New Year, New Notes

Happy Belated New Year, fellow nerds! Thanks for your patience as NGN has experienced a brief, unplanned hiatus to kick off 2016. Hopefully the content I have planned for the next few months will be worth the wait!

Because NGN essentially started as the fulfillment of a New Year’s resolution, I like to use the New Year’s holiday each year to take stock of this site and think about how I can improve the experience for all of you who visit it. With that in mind, there are some fun things I want to set in motion for the coming year, as well as some information about returning features and—of course—my book!

Let’s start with the book, shall we? I’ve thought long and hard about my proposed February 1 deadline for letters, and I’ve decided to extend it to give us all just a little more time to finish (or start!) writing. Therefore, the official deadline for letters for The Fan Mail Project will now be February 29, 2016, at 11 p.m. EST. As you might have noticed, I’ve also tweaked the book’s tentative title because “Fan Mail” on its own was starting to feel a little too generic. As always, if you have any questions at all about this project or need any kind of encouragement, don’t hesitate to comment here, tweet me (@nerdygirlnotes), or send me an email. And finished letters can be emailed to

There are plenty of awesome female characters still waiting to have letters written about them: any of the Gilmore Girls, Dana Scully, Peggy Carter, etc. And in case anyone was wondering, you can write to a group of female characters, too. I’ve already received letters to the women of Jane the Virgin, Once Upon a Time, and Call the Midwife, and I’m planning to write my own group letter to share with you soon.

The Fan Mail Project is developing into something special, and I’d love for anyone who wants to be a part of it to be represented in this book. So please don’t forget to share information about this project with your friends and fellow fangirls/fanboys. Even if you don’t feel you’re able to contribute, one tweet or Tumblr post about it can go a long way!

Now, let’s get back to the business of NGN. I’m hoping to have both Fangirl Thursdays and my weekly Best Thing on TV posts back in their regular rotation starting next week. I’m also pleased to announce that I’ll be writing weekly posts about Agent Carter! Starting Wednesday 1/20, be on the lookout for my Agent Carter Moment of the Week posts here at NGN.

Of course, my Once Upon a Time posts will also be returning when the show starts up again in March, and those will be joined by my weekly posts about The Americans (which also returns in March). All of this content will be supplemented by additional posts in the form of my own letters for The Fan Mail Project, posts celebrating Once Upon a Time‘s 100th episode, and a few more surprises. It’s shaping up to be another fun year here at NGN, and I hope you join us for all of it!

Fangirl Thursday: Let’s Have a Love Post!

I can’t be the only one who feels like things have felt a little bleaker than normal in our little corners of fandom this TV season. Even some of the shows we turn to for escape, fun, and happiness have taken very dark turns. For a while, I was really letting the overwhelmingly sad tone of the media I’ve been consuming take its toll on me. But then I realized that just because the things I’m watching feel dark; it doesn’t mean I have to let it darken my outlook on everything. It’s even more of a reason to shine whatever light I have more brightly.

As such, I’ve decided it’s time to spread a little love and joy at the start of the holiday season. And what better way to do that than an old-fashioned LOVE POST!

If any of you are or were active on LiveJournal at some point in your fandom history, you might know what love posts are all about. If not, here’s a quick rundown of the very basic rules of the game: Make a comment on this post with your username (and things like your Twitter or your Tumblr URL if you feel like people might know you better by those identifiers). Then, sit back and let others reply, telling you how much and why they love you. Finally, share the love! Reply to your friends’ comments on this post and tell them how awesome you think they are, or finally tell that one commenter you really respect how insightful you think their thoughts are.

Love posts are a great way to make new friends and strengthen existing fandom friendships (I think I owe LJ love posts a lot for allowing Heather and I to grow as close as we are today).

I’ll kick off the comments to show you how to get things started, and I hope this post is filled with love and happiness by the end of the day. Let’s have some fun today making the world a brighter place—one virtual hug at a time.

