feel when you lose someone you love and the happiness you remember when they were alive. Star Wars also unifies opposites—the dark side and the light side of the Force—as it’s characters try to achieve balance between the two in both themselves and the galaxy. Like Día de los Muertos, Star Wars also deals with life and death and shows that if you’re a Jedi, your spirit might live on in the form of a Force ghost. Coincidentally, the belief in ghosts and spirits is also a part of Mexican culture.


In my mind, John’s artwork captures both the spirit of Star Wars and Day of the Dead beautifully. His work represents the juxtaposition between the dark and the light which was also a theme in The Force Awakens. John Karpinsky’s new ‘Force Collection’ is a set of prints that features the stars of Episode VII—Rey, Finn (FN-2187), Poe Dameron, and BB-8.

Rey_Day of the Dead

Rayo de Luz/Ray of Light


Finn Day of the Dead

El Traidor/The Traitor


Poe Dameron Day of the Dead

Guerrero Alado/Winged Warrior


Diablo Hilatura/Spinning Devil

Diablo Hilatura/Spinning Devil

Every time I saw The Force Awakens in the theater, the crowd laughed and cheered when BB-8 gave his lighter thumbs up. It’s definitely one of my favorite moments from the film and I love that John paid homage to it and included a special little detail.

BB-8 lighter thumbs up

I’m absolutely in love with these prints. Their colors are so vivid and it’s fun to sit and look at all the ornate details in each one. A huge thank you to John Karpinsky for sending me this set! I can’t wait to frame them and proudly display them in my home! This new era of Star Wars has been an exciting time for all of us fans and I look forward to the many new creative works it will continue to inspire. Be sure to check out John Karpinsky’s Etsy shop to see more of his incredible work and/or to purchase 8×10’s or limited edition 12×12’s of these prints! You can also learn more about John and his story HERE. May the Fourth be with you! 😀

Making A Baby-8 (BB-8) Costume!

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Even before Star Wars: The Force Awakens was released in theaters, BB-8 was a star. His cuteness and big personality were undeniable, even though we had only seen him briefly in the film’s teasers and trailers. When he wheeled across the stage at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim, he rolled right into the hearts of Star Wars fans like myself. So for my daughter’s first Halloween, I decided to pay homage to that adorable little ball droid and make her a BB-8 costume!


Making the costume was a bit of a challenge but in the end, I’m happy with the way it turned out! I used fleece white fabric for the bodice and the panels were created using craft felt. For the sake of time, I simply glued the panels onto the fleece bodice. I added detail using a gray fabric marker.

BB-8 Bodice

The trickiest part was making BB-8’s round soccer ball shape. I lined the costume with the same fleece fabric and then stuffed the bodice with poly-fil stuffing. I sewed elastic at the bottom which gave the bodice a more round shape.

BB-8 Elastic

For BB-8’s head, I used a styrofoam base and decorated it with different colored craft felt. His antennae are toothpicks!

IMG_2686 (1)

The best part about the costume was that it still fit 3 months later! After all my hard work, I wanted to get the most mileage out of it so little Baby-8 made a cameo appearance in my We Got Enemies video!

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 8.44.41 PM

I can’t believe how much Lucia has grown since last October. I’m hoping it will still fit for her first birthday. I would love to see Baby-8 one last time before we transition to a toddler Rey costume! 😉


If you make your own Baby-8 costume, I would love to see your creations! Please tag me on Twitter or Instagram @JenniferLanda. Happy crafting!

How to Make a BB-8 Wreath

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Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

The Hothidays are here which means it’s time to deck the halls with all things Star Wars! For this year’s festivities, I was inspired by The Force Awakens newest droid, BB-8. Whenever I see that little ball whizzing across the screen, it always brings a smile to my face. BB-8 kind of looks like Frosty the Snowman, which makes him the perfect decoration for this holiday season. To make your own BB-8 wreath, here’s everything you’ll need!


I’ve joined the dark side.

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Website 1

Okay, okay. So I’ve only joined the dark side for the fashion but how could I resist when they have beautiful cape dresses like this? This dress is part of the new Her Universe collection at Hot Topic! They also have a BB-8 and Boba Fett bomber jackets, a sleek Darth Vader faux leather jacket, and a gorgeous Princess Leia dress coming in December. Thank you Ashley Eckstein for giving female Star Wars fans a way for us to express our love for that galaxy far, far away. ♥ Check out the full collection HERE!

