Wednesday, August 7, 2019

MISTI-Con 2019: Day 4 and Day 5 Recap



I am finally back from a long but fun and eventful Harry Potter convention called MISTI-Con. All I can say is that I had a fantastic time! The Wizarding Though the Ages theme was perfect for this year. Despite the location and date change from previous MISTIs, the magic is always there! I always look forward to reuniting with old friends and making new friends. We all get to step away from the Muggle world and we embrace the magic around us at MISTI-Con. The con provides a safe and judge-free environment for fans to geek and nerd out about fandom. Everyone dressed up as witches and wizards or even magical creatures or bring life to inanimate magical objects. I saw some very creative cosplays like a howler who was shouting about with Mrs. Black to the renfaire like Luna Lovegood.

I will be recapping the convention in a few posts. I always make a schedule prior to each MISTI with programming I would like to attend but I like to be flexible since most of the best moments are not scheduled. It's always being somewhere at the right time. The schedule is an outline for me but I have to say that I have some programming that I made sure I attended.

This is my 4th MISTI-Con and I hope to attend future ones. If you have never attended a Harry Potter convention, I am hoping you will in the future if you are a huge Potterhead. You will make long-lasting memories of a lifetime! Maybe I will see you a future Harry Potter convention whether it be something like MISTI or perhaps even Leviosa or CONjuration.

Check out my recap for Days 1 and 2 and Day 3.


DAY 4: SUNDAY, JULY 21, 2019

The last full day of MISTI-Con! Although it's bittersweet, we all made the best of it. Jess and I woke up early despite the Founders's Ball running into late hours the night before. We wanted to see the Puffs Play: Watch Party since there was a Puffs panel later that day. Unfortunately, I couldn't see Puffs live on Wednesday before the Con so this is the next best thing. It was extremely hilarious despite me being super tired. I was eating my breakfast and drinking my coffee during the watch party since it was at 8:00 am in the morning.

Afterward, I went to the History of Magic of New York panel which was fabulous. I don't know too much about paranormal lore in New York so it was interesting to learn about it with some New Yorkers. The Puffs: The Original Trio Reunion panel started around 11:00. Jess and I saw my sister in the crowd and sat next to her. Unfortunately, Langston couldn't attend the event to do something at SDCC. However, Julie Ann and Zac were in conversation with Clay being the moderator. I am so glad that this panel happened because it was very insightful to hear from the actors about their experience being in the Puffs and also to ask questions. Jess and I didn't know they were doing photos after the panel so we ended up missing that.


Jess and I went to the Common Room and hung out with a lot of people including Dariti and Nessie. There were free snacks there and it was a good time to unwind and catch up with people before more programming for the afternoon and evening. I love how Walburga Black and a Howler ended up visiting the Common Room. I was fortunate enough to have recorded some video of both Mrs. Black and the Howler having a shouting match. It was hilarious!

Jess and I wandered up to the Grand Pre-North hallway and saw Nigel playing acoustic guitar and singing near the Evercrumbly and Witch hat display. There was a nice group of people enjoying time away from the craziness of the con. Jess and I were trying on hats and fascinators as well. I love Evercrumbly's millinery but it can be quite pricey. However, they are all top quality hats and fascinators. I own one Evercrumbly hat but am looking for another hat or fascinator that calls to me. Just like wands, the hat chooses the wizard. We went outside to take some photos briefly. My phone actually animated some of the photos I took of Jess and I. The animation with Jess looked awesome because it really looked like she was battling it out with her wand.



Jess and I parted ways and I attended the Herbology: The Darker Side of Herbs panel where we learned a lot about herbs that are poisonous but also about protection herbs. All attendees were able to make protection amulets at the end of the panel which I thought is a unique addition to the programming. I bumped into Seamus at that panel and we chatted for a bit while waiting in the amulet line.

I met up with Jess after the Herbology panel and we both attended the SLUG Club Meet-Up (Special Lego Users Group) which was pretty much a Lego meetup. We talked about what collections we have and which ones we want. Jill was asking me about the Lego Harry Potter games so we discussed that for a bit too. Jill had a block building contests where a volunteer will have to build a Harry Potter item within an allotted amount of time. We had two people build the Burrow and one person who built Buckbeak. Ni had their Button Pin Swap Meetup which was awesome because we got to see Ni's fabulous pin duster with so many pins! It was nice to chat about pins with other pin enthusiasts.

I ended up going back to the room since Jess and I had time prior to the Closing Ceremonies and Feast. Since we were hungry, we ended up snacking on some food before heading to the Grand Ballroom. The food was delicious with some of the best mashed potatoes I've had in a long time. I know Jess even went up for seconds for the mashed potatoes. They had really good cheesecake too. We ended up sitting with Kira, Kira's mom, Jenny and a few other people. The entertainment MISTI had that night was fabulous! GeekLifeRules had a wonderful Cosplay Cabaret where performers got into character and sung in character. We were graced with the presences of Umbridge, Lily, a 1920's speakeasy singer, Ginny and Moaning Myrtle. There was even an interpretative dance by someone representing a Thestral. Moaning Myrtle was freaking hilarious and probably one of my favorites of the show. Of course, Lawrence was up on stage serenading us.



