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Ask Me Anything: The Dorky Diva Edition

May 21, 2018
Over the past few weeks I've gotten several questions about blogging and social media that all ended up with similar responses. Since I realized a lot of people out there want to start their own blogs, I thought this would be a great opportunity to share my experience in the world of blogging and open up an Ask Me Anything Q&A. You guys sent me questions in my Sarahah inbox and I'm going to answer them here! Most of these questions are about blogging and podcasting, but there are a few random ones that I wanted to answer as well. 


Blogging

How do you choose what to blog about?

When thinking about what to blog about, always write down your favorite things. What do you like talking about? What's easy for you to talk about? For me, Star Wars was always one of those things that was easy to discuss, gave me lots of new content to talk about, and I never get tired of writing about it. Don't pin yourself into a corner and choose a blog topic that only warrants a few posts and then you're out of ideas. If you're into a ton of different things, that's totally okay. Combine them! I love Star Wars, fashion, makeup and more. I always try to keep my topics centered around Star Wars because that's what most of my audience likes to read about, but I'm not afraid to stray off that path a little. 

What website do you use for your blog and why?

Contrary to popular belief, I host my blog on Blogger and secure my domain name through EasyDNS. Most bloggers think it's sacrilegious to host anywhere outside of Wordpress, but the truth is that I started blogging about 10 years ago and Blogger was the easiest platform for me to use when I was 13 years old. I've hacked the Blogger code to death to get a non-cheesy looking design and I'm very happy with it. I don't feel that Blogger limits me in any capacity, but Wordpress does give you a lot more customizable options in an easier matter. However, if you learn a little bit of HMTL coding basics, you can really maximize the standard, boring look of Blogger. 

When starting my blog, what should I avoid?

Don't let anyone tell you there are "rules" to blogging. Do what you want and write about what you love! However, there are a few things that will make your blog more easily accessible and kinder on the eyes. Avoid using neon colors on your blog, especially neon text. It's not easy to read and it can almost hurt your eyes, so try using soft colors that are more pleasing to the eye. Use as many well-lit photos on your blog as you can. Natural light is your friend! Stock photography can be a great tool, but if you have access to a camera, I say try your hand at photography. Having ownership over your own content is a good thing. I also recommend getting your own pretty domain name. Rather than having thedorkydiva.blogspot.com (messy, long and unprofessional looking link), I pay about $12 a year to have a cleaner domain name and email address. 

Any suggestions on how to collab with other bloggers who share the same interest?

Never be afraid to reach out! I would say only collab with other bloggers that you truly feel a connection with. Don't collab with someone just because they have a ton of followers and you want to feed off their following. If you find a blogger or creator that is really similar to you and seems like a great match, shoot them an email. Keep it very professional, let them know what you like about their work, and share with them a little bit about your blog/project. Don't make them do the digging. Give them the stats up front about your following, info on your blog, and what you want out of the collaboration along with what you expect from them. If they turn you down, don't get discouraged! Just keep reaching out and you'll find the right people to work with. 

Why did you start blogging? As a fellow Star Wars fan I have been thinking about doing one myself, but there seems to be alot out there already. Any tips/suggestions on how to make myself stand out? 

What makes you unique? For example, when I started blogging, I knew that Star Wars news was so heavily blogged about that I didn't want The Dorky Diva to be a hub for Star Wars news. There are hundreds of other sites that do that and do it well. I didn't need to compete with what had already been established. However, I knew that I had a passion and an eye for geek fashion. When I started The Dorky Diva, I could count on one hand the major geek fashion blogs out there and I felt like I had something different to offer. What do you like about Star Wars? For example- Is it the costumes? Start a blog about all the different costumes in the galaxy and write about how they are made, what materials were used, and interview people involved with making the costumes in the films. Don't worry about making yourself "stand out" because you're already going to stand out. No one will ever be like you! Find an aspect about Star Wars that you know a lot about or care deeply about and start there. 

What’s the best way to reach out to brands or companies and say you’d like to work with them, whether via a sponsored post or something like it?

