This Saturday I marched with so many great men and women in San Diego’s Women’s March. I’m so glad to have been a part of such an amazing display of unity. Together we stood for equality, women’s rights and human rights. It was a celebration of intersectionality, gender, race. There were straight, queer, trans, abled, disabled, young, old and everyone in between. Despite the rain, so many people were in high spirits.
I love a good female centric book and lately I’ve read SO many good ones. The books on this list focus on books that I feel like empower girls and women that not only give you the warm and fuzzies, but also have nuance and depth beyond the go-get-em spirit. This is definitely a short list and there are SO many other amazing feminist books that this list just grazes the surface. This is just a list of a few that I’ve read recently and are some of my favorites.
Lumberjanes Vol. 1: Beware The Kitten Holy
by Noelle Stevenson and Shannon Watters
I couldn’t leave Lumberjanes out of this list. It’s a graphic novel that I think all young people should read, especially young girls. It’s the classic story about a group of girl friends who spend their summer at camp, fighting supernatural three-eyed foxes and uncover mysteries around the camp. It’s a really bad ass group of girls who do everything in the name of friendship. The group is diverse, the characters are fun, smart and flawed. There’s a lot of representation in this series without it being forced. It’s everything you want for your teenage girl without sacrificing the fun and story line. It’s absolutely beautiful and I think everyone should give it a go.
I have two books on this list by Roxane Gay for a really good reason. She’s so real, funny and insightful. I guess Bad Feminist was my first book I bought specifically when I started searching for books on feminism. Bad Feminist is a collection of essays Gay writes exploring her personal experiences, pop culture, intersectionality, what being a woman has meant to her, sexual violence and a lot of other topics. She talks about what the current state of feminism is to her. It’s very insightful for anyone just learning about feminism and why some people find that word leaving a bad taste in their mouths. I love pop culture, so some of my favorite essays were commentary on Twilight and 50 shades of Grey. If you’re into that kind of thing, I would recommend this collection of essays. One thing I constantly try to do is diversify my reading materials. That includes reading authors who have very different life experiences than I’ve had or authors I’ve read from in the past. I don’t know what it’s like to be a black woman with Haitian decent, so I wanted to read more from her.
That being said, I picked up An Untamed State. Where Bad Feminist was more of a collection of thoughts, collected together in one place, An Untamed State will definitely appeal to you if you don’t like essays or if you just like reading novels instead. The story focuses on a woman named Mireille who was born in the US to immigrant Haitian parents. In the first few pages of the book, she is kidnapped while she is in Haiti and tells the story of her kidnapping and flashes back to her childhood and the rest of her life. This was absolutely gripping and it was the kind of book that I stayed up until 2 am to finish. I definitely will warn you that it is graphic and has some really terrible violence. I cried buckets and it definitely left me with so much heaviness in my heart. A lot of people will sum of this story as a tale of a woman and her kidnapping but it’s so much more than that. It’s a story about resiliency. It tells a lot about a slice of Haiti and the United States. It’s a story about family. It’s about how women need each other. It’s a hard book to read but if you can get through it, it’s definitely worth it.
You probably know Rupi Kaur from that infamous instagram photo she posted with period stains on her pants and sheets as a part of a series she was working talking about the taboo around menstruation that was taken down because it didn’t “follow Community Guidelines.” Anyway, Milk and Honey is a collection of her poetry and it’s absolutely gorgeous. She talks about her family, her relationships with other people and herself, abuse, love and trauma. It’s emotional and raw. I don’t know much about poetry to be honest, but there are some poems that broke me into a million pieces. Her poetry will make you feel uncomfortable and then question why you do.
A classic. Little Women was one of my favorite books in grade school. Jo March was my hero and I thought she was the coolest characters ever. If you’ve never read Little Women as a child, I read it recently as an adult and it 100% still holds up as a good bad-ass woman book. The story focuses on the girls in the March family and their growth from little girls waiting for their father to return from the Civil War to strong women who hold each other up. It was one of the formative books that cemented for me that girls can and must pave their own way and make their own decisions. If I have children, Little Women will definitely be on their shelves.
