8 Months Till Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

Yes, the waiting is getting harder and harder. Especially with the new trailer out this week. Which, if you haven’t seen yet, must mean you are living in a cave on a desert planet far, far away. For those of us who aren’t a crazy, old man, take another look:

Yeah, so patience isn’t exactly my strong suit. But I’m trying really hard to bask in the pre-Force Awakens world of Star Wars. There are so many wonderful stories to read and watch in the waiting. So while I’m working on my patience, I will be doing these things.

Star Wars Digital

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Show of hands, who will be purchasing both Star Wars trilogies on a digital platform regardless of whether or not you own DVD versions of the films. Count me it. Not only is this the most everlasting version of Star Wars available to us, there are also brand new behind the seasons featurettes available. And if you are anything like me, you consume new Star Wars information like a ream of frozen Thin Mints.

Star Wars Expanded Universe: Legends

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By now we all know that the entire Expanded Universe has been relegated to Star Wars Legends to make room for all the new stories as well as the story line of the new films, but that doesn’t diminish the amazing work of all the authors who penned the Legends. Like Timothy Zahn and James Luceno and Drew Karpyshyn and John Jackson Miller and many, many more. So in the ether of the waiting zone I will be diving head first into the Expanded Universe starting with Timothy Zahn’s epic Thrawn Trilogy! And hopefully getting through as many as I can. Because after December I will be focusing on…

New Star Wars Expanded Universe

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All of the new novels that are now considered canon. Not to say I won’t return to the Legends, because, as I said, they are amazing stories that deserve to be read. But I want to fully immerse in what Lucasfilm and the Disney overlords are considering part of the official Star Wars Universe. There are many new titles coming out not only this year, but in the works in order to start making use of the word Expanded. Right now the timeline is a little thin, especially given how long the previous Legends timeline is. But if I start soon, then I won’t be as behind as I am with Legends. So there’s no time like the present. The only current canon novel I’ve read so far is A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller. Which leads me to…

Star Wars Rebels

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The explosive Disney XD cartoon that is not just for kids takes place in the gap between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. It is a great way to stay connected to the Star Wars Universe in the space between big budget films and the story being told is very strong! If you don’t want to watch week to week, go ahead and start with…

Star Wars Clone Wars

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If you don’t like to wait for new episodes to come out, then Clone Wars is what you want. This is what I’m currently watching. And as sad as it is when a great show ends, I love being able to just power through and fully immerse in the experience of a show. And Clone Wars is truly a wonderful show. The Cartoon Network series takes place, obviously, during the Clone Wars in the space between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. It does an amazing job of bridging that gap, not only by giving us actual stories from the legendary Clone Wars, but also in Anakin’s decent and temptation towards the Dark Side of the Force. Something believed to be missing from Revenge of the Sith for avid Star Wars fans. Clone Wars boasts of strong villains like Asajj Ventress and Savage Opress, new heroes like the young padawan Ahsoka Tano and Captain Rex as well as all the characters we love from the prequels, Obi-Wan, Anakin, C3PO, R2D2, Padme.

Star Wars Comics

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Star Wars comics are returning home to Marvel Entertainment. From 1977-1987, Marvel held the property. Dark Horse got a hold of them after Marvel and they have been responsible for all the modern Star Wars comics that we know and love. But this is the year that Star Wars returns to Marvel, where it always belonged (not to belittle the amazing work Dark Horse did for the comic universe.) With Disney owning both Marvel and Star Wars, it makes sense to keep it all in the family. Now, all the comics coming out of this Mavel/ Star Wars partnership are considered current canon so this blurb could technically belong in the New Expanded Universe column. But comic books are an entity in and of themselves. I love comic books, but have a hard time keeping up with weekly serials. I tend to gravitate towards books or graphic novels. But if comics are your thing or you want to expand your knowledge of the SWEU, then you should start with Lando #1 which hits the racks in July.

There you go. Plenty of Star Warsian things to do while we eagerly (and patiently) wait for December to roll around.

What will you be doing while you’re waiting?

5 Fandom Friday

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Favorite Theme Park Rides

To say I love theme parks would be a gross understatement. I simply adore them. I put my hair up in pigtails, find the most nerd appropriate shirt for the occasion and I just go wild! It’s like I’m 5 years old again. And I was an adorable 5 year old!!

