Pop in a Box #9!

Yay! It’s finally another Pop in a Box! No exclusives this time around, but lots of cool stuff and a lot of variety! If you’re interested in trying Pop in a Box for yourself, please use one of these links to get 20% off your first order! —>
https://popinabox.us/?a=TobinHood (For US Subscribers)
https://popinabox.co.uk/?a=TobinHood (For UK Subscribers)
https://popinabox.ca/?a=TobinHood (For CAN Subscribers)

Ponies and Wizards and Godzilla, Oh My! (Funko Haul Time!)

Everyone has their hobbies and their little obsessions, and mine is a little (ha ha) line of collectibles called Funko Pop! vinyl figures. I love these little dudes, especially the ones based on my absolute favorite fandoms, and I enjoy sharing my purchases with my YouTube followers. But I don’t want to neglect you guys (love!), so today I thought I’d be lazy take a little break from the long posts and just share my most recent Funko Pop! haul. If you enjoy Star Wars, Minions, Harry Potter, and other awesome, fun stuff, you might just enjoy some of these little collectible cuties. Cheers! ^_^

Funko Pop Haul #5 (aka “What the hell is wrong with me?”)

Have you ever had a mild enjoyment that turned into a nigh obsession? That’s me and my Funko Pops. It’s really gotten ridiculous, and I definitely have to reign myself in someday, but it’s not going to be this day. Therefore, should you so choose, please feel free to check out the following video and send me enabling comments about how awesome all my Pops are.

Loot Crate Unboxing and Review for April 2015

What? A Loot Crate that’s a month behind? Yeah, I don’t know what’s up with that either. Unfortunately Loot Crate has been showing up a little later every month for the past few months, until finally last month it hadn’t come by the time I was leaving for out West. I hate when that happens, you really have no idea. But I can still do an unboxing and review anyway, because that’s just the way it’s gonna be.

Check out the video!

So, starting out I was a bit concerned about the tiny stature of the box, but it wasn’t all bad. Let’s take a look at the breakdown:

“Dungeons and Dragons” shirt: Now, on the one hand, a shirt like this can be a little disappointing because I have never once in my life even thought about playing Dungeons and Dragons. But on the other hand, it’s actually not a bad shirt, and since there’s no words on it, as far as I’m concerned it’s just a dragon shirt, so I’ll definitely still wear it. My ignorance may annoy real D&D geeks, but ya’ll can kiss my butt, ’cause I’m still gonna wear it. Standard t-shirt value: $15

“The Princess Bride” playing cards: This is one of those items that I have mixed feelings about because it’s a cute idea, but it’s also something that’s probably going to end up at the bottom of a drawer in my house. We don’t play card-based games often enough to get much use out of these, and a deck of cards can’t really be displayed on a “nerd shelf”, so there you have it. Regardless, this deck is part of a larger set of decks created through Kickstarter, and this one particular deck retails for almost $10.

“Dungeons and Dragons” bow tie from Black Tie Geek: This is another one of those weird items. It’s kinda cute, and I appreciate what Black Tie Geek are trying to bring to the table, but it’s not something that will ever get any use in our household. The previous tie we got was the standard style, and that at least has a chance of someday being worn somewhere, but no one in this house is going to wear a bow tie, least of all one covered in little dragons and dice. But nice try. Since Black Tie Geek’s website still isn’t properly set up, I have no way of knowing what this tie is worth, but based on similar items I’m going to go with about $15.

Inflatable Crown: At the risk of sounding grumpy, this item actually bothers me. Call me boring if you want, but little, cheap, junky things like this in my subscription boxes makes me want to scream a little. I’m paying for geeky stuff and collectibles, not for cheap children’s toys that can be found at the Dollar Store. And that’s the value I’m assigning this crown: $1.