This book was given to me by my amazing boyfriend during a really tough time in my life where I felt uninspired, stifled and filled with so much self hatred and self doubt. He gave this to me hoping to inspire me. And if you need to light a fire under your butt, definitely give this a read. Ruth Bade Ginsburg is an amazing woman who has literally helped shaped the United States as we know it in her work in gender equality and civil rights. She’s a feminist pioneer who will make you question what you’re doing with every hour of your day. RBG is a bad ass and this book inspired me to reevaluate how I want to spend my time and who I answer to.
I know this one is predictable, but I’m ok with it. I have this as a physical copy, but if you don’t want to go out and buy it, you can watch it on her TEDx talk. It’s an amazing talk on gender that is nuanced, beautiful and inclusive. It’s short, smart and reflects about why feminism is for all and everyone benefits from equality and how gendered expectations are dangerous.
What are you favorite girl power books?
I know I haven’t posted in QUITE a while, but one of my New Years Resolutions is to write more. Although most of this post will be majority photos, I wanted to kick the New Year off with a post about 2016.
A lot of people have given 2016 a lot of shit, for some good reasons. It’s been a real mix bag of experiences for me as well. There was a lot of bad but also a lot of good.
I’ve a fair bit of traveling to places outside of San Diego this year. I went to Portland, Seattle, Los Angeles, Atlanta, San Francisco and back home to Philly twice. We’ve visited museums, spent some amazing time with great friends, ate A LOT of food, drank a lot of coffee and spent a lot of time in amusement parks. Two cons that I attended this year were Emerald City Comic-Con and San Diego International Comic Con. I’ve had some great friends and family come in and visit San Diego and I got to play tourist in the city that I live in. I’ve hiked, walked and roamed places I’ve never been to before. I left my full time job and started my first contract gig to kick start my off my freelance career. It also meant I had to say goodbye to some amazing co-workers and company I loved. I’ve learned to tackle things that I’ve always thought really intimidating… like getting my finances in order and getting an accountant to help me. I spent A LOT of time in bookstores and comic shops. Through intention and consistent practice, I do feel like I’ve improved as a letterer. There’s a lot to learn but 2016 was real turning point for me. Although I moved myself across the country, I feel closer to some of my family more than ever. I lost my Lola on December 21st and I still feel guilty for not being with her those last few days. It’s still a really dark cloud over my head but I know she’s not suffering anymore. 2017 has also started out with a few other tragedies that hit so close to home and my heart is really hurting for some of my closest friends.
2016 was a year of growing pains for me. I’ve learned so much about myself, some of it really hard to swallow, and I’m feeling really excited about what I can find out about myself in the next year. Here are a few of my favorite photos of 2016.
I’ve loved reading for as long as I remember. I try and read as much as possible. Books, magazines, online publications, comics, graphic novels, news… I try and read it all. I try to keep my reading material diverse to keep myself from staying in a rut. (Because all I would read would be female led graphic novels… not really a bad thing but yenno, current events are important too.) Audiobooks and podcasts are also a really amazing, so I can continue “reading” when I’m working, doing chores… or anything else other than reading.
Anyway, I like the idea of doing a monthly “Current Reads” post to write a little about what I’m either currently reading or finished reading lately. It holds me a little more accountable to read different things or to actually finish a book before I start the next one.
So let’s start the list!
Ubik – Phillip K. Dick
So, the Amazon Bookstore in Westfield UTC has opened, and I have to stay it’s pretty cool. I tend to buy a lot of books on Amazon because of the prices but there’s nothing better than spending the day in a book store, going up and down the aisles and searching for something new. A lot of the time, I’ll go to a bookstore, leave the store with one book and have added 5 or 6 more books to my Amazon wishlist because it’s just more affordable.
The Amazon Bookstore has a really nice curated selection of books. All the books have a 4 star rating on Amazon and if you have a Prime membership, you get the online price of the book instead of paying full retail. HOW COOL IS THAT? I totally went a little nuts in there the first time I visited.
ANYWAY. One of the books that I’ve picked up was Ubik by PKD. It’s always been on my radar but I’ve never actually picked it up before. There was a little section in the store that was like the “You may also like” on the Amazon website. This was under “If you liked Ready Player One.” I LOVED Ready Player One, so I debated between the three books it recommend and I eventually purchased two, one of which is Ubik (Whoops.)
