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Kristina Manente

Travel, Culture, & Nerdy Writer

Location icon United States

Kristina Manente is a freelance journalist, travel blogger, podcaster, and all around audio-nerd with a travel addiction and a tea obsession. Her focus is travel, culture, music, and anything geeky.


Most Recent

Nerdy Jobs: The writers who craft D&D and Magic: The Gathering's stories

It's not hard to appreciate the rich and mesmerizing lore and worlds of Dungeons and Dragons and Magic: The Gathering. These games are always changing, adapting, and bringing new stories, characters, and mechanizations to our tables. The people involved in that are plentiful, but who is it that actually writes these stories?

When fanfiction gets so popular, it spurs its own fandom (and babies)

Once the stuff of underground zines, fanfiction has become a massive genre with many subgenres unto itself. They may be continuations, divergent plot lines, or simply tales from within that world. Maybe it's a coffee shop alternate universe or an AU in which the characters are in a war scenario a la " Two Two One Bravo Baker."

Black Panther has had a lasting effect on Busan, South Korea

When Marvel announced that Black Panther would film in Busan, the second largest city in South Korea, it was a big deal. Seoul tends to get all the major movie contracts like Star Trek Beyond, The Bourne Legacy, and Colossal.


Small, but mighty: How local cons are made

For nerds, attending conventions to celebrate stuff they love is one of life's greatest joys. There is little better in this world than geeking out about the latest season of a show with another fan, or seeing people dressed as your favorite character.

5 ways to get your Sherlock Holmes fix without seeing the stinko Ferrell-Reilly movie

After a century and a half of solving crimes and huffing speed, Sherlock Holmes has near-universal name recognition in the English-speaking world. His adventures and mysteries are ingrained into our being from a young age. Every few years a new Holmes comes to our screens, be it Jeremy Brett in the much famed Granada Sherlock Holmes series, or Benedict Cumberbatch's whirlwind Holmes in Sherlock.

VRV Blog
Anne Kirn's Wonderful World of Puppets

It's smile time in The Adventure Zone People create all sorts of things to celebrate the things they love-fanart, fanfiction, cosplay, jewelry, even mock trailers and video games. All these things are wonderful, love-filled expressions of creativity, but occasionally something comes along that makes you gasp in utter delight at the uniqueness and sheer awesomeness...

Would Harry have chosen Pikachu? A magical starter Pokémon exploration

With the drop of the Detective Pikachu trailer and the release of the Fantastic Beasts sequel, I've been in a Pokémon and Harry Potter state of mind. So, of course, I had to combine them. I got to thinking, what Pokémon would Harry have chosen if Hogwarts was Pallet Town and Professor Dumbledore was Professor Oak?

Cooking Sherlock Holmes' favorite foods

Sherlock Holmes and food is an odd pairing. When on a case, the Consulting Detective notoriously doesn't eat, believing it slows down his mental faculties. In BBC's Sherlock, we mostly see the man subsist on tea (and the rogue mince pie) alone.

VRV Blog
Becoming the Happy Mask Salesman

When your cosplay gets mistaken for an HD remake screenshot, you know it's good. And that's exactly what happened to Geina, aka PokuriMio. Her Legend of Zelda Happy Mask Salesman cosplay is so accurate, so lifelike, that those who saw it simply had no choice other than to believe Nintendo was re-releasing Majora's Mask on the...

7 chilling horror podcasts to listen to this Halloween

Everyone has a podcast. It's the new "I'm in a band." While it might be easy to roll your eyes at such a thing, it simply means there are a plethora of podcasts to go around. Pros and amateurs alike are crafting tales, narratives, and full-blown audio dramas, making #AudioDramaSunday a must-follow.

VRV Blog
Fun, Games, and Doctors: Debriefing New York Comic Con

It's now been a few days since New York Comic Con came to a close, and my body, soul, and mind have mostly recovered. There's something about these massive conventions that truly kicks your feet out from beneath you while also making you feel delighted about it.
Harry Potter: A History of Magic

Harry Potter: A History of Magic , the British Library's most successful exhibition, opened at the New-York Historical Society on Friday, Oct. 5. In a celebration of the 20th anniversary of the U.S. publication of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone , this exhibition showcases everything from original artwork and pages from J.K.

