Holiday Gift Guide: Star Wars Edition

Hello friends! For those of you who still pop on by here, I thank you. It is December now, and it is the Season of the Force. Anyone who has known me for even a little bit of time knows how much I love Star Wars. It's been a huge fandom in my life and has truly connected me with some of the coolest people. The sequel trilogy and the entire Skywalker Saga is coming to an end in just a few days, and I'm honestly a bit overwhelmed. I'm excited and afraid, and even though an end is just another beginning, I'm still trying to prepare myself to let go.

So in honor of that, I put together this little gift guide of not overly expensive things you can get yourself or that Star Wars fan in your life for the holidays.

Galactic Holiday Gift Guide 2019

Jordandené Star Wars apparel - Of course, as an unabashed fan of the brand, I had to include Jordandené in this post, especially when she just released 4 new Star Wars designs on shirts, tanks, and bomber jackets. Just sort the apparel section by NEWEST first.

I specifically asked her for the quote "A thousand generations live in you now," and she made my wish come true. Some of the older designs are still there, too, like "Never tell me the odds" and "I Rebel."

(Full disclosure: I'm also a brand ambassador for Jordandené. If you use my code 'akangaru,' you get 15% off and I get credit, which may translate to a small commission for me at no extra cost to you.)

Black Series Rebels Squad Tags - these key chains feature fun references from a galaxy far, far away and are the perfect gift for your squadron. My fave is the FN-2187 with TR8TR on the back. Normally, I'd suggest you pick up some of BSR's pins, too, because they come in adorable Action Figure packaging, but they are sold out for the holidays!

Lantern Pins Snips Love pins - The enamel pins trend doesn't seem like it's going anywhere soon, and I have loved these heart-shaped lightsaber pins from Lantern Pins for a long time. The ones linked here are her newest, featuring Ahsoka's blades.

Javva the Hutt Mug - here's one for the really big fans. This limited edition mug is not only a great pun on one of the galaxy's most notorious gangsters, it's inspired by the coffee shop of the same name at Lucasfilm HQ. I bought one for myself, and it is my favorite mug right now.

Porg Mini Magnetic Shoulder Plush - for anyone who loves porgs (*raises hand*), these little space birbs are a must-have. You slip the covered metal disk under your sleeve at the shoulder, and the magnet inside the porg lets it sit fairly securely in place. The fun of these is that you can also dress them up! I've seen so many porgs in ponchos and little Mickey ears. It is TOO CUTE.

This is my porg Burble. His sweater and hat are repurposed tree ornaments.

Kyber Crystal - you can get Kyber crystals for $14.99 at Black Spire Outpost, and they make a cool souvenir even if you don't have a lightsaber or holocron (both much pricer) to put them in. BUT if you can't make it out to the edge of the galaxy for your gift-shopping, try these Kyber Crystal necklaces from Punch It Chewie Press! These are extra special because they're handmade, and you can read about the color meanings before choosing the one meant for you (or your loved one). I picked mine up at DesignerCon, and I admit, I never would've thought myself a Red Kyber girl, but the way the color in this one looked was just lovely - like blood drop unfurling in water.

Galaxy's Edge Exclusives

If you happen to be visiting Galaxy's Edge at Disney before you meet-up for your gift exchanges, here are a few not-expensive items I think your Star Wars fan friends would enjoy.

Puffer pig (Creature Stall) - these little guys look weird, but they make such a cute desk pet and make the most delightfully funny noise when you squeeze them. In-universe, their value lies in their ability to smell out precious minerals (think truffle hogs).

Restraining Bolt magnet (Droid Depot) - an easily recognizable souvenir, it's a magnet that looks like the restraining bolts put on droids to keep them from running off.

Sabacc Deck (Toydarian Toymaker) - ever wanted to try your hand at the most (in)famous card game in the galaxy? You can pick up your own deck, complete with instructions on how to play, at the Marketplace in Black Spire Outpost. Just don't go betting your whole ship on a hand, okay?

Yoda "hand-made" plush (Toydarian Toymaker) - there's a variety of adorable hand-made aesthetic plushes at the toymaker's shop, but the hot ticket right now is the Yoda. While this isn't the same as a certain beloved child in The Mandalorian, it's probably the closest you're going to get right now. If plushes aren't your thing, I also recommend the variety of wooden toys that also make neat display pieces.