I’m only half way through the book and I’m really enjoying it so far. It was a little hard for me to jump into it at first, but now I’m hooked. The story focuses on Joe Chip and his boss Glen Runciter, who runs a business that employs people who can block psychic powers. Basically people employ his “prudence organization” to deflect telepaths or other people with psychic powers for privacy and protection. It’s really interesting so far and I’ll follow up later when I actually finish it.
If you liked Ready Player One too, I’d suggest it!
Backstagers – James Tynion IV and Ryan Sygh
I picked up the first issue of Backstagers from the man himself at Comic Con at the Boom booth. (And of course I got the Hamilton variant cover.) The first issue is came out September 21st and I’m dying for the second issue to come out.
The story focuses on Jory’s adventure in a new school and trying to find his tribe. It is SO much fun. If you like musical theatre, was part of stage crew you’ll obviously love this. If you felt like an outcast in high school, you’ll probably love this. If you just like fun things, you’ll probably love this. If you’re a fun-loving human being, you’ll probably love this.
Lumberjanes & Gotham Academy – Chynna Clugston-Flores, Rosemary Valero-O’Connell
Ok, speaking of Lumberjanes… How much more DELIGHTFUL could you get in a crossover?! It’s seriously a match made in my own personal heaven. Lumberjanes is probably on my top list of the the year and Gotham Academy has been an absolutely joy to read. The art is AMAZING. It takes all the elements of both and combines them so well. There are 4 issues out of 6 out and it’s so so good.
Big thumbs up to Boom & DC for seeing these two franchises come together in such a fun way. I can’t wait for this to finish and I’ll write more when the run finishes.
If you’ve read one and not the other, first of all.. why? But, you really don’t need to have read both to enjoy. If anything, this cross over will make you want to read the other.
Paper Girls – Brian K Vaughan,
Picked up the first trade of Paper Girls and I sped through reading it. Brian K. Vaughan does a great job keeping you on the edge of your seat and keeps you turning the page to find out what the heck is going on. Cliff Chiang had me when he was on Wonder Woman.
Paper Girls is set in the late 80’s and focuses on a group of badass Paper Girls. Some seriously weird shit happens and they find themselves right in the middle of it.
Now I need to get my hands on the second trade.
I remember being in college and just dying over Jessica Hische’s Daily Drop Cap project. If you’re a designer, then you know her work and influence is inescapable. Her work and client list is just amazing.
This book is way more than just a pretty display of some of her work. She really goes into her tools, inspiration and process. Definitely a must pick up for anyone in design and hand lettering.
As a designer and hand lettering enthusiast, I’m constantly trying to add to my small but growing design book library. Maybe one day I’ll do a list of my favorite design & lettering books.
I love audio books. When I’m working, I am the most productive when I have a good audio book in the back ground. It keeps me from getting too distracted from online shopping or social media while I’m working. I just finished ALL the Harry Potter books on audio books (which was an amazing an refreshing way of reliving the books) and I’ve been looking for something else to get into.
One of my main criteria for audiobooks is that they’re LONG. I have an audible account, which gives you 1 book a month. Since I listen while I work, a book that is only 6 hours long will only last me a good work day. A People’s History of the US is a whopping 34 hours long.
I’m really enjoying it so far! Obviously it’s a history book and there’s no history book out there that is completely unbiased, but it’s definitely a really interesting read. Granted, I went to an all girls Catholic high school, so the version of history taught in those classes were sometimes a little to heavy on the right leaning. I mean I remember studying in the library one day with a friend and going over history notes saying that Francisco Franco was not a fascist dictator. The librarian at the time over heard us and looked aghast. “What is your definition of dictator? Are they really trying to endear Franco to you? He was just best friends with Hilter and Mussolini?” (I mean TECHNICALLY, he wasn’t a fascist… but I get his point.)
ANYWAY! It’s a really interesting listen. It’s US history told from the perspective of those who have been oppressed, starting with the genocide and enslavement of the Native Americans by Christopher Columbus and his crew. It’s not a the most cheery read, but definitely worth listening/reading to.
What have you been reading? I would love recommendations!
Note: I promised myself to write something every week, but I’ve struggled with this post. Whenever I try and write something easier, this looms in my head. I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining or looking for sympathy or anything. I just needed to write this internal struggle with myself to maybe gain some… clarity? insight? focus? direction?