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#1 – Star Tours & The Great Movie Ride

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Photo from Disney

Photo from Disney
Photo from Disney

These 2 rides hold a special place in my heart because they have been around for a very long time! And I used to ride them as a kid. Not to mention the obvious love for all things Star Wars and the movies in general! I have yet to ride the updated Star Tours ride, but I loved the old cheesy version, so I have every confidence that the new version will not disappoint. (It takes a lot to disappoint me!)

#2 – Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringott’s

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This ride is a brand new obsession! I got to go to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter for my birthday last year and I think the world magical accurately describes every single minute of a day spent exploring Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade and Hogwarts. But it’s the brand new ride in the bank vaults of Gringott’s that was my favorite part. The ride makes you feel like you’re in the movie, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It was so wonderful and I can’t wait to go back and give the park another go. If you come to the greater Orlando area after July 2015 and need a theme park buddy, I’m your girl!!!

#3 – Kingda Ka

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Photo from Six Flags

I LOVE roller coasters!! I always try to chicken out at the last moment, when I’m strapped in and regretting the wait in line and the stairs I just climbed. But it’s too late, I made my choice! And as the roller coaster climbs higher and higher, I think I might throw up or scream or cry, but then the wind hits my face and we go careening to the ground and my heart is racing and I know that this is the closest I will ever get to flying and the feeling is exhilarating! The very moment the ride ends, I’m back in line for another go around. And the cycle starts all over again!  (And added shout out to Six Flag’s Safari at Great Adventures. It too is amazing. Though not technically a ride, per se.)

#4 – Splash Mountain

Photo from Disney
Photo from Disney

This is an obvious choice! A trip to Disney is never complete without a ride on Splash Mountain. And every time I go to The Magic Kingdom, I have to go at least 2 or 3 times. I love Brer Rabbit and Brer Bear! And again, this one has a touch of roller coaster to it. I love the drop before the last drop when you know that last drop is coming and you get that feeling in the pit of your stomach like you might fly out of your log, but you don’t. And it’s amazing!

#5 – Pirates of the Caribbean

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Photo from Disney

This is another ride that holds a lot of nostalgia for me. Growing up in Orlando allowed me many opportunities to go to Disney World. Class trips, family fundays. Not to mention that it was much cheaper back in the day. (Yeah, I’m official old for saying that!) This ride has also been updated since I was a kid and the updates still allow it to be a cheesy pirate ride, but incorporates the Jack Sparrow factor from the wildly successful movie franchise. Plus, it’s always been a pirate’s life for me!!

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Like I said, if you ever need a theme park buddy, I’m your girl! Theme parks like Disney and Universal and Wet n’ Wild and Busch Gardens are amazing on their own, but with a Lizzie in tow… they become shamazing!!! Seriously!

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What are your favorite theme park rides?

It’s HERE!!!!

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The new teaser trailer just landed!! And it is amazing. Behold! And I defy you to not be emotional while watching! I’m in tears right now!!!

The remnants of a crashed Star Destroyer. The narration from Mark Hamill is chilling and heart-wrenching. Vader’s charred mask, Leia getting a lightsaber. And of course that one and only scruffy-looking nerf herder, Han Solo.

Harrison isn’t at Celebration this weekend as he is still healing from his plane crash. But the rest of the cast showed up in full Force (pun intended) and with smiles and tears alike! It’s gonna be a weekend to remember, even for those of us who aren’t in attendance.

I cannot contain my excitement and must now go watch it on repeat till I have every frame memorized!! TTYL

Dreaming of SW Celebration

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Sadly I am not in Anaheim, California right this very minute. I am not soaking up the California sun and preparing for an epic weekend of Star Wars culture. That is what I’m not doing.

What I am doing is dreaming of the panels I’ll be missing. And reading my Star Wars EU novels and watching Star Wars on digital platforms. Anything to be connected to the massive event that I am sadly not partaking in,

I have been to Star Wars Celebrations of yesteryear and I have to tell you… it’s an amazing experience. Especially for the fanatics of the world (that includes your favorite nerdy girl!) Luckily there are some new ways to stay in touch with SW Celebrations as the weekend progresses and the geeks keep on geeking out.

