Sunday, July 31, 2011

Pottermore :: I'm in! One of a million!!!

When the Pottermore announcement was made at the end of June, one of the things that I keyed in on was that there would be early access for 1 million people starting on July 31st. Of course, I would have LOVED to have been one of the first million to gain access to Pottermore because of my love for Harry Potter over the years, but I really wasn't expecting anything and was trying to tell myself that waiting until October when everybody else would also have access would be fine. Late last night, I remembered that and just checked around on the Internet to see what was going on with when the Magical Quill clue was going to be released.

7 books, 7 days, 7 chances.

Here are the instructions from the website:
Those of you who would like the chance to gain early access to Pottermore must find The Magical Quill and then submit their registration details. Each day, from 31 July to 6 August, a clue will be revealed here. Solve the clue and you will be taken to The Magical Quill. Be quick, The Magical Quill won’t be there for long and registration will only be open while spaces are still available each day.

Each day the clues will be related to each of the books in order. Your job is to solve the clue and find the magical quill.

From the Pottermore website:
The Magical Quill detects the birth of magical children and writes their name down in a large book. To find out if your name is in the book, you need to find The Magical Quill and then submit your registration details on Pottermore.

How did I manage to get a spot into Pottermore?

A little bit of my Internet and social media skills (from being on twitter, facebook, and tumblr) came in handy, but mostly it was sheer dumb luck.

I live in the Pacific Standard Time Zone so I was on my computer from about 9pm to 1pm. I saw the Internet leaks from the email sent to Leaky Con (a Harry Potter Convention) attendees that the first clue would be released sometime after midnight PST (or 8am in the UK) and that it would be about Diagon Alley. People all over Tumblr and Twitter were furiously studying Chapter 5 of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's/Philosopher's Stone while obsessively refreshing the webpage in hopes that the clue would pop up soon. I appreciated the people that posted up notes of significant numbers on Tumblr. It really helped me with the answer!

There was an intense fervor online leading up to midnight PST, but alas midnight came and gone and there was no clue released. I stayed up just because I had a long afternoon nap and found the Harry Potter fandom online very amusing. I decided to stay up until 1am PST and right before I went to bed, by sheer dumb luck, I refreshed the Pottermore webpage and there was the CLUE! I actually had to look at it several times before realizing that it had changed!

In my frenzy, I managed somehow to capture screenshots of the whole process that I want to share with you. I think I wanted proof that it was really happening to me!

Screen shot 2011-07-31 at 1.00.51 AM.png
So the first clue was:
"How many breeds of owls are featured in the Eeylop's Owl Emporium sign? 
Multiply this number by 49."

I couldn't figure out my math fast enough and then I didn't read the directions that I had to type in my answer after the website "http://quill.pottermore.com/answer" and not "http:/www.pottermore.com/answer" because when you do it without the "quill" part, you end up with a page that looks like this:

Screen shot 2011-07-31 at 9.31.18 PM.png

It's pretty cute how they mention the Invisibility Cloak. I think page this prevents anyone from just purely guessing the answer.

Finally after I figured out my mistake, I typed in the CORRECT web URL and it led me to a page where I had to click on the Magical Quill. I didn't capture any screenshots of this because I was frantically trying to click on it. Plus, I too busy was thinking that the faster I filled out my information, the higher the chance I'd be one of the first million.

Well, once I clicked on the Magical Quill. It led me to this page:
Screen shot 2011-07-31 at 1.04.52 AM.png

I clicked on "Begin Your Journey" and then:
Screen shot 2011-07-31 at 1.04.59 AM.png

Now for the registration page! I loved all the graphics and the backgrounds were beautiful! First, you had to enter your age because there are special restrictions for children under 13.
Screen shot 2011-07-31 at 1.05.04 AM.png

Then you selected your country:
Screen shot 2011-07-31 at 1.05.19 AM.png

Your first/last names, gender and email:
Screen shot 2011-07-31 at 1.05.31 AM.png

Your password:
Screen shot 2011-07-31 at 1.05.50 AM.png

And lastly, whether you have read all the books or seen all the movies. Uh, HELLO?! OF COURSE!!!
Screen shot 2011-07-31 at 1.06.13 AM.png

Then, my favorite part of the whole registration... it listed your name in a book and says "Congratulations! You are magical!" *sniff* It lists your name amongst names of famous characters from the story. I know it might sound silly, but it was so cool to see my name amongst theirs.
Screen shot 2011-07-31 at 1.06.32 AM.png