During the Closing Ceremonies and Feast, the staff mentioned they are taking a much-needed break and they are not sure when the next MISTI will occur. They didn't want rumors spreading about how this is the last MISTI since things like that spread like wildfire on social media. However, they are taking a hiatus for now. It was bittersweet. A lot of people were very understanding but I know some people were teary-eyed. MISTI is a second family for most and it means so much to them. MISTI is a place where you can escape the Muggle world and you can embrace the magic within with other liked-minded people. MISTI is where your forge friendships and your bonds between old friendships grow stronger. MISTI helps you believe in yourself when you struggle in the Muggle world. MISTI is what a lot of people say is some of the best days of their lives. It's is euphoria!

Afterparties occurred once we were dismissed from the Closing Ceremonies and Feast. There were Disney and Broadway singalongs in the Westchester, Karaoke in the Ballroom, board games in the Common Room and people just hung out and had a good time while enjoying the last night of MISTI Everyone wanted to make the best out of the situation of not knowing if this is the last MISTI.


Jess and I stopped by the Disney and Broadway singalong first before taking photos near the Mirror of Erised. We saw Kira and a few people playing board games in the Common Room and watched Golden Snitch, Snitch Snatcher: The Quidditch Game play in action. We spotted a Badger puppet poking into the doorway of the Common Room and being the Hufflepuff she is, Jess went to greet the badger. Afterward, Jess and I then played a few rounds of Harry Potter Guess Who before heading to the Karaoke. We ended up bumping into a lot of people at the Grand Ballroom and the Multifunction room. Jill convinced Jess to sign up for a duet for the Karaoke but the line was so long. I don't think they sang until 1:00 am and they were the second to last act for the night. During the waiting period, I met up with Caroline, who I met earlier at the con, and we chatted for a bit while she was waiting for a ride. Kira, Jenny and I did a Wizard's Unite fortress battle or two outside of the Doubletree. It was a great night full of memories. Everyone was reminiscing over the amazing moments of the con but they wanted to hold on to every fiber of magic possible before returning to the Muggle world.


DAY 5: MONDAY, JULY 22, 2019


So today isn't really the fifth day of the con but it is leaving day for most people. People were tired while they were rolling out their luggage to the lobby. I saw people nodding at each other and we all knew that meant we are tired but the con was worth the sleep deprivation. We hugged and said our goodbyes before hopping into our Uber to head to the train station to head back to Boston. Jess and I went our separate ways once we got to South Station.


Overall, we both had a fabulous time at MISTI-Con. It's always a magical long weekend to escape from the Muggle world. I also have some posts on Instagram under #NicoleAtMISTICon if you want to check that out. I will cherish all the memories I made with old friends and new ones too! MISTI-Con was an unforgettable experience! If you love the Harry Potter fandom, I highly suggest you attend a Harry Potter convention or at least attend Harry Potter themed events. They invoke happiness like Felix Felicis! You won't regret your time at a Harry Potter convention.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

MISTI-Con 2019: Day 3 Recap








Happy birthday, Harry Potter. I want to thank J.K. Rowling for creating Harry Potter and allowing a fandom to emerge into something so meaningful and exuberant. The Harry Potter fandom has grown over the years and it's pure magic! Despite our differences, we can all congregate in one location to celebrate what Harry Potter means to us. Many of us have struggled and have conquered many obstacles. What keeps us going are the relationships and memories we make with each other through Harry Potter. Our Harry Potter family is strong and will always be there with us. 

Without further ado, let us continue with Day 3 of the MISTI-Con Recap. 


I am finally back from a long but fun and eventful Harry Potter convention called MISTI-Con. All I can say is that I had a fantastic time! The Wizarding Though the Ages theme was perfect for this year. Despite the location and date change from previous MISTIs, the magic is always there! I always look forward to reuniting with old friends and making new friends. We all get to step away from the Muggle world and we embrace the magic around us at MISTI-Con. The con provides a safe and judge-free environment for fans to geek and nerd out about fandom. Everyone dressed up as witches and wizards or even magical creatures or bring life to inanimate magical objects. I saw some very creative cosplays like a howler who was shouting about with Mrs. Black to the renfaire like Luna Lovegood.

I will be recapping the convention in a few posts. I always make a schedule prior to each MISTI with programming I would like to attend but I like to be flexible since most of the best moments are not scheduled. It's always being somewhere at the right time. The schedule is an outline for me but I have to say that I have some programming that I made sure I attended.

This is my 4th MISTI-Con and I hope to attend future ones. If you have never attended a Harry Potter convention, I am hoping you will in the future if you are a huge Potterhead. You will make long-lasting memories of a lifetime! Maybe I will see you a future Harry Potter convention whether it be something like MISTI or perhaps even Leviosa or CONjuration.