Filipino. Most the time that’s the box I check off when I fill out forms when the ask for ethnicity. Sometimes I’ll check off “Pacific Islander” if “Filipino” isn’t an option. Sometimes when I get in my head about the definition of what race is and ethnocentrism and I’ll check off “Other,” I feel like I’m stickin’ it to the man. I assume a lot of people who were born to immigrant parents, or perhaps moved here when they were really young may pause when they have to fill out these forms because it’s not quite right. Sometimes “Filipino-American” is an option, but more times than not, the option is just “Filipino.”
I have this vivid memory from my first visit to the Philippines. I was probably about four or five when my parents took my sister and I on our first trip to visit family. Like a lot of memories are from when you’re five, a lot of it is a haze. We might have been to Aritao, in Nueva Vizcaya, where my mother grew up, we might have been to Maasin in Ilolio where my dad grew up… or was it Manila or did we go to all of them? When I try and think back on the trip, all I get are flashes of family, dirt floors, playing in mosquito nets, the heat and the joy of lying on the floor watching the lizards chasing each other on the ceilings.
But I do I remember waking up one morning and an uncle coming up to me and trying to speak to me in Tagalog and I couldn’t respond. He repeated something over and over, like repeating it would make it easier for me to understand. I looked around for my mom, not understanding. However, what I could understand was the growing frustration in his face and I remember the shame I felt when he finally switched to English and said “You are not Filipino. You do not speak Tagalog.”
“You are not Filipino.”
I remember going to my mom, burying my face into her and crying. “I don’t speak Tagalog, I need to learn to speak Tagalog.”
My first words were in English and my parents have only ever spoken to me in English. I know a lot of first or second generation friends who have varying levels of speaking their families native language. From being around my Lola and other aunts and uncles and listening to my parents talk to friends and family, I can understand a lot of Tagalog or at least can understand the gist of something said to me. I can most definitely tell when my parents or someone else is talking about me.
I’ve never really prodded them about why they never taught me Tagalog or Ilocano. I suppose they’ve always wanted me to identify as an American first and foremost, which I suppose I do. Whenever I try and speak Tagalog, it’s clumsy, accented and pronunciation isn’t right. It’s embarrassing and I’m uncomfortable and that fact makes me even more uncomfortable. I hear that voice in my head “You’re not Filipino.”
And it’s true. It makes me feel uncomfortable calling myself Filipino. Although I do sometimes call going to the Philippines as “going back home” I know that it’s not really. Sure, I eat Filipino food, I’ve read a bit about Filipino history and keep up with Filipino events and politics. I’ve been to Filipino gatherings and church functions. I get a laugh from watching TFC, the Filipino Channel, but I still find it a lie to call myself Filipino.
But don’t get me wrong. I love that I come from such an interesting and diverse culture. I love that I grew up eating with my hands, using a tabo, eating rice and longganisa for breakfast, having anyone else who was filipino treating me like family, listening to drunken karaoke during family parties. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’m proud of my roots and it’s helped shape the way I see the world but that doesn’t mean I don’t struggle with what it means for my identity and what it means for me living as an American. Going to the Philippines is always a culture shock. Yes, when I’m there, I’m surrounded by people who look like me. It’s not weird to be my height or skin color but I know that I’m spotted right away as being an American. I dress differently, I hold myself up differently and the moment I speak, I know that I’m not the same. I’m the other. I’m American.
Like I said, I’m pretty sure my parents have always wanted me to identify as an American. We don’t talk about it much, but they’ve done so much and left so much back in the Philippines to raise a family in the US. Although I have a lot of cousins here and my parents have always been a part of their local Filipino community, it’s not surprising that I grew up in the minority. The area of South Philly I grew up in was mostly white. In elementary school, I was one of three colored students in my class of thirty, which was actually a high percentage compared to the rest of the school. At that age, looking different from everyone else was enough to make me feel like an outsider. Most of my classmates were pretty friendly and being non-white for the most part wasn’t an issue. But it was surprisingly many of their parents that made me feel like an outsider. I remember a friend’s dad speaking to me as if I didn’t understand English almost every time they had to interact with me. And feeling like an outsider still happens everyday.
