Star Wars Celebration Packing Essentials

2.10.2019

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Oftentimes the most stressful part of going to a convention can be packing for it. I've traveled across the world to attend Star Wars Celebration and have even packed for an 18-day trip to Europe with just a carry-on suitcase. Rather than hoarding all my packing secrets to myself, I want to share them with you. In this post you'll find all of my Star Wars Celebration packing essentials including favorite clothing items, tech gear, and luggage.


Essential Packing Items:

Click the title of each item to see my most recommended product of that category! 

Hard Exterior Carry-On
If you're like me and plan on flying to Chicago for Celebration, you'll want some good luggage. I've always brought just a carry-on bag to Celebration for the sake of easy traveling and if I ever end up buying more merchandise that can't fit in my bag, I ship it back home instead of bringing it on the plane. Hard exterior luggage is really great for keeping your items safe in flight. American Tourister makes really cool Star Wars suitcases for both carry-on and checked sizes. My Star Wars suitcases have always been great conversation pieces in airports and oftentimes lead me to Star Wars fans who are also traveling to Celebration!



Lightweight Jacket
When planning my outfits for Star Wars Celebration, I typically start with one statement piece and then accessorize around it. Since I get cold easily in convention centers, I try to pick a really cool Star Wars jacket to wear rather than statement shirt that will essentially just get covered by a jacket. Last year I wore the Her Universe 40th anniversary jacket most of the time and layered it over some comfy clothes. If you bring 1-2 statement jackets or sweaters, you can make versatile outfits that don't take up a ton of space in your luggage. Plus, if you get hot inside the convention, you can take off your jacket and throw it in your bag.

It will probably still be cold in Chicago in April, so you may want to wear a puffy/heavyweight jacket over your outfit when walking to/from the convention and leave it at coat check inside the con center since Celebration is offering this amenity. Gloves and beanies can fit inside your backpack if you need to wear those when walking outside.

Pro tip: Wear your biggest pieces of clothing on the plane if you're traveling by air!

Here are some of my favorite Star Wars jackets:



Comfortable Shoes
I can't harp on this enough. You NEED to wear comfortable shoes at Celebration. Most convention centers have solid concrete floors and I swear they'll never be kind to your body. Get a comfortable pair of sneakers and slip in some gel insoles for extra support. Your back will thank you after day one of the con!

Stretchy Jeans
Sometimes I like to wear dresses at conventions because they are easy to pack, but I oftentimes find myself uncomfortable when I need to sit on the floor in long lines, so I prefer to wear jeans instead. Since you'll most likely be walking, standing, and sitting on hard concrete floors all day, you'll want to wear some jeans that are stretchy and keep you comfortable. As for guys, invest in pants or jeans that you feel comfortable wearing all day long. You don't want to be irritated by a tight waistband or itchy fabric for five days in a row.

Soft T-Shirts
Same concept here! Be as comfortable as possible. Thankfully, there are plenty of comfortable Star Wars shirts out there. I really like the tri-blend shirts from TeePublic, but you can find plenty of soft T-shirts on Amazon as well. Since Chicago will be chilly, it might be a good idea to pack a lightweight longsleeve tee that you can layer under outfits.



Accessories
Since I like to pack solid colored clothing items that are interchangeable and easy to coordinate, I represent Star Wars in my outfits mostly with accessories. Jewelry and hats take up very little space in your luggage, so you can bring multiples to wear throughout the convention.

Here are some of my favorite Star Wars jewelry pieces:



Phone Power Bank
Don't skimp on this item! You'll be taking lots of photos with your smartphone at the convention and texting friends to link up, so don't let your battery die out. Sometimes the wi-fi can get spotty inside the convention center, which will drain your battery quicker than usual. Power banks are great items to have on hand that you can also share with friends who need a quick recharge.

Pro tip: Bring USB to lightning and USB to micro-USB cables so you can lend a hand to friends who may not have the same phone as you!

Functional Backpack
This is probably the most important item you should bring. I can't tell you how many times I've convinced myself that I can survive a convention with just a small purse or messenger bag and felt like my shoulder was going to fall off my body by the end of the day. Backpacks are great because they can hold all of your necessities and not pull on just one side of your body. I find that laptop bags are my favorite convention bags because they have multiple pockets to hold all of my personal items and things that I buy throughout the show.

Poster Tube
If you plan on buying posters or artwork at the show, you need a sturdy poster tube. I like bringing one and sticking it in my backpack just in case I see some cool artwork that I want to bring home. The one that I linked is also extendable and has a strap that you can sling on your shoulder if needed. If you can't fit this in your luggage, visit a UPS or FedEx store near the convention center to grab a cardboard poster tube.

Leak-Proof Water Bottle
Bottles of water are tough to find at Celebration and tend to be pretty expensive if you do see them at the food court, so it's a good idea to bring a reusable bottle from home. There will be plenty of water fountains around to refill your bottle, but make sure to bring a leak-proof bottle so it doesn't spill on any new Star Wars treasures inside your backpack.