VRV Blog
The Elementary School Teacher Who Made Hogwarts Come to Life

Picture this: you're going into the third grade, and two weeks before school starts you get a letter. But not just any letter-a letter from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. For many children, that would be the beginning of a beautiful dream. But for Tressa Bargella's students, it was the real start of their...

Why you should watch Japan's answer to Sherlock Holmes, now on HBO

Robert Downey Jr. went over the Reichenbach Falls in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows nearly seven years ago. BBC Sherlock is more or less over, with its leads locked into Marvel contracts for the foreseeable future and the showrunners off modernizing Dracula.

10 LGBTQ+ anime that you need to watch now

The world of anime is a diverse one, as the medium tells just as many deep, socially relevant and important stories as it does light heart-eyed or action-packed fare. What may surprise many who aren't terribly familiar with anime is the wealth of LGBTQ+ focused series out there.

VRV Blog
Meet the Sherlock Holmes Fan Who Built His Own 221B Baker Street

Fans create amazing things. They collect, they build, and they show their love and appreciation in a beautiful myriad of ways. Whether they have the world's largest Hatsune Miku figurine collection or are trying to build every Doctor's TARDIS, fan collections and creations are simply marvelous.

Geek Road Trip: The geekiest bars across America (and Canada)

Anyone who has ever been to a convention or LAN party knows that geeks can drink. However, now there are actual bars catering to the geek community. From Brooklyn to Austin to L.A., there's nerdy dives and bars with board games, video games, and heated debates of Marvel vs.

Grok Nation
Our favorite cosplay from San Diego Comic-Con | Grok Nation

From Deadpool dressed as Bob Ross to a Hawaiian Stormtrooper, people let their costume creativity fly this year Cosplay is one of the hallmarks of any fan convention. Cosplay, a.k.a. costume play, started back in the '60s and '70s at science-fiction conventions.

Grok Nation
Jodie Whittaker takes the Comic-Con stage as first Doctor Who-we react

Reactions before and after the first female Doctor's appearance indicate that the future is female-and we all like it that way The line for the panel at San Diego Comic-Con started on Tuesday morning, a full two days before the cast would take the stage in front of 6,000 Hall H attendees.

Jurassic Park and Other Theme Park Rides About to Go Extinct

The world turns and things change. It's a fact of life, and sadly one for theme park rides as well. While ride updates are a good thing from a safety standpoint, seeing one's childhood memories revamped or demolished kind of hurts.

Ranking the Best Disney Parks From Personal Experience

People are serious about their Disney . Whether you're an annual pass holder or a Disney movie aficionado, everyone has an opinion about the best that Disney has to offer. As someone who has been to all of the Disney parks around the world, I have a few opinions of my own, including which is the best Disney park.

Very Nerdy Curly
What to Expect from TNT's The Librarians

I can tell you right now, there is no show I am more excited about than TNT's The Librarians. Think of Indiana Jones meets Supernatural meets a bottle of tequila, and you've got The Librarians. A group of genius and gifted misfits including a math and science prodigy with synesthesia played by Lindy...

Why Magic Kingdom is The Best Park At Walt Disney World

With four parks to choose from, two water parks, and adult-only areas as well, the Walt Disney Resort is a monster of a leisure destination. How do you choose which park is worth your while? Park-hopping is possible, but not while also getting the full experience each park has to offer.

Very Nerdy Curly
Rebranding Drama for Harvest Moon Series

By Kristina Manente If you follow me on twitter, you'll have noticed I've been tweeting a lot about Harvest Moon as of late. It's a series of games that my sister and I have been addicted to for years, and it's easy to see why. They're farm simulations, and before you go BORING, let me...


Grok Nation
The best new K-beauty products of 2019

These ampoules, masks and oils should be on your beauty radar Famous for launching and popularizing skincare products such as BB creams and sheetmasks, Korean beauty has certainly made a name for itself globally. Even if you don't know what the steps are, you've probably heard of the country's famous 10-step routine.

You Can Adopt a Dog and Have It Gift-Wrapped at Barley Labs Tomorrow

Saving Grace Gift-Wrapping Fundraiser and Adoption Event Saturday, Dec. 15, 2:00 p.m. Dog-friendly bars and breweries dot the Triangle, but there's one that leads the pack not only in making Fido feel welcome (with dog beds and house-made dog treats) but fostering community.

