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Dorky Diva of the Week: Brittany Hughes

Jul 12, 2016
Brittany Hughes, a 24-year old Disney travel agent, always has one thing on her mind- Boba Fett. This dashing Mandolorian bounty hunter hooked her into the saga of Star Wars which turned into an endless passion that continues to inspire her family from generation to generation. 

Hughes in front of the Tatooine Traders store at Walt Disney World.
As a young girl, Hughes was never into science-fiction. Her interests mostly swayed towards Disney movies and that was about it until her stepfather came into the picture when she was 11-years-old. After making fun of his Star Wars fandom, Hughes finally sat down on the couch with her stepdad to watch Episode IV: A New Hope.

"I was hooked. From that moment, my stepdad and I shared Star Wars as a very special bonding tool," said Hughes.

Then there's her main man- Boba Fett. She's always been the kind of girl that likes a mysterious man, and Boba Fett definitely checked that box in Star Wars. While her friends were all gushing over Han Solo's wit, Hughes was crushing on Fett's style. Once she learned about his backstory in the prequels, her love for Fett intensified even more.

Hughes with her boyfriend and Kylo Ren at Walt Disney World. 
While her love for Star Wars is massive, her interest in Disney is just as expansive. By day, Hughes is a Disney travel agent that helps people plan vacations to a galaxy far, far away. She also runs a Youtube channel where she posts vlogs about Star Wars, Disney, and her daily life. She also recently launched a clothing line called Fett&Co. where sells all sorts of Disney and Star Wars inspired T-shirts that you can't find anywhere else.

"I decided to start Fett&Co. mainly because I could never find Disney or Star Wars shirts from other online shops that fit my style. I wanted unique shirts for Disney trips that you don't see everywhere, and were comfortable and affordable," explains Hughes.

Hughes wearing one of her Disney and Star Wars mashup tees from Fett&Co.
Hughes looks at Star Wars for more than just a movie series. For her, it's a bonding experience between a girl and her stepfather. It's a story of love, politics, hate, and everything in between. It's about the precious balance of good and evil, just like the balance of our real world. Just as she learned about Star Wars from her stepdad, she is now passing on the saga to her own little girl, Madalyn.

"I'm happy to say that I've spread the love of Star Wars down to my 5-year-old daughter, who is literally obsessed! She lives, loves, and breathes Star Wars," says Hughes.

Ironically, Hughes thinks her daughter has the attitude and spunk of Princess Leia while she is stubborn like Padme. She enjoys knowing that Star Wars has an abundance of characters to relate to, which she and her daughter can learn from.

Madalyn, Brittany Hughes' little padawan, riding the speeder bike at Walt Disney World.
You can follow Brittany on Twitter, Instagram, and subscribe to her Youtube channel.

All photos courtesy and used with permission from Brittany Hughes. 

Star Wars ComLINKS: Favorite Trooper

Jul 11, 2016
Every month Jenmarie from Anakin and His Angel hosts a monthly link up called Star Wars ComLINKS where different bloggers and podcasts can discuss topics that she assigns. July's topic is about favorite troopers. As a huge fan of clone troopers and any armored trooper in general, I knew this would be a fun topic to write about.


Clone troopers from the prequels and Star Wars: The Clone Wars have always fascinated me. It's amazing that they are all cloned from the same human being, yet have individual traits and personalities. Some clones choose to fight the war they were programmed for while others desert the order to live a normal life. Each clone trooper in The Clone Wars chooses to cut and style their hair differently, tattoo their face, and even paint their armor in a unique way. These subtle appearance changes set them apart from their identical brothers so that they will look special in their own way. 

I have many favorite clone troopers based on their look and personality, but one that always stuck out to me was CT-5555, also known as "Fives". This character was first seen in the episode "Rookies" where he was just a "shiny" in brand new, white armor. Later we went back in time in The Clone Wars to see Fives as a cadet and saw how he worked together as a team in Domino Squad. Fives and his pal Echo were the only rookies to survive the battle on the Rishi moon. They were both given a place in the 501st Legion under Captain Rex's command and promoted to ARC troopers for their outstanding efforts. 