RFID Blocking Wallet
At the most recent Star Wars Celebration in Orlando, multiple people had their credit card information stolen from RFID card readers. Rather than risk getting my information stolen and having to deal with credit card fraud, I'll be using an RFID blocking wallet this year. Better safe than sorry!

Protective Autograph Sleeves
If you plan on meeting celebrities at Celebration and getting their autograph, you'll want to bring some protective autograph sleeves with you. Most celebrities tend to sign 8x10 photos at their tables, so these sleeves will keep your new autograph safe.

Pro tip: Be sure to make sure your autograph is completely dry before sliding it into the protective sleeve or the fresh handwriting will smear!

Anti-Bacterial Hand Wipes
Have you ever heard of con crud? It's the inevitable sickness that you will catch after any convention. You can avoid con crud by sanitizing your hands and personal items (cell phone, camera, etc.) with anti-bacterial wipes and hand sanitizer.

Pro tip: Start chugging vitamin c supplements and vitamins a week before Celebration so your immune system will be strong!

Snacks & Pain Killers
I'm the type of person that you don't want to be around when I get hungry. Hungry equals cranky in my experience and I never want to be raging with crankiness at a convention, so I pack plenty of snacks in my backpack. It's very rare that I actually take time to eat lunch during conventions, so snacking throughout the day keeps me satisfied. Sometimes I get headaches during the convention just from exhaustion or jet-lag, so I carry a small bottle of Advil with me to kill any headaches that may pop up. I buy snacks after I've arrived in my destination city rather than bring them on the plane with me.

These are some of my favorite convention snacks to help me stay energized and keep my sweet tooth satisfied:


My Full Packing List:

Here are the clothing items I'll be packing in my carry-on for Celebration in Chicago:

-2 pair of pants (1 pair of jeans, 1 pair of other pants)
-5 tops (I never overpack for conventions because I always buy shirts at the show)
-1 dress or jumpsuit (in case I want to dress up for dinner)
-5 pairs of socks
-2 pairs of pajamas (I usually pack lightweight pajamas that can fold up small)
-undergarments (duh)
-1 pair of ballet flats (also for dinner or walking around the hotel)

Here's what I'll be wearing on the plane to maximize free space in my bag:
-1 puffy jacket or thick hoodie (Chicago is cold!)
-1 pair of jeans
-1 T-shirt
-Bulky sneakers
-Any additional items for warmth (scarf, hat, etc.)

Other items to pack in my carry-on bag and backpack:
-camera and extra battery packs with a charger
-phone power bank and charger
-poster tube
-toiletries (I try to only bring the bare essentials for makeup and 1-2 shades of lipstick)
-swag (buttons & stickers that I give away)
-headphones/earbuds (to wear on the plane)
-jewelry
-wallet 
-water bottle

That's about it! I really try to keep my packing list as small as possible so I can use extra space in my backpack and suitcase to hold items that I want to buy at the convention. I choose clothing items that are lightweight and fold flat to avoid them taking up too much space in my bag. 

The photo below was taken on my travels during Celebration Europe in 2016. My mom and I went to London for twelve days before departing to Paris to visit Disneyland. Our entire trip lasted 18 days and we didn't check any luggage. You can see that I was equipped with my trusty backpack and carry-on suitcase. The bag on top of my carry-on was full of dirty laundry, but all of those clothing items fit back in my suitcase when we headed back to the states.


Hopefully this packing guide will help you pack your own essentials for Star Wars Celebration Chicago in April. If you have any other items that you'd suggest bringing for the convention, please list them in the comment section below!

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9 Tips for First-Time Celebration Attendees

2.09.2019

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I was recently asked on Instagram if I have any tips for first-time Star Wars Celebration attendees and rather than answer them in short form over there, I decided to share my top nine tips over here! I've been lucky enough to attend four Star Wars Celebrations since 2012 and feel like I've had enough experience to share tidbits of information that might be helpful if you're going to Star Wars Celebration Chicago in April.



There Will be Lines for Everything

First off, there will be lines for everything you do at Star Wars Celebration. From going to a headlining Episode IX panel to just taking a break for the restroom, you will be waiting in lines no matter how early you arrive. All of the Celebrations I've attended since 2012 have slowly gotten worse in attendance size and line length. I remember going to the Season 5 premiere of The Clone Wars back at Celebration VI in Orlando and only waited a few hours to get in the premiere theater. However, just a few years later, I ended up waiting overnight in line to see The Force Awakens panel at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim. Star Wars Celebration has briefly mentioned on their social media accounts that they will have a new "technology" for the line system in Chicago, but we have yet to see what that system will be and if it will turn out successful. I will say that every single time I've waited in a long line at the convention, the payoff has been totally worth the wait, so don't stress too much.

If you're not fond of waiting in lines, there is a plus side to the tiresome waits. I've met so many of my best friends in past years just from sitting next to someone in a queue line for multiple hours. Strike up a conversation with your neighbor and it'll help the time fly by!



