Big news- I'M MOVING TO LOS ANGELES!
Yes, you read that right. Say hello to Hot Topic's newest Associate Digital Media Producer. I'm thrilled to share that starting very soon, I'll be joining the creative services team for both the Her Universe and BoxLunch brands at Hot Topic. I'll be working alongside Ashley Eckstein at Star Wars Celebration to create some really awesome video and social content then I'm moving to LA after the convention. It's amazing to see how many, many years of school, blogging and making connections have turned into a dream job. Dreams really DO come true!
So what does this mean for The Dorky Diva? Well, the good news is that I'll still be blogging about all the stuff I love as usual, but my content pacing might slow down a bit due to moving and adjusting to a new lifestyle. Star Wars Style posts might be shared over social media rather than the blog during the month of April since I'll be traveling back and forth for a few weeks. When life settles back down after moving to LA, I'm sure The Dorky Diva will be thriving again. For the next month, just hang tight and don't forget to follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
If you missed the memo over on my Facebook page, I've decided to incorporate more Disney content on The Dorky Diva. Since I grew up in central Florida, Walt Disney World has always been a huge part of my life and I want to share that love with my followers. To kick off this new topic, today I'll be giving my review of this year's International Flower and Garden Festival at EPCOT.
If you've never attended the Flower and Garden Festival before, let me tell you- it is ahhhhmazing. EPCOT is adorned with tons of beautiful flower beds and floral topiaries all around the different countries which really highlights the season's blooming colors. In addition to the beautiful scenery, there are food and drink stations in each country that sell small portions of their culture's spring flavors. This year the event takes place every day from March 1-May 29. If you love flowers, gorgeous Florida weather, and delicious food, the Flower and Garden Festival is definitely worth visiting.
I started the day at EPCOT with my mom by loading up an event themed gift card wristlet with $25 to pay for my food throughout the day. We love these bracelets because they're much easier to scan at each food station rather than digging out your debit card or cash every few steps. Most of the food and beverages are priced from $3-$8. If you want to buy a gift card wristlet or reload it with more money, you can do that at any souvenir cart or store.
My all time favorite treat that's only available during the Flower and Garden Festival is the violet lemonade at the Pineapple Promenade booth. This non-alcoholic drink is very sweet, but refreshing to sip on as you walk throughout the park. Not only does it taste delicious, but it's a stunning color too!
After grabbing my violet lemonade, we headed to the Urban Farm Eats station nearby to try the watermelon salad. This light salad was mixed watermelon and arugula with feta cheese. It was topped with pickled onions and a balsamic reduction. I'm a huge fan of watermelon so this salad hit all the right spots for me.
My mom stopped in Canada to try the seared scallops. We ended up splitting this dish (and by splitting, I mean I ate 80% of the food). The scallops were perfectly cooked with a brown butter vinaigrette and apple-wood smoked bacon sprinkled on top. It also came with french green beans and buttered potatoes- yum! This was an amazing dish, but definitely more filling than most of the items I tried which makes it a great bang for your buck. I even spotted the cutest topiaries in Canada of Bambi and his friends, Thumper and Flower.
This next item was not a specialty item for the Flower and Garden Festival, but it's definitely worth mentioning here. In the France area there is an ice cream shop called L'Artisan des Glaces that is filled with 16 different ice cream and sorbet flavors. This strawberries and cream macaron ice cream sandwich was the perfect treat on a sunny afternoon. Don't let the picture fool you- it was pretty big!
Beauty and the Beast fans will love this exquisite topiary creation of their favorite characters, Belle and Beast, as you enter the streets of Paris. Just like a tale as old as time, these flowers are classics that are sure to impress all Disney fans.
This next treat is one of my absolute favorites from the Flower and Garden Festival. If you love anything involving fruit or coconut, you must try the frushi in Japan. This fun take on sushi wraps up fresh pineapple, strawberry, and cantaloupe with raspberry coconut rice. It's sprinkled with toasted coconut and a dollop of whipped cream. I can't say enough good things about frushi. I just want more!
After hanging out in Japan for some time and enjoying the Zen garden area, we made our way over to China so I could order the Beijing-style candied strawberries. Several of my friends suggested that I try the candied strawberries, but my opinions on the snack were a little mixed. First off, I was impressed that they gave me so many strawberries! The first couple were delicious. The sweet coating wasn't too thick; it was perfectly crunchy and offset the plump strawberries really well. However, I think the sweet glaze on top of sweet strawberries was a little too much for me. Not my favorite dish of the day, but it wasn't bad either.
