May 22, 2015

Star Wars Weekends Has All the Miniature Desserts

About this time last week, I was still feeling stuffed from the meal I'd eaten the night before at Jedi Mickey's Star Wars Dine at Hollywood & Vine. I don't kid around with food, especially when it's a buffet overflowing with entrees, sides, and desserts I need to try. And especially when those desserts are Star Wars themed. You see, I went to Disney's Hollywood Studios to attend Star Wars Weekends for the first time ever last weekend and I'm pretty sure I ate my weight in miniature desserts. It was one of many highlights of my trip and an unexpected one.

Between the meal at Hollywood & Vine and the Feel the Force package, I got a big sample of tiny treats from the galaxy far, far away. Allow me to show you several of the tiny desserts Star Wars Weekends has to offer.

Jedi Mickey's Star Wars Dine at Hollywood & Vine
This character dining experience features meet and greets with the Disney Star Wars characters (Jedi Mickey, Leia Minnie, etc.) and a giant buffet with a wide selection of desserts. I should have looked at desserts first but I still managed to try more than a few of them.

Apple caramel tart

Sugar cookies

Jabba the Hutt salted caramel cupcakes

Darth Vader chocolate peanut butter cupcakes

Donald Maul cheesecake tarts

Yoda chocolate cupcakes with hazelnut icing

Rebels raspberry cheesecake

Feel the Force
The Feel the Force package is an add-on, above and beyond the cost of admission to Hollywood Studios. You get a few extras with it, including access to a reserved viewing area for Symphony in the Stars with lots of desserts and alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. They had many of the desserts from Hollywood & Vine, including the mini cupcakes, and these offerings too:

Blue Milk Panna Cotta - my favorite!

Gungan City rice krispie bon bons

Dex's Diner raspberry lemon tarts (so good)

Stormtrooper cheesecake bites

I want to return to Star Wars Weekends for many reasons, but one of them is to eat more desserts. If we're being honest, all the desserts.

To read more about my adventures at Star Wars Weekends, check out my photos and review of the Rebel Hangar dining experience and my overall thoughts on the event at Nerdist.

April 13, 2015

Star Wars Celebration Schedule

For the longest time it felt like Star Wars Celebration Anaheim was so far away. I've been looking forward to this event so much that I'm convinced it slowed down time. Celebration is my most favorite convention, and since it only happens every 2-3 years, it's extra special. I get to connect with pals I don't see anywhere else. My schedule for this coming Thursday through Sunday is at whoa crazy levels and I'm a little stressed but mostly? I'm practically bouncing up and down with excitement. It's finally here, and I'm going to see my Star Wars family in mere days.

If you're around the convention, please say hello if you spot me! I love meeting fellow Star Wars fans. As per usual, I'll be tweeting and instagramming (I made them verbs - I'm sorry/not sorry) and I'll likely be working with Fandango on some Periscope livestreaming. And here's where you can catch me in person:

Podcast Listener Meet-Up!
Thursday, Apr. 16, 6:30pm-8:30pm, Hilton lobby
Listen to a Star Wars podcast? Then chances are your favorite podcasters will be at this multiple-podcast event. I'll be representing Full of Sith with my co-hosts Bryan Young and Mike Pilot.

Star Wars Journalism
Friday, Apr. 17, 10:30am-11:30am, Star Wars Fan Stage (Room 303ABCD)
What's it like to cover Star Wars news? Come listen to Bryan Young (Big Shiny Robot), Tracy Duncan (Club Jade), Eric Geller ( and myself discuss the definition of the word confirmed and other fun topics. Bonus points if you bring coffee and donuts to this "early" panel. (Kidding).

#AhsokaLives Day Group Photo
Friday, Apr. 17, 3:00pm, fountain in front of convention center
Johnamarie Macias and I have decided to call Friday, April 17th, #AhsokaLives Day. This is the day to wear your Ahsoka t-shirt, face paint, costume, shoes, etc, and celebrate the return of the beloved character on Star Wars Rebels. Take a picture of your Ahsoka gear and hashtag it #AhsokaLives and then join us at 3:00pm at the fountain in front of the convention center for a group photo. It's going to be awesome.

Star Wars Insider
Friday, Apr. 17, 6:30pm-7:30pm, Star Wars Fan Stage (Room 303ABCD)
Read Star Wars Insider? Join editor Jonathan Wilkins and several contributors like Mark Newbold, Tricia Barr, Jason Fry, and myself as we talk about the magazine and ask you what you want to see more of!