Living 'The Bi Life'

Irene Ellis went from introverted nerd to reality show star on the UK's first ever bisexual dating show.

Grok Nation
Follow these K-beauty Instagrammers for the best tips, tricks and trends

Korean beauty products are all about long-term skincare; see what these influencers recommend The world of K-beauty can be overwhelming. Do you know your sheet mask from your molding mask? Your BHA from your toner? With Korean beauty booming and entering brick and mortar stores in the U.S., it's fairly safe to say it's here to stay.

Grok Nation
We picked our favorite Korean face masks for all skin types

Whether you've never tried K-beauty or are an avid fan, we've got recommendations Have you ever used a Korean beauty product? You probably have-even if you don't realize it-because K-beauty has basically taken over the world. South Korean beauty has become an international export so popular that Korean brands are now opening U.S.

K-Pop & Korean Music

SEOUL Magazine
Born In New York, Made In Seoul

When I walk in to interview K-pop group EXP EDITION, they are having a Korean lesson; notebooks are out, notes scrawled, and a patient Korean teacher was commending them for their work. Immediately my preconceived notions of the all-foreign boy band had been shattered. It was a very pleasant surprise.

SEOUL Magazine
For Jonghyun

On December 18, 2017, the world lost Kim Jonghyun, the main vocal of K-pop group Shinee, singer, songwriter, producer and artist. Devastated, distraught and searching for comfort, fans began immediately paying tribute to the man, bringing flowers, gifts and endless notes to SMTown at Coex.

Korea Magazine
No Ordinary Concert

A K-pop concert is a spectacle so huge, it must be experienced to be believed.

SEOUL Magazine
The Problem With Korean Music Award Shows

Music shows are plentiful in Korea. Award season makes this even more apparent as award show after award show is broadcasted and fandoms are pitted against one another in battles for awards that rarely end up going to who people voted for.

SEOUL Magazine
The Lyrebird Quartet & Volstead Monday Night Jazz

Seoul and jazz music aren't two things you normally associate with one another, and yet there is a growing jazz scene in the city. Hearing the dulcet tones of saxophones and upright basses usually requires a trip to a high-end bar.

SEOUL Magazine
A Breath of Fresh Air To An Old Art

The Seoul Opera Festival ran June 20 to 30 at the special outdoor stage at Cheonho Park and at Gangdong Arts Center in Myeongil-dong. The festival was a celebration of all things opera with eight different events, presentations and performances, all of which were utterly delightful.


The Mongol Rally: the Greatest Motor Adventure on the Planet

You must drive from England to Mongolia in a 1.2 liter engine car or less. You must raise at least £1,000 for charity. You are totally and absolutely on your own. This dangerously hilarious journey takes place ever year as part of The Adventurists' roster of insane treks across the world and is referred to as the world's greatest motoring adventure.

Meet Jeju: The Hawaii of Korea

Jeju Island is a hidden paradise not known to many outside of South Korea. Crystal clear waters, volcanic beaches, and mountains rolling along the horizon, this is a destination everyone needs to put on their bucket list.

Teach English: ESL
Why You Should Consider Teaching English Overseas

Teaching English overseas is a great way to not only see the world, but also to build up your resume, which could lead to a challenging and exciting career. If you're from a native English-speaking country (USA, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, etc), have a four-year degree, and an accredited TEFL certification, you are golden.

48 Hours in Tokyo

From robot cafes to ancient temples and shrines, the wonderful and wacky capital of Japan is a place everyone should visit at least once. With one of the best food scenes on the planet and a cultural heritage celebrated on every corner, Tokyo will delight the senses.

The Wonderfully Weird and Wacky Museums of South Korea

Every country has a rich history that is cataloged and presented through museums. It's one of the best ways to learn about a place and get a taste of the local culture, rich past, and unique eccentricities. While some destinations like to feature classic art and antiquities, South Korea likes to ...

48 Hours in Seoul

Insadong is Seoul's cultural corridor, filled with tea houses, historical palaces, and traditional homes running up the hills. Take Line 3 to Anguk Station and head to the exquisite Changdeokbokgung Palace. Make sure to see the 78-acre Secret Garden, only accessible by tour at 10:30 AM Tuesday-Sunday.

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