First of all, I only reach out to companies or brands that I already love. I'm not going to promote a product or service that I don't currently love or believe in. Stick to that idea and you'll always come across as a genuine blogger, not someone trying to sell a product or service. After identifying a brand that I love and want to work with, I always email them and get right to the point. I give them a brief intro about me and my blog, tell them why I love their brand, and ask them if they have anything I can review or opportunities for influencers to get involved. I attach a deck to the email with my blog and social media stats so they know what they're investing in if they choose to work with me. Just like collaborating with other bloggers, it's okay to get turned down. Hundreds of brands have turned me down and that's totally fine. The ones that say yes are always the best fit! Oh, and proofread your email to death before hitting send. Nothing looks worse than a major typo or a sentence that doesn't make any sense. 

I am interested in building my own personal “brand” of sorts, wanting to really start blogging and engaging in the Star Wars community. I am blessed to already have a decent following on Instagram, so am thinking of branching out into writing. What would you suggest to someone who is just starting out? If you could tell your past self one thing while starting The Dorky Diva, what would it be? 

I would definitely suggest taking a professional writing course or read up on English grammar before anything else. The one pet peeve I have about bloggers is poor grammar or writing skills. Learn to write in a way that feels like you're having a conversation with someone, but also keep it as professional as possible. I started The Dorky Diva after I had been blogging on another blog for about 4 years so by the time I got here, I had learned a ton of lessons. Right off the bat I would say to not get tied up on numbers. It's really discouraging when you first start a blog and feel like nobody is reading it, but I promise that will change! Be diligent and write regularly to build a following. These things won't blow up overnight, but constant work will always pay off. I also recommend working on your blog design for a while before launching. Nail down a solid logo and color palette that you can use for images/design throughout the site. I treat The Dorky Diva as a brand, so I use the same colors from my logo throughout the rest of my design elements and stick to certain fonts.

Podcasting

Any basic must do recommendations for someone wanting to start their own podcast?

There are a lot of good videos on Youtube about how to start a podcast. I will straight up say that I spend little to nothing on my podcast and I think the quality is pretty good. I use a free editing program (Audacity) and a free recording program. My hosting subscription through Libsyn is only $5 a month. My microphone cost about $80, but up until recently I was just using the tiny built-in microphone that came with my Apple headphones. Really low tech over here guys! Don't feel like you need a ton of professional equipment to start a podcast. Start with what you can afford and then start adding better equipment as you can. Also, have fun with it! Don't compare yourself to other podcasts and don't copy anyone, but definitely learn from other shows and use that knowledge to figure out exactly how you want your podcast to sound. 

The Dorky Diva (Me)

Someone has probably asked this, but you don't come across as the slightest bit diva, so where did the name come from? Just for the alliteration? 

My brother actually came up with the name The Dorky Diva and I think he was spot on. While I may not come across as a true diva online, I feel like I have diva qualities. I have a really sassy personality that I call the "diva" side of myself. I really liked the "diva" element of "The Dorky Diva" because it explains the girly side of my blog as well. Fashion, makeup and self-care are all attributes of my blog that are not included in the "dork" side of my personality so I needed to express that in the blog title. It perfectly sums up me! I am a dork and I am a sassy diva all at the same time. 

I would love to know how you stay inspired. Do you find it difficult to keep up with a schedule, or are you super organized?

The easiest way for me to stay inspired is to follow really genuine people. I avoid following people online that post inspirational quotes just for the spectacle of it. It's easy to spot these people because they typically don't practice what they preach and post "inspiring" rants just for digital likes. There's a blogger that I really look up to even though we have completely opposite interests. Her name is Rebekah Steen and she runs Goldfish Kiss. I love her blog because it's so insanely genuine and sweet. She talks about real life- being a busy mom, trying to stay fit, and remembering to stay thankful along the way. Every time I read a new post on her blog, I feel like I get a rush of inspiration. It's like taking a huge breath of fresh air. I think following people that you feel a connection with in regards to their values or outlook on life is a great way to stay inspired. I also go to Pinterest for inspiration. I love collecting pretty pictures and meaningful quotes that remind me to stay grounded. You can find my Pinterest by clicking HERE. When it comes to organization, I think I'm pretty organized. I also like to try and stick to a routine as much as possible. 