501st Bash
Friday, Apr. 17, 8:00pm - ??, Admiral's Lounge
The 501st Legion is hosting a galactic party, and I'll be there for fun and to work with The Comlink. This is a ticketed event, but The Comlink will also have a livestream set up so those not at the party can enjoy it. We'll be chatting with celebrities such as Sam Witwer and Cat Taber, stage hosts, and surprise guests. Follow @the_comlink on Twitter to get the livestream link.

Full of Sith live podcast
Saturday, Apr. 18, 12:00pm-1:00pm, Star Wars Podcast Stage (Room 208A)
Join Bryan Young, Mike Pilot, and myself as we record live at Celebration. I have to duck out halfway through the podcast because all the Star Wars Rebels press stuff is happening Saturday but the show will go on because those guys are awesome.

Aside from these panels and events, I'll be running around covering panels, doing interviews, volunteering at The Rancho Obi-Wan Experience, working with, and taking photos of all the costumes. I'll even be taking a moment to breathe once in a while. I hope to see and/or meet many of you at the con!

April 1, 2015

WonderCon Schedule

WonderCon will be in here in just a couple of days! I hope to see many of you there, and if you feel so inclined, you can see me on these panels:

Friday, 4/3
Publicizing Your Project
Got a new comic, a new web series, a new novel, a new TV show or a movie? That's great, but pretty meaningless if you and your friends are the only ones who know about it. How do you get the word out? Facebook and a webpage like everyone else? What can you do to cut through the clutter and get your stuff actually seen, actually talked about, actually out there so people can see it, read it, watch it, and buy it? Experts who have been getting projects seen dating back to Star Wars, including Molly Celaschi (Malena Public Relations), Joe LeFavi (Quixotic Transmedia), Craig Miller (Star Wars, The Dark Crystal), and Amy Ratcliffe (Nerdist, will give you their thoughts and advice on how you can do it for your project.
Friday April 3, 2015 5:00pm - 6:00pm
Room 210

Saturday, 4/4
Geeks Keepin' It Hot!
Professional nerds square off in an epic trivia battle of the ages while discussing the hottest pop culture topics, including racial stereotyping, objectification, gender-bending, casting news, and more! Spanning comics, TV, film, and web, this discussion will be hilarious and outrageous, and will challenge your perspective on culture. Moderated by Tony B Kim (, this superpowered team will include Amy Ratcliffe (writer), Chris Gore (comedian), Ivy Doom Kitty (cosplayer), Andre Meadows (comedian), Rachel Lara (actress), Sean Long (toy professional), Tracy Doering (writer), and Emily Ong (cosplayer, Fashionista).
Saturday April 4, 2015 3:00pm - 4:00pm
Elite Ballroom, Lobby, Anaheim Marriott Hotel

Sunday, 4/5
Building the Modern (Super)Heroine
With Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel finally set to hit the big screen, female superheroes are on everyone's mind. What do creators and fans want out of a powerful female protagonist? How do we pay tribute to the heroines of the past while still looking toward the future? What's the difference between writing established heroines and creating your own, and how can we best position and support these characters to usher in a whole new era of totally badass superheroines? A dynamic group of writers, editors, and expert commentators discuss the challenges of building modern heroines in a variety of mediums. With Cecil Castellucci (Stone in the Sky), Becky Cloonan (Gotham Academy), Sarah Kuhn (Heroine Complex), Andrea Letamendi (psychologist, Arkham Sessions ), Jose Molina (Agent Carter), and Babs Tarr (Batgirl). Moderated by Amy Ratcliffe (
Sunday April 5, 2015 1:00pm - 2:00pm
Room 207

Other than these panels, I'll be running about covering panels and the like for a couple of websites. Please say hello if you spot me!

March 25, 2015

Carrie Fisher talks about Leia joining the Disney princesses

Remember how I mentioned Carrie Fisher appeared at Indiana Comic Con and was absolutely hilarious during her panel? If you don't remember, she did and she was. Fisher spoke for 30 minutes on topics ranging from her blind date with Dan Aykroyd, to her script doctoring work, to Princess Leia. You have to talk about Princess Leia with Carrie Fisher. I think it's a rule. And happily, YouTube user OmegaTsunami uploaded footage from the panel so everyone can enjoy Fisher's amazing brand of humor. As I rewatched the panel, I was particularly struck by a bit where Fisher talks about Leia being a Disney princess. Skip to the 4:55 mark:

She joked, "Now I get to go to those Disney princess meetings so we get to wake up Sleeping Beauty. She's really pretty when she's asleep but when you wake that bitch up?! Wow. She can relax when she's sleeping. And the mermaid, they don't tell you about that. That girl has really - you know what happens when you're waterlogged, [your skin] gets all crinkly. That's not a good look if someone's in a bathing suit... So, it's things like that that we talk about at the meetings And I help them get to their real powerful self... I'm actually a very good shot so I will teach them that and you know, I think you'll be surprised when you see Cinderella next time."

