Friday, April 23, 2021

Vera Bradley Debuts New Harry Potter 'Herbology' Collection


Earmuffs on! It's time to embrace your inner Professor Sprout and practice Herbology with Vera Bradley's newest design.

Their latest release - just in time for Muggle's Earth Day - digs a little deeper with a new Botanical (Herbology) collection. The light grey backdrop features Mandrakes, the devil's snare, fantastical, flowers, and more.

Fans can choose from a wide range of items includes backpacks, weekender travel bag, throw blanket, cosmetic bag, pajamas, robes, laptop organizer, wallet, and more. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for enchanting details like a wand pocket. The collection ranges from in price from $19.99 to $140.

This isn't the first time that Vera Bradley and the Harry Potter brand have teamed up. Last year, the popular brand unveiled their first Harry Potter collection with an exclusive pattern inspired by the Hogwarts houses - Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Slytherin, and Ravenclaw.

Check out the official press release and a look at the new magical collection below.  Visit the official Vera Bradley website to see the full collection and cast a spell with your clothing and accessories.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

New Universal Orlando CityWalk Store Features Contemporary Harry Potter Merchandise

Universal Orlando Resort opened two new stores at CityWalk earlier this year - the premiere shopping and dining market square for the theme parks. 

The first store pictured above celebrates Universal Studio Florida and Islands of Adventure attractions and characters, while the other secondary store Universal Legacy Store pays homage to popular franchises and historical attractions. Guests can stop by both shops for their favorite movies and and vacation merchandise.

One particular hot spot will be the Harry Potter section at the Universal Studios Store. In contrast to stores in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter that echo the same ambiance from the film franchise, this themed part of the store brings a modern edge to the fantastical world. 

Witches and wizards will find Christmas decorations, collectibles of series' scenes and objects, and basic house-based items to prepare for your Hogwarts journey - mugs, robes, scarves, pillows, and backpacks. 

The contemporary element for the merchandise comes more in the form of house decor. Similar to the Pottery Barn collaborations with the wizarding world, you'll find Dumbledore quotes on a variety of items such as journals, wall signs, and decor pillows. Golden emblems of the Hogwarts house crests are emblazoned on ceramic mugs, dining glasses, and dishware. Another display case features lawn decorations and wall art.

Take a look at the store's latest range of merchandise with my photos below. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Twinkl Offers Inspiring Study Lessons for Harry Potter Fans Learning at Home

Educational publisher Twinkl has produced nearly 700,000 resources to help those who teach. From arts and crafts to math and music, the platform has offered resources for children schooling at home from Pre K to 5th grade. Now Twinkl is adding an exciting partnership with the beloved wizarding world known as Harry Potter - the boy wizard is joining the ranks of previous collaborations with  Sir David Attenborough, the musical WICKED & Guinness World Records.

Since 1998, these classic books have inspired generations of kids to read and write. Twinkl's wide range of resources with Bloomsbury are now available to help children learning at home delve into the Harry Potter books to learn something new about themselves and expand their imagination of the fantastical world of magic.

With Twinkl's platform, the Harry Potter portal is filled with engaging activities such as inventing magical potions, designing socks for Dobby, and creating a magizoologist profile. 

If Harry Potter fans want to delve further, there are discussion guides available for each other books - Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone as well as Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban, Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix, Half Blood Prince, and Deathly Hallows

Each guide offers questions arranged chronically, prompting children with their guardians, parents, or teachers to structure study as they see it - over the course of a semester, dipping into various chapters, or as a discussion between groups. 

The discussions not only support comprehension of the series' text, but also encourage more exploration of the main themes and characters that help readers form their own critical-thinking skills. 

With 1,000+ activities inspired by the Harry Potter series alone, there is plenty of material to conjure full lesson guides for each installment. Activities for Philosopher's Stone includes coloring pages for Diagon Alley and story-based word searches, while Goblet of Fire delves further into the themes of equality, the media, and social justice. The study sections expands to cover Harry Potter and his friends' adventures between the muggle and wizarding world.