Other

So I recently lost a lot of weight and I'm trying to think of ways that I can recycle/repurpose my old nerdy clothes that are too big for me now. Do you have any ideas? I mostly have t-shirts, sweatshirts, and old fashioned blouses and skirts from cosplay.

Yes, you can totally repurpose these items! I used to have a tutorial on my old blog about how to resize large clothing to fit you, but my friend Emily from The Stylish Geek has a really good video on this too. Click HERE to watch her tutorial on how to make an oversized T-shirt super cute again!

Do you have any future cosplay plans? You’ve done awesome Shadow Trooper and Jedi in the past - is there something you can tell us about what you’d like to do next?

I'm currently taking a break from cosplaying. While I used to love trooping with the 501st Legion in my shadow scout costume, I think the 501st community has changed a lot in just a few short years and I've stepped away from cosplaying completely. I'm not sure how to describe it, but my heart just isn't into cosplay like I was a few years ago. Cosplaying as a woman is really tough because sexy-inspired costumes are so heavily invading the cosplay world and I have no interest in that. Who knows, I might get back into costuming one day, but for now I've been a lot happier since I stepped away from that community. 

At what moment in your career did you realize you found what you wanted to do?

Hmmm, this is a big question! I have a degree in communication with a focus in public relations and a minor in photography. When I was younger, I really wanted to go to school for photography, but then I realized I was learning so much on my own that I didn't want to pay for a degree to teach me a bunch of techniques I already knew. I also wasn't super interested in fine art photography. I don't like math, science or history, so that's when I turned to communication. I think the way people communicate with each other is very interesting and the focus of public relations really seemed to align with my interests so I pursued that. Right out of college, I got a job as a video producer because I had been interning with a marketing company that did video production on the side. I assisted that company mostly with copywriting, but also dabbled in the video department which is how I got my first job. That job also entailed spending some time running social media accounts. It was mostly like doing two jobs at once, but it gave me a lot of experience in both the social media and video production fields. After doing video production for a year, I realized my heart was really not invested in that and I enjoy handling social media more than anything. From planning strategy to actually publishing the posts and interacting with the online community, I love it all. I currently work as a social media manager for a tech company and it's great! It was a weird journey getting here, but if you're not sure what you want to do, I'd say start a list of what you don't want to do and then go from there. It worked for me!

I hope this helped those of you who asked questions! If you have any more questions for me, feel free to leave a comment below or reach out on Twitter. Thank you everyone who submitted a question!

Looking For Leia

May 18, 2018
Representation and diversity among female characters are things that have been sorely lacking in the world of Star Wars until recently. Ever since the introduction of characters like Leia Organa from the original trilogy, Padmé Amidala from the prequels, Ahsoka Tano in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, women have slowly been making their mark in the Star Wars galaxy on screen, both in live action and animation. Today we have female leads like Hera Syndulla, Sabine Wren, Rey, Rose, Amilyn Holdo, Jyn Erso and more that show young girls what it's like to find their place in the galaxy.

While the screen may not reflect all of the incredible women that consider themselves fangirls, a group of women are taking that matter into their own hands. Dr. Annalise Ophelian recently started a project called Looking for Leia,six episode docu-series that explores the Star Wars phenomenon from the perspective of fangirls. I had the honor of joining her crew for a shoot day last week and even had the chance to tell my Star Wars story on camera. 


I first met Annalise at D23 Expo last year when she asked me to participate in the Looking For Leia project and talk about my experiences being a female fan of Star Wars. We had an awesome interview filled with fun stories and laughter, but as we were recording outside of a busy convention center, the audio quality wasn't top notch which is why I was so thrilled to hear that she wanted to sit me down for another interview in Seattle. I have experience in producing all sorts of video content so I lent Annalise a hand during her Seattle shoot and operated the second camera while she interviewed guests. After all the interviews that day were over, she let me sit down and be the interviewee. I love talking about Star Wars, how I became a fan, and how I want to use The Dorky Diva to help grow the online fangirl community.