Check out my recap for Days 1 and 2 here.



DAY 3: SATURDAY, JULY 20, 2019

Jess and I visited the Common Room first thing in the morning since Dave and Alyse posted something on Facebook about having some delicious bagels and cream cheese that they picked up that morning. Yum! Dave and Alyse are so sweet. The first panel of the day was Credence and Fantastic Beasts: Harry Potter, but Not Safe for Children? Lorrie's panel was very interesting and I love how there is a panel that incorporates the Fantastic Beasts series. Fantastic Beasts is darker than Harry Potter for sure. I feel like some Harry Potter fans do not venture out reading or watching the Harry Potter spinoffs such as Harry Potter and the Cursed Child or the Fantastic Beasts series. However, I will soak up anything related to the wizarding world as much as possible and I do like the first Fantastic Beasts film. I found Crimes of Grindelwald more of a filler. Hopefully, the third film will spark my interest once again.


Afterward, I went to see if Krissy needed help setting up for the Bewitching Bazaar since her primary staff responsibility was the craft faire. Everything went really well and the layout was good along Salon 1, Salon 2, Grand Pre-North hallway and part of the Multifunction room. There were so many talented artisans and crafters! There was something for everyone from enamel pins to wands to candles to even crocheted magical creatures. Madam Malkin's Clearance Rack was in the corner of one of the salons and a lot of people were finding great deals.

This time around, I didn't see any clothing that I liked or fit me. However, I scored a couple things from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter which include a Ravenclaw wise mug and a 9 3/4 enamel pin. There was an awesome wax seal set with the Chamber of Secrets'entrancece snake design and a hardcover notebook with the Hogwarts emblem which I snatched up immediately. The notebook's Hogwarts emblem is in some kind of metal and the book is some kind of material that mimics leather. It will be fantastic to use to jot down some Harry Potter ideas or notes. The outfit above is what I ended up wearing for the first part of the day. Yay for a new wand holster and a new wand which I will talk more about in the next paragraph. The Weasley twins found me at the Bewitching Bazaar and took a selfie since they approved of my Weasely Wizard Wheezes apron.

Multifunction room section of the Bewitching Bazaar



In terms of the other vendors, I ended up picking up my Kickstarter wand at The Wandcrafter aka Carol after I found the perfect wand holster and Ravenclaw beaded bag at the Blibbering Humdingers's table. I saw Jess looking at wands at OrchardWorks since she was trying to find one that was calling to her. I saw Ni, dressed up as Resurrection Lily Potter, looking at wands at one point as well. Dave and Alyse were wandering around and Dave was able to reunite with his Drumstrang cosplay group. Dave, Jill, Rachel, Bess and Lynn had summer linen Drumstrang outfits complete with belts and the walking sticks. I also found a Fleur with butterflies coming from her hand, a golden snitch, Luna with a lion head hat, SLUG club party Luna, two MACUSA witches all dressed up in 1920ish clothing, Quidditch Harry Potter and I even found two Hogwarts's Founders. Irvin was dressed up as Kreacher and was running around with a frying pan yelling out how he was going to battle and fight on the behalf of his master Regulus. It was quite hilarious! I believe the last thing I picked up at the Bewitching Bazaar is a key fob with Luna's Spectrespecs on it. I volunteered for part of the craft faire to help out but it seemed like most people were all set with everything.


Lyndhurst Mansion




Jess and I skipped our plans to go to Sleepy Hollow that late afternoon/early evening due to the intense heat. But I still ventured outside and went out to play Wizards Unite with Kira since there it was the first Wizards Unite community day from 2:00-5:00. I changed out of my outfit and threw on a simple Marauder's Map sleeveless dress before we headed to Lyndhurst Mansion. We cut through some trail in the woods to pass get to Lyndhurst. Kira has been there two times in the past couple of days and said there were a good amount of inns and traces in the area. She was right! We ended up staying there for a couple of hours and we even bumped into someone from MISTI-Con also playing Wizards Unite. I am so glad there were shady areas so we can sort of cool off while playing Wizards Unite. I was also toggling back and forth between Wizards Unite and Pokémon since there were pokéstops and a Mystic gym. Go Team Mystic!

I returned back to the hotel while Kira went to pick up some Chinese takeout for her mom and herself for dinner. I met up with Jess and we ended up going back to Capri for some yummy pizza and also some gelato. We also swung by CVS since Jess needed a couple more things for the weekend. The Founders's Ball wasn't until 8:00 so we had plenty of time to get ready. The Ball was so much fun! Jess and I were there for around four hours! Everyone was all dressed up and looked fabulous! Babs was located near the ballroom with her enchanted photo sessions and everyone took advantage of the photo sessions. I wish I took advantage of the professional photoshoots throughout the week but I had so much fun catching up with people and attending programming.