Next, you had to pick your username from a list of 5 optional names. I chose "RosePhoenix45" because it sounded the most beautiful to me. Plus, I couldn't pull off "PotionThorn" or "GhostMarauder."
Screen shot 2011-07-31 at 1.06.51 AM.png

Then, you had to wait for your confirmation email. Instead of obsessively refreshing the Pottermore website, I was (like many others) now obsessively refreshing my email... wondering if I typed in everything correctly because it seemed like it took FOREVER to arrive. It was probably more like 20 minutes, but it felt SUPER long, especially when people on Twitter and Tumblr were posting photos of their confirmation emails and posting their usernames.
Screen shot 2011-07-31 at 1.07.10 AM.png

20 eons later, I finally got my confirmation email!
Screen shot 2011-07-31 at 9.15.04 PM.png

I clicked on my link and got to this page:
Screen shot 2011-07-31 at 1.23.49 AM.png

...entered my password and got this!
Screen shot 2011-07-31 at 1.24.10 AM.png

I GOT IN!!! *does happy dance*

I am still in shock that I just so happened to be on my computer at the right time because going to work this week, I couldn't afford to pull all-nighters to wait up for the elusive clues to be posted. I am curious to see what the clues are the rest of this week, but I am so very happy to be one of the first million people to explore and experience Pottermore. I plan on sharing my experiences with you here on the blog so make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed (by click on "Subscribe to Posts" on the right sidebar) and/or click on my Pottermore label.

Overall, I hope that fans of Harry Potter will enjoy searching for the clues this week. It feels a little bit like searching for the 7 horcruxes like in the 7th book. I kind of liked having my own quest in order to get in early. The registration process felt like receiving my very own letter from Hogwarts itself.

If the rest of Pottermore is anything like the the fun I had simply just registering, then I am SO excited and looking forward to what's coming next!

What a wonderful way to celebrate Harry Potter's (and J.K. Rowling's) birthday today!

Good luck to those of you who are going to try to get access as well. I hope sharing my process will help you in yours! If you do get in, please share your username with me and let's "friend" each other in Pottermore! 



Now I just have to wait for my email granting me access... Apparently, this can take weeks... Off to *refresh, refresh, refresh* away! :)



Saturday, July 30, 2011

Weekend Photo :: 8

IMG_3972.JPG

Happy 30th birthday my wonderful husband, Adam!

He finished his first 10k race this morning under an hour and we are so proud of him.

I have been so blessed to have shared almost all of my 20's with you, Adam. I am looking forward to this new decade with you together as a family.

We love you!



Friday, July 29, 2011

Blog Tour & Review :: Real Mom Kitchen by Laura Powell



To those of you dropping by on the blog tour for Real Mom Kitchen, welcome to The Bookish Mama!

Author: Laura Powell
Genre:Nonfiction/Cookbook

Publisher:
Cedar Fort, Inc.
Publication Date: August 8th, 2011
Source: Received electronically from publisher

I am a little bit ashamed to admit that I am completely inept when it comes to cooking. I grew up in a home where my dad and grandfather did almost all of the cooking. I spent my time after-school as a young child in the Chinese restaurant that they owned and operated. I ate very well growing up and even now as an adult, I still crave home-cooked meals by Dad or Grandpa. Luckily for me, I married a man who also loves to cook, which alleviates me of the need to learn how to feed my family on a daily basis.

I wish I COULD cook though. I am very much a recipe person when it comes to cooking and I have often been frustrated when trying to learn how to cook from my dad because, like most good chefs, he is such a good improviser in the kitchen. I, on the other hand, need more exact instructions if I expect to prepare a decent tasting meal that people will actually want to eat. This is actually why I own a whole shelf full of cookbooks in attempt to become a better chef and maybe not despise cooking so much, but in all honesty, I don't use most of them. I find the instructions for a beginner chef like myself very confusing, especially when there are no photos to look at!

Ever since I became a mother, I feel a lot more pressure to build on my cooking skills because I need to feed my baby girl something other than Costco chicken or Ramen noodles everyday. As any new mother can easily attest to, it is hard to find the time to do this though. This is why I really enjoyed reading Real Mom Kitchen by Laura Powell.

I loved that the recipes were so simple and almost all of them had less than 10 steps total. The recipes were very simple to follow and the cookbook itself is full of beautiful photos and graphics. I don't understand cookbooks with very minimal photos because how am I supposed to figure out if it looks right, if I have nothing to compare it to? Real Mom Kitchen is full of mouth-watering images and even though they're not on every single page, it's definitely enough to get you hungry! Plus, the ingredients that Laura uses in her recipes are items that you can easily find in your fridge, pantry and/or local grocery store.