“Harry Potter” 9-3/4 Bag Tag: Now this is more like it. It might not be as cool as a collectible that can be displayed on our shelves, but I can appreciate this item. I love Harry Potter, and I do a lot of traveling, so this item will actually get some good use. A thumbs up on this one, and believe it or not this bag tag retails at $15.

“Game of Thrones” House Sigils magnet set: While I don’t want there to be magnets in all of my subscription boxes all the time, I can appreciate the occasional good ones, and these ones are definitely acceptable. I’m a big fan of Game of Thrones, and these sigil magnets will absolutely have a place of honor on my fridge. The full set straight from HBO actually comes with 7 magnets for $12, so after doing a little bit of math we’ll say that this set of 4 is worth almost $7.

Direwolf Head 4GB USB drive: The best for last, in my opinion. I love this little USB drive designed for a direwolf head, also from Game of Thrones. Maybe I’m a bit of a loser, but for some reason I love USB drives, just like I love stationary and pens. Maybe it’s a writer thing, I dunno. Either way, I’m loving this item. I believe it’s a Loot Crate exclusive, but based on similar items and accounting for the size of the drive, I’m estimating a value of about $10.

Approximate total value of box: $73
Total cost to me: $37

So right off the bat, we have to address the fact that this was the highest value Loot Crate I’ve ever gotten, which is surprising considering that my initial impression was of a tiny box that probably didn’t have much in it. However, we also have to address the fact that many of these items retail for prices much higher than what I would pay. The deck of cards, for example, is cute, but I would never pay more than $5 for it. The bag tag is another example; I really like it, but I figure it’s worth $7 or $8 maximum. And the bow tie is another thing…it adds (at my guess) about $15 to the value of the box, but it’s something that no one in my house will ever use, making it’s value kinda negligible. That said, even when taking into consideration the pricing of everything, if you add up what I feel everything is worth, you’re still looking at about $50, which isn’t bad.

All in all, there wasn’t much in the box that WOWED me, but there were a few items I rather like, and the value was there. Long story short, I give a “not bad” and a thumb up to this box, and I’m looking forward to the next one (which will hopefully come on time!).

What did you think? Did you receive a Loot Crate for April 2015? What was your favorite item? Least favorite? Did you like the theme? Are you excited for May’s box? Please share!

Nerd Block Unboxing and Review for December 2014

It is the final Nerd Block of the year, everyone! Are you excited? I was pretty excited when it arrived in the mail, but was my excitement warranted? Let’s find out, shall we?

What did you think of the unboxing? Was it a good block or a bad one? Let’s take a look at the breakdown:

Hellraiser Inferno shirt: The first item in the box was a t-shirt, and I have mixed feelings about it. It’s not really a bad-looking shirt, but it’s based on one of the worst films in the Hellraiser series. As such, I’m going to give it a slightly lower “value” than I usually give t-shirts; let’s say about $10.
Harry Potter “Butterbeer” shirt: The second t-shirt in the box is more my style. It’s a much different kind of shirt than what I normally wear, but it’s still a Harry Potter reference and I’m actually a little amused that it’s red because usually all my shirts come in black, so there’s that as well. I’ll give this shirt the usual value of $15.
Gizmo plush toy: The adorable little gremlin from the movie of the same name is a welcome addition to this month’s block. He’s a well-made toy and looks just like the movie character, so the quality was there. Unfortunately there are about a hundred slightly-different versions of this toy on the internet so I can’t be certain that I’m finding the proper value for this particular one. However, based on my findings and the fact that it’s a very nicely made toy, I feel confident in assigning a value of at least $12.
Kre-O Dungeons and Dragons mini-fig: As mentioned in the video, I am getting really sick of getting these kinds of things in my subscription boxes. Every now and then is cute, but when they come in almost every box you really start to feel like they’re a super-cheap way of adding another item to the box. These little blind-bag expansion packs go for somewhere between $3 and $4, and I’m going to go ahead and assign it the $3 because, man, to hell with these things already.
Tetris notebook: I’m more amused by this than I probably should be, but that’s because I grew up with Tetris, and also because I”m a writer who can always use more notebooks. Lovin’ this cute little tetrimino-edged notebook, and if you’d like your very own they go at a cost of about $10.
Val Kilmer signed “Willow” print: Things like this are difficult to put a value on, but it’s made a little easier by the fact that it’s not really a “real” signature. Yeah, it’s Kilmer’s signature, but it’s a photocopy, which makes it effectively worth nothing. I’ll give a value of about $2 to the print, even though I’ve never seen Willow so it doesn’t really mean anything to me.