There’s nothing that makes you feel less American than someone asking you “Where are you from?” because you really know what they’re asking. They’re not looking for “Oh I moved here from Philly” because sometimes they’ll follow up with “Oh, but I mean where were you born?” And as much as I want to tell them if they want to know the address to the University of Pennsylvania Hospital, they can fucking google it, I usually bite my tongue and respond politely, “Philadelphia, but my parents are from the Philippines.” Because your fragility is showing and I don’t want to be it’s target.
Even though I’ve grown up only speaking English, ate my Happy Meals, held my hand to my heart during the Pledge of Allegiance, watched with my classmates when those towers fell, feared for my family members lives who joined the armed forces, paid my taxes and everything else a good goddamn American should do, I still, on the regular hear “Go back to your country.”
“Go back to your country.”
On one hand, there’s all of this struggle in my head about what it means to be both. There’s this deep longing to feel truly accepted here and there’s a lot of anger behind this need to explain and justify that I belong here. There’s this shame that I don’t speak Tagalog and yearning to try and figure out how I can feel more “authentically” Filipino than this sham that I feel like I put on. But I know deep in my heart that I wouldn’t want it any other way. It’s complicated, but I love my Filipino culture. Despite the racism and the worrying political climate, I also love being an American. No way in hell do I want to live any where else. I love this quote from Jose Antonio Vargas about what it means for him to be an American.
To me, what it means to be an American goes beyond your place of birth or the documents you have, back to when throngs of Irish, Italian and Eastern Europeans crossed the Atlantic Ocean in search of a better life, no papers asked. What it means to be an American is less about who you are than what you are about— how you live your life, how you contribute to this country, how you pledge allegiance to a flag hoping and praying it will make room for you. What it means to be an American is in the hearts of the people who, in their struggles and heartaches, in their joys and triumphs, fight for America and fight to be American every day.
There’s so much else I want to say.. But I think I’ll leave it here for now.
Filipino-American. Hyphenated. Not really either and I’m still trying to figure out what it means to be both.
Back in January, Geoff Johns and Kevin Smith hosted a special on the CW called Dawn of the Justice League. I got excited about Suicide Squad, gawked at the beautiful Jason Mamoa as Aquaman, felt a little hesitant about the Flash, and hand waved the BvS stuff.
But when they gave us a little peek at the Wonder Woman footage, I got emotional. Tears welled up in my eyes and my breath caught. I knew I would be excited, I was surprised with all the other emotions I felt. They’re going to get her right, god dammit.
Or at least, it looks like it. My fingers are crossed and heart is aching that they have it right.
When Patty Jenkins, the director, talks about Diana, it gives me hope that the movie will be amazing. She says, “The greatest thing about Wonder Woman is how good and kind and loving she is yet none of the negates any of her power.”
After feeling so much disappointment and frustration with the representation of women in the superhero movies so far, this little teaser brought me so much joy. I’m baffled by the lack of Black Widow toys available for girls and confused as to why it’s taken forever for her to get her own movie. We’ve had Agent Carter and Jessica Jones appear with their own TV shows, both of which are amazing, however women on the big screen has been decidedly lacking. With the increase in popularity of superhero movies, can you believe that the last female led comic book movie was Elektra in 2005? 2005.
During Comic Con, WB & DC released the newest Wonder Woman trailer. There are boat loads of Wonder Woman gear and toys available. I’ve legit watched this trailer about a hundred times.
I think the reason why I got so emotional at that first sneak peek was because I’ve personally felt like I’ve needed her. I needed this as a little girl and there are still so many days now that I feel like I need her. Diana Prince is a complicated, muli-faceted, smart, kind, graceful, bad-ass mother fucker who doesn’t need your approval or permission to do what she feels like she needs to do. She’s a woman who wants to do more with her life than what’s laid out in front of her. And in this movie, she’s a woman who is fighting for peace and equality. She’s has beliefs and she’s strong. And she’s not strong just because she’s been broken.