I love you Winston

10 Things I Learned at NYCC


This year, I had the pleasure of being a part of the biggest gathering of nerds on the East Coast: New York Comic Con (NYCC). After hours spent waiting in a virtual queue last spring for tickets, months of extensive trip research (aka asking people where the best place to get cheesecake is—for the record it’s Junior’s in Times Square), and a very early flight from Buffalo to NYC, my equally nerdy best friend Mary and I finally made it through the doors of the Javits Center and into fangirl paradise.

I’d never been to a real convention before NYCC. Star Wars Weekends in Walt Disney World is similar in some ways but very different in others, so this was an entirely new experience for me. And it’s one I hope to have again as soon as possible. The early mornings, long lines, sore feet, and big credit card bills were all worth it when I look back on the experience I had. To be a part of an environment that isn’t just friendly toward nerds but created specifically for people like us was incredible, and it’s something I think every fangirl and fanboy should experience at least once in their lives.

I expected to have a lot of fun at NYCC, but I didn’t expect to learn as much as I did—not just about the con-going experience but about my own relationship with fandom and my place in it as a writer (forgive me for getting a tad bit introspective/sentimental). So here—in no particular order—are 10 things I learned during my time at NYCC that I wanted to pass on to my fellow nerdy girls (and nerdy guys).

1. It pays to be patient.
The theme of much of my NYCC experience was “Hurry Up and Wait.” Thankfully, years of Disney World trips have taught me how to handle waiting in crazy lines, but there were still more than a few moments at NYCC that tested my patience. Lines to get into panels felt like they went on forever, and the line to get into the convention on Friday morning wound around entire city blocks. For rooms that weren’t cleared between panels (anything besides the Main Stage), you needed to get there at least one if not two panels before the one you really wanted to see to ensure a seat. But I learned you can use that time to have fun chatting with people around you, to catch up on the eating/drinking you will inevitably forget to do during the day, and to enjoy some quality people-watching. And at least from my experience, once the lines start moving, they move very quickly; while it may feel like you’ve spent so much time at the convention standing in line, it was actually a small fraction of your day. So if you ever find yourself faced with a crazy con line, just remember that the experience waiting at the end of that line will be worth it. Patience is a virtue, fellow nerds.

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You Were Never on Your Own: What a One Direction Concert Taught Me About Fandom

Sometimes inspiration strikes in the most unexpected a One Direction Concert.

Sometimes inspiration strikes in the most unexpected places…like a One Direction Concert.

I went to a One Direction concert last week, and it was one of the most inspiring things I’ve done in a long time.

I know—it’s probably strange to hear a 27-year-old woman describe a boy band concert as “inspiring,” but my experience was less about what was happening onstage and more about what was happening in the crowd. Yes, those boys from Britain were quite charming and talented, and they put on a heck of a show. But for me as a woman interested in fandom and how we engage with the things we love, the best thing about that concert was watching the preteen and teenage girls around me scream, cry, dance, and hug their fellow fangirls through every song.

Teenage girls can’t catch a break. They’re hardwired to care about things with a single-minded intensity that leads many to label them “crazy” or “silly” for feeling things as strongly as they do. And then when they take in what the world is saying about their impassioned reactions to things, they start to clamp down on their enthusiasm, and the world then labels them “vapid” or “shallow” because of how little they seem to care. It’s a vicious cycle designed to do nothing but make these girls feel bad about themselves.

So it brought me immense joy to see thousands of girls and women unashamedly expressing the fullest extent of their enthusiasm last Thursday night at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo, New York, from the moment One Direction came onstage until long after the last encore had finished. I’ve seen that stadium filled with Buffalo Bills fans on Sunday afternoons for years, and this was no different—thousands of people joining together to cheer and share their excitement over something they love. People just want to make it something different because sports fandom is generally the realm of adult men, while boy band fandom is the realm of young women. And it doesn’t take a genius to figure out which group of not-so-different fans gets more respect from the world at large.

It was nice—for one night at least—to watch young women express whatever emotions they were feeling in the moment without having to explain them, apologize for them, or feel self-conscious for feeling as strongly as they do about things. And it was because they knew they weren’t alone. They were surrounded by other young women who were feeling those same feelings just as strongly as they were. They had hands to hold while they jumped up and down, people to dance with, and friends (new and old) to hug as they shared their overwhelming joy.