The recipes are REAL dishes that moms (and dads) could make on any normal given day or even for special occasions or gatherings. Nothing too fancy, but still simple to prepare and yummy to eat. I especially appreciate that they don't take a ton of time or expertise to prepare or make.

Some of the recipes that I bookmarked to try out this next month are:
  • Appetizer: Black bean and corn salsa
  • Bread: 45 minute cinnamon rolls
  • Salad: Chili cheese Fritos salad (I mean, who doesn't love Fritos?!)
  • Main dish: Mom's meatballs and rice
  • Dessert: Pumpkin bars
I picked one from each of the sections of the cookbook. Hopefully I can find some time to photograph the process and share it with you on the blog.

Overall, I really enjoyed Real Mom Kitchen. You can tell from the start that it is written by a REAL mom who understands how hard it can be to get a meal on the table everyday, but also how to make it a simple, enjoyable process as well. I highly encourage you to also check out Laura Powell on her blog (Real Mom Kitchen), twitter (@realmomkitchen), and/or facebook page (Real Mom Kitchen).

Rating:
5 out of 5 stars


Special thanks to Cedar Fort for including me on this blog tour!


Monday, July 25, 2011

Bookshelf Monday :: 14



I've always wanted a reading nook. This would be one I could share with my family all at the same time and not be crowded. It's a nautical-themed reading nook. I love the colors and what a wonderful space with such tall ceilings! Love the decorations on the shelves too.


image courtesy of Elegance Redefined




Saturday, July 23, 2011

Weekend Photo :: 7

she likes to read

This was my first week of the 2011-2012 school year. Needless to say, I am exhausted! It was exciting to start the year off fresh and get a whole bunch of new students excited about reading.

This photo shows how I felt most of this week - exhausted from the day, but not willing to give up my late bedtime staying up to read. Summer break has gotten me in the bad habit of staying up late and it's a hard habit to kick.

image courtesy of: dinerdog




Monday, July 18, 2011

Bookshelf Monday :: 13

Library Addition eclectic living room

A beautiful reading room. I like the french doors and the built-in shelves. Very warm colors and overall an inviting space. It's kind of nice that you'd be able to close the doors for some peace and quiet while reading. Probably wouldn't last long with kids around, but one can still dream.



Monday, July 11, 2011

Once Upon a Read-a-Thon 2011 :: Update #1

Once Upon a Read-a-Thon

I signed up to participate in the Once Upon a Read-a-Thon hosted by Reading Angel. Unfortunately, I had a family emergency on Sunday where we had to take our daughter to the ER and we've been recovering from that since. Our daughter is fine, but my husband and I are still recovering emotionally and mentally from the ordeal. I will be ready to do some reading tonight and tomorrow.

Thanks to everyone for their prayers and well wishes. We feel incredibly loved and appreciate you praying on our behalf.

UPDATE:
I ended up not having time to do a read-a-thon this week. It's hard with a baby, especially a mobile one! Maybe next time! :)


Bookshelf Monday :: 12

Family Room traditional family room


Now THAT is what I call a reading corner. WOW. I like that it's airy and open. Plus, the hubby and I can both sit in there. Love this!



image courtesy of Archia Homes via houzz.com

Friday, July 8, 2011

Freedom Giveaway :: $10 Amazon gift card WINNER



What a fun week of giveaways! It was such a great way to celebrate 4th of July. Special thanks to I am a Reader Not a Writer and Simply Stacie for hosting!

Also, thanks to everyone who entered! The bookish mama now has over 200 followers!


I used random.org to choose a winner of the $10 Amazon gift card:




The winner is:
Michele W.
@QueenReading!!!



Thanks again to everyone who entered! Stay tuned for another giveaway coming August 1st!


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Book Review :: Go the F**k to Sleep by Adam Mansbach

Title: Go the F**k to Sleep
Author: Adam Mansbach
Illustrator: Ricardo Cortes
Genre: Adult fiction

Publisher: Open Road Media
Imprint: Akashic Books
Publication Date: June 14, 2011
Source: Received electronically from publisher via NetGalley

Did I like the cover?: I thought it was okay. It was a creative use of the moon in the title though.

First lines: The cats nestle close to their kittens, The lambs have laid down with sheep. You're cozy and warm in your bed, my dear. Please go the f**k to sleep.

This book reminds me of: Typical bedtime stories for children except this is NOT FOR KIDS.