Total approximate value of box: $52
Total cost to me: $33

So in the end the final Nerd Block of the year wasn’t any better or worse than any of the other boxes I received throughout the year so far. The value isn’t bad, but a few of the items are annoying to me. I swear if I get one more building-block-brand blind-bag mini-fig I’m going to scream, and while some people might find the signed print cool, to me a signed print doesn’t really mean anything if it’s not real ink directly from the pen of the person doing the signing. Anyone can print out a photocopy, after all. But, then again, I love the Butterbeer shirt, the Gizmo plush, and the Tetris notebook, and those three things make up the cost of the box, so I guess it works out okay in the end.

All in all, I’ve had some ups and downs with Nerd Block since I began getting it in the summer of this year, and if I’m completely honest I was totally planning to cancel the subscription after this month. However my husband enjoys getting the boxes too, and he’s interested to see what they’ll be like when they start officially incorporating themes next month, so I guess we’ll be continuing to get them for at least a little while longer.

Gift Ideas for Christmas 2014: Toys Part 3

Do we have time for one more post about awesome toys? I think we do! So let’s get right down to it:

Play Doh Big Barrel


It’s confession time again: I have a love-hate relationship with Play Doh. I love how fun and creative it can be to play with, but I hate how messy it can be when you’re trying to clean up afterward. All those little play-sets that squeeze and squish the doh have all these little crevices that it’s impossible to dig the remnants out of, but you have to because otherwise it dries in there and the thing becomes useless. That’s why I like sets like the “Big Barrel” because it comes with stuff that is much easier to clean. For $22 you get the “Fun Factory tool”, 2 rails (which you attach to the tool to make different shapes), safety scissors, a roller, a plastic knife, 10 cookie-cutters, 2 “pressers” (stamps, basically), and 2 cans of doh. Add in a couple of extra cans of doh (or make some homemade stuff) and watch a kid have a blast.

Playskool Show Cam


There are a bunch of different kid cameras out there to choose from, and honestly the only reason that I picked this particular one for this post is because it was the first one that popped up when I looked on Toys R Us. But the point is that this is an awesome idea for a gift, so browse the options! Most of the ones I’ve seen are almost identical. This particular one takes both snapshots and video, and it has a build-in projector to show off your tike’s captures on any flat surface. It can store up to 1000 photos, and it is easy for little hands to grasp and use. I think they’re adorable because what kid doesn’t love doing things the way a grown-up does them? Plus you never know…they might just capture some awesome memories! At upwards of $70 it’s not a cheap gift, but it would definitely be a fun one!

Lego “Creative Bucket”


I don’t care who you are or where you’re from, I challenge you to find a kid who doesn’t have a blast playing with Lego. They’re one of those rare toys that can be enjoyed by kids of all ages, and their play can be customized to each kid based on their own personal likes and creativity level. In that way Lego is kind of the perfect toy. Now, granted, Lego sets can be pretty expensive, mainly because the sets are usually licenced things like Star Wars, Harry Potter, Halo, and Batman, but you don’t have to get the specialized kits for Lego to be a blast. One of the coolest Christmas presents my parents ever bought me was just a big bucket of loose Lego, and unless you’ve raised a technology-dependent couch potato (*cough*silentjudgement*cough*) I honestly believe most kids would still enjoy this gift. So my final Christmas toy suggestion? The Lego Creative Bucket, which is literally just a big bucket of 607 Lego pieces for $40. Oh, and by the way, when gifting Lego to your child, remember these wise words from Lego themselves:


What do you think of my toy gift suggestions? Do you have any suggestions of your own? What were your favorite gifts to get as a child? Please share!