In just under an hour, JJ Abrams and Kathleen Kennedy will be taking the main Celebration Stage to kickoff the weekend and talk about… well, you know what they’re talking about. A little movie coming out in December. An underground indie if ever there was one.

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Only the biggest movies of the year (Sorry, Avengers. I love you, but step aside for the King!) Who knows what untold treasure trove of information they will have to share. Luckily for those of us who can’t be there, Verizon and StarWars.com are bringing us the action, live. Click Here for more info!! 

Not only that, but there are the ever present social media platforms that make it easy to follow along.

Twitter: @SW_Celebration

Facebook: Star Wars Celebration

Instagram: @starwarscelebration

You Tube: Star Wars Celebration

These are, of course, the best way to stay connected to all the action from a galaxy far, far away. And when it comes to Star Wars, you never want to miss any of the action. It’s basically the best part!!!

If you are at the Con, make sure to keep us informed and shout it out if you are so inclined. I’ll be bringing you the panels I wish I was attending this weekend. As well as any good stuff coming out of the Con!! (of which there will be plenty!)

So may the Force be with you, my lovely nerds!! Enjoy this little look at Star Wars Celebrations of yesteryear!!

Ready to rule!

The Power of Hello

So… one night, I was out with some girlfriends for a rather epic night of karaoke. Enter a pack of attractive business men. Now, I’m not really a suit and tie kinda girl, but a cute guy is a cute guy.

When they walked in the door, I was rocking out to Saving Jane’s “Girl Next Door.” Apparently, well enough to peak the pack’s interest. Cause next thing I knew, one of the guys was on the stage dedicating Usher’s ‘Nice and Slow’ to me, personally.

A couple thoughts on this, it was a bold move and sometimes that really works. For this dude, it totally did. Very sexy! ‘Nice and Slow’ is a little fresh, but it’s karaoke and things said via song lyrics are way less jarring than when merely spoken.

For example: if a man ever said “I wish that I – Could pull over – And get this thing started right now – I wanna do something freaky to you baby” to my face… I’d probably slap him. But sung in a sexy Usher song, somehow it worked. Somehow.

Here’s where he went wrong. After he finished serenading me and even stealing a kiss on the cheek, he walked off the stage and went back to sit with his friends. Then he didn’t even approach me the rest of the night. Just stared at me from across the room. If you have the balls to get on stage and dedicate a song to me, you better have the balls to walk 6 feet across the room to say hello. But no. He didn’t.

Now, I’ve heard a lot of pick-up lines in my life, as you faithful readers already know. (read: That is Not a Pick-Up Line blog post)

But the one that actually works on me is “Hello.” It may sound simple or cheesy or old school, but I’m telling you… it really works! And if it’s the right hello, at the right moment, from the right person then “Hello” becomes a whole lot more than a simple, cheesy, old-school greeting.

The beauty of language is the subtlety of things not spoken. The phrase “less is more” comes to mind.

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This week’s webisode is the perfect example of what to do. Perhaps only the unicorns know the secret power of Hello, but I want to share this with the world. Education is the key to knowledge. So watch and learn from one of the few unicorns I have encountered in my journeys. Cause this boy knew how to make a Hello work for him!

Brand New Episode

Episode 32: Finding a Unicorn

Starring:

Liz Tailor & Mark Willis Borum

Ethical Closet (Click the links below):

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Sponsored by:

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(Click here for more information on our sponsor: Licensure Exams)

For more information on the companies we partner with and what they stand for CLICK HERE, and for more on the fashions and where to get them CLICK HERE.

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Check back every Tuesday for brand new episodes!!

5 Fandom Friday

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5 Magical Items I’d Love to Own

I love magic! I believe in magic and I really want to be apart of the magical realm. Here are the items I most wish to wield!

#1 – A Wand

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Duh! I want to go to Ollivander’s and find out what my wand core is made of. Is it Dragon heart string, Phoenix feather, Unicorn tail hair or something else heretofore unknown in the wand world? And what kind of wood would be used to craft my wand? Ash wood, Elder wood, Cherry wood, Rosewood, Walnut? My favorite spell is Alohomora (I even named my phone after this spell.) And to do said spell, I need my wand!!