Many clones in The Clone Wars only had small appearances throughout the show. Characters like Commander Trauma and Captain Keeli were killed off almost as soon as they were introduced. Fives was given a longer story and faced many trials throughout his years of serving the Republic. During the battle of Umbara, he suspected that General Pong Krell was not just an offbeat Jedi, but a traitor. Eventually it was revealed that Fives' premonitions were right. At the end of his story, Fives was framed for trying to assassinate Chancellor Palpatine and was shot by Commander Fox. He died knowing that chips were implanted into the clone troopers that would someday trigger during Order 66. Although the clone betrayal did occur, Fives was the reason some clones including Captain Rex removed their chips in order to avoid Order 66. 


Fives had a dynamic story line that few troopers were given in the overall story of Star Wars. While his death was tragic, he created a legacy of loyalty and friendship to his brothers. I believe he is one of the greatest troopers in Star Wars and I'm forever thankful that The Clone Wars was able to share the spotlight onto characters like his. 

Dorky Diva of the Week: Hannah Burns

Jul 7, 2016
Hannah Burns, an 18-year-old resident of Ohio, discovered the Star Wars universe during her years in high school. One of her teachers incorporated Star Wars themes into the classroom and Burns was instantly hooked.

Hannah Burns (left) and her teacher, Mrs. Krebs, at her high school graduation. 

Although she grew up playing with a lightsaber and a Millennium Falcon transformer toy, Burns never knew the origin of these mythical toys. She considers herself a new fan of Star Wars, but her excitement for the franchise knows no bounds. The desire to learn more about this magical galaxy far, far away started when she took an introduction to foods class in her sophomore year of high school. She was lucky enough to get placed in a class with a teacher, Mrs. Krebs, who is an ultimate Star Wars fan. Krebs incorporated elements of Star Wars into her lessons, which exposed Burns to a whole new world of fandom.

"December of this past year was what sped up my interest to lightspeed. I borrowed all the previous Star Wars movies and binge watched them over Christmas break preparing myself for The Force Awakens. Until that point, I had never actually seen the movies," explains Burns. 

Her teacher scheduled a Star Wars Reads day after the release of Episode VII where FCCLA members were encouraged to wear costumes from the Star Wars Saga to campus. The mission of this Star Wars Reads day was to visit local kindergarten classes and share the inspiration of books with them. Burns chose to wear a Jedi costume and change into a Darth Vader getup later in the day. Her school adviser dressed as Ahsoka Tano, which Burns said was "absolutely amazing."

Burns (pictured back right) with FCCLA members from school at Star Wars Reads day.
In her free time, she enjoys writing Star Wars fan fiction, reading blogs, and listening to podcasts. She loves to incorporate geeky details into her daily wardrobe and even found a way to show off her Star Wars side on graduation day. While she wasn't allowed to decorate her ceremonial cap, Burns proudly wore a Her Universe Rey dress underneath her gown at graduation and her teacher wore a BB-8 dress. 

"When I'm not doing something Star Wars related, my favorite thing to do is sit down and talk with my teacher about Star Wars," says Burns.

Burns (pictured right) with friends at Star Wars Reads day. 
Burns has learned how to help others and serve like a Jedi, which she's been able to do through her high school clubs and organizations. Star Wars has inspired her to never be afraid of embracing her true self.

"I guess to me Star Wars means love, friendship, and keeping your head up. That's what Mrs. Krebs has taught me from introducing me to her fandom and watching me blossom from a youngling into a full-fledged padawan, even through all my name mispronunciations and crazy geek-outs over each new Star Wars adventure ," says Burns. 

You can find Hannah Burns on Twitter @DragonStone16 and Instagram @RedLeader_007.

All photos used with permission and courtesy of Hannah Burns. 

