The Declassified Convention Survival Guide

comicpalooza guardians

I love going to conventions. I don’t get to go as often as I used to in college, but this year, I got to go to Comicpalooza again!

Since there will be many conventions happening all around the country this summer, here are some tips for making the most out of your con experience.

  1. Plan ahead. If you’re 100% certain that you’re gonna go to this convention, book your tickets ASAP. Take advantage of early bird prices or special offers. You don’t even have to go for all three days. Pick one day. Trust me, it will be more than enough. It also helps to know the schedule, too.
  2. Have a really good costume. You don’t have to know how to sew in order to make an amazing cosplay. My Mantis cosplay is made from stuff I have in my closet. The only things I actually made were the sleeves (which I knitted) and the headband antennae.
  3. Find good parking/transportation. If you can’t book a hotel close to the convention, find a good parking space that’s within walking distance.
  4. Get there early. Lines for getting your pass, autographs, and the big Q&As are long. Get a program as soon as you get there and figure out which events are most important for you.
  5. Keep Captain Cold’s words in mind: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ReF-nlrQAY. The best of plans will inevitably fall apart, so don’t panic if you miss out on the big Q&A or can’t afford a picture with your favorite celebrity. You’re at the con to have fun!
  6. Remember to eat and drink! With all the events going on, it’s important to make time for a little snack and water break. If you have food allergies like me, bring a snack or figure out what places nearby will have something you can eat.
  7. Splurge wisely. It is REALLY tempting to blow all your money on everything you see, but if you’re on a budget like me, it’s better to splurge on one big thing than spending your money on tshirts. Photo ops are my best recommendation. A picture is worth a lot, at least to me. It may not sell on eBay, but that’s not really the point.

Overall, I had a fun time at Comicpalooza. Check out my photos on my Instagram:

Beyond the Sun: Childhood Adventures

In a summer with tons of blockbuster movies, Beyond the Sun offers a slice-of-life adventure that will be inspiring for the kids and nostalgic for the adults.

When I was a kid, I loved going to the beach. This might sound a little weird, given that I lived in New Jersey at the time, but my favorite beach growing up was named Sandy Hook. It was a short drive away from my school. My classmates and I went on a field trip there when we were kids. We learned about different sea creatures, such as manta rays, and about some local history.

All of these trips to the beach showed me that beauty can be found anywhere. When people think beach, they usually think of locations like Florida, California, Hawaii, or some international exotic locations. Having Sandy Hook in my life taught me to appreciate the things around me. I didn’t have to go very far to find a fun place to go.

A heartwarming family film is releasing this week.  Distributed by AMBI Distribution, BEYOND THE SUN, is a modern day tale of hope, faith and courage based on stories from the Bible. This delightful family movie chronicles the adventures of four young friends in search of God.

The film features a very rare special appearance by Pope Francis.  In support of the film, AMBI Media Group is holding a special contest where one lucky winner will win an Exclusive private tour of the Vatican and front row tickets to an audience with the pope for four! 

For anyone who has ever wanted to visit Italy and The Vatican, this is your chance!  For additional details about the contest and to enter, please go to:

www.freetriptorome.com

 

BEYOND THE SUN will be available for purchase across multiple platforms including iTunes, Amazon, and TUGG on May 15th.

 

Met Gala: Best and Worst Dressed of “Catholic Imagination”

The Catholic side of social media has been pretty divided as to whether or not having a Catholic themed Met Gala would respect the Church. Anti-Catholicism is nothing new, after all, and some people made a career out of appropriating Catholic culture. In fact, my first reaction upon seeing some of the Met Gala looks on my social media feed was a feeling of discomfort. My contemporaries at New Catholic Generation had some similar reactions.

Upon further reflection, however, I realized that there was a method to the madness. The Catholic Church has been a big influence in classic art and architecture, from the Renaissance artists to the beautiful Gothic cathedrals.

And so, as a millenial who’s watched her fair share of America’s Next Top Model and Project Runway, I will list off what I think are the ten best and works looks. I’m judging these outfits as to how they fit the theme and whether or not they’re aesthetically pleasing.

Worst Dressed

cardi b worst

I know that Cardi B is making a splash on the Billboard charts, but this outfit and her hair is ridiculous even by avante-garde standards. The train of her dress with the slit doesn’t flatter her legs, the bustline is too low for such a formal occasion, and her hair is in desperate need of some frizz control!

frances mcdormand

Frances McDormand may have the “Triple Crown of Acting,” but she is turning heads in a bad way with this getup. I’m not sure how this outfit fits the theme and she honestly looks like she’s wearing a giant tent with a bush on her head. It says a lot that Tom Lenk does a better job with this than her!

jaden smith worst

Dear Jaden Smith. This outfit does not make any sense and, well, your self-promotion is honestly very blatant, borderline narcissistic. There’s a time and place for showing off your gold records. This is not the time nor the place.