#2 – Mjolnir

Photo from Indestructables
Photo from Indestructables

I’m not really sure what real world applications Thor’s hammer would have for me in my day to day existence. But I know that if it were possible to have one… I’d want it. If for nothing else than for it to be a pretty clear cut “Don’t Mess With Me!” This would be useful on the subways or walking on busy streets. You just don’t mess with a girl holding a magical Asgardian hammer. You just don’t!

#3 – Dorothy’s Slippers

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I live very far away from a lot of loved ones, so these appeal to me as a cheap and quick means of transportation. Practical and fashionable… sign me up!

#4 – Aladdin’s Magic Carpet

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Another fun mode of transportation. This one is a little more romantic than the ruby slippers, cause there’s room for two. Looking for the perfect thing to do on date night? Grab that magic carpet and take it for a spin. The possibilities are endless.

#5 – Lightsaber

Photo by Finkbuilt.com
Photo from Finkbuilt.com

Now, I think you know me a little better than that. Lightsaber belongs at the top of the list. It belongs at the top of every list! But it’s not technically a magical object. The crystal inside the lightsaber could be considered somewhat magical, but it’s more of a religious item that harnesses the power of the Force and therefore allows the Jedi or Sith who wields it to connect to the blade and become one with their weapon through the Force. But you probably already knew that!

What magical objects will you be standing in line for once they are made available?

Brand New Episode

Episode 31: Bouquet Dodger

Starring:

Liz Tailor

Sponsored by:

Corporate Logo

(Click here for more information on our sponsor: Licensure Exams)

For more information on the companies we partner with and what they stand for CLICK HERE, and for more on the fashions and where to get them CLICK HERE.

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Check back every Tuesday for brand new episodes!!

Lenten Discoveries

This past Sunday was Easter, which means Christ has Risen and Lent is over. It also means that I get to watch TV again! But while I’ve been without TV, I’ve made some lovely new discoveries and I thought I’d share them with you!

#1 – The Last Ship 

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No, not the TNT TV show. The Broadway musical from Sting that sadly closed in January. But the soundtrack is so amazing. And it was Sting’s TED Talk that led me to the music. And it has been playing in my earballs since February. If you’ve never heard the music, do yourself a favor. The soundtrack is on Spotify, so go check it out. It’s magnificent! Also check out Sting’s TEDtalk!

#2 – Michael Esper

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Discovering The Last Ship led me to discover Michael Esper (American Idiot) and this You Tube video from the Today Show of the cast singing “When We Dance” (favorite song from the show). I think I watched it about 30 times over the course of a week. The music is captivating and the performances are stirring! The cast did a performance at 54 Below on March 2nd and I tried my best to get in to see it. But alas it was quite sold out.

Follow him, cause he is exceptional!

Twitter: @airstreamrally

#3 – SoundCloud

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I’ve had this app for a while, but never had the chance to fully investigate all the miraculous sounds available on it. So I took some time to explore SoundCloud and find some new music and artists that were interesting. Which led me to…

#4 – Kerrigan-Lowdermilk

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“One of the most celebrated writing teams of their generation, Kait Kerrigan and Brian Lowdermilk blur the line between musical theater and pop music.” Definitely check out all of their music on YouTube and iTunes and Spotify. But specifically their song “Run Away with Me.” My new favorite song!!! There are a bunch of Broadway singers who have covered this at venues like 54 Below and Joe’s Pub and more. But the one who got me most was Jeremy’s Jordan’s version. Check it:

and if you’re in the mood for more Jeremy Jordan (who isn’t) don’t miss his version of “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” from the Broadway Loves Celine Dion show at 54 Below!!! If your heart doesn’t just burst with happiness, then you need to get that thing checked!

Follow them and everything they do cause they are so talented!!!

Twitter: @kaitandbrian

You Tube: Kerrigan-Lowdermilk

Website: kerrigan-lowdermilk.com

#5 – Matt Doyle

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Watching videos on YouTube is such a rabbit hole situation. One leads to the next, which leads to the next and pretty soon you end up somewhere completely different with no idea how you even got there. So, after discovering Kerrigan-Lowdermilk and watching every video available of Jeremy Jordan, I stumbled upon a video of Matt Doyle (Spring Awakening, The Book of Mormon, War Horse, Gossip Girl) singing “Run Away with Me” (aka, new favorite song.) And finding him… well that led to a whole new world of gorgeous sounds for my ears!! Like his cover of Adele’s “One and Only.”