When I was younger, I think I felt like the only way for me to be taken seriously was to be this ‘bad-ass’. I didn’t want to be seen as girly because I thought girly was weak. I didn’t want to be seen as soft or gentle because I thought I wouldn’t be seen as strong. Looking back at things I’ve said or done, I’m sad and embarrassed because I know now that I was cruel. Maybe my heart was in the right place, but what felt like standing up for myself and other people back then, was really just deflecting and demeaning. I didn’t empower any one by telling them to suck it up and deal with it. I struggled with myself because of these notions I had in my head of what strong and weak meant. I built walls I didn’t mean to build, lost opportunities to do good and let friendships die because of these stupid, childish, shallow definitions I held on to.
I wish back then, I had someone tell me that empathy and compassion were just as important as being strong and standing up for yourself and your beliefs. I wish I knew being an asshole doesn’t endear others to listen to the words that come out of your mouth, even if they are correct. I wish someone had showed me that I could kind AND tough. I also wish I could go back and kick myself in the shins and tell myself to stop feeling so superior.
I have high hopes that this movie and this character will encourage little girls and boys that there is no weakness in being nice and that the picture of a hero doesn’t have to be a big white man with a cape, but also a woman in a skirt. I hope I can watch this movie and keep striving to be better.
I have faith in Patty Jenkins, Gal Gadot, Geoff Johns and the whole team to make a great movie. I know WB & DC have been getting shit about Man of Steel, Batman V Superman and Suicide Squad, so I’m really hoping that they don’t over think or over edit this movie, hoping to ‘save’ the franchise. Just let them make a good movie.
Now that San Diego Comic Con is over, the post-SDCC withdrawals are setting in and I’m coming down with a small case of con-flu. It was an AMAZING year for us and I’m already pining for next year.
Now, I usually go to Comic-Con for the panels, the people, the artwork, connecting with my favorite comic creators and of course buying a bunch of cute shit. I love just walking the floor, seeing all the great booths and collecting swag. I don’t really go to meet celebrities but seeing famous people is always fun. I’ve done all the big rooms and queued up for Hall H but this year was a little different.
This year was the year of exclusives for us. The previous years, we’ve never really collected exclusives but in the last year or so we’ve amped up our Funko Pop collection. Some of the booths we hit up were BAIT, Funimation, Blizzard, Capcom and of course, I got a wristband for the Funko line and got a lot of the items we really wanted. Since this was our first year with exclusives in mind, I don’t feel like we quite planned it out and done it as efficiently as we could, but we have a good idea of how to minimize line time and ensuring we get to buy what we want.
Some other highlights from this year:
- The Justice League Action panel: This show is going to be AWESOME. I’m stoked that we got to see Kevin Conroy, Dietrich Bader & the show creators and see an episode.
- WON MY FIRST POKEMON GO GYM BATTLE which is saying something because there were some serious competitors around
- Met James Tynion IV at the Boom Studios booth, chatting Batman and having him sign my variant cover issue #1 of The Backstagers
- Caught up with Sanford Greene, who we’ve seen at cons before and is SUCH a sweetheart.
- Got some sweet swag in the form of a free comic from Blizzard and got some insight from the Blizzard crew on the newest character Ana
- Met the lovely Karen Krajenbrink and ordered a commission of our dog Fitz
- All the amazing Wonder Woman things DC had going on for the 75th anniversary. Gutted that we missed the panel and so sad that we missed Gal in the room.
- Met some AMAZING creators, entrepreneurs, small publishers
- Chatted and bought more artwork from Pascal Campion, whose artwork I already have hanging in the house.
Besides the exclusives and artwork, these are a few of my favorite purchases:
- Exclusive Darth Vader Coin Purse from LoungeFly. Unfortunately this one is exclusive to SDCC but THIS ONE IS SO CUTE. The one pictured is already going at double the price on ebay, but the floral one is only $20.
- A few of the books & comics I’ve been meaning to pick up of a while. I think I’ll do a review soon of all the things I’ve been reading and loving.
- This BOMBASS heart lolli patch from Tuesday Bassen. I also got the “Ugly Girl Gang” patch and the “OOMG” patch
- And the Exclusive BB8 Pop with the thumbs up. If you’re interested in the pops, let me know and I can do an overview of everything we scored, or maybe a post specifically on all the pops we have. You can get the same one (without the SDCC sticker at Hot Topic.)