Could she be any more perfect?

Just before those comments Fisher said Leia is a badass. She teased that most princesses will go, "Oh please will you look at my shoe over there? I think I broke it." She said we don't do that. "We wouldn't wear those f**king shoes to begin with." Amen.

Be sure to watch the entire panel. Here are the other two parts:

March 24, 2015

Eat Like an iZombie: All the Food in the iZombie Pilot

There's a new zombie show on The CW. Wait, don't go! I know what you're thinking. Another zombie series? On The CW?! But stop. iZombie isn't quite like any other supernatural show -- or any show really -- on television. Based on the comic by Chris Roberson and Michael Allred, iZombie is about a young girl turned member of the undead. But! Liv Moore (Rose McIver) is a functional zombie. Sure, her appearance is a little out of the ordinary, but she's far from gruesome (reference the part about The CW). Liv has to maintain a constant diet of brains to keep from turning into a mindless, shambling zombie, and she starts working at the morgue so she can feed her needs and stay off the radar while doing so.

The show has a somewhat peppy tone and balances cynicism and optimism to nice effect (you can read my review of the pilot at IGN). Rob Thomas is on board as showrunner, and there is a strong Veronica Mars vibe -- which I am more than fine with. There's plenty of quirk and charm, including how Liv eats brains. She usually mixes bits of brain in with other foods. Because it needs to be done, I'm going to track all the brain food and zombie snacks I spot in iZombie and suggest recipes, similar foods, and/or substitutes. One day maybe I'll have a themed iZombie party so I can have an excuse to actually make these dishes because yes, the brain-eating on this show makes me hungry instead of grossing me out.

Anyway. Here are all the brain snacks I noticed in the iZombie pilot:

1. Insta-Noodles with Spicy Chicken and brains
The first zombie meal we see Liv prepare is a little fresh brain mixed with spicy chicken instant noodles. She prepares the noodles in the microwave, adds brains, and pours on hot sauce. Why so much hot sauce? Yeah, her co-worker Ravi wonders about that too:

gif via herodukes
It turns out that Liv adds hot sauce because extreme spice and heat is basically the only taste her palate can discern. And she doesn't kid around with the hot sauce. The bottles we see suggest that it's of the 5 Alarm variety, otherwise known as the "Ow, I've just burned my entire mouth and esophagus forever" variety.

Try at home:
Cup Noodles Spicy Chicken (drain the water)
Amazon Red Hot Sauce or make your own 5 Alarm sauce
Ground chicken - break it up into big chunks so it looks more brain-like

2. Spicy Bloody Mary mix
Who needs alcohol when you can just toss back a potent Bloody Mary mix?

Try at home:
5 Pepper Extra Spicy Bloody Mary Mix - please don't actually try this at home unless you really, really like spicy drinks!

3. Hellfire Cheezy Puffs
Liv can eat without a side of brain, but as we've already learned, it has to be spicy. Fortunately for her, there are a plethora of hot snacks on the market and cheese puffs are at the top of that particular food group.

Try at home:
Flamin' Hot Cheetos

4. Brains with a side of hot sauce
Sometimes it's best to keep things simple. As the episode ended, Liv heated some fresh brains in the microwave and improved the taste with hot sauce.

Try at home:
My only suggestion here is to make a cake that looks like a brain.

Images: Rose McIver Source

March 23, 2015

Giveaway: Con*Quest Journal - WonderCon Variant Cover

Conventions are all about creating memories. Whether you're hanging out with friends, collecting autographs from your favorite creators or celebrities, attending panels, or going after photo ops, you're gathering experiences. I document my convention adventures with photos, social media, diary entries, and sometimes blog posts, but those clearly aren't tied together in one place. The Con*Quest Adventure Journal gives you that option.