This docu-series is going to be something truly special when it's all said and done. I feel very immersed in the fangirl community and thought I knew a lot of Star Wars fans, but I really had no idea how many women were out there until I started seeing so many unfamiliar faces in the Looking for Leia trailers. Annalise and her team have been traveling the country to chat with women from every type of background about how they became Star Wars fans and the challenges they face as women in the fan community. 


After years and years of men dominating the Star Wars fan community and getting to tell their stories, it's our time to shine. Forget Solo, Kenobi, or any of the other Star Wars stories...THIS is the Star Wars story we need.

Grab your tissues and click HERE to watch the Looking for Leia preview reel. Click HERE if you want to get involved with the project or support it. They are still in the production process so keep an eye on their social media and newsletters for more announcements about the official release of Looking for Leia. 


Spoiler-Free Review of SOLO

May 15, 2018
If you've listened to The Dorky Diva Show or had any conversation about Solo: A Star Wars Story with me for longer than five seconds, you probably know how hyped I've been over the last couple years for this movie. While some Star Wars fans have been very uneasy about the choice of Alden Ehrenreich to play Han Solo or even the general concept of making this movie, I've been over here having a one-woman party on the hype train. After seeing Solo last week, I really wanted to share my initial reactions and thoughts, but I also wanted to wait for the review embargo to be lifted. This review will contain NO spoilers. This is purely going to sum up how I felt about the characters, cast, and overall plot. None of the major plot points or exciting moments will be given away. I truly want everyone to have the same experience I did while watching the movie so I'm suggesting that you stay completely clear of spoiler-filled reviews about Solo. Mute as many Solo related words in your Twitter timeline too! I promise the wait will be worth it. Alright, with all of that said...let's get to it!

The Plot

The film starts with a look into Han Solo's life when he's starting to figure out where he belongs and where he should be going. He wants to be a pilot, but nobody will give him a shot. After a time jump, he eventually joins a crew of scrappy smugglers on a job to retrieve a specific item. I'll leave out the name of that item in case some of you find it to be a spoiler. Along the way, Han encounters trials of the heart and mind where he must prove himself and his loyalty. He befriends the mighty Chewbacca and dashing Lando Calrissian during his journey.

I felt like the overall mission of Solo wasn't anything that was totally mind-blowing or a concept that would completely alter the story of Star Wars. It was an interesting job that made sense to the world of Star Wars so I have no complaints on that. The movie definitely became more about the characters and relationships than the job at hand in my opinion. 

I really love how they introduced Chewbacca into the movie. I wasn't sure how Chewie and Han would become friends, but it's really sweet and a little funny. We also learn where Han's name comes from and who gave it to him. I never really wondered why Han Solo was named Han Solo, but it's neat that we get to learn that bit about his life. 

When this film was in early production, it was very clear that Solo would involve a lot of humor. After seeing The Last Jedi and absolutely hating the goofy, childish humor in that movie, I was a little worried about how the jokes in Solo would play out. To my relief, none of the jokes in the movie made me cringe or react negatively. I got a lot of giggles out of the film and a few big laughs. None of the humor felt out of place or inappropriate to the situations the characters were in. It was just quick, snarky comments from Han Solo and the gang which felt exactly like the original trilogy Han we all know and love. 

The Crew

Speaking of Han, this movie features a ton of other characters. Chewie and Lando are some familiar faces. Tobias, Qi'Ra, Val, Dryden, L3-37 and Rio were all new. When Emilia Clarke was announced to be playing Qi'Ra, I wasn't sure what to think. I love her performance in Game of Thrones, but I didn't know how she would fit into the world of Star Wars. She surprisingly turned out to be one of my favorite characters in the whole film. Qi'Ra has a very big heart, but also a lot of conflicting emotions. I felt like she represented a lot of women and I think a lot of girls will be able to relate to her. She was also a total badass and carried her own weight in every battle- never crying for help or needing rescuing. As for the rest of the characters, there wasn't one person I didn't like. That's extremely rare for me in Star Wars movies. In Rogue One, I really liked Cassian and K2-SO, but some of the other main characters didn't really interest me. I was happy to feel a connection with each and every one of these new characters in Solo. Oh and speaking of K2-SO, L3-37 is totally giving him a run for his money in Solo. L3 is the most hilarious and sarcastic droid I've ever seen on screen. I can't wait to talk about this new robot more once the movie is out. Everyone is going to love her!