In honor of the first full day of San Diego Comic Con 2016, here’s a few goodies from the past cons. Excuse the quality of these photos, most of them are blurry images from my phone, but I had a lot of fun looking through all of these old photos.
Also, if you’re interested in what I’m up to, follow me on Instagram and Twitter!
Con days start early and end late. They are jam packed with a lot of interesting things to see, do and buy. Even if you have a hotel room right next door to your con, you definitely want to be at the con as much as possible. The worst thing is seeing the most detailed Groot cosplay you’ve ever see, whipping your phone out to see that it’s dead or having to run back to your room because you forgot your badge. Being prepared with a well stocked con bag will keep you focused on the con. A lot of these items are also handy for traveling! Here’s a couple things that make my life a little easier.
I personally think that back packs are the way to go at a con. They keep me hands free and keep the weight of all the stuff I tote around evenly distributed on my back. A lot of people love messenger bags but they usually end up hurting my shoulders. The minute I saw this Luna back pack, I knew it had to be mine. I am OBSESSED and excited to use it.
My FAVORITE thing in my bag!
My absolute number one essential inside of my bag is my Grid-It from Cocoon. I’ve had this hand little organizer for years now and it keeps my bag organized and my sanity in tact. You’ll see that I bring a ridiculous amount of support accessories and it keeps everything so beautifully organized. It’s a series of woven elastics, so you can easily configure everything you need in a nice, tight and secure place.
Inside my bag:
- My phone: Obviously, you’ll need your phone. I’m constantly Snapchatting, sending photos to Instagram, checking twitter (and stalking the #sdcc hastag) and taking pics. And, yes, I’m sure EVERYONE will be playing Pokemon Go there. You can find my case here.
- Business cards: I always suggest having business cards on hand! I’m a graphic designer, so I have business cards with all my contact information and a link to my portfolio. I never really go with the intention of trying to get work, but always take some with me to trade with other designers, artists, writers and anyone else that I meet. No matter who are are, I recommend carrying around a business card. If you’re a cosplayer, definitely throw your contact info on there with a picture of yourself and hand it to any photographer who takes your picture and they can send you some grade A photos! I always get mine from moo.com
- Extra camera batteries: I take most of my photos on my camera, a Panasonic Lumix, which isn’t in the photos because I was using it to take these photos. The batteries usually last for a day or two with heavy use but I like to have extra on hand.
- Sharpie: Sharpies on hand are really important to me. At comic con, you never know who you’ll run into or what artist is currently free to do a quick signature, so I like to keep a spare on hand. I actually got this adorable mini one from the Deviant Art booth two years ago. You can find similar ones here.
- 3Ds Charger
- iPhone wall charger
- Amazon basics 4 in iPhone charger cable: This is the best charging cable for my bag because it’s so tiny. It won’t get tangled and is less likely to fray or break.
- Portable Power bank: I love this power bank. It easily charges my phone 3 or phones times before it needs to charge again. This particular one isn’t available anymore but you can find a similar one here.
- Lipstick Portable charger: This portable charger is the one I take everyday in my normal purse. It doesn’t hold as much juice as previous one, but it’s handy when both my boyfriend and I want to charge at the same time.
- Charger for my power bank: lol yes, I bring my charger for my powerbank with me. You never know!
- Bars or other snacks: I have a confession to make. It’s a little controversial and some of you might be totally grossed out: I love con food. It’s my shameful guilty pleasure. I’m a fan of the overpriced hot dogs and greasy pizza. However, no one should eat con food for four days straight. I’ll indulge myself once or twice but I try and keep a few snack options in my bag. I really like keeping KIND bars or these nature’s bakery bars in my bag to tide me over until I can eat a real meal.
- Make up bag: I like to keep a handful of cosmetics with me, but nothing too crazy. This is a make up bag from Madewell that they don’t make any more. I think I got it free with a purchase? You can find something similar here.
- Lip balm from Burt’s bee’s: Because I always need this with me.
- Advil: These travel size tubes are so convenient. I think I’ve had this tube for a couple years now and I just refill it from time to time. If you get headaches often like I do, these are a must. They’re also handy when your feet starts to hurt on day 3.
- Travel Perfume: Right now I’m wearing Elizabeth & James Nirvana black everyday and I like to top off from time to time. Don’t be that person that stinks up the panel room.
