Nintendo Switch Now at the Vortex!

The moment you’ve all been waiting for! The Vortex is now the proud owner of a Nintendo Switch!

nintendo switch

Just a few of the games we have available are:

  • Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
  • Cave Story+
  • Super Bomber Man R

Soon more games will await you! Teens in grades 6-12 can try it out during our Vortex Open Game Play days! Just make sure you have either your school ID or library card handy to be able to play.

The remaining October dates for Open Game Play are:

Sunday, October 22, 3–5 p.m.
Monday, October 23, 3–5 p.m.
Sunday, October 29, 3–5 p.m.
Tuesday, October 31, 6–8 p.m.

Come join us to try the new Nintendo Switch!

International Games WEEK!

So, everybody knows that Halloween is drawing nigh, but what you might not know is that International Games Week is nearly here also!

International games week

In past years you might have participated in International Games Day. Well, a day of games was so much fun that we’ll be playing games all week this year! It starts on Sunday, October 29 and ends on Saturday, November 4. There will be video games, Yu-gi-oh!, an Escape Room, Uno, board games and even an after-hours session of Dungeons & Dragons on Friday, November 3 featuring gaming, snacks, and a live performance by Dan the Bard! Parental permission slips are required for the after-hours program so make sure to register soon and get your paperwork in.

You may notice that there is nothing planned for Tuesday.  That’s because Tuesday is Halloween and we wanted to give y’all a day off to enjoy the holiday. However, if you don’t have Halloween plans and trick-or-treating isn’t your scene, you are more than welcome to hang out in the Vortex to play a board game, create a game-related craft-on-the-go, or check out one of the games in our card game Maker Kit! We have three Yu-gi-oh! Decks, three Magic: the Gathering decks, standard playing cards, and Uno. Just present a library card or school I.D. at the Vortex desk to check out any of our new Maker Kits.

Game on!



Books for Healing

Last week, I lost a dear friend to cancer. Since then, it seems like everything I read is somehow related to death and grieving. Books do that sometimes.They know what’s on your mind. They’re clever like that. There’s something deeply cathartic and healing in reading about other people’s pain and loss. It reminds us that we’re not alone and that things will get better.

Perhaps, you have also experienced loss; maybe a grandparent has died or a friend has moved away or your parents have divorced or maybe you’ve lost your home or other material things. Loss isn’t always about death. Grief hits us at different times in different ways for different reasons.

Books can help. Here is a short list of books dealing with grief and loss.

The Boy in the Black SuitThe Boy in the Black Suit
By Jason Reynolds
Place a Hold.


Words in Deep Blue

Words in Deep Blue
By Cath Crowley
Place a Hold.


Things I’m Seeing Without YouThings I'm Seeing Without You
By Peter Bognanni
Place a Hold.


If I Stay (If I Stay, #1)If I Stay
By Gayle Forman
Place a Hold.


Goodbye DaysGoodbye Days
By Jeff Zentner
Place a Hold.


12700353Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl
By Jesse Andrews
Place a Hold.


The Way I Used to BeThe Way I Used to Be
By Amber Smith
Place a Hold.


The CrossoverThe Crossover
By Kwame Alexander
Place a Hold.


As wonderful as books are, don’t fall into the trap of wholly escaping into fiction while ignoring the reality of your feelings and experiences. Find a friend or family member you can talk to. Talk to a teacher or counselor. If you don’t feel that you have anyone you can talk to, try a hotline: they’re not just for suicide prevention. You are not alone.

National Hotlines and Helpful Links

National Hotline for Crime Victims
1-855-4-VICTIM (1-855-484-2846) 

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

1-800-273-TALK (8255)  [24/7 hotline]
1-888-628-9454 (Spanish)
1-800-799-4889 (TTY)

Jennifer Ann’s Group
Free resources on teen dating violence 

National Alliance on Mental Illness

National Child Abuse Hotline

National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs,
National Advocacy for Local LGBT Communities


National Runaway Switchboard

National Sexual Assault Hotline
1-800-656-4673 [24/7 hotline]
[hosts an online hotline]

National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline
1-866-331-9474 or 1-866-331-8453 (TTY)



Cosplay Tutorial: Styling a Wig for Fairy Tail’s Levy

Today you’re going to join me on a journey of how to style a wig to look like Levy from Fairy Tail!

It was a blue wig I had ordered from eBay several years ago. I’d share the listing with you guys but unfortunately my purchase history doesn’t go back far enough. 😦 (Hilariously, it was intended to be used for a Happy cosplay but the color ended up being perfect for Levy instead!)

If you don’t have a wig already, I recommend Arda’s Jareth wig in either Indigo or Cobalt Blue. It will just have to be trimmed to an ideal length for your face.

*Note: there is no cutting in this tutorial because I had a friend do all that messy goodness for me a long time ago. These are the steps after you have the hair at a length you desire for Levy.  


Below are just a few photos of Levy to give you an example. When styling a wig, you want as many directions of their hair as you can: front, back, side, etc. The more the better!

fairy tail levy mcgarden 2560x1600 wallpaper_www.wallpaperhi.com_17

Let’s get started!


Don’t have one? They’re pretty cheap at any craft store such as Michael’s! It’s definitely worth the investment and will be a place where you can store the wig once it’s done so it stays styled nicely and not ruin your hard work!


You will need:

  • Hairclips
  • Hairspray
  • Thread and needle
  • Sewing pins
  • A small piece of ribbon
  • Thick 2 inch orange ribbon (pick a style that floats your boat that’d suit the Levy look you desire!)