 

cara d worst

I only know of Cara Delevingne from her cameo in Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” music video. She is dressed as the confessional screen and, sad to say, this dress reveals way more than it conceals. Try again, Mother-Chucker!

 

sjp worst

Tsk, tsk. I wouldn’t expect anything less than the worst from Sarah Jessica Parker. While the papal tiara hat fits the theme, the dress looks more like a reject from Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland movies. Actually, it’s more like the modern Alice in Wonderland movies crossed with the gritty Snow White and the Huntsmen movies.

 

miley cyrus worst

Miley came very close to having a wardrobe malfunction with this outfit. Not only does this outfit not fit the theme, but the plunging neckline basically screams “trying too hard to be an adult.”

 

tom brady worst

Everybody has already been mocking Tom Brady for this outfit and I don’t blame them. He looks more like he’s auditioning to be the toreador in a production of Bizet’s opera Carmen.

 

lana del and jared leto worst

Finally, we have Jared Leto and Lana Del Rey. While Lana’s outfit isn’t so bad, invoking Our Lady of Sorrows and sticking to the avante-garde style, I can’t say the same for Jared Leto’s ridiculous outfit. He looks like he belongs on a parody production of Jesus Christ Superstar or a remake of Life of Brian.

Onto the looks that I found to be the best of the bunch!

Best Dressed

zendaya best

Zendaya is one of the handful of celebrities who invoked a Joan of Arc style with her outfit. Kudos to her for evoking the beauty of armor with this outfit, along with her short hair. All she’s missing is a sword. (But maybe switch out the stilettos for boots.)

 

gigi hadid best

Gigi Hadid’s outfit is inspired by angel wings, but unlike Katy Perry, her outfit is tasteful and elegant without crossing the line into the outrageous. It flatters her body without being provocative.

 

ariana g best

Arana Gradne’s outfit was inspired by Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. It reminds me of a Tudor-era/Elizabethan dress and I really like this outfit on her. I hope to see her performing in outfits like this more often.

 

emilia clarke best

Emilia Clarke’s dress is regal and beautiful. I can see Daenerys wearing this on an episode of Game of Thrones. It reminds me of an Eastern European Catholic art. Eastern Orthodox Catholics, what do you think?

 

leticia wright best

I’m biased about this outfit because I’m a huge fan of Letitia Wright as is, given how she’s one of the few celebrities in Hollywood genuinely devoted to being a Christian (or at least having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ). Her dress, according to her Instagram, is inspired by Ethiopian culture and I can definitely see that. Points to John Boyega, too.

 

chadwick best

The robe that Chadwick Boseman is wearing is reminiscent of a bishop’s cape. On the other hand, I am reminded of royal Byzantine robes as well. The King of Wakanda would probably wear this to Latin Mass and get away with it. So yeah, kudos, T’Challa!

 

lily collins bbest

Lily Collins goes for an understated, tasteful elegance with her outfit, which evokes Our Lady of Sorrows. Points for NOT wearing a Rosary as a necklace and instead just using a silver cross chain. With some modifications, I can see some high schoolers trying to wear something like this to prom.

 

lynda carter best

Lynda Carter is another woman in a beautiful, queenly outfit that wouldn’t feel out of place in the next Wonder Woman movie, as an older Diana who has become the new queen of the Amazons.

 

donatella versace best

While I’m not sure about Donatella Versace’s face, I do love her outfit. Evoking Joan of Arc’s armor, but in a more subtle way. It’s actually an outfit that I think I might wear. Not that I would actually wear it, but it’s something that I want to wear, so that’s something.

 

blake lively best

Saving the best look for last. Blake Lively, who could give Padme Amidala a run for her money with this outfit. She honestly looks like a queen. The only thing I don’t like is that she’s married to my celebrity crush, Ryan Reynolds and has the most beautiful children with him. But that’s just me being a fangirl. 😛

If there’s one thing every Catholic can learn from this event, it’s that we need to pray for all these people, whether they had bad outfits or good ones. This is as close to authentic Catholic beauty as some of these people will ever get. Pray for these people and for a conversion of their hearts.

Wraith and the Importance of Protecting Life

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I’m not usually a fan of horror movies, let alone ones that include exorcisms. However, when I got word of this film, I was instantly hooked and intrigued.

The director for this film was also behind One Night With The King, one of my favorite adaptations of the book of Esther. As Esther acted as an instrument to preserve the lives of her people, this movie also stresses the importance of protecting life from conception until death, and even the lives of those who have passed on.

It’s not officially Catholic canon as to whether or not ghosts are real. However, Fr. Mike Schmitz shared a real life ghost story on the Ascension Presents YouTube channel that gave me chills! Films like Coco and the episode “Amazing Grace” from Legends of Tomorrow only add to the popular appeal of life after death and the importance of remembering those who have passed on as well as praying for restless souls.