Loungefly Giveaway

Jul 5, 2016
I'm giving away a brand new Captain Phasma purse from Loungefly over on my Twitter account. To enter, all you have to do is follow me and retweet my pinned tweet. You can find me at @Savanna_Kiefer on Twitter. The giveaway is open until July 11, 2016 and the winner will be announced promptly after that. Good luck and may the Force be with you!  


Star Wars Costuming Comlinks: Weathering

One of the best parts of creating a costume is looking like you walked right out of the television screen and onto the convention floor. There are many fine details that get overlooked when making a costume look life-like and lived in. Weather is one of those important details. Some costumes shouldn't stay shiny and clean, even though it feels wrong to dirty up a costume you just completed.


Why is weathering important?
In order to weather a costume properly, you need to understand why you're doing it in the first place. It's really plain and simple. Some characters in Star Wars live and work on dirty, dusty planets which means they are going to have dirt and dust on their outfits. For example, think of sandtroopers from the Mos Eisley cantina. They're called sandtroopers for a reason- they're covered in sand! If you made a sandtrooper costume without covering it in sand, you'd look like a regular stormtrooper instead of what you intended.

Most of the original trilogy characters are shiny and clean. Stormtroopers, royal guards, and Darth Vader look shiny and new. However, there are characters in other eras of Star Wars like the clone troopers from The Clone Wars who fought in extreme weather conditions, which is why their costumes look weathered by the terrain and physical activity. Weathering your costume will make you look just like the characters you see on screen.


What parts of a costume should be weathered?
First of all, using your reference images will really determine where the costume should be weathered. As a basic rule of thumb, weather your costume where dust and dirt would naturally collect. Think of crevices, indents, and fine lines in your costume where grime would settle in. Scuff parts of the costume that should look worn down or used. Blast marks can even be created if you want your armor to look as if it's been shot at in a battle.

How do you weather the costume?
There are many ways of weathering a costume so experiment with different techniques and materials. When weathering a clone trooper costume, I lightly haze the entire costume with light gray spray paint, which can be done by standing back from the armor and misting it with paint. This will leave a dirty look to the armor without looking too heavy. If you overdo the spray paint application, you can always take it off with sandpaper. To apply grime into the small crevices, you can mix black or grey acrylic paint with water to create a wash and swipe it on with a paint brush. I like applying spray paint directly to a steel wool pad and scuffing the edges of armor to give it a used appearance. Sandpaper can create a soft or rough effect based on what grit you use to scuff the armor. You can also sprinkle sand or dirt onto the armor and hold it in place with a coat of clear enamel spray paint. To get a soft, subtle weathered look, airbrushing paint is a great technique. Costumes from The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels animated series should have a airbrushed appearance since the characters are computer generated.

The top of this helmet has been lightly coated with grey spray paint and scuffed with sandpaper.
Weathering a costume can be one of the most difficult and frustrating steps to complete, but in the end it's always worth it. I plan on doing tutorial videos of weathering when I work on my upcoming Sabine costume so stay tuned. Feel free to email me at savannaakiefer@gmail.com if you have any questions about this topic.

SWCE: Exclusive Merchandise

Jul 1, 2016
Star Wars Celebration Europe in London is quickly approaching and there will be all sorts of exclusive merchandise available for purchase at the show. Celebration Europe takes place on July 15-17, 2016, at the ExCeL London Exhibition Centre. This post contains the first wave of exclusives that have been announced to the public. Another post will be following closer to the arrival of SWCE to cover any exclusives not mentioned in this article.


Forbidden Planet (Booth #S1003)


Forbidden Planet will have an exclusive unmasked Kylo Ren 6-inch Black Series action figure complete with a melted version of Darth Vader's helmet. It also comes with Ren's helmet, his lightsaber, and a First Order banner. This figure pack will sell for $34.99.

Funko (Booth #S203)


Funko will have four exclusive Star Wars POPs available for purchase at the show. Ceremony Han Solo, Ceremony Luke Skywalker, and Bespin Encounter Luke Skywalker are considered Galactic Convention exclusives, which means they will be available at a few other shows this year. However, the 4-LOM POP is only available for purchase at Celebration Europe. Prices haven't been announced for these vinyl bobbleheads, but they typically sell for around $12.99 each.