I loved Meka's 50's style Slytherin poodle skirt which she has been calling her snoodle skirt (snake+poodle = snoodle). Krissy sported her Regulus Slytherin outfit and Dariti and Nessie dressed up in dresses with a Lion and Badger. Jill was Rowena Ravenclaw and Ni was mini Snape with a helium like mini Snape voice. I ended up wearing my sequined silver dress with a time turner, Spectrespecs and the Ravenclaw beaded bag I bought earlier that day. I ended getting a Rum of Requirement drink at the Ball which had three types of rum, a splash of soda and ice. One of the best things during the night was a Harry Potter proposal on stage! Snape proposed to Narcissa and it was fabulous! Everyone was super excited and cheering "Always" when Nigel and Hilary were on the stage. I got a partial video of the proposal. I unfortunately didn't record the whole thing but at least I got part of it. The portion of the Ball that everyone looks forward to at every MISTI is the last song. Yes, it's sad there is a last song and that the dance will end but we always end the night with Journey's Don't Stop Believin'. There is something magical about ending the night with this song and yes, it's real for us!


My recap for Days 4 and 5 will be up later this week. Make sure to check it out. I also have some posts on Instagram under #NicoleAtMISTICon. MISTI is where I find MY people! It's such a magical gathering where you can truly escape the real world and just step into a realm where everyone is accepting and we can embrace what Harry Potter means to us. As I said before, it's real for us!


Monday, July 29, 2019

MISTI-Con 2019: Day 1 and Day 2 Recap

I am finally back from a long but fun and eventful Harry Potter convention called MISTI-Con. All I can say is that I had a fantastic time! The Wizarding Though the Ages theme was perfect for this year. Despite the location and date change from previous MISTIs, the magic is always there! I always look forward to reuniting with old friends and making new friends. We all step away from the Muggle world and we embrace the magic around us at MISTI-Con. The con provides a safe and judge-free environment for fans to geek and nerd out about fandom. Everyone dressed up as witches and wizards or even magical creatures or bring life to inanimate magical objects. I saw some very creative cosplays like a howler who was shouting about with Mrs. Black to the renfaire like Luna Lovegood.

I will be recapping the convention in a few posts. I always make a schedule prior to each MISTI with programming I would like to attend but I like to be flexible since most of the best moments are not scheduled. It's always about being somewhere at the right time. The schedule is an outline for me but I have to say that I had some programming that I made sure I attended.

This is my 4th MISTI-Con and I hope to attend future ones. If you have never attended a Harry Potter convention, I am hoping you will in the future if you are a huge Potterhead. You will make long-lasting memories of a lifetime! Maybe I will see you at a future Harry Potter convention whether it be something like MISTI or perhaps even Leviosa, LeakyCon or CONjuration.


DAY 1: THURSDAY, JULY 18, 2019


Jess and I met up at South Station to wait for our train (aka Hogwarts Express). It was Jess's first time on the Amtrak and it was definitely a relaxing ride. The train really felt like we were actually taking the Hogwarts Express to Hogwarts. When we arrived at New Rochelle, we hailed an Uber to Tarrytown which is where MISTI-Con took place. The Doubletree at Hilton was perfect for the convention. The hotel has a beautiful lobby, a Mirror of Erised and even stone walls that made the venue perfect for photoshoots. The courtyard area with the gazebo was gorgeous but it was too hot for photos and gatherings due to the heatwave. We experienced temps in the high 90's which meant most of us stayed inside for the con.

When Jess and I arrived at the hotel, we checked into our room and picked up our badges. Jess had a panel shortly after we checked in so I took this opportunity to wander around the hotel so I can explore every crevice. Frankly, I didn't want to get lost since the Doubletree is a new venue. I managed to bump into Kira, Kira's mom, Seamus, Dave, Alyse and a few other people while I was wandering around.

I found some Whomping Willows in the courtyard, scouted out some nice photoshoot areas and I even found a Mirror of Erised. The Margate cannot be replaced but I didn't mind the Doubletree at all. It worked out very well. I just wish the air circulation was a little bit more even. The Plaza rooms were freezing but the main floor had pockets of warm air in certain parts of the hallway and in certain rooms. The Grand Ballroom definitely needed more AC since everyone was packed in that half where Salon 1, 2 and 3 are.


Jess and I ended going to Capri, which is a short walk from the hotel, for a slice of pizza to tie us over until the Opening Ceremonies and Feast. We also had time to pick up some groceries from the market and a few things at the CVS in the same plaza. After getting back to Doubletree, we hung out in the main lobby for a bit where there was a small Gryffindor photoshoot near one of the fireplaces. Jess and I also visited the Owlery to check out on some of the cool Owl Post Gift Exchange receptacles. Some people were super creative with decorating their receptacles. Jess and I decided to particpate in the Owl Post Gift Exhange this year due to hearing about it at the last MISTI. Thank you to Dylan for organizing it!