Let's face it, most girls dream of having a walk-in closet filled from floor to ceiling with all sorts of clothes for every occasion imaginable. The reality of that dream is that hey, clothes aren't cheap!
I love finding Star Wars fashion pieces on sale. Not only is it an adrenaline rush to score an awesome deal, but it's much kinder on the wallet when I'm not paying retail prices. Every now and then I will splurge on a special item, but for the most part I shop on a small budget. I wanted to share some of my favorite tips for finding Star Wars clothes and accessories for a low price.
Tip #1- Shop at Disney Store OutletsThis might sound like an odd place to find Star Wars clothes, but most Disney stores carry awesome accessories and clothing pieces. Disney Outlets have amazing deals on products exclusive to the Disney Store or Disney Parks. If an item from the Disney Parks is returned to a Disney Store, you might be able to score it for a low price.
My Disney Outlet steals include Irregular Choice C-3PO flats originally priced at $160 marked down to $20, a Darth Vader shirt by Preen originally $300 on sale for $25, and a Loungefly Captain Phasma purse marked down from $80 to $13. HUGE scores!
Tip #2- Search for coupon codes onlineSites like RetailMeNot are great for finding coupon codes to use online before you complete your purchase. If you're about to place an order online at any type of store, search for a coupon code. I've gotten 50% off an entire purchase just because I went through a bunch of codes and tried them all until I found one that worked.
Tip #3- Join mailing listsMost online stores offer discount codes for new customers that sign up for their email newsletters. If you don't mind some junk mail every now and then, it's totally worth the coupon code, especially if you're making a large purchase.
Tip #4- Look for holiday season salesSure, most retail stores have huge sales for shopping holidays like Christmas and Black Friday, but some sites even have sales for Labor Day, Valentine's Day and more! Be sure to check out your favorite stores online before and after holidays to score big deals. I found an Irregular Choice pair of Darth Vader flats around Christmas time marked down from $160 to $80 at ThinkGeek.
Tip #5- Buy secondhandSome people are a little more weary about buying clothes from thrift stores or secondhand clothing websites, but I think they are a great resource! I know from my own personal experience that I've purchased a piece of Star Wars clothing before and thought I would wear it all the time, but it ended up hanging in my closet for a year after the first wear and I ended up selling it. Most people part with their slightly worn clothes online through sites like Poshmark. I love shopping on Poshmark because there's no risk involved. Your payment is never processed until you receive the item you purchased and let the seller know that it came in the condition you expected. I found a $40 Imperial dress on Poshmark last month for only $10!
Those are my top five secrets to finding Star Wars fashion on a budget. I hope they help you on your next shopping trip! What are your favorite ways to save some cash while still rocking the best Star Wars looks?
Last week I was going to help my friend Natalie take photos of some clothes she wanted to sell online. Along the way, I realized that some of the pieces she wanted to get rid of looked like Star Wars inspired clothing. As soon as I saw this cream colored top, I thought it resembled Luke Skywalker's wrap shirt from A New Hope and knew I had to style it for my blog.
Paired with jeans that Natalie also gave me and one of my favorite purses, I felt like this look subtly captured Luke's style. I decided to wear blue dangly earrings that were close to the color of Anakin's lightsaber that was passed down to Luke.
A few years ago, my brother found a vintage May The Force Be With You necklace on eBay that he originally wanted for his collection but ended up giving it to me. It's very special to me and I felt like it fit this outfit perfectly so it was a nice personal touch.
What I Wore:
Necklace: Vintage (eBay)
Bag: Disney Springs
Photos by Julia Caron
One of my favorite activities to kick off a Friday morning and start getting relaxed for the weekend is a good yoga session. Today I grabbed my favorite pair of Star Wars leggings, a coordinating yoga mat, my trusty Stormtrooper tote bag and headed to the beach for a centered day.
What I Wore:
Shirt: Old Navy
Yoga Mat: Target
Photos by Julia Caron
I don't know about you, but I love a good DIY project. It's so relaxing to turn on some tunes and make a cute little craft to unwind at the end of the day. Today I created two little planters that are inspired by Chewbacca and Maz Kanata. Grab your paint brushes, turn on The Force Awakens soundtrack and let's get started.
You'll need the supplies listed below. I found all of these items at Hobby Lobby for $20!