Website 2



What’s Wrong With The Star Wars Holiday Special?

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What’s wrong with the Star Wars Holiday Special? I tackle that question in the first episode of my new podcast, The Jedi Beat! I’ve always been a fan of the wackiness that is the Holiday Special but I wanted to learn more about the history of how it was made. What were thinking when they decided to make half of the special in the Wookiee language, Shyriiwook? Joining me on this episode is my hilarious friend and writer/author, Bonnie Burton! She wrote a fantastic article in defense of the holiday special and she also brings a special insight since she worked at Lucasfilm for 10 years. Join us on this journey back to the summer of 1978! Listen to the episode HERE!

Star Wars Celebration Costume Roundup!

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There is nothing like Star Wars Celebration. Where else can fans gather once a year to experience all things Star Wars? From panels with Star Wars heroes like Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher to having a seat at the Mos Eisley Cantina, Celebration is heaven for any Star Wars fan. One of my favorite aspects of the con is seeing all the epic Star Wars costumes. It’s truly a place where creativity, craft, and originality abound! I couldn’t capture them all but here are some of my favorite costumes from Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim!




This cosplayer glued foam pieces to a walker, thus creating this clever Imperial Walker.

Imperial Walker



A ferociously cute take on that infamous creature from Hoth.

Lil' Wampa



Apparently bounty hunters don’t like having their picture taken…

Bounty Hunters



Jabba’s dancers bask in their moment of freedom from the Hutt.

Twi'lek & Greeata Jendowanian



By the end of Star Wars Celebration, I felt a little like this guy.

Death Trooper



This cosplayer took a more feminine approach to her Ewok costume. It’s Yub Nub chic!




In other Endor news…you can’t repel cuteness of this magnitude.

Baby Ewok\


This costume was operated by two cosplayers on stilts inside the AT-AT’s legs. It was pretty incredible watching the AT-AT slowly walk through the crowd. The best part was when a tiny Luke Skywalker (attached to a tow cable) lowered from the belly of the AT-AT!




A fun mashup of Star Wars and Batman’s villains, Harley Quinn and the Joker. The only person who doesn’t seem to be enjoying himself is Bat-Jabba.

Harley & Joker



Even in the Galactic Empire, friendship is magic.

MLP Troopers



The Rebel Alliance’s secret weapon? Adorable baby pilots.

Baby Rebel Pilot



Because it’s never too early to introduce your child to the awesomeness of Star Wars.

Leia & Han with baby



Families that cosplay together, stay together.

Luke, Artoo, Leia



Ee chee wa maa! This giant LEGO Wicket is going to haunt my dreams.




The Justice League, Star Wars style.

Superhero Mandalorians



Move over Buzz Lightyear, there’s a new “space ranger” in town and he wields the power of the Force.

Woody Kenobi



The Mos Eisley Cantina set was well-guarded thanks to the awesome, Amanda Jean.

Amanda Jean Trooper



I first saw the Muppet Troopers at Star Wars Celebration in Orlando. Needless to say, I screamed like an Animal.

Muppet Troopers


Actress Milynn Sarley is so beautiful, she makes Barf look good!




Doesn’t everyone deserve the chance to join the Empire?

Short Stormtrooper



If you don’t feel like wearing a costume, this is the perfect way to make a Star Wars fashion statement.

Star Wars Mom & Daughter



A stylish and original take on Han Solo’s costume from A New Hope, complete with a Chewie backpack!

Hanna Solo 1 Hanna Solo 2



Clothing Designer Linda Heredia fights the Empire in style! She handmade her Rebel pilot jumper and her helmet purse was custom made by a friend.

Pinup Rebel Pilot

WIWT: Halloween Edition!