Hope that helps you with finding the perfect gift for the Star Wars fan-people in your life! HAPPY HOTHIDAYS, my friends. May the Force be with You!


Geekchic OOTD: Meet me in Batuu

It's funny my last outfit post here was a Star Wars-themed one because since then the Star Wars-themed land, Galaxy's Edge: Black Spire Outpost, has opened at Disneyland. AND I HAVE BEEN TO THERE.

Before I get too excited, for those of you not as obsessed with Star Wars as I am, the Galaxy's Edge addition to Disneyland (and Disney World later this summer) is meant to be unlike any other part of the parks. It is an immersive space where you'll find no Star Wars-branded or Disney-branded merch. You're meant to feel like you've ended up in a remote outpost - Black Spire, on the planet of Batuu - in a galaxy far, far away. The cast members speak in-character as denizens of the town. Star Wars characters you may recognize walk around, conducting their own business, though you can, of course, ask them if you can take a picture (get your image scanned) with them. They might not say yes, though.

In any case, I love it immensely because it fulfills a dream of mine - which is to feel like I can visit that world. I was lucky enough to get on 3 separate reservations to go during the first weeks' "soft opening" that ended last week. Of course, I planned 3 separate Star Wars-y outfits for it! I'm sharing them here so they can hopefully inspire you to get into the spirit of dressing up.

I'd previously shared on The Sartorial Geek blog outfit ideas for Light Side Style and Dark Side Chic (check these posts out for more geek style ideas!), but these were the outfits I actually wore to Black Spire Outpost.



Geekchic OOTD: Fly Casual

Is it just me or does each year seem to go by faster and faster? I can't believe we're already a quarter of the way through 2019!

This is an exciting week for 2 reason: I'm going on a short trip, and Star Wars Celebration is happening! Unfortunately, I am NOT going to Celebration, though I came close. I will be jet-setting on a different geeky adventure, but given how much I love Star Wars and the many closet cosplay/ geekbound outfits I've styled in that fandom, I wanted to give you an outfit post.

Maybe this will inspire a closet cosplay of your own, or if you're freaking out over what to wear to Celebration, maybe this is a last minute look that will work for you.

Hope you like this very casual X-Wing pilot-inspired outfit I wore to San Diego Comic Con 2018. It was by far the most comfortable outfit I wore all con, and everything was super easy to find!

Even though orange is not the easiest color to pull off, there is just something about those Rebel Pilot flight suits that is so iconic. Thanks to the current resurgence of jumpsuits and overalls in fashion, it's actually not that hard to find cute ones to wear casually. And that's where the idea for this outfit was born, or shall I say, refined?

Outfit details: Mock-Neck Top (Forever 21) // Overalls (Forever 21) // SUNGLASSES (Ray-Ban) // Fake Fangirl pin (Utinni Bikini) // Sandals (Miista)

At Comic Con 2016, my friends did a version of this Rebel Pilot geekbound with orange dresses and white tops. So the general idea of this pilot-bound outfit had been in my head since then.

While at the mall, I saw these orange overalls and it popped into my head that I could do an updated version of the pilot outfit that was slightly closer to the flight suits. Plus, the shade of orange on these overalls was way more forgiving for regular wear. I found a white mock-neck top to wear underneath that would be a call-back to the white flak vests the Rebel pilots wear over their orange flight suits.

The Sister re-used the white crop top she used in 2016 and put it over an orange jumpsuit she already had. We both topped our outfits off with Rebel Starbirds. I used the one we made previously out of the craft foam, and she used an enamel pin from Utinni Bikini.

My accessories were the finishing touches to tie it all together. Besides the Rebel Starbird, I included Utinni Bikini's brilliant "Fake Fangirl" enamel pin; it's written in Aurebesh, the written language seen in Star Wars. The kangaroo pocket in the front of my overalls were the perfect place to hide my co-pilot BB-8. It's sunny in San Diego, so when it came to choosing sunglasses, I went with aviators to tie into the whole pilot theme.

So there it is! My "Casual Friday" Rebel pilot outfit. Just remember for a simple geekbound like this, think in color blocks and themes. Accessories can also really pull the look together.