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Fangirl Thursday: Nerdy Girl Housekeeping Notes

With the fall TV season right around the corner (Look for a post new week breaking down the shows I’ll be watching!), it feels like the right time to get a couple of general housekeeping notes out of the way. This season is going to bring about some changes in how things run around here at NGN, so let’s get down to business!

First, I wanted to take a moment to thank all of you who’ve sent in letters so far for the book I’m working on. I’m not exaggerating when I say I’ve been moved to tears while reading most of the letters sent my way so far. Your enthusiasm, your honesty, and your vulnerability are all incredibly inspiring, and I can’t wait to share these letters with the world.

With that being said, it’s not too late to start writing a letter (or more letters). The deadline for submissions is January 1, 2016, so keep (or start) writing! Remember, letters can be sent to, and if you have any questions at all, don’t hesitate to ask me in this post’s comments, on Twitter, or via email.

I plan to keep posting my own letters here, too—and that leads me to my next order of business. The posting schedule here at NGN is going to be a little different from what you’re used to starting in a few weeks.

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Virtual Hugs Are Still Hugs

Last week, one of my closest friends (Heather, for those of you who haven’t been following along on our adventures via Twitter) came to stay with me for a few days. We did plenty of sightseeing, went to the mall, and ate a ton of delicious food.

In short, they were the best three days I’ve had in ages. However, I’m sure there are people out there who thought it was weird that I was opening up my home to someone I’d only met once before. You see, Heather and I are what some people like to skeptically call “Internet friends.” We met through LiveJournal, grew closer through Twitter, and support each other now through our blogs. And for some, that means our friendship is inherently less valid than any we form with people we meet in person.

There’s still a real stigma around friendships that start in various corners of the Internet. I know that there’s the potential to be building a friendship with someone who is nothing like they seem, but can’t the same be said for friends we make in the “real world,” too?

I have a wonderful group of people I’ve met online whom I consider to be great friends. Some I’ve seen in person many times now, some only once, and some I still have yet to meet face-to-face. But what I’ve come to learn from my years in fandom is that friendship shouldn’t be measured by physical proximity or the number of times you’ve hung out in person. It should be measured by the experiences and pieces of yourself that you share with each other. It should be measured by the amount that you sincerely care for each other. And those things aren’t exclusive to friends who meet at school or at work.

If you take away anything from my writing, I hope it’s this: When we share our passions, we share parts of ourselves. And that’s what makes friendships that develop through fandom so special. I know that I share so much more about who I am when talking about the books, movies, TV shows, and characters that I love than I do when I’m just talking about myself. There’s a total vulnerability I allow myself when talking about fandom-related topics that I don’t always show under other circumstances. And I know I’m not alone in that.

Slowly, that sense of openness that comes with sharing fandoms with someone becomes a sense of real understanding. And aren’t openness and understanding the two pillars upon which all friendships should be built? The development from being two people with common interests to being real friends happens online the same way it does in person, so I don’t know why people feel the need to classify them as different levels of friendship.

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Two Years Later

I’ve always loved birthdays. They’re a chance to take stock of things in your life; to look back on the ways you’ve grown and to look ahead at all the possibilities the next year (and more) can offer.

Today is NGN’s second birthday. For a blog, a first birthday is great, but a second birthday is something to really celebrate. The first year is all about running on adrenaline, building something from nothing, and throwing things at the wall to see what sticks. But the second year—that’s when the fun really begins, but it’s also when the work really begins. The second year is about keeping your readers interested in what you have to say after the initial novelty has worn off. The fact that so many of you have stuck around means the world to me.