The Opening Ceremonies and Feast was fantastic! It's always a nice way to start a con by having everyone congregate in the same area with their bellies full and their body, mind, and soul entertained. Lawrence Neals was the MC for the next four days and I am so happy he was back to entertain us this year. He is a great singer and he knows how to keep a show moving. It was nice meeting new people. Jess and I met Matt, who is a friend of Irvin, and we also met Katherine. Both Matt and Katherine have never been to a MISTI-Con before. I know they had a great time at their first MISTI-Con. Yay to new Harry Potter friends!

Staff at the Opening Ceremonies and Feast

Jess and I bumped into Krissy at the Owlery again and we also scouted out the Common Room to see what was going on for the night. I saw some of the WROCK (wizard rock) bands at the Westchester for sometime. I believe I saw a couple of bands but Hawthorne and Holly was debuting a new song which was pretty exciting.

I actually don't remember what I did that night because I know I missed the Potter Movie Jumble because I was having so much fun reuniting with old friends and meeting new ones. I did wander the halls a bit and saw that Evercrumbly and Witch were setting up their displays for their wonderful hats. I can't believe they were able to make it. They were supposed to be at another event but decided last minute to eat the deposit so they can come to MISTI-Con! I am glad they were able to make it to MISTI because everyone always enjoys their company.

I have to say that the Doubletree at Hilton is a pretty good venue in terms of photoshoot locations and the layout for the most part. Too bad it was too hot to utilize the outdoor areas for long periods of time but the hotel lobby is gorgeous!




DAY 2: FRIDAY, JULY 19, 2019


Rise and shine for an early morning at MISTI! Jess and I went to the Volunteer Coordination Meeting first thing in the morning since we volunteered for a few shifts to help the staff out at MISTI. My first panel of the day was A History of Magic Wands which was amazing since Carol makes some of the most wonderful wands and she has a lot of knowledge about wandlore and wands in general. It was definitely a great start to this year's con.

I ended up skipping the How to Plant a Harry Potter Themed Garden since I bumped into my sister at the Owlery and she forgot her list for the exchange. I was assisting her with delivering the gifts since I was able to pull the spreadsheet on my phone. I volunteered to assist with the keynote presentation called Evanesco Representation, Accio Inclusion: Diversity in Harry Potter, which was fantastic by the way. I helped out prior to the keynote with microphone checks and taping down wires. After I helped out with ticket collecting, I was able to grab a plate of food for lunch before returning back to my post at the door to monitor who was coming into the panel and who was leaving to run to the rest room. Not only was I able to help out MISTI with my volunteer service, but I was also able to get a pretty decent lunch and I got to hear a wonderful and insightful conversation.

Evanesco Representation, Accio Inclusion: Diversity in Harry Potter Keynote





Afterward, I went to The Foreshadowing of Borgin & Burkes panel in which Irvin was presenting. Irvin always has some pretty thought-provoking panels. This one entailed about connecting things found in Borgin and Burkes in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets with Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. He also mentioned about how some Borgin and Burke's items have a Weasleys' Wizarding Wheezes counterpart.

I bumped into Jill around 3:30ish and she needed someone to watch the registration desk while she practiced for the lip-sync battle so I quickly grabbed items for Madam Malkin's Clearance Rack so I can tag them when I was at the registration desk. At 5:00ish, I found my sister, Krissy, at the Madam Malkin's drop off as Triwizard Harry Potter. For those who don't know, the Madam Malkin's event is a consignment shop that MISTI has during every con. Participants bring their fandom T-shirts, costumes, memorabilia, etc to sell. Ten percent of the proceeds go to MISTI. Madam Malkin's took place the following day during the Bewitching Bazaar aka craft faire and author alley. I ended up bumping into Dave, Alyse, Jenny and Gareth in the lobby and they were trying to figure out dinner plans. We ventured out to downtown Tarrytown in search of food. The cafe was too busy and only had outside sitting. Because it was in the high 90's, we went to a Greek restaurant for dinner since we could eat inside. The Pasticcio I ordered was delicious and I even had some leftovers for lunch for the next day.

I was able to catch the remaining half of Albus & Scorpius's Excellent Adventure: A Musical Parody. There was an intermission after the parody since staff were setting up for the lip-sync battle and the Merlies. In the hallway near the Grand Ballroom, I bumped into Dariti and Krissy with a few others so we took a lot of photos near the train station photoshoot backdrop. I even spotted Dave who was dressed up as a Chinese Fireball Dragon. I was delighted that the hotel was serving Butterbeer that night since the night before they had other rotating drinks. Unfortunately, the Butterbeer they served had a base of rootbeer. Rootbeer!! Why? At least use cream soda if you are making Butterbeer.



During the lip-sync, there were some pretty hilarious acts. Let's say that Baby Shark will not be the same anymore. I found it hilarious how Viktor Krum recruited some friends to sing the Baby Shark song in his Triwizard second task swim outfit with a shark hat on his head. The Merlies is a showcase of fashionable outfits. I really liked someone's interpretation of Luna's huge lion's hat. Her version had an eagle which is very fitting since Luna is a Ravenclaw. Go Claws! Also, the phoenix cosplay is freaking amazing. I heard she was able to get the wings commissioned and they are hand-painted! How stunningly beautiful!