- Lipstick: Nars Audacious Lipstick in Deborah is my fav right now. If you’re a brown girl with naturally tinted lips and you want to get that perfect brown color, try this one out!
- Blotterazzi: I am the oil queen. To keep the shine in check, I love these little pads. It’s like they’ve taken the beauty blender and sliced them up to make these beautiful little oil absorbing sponges. They don’t move your make up around and if you need to re-powder, you’re not doing it with extra oil on your face. YES. MAGIC IN A COMPACT.
- Wallet: I don’t carry around cash, so I try and keep it minimal and only hold a couple cards in my card holder. This one is from Madewell from a couple years ago, so they don’t make it anymore and I can’t find anything super similar but I’m obsessed with this one.
- Band aids: Because the blister struggle is real and you can’t have that slowing you down.
- Moleskine sketch book: I bring this every where with me. There’s always a line to wait in, so I bring this and…
- I bring my Nintendo 3DS. This is the Pokemon 20th Anniversary Edition New Nintendo 3DS. Right now I’m playing Pokemon Red and I also have Animal Crossing.
- Don’t forget your badge. They’ve ramped up security and this year they are RFID to make it a lot hard to get in with fake badges or to get multiple people in with the same badge. The lanyard is from the Marvel Collector Corp Civil War box.
- And my pencil case for impromptu sketching in panels and waiting in queues.
So that’s everything I bring in my bag! There’s still plenty of room for swag and other things that I pick up during the day. Also, I’m anti-poster tube because once you roll up a piece of paper, it’s almost impossible to have it lay flat again. I keep a protective art sleeve in a totebag for all the artwork I buy at cons.
Everything I bring is to make my life a little easier. Do you think I’ve missed anything? Let me know how your bag differs from mine!
San Diego Comic-Con. It’s crowded and noisy. It’s overwhelming and frustrating to get tickets, hotels & parking. It’s a sacrifice & it’s expensive. The food’s overpriced & really terrible for you. It’s a headache just to get in every morning. Your feet hurt from walking the floor three times over. Some people haven’t showered since preview night and you can’t escape the scent. You’re back hurts from sitting on the floor waiting for your panel. You’re sleep deprived and your toes have been run over by a goddamn stroller.
It’s my absolute FAVORITE time of the year.
You’re surrounded by people who not only love what you love, but love it just as enthusiastically. Instead of the blank stares and incredulous remarks from your other co-workers, family and friends, you’ll find someone who’ll burst into song when you start the first few words from A Very Potter Musical (or insert your choice theme song). Everyone around you is there to just geek out. You’re there to get the latest exclusives, talk to your favorite artists about their favorite Hamilton songs, and make friends with that one guy who travelled all the way from Australia to hopefully see that Wonder Woman trailer first. You’ll sit overnight to see that Star Wars panel and be treated to a private concert.
Can you tell I’m excited? The pilgrimage to the San Diego Convention Center for San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) has started. Downtown San Diego is already starting to get in the spirit of Comic-Con and is prepping with artwork on poles and trolleys. That familiar feeling deep in my stomach has started and I’m ready to burst with excitement.
I’ve been going to comic con’s now for about 5 or 6 years now. I’ve been to small cons, big cons from Emerald City in Seattle and DragonCon in Atlanta and SDCC is near and dear to my heart. SDCC was my first ever con. It was quite the con to start out with, but being thrown into the most overwhelming, exciting con was probably the best way to do it.
If you’ve never heard of SDCC… where have you been?! It is the mecca of all things pop culture. If you’re interested in comics, movies, TV, gaming, toys, books and general fandom, you’ll be interested in following what comes out of SDCC this year.
If you want to read a the mission statement and history of SDCC, check out their website here: www.comic-con.org/about
There’s so much to talk about and I will in the upcoming posts. BUT I did want to let you guys know that I’ve been working on a cheeky mini quest for everyone going to Comic-Con. I’m going to be leaving stacks of these stickers that I’ve designed all over the convention center on all four days! If you see them around, pop them on your laptops, the back of your badge, on your con bag & whatever! Snap a photo and tag me on instagram or use the hashtag #sdcc so I can see where my little stickers are off to!
Are you going to SDCC this year?! Let me know!