-Acrylic paint (orange, brown, silver, and black)
-Tape or glue
-1 round shaped planter
-1 tall, skinny planter
-2 plants or bunches of flowers
Step 1: Paint the round planter with your orange acrylic paint. Let dry.
Step 2: Paint the taller planter with brown acrylic paint. Let dry.
Step 3: Paint a strip of black ribbon as tall as your brown planter with silver stripes. This will be Chewbacca's bandolier. Set aside and let dry.
Step 4: Use a fine bristle paintbrush to draw glasses on the orange planter with silver paint. Remember Maz's glasses do not connect at the bridge of the nose! Now use your black paint to draw eyes, a smile, and a nose.
Step 5: Tape or glue your ribbon in a diagonal position across the brown planter.
Voila! You're done. Display your planters together on a shelf, in a window or on your desk.
Ever since I became a member of the 501st Legion, I've gotten all sorts of questions from people across the globe that want to know more about this costuming organization and how to become a member. Since it's become tedious to reply to every email, tweet, and Facebook message individually, I thought it would be best to gather up the most frequently asked questions and answer them here.
What is the 501st Legion?
Rather than reiterating information that's already been published online, check out the 501st Legion's official mission statement on their website by clicking here.
How did you get involved with the 501st?
I first heard about the 501st Legion at Disney's Star Wars Weekends when I was a child. During the daily parade at Star Wars Weekends, Disney would invite 501st members to march in the parade to help fill out Disney's scarce selection of Star Wars costumed characters. I remember seeing these troopers and learning more about the Legion from my older brother who was already interested in joining when he was old enough. My mom created a Jawa costume and joined our local garrison, The Florida Garrison, in 2012 and my brother followed soon after in his clone trooper armor. At this time, I was only 16 years old so I couldn't officially be a member, but I volunteered with them at troops almost every weekend. A few months before my 18th birthday, I started working on my shadow scout costume and submitted it on my birthday. Since then, I haven't created many more costumes for myself, but I've assembled and helped with dozens of other outfits for friends in the Legion.
How much do these screen accurate costumes cost?
An accurate costume that is 501st approvable can cost anywhere from $300 to $5,000 or higher. Tusken Raiders are known for being inexpensive, but when you get to characters like Boba Fett or Darth Vader, you're definitely looking at a few thousand dollars. That's insane, right? Well, yes. I don't own too many costumes myself because of the expense, but I will say that every penny spent on these creations are 100% worth it when you're able to make a difference, make people smile, and raise money for charity.
Where can aspiring members find information on how to build armor?
If you're interested in joining the 501st Legion, my first word of advice would be to find your local garrison's forums. You can discover what garrison you fall under and find their forums by clicking here (go to their website link and then click forums). Once you've found the forum, make an account and post a thread in the new members section that introduces who you are, where you're from, what costume you'd like to make, and if you need help building the costume. After that, go to the 501st resource gallery (click here), find the forum that pertains to the costume you'd like to build, and start researching. Every forum has tons of inform on where to buy armor, how to assemble it, and more details. I'll tell you right now that I do not like getting questions from people that don't do their own research. There are so many great resources available online these days; all you have to do is put in your own effort and seek them out. If you've already done some research and you still have questions, ask away! That's perfectly fine. I'd also like to note that 501st members are extremely gracious and willing to help just about anyone!
I don't know how to build a costume. What should I do?
Like I mentioned above, do your research. Obviously it still takes some skill to put these costumes together, but most garrisons host events every so often that we call "armor parties" to help out new members with their costumes. If you see an armor party is being hosted near you, definitely sign up on your garrison's forums to attend. It's great to meet members in your garrison and learn techniques on how to build armor.
How do I submit my costume for approval?
Once your costume is completed and you think it's ready for approval, you need to submit full body pictures of your costume (front, back, side, helmet on and helmet off) to your GML via email or the private message feature on your forum. You can find the GML of your garrison by clicking here. If everything looks good, then you can fill out this application form and you'll be an official member after the GML approves it. If your costume isn't accurate enough, no worries. Your GML will let you know what changes to make before submitting for approval again.
If you want more information on costuming in general, check out the Costuming Comlinks series that I did last summer by clicking here. I covered all the basics of costuming from choosing the right one to completing it and adding the finishing touches. I hope this helps! If you have any more questions related to the 501st Legion, feel free to leave them in the comment section below and I will reply as soon as I can.