As for the acting, Alden made me truly believe he was Han Solo. There was never a moment where I thought, "Hmm...that didn't seem like Han," or "Ohh, he could've said that line better." He nailed the entire performance and his chemistry with all the other actors was off the charts. I really liked his scenes with Emilia Clarke. Donald Glover seemed more like Lando Calrissian than I ever could have imagined. The casting was spot on for all the characters.


The Twists

As I mentioned earlier, there are a few big twists in this movie which really surprised me. I'm not going to talk about those twists at all, but I wanted to share some of the emotional highs and lows of the film. Personally, I didn't have any moments where I was brought to tears, but there were a few sweet moments that really warmed my heart. I felt like I was sitting on the edge of my seat during a few scenes and the big twists made me gasp out loud. There weren't any moments that I felt were too slow or unnecessary. It was jam-packed with tons of action sequences so I recommend going to the bathroom before the movie starts because there's not a lot of time for restroom breaks! Even though it was fast-paced, it never felt too fast like The Last Jedi. That movie really seemed to jump all over the place and never gave me time to marinate with the characters, but Solo followed the same group of people while they were getting into tricky situations and allowed you to connect with them. 

The World

Out of all the new "Disney era" Star Wars films, this one feels the most real. The sets, the costumes, and all of the creatures felt so real. Everything was gritty and looked lived in. Nothing stood out to me as being obviously CGI. I really couldn't be happier with the overall design and cinematography of the movie because it felt so authentic. I can't wait to watch it again to focus more on the background details and characters. The music was also really enjoyable. It wasn't similar to a John Williams style, but it fit with the movie and had a different spice of Star Wars vibes to it. 

I had insanely high expectations for Solo and somehow Ron Howard managed to create a movie that exceeded those expectations. In the grand scheme of Star Wars ranking, I think I'd put this one right up there with Episodes IV and V. When you head to the theater to see Solo, get ready for a fun ride full of action-packed goodness and you won't be disappointed! 

Glossier Lash Slick Review

Finally! Glossier released a mascara and it's called Lash Slick. It gives you the eyelash extension look without actually spending $200 on extensions. Check out my review below for all my thoughts on Lash Slick.





Here's what Glossier says about Lash Slick- 248 formulations later: the perfect everyday mascara. Lash Slick curls and sculpts as it lengthens, enhancing the look of your natural lashes instead of clumping them together or spackling them in product. Teeny-tiny fibers coat lashes from root to tip to create a lengthened baby-extension, while flexible film-forming polymers lift and lock each fiber into place. And it’s water-resistant (not waterproof), so Lash Slick washes off easy with warm water at the end of your day.

I completely forgot to mention that this mascara actually holds a curl too. All day pretty, curly lashes!

Get 10% your entire first order at Glossier- http://bff.glossier.com/iE0xm



SOLO: A Star Wars Story Premiere

May 11, 2018
Last night I had the opportunity of a lifetime to attend the world premiere of SOLO: A Star Wars Story. As soon as I got the invite last week, I immediately booked my flight and started screeching. I still can't believe it happened. In regards to the movie, I'll say that I LOVED it, but I will leave it at that for now. As the official release day gets closer, I will probably do a spoiler-free review, but today I just want to share my experience at the red carpet premiere, best moments of the night, and my outfit. 


Without a doubt, the best part of the premiere was the fact that I got to share the night with so many amazing women. My friends Danielle, SloaneMcKennaKatie, RianneCharlotte, Caitlin, and Esther were all there. Talk about squad goals! All of these girls are some of the kindest, most encouraging fangirls I've ever met so I was super thrilled to hear they were attending the premiere as well.


Red Carpet Experience

After checking in at the El Capitan and getting our badges for the night, we were ushered to the red carpet area where the Star Wars Show was starting their live stream of the event. Stars were coming down the red carpet to say hi to all the fans and get interviewed for the live stream. Our group got super lucky because we were staged right in front of the stairs where the stars had to walk up to the Star Wars Show stage. I asked a ton of the actors, actresses, and producers for selfies to remember the night and amazingly none of them turned down a photo request! Ron Howard was so humble and kind to all of the people wanting to meet him. All of the fans pretty much lost it when George Lucas showed up at the red carpet and while I didn't get to personally meet him, it was amazing just to see him interact with the new caretakers of his precious creation.