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Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been obsessed with the macabre.  Skeletons, taxidermy, Edward Gorey, and of course, Tim Burton have fascinated and inspired me.  I guess that’s why my favorite holiday has always been Halloween!  So for this year’s Halloween, I did a slightly different take on a Día de los Muertos costume…

Day of the Dead 1

Día de los Muertos is a Mexican holiday, celebrated on November 1st and 2nd, where gatherings are held to remember family & friends who have died.  It’s a beautiful tradition that includes building altars for loved ones.  Shrines are often decorated with sugar skulls, which are meant to represent the departed souls.  And while sugar skull makeup is more of a rare occurrence in Mexico, it’s become quite popular in American pop culture.  As a Mexican-American gal myself, I guess you could say my costume is a blend of both my cultures!

I love sugar skull makeup but for my costume, I opted to go with a more traditional skeleton look.  I found a fantastic tutorial on YouTube by Promise Phan that was the perfect guide.  Promise makes the application process simple, so even if you’re a makeup novice (like me) you’ll be able to do it.  All you need is white and black makeup, and some black eyeshadow for shading!Day of the Dead 2

I found my top and skirt at a local shop that specializes in traditional Mexican clothing.  I was thrilled to snag this beautiful orange skirt, that is actually a child’s baile folklórico skirt!

Folklorico Skirt

For my hair, I paid homage to my hero Frida Kahlo, and created a flower crown around my head.  I used craft flowers (from a party store) and then bobby-pinned them into my braids.


To complete my skeletal look, I hand-painted my tights with leg bones.  Here’s the DIY I used on how to make your own skeleton tights!

Skeleton Tights

I had a lot of fun creating this look and I especially enjoyed not smiling in pictures!  Ha!  The best part?  Having Jaime Lannister from Game of Thrones as my Halloween date.  😉

Halloween 2013

Hope you had a spooktacular Halloween!  (ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧


Breaking Bad Finale Party at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery

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Let's cook.

Let’s cook.

Heisenberg lookalikes walked around the cemetery as Aaron Paul happily took photos with fans in front of that famous RV.  The DJ spun Motown hits and classic rock tunes.  As the sun began to set, I looked out at the sea of fans who sat anxiously on their blankets and lawn chairs.  There was excitement in the air but it was tinged with a bit of sadness—though it had nothing to do with the tombstones lurking in the distance. For many fans, like myself, we were sad that our beloved Breaking Bad was finally coming to an end.  It was time to say goodbye—goodbye to the characters we had grown to love (and hate) over the past 5 seasons.

Hollywood Forever

So on Sunday September 29th, I, along with hundreds of other fans flocked to the Hollywood Forever Cemetery to bid farewell to Breaking Bad and watch the final episode of the series.  Aaron Paul and Cinespia hosted the special event, with tickets sales benefitting the Kind Campaign, an anti-bullying non-profit founded by Lauren Paul, Aaron Paul’s wife.  The event sold out in just 32 seconds and had people selling extra tickets on Craigslist and eBay for $700-$1000.  In fact if it hadn’t been the kindness & generosity of my dear friend Aimee (who gave me her tix), I wouldn’t have been able to attend!  As Bryan Cranston later joked about the cemetery screening, “people are dying to get in here!”

When we first arrived at the cemetery, I couldn’t believe the line of people that wrapped around the block.  People had been waiting for hours before the gates opened at 6:30pm.  I later found out that a group of people at the very front of the line had camped out all night for their precious spot!   While we waited in the bike line, I spotted this awesome group of cosplayers.

Walt, Hank, Jesse, and the Pink Teddy Bear!

Walt, Hank, Jesse, and the Pink Teddy Bear!

Whether they were dressed as Hank or the Pink Teddy Bear,**  I loved seeing all the fans cosplaying as their favorite characters.  My boyfriend even brought out his Heisenberg costume for the night!


“I am the one who bikes.”

Once inside, we immediately made our way to the show’s famous “Krystal Ship” RV, which was parked for photo ops.  As we got closer to the line, I gasped with delight—it was Aaron Paul himself posing for pictures with fans!  He seemed very gracious and happily posed for several photos.  He then thanked everyone, said goodbye, and as he quickly tried to exit, a swarm of fans and photographers followed him.

Aaron Paul and Fan


Fan Mob

Move out of the way, yo!

A few minutes later, I spotted two other familiar faces…Skinny Pete and Badger!