Or any song from his EP “Daylight” but especially “Can’t Stay Here” (aka my other new favorite song!)

Go follow everything he does, cause he’s a nerd like us and he’s just delightful!!

Twitter: @MattfDoyle

Instagram: @mattfdoyle

YouTube: Matt Doyle

#6 – Andrew Solomon’s TEDtalk

I watched a bunch of TEDtalks while off TV. They are always inspirational and always educational! But Andrew Solomon’s was also emotional and personal! It’s a longer talk, but so worth watching!! Check it:

Follow him, cause everyone should be supported!

Twitter: @Andrew_Solomon

There were many other things that I discovered while not watching TV. But these were the ones that really stuck with me through Lent. I love TV. I love my stories. But it’s important to switch it up every once in a while and discover some new things!!! I hope you enjoy!

 

Healthy is the New Sexy!

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Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

We have a big weight problem in this country. And it’s two fold. Obesity is an epidemic that continually plagues us. Big Mac, Extra Large, Super Sized. In America, our mantra is usually “Bigger is better.” This is not reflected in the media. As our movie stars get skinnier and skinnier, the rest of America embraces extra helpings, because, “Hell, we’ll never look like that anyways. So why not!”

But even someone as gorgeous as Cindy Crawford is the first to admit that she doesn’t even look like “Cindy Crawford” in the privacy of her own home. It’s a myth. An illusion. (Read her article from Redbook Magazine 2009: Click here)

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Photo Credit: Vogue Magazine 1988

And to be honest with you, I bought into it early on and have continued to struggle with it ever since.  6 years ago when I was working at a certain famous New York bridal salon, it was worse than it ever had been or would be.

The fashion industry is brutal for a chubby, Southern girl with a deep love of apple pie and Coke slurpees. The pressure can get the best of you and definitely got the best of me. Now, it could have been a whole lot worse, but it was bad enough to require an intervention from my friends at the salon.

The truth is, I felt fat. All the time. There was a constant stream of food always available to us. And “bad” food like chocolate cake, cheesy fries, and an endless supply of gummy bears. When you’re going as fast as we went, you’ll eat whatever is in front of you.

My weight hit an all time high at 198 pounds. So I decided to try an “herbal” remedy I’d seen a commercial for. It was called Hoodia. It’s an African cactus and it promises to “trick your brain into thinking you’re full.”

Yes. It curbed my hunger, but it also had me going about 100 miles an minute and my heart constantly felt like it was going to beat out of my chest. But it was working. I lost weight. And inevitably, everyone around me kept telling me how great I looked. So I chalked it up a success!

At one point I think I was taking 6 or 7 pills a day. If that wasn’t enough, I also did that lemon, cayenne pepper, maple syrup cleanse for a full 10 days. And I lost another 15 pounds. Triumph!

For all I could tell I was doing something that was working and was garnering the desired effect. People noticed the difference and were pleased with the skinnier, unhealthier, “sexier” me. I couldn’t see that I had developed an eating disorder!

Thank God for great friends, who saw what was happening and told me it had to stop. I got off it, promptly gained all the weight back and then went about trying to lose it the healthy way. With exercise and eating better. (What a revelation!)

The sad fact is that every time I get the flu or food poisoning or something, I’m secretly grateful for the little extra weight loss. The feeling of my hip bones sticking out a little more than usual. It’s a battle I fight constantly and probably always will. But now it’s one I feel like I’m winning. And the majority of the time when I look in the mirror I see someone who looks healthy. Not fat or skinny! I have strong legs that carry me all over this beautiful city. I have a body proportionate to the size of my head (I looked like a bobble head when I lost all that weight.) And I am proud of my body and what I can do with it! Finally.

And I’m happy to say that my goals reflect a much more balanced viewpoint.

Photo Credit: Tacfit
Photo Credit: Tacfit

Stay tuned for more from this Avenger in Training!

And share your thoughts below. I’m not the only one who deals with this. Don’t struggle in silence.