I took a TON of photos last night, so here are my favorite selfie shots!

Dave Filoni, director of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels
Alden Ehrenreich, the new Han Solo that you're going to LOVE 
Emilia Clarke, mother of dragons and Qi'Ra
Ron Howard, director of Solo: A Star Wars Story 
Katie Lucas, writer of the Nightsisters arc in Star Wars: The Clone Wars 
Kiri Hart of the Lucasfilm Story Group
Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino and the new Lando Calrissian
Rian Johnson, director of The Last Jedi
Frank Marshall, producer of all your favorite movies and Kathleen Kennedy's husband
Woody Harrelson, Tobis Beckett
Billy Dee Williams, the original Lando Calrissian
And for my last celeb photo, this one is truly special. One of my biggest dreams since I became a Star Wars fan has been to meet Kathleen Kennedy, the president of Lucasfilm. Kathy has an amazing life story about how she was an assistant to Steven Spielberg and eventually impressed him enough to become a producer. Now she calls all the shots for Lucasfilm after George Lucas sold the company and I admire her so much. Kathy was walking up to the Star Wars Show stage for an interview and when she was leaving the stage, she was kind enough to stop for one photo and it just happened to be with me. Needless to say, after our quick photo I broke down into tears because my dream finally came true. What an icon!


When the red carpet fun was over, we were taken to the Chinese Theater to be some of the first people to see Solo: A Star Wars Story. The theater was gorgeous and the movie was great. I'll share more on that after May 25th!

How I Got Red Carpet Ready for Under $80

After spending an unexpected chunk of change on a flight to LA and back, I didn't want to go too overboard with spending a ton of money on my outfit. I looked in my closet and didn't find anything that I felt was red carpet worthy or even remotely appropriate for the event. I finally decided that I wanted to buy a mustard or bright yellow colored dress. I scoured the internet for a dress that I had in mind, but everything that I came across was $80 and higher. I knew I could do better! Finally I found an adorable Yellow Party Dress on Amazon that was eligible for 2-day shipping (perfect in case it didn't fit and I needed to hit the mall for a better solution). The best part? It was only $17. I clicked "Buy Now" and said a little prayer that it would arrive just like it was pictured online. It was even better than I had hoped! This dress comes in a bunch of other colors too. I think I might order a black one just to have on hand because the fit is too cute. 

I chose this dress because I wanted to have a very Lando inspired look without wearing an actual cape. Don't get me wrong, capes are super cool and all, but I wasn't feeling that this time around. The yellow color of the dress reflected his shirt on the Solo promotional posters and the flouncy sleeves felt like little capes on my arms. Plus, it's just a really fun dress!

Like I said, the dress was $17. Then I found some adorable powder blue heels at Target for $25. This is the one item I really "splurged" on even though $25 is an insane deal. I will probably repurpose them for my wedding day too! As for the accessories, the rest were all from Target as well. Earrings were $10, necklace was $14, and the clutch was on sale in stores for $13. Add that all up and it's a grand total of $79. Woo!


If you're interested in my makeup look, here's what I wore:

Foundation- Urban Decay One & Done in Medium Light
Powder- Glossier Wowder in Light/Medium
Cheeks- Glossier Cloud Paint in Dusk and Haze
Eyes- Glossier Lidstar in Cub (lid), Fawn (lash line), and Moon (brown bone)
Brows- Glossier Boy Brow in Brown
Lashes- Cargo Cosmetics The Resistance Mascara
Lips- Glossier Cloud Paint in Haze

I'm gonna be riding this high on cloud nine for a while! I can't wait to talk about the movie more in two weeks, but I hope you enjoyed my thoughts on the world premiere event. 