If you're headed to Star Wars Celebration, have so much fun. I'm so excited for all the news that's very likely going to be dropped this week! May the Force be with you!


Celebrating Galentine's Day

I'm slowly getting back into blogging, and the celebration of Galentine's Day seemed like a good time to start posting again.

For any of you who have spent even a little bit of time here, you'll know that I am about my sisters - the one by blood and the others by the bonds of friendship and geekery. As such, I always love a good girl power experience or product, and I'm also lucky enough to know a bunch of badass women creators. So hopefully, you'll find something for you and your squad on this list or at the very least, some cool AF boss babes to support this Galentine's Day.

1) Chickens are Bitches

We loved the friendship between Pek Lin and Rachel in the romantic dramedy Crazy Rich Asians, and we particularly loved the line about playing chicken. Our ConSquad resident graphic designer, Gennia, indulged all of us by designing two delightful "Bok Bok Bitch" shirts for the entire crew.

Want your own? Check out the PoeSquadron Teepublic page.

2) Get Strong with you Girl Gang

So I am terrible at staying on top of my fitness game, but it helps so much to go with friends. You can keep each other motivated to at least show up! Last year, I signed up for some trial classes with the Sister, and our friend Sherry. Because of that, we've hiked together, nearly died together in a particularly grueling Pop Physique class, and cried over soreness after kick-boxing.

In a similar vein, I just finished Geek Girl Strong's 1Up Wellness Challenge, which was a week of exercise, self-care, and healthy eating prompts led by Robyn. I found Robyn online through Jordandené, and she is honestly one of the most badass women I know of. She is constantly encouraging and open with her experiences, and seeing her workout videos in my feed is inspiring

The 1Up challenge was great because it came with a dose of community (remember what I said about it being easier to keep stuff up with friends?), and it was done online. So even though Robyn is literally across the country from me, I could participate! I highly recommend joining Geek Girl Strong challenges when they come around, and if you're looking for a health coach, Robyn offers in-person and online coaching packages!

3) Girl Power but make it Fashion

I know I already talked about dressing your girl gang, but I do love a good outfit, especially if it can be geeky. Plus, I'd be remiss to not share some of the rad things boss babes are doing at the intersection of style and fandom.

Sherry in a Jordandene shirt, me in an Elhofferdesign sweater, and Cat in a Spider-Man shirt.
  • Skylar Yoo - feminist art and apparel, featuring graphic tees with bold hand-lettering and 20% of their profits go to 2 charities benefiting girls.
  • Little Petal - convertible, hand-made dresses with pockets! Very body positive, very feminist.
  • Bombsheller - beautiful, vibrant printed leggings in a huge range of sizes, printed on demand & ethically sourced.
  • The Colorful Geek - one of the very first geek girl-owned tee-shops I went to because of the fun designs and variety of fandoms!
  • ElhofferDesign- body positive and chic AF. Katie is constantly making the clothes of my subtle geek fashion dreams.
  • Logan Arch - fun merch combining 90s nostalgia with modern fandom. Their 13th Doctor Collection is seriously for the Time Lady in all of us.

Obviously, I have to mention Jordandené since a big chunk of my everyday geekwear is from there, and there are so many shirts with great, empowering quotes - like Geek Girl Power, Nevertheless She Persisted, and Clever Girl. Not to mention, the 2 designs that debuted this month say "Stay Badass" and "Higher. Further. Faster." - this latter one being a reference to highly anticipated Captain Marvel and it's a limited Shirt of the Month.

Plus, they just brought back sweatshirts in different styles and colors, and they added zip-up hoodies! I just got a cropped Loki hoodie, and I can confirm they are as soft as you remember (if you own one of the old sweatshirts). Full disclosure, I am currently a brand ambassador for Jordandené, but that doesn't affect my opinion of the clothes and I've been a fan long before I started getting items for review. Anyway, if you use my code, akangaru, you can get 15% off a $20 minimum purchase, and you help me earn my next review piece!

4) Book Club

From superheroes to hopeless romantics to scientists to artists to women on a mission, the stories of complex female characters and real life women/girls are for everyone. Here are just a few suggestions. I've not read all of these, but if I haven't read it, rest assured it's on my TBR.

These are just a few things to share with your besties this Galentine's Day, besides a fun night out or a nice meal. But of course, the most important part of this day is to celebrate your friends and the amazing people they are. Sisters before Misters and all of that!