Twinkl's platform is free to use by signing up for an account online. With their membership, users can then download activities directly, bookmark content for later use, and much more. Check out the official website here for information and to start delving into their Harry Potter resources.

Tuesday, February 02, 2021

10 Young Adult LGBTQ+ Books To Look Forward To in 2021

LGBTQ+ books young adult 2021
A whole new year means plenty of books to add to our TBR. Expanding our world through literature lets us to experience new and different perspectives as well as find ourselves with characters who reflect our own backgrounds. From contemporary fiction to fantasy, readers can find themselves on these pages and from the unique voice of diverse authors. Mark your calendars! Here are ten exciting young adult LGBTQ+ titles that are set to be released in 2021.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells Welcomes Winter Holidays with Christmas-themed Collection Event

Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells are turning on the festive charm for their players with new magical creatures and social surprises throughout December. A special limited-time collection events invites players to complete the new ‘Christmas in the Wizarding World’ album, to earn a mythical Unicorn as their companion magical creature. 

Later in the month, holiday decor and weather will turn Hogwarts into a wintry, wizarding wonderland, as players encounter falling snowflakes on their gameboard that can be collected to earn rewards. 

Bringing a bang to the festivities, brightly colored ‘Wizard Cracker’ boosts will drop into the puzzles unexpectedly, giving players the gift of an extra gem-clearing blast as they complete puzzles in this magical, Match-3 game.

Zayn Malik Shows Signature Style with Special Avatar and Message for Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells Fans

Bringing style to the season, international artist and known Harry Potter fan Zayn Malik has worked closely with the Zynga team to create new customization elements for the magical Match-3 title. To replicate more life-like features for his avatar in Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells, Zayn worked to create new eyebrow, earring, beard and eye customizations which will be available in-game to all players in the new year. Malik has shared artwork of his in-game avatar on his own social channels in December, with an invitation for his fans and fellow gamers to share images of their own.

“I really enjoyed working with the Zynga team coming up with new elements to the avatar creator,” said Zayn Malik. “I feel like seeing the animated version of myself in the game made it way more fun and with these new customizations that are coming soon, all players will have the opportunity to feel more connected to the game and make their character look more like themselves!”

Additionally, as the calendar arrives at Christmas Eve, players can also visit the Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells social channels for more surprises and holiday cheer during the last week of the year.
Players enter a Match-3 adventure brimming with the spells, humour, colour and characters of the Harry Potter series. Featuring the soundtrack and voiceover recordings from the original Harry Potter films, fans follow an authentic, mobile retelling of Harry’s journey through the wizarding world. 

Earning spells and special boosts as they advance, players solve Match-3 puzzles populated with hopping Chocolate Frogs, fluttering Winged Keys, battling wizard chess pieces and other unexpected obstacles and objects. In the spirit of camaraderie and friendly competition at Hogwarts, players can join or form clubs with other fans to socialise, collaborate on puzzle strategies, share lives and vie for prizes in exclusive Club Events.

“As any fan of the Harry Potter books and films knows, Christmas at Hogwarts is a very special time,” said Yaron Leyvand, Senior Vice President of Games at Zynga. “For the first winter holiday for Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells, we wanted to treat players to a range of new content and seasonal rewards, released throughout December. We’re excited to celebrate the season with players, and also have many more magical Match-3 events and activities in store for next year.”

Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells is playable on iOS and Android devices worldwide, as well as on Amazon Kindle and Facebook. For more information and to connect with other fans, follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and visit the game’s website at www.harrypotterpuzzlesandspells.com.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Book Review: This Is How We Fly by Anna Meriano

17-year-old vegan feminist Ellen Lopez-Rourke has one muggy Houston summer left before college. She plans to spend every last moment with her two best friends before they go off to the opposite ends of Texas for school. But when Ellen is grounded for the entire summer by her (sometimes) evil stepmother, all her plans are thrown out the window. 

