San Diego Comic-Con 2013 Recap - Part 1

San Diego Comic-Con is the type of vacation that requires a follow-up vacation to recuperate, gather your thoughts, and find words to explain how awesome it is. While this was my third year attending, each year has gotten even bigger, more overwhelming, and more fun than the first.

To gather my thoughts and give a little insight into our nerd Woodstock, for 2013 I present my San Diego Comic-Con superlatives:

Best Way to Avoid the Crowds
Find Panels Off The Beaten Path!
A lot of the news that you hear from Comic-Con is related to events happening in the Convention Center’s largest rooms: Hall H and Ballroom 20. Part of my game plan for any SDCC is to avoid these rooms and their lines (3+ hours) whenever possible. While you may have that one television show or movie panel that you can’t miss, look at what you may be missing while you do your time at Line-Con.
This Comic-Con, I was able to see several exciting panels with zero wait to get in. One such panel was organized by the Costumers’ Guild of Hollywood moderated by Ron Perlman who brought together several high profile Costume Designers to discuss their jobs and what it is like to work on big budget films. This panel gave us a chance to see the newest Hunger Games trailer which had just been released the hour previous in Hall H and we left with one of our best pieces of free swag, a very large Hunger Games poster. This panel provided one of the best parts of Comic-Con, getting to see behind the curtain of the entertainment industry and it also gave us a chance to see some of the best costumes of the con from attendees who wanted to show off for the panelists.
While the bigger Hollywood panels are fun, 2013 proved the importance of being willing to seek out smaller panels and take in the sights.

Best Place For Gamers to Relax
Tied: The Nintendo Lounge and The Xbox Lounge

This year saw an expanded video game presence on the exhibit hall floor and the public premiere of the PlayStation 4. However, these booths had some of the longest lines throughout the Con as eager games tried to get their first turn on the next gen console and upcoming games like Watch Dogs and Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag. But gamers did not have to fear, because two other rooms had been set up for them in neighboring hotels: The Nintendo and Xbox Lounges.
Both rooms featured upcoming playable games, fun picture opportunities, and, most importantly, a way to relax away from most of the crowds. The Nintendo Lounge also offered the chance for 3DS players to gather street passes (check-ins with other games via their device), and I saw my street passes for our brief visit exceed 50+ fellow gamers.

Check back next week for Part 2 of my recap!


July Wish List

Gadgets are constantly updating, and so is our wish list. Here is the best of what we searched for July.

Emily G.-  As a photographer who shoots with my iPhone on a daily basis, I wear the battery into the ground before noon on most days. It sucks to have to choose between taking that last, super-epic shot or retaining one percent of battery power in case there’s an emergency. That’s why I’ve been itching for a Boostcase Double Shot hybrid battery case. Plugging into this bad boy would allow my poor phone to recharge one-and-a-half more times (it adds 150% more power), so I can shoot all day without worrying about running out of juice. The best part? It’s incredibly cute.
Kam- I want to be able to share video from the inside of canyons, in the backcountry of Yosemite National Park, from the boulder fields of Bishop, or as I glide through a lazy cove in a kayak. The new GoPro HD HERO2 captures both photos and video, including 11MP time lapse photography. I won't worry about my GoPro while I'm in the water because it's waterproof up to 60 meters! I also really appreciate that the batter is rechargable and I can either wear the GoPro or mount it to my gear.
 Emily- I recently got completely caught up on the Game of Thrones TV show (thanks to HBOGo) and I am in love with it. I plan to start reading the book series soon, but I figure the special features on this collector's edition set of DVDs and BluRays will also help tide me over until season 4 hits HBO next year. Plus it comes with a dragon egg paperweight and I can't imagine anything better than that on my desk.
Katie-  I have a problem when it comes to bags. No, not purses. Not little wallets. Functioning, awesome bags. Roughly every year, I have to get a new bag for all the garbage I carry with me on a day to day basis. Recently, I saw Kelly Moore bags advertised in a magazine and followed up on Amazon. Obviously, it's a little out of my price range (which is why it would be an awesome gift /subtle hint), but I love these. I like the idea of having a bag I can carry my camera and tablet in without practically wearing a sign that says, "I'm carrying hundreds of dollars in equipment! Push me over and take it!" 
Marisa-  I've got to have the worlds wonkiest eyelashes. They seem impossible to curl and some naturally point straight down. Instead of continuing to get frustrated, I'd rather just try out this Panasonic Heated Eyelash Curler. While I tend to usually avoid putting heated objects near my eyeballs, these have pretty good reviews and seem very user friendly. I'd love to try it out and put an end to my wonky eyelash misery.

Mandy- I'm not a huge gamer, but I occasionally run across one that sucks me in. If I'm lucky, there will be more than one game in the series (like with Mass Effect) so I can continue my obsession more a while. I recently started playing Dragon Age: Origins, and I love it. (I obviously have a thing for BioWare!) I look forward to continuing with the DA universe in the second game.
Nina- I’ve been having major withdrawal pangs from all things Disneyland related ever since my annual pass to the Happiest Place On Earth expired back in March. But this classy necklace by League of Shadows, which features the parasol girl portrait from the Haunted Mansion’s stretching room, would allow me to carry a bit of Disney magic wherever I go (and for a mere fraction of the price of a one day Park Hopper ticket)!
Aline- I recently found out that my allergies are a bit worse than I had previously thought and I have been looking into air filters on my doctor's recommendation. I have my eye on this Honeywell filter that is very highly rated and removes 99.97% percent of pollutants.
Beth-   This month I joined the ranks of Animal Crossing: New Leaf Nintendo 3DS owners. But while I do love managing my virtual town, I'm on the hunt for another game for my new system. Luigi's Haunted Mansion Dark Moon is the current top contender with great reviews and one of my favorite Nintendo characters.
Diana- I carry my Canon S90 for a small camera but sometimes I need more power like by Canon DSLR. The size plus taking all the lenses makes me think twice about carrying it all day, but now that Canon released the SL1, half the size and half the weight but the power of the DSLR, it's perfect for my lifestyle.
If you have an awesome gadget you would love to share with Gadchick, email us! submission@gadchick.com We would love to feature you.