It's Your Universe- Book Review

May 7, 2018
Last week my sweet friend Ashley Eckstein was kind enough to send me a copy of her brand new book, It's Your Universe. If you don't recognize that name, let's just say she's the voice of the Star Wars character Ahsoka Tano and founder of Her Universe-a fashion brand for fangirls. She wrote this book as a way to tell her inspiring story of "growing up Disney" and I couldn't be more proud of her. She's been my role model ever since I met her when I was 14-years-old and can't believe that young girls today get an advice book like this to teach them how to achieve their dreams. 

I had the pleasure of working with Ashley at Her Universe for about a year starting last spring. During that time, I remember her telling me about a book that she had in the works and then I got to watch her announce that big news to the Her Universe Fashion Show attendees at San Diego Comic Con. When she started the writing process, I couldn't believe she did so quickly. Her workload is like no other yet somehow she managed to write it all in under three weeks. I feel lucky to have seen how much time and work went into this book. It is truly a labor of love by both Ashley Eckstein and our friend Ashley Taylor, who did all of the interior illustrations and cover art. It turned out beautifully and I was so thrilled to finally read it.


It's Your Universe was primarily written for young girls that are coming of age, trying to figure out what they want to do and how to make it happen. However, the amazing thing about this book is that literally anyone can learn from it. Ashley's story along with her Disney inspiration is timeless and ageless. I'm a 22-year-old woman and I think I may have gotten more out of this book than an 8-year-old would. No matter who you are or how old you are, this book is for you.

While telling her story of being a little girl and dreaming of wanting to be an actress, to actually making that dream a reality and then one day becoming an entrepreneur, Ashley teaches how to make all of these amazing things become real. Her story includes steps on how to Dream, Wish, Believe, Do, Transform and Trust. My favorite thing about Ashley's journey is that it's honest. She doesn't make up all these magical things about pixie-dust and fairytales that would never happen in reality. She talks about heartbreak and rejection and doubt. Most importantly, she shares how to overcome all of those obstacles and that it happens to everyone! You don't set your mind to something and then it turns out flawlessly. There will always be bumps in the road and people that tell you no, but Ashley shares how to focus on your goal and prove all of the naysayers wrong.


Throughout the book there are several life lessons that relate to specific Disney princesses. Ashley uses the princess stories as an analogy to her own life. There are also many whimsical quotes from Disney and Star Wars characters that Ashley Taylor illustrated to go along with the story. Each chapter has a short journal section where Ashley prompts you to fill in your dreams and different steps on how to achieve them. I haven't filled in those sections yet, but I can't wait to do that and look back on them in a few years. It's always really satisfying to physically write down your wishes and then reflect when they've come true. 


My favorite thing about It's Your Universe is the section where Ashley talks about how it's okay to throw your hands up in the air and have some time by yourself when things aren't going as planned. Instead of a pity party, she calls it a "pi-tea party," which is so appropriate if you know Ashley. Her office is always full of candy and treats, perfect for a mid-day pick me up when you're feeling down. I love that she knows how to take a few moments to breathe and treat yourself before standing up again and going after your dream even harder. Recharging and reflecting are super important when everything seems to be going wrong and you need to figure out what to do next. 

Rather than spoiling the rest, I'll let you check it out for yourself. It's Your Universe will be available at book stores tomorrow, May 8, 2018. Ashley is also going on a nation-wide book tour for a couple months to celebrate the launch and meet fans around the country. You can find out where she'll be stopping by clicking here. I honestly can't say enough great things about this book. I hope this is just the beginning for Ashley's journey as an author and I can't wait to see what she has up her sleeve next. Just as she says- YOU have the power to make it happen. Go grab this book and make your dreams come true!

One more thing, Ashley- if you're reading this...thank you for everything. Much love to you and enjoy every second of your book tour!

Captain of the Millennium Falcon

May 4, 2018
Happy Star Wars day! If you didn't already know, May 4th is observed as Star Wars day because you know, may the fourth be with you. Get it? Of course you do...you're reading a Star Wars blog. Anyways! My friend Ashley, founder of fangirl fashion brand Her Universe, sent me a sweet package earlier this week including a couple new items that she designed. The two pieces she sent were made to be worn together, but I thought it would be fun to style them separately. Today I'm wearing the new "Captain of the Millennium Falcon" shirt. 