Fiction Fragment Fridays: Planning for the Future


Since I’m a bit pressed for time these days, and I have to get to work scheduling posts for my next two weeks of work out West, today you get a fanfiction drabble from a short series of drabbles that I did relating to Harry Potter characters. This one is about the Weasley twins, who I loved for their tenacity. Enjoy!

Planning for the Future

Fred and George sat next to each other on George’s bed, each a perfect mirror image of the other. In each of their hands they clutched a list of grades, recently delivered to them from Hogwarts. The results were…less than satisfactory.

“Mum’s gonna kill us, you realize?” Fred pointed out.

“If we’re lucky,” George replied.

They stared at the papers in dread for a long time, until eventually they turned to each other with identical grins on their faces.

“Well, we knew it would happen,” said Fred.

“I guess it’s time,” answered George, “to start planning our real futures.”

A to Z Challenge: A Review

First, I want to give a bit shout-out to all those who are involved in the running of the A to Z Blogging Challenge. It’s got to take a lot of time and dedication to keep track of so many participants, making sure that non-participants are removed from the list, and ensuring that participants get the attention they deserve. Kudos!

Second, a double-huge shout-out to all my fellow participants who made it (sometimes kicking and screaming) to the end of the challenge. Some of those letters were pretty difficult, but you did it! You rock! 😀

Third, a triple-huge shout-out to all those who stopped by my blog during April and commented on my posts. I had some great conversations this month, met some cool new friends, and gained a number of new followers. I hope you all stick close by, because it’s been a blast, and I’ve been truly happy to meet you all. 🙂

The challenge has been a great deal of fun, and I got a lot of great comments on my 26 posts, so as part of this review I present a list of links to each of my posts in case anyone missed anything or is just dropping by now and would like to check a couple of them out.

Day 1: Ariel (the Little Mermaid)Day 2: Buffy Summers (the Vampire Slayer)
Day 3: Castiel (the Monster-Fighting Angel)
Day 4: Deadpool (the Lunatic Assassin)
Day 5: Eric Northman (the Viking Vampire)
Day 6: Freddy Krueger (the Nightmare Demon)
Day 7: Gau (the Wild Orphan)
Day 8: Han Solo (the Cocky Starpilot)
Day 9: Iron Man (the Smarmiest Avenger)
Day 10: James T. Kirk (the Star Fleet Captain)
Day 11: Kefka Palazzo (the Magitek Monster)
Day 12: Lisse (the Child of the Dystopian Future)
Day 13: Magus (the Lost Wizard)
Day 14: Neville Longbottom (the Heart of Gryffindor)
Day 15: Other-Mother (the Other World Evil)
Day 16: Peter Parker (the Spider-Man)
Day 17: Qui-Gon Jinn (the Jedi Knight)
Day 18: Ryuk (the Shinigami)
Day 19: Sherlock Holmes (the High-Functioning Sociopath)
Day 20: Tyrion Lannister (the Exceptionally Clever Imp)
Day 21: Usagi Tsukino (the Sailor Senshi)
Day 22: Victoria MacKinnon (the Lost Princess)
Day 23: Winchester Brothers (the Monster Hunters)
Day 24: Xander Harris (the Lovable Sidekick)
Day 25: Yuki Miaka (the Girl from Other World)
Day 26: Zelda (the Hyrulian Princess)

In case you somehow missed it, my theme for the challenge was “Fictional Characters”. Each one of these characters, even the ones chosen out of duress of very difficult letters, holds a special place in my heart for one reason or another. The TV shows, movies, comics, cartoons, and video games mentioned were overwhelmingly a great part of my childhood, and in some cases an incredible part of my adulthood. If you’ve got the time, check some of them out. You totally won’t be disappointed.