MISTI had a 90's dance party called the Rave 'N' Claw that started around 10:30 and ended at 1:30. I only stayed for part of the time since I was so tired and I needed to get up early in the morning. I caught the first half. Let's say the Rave 'N' Claw went way pass 1:30. I only know because my roomie was showering when I needed to pee so I walked down the hall to where a public bathroom is located in the Owlery. The dance party was right across from it and it was still bumping along.


The photo above left is one of my many outfits for the day. This one was for the beginning of the night. I ended up switching the pin for the blue light up one for the Rave 'N' Claw dance party. I also have been carrying my wand in between my Harry Potter luggage purse which has been so helpful! During the day, I wore the same shoes, socks, tie and white button down shirt but I had a Harry Potter Ravenclaw sweater and a gray skirt instead of the vest and printed skirt.


Crazy how two days of MISTI flew by super fast. My recaps for Days 3 and 4 will be up later this week. Make sure to check it out. I also have some posts on Instagram under #NicoleAtMISTICon.


Thursday, July 25, 2019

The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee

Title: The Downstairs Girl
Author: Stacey Lee
Publisher: Putnam
Publication date: August 13, 2019
Pages: 304
Source/format: ARC//Borrowed from Ellie

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

Synopsis (from goodreads.com): 

By day, seventeen-year-old Jo Kuan works as a lady's maid for the cruel daughter of one of the wealthiest men in Atlanta. But by night, Jo moonlights as the pseudonymous author of a newspaper advice column for the genteel Southern lady, "Dear Miss Sweetie." When her column becomes wildly popular, she uses the power of the pen to address some of society's ills, but she's not prepared for the backlash that follows when her column challenges fixed ideas about race and gender.

While her opponents clamor to uncover the secret identity of Miss Sweetie, a mysterious letter sets Jo off on a search for her own past and the parents who abandoned her as a baby. But when her efforts put her in the crosshairs of Atlanta's most notorious criminal, Jo must decide whether she, a girl used to living in the shadows, is ready to step into the light.

M Y  T H O U G H T S

During the late 1800's Jo Kuan lives with her stand-in father, Old Gin, in a basement. She works as a milliner's assistant until she is let go one day because her employer deems that she is too opinionated and makes customers uncomfortable. However, there is one customer, Mrs. Bell, who admires Jo's craftmanship making intricate knots, which happens to be the lady who resides in the same residence as Jo. However, Mrs. Bell doesn't know Jo and Old Gin take refuge below the residence. Jo is given the opportunity to write as Miss Sweetie for the Focus's advice column when she sends an anonymous letter to the Bells. Miss Sweetie creates a huge buzz in her community. Jo anonymously writes articles regarding societal norms during the Gilded Age time period. What a great opportunity for someone who is "too opinionated." While she works as a lady's maid at the Paynes household during the day, she moonlights as Miss Sweetie at night.

Stacey Lee tells a wonderful and insightful story of what it means to be Asian in the South of the United States in the late 1800's. I am always delighted to read historical fiction with characters I can relate to. I often wonder how life was for Chinese-Americans in the past. There is hardly any information about the history of Chinese-Americans living in the United States and how life was for them. Lee is one of my favorite historical fiction novelists. Her characters are relatable and I love being transported to a different time period and a different location every time I pick up one of her books.

I absolutely love the voice of Jo. She is sassy but she knows her place. Jo is an advocate of women's rights and equality for all races. Being of Chinese descent, she teeters in between Whites and Blacks. It's hard to find a place in society, especially since there are not many Asian people living in the United States at the time. Most Chinese in the States at the time are men working on the railroad. Jo is longing to know more information regarding her parents. Who is her birth father? Who is her birth mother? Why was she given up? Jo is fortunate to have Old Gin raise her. The twist at the end caught me off guard for sure.

Although Jo may feel out of place, she has Old Gin as her family. I also enjoyed reading how Jo finds solace in Sweet Potato and she finds friendship with Noemi. Jo even has a complex relationship with Caroline Payne, who can be very cruel.

The Downstairs Girl shows readers a glimpse of the Gilded Age and what is it like to live as an Asian American during that time period. Jo defies the stereotype of Asian women being docile and quiet. Not only does she defy the stereotype for Asian women but she defies the gender stereotype of being a lady. Jo is quite capable of doing what a man does and she is quite outspoken. From writing in a newspaper to horse racing, Jo can do anything!


Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: Auto-Buy Authors

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and the meme moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. This week's Top Ten Tuesday asks bloggers to list their auto-buy authors. There are so many authors I love but here are some authors that are on my auto-buy list for the most part. The following authors are in no particular order.