Step 4: PIN BACK SOME HURR (hair)


First comb everything out nicely to give you a base to work with. Remember with wigs to comb from the ends upward, this is to help not damage the wig fiber as you untangle any knots.

Now we’re going to GENTLY pull back Levy’s bangs before clipping them down.

I personally used two banana clips because that’s what I had on hand. Feel free to use whatever you’re comfortable with.



Once the hair is pulled and clipped back in a way you’re content with (it may take several tries of pulling back and clipping till you get it pulled back in a way you’re happy with), you’re gonna take your hair spray (I like to use GOT2B Freezing Spray) and SPRAY THE CARP OUT OF the pulled back area. Then wait at least 30 minutes for it to thoroughly dry.


Okay, your hairspray is dry. Time to be brave and remove those banana clips. I promise the hairspray will hold.

For extra security, I like to add a thin ribbon (the color doesn’t matter since we’ll be covering it up.) underneath where the main ribbon will be to help hold the wig fibers in place. Cut just an inch or so longer than the length of hair that is pulled back and lay it across to make sure it’s the right length you need.

Then grab some sewing pins, and put one in each end of the ribbon.

Then carefully and with teeeeeeny tiny stitches, sew across the ribbon from one side to the other. The smaller the stitches you can do, the better. It’ll hold more fiber down that way. I like to choose a color thread different from the ribbon and the wig so it’s easier to see what I’m doing. Again, colors don’t matter because we’ll be covering it up soon.


Okay, Levy’s hair is hair sprayed and sewed satisfactorily, now we can add the final ribbon! Just lay it over where the smaller ribbon is, and then tie it around underneath the neck area. It’s sometimes helpful to have another person hold it in place at the top as you tie it.



These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

When I was a kid, there was a feature in the Chicago Tribune Magazine in which minor celebrities would share some of their must-have stuff.  I generally didn’t know who any of the people were and sometimes the stuff they loved was just really stupid to my mind. (Like, who really needs pink-and-gold rhinestone lampshades? This is a must-have? Really?) Not trying to yuck anyone’s yum, but, obviously, *my* favorite things are way cooler!


Well, here’s my chance to tell you all about my “must-have stuff!” And here’s your opportunity to read all about them! Aren’t you thrilled?

  1. Special Effects Hair Dye in Iguana Green

It is the most vibrant and long-lasting dye I’ve ever tried!

Image may contain: 1 person, selfie and closeup

It’s so easy being green.

  1. Vanilla Latte from Collectivo Coffee (Milwaukee)

If you’re ever in Milwaukee, stop off at Collective Coffee.  Their lattes are beautiful and their gingersnap cookies are amazing!

Image may contain: coffee, coffee cup and food

nom nom nom

  1. Kittens in a Blender card game

Sounds horrifying, right?  Well, it kind of is. The object of the game is to keep your cats out of the blender while trying to turn your opponent’s cats into meow smoothies.

No, kitty, no!

  1. The Princess Bride film

“Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles…” I am not ashamed to admit I’ve seen this movie over 500 times.


  1. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

My sister gave me this book when I was in sixth grade. I read it so many times, the pages fell out. It’s no longer my favorite story, but there will always be a soft spot in my heart for Ponyboy Curtis.

Stay gold, Ponyboy.

  1. Sunflowers

My mother loved sunflowers. The summer after she passed away, sunflowers started growing in the front yard.

Just like magic!

  1. Russian Blue cats

How could you not love this face?

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  1. Good Earth soy lotion in Sweet Basil Vanilla

I love this scent. It’s sweet without smelling like you just rolled in powdered sugar. It’s earthy without smelling like your grandad’s cologne. The scent also comes in soap and deodorant.


  1. Juicy Pear Jelly Belly jelly beans

My sister says they taste like grass. I think they taste like heaven.

Let them eat jellybeans!

  1. Bernat Mosaic Yarn in Calypso

So much rainbow-y goodness!

A yarn-o-holic’s dream!


Tuesday, September 26: Injustice 2 Tournment

Have you been playing the new Injustice game since it came out back in May? Sick of beating all your usual buddies in matches? Join us for our Injustice 2 Tournament on Tuesday, September 26 at 6 p.m. in the Vortex!

injustice 2

Test your mettle against other contestants in one-on-one matches. The victor will receive $20 in gift cards to Target!

Sign up today!

Video Game Recommendation: Undertale

undertalePlatform: PC

Rating: Teen

Genre: Role Playing Game, Puzzle  

First Released: September 2015

Part of a Series? Nope! Play away!

Brief Synopsis:

“Welcome to UNDERTALE. In this RPG, you control a human who falls underground into the world of monsters. Now you must find your way out… or stay trapped forever.”


In Undertale, there’s three routes you can take depending on how you approach battles. There is Pacifist (kill zero enemies), Neutral (kill some enemies), and Genocide (kill all enemies).

I’m going through the Pacifist route as I’m playing and holy Hera is it hard. It keeps you at level 1, 20 HP the entire game because you don’t earn any experience to level up. You have to figure out each enemies’ quirks to figure out how to convince them to not want to fight you anymore so you can spare them. Sometimes I’ve had to run back many, many screens to buy more health items because bosses are too hard to get through without healing!

Overall, it’s super, super fun though! I’ve been really enjoying it despite its difficulty and the conversations characters have with each other are hilarious (Especially Papyrus’ terrible puns. I can’t get enough of those). It also has moments that you don’t expect to kick you in the feels. You’ll know them when you get to them.

(Quick note, make sure you have plenty of healing items before getting to the “final corridor!” I only have a few and I have to hope that’ll get me through the final battle. Eek!)

When you have 10$ to spare (or a really really awesome parent), I seriously recommend grabbing it on Steam!