Q4U: How do you celebrate Galentine's Day? How do you celebrate your friends?


Year in Review: 2018- longest short year ever

Before it gets too far into 2019, I'd like to do my annual recap of the year before. It's more for my sake than anything else, but I know 2018 was a weird year for a lot of people - full of very highs and very lows. There was a lot of cool stuff I did last year, but there were also so many unexpected challenges, especially as 2018 came to an end. So, here it is in all it's weird glory.

  • Orlando~!  This was one incredibly magical way to kick off 2018. We did a Sisters trip with Justine and Bri to Orlando, FL - where we swam with wild manatees, played at Disneyworld, and ate butterbeer ice cream at Diagon Alley!
  • The Women's March continued to be inspiring.

  • Black Panther happened, which was incredible. I also followed up my epic 2017 The Last Jedi experiences with a screening at IMAX HQ, where I got to meet Rian Johnson and tell him just how much Rose Tico means to me.

  • Celebrations galore: Eva's bachelorette with a weekend getaway, Pi(e) day with fun Dean Winchester dancing decorations, and winning the Aladdin lottery and getting to see the show at the Pantages from front row, center.

  • Coachella was officially Beychella, and it was beyond epic and beyond magic.
  • Big events: Founding Daddy Eva tied the knot; the Infinity War finally happened - and we had a not-housewarming Marvel party; and I Instagram modeled!
  • Writing/Book stuff: YALLWest was amazing as always, and it was more wonderful because of all the new friends I made or gotten to better know. It was also National Poetry Month, which was productive for me and I had a poem published!

  • The Footrace was published. I am immensely proud of this poem, and it remains one of the best things I've written. You can read it at Strange Horizons!
  • I finally visited the Ripped Bodice (and it was glorious) for my friend Maurene's book launch!
  • One last time~ for Hamilton. I wasn't planning to see it this year, but the existence of an Asian George Washington made a viewing a must!
  • Miscellany: Family visit to the Reagan Presidential Museum to see an exhibit on Genghis Khan and Mongolia - sort of as prep for our trip in October. I had jury duty where I was actually on a jury for the first time ever. There was a Star Wars movie that I was only mildly excited about. ConSquad visited the King Tut traveling exhibit.

  • Monterey/Carmel trip: We celebrated ConSquad Dirty Thirty birthdays, stayed in a probably haunted but definitely creepy AirBnB, and visited the famous Monterey Aquarium and Scenic 17-mile drive at Pebble Beach.
  • Winchester Mystery House!! This is a site on my bucket list, and I finally got to go! It was both smaller than I expected but also huge!
  • My youngest cousin graduated from UC Santa Barbara!
  • My poem BEAUTY ROUTINE out in Liminality!
  • Geekery: using the last of our Universal Studios pass, we rode the old version of the Jurassic Park ride for the last time. We went to a Netflix pop-up, saw Tom Hanks in Henry IV, saw Years & Years, and I got to Instagram model some ElhofferDesign clothes.
  • Fourth of July was odd, considering my feelings about what's going on in this country.
  • ConSquad visited some costumes from The Crown & then prepped for SDCC.
  • SDCC: way less drama, way more chill. Only did a half-day of Hall H for once, got into Conan finally, met up with so many geek friends, roomed with so many geek girls, had the greatest heist to round out the weekend at a Harry Potter themed party. Go team!
  • SDCC book stuff: I finally met my dear April IRL after so many failed attempts, went to a Scholastic party, actually ran into Diya at con, met up with Sooz and got to fangirl at Victoria Schwab!

  • Disney fun: finally saw the rebrand of Paradise Pier into Pixar Pier, but most importantly, we finally got to see Nicole! We also spent a full day at the parks later, where we enjoyed the food and photo ops and traumatized one of our friends with the Guardians ride - we didn't know he hated drop rides until we were about to get into the lift. Oops.
  • Asian August: a glorious month of Asian cinema with the landmark Crazy Rich Asians, the irresistibly lovable To All the Boys I Loved Before, and the innovative Searching. I felt so proud, hopeful, and seen. I even got to podcast about some of it - CRA with Crazy4ComicCon and TATBILB with Books & Boba.
  • My birthday - which I celebrated with a To All the Boys Party and all my fave gals. 
  • Oh, and we were cast to be part of a Star Wars Pet Makeover show for Oh My Disney! We filmed at the end of the month for a half day, and all of us got made over in Jedi!