1. Rainbow Rowell is the creator of one of my favorite books of all time. For those who don't know, I love love love Fangirl! However, anything Rainbow writes, I will read and pretty much buy. I own several copies of Fangirl. Carry On has a sequel coming on this year called Wayward Son. Yes, for more Simon and Baz!

2. Kim Liggett is the mastermind of paranormal and horror novels. Right now, her upcoming novel The Grace Year, is being buzzing around but you need to check out some of her previous works such as The Last Harvest or the Blood and Salt duology.

3. Stacey Lee is a go to for me when I want to read historical fiction, especially when I want to read about an Asian female main character. I've always wondered how Asians navigated time within historical settings. Wander the times of the California Gold Rush to Gilded Age in the South with Stacey's fantastic protagonists.

4. Stephanie Garber is an amazing storyteller with her Caraval series. Her words bloom into something fantastic and spellbinding. Her memorable writing is descriptive and her characters come to life. I cannot wait to see what she has in store for us in the future.

5. Laurie Halse Anderson tackles teen issues without sugaring coating them. She goes deep and to the nitty gritty. Her first novel, Shout, is a novel I read in my teens and  ever since then I have always read her books. I encourage everyone to read Laurie's books. The issues are real and we need to spread awareness about what is happening to our youth and the world.

6. Cassandra Clare has captured my heart with her Shadowhunter world. So far my favorite series is The Infernal Devices. The Shadowhunter world is very impressive with characters and plotlines intertwining through a multitude of books.

7. Mike Curato's Little Elliot picture book series is timeless and is definitely one of my favorite picture book series. I can see Little Elliot in every child's bookshelf in the near future. Not only is the artwork soothing with the muted tones but Little Elliot and friends carry good morals for little ones to abide to.

8. Adriana Mather wrote a two novels based on her heritage as being a descendant of the Mathers involved in the Salem Witch Trials and also a descendant of a Titanic survivor. Her latest book is about assassins and it's kick ass! Adriana has her launch parties in Salem, MA and I am always excited to attend them when I can. Hunting November, the sequel to Killing November, will be coming out next year and I cannot wait to get my hands on it.

9. Meg Leder's delightful contemporary novels such as The Museum of Heartbreak and Letting Go of Gravity show how people can find love in unexpected places. I find Meg's books very relatable and I am hoping she will be having more books releasing in the near future.


Which authors are your favorite auto-buy authors? Do we share any of the same ones?

Friday, July 12, 2019

MISTI-Con 2019 and Where to Find Me

It's that time every two years where I talk about MISTI-Con! This year, MISTI-Con will be located in Tarrytown, NY instead of Laconia, NH. The convention runs from Thursday, July 18, 2019 to Sunday, July 21, 2019. And this year's theme is Wizarding Through the Ages! 

I cannot wait to see how creative the cosplays will be this year and if they will be themed focused. MISTI-Con has always been my favorite convention to attend. Not only is MISTI-Con a convention run by fans for fans but there is a sense of community built at MISTI-Con. There is a chance to reunite with old friends and the opportunity to meet new friends. It's like reuniting with your second family.

For those who don't know about MISTI-Con, the convention is capped at 500 attendees for a small and more intimate setting compared to some of the bigger Harry Potter conventions such as LeakyCon. Also, MISTI-Con schedules meal breaks for lunch and dinner. You hardly come by scheduled meal breaks at a con.



If you are interested in some of the past MISTI-Cons I've attended, check out my recaps for MISTI-Con 2015 and MISTI-Con 2017. Unfortunately, I did not blog about my adventures during MISTI-Con 2013 but it was equally as memorable as the other two.

MISTI-CON 2015

Day 1: The Beginning
Day 2 Recap
Day 3 Recap
Day 4 and Day 5 Recap

MISTI-CON 2017

Day 1 Recap
Day 2 Recap
Day 3 Recap
Day 4 and Day 5 Recap


WHY THE MOVE?

The DoubleTree by Hilton at Tarrytown has more rooms and the venue can accommodate more people. Attendees will be sharing the hotel with Muggles, so some things will be a little bit different than previous years. All programming will be held indoors with the AC during the hot month of July. I believe we are looking at temps in the 90's next week.

Because of the location move, there is new territory to explore. Tarrytown is right next to Sleepy Hollow. It's actually only a 10 minute car ride. I am super excited to check out Old Dutch Church, Sleepy Hollow cemetery, Headless Horseman’s bridge, and Philipsburg Manor. I am a huge fan of the Sleepy Hollow story so it's a must to visit the area. Jess and I want to visit Sleepy Hollow on Saturday later afternoon/early evening.

The DoubleTree by Hilton is about a ten minute walk from a CVS, a bagel emporium, a grocery store, and a pizza/pasta eatery. I have to say I will miss wandering the grounds near Lake Winnipesaukee in Laconia. It always reminded me of walking to Hagrid's hut or just around the perimeter of Hogwarts. But I am open to making new memories at a new venue.

