Skip to main content

Nerdy Gift Guide 2018

I joke about it now, but while my sister and I were growing up we always felt a little behind the trends. Our bikes were often second hand - repaired by my dad and repainted by my mom. The year we got dollies, my dad made the wooden cribs and my mom handmade the dolls, pillows and blankets. Don't even get me started on the roller blades! My dad kept repairing them with safety wire and glue until they barely even resembled their original mold. I wanted new ones so bad that I *purposefully* accidentally left them behind the tire of our family minivan in the hopes they would be run over beyond repair. I did finally get a new set for Christmas that year.

But I see bits and pieces of this mentality bleeding over into my adult life - just last night Chris stayed up until 10:30 replacing bulbs on our 12 ft. Christmas tree because gosh dangit, this isn't rocket science! I can't claim to have as much patience as my dad for repairs or as much persistence as my mom with homemade gifts, but I do try to be meaningful in my gift giving. I hope you do too, because the world has never been more at our fingertips than right now! To help you with the nerds on your list I've put together some of my favorite {nerdy} gifts!

  1. Our real-life friends from Huntsville, Carla and Nick, have launched into the world of board game designing and already have several fabulous games on the market. For the nerd in your life, pick up Stellar Leap where players "earn prestige by completing missions, discovering new planets, increasing population and fulfilling hidden objectives." You will also find a special Nerdy April twist - since we contributed to their kickstarter campaign for the game, we were able to designate that Zara discovered the planet "Wonder" <3
  2. For the burgeoning nerd in your life snag this pint-sized Contigo, complete with Space Shuttle graphic. Zara always tells me she likes to drink out of her "wocket" cup.
  3. Pick up some Lego earrings for that special {nerdy} lady in your life. Or, if you're like my husband, make your own out of the millions of Legos lying around the house!
  4. Socks are such a thing lately. My husband quite literally refuses to wear "normal" (read: plain) socks anymore. So, there are stripes and sharks and astronauts on his tootsies all the time. But honestly, I'm not complaining too much because fun socks are easier to match!
  5. Big Spender. Ok, so this one is a little "out there". Omega has released an Apollo 11 commemorative watch - a hefty watch for a hefty mission with a hefty price tag. Pick one up if you want your husband's wrist to look as sexy as an astronauts'. 
  6. If you don't know the story of SCE to AUX, then it's probable you need to up your nerd game. The short story is this little phrase saved an entire Apollo mission to the moon (Apollo 12 to be exact). Show her you really love her with this appropriately nerdy light switch plate
  7. Rocket pillows are life in the Nerdy April house, I mean, who doesn't love snuggling up with your favorite outer-space vehicle?
  8. Rocket shaped cookies. Enough said. 
  9. Who doesn't love advent calendars? And Star Wars? And Legos? Even non-nerds can appreciate those things. 
  10. A good friend gifted us this nifty 3D printed moon globe lamp before Otto was born and it fits perfectly with his space-themed nursery decor. It also gives off the most beautiful, soft, moonlit glow during the night. Perfect for nerdy nurseries or nerdy end tables!
  11. Tea, Earl Grey, hot. This is the perfect gift for the Star Trek fan in your life! 
  12. Snag these dual purpose pens. Each Magnetip pen contains two powerful magnets so you can engineer your own pen tower if written inspiration isn't striking. 
  13. Use the pens from #12 to color the amazing graphics in the "Earth and Space Coloring Book: Featuring Photographs from the Archives of NASA". People, it's an adult coloring book of planets and stars and gas clouds. Get one!
  14. This "subtle nerdy" Milky Way rug by Lorena Canals is such a neat take on a sometimes predictable home textile. I love the simple color scheme matched with the unique planetary representation! 
  15. This is the top of the Nerdy April booklist for 2018 - Rocket Men. It's even more appropriate this year because Apollo 8, the mission detailed in the book, was launched 50 years ago this December. Remember that beautiful Earthrise picture from 1968? Read all about the risks we took at NASA and as a nation during the tumultuous year of 1968. There's a lot more to the story than just the reading of Genesis on Christmas. 
  16. This is one of little Zara's favorite toys - definitely nerdy toddler approved! It includes little astronauts, aliens and real countdown and launch sounds! Oh, and Zara sometimes pretends the middle section is an oven, but that's neither here nor there¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 
  17. Gear toys are so fun for little kids - engineer bound or not. We have an old set that was Chris's when he was a kid but I couldn't find a modern set that perfectly matched. This one looks similar and I'm sure just as many hours of enjoyment will come!
  18. Ahh, symmetry and geometry and office equipment. This James Webb telescope notebook has just the right amount of nerdy and beautiful!

A lot of bloggers do these roundups to make some money on clicks, but I'm not that cool, so rest assured, these are my honest-to-goodness recommendations/(wishes) for the holidays!


  1. You might want to add this dress to your list


Post a Comment

Who has two thumbs and loves comments? Nerdy April!!! Type one out and hit publish!

Popular posts from this blog

The road to curing Type 1 Diabetes

From the moment of diagnosis, the road is rough, the learning curve is steep and the stakes are literally life or death. The map is less-than-helpful - paths originating from virtually every corner, coalescing at a center point (aka "diagnosis") and bursting back outwards - some paths cross and wrap around each other but others are isolated. And even with all of these roads, most of the territory is uncharted - how did we all get here and how will we all exit? Where are the obstacles we haven't found yet? Which passage holds the key to unlocking the solution?

On any given day I feel pretty isolated with this disease - I'm the only T1D in my group at work, the only one in mission control, the only one in my family. I go through the logistics of calling insurance companies, ordering supplies, changing sites and troubleshooting malfunctions mostly on my own. Even those pesky carbs really only get counted in my brain, no group think for a meal bolus here. But there is b…


Last week I had the chance to mentor a newly certified ADCO trainee - the NASA process is called "Hot On-The-Job-Training", or Hot OJT. What makes it "hot" you ask? Well, essentially I am hands off - he is sitting at the console, working all the plan reviews and updates, making calls to other flight controllers and to the flight director, reacting to anomalies and preparing material for the shift handover. My job is to act as the fault tolerance - a backup ADCO of sorts.

Tuesday was his last official day and by Wednesday morning he was in the backroom sending commands to ISS in preparation for the docking of a three-person Soyuz.

The beauty of this system is the gradual buildup in responsibility. There is a subtle shift from student, to subject matter expert, to fresh operations trainee to advanced trainee and finally to certification and real-time operations flight controller - the process takes two years on average and is considered by many to be enough specializ…

International Travel with Type 1 Diabetes

Whew! Back from one international trip and on to another next week! I will admit my eyes roll every time I get the "we're gunna need to pat you down" talk at TSA, but international travel is a whole different animal. I thought it might be fun to see what goes through my brain and into my bags for these types of trips!

I wouldn't be a NASA Flight Controller if I wasn't good at planning, the key to international travel as a T1D is PLANNING!

3 months prior

Assess supplies. Mine come in 90-days supplies so I like to inventory at least 3 months prior and make a plan to order more early if the trip is going to coincide with the end of my 90-day stock. In my experience supply companies are usually pretty good about adjusting orders as needed if you tell them the reason for the early request - just mention you have an international trip coming up and want to make sure to have plenty of supplies (and backups!) in time. Request a loaner insulin pump. It's likely the comp…
01 09 10