You don't have to twist my arm to get me to break out my favorite pair of dip-dyed flare jeans. I scored this denim at Target last year and love to wear them on occasions when I want to add a little bit of 70's flair to my outfit. The shirt is inspired by Solo: A Star Wars Story and features the brand new Millennium Falcon on the front. I absolutely love the colors of the print on this tee. The coral and purple tones are very fun and easy to style around. The tee is a light peach color and has a slight cropped fit. My favorite part is the back detail- a strappy cross-back adds a little bit of extra oomph to a regular T-shirt. Also, for my ladies out there who are probably wondering, you can wear a normal bra with this shirt. Unless I pulled my shirt down really far, my bra didn't show through the cross-back cutouts. Score!



Along with the flare jeans, I added my favorite pair of dangle beaded earrings, a few beaded bracelets, and some powder blue pumps to this look. I finished it off with my favorite Chewbacca messenger bag because a girl always needs to have her co-pilot around!


The shirt and matching skirt (which I will be styling next week) are Disney Parks exclusive items. If you live near Walt Disney World or Disneyland, you will be able to grab both of them soon! I believe they are already available in Disneyland, but coming soon to Walt Disney World.

What I Wore:
Shirt- Her Universe
Jeans- Target 
Bag- ThinkGeek
Jewelry- Target
Shoes- Target


How are you celebrating Star Wars day? P.S. Don't forget Solo: A Star Wars Story tickets are on sale today!

Galactic Gathering- Mother's Day Edition

May 2, 2018
This week's edition of Galactic Gathering is coming a little early. Mother's Day is right around the corner (May 13th) so I wanted to share my favorite Star Wars finds for mom. I'm lucky to have a mom that is a huge Star Wars fan. I kept her in mind when I was picking out all of these items for my Star Wars Mother's Day gift guide!

Also, all of these items were found on Amazon with Prime shipping options so if you're down to the wire and unsure what to get for mom, you can grab any of these gifts and get them in two days. 


Disclaimer: Affiliate links are used, meaning if you purchase through my link I will receive commission at no additional cost to you. I only ever recommend products that I use and LOVE. Affiliate marketing allows me to continue to share free and affordable information and services! Thanks for your support! 




Millennium Falcon Operations Manual Bag- Help your mom carry her things with this new Solo purse that looks like the operations manual for the Millennium Falcon! I love this design and the iridescent metal detailing on the chain and bag charm. 


Musterbrand Alliance Sweater- This subtle Resistance sweater from Musterbrand gives off some Amilyn Holdo vibes if you ask me. I love the ribbed detailing and tie-back. Keep mom warm and stylish all year round!




I Love You, I Know Coffee Mugs- Tell your mom how much you love her with these Han and Leia coffee mugs. I love the rose gold touches and script typeface on the mugs. Pretty enough for a Princess (or a General)!

Death Star Cheese Board- I don't know about you, but I love cheese. This Death Star cheese board is perfect for a summer time picnic or just a lazy day on the couch. It comes with all the tools you need to enjoy a nice array of cheeses.

Han Solo Zip Wallet- Who doesn't love Han Solo?! This Han inspired wallet will keep mom's money safe while she's traveling around the galaxy. Bonus points: throw a Starbucks gift card into the inside pocket for an all-around awesome gift!
General Leia Ring- Whether she wants to dress like royalty or keep it toned down for the day, this ring is the perfect statement piece. It's a replica of General Leia's ring and I'm sure she will feel like she can take on the whole First Order when she's wearing it!



The Last Jedi Bracelet Set- I love a good arm party! Mom can stack this bracelet set or just wear a couple depending on her mood. It features Resistance logos, studs and beads!


Star Wars Jedi Order Earrings- If your mom loves the prequels, these earrings are for her. The Jedi Order emblem will be spotted by any Star Wars fan, but it's subtle enough to wear for any occasion!


Star Wars 2-Quart Slow Cooker- Help out your mom in the kitchen! This 2-quart slow cooker features Star Wars ships and geometric schematics all over. Bonus points: Write some of your favorite slow cooker recipes on notecards and put them inside!