WHERE TO FIND ME

The programming schedule looks fantastic! So much is happening at MISTI-Con this year and it will be quite hard to decide what to attend since there are a lot of fantastic panels, workshops, and events taking place.

THURSDAY, JULY 18, 2019

Jess and I are meeting at South Station to take an Amtrak. It will be our mini Hogwarts Express ride! We will be taking an Uber to the hotel once we arrive at New Rochelle. We probably will drop off our bags and do a quick market run before checking into the hotel. Some time during that afternoon, we will check in to pick up our badges. The Opening Feast & Welcome Ceremony won't be until around 7:00 so we have some time to explore hotel and do a grocery store run. I believe there is a Harry Potter Jumble event I want to attend later that night as well.

FRIDAY, JULY 19, 2019

There is a History of Wands panel right at 9:00 in the morning which I am hoping to attend. I've been to the Harry Potter Themed Garden panel before but it's always fun to sit in that one. I'll see how I am feeling that day. The panels I definitely want to attend in the afternoon include The Foreshadowing of Borgin & Burkes and "And my soul, Dumbledore?" The Snape-Dumbledore Relationship panel. The night time activities are going to be intense since they are back to back such as Albus & Scorpius's Excellent Adventure: A Musical Parody, Lip Sync Battle II, The Merlies, and Rave-N-Claw 90's Dance Party.

SATURDAY, JULY 20, 2019

This is the chill day for me since I have a huge window of time that I don't have anything planned at the con. In the morning, I want to pop in that Snape: Unplugged event and I will definitely be swinging by Madam Malkin's to see if I can pick up consignment goodies. The Craft Faire is always something I look forward to. There are so many talented artists vending this year. I am hoping to make it to Wizarding World Crafts 101 craft meetup if time allows during the late morning.

Jess and I have a 3-4 hour block during the afternoon where we are going to explore Sleepy Hollow before we get ready for the Founder's Ball. The ball isn't until 8:00 at night so we have plenty of time to get ready. This will be the first year that the ball will go until 12 midnight!

SUNDAY, JULY 21 2019

Last day of MISTI-Con! I am hoping I can get up early enough to see the Puffs: The Play - Watch Party which is at 8:30 in the morning. Jess and I are thinking about going in our PJs for this one and we will eat our breakfast there. Later in the morning, Puffs: The Original Cast Trio Reunion Panel is taking place. Let's say it's a very Hufflepuff morning. Some of the meet-ups I plan to attend include SLUG Club Meet-Up (Special Lego Users Group) and the Button Pin Swap.There is a Closing Ceremony which includes dinner around 7:00. And later that night, the after parties will occur until who knows what time. This is a little bit different from previous years since this year the con ends with the Closing Ceremonies on Sunday instead of Monday morning. The ball is usually on Sunday night with the after parties, but this year it will occur on Saturday night. 


I am looking forward to all the wonderful wizarding adventures I will be having next week. I will definitely be recapping MISTI-Con in several blog posts sometime after the convention so make sure you check out the blog later this month. To follow me on my MISTI-Con adventures, make sure to check out my hashtag, #NicoleAtMISTICon.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Goblin Moon by Jacqueline Rogers

Title: Goblin Moon
Author: Jacqueline Rogers
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication date: July 23, 2019
Pages: 32
Source/format: ARC//The Horn Book

Rating: ☆☆☆☆

Synopsis (from HarperCollins.com):

Beloved New York Times bestselling illustrator Jacqueline Rogers captures Halloween fun in this charming picture book perfect for spooky October nights.

Snuggle up and enjoy this impish tale perfect for little goblins everywhere. With rhyming text and Jackie’s signature style of illustration, fans of Julia Donaldson’s Room on the Broom and Linda D. Williams’s The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything will be captivated by this spirited story just right for reading aloud.

When old Goblin Moon rises on Halloween night,

mischievous goblins come out with delight.

They dance and swoon, they whoop and play,

till one little girl helps them find their way!

M Y  T H O U G H T S

Goblin Moon is the perfect Halloween picture book. Centered on spending time with family, the main character enjoys Halloween and trick or treating. As the Goblin Moon shines in the night sky, goblins come out late at night to play. The goblins like to do a moon dance, basking in the moonlight. The goblins are tricksters and like to play hide and seek. But when someone gives them treats, the little goblins are more inclined to return to their parents.

With gorgeous muted shades of color, Jacqueline Rogers has created a wonderfully illustrated book. The illustrations look like they are painted with watercolors. I love how Rogers gives the moon life with a face. Rogers gives the moon its own character drawing out the goblins. The formatting of the book is simple with rhymes with two to four lines a page. The interactions between the main character and the goblins is fun and playful. It showcases the spirit of Halloween through a child's eyes.

Goblin Moon is a picture book for all ages. When the main character gifts the goblins some of her own candy, she is in for a surprise. Before the goblins go home, she is given a cute treat at the end of the book. The book shows how sharing is caring.