Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery

Today is finally the day Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery is now available to download for mobile devices. Hurray! Has anyone started playing the game? Did you venture to Diagon Alley to get your books and your wand? Did you befriend Rowan and take the Hogwarts Express to Hogwarts? What about the Sorting Ceremony? What house are you in? So far I currently finishing my flying lesson. I am in Ravenclaw of course. Check out the beautiful Ravenclaw Common Room below.

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery is a stamina based RPG mobile game. When you first start the game, you can create your own character. Afterwards, you befriend Rowan right before you venture to Diagon Alley to obtain your school books and your wand. Some backstory about your family is also introduced around this time. You get to hop on the Hogwarts Express to head to Hogwarts and Mcgonagall sorts all the first-years with the sorting hat. Just to give you heads up, you get to choose your house which is a relief. After all, the sorting hat takes in consideration what house you associate with the most.

After you get sorted, you can check out your common room before starting to do tasks and lessons. Some of the lessons I've done so far is learning Lumos with Professor Flitwick and making a cure for boils with Professor Snape. Madam Hootch is currently teaching me how to summon a broom. There are other things like chatting with certain characters, befriending characters and playing Gobstones that will help you get further in the game. By completing lessons, you get rewarded with stamina energy, coins or gems. Sometimes you will be rewarded attributes such as courage, empathy and knowledge. These attributes will come in handy later on. With coins and gems, you can purchase different hairstyles and clothing or you can save them to play a game of Gobstones or to replenish your energy.

Of course there is a Malfoy type of character who will try to get you in trouble or even worse, expelled. Don't let this person taunt you too much. This person will definitely try to do whatever it takes to set you up to lose house points. Keep your guard up but remember to enjoy the game. Don't get too caught up with bullies.

Here's my profile page. You can always adjust your character in terms of looks and name whenever you want. As you can see below, you can track your house points you've contributed, what rank your house is for the House Cup and see what levels are achieved overall and for your attributes. Overall all the game is pretty solid but it is slow to load. Again, the game just released today so I assume some updates will fix some bugs and hopefully the creators will eventually take players suggestions in consideration to improve the game.

Let me know how are you enjoying the game if you are currently playing. I hope there is more interaction between users in the future because I would love to interact with some of my blog readers via Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery. 

Friday, April 20, 2018

Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth L. Cline

Title: Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion
Author: Elizabeth L. Cline
Publisher: Portfolio Hardcover
Publication date: June 14th 2012 (first published January 1st 2012)
Pages: 256
Source/format: Library//Hardcover

Rating: ☆☆☆

Synopsis (from

Until recently, Elizabeth Cline was a typical American consumer. She’d grown accustomed to shopping at outlet malls, discount stores like T.J. Maxx, and cheap but trendy retailers like Forever 21, Target, and H&M. She was buying a new item of clothing almost every week (the national average is sixty-four per year) but all she had to show for it was a closet and countless storage bins packed full of low-quality fads she barely wore—including the same sailor-stripe tops and fleece hoodies as a million other shoppers. When she found herself lugging home seven pairs of identical canvas flats from Kmart (a steal at $7 per pair, marked down from $15!), she realized that something was deeply wrong.

Cheap fashion has fundamentally changed the way most Americans dress. Stores ranging from discounters like Target to traditional chains like JCPenney now offer the newest trends at unprecedentedly low prices. Retailers are pro­ducing clothes at enormous volumes in order to drive prices down and profits up, and they’ve turned clothing into a disposable good. After all, we have little reason to keep wearing and repairing the clothes we already own when styles change so fast and it’s cheaper to just buy more.

But what are we doing with all these cheap clothes? And more important, what are they doing to us, our society, our environment, and our economic well-being?

In Overdressed, Cline sets out to uncover the true nature of the cheap fashion juggernaut, tracing the rise of budget clothing chains, the death of middle-market and independent retail­ers, and the roots of our obsession with deals and steals. She travels to cheap-chic factories in China, follows the fashion industry as it chases even lower costs into Bangladesh, and looks at the impact (both here and abroad) of America’s drastic increase in imports. She even explores how cheap fashion harms the charity thrift shops and textile recyclers where our masses of cloth­ing castoffs end up.

Sewing, once a life skill for American women and a pathway from poverty to the middle class for workers, is now a dead-end sweatshop job. The pressures of cheap have forced retailers to drastically reduce detail and craftsmanship, making the clothes we wear more and more uniform, basic, and low quality. Creative inde­pendent designers struggle to produce good and sustainable clothes at affordable prices.

Cline shows how consumers can break the buy-and-toss cycle by supporting innovative and stylish sustainable designers and retailers, refash­ioning clothes throughout their lifetimes, and mending and even making clothes themselves.

Overdressed will inspire you to vote with your dollars and find a path back to being well dressed and feeling good about what you wear.

M Y  T H O U G H T S

I normally don't read non-fiction books but I do read some based on my interests. Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion caught my eye when I was browsing a blog about fast fashion. Because I wanted some more in depth detail about how fast fashion came about and why people are consuming fast fashion like there is no tomorrow, I borrowed the book from the library.