Badger, Skinny Pete, and Fans

I was really excited to meet Charles Baker, who plays Skinny Pete.  He and Badger bring a great energy and comedic sensibility to the show.  Baker is also a talented pianist and accomplished theatre actor.  There’s a fantastic article in the Hollywood Reporter on how different he is from the character he portrays.

Skinny Pete

If you’re wondering why I’m wearing a blue wig, it was my homage to the “Blue Sky” on the show.  I didn’t have enough time to put together a costume so I threw on the wig and turned a plastic baggy into a hair bow.  I also didn’t have any blue rock candy on hand so I filled the baggy with blue jello mix.  The consistency looked nothing like rock crystals but at least the color looked accurate!

99.1% pure. Jello, that is.

99.1% pure.  Jello, that is.

Larry Hankin, who played Old Joe the junkyard owner, was also there for the screening & party.  When he saw my boyfriend he exclaimed, “Hey, it’s Bryan!”

Heisenberg & Junkyard Owner

At around 8pm, a screening of the pilot episode was about to begin.  Suddenly, an RV (just like the Krystal Ship) drove up to the side of the stage and parked.  With smoke billowing from it’s top, the RV door opened and out came Aaron Paul, RJ Mitte (Walt Jr.) and Giancarlo Esposito (Gus Fring)!  All wearing yellow hazmat suits, they took the stage to thunderous applause.  Aaron Paul thanked everyone for supporting Breaking Bad and the Kind Campaign.  Then he perfectly commenced the screening by saying, “yeah bitch.  Yeah science.  Yeah Breaking Bad.  Let’s do this!”

Aaron Paul

I hadn’t seen the pilot episode in years so it was really interesting to see how much the show has evolved and how far these characters have fallen.  At around 9:30pm, Aaron Paul and Vince Gilligan (the show’s creator) took to the stage to introduce the final episode of Breaking Bad.  Paul then welcomed Bryan Cranston, who had just flown in from Boston!

Bryan Cranston

Cranston thanked everyone for attending the screening and for supporting the Kind Campaign—which raised $1.8 million dollars for the event.  “With 1.8 million you can take a helluva a trip to Belize!” Cranston joked, in reference to the “Buried” episode from Season 5.**

Vince, Bryan, Aaron

It’s clear that both on and offscreen, Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul have incredible chemistry.  (No pun intended.)  Cranston shared that Paul is, “a man who always understands the blessings in life and how lucky we are.”  Regarding Paul’s work ethic on set, Cranston said, “he is a person who is always willing to do the extra work.  Always willing to be there for you and to give 100%, even when he’s off camera.”  Cranston then looked at Paul and said, “as good as you are an actor, you’re an even better person.  I love you.”  Cranston and Paul hugged as the audience cheered wildly.

Then the final episode of Breaking Bad began!  I won’t share any spoilers for those of you who aren’t caught up on the season yet.  I will say that watching the finale with hundreds of other Breaking Bad fans was a fantastic communal experience.  We all cheered, gasped, and got weepy at the same key moments in the episode.  And as the final credits began to roll, we leapt to our feet for a standing ovation.  The show’s finale truly delivered and after 5 epic seasons, Breaking Bad ended exactly as it should have.  Bravo!

Breaking Bad Cast

The night ended with a Q&A session led by Jimmy Kimmel, featuring Cranston, Paul, Vince Gilligan, RJ Mitte, Giancarlo Esposito, Bob Odenkirk (Saul), and Jonathan Banks (Mike).  All the actors expressed how lucky they are to have been a part of such a special show.  “This is as good as it gets,”  Jonathan Banks remarked.  Cranston spoke about the experience of working with the same cast and crew over the course of 6 years.  Spending 13-14 hours a day on set, “you can’t help but get intimate with these people.  These are family members to us.”

Since a lot of the Breaking Bad cast and crew were in the audience, Jimmy Kimmel invited them all onstage.  Before long, the small stage was packed with people hugging and chatting.  I even spotted Tuco and one of the Salamanca twins, Luis Moncada, who I worked with years ago on an independent film!  I got a chance to say hello and it was pretty cool seeing him surrounded by fans and signing autographs.  Congrats, Luis!

Blast from the past!  Me & Luis on set in 2008.