Pack Smart

I've mentioned this before in a video, but you'll want to pack smart for the convention. The most important item that I recommend bringing is a solid backpack. I really like my Boba Fett laptop backpack (R2-D2 version is pictured below) because it has tons of front pockets, inside pockets, and straps on the side that are perfect for holding the next most important item you'll need- a poster tube. If you're an avid art collector or love to grab the free posters offered at select panels, you'll want to keep those items safe in a poster tube. I also highly recommend bringing some snacks to hold you over because nobody likes a hangry Star Wars fan sitting next to them. Trail mix, fruit chews, and Pop-tarts are some of my favorite convention snacks to hold me over and that will also satisfy my sweet tooth.

Most US based convention centers have lots of water fountains scattered around the venue, so packing a leak-proof water bottle is a great idea too. Lastly, I always pack a small cardigan or hoodie in my backpack because I tend to get cold in the convention center, especially if I'm standing still in a line. Also don't forget to bring your rechargeable phone battery pack, extra camera batteries, or plenty of cash for all the cool merch you'll want to buy in the exhibit hall.



Cosplayers Gather in Specific Areas

If you're planning on cosplaying at Star Wars Celebration or just want to find cosplayers to photograph, I highly recommend staying in the lobby area of the convention center. Most cosplayers tend to avoid the exhibit hall if they're in costume because it gets pretty cramped in there. If someone is wearing a helmet with limited vision or a costume that is fragile, they'll most likely be taking pictures in the spacious lobby of the convention rather than the exhibit hall. There's also usually much better lighting for photographs in the lobby.

Also, don't be afraid to ask cosplayers to take a photo with you! That's what they love doing. Just be sure to ask for permission before touching anything on their costume- you never know how fragile it could be and you don't want to ruin their hard work or make them uncomfortable.

Bring Swag if You Can

Star Wars fans are notorious for trading swag at Star Wars Celebration. This includes pins, patches, buttons, trading cards and more. If you have any sort of small swag items to bring, you may get some cool items in return from a trade! I always make special stickers and buttons with The Dorky Diva logo on them to give out at Celebration. This isn't an essential part of the Celebration experience, but if you're a cosplayer, blogger, or podcaster, you might have a fun time handing out some of your personal swag at the convention. You can see how full my lanyard is with buttons from friends in the photo below.



Wear Comfortable Shoes

This sounds like a no brainer, but I honestly can't tell you how many times I've seen people wear uncomfortable clothing to Celebration. Ladies, I know it's super fun to dress up for the convention and wear a cool pair of heels with your Star Wars outfit, but bring a change of flats in your bag if you can. I try to wear comfortable sneakers with gel insoles to the convention because most of your time will be spent standing up or walking around. The concrete flooring of most convention centers will not be kind to your feet and back after walking around on it for multiple days.



Be Polite to Staff Members

Most of the staff members at Star Wars Celebration are volunteers who are lending a hand to the event without getting paid. If you approach a staff member and ask them a question that they are unable to answer, don't get frustrated with them. They might not know the answer to every single question and that's okay! Be polite and understand that if they are asking you to move out of a reserved seat or step aside to keep an entrance clear, just know that they are doing their job and not personally attacking you. These events wouldn't be possible without their help, so be grateful for their hard work and helpfulness!

You'll Need Special Tickets to Meet Guests

Celebration always has an awesome line-up of actors and actresses, authors, voice talent, and behind-the-scenes performers that bring Star Wars to life to sign autographs and take photos with guests during the convention. Before heading to Celebration, take a look at the guest list online and see who you would like to meet. Sometimes certain guests are only there for 1-2 days of the convention while others may be there for the entire event. Meeting these guests is not included with the purchase of your convention pass, so you will need to buy autograph/photo-op tickets in advance online or at the show. Price varies per guest, so do your research ahead of time!

The Party Doesn't Stop

If you miraculously still have energy after convention hours, there's most likely still social events happening around the convention center. Most hotel lobbies nearby will be full of Star Wars fans grabbing drinks or dinner together and some fan clubs organize meetups or swag-trade events after convention hours. This is a really great time to catch up with friends and mingle with people if you happened to miss them at the convention earlier in the day.

HAVE FUN

This one sounds simple, but it's a big tip! Sometimes Celebration might not always go as you've planned. Lines may take longer than expected or you might miss a panel that you were dying to see, but the most important part is to go with the flow and enjoy your time there. Star Wars Celebration is such an amazing event full of joy and opportunities to make new friends, so be social and chat with fellow fans around you. You never know what you'll see at the convention and I promise there will be some really great surprises along the way.


I can't wait to attend Celebration Chicago in April and hope to see you there. If you're a long time Celebration attendee, what tips or advice do you have for newcomers? Leave your advice in the comments below!
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The Dorky Diva Show- The Clone Wars Season 5 Discussion: Part 1

2.02.2019

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In this episode, we're discussing the first half of Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season Five! Tune in to hear our thoughts on the season premiere episode, Onderon arc, and Padawan arc. 
Apologies for the slight audio rubbing throughout the show- it should be cleared up by the next episode. Thanks for bearing with us! 
You can follow the show on Twitter at @DorkyDivaShow and the hosts at @thedorkydiva & @JediBrian.  Shop The Dorky Diva Show store here- https://www.teepublic.com/user/thedorkydiva

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