Toynk.com (Booth #S703, S709)


Toynk,com has an adorable basket of Ewok plushies for Celebration Europe. The plushies include papa, momma, baby, and child Ewoks. This set is limited to 1,000 pieces and you can only get it at SWCE. The price for this basket of Ewoks hasn't been listed yet, but you can grab it at their booth during the convention. 

Jakks Pacific Inc (Booth #N502)


Jakks Pacific will have a 20" big figure of Captain Phasma from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Phasma is decked out with her fabric cape and a collection of First Order trooper blasters. This figure will retail for 50.00 British pounds, which equates to about $66 in US dollars. 

Hot Wheels (Booth #S502)



Star Wars fans can pick up Boba Fett's prototype armor in the form of a Hot Wheels race car at Celebration London. The packaging features the Star Wars Celebration Europe logo along with artwork of Boba's prototype armor. The retail price for this toy car hasn't been released yet. 

Tamashii Nations (Booth #S803)


Tamashii Nations will have a Teppou Ashigaru Sandtrooper with an exclusive black pauldron at Celebration Europe. This piece is almost 7 inches tall and it comes with interchangeable pieces. The Sandtrooper is only available at Celebration Europe, San Diego Comic Con, and the Tamashii Web Shop (Japan only with very limited quantities). No retail price is listed for this item.

Dorky Diva of the Week: Amy Ratcliffe

Amy Ratcliffe, a 35-year-old Ohio native who now resides in California, is a fangirl that has found a way to merge her love for Star Wars into a professional realm. As a writer and podcast host, she is able to talk about Star Wars both on a personal and professional level.


Introduced to the original trilogy when she was in middle school, Ratcliffe found herself drawn to Luke Skywalker's desire to move away from home and explore the galaxy. Even though she was interested in the original Star Wars films and the prequel trilogy, it wasn't until the release of Star Wars: The Clone Wars that Ratcliffe's appreciation of Star Wars turned into a full-blown obsession.

"I look to the characters and ideals in Star Wars when I need the extra oomph to keep going- whether it's the next deadline or a tricky life situation. There is always hope," says Ratcliffe.

Most of Ratcliffe's personal and professional life is tied up in various Star Wars projects. She co-hosts two podcasts- the weekly Full of Sith and the monthly Lattes with Leia. Both outlets allow her to work out all her Star Wars feelings verbally while interacting with other fans. She also contributes to the StarWars.com blog and Star Wars Insider magazine. In addition to those outlets, Ratcliffe is able to channel her appreciation of Star Wars through a variety of articles and interviews on other websites like Nerdist.com.


Her interacting with other fans through podcasting and social media make Ratcliffe feel less alone in her views of Star Wars. It also introduces her to new perspectives on the events of Star Wars that she may have never considered before. She enjoys connecting with like-minded individuals on social media, especially other female fans, to celebrate what she loves with others who "get" it. 

"My Lattes with Leia co-host, Dr. Andrea Letamendi, recently make some intelligent points about C-3PO that made me see the characters in an entirely different light. I'm still not the biggest Threepio fan, but I understand and appreciate his position in the story more," explains Ratcliffe. 

While he's not necessarily a brave or cool character, Ratcliffe finds that she is most similar to Chopper, the Ghost crew's droid in Star Wars Rebels. Just like Chopper, she is always loyal to her friends and ready to help, but she might grumble about it along the way. 

"Though people who don't know me well don't believe it, I'm a curmudgeon and mostly want to be left alone to do my own thing. I think Chopper understands that," says Ratcliffe.


"I've met some of my closest friends through Star Wars, directly and indirectly. Star Wars brings a sense of home with it and a sense of belonging," expresses Ratcliffe.

You can find Amy Ratcliffe on Twitter and Instagram @Amy_Geek. 

All photos used with permission and courtesy of Amy Ratcliffe.