It's crazy to see how much clothing a person buys in a year, only to get rid of the clothing to buy more. Years ago clothing quality was impeccable and people owned less articles of clothing. With the ever changing trends, clothing has become cheap in quality and price. However, is it worth clothing falling apart after a few washes or having threads snagged from poor seams and hemlines?

Reading about how clothing is made and the conditions of the factories opened my eyes to fast fashion. Clothing is being produced at an alarmingly rapid rate. Old clothing are being casted off into the landfills. Quality in fashion is not the same as before. It's a flawed system.

Sewing is becoming a lost art. It's cheaper and easier to buy clothing from the box store but what's sacrificed is quality. The quality of vintage clothing (pre-1980s) are much better than the quality of clothing we buy today. I totally agree with this too since I love shopping for vintage clothing at consignment shops. The seams, the stitching and even the fabrics are much sturdier.

Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion is a fairly fast read for people interested in the fashion and clothing in general. After reading the book and doing more research online, I spend more time analyzing what I should buy and looking at clothing tags for the material breakdown and the origins of make.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo

Title: The Way You Make Me Feel
Author: Maurene Goo
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Publication date: May 8, 2018
Pages: 336
Source/format: e-ARC from Publisher

Rating: ☆☆☆1/2

Synopsis (from

From the author of I Believe in a Thing Called Love, a laugh-out-loud story of love, new friendships, and one unique food truck.

Clara Shin lives for pranks and disruption. When she takes one joke too far, her dad sentences her to a summer working on his food truck, the KoBra, alongside her uptight classmate Rose Carver. Not the carefree summer Clara had imagined. But maybe Rose isn't so bad. Maybe the boy named Hamlet (yes, Hamlet) crushing on her is pretty cute. Maybe Clara actually feels invested in her dad’s business. What if taking this summer seriously means that Clara has to leave her old self behind?

With Maurene Goo's signature warmth and humor, The Way You Make Me Feel is a relatable story of falling in love and finding yourself in the places you’d never thought to look.

M Y  T H O U G H T S

When a joke goes wrong and causes a fire at Elysian High School, Clara Shin is teetering the line of getting suspended along with her arch nemesis, Rose Carter. Her father sentences Clara to work on her father's KoBra food truck which is a Korean/Brazilian fusion restaurant on wheels. The kicker is that Clara will be working KoBra with Rose.

Clara is sassy, tends to not think before she acts and is always getting into trouble. She has no filter. Her father thinks that with hard work, she will learn to keep a cool and perhaps learn from Rose. On the contrast, Rose is an over achiever. She is captain of the dance team since freshman year and is part of the debate team. She takes summer courses at the local community college on top of her high school course work.

Hamlet Wong works at the neighboring coffee kiosk and often visits the KoBra truck with iced drinks. Although it is plainly obviously to Clara's father and Rose that Hamlet likes Clara, Clara denies it and claims Hamlet is not her type. However, Clara and Hamlet become close over the duration of the novel. Their relationship is adorable! From flowers to grass jelly flavored kisses, the excitement of going on a date radiates from the pages.

Maurene Goo created a book that is unique and humorous. I found myself chuckling when Clara has a witty comeback. However, I do agree that she needs to control herself sometimes and needs to think before she speaks. Goo did an amazing job with the character development in The Way You Make Me Feel. Clara, along with several other characters like Rose, grew a lot from the end of school until the end of summer.

Each character has their own personality and they work well with the whole cast. Patrick and Felix are supportive of Clara for most of the time but I would have loved to see more backstory and interaction. However, I absolutely loved Clara's dad, Adrian. Clara's father raises Clara solely while Clara's mother is a social media "influencer" and travels the world. Clara's parents never married and her parents were only 18 when Clara was born. Adrian is a single parent who works hard trying to provide for his daughter as well as trying to be a good parent.

Although Clara tries to reconnect with her mom by impulse buying a ticket for a flight and hopping on a plane to Tulum, she realizes that her father has always been the one to support and to root for Clara. Adrian is possibly one of my favorite fathers in a YA book. He cares about his daughter yet he sets boundaries between him and Clara as a learning experience for Clara. He is a lovable dad and he is a fantastic relationship with his daughter.

This family dynamic differs from Rose's where Rose's parents are super strict and they quiz each other on important current news over dinners. Rose starts off being uptight but slowly eases up throughout the book. She engages in typical teenage things like gossiping about boys with Clara which helps her unwind. The contrast of a wealthy lifestyle of the Carters, the Wongs and Clara's mother compared to Clara and her dad are significant. Money can't buy everything. Friendship and family bonding are priceless. Happiness can't be bought.

With the delicious lombo and picanhas, I was definitely craving the Korean Brazilian fusion food from KoBra. Throw in a sugarcane lime drink and I would be all set. The Way You Make Me Feel is a light and funny contemporary that is perfect for the summer. Goo created an exceptional book combining food, travel, romance, humor, friends and family all in one. She creates long-lasting memories of a lifetime.