FTC Blogger Disclosure- For our wish lists, we use affiliates. It's a small amount to pay for our issues and keep giving you awesome content. Thanks for the support!


Death To the Stock Photo

Even we are guilty of using stock photos for a couple of our posts and e-book covers. We're not professional photographers, and paying for mediocre work makes us cringe. The options out there are either awkward Wikipedia photos or hope we can find something in our iPhones that resembles what we need.

Cue Death To The Stock Photo.  Bloggers and photographers Allie and David collaborated on distributing their professional work for free. Use it as you'd like, however many times you'd like. Let them know how you use it and there's no need to credit, one of the many issues with stock photos- did you have to credit the photographer of the company they sold it from? It's freedom from stock photo rules with beautiful imagery.
If you'd like to sign up for your blog or your business for free, click here.


Player 2 Selected

We are back with some sweet unconventional engagements and wedding details Gadchick readers will love in our series, Player 2 Selected.

+ Susannah Bean is a blogger and has been dating her boyfriend for 6 years. He surprised her with an iPad Mini engraved with the question. Read more about their engagement story here. Congrats Susannah and Chris!

LinxMe Blog interviewed our director Aline for some advice on dating someone of the "nerdy" type. Besides being a huge nerd herself, her boyfriend is an architect who loves all things categorized under "nerdy". Read her advice here

I love love this Vinylmation engagement shared on Instagram via vinylamtionworld.

For more inspiration, check out our e-book


What We're Looking Forward to at San Diego Comic-Con

Starting next week, San Diego will be inundated with nerds, geeks, fangirls, fanboys, collectors, stormtroopers, and celebrities, all arriving for this year’s Comic-Con. The event still shows no sign of slowing down with huge panels and offsite events that would make any fan excited. Check out my list below of what I’m really excited for this year:

  • Video Game Sneak Peeks
    Last year, attendees were given the chance to try out upcoming games from publishers like Ubisoft, EA, and Square Enix. This year is no different with upcoming games like Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag and Rayman Legends being available for play, and two gaming lounges confirmed for Microsoft and Nintendo. Also, attendees will get a chance to see the Xbox One in action at the Future of Xbox Revealed where Microsoft’s Major Nelson will be demonstrating their new system.
  • Panels for Creators
    While Comic-Con is often best known for the celebrity panels and entertainment news, it is also a huge well of knowledge for creators seeking out more information on how to help their art succeed. Some panels that I’m excited about include The Pitching Hour where industry members go through how to sell a creative property, and The Next Chapter is Storytelling on how to build your audience.
  • Marvel News Overload
    If you are a Marvel fan, this year’s Comic-Con will be providing first looks at Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Solider, and that is just what has been announced. If the movies aren’t your taste, you’ll also have a chance to meet artists and authors, see great cosplayers, and learn more about the future of releases from Marvel.
  • Hello Kitty and All Things Cute
    I have a weakness for cute things that is demonstrated by the overweight fee I paid on my luggage last year when returning home. This year may also weigh down my suitcase because Sanrio is coming with a huge presence and The Hello Kitty Fashion Music Wonderland! Open to the public at PETCO Park, this event is an interactive extravaganza for fans featuring shopping and the premiere of a new Hello Kitty graphic novel.
Keep an eye on our Instagram and Twitter next week for glimpses of the chaos that is Comic-Con and let us know if you have any particular events on your wishlist for us to check out. Also, if you are attending for the first or fifteenth time, make sure to check out our past coverage for tips for enjoying the event or what to expect when finally there.


Getting the Most From IFTTT

The issues that have arrived with the growth of our online life have led to the development of amazing tools we couldn’t live without. E-mail spam led to e-mail filters, the need for digital game distribution led to
Steam, and IFTTT (If This Then That) has grown from a need to manage our complex and intertwined digital life.

(pronounced “ift” as in “gift”) is an online service that allows you to integrate your different social networks, subscriptions, and gadgets with each other in hopes to better connect and utilize them. Providing 65 different channels or supported services, IFTTT allows site visitors to build recipes or specific workflows working off of the logic: if this occurs, then take this action.

For example, let’s say that you wanted to receive an email any time Gadchick posted something on our blog:

  1. First, you would choose the option to Create from your homepage.
  2. The site would first ask you to choose your trigger channel which would be RSS feed.
  3. You then choose your trigger, either when any new feed item is posted or if a feed item matching your criteria is posted.
  4. The site then asks for the RSS feed you will be using.
  5. IFTTT then asks you to choose your action channel for what should happen after the trigger which would be Email.
  6. You would then choose your action, which would be to send me an email.
  7. The site would then ask you to confirm what the email should look like, before confirming your recipe.

While IFTTT can be intimidating at first due to all of the choices, a great way to get started is to view some user built recipes for common services. Here are a few you may want to check out as you get started
with the site:

This is a great recipe to check out if you want to backup your Instagram photos as they are taken

Always forgetting your umbrella? This is a great reminder recipe that can save you from a future downpour.

I love free stuff and anything that helps me in finding free stuff is definitely worthwhile.