Determined to do something with her time, Ellen (with the help of BFF Melissa) convinces her parents to let her join the local muggle Quidditch team. Suddenly Ellen is thrown into the very different world of sports: her life is all practices, training, and running with a group of Harry Potter fans. But with her home life and friend troubles quickly spinning out of control--Ellen must fight for the future that she wants, now she's playing for keeps.

Please Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher as apart of the digital book launch and tour. All opinions are my own. I do not receive commission if you click on any of the links in this post. If you'd like to send me a book or product to feature, check out my work with me page. Thank you for supporting my site!

Author Anna Meriano captures the struggles and joys of a young woman trying to become an adult or at least “adult” more. Ellen is only seventeen, but she has the weight of the world on her shoulders as a vegan, feminist, and trying to balance that in-between age of being a teenager and a pre-college student. Her parents want her to be "normal", but like most teenagers, Ellen doesn't know that her interests and beliefs are anything but. Who she is sets the stage of who she will become. With different parts of her life taking off in various directions, only experience and time will help her along to fit all of the pieces together. As her life at home closes in around her, and the post-high school world of possibilities might be too big to venture with, Ellen’s journey is relatable as she takes chances, makes mistakes, and remains someone to root for.

The strong centerpiece of the book that tethers Ellen with the supporting characters and their conflicts is Quidditch. Fans within the Harry Potter community strive to make the fandom as welcoming as possible, and the use of Quidditch as a network of characters who help Ellen understand her gender, sexuality, and inner strength is satisfying as a fellow Harry Potter fan. 

As a general reader though, you don’t need to have followed Harry Potter to understand how the game is described. This makes the book accessible to fans and non-fans alike. The game is a jumping point to Ellen’s personal growth, and also offers a deeper sense of other characters such as her best friend Melissa, stepmom, step-sister, and a few possible love interests.

As endearing as Ellen and her journey of self-discovery is, where the book could’ve improved upon more was the exploration of Ellen’s identity. It was wonderful to see the diversity of characters, especially with the book led by a vegan feminist and second-generation Mexican American. And the range of her friends offer more diversity as well, so the book highlights a group of young adults who are finding their identities. However, it felt like some of these details could've been cultivated with more exploration. This is somewhat in contrast to how seamless and descriptive Ellen’s voice is as she paints a picture of her self-doubts, participating in Quidditch, and feeling ostracized by her parents. Otherwise, Ellen is still a refreshing central character who can easily become a fan favorite for readers and leave a lasting impression for Harry Potter fans.

This Is How We Fly is a charming coming-of-age tale that explores the traditional growing pains of life after high school. As the story unfolds around Ellen, it’s easy to get wrapped up in her world and finish the book feeling victorious like you caught the Golden Snitch.

Tuesday, December 08, 2020

Harry Potter: Wizards Unite Unleashes Iconic Villains in New Adversaries Release

Wands at the ready! Iconic villains and foes from The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is coming to Niantic and Warner Bros. Harry Potter: Wizards Unite in an expansive new Adversaries update.

Adversaries is an all-new way for witches and wizards to face off against powerful enemies in the real-world and build up the power and skills to duel some of the most iconic villains from the franchise.

Each monthly update will feature new challenges and increasingly powerful foes to battle against, including Slytherin’s Basilisk, Fenrir Greyback, Draco Malfoy, Bellatrix Lestrange and more. Players will receive a variety of rewards including Wizarding XP, Challenge XP, a chance at Defense Against the Dark Arts Books and more based on how many villains they defeat to continue growing their powers in Harry Potter: Wizards Unite.

Additionally, players will have access to Adversaries Registry pages with over 75 new collectibles, even more combat lessons to improve Professions skills and further rewards to advance in SOS Training lessons. 

For the biggest update of 2020, Advesaries is a new encounter for fans to battle against increasingly difficult foes. Battles may not be for the faint of heart, but the victories you earn can bring you great advantages in your game play.

Don’t forget to join the social conversation with #WizardsUnite, make sure to follow along on the official blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram channels for the latest updates, and head over to the Harry Potter: Wizards Unite Community Forums to discuss the game with fellow players!

Everything you want to learn about the exciting new Adversaries addition can be found below with the press release and exclusive images.