Blast from the past! Me & Luis on set in 2008.


And with that, the night was over!  At least for some of us.  The cast and crew headed to the after party, which was already in full swing at another part of the cemetery.  All in all, it was a night I’ll never forget.  It was fitting that my Breaking Bad journey ended at the cemetery that night.  I would have liked for the show to continue and I will miss spending my Sunday nights with Walter White, Jesse, and the gang.  I could go on and on about how sorry I am to see this amazing show end but instead…I’ll just shut up and let it die in peace.

Final Shot


**The Pink Teddy Bear is a recurring motif in Breaking Bad.  It first appeared floating in the White’s pool in Season 2, Episode 1.

**As a euphemism for killing Hank, Saul asks Walt, “have you given any thought to sending him on a trip to Belize?”.

The 2013 Geekie Awards!

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When it comes to awards shows, there’s only one place you can see the Joker fighting Hawkeye and R2-D2 rolling on the red carpet—The Geekie Awards!   The 1st annual Geekie Awards was held on August 18th at The Avalon Theater in Hollywood.  The multi-talented Kristen Nedopak created the show, “to give indie ‘geekmakers’ a place to shine and be seen by leaders and experts in their respective industries.”  I was honored to have been a Geekie judge for both the Arts & Crafts category and the Epic Cosplay Contest that was held online.

When Kristen first told me about the Geekies, I had no idea the mega-awesome show it would become!  Throughout the pre-show process, Kristen’s passion, enthusiasm, and genuine love for all things geek was admirable.  With her superhero work ethic and the help of a talented team, Kristen made the Geekie Awards show a huge success!  I attended the sold out live show and had an absolute blast.  This was an awards show unlike any other.  The stage featured the Starship Enterprise D Bridge, where guests before the show could sit in the Captain’s chair!  3D Cube printers served as table centerpieces and printed rockets & robots throughout the night.  The show itself was fun, entertaining, and a celebration of many talented artists & creators.  So without further ado, here are some of my photos from the festivities!


Alison Haislip was the official host of the show and the event was broadcast live via Ustream. Haislip was witty, sassy, and the perfect emcee for the night.


Seth Green presented Stan Lee with the Lifetime Achievement Award.


As part of his acceptance speech, Lee sang an Ode to Geeks to the tune of “Yankee Doodle Dandy”.


Grant Imahara got #VandalEyes from fellow presenter, Bonnie Burton!


Best Geekie Art/Craft winner The Pumpkin Geek.


An exciting moment was seeing the Slumber Con promo on the big screen during the commercial break!


Andre Meadows did a little dance while singing a song to the sponsors (composed by George Shaw).


Cosplayers like Shea Standefer (as Daeneryrs Targaryen) appeared onstage as award bearers.


Geekies Creator/Executive Producer, Kristen Nedopak, gave a shout out to her mom!


Alison Haislip raised her glass to a successful show!


On the red carpet with my friend (and Slumber Con partner), Stephanie Thorpe!


Each VIP table had a Cubify 3D printer that made a Geekie memento which guests could take home!


Wingardium Leviosa! A Harry Potter pumpkin carved by the Pumpkin Geek.


My buddy & favorite YouTuber Andre Meadows of Black Nerd Comedy!


Dina Kampmeyer in her stunning Maleficent cosplay.


In honor of the special occasion, I made a gold R2-D2 clutch and wore my LEGO Ewok earrings.


Thanks Kristen Nedopak and the entire Geekie team for a night to remember!  For more photos and video from the show, be sure to check out The Geekie Awards Facebook page!


2013 Geekie Awards Winners:

Best Geekie Arts & Crafts:  “One Pumpkin to Rule Them All…” by The Pumpkin Geek

Best Geekie Comics & Graphic Novel:  COLONUS

Best Geekie Crowdfunded:  The Goon (on Darkhorse Comics)

Best Geekie Podcast:  A Podcast of Ice and Fire

Best Geekie Retail Store & Website:  The Nerd Machine

Best Geekie Short Film:  Undying Love

Best Geekie One Shot:  The Record Keeper for

Best Geekie Web Series:  Cosplay Piano

Best Toys & Games:  Takenoko