I look forward to seeing Wraith. The good news is that it’s being released on digital and video on demand tomorrow! Check out the synopsis for more information!

Synopsis:

Wraith (rāth) noun: a ghost or ghostlike image of someone, especially one seen after, or shortly before, their death

Something’s very wrong in the Lukens’ house.

After living uneventfully for years in their historic home, the Lukens family have somehow awakened a ghostly presence. Who is this frightening spirit and why won’t it leave their 14 year-old daughter, Lucy, alone?

Everything changed when Dennis and Katie Lukens discovered they were pregnant again. Expecting in your 40’s is always high-risk and dangerous, so when the Lukens decide all options are on the table – including termination – the unexpected starts to happen. Sinister forces are now conspiring against the family. But is this eerie, wraith-like spirit actually trying to haunt them…or help them?

Wraith is available on all VOD platforms and Blu-ray/DVD May 8th.

www.wraiththemovie.com

From writer-director Michael O. Sajbel, Wraith explores the super-natural story of a family who invites evil into their home after they decide they may not go forward with an unplanned pregnancy. Sajbel, who previously directed One Night With the King based on the Biblical story of Esther was raised Catholic, wanted to present a story about protecting the most innocent of life. “Growing up in a household rooted in God was my biggest influence when I decided to become a filmmaker. On my application to film school at UCLA, when I filled out the forms there was one question in particular that asked, “Why do you want to go to our film school?” I thought I’d put God to the test and put down that I wanted to make films that honor Jesus Christ and spread the gospel throughout the world.” He was accepted which began his journey into filmmaking.

When it came to the sensitive subject about pro-life, he wanted a different take by creating a supernatural-thriller. Sajbel, who is a father of three adopted children, believes in the sanctity of all life. “I had not seen a film about this subject matter presented this way and wanted audiences to have fun with a little twist but to also incorporate a very important message about valuing all life no matter how complicated it can get. We see the Lukens couple struggle with this decision about whether they can afford another child and Mrs. Lukens age and how there could be medical complications and her overall concerns with having a baby at her age. I wanted to convey that no matter what – God provides and the value of protecting an innocent life.  Wraith gives us a chance to present this important message in a very unique way.”

Website:            www.wraiththemovie.com

Hashtag:            #Wraiththemovie

Genre:                Supernatural Thriller

Rating:                PG-13

VOD/DVD Release date:    May 8, 2018

Cast:    Jackson Hurst, Ali Hillis, Lance Henriksen, Jensen Buchanan, Catherine Frances, Lily Hansen

Director:             Michael O. Sajbel

Writer:                Michael O. Sajbel

Producer:            Dennis H. Ranke, Michael O. Sajbel

Director of Photography:    Antonio Mata

Composer:            James Covell

Like us on Facebook:           https://www.facebook.com/wraiththemovie/

Twitter:                               https://twitter.com/wraiththemovie

Instagram:                           https://www.instagram.com/wraithmovie

Avengers: Infinity War―Where Do We Go From Here?

infinity war

This movie broke me. I’m not the kind of girl who cries at the movies. Heck, I haven’t cried at the movies since Les Miserables and then this movie comes along and gets me bawling by the time the end credits are rolling. This movie is not for the faint of heart and no matter how much you prepare yourself, you will not be ready for what’s to come. All I can say is that if it wasn’t for the fact that I know there will be sequels planned for this movie and for some of the characters, I would be inconsolable.

That’s not to say that this movie is bad. If anything, it really did its job. I wouldn’t be crying if it didn’t make me care about the characters. This has been the work of ten years of buildup, with movies that made us actually care about star-spangled spandex men and men in robot suits. If anything else, this movie shows that all the work that Marvel has put into their movies has paid off.

When people call this an event movie, they aren’t kidding. It’s a major crossover with a great villain. I am ranking Thanos up there with Kilgrave, Loki, Kingpin, and Killmonger as far as effective and compelling Marvel villains. He’s brutal, he’s got some aspects of his life that make him sympathetic, but make no mistake, he is not one to mess with.

Every character gets a moment to shine here, even the heroes who would be labeled as supporting characters or second string/B-team. I honestly wish there were more moments with the “second string” characters, but that would make the movie longer than it already is. The story is tragic in the best way possible (see my crying face), the effects are a spectacle, and the action is visceral. I felt like I was pulled out of my body for a while and then thrust back in, Doctor Strange style.

Overall, I want to give this movie and 8/10. It’s not absolutely perfect, but it is worth seeing, especially if you’re a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Congratulations, Russo Brothers. You blew us all away.

Now if you want to know why I don’t give this movie a 10, read below. Spoilers ahead.

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