And finally, before I sign off, I wanted to share with you a couple of the blogs that I’ve come across during this particular challenge. I came into contact with so many awesome fellow bloggers this past month that it’s impossible to mention them all, but these are a couple of the ones I fully plan to keep tabs on even now that the challenge is over.

A Scenic Route – Kirsten is a fellow writer who blogs about her “journey into noveldom”. This month she wrote a wonderful series of posts with the theme “Backstage at the Blog”, in which she gave some wonderful tips, hints, and ideas for fellow bloggers, in addition to sharing info about her own blogging journey.

Sophie’s Thoughts and Fumbles – Sophie is a writer of many genres who uses her blog as a place to talk about reading, writing, all the topics in between, and whatever else she so desires. She is also the brains behind the mini-challenge that a few of us participated in in addition to the A to Z challenge: the Supernatural A to Z Challenge. She wrote about ghosts and ghoulies this month, and while I didn’t often comment on her posts because my WordPress reader doesn’t make it easy for me to deal with other blogging websites, I still thoroughly enjoyed reading about all the creepy creatures that she posted.

Alex Hurst – Alex is one of my favorite new people because she is fun, bubbly, and friendly, and we apparently have a great deal in common. The fantasy writer spent the month talking about different aspects of writing and being a writer. Her post “J for Jargon” cracked me up because so many of the definitions she came up with were SO TRUE.

I would love to share some more blogs, and perhaps I will in the future, but this has been such a busy month that I simply do not have the time it would take to go through all the wonderful blogs I’ve found during this challenge. However, if you’re really, truly interested in finding some great new people to follow, check out the A to Z sign-up list and just start clicking. There are literally hundreds of wonderful blogs amongst that list.

And now, with all that aside, I must say adieu, and take a much-deserved nap. Cheers everyone! ❤

A to Z Challenge Day 14: Neville Longbottom (the Heart of Gryffindor)


Fair warning, if you’ve never read the Harry Potter novels, this post is going to contain HUGE SPOILERS because there is simply no way to talk about this character the way I want to talk about him without having HUGE ENORMOUS SPOILERS!!! You’ve been warned!

I know I’m not alone on this one: I think that Neville Longbottom was one of the best characters in the Harry Potter Universe. Take it right from the beginning: he was an insignificant kind of kid, clumsy and unspectacular in any way, and super easy to pick on. He was targeted by bullies and teachers alike. Despite that, he takes it upon himself to stand up to his friends and House-mates, to try and stop them from breaking rules. He fails, but the point is that he tried to do what was right, even if it meant possibly losing some of the only friends he had. He is the epitome of a loser, as far as most of his schoolmates are concerned, but he has nothing but heart.

Moving on through the story, Neville is regularly picked on for a number of reasons and continues being clumsy and forgetful and quite plainly pretty pathetic. It takes multiple books before he even starts to find his niche in the school, to catch on to something that he truly enjoys and is good at. He’s regularly tested in a number of ways, dealing with family issues, a pretty depressing past, and regular problems with school work and the bullies that still hang on like leeches. He’s the underdog that you can’t help but root for because he’s just this sweet thing who constantly has the world spitting on him. He perfectly describes so many of us: he’s not perfect by a long shot, and he’s just trying to find his place.

Eventually we wind up at the conclusion of the story arc, and Neville, of all people, has taken a lead role in the fight against evil. He risks life and limb to fight for his school, his friends, his family, and anyone else who requires protection. Eventually he stands up – alone, I might add – to the biggest, baddest bad guy of all, looks him in the face, and declares that they will not stop, they will not give in, and they will fight for what is right because it is right, and that it doesn’t matter whether they have the Chosen One anymore because good will triumph.

Tell me that’s not a hero right there.