  • Labor Day weekend ended, and I had the worst start to the week back - got into my first ever car accident, and it really just brought me down. I'd been feeling kind of unsatisfied and restless with myself, and this worsened my mood a lot. Thankfully, I had a nice chat with a friend.
  • Cat's birthday and the beginning of our new and intense obsession with Spider-Man thanks to the release of the game. We all fell in love with Peter Parker, and the love is going strong.
  • Saw the Queen B again this year, and got to launch the long awaited VENGEFUL with Victoria Schwab at the Grove.
  • House anniversary! One year since we got our place, and we finally planned and executed a Halloween-themed housewarming.
  • Family trip to China: it was a glorious 2 weeks exploring just a small part of China, including Mongolia. Each city we went to had its own personality, its own rich stories, and its own set of truly amazing sites. Only in China can you end up at the Forbidden City and be slightly unimpressed to hear the history only goes back a few hundred years versus the thousand year old structures and sites you saw a few days ago in Xi'an, the capitol of the Tang Dynasty.

  • China also marked my first visit to a foreign Disneyland. Shanghai Disney was huge and so cool, both familiar and so different to Disney at home.
  • Geeky miscellany: I was on my first panel at a convention, what! It was at L.A. Comic Con. We got to see Sarah Maas on the last stop of her Kingdom of Ash tour, the last book in her debut fantasy series. Cat and I threw together a last minute costume for us and Loki that ended up being a huge hit. It was Spider-Man themed, of course! Oh, and our episode of Star Wars Pet Makeover was released!

  • Harry Potter month - with a new Fantastic Beasts movie out, we headed back to the Wizarding World. The movie ended up being meh, but it was cool to see the cast around on the day we spent drinking butterbeer and taking photos with Goldie in cosplay!
  • Mid-Term Elections: vote vote!
  • Two days after voting day, some asshole broke into my parents' house. Another terrible first time experience for all of us. Luckily, no one was home, and it wasn't as bad as it could have been, but the house was a mess for days and both sentimental and religious items were taken. I'm still pissed about it, and truly hope whoever did it has had nothing but endless bad luck since they did this.
  • Fun with friends: I was elated to see my dear friend Julie on her book tour and to hang out with her and C.B. Lee. We spent more time with Laura, who helped us meet our first corgi, Waffles!
  • I finally got an Elhofferdesign Hamilton Blue Coat dress!
  • Backstreet's Back - we headed back to Vegas to see BSB and Celine Dion. It was super fun and made even more so by our impromptu hotel-room photoshoot.
  • Hopping on the Disney train - we finally did it. We got APs in preparation for the upcoming Star Wars land. We did a bunch of superhero photo ops finally, and then we went back to enjoy the holiday decor. It was also Max's first Disney trip then! Our friend also invited us to an early screening of Mary Poppins Returns at the Disney lot, and that was cool!
  • Fashion: Aquaman was a pretty fun movie, but mostly, I was pleased that my long awaited Elhofferdesign Padme sweater could double as a geekchic Aquaman themed outfit, too. I bought a leopard faux fur coat, something I thought I'd never do, but I love it. 2018 was a year of my expanding fashion horizons.
  • Personally, December dealt another blow in that we had a family health scare.
  • Into the Spiderverse: this movie was fantastic and heartfelt and stunning -and it just made us all even more in love with Spider-Man. I literally started a new friendship with a fellow writer over this obsession, and I started reading some Spidey comics.
  • And we sent out our Star Wars Makeover photo as our holiday cards. We had our first real Christmas and New Years at our house - complete with our childhood tree.
  • Rang in the New Year with a couple friends, toasting with sparkling pomegranate juice in Founding Fathers glasses!

And that was my 2018! Like I said, highs and lows, especially some personal lows towards the end of the year. I'm trying to use the energy of the new year to pull myself out of some of the blues I went through, and I'm optimistic about it. I've made some small goals and am working towards supporting my Word of the Year, which you can read about at Girl On the Roam!

How was your 2018? What do you hope for in 2019?