At NGN, this year has also been about discovering a real purpose. When I started this blog, I had no idea what it would become. For one of the first times in my life, I didn’t have a plan or lofty goals; I just wanted to write about what mattered to me. Since then, I’ve watched people gravitate towards NGN for its generally positive tone and the passionate but respectful discussion it inspires. At the risk of sounding cliché, I can’t find the words to describe how happy it makes me to think that this is what NGN is known for. The Internet can be a nasty place, so it fills me with a deep sense of joy and also a very motivating sense of purpose to know that people come here to talk about their favorite TV shows (as well as movies, books, and other passions) in an environment that makes people feel welcome and encourages sincere discussion.

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Thankful Thoughts

Today is a day for giving thanks, and I would be remiss without taking a moment to count my blessings. Running Nerdy Girl Notes continues to fill me with joy, pride, and a deep sense of purpose every day, and I am so thankful to have a place to express my thoughts and feelings about the media I love so much.

More than anything, though, I am thankful for all of the people who help make NGN something to be proud of. Sometimes, I look at other websites and am saddened by the negativity and nastiness found in the dialogue between fans. So I am incredibly grateful that NGN has become a place where people can engage in intelligent discussions that are conducted with respect for all opinions. I can’t even begin to describe how happy it makes me to watch this website grow into a place known for its positivity—because there’s already enough negativity in the world, don’t you think?

NGN is a reflection of the people who visit this site every day. I’m so thankful for each and every reader and commenter—your readership, your insight, and your passion inspire me to continue to make NGN the best it can be. And they inspire me to be a more positive person myself.

I’m thankful for every Tweet, Facebook Like, Tumblr post, and message board mention about NGN. I’m floored with gratitude when I think of how much love has been sent NGN’s way since this site began, and I appreciate everyone who visits this site and takes the time to talk so enthusiastically about it (and even make gorgeous things on Tumblr with my writing as inspirations—don’t think your beautiful work has gone unnoticed).

I’m especially grateful for all of my incredibly kind, supportive, and talented contributors. I feel blessed to be able to call you not only my cohorts but also my friends. I was lucky enough to spend time with both Leah and Heather (along with my graphic designer Nikki and fellow blogger/frequent NGN commenter Kelly) in New York City a couple of weeks ago, and I would like to take this moment to say they are even lovelier in person than they appear to be through their writing. On this day of giving thanks, I feel forever indebted to the Internet for allowing me to form some of the most inspiring friendships I’ve ever had.

I hope all of you who celebrate this day have the happiest of Thanksgivings. And even if you don’t celebrate the holiday, I wish all of you a day—and a season—filled with warmth, love, and an abundance of things to be thankful for.

Return of the Nerdy Girl

Did you miss me?

On Saturday night, I returned home from a blissful 10-day vacation in Disney World. I’m hoping to have all of my pictures uploaded tonight so I can write a couple of fun trip recaps for you over the next few days, including one devoted to the perfection that was my Star Wars Weekend experience (Three words: Darth Vader Cupcake). All I’ll say for now is that if you’re a Star Wars fan, you should try to get down to Disney World at least once in your lifetime for one of those weekends.

I have to say a special thanks to both Heather and Leah for keeping NGN running smoothly while I was away. And thanks to all of you who read and commented even though I was so distracted by all of the fun (and all of the food) in Disney World that I am criminally behind on replying.

Here’s a little taste of the fun I had to tide you over until I have time to write something longer. Disney + Star Wars + dancing = the best party ever. I can’t think of any better way to spend a weekend.

A Little Hiatus of My Own


I’m going to Disney World!

Tomorrow, I leave for a vacation with my family and one of my best friends for a week and a half in the Happiest Place on Earth. Disney World is my favorite place on the planet because it reminds you that you’re never too old to feel hopeful and happy. Plus, this year we’ll be down there for Star Wars Weekends, which is something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time.

I’ll be gone until the 15th, but I have a few posts queued up for your reading pleasure while I’m away. In addition, the lovely and unfailingly helpful Heather will be keeping things running over here while I’m gone, and the wonderful Leah will be contributing some writing (specifically recaps for Teen Wolf) while I’m away. I’d strongly suggest following both of them on Twitter for some thoughtful media commentary while I’m hanging out with Mickey Mouse.

If you are interested in my Disney adventures, you can always follow me on Twitter and Instagram, too!