The journal lets you thoroughly document your con experience in one attractive bundle (read my review of the journal). It's a well-made geeky scrapbook with colorful pages made for gathering autographs, panel notes, cosplay photos, artist sketches, and more. There's a business card holder page so you can keep track of all your favorite vendors, 9" x 12" plastic sleeves to keep your photos and commissions safe, and a zippered pouch to hold loose items like tickets or passes. Fancy and practical.

If you're thinking you might like to have one of these journals for WonderCon (April 3-5 in Anaheim), you're in luck. The limited edition WonderCon Show Exclusive Con*Quest Adventure Journal is available for pre-order now for $25, and I'm giving one away!

From Con*Quest:
With commissioned cover art, the 3 ring, canvas bound front and back covers are printed on quality paper stock and sewn to corrugated board for a completely handcrafted, unique feel. Inside the journal has 14 pages for everything you do at WonderCon, 2 sleeves for comics and artwork and a business card page. Your journal is easy to carry around the show in our custom, long handled tote bag.

To the pictures!

And here's the important part:
The winner must be able to pick the journal up from Con*Quest at WonderCon at booth 124. That means you must be attending WonderCon to enter.

Here's what you'll get if you win:
- Limited Edition WonderCon Show Exclusive Con*Quest Adventure Journal
- A Con*Quest tote bag

To enter, use the Rafflecopter widget below or:
1. Worth a single entry: Comment on the post and tell me what/who you're most exciting about seeing at WonderCon.

Get more entries with Rafflecopter (note: if you just click "Tweet" when tweeting about the entry, a message I wrote will automatically pop in):

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I'll notify the winner on March 30th and announce the winner in the comments. Good luck!

March 18, 2015

Collect and Trade Star Wars Cards Digitally with a New App from Topps

Raise your hand if you had a binder full of collectible cards as a kid. You can't see it, but my hand is raised. I grew up in a family of sports fans so I collected baseball and football cards for no real reason except that it was fun to buy them and satisfying to insert the cards into my meticulously organized binder. I sadly missed the days when cards were sold with a stick of gum, which if we're being honest, was probably for the best. I didn't learn about the existence of non-sports trading cards until much much later in life, and now I can experience them in a whole new way: digitally! Topps has launched the Star Wars: Card Trader App for iOS devices.

The basics are straightforward. The app is free to download. You register and automatically get 25,000 credits in your account. You use those credits to buy packs of cards and start building your digital card collection.

You can purchase credits with real money or just use bonuses that you receive through the app. The cards have borders with different colors representing their rarity. I've spotted gold, yellow, red, blue, and white cards so far. The white ones are the most common. The cards include characters from all six films, the television series, and The Force Awakens cards that revealed the names of the characters in the teaser. Each card has a front and back so you can flip them over to get character information.And the app includes tons of vintage cards in beautiful digital quality! As someone who didn't experience collecting real vintage cards, I love opening a pack and coming across them.

When you "open" each pack, a wrapper unfolds. The cards in the pack are added to your collection as you swipe through and unveiling certain cards will trigger a spray of virtual confetti.

And you can trade cards with others! It's like enjoying the good parts of recess again (right up there with climbing on the jungle gym and making friendship bracelets). I'm still learning how to trade, but you can make offers to people on your contact list or post what you're looking for/have available on the news feed. As you complete collections, you earn rewards. I'm digging it so far because you can approach the app casually and still have fun. I'm happy to just flip through my cards and read them without obsessing over complete sets... yet. That said, I'm all about trying to nab the limited packs.

Like I said, I'm still figuring out the ins and outs of trading, but if you'd like to add me on the app, my user name is amy_geek.

#AhsokaLives Day at Celebration

The return of Ahsoka Tano is an occasion to be celebrated. We've watched the character grow up since she was introduced on Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and now she's working against the Empire. When Dave Filoni tweeted a sketch of Ahsoka shortly after the Star Wars Rebels, both myself and Johnamarie Macias talked about how we both wanted to turn the sketch into a t-shirt. That spurred an idea...

What if we planned an event at Celebration Anaheim to celebrate Ahsoka? We came up with #AhsokaLives Day. Everyone is invited to wear their Ahsoka gear whether it's a t-shirt, a costume, or facepaint on Friday, April 17th. We'll meet for a group picture at 3:00pm in front of the convention center to document the event for posterity.

You can RSVP to join us at Facebook. And if you're not going to Celebration, you can still participate from around the world by taking a photo of yourself in your Ahsoka apparel and hashtag it #AhsokaLives.

Where can you find Ahsoka gear? Shop at Her Universe for officially licensed items and check out places like Etsy and RedBubble for more options!

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