The main character reminds me of:
my husband and I because we are new parents with a young baby ourselves and we are in need of more sleep. Please?

Summary from Goodreads:
Go the F**k to Sleep is a bedtime book for parents who live in the real world, where a few snoozing kitties and cutesy rhymes don't always send a toddler sailing blissfully off to dreamland. Profane, affectionate, and radically honest, California Book Award-winning author Adam Mansbach's verses perfectly capture the familiar—and unspoken—tribulations of putting your little angel down for the night. In the process, they open up a conversation about parenting, granting us permission to admit our frustrations, and laugh at their absurdity.
With illustrations by Ricardo Cortes, Go the F**k to Sleep is beautiful, subversive, and pants-wettingly funny—a book for parents new, old, and expectant. You probably should not read it to your children.
Review:
My husband and I are new parents of a 10-month old who STILL does not sleep through the night. (We're working on it.) Out of everything, I think the single most-mystifying thing about having your own baby is sleep. Everyone warns you about it when you become a parent, but you are never really fully prepared for the first couple of months of parenthood when your world is so much fuller because of the new baby in your life, but also so insanely overwhelming because you are so sleep-deprived. I chose to request and review this book because I thought it'd give me a good laugh about those crazy nights we've had where our baby girl would NOT sleep and I wholehearted started believing that she (and I) would never go back to sleep EVER AGAIN.

The story reads a lot like a bedtime story because of the illustrations and poetic verses, but please do not confuse it with an actual bedtime story that you can read with your little ones. However, it would make a great gift to share with parents - especially new ones.

I think the writing could have been a little sharper. Maybe because I've read so many Dr. Seuss books lately, but I was expecting a little more of a rhythmic bounce to the story a la Seuss-ical fashion.

I personally don't use curse words in my life and don't really care to hear it used when I'm around, so I didn't care much for the profanity in the book. It was funny the first couple times around. After the first few pages, it got a little old for me. And it made me a little uncomfortable that this parent was so free with them around his kid or when thinking about his kid. You might think that makes me a prude and old-fashioned and I know the author was using it more for emphasis than any other thing, but in my opinion, I think the book would have been just as enjoyable and have the same effect without all of the curse words on every single page.

Overall:
That being said, I did really enjoy the book. I thought it greatly captured the frustration and every day (and night!) reality that parents face when it comes to the issue of sleep (or lack thereof) with babies and young ones. It was real, raw and honest and as a new parent, wishing of the day when my daughter will sleep through the night every night, it was very entertaining to read.

Rating:
4 out of 5 stars





This is book #16 of the year. I am participating in the 2011 Goodreads Reading Challenge. My goal is to read 50 books this year.



Monday, July 4, 2011

Bookshelf Monday :: 11

EW Renovation  home office


EW Renovation eclectic home office


This week is a two-photo Bookshelf Monday post because this is such a beautiful room and you have to see it from both angles to fully appreciate it. What an open, inviting space. All it needs is a comfy armchair.

I love all the natural light from the large windows and the built-in shelves really fit the space well. I like all the different sizes of shelves and all the little nooks. Perfect for books of all colors and sizes and home decor collectibles too like last week's Bookshelf Monday.






Sunday, July 3, 2011

Weekend Photo :: 6



Happy 4th of July everyone! I hope you are having a fabulous long weekend with family and friends.

May God bless America!


image courtesy of: The Crafting Chicks




Friday, July 1, 2011

Freedom Giveaway :: $10 Amazon gift card


Freedom Hop Giveaway!

In honor of Independence Day, I'm giving away a $10 gift card to Amazon.com so that you can purchase a book of your own liking to read on the beach, by the pool, or anywhere that you'll be enjoying the summer sun. I am stop #143 on the giveaway hop.

Amazon_gift_card.jpg

Over 200 participating blogs are offering a book related giveaway and we are all linked up together so you can easily hop from one giveaway to another. The hop runs from Friday June 1st through Thursday June 7th.

***MUST BE A FOLLOWER TO ENTER***
(To follow, scroll down on the right side bar and click "follow")


Giveaway Details:
To enter giveaway please follow this blog then fill out the form below.

To have more than one entry, you can do either one or all of the following:

RULES:
  • Must be a Google Follower.
  • Open to US and International winners.
  • One entry per person please.
  • Winner will be chosen using random.org.
  • Giveaway ends at midnight PST on July 7, 2011.

GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED.




Once you're done entering my giveaway, go ahead and hop on over to another giveaway:
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